“I was so enamoured of the Lady Lysa for weeks,” Owain laments, and a couple of knights around the fire nod, chuckling, no doubt recalling the way Owain had gone on and on about how her hair was the most captivating shade of brown and how he’d serve her on his hands and knees if it meant he could have just one night with her. Arthur snickers at the memory, too. “When I finally convinced her to sleep with me, she insisted on wanting me to say the strangest things as I pleasured her. It was bizarre.”
“What things?” Gwaine says interestedly, raising a sly eyebrow as he leans closer, firelight making his expression even lewder than usual. “Don’t tell me you’ve never talked dirty to a lady when you’re taking her. Where’s the fun in that?”
Arthur shoves at Gwaine and grins. “It’s a great story, stop interrupting him.”
“Thank you, sire.” Owain glares at Gwaine, then clears his throat. “She wanted me to talk through every step of it! And it wasn’t just the normal things you’d say when you have a woman, either, she...” He tries for a falsetto. “Tell me what a stallion, you are, Owain! A big, magnificent stallion! Fuck me like one of your Mercian mares!”
Merlin claps a hand over his mouth, and after some effort, manages to swallow his spoonful of stew he’d nearly spat out at the comment. “Mercian mares?”
“Isn’t it something?” Arthur snorts. “To each their own when it comes to what you like in bed and all, but, really. I’m a little offended she didn’t say Camelot’s mares. Does she have no sense of patriotism? She’s of Camelot’s court!”
Shoulders hunched, Merlin has to fight to keep from laughing. “And what would you know about Camelot’s mares, sire?”
A chorus of oohs goes up around the campfire, and Arthur just looks at Merlin, jaw agape.
“Oh, Princess, he got you there,” Gwaine chuckles.
“Ha!” Leon grins at Arthur, face red with wine. “Cut him some slack, Merlin, it’s not our prince’s fault if he’s picky about his ladies —”
“Thank you, Sir Leon.”
“— and that he’s just so, so very terrible at wooing them.”
“That is treason,” Arthur objects, trying to look stern and failing.
“No, sire, it really isn’t.” Leon laughs comfortably, leaning back against a conveniently-placed rock. He's the most pensive and stoic of Arthur’s knights, but he’s known Arthur ever since he was a little boy stumbling around on the practice field with a wooden sword, and he’s certainly not above teasing Arthur every now and then when he’s had a few drinks. “Sire, I know you’ve been with a few beautiful ladies of the court, but let’s just say that you keep finding yourself saddled, aha, with some of the strangest ones.”
Merlin looks suddenly ill. “I never want to remember how I found the Lady Melena trying to seduce Arthur again.”
Leon seems to sober up astonishingly quickly at that, and the rest of the knights seem to draw back as one from the fire at the mention of the Lady Melena. “That never happened.”
“No,” Arthur says, certain his own expression is one torn between horror and dismay as he tries to stuff that particular memory into a chest at the back of his mind before throwing mental chains around to lock it, never to be opened again. “No, it didn’t.”
“So, did you, Owain?” Percival hastily changes the subject, much to Arthur’s gratitude. “Did you tell her just how much of a stallion you were?”
Owain looks at him askance, as if he’d like nothing more than to cuff Percival upside the head. “...Yes.”
“Oh, that’s gold,” Pellinore cackles and slaps his knees. “That’s got to be the best one I’ve heard yet. What is it with women and their liking us to say things like that when we’re tupping them, anyway? I thought sex was about action, not conversation.”
“Come now, Pellinore, you telling us you just grunt your way through because you can’t last long enough to spice things up a little with dirty talk?” A young knight, Richard, jibes, and the camp bursts out in laughter once again.
“Young Richard, you continue to surprise me,” Pellinore says dramatically. “You tell us how it’s done, then!”
Everyone around the fire suddenly perks up.
“It’s easy,” Richard says confidently, puffing out his chest, which Arthur thinks is a bit of a futile effort given how he’s so scrawny, drowning in all that chainmail. “You’ve got her underneath you, right, then you describe what you’re doing, like so: yeah, Jane, I’m going to kiss you down your armpits and hairy bits, down where it looks a bit funny. Then I’ll run my prick through you like a sword, a really long sword. You want my sword.”
There’s an awkward silence for a long, long moment until Elyan, piping up for the first time in this conversation, breaks it. “I’m guessing she, ah, didn’t want a repeat performance?”
Arthur has to turn away briefly and cover his eyes with a gloved palm, shoulders shaking. Gwaine’s not one for subtlety, opting instead to just fall back on the ground and laughing between snorts in a manner that’s really rather undignified for a knight, but he absolutely can be excused this time. Some of the others keep carefully blank expressions that crack a little more every time Gwaine lets out yet another howl of laughter.
Richard looks genuinely befuddled. “Well, yes, but she did say it was nice before she left my room. She did seem to be in a hurry, though.”
“Richard, I’m sorry, that was awful,” Elyan says, forthright as ever, but with quite the sympathetic smile on. “That’s really not appealing in the least!”
Owain looks amazed too. “I thought that was bad, and I told the Lady Lysa I was a well-hung stallion with a cock that’ll put other Albion horses to shame and that she was my ribald, frisky mare.”
Loud groans from all around. “Owain!”
Richard huffs, folding his arms, a little put out. “Well, why don’t some of you try then, since you’re clearly experts on the matter!”
Percival straightens up, eager. “Oh, let me try.” He clears his throat, looking serious. “Open up for me, my sultry little foreign flower, yea, that I may taste your forbidden honey.”
Arthur guffaws first, and then everyone follows suit. “What are you, Percival, a gigantic bee?”
“You guys should see Merlin’s face,” Gwaine chokes out, pointing from where he’s rolling about on the grass in laughter, and sure enough, Merlin has the most hilarious grimace on, hands frozen in place while he’s putting away the utensils he used for making dinner.
“Forbidden honey,” Merlin manages by way of explanation, eyebrows furrowed.
“Doesn’t work for you, Merlin?” Percival winks, and Merlin throws some leftover bread at him.
“Oh, I’ve got one.” Leon thinks for a moment. “‘Yeah, you’ve not had anyone for a while, have you? Your insides feel so good.’”
There’s a moment of skeptical silence while they mull it over.
“Nah, doesn’t quite work,” Owain says, and Elyan nods. “‘Your insides’, Leon?”
Leon strokes his beard. “Actually, you’re right, no. Huh. I wonder what possessed me to say that.”
“You amateurs,” Gwaine sighs, having finally stopped laughing. “You can’t be so damned technical about it. It’s about setting the mood.”
“Do tell, Sir Gwaine,” Arthur says sarcastically, and a few other knights murmur their agreement.
“Think of what she wants to hear, yeah? Try something like this: ‘I’ll kiss you down your back, tease you with my fingers until you’re soppin’ wet. You’re so proper on the outside, a real lady, but you really want to be fucked like a whore, don’t you? I’ll take you against the wall like a common slut, where anyone can hear you, yeah, and maybe someone will come watch us, but I won’t stop. I’ll keep fucking you through it, your legs around my waist, skirts hiked up as I grip your hips, and you will like it.”
He stops, raising a smug eyebrow, and holds out his hands in a challenging gesture as he looks around the circle of astonished men, some of whom have began to flush rather interesting shades of scarlet. Someone whistles, and Richard actually claps slowly for a bit, giving Gwaine a bit of a salute.
“Well, well, Gwaine,” Leon says, nodding at him and shaking his head. “They don’t call you a ladies’ man for nothing.”
"Ain't just ladies," Gwaine says, grinning. "Works on the lads, too."
“I’ll drink to that,” Percival says, blushing, tilting his wineskin up in Gwaine’s direction.
“Don’t praise him too much, men, it’ll get to his head,” Arthur says, but he grins too, feeling the heat in his cheeks. “Would never have pegged you for someone who had a way with words though, eh, Gwaine?”
Gwaine shrugs. “Nah, princess, mine’s a selective talent. Don’t got much use for words elsewhere unless it’s getting people to pick fights with me.”
“That much is true,” Owain agrees. “Hey, Merlin, why don’t you have a go?”
“Oh, yes,” Gwaine crows. “I’d pay to hear our Merlin talk filthy. Goodness knows he’s certainly got the mouth for it. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll at least have a hell of a time.”
“Gwaine!” Merlin turns to him, scandalised, turning beetroot red.
Arthur can’t help it; he snorts at that. “Merlin, talk dirty? He’s creative with insults, I grant you, but look at him! With the things he keeps saying that lands him in the stocks every other day, what makes you think he'd be good at that?”
“Is that a challenge, sire?” Merlin says, narrowing his eyes and folding his arms from where he’s seated.
“I do believe that the prince just verbally threw down a gauntlet, Merlin, yes,” Pellinore says, with a gleeful expression on his face. “This is going to be good, good entertainment.”
“Merlin, humour us,” Gwaine cajoles. “I’ll buy you drinks for a week.”
“I don’t even frequent the tavern that often, you ass,” Merlin says.
“Gaius would beg to differ.” Arthur waggles a finger at Merlin. “If you do this, I’ll give you a day off.”
That makes Merlin pause, before he flashes a cheeky smile at Arthur, looking a little calculating. “So you want me to talk dirty to you, sire, eh?”
“Well, not me,” Arthur begins, laughing at the very idea, but then Merlin cuts him off, blue eyes glinting. “So do you want me to be the one fucking, or the one being fucked?”
Something about the way Merlin says it silences the entire company of knights, who abruptly stop talking amongst themselves to pay the exchange between Merlin and Arthur the utmost attention.
There’s also the imagery, of course. Some of the knights on this excursion are no strangers to the idea of tupping men, particularly their squires, but up until this moment, Arthur is willing to wager that none of them were aware of Merlin’s... preferences. Especially not of this fresh, newly discovered fact where Merlin is implying he’s, ah, versatile.
Arthur feels wrong-footed, like he’s about to tumble down a path of no return, but Merlin’s expression is earnest, and unimaginably intense. It’s rather unsettling how everyone is listening in too. “Right. Why don’t we start with you being fucked, then,” Arthur says, feeling the words tumble like lead from his mouth. “Uh, then you talk dirty while being the one who’s fucking?”
Merlin’s smile had been guileless just scarcely minutes before, but now he’s smirking at him, something that’s both familiar and unfamiliar all at once, like he’s a completely different person. “As you wish, then,” Merlin says, voice going low, “sire.”
Arthur sneaks quick glances around, and notes how everyone is still quiet, eyes focused on Merlin, each and every one of them looking as thrown as he is. Even Gwaine is looking at Merlin with his jaw opening and closing like a fish like he didn’t expect this, despite being the one to push Merlin into it.
“Any time now, then,” Arthur says, wondering what kind of monster he's unleashed.
“So, me, being fucked. Since I’m in the company of knights, let’s just say I’m with one.” Merlin sits back, crossing his legs in front of him, and undoes his neckerchief. Arthur finds his eyes traveling up to the line of Merlin’s neck of their own volition, and clenches his hands in his lap. “Where shall I start?”
Merlin has his eyes half-lidded, letting his fringe fall in his face. “I’m not going to lie, sir knight,” he starts, and how has Arthur never realised how deep Merlin’s voice is? “I like fucking. I like being pounded 'til I can’t walk properly for days. I like being fucked deep inside so I’ll feel you when I do my chores. So that my knees hurt from you bending me over, taking me so roughly when I’m on all fours.”
He pauses, and Arthur sees him take in his captive audience, a whole group of knights shifting uncomfortably in their chainmail, squirming around the fire.
“Curl your fingers in my hair,” Merlin says, his country accent slipping into his words, and Arthur’s always made fun of the occasional time it emerges, but there’s nothing funny about how it colours Merlin’s descriptions even sultrier now. “Then yank my head back, savagely. Take me. I like it rough and deep. Fast.”
He even throws in a moan, and Arthur’s never heard that from Merlin, ever, and is thus utterly unprepared for the way it goes straight to his cock. “Fuck, yes. Like that, harder. Love it when you've your gloves on, slipping two fingers in. That feeling of leather inside me. You’re so eager to fuck me you can’t even take your gloves off, you just want to feel me opening up for you. I’m your whore, yeah? Your little slut, bent over and spread open for you. Bruise me, bite me. Fuck me for hours, I can take it. I'll hook my legs over your shoulders as you move deeper, pulling me down against your cock —”
“Right,” Arthur croaks, feeling uncomfortably tight in his breeches. “All right, let’s move on.”
“Oh, sire,” Merlin lifts a thumb up to his lips, biting at the skin, fixing his gaze on Arthur. “And I was just getting started, too.”
Seeing Merlin do that does things to Arthur he can’t explain. He’s never imagined Merlin in any kind of sexual situation, always laughing it off when the knights have mentioned it in passing or in jest, and here he is now stuck with the vivid images that Merlin’s painted for him: Merlin with his legs around some man’s waist, Merlin egging someone to fuck him hard and fast, Merlin arching back as a knight in only a gambeson undoes his breeches and slides into him, fisting Merlin’s cock.
“Just?” Gwaine says, voice a little strangled.
Merlin turns to smirk at Gwaine, and even though he’d blushed at Gwaine’s words earlier, there’s nothing shy about him now. “Why yes, Gwaine. I can talk dirty for hours.”
Arthur wonders how Merlin would talk dirty as someone who takes control in a dominant role. He's thought about being with men, but not... not like this. If he’s to be completely honest with himself, he’d rephrase that to how he’s actually wondering what it’d be like to have Merlin fuck him.
“Well, we were discussing dirty talk with women, earlier, sire,” Merlin says, drawing out his title in a filthy way that Arthur would never have imagined possible from Merlin, of all people. “So I’m going to describe how I’d fuck a man, since all of you insisted I contribute to this conversation.”
“I am strangely okay with this,” Percival says, eyes never leaving Merlin’s face.
“I second that,” Leon ventures, looking like he can’t believe what he’s saying.
“Very well,” Merlin says. “So let’s say I am, in this case, also tupping a knight, and that there are no objections to this hypothetical situation.”
“None at all,” Arthur finds himself offering.
“We’re in the armoury.” Merlin’s voice deepens again. “You’ve been making eyes at me all morning through the drill from the side of the field. Were you thinking of the way I fucked you just yesterday, hmm? When you begged me to let you come, cock wet and dripping against my fingers?”
Arthur suddenly has a vision of Merlin pushing him against the wall in the armoury, whispering these infernal things into his ear. He feels the flush traveling all the way down to his neck.
“You’re all sweaty from the training,” Merlin says, and now he looks at Arthur with intent. “The prince has been working you, and I’d be a liar if I say I wasn’t watching you as I collected weapons from the field with the other squires, admiring the way your muscles flexed. You writhed beneath me so lewdly just hours before, back and hips slippery as I pulled you forward on the bed and you sank down on my cock, easy-like. All open and ready for me after the hours of teasing I’d put you through. You’re already shaking and eager for it even now, you little cockslut.”
Merlin’s always been rather polite, even if he had questionable manners with royalty, so having Merlin actually say something so vulgar out loud has Arthur a bit startled, but to his mortification, it’s actually fucking turning him on. Leon exchanges a look of disbelief with Gwaine, and the rest... well, rather than being put off by it, seem all the more interested, too.
Merlin laughs, low and husky. “I’ve had a great deal of practice taking armour off. I strip you down, slow, letting my hands roam over you as I take off your mail, unlace your gambeson, remove your breeches. You’re stark naked in the armoury, your face flushed as I spread your legs, twist a slick finger inside you. Hot and wet with my seed, still. I slide another finger in, then two. Hook one of your legs around my shoulder and lick down your cock, around your stones and down to your hole, where you still taste of me. And then I’ll lick around you with my tongue, moving my fingers inside you as I do.”
Someone whimpers, and Arthur bites his lip. He can’t blame whoever that other knight was. He’s never had anyone lick into him that way, because Arthur’s not been with any men before or even with a woman that adventurous, hell, but the way Merlin describes it makes him want to try it. He’s only a little appalled at himself for not being opposed to the idea at all.
“I know I’m a manservant, yeah? But here in the armoury, when you’re at my mercy with my tongue and fingers in your arse, panting and groaning my name, you’re not a knight and I’m not Prince Arthur’s servant. Here, we’re only two men, and I’m going to fuck you. You tell me to stop, 'cause you’re ready, you and your wet pussy like a girl’s. I’ll stand up, turn you around so you’re against the wall gripping one of the handles with your back to me, and then I’ll take you from behind. I do love tupping men, because they can take it so much harder than some women can. You’re no exception, all hard strong lines, so fucking tight around me.”
“Take him from the front,” someone says. It sounds like it could have been Richard.
“Right. I’ll pull out, flip you around, and then I’ll fuck into you, your head falling back, exposing your neck. It tempts me, so I lean down and bite your neck where it meets your shoulder, sucking a mark there. You pant for more, yeah, you want me deeper, like you can’t get enough. We fucked just yesterday, and the day before, and you’ll have me any way you can get me.”
He stops briefly to stoke the fire, then smiles a secret little smile that he turns on each and every one of them, looking at every single knight until they meet his eyes and look away quickly out of embarrassment. And then he looks at Arthur, and holds his gaze as he starts talking again. “You’ll have me take you in an alcove, out of your armour, scrabbling for a better hold against the wall as I fingerfuck you and milk your cock, coaxing every last moan out of you even though you try to keep it down, try to keep quiet, but you can’t help yourself,” Merlin says casually, like he’s describing the weather. “And maybe you want people to find us, maybe you secretly want to get caught. Maybe you want people watching us, touching themselves as you’re spread wanton against the wall, or maybe when you fall to your knees and gag on my cock, loving every minute of it.”
“Merlin,” Arthur coughs, and doesn’t quite meet Merlin’s eyes. “I think we should... should get ready for bed. We’ve a long ride ahead of us tomorrow.” He curses himself the moment he says that, because Merlin picks up on it and just raises a knowing eyebrow.
“A long ride,” he says, voice laden with meaning. “Of course, sire.”
He’s never heard Merlin use his titles so much in the space of one evening, and especially not in that voice. The little shit. “While it was indeed very entertaining and no doubt enlightening for some of us, we’ll, um, have to put a stop to it now.”
“Can’t handle it?” Merlin whispers, just loud enough for Arthur to hear. He gives Merlin a sharp glare, feeling his face flush. He feels his face growing hotter when Merlin gives him a cursory once-over, gaze eventually flicking to his groin and back up to Arthur’s face.
“Right, men.” He turns away from Merlin, and can still feel those damned eyes on his back. “First watch to Pellinore. The rest of you, remember your duties. We’ll see you in the morning.”
“I’ll just put these away first, shall I?” Merlin says, before winking at a couple of the knights who scurry off towards their tents, red-faced. If not for the mail discreetly covering their crotches, Arthur reckons a few of them will be sporting some noticeable bulges. Small blessings.
Arthur heaves a put-upon sigh. “You’re supposed to help me take off my armour, but knowing you, you’ll take ages otherwise, so go get that done and don’t wake me up in the tent later when you come in.”
Merlin doesn’t respond, but Arthur thinks he hears a chuckle a short while later.
It’s a cold autumn, so they have some makeshift tents up at the site. Arthur dresses down to his worn white tunic and breeches, putting his gambeson away, and quickly pulls a thick jacket over before he settles in under his furs.
Groaning to himself and throwing an arm over his forehead, Arthur bemoans his terrible decision (made unanimously with all of his traitorous knights on this trip) to get Merlin to talk dirty at the campfire. In his defense, though, he thought it would be a source of amusement and not of this ridiculous sexual frustration. He’d spent the last five minutes or so trying to talk down his erection to assume a less hindering state, but without much success.
Then there’s the fact that Merlin’s sharing his tent tonight. He’d probably never let Arthur live this down for getting turned on by mere words. And by things that Merlin had said, of all people. Having seen how his knights were similarly affected does make Arthur feel better, because he’s privy to the knowledge that most of them only lie with women. And yet, if their reactions were anything to go by, Merlin had really left an impression.
Merlin is probably still putting some things away and getting ready for bed, Arthur thinks drowsily, turning in his furs. He may have discovered Merlin has a hell of a talent for getting people hot and bothered, but it is oddly comforting to remember that deep down, Merlin is still his bumbling and incompetent manservant. At least that’s not changed, even though he’s... well. Now Arthur would have some very notable difficulties listening to Merlin talk about chores in the armoury and in Arthur’s chambers without having all those images spring immediately to mind.
He shifts under his furs and sighs resignedly, still hard and aroused from earlier. Maybe if he does something really quickly, before Merlin comes back, he won’t have to worry about Merlin overhearing him later if he gives in to the desire to touch himself with him in the tent.
Arthur ignores a sly voice in his mind that says maybe, maybe he wants Merlin to catch him in the act — and join him.
He unlaces his breeches, moaning a little in relief as he takes himself in hand. Closing his eyes and arching his back a little, Arthur finds his mind drifting to thoughts of Merlin. Dimly, he realises that he wants Merlin to... to say filthy things to him as he strokes himself. Merlin wouldn’t even have to be touching Arthur, per se, he’d just have to say those thrice-damned things to Arthur, breath hot against his ear.
Rubbing his thumb over the head of his cock, Arthur recalls what Merlin mentioned about fingers, and shakily takes his hand to his mouth, taking two fingers in and sucking them. The wet, slippery sound it makes is obscene, and Arthur finds himself shuddering at the thought of someone doing that to him.
It’s getting unbearably hot under his furs, so Arthur pulls them a little to the side, stretching out a leg against the pelt he’s on. Trembling just a little with anticipation, Arthur pulls his breeches down further and trails his fingers down his cock, behind his stones, pressing lightly against his hole. He doesn’t expect the subtle jolt of pleasure that accompanies that, and goes on to circle the rim, wondering what it’d be like to slide two fingers in while he fists his cock, and have someone lick at it.
Merlin’s wicked smile comes to the forefront of his thoughts, unbidden; the one he’d worn when he said, “Where you still taste of me,” eyes dancing with something darker than amusement, looking like he could devour Arthur alive if he were to choose to.
His damned manservant would be his undoing.
“Fuck,” Arthur swears, almost a sob, as he slips a finger in. He doesn’t have any salve on hand, not here, Merlin keeps all the bloody things, so it burns even though he’s tried to go slow. But it’s good, somehow, and Arthur leans his head back as a breeze wafts in, opening his eyes and looking up, breathing heavily—
—and sees Merlin who’s just entered the tent, slack-jawed and gripping precariously at the tent flaps like his life depends on it. Arthur feels a kind of satisfaction at being the one to throw Merlin off-guard this time.
“Arthur?” Merlin ventures, even though he makes no attempt at all to hide the naked desire on his face as he drinks the sight of Arthur in: breeches down to his knees and tunic racked halfway up his chest, finger up his arse and hand around his wet, hard cock.
Even so, Arthur feels like he needs to salvage whatever’s left of his dignity in this situation.
“I’ll have you know this is your fault,” Arthur says, in his most indignant royal voice, discreetly sliding out of himself and arranging his limbs in what he hopes is in a manner of a classy I am trying to be subtly wanton and seductive at you rather than I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. “And I fully expect you to take responsibility for it.”
“How might I do that, sire?” Merlin says, a grin beginning to spread over his face even as he’s already pulling his tunic off.
“Well, to start, you can bloody well get over here. Do I have to tell you what to do all the time?”
“You like ordering me around, just admit it.” Scrambling over to where Arthur is laid out against the mess of thick, soft pelts, Merlin wastes no time pulling the furs aside before sliding a hot, eager hand over Arthur’s bare skin. “Oh, Arthur. You're such a pompous git, but you are so fucking gorgeous. Did you know that?” He stretches out his fingers, just brushing lightly over the smooth dips and curves of Arthur’s chest and stomach as if he can’t believe Arthur’s real. “What a shame it’s wasted on you, eh?”
“Half an hour ago you had me convinced you actually knew how to talk dirty, and here you are insulting me? Is this your idea of seduction?”
“You’re different,” Merlin says, smiling as he tilts Arthur’s chin up and strokes it with his thumb. There’s more than cheekiness to it now, a kind of heavy reverence to his expression. “You’ve always been different. And I like flustering you.”
Arthur laughs disbelievingly and slides his hands down Merlin’s shoulders to the long, strong lines of his arms. “You did more than just fluster when you said all those things, you... how did you even learn to talk like that?”
“Did you really think I was an innocent, Arthur?” Merlin straddles him, rocking against him with a slow glide, and Arthur can feel Merlin too through the thick cloth of Merlin’s breeches. It’s maddening. “I’m not as clueless as you think.” He slips a hand under Arthur’s tunic and pinches a nipple sharply.
“You are a man of many surprises.” Bucking into the touch, Arthur moans and pulls Merlin down by his hair. “Tell me,” he says, even as he tugs at Merlin’s earlobe with his teeth and relishing the way Merlin shakes against him when he does, “Tell me what you want to do to me while you do it, tell me how you want us to fuck—”
“Arthur,” Merlin breathes, frantically undoing his own breeches and kicking them off. “You don’t know how much I’ve thought about— whenever I took a man to bed and pulled at his hair, bit at his neck and rode his cock, I wanted so much for him to be you—”
“Fine, yes, that was then and this is now,” Arthur snaps, but the effect seems somehow lost when his words turn into a sigh at Merlin dancing light fingers up his cock. The wine seems to amplify everything he’s feeling, and when Merlin mouths down his neck and flicks a nipple with his fingers, Arthur groans and moves against Merlin for more of that sweet, slick heat.
“Did you like it when I said all those filthy things, Arthur?” Merlin licks and bites at Arthur’s shoulder. “Look at how hard you are, just from my words. Who would’ve thought?” He grips Arthur’s cock hard, sweeping a thumb over the slit, and Arthur can’t even form a coherent response. The women he’s been with aren’t like this at all — they’re gentle, tentative, their movements soft. Merlin, for all his kindness, is brutal this way, with sure, purposeful strokes that leave him reeling.
“So wet for me, aren’t you? I don’t even think the last girl I fucked was this wet. Even if you’re too proud to beg me, Arthur, your body says otherwise.” Merlin brings dripping fingers to Arthur’s mouth, and he licks at it, so far gone that he actually takes the digits into his mouth down past the last knuckle, tongue swirling and taking the bitter taste of himself in. “Look at you. What a sight.”
“Merlin,” he manages. His own voice sounds wrecked.
Merlin shushes him and presses him down. “I didn’t dare think you might — but I came prepared.” There’s the sound of a small bottle being uncorked, and then Arthur has his legs pushed open and lifted just the slightest bit, exposing his hole. The next thing he knows, there’re cool, slick fingers pushing at him, and then a finger filling him up. “Whoa,” Merlin murmurs, almost in awe. “You’re just greedy for it, aren’t you, Arthur?”
He crooks the finger inside him, and Arthur is lost as he grabs fistfuls of Merlin’s hair where Merlin’s leaning over him, enticing like this, all debauched with red lips and calculating blue eyes. “Don’t stop,” Arthur demands, squeezing his eyes shut as he moves against Merlin’s finger, slowly, riding it. “Don’t you dare stop, Merlin, that’s an order.”
“I didn’t intend to, sire,” Merlin says, looking distracted, but he leans down and kisses Arthur, finally, and it’s... Arthur’s not sure what he expected. While he’d thought Merlin was popular with the girls in the castle to a degree, Arthur had never really imagined how Merlin was like as a kisser. It’d just never crossed his mind. Now, though, with Merlin leaning in to bite gently at Arthur’s lips before leaning in to dominate their kisses every now and then, Arthur finds he rather likes it. Shy, at first, the way Merlin so awkwardly asks for things, but playful and challenging once things escalate.
Yeah, all right, Merlin’s a hell of a kisser.
Merlin pulls out then, though, and runs his fingers through Arthur’s hair, playing with the strands at his fringe before he licks at Arthur’s mouth. “I won’t take you tonight because we should ease your way into it for next time—”
Arthur rests his hands on Merlin’s bare hips and grins up at him, all teeth. “So there is a next time.”
And now, now Merlin picks the moment to be shy, but he still doesn’t let up on giving Arthur lip. “Well, I suppose I could always find another knight to bugger, yeah?”
He takes one of Merlin’s fingers into his mouth and bites it. “You insolent, brazen thing. We’ll do this again, you have my word.”
“I am so up for that. And I do mean up.” Merlin leers at him and then takes both of them in hand, stroking their cocks lazily. It’s fucking fantastic, and for all the jokes the knights make about two men lying together and the ten thousand variations of ‘swordfight’ euphemisms, Arthur thinks he could get used to this.
“You’re terrible.” Arthur can’t stop grinning, and then he arches back when Merlin grips him, hard. “Oh, you’re good at that.”
“So I’ve been told. I want you to fuck me, sire,” Merlin says offhandedly, reaching for the salve and raising an eyebrow at Arthur, challenging. “Unless you don’t think you can handle it, tonight.”
“Brat. I’m going to fuck you like a well-hung Albion stallion, Merlin, just you wait.”
Merlin bursts into laughter. “Am I your frisky Mercian mare tonight, Arthur?”
Chuckling, Arthur brings him close for another kiss, feeling the beginnings of a new kind of addiction. “Gods forbid. How shall we do this?” He feels his head clearing now that Merlin doesn’t have his clever finger doing unspeakably amazing things to his arse, and he finds himself consumed by the urge to reduce Merlin to a moaning, dirty-talking wreck underneath him.
Pushing Arthur’s hands down to his legs and around the swell of his arse, Merlin then slowly uncurls Arthur’s fingers and presses the small bottle of salve into his hand. “I would open myself for you and let you see just how much I want it, but I think you’d appreciate being the one to do that tonight.” Merlin parts his legs a little, shuddering when Arthur’s fingers trail up higher. “Wouldn’t you? I could see how hungry you looked when I spoke of that, over the fire, how curious. And, mm, you could feel for yourself how tight I am.”
“Do you ever make anyone come from your words alone, Merlin?” Arthur asks softly, coating his fingers liberally with the salve before tapping a slow path down Merlin’s cock. Merlin’s breath catches, and he grips at Arthur’s other hand tightly. “Do you even know what you do to me?”
“A few times,” Merlin breathes, gasping sharply as Arthur breaches him, shifting back down to take him in. “Sometimes I just kiss them, tease their neck, while I tell them about my fantasies, and that’s enough to make them come undone. Your fingers, fuck, they fill me up good.”
“A man thinks he knows you, Merlin, and then you talk filthier at him than any whore he’s ever bought.” Two fingers in, and then Arthur’s the one who feels dizzy, thinking of all that tight heat and that it’s Merlin above him, fucking back against his fingers, imagining he’s riding Arthur’s cock. “Have many fantasies, do you?”
“You have no idea. Yeah, deeper; I can feel you.”
“Gods.” Arthur exhales, overwhelmed, and presses upwards experimentally, drawing out a long, filthy sound from Merlin’s throat. “Tell me about them.”
Merlin rocks down against him as he pushes another finger in, and Arthur watches it slip inside with no small amount of fascination. He’d like Merlin to do that to him again; it’d been uncomfortable, definitely, and a little painful, but pleasurable all the same. And Merlin somehow just knew how to work Arthur, the way he just knows Arthur inside out everywhere else. “I’ve already told you about two of them,” Merlin whispers. “The armoury, the alcove—”
“Those were fantasies? They sounded so real.”
“Don’t get me wrong.” Merlin reaches down and tugs at Arthur’s wrist, prompting him to pull out, and then he’s taking Arthur’s cock to slowly, so agonisingly slowly, sink down on it. It’s a torturous, sweet burn. “I’ve taken men there, squires. Sucked their cocks, licked seed off their thighs. I’ve had them fuck me against walls, my naked legs around their waists. But in my fantasies, Arthur, it’s your hair I’m gripping, your name on my lips, your thighs against mine as you fuck me. It’s you with your eyes half-closed, expression delirious as you moan for me, red cape on the floor as I fuck you on it, your legs in the air.”
Arthur gives a guttural groan, before flipping Merlin over on his back and fucking in deep, lifting one of Merlin’s legs up. This part, at least, isn’t too different from being with a woman, though Merlin is so hot and tight around him as he moves with him it’s all Arthur can do to keep from spending himself right there and then. “You say the damnedest things, Merlin, your mouth. It is sin itself.”
“I can do many other things with my mouth.” Provocative, suggestive, full of possibilities. If Merlin is to be like this around Arthur all the time, would he ever get anything done? “Yeah, Arthur, fuck, that’s it. Push me down. You drill your knights harder than this, surely you can fuck me until I can’t walk.”
Drawing Merlin’s bottom lip between his teeth, Arthur withdraws for a moment before thrusting back in fully, drawing Merlin’s arms up and pinning them there. “I’ll put you in your place, Merlin,” Arthur bites out, getting an idea and adding his own twist to this little game. “Always a cheeky, mouthy thing who can’t hold your tongue even if your life depended on it... I should have you on your knees in the dungeons, servicing me through the bars as the guards watch.”
Merlin actually stops moving beneath him, jaw dropping as he looks up at Arthur, but there’s some grudging admiration there before he wraps his arms around Arthur’s neck above him, resuming his pace. “Did you just make that up, or have you been secretly entertaining that for a while? And here I thought you only imagined wild sex with me after tonight. Mind you, that last bit’s a little insulting.”
Arthur ponders this for a moment, moving a hand up to link his fingers with Merlin’s. That feels strangely natural; having Merlin’s long fingers between his thick, sword-calloused ones as they move together. “I’d not thought about it until that moment at the fire,” he says, honestly, lifting Merlin up higher to get a better angle. He’s rewarded with a hiss and a curse that quickly slips into a groan when he keeps thrusting. “But it doesn’t feel strange at all. Hearing you say those things, describe those sensations just... lit something in me. Maybe I’ve always kind of wanted to— I’ve never really thought about it, but now that I have, it’s all I can think of. ”
“All the time you were bullying and making fun of me, we could’ve been fucking?” Merlin exclaims, feigning outrage, but the effect is hampered by him moaning into Arthur’s mouth when Arthur nuzzles up Merlin’s neck for another kiss. “If I knew it would’ve been so easy to seduce you, I would’ve just gone up to you earlier when you were writing things at the table and whispered things I’d want to do to you.”
“I’m not easy,” Arthur objects, and slaps Merlin’s rear, making Merlin laugh. He cuts that laughter off abruptly when he wraps a hand around Merlin’s cock, exploring the feel of it, so different from his own. “You’re wet too, Merlin. Are you enjoying this?”
“What do you think?” Merlin snarks at him, breathlessly.
Arthur grins, but it’s soft at the edges, he thinks. Merlin’s making him a little soppy tonight. “I’m enjoying this, too. I thought I would, but this just... you’re really something else.” He holds Merlin’s wrists together up over Merlin’s head again, keeping his other hand firm on Merlin’s leg around his waist as he fucks into him. “Tell me what you would do to me on my table,” he commands, pitching his voice the way he does in a council meeting, all authority, and doesn’t miss the way Merlin’s cock jerks at the effect. “While I’m writing speeches and formulating battle plans.”
“And you started off so well, too,” Merlin says mock-mournfully, before his lips draw into a devious smile. “I’d be behind you, sire. You’re harried, a little annoyed — mmm, but you sneak glances at me. You secretly want me to do something, but what? I’ll step closer and brush down the front of your tunic with my hands. You breathe faster, leaning back in your chair — yes, just like that— and I’ll undo the laces, slide my fingers under the material, touching your nipples. You continue trying to write, but your hand’s starting to shake.”
“You’re so pent up. You’ve been unstoppable on the field, knocking down opponent after opponent, ruthless with your sword and shield. For an entire week you’ve been snarling at the knights, at anyone unfortunate enough to cross your path, even at me. Morgana’s given you a piece of her mind for being so cross. You’ve just about had enough, and you seek some small comfort in bickering with me in the privacy of your chambers, where you can be yourself—”
Arthur shakes his head and traces the outline of Merlin’s ear, before brushing his knuckles over Merlin’s cheeks, wiping away the sweat as Merlin pants heavily into his skin. “You really do know me.”
“Hard not to, sire —ah!— you’ve been an ass to me for so long.” Fondness, not exasperation. It warms Arthur’s heart, but he’d be damned if he lets it show. He responds to this by flicking at Merlin’s forehead.
“So we’ve established I’m stressed and I want you to fuck my brains out in this scenario of yours. Get to it.”
“You’ve no idea of buildup, do you,” Merlin complains, biting his lower lip, impish-like. “I bet you don’t even appreciate foreplay.”
“Pushy. You sigh, eyes closed. When I take the quill and brush the feather lightly across your collarbone, you jerk and laugh. It tickles. Then you moan when I sink my fingers in your hair, pulling your head back. You bare your neck for me, bare yourself to me as I bend down to draw my teeth and tongue down the slope of your jaw.”
Merlin rakes his nails down Arthur’s back, and Arthur grits his teeth, trying not to let his rhythm falter. “I’m never looking at that quill the same way again,” he manages.
“You won’t.” Merlin chuckles through his gasps as Arthur pushes Merlin down, bending him nearly in half against the pelt, damp with Merlin’s sweat. It feels like he’s deeper inside Merlin now, and Merlin clutches at his shoulders, fumbling for purchase. “I nip at your ear, stroke your sides. I’ll rub you slow, so slow, get you wetter as you buck into my touch, hot and crazed and cursing me for not getting to it, writhing as I lock you in place there. I’ll finally work your breeches open after teasing you, to get my mouth on your cock—”
Arthur makes a strangled noise and pulls out before turning Merlin around roughly, pulling him so that he’s on his knees before pushing in again, hands gripping Merlin tight at his waist. “Do that to me next time,” he says hoarsely. “Get on your knees when you’re in my chambers, suck me off in my chair. Push me onto the table and have your way with me if you want. You have my full permission—”
“That’s all I needed, really.” Merlin moans, filthy when Arthur angles up against him, tensing against Arthur’s fingers when he strokes Merlin’s cock harder, faster. “I might’ve done it anyway, if tonight hadn’t happened — fuck, Arthur!— you were starting to drive me mental. Seeing you without your shirt in bed, watching you fight, being so close to you... I'm close, please, Arthur, please—”
Licking up Merlin’s back, Arthur bites and sucks a bruise onto a spot right below Merlin’s shoulder, speeding up his thrusts and his strokes on Merlin’s cock, squeezing. “Got to be something if I can make you say please, finally.”
“Don’t be smart now, Arthur, I need to fucking come, I— fuck, fuck, oh, gods, I—” Merlin’s body is a rigid line against his as Arthur presses forward, stroking Merlin through it as Merlin comes all over the pelt and the furs. “Arthur!”
“The way you sound,” Arthur says, closing his eyes as he tips over the edge, too, fingers digging even deeper into Merlin’s sides as he fills Merlin up. “I would bed you again and again, Merlin, just to hear your voice as you lose all your perfect control, when you shake and fall apart in my hands.”
Merlin collapses beneath him, all long tired limbs as he moves aside, gently pulling Arthur down on him and wrapping his arms around Arthur’s sweaty neck. He presses a kiss to Arthur’s forehead, then his lips, licking into Arthur’s mouth. “This is the first time I’ve ever— ever really let go,” Merlin confesses, quietly, and then their foreheads bump. “You make me want to lose myself, and it’s all right because it’s you.”
Arthur feels his heart swell. “Yeah?”
"Yes." Merlin laughs, and it’s a little shy now as he trails a hand down Arthur’s chest when Arthur lies down too, on his back, looking at Merlin’s face. “So how was your first time with a man, sire?” The question is cheeky, playful, and Arthur nearly misses the undercurrent of uncertainty. If he wasn’t able to read Merlin so well in this department, he probably would’ve dismissed the question entirely. There’s a lot unsaid between them, and Arthur wants to— he wants to do many things, tell Merlin it’s all right, that he still means so much to Arthur. Maybe even more now, after tonight.
“Don’t let it get to your head, Merlin, but it was bloody fantastic,” Arthur says, pulling Merlin close as he snakes an arm around Merlin’s shoulders and pressing a kiss to Merlin’s dark hair, feeling Merlin shiver from pleasure. He's not really sure how to go about this, to bare his thoughts to someone. He's never had to. “Not because you’re a man, or anything, but because it’s you. Even if you don't know your place, even if you're impertinent and terrible with chores and get into so much trouble—”
“Are you just going to continue insulting me like that after our ‘bloody fantastic’ sex? Because I assure you if that happens I’m never having my mouth near your cock, ever.”
Arthur flicks at Merlin’s ear again. “I’d never imagined being with a man, at all, until tonight. But I don’t want you to think that this is just a one-time thing, just so I could... try things out with you."
"Ha, and here I thought you only wanted me for my mouth." Merlin grins at him, but it's not all there.
"I could think of better uses for your mouth than when you're being insubordinate.” This isn't easy at all. “I trust you. With my life. And I trust you with this. Whatever this is. You're not some other servant I'd take and just... dispose of. You're more than that."
Merlin’s eyes are bright. “Arthur.”
“It's complicated,” Arthur says fiercely, frustrated with himself at not being able to really say what he feels, not the way he wants to. “And I don't know what to do about this, but I want this.” He takes a deep breath. “Just, I don't know. Stay.”
Merlin kisses him.
“What was that about?” Arthur asks, once Merlin pulls away, fingers lingering on the edge of Arthur’s lips.
“You say I’m the one with a way with words, but you’re not too bad yourself,” Merlin says, with the most earnest smile Arthur’s ever remembered seeing on him. “I need you, y'know, in more ways than I ever thought possible.”
“You are a bit of a romantic, aren’t you?” Arthur teases, running his fingers through Merlin’s hair, laughing as Merlin chuckles with him, too.
“A bit rich coming from you, princess.”
“Don’t you even dare, Merlin, it's bad enough coming from Gwaine.” But Arthur can’t stop kissing Merlin’s face, too, so that’s probably telling. “Bear with me. But whatever this is, I... I like it. Let’s not stop.”
Merlin grins at him, sly and a little devious. “Don’t think I could if I wanted to, sire.” And there it is again, that touch of promise to the tone that speaks of plans for hours and hours of fulfilled desires. “And I am a humble manservant, unable to refuse a royal decree.”
“That you are,” Arthur says haughtily, and tugs Merlin tighter into an embrace. “Don’t you forget it.”
A pause, then there’s a snort from somewhere below his chin. “You really are an ass.”
“Treason.” He makes the mock-whisper louder than it should be so it rings through their tent. Merlin pinches at his arm, and then something occurs to Arthur. “Do you think anyone — any of the knights heard us?”
Merlin blinks at him, lazily. “I was pretty loud,” he drawls, the smile on his face widening. “After the campfire episode, I wonder if that gave them extra fodder to have a quick wank in their tents. We must’ve given them quite a show of it.”
Arthur wants to crawl into a hole and die. “God, I completely forgot about them—”
“If you still had the presence of mind to think about things like that while I was riding you, I would’ve been doing it wrong.” And Merlin’s nonchalant about this, of course, damn him. Arthur should’ve known, given the hints about his exhibitionist tendencies. “It doesn’t matter, does it?”
The moonlight falling lightly on Merlin’s face is soft, and he’s pliant and warm in Arthur’s arms, all fucked out with that toothy smile. It makes Arthur think of similar moments in their near, shared futures: Merlin curling into bed with Arthur under his sheets in Camelot, pulling Arthur down to the rug near the fire, sharing slow kisses with him near the window as they bicker and laugh through the afternoons and nights.
“No,” Arthur says, returning that smile. “No, it doesn’t.”