Arthur’s head jolts up as he wakes with a loud, and unseemly, snort. He blinks several times and his hand slowly presses against his temple. It takes a few moments for his eyes to focus.
Merlin temporarily pulls himself away from his book. The reveal of Tom Riddle’s true identity will have to wait. Even though it is his favorite part, he’s read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets half a dozen times.
Putting his book aside, Merlin gets up from the small table at the back of The Dragon’s Lair and makes his way to the counter. By now he is aware of what Arthur needs after he wakes up from one of his short naps. They’ve developed a bit of a routine.
He’s grateful the coffee shop is not busy today, though they rarely are (Merlin often wonders if the title puts people off.) But it’s one of the reasons he enjoys being there so much, it’s a nice place to have a quiet read and no one to look twice at Arthur and his sometimes odd behavior.
Arthur claims to hate the “hovel for the hygienically challenged” as he so delicately describes the coffee shop, but Merlin knows it’s mostly an act. He adores their Caramel Frappuccino judging by the look of glee in his eyes whenever Merlin sets one down in front of him.
Merlin quickly returns to their table and Arthur doesn't say anything when Merlin puts down the tall cup in front of him. After taking a small sip, he gingerly puts it down a little too hard and some of the brown liquid sloshes onto his hand. "Too much sugar," he complains as he wipes at his hand with a napkin.
Merlin takes the cup and drinks from it. Arthur scrunches his nose at the action. "It tastes the same as usual."
"Even if that were the case, I'm not going to drink it now that you've got your germs in it." He finally finishes wiping his hands and glares at Merlin. "Get me another one."
Merlin bristles. He knows he's going to do it anyway, but he hates the haughty tone Arthur takes with him. For some reason Arthur has been increasingly petulant that day and Merlin is tiring of it. "Your father hired me to be your companion, Arthur. I'm not your errand boy."
Arthur chuckles derisively. "Do you really think my father sees any distinction?"
Merlin knows Arthur is right. He doesn't answer, picking at an imaginary spot on the table instead.
Rolling his eyes, Arthur slams his hand on the table. "Fine! If you're going to be a lazy arse and not do your job properly, I'll do it."
Merlin sighs as Arthur stands up. "Arthur, wait!"
But Arthur isn't listening. He's halfway to the front when he suddenly stops.
There's something wrong. Merlin can see that as soon as he begins to sway. His knees buckle and Merlin makes it just in time to catch him before he hits the ground.
A tall, blonde curly haired man sitting at a table nearby raises to help, but Merlin gestures for him to stop.
“Thank you so much, but I can handle it. Thanks.” Merlin tries to be as kind as possible. He is grateful, but he knows Arthur hates it when people see him like this.
Merlin drags him over to the nearest empty table. Arthur’s mouth is slack as he tries to speak, but can’t. Merlin rushes to the front counter. The least he can do is what Arthur asked of him. If he had done it in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. “Caramel Frappuccino to go, please. And can you please hurry?”
This isn’t the first time it has happened, but it unnerves Merlin every time.
The young girl at the counter, who had been staring at Arthur, thankfully moves as quickly as possible. “Is he alright?” she asks as she hands the cup to Merlin.
He takes it with trembling hands and looks over his shoulder. Arthur looks to be regaining consciousness as he blinks slowly and gazes at his surroundings. Merlin looks back to the barista. “Yes, I think he’s alright now. He just has a condition.”
He hurriedly offers her a few notes and she hands Merlin his change with a receipt. “What kind of condition?”
He probably shouldn’t tell her anything, but he hopes it’ll make her understand just in case this ever, which it probably will, happens again. He sighs. “He’s narcoleptic.”
As soon as they get home, Arthur takes a seat on the couch in the den. He discards the empty Dragon Lair’s cup on the coffee table. Merlin picks it up and throws it in the bin.
When he returns, Arthur’s head is resting against the back of the couch. Merlin assumes he’s sleeping. He starts to head back to the kitchen to make some tea when Arthur’s voice startles him.
Merlin freezes. He slowly looks around the room; certain Arthur can’t be talking to him. When he’s sure he’s the only one there, Merlin turns and faces Arthur. ‘You’re...welcome?”
“Don’t act so surprised.” Arthur rolls his eyes. “I’m perfectly capable of feeling gratitude.”
“Feeling gratitude and expressing gratitude are two very different things, Arthur,” Merlin says delicately.
“Thank you for the etiquette and English lesson, Merlin. I can’t tell you how much joy it gives me to be talked down to by someone who earns their living as a professional baby-sitter.” Arthur sat up.
Merlin lets out a long breath and turns around. He knows where this is probably going and he really doesn’t want to get into an argument. Or more accurately, be yelled at by Arthur while he has to stand there and take it.
Merlin supposes this is partially his fault. He should have just accepted Arthur’s thanks without comment.
He takes another couple of steps, but is once again halted before he can cross the threshold to the kitchen.
“Stop…please. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bit your head off like that,” Arthur says sincerely.
A thank you and an apology. Merlin doesn’t know what has brought this on, but he chooses wisely not to utter any statements that might wreck this fragile moment of peace between them. He turns around and nods at Arthur. “Thank you. I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have corrected you before.”
“You’re right, you shouldn’t have.” Arthur stares at him for a moment, before averting his eyes. “But I accept your apology. It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong. You’re lucky, Merlin, that you work for someone like me who is so generous, patient, and forgiving.”
Merlin valiantly holds back a snort.
The corner of Arthur’s mouth turns up briefly. “And I thank you for holding back your laughter, but you should probably let it out. You look like you might break a rib holding it in.”
Merlin’s sputtering laughter is accompanied by a loud snort as he closes his eyes and shakes his head.
When Merlin opens his eyes, he’s taken aback to see Arthur laughing too. A small smile lights up Arthur’s usually stoic face and makes Merlin’s smile widen considerably.
The levity doesn’t last as the smile slowly disappears from Arthur’s face and he looks down at his feet.
“For the first time, I’m grateful for you taking me to that hovel and not too many people saw my weird spectacle. It is very...embarrassing.” Arthur sighs.
Taking a few steps towards Arthur, Merlin pauses in front of him. “I don’t think anyone really noticed anything.”
Arthur frowns and he quirks an eyebrow. It’s clear he doesn’t really believe Merlin, but he smiles faintly. “Thank you for that fairly inept lie.”
He runs his palms slowly against his thighs. He’s starting to fidget and Merlin finds it quite endearing how Arthur’s nerves show the rare times that he let his guard down.
Arthur clears his throat. “Are you going to make that tea or have you decided to completely neglect your duties for the day?”
With a slight roll of his eyes, Merlin shuffles off to go make the tea.
Rummaging around in their kitchen cabinets for clean cups - he really needs to do some housework today - he can hear Arthur muttering to himself.
“Merlin, are you ever going to clean up around here? There’s so much rubbish around. Perhaps you’re comfortable surrounded by your own filth, but I-”
Merlin doesn’t react to the abrupt unfinished statement. It came with the territory. He finishes making the tea and brings it out to the living room.
Arthur’s head is bent forward and it bobs up and down as he sleeps. Merlin grabs a fluffy red pillow and puts it behind Arthur, gently moving his head back. Arthur doesn’t wake up, just starts to snuffle softly.
For once Arthur wasn’t exaggerating. As Merlin looks around he can see the loft really is quite a sty. Merlin bends down and begins to tidy up. He may have complained to Arthur before, but he generally does perform the duties of a housekeeper/assistant.
Arthur’s father Uther had hired him to be a companion to Arthur, look after him and make sure he had someone there for him when incidents, like the one at the coffee shop, happened. Merlin likes to believe it’s because Uther really cares for his son, but Arthur has a more cynical view that Uther wants to limit the embarrassment Arthur’s condition causes.
Merlin can’t really argue as perhaps there is some truth to Arthur’s assertion since Uther had hired Merlin after a highly publicized incident where Arthur had fallen asleep at the wheel and causing a lot of damage to a building at Camelot University. Uther had clearly been livid and embarrassed.
Merlin spends a lot of time in the den studying and there are scraps of paper, various pens and books strewn about table with cups all over the place. He grabs a couple of them and he hears Arthur moan slightly as he’s walking out of the room. Probably another dream, Merlin thinks, and continues back to the kitchen.
Another moan - much louder than the one before - makes Merlin stop in his tracks. He hasn’t heard that sound before. The sound makes his guts churn with something he’d rather not put a name to right now. He turns back slowly and watches as Arthur begins to gradually writhe against the black leather couch. Merlin can hear Arthur’s breath becoming labored.
The proper and smart thing to do would be to keep walking, but Merlin’s brain isn’t functioning properly right now. He can’t help himself as he puts down the stained, empty cups and walks towards Arthur. He lowers himself down carefully next to Arthur on the couch.
For two months now, Merlin has done a very good job (even if he does say so himself) at hiding his true feelings for Arthur. Arthur may be condescending, arrogant, and stubborn but he is the most beautiful thing Merlin has ever seen and despite Arthur’s best efforts, living with him allows Merlin to see the small moments of vulnerability that come through every time Arthur wakes up disoriented.
For someone so proud and who needs to be in control all the time, having a condition like narcolepsy tears at Arthur’s soul and he slowly withdraws into himself as each day goes by. It is one of the reasons Merlin loves teasing Arthur; challenging him. There is a fire and spark to Arthur in those moments that isn’t there otherwise. It’s the real Arthur and Merlin craves his presence more and more each day.
Arthur’s hands begin to roam over his chest as he groans while practically humping the air. Merlin’s hands unclench and curl into fists again at his side as he aches to touch Arthur, but he knows it is desperately wrong and a boundary he can’t cross. He doesn’t want to take advantage of Arthur’s condition.
Arthur’s mouth falls open and he licks his lips. “Oh...Oh, Merlin...”
Merlin feels as if the wind has been knocked out of him. Did Arthur just...?
Yes, yes he did. “That’s me.” Merlin breathes aloud, his voice as shaky as his nerves. He almost facepalms at the lameness of his comment. “Why is he saying my name?” He whispers. Could it be possible that Arthur wants him just as badly? Merlin shakes his head. “It’s just a dream. So what if he’s dreaming about me. We spend a lot of time together. It was bound to happen.” He rationalizes.
As Arthur’s hands slowly trail further south, Merlin’s gaze follows their journey and he feels another gut punch when he sees the tent in Arthur’s jeans.
“Merlin, please don’t stop. I need you,” Arthur whimpers.
Merlin’s lust is subdued momentarily at Arthur’s words and the ache in his voice. He sounds so desperate and needy. In that moment, Merlin thinks he would give Arthur just about anything he asked for.
Arthur’s hand finally settles on the bulge in his jeans. “Merlin...” He squeezes.
Merlin finds himself reaching to touch him, but before he can make contact, Arthur’s eyes fly open. Merlin startles but has time to quickly withdraw his hand. He feels a heavy swell of embarrassment and Arthur hasn’t even looked at him yet. His face is so close and Merlin looks down, he realizes that he is practically sitting in Arthur’s lap. He doesn’t even remember moving forward, but he moves back as fast as possible.
“I just had the most intense, fascinating...” Arthur swivels around, his gaze landing on Merlin. “...dream.” He licks his lips slowly.
He’s still panting and Merlin quickly looks away. He knows his face must be an embarrassing shade of red.
Merlin looks back when Arthur gasps. Arthur’s eyes are directed towards his crotch.
“It was just a dream, Arthur. It’s okay. I’m just going to leave. I shouldn’t be here right now. I’m sorry.” He tries to get up, but Arthur’s hand on his arm stops him.
“I know why I have an erection Merlin but...why do you?” Arthur’s eyes widen as he stares at Merlin’s crotch.
Merlin peers down and gapes in shock. How had he not realized he was hard? No wonder he is so dizzy with all of his blood flowing to his nether regions.
This would be a great time for the Earth to open up and swallow him whole. He tries to leave again, but Arthur’s hand tightens around his forearm.
“I’m not imagining that, am I?”
Merlin is surprised at the hopeful tone in Arthur’s voice. “No,” Merlin says his voice almost inaudible. “I’m so sorry, Arthur. I don’t know what’s come over me. This is definitely not what your father hired me for. And I’m so-”
Arthur cuts him off by placing a finger over his mouth. “Merlin, if you say you’re sorry one more time...” He licks his lips and moves closer to Merlin. Merlin can feel his thigh press against his own and somehow he hardens further. “Do you want me, Merlin?”
Merlin knows he should lie but he doesn’t know how with Arthur staring at him with such naked want and need. He nods once.
“You should have said something before, you big idiot. I didn’t know I could have been shagging you this whole time.” He grins wickedly, eyeing Merlin with predatory lust.
Merlin starts to laugh, but is cut off by Arthur’s lips crashing against his. He gasps into Arthur’s mouth as Arthur pushes them to the floor.
The responsible side of Merlin wages a brief war with the side that is desperate to bury himself in Arthur so deeply he will still feel him for days afterwards. He pulls back and Arthur groans. “Arthur, maybe we should slow down? What if you fall asleep?”
Arthur grabs Merlin’s hand and places it firmly against his crotch. “I can assure you, I am very much awake, Merlin. I don’t think I’ve been this awake in a very long time. Now, if you don’t mind, will you please shut up and fuck me?”
Merlin looks into Arthur’s eyes and the returning gaze bears no more questions and Merlin is happy to oblige Arthur’s demand. He flips them over and begins kissing Arthur gently at first, but Arthur licks against Merlin’s mouth insistently, demanding entrance until Merlin parts his lips with a soft moan.
As Arthur takes control of the kiss, Merlin feels the grip on the back of his neck tighten as if he’s holding on for dear life. He experimentally rocks his hips against Arthur’s.
Arthur’s head falls back. “Fuck,” he pants, grinding back against Merlin.
Then everything is a blur, with clothes flying everywhere as they both desperately seek to eliminate the final barriers between them. Once they are completely naked, Arthur wastes no time in gripping Merlin’s cock. His hand moves jerkily and Merlin doubts Arthur has much experience with this, but it still feels like heaven. Soon Arthur begins to move more confidently and strokes a thumb over Merlin’s slit which is already oozing with precum. Merlin knows he’s not going to last much longer if Arthur continues with his strokes.
Merlin isn’t sure if Arthur senses this, but he stops and removes his hand. He places it gently against Merlin’s face. “Merlin, please...I need you.”
That is all Merlin needs to hear. He races to his bedroom to find the tube of lube and is back in seconds. He almost stumbles when he sees Arthur on his stomach, flat against the carpet. For a brief, horrifying moment he wonders if Arthur is asleep, then Arthur turns and gifts Merlin with a dazzling smile.
Merlin wastes no more time. He lubes up two fingers and gently prepares Arthur. Arthur is so tight; Merlin has to squeeze the base of his penis to keep from coming. He throws the lube haphazardly across the room and guides his cock into Arthur’s entrance, slowly breaching him.
Arthur gasps which makes Merlin pause, but when Arthur moves back to take more of Merlin in, he knows it’s safe to continue. He places a hand on the small of Arthur’s back to keep him from moving and slowly presses himself forward. Merlin takes his time until he is finally seated all the way inside Arthur, then he lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
He leans forward, molding himself against Arthur’s back and slides out almost all the way before driving in with shallow thrusts.
Arthur is keening and clawing at the carpet, crying out “More,” with every one of Merlin’s thrusts.
Soon, Merlin can’t hold back any longer and spreads Arthur’s cheeks as he begins to drive in with hard and deep thrusts.
Arthur reaches back blindly and drags his hand through Merlin’s sweaty hair. He grips Merlin’s neck and brings him down for a sloppy kiss that match the sloppy erratic rhythm of Merlin’s hips.
Arthur pulls away and looks into Merlin’s eyes. “I don’t want you to stop.”
“Fuck, Arthur, I don’t want to stop. But I can’t...” Merlin pants. He can feel the pressure building and his balls tighten. “I’m gonna come!” Merlin’s groan is almost deafening as he unloads into Arthur’s arse.
Arthur presses his forehead against the carpet and sighs.
After a moment, Merlin pulls out. His come slowly trickles out of Arthur and he wants to lick every drop, but he wants to make Arthur feel as good as he does more so. He turns Arthur over and starts to stroke his throbbing cock.
Arthur’s chest heaves and he arches off the floor. It only takes two full strokes before he comes all over his chest. Merlin leans down and nibbles on Arthur’s lips as Arthur stares at him in a daze.
Merlin fetches a wet paper towel and cleans them both up. He tries to pick Arthur up off the floor but Arthur pulls him down instead. He wraps his arms around Merlin and Merlin rests his head against Arthur’s chest.
“Do you think I might possibly sleep all the way through the night?” Arthur asks as he trails his hand through Merlin’s hair.
Merlin frowns slightly. He wishes he could tell Arthur that everything would be okay, but he knew that would be wrong. He looks up at Arthur and gives him a crooked smile. “Probably not.”
Arthur nods. He doesn’t look like he’s been defeated. “That’s okay. I know that as long as I wake up and you’re by my side, I’m going to be okay.” He holds Merlin tighter.
Merlin grins and kisses Arthur’s chest. “I promise I’m not going anywhere.” Arthur doesn’t say anything. Merlin peers up and sees Arthur is asleep with a huge smile on his face.