Merlin stirred slightly. He felt like something heavy was weighing down his chest. He pushed away the sensation, eager to get more sleep. The something heavy was not having that though.
Merlin reluctantly opened his eyes and was met with all too familiar blue eyes and the messy blonde hair. Merlin groaned.
"It's too early for this," he grumbled. He knew his voice was lacking anger.
"Uncle Melin! Uncle Melin! Daddy says he needs something from you," Bran said, giggling manically.
"And he sent you to wake me up, did he?" Merlin asked amused. He knew that wasn't the case. Arthur never would send his son to wake up Merlin. Arthur reserved that pleasure for himself.
Bran frowned slightly. "Well… maybe not," he admitted. "But I was about to knock on mommy and daddy's doow and they mentioned youw name. I figuwed daddy must want you, because he called you his idiot mansewvant, not by youw name."
Merlin groaned. For a five year old, Bran sure had a habit of being in the wrong place at exactly the correct time. "Did your mother disagree with him?" He asked. he had a feeling he knew what this was about.
"No. She told him if it really was your fault then he best go find you and get you to fix it. Then she told daddy to stop acting like a girl," Bran said, giggling again.
Merlin chuckled slightly. He forced himself out of his warm, cozy bed. He walked over to the little work bench he had set up a couple of years ago, when Gwen had gotten pregnant for the first time. He picked up a vial of the bright blue liquid. He leant down slightly, offering Bran his arms. Bran eagerly leapt into Merlin's arms, eager to follow Merlin wherever he was going. "Let's go see your mother," Merlin said, trying to hide his laughter. He was always amused by Bran's excitement.
Merlin quickly walked towards Gwen's and Arthur's chambers. He entered without knocking.
"Enter," Arthur groggy voice called.
Merlin walked in. "I could really live without the wake-up call," Merlin said jokingly, motioning to the child in his arms. Merlin let down Bran then walked over to the bed where Gwen was laying. He gently placed his arm on her shoulder, entirely ready for her angry.
So when Gwen sat up, her hands resting on her swollen stomach, and shouted, "Go away." Merlin was unphased.
"Drink this Gwen," Merlin urged.
Gwen sighed. "I don't know why you insist on me drinking this foul potion every morning. It does absolutely nothing," Gwen grumbled. She drank it anyway.
Merlin breathed a sigh of relief. Any moment now. "Thank you Merlin," Gwen said gratefully.
Arthur let out the breath he had been holding. He didn't know what he would do without Merlin's magical potion that stabilized Gwen's out-of-control emotions.
When Gwen was pregnant with Bran, she had turned into a monster in the mornings. Most women got mood swings when they are pregnant, but Gwen seemed to suffer from them more than most. She would do something like kick Arthur out of bed, or yell at him, or insult him. Then a couple of minutes later, she would be curled up, bawling about how she is an awful wife. It broke Arthur's heart to see Gwen like that. He had gone to Merlin, with the hopes that he would know how to help her.
And Merlin had known exactly what to do. Arthur had been worried that taking a magical potion when she was pregnant would cause some kind of complication with her pregnancy, but Merlin ensured him that wasn't the case. He went as far as to show Arthur the excerpt in his magic book that explained what the potion was. Arthur wasn't really able to make sense of the mumbo jumbo, but he trusted Merlin's judgement.
Merlin fought with all his might to ensure that Arthur was safe and that everything Arthur holds dear to him remains safe.
Everyone realized that about a year after Arthur had discovered Merlin's magic. Merlin had been right when he said the council was going to oppose Arthur's decision. Arthur brought it up whenever he could and was always met with opposition. He had been ready to just legalize magic and ignore what his council thought, but Merlin told him not too. Merlin told him to be patient. To slowly wane his council to the idea of magic.
Arthur had been doing that, but it was a slow progress. After an entire year had passed, all Arthur had accomplished was to plant the seed of doubt that magic was always evil.
But that all changed. Arthur was attacked by Juli Lot, prince of Essetir. He really didn't have a choice. He ended up killing Juli. It was that or be killed himself.
Well, the king and queen of Essetir were furious that Arthur had killed their son. They attacked Camelot.
Merlin marched out to battle with Arthur and the knights, just like he always had. He pretended that he was just an ordinary manservant, fighting for his king. But then, he heard a scream. An all too familiar scream.
He looked over and saw someone that should have been as far from the battlefield as possible. He saw someone that should have been locked in the safety of the castle, but instead she was standing on the battlefield. He watched her drop to the ground and new he wasn't the only one that would be watching in horror as the blood spread through her gown. Merlin saw Gwen.
Merlin gave up any pretense of being normal. He screamed as loud as he could, the rage in his voice startling many around him, but he didn't care. A bunch of Lot's men flew backwards, far away from Gwen.
Arthur sprinted to her side, knowing Merlin would be there soon. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. "What are you doing here?" He asked her. He couldn't believe this. She was supposed to be far, far away from here. Away from the bloodshed. Away from the danger.
"I couldn't stand not knowing. I had to help you Arthur," Gwen told him weakly.
Before Arthur had a chance to say anything, he was being shoved away from Gwen. Arthur was about to attack whoever had pushed him when he realized it was Merlin. Merlin put his hand on Gwen's stomach and started muttering a string of words under his breath as fast as he could.
When Merlin's eyes opened, Arthur could see the flash of gold that indicated he was using magic.
You could hear a pin drop on the battle field. Both the men of Camelot and the men of Essetir were watching with a mix of horror and curiosity at the man performing magic at the heart of Camelot. The men of Camelot were shocked that Merlin, Arthur's manservant, knew magic. And that Arthur wasn't doing anything about it. The men of Essetir had heard stories of how sorcerers were persecuted in Camelot. They couldn't understand why the king was standing by while a sorcerer was using magic on his queen.
"Can you heal her?" Arthur asked hopefully. He didn't care how loud his voice was or how weak he sounded. He couldn't lose Gwen.
Merlin didn't answer him. Instead, he lifted Gwen's head lightly and turned to Arthur. "Why don't you ask her yourself?" He asked.
Arthur looked down and was amazed as he saw color return to Gwen's face. Her eyes shuttered and then finally opened.
"Guinevere," he said softly. He brought his hand to her cheek. "How do you feel?"
Gwen moved around a little bit. "I feel fine," she said, surprise coloring her tone. She turned and threw her arms around Merlin.
"Thank you!" She breathed. "Thank you!"
Merlin awkwardly patted her back, clearly unprepared for her onslaught of emotion. "Um… your welcome?" He said uncertainly.
Gwen pulled back, a brilliant smile on her face.
Arthur put his hand on Merlin's shoulder affectionately. "Thank you," he said quietly. "It's not something I say enough, but thank you."
Arthur heard a cough behind him, pulling him out of the moment.
Arthur turned to see several of his knights, staring at them, shocked. If this weren't so serious, Arthur probably would have laughed. But Merlin's life was on the line and this was no laughing matter.
Arthur scanned his knights, noting that a couple of them were protectively holding their swords in front of them and some had their hands rested on their hilts, ready to jump into action if need be. But most of them were standing around, too shocked too move, too shocked to talk.
Arthur couldn't find the words. Since he was a boy, Arthur had been taught what he should say when unexpected circumstances occurred. They taught him what to say if there was a fire in the kitchens so there was a delay in supper. He was taught what to say if Camelot was being attacked. He was taught what to say if a sorcerer was caught. They covered everything they thought he would have to use, but they never covered this. There was no protocol for what he should say when his knights just discovered that he, the king of Camelot, had a manservant that knew magic.
"Surprise?" Merlin asked quietly. There was no humor in his voice, which was the only indication that Merlin was truly scared.
Merlin stood up slowly, trying to show he meant no harm. He carefully walked away from Gwen. Arthur knew what he was doing. Merlin wanted to make sure that Gwen would be safe if Arthur's knights attacked.
Merlin's action seemed to reach one of Arthur's knights. Arthur didn't even see who it was, he just saw them step forward sword raised.
"No!" Arthur said powerfully. Arthur moved so he was standing by Merlin. Merlin was still in his sight so Arthur could make sure he didn't do anything stupid, but positioned so Arthur could jump in front and become a human shield if need be. His knights wouldn't dare kill the king of Camelot. "Knights of Camelot. I stand before you, not as your king, but as your brother and friend. For nearly thirty years, magic has been regarded as a great source of evil. It was something that twists the souls of human, turning our friends into our enemies and forcing them down a path of greed and hatred. I believed all of this until about a year ago. About a year ago, every belief I had about magic was challenged, everything was questioned, everything changed."
Arthur paused, carefully taking in his knight's expressions. Arthur was pleased to discover that most of them were listening to him intently, truly considering his words. "A wise man told me there is no evil in sorcery, only in the hearts of men. At the time, I refused to believe that man's words, but then that very man did something that I never expected from a sorcerer. He stepped in front of a blade intended for me. He saved me from the evil magic of Morgana, nearly killing himself in the process. This man was Merlin. He has saved Camelot, my life, Guinevere's life, and countless other lives. He didn't have to do that. He could use his magic to gain his own riches and power. Yet he sits in the background, happy to let others take credit for what he accomplished. Merlin is a sorcerer, but he is also a protector of Camelot. And he is my friend. I have come to accept his magic. Will you?" Arthur asked. Arthur's words rang throughout the battlefield. He was truly giving his knights a choice. He wanted them to accept Merlin, but he wasn't going to force them to.
When none of his knights did anything, Gwen walked over to Arthur's side. "You have seen what Merlin can do," she said calmly, but loudly. "If it weren't for Merlin, I would be dead. My wounds should have been fatal. I ask each of you to truly examine your conscious. How can you doubt someone who uses his powers like this: for good, not evil?" Arthur looked at Gwen amazed. She had a way with words.
It was with that question, that someone finally spoke: Gwaine. "I have known Merlin for a long time now," Gwaine said. The usual carefree tone in his voice was gone. "Years ago, when he and Arthur quite stupidly decided to start a tavern fight, I stepped in to help them. Even then, I was amazed that Merlin didn't run. Most servants wouldn't have stayed to fight by their master's side, particularly when they have no fighting skills. The more I got to know Merlin the more of his goodness, loyalty, courage, and friendship I saw. I always said that he was braver than all of us combined and now we have proof. Who among us would risk our lives every time we breath for the sake of Camelot? We are all brave men, but our bravery has a limit." Gwaine took out his sword and threw it on the ground. "I accept Merlin."
One by one, the rest of Arthur's knights followed suit. Some said something about Merlin, about his bravery, about his loyalty. Arthur cold see Merlin's grin growing larger and larger.
When all was said and done, and Arthur's knights had vowed not to harm Merlin, Arthur told them he would be making the announcement to Camelot in three days' time. With that promise, the knights dispersed, all but one.
Gwaine walked over to Merlin. "You, my friend, owe me a lot off drinks to make up for keeping this secret from me," Gwaine warned him. Gwaine smiled to show Merlin that while he was angry, he wouldn't hold this against him.
Merlin couldn't help his laughter. "Tell you what," he said, trying to compose himself. "You're bill tonight is on Arthur."
Gwaine laughed victoriously. He walked away and Arthur thought he heard something that sounded like, "Drinks all around then." Arthur groaned, but didn't object. He knew he owed it to Merlin.
Arthur was pulled back to the present by a tugging on his trousers. Arthur looked down and scooped up his son, tickling him. Bran squirmed and giggled, but Arthur didn't stop until Bran was nearly crying from glee.
When Arthur stopped, Bran snuggled into his chest. "Bekfast?" He asked hopefully.
Arthur chuckled and kissed his son's forehead. He looked at Merlin expectantly.
Merlin rolled his eyes. "One day Arthur. One day you'll be capable of walking down the hallway to the kitchens," Merlin teased. "Do you want to come with me Bran?"
"Yes!" Bran squealed, squirming around in Arthur's arms so he would be let down.
As bran ran after Merlin, Arthur couldn't help but smile. It seemed today was a trip down memory lane as Arthur remembered the day he found out he was going to be a father.
It was about a month after Arthur had told all of Camelot that magic was legal and revealed Merlin's powers.
Arthur was walking through the castle, trying to find Merlin. He wasn't in his chambers, he wasn't with Gaius, and he wasn't in the stables or the kitchens or the armory. After being lectured for nearly an hour about how Merlin never goes to the tavern, Arthur knew he wasn't there. Arthur had no idea where he could be.
Arthur was walking back to his own chambers pondering his mysteriously absent manservant. He was so distracted, he almost missed the voices coming from his chambers.
When Arthur heard them, he stopped dead in his shoes. After a moment, he recognized Gwen's and Merlin's voices. His curiosity overriding his etiquette training, Arthur pressed his ear to the door and listened.
"Gwen, it will be okay," Merlin told her soothingly. Arthur scrunched up his eyebrows confused. What was wrong.
"How can this be okay?" Gwen asked, slightly hysterically.
"I'm sure Arthur will be fine with this," Merlin told her.
"If you were in his shoes, would you be okay with this?" Gwen asked him. "We never talked about this."
"Gwen, Arthur loves you. He'll understand. What's the worst that can happen?" Merlin asked her quietly.
"Are you really asking me that Merlin?" Gwen asked.
Arthur could hear Merlin chuckle. "I'll tell you with him," Merlin offered.
"Great, then he can kill both of us," Gwen grumbled.
"Gwen, Arthur will be excited for this," Merlin told her. "You need to calm down."
"I can't calm down!" Gwen cried out.
"This isn't going to go away. You have to tell him," Merlin told her.
Arthur couldn't take this anymore. He pushed open the door to his chambers. "Tell me what?" He asked.
Arthur's eyes widened when he took in the scene before him. Gwen was standing with both hands on her stomach and tears streaming down her cheeks.
Arthur stared at the placement of her hands. There was nothing particularly extraordinary about them, except they were resting on her still flat stomach like a pregnant woman would hold her stomach. "Are… you…" Arthur said. He couldn't bring himself to say the word. He motioned to her stomach and looked up at her.
Gwen bit back her sob and nodded. Arthur turned to Merlin. "Are you sure?" He asked.
Merlin nodded. That was all it took. Arthur rushed over to Gwen and kissed her passionately. He heard Merlin groan, but ignored him.
"Guinevere Pendragon. Did you imagine even for a moment that I wouldn't be excited about this?" Arthur asked, holding up her chin so she had no choice but to look in his eyes.
"We never talked about it Arthur," Gwen said quietly. "And you once said you were so frightened of being like your father that you weren't sure if you wanted children."
Arthur's eyes widened. "That was before we married Gwen," Arthur told her. "That was before I found someone I wanted to have children with outside of my duty to the crown." He put his hands on her stomach. "I don't think this baby's mother would let me be a bad father. She is too loving and wise and compassionate."
"You're really excited?" Gwen asked uncertainly.
"Gwen, we've been married almost five years. I think it's about time we start a family," Arthur told her sincerely.
Gwen smiled a joyful smile and kissed Arthur before she hugged him close to her. Arthur closed his eyes and smiled as he held his wife. He was going to be a father.
In the present, Gwen wrapped her arms around Arthur. "What are you smiling about?" Gwen asked.
Arthur turned around and kissed her lightly. "Just remembering everything. I don't know why I'm being so sentimental today," Arthur told her.
Gwen rolled her eyes. "You know exactly why you are being so sentimental," Gwen pointed out.
Arthur chuckled. "I don't know what you mean," Arthur said playing dumb.
Gwen tisked at him. "One day Arthur. one day you'll accept out loud that Merlin is important to you. You know as well as I do that seventeen years ago today, Merlin first moved to Camelot," Gwen told him softly.
"So nothing important?" Arthur asked jokingly.
"Thanks," Merlin said sarcastically. "Glad to know our friendship means so much to you."
Merlin set down four trays, one of which was overflowing with food, two of which contained a normal amount of food, and a third filled with food that Bran was actually willing to eat.
It has become tradition that Merlin eats with them for breakfast. There were some days when that was the only time Arthur and Gwen could see him.
Since Merlin's magic has been revealed and his people stopped looking at Merlin like they thought he was going to turn them into a frog, Merlin had been all over Camelot, offering his magic in any way that would help.
His skills became legendary and pretty soon, Merlin had a small class going for people interested in learning magic the way Merlin used it: to create rather than to destroy.
As the four of them ate breakfast, Arthur couldn't help but appreciate where they were right now. He had his best friend, his wife, his son, and another baby that would be here soon. It had been a long, hard journey, but Arthur was happy with where his life was going.
Let me know what you thought! I really loved writing this story and I hoped you loved reading it.