No-one knows who first discovered it but it’s an open secret among the male population of the castle: in the cellars there’s a hole which leads on to the storerooms of the knights’ quarters. Sometimes the hole is stuffed with a rag. No-one pays any attention to it then. Sometimes the rag is displaced, hanging freely with each end dangling on either side of the hole. Then, if anyone happens to come past, he knows that there is someone on the other side.
You don’t look to see who that someone is.
If you’re in the cellar, the person on the other side will have a willing cock. In the storerooms, the person on the other side will have a hole. Could be a mouth, could be an arse - there are rumours that once or twice there was a cunt, but no-one ever claims to have been the person who experienced that one.
It’s probably just a rumour. Put your cock through and find out - if you’re brave enough.
The knights tease the new recruits that once there was someone in the cellars with a knife. That definitely isn’t true, but there isn’t a man among them who hasn’t winced a little at the idea.
Some of the knights are a little possessive of the hole. Once they tried banning everyone of inferior rank from entering the storage room.
No-one had much fun that week. The hole stayed stuffed with the rag until the embargo was lifted. “Which just proves,” said Sir Kay, “That it’s only ever servants on the cellar side.”
The knight he was sitting next to had personal reason to believe that this theory was incorrect, not that he was admitting as much. “Or that the cellar side missed Henry,” he muttered.
Henry was a servant, but his massive cock barely fit through the hole. Sir Kay sniffed. “A stable hand,” he said contemptuously. “I scarcely think so. He probably smells appalling.”
Henry smelled of the very same soap that Sir Kay used. The second knight didn’t bother to say so. The fact was that no-one was getting any unless everyone had access. That was the rule.
No-one talked about who used it. Oh people noticed, all right. Most men who used the cellar side took care to be seen every now and then on the storeroom side unless they could convincingly carry off the illusion of celibacy. (Which meant Galahad, and only Galahad. Strange man, but he hit as hard as anyone else so the others left him alone after a few demonstrations of this fact.)
Once you had a sweetheart it was all right to stop using the hole. Everyone understood being pussywhipped.
The approach on the cellar side was a labyrinth. It was harder to keep track of who went in and out, and there was an understanding that no-one went out of their way to look. A lot of the storeroom side despised the cellar side as unmanly, which led to a bond between those who took the risk to satisfy their preference.
Once - they told this tale, too, to the new recruits - once there had been an ambitious servant who had seen a great noble coming out of the cellar side and had thought to use his knowledge for gain. His fate had been extremely unpleasant in all of the versions, and the rule was absolute: no looking. No talking.
The hole could be bricked up.
* * *
Merlin liked both sides of the hole. There were days when Arthur was just too unpleasant to mention and Merlin wanted nothing more than a cock to suck. The feeling of control, of having a man at his mercy was balm, and the thick solidity of cock in his mouth was a treat.
There were nights when the breeze was balmy and the castle was a prickle around his oversensitised body. On those nights he wanted a willing hole to rut into, to spill his wildness into - wet mouth or slick arse, he didn’t care as long as he could let go and fill it with his come.
And there were times when he felt sad and worthless and either side of the hole was too lonely to be borne. On those nights he wished that he had liked Gwen as much as she had liked him, back when Camelot was a new adventure and no-one had told him of the hole in the wall. Some nights when he felt like that he oiled up his arse and took it to the cellar to be pounded ruthlessly and filled with the evidence that the universe had some purpose for him, that he was good at something. It never helped. Those were the nights he should have stayed away from the cellar, and sometimes he even managed it.
It was too late now to smile back at Gwen, or Gwynneth or Agnes. Now there was nothing but the hole, the willing cocks and mouths and arses that used it, and the omnipresent image of Arthur, fair as summer and as untouchable as winter frost.
* * *
Arthur used the hole a lot when he was sixteen. God - sixteen, what an age. They lined up for the hole at sixteen. Only the storeroom side because, well - he just couldn’t use the other. Ever.
The mere thought made him glance guiltily around, as if some passing sorcerer might have plucked the image from his head. If his father ever caught...
As Arthur grew older he used the hole less. There were willing girls at every turn, and the storerooms were a long way from his own room. Sometimes as part of a drunken evening with the men he would end up taking his turn at the hole, sloppy and happy as the next knight. Bonding, his father called it.
After one of these nights he stumbled upstairs content. It hadn’t been a good day, but the evening had mellowed the memory of the day’s frustrations. When he passed Merlin on his way up the stairs he remembered that he had been a little gruff with him earlier in the day.
“Merlin, good man,” he said expansively. “How’s your evening been?”
Merlin shrugged sullenly, and moved away as soon as Arthur’s comradely arm around his shoulders allowed. “I can see you’ve had a change of heart since this afternoon.”
Arthur leaned towards him confidentially. “Wine. It always helps.”
Merlin winced a little and leaned back. “Yeah. Goodnight, Arthur.” He took the side passage to Gaius’ chambers, the smell of linseed oil drifting behind him.
Back in his rooms Arthur took off his boots and fell back onto his bed, hand going automatically to his cock.
Which smelled of linseed oil.
* * *
It was a rule. You didn’t look. You didn’t ask. You didn’t wonder. Arthur didn’t have to wonder - he knew.
At the oddest times, images would come to him. He was dining with Uther when a vision of Merlin’s mouth, rounded and full, assaulted him. He blinked hard and hoped that he hadn’t missed anything important. During his pell work he suddenly had the clearest image of what Merlin’s skinny pale body might look like stretched out on his red coverlet. He almost dropped his sword.
That was bad enough, but then he remembered that he had seen Merlin enter the storeroom once.
Merlin’s cock. Arthur’s mouth went dry. It would be long and slender, like him. A slight curve, maybe. What would it taste like? He liked the taste of his own come - salty and inextricably mixed with the musk of his own body odour. Would Merlin’s taste different?
He had thought he had these ideas under control. He hadn’t even had a thought like this in years. He was very good with his fingers, the girls always said. They liked his patience with them, the way he waited for them.
He shared his bed with a different pretty lass every night for the rest of the week, but it didn’t seem to help. Merlin looked unimpressed, too, although on the third day he didn’t have to go back for more food because he’d brought enough for two in the first place.
On the morning after the night that Arthur had given up on that tactic Merlin brought breakfast for two and found one, so Arthur gestured to him to sit down and share the meal.
“You can stop that now,” Arthur said through a mouthful of sausage and onion. “There won’t be any more guests for a while.”
Merlin chewed his own sausage thoughtfully. “Or I could keep bringing it anyway. I don’t mind eating the leftovers.” He grinned cheekily at Arthur.
“Or you could stay overnight and earn your breakfast,” Arthur suggested. He hadn’t meant to say it, but what the hell. It could be passed off as a joke.
“Didn’t think you swung that way,” Merlin said.
It wasn’t a refusal. It wasn’t a refusal! Arthur swallowed hard.
“For you, Merlin, I find myself doing many unexpected things.”
It could still be passed off as a joke. It wasn’t too late. He watched Merlin’s face for disgust, shock, rejection, laughter...
What he found was hope.
“Yeah?” said Merlin. “I could do that.”
* * *
They never used the glory hole any more. Arthur didn’t make any excuses. It was none of their business.
Merlin’s cock was veined with blue, curving slightly to the left. It tasted like Merlin, and that was good enough for Arthur. On bad days, Merlin let him suck his cock, and on good days he would suck Arthur’s. Sometimes Arthur would slide into Merlin, after days when everything had gone wrong and someone had been hurt or Uther was being more than usually dictatorial. Gently, sweetly, he would linger at his task, every stroke of his cock a reminder that Merlin was loved, needed, special in every way.
Those were the best nights.