Sometimes, Merlin thinks, it would be easier if he had never met Arthur. If he had just stayed in Ealdor, running around with Will and practicing his magic in a place that was simple and easy and not full of things that try to kill his master (and by extension, him) on a daily basis, then maybe he wouldn't be in the situation he is right now.
Arthur would have to get scratched by a bloody siren of all things. And of course it had to happen when they were miles from anywhere. So he's stuck trying to nurse an increasingly feverish Arthur on his own, without Gaius's help. His magic won't work either, the venom's too strong for that, and Arthur's barely conscious, head thrashing from side to side, perspiration practically falling off his forehead, nose and chin like a waterfall.
The siren had been so beautiful that Merlin had almost been mesmerised himself: long, flame-red hair and firm breasts that almost fell out of the white shift that she had been barely wearing. Her voice sounded like the most beautiful melody Merlin had ever heard, and when Arthur had dropped to his knees, Merlin had had to force himself to cover his ears and shut out that voice that wanted to lull him into the same hypnotic trance that she’d drawn Arthur into.
When he had tried to subdue her using magic, she had merely laughed: high-pitched and tinkling like bells.
"You may be a gifted sorcerer, young Emrys, but I am a creature of the ancient world, not the old religion," she had cooed, lifting Arthur's chin up so he was staring into her fathomless eyes.
"What have you done to him?" Merlin had forced out through gritted teeth.
She smiled, almost fondly, as she smoothed the hair back from Arthur's forehead, "I have given him a gift, sorcerer. The freedom to express his innermost desires. What could be more lovely than that?"
With that, she disappeared, leaving Merlin alone with a feverish Crown Prince who tore at his clothes, murmuring "hot, so hot." Merlin sat there, holding Arthur's arms down to prevent him from doing any harm to himself. It was then that he noticed that his shirt was torn to ribbons.
Arthur had clawmarks gouged into his flesh, and his wound seeped fluid. Merlin felt the panic rising in him like a wave about to crash against the shore.
"Merlin," Arthur whimpered, "I can't. I need."
And with that, Arthur lost consciousness.
Gaius is, understandably, concerned. He shakes his head and mumbles something about old books and gestures for Merlin to sift through the oldest books in his collection, while he wraps the wound on Arthur's torso.
"Sirens," Gaius says, "are among the oldest creatures in the ancient world. And while I don't wish to alarm you, Merlin, we really have no possible cure. What she said was, unfortunately, truth. There is no magic that can reverse the effects of the siren's venom. Usually men under the influence of the poison, would run themselves through with their swords, crash their ships upon the rocks, that sort of thing. We have no way of knowing what she intends Arthur to do, but we are, I am afraid, powerless."
The book that Merlin finds does not refute Gaius's theory at all, and Merlin repeats the words she uttered over and over, trying to guess exactly what she meant by them. It didn't seem to him to be something that would allow Arthur to hurt himself. He has no idea how he knows that, but he feels as certain of it as he has ever been certain of anything.
She spoke of innermost desires, and it didn't sound like she was trying to punish Arthur, it sounded like she was trying to help him, in a way.
"Merlin," Arthur whimpers, and Merlin feels his chest ache. When he looks at Arthur, immobile and feverish, whimpering his name, it makes something twist inside him. Something that he usually only allows himself to feel when he's in the privacy of his own room at night, lying there with his eyes closed and remembering what Arthur had looked like earlier in the evening when Merlin undressed him, stripping off his day clothes and getting him ready for bed.
Merlin has wanted Arthur for as long as he can remember, ever since Arthur twisted his arm behind his back and had him thrown in a cell, and if that doesn't say something about how worrying Merlin's psyche is, he doesn't know what does. He thought it would get easier as time went by, but it doesn't. It just gets harder and harder with every day that passes, particularly when Arthur is just lying there, all perfect and ridiculously beautiful.
Some days it hurts just having to look at him and knowing that the fleeting touches when he bathes Arthur, or dresses him, are all he will ever have.
"Merlin," Arthur repeats. Merlin leans in to ask what he can do to help, and Arthur reaches out and grabs his wrist, his thumb rubbing in circles on the pulse point. It shocks Merlin so much that he flinches and jumps back, leaving Arthur's arm to fall at his side.
"I. I have to go, Gaius," he stammers. "I need to. Uh. Arthur's horses." He runs from the workroom before Gaius has the chance to respond.
He spends the next couple of hours sitting on a haybale in the stables and trying to ignore the fact that he can feel Arthur’s touch as if it’s been imprinted on him permanently.
Arthur is awake and in his own bed by the time Merlin returns from the stables. Gaius tells him that Arthur has asked to see him, and Merlin feels his stomach drop. Merlin can see the old man doing what he always does: pretending not to pay Merlin any attention when he's really waiting patiently for Merlin to open up and tell Gaius exactly what is going on.
Merlin isn't even honest with himself about his feelings for Arthur most of the time, so if Gaius thinks he can get anything involving Arthur and secret feelings toward the prince out of Merlin, he's got another thing coming.
He half-runs, half-walks to Arthur's chambers. Merlin's desperate to see him and make sure he's okay, yes, but he's also hesitant. Arthur's unconscious fondling was obviously unintentional. While Merlin knows that instinctively, he also doesn't want to admit that the object of his deeply devoted affections has no more intention of touching Merlin than he has of walking into the council chambers to tell his father that he is an enormous bully who obviously hasn't had a good tumble in an awfully long time, and should really do so before he dies of an apoplexy.
Merlin knocks on Arthur's door, tentatively, and when Arthur yells "Enter," he takes a deep breath and steps inside, closing the door behind him.
"Ah," Arthur says, his fingers picking idly at a piece of fluff on his nightshirt, "you do actually exist, do you? I was hoping that perhaps you were only a figment of my imagination and I might wake up to discover I had a servant that actually was capable of serving me."
Merlin rolls his eyes at Arthur, but inwardly, he thanks the Gods that his prince is not just okay, but cognisant enough to insult him.
Arthur is propped up against his pillows, leaning back, and he looks so completely gorgeous that Merlin has to remember to breathe for a moment. His hair is a mess, and his position is such that his throat is bared. Merlin wants very badly to bite him right there, at the base of his throat.
"I was," Merlin struggles for a retort, "mucking out your horses, while you were lazing about dreaming about goodness only knows what. It's a marvel you even had time to notice I was gone."
"Oh Merlin," Arthur leans back even further, his elbows braced on his pillows, with a grin that Merlin can't focus on, because it might just kill him, "I always notice when you're gone."
There's something in that grin, something in his voice that Merlin's never heard before. Words laced with something other than sarcasm, and he can't put his finger on it, but it makes Merlin's chest feel tight.
"Come here," Arthur orders, "I need your help with something."
Merlin tamps down the thoughts he's having which probably have much more to do with wishful thinking than any kind of basis in reality, and walks quickly over to Arthur.
"I'm glad you're well," Merlin says, "I was worried."
"How sweet," Arthur half-whispers, and before Merlin has any time to react, Arthur is up on his feet and pushing Merlin up against the patch of wall next to his bed.
Merlin can't move, he's completely stunned, and Arthur's face is right there, so close that Merlin can feel warm breath on his face. He feels like he should be doing something, pushing Arthur away, because this doesn't feel real, it feels like magic, but he can't make his body catch up with his brain.
Arthur brings a hand up to Merlin's face and rubs his thumb slowly over Merlin's bottom lip, catching on the chapped skin there. Merlin unconsciously parts his lips.
"Yes," Arthur murmurs against his cheek, thumbing at Merlin's lip. "You want this. Knew you did, Merlin, I've always known."
Merlin’s cock reacts to the assault that Arthur's currently performing on him, and his skin feels like it's on fire. He wants to give into this so badly, and yet, this is so wrong. Arthur doesn't know what he's doing; it's the siren's venom driving this and while Merlin needs Arthur more than he needs to breathe, he could never forgive himself for taking advantage of him in this state.
"Stop," he whispers, and he doesn't even sound convincing to himself. He places his palm on Arthur's chest and pushes him back. It doesn't take much, Arthur for all his aggressive behaviour is still a bit weak, and he resists as much as he can, but it's obvious he's exhausted. So when Merlin walks him back, Arthur allows himself to be pushed back onto the bed.
"Why did you stop me?"
Merlin opens his mouth, but he quickly realises that the proximity to Arthur is a very, very bad idea. Arthur's hands are on him, unbuckling his belt and throwing it on the bed next to him before pushing up under Merlin's tunic and stroking fingers over the warm flesh of Merlin's belly.
"Gods, Arthur, will you stop!" Merlin yells, jumping back out of Arthur's reach.
Arthur, mercifully doesn't move. He just sits there, eyes on Merlin, looking like he wants to devour him like he hasn't eaten for a week and Merlin is the juiciest cut of meat he's ever seen. He picks up Merlin's belt and runs it through his fingers, not looking away from Merlin's face for a second.
"I could bind your wrists with this," Arthur practically purrs, "so you couldn't move, so you couldn't stop me getting my hands on you. I know you want me, Merlin, I just don't know why you're trying to pretend you don't."
"I. I do," Merlin admits, his head bowed, "but this is wrong, Arthur. This isn't you talking, it's the venom, and I won't..."
Arthur laughs, "You think this is the siren making me do this? Oh Merlin, you really are naive."
"I'm not bloody naive," Merlin snorts, "you've never ever shown interest before, and all of a sudden you're throwing yourself at me like this? Oh no, it can't be magic. You're just that desperate to ravish me. Right."
Merlin doesn't know how much more of Arthur's attention he can take. He's flushed all over, and he can feel his cock rubbing against the inside of his breeches. All he wants to do is get out of here, away from Arthur's completely wanton gaze so he can take himself in hand and fantasise about what would happen if he were a less decent person than he is.
"Come over here," Arthur says, "and I'll show you how desperate I am to ravish you."
"Oh for," Merlin splutters, "you're impossible!" He slams the door on his way out and just stands there, breathing hard and trying to will his cock into a half-decent state so he doesn't frighten everyone who crosses his path.
It's refreshing to know that Arthur, no matter what state he's in, has the ability to drive Merlin absolutely fucking barmy.
The day after Arthur decided that it was his main goal to make Merlin's life a living hell, Merlin finds a spell that allows him to feign a very convincing cold. It lasts long enough to convince Gaius that he is severely unwell, and thus unable to serve his prince, giving him two day's respite.
That evening, Arthur drops in to see him. When Gaius suggests that given the prince is still recovering from the wound he received from the siren, it might not be the best idea to share Merlin's air for a couple of days and pick up more germs, Merlin hears Arthur's footsteps approaching. He slips a note under the door, and Merlin stares at it for an hour before tearing it open and reading it.
You are a complete and utter idiot.
You can't hide forever. I'll be waiting.
Merlin feels Arthur's words hit him like a punch to the gut, lust pooling there in the pit of his stomach.
Merlin imagines what would have happened if Arthur hadn't walked away. If he had come into Merlin's room and grabbed him. Pressed him into the bed and whispered to him in that arrogant, seductive voice, telling him what he wanted to do to him. Merlin unlaces his breeches and shoves his hand inside, bringing himself off embarrassingly fast to the image of Arthur whispering filthy things to Merlin as he spends himself inside him.
Merlin thinks that Arthur is probably going to kill him. And if Arthur doesn't, the frustration very well might. It's been three days since Arthur first threw himself at Merlin, and he's at the point where his cock is just about raw from all the attention he's been giving it when he's out of Arthur's sight.
But it's not just the constant teasing that is getting to him. It's... he's wanted this, wanted Arthur for so long, and not just as a quick tumble to satisfy some kind of itch that Arthur has. It's. He's completely and utterly besotted with the man, thinks about him every minute of the day, whether he's with him or not. He wants to protect him, wants to serve him with every fibre of his being, and it isn't because of their destiny. It's because Merlin is absolutely, ridiculously in love with him.
He's not stupid, he remembers what the siren said, that Arthur would have the opportunity to explore his innermost desires. Which means that Arthur has probably always wanted to bed a servant. Or maybe a man. Whichever it is, it's just Merlin who is the most convenient target. That's the only reason that Arthur is throwing himself at him.
It would be so easy to give in, too. He wants to. So simple just to let Arthur touch him the way Merlin's dreamed of for so long. Giving in to Arthur would be the easiest thing in the world. It's this, resisting, that's one of the hardest things Merlin has ever had to do in his life. But he knows that if he did give in, never mind the moral issue, that it wouldn't be enough. Wouldn't be enough just to let Arthur touch him and kiss him and claim his body. Merlin wants so much more than that, he wants Arthur's heart and soul and that would never happen. Merlin can't allow himself to be used by Arthur, not when it would break his own heart.
Arthur seems to be bemused by the fact that Merlin continually resists him, and is being even more of a sadistic bastard than usual. Normally he enjoys berating Merlin and giving him horrendous tasks to do. Now? He seems to delight in putting Merlin in situations that make it continually difficult for Merlin to refuse his advances. Arthur loves to be the best at everything, and right now, he seems to want to be the best at pursuing his manservant.
Usually, Arthur prefers to dine in his chambers after training, only spending time with his father and Morgana when it's absolutely necessary. But to Merlin's horror, Arthur decides against dining in his chambers that night, instead he announces he will be eating in the main hall where Merlin is expected to attend him in public.
When Merlin lets his feelings on the subject show on his face, Arthur puts a hand on the back of Merlin's neck and leans in to bite at Merlin's earlobe.
"You neglected me for two whole days, Merlin, two days when I was forced to let Edward dress and undress me and fetch my breakfast and carry my weapons. Two whole days without your face to look at. It was torture. My wrist is cramped with it."
"Arthur," Merlin warns, and Arthur grins.
"One of these days, Merlin, I am going to wear you down. I cannot for the life of me work out why you won't just give in, but I do appreciate your resolve."
Dining in the main hall allows Arthur far too many opportunities to find excuses to touch Merlin, and it's making Merlin's job more difficult than it's ever been.
"And how was your day, Morgana?"
Morgana raises an eyebrow. Arthur is never interested in her day, and Merlin snorts, perhaps a little too loudly. Uther glares at Merlin, and that is never a good thing. He tries to keep away from Uther's attention as much as possible. The king keeps glaring at him until Morgana starts to regale them all with the various suitors she had calling on her, and her latest embroidery project. Arthur is smiling at her as she talks, but Merlin knows it's completely fake.
Arthur is wearing that open-necked shirt, and as he pretends to listen to Morgana, he runs his fingers up and down through the opening, watching Merlin the entire time. Arthur's nipples are visible through that shirt, and Merlin can imagine how they would feel under his tongue. Arthur Pendragon is the world's biggest tease, and Merlin hates him more than anything at that moment.
"Merlin," he barks, waving his goblet, "more wine please."
Oh dear Gods. That requires close proximity. He walks around the table till he's inches away from Arthur, pouring wine into his goblet. Arthur's finger strokes over Merlin's as he pours and it makes Merlin's hand shake as he struggles not to spill it.
"Keep your hands to your bloody self, Sire," he hisses through his teeth.
"What is wrong with you tonight?" Gwen whispers, when he joins her at the other side of the table. "You look like you're afraid Arthur's going to attack you. He seems like he's in a very cheery mood, so I don't understand..."
"I'm just tired," Merlin snaps, cutting her off.
"Merlin," Arthur smirks and knocks his napkin under the table, between his legs, "I appear to have dropped my napkin, could you fetch it for me?"
"Oh Arthur," Morgana scolds him, "stop being so horrid."
"Merlin doesn't mind," he replies, "do you, Merlin?"
Merlin takes a deep breath, and says, "Not at all, sire," between gritted teeth before walking around the table to Arthur and dropping down between his legs.
Arthur is slightly drunk when they get back to his room, and after his performance at dinner, Merlin is increasingly worried, particularly when Arthur demands Merlin go and fetch another wineskin from the kitchen. It is going to be a late night, Merlin fears, and the thought of Arthur, siren-poisoned and drunk is really quite concerning.
When Merlin returns to Arthur he discovers his fears were quite well—founded.
Arthur is lying on his back, his breeches shoved down his thighs and his hand on his hard, thick cock.
"Sire," Merlin manages to get out, "uh. I. Brought the wine."
"Come here, Merlin," Arthur groans, "I need you to. Fuck."
Arthur is stroking his cock with long, slow strokes that look excruciatingly good, and Merlin can't even think. Arthur's other hand is under his shirt, his nails scraping across his belly, and Merlin can see the scars that the siren left behind, red and puckered. He wants to mark Arthur there, to get rid of her marks and cover them with his own. He wants to, Gods, he wants to fuck himself on that cock till neither of them can even remember their own names.
"Please," Merlin says, the words dragged out of him like it's painful to even say them, "Arthur, you have to stop. Or let me go, or."
Arthur looks at him, his eyes dark with lust, and Merlin feels like he's the one who's half-naked, on display.
"No," Merlin manages, even though his fingers are itching to touch, moving forward of their own volition.
"Why. The hell. Not." Arthur spits out, and this is Arthur at his most volatile. Passionate, dangerous, and so fucking hot that Merlin can hardly stand it. His own cock is pressing against the line of his breeches and he feels like his skin's on fire.
"Because if I come over there, I won't be able to stop myself," Merlin says, "and you don't want me. Not really. Not like I want you."
I want you so badly I feel like I'm drowning, he thinks. Like I can't breathe. I want to lose myself in you.
"Oh Merlin, Merlin." Arthur throws his head back, thrusts his hips forward into his hand, "you can't. I want you more than you can. Ever possibly imagine."
"It's." Merlin's throat is as dry as ash. "Magic."
"No." Arthur shakes his head, "It isn't."
Arthur comes, his eyes bright and honest and Merlin has never seen anything more beautiful in his life.
And Merlin finally believes him.
He tries to sleep that night, but his thoughts keep drifting back to Arthur, lying there, wanton and perfect and like every filthy dream that Merlin has ever had about him. Telling Merlin that he wanted him.
It's no surprise that he ends up knocking on Arthur's door sometime before dawn.
"I was hoping you'd come back," Arthur says, his voice raspy and sleep-drugged, and it's far more sexy than should ever be allowed. He's shirtless too, and that is just not in any way fair.
Arthur gestures for Merlin to come in, and Merlin closes the door behind him, leaning against it. He watches Arthur moving as he walks towards his bed. He's so graceful, perfectly muscled and strong, and his sleep-pants hang on slim hips that would feel so good under Merlin's hands.
Arthur sits down, and pats the mattress next to him. Merlin, his heart hammering like a blacksmith pounding metal, takes a deep breath and walks over to join him.
Neither of them speak for long minutes, until Merlin breaks the silence.
"When?" Merlin asks, barely audible, and when Arthur looks shockingly confused (which is always far more attractive than it should be), he continues, "when did you. How long have you?"
"So many bloody questions," Arthur quips, one eyebrow raised.
"I've been. I thought that it was all me," Merlin says, "I thought you must've been. When the siren..."
"Oh, spit it out, Merlin." There's no heat in it though.
Merlin, for the life of him, doesn't even know where to start.
"What did she tell you?" Arthur asks. "About what she did?"
He isn't looking at Merlin then, he's facing forward, and he has one hand between them, palm-down on the bed. Merlin can feel the heat that's emanating from Arthur, and it feels intoxicating. Merlin wants Arthur to grab him, like he did that day, grab his wrist and rub it with the pad of his thumb. He wants Arthur to do much more than that, too.
"She said that you would feel free to admit your innermost desires. And I thought..."
Arthur looks angry. "You thought it was mere coincidence that I chose to pursue you? Of all the idiotic things that go through that half-wit brain of yours, Merlin, I do believe you have bested yourself. You utter imbecile."
Merlin is seething. It's all been too much, the teasing, the constant scrutiny, and now he's talking to Merlin like he always does when he wants to berate him? No. It's too much.
"Well, excuse me for being cautious, your Highness." Merlin tries to let as much venom drip into the title as possible. "But you were not exactly in your right mind, were you? I was trying to do the honourable thing. Of course I should've known that you don't have an honourable bone in your body, and I was wasting my time, you sex-crazed, thick-headed idiot of a prince!"
"Merlin," Arthur hisses out between gritted teeth, "you are trying my patience."
And Merlin softens, because Arthur doesn't even know what he's been doing. It isn't his fault.
"I'm sorry," Merlin whispers, "but you have no idea what you've been putting me through, Arthur. It was absolute torture for me."
Arthur doesn't look at him, he just sits there, staring into space.
"I think I'd better go." Merlin stands up and starts to move away, but Arthur grabs his wrist and holds him there.
"Don't." Arthur says, shaking his head, "Don't leave, Merlin."
The memory of Arthur gripping his wrist comes flooding back and Merlin remembers it with his whole body. Arthur holds him there, tight, and Merlin wants to tell him to hold tighter, to bruise him, to mark him. He feels flushed with heat, and this time, he isn't going to pull away.
Arthur looks down at Merlin's crotch, and Merlin feels suddenly, horribly self-conscious.
"You should take care of that," Arthur half-whispers, and before Merlin can react, he is pulling Merlin's belt and purring, "Or I could, if you want."
"I want." Merlin feels the words dry up in his throat. "I want you to kiss me."
"Yes," Arthur whispers. "Yes, all right."
Arthur stands up, moves in so they're close enough to share the same breath. Merlin wets his lips and closes his eyes and lets Arthur kiss him, lets him brush his lips against Merlin's, holding him there with one hand on his jaw.
It feels wonderful.
First, Arthur does nothing but explore Merlin's lips with his teeth and tongue, Gods he's so good at this and Merlin just opens for him, like it's the easiest decision in the world. Arthur moans; a quiet, hitched sound before he grabs Merlin's face with both his hands and pushes his tongue between Merlin's parted lips.
Arthur kisses like he fights: strong, precise and utterly ruthless, claiming Merlin's mouth. He sucks on Merlin's tongue with his own, and it's so good that Merlin is dizzy with it. He doesn't want it to end, wants to let Arthur have everything he wants and tell him yes yes yes and damn the consequences, when Arthur pulls back.
They're both panting, and Merlin can see Arthur is flushed and turned-on and his lips are red and bitten and gorgeous. Merlin wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, feeling the weight of Arthur's stare.
"Why. Did you. Stop?" He asks, almost breathless.
Arthur grins and leans in again, "Because, Merlin, you are wearing too many clothes."
Arthur walks them backwards until they get to the bed and pushes Merlin so he falls back. Arthur is so beautiful like this, his whole body taut with want, his eyes so dark, and the way he looks at Merlin, possessive and predatory. It's intoxicating; Merlin wants to drown in it.
"Need you," Merlin groans, unbuckling his belt and throwing it halfway across the room. He pulls his shirt and pants off in what feels like a frenzy, so desperate to feel Arthur's skin against his. Arthur sleeps shirtless so often, and it usually drives Merlin crazy, having to prepare his breakfast, while his master lies there, so much skin on display.
This time, he gets to have everything he's wanted for so long, and it makes Merlin feel almost faint with need.
"So beautiful," Arthur says, unable to take his eyes off Merlin, "you have no idea, do you? No fucking idea how long I've wanted you just like this." He licks a long stripe down Merlin's throat, sucking a bruise just above his collarbone.
Arthur holds Merlin's wrists above his head and grinds his hips back and forth, rubbing their cocks together. Arthur is still in his trousers, and Merlin doesn't want that, he wants to feel Arthur's cock against his, wants to slide against his sweat-slicked skin until he goes dizzy with it.
"You can have me, Arthur," Merlin sighs, "I'm yours."
"Yes," Arthur hisses, "You are." He kisses Merlin again, open-mouthed and wet and needy, pushing his wrists into the pillows, and Merlin hopes there will be bruises on his wrists tomorrow. Wants to make sure Arthur sees them when he's serving him, in front of the king and Morgana. The thought of being claimed like that makes Merlin's belly fill with heat.
Arthur is looking down at him, completely engrossed in watching Merlin, and that gives Merlin the advantage, he gets his leg over Arthur's hip and flips the two of them over, so Merlin is on top of Arthur, straddling his hips. He starts working on the laces of Arthur's sleep pants, pushing them down until Arthur's able to kick them off.
"What do you want?" Merlin asks, running his fingers over as much of Arthur's skin as he can reach, "tell me what you want, Sire."
"Ungh," Arthur sputters, raising one hand to cup Merlin's cheek. "I want your mouth. Your gorgeous fucking mouth on me. Serve me, Merlin."
Merlin just about comes then and there. It's too much. Arthur is thumbing his mouth open and Merlin licks at the pad of his thumb, scrapes it with his teeth before shifting, so Arthur can move further up the bed to recline on his pillows.
Merlin bows his head and licks the head of Arthur's cock, just once.
"Have you ever?" Arthur breathes, "ever done this before."
"Yes," Merlin says, "a few times with..."
"Don't," Arthur interrupts sharply, "I don't want to know. Nobody else ever again, do you hear me, Merlin?"
If it were anyone else, it would be ridiculous, this need to possess to control and claim. But it's Arthur and Merlin has always been his, so he doesn't even hesitate before whispering "Yes" against Arthur's cock and taking it into his mouth, licking the bitter fluid at the tip and flattening his tongue, tracing the vein on the underside as he swallows him down. Arthur is making the most delicious, choked-off noises, and Merlin wants to keep making Arthur sound like that forever.
He holds the base of Arthur's cock and pulls off completely, rubbing the head over his lips, before tonguing the slit.
"You taste," he says, his voice sounding raw already, "so good, Arthur." He runs his hands up and down Arthur's thighs, feeling the strong muscle there. Arthur's body is truly astounding, and Merlin wants to spend hours in bed, learning what he loves, learning all the ways he can make Arthur beg and moan and plead.
"Fuck my mouth," he says, laying a kiss on the tip of Arthur's cock, before he licks all the way down the shaft and up again. "I can take it."
"Merlin," Arthur groans, and Merlin sinks down on Arthur's cock again, relaxes his throat and grabs Arthur's hands, placing them on his head. He lets Arthur control the pace, holding his head still with fingers twisting in his hair, hips thrusting up and down, driving his cock in and out of Merlin's mouth.
It's been a long time since Merlin's done this, but he doesn't need Arthur to go slow, and as soon as Arthur seems to realise that Merlin doesn't need him to be gentle, he lets go and just uses Merlin's mouth, fucking in and out of the wet heat, fingers pulling almost painfully in his hair.
Arthur's choked off groans are the only warning he gets, and he thrusts into Merlin's mouth one more time before he comes, thick and bitter down Merlin's throat.
After long minutes, Arthur pulls Merlin into his lap and kisses him, and Merlin knows he must be tasting himself on Merlin's tongue, which is really ridiculously hot when he thinks about it. Arthur gets his hand around Merlin's cock and fists it with long, slow strokes, just the way Merlin loves it.
By the time Merlin comes, streaking white across Arthur's chest, Arthur is halfway to hard again and he grins, wicked and filthy and gets oil on his fingers and works them into Merlin's arse. He fucks Merlin so excruciatingly slow that Merlin thinks he's going to die from the teasing pleasure of it all. Every time Arthur's fingers press against his prostate, he moans and writhes.
Arthur purrs, "That's it, Merlin; want to hear you beg for my cock before I fuck you."
Merlin's head is thrown back, his eyes closed and he can feel the sweat pooling in the hollow of his throat, and before he knows he's doing it he's whining, begging "Pleasepleaseplease, Arthur, need your cock, need you inside me. Fuck."
And Arthur is a smug bloody wanker who grins and flips Merlin over, fucking him from behind as they kiss wet and messy and open-mouthed. Of course Arthur is good at this; he prides himself in being the best hunter, the best soldier and the best jouster, so why wouldn't he be the best lover, too? He fucks Merlin like he has all the time in the world, sliding in and out as slow as he can, his fingers digging into Merlin's hips and working his cock deeper and deeper into Merlin's body every time. Merlin comes again, and Arthur fucks him through it, a hand over his mouth, because the castle is awake now and Merlin sounds like an absolute harlot, unable to stop himself from moaning Arthur's name at the top of his lungs along with obscenities that would make all the chambermaids blush.
“I could get used to hearing you beg,” Arthur pants, slamming in faster now, more erratic, and Merlin can tell he isn’t going to last much longer. Merlin can feel Arthur’s forehead on the back of his neck, his hair dripping with perspiration and his mouth so soft and wet on Merlin’s skin. Merlin doesn’t want this to end.
Arthur comes seconds later, burying his teeth in Merlin's neck. He doesn’t move for a few minutes, not until Merlin tells him to “Get off, you great lump.” Merlin rolls over and Arthur is staring at him, one eyebrow cocked.
“Are you trying to tell me I’m fat again?”
No, Merlin thinks. No, you're perfect. Absolutely fucking perfect.
He can't say that though, not yet, so he smiles and whispers, “Shut up, Sire,” against Arthur’s lips.
They are both messy, covered in sweat and come and the room reeks of sex. But when Merlin moves to clean up, Arthur pulls him back down, whispering, "Stay."