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As fey would have it

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Gwaine scoops handfuls of water over the back of his neck, the springtime chill of it sending a sharp ache down his spine, quelling the morning stiffness of his cock. He hisses a quiet breath in through his teeth, but gratefully; after a night of Merlin frustratingly more than an arm’s reach away, they’re preparing for another day of duty and propriety, both of which seem to necessitate chivalrous distance.

Gwaine scrubs his hands over his face, rinsing off the sleep grit, feeling the rough graze of his unshaven jaw against his palms. When he blinks his eyes free of water, Lancelot is a few paces away, and he smiles wryly at Gwaine with what appears to be a hint of sympathy.

“Perhaps we can secure a room when we reach the next town,” Lancelot says, and when Gwaine raises an eyebrow at him, he amends, “Or two.”

Gwaine smirks ruefully; for all that he and Merlin agreed on propriety, neither of them can ever keep their mouths shut, and there’s plenty they can say to each other that’s chivalrous enough. Though that enough is perhaps enough for a lady; not another knight. For all the pureness of character Lancelot presents, he’s not naive, and has been keeping company perhaps as crude as Gwaine has for just as long.

It has been fun, though, these last few days on the road; flirting with Merlin without walking the blade-edge of uncertainty as to whether the banter will lead to a tumble or not. Especially with a man, where usually a wrong step could result in consequences as dire as the blade metaphor suggests. And especially as fun with a man who is as shameless—though perhaps a little more crafty in his delivery—as Gwaine himself loves to be.

Gwaine grins, allowing himself to muse a little on past victories in verbal sparring as he sees to his ablutions, but stops abruptly. Just for a moment, the background chatter of the stream leaping through the rocks in the shallows takes on an odd sound. It could simply be a change in acoustics, his wrists brushing against his ears as he combs his fingers back through his hair, but he stills and quietens nonetheless.

Then he tenses beyond merely listening and into alertness when he sees that Lancelot is likewise frozen, eyes fixed upstream.

“Did you hear that?” Lancelot murmurs after a moment, not looking back at Gwaine.

Gwaine dips his head in unwatched acknowledgement. “It sounded like—”

The laughter rings again, more distinctive this time; a peal of it not in the water, but back into the woods, nearer the direction of their camp. It sends a creeping shiver down Gwaine’s back, one completely unlike the innocuous sensation of the cold water moments before; this leaves him feeling queasy with unease.

Lancelot is stepping carefully through the shallows, barely causing a ripple in the oblivious flow of the current. Gwaine is but half a step behind him, and they make their way rapidly to shore, rubbing down quickly and shoving into back into boots and shirts, buckling on sword belts.

Lancelot draws his sword with a whisper of steel, and Gwaine pulls out his dagger, holding it between his teeth while he gathers the loose ends of his shirt laces, knotting the two together roughly and stuffing them in the low gape of the neck. There’s little modesty preserved, but at least no one will be able to leash him with them in close quarters.

Lancelot eyes the blade between Gwaine’s teeth, already walking backwards near-silently; he gestures succinctly with his free hand and Gwaine nods his understanding. Lancelot will circle around their campsite, staying out of sight while Gwaine enters it directly and sees to Merlin’s safety. Well, perhaps not directly; the comparative subtlety of the dagger will allow him to slink much closer undetected, should their camp be compromised. He prays that it isn’t.

Merlin isn’t at the campsite. Their bedrolls are cinched tightly with Lancelot and Gwaine’s armour draped over them, waiting along with their saddles to be secured in place for the day’s journey. The fire is still giving up a desultory curl of smoke, the ashes powdery and clearly unquenched, and the pot that held their breakfast waits to be rinsed out, sitting by the stones edging the pit. All around Gwaine is silence; even the snort and shift of the horses is missing, and he realises they’re gone as well.

He holds the dagger forward and scans the ground for any sign of conflict; there are no scuffs or gouges but there is a trail—human, rather than equine, suggesting that Merlin did not leave on horseback—leading out of the campsite and running parallel to the stream. Gwaine follows it immediately—all thoughts on Merlin now—passing up the protection of donning his chain shirt for the speed and silence forgoing it brings. The woods seem both familiar and alien around him; the colour, shape and spacing of the trees is as consistent as ever, yet there are no familiar landmarks. This path is one they have not yet tread.

He wonders if Merlin left the campsite of his own volition. Had he wandered off or did he follow, or was he forced to leave? Gwaine wonders if Merlin even has his cooking knife on him. He’s fairly certain that the dagger the Prince gifted Merlin with much bluster before they left Camelot hasn’t seen the outside of his pack even once on this journey.

Laughter rings again, a discordant giggle directly ahead, and Gwaine speeds in its direction, feet sinking as the ground below his feet declines and the moss underfoot becomes thicker. Then he’s in a dell, and Merlin’s crouched in the dip of it.

Gwaine runs forward, scanning the looming trees around them for threat but they’re as empty and still as the rest of the woods seem to be; he sheaths his dagger and quickly drops down beside Merlin.

Merlin’s curled with his knees pulled to his chest, a pose that suggests a similar stillness but this close Gwaine can see he’s trembling, even fancies he can feel a belly-twisting tremor cloaking the air around Merlin’s knotted form. When Gwaine rests a hand on the tense curve of his back Merlin makes a choked, familiar noise that Gwaine feels sharply.

“Merlin? Are you hurt?” His hand goes to Merlin’s forehead—the hair there damp, skin fervently hot, and Merlin turns his face into the touch, moaning overtly as his body tips against Gwaine’s. The sound more than the movement is startling; it’s one Gwaine rarely hears as they struggle for silence in Merlin’s quarters with Gaius so close nearby. Though, Gwaine thinks with a twist of remorse for his instinctual association, if the noise is instead one of pain then he supposes Merlin has no need for silence. Perhaps the heat stirring in Gwaine’s belly is because the touch is more contact than they’ve had in days, and because Merlin’s body is warm and his breath quick. Gwaine pushes aside his excitement guiltily.

Merlin’s tense pose has loosened, though, limbs relaxing even further as Gwaine wraps his arm supportively around Merlin’s back, and he examines Merlin’s body as best he can, eyes seeking injury.

Gwaine’s firmly suppressed arousal twists thrillingly as he sees: there’s no injury but a faint, darkening dampness in the front of Merlin’s trousers, Merlin’s cock half-hard beneath, and Gwaine finds himself blinking at as if he’s never seen it before.

Merlin’s breath is hot and damp against the side of Gwaine’s neck, and moments later wetter as Merlin kisses there, sloppily. Gwaine’s arms tighten around him in startled reaction as unanticipated sensation surges through him, and Merlin moans again, body tilting more deliberately into Gwaine’s, his hands knotting in the loose drape of Gwaine’s shirt. He’s not entirely senseless, then.

“Merlin. Merlin, what—” Gwaine grips a handful of Merlin’s hair, as if to pull him away; but the noise that Merlin makes as soon as Gwaine’s grip tightens—encouraging and protesting both—makes him stop immediately.

“Bugger, sod, bollocks, sorry—” Merlin chatters against Gwaine’s throat, his tone helpless and voice torn. Gwaine does tighten his grip then, and eases Merlin’s head back enough to see his face. Merlin’s eyes are dark, cheekbones stained red and lips chewed wet and raw. Gwaine can’t resist the desperate stare Merlin fixes on him, and when Gwaine kisses him, Merlin’s mouth has the faint taste of honeysuckle.

It seems impossible to pull away, Merlin’s mouth deep and wet, so sweet and inviting, but when Gwaine does he feels dizzy and Merlin is panting, squirming against him.

“You’ve been enchanted,” Gwaine says when he’s caught his breath again. “How, in the name of all that’s sacred, did you manage that?”

“I don’t know,” Merlin whines. “They thought—it would be amusing, I suppose…”

It occurs to Gwaine to ask who they are, but Merlin’s licking and chewing at the prickly edge of Gwaine’s jaw like an eager puppy, and when Gwaine splays his hand helplessly at the base of Merlin’s spine, Merlin ruts forward.

“Please—” Merlin’s voice is close to a whine. “Help me.”

He takes Gwaine’s other wrist in his sweaty grip, forces it down into the narrowing space between their bodies, and thrusts forward against it. Gwaine can feel dampness against his palm—enough to know that Merlin has come already, before Gwaine even found him—and beneath it, the ridge of Merlin’s cock. He presses the heel of his palm down, and Merlin groans, clinging to him, forcing himself closer.

“This is how we break it, then?” Gwaine asks, his voice already dropping into a low rumble, his own cock hard since Merlin’s eager, sweet tongue pressed into his mouth.

“Don’t know,” Merlin gasps, somewhat disconcertingly. “Only—it really bloody hurts. Until you were touching me, and then it felt—” He cuts off sharply, shoving Gwaine over onto his back and pushing his hand into the deep opening of Gwaine’s shirt. “So good…”

The words send an unsought-for thrill of accomplishment through Gwaine’s chest, and his body seems to think that’s permission to proceed, hands moving automatically to grasp Merlin’s arse, to squeeze and pull Merlin over him. Merlin gasps and twists against him, hands scraping erratically over Gwaine’s chest, surely not that sharply, but leaving weals of sensitivity that speed the pound of Gwaine’s heart.

Gwaine’s half-come to the conclusion that he’s been ensorcelled too, when the sound of someone else thudding into the dell makes him pause. Merlin, on the other hand, doesn’t even look up from his mouthing of Gwaine’s neck, his solid, wiry body pressed determined and unyielding to the front of Gwaine’s.

Over Merlin’s shoulder Gwaine can see Lancelot, pink-cheeked and breathless, sword still raised, though held fairly at ease. When Gwaine moves his hand to the back of Merlin’s neck with futile intentions to calm him, Lancelot lifts an eyebrow. “I see you found him, then.”

A rarely-honoured sense of dignity makes Gwaine put a little more effort into regaining control of the situation. He plants his feet and pushes his chest and hips up, flipping Merlin onto his back and holding his body down by straddling his hips, Merlin’s cock an unabated hot line against Gwaine’s inner thigh. The sudden shift in movement sends Gwaine’s head spinning a little, heat flushing to his face, but aside from the slightest pause, Merlin seems unaffected. Gwaine grabs at Merlin’s hands, removing them from his belt and pinning them to the ground above Merlin’s head, the loam soft and cool against Gwaine’s fingers.

He takes a deep breath and refocuses on Lancelot again, ignoring Merlin’s upward straining. “Merlin’s been enchanted.”

Lancelot’s mouth twitches, the tension of uncertainty around his eyes softening. His tone is nothing less or more than entirely proper. “Really.”

Gwaine nods shortly, struggling to maintain his own decorum with Merlin’s hips pushing up against him, and assure Lancelot that the situation merits the utmost seriousness. “Did you find anything?”

Lancelot shakes his head, and sheathes his blade before crouching down near them, gaze fixed on Merlin’s flushed face instead of Gwaine’s. Merlin stares back at him, biting his lower lip, eyes wide as if he’s struggling to concentrate. “I found the horses, but I suppose we can’t ride anywhere when he’s like this.”

Merlin groans, eyes closing. “No,” he says, licking his lips. “I don’t think that would be—sorry.”

Merlin sucks in a deep breath as Lancelot’s hand presses to his forehead and Gwaine feels Merlin’s body shudder under his, but it’s only for a moment before Lancelot draws away. “I’m sorry,” Lancelot echoes, and his eyes meet Merlin’s again and hold. “We should have—”

“Never mind that,” Merlin says, voice a little hoarse, still not looking away.

Lancelot’s closeness ought to make Gwaine feel discomfited—he and Merlin’s positions are hardly proper—but instead he feels some nervous tension in him loosen to relief. Perhaps at Lancelot’s lack of disapproval, or his calm concern, or indeed, both—Merlin is vulnerable but cared for, and the knowledge makes the last of Gwaine’s guilt and uncertainty dissipate.

“Just…” Merlin’s eyelids dip, dark lashes brushing the tops of his flushed cheeks before he opens his eyes again. “Help me.” It’s more dignified than imploring, making Gwaine feel a surge of affection for this man, reminding him that he’s not entirely animal and senseless. Lancelot smiles, and Gwaine wonders if he feels it too.

“Very well,” Lancelot says, finally looking back to meet Gwaine’s eyes. “I assume this is how you… break the enchantment?” Gwaine nods. “Let’s get back to the camp, then. There’s a fire, and water, and I can keep watch more easily than this place.”

There are also their bedrolls, and the jar of oil Gwaine had stashed hopefully in his pack, but Lancelot is perhaps too polite to mention these as well. Lancelot’s wry, unfazed smile is certainly enough to remind Gwaine not to mistake it for naivete.

They get Merlin up and walking, and though he’s mostly well-behaved, he’s trembling with the effort. Gwaine can feel it amplified through the cage of Merlin’s ribs, Gwaine’s arm wrapped tightly around him, Lancelot holds him similarly from the other side, arm brushing Gwaine’s. When Merlin stumbles he goes a little limp, pressing his face against Lancelot’s neck for a long moment before Lancelot eases him away again.

Gwaine can’t find any thoughts to spare for jealousy, what with struggling to walk himself. His stiff cock is a heavy ache between his legs, exacerbated by the unsteadiness of Merlin’s breath and the scent of his sweat—tinted with the sweetness of honeysuckle, again—slowly drugging Gwaine’s senses.

He’s never been a jealous man, anyway. Unconditional desire has always stoked the flames of arousal for him more than possession ever has, and now that Merlin’s mouth isn’t directly on him and driving all grasp on logic from his mind, Gwaine wonders if it is he who is enchanted after all. Merlin’s irrepressible need is a near mirror image of the shameless, frantic Merlin Gwaine fantasises about when he’s seeing to his own pleasure. And not just need for him. Merlin had said touch had eased his pain, turned it to pleasure; the instinct seems indiscriminate if the way Merlin’s nuzzling at Lancelot is anything to go by. And that, somehow, is more inflaming than if Merlin’s need had been directed at Gwaine alone.

Merlin drops to the ground as they arrive back in the campsite; their arms around him slowing the movement, lowering him with a little more grace. He clings to them both, breathing hard—the honeysuckle scent coming off him more powerfully now—until Gwaine extricates himself, seeking a little distance to clear his head even as his cock throbs now, now, now.

He presses a brief kiss to Merlin’s forehead, though, and gives Lancelot a look weighted with meaning. “I’ll just arrange things for us, and be back in just a moment,” he says aloud.

He watches them covertly as he unties Merlin’s bedroll and digs through his own pack. Merlin’s eyes are slitted open though he’s not looking at Lancelot, instead leaning back against him, face blotchy with his flush, murmuring lowly enough the Lancelot has to dip his head down alongside to hear. Lancelot’s arms wrap loosely around Merlin, holding him upright, and Merlin’s own hand rests on just above Lancelot’s knee, grip tightening and loosening without pattern.

When Gwaine returns from filling their water skins, their positions haven’t changed, though Lancelot’s colour has risen, and the loose grip of his hands against Merlin’s torso seems more controlled than casual. Gwaine kicks out the bedroll beside them, and drops to his knees on it. They both open their eyes to look at him, Merlin with barely-banked heat, and Lancelot with an odd mix of resignation and determination.

Gwaine rubs his hands against Merlin’s knobbly knees, and Lancelot begins to let go of him, only for Merlin to clutch tighter.

“Please—” Merlin says, the word choked off. He squeezes his eyes tight again, but doesn’t release his hold. Gwaine’s gaze flits to Merlin’s groin, the outline of his hard cock still obvious beneath his stained trousers. “I don’t want to—I’m sorry—I don’t want to make you, when you don’t—”

Gwaine gets the sense that he’s entered their conversation already halfway through.

Lancelot laughs weakly, and there’s no mockery, except perhaps directed inwards. “Merlin,” he says, and “It’s not exactly a hardship.”

Lancelot is watching Gwaine this time, a rueful expression on his features, almost apologetic, and Gwaine blinks in surprise. Lancelot’s wry enjoyment of their not-quite appropriate banter of the past few days suddenly makes a little more sense.

“You don’t have to do—” Merlin ploughs on, stilted, and Gwaine can feel his legs flex under his hands, can see the barely-suppressed twist of his hips. “Just—stay. It’s better, when you’re touching me.”

He’s looking at Gwaine but rolling his head back against Lancelot’s shoulder as he says it, and the pose practically shouts an invitation, so Gwaine leans forward and takes his mouth in a kiss again.

Merlin makes a soft noise of release against him, lips and tongue working against Gwaine’s hungrily even as his free hand pulls at Gwaine’s shirt, tugging it out of his trousers and stroking eagerly at the skin beneath. His body can’t seem to be still, shifting and trembling, and Gwaine wonders just how much it was costing him to hold the control he had as they’d helped him from the dell.

They nearly break apart as Lancelot moves behind Merlin, and Gwaine feels a stab of something near panic at what it might mean, Merlin whining against Gwaine’s mouth, his teeth closing on Gwaine’s lower lip. A moment later the sound turns into a moan of approval; Lancelot isn’t moving away but rearranging their limbs, settling onto the blankets of Merlin’s bedroll and bracing Merlin’s body against his. His limbs cradle Merlin supportively and Merlin arches, settles back against him.

Gwaine remembers again what Merlin had said about touch, so he presses forward, covering Merlin more fully, holding him firmly down against the bastion of Lancelot’s body behind.

“Yes, yes, please,” Merlin gasps, sounding enthusiastic rather than desperate for a change, and he rolls up against Gwaine, arms pushing up under Gwaine’s shirt and wrapping around his shoulders. He bends one knee up to press the inside of his leg against Gwaine’s hip; the other leg he hooks around the back of Gwaine’s thigh, rubbing it languidly.

The warming friction makes Gwaine suddenly crave Merlin’s skin, and he clutches and pulls at Merlin’s shirt before Lancelot abruptly helps him, controlling Merlin’s limbs with ease, leaving Gwaine free to rapidly pull his own shirt over his head. Merlin’s chest is pale from lack of sun, but the flush of his arousal spills down over his collarbones and beneath the scattering of dark hair, nearly to his nipples. Lancelot’s hands are dark and large against the tense, smooth skin of Merlin’s belly, and they feel rough against Gwaine’s when he lowers himself down again, skin against skin, mouth seeking out the tender angle of Merlin’s neck.

Merlin moans, his sweat salty-sweet as Gwaine laps at the hollow of his throat. His nipples are like coins, tan-coloured and smooth and, Gwaine fancies, faintly metallic in flavour against his tongue. They quickly turn pointed and hard when Gwaine sucks on them, and he pulls away to admire how they accent Merlin’s sparse musculature. Merlin’s hands grip the back of Gwaine’s head, pulling him closer and pushing him down. Mouth watering at the rich scent rising, Gwaine unlaces Merlin’s trousers.

Hands braced against Merlin’s hips to restrain them, Gwaine takes a moment just to look at Merlin’s bared cock. It looks painfully stiff, the skin tight and flushed over the head where it’s almost completely exposed, the delicate sleeve of skin just cuffing the edge. Moisture glistens in the slit, and Gwaine leaves his hands on Merlin’s hips in favour drawing the tip into his mouth immediately.

Merlin’s skin is scorchingly hot, a burst of bitter-sweet liquid spilling against Gwaine’s tongue at the first lick. He moans and swallows it down, tightening his lips and pushing Merlin’s foreskin back further, curving the tip of his tongue around the flared crown then taking him further in, tongue flat on the underside, filling Gwaine’s mouth beautifully as Merlin’s hands clench in his hair. Saliva creeps from the corners of Gwaine’s mouth, making it easy to slide up then down again, and when he swallows around the stiff length, Merlin shouts and comes. His seed isn’t its usual bitter-earth flavour, but honeysuckle-sweet, tenfold more potent than the taste of his mouth was, and Gwaine pulls away to gasp dizzily.

“Don’t stop,” Merlin begs breathlessly. “Don’t stop—”

Gwaine braces his forearm down across the tops of Merlin’s thighs and takes Merlin’s wet cock in his hand. It feels a fraction less hard than it did moments before but still as hot; Gwaine lets some liquid drip from his mouth onto it to ease his smooth, soothing strokes. Merlin just sobs and pushes up into it, thigh muscles straining against Gwaine’s hold.

Gwaine looks up; Merlin’s belly is heaving under the splay of Lancelot’s hands, his nipples still stiff in the open air, and his hair is damp with sweat, head rolling back on Lancelot’s shoulder. Lancelot himself is staring down, eyes wide and lips parted, and when he meets Gwaine’s eyes Gwaine smiles without even planning to, exhilarated by Merlin’s quick climax, the potential of the situation prickling across his skin.

He eases the stroke on Merlin’s cock into a gentle but persistent rhythm, glancing down at the peek of the dark head of it through the ring of his fist. He dips down to give it a brief kiss before looking back up at Lancelot, eyebrows raised in question. Lancelot gives a short, barely-perceptible nod, nostrils flaring as he sucks in a sudden breath.

Gwaine doesn’t release Merlin’s cock, instead shifting his weight and freeing his hand to grasp Lancelot’s wrist. He pushes it up, directs Lancelot to one of Merlin’s nipples, and Lancelot only needs the brief, physical instruction before he’s rubbing the calloused heel of his palm against the sensitive peak. Gwaine knows Merlin likes it already—prolonging the sweet ache of pleasure into the afterglow with pointed touches—but now he arches into Lancelot’s touch almost fervently, his cock twitching and hardening in Gwaine’s grasp as he groans.

“Thank you,” Merlin repeats, over and over. Lancelot rubs the bristled edge of his jaw against Merlin’s cheek reassuringly, and Merlin’s mouth goes slack and he turns towards it, his already-raw lips pressing senselessly against Lancelot’s beard.

He’s not calming, though, hips still shifting restlessly under Gwaine’s hold, cock still stiff in Gwaine’s fist, having barely softened after his climax. Gwaine ducks his head again, keeping Merlin still by mouthing his balls—too sensitive for Merlin to push up into, though the sounds coming from him change tone as if he wants to. He lets go of Merlin’s cock to drag Merlin’s trousers down his long, tense legs and off, yanking boots away too when he gets to Merlin’s feet.

Merlin’s usually at least a little bashful when Gwaine first gets him naked, but there’s no hint of self-consciousness or hesitation this time; Merlin helps him kick away the last of his clothes then parts his legs, knees falling open for Gwaine to kneel between.

It’s not just Merlin’s easy gesture that reminds Gwaine very quickly of his own arousal, but the whole picture that a little more perspective brings. Merlin always seems taller, longer when he’s nude and prone, the length of his limbs not hidden by ill-fitting clothing. His own skin fits him much better, makes Gwaine want to measure the length of his shins and forearms with his touch, makes him crave to stroke the taut lines of Merlin’s lean thighs as they wrap easily around his waist.

Gwaine rubs his own cock through his trousers, watching Merlin watching him with low-lashed, dark eyes. Merlin’s grasping Lancelot’s wrist absently as Lancelot still rubs against his nipple slowly, and Lancelot is watching Gwaine too, gaze flicking between Gwaine’s face and his hand, his mouth a breath away from Merlin’s damp neck. The picture of the two of them there—Merlin naked and sprawled, and Lancelot, in contrast, clothed and controlled—makes Gwaine feel exuberant and reckless. He grins crookedly, tugs at his laces, frees his cock to stroke in the open air, widening his knelt stance and beginning to make a show of it.

Merlin hums and licks his lips, but when he drops his hand to grasp his own cock he gives a gasp of shock, belly tensing and knees curling up, hand moving away to claw his own thigh instead. The arousal in Gwaine’s belly twists toward fear for a moment and he moves closer, wanting to soothe but hesitant to touch.

Merlin grins at him, though, teeth bared, and says, “Feels better when you do it,” before hooking an arm around the back of Gwaine’s neck and pulling him down again.

The feel of their cocks pressing together is magnificent, the noises Merlin pushes into Gwaine’s mouth animalistic, and sweat slicks the slide of their bodies against each other. It’s hard to maintain control, to keep the rock and press of his hips steady instead of frenetic, especially with Merlin’s body moving sinuously beneath him. Gwaine’s cock feels heavy and huge, clashing like a brand against Merlin’s and dragging, hot skin against hotter; Merlin whimpers and hitches his hips up. The delicate weight of his balls press against Gwaine’s, his thighs splayed wide against Gwaine’s hips, and Gwaine groans and drops his head to Merlin’s shoulder, jerking forward involuntarily.

Merlin huffs out a delighted laugh, of all things. Playful, Gwaine grabs at his thighs, pulling them around him then hands sliding down to cup and squeeze at his arse. When he rolls down and presses Merlin’s cock between their bellies, Merlin comes again with a startled shout. His body whips into a taut arch, legs squeezing Gwaine’s waist tightly as he spills hot, thick liquid between them; Gwaine grits his teeth as it slicks his own cock. The scent of honeysuckle is thick around them.

He doesn’t pause, can’t pause, and Merlin’s urging him on anyway, heels digging into his lower back, hissing, “Yes, yes, come on, come on—”

He ends on a groan as Gwaine pushes come-slicked fingers into his arse, two of them quickly as Merlin’s body opens for him with barely a spasm, then a third with a twist and a stretch. Merlin’s gasp is eager, and his legs tighten, urging Gwaine forward.

“Yes, yes, I know you want it,” Gwaine can’t help but gripe at him good-naturedly. With each notch of arousal that rises, so too rises his delight; he feels like laughing, like licking Merlin all over, like fucking him until the colour of the leaves on the trees change around them. Merlin glares at him, more sultry than irritable, and Gwaine twists his fingers, pushing the stretch, pressing and rubbing his fingertips pointedly. Merlin’s eyes roll back into his head, his cock jerking on his belly.

Lancelot’s arm moves to wrap around Merlin’s chest more firmly, holding him up and restraining him both, leaving Gwaine room enough to fumble for his jar of oil. He slicks his cock rapidly then pushes his thumbs back into Merlin’s arse. It’s a trick that Merlin loves, even if he is half-insensate at present: Gwaine holding him open as he expertly aims and pushes the head of his cock inside.

Merlin’s arse is hot and clutching, slick and smooth with come and oil. Gwaine slides his hands up Merlin’s thighs to the backs of his knees, pushing Merlin’s legs higher towards his chest so that Gwaine can settle his hips flush against Merlin’s backside, burying his cock to the hilt.

Merlin flexes back against him, bracing his shoulders against Lancelot and curving his hips up. Gwaine angles his torso down enough to hook Merlin’s legs over his shoulders, and the position is perfect to draw back and thrust his hips forward unimpeded. There’s no point waiting, then—not when his cock feels like a rod of iron, desperate to fuck—and he starts on a rhythm that drives the breath out of Merlin sharply with every in-stroke.

Wordless noises spill from Merlin’s slack lips on each fucked-out exhale, at least until Lancelot pushes fingers of his free hand into Merlin’s mouth. The sight of it doubles the speed of Gwaine’s thrusts, slamming into both of them relentlessly, and Merlin’s lips close around Lancelot’s fingers, licking and sucking eagerly.

Sweat springs out across Gwaine’s body. He can’t help but remember the sight and feel of Merlin’s mouth on his own cock, as it has been more times than he can count, now. And that realisation makes him a little giddy, fueling the spinning of the image into Merlin’s mouth on Lancelot’s cock, or perhaps Percival’s, or Arthur’s, standing beside as Gwaine fucks him. What would happen if Merlin were enchanted while more of the knights were here together?

Gwaine speeds helplessly, the honeysuckle perfume fogging his head and embellishing the images behind his closed eyes, and when he comes the sensation spikes through him and out his cock. He rams forward, all his focus pulling to the tight clench of Merlin’s arse around him, and the heat of his come spilling inside.

He can barely breathe for long moments, head spinning, hips pushing deep and pinning Merlin still. Merlin whines around Lancelot’s fingers, pushing back. One arm is bent above his head and hand clenched in Lancelot’s hair, the other grasping at Gwaine’s side, trying to pull him in. His arse tightens around Gwaine’s cock, and Gwaine’s hips twitch forward again; Merlin arches against the hold on him determinedly.

“More,” he says hoarsely when Lancelot’s fingers slip free to cup around his throat instead. “More.”

Gwaine groans, Merlin’s demand not just verbal but in all the straining lines of his body, and Gwaine fucks in steadily, the sensitivity shivering through his skin on the precipice of pain before his cock’s too soft to fuck any more. Merlin comes again with four of Gwaine’s fingers spreading him open instead, Gwaine’s own come dripping down over his knuckles, and Merlin’s nipple between his teeth.

Afterwards, Merlin’s still hard, sobbing and rubbing up against Gwaine’s chest, his seed messy between them. Gwaine darts out his tongue to taste; the flavour of Merlin is more discernible amidst the cloying sweetness this time, and he nuzzles and kisses Merlin’s skin hopelessly.

“I just need to fuck,” Merlin says, the statement bursting out of him like the confession of a petulant child, and Gwaine can’t help but chuckle against his skin, even as helplessness stirs in the wake of arousal. He wills his body to recover faster.

In response to Gwaine’s amusement Merlin huffs what might be laughter in return, and his hand lands on Gwaine’s head in a half-hearted swat, then stays there to grasp his hair again. When it abruptly tightens—coupled with a jerk of Merlin’s hips, the head of his cock bumping into the soft underside of Gwaine’s jaw—Gwaine looks up. Merlin’s head is tipped back against Lancelot’s shoulder again, only this time, Lancelot’s mouth is pressed to the side of Merlin’s throat, his hand splayed against Merlin’s neck. Gwaine can see Lancelot’s jaw flex as he licks and sucks, and his own mouth fills with saliva at the sight, the carved line Lancelot’s dark-scruffed jaw beautiful against the graceful arc of Merlin’s neck.

Lancelot’s free hand comes down onto Gwaine’s head this time, guiding more purposefully than Merlin’s had. With the briefest flicker of Lancelot’s eyes Gwaine understands, closing his mouth over the head of Merlin’s cock again and treating the blood-hot flesh with the same slow, sensual attention that Lancelot is giving Merlin’s throat, watching them to match the rhythm.

Merlin’s eyes close and his hips begin to roll in time with them, and it only takes a few cycles for Gwaine to realise that Merlin’s pushing back as well; that Lancelot and Merlin are rocking against each other, Merlin’s arse into the cradle of Lancelot’s groin. Gwaine’s heart skips in delight, and he keeps his eyes on their lust-flushed faces as he moves his hands around to Merlin’s arse again, stroking his fingers up the slippery cleft, rubbing gently against the open furl of his hole.

Merlin moans and pushes down, and Lancelot pushes up. Gwaine can feel the stiff line of Lancelot’s cock against the back of his hand, and he sucks harder on the tip of Merlin’s, struggling to purse his lips instead of grinning around it. When he looks up again, meeting Lancelot’s eyes while Merlin pushes into his mouth, he feels Lancelot’s cock twitch.

Lancelot’s hand moves from Merlin’s neck to cover his jaw, to tilt Merlin’s head towards him. When he angles in open-mouthed there’s nothing proper or chivalrous about it; he presses forward hard enough to force Merlin’s mouth wide with his kiss, controlling it with lips and tongue, holding Merlin in place with the firm grip of his hand.

It’s permission enough; Gwaine understands perfectly, and Lancelot moves his hips helpfully to allow Gwaine more room to pull open his laces. With a hard cock in his hand and another in his mouth, Gwaine’s own finally manages to rally a little. He ignores it, though, instead concentrating on lifting Merlin’s hips enough to position Lancelot’s cock—long and thick in his fist, and oh, Merlin will love it—against Merlin’s come-slick opening, and then Gwaine lowers him again.

Merlin’s back arches, his spine thrusting his hips out into an optimal curve to ride down onto Lancelot’s cock. When he’s settled, Gwaine replaces his mouth with his hand, stroking Merlin’s stiff, beloved cock with a firmness that matches the inevitability of the down-stroke as Merlin takes Lancelot in again and again.

Lancelot growls, biting Merlin’s shoulder as his hands grasp Merlin’s waist, and he manages to get his knees under him, getting more leverage to slam up. Merlin cries out sharply and Gwaine recognises the sound and the stiffening of his cock; when Lancelot fucks up into him again Gwaine’s mouth catches the hot spill of his come. The flavour is thrillingly more bitter than sweet, though Merlin’s still stiff even after the climax is over.

“Come on,” Lancelot chants, “Come on, Merlin, come on—” And then, “Gwaine—”

Gwaine straightens and moves back at Lancelot’s nod—his dark hair curling with sweat and eyes losing focus as he meets Gwaine’s gaze—and then Lancelot tips Merlin forward on the the bedroll. Merlin lands on his knees and elbows, arse in the air, and Lancelot rides him from behind with curt, powerful thrusts.

“Gwaine,” Merlin pants breathlessly, neck loose between his shoulders and dropping bonelessly as Lancelot pounds into him, but he lifts his head enough to seek Gwaine out. Gwaine comes forward again, Lancelot slowing his thrusts to smooth-and-long for the few beats it takes for Gwaine to settle where Merlin guides, sitting before him.

Merlin’s arms bracket Gwaine’s thighs and Merlin’s face presses into his groin, nuzzling for Gwaine’s cock. Gwaine pushes his hair back to see him find it with his mouth, the half-hard flesh stiffening more quickly as Merlin draws it between his lips and laves it with his tongue. Merlin’s eyes drift shut and he moans, his expression blissful, and Gwaine holds the base steady for him as Lancelot starts thrusting in earnest again.

Merlin’s mouth is unfocused, self-absorbed, but Gwaine can’t find it in himself to mind. If Merlin was more attentive than this would be over for Gwaine much sooner, and he has prime position. One hand is on Merlin’s head, holding him steady and making sure Gwaine can still see the pink stretch of Merlin’s mouth around his cock; and the other strokes up Merlin’s back, the long, white planes of his muscles tensing on either side of the groove of his spine as he pushes back against Lancelot.

Sweat sticks Lancelot’s shirt to his skin; as well as the speeding pace of his thrusts the sun is reaching is zenith, finding gaps in the canopy to beat down on them. The heat swirling around them is growing hotter still, Merlin’s skin tackier under Gwaine’s touch. Lancelot folds forward to cover more of Merlin’s back with his own body, and he reaches a hand around to strip Merlin’s cock at a pace that matches the sharp pulse of his hips. Merlin lets go of Gwaine’s cock to pant alongside it, and then he’s screwing his eyes shut and crying out helplessly, his weight pressing down into Gwaine’s lap as Lancelot comes with him, gasping wordlessly.

They both shudder for long moments, strain evident in Merlin’s shoulders, then Gwaine helps them separate and settle. The three of them lie on their sides on the narrow bedroll, Merlin facing Gwaine and Lancelot behind. Lancelot appears to be thoroughly spent—a state which Gwaine can sympathise with—but he bends his head to kiss Merlin’s nape anyway.

Gwaine tucks Merlin’s head against the pillow of his upper arm, and tugs Merlin’s leg to fold over his hip. Merlin’s cock is still hard, his breath sobbing against Gwaine’s skin, and Gwaine busses his lips against Merlin’s clammy forehead, reaching between Merlin’s legs again.

Come slicks Merlin’s thighs, and his hole feels hot and tender even just to touch, wet and open enough for Gwaine to twist his fingers into gently alongside Lancelot’s. Merlin’s cock pushes against Gwaine’s thigh, hips jerking in a senseless, patternless rhythm as Gwaine curls his fingers to rub the sensitive spot inside him. When he comes this time he’s still and silent, breath coming in sharp, strained gasps; a small burst of heat against Gwaine’s skin.

Then he’s pressing his wet face against the inside of Gwaine’s arm and fumbling to push their hands off him, tension uncoiling from his chest and shoulders, leg slipping off Gwaine’s to press his own together and draw them up.

They lie silent for long moments, the only sound between them their slowing breaths. Gwaine turns his eyes to Lancelot over Merlin’s slumped shoulder, and he looks almost as if he’s just come off a battlefield, wrecked and victorious. He meets Gwaine’s gaze for a beat before rolling away, clambering a little unsteadily to his feet. When he comes back into Gwaine’s line of sight his trousers are fastened and sword belt buckled back on; he places Merlin’s pack and the three water skins nearby before nodding at Gwaine wordlessly and moving away again.

Gwaine can hear Lancelot’s soft footsteps and the whickered greeting of one of the horses. He can also hear the hush of the leaves overhead, the distant rush of the nearby stream and occasional birdcall, all sounds he’d been insensate to for—he glances as the angle of the sun—hours, now. For the first time, he feels in possession of thought enough to question the nature of Merlin’s enchantment, and its purpose.

Merlin pushes away from him weakly, the tremor in his limbs one of exhaustion rather than lust, now, and turns his face into the blanket. Gwaine moves carefully, sitting up and reaching for one of the water skins and drinking deeply. The fresh water flushes away the last of the fogginess and quenches the last of his arousal, the lingering scent of honeysuckle in the air vaguely sickly, now. He can’t help but swipe his fingers through the final small spill of Merlin’s seed on his hip, but it tastes weakly bitter, not a hint of sweetness.

Gwaine wets his discarded shirt thoroughly, using the remainder of the the water skin’s contents. At the first dab of the cool cloth against his back, Merlin tenses.

Gwaine stops, something solid settling at the base of his throat. “Are you…”

Merlin turns his head to the side, away from Gwaine. His cheeks are still blotchy with colour, eyes closed. “I’m all right,” he says, then, before Gwaine can voice his disbelief, “Well, I’m— It’s all right,” he amends. “Just—sore.”

Gwaine takes that as permission to continue, and Merlin relaxes a little as Gwaine strokes the damp cloth over his skin, though he flinches and holds his breath when Gwaine cleans between his legs.

“Definitely not riding anywhere today,” Merlin acknowledges with a self-deprecating laugh, the sound a little too bleak to truly set Gwaine’s mind at ease.

Gwaine huffs in sympathy, and helps Merlin turn over, unnaturally happy to see Merlin’s cock soft and small again. Merlin covers his eyes with his forearm, the exposed thatch of his underarm hair making him seem oddly vulnerable.

“Do you want to sleep?” Gwaine murmurs, feeling painfully fond and more than a little worried.

Merlin nods without uncovering his eyes. He still hasn’t moved when Gwaine returns with his cloak, though his shoulders lose a little of their tension when Gwaine covers him with it.

The fraction of modesty seems to return some of his self-assurance, though clearly not enough. “Aren’t you going to leave me to my humiliation, too?” Merlin asks. The tight, obvious embarrassment in his tone bleaches any humour from the question.

“Merlin.” Gwaine still wants to lick him all over, even without the enchantment. In fact, now he wants to run away with Merlin to somewhere less tightly-laced than Camelot, and make Merlin be naked all the time, and worship him a bit (and perhaps bring Lancelot too, because, well. Performances speak for themselves), and then lick him all over. But he doesn’t say that. Instead he says, “You were amazing.”

“Don’t,” Merlin says, and curls up on his side again, wincing as he draws his knees up. Gwaine wants to touch him, but wants Merlin to feel in control again more, so he just rises to his feet again, hooking up the empty water skin on his way.

“Don’t stew too long,” he says, nudging the edge of the bedroll before he leaves, heading toward the stream again.

Lancelot is loitering around the edge of their camp, and he acknowledges Gwaine with a brief nod as he approaches. He even meets Gwaine’s eyes briefly, and Gwaine wasn’t entirely sure that he would. After all, it’s not every day that you have a magic-fuelled romp in the woods, but by the composure of Lancelot’s demeanour, you’d never have known it.

Lancelot gestures at the ground, and it takes Gwaine a moment to see it. The loose drifts of leaves and grasses underfoot have been knotted into a delicate, looping band that continues to curve around beyond Gwaine’s line of sight, its trajectory suggesting that it’s encircling the campsite. He looks up at Lancelot, brows raised in surprise and question.

“I don’t think they meant to harm us,” Lancelot explains softly, and the hint of hesitancy returned to his tone makes Gwaine suspect Lancelot’s not just talking about their magical benefactors.

He claps Lancelot on the shoulder, leans in and lifts an eyebrow. “That much is clear, my friend,” he smiles. Above them, a soft breeze shuffles the leaves into quiet laughter.