Summary: Arthur asks Merlin to accompany him to Dubai to sign an important deal... on Christmas.
Word Count: 2678
Author's Notes: When I saw your prompts and likes, this idea immediatly came to my mind! I hope you'll like it! Happy Holidays, wanderlust48
Thanks to derenai for the beta!
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 hate him!” Merlin shouted as he came in Gwen’s office.
“I suppose you’re talking about Arthur…”
“Of course! He’s the biggest prat I’ve ever known!”
“What has he done this time?”
Merlin tried to ignore the weariness in Gwen’s voice. It wasn’t like he was complaining about Arthur all the time… Just twice or thrice… a day. And Gwen was his best friend and colleague, she ought to understand!
“He asked me to accompany him to Dubai for the Al Hamudi deal!”
“I can’t see the problem, Merlin. Isn’t it in your job description that you must accompany Arthur abroad?”
“We’re leaving on the 22th… For nealry a week,” Merlin said, his anger leaving place to resignation and sadness.
“What? He can’t ask you to leave on Christmas!” Gwen shouted. “I’m sure it’s again the company policy.”
“It’s not. I’ve checked.”
“Oh… I’m so sorry!”
Gwen stood up and came to hug Merlin.
“But you told him that you wanted to visit your mother for Christmas, didn’t you?”
“Of course… He said I still could go for New Year’s Eve… The Al Hamudi are Muslims so they don’t celebrate Christmas. According to Arthur we need to finalize the deal as soon as possible or we take the risk of seeing Valiant Inc. get it before us.”
“I see…“ Gwen was still hugging Merlin when she suggested they took a break to go to the nearest Starbucks. If Arthur couldn’t give Merlin some family time for Christmas he could at least give him a Vanilla Spice Latte.
“Mom? It’s Merlin.”
“Merlin, my boy! How are you?” Hunith answered cheerfully on the phone.
“Fine, fine,” Merlin lied. “I’m calling about Christmas.”
Merlin had thought about dozen ways to tell his mother and had finally decided that he has to be direct about it.
“Hum… yeah… I…. I’ll not come home for Christmas. I… I have to accompany Arthur to Dubai for an important deal and…”
“Oh Merlin! It’s ok, I understand. I know how important this job is for you.”
Merlin knew his mother was disappointed but he was relieved she didn’t show it as he wasn’t sure how to deal with his mother being upset.
“And don’t worry. Gaius and Alice are coming as Will and her new girlfriend. I’ll not be alone.”
“I now but… I wished I could have been with you.”
“I know Merlin. But you can still come for New Year’s Eve, don’t you?”
“Of course! I’ll be there.”
“Great! Take care then, and say hi to Arthur!”
How his mother loved Arthur so much when she had only seen him twice escaped Merlin. Even more now that the prat was the one keeping Merlin away from his family on Christmas.
“Bye Mom! See you soon.”
When Merlin hung up, he felt tired. His anger toward Arthur and his stress about calling his mother had drained all his energy. So he decided to go to sleep early.
A week later, Merlin found himself waiting for their plane with Arthur in the British Airways VIP lounge. The comfort of the chair and the free drinks weren’t doing anything to brighten Merlin’s mood, though.
At that hour, he should have been in the train to Ealdor, eager to see his family and help his mother with the Christmas preparations.
“Merlin, are you going to sulk all week?” Arthur asked, folding the Financial Times.
“Probably. If it’s bothering you, I can stay here…”
“You didn’t really think I was going to fall for such a lame excuse, did you?”
“Had a faint hope.”
Merlin saw the little smile on Arthur’s lips, the one that meant “Why am I bothering with this idiot” then Arthur went back to his reading and they waited in silence.
In moments like these, Merlin wondered how he could be attracted to Arthur…
The crush had come during the first week of Merlin working as Arthur’s PA. The guy was fit, blond, with wonderful and expressive blue eyes. It wasn’t hard to fell for him. Till merlin discovered his prattish ways, his self-importance and his workaholic lifestyle.
The last four year had been spent between affection and irritation. Arthur was a prat but a kind hearted one. He always managed to make you forget about his fault by doing something incredibly kind.
Though, at that moment, Merlin wasn’t sure, Arthur could make him forgive him.
Of course, Arthur had chosen one of the best hotels in Dubai for their stay and Merlin wasn’t really surprised when the driver stopped in front of the Park Hyatt.
In the four years Merlin had worked as Arthur PA, he had seen so many palaces, five stars restaurants, spas and luxury shops he couldn’t count them anymore. Though, he still wasn’t impressed by all that wealth. It wasn’t his life after all and even if he was paid decently and could afford a nice flat in London, he’d never be as rich as Arthur. He wanted to stay well-grounded.
That said, there was still a small treat that Merlin enjoyed: the Jacuzzi. Arthur always picked rooms with one and for Merlin nothing was better than relax in an ocean of bubbles after having spent the day putting up with Arthur.
This time was no exception and as soon as they entered the suite, Merlin dashed to his bathroom to discover a large round bath.
“Yes, Merlin, there is a Jacuzzi. There is always a Jacuzzi,” Arthur said in a dumb voice from the sitting room.
Merlin didn’t let Arthur dampen his enthusiasm.
“So when do we need to meet the El Mudi?”
“It’s Al Hamudi, Merlin! And we are to meet them at the hotel restaurant in two hours.”
“Ok… Formal wear, I suppose?”
That meant Merlin would need to help Arthur put his tie and check if his attire was perfect.
“I’ll be there in an hour and a half, then.”
Arthur nodded and Merlin went back to the bathroom. Flying always left him sweaty and the tub was really large.
As expected from a first meeting, the dinner was quite formal and nobody talked about the deal yet. The Al Hamudis were friendly and Merlin ended sitting next to Amir, one of the tree sons of Muhamad Al Hamudi, the founder and CEO of the company. Merlin and Amir soon found a common interest in English literature and spend the best part of the dinner talking about their favourite books. Arthur, sitting on the other side of Merlin talked to Muhamad.
As they went back to their rooms after the dinner, Amir offered to show Merlin around on the next day when Arthur and Muhamad would meet to start talking about the deal. Merlin accepted and didn’t pay any attention to Arthur deathly glare.
Merlin spent the next day with Amir. They went to the Palm Islands, then Amir showed Merlin the Burj Khalifah. In the afternoon, after a delicious traditional meal, they went to the old town where Merlin did some shopping in the souk and they also visited the Al Fahidi fort, the oldest building of the city.
As the day went by, Merlin noticed that Amir was clearly flirting with him. Though, in a very subtle manner. Merlin was flattered but he decided not to answer it. He knew how important that deal was for Arthur and Camelot Inc and he wasn’t sure that the PA of the CEO going out with the Al Hamudi’s son was a good idea. Though, he enjoyed the day and thanked Amir cheerfully.
“If you ever come to Dubai again, I’ll be pleased to be your guide again, Merlin,” Amir said as he accompanied Merlin back to the hotel.
“That’s very kind of you.”
“Ah Merlin! You’re here!”
Merlin turned to see Arthur.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but we need to work on something urgent if we want to finalize the deal tomorrow.”
Merlin sighed. Of course, more work. He should been thankful for having had a free day after all.
“Amir, I’m sorry. Duty’s calling.”
“No problem, Merlin.”
Merlin wanted to shook Amir’s hand but soon found himself engulfed in a hug.
“Oh… I… Hum.”
“Merlin! Are you coming?” Arthur called from the other side of the lobby.
Merlin let go of Amir, said a last goobye and trotted behind Arthur to the lift.
“You’re a prat, you know that! Amir was very kind with me! If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re jealous!”
“It’s not my fault that you couldn’t spent some time with Amir… Was it your plan? Flirting with the son to have the father?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Merlin,” Arthur said as they entered the lift. “So… I’ve taken some notes today and I need you to type it down so I can submit a proposal to Muhamad tomorrow. If he agrees, we should be able to sign the deal on the 25th!”
Arthur didn’t say anything about Merlin’s lack of enthusiasm.
The next day was spent in the Al Hamudi’s office, putting the final touches to the deal. It was boring and Merlin couldn’t help but think how much he would have preferred to be in Ealdor with his mum, his uncle and his best friend.
And it seemed like Arthur and Mohamad always found new thing that needed to be changed. It was slowly driving Merlin mad! He had hoped that, at least, Arthur would have let him have some free time for Christmas Eve but the sun was already setting and they were still working.
Finally around 7PM, Arthur said :
“So, I think we’ve agreed on everything. Let’s have a night to think about it and we could sign the agreement tomorrow? Then our lawyers will have a look at it and I’ll be pleased to invite you to London for the final signing.”
“It will be a pleasure for us to discover your beautiful city, Arthur.”
They shook hands and Merlin barely held back a sigh. Finally. He wanted nothing more than go back to the hotel and try to call his mother.
“Merlin, can you come to my room for a minute?” Arthur asked as Merlin went to his own room, hoping for some rest.
“Yeah… It’s… hum… It’s important.”
Arthur seemed unsure. Arthur was never unsure so Merlin followed him.
“So? What do you want to…”
Merlin stopped dead in his tracks.
There, in the middle of Arthur rooms, a table and two chairs had been set. There was also a small Christmas tree on the chest of drawers.
“Arthur? What is this?”
“Merlin, I know that you would have wanted to be at home tonight and… I’m glad you had accompanied me. I needed you here, I needed your support and I wanted to do something to thank you so…And tomorrow we will be busy so I thought...”
Arthur was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Wait here!” he asked Merlin as he went to open the door.
So Merlin waited, looking at the table and the tree, dumbfounded. Why was Arthur doing this? That question remained when Arthur came back, followed by a waiter pushing a tray.
“You can put it here, thank you,” Arthur said before handing a tip to the waiter who disappeared with a little bow.
“I… I asked for a traditional meal. I know it’s not as good as your mother’s but…”
“Arthur, it’s… Perfect!” Merlin finally said having slightly recovered from his surprise.
“So… I’m not a prat anymore?” Arthur asked with a small smile.
“Let’s say your just a temporary prat!”
“I can live with that! Let’s eat while it’s hot!”
His belly full of roasted turkey, stuffing and Christmas pudding, Merlin felt sleepy and happy. Arthur seemed quite content, too.
“Thank you, Arthur! That was delicious!”
“Oh, it’s not finished. I have a last surprise for you.”
“Wait here a minute, would you.”
Arthur went to the sitting room, leaving Merlin sipping his champagne.
A few minutes later, Arthur called Merlin.
“You can come!”
Arthur was waiting in the middle of the room where nothing seemed out of order.
“I’m here… So?”
Arthur moved and Merlin saw the computer on the coffee table.
“I knew you wanted to call you mother so… I’ve made some arrangements.”
Arthur guided Merlin to sit in front of the computer and touched the keyboard to put it out from the sleep mode.
And there, on the screen, Merlin could see his mother frowning and heard her ask : “Are you sure it’s working?”
“Merlin! I can see you!”
“I can see you, too.”
“Oh Merlin! That’s wonderful! And that Leon was so kind to install everything!”
Merlin smiled. Leon was the IT guy at Camelot Inc and Arthur had most likely asked him to bring a computer to his mom’s house.
“Arthur was so kind, too! He has to really love you to bother with all this!”
“Mom!” Merlin said, blushing furiously, “Arthur is here and he can here you!”
“And? I’m pretty sure he knows that he loves you, you know!”
Merlin heard Arthur laugh next to him but didn’t dare look at him.
“Hum… Yes… Hum… Merry Christmas?”
“Oh, my dear boy! Merry Christmas, to you, too!”
Then, on the screen, Merlin saw Gaius, Alice, Will and Sefa appear and shout “Merry Christmas!”
“Merlin, tell Arthur Merry Christmas, too!”
“I can hear you, too, Mrs Emrys!” Arthur said, coming behind Merlin so Hunith could see him, too.
“Oh, Arthur! Thanks again for organizing this!”
“No problem, Mrs Emrys.”
“And call me Hunith!”
“Of course, Hunith.”
Merlin smiled, knowing that Arthur would still call her Mrs Emrys the next time he saw her.
“Mom, I have to go, now! I’ll see you next week, ok?”
“When will you arrive?”
“On the 30th. Probably around midday! I’ll call you when I’m in the train.”
“You should ask Arthur to come, too!”
“Mum! He can hear you!” Merlin said again.
“Oh… I suppose you prefer to ask him later, then! Have a good night boys! And try to sleep a little!”
Arthur laughed again as the connection was cut, probably by Leon.
Merlin knew his face was a red as a tomato. His mother had always had that strange fantasy that Arthur and he were meant to be together. Merlin had also entertained these kind of hopes when he had started working for Arthur. Though, as the months went by, Merlin discovered that Arthur was one of these man that didn’t really had a life outside their work and he soon learned to forget about his feelings and fantasy – even, if sometimes, at night, they came back to his mind in a very vivid manner.
“Merlin?” Arthur asked softly.
Merlin realised that he was holding his head in his hands and hadn’t said anything to Arthur for the past minutes.
“I love you mother.”
“I know and she seems to love you, too.”
“I think she’s a very clever woman who seems to see things that his idiot of a son can’t.”
Of course, Arthur was back to call him an idiot! He couldn’t be kind for too long, it seemed.
“Wait! What have you said?” Merlin said as realization finally dawned on him.
“That your mom has seen things that you haven’t.”
Merlin stood up then and stop just in front of Arthur.
“So…. You mean that what she said is true?”
“But you never said anything…”
“I know… It looks like you’re not the only idiot, here.”
“Prat!” Merlin answered fondly before doing what he had wanted to do for the past four year : throwing himself in Arthur’s arms and kissing him.
In the end, they signed the agreement the next day and the Al Hamudi’s deal was signed three days later in London. Though, Arthur had to decline Muhamad invite to spend New Year’s Eve with the Al Hamudis. He was going to his boyfriend’s home.