Author's Note: Set probably around the first or second series. Not sure but definitely pretty early on in their friendship. Once again I got an idea that took off with me… Luckily it didn't take more than one night to write up but I'm really pleased with the results and I hope you are too :)
This story is dedicated to my mom who loves horses. One of the horse's name is Esmeralda (Ezzie) which is a nickname my mom had growing up. This will be one of the first stories she gets to read written by me and I'm both nervous and excited to see if she likes it!
When Merlin had first become Arthur's servant and had started going on patrols and hunting with him, he obviously hadn't had a horse of his own. He had travelled to Camelot on foot, he was just a lowly peasant and definitely didn't have the money to afford his own. So Arthur had given him one of his horses to use. It sounded nice at first but Esmeralda was not a nice horse. Arthur had laughed as she continuously tried to bite Merlin on several occasions during their excursions but Merlin could be nearly as stubborn and though he complained about her at first eventually he became the only one that could handle her, the only one she liked, and she in turn became his favorite horse as well.
Arthur also had a favorite horse himself. Neither of them were outstanding in looks, they were simple brown horses but Sebastian was a strong, noble looking stallion and Arthur rode him nearly everywhere and everywhere Arthur went Merlin followed and Merlin rode Esmeralda everywhere. The two horses also hadn't liked each other, quite a rough start for the foursome.
Arthur didn't like Merlin to begin with, Merlin didn't like Arthur, Merlin didn't like Esmeralda, Esmeralda equally didn't like Merlin, and neither Esmeralda nor Sebastian liked each other either, the only two that got along were Arthur and Sebastian and they didn't really appreciate Merlin and Esmeralda accompanying them.
But slowly, ever so slowly, over time they all bonded to each other. Even when something would happen and Merlin and Arthur were separated from their horses, they would always find them not far off or already in Camelot in their stables, but they would always find them together. It wasn't something that Merlin and Arthur thought about, it just was something that was.
Merlin supposed he really shouldn't have been surprised when Esmeralda started getting fatter, but he was worried she was overeating or wasn't getting enough exercise. However, when he checked with the stable hands they told him that her regime hadn't changed. When Merlin inspected her closer it was obvious what had happened.
Esmeralda was pregnant. She had been pregnant for some time now, he assumed, and was only just starting to show and she was starting to show quickly as well. There was no way he was taking her on another patrol with him and he sadly left her behind.
He wondered what Arthur would think about it, probably not much, he had bigger things to worry about than horses getting pregnant and having babies, but Merlin was quite honestly amazed and awed by the whole event. He therefore was surprised when Arthur noticed that Merlin was riding another horse.
"Where's Esmeralda?" He asked.
Merlin's eyes widened slightly but of course Arthur would notice when one of his horses was missing, even if Ezzie was considered more of a bother than most. "She's pregnant." Merlin muttered, not sure how Arthur would react.
Arthur leaned forward and scratched Sebastian behind the ear. "Sebastian, you dog!" He joked. Sebastian tossed his head in disapproval at the name but Arthur ignored him turning back. "When will the baby be born?" He asked.
"Not for a few months yet, she only just began showing." Merlin told him, pleased that Arthur was taking such an interest in something so trivial, and happy to be able to share something he was interested in, even invested in with Arthur.
"The baby will be strong like his father." Arthur said.
"And stubborn like his mother." Merlin added in.
Arthur laughed and a cheeky smile spread across Merlin's face. "Determined like his mother." Arthur corrected. "He'll be a noble steed someday."
Merlin couldn't help but feel a little sad at that thought, that the baby would someday hold a rider, probably Arthur, that he would ride into battle countless times and maybe one time would even ride to his own death.
Merlin shook the thought away though, that was life, the horses certainly didn't know how to live any other way and Merlin knew that any horse that was a product of Seb and Ezzie would be a noble steed indeed.
It was months later that Merlin was awoken in the middle of the night by Gaius and a panicked stable hand. He had rushed with the young man to the stables. Ezzie was in labor and no one could get near her, that was true most of the time anyway.
With the stable hands telling him what to do Merlin gently calmed her and helped her in any way he could, for the most part she had to do most of it herself, but Merlin's presence seemed to drive away some of her panic.
Merlin was glad to be there too. Sure it was kind of gross but it was also one of the most amazing things Merlin had ever seen. He stepped back after it was over, as Esmeralda nuzzled at her new foal. It was a boy, one day he would possibly be the horse to the king, not just any king but the greatest king ever known, a king who would be known for the rest of time. Merlin thought that he and the foal shared a similar destiny, to serve that king was a big destiny for a powerful warlock let alone for a little horse.
He sat there for some time, watching the mother and baby interact. Merlin realized it hadn't been as close to the middle of the night as he had thought as the sun peeked over the horizon and the beams shone through a slit in the stable window.
He jumped when he heard Arthur's voice behind him. "Boy or girl?"
Merlin stared at him a moment still trying to calm his breathing, he hadn't expected this peaceful moment to be interrupted. "Boy." He stated still a little irked. "What are you doing here, sire?" He asked.
"I wanted to go for an early morning ride." Arthur stated but Merlin wasn't entirely sure that was the whole truth, it looked like Arthur hadn't slept much either and Merlin was reminded that it was Arthur who perhaps carried the biggest destiny of all, a destiny that weighed on him as the future king of Camelot.
Arthur sat down in the hay beside Merlin, much to Merlin's surprise, apparently deciding to put off his ride instead watching the foal and his mother.
They both watched in awe as the baby stood up on shaky legs to follow its mother. It took a few tries and Merlin could tell that he and Arthur were both silently cheering for it until it succeeded and went over to feed from its mother.
"Amazing." Merlin murmured and for once Arthur didn't make fun of him.
"What are you going to name him?" Arthur asked.
Merlin looked at him in surprise. "Me?" he asked.
Arthur cuffed him on the back of the head lightly. "Well you're the only one the mother will let near her, I doubt she would want anyone else naming her foal." Merlin obviously knew that wasn't the reason and wondered again why Arthur was giving him this task, he didn't care enough to find out because he was honored and wanted to name the horse.
"Destiny." Merlin said.
Arthur rolled his eyes. "That's not a ridiculous name at all is it?"
Merlin smirked at him, "He's got a pretty big destiny ahead of him. It seems fitting."
Arthur stared at Merlin a small smile on his face but just nodded. "I just hope he can rise to the challenge." He said his eyes gazing into nothingness and Merlin assumed he wasn't talking about the horse anymore.
"He will…" Merlin assured turning back to Arthur, "He's strong." Merlin gave him a pointed look and they both knew now that he wasn't really talking about the horse.
Arthur knocked his shoulder playfully. "And stubborn." Arthur quipped back.
"Determined." Merlin corrected and Arthur just nodded as they watched a little longer before leaving the mother and baby alone. Arthur seemed to have forgotten about his early morning ride and seemed far more relaxed as they bickered all the way back to the castle. Their destinies, whether hidden or known, were great ones but all three of them were strong and… determined.
AN: Honestly I don't really know much about the birthing process of a horse. I looked a little up like how long a horse is pregnant for and how long it takes a baby to stand up but that was it. I hope you enjoy the story! It's one of my favorite one-shots I've written so far!