Spoilers: through 3x05 "The Crystal Cave"
Word Count: ~500
Summary: And you, Uther, you will go to hell.
Spoilertastic A/N!: Er. I apologize.
Who’s seen Jezebel?
She was certainly the spark for all I’ve done.
(Iron & Wine, ‘Jezebel’)
She is every bit her mother’s daughter.
He put his hand to her throat once. Threw her into the dungeons. Wished her dead, wished her beside him. In her willful moments, some part of him has always suspected that her features will shift like a demon’s, that years and death will slip away and it will be Vivian standing there, not Morgana. Vivian, with a sly tilt of her head and a twitch at her full, smug lips. (Morgana has her mother’s mouth, exactly her mother’s mouth, so that sometimes at odd vile moments Uther forgets he has not kissed it, and that is enough to make any man believe in divine retribution.)
And you, Uther, you will go to hell.
He tells himself and God that his heart was always Ygraine’s. It’s only that she was so very delicate. Winning her was the greatest triumph of his young life, and yet ever after he feared that he might break her. She had a lovely singing voice and an affinity for small animals. She wept on their wedding night. Made him feel brutish. Turned his love – the purest, the cleanest feeling he had known – into some fearful greedy thing.
He was always gentle with her, always.
It will be our secret, Vivian promised, her finger tracing his jaw, but it was not that that swayed him. It was her strength. Gorlois was often teased for keeping a wife so candid and clever. And cruel as a serpent, should you dare to cross her.
She is her mother’s daughter, but she is Ygraine too, shaking in his arms.
He knows very well (muddled as he is by sleep, by aching bones) that he must do it right this time. Magic stole her, but she was not left to rot in the earth. No – she stumbled out of the darkling forest and back to him. This time, he must be better. He will. He has his son, his rightful heir, and demands nothing from her. Only that she let him love her as he was not able to before.
Still, how fragile she has grown. All grace and white at his left side. Sometimes he forgets he does not have a queen. But then! That flash of long black hair. That mouth and its strange curves. She has become (he marvels in private moments) the perfect union of the only two women he has ever loved.
It spread so quickly. He feels her mouth against his shoulder. The fire. There was nothing I could—
Shhh, child, he breathes into her dark hair. Into the hot lines of her neck. No harm will come to you. Not while I’m here.