Okay, this is going to ignore the teeny fact that Gwen is enchanted or whatever. Well, it isn't, but it isn't going to show it. Okay? Fab, then please read on!
For All that is Good and Fair
Arthur had lost many friends, family and allies. His mother had been snatched from him before he could even remember her and his father had been killed by an old feud. He'd watched one of his greatest knights, Lancelot, buried six feet under (well, he'd been giving a Norse funeral but still) as well as his childhood friend Sir Ranulf and now his brother-in-law.
But now, it felt like he'd lost his wife.
In the week since Elyan's funeral, two days after his untimely passing, Gwen had become more emotionally distant and generally distraught. She hadn't eaten any meals with him or any of her friends, or even left her room. Council meetings had been dull without him being able to stare at her and Merlin was getting droopier. The only people who had actually seen her that week were the maids who had scurried in and out of her chambers and Gaius, who had prescribed her some medicine for a stomach complaint. Whenever Arthur knocked on her door, there would never be an answer and the times when he actually went in, she wasn't in there. How she managed to hide every time was beyond him- there must have been some kind of secret passageway she didn't know about.
It was night-time now. The sun had long since set on the citadel and the half-moon was high up in the sky. The majority of citizens had gone to bed, leaving only Arthur, the guards and presumably a few servants awake or at least out of bed.
He passed through the noble-wing, wincing at the awful noise of the visiting Admiral Rulf's extremely loud and extremely annoying snores. He couldn't wait to be rid of the old coot, whose life's ambition was to drink as much as possible and woo as many ladies who were young enough to be his daughter as possible.
Continuing on, Arthur was suddenly halted by the sound of crying. A woman crying. But in fact, it was coming from a very familiar part of the castle...
He found himself outside of his wife's door. Without hesitation or without the sense to knock, he threw himself straight through the threshold.
Gwen was sat on her bed, her hands covering her beautiful face. She wore a lace night-gown with her hair free from its usual up-do. If it were not for the sobbing coming from her, it would have been as though it was a normal night.
"Guinevere," he slid next to her, pulling her into his arms. She rotated slightly, burying her head into his chest as he rocked her like a new down babe.
"Sh love, it's going to be okay, don't cry now," he whispered into her hair, "Please don't cry love."
Ignoring him, she sobbed even harder as he felt his shirt grow wetter and wetter by each second. He stroked her back, still letting her cling to him as though she were drowning and he was the only the only boat in the vicinity.
"Will you at least calm down a little so we can talk? I have not seen you all week and quite frankly, I've missed you."
She looked up at him, her face red and blotchy, eyes puffy. Her face showed not even the slightest sign of a smile or happiness.
She paused for a moment, clearly thinking quite hard. After a moment's pause, she nodded.
"W...W...What do you want to t...talk about?" she faltered, her voice shaking.
He half-smiled sympathetically, "I know this is hard on you Guinevere, but the queen I know and love is stronger than this. She can still grieve without locking herself from the world. Elyan was a true friend, a loyal knight, a kind brother-in-law but most importantly your brother. He wouldn't want you moping would you? Was he not just saying the other day that he was proud of how brave you have become?"
She shook her head.
"I miss him," she replied in a small voice, "He should have not died that way, it was not his time. Everytime I feel the tiniest bit better, I just remember him looking at me how he did as he was slowly dying and I just shut down again. It makes me feel physically and mentally sick."
Arthur frowned, racking his brains to find a way to cheer her up at least a little bit. He hated seeing his love so beside herself with grief. But first, he wanted answers.
"Why have you been hiding away so? The only people that have seen you are Gaius and a few servants. Other than that, nothing. Whenever I come into your room, it seems as though you have vanished of the face of the Earth. Where exactly do you go?"
"The answer to your first question is that I have not really been in the mood to talk to anyone and the answer to your second is that I will not tell you, in case I ever have to go there again."
Arthur gripped Gwen's left hand with his palm and used his spare arm to wrap it around her waist.
"But what hurts me the most," he sighed as he stared at the floor, "Is that you have not talked to me. I am your husband; you are supposed to come to me if something is bothering you, which I know it is. All week I've been feeling awful because I cannot make you feel happier."
"It is because you remind me so much of Elyan."
There was an awkward silence as the two had a mini staring-match, not really wanting to start the conversation back up anytime soon. Arthur thought of the reason why she could have said that, but could honestly not think of any good ones. Meanwhile, Gwen was beginning to feel slightly better because of the fact she had opened up to Arthur. It was good to get things off her chest.
"Would you care to tell me why that is, Guinevere?"
She nodded weakly.
"When I met you, you were the arrogant prince who only cared for himself. You were cocky and believed that you were above the world. But then I discovered who you really were- a king. I learnt that you are strong, brave, kind, compassionate and intelligent. I found out that you were capable of true love and attachment, not just meaningless flings with princesses you did not care about. As I have said many times before, I have watched you grow into the king you are meant to be."
She took a deep breath, before continuing.
"Elyan was always that kind of reckless. Not caring about consequences, as free as the wind. When I was young, he was forever getting into trouble- running off, getting into scraps with the nobility's children who always informed him of his place. It was a regular occurrence for father to go a-calling for him to get him back to supper. One day, he just packed his stuff and went off at first light. It was the last I saw of him for what, four years? Then we met again because of an evil plot and he was back in my life. Elyan became a knight, because of you and that moulded him into the independent, strong-willed but always kind man he was until just over a week back."
She paused again, smoothing a hand over the bed-sheets.
"So that is where the similarity coincides. Once both lost causes, no offense, but now the men that anyone could be proud of. Your mother is smiling at the mother you have become and Elyan is with both my parents now. The ultimate sacrifice, but now he is with the family he never knew."
Arthur felt a lump in his throat- he would have never thought of such an analytical process as Gwen had just. He really felt for Gwen- she had lost so much and he was calling her out for mourning.
"I am so sorry for being insensitive, Guinevere. I beg for your forgiveness."
She shook her head fairly, "You need not apologise Arthur."
"Then all is well," he took her hand, leading her up from the bed, "Come along."
"Why?" she responded questioningly.
"You are sleeping with me in my chambers tonight- I do not want to leave you alone and cannot morally."
"Guinevere," he replied sternly, facing her, "I will not take no for an answer, do you understand?"
She nodded, a smile finally reaching her face. It lit up the dark room, and more importantly, it made Arthur beam with an indescribable joy.
The journey down the corridor was silence. Reaching his rooms, Arthur immediately opened the door, holding out an arm as an indication for Gwen to enter before him. Nodding politely, she floated in and he followed.
"Merlin, what are you still doing here?" he surprisedly asked the manservant who was lurking in the corner like a shadow.
"I was worried when you did not return from your duties so I waited until you returned. I did not know that you were with Gwen."
"Is that an apology?"
"You wish," Merlin muttered under his breath before turning back to a normal tone, "Shall I just dismiss myself?"
Arthur nodded wearily.
"Night my lord, night my lady. Great to see you happy again, I have missed you over the past week."
Gwen smiled at him, a true smile as he left, "Thank you Merlin. But remember, it is always Gwen to you. Don't listen to what Gaius says about formality."
But alas, he had disappeared into the night.
Distracted, she didn't realise that Arthur had changed into his bedrobes, only realising when she turned back around to see him grinning down at her. She hated being reminded of the height difference between them. However, she felt slightly better standing next to him than being with Percival, who made her feel like she was toddler size.
"Ready to go to bed?" he asked softly, noticing her droopy eyes. It was all an act in a way, she felt like she was going to burst into tears all over again.
She nodded and moved to the right-hand side, sipping in-between the covers. Arthur joined her, shifting up close to her until his arms were around her once again.
"Sweet dreams, Guinevere."
And as they fell into slumber, the first drops of snow began to blanket Camelot.
Hey, hope you all enjoyed this fic.
Okay, here are the weekly opinions:
What the hell were they thinking when they killed Elyan off? You can't kill the knights; they have reached the status of untouchable. When Mab said about someone not returning, I thought that she was either lying or that someone would be badly injured. I didn't take it seriously AT ALL! I was too shocked to be overly upset, even though I was quite sad. I was definitely not expecting it!
LOVED how protective/generally concerned Arthur and Elyan were. Arthur was so dedicated to finding Arthur and I adored Elyan! I'm going to miss him so much!
I loved the bromance in this episode. Seriously, it was damn epic!
Okay, now I'm probably going to get hate for this but I felt a bit sorry for Morgana! Even though she has done some awful things, she did go through hardship. She just wanted to be truly loved and accepted, but couldn't be. I have missed the Gwen/Morgana friendship so much even if it is just a facade.
Gwen's ENCHANTED OR INDOCTRUNATED OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES! Scared/excited.
Next week looks scary/cool! So looking forward to it.
Overall, apart from said plotlines, I thought the episode was amazingly done! Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath are brilliant actors!
Semper Fi xxx