Title: Hope for the King
Timeline: S1, AU. A sequel to Explorations.
Synopsis: Morgana gives Uther an answer...and something else to think about.
Author’s Note: Special thanks to fairygothmum for going over this for me!
Uther smiled softly as Morgana bent down to sniff one of the many roses in the garden. They had planned on exploring the forests to the west of the castle, but Morgana had wanted to stop off in this particular garden. And it had not been in Uther’s heart to tell her no.
It was a beautiful day, warm but not overly hot and not a cloud in the sky. Of course, had it been pouring rain, he still would’ve thought that it was a beautiful day as Morgana perused the rose bushes.
He glanced back towards the castle as he removed his gloves and tucked them into his leather belt. He was hopeful that her decision to take a walk after breakfast would mean an acceptance of his sudden morning proposal. Though he was hopeful, his hands still trembled lightly with his anxiety.
Morgana turned to him, a peach-colored rose carefully held between her fingers. “How beautiful is this?”
“It pales in comparison to your beauty.” Uther responded sincerely, lifting his hand to run his fingers through her dark hair. “However, that is my favourite rose in this garden. I had these bushes planted the day after your arrival in Camelot.”
“Really?” She asked in a surprised tone.
He nodded slowly, resting his hand on her shoulder and allowing his thumb to rub her collarbone. “They reminded me of you.”
He smiled shyly at her and then cast his eyes around the garden. “Of course, at the time I didn’t realize that my affection for you would grow into what it has.”
“I find a large amount of comfort in that statement.” Morgana responded with a gentle laugh, sliding her right hand over the soft maroon tunic he wore underneath the worn leather cloak. “May I have a kiss, my Lord?”
His smile shone in his eyes as he met her gaze. “You need not ask, Ana. Though we have discussed the use of titles, have we not?”
“Mm-hm...but what am I to call you until I’m able to call you ‘Husband’?”
Uther’s eyes widened, his thumb ceasing its movement on her collarbone. “Husband?”
“You did ask me to be your Queen...” Morgana responded with a smile.
“Your answer is yes?”
She tilted her head slightly, moving her hand from his chest to the side of his face in a tender caress. “Were you expecting a different answer?”
“I...was hopeful for acceptance, but wasn’t anticipating....”
“I’m in love with you, Uther Pendragon.” Morgana whispered, staring into his eyes. “I never considered any other answer.”
“And you’re certain this is what you want?” He asked softly, cradling her face between his large hands. “To be tethered to a man despised by so many?”
She furrowed her brow in confusion. “Have you changed your mind? Do you not want me as your Queen?”
“Oh, no...I want that very much, Ana.” He sighed and lowered his head, brushing his lips across hers. “But, you could have your choice of any man in this kingdom...and beyond. Yet...you choose me?”
“It’s always been you, Uther.” Her fingers lightly stroked the soft hair above his ear as she leaned up to kiss him again. “Always...”
Uther prided himself on his ability to maintain control...over his kingdom, his armies. However, there were two aspects of his life that he had never been able to control...his temper and his son. He was quickly learning that his love for Morgana was completely out of his control as well.
As their kiss deepened, he suspected this to be fact when he heard the soft thump of his cloak landing on the ground at his feet. He knew this to be fact when he felt her fingers remove his crown and carefully drop it atop the cloak as their tongues battled for control of the kiss.
As his hands moved to her hips, she relinquished her control to him...relishing the sensation of his tongue stroking hers, his large hands holding her tightly against his burgeoning erection.
The rose dropped from her left hand as he stepped forward, effectively pushing her backwards towards the stone wall surrounding the garden. It was only when he picked her up, the palm of his right hand resting against the rough stone as she pulled her dress up to her knees and wrapped her legs around him, that he remembered where they were.
Morgana whimpered as he ended the kiss, pulling back just far enough to stare at her through passion-glazed eyes. “Uther...”
“We can’t, Ana. Not here...not now.” He swallowed thickly as he rubbed his thumb over her kiss-swollen bottom lip. “I’ll deem this garden off-limits to everyone as soon as we return to the palace, but – ”
He smiled, fighting the urge to rock his hips against her. “The royal gardener will have access for one hour a day. The rest of the time, this garden is ours...and ours alone.”
He cleared his throat and heaved a heavy sigh. “Therefore, the next time we’re in a predicament such as this...we’ll need not stop.”
“Do we need to stop now?” Morgana ask with a gentle pout as Uther carefully extricated himself from her embrace and lowered her back to the ground.
“We do.” Uther stated, a sadness in his tone that surprised Morgana.
“What’s wrong, Uther?”
He licked his lips and ran the backs of his fingers over her cheek. “I would much rather continue.”
She offered him a warm smile as she leaned into his touch. “You look different without your crown.”
“Mm...” She murmured, slipping her arms around his waist and pressing her cheek against his chest.
“Different how?” He queried, returning her hug with a fierce one of his own.
“The crown is a symbol of your power...”
He arched an eyebrow. “And I look powerless without it?”
Morgana laughed, shaking her head as she looked up at him. “I’m sure you could never look powerless, Uther. Your power is in your blood...your eyes...your gait. But, with your crown you also look somewhat...unreasonable.”
“Unreasonable? That is a word I’ve yet to hear as a description of me. The common term seems to be ‘tyrannical’.”
Even though he smiled, she could see the concern in his eyes. “You do what you feel is best for Camelot. That is without doubt.”
Uther took a deep breath and stepped out of her embrace. “You feel differently? That what I do is not for the greater good of the kingdom?”
Morgana considered her next words carefully. The last thing she wanted was to anger the King...and she wanted to anger her lover even less.
“I think...that perhaps you place too much blame on magick. And...maybe some of your decisions are made in haste due to your fear of magick.” Seeing the flash in his darkened green eyes, she quickly continued. “I understand your reasons, Uther. I may not agree with them...but, I do understand your fear and...hate. Your people...the people of Camelot...they hear only stories, legends. They don’t know the truth...and so they don’t understand.”
“You’d have me change the law of Camelot?” Uther asked, his voice rumbling with controlled anger. “To ignore the practice of magicks in my kingdom?”
“No. Not ignore.” Morgana sighed and took a step forward, gazing into his eyes. “But, there is a difference between light and dark, Uther. Not all magick is evil...not all magick causes pain.”
Uther shook his head, sweeping his arm out in a vague gesture. “Look around you, Morgana. This kingdom would have fallen years ago had I not abolished magick. And though it has been deemed worthy of death, it is still practiced. Every single day there is someone out there in my kingdom...our kingdom...using magicks to cause harm to Camelot. And you’d have me look the other way?”
“People try to harm not Camelot, but you. They try to hurt you, Uther, because you’ve killed their sons...their daughters...their fathers and mothers. You blame them for Igraine’s death instead of placing the blame where it truly lies.”
“And where should I place the blame, Morgana?” Uther growled, his eyes narrowing as his rage grew. “On Nimueh for performing the spell? On Arthur for being born a healthy child? On Gaius for his assistance? On – ”
“On you, Uther! The blame is on you for your wife’s death!” Morgana blurted in her own anger. “You summoned Nimueh...you accepted her help – ”
Uther’s eyes blazed as he took a step forward. “You’d do well to hold your tongue, Morgana. You know nothing of what happened.”
“What would you do if it were me, Uther?” Morgana countered, determination in her eyes. “If I were to perform a spell right here, right now in front of you...would you have me sentenced to death?”
“Do not – ”
“You say you love me. You say you want me to be your wife, your Queen. You’ve come to my bed, warmed my body with yours...but, you’d still rather see me dead if I – ”
“Enough!” Uther bellowed, turning his back to her as he tried to calm himself. “You do not understand, Morgana. As much as you would like to think otherwise, you do not understand.”
“Then explain to me!” Morgana yelled, her eyes filling with tears. “Make me understand, Uther!”
He spun around, ready to allow his control to slip...and pausing when he saw her tears. He clenched his jaw and averted his eyes from her.
“You are the one person, Morgana...” He closed his eyes briefly, forcing his control back into place.
“The one person for what?”
He opened his eyes and looked at her just in time to see a tear spill down her cheek.
“The one person I could never punish.” He whispered, lifting a trembling hand to wipe away the tear. “The one person who could make me question myself and the way I rule this kingdom. The one person who I could love without condition, without doubt. And this frightens me...because you are the one person who could...”
“Who could what, Uther?” She whispered as he trailed off, more than surprised to see his eyes glisten with unshed tears. “Please talk to me.”
“You are everything to me, Morgana. And I would give you anything...and everything. I would change anything to make you happy...and what kind of King would that make me?”
“What kind of Queen would it make me to expect you to change?” She responded softly, her anger leaving as suddenly as it had appeared. “I fell in love with you for you...the way you are now and have been for as long as I’ve known you, not for what I want you to be.”
She wiped the tears from her eyes as she continued.
“I worry that your vengeance will be your downfall. I don’t want to lose you to a mother whose son you’ve murdered for using magick to help his crops...or some other minor, benevolent reason.”
Silence fell over them for a few moments. Just as Morgana was feeling that she should leave the garden, Uther exhaled a deep breath and then cleared his throat.
“I...I’m not sure of where this conversation is leading. Or where it has been, for that matter.” Uther stated quietly, glancing up at the blue sky. “I do blame myself for Igraine’s death. Nimueh promised me a healthy heir. What she neglected to include was the fact that my heir’s health would come from his mother. Had I been told that Igraine would...if I had known, my decision would have been very different.”
Morgana placed her hand on his forearm and gave him a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “Not all magick is evil, Uther. Not all sorcerers are dishonest. Some genuinely want to help people. Please try not to discount them all as worthless.”
He nodded absently and bent to pick up the rose she had dropped earlier. His fingers quickly stripped the stem of its thorns. He met her eyes as he handed the rose back to her.
“I can only promise to try, my Lady.”
She smiled as she accepted the flower. “I would ask nothing more, my Lord.”
He rolled his eyes at her words, the tension of the situation fading away as she bent down to retrieve his crown and cloak. He took the cloak first, fastening it into place before pulling his gloves from his belt. He glanced at the crown in her hand and then gave her a warm smile as he gently took it from her.
“Perhaps I’ll go a day without wearing it.”
“You look very...reasonable.” She replied with a grin as she slipped her free hand into his and leaned up to place a tender kiss on his lips. “In response to your earlier question...I can think of no other person I’d rather be ‘tethered’ to.”
He chuckled softly and led her out of the garden, making a mental note to send word to the gardener to harvest the roses and place them in Morgana’s room as a surprise. When he glanced back at the garden, Morgana looked up at him questioningly.
“Is everything alright, Uther?”
He nodded slowly and then met her eyes. “I want to lay with you...in the garden I had built for you. I want to feel your warmth surround me as the perfumed scents of your roses...”
He swallowed hard as he trailed off, combing his fingers through her hair. “I want so much to be inside of you at this very moment.”
She grinned as she brushed her fingertips over the bulge hidden by his tunic and cloak. “Then...perhaps we should return to the castle as quickly as we can?”
His eyes darted to her breasts, a soft groan rumbling in his chest as she continued to caress him. “Quickly, my love.”
With a wink, she gave him a passionate, but all too brief, kiss and then let go of his hand. She gathered her dress and took off in a run down the path that led the way back to the castle. Uther watched her for a moment, a smile playing at his lips.
For the first time in many years, he felt hope. Hope for the King he could possibly become...with the help of her. His lover...his soon-to-be Queen...his Ana. She could help him become a better man, a better father, a better King.
His thoughts trailed off as she turned around and grinned brightly at him, calling his name in a way that made him want to catch her and pull her down to the ground right here and not worry about who might see them. And when she blew him a kiss, he tightened his grip on the crown in his hand and took off after her.
He could ponder the thoughts of hope later. Right now, he’d much rather ponder thoughts of a more carnal nature.