A Breach of Defenses

Coda to a scene of 'The Death Song of Uther Pendragon'

A/N- Written before I knew what Mordred was up to. (Aw, poor misguided Mordred.) ;-) I wrote this shortly after seeing "Death Song of Uther Pendragon," and- disappointed that he only got half a line- gave him an extra scene. Hope it's worth the read!

The door to the mausoleum opened. As Arthur turned around, he expected to see Gwen, or Merlin- not that he'd expected anyone to follow him at all- but hesitating behind the half-closed door now stood Mordred.

"Sire," the druid said with a respectful nod.

Arthur found himself a bit embarrassed by the concern he saw in Mordred's eyes. "It's- You can come in if you like," he stammered, gesturing clumsily.

The young knight closed the door, standing more behind than beside Arthur as the king gazed down at his father's tomb.

"Are you alright?" Mordred asked him.

Arthur felt himself sort of smile. He's yet to learn the golden rule. "I'm always alright," he answered, thinking himself convincing.

"No one's always alright," was Mordred's simple, but accurate retort. Arthur turned, studying his gravely mature expression. Under the young man's stare, he found it easiest to change the subject.

"What about your family?" he asked.

"I don't remember my parents," Mordred said, his eyes wandering.

Arthur frowned. Before Mordred had become a knight, he'd told the king he had no relatives, but Arthur didn't realize he'd been an orphan for so long. "Had you no one else? Who took care of you?"

"…Druids mostly stay together in camps," Mordred answered at length. "I was moved between several before I was able to take care of myself."

Arthur had begun to feel a deep sympathy for the boy. "That must have been hard," he said, for lack of anything more helpful.

Mordred just shook his head. "It wasn't what one might call a normal upbringing," he agreed.

In the following silence, Arthur once more faced the tomb, and felt again burdened by the decision that had brought him here- the one he'd yet to make.

"You and him were close?"

The king chuckled inwardly. "I wouldn't say that. Still, he was my father. …I just wish I could talk to him sometimes. He was taken from me so suddenly." Even as Arthur spoke, he was surprised at himself for doing so in such an open manner. It wasn't like him to discuss something that touched him this deeply, except with those few people who'd earned his trust over the years that he'd known them.

Yet he wasn't bothered by doing so with someone he'd only really met a few weeks ago.

"They worry for you at the banquet, sire," the knight told him presently.

Arthur nodded while smiling to himself at this discreet implication. "All right, Mordred," he answered, and led the way out.