M (ella_rose88) wrote in ag_fics,
M
ella_rose88
ag_fics

SC7 Entry 5: Scars and All



Title: Scars and All
Themes and/or Prompt/s AU Medieval
Rating: Teen
Word count: 3,490
Characters/Pairings: Elyan, Gwen, Arthur, Merlin, Morgana, Vivian {Arthur/Gwen, Merlin/Morgana}
Spoilers/Warnings: a few mature themes, language
Disclaimer: I disclaim and get no compensation for this. Merlin is owned by Shine/BBC
Summary: Love is imperfect and so beautiful, scars and all.

***

Hear ye, hear ye! Merlin, Court Sorcerer/ Event Arranger wants it to be known. King Arthur on the lookout for the finest artists of Albion. Highest commission paid. Male persuasion only need apply. Fraudulence will result in severe punishment.

“What you got there Gwen?”

Gwen passed her older brother, Elyan, the rolled up parchment. “Look. Could it be anymore ostentatious? Men are such horse’s asses. Present company and Dad excluded.”

Elyan’s eyes widened.

“What?” Gwen asked.

“The payment amount!”

She couldn’t help too gape. Such wealth would do them good.

Bending his head some as the ceiling was low of their attic floor, Elyan teased. “We all know you can do the art.” He gestured around to the multitudes of canvas in the busy surrounding atmosphere, and stains of color upon his sister’s peasant shirt and hosen. “Just too bad you’re not a man.”

Wisely he retreated down the steps quick enough to avoid being smacked by one of her flying paint brushes.

Gwen grimaced with a sigh once he was gone. Any created art she had to pass onto Elyan’s friend Will who pretended he did it.

There were hints of things changing someday. However, women artists sharing their talent openly wouldn’t be reality until the king gave his approval. So for time-being she received no money for her paintings, just a chicken here or a cow there for milk and eggs, while her creations were thought to be someone else’s work.

Just so unfair.

===

EVENT ARRANGER?” Merlin fumed. “Why didn’t you just call me royal consort? Who writes these things?”

The king smirked impishly. “Oh now come Merlin. They did an excellent job. You could have been called Royal Idiot.”

“Next time make sure they sign it from your Royal Pratness.”

“Lovely idea Merlin. We could plaster it all over the entrance signs to the castle…The Royal Prat Welcomes All Visitors to Camelot.”

King Arthur, who hadn’t bothered raising his head to his grumbling court sorcerer, now did with irritation.

“Morning Morgana.”

She lifted her cheek to be kissed, “Little Brother…” and he moved forward, completing the family gesture rapidly.

Morgana toyed with her sapphire gown’s belt. “You know Arthur, you could put the land in a real shock. Pose nude.”

“Morgana!”

She laughed heartedly with Merlin who added in, “No need to terrify all the children of Camelot…and ladies.” Morgana chortled with him and Arthur chucked his sorcerer upon the ear.

“Ow.” Merlin let out, uttering a sorcerly threat. “I could turn you into a slimy horned toad.”

Morgana moved between them. “That’s enough boys.” She poked at her flaxen haired brother’s copper colored tunic. “So what is the occasion for this royal portrait other than the fact that one of your favorite pastimes is gawking at yourself in the mirror?”

A high pitched voice came from behind before he could respond. “To celebrate our upcoming nuptials of course!” Flutters of shining gold material and equally shining coif of hair entered the room like a showering of fulgent rain. “My love!”

“Vivian!”

Merlin and Morgana appeared ready to gag at the overly affectionate display, coughing loudly.

“Oh…” Vivian pressed at Arthur’s chest. “I didn’t even notice that there were others in the room.”

Morgana glared, Merlin trying to appease by patting her shoulder. It was no mystery that Morgana couldn’t stand Vivian. Merlin wasn’t all that crazy about her either.

“Morgana…Merlin.” Vivian remarked in a shrill voice, her cheeks flush. Then to Arthur, as her thin fingers traced up his chest, “That’s why, right my darling? You finally want to announce to the kingdom that you and I shall be betrothed. But first of course you must propose. Is this your way of doing it?”

Arthur’s expression changed from happy to strongly unsettled and lily-livered. “Er Vivian, not exactly. You see…”

Morgana whispered sideways, “Brother Dear is commitment shy.”

“Thank the old religion for small mercies. If she became queen, Camelot would be about nothing more than scintillating…”

Morgana assisted, “Effulgent…”

“Incandescent…”

“Lustrous…”

BAUBLES!” They finished together with a laugh, having missed Vivian’s sharp exit from the room.

“I hope you two are feeling satisfied now.” Arthur pouted.

Morgana and Merlin exchanged amused glances.

“Oh yes, feeling well.”

“Me too.”

Breaking through their amusement, Arthur ranted. “I am quite enamored by her!” Very unconvincingly. “I---think.”

“Enamored?” Merlin and Morgana asked with raised eyebrows.

“Well!” Arthur pouted a bit more. “It means I l--o-vv---e---h---er-

Oh forget it! You know what I mean!”

Answer enough, they certainly did.

===

Three weeks after submitting her work, Gwen was astonished to be at the castle’s entrance. “How is this happening?” She whispered to herself. “How I have been the one chosen to do the king’s royal art commission?”

The guards leading her up the steps pretended to not notice that she was talking to herself, especially since she was speaking in such low tones that they couldn’t understand what in Albion she was saying. “I know why they believed my wear, because Elena helped me, the best seamstress in the village. And I’m certainly grateful for this since Dad’s work has been slow lately. But still I can’t believe it.”

Beyond a pair of large doors they left her and her babbling.

“I really am in the palace of Camelot. I am-

“Yes you are. And please tell me that talking to oneself creates better art. Because I’m inclined to think you’re mad.”

Gwen bit down on her wail of shock since men didn’t wail. Her voice already low, she simply needed to deepen it further and hope she sounded manly enough. “Oh---King Arthur. Sire. My Lord.”

She bowed, as the king in cape and armor stepped to the center of the lavishly decorated room to meet her.

Odd looking fellow, Arthur thought. Small for a man. But he supposed that’s what these artist types might be like. It had been Geoffrey who brought to him the top art selections for Arthur to choose from, so this was the first time he was actually seeing the man he commissioned.

“This is my sitting room. I like it because it faces the eastern window where the sun shines brightest at a certain point of day. Helps me think.” He referred to some rolls of parchment on the table by the lounge seat. “I doubt this is your first time in the presence of royalty since this tells that you once were commissioned by the Prince of Mercia and the Queen of Denaria.”

It did? Gwen wondered with awe. Elyan’s friend Gwaine provided them with the fake papers. He was a forger extraordinaire and well---sloshed half the time.

“So er…?

“Gwe-

She started to say by habit, but then froze. “Um…Gwaine.” Great, now she was a forgery criminal and slosh-bucket.

“Well Gwaine, shall we begin? My time is limited.”

Gwen nodded with a pinch to her brow. Like hers wasn’t? He wasn’t the only one with a schedule to keep and important tasks to complete.

Conceited handsome pig. It was a physical thing only. He was rather dashing. As an artist she noticed things like that.

“So is mine my Lord.”

===

Days later, Gwen wasn’t as certain about her first impressions of King Arthur. Although he was proudly indulgent, one who craved/boasted of action, he also had a kind heart. Twice she witnessed it.

First it was with some boys in the citadel teasing a smaller one. Using a firm voice, Arthur intervened, reminding every one of them that one day they would grow to be older and have the chance to become the finest knights in all of Albion. However, knighthood required humility, brotherhood, valor and nobility. Remember that, he told them softly. and the boys stopped their teasing of the other. They actually started to treat him with decorum.

Later a house worker was rushing so fiercely that the king took notice and asked what it was about. She told him that it was her child’s anniversary of birth and that she wanted to get home to make a good dinner. Just those words and the king was dismissing her a few moments later, saying he would find someone to take over her tasks.

So it seemed, he was not just a man of looks/brawn/bravado, but of true regard for people too.

“I’m done.” She told him now, laying down the brush. “You can come and take a look.”

Arthur pushed back his cloak with an excited smile, reaching to unbuckle it from his shoulders, but at the moment it wouldn’t unfasten. “Ah, it’s stuck.” His brows wrenched with angered frustration.

Gwen stepped over to him calmly. “I could try my Lord.” She lifted her small hands.

Arthur gazed upon them curiously as they ascended to his throat, and spontaneously he caught her fingers. “Soft…for a man.”

“Um…” Gwen felt a panicked rise of her heartbeat. “Well…actually if you touch the other side you will witness they’re quite rough, for an artist’s hands that is. Important to keep them functioning well.”

“Right.” Arthur let out dryly, taking his hands away. “Would much rather feel Vivian’s.” He told her with a bothered tone.

“Fine enough.” She grunted, in her pretend man’s voice, and with task completed, pushed the cape away from his shoulders. “Done. Now come. See if you want anything changed.”

So Arthur did, stepping forward, and letting out a gape of astonishment. “My stars. You’re quite good. I’ve never—seen myself like this.”

He was a bit tongue tied and Gwen liked that. “You approve then Sire?”

He gazed upon her a little too long, thinking she was such a peculiar man. “I do Gwaine. I entirely approve.”

It was like they were sharing a moment, exchanged smiles, hands fluttering, which was crazy because he thought her a man. The moment was soon interrupted though by a dazzling whirlwind of movement. Gwen gathered the brushes to clean as the lady with perfect coifs of hair kissed Arthur and giggled.

As there was some more tittering and kissing behind her, Gwen scrubbed the brushes hard. They were examining the canvas, and she was being ignored, but that was alright. She didn’t really want to talk to this lady now or him. Brushes in hand, she scrubbed them furiously in the washing bin, and then after many long moments, felt it, a hand at her shoulder.

“Gwaine?”

She turned, seeing him so close and feeling him so near that she wanted to take a step back, but then she’d upset the wash bin. “My Lord?”

“Vivian, whom I am enam—um well we could some--day become…”

He coughed and cleared his throat unadroitly. “She’d like a private picture just for herself. With me wearing----a little less. If you get my meaning.”

He gave a strong smile that flattened as Gwen questioned. “My Lord?’

“Wearing nothing.”

The brushes in hand clattered to the floor. Arthur looked down at them strangely, brow wrinkling, as Gwen stooped to pick them up. He wanted her to paint him naked? Oh Albion madness!

“I could pay you handsomely. More than is already on the table. I didn’t think you would object to this type of thing. I’m sure you’ve done it before, such a practiced painter as yourself.”

She nodded, getting the brushes finally into hand. “Right my Lord.” She stated distractedly. “Of course.”

“Splendid!” Arthur’s hand clapped her on the shoulder. “We’ll begin tomorrow morning!”

Gwen nodded absentmindedly, so shocked.

OH what have I gotten myself into! I have to tell him the truth, but if I do I’ll be locked up! And the money---oh! I have to do it. And still make him believe that I’m a man.”

She fingered her hat, taking a look to out to the hall, and then letting her wild curls free, scratching at them with bewilderment. “Oh.”

So disgruntled she was, she wasn’t aware that two had come to the door, hidden behind it, and noticed her true appearance.

The first pulled the other away briskly.

“Fibber.”

“Yes, but is getting to him also. He can’t stop talking about hi—her. He feels strange about it, and yet doesn’t know why. Now we do.”

“This could be our way to keep Vivian away from the throne.”

“Most certainly.”

“He doesn’t love her.”

“Agreed, can’t even say the word. This could be the best thing ever.”

“So we don’t tell him?”

“Not if he can’t see it himself. Just---talk to her.”

“Will do.”

They sneaked away.

===

The next morning, Arthur and Gwen were alone together in the sitting room. She took a nervous glance, guessing he had nothing on underneath his long riding coat. Answer came as he started pulling it away, revealing a lean muscled bare-

“SIRE!”

“WHAT-

Arthur put his hand over his heart, stunned. “Nearly gave me-

“I was just thinking.” Gwen told him, fiddling with her brushes. “That there is no reason for this to be lewd. The beauty of an individual’s anatomy, in a work of art, is that all the hidden mysteries remain. To unveil one’s constitution entirely is to leave no bit of enigma so here…” She looked around the room frantically, finding it. “Put that in front of your um-

“Cock? We’re both men. Surely the word doesn’t bother you.” He jested.

Oh let her just melt into flames now. “Um…yeah. That. Your…” Oh Albion! “Cock.” She grunted out. Then she dashed behind the canvas, ears ringing as they heard the coat fall away from his er---well endowed anatomy.

Oh, now she was an artist. She chided herself. This was just art. His body---glistening, naked, fie so beautiful, was art. Oh.

She told him to lie down on the lounge seat and put the armor in front of his---

Er, she commenced painting, hearing him say, “Be sure to cover the scars. Vivian doesn’t like them.”

That made her nose wrinkle as she stepped away from the canvas. “What?”

“She doesn’t like imperfections.”

Gwen shook her head with forcible disagreement. “But they’re you. Battle signs. Elements of your body. They are your past, your history. They signify the fighting king you are. They are stories and they are art. Your whole body is that, not just the perfect parts, but the imperfect too. Scars are nothing ugly to me nor should they be to you or her. Arthur---they’re beauty. Beauty of life.”

At the moment his nakedness didn’t faze her. It compelled her if anything to step forward and caress his shoulder.

Arthur stared at Gwaine for a long moment, queerly entranced by the words and dark midnight eyes.

So baffled by what he was feeling.

Disturbed, he jumped away from her hand, upsetting the armor enough to make it fall with a heavy clang.

Gwen shielded her eyes, heart beat rapid.

Oh, what was she doing?

“That’s enough for today.” Arthur stated in a rush, yanking his arms into his coat sleeves and tightening the coat around his self. “You can go.”

“The paint brushes-

“Leave them.”

Gwen nodded, hurrying out and shaking with upset.

A hand touched her shoulder in the hallway. She whispered excitedly without looking up. “Arthur?”

The woman smiled. “No. I’m his sister, Morgana.”

Gwen pushed her hat strongly over her head.

Morgana whispered, “I know that you’re not a man.”

Scared now, Gwen pushed her hand against her rapidly beating heart. “Oh, but-

Pulling her inside a room, Morgana smiled again. “It’s okay. Let’s talk.”

===

Arthur ranted like a madman.

“He touched me and I---oh Merlin I felt…his eyes. OH. This isn’t happening. I can’t be-

Hearing his wild babblings, Merlin felt a tad guilty. After all, Arthur thought he was falling in love with a man, and yet he never had been interested in men before, plus there was Vivian. The king was sorely confused.

Even so, Merlin had to fight the urge to chortle. Nags of guilt couldn’t keep this from being highly amusing.

Oh so highly.

===

The next morning, awkwardness reigning supreme, Arthur blurted out. “Vivian and I are no longer together.”

“What?” Gwen asked with astonishment, leaving her brushes.

He shook his head ruefully. “We weren’t really right for each other, I realized after-

Er, well, the new portrait will no longer be necessary then. “I’ll pay you for your time. You may go now---Gwaine.”

“Sire.”

He ranted emotionally. “You called me Arthur yesterday, first time! Didn’t mind, but then you touched my shoulder and you made me feel-

She pulled away the hat, letting out a miserable sigh. “Arthur, I’m not Gwaine. I’m Gwen. I’m a woman.”

So she was, with a long trail of curls and all.

Anger flashed across Arthur’s face.

She lied.

Gwen turned from him, muttering anxiously, for it was treason what she did. She could lose her life. “It doesn’t matter what you do to me. Just leave my brother and Dad alone.”

But then hands were upon her body and lips were inches from her own. “Thank Albion.” Arthur whispered and kissed her luscious mouth.

She pulled away, touching his cheek. “You’re not mad?”

He asked. “You meant what you said about scars?”

Gwen lifted her hands, brazenly bringing them under his coat, feeling the naked flesh of Arthur’s manly chest. “Absolutely. They’re beautiful. They’re you.”

He kissed her again, whispering afterward against Gwen’s cheek. “No one’s said anything more enchanting than those words. Oh it drove me crazy every time you and I came together. Why did you intrigue me so much? You touched my shoulder and I was so unsettled by it, so turned on by it. But a man? No wonder your hands are so soft. No wonder you turned my heart. And brought my--ahem--to life too by the way.”

She blushed at his meaningful gesture downward.

Arthur tipped Gwen’s chin upward though. “Oh no. Not that. No blushings. You have to get ready.”

“For what?” She whispered, still stroking his chest, getting him to moan a little.

“To paint me naked of course.”

“But you said-

Arthur’s finger moved over Gwen’s lips, silencing her. “I changed my mind. Not because of your sex…well maybe a little. Maybe a lot. Mostly because you make me look so alive---vital. I see what you see when you paint me and I affirm to it.”

“Mmm…” She murmured contentedly, kissing him now.

===

Days later the portrait was done and Camelot was in celebration mode for it was the anniversary of the kingdom’s birth. There was dancing, food, music and festivity. Arthur got to see Gwen in a dress. They walked out upon the balcony together. “You’re beautiful like this. Although, you’re also rather appealing in your work clothes.”

A slow smile crossing her face, she said nothing.

“So?” He asked with anticipation.

She took his hand, leading him to the sitting room.

===

“You’ve made me wait so long.”

“I know.” She lifted away the material over the portrait. Arthur focused upon it for a long moment, reaching out for her wrist and gesturing. “My scars.”

Nodding, Gwen’s fingers caressed his cheek meaningfully. “They’re you. Every beautiful part of you.”

“Yeah.” He gazed into her eyes, seeing such emotion reflected back to his own, maybe even love if he dared thinking it. “Thank you.” He tugged at her lavender silky waist, gathering her closer against his excitedly beating heart.

“Mmm.” She murmured, relaxing in his hold, feeling his gentle kiss atop her head. “For what…the painting?”

“Yes.” He smiled. “That and making me realize what falling in love is like.”

“Arthur?”

“I’m definitely falling Guinevere.”

He whispered her given name, having learnt it earlier in the week.

“I think I am too.” She whispered with candor.

His impish smirk surfaced. “And er uh…you did well at bringing my cock to life too.”

“What?” She was softly blushing. “That’s your armor, not your-

His lips were hotly on hers though, cutting off any protest.

And so she sighed, and melted into it. Earlier that evening he revealed her as the artist at the celebration. Women would be hailed as painters now with the king’s approval, no longer having to hide their femininity. Something she definitely didn’t want to hide with him.

===

Two peeked in and shook on their good work.

“Did you see Vivian at the celebration?”

“Yes. So flighty, she’s already forgotten about Arthur.”

“That and Gwen’s friend Gwaine promised her lots of baubles.”

Morgana let out a sigh of satisfaction. “They’re perfect for each other then.”

“Indeed.” Merlin agreed and spontaneously moved forward, kissing his accomplice.

“Merlin?” She asked, but gave no complaint.

“Felt good.”

“It did.” She echoed. Then he took her arm.

===

It was in the king’s heart as he and his personal artist slid down to the soft cushions of the lounge seat with warm kisses and most tender of caresses, commencing a reveal of skin, scars…

And…

Love…

In all its imperfect beauty.


***

BACK TO MASTERLIST/VOTING | E1 | E2 | E3 | E4 | E6
Tags: /theme: au, rating: t (13+), writer: mara93, ~2013 short challenge: submissions
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