Title: Your Familiar
Character/s: Merlin, Morgana
Summary: AU. Morgana's birthday party does not go exactly as Merlin expected.
Word Count: 812
Prompt: #336, black cat
Author's Notes: This is the first fic I've written in almost two years. Hopefully, it doesn't suck too much.
Leave it to Morgana to be late to her own party.
At the sound of her laughter drifting from the pub doors, Merlin's grip on his pint skidded across the moisture condensed on the outside, sending a wave over the rim to soak the edge of his cloak's sleeve. His stomach had already been a mess, too many emotions fighting each other for dominance – frustration about her tardiness, nervousness about actually seeing her, anger at himself for getting so worked up about someone who barely even noticed him on a good day. It was practically karma that his costume would now be a muddle, too. He should just take the bloody thing off and be done with the whole fancy dress idea.
But could he really blame her? She had no idea his crush had blown up into such a behemoth in the past year. All he did when she was around was blush and stammer and listen to her argue with Arthur until she invariably won because – let's be real – she was smarter than her half-brother. She was smarter than almost everyone, in fact, a detail that usually got forgotten in the face of her breathtaking beauty. People saw the package, not its contents. The flawless skin. The luminous eyes. Lips like –
"There you are!"
Merlin nearly spilled his drink again at the sound of Gwen's voice so near, straightening in time to hide his clumsiness. He turned, a retort ready on his tongue, and promptly blanked out at the sight that greeted him.
Morgana. In a skintight, black leather catsuit. Complete with tiny black ears, thigh-high stiletto boots, and a whip dangling from her fingers.
He was suddenly very grateful for his wizard cloak and the way it hid his body's immediate – and ill-timed – reaction to her.
"It's good to see that my costume isn't wasted," Morgana commented.
Merlin blinked. She can't see through my cloak, can she? Except her eyes were locked on his, her mouth curved into a small smile.
Before he could respond, Gwen shook her head. "I've done my duty. Have fun, you two."
The crowd swallowed her up the moment she turned away, leaving Merlin more than a little confused. "What duty?" he asked. Probably a stupid question, but at least he'd finally found his voice.
"Delivering my gift."
He waited for the punch line that never came. "I thought the party was her gift." The invitations had been very explicit. Fancy dress only. And in Merlin's case, once she'd spotted the costume on display, coming as a wizard had been just as mandatory.
"It was part of it."
Morgana edged closer, sending his pulse into overdrive, but Merlin feared if he backed up, he'd end up knocking over his pint for real and spilling it all over both of them. Morgana. Wet. God help me.
His panic must've registered on his face. Morgana's gaze softened, and her body stilled. "I've done this all wrong, haven't I?" she said, her voice oddly gentle. "I guess you're not the only one who bungles it when we're together."
Her words sank in, though it took him more than a few breaths to process them. "What do you think you've done?"
"I was tired of waiting for you to find the courage to ask me out. I kept giving you every opportunity, making sure I was there when you and Arthur came home from uni—"
"I thought you were there just to torture Arthur."
"Well. Yes. That," she conceded. "But seeing you was the bigger reason. And when you didn't, and we lost yet another year, I asked Gwen to help me set this up." She glanced down at her costume and grimaced. "And here I thought I was being so clever. The last thing you want is for me to be your familiar."
This had to be a dream. Morgana knew? How? He'd never even told Arthur. Even more boggling was that she'd gone to these lengths to get his attention. As if she liked him back.
Idiot. She practically told you she did.
Merlin cleared his throat. "You know, witches are the ones who have familiars. Not wizards." When the muscles in her jaw tightened, he hastened to add, "But everyone here seems to think I'm just a Harry Potter knock-off anyway, so we might as well go with it, right?"
Hope glimmered in her eyes when she lifted her lashes. "It would be a shame to waste the opportunity."
His confirmation brought back her confidence. With a tilt of her chin, she looped her free arm through his and pressed into his side. "Then I say, let's show this party what magic really looks like." She slanted a smile up at him that was as impish as it was promising. "Are you with me?"
Merlin smiled back. "Lead the way."