Title: Ties That Bind
Fandom: Merlin (bbc)
Disclaimer: I do not own
Summary: When Merlin saves a young boy from would-be-kidnappers, he unknowingly starts the course of events that lead him to meet the boy's father, Arthur, who has played a painful part in changing Merlin's familiy's life in the past.
Either Arthur never knew the name of the man Morgause had left for him, or he just hadn't thought the man important enough to remember.
That was the only conclusion Merlin could come up with.
Merlin really hadn't known much about the man Morgause had been having an affaire with other than what his face looked like, and that was only because Merlin had seen them once together by accident while they'd been out together. He'd confronted his wife about it at home later that night when she'd finally returned, their baby daughters sleeping peacefully in their rooms. Morgause hadn't even felt guilty. According to her it was all Merlin's fault, that he'd gotten boring and domestic, that the animal she'd gotten with had become tamed and boring, and she didn't know why he was surprised that she needed to find excitement elsewhere. She'd then informed him that she was leaving him, and that he could keep the children. She'd packed and left, and a couple of weeks after their divorce he'd received a note from her telling him she was getting married and asking him, quite spitefully, if he and his right hand were ever going to commit officially to each other as well.
He hadn't heard from her since.
Obviously....obviously she'd had another child.
The thought shocked him viciously.
Mordred was his daughters' half brother
And that led him to another thought.
Where was Morgause?
Hadn't Officer Du Lac said that Mordred only had a father and grandfather?
"He was hurt." There was a darkness in Arthur's voice as they looked down at the bruises on the sleeping boy's face. "I can't believe they thought they could get away with hurting a Pendragon."
Merlin leaned against the wall, conflicted. He wanted to hate the man for taking his wife and the mother of his children away, but after Morgause had shown her true colors he'd begun to wonder if the man hadn't actually done them all a favor. And anyway, the man might be an idiot who gave his six year old Encyclopedia Britannica, but he obviously loved his son. Merlin could sense the love the man had for his boy and could understand a father's love...could understand the need to destroy anything or anyone who harmed their beloved children.
"He's very strong." Merlin told Arthur, eyes on Mordred.
"He is." Arthur nodded, seeming utterly proud of that as he sat down on the bed's edge and hesitated a second before reaching over and brushing the sleeping boy's hair from his face. "When I got the call from the police station about what had happened, I thought---." He sighed and stopped, lowering his head. "It doesn't matter what I thought." He looked up at Merlin. "I don't like being in anyone's debt. It makes me uncomfortable knowing that someone somewhere out there has something hanging over my head. What do you want in exchange for this? Money?"
"My god." Merlin blinked, shocked for a moment at those words, before chuckling in wry disbelief. "You're an utter prat."
He frowned. "Excuse me?"
"A prat." Merlin repeated. "You
are a prat
Arthur stood up. "I will not have you speaking to me like this. Do you know
who I am?"
"Not really." Merlin admitted, not at all intimidated at the man who stalked towards him. "I've been wondering it, actually. Obviously you have money, and obviously you think everyone is out to get you."
"They attacked my son. I'm not just thinking
it." Arthur hissed in his face.
Merlin still had yet to feel intimidated. "Well, I'm not interested in your money."
are you interested in?" Arthur hissed, voice louder.
Merlin's hand shot out and plastered itself over Arthur's mouth.
The blonde went still, eyes wide in shock.
Merlin just shook his head. "You're going to wake Mordred if you keep raising your voice."
Arthur just continued to look at him in shock.
"I'll remove this now." The dark haired man announced, retrieving his hand. "And if you hate owing someone you can pay me back by answering a question."
"A...question?" Arthur asked, head tilted slightly in confusion.
"Mordred's mother." Merlin took in a deep breath. "Was her name Morgause?"
Arthur's eyes narrowed, darkened. "How did you know Morgause?"
"Yes or no."
That seemed to infuriate the blonde but he closed in eyes and took in a deep, calming breath, before nodding. "Yes. Now how did you know her?"
"I was the husband she left for you." Merlin replied, leaning against the wall, and just watching the blonde.
"What?" Blue eyes widened as shock twisted those handsome features. "You're that
"She spoke about me?" He frowned, a little surprised by that.
"I---children." Arthur frowned. "You have children."
Apparently Morgause had told Arthur about the girls.
"Freya and Sophia." He nodded, feeling extremely conflicted.
He'd always thought that Morgause had left and forgotten about them.
He never would have expected that she had told her new husband about them.
"I----she only told me after the wedding." Arthur ran a hand over his hair, stepping back, all hostility gone in a flash. "About the children. I wanted a child, and she'd said no, she'd already had two and wasn't planning on making that mistake twice." He chuckled darkly, shaking his head. "She was incredibly pissed off when she found out she was pregnant with Mordred."
Merlin flinched and looked away, amazed how Morgause was able to wound them even now.
"I----." Arthur fell into silence, seeming not to know what to say.
"I only realized who Mordred was when you showed up on my doorstep." Merlin felt the need to tell him.
"Would you have saved him if you'd known?" Arthur asked oddly.
"What sort of people are you used to being around?" Merlin asked, a little worried. "Who would have allowed that boy to get hurt just because his father didn't care of the woman he was sleeping with was married or not?"
Arthur flinched, looking away. "I didn't know that she was married until after we were living together. And I only found out because I accidentally overheard her talking to a lawyer about the divorce."
Merlin shrugged, folding his arms over his chest. "What's done is done. You probably did us a favor anyway. The girls...they're fine."
Arthur nodded silently, looking a little frustrated and uncomfortable. "I should get him home."
"Stay the night." The words were out before he could take them back.
There was silence.
Merlin looked away, feeling incredibly awkward. "That bed is big enough for two, and he's had a terrible day, his rest shouldn't be interrupted. You don't look good either. I don't want to turn on the news and see that you got into an accident on the way to wherever it is you live. Also, our children are half-siblings...they deserve to know this, and they should have a relationship. It's only right. So...spend the night, and we'll talk about everything in the morning once everyone is rested and has had breakfast."
Arthur looked at him, frowning, before shaking his head and smiling slightly. "You really have no idea who I am, huh?"
"Should I?" Merlin frowned, looking Arthur up and down. "What are you? Some sort of rockstar?"
Arthur snorted in laughter. "Yes, of course Merlin, I'm Robbie Williams."
"Who?" Merlin frowned, wondering if he was serious and if that was his stage name.
"Good God man!" Arthur continued to laugh, running a hand over his hair. "What century do you live
"I'm sorry." Merlin raised an eyebrow, intrigued by this man who changed his emotions like one would socks. "I have two nine year old daughters, I'm afraid my music selection has been restricted to bands like the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana---and sometimes even a little Justin Timberlake if the girls are feeling particularly mature."
Arthur flinched. "I feel for you, mate."
He was a little confused.
He should feel anger, resentment...something along those lines towards the man who'd taken his wife from him...but after seeing him looking down at his son, Merlin didn't think he could muster those feelings if he tried.
And anyway, that had happened many years ago.
Maybe this was proof that Merlin was more mature than he'd previously thought.
"I'll get my luggage from the car." Arthur announced finally, walking past Merlin to the door, stopping as his hand reached for the handle, his back to the thinner man. "Thank you, Merlin."
And with that he hurried out.
Merlin watched him go silently.
Tossing and turning that night in bed, Merlin sighed and looked up at his ceiling. It'd been such an eventful day.
He'd done so well not thinking about his ex all of these years, putting her out of his mind, even though Sophia was growing up to look more and more like her mother.
Now this situation had brought Morgause back into his mind painfully.
Where was she now?
Was she alive?
Was she dead?
Had she divorced Pendragon?
Even though she didn't care for it, she was the mother of his daughters, and for their sake he hoped that Morgause was alive and well, wherever she was...and that she wasn't mothering any more apparently unwanted children.Mistake
He closed his eyes tightly.
How could Morgause have ever called their children that?
Merlin thanked all holy every single day for the blessing that was his daughters.
He loved and cherished them.
They were his life.
The door creaked open.
He turned at the sound, smiling when he saw Freya clutching her pink bear to her heart. "Hey honey. Did you have a bad dream again?"
Freya nodded, eyes wide and teary, bottom lip poked out. "Can I sleep here tonight daddy?"
He outstretched his arms and the child ran to the bed, throwing herself onto it and into his arms. He embraced her, reassuring her wordlessly, letting her know that he wouldn't let anything happen to her. "You wanna talk about it? You know your aunt Morgana said that that helps."
Thank the gods for Morgana.
Morgause hadn't had the gift, but it was in their family, according to Morgana. One girl in each generation of the family had the Sight, and since Morgana had been the one in her generation to be given the gift, she was able to understand the terrible nightmares Freya sometimes had, and counsel Merlin on how to be a better support for the younger of the twins.
"A plane is going to crash soon. It's getting caught in an unexpected storm." Freya whispered into his chest, holding onto his shirt tightly. "There are children on that plane. They won't survive the fall."
"I'm sorry you have to see that, baby." Merlin pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "You shouldn't have to, especially not this young."
"It's okay, papa." She whispered, sniffling. "I'm strong."
"I know honey, I know that." He closed his eyes, holding her close as she cried softly, staying awake until she was finally lulled into sleep.
Merlin felt so helpless.
Ever since she was five Freya had started manifesting the Sight, and every single time she woke up screaming and crying he felt so useless. He couldn't stop the visions, couldn't give her a normal childhood. It killed him to admit that. He wanted the best for his daughters, and one of them was suffering and he couldn't do anything to stop it, not with all the magic in his body.
Freya murmured something in her sleep and turned so that she was giving him her back, bringing her thumb to her mouth.
A noise sounded in the kitchen.
Frowning, Merlin slowly eased off of the bed as not to wake up his daughter and escaped the room. He walked the darkened hallway, following the noise only to pause when he saw who was raiding his fridge. "What are you doing awake?"
Morgana, dressed in nothing but her underwear and a camisole, straightened and turned to look at him, a rice pudding snack in her hand as she closed the fridge door, bathing the kitchen in darkness once more. "Couldn't sleep."
"Airplane crash?" He asked curiously, going to sit on a stool by the counter.
She sighed, ducking her gaze. "Freya?"
"That was a nasty one to have to See." Flicking a long curl over her shoulder, Morgana went to get a spoon before sitting next to him, opening the snack and trying a spoonful. "Lots of children are on the flight." She paused, looking at the spoon. "Should be crashing as we speak."
Merlin reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder. "It kills me, you know. You two having to see those things."
"You're such a sweetie, Merlin." Morgana smiled at him gratefully, leaning forwards and pressing a sisterly kiss to his cheek. "I learnt to deal with what I can't help change, and Freya will learn to deal with it as well. I know its made her mature faster than she should have--but she's very strong. If there's anyone out there who can learn to master this and live with it, it's her, so don't worry."
He nodded, dropping his hand from her shoulder and leaning forwards on the counter. "I've totally failed them."
Morgana looked at him through her bangs. "How could you have ever
failed those girls?"
"I wanted to give them a normal childhood, I even stopped using my magic to try and give it to them." Merlin pressed his forehead against the cool of the counter's surface. "But Freya inherited the Sight, and Sophia---."
"Stop right there. You've been the best father that anyone could ask for!" Morgana snapped, glaring at him. "Do you think my
father let me climb into bed with him when I had nightmares? No. He told me that I had to learn to deal with them! Those girls are special, and most importantly Merlin, they're happy
. They adore you and know you adore them, they're secure in that knowledge, that you would die for them...you're giving them the best childhood they could have hoped for." She lowered her gaze. "You're giving them the childhood Morgause and I should
have had. So...so be proud. Because I
He turned and looked at her, smiling thankfully. "You're getting soft on me, 'Gana?"
"Oh shut up." She grumbled, stuffing a spoonful of pudding in her mouth.
He continued smiling at her before leaning his forehead back against the counter. "How do you think the girls are going to react when I tell them tomorrow about Mordred?"
Morgana sighed. "I don't know how I
am reacting. I mean, how could I not See that I had a nephew out there somewhere or that he would be in danger? Why could I not See something so important?"
There was no answer to that.
She leaned back, though not far enough to fall off of the stool. "The father, he's cute." She sent Merlin a look. "But Gwen and I both agree that if either of us had been with you we would never have left you for him."
He chuckled, shaking his head. "Thanks 'Gana, makes a man feel good. Even if its coming from his sister and her girlfriend."
"I resent that." Morgana pouted. "I'm your sister too."
Tenderness entered him at that.
She really was.
"Yeah, you are." He nudged her shoulder with his.
She pinched him.
"Crybaby." She scoffed victoriously, concentrating on her snack once more.
They sat in companionable silence until the snack was done, and then they went back to their rooms, and finally managed to find rest.
A scream pierced the night.
Merlin shot up in the bed, immediately turning towards Freya, but the girl was sleeping peacefully by his side.
His gaze went to the clock, which read 4:00 AM.
Frowning he slid out of bed, listening, hearing whimpers and a worried voice.
It was coming from the second guest room.
Hurrying towards it he waited at the door before entering at the sound of cries and whimpers.
Arthur looked up, eyes wide and face a mixture of confusion and worry. "He woke up screaming and then..."
Merlin turned to Mordred, who was in the corner of the room, hugging his knees to his chest, crying.
Every single mirror in the room was broken.
Arthur stood over him, looking desperate and confused.
A moment's suspicion filled Merlin before he surged forwards and knelt down in front of him. "Mordred?"
He looked up at Merlin, eyes vacant though dashing around rapidly, as if seeing something happening in front of him that was completely different from what really was.
"Mordred?" Merlin whispered, placing his hand on the boy's shoulder.
And then Mordred screamed.
The windows began to tremble, small spiderweb cracks appearing on the glass.
"What's happening?" Arthur looked around him, eyes wide.
Merlin pulled Mordred into his arms, eyes flashing gold as their magic collided, and Merlin used his, feeling the magic surrounding the boy.
Energy crackled around them, strong, angry and violent.
"Get Morgana!" His voice was strained.
"Why? What in god's name is---?"
!" Merlin snapped, holding onto Mordred tightly as Arthur did as told.
He closed his eyes tightly, and prayed to all holy that Morgana got here before the curse took full effect on the child and it was too late.