Her own answer reflected his. Neither were true, and he was aware why they were doing it . . . being alright. Because they had to be. Because, it was the expected answer. But he knew she wasn't alright, and he wished he could do something to comfort her. She stabbed Morgana to save him. And how he wished she did not have that burden upon her shoulders. She told him that Leon may have a blanket, and that she would go start a fire. He just slowly nodded and looked back at the water, knowing he would have to wipe the blood from his body too at some point.
About to wipe his face more he paused when she stopped to continue talking. Telling him he should have given Morgana her name. Arthur had not considered doing that for a single second. The thought of betraying Guinevère, of revealing her had not crossed his mind. He'd rather die. He wouldn't have too. "No," he protested as he stood up to properly face her. "Guinevère, you've saved my life more times than anyone else." Because, before, his life had never needed saving. "You've risked everything for me." And he could not even promise her a brighter future for it. "You . . . " Stabbed her best friend. But the words caught, and his own were so filled with emotion, he had to stop.
"I'm glad you did not give her your name. And I wish you never had to." She technically had not, but it was more in a way of saying that she had revealed herself, to save his life. "This . . . family feud has cost so many so much. Especially you." From being there when Morgana and Uther were at odds, to now being here with two siblings at odds. "I'm sorry for that. For what you've had to do." In the name of one Pendragon or another. He felt more shame for this family than ever before. No. It was not his family. Family did not do this to one another. It sickened him, and . . . he wished someone as kind hearted as Guinevère, never had to be involved in it.
Hi words made sense, and she tried to take comfort in them; yet she knew had she'd spoken up then maybe it would have distracted Morgana long enough for Leon to get Arthur out without him having taken a beating. "You came back for me, when you wanted no part of this." She said, knowing that he had said it over and over again. She'd pushed and pushed and pushed him to be here and do this.
How awful that she couldn't have helped him, like he had done her. Guinevère wasn't even sure what to say, so she turned to go find firewood. She didn't go far, since there was a lot of sticks right by the water. Once she had gathered then, she stacked them and begin digging through the packs to find the flint and tender. That was when she found the armor and cape. She knew why they were there. Because Leon wanted Arthur to be king as well. Pulling the cape out she set it near the unlit fire. The cape could help keep them warm tonight, and so would the jacket that was in there. It was padded, so it would hold in heat.
She told him that he came back for her, wanting no part of this. Looking at her, he replied. "Yes. I came back, for you." He knew there was more emotion in his voice than there should have been, but he wasn't going to deny it. He had come back for her. Not because he was thinking he wanted to be part of this world. Not because he thought himself a king. Not even just because of reciprocity or that he felt indebted to her. He came . . . for her. Because it was her. She turned to walk away and Arthur paused for a few moments before washing his face to get the rest of the blood off.
When he was done at least that much, he made his way over to where she was, noticing the Pendragon cape and paused to loo at it for a moment. So many people had died for it. So many people were corrupted by it. Arthur . . . wanted nothing to do with it. He would not wear it. He refused. He'd rather remain in his blood stained and tattered shirt than conceal it with the Pendragon red and gold. "Need any help?" He asked, trying to distract himself from the throbbing of his body, though he knew that moving around may not be the best. Still. They had a quite the journey ahead of them and Arthur couldn't remain idle and useless.
Putting the padded jacket over the cape, so they could wear them later, Guinevère looked up at him. "You can check the other pack for any food," she asked of him, her voice not quite as distant as she kept herself busy. She found a small kit at the bottom of the bag, and opened it. It was a basic aid kid, but thankfully it had a little bit of salve at the bottom. She had built the fire near a fallen, log so she walked over to it.
When Arthur came back that way, Guinevère took his hand, and silently sat on the log. Pulling on his hand to tell him to join her. "Here," her small fingers sipped into the thick cream she reached up to touch one of the cuts on his face. She knew it would help it heal, and make sure it didn't get infected. "Where were you going?" She asked softly, her voice not as warm as it had been last night, but not as shaken either. She felt numb. "Before you came to help me." She wondered what he had been doing, and what his plans were. She had nothing now, she might need an idea.
He did as suggested and sure enough, there was a pack of food that would last them . . . well, seemed like as long as it would take them to reach wherever they were going. When he was walking back over to set it down by the fire, he felt her take his hand and gently urge him to sit. He didn't have the strength to protest . . . not that he even wanted to. His body felt worn, sore and with the adrenaline wearing off, left was the aftermath of the stones.
He was quiet, finding her touch rather gentle with the sensitive skin that she was currently covering in the provided cream. Where was he going. "I'm not sure," he answered honestly. "Somewhere far away. Somewhere no one knew me." Somewhere he could . . . hide he supposed. But that somewhere was growing more and more distant, now that people knew his face. He knew that was a risk and he didn't regret helping now. He just, didn't know what he would do. "What is to be expected, once we get to wherever Sir Leon is taking us?" What as waiting for them there? Because . . . Arthur wasn't even entirely certain he wanted to go.
Guinevère made sure to touch the salve to any cuts she could see over his face and neck. His words distracted her for a moment, but not for long. She said just thought she needed an idea of what to do now, but after hearing his words she realized she already knew what she had to do. Her choice was clear. "I guess that depends on what you want to happen." She told him, looking down at her lap; only to find that since she had sat so close, her forehead now rested on his shoulder. While she hadn't planned on resting her head there, she didn't move it.
She needed to touch him right now. She needed to know he was alright. That he would live, even if it was only to take himself far from here. "Morgana will never stop looking for you, and even if she . . . Morgouse will finish the job." Morgouse was Morgana's Magical mentor, and wife of King Lot. "After today, no one would question your choice to leave." And maybe he should leave. "You never wanted anything to do with this. At morning you could go. Leave this kingdom and find peace somewhere." She would never forgot him, and thinking of him leaving hurt. Yet he had a right to put every memory of this place behind him.
What he wanted to happen. He didn't want any of this to happen. He didn't want any of this at all. To be told of this, and then . . . only to disappoint so many people who had faith in him. The men waiting there, Sir Leon . . . Guinevère. She spoke fo Morgause and . . . bloody hell! There was more of them?! Arthur didn't even want to know. He supposed he should ask, but her latter words distracted the question for the time being. He could go. He could leave this all behind. He could . . . be a blacksmith. Was that life -- the only one he had ever known -- be so difficult to retrieve? With her forehead resting against his shoulder, he couldn't see her. And, he wanted to see her.
Uncaring of the pain that coursed through him when he moved his hand -- seemingly numbed by the sensation of her near -- his fingers went to cup her chin as he slightly moved back and tilted her chin up a bit. He looked at her, softness in his gaze, just as there was in his voice. "Would you come with me?" He had not thought about the question for perhaps if he did . . . he would have realized the magnitude of it. Belatedly, it processed. Realizing what he was asking of her, and suddenly, felt very stupidly selfish. And foolish. Recognizing how close they were in proximity and how there was soft longing in his gaze and how his fingers were still cupping her chin . . . he lowered his hand and broke the contact of their gaze, as if clearing his mind. "I mean . . . " He didn't regret the question, did he? "What do you plan to do Guinevère?" Because she had left her home and she too, couldn't go back.
His hand touched her face, and tilted it up his and the question he asked her surprised her. More then surprised her it . . . touched her. Her eyes watered, but no tears fell. He was asking her to with him. She wanted too! It was on the tip of her lips to tell him yes! She she would go with him and yes she would disappear and they could pretend they'd met in a market, and the rest was history.
His hand moved from her face, and she reached for it, uncaring if this meant that she was being forward with a man she only just met less then a week ago. "I'd like that," she admitted, "I'd like that because I like . . . " him, she liked him. She liked being around him. He made her feel things, and feel important and he SAW her. When no one else saw her, Arthur SAW her and into her. He even acted as if he might like what he saw. "A lot." She finished, without explaining.
"But I have to stay." Holding his hand, she didn't look from his face. "What she did to you, she will do again. I don't know if I can walk away from that. From being apart of the things she has done for so long and not try to help the people. Camelot used to stand for something. It used to be a place where people were safe. The people living in fear feel just like we do now. I need to help them." Saying it, outloud made her feel it. "The gold dragon on the red cape, used to be a sign of hope. It didn't matter what danger was there, when you saw it you felt safe. These knights, the ones that are there believe in it. I believe in it. It can be that again . . . It's the right thing to do."
Her sentence was unfinished yet Arthur . . . no. He knew there was a but coming. He knew that she shouldn't finish that sentence as what he hoped it would be. He sensed the but. And when it came, he wasn't even surprised. He shouldn't have asked her such a thing. He understood. This was her home and the world she knew. And she wished to restore it to what it was. But, even with her staying, even with the knights, the dangers . . . he could not commit the way they wanted him to. He could not be king. And he feared, that was what the others would expect of him. If he stayed. If he tried to help, he would only be seen as a Pendragon. And, he didn't want that. But he understood.
And yet, the knowledge still hurt. He had only met her yet she had opened him up to new emotions. Ones he never experienced and the thought that he may never see her again, suddenly felt like a very daunting one. He forced a smile and just nodded. Raising their joined hands, he kissed the back of her hand before letting it go and shifting slightly to the side so that they were not so close. Because, he didn't trust himself to not kiss her. "I understand," he told her sincerely.
"I hope that you and the others, will find a way to restore Camelot to all that it was." He meant that. Wholeheartedly. He wanted them to have their home back. To be free of tyranny and persecution. "It is your home." It wasn't his. But he knew that if his own town was in danger, he too would want to fight to protect it. Yet this, was on a much larger scale. It was an entire kingdom. "I hope it will find peace." That they would find peace within it. How, he couldn't answer. But, he wanted that. For them. For her.
Guinevère felt disappointed, but knew she had done the right thing. "It does not mean, I will not think of your offer every day," she told him, knowing that it would play in her head for years. The what if she'd gone with him. She would wonder if they'd have fallen in love, and married, or if they would end up at the sea, or in a small town near another castle. If they'd have found happiness, or if it was just a dream.
She didn't know what would happen without Arthur there, without someone to take the throne. They would have to make a choice, of what they would do; but she was glad he wasn't staying. She realized that even though she had been pushing for this, she hadn't thought of the cost to him. He almost died today, and that was without even trying for the crown. She didn't know if she could bare the thought of him dying. She rather think he was safe out there, somewhere, then here and something had happen to him. "Because I will."
He faintly smiled at that. To hear that she would think of his offer. That she would think of it every day. "I suppose . . . some things are just not meant to be." Like them. Like him sitting on a throne. Like, so much of what so many thought would happen. And could happen. The weight of his words feeling so heavy as they seemed to sum up recent events.
"Thank you, for tending to my wounds." He needed to wash the rest off and figure out what he was to do. Should he meet the knights? Or would that just be more disappointment to more people? "You should wear the jacket," he told her, referring to the padded jacket that lay over the cape. He knew that it was meant to go under chainmail and armor and . . . if the jacket was here, he had a feeling so was the rest of the uniform. But Arthur would not wear it. None of it. "It is going to be a cold night." He could already feel it in the air.
Not meant to be. "Perhaps," she reluctantly agreed. He was a king if he stayed, and she was a servant. He would need to marry a princess for an alliance to help strengthen his hold on the kingdom, she assumed. Either way it wasn't meant to be for them. No matter how much she wished it.
Reaching for the coat and cape, she held out the cape to him first. Since he asked her to wear the jacket, she would let him wear the thinner cape, but it covered more. "Or we could share it," she offered, knowing if they both wrapped up under the cape they could be warmer with both of their bodies to warm it. Besides, "I know you're leaving, but . . . I'm not ready to let you go yet." She wanted to be held tonight, even if it was just by a friend. She wanted him there beside her so she didn't feel alone. She wanted be be more then seen--she wanted to be felt. She wanted to feel!
His eyes fell to the cape, and paused before taking it. But, he still held refusal to wear it. It was not pride. Quite the opposite in fact. Shame. He took the fabric and wrapped it around Guinevère with a small smile. He knew she would need to put on the jacket first, but he wanted her to know that he was in no need for the cape. That it better served her. That to her, it was a symbol of hope, where as to him . . . it was a tainted bloodline that he was regrettably a part of.
It represented two very different things for them, and he'd rather she find that warmth and comfort in the hope she held. "Even though it is red, I would not wish to stain it." With his blood. It was a light attempt at a joke, despite the grim circumstances that had caused him to make it. It was certainly better than wallowing in his own self pity. But truth was . . . he wasn't ready to get her go either. Perhaps that was why he was still holding the front of the cape that was wrapped around her. Perhaps that was why he was close to her once more. Because, he didn't want to let her go, even though he knew he would have to.
Arthur wrapped the cape around her, and she realized then that he would not share it with her. Perhaps it was safer this way, for her heart. He told her that he didn't wish to stain it, and she knew that wasn't the reason. He wanted nothing to do with this, or any reminders of what it meant. Where as she wanted to see the colors mean something once again. She gave a small, sad nod since this meant she had no reason to touch him, and held out the jacket. "Then wear this, because I will not take them both." The jacket had nothing on it, it was just plain.
He still held the edges of the cape, and Guinevère still looked up into his eyes. "I wish you'd told me your name was William or Morris that day," she whispered trying to tease him, bit meaning it as well. She wished she was someone simple as well. Moving closer to him, Guinevère reached up to touch his cheek, letting her backs of her fingers just touch him. "I wish I told you mine was Rosa," her eyes looked at his lips, wishing for something she knew could never happen. Yet for tonight, maybe they could be someone else.
Arthur faintly smiled when she spoke of how she wished he had given her a different name. How she wished she had given him a different name. He felt the warmth of her touch and despite the sensitivity of his skin, he felt nothing but comfort from the embrace. Their close proximity made him want to lean in and kiss her. More than ever. Yet, what would that do? They would go their separate ways, and it would only serve as a painful memory of something that had felt so good -- for he already knew that much without kissing her -- yet could not be. The temptation was strong though, and Arthur wasn't sure he was strong enough to resist it.
"What do you think William and Rosa's lives would have been like?" He asked softly, daring to imagine a world as such. Though, Arthur had imagined one not too long ago. He had only been a blacksmith. He'd thought of finding a woman he loved. Marrying her. Being a husband and . . . being a father. A simple life. Yet, a cherished one. And now . . . what was he? An exiled prince? Bastard of the former king? He was no longer a blacksmith, and no longer a citizen of Camelot. How he wished he could go back and yet . . . somehow still have Guinevère in his life.
What were their lives like? Guinevère thought over it for a moment, trying to see it. Trying to think about how simple live could be. She had always assumed she'd fall in love with someone, marry them, keep her job, and have children. In these thoughts Morgana had been a good queen. She tried to imagine live with Arthur, and the charming blacksmith he was before he said his name. The one that was kind and flirted with her.
What were their lives like? They let themselves fall in love, and lived. They lived at peace and together. She could almost see them . . . Arthur looking for something, her finding it plain sight and teasing him that it was right there. They were playful and happy. Like they had been before she knew his name. "Their lives are simple, with no hard choices to make." Like to or with him, or stay and try to help as many people as she could.
No hard choice to make. That sounded simple indeed. That, sounded like most of his life. All of his life, with the exception of the past few days. He thought over her words, truly wishing that circumstances were different. "Perhaps, a life like that will return." But, more than likely separately. Guinevère was going to stay here and fight for the kingdom, where as Arthur was going to leave.
He didn't believe this was a part of him, and . . . it was better than he not force the people into another Pendragon rule. They needed to break free from it and hopefully find a better sovereign to serve them. "You must be tired," he said, realizing he was still holding the cape. "You should get some rest," he suggested. For tomorrow would be a long day, another day. Leon had said they would reach the castle soon enough, and Arthur hoped that for Guinevère so that at least both her and Leon would be safe and do . . . whatever they felt they needed to to save Camelot.
"And perhaps if they ever do . . . " She didn't finish her thought, for it would be very unfair of her to ask that of him. He should go far from here. He should find a place he could be at peace, and fall in love and not live waiting. "Then things would be better for everyone," it was clear in her tone that this wasn't the words she had thought, but it was better they not speak them. There was too much between them.
Sleep. Yes, they both should try to sleep. "Of course, you must be tired as well." His body could use a rest. She imagined that it was hard for him to move, and sleeping would help give his body time to heal. Guinevère looked away, knowing she had to walk away while she could, and moved toward a place she could sleep. The ground would be cool, but it was close to the fire and the cape would help ward off the cold. "Until tomorrow," she told him, not calling him Arthur, my king, or sire. She was going to let him go.
Because today she had learned just how important he was to her, and how much this would cost him. And she wasn't willing to pay that price.
Arthur had a feeling that wasn't what she was going to say, but he didn't push it. It would not do them any good. "Good night," he told her in return, though he made no move to rest. He just watched her for a moment, before going back to the pack on his horse. Looking inside, it seemed Leon had packed Arthur's cloak that he had come into the city with. Good. It would cover his blood stained and torn shirt until he found something better. Putting it on, he kept rummaging through the packs to see what else was inside. That is, until he heard the sound of hooves. Arthur was about to reach for his sword but despite only having met him once, he could make out the shadow of the man. Leon said that things were clear, and Arthur just simply nodded.
He asked him for a quill and paper. Leon didn't seem to question why, as Arthur assumed he'd have it to relay messages if need be. Moving to sit, he began to write. A letter expressing his gratitude to Guinevère for all that she had done. An apology for having disappointed her and not being the man that she hoped he could. A vow that he would never, ever forget her. And it was signed, William. He assumed she would burn it the next day but just in case, he signed it with another name.
Folding it, and setting it next to Guinevère's head where she sleep, Arthur then turned to Leon. The knight seemed to be able to tell that he was not going to stay, and the two shared a brief conversation. Arthur also apologized to him, and Leon . . . for whatever reason, still seemed to see him as king. He told him it would be safer as it were if he was not with them, for they would most likely be hunting him down. He bid farewell, wished him luck on his mission, and wrapped his cloak around him before mounting his horse, and disappearing into the shadows.
Guinevère Awoke the next morning, and found the letter. She didn't open it right away, for she knew why it was there. It had taken her a while to fall asleep, but she knew he had been up. Looking around her heart beat a little harder as she tried to find him, but he wasn't there. Folding her legs under her, she just held the letter. Silent tears feel over her cheeks, for he had not said goodbye. He'd just left while she slept. It hurt. Even knowing he had been leaving anyway, he hurt to not be able to say goodbye.
Leon told her that they should keep moving, and Guinevère didn't want too. As long as she sat here, he might come back. Yet she knew the letter was goodbye. Finally she opened the letter, and read it; noticing he signed it William. Their other life. Leon helped her mount the horse and they rode toward the coming days.
And the days where long. Morgana had not died (to which Guinevère was relived, as she had not wished to kill anyone), and with in the week, Helios and his army were not far from the knights. More knights begin to leave Morgana's side willing to fight with the others for the kingdom. Some, unaware that Uther's heir had been found and left, fought for the unknown king--but most just fought for the killing to end. Guinevère found herself useful, as she knew Morgana and could help predict her moves. She was also a blacksmith's daughter and could help sharpen the swords using a large wetting stone. The days busy helping be nurse and sharpen weapons kept her busy, but not so busy that she didn't keep an ear out for any signs that Arthur had been caught by Morgana. Ad the days turned into weeks, she heard nothing.
My name is Catherine by the way; Call me Kate. *Smiles* You're lucky to have your mother, I ... wish I had at least someone I can talk to, You know? At least i have Arthur. *sits by the window and looks out*
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