Épées are set to fence last, so Gwen is half dressed (knee socks, breeches, shirt and plastron) and freshly stretched out after a decent coat-pile nap when the last round of sabre bouts begins. Her eyes find Morgana standing at serene attention, on deck nearby at the second strip from the end. Gwen can hear Arthur's over-the-top kiai with each hit clear across the gym; she scans the crowd spread over the room to see Merlin leap onto a folding chair between the strips, waving Arthur's spare cuff, unrolled like a metallic flag, with enthusiastic abandon. She levers herself up onto the risers next to the team's nest of equipment and coolers for a better view, in time to watch their alumnus advisor Gaius haul him back down off the chair, still cheering his head off. Merlin is a fair fencer, not great, and won't be winning them many bouts as an alternate foilist, but tournaments are never more entertaining than when he's along.
Gwen puts on her white shoes and knots the non-regulation multicoloured laces, then steps into her jacket and shoves her arms through. She locates an idle fellow épéeist, curled up at the edge of the coat-pile and eating his way through a can of Pringles.
"Hey Ed. Can I get a zip up?"
Edwin dimples sleepily. He zips the back of Gwen's jacket when she crouches down, patting the velcro at her collar closed. "There you go."
"Thank you. And wake up, all right? We're on in half an hour."
He nods and turns his attention back to a pair of sabreuses testing their weapons against each other's masks. Gwen reconfirms the presence of her sword and glove in her gear bag, then wanders over to pace behind the line of chairs along the second strip from the end. Morgana's bout is already in progress; she scores her third point in a flurry of action as Gwen approaches. The opponent's face and hair aren't visible, but nobody else moves like Nimueh. Nobody else faces Morgana quite so fiercely as Nimueh, either, with the possible exception of Arthur in one of his moods.
Nimueh advances and threatens with point-in-line immediately, forcing Morgana back until she lashes out with a too flashy prise de fer and an ignored feint to Nimueh's off-hand side. A blinding back and forth follows, cut off suddenly with a solid smack of Morgana's sword against Nimueh's mask as Nimueh's blade bends in a wicked flick over Morgana's shoulder but lands at least a second too late, even if Morgana didn't have right-of-way; the red light doesn't even go on. Though the hit must sting, Morgana makes no sound, only shrugs a little and returns to her starting position to wait for the next signal. The referee signals the point to Morgana, calls the score four to zero, and directs them against each other again.
It's Morgana in control of the gap between them this time; she wastes no time on drawing Nimueh out, simply charges down the strip with a mad ballestra and tags Nimueh's wrist where her guard has wavered. Nimueh loses her composure and stands up straight on the strip indignantly, free hand clenched into a fist, but as the referee calls five to zero they salute each other, and the referee, then the cluster of lookers-on. Gwen is quite certain she isn't imagining Morgana's last salute aimed directly at her. The duellists shake hands formally, inclining their heads to each other not at all as they move together and retreat again.
Morgana keeps her feet on the ground long enough for her body cord to be unhooked from the reel, then she is tearing off her mask, flushed, bright-eyed, and rushing her way. "Gwen, Gwen, Gwennie," she half-laughs, half-shouts, and thuds into Gwen — Morgana will have felt that Gwen isn't wearing her chest protector — and presses her smile against Gwen's cheek. Sweaty fingers curl against the back of Gwen's head, tugging wisps of hair out from beneath her tidy braid. Her mouth is half-open in transition from a fiendish grin of triumph as it finds Gwen's. Morgana's lips are licked tender and her tongue is hot, and her momentum would have bowled them both into the bleachers if Gwen were less steady on her feet. Sharp teeth nibble Gwen's lower lip, then bite down insistent and knee-melting. In front of everyone.
"I did it," Morgana whispers against Gwen's chin, lit up with joy. "I did it." It takes a moment to realise Morgana is still talking about the bout rather than the passionate kissing of Gwen in view of all those on their own team not mid-bout or asleep, most of the people from the opposing teams, all of the coaches, and Uther. Her fingers find the fastening of Morgana's lamé and tug open the front flap while Morgana nuzzles Gwen's throat and trails wet kisses over her jaw. Morgana's arms are shaking slightly, effort and leftover adrenaline from the clearest victory in a long and vicious rivalry.
"I take it we're out now?" Gwen murmurs, bemused.
"Who would dare say anything? I just won a perfect bout against Nimueh!" Gwen is pretty sure there's a logical disconnect in there somewhere, but it really doesn't seem that important.
A diagonal stripe of pressure makes itself known across her back: the blade of Morgana's sabre, still in her hand, part of her embrace. Gwen lets out a laughing breath and kisses the corner of Morgana's smile. She supposes she may be the only person who can see Morgana running at her with a sword and never need to feel fear.