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Title: In Ourselves and Our Stars
Fandom: Merlin
Characters/Pairings: Gwen/Morgana
Ratings/Warnings: PG, dire situations
Written for: this prompt at the Picture's Worth 1000 Words comment meme.
Wordcount: 1100
A/N: Spaceship!AU, because... I can.

This isn’t how Gwen imagined things happening.

Truth to tell, she hadn’t been imagining this too much. Six months ago Morgana was simply the new ship’s officer, serious and earnest as she stepped into her job with bare scraps of experience, twenty-seven years to her name, and a degree that she most likely wouldn’t have if it didn’t make her Officer Pendragon, famously estranged child of the house or not.

That changed pretty much the first time Officer Pendragon stopped by the engine room, admired Gwen’s babies with genuine interest and said, “So, I hear you’re half the reason every Engineering student and ensign wants a berth on the Liberty.” Gwen had been stammering a bit already; she looked up then, caught sight of Officer Pendragon’s smile, and dropped her tools all over the floor.

By the time they’d cleaned up the mess and chatted about families and ships, they were Morgana and Gwen to each other – strictly off-duty, of course. The next night they’d met up for dinner in the café, and a week later Gwen reached the end of the graveyard shift and realized she still wanted to see Morgana, when normally she wanted no company but her bed and a hot bath for her aching feet.

From there things turned almost ridiculously movie-like, the sort of things Gwen did daydream about occasionally: mocking dreadful movies and making out like teenagers in the back of the tiny movie theater, slow-dancing in the lounge when most of the crew was asleep, stealing kisses in the observation dome as they looked out at the stars. Gwen realized love might be edging sideways into the picture a while after that, somewhere between calming Morgana down as she tore her quarters apart after a call from her father and Gwen’s brother’s birthday, when Morgana spent the night stroking her hair and telling her it was all right to cry, really, go ahead.

Still, intense and spectacular six months or not, it's been only six months. Gwen wouldn’t even be thinking about this if it weren’t for one thing:

The warp drive isn’t working, and won’t be.

It isn’t Gwen’s fault; half the ship has assured her of this, and she eventually worked it out for herself. It’s a design flaw in the engines that she never could have caught, and she hasn’t anything like the resources to fix it.

There’s rescue coming, but the warp engines are what boosts the communications signal trans-galaxy, and the jury-rig is shaky. If the coordinates don’t come through clear the first time, they might well end up drifting out of known space, stuck on their own for the rest of their lives unless the higher-ups pull a miracle with the red tape, and that’s not likely for a ship that’s no longer top of the fleet.

Nobody’s got a clue what’s out there, either.

It’s after the captain explains it all in detail – though perhaps two people didn’t already know – that Gwen finds Morgana in the observation deck, which is deserted. Nobody seems to want to look at the stars just now.
Gwen takes Morgana’s hand quietly, leans against her shoulder as the other woman starts to shake.

“I wanted to marry you someday,” Morgana confesses, gazing up; Gwen goes still. “Become a captain and get you to be my engineer, fly together, see the universe and do something great together, come home to a cozy little cabin with pictures on the walls, white dresses and the cake and everything…” Her trembling voice cracks; she wipes her eyes quickly, furiously, breaking away. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to cry.”

Gwen breathes in, out. “You want to marry me.”

“Yeah.”

She closes her eyes, thinks about unknown space and the sheer amount of information required to time a precision warp-space jump. “Then let’s,” she says.

They don’t mean it to be a big affair, exactly. But somehow everyone gets wind of it, and it seems there’s a fair bit of good will built up around the two of them – and also, everyone needs a little happiness. There’s only so much that can be done, but Gwen gets help throwing together a couple of white dresses from what spare cloth they can scrounge, everyone on the ship who possess fake flowers or can spare a few cut ones immediately pools them, Galley promises to put a nice dinner together, and the Captain opens the ship’s grand ballroom for the occasion, which Gwen privately feels is overkill, but Morgana likes it and Gwen doesn’t mind.

“Are you sure?” Morgana asks quietly, the last night before the wedding. “I don’t want to force you.”

Gwen tries not to laugh at her timing in asking, gazing at the ceiling of Morgana’s cabin. “Yeah, I think so, under the circumstances. I mean – not that I wouldn’t marry you, outside of this, but just – hurrying –”

“I know,” Morgana says, touching her hand. “I understand.”

“I just wish I could tell my da.” She bites her lip. “Do you –”

“One of the advantages is not having to invite Uther,” Morgana admits. “But I wouldn’t have minded seeing Arthur and his boyfriend again.”

Gwen leaves a little after that – it seems a little silly, staying over on the night before their wedding – and, by sheer force of exhaustion, manages to fall asleep almost immediately.

The next morning is a flustered, endless blur of nerves and tension and a strained, quavering delight, of helpfully-intended and mostly useless fussing and fluttering from her friends, and then suddenly it’s three o’clock and she’s standing in front of the shining steel doors of the ballroom, flowers twined into her twisted-up hair and the first new dress she’s worn in a year brushing against the tops of her thighs. She clutches at her improvised bouquet and hopes she doesn’t trip in her heels, stares at herself in the mirrored surface and realizes both that she’s smiling and that she looks – beautiful. She feels beautiful, and then the doors slide open and she sees the crowds of her friends in their dress uniforms, smiles as they cheer, and then she sees Morgana standing ready at the other door.

Morgana, beautiful tough-as-nails Morgana with her hair swept up just so it can spill down her back, wrapped up in short-skirted white and clutching her flowers like a lifeline, and Gwen walks as slowly as she can because she wants to taste every moment of this.

Later, they’ll look at the pictures and see the Captain beaming like a proud father as they meet in front of him; right now, Gwen can only look at Morgana and marvel, put down the bouquet and reach for Morgana’s hands.

“Dearly beloved…” the Captain begins, and whatever else happens after this, they’ll be facing it together.

Date: 2011-07-12 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 1st-eggokage.livejournal.com
EM.

EM, THIS IS THE CUTEST THING IN EXISTENCE AND I AM RECCING IT AT PLUSFIVE IN THE NEXT POST. OH MY GOD, MY HEART. ;______<3

Date: 2011-07-12 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sour-idealist.livejournal.com
asdfkljdf thank you. IT IS ALL THE GIRLS, THEY ARE AUTOMATICALLY ADORABLE. ♥

Date: 2011-07-12 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simply-shipping.livejournal.com
Oh. My. God. I didn't know how much I needed a Spaceship!AU marriage fic for these two until just now. And they might be lost in space and askddajgiponjdgernhjsdohgj.

Hearts in my eyes forever.

Date: 2011-07-12 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sour-idealist.livejournal.com
asdflkjasf THANK YOU. (Spaceship!AU marriage fic - is that actually a widespread genre? Huh.) But eek, thanks.

(They are probably not lost in space! All the time in my head as I was writing I was pretty sure they were gonna get found and it would all be okay. But. The ship is basically an ecosystem, though, so air/water/etc isn't gonna run out.)

Date: 2011-07-12 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simply-shipping.livejournal.com
(Not that I'm aware of. BUT IT SHOULD BE. At least if they're all as awesome as this.)

And good, at least that means that they can be together for a long time whether they get rescued or not. <3 (Also, asphyxiation, starvation, and/or dehydration are just really not-fun ways to go, and I certainly wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially Morgana and Gwen.)

Date: 2011-07-13 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sour-idealist.livejournal.com
(Weirdly enough, I've seen one other one, but just the one. And thanks.)

Yep! I mean, uncharted space ain't what you'd call safe, but they've got a decent shot. Also, rescue!(And yeah, erk.)

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