hubby and kid were watching the hockey game so I had a few more minutes to write hehe Enjoy!


Merlin's eyes were going crossed from the papers scattered in front of him. In one pile were the recent tallies from the mines, another was the shipping schedule to Caerleon, along with yet another for Lothian. Next to those the costs of what it would take to rebuild more of the keep, along with the hiring of a thatcher for the roof, whose family Morgana wanted to employ to help out with other things around the place. There were sheets of information on the local villages and farms, including the average crops and harvests from the past years.

The entire region was looking at a possible food shortage for the coming winter due to the influx of the men who were engaged in the battle a few weeks before. Merlin realized he might have to see about getting grain and other supplies shipped in, which would cost more gold. He groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose, setting his quill to the side.

He froze as he felt something brush against his boot. Glancing under the table he didn't see anything so he shook his head and picked up the quill again, dipping it into the inkwell as he tried to make the numbers add up.

Just as he was trying to figure a rather difficult equation he felt it again, but this time closer to his ankle. He jumped slightly and shifted his leg, nearly dripping the ink where he didn't want it. Once again there was nothing there.

"Odd…" he commented to himself.

"What's odd?" Morgana asked, sitting across from him, his book of magic in her lap as she skimmed through the pages.

Merlin shook his head, "Oh nothing, just keeps feeling like something is touching my foot."

"Lovely, you have rats in here," She said nonchalantly as she turned the page, not bothering to look up.

Merlin rolled his eyes, "I don't think what I was feeling was a rat."

Green eyes shifted away from the page to look at him. One eyebrow rose in disbelief before she returned her reading.

He grumbled and shifted in his seat, tucking his feet under the chair. Leaning forward on his elbows he sighed and attempted to bring his mind back to the statistics in front of him. He felt a pang of jealousy that Arthur had a whole staff to deal with this issue and he wondered if he should possibly look into hiring someone as well.

"Would you like me to take a look at those?" Morgana asked, smirking from her side of the table.

"No, I need to learn how to do this stuff. I think some days I was a fool to tell Arthur 'I quit'."

She snickered softly, "The grass isn't always greener…"

"Thanks," he deadpanned.

A while later he felt he was finally making progress and turned to the next page. Seeing that it was more detailed than the last, he groaned and stretched in his seat, rubbing the back of his neck and extending his legs.

Higher up on his calf he felt the now too familiar sensation and startled. This time however he was quick enough to see the delicate foot pulling away. "It's you!" he exclaimed.

Morgana looked up innocently, "What's me?"

"You and your… foot!"

"Oh you mean like this?" She stretched her foot over and began caressing from his ankle almost to his knee with her toes. Her eyes never left his face.

Merlin felt a stirring inside of him and tensed at the foreign feeling she was eliciting. Accompanying Gwaine to his various haunts around Camelot, Merlin had experienced tavern wenches trying to get his attention in similar ways, but his reaction to them was different. He felt his heart beating faster and his breath hitched. "Will you stop that?" He pleaded with her.

"Oh come on Merlin, haven't you ever had someone play footsie with you before?"

"Footsie?"

She withdrew her foot and pouted, "You're so naïve."

He knew what it was, but was at a complete loss with how to respond to her. Trying to contain the warmth he felt creeping into his face, he cleared his throat and looked back at the page.

A few minutes later…

"Stop it," he said in a light-hearted tone.

She chuckled disbelievingly, "I'm not doing anything."

"Seriously Morgana, how can I concentrate?"

She stood up and closed the book with a snap, "I'm not doing anything, Merlin!"

He stood to face her with a teasing smile, "Oh really then why am I still feeling you playing 'footsie' with me?"

"I'm standing up, how can I be?" She asked incredulously.

Merlin opened his mouth and realized she was right. Slowly he looked down at his boot. "AHH! Swilte déor!"

With a final squeak the rat lay dead.

Morgana's eyes were wide as saucers and she looked like she was going to burst from laughter any moment.

Straightening his shirt, Merlin cleared his throat and looked up at Morgana, "I think I'm done working on this for today."