"She likes you!"
"No. She does not!"
Merlin had had enough of Arthur and his teasing about how some girl from the next group over was interested in him. He wasn't interested in her. It was so annoying that he was having a tough time enjoying his trip.
It was his last year at uni and he was supposed to enjoy this internship, an all-expense paid trip with the Executives to Ireland for the next issue of Travel Times.
It had been a great internship, and Merlin had learned a lot. His Manager was more than willing to give him a good reference for his job search and the trip to Ireland was really the cherry on top of the ice cream.
Except for Arthur. His fellow intern-mate that he both had the pleasure of and the agony of sharing his time with. Arthur was easy on the eyes, and though he was also a photography student interning at the same travel magazine company as Merlin, Merlin often found him as a subject of his own photos. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that Arthur looked just as good on camera as behind it.
So the fact that Merlin's intern friend, and secret crush, was teasing him about some girl having a crush on him was infuriating. Especially when Merlin hadn't told anyone that he was gay. He wasn't in the closet; he just didn't go parading around with the information.
"You know, they are staying at the same hotel as us...I'm, sure if you wanted to try something—"
"I don't!" Merlin roared at what was hopefully Arthur's last jab at him.
"Okay," Arthur said, raising his hands as though he were surrendering. "Just trying to get you laid, mate."
"I do not need any of your help in getting laid, thanks very much," Merlin said and turned in his seat to look outside the tour bus. He brought out his camera and started taking pictures of random things, mainly to tune Arthur out.
"Fine, then. Prove it," Merlin heard Arthur say, and he turned to look at him again.
"That you don't need any help. We're going out tonight, since it's our last night in Ireland, so show me that you can find someone on your own."
"Why are you going on about this?" Merlin raised an eyebrow. This was getting more ridiculous by the minute. He did not want to find someone to shag. For crying out loud, he wanted to shag Arthur!
"I don't have to prove anything to you," Merlin hissed then took a candid picture of Arthur.
"What? Are you scared?" Arthur challenged.
"No. I am not scared." Merlin sneered. "I just don't want to find some random bl—person to fuck on my last night in Ireland. I'm not like that."
He turned again when the bus had reached their destination and everyone was going to get out and take photos. Later on, they were going to do a presentation for the Marketing Executives. Merlin rushed out of the bus immediately in hopes of avoiding Arthur.
Despite everything, the group still did have dinner and drinks together every night, and Merlin knew that he couldn't skip his last night, even if he was cross with Arthur. He'd managed to avoid Arthur all day, even during their presentations. Now, he was sure that Arthur would only have more teasings since he'd probably spent all day thinking about them.
As the rest of the group reached the lobby from the lifts, Merlin and Gwen stood up. They were going to go to the local pub for their last night. The young group had already decided that they'd had enough of corporate dinners and were ready to take some shots of the local fare.
"Where's your camera cover?" Merlin asked Arthur, following the group out the hotel.
"Oh, are we talking now?" Arthur asked, pretending to be offended.
"Please. Don't act like you didn't deserve the silent treatment all day."
"I did not," Arthur said, and grinned as he wrapped his arm around Merlin's neck and pulled him in. It was his favourite thing that Arthur did. The only time he got to touch Arthur so - freely.
The evening was going smoothly, and Merlin had hoped that Arthur would have forgotten all about Merlin's need to "prove" that he didn't need any help getting laid. Unfortunately for Merlin, Arthur had not.
"What about her?" Arthur said, elbowing Merlin in the ribs and pointing towards a woman sitting at the bar. She had a short denim skirt on with knee-high boots.
"Really? Please," Merlin said. "That's not even a challenge." He had no idea if it was or not; he'd never pulled a girl. He'd been kissing blokes since he was fourteen and shagging them since eighteen.
"More shots!" Lance, who was already too far gone, yelled.
It wasn't a good idea, but Arthur was looking at Merlin in a way that made Merlin nervous. So, Merlin offered to buy the next round. He had a feeling that Arthur was going to ask him something, and he wasn't ready for that.
A half hour later, the group was on the streets in search for a new pub. As they were walking, Arthur continued to take pictures from his camera, and it looked as though he was focusing on Merlin, a lot.
"What are you doing? What are you doing?" Merlin asked, running after Arthur and his camera. He grabbed it off Arthur's hand and started taking pictures of him and the group.
When they arrived at the next pub, they were playing live music. Gwen immediately dragged Merlin to the dance floor and they started dancing. Rather close.
"What are you doing?" Merlin whispered in Gwen's ear.
"Is Lance watching?" she responded with her own question.
Merlin looked towards the group and both Lance and Arthur were watching. Merlin glanced quickly to Lance's expression and turned to face Gwen. He twirled, and then dipped her. "Oh yeah, he looks like he's turning magenta."
"Excellent." Gwen giggled, causing Merlin to laugh along with her. "He doesn't know you're gay, either. So this is working to both our advantages."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you can show that you can get a girl, and I can make Lance a bit jealous." She grinned at him and then tip toed up to kiss him on the cheek.
"But I can't exactly seal the deal, Gwen," Merlin said, worried.
Gwen laughed as though he'd just made the funniest joke in the world and dipped her head back, placing her hand on his chest. "Yeah, they don't have to know that. Especially if you're going to continue on this whole facade of being straight."
"It's not a facade," Merlin said, seriously. "I just don't want people in my business. I don't want anyone to treat me differently. I don't want Arthur to treat me differently."
"Arthur—" Gwen nearly scoffed. "You really don't know anything, do you?"
"What do you mean—"
"Mind if I cut in?" Lance had approached the two of them as they were still talking in the midst of the dance floor.
"No, of course not," Merlin said, still sort of confused by what Gwen had said about Arthur. "About time, mate." He slapped Lance's shoulder and nodded at him. Lance looked as though he'd just released a sigh of relief. He smiled back at him and took Gwen by her waist.
Merlin tried to make his way back to the bar when he was interrupted by a group of young women. Merlin recognised them straightaway; they were staying at the same hotel as him, and one of them was the girl Arthur had been teasing him about that morning.
"Hey, come dance with us!" The girl pulled him into the group and another one grabbed him by the waist. Wow, these women were really hands on!
"Er...okay," Merlin said, and before he knew it, the music changed and the girl was grinding on him.
Unsure of how he actually got in this situation, Merlin was also becoming worried that the strobe lights going off around him weren't the only lights. He was sure someone was taking pictures of him. And when he turned to look, he'd only catch Arthur's eye, and then Merlin's dancing partner would place a finger on his chin and divert his attention back to her.
"I'm Merlin," he practically screamed at the girl, given how loud the music had become. Suddenly the feel of the room had changed.
"Freya!" she shouted back.
"I'm gay!" he said, figuring that now was as good a time as any to let the woman down easy.
"Does that mean you don't want to dance?" she asked, with a grin that surprised Merlin. It was not the reaction he'd been expecting.
"It just means that nothing more than dancing will happen tonight. Not between you and I anyway." He smiled and leaned into her as he spoke. She immediately grabbed his hand and twirled around. "Well, good. As long as we're on the same page." He laughed, and she laughed along with him.
Arthur had been wrong. The girl didn't fancy him in a romantic way, or even if she did, it was good to know that her heart wasn't set on him. Now, he was finally able to relax and enjoy his night, without having to worry about anything.
The girls were pulling him in all directions. One after the other, they were doing shots, and as the night only got hazier, Merlin didn't know who and when the pictures were being taken, except that he was smiling a lot. A lot. And his face hurt.
A few more songs in, and finally putting a stop to the tequila shots, and the other pink and purple stuff, Merlin made his way back to his group.
"You looked good out there," Arthur said, leaning into Merlin, and his hot breath caused Merlin to involuntarily shiver.
"Blimey, you scared me," Merlin said, slightly pushing on Arthur's shoulder. "A warning, next time?"
"Who knew you could be so fragile, Merlin..."
"I'm not—" Merlin sighed. He wasn't about to argue with Arthur while he was pissed beyond all reason and Arthur looked like he was half way there as well. "Whatever," he said, shrugging.
"So, who are you taking back to the hotel?" Arthur asked. His voice sounded different, and Merlin couldn't quite place the tone.
He turned to look at Arthur, one eyebrow raised, and bit the inside of his cheek. His gaze inadvertently fell upon Arthur's lips who licked them at the same time. Fuck, Merlin was sharing a hotel room with Will. He wouldn't be taking anyone back. Even if he wanted that anyone to be Arthur.
"None of them are really my type," Merlin answered, tearing his gaze away from Arthur towards the dance floor. Lance and Gwen were in one corner snogging, and the girls had found a new victim.
"Why, you seemed like you were having a great time." Arthur's tone was a bit dry, Merlin noticed. He took off the camera from around his neck and turned it on. "See."
Merlin looked at the tiny digital screen and realised that the person who had been taking pictures of him the entire night was Arthur, or at least, they were using Arthur's camera. "Oh, God!" Merlin nearly squealed. "Ugh, delete them!" he demanded. In most of the pictures, his eyes were closed or squinting and he looked very very drunk. Very drunk. The girls were all over him, some kissing his cheek, and there were a few pictures of them grabbing his arse.
"Please, Arthur..." Merlin turned to look at Arthur, who looked quite pleased with himself. He tried to grab the camera off Arthur's hand, but the git was taller and a lot more sober than Merlin himself. "Come on, I'll do anything!"
"Anything?" Arthur raised an eyebrow.
"Almost anything. Depends on what it is," Merlin answered. He may be completely drunk but he still was a sensible person. He hoped.
"I dare you to walk up to, and kiss the one person in this room you think is your type," Arthur said, rolling his eyes. "I think you're just afraid of going after what you want, and you chalk it off to not being your type. You do the same with your work—"
"My work?" Merlin said, surprised. When did this become about Merlin's work performance?
"Yeah. You take the pictures for the project, but you never show your art. You don't dare display your out of the box thinking to the company." Arthur pushed his finger on Merlin's chest. "You keep that hidden."
"My work and my hobbies are two different things." Merlin could feel anger boiling up in the pit of his stomach and angering him while he was already inebriated was not a good idea.
"I'm just saying you should combine the two and see where that leads you—"
"Sod off, Arthur." Merlin scowled and turned away from Arthur. He grabbed the bottle of water he'd bought after leaving the dance floor and started to drink from it.
"See, again. You won't take a chance, and now you've just changed the subject."
"What subject?" Merlin snapped.
"Kissing someone you like," Arthur said, smirking and Merlin wanted nothing more than to wipe that smirk off Arthur's face.
"Fine!" Merlin sneered and slammed the plastic water bottle on the table. Arthur looked almost startled. "You want me to kiss someone here?" Merlin asked and Arthur nodded. "Someone I think is hot?" He narrowed his eyes, his gaze intent on Arthur and Arthur almost looked intimidated now.
Merlin ran a hand through his hair and Arthur was watching him, looking utterly unsure of what Merlin was going to do.
Merlin took a step closer to Arthur, and then another, not really waiting for a reaction. Before he could stop himself, he placed his hand behind Arthur's neck and pulled him in. He pushed his lips to Arthur's, keeping a tight hold around his neck in case Arthur tried to pull away. Merlin wouldn't let him.
How dare he challenge Merlin in such a way, without really knowing him at all?
Merlin had expected a fight. He'd thought that Arthur would stomp on his foot, or punch him in the stomach. Instead, Arthur wrapped his arms around Merlin's waist and pulled him in, intensifying the kiss.
Arthur kissed Merlin back.
He bit on Merlin's lower lip and when Merlin gasped from the shock of it, he slid his tongue in. Merlin's hand travelled up to Arthur's hair and grabbed on tightly. His body arched into Arthur's and Arthur's hand glided down, squeezing Merlin's arse.
If it wasn't for the flashes going off again around them, Merlin had almost forgotten where they were. He heard a few people cheer and finally broke free of Arthur's grasp. Even though he was the one who had started the tight hold on Arthur, it was Arthur who had seized him.
"I—" Merlin was panting. "What—what just happened?"
"Apparently you think I'm the hottest person in the room," Arthur said smugly.
"Evidently, you're bent," Merlin retorted.
Arthur shrugged as if it was no big deal. As if the fact that the bloke Merlin had a major crush on hadn't just kissed him back. As if everyone around them hadn't just taken photo evidence of the two of them snogging.
"Nice tongue," Merlin said. It was the first thing that had popped in his head.
"Nice arse," Arthur replied, and Merlin rolled his eyes.
"I need some air." Merlin looked around the room and saw his friends had gone back to carrying on their actions for the night and there was little to no attention on him now. He didn't wait for Arthur to respond; he wasn't sure what he'd expected anyway. Did he want Arthur to follow him? All he knew was that he'd been teased by the man he was infatuated with for a good part of his time in Ireland, and now said man had just kissed him. All he really wanted was to not be so drunk.
Merlin didn't realise that the door he exited the club out of wasn't the main door, and instead he ended up in the back alleyway. He rested against the wall for a few minutes. He did need some air after all.
"Merlin." Arthur had followed him, and Merlin struggled not to show the pleasure of the fact on his face.
He looked up and smiled softly. "Sorry, it all just got a bit too—"
"Do you want to get back to the hotel?"
"Erm...sure..." Merlin hesitated. "I don't think I'm—"
"Let's just walk back," Arthur said, grabbing his arm. "Trust me, I know better than to try to take advantage of a drunk bloke when I'm sober."
"Even if that drunk bloke fancies you?" Merlin asked, grinning, and leaned into Arthur's embrace.
"Especially when that drunk bloke fancies me," Arthur said, smiling. "I'd like to put in a good impression, thank you very much. I'm not that big of a prat."
"Could have fooled me," Merlin said, biting his lip.
Arthur immediately leaned in and kissed him. "You think you are so funny, Merlin."
Merlin shrugged, but didn't say anything. All of a sudden, he was extremely nervous. He knew that Arthur's hotel room was a single bed, and not a double like his that he shared with Will. He was sure that they were headed there, and even though Arthur had suggested that they weren't going to do anything, Merlin was still anxious.
What if Arthur changed his mind in the morning?
Right before they reached the hotel, Arthur pulled on Merlin's arm and kissed him again. This time, his hold on Merlin was tighter and his hand slowly travelled up Merlin's shirt. When the broke apart, any reservations that Merlin had about spending the night with Arthur had quickly diminished. He reckoned just a few hours of sleep, and he'd be good to go.
"Do you want to stay with me tonight?" Arthur asked, almost in a whisper. Merlin realised that they had discussed walking back to the hotel, and not really about where they were going to spend the night. As always, Merlin just jumped to conclusions.
"Yeah," Merlin responded, smiling, then yawned.
The moment they got off the lift on Arthur's floor, it was all hands and mouth and it took them far longer than it actually should have to reach Arthur's room.
Arthur all but shoved Merlin in the room, slamming the door behind him and he had Merlin up against the wall. They had kissed before, but being in the privacy of Arthur's hotel room, Merlin felt like he could now do things he'd only imagined of doing. Things he wouldn't dare do in public. He wrapped his leg around Arthur and pulled him into him. His hands travelled up Arthur's back under his shirt as Arthur rubbed their groins together, and the friction of the tight jeans that they both wore was becoming too much.
Arthur's hands were against the wall on either side of Merlin and he was being true to his word. He wasn't doing anything to Merlin—except driving him crazy.
Merlin's hands came around from behind Arthur and started to unbutton his jeans. Arthur stopped what he was doing for a quick second to give Merlin a look. Merlin narrowed his eyes and Arthur nodded, understand whatever it was that Merlin was trying to tell him. Which he hoped was unbutton your fucking trousers, now!
"Want you so much, Merlin," Arthur groaned against Merlin's neck as he rubbed their erections together.
Merlin only moaned in return, unsure if he was capable of mustering any words together. "More," he managed to say; his hands were in Arthur's hair pulling him in a deeper kiss and Arthur's fingers dug deeper on his hips.
They rocked as Arthur pulled Merlin closer and tighter, their mouths sealed together. They came quickly, grinding against each other, rushing towards the end result. As if Merlin knew, and reckoned that Arthur did too, that they'd have all the time to do this properly once they'd had some sleep.
Arthur's in the shower.
He was in Arthur's room. Naked.
He and Arthur had humped each other until they came against the wall.
His head hurt.
He slowly remembered the rest of the night. The mixed drinks, the tequila shots—leave it to him to come to Ireland and wake up from cheap tequila hang over.
They were due to leave in a few hours, and everything that happened the night before would be a distant memory. Including kissing Arthur. Coming on Arthur's hand.
Fuck. Merlin was starting to get hard again. He wondered if he could waltz into the bathroom and slip into the shower with Arthur. Would he have minded?
His mobile chirped. Funny, he didn't remember plugging it in. Arthur must have had an extra charger. He was still logged into the hotel's Wi-Fi and the chirp was basically notifications stating that people were either liking, or commenting on pictures of him on Facebook.
Merlin didn't remember posting anything on Facebook for the past few days.
Settling himself up and comfortable on the bed, Merlin clicked on the notification. He couldn't believe his eyes. There were pictures of him from his trip, candid shots, really—but—there were also quite a lot of pictures from the night before. The album was called "Ireland Adventures;" it had a bit of the ‘globe' icon next to it, which meant that the shared settings were set to: public.
That meant that if Merlin was tagged in them, everyone he knew, could see them. Everyone.
Merlin scrolled through the pictures. Every time Arthur had shoved his camera in Merlin's face, that picture had showed up on the album. Doing shots. It was there. Getting his cock grinded on by girls who were too pissed to remember their own name—It. Was. There.
Then, the icing on the cake. Merlin wrapped up in a white sheet, one hand on his stomach and the other over his heart. The caption stated: Funny how he can look like an angel when he kisses like a…
"Arthur!" Merlin roared at the top of his lungs.
The bathroom door abruptly opened startling Merlin. Arthur, still mostly soaked, and wrapped in a white towel, walked out. He ran his hand through his wet hair and bit his lower lip as he looked at Merlin just so innocently. Merlin knew it was an act, but his cock twitched anyway and fuck did he want Arthur to drop the towel on the floor.
"Right," Merlin said, clearing his throat. He placed his phone back on the side table that was next to the bed and turned towards Arthur.
Arthur walked up to the bed and knelt down. "Problem?" he asked, as if he had no idea why Merlin would be upset.
Merlin squinted at him trying to look angry, but pulled Arthur towards him for a rough kiss. He pushed Arthur flat on his back and got on top of him. He slowly trailed his tongue down Arthur's body and freed the towel wrapped around Arthur's waist. His tongue licked the head of Arthur's cock.
"God, you are the fucking devil," Arthur groaned.
You have no idea, Merlin thought.
Merlin didn't want to think about the ridiculous amounts of embarrassment Arthur's Facebook pictures were going to cause him. He wasn't sure if he could ever live down the humiliation of his drunken photos—but he knew—someday he was going to have his revenge.
At that moment, he was going to enjoy Arthur. Then someday, he was going to enjoy making him squirm.