Warnings: M!preg, slash, spoilers up to Season 4 I think, and um some graphicness but its not explicit at all
It first came up at dinner, but Uther didn't think anything of it.
"Arthur, where's that silly manservant of yours again? I haven't seen him here all week."
Arthur looked up from where he was picking at his food. "Merlin? He hasn't been feeling well, so I gave him a few days off."
"You do realize he serves you and not the other way around. He either works for you or you dismiss him."
"Yes father, but he's sick. It's not his fault," Arthur argued.
Uther narrowed his eyes. "That is not my problem. Arthur, you're being absurd. You are far too attached to this boy." He had known about Arthur's…intimate relationship with his servant, but this was just ridiculous. Servants were just…servants, they didn't matter. Why was Arthur being difficult over this?
Arthur wore a petulant expression on his face. "He's my friend."
Uther almost laughed out loud at the preposterousness of that statement. "How many times will I have to say this? Kings rule alone. You will have no need for friends. Regardless, you can't trust any of them. Even if you could, the notion of you being friends with a servant, is ludicrous."
His son pressed his lips tightly together in his characteristic disgruntled look. "Yes father," Arthur responded through clenched teeth.
Uther just let it go. Arthur would understand soon enough. Uther remembered what it was like to be young, to have that carefree confidence and to always think you were right. He would humor Arthur a little longer.
The burden of age and responsibility would crash down those youthful shoulders in due time. Uther felt it was his duty as a father, to protect his son from cruel reality and let Arthur indulge in his naïve, deluded world as long as possible. He knew better than anyone else how oppressive the weight of the crown could be.
Uther made his way down to Gaius' workshop. His bad shoulder was acting up again. He knew he could have easily summoned a servant to bring Gaius to him, but Gaius was older than he was and needed the rest. Uther couldn't sleep anyways, it was calming to wander the peaceful castle at night.
When he got there, Uther saw light filtering from the cracks in the foor. So Gaius was still awake too. Uther didn't mean to eavesdrop, but it was his castle, he had every right to listen in to conversations.
"…It can't be Gaius…you've got to be wrong…are you sure?"
It was Arthur's manservant talking. If he was well enough to be out of bed and arguing with his mentor, he was certainly well enough to go to work. It was as Uther suspected, he was shirking his duties.
"Merlin, I've checked at least ten times. I'm certain." Gaius was explaining patiently.
Uther knew that tone. He employed it multiple times a day, himself. Always the doubts, the uncertainty. Nobody ever trusted his judgement.
"…There's no better way to say this, Merlin. You're pregnant."
What!? Uther took a step back before he crashed through the door and fell into the workshop. Gaius had to be kidding. This was not a laughing matter. A pregnant man? That was treachery!
He was probably just too tired and over-stressed. There was no way he had heard that correctly. Uther shook his head and went back to his bed, completely forgetting about the tonic he originally went to get.
The next day, Arthur's manservant was back to work. Uther knew because he could hear his son yelling from across the castle. Arthur also had a smile on his face and a new spring in his step. Who knew? Arthur had actually been worried about that insolent boy.
Uther had dismissed Merlin from his mind as well as last night's encounter until it slapped him in the face at lunchtime. Morgana's girl, the blacksmith's daughter, was serving with Merlin at lunch.
Uther watched the boy closely. His posture, the way his hand unconsciously shielded his middle reminded Uther far too much of Ygraine when she was pregnant. When Arthur commented blithely on Merlin's appearance, he saw the boy's eyes begin to water. The way he was standing, the sickness, the over emotional-ness. They all screamed…
The king was proven without a doubt when Merlin hastily excused himself when the duck was brought in, claiming nausea.
Arthur frowned, concerned, but Merlin shrugged him off. From the oblivious worry on his son's face, he realized Arthur didn't know about his servant's affliction and Uther wanted to keep it that way.
Uther called Merlin to his room that very afternoon. The boy looked so terrified that he was quaking in his boots.
"I know your secret," he declared with deadly calm.
Merlin's face lost all its color. "S-sire?"
"You are with child."
The servant nodded meekly. Ha, so Uther had been right. And to think he had once believed Merlin to be a guileless country boy.
"And you are a man. I am not a fool. Sorcery was involved."
"I- I'm not, I didn't…" Merlin stuttered.
"I don't care who did it! The point is, you are carrying a devil child who needs to be exterminated for the safety of this kingdom!"
Merlin clutched at his belly desperately. "No Sire, you can't! It's…it's Arthur's."
"I am aware, unless you've been sleeping around without his knowledge."
The boy flushed blotchily. "I mean to say that, the child I am carrying would be your grandchild and possibly a…"
"Don't you dare say it!" Uther shouted angrily. "I knew that's what you wanted all along! You only want the throne. First you seduced, no bewitched, Arthur so you could become his consort. You thought he would marry you since you were carrying his child. You want to put your devil spawn on the throne. But not with me around! I'll never let you rule Camelot!" Uther felt triumphant. He had foiled this sorcerer and saved his kingdom from the evils of magic once again.
"I wouldn't! Please sire," Merlin pleaded. "You wouldn't kill your own grandchild, please don't…"
"You can't tell me what to do, sorcerer! You know the law. You and your good-for-nothing bastard are sentenced to death!"