Character/s:Merlin, Arthur, Knights
Summary: Merlin is feeling better, now Arthur and he can think about the future.
Author's Notes:Thanks to the lovely derenai for the beta! Thanks to osky291 for the second beta!
It had taken some time but as Merlin was starting his fifth month of pregnancy, he was finally healthier. He had gained some weight, ate for two (or three depending on his strange cravings) and had stopped sleeping all day.
Arthur was relieved. Even more so when Merlin had started to make plan about the future. The night before, they had talked about names till Merlin had fallen asleep, his head in Arthur’s lap in front of the fire.
Arthur remembered that moment. How he had waited before awakening him, just to take the opportunity to look at him.
Merlin was so beautiful now. He was glowing. His belly was already round and big, like a woman’s in her seventh or eighth month. It shouldn’t have made Arthur want to see him naked and caress his skin… The King had tried to suppress these thoughts but each time he saw Merlin he wanted him more.
He knew it was not the right time to act on his feelings, though. Not before the baby was born. But it didn’t prevent him from taking care of Merlin and do anything in his power to make him happy.
Arthur looked around Merlin’s room one last time, checking that everything was in order before closing the door.
Merlin would come back soon. Arthur hoped he would love the little surprise he had set up for him.
Merlin walked slowly. His belly was already so big it was getting hard to walk for a long time. But he enjoyed a small walk around the lower town and a Knight always volunteered to accompany him when Arthur couldn’t.
Arthur and he had decided to tell the Knights the truth about Merlin, Gwaine and the baby. Arthur insisted it was a matter of safety. Merlin loved the Knights and he was happy to have friends to spend time with. Sometimes, the Knights were too protective but Merlin understood they wanted to make up for Gwaine’s departure.
“Merlin? Are you ok?” Percival asked as the sorcerer had stopped.
“Yeah… But that little bastard is having fun and it hurts,” he answered, stroking his belly to try to calm the baby.
“Do you want to go back to the castle? You need to rest, Merlin.”
Merlin nodded. He would enjoy lying in his bed for a moment. And Arthur should have finished his meetings with the seneschal by now.
When Merlin entered the King’s rooms, he found Arthur reading next to the window. But the King immediately forgot his book and came towards him.
“Merlin! How was the walk?”
Arthur put his arm around Merlin’s waist and guided him to the bed.
“Do you want to rest? Are you hungry?”
The way he was fussing around him, always worried about his and the baby’s wellbeing was endearing. Merlin enjoyed his King’s attention probably more than he should have.
He loved feeling Arthur’s arms around him, his hands gently stroking his hair. He craved for the caring looks and the gentle smiles. And if he was totally honest with himself, he wanted even more.
More than once, he had let his thoughts wander. Imagining how Arthur could take care of him in a more intimate way. But he knew it was a stupid wish. Arthur liked him, cared for him but just as a friend, nothing more. And how could somebody find him attractive? He was so big now.
However, Merlin was determined to make the best of Arthur’s softness. He was glad not to be alone in this adventure. Arthur would be there for him and the baby and that was all that mattered at the moment.
“No, I’m okay! It’s just hard to walk for a long time and the baby is restless today.”
Arthur smiled and put his hand on Merlin’s belly.
“Little one? Can you calm down for a moment? I have something to show to your Daddy… Alright? Let’s see if he likes the surprise.”
Like every other time Arthur had talked to the baby like that, Merlin was in awe. And in these moments, his affection for Arthur was nearly unbearable.
Finally, Arthur’s words registered.
The King nodded.
“Come with me.”
This time, Arthur guided Merlin to the sorcerer’s room, adjoining his. They stopped in front of the closed door.
Merlin looked expectantly at Arthur who nodded encouragingly. Merlin opened the door.
In the middle of the room stood a beautiful crib. It was clearly made of precious wood, carved with intricate patterns.
Merlin came closer and discovered the patterns were in fact dragons and unicorns. The same motifs appeared on the embroidered wool cover.
“As we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, I’ve asked for both,” Arthur explained.
Merlin turned to face him. Tears were appearing in his eyes.
“Arthur… It’s… It’s so beautiful!”
He jumped in the King’s arms, hugging him as close as his belly let him.
“So? You like it? Really?”
“Of course! Thank you! Thank you so much! For everything!”
And, in a loving impulse, Merlin kissed Arthur.
It was just a brief contact of lips. As soon as he realized what he was doing, Merlin withdrawn.
“Sorry… it’s… You know, the pregnancy makes you do strange things.”
“It’s alright,” Arthur answered, not letting go of Merlin.
They stayed in each other arms, looking at the crib for a long time. Till Merlin’s back started to hurt so they migrated to his bed. Then, Arthur suggested, “I thought we should start searching for a wet nurse for the baby… Leon told me at least two maids were expecting around the same time as you… And we can also go to the town. Or… you can do this alone if you prefer.”
Merlin looked at Arthur intently.
“No, I want you to choose with me.”
For Merlin, it was a way to involve Arthur. If Arthur accepted to take more and more space in the baby’s life, he hoped he would perhaps take Merlin, too.