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Camelot Coffee Gossip

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“As you can see, Mr. Pendragon,” Merlin said, holding the door to the back open for Arthur as they stepped into the backroom of the coffee shop. “Everything is in perfect working order.”

Arthur glanced around at the objects filling the shelves, the dishes piled in the sink to be washed after closing. The door swung shut behind them and Merlin turned to him, hands clasped behind his back and a polite smile on his face.

Leaning in, Arthur inspected the sacks of coffee beans, mouth pursing.

Behind him, Merlin glanced at the door but no had followed them in. If he strained, he could see Gwen through the tiny window, helping a customer at the counter.

Finally, Arthur straightened up and turned to Merlin, fixing his crooked tie and raising his chin.

“Everything looks alright,” he said and Merlin let out a small breath, chancing a glance at Mr. Pendragon’s face and glad when he found something other than disdain there.

“I’m glad.”

Arthur swept his blond hair from his eyes and eyed Merlin for a moment. “I bet you are.”

It only took Merlin two steps to reach Arthur, grinning against his mouth as he met him in a hard kiss, Arthur’s arms wrapping around his waist and pulling him in closer.

“You should do these inspections more often,” he murmured, licking along Arthur’s bottom lip and groaning softly when Arthur lifted him up, turning him around to press him up against the countertop.

“Too many would be suspicious,” Arthur replied, hands working at the ridiculous bow of Merlin’s apron, pulling at the knot.

Merlin only laughed, wrapping his legs around Arthur’s hips as they ground together.

They wouldn’t have much time, especially if the shop manager found out Arthur was here. He would want to come say hello and gladhand him, hoping for a promotion. Not that Arthur had anything to do with promotions. Making a good impression on the president of the corporation’s son couldn’t hurt, though.

Merlin’s fingers fumbled with the buttons on Arthur’s shirt, yanking them apart and getting his hands underneath to Arthur’s chest.

“What is wrong with this bloody knot?” Arthur groaned, the words pressed against Merlin’s skin, and Merlin reached back, pushing his hands away from the knot.

“It’s a bow.” With one pull of a string, it came apart and he pulled the apron over his head.

Arthur barely rolled his eyes, pulling Merlin’s mouth to his, his hands curling into Merlin’s dark brown hair, angling his jaw up, tracing the curve of his lips with his tongue.

Merlin dropped the apron on the ground and reached for Arthur’s tie. He tugged it apart in a few quick jerks but didn’t bother to take it off. They didn’t have time for that.

They really didn’t have time for any of this but that didn’t stop Arthur from reaching for Merlin’s thigh, his hand sliding up slowly.

Arthur’s other hand dropped to Merlin’s waist, fingers grazing under his tee-shirt, skimming up to his shoulder blades.

Merlin breathed out slowly, eyes closed as he brushed Arthur’s nose with his and went in for another kiss as their bodies pressed together, Arthur between his legs, hand creeping higher on his thigh.

Merlin’s hair stuck up in odd places, his lips reddened and a flush in his cheeks as Arthur pulled back a second.

Merlin met his eyes with a small smile and he pushed himself off the counter so he could press even closer to Arthur. He could feel the warm line of Arthur’s body against his, could feel the ghost of his breath against his chin, the scratch of stubble as he raised his fingers to Arthur’s jaw.

“So,” Merlin said as Arthur leaned in to his neck and he tilted his head back to let him. “When are you going to tell your father you shag baristas in the back of his coffee shops?”

Arthur pulled back, an eyebrow arched at Merlin. For a moment, Merlin wondered if Arthur would answer the question. He didn’t really know Arthur that well in the first place aside from what he read on the online gossip sites about celebrities and rich ponces that went around England getting pissed and groping posh girls at clubs.

“We haven’t shagged,” Arthur replied instead of answering the question.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Merlin said, sliding his arms around Arthur’s neck and smirking at him. “Never have enough time.”

“How unfortunate,” Arthur murmured as Merlin kissed him.

Merlin’s hands slid down his chest, under the open shirt and over his collar. He smiled as he bit Arthur’s bottom lip. If they were lucky, no one would interrupt them, but it had to be too much to hope for as Gwen’s voice came from the front.

“Merlin, could you come help me up here?”

Reluctantly, Merlin pulled back from Arthur, smoothing back his hair.

“Be right there,” he called back. Licking his lips, he sighed as Arthur immediately began to rebutton his shirt.

“Unfortunate,” Arthur repeated himself as he adjusted his tie and Merlin leaned back against the counter. Merlin knew he probably looked a mess and it wouldn’t fool Gwen for a moment.

Merlin grabbed his crumpled apron from the floor and slipped it back on. Retying the bow, he glanced at Arthur, but Arthur was busy checking his reflection in the shiny metal back behind the sink.

“I should get back to work,” Merlin said after a second.

“Come to mine after,” Arthur said as Merlin reached for the door.

Pausing, Merlin turned slowly, searching Arthur for any kind of a joke, but Arthur merely stepped over to him and smiled slightly.

“You do know where it is?”

“Yeah,” Merlin agreed, slightly surprised still, but he tried not to show it as he smiled. “I was just thinking it’ll be late by the time I get off here.”

“I’ll talk to your boss. I have some sway there.”

Merlin grinned, a giddy feeling running through him as Arthur leaned past him to push open the door.

In the front of the cafe, Gwen was busy taking and filling orders.

“There you are,” she said, sounding relieved as they emerged. She flashed a brief smile at Arthur. “Hello, Mr. Pendragon. How’s your day been?”

Merlin tightened the bow on his apron and took the next customer.

“Pretty decent, Gwen,” Arthur replied and straightened his tie. “Is your manager in yet?”

“He’s in the office. I didn’t get a chance to tell him you were here,” she said distractedly, and Merlin glanced over his shoulder at Arthur, smiling when he saw the missed button on Arthur’s shirt.

“I’ll just pop in,” Arthur said. “Keep up the good work.”

He passed behind Merlin, a little closer than strictly necessary, on his way to the office, and Merlin forced himself to hide his smile as he greeted the next customer.

“Was everything alright back there?” Gwen asked, not even glancing at Merlin as she made the next drink and Merlin took more orders. It was the afternoon rush that kept the line long no matter how quickly they worked.

“Fine, why?”

“You were just gone a while,” she said, grabbing the whipped cream and glancing at him a little more obviously now. “And you’ve got a mark on your neck.”

Merlin’s hand slapped to his neck, though he didn’t remember Arthur doing anything in that vicinity. “No, I don’t!”

Gwen smirked down at the drink. “No, you don’t, but you might as well.”

“Gwen,” Merlin whined, though the pounding of his heart lessened slightly. Apparently he wasn’t as good at keeping secrets as he thought.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone,” she assured him and flashed a smile at the customer she handed the drink to. “Just make sure you clean up afterward. I won’t be spending my time scrubbing the back because of your exploits.”

“It’s not like that,” Merlin murmured, scribbling down an order on a cup and passing it over. He rung up the customer and took the money with a polite smile.

“Then what’s it like?”

Merlin turned towards her for a second. “I can’t—”

“Excuse me, I ordered skim milk.” A customer interrupted him and Merlin didn’t get the chance to explain how it was or wasn’t to Gwen for the rest of the rush. He even missed Arthur leaving, barely catching a flash of the back of his head as it went out the door.

Honestly, he wasn’t really sure how it was, at least not in a way that he could explain to someone else. All he knew was that since he’d gotten the job at Camelot Coffee and he’d met Arthur that day six months ago when Arthur had come in to inspect the place, he’d felt an unexplainable pull towards him. Since then, every three months, Arthur would stop by, ask Merlin to show him around, and they’d end up snogging in the backroom until interrupted or until Arthur would insist on leaving.

They’d never gotten quite as far as today, with Arthur’s hands under his tee-shirt, Arthur’s tie askew and buttons undone. In the three months since Merlin had seen Arthur, he had thought about him quite a bit, done some research on the internet, and found out that the Pendragon legacy went back generations upon generations, and the somewhat-recently acquired legion of Camelot Coffee shops only added to that.

Merlin had never been one to snoop around about people he fancied, but Arthur Pendragon was all over the internet. There were photographs of him in fancy suits and ties at elite parties Merlin would have had no interest in attending, pictures of him out on yachts in the south seas, a rare few photographs of him doing things clearly inappropriate for the family name, though most seemed to have been taken down.

Arthur Pendragon wasn’t someone Merlin had heard much about before coming to Camelot Coffee except in passing when rich people did stupid things. A year ago, he had read in a tabloid that Arthur and his friends had gone to a strip club in America and all the photographs had been confiscated by the family’s lawyers.

Merlin had never imagined that he would ever actually meet the famous Arthur, let alone feel him up in a coffee shop storeroom.

By the time the rush died down, Gwen had seemingly forgotten about her question and went to wash up, leaving Merlin alone in the front of the shop.

He actually enjoyed working at Camelot Coffee, considering all the free pastries he got. The actual front of the shop was cozily small, with little round, wooden tables and chairs cluttered in the space. A few cushioned window-seats and tables pressed up against the walls, and the street outside, though a tight space and not exactly in the main thoroughfare of town, had a good trickle of people wandering past shop fronts, tourists getting lost on their way in to town from the station.

It wasn’t exactly bustling London, but Merlin enjoyed living there all the same.

Outside, the sky darkened quickly as evening fell, the pitter-pat of rain coming inside whenever someone opened the front door. Merlin busied himself wiping down tables and making small-talk with the regular customers.

“Merlin.”

The manager had finally stepped out of his office, his large belly preceding him into the shop.

“Yes, sir?”

“Don’t you have to get going? Mr. Pendragon said you had a family thing to get to.”

Merlin smiled to himself at the lie considering his only family lived three hundred miles away.

“I’d almost forgotten,” he said instead, already untying the bow of his apron and tugging it over his head. “Thanks for letting me go early, sir.”

Mr. Aredian merely sniffed and turned back to his office. Merlin knew he’d only done it so Arthur would put in a good word on his behalf. Not that Arthur would, but it amused Merlin to think of what hints of promotion Arthur might have dropped to get him out of work early. He almost never got to leave early unless the shop was completely dead.

Rain dotted his shirt as he stepped outside into the darkened street and turned the opposite way he normally went.

Up the High Street, Merlin walked, eagerly at first but then he slowed slightly as he reached the center of town.

Arthur had never asked to see him after the inspections, and Merlin had certainly never gone to see him outside of the shop. The last time Arthur had been in town, he had mentioned staying at the Queen’s Head Inn, and Merlin assumed that was where he had meant.

The Inn came up quicker than he expected, down the end of the street near one of the more popular pubs in town.

At least Merlin didn’t run into anyone he knew as he ducked into the lobby of the inn.

He knew why he felt nervous as he approached the desk. He did, after all, barely know Arthur aside from gossip sites, and they honestly hadn’t ever had much of a real conversation. All he knew was that he liked the way Arthur looked at him, all rough edges and hungry desire behind his blue eyes. He liked the way Arthur just showed up at the coffee shop every few months, looking powerful in his crisp suits, but also ruffled in the way a boarding school boy would be.

It made Merlin even more eager as he crossed the tiny lobby. He didn’t care that he barely knew Arthur. There would be plenty of time for that if they ever got past making out against the old cappucino maker.

The girl at the front desk perked up at the sight of him, although Merlin was fairly sure they didn’t know each other.

“Er, hello,” he said, setting his elbow on the counter and glancing around the small, cluttered lobby. It wasn’t exactly where he would have expected Arthur to stay, but given the choice of hotels, it was one of the nicer ones in town. “I’m looking for Arthur Pendragon. He’s staying here.”

The girl flipped through her book, chancing glances up at Merlin every so often until she found the name.

“He’s in room twenty-five.”

Merlin flashed her a smile. “Thanks.”

He left before she could start the small-talk she so obviously wanted. He heard her sigh as he left and he purposefully didn’t look back, taking the door to the hall.

The thick carpet muffled his footsteps and he passed a number of large, wooden doors until he found number twenty-five at the end.

He stopped at the door, reeling in the nerves, the excitement coursing through him as he raised a hand to knock.

It took a minute, but the door opened and Arthur stood there, barefoot on the wood floor, his tie long gone and the first few buttons of his shirt undone.

It looked like an invitation to Merlin, and Merlin smiled.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

“Where are my manners?” Arthur replied, stepping aside and letting Merlin into the room. He checked the hall before shutting the door.

“I wasn’t followed, I swear,” Merlin assured him with an amused grin.

“Can’t be too careful.”

For a fleeting moment, Merlin wondered if Arthur was actually concerned about being discovered, but he put it out of his mind as he glanced around the room.

“I’ve never been here before.”

“You mean you’ve never rented a room in a hotel in the town where you live? Shocking.”

“Shut up.” Merlin laughed but a warm blush coloured his cheeks. Unsure what to do, he untwined the scarf from around his neck and strung it through his hands.

He wasn’t sure if he had ever thought this would happen, or even what exactly was going to happen as he and Arthur stood a good four feet away from each other in an unfamiliar hotel room. Sure, he always looked forward to Arthur’s “inspections” but he had always gotten the feeling that Arthur only came round to appease his father rather than for an actual interest in the business.

For a moment, Merlin felt the awkwardness lingering around them, a question that had never been asked before, never answered either. In the coffee shop, it never needed to be asked. Here, though, it inched in around them, and Merlin stirred to life at the sounds of drunken laughing coming in through the window.

He smiled at Arthur, eyes raking over Arthur’s appearance - ruffled hair, the top three buttons undone on his shirt, revealing an expanse of skin on his chest, the way Arthur’s fingers twitched at his side.

Merlin didn’t consider himself to be in a relationship with Arthur, not when they both closed the distance between them in a few steps, wordlessly agreeing to whatever it was between them, not when Arthur’s hands landed on his jaw, when Arthur crowded him up against the wall and he hit with a thud.

They weren’t in a relationship when Arthur kissed him first, all soft, pouted lips, the flash of a tongue against his mouth. Merlin’s hands scrambled at Arthur’s shirt, anchoring in the fabric near his waist, fisting the white dress shirt in his hand as Arthur licked into his mouth, tongue curling against Merlin’s and sucking as Merlin sought out leverage.

He was barely taller than Arthur, not enough to gain any sort of upper hand, especially since Arthur weighed a good deal more than him, had enough muscles that he could keep Merlin pinned in any situation he wanted. It didn’t bother him, though, and he would rather have concentrated on the press of Arthur’s chest against his. His heart fluttered in between beats that echoed in his ears along with the rushing of blood, flooding his skin as he pressed his hands to Arthur’s waist as if to pull him in closer, but he couldn’t get much closer than he already was.

Their mouths slid apart with a smack of lips, and Merlin pulled back enough to brush his nose against Arthur’s, lips ghosting over each other.

Merlin already felt his cock swelling in the anticipation, Arthur’s closeness, and as he breathed in, he could smell the faint aroma of scotch, could taste it on his tongue. Arthur must have gone out for a drink.

Swallowing, Merlin gazed at the tiny hairs trailing down the back of Arthur’s neck, the start of stubble along his jaw. His eyes grazed down Arthur’s nose, the brush of his light-coloured eyelashes against his cheeks. He felt Arthur take a breath, the movement of his chest as it rose and fell.

Arthur’s fingers still pressed against his jaw, stroking slowly down his neck, trailing over his collarbone and Merlin shivered at the touch, too light considering the way his hips had started rocking in against Merlin’s, a steady push that had Merlin’s grip tightening on Arthur’s waist and letting out a breathy exhale.

“Did you miss me?” Arthur asked, and the small bit of tenderness from his fingers is gone with the cocky question that Merlin scoffed at.

“Who would miss a rich prat who doesn’t even like coffee?” Merlin replied, barely noticing his own hands moving to Arthur’s shirt and pulling the buttons open one by one.

Arthur’s hands dropped their slow exploration of his collarbone, slid to his waist, and pushed under his shirt. Despite himself, Merlin’s breath hitched at the rough fingertips grazing along his hip bones as Arthur flattened him against the wall and leaned into his neck, breathing out long and slow, almost a heavy sigh that Merlin felt in the warm breath fanning over his skin. His eyes fluttered shut and he got the last button undone.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Arthur murmured, and then he licked a long line up Merlin’s throat.

Merlin’s knees shook and he reached for Arthur’s shoulders, shoving the shirt off and into a crumpled heap on the floor.

He could barely concentrate with Arthur’s mouth sucking on his neck, teeth nibbling the skin until Merlin jumped at every swipe of Arthur’s tongue against it. Heat pooled in his stomach, his cock growing with each rocking of Arthur’s hips against his own. He squirmed against him, wedging his hand in between them to slide down Arthur’s bare stomach and trace the outline of Arthur’s erection through his trousers.

He felt more than heard Arthur’s groan, a low rumble against his skin. Arthur’s fingers skimmed his shirt up, bunching under his armpits before stripping it off. It joined Arthur’s shirt on the floor, and Merlin sucked in a sharp breath at Arthur’s leg sliding between his, forcing his knees apart so he could grind against Merlin’s hip in a rough movement that stuttered Merlin’s breath.

Merlin grabbed for Arthur’s waist, fingers scrabbling along his bare skin, pushing against the small of his back, needing more.

Turning his head, he sought out Arthur’s mouth. The kiss missed and Merlin barely got the side of Arthur’s mouth, but Arthur moved a second later, aligning their mouths for a kiss, drawn-out and too slow, but so good as the heat passed between them, the wet sucking of tongues, the sharp nip of teeth against soft skin.

Merlin knew he shouldn’t ruin a good thing, not when he brought his hand down to Arthur’s crotch again, tracing the outline of his cock through his trousers, not when Arthur’s teeth sunk into his lower lip and pulled back. He knew it, but he’d never been very good at listening to his instincts.

“Why?” he gasped as Arthur’s lips left his for a second.

“Why what?” Arthur replied, pushing his hips in against Merlin’s thigh, more insistently now, and Merlin’s cheeks flushed red from the friction, the anticipation coursing through him with Arthur this close, only a few layers of clothing separating them.

Merlin’s almost forgot his reply as Arthur ducked down to his collarbone, lavishing it with his tongue, and he clutched at the back of Arthur’s head, sliding into his hair and moaning softly. Arthur’s hands moved as well, moving around the grip his ass and jerk him forward.

“Why now?” he finally managed to choke out, head swimming and panting for breath, fingers curling into Arthur’s hair as he felt the rush of heat filling his cock.

He was as hard as he had ever been, hips pressed to Arthur’s, rocking in the rhythm they had built up. If they didn’t get to the bed soon, Merlin would come right there, all over his trousers, and he didn’t want it to be over that quickly.

He wanted to know, though. Six months had passed since he had met Arthur, been warned that the corporation president’s son was coming to inspect the shop, that if he was anything like his father, he would be a proud, no-nonsense type of man. He’d been surprised to find Arthur so young, barely twenty-two, and so bored he could have shot himself during the inspection until he got Merlin alone and cornered him near the sink.

Arthur paused, nuzzling his nose against Merlin’s skin, licking a nipple experimentally, seemingly pleased when Merlin jerked.

“Why not now?”

“It’s just—” Merlin sucked in a sharp breath as Arthur pushed his hands underneath the back of his trousers and squeezed his ass. “We’ve never…”

He couldn’t finish his sentence when his thought trailed away with Arthur’s mouth closing around his nipple and sucking, flicking his tongue over the nub and erasing any questions from Merlin’s mind. Honestly, he wasn’t too bothered. There’d be time later to ask, and right now, he really wanted to get Arthur out of his trousers and onto the bed behind him.

“Oh, fuck,” he breathed instead, shoving at Arthur, ignoring the questioning look he got in return as Arthur let him. “Bed.”

A smirk curved Arthur’s mouth and Arthur’s hands tightened their grip over Merlin’s ass, turning him around and only taking them out of his trousers to push him onto the bed.

Arthur climbed on after as Merlin toed off his shoes and scooted back, legs spread open for Arthur to settle between.

His body burned with every brush of Arthur’s hands over his skin, touches still too light, too vague as his hands flitted over Merlin’s stomach, smoothing over his hip bones, up to his neck as he angled Merlin’s chin up to meet his mouth.

Their lips slotted together, tongues meeting in something more desperate than before, hotter and faster, breaths traded in the short space between kisses.

Arthur’s hands slid down Merlin’s stomach and went for the button on his trousers, pulling it apart and shoving them down. He got them as far as Merlin’s thighs, unwilling to leave Merlin’s mouth, and Merlin couldn’t have agreed more.

Merlin moaned as he felt Arthur’s hand brushing along the length of his cock, a pressure that sent a flush racing up his skin.

He pulled away from Arthur, panting for breath and wriggling against him, wishing Arthur wasn’t wearing so many clothes.

Easily remedied, though, and Merlin reached for Arthur’s trousers, unzipping and pushing them down.

Arthur kicked them the rest of the way off and helped Merlin out of his, leaving them both naked. For a moment, the silence was broken only by a drunken laugh that faded quickly outside the window.

Merlin had imagined this moment plenty of times before, when he would lie alone in his flat and wank to images of Arthur, photographs taken by paparazzi on the internet. He had imagined the strong lines of Arthur’s body, the muscles in his arms, the way he would gaze down, hunger and eagerness in his blue eyes.

Arthur moved first, mouthing at Merlin’s neck as he moved their hips together, sliding in until they were pressed together and Merlin squeezed his eyes shut at the heat racing through his cock, up his stomach.

Considering he barely knew Arthur, he wasn’t sure what was going to happen tonight, and he couldn’t find the words to ask as Arthur’s mouth skimmed down his neck and his hand finally wrapped around his cock.

He’d often thought about Arthur’s hand around him, stroking him off to a quick rhythm. Usually, that was all it took to bring him off late at night when he needed release, but this was so much different, so much better.

Arthur’s hand gripped him easily, palm warm and tight around him, and Merlin let out a slow breath. His hips twitched as Arthur’s hand moved, stroking him at an easy pace, thumb rubbing over the tip and smearing pre-cum over the length.

Merlin could only open his mouth, eyes shut tight, and focus on the movements of Arthur’s hand, the slide of Arthur’s tongue along his collarbone. He gasped at Arthur’s teeth sinking into his skin, soothed a minute later by a hot tongue.

He was going to come if Arthur wasn’t careful - he could already feel it building, the tension and tightening deep in his stomach, the pulsing heat in his cock as Arthur moved.

“Ar-Arthur,” he managed to say, reaching for Arthur’s shoulder to try to warn him, to stop him from going any further before he lost it completely.

Arthur apparently didn’t care, and instead of listening to Merlin, he ducked his head down before Arthur could stop him and licked a stripe up his cock.

Oh,” Merlin breathed, his throat closing slightly as he panted for breath at Arthur’s mouth on his cock.

His hips snapped up, but Arthur’s broad hands shoved them back down without so much as a grunted warning.

It had been a while since anyone had sucked him off, and Merlin couldn’t remember the last person. He didn’t care either, not when he felt a wet finger sliding in against his entrance.

The combination of Arthur’s mouth, hot and wet around his cock, and his finger rubbing against his entrance was too much, and he made a garbled noise, almost embarrassing, but he didn’t care, hands scrabbling for something to grab onto. He found Arthur’s shoulder, fingernails digging into the skin.

Arthur made a noise, a soft hum around Merlin’s prick, and Merlin couldn’t help the whine that escaped, the shaky exhale and how his hips tried to push up again.

Arthur let him this time, his free hand pressed against his hip bone, and Merlin’s cock pushed up, sliding against his cheek. Arthur pulled up with his hips, swallowing slowly and sucking the tip.

The heat pressed in all around him, and Merlin blocked out everything else. He could only see the darkness of his eyelids, but he forced his eyes open, staring down to watch the erotic slide of his cock into Arthur’s mouth, the shiny pink lips stretched over the hard length. Slick and wet, his cock throbbed, and Merlin threw his head back as he tried to catch his breath.

“Arthur,” he said again, more insistently this time. “I’m-I’m gonna—”

His grip on Arthur’s shoulder turned into pushing, trying to warn him before it was too late, but he felt the tension break, the knot in his stomach unraveling as he couldn’t hold back. It crashed over him, bombarding him with heat and the wetness that followed.

Arthur pulled back just in time, his hand stroking Merlin to completion, the finger pressing against his ass barely moving inside.

Panting for breath, Merlin wiped away the sweat pricking his brow and sighed heavily. He could barely keep his eyes open as he lay there, Arthur’s hand jerking him lazily now.

He felt dizzy, his head still spinning as Arthur released his softened prick and moved up on the bed to lay next to him. For a moment, Merlin said nothing, blinking tiredly at the ceiling.

Beside him, Arthur shifted, pressing up against his side, and he felt Arthur’s hard cock against his hip.

“Let me,” he said finally, shifting to reach for Arthur, but Arthur stopped him, catching his wrist and pushing it back.

“No, just,” Arthur said instead, pushing his hips up against Merlin’s thigh, his hand creeping down grab the soft flesh as he moved.

Arthur’s hot breath ghosted over Merlin’s neck, and Merlin felt his cock twitch as Arthur moved, rubbing himself off against Merlin’s thigh. He tried to reach again, but Arthur stopped him, hips twitching and moving faster, his breath stuttering against Merlin’s skin.

“Fuck, Merlin,” Arthur muttered, his rhythm faltering, and he licked Merlin’s neck, gritting his teeth a second later.

Merlin felt a bit more awake now, and he listened to Arthur, his soft breaths, muttered curses. Arthur’s hand tightened over his thigh, and Merlin twisted his head to meet Arthur’s mouth for a hard kiss that Arthur only broke for a sharp curse, his hips pushing in hard against Merlin, and Merlin felt the wetness hit his thigh, the hard rub of Arthur’s cock against his skin.

Arthur sighed into his mouth as his hips slowly stilled, and he removed his hand from Merlin’s thigh, raising it to his face as he kissed him, deep and long, tongue sliding along the roof of his mouth.

The kisses degenerated into licking into each other’s mouths, exchanging soft sighs, and Arthur kissed the side of his mouth, his chin.

Merlin’s eyes slid shut, his forehead pressed against Arthur’s.

For a moment, neither said anything. More drunken laughing and talking came and went outside the window. Arthur’s thumb brushed over Merlin’s jaw slowly even as the kisses faded away.

“So,” Merlin said finally, opening his eyes and gazing at Arthur. From this close up, he could see every imperfection on his skin, the slight bump in his nose, the way his eyelashes matched his hair color.

“So,” Arthur repeated easily, smiling slightly at Merlin as though he amused him.

“This was new.”

Arthur laughed. “Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming?”

Merlin shrugged awkwardly, lying on his side. “The tabloids seem to think you’re straight.”

“The tabloids aren’t as good as they say.”

“And your dad?” Merlin didn’t know much about Uther Pendragon except that he owned half of Britain, although it came in the form of coffee shops, technology companies, and just about every British-made product on the shelves. “Does he know you shag the employees?”

Arthur raised an eyebrow at Merlin’s impertinent question, and perhaps it was considering they didn’t know each other very well.

For a long moment, he didn’t answer, but then he sighed, running a hand through his already well-tousled hair thanks to Merlin’s fingers.

“The reason the tabloids say I’m straight is because my father pays them to and buys all incriminating photos they might get their hands on.” He met Merlin’s eyes. “If they ever publish one, he’ll have all the family lawyers on them so quickly they won’t even have time to get their hands out of their trousers.”

“Does it bother you?” Merlin scooted closer, and Arthur let out what might have been a huff.

“No,” he said finally. “Besides, I don’t shag all the employees.”

“Oh, really?”

“Just the cute ones.”

Merlin grinned. “And when’s your next inspection?”

Arthur paused and leaned into Merlin’s ear. “Want to know a secret?”

“Okay.”

“I only have to do inspections once a year.”

Merlin’s grin widened and he bit his bottom lip as Arthur moved back.

“I guess our shop is just full of problems, yeah?”

“Lots of problems,” Arthur agreed, eyes sparkling mischievously. “I’ll probably have to make many more stops by this year to make sure you’re on track.”

“I’m sure Mr. Aredian will be pleased.”

“I bet,” Arthur replied, dragging Merlin’s mouth to his for a kiss that Merlin smiled into.

He had never expected this to happen, not with Arthur Pendragon, the guy he had only known through tabloids and gossip sites. He supposed Gwen would have something to say about the bruise forming on his neck tomorrow, but for tonight, he was content to let Arthur kiss him as much as he wanted and to curl into him. There’d be another inspection soon, by the sounds of it, and Merlin looked forward to it.

*

FIN.