Spoilers: Minor for 1x05
Summary: Set during 1x05. Sometimes it is better to look without seeing because it’s only when you truly realise what’s in front of you that you can become hopelessly lost.
“Tell me, do you think her...beautiful?”
He took his time over the word, trying to think of something less emotive, but concluding that there really was no adequate alternative. Part of him hated to admit it, to give the feelings he’d increasingly been unable to ignore both form and significance, but he couldn’t hide from it any longer.
When Morgana had first arrived at Camelot, several years ago now, she was a slender little thing with no discernable shape under her modest clothing. Her face was pretty in a girlish way, enough to turn the hardest heart to her cause and part of the reason why Arthur suspected Uther had been so generous to her. For his part though, Arthur hadn’t been greatly interested. He’d known her since they were both children but he couldn’t say that her coming to Camelot was a source of much excitement. He’d shown her all due respect and care of course, and had found her pleasant enough, but she was just a girl and his interest had lain firmly in becoming a great warrior and making his father proud. As time had passed he had begun to know and like her more, despite their sometimes tumultuous relationship, but it hadn’t been until much more recently that’d he’d really started to notice her.
He still remembered when she’d walked into that feast a few months back and, for a moment, he’d almost quite literally had his breath stolen from him. For some reason he hadn’t taken much heed until then of how she’d changed, of how her figure now looked elegant, womanly and full of grace. Thinking back now, his most vivid recollection was of what seemed like acres of pale skin, contrasting so sharply with a crimson dress, dark tendrils of hair and ruby lips. She reminded him of drawings he’d seen of the Celtic goddesses of old. A visage of perfection that he’d been unable to ignore. And so it had been with an uncomfortably dry mouth and rapidly beating heart that he’d gone to speak to her, suddenly finding himself with no resistance to her charms.
Since then, unnerved by his reaction, he’d tried to keep a certain detachment. To treat her as he would a sister, telling himself that it was for the best when this would likely be no more than a passing infatuation. Yet he would never look at a relation the way he sometimes found himself looking upon her.
Even now he barely took his eyes off her as Lancelot gave his answer.
“Yes, sire. I do.”
Arthur sighed, resigned to the fact, knowing there was no use hiding from it any longer.
“Yeah,” he said softly, still watching, somehow getting used to the idea of admitting it, “I suppose she is.”
He wasn’t sure why his feelings bothered him so when most men revelled in such things. Perhaps it was the inherent vulnerability they would induce. What if he was to truly fall for her and it should become known; would she be his weak spot and would his enemies try to exploit that? Could a prince or a king really love without endangering his kingdom? He’d never known his mother and could only imagine the love his father must have felt for her, but Uther certainly found her painful enough to talk about to suggest that her death still wounded him greatly. But if she had still been alive now, who would he have valued more, his queen or his people? It was choice Arthur himself prayed he would never be forced to make because, in his mind, he didn’t see how either could be right.
Morgana looked directly at him then as she slipped a piece of fruit into her mouth, her eyes intently on him and the tiniest smile on her face.
He hurriedly bit the inside of his cheek in case he involuntarily groaned at the unfathomably desirable sight, hit by a barrage of thoughts that were less than gentlemanly. All he could suddenly imagine was slowly kissing those lips and then looking down into her expressive, teasing eyes as his hands settled on her slender waist. He could almost feel her fingers slipping into the opening of his tunic, her hands and then her mouth caressing the skin of his chest...
He hurriedly swallowed a large gulp of wine, trying to repress the warm shiver that had run right through him at such a vision. Lancelot grinned at him, although apparently had noticed nothing as he began to talk about fighting and combat once more.
Arthur was grateful for the distraction and yet he knew he couldn’t avoid the matter forever. And, frankly, the longer it went on without his feelings diminishing, the more he wanted to do something about them.