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Gwaine knows that Gwen doesn’t even want him to be there. Not only does she resent Arthur’s insistence that any journey she makes outside the citadel must be with an escort, but her departure, and Gwaine’s assignment, was seated in the unspoken and yet obvious disgruntlement of several people. Namely Lancelot, whom had pointedly been given duties elsewhere; Arthur, who had felt the urge to instruct him thus; and of course Guinevere herself, clearly displeased by such interference in her affairs.

Gwaine had tried to talk with her about it as they walked towards the woods outside the city, but to no avail: with a chilly, “I beg your pardon, Sir Gwaine, but I hardly see how it’s any business of yours.” —she’d picked up her stride and marched on ahead of him.

And so he’s resigned to an afternoon of moodiness, with no conversation and little more to do than watch Gwen pick flowers. Although he still feels guiltily grateful for it—he’s out in the pleasant sunshine and green of the forest, while Lancelot’s stuck overseeing inventory of the armoury in the old dungeons.

Gwaine doesn’t resent Gwen for it, though. He can relate, quite easily in fact, to the urge to get out and away from the castle, and from all the fraught tension between its occupants. He’s more than happy to loiter quietly a short distance away, so long as he keeps her within eyesight. For all that he thinks Arthur is being an absolute prig, Gwaine himself isn’t willing to risk even the smallest of threats to Gwen’s safety. He’s become quite fond of her over the weeks he’s been in Camelot. That first spark of attention she’d drawn from him has grown into something more affectionate, and certainly more respectful—it was perhaps her adept rejection that formed the foundations of that.

He kicks his feet through the thick grass, then swoops down to pluck a white daisy, twirling it between his fingers. “Remember the time I picked you a flower?” he calls out idly in Gwen’s direction, feeling thoroughly at ease now, and thinking that perhaps he can soothe her mood with some shared reminiscing.

She doesn’t respond; and while he was uncertain as to whether she’d be so easily drawn into conversation, it’s the lack of any sound from her direction that suddenly puts him on guard. For he’d at least expect a huff of scorn, or the sound of flowers hitting the wicker of her basket as she made clear she was otherwise occupied. As it is, he can’t even catch sight of her yellow dress through the trees.

Hand on the pommel of his sword, Gwaine creeps closer to where he’d last seen her, ears and eyes on alert for any sign of a threat. There are no threats, though—just Gwen, sitting in the grass with her knees hugged to her chest. It’s an uncharacteristically vulnerable pose for her, but then Gwaine realises that perhaps one of the reasons she’d been so keen to come out here alone was to have privacy enough to just let go.

She seems so unhappy—tensing and shivering—that Gwaine can’t just leave her to it. He edges a little closer and asks, “Guinevere?”

She looks up, eyes wide and damp, mouth twisted in a nervous frown; her look of distress sends a bolt of panic through him. “Gwaine—” she gasps waveringly. “Something’s wrong, something’s not—”

Gwaine drops to his knees before her immediately. He reaches for her wrists with the intent of unfolding her pose to see where she’s hurt, but stops immediately when her open palms are splayed before him. They’re stained with a sticky gold residue, and though Gwaine has seen it rarely in his travels it’s still imminently familiar. As are the flowers he sees when he looks over to Gwen’s discarded basket, similarly coloured and oozing sticky sap.

“Oh, Gwen,” he says, understanding her tension now, and the extent of her predicament; at a loss as to how to handle it. “It’s all right, it’s the flowers. Just your luck to find them here, they only bloom once every three years—”

She sniffs and squirms and flexes her hands, but doesn’t pull away from his grip on her wrists.

“I could… could give you some privacy, or… really, it’s easier if you’ve someone else to help you. We can go back to the city—”

“No, no—” her tone is almost panicked, and she twists her hands to grasp at his, not letting him rise. “I can’t—can’t let them…” She trails off, shuddering, letting go of him to wrap her arms around her knees and squeeze herself tight, giving a soft moan. “Please don’t tell them, please.”

“Hush now, I won’t,” Gwaine soothes, feeling helpless and longing—he’s enjoyed the flower’s effects himself in the past, but that was entirely deliberate, and his situation nothing like Gwen’s. “It’s not forever, you just need to… well, see it through. Do you want me to—”

He’s about to offer to offer to step away so she can take care of it herself without an audience—as reluctant as he is to let her out of his sight when she’s in such a state—but before he can finish she’s unfolding and crawling forward into his lap. “Please,” she says as his arms come up automatically to steady her in an embrace. “Please—”

She smells heady, the musky scent of the pollen on her hands faint next to the sweet sweat on her neck, and the richness of her hair. It’s all he can do not to groan and draw her into a kiss—knowing already how eager she’d be to return it, with the drugging influence of the flower—but she’s under his protection, now, he cannot, will not take advantage.

“Just tell me, Gwen,” he begs. “Tell me what you want from me, and I’ll not tell a soul, I swear it—”

She grasps his shoulders and pushes him back a little. He’s still on his knees, but has to settle back on his heels; she shifts into his lap to straddle his thigh. Her skirts are a twisted mess between them, but she still rocks down against the pressure, her moan helpless and half-relieved.

He tugs at the voluminous fabric, pulling it out of the way and hitching it up on her thighs to give her more room to move, then there’s just the thin fabric of her underthings and Gwaine’s trousers between them: he can feel the heat between her legs when she grinds down hard on his thigh.

“That’s it,” he says, his cock going rock hard in his trousers; he ignores it, instead clasping her waist, refusing to let his hands stray further. He feels her muscles under his hands tense and flex as she rolls her hips again, and again; riding against his thigh with a speeding rhythm. “Come on, Gwennie, not long now—”

She gasps out a laugh and digs her fingers into his tense shoulders, and he looks up into her face—she’s beautiful and flushed, curled tendrils of hair stuck to her skin with sweat. “Don’t call me that,” she gasps. “Sound like—my brother—”

He grins back, the banter easing the constriction of his chest, releasing some of the tight control on his own excitement as he tries to focus on her suffering instead. Except she doesn’t seem to be suffering all that much: her thighs gripping his tightly as she rubs her cunt frantically against him, lip caught between her teeth and eyes blissfully half-lidded.

He lets himself stroke up and down her sides a little, just gently, and she groans and arches, head dropping back. Her chest heaves, swell of her bosom rising irresistibly right there. Gwaine’s cock aches. “Gwen, Gwen please—”

She changes the rhythm of her ride, rolling her hips smoother and longer. Gwaine’s hands tighten to keep her steady when she lets go of his shoulders, and then her fingers are grasping the low neck of her dress and yanking it down. Her breasts spill out, smooth and plump and pushed up by the constriction of straining fabric pulled below them. Her skin is damp and fragrant, and Gwaine’s mouth waters.

“Do it,” she whispers. “Do it, do it—” and she drags his head in, arching her back to press her breasts against his face. He groans against her skin—it is as soft as it looked, and both firm and yielding against his lips, smooth under his tongue. He rubs the prickle of his jaw against the roundness of her breast and then nuzzles to find her nipple; it’s already stiff and eager when he laps at it, licking away the salty sweat before closing his lips and sucking.

She groans, low and guttural, and gasps like it hurts her when she presses down hard against his leg. Her hands are forcing his head closer to her, and though he feels half-mad with the urge to move his hands, to grasp and knead her other breast, or to just tip her onto her back on the grass and rut into her—he just closes his eyes and focuses on using his mouth like she wants him to, and being solid and strong enough for her to rub against.

“I just need—” she pants, and then gasps when Gwaine shifts his attention to her other breast, leaving the other gleaming and bouncing slightly as she hitches her hips. “I want— Oh…” Her hips swivel desperately, as if seeking something just out of reach, and she makes needy, wanting noises in her throat. Gwaine can hardly bear it—wants to kiss and bite her where her moans reverberate under her skin—but flicks the tip of his tongue over her nipple again instead. “Yes,” she hisses, bearing down then twitching up again. “Just—”

Gwaine thinks he knows—prays he’s right in his assumption as he relinquishes his grip on her waist—and she mewls and shivers when he splays a hand on her inner thigh. The touch eases the desperate movement of her hips long enough to wedge his hand between them, cupping up against the hot swell between her legs. Fine cloth still separates them, but it’s nearly soaked through, and Gwaine just curls his fingers a little, firming his grip as much as he can with his hand trapped between her and his thigh—

Gwen cries out, and when she grinds down again this time it presses the hot little gem of her sex into the heel of his palm, and his fingers press up into the furrow of yielding flesh. Her hips jerk violently and the noises spilling from her throat are wild; it’s worth leaning back a little to watch as she writhes and bucks, body whip-crack tight astride him. She’s thoroughly debauched: her breasts bare, nipples swollen and wet from Gwaine’s mouth, skirts rucked up on her spread thighs and Gwaine’s hand between her legs.

Then she shudders and the tension flows out of her body; she’s hotter and wetter where Gwaine’s hand is cupping her, her chest heaving as she pushes weakly against his shoulders.

He withdraws immediately as she backs off him—slithering off his lap and sprawling, knees splayed, on the ground before him. While her head is bowed he presses his closed fist hard against his cock, but she catches sight of it, glancing up at his face, eyes still dark and mouth open, even her lips flushed from biting.

“Sorry,” Gwaine gasps, trying to cover himself. “You shouldn’t—I’ll go and—”

“Stay,” she says breathlessly. “I want to see. If… if that’s all right?”

He groans, pressing his hand down harder. “You don’t have to.”

“I want to.” She struggles up on her knees and edges closer again, her hand lifting after a moment of hesitation to stroke his hair back from his face and draw him forward again. He sprawls to lean against her, mouthing hungrily at her lovely breasts again while he fumbles with the lacing of his trousers. Her breath catches when he frees his cock, and he flushes hotter to know that he’s looking, but can’t hold back at all on stroking it, the stimulation shooting through him almost painfully after being neglected for so long.

“Show me,” she whispers, her fingers kind and encouraging as she strokes and scratches through his hair.

He moans against her skin, stripping his cock frantically until his climax bursts out of him and he spills onto the grass, gasping and listing against her.

At length they part, the scent of Gwaine’s seed sharp in the air, overwhelming Gwen’s more delicate fragrance, much to Gwaine’s disappointment. They don’t look at each other as they set their clothes to rights again, or speak—at least not until Gwen says, stilted, “Thank you, I—I mean, this doesn’t mean—”

Gwaine grins. “I know it doesn’t.” When she smiles fondly back, he can’t help but add, “Though I bet you’re even more annoyed at the royal prig for not letting Lancelot accompany you, now.”

She looks mortified for a moment, and when he laughs, she smacks his shoulder—not lightly, either—and struggles to her feet. “You’re carrying the basket back,” she informs him, trying fruitlessly to set the fall of her dress to rights as she strides away. When she smirks back over her shoulder at him, Gwaine heaves a sigh of relief.