Most parents give their child a used, beaten-up car for their 21st birthday. But Uther Pendragon is not most parents and when Arthur announces to Merlin that he's been given an all-expenses paid trip to New York complete with business class tickets and a huge room at the Waldorf Astoria, Merlin hardly blinks - he's used to rolling his eyes at the excesses of Arthur's family.
Arthur expects Merlin to go of course but Merlin has exams and unlike some privileged wankers who shall remain nameless, he has to actually work to put himself through university.
He misses him though. Arthur's face has been a constant presence in Merlin's life ever since they collided in the corridor in grammar school and Merlin's cup of tea spilled all over Arthur's brand new pea coat. Merlin had offered to pay for the dry-cleaning invoice and Arthur had just raised one immaculately groomed eyebrow and said, "Really. Your entire ensemble probably cost less than the cost of cleaning this coat. I wouldn't wish to leave you destitute."
Merlin had spluttered and called him an insufferable tosser and demanded that Arthur send him the invoice as well as buying him a new cup of tea. Arthur had simply smiled and Merlin had tried very hard not to notice the way his eyes crinkled when he grinned.
The next day, Arthur was waiting on Merlin's doorstep with a hot cup of tea and a croissant. The tradition continued all the way through school and into university. Merlin's never admitted it, but it's his favourite part of the day.
Merlin hasn't had a cup of tea or a croissant in ten days and he misses it all the way down to his bones.
When the phone rings at 6am, Merlin is not at all surprised.
"You're awake!" Arthur is very loud and possibly drunk, and not at all the gentle alarm clock that Merlin is used to.
"Did I really have a choice?" Merlin mumbles into the pillow, "Why are you ringing me so bloody early, Arthur? Shouldn't you be off gallivanting around Manhattan and spending daddy's money?"
"Oh shut up." Arthur sounds tired, his voice rough around the edges. "I was drinking in a bar in the Meatpacking District, but they were all boring me."
"Oh yes, I'm sure New York's elite are completely fucking dull." Merlin yawns. "I'm sure you'd much rather be here."
There's a silence on the end of the line.
"Arthur? You still there?"
"Yes, Merlin. I'm here."
"Well, good." Merlin flicks the bedside lamp on. He sits up and rubs his eyes, tries to focus. "So tell me why you're calling me, really. You just missed me that much?"
Arthur laughs. "Don't flatter yourself, I barely noticed you weren't here."
"Right. Be honest, you're lost without me to moan to after your one night stands turn into stalking nightmares."
"Oh come on, that was one time." There’s a pause followed by a loud exhalation.
"Oh my god, are you smoking? How long did this recent bout of quitting last? A day?"
"I need it," Arthur says and Merlin rolls his eyes, "I'm extremely frustrated. I haven't had sex in—"
"Days, right?" Merlin props another pillow behind his back and tries to get comfortable. "My heart bleeds for you, really."
"Well, on second thought, I suppose the blow job I got last night counts."
Merlin swallows. Arthur's voice is rougher now, tinged with something he really doesn't need to be thinking about. He tries not to imagine Arthur sitting on an expensive settee with his trousers undone and some gorgeous NY society girl sucking his cock.
"That's classy, Arthur," he says, "Really. Just what I want to be thinking about when I've only just woken up."
"Jealous?" Arthur sounds smug and Merlin thinks about hitting him a lot.
"Liar. I'll bet you're getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it."
"Oh my god." Merlin punches the mattress. "You're completely fucking wasted, aren't you? Waking me up at 6 in the morning to talk to me about your definition of sex isn't exactly my idea of a fun time, Arthur. I'm hanging up."
"Oh come on, Merlin, don't be such a prude." Arthur's got that tinge of arrogance in his voice that makes Merlin utterly infuriated, but it also drives him out-of-his-mind crazy with lust, which is completely fucked in and of itself.
"Fine," he says, teeth gritted. "Please do tell me all about your sexual exploits, Arthur. I'm really very interested."
Arthur ignores his tone and says, "Well, I picked her up at a club. She wasn't really my type, too—"
"Oh fuck off." Arthur clucks his tongue. "No, she was a little too perky. You know, like she could've been a cheerleader or something. Flexible though, legs up to her armpits."
"Right." Merlin tries to ignore the bitter taste in the back of his throat. "So was she any good?"
Arthur huffs out a breath. "She was pretty good, yeah." He sounds lazy, satisfied and Merlin's mouth is suddenly very dry. "Did you want to hear more? Or is this all too boring for you?"
"Tell me." Merlin doesn't mean for it to come out quite as breathless as it does. He's hot all over and he doesn't know how this happened, how they went from their usual stupid banter to this.
"All right then." Arthur pauses. "So she was on my lap right, and she had one of those halter dresses on, so I unfastened it at the back and pulled it down. She had the most amazing tits, Merlin, and I just had to get my mouth on them—"
Merlin can't focus. His stomach is twisted up in knots and his palms are so sweaty he has to wipe them on his pyjama bottoms. He can feel all the blood in his brain disappearing and leaving him utterly unable to function, and his cock aches as it swells in his trousers. God, Arthur has the filthiest mouth, and he drives Merlin to absolute insanity on a daily basis. It makes it so difficult trying to pretend he doesn't have a ridiculous crush on his best friend when said best friend is purring in his ear about sex. There's something incredibly fucked-up about all of this, and the worst thing is that Arthur doesn't even see it.
"Go on," he says, trying to distract himself from the image of Arthur's tongue flicking over an erect nipple, his hand up the girl's dress, fingers inside her knickers. Merlin imagines Arthur's mouth on his nipples, hot and demanding. Arthur is good at everything he puts his hand to, and Merlin tries not to think about how good he is in bed, for fear of insanity most days.
"So anyway, she got down on the carpet, on her knees—"
Merlin's tongue is thick in his mouth and he pulls out the pillow from behind his back. He shifts down so he's lying flat, with one hand on his stomach. He's so turned on right now, thinking about Arthur sitting with his head thrown back and his eyes closed, biting his lip.
"Then what?" Merlin asks, his voice rough. He pushes his hand inside his trousers and curls it around his cock. He's so hard it aches and he can't resist one stroke all the way down and back up again. He resists touching the head like he wants to, there's no way he could stay quiet then and Arthur can't know, mustn't know just how much this is making him burn.
Arthur sighs. "She rubbed her face over my crotch for ages, she loved that for some reason. Probably would have done that all night, but I was ready for more, y'know? And when she went down on me, oh Christ, Merlin—"
"Yes?" Merlin barely manages to get it out.
"All I could think about was how much better it would have been if it was—you."
"Jesus." Merlin's heart hammers in his chest and he grips his cock tight, not moving, just holding. "You're really drunk, aren't you? Was it tequila? I know how you get when you drink tequila. Or maybe cocktails. You get awfully silly when you've been—"
"Shut up, Merlin." The authority in Arthur's tone is too much for him, the clipped tones in that deep, posh voice and Merlin can't help the moan that escapes. "God, you're so— Merlin you have no idea."
No. Apparently, Merlin thinks, he really has no idea at all. "Tell me."
"Fuck. Been wanting to— for years now, Merlin." Arthur sounds breathless and Merlin knows he's touching himself. He wishes he was there, that he could watch Arthur, fist on his cock as he strokes himself slow and rough. "I think about it all the time. What you'd look like on your knees, sucking me, your lips all wet and red and—"
"God, Arthur. Yes." Merlin starts to fist himself and it feels so good, his hand soft and cool on the hard heat of his cock. He swipes his thumb across the head and hisses as it slips in slick precome.
"Merlin are you—I want to see you. Tell me. Tell me what you want. Please."
Merlin isn't used to hearing Arthur like this, out of control and pleading and it's so fucking hot that he can't deny him anything, has never been able to deny him anything anyway. "I want you to— god, Arthur. Want you to push me down on my knees, fuck my mouth."
"Oh yeah," Arthur sounds so tense now, like he's trying desperately to hold it together. "Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you? I'd fucking love it, Merlin. I'd fuck your mouth so deep and I'd pull out and come all over your gorgeous fucking face and get my fingers and—"
Arthur's seriously losing it, babbling filth in Merlin's ear and Merlin can't get enough of it. He can tell Arthur's close, so fucking close. Merlin is too, can feel the wave of pleasure building in his groin and the pit of his stomach. His whole body aches with it.
"What? Merlin what? Ah, tell me."
"Need you to fuck me. Just hold me down and—"
"Jesus Christ." Arthur's gone then, low, guttural moans that go straight to Merlin's cock. Merlin can't last, not with the sound of that in his ear and the visuals his brain is conjuring up: Arthur, his face contorted with pleasure, his hips thrusting into the air. Arthur is so fucking beautiful it kills him sometimes, and Merlin aches with the need to see him like this.
Merlin exhales, his hand speeding up on his cock. He's so close to the edge now and it almost hurts, sharp and too-good and not wanting it to end but needing it to.
"Yeah. You too, Merlin. Want to hear you when you come all over yourself." Arthur sounds somewhat recovered, his voice more even, less forced. That tone is back, the one that drives Merlin absolutely fucking crazy and it curls around Merlin's ear like a filthy promise, "God if I was there I'd trail my fingers in it, use it to open you up, spread you wide and get my cock in you. Fuck you so good you'll never want anyone else ever again."
"Ah— Ah yes, Arthur—" He fucks up into his hand one last time and comes, almost screaming with how good it feels. It's been a long time since he's felt like this: pleasure so intense that it's painful and it feels like it goes on forever, wave after wave of it, his skin tight and so sensitised.
When it ends Merlin feels broken, absolutely wrecked and he mumbles incoherent noises into the phone.
"Well," Arthur says after a long pause, "that makes things much more interesting, doesn't it?"
Merlin laughs, still breathless. "Yeah. Uh. When are you home again?"
"Not fucking soon enough." Arthur sounds a little rough again. Merlin wants to touch him, to kiss him senseless. "Two days. Do you think you can wait that long?"
"Oh, get over yourself, you enormous twat." Merlin gets up, his legs shaky and liquid. He walks to the bathroom and wipes himself down, his chest and stomach sticky with come. "My life doesn't revolve around you, you know."
"Liar. You'll meet me at the airport, won't you?" Arthur sounds so hopeful, and this would normally be the time that Merlin would come back with some sarcastic retort. After all, Arthur likes to call him a girl whenever he sounds in any way vulnerable, it seems only fair.
But Merlin finds himself saying, "Of course," and when they both hang up he drifts back to sleep and dreams of Arthur, perfect and beautiful and his.