This is sort of a continuation of my oneshot "Secrets from the King", but it can be read separately. Enjoy!
There was a knock on the wood door, and Arthur ignored it. It had only been a few hours since the incident with his father and he was hoping whoever it was at the door would leave him alone. He was, for lack of a better word, miserable, and had already stubbornly resolved to himself that he was better off alone for the rest of the day.
The knock on the door persisted, but again Arthur waited for whoever it was to go away.
Finally Uther decided to just enter the room without invitation- he was king, so he didn't really need to be invited. When he entered the room, he was surprised to see his son on the far side of the room, on a small stool, looking out the window, ignoring his father.
Uther walked over and pulled up a seat to sit next to Arthur. He looked out the window as well.
The view from Arthur's room was beautiful. There was a clear view of town, the training grounds, and the mountains lining the horizon. Uther knew of this view- he had lived in this room himself when he was a boy. He had often watched the town when he was in trouble, or lonely, or just needed time to think. It often calmed him.
"It's beautiful." Uther spoke softly.
"Yeah." Arthur agreed, still refusing to look at his father.
"Your mother loved this view. When she came into my chambers, the first thing she would do was look out this window. You see, there were always guards posed directly under this window, at the door leading to the hallway there. Every once in awhile, she'd bring a few eggs from the royal chicken coop and late at night, when no one was looking, we'd drop them on the guards. They never knew what hit them." Uther smiled while recollecting the pleasant memories of his youth.
Arthur frowned. "There aren't guards there now."
Uther sighed. "You grandfather was a very strict man. He knew that that hallway was one of the only exits from the castle, and was determined to keep me locked up in here as best he could. But it never worked."
"Why not?" Arthur looked at Uther.
"Well, when the guards were distracted by eggs in their hair, Ygraine and I would dash down the stairs and outside- right under their noses." Uther chuckled.
Arthur grinned, but his smile fell quickly. "I'm sorry about earlier. I lost control of my emotions."
"I know I've never really talked about your mother. I never told you what she was like, or how much I loved her, or why she died. I somehow expected you to grow up without her, and that was wrong. I should have known something like this would happen someday." Uther admitted.
Arthur, for a moment, seemed angry again, but it died down as quickly as it sparked up. "So…" He spoke, "… Morgause spoke the truth."
Uther frowned, "I don't know what she said, I wasn't there."
For a few long minutes there was only silence, and then Arthur turned to him. It broke Uther's heart to see his son's eyes so filled with pain, when he said quietly, "Tell me… tell me how my mother died."
It took Uther a moment to think of what to say, taken off guard by the question, but then he felt he knew how to explain this delicate matter. He began speaking hesitantly, unsure if "I loved your mother so much. She was one of the two people I would give my life for without question- you being the other. When I went to Nimueh to ask for her help, I did not know the price to be paid. I asked her to put a spell on my wife, so that she would be with child. When I returned to the castle, it was nightfall, I remember. There was no moon, and it was dark, and I knew immediately that something was wrong. I… ignored my instincts and entered the castle."
Arthur sat up in his chair a little bit more, unsure of what to make of his father's pause.
"It was months later that Ygraine finally gave birth to you, but she was grievously ill. Gaius could not help her, and I knew that it was the work of magic. I went to Nimueh again, as a last resort. And she told me the truth.
"For every life given untimely, another must be taken untimely. Ygraine… when I returned, she was almost dead. And then she… she was gone." It was obvious Uther was struggling to stay composed.
Arthur was close to tears. "So… my mother died… because I lived."
"No- Arthur!" Uther pulled his son into a tight embrace as Arthur sobbed into his shoulder. Tears escaped the Kings eyes as he couldn't deny his son's words.
It was cruel, the king decided, that his son had to deal with this punishment. He knew how Arthur felt because he felt it everyday himself. Guilt for something you couldn't control. Uther had had no way of knowing Nimueh's lies, Arthur had had no way to save his mother from himself. And neither of them could undo what had been done.
Uther stroked his son's back soothingly as he whispered, "Arthur, there was nothing you could have done. It was not your fault." But although he said this, Uther knew it would do nothing to ease his son's feelings of guilt. Just as it had done nothing to ease his own.
"Now I know why you hate me." Arthur muttered as he tried despairingly to suppress his tears.
"I don't hate you, Arthur. I never blamed you." Uther cried.
"It's my fault she's dead. I killed her, and you would have me die to save her."
Uther held his son tighter, streaks running down his face. "Arthur, you are my son! I love you, and I would never give you up for anyone!"
They stayed like this for a long while, Uther holding his troubled son and both crying, mourning. Finally, Uther felt Arthur's breathing slow and even out as the long day caught up with him. When he was sure Arthur was truly asleep, Uther lay his son down on his bed and pulled the blankets over him. The King was glad- Arthur was at peace in his sleep.
"Goodnight, my son." Uther whispered, "I hope when you wake these troubles will be gone."
Uther exited the room, feeling better than he ever had after the death of Ygraine. He went back to his chambers smiling. Cleansed.
As he made his way into his room, he remembered who had convinced him to speak with his son. He had to thank that Merlin boy tomorrow.
Hehe, had to give Merlin credit at the end! What'd you think? REVIEW!