“Arfur. Arfur, I can never hold a baby!” Arthur Pendragon looked curiously down at his lightweight boyfriend.
“You can never hold a baby?”
“Never!” Blinking at the forceful tone Merlin used, Arthur decided not to ask. Merlin had never been very coherent when drunk, and he was sloshed out of his mind right now. Hey, it was Friday, don't judge. Merlin stared at him, pouting.
“Don't you wanna know why I can't never hold a baby?”
“That's a double negative, Merlin. Really, your grammar is bad enough when sober, but it's completely gone when you're drunk.”
“Grammar Nazi.” Merlin scowled, “Anyways, I can't hold a baby. You can never let me hold a baby. Not ever.” He fixed his unblinking gaze on Arthur, who knew Merlin wouldn't stop until he asked. Sighing, he turned.
“And why, may I ask, can you never hold a baby?”
“I – I have this thing. I just think, what if I'm holdin' the baby, 'n I drop it?” That... wasn't what Arthur was expecting. “I mean, I saw this thing on facebook, an it was this guy holdin' a baby, an he almost dropped it, but he caught it. But you always say I'm so clumsy I'd drop off the earth if I weren't gravity-ed to it. So, I'd never catch it. And it would hit it's head, and get brain damage, and only ever be able to say is: 'Oh shit, I dropped the fucking baby!'. And then whoever owned the baby would hate me, and my friends would hate me, and I'd be hunted down by everyone who ever wants a kid ever, cos I dropped the fucking baby.”
Merlin seemed to be getting quite upset by this, Arthur noted.
“Well that won't work. What about when we have a kid. You'll need to hold a baby then, won't you?”
Merlin rolled his eyes. “I know you say I'm a girl Arthur, but I can't really give birth you know.”
“You know that's not what I meant, Luv.”
“Also, we failed at looking after a cactus. Babies are way way way in the future.”
“So don't worry about it. Till we have kids, I won't let you hold a baby, deal?”
“Deal.” Smiling, Arthur turned back to the TV. He liked this episode of Sherlock. The Hounds of Baskerville had always been his favourite book. Sadly, drunk Merlin was a horny Merlin, and Arthur spent the rest of the evening fighting him off.
#### 5 years, 3 months, 4 weddings, and one baby later ####
Merlin had successfully avoided holding Gwen and Lance's baby for the four months since it had been evicted from Gwen's unmentionables. And, if he was correct, no one had noticed.
It wasn't that he didn't like the kid. It had to be the cutest little baby girl on the planet, her tiny hands and gummy smile brought happiness and laughter wherever she went. But Merlin had never been able to shake the image of her tiny body plummeting towards the ground. The horrified expressions on his friends faces as they stared at him, on Arthur's. He just... couldn't do it. But, if things kept going the way they were, he needn't worry. Lynette would soon be too big to carry round, and Merlin would escape without breaking her. It was a flawless plan.
Except, Morgana was far more astute than Merlin gave her credit. She had spotted his baby evasion, and was planning on putting an end to it.
“Gwen, may I?” Gwen handed her Lynette without even breaking off the conversation she was having with Gawain. Morgana wandered aimlessly around a bit, till she stood next to the sofa Merlin sat upon. “Merlin, hold this for a sec will you? I need to pee.”
Without further ado, Merlin found himself with a baby on his lap, and had no idea what to do with it.
What did people do with babies they didn't want? Adoption? No, he couldn't find an agency quick enough, and Gwen might notice if her baby went missing. Hand it to someone else! He turned to Arthur, who sat beside him, he didn't want to draw too much attention to himself by walking across the room to dispose of Lynette. But Arthur was engrossed in the conversation he was having, his hands gesturing wildly. No way could Merlin hand Lynette to him. She'd go flying across the room, no doubt. Leon and Percy were laughing and jostling each other. She'd get hurt if he gave her to them, safer with someone else.
He looked around, feeling rather desperate, but no one came to his aid. Turning his attention back to the baby, he saw she was staring straight at him. He held her under the arms, and his pale skin contrasted with her darker tones (she had taken after Gwen more than Lance).
Upon realising that he would have to hold Lynette for an unknown period of time, Merlin froze. His entire body seized up, and it was hard to tell if he was breathing.
Arthur finished discussing the recent rugby match, and the size of swords the ref should have shoved up his behind for letting the French get away with the last foul, and turned to his husband. He smiled down at Lynette, then glanced at Merlin's face. Merlin seemed to be frozen in time. His eyes were wide and unblinking, his muscles didn't even twitch. He was staring at Lynette, who looked back, nonplussed. Arthur racked his mind. No, no it could be. Merlin had held her before. He had, surely. This wasn't the first time he'd held Lynette. But Arthur couldn't remember seeing Merlin hold her. Was this really the first time? In four months?
The faint swirl of a memory lingered at the back of him mind. Merlin had said once, he'd said he didn't want to hold kids. Arthur had wiped it away as the babbling of a drunk man, but now that Arthur thought about, he had seemed quite sober at the time.
'you always say I'm so clumsy I'd drop off the earth if I weren't gravity-ed to it.
So, I'd never catch it.'
Was it something he really spent time worrying about? Yes, Merlin was clumsy. Yes, if gravity wasn't there he would probably have been lost to space a long time ago. But as far as other living things were concerned, he was the most paranoid person alive. He almost refused to touch the puppy Morgana had gotten six months ago. That is, till she'd dropped the thing in his arms, and told him not to be stupid.
Arthur was about to talk to Merlin, try and break him out of the spell he seemed to be under, but Gwen suddenly exclaimed:
“Feeding time Ly-Ly! Come on, I'll heat you up some steak, and the others can have baby milk.” There was much grumbling and laughter, as Lynette was scooped from Merlin's lap, and everyone moved in the direction of the dining room. Morgana swept past the sofa, back from her 15 minute toilet trip.
Now relieved of his burden, Merlin unfroze and sort of flowed after the others, but Arthur's hand on his arm make him pause.
“Merlin, can I talk to you.”
"Sure." They wandered into the hall, where they wouldn't be disturbed.
"Arthur? Are we here for any real reason, or..."
"... Are you gonna be this scared when it's out kid?" This statement was met with silence. Merlin wondered what he should do. Admit it? Deny it? Fucking run? "You said you were scared once, but I just thought you were drunk... didn't know you were really worried about it."
"I'm not I'm... it's just a stupid little thing. Don't even worry about it. I've got it covered."
"By avoiding ever holding a baby? Gwen wants more than one kid Merlin. And Morgs wants some too. You won't be able to dodge it forever. Plus, I thought you wanted children one day. Won't the fact that you're terrified to hold one sort of impede on that?"
"I'm not terrified of holding kids Arthur, don't be a dick."
"You froze like an ice sculpture." Merlin scowled and looked away. Arthur sighed and put his hands on Merlin's arms, rubbing soothingly. "Merlin, baby, you're not gonna drop her."
"How do you know!" Arthur stepped back at the force of Merlin's words. "How do you know I won't drop her, that she won't slip out off my hands?" He stares at his hands for a moment, before curling them into fists, "How could you possibly know?"
"Because you're kinda like Gwen." Merlin stared at him, confused. What did Gwen have to do with this? Besides Lynette being her daughter. "Gwen called once, a few nights after telling everyone she was pregnant. She was absolutely terrified. I've never heard her like it before or since. 'But Arthur what if I'm a bad mum? What if I forget about her? What if I leave her somewhere? What if I'm unfair to her? What if she grows up and hates me?' What if, what if, what if. There's no point thinking about 'what if'. Gwen was scared too, but she's an amazing mum. Everyone gets scared about something, Merlin. But if we have kids one day, you won't be on your own. I'll be there. And my reflexes are much faster than yours, so I will catch the baby." Merlin laughed gently, and wiped his nose with the back of his hand, a habit he hadn't been able to shake from when he was a kid. Arthur never said anything, but he privately hoped it was a habit that never shifted, Merlin always looked so cute doing it.
“Okay. Thanks. I guess I was kinda freaking out over nothing.” Arthur shook his head,
“All parents freak out Merlin. But we're gonna be great parents. I can tell.” They smiled at each other, before Merlin said:
“Did we just agree to have a baby?”
Standing just out of sight, Morgana smiled. She had been worried for a moment, Merlin's freak out could have ruined her chances of being Aunty Morgana. But, the plan had gone perfectly, Merlin and Arthur were gonna have kids, and she was going to be an aunt.
She was gonna be 'cool Aunty Morgs' if it fucking killed her.