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Like Fire from Smoke

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“Does he know this time?” Merlin asks, gasping when Gwaine’s mouth locks onto his shoulder and sucks hard enough to bruise, hard enough to mark him for all of Camelot to see, not that Merlin minds. But he won’t do this in Arthur’s rooms, not again, unless he knows. “Does Arthur know we’re here?” he asks again, fingers tangling in Gwaine’s hair and pulling his head back so he can see his eyes when he answers.

“He knows,” Gwaine says, smirking, then strips Merlin’s tunic off, tossing it onto the growing pile at their side. Merlin’s neckerchief, his belt, Gwaine’s vest and scabbard.

Merlin swallows hard, tilting his head back, staring at the ceiling to hold onto some semblance of control as Gwaine bends and takes a nipple between his teeth, the other between his rough fingertips, rolling and rubbing. “Is he- why is he letting us?”

Gwaine licks a strip up the centre of Merlin’s chest before cupping his jaw and pulling his chin down so Merlin is looking at him. They’re both a little breathless, a bit unsteady as they hold onto one another in the silence. “You are a blind fool, Merlin,” Gwaine says, shaking his head and smiling wide. “He’s fallen for you every bit as hard as I have,” he whispers, leaning in so the words are breathed against Merlin’s lips.

As Merlin opens his mouth to protest, Gwaine kisses him hard, tongue licking into him, sliding against his own in long, soft strokes until Merlin willingly cedes his chance to protest and kisses back, arms tightening around Gwaine, hands sliding down his back to draw his tunic out of his waistband and bunch it up as high as it’ll go. He pulls then, tugs hard until Gwaine lets him go with short, soft kisses and a hum and chuckle against his mouth before he leans back.

“He’s the prince.” Merlin strips Gwaine’s shirt off, tossing it away and spreading his palms wide on the bare, smooth, hard chest. He rubs from the flexing muscles of Gwaine’s stomach to his sides, up over his nipples and curls his hands over Gwaine’s shoulders, eyes full of tanned, gorgeous skin. He can never get enough of it, not in a lifetime of staring.

“And?” Gwaine asks, eyebrows raised as he shrugs.

“And I’m a servant who already has a lover,” Merlin says dismissively, letting his hands slide down Gwaine’s body again, closing his eyes so he can feel every ripple of muscle, every dip and curve as he maps them with his fingertips. He slips them into the laces of Gwaine’s breeches and rubs slow, sensual circles there, waiting until he hears a hitch in Gwaine’s breath that serves as permission.

It’s just by his ear as Gwaine pulls him close again, fingers on the back of Merlin’s head, digging into his hair. “Stop, Merlin,” Gwaine whispers as Merlin tugs on the laces, and Merlin stills his hand, opens his eyes. Gwaine leans in, kissing his neck as he murmurs, “Turn around.”

It’s nothing to obey, though he wonders for an instant why Gwaine wants him to. It’s an instant that he wishes he could get back as Gwaine’s arm curves around his waist and he’s pulled back flush against Gwaine’s body. Merlin’s shiver has nothing to do with their hot skin pressing together.

Arthur sits in a chair Merlin has never even seen occupied before, though it’s always been there, by the wardrobe. The chair faces – Arthur faces – the bed, one foot drawn up onto the edge of the seat, thumb turning the signet ring on his finger around and around as he stares.

“He just wants to see you,” Gwaine whispers against Merlin’s ear, startling him, “That’s all right, isn’t it? If he watches us make love?” His arm tightens as if he thinks Merlin will bolt.

Staring at Arthur, Merlin seriously considers stilling time and doing just that.

But Arthur’s eyes are darker than Merlin’s ever seen them, his lips parted just a little as if he wants to speak but can’t. He looks so completely, stubbornly defiant of his obvious vulnerability that Merlin wants to smile, but he doesn’t dare. He blinks as Arthur shifts in the chair, foot dropping to the floor, knees falling apart, hips raising the smallest bit higher, and Merlin can’t help but see bulge beneath his breeches. He knows how large Arthur is, has seen him naked and even a little hard after baths and in the mornings and can’t begin to imagine how uncomfortable it must be in Arthur’s smalls right now.

He nods before he realizes he’s doing it, licks his lips, blinks away the haze of desire to look straight into Arthur eyes. He nods again, this time meaning it as much as he can with his heart in his throat like it is.

Arthur’s mouth opens as if he wants to say something and Merlin stares at his lips as Gwaine plants kisses along his shoulder and neck. Before Merlin can look his fill, Gwaine turns him back around, hands quick and sure as they pull his laces open.

His own hands are shaking as he covers Gwaine’s, stilling them with the slightest shake of his head. Gwaine’s skin feels different under his fingertips, like there’s not enough room in his brain for sensation when his heartbeat is thudding in his ears and he can feel the weight and heat of Arthur’s gaze on the small of his back, his shoulders, his arse.

He manages to pull Gwaine’s breeches open, thumbs tucking into the waistband and pushing them down. Gwaine kicks them off and reaches for him.

Merlin’s trembling everywhere now, even his ankles feel wobbly with nerves, but Gwaine stands before him, cups his face in both hands and presses their foreheads together, whispering softly, “If it’s too soon…”

“No,” he says quickly, taking a halting step and turning them both so he can look to the side and see Arthur, who’s sitting forward in the chair, the heel of one hand pressed to his groin.

He wishes Arthur would say something, would open that bossy mouth and tell him to get to work, to strip off or get on his knees or his back or fetch the oil, but he doesn’t. He sits, staring, eyes flicking to Gwaine but staying mainly on Merlin. Silent.

It’s unnerving and Merlin swallows hard, tries to think of something, anything to say. “I want you here. I want you to see,” he says softly, locking his gaze to Arthur’s, hoping the double meaning registers because he truly does want Arthur to stay and see him like this.

He needs Arthur to know him this way and every other way, too, not just as his servant or circumstantial friend.

“I’m staying,” Arthur tells him, as if Merlin hadn’t just asked him to, and the smirk at the corner of his mouth reflects on Merlin’s.

Gwaine’s palm opens on his face and turns him back for a kiss, slow and easy, their tongues gliding together, Gwaine’s hand closing on the back of his neck again.

When they part, Gwaine’s hand squeezes and pushes down on his shoulder, urging him to kneel. He doesn’t fight it – just lets himself go, lets himself fall to the stone floor, the sting of his knees a goad to his nervousness. He looks up at Gwaine, biting his lips, waiting to be told what to do because even though he’s done this a few times, he can’t think what comes first, how to start, how to suck Gwaine’s hard, leaking shaft while Arthur - Arthur - watches.

Gwaine’s thumb rubs over his lips and he lets them part as Gwaine steps closer, guiding his cock to Merlin’s mouth, the head slipping wetly across his lips. “Please,” he hisses out as Merlin flicks his tongue across the salty slickness and opens his mouth.

He takes Gwaine into him, fist curling around the base of Gwaine’s shaft, his other hand spread wide against the cold flagstones for balance. He closes his eyes and tries not to picture himself kneeling before Arthur, tries to concentrate on the familiar flavour of Gwaine on his tongue and not wonder what Arthur tastes like, not wish he could see just how thick and hard Arthur is right now, so close Merlin can smell him, can hear his breath and feel his gaze.

He tilts his chin higher, stretches his neck so Gwaine can slide deeper in, his lips stretching around the burning, smooth flesh. He swallows hard, inhales, holds the air in his already tight lungs and presses forward, the head slipping past the back of his throat and in, blocking his breath. His mouth seems to tighten instinctually around the thick shaft, the lack of breath as sweet as it is frightening.

His heart races as he kneels there, breath held, his eyes flicking up to Gwaine, whose head is thrown back in ecstasy. He instantly tries to look at Arthur, to assure himself that someone knows he’s completely helpless, that Arthur is watching since Gwaine isn’t.

All he can see is a vague shape, a small movement, but he can hear Arthur’s sharp breaths and the creaking of the chair as Arthur shifts.

Merlin looks ups again, watches the flex and stretch of Gwaine’s stomach, his chest thrown out and thighs hard as stone beneath Merlin’s clasping hands. Gwaine pushes further in, groaning and clutching at Merlin’s hair and dizziness sets in, his vision swimming, his throat thick with panic.

The fear pulls a thin vein of magic to the surface of his mind and he clings to it, wanting to please, revelling in the feeling of being owned and taken.

Growling low and fisting Merlin’s hair, Gwaine jerks his cock even deeper in and out, back in, further and further each time, Merlin’s magic pulsing through him, skittering along his body and swirling over his lungs as if it knows he can’t breathe, won’t breathe. It flares threateningly just before Merlin runs out of strength and he pulls back, pulls off a bit, eyes watering and air rushing out, then pulling desperately into his burning chest.

“Fuck, Merlin,” Gwaine grounds out, “Again, gods. Do it again, please,” he says, finger twisting sharply in Merlin’s hair.

Merlin nods up at him, tears spilling down his cheeks, and Gwaine quickly swipes his thumb over the wet streaks. He’s not crying and he doesn’t want them to think he is; it’s just from having no breath, but he won’t stop, no matter what they think. He hums and sinks as far as he can onto Gwaine’s shaft before he has to squeeze his eyes closed and concentrate on not panicking.

Gwaine fills his throat again and Merlin holds steady there for a moment, distraction and nervousness combining to urge him on until he moves, bobbing his head as he swallows Gwaine down and doesn’t breathe. Deep in his throat, Gwaine rubs in short, quick thrusts and Merlin opens himself up to it, opens his body and his mind and lets himself disappear beneath Gwaine’s pleasure.

As he wraps the power around himself, memorizing his own complete abandon, Merlin knows Arthur is watching, knows he’s probably had this done to him and knows what it looks like when it’s done well and Merlin wants him to remember this, remember that Merlin does it well the next time someone is sucking his cock. He wants Arthur to close his eyes and picture Merlin there, wish it was Merlin on his knees for him.

“Merlin-” Gwaine begins, hissing as Merlin’s eyes flash open, shaking his head as if he’s just broken through the haze of passion and is worried that Merlin’s going too far, too soon. “Not too much.”

Merlin reaches down and tears his laces apart, shoves his hand in and pulls out his cock out so Gwaine can see what this is doing to him. He moans around Gwaine’s shaft as he closes his fist around himself and slides up into it, the touch such a relief.

Pulling all the way off of Gwaine this time, Merlin forces himself to move slowly, staring blearily up into Gwaine’s eyes. When Gwaine’s cock slips from his mouth, Merlin gulps a breath in and squeezes hard around the base of his own cock. The words alone could make him come. “Fuck my mouth,” he says, voice gravelly. “Fuck it like you let me fuck yours.”

“But you-” Gwaine shakes his head again and Merlin breathes out hard against the head of his cock, licking up beneath the ridge, hoping to halt Gwaine’s thoughts.

His eyes flicker over to see Arthur, sprawled back in the chair, hand tucked down into his breeches now, the laces pulled loose and Arthur’s legs spread wide. He isn’t stroking himself, but Merlin thinks it’s a near thing. “I can take it,” he says, shifting a bit to give Arthur a better look, then blinking back up at Gwaine’s heavy-lidded eyes. “I love the way it feels,” he confesses in a whisper, face burning as hot as his dripping cock in his fist.

Gwaine nods sharply and gasps as Merlin sucks him in again, lips tight and tongue swirling around him as he sinks inside. “Then suck me,” Gwaine says through gritted teeth, cock nudging past the back of Merlin’s throat and in, so deep Merlin can feel it everywhere. “Gods, Merlin. Harder,” he growls, head thrown back and hips jerking forward.

Merlin glances sideways and he can see Arthur now, just out the corner of his eye, his long, full cock slick and surging up and down through his fist in long, hard strokes. Merlin grips his own cock harder, matches the rhythm of Arthur’s hand and grabs the back of Gwaine’s thigh, urging him into the same thrusting, rolling cadence.

He looks back up at Gwaine, who stares at Arthur for a moment, an unreadable, passion-hazy look on his face as Merlin pulls off enough to draw in a deep breath, blow it out through his nose, draw in another.

Gwaine sinks back in and takes up the rhythm they all share, swallowing again and again. He moans his pleas for Gwaine to thrust harder, deeper, and Gwaine does. He pumps his hips right out of the rhythm and hisses, fingers clenching in Merlin’s hair, urging Merlin to take over. He moves his head up and back, taking Gwaine impossibly deeper into his throat, his nose pressing against Gwaine’s stomach on every up-thrust and chest tightening around the screaming burn of his lungs.

His magic flows in waves now, behind his eyes and ears, down his chest and spine, along his cock and clenching arse. He’s taut with need, with effort, but there’s a sense of peace that comes with the pain and the fear that never quite leaves him.

The cock between his lips jerks sharply and Gwaine comes with a soul-deep groan, the rush of heat blazing down Merlin’s throat. A dull roaring fills his ears and as his eyes flash open, there are blank spots where his vision used to be. He tightens his grip on the back of Gwaine’s thigh and holds on, holds him deep until Gwaine breathes out and the muscles under Merlin’s hand slacken and the quick pulse of orgasm through Gwaine’s cock slowly dies away.

It’s silent but for Gwaine’s panting breaths above him and Merlin’s heart jumps to his throat as he hears Arthur’s heavy exhalation, like he’s been holding his breath right along with Merlin the whole time.

Fuck, Merlin.” It’s low and drawn out, and something like pride flutters in Merlin’s stomach at how impressed Arthur sounds. He wants to turn, wants to see if Arthur is as undone as he and Gwaine both are.

But he doesn’t look as rocks back on his heels, eyes on Gwaine as he slips from Merlin’s mouth, slickness smearing on his lower lip.

Merlin ducks his head, licking away the come, biting hard at his lip, chasing the flavour he barely got to taste. Gwaine rubs at his aching neck. When he swallows, his throat is raw and scratchy and he squeezes hard around his cock to keep from coming at the feeling of Gwaine that lingers there.

Merlin doesn’t try to speak, but Gwaine doesn’t seem to want him to, kneeling down in front of him, taking his face between his trembling hands and kissing him hard, tongue fast and greedy, pulling away quickly with a murmured apology and a soft laugh.

“I’ll let you breathe,” he whispers, the smile on his lips the one he saves for Merlin, the soft, bright smile that tells Merlin just how much Gwaine cares for him. “That was amazing. You’re amazing,” he says, kissing Merlin’s temple, the corner of his mouth, his jaw. He takes Merlin into his arms and Merlin goes, more than desperate to feel Gwaine’s strong embrace around him.

His body is thrumming, vibrating, his hands trembling as they slide around Gwaine’s back and hold on, clutching at him. He presses his face into Gwaine’s neck and gathers control back to himself and realizes just how much he’s given to Gwaine, tries to reconcile the feelings of power and helplessness that won’t leave him.

“He’s shaking.” Arthur’s voice is closer and Merlin tenses, doesn’t know if he can be this vulnerable in front of Arthur yet.

“I’m fine,” he says quickly, daring to glance at Arthur, though it comes out a scratchy whisper that doesn’t help his case.

Arthur is staring at him, flushed and dishevelled, the tension in his limbs almost palpable. It makes Merlin want to go to him, to calm him and talk him down, as though Arthur is the one in need of reassurances.

“Move him to the bed.” It’s not quite an order and Arthur’s voice isn’t anything like steady as he says it.

Gwaine nods, scruff scratching gently against Merlin’s cheek, and lifts him, supports him as he stands and, despite Merlin’s gentle protests, holds Merlin close as he moves slowly to the bed. Arthur’s bed is soft and warm in comparison to the floor and Gwaine climbs onto the bed behind him, urging Merlin back with him.

Merlin leans back against Gwaine’s warm, broad chest, closing his eyes and concentrating on getting his breathing back to normal. Gwaine’s strong arms circle under Merlin’s own and hug his chest, pulling him up and back until Merlin’s arse presses flush against the vee of Gwaine’s spread thighs, their legs brushing together.

Gwaine’s hands glide down his body, over his stomach, brushing along his aching cock and dipping down into his breeches, rubbing between his legs, then back up and over his chest. He smoothes his palm over Merlin’s forehead, drawing his head back onto a strong shoulder and Merlin lets himself be moved. Gwaine’s warm hands ghosts over his face and chest then, gentling him, and he breathes, listens to his murmured encouragement and trying not to beg for Gwaine’s hand on his cock.

Gwaine’s lips press to his ear. “It was gorgeous, Merlin. Unbelievable. You had me inside you,” he whispers, “So far in, gods. It was so tight, so hot, you on your knees for me like that.”

Merlin nods and lets out a small moan, hips canting up into the air as Gwaine’s fingers rub low on his stomach, not quite touching. He needs to be touched, needs to come before he turns inside-out with it.

Lips closing on his earlobe and dragging off, Gwaine whispers, “Do you know how much he wants you?”

Merlin gasps and tenses in Gwaine’s close embrace, eyes blinking open. Arthur is at the foot of the bed, leaning against the bedpost, breeches hanging open, cock so thick and flushed it makes Merlin’s own straining arousal ache in empathy. He shakes his head, not an answer, really, but he still can’t believe it, can’t believe that Arthur is this close to him, to them, and wants this.

“He wants to touch you,” Gwaine says, voice low and rough with desire. “I know you want him.”

There is no accusation in it, not even a hint of jealousy or spite, though Merlin wishes there was. It would make it so easy to say no, so simple to apologize and slip from the bed, from the room, from the castle, knowing Gwaine would follow.

“Do you?” Arthur’s voice is surprisingly steady now, but Merlin can hear the hope he tries to hide behind the confidence.

Merlin nods, Gwaine’s gentle hum and the kiss against his neck both full of relief. The arms around him slacken a bit, Gwaine’s hands spreading wide over his chest, rubbing as they move to his sides, then fall away. “I’ll be right here,” he whispers, and Merlin nods again, hoping Gwaine knows just how much he’s counting on that.

Arthur pushes his breeches and smalls down and steps out of them, climbing onto the bed, breathing as hard as Merlin is before they even touch. His eyes are nearly black with desire as he kneels up, the expanse of smooth skin and the curving lines of strength taking Merlin’s breath away. He looks different to how he normally does, all strut and arrogance stripped away, more naked than he’s ever been in front of Merlin. The strength of his hand closes hard and possessive on Merlin’s thigh and he pauses there as Merlin’s magic surges and thrums along his skin.

If Arthur notices, he doesn’t say, though Merlin notices the smallest hitch at the corner of Arthur’s mouth. Before Merlin can catch his breath to try to explain, Arthur draws him up and forward with a hand on his shoulder until Merlin kneels up and leans heavily against him, hands on Arthur’s sides, already not touching Gwaine at all.

Arthur holds his gaze, his hand sliding up Merlin’s neck to cup his jaw, thumb brushing over his cheekbone. “Don’t faint on me,” he whispers, lips pursing as he tries not to smile.

“I hadn’t planned on it.” Merlin can’t help the quick grin that spreads on his heated face.

Their smiles fade as Arthur leans in. When their lips meet for the first time, the world dissolves around them and they’re alone, they’re alone on Arthur’s bed, in the room Merlin lives in more than his own, every smell and sight familiar but this, Arthur so close, touching him and kissing him as Merlin has imagined a thousand times a day almost since the beginning.

It should be a tearing, desperate leap from a cliff, but instead Arthur kisses him slowly and gently, lips full and firm against his own, guiding him, leading him as Gwaine has always done, but it’s different in a way that makes Merlin’s thighs burn and his knees turn to liquid.

Merlin can feel every part of himself reaching out for a stronger connection between them, grasping and desperate for more as they kiss. He wraps his arms around Arthur’s neck and Arthur presses hard against him and it’s finally just that, desperate and taking when their tongues twine together and Merlin’s lips tingle with the hunger of their kiss.

His pained, needy whine elicits a groan from Arthur and his fingers curl hard into Merlin’s hair, holding them in the kiss, as though he thinks Merlin might startle and pull away from the intensity. They’re both panting and clinging to one another, lips pressing together over and over in small, clingy kisses as they slowly separate.

“You’re sure?” Arthur whispers against his lips and Merlin smiles and nods, tilting his chin as Arthur nuzzles in to nibble at his jaw and throat.

“Fuck, yes,” Gwaine hisses out, warm palms spreading on Merlin’s back, smoothing around his sides and urging him to lie back again. He laughs against the skin of Merlin’s neck and then closes his mouth there, kissing and suckling gently.

Arthur lets out a short laugh and Merlin smiles, lowering his eyes. He takes a deep breath as he sees their hands lined up on his body, all four of them, Gwaine’s smaller than Arthur’s but rougher, calluses hard-won with no gloves and little comfort in his past, just like Merlin. Arthur’s fingers slip down his body, never leaving his skin as they move over his chest, all the way down to rest on his the open, slack waistband of his breeches.

They stretch out along the bed, lying flush against one another, Arthur tugging at the fabric of his breeches, gently pushing the fabric down around Merlin’s thighs, hands sliding around to cup Merlin’s backside. Arthur’s mouth mirrors Gwaine’s, both warm and slick along Merlin’s throat, as if their passion feeds on Merlin’s moans and the small, jerking movements of his hips that he can’t seem to stop.

Their sucking kisses are a dizzying parallel on his chest and back and shoulders and he slips his fingers down over Arthur’s chest and reaches for his waist, pulling him closer, drawing their bodies together. Their cocks slip along one another’s, Gwaine’s pushing against his backside, too, and Merlin groans, hands grasping, spread wide over the strong muscles of Arthur’s lower back, skin sliding and rubbing from their shoulders to their cocks, along every bit of Merlin’s skin, front and back.

“I need-” Arthur murmurs against his skin, pressing him back against Gwaine with another kiss, one hand slipping between Merlin’s thighs, not pushing or even urging, just tucking in there, fingers curling into the skin. Merlin swirls his tongue against the one that presses between his lips, the taste of Arthur on his tongue like coming home, like riding through the gates of the city after a long, rainy campaign.

Two swollen cocks flex against his body, Arthur’s hard as steel against his groin and Gwaine’s against the crease of his arse and Merlin breathes out roughly, fear and desire warring in his chest, his hips rocking gently back and forth between them.

Arthur’s fingers slip from between his legs, tugging gently on his breeches, and Arthur pauses, looking up at him for permission, which Merlin gives in a quick nod, despite his embarrassment. His cock is long and thick, but his body is... He’s nothing compared to the two men surrounding him, not strong like them.

Glancing nervously over his shoulder at Gwaine, Merlin arches against all the warm, smooth skin along his back.

“It’s all right,” Gwaine whispers, looking slowly down Merlin’s body with an intensity he can almost feel against his skin. “You’re amazing,” he says, hips rolling beneath Merlin as Arthur strips Merlin’s breeches all the way off and rolls back into their embrace.

Despite Gwaine’s praise, Merlin moves his to press his hips harder against Arthur so he can’t see his leaking arousal as it flexes, aching, the tip pressing hard between their stomachs.

“Please,” Arthur implores, not at all teasing. “Let me look at you.” Arthur’s hands work between them to Merlin’s hips, thumbs pressing gently over his hipbones, easing Merlin away from him even as Merlin wraps his arms around Arthur’s neck, closing his eyes.

“I’m… I’m not-” Merlin sucks in a breath as Arthur’s fist forms a tight, hot sheath around him.

He’s unable to think of a single word to describe the sudden humiliation he’s feeling, the wave of shame for his lean body, his pale skin, his leaking arousal poking through Arthur’s strong hand, their bodies harsh in comparison. He has an overwhelming urge to run, to hide, though he’s been naked with Gwaine.

But Arthur is staring at him as Gwaine has never done, stroking once, long and hard, then letting him go, eyes and fingers roaming over every inch of his body – his ankles, the backs of his knees, his arse. He looks up again, kissing Merlin desperately, and when those warm fingers rub down the edges of his ears and tug his earlobes, Merlin flushes to his toes.

“Your skin-” Arthur runs his hands reverentially up and down Merlin’s body. “Gods, Merlin, why do hide this?” he asks, palm spreading wide across Merlin’s throat, his chest.

Merlin swallows hard under the weight of Arthur’s touch, his cheeks burning.

“He’s not seen you before?” Gwaine asks and Merlin shakes his head, not taking his eyes off Arthur as he breaks the kiss, staring at Merlin, shaking his head a little, too.

Arthur moves forward on his knees to press biting, sucking kisses down his throat, his chest, lips working over his nipples and ribs, tongue sliding slick low on his belly, then up from the base to the tip of his cock. Before Merlin can process the sight and feeling of Arthur’s tongue on his cock, Arthur moves to kiss him again, deeply. He moans into Merlin’s mouth, tongue swirling against his own, Gwaine’s beard brushing softly against the back of his neck as he leans in to kiss Merlin, too.

Gwaine taps his shoulder to get his attention and when Merlin leans away from Arthur’s kiss, Gwaine guides him back between his legs again, so Merlin is lying almost on top of him, stretched out as Arthur moves to follow them.

“Just relax for us, Merlin,” Gwaine whispers, touching him with gentle, soft caresses.

Merlin takes a deep breath to calm his nerves and feels Gwaine do the same beneath him. Arthur’s hands close on his knees, gently pulling, and Merlin feels ridiculous, like some terrified maid. He moves with the touch, turning his face so he can feel the familiar scratch of Gwaine’s beard along his cheek.

Gwaine’s fingertips ghost along his inner thighs, coaxing them apart. “Let them fall open, just like that. That’s good,” he breathes against Merlin’s ear, fingertips ghosting along Merlin’s inner thighs. “Open your eyes,” he whispers, and Merlin obeys.

Arthur looks feral, eyes flashing in the firelight, staring with unmistakable jealousy at Gwaine’s hands and their progress as they slide up Merlin’s legs, pulling them wider, revealing all of Merlin to Arthur’s gaze.

Arthur licks his lips and groans and Merlin draws in a shaky breath. He combs his fingers back through the blonde, dishevelled hair, smiling a little at the beauty of Arthur’s perfect, aristocratic features. He brushes his thumb down the line of Arthur’s nose, across his full, flushed lips.

“He’s lovely, isn’t he?” Gwaine whispers against Merlin’s ear, a smile obvious in his husky voice. Merlin bites his lip, staring into Arthur’s eyes, lost in the blue-black desire he can almost feel on his skin as Arthur stares up at him as if Merlin is the Prince.

As Merlin watches, Arthur lowers his head, sucking warm, wet kisses down Merlin’s chest and stomach, then over his cock, his sac.

Arching back against Gwaine’s chest, Merlin moans and rocks his hips into the heat, unable to resist the tight pull of Arthur’s mouth. Those wet, red lips and hot tongue push against his skin. He writhes at the twin sensations of Gwaine’s length, slick and straining against his arse, and Arthur’s mouth sliding along the juncture of leg and groin, closing there to suck and bite.

“That’s so… Gods,” Gwaine murmurs, turning his face, his beard scratching softly against Merlin’s cheek. “He wants you.”

Merlin takes a shuddering breath and reaches for Arthur’s face, his fingers carding through the soft blonde hair as he pulls Arthur up between his legs, between Gwaine’s, and kisses him, moaning as their cocks brush together and he’s pressed back into Gwaine’s smooth skin, onto the hard shaft that rocks against the base of his spine.

As soon as Arthur’s lips leave his, Gwaine is there, turning his head, arching up to take a kiss of his own. “He wants to fuck you,” he breathes out, reaching for Arthur’s hand and pulling it up between them. “Do you want him to?”

Merlin stares into Arthur’s eyes, biting his lips and wishing with everything in him that he could have both of them, always. He believes what they’ve promised, knows he will have them both, that Gwaine won’t leave his side and Arthur won’t ask him to give up the friendship, but Merlin can’t stand the thought of never touching Gwaine’s familiar body again, never smelling his arousal or tasting his kiss-smeared lips again. He looks over his shoulder, but Gwaine is looking at Arthur’s hand, smiling softly.

Gwaine sees him then, reads his face like the open book Merlin knows it must be. “I know you do,” Gwaine whispers, tucking his face against Merlin’s neck. “I know you need him.”

“Yes,” Merlin breathes, and it’s the hardest thing he’s ever said, and the easiest.

Merlin watches with burning focus as Gwaine pushes Arthur’s finger against Merlin’s lips, slipping it inside. Merlin can either let out the humiliating noise that threatens to escape or tighten his lips around Arthur’s finger and lick. He whimpers and cups his tongue around the finger, swirling and tasting it, and goes absolutely boneless as Gwaine’s teeth close gently on his neck and Arthur leans up to kiss the corner of his sucking mouth.

“That’s it.” Gwaine’s tongue traces the shell of Merlin’s ear before sliding down to his shoulder again. “Show him,” he breathes, and Merlin wonders for the first time if Arthur’s done this before, if Merlin will be his first.

He closes his eyes and tries to relax against Gwaine’s chest as the finger slips from his mouth and Gwaine’s voice hums against his skin.

“Rub it against him, slick him, then gently, slowly push inside,” he whispers, arms slipping away and curling under Merlin’s bent knees, hauling him up and back until Merlin is off the bed, propped on Gwaine’s lap, legs draped over his spread thighs. The stretch of Merlin’s muscles is a delicious pull from knees to arse.

He can feel Gwaine hard and slick against his lower back, has only a moment to think of what Gwaine felt like sliding into him just a fortnight ago on this very bed, in this very spot. It was bright pain and indescribable heat and heaven, and Merlin swallows hard, wondering what it will be like with Arthur, if it will hurt as much, if he can bear it if it’s worse, even if Gwaine is holding him through it all.

Arthur’s fingertip presses against the flesh behind his sac, the thick, wet pressure like oxygen to the flame of his desire, the rubbing so close to where he wants, where he’s aching and hoping and needing. He rocks down into the touch, stomach flexing as he strains to look down between his legs.

Arthur is pinpoint-focused, lips parted and breath coming hard as he glances up, catches Merlin’s eyes and pushes slowly, carefully inside. He slides his finger all the way in, fast enough to make Merlin gasp, but it doesn’t hurt as much as it makes Merlin ache for more.

“God,” Arthur breathes, his palm cupping Merlin’s sac as his finger sinks all the way in. “It’s so tight; you’re so tight,” he says and Merlin nods, he knows, he feels every press, every single movement inside with the clarity of his inexperience.

He drinks in the way Arthur marvels at him, his hesitation and embarrassment slipping beneath his arousal. He rocks his hips a little, body tense with the stretch, coiling in anticipation of more.

“Here.” Gwaine let’s go one of Merlin’s legs with a gentle push to his thigh, an unspoken command for him to hold it in place. The sound of glass clinking down on wood somewhere behind Merlin tells him Gwaine’s found the ever-present vial of oil under Arthur’s pillow.

“Let… let me help,” Gwaine breathes, kissing Merlin’s temple, his neck, his shoulder. He lets go of Merlin’s legs, sweeping his hands up the insides of his thighs as he stretches down, rubs a slick, hot fingertip against his entrance, swirling it there and along another of Arthur’s fingers. He guides it alongside the first, in and up side-by-side, beginning a slow, inexorable rubbing within him.

“Oh, that’s-” Merlin breathes out, biting his lower lip and tilting his head as Arthur leans down to press wet, sucking kisses against his throat.

“Is that enough?” Arthur whispers, groaning as Merlin’s hips jerk at the thought of what that will feel like, what Arthur’s cock is going to do to him when the fingers are gone.

He’s about to answer ‘yes,’ but Gwaine shakes his head, mouth closing on Merlin’s earlobe.

“He needs more,” Gwaine says breathlessly, pulling away for an instant.

The hand returns, Gwaine spreading the slick oil, smearing it against his stretched, aching hole as Arthur’s finger slides in and out, in and out. Merlin watches as Gwaine stills Arthur’s hand, pushing a second of Arthur’s fingers up against his first. The stretch widens, Gwaine’s scruff scraping along his cheek as he moves beneath Merlin, reaching to press his finger in with Arthur’s on the next long, slow slide.

Gwaine’s forearm rubs hard over his cock as he reaches down, twisting and turning and working his way into him until it feels like fire, like heat that pulses and spreads and fills Merlin.

It’s such a stretch, such a gorgeous needy pain that Merlin can’t help but push into every patient, gentle stroke. He watches Arthur’s face through hazy eyes and listens to the murmured encouragement Gwaine whispers against his skin.

He digs his feet into the mattress on either side of Arthur’s legs and cants his hips, pushing himself as far as he can, moving to meet each quickening thrust of fingers inside. His body clenches around the burn now, rocking into it, meeting it and missing it as it dissipates into want.

On the next pull out, Arthur slips his thick, strong fingers all the way out and around the rim, making Merlin gasp and hiss. He pushes back inside, his fingers bundled tightly against Gwaine’s and they’re like fire, like heat stinging along his frozen skin after he’s been out in the cold for too long. It’s good, so good, but it burns bright and hot, pushes him past pleasure into heady, dizzy needful pain that feels like too much want.

He begs for more with lips and breath and body.

Gwaine’s chest slips slick with sweat, curving beneath Merlin’s back, his thighs flexing against Merlin’s and arm tight around Merlin’s waist, pulling him down into every push inside.

“Arthur,” Merlin whispers, stilling his hips and shifting up so their fingers slip almost all the way out. “Gwaine, show him, please. I need him to-” he says, licking his lips and panting. “Kiss me,” he whispers to Arthur, and Arthur shifts closer, one hand braced on the bed beside him and Gwaine, the fingers of the other pushing all the way back up inside as Gwaine stretches forward and whispers against Arthur’s ear.

Merlin feels the movement within him still and begin again, different this time, Gwaine guiding their fingers to spread and circle, rubbing in deep, seeking that secret bundle of raw feeling Gwaine had shown him here, in Arthur’s bed. He’d thought of Arthur when he’d felt it the first time, thought of the three of them together, but couldn’t have imagine this, this white-hot, slow build of pleasure with so many peaks he feels like he’ll never come down from it.

He gasps into the kiss as, together, Gwaine and Arthur brush the fiery bundle of nerves and set him afire all over again. He moans, toes curling into the sheets, feet flexing and lifting to hook on the backs of Arthur’s knees, arms going up around his neck to hold him closer. He thrusts his tongue in time with their stroking as the fingers rub hard, Arthur groaning into his mouth, Merlin’s hips jerking in pleasure.

“That’s it, Gods, you’re so gorgeous,” Gwaine breathes out and Merlin doesn’t know who he’s talking to, doesn’t care. They are, Arthur is, Merlin feels like the whole world is gorgeous as those fingers shift within him, spreading wider and rubbing hard over that spot again. “Ready now?”

He tears his mouth away from Arthur’s lips, knowing at this rate he’ll come any moment and he can’t, he doesn’t want to come until Arthur’s inside him, taking him.

Before Merlin can answer Gwaine, Arthur’s wide, intense gaze catches his. “Now?” he asks, his voice disbelieving and full of wonder, his breath hitching as Merlin looks up through heavily-lidded eyes and nods, panting and rolling his hips.

“Yes,” he whispers, nodding at Arthur’s hesitant expression. “I want you inside me,” he says, unashamed of the plea in his voice.

“Just go slowly,” Gwaine whispers, laying a hand on Arthur’s bicep, fingers digging in and it’s the sexiest thing in the world, Gwaine protecting him like this, even from Arthur who would never willingly hurt him. They‘re all safe here, safe with each other, but Gwaine is still protecting him, even in this.

Merlin draws in an unsteady breath and lays his head back against Gwaine’s chest as Gwaine’s fingers slip away, hands curling back under his legs, lifting them up from where they’ve fallen. He spreads Merlin wide, pulling his knees high, taking Merlin’s weight as he settles entirely on Gwaine’s chest and lap and wraps his legs around Arthur’s waist.

Lips close on his throat and he groans as Arthur lines up against him, cock sliding in the slick oil, slipping along his entrance before catching up and pushing, stretching, breeching his body. It’s like the first time, the only other time, the bright , sweet pain blooming as Arthur presses steadily inside him, opening him as slowly and carefully as Merlin could ever wish.

He’s thicker than Gwaine, thicker than the fingers had been, and the shock of being opened by Arthur’s full cock makes him suck a breath in through his teeth, but Gwaine’s lips brush along his ear.

“That’s good, Merlin. Just let him in,” he breathes, his voice strained as though he’s the one taking Merlin. “It’s going to feel wonderful. Just relax and let him take you. Give yourself over to him. I’m right here with you.”

Merlin listens and obeys and Arthur presses forward until he’s seated deep inside, hips flush against Merlin’s body, hands brushing along his sides, his chest, his neck. He can barely feel Arthur anywhere but inside him, the feeling of being so completely owned and taken so good.

“Fuck,” he breathes out, pushing himself up and wrapping his arms around Arthur’s neck. “Lift me,” he pleads, and Arthur’s arms slide around his waist and wrap around his back, pulling him up and off Gwaine until he’s spread over Arthur’s thighs.

Gwaine’s hands slip along his skin as he moves, rubbing gently up and down his back, supporting him when he settles, legs tight around Arthur’s waist.

“Gods, yes.” He throws his head back, chest pressing against Arthur’s, taut nipples rubbing hard between them, hips rocking up and back on Arthur’s thighs. He winces as Arthur growls and drives up into him, cock hitting deep inside and it’s an obvious sign that Arthur is right there with Merlin, just on the edge of control.

Arthur moans and tightens his arms, pulling Merlin closer against him, holding him still for a slow, slick rocking thrust and Gwaine groans beneath him. Merlin can feel the quick, sharp motion, hear the frantic slide and gasp of Gwaine jerking himself off, his fist brushing against Merlin’s backside as Arthur rocks into him again and again.

As Gwaine’s breath quickens, Merlin reaches back and pushes his hand away, guiding his cock up between Merlin’s thighs, pulling the throbbing length against his skin.

Their moans melting together at the first touch, Gwaine kneeling up behind him, hands closing tightly on Merlin’s biceps and thrusting his cock up and back along Merlin’s crevice, the head sliding against his stretched, filled entrance and the slick, gliding heat of Arthur’s cock.

With a growl, Arthur thrusts into him harder, Gwaine painting slick lines with his stroking, sliding arousal.

The feeling of both of them, slick and hard and strong in and against him is too much and Merlin cries out, reaches for Arthur, pulls him in for another hard, scorching kiss.

Arthur gasps against his mouth, pulling away and looking at him with blown pupils and parted lips, panting breaths harsh. A quick flash of a smile and Arthur kisses him with a passion Merlin has never known, a hunger he’s never seen before burning in Arthur’s eyes as he pulls away and looks down between them, watches himself thrusting into Merlin, Gwaine pushing up and back behind him

Merlin watches Arthur’s face, his cock, the clench of his fingers as they dig into Merlin’s thigh, the hair that falls across his forehead, the bunching, tight muscles of his stomach working as he thrusts in a gorgeous, perfect rhythm.

“Yes,” Arthur breathes out against Merlin’s lips, “Just- just like that. Let me have you.”

Merlin groans, his voice laced through with aching need, with desperate want, body clenching and relaxing around Arthur’s flexing, pumping cock, his arse so full he feels it everywhere. Arthur’s hand clutches at his thigh, his hip, his side, fingers closing in a twisting, squeezing caress over first one nipple, then the other. Every touch piles on more sensation, more pleasure and Merlin shakes his head, rubbing his lips against Arthur’s shoulder. He bites down when Arthur hits up against that sparkling place inside him and Merlin feels like he’s full of tiny hot bubbles, floating and dizzy and desperate for it to never end.

Arthur fists his hair, yanks his sucking, biting mouth off of the bruise Merlin’s made on his shoulder, presses their mouths together hard and wraps his arms around Merlin. He pulls him down as he thrusts again and again up and in against Merlin’s most sensitive place, the sparks and embers burning hotter still.

He leans away from the kiss, biting his stinging lips, watching with equal parts greed and trepidation as Arthur wraps a fist around his tight, aching cock. The hand moves in a slick, tight sheath around him slowly, so torturously slow Merlin thinks he’ll go insane waiting for the steadily-building burn to end in a shattering climax. Arthur hits up against that spot inside him and his cock is so hard it hurts and he’s so full and so dizzy he might never come, might be stuck just like this, riding Arthur’s cock forever.

He shakes his head, his voice so unsteady it sounds like he’s sobbing as he begs, “Gods, yes. Fuck me, just-.” He rolls his hips, daring to ask for what he needs more than breath or blood or come. “Harder,” he gasps.

He reaches down to steady himself as Arthur’s thrusts sharpen and feels Gwaine’s taut stomach beneath him. He tilts his head back, swallowing hard, realizing that for a moment, he hadn’t even thought of Gwaine, though he can feel him, hard and slick between his legs, warm and solid beneath him.

Arthur must somehow see it on his face because he fists Merlin’s hair and turns his head so Merlin is looking down between their bodies. “Watch,” he says, and Merlin doesn’t know if he means Merlin or Gwaine but it doesn’t matter – they both do.

They obey as Arthur lets go Merlin’s hair and reaches for Gwaine’s hand, bringing it up to Merlin’s cock. Arthur slips their fingers together, lacing them to form a wicked tight glove and Merlin can’t help it, he thrusts into it, moaning, even before they can move their hands.

Merlin tightens his legs around Arthur’s waist, the cleft of his arse filled with Gwaine’s thick, hot shaft. It thrusts up and back, matching Arthur’s rhythm and making Merlin feel as though he’s being taken inside and out at once. He arches back against Gwaine’s chest, glad to feel the reassuring support behind him again, and Gwaine groans, his thrusts losing pace, his rhythm crumbling, cock pressing hard against Merlin with the arch of his body.

The silken, scorching heat of Gwaine’s come pulses against his skin, slicking his back and Merlin reaches for Gwaine’s hand, lacing their fingers together where they rest on Merlin’s waist.

Arthur’s next thrust in is slippery and sharp and hard, out of control and Merlin grinds down into the next and the next.

He’s slick with sweat and come, shaking and panting, fisting his fingers into Arthur’s hair and letting Gwaine’s hand go as he lifts up for a quick kiss, Arthur thrusting so sharply it makes Merlin gasp.

“Oh, Gods,” Arthur says, watching as Gwaine takes his hand away from Merlin’s arousal and comes back a moment later, slick with his own come. Arthur’s hand slips away, too, letting Gwaine slicks Merlin’s cock from base to tip with his come. “Yes,” Arthur growls, wrapping his fist around Merlin’s shaft again, Gwaine’s fingers joining in, their grip hard and tight and faster, so fast it feels like a blur of heat around his cock.

Merlin’s flying apart at the wet glide of their hands, so lost he barely sees that Arthur is on the edge with him, vibrating with the tenuous control Merlin can sense in the taut muscles of Arthur’s shoulder, in the furrow of his brow, in the way he pants and holds his breath, exhales and thrusts, the steady rhythm they’re building like a dance, like a song in its predictability.

“Merlin-” Gwaine manages through his own ragged breaths, hand closing hard and wide over Merlin’s hips to help guide him, to help hold him.

“Please,” Merlin breathes, clasping his fingers behind Arthur’s neck, turning his head to look down at Gwaine, then back up at Arthur. He closes his eyes and moans as their hands stroke him, pumping fast and slick, slipping up and down his shaft as he sinks as far as he can onto Arthur’s cock and breaks apart.

He comes in waves - hard, crashing, roiling waves like a stormy tide against stone, jerking up and back, driving his body on and off, body clenching around Arthur like a pulse with a shock of sweet pain as he shakes and shudders and spills over their hands.

Arthur takes his mouth again, gently but passionately, and Gwaine runs open palms up and down his back, murmuring his approval.

“You’re so beautiful like this,” Gwaine tells him as he takes his hand away, and Merlin arches, head thrown back as Arthur thrusts again and again deep inside Merlin, the stinging stretch back but he wants it so badly now, and Merlin matches Arthur’s moan as they kiss.

He looks into those blue eyes and they’re almost alone again, almost totally alone together. Merlin pulls him closer, arms around Arthur’s neck, and Gwaine shifts away entirely, legs trembling as he spreads himself over Arthur’s thighs and leans in for a slow, deep kiss. He matches the pace of Arthur’s thrusts, clenching his body tightly as Arthur drives deeper, the deepest anyone has ever been inside him, and groans as he feels Arthur losing the rhythm, feels him crashing into orgasm with a force that takes Merlin by surprise.

Arthur cries out, head thrown back and teeth clenched, cock jerking deep inside as he shudders hard, holding onto Merlin so tightly his ribs ache with it and it’s so good, so amazing, so exactly as Merlin had imagined it would be, strong and powerful and breathtaking.

Arthur’s heat spreads like a flood inside him and Arthur opens his mouth, presses their foreheads together and gasps, rocks gently up into the slick warmth, and all Merlin can feel is Arthur inside him, against him, Arthur’s cock and lips and skin.

Arthur kisses him desperately, slipping his hand down between their legs, behind Merlin’s sac and pushing his fingertips against Merlin’s tender, clenching entrance as he withdraws. The fingers slip inside, rubbing gently as if to soothe, smearing the slick come around inside him like a balm. They slide in and out, around the sore, swollen rim, pressing back up into him. They finally hold still, deep inside him, then slowly, carefully pull away and he is so empty he wants to cry until Arthur fills him again.

Merlin lets himself be moved, his legs nothing but aching, trembling exhaustion as he’s laid on his side, facing Arthur, and pressed between both men again, this time with soft, gentle kisses and fingers that do nothing but slip along his skin, caressing and gentling him. He drifts off to their murmured approval, to Arthur’s lips against his ear, ordering him to sleep, telling him how amazing he is, how brave, how sensual.

When he wakes sometime later the room is cool and dark but for the light of the fire in the hearth. Arthur holds him in a strong embrace and Gwaine is standing beside the bed, tying the laces of his breeches.

“Gwaine,” he whispers, reaching for him, and Gwaine comes to him, crouching down beside the bed. “Don’t go,” Merlin says, shaking his head softly.

Gwaine kisses him gently, cups his face in one hand and smiles that smile for him. “Shh,” he whispers as Merlin starts to speak. “You’ll wake your prince,” he cautions, giving Merlin a wink. He leans in and kisses Merlin’s forehead, his lips lingering for a moment. “I’ll see you soon enough.”

Arthur’s arm tightens around Merlin’s waist as Gwaine backs away and turns, bending to pick Merlin’s neckerchief up from the floor, tucking it in his pocket and throwing a mischievous smile back over his shoulder as he goes.


~ finis