Title: Like Falling Ashes
Character/s: Gwen, Lancelot
Summary: It's been years. But she doesn't forget.
Warnings: Mentions of past character death due to fire
Word Count: 673
Prompt: #86 - Autumn
Author's Notes: So I'm branching out of my comfort zone to write Lance/Gwen instead of Merlin/Arthur. I think this is my first drabble that doesn't feature them as the main pairing? It's kind of nice, though. I love Lance/Gwen, they're so lovely and sweet. This is a lot sadder, and shorter, than I'd been planning on, oops. But you know, it's all good in the end, I think. Enjoy?
Gwen idly stares out the window, the leaves falling slowly with each gentle breeze. They dance in a circle, in a spiral, tossed carelessly up and down as the wind catches them and then drops them again.
It shouldn't remind her of anything but Autumn, but it does.
She sees the fire, hears the crack of a burning structure, smells the smoke and feels the ashes on her clothes, in her hair. She hears herself screaming and feels the tears running down her cheeks as firetrucks blare their sirens behind her. There is nothing. Everything is burning, everything hurts—she can hardly breathe, can hardly see--
Gwen sighs, and closes her eyes.
“Something is wrong.”
Warm arms encircle her waist, and Lance presses a kiss to her hair. It's not a question, it's a statement, as if he can feel her sadness no matter where he is. He's always had that sense to him, she thinks. He's always been able to tell when she's not happy. Gwen leans back into him, holding onto him, and shrugs her shoulders. “Maybe.”
“Tell me about it,” Lance murmurs, voice soft and gentle, as it always is. “It might help.”
Gwen looks at the falling leaves of red and gold and brown outside again. “Is it silly that sometimes, Autumn makes me remember? How the falling leaves remind me of the ashes, and the fire, all those years ago?”
Lance makes a thoughtful noise in the back of his throat, and Gwen sighs, again. All those years ago, she'd lost her home, and her family in a fire accident. She'd been out at the movies with Merlin, Morgana, and Arthur at the time—hadn't even known Lance, and by time she'd gotten back home, police and firemen were already at the scene. No one had gotten out. They couldn't even tell what started the fire.
They had later told her that she would've likely died as well, if she hadn't been away from home. This didn't console her in the slightest at the time, nor was it a comfort now.
About a year or two had passed since that day, and Gwen had met Lance. He was everything she had needed—kind, noble, and sweet, not to mention caring. She loved him and he loved her, and when she'd told him what happened to her, he was nothing short of understanding.
“It's not silly at all,” he tells her honestly, spinning her around to face him. “It's understandable.”
“It doesn't feel like it,” Gwen says, interlocking their fingers. “It's been years. You'd think it'd be easier to just...not think about it, after so long. For me to move on. And yet, whenever the first sign of Autumn shows, I get sad, and I don't want to think about them...my family, but at the same time I do, because I love them...but it hurts, as well...”
“Everyone,” Lance starts, pressing a kiss to her hand. “Copes with grief differently. Everyone has their own way of moving on. There's nothing to be ashamed of in remembering. It makes you human, it makes you, you.”
He smiles, pressing a kiss to her forehead, her cheek, one at a time, and then her lips. “It's fine to feel sad about it. It's who you are. It's one of the many things I love about you. You care. You still, even now, love your family with a fierceness that no one else has.”
Gwen smiles, though somber, at this. Lance brushes a thumb along her cheek, and kisses her again, gentle and loving, as he always is. “We'll go visit their graves later, if you'd like.”
“I would,” she replies, pressing their foreheads together. “Like that, I mean. To go and visit. It's been a while.”
Lance grins. “Good,” he says. “But in the meantime, let's go back to the kitchen. I have cookies in the oven and wouldn't it be a shame if we couldn't decorate them?”
She laughs, and lets him take her by the hand, pulling her easily back into the kitchen.