When Arthur had been ten, he’d become almost friends with the stable boy, Jershon, who was assigned to his favourite horse.
Jershon had loved Arthur’s mare, Bayet, as much as Arthur had; lovingly grooming her, and reporting all her habits – how much she’d eaten, how she’d slept, her moods – to Arthur each day.
Jershon’s mother was one of the kitchen staff, and often visited her son at points during the day, where Arthur – who preferred to be outdoors, training with weapons or practicing his horsemanship – frequently saw her visit.
Often, she would bring him some bread and cheese for his lunch; occasionally an apple, when in season and the kitchens could spare it; and always she brought with her a smell of baking bread and pastries, and a very loud voice.
She’d dispensed bosomy hugs, and casual hair-rufflings, and on a few memorable occasions solid clips around the ear upon her son with a fascinating freedom.
One day, her strident voice had drawn Arthur’s attention away from his targets, when she’d remonstrated with Jershon quite loudly on his inability to wash himself, and had firmly held the boy’s chin in her hand, as she’d spat on her ‘kerchief and rubbed briskly at his face, blithely ignoring Jershon’s whines and embarrassed, shuffling feet.
Arthur was certain that the parade of nannies he’d had growing up would have bathed him as a child, but he did not remember it. For as long as he could remember he’d been given cloths ten times finer than the scrap Jershon’s mother was using roughly on him to tend to himself, and his nannies had directed him with impersonal hands to his elbow or wrist, only when necessary, and with a polite ‘Sire’, even when he’d barely reached their knees.
After his mother had gone, Jershon had met Arthur’s gaze, scowling, and rolled his eyes mothers, eh? at Arthur.
Arthur barely spoke two words to him again after that.
At fifteen, Arthur took one of the few hunting trips he ever went on with his father. Unfortunately, they were accompanied by a score of knights all at least ten years older than him, who treated him with nothing but polite brevity – all preferring the company of each other, or the King.
They’d paused to make camp, after a reasonable morning’s hunting – Arthur had bagged the largest deer he ever had, although his father had barely even noticed – and Arthur was bored with talk he was not invited to be a part of, and wandered off down to the river.
He wasn’t supposed to go off without a knight to accompany him, he knew, but if no one wanted him, he certainly didn’t want them, that was for sure.
He’d explained to his father later – soaking wet and with downcast eyes in the face of his father’s white-lipped fury – that he really had just been about to break free, before his father’s arrow had caught the huge water-serpent in its eye.
This had held no weight at all with his father, and the trip back to Camelot had been conducted in icy silence.
When they reached the stables his father sent all the knights away, and kept Arthur behind.
“Arthur, that was stupid and reckless.”
“Yes, father,” Arthur said, keeping his eyes down, unable to meet his father’s eyes knowing the icy disapproval he’d see.
“You endangered your life, and Camelot’s succession, out of simple, childish boredom.”
Arthur bit his lip, face burning with shame.
“I feel I have been too lenient with you, Arthur,” Uther continued. “I’ve left your discipline to nannies and tutors, and clearly they have failed. It appears more direct methods are necessary. Push down your britches, and bend over that hay bale.”
Arthur’s head snapped up. “Father! I...” he trailed off, uncertain. He... what?
Uther was holding his riding crop, and Arthur licked his lips, nervously.
“Hurry up, Arthur,” Uther snapped.
Conditioned to react to that tone of voice, Arthur stepped jerkily over to the hay bale. He stopped in front of it, and took a deep breath, before fumbling at the laces to his britches.
He felt the cool air on his naked skin as he bent over the hay bale, and the prickle of hay against his hands.
He heard Uther step up behind him, and push his tunic up further, baring his arse. Arthur’s face burnt in humiliated horror, and then the riding crop smacked down on his flesh.
He gasped in shocked pain – it was like a line of fire – and he jerked helplessly in response.
He barely had time to draw in enough air before another flicked down, and then another.
The fourth caught him lower on his arse, on the undercurve of his cheeks, and he yelped, shockingly tender there.
He cried out hoarsely at the last two, as well, the fifth on the line where his arse met his thighs, and the final one a streak of flame to the tops of his thighs – more sensitive skin there than he could possibly have imagined.
There was a long pause. Arthur’s blood pounded, in his arse and in his face, as he gasped for breath.
He jerked when Uther’s hand suddenly rested gently on his bare arse.
Uther’s palm was warm and utterly shocking against his abused flesh and he locked his knees which threatened to buckle as his head swam and his throat dried up.
He couldn’t remember the last time his father had touched him.
“The skin is not broken,” Uther said, softly, and he patted Arthur gently.
Arthur bit his lip to keep a moan in, the heat of Uther’s hand felt like it was burning, and kept his face turned down.
“You will be more careful.”
It was half an order and half a question – Uther’s voice more gentle than Arthur could remember it being for a long time – but wholly requiring an answer.
“Yes, sire,” he choked out, voice raw.
Arthur held his position, unmoving, until he heard Uther step out of the stable.
He then let his knees buckle and take him to the floor. It only took three pulls on his aching dick before he was coming harder than he ever had in his life.
Arthur hated his father’s disapproval too much to often seek his displeasure, but if those rare instances occurred when Uther happened to be holding his riding crop, Uther never seemed to notice.
Arthur returned to his rooms, tired, sore, and aching.
His father had disciplined him tonight after he’d pleaded for a hapless sorcerer found enchanting his crops to grow to twice the size, the thought of how it could one day be Merlin bright in his mind.
The King had done it in the throne room, using a riding crop Arthur had long suspected he kept in the room for just this purpose, rather than in Arthur’s rooms or the stable, which meant Arthur had been forced to walk back to his rooms without being able to touch himself, and his britches chafed against his swollen dick as well as his welted buttocks and thighs.
Uther had touched him, as he almost only ever did on these occasions, though; a warm hand of forgiveness on Arthur’s shoulder, and his hand was still hot and wonderful through the thin material of Arthur’s shirt, even if it wasn’t flesh on flesh.
Arthur was horrified to find Merlin in his rooms when he reached them.
“Arthur!” Merlin sprang up from where he’d been waiting in Arthur’s chair. “Sire, I brought you some food, I thought you might be hungry.”
Arthur glanced at the food – chicken, bread and cheese, and a goblet of ale – which he recognised clearly as Merlin’s unspoken thanks for standing up to his father’s hatred of sorcery. They didn’t really speak about Merlin’s own gifts – had barely mentioned it since Arthur found out – but Merlin had chosen foodstuffs as their preferred method of communication.
“Thank you,” he said stiffly. “That will be all, Merlin.”
But Merlin was frowning.
“Are you alright?” he asked, blithely ignoring his Prince’s dismissal. “You’re flushed.”
“I’m fine,” Arthur said. “You may go.”
He tried very hard to walk normally into the room, past Merlin, but clearly failed, as Merlin’s frown deepened.
“Did he...” Merlin struggled for a moment. “Did he hurt you?”
Merlin sounded unbelieving, as so he should, and Arthur seriously considered not gracing that with an answer, but Merlin was looking at Arthur’s body so intently he was half afraid (it was Merlin, after all) that he was going to burn a hole in Arthur’s clothes, and Arthur had detailed and quite humbling knowledge of Merlin’s reaction to anything hurting Arthur, so he did reply.
“No,” he said, turning away from Merlin to look at the food, knowing his face was getting even redder. “Not really. He’s my father and the King, and he can discipline his subjects as he chooses.”
Merlin inhaled sharply, and Arthur refused to turn around to look at him.
“Do you... need anything?” Merlin asked, a little hesitantly.
“Just for you to go away and let me sleep,” Arthur said, less harshly than he meant to.
“Yes, sire,” Merlin said, finally. “Goodnight.”
Arthur waited for Merlin to close the door before letting out a breath.
The edge of his arousal had dulled, thanks to the awkward conversation with Merlin, and so he could be relatively restrained as be pulled off his boots and socks and stripped off his shirt, before unfastening his britches and pulling them down and off.
His cock was still half-hard, red and thick, and he looked over his shoulders down at his sore arse.
The welts were pink and raised, but not red – his father had never once broken the skin – and hot and sore. He reached down and ran his hand over his skin, shivering.
His cock jerked to full hardness as he touched his abused skin, closing his eyes and imagining someone else’s hand on him, caressing softly and carefully.
He moved over to his bed and lay down carefully on his side.
He closed his eyes, keeping one hand on his arse and one on his cock, stroking firmly. He imagined a different hand stroking him, with fingers longer and thinner than his own, that had brushed his skin before on one or two guiltily treasured occasions when they’d helped him in or out of his clothes...
Arthur’s eyes jerked open as Merlin burst into the room.
Merlin stood frozen in shock as the door slammed closed behind him, loud in the silence, an earthenware pot in his hand.
Arthur was a long way away from his abandoned clothes and on top of his bed sheets, and so had nothing to cover himself with. He moved both hands to cover his groin, as he was facing the door and so his front, not his arse, was to Merlin.
“Merlin,” he growled. “Get out!”
Merlin, ever the obedient servant, did not.
“I brought you some of Gaius’s salve,” Merlin said hesitantly, waving the jar in his hand stupidly as proof.
“Get out!” Arthur threw a pillow at him. Merlin failed to duck, and got hit in the head. He barely seemed to notice.
“I could...” Merlin’s eyes were wide and his cheeks red. “I could put it on for you?”
Arthur’s breath caught in his throat and his dick jerked against his hand at the thought of another hand on his body.
Something of his reaction must have shown on his face, because Merlin stepped cautiously forward.
“Please?” he asked, looking earnest and ridiculous like he always did.
No amount of artful seduction could possibly have been more appealing to Arthur.
Arthur nodded, jerkily, and Merlin beamed.
Arthur rolled over onto his front and felt the bed dip where Merlin sat on it. He turned his face away. Merlin drew in a breath at the sight of Arthur’s backside.
“Wow,” he said, and Arthur snorted at what a ridiculous thing that was to say, but somehow very Merlin.
Arthur heard the sound of the jar being opened and held his breath, expecting a hand on his arse immediately.
But there was a cautious, soft hand on his shoulder first, and Arthur’s skin felt like it lit up under even that gentle touch.
Finally, a slick, warm hand landed on his arse and he gasped in reaction. The fingers were firm, but gentle, trailing over the welted flesh.
Arthur realised he was shaking, and he pressed his face into his pillow and breathed heavily, trying to control himself.
The fingers sent shocking sparks all through him, slight pain at the pressure on his welts, translating to prickly, devastating heat at the smooth, gentle, pressure seeking to help his pain.
It took Arthur a moment, and the hands stopping their work, for Arthur to realise someone, Merlin was talking to him.
“Arthur, stop, you don’t have to...” the hands were urging him to raise his hips, “... not against the sheets, let me...”
Arthur realised he was rubbing against the bed, and had just enough sense to be slightly embarrassed about that, and so he let Merlin pull his hips up off the bed and got his knees under him.
“Good, good, so good,” Merlin said, and then three things happened at once – Merlin pressed his lips against one of Arthur’s welts; he wrapped a strong, slick hand around Arthur’s cock; and Arthur came.
Arthur made muffled noises into his pillow, and Merlin kept stroking his dick through the aftershocks.
Arthur brought his head up and gasped for air, touch drunk, as Merlin’s mouth stayed on the heat of his arse, whispering things against his skin.
His other hand, the one that wasn’t still cradling Arthur’s spent, twitching dick, caressed his arse, fingers pressing gently against the welts, keeping Arthur trembling.
“Let me, let me, Arthur,” Merlin was whispering stupid things against Arthur’s flesh, and his free hand moved down to dip between Arthur’s cheeks, pressing slick, probing fingers against Arthur’s entrance.
Arthur’s whole body jerked at the intimacy of the touch, and his dick twitched in Merlin’s grasp.
“Merlin,” Arthur groaned, “Touch me, please fucking touch me”.
It was a ridiculous thing to say, because Merlin was touching him, the glorious blazing heat of his body pressed tight against Arthur’s back, but the dam had been broken and Arthur moaned and cursed and begged.
Arthur made a truly pathetic noise when Merlin released his hardening dick, but settled again when both of those deft hands landed on his hips, and Merlin pressed his legs further apart by settling his body between Arthur’s thighs.
“Fuck,” Merlin breathed, and Arthur shuddered to feel the heat of that breath against his shoulder, so close, so sweet against touch-starved skin. “Wanted to touch you so much. Every day, I wanted to.”
And Merlin’s dick was pressing against him, into him so deep, so intimate, where no one had touched him before, and Arthur gave a broken noise and came again.
Arthur let his head drop back down onto the pillow and closed his eyes as Merlin touched him in every possible way.
The idea that touch could come so easily was both wonderful, and slightly terrifying.
Happy and perfectly at ease with the intimacy, Merlin was thoughtlessly generous; a hand on Arthur’s shoulder to get his attention; bump of arm and hip as they walked and talked; warm, firm (and entirely inappropriate) fingers around Arthur’s wrist tugging him where Merlin wanted him.
But even Merlin wasn’t clueless enough not to realise the effect of touch on Arthur, and sometimes he’d tease, rubbing a thumb over Arthur’s wrist and making him shudder in the middle of the street, brushing a hand over his shoulder, against his neck, seemingly by accident, when serving Arthur at dinner, making him shiver and try not to squirm lest he draw Uther’s or Morgana’s attention.
And in bed – he’d touch Arthur for hours with mouth and fingers and cock – until Arthur was dazed with sensation.
It was such bliss, something he’d become so used to over such a short period of time, that the idea of going without, even for a week, was almost intolerable.
“I’ll miss you,” Merlin said, mouth shaping the words against Arthur’s neck.
Arthur shivered as much from the brush of lips as from Merlin’s cock buried in his arse.
“I won’t be gone long,” Arthur replied, knowing Merlin’s honesty deserved a better reply, but not finding the words.
“I hear Lady Liria is very beautiful,” Merlin said, a slight note of possessiveness in his voice.
Arthur grinned into his pillow.
“Oh, she is,” he said, “and her father’s lands are very rich. She’d be a very suitable match for Camelot.” He managed to keep his voice even, even when Merlin renewed thrusting, hard, in retaliation.
“Should I be worried?” Merlin’s voice was teasing, and part of Arthur was glad Merlin was sure of him, and part a little affronted.
Never. “Don’t worry, my father’s not ready to marry me off yet.”
“Hmm,” Merlin did not sound convinced. “Marrying’s one thing, but how do I know you won’t want this?” Merlin jacked Arthur’s cock firmly, once, twice, and Arthur gasped, head falling back. “I’m not sure you’re going to be able to make a week without it.”
Arthur didn’t reply.
He was certain he could – he’d gone twenty years, after all – but he was equally certain he didn’t want to.
He had not been above begging his father to allow him to postpone the visit Lord Arlenric’s land to maintain good relations – Lord Arlenric being Lady Liria’s father and an old ally of Uther’s – just long enough for the outbreak of influenza in the lower town to run its course so Merlin could come too without leaving Gaius shorthanded.
He hadn’t really been able to tell his father that was why, though, or come up with any other plausible reason, so he had not been successful.
“Maybe there’s a way I can make you last the week?” Merlin suggested, voice low, and Arthur was more susceptible to Merlin’s suggestions when Merlin was rolling his hips like that, steady and strong, than he was at any other time.
“I wouldn’t even need to use magic,” Merlin mused, sucking on the soft skin of Arthur’s neck, “how about if I just keep fucking you for the next three days before you go?” He licked at Arthur’s ear. “Let’s say every hour, on the hour, you come back to your rooms, pull down your britches, spread your legs and bend over for me to fuck you? So I can have you again and again, fucking you over and over, not stopping even when every thrust makes you whimper, until you’re so sore and used you’ll feel it, feel me all the week you’re away?”
Arthur made a noise which was probably a whimper, although he’d deny it later.
He ached to reach between his legs, but he didn’t, it was worth the wait, always worth the wait, for Merlin’s hands on him, hot and firm.
“Of course,” Merlin continued, and his voice sounded fine, the bastard, “it’s probably a little bit ambitious to fuck you every hour for three days. But you’ll come anyway, and wait with your trousers round your ankles and your sore, well-fucked arse spread and waiting, and if I decide I don’t want to fuck you that time, I’ll just use something else. How about I magic us up a phallus shaped just like my cock? I’ll fuck you with it long and hard, while you writhe and moan and just take it.”
Merlin was fucking him steadily now, hard and deep.
“You can take it with you on your trip, and before you go to dinner with the lovely Lady Liria I’ll want you to slick it up and slide it in, so when you’re sitting there next to her, while she thinks you’re listening to her, when she thinks she’s got a chance, you’ll really just be sitting there trying not to squirm, clenching around my fake cock up your arse, and not to come right there in full view.
“Then you’ll go back to your room and just pull your britches down and fall on your hands and knees and fuck yourself with it, all desperate and needy, just wishing it was me. And I’ll scry for you every night and watch you. I’ll know you’ll leave it until the last moment to touch your dick because you’ll be hoping that I’ll use magic to touch you instead. So I’ll have to decide each night whether I just want to watch you fucking yourself, your cock straining and begging for my touch all night, or if I might reach through space and touch you just like you need.”
And Merlin did touch him, reaching down between Arthur’s legs to take him firmly in hand and pull, and Arthur came, Merlin’s hand on his dick, cock in his arse, and body pressing sweetly against his everywhere it could.***
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