Title: Come What May
Character/s: Ygraine, Arthur, Merlin (mentioned), Uther (mentioned)
Summary: It takes Ygraine only a few seconds to realize exactly what he's implying, and she feels her heart sink at this, at how the fear dances across her son's eyes. Does he truly believe she would reject him for this? Has she truly given him the impression that she would not accept him, no matter how he is?
Word Count: 983
Prompt: #85 - Relief
Author's Notes: I live! Ah, I've so missed writing these little drabbles. It's been a crazy month for me. Has anyone else been doing NaNoWriMo this year? Because that's been eating my time up like you wouldn't believe. Plus, I've been practically drowning in schoolwork. But yeah, found some time, hit 50k last night, so I figured I'd write something up for this. I found myself with an extreme desire for some parental bonding fics, and there isn't enough fics where Arthur gets to know his mom and this SADDENS ME so I wrote this little piece up at like, what, midnight? After watching the 50th anniversary for DW pffft. But yeah, please enjoy!
Ygraine is reading when she hears her son's voice, quiet and a little nervous. She looks up, curious, because she knows her son well enough to know her son is almost never nervous—a trait inherited from his father, undoubtedly.
She closes the book she is reading, pulling her glasses off her face. She sets both in her lap, and stares at him in concern. “Arthur? Is something wrong?”
Arthur pulls at his fingers, wringing his hands. He looks as though he's trying very hard not to, but it's clear that he can't stop. He shifts from foot to foot, and he clears his throat, his face twisted into a mixture of confusion and anxiety. Ygraine can't stop the influx of worry that fills her. She's never seen him act like this. Arthur has always been so sure of himself, so confident in all that he does.
She pats the seat next to her, and Arthur comes over, sitting down next to her. Ygraine stares at him only for a moment, but she can still see the gears turning in his head, the uncertainty still written visibly in his eyes. Ygraine sets the book and her glasses instead on the table, patting his cheek as he looks at her.
“Tell me what's happened,” she says quietly, and Arthur swallows, as if pained by any thought of telling her anything. “Are you hurt?”
“No,” he replies, taking a deep breath. “No, I'm all right, Mother. Physically, anyway.”
This unsettles her, the way the last phrase is haphazardly tacked on. But Ygraine doesn't address it, and instead, lets him continue.
“Mother, how would you...” Arthur begins, licking his lips. He takes her hand, squeezing it gently, reminding her of when he was nothing but a boy, too short to even reach her hip, but always holding her hand. “How would you feel if...”
The way Arthur keeps swallowing, the way he doesn't meet her eyes, she can tell it's been a struggle for him to even come to her at all. Ygraine can't help but worry for her son's well being—has something happened he doesn't want to talk about? Is he in trouble?
She holds his hand gently, bringing her other hand over top of it, rubbing it soothingly. “My darling boy, you know you can tell me anything, no matter what.”
Arthur gives her a weak smile at this, and she prides herself in the small victory of that smile.
Finally, he sighs, meeting her eyes. “How would you feel if...in a few years, you would not get...a daughter-in-law...but a son-in-law?”
It takes Ygraine only a few seconds to realize exactly what he's implying, and she feels her heart sink at this, at how the fear dances across her son's eyes. Does he truly believe she would reject him for this? Has she truly given him the impression that she would not accept him, no matter how he is?
“Oh, my son,” Ygraine whispers, pulling him into a hug. He goes willingly, burying his face in her shoulder, gripping at the fabric of her shirt tightly. “My darling child.”
“I'm sorry,” Arthur says, as if he has anything to apologize for. He's shaking in her grip. “I'm sorry I'm not the son you want me to be.”
She pulls away, and cradles his face, wiping away the wayward tear that falls down his cheek. “Whatever are you talking about? If you think you're anything but the son I've always wanted, then I've failed you as a mother.”
Relief spreads across Arthur's face, and it warms her heart. Ygraine hugs him again, pressing kisses into his hair. “Oh, little lion. As if anything would make me stop loving you.”
“I thought you would hate me,” Arthur chokes, taking another shaky breath. “I thought you would think I'm disgusting.”
“Never,” she promises, and takes his hands into hers once more, squeezing them reassuringly. “Is there a special someone, then? Someone I'll meet very soon, hopefully?”
Arthur looks away at this, but the way his cheeks color ever so slightly answers her question. She chuckles quietly, and he smiles in return. “He's...something, really.”
“Something good, I hope?”
He nods. “His name is Merlin. And he is. Something special, I mean. Perpetually clumsy, though. He's always tripping on things. That's how we met, actually. He spilled coffee all over me, the clumsy oaf. Bit of an idiot, and he thinks he's so clever--”
Arthur abruptly cuts himself off, but his gaze softens. “But he's one of the best things that's ever happened to me, and I wouldn't trade the time I've spent with him for the world.”
Ygraine can't help but smile widely at this, the thought of her son falling in love, as she had, all those years ago. “Then I should look forward to meeting him. He sounds lovely.”
Arthur nods again, but he still looks troubled by something. Ygraine asks, “Arthur?”
“Will...do you think Father will understand?”
Ygraine thinks of Uther's tendency to overreact, but also considers the fierce love and loyalty he has for his son.
“He'll understand,” she says with certainty, patting his hand. “It'll take time, but I know he'll understand. Your father loves you a great deal, possibly more than you know.”
Arthur smiles, as if that's the only thing in the world he's ever wanted to hear. He yawns, then, and Ygraine laughs.
“I think it's time for you to go to bed,” she tells him, and kisses his forehead. “Sleep well, Arthur.”
“Thank you, Mother,” Arthur replies, and kisses her cheek in return. He stands up, and walks towards the door, before saying softly, “For everything.”
“My son,” Ygraine says, trying to convey all of her love into her voice. She never again wants him to feel as though he isn't accepted, isn't loved, because he is, and always will be in her heart. “It's what mothers do.”