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Merlin's Night Off

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Merlin woke on Beltane morning to the sweet scent of meadow flowers and amber. His skin prickled with a queer but familiar pleasure as he stretched, until the cool breeze from the window dispersed the warmer smell. Gaius was brewing Arthur’s potion again.

He hopped out of bed with a bit more pep than usual, pulling on his clothes with the happy anticipation of taking them off again later in more exciting circumstances than usual. It might not be the mysterious and exclusive drinking rituals that Arthur got up to with his knights, but Merlin got the better deal, in his opinion.

“Happy Beltane!” he called as he burst out his door and clattered down the short flight of steps into Gaius’s workroom.

Gaius looked up from the small pot he was stirring. “And a blessed Beltane to you, Merlin.”

Merlin grabbed the heel of bread and wedge of cheese that Gaius had left out for him with considerably more relish than he ever mustered for their usual porridge. “I love Beltane,” he mumbled as he stuffed as much of the bread into his mouth as he could.

“Pace yourself, Merlin. This is not a good day for your usual brand of recklessness.”

“Can’t think of a better day for it.” Merlin grinned, cheeks still bulging with bread, but Gaius did not smile back. “What? There’s a feast tonight, and then I get the night off for once. What could be bad about that?”

Gaius pressed his mouth into a thin, flat line that made Merlin think of leech tanks and lectures. “Because you aren’t having the night off, Merlin. Arthur requires you tonight.”

“What?” A surge of indignation straightened Merlin’s back. “My one night off the entire year and he’s taking it back?”

“Merlin—“

“Probably can’t get anyone else to serve him anymore. He runs through a different Beltane servant every year; like anyone but me could ever put up with the prat for more than one night.”

“Merlin!” Gaius was rubbing the spot between his eyes as though the ongoing battle between his eyebrows had left collateral damage. “I should have known. I should have known that he wouldn’t have spoken to you.”

“Gaius... honestly, it’s not a big deal. I don’t mind. That much.” Merlin wasn’t used to Gaius taking his whinging seriously. It was kind of disturbing, as it turned out.

“You don’t even know what you’re saying,” Gaius snapped; then he relented with a sigh at Merlin’s continued confusion. “Have you never talked with anyone who has served Arthur and his men on Beltane night?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“And what did they tell you?”

Merlin shrugged. “Not much. I’m sure it was pretty boring. But they all seemed happy enough, since it’s supposed to be some big honor. Well, except for when Gwen did it last year. I think she feels awkward serving Arthur in front of the knights.”

“Yes, I imagine she would,” Gaius returned, drier than Merlin thought warranted. It wasn’t like Merlin loved Arthur any less than Gwen did, and he managed to serve him just fine. “And have you never thought to wonder,” Gaius continued, ”why Arthur and his men sequester themselves on Beltane night instead of joining the festivities in the castle or town like the rest of us?”

“Because they’re snobs,” Merlin returned promptly. Not that the knights ever eschewed the common tavern the rest of the year, but they did love their special little traditions that made sure everyone knew how special they were to be knights of Camelot.

Gaius stared at him for a long moment. “That...is surprisingly perceptive while also completely missing the point.”

“Just tell me what’s going on, Gaius. Why are you in such a twist about this?”

A long, awkward pause followed, until Gaius let out a loud breath and gave Merlin a stilted smile. “Go see to your prince, Merlin, and while you’re there, ask him to explain the Beltane customs to you. I have suddenly realized that I am much too old to have this conversation.”

“You’re acting very strangely, Gaius.” Merlin checked over the table to make sure he hadn’t missed any crumbs. “Very strangely,” he emphasized as he headed out the door.

He had been planning to show up as usual after the feast tonight with the flagon of special Beltane hangover cure that Gaius always sent up to Arthur. After that, he usually left and headed out to find himself a bonfire, some drink of his own, and hopefully some pleasant companionship. Now Arthur had put an end to his hopes for most of that.

There didn’t seem to be more to the situation that Merlin could see, but Gaius’s odd remarks made him suspect he had better make sure he wasn’t missing something. Obviously, actually asking Arthur was out of the question. He wasn’t giving Arthur any more ammunition to be a pillock when Arthur had already reneged on his traditional night of liberty.

“Merlin!” A heavy pile of Gwaine fell on Merlin’s back, propelling him forward. His stumble was arrested only by the solid wall of Percival that appeared in front of him. “The man of the day.”

“Arthur told us we get to keep you with us tonight.” Percival grinned and gripped Merlin’s shoulders, eyes bright. “We’re very excited.”

“Very excited.” Gwaine pressed along Merlin’s back and hello, Merlin could feel just how excited he was.

Merlin didn’t take it personally -– Gwaine could get aroused by a good roast pig –- but he did like it. He wouldn’t mind finding a bonfire with him, if Gwaine wasn’t permanently stuck by Arthur’s hearth as a knight.

He also wouldn’t mind stepping closer up to Percival to be completely enveloped by knightly muscle and heat. But he brushed away the fleeting fantasy as he always did. Not much point in dwelling on more things he couldn’t have.

“Yeah, I’m excited, too,” he said and Gwaine whooped in his ear.

“Yeah, I bet you are. It’s not everyone who gets this privilege, you know.”

Merlin was about to casually ask what exactly they were all excited about, but Gwaine’s words made him catch his tongue. It was a privilege because he was still a servant – their servant as much as Arthur’s most of the time. He didn’t need them to start ribbing him for his ignorance, either.

“Right, well, lots to do before the festivities begin.” Reluctantly, Merlin extricated himself from his muscle-bound confinement.

“Save your strength for us,” Gwaine called after him, which was an odd thing to say since pouring wine didn’t really take that much energy, though you’d never know it from the way Arthur refused to pick up a pitcher for himself.

But he just smiled and waved back at them over his shoulder on his way across the courtyard. Then a flash of lavender caught his eye and he broke into a jog. “Gwen!”

His friend stopped just on the edge of the shade of the colonnade. She turned and smiled as she waited for him. “Hello, Merlin. Happy Beltane.”

“Happy Beltane, Gwen.” He hopped to a stop in front of her with a grin of relief. Gwen knew exactly what was going on, since she had served last year. And Gwen was a good person. She hardly ever made fun of him.

“Exciting Beltane plans?” She shifted the load of linens in her arms as she turned to fall into step with him. “The usual merriment, I assume?”

“Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Merlin relieved her of half the stack of linens to have an excuse to walk with her. “You served Arthur and his knights last Beltane, right?”

Gwen tripped and clutched the linens to her chest to keep from dropping them. “What? I mean, yes, it’s no secret, but – why are you asking about that?”

“Because Arthur’s making me do it tonight.”

This time she stopped dead and stared at him. “He’s making you? Merlin, that’s – he wouldn’t – I mean, have you talked to him about it?”

“Of course not. You know Arthur. He’d just roll his eyes and tell me to get my lazy arse to work.” Merlin rolled his own eyes in what he thought was a very good imitation.

She made a strange sound of distress. “Oh, no, Merlin, he couldn’t –he wouldn’t – it’s supposed to be an honor, not a...a duty.”

“Well, sure, but it’s supposed to be an honor every time I fill Arthur’s cup. Why is it so special if I have to do it this one night of the year? Which, as I mentioned, I’m supposed to have off.” He looked at her expectantly, pleased with his guile in steering the conversation to exactly what he needed to know.

And there must be something he needed to know, since Gwen was staring at him with the same disbelief Gaius had turned on him not half an hour before.

“Merlin. Are you telling me... do you mean that you don’t know?”

“I never asked, since it was never my job.” Merlin gave a casual lift of one shoulder to indicate that such questions had always been beneath his notice, but he would allow her to tell him if she really wanted. “Gaius seemed upset about it this morning, but he wouldn’t say why. It didn’t seem like such a big deal to me.”

“Well...maybe it’s not. Gaius does like to treat you like an innocent young boy sometimes; I’ve noticed it.” She clutched her stack of bedding a little closer and glanced at him sidelong. “But Merlin, do you really mean that you don’t know? What we do for them on Beltane? Really?”

Instantly he scoffed as much as he knew how to scoff. “Please. What could Arthur or any of them possibly need that I haven’t done before?”

“Possibly nothing, but—oh, Merlin.” Gwen bit her lip and looked around before pulling on his arm to draw him along with her. “Come with me. We really shouldn’t be talking about it out here.”

Merlin didn’t see anyone paying them any mind, but with his luck, Arthur would happen along and berate him for lollygagging. He didn’t want to lose next Beltane, too. So he followed Gwen without protest.

When they stopped in front of the door to Morgana’s old chambers, Gwen hesitated, embarrassment showing in the dip of her head, before she pushed the door open. “It’s a good place to talk. No one would ever come in here.”

“No one but you.” Merlin looked down at the linens he still carried, fine and soft with a delicate lace trim.

He heard her faint sigh before she marched over to the bed and shook out a clean sheet over the bare mattress. “I like to keep it fresh. In case...in case the madness ever leaves her and she wants to come home.”

Merlin didn’t reply; instead he went around to the other side of the bed and caught the corners of the sheet as they fluttered down. He doubted Morgana would ever need this room again, but he shared in the comfort of the ritual as they tugged and tucked and fluffed everything into place.

When they were done, he circled back behind Gwen and squeezed her shoulders. “Love you,” he mumbled against the waves of her hair.

She sighed again and leaned back against him, drawing his arm around her waist. “Love you, too,” she said, and he knew without doubt that she meant it. It was Gwen’s strength and her curse that once she gave her love, she could never withdraw it.

He rubbed her arm with his free hand and drew her mind back to the present. “So what could possibly be so bad that Gaius doesn’t want to tell me?”

“Oh, Merlin.” She gave his arm a playful pinch, but didn’t let him move away. “I’m starting to think Gaius could be right about you being such an innocent, even if I do know better. Don’t you know where Imbolc babies come from?”

“Beltane fires.” The response came by reflex. “As if Arthur would ever go fertilize the fields like the rest of us commoners.”

Gwen tilted her head back onto his shoulder. He could see her exasperation even upside down. “That’s exactly the point. How could you miss it?”

“I get the point,” he protested, feeling somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t anything more to it after all. “Arthur and his noble friends aren’t supposed to dilute their noble bloodlines with Beltane bastards, so they all stay cooped up drinking together instead—even though most of them aren’t even nobles now and Uther isn’t in any condition to notice what they do.”

He felt sorry for them, actually, though that never stopped him from escaping before Arthur could imprison him as well. Not that he minded spending time with Arthur and his knights, even just pouring them wine, but on the one night of the year that he was guaranteed to get laid, he was certainly not – why was Gwen giggling so hard?

“I’m starting to see why Gaius didn’t want to talk about this with you.” She shook with laughter against him. “Do you really think all those noblemen just sit celibate on Beltane night, sipping wine by Arthur’s fire?”

Something in the way Gwen arched up on her toes, her back sliding against his front, made his breath and his brain finally catch. “Wait. Are you saying--?”

“It started in old Vortigern’s day, from what I’ve heard. He hated the idea of noble blood mixing with common, but he was proud of the virility of his men. Short of sullying the virtue of the noble ladies or restricting the knights to sodomy, he decided the only way to keep the common girls from making paternity claims every Beltane was to provide for the knights elsewhere.”

“Provide a servant.” Understanding, belated and powerful, flooded through him.

“One servant for all the knights to share. Man or woman, whatever suited their mood. It didn’t matter. No danger if it’s a man, and if a woman got with child, she’d never be able to prove who sired it.”

Stark images followed bringing stark arousal. All of the knights—Lancelot, Gwaine, Elyan, Percival, Leon—all focused on pleasure, all focused on the same person—on Gwen.

On Merlin.

And Arthur. Oh God, Arthur.

His arm tightened around Gwen until she laughed, a strained and breathless sound. “You finally get it, don’t you? I can feel that you do.”

It had been a long time since they had last kissed and touched each other in friendly play. Out of respect, Merlin had quietly faded back when Gwen and Arthur began to turn to each other.

Now he touched his lips to the curve of her neck, and then kissed harder when she sighed and pressed her arse back against his stiffening cock. “Tell me. How does it happen? What... what should I expect?”

Her eyelashes fluttered against his temple when he pressed his hot cheek to hers. “I went...I went to Arthur’s rooms after the feast. All the knights were already there. You weren’t, and I remember being grateful you were already gone.”

“Oh, thanks.” Merlin huffed playfully in her ear.

She reached up and smacked his shoulder. “I was embarrassed. I knew you never stayed for it, but I thought you’d know what I was there for. It was bad enough that Arthur....”

Blood surged into Merlin’s prick, and knowing that she could feel it just made him harder. “Arthur. He was there already as well?”

He tried to make the question sound casual, though they both knew it was anything but. Their shared feelings for Arthur had long given them an additional intimate, occasionally uncomfortable connection.

“He was on his bed, fully dressed, but barefoot. Just lounging there as though he’d been reading a book and we were interrupting him.” She laughed a little, high pitched with lack of air and lessening control. “I thought they would take me to the bed, but they didn’t.”

Merlin rubbed his palm over her hip and across her belly, not trying to soothe. His hand slid down, skimming past the juncture of her legs to grip the muscle of her thigh through her skirts as she continued.

“There was a couch set before the fire, covered in silks. I didn’t know where to look or what to say, so I started walking towards it. But then Gwaine stopped me.”

“It would be Gwaine.” Merlin chuckled in her ear as his hand slid back up her body to curve around her breast. “Whenever he’s around you, he can’t take his eyes off this. Or this one, either.”

Gwen shivered as Merlin cupped her other breast, thumb grazing her nipple through the fabric of her bodice. “Yes, I’d noticed. He flirted with me like he always does, but with more intent, touching my face, caressing my neck. Then he started unlacing me, very slowly, while he asked me if I was willing, if I’d do them the honor of lying with them.”

Merlin had been on the receiving end of Gwaine’s charm more than once himself. He remembered the heat and weight of Gwaine against his back mere minutes before. Gwaine must have been thinking about it then, anticipating how he would lie with Merlin tonight.

“I was still nervous, but I was more excited. I said yes, and I felt his fingers on my breasts, and then the chill as he exposed them to the room.”

His fingers had been plucking at the laces of her bodice as she spoke, alternately imagining himself either Gwaine or Gwen. She paused until he had her free and the soft flesh of her breast filled his hand.

“He was bending his head to my chest when Arthur snapped his name from across the room. My heart jumped. I’ve never pledged anything to him, and that night was sacred—but—“

His thumb circled her nipple, distracting her from the remembered distress. The dark nub tightened; he pressed down on it and held it down while he massaged her breast, gentle in a lulling rhythm.

“Did you want him to watch you? With the other men?” he asked when she was panting softly in his arms.

She guided his other hand back to her thigh and waited until it was moving before she answered. “Yes. He’d never touched me, never more than a kiss. I’d have waited a hundred years for him, but I wanted him to see me like that. I wanted him to desire me like they did.”

“Oh, he does.” He lifted his hand from her breast to tilt her head until he could kiss her softly. “So did he stop them? Did he send them away and take you for himself?”

“No.” She turned in his arms to face him until his hands fell to her arse and her arms wound around his neck. “He was holding up the potion. Gwaine was so eager that he’d forgotten all about it. No surprise there.”

“The potion?” He’d forgotten about the potion, the very potion he’d left Gaius brewing. A hangover remedy... or not, from the way Gwen was smirking up at him.

“You bring it to Arthur every year, and you never figured out what it was?”

He remembered how the scent of it wakened his body every Beltane morning, how good it made him feel. It was the same way her body was making him feel now, with her bare breasts and hard nipples pressed to him through the thin fabric of his shirt. He knew he wouldn’t be surprised by what she said next.

“It makes you hot—and keeps you hot and wanting. Over and over, so that you can take all the knights’ pleasure and still want more. Arthur poured some into a goblet—“

“Oh, so he does know how.”

“—and Lancelot brought it to me.” Gwen drew in a deep breath; her head was tucked down so he could no longer see her face.

Merlin stroked her hair once, hesitantly. He knew how she felt about Lancelot, but no one ever mentioned it, not anymore.

“He asked me again if I was sure. And if anyone else had asked me, I would have been.”

Merlin remembered Lancelot last year, the day after Beltane. He had been so quiet, even more than usual, and there had been something in his eyes Merlin couldn’t read, which was something Merlin wasn’t used to.

“He looked at me, and his eyes were burning and he was so hard and not even trying to hide it. He’s never let himself look so uncontrolled, and I knew it wasn’t because of Beltane. It was because of me, and God forgive me, I didn’t care what Arthur thought then. I took the cup and drank as deep as I could. I only remember drinking a few swallows. The next thing I knew, I was spread out on the couch and Gwaine’s mouth was between my thighs.”

His prick got harder, abruptly, against her belly, and she snicker-snorted against his shoulder. “I knew you’d like that. And so did I. I think I blurted out that he was even better than he liked to say he was. He still likes to remind me about that, though now I remind him that I was so needy at the time, anything would have felt good.”

A surge of jealousy went through him that for a year now she’d shared these private, intimate jests with their friends, and he’d known nothing of it. But the jealousy just strengthened his arousal and he dug his fingers into her arse as she talked.

“The rest of them were kissing me and stroking me. At some point my dress came off, but I don’t remember it. I just remember that I was naked when I came the first time. I was jerking up off the couch, and my thighs clamped so hard around Gwaine’s head that his ears were bright red after.”

She reached up and tweaked one of his ears, and he grinned. “You could pull my ears all you wanted.”

“I wouldn’t be able to help myself. They’re made for it,” she answered and used them to pull him down to her mouth.

It had been years since they’d kissed in the cool quiet of her little hut, stealing a few moments of play while her father worked the forge next door and Arthur and Morgana were occupied elsewhere. Merlin hadn’t thought to ever kiss her again, but telling her story had made her body tighten, on tiptoes to press against his. He was happy to indulge in her lush lips and the soft touches of her tongue until they were both shivery with kisses and imagination.

“So who took you first?” he asked against her lips. He wasn’t sure he was ready to stop kissing her yet, but he couldn’t wait to hear the rest of it. “Was it Leon? I bet it was Leon.”

“Of course it was Leon. He’s the senior knight in Arthur’s personal guard, and you know how sensitive he is about his status.” She drew back to roll her eyes fondly. “But I didn’t care who had me as long as somebody did. Coming the first time was amazing, but it wasn’t nearly enough.”

“Does he fuck like he fights?”

“With purpose, very serious, bent on getting the job done? Yes. Which was fine, because it was just what I needed, something steady and hard, no teasing. By the time he finished, I was calmer, settling into it, and I was ready for the rest of them.”

“I’m guessing Gwaine couldn’t wait much longer.”

“He was already naked. Once Leon moved off me, he sat down on the couch and pulled me right onto his cock. He made some stupid remark about paying him back for the ride he’d given me before. It kind of annoyed me, so I wouldn’t let him thrust up into me. He had to wait while I enjoyed myself as slow as I pleased.”

Merlin groaned at the thought. He wanted that. He wanted all of it.

“Eventually I let him come, of course. He was still in the middle of it when I felt Percival’s hands caressing me from behind. I also felt his cock brushing along my spine; he was massive and hard to bursting. He’d been so patient, waiting until I was slippery wet and stretched out before he tried to take me. Have you seen his cock?’

“Not like you did. But I got the general idea, yeah.” He’d kill to see Percival in an erect state. A shiver of excitement went through him when he remembered that he would that very night.

“I wasn’t sure I could take it, even as helplessly aroused as I was. He was so cute about it -- apologetic, almost, but so proud as well. He suggested it would be easier for me if he entered me from behind.”

“Oh, God, Gwen.” Merlin tried to crush her hips against his to relieve even the tiniest bit of his arousal, but she wiggled around in his arms until her back was to his chest again, demonstrating how she’d presented herself to Percival.

“So I slid off Gwaine’s cock and tilted my arse back until I felt his hands on my hips, positioning me the rest of the way. Gwaine was still trapped under me when Percival started pressing into me, but he was grinning like a loon and didn’t seem to mind.”

“Who would?” Merlin asked, logically and rhetorically.

“It took a while to get Percival all the way inside me. He kept stopping so I could shift myself around him and adjust. His cock felt amazing as he stuffed more and more of it into me, but being that stretched and full was almost too good. I started feeling a little overwhelmed, almost crazed, like I wanted to move but had no idea how.”

Merlin groaned, lost in the imagery and in the feeling of her body under his hands as he gave up finesse and caressed her mindlessly.

“So Gwaine started kissing me again and stroking my breasts and my back to soothe me. His beard was still wet with me from when he’d pleasured me before. He used his fingers to rub my clit until every movement Percival made was nothing but pleasure.”

His hands moved restlessly over her stomach and thighs, but unlike Gwaine, Merlin’s fingers were hampered by the heavy folds of her skirts that kept him from the folds he really wanted to explore.

“We had to stop kissing when Percival finally started fucking me properly. Every thrust drove the breath out of me so that I gasped and gasped. Gwaine says that I squeaked every time, but I’m sure he’s lying.”

Merlin made a distracted hum of agreement. His fingers pulled at her skirts, bunching them up and up, and she gave a little moan as her legs were exposed to the cool air.

“But he didn’t stop rubbing me, even after I’d come twice on Percival’s cock. Percival could go for hours, and maybe he did. I was dizzy with lack of breath and Gwaine’s fingers. Oh. Oh, Merlin.”

His fingers finally reached her inner thigh, already damp, and his knuckles brushed the heat of her nether lips. His other hand kept her skirts bunched up at her waist and held her tight against him while he started stroking a single finger over the soft heat of her.

“Don’t mind me.” His voice had gotten rougher. “Keep talking. Percival must have come eventually.”

“He did. And did and did and did. It was dripping down my legs by the time he pulled out. I felt ridiculously empty without him, and I think I whimpered. So embarrassing.”

He toyed gently with her outer folds, pulling them open to touch lightly at the slick flesh within. She had washed that morning, he could tell; the scent of fresh, wet quim teased his nose. “Trust me, no one else would have thought so.”

“Percival’s seed was dripping out of me, down onto Gwaine’s cock. Gwaine was hard again, and he seized me around my waist and pulled me back down onto him. It was rather rude, since the others hadn’t had a turn yet, but it felt so good to have something back inside me, I couldn’t bring myself to protest.”

Sliding his fingertip through her slickness, he brought it up to circle around her clit in a light touch, dampening the curly hair around it. He thought about which knights were left unsatisfied. Lancelot would wait a thousand years for her, and she’d made no mention of Arthur since the beginning.

“Your brother? He was there, wasn’t he?”

“Yes. I thought he wouldn’t be, and I thought I’d hate it if he was, but I was glad he was there. He was always near me, and he stopped Percival from thrusting more than I could take. When Gwaine finally spent his second load inside me, Elyan sat next to us on the couch and caught me as I slid off Gwaine, feeling limp and wrung out. He held me in his arms and kissed me and stroked my hair while I caught my breath.”

“Did he fuck you?” Merlin finally pressed down on the hard nub of her clit, making her squirm.

“No,” she gasped.

“Did he want to?”

“He was hard, of course, if that’s what you mean. His breeches were open and I could see just how hard he was. And at that moment, I wanted him to fuck me. He’s so much a part of me, it seemed wrong not to join my body to his, when all these other men had that privilege. But there are some things you can’t risk, even on Beltane. Luckily, he kept a clearer head even when so many of my inhibitions were gone.”

No one had a cooler head than Elyan, but Merlin could imagine his frustration, his need to fuck where he couldn’t allow himself entry. He could imagine it because he shared it, cock straining at his breeches to get to Gwen’s flesh.

“But he kissed me deeply for a long time, and that was almost enough. He gentled me, and someone else helped me lie down, stretched out along the couch with my head in Elyan’s lap. His cock was so close to my lips, all I had to do was nod my head a little to kiss it. So I did.”

Her voice trailed off as Merlin rubbed harder between her legs, caught up in the story. He stopped and brought two fingers to tease over her folds again until she started talking again.

“I kissed his cock, feeling dreamy and happy at how it twitched under my lips. My limbs felt heavy, so I didn’t want to move except to raise my head enough to catch the tip of him in my mouth. And then I sucked him while he petted my hair, his hands trembling, until finally he cried out and spilled his seed safely down my throat. I felt so satisfied at having him that way, and I dozed on his lap until he got up and left me stretched out, alone for the first time.”

“Not for long, I reckon.” This time when he parted her lips, a small gush of fluid wet his fingers. It seemed the perfect time to push them inside her, so he did.

“Unh. Yes. No, two, Merlin. Yes, like that, oh. No, I wasn’t alone. I was never alone, because Lancelot was there,” she said, and Merlin knew how far into pleasure she was that she would speak so freely of him like that. “I opened my eyes and smiled when I saw him bending over me. He needed me so badly, but he could see that the potion had finally subsided, letting me cool down.”

Merlin had no intention of letting her cool down now. His fingers slid deeper inside her while his thumb found her clit again. He worked her without mercy.

“He said my name—not Gwen. Guinevere, he said. Do you need more? he asked, and I saw that he had the flagon of potion in his hand. I started to reach for it, but he stopped me. Do you want more? he asked, running his hand down my body like I was something precious."

Which she always would be to Lancelot. It must have killed him to ask her that and take the risk that she might say no. Merlin could imagine his agony, waiting for her to deny him what the others had taken with such abandon.

Gwen's head lolled back onto his shoulder. Her eyes were closed, lost in the memory. "I drank the potion," she murmured and didn't seem to notice that she had trailed off into soft cries and choked breaths, a moan for every wet sound Merlin's fingers made in her cunt.

Finally she let out a long, trembling moan and went heavy in his arms. She fell forward, bracing her hands on the edge of the mattress as she caught her breath.

The motion pressed her arse harder against Merlin's groin. The new angle presented her body for coupling, an unbearable tease when his prick was so hard and the smell of sex so strong in the air. His hands were already on her hips; he wondered if she'd mind if he just ground himself to completion against her bottom.

But instead, he helped her up onto the bed, laying her back against Morgana's pillows with a gentle stroke over her hair. Then he stepped back and ripped open his breeches because he couldn't take another fucking second without wanking.

"Merlin. Don't be silly. Come here."

He looked up blankly, cock in his hand and most of his brain already there as well.

She was smiling at him, and as she smiled, she pulled her skirts up around her waist and spread her thighs until he could see the glistening wet folds he had just learned by touch.

"Gwen, do you mean it?" Even when they'd spent time together before, he had never imagined going so far as that. Well, not outside his own head, anyway, and he saved those imaginings until later, when he was alone.

A shadow fell behind her eyes, but she still smiled. "If the combined knights of Camelot couldn't impregnate me, I rather doubt that you can. No offense."

A surge of magic went through his cock, enough to make him choke, and he knew instantly that she was wrong. But this wasn't the time to contemplate that, not with Gwen spread invitingly before him with her breasts still bare and her legs spread. He tamped the magic down and hastened to accept her invitation.

She slid her hand around the back of his neck and lifted herself up to kiss him as he climbed over her. "Besides," she said, lying back down as he positioned himself between her legs, "don't you want to hear about Arthur?"

That was stronger than magic. He froze with the head of his cock nudging into her damp curls. "Arthur?" he croaked. His arousal had overwhelmed him enough that he'd forgotten that of course the story wasn't finished while the prince of Camelot remained unsatisfied.

"Lancelot and I made love three times before he fell asleep and I couldn't rouse him again. I wanted to sleep as well, but the potion was still strong in my blood. I hadn't noticed, but Leon and Elyan had left, and Gwaine and Percival were snoring over their wine cups."

"But Arthur was still awake." Merlin's voice was faint and hoarse, though it seemed loud in his ears. He still held himself poised between her legs, just short of entry; she smiled against his cheek.

"He was looking away from me, but he was tense and even keeping his knee bent couldn't conceal how excited his body was from watching us. Me. I thought it was fate, bringing us together at last."

The head of his cock pressed into the wet folds of her cunt and slowly, he started to penetrate. He pushed into the warm space where Arthur's prick must have been encased; a year ago, but feeling so much closer.

"I felt so bold climbing onto his bed, and naked, no less, but I liked how it made me feel. He still wouldn't look at me. For a moment I was afraid he was angry at me, though I'd done nothing wrong. But his cock was bulging out of his breeches. He couldn't deny he wanted to fuck me just as the others had done."

Merlin groaned and buried himself to the root. He pulled back and pushed in again. He couldn't speak, overcome by the heat, the pressure, and the staggering thought of Arthur aroused and fucking.

"I put my hand on his chest and he caught my wrist. He finally met my eyes, and the look he gave me made me throb so deep between my legs."

Deep where Merlin was now probing, trying to keep his thrusts slow. He wanted to last just a little longer, just until the end of the story.

"It's time for us, I told him. But he shook his head and said no, it wasn't. Not yet. And to my humiliation, I started to cry."

Merlin forced himself to still. "Wait. He didn't--what?" he gasped.

"I pressed myself to his body, so shameless. I think I probably begged. He wrapped his arms around me and tried to soothe me, but I couldn't be soothed. I needed relief. I think I meant to reach for him, but my hand ended up between my own legs instead."

She demonstrated with a firm flick of her fingers between their bodies, right at the point of their joining. He shivered and let himself thrust again -- and again, until he was pumping into her steadily with no hope of stopping again.

Her words broke with each thrust. "He kissed me twice. Hard. Then his arms tightened around me until I could barely draw breath. I didn't want to breathe. I just wanted to come. I was jerking against his arms, and then I was coming so hard I couldn't see--like now, ah--"

She arched beneath him, fingers working harder, face scrunching and then smoothing. And just as she relaxed, Merlin tensed and spilled his seed into her in a long, satisfying pulse.

Then he went limp on top of her. Their chests pressed together as they caught their breath.

"So," Gwen said, nose brushing his. "Did that answer your question?"

They both burst out laughing. Merlin disengaged and tumbled to her side, dizzy. Then he kissed her again and helped her out of her crumpled dress. They were both owed some time off, after all.