Title: Until you're mine (1/2).
Characters/Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Gwen/Morgana.
Warnings: Crack fic. Silliness. AU: modern times.
Summary: Arthur sucks at stalking.
A/N: This is a Camelot's Advisor companion piece. Especial thanks to the brilliant Anbessette who is helping me with the beta and endures my rants.
Disclaimer: Merlin belongs to the BBC, the fantasies are all mine.
Until you're mine.
Merlin felt like a monkey in an exhibit behind this counter, but a job was a job. He needed it to pay for his classes since his mum was having a hard time with money lately. He didn't want to be a burden to her, after what she'd gone through to give him an education. This was the best offer he could take, since it was part-time, the money was enough, and he didn't need a degree. He just answered the phone and received guests and mail; an idiot could do it, which it didn't make Merlin feel better, but it was too late for complaints. He was there, working at the Pendragon Company, smiling at every person no matter how rude they were.
It wasn't that bad, Gwen was there with him. She was the assistant of one of the biggest executives, and she was the one who got him the job in the first place. They were classmates at University, and had become close friends. She was a life saver. If it wasn't for her, Merlin probably would have dropped out of school and started working full time. She was the nicest girl Merlin had ever met. They shared lunch, and talked about work and classes.
"How are you doing Merlin? Do you like the job?"
"Honestly, I don't. Anyone could do it, but I can't complain."
"Clearly, you can," smiled Gwen. "This is only temporary. When you get back on your feet, you'll move on."
"That's what you said, and you are still here after two years."
"Yeah, but I started like you, and now I'm an assistant. I like it."
"I'm no good at taking orders, that's why I didn't take the job at Burger King."
"Or at Starbuck's, the newspaper, McDonald's … I think you are too exigent."
"Mum says I'm picky."
Perhaps he was. Merlin wasn't the type to settle for anything. He worked hard for what he wanted. Something these big executives hardly did. They seemed too arrogant to actually have worked their way through like he and Gwen had. There was a particular blond airhead who always made Merlin mad. He treated everyone like they were his personal slaves, he was the worst. Good thing he didn't have to deal with him.
Or so he thought. One morning the blonde idiot decided to just annoy Merlin.
"Any messages?" he asked like Merlin was his personal secretary.
Merlin just stared without answering.
"Are you deaf?" the blond frowned.
"No, I'm wondering if you are dumb."
"What? Who the hell are you?"
"That's none of your business. If you want your messages, you should ask your secretary, I patch through all the calls to them."
"Do you even know who I am? Because I'm pretty sure that if you knew, you wouldn't be this rude and useless."
"No, I don't know, nor do I care. I treat you like you treat me. If you want respect, show some to others once in a while."
"How dare you –"
Fortunately, the phone started ringing, so Merlin had an excuse to cut the blond's rant short and just ignore him. When Merlin looked up, he was gone. Good, maybe he understood that the world didn't revolve around him. Stupid prat.
During lunch, Merlin still was worked up because of the blond airhead. And he shared his frustrations with Gwen, who listened patiently with some sort of amusement in her eyes.
"And you didn't even catch his name?" she asked curiously.
"What's the point? He's just another prat who thinks he's better than everyone else."
"What did he look like?"
"Well… he was blond. Blue eyes, he looked about my height or a little bit shorter."
"Oh. Merlin, dear… that… well… he is…"
"Hello, Merlin." Merlin looked up, seeing Lancelot smiling at him.
"Merlin, I have to go. See you later?"
"Sure, Gwen. Bye!"
Gwen smiled at Lancelot, and as soon as she got up, she noticed how he sat down almost immediately. He had a crush on Merlin, she knew it. However, she could see that Merlin's attention was being captured by another guy.
Arthur Pendragon, the owner's son. If Merlin knew… To him, he was the blond airhead who was rude and inconsiderate. Still, he had talked about him for their entire lunch break. This could be interesting.
Good thing Merlin didn't know who her boss was, because then he would freak.
"Gwen, did you make the appointment with Camelot's Industries?" Arthur asked as soon as she stepped into the office.
"Yes, three o'clock." Gwen looked at Arthur, who seemed upset. "Arthur, are you okay?"
"Who is the moron in reception? Did you know we have a new temp?"
"Yes, Valerie is on maternity leave."
"What? She was pregnant? How did I miss that?"
"No offence Arthur, but you hardly notice other employees around you. I'm surprised you realized about the new temp."
"He made himself noticeable. He had no idea who I was. Does he live under a rock or something? Who doesn't know who I am?"
"Apparently, he doesn't."
Arthur kept grumbling about the idiot in reception for almost two hours. Gwen knew instantly. It was love at first sight.
And when Arthur Pendragon was in love that meant danger.
She told Morgana about it, expecting her to intervene.
"He stayed at Merlin's counter for almost an hour, Morgana. I told Merlin that he was one of the biggest executives and was probably supervising his job, but he is getting suspicious."
"Honestly, Arthur should have a manual so we can know how to deactivate his stupidity. Merlin is annoyed?"
"A little bit. He complains about Arthur every day at lunch, I can't believe he still hasn't figured out who Arthur is."
"Let's keep it that way. My brother seemed attracted by Merlin's honesty. If he knew that Arthur is the owner's son, he would change his attitude."
"I doubt it. Merlin doesn't care who the person is, if someone is rude, he will be loud about it. I think they're a good match."
"I think so too. Let me call Arthur and see how in love he sounds."
Morgana took out her cell phone, dialling Arthur's number, and put him on speaker.
"What do you want?" Arthur's voice echoed.
"I was thinking of inviting you over dinner. Gwen is here too."
"I can't. I'm busy."
"Doing what exactly? Nailing another secretary, I presume?"
"Just because you defied father doing whatever it is you do for a living doesn't mean the rest of us don't have important jobs. You only flash your breasts and obtain money."
"Oh, honey, don't be jealous. You can get breasts like mine if you want to. I'll even buy them for you."
"Morgana, I'm busy, I have to go."
Cleaning personnel to aisle four. Cleaning personnel to aisle four.
Morgana glanced at Gwen, who only shrugged.
"Arthur, where are you?"
"Mind your own business," he spat. "Crap, he saw me!"
"Who?" Morgana had a bad feeling about this.
"Shut up! Damn, I lost him, are you happy?" Arthur sounded angry. "How can he move this fast? He's a clumsy idiot!"
"Arthur," Morgana said "what exactly are you doing?"
"I have to go, don't call me again, I'm busy!"
Arthur hung up, leaving Morgana wondering what the hell was he doing.
"Please tell me he isn't following Merlin."
"I think he is. It sounded like he was in a supermarket."
"It should be illegal to be this dumb."
"I would say poor Merlin, Gwen. Imagine having Arthur Pendragon courting you. It's almost like a curse."
"Oh, don't say that. I think he's sweet."
"Really? Did you find him sweet when he showed up in our apartment and caught us snogging?"
Gwen shuddered at the memory. Arthur had tried to court her when she started working for the Pendragons. She tried to be polite and make him understand she was seeing someone else, but Arthur didn't get it and one night he pretended to surprise her by setting up a romantic dinner in her apartment. Of course he almost had a heart attack when he saw Gwen and Morgana kissing on the couch; he yelled and he kept saying that Morgana always took his stuff while Morgana rebuked him with tons of stories about Arthur being a spoiled child. Gwen was between the siblings for days until they reached an understanding.
Still, Arthur had asked a few times if they'd let him watch.
"His intentions were good," said Gwen finally "but I agree that he can be scary. Merlin is a great guy, I'm sure he has a good shot with him."
"My brother probably is debating about how he can be attracted to a guy. He is dense like that. When he passes that stage, then perhaps we can help."
"Do you think it will take long? Merlin is talking about quitting." Gwen frowned.
"For his own good, I hope not." Morgana sighed "Come on, let's have dinner."
Morgana was working on her laptop when she heard a loud bang on her door. Closing it, she stood up, frowning. Who could be at her door at five in the afternoon?
When she opened the door, the last thing she expected to see was Arthur leaning against the frame, with his suit ragged and his cheek scratched.
"Oh my god!" Morgana was shocked. What the hell had happened?
"Let me in, you witch. I need you to fix me."
Stepping aside, Morgana watched Arthur limp his way in, sitting heavily on the couch.
"Why didn't you go a hospital? What happened? Someone mugged you?"
"No. It's nothing; I just don't have a medical kit in my flat. Maybe I should buy one… but then I have no idea how to use it. Is Gwen around?"
"Arthur, it's five in the afternoon, she's working. You should know that, you are her boss."
"Oh, right. Well, patch me up and I'll be on my way."
"Yes, your majesty," she said mockingly. "Who do you think I am? Florence Nightingale?"
"I knew coming here was a bad idea. Just do it, all right?"
"Fine, fine." Morgana went to the bathroom to gather alcohol and bandages. She had no idea of how to use those things, but she'd seen Gwen do it plenty of times when Arthur got drunk and started fights. It couldn't be that hard.
She started cleaning Arthur's wounds, expecting him to explain everything. Since he stayed silent, only wincing when Morgana scrubbed his cheek, she sighed.
"You still haven't explained what happened," she said casually.
"None of your business." Morgana pressed the gauze harder on Arthur's cheek "Hey! That stings!"
"I know. Talk or I'll tell father about this."
"I fell out a tree, okay?"
"You heard me."
"Why did you fell out a tree? Why were you up a tree in the first place?" Morgana lifted an eyebrow.
"I was saving a cat."
"Since when do you care about cats in trees?" Morgana knew a lie when she heard one.
"I'm trying this new thing; being a better person."
"You can't be a better person," Morgana smirked. "You can barely be a person at all."
"Funny. Let it go, I saved the stupid cat and I fell, that's it."
"So, instead of being at work like you were supposed to be, you decided to save a cat? What, you got up today and said 'Oh, this is a good day to save a cat' and then went looking for one? I think you're going mental."
"I don't care what you think. I don't criticise your life even when I have no idea what you do for a living. I think you are a porn star, you have that cocksucker vibe going on."
"It takes one to know one," she spat. "And trust me darling, if I was a porn star, I would have bought your entire company already; I'm that good."
Morgana knew Arthur was extremely curious about what she did for a living. Uther had decided her life, who should she marry, in what company she should work, even her children's names. She had been emancipated from the Pendragons at seventeen and started her own business. Even when she and Uther eventually made peace, she didn't tell him or Arthur about how she had managed to get wealthy on her own. Uther told her he hoped she wasn't involved in any 'immoral and illegal' business while Arthur just kept guessing what she did. According to her brother she only had talent for two things: escort and porn star.
Sometimes she was sad to see how Arthur was living up to Uther's expectations and had forgotten about his own.
Arthur didn't say anything else, and even when Morgana suggested going to a hospital to make sure he didn't break anything, he said he was fine and left before Gwen arrived. Morgana knew Arthur had injured himself being the idiot he was, but she hardly could guess what his motivation was for him to be in that tree.
Gwen brought Italian food, and while they were eating their pasta (she loved to share the dishes with Gwen), her girlfriend laughed quietly.
"You know, it isn't nice that you laugh when you're having dinner with your girlfriend."
"I'm sorry, I just remembered something. Merlin came to see me after my shift."
"Didn't he have classes?"
"His last class was at seven. He was truly scared. He said that he saw Arthur outside his classroom window."
"What?" Morgana had a bad feeling about this.
"Yes, he said he glanced outside the window and saw Arthur standing outside. I told him he was probably hallucinating; his classroom was on the third floor. Arthur couldn't possibly float up there to spy on him."
"You'd be surprised," Morgana muttered. Arthur was truly an idiot.
"What do you mean?"
"Gwen… Is there a tree outside Merlin's school? Like, in front of the building where he takes classes?"
"I don't know… wait, yes, I think so, he has mentioned how he enjoys spending time reading against the tree, enjoying the shadow. How did you know about it?"
"Oh, I think Arthur has reached a new low, even for him. Guess who appeared all bruised this afternoon?"
"I'm guessing Arthur, but still I don't see the connection."
"Well, my brother said, and I quote, 'I fell out a tree'."
Morgana waited until she saw how Gwen widened her eyes in realisation.
"Don't tell me that Arthur…"
"Yes, he took the concept of stalking to a whole new level." She smiled. "Still think he is sweet?"
"Okay, fine, I agree he's being a little bit scary. Why does he do that?"
"Arthur always denies his feelings, he's probably falling for Merlin, hard, and he thinks stalking him will lead to something else."
"So, is he over the denial stage?"
"Yes, now he is in the scary 'I can have whatever I want and that includes you' stage. You remember that one, don't you?"
Gwen smiled. Of course she remembered; she had felt like a toy between the siblings for a while. She loved Morgana, but when she and Arthur had a feud, they were worse than 5 year olds.
"It's time, then?"
"Yes, I believe that Camelot's advisor will be their best option."
Gwen listened to Merlin while he complained about seeing Arthur in his favourite café.
"I see him everywhere, Gwen; I think I'm losing my mind! This job is messing with my head. Isn't it enough that he spends an hour being all rude at my counter almost every day, now I have to endure seeing him in my favourite places too? I'm quitting!"
"Merlin, you need the job. Have you thought about getting help?"
"Like a psychiatrist? I think he's the one who needs that kind of help."
Gwen couldn't argue with that.
"No, I mean… like an advice column."
"Those are for girls," he scoffed.
"Of course not, I know this website that has a very good reputation. I believe they can help you; you can't lose anything."
"This shows how desperate I am. I guess I could try…"
"That's the spirit. I think you won't regret it."
Phase one, completed.
The next day Gwen noticed Arthur in the small coffee room, talking to Merlin. She got a glimpse of their conversation.
"So, you are poor," Arthur said, probably believing he was sympathetic.
"What?" Merlin looked angrily at him.
"You are poor. That must be… bad." Arthur frowned. Even he could tell this wasn't going well.
"And you care because…?" Merlin took his cup of coffee, probably thinking of throwing it at Arthur at any given moment.
"You don't have to be rude. I was trying to be nice, it's not my fault you are too stupid to understand that."
"I'm stupid? I can't believe this! You are the worst spoiled prat I have ever met!"
Merlin stormed off the room, fuming. Gwen sighed. Oh, Arthur…
When she entered the coffee room, Arthur was muttering about how 'ears' was extremely difficult.
"Hello, Arthur," she said.
"What are you doing here? This is the employees' coffee room, the executive's one is upstairs."
"I was passing by, this is my company and I don't have to explain why I spend time in some places."
Gwen knew Uther had already reprimanded Arthur because he spent an entire hour harassing Merlin instead of doing his job. Of course, Uther didn't know what he did in that time; he just knew he wasn't available like he was supposed to be.
"You like Merlin, right?" Gwen decided to be direct.
"So Ears' name is Merlin. It's as stupid as he is. I knew he must have a ridiculous name with that scarf he wears."
Gwen couldn't help but notice that Arthur wasn't denying it. She had expected him to get all defensive and angry because she suggested he could like Merlin. Morgana was the best, definitely.
"Arthur, have you thought about getting help with this?"
"What? Like therapy? Father suggested that too when I was dating Sophia. Look, just because I also like guys doesn't make me crazy. I thought you would understand, being a lesbian and Morgana's girlfriend on top of that."
"I didn't mean that," Gwen clarified. "I meant more like an advice column."
"Those are for women!" Arthur looked offended. Honestly, those two were more alike than they thought.
"Well Arthur, you haven't been with a guy before. And I know this column that could help you. It's completely anonymous, you can be totally honest and see what happens." Gwen smiled persuasively.
"Well, I kissed Leon once; I'm not totally inexperienced with other guys. Besides, I'd feel like an idiot."
If Morgana was there she would have said 'That's because you are one'. Gwen had more tact. That didn't mean she didn't think it from time to time.
"Are you sure this is confidential?" Arthur said.
"I guarantee you, it's perfectly safe. You can try it once, and if you don't like it, then you can keep stalking Merlin the old fashioned way."
Arthur, reluctantly, took the piece of paper where Gwen wrote down the address for the advice column. She thought they had intervened just in time when she saw a package for Arthur at the front desk that contained night goggles and a small satellite dish with earphones. Just to be safe, she hid the package behind her desk. Hopefully this would work and Arthur won't need those things anymore.
After reading what the advisor said, Merlin was considering psychiatric help instead. First, this person thought he was a woman, which gave every comment Will had made about him being too gentle a new perspective. Second, he/she/it asked if the prat was 'cute'. Merlin hadn't considered this. He was handsome, yeah. And had an amazing butt, those suits were tight enough in that particular area for him to notice it. That didn't mean he was checking the guy out, he just happened to realise this when he leaned down on his counter to be the insufferable jerk he usually was. Honestly, didn't he have a job to do? Why he kept coming to Merlin's counter and pestering him was a mystery.
Merlin was talking to Lancelot, when Prattish Blond Airhead appeared out of nowhere. How did he do that?
"Hello, Ears!" he said in his obnoxious voice.
"I told you my name is Merlin!" he said without bothering to turn around. "What do you want now, prat?"
"You see, you ask me to call you Merlin and yet you don't call me by my name either."
"Maybe because I don't know your bloody name, and I don't care. I'm busy, please leave my work area." Merlin fought hard to avoid turning around and glaring at the guy. He would punch him if he wasn't against physical violence.
"Lancelot, don't you have work to do?" Stupid Blond said dryly.
Lancelot seemed surprised, and looked at Merlin apologetically.
"Yes sir, I'm sorry. See you around, Merlin."
"Have a good day, Lancelot," Merlin beamed. He liked Lancelot, he was nice. Not as handsome as Blond Airhead, but at least he treated him with respect.
"I'm hurt. You never wished me a good day," Cute Butt Blond said in almost a sad tone. Merlin knew better.
"Look, what do you want now? I already told you that if you get calls or packages, I send them to your assistant. I don't even know your name, let's just keep it that way, okay? Go on and do important stuff and I'll be here answering phones and waiting to be able to quit."
"What? Don't be ridiculous, when Violet is due to come back, you can get another job here."
"First, it's Valerie. Second, I don't want another job. I'm just working while I finish my art major, and I'm four months away. Not all of us have money to throw around on women and alcohol like you people do." Merlin was breathing slowly, trying to be calm.
"Hey, there's gambling too," added Blond, like it was a good thing. "And as I see it, if you are an art major, you'll need the job anyway. You're sure to starve otherwise. That's a pretty useless career."
"I don't expect you to understand art," sneered Merlin. "You probably only know how to be pretty and spend money."
"You think I'm pretty?" Blond smiled maliciously.
"I didn't say that, it was an insult!" Merlin was getting agitated with this conversation, as usually happened when Blond Airhead talked with him for more than ten minutes.
"Here, I'll do something nice for you," Blond said. "I'll help you burn that horrible scarf you're wearing."
Merlin looked appalled. The nerve of this guy!
"My mother gave me this scarf," he said curtly. Maybe this way blond prat would just leave him alone.
"Oh, then I see where you got the bad taste from. Don't worry about being poor, you can still buy things with good taste on e-bay. I can help you with that and point out what you should purchase. Being tacky is hardly your fault."
That was it! Merlin had enough of this idiotic prat. Nice butt or not, he couldn't bear to spend any more time with him. He just turned around, leaving him standing there. Good thing the messenger arrived at that precise moment, that way Merlin could avoid him. Stupid Blond wouldn't follow him when they were in the main hall. He only bothered him when he was at his counter or in the coffee room.
He needed advice, and he needed it now.
Arthur was astonished. Ears had just left, without saying anything. He was being polite! How could he be this rude and leave him in the middle of their conversation? Honestly, what was wrong with this guy? Arthur was considering therapy; he seemed to be attracted only to psychos. Sophia was kind of a sociopath; Leon was weird; and now Ears was acting like a mental patient. Nevertheless, if Ears didn't stab him with a fork, he still counted it as a win. Arthur had learned a valuable lesson: never break up with a sociopath during dinner time with a lot of sharp object within reach. Good thing Sophia grabbed the fork and not the knife. Father had a restraining order against her, but Arthur still couldn't look forks the same way. Bloody Morgana always served food that needed a fork every time she invited him over for dinner. She was as bad as whoever ran that stupid website where he was asking advice. It crossed Arthur's mind that perhaps Morgana was the one who owned that place, but it was a lame job, even for her.
Nah, Morgana was an escort, he was sure. That would explain all the cleavage she showed whenever she had the opportunity. Honestly, it was a waste, having those breasts and being a lesbian. Just because Arthur now was obsessed with Ears and his long neck didn't mean he was blind. He could be on a diet, and still check out the menu. Too bad Gwen was the one involved with his evil sister. He respected Gwen; that was why he'd stopped the dry remarks against Morgana. Of course, when the witch provoked him, it was hardly his fault.
Ears was playing hard to get, Arthur concluded. Then he would show him his gentlemanly side. He was raised under Uther Pendragon the dictator's rules; it was time for him to use them.
It was raining, perfect. Ears had classes from four to seven (and it wasn't like he'd memorised Ears' schedule, he just happened to know because he knew his employees), and he was late already. Finding a cab in this weather was impossible. Then it was time for the King in shining armour to enter the scene.
Arthur had the best car. That and his butt guaranteed women always throwing themselves at him. He would show his best smile and that should be enough to make Ears fall for him.
Taking his car out of the parking lot, Arthur drove fast so Ears could see how amazing his car was and then stopped right in front of him. When he opened the door to offer him a ride, he noticed Ears was soaking wet. Poor thing, he was probably out in the rain for too long, although it wasn't raining anymore, it was weird that he'd gotten this wet. He looked like a drowned cat, but as Arthur was trying to be nice, he wouldn't say so out loud.
"Need a lift?" he said, flashing his smile.
Ears looked at him like he was crazy. He seemed really upset, but it wasn't Arthur's fault he was wet; he was the idiot who stood outside without an umbrella. Why was he angry at him?
"There's not enough money in this world to make me get on your stupid car," he said coldly, and then turned around and walked away, leaving the door open. Arthur was speechless. What the hell just happened?
Ears was stupider than Arthur thought. How could he refuse to ride a convertible? It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Of course, if Arthur managed to ask him out or something, then they could have sex in the car. Arthur imagined Ears, all flushed in his car… okay, this was taking a dangerous path. He had to stop fantasising about Ears in the middle of the day. His father was getting suspicious when every meeting Arthur kept blushing and saying weird things. Ears had enchanted him, there was no other option. He couldn't like someone this idiotic without some kind of spell being involved.
Arthur spent the rest of the afternoon in stores searching for scarves. Maybe if he gave Ears a pretty and elegant scarf, he would see how considerate he was and that he was being unreasonable. When he saw the reply from the dude on the advice page, he sighed. He'd already bought Ears a wonderful scarf, very expensive, and yet the advisor said Ears wasn't interested in money. Too bad, Arthur was pretty generous with his girlfriends/boyfriend (well, Leon hadn't been exactly his boyfriend, he'd still given him a nice watch), he felt like this was a new game. He was used to buying people; after all, they were always more interested in his money more than him. That was why he liked Ears so much. He was genuine, honest and strong-minded. Arthur hadn't told Ears his name because when people found out he was the owner's son, they changed around him. Gwen was the only one who still treated him the same; however, Arthur suspected that was because of Morgana. No, he would ask Ears out for lunch like the advisor told him, and then if it worked out, he would tell Merlin his real name. In the meantime he was thinking of using an alias, he just needed to think of one before Ears agreed to go out with him. Good thing he'd forbidden every employee to use his name. The last thing he wanted was for Ears to know about his true identity. This was costing him bigger Christmas bonuses for all the workers who played along, but hey, he had the money. If his father asked, he would say it was an incentive for the personnel.
Merlin was considering asking Will to help him with Idiot Blonde. It was weird that Merlin still didn't know his name, but Gwen told him it was best for him to just ignore that information, and somehow everyone around him acted like Blond Prat was a stranger. He asked a few co-workers about the blond and they all shrugged and said they didn't know him. Perhaps Merlin was right and he was a mental patient. An unstable one that could shoot at them if they opposed him; that would explain why everyone seemed oblivious of his constant presence at Merlin's counter. They even acted like it was normal.
Gawain broke his ankle when he was rushing out to buy lunch for the executives. He was in charge of purchasing food for the good for nothing suits that were on the fifth floor. Merlin was asked to cover Gawain, and since it meant extra money, Merlin could hardly refuse. Maybe this way he could quit faster. Will had said he wouldn't kiss Merlin because he had a girlfriend and didn't swing that way. And filing a sexual harassment complaint seemed too much.
Gawain was giving Merlin instructions about how to do his job (it was buying lunch, how hard could it be?), when Blond Idiot appeared again at his counter.
Merlin was blatantly ignoring the guy, looking at Gawain, who had suddenly gone silent.
"You are grabbing lunch with me," Blond kept talking. "See you later."
It took all his self-control to just not yell at the idiot blond. How did he find out about Merlin covering Gawain? It happened this morning. The blond was going to be insufferable, acting like Merlin was his personal servant.
"Who the hell is that guy?" Merlin asked, knowing Gawain would tell him the truth.
"He's one of the senior executives," Gawain said quietly.
"Do you know his name?"
Gawain looked anxious. Why would he be nervous? Was he afraid of losing his job?
"Look, Merlin… that guy… he likes his lunch with special ingredients."
"Yeah… like… he only likes a certain type of mustard on his baguette. Here, let me write down the brand for you so you can find something to his taste."
"Are you honestly telling me I have to spend my entire lunch break looking for a stupid baguette because a spoiled child only likes a certain type of mustard?"
Gawain smiled ruefully, answering Merlin's rhetorical question anyway.
That was how Merlin ended up going to five different places, looking for the stupid baguette with the special mustard. He couldn't wait to quit this stupid job.
Arthur was looking for Ears, since he wasn't behind his counter. He wasn't in the coffee room, and when he asked around, everyone kept telling him they hadn't seen him. Where the hell was that idiot?
He was walking in one of the hallways when he finally saw him getting out the elevator.
"Fourth, I hope that prat works on this damn floor," he heard Ears saying.
"Where the fuck have you been, Merlin? I told you about lunch!" he said, more forcefully than he would have liked.
"Look, you didn't even tell me which floor you worked on and Gawain was incredibly unhelpful. I've been on every floor so far, looking for the idiot blond because I don't even know your name. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, and I don't blame them. Here!" Merlin shoved the bag he had in his hands at Arthur's chest so he could take it.
"What's this?" Arthur frowned. He didn't remember leaving a bag at the reception counter.
When Arthur peeked inside the bag, he froze. This idiot… Why in seven hells had he brought him a baguette?
"I had to go to five different places to get that thing because of course his majesty only wants special mustard. What kind of an idiot wants special mustard? Mustard is mustard, there's no difference between the brands except the price. I hope you're happy, I wasted my entire lunch break looking for your baguette."
Oh, my god. How dense could this guy be? He honestly went and brought him this? He'd said clearly that they were going out for lunch, not that he wanted him to bring him lunch.
"You truly are stupid," said Arthur, throwing away the baguette.
Okay, wrong thing to say and do. Merlin got loud and started ranting about how he was an inconsiderate prat and he could piss off and die. Arthur was amused. As Merlin shouted, his face was going a fascinating shade of red, making him more adorable. Arthur wanted to just have that face every day for the rest of his life. He wanted Merlin for him, so he could annoy him and he'd rant again. He even moved his arms up and down, like he was a bird learning how to fly. This was far too entertaining, Arthur was enjoying it. Apparently Merlin's angry outburst was over, since he just glared at him and entered the elevator. As the doors closed, Arthur smiled. He loved this guy; he couldn't wait to see those marvellous lips in action.
Waiting for Merlin to just calm down, he was walking to the coffee room (he enjoyed it better than the executive one) when he overheard Gwen talking with someone.
"What do you think, Gwen?" a male voice said. Lancelot.
"Well, Merlin is gay, that's for sure."
Arthur sighed. Who wouldn't know that Merlin was gay? That orange scarf was almost like a sign on his chest announcing it.
"I really like him. Do you think he would go out with me?"
WHAT? Merlin and Lancelot? Please, that was stupid. Why Merlin would prefer Lancelot to him? He was Arthur fucking Pendragon, he was a catch.
"Lance, I'm not sure. Merlin is very reserved. Maybe you could wait."
He adored Guinevere. She was loyal to him no matter what.
"I think he likes me too. I've walked him to the university and we have a lot in common."
"Then ask him out and see how it goes."
Okay, they were both fired. That back-stabber, she must have been influenced by Morgana's poison.
"I'll do it before his shift ends. Maybe we can have dinner tonight."
Arthur ran as quickly as he could to Merlin's counter. He wasn't letting Lancelot touch what rightfully belonged to him. Merlin was his, even if Merlin didn't acknowledge that yet. And if he had to punch Lancelot to prove his point, he would do it. When he arrived, Merlin was writing down god knows what. Arthur tried to catch his breath, he'd just ran, like, two floors instead of using the bloody elevator. Merlin's stupidity was contagious.
"Now what?" Merlin asked, oddly resigned.
"I… you… dinner!" Arthur managed to say, wheezing.
"What?" Merlin frowned.
"Dinner!" Arthur said, expecting Merlin to finally get that he was asking him out.
"I have to go," Merlin said. "If you want dinner, then ask the next shift receptionist to get it for you."
And he was gone, just like that. At least Arthur had prevented Lancelot from asking him out. He needed advice now.
Arthur was frustrated. Lancelot kept harassing Merlin (honestly, how desperate could he be?), and the stupid advisor told him not to punch him. It was a fine idea, Arthur knew girls loved that romantic shit of king in shining armor (it didn't matter that the advisor told him it was 'knight'). Merlin wasn't exactly a girl, but he acted and whined like one. He must like that damsel in distress thing. Although Lancelot didn't represent a danger to Merlin, Arthur could think of something after he punched the guy.
Still, Arthur made it his purpose to get this right. If the advisor told him 'no punching', then he wouldn't do punch him. That didn't mean he wouldn't play all his cards.
"Lancelot, a word?"
Lancelot followed him into the coffee room. There he was, looking all innocent. Sucker. He was going down. He should have known better than to compete with Arthur Pendragon.
"Yes, sir?" Argh, even his voice annoyed Arthur.
"The company is expanding, as you know, we purchased 'Camelot's Industries' and we'll need someone in the south to run the office."
Lancelot was wide-eyed. Oh, please, let him find himself a nice guy there, and leave Arthur's property alone. Lancelot wasn't that ugly, he could find someone nice, someone who wasn't Merlin.
"A promotion, sir?" Lancelot said it like it was a curse.
"Yes. You're needed next week there. Don't worry, the company will arrange your living situation and you'll get a raise, it's a great opportunity."
"I see… Thank you, sir."
Arthur was starting to feel bad for the guy. He seemed genuinely upset about leaving. Maybe if Arthur said that Merlin was his, Lancelot could stay.
But then Arthur glanced towards the door and saw Merlin looking rather intently at Lancelot, and all the pity Arthur felt evaporated. All was fair in love and war.