Pairing/s: endgame Arthur/Gwen
Summary: Gwen is minding her own business until everyone decides to throw her at Arthur.
Word Count: 2190
Author's Notes: I combined a couple of your prompts, ella_rose88. I hope you enjoy this little gift! :)
Disclaimer:Merlin is owned by the BBC and Shine. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. Don't send us to the dungeons.
“I told you, take this coffee away and bring me one that’s hot!” Gwen heard Arthur yell at his PA, Merlin. She didn’t hear what Merlin said back, if anything, but saw him come out of Arthur’s office and head for the kitchen.
“He ignored it again, didn’t he?” Gwen asked as Merlin walked by.
“Yeah, that’s the third time today,” Merlin replied.
Gwen sighed. She was lucky that she had little contact with Arthur on a day-to-day basis. The man was driving Merlin nuts. Her boss, Morgana—Arthur’s half-sister—was much more reasonable. Normally. But it was only three days to New Year’s Eve and Morgana’s huge New Year’s Eve bash. And of course, Gwen was helping her plan it. That meant a lot of extra work over the past month or so. So while she sympathized with Merlin, she didn’t really have time to listen to his complaints about Arthur.
Just then, Arthur stormed out of his office. “Gwen, would you make sure Merlin doesn’t mess up my coffee again?”
Morgana appeared in the doorway of her office. “Arthur, what are you attempting to co-opt my PA for now?”
“Oh, never mind,” he replied, going back into his office and shutting the door.
Morgana turned to Gwen. “Don’t let him tell you what to do.”
“Oh, I won’t,” Gwen replied.
“He really needs to find himself a woman to smooth his blunt edges.”
“You really think that would work?”
Morgana grinned. “It couldn’t hurt.”
Gwen had to agree.
Merlin rushed by with another cup of coffee. “Let’s hope he remembers to drink this one,” Morgana said.
Merlin blushed before he opened Arthur’s office door and hurried inside.
“Interesting,” Gwen said, looking up at Morgana, who was smiling. “Very interesting.”
“What was that Gwen?”
“Well then, I’m going to get back to work.”
“Good idea.” Gwen saw Merlin slip out of Arthur’s office. “How did it go?”
“I think he may actually drink this one. He reached for it as I was leaving,” Merlin replied.
Gwen decided her work could wait for a few minutes. “So, I saw you blush when Morgana talked to you.”
Merlin blushed again. “No, I didn’t.”
“Hmm, but I definitely saw her smiling at you.”
“Yes, I did.” Gwen grinned. “You like her, don’t you?”
“Is it that obvious?”
“Only to me. I have noticed that you light up when she’s around. If it helps, I don’t think she’s aware that she perks up around you.”
Merlin sighed. “Oh, that’s good. It would never work out between us. She’s beautiful, rich and powerful. And, well, look at me.”
“Hey, don’t get down on yourself. You’ve got those boyish good looks, and you’re one of the kindest people I know. She’d be lucky to have you.”
“You think so?” Merlin grinned. “Should I ask her out?”
“Not right away. She’s more of the type to do the asking. I’d wait and see if she does.”
“Thanks Gwen. You know, I heard her tell you she thinks Arthur needs a woman. And I happen to sit across from a wonderful woman.”
“Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve seen how he treats you. You think I want to be treated like that?” Gwen frowned. “I’m a strong, independent woman. Doesn’t he usually date shallow, clingy women?”
“That is his usual type, but I think he needs someone like you to, uh, ‘smooth his blunt edges.’”
“No. No way. This conversation is over.” She turned back to her computer and put on her headset. But that didn’t prevent her from hearing Merlin say, “Methinks she doth protest too much.”
The next morning, Gwen walked into her favorite coffee shop, Camelot Brew. Her favorite barista, Gwaine, stood behind the counter. “Hey, girlfriend, what’s up?” he asked.
“Not much, Gwaine. I’ll have my usual,” she replied.
“All right, but wouldn’t you like to try something different sometime?”
“No, really. I’m good with my usual.”
“But Gwen, every time you come in here, you have the same thing. A little variation from time to time couldn’t hurt things and may even spice up your life a bit.”
Gwen frowned. “Have you been talking to Merlin?”
“Never mind. Just my usual, please.”
“Coming right up.”
Gwaine got to work and soon Gwen had her drink in hand and was sitting at her favorite table by the window. She was looking out that window when the bell over the door jingled and she turned automatically to see who it was.
No way. That could not be Arthur Pendragon at her coffee shop! She blinked to make him go away, but when she opened her eyes again, there he was, walking to the counter. She tried to hide behind a couple of other patrons, but no luck. He saw her and waved.
Who could have told Arthur about this place? Merlin? Oh, she was going to give Merlin an earful when she got to work. She waved back at Arthur and sat back and fumed. She watched Arthur take his coffee from Gwaine and begin making his way toward her.
“Hey, Gwen, good to see you here. Merlin told me how great the coffee is at this place and I decided to try it. May I sit?”
“Of course,” she replied.
“Thanks.” He took a sip. “This is good coffee. It’s ten times better than the stuff he makes at the office.”
“But that’s your favorite brand of coffee.”
He took another sip. “Not anymore. I think I’ll be coming here and sending him out for this from now on.”
Gwen wanted to facepalm. Merlin was going to get it all right.
“Is something wrong with yours? You’re not drinking it.” Arthur demolished her train of thought.
“No, it’s good. This is my regular place.”
“Oh, Merlin didn’t mention that.”
“No, I don’t suppose he would.”
Arthur frowned. “Did I say something wrong?”
“No, I’m just having an off morning.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
They sat and sipped their drinks for a while. As they both finished, Arthur reached for her cup. “I’ll toss it for you.”
“Thanks,” she replied. She stood up, ready to slink away while Arthur was being chivalrous.
He stood, both cups in hand. “If you wait for me, we can walk to work together.”
Darn. There went that idea. “Again, thanks.”
She followed him to the wastebin and waited for him to toss the cups. Gwaine saw Arthur open the door for her and tossed off a “See you next time.”
Together they walked toward the Pendragon building. “I hear Morgana’s got you pretty busy with her party details,” Arthur said.
“Yes. It’s all coming together nicely,” Gwen replied.
“That’s good to hear. Her parties are pretty fun.”
“This one will be no exception.”
“Will you be there?”
Gwen frowned. Surely Morgana’s assistants had come in the past? “Of course. I’ll have last minute details to oversee.”
They walked in silence for a while. When they reached the building, Arthur opened the door for her. After she murmured her thanks, he asked, “Share an elevator?”
“I take the stairs. It’s healthier,” she replied.
“Oh, that’s a good idea.” He followed her over to the stairs and together they began climbing. After a few flights, Gwen looked over at Arthur. He was managing to keep pace with her, which was impressive. He must exercise regularly. When they reached their floor, Arthur murmured “Have a good day” and walked past her to her office.
Gwen marched up to Merlin’s desk. “You told him about Camelot Brew?”
Merlin paled. “Was that a bad idea?”
“Merlin! You know that’s my favorite place, and now Arthur knows.”
“Is that so bad? I mean, I thought I’d give him a little nudge toward you. You’d be good for him, as I said yesterday.”
Gwen turned on her heel and marched back to her desk. “I’m not listening to this again. Give it up, Merlin. I’m never going to go out with Arthur.” She then sat and put on her headset, determined to ignore Merlin until she absolutely had to interact with him.
The day before the party arrived, and as the day before, Arthur showed up at the coffee shop. They had another stilted conversation there then one more as they walked to the building again. Gwen found herself slowly revising her opinion of Arthur.
He wasn’t as arrogant as she’d first thought. He had a chivalrous streak, which was genuinely nice. She might be a strong, independent woman, but she appreciated having doors opened for her now and then. He cared about his sister; Gwen could tell from the way he talked about her. And he could keep up with her as they walked up the stairs—not many men could do that. Not that many have tried.
Gwen was glad when the workday was over. She could go home, have a nice dinner, and enjoy a hot soak in her tub. She could also afford to lie in a little in the morning, since there was no official work tomorrow. But she would be at Morgana’s at noon to help finalize last minute details for the party.
When the party finally started, Gwen relaxed and accepted a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. It really was a beautiful party, and it was nice to dress up for it. After a while, Gwen noticed Merlin and walked over to say “Hi.”
“Hi Gwen. Great party isn’t it?” he replied.
“It should be,” Gwen laughed. “I did help plan it.”
“That’s right. How could I forget that?”
Gwen decided to change the subject. “Did you bring a date?”
“No. I have no idea who I’d bring. I mean, I’m sort of hung up on the hostess, and she’s already here, so . . . yeah.”
Gwen reached out to pat his arm. “It’s okay, Merlin. She doesn’t have a date either, so maybe you could ask her to dance.”
Merlin’s eyes lit up. “That’s a great idea. I’ll do that. And who knows?”
“Yes, and who knows.” She smiled. “Good luck, Merlin.”
He grinned back. “Thanks. See you later?”
“Count on it.”
Merlin wandered off, presumably to find Morgana. Gwen circled the large room, talking to people now and then, but always avoiding Arthur. She might be softening toward him, but she still didn’t really want to dance or make conversation with him.
It was nearing midnight when she ran into her ex-boyfriend, Lance. It seemed a total coincidence that someone from work would invite him, but that was obviously what had happened, unfortunately.
“Hello Lance,” she said.
“Hello Gwen. Good to see you,” he replied.
“So, who did you come with?”
“That girl over there, Elena. She’s a lot of fun. When she asked me to come, I knew it would be your work party and I couldn’t say no. I wanted to see you again.”
“Well, you’ve seen me. Now I have things to do before midnight, so if you’ll excuse me, please.” She turned to go, but he put a hand on her arm to stop her.
“Don’t go just yet. It’s been a long time and I’d like to talk a bit longer.”
“Lance, please don’t draw this out any longer. There’s a reason we’re exes.”
“But—” A hand landed on his shoulder, and Arthur appeared.
“I believe the lady said no,” Arthur said.
“I only wanted to talk.”
“There are plenty of people here to talk to. Please find one or I’ll talk to my sister about throwing you out.”
“That’s my name. Now, goodbye.”
Lance seemed a bit dazed as he walked off. Gwen, for her part, was angry. “How dare you,” she told Arthur.
He swiveled to face her again. “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t need your help to get rid of Lance.”
“Of course you did. He wasn’t going to leave you alone.”
“Mister Pendragon, I am a strong and independent woman. I don’t need your help with anything.”
“Gwen, I’m not going to stand here and argue with you. Can we just agree to disagree?” He stuck out his hand for her to shake.
All around them, people had started to count down. “Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . .”
She shook his hand. “Agreed.”
“Gwen, do you have anyone to kiss?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Would you allow me to . . .?”
She said yes just as everyone had gotten to one. Arthur quickly pulled her into his arms and kissed her. It wasn’t long, it wasn’t short, but it was warm and comfortable. When he pulled away, she stared at him in wonder. No one had kissed her quite like that before. She was speechless.
Arthur smiled down at her. “Would you like to get a glass of champagne with me?” He offered her his arm.
“Yes, I think I would like that.” Gwen took his arm, and together they searched for a waiter. She didn’t know how far this thing with Arthur would go, but she knew that she wanted to find out.