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Merlin is pushed back against the locker room wall with his gym shorts around his ankles and Gwaine's hand on his dick and he is almost entirely sure he's dead.

He still doesn't know what on earth possessed Mr. Pendragon, the P.E. teacher, to think archery was a necessary part of their curriculum. "What, are we some day going to be called upon to defend Albion High from siege attack and find ourselves thinking, Well, thank God I know my way around a bow and arrow?" he'd whispered to Gwen in line for their equipment. She'd shrugged, patted his shoulder, and said, "Just keep your eye on the target, yeah?"

He knew it was all going to end in disaster, and that's the only reason he can think of for how he could possibly be here, now, clinging to Gwaine — Gwaine, of all people, Lord High Jock of all the jocks — while his teeth nip Merlin's ear and his groan sends shivers rippling down Merlin's spine.

He's dead. There's been some horrible accident and he's lying on the field probably bleeding from the head, and this is just one last, amazing fantasy that his dying brain has concocted to send him off.

"Your hands, Jesus Christ," Merlin growls as Gwaine slides them under his gym shirt, callused fingers tracing his ribs and finding Merlin's nipples like they belong there. And that's where this all started, really, with Merlin taking his eyes from the target like an idiot and seeing Gwaine, standing tall like some Greek god, one hand drawing the string back to his ear while the other gripped the shaft of the bow. Merlin had had a sudden flash of what Gwaine's fingers might look like wrapped around an entirely different sort of shaft, and that's when he'd gone light-headed and had to be sent to the school nurse, because really, he knew better than to try to handle a bow when his palms were all sweaty.

"Merlin," Gwaine moans against the side of his throat, and Merlin wants to see, wants to know if the sight of his fingers on Merlin's cock is anything like what he imagined it, but Gwaine keeps stroking and Merlin's eyes keep rolling back and he can't ever quite manage it. Really, though, who the hell is he to complain? "You're not hopeless. There's no trick to playing sports, anyone can. You just have to focus."

He can't, he can't, he can't, not when Gwaine is taking him apart like this, piece by piece, ripping him open and shining the light on all those secret desires Merlin's kept to himself for four long years.

"Your hands shake when you're nervous."

They're trembling like pennants in a windstorm now. He can't stop. He wants this so much.

"Look at me." Gwaine's voice is suddenly sharp, and he's drawing back, drawing away. Merlin makes a broken noise and grabs at him. "Look."

Merlin forces his eyes open, gasping. And this — this is how he knows he's not dead. Because Gwaine is looking at him the way he did the target on the field earlier, eyes narrowed with a hunter's intensity. It's a look that says You're mine, and I will have you, and this must be real because there is no way even in his wildest fantasies that Merlin would have ever imagined that Gwaine would turn that look on him.

Gwaine cups the back of his neck and draws him in. His hips press forward, his cock hard in Merlin's hand. Their eyes are open and their mouths slick and Merlin shudders, holding Gwaine's gaze as he strokes through his jeans. A shock goes through Merlin and everything stills inside him. The only sound is the rasp of his breath and the beat of his heart and Gwaine's own unsteady gasps.

Merlin draws him out and wraps his fingers around Gwaine's girth. His hands are rock steady. The corners of Gwaine's eyes crease as he grins into the kiss. "Yes," he says. "Just like that. Good lad."

That would be reward enough right there, that light and that warmth. But then Gwaine's moving, a flurry of hands and kisses, pressing Merlin back against the lockers and grinding against him. When he strokes, Merlin becomes the bow, his back arching, trembling in Gwaine's grip. And when Merlin comes, painting stripes across his stomach, it's Gwaine who led him there and Gwaine who brings him back down.