Summary: Gwen stands on the stone-cold steps of Camelot and does not weep. Tag to 5x13.
Gwen's heart breaks.
That's all. There are no romantic words to wrap it up in; no poetry artfully to convey it. It is simply that her heart breaks. She stands on the stone-hard steps of Camelot and watches as Merlin returns alone, and his eyes say more than words ever could. She is surrounded by knights, by Leon and Percival and all the others she has known for so many years, and Gwen stands on the stone-cold steps of Camelot and does not weep.
Her heart breaks.
She remembers waking drowsily in the morning, warm under linen sheets with her husband sleeping beside her; remembers how the early sun would dazzle her eyes and she would reach out to run her fingers through Arthur's hair, soft, soft, and he would move to kiss her even before he was really awake. She will never do that again. She will never have it again, never touch Arthur again, and her heart breaks, it shatters, oh God, how can she bear it?
She does not weep.
Not then. Not with the knights surrounding her, not with Merlin's eyes showing her a world of grief, not with their people watching. She needs to be strong – for them, for Camelot, for Arthur. She will be strong. She does not weep. She walks up the steps and she does not weep.
Life goes on.
It is strange, but there are still men who need their wounds tending. The Saxons are not all gone. There are decisions to be made. Actions to be taken. The sun continues to rise. One day, absently, Gwen calls for the seamstress, for new dresses and she stands there in gold velvet, bright and bold and beautiful. She stands there in a beautiful dress, and it will never know Arthur's touch, never feel his fingers brush against the cloth where it meets her skin, never feel him at her laces, quick, quick, eager to remove it. Never, never again will Gwen feel Arthur's fingers on her, never see the smile reserved just for her, never hear her name murmured in her ear with such adoration. Never.
She presses her own hand to her heart, and feels the new, bright velvet that will never know Arthur's touch, and she weeps.