Gwen's gathering laundry from Elyan's room when she finds the magazine. It's obviously one the things she's not supposed to touch, but she's fourteen and curious.
Mostly, the magazine does nothing for her. The pictures are dull and the stories too trite. But a few pictures in the back of the magazine, of a big-breasted, slim-hipped woman in white lace and another woman tying her to a bed and running a riding crop over the swell of her ass, send heat straight to her core.
It makes Gwen gasp and slam the magazine shut, hiding it under her pillow and going back to her chores.
The next day, she slips the magazine back into Elyan's room and tries to forget about it. When she "discovers" porn two years later, she sticks to nice, safe images, because she's a good girl.
But she can't forget it: the contrast between the woman's brown skin and the white lace and the black riding crop. Once, she dreams it is her, tied to the bed and a nameless, faceless woman bending over her, dragging black leather over her breasts, between her legs.
Gwen slaps her ass once, just to see. The loud smack reverberates in the room and she flushes, vows to never do it again. She sleeps on her stomach that night, so she can't aggravate anything.
"You're so good, Gwen," Morgana says with a grateful smile, when she accepts Gwen's sandwich at lunch.
"The best of all of us," Arthur says, managing to make it both a sulk and a compliment. He's not in his cups, but Merlin is gone for the day and he's despondent.
Gwen blushes and ducks her head and wonders what her friends would say if they knew.
She bites her lip and keeps quiet. Good girls don't like naughty things, and Gwen's the best girl of them all.
Lance is gorgeous. Lance is talented. Lance is sweet. Lance is the most perfect person ever, according to almost everyone. (Morgana reserves judgement, because Gwen is the best person, and Morgana likes very few people.)
Lance is incredibly boring.
He treats her with kid gloves, not daring to press too hard, doesn't bite, makes sure she is stretched and ready when he makes love to her. Gwen can't even call it having sex, let alone fucking. Lance worships her body.
It should be enough, but it's not.
When they finish, after Lance tries and tries to get her to orgasm and Gwen can't fake it anymore, he'll cuddle her in his arms and fall asleep and Gwen lies there, thinking.
Arthur and Merlin banter and bicker, ten years after they met and five years after getting together. Gwen wonders about their sex life, if the bantering and bickering happen even there. Wonders what it might be like.
Lance always treats her gently the morning after, bringing her breakfast and cuddling with her, and she wants to scream, but the look in his eyes stops her cold.
Gwen feels like falling to pieces. She's twenty-five and cannot get a satisfying orgasm, cannot stop her boyfriend from hurting, cannot stop her life from spiraling out of control. Mostly, she cannot talk, and it feels like she's suffocating, drowning in air and dying. From what, she's not sure.
Morgana is powerful and demanding and sometimes Gwen just stares at her in awe. Gwen wants to lick Morgana's shoes, wants Morgana to tell her what to do, wants Morgana to run soft, supple leather against her skin.
But she can't want those things. She's nothing like Morgana, too soft and gentle and nice. Too good, and good girls don't like bad things.
Lance stares at her, eyes wounded, and Gwen wants to fall apart and break, but she can't, has no right when she's the one breaking up with him.
"It's - I just - there's something missing."
"Is this because of the sex?" Lance asks, blunt in ways he usually isn't. "I can improve, I promise, we can work this out together-"
"No, Lance. It's not you, I- I promise." Gwen wants to laugh, but she doesn't want to hurt him anymore. "It's all me. And one day, you're going to make someone so happy. That person just won't be me. I'm sorry."
"Morgana?" Gwen says, stepping into the darkened flat and peering around. Morgana's text was cryptic and Gwen's heart rate skyrockets when she doesn't immediately see Morgana.
"On your knees," Morgana says, from somewhere on Gwen's left, and she turns, startled. Morgana is a dark shadow in a dark room and it takes a moment for Gwen to spot her. Morgana clears her throat, reminding her of the order, and Gwen sinks to her knees without hesitation.
"Crawl to me."
Gwen crawls, her body obeying on instinct, and the closer she gets to Morgana, the lighter she feels. She stops just in front of Morgana, kneeling there, head down.
Morgana drags her foot along Gwen's torso, using the tip of her heel to nudge Gwen's face up. Her fingers tangle in Gwen's curls, pulling just this side of painful. "Well?" she asks, and Gwen automatically lowers her head, kisses along Morgana's foot, up the side of her ankle.
It's like something breaks in her, because she presses her forehead to Morgana's shin and cries, painful sobs shaking her body. She doesn't even realize it when Morgana wraps her up and holds her close, rocking her back and forth until Gwen's tears stop.
Gwen feels ashamed that something so simple, so small, as being ordered to kneel and crawl and kiss Morgana's feet broke her, and she starts to draw back, laughing awkwardly. "I'm sorry, I don't know-"
"You don't, and that's okay," Morgana says, "I'll help you. You're not going anywhere." She runs her hand down Gwen's face, wiping away the tears. "You're going to be my good girl now."
Gwen shudders at Morgana's words, something deep and primal inside her shifting and falling into place.