Title: An unlikely ally. (mpreg 22/?)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Merlin has asked for a video conference with Uther.
Word Count: ~1020
One:But I don’t know any lullabies
Two:Moving on without you 1/2
Three:Moving on without you 2/2
Five:While you slept
Nine: Restless sleeper
Eleven: Nearly normal
Tweleve: All that haunts us
Thirteen: Bucket, oh bucket
Fourteen:Hello little one
Nineteen: Happy thoughts
Twenty: Don’t worry about a thing
Twenty-one: Midnight talk
Like so many times before, Uther found it difficult to decide if Merlin was being disrespectful or not. There was only one other Uther could think of who would ask for a video conference and attend it leaned back with his feet on the table. That was Cenred, and he would have added a smug smile and a fat cigar.
But the faint smile on Merlin when Uther asked about Arthur was not smug.
“Arthur is doing better, despite... He has more energy and is up and about more. Baby is well. Feels strong.”
The smile grew to crinkle Merlin eyes. Pride. Obvious pride. Fatherly pride? Pride in a plan going well? Uther mentally corrected himself; he had promised himself to focus on the positive. He had even bought that stupid toy bear after making the manager of the toy store vouch for the quality, durability and overall child safety issues before purchase.
“I am glad he is better. Will he - they – be hospitalized for long?”
Merlin shrugged. “It’s still difficult to say with this kind of illness. He might feel better in a couple of weeks , or it might be more long term."
Uther gave a small grunt-like hum noise to acknowledge he had heard him, but not necessarily believed what he had to say.
Merlin cleared his throat.
"But this is not why I asked for this... conversation.”
Uther said nothing, and by that prompting Merlin to continue.
“Yes, as you know the media is all over this, making it difficult for... everyone. We were thinking it was time to have someone speak on our behalf, someone not associated with the Albion institute.”
Uther nodded slowly.
“This might be a good idea.”
“It should also be someone who's used to dealing with the media and whom we can trust to have our family's best interests at heart.”
Merlin's heart swelled as he said that. Family! It drained some of the uncertaintly of how the word 'our' would be read. Whether Uther would think Merlin was weaselling into to Pendragon family or if Merlin and Arthur were including Uther in theirs. Uther remained unreadable, but listening intently.
“We’ve talked it over, Arthur and I, and we agreed that... we hoped you would be willing to do that. Speak on our… on Arthur’s behalf, if…”
He clenches his fists and appears to swear internally.
“We would both like you to be our spokesperson or media contact during this pregnancy and perhaps some time after, depending on Arthur's recovery.”
Uther straightened his back, wondering if his ears were deceiving him. It took him a few seconds to gather his words.
“I must say I was not expecting that.”
He sounded genuinely surprised. Merlin laughed dryly.
“A lot of that going around lately. In truth I’m a bit surprised myself. Funny how a knife in the back changes you point of view. Had it at least been my back...”
Merlin runs his fingers through his hair and ruffles it. He seems less guarded now that Uther hadn’t immediately shot down the idea. And that is when things finally clicked into place for Uther. Uther had ruined Arthur and Merlin's safe haven. Morgana had cost Merlin and Arthur a friend, a confidant and an ally in Mordred, leaving them even more exposed. Merlin wasn’t scared or seeking protection. He wasn’t fumbling with words because he found Uther intimidating or because he had gotten himself in too deep.
Merlin was furious.
Yes, this was something Uther could understand; defending your investment at any cost and realizing how how thin the line between enemy and ally is. He was not being asked to help, he was given permission to offer his help. This would be Uther’s last chance to choose sides. He hated to admit it, but this did command some respect.
“Thank you, mr Emrys. I would be honoured.”