Title: Ties That Bind
Fandom: Merlin (bbc)
Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin.
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.
To say that the next few hours had been uncomfortable was an understatement.
Everyone had been tense.
Especially the children.
Merlin didn't know what to do.
Mordred was ignoring Morgause just as much as she was ignoring him.
Sophia had gone the extra mile by completely ignoring any attempt Morgause made to speak to her or get her attention. The redhead wouldn't react to any of her attempts, not even to summon a glare.
...Freya was the one who surprised Merlin.
Whenever Morgause tried to 'connect' with her daughter, talk to her, or even looked in her direction, Freya gave her a glare that threatened to wither her right then and there. There was such anger and hated in his daughter's eyes that it scared Merlin. He'd never seen such utter loathing in anyone's eyes before.
Especially not in his dear, sweet, loving Frey's eyes.
Morgause didn't seem shocked or saddened.
If anything she looked intrigued.
After dinner everyone congregated around the living room, Sophia and Mordred playing video games, while Freya climbed onto Arthur's lap and curled up into him, glaring at Morgause as the adults spoke.
Arthur smiled down tenderly at Freya, arms wrapped around her as she slowly fell asleep against him, her small fist tightly clasping a bit of his shirt, as if scared he'd leave.
Merlin couldn't keep the heart-warmed smile off of his face as he watched Freya sleeping in Arthur's arms and Arthur running his fingers through her hair soothingly.
Arthur loved Mordred and Sophia, but he'd always had an extremely close bond with Freya.
It was just so amazing to believe that that prat who'd stormed into Merlin's home that night was the same man holding his child so tenderly, and smiling up at Merlin as if the world was perfect.
Despite all the shit they found themselves in right now.
Uther had called earlier and told them that he believed they should all move to some secret base for their protection, and then Arthur had told him about Morgause and...well...Uther might have fainted because his line had clicked off.
Merlin rested his arm around the back of the loveseat he was sharing with Arthur and Freya, his fingers softly treading their way through that golden silk Arthur called hair.
Arthur hummed in contentment, eyelashes brushing his cheeks as his eyes closed and he leaned harder into the touch.
Arthur was a glutton when it came to being touched by Merlin.
"Well, aren't you two the picture of marital bliss." Morgause sneered around her cup of tea as she eyed them. "The honeymoon period doesn't last long though, as I'm sure you both know."
"Lay off, Morgause." Morgana frowned.
Gwen just sipped her own tea nervously, watching the players in this game.
It was obvious that she wanted to give Mogause a piece of her mind, but was keeping back, her sweet nature winning the battle.
"You sure that it wasn't just you who soured the deal?" Arthur asked snidely.
Morgause's eyes narrowed. "You didn't seem to think so when you were begging me to stay."
Arthur's eyes flashed with fury but his voice was even. "I was going through a masochistic phase."
Merlin sighed as he looked between Arthur and his ex-wife.
"Look, this isn't constructive, okay?" Merlin stepped in, trying to defuse this situation before it worse. "What we really need to be doing is concentrating on what to do to make sure that Sigan doesn't get to Morgause or the baby...or us."
"Maybe your father can hide her in the base somewhere." Morgana turned to Arthur.
"I'm sure they have dungeons somewhere." Arthur mumbled.
The glare Morgause could have killed Arthur if it wasn't for the fact that she didn't have any magical abilities.
Merlin tugged on Arthur's ear playfully.
Arthur sent Merlin a devilish grin, not at all repentant.
"How did you get in a relationship with Sigan in the first place?" Morgana wanted to know. "And do you not know of a little something called birth control?"
"I met him after I left Arthur. I was staying for a month in Malta and he was there and swept me off my feet. I didn't find out about his magic until later, and by then it was too late." Morgause replied with a frown on her face. "And for your information, I was taking birth control. I think he used magic to make sure I got pregnant."
Morgana and Gwen exchanged worried looks at that.
So did Arthur and Merlin.
"I'm going to double the magical protection over the house." Merlin sighed, standing and giving Morgana, his partner in the spell, a look. "Everyone should just have an early night of it."
"Right." Morgana stood, nodding. "Tomorrow we can approach everything with fresh minds."
Gwen reached up and squeezed Morgana's hand.
The dark haired beauty looked down at her girlfriend and smiled before going off with Merlin to strengthen the spell protecting the house.
Arthur watched Merlin and Morgana disappear into the study, to strengthen the spell they had weaved together before to protect the house and those inside-not trusting the other spells and such that Uther's organization had placed on the building. And Arthur had to admit that he felt better knowing that Merlin's magic was protecting them, because Merlin was incredibly protective, especially of the children, and Arthur knew that his boyfriend wouldn't let anything happen to them.
Gwen stood, coming to Arthur. "I'll put the kids to bed."
Arthur hesitated, not really wanting to let Frey go, but relinquishing the sleeping girl to Gwen with a sheepish smile.
Gwen grinned at him, understanding, before shifting the weight of the light girl and going to where Sophia and Mordred were, ushering them to their bedrooms.
Arthur and Merlin would go kiss them goodnight in a bit.
Arthur's gaze went to the closed door to the study.
"Doesn't it make you feel left out?" Morgause asked curiously, eyebrow raised. "Merlin and Morgana are so much better suited for each other. They are both beautiful, have similar colorings, and people wouldn't treat them weird if they became a family." The blonde took a sip of her tea. "And, of course, they share something you can never share with him. Magic."
"Is that why you left him? Because you were jealous of his relationship with your sister? Resentful that she had the magic while you had nothing?" Arthur asked, eyebrow raised. "Or were you just scared that he'd figure out she was the better sister?"
Morgause's eyes flashed with anger as she slammed down her teacup. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"Didn't you realize she was gay?" Arthur sneered, leaning back against his seat. "And most of all, that cheating is just not a part of Merlin's way of thinking? It would never cross his mind to leave you for your sister. He loves her like a sister."
"Listen to me, Arthur Pendragon. I know Merlin a lot better than you ever will." Morgause hissed. "Getting pregnant for Merlin was not a mistake. Marrying him was not a mistake. You and Mordred? You were the mistake."
Arthur slammed his fists down on the coffee table. "I don't give a shit what you say about me, but you leave Mordred out of this!"
"I plan on." Morgause sneered. "You and Mordred, you don't belong here."
"Considering you left Merlin and the girls, I think you don't have any right to say who belongs here or not." Arthur replied darkly.
"I was young, capricious." Morgause replied. "Merlin is very forgiving."
Arthur felt the growl reverberate in his chest. "You don't really think you can get back with him."
"Oh, I know I can." Morgause grinned with a self-assurance that left him wary. "I'm his first love, I'm the mother of his children, sister of his best friend. I made a mistake, and I plan on correcting that. Whether they like it or not, I belong here, with them. You and Mordred don't. You're nothing but Merlin's rebound."
Arthur shook his head. "That's just plain stupid of you, Morgause. What Merlin and I have is new, but I'm not going to doubt what we have just because you're trying to screw with my head."
"The girls love you, it's obvious." Morgause announced coolly. "But after they've gotten over their hurt for me leaving, when they realize I don't plan on going this time, they're going to open up to me. You might be the father of their half brother, but I'm their mother." The blonde pulled a curl behind her ear. "And there comes a time in every little girl's life where she needs her mommy." She chuckled. "And now that he knows I'm pregnant for that asshole Sigan, Merlin's protectiveness is going to win out. He's not going to throw me out into the elements, because I'm Morgana's sister and the girls' mother."
Arthur hated it because he knew that she was right in the last part about Merlin's kind heart.
"And it might be a little rough winning everyone over again, but believe me, it's very possible." Morgause grinned. "Just watch and see, Arthur. You and Mordred don't belong here. You never did. And deep down inside you know it. That's why you've held onto him and this family so tightly."
"Screw you." Arthur hissed.
"You already did." Morgause sneered.
The study's door opened, and Merlin and Morgana returned, smiling at each other, a little giddy, as they always were when they used more magic than usual.
Arthur called it getting 'stoned', because they always seemed slightly high.
Merlin smiled at Arthur, the expression genuine and open, as he reached him. The lanky man reached behind to cup the back of Arthur's head, fingers sliding through his hair, before bringing him up to meet his kiss.
It was sloppy and uncoordinated and everything Arthur needed right then.
The blonde reached up and cupped Merlin's cheek, slowing down the kiss and deepening it.
Merlin groaned and reached out with his other hand, grabbing the front of Arthur's shirt and pulling him up so that he was standing.
Arthur chuckled into the kiss, pulling away to smirk at a glaring Morgause, loving how high and horny Merlin got after doing a spell of some strength. He then saluted a darkly amused Morgana, and pulled Merlin towards their bedroom.
Daddy and Papa were completely tangled in each other as they snored.
Freya stood by the doorway and looked in on them, smiling softly before sighing and looking behind her as she left, following the darkness out to the living room, to the sliding doors, to where she could see her mother outside, whispering into her cellular. The child watched her, feeling contempt in every pore of her body, and she stayed there glaring at her until the woman finished her conversation and turned to sneak back into the house, stopping when she realized she was being watched.
The blonde hesitated before forming a smile with her lips and entering the house once more. "Hey honey. Bad dreams?"
"Let's get something straight." Freya glared, finally able to say to the woman what she'd been dying to all day. "Your bullshit doesn't work with me. I know why you're really here."
Morgause's smile slipped slightly, but she fought for it. "I don't know what you're saying. And really, you shouldn't be using that language. Arthur must have taught that word to you. I'll have to talk to Merlin about this."
"I know you're not here because you're scared and running from Sigan. I know you were never in a relationship with Sigan. And I know
you're not pregnant." Freya replied, eyes still steely. "So, as I said, stop the bullshit with me."
And Morgause's mask fell, expression utterly shocked. "How can you know this? Sigan said that he blinded all the Seers!"
"Obviously he didn't blind every Seer." Freya folded her arms over her chest. "Or maybe he's not as strong as he thinks he is."
Morgause just continued to look at her in shock, before she schooled her expression neutral. "If you know all this, you know why I'm really here."
"Yes, I do."
"Then why haven't you told your father?" Morgause's eyes narrowed.
"Because I've Seen every other scenario and this is the only one in which Daddy doesn't die." Freya whispered, shaking slightly.
Morgause frowned darkly. "No one wants Merlin to die."
"I didn't say Papa. I said Daddy." Freya snapped. "And if I tell anyone, if I try to stop you in any way, he dies. In every other possible scenario he dies." Her eyes narrowed. "So while I'd like nothing more than see your arse thrown onto the street, I can't do anything."
Morgause looked down at her, smirking. "Then I guess this is our first mother-daughter secret."
"Go screw yourself you bitch." Freya whispered, turning and storming away.
Morgause's chuckles followed her all the way back to her bedroom.