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.
"No, no." Arthur shook his head tie loosened and hanging crookedly around his neck, the first couple of buttons open, revealing hints of golden chest hair that secretly fascinated the hairless-like-a-baby Merlin. "If you want to get back at the bully, the subtle art is much more effective than just going up to him and punching him."
Sophia made a face. "But I really
wanna punch him."
"Think of it this way, go straight in and get your moment's satisfaction with months worth of consequences, or wait a while and get months worth of satisfaction." Arthur coaxed.
Merlin was trying to concentrate on Freya's homework as he helped the tiny brunette, but parts of what Arthur was telling Sophia and Mordred was beginning to filter in.
"Honestly." Sophia announced. "What could be more satisfying than to see him cry like a little bi---?"
"Sophia Sidhe Emrys!" Merlin snapped at her.
She winced. "Baby?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"Papa, I was going to say little bitty baby." Sophia assured, smiling so innocently a halo could have been hovering over her red locks.
Not even Freya looked convinced by the act, though.
"How about getting him expelled?" Mordred asked simply, looking a little bored with the conversation, laying his head against the surface of the table.
"Could I get him expelled?!?" Sophia looked utter elated at the thought.
"Course!" Arthur smirked. "And if you do exactly as I say and---."
"Arthur." Merlin growled, giving up on Freya's homework for the time being. "What exactly are you teaching my daughter?"
"Something I should be ashamed for ever suggesting?" Arthur sounded like he was asking if that was the answer Merlin wanted to hear.
Merlin glared at him.
Arthur began to look a little nervous. "Merlin, I was joking. You know I was."
"He wasn't joking." Mordred informed bluntly. "He helped me get the guy bullying me expelled."
"Not. Helping." Arthur glared at his son with no heat.
Mordred just grinned slightly evilly.
"Merlin, are you sure it's okay for you to drive me to the airport tomorrow morning?" Arthur asked, changing the subject in a completely obvious way. "I could always get the driver to come and pick me up, you know."
"The kids want to see you off, and it's a saturday anyway, its not like they're going to be late for school." Merlin shrugged, accepting the change of topic because he knew that Arthur was going to weasel him out of his bad humor anyway. The prat had a super power that kept Merlin from being angry or offended by him for very long. It was quite unfair. "Anyway, it's not going to be a problem anyway. And its got to be...I don't know...lonely to look back just as you're about to board and not see anyone there waving you goodbye."
Arthur was looking at him in that odd way again, that way that made Merlin somewhat uncomfortable. "You are such a girl, Merlin."
Merlin chuckled, shaking his head, the unease leaving. "And you're such an utter prat."
Arthur smiled brightly at him before reaching over and ruffling Mordred's hair. "Going to miss me?"
Mordred snorted and rolled his eyes.
Arthur chuckled, turning to smile at Merlin. "I feel the love."
"How long are you going to be gone for, A-Arthur?" Freya still stammered every single time she had to call Arthur by his name. The child obviously felt more comfortable by calling him Mister P...but Arthur had felt it sounded far to much like urine for his tastes, and had insisted and insisted until he'd won the shy kid to his side.
"Not long, maybe two weeks." Arthur replied.
Freya pouted. "But you told me you'd take me horseback riding! You promised!"
Merlin raised an eyebrow. When had Arthur promised her that?
"And I will, princess," Arthur smiled at her, leaning over the table to tap her on her small, upturned nose. "Just as soon as I come back, I promise. I'll make you ride the prettiest pony in the world."
"With a blonde mane with ribbons on it?" Freya grinned.
"'Course." Arthur captured her nose in between two of his curled fingers and gave it a soft shake. "Pendragons never go back on their word, Princess Frey. So don't worry, deal?"
"Deal." Freya giggled, pulling her nose from his soft grip, grinning brightly before sticking her tongue out at her twin. "Hear that Soph? I'm the princess."
Sophia shrugged, not seeming much bothered by that. "You can be the princess. Auntie Morgana assured me that the wicked witches have more fun anyway."
"Oh boy." Merlin slumped in his seat.
Sophia pouted, pursing her lips. "You know, as thrilling as this conversation is not, I have a valid life or death situation, which everyone could show a little more pity about."
"Right." Merlin nodded, trying to hide the smile on his face. "The Terrible Case of the Boy Who Had A Crush On Sophia Emrys. Horrid, truly. Shouldn't be told before bedtime."
Sophia's mouth fell open, her expression outraged. "Leon Knight does not have a crush on me! He's icky!"
"He's not." Freya pouted at her sister. "He's cute."
"He has braces." Sophia eyed her sister with a disbelieving look.
"It just means his teeth are going to be nicer than yours when we're teenagers." Freya defended.
Sophia narrowed her eyes. "His glasses are so thick they make his eyes look like bugs eyes."
"Contacts." Freya answered easily.
"He's a geek!" Sophia cried out, starting to look horrified.
"He's awkward, there's a difference." Freya folded her arms over her chest.
"He--he--his head barely reaches my shoulders!" Sophia leaned over the table, hands palm down on the surface.
"His whole family are giants. And his elder brother Percy was short too until he turned thirteen and now he's nearly seven feet all." Freya smirked, clearly winning this and enjoying it.
"Wait a moment." Arthur frowned, turning to Sophia. "A braces wearing, bug-glasses wearing nerd
reaches your shoulder is this big 'bully' you've been complaining about?"
Sophia turned to him, mouth opening and closing wordlessly.
"Bad form, Soph." Arthur snorted, shaking his head. "Utterly bad form!"
Pouting, the redhead sat back down and folded her arms over her chest sulkily. "Whatever happened to family solidarity? I come home, to my family, and what do I find? Traitors! Sympathizers of the Dark Side. Leon has you all under his evil spell! I'll punch him for sure when I get to school tomorrow!"
"You're going to make him cry again." Freya pouted. "You always make him cry and then I
have to be the one to listen to him wail about how mean you are!"
"He should man up a bit, and stop being such a whimp." Sophia pouted. "I swear, he's frailer than a puppy physically, but he's an emotional puppy! He's constantly using psychology to get into people's minds and twist them into babying him and he gets away with murder!" She was getting red in the face, the small freckles on her nose bridge standing out more. "Everyone's all 'Poor Leon, Sophia's being mean to him' or 'Poor Leon, he's so sweet, why does he let Sophia boss him around?' or 'Sophia, stop trying to force poor Leon to eat his crayons'! Today it even happened! I was innocently just minding my own business when the teacher came up to me and said: 'Sophia! Poor Leon's crying and you need to go an apologize to him!'. I didn't do anything to him!"
"Other than spilling paint down his trousers." Freya mumbled.
"I tripped and it spilled!" Sophia was quick to defend. "That was not intentional!"
"And you made him give you all of the meat in his sandwich and switch it with your vegetables." Freya reminded.
Sophia pouted. "I was looking out for his own good. Vegetables are healthy you know. Gees. Do a good deed and you get crucified!"
"You also told him when he got older he'd grow boobs and start bleeding from his penis once a month." Freya announced pointblank.
!!" Merlin gasped, horrified.
The redhead winced and slid a little lower in her seat, refusing to meet anyone's gaze. "He didn't actually have to believe
me. I mean, everyone
knows that boys only get hairier down there. Not that that's fair
"That's it!" Merlin brought his hand to his face. "I should never
have let Morgana have The Talk with you two when you started asking questions!"
"Why?" Freya asked curiously. "Auntie Morgana was most informative. There was a slide show and everything."
." Merlin bemoaned. "You're way too young to be discussing things like menstruation and males...things...and sex so flippantly!" He turned to Arthur for support but realized that the blonde was just barely keeping from laughing.
He was seriously no help whatsoever.
"Okay you three." Merlin sighed. "Go and bathe and get ready to go to bed. We all have to get up early to take Arthur to the airport."
Sophia pouted as she stormed away, mumbling about betrayal and mutiny. Freya and Mordred rolled their eyes as they followed.
Only after they were gone did Arthur burst into laughter. "Priceless!"
"Stop enjoying this so much." Merlin whined, leaning back against his seat.
"But they're just priceless! Like a comic duo!" Arthur chuckled, wiping at his eyes. "Freya with her no-nonse yet utter sweetness, and Sophia with her unrepentant attitude and utter sauciness...!" He began to laugh a little harder once more. "You should have seen your face when Freya said penis! It was so funny!"
Merlin would have pouted if he were less mature. "Stop it. It was scarring."
Arthur just continued to laugh.
Merlin rolled his eyes at the prat, waiting for him to calm down.
When it didn't seem like that was about to happen any time soon, Merlin shrugged it off and asked a question that'd been intriguing him for a while now. "Have you ever thought of marrying again?"
All laughter halted.
Arthur frowned slightly, giving Merlin a curious look. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, I've wondered about it sometimes, you know, giving my girls a mother." Merlin admitted. "I know that they have all the motherly love Gwen and Morgana have to offer, but it's different when it come from a parents, isn't it? And I know you don't actually have to be related to that person to feel parental bonds---Gwen and I were raised by people who weren't our birth parents but whom we love as if they were."
"I remember you telling me that." Arthur nodded, leaning back in his seat. "And to be perfectly honest, I have thought about getting married and giving Mordred a mother. I know you don't like people badmouthing the mother of your daughters, but she's also the mother of my son so that rule doesn't apply to me. Morgause was a shitty mother, who left just as soon as she'd given birth. She took the money I promised her in exchange for not aborting our son when she found out she was pregnant, and then disappeared until I got her divorce request and happily gave it to her." He sighed, taking in a deep breath. "I'm a little worried about making another horrendous judgement of character, but I also think like you do. Not only is the thought of Morgana mothering my child somewhat scary, but I'd like to give Mordred a mother, a real mother."
"Do you have anyone in mind?" Merlin asked, leaning forwards, curious.
"No, not really. The type of women I meet aren't exactly motherly material." Arthur made a face. "Then again, there is one woman...her name's Vivian. She's very sweet, and according to her she's always wanted kids yet never found the right person to have them with." The blonde sighed. "And she's...pretty. Very pretty."
"What's the problem?" Merlin frowned, knowing there was one in there somewhere.
"She looks...like Morgause." Arthur admitted. "So it's a total turn off. Whenever I see someone who reminds me of that woman I just want to wring their necks. It's turned me off of blondes completely. I can't even be moderately attracted to a blonde anymore. It's like I can only be attracted to the complete opposite of Morgause. Dark hair, with light colored eyes."
Merlin pursed his lips, surprised to the degree that Morgause had scarred Arthur. "I don't really have that problem myself." He admitted. "I quite like blondes still. Blondes are actually my type. Always have--always will be."
"Should I be worried?" Arthur teased.
Merlin burst out into laughter. "Don't know." He teased back, amused. "You're actually very much my type." He pretended to be heartbroken. "Too bad you're the wrong model."
Arthur snorted. "I could turn you."
"Course you could." Merlin nodded.
There was silence before they burst out into laughter once more.
It was amazing that he actually got along with the prat.
"You know..." Arthur eyed Merlin with a raised eyebrow. "It would have been convenient
if you were a woman."
"Excuse me?" Merlin gasped. "How would that
have been convenient?!?"
"Well, I could marry you." Arthur pointed out as if this was obvious. "I would adopt your girls, I mean, they're basically my family anyway. And you would have been the perfect mother for Mordred. Of course, I'd have to overlook your anorexic body and your inhuman ears---but your cheekbones make up for them."
Merlin felt a little like blushing, so it just added to the glare on his face. "So
not funny anymore."
"I know, its a little depressing." Arthur frowned. "I mean, everything would have been so much nicer if you were a girl. I'd marry you on the spot! Even if you were
an ugly girl."
Merlin continued to glare. "And why would I be the girl of the relationship? You're the pretty one here."
Arthur's mouth widened in horror. "Did you just call me pretty?!?"
"And your mouth. It clearly is a girl's mouth."
"Is not!" Arthur exclaimed. "I'll have you know this is a very
"S'not." Merlin disagreed. "Very feminine."
"Well obviously, Merlin, you're eyesight is as poor as your fashion style!" Arthur growled. "Lemme give you a closer look you blind bat!" Leaning over the table he reached for Merlin with reflexes of a cheetah reached his hand out and cupped the back of Merlin's head, pulling him forwards so that their faces were disturbingly close. "Take a good look, Emrys, at what a truly manly mouth looks like."
Merlin gulped, eyes drawn to those lips as they moved with every word.
It disturbed him, because being this close made Merlin realize that Arthur's lips were kinda pretty...in a purely lip way of course.
He cleared his throat. "Sorry. They still look feminine to me."
"Idiot." Arthur mumbled, letting go, his fingers threading through Merlin's hair as he did so leaning back in his seat. Still, he was smiling and shaking his head at Merlin.
"Prat." Merlin muttered, just to try and make this weird vibe go away and return things to normal between them.
Arthur grinned brightly. "Girl."
"Don't make me turn you into one." Merlin grinned back.
Arthur blinked, looking fascinated. "Can you? Do that I mean? Change someone's sex?"
like to know?" Merlin replied saucily with a wink, channeling his inner Sophia, as he got up. "C'mon, we gotta tuck in the kids."
"Honshu, Japan?" Merlin blinked in surprised when he finally discovered Arthur's destination at the airport the next morning. "Do you even know
" Arthur grinned cheekily, holding Freya up in his arms, resting her weight on his hip.
"You just insulted me, didn't you?" Merlin narrowed his eyes suspiciously at him.
like to know?" Arthur threw back at him.
Sophia and Mordred pulled Arthur's suitcase behind them, sharing a grip on the handle.
"It's going to be boarding time any minute now." Mordred informed his father. "You should probably get a move on it."
Arthur smirked down at his son. "Please, control your emotional outbursts Mordred, they're embarrassing."
Mordred rolled his eyes, but was grinning. "You're such a dork, dad."
"And that's how I know he loves me." Arthur told Merlin, deadpanned. He then grinned brightly when Freya pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thanks sweetie, I'm going to miss your kisses."
She pressed another one to his cheek. "Come back soon."
"My turn! Stop hogging him!" Sophia stomped her foot.
Arthur chuckled as he lowered Freya down and pulled the feisty redhead into a hug, smiling at Merlin as Sophia pressed a kiss to his cheek. "See Merlin? All the women love me. I'd definitely be the man."
Merlin rolled his eyes, though couldn't hide his amusement from his face.
Sophia pulled away and joined Freya at their father's side, leaving Mordred and Arthur looking at each other.
Mordred stood the suitcase up and twisted his mouth slightly. "I'm not kissing you."
Merlin couldn't keep back the snort/chuckle that erupted from him at that.
"How about a hug then?" Arthur asked his son. "That's more manly."
Mordred thought it over before nodding. "Okay."
Hugging his son, Arthur held on tight. "Take care of Merlin, Soph and Frey while I'm gone, okay? Since Merlin's a big girl you'll be the male of the house."
!" Merlin cried out.
Mordred chuckled and tightened his hold on his father. "Only until you come back."
Pulling back and pressing a kiss to the top of his son's head, Arthur chuckled. "I can agree to those terms." Ruffling his son's hair, Arthur hesitated, eyeing Merlin curiously. "Do we hug?"
Merlin made a face. "We're too manly, I believe." He then gave a little shriek as two sets of hands pushed him forwards and he fell into Arthur's chest. "Then again I could
"Merlin, if you wanted a hug, you could of just asked, not thrown yourself at me." Arthur's arms went around Merlin in a hug. "Bloody hell, Mer, you really are anorexic!"
Merlin pushed away, glaring at the blonde. "Aren't you supposed to be gone by now?"
Arthur smirked, looking utterly smug and content with having irritated Merlin one last time before leaving, and then headed towards the boarding entrance, pulling his suitcase behind him. The blonde moved fluidly, passing his boarding pass to the attendant, and after getting a half of it back, he hesitated a second before continuing on, turning and just looking at the four of them.
The girls waved furiously.
Merlin placed a hand around Mordred's shoulders and the boy leaned against him, both smiling at Arthur as Merlin gave a half wave.
Arthur smiled brightly at them and then winked before turning and boarding.
Merlin, Sophia, Freya and Mordred stayed at the airport and watched the airplane took off, waiting until it was a dot in the sky before turning and leaving.
"I think we should see dad off more often." Mordred announced as they made their way to the car, his hand finding Merlin's and tightening as the girls talked up ahead. "I liked it."
Merlin squeezed Mordred's hand. "I think your dad liked it too."
Mordred smiled up at him before clearing his throat and looking down at his feet. "I never seen him smile like that before."
There was no more talking after that.