Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin, background Morgana/Leon
Summary: The risk of Arthur, as the non-magic half of the partnership, falling pregnant was statistically very low. In fact, it was almost unheard of. And so he never really worried about it. Not until it was far, far too late.
Warnings: Mpreg, fluff
Word Count: 4695
Author's Notes: Happy holidays aeris444. I've tried to incorporate all of your main prompt request. Thanks to fififolle for the beta.
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
Also here on A03
Little Lights Shining
According to Merlin, Arthur should have always known it was a risk. Magic users were just great at reproducing and it didn't seem to matter if they or their partners were male or female, either one could get pregnant. In theory.
The thing was with theories, they often failed to work in practice. In reality it was almost always the magic user who fell pregnant. Or the non-magic female. The risk of the male non-magic half of a partnership falling pregnant was statistically quite low.
Scratch that, it was very low. So low, in fact, that Arthur couldn't recall ever having heard of it happen before and when he did a little research on the internet he found he was the first one in a decade.
Because he was. Pregnant, that is.
It was Merlin who noticed Arthur's condition first. As Merlin was training to be a doctor he really should notice these things. And as it was all Merlin's fault anyway it was only right that he should be the first to worry about it. Not that Merlin seemed particularly worried. But then, Merlin wasn't the one who was pregnant.
It was a Sunday, the day of the week that they always had to themselves. Arthur didn't work, Merlin didn't study. They'd realised long ago that they needed to take that time or risk hardly ever seeing each other.
It started like any other Sunday. Arthur woke first, as he always did, wandered blearily off to the kitchen to make coffee, then brought two steaming mugs back into the bedroom in the hope that the aroma would wake Merlin up.
It didn't, so Arthur put the mugs down and jabbed him in the ribs with his thumb instead. Merlin yelped and jumped up, glaring at him. It confirmed Arthur's suspicion that Merlin often just pretended to be asleep so that he didn't have to get out of their warm and comfortable bed. Or make coffee. Or do anything useful at all.
"Ow!" Merlin gave him an adorably mock-hurt look that Arthur just wanted to kiss away.
"Serves you right. I'm not your servant!"
That seemed to awaken some evil idea in Merlin's mind, judging by the mischievous look that suddenly replaced the hurt one. Arthur lay back, knowing he'd enjoy whatever it was that his imaginative partner came up with this time. Merlin eyed him for a moment, then suddenly pounced on him, pushing him down and straddling him.
"We'll see who's the servant," Merlin grinned wickedly. "I... Oh. Hello!"
Arthur knew there was a contented, satisfied smirk settling on his face. He couldn't help it, he was certain he was about to get a blow job, and if there was one thing his lover was really, really good at... Except nothing was happening.
Arthur opened his eyes. Merlin was still kneeling there in their bed, straddling him and gazing down at him adoringly. No, actually he was gazing at Arthur's stomach adoringly.
Arthur wasn't overly surprised. He worked out, after all, and it was right that Merlin should appreciate the trouble Arthur went to for him. Hopefully he wouldn't just stay there admiring him all morning and would get on with the important stuff fairly quickly. But no, Merlin reached out and very gently touched his hand to Arthur's stomach, then pulled it back quickly with a little squeak as if he had been burnt.
"What are you playing at, Mer-lin?"
"Well, you know how we talked about kids."
"Yes. We're waiting until you qualify, because I don't want to mess up your study. You performed a contraceptive spell on yourself."
"Mmm." Merlin reached forward again and stroked his hand over Arthur's stomach rather fondly. "It worked really well."
"Good, because for a moment there I was starting to wonder if you were warming me up ready to tell me you're pregnant or something!"
Merlin gave a little laugh. "Oh no... But you know, I've got really high scores in every magic ability class I've ever taken."
"Yes. I know all that. Stop showing off and get to the point."
"Mmm..." Merlin dipped his head to plant little butterfly kisses over Arthur's stomach, gentle and loving. "And you know how last night was really, really good?"
Arthur was hardly going to forget. "Maybe you should stop talking and just give a practical reminder?"
Merlin straightened up, beaming down at him happily.
"Well, you're pregnant."
"Very funny." Arthur reached to pull his lover back into his arms. "You're rubbish at comedy, Merlin. Stick to the doctoring."
Arthur narrowed his eyes suspiciously. Of course it was a joke. Though... Merlin didn't really look as if he were joking. He was positively radiating happiness and was starting to run his hand lovingly over Arthur's abs again. The abs he worked so hard on in the gym, that were going to be buried in a mound of pregnant flesh... No, this wasn't happening. Arthur sat up so fast that he almost knocked Merlin backwards.
"Tell me you're joking," he practically begged. "I don't care if you dine out on the fact you got me for the next year, just tell me it's not true! You're the magic user, you're the one who gets pregnant! We talked about it, you agreed that's what we'd do. You said this never happens! How can I be pregnant?"
"I said it almost never happens," Merlin corrected. "Except in exceptional cases. That means we're exceptional," he added, looking at Arthur hopefully.
"Why didn't you have the contraceptive spell include me as well?" Arthur cried.
Merlin bit his lip and looked horribly guilty. "I didn't think you'd need it."
"Well I don't now! Oh God! Can't you magic it across to you? Seahorses can do that, can't they? You could carry it instead!"
"We're not seahorses."
Didn't Arthur know it? Life would be a lot easier if they were. "Merlin, you've got to do something! I can't have a baby. I'm Vice-President of Pendragon Industries! I have to go on the telly all the time! I can't do this! Merlin!" Arthur knew he was probably starting to sound hysterical, but as he felt hysterical and of course this was all Merlin's fault, Merlin could just deal with it.
Merlin had gripped him firmly by the shoulders and gave him a little shake. "Arthur! Calm down. People have babies every day."
"Not non-magical men! How's it supposed to come out? I can't..." he waved his hands in the air in what he thought was an excellent impression of Merlin doing magic but Merlin's expression said otherwise, "...and it's out."
"Caesarean section," Merlin told him.
"There'll be a scar!" Arthur wailed.
"There won't. I'll fix it. I promise. You'll be back as the poster boy for Pendragon Industries in no time."
"Arthur, calm down. You're hyperventilating." Merlin was using that ultra-calm voice that Arthur imagined he used on particularly stressed patients. It galled him to think that he was getting into such a state that Merlin felt it needed to be used on him and he made a huge effort to calm down. Which, perhaps, was why Merlin was using it.
It was annoying, having someone know you just too well.
"Okay?" Merlin asked softly.
"Apparently I'm pregnant, Merlin," Arthur snarled. "What do you think?"
Merlin sighed. "Give me your hand."
When Arthur just stared at him, Merlin grabbed Arthur's hand and placed it over his stomach, keeping his own over it.
"Can you feel it?"
For a moment Arthur wondered what on earth he was supposed to be feeling, because surely there couldn't be anything there any bigger than a pinhead yet. Probably not even that. He wasn't studying for a doctorate in magical medicine but he knew that much. He was about to tell Merlin exactly how dire his trainee doctoring skills were, when suddenly he was aware of something else. Someone else. A tiny little spirit, barely there but totally, definitely alive. And there was a second spark as well, much fainter but definitely there.
Merlin was looking at him, watching his expression, smiling at him hopefully. Arthur found himself mirroring that smile. It was impossible not to.
Merlin's grin broadened. "Are you okay now?"
"No." But the smile didn't leave Arthur's face, belying his words because that little life just felt amazing. "Not quite. What's the other one? Is one of them you?"
"The other one?" A flicker of puzzlement crossed Merlin's face. He let go of Arthur's hand and bent down over his stomach again. When he straightened up there was a slightly worried look on his face. "You're calm now, right?" he checked.
That didn't bode well. "Just tell me."
Merlin winced, evidently expecting an explosion. "Um... I think it might be twins."
"Twins..." Arthur echoed. "Like, two of them?"
"That's what twins generally are, yes," Merlin told him patiently.
Arthur lay back and closed his eyes, feeling a headache coming on. He'd obviously done something terrible in a previous life to deserve this.
Telling their families was... interesting. Hunith of course was overjoyed. She had taken to Arthur as soon as she met him and once she'd discovered that he had never known his own mother she became determined to fulfil that role for him. Arthur had never been more grateful for her love and kindness.
She sent Merlin off on some errand, then sat Arthur down and just talked to him, trying to answer the hundred and one questions he hadn't realised he needed to know the answers to until she was there offering to help. It was a huge comfort, especially when she made arrangements to be close by when the babies came. It quietened one of Arthur's fears, that he would have no idea what to do with the children when they arrived. It was supposed to be Merlin that carried them, he was the nurturing one, not Arthur. It was never supposed to be Arthur.
But now Hunith was going to be there for them. She would know what to do. It would be okay.
He had to keep reminding himself that it was going to be okay.
Telling Arthur's father was a completely different experience.
They waited several weeks, until the monthly summons to Saturday night dinner. It meant that Morgana and her husband Leon would be there too, but as Merlin pointed out, that was just killing two birds with one stone. Arthur thought that was just fine for Merlin, because Morgana actually liked him.
Arthur's father, however, did not. Uther Pendragon's acceptance of Merlin was tenuous at best. It had taken him a little while to get used to the fact that his son's chosen partner was one of those people. Uther didn't like mixing with magic folk. There was some rumour in the offices that a business deal had gone badly wrong years ago and soured his attitude towards them, but even Arthur had never dared actually ask him about it directly. Morgana had tried once and he hadn't spoken to her for months.
Of course, that was about the same time that she came out about her own magical abilities, which also might have had a negative effect on their communications .
Eventually Uther had relented, and Morgana had been allowed back into his life. As for Merlin, Uther just about managed to stomach him on the grounds that Merlin was training to be a doctor, and having a doctor in the family was every bit as acceptable as having a magic user was unacceptable. The fact that Merlin was studying the magical healing side of doctoring was a minor point that Uther chose to ignore.
The trouble was, Arthur's expanding waistline and subsequent offspring was something that Uther wouldn't be able to ignore. It would be there, right in front of him at meetings, in the office, at official functions...
"You'll be going on paternity leave," Uther told Arthur when he found his voice again. For nearly a minute he'd just stared at them when they told him, his mouth dropping open in a motion somewhat reminiscent of a fish. "From the moment that there's any sign of this... this..." He waved his hand, which apparently was supposed to indicate whatever it was that he wanted to say.
"These babies," Morgana supplied helpfully, looking far too pleased at the way their father glared at her for saying so. "Twins! You'll be huge! How long before you start to waddle, Arthur? I don't want to miss that!" She looked delighted at that as well. Arthur really hated having her as a sister sometimes. It was one of those times.
Uther turned his horrified gaze to her for a moment, then back to Arthur.
"You're not to even leave the house once you're that large. I don't want photos of your freakish condition spread across the tabloids. This," he pointed at Arthur's stomach, “is what comes of consorting with magic users! Don't say I didn't warn you."
Leon had sat silently at Morgana's side throughout the revelation. He was the only one who actually looked concerned. "I thought it was always the magic user who carried the child," he put in. He glanced at Morgana worriedly, which just made her smile widen further.
"Merlin cast a contraceptive spell," Arthur explained. He spared Merlin a baleful glare. "He forgot to include me in it."
Morgana's smile was almost devilish in its pleasure now. "That's a wonderful idea. Well done, Merlin! You'll have to tell me how you did that!"
Leon shifted uncomfortably in his chair. His worried look had deepened almost into despair.
It was another Sunday. Although, now that he didn't have to go to work, every day was a bit like Sunday for Arthur. His stomach was starting to swell a lot faster than he'd expected, and he'd been unable to fit into the extremely well-fitted and expensive designer suits he normally favoured. Instead he had gone to work in...
"Is that polyester?" Morgana had exclaimed in horror. Arthur thought it was horror anyway. It might have been thinly disguised glee.
"Do you seriously expect me to get a new tailored suit every few weeks from now on?" he snapped back at her. He wasn't even sure why she'd come into the office that day.
Uther had been right behind him. He took one look at the suit, which Arthur had buttoned over in the vain hope that nobody would notice the straining waistband, and ordered him to go on immediate paid leave until further notice. Apparently Morgana was going to be Acting Vice President of Pendragon Industries until his return.
Which probably told Arthur exactly why Morgana was there.
"I was just looking out for you, little brother," she claimed as he cleared his desk. "Making sure you get your paternity leave just as soon as it's due to you. I don't want my little nieces or nephews born to a stressed father. Also, polyester, Arthur. Polyester. I know you're not going to be wearing it for long but if you had to get something cheap you could at least have gone for wool blend."
Aunt Morgana was never, ever going to be allowed to be left alone with the babies. It wasn't that he feared she would harm them in some way, because of course she wouldn't, but she might teach them some of her less pleasing traits. Like the one where she couldn't stop herself mocking Arthur.
That was weeks ago, and Arthur was still thinking about Morgana angrily. He resolved to go to New Look and get her a polyester dress for Christmas. Preferably a flammable one because surely there had been a time when witches were burned and if there was ever a witch that needed burning...
"You're thinking very loudly this morning," Merlin mumbled. He blinked sleepily at Arthur, snuggled closer and closed his eyes again. "Mmmm, you're lovely and warm."
Arthur was always warm these days. He was sure the pregnancy was turning him into a small furnace. If people really did spontaneously combust then he was certain he was experiencing the start of it. Perhaps one day Merlin would come home and just find a little pile of ash where Arthur had been.
Merlin was always cold and seemed to enjoy Arthur's new body temperature, and in turn Arthur now welcomed the two bricks of ice that Merlin called feet.
Arthur wondered if the babies would look like Merlin. The shock of black hair sleep-tousled against the pillow was always strangely endearing to him. Even the unfortunate ears were something he'd grown ridiculously fond of, though he drew the line at wishing to inflict those on a defenceless child.
Not that their children were going to be defenceless, not if they had magic. Arthur stroked his stomach thoughtfully, wondering what it was going to be like to be the only non-magic user in the house. He was going to be horribly outnumbered.
"What's wrong?" Merlin murmured, pressing his face into Arthur's neck and nuzzling at him.
"Who said anything's wrong?"
Merlin pulled back and propped himself up on one elbow, frowning at Arthur. "You're lying awake staring at the ceiling and making that clicking noise with your tongue that you always do when you're worrying about something. Like I said, thinking loudly. The babies are fine, and when you get near your time I'll look after you, I won't leave your side until they're safely out, I promise. And Mum's coming down too, remember? You won't have to do a thing."
"I know." And he did. He knew how much Hunith fussed over the pair of them whenever she stayed with them even before Arthur was pregnant, but that didn't stop his growing fear of the birth. His own mother had died bearing him, after all. But he didn't want to burden Merlin with that fear. Instead he went with the other, lesser fear. It was more of an annoyance really. He could see them all ganging up on him.
"It's just that you'll all have magic, I'll be the odd one out. And what if the kids start doing magic and you're not there to control them? What happens then?"
"Mum doesn't have magic. She's going to show you all that. She had to control me, remember? Apparently I was doing magic after just a few weeks. She knows what to do. And I think only one of them has magic anyway, though we won't know for sure till they're born. If the other one is like you then all we'll have to worry about is it being a spoilt clotpole!"
"A spoilt what? Is that even a word?"
"Come here," Merlin whispered, pulling him into his arms, ignoring Arthur's half-hearted protests at the insult as he claimed his lover's mouth, pushing him gently down into the mattress. "You'll never be the odd one out, we'll all love you too much for that to ever happen. And you know what I'd like now?" he murmured, nuzzling at Arthur's ear.
"Probably the same thing that got me into this mess in the first place?" Arthur hazarded, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He loved the reassurance that Merlin still found him attractive despite what he saw as his increasingly bloated body.
Merlin leaned down, kissing Arthur again, working his way down his throat, his chest, gentle kisses to his bump and then lower... Arthur threw his head back and just gave himself up to the sensations as Merlin's hungry mouth engulfed his cock. It stopped far too soon and left Arthur erect and panting for more.
Merlin grinned and sat up again. He gently helped Arthur flip over onto his front and position some pillows to support him, even though Arthur kept telling him he was hardly incapable or fragile. Merlin kept running his hand over Arthur's stomach, and Arthur knew he was checking everything was okay, keeping his promise to care for Arthur and the babies.
"I'm not made of glass, Mer-lin," Arthur reminded him again, but he secretly found the care and concern endearing. Nobody had ever treated him as if he were something precious, to be nurtured and cared for before. Merlin did though, almost from that first moment when he'd realised Arthur was pregnant. Still, this really wasn't the time for it. The little brats were probably going to ruin their sex life as soon as they arrived, they weren't going to interrupt them now. "Get on with it!"
Muttering something about hormones which Arthur knew he was supposed to rise to but wasn't going to do so, Merlin reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a bottle of lube.
"As you wish, Sire."
Arthur yelped as Merlin squirted a little of the cold gel directly onto his arsehole.
"What's the matter, too cold for you? Thought you said you weren't all fragile and delicate?"
Arthur glared over his shoulder, then groaned as his lover carefully inserted a finger, working at him carefully, gradually introducing another finger and gently stretching him. Arthur gave a low whine that changed in tone as Merlin crooked his finger, finding his prostate and began to slowly massage him. Arthur buried his face in the pillow, gripping it tightly.
"So good, don't stop..."
The only response Merlin gave was to twist his finger again, eliciting another muffled moan of pleasure, Arthur's breathing getting heavier. He whined in protest when Merlin stopped the finger-fuck and urged him higher up onto his knees.
"Don't stop... don't..."
Merlin used a little more lube, then slowly pushed his cock deep into Arthur's tight hole, eliciting another groan. It was too slow for Arthur's liking.
"Move, Merlin," he grumbled, and this time his lover obeyed, thrusting into him, getting the angle just right so that he hit Arthur's prostate nearly every time. Arthur took a firm grip on his own cock and started to pump furiously. Merlin's arms tightened around him and the thrusts grew harder, faster and then Arthur's orgasm washed over him and he spilled over his hand and the sheets, hearing Merlin groan behind him as the contraction hit him. Another moment and he felt Merlin shudder against him and mutter: "Fuck...yes..." as he came, slumping forward to collapse beside Arthur on the mattress.
They lay like that for a few moments, both catching their breath, then Merlin pulled him into his arms, kissing him slowly, savouring him.
"God, I love you."
Arthur had no doubt it was true. Despite all his concerns about the future there was never a moment when he didn't feel that he was exactly where he should be. He snuggled closer.
Arthur was huge.
He'd felt huge for months, but now when he looked down he couldn't see his feet, and when he lay in bed at night he knew he looked like a beached whale.
They kicked. A lot. That would definitely be Merlin's genes, because Merlin fidgeted and kicked in his sleep sometimes. It wouldn't be Arthur, because everything Merlin said about him snoring and taking up most of the bed was utter rubbish.
Arthur's fear of the birth was starting to be somewhat reduced by the fact that he wanted the babies out. He wanted to walk down the street without people looking at his vast stomach. He wanted to stop feeling hot all the time, to stop having backache and feeling tired, and to get a decent night's sleep without the babies moving around and waking him up. Most of all, he wanted his body to stop leaking in places he didn't think it should. He didn't care if he would need to feed the babies, they didn't need feeding yet so nothing should be happening. Hunith and Merlin had both laughed at him when he told them this. He hadn't spoken to either of them for at least an hour afterwards.
They'd painted the spare room yellow, even though Merlin had accidently let slip that his scans had shown Arthur was carrying two boys. Yellow was the colour of Spring, and freshness. Everything was ready, because Arthur had been gifted with months at home to do nothing but buy everything they could possibly need. The cupboards were filled to bursting.
So, it seemed, was Arthur. His stomach felt very tight, and the two little baby Merlins were obviously having a game of football with each other in there.
Merlin had pointed out that perhaps they both took after Arthur, given the way that he fought with Morgana all the time. But that meant that one or both of them might also be like Morgana, and he didn't want to even consider that.
Arthur was booked in for the extraction, as he liked to call it, on the Friday. In many ways it couldn't come soon enough. In other ways he thought he could wait for it forever, because he still feared what might happen.
So he sat out on the patio in the cool Spring sunshine, in case it was his last chance to ever do so. He told Hunith he was catching up on some vitamin D and let her drape a blanket over him so that she wouldn't worry that he'd catch cold. When Morgana came round to torment him (by herself because Leon hadn't come near him in months), he just let her do so. He hugged her when she left which silenced her more effectively than a lifetime of sniping and teasing had ever done. If only he'd known that sooner. And when all their friends piled in on the Thursday night for the baby shower Gwen had insisted on throwing and Arthur had insisted he didn't want, he was glad of it after all because it was a chance to see them again. Hopefully not for the last time, but better to be safe than sorry.
And then Friday arrived.
Afterwards, he didn't remember a great deal about the process itself. The first thing he remembered clearly, and didn't think he'd ever forget, was the moment after Merlin healed him up. That was when he'd carefully laid one of their newborn sons in Arthur's arms. Arthur could hear the other one screaming loudly and Hunith comforting him.
The boy in his arms was red-faced from crying, but that had stopped. Now he seemed sleepy, and immediately nestled close to Arthur. He was almost bald apart from a few wisps of blond hair. Well, that was something, Arthur thought, at least one of the boys might have something of him in their appearance even if they both turned out to be magic users. Hunith was bringing the other newborn over and Arthur saw the thick shock of dark hair as the boy, still bellowing loudly, came into view.
"Trust the one that's most like you to be noisy," Arthur murmured to Merlin, but there was only fondness in his tone.
The wailing continued, Arthur was disappointed to see. He'd hoped that once he got the baby in his arms the boy would recognise him and immediately stop the noise. Instead he was probably going to start his sibling off.
"I couldn't be sure until they were out, but only the blond one has magic," Merlin told him. "This one's obviously taking after you."
The quieter baby had opened his eyes at the noise and Arthur thought he saw a sudden flash of gold. The crying stopped almost immediately, and both babies settled down.
"Oh dear," Hunith was biting her lip trying not to laugh. "I'm not sure if that's the start of sibling bullying or just really, really helpful!"
Arthur looked down at the two sleepy newborns in his arms. They were both beautiful, perfect. He wouldn't want to change either of them and he could see from the besotted way that Merlin was gazing at them that he felt the same. It made everything Arthur had gone through worth it.
But Merlin was going to have to do a sterilisation spell because there was absolutely no way Arthur was ever going through it again.