Morgana could still hear the ring of steel in her ears; her heart was still thumping even though the danger had passed. She caught Gwen’s eye and smiled, their bodies drawn to each other because they were there and they were alive.
When Gwen pulled away from her, Morgana could have sworn she felt Gwen’s heart pounding as furiously as her own. She found herself wondering if she’d ever fought a battle before. She had known how to handle a sword, that was certain but her father was a blacksmith, she’d probably been using blades as playthings since childhood. Morgana wanted to ask her, to calm her frayed nerves and bring her down from the battle high. But it wasn’t over yet and the tragedy of Merlin losing his friend took all thoughts of talk out of everyone’s heads.
The ride back was a quiet one. Merlin had been torn; Morgana could almost see it on his face. He’d thought he should stay behind but he’d come home with them nonetheless. That night, at the fireside, she could feel his pain, she knew it had to be addressed and he needed the reassurance that he’d made the right choice. But she couldn’t give it to him, it was Arthur he sought it from and she knew only Arthur could soothe his guilt.
“I think we need more wood for the fire,” Morgana said tactfully, giving Gwen a meaningful glance.
“Let me help you, my Lady,” Gwen rose and stood by her side, offering her a hand up. Although it wasn’t necessary, Morgana took her hand and let Gwen help her to her feet, noticing that although Gwen’s hands were dry and rough where hers were smooth, Gwen’s hands were warmer and her grasp was firmer than her own. Morgana felt cold and delicate in their grip.
They decided not to take a torch with them, it wasn’t quite dark and it might attract the eyes of the few brigands that had escaped Ealdor with their life. So, they walked in the dusk, quietly picking their way over roots and fallen branches, taking the latter for their fire.
“It’s been quite a few days, hasn’t it, my Lady?” Gwen asked, a wistful tone in her voice that said despite its sadness, she’d enjoyed their part in Ealdor’s victory.
“You don’t have to call me that when it’s just us, you know that,” Morgana said, glancing sideways at her and smiling. She reached out for Gwen’s arm, crooked already from where she was carrying the wood. She slipped her own through it, pressing close to her side to accentuate her point. They weren’t servant and mistress, not at their hearts. They were friends. Morgana even thought sometimes that, if they dared, they could love each other.
“But yes,” Morgana continued. “It was an adventure, wasn’t it?”
“I’d never fought like that before,” Gwen shivered and Morgana felt it pass into her, making her want to push her body further into Gwen’s until they shared warmth. But it wasn’t the cold that made Gwen shiver. “I honestly thought I might die.”
“You were great, you handled yourself better than most of the men and half the time, you didn’t even have a sword,” Morgana laughed to herself at the memory of Kanen’s men falling to shovels and brooms.
“Still, that had to be the most danger I’ve ever been in. It was almost...” Gwen trailed off and looked away. Morgana wondered if the light had been better, would she have been able to see a blush rise to Gwen’s cheeks.
“Thrilling?” Morgana finished for her. She refused to be shamed by the idea of finding fighting exciting just because she was a woman.
“Yes, isn’t that odd?” Gwen’s brow creased together, like she was thinking about it too hard.
“No,” Morgana stopped walking, making Gwen turn to face her. “The men might tell you we can’t fight because it’s too dangerous but that’s not why. They make it into death or glory but really, it’s that moment in between the two that is thrilling. You risk everything on the landing of a blow and if it fails...” Morgana paused dramatically. “But if it doesn’t, you’ve won. And that rush you get when you’ve won, that’s what makes you keep fighting, for that breath you take when it’s all over and you realise you’re still alive. Didn’t you feel it?”
Morgana remembered her breath, the one she’d taken when her eyes met with Gwen’s and she’d felt Gwen breathe against her. Morgana knew she’d felt it and so she didn’t wait for an answer.
“That rush is powerful. It makes you feel like you could do anything you wanted because nothing can stop you. That’s the real reason men don’t want us to fight because it makes you powerful,” she smiled wickedly, deciding to push the thought even further. “And you’ll want to do things a woman shouldn’t want to do. It makes you want to laugh so loud and scream and drink until you can’t see straight and worst of all, no, best of all, it makes you want to rip the clothes of the person nearest to you and make them feel what you are feeling,” Morgana took in a breath and Gwen did the same, like they’d forgotten to breathe for while. Morgana could feel herself tingle, her own words making her wet.
“That’s why you insist on fighting, even though you could be killed? It’s worth it for...that rush?” Gwen asked, a definite blush on her cheeks now.
“That’s why I never let anyone tell me not to do anything,” Morgana said with a shake of her head. If only she could explain that every rule broken came with its own thrill.
Morgana waited for a second to see if Gwen would say anything, if she’d confess but she was too demure, too innocent to say such things out loud. That’s part of why Morgana was so fond of her.
“Come on, we’d better get back,” she said, finally, taking the first step.
“I think that’s what I felt,” Gwen muttered, possibly to herself but Morgana heard her, heard the confession.
“It’s alright,” Morgana turned back to face her. “It’s natural. It’s pure and primal, it’s how you survive.”
Gwen shivered again. It was getting dark now and Morgana knew they really should head back but she wanted so badly to share this with Gwen, to make her understand it and understand why Morgana craved it. Her hand rose to her belt where she kept a dagger.
“It can be exhilarating,” she whispered, the ripple of fear running through her just in case Gwen rejected her and her secret fantasies. “I can show you.”
“How?” Gwen asked, sounding close to eager. Morgana was pleasantly surprised that she’d not turned away this time. She was embracing the idea.
“Close your eyes,” Morgana instructed her and Gwen obeyed instantly. “If you want me to stop, you just have to say and I will. I won’t hurt you, Guinevere, I promise. Don’t scream.”
Morgana circled around Gwen as she spoke, trying to make her footsteps as light at possible. Her dagger was silent as she unsheathed it, testing the edge on her finger. If she only pressed lightly, it wasn’t sharp enough to break skin.
When she was directly behind Gwen she hesitated, steadying herself before surging forward, quick and silent as a cat.
She pressed her hand, the one that had felt cold and delicate before, over Gwen’s mouth and pressed the blade to her throat. Gwen screamed and dropped the firewood, as was only natural, but Morgana’s hand muffled it. She hoped that it was enough for Arthur not to hear.
“Shh, I’m not going to hurt you, remember? And if we’re too loud, they’ll come to our rescue,” Morgana rolled her eyes even though in truth, she’d been thankful to be rescued several times in her life. But it didn’t do to tell men that, it swelled their pride.
Gwen nodded against her hand and Morgana removed it, convinced Gwen trusted her to show her how this could be fun. Morgana backed her into a nearby tree, so that her legs would be less likely to go from under her should she faint.
“This is fear. You know you’re not in real danger but your body, that has other ideas,” Morgana explained. She could see the truth in her words by the wideness of Gwen’s eyes and the way she was shaking. Morgana knew if she pressed her head to Gwen’s breast in that second, her heart would be beating furiously.
“You have to push deeper and get over that. Make your body stop shaking. Make it hard and strong,” Morgana continued, remembering the first time her screams of fear had turned into one of anger. Her attacker hadn’t known what had hit him. “Feel it?”
Gwen’s breathing was still shaky but her eyes had calmed and her body had stilled. “I do. I’m hard and I’m strong, I’m not scared.”
“That’s good, that’s perfect!” Morgana smiled and hoped she didn’t look as predatory as she felt. It hadn’t taken her as long to find the rush that came from holding life in her hands, that she’d felt the first time she’d knocked Arthur’s sword from his hand and commanded him to submit.
Morgana pressed the knife a bit deeper, just enough to bite into skin and come back red before pulling it away entirely and pressing whole body into Gwen’s. Her mouth collided roughly with Gwen’s and her empty hand found Gwen’s waist and seized it.
She felt that spark of danger again, what if she’d read every sign wrong? But she hadn’t and Gwen’s hand’s found her back, pulling her in, letting loose the rush of victory.
Her hand moved up as deepened the kiss, nipping at Gwen’s bottom lip so that she would open her mouth for her. She knew she was pushing, she knew a lady should never kiss anyone so fervently, rather they should be kissed like that but Gwen made her want to break those rules. Besides, how could she not break them as Gwen was a lady too and Morgana couldn’t expect her to kiss back with such a passion that she herself would not give. So, she gave and gave, her tongue licking at Gwen’s lips until Gwen dared to meet it with her own and her hand moved up to cup Gwen’s breast through her shirt and her tunic, feeling her nipple rise beneath her thumb.
Morgana pulled away, gasping for breath and leaving Gwen drinking in air, half breathed moans escaping her mouth as Morgana ran her thumb around her nipple still, keeping her excited.
“Did you feel it?” Morgana asked eagerly, desperate for Gwen to feel how she felt.
“My lady...” Gwen started, breathless. “There are no words for how I feel, no word is good enough.”
Morgana smiled, unable to contain her joy. Gwen wasn’t pushing her away or telling her that this, all of this, wasn’t something ladies should do.
“I can stop if you want,” Morgana said, just to be sure. “But I’d rather keep going.”
Gwen nodded enthusiastically. “Please don’t stop, Morgana.”
Morgana brought the dagger back up, deep down she wanted to use it to tear the clothes off of them both but then they’d have to explain what happened to Arthur and Merlin, so instead she placed it back in her belt, leaving both her hands free.
To her surprise, yet again, Gwen didn’t shy away or blush. Instead she reached for the strings on Morgana’s breeches, unlacing them as easily as she had laced them up that morning. Her hand slipped under them, her fingers going straight for Morgana’s clit, making Morgana place a hand against the tree for support.
“Guinevere,” she gasped, not expecting to be touched so willingly, so sinfully by her sweet, demure Gwen. “Oh, Gwen.”
Her own hand reached out, pulling up Gwen’s tunic and fumbling at the laces of her breeches, desperate to give back what Gwen was giving her. She’d touched herself before, of course, but the feel of Gwen’s fingers matched with the feel of a wetness and warmth that wasn’t her own sent shivers through her. She lingered on Gwen’s clit for a moment and then moved further, wanting to be inside her.
It was so different from touching herself; it was like going in blind. She closed her eyes, pushing her whole body against Gwen’s, trying to separate her own pleasure from the movement of her fingers, feeling which curls and twists made Gwen shudder and breathe her name into her hair. She bit down on her own lip, struggling against the overwhelming pleasure Gwen’s fingers caused until she couldn’t fight anymore and it overtook her.
She felt Gwen’s other hand come up to rest on her back, holding her up. She could feel sweat running down the back of her neck where the fur she wore over her chest, shoulder and back to protect from the cold had become unbearably hot. She could hear Gwen moaning her name still as she tried to keep her fingers moving inside her.
Gwen’s hand on her back suddenly pulled at her shirt, grabbing a fistful of it while the hand in her breeches stilled. She felt Gwen’s walls contract against her fingers, holding them tight and making her battle to keep them flexing.
She’d recovered from her own orgasm now and she watched as Gwen came, cheeks flushing beautifully and her skin glistening with sweat. Morgana leaned in and kissed her, determined to taste her lips at least once more, just in case guilt sank in afterwards as it so often did.
Morgana broke the kiss and brought her glistening fingers up to her lips; tasting Gwen on them and lapping her up until her fingers were clean again. She glanced up and noticed Gwen was watching her, fascinated.
“You taste so sweet, my Guinevere, so sweet,” Morgana gave her another wicked smile, knowing for sure now that she wouldn’t shy away from them, she would return them.
“Thank you, my Lady,” Gwen said as Morgana laced up her breeches and then started on her own.
“Whatever for?” Morgana asked, glancing up at her, confusion wrinkling her brow.
“For showing me,” Gwen said simply, not making it clear if she was referring to the lesson in how to turn fear into pleasure or what had followed. Morgana smiled nonetheless, glad that she had shared both with Gwen.
“Come on,” she grabbed Gwen’s hand and pulled her upright so they could link arms and start walking again. “We really should get back or they’ll think us womenfolk can’t even go for firewood without getting into trouble.”
She gave Gwen a look, both of them holding a straight face for half a moment before giving in and laughing.