He was sitting in a tent in the campus yard, outside the students were parting for the New Year – the theme was a masked ball. He couldn't help but question the organizers of the party- couldn't they found something a little bit more original? There were plenty of drinks, he could see people dancing and basically having a good time –unlike him. He had a plan for New Year’s Eve; it involved sitting in his flat watching bad TV, essentially ignoring that the New Year celebration ever existed. Don't get him wrong, it wasn't that he disliked the New Year celebration. He was more than happy to let it exist, just as long he didn't have to celebrate.
But no, he had to be here for work. Normally his work consisted of managing the small yet successful company that he and his sister had started six years ago with the money their father left them.
His sister, ever since he could remember, had been able to see the future. It had been a heavy burden in her younger years but as she grow older and got some control, they had used her talent and his business sense to build a small company which made money from fortune-telling. They had called it "Camelot Seers" as all the people who worked for it seemed to have a name connected to the legend: Arthur, Morgana, Morgause, Mordred and Freya. Usually Arthur mostly dealt with the logistic part of the business; his sister Morgana who nowadays advised powerful businessmen. Later on Morgause had joined in, Mordred came next and finally Freya (they called her “the Lady of the Lake” for her ability to foreseen the future in water) had joined them. It had become a running joke that any person who wanted to join the company would only be accepted if they had an Arthurian name…
Usually Morgana and Morgause dealt with the businessmen, while Mordred and Freya (who were relatively younger) dealt with the usually desperate women and men and sometimes teenagers who came to the official store looking for their destiny. Another part of their company was being the entertainment at an event. They usually would send Morgana (who always managed to impress) or Freya (whose sweetness and uniqueness managed to capture most crowds). In the beginning Mordred had joined Freya at those events; everyone thought it was cute the way Mordred was so attentive to Freya, and they all agreed that there was something between those two. However, it stopped being cute when they would get calls from the organizers telling them how while Freya was perfect Mordred had the tendency to scare the male portion of the crowd (and also half of the profits Freya made from tips); at that point it was firmly decided that Freya would go to those events on her own. They never sent Morgause, as though she wasn’t terrible at events she had the tendency to terrify the crowds rather that welcome them.
So you may ask yourself how on earth did Arthur get here, sitting in a tent as if he was fortune-teller in a college party? Well, as luck would have it, both Morgana and Freya were busy – Morgana at an event of her own and Freya visiting home in Norway. Mordred and Morgause, who were the ultimate last resort, were sick with the ‘flu, thus leavening Arthur to either return the money they had already received or go and do the job himself. It wasn't like he hadn’t done this before when he and Morgana had just started – true, he wasn't a real seer, but he was a good at reading people and at parties like this most people didn't want to hear the truth about how they would meet misfortune or that their lover was not "The One". They wanted to hear that they will find love, live long and be rich – not necessarily in that order.
He had already met an obvious gold-digger named Sophia whose mask was decorated with fake stones – he told her she would meet a handsome rich man who would fall madly in love with her, and she gave him a nice tip which was of course his goal. It continued like that; telling a girl that her future lover was waiting just around the corner, telling a guy that he was destined for success and so on.
It was near midnight and he was ready to end for the night when a masked man entered the tent. He had on a golden mask with musical notes on it – you can tell a lot about a person from what he or she is wearing, or in this case by the mask, Arthur thought. In this particular case the mask clearly showed that the mystery man was the artistic, romantic kind which meant he was probably going to ask about his love life. As he got closer Arthur couldn't help but notice his blue eyes – blue eyes he couldn't help but feel drawn to. As the masked man came closer to the table, Arthur could hear from outside that the countdown was going to start at any moment now. The masked man seemed to be nervous yet he came even closer, far closer than any of Arthur’s other clients, one more step and he would be able to touch him. It became apparent to Arthur that the masked man was too nervous to ask, so he took the intuitive and began:
"Would you like to know about your love life?" he asked, as that was pretty much the standard question that most people had.
"No," the masked man replied, and his eyes seemed to twinkle as if he was amused by something. But Arthur wasn't a quitter and soon suggested the second most poplar question:
"Want to know about your future job?"
"I've got options."
Arthur was tempted to ask what those options were, but he was a professional and moved on to the next likely question.
"My mother is doing quite well."
Arthur began to suspect that the masked man was playing with him – but he wasn't going to gave up now, he was going to find what the man wanted.
"My last checkup turned out quite fine."
While that news was good of course, Arthur had to admit defeat – he had no idea what the other man wanted to hear.
"Then what do you want?" he asked in what he hoped wasn't too desperate a tone. And when the masked man came closer, Arthur couldn't help but feel captivated by the stranger’s eyes, and then by his lips which seemed about to touch Arthur’s.
Arthur faintly could hear a number being shouted outside when he heard or to be more precise felt the stranger say:
And then when they kissed, Arthur wasn't sure who leaned for the kiss first; it didn't really matter to either of them as one kiss turned to another. It wasn't until they were breathless that the masked man removed his mask and introduced himself as Merlin. Arthur couldn't help but smile as he told Merlin his own name; there was something about Merlin that Arthur wanted to explore, and also he couldn't help but think that Merlin would be a perfect addition to his company – he was looking for an assistant. Merlin seemed quite pleased with the idea – in fact too pleased…
"You wouldn't happen to be a seer?"
"Nope, but I have a friend who is – told me I might find a job here, her name is Freya."
"Just a job?"
Merlin seemed to be considering the question when he wrapped his arms around Arthur and whispered "no, not just a job." But when Merlin was kissing him and all thoughts of jobs flew out of his mind, Arthur decided that he could sort this out tomorrow.