1. Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like.
2. Turn your music player on and turn it on random/shuffle.
3. Write a drabble/ ficlet related to each song that plays. You only have the time frame of the song to finish the drabble; you start when the song starts, and stop when it’s over. No lingering afterwards!
4. Do ten of these, then post them.
I confess to three things:
1) Continuing to write after the a few of the songs finished playing for the first time (though the pieces remain mostly unedited);
2) Skipping the occasional song when I was somewhat unfamiliar with it/it did not inspire anything Merlin / Gwen related;
3) Spending way more time on this meme than I really ought to have considering paperlegends wants around 10,000 words in 3 days time (which, now I see that days have vanished, cue: instant stress ;__;) and I am also meant to be doing ~important~ things like finding employment =X
That said, here, have a few ficlets. Some are based on random tidbit spoilers for series three, but if you aren't aware of the spoilers, you won't be able to tell which is spoiler-inspired and which is not.
1) River Tricks Early - Firefly OST (Gwen, Morgana)
It takes a moment before their eyes meet, over Uther's shoulder, and in a distant way Gwen remembers thinking then, She has not returned the same.
In this moment, here with Morgana battered and bruised and telling tales of bandits and escape when Merlin had said, when they had all said, She was taken by Morgause, and Gwen remembers those days after the female knight first appeared and how Morgana slept the better for it, and finds herself torn.
But she wants to believe so badly, and Morgana looks at her so earnestly, and though instinct tells her, This is not right, in her heart, she has already decided.
And so later, when it is just the two of them, Gwen sits beside Morgana on the bed. She twists and grips Morgana's hand and even dares to brush the hair clear of her mistress's face, tucking it tenderly behind her ear.
"It must have been horrible," she murmurs, remembering Hengist and the cell and the stench and the fear.
Morgana's eyes drop, and when they rise there is a remorse there that Gwen tucks away to remember when things go badly as they surely will. "It was horrific," Morgana says, and the remorse is gone, replaced by a fear and an anger that resonates with Gwen's memories of kidnap.
They embrace, hold each other tightly, and it begins.
2) Hello Goodbye - Glee/The Beatles (Gwen/Arthur)
When he's honest, he's plain tired. Tired of the fight: for her heart, for her hand, to keep her at his side when time stretches before them indeterminate.
He knows that. Knows that the exhaustion comes from wanting and receiving with little inhibition. But she is not out of reach, not by anything but convention. He feels this should be easily overcome, and yet it is not.
She feels it too.
He sees it in her eyes, when they part ways. Each farewell is a bid for it to be the last and he can't tell if she means that in a way that she desires permanency or a lasting separation.
They won't stop.
It's been too long now, and he won't let go.
3) Fade Together - Franz Ferdinand (Gwen/Arthur)
What she wants is for simplicity. There are facts in her mind and in her heart, and if only they could be spread around her, solidly, like the soil in the ground, ripe and ready for fresh life and growth.
But Gwen has learned, if things begin complicated, they will end complicated.
Foolishness finds her here: in the court, with her head dropped out of feigned respect. Feigned because she cannot bear to watch, to stand by as Arthur declares himself to another.
But she must. Duty requires it. She looks up.
4) No Air - Jordan Sparks & Chris Brown (Arthur/OC, Arthur/Gwen)
He resents and blesses his body for responding where his heart and mind do not.
The woman beside him is too pale, too slim, too blond. He has not touched Guinevere as he moves to touch Anice now, but he knows by instinct, by indulgent imagining, that her body is all wrong.
There are curves where there ought to be lines, softness where there ought to be firmness, tumbling waves where there ought to be bouncing curls.
And she is beautiful, and confident, and fond of him. And he is absolutely guilty for his wayward thoughts.
But this much he knows: as his mouth covers her shoulder, the small rise of a mole ought to pass beneath his tongue but the skin is smooth. When his mouth finds the dip of her clavicle, she ought to suck in a sharp breath but her breathing is even. His nose dragging along the column of her neck to her ear ought to make her giggle but she only strokes her hand down his side, quiet.
He's thankful she clearly has no idea: her soft sighs and the whispers of his name are unabashed and sure. She deserves none of his turmoil.
This is your duty, he thinks, and starts to move.
When they finish, he rolls away and she follows, lands across his chest contentedly and he wonders how Guinevere would have behaved -
Then he stops.
Mortification burns white hot in the pit of his belly, for something from his eye must have fallen free: Anice hums in warm sympathy, murmurs "Oh, love," affectionately and smiles down at him tenderly.
He lets her kiss him because it's not her fault. Not her fault at all.
But he cannot breathe.
5) Renegade - Styx (Gwen, Merlin)
There had been a time when she had given Merlin's body a great deal of thought. Far more than she would ever openly admit to him, far more than she was comfortable admitting to herself in hindsight.
His hands were far larger than she had ever envisioned.
Long fingers twined awkwardly with hers, his palm enormous and sweaty, as they bolted down the lane, passing quickly into shadows before his eyes glowed to keep them hidden as guards stalked by.
Gwen was almost grateful for each passing hunting party; it allowed her the space to catch her breath.
"If you can keep us hidden like this," she panted on one such occasion but the hand not holding hers was suddenly clapped across her mouth as a guard turned around, eyes narrowed and scanning along their piece of wall.
"Oh," she breathed when the guard had turned the corner.
Merlin gave her the flash of a grim smile before tugging her onwards. "The spell only lasts so long," he gasped back to her. "It's too weak," he added: afterthought and bitter self-admonition.
Swallowing her reply as they dived down a pitch dark side street, Gwen pressed close to Merlin and his arms wrapped instinctively around her. "I'm sorry," he murmured into her ear as they waited for the stomping boots to fade and she could feel his wince against her temple. "But... I'm glad you're here."
He was so slim in the circle of her arms as Gwen crushed him to her fiercely in response. "We'll find our way."
6) The Master Tape - Doctor Who S3 OST (Morgana, Gwen, Gwen/Arthur)
Never a particularly pleasant process, at least the visions bombarded her now mostly only when she called upon them. And to unravel this, Morgana found herself suddenly intensely curious.
"Sleep well, Guinevere," she called as Gwen extinguished the last candle. And it was as though that secret name was a warning, for Gwen's body stiffened momentarily, and her head cocked...
But then motion returned to her maidservant, and Gwen was turning, sinking easily into a small curtsey the likes of which had never previously been between them except when formality demanded. "Sweet dreams, my lady," Gwen murmured, distant, and exited.
"I plan on dreams at any rate," Morgana replied lowly as she sunk into her pillows and flexed her hands before inviting the images to filter into her mind.
Too many at first; so much secrecy, hidden smiles and shadowed caresses. But then, more clearly:
Arthur, in a blue cloak not his own and Gwen before him with a rag in her hand. It passes shyly to his, and they watch each other and then Arthur is ducking -
He captures her hand and clasps it over his heart.
She welcomes him home with a tight embrace.
He goes to her, borrowed blue cloak shrouding his features again. The conversation does not reach her ears through the soundless haze, but their expressions of tentative hope are obvious.
He readies for battle, or travel, or something which requires mail; she dresses him and his hand finds the back of her neck, tipping her head up to meet him before he lets her glove him.
An argument; she is so distraught and he is so sullen and they part ways discontent.
She finds each surface of her home with a bouquet in a vase.
He stands and looks into the fire as she reads over a document at his dining table. Their conversation is serious but comfortable.
Mouths hot and wet, breathing harried and needy, their hands are everywhere and the cracked wooden door is all that protects them from discovery.
Dust floats aimless through the throne room air. The king makes an announcement, their eyes meet and the silent message is a resounding coalition of disagreement.
Gasping, Morgana withdrew herself quickly, surfacing from the stolen memories. Much had come to pass in her absence, far more than she had ever conceived possible.
7) The Call - Regina Spektor (Lancelot)
The sack weighs down heavily on his shoulder and does little to settle the swell of nervous nausea that wracks him upon stepping his first foot on Camelot's soil.
Lancelot readjusts his burden, absently touches the sword sheathed at his hip and takes a second step.
It has been three years since the griffin; one year, seven months and six days since Hengist's castle. He has little inkling as to whether he has a place here, but Camelot sent out word with its need, and he has important things to relay to his prince.
Each step feels easier, particularly as the first turrets rise above the hill top he climbs. Even in all his fear and uncertainty, there is an undeniable sense of rightness to be returning. He had sworn fealty once, given his promise of secrecy once and again, then offered his heart twice, and even if none of those declarations have a place any longer, he still finds his own reasons in his return.
His journey is not done, and those he cares about have a need for his aid. He is at last ready to offer it.
8) Adia - Sarah McLaughlin (Gwen, Morgana)
She was leaving, again, Gwen knew.
She had not sorted if the first time was by choice, or force, or necessity, but it had been coming for ages, and if she had not been so self-absorbed she would have seen it then as she saw it now.
It was like wind passing through her fingers, though; she could no more stop Morgana's plans to go than force the gusts to stop their abuse.
She had tried, these last months, tried so hard.
Grey eyes, so familiar, flash to her face in the mirror's reflection as the brush passes through Morgana's dark hair and Gwen wonders if it will be the last time, as Morgana says, "What is it, Gwen? You seem troubled."
The answer, Don't go, please, rises to her tongue, but she bites down so hard she fears she may have drawn blood. Instead, she takes a moment to eye the dark paint beneath her mistress's eyes, a preference since her return which disturbed Gwen in ways entirely inexplicable when the effect is so stunning.
When Morgana's brow crinkles in concern which Gwen recognises to be true, Gwen shakes her head and forces a weak smile, hating herself for the lie that leaves her throat, "It has been a long week."
Morgana stares, and Gwen's sure strokes falter, the brush stands stiff between them like a shield.
But then Morgana speaks, and Gwen's stomach twists painfully, "A long few months, Gwen."
9) Jenny - Flight of the Concords (Gwen/Arthur)
"Hello," he murmurs, pressing his mouth just beneath her jaw and their laughter mingles and rumbles low.
"Hi," she breathes and taps a rhythm into the back of his head, disturbing the soft, too-long hair.
Gwen can feel his grin still sitting playfully on his mouth as he nibbles and kisses his way to her shoulder. Arthur's head lifts, and his grin is silly and happy and she laughs loudly and his mouth cracks open wide and then he's ducked down, blowing a loud raspberry overtop the mole on her shoulder.
"Wasn't it a good celebration?" he chuckles when her flailing hands manage to dislodge his mouth from her skin.
For a moment, she's distracted, letting her leg wrap around his to ensure he moves nowhere far and says, entirely serious, "Not at all," and begins laughing again when he shakes his head at her in a grand show of exaggeration, the shaggy blond tendrils flying in all directions.
He settles when her arm snakes across his back. "Would you like to go for a walk?" he asks her lightly, pouting down at her gravely, and fingering the sleeve of her gown now that she's dropped her hand down beside her head.
"Now?" she exclaims and pulls a face when he laughs loudly, nuzzling his nose into her cheek. Not to be outdone, she murmurs agreeably, "The stars will be bright and beautiful."
"Now?" he echoes, rising up above her again and looking so baffled and unimpressed as the sunlight picks out the shadows cast by his jaw against his neck that she giggles in delight, pulling him back down to her.
She means to say, "Welcome home," but she manages only to reach, "Welcoh -" before her tongue and mouth are occupied otherwise.
10) Shine - Anna Nalick (Gwen, Morgana, Merlin, Arthur)
The world kept shifting without her consent and Gwen had had enough of it.
Morgana has ridden away in a glorious haze of fluttering fabrics carried on a false wind with rage and threats that make Gwen ill to contemplate; there had been a time when, perhaps, her friendship would have been enough. If they had fought to cast secrets away from themselves and keep each other safe instead of those hidden things, perhaps things would have unfolded differently. As it is, the remorse sickens her and she fears she will never quite accept her failing.
Merlin toes around the kingdom for the truth was revealed but Uther forgets it and no one else privy to it quite remembers either. Gwen thinks that perhaps she, too, ought to have forgotten but that somewhere a word had been misspoken (purposely?) and so she remembered each detail. Sometimes she catches Merlin watching her with a curious tilt of his head and shrewd eyes and all she finds herself able to do is smile reassuringly.
Arthur takes his steps as though navigating a maze. Forward once, left three times, back a half step with an enormous step in a forward rightly direction before standing stock still. His internal battles will be the death of her, even as she strives to stand stalwart in her love for and faith in him; it burns fiercely, and always will, but she only has so long she can wait, can aid. He holds her as precious and shields her as well he can, but the time for that has come and is ending and he needs to understand.
It is midwinter, the nights are long and cold and difficult to sleep comfortably through. Beyond her window - if she looks but she does not want to see it - snow drifts, hushed, towards the dirt road beyond her home. In the morning, the sunlight will filter through winter's haze and alight on glistening piles, delighting in paths and crevices caused by shivering passers-by.
In their homes around her - where secret lovers and gifted friends and generous ex-mistresses have not provided extra wood and extra blankets and extra insulation to them - her people shiver and stomp their feet, rub their hands and hug one another to create heat where there is hardly any to be found, or shared.
She wants to do something about that, as she can do little about anything else.
Merlin in his affection will help her find the words; Arthur in his compassion will support her plea; Uther in his madness will deny her, but she will find a way.
It is her turn to shift the world and she no longer minds if it does not like her interference.