Title: Hope for Camelot
Timeline: S1, A Remedy to Cure All Ills
Synopsis: Uther’s been distant, Morgana gives him an explanation. How will Uther respond?
Author’s Notes: Antennapedia asked for Uther/Morgana. I asked for a prompt. The prompt was: “Ep tag for "A Remedy to Cure All Ills". Uther has been cured by Merlin, and Morgana is just as relieved by this as Uther was when she was cured.” This is my response to that prompt. Special thanks to fairygothmum for beta work on this one!
Morgana stood in the doorway, watching her King as he stared out the window. He seemed deep in thought, a gloved hand resting on the wooden window frame and his brow furrowed as he gazed out over his kingdom.
He hadn’t said much to her since Gaius and Merlin had cured him of his affliction. She had caught a hard stare from him once, but he had quickly dropped his gaze when her eyes met his. Though she couldn’t think of anything that she had done, she wondered if he was angry with her.
“How are you feeling, my Lord?”
Uther jumped slightly, unaware that he was no longer alone. He inhaled deeply and then answered without turning to face her. “Better.”
“The lethargy has eased?” She questioned softly, stepping into the room.
“It has.” He replied, continuing to stare out the window.
Morgana moved to his side, looking across the land to try to catch a glimpse of whatever had Uther’s attention. She felt him tense, heard the soft creak of leather against wood as his fingers tightened on the frame.
“I was worried. I thought I...we were going to lose you.” Morgana looked up at him, her brow furrowing as she watched his eyes darken a shade. “Uther?”
“You were worried?” Uther asked, his jaw clenching and releasing as Morgana replied with a whispered ‘yes’. “And yet, I woke alone.”
“You weren’t – ”
Uther turned his eyes towards her and shook his head. “The court physician and his bumbling apprentice do not count in this instance.”
“Rarely did I leave your side while you were ill.” Uther stated in a low voice tinged with anger. “I held your hand, told you the stories your father would never have wanted you to hear, stroked your hair, begged you not to leave. And when you woke, I didn’t think I could have felt more relieved than I did.”
Morgan opened her mouth and then closed it when he continued, his anger being replaced by pain and, if she wasn’t mistaken, fear.
“I woke alone...not even my son stood at my bedside. Am I that hated, that neither my son nor...you...would stay with me as I lay dying?”
“Arthur was looking for Edwin. I’ve never seen him in such a state of panic.”
“Edwin caused the illness.” Uther replied, his eyes flashing with a brief spike of rage.
“We didn’t know. Not until later.” Morgana sighed as she hesitantly lifted her hand and placed it on his forearm. “I didn’t leave, Uther. Do you honestly think that I felt no relief when they told us you had been cured? Gaius and Merlin said that I couldn’t be there...that I could have a relapse if the infection couldn’t be contained.”
He looked down at her hand, her slender fingers tenderly wrapped around his arm. He licked his dry lips and then gave a nearly imperceptible nod as a request for her to continue. A small smile pulled at the corner of Morgana’s mouth. It may have been a barely noticeable gesture, but she knew him...Uther Pendragon...and she knew what each of his slightest movements meant.
This one meant that he was listening...wanting to believe.
“I held your hand, bathed your brow with the coolest water Gwen could provide. Your fever was so high, my Lord. I was so frightened that a cure wouldn’t be found for you.” She trembled slightly as he placed a gloved hand over hers, his thumb rubbing small circles against her skin. “I didn’t leave your side, Uther. Not until they made me...and I fought them over that.”
They were both quiet for a few moments, Morgana’s fingers tightening on his arm as he continued to stroke her hand. The sound of him softly clearing his throat finally broke the silence.
“I didn’t mean for you to think that I didn’t care.” She spoke hurriedly, her eyes glistening as their gazes met again. “I do, Uther. More than I think you could ever possibly know.”
Uther’s back straightened slightly, his thumb stopped its movement. He raised an eyebrow as Morgana released his arm and took two steps back.
“Morgana.” He breathed, stepping towards her and stopping when she shook her head. “I...”
She interrupted him quickly, her eyes brimming with unshed tears. “I’ll leave you to rest now. I know that you’re still...”
Uther’s features softened, surprise and concern washing over him as he watched a single tear roll down her cheek. “Morgana?”
She wiped the tear away with her fingers and offered him a tender smile. “It’s nothing, Sire. It’s just been an emotional day.”
“Dine with me this evening.”
Morgana paused. It wasn’t a question, nor was it spoken in the authoritative tone that he used so often. It was simply a request.
“You should rest, my Lord.”
Uther smiled...a smile that was really no more than a quirk of his lips. But it was a smile nonetheless.
“I’m certain that I’ll be forced to have dinner here.” He stated, sweeping his arm out in a gesture to the room.
“Forced?” Morgana asked curiously.
“Mm. The court physician can be rather...persuasive...when the need arises.” He took a deep breath and another step towards her. “I’d rather not be forced to dine alone in my chambers.”
“Arthur – ”
“Would much rather practice his swordsmanship than to dine with his father, I’m sure.” Uther’s slight smile faded as a thought occurred to him. “Of course, you might very well rather do other things than dine with me as well. Forgive me, Morgana, I did not mean to imply you had nothing worthwhile to...”
“I enjoy dining with you, Uther.” Morgana gently interrupted. “I just thought that Arthur might like to spend some time with you tonight.”
Uther chuckled softly, rubbing the side of his neck with a gloved hand. “Arthur is at that age...you were at that age a few years ago...”
“When I was too busy with my friends?” Morgana asked, her own amusement showing in her eyes as he nodded. “I’m past that age now, Uther.”
He exhaled softly and gazed intently into her eyes. “For that, I’m eternally grateful.”
Morgana fought to control her tremble as she returned his gaze. With a gentle nod, she accepted his proposal for dinner.
“You should rest, my Lord.”
Before anything else could be said, she turned and left the room, closing the heavy door behind her. He stood where he was, eyes staring at the wooden door...wondering if he had actually seen the desire smouldering in her green eyes or if it was merely his imagination playing tricks on him once more.
* * *
Uther paced in his chambers.
He had waved the servant away after the food had been laid out on the table. He had lit the candles, blew them out after thinking that Morgana might find it absurd, and then relit them after realizing he could blame it on the fact that there was no other form of lighting. He had traded the maroon tunic for a dark blue version…remembering the smile Morgana had given him the first time he had worn it.
And then he began to pace.
He didn’t know for how long he had been pacing, but the candles had not lost much of their length. He stared at the mass quantities of food on the table and sighed heavily. It would be cold soon…
Just as he had nearly convinced himself that she would not be joining him after all, a light knock on his chamber doors startled him. He brushed his left hand down the front of his tunic and cleared his throat.
The door swung open and she hesitantly entered the room, almost as if she hadn’t been invited. Her hesitancy nearly made him smile. To be honest, he would’ve smiled…had his breath not been taken away by her beauty.
“Good evening, my Lord.” Morgana stated, executing a perfect royal curtsey before meeting his eyes.
“Good evening, Morgana.” He quickly made his way to the door, pushing it closed before gesturing towards the table laden with meats, cheeses, and breads. “Please…”
She tilted her head slightly, smiling when she failed to see weariness in his green eyes. “You were able to rest.”
For the second time today, he smiled in her presence. “Yes, and you?”
Her first instinct was to laugh and to tell him about how the last few hours had been spent with Gwen telling her that her hair looked beautiful and then questioning as to why she was worried so…after all, it was only Uther. And Morgana had had dinner with Uther more times than not since her arrival in Camelot.
Instead, she merely nodded and gave him a gentle smile. “After I realized that you are truly alright, yes.”
“Arthur has a few years left before he is King.” Uther chuckled softly as he poured the wine into Morgana’s goblet. “You…look rather remarkable this evening, Morgana.”
Morgana could feel the heat in her skin, but hoped that he wouldn’t notice. “As do you, Sire. It’s nice to see you in something other than the reds of the Pendragon.”
Uther raised an eyebrow as he filled his own goblet, but said nothing. Morgana closed her eyes briefly, wishing she could take that last statement back. Uther had always been proud of his heritage and the color that his heritage had held for so many years.
“I didn’t mean – ”
Uther lifted his right hand and gave her a gentle wave. “No need for explanations. I’m confident that I understand your meaning.”
And that was when she noticed.
There were no gloves tonight. He was smiling, wearing the blue she loved so dearly, and his hands were bare. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t hear him say her name the first time…or the second. She met his eyes only when she felt his gaze bearing down on her.
Concern shone in his eyes. “Is everything alright, Morgana?”
“I’m sorry you were alone.” She whispered, her fingers curling around the stem of the goblet.
He regarded her for a moment and then smiled, lifting his goblet and glancing pointedly at hers. She caught his meaning quickly and lifted hers as well…and then waited. He leaned forward, his smile reaching his eyes.
“I’m not alone now.” He sat back and took a sip of his wine, his eyes sparkling in the candlelight. He waited until she had sipped from her own goblet before he placed his on the table and reached for the basket of fresh bread. “Tell me about your day, Morgana.”
Morgana shook her head and laughed. “I’m sure you know all about my day, Sire.”
“I know that you are not nearly as rested as you’d have me to believe.” Uther countered as his long fingers removed the crust from a slice of the bread. “And please...no titles tonight.”
“As you wish.” Morgana replied with a broad smile.
Uther chewed a piece of the soft bread that was underneath the crusty shell and returned her smile. “I have an idea that you and Gwen got into some sort of mischief. You normally do.”
She laughed and cut a piece of cheese from a wedge on the platter. “No mischief. Just me being difficult.”
Amusement brightened Uther’s eyes. “Surely not.”
Morgana was tempted to throw the cheese at him as she laughed again. She would have had it been Arthur, but it wasn’t. It was Uther...the man who could hold her heart if he so chose.
So instead, she ate the cheese...and then set about telling him of her day since she had left his chambers earlier. He listened carefully, laughing at the appropriate times and surprising her with his teasing tone.
She wasn’t sure what surprised her most, Uther’s relaxed state or her own. As she watched him refill her goblet, she realized that what had truly surprised her most was the fact that they were both relaxed...in one another’s presence.
She couldn’t remember the last time they had been alone...and relaxed. But she was determined to make the most of it. Who knew when the situation would arise once more?
* * *
“I should go.” Morgana stated with a sigh as she looked out at the full moon.
Uther stood to the side, leaning against the stone wall...watching her watch nothing. “You could stay.”
“It’s late. Very late.” She whispered as she shivered from a sudden chill. “The castle sleeps.”
“But we do not.” He offered, pushing from the wall when she turned to look at him. “And I would very much like you to stay for a while longer.”
He didn’t bother trying to hide the desire in his eyes, there was no point now. That point had gone when she had stood up earlier, the wine affecting her balance and causing her to fall onto his lap while he still sat in his chair. His arms had not hesitated in moving around her...and her breath had been so warm, so sweet from the wine. And neither of them had stopped him when he leaned into her and brushed his lips across hers.
“Come to me.” He said, extending his hand to her.
She took it with no further urging and allowed him to pull her closer to him...away from the window. She didn’t need to ask why. Though it was dark, the moon was full and bright...bright enough that even without the candles, the chambers would’ve been bathed in moonlight. And the people of Camelot had a habit of watching the castle gates close on nights such as these. There was the chance that they would be seen and that would be improper. Not that what she was feeling now was at all proper.
She gasped as he gently turned her and pressed her back against the wall. His eyes darted to her lips before he stared into her eyes.
“If this is truly not what you want, then say so now.” His fingers glided over her smooth cheek and down the side of her neck. “But your desire burns bright in your eyes...smoulders under your skin. Allow me to ease your ache, Morgana.”
She swallowed with difficulty, lifting her hand to his chest and feeling his heart pound under her touch. “And what of your ache, my Lord?”
A growl rumbled in his chest as he covered her mouth with his. As she responded to the kiss, returning it with as much passion as he was giving, he manuevered her towards the four-poster bed.
She was aware of him pulling her from the wall. She was dimly aware of the fact that they were moving across the room, though the sensation of his tongue stroking hers was taking precedence at the moment.
It was only when she felt the backs of her legs hit the thick mattress on his bed that she tore her mouth from the kiss and stared into his eyes. She lifted a trembling hand and touched her fingers to her swollen and tingling lips.
“Stay with me. Just for a while longer.” Uther whispered, sliding his hands down to her hips. “We need not take this any further tonight. I’ll not force you, Morgana.”
She nodded slowly, allowing him to lay her down across the mattress. He removed her shoes before pulling his boots off and lowering his body next to hers.
He felt her tense as he draped his arm over her. He looked at her curiously and asked the question that he was sure there would be no correct answer for.
“Have you never rested in a man’s arms...in his bed?”
“Never my King’s.” She answered, willing herself to relax...knowing that Uther may be capable of many things, but physically hurting her was not one of them.
He was quiet for a moment and continued only when she moved closer to him, resting her cheek against his chest. He placed a kiss on the top her head and slid his hand to her lower back.
“Am I only your King?”
“I don’t think you have ever been only my King.” She mumbled into the soft fabric of his tunic.
He rolled onto his back, curling his arm around her as her lips found his chin. He closed his eyes when her hands began to explore his torso, his hand pressing flat against her back.
“Yes, my Lord?” She responded huskily, gliding her lips along his jaw.
The husky tone of her voice made him tremble lightly, causing her to lift her head and look down at him curiously. As his eyes opened, his passion for her shining in his darkened irises, she placed her hand on his chest. He trembled again.
His brow furrowed at the concern he could hear in her voice as well as see in her eyes. “Have you never felt a man tremble from your touch?”
When she shook her head, he smiled and ran his fingers through her long, dark hair. “This is no cause for alarm. I should ask again...have you lain with a man in passion?”
“No.” She replied, her eyes darting to his Adam’s apple as he swallowed hard. “There was one time when I came close...but you threatened to have his head.”
Uther stared at her. “You were but sixteen then. There have been no others?”
“None who were brave enough to face the King. I made a promise that I would not give myself to someone if he could not stand before you.”
“Why would you make such a promise? And to whom?” Uther asked, intrigued by her statement.
“Because if a man couldn’t gain your respect, how could I give him mine?” She leaned down and placed a tender kiss on his lips before answering the second part of his question. “And the promise was to myself.”
When his furrowed brow smoothed, she smiled and traced the scar on his forehead with her fingertip. “Would you stand before yourself right now, Uther Pendragon?”
“I would.” He breathed, aching to feel her lips on his skin once more.
“Only to have me in your bed?”
When he hesitated in his answer, she pushed herself up and exhaled deeply. “I apologize, my Lord. That was not an appropriate question.”
Uther sat up as well, shifting uncomfortably as he silently willed his arousal to ease. “It was a question that you should have asked...even if you were asking your King.”
Morgana lowered her eyes from his and carefully moved from his bed, using her hands to smooth the wrinkles from her blue gown. “I should go, Sire.”
As she turned and hastily made her way to the door, Uther clambered out of bed and ran after her. “Morgana...”
She stopped, but didn’t turn towards him.
“The answer is no.” He took a deep breath and closed the gap between them as she finally turned to face him. “I would much prefer more than what a night with you in my bed would give me.”
He swallowed thickly and rubbed the side of his neck with his hand. “I’ve never been particularly good with words of the heart. In fact, Igraine laughed at me more than once for my inability to simply say ‘I love you’.”
Morgana’s eyes widened. Uther rarely mentioned his wife...and she couldn’t remember a time when he had mentioned her with a smile on his face.
“The truth of the matter is that I had only ever loved...truly loved...one person until I sat by your bed, your hand held in mine, praying that I’d have the chance to tell you what you mean to me.”
“Oh...” She gasped as he lifted his hand to the side of her face.
“I have that chance now, yes?”
She nodded wordlessly, tears forming in her eyes as his thumb stroked her cheek.
“Everything, Morgana. You mean everything to me.”
From anyone else, she would have expected more. She would have expected long, flowing declarations of love and promises of a long and happy future together. But, Uther Pendragon was not ‘anyone else’...and his simple words were more heartfelt than any declaration he could have given her.
And then she moved back into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her cheek against his chest.
“Edwin was wrong.”
Uther looked down at her, his green eyes questioning her as she raised her eyes to his.
“Arthur said that Edwin proclaimed to have a remedy to cure all ills.” She shook her head as Uther gave her a gentle nod. “He was wrong. The real remedy? You’ve just given that to me.”
She leaned up on her tiptoes and captured his mouth in a loving kiss. She pulled away before it spiralled out of control again, smiling as she stepped out of his embrace and reached for the door.
“If this is true, if what we both feel is honest...I don’t want to hide in the shadows.”
“Nor do I.” Uther stated softly, glancing at the door as she opened it. “Must you leave tonight?”
“It’s for the best.” She replied, reluctance heavy in her words as she stepped into the hallway.
He breathed a heavy sigh as he stood in the doorway, glancing first to his left then to his right only to find that they were alone. “Very well.”
“Goodnight, my Lord.” She whispered before turning to walk down the hall that led to her chambers.
Her motion was stopped, however, when Uther wrapped his hand around her wrist and turned her back around to face him. She had no time to question him before his mouth covered hers and his tongue nudged its way between her lips. The kiss was hungry, full of the promises that he hadn’t been able to speak, and far too short for Morgana’s liking.
His fingers trailed down her cheek as he ended the kiss and smiled down at her. “Goodnight, my love.”
And with that, he turned and walked back into his chambers...softly closing the door behind him. She stood there for a moment, staring at the door in wonder. And then, with a smile on her face, she turned and made her way down the hall...oblivious to the two shadows lurking on the other side of the archway at the end of the hall.
Arthur peered down the hall, his eyes wide with surprise.
“Is it safe now?”
Arthur rolled his eyes and stepped into the hallway. “Shut up, Merlin.”
Merlin followed him, keeping his voice to a whisper. “That was Uther and Morgana!”
Arthur stopped and stared at his servant. “I’m not blind.”
“But...did you know?”
Arthur shook his head, glancing at his father’s door before grabbing Merlin’s arm and dragging him back into the shadows just as the door opened and Uther stepped into the hallway, a pair of Morgana’s shoes in his hand.
Arthur was sure that he heard his father humming as he strode with purpose down the hall. He couldn’t remember the last time he had actually heard his father hum. And that’s when it occurred to him that for the first time in many years, his father was happy.
Arthur smiled as he watched his father turn the corner. “Morgana might very well be the best thing that has entered Father’s life since my mother.”
Merlin shook his head, following Arthur down the hall. One day he’d tell Arthur that he believed that Arthur himself was the best thing that had entered Uther’s life. But not tonight...he was tired. It had been a long day.
And judging from the display they had just witnessed, tomorrow might be just as long. Morgana would probably hate it, but a formal announcement would need to be made concerning the King’s change in relationship status. It was tradition...and Uther was definitely traditional.
He smiled to himself while Arthur continued mumbling as they walked through the halls.
Maybe Morgana would eventually even be able to change Uther’s mind when it came to magick. Uther was stubborn...but so was Morgana.
His groan was stifled as Arthur slammed him against the wall and slapped his hand over his mouth. His eyes widened as he followed Arthur’s line of vision.
Morgana’s shoes were on the floor, obviously having just been dropped from Uther’s hand. Her arms were around his neck, his hands were on her hips...and the kiss was so passionate that Merlin wasn’t sure that either of them realized they were still standing in the hallway.
Just as that thought crossed his mind, Uther gently pushed Morgana through the doorway and closed the door behind them.
Arthur lowered his hand from Merlin’s mouth. Merlin said nothing, but the smile on his face said it all.
There was definitely hope for Camelot.