Arthur came up from slumber slowly, his cock urging his hips to push up into the tight, welcoming heat around him before he was fully awake. Even when thoughts started flowing warm and syrupy through his mind, he took it to be a dream; semi-lucid fantasy tantalizing him in sleep with what he wasn’t allowed in the waking world. He let himself sink into it the same way he sunk into the illusory body above him and drifted in a haze of pleasured half-consciousness.
Weight settled across his hips as he was taken in all the way, drawing a groan from his lips that stirred him a little more. He felt it dragging breath up his throat, which seemed wrong for a dream. It roused him enough to blink his eyes open, and the light filtering through his lashes proved it to be something more than a wishful hallucination, though it was no less a fantasy when he processed the scene.
Morning sun shone through through his window, illuminating Merlin in gold. It kissed his skin, pale and bare, and burst into a halo around his dark hair. From his profane and radiant throne, he gazed down at Arthur with a look of wonder the likes of which Arthur had never seen, his eyes heady and his full lips shiny and parted as if to breathe the moment itself.
Gilded by the rising sun’s rays, Merlin’s wings flared out from his back and trembled.
Arthur was helpless to do anything but stare up at the vision that was his angel: exposed for him, over him, around him. His hand shook when he finally gathered enough intent to reach for Merlin, but he paused halfway to the creamy stretch of his leg, suddenly terrified that it was an illusion after all and his touch would crumble his dearest desire to dust.
Then Merlin licked his lips and blinked, shifted just enough for it to send a pulse of pleasure through Arthur, and whispered his name, “Arthur.”
Like a prayer: soft and reverent, private as confession. It was the hush of an invocation while kneeling in the pews at mass, the devout exaltation of an angelic choir. It was a revelation.
It was a blasphemy.
He touched Merlin, slipping his hand up the warm flesh of his thigh to close around his waist, and Merlin didn’t vanish. Arthur recited a prayer of thanks before he knew what he was doing and Merlin shuddered as it reached him, eyes slipping shut with a gasp.
Arthur bit back a groan. “Merlin. Merlin, you can’t.” Despite his protest, he didn’t move except to clench his fingers tighter around the jut of Merlin’s hip bone.
Merlin’s thighs were, like the rest of him, deceptively slim for the power contained within. They flexed as he lifted himself, sliding up the length of Arthur’s cock a scant inch before pushing back down.
Unrestrained, the moan that robbed Arthur of his breath felt like it rose straight through his chest from his cock. The sensation was more intense than all of Arthur’s imaginings, and he’d imagined it for years; had been resigned to only imagining it for just as long.
Guardian angels were divine beings, purity and light given physical form to accompany their mortal charges. They provided guidance and safety to whatever inscrutable point was permitted to them, and kept humans on the holy path throughout their lifetimes.
They cared, but they didn’t love. They didn’t desire.
It was unheard of, except in parables of days long past when men were savage and sinful. It was forbidden.
And yet, with a noise that echoed his, Merlin repeated the movement, rising a little higher and sinking down a little faster. Though he was exquisitely tight and close around Arthur, the ease of his movement suggested preparation. He’d opened himself for Arthur while Arthur slept, a task that was new to him as far as Arthur knew.
How Merlin had even learned—probably from the videos Arthur watched at the turn of his adolescence, before he knew how his angel struggled to stand in the corner and pretend not to be affected. When he’d thought Merlin was as stoic and unfeeling as the rest of them, despite all evidence to the contrary. It had been Merlin’s personality and emotiveness, after all, that had drawn Arthur to him in a way deeper than the acceptable platonic bond of guardian and charge.
He’d watched Arthur pleasure himself, and he’d taken the lessons to heart, even if it was years before he made the choice to put them to use. It must have been strange for him, probably uncomfortable and possibly even painful, but he’d forged on alone so that Arthur could wake to this miracle.
“I can,” Merlin repeated as he rocked up again. “I want to. Arthur, I want this.”
“Me too. God, Merlin, me too.”
The blasphemy slipped from his tongue before he could catch it, and fell even heavier than usual from his lips under the circumstances. He was defiling an angel—or perhaps being the vessel by which an angel defiled himself—and invoking the Lord while it happened.
Whether or not he suffered the consequences of it, Merlin surely would.
“But if you fall—”
Ceasing his movements on Arthur’s cock, Merlin let himself shift forward to lean over Arthur more fully, his chest near to Arthur’s and his wings half folded against the bed to either side. Timeless eyes locked with Arthur’s, he said, “When I fall, it won’t be because I loved you, or because I made myself impure with you. It will be because I am making the choice to. What am I giving up, really?”
Arthur had to answer his honesty in kind. “Eternity. Divinity. Ev—”
“What am I giving up that compares to you?”
That he had no answer to, because he could think of nothing that could compare to Merlin. Nothing that he wouldn’t sacrifice. But honesty he still had: “I love you.”
“And I love you. But you’ll die someday, Arthur. Even as your guardian, I couldn’t protect you forever. You’ll die and I wouldn’t want to go on after. So why should I deny us just for the sake of immortality I don’t even want?”
He sat back, one arm holding himself against Arthur’s thigh so he could lean back and test that new position. It made his eyes roll and flutter; his wings, too, and a stray feather floated lazily through the air to the sound of Merlin’s exultant cry.
He started fucking himself in earnest, then; there was no other word for it. A profane name for a profane act, as Merlin rode Arthur’s cock with a force that he was sure would be the death of him and well worth it for the pleasure.
In agreement at least about the pleasure, Merlin cried out every time he sunk back down. Breathy gasps and sobs pushed out of him with unselfconscious ecstasy as he slaked and stoked his desire in equal measure. His other hand drifted to his own chest, whether from the overwhelming feeling or the desire to explore the sensations he could draw out there, Arthur didn’t know.
“This is—I’ve never felt like this before. Oh, Arthur! It’s wondrous. More beautiful, mm, than all of Heaven, brighter than the Glory—”
Surely their sins were enough; they needn’t be prolific in tempting the wrath of the Lord. They’d committed themselves to the worst sacrilege already, so Arthur stopped questioning and gave over to his unholy lust. Merlin’s flushed cock slapped against his stomach with every bounce, so full that it wept thick droplets of need, and when Arthur closed his hand around it, Merlin froze mid-descent.
“Ohhhhhhh,” he groaned, his hips twitching helplessly into Arthur’s grip. That rocked Arthur’s cock, still halfway inside him, which in turn made Arthur’s fingers jerk around Merlin. Merlin quivered but was otherwise motionless as Arthur stroked him once, twice.
No one had ever touched him like that before, Arthur knew. He hadn’t even touched himself like that. Arthur had asked, once, when learned that his feelings were returned and he propositioned the angel. But Merlin had explained the consequences, his voice tremulous and uncertain as it never was, and Arthur had never pushed further than that.
He couldn’t control his dreams or his longing, which Merlin could see and feel, but when conscious he did his best to respect Merlin’s boundaries and fears. It was why he thought he’d never have this.
But have it he did, so he used his hand on Merlin’s hip to guide him back down, less hungrily than Merlin had been of his own volition. As Merlin’s head lolled back, Arthur kept his touch light but steady, sliding over Merlin’s cock with an ease slicked by the eager leaking of the tip. Merlin continued to shake against him, and small noises burst from his lips like whimpers, but among them Arthur heard yes and Arthur and oh oh oh, so he didn’t stop.
Propping one foot on the bed gave him the leverage he needed to push up into Merlin, still gentle but enough to rock them together. He slipped his fist over Merlin’s cock to the same tempo. Each time he wrung a gratified sob from Merlin’s lips, it fanned the flames of his arousal just as fervidly as the friction of Merlin around him, the way every involuntary jerk of Merlin’s hips sent pleasure ricocheting inside him.
Without warning, Merlin’s trembling wings flared out to their full span; something fell, but Arthur didn’t know or care what, too caught up in the glory of Merlin’s climax. Merlin shook to pieces and clenched around him, with the loudest cry yet gasping out of his stretched throat. In the moment, with his thrown-back head haloed by the sun and the pearly lines of his come as radiantly white as the feathers strewn about them on the bed, Arthur agreed wholeheartedly with Merlin’s blasphemy: nothing in Heaven or on Earth could possibly be more beautiful.
He couldn’t stop the roll of his hips, seeking his own completion inside Merlin’s heat, and it wasn’t long before he joined his angel in rapture. Even before Merlin’s cock stopped pulsing in his hand, Arthur spilled into him and their groans rose together like a choir in praise.
As Arthur recovered, the dazzle fading from his eyes, Merlin stayed tense as a harp string atop him; his clenching jaw contorted what expression was visible from Arthur’s vantage, twisting joy into agony. All Arthur could do was grab him by the waist with both hands and hold on for dear life, praying they’d both survive Merlin’s fall.
For all Arthur’s worry, the pain seemed to pass quickly. Merlin slumped in his grip and his eyes opened at last, shining wet but nevertheless bright and clear. Then Arthur saw the stain spreading out across his wings. He panicked, trying to sit up beneath Merlin’s weight, but Merlin just shook his head and whispered, “It’s all right. It will be all right.”
In truth, it was only pigment branching through Merlin’s feathers, nothing more menacing. It was the color that had sent Arthur’s pulse pounding in a completely different way than it had been thus far that morning: deep, dark red.
The red of blood; the red of sin.
The red of Arthur’s sheets.
Transformation complete, Merlin fell into Arthur’s chest, his wings collapsing atop them both in a mess of crimson feathers. He said, voice hoarse and shocked, “They’re heavy,” but he managed to push himself up on shaking arms and flex unfamiliarly weak mortal muscles until they twitched closed at his back.
Exhausted from the effort, his arms gave out and he dropped back onto Arthur. It knocked the breath from the both of them. Arthur recovered first, accustomed to the need for breathing, and enfolded as much of Merlin as he could in a tight embrace. His fingers brushed Merlin’s plumage for the first time—he’d handled shed feathers, but never been able to sink his hands into the downy bounty that was still attached.
Merlin hummed a happy sigh, giving Arthur pause before he moved on. He carded carefully through the feathers nearest his hand, and Merlin snuggled tighter against him even as his chest continued heaving with the fight to gather air.
Still caressing his wings, Arthur waited for Merlin’s breathing to finally even out and asked, “Are you okay?”
Merlin didn’t lift his head, but his voice was stronger when he said, “Yeah.” He pressed a kiss to Arthur’s chest. “I don’t regret it. I’d do it again.”
With a chuckle, part amusement but mostly relief, Arthur relaxed at last. He kept his arms around Merlin, saying, “Well, I hope so. Be a shame to fall and be shunned by both our societies forever for just one spectacular fuck.”
The ringing of Arthur’s phone surprised both of them and distracted Merlin from his retort. Though Arthur ignored it in favor of settling into a comfortable position to doze with Merlin, it started ringing again almost immediately. Then again.
He grudgingly released Merlin with one arm to retrieve it from the nightstand, and saw his father’s name and number blinking at him from the screen. “Ugh. What does he want?”
“It’s Sunday,” Merlin said sleepily. He’d never been sleepy before; as an angel, he didn’t need sleep. Arthur was too charmed by the slight drawl of it to catch the meaning of Merlin’s words, until he clarified, “We’ve missed church.”
Tossing the phone off to a corner of his room, Arthur petted Merlin’s hair and wings as Merlin drifted to sleep. With his fallen angel stretched out over him, he couldn’t bring himself to care.