FIC: "For The First Time" - 1/1, PG, King Arthur fic
Title: For The First Time
Author: Jo (email@example.com)
Fandom: King Arthur
Pairing: Guinevere/Arthur, Arthur/Lancelot/Tristan implied, Galahad/Gawain implied
Summary: Not all scars are physical.
Disclaimer: I so don't own these guys. And none of this ever happened, at least not outside my warped imagination. Much love to Jerry Bruckheimer for creating this world in which I'm playing.
Archive: Faded Ink, all others ask first.
Author's Notes: Five connected drabbles for the knights500 Scars challenge.
She kneels across from him, body of his knight -- his friend -- between them. Blood turns the dirt beneath her knees to mud, seeps through thin leather to stain her skin. They are joined by the remaining living, bearing yet another slain brother.
Lancelot, the brave and bold, gifted with a beautiful face and a wicked tongue. Lancelot of the sharp wit and whirling swords and warm smile.
Tristan, the tracker, who only speaks when necessary and seems more Woad than the rest. Tristan of the woods and earth and penetrating eyes.
For the first time, Guinevere feels frozen.
* * *
Dinner is a somber affair, with only those who chose to stay attending. They make for poor company. Yet there are none who wish to be alone.
The pain, the loss, is still too fresh. Too new. Silently, she wonders when they will grieve, when he will grieve. There's a new hardness around his eyes that she finds disquieting. A hollowness to his words that raises the hair on the back of her neck. He's become a ghost before their eyes, yet his knights seem not to notice.
For the first time, Guinevere thinks he may never grieve.
* * *
There is only the fire to light her quiet footsteps into his chamber. For now, she's grateful for the darkness that hides the reminders of the braggart and the tracker. Her heart cannot bear the memory of them right now.
She knows it is the same for him. Yet it is no surprise to find him there, a small memento of each in his lap. No surprise when he doesn't protest as she moves the items, then pulls him to her as silent sobs begin to shake his frame.
For the first time, Guinevere allows herself to feel and remember.
* * *
He is quiet now, sheets tangled around his legs as he sleeps. She watches him, watches over him, while he dreams. Old scars, livid redpurple streaks against his skin, draw her eye. Each one has a story. Each one is a reminder of his time here at Hadrian's Wall.
There are new ones, gained just this day, with dark stitches that mark their places on his body.
Yet none of them are as raw, as grievous, as the ones he now carries on his soul.
For the first time, Guinevere understands that he will never be solely hers.
* * *
The keep is silent when she wanders the halls, unable to sleep, and stumbles across two of the last Sarmatian knights. There is no question what she has interrupted.
Dark curls separate from gold-brown tresses, then he looks at her. Over his shoulder, she sees Gawain's eyes, red-rimmed, but dry for all that. Galahad merely watches with eyes bloodshot and bright.
"He's lost them both, lady. Do you think to replace them?"
"No," she replies, moves into shadows once more. "I will never seek to replace that which is irreplaceable."
For the first time, Guinevere believes they will survive this.
- written July 29, 2004