Obligatory disclaimer:Merlin and all associated creative properties belong to BBC. I don't claim any said property as my own, and I make no monetary profit from this fan-made story. All creative property not associated with said channel belong to me, and their use is limited to my express permission. Thank you.
This isn't edited, please point out the mistake for me to fix.
Morgana was flipping through the pages of the file in front of her when she heard a knock on the door. She stared briefly at it, wandering why her secretary hadn't alerted her that someone wanted see her.
Despite the importance of the task, she would welcome any distraction right now. Her head had begun to ache.
"Come in." Morgana said, leaning forward to give the image that she'd been interrupted.
The door was pushed open and Merlin's head popped through the crack. "Are you busy?" His usual goofy smile was in place and his eyes were sparkling with glee.
How much she disliked his cheerfulness.
Morgana lifted the folder slightly so he could see it too, "Yes." Was all she said before she went back to pretend to be reading. A moment later, she realized that Merlin still hadn't left yet so she looked up.
His smile had faded.
"Did you need something?" She asked him.
His lips curved upward, "Can I come in?"
She nodded her head, "Please. But make it quick."
Merlin pushed the door further and walked inside. He sat down.
"So what brought you here?"
"Well," he scratched the back of his neck. Like always, he seemed nervous. "I thought that perhaps we could discuss the Tragers' deal over lunch."
Morgana almost growled at that. She was used to these sort of proposals from him at least once a week. She had turned him down every single time. Yes, she knew that he was only asking her so that the two of them could have a healthy work environment. But she had grew bored of his attempts. Even though she was putting the blame on him, she was well aware that she was the one to blame for what had happened to her.
Last year, when she had learned that Uther Pendragon was her father. Morgana had decided that she no longer needed his money. And so, she had resigned from her job at Pendragon Enterprises and started her own company with the money that the man who she had always assumed had been her father-Gorlois- had left her before he had died.
Unfortunately, she'd been having troubles lately. So many of them that she had almost gone to Uther for help but before that had happened, she had been shocked when she learned that her small company had been bought by another small company.
So technically, she worked for Merlin. He had been her boss for the past four months. However, he had always said that they were partners. Stubbornly, she refused to accept that idea, just like she had been refusing him with same excuse. Always the same one. She was busy.
"Like I said, Merlin, I have things to do." She patted the file on her desk.
Usually, he'd just stand up and leave her be. This time however, he had other plans. "What are you reading?" he asked as he snatched the folder from between her hands. He quickly flipped through it. His eyes brightened up. "This is the Tragers' deal I was talking about it."
She honestly didn't know. She had found the file on her desk when she had first come in this morning. "Yes, So?"
"Well we could go through it. Determine whether or not we should sign the contract." He said enthusiastically giving her the file back. "Together."
Merlin shrugged, "Why not?"
"Because," she began, "we have our weekly meetings for these sort of things."
"But that's on Friday." Merlin argued. "Why not speed things up?"
If she was surprised because his strange persistence, Morgana didn't show it. She appreciated all the efforts he was doing but all Morgana wanted was to have as little interaction with him as possible. "I'm quite satisfied with the current pace."
His shoulders slumped forward in disappointment. "All right." Merlin sighed and stood up. He looked as though he wanted to say something but he shook his head, flashed her a tight smile. "I'll leave you to it then. See you on Friday."
After that, Merlin was gone.
Finally, Morgana was able to growl. She rested her forehead on the desk.
Now she was feeling guilty because of what she was doing to him but she was still mad at herself for losing her company. Merlin was sweet, too sweet for someone to be the owner of two companies. But he was doing a perfect job running his business. Everyone loved him. Like she said; he was sweet, not to mention funny and smart.
But all she saw when she looked at him was an enemy that needed to be conquered.
Perhaps with time, she might begin to enjoy working with him. But never for him.
It was three hours later, almost four in the afternoon when her phone rang, Gwen's face appeared on the screen and Morgana quickly picked up the device. "I'm running late. I'll be over in…" She looked at her wristwatch. She had lost track of time going through the Tragers' file. "Half…"
"It's me." That definitely wasn't Gwen's voice.
"Arthur?" Morgana said rather surprised. "Where is Gwen?"
"She forgot her cellphone." Arthur replied. "Weren't you two supposed to meet?"
Morgana collapsed heavily on the couch in her office. "I had a lot of things to do before leaving. I just finished work. Gwen's probably waiting in front of my flat's door."
"You still in your office?" she could hear disbelieve in his tone.
Morgana rolled her eyes and stood up again. She grabbed her handbag. "I already told you that I just finished. I should probably get going…she's probably worried that she didn't find her cell."
"Just tell her that to phone me when you see her, I promis—" Arthur trailed off. She could hear a muffled noises coming from the other side of the line. He'd been interrupted. "Talk to you later."
It was rare for Arthur to dismiss her like that. Nevertheless, she didn't think much of it. "All right." She said to no one as she put her phone on the desk and started to collect various papers.
Morgana was about to retrieve her cell when she noticed that its screen was lit up, she reached forward and noticed that Arthur had forgotten to end the call. Scoffing at her brother's negligence , she was about to press the red button on the screen when for some unknown reason, she drew the phone near to her ear and listened.
The voices coming from the other end were clear yet hushed.
"It went that horribly?" Come Arthur's voice.
"Even worse." She recognized the owner of the voice instantly. It was Merlin.
Another reason that she disliked Merlin. Not only had he stole her company, but in four months he had managed to gain Arthur's trust and become his best friend after such label had been hers for so many years.
"I thought so when you didn't call to tell me how it went. Seriously, Merlin how hard could it be to ask her out on a date?" Arthur asked, he sounded amused.
Morgana raised an eyebrow. She wasn't aware that Merlin had a love interest. From what she was hearing so far, it seemed like it was a one sided thing. Morgana was about to end to the call when Merlin spoke again.
"You know quite well why your sister keeps saying no to me." Merlin said; his tone sad. "She hates me."
Morgana's eyes widened and she almost dropped the phone. She couldn't believe that Merlin was talking about her.
And when did he ask her out, he'd never…..her brow creased as she recalled Merlin's recent visit. He had asked her out for a lunch but it was only to discuss work.
Certainly, that wasn't his way of asking her out, was it? Because if that was true, it only meant that, what she had assumed to be attempts to lessen the tension between them were actually his way of asking her on a date.
Morgana couldn't believe the conclusion that she had come to.
Merlin fancied her? If that wasn't enough; Arthur knew about it and didn't tell her?
"Come on, Merlin, you know that's not true. Hate is a strong word to describe how she feels about you." She heard Arthur say and she held her breath waiting for whatever Merlin was about to say next.
"Sorry, you're right." His tone was dripping with sarcasm. "Morgana likes to hate me…Oh! Wait, she loves to hate me."
In the background, Arthur laughed and Morgana bit on her bottom lip. She felt like she had heard enough, but inside her chest, her heart was pounding. "I'm glad you find my suffering amusing to you." There was a sound of chair scratching the floor. "One Pendragon getting on my nerve is quite enough. I can't handle the two of you." Arthur's enjoyment seemed to annoy him, Morgana gathered and Merlin clearly wasn't happy about it.
"Sit down, Merlin. I'm just kidding."
Merlin snapped, "I came here to vent not to be laughed at."
"Fine. Don't get mad," Her brother tried to calm him, "Perhaps you should just stop trying. You're currently on the top of the list of people that Morgana can't stand. You should be flattered. Such honour used be my father's."
Morgana gritted her teeth. Arthur was really exaggerating. Uther had and would always be the first one on that list.
Merlin was probably the third or the fourth on it. "You know I just cannot stop. You know very well how I feel about Morgana."
Arthur teased, "You love her."
"I wish. I'm in love with her, Arthur." Merlin sounded almost apologetic. He huffed, "Heartache wasn't what I signed in for when I purchased 'Le Fay for shipment'."
Feeling that she had heard enough of Merlin declaration of love, Morgana hastily ended the call. She threw her phone on the desk. Her hands were shaking and her mind was churning.
She couldn't focus on one thing, she ran a hand through her hair. All thoughts about her plans with Gwen evaporated as she began to remember all the encounters that she had had with Merlin.
Morgana sat in her flat. It was drowning in darkness, yet surprisingly she found comfort in the gloomy atmosphere. A glass of red wine was in her hand as she sat in the rocking chair.
She could finally think clearly. Morgana was well aware that she couldn't confront Merlin about what she had heard.
She had had an idea about taking an advantage of the opportunity that had represented itself to her.
She had been looking for ways to retake her company and business but closed doors always hit her. Morgana had considered seducing Merlin and tricking him into thinking that she too fancied him back.
For her it seemed like a small role to play but internally Morgana doubted her ability to do it. To Merlin. He was nice lad and she was sure that he didn't deserve what had been going inside her mind.
In the end, Morgana decided that the next time he'd invite her out, she'd accept. It was the least she could do. Perhaps Merlin wasn't among the people that she favourite. But if she were to be honest with herself, Merlin had saved her company and her pride. Because if she had actually gone to Uther for help, she'd always feel like she'd be in debt to him and that wasn't something that she wished to feel.
She would talk to Merlin, be honest with him and help him move on.
There is nothing more painful than loving someone who doesn't love you back. Morgana vowed that she'd spare him the ache.
The day of the meeting came, Morgana found herself driving towards Merlin's firm-the one he had before buying hers- with an unsettling feeling, and she had no idea why.
The reunion with Merlin and the heads of divisions in both companies had gone well and like always uneventful and boring.
When it ended and the employees started to leave the conference room, Merlin had asked her to stay a bit longer. It wasn't unusual but his tone and the look on his face were alarming. She knew that something bad was about to happen.
Morgana nodded her head, "Okay."
When they were finally the only ones in there, Merlin cleared his throat and she took a deep breath. "I don't think this partnership is working for me anymore."
"I beg your pardon?" she stuttered, her heart skipped a beat.
Merlin looked away briefly as though it was hard for him to say what was on his mind while his eyes were on her. "I know this is sudden—"
"Sudden?" Morgana asked, breathless.
Arthur's words rang inside her head 'Perhaps you should stop trying'. That had been her brother's way of telling Merlin to move past his feelings for her.
Had Merlin actually listened to him?
Moving on is hard when you have to work with person you love.
"Are you firing me?"
His eyes widened, "What? No, no…" He shook his head, "I'm not going to fire you—"
"But you said that you no longer wanted to work with me." She reminded him.
"Yes, I did," he replied as he breathed in deeply, "but what I really mean what that I'm going to sell your company."
Confused, she frowned, "Why? You've been making loads of money since buying it."
She knew that it wasn't. He loved her and he thought that what she felt towards him was only hate. He was trying to protect his heart. She couldn't blame him for doing so. "How is it complicated?"
He looked surprised by her question. Still, he said nothing.
She reached for his hand, temporarily forgetting how unwise such action was. "You can tell me, Merlin, you know you can."
He tensed under her touch and withdrew from her. "No, I can't."
Morgana stared down at her hand, what he had just done had hurt her. "It's because of me, is it not?" her voice was weak.
He simply shrugged, he didn't even looked alarmed. Did he know that she knew about his feelings?
The answer to that came sooner than expected.
"It's not your fault, Morgana." He said slowly with a small smile. "You've been your own boss for a year. You started your own business and you worked hard. I don't blame you for hating me after taking away what was yours. For me, it was just business, I didn't intend on you to take it personally…."
She cut him off. "I don't hate you, Merlin. I never did."
Taken aback, his lips parted in a silent gasp... He still didn't want to confess his true feelings to her and she felt like she could do something to ease his wounded heart. "I don't hate you. I was angry with myself and I let it out on you. I'm so sorry."
He swallowed hard and stood up, "I thought you'd be happy with the news."
"I am." She lied.
He looked right through her fib. "You don't look like you are."
"I'm just a bit surprised that's all." She sighed, "I'd like to buy my company."
A smile played on his lips, unlike the previous one, this one was real. "I know. Why do you think I told you first?"
"I don't have the money."
"How much time do you need to get it?"
She got to her feet too, "Not soon enough."
He tilted his head, "How much time?"
"All right then. In seven months, hopefully, it'd be like the past four never happened." Morgana knew that he was talking about himself.
Morgana didn't see him again until the next meeting. Usually, he'd come by her office twice a week. But she did talk to him few times on the phone. After all, she was still working for him. With each call she got from him, she'd expect one of his proposals.
He let her down each time.
After a month of the same treatment, Morgana was ready to admit that she was missing him. A two-hours reunion wasn't enough for her anymore. Especially that those two hours were spent talking solely about work. She missed his lopsided smile, his lovable personality and most of all she missed his presence in her life. He had even began to avoid the places he'd know she'd be there.
Arthur blamed her for it and she continued to act as if she didn't know what he was talking about.
One Friday morning, Merlin walked into the conference room. And for the first time since she had started = working for him, her heart leaped from joy and she couldn't help but smile.
He smiled back and greeted everyone in the room.
Morgana pretended that she wasn't hurt when the smile he sent his way wasn't genuine.
She spent the entire meeting pondering why his presence had such a reaction on her. When the meeting was over and with Merlin wasting no time to escape her, she knew why.
She was falling for him.
Surprisingly, she was happy about it.
Morgana went after him and asked if they could speak privately and he nodded his head and led her towards his office.
"Don't tell me you've already managed to gather the money."
She chuckled, "No, but there is something that I wanted to tell you and I really want to be honest with you about it."
He raised an eyebrow, "It sounds serious." Merlin went behind his desk to sit.
"It is." She confirmed, sitting on the chair across from him.
"Go on." He prompted, leaning on his elbows.
"Well, considering that in five months we will go back into being two rival companies, I think it's time that we give friendship a try."
"Friendship?" he asked, confused. "You want us to be…."
She finished for him, "Friends, yes."
Looking clueless made him adorable, Morgana's stomach flipped flopped at the sight.
"Is it a yes or no?" she asked when he remained silent. She hopped that he didn't say no, she didn't know what she'd do if he did.
Morgana breathed in relief and held her hand out, "Let's shake on it, then."
They did and the feeling of his skin against hers, made her temperature rise.
Merlin leaned back against his chair. "Can I ask you why now? Why ever?"
Morgana shrugged, "As your friend, I'm entitled to warn you."
"Warn me?" he asked with a frown.
"Yup," she said popping the p. "I was yours, I think it's only fair if you'll be mine but not just for the same period of time but rather longer."
His frown deepened, "I don't understand."
"I'm going after your company." She deadpanned.
His face fell, "Because I went after yours?"
"No, because you didn't just steal my company, Merlin, you managed to steal my heart as well and it wasn't your firm I was referring to when I said company. So, would you like to go out with me?"
A/N: Please review.