Title:How to pamper your pregnant manservant in five lessons
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin's pregnancy is progressing and Arthur is doing everything he can to take care of him and the baby.
Word Count:1634 (sorry)
Author's Notes: Thanks to derenai for the beta.Part of the "Surprise" series.
A warm bath
Winter was coming soon that year and the castle was already starting to feel cold. Wind was penetrating every breach, the field were white with frost on the morning, the sun didn’t really warmed the atmosphere in the afternoon.
That day, when Merlin came back from his walk with Elyan, Arthur immediately noticed that his cheeks were red and that he was rubbing his hands.
“Merlin? Are you cold?”
“A little… But I’m feeling better here!”
“Can you rekindle the fire?”
Merlin nodded. Now that he was pregnant, using his magic had become quite tiring but he was still able to cast some basic spells like that. His eyes glowed and, an instant later, the fire was burning brightly.
“Come here.” Arthur stood up and helped Merlin out of his coat. When his hand touched Merlin’s neck he jumped. “Merlin! You’re freezing!”
“No, no, it’s okay, really…”
Merlin tried to escape Arthur’s exploring hands but the King held him firmly.
“No, it’s not alright! You’re pregnant Merlin! You can’t catch a cold! Go closer to the fire!”
Arthur pushed Merlin towards the fireplace before going outside his chambers. He hailed the first maid he saw and asked her to bring the bathtub in his rooms. She bowed and went away hurriedly.
“Arthur! I’m already getting warmer! No need to worry.”
“So you don’t want to lounge in a big, steamy bath?” the King asked.
“Mmm… Now you’re talking about it, I’m quite cold.”
Arthur smiled. He loved taking care of Merlin and he loved it even more when Merlin let him without complaining.
A few moments later, two servants entered the room, carrying a big bath tub. They set it in the middle of the King’s chambers and went away with a respectful bow.
A flash of gold and the bath was full of hot water.
“I let you settle in, then.”
Merlin nodded and Arthur left the room for a moment.
When he came back, Merlin was lying in the bath, his eyes closed, his hands resting on his rounded belly, just above the surface.
Arthur felt suddenly very warm.
A foot rub in front of the fire
“I’ll never make it, Arthur!” Merlin whined.
“I’m sure you’ll cope!” the King tried to comfort his servant. Tears were already glistening in his eyes. For two days, Merlin had been quite moody, alternating between euphoric phases and moments, like this, when he was certain he would not be able to carry the baby to the full-term or to raise him correctly.
“But look! I’m so huge! And my feet are swollen! And I can’t help but cry all time!” he said, sniffling.
Arthur sat next to him on the bed and gently took him in his arms.
“It’s alright to feel like that Merlin! But as spring will come, you’ll be cradling your baby in your arms and you’ll see that it was worth it!”
“Do you think so?” Merlin asked with his most adorable pout.
Arthur had to restrain his urge to kiss him.
“I’m sure of it!”
Merlin nestled his head in Arthur chest and sniffled again.
“But it’s hard.”
Arthur stroked Merlin’s back. It hurt to see him like that. After a difficult start, Merlin's pregnancy had been quite smooth but now that he was in his third trimester, everything had become harder for him. His belly was huge, like one of a woman pregnant with twins. He had difficulties walking or just standing for a long time. His magic was getting weaker and weaker, probably drained by the baby as Gaius told them. And the mood swings didn’t really help.
“Merlin? Do you want me to rub your feet?”
Merlin looked at Arthur, startled.
“Are you serious?”
“Of course, I am.”
“But… You’re the King and I’m just a servant!”
“You’re not just a servant Merlin. You’re my manservant and my friend…”
“Oh…. Ok, then.”
They moved to the chairs in front of the fireplace, Arthur grabbed a salve Gaius gave him for aching muscles and took Merlin’s feet in his lap. As soon as he started massaging them Merlin was smiling again and that was all Arthur needed as a repayment.
Some hot milk
Another downside of Merlin’s pregnancy was that, as his belly was getting bigger, it was getting harder to find a comfortable position to sleep.
Even if he was tired, Merlin often found it difficult to fell asleep.
Arthur knew when his friend wasn’t sleeping as he always waited to hear him snore slightly before going to bed himself.
That night, Merlin seemed restless so Arthur decided to knock at his door.
“Merlin? Are you alright?”
Merlin came to open the door. He was in his night clothes, his hair were ruffled, his eyes sleepy.
“I heard you moving around. Is everything alright?”
“It’s the baby… He moves a lot and I can’t sleep.” Merlin explained, visibly helpless.
“You know, when I was a kid and I couldn’t sleep my nanny would bring me some hot milk with honey.”
“Do you want to try?”
Merlin nodded and Arthur went outside to call for a maid.
“It’s delicious!” Merlin sighed in pleasure as he slowly drank his hot milk.
He was lying in his bed, leaning against a big pile of pillows. Arthur was at his side.
“But the little one still think it’s time to party.”
Merlin frowned and put a hand on his belly.
“Can… Can I?” Arthur asked, almost shyly.
“Try to calm him down?”
In the darkness, Arthur didn’t see Merlin blush as he lifted his shirt, revealing his bare belly.
Slowly, Arthur put his hand on it. Since the time he had felt the first movements of the baby, Arthur hadn’t dared to touch Merlin again.
His skin was smooth and warm. Arthur felt a flutter under his hand and then a stronger kick.
“His legs…” Merlin commented.
Arthur let his hand wander higher on Merlin’s belly. He felt every movement of the baby. It was amazing.
And when he started drawing circles on the belly, the baby finally calmed down.
“You’re good at that!” Merlin noted, yawning.
And Arthur kept caressing Merlin’s skin till his friend was fast asleep.
A warm apple pie with some dry venison
“Merlin? You’re not hungry?” Arthur asked as Merlin was playing with his food but not eating anything.
“It’s not that…”
“Don’t you like rabbit stew?”
“Yes, normally… But…”
“Do you want something else?” Arthur asked before Merlin could continue. Gaius has told them about the strange cravings but for now, Merlin hadn’t really had a lot of it. Only he was eating lots of fruits.
“Can… Can I have some warm apple pie?” the servant asked with his best puppy face.
“I’ll ask for it right now!”
But as Arthur stood up, Merlin continued : “Can you ask for some smoked venison with it…”
“And… Do you think it’s possible to have the venison on the pie?”
Arthur just laughed.
A cuddle to keep him warm
Arthur was lying in his bed, reading a report about the grain’s stocks when the door of Merlin’s chambers opened.
“Arthur?” he heard Merlin whisper.
“I’m not asleep, Merlin! Come in!”
Merlin came, waddling slightly.
“It’s just… I… I can’t sleep and…”
“It’s the baby again?”
“No… It’s just that I’m cold.”
Arthur put his report on his bedside table and, without thinking too much about it, offered Merlin what he had wanted to propose for months now.
“Want to come in?” he asked, lifting slightly his covers.
He saw the hesitation on Merlin’s face but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to push him. If Merlin accepted his affection it should be of his own free will.
Then, Merlin moved slowly towards Arthur’s bed. When he sat on the edge, Arthur heard him take a deep breath before lying down.
He took them some time to settle down. At first, Merlin had tried to lie as far from Arthur as possible. Then, Arthur had drawn him closer and they ended with Merlin on his side and Arthur holding him from behind.
But, as they were slowly falling asleep, Merlin moved to face Arthur.
“Arthur? Why are you doing all this?”
“Taking care of me like that.”
Of course, Arthur should have seen it coming. But he still didn’t know how to explain what he was feeling to Merlin without risking to lose his friendship and his trust.
“Because I want you to be happy… And our bab – “
Arthur stopped, realizing what he had just said. He promptly corrected.
“And your baby to – “
“Arthur,” Merlin interrupted “What have you just said?”
In the darkness, Arthur could make out Merlin’s big blue eyes intensely watching him.
“It’s just that… I… I think I’m getting attached to the baby and… of course, I know I’m nothing to him…” Arthur stuttered.
“Arthur, calm down.”
Arthur felt Merlin’s hand on his jaw and stilled.
“I know you’re not the baby’s other father, Arthur but you’ve done so much for me … “
Merlin looked down, his hand now resting on Arthur’s shoulder.
“Sometime, I wish you’d be the baby’s father.”
Arthur couldn’t believe what he had just heard. It was so unexpected. He hadn’t even dared to hope for something like that.
“Merlin… it’s… I’m…”
Arthur was lost for words so he decided to do the only thing that seemed right and he kissed Merlin.
It was nothing more than a light peck but it was perfect nonetheless.
“Merlin… We need to talk… About all this… You, the baby, me… But not now. You need to rest.”
Merlin nodded. “Ok… But can you kiss me goodnight again?”
Arthur happily obliged.