Preparation

Angel Starbeam

Spoilers: None, very vague

Warnings: Extreme Fluff

Disclaimer: Merlin belongs to BBC, not me.

Summary: He knew he was not ready to be anyone's father.


Arthur wanted to be a father.

More specifically, he wanted to be the father to Guinevere's children.

He also wanted to be a good father to those children. He was never really sure what it all entailed, but he knew it was more than providing food and keeping a roof over their heads. He wanted his children to approach him easily, so they can go to him when they were scared or hurt. He definitely wanted his children to trust him and never doubt his love or pride for them.

Yes, he wanted to be a father very much.

He just didn't expect it to happen so soon, but one day at lunchtimeGwen said she had some news.

Arthur was happy of course - ecstatic really - and absolutely terrified. He knew he was not ready to be anyone's father.

Well, now he had get ready in less than a year's time.

Arthur's utmost concern was Gwen's health. Even with the truth of his birth and his mother's death - the whole truth and not a skewed version manipulated by a vengeful witch - he was still aware that women lose their lives in childbirth and even before then. He could not let that happen to Gwen.

So Arthur threw himself to the task of making sure that Gwen was healthy and comfortable. He thought he managed it quite well: relieving her of her duties so she won't strain herself, keeping any sort of illness from her, even overseeing her meals. He was not aware that he was effectively caging his wife in until she cried with frustration and told him that he was.

So Arthur stopped and learned how to help Guinevere without her crying.

An apology was in order and as Arthur had learned over the years, a talk would spare both him and Gwen a lot of turmoil and annoyance. So they talked and he expressed his concerns and apologized. He then let her return to most of her daily activities and lifted to the restrictions he placed. He had to learn to express his concerns over anything he believed to be harmful to her and their child. Again, talking saved them a lot of hassle.

Arthur was still anxious about Gwen and her health, but that was ultimately out of his hands. There was something else he was worried about. Arthur knew he still had to learn about how to be a father. At least know about the basics.

He had to go to someone who already experienced caring for an infant; he went to Merlin.

Arthur, if you're worried about this, why don't you talk to Gwen...Vivi, let go of Daddy's neckerchief.

I did, she sent me to you.

Want me to tell you about fatherhood?

Well, you've been a father for three months now and she's still alive.

Such faith you have in me. Alright, you know, it's not that difficult. I mean you have to make sure that they eat enough. And stay warm.

Of course.

And then there's the diaper changing.

What?

Oh, when Viviane came, she didn't let us sleep for five days straight.

Seriously?

Oh and you got to hold them the right way, support the head…

Hold on…

But the main thing is that you love 'em.

Support the head?

Here, take her.

Oh…

Arthur…

Merlin…

Could you not hold my daughter like a sack of potatoes?

Then there was the naming.

Arthur had never thought about it until realizing that in the castle alone there were five Henry's, twelve Anne's, and every other person was named after a king. If he left it at the last moment, his child would probably end up as Arthur the II or Guinevere the II.

After spending an hour in the library, Arthur found that his family was not creative in naming and that was not so different from the other noble families that have been recorded and put away on shelves. Wanting an outside opinion, he went to Merlin again, because he already had the experienced.

Merlin, how did you come up with Viviane?

What?

Your daughter's name. How did you come up with it?

I didn't. Nivian did.

How? Tell me she didn't name her after that feather-brain harpy.

No, after herself. Its family tradition - the daughters have some part of their mother's name. Nivian's mother was Niniane.

Alright- how did your mother come up with your name?

Well, Mum wanted to name me after my father's father but she misspelled it.

So no one will judge him for unoriginality. He went to Gwen for suggestions.

William?

There are too many Williams.

Thomas?

As much as I appreciate it, I do not want our child be named after any of our parents.

Worried that he may inherit their fates?

That and can you imagine saying "Tom! Stop that!"?

He gathered every name in the kingdom, rejected half of them for the meaning, how it was spelled or how it went with Pendragon. The other half was rejected by Gwen. Finally, Arthur decided to take Merlin's course- leave it to his wife.

Amhar?

Yes. I like the sound of it.

Gwen, it's a variation of my own name.

Yes, I know, but it sounds nicer.

What if our child is a girl?

Well, I talked it over with Morgana last time she visited and I decided on 'Morgain.'

Having spent time in Viviane's nursery, Arthur learnedwhat sort of things an infant would was the crib, the blankets, toys, bottles and the hundreds of nappies and miniscule gowns. He just was not aware that more would be needed in regards to his own child. Guinevere took to the task vigorously.

When she was relieved from most of her duties, Gwen made it her mission to convert the small parlor behind their bed chamber into the nursery. He watched as she directed her ladies-in-waiting and the maids in the cleaning and refurnishing of the room.

Arthurended up having a conversation about her project with Sir Bors.

They all do it Your Highness. Nesting instinct and all. I remember my own wife readying the apartments for our children's arrival.

They then caught sight of Gwen donning a practical gown, carrying a modest pile of rags. Behind her was her lady-in-waiting Rebekah carrying a stool and one of the maids clutching a pail of soapy water.

Your wife washed the nursery windows?

Well, no Your Highness.

Wanting to help, he commissioned for a crib, a changing table, and other furnishings and the male servants to move them to where Gwen saw fit to place. He also commissioned for a cradle after Merlin discreetly advised him that a crib was too big for a newborn babe.

And the clothes, to which again Gwen took to the task with relish. At the looms, she weaved the blankets, needled the nappies and sewed the tiniest gowns.

It almost felt like they were preparing soldiers, but they were collecting and creating supplies for only soul though, with the needed food, equipment, and clothing and it was all done with hope, love and exasperated smiles.

Though it held no interest for him as a parlor, he would go to the nursery regularly. The old furnishings and tapestries were gone; in their place were the crib and the cradle. The gowns were put away in the chest of drawers and nappies in a shelf underneath the changing table. Clean and new rugs decorated the floors and curtains of a sunny yellow at the window. The whole room was light and cheery and hopefully their child will love it. It was definitely where Arthur wanted him or her to lay their head in.

His eyes then directed their attention to Gwen, looking a bit apprehensive and very much happy with her hands resting on her expanding girth and smiling.

Do you think he'll like it?

I think he'll let us know.

Any day now.

The babe was coming any day now. That is what the physician said. That is what the midwife said. That is what anyone who saw Guinevere's large belly said. But it seemed that the child would say I'm quite happy here.

Despite this, Gwen kept herself occupied with anything that needed minding and then napping for short periods of time. For him, it bordered on humorous and nerve-wracking seeing her waddle about, doing a balancing act and rubbing her back. He learned how appreciative an expectant wife could be after a back rub.

Still, the waiting was agonizing. And he knew that both he and Gwen were impatient to meet their child that hiding in her. While she felt the kicking and movement, and they see the big lump on her stomach, but they wanted to meet the little person that they took part in creating.

Then one night, while he was fast asleep, he felt himself being shaken. He opened his eyes forcing them to stay open and his mind tried to work out the drowsiness. He could make out his wife on the bedside, crouching over and gasping in pain.

Arthur…its time.

He fell out of bed and then yelled for assistance.

As he sat down in his study, looking as if Gwen was being visited by a cloaked skeleton, Merlin came in whistling.

What is that?

Wine. Part of the plan.

What plan? There was a plan?

Of course there was a plan. We knew you would go crazy once Gwen brings in the baby. This is to help you.

Getting me sauced?

Worked for me.

You were passed out by the time Viviane was born.

That was a good thing; before, I kept pestering Niv and she wanted to kill me.

Arthur allowed for two goblets full while Merlin quickly descended to slurred words and confessed of embarrassing moments of his childhood.

When it was all over, Arthur was resolved to mention the reason behind Merlin's fear of bees, and Old Myrtle's dog and its infatuation for a skinny and big eared boy, not to mention the pond and a group of girls, and the turtle. But he will stay away from the subject of a certain old woman and her lack of doors, because even Arthur knew that was going too far.

It was almost a full day when he was told Guinevere was well, he had a son and whatever else the servant had said was ignored because that was all Arthur heard when he ran over to his wife.

As told, she was well, tired, drawn and too beautiful in his eyes. And, as he was told, he saw his son. Merlin, handling a headache and red eyes but managed a grin that split his face, stood next to him as they both faced the person Arthur had wanted to meet for some time, Amhar Pendragon.

Amhar?

Yes. Guinevere chose it.

I was expecting Arthur the II, so this is better.

Thank you Merlin.

We can call him Harry.

No Merlin.

How about Ammie?

No.

Cubbie?

Get out.

He was all splotchy red with a tuff of black hair, and all wrinkly and wiggling. And he was small, so small. This tiny wrinkly and wiggling person was what he and Gwen made together and he was here now. Their son was finally here.

When Arthur finally worked up the nerve to hold Amhar he handled him like he would handle a fragile object. He remembered to support his head and then his son was resting in his arms.

His son.

"Hello Amhar, I am your father," Arthur whispered.

Amhar opened his eyes. They were black and had the unfocused gaze of a newborn.

Arthur smiled at him.

Then Amhar spat up. Arthur called for help.

A year and half went by and Arthur was quite use to a child's bodily discharges (and sometimes projectiles). Amhar grew to a not so tiny size, and walking wobbling steps and babbling incoherent words (His favorites being Ma, Da, and Ball). Arthur became more comfortable with being a father, more specifically, comfortable being Amhar's father. He even told Gwen they could have an army of children.

Then one day at snack time, as Amhar chewed on a carrot, Gwen looked to him.

Arthur, about that army you wanted…