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On Your Knees

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“Stand.”

Merlin’s voice is calm when he looks down at where Arthur is kneeling before him. The blond is gorgeous in his work casuals: jeans and a light blue shirt. Merlin intends him to be naked sooner or later, but not quite yet. Maybe he’ll wait until much later...

If someone were to see them, they must look ridiculous: Merlin’s relatively thin frame towering over Arthur’s muscular one as he waits for his order to be obeyed without question. But it isn’t ridiculous, because the orders Merlin gives are obeyed. Those are the rules, and — surprisingly — Arthur is pretty good at following rules.

It’s obvious Arthur hesitates before he rises, but only slightly. It’s getting easier and easier for him to slip into the role of submissive for every time they play. Maybe that isn’t that strange, since Merlin knows Arthur has a need to be led by the collar — sometimes literally. It’s what he wants, so Merlin is kind enough to give it to him. Though — admittedly — they have never played at work before.

Suddenly overcome with the need to touch his pet, Merlin reaches back to stroke the hair at Arthur’s nape. A small smile escapes Arthur’s lips as he leans back into the touch. For a second, his eyes flick up towards Merlin’s — it’s a clear wish to meet his gaze, but Arthur refrains and lowers his head again.

Such a good boy when he wants to be, Merlin thinks and allows himself a fond smile before straightening his back and schooling his features into something less loving.

There’s a small shiver running through Arthur’s body, but Merlin is watching him closely enough to notice it. He can see how Arthur’s fists tighten only to relax again, how his jaw tenses and how Arthur lets out a deep breath to try and keep calm. It’s all beautiful to Merlin — how Arthur is learning how to be a good submissive and give in to him.

“Oh, pet,” Merlin says, voice low, “You really screwed up today.”

Since it’s not a direct question, Arthur doesn’t answer. His eyes stay averted and his body is alert but not quite tense.

“You disappointed me, Arthur. You should have done better.”

Still no reaction except for a small extra intake of breath, and then a slow exhale. There’s a minute shift in Arthur’s stance, but not enough to earn him a reprimand. He’s such a fast learner, so eager to please.

Merlin rises from the desk and leans into Arthur’s space. He lets their foreheads rest together before pressing a soft kiss to the corner of Arthur’s mouth, just out of reach for him to return it. Then, he lets go and steps back.

Assessing how Arthur is reacting to having to wait for the next command is exciting. Arthur makes an effort to not seem either nervous or eager, but his body tenses slightly anyway, and there’s a small shift of hips that Merlin understands. Arthur wants to hear the punishment, to stop waiting, because he’s about to collapse under the pressure of knowing something’s coming, but not knowing what.

Merlin lets him wait a little longer. There’s a small bead of sweat on Arthur’s temple, and Merlin would very much like to lick if off, but that doesn’t suit this situation. Afterwards, he can give in to his whims, but not yet. Not during, because someone needs to keep the calm, the control.

It’s weird how people always seem to think that the dominant part of a relationship is the easy part. It’s not. To dominate someone takes control — never-ending control about everything — and a whole lot of restraint to not fuck the sub whenever the urge arises. The relationship is more fragile and complex than that. For Arthur to relinquish control and for Merlin to assume it... There’s a power shift that can be dangerous if it’s not handled with care. But it’s also enthralling, enticing, intoxicating for Merlin to know that he has got the power and the responsibility over a man who gives it to him willingly. It really is a beautiful thing.

Arthur’s chest rises with every breath and Merlin admires the muscles that still are visible through the shirt. He would very much like to touch it, strip off the pesky fabric... let his tongue run over the nipples that he knows are so sensitive. But he doesn’t, he refrains because restraint is what Arthur needs to learn, and this is all about Arthur. This is for Arthur’s benefit, not for Merlin’s.

These thoughts are abruptly cut off when there’s a knock on the door.

Merlin smirks and stage whispers to Arthur, “Well, how lucky I didn’t order you to strip yet.”

With a simple, loud “Enter!”, he leans back against his desk and watches how the door opens cautiously before a short, curly-haired woman with a beautiful smile peeks in from behind it.

“Mr Emrys?”

Gwen. Beautiful, sweet Gwen. She would surely be a beautiful sub, too, but... Merlin’s got Arthur, and there’s no need to be greedy.

“Yes, Gwen, what is it?” Merlin says and shoots a look at Arthur.

He is still keeping himself under control, a bit tenser now that they’ve got company, but not alarmingly so. It’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. Merlin sighs quietly and wishes for hours of solitude with only Arthur in the room and the rest of the world to be seen far in the distance.

Gwen stumbles a bit on the words as she looks between Merlin and Arthur, obviously noticing the strange dynamics between them.

“Uh,” she says, “Should I come back later? Am I interrupting something?”

“Don’t worry, it’s fine.”

Gwen glances at Arthur. “Arthur?” she says unsurely, like Merlin would have — could ever — hurt him and he somehow would be in need of protection.

Arthur looks up at Merlin, gets a small nod as a confirmation that it’s okay to answer, and shoots her a smile. “I’m fine, we’re just talking business.”

Then he lowers his gaze again, like a good sub. That might be why Gwen doesn’t seem to believe it, but, then, she doesn’t really have to.

“Okay...” she says, drawing out the last vowel for a second too long before trailing off.

“So, what do you have for me, Gwen?” Merlin cuts in before she asks Arthur anything else.

“Oh!” she says, turning back to Merlin. “Right, yeah. Um. You’ve got a meeting in twenty, and Will called and wanted you to call him back.”

“Great, thank you.”

His tone is stern enough for Gwen to turn and leave with a small “right”, but not before watching Arthur’s strange behaviour some more, and shooting Merlin an odd glance. When the door clicks shut again, Merlin can see how Arthur visibly relaxes.

“Should I have invited her to stay, Arthur? She has a keen eye for you. Maybe you’d rather service her than me?”

It’s stupid to even propose it, because Merlin knows how devoted Arthur is to him. He’s shown it again and again and again — not the least when submitting to him like this, at work of all places.

“That was a direct question. Answer.”

Arthur swallows before he does. “N— no. I only need you, Master.”

Rising, Merlin lets his hand run through Arthur’s soft hair, strokes his thumb along his jaw and lets it caress his lips. “You’re right. You don’t need anyone but me. I’ll take care of you the way you need to be taken care of.”

The full-body shiver running through Arthur is reward enough, and Merlin’s gut clenches in anticipation, properly this time. Fighting to keep his own breath even, he runs his hands up Arthur’s chest, letting them rest just below his collarbones. He then taps his right index finger thoughtfully onto the shirt before removing his hands altogether and retreating back to his desk, leaning against it like he had before Gwen had interrupted them.

Twenty minutes before the meeting... There’s time to play a little. And after the meeting... Well, it’s afternoon, it won’t be long before it’s time to leave for the day. He’ll be able to take it, Merlin thinks.

“Take your jeans off.”

Arthur glances towards the unlocked door, but doesn’t say anything. He knows better than that. Merlin watches how his fingers tremble as he unbuttons and pulls his jeans down. Toeing his shoes off, Arthur kicks off the jeans, but leaves them on the floor. The light hairs on his thighs — oh, those gorgeous thighs — are standing on end. The outline of Arthur’s cock through the fabric of his underpants makes Merlin’s mouth water.

“Oh, pet. Don’t stop now. Drop the pants,” he continues and sees Arthur tense and — again — shoot a glance at the door.

Merlin knows his fear, but it’s a fear he wants to turn into something else, so he will. Arthur is enjoying this, that much is obvious by the half-hard state of his cock, though neither of them has given it much attention.

Eighteen minutes to go. Hm, should he call Will now, or later? Gwen didn’t say it was important, so he should be able to wait. Will probably just wants to brag about some girl he has hooked up with, anyway.

Merlin sighs exaggeratedly. “Arthur, Arthur, Arthur...” he says, “Whatever should I do with you?”

Arthur looks up then, meets Merlin’s eyes for a short second before turning them away again. Merlin smirks. A bit of defiance left, apparently. That’s good, Merlin likes that sometimes. It’s not about breaking anything, just... moulding it a bit. He rises, moves behind the large desk and sits down in his comfortable office chair. It’s one of those that gives a little bit when you lean back, allowing you to rock gently. Merlin loves that chair, it’s his favourite thing in his entire office — Arthur excluded, of course.

“Come,” he says and widens his legs so that there’s space to stand between them.

Arthur does, but stops before he gets in between Merlin’s knees. He’s trying to keep a bit of a distance. His cock is hard now, bouncing slightly as he walks and stops before Merlin. It’s easy to realise it’s because of the expectation, the unknown pleasure — or punishment — his Master soon will inflict upon him. To be honest, Merlin’s hard too by the mere thought of what he wants to do to his gorgeous, wonderful submissive. What he plans to do.

“On your knees,” he says, his voice darker and a bit rougher.

Arthur complies without a protest, but he still glances anxiously towards the door.

“Look at me. Now.”

Arthur’s head snaps up and their eyes meet — something Merlin usually doesn’t allow when they play. Arthur’s eyes are dark with arousal, but there’s something else there, too. There’s a question, a begging for help, a request for guidance. He doesn’t know what to do, how to react to his instinctive need to run from what could possibly be an embarrassing situation. He doesn’t know how to react to his craving to relinquish control completely and trust someone else to take responsibility for him and his actions. In a way he’s right to be hesitant; if someone realises that he’s fucking his boss — or letting his boss fuck him, as it stands — it’s career suicide. There’s a reason their relationship is a secret.

“This is all I’m going to say on this matter. You can leave this office, go back to work, and never look back. You’ve got the safe word, you have the opportunity to reclaim your power. Just say the word. But know this, Arthur. If you do, this is it. I will never bring it up again, and we’ll go back to vanilla sex and couch make-out sessions. That’s fine. That’s nice. We both love that, too.”

He watches Arthur’s face closely, lets his thumb lightly run across his cheekbone and revels in the way those beautiful lashes flutter closed before continuing, “I can’t make this decision for you.”

Arthur swallows hard, but doesn’t say anything at first. His eyes open and flicker back to the door to stay there.

Leaning forward, Merlin strokes his fingers along Arthur’s jaw, feels how tense it is. He sighs.

“Pet?” he says, quiet, “It’s okay to step away if you feel like you can’t handle it.”

There’s a growling sound in Arthur’s throat, and he jerks his head away from Merlin’s touch.

“Don’t!” he spits, “Don’t think you know— Don’t say that, just— just don’t.”

The aggression in Arthur’s voice melts away as he looks up to meet Merlin’s eyes again. “Please...” His voice goes weak, suddenly, and Merlin grips his chin to keep his head up and their eyes connected. “I– I need this, Master, please don’t give up on me.”

And though Merlin didn’t want to, never intended to, he sure as hell wouldn’t be able to, now. He leans in and kisses Arthur softly on the mouth. It’s not a dirty kiss, just a reminder of who they are to each other. When they separate, he whispers, “Then trust me.”

With earnest eyes, Arthur shuffles closer and grabs Merlin’s hips. “I will.”

Okay then, Merlin thinks. “Then do what I’m asking you to. Don’t come until I allow it. And since I have a meeting in...” He glances at his wrist watch, “... fourteen minutes, get going. You need a few minutes to clean me up, too.”

Arthur quickly unbuttons Merlin’s trousers and works his cock out. It’s not hard anymore, but the expectation of Arthur’s mouth makes it twitch. When Merlin feels Arthur’s hand grip at the base, and his tongue slowly make its way up his length, he sighs contentedly and tips his head back against the headrest.

“God,” he says, “You feel good.”

Humming, Arthur takes the head of Merlin’s cock into his mouth and pretty much sucks on it like an ice lolly. Merlin gasps. Fuck, he’s been on edge all day, and he probably won’t last long. He grips Arthur’s hair harshly, keeping him still while he talks.

“Careful,” he says tensely, “Make it last a bit, at least.” He looks at his watch again. “Eleven more minutes to go, you can surely keep me occupied for that long, or I will have to come up for some other use for you.”

Arthur nods, still with the cock in his mouth. He slowly works his way down, and Merlin lets up on the grip on his hair, stroking the soft spot just below Arthur’s ear with his thumb. As a response, Arthur does a thing with his tongue, and Merlin involuntarily lets out a moan. There are a few minutes of relatively quiet pleasure, where the only sounds either of them let out are small, satisfied huffs of breath (Merlin) and a low humming (Arthur).

Suddenly, there’s another knock on the door. Merlin can feel Arthur tense, but he doesn’t let go of Merlin’s cock — probably because Merlin tightens his grip on his hair again to hold him there. They both still, though, Arthur’s now ragged breathing the loudest sound in the room. A string of saliva drops onto the floor.

“I’m busy!” Merlin calls. His voice is a bit unsteady, but not enough to cause any alarm. Hopefully.

Gwen’s voice comes through the door. “Five minutes until the meeting, sir. Just a reminder.”

“Thank you.”

They both hear Gwen’s footsteps recede, and Arthur relaxes visibly.

Merlin looks Arthur in the eye. He lowers his voice and says, “Should I have let her in? Let her see how I treat my undisciplined employees when they’ve acted badly? Let her watch as I fuck you over my desk? Answer, pet.”

But he doesn’t ease up on the grip, and as Arthur’s forced to answer with Merlin still in his mouth, the words come out muffled. The saliva dripping from his lips onto the cock is not doing anything to soften Merlin’s resolve to teach Arthur this lesson, though. To be honest, it’s bloody hot.

“What was that? Didn’t your posh professors teach you to enunciate properly?”

Merlin bucks his hips slightly, and Arthur makes a startled, wonderful noise before trying again, “As you see fit, Master.”

It still comes out slightly strangled, but Merlin allows it. After all, Arthur’s not fully trained yet, is he?

“You’re right. It’s up to me. Maybe I should invite them all in, let the entire office watch me fuck you? You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” His voice is getting rougher again as he continues, “Of course you would. You’d love it, because I’d tell you to.”

At that, Arthur tries to swallow and, seemingly unconsciously, makes a flicking motion with his tongue. His fingernails are digging into Merlin’s thighs and Merlin lets go of his hair again, prompting him to continue sucking him off. It’s something Arthur is exceedingly good at, and Merlin loves Arthur’s mouth for so many reasons — although this is one of the better ones.

He can feel the build-up, lets the orgasm overwhelm him just a minute later and Arthur tries to swallow all of it until he almost chokes and some dribbles out onto his chin. There are tears in the corners of his eyes when he licks Merlin’s cock clean and waits for his Master to get his breathing under control again and tell him what to do next.

“Oh, pet,” Merlin says, still slightly breathless but his voice is softer than it was a few minutes ago as he wipes the tears from Arthur’s eyes with his thumbs. “That was acceptable. You did well.”

The come on Arthur’s lips is still there, and Merlin straightens up in his chair and tucks himself back in. “Clean yourself up, and then go back out and work. There’s two hours left of the day and I have a meeting.”

Arthur attempts to clean himself up by — quite suggestively — licking his lips. Where he can’t reach, he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and then licks that clean, too. While he does, Merlin takes out a post-it note and scribbles down a couple of sentences.

“Make sure I can read it this time.”

Arthur’s voice is raspy, and there’s a tug in Merlin’s stomach when he realises that is because of him. What he doesn’t like, though, is the blatant insolence in Arthur’s tone and choice of words — even if the point is a good one. Merlin glares at Arthur, breathes out slowly to keep his response to himself — for now — and adds a line to the note. He folds it and hands it over.

“Read it in ten minutes.”

He hesitates for a second, but then opens and reaches into his desk drawer. His special desk drawer, the lockable one where he keeps all his personal effects. Like an extra tie and shirt in case his gets dirty or ruined during the day. Like every piece of evidence (photos, mostly) of him and Arthur actually being a couple . And like...

“And put this in.”

Arthur gets up, his cock still hard and straining. Where Merlin hesitated, Arthur doesn’t, and he takes the small anal plug from where Merlin is holding it out to him. He’s not doing it eagerly, more dutifully than anything else, really — like he realises that it’s a repercussion of the words he spoke out of turn. He’s accepting the punishment, like a good submissive should.

The sudden obedience makes Merlin want to hug Arthur and kiss him silly, but that would be extremely counterproductive at this stage. Later, he thinks. God, later I’ll reward everything he’s done right today — right after I’ve punished everything he’s done wrong.

“Put it in as soon as possible. You’ve got lube in your wallet, right? Like a good pet.”

Arthur nods. As he bends to puts his underpants and jeans back on, Merlin can’t take his eyes off him. Arthur’s forced to adjust himself several times to try and hide his erection. Just as he is about to open the door and leave, Merlin says, “Oh, and don’t you dare touch that, pet. We’re going to continue this when you get home. And you know I’ll know if you’ve jerked off.”

 

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“Walk home. Be ready.”

And then, at the bottom: “You’ll regret the cheek. Was it worth it?”

 

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Merlin ended up being a few minutes late to the meeting, but no one said anything, just smiled and started talking once Merlin sat down and motioned for them to begin. Being able to be a bit late now and then is one excellent side effect of being the CEO, at least. For an hour, Merlin nodded, questioned some of the more outrageous attempts to get funding, and nodded some more. Meetings aren’t his favourite things.

Afterwards, Merlin is just passing Arthur’s desk when Mordred the intern jogs up to him.

“Sir,” he says, breathless.

Merlin turns. “Mordred.”

“I just wanted to give you—”

“Why don’t we just step into my office for a second, then?” Merlin interrupts and smiles kindly at the young man.

Mordred is quite beautiful, and very eager to please, and —Merlin suspects — also harbours a small crush on Merlin. It’s adorable and totally harmless, but Merlin can feel Arthur’s eyes burning a hole in the back of his skull at Merlin’s suggestion. Merlin doesn’t look over his shoulders to confirm it.

Instead, he gently places a hand on Mordred’s shoulder and guides him into his office, but doesn’t close the door. Leaning against the desk with direct line of sight of Arthur, Merlin accepts the folder Mordred’s holding and flips through it. Mordred natters on about numbers and it’s obvious he’s trying to impress the CEO.

Nodding, Merlin looks up and meets Arthur’s gaze where it’s following his and Mordred’s every move. Suppressing a smile, he just nods at Mordred and hums an agreement to whatever he’s saying. Maybe he should just test out this theory he’s having. Reaching out, he brushes away a bit of invisible lint from Mordred’s arm, letting his fingers linger just a second too long.

Being careful to keep his tone neutral, though, so as not to lead Mordred on, he looks over the lint-free shoulder. Arthur’s face has gone pale, his jaw clenched tight, the pen he’s holding looking like it’s going to break at any second. Merlin smirks.

A few minutes later, he shows Mordred out of his office with a warm, “Good job, Mordred! Looking forward to seeing the progress on your next project.”

Arthur shoots daggers at the intern’s retreating back, but when Merlin leans in, he turns all his attention to his Master.

“Control yourself, pet,” Merlin says, quietly, “Jealousy doesn’t become you.”

Except it does. God, it really, really does.

 

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The door slams shut and Merlin can tell Arthur’s in a strop about having had to walk home. It’s not impossibly far, but it takes a good 30 minutes, at least. And yes, maybe it’s not completely comfortable to have to do it while having a plug up your arse.

Even if Merlin appreciates that Arthur isn’t broken — because if he is, that means that the thing they’re doing isn’t play anymore, but abuse, and that’s really not okay — he doesn’t appreciate blatant cheek like earlier at the office.

Hearing Arthur tearing around in the hallway closet, Merlin steps into sight and casually leans against the wall. “Have a nice walk?” he smirks, knowing both the question and the pose will drive Arthur insane.

Arthur gives his coat a final, rough shove before closing the closet door and turning to glare at Merlin. Their eyes meet, and there’s a flicker of insecurity in Arthur’s before he visibly forces himself into a submissive state by lowering his shoulders and trying to relax before turning his gaze away, instead fixing it on the floor by Merlin’s feet.

“Good,” Merlin says, voice soft and pleased.

He goes to Arthur, then, not stopping until he’s well within Arthur’s space, and trails a finger along his jaw. “Are you hot after walking all the way home in this state?”

Merlin reaches down and lightly caresses Arthur’s cock through his jeans. He’s hard, probably after the walk, but it’s not really a surprise. Arthur has always been very fond of being filled. Though he generally prefers Merlin’s actual cock, an anal plug usually does the job, too. Arthur’s harsh gasp brushes Merlin’s cheek as he lets his fingers stroke the hard length twice before moving back a step. Looking up into his face, Merlin can see that Arthur has shut his eyes tightly in an attempt to keep his composure.

“I asked you a direct question, pet.”

Arthur whines before answering, “I am, I am.”

The tone is desperate, and Merlin can’t help himself. He leans in again and presses a kiss to those beautiful lips. For a second, there’s no response, and then there is. The pressure is returned and a tongue darts out from between Arthur’s lips, asking permission to deepen the kiss, but no, that’s not what Merlin has planned. Without warning, he withdraws again.

“Sitting room, naked, in position,” he says instead, and turns away before he regrets it.

Leaving Arthur to his own devices for a little while, certain that he will do as he’s told, Merlin makes his way up the stairs to their bedroom. He takes his time searching through their play box for what he wants. Then he leaves a few things out for later — it is Friday after all — and makes his way downstairs.

When he reaches the bottom of the stairs, he can see Arthur kneeling on the floor in the sitting room, his head obediently bent down and hands clasped behind his back. Such a good boy.

Merlin stops and just admires the sight for a minute. Arthur is exceptionally beautiful, and although Merlin never had problems picking up people before they met, he never thought Arthur would be interested in him. Arthur is really one of a kind in every possible way.

In the beginning, their relationship had been rocky, to say the least, with Arthur’s snappish and entitled behaviour radiating from his every pore, even in his boss’s — Merlin’s — presence. But eventually, they had reached some common ground, and then they had reached something more than that.

This had been discovered completely by accident at first. Arthur had always topped, before, always taken charge, but when Merlin had playfully fought him on it and managed to turn the tables to his own advantage, it had been obvious that Arthur had liked being manhandled into submission. Merlin has always liked being in control, and actually had been in other relationships, though not quite like this.

The situation had spurred suggestions and discussions and a lot of experimentation, and here they are: in a relationship that’s only slightly more than a year old, and with a sex life that’s better than anything Merlin has ever experienced before. With a gorgeous, kind, honourable yet submissive man at his feet... With Arthur’s body, soul and will at his disposal.

It really is exhilarating.

And scary, of course, because Arthur trusts Merlin with his life — figuratively and on occasion even literally. That is downright terrifying at times, but they’re working hard to keep all situations under control, making sure there won’t be any accidents, won’t be any incidents. They have safety measures in place and when they don’t play, Merlin has several times told Arthur that he needs to stop trusting Merlin so much, because what if he makes a mistake and something happens? But then, Arthur just winds his arms around Merlin’s thinner frame and tells him that Merlin won’t, because they love each other and Arthur knows Merlin won’t hurt him, will never hurt him.

It makes Merlin both want to strangle Arthur (and not in the hot breathplay-kind-of-way either) for being too trusting, and curl all the way around his body and just hold him for giving Merlin so much of himself. Arthur has too much faith, sometimes, but Merlin will never take advantage of that. Not in any way that Arthur hasn’t said was okay.

Shaking himself out of his reverie, Merlin walks down the stairs and stands behind Arthur. It’s not cold in the house at all, rather the opposite, but Arthur shivers anyway.

“Up,” Merlin orders and Arthur tilts his chin up, like they’ve done many times before.

Running the collar through the palm of his hand, Merlin pauses a second to admire it. It’s made of sturdy leather on the outside, but soft, non-marking lambskin on the inside. It’s wide — two full inches — and every time it closes around Arthur’s neck, it makes Merlin shiver because of the power it brings. Basically, it’s the same as a dog’s collar, but with several loops for a leash. And, of course, it was made for human use. For this use, actually.

Arthur takes a deep, shivering breath as Merlin runs the leather over the back of his neck before putting it in place and locking it. The leash he fastens in one of the loops is a simple dog leash with a metal chain closest to Arthur, and a leather handle for Merlin to hold. It’s a familiar weight in his hand.

Leaning down and running his lips against that perfect jaw, pressing a kiss to the spot below Arthur’s ear, Merlin whispers, “You’re mine now. Always mine to do with as I please. Always mine to use, mine to possess, Arthur. Don’t forget it.”

He tugs at the D-ring at the front of the collar with his finger, but keeps the leash slack, and Arthur lowers his head in submission again. God, he’s being so good right now. So obedient. Maybe he deserves a reward, after all? Mm, yes, if nothing else, Merlin deserves a reward for putting up with all the mistakes and cheek today...

“Stand. Keep your hands behind your back.”

Arthur does.

“Turn.”

Merlin admires Arthur’s firm buttocks as they disappear from view and another part that Merlin loves appears instead. God, Arthur’s so hard, and with the plug still in... It must have been so difficult for him to keep his hands off his cock all afternoon. But it’s such a beautiful sight, and Merlin’s mouth water at the thought of tasting it.

“You’re to keep absolutely still, pet,” Merlin says softly, but loud enough to know Arthur has heard the order. “No bucking of hips, no coming until I give you permission, absolutely no talking. Understood?”

He lowers himself onto his knees in front of Arthur’s groin and looks up into his face.

“I asked you a question.”

“Y—” Arthur starts, and then corrects himself and nods instead.

“Good. I’ll forgive that little slip-up, then.”

Merlin starts with gripping Arthur’s cock, holding it still and then licking slowly along the vein on its underside. Arthur trembles with anticipation, but he keeps still and doesn’t talk.

“Such a good pet. Remember, no coming until I tell you to.”

No answer at first, but when Merlin gently squeezes his balls, Arthur lets out a gurgling sound and nods jerkily as an answer.

Merlin takes the cockhead into his mouth and just holds it there in the warmth, sucking lightly on it, like that’s something he does every day. He probably would if he got the chance. There are few things that make Merlin happier than sucking Arthur’s cock, to be quite honest, but if there’s something he loves to do even more, it’s teasing Arthur until he almost falls apart. And Arthur’s not particularly good at being patient...

It doesn’t even take a full minute before there’s a low, rumbling growl coming from above and Merlin can see Arthur tilting his head down, looking at him. Still no words, though, nor any movement of his hips. Arthur’s keeping his hands obediently behind his back. But there’s a tension running through his muscles, Merlin can feel it like an electric current and he loves it. Being a good Master, challenging his sub to learn, to get better, Merlin touches the sensitive slit on Arthur’s cock with his tongue, teasing mercilessly, and he knows Arthur will fail to abide by the rules tonight. It’s just a question of when.

“Merli— I—”

And there it is. Merlin takes more of Arthur’s cock in his mouth and sucks like it’s the only way to reach water and he’s dying from thirst. But he won’t let Arthur come, because he didn’t succeed in obeying the rules, so Merlin squeezes his fingers around the root of Arthur’s cock, effectively cutting off the orgasm he’s coaxing out of him with his mouth.

It’s a harsh lesson, but apparently a necessary one.

When Arthur reaches that moment and Merlin doesn’t allow him to come, his hips start to jerk uncontrollably, trying to get the release, but Merlin’s grip is unrelenting. All Arthur’s strength seems to leave his body and he drops down on his knees, unconsciously leaning forward, towards Merlin. His hands aren’t behind his back anymore either — Arthur has grabbed Merlin’s arms and the touch is far from light. Merlin bears it, though, because he knows this isn’t easy, and Arthur does deserve some form of tension release, after all — even if it isn’t the one he really wants. This really is a tough lesson. Arthur’s abdominal muscles stay tense for another few moments, until suddenly his entire body goes limp and he lets out a low whine that goes straight to Merlin’s heart.

“Shh,” Merlin says softly, finally releasing the grip on that beautiful cock and wrapping his arms lightly around Arthur’s sweaty body — allowing him some closeness, some affection though he’s failed his Master.

“Shh, pet, shhh. You’ll do better next time. Next time, you won’t talk because I’ll gag you, only allowing those delicious sounds of yours to come out. Next time, you’ll just have to concentrate on not coming before my say-so, okay? Next time, I’ll make sure you’re tied down because you aren’t strong enough to control yourself yet. Isn’t that right, pet? You’re just not strong enough.”

Arthur is hunched forward, on his knees, leaning heavily onto Merlin. There are tears streaming down his face from the physical and mental exertion. The orgasm has subsided, for now, though. Merlin runs his hands over Arthur’s sweaty arms and shoulders, feeling how the muscles tremble. He caresses his neck, runs his hands through the sweaty, blond hair before settling down on his shoulders.

“It’s fine to not be strong enough. I’ll teach you to become the perfect pet, Arthur. You’ll be my perfect pet.”

For a while, there’s just the sound of Arthur’s heavy breathing, but eventually that calms, too, and there’s a small nod of assent.

“I will be, Master.”

Arthur’s voice is almost too quiet, and Merlin pretends that he doesn’t hear what he says so he doesn’t have to punish the disobedience. The words of submission makes Merlin suddenly feel warm with affection for his lover, his love, his... pet.

But suddenly Merlin remembers earlier today.

“You were acting jealous today,” he says, keeping his voice low and as emotionless as he can manage. “That’s not something a good pet does, is it?”

Arthur doesn’t answer.

“It’s not, pet.”

Merlin’s voice goes stern at the last word, and his hand reaches up and grips Arthur’s chin, holding him still.

“A good pet doesn’t bite. A good pet doesn’t bark at others pissing at their tree. A good pet doesn’t show weakness — like you did — in a situation like that.”

Merlin can feel the shiver running through Arthur’s body, and there’s a sound coming from his throat that’s like a mix between a whine and a growl. Tilting Arthur’s head the way he likes it, Merlin leans in close, almost until their lips brush.

“A good pet trusts his Master.”

And then he lets go, causing Arthur to simper and obediently assume the default position: on his knees with his head lowered and his hands behind his back.

“On all fours, and keep still. I’m going to remove your plug.”

With a tight grip on the leash with one hand, Merlin positions himself behind Arthur and trails his fingers down his crack. The plug is lodged firmly in Arthur’s hole, and Merlin wriggles it a bit before slowly sliding it out, causing Arthur to tug on the leash and squirm. But no words, and that’s good.

“In position.”

Merlin then drops the leash and leaves for the bedroom again as he needs more toys from the box. He turns halfway up the stairs, expecting to see Arthur obeying his orders, but he isn’t. Arthur’s eyes are on Merlin, but he quickly directs his gaze back to the floor when he notices he’s been found out.

A sudden anger at such a ridiculous disobedience flares in Merlin’s chest. He can understand the jealousy, the cheek, the insecurity, but this?

He forces his voice to sound calm, “Arthur.”

No answer. So, now he chooses to obey? Curious.

“Arthur, look at me.”

It takes a beat, but Arthur does look up on him, then. He doesn’t meet his eyes, but he looks.

“This night isn’t over by far. You know that, right?”

Arthur swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing, drawing Merlin’s gaze to it. “Yes, Master.”

“I will have your obedience by the end of it. I’ll have you begging to suck my cock, begging for your own release, begging to be touched. You’ll cry and you’ll whine and you’ll be completely at my mercy, Arthur. Do you understand?”

“Y— yes, Master.”

“So why did you think it was a good idea to disobey me?” Merlin slowly starts walking back down the stairs, eyes trained on Arthur. His lean body, his beautiful face, strong jawline, his shoulders... his cock, still standing proud and wanting. There’s a moment when Merlin realises that this is how they know.

This is how they know they belong together. This situation, this play, this connection. This thing they’ve built together... their thing. Even if they might ignore it at times, it’s always there. It’s naked and wanting, like Arthur. It dictates the rules and expects them to be obeyed, like Merlin.

For some, it’s weird how hurt and humiliation can be interpreted as love, but they’ve got it wrong. They’ve got it backwards.

Love is always the beginning. Love is the reason you give the person you love what they want, what they need, what they crave.

Reaching Arthur’s shivering body, Merlin runs a hand through his hair and feel his beloved pet lean into the touch. Doing it again, he lulls Arthur into believing he’s safe. The moment Merlin can see those beautiful, blue eyes close wholly, he closes his fist and keeps a hard grip on the blond strands of hair, pulling Arthur’s head back.

“You need this, Arthur, don’t you forget it. You need to be disciplined, because you don’t know how to function otherwise. You need me. Isn’t that right? Answer.”

Merlin doesn’t mention he needs Arthur, too, needs him like air. He never says it when they play, but they both know it.

“Answer, Arthur. Do you need to be disciplined?”

A small gurgling sound escapes Arthur’s throat as Merlin takes the leash up from where he left it on the floor and tightens his hold, but the answer is clear.

“I do. I do, Master.”

And when Merlin leans in and presses a too soft kiss to the lips of his pet, his lover, his love, there is all the evidence Merlin needs that he is right and that Arthur accepts it and wants it.

The kiss lasts for another second, and then Merlin withdraws and leans his forehead to Arthur’s, waiting for his own breath to calm.

“So,” he says eventually, “You disobeyed me earlier.”

He can feel Arthur’s small nod.

“Come, to the bedroom,” he says and tugs at the leash, to guide more than to force. “You’ll choose your own punishment, then, pet, and then we can get properly started.”

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