Gwaine’s not exactly expecting Merlin’s trousers to fly off the instant he gives Merlin that particular hello reserved for such intentions, but he finds himself rehearsing it nonetheless as he makes his way through the castle. More than one chambermaid flushes and titters behind her hand as he sweeps past, but it doesn’t occur to Gwaine that he’s perhaps making faces appropriate for said rehearsing until a pageboy swoons against a decorative suit of armour in his wake, clattering extravagantly causing intolerable delay.
By then Gwaine’s nearly at the library anyway, so he sends the blushing pageboy on his way with a friendly pat on the rear, and prepares himself for the somewhat less savoury task of charming Geoffrey. At least, just enough that Geoffrey lets him just wander through to the library proper, because books are apparently far too precious for an upstart knight to peruse. It’s a delicate balance; last time the charming had led to Geoffrey following far too close and suggesting he might enjoy browsing the love poetry. (That was a lesson that Gwaine only had to learn once.)
Geoffrey’s not even at his desk, but Gwaine finds himself tiptoeing by nonetheless. Once past, he pauses to evaluate where best to look for Merlin. Herbology? Anatomy? Erotic literature? Fortunately, Gwaine knows his way around the library fairly well by now—not that he’s been making a habit of visiting it. Just that one time he had actually wanted to seek out some poetry; which had turned into a second, more surreptitious time, when he hadn’t wanted to encourage Geoffrey any further.
At any rate, Gwaine’s grateful for his knowledge of the library’s vast layout, though he’s not looking for a book. Gwen had told him she’d seen Merlin heading in this direction, but unfortunately it would have been somewhat more suspicious to follow that enquiry with an interrogation of Gaius to find out what he had Merlin researching. Especially as so much of Gwaine’s idle daydreaming lately had concerned how to avoid Gaius—by stoppering his ears or drugging him with a sleeping draft or inventing a horrible epidemic in the lower town to get him out of his—and Merlin’s—rooms.
Unfortunately, libraries tend to require the same kind of restraint that sharing quarters with curmudgeonly old men do. Even so, Gwaine has the somewhat determined thought that they might even get more privacy here than anywhere else in the castle. And maybe that’s what Merlin needs: just a little more coaxing and a little less people, and then, and then… Gwaine finds himself stopping again to collect himself, rubbing hands against his thighs and taking a deep breath, exhaling slowly. Hello, he rehearses mentally. Hello.
From somewhere in the labyrinth of books, Gwaine hears the sharp clap of a book hitting the stone floor, followed by a bitten-off curse in a very familiar voice.
The path through the shelves he follows towards the sound is unfamiliar—he could have sworn this section wasn’t here the last time he visited—but perhaps that’s a deliberate quirk of the layout to keep these books away from the pawing hands of the noble masses. A notion that Gwaine can definitely appreciate. Not that it’s books he’s planning on pawing.
He rounds another corner and Merlin’s there, facing away and bowed over an enormous tome that requires cradling in both arms, though his hair’s a tufted mess as if he’s had hands free to pull at it in the recent past. Gwaine pauses a moment to take in the picture—Merlin’s long, lean body; the tightness of his hunched shoulders; the dust on the saggy bottom of his trousers, like he’d been sitting on the floor. It all fills Gwaine with a warm burst of fondness. “Hello,” he says.
Merlin startles and turns, and at the same time drops the book; he stumbles and curses again as it lands on his feet.
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” Gwaine says, smiling apologetically and keeping his eyes fixed on Merlin’s; more than a little thrilled at the flush that rises on Merlin’s cheeks when Gwaine props himself against a nearby shelf in a calculated slouch.
“No, you didn’t— I mean I wasn’t—” Merlin flounders, hands fluttering as he limps a little on the spot.
Gwaine smirks and saunters forward, then drops to a crouch right before Merlin to reach for the book. “Here, let me—”
“No no no, it’s really all right—” Merlin’s voice rises anxiously but even before Gwaine can pause and look up at him, Merlin’s hand is grabbing at his hair and yanking upward.
Gwaine winces but follows the urging—he doesn’t have much choice, really, though he does quite like a nice bit of hair-pulling—making sure to straighten just that little bit closer to Merlin. Gwaine looks at him askance.
“Sorry,” Merlin says, eyes wide. “Only you don’t need to— You really shouldn’t—” Merlin’s hand is still in Gwaine’s hair, though just resting there loosely, and Gwaine quirks his mouth into an amused smile at Merlin’s inability to form sentences. “Oh, hell—” And Merlin tightens his hand in Gwaine’s hair again and pulls him forward into a kiss.
And yes: this is what Gwaine came here for. His mouth waters and excitement surges in his belly, because although he felt fairly self-assured that this time he could convince Merlin to give him a go, he hadn’t expected it to happen this fast, nor for Merlin to be the one to take that first momentous step. He licks into Merlin’s mouth eagerly, and Merlin makes a soft noise of surprise—as if he hadn’t quite caught up with events, despite initiating them. Merlin’s mouth falls open, lips smooth and plush, and when his own tongue tentatively licks back Gwaine groans, pushing him back against the solid wall of books.
Merlin’s breath huffs out of him but he doesn’t break the kiss, and Gwaine rubs his hands up Merlin’s solid, skinny chest to his shoulders, and then to cup his neck. Merlin’s hands settle hesitantly on Gwaine’s back, and when he finally begins to firm the touch, Gwaine draws back enough to grin—Merlin’s dazed expression just delighting him even more.
“Something about the books, is it,” Gwaine murmurs, and Merlin’s eyes dart over his shoulder as if he’s just remembered where they are. Gwaine takes that as an indicator that the kiss was a good one for Merlin as well, and he edges a little closer, pressing more of his body against Merlin’s. Gwaine’s cock immediately takes interest at the contact, and he presses his hips forward experimentally as he ducks a little lower to mouth at Merlin’s flushed neck.
“That smell of well-worn leather, and expensive parchment…” Gwaine continues, and lifts his head again to just brush his lips lightly against Merlin’s; they cling briefly as Merlin tips his chin forward. Hands still at the base of Merlin’s neck, Gwaine strokes the spines of the books behind with his knuckles. He can tell from Merlin’s speeding breath that the wooing is working—books it is, then. “Even the feel of them…”
Merlin abruptly grabs Gwaine’s waist, pushing him back and wheeling them around. The movement has a little more force than Gwaine expected; his breath jolts out of him as his back hits the bookcase. Before he can come up with a quip in response to the sudden switch in positions, Merlin’s taking up Gwaine’s former stance with twice the enthusiasm, kissing him hard and pressing the length of his body all up against Gwaine’s.
When Gwaine reaches down to grab Merlin’s arse to pull him closer—then leaves his hand there to stroke and squeeze—he feels Merlin’s cock begin to stiffen against his thigh. Merlin moans when Gwaine begins to rock into the contact, pressing his own interested cock against Merlin in turn. Their kiss turns a little sloppier, though no less intense, as their attention is drawn downwards.
“Can’t, shouldn’t,” Merlin pants, the unconvincing denial delivered directly onto Gwaine’s lips. Merlin groans, “The library—”
“Could probably do with a little livening up,” Gwaine completes for him. Merlin chuckles breathlessly, pressing his forehead to Gwaine’s, keeping his mouth at bay. His hands flex uncertainly on Gwaine’s waist, even as his prick is a solid line against Gwaine’s tensing thigh.
“For though the words were dreary then; They tingle when he grips his pen,” Gwaine whispers teasingly, hopefully, and Merlin draws right back at that.
“Was that a rhyming couplet?”
“Merlin.” It’s Gwaine’s turn to groan now, half with lust and half embarrassment. He hides his face in close to Merlin’s skin again, worries lightly at Merlin’s earlobe with his teeth. When Merlin shivers, Gwaine rocks his hips forward. “You’re driving me mad.”
Merlin sort of melts into him, neck going loose and angling to give Gwaine more room to mouth at him, his hands coming up to properly cradle Gwaine’s head. When Gwaine thrusts forward against him again, he’s far too yielding; Gwaine aches for something to rut against.
Which is how Merlin ends up pushed hard up against the bookcase opposite, which is much better. Merlin’s hands clutch at Gwaine’s hair and shoulders, his body much easier for Gwaine to just… rub against, bolstered as it is by the solid wall of books behind him. Merlin seems very pleased about the new arrangement, for all that he’d manhandled Gwaine out of it before; arching his chest against Gwaine’s and kissing him messily, ruining the artful fall of Gwaine’s hair with his eager hands.
When Gwaine reaches for the laces on Merlin’s breeches, though, Merlin holds him back with a hand to his chest. His eyes are thoroughly befuddled when Gwaine looks into them, and he stutters, “But, the library—”
As much as Gwaine is dying to get his hands on Merlin’s bare skin, Merlin’s earnest concern fills him with an amused fondness that only serves to complement his lust, and he can’t help but give into it.
“All right,” he concedes, voice low from the arousal taken root in the core of his body. “How about this, then?” And he slides a hand from Merlin’s hip down the long line of his thigh to his knee; Merlin gasps as Gwaine grips and hoists his leg up. Even the feel of Merlin’s tensing muscle under his hand is thrilling, and Gwaine presses the inside of Merlin’s thigh to his hip, urging him to brace there. Merlin obediently digs his heel into the back of Gwaine’s leg—pressing him closer—and Gwaine secures a less awkward hold on Merlin’s thigh. He can roll his own hips into the cradle of Merlin’s groin, then, spread Merlin’s legs a little in a hint of what he really wants to be doing as he rubs himself between them. Merlin’s inner thigh is warm against his hip: more pressure Gwaine can push against when Merlin tenses.
Any shred of coherency Merlin might have had left vanishes after that, but Gwaine can read an opus in the embrace of Merlin’s arms around his shoulders; Merlin’s hot, wet kisses; his choked-off noises of pleasure; and the way his hips cant up as Gwaine ruts against him.
It’s been years since Gwaine’s done this with clothes still on—the act itself is often the most convenient way of getting off with a stranger in a strange town, without having to argue as to who’s on his knees or his belly—but without skin-on-skin, it has a tint of nostalgia to it. Though it’s definitely hotter than any of Gwaine’s youthful forays; he doesn’t remember any of the boys he tumbled making such candid noises, or flushing so prettily. He mouths up the side of Merlin’s neck and thinks about that—thinks about perhaps tumbling Merlin in the stables instead, maybe pinning him on his belly in the hay, thrusting against his clothed arse as he wriggles—
And it’s not even the most outrageous of Gwaine’s fantasies, but with Merlin under his hands, and so hot and open to Gwaine’s frantic rutting, Gwaine comes, grunting and grinding, forcing Merlin harder against the books. Then he’s left trembling and panting, trousers full of his own wet mess.
“Please, come on,” Merlin begs breathlessly. When he tugs needfully on Gwaine’s hips, it sends a fresh shiver of lust through Gwaine’s sated body. He hitches Merlin’s thigh a little higher, then reaches between them with his other hand, rubbing broadly over the trapped line of Merlin’s stiff cock. When he presses and circles his thumb over the wet spot covering the tip, Merlin gasps and bucks against him almost violently, head slamming back against the books. With a few more firm strokes of Gwaine’s hand—over Merlin’s cock, the swell of his balls, and pressing up hard between his legs—he’s coming, crying out and spreading wet heat under Gwaine’s touch.
Gwaine carefully lowers Merlin’s leg back down, though he keeps Merlin held against the bookshelf, pressing grateful kisses against Merlin’s face, leaving his mouth free to suck in deep, calming breaths as he comes down.
“Merlin?” Geoffrey’s voice rings out, not that far away, suspicion obvious in the tone.
Merlin tenses in alarm, a similar flurry of panic rising in Gwaine’s chest. “Er, sorry!” Merlin calls, voice wavering. “Just dropped something on my foot, never mind!”
“Do clean up after yourself,” Geoffrey says, disgruntled, and sounding alarmingly closer.
Merlin flattens his hands against Gwaine’s chest, pushes him away. “Go, go,” he whispers urgently, pushing Gwaine toward another gap in the shelves. “I’ll clean up here; it’ll be worse if he finds both of us.”
Even though he’d like to drag the encounter out a bit longer, the little frisson of danger is exciting in itself, and Gwaine gives Merlin’s backside a quick, happy squeeze before he pulls away—returning Merlin’s startled look with a gleeful grin.
“Shoo!” Merlin hisses, waving his hands, turning away already to hurriedly pick up the dropped book.
Gwaine skips away, quickly finding his way again and making his way to erotic literature via a slightly more circuitous route; he needs a book to carry and cover the wet spot on his way back through the castle.