Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.
I'm sorry for taking so horridly long to update this last chapter, but to be truthful, I just didn't like any of the ways it was coming out before. This version STIL doesn't own my heart, but its the best of the versions I've managed to come up with, and I hope you all enjoy it and for give me for making you all wait this long for this chapter!!!!
Due to the fact that it had been a magical pregnancy and not a normal one, the Royal Waist had not suffered.
The best way Merlin could describe it was that there was no baby per se growing inside of Arthur, but the Warlock and the Prince's life-forces were tied together inside of him, like a knot, warming and expanding and creating the magic of life…
…even if that life were just translucent, glowing energy.
Considering the fact that Uther knew it was impossible for his son to be pregnant, normally, Merlin (still fearful of the king), Morgana, Arthur and Gwen had had to have a long, private conversation with him in his rooms. He'd been silent, eyes narrowed, as his two children spoke to him about what was going on, and it shocked everyone when he quite easily accepted that magic was to blame.
It wasn't the whole 'burn the witch!' attitude he'd once had, but a tired shrug he nodded and admitted that he had had many dreams of his time as King Uther of Camelot. He'd just thought for years that it was his mind trying to warn him about mistakes he might be making, but, well, listening to the other's accounts and able to finish them with his own memories, Uther was forced to admit to the truth that they were his memories and not merely dreams.
Another surprising thing was the fact that Uther seemed quite relieved that magic was the thing responsible for this. In his mind that meant that his children weren't gay but they had destined soulmates, and since one couldn't pick the genders of said destined soulmates, then it really wasn't their fault.
So, in his mind, Uther convinced himself that his children really weren't gay, and it made him extremely happy.
Neither Morgana nor Arthur had the heart to burst his bubble.
Thankfully though, after this Uther was quite agreeable, or, well, as agreeable as Uther could be, doting on his (clearly annoyed and suffocated) son, ordering baby things and dedicating a whole wing of the palace to the unborn child, and demanding that his heir not be born illegitimate.
Of course, when Uther had announced over dinner that he had already sent out invitations for the wedding that Arthur and Merlin hadn't even really thought about, Merlin had instantly choked on his sip of wine, and Arthur had been torn between whacking him in the back and arguing with him father.
Unfortunately, despite that fact that this wasn't HIS wedding, Uther was very invested in this affair, having already hustled Gaius into the planning, both men creepily enthralled with choosing the color themes and such. Arthur had tried to argue that this was both his and Merlin's wedding and baby, and they should choose whenever they wanted to tie the knot, but with one raised eyebrow from Gaius the prince quieted and backed down.
Everyone knew to fear the Eyebrow.
Of course, it didn't help that Lancelot and Will were too into each other to really give a damn about what was happening to Merlin and Arthur, or that Morgana and Gwen were somehow pulled to the dark side by promises of being in charge of different aspects of the wedding, so Arthur and Merlin really were on their own in the whole matter.
"It's not that I don't want to marry you," Arthur admitted as he lay in bed one night, making Merlin rub his feet, a 'pregnant' routine he quite enjoyed and abused often. "It's just that I want to do it on my terms! Not with my father personally overseeing the bloody flower arrangements or Gaius pouring over what we should wear, Morgana's in charge of our reception or Gwen in charge of the Catering, starting up her own bloody business and using our wedding as a starting job!"
"Well, thinking about it at a business angle, it's a really career opportunity for her, you know, catering to the Royal Wedding." Merlin defended, working his fingers over a particularly hard muscle. "You can understand why she jumped to the opportunity when Uther mentioned it to her."
"Bloody father," Arthur growled, having quickly come to the moody aspect of the pregnancy.
Then again, Arthur was naturally moody, so Merlin really suspected that Arthur was using the pregnancy as an excuse to be as much as a prat as he wanted without anyone daring to call him on it, blaming it on 'hormones'.
Well, everyone but Morgana and Merlin.
As stated above, Merlin clearly believed that Arthur was abusing the power this pregnancy gave him.
Morgana, on the other hand, just thought Arthur was a whiny bitch and that finally he was slipping up and letting people other than her see his true side.
"Do you remember our Hand-Fasting ceremony? The first one?" Arthur's voice went nostalgic, surprising Merlin with the abrupt change in subject.
The Warlock smiled and nodded, ending the foot massage and losing himself in the beautiful memory. It had only been him, Gwen, and Morgana, the latter having been the one to perform the ceremony with Gwen as their witness. They'd performed it by the lake on a starry night, with fireflies providing magical light around them and crickets the music.
"Why can't we do something like that again?" Arthur wanted to know, tugging Merlin into bed with him and sighing as his warlock curled around him, resting his head on the prince's chest, ear against his beating heart. "It was so small and simple, but it was solemn, and magical, and it meant so goddamn much…"
Merlin was silent, letting Arthur vent, the prince's arm around him somewhat tense as the blonde's fingers found the skin at the small of his back, exposed slightly by his shirt. The dark haired man shivered slightly at the feel of Arthur's calloused fingers as they trailed softly over the skin.
"But this wedding feels so much like something we're only agreeing to, to please my father and the kingdom." Arthur let out a huff of annoyance, trailing his hand upwards, dragging Merlin's shirt as he did so.
Merlin's breath hitched slightly, closing his eyes at the delicious sensation.
"And you'd think that our friends would understand that and be supportive, but they've joined the enemy's ranks!" Arthur continued to complain, now trailing his fingers downwards, harder, those fingers slipping in under the waistband of Merlin's pants.
The warlock moved his head so that his whimper was smothered by Arthur's shirt, yet he was unable to stop the way his hips jutted out forwards instinctively, or the way he was hardening embarrassingly fast.
Surprisingly enough, Arthur was too deep in his rant to even realize it.
"And don't get me started about the news coverage this whole thing has generated, what with you supposedly expecting the Royal Heir and all. And we can't leave the palace without people either coming up to us and condemning us as sinners and ruined the country by having dad agree to the gay marriage law, or coming up to gush at us about how happy they are for us and how we've helped them or inspired them…"
His hand trailed up the curve of Merlin's arse, his middle finger dipping temptingly…
Merlin's breath hitched, and while he knew this was important and that his prince needed to get it off of his chest, Merlin was only human…kinda.
"Yeah luv?" Arthur gave a little yelp, clearly unprepared for Merlin to grab hold of the front of his shirt and tug him over violently so that he was laying on top of the warlock.
But then he recognized that look in those blue eyes and Arthur grinned lecherously, forgetting his complaints as he reached down and claimed the warlock's lips.
There were no more complaints when he was finished with Merlin, the prince falling asleep with a huge smile on his face, drawing his lover to him even in sleep and having the best night sleep that he'd had in a long time.
Which was good, because the next days were grueling, and in the end, he just succumbed to the idea of not fighting this, just glad that he had his father's approval and that he was making sure everyone in the kingdom knew that Merlin was his.
There was no need to say that the wedding was the Ceremony of the Century.
Merlin had refused to wear the dress Arthur had started to teasingly try to force him to wear, saying Merlin was the 'girl' of the relationship---but when Merlin reminded Arthur who was the pregnant one---well…there were no dresses.
And Arthur got back at Merlin for that, showing him, quite thoroughly against the wall of the changing room, how very much a man he was.
Merlin, a little sore but completely boneless with pleasure, decided to use that taunt on Arthur more often.
So, the wedding went off without a hitch and the reception was lovely, the food wonderful. Arthur and Merlin enjoyed themselves despite the full attention of the room being on them constantly, especially the special members of the press who'd been allowed to cover the very important function.
Everyone from The Dragon's Lair was there as well, and Merlin had been surprised to discover that John somehow knew Uther. Neither commented how or from where, but they obviously hadn't seen each other in years, and Uther had been intrigued at how Merlin had been working at John's pub when he'd met Arthur.
The king had given the now married Crown Prince and Prince Consort a long look before snorting, shaking his head, and murmuring something about how the bloody dragon had done it again, before going off with John, laughing as they spoke about the 'Good Old Days'.
Merlin raised and eyebrow, following them curiously, wondering about the comment.
His blue gaze was on John.
He couldn't have been----dragons couldn't---could they?
As if reading his thoughts, John turned towards him and winked.
Merlin's eyes widened, as he sat back on the seat, and just shook his head before chuckling at himself.
After the wedding, Arthur and Merlin retired to one of the countryside manors. The excuse had been for them to spend time alone for their honeymoon, and so that Merlin could rest during the next phases of his 'pregnancy'. They were still keeping up the farce of his being the body hosting the new heir because Arthur refused to let anyone else know otherwise.
They enjoyed their time hidden from the eyes of the public, only having each other and the energy growing to think about. They'd been apart for so long, and while Arthur still hadn't completely forgiven Merlin for breaking his promise during this lifetime, they were able to work through a lot of their issues.
Gwen and Morgana, along with Lancelot and Will (who still hadn't recovered their memories) visited them often, the friends all laughing and enjoying the time together in the manor. Will had moved into the flat with Lancelot now that Merlin had moved into the Palace, and both males looked flushed with happiness at this new advancement in their undeniably cute relationship.
It never ceased to shock Merlin though how insecure Lancelot was, though.
The man turned heads every time he breathed, could have any person he wanted, and yet he was incredibly jealous of Will and anyone who paid any attention on him. He seemed not to realize that people were mostly talking to the plain Will because they were interested in getting closer to Lancelot, and saw in every person someone who Will might like better than him.
Will looked pleased, if not completely bewildered, by this.
"What do you think it is?" Arthur asked one night as the spouses walked in the gardens, under the bright, full moon.
"What what is?" Merlin asked, looking up from the roses he'd been sniffing.
"The baby you knubskull." Arthur scoffed in disgust, rolling his eyes at his lover. "What else?"
"Oh." Merlin straightened immediately, looking at Arthur as he glowed slightly in the darkness, that 'pregnancy glow' an actual thing when he was the vessel that harbored living, growing, magical energy. "Uhm, I don't know. Does it matter?"
"Does it…?" Arthur shook his head at Merlin. "Of course it matters!"
"Why?" Merlin asked. "Whatever it is it's our child, and we'll love it."
Arthur's ire decreased with that reasoning.
Pursing his lips slightly he narrowed his eyes speculatively. "What about names?"
Merlin grinned as he ran his hand over his hair. "I don't know…I---I really don't know much about names and all that. You could pick it and I'll agree with whatever you decide."
Arthur frowned. "I'm bugger at that. Every single dog I had from childhood to adulthood was named Percy. I just kept adding I, II, III, or IV as a suffix to differentiate between them all."
Merlin blinked. "How many Percy's were there?"
"I stopped getting dogs after Percy IX passed away." Arthur replied, turning to look towards the palace at the memory.
"Oh." Not exactly sure what to say about that, Merlin cleared his throat and joined his husband's side. "How about we get a puppy when the baby's old enough to play with it? I always wanted a Labrador." He cleared his throat once more and looked down at his shoes. "We could always call it Percy X."
The side of Arthur's lip rose in a crooked smile as he turned his head to look at Merlin in tender regard. "You're still such a girl, Merlin."
"Oh shut up." Merlin grumbled, smiling at his shoes.
But it was no laughing matter when, at the end of the nine months, the 'labor' began.
While actual labor wasn't on the menu, and Arthur would not be pushing out any new being from orifices it shouldn't be coming out of, the magical tie, uniting Merlin and Arthur together, sparked and inflame deep inside of Arthur where it was knotted and joined. His body cramped, feeling like he was on fire within, as raw magic scorched and burned.
He wondered if his mother had felt anything like this when giving birth to him.
But considering that his mother had died during childbirth, Arthur decided to push that thought out of his mind and just squeeze the hell outta Merlin's hand, cursing him and swearing to never forgive the warlock for putting the idea of having a child in his head.
Merlin, worried and with a probably broken hand, easily took the abuse and stayed by Arthur's side for the hours the magic took to fully form the being they'd call their child, and materialize it ever so slowly on swaddling blankets of purest silk in the cradle laid out for it.
He wiped Arthur's sweating, feverish brow, not being able to do much more since his power was compromised at the moment, all directed to that connection inside of Arthur, finishing the masterpiece.
Outside Uther paced endlessly up and down, remembering his past life as King of Camelot and how he'd lost his beloved Igraine to so similar a circumstance as this. And yet his son was in a much more perilous situation than his dear wife had been!
John sat propped by the window, reading calmly, chuckling every single time Arthur's voice could be heard growlingly threatening to do harm to bits of Merlin everyone knew he'd miss if he followed through.
Gwen and Morgana sat together, Gwen clutching Morgana's hand tighter every single time she heard a whimper, cry or curse, going paler and paler, nibbling nervously on her thumbnail.
Morgana on the other hand, tried to comfort her partner by assuring her that Arthur was just a whiny little 'nancy boy' who couldn't take pain and that it probably wasn't as bad as he was making it sound.
Lancelot and Will didn't seem to believe her though, and even though they knew this was a magical pregnancy, one that was impossible for either to experience, both went pale and couldn't look at each other without wincing visibly.
"WHEN WILL IT END?!?" Uther nearly tore at his hair, unable to take much more of this.
It ended six hours later.
When the screaming and cursing and threats died down, Gaius appeared from the room, where he'd been overseeing the astounding event, and announced to the group that'd risen as one when he'd appeared that a prince had been born to the throne of Great Britain.
Gaius looked in shock, but intensely amazed and happy as he delivered this news, Merlin appearing behind him, a bundle of sleeping splendor cradled carefully in his arms.
As one everyone flocked around him, cooing softly at the sleeping baby with golden curls adorning his head.
"How's my son?" Uther asked Merlin, managing to tear his gaze away from his beautiful, perfect, miraculous grandson.
"Tired, he's sleeping, but he'll be fine when he wakes up." Merlin grinned brightly.
"Oh thank heavens." Uther sighed in utter relief.
"He's so beautiful." Gwen cooed.
"Congratulations Merlin my hand." Lancelot clapped him softly on the shoulder. "He's a beautiful little tyke! And he didn't get your ears!"
"Oy!" Merlin laughed.
"What did you decide on naming him, finally?" Will wanted to know.
"We had a lot of months to pour over baby name books or search the web since we're both horrid when it comes to this." Merlin grinned. "But we settled on Brendan Albion Emrys Pendragon."
Morgana's face lit up. "Prince of Britain and Eternal Son of the Dragon."
"I approve." John announced, chest puffed out. "I always knew it'd end like this."
Uther raised an eyebrow at him. "You always knew your bartender would bugger my son and impregnate him with his magic sperm?"
Morgana, Will and Lance burst out laughing at the last two words.
Gwen had to bite down her bottom lip to keep from joining in.
Merlin, blushing to his ear, ducked his gaze to his son. "Come on Brendan, let's leave these people and go see daddy. He'll be a bigger prat than normal if he wakes up and we're not there."
He entered the room, closing the door, and held his son, looking down into his perfect little sleeping face, deciding that Brendan took after his prince father nearly completely. Only thing was that his skin was alabaster white like Merlin's.
The Warlock sat like that for hours, rocking his sleeping son and sending tender looks at his snoring, exhausted husband, before finally sleep overcame him as well and he put the child in it crib and went to bed.
Almost immediately Arthur's body sought him out, arms wrapping tightly around his waist and burying his face in the back of Merlin's face.
The warlock smiled happily, closing his eyes.
He knew that the baby would begin crying soon for food, but he'd just conjure the solution Gaius had promised to have premade and left in the kitchen for whenever Merlin needed it. The warlock would tend to his son tonight and let Arthur rest.
He deserved it.
"Love you." Arthur murmured sleepily against his hair, tightening his grip on Merlin. "Idiot."
Merlin chuckled sleepily. "Love you too, Prat."
Pressing a kiss to the back of Merlin's neck, Arthur drifted back off to sleep, and even though Brendan took that moment to decide he was hungry and let out a loud, demanding wail, Merlin smiled as he slipped out of bed.
It was the first night of his best lifetime yet, and as he looked down at Arthur, and then went to pick up the crying Brendan, Merlin decided he couldn't wait to make to start making memories again.