This is brilliant! I really enjoyed this and how original it was- I've read fics where Merlin leaves out of fear before, but none where when he comes back Arthur is so goddamn terrifying. You captured his fear and confusion so well, and even though I know Arthur to be good, his unpredictable reactions around magic made me worried for Merlin. The ending was perfect, though I was hoping for some mention of Arthur sending out a patrol to bring Gwaine back, and maybe offering him the honourable position of godfather/mentor to their son, as a reward for taking such good care of Merlin and being such a dutiful Knight? But it was enough to know that they lived happily ever after, so I can assume something along those lines happened. Beautiful story ♥
Gentle hands eased him back in the bed, Arthur’s hands. Those same hands propped pillows behind him, helped him to sit up then gathered their son from his cradle and carefully passed him to Merlin. It wasn’t until the baby was in his arms that Merlin realized just how profoundly weak he still was. He could barely lift his arms up to hold his son. He trembled with the effort and felt a tear roll down his cheek. He made a pathetic mother.
He knew he was screaming, knew he wasn’t making sense, and certainly knew he wasn’t being a man about this but he didn’t care. All he could think about was the pain in his uterus, his back, and most alarmingly, in his penis and balls. He couldn’t see them over his gravid belly but he knew they must be swollen to the point of absurdity by the way everything down there felt like it was going to explode and not in a good way.