Title: Of Families and Friendships
Characters/pairings: Merlin/Arthur, Uther, Morgana
Summary: Uther has some news for Arthur: Morgana is coming to live with them.
Prompt 195: Friendship
A/N: Part sixteen of my reincarnation series Merlin and Arthur Live Again.
With more than a small amount of trepidation, Arthur entered the dining room, prepared for… well, he had no idea what to expect. His father had sent him a text an hour earlier, asking him to meet in their living room for supper at six.
Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but Arthur had other plans—to get properly pissed with his mates—and the thought of having to cancel such delightful debauchery to listen to his father drone on, depressed him.
His week had been stressful enough, with sorting out his courses for the upcoming term and having to accept help from his father to get into one particular course he had to have for his degree. And, to make matters worse, Arthur had been missing Merlin, who'd always been able to bring him out of his maudlin moods.
No Merlin to cheer him, Gwaine had rolled his eyes and suggested what he called the second best cure to relieve stress: a pub crawl. The idea hadn’t appealed to Arthur at first, but after talking to Merlin, who had convinced him that he should go out with his mates and drown himself with mead, Arthur was all for a night out.
Now that much needed night out wasn’t looking too promising, but perhaps if he explained just how stressed he was, his father would understand if he wanted to delay their meeting. In fact, the more Arthur thought about it, he knew his father would understand and that he'd act as if whatever he had to say wasn’t as important as Arthur going out with his friends, because his father knew how much his son’s friendships meant to him, especially now that his mother was gone.
It was this thought which made Arthur realise that no matter how much he wanted to be out with his friends, he needed to honor his father’s request. Hadn’t Arthur been complaining for months that his father was distant and that he couldn’t be bothered with his son? He had. So, instead of sighing and giving his father a put upon frown when he was asked to have a seat, Arthur decided that his friends would still be out at a pub in an hour or two. His father’s willingness to talk to him was, at best, fleeting. Arthur guessed this epiphany was another of those signs that he was, as his mother had often said he would do when the time was right, indeed growing up.
“Thank you for having supper with me, Arthur. I ran into Leon earlier and he told me you were to have drinks with him and a few of your mates. I didn’t mean to ruin your plans.” He looked sad as he took a sip of his wine.
“You’ve done no such thing, Father. They will still be there when we finish, I assure you.”
“I have news,” his father then said, his face ashen.
Arthur sat down, put the napkin in his lap and poured himself a generous portion of white wine. “Don’t leave me on tenterhooks, Father,” Arthur said, attempting to bring some levity into the serious conversation, but he doubted that would succeed.
“Morgana will finish her studies at Albion.”
“Er, what?” To say Arthur was shocked was an understatement. Morgana hadn’t been in touch with her father or him in years. Of course, that hadn’t been by her choice, but, still, it was completely unexpected. “I thought her mother had forbidden her to speak to you.”
“She did and has. Apparently, Morgana had a falling out with her and finally had enough. She called me and asked if she could finish her studies here. I told her that her mother would cut her off financially, but that I would happily give her whatever she needed if she decided to move here.” Finally, there was the smallest hint of a smile on the elder Pendragon’s face. “The plans have been finalized; she will be moving into the house next Saturday.”
There were so many emotions flitting across his father’s face and it made Arthur infinitely curious. “Why did you look so stressed when I walked in? I can see that you are happy she’ll be living here.” And, truth be told, so was Arthur. It had been over ten years since he had seen Morgana. They’d always gotten on well. They’d never been best mates or anything like that, but Arthur remembered when they were younger how he’d wished she lived with him and his parents. He hadn’t thought it fair that she only got to stay with them and her half-brother at Christmas hols.
“I was worried about how you would react,” was his father’s drawn out response. “I know our relationship has been strained since your mother passed away. It hardly seems fair that I have kept my distance from you, but now Morgana wants to move in with us and I am suddenly overly happy. It’s important that you understand, Arthur. I’ve not had a father-daughter relationship with her other than brief holidays here and there.”
Arthur smiled and shook his head. It was what it was. “No need to worry, Father. I’m pleased for you. Truly, I am, and if I may be selfish, I am pleased for myself as well. I’ve always wanted a full-time sister; it might be a bit late in life for a true friendship to begin between us, but I’d like to try.”
“It’s never too late, Arthur. Morgana told me she can’t wait to see you. She hasn’t had it easy; it’ll be nice for her to have friends she can count on, and I know you and Merlin will make her feel at home. That goes without saying.”
“Yes, it does go without saying. Merlin and I will make sure she feels at home. I can already tell you that Merlin and she will become fast friends; he pined over her every time she had to leave to go home.”
“Did he, now? Good, then I know she is in good hands.”