With the birth of a baby comes love of all kinds. Merlin/Arthur -the baby is not theirs btw :)-
For the ever-patient Daily, because we all need perfect days more often and you deserve them all (as well as a friend who writes to you far more often - xoxo)
It happened by chance and Merlin couldn't have been more grateful for it. So rarely did anything ever occur in their lives that was so completely and utterly pure. The heavily pregnant woman caught out in her travels and too far gone to get back home had been moved to a suite close to Gaius' in the castle to ensure his presence as soon as she went into labour. It had been complete chance that Merlin was walking past her door to reach Arthur's chambers when he heard tinkling china hitting the flagstones. Poking his head in the door in what Arthur would have called a gross overstepping of personal boundaries Merlin saw the jagged pieces of a breakfast dish and, beside it, the pregnant woman on her knees, gripping her swollen stomach and gasping.
Merlin rushed forward and fell to his knees beside her instantly, feeling fear and worry and excitement coursing through him with a surge of something akin to adrenaline. When she looked up he could see the same emotions warring behind the tears sparkling in her eyes and, in a much perfected and overly showy piece of wordless magic he sent his voice whispering the halls to reach Gaius where he was spending his early morning concocting various salves at his workbench. Merlin couldn't have known the whispers of urgency would also reach for Arthur's ears; Arthur, who would recognise the magic and be as completely unconcerned with it as he had been when he'd discovered how much a part of Merlin it was and who would also recognise the urgency, the need to be where Merlin was as he dropped everything and ran.
The woman wasn't averse to magic or the comforts it provided in the form of instantaneously boiling water and small luxuries like more pillows and towels. The sudden appearance of Gaius was more than welcome to a panicky Merlin who only wanted the soon-to-be-mother comfortable and pain-free and had no idea how to go about it. With the woman's husband and family so far away there was little that could be done to soothe the pain from her contractions as she seemed so adamant that only holding her husband's hand could possibly help. When Arthur burst into the room – in a bemused kind panic of his own with only the vague knowledge that Merlin needed help – it was to find Gaius trying to calm Merlin as much as the woman in the bed as his manservant held her hand in both of his and tried to will away her pain and nerves; whether with magic or sheer willpower Arthur couldn't tell.
It was to be a fast labour and Gaius, Arthur and Merlin were the only ones to witness it.
Doubtless the woman found the pain and fear and worry lasted quite long enough thank you very much but for Merlin the second he touched her hand – intending to wipe out any and all discomfort she felt in any way he could – time slowed for him and he sunk deep into a place where all he could hear was a rhythmic rushing noise and a deep, distant beat. Time moved so slowly and so fast and Arthur and Gaius moving around the room were flits of blurring colour and the air sparkled and the woman glowed and Merlin was transfixed because Oh God, that was the baby's heart beat in his ears.
He couldn't breathe and couldn't think and the second he heard the beat shift and pick up slightly in speed he was harnessing his magic. The world shifted and Merlin felt something in him, something warm with a glow of its own, reaching out and cradling that little being because somehow his hold on the woman's hand had connected him to the tiny person inside her and he wasn't letting go.
It was only when he opened his eyes to the feel of Arthur's voice in his ears and a tense hand shaking his shoulder that he realised he'd closed them at all. Coming back to the world brought the sound of a crying baby and looking up gave him the sight of an Arthur who looked like the world was coming to an end and Merlin's throat closed.
"Arthur? Is it... the baby, what-"
Arthur breathed out, eyes still fixed on Merlin as his face morphed from panicked to relieved. "The baby's fine. You were..." he looked to his side to Gaius holding a little baby-sized bundle of blankets and took a deep breath, "her stomach glowed when you touched her hand and you collapsed and you had your eyes closed and... well," he cleared his throat and his eyes suddenly wouldn't meet Merlin's and Merlin opened his mouth to speak but instead of any number of questions about Arthur's odd behaviour, what fell out instead was, "so the baby's okay?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Of course, why wouldn't he be? He came out practically wrapped in magic."
Merlin's eyes shot to the bundle Gaius held out to the exhausted woman on the bed and when the cloth fell away just so Merlin saw the upturned face of the baby for the first time. The skin sparkling with a residue of the magic Merlin had cradled him in to keep him safe through the delivery but glowing with a healthy rosy flush all its own. The tiny little eyes scrunched and squinted up at its mother in the sunlight and he watched transfixed as her eyes filled with utter, agonising love for the little being in her arms, the little boy she had borne.
There was nothing in the world but the two of them and time stilled and quieted and calmed in the room for the three men on the edges as they watched the most perfect moment any of them had seen. Merlin felt it before he could stop it and as he watched, just as shocked as Arthur and Gaius, his magic had gone one step further once again, seeping into the sunshine in a wash of gold to cradle not just the baby but the mother as well, a diaphanous curtain that spun itself tightly around the two of them and sunk into their skin without a trace. No one who had been in that room that day ever wondered why the woman and child never felt or saw the ugliness the world could be capable of, never felt the tainted fear or danger or depravity that so many unfortunately felt. None of them wondered why, by all accounts, the mother and her child lived from that day to have full, happy, healthy lives full only of light. And Merlin would never forget, just as Arthur and Gaius never did, that perfect moment; the love and safety and magic that they felt that day and that that was what they would all live and fight and die to protect.
And when Merlin swayed and fell, just a bit, into Arthur's side after the massive, life-changing amount of unleashed magic, Arthur caught and held him up even as he watched with Merlin and Gaius the new mother and her gift to the world. As surreptitiously as possible Arthur hugged Merlin to his side just the tiniest bit, needing to and not quite ready to admit why but not wanting Merlin to know it; and Merlin let himself lean just that little bit more fully into Arthur, knowing why and just waiting for the day it would be ready to be said aloud.
And Gaius surveyed the mother and child on the bed and the young men across the room and couldn't help the slow luminous smile he so rarely let show because only he would ever know just how bright the room had become, the room so awash in the love light as it reflected in both mother and child's eyes, as it radiated from Merlin and Arthur. If only every day could begin the same way.
Hope you liked this very belatedly uploaded fic which, when first writing this months ago, was the result of a late night and lots of cold and flu tablets (and Chase This Light by Jimmy Eat World and a bucket load of procrastination and the celebration of the end of some of the worst writer's block I've had in years and hey, this fic was a real little brain-baby huh :))