Title: Cherry Coke
Summary: Parents, man.
Word Count: 768ish
Prompt: 352, i carry your heart with me
Author's notes: yeah, i have no defense...
Uther woke up crying.
His heart ached with a longing he hadn't felt since the day he'd lost Ygraine all those years ago.
It perturbed him as he absently rubbed at his chest, as if to relieve the ache that settled there. Something was wrong, but it wasn't with him.
He picked up his cellphone and pressed number 1 on his speed dial.
"Hello?" Arthur was groggy with sleep.
"Arthur? Come see me for lunch."
He heard sheets shuffle as Arthur sat up.
"I'm really busy today, I don't think I'll be able to."
"Make it work. I'll see you at one at that pizza place you like in Soho."
Uther hung up on Arthur's huff of surprise.
The pizza parlour was decked out like a canteen with long metal tables and plastic chairs. Uther had already ordered by the time Arthur showed up.
His son had shadows under his eyes and his lips were set in a tight line. There was the something that
wasn't right. He waited for Arthur to be seated before he nudged a Cherry Coke towards him.
"I hope this is very important," Arthur groused between sips.
"You know," Uther sat forward, pushing his own cup of tea to the side. "The day you were born, my heart broke into two pieces."
Arthur hunched in on himself, guilty laying heavy on his shoulders.
"One part I never saw again, gone with your mother. But the other, the second part, I saw grow up and
evolve into a very successful young man, who I am very proud of."
Uther watched as Arthur's eyes widened for a moment before narrowing. He continued.
"So, I know when something is hurting you Arthur. Because I carry a part of your heart with me, just like you carry the second part of mine in you. So tell me, what is going on?"
Arthur sighed and rubbed his eyes, leaving them red and blotchy.
"I...There's..." He battled to begin. Uther stayed still, waiting out Arthur's hesitancy. "So, I..."
Arthur took a deep breath and exhaled heavily, pushing all the air out of his lungs.
"I fucked up."
Uther frowned at his choice of phrasing, but nodded for him to continue.
Arthur concentrated on his drink, twisting the glass this way and that, avoiding looking at his father.
"There was this person. Things... happened. I panicked and now they're never going to speak to me
again." He then took a sip of his coke, wincing at the sweet fizz.
"Have you tried to speak to this...person?" Uther kept his voice soft, hoping it wouldn't cause his son to clam up. Sometimes, without realising it, he noticed that something in his tone would turn his son to
stone. He prayed it wouldn't happen now.
"What can I say to h-them? I'm scared? I've never felt this way and I have no idea where to even start?"
"You love...this person, don't you?" Ideas began to form in Uther's mind. "Why are you ashamed of that? Love is, as I recall, a wonderful thing."
"Yes, but...what if me loving...them...will make you hate me?"
The penny dropped and Uther felt his cheeks heat with his own shame.
"Arthur. I'm sorry that I made you think I could do anything but love you. There's nothing a parent won't do for their child. Nothing. I will see the world burn before I hurt you. Go apologise to your young man."
Arthur looked up in surprise, the kind where you knew you were busted. He bit his lip.
"If I remember the old love songs correctly, love lifts you up, it makes you glow. Arthur, I want to see you happy. Don't let your ideas of me get in the way of that."
"So, you'll be okay with him and me?"
"Son, I grew up in the 60s. There's very little that I am not - okay - with. Now, go grovel. Apologise. And remind him everyday how happy he makes you."
Arthur surreptitiously wiped away some stray tears and stood up, straightening his jacket. As he moved past Uther to leave, his father pulled him into a hug.
"When you're done prostating yourself at his feet, bring him to lunch on the weekend."
Uther then released his son and watched the man he'd raised walk out the door with a determined set to his shoulders.
"Oh Ygraine," Uther muttered to himself. "He really did get the best parts of you."
A large olive and mushroom pizza was delivered to his table and Uther enjoyed every bite.