Title: Steady the Cup
Spoilers/warnings: Morgana/Morgause so, you know, incest
Summary: A missing scene from The Sins of the Father.
She comes that night, and puts her hands on Morgana, and it’s been so long – too long – and it feels like a miracle, and it’s over too quickly.
“Sorry,” Morgana murmurs, embarrassed.
“So eager,” Morgause is amused. “What are you apologising for?”
“Is has… been a little while.”
“Don’t you have that pretty lady’s maid?”
Morgana wonders how she knows. But then, Morgause clearly knows a great deal more than she should about almost everything.
“Gwen and I have known each other too long. She’s grown bored of me.”
“Bored of you?”
“Or at least – I suspect she has been distracted.”
“I can’t imagine anyone having their attention diverted from one such as yourself once they have you,” Morgause is murmuring it into Morgana’s wrist, kissing where the skin is translucent, the veins papery and pulsing. Morgana likes the feel of her breath, it is hot and it is real, somehow more intimate than a kiss.
“It’s not her fault – I grow bored of myself sometimes. Everybody does. I’m dull, really, once you get to know me. Always whining about headaches and bad dreams, always with an upset stomach or in a bad temper or too tired to get out of bed. I’m quite tiresome. And I drink too much.”
The litany of sins comes forth unbidden. Perhaps because Morgause must be leaving tomorrow, or certainly soon, and who is she going to tell of the king’s ward and her follies? Morgause does not strike her as the sort of woman who cares for gossip, and she is smiling, anyway, stroking Morgana’s hands. She finds the confessional charming.
“You are tired because you dream, and you dream because you have a gift,” she says, softly, “that is all.”
“It feels nothing like a gift.”
“Only because you do not know how to wield it,” Morgause smoothes her temple. “You will learn.”
“I’ll teach you.”
Morgana is quiet for a moment, because Morgause is sucking on her ear lobe and she rather likes it and does not want to distract her into stopping. When she has finished and moved down to her neck, she whispers: “you do plan on returning, then?”
“Whoever said that I was leaving?”
Morgause leans over her, cups her jaw, evaluative in the darkness of the bedchamber. “I suppose I do have business to attend to, urgently, however tempting it would be to stay put a little longer.”
“But you will return.”
“Would you like that?”
“I can’t say that the thought of seeing Arthur having his arse soundly whipped again is without appeal…”
Morgause laughs, softly, then sobers, lets her forehead drop to Morgana’s temple – there’s her breath again. “I will return for you, and no one else. Would you like that?”
“Yes.” Yes yes yes.
It feels as if no one has truly looked at her in so long – the beloved jewel of Uther’s court, cracked and faded, overindulged, unmarried (un-marriagable, so they say, spoiled and headstrong) and she has faded herself, shrunk deliberately out of sight as far as possible, so deeply afraid. Even Merlin has grown cold and distant, recently, and she had thought he at least had some heart left over for her.
Morgause, bold and strange and strong, seems undaunted. It is a relief.
A kiss, insistent and possessive – she has placed a hand on Morgana’s thigh and grips tight.
“I do know you,” Morgana queries, sometime later, when she has been sated again and feels a little sticky. Tangled amongst the blankets and her nightgown they are wallowing in that disgusting sort of glamour that only comes from the smell of sweat and other fluids of the sort this situation generally gives rise to. “I’m certain that I do. I would not have… let you into bed if I did not. But why can’t I remember you?”
“Perhaps you’ve dreamed of me,” Morgause murmurs. “I’ve dreamed of you.”
“Since you were a little girl.”
It’s a slightly unsettling thought. Someone spying – that’s how she knew about Gwen, of course.
“You are like me then – you said earlier but… you get the dreams too? You do?”
“Yes,” Morgause strokes her hair, “you are a seer, Morgana. So am I. There were many of us, once upon a time. It was a gift that ran in many bloodlines, ancient and revered. If you let me teach you, you will be able to induce the visions whilst you are awake – control them, even direct them.”
“I could see whatever I wanted?”
“Well… to a point. Ours is frequently a gift with a mind of its own,” Morgause is holding her close, tracing words onto her hip bones, making Morgana shiver with a languid desire she is too tired to want more of quite yet. “Think of a time as a river, flowing into an ocean, and in our normal waking lives we walk along the banks of the river, we move with its flow but blindly, without seeing how it stirs us, how it rises and falls, winds one way or another. Our gift grants us a channel into the river, to the points beyond the ones in which we stand – a cup to dip and drink from if we can learn how to hold it, how to steady it against our lips. The river is vast, it is deep and dark and we will never see or understand all that it encompasses, and sometimes it will rise and wash through us – there will always be visions that we cannot control – but with practice…”
“We can steady the cup.”
Morgana likes this idea. It’s a pleasantly concrete one. She imagines the river, the cup. She tangles her fingers in Morgause’s hair.
“Will you be gone when I wake up?”
“Most likely.” A kiss on her brow. “We’ll see each other again.”
“So eager,” Morgause’s smile is feline – Morgana blushes again. It’s not just desire – it isn’t. But a little of it is. Morgause is so… sturdy. It feels good. “Soon, I promise. Before the end of the month.”
That doesn’t feel soon enough, but Morgana feels childish already, so doesn’t declare it. “Alright.”
She tries to stay awake – fails, and awakes at midday, from a gloriously black and empty abyss, to Gwen shaking her, and Morgause’s bracelet resting on the end of her bed.