Title: A Promising Weekend
Pairing/s: Gwen/Morgana, Arthur/Merlin (the boys are very much a side pairing here)
Character/s: Gwen, Morgana, Arthur, Merlin, Valiant, Mary
Summary: Morgana saves Gwen from an unpleasant situation.
Warnings: Threats of violence (no actual violence); sexist language
Word Count: 1808. Really sorry. I had this idea and tried to trim it down, but I couldn't.
Author's Notes: Modern AU. Mary here is not Mary Collins, but the barmaid who flirts with Merlin in canon.
After her shift on Friday, Gwen showered in the hospital locker room and changed into a short black dress. Mary, an older nurse, wolf-whistled at her as she put on her make-up and earrings in the mirror of the communal bathroom.
"Look at you!" Mary said. "I don't envy the lady you set your eye on tonight. You're going to sweep her right off her feet."
"If I didn't know better, I'd think I already had," Gwen teased.
Mary patted her shoulder. "Sorry, love, not me," she said. "But I wouldn't be surprised if the ladies go all tongue-tied around you tonight."
"Hmph. I've never seen you at a loss for what to say around anyone at all." It was true; Mary was a natural flirt. Every day, she made patients and co-workers of all sorts beam with her kind compliments.
Gwen reached for a hairpin as she made the first move towards pulling her hair up into a bun.
"Oh no, don't do that!" Mary exclaimed. "Come on now, leave your hair down. It's pretty, all around your face like that."
Gwen acquiesced and began arranging her loose hair instead.
"Yes, that's it," Mary encouraged.
Mary's advice and her reassurances boosted Gwen's self-confidence considerably. It had been three months since her long-term girlfriend had moved abroad, and she finally felt ready to put herself back out there. Well, she almost felt ready.
Going out dancing would not have been Gwen's first choice, but her best friend Merlin was eager to visit a new club in his neighbourhood. The plan tonight was to meet Merlin at a pub, have dinner, then head to the club together.
She quickly thanked Mary, then rushed out of the hospital to the Tube.
When she entered the pub an hour later, Merlin hadn't arrived yet. Gwen didn't much like this place; the clientele consisted mostly of wealthy young financial-industry types. Still, as Merlin always reminded her, the food really was good.
She headed to an empty barstool and checked her phone; no messages from Merlin. She'd only had time for an energy bar for lunch, so when she waved the barman over, she ordered a glass of the house red wine to sip. The night was just getting started; there was no need to get tipsy.
As she turned and surveyed the room, the door opened and a woman entered. She was absolutely gorgeous. She wore heavy make-up that enhanced her bold features, and she seemed tall and imposing in very high heels and a tailored dark green pantsuit.
Her gaze landed on Gwen; when their eyes met, Gwen's heart sped up in her chest. The woman inclined her head at Gwen, a half-smile playing on her red lips. Gwen looked down at the wine glass in her hand for a moment. She took a swig for courage, intending to cross the room and talk to the beauty.
But when she looked up again, the woman had joined a blond man at a table in the corner, and her attention seemed to be entirely on her companion, who was also wearing an expensive suit. The pair looked like they belonged in this pub in a way that Gwen didn't.
She's nothing to do with me, is she. Just someone who likes to be noticed, Gwen thought glumly.
She turned back around and finished off her glass of wine. It made her light-headed, and she decided to wait for dinner before ordering another drink.
There was a rough tap on her shoulder, nothing at all like the light touch she would have expected from Merlin.
She turned to find a truly unappealing man towering over her, a leer on his face, which was flushed a dull red with drunkenness. His wide, thick neck rose above the collar of a dress shirt with the top buttons undone.
"Oi," he shouted at the barman, who jumped, then glared at him in annoyance. "Pint of bitter for me, and a refill for this little lady."
"Oh, no, thank you," Gwen said, looking between the stranger and the barman.
The barman shrugged and pulled a pint for the man. He paid and the barman moved off. At her clear refusal, Gwen expected the man to leave, too, but he didn't. She sighed.
"Name's Valiant," the man said to her. "Thought you should know, since you'll be screaming it later."
Gwen ignored him. She got out her mobile to text Merlin that she'd wait for him outside the pub. They could eat at the kebab shop nearby instead. But before she began typing, the man leaned in, placed his pint on the bar, and spoke into her ear.
"I know your type, acting like you're too good for everyone," he said. "But you're not. Lots of better-looking girls than you here tonight. Come on, I'll show you what you've been missing."
He stood back and leered at her again, obviously convinced that she would accept his proposition.
Gwen stood up.
Valiant grabbed her forearm roughly. "Where do you think you're going?"
Gwen glared at him, although she was unsure what to do. She didn't want to make a scene. She could probably shake off his hand, but she was no longer eager to leave the pub. The street outside wasn't overly busy. What if he cornered her somehow?
Out of nowhere, another person's arm wrapped itself around Gwen's waist, and the pleasant scent of a floral perfume enveloped her.
"Excuse me," said a posh, firm voice, addressing Valiant. "You're harassing my date."
It was the beautiful woman from earlier. Her attention wasn't unwelcome, but Gwen was quite tired of strangers touching her without permission.
"Sorry I'm late," the woman said to Gwen, her lips curving into a reassuring smile.
Valiant finally removed his paw from Gwen's arm, but he peered between them.
"Your date? Oh, it's my lucky day—"
The woman interrupted him with a voice like cold steel. "The last man who dared insult us in this manner spent a long time in hospital. I'm an instructor at the dojo down the street, and you're my favourite sort of opponent, all muscle and bluster. You'll go down easy." She lifted one shoulder in an elegant shrug.
Her confidence was sexy, but even if she really were a martial-arts expert, which Gwen doubted, Gwen didn't much like violence. Also, she had been trying to avoid a scene; she didn't want to create one.
Then, the woman's fingers pressed—just a bit—into the soft skin of Gwen's hip and smoothed over the spot to soothe it. At the contact, a shiver ran through Gwen's body. She decided to play along with the woman's ruse.
Gwen took a deep breath and turned slightly to face her, without breaking the embrace. "Don't start another fight, please, I'm begging you. You know how it upsets me to see the men all bloody, not that they don't get what they deserve, of course. I understand why you do it, but I don't like it."
When she noticed amusement flickering in the woman's beautiful eyes, Gwen went on, inspired. "You always go right for the bollocks, and it's great, that's the right thing to do. But I worry about those poor boys, I really do."
She feigned an expression of pity as she looked back at Valiant. His mouth had fallen open.
He looked away, nodded distractedly, and wandered off. Gwen sighed in relief.
The woman moved away from Gwen, who immediately missed the warmth, and said, "I'm Morgana."
"Gwen. Are you really a martial arts instructor?"
"Not as such, no." She shrugged again in that alluring, sinuous way. "I was a very good student in karate class, though."
Gwen laughed. "In primary school, right?"
Morgana's eyes were sparkling as she nodded. "That's right."
"Well, I don't generally approve of violence, or threats of violence, but I'm grateful. Thank you," Gwen replied. She looked beyond Morgana and found that the blond man was watching them, looking concerned. "I'm sorry for interrupting your real date."
Morgana furrowed her brows at her, looked over her shoulder, then faced Gwen again. "My date? That's just my brother. Neither of us have dates tonight." When her eyes met Gwen's, the invitation in them was clear.
"Perhaps my friend and I could join you and your brother," Gwen said.
Morgana's face lit up. "Go sit with Arthur. I'll get us some extra chairs."
Gwen introduced herself to Arthur, who was friendly, charming, and gay. His muscular build said that he probably could have beaten up Valiant, if necessary, and Gwen was relieved that Morgana's words had instead easily neutralised the threat.
He explained that Morgana had forbidden him from interfering in the ordeal, information which Morgana had asked him not to share.
"Morgana is my superior at work and thinks it extends to our off-hours, too. But she can't actually tell me what to do," he said. Morgana narrowed her eyes at him.
"So you wanted to rescue a damsel in distress, is that it?" Gwen asked her, unable to resist a bit of flirtatious teasing.
"Well, yes, I did want to rescue you, when I saw what was happening. I'm rather good at improvising," Morgana replied. "Actually, I noticed you right away. I thought you were coming over here, but then you didn't."
"Well, it's like I said. I didn't want to interrupt." Gwen gestured helplessly between Morgana and Arthur.
"Interrupt what?" Arthur asked.
"Our date, brother dear," Morgana said.
Arthur spluttered incoherently. He waved a finger in Morgana's face, but no words accompanied it. Morgana batted his finger out of the air and he rolled his eyes. Gwen laughed merrily, and before long, they were both laughing also.
"Well, Arthur," Gwen said. "I am meeting a friend, and he's handsome and bi and chronically late. Perhaps this evening might work out for you."
"That's not important," Morgana cut in. "Will it work out for me?"
Gwen laughed again and turned to her. "I think so. You're certainly intriguing," she said, winking.
Morgana grinned at her, and the expression transformed her proud features into something excited and perhaps even a bit fond.
At that moment, Merlin showed up with a gentle touch on Gwen's shoulder and a thousand apologies for his lateness.
Gwen watched Arthur. At the sight of Merlin, his eyes had gone very wide indeed. She made the introductions, and she and Merlin explained their evening plans to their new acquaintances; Morgana and Arthur were just as interested in the new dance club as Merlin was. They also agreed that the
pub's food was delicious, and Merlin quickly placed their orders at the bar.
A double date, of sorts, definitely wasn't what Gwen had imagined for tonight, but Gwen generally trusted her instincts. At the moment, she felt that this weekend would be a memorable one indeed.