Title: The Truth is Written on Your Skin
Pairing/s: Gwen/Lancelot, Arthur/Gwen
Character/s: Gwen, Morgana, Lancelot, Arthur, Merlin, Gaius
Summary: When Gwen was a little girl, she felt like one of the lucky ones. She had been born with her soulmark; a short sentence written on her skin in her soulmates handwriting.
It meant that her soulmate was out there.
Some people were born without a soulmark and spent their whole lives waiting for it to come into existence. Some people never got one. That meant that had died before their soulmate existed, or their soulmate had died before they’d been born. Two souls that were out of synch and would have to wait for their next lives to connect again.
Gwen was glad that she was one of the lucky ones.
Word Count: 1,500 (sorry!)
Prompt: #365 - Writing on the body
Author's Notes: Been a while since I did this. And Arwen fic from moi? I know. Go ahead and faint. Although I should warn it's rather sad and hints at Merthur at the end.
When Gwen was a little girl, she felt like one of the lucky ones. She had been born with her soulmark. A short sentence written on her skin in her soulmates handwriting.
It meant that her soulmate was out there.
Some people were born without a soulmark and spent their whole lives waiting for it to come into existence. Some people never got one. That meant that had died before their soulmate existed, or their soulmate had died before they’d been born. Two souls that were out of synch and would have to wait until their next lives to connect again.
Gwen was glad that she was one of the lucky ones.
The first time Gwen saw Morgana’s soulmark she had been crushed. She had fallen for the the beautiful ward of Uther Pendragon from the moment she’d first laid eyes on her. She had been sure that the Lady Morgana was the one. Much like she had thought the now Sir Leon was the one back when she had been a little girl.
Morgana’s soulmark had been as beautiful as she was, long flowing words, elegantly penned, and certainly not Gwen’s handwriting.
After Morgana, there had been Lancelot, and yet again, Gwen had been sure. Certain that he was the one.
But he had left before she could ask to see his soulmark and share hers in return.
And then there had been Arthur.
Gwen hadn’t been sure exactly what it was she felt for him. But there was definitely a respect and a kindness to his manner that thrilled her soul. Perhaps that was love? But only time would tell, for it would have been unbecoming to have asked a prince to show her his soulmark and it was unbecoming of a lady to show her soulmark to a man. Another part of her was scared that Arthur might have none—meaning that he couldn’t be her soulmate—so she refrained from asking.
By chance, she and Lancelot were brought back together again when he had rescued her from Hengist’s grasp, only for him to leave her confused and abandoned with Merlin and Arthur the next morning.
Not to be deterred, Gwen held her head high. If he had left her like that, surely Lancelot was not her soulmate.
She carried on with Arthur, picking up where they had left off with their tentative courtship. It was refreshing to have someone else do the chasing for once and she would be lying if she didn’t appreciate the attention. She tried to gain letters written by Arthur’s hand, to check if her own soulmark was his writing, but all the papers she found in his room were written in Merlin’s clean, sharp print and then signed with Arthur’s royal flourish of a signature.
No clues there.
Then all hell had broken loose and Morgana seized the throne. Lancelot returned and Gwen had been left more confused than ever as her old feelings came flooding back again.
But she stood strong with Arthur, after all, he was not the one who had let her down twice. He was dependable. A reliable bet. Surely Arthur’s soulmark had to written in her own hand.
After the siege and subsequent recapture of Camelot, things gradually returned to their normal rhythm. Though the fact that Lancelot had returned to Camelot as one of Arthur’s knights, and Uther was a broken man, tickled at the back of Gwen’s mind.
She did not see much of Lancelot, despite being in the same castle. He trained hard and kept to the other round table knights for company.
Life carried on, as it always does, despite the threat of Morgana that loomed over them all.
Finally, she struck, and a plague of ghosts—Dorocha—Gaius called them, attacked Camelot and the lands beyond. A tear in the veil between worlds needed to be closed and a sacrifice made.
Her heart leapt into her throat when she realised that Arthur, with whom she’d found a steadfast companionship and a deep abiding love, planned to sacrifice himself.
Just before they left, she found him—Lancelot. She made him promise to protect Arthur with his life and he gladly gave his word to her that he would. Her heart calmed and she found she could breathe again.
Arthur would be safe, she was sure of it.
She knew that she could trust the dark-eyed knight with whom she could have lost her heart, if she had allowed it.
There were several terrible nights then, where they suffered many losses to the ghosts. The first night, Gwen very nearly lost her life herself. Fortunately she’d been saved just in time by Gaius.
The second night, Gwen waited impatiently within brightly lit rooms, her heart fluttering as she pulled up her sleeve to check that her soulmark was still there. So long as it was, Arthur was safe.
The last night was much the same. She helped as much as she could, but it had been generally agreed that it was best that everyone stayed inside and kept together. Gwen kept vigil with the old physician.
They all felt when it happened. It was like a shifting beneath their feet, the world had righted itself. Gwen wiped at her face, a strange tickling on her cheeks, and was surprised to find she was crying.
Relief. She told herself.
Relief that it was done, and Arthur was safe.
She scrambled to pull up her sleeve and held her elbow closer to a candle to look at her soulmark, three simple words: thank you, Guinevere.
She moved to get closer still to some light, scratching desperately at her skin when she could no longer see it.
Then it hit her like a punch to the gut, pain wrenching through her heart, leaving her feeling bereft.
No, no. no.
It wasn’t gone. It couldn’t be gone.
Lancelot had promised her.
He had promised he would look after Arthur. He had promised he would bring him home. He had promised with his life!
A sob burst out from her, drawing the attention of Gaius. The kindly old man asked what the matter was and it all came pouring out.
He had comforted her and reassured her. He had told her Arthur lived. That he was certain of it. Gwen had wanted to know how he could be so sure. The way he had said it made her doubt herself. She pressed him for details, but the physician refused to say more.
The next day, Arthur, Merlin, and the knights returned. Gwen’s heart was glad. But she couldn’t understand why or how. It puzzled her. She looked over the returning men and her stomach lurched suddenly and she lost her breakfast.
Lancelot was not there.
That must mean… but how? He had left her... She had fled then to her own home, to be safe from prying eyes when she wept for her lost soulmate.
With Lancelot gone, there wasn’t anything to lose. So when Arthur asked, Gwen accepted, glad that he still wanted her, despite the fact that she now knew they were not soulmates.
Perhaps Arthur had no soulmark. Perhaps his soulmate was long dead. Or perhaps she would never be born. If that was the case, Gwen was doing them both a favour by saying yes. She and Arthur might not ever know the deep down contentment and fulfillment of being with your true soulmate, but they could love each other and be loved in returned, and that would have to be enough.
Just when Gwen had made her peace and readied herself to marry Arthur, Lancelot returned again. It made her curious. It had made her err. Perhaps she had been wrong about them being soulmates after all, because her soulmark was still gone.
Lancelot had gifted her a bracelet and Gwen didn’t remember much more after that. Not until Arthur was there, yelling at her, angry and hurt.
Arthur banished her and she had left willingly. She was not worthy of his love if she could be so easily swayed by Lancelot, who apparently was not her soulmate after all.
She supposed they must have been some poor soul taken by the Dorocha that same night as Lancelot's supposed death. Therefore, did it really matter where she went and whom she married?
She stayed with Hunith—Merlin’s mother—and she’d been contented with the simple farming life. She started to think about finding someone to settle down with and love, when Arthur barrelled into her life again, this time pursued by Agravaine rather than Morgana.
The whole ordeal had been enough for them both and they had taken each other back.
Her wedding night was the first time that she ever saw it.
Arthur had taken her innocence and gone to change into a shirt when she spotted it.
On the side of his hip written in Merlin’s clean, crisp script; Who do you think you are? The King?.