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[personal profile] rc45
Title: Lady Light Skirt
Author: Joxie
Rating: Adult++
Obligatory Linkage: http://tv.adultfanfiction.net/story.php?no=600094522
Sporked by: [profile] agenttrojie and [profile] tea_fiend
Sporkage rated: R
Sporkers' notes: Oscar and Iza, bewildered by the latest BBC show to acquire Mpreg ficcers, have to (reluctantly) bring in Trojie for canon knowledge and, naturally, Pads follows along. Thanks to [personal profile] sedri for the beta.
WARNINGS: Fic contains NON-CON (magically-facilitated m/m rape), lack of punctuation and presumably Babelfished 'Old English' as well as male pregnancy. Sporking contains swearing, confusion, fangirling and arguments. With any luck, this will be the last Mpreg mission Trojie and Pads end up muscling in on for a while.



March 2009 HST


Response Centre #794 - The Division of Mpreg


'So run that past me again,' Oscar said, frowning. Iza, who'd spent the past fifteen minutes on the internet, launched into an explanation.

'The BBC resurrected the Arthurian legend but de-aged all the main characters and cast pretty actors to play them and thus caused a chain reaction and a vast multiplication of fangirls, and the slash fiction has got rather out of hand of late and what with all the magic there's quite a lot of 'magical baby' plotlines out there,' she recited. 'Also, knee-walking is canonical.'

Oscar stared for a moment. 'Right. And you don't know Merlin canon, knee-walking aside.'

'Nope!'

'And I definitely don't. Do you think there's anyone in HQ who does?'

'Probably! Especially since you asked in such a doubtful voice and all. Shall we put out a call for help? I'm sure there's some kind of button here that does it ... ooh, wait, let's search the Personnel files!'

Oscar was about to protest that surely the personnel files would not be available for perusal by the general populace, because that would be an invasion of privacy, and then remembered exactly where he worked, and who was in charge of the personnel files.

Muttering under his breath about sadistic Daisies, he shuffled his chair forwards in order to watch Iza as she merrily keyed 'Agents + Fandoms + Merlin + Lust Objects + Arthur Pendragon + Merlin Emrys + mpreg experience' into the console.

It whirred and beeped for some time, and a little smoke wafted its way out of the fan vents in its casing, but eventually it spat out a name.

Oscar peered at it, and sighed. 'Well, so much for asserting our independence,' he said wearily. 'Here, let's send them a message.'


Some quantumly-improbable distance away, in the Department of Bad Slash


BEEEEP!

'Glod damn it, I really thought this might be the day we got a lie-in,' said Agent Paddlebrains, trying and failing to ignore the console.

'I'll see to that, shall I?' her partner, Agent Trojanhorse, said with a sigh. She hauled herself out of their shared bed, despite Pads' attempts to restrain her. 'No, look, we've got to see to it or it'll never stop beeping.'

'But cuddles!'

'Cuddles after Duty,' said Trojie sternly. Pads turned on the puppy-dog eyes. 'Stop that.'

'Shan't.'

'Fine, I shan't look at you then.' Trojie turned and stalked over to the console. There was a moment or two of clicking and reading. 'Message from Oscar,' she said. 'He's doing well, got a new partner, blah blah, all very touching ... and they, er, need our help with a mission.'

'Bollocks, can't you tell them we're busy shagging or something that'll put him off?'

Trojie looked over at her partner helplessly. 'Can't, they need canon advice.'

'Oh, and what's the canon that we know and they don't?'

'Er, more one that I know and they don't ...'

'Which would be?'

'...BBC Merlin?'

'... Bollocks.'

Trojie groaned and stretched, wincing at the sound her joints made as they popped back into alignment. 'Come on, let's get this over with,' she said, getting up and locating her Bag. Pads shoved the neuralyser into her pocket as she went past. 'Although I did hope I'd be able to get into the Merlinverse for a looksee before having an actual full-blown mission there.'

'Are you expanding the horizons of your kleptomania?' Pads asked suspiciously. 'You only want to get into continua on your downtime when you want to nick things.'

'I resent that,' said Trojie, blushing an interesting colour and hastily shoving a DVD box into the Bag from one of the recesses of her cupboards. 'There's nothing to nick from the Merlinverse that isn't horribly anachronistic, anyway. Like tomatoes. Blue-dyed clothing on peasants. Smoked pigeon sandwiches.'

'Then what's the appeal?' Pads wondered.

'Nothing special,' said Trojie, the blush now furiously crimson. The Animagus peered at her, waiting for the brainshare to take effect, and then broke into a grin.

'You really are just a seventeen year old fangirl at heart, aren't you?' she crowed.

'Look, the place is a slasher's paradise,' said Trojie defensively. 'There is canonical talk of knee-walking and Merlin lies in bed, sweating like a horse and moaning "Arthur ... faster, Arthur ... move" in one episode. And the camera conveniently focuses on his upper body only. Leaving all sorts of things to the imagination.'

'Sounds tempting,' Pads replied. 'Come on then, the sooner we get to Kermit's place and sort out the mission, the sooner you can get back to fangirling in peace.'

***

'Are we all set?' asked Oscar, nervously parading up and down and inspecting what for want of a better word he was calling his 'troops'. Iza stood behind him, beaming.

The troops in question raised synchronised eyebrows at him. Pads was defiantly smoking, in order to prove how little she appreciated being dragged out of a warm bed in order to go on an Mpreg mission in a canon she didn't know, and Trojie was stroking the handle of her bell in a manner that Oscar was starting to recognise as 'attempting to distract herself'. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what from.

'Yes, we're all set,' said Trojie. 'I've got Merlin DVDs, I've got a bell, Pads has her lighter and you've got your debugger. What else could we require?'

'Yes, Kermit, come on. Let's get this show on the road,' said Pads. Oscar winced at the nickname, but nodded to Iza.

'Excellent,' she said, reaching over and opening a portal. 'Let's go!'

Oscar looked around as they stepped through, and noted with some relief that there was a large and decadent-looking bed in the room - all the better for debugging in with the minimum of fuss and the easiest explanations post-neuralysation.

It was dark, but thanks to the televisual nature of the canon there was enough blueish light in the room to make out a blond figure sleeping in the bed. A small, muffled squeak behind Oscar might have been Trojie. Before he could turn around and request silence, a figure crept into the room.

Someone brushed against his shoulder - all three of his partners had moved up to stand next to him in order to see better. 'Who's that?' he hissed, nodding at the figure, in the hope that someone could tell him.

'Sposed to be Edwin,' said Trojie in a low voice. 'Season One villain, one episode only, killed by Merlin by a magically-propelled axe, if I remember correctly.'

'Would he ever have been in Arthur's bedroom in the middle of the night?' asked Iza.

'He was much more occupied with Morgana,' Trojie said doubtfully. 'Specifically, killing her horribly with beetles in the ear.'

'Well that's a charge, then,' Iza said happily. Oscar pulled out his notebook to note it down only to find that Pads was doing the same.

'Whoops, force of habit,' the Animagus said with a grin, stowing the notebook and reaching for more tobacco instead. 'It'll be nice not to have to do it for once, though.'

There was the sound of hissed syllables in a foreign language: Edwin was doing some magic over by the bed. Pads' head whipped round to watch.

'Is that supposed to be magic?' she asked.

Iza had her nose in the liner notes to the Merlin DVDs Trojie had brought. 'Yep,' she said, nodding enthusiastically. 'Magic in this continuum happens by the speaking of ... Old English? And some herbs and spices and boiling things up. And Merlin can move things with the power of his brain and his eyes glow gold. Because he's special.'

'Speshul?' asked Pads suspiciously, enunciating the spelling with practised ease. Oscar suspected that it was possibly a mistake to bring three women on one mission. Particularly these three women. Iza, he was reasonably certain would actually do her job, albeit with bountiful exclamation marks and worrying enthusiasm, but Pads was volatile around badfic magic in any continuum, and Trojie appeared quite plainly to be smitten with both lead characters.

'No, just special,' said Iza.

'And no wands?'

'Nope.'

'Sssh, it's starting,' said Oscar, gesturing frantically.

“Your father is an unrepentant bastard if life were fair you would watch him burn. As I watched my parents burn, still there are other ways to burn both you and him” Edwin pulled down the sheets covering Arthur “I wonder have you ever lay with one of your own sex, yes I imagine you are arrogant enough to plant yourself in another man but have the same done to you I think not.”

There was quite the round of startled blinking from the four agents in the corner of the room.

'The punctuation-'

'The lack of it, you mean-'

'No-one told me this was going to be non-con-'

'Will everyone please shut up?' Oscar hissed.

'That's a charge,' hissed Trojie vehemently at the next moment, as Edwin ran a hand over Arthur’s bare chest and pinched a nipple. 'Arthur sleeps in a nightshirt in Season One. It's been established several times. Except for when he was dying and unconscious and had been bitten in the shoulder, in which case there was a shirtless shot in order to establish the existence of the bleeding, magically-poisoned wound. There needs to be a charge for gratuitous shirtlessness.'

Oscar dutifully wrote it down. Iza nudged him and pointed out the lack of punctuation and improper tenses as Edwin started stripping and Trojie and Pads fumed and muttered behind them.

There was a short and disturbing moment while Edwin's penis turned into a sword.

'...'

'People should be forcibly prevented from using descriptions like 'stabbing length,' Pads said, grinding her cigarette out with her heel and scowling.

Oscar winced at the next line of dialogue. The PPC being largely staffed by forthright, emancipated women meant that sentences like “Women aren’t meant to like sex, in fact only whores enjoy it isn’t that right Arthur? I promise you will enjoy this whether you like it or not” tended to elicit violent reactions.

Perhaps fortunately for Oscar, however, there was plenty of distracting material in the next few sentences to spread the violence and anger around.

'Pre cum,' said Pads, enunciating the lack of hyphen and the spelling carefully, if angrily.

'Why do badficcers always think that men have no decision about being aroused? And that arousal somehow takes the edge off the non-con?' asked Iza, making a face.

'And ... is that an attempt at a pun?' asked Trojie, narrowing her eyes.

Oscar squinted at the words.

Edwin looked deeply into Arthur’s fearful eyes and laughed “I have nothing against you but I’ll soon have something within you” he crooned.

'Looks like it,' he said, noting all the various complaints.

The horror went on.

Resting comfortably on the motionless body he once again looked Arthur in the eye “Never fear, I know what I’m doing sweetheart” when tears ran down Arthur’s face he went on “don’t cry something wonderful is about to happen.”

'I realise,' said Pads coldly, 'that this Edwin is supposed to be evil and thus the whole rape thing is supposedly par for the course, but really.'

'I know, it's quite unnecessary really,' said Iza, scowling at the scene. 'Obviously the non-con thing is kind of impossible to get past with this storyline but given the whole magic aspect you'd think the author would have tried to make it slightly less 'gratuitous nasty hur hur hur'. I mean, I know people are sort of turned-on by non-con a lot of the time and far be it from me to judge people's taste in porn, but ...'

'Edwin wasn't the type,' said Trojie, after the brief contemplative pause that usually followed Iza making comments that weren't accompanied by exclamation marks. 'This whole approach isn't subtle enough for him. He would rather have bewitched Arthur to come to him.'

Oscar paused in his note-taking. 'So, mischaracterisation of Edwin, definitely then,' he said. 'How about Arthur? Is he the type to cry at this situation?'

There was an explosive and derisive snort from Trojie. 'Not likely. Arthur's the kind to have all his limbs cut off and still threaten to bite your legs off. If someone magicked him motionless and started raping him he'd at the very least be plotting violent ways to kill them, or trying to clench so hard he'd rupture their urethra.'

Oscar winced involuntarily at this vision. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Pads doing likewise.

Trojie continued, 'Or something. He definitely wouldn't lie there and cry.'

'I'll, er, charge for it then.'

'I think we should move on,' said Iza, still watching the men on the bed critically. 'After all, we have to let this happen to get to the baby part. And no-one is enjoying this.'

'Seconded. Motion carried,' said Pads, lighting another cigarette.

'Are we missing any major charges from the rest of this scene, though?' Oscar asked. 'We ought to do this properly.'

Four pairs of eyes unfocussed and let the Words fly past.

'Just a reasonably useless prophecy of sorts,' Trojie said. 'Apparently no woman will ever bear Arthur a son, but he'll have a son nevertheless, and said son will be the ruin of him, for no adequately explained reason. Oh, and some very inaccurate sex but I think we already had that down, didn't we?'

There was general assent, and a portal was opened into the next scene.

Arthur was throwing up, and in a general state of disarray. Various bodily fluids were mentioned which, in deference to the reader's sensibilities, the chroniclers will not specify.

Many calming breaths later he managed to get to his feet. He ran his hands down his chest and stomach, stopping with a shocked start. There was a definite bulge in his stomach and it seemed to be growing.

'Er ...'

'What?'

'Do we want to ...?'

Oscar was frantically trying to set up his debugger as Arthur fell to the floor.

'Quick, Iza, give me a hand with this,' the Mpreg agent hissed, trying to connect uncooperating tubes. The Bajoran girl knelt and started helping, but her eyes were fixed on the canon character.

'... I think we're a bit late,' she said uncertainly, as Arthur cried out hoarsely as blood began running down his legs. Something seemed to be trying to chew its way out of him.

'Tell me we can charge for making Arthur be infested with the alien from Alien,' Pads said. 'Because that is really not normal.'

'We should be doing something to help him,' Oscar said, throwing the chargelist at the Animagus angrily. 'But what?'

The Words caused Arthur to lose consciousness, and the entire scene faded to black. Oscar breathed a sigh of relief; he'd been trying to decide what first aid to administer to a man with an uncanonical pregnancy that was proceeding at light-speed and causing him to bleed out of an unspecified but heavily-implied-by-deductive-logic orifice. None of the options immediately springing to mind appealed.

A few moments in the nothingness were apparently enough for the fic to sort out all the problems, and lights went up, as it were, onto a tableau of Arthur semiconscious by a door with a blood soaked baby on his stomach, before everything went black once more.

'Stomach?' asked Trojie, growling. 'What, it crawled out of his arse onto his stomach? Are we talking a baby kangaroo here? Migrating from vagina to nipple by sheer determination and following a trail of its mother's own saliva?'

'No, just some conveniently not-explained choreography,' said Iza, in what she probably meant to be a comforting tone. 'And also no vaginas were involved at all and I'm sure we would have noticed if Arthur had started licking himself. For a start, he'd've had to do some quite undignified contortions to achieve it and the Author would really have wanted to document that bit.'

'I hate logic,' said Trojie glumly. Oscar felt that he quite agreed.

A hailstorm of asterisks pelted the Agents then as the scene-break hurtled past, and when the picture came back everything was focused on Merlin in the hallway outside Arthur's chambers, listening to the baby cry.

He entered the room, after rationalising that he can't have heard a baby cry because there was no reason for Arthur to have a baby in his room, and the Agents followed.

Merlin came out of his stupor and was in the room he stripped a pillow of its case and wrapped the baby in it before laying it on the bed. He then bent over Arthur to cover him with a sheet. Only for his wrist to be grabbed so he stopped and waited.

“Don’t tell my Father” Arthur begged.


'He wouldn't beg,' Trojie said adamantly. 'He would order Merlin to do something, or he would talk him into it, but he wouldn't beg.'

'Noted and charged,' Oscar said. 'But we have bigger worries right now. The baby's been born, so when do we snatch it? Now? After Arthur angsts some more? Before or after he and Merlin sleep together?'

'According to the Spy report,' Iza said, 'the main canon breach is when Arthur names the baby, so we should probably hang around 'til then.'

'Tell me that's not a long time to wait,' Pads said plaintively.

Merlin, of course, went to summon Gaius. Arthur ordered Gaius not to tell Uther either, and promptly passed out. They manhandled him onto the bed, without mentioning what was happening to the baby still apparently perched on his abdomen. It popped out of existence and then popped back as Gaius told Merlin to clean the room:

“This room will have to be cleaned” Gaius muttered examining Arthur more closely.

“Heolfor Afeorse Unbleoh” Merlin intoned and everything was pristine including Arthur and the baby.

Gaius frowned at Merlin but didn’t scold him, instead he ordered “Take the child to my rooms if anyone asks it’s a foundling stay and look after it.”


'If ever there was a perfect example of why punctuation is useful ...' Pads began. 'Is he supposed to take the baby to Gaius's rooms if anyone asks, or is he supposed to tell them it's a foundling if they ask?'

'I do believe in commas, I do, I do,' intoned Iza with a grin.

'Pass me back that notebook?' Oscar asked Pads when it became obvious that despite possession of the chargelist, she was still relishing her non-official presence here and not likely to actually write anything down. She did so, and he scribbled down 'Appalling lack of punctuation.'

'Does anyone know if that 'Old English' was actually Old English?' he added, still writing. A general air of shrugging and confused looks was the only answer he got, so he added 'probably Babelfished Old English' to the list as well.

Merlin took the baby back to his rooms, completely unaware that four black-clad people of varying species were following him down the corridors, or that one of them kept having to have her hands forcibly emptied of small items and put back in her pockets by another, or that the remaining two were discussing methods of removing a baby from the custody of someone capable of stopping time with a blink and starting fires with a word.

The baby, conveniently, didn't start crying until they got to Gaius's rooms, whereupon it let fly with a lusty bawl. Merlin, bizarrely for a young man from a peasant village, who would probably have held at least one baby before, was utterly confused and panicked about what to do with the baby. He eventually concluded that it would need sustenance.

Conveniently, there was nothing in the physician's workshop but water that he could give to the child.

'Okay, he'll have to go down to the kitchens to get some milk or something, right?' asked Oscar. 'We can snatch the kid then and neuralyse Merlin when he gets back.'

'Good idea,' said Iza. 'Except ... he doesn't look like he's going anywhere.'

Merlin took the baby to his room and closed the door behind them. He laid the newborn on his bed and removed his shirt. He sat on the bed and closed his eyes, took a deep breath.

“Acumendlicnes Agotenes Meoic” he urged while gently rubbing a finger tip over his left nipple.

Merlin opened his eyes and looked down there didn’t seem to be any difference to his breast or nipple. Then he felt a warm tingle and milk seeped from his nipple coating his finger tip. He picked the baby up and held him to his breast a small mouth locked onto the nipple and began to suckle.


'Buwah?' was the general response to that.

'Quite apart from the complete gratuitousness of this concept,' said Pads, 'I really can't believe that this is magic. It's all wrong.'

'And I rather suspect that the 'Old English' is still being Babelfished, if not completely invented,' said Trojie.

'Probably,' said Iza. 'After all, who does research when porn is more entertaining?' she asked brightly.

'You have to admit, she's hit the nail on the head,' Trojie said to Pads. 'At least as far as badslashers are concerned.'

After the baby was burped (which did not result in any of the milk coming back up, conveniently) and put to bed, Merlin sat down to his chores, namely, polishing Arthur's armour. He was doing so in 'a lacklustre manner'.

Gaius came in.

“He’s still not conscious, there isn’t a scratch or cut on him to account for the blood and nothing is amiss with his body and yet” Gaius trailed off and sighed.

“And yet he has delivered a healthy and hungry son” Merlin finished for him.


'You know,' said Oscar, chewing the end of his pen and musing, 'there has to be some way we can extract the medical cushioning effect from Mpreg fics for use in Medical. It would be really useful.'

'You're still charging for it, though, right?' asked Trojie sharply, looking ready to defend Biology by violence if necessary.

'Of course,' said Oscar, sounding a tad hurt.

Gaius ordered Merlin to go and see to Arthur.

'But he's supposedly fine, except for being unconscious and all,' Iza pointed out. 'Wouldn't it be more useful for Merlin to help with the baby, rather than to go and mope over unconscious!Arthur?'

'Apparently Arthur 'needs' him,' Pads said, rolling her eyes.

'This gets more and more like a bad soap opera every second,' Trojie agreed.

Merlin was on his feet and out of the room. For the first hour he sat by Arthur’s bed, the second he paced the floor. Going into the third he pulled his shoes off and climbed onto the bed, rested his head on Arthur’s shoulder and placed an arm around his waist.

Lulled by the solidness of Arthur he fell into a deep dreamless sleep. Hours later he woke to blue enquiring eyes followed by searching lips and a demanding tongue.

“Sorry” Arthur mumbled.

Merlin flushed “It was nice.”


'Yes, because everyone's immediate reaction to finding someone in bed with them is to snog them,' said Trojie indignantly. 'And Arthur wouldn't apologise if he did that, he'd bluster his way through it and probably order Merlin out of the room to cover his embarrassment.'

'Well, they appear to be having an argument now,' said Iza. 'Is that more in-character?'

'Much,' said Trojie a bit doubtfully.

'Even that bit where Arthur tells Merlin to kill the baby?' Oscar asked.

'Okay, that's not on. Arthur risked his neck and disobeyed his father's explicit orders to get Mordred out of Camelot!'

Pads patted Trojie on the back. 'Breathe, dear.' Trojie glared at her.

'Ooh, look, angsty daddy issues,' said Iza, sounding entertained, as Merlin informed Arthur that he wasn't his father and didn't have to be. 'Ungrammatical ones, too.'

Merlin eventually talked Arthur into coming to see the baby.

'Okay, here we go,' said Oscar. 'Once he names the baby, you, Pads, will engage the stunner-' he thrust the aforementioned piece of tech into her hands, '-because I don't fancy any of our chances at using traditional methods of restraint against a trained medieval knight of legendary prowess and a warlock who can apparently cause himself to grow functioning breasts without breaking a sweat.'

'Not to mention an old man with a terrifying Eyebrow of Doom,' Trojie added. Iza nodded emphatically. Oscar noted this with pleasure - he was beginning to realise just how fast his partner picked up enough canon knowledge to work with. A very useful talent.

'I'll do the thumping,' said Iza enthusiasticaly, waving the DVD boxes manic enthusiasm.

'And I'll exorcise, Oscar added. 'Which leaves you,' he said to Trojie, 'to ring your bell and snatch the baby.'

'Rightio,' said the veteran. 'Am I going to need to check Arthur for injury?' she asked with a hint of keenness.

'No!' said Oscar and Pads simultaneously. 'He's already been checked and pronounced injury-free by Gaius,' Oscar added.

'Damn,' muttered Trojie, just as Arthur concentrated on his son “Mordred” he finally said.

'Go!' Oscar hissed at Pads, and he and the other Agents hit the deck while the Animagus scuttled to the centre of the room and set off the stunner.

With multiple 'whump!'s and a wailing noise, Gaius, Merlin and Arthur all fell to the floor. Trojie immediately crawled over to grab the baby and then straightened up, beginning to toll her bell.
This noise increased the wailing from the baby.

'Avaunt!' Oscar began shouting as Iza set about the canons with the DVD box. 'Avaunt, ye spirit of male-pregnancy and non-con! I banish thee to the deepest reaches of the nether-hells, and command lack of punctuation, bad characterisation, gratuitous magic, gratuitous shirtlessness, and usurping of canon characters' names and places to go with you! Ye! Thee! Oh, whatever.'

The unusual finish didn't seem to affect the efficacy of the exorcism, Oscar noted - the Author-wraith was oozing from the characters with usual speed and glutinosity. It didn't have time to say anything, as Iza immediately leapt upon it waving hands and DVDs with equal ferocity. She dusted herself down once it was gone.

The canon characters were starting to come round, so Oscar chucked the neuralyser to his partner and went to retrieve the baby from Trojie, who was now standing next to Pads watching events with a presumably-critical eye.

The baby, Mordred (well, that name would have to go, for a start), seemed to be all present and correct and unharmed by both his unusual entry into the world or his ridiculously accelerated gestation period.

'... and you're here to tell Merlin to clean your armour better.' Iza was just finishing up with the exorcism. 'You're NOT about to go and have sex in Merlin's room.'

Troije coughed.

'You're NOT about to go and have BADLY-WRITTEN sex in Merlin's room,' Iza amended. 'The jury is apparently still out on whether you're having sex at all. And where. Personally I would go with Arthur's bed cos it looks much more comfortable and there's probably lots more room and things-'

This time it was Oscar who coughed.

'Anyway, proceed as you normally would,' Iza finished airily. 'Portal?' she asked of no-one in particular.

'We're done here,' Oscar agreed, fishing out his portal generator.

Trojie had to be dragged back into HQ, and closing the portal had to wait until Pads had frisked her partner and tossed back a candle, a small dagger and two dingy bottles of unknown substances that looked like they'd been taken from Gaius's shelves, but eventually everyone and everything was in its designated place.

The satisfied silence from PPC agents whose Duty for the moment has been discharged was broken by the sound of a crying child. Pads and Trojie slipped out in the direction of snuggles as Oscar held up the baby contemplatively.

'What on Earth are we going to call you?' he asked the little boy.

'Something heroic, like his dad!' Iza said. 'Like James Tiberius!'

Oscar paused, and looked hard at his partner. She appeared to be entirely sincere. 'I think we might get funny looks for naming him after Captain Kirk,' he said tentatively. 'But I think we could probably get away with James. In fact ... give me that DVD box?'

Iza passed it over.

'Perfect,' Oscar said, handing it back. 'James is the last name of the actor who plays Arthur. That's enough of a connection for the Nursery. Come on. And lock the door - once Trojie realises we've walked off with her DVDs there'll be hell to pay.'

And so Oscar, Iza and the newly named James Pendragon wandered down the corridor.

'You two again,' the Agent sitting behind the desk in the Nursery said. 'Continuum, parentage, name, any special circumstances?'

'BBC Merlin, by Edwin Muirden out of Arthur Pendragon, James Pendragon,' Iza reeled off. 'Gestation period was approximately six hours from conception to birth, no ill-effects observed so far. And he's very cute,' she added, brightly.

'So that'll be James Henson Pendragon,' the Agent said, writing it down.

'What?' Oscar asked, bewildered. He thought he ought to have been informed if he was going to have to take charge of all these babies.

'Oh, don't worry,' the Agent said airily. 'It's just a way of keeping track of who brought them in. We got the idea after your little jaunt to the Potterverse with Bad Slash, and from the foundling policy of Ankh-Morpork's Guilds.'

'Yes, but why my name?' Oscar asked. 'I do have a partner now, you know.'

'Yes, but your partner doesn't appear to have a last name on the books. Don't worry, she's listed here as well.'

'Actually,' Iza said, 'I've got a last name but not a first name on your books, because I'm Bajoran and we have different naming conventions from most other humanoid species!' She beamed - she liked talking about her Bajoran heritage.

'... Yes,' said the Agent eventually. 'Anyway, the point is, you're now down on the books as this kid's rescuer. You're building yourself a happy little family here, Agents.'

'Oh boy,' said Oscar dully. 'Just what I always wanted.'

'Oh boy!' said Iza at the same time. 'Just what I always wanted!'

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