Title:Life changing surprise
Character/s: Gwaine/Merlin, Arthur, Gaius
Summary: Life is full of surprises
Word Count: 1346
Prompt: 60. Surprise
Author's Notes: Thank to derenai for the beta reading!
Merlin was lying curled in his bed. His eyes were fixed on the stone wall in front of him. One of his hands cradled his stomach in an unconscious gesture. Marks of tears were still visible on his jaws, his eyes were puffy and red.
On the table next to the window, the tray that Gaius had brought in the morning still laid untouched.
It had been two days now that Merlin had discovered the reason behind his tiredness and the queasy feeling that didn't leave him since a few weeks. It had been two days since he last saw Gwaine.
Thinking about the knight, Merlin felt tears prickling his eyes. He remembered that awful day…
How Gaius had found him retching for the third time that morning and how the physician had insisted on examining him. Gaius serious face had worried Merlin. . Was he seriously ill? Or cursed?
Soon, his worries were replaced by astonishment when Gaius announced he was with child. At first, Merlin hadn't believed him. Even if that was explaining all his strange symptoms. But when Gaius had produced some books talking about pregnant sorcerers, Merlin had started to believe him. And some hours later, the young man was already starting to think about that baby as a reality, a wonderful surprise. He imagined living with Gwaine in a small house in town, a beautiful wooden crib next to a warm fire, their baby sleeping peacefully under their protective gazes.
These thoughts had made him happier than he had ever been in his life. This happiness wasn't made to last, though.
Later that day, when Gwaine had come back from his patrol with Percival in the town, Merlin had been waiting for him in his room. He was so happy and had wanted to share the surprising news with his lover. As soon as Gwaine had entered the room, Merlin was kissing him. The Knight had welcomed his sudden passion and answered enthusiastically. But when he had tried to undress his lover, Merlin had backed away and announced they needed to talk. They had sat in the bed and Merlin, after having taken deep breaths, had told Gwaine they were going to have a child in a little less than eight months.
Gwaine's laugh was still vivid in Merlin's memory. And it still hurt . It had been like being stabbed a thousand times.
The look of horror that had replaced the laughter when Gwaine had realized that Merlin was not joking had hurt even more if that was possible. And the last blow had been his words. Calling him a freak, a monster. Telling him he had already had a hard time coping with his magic but that abomination was just too much for him.
Surprisingly, Merlin had been able to hold back his tears till Gwaine had told him to leave. But as soon as he had been alone in the cold corridor, he had slumped against the wall and had cried.
He had kept crying till Leon had found him nearly an hour later and brought him back to Gaius, not asking questions. Merlin had always liked Leon and was grateful for his lack of curiosity.
Since that night, Merlin hadn't left his room, refusing to eat, not answering Gaius' questions.
What if Gwaine was right? What if he was a monster? This baby shouldn't live. He was an abnormality. People would hate him. Some would even want him dead.
Nonetheless Merlin knew he would not get rid of the baby. Deep in his heart, he knew he already loved the child. The simple idea of what their future would be was frightening, though.
Some noise coming from Gaius' room roused him from his thoughts. Familiar voices. Arthur was there. Merlin tried to understand what they were seeing.
"Sire… He's sick. He can't do his chores at the moment, I'm sorry."
"Gaius! Let me see him!"
"Merlin needs to rest."
"Gaius. We both now he's not really sick…"
The physician didn't respond.
"I'm the King and I really don't want to order you to let me see Merlin."
There was still no answer and Merlin heard the stairs to his room creak. Arthur was coming and he didn't know if he wanted to see him or not. What did the King know? Had Gwaine told him everything? Or Gaius?
"Sire… Just… Be gentle with him. He hasn't talked to me since Leon brought him here. I don't know what happened."
"I will never hurt Merlin, you should know that, Gaius."
Arthur's tone was strangely soft.
"Try to make him eat a little. He needs it."
Then, Merlin heard the door open but he kept his eyes on the wall, still trying to decide if he wanted to tell Arthur about the baby. Was he ready to risk losing Arthur, too? What if Arthur thought he was a freak, too? Would he ask him to leave Camelot? If the possibility of having to cope with the baby alone was frightening, the idea of having to leave Camelot made Merlin feel sick.
Once again, Arthur's voice was so soft. Merlin looked at him. He knew he had to offer a very pitiful sight but seeing Arthur was comforting. Aside from Gwaine and Gaius, the King was his closest friend. And even if their relationship was sometime undefined, swiveling between friends, master and servant, brothers, Merlin cared for Arthur.
The King came to sit at the end of the bed. He gently stroked Merlin's calf.
"Merlin… Gwaine came to talk to me yesterday."
Merlin tensed but Arthur was still touching him so he supposed that meant he was not disgusted or angry.
"Is it true?"
Finally, Merlin looked at Arthur. He saw the care in his eyes and the comforting smile.
"What… What did he tell you?" he asked, his voice hoarse from too much crying.
"He told me he wanted to leave Camelot."
Merlin shivered. So Gwaine was really hating him. He had once confessed that if he had settled in Camelot it was because of Merlin.
"So I asked about you," Arthur continued. "And he told me about the baby and what he thought about you…"
"About me being a monster ? An abomination?" Merlin cut the King short, trying to hold his tears.
"Yeah… That's when I punched him."
"What? You've struck Gwaine?"
"He had called you a disgusting freak! When you're carrying his child! How could he treat you like that when he was supposed to love you!"
Arthur's vehemence was surprising but it made Merlin feel better. The King would not ask him to leave Camelot and he still seemed to consider him as a friend.
"Merlin… Gwaine left this morning, " Arthur added more calmly. He had stopped stroking Merlin's leg now and one of his hands came to take Merlin's.
"I don't know what you intend to do about all that but I want you to know that I'll be there for you… And for the baby if you want."
Merlin's eye opened wide. Never had he hoped to hear the King say these words to him.
"Are you serious? You…"
"Yes, Merlin. I will not leave you alone."
Arthur's smile was so honest Merlin could only believe him. He still didn't really know what his future would be but now he would not be alone.
He sat up in the bed and came closer to Arthur.
"I want to have the baby," he confessed as the King took him in his arms.
"Ok. I'll help you as much as I can. But before that, you need to eat, Merlin. For you and for the baby."
Merlin nodded but, looking at Arthur with pleading eyes he asked : "Can you stay here a little longer?"
Merlin let his head fall on Arthur's shoulder and for the first time in two days, he felt appeased.
The good surprise of the unexpected pregnancy had been ruined by Gwaine's reaction. Now, with Arthur's help, Merlin was dreaming again of a happy life.