Howdy, Jill! Since all this fast-acting folks beat me to the punch of zero review Merlin stories, I'm just going to pick this one because - little dudes!
As designed, this story tugs at the heart. Though I'm lucky enough to have a son, I think everyone has things in their life that they think they'll never get and so I can really identify with Merlin's emotions even if not specifically what they're directed at. Other people's confusion at the ability for the person "denied" (if that's really a good name for it always) to still be happy also resonates as very real and I enjoyed reading your portrayal of both those things in Merlin and those around him.
I don't know (as you know) the source material for the story, but I also liked the characterization of the dynamic between Arthur and Merlin. It's strange to me to see Merlin be such a "proper" servant in light of that dynamic, especially with nobody else around, but both still display the air of comfort that comes with true friendship and you can tell that their bond has been forged by fire and by their choice to keep it alive.
Thanks for sharing another fantastic fic with us! Happy New Year!
Hey Jill! Here to spread some holiday cheer :)
So this is just adorable and I love it so much! Arthur and Gwen's baby being watched over by Merlin is just so precious. I also quite like the relationship between Merlin, Arthur, and Gwen you've described here -- he's basically their brother/brother-in-law, but still has necesary duties so that the royal household can continue on properly. Arthur's knowing of Meriln's uncertainty about watching little Amhar by himself, and Gwen knowing of his certain ability to do it just fine is so in character.
And then you make it so somber because when does Merlin ever get to really be happy? (spoiler: never). It's sad that Merlin thinks/knows he'll never get to have a family like Arthur and Gwen, but your logicality of the situation that Merlin has already worked through is just that, even if it is heartbreaking. But THEN Arthur's immediate knowledge of what his dear and closest friend is trying to tell him when he's got little Amhar in his arms. Just overall, this is so sad yet fitting for Merlin, Arthur, and Gwen.
Wonderful, wonderful writing as always, Jill! <3