Note to readers: I know that I said it would only a one-shot, but I couldn't help it - they're so damn cute. I might do some more one shots after this. Depends on what people say and want and what I can think of to write. I really hope you guys like this. Remember, feed back - good or bad - is always appreciated! Thank you!
The screams and groans stopped. Arthur looked to Merlin, and the manservant gazed back. The silence was unnerving and the king's heart was in his mouth. Footsteps sounded and the door swung open. Gaius could hardly suppress his smile as he spoke.
"You can come in now." Arthur, however, was more distracted by the colourful variety of fluids splattered on the cloth the physician was wiping his hands with. Acid bubbled in his throat.
"Is – is she alright?" He stammered. Gaius nodded.
"For what she's been through – yes." Arthur swallowed loudly and Gaius stepped to the side to let him pass. The king didn't move until Merlin gave him a solid but gentle push forwards.
The soft glow of the candles couldn't even calm Arthur as he walked across his chambers shakily and over to where his wife was propped up in bed. Three maids fussed about in the corner, clearing up piles of towels and basins of water. When they saw him they curtsied and left with their arms full. Arthur smiled queasily at Gwen as she looked up from admiring the tiny bundle in her arms. She smiled back and patted the bed beside her. He glanced back to Merlin who, still standing in the doorway, gave the king an encouraging nod, so he sat obediently next to his wife.
Not quite knowing what to do, Arthur kissed the top of her head. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his manservant edging closer into the room, but he didn't give Merlin any thought. At the angle he was at, Arthur couldn't see the face of the new baby, only a chubby little fist waving about in the air, almost teasingly. He squirmed a little, shifting anxiously and peering over his wife's shoulder, trying to see past the abundant layers of cloth.
"It's a boy."
Slowly and carefully, Gwen took her arms from around the baby and slid her hands beneath his back and head. She wobbled slightly as she lifted him in Arthur's direction and held him in the air, waiting for her husband to step in. But he didn't. He gaped at the baby and did nothing. He didn't know how.
"Arthur?" At the sound of his name, the king stretched his arms towards his son and let them hover on either side of the baby's body. After a few seconds he changed position so that both of his arms were beneath, then above, and then back to the sides. Gwen sighed and shoved the baby as roughly as she could into his arms, causing Arthur to cradle him instinctively. For a moment he was surprised at how natural it felt, but then he saw his son's face.
All the air was taken from his lungs as if he had been winded and his eyes widened. The tiny prince gazed back up at him with that same look of awe. He could already see that he had Gwen's nose, but the rest of him was Arthur – the shape of his face, the tuft of blonde hair and his vivid blue eyes.
"Hello." Arthur whispered, taking the baby's tiny hand in his, "Hello. I'm your daddy." The little prince gurgled happily in approval and Arthur felt his legs squirm beneath the cloth. He panicked for a moment, his heart leaping as he gripped the baby tighter in fear that he would drop him. The prince whimpered a little, sensing his father's apprehension. Regaining control of himself, Arthur took his less-occupied hand and touched his son's nose. He didn't quite know why he did it. It was as if he just wanted to check that the baby was real, that it wasn't all a figment of his imagination.
He felt Gwen's hand on his arm.
"What do you want to call him?" She asked. Arthur felt he should've looked to his wife, but he just couldn't tear his eyes from his son's face, "Or do you want to wait a little, get to know him better."
"I feel like I've known him my whole life." The king's words came out as a hoarse whisper. He was in awe.
"Do you have anything in mind?"
"Llachau. Or Amhar." Arthur said. He saw Gwen nod her head thoughtfully. Finally, he took his eyes from the baby and looked at her, "What do you think?"
"I think, Amr – son of Arthur." Arthur smiled.
"I love it." He kissed his wife gently on the lips. Well, at least, that's how it started. They became more and more passionate by the second. They hadn't been together for almost the whole of Gwen's pregnancy, so he could hardly help it.
A purposeful cough sounded from a few feet away and Arthur looked up crossly into the eyes of his manservant.
"Can I hold him?" Merlin asked, clearly itching with excitement. The king glared at his friend and Merlin only watched him with wide eyes.
"Arthur." Gwen said.
"You've seen how clumsy he is! There's no way I'm letting him hold my son."
"Yes, but this is a baby. I won't drop him." Merlin argued convincingly.
"Arthur." Gwen urged him quietly. The king sighed.
"Fine." He replied, "But if you so much as harm a hair on his head, I will make your guts into Merlin soup." The manservant snorted, making his way over.
Arthur stood carefully. He was not happy about this. Merlin was a complete klutz at the best of times. But to his surprise, Merlin took little Amr from his master's arms before he'd even had a chance to extend them. The manservant cradled the prince with ease, grinning happily from ear to ear and bouncing up and down gently. Arthur watched him in stunned silence. Merlin looked up.
"How?" Arthur said, unable to get anything more comprehensible out.
"I used to take care of the village children at harvest while their parents worked." Merlin explained.
"Oh, good." Arthur said sarcastically, "You can babysit then."
"Can I?" Merlin asked hopefully. Arthur gritted his teeth.