It is, Vivian discovers, extremely boring sitting in guest chambers at a castle without even a single lady-in-waiting to help her do her hair or help her pick out a gown for the evening or gossip with or, well, anything, really.
So when the maid Arthur had brought her earlier returns to say that the Lady Morgana requests Vivian’s presence, Vivian sighs and pouts just enough to make her realize what an honor Vivian is doing them with her presence and then goes along. Perhaps Morgana intends to make an apology for whoever had sent Vivian a commoner to wait on her—oh, Arthur hadn’t mentioned it, he must have thought she wasn’t clever enough to notice, but the maid’s clothes were terrible and her manners appallingly casual, and she’d been introduced as—what was it—Guinevere, that was it, just one naked little word.
Vivian is a princess. She deserves at the very least a nobleman’s daughter to wait on her, and she refuses to simply lie down and allow her hosts to insult her. That sort of thing leads to people assuming they can do whatever they like, and that is obviously not acceptable.
“Lady Vivian?” Guinevere asks.
Vivian stops and realizes that they’ve apparently reached Morgana’s chambers. Or—some room, anyway. Guinevere’s sweet smile is somehow a little dangerous, and Vivian suddenly wonders if she’s going to have something dumped over her head when she goes through the door.
No, no, surely even in Camelot they train their servants better than that.
Guinevere opens the door for Vivian and Vivian sails through as if she hasn’t a worry in the world. She was right, of course, this is Morgana’s chambers and nothing was balanced on the doorframe.
Morgana is seated in front of her mirror, combing her hair and wearing only a beautifully-embroidered shift. Vivian hasn’t seen her in several years but she’s quite sure she remembers Morgana being thinner and less polished; she sits as if she’s on a throne somewhere, and the shift does absolutely nothing to hide the curve of Morgana’s waist and hips. Vivian decides she is completely scandalized.
“Gwen informs me you didn’t want her services,” Morgana says coolly, meeting Vivian’s eyes in the mirror. “Normally I wouldn’t object at not having to lose her, but I hear you were quite rude.”
She breaks eye contact just long enough to stand and turn, and then she’s challenging Vivian again, still all but naked—her shift is cut so low in front that half her breasts are bare, moving under the delicate cloth as she breathes. Vivian swallows hard and tries to think of something to say, but all that comes to mind is “It wasn’t suitable.”
Morgana looks past Vivian to Guinevere—Gwen? had Arthur been trying to spin an even more ridiculous tale of her background than Vivian had initially thought?—and Gwen says, soft but firm, “Yes.”
“Sit down,” Morgana says to Vivian, tilting her head at a nearby chair, and Vivian will not be ordered around, she outranks both of them, but then Gwen crosses the room to Morgana and takes a deep breath and kisses her, and Vivian’s legs go wobbly from the shock, so she sits down because collapsing on the floor would be tremendously undignified.
Some noblewomen share intimacies as well as beds with a trusted handmaiden, Vivian knows—she never has, because it would be completely inappropriate for someone of her rank and she doubts her father would approve and in any case her ladies have always been terribly plain so as to show herself in her best light—but somehow there’s something hugely different here. This is something that’s clearly not a secret and doesn’t look like service, not with sunlight flooding the room and Gwen sinking her hands into Morgana’s hair, pressing closer as Morgana’s hands skim down her back to spread across her rear.
Vivian swallows again and wriggles, trying to get more comfortable in what is obviously a terribly inadequate chair. She shouldn’t be here and this shouldn’t be happening, not even in Camelot where nobody has any sense of propriety at all, and she is going to get up and leave. Right now.
Gwen turns in Morgana’s arms and Morgana runs her fingers over the swell of Gwen’s breasts above her neckline, smiling smugly as Gwen shivers and Vivian feels herself blush so hard the room seems to heat around her. Her heart is pounding from what absolutely must be outrage as Morgana unlaces Gwen’s bodice, slowly, lingeringly, caressing Gwen’s breasts as she frees them, and Vivian can’t breathe this is so—
“All right?” Morgana murmurs, so quiet Vivian can hardly hear it over her heart drumming in her ears, and Gwen nods and steps away and pulls her dress over her head, leaving it where it falls on the floor. Her shift is much thinner than Morgana’s, the cloth worn almost as fine as gauze with frequent washing, and Vivian tries to think about what she should wear to dinner tonight instead of the way the shift drapes over Gwen’s hips—how she’s curvier than Morgana, touchable-looking—incredibly lovely in her own unfashionable way—how her nipples are drawn into hard nubs that disturb the smooth fall of fabric down her front.
Morgana takes Gwen’s breasts in her hands, rolling Gwen’s nipples between her fingers, and Gwen moans softly. Vivian’s hands curl into fists at her sides, her nails biting into the palms of her hands. “What do you want?” Morgana asks, her lips kiss-flushed and brilliant against Gwen’s cheek.
Vivian bites the inside of her mouth to keep from answering. She doesn’t want to be here, she reminds herself. She has better things to do than kiss servant girls. She can marry any lord or prince she likes and it will be suitable and dignified and entirely proper. She squirms in her chair again, her legs pressing together, and it sends a spark of pleasure up her spine.
This is outrageous, she thinks, feeling herself flush harder, and Morgana grins sharply at her over Gwen’s shoulder as if she knows exactly what she’s thinking, as if she’s aware of the arousal gathering tingling-hot between Vivian’s legs. “I want you to stop,” Vivian says, and she’s horrified at how her voice sounds, rough and low and breathless, and more horrified at the way it thrills her, like this is something she’s allowed to want.
“I wasn’t asking you,” Morgana says, “and I’ll do as I please in my own bedchamber. You can leave anytime you like.”
Vivian knows she should get up, she should go back to her own rooms and have—she doesn’t have a maid, there’s nobody who can draw her a bath—well, she’ll find someone, and she will have a cool refreshing bath and put on a beautiful gown and go socialize with her kind of people, not this half-wild lady and her unsubservient maid. Maybe before she has the bath drawn she’ll indulge herself, if the walk back to her own rooms doesn’t distract her from the want simmering in her blood.
Instead she parts her legs beneath her skirts just enough that they don’t touch, enough that she won’t be tempted, and says “I’m not that easy to get rid of, Lady Morgana.”
One of Morgana’s hands eases down Gwen’s belly, pressing the shift so close to Gwen that it might as well not be there when she cups Gwen through the cloth. Gwen leans back against her, widening her stance so Morgana’s hand can slip between her legs, and Morgana says, “What do you want, Gwen?” The promise in her voice is obscene, and Vivian feels her insides twist. “Do you want my hand first, or my mouth? Do you want me to spread you out naked on my bed and do it so slowly that you beg?”
Vivian can feel herself getting wet, feel it in the pulse beating hard between her thighs, and she’s just grateful that Gwen is talking and the other two might not hear the uneven panting of her breath, Gwen’s saying “I—I want you…” and Morgana makes an encouraging noise, rubs her hand higher against Gwen, and Gwen shudders from head to toe and says, “on your knees.”
Morgana releases her and after a moment the shift flutters back down, translucent where it was pressed against Gwen, and Vivian braces herself for whatever Morgana is going to do because this isn’t, this can’t, this is unthinkable—but Morgana kisses Gwen’s shoulder and says, “Back against the tapestry, then, I want her Highness to see every bit of this,” and then she does, she goes to her knees in front of Gwen and gathers Gwen’s shift up to her waist and then puts her mouth to Gwen and Vivian is dizzy with how wrong this is, how good it must feel, how much she wants—
No, Vivian tells herself furiously, because this is not acceptable, it’s not, and she tries to think of anything but the sparking ache where Morgana’s mouth would be if she were Gwen, and how if she were alone and she weren’t wearing so many layers she could just pull up her shift and touch herself, and maybe if it hadn’t been so long since the last time she had she wouldn’t be so affected now, but she hadn’t been expecting anything interesting to happen at a boring old treaty meeting! She tries to pretend she doesn’t exist below her waist, but that just makes her incredibly aware of her breasts and how tight her nipples are, hard and straining against the embroidery on her gown, and when she tugs at her neckline to try to make her stop feeling it the drag of the cloth makes her want to keep doing it, back and forth, back and forth as heat coils tighter inside her, and she jerks her hands away like she’s been burned and grabs the edge of the chair instead.
Gwen’s hands are twisted in Morgana’s hair, and Morgana is—is—she’s letting Gwen hold her like that, she’s leaning into the touch like she doesn’t care what happens to her hair, even like she likes having it pulled, and every time Gwen lets out one of those breathless little moans Vivian shifts her weight again, trying as hard as she can not to encourage her body but too restless to hold still. “So good,” Gwen gasps, and Morgana lets go of Gwen’s shift with one hand and lowers it between her own legs, her rhythm slow enough at first that Vivian thinks she’s imagining it and then realizes she isn’t, that Morgana’s enjoying this enough that she’s fingering herself as she does it, and Vivian gives up and squeezes her legs together, hard, just once, and the flash of relief feels so good that she does it again, and then puts her fists between her knees to keep herself from doing it any more because she won’t, she won’t.
When Gwen comes she does it with a soft shivering cry, too sweet to make want flare in Vivian as sharply as it does, and Morgana sits back on her heels and says, “Will you?” and her voice, low and husky, runs down Vivian’s spine and Vivian wants to scream with the unfairness of it, at how nothing these two do isn’t making her hot. Gwen catches her breath and says something too quiet for Vivian to hear, and Morgana laughs, ragged with desire, and gets up, pulls her shift off and wipes her hand and her mouth with it. She turns to Vivian and curtsies, only a little shaky, and Vivian bites down hard on her lower lip and tries not to watch Morgana’s breasts sway or look at the shine of the damp fingermarks Morgana’s left on her own thigh.
Morgana drops onto the bed at a slight angle and Gwen sits on the far edge, stroking slowly up Morgana’s legs—short little strokes, overlapping, and with each one Morgana spreads her legs a little wider. By the time Gwen’s reached their apex Vivian can see the flushed wet skin there between the dark curls and she wants to look away but she doesn’t, she watches Gwen sweep her fingers over Morgana’s entrance and up, rubbing gentle circles over her nub and then back down and Morgana says, “No, get back here,” and Gwen murmurs “One moment” and then she slides her fingers into Morgana, one and then immediately another, and Morgana says “N—ah!—now” but she’s pushing into the touch, Gwen’s fingers inside her body, and her breathing’s even quicker than it was.
Vivian is horrified, she knows she’s horrified, but she can’t sit still either, she’s got her legs crossed and it’s doing nothing about the fierce throb of want inside her, how she can feel her body clenching as if it wants to be filled and her thighs are slick now, sliding wetly as she presses them closer together, and she’s trying to calm herself but she can’t possibly.
“All right,” Gwen says softly, “now,” and her fingers are shiny-wet when she draws them out of Morgana and slides them up again, and Vivian shudders again at that. Morgana pushes her hips against Gwen’s hand and says, “harder, Gwen,” and all the ice in her voice is breaking even before Gwen leans over her, trapping her hand between their bodies, and Morgana arches up hard into the kiss and says “again” so it’s more a cry than a word and Gwen—Gwen must, because Morgana gasps and goes still. It’s quieter than Vivian had expected, but she couldn’t want not to move, nobody could want not to move when they were that close.
Gwen pulls away, kisses Morgana’s throat and chest and down between her breasts, and Morgana touches the neckline of her shift and says, “Take this off?” It’s a question, soft as her voice is, and Gwen hesitates for a moment before she does.
Vivian stares, because Gwen somehow looks even more touchable naked than she did gauze-veiled, and it’s like a physical itch in the palms of Vivian’s hands, how much she wants them on Gwen’s body, and she curls her hands together and uncrosses her legs, leans forward and realizes she’s trying to rub herself against the seat of the chair, and feels herself blush even with how hot she already is because her shift is sweat-damp everywhere against her skin, is wet where she’s sitting on it, and she’s completely lost all self-control.
“What do you think, Lady Vivian?” Morgana asks, cooler again, not taking her eyes off of Gwen. Vivian feels dismissed, and she’s about to try to work up a proper rant about it when Morgana sits up against the pillows and pulls Gwen down to her lap, so they’re face to face with Gwen’s legs curved around Morgana’s back, and the only answer Vivian can manage is sort of a strangled groan.
“I don’t think she can see w—” Gwen breaks off in a gasp when Morgana’s head bends, probably to her breast, but she’s right, Vivian can’t see, and that is—a mercy, Vivian decides, except now she’s imagining things and that seems even worse than seeing them.
“Have you changed your mind?” Morgana lifts her head but she’s doing something with her hand between their bodies that makes Gwen arch back, rocking against Morgana, making breathless sounds of pleasure, and it’s such a good rhythm that Vivian finds herself moving with it too, her legs slipping against each other. “Would you like to apologize to Gwen now?”
That isn’t what Vivian would like but the words spill out of her mouth anyway, urgent, “Please, please, I’m sorry, I was wrong,” and her voice is wrecked.
“Is she sorry enough?” Morgana asks Gwen, and Gwen says something that sounds like “yes” but might mean “don’t stop” and Morgana doesn’t stop, Morgana interrupts her conversation with Vivian to suck kisses across Gwen’s breasts.
Vivian lowers her clenched hands to her lap. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m so sorry. I would—” and Gwen moans and drops her head to Morgana’s shoulder, trembling, and Vivian’s mouth goes dry again. She has to swallow three times before she can get words out and they’re broken with how hard she’s breathing. “I would be honored. To have Gwen attend me.”
“Ssh,” Morgana whispers to Gwen, bringing her other hand up between them, and Gwen’s yes is louder this time as she pushes down against Morgana, sending heat flaring through Vivian again, and then Morgana looks back at Vivian as if they’re having an ordinary conversation, as if she isn’t taking Gwen apart with her hands as she talks, and says, “Because you didn’t sound honored before.”
“So honored,” Vivian says desperately, and when Gwen cries out Vivian’s hands press down hard against herself without even meaning to and she freezes, gasping for breath as her vision blurs a little at how good it feels, and then there’s Morgana, watching her, and that cools her off just enough to pull her hands away. She doesn’t know if she’s going to be able to, next time.
“It’s all right,” Gwen says. “Really.”
“You’re too nice, Gwen,” Morgana says. “I keep telling you, you have to make people grovel when they’ve treated you poorly.”
Gwen shakes her head. “Please.” She climbs off of Morgana, loose-limbed and glowing, and settles at her side, drawing a fold of the sheet up over her lap.
A soft flicker of a smile crosses Morgana’s lips as she looks at Gwen and then fades entirely when she turns to Vivian. “Come here,” she says, and Vivian’s already on her feet when it occurs to her to ask, “What if I want to leave?”
“By all means.” Morgana gestures at the door.
Vivian makes her best attempt at not stumbling to the bed and says, “Now what?”
Morgana flashes Vivian a wicked grin. She spreads her arms, parts her legs, says, “Don’t you want to touch?” and Vivian wants to say no but she wants to touch more. Her hand is shaking when she reaches out and runs it over the silky skin of Morgana’s breast, but she doesn’t—she’s liquid inside, she’s burning, she hurts with every throbbing beat of her pulse and if someone doesn’t touch her soon she may actually cry. “That bad?” Morgana says, and the grin widens as she reaches out and gathers handfuls of Vivian’s skirts, crumpling them—but they’re a mess anyway, creased and wet, and Vivian can’t bring herself to care when her legs give way and she sits down hard on the side of Morgana’s bed.
The air is cold against her when Morgana gets her skirts up and Vivian shivers, feeling her skin prickle all over again. “You impressed her, Gwen,” Morgana says, sounding amused, and Vivian closes her eyes so she can’t see them gloat. “Look,” and Morgana rubs at the slick smeared across Vivian’s thighs and Vivian feels her hips jerk towards Morgana’s hands. She’s blazing with horrified desire under their eyes—at how easily they can tell she wants this and how utterly she shouldn’t, at how she’s spread out, wanton, hiding nothing.
Gwen smooths the hair back from Vivian’s face, traces the embroidery over Vivian’s breasts, and Vivian half-sobs “Oh yes please” when Gwen touches her nipples, Morgana’s hands the only thing that keep her from squeezing her legs closed again.
“Wait,” Morgana says, and Gwen’s hands still. Vivian is about to complain when Morgana presses a finger to her, stroking between her folds and over her maidenhead, and Morgana makes a surprised sound and says, “Really, Vivian? Not even a single trip without a sidesaddle?”
“Of course not,” Vivian says indignantly, or maybe breathlessly, or maybe doesn’t manage to say at all, it’s hard to tell with the way she’s writhing against Morgana’s finger, trying to get it to move higher because now that she’s finally got hands on her everything’s coiling tight in the pit of her stomach, and her skin feels too small, and she needs so badly she doesn’t know what’s going to happen if they delay any longer.
Morgana finally moves, so slowly Vivian can feel tears of frustration prickling behind her eyes but so good, especially when Gwen’s hands tighten again on her breasts, and then Morgana presses her thumb flat over Vivian’s nub and Vivian screams as she comes, too surprised and too overwhelmed to keep quiet.
“I’m so glad,” Morgana says after a moment, “that you’ve come around to a reasonable way of thinking about Gwen.”