Title: The Courier
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur tore himself away from the riveting report he’d been staring at for the past five minutes. Morgana, his half-sister, business partner, chief designer and general pain in the arse was standing on the other side of his desk. She didn't look happy.
Word Count: 1071 (sorry!)
Author's Notes: Written for camelot_drabble prompt 157 - release, and also fills the 'annoying sibling' square of my Trope Bingo round 4 card - that's 23/25 done. This is a sequel to Impressions.
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.
Now also on A03 here
“Arthur… Arthur… ARTHUR!”
Arthur tore himself away from the riveting report he’d been staring at for the past five minutes. Morgana, his half-sister, business partner, chief designer and general pain in the arse was standing on the other side of his desk. She didn’t look happy.
It wasn’t an unusual look for Morgana when facing her brother. In fact, he was starting to regard it as the norm. He wondered what he’d done this time.
“Oh, you are awake then? I was starting to wonder.”
“What do you want, Morgana? I’m busy.” He shuffled a few papers around for emphasis, then put the still unread report down on top of them. “Big meeting this afternoon.”
“Yes, I know, I’m doing a presentation at the start of it, remember?” Without waiting for a reply, which was just as well because Arthur had indeed forgotten that aspect of it, she continued. “I’m here about that.”
That didn’t sound good. Arthur hoped she wasn’t about to pull out because of some emergency. He hated trying to present her designs to new clients. He was all about the business, the finances, the proper stuff, and he was very good at that. He was absolutely useless at making Morgana’s, or indeed any of their other designers’ ranges sound enticing.
“Well, about Gwen, mostly, and how much you’ve been borrowing her recently,” she continued. “You’ve got your own PA, Arthur,” she waved a hand towards the open door, where he could clearly see Merlin… and that courier was there talking to him again.
Arthur quickly looked away. “Gwen was fine with it.”
“You’re taking advantage of her good nature! Merlin’s perfectly capable of looking after your needs.”
Arthur wished that were true, but those particular needs weren’t something he wanted to share with his sister. “He’s overworked, he fell asleep at his desk, I’m trying to give him a break. Looking after the staff, like you said.”
“Not by wearing out mine! And why do you need her between 10 and 11 every single day?”
There was a reason. There were always reasons for everything, and in this particular case the reason had unfeasibly great hair, was far too good looking, and appeared to be the only courier who ever turned up to pick up items for collection. And he always spent far too long at Merlin’s desk. Arthur suspected it wasn’t just the parcels he was trying to pick up.
It was almost 10. The courier was early. Arthur had been finding excuses for Merlin to be away from his desk for the past week, but apparently the sneaky courier was onto his game. He was leaning over Merlin’s desk now, far too close. Apparently he had no sense of personal space.
Arthur may have stared longer than he meant to.
“That’s Gwaine,” Morgana put in helpfully when it was obvious Arthur wasn’t going to answer her question. “Gwen thinks he’s got a thing for Merlin.”
Arthur absolutely did not want to know what that ‘thing’ might be. He frowned. “Fraternising with employees on company time is against the rules,” he growled.
“Well Gwaine isn’t our employee,” Morgana pointed out. “He’s employed by Camelot Couriers, and we’ve used them for years because they’re reliable. And anyway, that rule isn’t written down anywhere and it hasn’t stopped Gwen and Lance, and I seem to remember you being perfectly happy about that. So let Merlin have his fun, he deserves it for putting up with you all day! And I bet Gwaine’s great in the sack. In fact, I hear he’s an equal opportunities fan, so if Merlin doesn’t want him…”
Arthur held his hand up. “Please. Say nothing that will scar me for life. And yes, you’re right, Gwaine probably is fun and also totally unreliable. So he’ll either hurt Merlin or lead him astray.”
Morgana’s expression softened. “Oh, you’re actually showing some heart there, Arthur.”
Afraid of what she might read into that, Arthur quickly continued. “Hardly. Either way, it’s going to stop Merlin doing his job properly and therefore cost the company money, and that’s all we should be concerned about. So no, I don’t think Gwaine should be hanging around the office.”
Morgana stared at him in astonishment. “You really are the most pompous, unfeeling… Oh.”
Oh was the right word. Arthur hadn’t noticed Merlin come in while he was speaking. His PA didn’t look very happy as he shoved a handheld and stylus towards Arthur.
“You need to sign the release before Gwaine can take the samples from Mithian’s new range,” Merlin told him.
Face burning, Arthur silently signed and handed the device back. Merlin grabbed it, his expression stony.
“Thanks. Wouldn’t want Gwaine hanging around the office too long, would we?”
But it was too late, Merlin was already on his way out. He slammed the door quite hard behind him.
Arthur groaned, leaning forward on his desk and covering his face with his hands. “Damn… damn…”
“Well done, Arthur,” Morgana breathed. “Best PA ever, with the exception of Gwen of course, and you do your utmost to get him looking for another job. Don’t think you’re borrowing her for however long it takes to recruit someone else. Honestly, Arthur, that was mean even for you.”
“I didn’t mean it like that.” But even Arthur knew there was little room for misunderstanding.
“I’d hate to hear you if you did intend to be nasty then. Oh, and back to why I came in here. Tell me you haven’t been borrowing Gwen just to keep Merlin away from Gwaine”
Arthur just looked at her, then away. There was no point in denying it. She’d always been able to see right through him, evil witch that she was.
“Okay. Well, that’s stopping. But Arthur, maybe you should ask yourself why you’re so concerned about this. And I mean, why you’re really so concerned about this.”
And with that she headed off out of the office, closing the door behind her far more gently than Merlin had done.
Through the internal window, Arthur could see that Gwaine had gone. Merlin was sitting at his terminal, typing furiously. He didn’t even look up with his customary smile as Morgana passed.
Arthur didn’t need to ask himself anything because he already knew the answer. He wished he wasn’t so sure that his sister now knew it too. Morgana was never, ever going to let it lie.