Quick AN: The idea for this story came from the Evanescence song "Missing".
Disclaimer: I don't own Merlin or any of the characters contained in here. I also don't own any of the lyrics to "Missing" (written by David Hodges, Amy Lee & Ben Moody) some of which appear in Part II. If you'd like to see the original lyrics they are available at any lyric site on the net. I personally prefer Metrolyrics since I've never gotten a virus while visiting that site. Can't say the same about some of the others.
Warning: For such a bittersweet story, this has a shamefully fluffy ending. If you'd prefer to keep your own ideas on what happened after the last chapter, then don't read this one. I had so many wonderful responses from readers and a lot of in-put on what they were hoping for in this epilogue that honestly, I'm more than a little sad I can't satisfy all of you. It's why I delayed so long in posting this.
I would like to give an enormous THANK YOU! to everyone for your support of this story. Every review, alert & favorite notification I got was treasured, truly and sincerely.
"Mairead has had a girl!" Merlin's voice rang out from the door to the King's study. He looked up at his beloved's face, shining with happiness and he couldn't help the answering grin that lit up his own visage.
"That's wonderful! How's the nervous papa?"
"He's fine now that both his wife and child are safe."
"Did you ever think you'd see this day?"
"I'd certainly hoped for it! Especially once the announcement of her pregnancy was made."
"No! I meant Arthur, a father!"
"Ah, that. Well, you see, I did a bit of research a few years ago and found an indication something like this might happen some day."
Merlin's impish grin stretched widely across his narrow face.
"Nope. I'm not the only one the Druids have prophesies about you know."
"Well, no, I didn't know that but it makes sense. Didn't feel it important enough to mention to me?"
"Not really. Those prophesies are wrong as often as they are right and any action, however seemingly insignificant can change the course of the future. What the Druids see isn't set in stone, no matter how much they'd like everyone to believe it is. I think even Kilgharrah is still pouting over his own doom-saying coming to nothing."
While he was speaking, Merlin drifted over to his husband's side. Gwaine pushed his chair back and pulled the smiling sorcerer into his lap.
"What doom-saying was that?"
"Oh Gods, it was years and years ago. I think I'd been in Camelot less than a year when I helped rescue a very young Druid boy from Uther's men. Kilgharrah told me if I helped the boy escape that Arthur and I would never unite the Kingdom and Albion would never exist. Well, it's been about fourteen years since the last hold-out swore fealty to Arthur and no vengeful Druid boys have returned to kill him."
"No but one black-haired sorcerer nearly finished him off."
Merlin looked at his husband quizzically. "What on earth are you on about? There haven't been any magical attempts on his life since I warded him seventeen years ago! Well, at least none that got through."
"I'm talking about you, you adorable obliviate!"
"Oh. That. Well, he wouldn't have died per se."
"Yes he did, Love. Thankfully he had someone there to pick up the pieces."
"Just like I did. Have I told you how incredible you are?"
"Not today you haven't but I'll take that as the day's first"
Gwaine flashed his rogue's smile at the man in his lap before thoroughly kissing him. His mind flashed back to that day six years ago when he thought he'd lost Merlin back to Arthur. Waking up to find him gone that morning had been one of the worst moments of his life. The look on his husband's face when he'd returned, it had nearly stopped Gwaine's heart, the guilt on Merlin's face. In that moment he'd been certain his husband was going to tell him that he'd decided to stay with his former lover. Instead he'd told him of Gwen's curse and his own journey to closure.
He had been hurt when Merlin had admitted to shagging Arthur in the heat of the moment but he'd also been incredibly relieved when he understood it to be an action of farewell. The hurt had lingered awhile, as had the fear but time had proved out Merlin's assertions that he only wanted Gwaine. The final stake in the heart of his jealous pain had come in the form of Merlin's joy when Arthur and Mairead had married just over a year ago. His genuine happiness at their union settled any lingering doubts lurking in Gwaine's heart. He no longer feared Merlin had only settled for him and returned with him out of duty to their children.
"So what did that prophesy state?"
"Um, well, it was along the lines of 'the Son of Magic's Enemy would marry Magic and the land would be barren no more' or something to that effect."
"Hmph! I see why you didn't mention it."
Merlin gave him a slightly sheepish smile.
"I knew you'd interpret it that way, Love. It seemed better I keep that one to myself."
The King sighed and held his Consort closer, pressing another kiss to those delicious raspberry lips.
"Yes, it would have only added to my paranoia."
"Your unfounded paranoia."
Gwaine gazed at him for a long silent moment before nodding slowly. He wasn't sure his fears had been so unfounded but he wasn't about to argue the point, not when he had everything he ever wanted nestled in his arms at that very moment.
"I have another surprise for you, Love."
"Hmm? What's that?"
"We're going to have another chance for those doe-eyes of yours to be preserved for posterity!"
"Oi! I told you, I don't have doe eyes! I'm not a girl, I have...whoa! What? You're pregnant again?"
Merlin nodded vigorously, his shiny black hair bouncing. A beatific grin and glowing sapphire eyes accompanied his confirmation.
"I think it's going to be another girl, too! Just think, a lovely little girl with your big brown doe-eyes!"
The King of Lothian and Orkney looked at his husband's shining face and sent a prayer skyward that this time Merlin got his wish for a brown eyed child or they might end up with a dozen children e'er he gave up the quest! Then again, he really couldn't think of any downsides to the idea...
OK, I warned you all it was a shamelessly fluffy cheese-fest! I know some of you were hoping for a long, detailed epilogue or a more dramatic ending to the story. I toyed with the idea of changing it due to several of those requests, thus the long delay in posting this. However, in the end I decided to go with my original. I hope you all aren't too disappointed.