Title: The PA Shuffle
Characters: George, Alice
Summary: Modern AU, George is the Head of HR for Pendragon Industries and gets some bad news.
Word Count: 772
Prompt: 338, Newcomer
Author's Notes: None. Have fun.
It was all Mrs. Darling’s fault for retiring. How dare she decide that she wanted to spend quality time with her husband and grandchildren? She was only sixty-five years old, for pity’s sake. Now George had to find someone to replace the woman who’d been personal assistant to both Uther Pendragon, and his son, and now CEO, Arthur. It was impossible. Mrs. Darling had watched Arthur grow and practically considered him one of her own children. In other words, she could handle him and his arrogant attitude. How could Alice do this to him?
“George, dear, it’ll be alright. I have the perfect person in mind to replace me.” Alice patted George’s shoulder.
“Alice,” George began with a pleading look on his face, “everyone knows that Arthur is, to put it politely, a pain in the royal arse.”
Alice grinned. “I know. He is, but so was his father and we dealt just fine there.”
“You dealt just fine. The rest of us did damage control. The Pendragons are wonderful businessmen, but they’re a little bit exasperating.”
"Now, George, how could you say that about them?"
George just sent her a look. He knew she wasn't serious. He'd been nearby when the elder Pendragon had exploded at subordinates. Granted, usually they had done something inordinately stupid and deserved to be chastised, but working at Pendragon Industries offices could be fraught at times. "Well, then, who is this person you have in mind? And how much am I going to have to pay them to keep them from putting more than a touch of arsenic in Arthur Pendragon's coffee?"
Alice chuckled. "Merlin."
"Merlin? Your grandson, Merlin? The newcomer in the mail room?"
"He's been there for almost a year, but, yes. He's perfect for the job."
George could feel a headache starting to bloom behind his eyes. He rubbed his temple. "Alice, Arthur growls at him if they're in the same room."
"I know. And Merlin just grins right back at him. He's grown up dealing with Arthur's temperment. He knows how to handle him."
George peered at her. "This is what you've been planning all along, isn't it? Getting him a job here and not letting anyone promote him from the very beginning even though he has a business degree and too much experience for a mailroom position."
"If it helps, it was all Gaius' idea. I just saw the logic behind it." Alice sat back and sent him the same mischievous grin her daughter and grandson shared.
George thought it over and sighed. He could see it, actually. Merlin had never deferred to Arthur when they were near each other. He treated him with just the right amount of respect and disrespect. "You get to tell Arthur. Not me. And you get to tell him it's non-negotiable. Then you get to tell your grandson, because I doubt he'll think you're doing him any favors. Good luck. I'm going home for the rest of the day. For some strange reason, I have a migraine forming. I may take the next few days off, in fact."
"Coward." Alice's grin hadn't slipped at all while George spoke, if anything it got larger.
"Absolutely. Now go drop your bomb on Arthur. I'll have Sefa draw up your retirement package."
"You're an absolute dear, George. I'll miss you." Alice reached over and gave the younger man a quick hug.
"I'll miss you, too, Alice." She had been the first person at Pendragon Industries to really try to crack his formal veneer. Her subtle mentoring had led him to pursue his position as head of HR, instead of just quietly folding into the backdrop to become a drone in the company as he had first intended. George had flourished in his current duties. Alice had done the same for many of the people who worked at Pendragon Industries. There would be quite a few people who missed her when she was gone. "Maybe you'll drop by and see us from time to time."
"Not often, George, but occasionally. I have to let Arthur and Merlin figure themselves out, and if I come to visit too often, they'll never work out their rhythm."
"Of course. Well, the next few months are going to be interesting, at least."
Alice laughed. "I have no doubt you'll all survive." She winked as she left his office.
George walked over and reached into his desk, grabbing the bottle of aspirin he had stashed in there. He was going to get the ball rolling on Alice's retirement, then go home. On his way he was going to stop at the pharmacy. This bottle wasn't going to last the next few months.