Lady Paperclip (paperclipbitch) wrote,
Lady Paperclip
paperclipbitch

"We're A Storm In Somebody Else's Teacup" {1/?}, Merlin, Merlin/Arthur

Title: We’re A Storm In Somebody Else’s Teacup {1/?}
Fandom: Merlin {Modern!AU}
Pairing: Eventual Arthur/Merlin {slight Merlin/Will, Arthur/Lancelot}
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 6100
Genre: Slash
Summary: In which Gwen’s passive-aggressive revenge leads to, amongst other things, Merlin making a new friend.
Author’s Notes: I have included way too many pop culture references. Writing this series surprised me because a plot appeared. It was terribly distressing; I was just going to have everyone flouncing about going heh, we have superpowers, but in the later chapters there’s murder and Evil Plotting and everything. I was most surprised, though I guess that’s what comes from having a job where I shelve books for hours at a time, which leaves me in my own head a lot of the time – possibly part of the reason I ended up on antidepressants over the summer – and means I get lots of time to plan things.



I don’t want to make it rain;
I just want to make it simple.

- Rufus Wainwright

Merlin meets Morgana Le Fay at a support group for People With Freaky Unnatural Powers. Alright, it’s not technically called that, but it might as well be.

It’s all Gwen’s fault. Merlin had decided that it was probably about time to sit her down and tell her all about his apparently magical powers, which had, at the time, gone better than expected (“Oh my God, you are actually Peter Petrelli.”). However, a couple of days later she’d realised that he’d been hiding his powers from her for about eighteen years – including the three years she’d been living with him – and became less amused about the whole thing (“But you don’t keep secrets from me! You told me you were gay when we were, like, seven, and at the time we weren’t even entirely sure what gay meant!”). She woke him up in the middle of the night with lots of sheets of paper and told him very firmly that he needed somewhere to go and talk to other people like him about how he felt about being able to make a cup of tea without actually touching anything (“I don’t feel anything about it! It’s just… something I can do!”).

Which is how Merlin is here, drinking a cup of tea that he doesn’t really want to be drinking and eating a Hob Nob which is, admittedly, very nice; but he does have Hob Nobs at home unless Gwen has eaten those in revenge too, so really there is no reason for him to be here. And he was going to tell Gwen this when he realised it was her quiet, passive-aggressive revenge for not telling her about his abilities; and if he obediently attends the support group she’s suggested then maybe she won’t find out that Will has always known. Gwen quite likes Will; or, as she told Merlin once a long time ago, she has made the conscious decision to try and like him because if Merlin is going to keep getting drunk and making the inadvisable decision to sleep with Will, swiftly following this up by remembering that he isn’t in love with Will and sneaking like a bastard out of the flat in the early hours of the morning, inevitably leaving Gwen with the responsibility of pouring the poor guy into a taxi to the train station, then the least she can do is not actively hate him while all this is going on. She might change her mind about that, though, if she finds out that Will has always been perfectly aware of the existence of Merlin’s Freaky Unnatural Powers.

Deciding he might as well make the best of it, and also so he can collect ammunition for when he tells Gwen later that he does not need to attend a support group at all, Merlin starts looking around at the others. Part of him is wondering exactly what they can do; Gwen was the one who googled people with magical powers and managed to get through all the Harry Potter fansites to get real results. Merlin has always assumed that he’s not unique, but has never cared enough to actually go and find out what that actually means.

A pale young woman with unsettlingly bright blue eyes catches his gaze and her dark red mouth curls into a faintly predatory smile. Merlin smiles back uncertainly, trying to squash away the little voice in his mind that’s suggesting she might steal his soul and then eat it, because while that’s actually a horrible possibility he doesn’t want to come across as paranoid.

“You don’t want to get caught up in Nimueh’s drama,” a lilting voice beside him says. “She has power over life and death and she never lets you forget it.”

Merlin turns to find a woman about his age sitting beside him. She looks bored, winding a curl of hair around her finger.

“Power over life and death?” Merlin repeats, a little blankly.

“Well, yes, it is impressive,” the woman allows, “But there’s no need for her to be such a bitch about it. Really, as superhuman abilities go, it’s more creepy than cool.”

Merlin can’t help smiling at just how surreal all this is.

“So what can you do?” he asks, a slight teasing note in his voice.

She flicks her hair back over her shoulders. “I can see the future,” she replies, with a proud haughtiness that implies she thinks that’s way more exciting than controlling life itself. And it is, Merlin has to admit, pretty damn awesome. “What about you?” There’s definitely a challenge there, and Merlin resists the urge to laugh because somehow he didn’t think having magical powers would result in a competition but, like most things in life, there’s probably some kind of utterly incomprehensible hierarchy.

“I can move stuff with my mind,” he offers, with a slightly sheepish shrug.

She raises an eyebrow. “You’re teleki-”

“I move stuff with my mind,” Merlin interrupts quickly. “If words like telekinetic get thrown about I start feeling like I live in a comic book and then I overthink everything and then I get a migraine.”

The other woman laughs, holding out a hand. “I’m Morgana,” she offers.

Merlin takes it; her fingers are cold but her grip is surprisingly firm. “I’m Merlin,” he tells her, “Because my mother has no sense of humour. Or possibly too much of one.”

Morgana smiles. Merlin thinks she’s possibly the most dignified person he’s ever met; dressed in a deep purple velvet shirt and dark jeans, posture so perfect it makes Merlin’s back ache in sympathy.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you here before,” she informs him. “Did you suddenly have a whim to join a team of superheroes or something?”

“Is that going to happen?” Merlin asks, panicked. “Because I think I might be too skinny for lycra.”

Morgana gives him a critical look, tipping her head to one side. “You might be,” she agrees. “But I wouldn’t worry. Mostly people just seem to sit around bitching and occasionally inadvertently destroying items of furniture.”

“If you don’t mind me saying so,” Merlin begins, “You don’t really seem to want to be here.”

“My brother insists I go,” Morgana replies, in a long-suffering tone. “I don’t know exactly what he thinks coming here once a fortnight will actually achieve, but he’s been remarkably accepting about the whole prophecy thing so I humour him.”

“My best friend forced me to go,” Merlin tells her. “She’s getting her revenge because I hid my power from her for over a decade.”

“That’s impressive,” Morgana says. “Arthur figured it out about a week after I moved in.” When Merlin frowns slightly, she adds: “Oh, he’s my step-brother. Otherwise he’d probably have unsettling abnormal powers too.”

Merlin takes this to mean that no one has come up with any sensible medical term for I was inexplicably born with the ability to do random shit that most people can’t do outside of things published by Marvel, and is somehow relieved about that.

“So I suppose you know everyone else,” he says carefully, because the room seems to be filling up and Merlin is suddenly attacked with anxiety and an awkward feeling of inferiority.

Morgana nods, shifting a little closer, and begins to point people out to him. “That man over there – the one who looks like he could crush your head between his hands without any effort – he can animate inanimate objects. He calls himself Valiant, and is as much of a twat as that implies.” Merlin can’t help smiling. “And Nimueh you already know – and no, that isn’t her real name – and that’s Edwin.”

Edwin looks perfectly fine in profile, until he turns and Merlin realises that the other side of his face is horrifically burned.

“What can he do?” he asks.

“Fire, of course,” Morgana replies. “And he has these weird beetle things that he can use to make people ill.”

Merlin raises an eyebrow.

Exactly,” Morgana says, disdain in her tone.

Merlin can’t help wondering if having Random Magical Abilities makes you a psychopath, or if it’s just one of those coincidence things. He is going to tell Gwen all about this when he gets home, though, because however hurt she is – and yes, he gets that too, but it wasn’t something that was easy to drop into conversation, because God knows he tried – she can’t seriously force him to socialise with mad people who can kill him in horrible creative ways. Well, probably anyway. He’s underestimated Gwen before, and regretted it.

“Are there any people here who have powers that don’t result in general death and destruction?” Merlin asks as carefully and tactfully as he can manage.

Morgana looks thoughtful. “Other than you and me, you mean?”

Merlin shrugs with a hint of a smile. Morgana bites her lower lip for a moment, clearly considering something, and then apparently reaches a decision. “Right,” she says. “Want to go and get a coffee?”

“If Gwen finds out I skipped the meeting-”

“We’ll have our own support group,” Morgana says briskly. “Please say yes, Valiant The Twat tried to hit on me last time and I am this close to doing something painful and irreversible to him.”

“I thought you said your powers didn’t involve death and destruction,” Merlin murmurs, but he’s sold anyway.

^

“I dreamt my entire GCSE history paper,” Morgana grins, with a trace of smugness that she will apparently have forever, though Merlin can’t exactly blame her. “Which was the one I didn’t bother revising for, and I got full marks anyway. Arthur didn’t speak to me for a week after the results came through.” She leans forward with a conspirital air. “He failed GCSE history, had to retake the next year.”

Merlin has no idea why it would be important that Arthur failed history, but he’s kind of enjoying the way Morgana is speaking to him with casual confidence, as though they’ve known each other far longer than an hour and a half.

“I never used my powers at school,” Merlin tells her. “I mean, I just used to sit really still and hope I didn’t make anything fall over and hurt anyone.”

Morgana raises an enquiring eyebrow as she leans over for another brownie from the plate they’re currently demolishing. Merlin has never been to this café in his life but the waitresses all know Morgana and immediately provided them with tea and chocolatey things without her even needing to say anything. All the baristas in Merlin’s local Starbucks know his coffee order off by heart (black, extra hot, extra shot of espresso) but it isn’t quite this cool. Possibly, it’s just an indication that he’s got an out of control caffeine addiction.

“I may have slightly brained my friend with a clock,” Merlin confesses. “I mean, we were about seven and I wanted to go home so I was staring at the clock, you know, and it fell off the wall and Will used to sit underneath it so…”

Morgana grimaces.

“He only needed about six stitches,” Merlin adds quickly. “And I explained the whole thing to him when he wasn’t concussed any more, and he was so excited about being friends with a superhero he totally forgot about the part where I’d nearly killed him.”

“I wish Arthur had reacted like that,” Morgana sighs, sucking a trace of chocolate off her thumb. “He worked out the precognitive powers bit for himself, which, frankly, was kind of a shock because Arthur makes inanimate objects look perceptive a lot of the time, but then he spent about two months avoiding me and calling me his freaky stepsister to all his friends.” She smiles reminiscently. “Of course, he liked me again when I found out which of his mates was going to steal his girlfriend and when, so I suppose it could have been worse.”

“So, he’s… supportive?” Merlin asks.

“Well, he hasn’t had me burnt at the stake, if that’s what you mean.” Morgana rolls her eyes. “He doesn’t really care, just as long as it doesn’t get into the papers and make the family look abnormal in the eyes of the public.”

Merlin would have thought that People With Freaky Unnatural Abilities would have made the headlines years ago, but although all the evidence is there on the internet and even in proper books that you can get in most branches of Waterstone’s and everything, no journalists have pounced on the story. Apparently, the world is just determinedly ignoring them, which is both a relief and kind of disappointing. Not that Merlin wants to get a mask and a secret identity, and he definitely doesn’t want to be pressganged into doing so-called heroic deeds, but some form of recognition would be nice.

“Why would it make the papers?” he asks anyway.

“It comes from being the stepdaughter of a billionaire,” Morgana shrugs, as though this is a perfectly normal thing to say. Merlin wonders if it’s weird that it’s that he finds shocking, not the dreaming the future part.

“Stepdaughter of a billionaire?” he repeats blankly.

Morgana nods. “Keep up,” she says, with a hint of a smile. “I’m sure I mentioned Uther.”

“Uther?”

“Uther Pendragon. My stepfather.”

Merlin really is going to come up with something sensible to say in a minute. “Uther Pendragon? As in Pendragon Industries?”

Morgana looks as though she’s had to sit through this conversation a few too many times. “Yes,” she says patiently.

That Uther Pendragon?”

Yes, Merlin.” Morgana rolls her eyes.

Merlin feels faintly bemused. “Uther Pendragon, my boss?”

Morgana drops her brownie. “What?”

^

When Morgana finally makes it home, Arthur is draped across the obnoxiously large leather sofa in front of the obnoxiously large plasma screen – the furnishings in their flat tend to follow a certain pattern – looking simultaneously gorgeous and, well obnoxious. He makes it onto all sorts of lists of eligible bachelors, what with his irritatingly devastating good looks and ridiculous amounts of money, and Morgana has several friends who cut the photographs out of OK! the last time Arthur felt like draping himself across some fireplaces in a home that looked nothing like this apartment, though of course they deny it. She got over having a stepbrother who looked like that years ago, though; it was that or spend her life in faintly incestuous torment.

“Your meeting finished two hours ago,” Arthur points out with a trace of gleefulness in his tone.

“Shall we just get Uther to electronically tag me, Athur?” Morgana asks with false sweetness, throwing herself into an armchair.

Arthur glances up from the print-outs he has spread out on his lap to offer her a look that has a trace of concern in it. “That Valiant guy didn’t try anything did he? Because I can arrange to have him killed.”

It’s at times like this Morgana remembers that she really does love her brother, somewhere underneath it all. “I’m perfectly capable of arranging to have him killed myself, Arthur,” she points out lightly, flicking imaginary lint off her jeans. “But I actually ditched the meeting.”

Arthur’s eyes narrow. “You haven’t ditched the meeting since the last Harrods sale,” he says, voice rich with suspicion.

Morgana rests her feet on the coffee table, sighing. She and Arthur, in a vague attempt to be grown-up a few years ago, bought a whole load of actual Coffee Table Books which they rotate on a monthly basis. Morgana is reasonably certain that none of the books have ever been opened; the one currently carefully angled on the glossy surface is apparently full of photographs of elephants. Neither she nor Arthur have ever expressed that much interest in elephants before, and Morgana makes a mental note to remember this as an important lesson: going on Amazon while drunk is not ever going to end well.

“The shoes I got were worth it though,” she says, shrugging.

Arthur sighs, though there’s the slightest trace of worry in his eyes beneath the frustration. He knows her way too well; always has.

Morgana.”

She sighs. “You know that everyone who goes to the meeting is either a megalomaniac or a bastard, or a megalomaniacal bastard, and I finally met someone who wasn’t. So I went and had a coffee with him instead.”

Arthur arches an eyebrow significantly.

“He’s gay,” Morgana informs him calmly. It wasn’t something Merlin dropped into the conversation, but Morgana read between the lines anyway.

She watches Arthur’s reaction carefully; around the time Arthur figured out she could see the future, Morgana privately figured out that he was gay. Arthur doesn’t seem to have noticed yet, but this can’t be taken as evidence against her theory; he really isn’t all that perceptive a lot of the time.

But Arthur just shrugs, eyes still on his paperwork, and Morgana mentally sighs because she has spent about the last ten years trying to get Arthur to figure out he’s in the closet, let alone get him out of it. She starts feeling ridiculously like an Avenue Q puppet – she and Arthur took Uther one evening because it’s their job to make sure he keeps a certain degree of humility before he actually attempts to liquidise all companies ever and take over the entire world – though she thinks it would lack, well, subtlety if she started singing If You Were Gay.

“And he works for Pendragon Industries,” she adds.

Arthur actually looks genuinely interested now; workaholic doesn’t even begin to cover it. “Can he see the future too?” he asks.

“No,” Morgana replies. “I’d probably be hating him and plotting his doom if he had the same ability as me.” When Arthur frowns, she shrugs and adds: “It’s what everyone else at the so-called Support Group does. It’s more a Temporary Truce than anything else.”

Arthur’s lips curl into a soft smile. “You weird magical freaks.”

Morgana fake-glares at him. “Careful, or I’ll foresee your death and forget to mention it,” she says. It’s been her favourite threat since they were eleven, and Arthur rolls his eyes because they both know Morgana would do anything to save his life, should it come to it.

“So what does this guy do?” Arthur asks, after a moment.

“He’s in the PR department,” Morgana replies. “He’s nice; you wouldn’t like him.”

Arthur raises both eyebrows at her. “Are you casting aspersions on my character, Morgana?”

Morgana shrugs, and smiles at him. “It’s common knowledge that you’re a complete and utter b-”

She’s cut off by a buzzing sound coming from the direction of the door; Arthur practically bounces off the sofa, scattering bits of paper everywhere as he heads out of the living room to answer the intercom. Morgana sighs, and gathers everything back together as best she can, piling the printouts neatly beside the Random Inadvisable Elephant Book just as Arthur comes back in.

“That’s Lance,” he says, “Will you be all right here by yourself?”

“Yes.” Morgana smiles at him, but adds a little weariness into her tone. “Well, I might be, because of course I can’t function without you around, darling Arthur.”

He shakes his head at her, padding out of the room again to find some shoes, so Morgana goes to answer the door. She’s known Lance nearly as long as she’s known Arthur; the boys met about six months after her mother married Uther, and have been practically inseparable ever since. And even after all that time, Morgana honestly can’t tell if Lance is just as charmingly oblivious as Arthur, or if he’s just too polite to mention the fact that Arthur is evidently madly in love with him. Or maybe Morgana’s the only one to notice this fact, having a small degree of subjectivity.

It’s sort of a pity, because Lance is fucking gorgeous. Still, Morgana got over dating Arthur’s friends when she was about sixteen; she really only did it because it pissed Arthur off.

“Have fun, boys,” she calls down the corridor after them, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

They’ve known each other and her for far too long, because both Arthur and Lance turn around with matching faintly incredulous expressions.

Now who’s casting aspersions?” she demands, laughing, before closing the door.

^

Gwen refuses to be entirely penitent about making Merlin go to meeting full of people with Creepy Murderous Abilities because, as she points out to Merlin, he met Morgana there, who he is clearly crazy about (“Merlin, have you started batting for the other other team?” “I’ve never batted for any teams in my life; that’s what made my life in secondary school so utterly crap”). It’s lovely that Gwen is apparently so secure, because she never bitches about him suddenly having another close female friend; and if she’s jealous then she does it quietly and somewhere far away (though, as she reminds Merlin, she has so much blackmail material on him that he’ll have to be her adoring best friend for life).

Morgana gets into the habit of coming by Merlin’s desk for morning coffee; while his job may not be the most exciting in the world, and his boss terrifies him (Uther Pendragon does rather give out an aura of I eat small children on toast for breakfast so I will have absolutely no problem murdering you and then doing intrusive and horrible things to your cold dead body before dumping it in a river somewhere, if you even think about fucking me over, which is possibly part of the reason why no one so much as steals stationery from Pendragon Industries), Merlin does genuinely love his job. For one thing, he’s very good at it; something that seems to surprise everyone around him. Gwen claims it’s his hair, which, no matter how he cuts it, always ends up looking like he’s just rolled out of bed after a particularly bad nightmare (or, as she put it, a particularly wild night of sex, but Merlin is doing his best not to remember that), and the general air of incompetence he manages to project.

“I’m in line for a promotion,” Merlin has to explain to Morgana after about a week.

“Oh,” she says, in the way that everyone always does. “But… you’re…” She waves a hand in a way that manages to encompass badly dressed, permanently cheerful in a way that’s somewhat creepy, possibly an idiot, and cripplingly self-effacing.

“Yep.” Merlin smirks.

“You’re a sneaky bastard, Merlin Emrys,” Morgana informs him. “Is getting everyone to underestimate you some kind of… strategy? Are you going to end up stealing Pendragon Enterprises from under Uther’s nose?”

Merlin has noted that Morgana always refers to Uther by his first name, and never as my stepfather. He’s sure that’s something slightly important, though he’s not entirely sure why yet.

“I’m thinking of writing a book,” Merlin agrees. “How To Get Ahead By Getting Everyone Around You To Think That You’re A Moron. It’s going to be a best-seller.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Morgana smiles.

“Well,” Merlin smiles back, dropping his voice, “You’re the one who can see the future. Do I have a glittering career ahead of me writing self-help business books?” Morgana just rolls her eyes. Merlin grins. “That isn’t a ‘no’.”

After another week, Morgana explains to Merlin that she’s given up going to the support group; it was never doing her that much good, and it was only going to end in her getting into some kind of bitch fight with Nimueh.

“And that would have been a bad thing?” Merlin asks.

They’re sitting on a bench outside the gigantic gleaming skyscraper that houses Pendragon Industries’ head office, sipping at paper cups of coffee. Morgana reaches out with her free hand and idly straightens Merlin’s tie, which inevitably ends up twisted around under Merlin’s ear no matter how hard he tries. It seems he’s just doomed to be scruffy forever. The look on her face is thoughtful, sharp, and it makes Merlin’s spine crackle.

“I always dream the future,” she says, “Every little thing. There are very few surprises in my life.”

Merlin isn’t sure where she’s going with this, but he can sense that it’s important, so he listens quietly.

“I mean, the future isn’t quite set in stone. I can change it, and little events can cause the biggest transformations.” Morgana plays with the plastic lid of her coffee cup for a moment. “I used to dream about being best friends with Nimueh,” she continues eventually, awkwardly. “Every fortnight she’d annoy me more, you know? But in my dreams we were destined to be friends.”

“Maybe she’s not as much of a bitch as you think she is,” Merlin offers.

Morgana shakes her head emphatically. “I didn’t dream you,” she says, fixing Merlin with a penetrating blue stare. “And that’s never happened before. I always dream about everyone who comes into my life, you know? I knew my mother was getting remarried before she even met Uther. I knew Arthur and Lance were going to be best friends when Arthur was still beating him up in the playground. I’m even getting to know Gwen quite well.” Merlin frowns, mouth opening, but he doesn’t know what to say. “But I didn’t dream you, Merlin, and since I’ve met you I dream about fighting Nimueh all the time.”

Merlin finally looks away from her, down at the coffee cup in his hands. “I don’t know what to say,” he admits.

“Neither do I,” Morgana shrugs. When Merlin risks a look, she’s smiling again. “I just thought I ought to mention it.”

They bin their coffee cups and walk back into the building. Once they’ve flashed their security passes, a harassed-looking young woman comes running up to them.

“Miss Le Fay,” she says, holding out a large bunch of extremely pretty white lilies, “These just came for you.”

Morgana leaves the woman holding the flowers as she opens the card. Merlin leans over her shoulder to read what it says:

Missed you last night.

Edwin
x


“Eugh,” Morgana says, tearing the card in two. “And he sent lilies?”

Merlin shrugs. “Apparently so.”

“Lilies are the flower of death,” Morgana says emphatically, disdain in her tone. “Go and bin them,” she tells the woman, and heads off towards the lifts. For someone wearing four-inch heels, she’s moving remarkably quickly; Merlin almost has to run to keep up with her.

“Are you all right?” he asks, following her into the empty lift, and hitting the button for his floor.

“Fine,” Morgana spits out between her teeth; her knuckles are clenched white. She leans past Merlin, and presses the button for the top floor, where Uther and Arthur Pendragon’s offices are.

Merlin decides it might be wise to remain quiet for the rest of the ride.

^

Morgana loves her brother dearly, because he takes one look at her face when she walks into his office and calls through to his PA to cancel any and all appointments he might have today.

“You have lunch with Sophia, sir,” Galahad points out quietly.

This does not in any way improve Morgana’s mood. Arthur’s latest girlfriend is beautiful but a complete bitch. Arthur, with characteristic obliviousness, has utterly failed to notice this, and Morgana suspects that the sex must be absolutely fantastic because she cannot see any other reason why anyone would want to spend protracted amounts of time around Sophia.

Arthur must see Morgana’s lips thin, because he sighs. “Yes, cancel that too. Tell her I’ll make it up to her.”

When he’s finished the call, Morgana spurns the uncomfortable chair on the opposite side of Arthur’s desk – so that anyone he calls a meeting with will be on edge through the whole thing and will not be inclined to linger; he’s learning – and instead goes to sit down on the black couch Arthur keeps in the corner. No one knows exactly how many nights Arthur spends sleeping in his office, except Galahad – who takes his job extremely seriously – and Morgana – who lives with Arthur and therefore notices when he doesn’t come home – but it really is too many.

“She’ll be in this afternoon,” Morgana prophesises gloomily. “Weeping and wailing and being all clingy.” She curls her lip with distaste.

“Nice to know your feelings towards Sophia haven’t changed,” Arthur says mildly, coming to join her on the sofa. “You know, your stubbornness is one of your very best features.”

“I don’t like her,” Morgana says. “I don’t trust her.”

“You don’t like anyone I date,” Arthur points out, somewhat reasonably.

“That’s because you always date selfish, gold-digging airheads,” Morgana replies calmly. Arthur always has; never going out with the same woman for long, always picking the aesthetically pleasing ones as though he thinks that’s what he ought to want rather than out of any sort of personal preference. But that’s part of her thesis on Why Arthur Pendragon Is Evidently Gay But Hasn’t Realised Yet, Which Is Hardly Surprising Given How Fast He Usually Catches Onto Things, and not relevant to this. “Seriously, there must be other women out there capable of looking nice in dresses and doing whatever it is that makes you get that weird smug look at the breakfast table.”

One of the first things Morgana and Arthur did when they moved in together was get the whole place soundproofed. It was the only way to ensure they wouldn’t try and murder each other in the night.

“If I didn’t know better, Morgana Le Fay,” Arthur says slowly, looking amused, “I’d say you were jealous.”

“Please,” Morgana scoffs, “I’ve shared a bathroom with you, I’d never be able to fancy you.”

Arthur tips his head to one side. “Actually, we lived in my father’s mansion growing up,” he reminds her. “We had thirteen bathrooms.”

Morgana waves a hand. “Semantics,” she replies. “And anyway, you were always coming into my bathroom and stealing my hair products.” She smirks at him. “It was about then I realised you were a vain tosser.”

“I can reschedule my appointments,” Arthur threatens idly, but they both know he doesn’t mean it.

“Seriously,” Morgana says, catching Arthur’s eyes. “I have a bad feeling about her.”

Yes, Obi Wan,” Arthur responds, rolling his eyes. “But no actual visions?”

“Not yet,” Morgana admits.

“Well then,” Arthur shrugs. “It’s going to be fine.”

“Actually…” Morgana twists the hem of her skirt between her fingers. “My prophecy powers don’t seem to be working properly at the moment.”

Arthur catches her gaze and scrutinises her for a moment. “You don’t look sick,” he says; the last time she lost the ability to see the future, Morgana had caught malaria on holiday, and what a fun time that was for everyone. “Is this to do with that Malcolm bloke?”

Merlin,” Morgana corrects automatically.

“Have I mentioned how stupid I think that name is?” Arthur asks.

“Repeatedly.”

“Right then.” Arthur smirks, and then becomes serious again. “It must be to do with him. Normally, when you’re about to meet someone new, you get all smug for days. Like your last boyfriend. You danced around the flat going on Thursday I’m going to get asked out and then I’m going to get shagged at The Ritz. It was insufferable. But no mention of Merlin at all.”

“I know.” Morgana catches her lower lip between her teeth, trying to think. “I don’t know what that means, exactly.”

Arthur shrugs. “Isn’t that what your Support Group thing is for?”

“I’ve stopped going,” Morgana admits. “I didn’t go yesterday.”

Arthur was out with Sophia most of the afternoon, and therefore didn’t notice that Morgana chose to stay in and watch The West Wing repeats with Charbonnel Et Walker chocolates instead.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Arthur asks carefully. “I mean, I’m glad you’re in a situation where Valiant The Twat isn’t about to rape you, but…”

“Edwin sent me flowers saying he missed me,” Morgana cuts him off.

“Is Edwin…” Arthur waves a hand at his face, managing to indicate the one with the weird melty skin quite adequately.

Morgana nods.

“Sounds more like The Morgana Le Fay Fanclub than a Freaky Special Abilities support group,” Arthur says, smirking.

It’s not funny!

“Right.” Arthur clears his throat, and leaps into Defensive Brother Mode. It is, quite frankly, adorable. “Do we need to get a restraining order put out on him?”

Morgana considers this. She has no evidence that anything is wrong; just a gut feeling. But what with the fact she can not only see the future, but sense it as well, a gut feeling shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I just… it feels weird. And he sent me lilies, which are basically the flower of funerals. I don’t know if he’s trying to tell me something or he just knows nothing at all about the language of flowers.”

“Not everyone has time to wiki floral arrangements before they buy them,” Arthur points out mildly. He offers her a charming smile, the one that has most of the girls on the twelfth floor swooning – they’ve all got Arthur’s OK! magazine interview pictures blu-tacked to the insides of their cubicles – and offers Morgana his hand. “Lunch, sister dearest?”

Morgana smiles and takes it. “Don’t mind if I do.”

^

About three days after Morgana tells Merlin that he is blatantly confusing and abnormal (not her exact words, but he had to paraphrase the whole thing when repeating it to Gwen over Chinese takeaway that evening), she misses morning coffee with him. It’s not really a huge deal; but they have had coffee together every morning for the last month, so Merlin still feels a little bit rejected.

It’s a fairly shitty day all round, really, because one of the women who works on the seventh floor drops down dead of an apparent brain haemorrhage; Merlin barely knows her – at the most, all he’s done is share the lift with her and smile at her a couple of times – but it’s still a shock. Most of the seventh floor gets sent home, which is almost enough to make Merlin wish he worked there, but when he walks past the office later and sees the large blown up photographs of the dead woman he can’t help thinking there’s something important about this whole thing that he’s missing.

He’d ask Morgana, but he’s not sure if she’s avoiding him deliberately, and therefore can’t tell if it’s ok to call or not.

“You’re moping about like you’ve been dumped,” Gwen points out that evening, a little too reasonably, sprawled on the sofa with him and doing her job as Best Friend And Flatmate by making sympathetic noises in the right places. “Are you sure there’s nothing you want to tell me about you and Morgana?”

Merlin sighs. “I’ve learned my lesson; I will never keep secrets from you ever again.”

Gwen gives him a sunny smile, and ruffles his tousled hair. “Good boy.”

But it’s been a bad day all round, no matter how much tea Gwen makes him – she makes really good tea, whereas Merlin always ends up putting the teabag in for the wrong amount of time, and the drinks he makes are therefore mediocre and disappointing – so Merlin decides to have an early night.

It is stupid o’clock in the morning when the phone starts ringing. Merlin glances blearily at the alarm clock next to his bed – which hardly ever gets to do its job because he invariably ends up hitting snooze for way too long – and at the little green numbers telling him that it’s way too early. He rolls over, pulling the pillow over his head, and decides to pretend that this isn’t happening. However, that plan fails miserably when Gwen walks into his bedroom, holding out the ringing cordless phone.

“This is going to be your problem,” she says, leaving unsaid the my friends aren’t psycho enough to ring me this early.

Merlin takes the phone from her, and after a couple of false starts manages to thumb the button to answer.

“Hello?”

“Why aren’t you answering your fucking mobile?” Morgana demands. She sounds frantic and scared; not controlled and dignified like she normally is. “It doesn’t matter,” she continues. “Get dressed and meet me downstairs. I’m on my way to your place, I’ll be there in less than five minutes. I need your help.”

“What’s going on?” Merlin asks, trying to sound calm and collected because someone has to be.

“It’s Sophia,” Morgana says, practically spitting the name. “She’s going to kill Arthur.”

{part two}
Tags: character: arthur pendragon, character: gwen, character: merlin, character: morgana, pairing: arthur/lancelot, pairing: merlin/arthur pendragon, pairing: merlin/will, series: teacup 'verse, tv show: merlin, type: slash
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