Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Arthur made his way over to the bonfire, calmer than before now. His heart was beating out of control, and he could finally breathe again. He would admit, he'd come very close to telling Alfred the truth earlier, but now he was much more in-control, and wouldn't freak out if Alfred asked him the same question again.
Thank Poseidon for that, he thought as he spotted Alfred, Matthew, Francis, Gaul, and Calder sitting together. He smiled as he sat beside Alfred, reaching over to intertwine their fingers. However, just as their fingers brushed, Alfred jerked his hands away and stared into the fire, refusing to meet Arthur's confused green eyes.
"Alfred, what's wrong?" he whispered, trying not to pull the other four from their group conversation. "Are you okay?"
"Are you?" Alfred fired back just as quietly, shooting Arthur a glare that could make hell freeze over. He folded his arms over his chest and waited for the shocked merman to reply.
Arthur blinked and reared back a little, hurt and confused. Why was Alfred suddenly acting like he never wanted to speak to Arthur again? He loved Arthur, didn't he?
It must be the fact that I freaked out and ran away earlier, he thought understandingly, smiling. Honestly, Alfred can be such a Drama King sometimes.
"Oh, love, I'm sorry I ran out on you earlier," he cooed, stroking Alfred's shoulder. "You just surprised me, is all. No one's ever asked me a question like that before."
"I only asked you if we'd always be honest with each other," Alfred reminded him bitterly, still glaring. "But evidently, you can't be honest with me."
Arthur froze up, anxious again. What could Alfred possibly be talking about? He didn't know about Arthur's pregnancy yet, did he? In order to spare himself from looking like a fool, Arthur glanced over at Matthew, Francis, Calder, and Gaul, who all gave him the same look of guilt, though Matthew's was the worst of all.
"I don't—" But Arthur was cut off.
"How could you not tell me you were pregnant, Arthur? And you've known for two weeks!" Alfred's eyes held hurt and anger. His voice made it sound like he'd just been betrayed by someone unbearably close to him.
"Alfred, I was afraid you'd hate me," Arthur whispered, feeling tears tickle his eyes. "Let me finish," he said when he saw that Alfred was about to interrupt. "I was afraid that you'd be freaked out by the concept of me being pregnant. I know you were okay with it when you found out about Francis, but he's not your mate, he's Matthew's. I didn't want you to be scared of me."
Alfred sighed and pulled Arthur into his arms. "I'm still kinda mad at you," he said, stroking the Brit's hair. "But I guess I kinda understand. I love you, Artie, and the baby you're carrying. I can't wait to see him."
"Him?" Arthur stared up at Alfred in teasing shock. "How do you know it's a boy? I bet it's a beautiful baby girl." However, in truth, Arthur hoped it was a boy as well, and he hoped that when he was born, he'd look just like a mini-Alfred, with no interference from his family.
"If it's a girl, that's even better!" Alfred laughed and kissed Arthur's forehead, rubbing small circles on his stomach. "She'll be such a Daddy's girl, and I'll spoil her rotten every day!"
"Are you serious?" Arthur never could really tell when the human was joking about something that silly…
"Of course not! She'll be my little girl, and my little girl will deserve the best!" Alfred flashed a thumbs-up and smiled blindingly. "After all, what kind of a hero would I be if I couldn't give my daughter everything she'd ever want? She can even be my little sidekick! I'll be Batman, and she can be Batgirl!"
"Then what does that make me?" Arthur asked suspiciously.
Alfred grinned devilishly all of a sudden. "You're the sexy villain, like Catwoman, or Poison Ivy."
"I beg your pardon?" Arthur snapped, glaring at Alfred, who simply fell back in the sand and laughed.
A few days later…
Arthur loved the attention he was receiving from Alfred. The American human now spent more time with him than ever! He woke up when Arthur did, he ate when Arthur did, he dressed when Arthur dressed, he bathed with Arthur—though Alfred had refused to have sex with him while doing so, saying something about how having sex could possibly damage the baby; Arthur had simply protested by saying that the baby was probably the size of a sea monkey or krill at the moment, but Alfred still refused—and he went to sleep when Arthur did.
At the moment, Arthur sat on the couch in the living room, Alfred feeding him grapes like he was some Ancient Egyptian queen or something.
"So, what do you think it's going to be?" Alfred asked as he popped another grape into Arthur's mouth.
Arthur glanced at his stomach fondly. "Well…I hope it's a boy. A sweet, round-cheeked baby boy. And I hope he looks just like you, Alfred, with absolutely no interference from me."
Alfred blushed, but his eyes were confused. "Why do you want him to look just like me? Why do you even want it to be a boy?"
Arthur took Alfred's palm and pressed it to his cheek. "I want him to look like you, love, because you're the most beautiful person in the world to me. And I want a boy because he wouldn't be just like you if he came out as a girl, now would he?" He kissed Alfred's palm and gave him his hand back.
"What if he does turn out to be a girl? What then?" Alfred dropped another grape into Arthur's mouth as he curiously spoke.
"Then I will accept that, and she would still be very beautiful," Arthur said, absentmindedly stroking his stomach. "But still, I'd much rather it be a boy than a girl. But, in all honesty, either is fine with me. I'm just glad we get to have a child of our own." He sighed dreamily as he chewed on the latest grape Alfred fed him.
"You know, Mattie told me that he and Francis want girls," Alfred said conversationally, eating a grape himself.
Arthur snorted, smiling, and rolled his eyes. "Can't say that doesn't surprise me; of course Francis wants a girl! That way, he and his brother can treat her like their own little dress-up doll. Poor girl…"
"Nah, Mattie wouldn't let them do that." Alfred smirked. "Although, you're kinda right, Francis would spoil her rotten, and what kind of uncle would I be if I didn't too? Mattie would try to teach her to be nice and respectful, just like him."
At that moment the phone rang, and Alfred handed Arthur the bowl of grapes to get it. "Hey, Mom," he said with a smile after looking at the caller ID. "No, I can talk. I was just feeding my friend Arthur some grapes." There was a pause, and Arthur watched curiously as Alfred's eyes gained a gleam fear. "Oh, really? You guys are coming to Salvation? When?" Both Alfred and Arthur felt their hearts plummet into their stomachs when they heard the answer. "Halloween? Really? O-Okay! No, that's not a bad time! I got to go, Mom, I got some hamburgers on the grill. See ya!" Alfred hung up the phone with a terrified expression.
"Alfred, calm down!" Arthur put the grapes on the table and caught his lover's hand with his own, holding it to his heart. "Just take a deep breath, love, and tell me why you look so bloody scared!"
Alfred did as told and looked down at Arthur. "Arthur, you technically got pregnant in June, right?"
Arthur nodded. "Yes, love, that's right. Why's that so bad?"
"Because if you got pregnant in June, then that means that you—and Francis—should be showing by August or September, maybe October! There's no way my parents are going to not notice two pregnant dudes running around!"
Arthur's eyes widened in horror as well, realizing that Alfred was right! "Bloody hell… Damn it, why didn't I realize that sooner! You're parents are going to want to meet the women carrying their grandchildren! We've got to warn Matthew and Francis!"
"Warn us about what?" Matthew asked as he and Francis walked in, grocery bags in their arms. "Did you two break something, or piss someone off?"
Both shook their heads as they quickly locked the front door and ushered Matthew and Francis into the kitchen to not only tell them about the conversation, but to help put the groceries away too.
"Wait, so Francis and Arthur will be showing when Mom and Dad get here?" Matthew nearly dropped the loaf of bread he was holding.
Alfred nodded as he shoved a gallon of milk into the fridge. "What are we gonna do?" He glanced at the two mermen, who were trying not to visibly shake as they put away canned goods.
Matthew thought for a moment, playing with a bag of bananas anxiously. "Uh… Okay! I think I know what we can do! We can just tell Mom and Dad that Arthur and Francis are our fat friends!"
A can of peaches and a can of cranberry sauce tumbled to the ground as the mermen turned to glare viciously at their lovers.
"Excusez-moi? I am not fat, and the only reason I ever will be is because your child is growing inside me! So it'll be your fault, Matthieu!" Francis turned back to angrily filling the cupboards with food, muttering angrily under his breath.
While Francis had been yelling that, Arthur had been yelling, "You bloody wanker! How dare you tell your own parents that I'm fat, when really, the baby I give birth to will just eat as many gross hamburgers as you! If anything, it'll be the baby putting on weight, not me! You vile, idiotic, maddening American!" With that, he rejoined Francis in refilling the cupboards.
Matthew and Alfred glanced at each other uneasily, but deep inside, they knew just as much as Arthur and Francis did that it was pretty much the only option they had…other than telling the truth. But the truth might put their parents in a hospital, or them in a mental hospital, so…
"Artie, it's the only option we have!" Alfred begged as he turned over in the bed to stare at Arthur's pale, smooth back.
"That's not true, git!" Arthur insisted as he turned over to face Alfred, glaring at him. "We could—oh, I don't know—tell them the truth!"
"Artie, can you imagine how that would sound to my human parents? I mean, they have nothing against gay or bisexual people, but it'd still sound freaky as hell to them!
'Oh, by the way, Francis and Arthur are our pregnant boyfriends. They're also mermen. So, you were saying about your trip to Napa?'
Yeah, they won't kill over dead, or send Mattie and I to a mental hospital for saying that!" Alfred sighed irritably and ran his hand through his sandy-blonde hair.
Arthur listened, feeling a little bad for Alfred. Yes, it was true, his parents would probably think he and Matthew were crazy if they said something like that, but if they could prove it by showing their parents any ultrasounds that could be taken at the time…
"I suppose I understand where you're coming from," he said softly, his face softening begrudgingly. "But we can't go through our lives lying to your parents, Alfred. We'll eventually have to tell them."
"What about your mom?" Alfred demanded, remembering Arthur's widowed mermaid mother. "Won't she be freaked out?"
"No, she won't." Arthur shook his head. "Merfolk have a lot of legends about pregnant men and such. We mostly worship the Ancient Greek gods, and tell our children Greek myths as bedtime stories, so she'd probably understand."
Alfred was momentarily sidetracked. "What does male pregnancy have to do with Greek mythology?"
Arthur smiled and scooted closer to his lover. "Do you know the story of how Dionysus, God of Wine and Revelry, was born?" When Alfred shook his head, an interested gleam in his eyes, Arthur continued to speak, clearing his throat.
"Dionysus was believed to be the youngest of the Twelve Great Olympian Gods; the others were Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Hermes, Poseidon—the main god merfolk worship—Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Ares, and Hephaestus. Demeter's daughter, Persephone, was most always portrayed as sitting on her mother's lap, and Hestia usually tended to the glowing fire in the middle of the Great Hall. The twelve main Olympians all sat on great golden thrones, created by Hephaestus himself. Hades, the God of the Dead, preferred to stay in his dark palace underground, and rarely came to Olympus.
Anyway, Zeus loved his queen, Hera, dearly, but he also loved many of the beautiful mortal women in Greece at the time. One of them was an enchanting princess named Semele. Now, Hera was a very jealous woman, and the fury of her wrath could even strike fear into the heart of Zeus! She hated all of Zeus' other 'wives', and each one suffered her terrible wrath in their own way.
In Semele's case, it went like this:
When Zeus was away from Semele one day, Hera disguised herself as an old lady and visited the princess. As they talked, Hera pretending to be very friendly, the disguised goddess asked who Semele's husband was.
'Why, he's no more than strong and powerful Zeus!' Semele had boasted proudly, smiling.
'But how can you be so sure about that?' Hera had asked. 'I know many men who claim to be the King of the Gods. Do you have proof, child? If not, I'd ask him the next time you see him.' And with her plan in action, Hera left the girl to her thoughts.
When Zeus finally returned, Semele asked him to grant her a wish. Zeus agreed, swearing by the river Styx to fulfill her wish, no matter what it be.
'Then show me your true form,' Semele had demanded. 'Show me that you're really the King of the Gods; that you're really Zeus!'
Zeus begged her to change her wish, for no mortal could withstand the true form of a god, but Semele had her heart set on it. And because he had sworn by the river Styx, which was the most solemn oath a god could make, he had to do it. So he joined together the smallest thunder clouds he could find and revealed himself to Semele.
She died almost immediately, bursting into flames from how brightly he shone in his glory. Sadly, Zeus could do nothing to save her, but he did manage to save her unborn son by him. He then sewed the baby under the skin of his leg and kept him there until he was ready to be born.
When he was, he sprang forth as the incredible god Dionysus, God of Wine and Revelry." Arthur took a deep breath, closing his eyes and remembering when his mother had first told him the story. "There's more, but I don't want to bore you." However, when he opened his eyes, Alfred was staring at him with complete and utter fascination and wonder.
"Bore me? That sounds so cool! Keep going!" Alfred eagerly snuggled closer to listen, his eyes gleaming hopefully.
"Um… All right, Alfred." Arthur shrugged and took another deep breath, clearing his throat again.
"Zeus, however, was aware that it was Hera who truly caused Semele to die, so he gave Dionysus to Hermes, telling the other god to hide the baby somewhere Hera wouldn't find him. Hermes agreed and fled to the valley of Nysa with the baby, leaving him with a band of maenads, the nymphs who ruled the valley. Dionysus grew up safe there, his playmates being tigers and leopards.
However, as Dionysus grew, large bunches of grapes began appearing on the hills of Nysa, and soon the god had figured out how to make delicious wine from their juice. Since he was young and beautiful, he dressed in fine robes of purple and red, and he went out to teach the world about winemaking. The maenads followed him, as did the animals he'd played with as a child, and everywhere he went, more followers joined him and more people worshipped him as the god that he was. Zeus couldn't have been more proud of him as he watched Dionysus travel from Greek island to Greek island, showing people how to make wine.
But one day, as Dionysus slept on a beach, a ship full of pirates sailed by. They noticed how nicely-dressed Dionysus was and brought him on their ship, thinking he was a prince they could hold for ransom. Dionysus was quite the heavy sleeper, however, and didn't awake until they were far out at sea. When he awoke, he tried to gently persuade them that he was not a prince, but Dionysus himself, and a son of Zeus. The pirates just laughed and sailed on, no longer paying attention to him.
As they did, however, strange things began to happen: vines full of fresh grapes sprung from the sea, and they twined around the ship's oars, wound up the mast, treating the ship as if it were an arbor. Deep-red wine trickled down the sail, the color of blood, and soon the air was filled with the roaring of big cats and the braying of donkeys. Dionysus himself grew to great size, filling the ship as he did. The pirates were horrified and jumped off the ship; but since Dionysus is a kind god, he didn't let them drown. Instead, he turned them into dolphins, and that it why merfolk believe that we can communicate with dolphins better than any other sea creature, because they were born directly from humans.
Anyway, because Dionysus had brought so much joy to mankind, Zeus decided that he deserved one of the golden Olympian thrones. When Dionysus arrived to claim his throne, Hera rose in anger, but Zeus simply pounded his fist on the handle of his own throne, causing her to sit back down in silence. However, there was a problem: there were only twelve thrones in the Great Hall, and another throne would take awhile to make. Hestia, being the very generous and kind goddess that she was, rose from her own throne, offering it to her new nephew.
'I need no throne,' she told the others when they asked if she was sure. 'My place is at the hearth.'
But Dionysus felt that, before he sat down, he wanted to see his mother, of whom he'd always longed to see. Zeus agreed, sending Hermes to the Underworld to get Semele, as since she was the mother of an official Olympian god, she'd be living on Olympus now. After the joyous reunion, Dionysus seated himself on the throne, and a great festival on Olympus rang out in his honor. The end."
Alfred yawned and pulled Arthur into his arms, kissing the sleepy merman's head. "That was a great story, Artie. You'll have to tell me more myths later, 'kay?"
Arthur nodded drearily, and with that, they both fell asleep, not caring about anything else in the world at the time. It could wait until later.
A/N: AND THAT'S THE END OF THE FIRST ONE! YAY! Oh, and I don't think Batgirl was Batman's girlfriend either. I think she's suppose to be his cousin or something. Anyway, no, I didn't just paste and copy that myth from some website! My mom used to be a World History teacher, and she taught me almost everything there is to know about Greek myths, and I have a lot of books on them too. Those gods really are known as the Twelve Great Olympians
Zeus—Son of Cronus and Rhea, King of the Gods, Master of the Universe, and God of Thunder and Lightening
Hera—Daughter of Cronus and Rhea, Queen of the Gods and Goddess of Wives, Women, and Marriage
Ares—Son of Zeus and Hera, and God of War and Bloodshed
Hephaestus—Son of Zeus and Hera, and God of Smiths and Fire
Artemis (One of my favorites)—Daughter of Zeus and Leto, and Goddess of the Hunt, Virgins, Animals, and Children
Athena (Another favorite)—Daughter of Zeus and Metis, and Goddess of Wisdom, War Strategy, and Crafts
Poseidon (Kinda favorite)—Son of Cronus and Rhea, and God of the Seas and Earthquakes
Apollo—Son of Zeus and Leto, and God of Light, Music, Arts, and Reason
Demeter—Daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and Goddess of Agriculture and Fertility
Hermes—Son of Zeus and Maia, and God of Shepherds, Merchants, Travelers, Thieves, and Messenger of the Gods
Aphrodite—Believed to have no mother or father, and Goddess of Passionate Love, Beauty, and Sex
Dionysus—Son of Zeus and Semele, and God of Wine and Revelry
Hestia—Daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and Goddess of the Hearth and Home
Persephone—Daughter of Demeter and (possibly) Zeus, Queen of the Underworld, and Goddess of Springtime and Summertime
Hades—Son of Cronus and Rhea, and God/King of the Underworld, and God of Treasure and Money
Don't worry, there will be another one up soon! Sorry if I bored you with that story!
Goodbye for now!