Spoilers: 1.01-1.02, 1.04 & the first half of 1.03 – mostly that last one there.
Pairing(s): shades of Arthur/Gwen and Merlin/Gwen
Character(s): Gwen, Arthur
Word count: 443
Disclaimer: None of them are mine.
Summary: Arthur makes Gwen an offer.
Author's notes: What did Arthur do between talking to his father and talking to Morgana? This is my guess.
“W- what?” Gwen asked, eyes wide and tears forgotten even as they finished sliding down her cheeks.
“Accept my offer,” Arthur advised her, having come down here for one reason and one reason only, and she was it.
“You want me to…to marry you?” Gwen said, still dazed at the prospect of what Prince Arthur had held out so abruptly.
“They can’t burn the woman who would become queen when I ascend the Throne.” For one thing, it would imperil my producing an heir, but that’s just part of what would protect you, Gwen – not the reason I’m offering.
“I’m accused, sire. Surely your father would not permit it to take place.”
“My father knows my duty as well as I.” Besides, at the worst, the inevitable argument will stave off any execution involving you. Ergo, worthwhile. To forestall further argument, Arthur said, “I realize I am no Merlin,” feeling the irony of being found lesser than his own servant - this is irony, yes? I’m unfamiliar with the feel I feel right now.
“Merlin?” Gwen asked.
“Yes, I, ah, he tried to fall on his sword with a lie, and I pulled him from the fire: I told my father and the councilors that Merlin was in love with you,” and dismissed any coloring in her cheeks as a result of the light, of her colour, of the stresses she had been placed under of late.
“Where is he?”
“Helping Gaius once more,” Arthur said. “I’m not sure how far along they’ve progressed in finding the culprit.”
“So I’ll do,” Gwen said.
To Arthur’s ears, that sounded like she was speaking both of being the scapegoat for want of the true culprit, and of being offered the future queenship of Camelot. “No,” he said firmly. “Take my hand, Gwen,” ungloving his good hand and reaching between the bars. “Take it.”
Gwen looked at his hand from where she was. It would be so easy to take his hand, to accept what he was offering. Safety. Security. Comfort. Not being burned alive.
“Are we not too young to marry?” Gwen asked, reaching for and clutching at straws in the figurative sense.
“That is so,” he conceded. “Though in the meantime, you could perhaps be my ward – I’m not sure if you could be Morgana’s ward, as she’s one herself.”
Answer given, problem solved. Yet even still, Arthur saw, something stayed her hand.
“I have to go,” though I do not want to, not until this is resolved – though a resolution requires me to go. He left his glove on the bars. “Should you change your mind, inform the guards. They will bring you to me.”