Title: House Party
Pairing/s: Arthur/Gwen, Merlin/Morgana, Elyan/Adara
Character/s: Uther, George, Morgause
Summary: Everyone is bringing in the new year but it’s not the same.
Word Count: 993
Prompt:192. New Year's Eve Party
Author's Notes: Where The Heart Wanders #23
Gwen had been in the kitchen all afternoon putting together a party. She had decided that the New Year had to be welcomed properly. Just because they had basically skipped Christmas, she wasn't about to skip New Year's Eve.
“I smell biscuits.” Arthur leaned against the kitchen door jam. “What are you doing in here?”
“I’m putting together a little party for tonight. It's New Year's Eve.” Gwen put the last of the sandwiches she had been making on a tray. “Merlin and I have the night off and we all should celebrate together.”
“Are you sure a party is a good idea? I know you and Elyan weren't up to celebrating Christmas so soon after you lost your father.” Arthur moved over to the table where Gwen was working. “It's fine if you don't want to do anything.”
“It's not like we're going clubbing. Morgana is still healing and on pain medication. Adara is pregnant. This is our fresh start. We need a simple party with snacks. We can watch the fireworks at midnight from the front porch.”
“You have it all puzzled out, don't you, Guinevere? Did you get something to toast with?” Arthur reached for one of the biscuits on the plate
Gwen smacked his hand. “Those are for the party! I have sparkling cider for the midnight toast. Sodas and ale for the rest of the party. Why don't you find some music for dancing?”
“I would be happy to.” Arthur snatched a biscuit and left before she could say anything to him.
At half past eleven that evening, everyone had gathered in the lounge eating and laughing. Elyan and Adara were dancing. Arthur was just about to ask Gwen to dance when there was a knock at the front door.
“I’ll get that. It's probably the neighbors wanting to join in. They smell the biscuits.” Arthur laughed. He went to the door and answered it.
It wasn't the neighbors. To Arthur's surprise, George stood on the porch.
“My Lord, I don't mean to disturb your festivities but I must speak with you.” George looked uncomfortable and a little frightened.
Arthur waved him inside and took him into the kitchen. “What has you out on one of your few nights off?”
“A lady...woman came to see your father.” George hesitated before he continued. “I was supervising arrangements for a last minute holiday cocktail party. I wasn't trying to spy but I overheard what they were discussing and I thought I should tell you.”
“I’m sure you didn't mean to overhear. Voices travel in that big house.” Arthur nodded for him to continue.
“The woman was seeking compensation for housing the Lady Morgana. His Grace called her Morgause. I didn't catch a last name. His Grace accused her of knowing the name of the vile man that injured your sister. She didn't deny it. She seems to be more afraid of him than your father. She wouldn't give your father the man's name.”
Arthur frowned. “Did she ask for an amount to be paid?”
“No My Lord. She seemed put out because he had stopped sending payments.”
Arthur took a moment to process what George was telling him. “Did it sound as if my father knew where his daughter was during the time she was away?
George hesitated then winced. “Yes My Lord.”
“Go enjoy the rest of your evening, I will get to the bottom of things. Thank you George and Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year, My Lord.” George glanced at the back door. “If you don't mind I’d like to slip out the back. I took a risk coming here. I could lose my job.”
“Of course.” Arthur let the footman out the back door and went back into the lounge.
“What was George doing here?” Morgana asked as Arthur came in the room.
“He just wanted to wish us a Happy New Year.” Arthur smiled.
“That was sweet. He was always my favorite.” Morgana smiled back at her brother.
Merlin eyed Arthur suspiciously he knew there was more to the footman's visit. He decided to wait until he and Arthur were alone to ask the true reason for the visit.
Gwen looked at her watch. “Come on. It's time to watch the fireworks.” She grabbed her coat and went out to the front porch. Arthur followed her.
Elyan helped Adara with her cost and they joined Arthur znd Gwen.
Merlin helped Morgana up and wrapped her in a blanket before they went out on the porch. “I get a kiss this year.”
“Maybe two.” Morgana let him lead her outside. They made it out just in time to share a kiss.
In Cornwall, Morgause sat at a writing desk in one of the private rooms. She was waiting for someone and he was late.
Sarrum was upstairs but this time he wasn't the one doing the beating. There were two burley men giving him a good workover. They had been sent by the person she was waiting for.
“Morgause give me one good reason to keep you from the same fate as your favorite client.” Uther stood in the doorway.
“I let you set him up in my house. What more do you want?” Morgause tried to look defiant but she was shaking inside.
“The video footage of his attack on my daughter and anyone else.” Uther took a step into the room.
“What video footage?” Morgause tried to play innocent.
“Don't be stupid. I know you have cameras in all the rooms.” Uther came closer.
“I never turn the camera on when he's here. I don't want to be another one of his victims.” Morgause stood up.
“I better not find out that you are lying to me.” Uther growled. “What he just received will be nothing compared to what I will do to you. Are we clear?”
“As glass.” Morgause stood toe to toe with Uther and prayed he couldn't tell she was lying.