The circles under Morgana’s eyes look like bruises. Her hands are very careful on her needle, but the light flickers over it, showing a tiny tremor in her fingers she can’t quite hide.
“Would you like to go outside, my lady?” Gwen asks. It’s beautiful outside, golden with flower-flecked summer, the air sweet and clean with the scent of growing things. She can’t imagine anything more different than the terror-haunted pale stone and dark shadows of Morgana’s chambers.
Morgana drops her embroidery and springs to her feet. “I would,” she says. The words trail behind her; she’s already half out of the room. Gwen tucks her own embroidery away and follows.
They end up in the wide clearing where they practice swordwork. Gwen thinks for a moment that Morgana is about to pick up a stick and challenge the world around them to single combat, but instead she sighs and sits down on a patch of thick moss, staring off into the distance as if somewhere, far away, there are answers that she can’t see any more than Gwen can. Her eyes are cool like deep water, remote and frightening.
Gwen kneels in front of Morgana, slides her hands along Morgana’s jaw to cradle her face. Morgana’s pulse quickens under Gwen’s fingers and her eyes focus, brighten a little as she says, “Really, Gwen, outdoors?” But it’s amusement in her voice, with a soft undercurrent of delight, and so Gwen lets herself not explain—she just leans forward and kisses Morgana, a gentle touch of lips that glows candle-warm inside her.
Morgana sighs against Gwen’s mouth and deepens the kiss, pulling Gwen closer. Her hands start out innocently on Gwen’s back and then slide forward, stroking teasingly along the sides of Gwen’s breasts, and Gwen shivers and then pulls back to say, “No, wait, I can’t—I’ll lose my balance, Morgana,” and Morgana actually laughs and then lets go, lies down with her arms and her wide sleeves spread like wings, and looks up at Gwen with laughter still lightening her face.
“Your gown,” Gwen points out, standing, because there’s only so much she can do about stains and the laundresses will have questions, and Morgana sighs and stands up as well, quite decorous as Gwen unhooks the back of her gown, even when Gwen drops a kiss at the nape of her neck, but then she aids the silk’s slow glide to the ground with a few quick twists of her hips that leave Gwen’s mouth dry.
“And my shift?” Morgana asks, voice low and wicked, and she doesn’t wait for Gwen’s answer before she pulls it off all in one smooth motion, tossing it off to the side and standing bare and sunlit, eyes like a challenge.
It’s too much for anyone to resist and so Gwen doesn’t bother, she just steps forward and lets Morgana kiss her again, lets Morgana pull them to the ground—her own dress isn’t worth concern, nobody except Morgana herself cares about Gwen’s virtue—and kiss Gwen breathless and witless.
Gwen asks, “Can I—” and her voice is ragged because Morgana is sucking kisses just under Gwen’s jaw, easing her fingers into Gwen’s bodice with a hitching little motion that she knows drives Gwen mad, because Gwen’s own hands are full of the warm weight of Morgana’s breasts, but it’s clear enough for Morgana to draw her mouth back far enough that her lips barely brush Gwen’s skin and say “Anything you wish.”
Gwen sits up and looks at Morgana, stretched out moon-pale against the vivid green of the moss, flowers scattered like gems around her, and wants her to stay there sunlit and safe and flawless forever.
But that isn’t possible, she knows it isn’t, so instead she lowers her head to Morgana’s breast, draws circles around Morgana’s nipple with her tongue, close but not quite touching, until Morgana is panting for breath, wriggling in an attempt to make Gwen touch her, and then Gwen sucks, hard, and Morgana arches against Gwen’s mouth and lets herself moan. It sends heat crashing through Gwen, because Morgana is quiet with years of careful self-control, trying to lock everything about herself deep inside so nothing can be used against her, and even when it’s just the two of them, skin against skin, Gwen has to work to get sound out of her—this is helping, the light and the open air—
And Morgana’s hand tightens on Gwen’s shoulder as she says “Don’t stop.”
“Sorry,” Gwen says, feeling a little lightheaded, still much too warm, the cloth of her shift rubbing against her breasts as she breathes, and she trails her fingers down Morgana’s stomach as much because she wants to as to head off further complaint. Morgana lets out a sharp breath, muscles jumping under Gwen’s touch, and Gwen stops with her hand below Morgana’s navel, thumb stroking back and forth across the upper edge of Morgana’s curls, and says, “Could you…”
Morgana’s legs are pressed tight together, trembling a little, but when Gwen touches her thigh she lets them fall apart at once. Gwen says, “No, a little more,” and Morgana makes a thin desperate sound that leaves Gwen burning, want tingling through her blood and gathering in her core, and then she lets go of Gwen’s shoulder and spreads her legs. Gwen picks up her skirts and manages to climb over Morgana’s leg without getting off her knees or losing her balance, which is quite an accomplishment given how shaky she feels.
She nips kisses across the sharp jut of Morgana’s hipbone and Morgana says “Gwen,” wrung-out and urgent, and Gwen squirms a little against the fabric bunched under her, muffled pressure almost where she wants it, and then strokes up between Morgana’s thighs, fingers slipping against the wetness of her skin, and Morgana’s hands curl at her sides and Gwen finally closes the last distance, licks over Morgana’s entrance and feels her quiver at the touch. Gwen shifts again, rocking her hips against the ground with the scent and taste of salt and sex and Morgana all around her, as she traces Morgana’s folds with her tongue, stopping just short of Morgana’s clit as she slips two fingers into her.
Morgana clenches hard around her, with a soft cry that makes Gwen’s body tighten in sympathy, and Gwen had wanted to wait for her to ask, but Morgana does impossible things to Gwen’s patience and this is enough, she wants it enough—Gwen wants it enough that she can feel the slickness between her own thighs every time she moves—and so before Morgana can say anything Gwen flicks her tongue across Morgana’s clit and Morgana’s breath breaks in a moan. Her hands settle on Gwen’s head, tense with how careful she’s being, and Gwen says “Relax” but she doubts Morgana hears it, just feels it vibrating against her.
When she wants to be Morgana is tenderness itself, and she is now, her hands not tightening on Gwen’s head when Gwen curls her fingers inside Morgana, pressing against the spot that makes Morgana shudder and arch into her, and when Gwen closes her lips over Morgana’s clit and sucks as gently as she can Morgana pulls her hands away entirely. Gwen looks up, feeling the air cold against her mouth and chin. Morgana’s hands are curved hard over her own breasts, and Gwen breathes, “Oh,” arousal spiking hard through her, and lowers her head again, the last lingering thoughts of drawing this out gone, and she knows Morgana’s body well enough that it’s only another moment or so before Morgana is coming, shaking apart under Gwen’s mouth with a soft and blissful sigh that has no right to be as indecently thrilling as it is.
Gwen has just about decided that waiting for Morgana to do something is going to take too long when Morgana sits up and kisses Gwen, deep and eager, chasing the taste of herself in Gwen’s mouth, and then says, “Come here,” tugging at Gwen until she’s seated between Morgana’s legs. “Let me just…” Morgana interrupts herself to kiss Gwen’s neck, the side of her throat, as she wraps her arms around Gwen and covers Gwen’s breasts with her hands, finding Gwen’s nipples hard even through the layers of her clothing, and Gwen lets her head fall back against Morgana’s shoulder and breathes.
Morgana is gathering Gwen’s skirt up, pulling it to her waist and then drawing her shift up to match, and Gwen shivers at the breeze that runs up her parted legs once they’re bare. “Are you ready?” Morgana asks Gwen, light like she might be teasing, but Gwen doesn’t care, she’s so ready that it’s an itch under her skin, an ache between her legs, and she says “Yes,” quickly, “yes, yes,” taking Morgana’s hand and drawing it down because Morgana sometimes likes reducing Gwen to begging and Gwen hurts with how much she wants Morgana right now, in sunlight and happiness.
“You liked this,” Morgana says, her fingers moving against the dampness high across Gwen’s inner thighs, and her voice is low and rough again. Gwen shivers, and not just with how close Morgana’s hands are to where she wants them to be—close enough that one finger is just barely brushing her folds, sending sparks flying beneath her skin—but with Morgana’s voice in her ear, with what they both know. “You really liked this, you—”
Gwen makes a sound perilously close to a whine and Morgana presses her fingers against Gwen, wetting them as she strokes up and down, close enough to Gwen’s clit that Gwen can feel the echo of her touch but not the real thing, and she is going to die, this is going to kill her. Morgana kisses the underside of Gwen’s jaw, nibbles at her earlobe, and Gwen surrenders and says “Please,” her voice breaking, and Morgana curves the flat of her hand over Gwen and Gwen’s hips jerk up against the touch.
“If you’d done that for longer,” Morgana says, and Gwen is shaking, she’s so wet that Morgana’s hand is sliding easily over her and Morgana’s words are a blur, and then Morgana raises her other hand to Gwen’s breast, beneath her shift so it’s skin on skin, and Gwen’s breath sounds like she’s crying as Morgana’s lips brush hot over Gwen’s ear and she whispers, “I wonder if you could have come like that,” and Gwen couldn’t have, she knows she couldn’t have, but she does now, so hard it feels like it knocks all the air from her body.
Morgana lets her go once Gwen is reasonably sure she’s not going to melt and fall onto her face. “Give me—a few minutes before we leave,” says Morgana, still flushed almost to her navel, and Gwen thinks about offering to go again but they could lose the whole day like that.
She wants to, suddenly, but it wouldn’t be a good plan, so she just says “Of course” as Morgana lies down, sun-washed and glowing with it, looking up at the sky with no dread in her face.