A/N: I am so excited for the next episode that I wrote my first Gwen/Arthur story. It's pretty simple, but I like the idea that their relationship is actually a bit more developed than what we see on Merlin.
I don't own Merlin, but I do spent significant portions of my time daydreaming about it. Enjoy! Let me know what you think!
The early pre-dawn light was just starting to peak through the gap between the thick curtains when Gwen slowly began to wake up. She smiled contentedly as she remembered where she was and why it was that she was comfortable and warm, instead of huddled against the cold under her usual thin blankets. She could already feel the cold autumn air against the parts of her face that were not protected by the heavy feather blankets of the prince's chambers. The prince himself was also contributing to her warmth. His left arm was wrapped gently around her waist as he slept. His fair hair was sticking out at odd angles as he snored into his pillow.
Gwen sat for a few moments watching as Arthur's chest slowly rose and fell with his breaths. Their sleeping arrangements had becoming something of a habit recently. It had started on the night when Morgana had been injured and both of them had been consumed with grief at their fear of losing her. Gwen hadn't been able to sleep and had been wandering around the castle when she found herself outside the Prince's chambers. Arthur too was awake, and in their grief they found solace in each other. They both slept better in each other's arms. The way Gwen saw it, this was probably the best it would ever get for them. She had no illusions about the future; someday soon Arthur would meet someone who was able to love and marry him in a way that Gwen never could. She often thought that if she were just a little bit stronger, she would get out of their relationship and leave it behind, but as it was, falling asleep in his arms was the best moment of her day and she wasn't ready yet to give that up. With a small sigh, Gwen gently began to move out of his grasp. She tried to gently sneak out of bed without waking him. Her endeavor was unsuccessful; as she tried to slip out from under his arm, his grip around her tightened.
"Where do you think you're going?" Arthur's face was still firmly buried into his pillow as he pulled Gwen back into bed with one hand. Gwen grinned but managed to stay firm.
"I have to go. It's nearly day. I have to fetch Morgana's breakfast, help her dress, fix her hair, and then clean her linens. Then at noon I have a lesson with Gaius about healing remedies. After that I have to fetch Morgana her lunch, prepare her horse for her daily ride, clean her chambers, fetch her medicine from Gaius, accompany her to the market, and then serve her dinner with the King in the evening. Then I have to prepare her for bed, and see that she's comfortable." As she had been speaking, Arthur had sat up on his forearms, frowning at her.
"Well it sounds to me like Morgana makes you work far too hard. I'll be having words with her."
"You will do nothing of the kind!" Gwen shot back. "She doesn't work me half as hard as you work Merlin. Besides, the last thing we need is for word to get out that the crown prince is concerned with how hard one of the maids is working." Arthur opened his mouth to protest again, but Gwen silenced him with a chaste kiss. "I appreciate the sentiment, though."
She smiled and finally managed to wrestle herself out of his grip as she threw the covers off and stood up. Immediately the cold air made her shiver. She went quickly to the dresser and fetched her dress from the day before. As she got dressed, Arthur sat with his hands laced together behind his head, watching her. She blushed as he watched her. She wasn't yet used to anyone seeing her in any form of undress and their relationship was still relatively chaste, which only served to make Gwen more self-conscious as she dressed herself.
"Still," Arthur picked up their conversation from where they had left it, "You don't have to rush. I'll have Merlin fetch Morgana her breakfast and you can come back to bed for another hour." He grinned at her.
The idea was tempting every time he suggested it, but she never gave in. For one, she refused to be responsible for giving Merlin any more work than he already had. For another, she was keen to keep an eye on Morgana as much as possible. She still hadn't told Arthur about Morgana's betrayal. Keeping the information a secret caused her a great deal of guilt, but she was afraid. She loved Arthur, and she knew he loved her, but she was still a servant, and there were rules. A servant can't just go around accusing the King's ward of treason. She wanted to believe that Arthur would trust her, would know that she was telling him the truth, but she couldn't take that risk. She knew Arthur; he wasn't the type to accept things because he was told they were true. If he were ever going to believe that Morgana was practicing witchcraft, he would need evidence. And as it was, Gwen had nothing but her own word. So she had decided to keep the information to herself for the time being. She finished fastening her dress and smiled at her love.
"Tempting, of course, but I'm afraid I'll have to pass, sire." Arthur sighed at her use of 'sire'. The pair of them had a kind of unwritten rule: he was Arthur at night or during private moments; he was 'sire' during the day or when they were going about their duties. Gwen's use of 'sire' meant that the day had begun.
"Will you be coming to bed this evening at least?" He called to her as she walked toward the door.
Gwen turned to him when she reached the door. She gave him a smile, curtseyed, and left his chambers without saying another word.
A/N: I'm not sure if it's clear in the story, but in case anyone is curious, they're just sleeping together in the story, not actually sleeping together. That's just how I see it anyway.