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The three of us

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The telly makes Merlin laugh his bubbly, stifled kind of laugh, and Gwaine wonders how Arthur manages to just give him a fond look, because Gwaine needs to taste the smile on his lips.

Merlin welcomes him with his usual impishness, lips breaking into a grin against Gwaine’s, like they did the first time in school when Merlin stole his very first kiss and his heart.

He winds his sleeve-covered hand around the side of Gwaine’s neck, only the tips of his fingers actually caressing his skin, the same fingers that were just tracing doodles over the inside of Arthur’s bare thigh where his shorts are ridden up.

Merlin’s kisses are Gwaine’s favourite thing. Just like they are Arthur’s favourite thing and would most definitely be anyone else’s favourite thing, if Arthur and him weren’t the luckiest bastards in the world. Because Merlin kisses—Merlin kisses like only Merlin knows how.

Another hand tangles in Gwaine’s hair, right above Merlin’s, and pulls gently as Arthur says, “Hey.” It’s an empty warning but, like Arthur, it’s slightly overbearing and unreasonably jealous. And yet they inch apart, not because Arthur demands so, but to tease him about his need for constant attention.

Merlin’s smile is full of mirth when he looks up at Arthur, pushing his black horn-rimmed glasses up his nose and then running his hand through Arthur’s hair. He grounds him like only Merlin can do, until Arthur regards him in the same way he did that summer before uni, when Merlin’s muscles had filled and his skin hadn’t tanned but freckled—right before Gwaine witnessed how Arthur fell arse over tits for Merlin. The same way Gwaine did a few years back, spectacularly and irremediably.

“Can’t you go one second without being the center of attention, you arse?” Merlin teases, fondly. So fondly, that how can Gwaine not relish the warmth in Merlin’s voice, in Arthur’s gaze, in how stupidly they treat and care for each other?

“You know his ego can’t stand it,” Gwaine chips in, pressing his cheek against Merlin’s shoulder, warm even through his clothes, and smirking at Arthur.

Arthur holds his gaze first, the raw desire to defy him evident; just as it did whenever they shagged back in school, both wanting to prove their worth by impressing the other, relentlessly in every possible way. Then his eyes flicker to Merlin, shifting to the look that speaks only to Merlin, says, I really only ever want your attention.

“You know what else I can’t stand?” Arthur finally speaks, brows raising challengingly. “The pair of you being so bloody annoying all the time.”

Merlin turns his neck around to meet Gwaine’s gaze, lips curling up in amusement before facing Arthur again and letting his hand drop from the back of his head. “If we’re so bloody annoying, then we’ll leave you alone.”

With that, both he and Merlin scramble up from the floor at the foot of the sofa and, hopping over Arthur’s stretched legs, they make their way out of the living room.

Merlin jumps on his back in one of his usual fits of spontaneity, laughing and saying loudly, “Let’s be annoying together in bed.”

Gwaine almost topples over at Merlin’s unexpected weight, but he catches himself, catches Merlin. Even if they bump against the wall when Gwaine loses his balance, he manages to trudge to their bedroom with Merlin wrapped around him, both of them chortling a bit madly in the way they do whenever they jokingly exclude Arthur from something, knowing Arthur will chase them.

“And have annoyingly loud and sweaty sex,” Gwaine adds, suggestively.

Right on cue, they hear a distant grumble and footsteps and Arthur walks into their bedroom just as Gwaine throws himself down on the king-sized bed; big enough to accommodate the three of them and Merlin’s endless limbs the nights he doesn’t opt to curl into a tight ball against someone’s chest.

Merlin’s all laughter as he lands on the white bedcovers; a tangle of long legs and pointy elbows in a way special to Merlin. He’s only wearing one of Gwaine’s long-sleeved tees matched with an old pair of Arthur’s sports shorts, with his askew glasses and hair irresistibly sexily mussed. Gwaine can’t take his eyes off him.

And then there’s Arthur, standing in the doorway, watching, posing unintentionally, with the same natural grace in which he held himself the day Gwaine met him in the shower stall—gloriously starkers and unashamed, self-confident to the point of unnerving arrogance.

His eyes flicker between them, full of intent and unveiled want.

He saunters over and kneels on the bed, kneels close enough so he can gently slap Gwaine’s face playfully in revenge, a blatant excuse to stroke Gwaine’s bearded cheeks afterwards before grabbing at his chin and holding it as he leans forward for a penalising snog. Open-mouthed and jeering, a hard nibble on his top lip and a soothing suck on the bottom one, before he shoves him back down on the mattress and fixes Merlin with a look.

Merlin has quietened down now, although he’s still grinning up at Arthur blindingly, like always, as he pillows his head on his crossed forearms and waits for his own little punishment. Waiting for his part of Arthur’s theatrical act of control and dominance, even when the three of them know they all call the shots in their relationship equally and evenly.

Merlin and Gwaine always indulge him, because Arthur sometimes loses himself in them so very profoundly, lets his facade down and that tough boy charade crumbles and he becomes the sappiest of the three of them.

“Aw, look who’s back,” Merlin sing-songs, eyes glinting. “Can’t stay away from us, can you?”

“You want a piggyback ride, too?” Gwaine chimes in, joining forces with Merlin. It’s something they do, take a jab at Arthur together, support him in his decisions together, fuck him together, love him together. “Or maybe a different kind of ride?” he proposes, wriggling his eyebrows exaggeratedly while reaching out to skid his hand down Merlin’s chest and cup his crotch.

A slow smirk unfurls on Arthur’s face at Gwaine’s, admittedly, terrible innuendo induced by this stupid happiness he feels at having them both by his side. Arthur’s only acknowledgement to Gwaine’s words is giving him the finger. It sets Merlin and him laughing maniacally again, has them sharing a look, thinking let’s rile him up even more.

But Arthur shoves Gwaine’s hand away from Merlin’s body and turns Merlin’s head to the other side so Gwaine’s left staring at the long column of Merlin’s neck instead, before lowering himself down and dragging his teeth alongside the lobe of Merlin’s ear, the bastard, making Merlin’s laughter stagger to a stop.

“Do you want to play?” he says, against Merlin’s ear but loud enough for Gwaine to hear it and sneering only a little in that way of his that holds far too much warmth to be contemptuous in any way. And then he gently pulls away Merlin’s glasses and places them on the night stand.

Gwaine licks his lips in anticipation, watching Merlin’s hands shooting up to bunch up at the front of Arthur’s tee and his legs wriggling underneath Arthur’s. Merlin’s neck and his ears are his sensitive spots, and both Arthur and him know if they want to get Merlin all hot and bothered quickly, those are the best places to start.

“I always want to play with you,” Merlin answers, words sweet but tone cheeky. He battles against Arthur’s hold on his face and makes their noses touch, nuzzles his cheek distractingly, and Gwaine knows what he’s doing. Before Arthur sees it coming, Merlin hooks his leg around Arthur’s so it buckles and gives out and then quickly flips them around, seating himself on Arthur’s lap and sending Gwaine a triumphant look. “Plus,” Merlin adds, smirking, “Someone needs to put you in your place.”

Arthur looks wonderfully dazed, even if it isn’t the first time this has happened. Gwaine understands what it feels like to have Merlin doing something that takes you completely by surprise and leaves you breathless and defenseless. He has a hell of a talent for it, even if his looks make it easy for him to be pegged as shy and innocent at first glance, Merlin’s all but. He’s adventurous in life and in bed.

So he surges forward to kiss Arthur heartily then, and Arthur’s hands settle on Merlin’s hips before questing down to knead his arse with little finesse and a lot of impetus.

Gwaine palms himself once, quickly, before he feels the need to imitate Arthur’s notice-me ‘hey’ from earlier, and scoots over to them and mumbles, “Make some room, share some snogs.”

And there it is again, Merlin's little smile, even as he kisses Arthur unwaveringly, but directed at Gwaine this time.

Arthur reaches out for him with his hand, cupping his neck and hauling him closer, but it’s Merlin who breaks apart from Arthur to kiss him, his lips wet with Arthur’s spit, swollen from Arthur’s purposeful snogging. And Gwaine’s unable to help himself from chasing the mixed taste of Merlin and Arthur together. A soft kiss, then a long, deep one, a string of pecks.

“So good,” he whispers, thumbs pressing against the dimples on Merlin’s cheeks, against the seams on his mouth.

Merlin turns his body sideways to face him better in response, and Gwaine slides his hands up Merlin’s chest, grabbing two fistfuls of his tee and pulling it over Merlin’s head. The hand on Gwaine’s neck disappears to instead sneak down and rub his growing erection. Gwaine thinks Arthur’s big, broad palm, is made for this, and when Merlin sighs against his mouth Gwaine knows Arthur’s working his hand on him, too—up and down with just the right amount of pressure.

Merlin makes an impatient noise against Gwaine’s lips and gets off Arthur’s lap, drawing apart from Gwaine’s kiss as well before he plonks himself down on the middle of the mattress on his back and kicks his shorts off.

Gwaine’s not remotely surprised to see Merlin’s not wearing any underwear, and Arthur might not be either but he still lets out a small growl of mad approval and sits up abruptly. His own shirt goes off in an instant and Gwaine decides to follow, not wanting to fall behind when Arthur latches his hands back to Merlin’s skin, murmuring something about him putting Merlin in his place and making Merlin snort as he settles between Merlin’s open legs.

Sometimes Gwaine enjoys being a simple spectator—or a shameless voyeur as Arthur likes to call him—and watch Merlin and Arthur go at it.

It always starts with Merlin’s never-ending teasing, Arthur’s terribly faked reluctance that gives way far too quickly to what Gwaine admits to himself has to be the most resembling reaction of nonchalance anyone could muster in such a situation, although it doesn’t last for long, evolving quickly into pure unbridled lust. So he watches, the two of them always bickering, even like this, even in bed, this weird charming banter they have going on that gets them going and, apparently, suits their needs perfectly.

But most of the time Gwaine prefers being an active partner and likes to lend a literal hand to as many body parts as he can. He’s got his favourites catalogued: Merlin’s pert arse or Arthur’s round one—or fat, as Merlin calls it—Merlin’s maddening hip bones or Arthur’s well-defined pecs, Arthur’s strong thighs and Merlin’s bony, ticklish ankles. Arthur’s a groper, too, but Merlin’s more of a I could come just by looking kind of bloke.

Right now, however, all of them are groping a lot.

Merlin’s especially being properly groped at since he’s the only one entirely naked and shamelessly sprawled on the mattress, but luckily for them they all have two hands, so one for each always seems to work fine.

Merlin’s already begun being lazy now, the pillock, just laying there and humming contentedly while Gwaine licks and pinches his nipples and Arthur yanks and sucks his dick in turns. He’s always lazy during foreplay and post-orgasm, thoroughly useless, but considering how very incredibly active he’s during sex, Gwaine can’t really blame him.

“Fuck, fuck, Arthur—” Merlin gasps. “Slow down.”

Gwaine laughs at the wet pop he hears when Arthur releases Merlin’s cock from his mouth. At the focused look on Arthur’s face, Gwaine tells him, “You sex beast.”

Arthur and Merlin laugh at his stupid words, although Arthur’s is more of a snort and Merlin’s a throaty chuckle that turns into a moan midway when Arthur lowers himself down on him again.

“Shit, Arthur. Your should see your mouth wrapped around my dick.”

Seeing as Merlin’s being pretty well tended at, and babbling nonsenses at that, Gwaine detaches his lips from Merlin’s nipples, shucks off his jogging bottoms and straddles Merlin’s chest, wanting Merlin’s tongue on him. In him. Merlin’s pretty enthusiastic about rimming, and quite good at it, too.

He positions himself with his arse hovering over Merlin’s face, facing Arthur so he doesn’t miss all the fun, and Merlin is fast to grab a firm hold of his arse cheeks, part them, and dive his tongue right inside his hole.

“Fucking hell, Merlin,” he says after a particularly deep thrust of his tongue.

Merlin hums against his skin in answer, an enticing vibration, before there’s more spit and tongue and then, a finger, just the tip, pushing in, testing, in and out just before sliding in easily up to the knuckle, soon followed by another.

“Fuck, shit,” Gwaine chants again as he stares, almost hypnotised, at Merlin’s long dick disappearing inside Arthur’s pouty mouth, eyes rolling back in his head, when Merlin cries out against his abused hole.

Merlin’s shoving at Arthur’s chest with his feet, telling him to, “Stop, fucking stop, I almost just came.”

Arthur sends him the filthiest, proudest look, but complies, getting rid of his own shorts and touching himself instead as he stops to watch Merlin ravish Gwaine’s hole. Although not for long, because soon Merlin’s got three fingers up Gwaine’s arse and his other hand is steadily jerking Gwaine’s off at a slow pace and Gwaine has to crawl away from Merlin, too, before he comes and ruins the chances of any actual sex.

Merlin’s face is a hot mess of redness; his cheeks and chin are damp with spit. His lips, puffy and eyes glazed. Gwaine tenderly wipes the mess off Merlin’s mouth and offers him a smile.

Merlin returns it thoughtlessly.

And then they turn to stare at Arthur—sitting back on his haunches, carelessly jerking himself off at a leisure pace, eyes set on them intently—and Gwaine decides it’s time they show him some love, too.

They lay Arthur down on his stomach and Merlin sits atop his arse while Gwaine kneels between his legs, widening Arthur’s stance before he prepares to stretch him up, probably much less deftly than Merlin but with as much care. Although, when it comes to treating Arthur with care, Merlin’s the expert.

When Gwaine looks up from working his lubed fingers in and out of the cleft Arthur’s arse he realises, by the movements of Merlin’s hands .that Merlin’s actually giving Arthur a back massage. He stills for a beat, concluding how that definitely explains why Arthur’s so pliant and relaxed as he works him open.

Gwaine can't help but smile at their antics.

It’s not that Merlin’s never affectionate with him, because Merlin’s affectionate to a fault, it’s just that he’s always a touch more tender with Arthur. Maybe, Gwaine muses, to combat their continuous mutual provocations and skylarking.

Arthur’s sighing, moaning quietly above them, hips occasionally hitching against the bed, but by the time Gwaine’s made sure Arthur’s ready enough to take him, he’s humping the sheets and Merlin’s grinding down on the small of Arthur’s back, too, massage forgotten.

A laugh escapes him at the sight, and he presses a kiss to one of Merlin’s shoulder blades and drags him off Arthur’s back by the wrist, where he can feel Merlin’s pulse going wild. “Come now, Merlin,” he tells him.

Merlin scrambles off Arthur fully, looking a little bit anxious. Gwaine nods behind himself, to signal Merlin that he can begin fucking him at any given moment now and when Arthur lifts his head from the pillow to see what’s going on, Gwaine smirks at his flushed face and the sweat on his forehead and his messed-up hair.

“You stay right there,” he says, a hand on the small of Arthur’s back, over the red blotch Merlin has left there after rubbing himself dry.

“What’s taking you so long?” Arthur asks, his husky voice sounding irritated, and as impatient as Merlin can be.

“Just waiting for Merlin to—” he turns around to see where Merlin’s gone off to and notices he’s lubing himself up for him, smiles. “—finish.”

Merlin looks up at him and smiles back, fisting himself twice more before dropping the bottle at his knees and moving closer.

Merlin, I swear to god if you don’t start fucking Gwaine right the fuck now—”

Merlin huffs out a laugh, slapping Arthur’s foot before giving it a gentle tug. “I’m on it, I’m on it, you prat.”

And no sooner Merlin finishes speaking Gwaine feels Merlin at his back, a hand on his shoulder, the other on his dick, ready to push in.

“Up,” Gwaine says, slapping the side of Arthur’s arse softly so he pushes to his knees and the three of them are lined up. He complies obediently, probably too far gone to care, to play, to defy him.

Gwaine eases his way in first, slowly, allowing Arthur to adjust to his girth, before giving an experimental roll of his hips and listening to Arthur’s low, almost silent, groan in response. Gwaine lets his hand skid down the length of his thigh, a gentle stroke, and then Merlin’s body is coming nearer and his sticky breath is on Gwaine’s neck, his hot hand now on Gwaine’s ribs as he aligns himself, and presses his cockhead in before smoothly gliding fully in without much resistance.

Merlin gives Gwaine a moment, a brief pause, lips resting on the curve of his shoulder, thumb tracing the ridge of a rib.

And Gwaine loves this, absolutely, a hundred percent, loves the feeling of being surrounded by Merlin and Arthur’s arms, their body heat, connected to them like this, simultaneously.

Although they all switch so it’s always thrilling, Gwaine has his own preferences—the three of them probably do. But he’s more keen on shagging Arthur and having Merlin fuck him; like right now.

Because the thing about fucking Merlin is that it doesn’t entirely feel like you’re fucking Merlin. Merlin has to be the most energetic, bossy bottom ever, and whether he’s giving or taking it never really feels like he’s being passive at all. Which is completely opposite to Arthur, who when is on top he transitions into sex-machine mode, but when he bottoms he just lays there bonelessly and takes it, and he fucking loves it.

Like right now, that as soon as Gwaine finally moves inside him, gives a shallow thrust, Arthur’s already hanging his head low and submitting to it, to the pleasure, letting it overtake him without restraint. And there’s nothing more beautiful than watching Arthur unfurling and unraveling; shifting from posh self-entitled, patronising Arthur to composed, prideless and forbearing Arthur.

So Gwaine drives into him, and that drives Merlin out of his body, but Merlin’s quick to fix it, inching right back in, chest to back, balls deep and flush against him. It’s heady, having them both at the same time, the two of them getting off on Gwaine at once.

It’s fucking heaven.

He bucks his hips, pushing further into Arthur’s tightness and Merlin chases his in return whilst he kisses the old bullet wound marking Gwaine’s shoulder, like he always does.

Merlin’s all about the small details in life.

That’s why there's not a day that goes by, a time when they fuck, in which Merlin forgets to acknowledge Gwaine’s scars from the war, those four years he fought in the army. With each press of his lips Gwaine’s mind replays the same words Merlin uttered the day Gwaine finally returned home and reunited with him and Arthur: I like you brave and selfless, but I rather have you safe and sound at home. Each new kiss Merlin bestows on the patches of his wrinkled flesh is a constant reminder, a silent you’re the strongest of us, you survived this, and I’m glad you’re home, and I’m never letting you go again.

Arthur’s all about the big, important occasions.

That’s why Arthur rarely ever gives Gwaine’s scars any importance, because he says they are too banal, just a memory of a past tragedy not worth dwelling on, and they all have their own scars, after all. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t the first to run to Gwaine’s hospital bed and slide his hand over his neck, where it fits like a glove, and hold on. That he wasn’t the one who organised him a welcome home party, probably bossing Merlin around about the organisation, and it definitely doesn’t mean Arthur wasn’t the first one to smack a happy, proud kiss on his mouth at the airport as soon as he landed home.

Gwaine thinks Merlin and Arthur’s different views on life are the perfect balance to complete Gwaine’s absolute volatile, reckless ideas and behaviour. And when he comes up with one of his many crazy plans he has Merlin to say yes, why not, let’s try it together and Arthur to remark that no, no way, that he shouldn’t listen to Merlin because he’s an idiot. To which Merlin insults him—he has the most bizarre, largest variety of them, really—and Gwaine just loses himself in their comforting, entertaining verbal sparring, and forgets about ever doing anything crazy again because he doesn’t want to miss out on them.

And that’s what Merlin and Arthur do to him.

They keep him down to earth and cherish him and love him, each in their own way. And not only that, but they give him the best sex that rivals every single one of Gwaine’s best wank fantasies.

Because not even in his wettest dreams would Gwaine have ever imagined this.

That Arthur would be biting back moans as he wantonly rocks back onto Gwaine’s dick while Gwaine braces himself on Arthur’s flexing shoulders; that Merlin would be curling a hand around Gwaine’s chest, murmuring filth to his ear and slamming into him, setting the pace. A pace that has Gwaine fucking himself back and forth on Merlin, into Arthur, effortlessly, skin slapping against skin loudly, their moans mingling together to create the sweetest melody.

Gwaine’s breathing is growing heavier by the seconds and the familiar tantalising tingling has begun spreading across his spine and down to his legs and is curling his toes. He feels his orgasm building up, hotly, intensely, until it forces him to squeeze his hole, tighten his grip on Arthur’s muscles as his body convulses a little, and he hisses or cries out and tips over the edge, dick pulsing and filling Arthur with come.

He exhales a stuttering breath and Arthur another, Merlin in his own world behind him, perpetrating Gwaine’s pleasure with each eager movement of his hips and each slide of his dick.

Not wanting to neglect Arthur a second time Gwaine lets his own spent cock slip from Arthur’s body and urges him to turn around. He fists Arthur’s dick once Arthur’s on his back, the most wrecked appealing view, and strips him. Fast and sloppy, like Merlin’s morning kisses, or Arthur’s angry snogs.

Merlin’s rhythm is faltering slightly now as he digs his forehead against the top knot of Gwaine’s spine and lets out small puffs of breath, short breathy moans against his sweaty skin.

Arthur’s not far behind, eyes shut, body thrashing and writhing, heels of his feet sinking into the mattress and hands clutching at Gwaine’s forearms, then his shoulders, his neck. And when Gwaine realises what Arthur wants he edges his upper body down and seals his lips around the head of Arthur’s cock.

Sensing how close he is to spilling, Gwaine lets Arthur fuck his throat. Arthur’s a mess, a beautiful mess, and after a few broken thrusts, his body goes still, locks, and his chest puffs out as he comes within Gwaine’s mouth. He lies there, his muscles now uncoiled, watching through heavily lidded eyes as Merlin still pounds into Gwaine.

Gwaine swallows until the last drop, if only to see the look of pure and utter bliss on Arthur’s face, to save them some cleaning up, and because he actually quite enjoys doing it, as much as he does gagging on Arthur’s thick dick.

It’s pretty easy knowing when Merlin’s coming, because he, unlike Arthur or him, doesn’t spasm nor still throughout it, all he does is cling, hug tightly as he rides the waves of his orgasm silently.

So when Gwaine feels Merlin’s arms around his chest holding on strong and his ragged breathing against the back of his neck, he winds his own arms over Merlin’s and caresses them up and down until Merlin releases a small sigh and a last weak kiss to Gwaine’s shoulder and unsticks himself from Gwaine’s slick back.

With a lazy smile for Arthur and him, he crawls to the opposite side of the bed to where Arthur’s lying, his spot, and immediately burrows his head in his side of the pillow. He probably dozes off right away, because that’s something Merlin does.

Gwaine eyes the long, narrow stretch of Merlin’s wiry body, placid and hazy now, and then lets his eyes roam over to Arthur. He’s giving Merlin his look of infinite fondness before glancing up at Gwaine with a raised brow and patting the empty space between Merlin and him.

So Gwaine collapses there, shy of touching them both, and that just won’t do. He reaches out; a hand on Merlin’s hair, the other on Arthur’s thigh.

There, a part of his heart meant for each of them.

He rests for just a few minutes, fingers gently tangling in the fine, soft, hairs on Arthur’s thighs, before he decides to stand up and head to the bathroom to get a couple of towels, one for Arthur, the other for himself.

Once they are both clean and comfy on the bed, Gwaine faces Arthur and presses their feet together. Arthur rolls his eyes but wedges his own foot between Gwaine’s legs, Merlin’s oddly harmonic and soft snores lulling them both to sleep twined like that.


When Gwaine wakes next, Merlin hasn’t moved from his curled position against his left side, but Arthur’s gone. The telly’s still on by the sounds of it, he doesn’t remember Arthur bothering to switch it off earlier, and there’s some bustling coming from the kitchen as well.

Gwaine drapes his thigh over Merlin’s arse and tries without much success to comb the long and unruly black strands of Merlin’s permanent bed hair into some sort of presentable mess.

“You’re impossible,” he mumbles, to his hair, to Merlin. Impossible not to love, impossible not to touch at all times, and impossible in the way Arthur would refer to him, too.

Merlin hums in response, most likely more asleep than awake, and Gwaine presses a kiss to his head and jumps to his feet, stepping into a pair of shorts before padding to the kitchen to find Arthur making tea for himself and coffee for Merlin.

Gwaine opens the fridge and uncaps a beer, sitting down on his chair at the table and taking a sip.

“Merlin?” Arthur asks before eating a mouthful of one of the biscuits from Gwen and Elena’s bakery. He already knows the answer by now, their routine and Merlin’s habits memorised, but Gwaine still finds it endearing that Arthur’s mind is perpetually concerned with the need to know that Merlin is alright at all times.

“Still passed out, sleeping like the dead,” he answers and Arthur rolls his eyes.

An indistinct mumble comes from the door and then Merlin sleepily drags himself into the kitchen, his glasses in place and clad in one of Gwaine’s long-sleeved tees and Arthur’s shorts. Again.

Arthur holds out the cup of coffee for him wordlessly and Merlin takes a scalding sip before licking his lips and finally opening his eyes. “Not asleep anymore,” he drawls, accent think, it always is when he’s just woken up.

“Debatable,” Arthur retorts, pressing his shoulder against Merlin’s when he leans back against the counter by his side.

Gwaine hides a smirk behind his beer but Merlin sees it anyway, Arthur too busy staring at Merlin’s mouth, something he does quite a lot and is totally understandable.

When he seems to come out of his daze, Arthur reaches behind him on the counter for another biscuit and Merlin tries to steal it from his grasp, but Arthur grabs one of the oversized sleeves he teases Merlin mercilessly about to stop him and shoves it all in his mouth. Merlin frowns and Gwaine leaves them to their sappy domesticity as he flips his phone around on the table and checks his texts, distantly listening to them as they bicker.

“Just a bite—Arthur—come on.”

“Don’t—stop that—Merlin.” A warning.

“Arthur.” A whine.

Some rustling, an exasperated huff and then an, “Oops.”

Gwaine peers up curiously, already amused beforehand, to see Arthur holding half a biscuit between his fingers and both of them frowning down at the floor where the other half has been reduced to crumbs at the fall and impact.

“How on earth do you manage to be this clumsy, Merlin?” Arthur’s saying. “Clean it up, you klutz.”

“Sod off, I’m not your servant. It’s your fault for playing with food and being absolutely bollocks at feeding. If you’d just give me one bite—”

“My god, Merlin, shut up and take the damned biscuit.”

Arthur brushes past him, probably going for the broom, and Merlin finally munches on the biscuit happily.

When Gwaine shakes his head, Merlin shrugs with a smile and walks over, coffee cup in one hand and tray of biscuits in the other before plopping down on the chair beside Gwaine’s and skidding it closer across the floor so he can hook his chin over Gwaine’s shoulder.

“Percy says game night this Friday at his and Leon’s,” he tells Merlin, looping a loose arm around his shoulders.

“Say yes,” he answers right away, excitement already palpable. Merlin loves board games.

“Say yes to what?” Arthur asks as he walks in, glaring at Merlin and propping the broom up against the counter but clearly leaving the sweeping the floor part for Merlin to do.

Merlin rolls his eyes. “Yes to kicking you out of the flat for being a bully.”

Arthur snorts. “Then I say yes to kicking you out for being a useless idiot, too.”

And they are at it again.

“Guys, please,” Gwaine intervenes with a chuckle. “If you both kick each other out I’d be left alone and I wouldn’t survive a day. I’ll miss the sex too much.”

Arthur snorts after sipping his tea. “You wouldn’t survive a day alone—with or without sex.”

“And, honestly, you’ll miss cuddling more,” Merlin adds absentmindedly, tapping the phone screen with a poking finger to feed the dragon on this game Merlin insisted he download. It’s actually pretty engaging once you’ve played it a few times.

“Ah, you guys know me too well,” he answers, winking at Arthur and nodding to beckon him closer.

Arthur finishes his tea and sinks into the chair beside his, pretending to not want to, even though he presses their knees together.

Gwaine smirks at him, then at Merlin. Happy, home.

Maybe society finds a relationship like theirs weird, not serious, mature or stable enough, not everlasting. Maybe society doesn’t endorse this; but, well, society doesn’t make him happy—Merlin and Arthur do.

Maybe society dictates that two's company, three's a crowd. That you can’t love two people at once, and a relationship is only meant for two.

That’s too bad, then.

Gwaine’s always had a knack for breaking society’s rules.