Mark belongs to LuckyDuck932 and Marinus belongs to lazy-brown
Arthur plopped down on the couch, feeling completely spent. His muscles instantly relaxed as they met the plush upholstery, the tension vanishing for the time being. He loosened his tie and closed his eyes, allowing his head to fall back as he released a breath that he hadn't realized to have been holding in. He couldn't remember the last time he had gotten home feeling this exhausted.
"Rough day at the office?"
His eyes fluttered open as that melodious voice reached his hears. He smiled as soon as he spotted his wife, gently cradling her swollen stomach as she approached him.
"'Rough' doesn't even begin to describe it." he replied as he kicked off his shoes, the sudden lack of pressure on his feet almost making him shed tears of joy.
"Nobody ever said being a CEO would be easy." Gwen commented as she took a seat next to him. "I hope you haven't been pushing Patsy too hard."
"Not more than usual. I did have to fire someone today. You know, that one guy whose name I could never remember? His productivity levels had been decreasing drastically for a long time. It just felt like he didn't belong there anymore."
"How did he take it?"
"Well, first he apologized and begged me to let him stay, then he threatened to sue us and tried to crane-kick Patsy when he called security."
"Poor Patsy!" Gwen couldn't help but laugh. "At least your day was interesting. I hate being on maternity leave. All I do is sit around the house all day."
"Has Marinus been giving you a hard time?"
"No, he's been surprisingly quiet today." said Gwen as she rubbed her baby bump. "I wish I could say the same about Mark."
"What's wrong with Mark?"
As if on cue, a loud slamming sound was heard from across the house. Arthur was alert and worried, but when he looked at Gwen, all he saw on her face was annoyance and fatigue.
"It's been like this all day." she sighed as she pinched the bridge of her nose. "All he does is act out and drive me mad."
His wife might have been too tired to deal with it, but Arthur wasn't having it. He had had an exhausting day at the office; the least he wanted was some peace and quiet in his own home.
"Mark Pendragon, get in here this instant!" he barked.
The small boy entered the living room frowning, dragging his feet against the hardwood floor.
"Your mother tells me you've been misbehaving." Arthur tried to speak calmly, crossing his arms as he observed his son trying to avoid eye contact. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"It's all his fault!" Mark exclaimed not a millisecond after his father finished speaking, pointing at his mother's swollen stomach.
Arthur and Gwen stared dumbfoundedly at their firstborn, taken aback by his sudden outburst and by the so-called reason for his rotten behavior. The six-year-old's finger was shaking as it continued to point at his mother's enlarged abdomen, and the tears welling up at the corners of his eyes were growing more visible by the second.
"Ever since he began to grow inside of mommy, it's been 'Marinus, this' and 'Marinus, that'!" Mark protested, his tone angry and loud. "It's not fair! I never wanted a brother! It's like you're trying to replace me!"
"Sweetheart, no!" said Gwen, pulling her son into a hug. "We could never replace you!"
"Then why are you having another baby?" Mark whimpered, eyeing his mother's baby bump with disdain.
"That's mostly your father's fault." she replied as she glared at Arthur from the corner of her eye, who blushed and grinned awkwardly. "But also because we still have a lot of love to give. We'll still love you just as much, but you have to understand that Marinus will need more care and attention. You're going to have to be a big boy about this."
"But I don't want to be a big boy." he murmured sadly. "I want to be a baby. Your baby."
Arthur could understand his son's insecurities. He was certain he would've had the same insecurities if he had ever had a younger sibling. As luck would have it, the only thing closest to a sibling he ever had was his tyrant of a stepbrother, who tormented him all throughout his childhood.
As much as it pained him to recall that turbulent part of his youth, it also gave him an idea on how to reassure his son about the new addition to the family.
"Mark, come here." Arthur ordered. "I want to have a serious talk with you."
Mark released his mother's torso and slowly made his way towards his father. Arthur gently picked up his son and sat him on his lap.
"Son, have I ever told you about your uncle Kay?"
"No." Mark replied, seemingly confused. "I didn't know I had an uncle."
"That's because I try not to talk about him, on the count of the bad influence he was." Arthur sighed before continuing. "Kay is my stepbrother. He is older than me, but instead of protecting me and helping me like an older brother should, he did the exact opposite. He would bully me and treat me like dirt with every chance he got."
Arthur could see the look of absolute shock in his son's face. As much as it hurt, he was glad to see the message was coming across as he intended.
"I had the worst childhood thanks to Kay, so the last thing I would like to see is my own son follow in his footsteps." he reached down and affectionately tousled his son's hair. "You don't want to be a bad brother, do you, son?"
"No…" Mark replied, looking down at his lap embarrassedly.
"I thought so." Arthur smiled, patting his son on the back. "You'll see, having a brother is fun. Just think about it as your new best friend and playmate."
Mark's head suddenly whipped back up and Arthur could see his eyes glint with excitement.
"Really?" he gasped.
"Of course!" Arthur laughed. "As soon as he's old enough, Marinus will need someone to play with. You can teach him how to play all of your favorite games! But you have to promise to be nice. Do you think you can do that?"
"Yes!" Mark grinned, nodding his head excitedly. "I promise!"
"Good. I'm glad to hear that." Arthur stated as he gave his son a tight hug. "Now go to your room, it's well past your bedtime. Your mother and I will be there soon to kiss you goodnight."
Mark hopped off of his father's lap and scurried in the direction of his bedroom.
When Arthur glanced at his wife, he could see a look of satisfaction on her face.
"Good show, Mr. Pendragon." said Gwen. "Looks like the boss always gets the job done, be it in the office or out of it."
"All in a day's work, Mrs. Pendragon." he replied, sighing as he leaned back and relaxed against the couch, closing his eyes. "And just as exhausting as if it had been in the office. I am in dire need of some rest."
"I agree, we should go to bed. It's getting late."
"No, Arthur, the baby's coming!"
Arthur's eyelids flew open and he saw his wife gripping her stomach, her face contorted in pain.
"Oh my God! Oh, Jesus…" he panicked as he stood up and began pacing around the room. "Alright, don't worry! I-I'll get the car! And I'll call Patsy to come stay with Mark! He's got his own family, but I'm sure he won't mind! Just, just –"
He stopped talking and came to a halt, his hands still shaking and his heart pounding against his chest. Gwen gave him the most reassuring look she could muster, despite her contractions. Her forehead was glistening with sweat and she was breathing heavily, but she somehow managed remain calm.
"It'll be alright. We'll drop Mark off at Patsy's on the way to the hospital." she declared in the calmest tone possible. "Just promise me you won't panic like last time."
"Oh, no. I certainly don't want to get sedated by the nurses, again." he laughed at the memory of what happened on the day Mark was born. "I promise I'll try to behave."
"Good. Now, help me up." Gwen instructed, extending her arms in his direction.
Arthur rushed towards his wife and gently pulled her up. She made a face as she stood and held onto his shoulders until she found her balance. She sighed once she was stable and smiled down at her husband, who smiled back.
"I love you." he said tenderly.
"I love you, too." she replied. "Now let's get this baby out of me."