Arthur shivers and draws his deseigner jacket closer to himself. He feels absolutely ridiculous. The concrete he’s sitting on is damp and icy, and there is an unrelenting wind that feels as if it’s stabbing him with multiple, tiny, sharp knives. He should go back downstairs where it’s warm. He really should. People are probably beginning to wonder where he is. But he can’t quite bring himself to move from his uncomfortable seat. Arthur puts his hands under his armpits to protect them from the wind, looks out at one of the best views of the London skyline money can buy, and sulks.
He hadn’t felt like this yesterday. He was ecstatic yesterday, he was proud. He had cried tears of joy when Morgana had called him to tell him the good news, and he hadn’t been able to keep a smile off his face all day (even when Uther made a biting remark about the humiliation of a daughter of his “marrying the help”).
Something had changed today. The engagement (and more importantly, the true nature of the relationship between Gwen and Morgana, which had long been a source of intrigue for the public) has been announced to the press, and Arthur feels faintly nauseous at the thought of the type of comments the tabloids are undoubtedly making at this very second, the sensational headlines about his family soon to be in every corner shop in the country. The things those tabloids will say about Gwen. He clenches his teeth angrily and stares out unseeingly at the beautiful November sunset glinting off every surrounding building. He knows he can’t pretend that that’s the only thing bothering him about the engagement. He feels awfully lonely all of a sudden at the thought of the two people he loves most in the world spending the rest of their lives together, without him (obviously without him, honestly what did he expect?).
”Should have realised that you’d be out here. Sulking out on a freezing rooftop is a very you thing to do”.
Arthur jumps guiltily, like a child caught out after curfew. He turns to glare at Gwen, who’s standing beside the doorway to the stairs looking pleased with herself at having found him.
”I’m not sulking,” he mutters, immediately embarrassed by how sulky he sounds. He turns his back to her.
”If you’d excuse me I’m watching an exceptionally beautiful sunset.”
There’s an unnatural stiffness to his voice. He knows Gwen is rolling her eyes at his dramatics. He hears her walking towards him. She sits down right next to him. They’re both quiet for a minute.
“It’s strange how things turn out isn’t it?”
She says it so softly, that Arthur wonders if he’s if misheard her. He glances at her. She’s looking out at the city, a strange look on her face, almost wistfulness. She looks radiantly beautiful. Her dark curls are in an elegant bun, her cheeks as rosy as ever, and the golden light from the setting sun compliments her brown skin perfectly. She looks majestic, regal almost. It’s a testament to how completely homosexual Arthur is that he feels no attraction to her whatsoever.
”It would have been us”, Gwen whispers. A giggle bursts out of her, the same one she’s had for the past eighteen years Arthur has known her. The same giggle she had had the first time Arthur ever met her, when they were both six years old. She had introduced herself as Guinevere “but everyone calls me Gwen” and had initiated a game of hide and go seek almost immediately. By the time Uther had realised that his son and daughter had entered a “completely inappropriate friendship with an employee’s daughter” (his words not Athur’s) it was too late. Gwen, Morgana and Arthur were already inseparable.
”If we were all straight, I mean,” Gwen continues, still giggling slightly, and Arthur is jolted out of his sentimental trip down memory lane.
“The perfect fairytale. The press would have loved it. Rich boy and gardener’s daughter grow up together, and end up falling in love, against the wishes of rich boy’s father. Morgana would have married one of your old friends from Eton of course, probably Leon.”
She grins at Arthur warmly, but with a hint of sadness.
”Slightly more boring than slutty, social climbing, gardener’s daughter seduces rich boy, but ends up marrying his sister and breaking his heart, though, isn’t it?”
Arthur shifts closer to Gwen and wraps an arm around her waist, partly because he’s gotten so cold that he’s shaking, and partly because he feels so full of affection for her, he feels he might burst. The last rays of sunshine disappear. Gwen rests her head against Arthur’s shoulder, the way she used to back when they dated, back when they thought every relationship was as passionless as theirs, only a few years ago, though it feels like centuries have passed since then. He can’t believe either of them ever thought they were straight.
”We should go back inside soon,” Gwen murmurs. She takes a hold of one of Arthur’s hands which has gone all but numb, and tries to rub some warmth into it.
”Morgana knows where we are, but I’m sure your father will want you to make an appearance, show everyone that you’ve given the engagement your blessing, and that there hasn’t been a falling out over all of this.”
Arthur hums in agreement. He knows he can’t hide here forever.
”Before we go back in though Gwen...”
”What is it?”
He takes a deep breath, and tries not to sound like a petulant child as he says;
”We’ll still be friends won’t we?”
Gwen lifts her head off his shoulder, so she can look him in the eye. Her expression is inscrutable. She presses a kiss on his cheek.
”Of course we will, you wanker,” she says almost angrily.
”We’ve made it this far haven’t we?”
She grins. Arthur breathes a sigh of relief. He doesn’t even know why he was worried.
”I guess it’s time to go back inside again then,” he says, standing up, and pulling Gwen up with him. He clutches her hand. With his future sister-in-law by his side, he can do anything.