Title: Missing Scene from The Last Dragonlord (Yeah, I suck at titles.)
Rating: G, maybe a slight PG
Characters/Pairings: Arthur/Gwen, Merlin, Gaius
Spoilers: For The Last Dragonlord
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not a thing. Sadly.
Summary: I was disappointed we didn't get to see a "Gwen and Arthur say goodbye before he faces the dragon" scene. So here's my humble attempt. Hope you like!
Arthur swallowed the lump of fierce pride in his throat.
"We ride in one hour's time. Go now," he said as he turned in a slow circle, meeting the eyes of each and every one of the brave knights surrounding him. "Say your goodbyes," he added quietly.
The knights dispersed and Arthur crossed to join Merlin who stood waiting near the chamber door. "I'll need my armor."
"Of course, sire."
They turned as one and walked in silence towards Arthur's chambers. Halfway up the main stairs, Arthur came to an abrupt halt. Merlin sent him an inquiring look. "Arthur?"
Arthur met his eyes. "I have my own goodbyes to say."
Merlin nodded. "I'll prepare your armor."
Arthur hurried to the large chamber set aside for those wounded by the Great Dragon's attacks and swept the room with a searching look. Disappointment surged through him. She was not there.
Arthur turned to find Gaius standing behind him. "Gaius. Where - that is, how is everyone?"
"I believe we won't lose any more, my lord."
Arthur nodded. "Excellent."
Gaius considered Arthur for a moment before adding, "I am very lucky to have Guinevere to help me."
"Good. Good." Arthur glanced around the room again.
"She has worked tirelessly to help these people." Gaius gave him a small smile. "I sent her home to rest, my lord."
Arthur met the physician's eyes, seeing in them knowledge and acceptance. "Thank you, Gaius."
Gaius bowed his head without another word, and Arthur turned and ran out of the castle. Knowing he would only have a few precious minutes, he raced across the courtyard, ignoring the curious looks of the guards and townspeople, not slowing until he came to her house. He paused before her door and took a deep breath before rapping twice. The seconds he waited seemed an eternity, but then the door opened and she was there, weariness replaced by surprise on her face.
"Arthur!" A brilliant smile lit her face. "You've returned." She added a belated, "My lord."
"May I come in?" he asked.
Her smile faded at his solemn tone. "Of course, sire," she said, stepping aside and widening the door.
Arthur stepped through and walked to the center of the room, turning to watch as she closed the door, drinking in every detail of her he could, the slightly rumpled curl of her hair, the soft curve of her cheek, the warm, puzzled brown of her eyes.
Gwen smooth her skirts as she walked to stand before him. "Arthur? What is it?" Worry crept into her voice.
"The dragonlord was killed on the way here."
Sorrow filled her face. "Oh, no."
"My knights and I ride to face the dragon beyond the castle walls in one hour."
Stunned, she shook her head. "But...That's suicide."
"It is unlikely we will return," he agreed.
Tears welled in her eyes. "But..."
He clasped his hands behind his back, squaring his shoulders and raising his eyes to a point slightly above her head, unable to bear the pain he was causing her. "I will make arrangements with Gaius for you to continue to have a position with him. He'll have you moved into the castle. You will be safer there. And you'll want for nothing."
"Don't talk like that," she said, stepping closer to him. When he continued to look away from her, she placed one hand lightly on his chest and waited until he lowered his eyes to hers. "You will find a way to defeat this dragon. You always find a way."
He looked from the determination in her eyes to the small hand against his chest. She moved to snatch her hand away and he caught it in both of his, holding it firmly against his heart, smiling at the chagrin evident on her face.
"You really do have quite a lot of faith in me, don't you?"
She pressed her lips together and gave him a succinct nod. "Yes, I do."
He raised her hand, bowing his head to brush a soft kiss across the backs of her fingers. "Then I shall do all in my power to make myself worthy of that faith."
He lowered her hand but kept it clasped in his, needing to feel her for those last few moments. Unspeaking, they stared at each other, until he squeezed her hand gently one last time and released it.
"I must go."
He turned and had one hand on the door when she called his name. He stayed with his back, not sure he could bear it if she asked him to stay, and she slid between his body and the door. Her hands cupped his face and then her lips were on his in a desperate kiss. He had barely managed to wrap his arms around her trembling body before she ripped her mouth from his and pressed closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He hugged her tight, burying his face in her neck, taking in the warm, clean smell of her hair, memorizing every detail of the soft, womanly feel of her.
"Come back to me," she said, a fiercely whispered command in his ear.
He nodded against her neck and she pulled back from him, staring up at him with steely resolve. She lowered her arms and stepped several feet away from him. He looked at her one last time, standing there in the sunlight shining through the window, her hands clasped before her, back straight, no hint of fear anywhere about her. He thought his heart might burst with the love he felt for this woman, so brave and strong. A woman who would make an amazing queen.
He bowed his head to her and walked out the door.
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