When morning came, she sat up with a cry that cut his heart.
"What have you done?"
"Deceived you," he said flatly. "I'm sorry, you disapprove?"
Her breath caught in a sob. He rose and put his arms about her, buried his face in her bright hair. "God, woman, everyone knows the story by now. I don't blame you, you did what you had to. So have I. I've loved you since we were sixteen, and you spoke me kindly--"
"I don't remember."
"No," Mordred said softly. "Of course you wouldn't."
Elaine pulled away. White as death, she said, "My brothers will kill you."
"Is that what you want?"
"Lady." He slid out of bed and knelt naked at her feet. "Lady, forgive me; I love you. I can't stand to see you killing yourself with grief for a man who's--"
"Forgotten you," Mordred whispered, cheek against her thigh, his breath warm. "I never have. God, only let me show you."
She laid small hands on his shoulders for a moment. "I don't love you."
"I know. I've always been second to someone, I don't mind that. Please--"
Elaine shook her head, tears in her eyes. "Go."