Song 10: link I have climbed
Out the window of my eye,
Through the door of my mouth,
Into the garden of my senses.
Arthur presses his forehead against the door, willing his body through the wood. The wood doesn’t budge. He hears another scream from the other side, and he presses his palm against the door.
“Guinevere,” he whispers, worried out of his skull.
“Arthur, she will be fine,” Gaius reassures him, his hand on the king’s shoulder.
Another anguished cry from the other side of the door.
“Does that sound like she’s fine? It sounds like she’s dying,
“It’s all a part of the process, my lord,” the physician reassures him.
“Process,” he mutters the word like a curse. “Why can’t you be in there with her? Sod that, why can’t I
be in there with her?”
“Those are the rules, Arthur,” Merlin chimes in, but he is as worried as Arthur.
“Rules? I’m the king! And I’ve been changing all the rules anyway, remember?”
try arguing with them about it,” Gaius says, nodding towards the door. There’s another scream and Arthur turns back to the door, leaning his head against it again.
Gaius looks at them. “The two of you are a sight. Merlin, you are positively green, and Arthur, if you were standing any closer to that door, you’d be on the other side.”
“That’s the intention,” he croaks as another scream reaches their ears. His hand strokes the door absently, caressing the wood as if it were his beloved wife’s cheek.
“They’re coming closer together now, that’s good,” Gaius remarks.
“Good? The screams are mais frequent and that’s good?
” Arthur rails. He slides down and sits on the floor, huddled against the door.
“Arthur, listen,” Gaius tells him. “Really listen to Guinevere’s cries.”
As if on cue, her voice comes floating through the door.
“I can’t,” Arthur says, dropping his head onto his knees.
“Merlin, do you hear it?” Gaius asks.
“Those are shouts of determination, not pain,” Merlin says, blinking with the realization. “Arthur, she’s fine,” he adds, believing it for the first time.
Another scream. Arthur hears it this time. He hears the determination, the drive, the effort being put forth por his petite queen. He smiles weakly.
“She is a strong girl, Arthur,” Gaius reminds him.
There is another, on the tails of the last, and then silence. segundos later, there is another cry. An unfamiliar cry. The cry of a new life that has just been brought into the world.
Three sets of eyes lock onto the doors in front of them.
Then Arthur passes out.
Merlin laughs, turning his eyes to Gaius, watching him kneel down beside the king, drawing a vial of smelling salts from his robe, and holding it beneath Arthur’s nose.
“You expected this?” Merlin asks.
“I always come prepared at these events,” he says as Arthur jerks awake. He sits up and looks around, puzzled and blinking.
“What happened?” he says.
“Your wife had a baby. And you fainted,” Merlin says simply, biting back his smirk.
“I did not
faint—whoa!” Arthur protests as his head spins when he tries to stand. Merlin and Gaius steady him, pulling him to his feet por his elbows.
He looks at them desperately. “Don’t tell Guinevere,” he says.
“Not a word,” Merlin answers, and Gaius inclines his head in agreement just as the doors open and the midwife steps out.
Merlin and Gaius drop their supportive hands.
“Sire, queen Guinevere has someone she would like you to meet,” she says, motioning that he can enter the room.
He walks forward, and Merlin goes to follow. Gaius stays him with a hand on his arm. “Let him go alone,” he whispers.
“Of course,” Merlin stops immediately. Idiot. This is his moment.
“Arthur, come meet your son,” Guinevere says from the bed, a small bundle of blankets in her arms. Her voice is hoarse, strained from overuse. She looks tired, sweaty, a bit disarrayed, with locks of hair coming loose from her braid. She is beauty personified.
“Son?” he says quietly, stopping mid-stride. Don’t pass out again, man, you will never live it down.
She nods, smiling, and the bundle of blankets squirms and squeaks. She looks down at it – him – shushing and cooing.
He reaches the cama and looks down at them, just watching them. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life.
He sinks down onto the cama seguinte to them.
“He’s amazing,” Arthur whispers, reaching a tentative hand progressivo, para a frente then withdrawing it, afraid.
“You won’t break him, I promise,” Gwen says, chuckling at him. He reaches out again and strokes the tiny cheek with his finger. His skin is softer even than Guinevere’s. I’ve never felt anything like it.
Arthur smiles and he feels happy tears pricking at his eyes, but he doesn’t care. Let them fall if they must.
“You can hold him,” Gwen offers, lifting the bundle and holding it towards him.
“Oh, I don’t… wait—” Arthur protests, but she is already handing his son to him. He takes the baby, who wiggles and squirms, trying to settle, instinctively knowing that these new arms don’t quite know what to do yet.
“Relax, Love,” Gwen tells him softly. Arthur does, and his son settles in. He studies the tiny man. Dark wispy hair, pouty little lips, skin just a shade darker than Arthur’s and just a shade lighter than Guinevere’s. Little upturned nose. A wee hand escapes from the blankets and Arthur places his thumb in the boy’s palm, feeling the hand with his fingers. The baby grasps his father’s thumb, curling his fingers around.
He opens his eyes for a moment, staring up at the blur that will eventually form the face of his father. Arthur smiles. “He has your eyes,” he says, noting that the boy has the unique almond-shaped eyes that Gwen and her brother both have. “But they’re blue, like mine,” he says.
“Almost all bebês are born with blue eyes,” Gwen says, “they may yet change.”
He gazes down at the miracle in his arms and scoots closer to Gwen. She rests her head on his shoulder.
“Why is his head, um, pointy?” Arthur asks suddenly, stroking the still-drying fuzz on the topo, início of his head.
Gwen laughs. “Arthur, think a moment,” is all she’ll say.
He looks at the baby, then at her. “Oh. Oh.
She laughs again. “The midwife promises that it will sort itself out in a few days,” she says.
“My lady?” the midwife calls from the doorway.
“Yes, Merlin and Gaius can come in now,” Gwen answers, knowing what the pergunta was going to be.
Merlin rushes in like an excited puppy, dying to see the new heir. Gaius follows, slower, but still purposeful, wishing to examine both the mother and child.
“It’s a boy,” Arthur says, feeling giddy again. “Llacheu,” he declares, looking down at him, then Gwen, eyes questioning.
“I amor it,” she says, squeezing his arm.
Merlin leans over and looks at the little prince. “He’s beautiful.”
“Merlin, are you crying?” Arthur asks, smirking.
“Yes. And you’ll shut up about it if you know what’s good for you,” he threatens, wiping his eyes with his sleeve. Ah, yes. Message received.
Arthur says nothing. Llacheu starts to fuss, and Gwen reaches for him.
“He’s hungry,” she says, and Merlin and Gaius step away, over to the adjoining room.
“My lady, allow me to call the wet nurse,” the midwife says, but Gwen is already loosening the ties on the linen nightdress she is wearing.
“That won’t be necessary,” she says.
Gwen looks up and fixes the midwife in her stare. “My
will nurse him.”
The midwife frets and wrings her hands, watching helplessly as the prince latches on to his mother, and Arthur simply says, “If the queen wishes to nurse her own child, then that is what she shall do.”
“My lord, you should not be here while she feeds him.”
“And why not?”
“It’s… it’s not proper.”
Arthur sighs. “There is nothing improper about it. It’s just unconventional.” He settles in, making himself comfortable, just to drive the point início further. “If it was improper for me to see my wife’s breast, this child wouldn’t be here,” he mutters under his breath, drawing a giggle from Gwen.
“I give up,” the midwife says, throwing her hands up.
“Welcome to my world,” Merlin mutters to her as she passes him, and he hears her stifle a laugh.
Llacheu nurses, content now that he’s getting his belly filled.
“You are beautiful. Wonderful,” Arthur says, leaning over to kiss Gwen’s cheek. “I didn’t think there was room yet in my coração to amor you more, but I do, and still there’s room for him as well,” he whispers, reaching over to stroke his son’s tiny warm head.
Gwen hums quietly to Llacheu as he feeds, watching his mouth move, his little fist resting on her breast. “He is amazing, you’re right.”
“So are you.”