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Candlelight

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Sometimes Morgana thinks she loves Gwen best by candlelight. It seems silly to think about so she puts it to one side and thinks of other things, but sometimes it sneaks up on her at inappropriate moments. Every room in the castle is lit by flames, candelabras on the ceilings of the great hall, torches that burn on the wall, there is nothing particularly romantic about candlelight. By all accounts and sense it should be the first light of dawn that she holds dearest, those secret hours when she wakes from a dream to find Gwen leaning over her, expression torn between affection and concern, Morgana's name on her lips. She does love that light, those rare moments when she has convinced Gwen to lie down beside her, 'just for a moment'. When the early morning light hits Gwen's face just right, worry sliding away, content to lie still and talk of nothing of any importance. Morgana has heard many of the gentlemen of the court in their cups speak long and fondly of their beloveds gilded by early morning light, agreeing that those early moments are the best. She loves those moments, but they are not her favourites.

Morgana prefers those moments when readying her for sleep is the last of Gwen's tasks and she can afford the time to linger over Morgana's vestments, telling her the gossip and ridiculous stories of the day. When Gwen is verbose, easily convinced to stay a little longer to talk over the foolish things Merlin has done, or the irritating things Arthur has said. Time when they can share confidences and laughter; time that is theirs alone. In the flickering light, as the candle burns down Morgana can listen to the cadences of Gwen's laugh and pretend that Gwen will never go home. Sometimes after she is gone, Morgana will think of Gwen arriving home, sharing stories with her father of her day, frustrations and amusements in front of the still glowing forge. Morgana does not think of it often as it makes her heart clench as surely as the thought of Gwen's face suffused in reflected firelight warms it in the dark. She misses her own parents too much to dwell too long on Gwen and Tom's easy companionship.

She hadn't thought much about other uses the candles could be put to until the one night when they'd stayed up too late, talking and laughing until they could barely keep their eyes open. When Gwen had eventually risen to go home, her legs stiff from too long in one position, she'd stumbled knocking one of the candles over. The flame had gone out almost instantly but the warm wax and spilled all over Morgana's hand where she'd reached out to catch it. The sensation had been shocking but not entirely unpleasant and set off an interesting chain of thoughts in Morgana's mind while she watched Gwen clean up apologising profusely and unnecessarily. The hardening wax feels strange, like a second skin, and looks like so much scarring, but peels away easier than any scab. The skin beneath is a little red and, when Gwen lays soothing fingers upon it, strangely sensitive.

"I have hurt you, my lady," murmurs Gwen.

"No, not at all," Morgana assures her, though from Gwen's look she can tell she thinks Morgana is only saying that to assuage her guilt, so Morgana continues, "here, I'll show you."

Tiredness must get the better of Gwen for she offers her hand without hesitation, but any guilt Morgana might feel for taking advantage of it is pushed away as she watches the drop of wax bloom on Gwen's hand and hears her soft gasp in response. She recognises the mixture of pleasure and pain it signifies, and when she catches Gwen's eyes feeling the frisson of tension between them she is suddenly, fiercely glad to have shared this with Gwen. She wants to do it over and over again, to hear Gwen make that sound a thousand times but she doesn't want to scare her so Morgana restrains herself. Savours this moment in case it is all she gets.

"Yes, my lady," responds Gwen, and Morgana feels herself breathe again, "I see what you mean."

They hold each other's gaze for a long time before Gwen finally looks away and takes her leave for the night. Morgana stores her memory of those moments and the mixture of shock and desire in Gwen's eyes for another day when they can be of better use.

These are her favourite moments. Gwen laid out across her bed, eyes dancing with laughter, full of trust and not a flicker of doubt or worry on her face. The night is warm and the candles have burned down enough for Morgana's purposes. For a change it is Morgana's hair that is tied up, while Gwen's flows across the pillows – they have learned the hard way that wax is irritating to remove from hair and worse from sheets so they are careful now.

If Morgana had given the idea much thought between the first evening of discovery and the first time she was able to coax Gwen into her bed to play properly, she would have imagined that it would have been mainly Gwen dripping the wax on her. She might have experimented with the candles on nights when sleep eluded her and the castle was far too quiet. Replacing pangs of loneliness with their lustful counterparts that were easier to quench by far. The image of Gwen leaning over her was one she was intimately familiar from years of being put to bed and woken up from nightmares by her. It was easy to image the way the candlelight would highlight Gwen's curls, casting golden light and shadows over her face, and that mischievous grin of hers that so few people ever get to see. In reality, beautiful sweaty reality, it is more often Gwen who is writhing on the sheets while Morgana leans over her, candles in hand. Much as she enjoys Gwen's ministrations, there is something almost addictive about the sounds her lover makes when they play this game of theirs. Morgana has grown to love the soft keening sounds Gwen makes when the wax drips on her collar bone or her inner thighs, to appreciate the contrast of the pale wax against Gwen's dark skin. The taste of that same skin as she laves it with her tongue, soothing it where it has reddened after she has peeled away the second skin of the wax. Bruises and old scars are a favourite of Morgana's, she likes to watch the soft wax bloom outwards to cover them over and peel away the hardened wax afterwards like so much scar tissue, as though it could heal every little hurt or slight that has abraded Gwen since the last time. As though it would keep her always safe from harm.

Occasionally, the day after, if they are alone doing something quite mundane, one or other of them will turn the others arm over and kiss the places were the droplets fell, getting the positions exactly right even though the redness has long since faded. It almost feels more intimate than the nights they spend entwined. A daylight acknowledgement of things they do not share with anyone else.

There is so much darkness in her head lately that she clings to these moments, keeping them light, drawing laughter from Gwen with attempts at drawing flowers and swirls on her stomach and breasts. Sometimes she likes to draw a circle around Gwen's areola before licking gently at her nipple, watching the way the contrasting sensations urge different sounds from her. Others she will leave Gwen's breasts entirely alone touching her everywhere else until she is practically pushing herself off the bed, breaths coming in heaves, her body showing her desires more clearly than her words ever will. Then, and only then, Morgana will dip her own finger in the wax, letting it cocoon her finger, before tracing it over first Gwen's lips, then her cheeks, down her neck and eventually across her breasts. Gwen's breasts seem especially full and beautiful on those occasions, so Morgana gives them all the special attention they deserve.

When Gwen is too lost in pleasure to pay attention to the patterns, Morgana draws symbols on her body, murmuring protection spells that come to her in dreams or that she finds in forgotten books in the library. For all that she can see glimpses of the future, she cannot be certain of what it will to her beloved Guinevere, and in the face of so many uncertainties she wants more than anything for Gwen to be safe. Morgana watches Gwen writhe in pleasure, too distracted to notice the way the candles come back to life in her hands to accommodate Gwen's unabashed pleas for 'more' and Morgana thinks she would risk Uther's wrath a thousand times over to share this just one more time.