Title: Little Beasts (3)
Character/s: Arthur, Morgana
Summary: Arthur takes his first step.
Warnings: organized crime, language
Word Count: 1k
Prompt: #254: You’ll be Back
Author's Notes: Previous parts: One | Two.
Arthur finds Morgana out in the garden, enjoying their surroundings, her eyes shielded behind sunglasses. The sky is a miserable grey, bits of sunshine fighting their way through the clouds, illuminating the day with faint discoloured light. He blinks blearily up at the sky trying to get used to so much brightness. At least he’s better rested, less forlorn. Though sleep still clings to his body, it's a pleasant feeling. His muscles relaxed, skin warm.
He joins Morgana pulling out a chair, the metal legs trampling the grass beneath. She doesn't breathe a word, Arthur knows his sister well enough to recognize her silence for what it is: solace. He accepts with equal silence. Taking a piece of toast and the jam he settles down. The crisp air helps him relax, clear his mind from pervasive thoughts.
Morgana pulls her sunglasses down supporting them on the bridge of her nose, peers at him above expensive plastic, one elegant eyebrow lifting in amusement.
“I thought you were going to sleep the day away,” she comments.
“Huh?” Arthur is distractedly munching on his toast, finally aware he was starving. “Why?”
“I went by your room earlier today, intent on waking you up. You never answered and I thought it was best if I let you rest. Last night you gave me the impression of being worn out," she explains, an edge of worry clear on her tone. Arthur hides a frown. "It’s almost twelve in the afternoon.”
Arthur wipes his hands on a napkin, he didn't realize it was this late, the morning practically gone. He's avoided looking at his mobile, wanting to put distance between the world and him. He doesn't need a reminder of life beyond Camelot, far away from this garden, not right now, Maybe tomorrow. Last night he shut down his mind, he was free from dreams and nightmares. His body gave in to the chemicals. It's no surprise he was gone to the world.
"You should've insisted a bit more."
"I figured it was better I left. These past few days have been rough."
That's the understatment of the fucking century. He'd like to erase at least a hundred memories.
He nods granting her a small gesture of honesty. Morgana smiles, pushes a hot cup of tea under his nose. "I asked Alice to make this for you. It's your favourite, exactly how you like it. You have excellent timing."
This is easy, uncomplicated, making small talk with his sister, sharing a cup of tea and pressing silences that come and go. He inhales the clean cold air pleasently different from London's. The quietness that surrounds them allows him to revel in the sounds of the wind, the rustling of leaves.
What comes next won't ever be easy.
Bracing himself he clears his throat. Morgana's covered gaze settles on him, making it easier for him to speak. "What's on the agenda today then?"
"Arthur, I wasn't expecting you—" Morgana says unable to mask her shock. She probably assumed he'd keep hiding. She'd let him. Her fierce protectiveness kicks in. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
"No, I'm not—but I need to, Morgana," he says resolute. Whether he likes it or not, this is his legacy and he made a promise to his father. Arthur plans keeping it.
"Very well, I support your decision," Morgana assures him. "You should get ready, then. We have business to settle with Cenred and his men."
Arthur massages his temples willing the incoming headache to dissapear, the tightening around his head doesn't improve, neither does the pressure against his neck's muscles. He turns to Morgana, she looks like she'd love nothing more than stab her stilettos straight through Cenred's heart. At first sight, in her impeccable black dress and high heels Morgana seems to belong more at a fashion event than at a Council meeting surrounded by the most dangerous and violent people in the area. It's an illusion, she's the most vicious of them all.
"You're this close to ending up on a ditch somewhere," Morgana warns through gritted teeth, Arthur puts a hand on her left shoulder trying to calm her. "I'm okay," she says sounding anything but.
Cenred's wearing an obnoxious grin, acting like a smug bastard. Thinking he already won. "Threats will leads us nowhere, but if you want we could make this business meeting more pleasurable for both of us."
Morgana's on her feet in an instant grabbing Cenred by the neck of his shirt yanking him forward. "Unless you're looking forward to walking out of here with a black eye I suggest you limit your words."
Cenred chuckles falling back on his chair. Behind him his men are alert, ready to pull the trigger if necessary. Morgana's bodyguard, a man named Leon has also the stance of someone who's ready to fight. Lancelot and Gwaine—who's probably the most candid person he's met so far—remain close to him, keeping guard, one on each side.
"Very well, but I must warn you this is not going to be easy. My family wants the territory on the north," he says cold and calculating.
"That territory is ours. It belongs to Camelot, to my family. With these demands of yours you're threatening our accords," Arthur responds already done with Cenred.
"What accords? I don't remember you negotiating, if you want to keep the peace you can't deny me a single thing, Pendragon."
"For fucks sake! I won't give you anything, not now, not ever. I don't want you or any of your men making business in my domain, and I will know if you do," Arthur says, anger colouring his tone. He's surprised by his own words, the unwavering truth in them, their ferocity.
"You'll regret this," Cenred warns them. He slams the door behind him on his way out. The room is silent, charged with adrenaline and anger. Leon asks Morgana if she needs anything, she shakes her head no, a small smile blooms on her face.
"I can't believe I forgot how much I hate him," Arthur notes, he takes a deep breath unties his tie.
"Join the club," another voice answers. It belongs to Gwaine. Arthur chuckles, he's positive he likes him.
"Yeah, well. We need to do something about him."
"Obviously we do," Morgana says, a dangerous tinge to her words, "He's hungry with power, we can't let his ambition destroy father's work." She stops out of breath, cheeks red,
"I promised our father I'd make him proud, and I promise you I'll defend our family." As soon as Arthur says it he knows he will, even if he loses sleep and a part of himself on the way.
"Arthur, I'm here, we've been together through it all and this won't be the exception. We're Pendragons we never give up," she tells him, her voice softer.
"No, we don't. But, do you have any ideas that won't leads us to a war?"
Lance who had remained silent surveying the situation at hand, speaks up for the first time. "I might." All heads turn to him, he's in the spotlight.
"You do?" Gwaine asks surprised, Lance gives him a long meaningful look and something must transpire between them, because Gwaine's mouth falls open. "Oh,"
"What is it?" Arthur asks hating being on the dark.
Lance stares at him, doesn't say what he's thinking, his hesitation is not a good sign. Arthur's nerves will be destroyed by the end of today. "We know someone who could help us."
"Who?" Morgana and Arthur ask in unison.
Gwaine grins. "Have you ever heard about the dragon?"