Title: How I Met Your...
Pairing/s: Merlin/Arthur, Arthur/Gwen, Morgana/Gwen, Gwaine/Merlin, Lancelot/Merlin
Character/s: Arthur, Morgana, Gwen, Lancelot, Gwaine, Merlin, Elena, Mithian, Mordred
Summary: “So, everyone, I’ve brought you here to explain to Mordred how he, and his family, came to be.”
Word Count: 1060
Author's Notes: This is not how I intended it to be, but I thought I should post it anyway since it's not going anywhere!
They’re all gathered in the restaurant, around a large table. Arthur and Morgana and Gwen and Lancelot and Gwaine and Merlin and Elena and Mithian; and, of course, Mordred.
“You were the one who wanted to know,” Arthur said, watching Mordred’s obvious sulk.
“I wanted you to tell me, not have some weird family gathering.”
“Well, tough. I need them all here to explain. Some of them were around for bits I wasn’t.”
“And you couldn’t improvise?”
“And risk not telling you the truth?”
Arthur grins, and Mordred scowls. Arthur’s obviously enjoying this far too much. Drinks and starters are ordered; they know they’re going to be here a long time. When everyone’s settled and with food, Arthur taps his fork against his glass.
“So, everyone, I’ve brought you here to explain to Mordred how he, and his family, came to be.”
Someone cheers. It’s probably Gwaine. Arthur glares to the table at large.
“Well, Mordred. I suppose it all starts with the day I met Merlin.”
“Oh no,” Gwen pipes up, “It starts way before then. More like when I met you and Morgana.”
Morgana laughs and takes a sip of her wine.
“Come on now, Arthur. It really all begins with Uther. You can’t tell him about us without telling him about Uther.”
“Right, then. It starts, Mordred, with some very sordid business between my father and Morgana’s mother.”
“What he means,” Morgana stage-whispers, “Is that they had an affair.”
“Before he met my mother. Turns out, Morgana’s his. When Morgana’s parents died in a car crash he took her in, did his duty. Of course, we didn’t find this out until later.”
“You’re not telling the story very well, Arthur,” Morgana says.
“Well, why don’t you take over?”
“We met Gwen when I was seventeen and Arthur was fifteen, when she started part time work cleaning our place. I desperately fancied her; she is gorgeous after all.”
Gwen inclines her head at the compliment.
“Morgana was lovely to me. Brought me flowers, asked me about my day.”
“But Gwen was straight. It really was quite sweet, and quite stupid,” Arthur says.
“She was hopeful,” Gwen says, cross, “Don’t be so critical, it’s a good thing.”
“Of course Arthur dated her,” Morgana says, but she’s free of bitterness. “They were perfect boyfriend and girlfriend for a few years, but it never amounted to anything.”
Arthur smiles, eyes going unfocussed, remembering.
It’s hours later, as they eat dessert, that Arthur actually gets to Mordred’s part in the tale.
“You first came into our lives with your birth father,” Arthur tells him, “He was Father’s business rival, and he’d done something to displease Father. But he brought you with him to Uther’s meeting.”
Morgana saw him first. The little boy hiding behind his father’s coat. She saw him, and she knew that something had to be done. If the father could not be saved from Uther’s fury, then the son could. She and Arthur knew Uther’s plans; they knew Uther would prosecute his father for fraud, and they knew that the evidence was already fabricated and in place for his arrest, and they would never be able to talk Uther down, but they could save the child.
Morgana took Arthur to him, and together they talked to him; found out that he was motherless, soon to be effectively an orphan. They talked to his father, and it was arranged quickly. Morgana was legally an adult – she would adopt Mordred. And if Uther disowned her, then Arthur would support them. And if not, Uther would just have to disown them both.
Mordred has heard the story before, but only in pieces. It’s all he’d wanted to hear, but Arthur shows no sign of stopping.
“It was after I came back from University that I met Merlin,” Arthur says, “I didn’t know I could like boys, but he was there, at Gwen’s party, and I was entranced.”
“Bloody obvious if you ask me,” Gwaine tells them all, grinning, “But I could tell he wasn’t going to do anything, so I started chatting Merlin up.”
“There was me too,” Lance says, “We’d been friends for years, and I’d never really thought – but then he was dancing, and I’d…”
In hindsight, it had been a hilarious party. Everyone was watching Merlin. And he was completely oblivious to anyone except Gwaine, who had him up against the kitchen counter, making out with him like his life depended on it. Arthur couldn’t help but watch, entranced by the movement of their hips against each other. It was everything he’d never known he’d wanted, but he couldn’t touch, couldn’t get close, because Gwaine was there already.
They’d played kissing games, and Arthur had been able to taste what he’d wanted, just for a moment, from the curve of Merlin’s lips, fingers tracing over his proud collarbones.
For Lancelot, it was Gwen. He had only seen her as the hostess so far, as Merlin’s friend, but when the bottle landed on her, he really started to notice her. The tight curls of her hair, the darkness of her eyes. Their kiss was like a song, and they spent the rest of the night dancing.
Gwen didn’t have to watch Arthur mooning at Merlin while Gwaine kissed his neck. But Morgana and Freya had to. It was almost pathetic.
It was only a week before Arthur ran into Merlin again. It wasn’t expected; Arthur had gone down to the library because his internet had cut out, and he’d gone up to the desk to pay for some time on the computer, only to find Merlin there. An awkward conversation had ensued – was he dating Gwaine, was he alright that he wasn’t dating Gwaine – and then Merlin had pulled him into the back room.
“I saw your eyes on me all through the night,” Merlin had said, “But I didn’t think you’d ever do anything about it. Is that what you’re here for?”
“I didn’t plan it,” Arthur assured him, “But I-”
He’s lost for words, so instead he leans in and kisses Merlin. Merlin kisses him back, clinging to him; and that’s it for Arthur. He’s gone from that moment on.
“And that’s still not it,” Arthur says. Mordred groans.
“Go on then, I know I won’t be able to stop you.”
“You wanted to know!”