Shaking the droplets from his wet fringe, Merlin took a deep breath. Then another. It didn't help. Not really.
He tried again anyway.
It exploded too.
Yesterday, Merlin hadn't even thought it was physically possible for WATER to explode. He knew better now.
It was a relatively simple exercise, a spell to create a floating ball of water that could then be launched at enemies. It should have been easy to master.
Except today, Merlin was in a foul mood.
So the things exploded.
As was evidenced by the totally drenched clothing clinging to his slim torso. The repeated explosions certainly didn't help Merlin's frustration any.
With a growl, Merlin tossed the bowl containing the offensive liquid. Hard. Flung it underhanded and watched it sail right out the window.
Then cringed as a shriek sounded, followed by the crash of clay breaking.
Merlin leaned his palms against the table, trying to gather some inner calm. It didn't work, not really.
Merlin still boiled inside.
It was because of the smell.
At least being completely wet throughout blocked out the scent a bit. The smell that was driving Merlin mad.
It had begun about a week before, after the banquet the Lady of the Wood-Grove had hosted in the Kings honor. Tall and mysterious and robed in transparent gauze that was frankly indecent, the High Priestess had gone on and on about recognizing one's link with Nature, being in tune with the cycles of the moon and the purity of life's instincts.
Or something like that.
Merlin hadn't paid too much attention, peering nervously into all the shifting shadows surrounding the table in the moonlit woods. Too many dangers could be hidden there, biding their time in the dark.
At least the drink had been good, and Arthur had had enough of it that he had begun to ply Merlin with his cup after a while. As he usually did when was slightly tipsy.
Not that Merlin was complaining or anything.
Still, it had been a strange night and Merlin had been most relieved to be back in the castle. That last look the Priestess-Lady had sent him was positively weird, almost amused.
Merlin had first smelled it the next morning, while making the bed in Arthur's chambers. Intoxicating, subtle; a scent like nothing he'd ever come across.
Wild and arousing.
Merlin had gotten stiff in his trousers.
He'd thought nothing of it.
But for the rest of the week, he'd kept getting random whiffs of the scent.
And the effect was always the same; Merlin wanted to go after it. Needed to track down the source of such a delectable smell and… Merlin wasn't quite sure what came after, but he was a bit afraid of the urges that rolled within him.
Merlin wasn't usually mercurial or moody.
He wasn't used to these surges of primal need.
And constantly battling the urge to –whatever- put him in a bad mood.
Anger boiled in his belly, a tight hard ball. He wanted to MAKE the smell stop, but it kept coming back, stronger every time; taunting Merlin with promises of -something. The sorcerer's helplessness at controlling his instinctive response only made the frustration worse.
So he couldn't concentrate.
And spells exploded.
With a splash.
A wet splash.
A cold wet splash.
Merlin had barely slept in three days, plagued by dreams of tall knights and busty maidens who toyed with him and dissolved into mist right before he spent. Again and again he woke with a gasp, sweaty and unsatisfied.
Trying to relieve himself in desperate shameful fisting had somehow only stoked the fire. As Merlin spilled wetly over his fingers, unfulfilled instincts only increased in strength; his hand was not what he wanted, was not what he needed and he nearly wept at the frustration of it all.
Merlin had tried to continue his work, tried to go about his daily business. No one need know he had transformed into a lecherous angry creature.
The burden of keeping a calm façade had grown harder and harder to bear as the week advanced.
Everything bugged Merlin; his scratchy clothing, Morgana and her perfect luscious hair, Lancelot and his ridiculously perfect behind, Arthur and his stupid perfect lips and perfectly tousled hair and perfectly blue eyes and the sound of clinking when he walked and just everything that was so…Arthur.
Arthur had certainly not helped Merlin remain calm. He'd been distant and cold, pulling into himself as he used to before he'd come to trust Merlin. As the week progressed, he'd become increasingly agitated, rather like Merlin himself.
The Prince threw himself into training, until sweat drenched his body and he could barely stand. He argued with his father, rode the horses to exhaustion, had fits over nothing and was generally impossible to please.
To top things off, for the last two days, he had coldly refused that Merlin draw his bath every night. Merlin felt hurt and disappointed; Arthur's bathing was a calming private moment. A comforting time of ease. A together moment, where Merlin actually felt useful and Arthur finally relaxed.
Instead, Arthur had taken to dousing himself with a pail of ice-cold water from the stream, rough and shivering, before dismissing Merlin for the night.
It shouldn't have bothered Merlin, it really shouldn't.
Except he was already bubbling with frustration and having Arthur locking him out and regressing back to being a prat was almost too much.
Merlin had to bite his lip to keep the scathing comments down. Really physically bite his lip and stand stiffly by the door until he could finally go.
Otherwise he might just grab the crown prince and smack him good, wipe the arrogant smile from his face. Or bend him over the table and spank the twat.
The thought was disturbing, as Merlin had never experienced the urge to apply physical violence towards Arthur before. Sure, he was annoying. But Merlin had never actually quivered with the urge to just seize him and… Images pulled from his lusty dreams blended with the fantasy of punishing Arthur and Merlin blushed furiously, thankful Arthur couldn't read his mind.
Merlin's temper was made even more volatile during those moments before bed because the smell was so much worse in Arthur's chambers.
Although Merlin had searched the place thoroughly, again and again, he had never found anything out of the ordinary to explain the odor.
Merlin shivered, pulled back to the present by the cold. The rough wet cloth of Merlin's trousers was beginning to chafe against his privates. With a sigh, he pushed away from the table and climbed the steps to his chamber.
Changing into dry clothing didn't help the irritation just boiling inside and Merlin's hands shook quite badly.
Sighing again, he knew he would have to go to Gaius.
He couldn't continue this way. Something was going to happen, something huge and terrible. Merlin's magic stewed inside him, straining at his control.
His rod was hard, pulsing and demanding when he freed it from the wet wool. Merlin's long fingers squeezed- a punishing clench.
He was rather awed at how potent it felt, angry red and so full of blood. Merlin had never been ashamed of his equipment before, but he'd never seen himself quite so… vigourous.
With a final exasperated sigh, Merlin awkwardly shoved the swollen length into his pants, wincing. His member protested, throbbing.
In a fit of frustration, Merlin tugged his laces tight.
Somehow, the action made him feel better. To be able to contain his tumescent organ was strangely satisfying after a week of being buffeted by passions out of his control.
Merlin groaned at the bite of the crisscrossing leather, feeling his member pushing back, pulsing painfully against the bindings.
Patting the front of his straining breeches, Merlin quietly savored the ache for a moment. Then he wiggled into his tunic, thankful for the cloth that covered the sight of his depraved arousal.
Merlin walked briskly, ignoring the tremble in his thighs, as headed toward the royal apartments to seek Gaius.
Something needed to happen.
Merlin had reached his limit.
He felt as though he might explode at any moment.
Like the damn spheres of water.
It would have been funny, if only Merlin wasn't struggling so hard against the urge to kick something.
Merlin found the palace in turmoil when he entered. Servants ran every which way, a patrol of clunking guards nearly ran him down and there was a feeling of tension in the air close to frenzy that made the hair on his arms stand up.
Merlin finally found his mentor, hurrying towards the throne room so fast his robes billowed behind him.
The response was short and hurried, and not at all accompanied by any visible slowing of the physician's speed.
''Gaius.'' Merlin hissed urgently, trying to catch up with the older man. ''I need… I mean I really… I… have a problem.''
Gaius looked at him over his shoulder, a piercing grey stare that made Merlin blush.
Then he pushed on the heavy wood doors with knotted fingers, marching towards the king. Just before entering the Greatroom, Gaius whispered curtly.
''Not now, Merlin.''
And really, Merlin couldn't argue with him because the King was positively seething. He paced in tight circles before the throne, and the lines in his face were deepened with anxiety. Not that he ever looked soft, but right then Uther looked decidedly terrifying.
So Merlin and his problem moved to stand discreetly by the wall, to Gaius's left.
It turned out that the reason for all the upset was that Arthur had disappeared.
Vanished; vanished without a word or a note or anything.
Merlin clenched his fists at the irrational wave of anger that swamped him at the news.
It was Arthur's fault.
Merlin had finally decided to get help, but he was stuck waiting for Uther to stop ranting at his mentor.
Because of Arthur.
Merlin didn't mean to growl out loud, he really didn't. But the shocked look a passing maid sent him, wide-eyed-terrified, probably meant he had.
He chalked the incident up as falling into the ''Because of Arthur'' category.
Which, strangely, didn't make Merlin feel any better.
Arthur was missing.
Merlin wasn't worried or anything affectionate like that. No.
He would just have to find his idiot master.
Before the others.
So he could scream at him good and long. Until Arthur begged Merlin for forgiveness.
And then the dreams were intruding again at the thought of a humbled Arthur on his knees before Merlin and surely Arthur wouldn't actually be able to swallow it *all* down and Merlin was –quite- sure Uther would have him beheaded if he guessed even half the impure thoughts running in his servant's dirty mind.
Even if they were because of Arthur.
It just wasn't fair. Merlin sighed and looked out the window at the late-afternoon sun that washed Camelot in gold.
Gold, which was annoying because gold reminded Merlin of Arthur which reminded him of his problem which reminded him that Arthur was missing.
Merlin might have growled for the second time that day. Maybe.
Now if only he could snatch a moment alone with Gaius...