Pairings/Characters: Merlin/Morgana, mentions of Arthur/Gwen and Gwaine.
Disclaimer: Not real. Despite birthday wishes and night time prayers to Santa (all Hail Amy Pond!) Merlin still isn't mine!
Rating: PG-13 (goes up later)
Summary: Remember that time a few weeks ago that I killed Merlin? Here's the happy parts.
Author Notes: I released this to Jenny yesterday for her birthday, so here is the first part of a series of one-shots showing the happier times in the lives of Merlin and Morgana before Watching Over You. You don't need to have read it to read this.
Happy birthday wakingworld/McMorgans. ♥
The title comes from Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 =]
The lashing of rain came down against the SU coffee shop window, it was crowded full of students from all varieties of the schools hide from the bad weather. A gangling teen, wearing a loose t-shirt and baggy trousers, he was hunched over his laptop, his double-shot black coffee sitting next to it. On his screen he had his first edit of his dissertation, the first chapter debating the pros and cons of the use of the smudge tool in Photoshop – at least that’s what Gwaine, his best friend – would tell you. In reality he was writing about the programming, but the second he started talking about it, Gwaine shut off, his eyes clouding over.
He was in the coffee shop hiding from his friend. Every thirty minutes, without fail, Gwaine would come into Merlin’s room and talk to him for at least ten minutes. No matter how unresponsive Merlin was, or how often he tried to carry on with his work, the Irishman would stay. Getting out of the flat was the only way to get away from his rambles. The library was too full of people talking loudly about their lives and the constantly supply of fresh, hot and strong coffee he could get in the coffee shop made it the best place. Normally it wasn’t so busy and was usually quieter than it was at the current moment. He was sat by the queue, it was slow moving but the whole place was filled out with students hiding from rain and catching up with friends. There was a girl with an A3 notebook hooked under her arm that was battling her way back towards the door.
Just as she moved past him, the burly bloke stood next to him barged her away from him. She lost her footing and she fell into his table. In her attempt to stop herself from falling over, her notepad arm few out, the wad of paper catching Merlin’s coffee cup, knocking it over. In the follow through movement, her hand caught him in the face. She finally landed awkwardly with her elbow in his lap, the table being forced away from them both. He cried out in pain as she let out a strangled shocked noise. Her own coffee had emptied over the both of them and her notebook.
“I am so sorry,” she managed, scrambling to get off of him, using the table, nearly pulling it over as she launched herself up. It was only then that she noticed the full extent of the damage her fall had inflicted. “Oh god, I’m sorry.” He noticed she was Irish first then took note of his coffee cup that had been practically full and now it was all over the table and his laptop. The screen was blank.
He let out a strangled noise, able to form no words. Over three thousand words he’d written and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d saved, was it two hundred words ago or a thousand? Oh how he hoped it was the former.
Looking up at the offending female and tried to glare. Yet when he clocked her face, how despairing she looked, how apologetic she was being, he couldn’t. He could fix it easily enough once it dried out, that wouldn’t be a problem, and he could rewrite the words. It wasn’t the end of the world.
“Oh god,” she said again. She was looking at him now.
“What?” she scrambled in her satchel and pulled out a tissue shoving it at his face. He reclined from her but she followed his movements, pinching his nose.
“I need to find you more tissues.” She split, dropping her bag to the floor with her notebook. He pulled the tissue away from his face, trying to brief through his nose and all he could smell is blood. Now he knew why, the tissue was saturated with blood. “Here.” His namely beauty of an attacker thrust more tissues at him, ones with the SU logo on them. She pulled his laptop out of the puddle and turned to glare at the bloke who had done sweet sod all to help them who had been the cause of the whole ordeal. “Wanker.” She said, loud enough for him to hear, which he did and turned to scowl at her. She returned the look. “How’s your nose?”
“Fine.” He said, sniffing, it appeared to have stopped. The raven haired beauty put his laptop on the spare seat, out of the puddle. “What about your pad?”
She looked down at it, all brown and covered in foam. She cringed and pulled it in front of her the pages were stuck together. She groaned, that was her hard work ruined. She would have to draw each of them again. “Fuck.”
“Not so good.”
He looked taken aback, “Sorry!”
“Not you, him,” she gestured over to the man and swore at his back, “I’m really sorry about your laptop.”
“It wasn’t your fault. Not the end of the word, auto-save and a hair dryer and it’ll be as good as new.”
“You sound like this has happened before?”
“It has, when you live with Gwaine, beer ends up on everything.” She laughed then. In return he cracked a smile at her. He started to mop up the spilt coffee with the extra tissues she had brought him. “We are not going to win this battle.”
“I say we run away, as quietly and as quickly as we can.” She suggested.
He bit down on his lip and quickly nodded. He grabbed his now defunct laptop and tucked it into his bag. He grabbed his coat from the bag of his seat and launched himself up through the crowd, quickly following his new acquaintance. He didn’t even know her name.
“I have a hair dryer if you want to use it, least I could do.”
“Umm,” he didn’t know what to say. He was good with keyboards and technology, not beautiful women.
“You don’t have to,” she smiled, “But I live on campus, so if home is a bit far away, maybe getting it dry as quick as possible would be better?” she pointed towards the amber building that stood miserably in the bad weather. “I can even replace your coffee, and I promise not to spill it all over your laptop this time.”
“Well, how could I refuse?”
“Exactly.” She grinned at him and made off towards her building. He lived off campus, a fifteen minute work away. “You know when you’ve been talking to somebody a while, there is that window of time in which you can introduce yourself and ask for their name?”
“We missed that window.”
“Well, you did fall on me, kill my laptop and punch me in the face making my nose bleed in all of about five seconds.” She cringed. “I’m kidding. I’m Merlin.”
“What’s your subject?” he asked, nodded to her ruined book.
“Design, fashion design and journalism.” She said. He took the rest of her in then, barely noticing the rest of her attire before. She was wearing a coffee-stain trench coat with a silk scarf protruding from the top of it to keep out the chill. It was early March but the cold weather still loomed. She had a pair of flashy heels on at the bottom of a pair of deep purple skinny jeans. As much as he could see she was well dressed, “What about you?”
“Systems Design and Creation.” Her expression drew blank, “It’s a posh way of saying I design software and hardware. Computer, mobiles, televisions, stuff.”
“Hense why the laptop isn’t a problem for you.”
“Not really, no,” he smiled, “I’ll have it working in no time.”
She let him into the building, guiding him towards the lift, she didn’t fancy climbing the five flights of stairs to the top floor. “I’m really sorry about that.”
“And I’m sorry about your notebook, your work is slightly more irreplaceable than mine.”
“It’s fine, they’re just ideas. And it was hardly your fault, was it? You weren’t the fat twat who elbowed me out of the way.” As the lift doors opened, she drove them to the right, unlocking the first door they came to, letting him into the corridor she lived off of, they came to room three and she stopped again.
“My hairdryer is by the window, by the mirror.” She informed as she dumped her bag on her bed, “How do you want your coffee?”
“Would I be truly British if I didn’t?”
“I don’t know how you Irish people live, all Gwaine drinks is Guinness.”
“Wow, stereotype.” She scowled teasingly, “I just whack a shot of Jameson’s in mine.” She winked.
“White, one sugar. Thanks.”
“On it.” She disappeared leaving him in her room.
Merlin grabbed her hairdryer and clicked it on, a low heat to start with, a medium strength. Whilst he aimed it at his keyboard, he looked about her bedroom. The standard white walls of halls as he had experienced in first year. She had a load of pictures in frames or blu-tacked to the walls. In a number of them the same mocha skinned girl appeared with rabid curls. The picture in the frame on the bedside table, the picture he assumed as them on a night out, they were dancing, pulling stupid faces. He laughed.
He noticed there were no pictures of her with any men. If they were it was of a pasty rugby player type with straw coloured hair, but he always had his arms about the other girl. Never near Morgana in any intimate way.
On her pinboard was a load of designs, from dresses to suits to costumes
“I brought muffins.” He jumped, he hadn’t heard the door open again. She had two cups in one hand, brightly coloured stripy mugs and a plate with two, large double chocolate muffins in the other.
“I think I’ll let you punch me every day.” He laughed. He turned the hair dryer off, accepting a muffin and the cup she passed his way. “It’s warm.” He said pointing to the muffin.
“Always taste better that way.” She stated. “How’s the laptop?”
“It’ll survive.” He smiled. Morgana sat on the edge of her bed, putting her tea on the bed side cabinet. She picked at her muffin with her fingers. He felt a bit awkward, there was a desk chair next to him but it had a load of clothes stuffed onto it and he’d have felt strange about sitting next to her on the bed when he barely knew her. “So what year are you in?” he asked lamely.
“Final year, you?”
“Same. It was my dissertation I was working on.” She chewed on her lip guiltily. “Don’t sweat it. I’ll be able to recover most of what I did today. And if not I’ll just rewrite it better than it was before.”
They spent the next couple of hours covering the inane stuff. He discovered that the blond guy in the photos was her half-brother, Arthur, she’d grown up half with him and half with her own mother in Ireland. Arthur was a year younger than her, in the same year as her best friend, his girlfriend, Gwen. She learnt that Merlin had met Gwaine on the first day at uni and had been unable to shake him off since. He didn’t mind, but sometimes wished his friend was a little more motivated to actually do work. Merlin himself had been moved up a school year so was technically a year younger than her.
Every tiny detail they could think of they ended up knowing.
He didn’t leave until it was dark and he’d received a text from Gwaine asking him where the hell he had gotten to. He left with her number, full name, email address and promise to see her again soon.