The dungeons are cold, wet and lonely. Merlin is a broken man on the cell floor; he has made himself as small as possible, just wishing he could fade into the ground. He can't stop the tears, he can't stop the fear that chokes him; he can hardly onto his flicker of hope. He prays that Arthur will run down the stairs, his breath heavy in the silence and the sound of jingling keys a soft melody. He will open the cell door and set Merlin free. He will find himself in his lover's warm embrace and everything will be ok.
But he doesn't come.
Someone does though. Their footsteps loud on the ground, the jangly of their keys menacing, their laugh makes Merlin's blood run cold. The door opens with a loud squeak of protest and in steps a guard, his face once handsome but now marred by hideous scares. Merlin can only guess it's from magic before the guard sends a boot into his face. The sound of breaking bone is sickening, the pain blinding. He cries out as the blood trickles down his face and into his mouth. He crawls backwards, pressing his back up against the cell wall but he has just trapped himself. There is nowhere to go.
The young warlock curled into himself, shielding his swollen stomach as best he could from the cruel attack. The man was yelling, screaming, but Merlin was concentrating on one thing and one thing only: his daughter. "You'll be alright," he whispered, wishing it were true. "Arthur will come." God, please, he had to come. This was not his destiny. Merlin screwed his eyes shut and hoped, prayed, that Arthur would come, that their baby would be ok. The blows slowed to a halt, Merlin peered up through his tear-soaked lashes to see the man pull a knife from his belt, a strange, satisfied grin on his face.
"I'd love to carve you up" he spat "the way the sorcerers did my family" he advanced on the warlock "I came here knowing I would be safe from monsters like you! And I believe its fate that has brought you to me" he smiled menacingly "I can get my revenge." Merlin whimpered "Uther promised me as long as you were alive to burn I could do what I wanted to you."
The man kneeled in front of the terrified warlock, twisting his knife so the blade caught what little light filled the cell, making it glint menacingly. "I've been waiting years for this…" he whispered, running the blade slowly down the side of Merlin's face, snarling as the cut made the young man cry out in pain. "Think that hurts, boy? What your kind did to my family left wounds far deeper than anything I could do with this pigsticker… but I can damn well try, can't I?"
Merlin shut his eyes, tears still escaping but the pain never came. He cracked open an eye lid to see the Guard with his mouth opened in a 'O' of horror and a trail of blood trickling down his chin. He fell sideways with a loud thud and Merlin looked up to see Arthur. His sword stained crimson. Merlin leaps to his feet, the pain forgotten as he threw himself at his prince. Arthur immediately wrapping his arms around his terrified lover.
"You're safe now" he whispered "I've got you, you're safe. You both are." He continued his stream of nonsense words as he led them out of the cell, leaving a terrible memory behind. But why was Merlin free? Where was Uther?
He stopped in his tracks. "Where's the king?" 'Please Arthur, don't have killed him' plays in the warlocks mind.
"In my chambers" he replied calmly "we're to going to show him what good magic can do."
Merlin had never felt so small. Uther's piercing gaze had him shaking like a leaf caught in the wind. He's not sure what he is supposed to do but he had a feeling she'd know what to do. He stepped away from Arthur, his body feeling heavy and sore; he can taste his own blood and feel it trickle down his neck. He is bleeding because magic has been feared, feared for far too long. Its hatred has blinded many. Innocent people have died horrible deaths because of their fear, because they misunderstood magic.
Magic wasn't for everyone, it could do harm in the wrong hands but just because some abused it didn't make it evil. It was time for the people of Camelot to realise, to see that magic could do great good. It was time Uther Pendragon saw the good that was magic. Merlin reached out, the King didn't pull away, his unsteady hand came to rest on his arm and everything turned white.
The throne room came into focus, his beautiful little girl standing before him, a small kitten in her arms. She giggled cheerfully before spinning around in a circle, her hair flying out like a halo. She ran towards the doors that had just swung open, an older looking Uther swept her up into his arms. She laughed again; it was so sweet, like a song. She held out the small kitten, its fur shinning in the afternoon sunlight.
"This is Bella" she said cheerfully "daddy said I could keep her."
Uther laughed and looked towards Merlin, his gaze no longer frightening or riddled with hatred. The warlock mirrored the smile before turning around to fold himself into Arthur's arms. His prince stood strong beside him. His protector.
The vision faded but instead of Arthur's room Merlin saw a large bedroom, illuminated in a golden glow. Sitting on the window seat, staring out at Camelot was a beautiful young girl, no older then sixteen or seventeen. Her long locks were golden in the sunlight; her deep blue eyes sparkled with life. She turned to face Merlin, her lips parting into a smile. "Hello daddy." She greeted him as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear "is it time?"
"Time for what?" he asked, he sounded older.
"For me to fulfill my destiny…"
Merlin faded back into the present; Arthur's strong arms were the only thing keeping him from collapsing to the floor. Through the fatigue he looked up at Uther, his face shadowed in a number of emotions. He looked up at his son and servant, something was different. His eyes didn't seem as cold; it was like a part of his ice heart had thawed. "She looks so much like your mother" he whispered to Arthur who smiled at him. "You're free" this was said to Merlin, "you're free."
"What?" Merlin slammed the door shut and glared at his old friend. Every day, every freaking day, he found Gaius waiting for him, with an odd look of disappointment on his aging face. "Why do you give me that look every day!" he demanded "are you pissed off at me? I know I messed up! I'm pregnant, with Arthur's child and its bad, it's really bad and I've beat myself up about it enough already without you doing so as well. I get that I screwed up our destinies, I do, but I'm trying to work things out without him, I'm trying not to love and hate him and I am trying not to think about what would happen if he knew about the baby because I know he can never know!"
"I was just going to say you shouldn't work so hard."
"Oh" Merlin blushed "well… tell Arthur that."
Gaius sighed and placed a vial of blue liquid onto the counter top. "You might have to take some days off" he said quietly "you can't over work. You have to think about the baby."
It was Merlin's turn to sigh "yeah I know" he looked down at his stomach, he was five months today. He could see the small round bump now, it finally felt real; it felt right. With a gentle smile he said "I need a bigger shirt."
"Breathe in" Merlin took in a deep breath as the Lady Elizabeth, his midwife and Gaius's friend whom had come to help Merlin give birth, said "and out." He obeyed, feeling so stupid and foolish. He turned to face Arthur; he had one hand over his mouth and the other holding Merlin's. His prince was laughing at him; well he wouldn't be laughing when this was actually happening. Nor would Merlin, who had just lost the war against the urge to throw his head back and laugh at himself. Arthur too joined in, collapsing onto the table beside Merlin and hiding his face in his shoulder.
"This isn't a laughing situation" Lady Elizabeth announced firmly.
"It certainly won't be funny when it's really coming out, Merlin" Gaius added.
Merlin grimaced; it certainly wasn't going to be in a walk in the forest "sorry" his laughter ceased as did Arthur's, who know looked slightly worried.
"Wait" he held out his hand "how is Merlin…" he waved his hand in a circle "you know… going to give birth" he blushed slightly and Merlin mirrored him "he doesn't exactly have the parts he needs."
"No" Lady Elizabeth sighed "he has magic."
"And that explains everything" Arthur retorted sarcastically.
The midwife sighed again "Merlin's magic has created its own way to deliver the baby" she smoothed down her dress "he will give birth just as a woman does."
Both boys grew pale but it was Arthur who spoke "you're avoiding details but I'm not sure I want to hear them."
"Merlin has a uterus" she explained "for the moment anyway, it will disappear after the baby is born and return if he gets pregnant again."
"But how is it going to come out?" Arthur asked, being Merlin's voice.
The midwife and Gaius shifted uncomfortable and exchanged sheepish glances.
"Well?" he put authority into the word, making it sound like 'I am the Prince of Camelot and future king, you have to answer me.'
"His magic will" she blushed "create an opening for the baby."
"We're not children" Arthur snapped bluntly.
"I think she is trying to say my magic will give me a vag-"
Arthur covered Merlin's mouth "I figured as much" he grinned mischievously all of a sudden "I just wanted to make Lady Elizabeth squirm."
"You are such a prat" Merlin said as soon as Arthur's hand was removed. "Sorry about him Lady Elizabeth" he looked up at the midwife who was frowning at the prince "he can be a real ass."
"Well then" she folded her arms over her chest and a smirk crossed her delicate features "I know just the trick for that."
Arthur laughed at her "I'm the prince, you can't punish me."
"No" she winked "but you are also a soon to be parent."
The worst thing about being pregnant is everyone touches you, like there is a sign above your head saying 'come feel me'. He doesn't understand why everyone thinks his baby bump is so damn cute. He has only six weeks to go and if she got any bigger he wouldn't be able to walk. Of course the more his stomach grew the more people touched it and talked in babyish voices to the future queen of Camelot. People also treated him differently, some looked away when he walked past them some waved and said hello and the guards seemed to follow him everywhere. He wasn't sure if it was Arthur or Uther who had ordered them to do so.
The young warlock sighed wearily as he sat down on Arthur's – their – bed. He was having trouble getting used to the fact he was now more than a servant, he was the prince's partner and was carrying the heir to Camelot. When he arrived at Camelot he never saw this day coming but even if he had he wouldn't have turned around. It was hard to picture his old life, those lonely nights filled with the desire to be with Arthur faded. Now he spent every night in his arms and awoke to those beautiful blue orbs. His old life was lost, he could never go back but he had gained something much more amazing.
He had restored magic to Camelot; he had shown Uther that it wasn't evil and that it could bring great things. Such as Destiny, the unborn child that would one day rule the land and carry on the Pendragon legacy. Merlin's daughter had the greatest of all destines and though he knew nothing of what was to come, the dragon had told him she would do great things on the day he was set free. Destiny is what awaited her, so Destiny she shall be named.
Merlin looked up at Arthur who lent against the door, face flushed and his hair damp from sweat. "Feast?"
"We have a feast to attend" he wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand "celebrating the new princess."
"She's not born yet."
"Exactly what I said" Arthur took in a deep breath then let it out "but they said… something about you'll be too busy after she's born to attend any feasts" he wiped his brow again before pulling his sweat soaked shirt off. "So c'mon get ready."
"What happened to you?" Merlin asked cautiously.
Arthur looked up from his task of removing his boots while standing "Lady Elizabeth is what happened to me" he pulled his foot free and stumbled backwards in a very un-princely way.
"Do you want me to undress you?"
A flicker of lust was clear in the prince's eyes "No, I have to learn to take care of myself" he gave up with taking off his second boot.
"But you're Arthur" Merlin added "the prince of Camelot; you don't do things for yourself."
"Yes I know who I am Merlin!" he snapped. "Sorry" in a few short strides Arthur reached the bed and sat down beside his lover "I'm sorry" he leant forwards and kissed the warlock softly. "I'm just trying to be… helpful."
Merlin looked puzzled "but you are… sometimes."
"You know I'm not" he huffed "I am lazy and I am rude and a prat" Merlin held his tongue "and I need to change because things are going to be different from now on" one of the most beautiful smiles graced his face as his large hand came to rest on Merlin's stomach. "We're having a baby and I'm going to be a father so I have to stop thinking of myself. I have to help you out, learn to do things for myself."
Merlin didn't speak; he said what he wanted to with a kiss. They melted into each other, the world around them fading to nothing.
Time stood still just for them.
The room stunk. It smelt like dead animals or rotten fruit or the horse stables on a hot summer's day. Merlin had turned the room upside down in search of the smell, cleaning everything and anything in his path. He stared dubiously at Gaius's potions, they had smelled off for days and he was tempted to just toss them out the window, but his old friend wouldn't be pleased. He looked away, focusing on scrubbing the table clean. He was sure it wasn't the table that smelt but he wasn't willing to miss a thing. He dropped the cloth back into the water and wrung it out as the mop moved past him, leaving a wet trail behind.
Arthur better not choose today to stop by and yell at him for slacking off. He couldn't help it that he was pregnant and felt tired, moody and sick almost every hour of the day. Of course if Arthur wasn't such a prat he might notice Merlin paling, might see the sad look in his eyes, hell he might even say sorry for using him. Oh but that would never happen, it was swept under the rug where no one could see and then forgotten.
Merlin dropped the cloth into the bucket with too much force and the soapy water splashed him in the face. Damnit what was that smell? He wiped the water from his face and spun in a slow circle, surveying the room. It looked fine, no dead animals or rotten fruit in sight, just sort of messy. He sighed heavily before reaching out to catch the mop as it zoomed past him again. Maybe he could cast a spell to make the room smell like roses.
Oh great. He turned around to face Arthur, glad that he had just stopped the mop from its magic cleaning "Yes Arthur?"
"You can clean your chambers but not mine?" he raised his eye brow in annoyance.
"Something smells" he replied promptly "and I have to clean everything until it doesn't smell."
Arthur sniffed the air "no, it smells fine."
Merlin shook his head "the room smells like dead animals or rotten fruit!"
"No, it doesn't!" the prince protested as walked towards the warlock. "Are you sick?" he placed the back of his hand against Merlin's brow, making him shiver.
"I… perhaps" he smiled slightly "I should maybe go lie down."
Arthur considered this "But my room is still a mess."
"And this room smells disgusting."
"Maybe you should go lie down."
'Please stop looking at me, please stop looking at me, please stop looking at me' Merlin chanted over and over in his head as one by one the quest filled the room, all taking their time to stop and look at him. Hadn't they ever seen a pregnant warlock? Well, probably not. He slouched lower in his chair, trying to disappear into the smooth wood. Arthur sat across from him, deep in conversation with Morgana who sat next to Merlin. Apparently they were arguing over the name of the future princess, Merlin had yet to tell Arthur what he had chosen, perhaps now was a good time. Arthur and Morgana's fight could go on for days.
"Destiny" both royals turned to look at him "her name is Destiny.
Morgana smiled slowly "that's adorable."
Arthur grinned "yes, I quite like it."
Merlin mirrored Arthur's smile "I had a feeling you would."
"You are going to be so cute" Morgana said rubbing the warlock's stomach.
"Morgana" Arthur said in a warning tone "please keep your hands to yourself."
She quickly pulled back and offered Merlin an apologetic smile "sorry."
"No it's not alright" Arthur retorted "you're not a cat. People can't just touch you when they feel like it."
"Arthur" this was said by Uther "please act your age."
Arthur rolled his eyes once the king had turned his back and both Merlin and Morgana laughed.
Suddenly it dawned on Merlin, as soon as the smile was gone; that he was young, very young and so was Arthur and in a matter of weeks they were both going to be parents. Could they really handle this? Would they be able to stay together and raise a child? Or would the stress tear them apart? Would he be a good father? So many questions suddenly swimming in his head and he felt like he was drowning.
"Merlin, are you alright?" Morgana asked, taking him out of his reverie "you looked troubled."
"I'm fine" he assured.
Arthur reached across the table and took Merlin's hand into his own. "We will eat our meals then return to our room so you can get some sleep" he gave his hand a gentle squeeze then let go, a tender smile lingering behind.
Bed was heaven. They had to stay at the feast longer then they both wanted. They had to at least take place in three dances and Merlin wasn't the best dancer before he was pregnant and he was only worse now. But even though he had no sense of rhythm it was still nice to be in Arthur's arms, in front of everyone, they could all see that Arthur loved him. As he closed his eyes, feeling the bed dip as Arthur climbed in, he remember the feel of lover's hands on his sides, resting on the bump that prevented them from being able to be close. He may have been exhausted and his feet now ached as did his back, but it was a perfect night.
And now he was safe in Arthur's arms, his perfect prince kissing him and whispering 'I love you'. Merlin snuggled closer to the man he loved, the one man he'd do anything for, and listened to his steady heart beat. Rough hands made their way to his stomach but the touch was gentle and soothing. He felt Destiny kick, his eyes fluttered open and he saw Arthur gazing at him concerned. He smiled at his prince, allowing his thoughts to drift to the life inside of him.
Right now, with her inside him, she was safe but afterwards, that would be the hardest part. She'd be a part of this world and beautiful it was but danger lurked behind dark concerns. Merlin knew very well that plenty had tried to kill Arthur; he'd escaped death over and over. Was this his little girl's future? To be hunted by those who wanted revenge or Camelot for their own. Could he protect her from the evil of the world?
"Merlin" Arthur's voice broke the spell "what's wrong?"
Merlin hesitated "I… do you think we will be good parents? Do you think we will be able to keep her safe?" he rambled "so many people and sorcerers have tried to kill you Arthur and I-"
Arthur silenced his partner by placing his fingers to his lips. "Hush" he gave him a quick peck. "She will have every guard watching her like a hawk, she will have us to keep her safe, not to mention, I am sure she will have her own powers to use if need be" he smiled. "I think we will be good parents Merlin" he pulled him closer "and we don't have to do this alone, we have so many friends here to help us."
Merlin smiled into Arthur's chest "I didn't think of that."
"Of course not" he scoffed mockingly "you're an idiot."
The pains started an hour after Arthur had left to go on a hunt to find some mysterious creature that had been spotted roaming around the Camelot boarders. The castle is dimly lit and empty as he makes his way to Gaius. He's scared, she is four weeks early, Arthur isn't here and hurts, it really hurts. He knew it would hurt but never had he imagined it would feel like this. He was alone walking down the stone steps and he should have called for help but being the fool he was he didn't. He was now halfway across the courtyard, the night breeze cold on his sweaty skin. He had suffered from a lot of pain lately, cramps, back aches, heart burn but none of that held a candle to how he felt right now.
Why was the courtyard empty when he needed someone the most? Oh right, a strange man eating beast was roaming the forest and Arthur and most of the knights were sent to kill it before it reached the city. Perfect timing he might add. He reaches Gaius's chambers and banged on the door, only just managing to keep himself standing. The door opened in no time and the old physician had to catch Merlin as collapsed forwards.
"Merlin, are you alright?" Gaius asked, his voice laced with panic.
"T… the baby's coming" he panted "A… Arthur's hunting… I need him… here."
"Shh, it's alright Merlin" his old friend led him towards his old bedroom, shouting for Lady Elizabeth, who Merlin didn't even know was here. "Remember Merlin it can take a long time to give birth" Gaius said as he gently placed Merlin on his old bed, it seemed unfamiliar after all the nights in Arthur's.
"I don't care how long it takes I want Arthur right now!" he shouted before doubling over in pain. Tears leaked from the corners of his tightly shut eyes and he realised he had never been so scared. Not even when facing his many foes had he felt this fear, it was blinding and suffocating. "Please… I want Arthur" he sobbed "I'm scared… I want Arthur."
There seemed to be a long stretch of silence then a few whispered words and Merlin was left alone with Lady Elizabeth. She sat down next to him and pushed him back against the pillows, he took in a few deep breaths as he recoiled what he had been taught. He turned to face his midwife; she smiled at him before brushing away the hair that had stuck to his forehead.
"Is Gaius going to get Arthur?"
She cupped his face in his hands and smiled "of course."
"If I get any bigger I won't be able to walk" Merlin said as he stared down at his large stomach, he had nine weeks to go and he really couldn't wait for this to be over. He'd often seen women in Ealdor with children and they looked so happy, they glowed, how could they be so happy when everything hurt? It was hellish just getting out of bed let alone trying to walk around the castle and then, then there was the stairs. Let's just say Merlin had a new enemy. "Why can't she just come now?"
"Oh stop complaining Merlin" Arthur snapped from his position behind the desk, which was littered with papers.
"If you knew how I felt right now you would be complaining too!" he retorted "I can't see my feet, it hurts to sit and stand, I have heart burn, I have to pee a lot, I get cramps, I've eaten the strangest of foods, I'm tired, I'm fat, and," he took a deep breath "and people are always, ALWAYS touching me. I have strangers talking to my stomach and it's really uncomfortable. I have Morgana and Gwen telling me how cute I am. I have some people looking at me like I am a freak and at any moment will turn into a monster and kill them. Then I have people treating me like I'm a baby" he pointed to his chest "let me do that Merlin, oh don't worry Merlin, I'll do that, oh Merlin are you ok? Merlin, maybe you should sit down."
"Are you done?" Arthur asked, biting his tongue to hold back the laughter. There seemed to be nothing cuter then a frustrated Merlin.
He took a deep then "Yes."
"Good" Arthur stood up and walked towards him pulling him into his arms the best he could "it will be over soon Merlin" he gave him a quick kiss "and we will have our beautiful little girl and everything you just complained about won't seem so bad."
Merlin grinned half-heartedly "fine, but next time you're having the baby."
"Why isn't Arthur here yet?" the young warlock sobbed "please… I need… him" two hours, two freaking hours and Arthur wasn't here and Gaius hadn't given him anything for the pain, he was scared and did he mention Arthur wasn't here? He withered in pain, gripped the sheets and forcing back another cry. Lady Elizabeth placed the damp linen cloth to his forehead to wipe away the sweat that would only return a moment later. "Where is he?"
There was a pause and a long sigh "He's not coming."
Merlin opened his eyes, which were wet with tears "WH… what… why?"
"Because you're not going to survive this" she removed the cloth and placed it back in the bowl.
"What… what are you talking about?" his voice took on a hysterical edge.
She placed the cool cloth back onto his forehead and smiled and for the first time Merlin could see the evil behind it, the darkness in her eyes. "Do you want to know why Arthur took advantage of you all those months ago?" he didn't answer, he knew it was a rhetorical question. "Because I gave Gaius a little something to slip into his drink" Merlin's eyes widened in shock "oh don't worry, he is under my control, he would have never done it otherwise."
"But why?" Merlin asked, feeling the panic lace around him.
"Because I want your baby" she said, like it was obvious "let me tell you a little secret" she pressed her pointer finger to her lips and grinned "I have been spying on you and Arthur for quiet sometime, I saw how you two were with each other. Oh it was young love" she laughed "so I went and saw a Seer, and she told me that you and Arthur were meant to be, two sides of the same coin, she said" Elizabeth forced Merlin to stay still, he had started to struggle, but in his weakened state it was no use. "I watched you and Arthur for a while longer but you two were so stubborn, never admitting to your feelings so I put a spell on Gaius and he gave Arthur a lust potion."
"So Arthur and I were always meant to be?" he asked weakly.
"Well according to destiny."
Merlin winced as another sharp pain shot through his abdomen "I won't let you have her."
"Oh Merlin, you should be proud" she lent in closer, making him shiver "she will be a great force of evil."
Merlin forced back a sob "I won't let you have her!" he looked deep down, searching desperately for his magic, but the pain made it hard to find and even harder to hold onto. He closed his eyes and sought out his magic, feeling for the tiniest spark that would save him. He pictured Arthur in his mind, he stood proud, their little girl in his arms, her smile as bright as day. He felt a spark; the magic was coming to life in his blood. With all his strength he muttered a spell and found himself before Arthur and his men.
The forest was eerier, Arthur and his men were looking bewildered, but it was his prince that recovered first. He ran towards Merlin, his face a mask of panic. "Merlin, what's going on?"
"I'm in labour-"
"-What?" he exclaimed "why I haven't I been told. I will head straight back to Camelot."
"Arthur" he sobbed and the prince reached out towards him but his went right through him "Lady Elizabeth wants our baby and she put a spell on Gaius, I can't escape."
"Merlin, where are you?" his body started to shake from anger.
"Just hurry" Merlin felt himself being pulled back to his body. There was a moment of darkness before he found himself staring at the monster that wanted to harm his baby. "Arthur's coming" he said proudly.
"I guess I will just have to make this move faster."
Merlin thought he knew evil, he had seen it, but he had never seen anything as sinister as the glint in Elizabeth's eyes. "Please…" he had to buy some time, Arthur would be here soon. "Please don't."
"Don't worry" she soothed "it will be over soon" she reached towards the table that stood a few feet from the bed, a malice looking knife sparkling in the candle light.
Merlin felt his panic reach its max, he had do something now or it would be too late. He summoned his magic with all his strength and the knife was pulled free of Elizabeth's hands, leaving her momentarily surprised. She didn't have time to react or even blink, the blade moved through the air and pierced her heart, there was no scream of pain, just a shocked gasp before she fell to the floor, lifeless.
Merlin looked away from the witch and dragged himself out his old bedroom and down the old creaky stairs; he'd wait for Arthur here. Of course he forgot about the enchanted physician who lunged at him, grabbing him with strength that Merlin could not match in his weaken state.
"Please, Gaius, I know you're in there" he tried in hopes of freeing his friend from his curse. "You don't want to hurt me. I know you don't." Merlin tried one last time to pull away when he felt a ripple of magic. His old friend suddenly let go and stumbled backwards, looking like a scared and lost child.
"Merlin?" he squinted, like he wasn't sure of what he was seeing "what…" his eyes widened and his brows touched his hairline "are you pregnant?"
Merlin cried out in relief "Yes, I am" he sent a glance back to his old room "you were under a spel- agh" his words were cut short by a crippling pain, "The baby's coming."
"I… oh… uh yes" he quickly took hold of the warlock and led him towards the table "I have missed a lot."
Merlin laughed because it was either that or cry. "Yeah, you have."
"Can you stand up for a moment while I get the table ready?"
"Yeah," he focused on his breathing "I think so."
"Ok, just a wait here" his old friend made a mad dash around the room, grabbing blankets and pillows.
Merlin managed to stand for a moment before he felt another crippling pain; forcing him to hunch forwards. The world around him vanished as another shock wave of pain left him falling to his knees only to be caught by familiar arms.
"Arthur" he clung onto his lover for dear life as he steered him towards the table, the world around him spinning.
"Where is Elizabeth?" his prince asked.
"She's… ugh…" he felt a strange sensation between his legs; he looked down to see that his water had just broke; "ugh my water just broke" he panted heavily.
"Yes I can see that" Arthur said, not looking down at the mess "ok, just breathe, in" he took a deep breath in "and out" then let it out.
"Arthur, I'm the one having the baby here" he tried to force some homour into his words "you don't need to breathe in and out."
"Right" he picked Merlin up and placed him on the table and sent Gaius a dubious look, "where is Lady Elizabeth?"
The old physician looked up from his position at Merlin's feet "In Riverdale the last I knew. Why?"
"She's in the bedroom" Merlin wheezed "I killed her."
Arthur looked passed Merlin and he noticed the two guards standing by the door "get her body" they muttered 'yes sire' before disappearing. Arthur turned his gaze back to Merlin, cupping his tear streaked cheeks in his hands. "It's ok, you had to."
As the pain increased Merlin pushed all thoughts of the witch from his mind and focused on the task at hand. His ruined breeches were removed and an old blanket placed over him to give him privacy, not that it mattered, Arthur had seen him naked and Gaius certainly had no choice in the matter. Merlin cried out and gripped Arthur's hand so tight he was sure he had crushed the bones to dust. This was worse than he thought and there was no time to make potions to ease the pain.
"Push Merlin" Gaius said looking up at the sweat soaked Merlin and the anxious prince.
Merlin scrunched his eyes shut and gripped his princes hand so hard that he made Arthur cry out. "Sorry" he panted, "it just hurts."
"Don't be sorry, Merlin" Arthur whispered as he left barely there kiss on Merlin's wet cheeks "inflict as much pain on me as you want."
Merlin heard a noise to the left and looked over to see the guards walking by, an unmoving witch wrapped in a blanket thrown over one of the guards shoulders. "I'm sorry I killed you're friend Gaius" he gasped out. "I couldn't let her have our baby."
"Shh" the old physician panted his knee "don't worry about it, wasn't really much of a friend anyway."
"Agh God!" The young warlock threw his head back as another contraction hit him.
"Breathe in…" Arthur pushed back Merlin's sweat soaked bangs "and out."
"What… what if someone else wants to take our baby?"
"Shh" Arthur rested his forehead against Merlin's cheek "she's gone now, our baby is safe."
"And almost here" Gaius said "just a few more pushes Merlin, come now, you can do it. Start pushing."
"I am pushing!" he snarled as another contraction swept over him and a fresh wave of tears fell "Nobody told me it would hurt this much."
"Shh, it's ok" Arthur climbed behind Merlin and pulled the shaking warlock into his embrace "just breathe, c'mon you can do it."
"I can't" his head lolled back onto Arthur's shoulder "I can't."
"You have to Merlin" Gaius said soothingly "we're almost done, just a few more pushes."
"You can do this Merlin" Arthur whispered into his ear "you can do this."
Merlin closed his eyes, gripped Arthur's hand and fooled his mind with all those wonderful images of his little girl. She had a destiny to fulfill, a life to live, a city to rule and it was up to him to bring her into this world. With everything he had, with all his remaining strength he forced his way through agonizing pain and brought the future queen of Camelot into the world. He slumped back against Arthur, his body cried out for sleep but he forced his lids to stay open, he was about to see his little girl for the first time.
He heard a cry first, and nothing had ever sounded so amazing. He felt fresh tears sting his eyes and when Gaius handed him his little bundle of joy, complete with deep blue eyes and blonde hair, he let the tears fall. She was more beautiful then he could have ever imagined, she had a cute little nose, Arthur's hair and his eyes, her skin was soft as silk and as white as snow. Her big eyes stared blankly towards Merlin; her pink lips stretched into what he could only describe as a smile.
"She's beautiful" Arthur breathed, reaching around Merlin to place his finger in her small hand "she's incredible."
Merlin laughed quietly "she's destiny."