This is a series of one-shots, all AU that I am doing with my new friend Tassja_G. She just joined, welcome her! First chapter is mine, enjoy!
Camelot, during the reign of King Uther Pendragon
The world is glistening. It is early spring, and overnight thunderstorms have given way to bright morning sunlight, and all the newly-sprouting green things seem to be straining towards the sun, soaking it in, deepening their flat green faces.
Prince Arthur enjoys early morning rides on days like this, especially after a long and cold winter during which he was forced to spend far too much time cooped up indoors.
Something catches his eye up ahead. It appears to be a young woman, walking on the path to Camelot. Arthur slows his horse to a walk, not wanting to startle her.
As he advances slowly, admiring her form, lithe yet curvy, her dark hair a cascade of curls down her back, she slips on the wet leaves and falls to the ground, her bag flying. Arthur spurs his horse to a trot to reach her.
“Are you all right, miss?” he asks, climbing down from his horse.
“I… I think so. Just horribly embarrassed, now that I know someone saw,” she says, pushing herself up. He bends down and takes her hand, pulling her upright, his other reaching forward to lightly support her elbow.
Her hand is wonderfully soft, delicate,
he thinks as his fingers close around the small brown hand. Arthur is suddenly afraid of squeezing too hard lest he crush the tiny bones contained within.
His hands are strong and warm; sure of themselves. Comforting and disconcerting at once.
“Thank you,” she says and looks up at him.
Her translucent brown eyes hit him like nothing he’s ever felt before. “You are most welcome,” he manages, almost whispering. I’ve never seen beauty like this before.
There is mud on her face. Arthur draws out a handkerchief and wipes the mud away, his other hand gently holding her chin, watching as charming freckles come into view as he clears the mud.
His fingers feel like burning embers from my father’s forge.
“There we are,” he says with a smile.
She looks down, embarrassed again, this time by having her face cleaned as if she were a child. “Thank you again.”
“That was a nasty fall, are you sure you’re all right?” he asks again.
“Yes, I’m fine.” She takes a step towards her bag. “Whoa!” she stops, teetering as she puts weight on her left ankle. Arthur instinctively grabs her around the waist to keep her from falling again.
Her face is so close.
“Looks like you may have twisted your ankle,” he says quietly. She smells wonderful.
“It… it appears so,” she whispers back, drawn into the blue-grey pools of his eyes.
Suddenly remembering himself, Arthur releases her from his embrace. Reluctantly. His arms ache to feel her soft curves within them again. He clears his throat.
“Are you… are you heading for Camelot?” he asks.
“Well then, you shall ride with me, I am heading there myself.”
“Oh, no, I couldn’t…” she starts, limping back a step.
“What are you going to do, hop the rest of the way into town?” he smiles, and she cannot help but laugh.
She has a wonderful laugh.
Arthur strides over and retrieves her bag for her, slinging it onto his saddlebag.
He walks back to her and lifts her easily in her arms, as if she weighed nothing. Her heartbeat speeds up. I could carry her in my arms the rest of the way to Camelot and beyond,
“Up you go,” he declares, swinging her up to sit sideways, both legs to one side.
“This would be easier if I was wearing trousers, sorry,” she apologizes.
“Nonsense,” he says, pulling himself up behind her and pulling her back so she is seated sideways across his lap.
The intimacy of the position makes him hold his breath for a moment, and when she slides her arm around his neck to hold on, he swears his heart stops beating.
He takes the reins with one hand and slips the other around her waist, holding tightly, and his aching arms get their wish. She takes a deep breath, trying to ignore the fluttering she feels in her stomach.
Don’t look down at that gorgeous cleavage you just saw rising above her bodice,
he reminds himself. You are a knight.
“Tch,” he commands the horse, and he starts forward.
“I’m sorry, I haven’t given my name. I’m Guinevere. Most people call me Gwen.”
“Guinevere,” he repeats, feeling the name on his lips. “I’m Arthur,” he introduces himself.
“Nice to meet you, and thank you again,” she says. “Wait. Not Prince
Arthur?” she asks, eyes suddenly wide.
“The same, yes,” he nods, as if it is no big deal.
“Oh… I… I’m…”
“What is it, Guinevere?”
“I shouldn’t be riding with you like this. I’m… I’m the Lady Morgana’s new maidservant. Today is my first day.”
“In that case, we shall be seeing a lot of one another, then,” he says, striving to sound casual. I hope. I shouldn’t be hoping. She’s a maid. I’m a prince. Still… there’s something about this woman.
“Please, Sire, I can walk, really.” Her voice is starting to edge with panic. He is not loosening his grip. He seems to be holding me even tighter.
“It wouldn’t do for me to be seen riding into the kingdom in the arms of the prince. I—”
” he says, drawing her name out in a way that makes her snap her mouth closed while her insides turn to jelly.
“I can see your ankle swelling already,” he nods in the direction of the injury. Not that I’m looking at those lovely ankles, mind.
“I’ll be taking you straight to our court physician.”
“Really, I’ll be—”
“Stop arguing with me,” he says, leaning down, speaking the words quietly in her ear, more a caress than a command. It is taking all his might not to silence those lips with a kiss. Those full, succulent lips…
“Sorry. My lord. I shouldn’t argue, you’re right.” Why is this prince treating me like I’m a Lady? Why am I letting myself be affected this way by him? He’s the prince. Snap out of it, Gwen!
They are just outside the walls to the lower town, and Arthur stops the horse. Neither of them have spoken, each struggling with the proximity of the other, the awkwardness of their hopeless attraction.
“Is something wrong?” she asks, turning to look at him, her face inches from his. Is it the weather making me warm or is it him?
“I… I just know that soon I’ll have to let you down from this horse and out of my arms,” Arthur croaks, his voice a hoarse whisper. “I don’t think I’m ready to do that yet.” His eyes search hers, longing, hoping for some sign that his attraction to her is returned.
Her lips part and his eyes drop to them unbidden before he wills them back to gaze into the warm depths of her eyes. He swallows hard, his heart thumping against his ribcage.
“Arthur…” she breathes, her own eyes drifting to his lips. He has unusually full lips for a man, yet they do not detract from his masculinity at all.
“Forgive me, Guinevere,” he whispers as he leans his head forward mere inches, connecting his lips with hers, softly, tentative, testing.
She yields under his lips, a small whimper escaping from the back of her throat. Her arm tightens around his neck. His arm tightens around her waist. Her other hand drifts to his chest, gripping his white linen shirt. His other hand comes up to cup the back of her head, holding it, supporting it as he deepens this kiss, coaxing her lips apart beneath his.
Gwen is melting in his arms, soft and pliable as she feels his tongue slide between her lips, warm and wet. When she meets it with her own, he thinks he’s died and gone to heaven.
“Oh…” he breaks away for a split second, then returns, unable to help himself. She kisses him back as fervently as he, forgetting decorum, station, and virtue. Virtue be damned, he is delicious forbidden fruit. He is intoxicating, magical… why am I still thinking?
He leans over her, pressing her back against the…
Oh yes. We’re on a horse.
Vaguely he remembers where they are; who they are. He sweeps his tongue through the soft interiors of her mouth one last time, nibbles at her lower lip briefly, and then reluctantly pulls away, breathing heavily.
Her eyes are closed, luscious lips still parted. So beautiful.
Slowly she opens her eyes and looks at him, searching his face.
“Don’t.” She raises her fingers to his lips. “You don’t need to say anything.”
He wraps his hand around hers, kissing the fingers against his lips.
“I will treasure this moment in my heart always, Arthur,” she says quietly.
“The memory of your lips will haunt my dreams, Guinevere,” he says, tracing her bottom lip with his thumb.
She looks down, blushing most attractively, and he almost kisses her again.
He finds the reins again and flicks them once, prompting the horse forward again.
“Welcome to Camelot,” he whispers into her ear as they ride through the gates.
A/N: We will be posting musical “enhancement” or “inspiration” with each chapter. Links to YouTube videos (where applicable) will be given on request, just ask me and I’ll PM them to you. Next is Anastasia-G’s turn! We are having an immense amount of fun, so we hope you all enjoy.
Suggested music with this chapter: “I Know You (Part III)” by Morphine.
Part 2: www.fanpop.com/spots/arthur-and-gwen/articles/157237/t...t-2