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It was never truly dark in a London hotel room.

Merlin curled up against Arthur in the rumpled hotel bed and stared at the pattern of light coming through the thin curtains.

Arthur shifted in his arms and Merlin wondered whether he was really sleeping, or if his head was a mess of tangled thoughts like Merlin’s were. Merlin was exhausted from fucking and an overload of emotion, but he didn’t want to waste a minute of this precious time. Arthur had to be on a flight at noon tomorrow to take him back to the Middle East. His too-short leave was nearly over.

Merlin’s heart swelled and ached at the thought of saying goodbye to him again. The first time, back at the end of the summer when Arthur had left to do his basic training, it felt like he’d ripped Merlin’s heart out of his chest and kept a piece of it with him when he went. Merlin hadn’t felt whole again until yesterday when he finally had Arthur back in his arms.

Merlin let his mind drift until he couldn’t fight the urge to sleep any more. His final coherent thought before sleep claimed him was that he mustn’t sleep for too long.


Arthur woke Merlin at dawn with his mouth on Merlin’s dick. Warm hands spread Merlin’s thighs and hot, wet heat surrounded his cock. He was already half hard in his sleep and he thickened as Arthur sucked him, and rubbed at his balls and the smooth skin behind them.

“Fuck.” Merlin’s voice was rough with sleep as he pushed his hands into Arthur’s hair. It was too short now, his long blond fringe was gone. It prickled Merlin’s fingertips where it was shorn close at the nape of Arthur’s neck.

Arthur pulled off and pressed kisses to Merlin’s shaft. Merlin looked down and Arthur grinned up at Merlin, his face all angles and shadows in the grey light of the early morning.

“Remember the first time I did this to you?”

Merlin chuckled, cupping Arthur’s cheek with his hand and caressing his face. “Course I do. I’m never going to forget that.”

It had been in the showers at the pool where they worked over the summer. Arthur had been watching Merlin all shift, his eyes lingering in places that made Merlin hot… hotter than he should have been when it wasn’t even very sunny that day. He had to keep getting into the pool to cool off and keep his dick under control.

When their shift was over they’d showered together like they always did. But that day Merlin had finally dared to let himself look at Arthur. Really look, in the way that Arthur had been looking at Merlin all afternoon.

Arthur’s cock thickened as Merlin stared at it, and when Merlin finally dragged his gaze back up to Arthur’s face they were both hard enough to break rocks. Arthur hadn’t said a word. He’d just pushed Merlin back against the tiles and kissed him, hard and hungry, and everything that Merlin had been wanting for months. When Arthur had dropped to his knees and sucked him, Merlin had thought his knees were going to give out.

He grinned at Arthur as he remembered. “I was so scared we were going to get caught. Can you imagine?”

“Lucky you came fast then.” Arthur nuzzled into the hair at Merlin’s groin, his hand stroking Merlin’s dick firmly now.

“Not as fast as you did,” Merlin retorted.

Arthur laughed, unable to deny it. He’d come from jerking himself off while he was sucking Merlin. Somehow that had been almost the hottest thing about that whole encounter--that he’d been so turned on, just from having Merlin’s dick in his mouth.

His hand was still moving slowly on Merlin’s cock and it felt good--slow and lazy--but it wasn’t enough. Impatient, Merlin curled his hand around the back of Arthur’s head, guiding him back to suck him again. “Yeah… come on.”

Arthur finished Merlin off with long slow pulls of his mouth and two fingers pressing into Merlin’s hole where he was still slick with lube from earlier in the night. Arthur curled them just right and Merlin came with a groan, his balls drawing up as he jerked and shuddered with the force of it.

As soon as Merlin was done, Arthur crawled up his body to kiss him. Merlin parted his lips and welcomed it, kissing Arthur back as his erection rubbed against Merlin’s over-sensitive cock.

“God, Merlin.” Arthur dragged his lips away from Merlin’s and sucked and bit down Merlin’s neck to his shoulder. Merlin knew he was leaving marks that his mum would notice when he got home and he didn’t even care. “Fuck.” Arthur ran his hands hungrily over Merlin’s chest, plucking at his nipples and pinching them until Merlin hissed.

“Yeah.” Merlin encouraged him, reaching for Arthur’s arse and grabbing with both hands. “Fuck me again.”

That would make three times in twenty four hours, and the second time last night hadn’t been gentle, but Merlin wanted to feel Arthur inside him again. He wanted to be able to feel him tomorrow, the day after… for as long as he could once Arthur was gone. He needed Arthur’s imprint on his skin, the ache of Arthur’s cock in his arse.

“You sure?” Arthur lifted his face to look at Merlin, and Merlin cupped his jaw, kissing him softly.

“Sure I’m sure.” Merlin’s voice was rough and he tried to joke to cover it. “Now get on it with. We haven’t got all day.”

The truth of the words made his attempt fall flat. Merlin saw all his longing and pain reflected back at him for a moment as Arthur stared at him.

But Arthur forced a smile. “Okay then.”

He started to move, reaching to the nightstand for supplies before coming back to kneel between Merlin’s legs. But when he picked up the condom packet Merlin stopped him with a hand on his wrist.

“D’you wanna try it bare?” Merlin licked his lips, heart pounding as he waited for Arthur to reply.

Arthur’s gaze snapped up to Merlin’s, but he didn’t speak, so Merlin carried on.

“I’ve never… with anyone except you--apart from that hand job with Freya in the lower sixth--and you’ve been tested, right?” Merlin was babbling now. He knew he shouldn’t be trying to talk Arthur into this if he wasn’t sure, but Merlin wanted it so badly. This last time till who-the-fuck-knows-when, Merlin wanted Arthur inside him with nothing between them.

There was a long pause and the only sound in the room was the rasp of their breathing as they stared at each other.

“Okay,” Arthur finally whispered. “Yeah. I’ve been tested, and I haven’t done anything with anyone else since the summer.”

That knowledge sent a thrill of relief through Merlin, because he hadn’t dared ask. They hadn’t made any promises to each other when Arthur left. It had seemed crazy to try when they’d be apart so much.

“So--do you wanna?” Merlin put his hands on Arthur’s hips and stroked the dips beside them with his thumbs.

Arthur reached down to grip his cock as though he was struggling for control already. “Fuck… okay.”

Merlin watched as Arthur made himself slick. He dribbled out a little extra onto his fingertips for Merlin, and his fingers slid in easily, but Merlin’s arse was sore from being used and he couldn’t stop himself from tensing as Arthur pushed in deep.

Arthur stopped, his fingers resting inside Merlin, and frowned. “Look, Merlin… maybe we shouldn’t. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I’m fine. It’s fine,” Merlin insisted. He knew that telling Arthur that he wanted him to hurt him would make Arthur stop. “Yeah, I’m a little sensitive but just... go slowly.”

A flicker of a smile quirked Arthur’s lips. “Greedy, Merlin. You were always greedy for more.” He slipped his fingers out with a wet sound and shuffled closer, frowning with concentration as he lined himself up.

“Come on.” Merlin spread his legs wider and pulled his knees back.

They both moaned as Arthur eased inside painfully slowly. Merlin grit his teeth against the burn and he kept his gaze fixed on Arthur’s face. Arthur’s eyes were clenched shut and his jaw was tight. “Fuck,” he whispered. “Fuck. It feels good like this.”

Honestly, from Merlin’s end, it didn’t really feel very different, but just knowing that they were doing this with no barrier, skin on skin made his poor exhausted cock start to perk up.

Arthur was moving faster now. He lowered himself down, pressing the length of his body against Merlin’s and slid his hands along Merlin’s arms to grasp his wrists. He brought them up over Merlin’s head, holding them there as he fucked into Merlin with hard, jerky movements. Merlin was consumed by him, touched everywhere by Arthur’s skin, caged by the heat and strength of his body. His arse was burning, aching with a deep primal need for more despite the pain.

“God, yes… please… Arthur… please,” he chanted, gripping Arthur’s hips tight with his knees as though trying to stay on a galloping horse. His cock was fully hard again now, rubbing between their bellies with every thrust. He wasn’t close yet, but he knew Arthur was, and more than anything right now Merlin wanted Arthur to come, to fill him up and claim him from the inside out.

“Merlin.” Arthur’s voice broke and his breath was hot on Merlin’s neck.

“Yes, yes, Arthur.” Merlin urged him on, digging his fingers into Arthur’s buttocks and squeezing as Arthur jerked and shuddered over him.

“Oh God,” Arthur moaned. The sensation of pulsing wet heat in Merlin’s arse was almost as good as if Merlin was coming right along with him.

Arthur collapsed over him for a moment, and Merlin thought he wouldn’t move again for a while. But Arthur surprised him by pushing himself up and off Merlin. He reached for the lamp by the bed.

“Let me see.”

Merlin blinked, startled by the sudden brightness. But then Arthur was back between his thighs, pushing Merlin’s knees up as he lay on his belly to inspect Merlin’s hole. Merlin’s cheeks flushed hot and he squirmed under Arthur’s gaze.

It wasn’t as if Arthur hadn’t fingered him or licked him there before, but the intensity of this was new. He flinched and his cock jerked as Arthur touched him, circling his hole with two fingers before pushing inside and swirling them around. Merlin’s body pulsed around the intrusion and Arthur pulled them out again, admiring the slick white streaks that shone in the light.

“That’s so fucking hot,” he whispered. “Push it out, I want to see it.”

Merlin complied, bearing down until he felt the hot trickle of Arthur’s come leaking out of him. Unbearably turned on now, he reached for his cock and started to stroke it until Arthur pushed his hand away and took over.

“Fuck, Merlin,” he muttered. “So hot seeing you like this.” He used his other hand to finger Merlin again, fucking his come back into Merlin’s hole as he jerked Merlin’s cock in fast strokes that Merlin knew would make him come again soon even though his balls felt empty. Arthur thrust harder, stretching him with three, maybe four fingers now. The pain was sharp and bright, making Merlin gasp and twist his fingers in the rumpled sheets, but he was flying.

“Oh-my-god, yes… please… more, Arthur, more…” His words turned into a harsh cry as he arched off the bed. His body clamped down around Arthur’s fingers, as though trying to pull him inside and keep him there, where he belonged only to Merlin and nobody could ever take him away. Merlin’s cock spilled in Arthur’s fist, a pathetic little dribble, but the intensity of the pleasure that wracked Merlin’s body was like nothing he’d ever felt and he gave himself over to it utterly until he was drained and boneless from coming.

Arthur was so gentle with him afterwards. He rolled Merlin onto his side and curled around him, stroking his hair and kissing his shoulders until Merlin’s breathing had settled. Merlin’s eyes stung at the knowledge that Arthur would have to leave soon. The red numbers on the digital clock by the hotel bed ticked away like a time bomb in an action movie, unstoppable and out of their control.

“Stay safe for me,” Merlin whispered. “I need you to come home again.”

But Arthur only tightened his arms around Merlin and pressed his cheek against the bumps of Merlin’s spine.

They both knew that was a promise that Arthur couldn’t make.