“What do you think your father would rather execute me for if he found out?” Merlin asks, staring up at the ceiling, boneless and almost giddy with afterglow. “The magic, or this?”
The Arthur-shaped lump beside him grunts. “If by ‘this’ you mean lying on my arm and cutting off blood flow to my hand, then I would have to say I don’t know.”
It’s ridiculous how much effort Merlin has to exert to roll far enough to free Arthur’s hand. “Sorry, sire.”
Arthur rolls to face him, looking as dazed as Merlin feels, soft blond hair in a truly incredible state of disarray. “You’d better be. Some of us actually need our hands to—what are you giggling about?”
Merlin tries to speak, but erupts into another fit of laughter. “You look like a dandelion.”
Arthur goes cross-eyed for a moment, attempting to look at his hair, brushing a hand through it self-consciously. “Oh yes? Well, you look like an idiot. Now go to sleep before I come to my senses and kick you out of here.”
“That wouldn’t be very gallant of you,” Merlin says, though he wiggles himself around until he’s under the sheets. They’re so soft they almost feel like liquid against his skin, nearly sinful after years sleeping on homespun wool. Perhaps sinful is the right word, what with questionable stains on them at the moment.
“I,” Arthur announces, “Am utterly gallant. Say anything different and I’ll have you hanged.”
Arthur is the only person Merlin has ever met who uses death threats as endearments. “Fine, then. There won’t be anyone to polish your boots, or suck your cock.”
He gets a swat on the back of the head for that, by now a very familiar experience. What’s relatively new is Arthur lacing his fingers into his hair and pulling him down for a wet, lazy kiss, a big hand sliding down his back.
“I-I thought you wanted to sleep,” Merlin stammers when he has the breath.
“Changed my mind.” He rolls them over easily, pinning Merlin facedown against the sheets, making a noise of impatience as he kicks the blankets out of the way.
Merlin grins into the pillow. “Practicing for when you’re king?”
Teeth set firmly into the back of his neck for a moment. “What, practicing pinning sorcerers to my bed? I don’t need to practice that, Merlin. I’m already an authority.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all—ah!” He groans, bucking his hips as Arthur works a hand beneath him to take hold of his cock. “Heard it all before.” He breathes out, feeling the magic stirring in the pit of his stomach, released as he speaks the spell-words.
Arthur is launched off of his back with a shout, Merlin turning just in time to catch him with a cushion of air against the wall. It’s a simple thing to keep him pinned as he walks across the chamber to him.
He struggles, more or less uselessly. “Merlin!” His chest heaves with effort, muscles standing out in his arms. “This isn’t fair!”
“Hey, you’re the knight,” Merlin says, though he lowers Arthur to the floor. “I’m a sorcerer. We don’t fight fair, remember?”
There is a moment when panic flares bright in Arthurs eyes, pupils swallowing the color, throat working, holding down the fear. Merlin would be lying if he said he didn’t savor it, at least a little bit.
“All those times I yelled at you, called you names—.” Arthur’s voice is thin but steady. “Threw all those things at your head. You could have killed me.”
“True,” Merlin says. “Still could, really.” He grips Arthur by the shoulders, feeling how his skin’s gone clammy beneath the cooling sweat. “I could…make your blood boil, or…make your throat close up.” He wraps a hand around Arthur’s neck for a moment, just for emphasis. “Or turn you into a toad.”
Merlin presses Arthur against the wall with his hands instead of his magic, kissing him hard enough to muffle whatever he was going to say. He doesn’t know if it was going to be a threat or a plea for mercy, and he doesn’t want to.
When Merlin finally lets him go, Arthur looks winded, but less frightened. “I never would have been able to stand for it,” he murmurs, breath warm on Merlin’s cheek.
Merlin grins. “I suppose I’m just a better person then you are.”
Arthur gives him a little shove back toward the bed. “Don’t push it.”