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When Art, Guards and Dragons Collide

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Merlin regarded the enormous concrete building before him, lacking all personality with its clean reflective windows reaching the sky. How much did they pay someone to keep floors 30 to 80 clean and streak free? There was not enough money in the world to entice him to that job. Merlin was most certainly not a fan of heights, (and by that, he broke out in a cold sweat if he so as much looked down a stairwell – of a one story house). Merlin swore vultures circled overhead – probably to wait for his corpse to sail out of a window. Did windows even open at such heights?

Merlin palmed his face, and rubbed his eyes wearily. Why was he here? Guinevere, that’s’ bloody why. He didn’t know why he listened to her – oh that’s right, she would have marched him to the door, announced he was here to blow Uther’s mind and they’d be morons not to hire him for this job, then explain to everyone why he was too good to take the job and they didn’t deserve him then walk him back out. She was a walking contradiction that one. But it was nothing compared to when she started to talk about the upper and lower classes of society.

Merlin met Guinevere in art school. Merlin was the typical lithe, perpetually shaggy haired, partially blind (hence the glasses – thank god for contacts) nerdy art student trying to find his medium whilst also valiantly trying to lose his virginity all in the same year. Guinevere on the other hand was a born jewellery extraordinaire, who could make a spun gold bracelet that Rumpelstiltskin would bow down before (then steal – along with your children). They fell into a close friendship immediately and three years previous moved into a small apartment on the cusp of the city fringes to save money for an epic round the world tour which never came to fruition, who knew being an adult cost so much?

Their unit was in a modest block with approximately two hundred neighbours, four hundred cats and enough cockroaches to warrant never inviting guests around. Ok, it wasn’t that bad – but when trying to hang out his laundry on the extremely tight ground floor balcony (seriously how on earth Gwen managed to get 4 pot plants onto it he’d never know) he always came face to face with his neighbour Boris, his pet cat Stella and the man upstairs who Merlin aptly named Stanley for always yelling at the cat. The two men enjoyed partaking in chocolate cigars together, hence they were constantly outside – Merlin and Gwen’s balcony happened to be trapped in the middle. There was nothing like cloying chocolate smoke to infiltrate your drying underwear (well there could be worse smells coming from them) he mused wryly. Maybe that was why clothes went missing from the line – or maybe being on the ground floor off an alley in not the most secure part of the city helped.

But as he stood in front of his 80-storey fear come to life, thoughts about missing chocolate smelling underwear was not going to get him closer to his meeting with Uther Pendragons board of directors, and by default the man himself. By Christ he hoped they had a ground floor meeting room. He had never been overly lucky in life – so he expected Uther to have one of those hanging desks from a crane off the side of the building as a fun way to do business. He actually felt his pale skin go paler at the thought.

As he wriggled his fingers and clenched his fists in preparation for the biggest meeting of his life, Merlin took a step forward – straight into a solid mass who made an impressive “oomph” noise just before they both crunched to the ground. Merlin landed awkwardly on a – oh god, he was not this unlucky, surely – groin. His hand was on some other guys junk. Now, if this was a movie, there would be a kid who pointed and laughed at the situation whilst Merlin would stammer an apology and the man whose groin he’d unintentionally fondled would huff a laugh and go about his day.

What happened instead was Merlin’s horrendously wide eyes met the most striking blue ones he’d ever seen, even if slitted in rage. He couldn’t help gaze over this blonde “wet-dream” of a man’s face. He had to be famous – those pouting lips, perfectly stylized blonde hair and designer suit screamed taste and old money. As Merlin gathered his thoughts, he watched said face go through emotions he wasn’t savvy enough to name.

‘What the hell! Watch where you’re going, you could have broken my god damn leg.’ The blonde’s voice snapped across the small space whilst Merlin tried to stammer an apology, ‘you can also take your hand off my cock now – bloody imbecile.’

Red couldn’t even describe Merlin’s face in that moment, he was embarrassed beyond words, yet his back began to bristle at the blonde’s righteous tone. He’d dealt with enough bullies in his time to know one on sight. But in this situation – could Merlin really blame the way the man was acting? Gingerly, Merlin removed his hand – then proceeded to watch on in abject mortification as his watch band caught somehow in this angry Adonis’s zipper. Snatching his hand away only made the zip rip apart and Merlin could not even articulate words or deal with the situation. He prayed fervently the cracks in the pavement would swallow him up in humiliation, especially as he saw what could only be explained as tight Spiderman jockey shorts beneath Hugo Boss’s latest winter pant collection.

‘You’ve got to be fucking joking,’ the increasingly irate and now reddened blonde began just as Merlin squeaked out, ‘sorry – oh my gosh – I am so sorry!’

While he stumbled over any form of coherent words and yanked his watch free, a gust of wind took that opportunistic moment to lift up his portfolio, and scattered his work from one footpath to the other. Could life mock him a little more – surely he had a few blood vessels left that hadn’t been filled up to the brim.  

Merlin had no choice but to jump up and start gathering what felt like his life’s work before it disappeared into a drain and only took a slight amount of notice as the man shook his head angrily then strode off throwing an, ‘unfuckingbelievable – you’re a menace,’ over his broad shoulder.

Merlin spat back ‘takes one to know one,’ like the ten year old he was, then didn’t give “Spider Prat” a second glance as he was too busy trying to salvage a) his work and b) pick up whatever was left of his pride.

Thankfully another man stooped over and helped collect papers for him. Merlin was about to thank this kind stranger when he saw his shoulders shaking, then heard a muffled laugh followed by a snort.

‘It wasn’t that funny – surely.’ Merlin commented dryly to the slightly taller man wearing dark glasses with slicked back blonde hair. At the mirth clearly apparent on the man’s face, Merlin couldn’t help respond in kind, grinning like a loon. The situation was ridiculous if he thought about it.

‘I really want to shake your hand, pat you on the back and just tell you – you have made my day, no…I take that back - you have made my bloody year. Priceless doesn’t even start to cover that whole…’ he gestured with his hands – Merlin wondered if he saw a gun tucked under his side beneath the deep blue suit, ‘…hot mess.’

Merlin a little unsure of the help now he’d spied weaponry gave a half smile and gestured for his paper the man held. He passed it over with a shit-eating grin on his face, the man continued to beam at him – it had started to get weird.

Before Merlin could utter another word (less he submit himself to more ridicule) the man tilted his head to the side raising a hand to his ear, clearly listening. ‘Right, boss – coming now.’

Ah, security then, Merlin mused. The guard stood and eyed Merlin before he slid the dark glasses back on top of his head, which revealed kind yet sparkling light blue eyes doused in merriment, ‘You’re heading into Pendragon Corp?’ At Merlin’s nod he grinned wider, ‘Might see you inside – names Leon if you need anything.’

Merlin couldn’t fathom what on earth he’d need Leon for, but he politely said thanks.

‘But seriously mate - thank you again - just – thank you,’ the man shook his hand and slapped him on the back for good measure. Merlin had to wonder if the man was slightly drunk by his carry-on. ‘I have never seen him so flustered – just wait until I tell Percy,’ he then turned on his heel and walked away.

‘No worries…’ Merlin trailed off, completely off kilter and still mortified at what had just unfolded twenty minutes before his meeting and not understanding who Leon was and what this Percy man was going to get from Merlin's embarrassment. But he had other things to worry over – like this job interview.

His phone vibrated in his pocket which shook him from his musing, he slid it out easily all while he shoved paper back into his folder and saw Gwen’s name pop up.

‘You can’t even guess what the hell just happened to me.’ Merlin began before she could get a word in as he walked up to the large revolving door. God’s he hated these things – he had an image of going around in circles six times before being spat out dizzy and inept.

‘You got the job!’ Gwen’s lilting voice came through the receiver, Merlin snorted.

‘Not yet – I am only just getting through the door – ummph.’

‘It’s revolving isn’t it?’ Gwen deadpanned.

‘Yes – bloody thing almost took my leg off,’ Merlin huffed as a dark haired woman dressed impeccably slid in through the door next to the revolving one which said push – he was an idiot.

‘I groped a man…’ Merlin began whilst he looked at a huge screen which told him what was on the different floors, ah meeting room 67 – surely that was not on the 67th floor? Well shit – of course it was.

‘You what? Tell me the details – everything! I’m impressed – you’ve spent the last 2 years looking for a guy and 5 minutes before a job interview you’ve done it.’ Merlin could hear Gwen fossicking around in her studio, before she put her hand over the mouthpiece and hissed, ‘Merlin’s going to get laid.’

‘I am not, and stop telling Elyan I am – you’ll give the poor boy nightmares.’ Gwen laughed good naturedly as Merlin continued, ‘I’ll tell you tonight over a bottle of red…with a tequila chaser, and invite Will.’

At Gwen’s gasped, ‘that bad,’ Merlin could only groan and reply, ‘yes it had been that bad…’

‘Maybe make it two bottles of red and get Will to buy the good tequila with the worm,’ he sulked.

Merlin had always thought Gwen’s laughing snorts were calming – but as he looked at the fucking glass lift before him, he was going to need her to continually snort for the next five minutes else he was going to lose his lunch.

‘Oh my God, Merlin – this is going to be good. So, when are you seeing him again?’

‘Never would be too soon,’ he murmured as a heated flush ran up his neck at ogling a completely gorgeous stranger’s Spiderman clad dick. Was this the beginnings of a kink? He always did have a thing for comic book heroes, Peter Parker notwithstanding.

‘I’d best go – I need to navigate a glass lift to the 67th floor…’ his voice wavered slightly.

‘Merlin, are you going to be ok?’ Gwen’s concern apparent in the tone her voice took.

‘No – not in the slightest but I see a burly guard behind the desk and I’m going to swoon like a delicate petal and see if there is another way up.’

Gwen chuckled, ‘there are things called stairs…’

‘You know I’m allergic to vertical movements - gotta go and impress the shit out of these people. See you tonight.’ Merlin hung up as he approached a giant of a man with a name badge which proudly displayed “Percy” – surely it wasn’t

‘Hey – you’re the clumsy guy from outside – Leon still hasn’t stopped laughing.’

Right, of course these security guards would laugh it up at his expense – Merlin couldn’t blame them though, in their situation he would be doing the exact same thing. How on earth had Leon managed to tell Percy so quick though?

‘As riveting as it would be to continue making my face the same red as Spiderman’s costume…’ Why, oh why did he say that, as Percy’s guffaw boomed from his chest, ‘I need a favour.’

‘Anything for a friend of Leon’s,’ was the big man’s response. Merlin decided against explaining to this massive man (who looked like he was wearing a cut off tank under his white shirt) that he in fact didn’t know Leon – but if it helped him out, who was he to omit a small truth like that.

‘Is there another way to the 67th floor? I, well – I don’t particularly relish flying up the side of a building in a glass coffin.’

‘Heights and you don’t mix?’

‘Not particularly,’ Merlin replied as he wiped a small dob of nervous sweat from his brow. ‘Not sure where it came from – just appeared one day and smacked me in the face. I should probably get help but then it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as trying to source alternative ways to rooftop meetings.’

The big man smiled at his rambles and Merlin realised he really needed to control his nervous mouth on the odd occasion. ‘Come on,’ was all he garnered in response as the giant of a man beckoned him down a hallway. Merlin couldn’t help wonder if he was about to be kidnapped – or propositioned? Percy was not his type – but if he got up to his meeting on time and without a panic attack he could almost be persuaded. Blue eyes and an aristocratic jawline swum before his face, no – he refused to find the Pillock attractive. Unfortunately attraction just did not work that way. Damn it.

Percy swiped a card and Merlin could have kissed him when he saw a small lift before him – completely closed off to the world. Sure - he knew he was going to a dizzying height (almost the roof he ignored) but he could shut his eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening.

‘Thanks – I mean, beyond thank you.’

‘It’s ok – it’s the service lift. We ferry food, cleaners and us most of the time – they won’t even know you used it. Good luck with the job.’

‘How did you…’

‘Merlin – we know everything.’

At Merlin’s clearly freaked out look Percy laughed again, and he decided he liked the open and friendly way this guard communicated.

‘I’m messing with you – your name and picture is on the front desk as a visitor,’ Percy thrust a small white badge with “Visitor” stamped across the front. ‘Use this to get down again.’

‘Uh, thanks,’ Merlin unintelligently spoke to the closing doors. He couldn’t decide if he was having a good day or a terrible fucking day.

He made it to the PA’s desk to announce himself with a minute to spare, dismayed to see he was the last person here. He was one of three people vying for the position of head concept artist for the new campaign the Pendragons were running to rebrand their image.

He didn’t know one of the others but he saw a familiar face from art school which made his stomach sink – Nimueh. She was brilliant, ruthless and nothing stood in her way. But Merlin was not one to tuck his tail between his legs and scamper off - he was here for a reason and he was just as good as anyone else in that room. Well he was until he tripped over the chair leg before him, which meant he slammed his portfolio onto the table with a large bang then knocked a glass of water - only to watch in morbid fascination as it spun around and around until it landed face down on someone’s lap – water slopping everywhere.

As Merlin stumbled over words (only the third time today – must be a record), he glanced up into the livid blue eyes of the poor person he’d assaulted - and almost died on the spot.

‘So, it seems you are inept in all aspects of your life…’ Spider Prat stood up to wipe water from his crotch, the look Merlin was on the receiving end of clearly said he would run him through with a sword if he had a chance.

Fucking Hell - Merlin was never going to work in this town again.

 

Chapter Text

‘So what …?’ Gwen drew out between gasps, ‘explain this again – because I haven’t been able to listen to you tell the story through once without laughing so hard my heart stops and I keep missing the end.’

His mate Will took what he thought looked like a sophisticated sip of red wine – Merlin didn’t tell him his teeth and lips were stained red and purple from the drink. Will was acting like an arsehole so Merlin kept quiet all while he surreptitiously wiped his lips to make sure they were colour free.

Will then swirled the wine around his glass while he put on the most ridiculous condescending voice and answered for Merlin. ‘What he’s wanting to say my dearest Gwenibear, is he tried crushing the most fuckable man’s cock whilst almost revealing said cock to the world before trying to drown it. Merlin – for a gay man you really seem to dislike dicks.’

‘Will – I fucking hate you…’

Gwen snorted again, Merlin started to think she had a glandular problem, ‘But, what I don’t understand is that this Arthur, who is Uther Pendragons son and heir… or you know - Spider Prat…’ she giggled again, then paused for a sip of wine; Merlin really didn’t need to sit through two of his best mates ribbing him over the most horrifically crushing day of his life. ‘…basically said to the board he wouldn’t hire you in a shit-fit even if you were Da Vinci himself – then his sister Morgan stood up to argue with him,’

‘Morgana,’ Merlin interrupted, ‘yeah, she stood up and told Arthur to act like a big boy and the three of us were all there on merit and should be considered on that, not if I got his dick wet or not…’

Will wheezed, voice cracking in hilarity, ‘she said that? I have to meet this smashing woman, she sounds fantastic.’

Merlin instead of being ridiculed any further reached for the tequila and shot glasses – he needed to wipe today from his memory and start to look for another job. Proffering a full glass each to Gwen and Will, Merlin clinked them and threw his head back to swallow – then coughed immediately at the burn. Will, true to his nature did not spend much on the tequila, the bright blue token gummy worm which floated around in the clear liquid proof enough.

‘So do you have a chance?’ Gwen asked all laughter gone, a small smile played around her lips instead. At least she was trying – Will just made cock sucking motions using a fist with his tongue pressed against the inside of his cheek.

‘Ha – I think that’s a no,’ Merlin retorted and ran a hand through his hair, knowing he needed a cut soon; he would have plenty of time since he wouldn’t be employed. Shit – how much was a hair-cut going for these days? Could he even afford it? ‘They were letting us know over the next day or two…so in my case a carrier pigeon will come to shit on the window and leave a message saying the Pendragon Corporation declines my offer of employment.’

‘Melodramatic much,’ Will snorted as he poured another tequila; even going so far as to cut up lemon and get the salt – he must have felt bad about his jokes. ‘Drink this and forget. I mean, I will as well - on your behalf of course.’

Merlin smirked, ‘of course,’ then grasped his glass, and salted his unsteady hand – oh well – here’s to unemployment…again .

/*

‘Bloody hell…’ Merlin attempted to crack an eye which was clearly designed to stay glued shut. He was in no condition to fight against his body’s natural resistance and snuggled deeper into his quilt to sigh heavily instead. This in turn made him grimace as he could smell the toxic cheap liquor on his breath – the queasiness now unleashed made his stomach lurch.

Coldplay’s “Glass of Water” blared from his phone – a phone Will had obviously once again managed to crack the code of then evilly put on the other side of the room after he reprogrammed it. Why in fuck did he have that particular song tearing through his delicate ear drums? Oh…the lap of water incident, fucking Will . Merlin sat up then swallowed hard - he only barely kept the contents of his stomach down. His phone went quiet – as did Merlin.

Merlin padded over to his dresser after thinking about it for five minutes, and unplugged the offendingly loud device before he returned to the warmth and solitude of his bed. Merlin saw he had countless new notifications on his social media accounts; apparently he followed and was now following a bunch of people from the night before. He’d also been invited into the private group “the dragons watch” whatever the hell that was.

As he battled a headache bigger than the most recent Royal Wedding, Merlin peered at some of the profile pictures in the private group, and thought the shoulder length blonde man looked semi familiar. On further inspection the massive man next to him who wore a sleeveless shirt did too– was that the guard from yesterday ? His arm muscles were insane.

Just as Merlin had contemplated that – fuck , yes it was Leon, Percy and a few other guys he didn’t recognise (yet who he was now friends with) Coldplay interrupted him again - showing an unknown number, one that had apparently tried calling seven times already.

Merlin didn’t usually take these calls – he liked being in control of who he spoke to and didn’t enjoy the idea of trying to tell somebody he didn’t want to buy raffle tickets, no matter how much the rocks in Ireland needed his help to maintain their moss. The phone went silent as he reread the last conversation in the “group” chat. It appeared that Merlin was indeed actively conversing with these strangers.

Warlocked87: #Spiderpantsprat needs to harden up – no pun intended

SirLeon: Maybe you should have done a “lap” of honour after your presentation @Warlocked87

Perflexed:   lol – nice one Leon

Warlocked87: LAME! @SirLeon

LotsofLances69: Somebody’s spider senses are tingling…

Gwaineloves^$$: Not tingling mate – on fucking fire @LotsofLances69

Warlocked87: If I get this job – we are going out to Cel-E-brate…I literally have no chance though

Gwaineloves^$$: M8 you didn’t even have to ask – we got your back #Dragonsguardwatchesthenewbietoothengetshimsmashedyouhavethejobinthelap

SirLeon: Don’t make me block you from the group again @Gwaineloves^$$ for excessive # length.

Gwaineloves^$$: Yes dad… #totallyworthlosingmytextrightsforasLeonsanoldmanwhossurly

Merlin found his face red and hot reading the remaining messages – then the tacked-on photos of Spiderman in positions a Spiderman shouldn’t be able to do (even if he was a gymnast). Who in hell was he talking to? The rest on the conversation became lowbrow extremely quick, his contributions unfortunately the most suspect.

Coldplay blared once again which made Merlin drop the phone on his face – fucking hell, today was shaping up to be a doozy already. As Merlin felt annoyance at the caller because they didn’t take the obvious hint Merlin did not want to converse with anyone other than no-one – he saw his nose had already answered for him – fuck.

‘What in hell – it’s…’ Merlin looked at his phone askance feeling a little petulant, ‘three in the afternoon – what time do you call this?’ his voice husked deeper than he meant; gravelly from underuse.

‘Aah…’ The voice on the other end faltered slightly, and coughed once as a high-pitched noise came out instead of words. Merlin didn’t have the brain function to wonder on it too hard. ‘I…can only assume I am speaking with Merlin?’

‘Well, shouldn’t you know as you bloody well called me?’ He frowned at the phone and couldn’t help but wonder what dunce had rang him.

A curt, ‘do you always answer calls in this eloquent manner?’ followed.

Merlin groaned while he ran a hand over his face – and wondered if a cranial massage might help the splitting headache he had. He also knew immediately who was on the other end of the phone. ‘You need to fuck off, Will. I’d know your fake condescending tone anywhere - I can’t deal with your shit two days in a row.’

A splutter could be heard, which made Merlin smirk at Will’s lack of comeback - which should have thrown a warning sign up, but didn’t. ‘I don’t know a… a…William – bloody hell, it’s like talking to a six year old.’

‘Yes, a six year old with better hair, who will come to slap your face off if you don’t let me sleep - tosser.’ Merlin went to hang up.

‘I’m very serious. I don’t know who you are talking about.’ The huff of anger and frustration apparent, ‘is this Merlin Emrys?’

Even in his current state of mind Merlin stilled and realised maybe the irate man on the phone was not actually Will. As he thought about it a moment longer the extremely deep voice was most definitely not him, Will’s range wasn’t that good. Merlin’s stomach started to sink - maybe he should pretend to be someone else, a wrong number maybe? As tempting as that would be – no he couldn’t.

‘Are you there? Bloody hell - I am going to kill Morgana for making me do this – I said are you there? Don’t ignore me, Mer lin.’

Merlin’s stomach sank even lower. Arthur blooming Pendragon was on the phone and he’d drawled Merlin’s name in conceit like it was a swear word. Could life fuck with him any more?

‘There is a car out the front – you are required to come straight to the Pendragon Suite of Offices to sign your contract. A contract I might add I don’t think you deserve. Your conduct so far has been reprehensible. You should have been here by 9:30, but someone hasn’t been bloody answering.’

Merlin couldn’t help the bubble of laughter that welled in his throat; yep - life had bent him over and was doing unspeakable things to him right now. There was only one way out of this, the lovable Merlin sarcasm. ‘Oh, is this Arthur? Arthur Pendragon?’

The lengthy sigh of a man just holding his temper at bay had a smirk appear on Merlin’s face, he was going to lose this job before even officially getting it. There was something so smarmy (and sexy) about the corporate douchebag, something which had Merlin’s snarky playful side come out.   Was it weird that Arthur’s frustration and rumbling voice were doing things to Merlin? The attractive ones were always the cock knuckles.

‘The car is there – get in it. I hope to not have the unfortunate displeasure of seeing you today – but I really am not that lucky.’ Arthur sighed heavily into the phone, ‘just get here in the next hour else the job is off the table.’

‘Sir, yes Sir. So …hang on – does that mean I got the job then?’ Merlin managed to get out as he heard yet another annoyed huff followed by a click indicating Arthur had hung up.

Merlin lay back down heavily, and held a laugh at bay – else his stomach revolt and throw up. Did he actually even want this job? Arthur was an absolute prick, (and Merlin swore he was not going to think about the blonde’s cock for at least two minutes). But this job was exactly what he had dreamed about since he left Uni - the head of an art team for a rebranding of one of the oldest companies in London. It would make Merlin’s career.

As he burrowed deeper into his bedding a frantic rap came from his door, a millisecond before Gwen threw herself in and pushed against the back of it, finger to her lips. Merlin smiled at her Harry Potter pyjamas, crazy dark curls (which made her quite Hermione-like) and looked into her chocolate coloured eyes, which currently held an edge of panic.

‘There’s a strange guy in a black car outside. He’s been there about an hour and a half and hasn’t left.’ Gwen crept to his window in stealth mode to look out – even though it was on the opposite side to the road and all she’d see was a brick wall. ‘I mean, he keeps looking over the fence at our house – smirking. What the actual fuck Merlin? Do I call the cops?’

Merlin groaned. Arthur was serious, ‘Shit, I’m pretty sure he’s from Pendragon Corp and here for me – fuck, I am too cotton mouthed and headed to do this!’

‘You got the job?’

At Merlin’s small nod, Gwen squealed (making Merlin wince) then jumped on the bed (making Merlin vomit in his mouth a little), before she threw herself into his arms and congratulated him.

Merlin laughed and also grimaced as he hugged her back, ‘you only care because now I can afford the good chocolate again.’

‘Priorities, Merle’s – priorities.’

A quick shower later, which he couldn’t even define as getting wet in, Merlin slid out the front door straight into Leon’s pearly white beaming smile.

‘Congratulations…’ Leon started while Merlin held up his hand to stop him from speaking.

‘I don’t want to hear it – I am so absolutely hungover, I can’t deal with the teasing banter. I have nothing left to give you today.’

‘As you wish,’ Leon smirked, which made Merlin half smile in return. The cool leather seats were a salve and he threw his head back onto the cushioning and wriggled to get comfy. As they took off into traffic, his phone vibrated. When he opened it he saw a new notification in the group text.

SirLeon: First day feels <IMG_0287>

A picture of Merlin slumped in the back of the car, hair everywhere, dark smudges under his eyes and a thoroughly unimpressed look on his face met him.

Warlocked87: Screw you @SirLeon - you are about to lose a follower.

/*

Merlin was a million percent grateful when without having to ask he was shuffled through to the service lift. Percy slid an employee key card into his hand to keep, and the gentle back slap (which must have taken some restraint as he was huge) and ‘glad to have you on-board’ made Merlin feel marginally better.

He ignored being on a floor higher than he could count to; and announced himself to Arthur’s PA – Elena, who ushered him into Arthur’s office with a soft smile.

Arthur was on the phone when Merlin slid inside, back towards him as he gazed out the window while he spoke. His dark navy blue suit was tailored to perfection – tight against his flexed shoulders as he placed an arm on the glass above his head and leant into it. This made Arthur’s suit pants tighten and in turn made Merlin’s tighten too – for different reasons.

It hit Merlin in the solar plexus as he watched Arthur that this man was full of irresistible charisma. He drew people in – no matter his wankery personality. That chiselled jaw paired with the body of an athlete (more of a football players physique to be accurate) followed with eyes as blue as the summer sky and lips made for sucking Merlin’s cock – sorry, somebody’s cock. He was so unlike Merlin who with his cheekbones and lithe body gave the appearance of delicacy, Arthur was somebody you could sink your teeth into and not worry about breaking. Merlin held in a groan at the thought - his hormones rampant. He had a god awful need to make Arthur his – a raw primal need. He held in a quiet gasp at his impossibly timed revelation.

‘Deryck – you’ve got this – I didn’t mentor you for three years for you to fall down now.’ Merlin looked around the office – and knew Arthur hadn’t realised he was in the room. He didn’t know where to go as Arthur continued to talk to this Deryck.

‘Repeat after me – if you find yourself backed against a big arse wall – fight your way forward and break it down.’ Arthur went quiet as Deryck spoke. Merlin felt a small shock wave go through him at Arthur clearly showing leadership and guidance to an employee.

Before Merlin could get too dewy eyed, Arthur turned and scowled when he spied Merlin who stood awkwardly half in the office and half ready to flee. ‘I’ll call you back later – I have a…problem I need to deal with here.’

Merlin bristled – so Arthur may be amenable to others, but it was obvious he wasn’t in Derycks league. He ignored the voice which whispered he hadn’t exactly made a great impression so far.

‘You’re late,’ is all Arthur said, and strode to his desk (mahogany Merlin noted – why it was important, who knew ).

‘I actually thought you wouldn’t be here,’ Merlin muttered trying not to sound huffy – he was almost officially Merlin’s boss after all.

‘Just making sure you turned up – to be truthful I’m disappointed you did,’ Arthur stated whilst he sorted papers out on the desk – mahogany, seriously .

Merlin bit his lip, don’t engage, don’t engage – it’s what he wants.

‘I mean somebody like you…’ Arthur gestured at Merlin’s dishevelled appearance.

Merlin’s mind screamed – engage, engage!

‘What. Do you mean?’ his clipped and clearly pissed off tone apparent. This magnetic man was fucking infuriating.

Arthur surprisingly broke out in a toothy grin as if he finally had what he was waiting for. ‘Oh nothing, nothing at all - just sign here.’

He handed over a pen worth more than Merlin’s car and didn’t back off as anticipated, no - he pressed up against Merlin making his head spin. Had he never heard of personal space? Maybe he was going to check Merlin actually signed his own name and not a pseudonym.

While Merlin made a valiant attempt to try and sign his name without shaking like a delicate leaf, Arthur pressed a little harder against his side and hummed – he actually fucking hummed next to Merlin’s ear. Merlin practically exploded.

But the moment Merlin spun around to tell Arthur to back off - he’d already taken a step back to stride around to the other side of his desk. Merlin was utterly confused and discombobulated. Did that actually just happen – did Arthur press against him – or was he being ludicrous and imagining things?

‘Can I take a minute to read these though?’ Merlin asked instead – and if his voice was slightly unsteady, well he blamed the thirty bottles of wine the night before.

Arthur looked at him in surprise but also what Merlin thought was a considered look – like he’d done something right.

‘Of course,’ then gestured to a couch, which Merlin sank into gratefully and let out a small moan at how utterly comfortable it was. He noticed Arthur stiffen up and shook off the thought on why. He had a contract to read.

Merlin also had to get his head wrapped around the fact Arthur was enormously handsome yet also perplexing as all hell and Merlin couldn’t help but want him – fuck his self-destructive mean boy bent . He had to squash this before it got out of hand – he couldn’t be the clichéd guy who lusted after his boss. No matter how fuckable Arthur Pendragon happened to be – operation “don’t fuck the boss” was in motion.



Chapter Text

Merlin scowled at the new marketing board. It was for the first press release Pendragon Corporation Ltd was publishing with Merlin at the helm as head concept artist. Although it wouldn’t go public for months, Merlin knew there was something off about it and for the life of him he couldn’t see it. He wanted, no – he needed this to be perfect. It was the first in an array of slides he was presenting at the board meeting early next month. He did not need Arthur sitting in the back of the room as he huffed and puffed about how Merlin’s vision didn’t meet the companies and that Nimueh was a better choice (maybe he was right). You need to stop with the defeatist attitude.

Apart from having a crisis over his work - his first three weeks of employment while he simultaneously undertook operation “don’t fuck the boss” was going gang busters. This was purely because Arthur was the biggest Pillock to ever stand in Merlin’s presence - and Merlin having worked with people his whole life and who also lived in a high density area had a literal million people stand in his presence before. Arthur took the cake each and every time for being an arse. He even exceeded the woman who took change from a charity collector’s box (which Merlin replaced then added an extra 10 quid for the poor flustered volunteers benefit).

Arthur’s personal assistant Elena was a god send though. Merlin and she had formed a quick bond after he saw her duck her head to hide a half smile when Arthur and Merlin had an interesting interaction in front of her – where Merlin had called Arthur a giant dollop-head. When asked exactly what that was, Merlin retorted “in two words – Arthur Pendragon”. How he still had a job he didn’t know. His Royal pain in the arse though was still the most infuriatingly stunning man Merlin had ever laid eyes on, and he was grateful in one way they argued and snarled at each other constantly. If they actually got along – Merlin could only image the attachment that could form.

He frowned again at the board before him and squinted – which didn’t help in the slightest – it just narrowed his field of vision. He glanced up at a noise to see Arthur standing by the door of the open plan office talking to the Human Resources Manager. Feeling nervous for some unknown reason, Merlin tried to sneakily tidy his nuclear bomb of a desk. He wondered if Arthur spent as much time on other floors as he did on this one – if he did, then nothing would ever get done. He was constantly here – usually gracing a silent glower Merlins way. If he wasn’t such an arse Merlin might even find the attention flattering – the only thing it accomplished was to give Merlin practise at his snappy come backs. Who was he kidding, he actually on some sick level enjoyed it - plus his snark game was on point at the moment.

Arthur glanced his way a few times, expression showing his “general disdain of everyone ” face - one of Merlin’s least favourites. He quite thoroughly enjoyed Arthur’s “did somebody take the last biscuit from the jar ” face, not to be outdone by the “who tied my shoelaces together ” confused face. Merlin had many, many more – he didn’t think on why he had so many expressions for Arthur’s, well – expressions . As Arthur’s eyes continued to fall on him (Merlin by this stage was convinced he had breakfast smeared over his cheek), a bundle of nervous energy and too much testosterone bounced up to his desk.

‘Maaaaate…’ Gwaine beamed as he slammed the latest issue of Penthouse down onto Merlin’s desk – which made papers waft. ‘I got a date with page 40 and 78 – not at the same time though – oh man…did I have that option?’

Merlin beamed, he loved this idiot, even after only a few weeks  – he really did. ‘Page 40? You’ve slipped back a few places, last week was on page 34.’

Gwaine pouted good naturedly. They had been playing this ridiculous online game where their avatars could “date” famous people - it had an algorithm in the background which was supposed to give a realistic experience based on how the celebrities reacted in interviews and on-screen. Yes – ridiculous, but addictive, and really – there was an app for everything nowadays. Merlin prided himself on the fact he had taken Ryan Gosling out for dinner and Keanu Reeves for a wine (for old time sake, The Matrix really was a revelation to a young Merlin – all that black leather and mystery). Merlin was also proud he managed to impress them so much he was able to plant a kiss on their respective cheeks. Gwaine on the other hand made it his life’s work to try and go through every back issue of Penthouse and “take-out” the girls – and guys, to Merlin’s utter surprise and joy.

Gwaine slid in next to Merlin and opened the magazine while Merlin tried to move his actual work to one side and laughed as Gwaine explained how he’d ‘man-scaped’ his avatar to have elephant ear shaped pubes.

It was as Merlin chuckled he caught a quick movement from the corner of his eye. Arthur was bearing down on them, his scowl more pronounced than ever before and Merlin didn’t even have a name for this expression. If he didn’t know Arthur at all he would class it as some kind of jealously – but as he did know Arthur – he was probably about to be fired.

‘Do you actually do anything around here, Merlin?’ He eyed the Penthouse Gwaine (magical beasts of men) was trying to slide out of the way so Arthur wouldn’t notice. Merlin should have told him not to bother.

‘Actually Sire…Sir, I meant Sir,’ oh fuck it , Merlin’s mouth was trouble, ‘I’m working on the first release.’

‘Well, let’s see it then.’

‘Uh – no.’ Merlin flipped the page over like a child so no one could take a peek.

‘No – what do you mean no?’ Narrowed blue eyes bored into his. Gee – they really were a refreshingly crisp blue. Not the time Merlin- never the time really.

‘I mean - they're not ready. You can’t look at them.’ Merlin enunciated each word just in case he wasn’t being clear – he knew Arthur needed extra guidance when it came to people saying no.

‘Not ready?’ His frown was not at all adorable – it was annoying, yes very annoying. ‘You do realise the board meeting is in ten days?’

‘Yes, I’m quite aware.’

‘Well - then bloody show me.’

‘No.’

‘No?’ Arthur echoed, as if for the first time somebody had actually said no and meant it – no matter the pressure given.

Gwaine piped up, ‘he doesn’t let anyone see them until they are finished products.’

‘And how would you know?’ Arthur’s voice was glacial, Merlin shivered involuntary, glad the tone wasn’t directed at him for a change. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be guarding the front door?’

‘On a break,’ Gwaine bit noisily into a familiar red apple which appeared from nowhere. Actually, not from nowhere – it appeared from Merlin’s bag. Great, now he’d have to go out at lunch.

Arthur scowled at the spray of apple juice, letting a huff out while wiping his pristine (nothing actually landed on him) shirt. ‘You’ll come to my office at four to show me what you have.’

Merlin gave a non-committal grunt at the extremely clear “no arguments” tone in Arthur’s strained voice. Why was he acting so angry and annoyed, more so than usual?

‘Go back to work,’ the curt order aimed at Gwaine.

Gwaine winked at Merlin, ‘see you tonight, Sweetheart.’

Merlin flushed red, then noticed Arthur’s cheeks reddening at almost the same rate as Gwaine walked off. Why in hell would that be? Arthur Pendragon was unflappable; he never let his emotions show (well except disdain) – even when angry he kept a tight lid on it.

‘I pay you to work, not flirt.’

Flirt? With Gwaine? Merlin burst out in laughter until he saw a seething Arthur glower at him, brows furrowed, lips thin and tight, ‘oh, you’re serious…’

Arthur leant forward over the desk, not only menacing but almost possessive, like he was staking a claim. Merlin couldn’t help the thrill of it – not the time and definitely not the right person. Not to mention Arthur would rather snap his neck then to bite it with nibbles and kisses – now why on earth did he think that? ‘Merlin…be there.’

‘Be where....?’ He breathed back, completely lost in a moment of his own making.

Arthur inhaled sharply, eyes roamed over Merlin’s face, seeing who knew what. Merlin found he couldn’t look away – what in hell was happening? A cough from somebody behind Arthur snapped them both out of it. Arthur barked ‘in my office’ at Merlin, then strode off with a poor man from finance chasing him down.

Before Merlin could fathom what had just taken place his phone chirped.

Gwaineloves^$$: The dragon is a fire breather – I repeat - he breathes fire

LotsofLances69: Are you serious – he’s never showed any signs before

Perflexed: That explains so much – holy fuck

Warlocked87: What do you mean?

Gwaineloves^$$:  Fuck - oh nothing Merlin – wasn’t meant for this group #needtoworkouthowtousethisbloodyinstantmessagingthingproperly

SirLeon: That’s it Gwaine you have a 4 day ban

Gwaineloves^$$: noooo - #suckitsurly #Illbeback         

Merlin frowned – what were they talking about? Fire breathing? Merlin shook his head and continued looking at his concept board, trying to see where he went wrong - he really couldn’t keep up with the Guards of Pendragon Corp.

/*

‘You can’t be serious?’ Gwen’s face red from jogging, cracked into a huge smile at Merlin’s story.

‘Deadly,’ Merlin replied, then weaved between a pram and another jogger that came their way.

He had discovered this running track around a manmade lake a few weeks earlier, the grass and benches lined with people on their lunch breaks enjoying the outdoors. Merlin and Gwen had started to meet in their lunchtimes to jog – both citing the need to be fitter now their infinitely great metabolisms of early twenties were behind them.

‘He sounds like an absolute arse, Merlin. Should you report him to somebody – his father maybe?’

‘Nah – I can handle a Prat like him.’ Merlin also didn’t know how to admit he liked the hostile banter and quick witted comments bandied between them on a daily basis. Was he a masochist? Probably – no , most definitely.

‘On that note, how is the first presentation going?’

Merlin sped up, ‘that good hey?’ Gwen yelled as he ducked his head. He was almost ready – just the original board was driving him nuts. He explained this all to Gwen as they jogged past a group of kids on excursion to the nearby museum.

‘Hold up, I need to stretch.’ Gwen suddenly hissed, making Merlin jog around in a circle to come back to her, frowning at her foot on the bench as she stretched.

‘What are you doing? You stretched before the jog – cramp?’

‘No - I’ve just seen the man I’m going to marry.’

Merlin grinned, and spun around to where Gwen covertly (to be truthful, quite obviously) eyed a man off. As his eyes fell on the familiar blonde crown of hair, his stomach sunk. Gwen had seen Arthur - who had just bit messily into a pretzel from a nearby cart. He looked about 4 years of age – pastry flying everywhere.

‘Are you sure?’ Merlin’s voice cracked, he had no idea why a heavy ball of something had abruptly sat smack in the middle of his chest.

‘Look at his hair, that physique, oh gosh, those eyes – what colour are they?’ Gwen whispered as Arthur turned toward them.

‘Blue,’ Merlin ground out at the same time Gwen whispered ‘Brown’. Huh?

Merlin glanced back and knew Arthur had now seen him – well he had to of, because he now stared unabashedly in their direction. Merlin realised he was wearing a thin tank and tight running shorts, immediately he felt naked looking at his suit (and now pretzel) clad boss. He wasn’t in the office so shouldn’t get into trouble for non-business wear, but he never knew with Arthur. The stare he was now on the receiving end of probably indicated Arthur was about to tell him off for not looking corporate.

‘Merlin, how’s your day?’ Lancelot was with Arthur – of course he was; he always had a guard somewhere with him. He wondered if there was a security risk or if Arthur just liked to look important – probably the latter truthfully. Lancelot gave him a weird stare, one that went between him and a flushed Gwen with a slight nod. Oh – how rude of him.

Merlin spun, and introduced Gwen to Lance and saw a soft doe eyed look sweep over her features as she ran a hand through her curls trying to order them. Oh – brown eyes. Lancelot. Merlin should not have felt as relieved as he did at the revelation Gwen thought Lance was her knight in shining armour.

As Lance and Gwen flirted up a storm (which left the air rich with pheromones) Arthur and Merlin stood awkwardly. They hadn’t seen each other since Merlin blew off the four o’clock appointment a few days earlier. Gwaine wasn’t wrong saying Merlin didn’t like people to see his work until it was completed. Even if Arthur could fire him in a blink of an eye, Merlin had his ways and wouldn’t change for anyone. Although - maybe he should try.

‘I could fire you for not coming to my office when ordered you know?’

Merlin would not try today.

‘I know.’ Merlin replied all haughty, then shielded his eyes from the sun as he looked at Arthur feigning disinterest. ‘You have pretzel on your lapel.’

At Arthur’s soft chuckle, Merlin felt his stomach clench at being on the receiving end of such a sound. What on Earth did he do to deserve that piece of Arthur? A sharp ringing broke Merlin’s thoughts and Arthur answered the small black device then hung up almost immediately; all smiles and soft laughter disappeared as if it had never been there. Maybe it hadn’t.

‘Lance – let’s go.’ Arthur barked, ‘Father’s waiting.’

Lance straightened up, but not before getting Gwen’s number, then they were off. Arthur gave Merlin an extremely quick once over, which unexpectedly made Merlin flush with heat. He knew the look wasn’t an appraising one, couldn’t be really. He was probably comparing Merlin to the rugby player physiques who Arthur usually hung out with. Merlin just wouldn’t measure up against them – he pushed aside the peculiar feeling which welled up inside of him.

‘Holy moly, Merlin, I just gave my number to a stranger – a completely charming, gorgeous stranger. But hang on, you know him – so he’s not a stranger. Tell me everything about him!’

Merlin laughed at her excitement, she could do much worse than the charming Lance, ‘as we jog – I still have to work off the muffin I ate today since all my apples are disappearing.’

/*

Half an hour later saw Merlin in the staff bathrooms, towelling off after a super quick shower – he didn’t work well with huge sweat stains on his fitted checked shirts. As he buttoned up said shirt the bathroom door slammed open. Arthur stood in the doorway – eyes widened comically as he found Merlin stood in front of him, it looked like Arthur had been caught doing something he shouldn’t be. Merlin snorted – he ran the company, Arthur could go anywhere he wanted – but why on earth was he on the first floor pleb bathroom? Didn’t he also rush off to see Uther from the park? Mind you, Uther cancelled more than he turned up Merlin knew. Not one to shy away from asking questions, Merlin did just that.

‘Don’t you have a private bathroom off of your office? You know, made of marble with virgin statues pouring water from their jugs.’

Arthur stood staring at him dumbly, ‘excuse me?’

‘Oh, by jugs – I meant literal jugs, not – you know.’ Merlin was left standing making circle motions over his chest like an idiot.

Arthur continued to gape, face turning a delightful shade of pink, ‘Uh, all the plumbing’s broken.’

All the plumbing’s?’ Merlin questioned, an amused smile formed.

‘Yes, that’s exactly what I said – are you deaf?’ And there he was - Arthur was back to his usual dickish self.

‘Oh, sorry I misunderstood - the whole plumbling’s broken.  I hate when that happens – really inconvenient to travel 80 floors when you need the loo.’

‘Are you using sarcasm on me, Merlin?’

‘I wouldn’t dare.’ The grin Merlin gave Arthur was of the self-satisfied variety and his boss knew it.

‘You know, I’m not here to be questioned by the likes of you.’ Merlin’s eyes narrowed at Arthur’s superior tone. Just when he thought the Prat was loosening up, he turned on this loftier than thou attitude. ‘Running this Corporation requires confidence, time and an agile mind you know.’

‘So you get by on two of the three?’ Merlin was going to lose his job.

All of a sudden Arthur was in his face, pushing against his shoulders until Merlin was backed up against the shower stall he’d vacated a few minutes before. The blonde was red faced, angry and something else Merlin was trying hard to decipher.

Arthur leant in closer, Merlin caught his breath as the blonde hissed, ‘I’ve had just about enough of your smart mouth.’ Blue eyes dropped to Merlin’s mouth and Merlin lost any function in his body except to create a whirlwind of swirls – was Arthur Pendragon about to bloody kiss him?

He couldn’t help but sway forward and Merlin could almost taste the salt from Arthur’s pretzel. His eyes slowly shut of their own accord (he also ignored the fact he practically swooned) when Arthur inhaled sharply then pulled back, a ghost of touch against Merlin’s cheek. Merlin’s eyes snapped open to see Arthur with a wild look in his as he stood still, not moving a muscle. The blonde’s chest heaved in deep breaths and a large tanned hand fell on Merlin’s shoulder. Had Arthur brushed his fingers across Merlin’s cheekbone?

As Merlin went to ask, who knew what – as he was coming up blank, Arthur spoke quickly – almost as if he didn’t want to hear what Merlin had to say (which was nothing apparently).

‘Board meetings in four days – I don’t want to see you again unless you have the campaign for me.’ Arthur shoved himself back and stalked from the bathroom leaving Merlin shaken, confused and more than a little horny.

Merlin had almost allowed the arse-hat to kiss him (well he thought that was what Arthur was about to do) – where in hell was his brain? He didn’t want that – did he ? Merlin shut his eyes and saw Arthur before him again, handsome face confused with clear want in his eyes - something Merlin had never associated with the corporate robot he had gotten to know over the last month. Arthur Pendragon was a fucking enigma; one Merlin couldn’t help but to want to unravel - knowing quite well it was the worst possible idea in the world. Bloody hell this was getting out of hand. He adjusted his hardened cock in his pants and waited five minutes before he left – he didn’t want to scare the natives after all.

 

Chapter Text

Merlin found himself in the lounge of his apartment as Gwen flitted in and out having a crisis over her lack of anything to wear (when he knows for a fact she bought three new tops that very afternoon) while he desperately tried to see what he could do with his concept slides ready for the board meeting the next day.

He had tried to not think about Arthur since the bathroom incident, purely because he didn’t know what to think. Had he imagined it all? Surely the man who ran Pendragon Corp was not following Merlin into bathrooms trying to make a move – it was ludicrous. His overactive imagination was clearly playing tricks.

Knowing he wasn’t an absolute idiot – Merlin would have to be thick not to sense the attraction, but wondered if it was all one sided. There were times over the last month or so where he thought Arthur’s hooded stares which landed on him were full of heat, but he was never one to judge these things accurately. He remembered Gwen smacking him on the upside of the head in a nightclub two years earlier because the gorgeous barman had been giving Merlin free or half priced drinks all night; Merlin had no idea it was flirting – he thought it was happy hour (all night).

So was Arthur sending very mixed signals – one’s where a secret glance followed by balls out anger meant he wanted Merlin on a physical level? Merlin was only human after all and Arthur a perfect specimen of a man – but his harsh personality had no give. It wasn’t like it was not attractive, but it left a lot to be desired. Merlin loved arrogance born from confidence and also had a slight kink to dominate those people, so when Merlin saw signs of a softer side to the conceited businessman – it made him harder than steel. It also meant Arthur was touchable; he was made of flesh and bone. He was not the corporate robot he showed the world. So here Merlin stood, completely and utterly in lust with his boss – the cliché monster come to life. And still, a small (read large) desperate side of Merlin craved to see what other superheros Arthur hid under his pants. He did love Ant-Man…or was that Paul Rudd – same thing really.

‘Merlin, I am literally going to die – nothing looks good!’ Gwen’s flushed panicked face scrunched up in defeat as she ran out of the bedroom then a second later back into it; Merlin could hear clothes being thrown around.

‘Well – you can’t bring him back here now that you’ve made a mess.’

‘Merlin! What kind of girl do you think I am? Should I clean up?’

Merlin chuckled and put his laptop down – he couldn’t do anything as Gwen ran around like a chicken with its head cut off anyway – he’d work on it when she left. Plus he needed the distraction from his thoughts on Arthur (if there was such a distraction in existence). ‘Let’s have a look, and Sweety – if you’re bringing Lancelot back here to have your wicked way with him – don’t.’

Gwen looked owlishly at him, ‘why? What do you know about him – has he got a dozen girls on the side? Does he kill people in their sleep? Does he have a diseased rhinoceros pizzle?’

‘A diseased rhinoceros what?’ he heaved out between gasps of laughter.

‘Pizzle! Stop laughing – Merlin, I am dead serious. If the pizzle is no good – then Lancelot is out, no matter how dreamy he…’ Gwen giggled too much to finish her sentence; Merlin grabbed her in a loose headlock then pulled her towards the wardrobe.

‘You are a nutter and I love you, but no – you don’t bring him back because you need to have the appearance of being a lady, for at least one date. Plus, I’m next door and after your tryst with Rex a few months ago....’ Gwen hit him with mock horror, and he made a zipping motion over his lips. ‘Fine – I know not to bring that up – whether he was in a seventies punk rocker phase or not…sorry!’ Gwen smacked him on the shoulder, her eyes smiled up at him. ‘Ok, the pale gold brings out your eyes – wear that top with black jeans and those high heels I tried and failed at wearing on Halloween.’

‘You were a gorgeous Frankenfurter – injury aside. I’m still in shock we almost have the same sized foot – you just needed more walking practise.’

‘More practise? I got a stress fracture on my foot!’

‘Yeah, but you were too drunk to notice until the next day,’ Gwen retorted while she changed tops.

‘Then I had to wear an ugly uncomfortable moon boot for months…’

‘You still looked fucking hot that night though.’

‘Yeah I did, didn’t I?’ Merlin smirked back.

A rap at the door interrupted them and Gwen’s panicked look came back, ‘he’s early – like forty five minutes too early.’

‘I’m sure it’s not him – it’s probably Boris looking for his damn cat again.’ Merlin threw over his shoulder as he made for the front door. When he got there he heard a slight commotion on the front stoop; he frowned and checked the security peephole. A huge toothy grin met his eye; Merlin couldn’t help but snort in amusement as he opened the door.

‘Gwaine, what in hell are you doing…Oh, hey - Percy, Leon.’ Merlin leant out the door and looked for anyone else except the three men in front of him.

‘Lance isn’t with us,’ Gwaine declared happily before turning to the other two, ‘I told you we’d beat him here.’

‘Why on earth are you here?’ Merlin asked incredulously as he knew they weren’t catching up to watch football until later in the week.

‘Well for one, we had to meet this mystical creature called Gwen who Lance has been talking about non-stop – he never talks about his “lady-friends”.’

Merlin hit Gwaine’s shoulder, ‘Gwen is a damn fine lady - not to be air-quoted with the other riff raff.’

‘Apologies,’ Gwaine grinned, ‘plus it will annoy the hell out of him that we are here.’

Leon stepped forward, ‘Seriously Merlin – I told them we shouldn’t do this, Lance should be able to have a date without being hassled .’ Leon stressed the last word towards Gwaine, which made Merlin smile as he heard a retorting ‘you’re no fun, dad.’

Knowing it was rude to leave them on the doorstep - Merlin invited them in, and offered beer which Leon and Gwaine accepted; Percy surprisingly asked for a coconut green tea which Merlin was about to brew.

‘Are these your drawings?’ Leon asked politely from the couch as he looked at a sketch pad Merlin haphazardly left on the coffee table. He nodded and passed over the beers then headed back to the kitchen for the tea.

‘You can have a look if you want – just doodles and ideas in there, and I mean drawings not actual dicks, Gwaine.’ Merlin huffed at Gwaine’s upset noise and left the tea to steep. All of a sudden Merlin heard a hissing noise which came from somewhere. He looked back at the quiet kettle, then realised it came from the hallway - Gwen stood in the darkened space and motioned him forward.

‘What the hell – who’s here and why are you making tea? It’s not Lance is it?’

Merlin ducked his head, there was something about the guards which made him lose track of what was going on around him. The friendship he had found with them was unexpected but most definitely not unwanted. ‘Sorry – some of the guys from work dropped around. They’ll be gone before you get back.’   

Gwen did not appear appeased, but was obviously glad he had made friends at work. She did a twirl and Merlin whistled low and long, ‘you look stunning as usual, Gwenibear.’

A louder whistle came from behind him which made Merlin spin; Gwaine gave Gwen an overly friendly appraising look. ‘Lance is going to get his heart broken with you – I can tell.’

Gwen flushed red, ‘Gwaine this is Gwen, Gwen – Gwaine.’ Merlin motioned between the two.

‘You work with Lance don’t you?’ Gwen asked; Merlin amused at the tone in her voice.

‘Yep - the one and only,’ Gwaine beamed, ‘he’d be lost without me.’

‘Oh – yes, I remember now, you’re the one who’s ended up in emergency with a vacuum cleaner “issue”, more than once wasn’t it? Lance told me all about you and your, attachments .’ Gwen’s arched brow and small smile made Merlin snort a quiet laugh.

‘Oh, I like her Merlin – she is going to eat Lance up. I approve!’

Gwen poured herself a small wine (just for the nerves), and they all piled into the lounge to wait for poor Lancelot. Merlin found himself embarrassed at the compliments his art garnered from the guys and before he knew it, a timid knock came from the door.

Merlin had to physically hold Gwaine back from answering and when a shy Lance came inside to see a panel of work mates on the lounge, he turned a shade of white Merlin had only seen on a paint palette before.

After catcalls, a lot of swear words and kissing noises, Gwen and Lance left on their date, Gwaine yelled out the door, ‘don’t cheap out on her mate – I’ve seen your credit card limit!’

‘No chance - I’m not you,’ Lance’s returning voice called.

Merlin realised as the boys found a game on TV he wouldn’t get any work done tonight on the slides. On one hand he worried what Arthur – no, what the board would think. On the other he had probably done all he could, he was proud of his work and knew he was on track with what Pendragon Corp was trying to achieve with the new ad campaign. But that didn’t stop him bringing up his work to glance over it one more time – he had the meeting tomorrow after all and wanted to be prepared.

All too soon, three large heads looked over his shoulder at what he was doing – TV forgotten as Leon asked questions about Merlins art school and when he knew he wanted to be an artist. Surprisingly, Leon was an avid baker, he loved to create in the kitchen - something Merlin appreciated. He still needed to look up instructions on how to make toast. Leon wanted to start a baking vlog - Percy wanted to be the taste tester and Gwaine the aperitif pairer (or drinker more likely).

As Merlin worked and talked to the group, Gwaine brewed decaf coffees for everyone - and joked they would stay for the epic goodnight first kiss at the door – which Merlin replied with a ‘you don’t know Gwen, I’m sure they’ve made out at least three times by now.’       

Merlin moved slowly between slides (still unsure on the first one) when he took a large sip of coffee, then almost spat it on the floor, ‘Christ - is there five fingers of whiskey in this?’

Gwaine snorted and went to grab it from Merlin’s hand, ‘whoops, that’s mine.’

Merlin held onto it steadfast, ‘Uh - no it’s okay, I think I’ll keep it.’

Gwaine smirked as he pulled a flask shaped like a banana from his jacket and poured a liberal amount into his coffee before he made a cheers’ and took a sip then smacked his lips. For all of Merlin’s good intentions, it was going to be a late night.

/*       

Merlin was setting up for the meeting when Arthur strode in, the air turned thick – mainly because Merlin had somehow forgotten over the space of two days how utterly breathtaking Arthur Pendragon could be in person. His blonde hair clearly messy from his hands running through it (Merlin most certainly did not wish it was his hands) and his suit jacket hung over his arm haphazardly. It caught Merlin slightly off guard - Arthur wasn’t his usual perfectionist self.

The strangest part of this one sided interaction - Arthur hadn’t noticed Merlin in the room yet; he’d just come in, sat to the right of the head chair (Uther’s) then hung his head in his hands, before he rubbed his face wearily. Merlin held his breath, should he say something ? He was likely to get into trouble for being here, but he liked being early and Elena let him in. Secondary was the thought that Arthur looked utterly shattered. This tugged at something within Merlin, he knew that look well - albeit his came after his mother Hunith had passed away a few years earlier, but he understood the sentiment.

‘Uh…’ Merlin began which made Arthur’s head snap up so quick he must’ve pulled something out of alignment. Blue eyes stayed soft for the barest second before they hardened. It was those few seconds of softness which kept Merlin quiet as Arthur began to complain loudly he shouldn’t be there. Merlin to his credit did not react – he turned his back to Arthur and made sure the projector mirrored his laptop and the slides were in order (which he triple checked after finding Gwaine messing with his computer the evening before – looking for his porn stash).

It was as he pointedly ignored Arthur that he felt what could only be described as a soft caress of breath on the shell of his ear, which made him jump a mile high. Merlin turned swiftly to find Arthur on his feet only a step away – familiar smirk plastered on his face. What in hell was this man’s deal? Merlin went to ask that exact question when something on his laptop started to play – loudly.

Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice boomed from Merlin’s speakers and the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” filled the space. As he flushed red, Merlin quickly closed down his music app which he must have hit when Arthur freaking breathed on him. He was so utterly confused, he lost the ability to think straight and wondered why Arthur might have done something as unorthodox and out of character like that in the first place.

‘Not so uncultured after all, Merlin.’

Merlin stiffened and shut his eyes against the annoyingly frustrating face before him. How the hell did this man go from fuckable to reprehensible in the space of seconds? Merlin couldn’t come up with a retort quick enough before Arthur leant in and whispered, ‘although, one of my personal favourites of Frank’s would have to be, Satisfy Me One More Time.’

Merlin gaped as the door opened and Elena walked in with the board members followed closely by Uther. How was he supposed to do this presentation now? It was a lesser known version of a song Frank had sung, but Merlin knew it well. Lines like, barricade me and invade me, just one more time and excite me and ignite me with your sweet torso now ran through his mind. The knowing and quite frankly (mind the pun) smirking look Arthur bestowed on Merlin had him muddled with his cock feeling fuller in now too tight pants. This Neanderthal was infuriating, sexy and gave Merlin high blood pressure often enough he might have to take something for it.

How Merlin pulled himself together for the remainder of the meeting was beyond him, as he felt a heavy blue gaze the entire time. His own eyes flitted over Arthur, not able to keep them still on the blonde, less his train of thought stop for him to just look his fill. The ridiculousness of the situation was not lost on Merlin either. He knew Arthur had to be messing with him. He was probably embarrassed about the bathroom situation and was trying to big-note himself now by acting like the arse he really was. But the teasing – that was new. It threw Merlin off – was that Arthur’s game ? Was there even a game? Merlin was well and truly jumbled.

From his sketchy start with Frank and Arthur (which had to be a British comedy show – surely), the meeting actually went terribly well. The board loved his concept and vision - even Uther murmured a kind word at one slide.

Arthur – said nothing. For some reason his silence gave Merlin an itchy feeling under his skin.

Most people had vacated the room by the time Merlin had packed up and walked out; he was almost at the service lift (sweating only slightly at the thought of where in the sky he actually was) when he realised he left a cable behind in the projector. Apparently there was no such thing as a clean getaway.

As Merlin went to push open the door of the conference room, he heard a deep biting voice boom making him hesitate. ‘If you haven’t fixed your fuck up by the end of the week – it comes out of your inheritance.’

‘Father – it’s not a fuck up - Morgana and I planned…’

‘I don’t care – she’s a woman in a man’s world, you on the other hand are a man in a man’s world – I expected better from you.’

‘That’s fucking sexist, and she is worth more than…’

‘Don’t argue with me - you need to step up.’

‘What the hell do you think I’ve been doing?’

‘The bare minimum by my accounts,’ the cutting tone in Uther’s voice made Merlin swallow thickly. Did Arthur have to put up with this all the time?

It took Merlin too long to realise the yelling had stopped and he was left standing at a half open door gaping, so Arthur almost knocked him on his arse as he barrelled out the door. Looking shocked for a moment, Arthur began to mouth an apology (well that’s what Merlin thought was going to happen), but instead he copped an earful.

‘Do you skulk in hallways often? Never mind – of course you do.’ Arthur ran a shaking hand through his hair and for the smallest second Merlin wanted to reach out until Arthur continued, ‘your presentation today was lacking.’

Merlin grasped at a thought, any thought except calling Arthur a wanker. Conversing with him was like having whiplash, ‘well…the board seemed to like it,’ is what he managed, although his mind screamed at him to not put up with Arthur’s crap. Then he remembered the way Uther just spoke to the blonde and he felt something like understanding well up. He knew what being bullied was like.

‘You don’t work for the board.’

‘Actually…I think I kind of do.’ Why are you engaging in this madness? Walk away.

‘Are you really trying to pick a fight with me today? You’ll lose more than your job, Merlin.’

A retort along with his resignation was on the tip of Merlin’s tongue when Arthur spoke the words which hit his Achilles heel head on. ‘The first slide needed work…it was missing something. I expect better next time.’

Arthur strode off which left an extremely flustered, bewildered and furious Merlin in his wake. To his credit Merlin took the lift down (without even thinking about how far he was hurtling to the ground once) before he stormed to his desk.

The more he thought on Arthur’s tone the more annoyed and angry he became. How dare the absolute Pillock tear him a new one. Just because he had “daddy” issues didn’t give him the excuse to treat employees so deploringly. Merlin also bloody knew that slide was not right – fuck it.

Warlocked87: Fucking SpiderpantsPrat is a fucking arsehole - fuck

Perflexed: Only on Thursdays, mainly because the cafeteria doesn’t serve chocolate milk

Warlocked87: No he’s one every fucking day. What? They don’t sell it on Thursdays only – that’s just fucked!

LotsofLances69: You OK Merlin – never seen you give so many fucks before - literally

Warlocked87: I’m ready to roll heads – he is just fucking infuriating

LotsofLances69: Does sound like Arthur – Gwaine’s going to be pissed he missed this conversation – did Gwen say anything about me?

SirLeon: Usually I don’t like to get involved but he’s on the roof at the pool if you want to catch him – Gwaine’s still banned for another day #thehashtagkingreignssupremeSirLeon

Perflexed: Gwaine’s right – your hashtags need work

SirLeon: You itching for a banning too

Perflexed: #SirLeonforhashtagking

LotsofLances69: Seriously – she didn’t say anything at all?                       

Merlin thought on Leon’s response, maybe he needed to go up there, maybe just maybe he needed to give Arthur a piece of his mind – he didn’t deserve to be spoken to as if there was no respect for his work or for him. It only made him madder as it felt like Arthur was flirting moments before the meeting, then to act so – awfully was like being on a roller coaster which suddenly switched directions. Merlin couldn’t keep up.He fumed as he relived the moment in his mind all the way up to the roof until Merlin stepped out into a large deserted indoor area - one which was set out like a luxurious penthouse.

Lounges were placed on one side near a well-stocked bar, a TV bigger than his units outside wall took up one end of the room and a dining table which would fit twenty people comfortably sat on the other side of the room. Most of the blinds were drawn giving the room a soft glow from the waning light outside and as he walked forward with a slight amount of trepidation (because if he broke something in here it would cost a years-worth of his wages) Merlin noticed the sky had turned to dusk. Where had the day gone?

Through large glass panels behind the bar, Merlin saw the lit-up pool; he also saw Arthur’s strong lithe body cutting through the water, before he pulled himself up out of the pool with little to no effort. Merlin knew if he tried to do that, it would take three big jumps to get the height needed to heave himself onto the ledge in an unfit pile before he lost his swim trunks halfway down his arse - mooning any unsuspecting viewers.

He did not need to see Arthur wet, practically naked and breathing heavily – especially as he was ready to rip him to shreds for speaking to him like a simple minded farm boy. Before he could think on it too much, Merlin placed his tote bag on the huge dining table before he walked through the one and only door to the pool area. He couldn’t help but want to appear as dramatic as possible and slammed the unusually heavy door on his way through. He got what he wanted though, Arthur spun around quickly at the bang, his wide blue eyes full of surprise.

‘You can’t speak to me like that – I am not a bloody dog, although I’m sure even you are nice to dogs - with their little furry faces and…I digress, you...’

‘Please tell me you did not just shut that door?’ Arthur interrupted as he strode past Merlin, still wet, still practically naked (holy shit his tight trunks had a minimalist Deadpool motif on the leg) Merlin was going to die, although the stirring below his belt probably meant he was not. Arthur grabbed the door and tugged it once – it didn’t open. Merlin couldn’t think in the face of Arthur's back muscles which all but rippled – he needed to get this conversation back on track now, lest he think about stupidly running his tongue over Arthur’s lower back dimples – too late .

‘Look - I am not here to talk about a fucking dimple…door, you arsehole.’

‘Well you should be, because you dim-witted fool, it is a self-locking security door and my fucking keycard and phone are in that room, unless you have yours?’ Merlin thought about his bag on the table and felt his stomach sink, Arthur read his body language and huffed out a long suffering sigh.  ‘No? Look - I’ll give it to you straight – no-one uses this pool without express permission. To top it off, Father and Morgana have both left the city overnight. We are bloody locked out here until the pool cleaner comes in the morning.’

With nowhere else to look except Arthur’s exposed chest (which had to be made of marble) Merlin had only two combinations of two words for the situation - well fuck and cold shower .

 

Chapter Text

Merlin’s heartbeat increased exponentially, ‘Don’t you have a phone out here? I mean, this is one of the richest buildings in the city - surely there has to be fifteen phones or a bloody pull cord for servants or something?’

‘Servants? I don’t have bloody servants, who do you think I…’ Arthur sighed heavily mid-sentence at Merlin’s snort of disbelief, irritation clear on his face, ‘do you think I would be wasting my time arguing with you if I could just pick up a phone to get us out of here – I can’t believe you shut the door…’

‘Don’t blame poor design on me. I should be able to shut a door without fear of being stuck on a roof!’ Oh fuck , roof . Merlin immediately dropped to the ground his knees came up towards his face as the familiar tendrils of sheer horror and fear start to grasp at his mind to create disjointed thoughts. He didn’t want to do this here – he couldn’t do this in front of Arthur.

‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ he heard from somewhere above him.

Merlin couldn’t get actual words out over the crippling dread which coursed through his veins. This was not good – not good at all.

‘Merlin - what is it? You hit the ground like a sack of flour.’ Was it concern in Arthur’s voice, or disgust?

He didn't respond, couldn't really - he didn’t have the faculties in this moment to speak as his vision blurred and heart bounced out of his chest. How had being on the roof not crossed his mind before this point? Eighty stories high, oh Christ . Merlin vomited in his mouth a little, the bile bitter and acidic which somehow ordered his thoughts. His all-consuming anger at Arthur had made him forget his fear at first, he had never forgotten before.

He felt a soft touch on his shoulder and Merlin couldn’t help the unintentional reaction of skittering from it – worried about what exactly? That Arthur planned to pick him up, only to throw him over the edge? He was being melodramatic and ridiculous he knew this, yet – why did he have more clarity than the usual overwhelming pit of terror at his fear. Usually he couldn’t form rational thoughts. Was it Arthur who somehow kept his mind slightly saner? That was insane...

While he hugged his knees, Merlin peeked up under dark lashes to see Arthur pull his shirt on over his remarkably fascinating chest – maybe he should keep it off – that particular chest had made him forget about the impending doom of falling off the side of a building. Do not think about falling – in any way, shape or form . Knowing they were surrounded by high glass sides didn’t help – they were fucking glass to start with, and knowing he couldn’t fall over the side if he kept to the middle of the roof didn’t seem to make him feel better either. Merlin was utterly convinced he was going to fall off a eighty storey high rise that night.

‘Hey, it's ok, Merlin – tell me what’s happening?’ Not disgust then, he was a little happier to find Arthur wasn’t absolutely repulsed with his uncontrolled actions. Merlin looked up instead of giving an answer, he still wasn’t sure vomit wouldn’t come out of his mouth. He knew the panic in his eyes was easy to read when Arthur’s gaze suddenly went from annoyance to surprise then understanding.

Arthur grabbed his arm, which made Merlin resist, so the blonde forced him to his feet which he also wasn't ready for (hadn’t Arthur dealt with somebody in bloody panic mode before?) Instead of acting like the almost 30 years of age he was, Merlin lashed out. Arthur let out a small sound of surprise before he swung his arms like a windmill, because to Merlin's utter dismay the blonde was on the edge of the pool.

Using reflexes Merlin didn’t realise he had the capacity for in the moment, he reached out to grab a flailing Arthur. But Merlin's life was clearly a “made for TV’ movie because as his hand grasped the front of Arthur’s towel - he also unintentionally seized his cock too. Arthur stopped in shock and stared directly into Merlin’s wide eyes for the longest moment, expression unreadable - before Merlin realised once again his hand was coveting his boss's dick.

Merlin let go with a jerk and ignored his traitorous mind which told him to cup it further, but because he’d let go – Arthur fell back into the pool - towel, shirt and disbelieving look going with.

As Merlin let out a sharp unintentional bark of laughter, Arthur had already stood up in the shallow end, drenched and looking thoroughly unimpressed. Water cascaded in thick rivulets from his blonde locks and as he rubbed chlorinated water from his eyes with downturned lips, Merlin knew he had never seen anything more delightful in his life. Blue eyes clashed with his, the lightness and burgeoning humour behind them made Merlin inhale sharply. This man was going to be the death of his sex life – he would be fantasising about this moment more than once (let’s be honest more than a hundred times). He was literally a Mr Darcy come to life.

‘Merlin – you complete and utter…’ Arthur trailed off as he clearly searched for a word.

‘Treasure?’ Merlin couldn’t help but beam.

‘Monstrosity,’ Arthur finished as he stepped out of the pool, which made Merlin’s mouth go dryer as he peeled off the obscenely tight wet dress shirt (how was Arthur undressing more sexy than practically being naked) then hung it on the back of a deck chair along with the sopping towel. ‘You feeling better now?’

Merlin hadn’t even realised his freak out was over, they’d never dissipated so quickly before. ‘Ugh, yeah,’ he responded and rubbed a palm over his eyes, not only to get the picture of Arthur shedding a wet shirt out of it, but to regain some much needed lucidity. He was going to be ok – Arthur as much of a dick as he was, wouldn’t let Merlin fall over the edge of a building. That being said, they really needed to get off the roof – not only because of Merlin's fear, but he was also worried he wouldn’t be able to keep his hands off the blonde - and of course he couldn’t touch Arthur, as he was not his to touch. But what if he was ? What if’s were for mooning fourteen year old’s not grown arse adults.

‘Panic attack?’ Arthur interrupted his rambling almost incoherent thoughts which Merlin was grateful for.

‘Uh, let’s just call it a height thing…’ Merlin shifted his eyes to the side, not wanting Arthur to read something into this or sense his weakness any more than he already had.

‘Merlin?’ His eyes snapped back to Arthur's, whose voice seemed to be laced in unending patience, he couldn’t take a nice Arthur now – not when his defences were all but gone.

‘I’d prefer not to talk about it.’

‘Suit yourself.’ Arthur almost looked put out or even a little hurt by Merlin’s clipped tone, but he couldn’t fathom why that would be – the almost dark sky with lights which reflected off the pool must have made him see something.

Luckily Arthur had a second towel which hung nearby and when he wrapped himself into it, Merlin felt a pang of something deep in his stomach rebel as the blonde’s body once again became partially covered. Was this continual train of thought normal?

‘Surely someone will come looking for you – you are Arthur Pendragon , after all.’

‘You drawl my name so contemptuously Mer lin.’ The raised mocking brow Merlin gave made Arthur half smile – which did not do anything to the whirls of movement in Merlin’s stomach. ‘I can’t imagine why anyone would come searching for me. There is no one to know I’m gone.’

Merlin couldn’t help but be sad by his matter of fact statement, was there no one Arthur relied on? He knew Gwen would miss him if he didn’t return, ‘Oh shit…’

‘What is it?’

‘I was just thinking my housemate Gwen would come looking for me – but she’s out with Lance tonight and probably will be too loved up to notice. Maybe Leon? No, he’s fencing tonight…Percy’s at his mums – Will – well he’s Will, but then…Gwaine…he might..’

‘You certainly are close with my security team,’ Arthur somehow made this sound like a bad thing, his tone steely, back stiff as he sat on a deck chair. Which was no mean feat - deck chairs were notorious for making people look decidedly non-threatening.

‘Well – yes, they’re great blokes – don’t you talk to them?’

‘I tend not to fraternise with the staff,’ Arthur’s voice was extremely terse and matter of fact. This irked Merlin for some reason.

‘Staff?   Really , so they aren’t people then, just staff?’

‘I pay their wages - so yes, they’re just staff to me.’

‘I don’t believe you,’ Merlin couldn’t help the slight edge to his tone, which made Arthur swing his eyes back to him. He also wasn’t sure how much of Arthur’s intense looks he could put up with either; they were unnerving and seemed to look right into Merlin.

‘Why are you getting all pissy that I pay people to do a job?’ Arthur shrugged, he really didn’t get it.

‘You’re missing the point entirely…’

‘I really don’t think I am,’ Arthur laid back on the chair his forearms cradled his head which made his biceps tense – Merlin swallowed hard. This Adonis may look like a conquering king come to life, but had no social skills to speak of.

‘I can’t blur the line between being someone’s boss and also being their friend. It doesn’t work. Has never worked, and I won’t do it again.’ Merlin was taken aback by the string of words, probably the most truth he’d ever heard from the blonde.

‘Why? What happened?’ He asked instead, curiosity won out.

‘Nothing I want to talk about.’

Merlin wondered what had happened in his past to be so unwilling to even try and be friendlier with people.

‘But… we talk?’

Arthur laughed sardonically, ‘would you notice or worry if I was missing for the night then?’

Merlin coughed as the words stuck in his throat, ‘Well – yes, because I am bloody stuck with you! But - I guess, when you put it that way….’

‘Exactly.’

It then went quiet for a while, the awkward yet also free flowing conversation stopped. Arthur leant back further, eyes still shut – not asleep but he kept up the pretence. Merlin found it extremely difficult to look away from the man before him. He was seeing a completely different side to Arthur and couldn’t help but think on his words, this powerful Prat had no true friends to call on. This resonated on some level in Merlin; he wouldn’t know what to do without Gwen, Will and now by extension the guys from work. Although to be honest, Arthur’s personality so far made it almost impossible to foster anything other than dislike.

‘You’re cold.’ Merlin was startled by hooded blue eyes which contemplated him, he hadn’t even noticed shivering – though as he thought on it, it was getting chillier.

‘Well, we are on a…..scratch that thought, we are outside,’ don’t think about heights – the wind picked up again which ruffled Merlin’s hair and made him shiver once more.

Merlin had curled up in a ball on one half of a large double day bed, he glanced around and noticed there were no extra towels or blankets to cover himself with. It wasn’t even ten o’clock at night which meant he was officially going to freeze in the early hours; Merlin had always felt the cold (even during a heat wave) he contributed this to his lean frame. Suddenly a glass hovered before him, half filled with amber liquid. Arthur’s blue gaze regarded him once more, though it was softer on the edges then he’d ever seen before, his breath laboured. Are you going to bloody swoon? Idiot, pull it together.

‘Drink this – it's whiskey and will warm you up.’ Arthur flopped beside him once Merlin gingerly took the glass, his side ignited in fire now Arthur was close enough to touch in just a towel and (Deadpool!) Swim shorts. Don’t think about that – his own pants were not great at hiding hard-on’s. Christ was there anything he could think about?

Merlin gave him the side eye instead, ‘why do you have whiskey out here and no key-card?’

‘Priorities, Merlin. On days which turn out like today, I enjoy the solitude of the pool and a finger or three of whiskey.’         

Merlin didn’t push for more information nor did he mention a full bottle was not three fingers. He took a sip instead – the whiskey so very smooth, Merlin couldn’t help but wonder if it cost about the same as his rent for a month. Their lives really were polar opposites, heir of a vast fortune and an artist still trying to pay back his university debts, but here they were.

Merlin glanced over to see Arthur breathe in deeply – the beginnings of sleep. The towel had slipped and made the sharp planes of Arthur’s collarbone jut out, Merlin gazed hungrily at the exposed skin. What the hell was he doing? He was lusting hard, that’s what. As long as he kept this lust to himself, it shouldn’t be an issue. Arthur had made it plain and clear he didn’t fraternise with staff, and even if he did – why Merlin? More to the point, was Arthur even into men? Merlin had an idea he was, but he also knew Arthur had dated women in the past as well (if Wiki was telling the truth). When Arthur’s breathing became even in sleep, Merlin couldn’t help but wonder why he was wasting time on thinking things like that anyway. Polar opposites – remember?

Arthur was a prat, infuriating and conceited who made Merlin feel stupid and about an inch tall around thirty times a day. But he also had a softer side which Merlin had glimpsed on more than one occasion (before Arthur hid it), his father was an absolute horror and tonight had proven just a little bit Arthur did care about people - albeit a very stupid one who had locked them on a roof for the night. He hadn’t pushed for information about Merlin’s fear or mocked him for it – he was more grateful for that small kindness Arthur had shown him than anything.

Merlin’s chest pulsed as Arthur’s head slid to his shoulder while he unconsciously snuggled in closer, making Merlin stiffen (but not so much as to wake the exhausted man). Holy fuck he was going to spend the night with Spider Prat. Merlin was hard in a second – bloody hell . He might just need to finish the bottle to get through the night.

/*

Merlin’s eyes blinked open blearily for a second, before he remembered exactly where he was, then they were wide open staring into a sky so blue it almost hurt. His contacts were a little sticky but a few blinks had them feeling comfortable again – he’d soak them when he got home . But right now he couldn’t move (couldn’t or didn’t want to – the difference was minuscule). Merlin settled on “couldn’t” move a muscle, not even an inch. The reason being – Arthur Pendragon, businessman of the year (three times running) filthy rich, conceited and rude was apparently a fucking cuddler.

He was currently wrapped around Merlin so tight, he was certain he’d have an “Arthur” shaped groove pressed into his skin if he moved away. Merlin also tried desperately not to think about the hand curled into a tangled fist in the bottom of his shirt – Arthur’s knuckles grazed his bare stomach – well fuck, now he’s thinking about it . But as standard with men all over the world, Merlin had a hardness pressed against his thigh and it was wonderful, awe-inspiring and it made Merlin sore as he knew by the feeling in his own groin he’d been hard for over an hour now with no reprieve in sight.

As Merlin lay having a crisis over whether he should move his arm (which was curled around Arthur’s expansive back) or if he should just jump away like taking a plaster off – he heard a strange chopping noise. Was it the pool cleaner? Merlin had no idea on the time, he only knew it was early - too early for him to be conscious for sure.

Merlin looked down at the sleep rumpled form of Arthur and realised as their eyes met and locked – he wasn’t as asleep as previously thought. Merlin jerked, making his arm tighten which inadvertently pulled Arthur closer, the blondes little “oomph” not enchanting as all, especially as Merlin felt it rumble through his side. Arthur raised his head again and Merlin felt the blonde take a deep breath ready to say something, when he cocked his head to the side instead, a panicked look stole over any softness which lingered. Good thing too as Merlin couldn’t take anymore of Arthur’s brand of soft (as his hard-on still pressed mouth-wateringly against him).

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck…’ the blonde threw the towel which somehow now covered them both off. ‘That’s fucking Father’s helicopter – we have to move.’

Merlin felt like a fish out of water gaping, as his mouth moved but nothing came out. Finally he managed, ‘what do you mean?’

The way Arthur’s eyes snapped to him then deepened in colour until they were royal blue should not have made Merlin’s cock harder than it already was. ‘Your voice in the morning, Merlin is very...’

Arthur never finished his thought as the chopping noise became louder and he started to look around frantically. ‘What’s the panic about – and what do you mean Helicopter – we’re on a roof?’

‘The helipad is over there,’ Arthur pointed above the penthouse making Merlin start as he had no idea there was anything above them again, he captured a glimpse out over the city and felt a familiar dread begin to well up (but strangely not as all-consuming as usual). ‘Fuck – there’s no time.’

Arthur grabbed Merlin’s hand and pulled him toward a huge pot-plant on the edge of the pool and Merlin dug his heels in, because there was no fucking way he was going to squeeze between a pot-plant and a fucking glass pane looking down to the street below - which would clearly shatter if an ant so much as touched it.

‘Merlin, please,’ it was Arthur’s tone which centred Merlin, it held an edge of pleading which was so unlike the blonde. Merlin was a goner.

‘Fine – but I can’t be next to the glass and I can’t see anything beyond the damn glass – why the hell do we have to hide? Did I mention I don’t want to see glass? Frosting Arthur – get bloody frosting…’

‘Father...’ Arthur ran a hand raggedly through his hair as he faltered, before he tried again, ‘let’s just say he wouldn’t understand me being stranded overnight out here – I don’t need the grief it will cause.’

Merlin gingerly nodded at the same time red lights began to flash on-top of the penthouse - the speck in the sky larger as the helicopter neared. But as Arthur tried to get him closer to the hiding spot, Merlin’s natural resistance kicked in and he pulled back. Arthur sighed heavily and with an undecidedly unmanly squeak, Merlin was thrown bodily over the prats shoulder (face way to close to those damn back dimples) then was unceremoniously dumped behind the pot-plant.

Before Merlin could get up and run from the spot in a mild panic attack, Arthur pulled him in tight – face against his chest, his bare fucking chest . Merlin could hear Arthur’s heart rate staccato quickly under his skin. The fear of Uther finding out was visceral – why else would Arthur’s heart be literally pulsing out of his chest? Merlin stiffened up as the helicopter drew close, Arthur cradled his head and carded his hair softly at Merlin’s heaving breaths. He couldn’t tell if his fear of heights or his closeness to Arthur had created this vortex of breathlessness.

‘I’ve got you,’  Arthur whispered softly, so softly Merlin wasn’t sure he heard a thing at all.

He stole a glance towards the helipad (since there was no jaw-dropping descent to see at that angle) – he noticed Arthur’s now dry shirt draped over the chair get kicked up in the turbulence the helicopter created and watched as it flicked up and tangled in a nearby antenna. He chuckled – and knew the whole situation was ludicrous. But then Arthur pulled him close again and all thoughts except the tight warm chest against his cheek and the gentle hands which held him so as not to see the glass enfolded him. Merlin tried desperately to separate the two Arthur’s he had started to see – and knew when he went back to the office, Arthur’s natural arsehole self would come back – but how could Merlin forget this kindness. He’s pretty certain he’d remember this moment for the rest of his days.

After what felt like hours but was also not enough time to be pressed against one bare Arthur Pendragon he heard the rotors stall and stop. Moments later Merlin was pried off Arthur, (he did not make a whimpering sound at the loss of contact). ‘We can go now, the doors unlocked – Father and Leon are gone.’

‘Leon?’ Merlin asked dumbly.

Arthur’s eyes darkened slightly before he shook his head, voice tight with something, ‘yeah, he’s Fathers pilot.’

‘Oh, of course – your guards all have special talents, don’t they?’ Arthur stiffened while Merlin looked around expecting to see Leon – he saw no one.

‘Come on, you’d best get going.’ Arthur shielded him from the glass by ensuring Merlin faced the pool. Merlin meanwhile still tripped over his thoughts, he needed to get a purchase on something soon – he was not supposed to be lusting harder than titanium over his boss. But – here he was. What the hell happened to operation “don’t fuck the boss”? To be truthful, Merlin knew the fucking part was off the table; maybe he should have called it operation “don’t get mixed-up jumbled feelings for your boss”.

Merlin grabbed his bag from the overly ostentatious table and placed the strap over his head so it rested across his back then turned to Arthur who had already stridden off across the room. ‘Uh – OK,  bye then.’

‘Yep, sure, ‘Arthur threw a half-hearted wave over his shoulder. Merlin stood agape – what the hell ? It took all of one point three seconds to turn the Pendragon charm from a blistering four hundred degrees to minus twenty. Merlin was always (always) attracted to the absolute arseholes – but…what a bloody chest…

Merlin swung open the door to the hall and made his way toward the lift when he heard a familiar cough which masked a laugh and he spun on his heel.

‘Good night last night then?’ Leon leant against a doorframe, his shit-eating grin a thousand megawatts bright. Merlin felt a ball of nervous energy ignite in his chest at being caught – caught doing what though?

‘Did you fucking know where we were?’

‘No, of course not,’ Merlin wasn’t sure he believed Leon, not with the smirk he currently bestowed on him.

He flipped Leon the bird and left red faced with embarrassment, the blondes laughter nipped at his heels. He was only twenty floors down when his phone chirped; and knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, Merlin pulled it out with trepidation.

SirLeon: I’m too sexy for my shirt @Warlocked87 <IMG_0296>

Heat infused his face as Merlin stared at a picture, clearly taken from the sky. The business shirt which flapped on an antenna as proud as any countries flag was sure to make Merlin self-combust. He was never going to fucking live this down.

Chapter Text

A week later and countless nights where he lamented to Gwen about the fact Arthur’s chest had now ruined him for all future men, Merlin furiously tried to get his second round of slides ready. The office had quietened down being late Friday afternoon, most people left early to go for drinks - something Merlin usually relished, but he was currently caught up in the moment. When the muse called, you didn’t stop it.

‘Merlin – buddy – you need to put the pencil down to come drink with me,’ Gwaine strolled up to his desk, Merlin sighed knowing the muse was about to be obliterated by Gwaine’s needling.

‘Gwaine – buddy,’ Merlin imitated, ‘I really need to get this down, I can’t go.’

The pout Gwaine put on would make most mere mortals capitulate – but Merlin was semi-immune to his friends’ charms. ‘How “I can’t go” is this? Does that mean if I sit quietly you can finish and come out soon? Or is this a, “I’m going to stay in the office all night” kind of thing?’

The salacious wink Gwaine gave him made Merlin flush with memories of the night he stayed in that very building overnight. ‘I told you not to mention that night again…it was mortifying and you didn’t come and save me - you arse.’

A sharp cough startled Merlin and his stomach twisted when he and Gwaine looked towards the noise. Arthur stood no more than three feet away, scowl evident – oh Christ - here we go . This was the first time he had been in Arthur’s presence since the morning after the roof incident– he wasn’t avoiding the blonde per say – but he needed to get his thoughts straight when it came to this man. He sardonically knew the word “straight” was not the one to use. Merlin’s heart pulsed hard a few times before it decided to actually quiet down into normalcy. He chalked this up as a triumph – his body was not going to self-combust if he was within touching distance of the blonde. Winning.

‘Mr Pendragon,’ Merlin glanced Gwaine’s way sharply – what the hell was he up to with such a saccharine sweet tone?

‘Gwaine,’ he nodded; voice tight. Merlin realised Arthur really didn’t have much regard for Gwaine.

‘I was just telling Merlin here, he works too hard,’ Merlin cut his eyes to Gwaine again when he said this, then felt annoyance at Arthur’s snort of disbelief – what in hell – he did work hard.

‘Oh, really?’ Arthur’s deep drawl not affecting the tightness of Merlin’s pants at all.

‘Yes – you should force him to come out to the pub, you know, fraternise with his co-workers…actually – Sir, you should come too.’

Merlin hoped his gasp was not audible and by the look of shock which flickered across Arthur’s features he wasn’t expecting Gwaine’s invitation either.

‘Oh no, surely Arthur’s too busy - as am I,’ Merlin started weakly, at the same time Arthur said, ‘Why not – yes, Merlin, let’s all go to the pub.’

Two sets of eyes land on Arthur, Merlin’s disbelieving, Gwaine’s alight with excitement. What happened to Arthur’s “I don’t fraternise with staff” attitude? Merlin wasn’t sure how to cope with Arthur in a social situation. Going to the pub generally ended up with too much beer then to a nightclub where everyone’s inhibitions lowered enough to have a dance-off. Suddenly a shirtless Arthur sliding across the floor to some obscure 70s disco song came unbidden into Merlin’s forethoughts. Oh shit.

‘I uh – I really can’t go – these slides won’t do themselves.’ Merlin tried to appeal to Arthur’s work ethic, knowing he’d agree and would tell Merlin to stay behind and work.

‘Nonsense, somebody recently told me I needed to get to know my employees better – and you are one of them. You’re coming out.’

Gwaine to his credit said nothing, he just typed on his phone frantically with the biggest smirk on his face. Merlin could feel his phone vibrate in his pocket, what in hell was Gwaine saying on the group chat? He might just delete the thread without reading it as he knew it wouldn’t be G-rated.

Before he could react further, Merlin found himself packed up and on the street between Arthur and Gwaine – the oddest threesome in history. Two seconds later Percy rolled in and didn’t show any surprise in the least at seeing Arthur before they were off walking to The Rising Sun or “The Tavern” as they had colloquially dubbed it.

Merlin only elbowed Gwaine once - when he heard the quiet whistle of “we’re off to see the wizard” under his breath. Tonight was going to be a total disaster.

/*

Merlin wasn’t drunk enough. Sure he’d had too many beers, but they hadn't affected him like usual – his nervous energy seemed to burn the alcohol out of his system before he could get a nice buzz going and all because he tried to ignore Arthur fucking Pendragon pressed tight next to him in a booth. Apparently he was the only one who could put up with Arthur’s shit, so in every situation he found himself next to the blonde. This was not the way to get over his inappropriate “crush” for lack of a better word.

Although as he looked to Arthur’s other side at the small blonde woman (Jenny from accounts he thought) he was not the only one who could put up with Arthur. Merlin half listened to the conversation and found Arthur was ridiculously pleasant to the gorgeous woman. Merlin only felt an oily swirl in his stomach because Gwaine made him do a Jaeger Bomb – nothing at all to do with Jenny's big hazel eyes which looked at Arthur like she would eat him up given half a chance. Merlin found himself leaning toward Arthur. Blue eyes swung his way before Merlin realised he had also inadvertently tightened his hand which somehow had made it to Arthur’s knee. Well - sure as shit , he needed to get away from this booth, clearly the alcohol was affecting him.

‘Gwaine – get me out!’ He yelled across the table at Gwaine who for all appearances was chatting up Neil from IT, the soft blonde’s glasses askew, an adorable pink flush coloured his cheeks at being in Gwaine’s trajectory. The poor kid hadn’t a chance.

As Gwaine motioned under the table, Merlin felt a surprisingly tight hand take his and squeeze, almost like Arthur didn’t want to be abandoned. Merlin glanced at Arthur who was once again in conversation with Jenny – but his hand hadn’t let go. While his heart thumped erratically, Merlin felt more than a little bewildered until Gwaine yelled, ‘Come on you sexy motherfucker – out you get, let’s get our dance on.’

Before Merlin could make a decision (which apparently he was incapable of), Arthur’s hand was gone. With nothing left to keep him in his seat he slid under the table only to find his head deliciously close to Arthur’s lap. Suddenly a hand tangled in his hair and his face was pressed against a taut thigh – Merlin all but choked. What the hell? He was let go in a second but Merlin knew his eyes were wide and his cheeks flushed as he climbed out the other side of the booth. When he glanced behind him, Arthur was still chatting to Jenny - like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Merlin on the other hand felt like the world had turned on its head.

‘I need another Jaeger – stat.’ Merlin’s voice cracked at the words.

‘Sure thing, honey – come on, Neil – let us teach you the finer details of an epic Friday night after work session.’ Merlin chuckled at Neil’s face; he was utterly star struck by Gwaine’s energy.

While the shots were being lined up before them, Gwaine turned his large innocent eyes to Merlin, ‘I think your Spider Prat is jealous.’

Merlin spluttered indignantly then shook his head vehemently, ‘you are out of your fucking mind. Arthur dislikes me intently – always has.’

‘Well the last person who looked at me with such “dislike” couldn’t speak for a week as I sucked his brains out through his dick.’

Merlin scoffed at the crassness of Gwaine’s words and did his Jaeger shot while he eyed the table, then almost spat it out at when he captured Arthur’s dark penetrating stare. What the hell was happening tonight? Was he in the twilight zone?

‘Let’s play a game,’ Gwaine whispered as he leant up to lick at the corner of Merlin’s mouth, which made Merlin lean away. He chuckled loudly before Gwaine made contact.

‘What the hell you cock-tease, you do realise you’re not my type…’

‘You had Jaeger left, seemed a shame to waste it – and I am everyone’s type you madman. Whoops here we go - incoming in three, two – one…’

‘What?’ Merlin managed to get out before a hard body pressed up taut against his back, a deep murmur close to his ear, ‘I think you need some air, Merlin.’

‘Uh – sure,’ he managed to get out as Gwaine smirked then put his full attention back to Neil now he’d gotten the apparent reaction he’d wanted. The amused IT specialist adjusted his black rimmed glasses, licked his lips and gravitated towards Gwaine who was telling a tale using his hands to ramp up the ridiculousness. Merlin was worried the boy was wearing his poor heart on his sleeve.

Air consisted of Arthur half dragging him down a back hallway towards the beer garden, but just before they arrived at the outdoor section, Arthur abruptly changed routes. Merlin suddenly found himself taken up a half flight of stairs and pulled around a corner to a door which had a “staff only” sign attached to it.

‘What the hell,’ he began before he lost all thoughts when Arthur thrust against him - his stiff cock all too evident in his suit pants. Merlin slumped back against the wall, the only thing that kept him upright as shock and wonder coursed through him at what was occurring . Thoughts jumbled into the other as he tried then failed to comprehend why Arthur currently pushed him into a dark stairwell with the clear intention of… what exactly? Merlin's coherency was at an all-time low as Arthur continued to press his firmness against Merlin. He was ok with that though.

Merlin gasped then let an unfathomably deep moan fall from his lips as their cocks lined up against the other. Fuck, Arthur felt - glorious. In the semi-darkness Arthur’s intense gaze captured his and even if he could look away Merlin knew he wouldn’t. A hand quested up under Merlin’s shirt while the other pulled him close, a bare palm on the skin of his lower back, the skin on skin contact electric. Never in his life had his brain malfunctioned in this manner, Merlin had all but rolled over and had let the blonde take control - it was unusual and very out of character for him. Merlin couldn’t help but lean further in toward Arthur – he craved more than breathing itself to feel those pouting lips against his. Before he made blissful contact though, Arthur pulled away - his blue eyes dazed, jumbled and overcome with lust. Merlin waited and unconsciously licked his lips – Arthur eyed the movement then shook himself slightly as if to make sense of the situation.

‘Uh…no kissing…on the lips...’ he managed to ground out which made Merlin huff in disbelief.

‘Huh - who are you? Pretty Woman?’ he retorted just as Arthur’s fingers found a nipple to pinch without mercy. The rough and sharp jolt of pain it bought had Merlin gasp and twitch in pure utter sensation, he didn’t care about kisses when he felt so fucking electric and overwhelmed at the same time.

Arthur didn’t respond to the snarky tone and before Merlin could even think about how fucked up this seemed, the blonde managed to find a rhythm with his hips. Thoughts filtered out of Merlin’s brain as the shift of fabric on their full and heavy cocks along with the muted beat from the pubs speakers pulsed through Merlin’s body. He thought on Arthur’s full pink whiskey doused lips again, and as they filled his imagination the blondes mouth connected with his neck. Merlin couldn't help it as his entire body jerked and arched into Arthur as he grasped the blondes hips and ground hard. If Arthur was against kissing on the mouth, Merlin as disappointed as he felt, could live with it if the sensation which coursed through him was any indication he was going to come in his pants like an untouched virgin.        

Arthur let small mewls escape between parted lips and Merlin thought it was hands down the sexiest thing he’d ever heard. The persistent strokes against the other became fractured, intense as the jerking movement lost ground and they pressed against the other lazily, slow and languid. Merlin fucking short circuited as Arthur’s tongue licked towards the shell of his ear and a hoarse voice growled, ‘your orgasms belong to me – no one else. Gwaine can just fuck right off.’

Merlin’s knees buckled at the surprisingly possessive tone, but Arthur held him tight all while he continued to grind. Merlin knew his cock leaked incessantly, knew he was too close to the edge - the heady gaze as they rubbed up against each other had Merlin yearn for release. When Arthur sucked lightly on the junction where Merlin’s neck met his shoulder his tongue passed over the hollow below, Merlin shouted before a hand came up to cover his mouth.

'Shhh, you don't want to get caught do you?’

Merlin twitched, he kind of wanted to. But he'd had enough of the blonde calling the shots, Merlin had to put it back on an even keel, else he'd lose more than his voyeuristic cherry.  

He forced his body forward and dislodged Arthur from his commanding position to spin them quick then slam the blonde back against the wall roughly.

Arthur’s pupils blew at Merlin’s show of strength and domination, immense satisfaction filled him (though he longed for other things to fill him also - God's he was about to come ). He thrust forward against Arthur, their cocks aligned once again which sent a deep growl through Arthur. Merlin snaked his hand between them, not with the intention of skin on skin contact but to gain more friction than the rutting currently provided. Arthur went boneless against him, obviously pleased to give control and pace to Merlin. It was a potent sensation and Merlin knew he had discovered a small kink of Arthur’s when he leant forward to bite Arthur’s shirt clad shoulder and the blonde responded with a whine and thrusted in abandonment.

Merlin pushed his leg between Arthur’s and grinded and snaked his hips in a circular motion, he couldn't keep this up, he was so close to blowing it wasn't funny. Arthur clung to his arm - head drooped forward and a hand flung sideways unable to keep a grip on Merlin. He smirked as his lips found the blondes hot and salty neck; Arthur’s entire body shuddered against him in response. Merlin’s deft fingers curled against the front of Arthur’s suit pants and he continued to rub himself against the blonde adding to the already maddening friction. Arthur’s breath came out in stutters laced with hisses before he threw his head back against the wall. The opportunity presented itself and Merlin was powerless to stop himself from showering Arthur's exposed neck with nips and open mouthed kisses  - he was fucking stunned to have the businessman at his literal mercy. Christ he had a definite kink on taking control with Arthur.

All too soon the pressure became too much and Merlin's release tore through his body and he convulsed in aftershocks - a small cry ripped from his throat when Arthur stiffened against him and quivered in the same manner.

Holy fuck - had he really just rutted against his boss in a seedy stairwell of the local pub until they came in their pants like a couple of teenagers? Merlin hadn’t come in his pants for the longest time - he’d forgotten how utterly sticky, gross and wet it felt. He was beyond glad he wore a knit jumper over his shirt today, he could at least take it off and wrap it around his waist like a 90s rap video reject. The odd first thoughts you had after orgasming…

Arthur’s somewhat sweaty forehead rested against Merlin’s shoulder, long deep breaths came out slow and even. Merlin didn’t even know where to start with words – what could he say, what was there to say? He was still trying to fathom the last twenty minutes actually had happened and was not a vivid hallucination. Arthur Pendragon was not the type to…what? Merlin clearly didn’t know because Arthur apparently was the type to…

‘Soooo, what underwear are you wearing tonight,’ he asked then wanted to immediately knock his head against a hard object for how ridiculous of a question that was. Arthur didn’t reply - just leant back, eyes still blown (and wasn’t that sight to make Merlin’s spent cock twitch) a hint of laughter encompassed him while Arthur searched Merlin’s face for something. What, he couldn’t guess at. Consent for more? Well, he didn’t have to ask - all the consent in the world was his (which should have Merlin freaking out) if Arthur could make his toes tingle with a ten minute grind against a pub wall – imagine what he could achieve with free reign.

‘Hey – you guys can’t be up here – staff only.’ A young guy who held a tray of glasses had come around the corner and looked at them a little exasperatedly – like he’d caught many people having a tryst on this very stairwell.

Arthur jerked backwards, face flushed - eyes no longer searched but were hardened and avoided Merlin’s gaze completely. Merlin felt something stick in his chest as the blonde nodded his head to the barman before he walked back down the stairs, he didn’t look back once. Well, that answered Merlin’s unasked questions, what possessed him to ask about underwear and not what actually just happened?

At the barman’s “on your way” look; Merlin uncomfortably ambled down the stairs and headed towards the toilet to clean up before going home. He couldn’t face the others and assumed Arthur had escaped as well.

As he washed his hands then ran them wetly over his face he laughed, he couldn’t help it. He had just come against one of the city’s most eligible bachelors, a man who before today he could have emphatically said hated him to his soul. Merlin felt a tiny bit proud he’d made him come so quickly . He went to send a group message to let everyone know he was off home, when he saw the forgotten thread from earlier.

Gwaineloves^$$: All hands on dick – I have the dragon ready to rumble – the tavern – Dorothy and the Tin Man are coming out

Perflexed: Oh damn it I can make one drink. My weightlifting class is throwing me a surprise protein party

Gwaineloves^$$: that sounds dirty as fuck and how is it surprise? You know…

Merlin skimmed over the next forty replies between the two men, each one more and more outlandish, until he saw one of the last ones, only posted five minutes earlier.

SirLeon: This is the last time I do Friday night duty if you are sending Arthur off to drink. He fucking hasn’t shut up – he’s asking me what I like to do in my spare time – what the fuck?

Gwaineloves^$$: No idea – ask @Warlocked87 he saw the dragon last – I’m currently getting my hard-drive wiped by IT, gotta go

SirLeon: Leave poor Neil alone – he actually knows what he’s doing in IT, we don’t want to lose him - @Warlocked87 – any idea, I’m not complaining but it’s out of character and I think someone slipped him something?

Merlin looked at Leon’s question having no idea how to respond, he finally typed,       

Warlocked87: nope

Gwaineloves^$$: Oh @SirLeon, you have no idea – slipped him one!!! @Warlocked87 - hahaha

SirLeon: ????

As he groaned, Merlin knew Monday at work was going to be five hundred shades of awkward. He needed to get a new job or find one for Gwaine. Another text vibrated his phone and before he could type out a “fuck you Gwaine”, he saw an unknown number and two words which split his face into a huge grin as he programmed the new contact into his phone.

Spiderprat: Black widow…

 

Chapter Text

‘So Christmas is coming,’ Will spoke with a flourish as he sat opposite Merlin with a monstrosity that couldn’t even be called coffee.

‘How many types of creams and sugars do you have in that thing? Does it even contain caffeine?’ Merlin eyed the six inches of swirled cream and chocolate which leant haphazardly on top of a huge red mug.

‘Oh please, I’m not a moron – I think I asked for a coffee shot.’

Merlin laughed as Will took a sip, grimaced then shrugged his shoulders before he wiped thick cream from his nose. Merlin sipped his dirty chai and let his eyes fall shut at the smooth yet slightly bitter taste. He loved this coffee shop. It was a little out of the way, but the grounds they used were super smooth and he loved the actual feel of the place. It was no corporate coffee house with all its mono colour schemes and production line feel, yet it was also not one of the slapdash shops which felt like someone had gone to the rubbish tip to collate a huge array of junk to make it look “trash modern”. It was somewhere in between.

It was also close to Merlin’s work and though it was Sunday (two days since he’d climbed a stairway to heaven with Arthur) he thought the drive worth it just for a decent coffee. Nothing to do at all in case he caught a glimpse of blonde hair from across the road (it was the weekend, surely Arthur had a day off too).

‘As I was saying before you so rudely called me out on my wonderful coffee making skills…’ Will started up again.

‘Did you see the poor girl baulk at your order? She’s still giving you the eye - probably with an ambulance on speed dial in case you go into sugar shock then collapse on the ground.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous – I have the stamina of a bull as you should know.’ Will winked and Merlin heard the barista snort before she started to wipe down the counter. Clearly Will was out of the sugar danger range now and Merlin couldn’t help but roll his eyes then smile patronisingly at his oldest friend. It had been too long since they just chilled out together. Merlin’s job in the first two months had been demanding as all hell and Will – well he wasn’t entirely too sure where he had been. Fishing?

‘So - Christmas is coming…’ he tried again while he sipped at his “coffee”, more cream ended up on his face - he huffed making Merlin grin.

‘Yes, I know – in three months.’

‘Well, we need to get onto these things quickly.’

‘It’s in three months,’ Merlin replied, exasperation coloured his words as Will was annoying, a pain and also bloody great all wrapped up in one ball of a person.

‘I like to plan ahead.’

‘On what planet have you ever planned ahead?’

‘Well I want to this year.’ Will breathed in deep while he stirred some of the cream down into the mug, Merlin winced.

‘Fine. So why? What’s happening?’

‘Jeez, nothing – bloody hell what’s with the third degree?’

‘Third degree? I'm hardly even up to the first degree…’

‘Semantics…’ Will spluttered and persevered with another sip, Merlin felt his insulin glands hurt as he looked at Will tackle the drink.

They had always done something at Christmas, family was tight on both sides with Will falling out with his as a teenager, no longer talking to them and Merlin’s being non-existent. Gwen had her brother Elyan and a dad they saw spasmodically, but every year they all got together either at breakfast, lunch or dinner to celebrate the family they chose, not the one they were born into.

Merlin was not so secretly glad he had them all – he loved Christmas, yet never really had family to spend it with. It should have made him sad, but he had his friends and always tried to get to the shelter to help the less fortunate and give out small gifts he’d bought throughout the year.

‘I think we do lunch then…’

‘Ok – we do lunch.’ Merlin stated matter of fact – it made no difference to him in the long run, not like he had anyone else to consider in his decision, his mum was long gone and dad – well he had no idea where he was – hadn’t for almost thirty years.

‘What - no arguments or questions why?’

‘Uh – no, should there be?’

Will sighed heavily, ‘no, but I felt like an argument with you – I’ve missed you, mate.’

A tickle of fondness started in Merlin’s heart, ‘ok, we do dinner – Christmas lunch sounds like a stupid idea.’

Will beamed at him, before he quietly murmured, ‘well actually – Cassie might be back. The army is giving her a few days off and she’s landing here.’

‘Holy shit, Will – why didn’t you lead with that? I haven’t seen your sister since she was what – ten? That’s brilliant!’ Merlin knew he had gushed overtly when he noticed Will had not responded in kind but looked out the window instead. He realised Will probably hadn’t seen her in that long as well. ‘Isn’t this great news though?’

‘Potentially – but what if she thinks I’m a jerk or something – I have no idea what my parents have told her over the years– what if…’

‘She thinks you’re fucking wonderful like the rest of us. I get it mate, you’re scared, but you haven’t seen her for years – so here’s your chance to get to know her and she can make up her own mind.’

‘I suppose – but Christmas lunch yeah?’

Merlin grinned and captured Will’s slightly sticky cream filled hand and squeezed it tight, ‘Lunch is perfect.’

A jingle of the door interrupted them and Will whistled long and low, ‘who in hell is that?’ Merlin spun intrigued why Will had such a dreamy look on his face and saw a willowy brunette followed closely by Arthur. Merlin’s heart landed in his throat as he spun back to Will so quick his neck spasmed as a muscle twanged.

‘Oh fuck that hurt,’ he hissed while he massaged the sore spot with deft fingers, ‘that’s Arthur Pendragon, my boss.’

‘Ha, the one whose dick you’ve accosted fifteen times?’ Merlin flushed red at Will’s too loud and accurate words, ‘but, no you dimwit - the gorgeous creature with him.’

‘Oh, that’s Morgana - his sister,’ Merlin spoke in a quiet tone and hoped that Will would take the hint and do the same so he could then lower himself into his seat far enough to disappear. He wasn’t at all ready to see Arthur (odd, as he chose this coffee shop on the chance he would) and thanked his lucky stars Will had started up about Christmas and Merlin hadn’t had time to tell him about the “cock rendezvous” in the bar. It was as he tried to shuffle lower he realised he was still holding Will’s hand. Merlin released it quickly then wiped the residual stickiness onto his jeans and grimaced at the sugar and chocolate stain it left behind.

That’s Morgana? Holy hell, I need to meet this marvellous woman, now!’

‘Oh no you don’t,’ Merlin stated to a now empty seat - his stomach plummeted. Fucking Will .

/*

How on Earth did his life come to this? Merlin sipped his coffee in an overly awkward manner just two mere days after he’d creamed his jeans against the man who now sat next to him. A man who still hadn’t acknowledged him properly except to grunt a ‘hello’ derisively. W hat was that about?

Morgana on the other hand hadn’t been quiet since Will had introduced himself then invited the two to sit with them; Merlin still slumped dramatically in the corner. She also had no taste whatsoever as she was utterly charmed by Will (he was an A grade pain in the arse if you asked Merlin).

‘This coffee shop always had the best coffee, Arthur and I come every Sunday like clockwork… but why on earth have I never met your friend before, Merlin?’

‘Pure luck on your behalf,’ he mumbled. Will kicked him under the table and Arthur scowled as he saw the exchange. Who was he to judge Merlin’s friends?

To be honest, Morgana scared him a little with her ball-breaking corporate attitude at work, and this was actually the first time he’d socialised with her outside of the boardroom. She was extremely nice to Merlin’s surprise – unlike her surly brother who Merlin caught more than one covert glance from, yet every time he went to catch the blonde’s eye in return he would look away, jaw tight. Morgana tittered at something Will said and Merlin could now appreciate the heart eyes Will practically threw at her – even Merlin was enchanted and he most certainly didn’t swing that way. No, he swung the way towards the man next to him, a pout still on his face as he sipped his black coffee (no wonder he was upset – black coffee was about the most mundane thing to order).

Glancing at Arthur, Merlin found himself unable to completely look away, the blonde in casual weekend wear was distracting. Ok to be honest he’d seen him all but naked, yet never wearing soft over-washed jeans paired with a thin dark blue henley. How somebody’s muscles could look extra bloody good in a t-shirt was anyone’s guess (they most certainly did not look like that on Merlin’s frame).

While Will and Morgana chatted about the farmers market down the road, Merlin watched Arthur through his lashes and took a sip of his almost cold chai.

Arthur’s shoulders were set in a hard line and he didn’t look impressed to be there at all, whether that was due to being near Merlin or something else he didn’t know. But Merlin knew he had to be the bigger man and break the ice first, ‘Big week coming up?’

Merlin watched as Arthur started slightly at being addressed, his eyes wary before he replied, ‘all my weeks are big.’

‘Right…’ Merlin trailed off - how fucking awkward. Why he thought things might be different between them after – you know getting each other off - he didn’t know .

‘You run don’t you Merlin?’ Morgana’s question caught him off guard as he was still trying to decipher why Arthur’s clipped tone bothered him.

‘Yes – at lunchtimes...’ he replied, not sure where this was going or how she knew about his running in the first place.

‘Excellent – I’ll come with you tomorrow. That’s if you don’t mind?’ Morgana gave him an intensely sweet look and he wasn’t quite sure what he was agreeing to – was this going to kill him in some way, or was she going to get him to kill somebody for her? Will’s face beamed, what was going on?

‘Sure....’ Merlin drawled and waited for the catch, - but nothing came, ‘meet you in the lobby at 12.15?’

‘Done, come on Arthur – I want to check out this market nearby. See you tomorrow Merlin.’ Morgana looked at his friend for a moment, the sultriness in her voice not faked, ’Will, we will definitely chat soon.’

Merlin watched them leave; Arthur gave him a steady yet strangely searching look before he flicked his eyes to Will, then followed Morgana out the door.

‘What the actual fuck just happened?’ He questioned Will who grinned like the Cheshire cat.

‘You, my bestest buddy in the whole wide world - are the ultimate fucking wingman!’

/*

Gwen begged off the run as she had developed a sore calf muscle – Merlin didn’t want to think about what could have caused it as she’d spent the entire weekend with Lancelot. She smacked him when he waggled his eyebrows at her and asked if anything else was sore. Merlin told her she was excused once and once only.

Morgana to Merlins surprise was actually a good runner as she ensured he had to work hard to keep up. Though it wasn’t Morgana who had distracted his pace today, the distraction came from the blonde who ran next to them. Arthur stood in the lobby waiting at lunchtime, basketball shorts and a thin white Nike t-shirt adorned his tall frame which made Merlin’s stomach swirl and drop at the sight. Morgana thought it was a great idea to bond by inviting Arthur, unbeknownst to Merlin. Judging by Arthur’s frown it wasn’t exactly his idea of bonding.

He was still confused from the cold shoulder the day before – Merlin hadn’t expected roses or a confession of love after the stairwell incident of 2017, but he at least hoped for a nod and an acknowledgment that it was as fucking hot as Merlin remembered it. Maybe Arthur didn’t think so – the thought made Merlin scowl.

Begrudgingly, Merlin admired Arthur’s running stride – he was good, kept up and made Merlin run faster – mainly because he couldn’t run behind him anymore. Watching Arthur’s delicious frame exert itself made it hard to concentrate. Merlin just wanted to throw him down by the side of the lake and inhale him (a weird analogy but so very accurate). The smell and taste of Arthur from Friday evening had infiltrated his psyche making him crave it again. But there was absolutely no indication from the blonde he would be up for round two. Should he be taking more control of the situation – Arthur sure seemed to get off on it when he did the other night? But could Merlin do it justice – could he tell this Prattish man what to do?

‘Keep up, Merl in. For God’s sake – is there anything you c an do?

‘I can put up with you,’ he retorted which earned a shocked yet delighted laugh from Morgana – ok that settled it, he would have no trouble giving the blonde orders . He saw a small smirk on Arthur’s face and couldn’t help but grin then push the run harder.

As they jogged, Morgana asked questions, but wasn’t too intrusive into Merlin’s private life - thankfully. His mind was full of a certain arse-hat and he didn’t want to accidently mention something which could get him into trouble.  Will was also high on the question list and as much as Merlin wanted to rag him out, he painted him in a relatively flattering light (he only told one story about his fetish for cock-rings - which in retrospect Merlin meant as a joke – but Morgana licked her lips a little too interested). ‘So you’re not dating each other then?’

Merlin tripped over his feet and noticed Arthur reach out a hand, but he pulled back too quick for Merlin to be sure it was meant to steady him, he was certain Arthur hadn’t watched him that closely on the run. ‘Fuck no – oh sorry, excuse my French. Uh, that’s a firm no. I’ve known Will since we were five – he’s not my type in the slightest, not that he wouldn’t be anyone else’s type – he’s utterly brilliant – but, yeah I think I am most definitely not his type – he prefers…’ Merlin shocked by the question and his subsequent rambles just went quiet and pointed numbly at Morgana.

She beamed at him before giving Arthur a strangely pointed look, ‘that’s really good to know, just checking – I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.’

When they returned to the lobby, Merlin noticed Morgana hardly had a sheen forming on her brow (how did she not sweat?) This reminded Merlin of an old analogy his mother used to say, People don’t sweat , horses sweat – men perspire and women glow. In that case Morgana was suspiciously glow-free – Merlin on the other hand sweated like a damn horse.  

Before they managed to say their goodbyes, Merlin watched as Uther strode towards them clearly on a mission of some sort, face thunderous. Merlin baulked at the obvious explosion which came their way, and saw Arthur tense then deflect Morgana, before he headed Uther off.

Merlin couldn’t hear what was being said, but could see a tense hissed tirade from Uther and a hint of Arthur’s tone, before a slightly louder, ‘Father, let’s talk about this over there,’ then Arthur motioned to a small room behind the front desk. Merlin knew it was so Uther didn’t scream in front of everyone, he felt anger rise at the injustice of what Arthur had to deal with. Merlin had no idea if his fury was warranted or not – maybe Arthur really was a dunce in the business world, but it didn’t ring true of what Merlin had witnessed over the last few months.

He could do nothing but leave, Arthur was a big boy (well from the evening before it certainly seemed so – not the time Merlin ). So he headed to the bathroom on the first floor where he stored his stuff to shower and change. It wasn’t like he could hang around to give moral support for his boss who generally treated him with disdain (or rubbed one out against him – obviously there were no halves when it came to Arthur). The showers were empty this time of day – no one seemed to use them, which Merlin thought odd, but it made the solitude of showering pleasant – plus the showers were nicer than the one he had at home.

He was stretched out on the bench as he had ran harder than he was used to and felt his thigh muscle tauten, when the door opened. Merlin was bent over at an odd angle and couldn’t see who had come in. This was a first – he was glad somebody else actually used the bathroom; he really started to think it was off limits.

As he slid a hand down his shin, Merlin tried to keep his leg straight yet also stretch out the muscle when he felt a presence followed by a small gulp from behind him.

‘Gods, your shorts are bloody obscene when you do that.’

Merlin jumped up and let out a shocked noise of surprise. Arthur stood before him looking flushed, unsure and somehow lost all at the same time. ‘Well you don’t have to look, you know.’

Arthur raised an eyebrow, ‘Trust me, I know…but,’ he gestured at him, ‘Christ…’

By this point Arthur’s face had deepened another shade and Merlin noticed his fingers twitch as he stood, gaze hooded in hunger while his eyes darted between Merlin’s legs, torso then up to his neck. Merlin could tell by the pink blush, he was thinking of the other night – so was Merlin. Arthur appeared like he couldn’t move, stuck in indecision - it was strange for someone who was so in control and conceited in his arrogance. Uther must have torn strips off him; there was no other explanation for Arthur’s apparent change in demeanour.

‘Arthur,’ blue eyes locked with his at the hardened command from Merlin’s lips. Interesting.

Merlin beckoned to him then held up his hand to stop Arthur’s unconscious forward motion. The blonde flushed further which made Merlin gulp. He decided to take a gamble and hoped he hadn’t read the situation wrong.

‘What do you want?’ He pitched his voice an octave or two lower than usual which elicited a shiver from Arthur as he stared guilelessly back at him. His tongue darted out to wet his lips while his mouth moved but no noise escaped. Christ he wanted to kiss him –the desire to press his lips against the blondes pink chapped skin drove him mad – but he wouldn’t, Arthur asked him not to – so no . He  was desperate to ask why – but also wouldn’t – they all had their secrets.

‘I asked you a question – Arth ur.’

Arthur shut his eyes and Merlin physically saw the blonde thrum with desire.

'Ah…’ Arthur let out a small noise then coughed to clear his throat, clearly confused in want and needing something he wouldn’t articulate.

‘You need to tell me,’ blue eyes pleaded with him, ‘what, do you want?’

‘You…’ the half whispered word shot a hot need through Merlin – this he could do. He wondered errantly why Arthur had changed his mind, the cold shoulder definitely gone.

Arthur gulped when Merlin lowered his head and strode towards him and came up about a foot short, ‘are you sure, Arthur? Once I start – I tend not to stop.’ Merlin continued to use the blonde’s name. He wanted the consent to be beyond reproach, yet he also loved the small shivers which ran across Arthur’s tanned arms each time he used his deepened voice to say it.

Arthur nodded; eyes heavy in desire. Merlin didn’t think Arthur was a true submissive and to be honest Merlin was not a true dominant, he didn’t play those games in a serious manner – but he could tell Arthur needed to let go of sex right then, to let go from having to make the choice – why? Uther (not that he wanted to think on him now) – but he could do this for Arthur. Merlin was nothing yet willing to help someone in need – and if he somehow managed to get the perks – who was he to argue.

Merlin closed the gap, he still had not touched Arthur who vibrated in need and slowly leant into Merlin's heat. Sweat still glistened on their skin from the run and Merlin had an image of them naked and sliding over the other as they teased and licked each other until they were both a bundle of overexposed nerves, strips of come stuck to the other. But time was of the essence and Merlin didn’t want the first time they fucked to be in a bathroom at work (if he even ever got the chance at that.)

He finally closed the small space between them and pulled Arthur into his orbit. The blonde slumped, boneless and let out a long huff of breath, like the weight of the day was off his shoulders. Merlin was still a little astounded Arthur had allowed this to happen – Merlin wanted this, he wanted anything Arthur was willing to give. He hauled the blonde closer, Arthur seemed to breathe in Merlins scent, which on one hand was fucking sexy, yet he’d also just been for a run and knew sweat soaked his body. Merlin trailed a warm hand over Arthur’s loose basketball shorts to cup his arse tight before he dipped his fingers into the waistband of his snug underwear underneath. He ghosted over the tip of Arthur’s hardness and heard a whimper leave the blonde’s mouth at his feather light touch. Merlin teased a moment more before he removed his hand and with it the soft friction. Arthur was so responsive whilst flush against his chest so Merlin leant forward to lick a stripe up his salty neck. An unfettered possessive growl came from low in his chest as his hand found Arthur’s hair to tug hard. This exposed the blonde’s throat so he could leave a trail of open mouthed kisses across the tanned unmarked skin.          

‘Fuck, I wanted this to happen the last time we were in here,’ Arthur’s husked confession travelled straight to Merlin’s cock, which thickened exponentially. The blondes breathless words intensified Merlin’s nips and subsequent licks on Arthur’s neck all while his other hand trailed down his back to cup his arse again so he could thrust hard up against him. Merlin felt a white-out of pleasure take over as their pricks touched and slid in the thin fabric and sweat.

‘Really?’ Merlin managed; impressed a coherent word came out at all. His cock was on fire and his brain lost function to do more than think over and over - thrust, fuck, grind, come….Arthur.

‘No, Merlin - I always fucking walk in on employees after they’ve had a shower.’

‘Did I say you could sass me, Pendragon?’ Merlin rumbled as he thrust harder against Arthur again then squeezed the man’s cock which produced a sob. Merlin became bolder. ‘ You’re the one who wanted me, couldn’t keep your fucking eyes off of me that day, could you?’

‘Fuck….no that’s not…yes I…’ Arthur stuttered before he found his voice, Merlin smirked at his lack of reason; glad he wasn’t the only affected one. ‘Look, just get us off and stop ruining a perfectly good moment by speaking.’

‘Sir, yes sir,’ Merlin laughed breathlessly against the blondes’ neck before he grazed his teeth gently on the skin, Arthur twitched gloriously. Merlin secretly willed Arthur to give up all control; he didn’t think it would happen this time.

It was as Arthur whimpered in Merlin’s arms, he managed to slide the blondes shorts and underwear over his arse so they fell with a small rustle to the floor. Arthur was exposed, hard and completely at Merlin’s mercy – the thought sent a sharp intoxicating thrill through him.

The first touch of Arthur’s smooth cock was completely indescribable; he was slick with sweat, Merlin’s own hand dry and then there was the perfect amount of in-between. Arthur shuddered against Merlin as his hand curled around the silky uncut cock, the noise from Merlin’s own throat not of this world. He hadn’t even been touched and he was so close to coming in his pants – again . He should be mortified, he couldn’t give a fuck to be honest; this was too real, too honest .

‘Fuck, Merlin – your fumbling attempts at grabbing my dick over the last two months are nothing on this…’ Arthur trailed off while Merlin felt himself redden before he kissed the blonde’s neck with abandonment, the words lost while he worked his fist slowly up and down, tip to base in a critically slow movement which made Arthur quiver with every long, endless sweaty stroke. Holy fuck Arthur was blowing his mind with his responsiveness. How could he give this up now he’d discovered it?

Merlin took a half step back to look down at his ministrations and saw the flush which infused Arthur’s face in his peripheral – it was incredibly hot and sexy to watch his hands slide with sweat over his (infuriating Pillock to be honest) bosses cock. It was probably the longest Merlin had gone in Arthur’s presence without the man snarking at him.

'Does this feel good,’ Merlin husked. Arthur keened at the deep question. ‘Words, Arthur - use your words.’

Merlin enjoyed how wrecked the blonde became as he increased speed. 'Yeah…hmmm...real good…’

‘Do you want to come?’ Arthur quivered and Merlin spoke again, ‘of course you do, but not yet - I need you to wait - can you do that?’

Arthur's wide blue eyes searched Merlin's and he managed a nod before he bit his lip and tensed. Merlin wanted to reciprocate and bite Arthur's lip too, it was insane how much he now craved it. Instead he continued to slide his hand up and down in a pace which the blonde clearly found maddening.

Each stroke upwards ended with a pop over the head of Arthur’s cock so Merlin tightened his fist at the same time and watched the blonde quake. Arthur’s gaze caught him and unfathomably deep blue eyes filled with hunger stared into his own. Merlin whispered the words ‘now - come for me,’ and all of a sudden Arthur twitched uncontrollably, eyes held Merlin's while a wet warmth spread across Merlin’s hand and a glob of stickiness fell onto his leg. Fucking hell, that was beyond fucking hot.

Merlin felt tightness in his chest as Arthur panted and watched him through blonde lashes, sated, pink cheeked and relaxed - it suited him. He was so far gone on this man – it was going to kill him.

Before he could think about how fucked he was, Arthur ripped Merlin’s shorts right off his hips, the submissive side all but disappeared. His cock was gripped possessively before Arthur started a brutal punishing pace. The blondes sexy smirk as he provoked a punching groan from Merlin had him so close to coming it would cause embarrassment.

‘I did warn you that your orgasms are only for me…’

‘They are…’ Merlin incoherently mumbled, the pleasure blinded all other thoughts except the here, now and Arthur of the moment,  ‘they are – yours.’

‘I have to admit I’m pleased to find out you’re not fucking your friend...I don’t tolerate sharing.’

‘Huh – what?’ Merlin frowned, but before he could say any more, Arthur tightened his grip exponentially and Merlin just about lost his load immediately. Fucking hell – the intensity of Arthur’s gaze on him and the little growls of pleasure as he made Merlin react in certain ways had Merlin grip Arthur’s shoulder tight.  He couldn’t fathom that he had the upper hand not even five minutes earlier.

Before Merlin could worry that the excess sweat had disappeared and chafing could be an issue, Arthur held his gaze and licked his fucking hand and started to jerk him tightly. Merlin came seconds later – the image of the blonde licking his sweat and pre-come soaked fingers and palm enough to end it all. Yep he was royally fucked, dead and buried.

‘Move,’ Arthur ordered a second later, before he bent down and picked up Merlin’s running shorts to wipe his dick and hand clean. Merlin still hadn’t even caught his breath yet – prick.

‘Hey…’Merlin started then realised he didn’t fucking care – they needed to be washed anyway. At least Arthur leant over to wipe Merlin’s leg and cock clean as well – that was something.  Merlin still tried to regain his breath while he watched impassively as Arthur pulled up his own shorts then tucked himself into them comfortably.

The blonde quirked an eyebrow at Merlin’s burgeoning scowl, then leant over and whispered a throaty ‘until next time,’ his lips hovered ever so close to Merlin’s ear. Then he walked out of the bathroom leaving an extremely sated yet utterly confused Merlin.

After a ridiculously quick shower he noticed a new message on his phone.

Spiderprat: Get back to work – you’ve had a long lunch which wasn’t approved by your boss

Merlin let out a bark of laughter as he left the bathroom, he felt more than a little tired after all his exercise – then realised he still hadn’t eaten lunch. First world problems - he’d have to steal his apple back from Gwaine.

 

Chapter Text

Gwaineloves^$$: I think I’m in trouble boys

Warlocked87: Why what’s up

Gwaineloves^$$: Neil

LotsofLances69: I think Neil being “up” wouldn’t be a problem

Gwaineloves^$$: Ha ha #imtryingtobaremypoorsoulandfeelingsandyoureallmockingme

SirLeon: @Gwaineloves^$$ – first warning

Gwaineloves^$$: But I’m expressing the feelings

SirLeon: You are never about the feelings

Gwaineloves^$$: ………..(that is my silent feelings being hurt because of your lack of feelings about my feelings - which are real)

SirLeon: Really?

Perflexed: You got it bad

Warlocked87: How can you sound pissy in a text? @SirLeon

SirLeon: Years of practise #Iveknowngwainelongerthanallofyou

Gwaineloves^$$: warning!!

LotsofLances69: so these feelings….just saying - they are nothing compared to what I feel for my Gwen

Warlocked87: I’ve warned you not to talk about her here – I couldn’t look her in the eye after last time

LotsofLances69: but her face when she  :O

Perflexed: #facepalm

Warlocked87: What the hell did I just say @LotsofLances69?????

Gwaineloves^$$: GUYS!!!!!!

Gwaineloves^$$:  He’s just like a little ball of fucking sunshine, he thinks I’m funny and sweet and kind

Perflexed: Oh there is something wrong with this computer boy

SirLeon: Seriously? @Gwaineloves^$$ #nosarcasm

Warlocked87: I think it’s cute

Gwaineloves^$$: It is “not” cute I am the king (and queen) of the one night stand

Warlocked87: And…

Gwaineloves^$$: I can’t be head over fuck for a twinky little shit who makes the best breakfast muffins I’ve ever tasted

LotsofLances69: Oh shit he cooks too…

Perflexed: Yeah your fucked

Gwaineloves^$$: *You’re

Gwaineloves^$$: Thanks guys #supportisclearlyforsuckersandgwaines – beer and game later?

Warlocked87: Yeah mate

LotsofLances69: I pulled duty tonight – there in spirit

Perflexed: yep – if you stop picking my grammar

SirLeon: #illbethereforyouthesefivewordsisweartoyou

Gwaineloves^$$: @Sirleon - Banned for inappropriate use of Bon Jovi lyrics

SirLeon: Well fuck

/*

Merlin sat across from a relatively drunk Gwaine who currently lamented over blonde hair and cute glasses, all while he also tried not to think about the staircase down the hall. A staircase when he walked past to the men’s toilets made him pop a boner – each and every time.

Leon went to buy another round while Percy told a story about his protein party (Merlin still wasn’t sure if that was a euphemism) and Lancelot had guard duty with Arthur (he was trying hard not to wonder what the prat was doing tonight). After the bathroom tryst, Merlin hadn’t seen or heard a peep from the blonde. He was more disappointed he’d forgotten to check Arthur’s underwear for superheros that day and didn’t really want to ask via text again. He also didn’t want to come across obsessed (more so than he already was).

‘So there he is, lying across my bed all delicious like; then casually says – “sooo, the last few weeks have been fun…..”, then went quiet - what the hell does that mean?’

‘Well, what did you say?’ Percy enquired while he checked the menu, Merlin had already watched the big man eat a schnitzel the size of his torso and he was still after more food – Merlin’s stomach gurgled.

‘I just winked at him, gave him my most devilishly handsome smile and handed over his coffee “with extra cream”? Does that mean he’s not into it and letting me down slowly?’

‘So you told him about all those feelings you were texting about?’ Leon called from the bar.

‘Fuck you, Surly – seriously though…. I’ve used that line in the past…’

Merlin smiled at Gwaine’s panicked expression and sipped his beer, not able to say he completely understood in case somebody worked out he was fucking around with their boss. He admitted it was disconcerting to not know exactly what the other person thought - he understood why Gwaine was concerned. Merlin was trying to figure out if he and Arthur were a casual hook-up that managed to make it from frottage to an epic hand job (which Merlin still blushed red over) to…what now? Anything? Nothing? Merlin tried to ignore the disappointment the idea of nothing happening from here on in would cause.

Or maybe Arthur meant for this to go further – would they actually continue to circle the other, drawing closer until they fucked? Then what? Merlin didn’t know. Especially as Arthur seemed to gravitate between not looking Merlin in the eye as he snapped at him to grabbing his cock and jerking him into oblivion (in a good way).

Leon came back and placed another beer in front of Gwaine before he slapped the lovelorn brunette on the back, ‘Mate, it sounds like you need to talk, ask him what he wants.’

‘What? Talk about things – like adults?’ Gwaine scoffed, ‘no, much better if I just walk away now, before….well, in a few days – he’s coming over tomorrow – and you know...’

Leon gave Merlin a quick glance with his lips upturned, ‘see. C hildren – I am surrounded by children.’

‘Hey,’ Merlin protested, unsure if somehow Leon had lumped him in with Gwaine’s immaturity. ‘I need not remind you that I can grow a beard – you can’t get more adult than that.’

‘Yeah and I grow hair on my balls,’ Gwaine retorted. Merlin’s sharp bark of laughter made him realise he might not win this argument, ‘Fuck it, so I should tell him? Tell him what exactly?’

‘Well - that you think you like him and you want to know if he feels the same way. That if it is just fucking then you need to figure out if you can be okay with it – can you compartmentalise your feelings enough so you don’t get more attached,’ Merlin surged forward, not really understanding why he suddenly had three pairs of eyes on him. ‘Ask him what he wants from it – is he looking for sex, companionship, is he lonely, experimenting or just broken up with someone? You don’t want to be the rebound, that’s for sure.’

‘Uh,’ Percy started then stopped, ‘Merlin?’

Merlin looked up, his face heated. Oh, yeah maybe he needed to take his own advice – but these guys had no idea he was in a weirdly similar quandary. ‘Sorry, happened to me before – you need to know Gwaine – Neil seems like a cool kid, but there’s nothing worse than being somebody’s “experiment”. Although – you never know, he seemed pretty damn infatuated with you.’

Gwaine’s face split into a huge grin, ‘Well – of course, I am absolutely irresistible           after all.’

‘Humble too,’ Percy managed to say with a straight face. Warmth spread through Merlin at the exchange, he still couldn’t believe he’d fallen in with this motley crew of men. They were friends, confidants (to a degree – not like he could say he wanted to fuck their boss) and Merlin knew without a doubt they would go into bat for him if things got tough.

‘So change of topic - what do you think about Arthur lately? Something’s different. I just got a text from Lancelot and apparently he’s asked him about Gwen - he’s never asked anything personal before unless it’s to get him something.’ Leon sipped his beer then continued, ‘I mean it’s nice, he actually seems interested, but what in hell?’

Merlin stayed quiet as he shoved crisps into his mouth, the loud crunches drowned out the need to speak up.

‘He knows about Gwen? Do you think he knows about me and Neil? Oh fuck - what if he’s a homophobic – I don’t want to get sacked – I love you guys!’

‘He’s not.’ Merlin blurted, ‘I mean…he knows I’m gay and hasn’t sacked me yet.’

‘Yeah, but he hasn’t exactly been peachy fucking keen with you – it's only a matter of time before he sacks your arse.’ Percy piped up and winked, before he grabbed most of Merlin’s crisps and grinned with a mouthful; he was just a big goofy giant.

‘You can’t just nick my food then wink at me, Percy – it doesn’t work like that. But yeah, I think it’s a personality thing, we are polar opposites. You owe me crisps.’ Merlin tried to steer the conversation back to something that wasn’t about to out him, plus he wanted to try the salt and vinegar.

Percy deflated and went to buy more food for Merlin just as he heard his phone beep. When he saw the sender, Merlin jerked before he tilted the screen, ensuring privacy.

Spiderprat: come over

Merlin: uh, no Im out

Spiderprat: with who

Merlin: just friends

Spiderprat: ...my guards then

Merlin: I do have my own friends you know….but yeah

Spiderprat: I could send them an order I need them here – then you’d have to come over

Merlin: with all of them there? I think not

Merlin looked at the small string of conversation, Arthur hadn’t written back yet – it was the most they had ever sent to the other and it made him irritated. Whatever this was, Merlin refused to be at somebody’s beck and call (no matter how delicious the night potentially could be). He wasn’t going to drop everything to meet up with Arthur. A small traitorous part of his brain goaded him to leave and see what would happen. Would he finally be able to shut Arthur up with a cock in his mouth? He should not have thought that.

‘Something wrong, mate?’ Leon queried, which made Merlin realise he’d frowned down at his phone for the best part of a minute.

‘Uh – no, just another friend wanting to catch up tonight, is all.’ The lie easy on his lips; he didn’t like having to lie – but what was the alternative?

‘Invite them here – plenty of beer; don’t mention food though. Percy will have eaten them out of it by the time they get here.’ Gwaine ducked as Percy swung at him with an ‘Oi.’

‘Oh – they aren’t really sociable….’ Merlin stammered, well fuck. The others started to watch the game on the big screen while Merlin reread the messages again. Even though it wasn’t explicitly stated, he assumed Arthur wanted to catch up for sex. He replayed the way Arthur husked “next time” after he’d come on Merlin’s leg then wiped themselves clean with his shorts. Christ - that mental picture was more than enough to get him half hard. His was still an arrogant cock, but god’s what a cock.

Another line appeared as he read,

Spiderprat: <Image_786>

Merlin waited, eyebrow raised in question as the image loaded on his screen, it was blurred and he had to squint, but still couldn’t make anything out – except a small cartoon Iron Man in the corner. What on earth would Arthur be sending him? He decided to ignore it for the moment and immersed himself in the game instead.

Spiderprat:  <Image_788>

He choked on his drink, because Merlin finally realised what the first picture was supposed to be and couldn’t fathom Arthur had sent something so deliciously inappropriate. The image was a close up (as far as Merlin could tell) of Arthur’s hard cock encased in a pair of tented Iron Man underpants, the tip of his prick peeped out the top. How in hell was he supposed to sit here with his mates watching the game now? Arthur Pendragon was fucking toying with him and for once – he didn’t mind. But Merlin was still not going to go over to his place – no way (was his resolve crumbling?). No, he was not going to let the arrogant prat get his way – no matter how much Merlin wanted to capitulate.

Merlin: I thought Iron Man would be bigger in person

Spiderprat: He is – come over and see for yourself

He couldn’t help but chuckle at the reply while he munched on the crisps Percy bought. Merlin needed to figure out what he was going to do - still adamant he wasn’t going to run over and fuck Arthur just because the blonde crooked his finger. Though a large part of him was certain it would be mind-blowing and the experience itself would keep him warm at night the rest of his life. Yet the words he said to Gwaine rang more than true for him as well – what the hell did Arthur want with Merlin? More importantly what did Merlin want with Arthur?

Spiderprat: <Image_802> are you coming?

‘Holy fuck balls,’ Merlin gasped then realised the table was looking his way, good one dickhead. ‘Oh – er, my fantasy football team just lost its captain.’

‘Oh shit – did you have Harvey too?’ Percy asked as he checked his phone, then growled at what he saw.

Merlin gave a noncommittal nod, thankful he managed to cover his slip-up so easily. The photo was explicit in nature, Arthur’s uncut cock leaked, hard and mouth-wateringly succulent. Merlin gasped under his breath as his mouth simultaneously went dry then full of saliva in a moment. He craved to trace his tongue against the thick vein which protruded on the underside of Arthur’s prick then taste the glorious pre-come leaking from the slit. Fuck , maybe checking his phone while around other people was not a great idea. Merlin shifted in his seat surreptitiously rearranging himself in the process. His gaze unable to move from the screen, he knew if the roof caved in right now he was a goner. Merlin couldn’t move if he wanted to (but he could go to Arthurs and experience it for himself…). No he couldn’t – wouldn’t, how stupid was he? Why was it now he decided to stick to his decisions?

Merlin: Am I coming? Likely in my pants now you cock tease

Spiderprat: you’re hard then

Merlin : you know I am

Spiderprat: good

Merlin: Im out in public you arsehole

Spiderprat: I want you to fuck my mouth

Merlin dropped his phone, it clanged loudly on the bench - but the Gods smiled at him for once and it landed face down. Arthur had verbalised Merlin’s unspoken fantasy and his heart made a valiant attempt to thump in a normal fashion, but gave up as his eyes once again coveted the image. He had to leave, he had to go home and relieve himself immediately.

‘Gotta go, lads.’ Leon was the only one who looked up in surprise at him but he smiled wanly, ‘That other mate of mine - he’s in trouble, got to give him a helping hand, you understand?’

‘You need us?’ Gwaine had already grabbed his jacket - shit.

Merlin swallowed hard, ‘Uh - no I’ll be fine - thanks though for the offer.’

He was expecting to be pushed, instead Leon gave him a knowing nod (knowing in what way – he had no idea) and waved the others back to their seats, ‘see you tomorrow, Merlin - hope tonight’s not too hard for you or your mate.’

He had half a mouthful of crisps which he almost spat out at Leon’s words - did he know? But no one was looking at him, their eyes were all back on the game - including Leons. So Merlin grabbed another handful of crisps and escaped before his boner became common knowledge.

Merlin:   Are you there

Spiderprat: yes <Image_806>

This man was going to kill him, he really was . A close up of hooded blue eyes stared at him from his lit-up phone, lips red from being bitten and slick with saliva from constant licks. Merlin’s cock twitched in his pants and he palmed himself as he ran for the tube station, and managed somehow to get onto a carriage. For the first time in his life - his timing for a tube was perfection.           

Merlin: Can you wait a minute?

Spiderprat: is that an order

Merlin: it can be

Spiderprat: I’ll wait

Merlin: Don’t touch yourself

Spiderprat: …..hurry…I’m close

Merlin: I said wait

Merlin tried his hardest to find a spot on the tube which didn’t have a million people crowded in; but luck at this time of night peak hour had passed. He walked through the carriages until he hit the last one, seeing a few people randomly scattered - all busy listening to music, on their phones or pretending to sleep. Merlin found a spot where his phone was hidden and he wouldn’t be overheard – he’d still have to be quiet though. He was immensely turned on with what he was about to do, but a small part of his brain filled with embarrassment, what if he got caught?

He placed his earbuds in then ensured the other end was tethered to his phone, then and only then did Merlin Skype Arthur. It took a few moments for the connection to go through but when it did – Merlin was not disappointed in the slightest. He could already hear Arthur’s deep breaths accompanied by a small hitch in his inhalation.

‘Did you wait?’ Merlin asked, eyes unable to focus on one point - Arthur was magnificent in his lust and stole the rest of the words Merlin was going to speak.

‘I did – I waited,’ Arthur’s deep voice was lower than usual, low in arousal.

‘Put your phone somewhere so I can see all of you.’ Merlin glanced up to make sure no one could overhear him. He had not been noticed yet - all was well on the tube. His heart hammered against his chest.

The picture moved and distorted as Merlin glimpsed a little of Arthur’s room as he moved his screen to a better position. It appeared immense and tasteful, a far cry from the messy room Merlin inhabited with its mismatched furniture, old coffee mugs and his current flannel sheets with pictures of R2D2 on them (it was laundry week).

‘Is that better?’ Arthur’s voice bought him back to the moment and “oh” was it better .

‘Much,’ Merlin managed to get out as he watched a completely naked Arthur, hard cock jutted from a thatch of blonde while he reclined on his bed. Merlin wished fervently that Android had an app for touch. He felt his fingers curl with the need to reach out and run his fingers over Arthur’s taut stomach muscles. He was so close yet so far away all at the same time.

‘Like what you see then?’ Arthur’s soft chuckle had Merlin flushed red and somehow the blonde had made him feel skittish, he was the one who was supposed to be in control of this.

As he raked his eyes over Arthur he saw the blonde tremor slightly, he showed signs of nervousness under his bravado from what Merlin could tell. He needn't be - he was perfection, but to tell him would give Arthur ammunition to be a prat so he kept quiet and looked his fill. Merlin had no idea if he would have an opportunity to see this in person, and damn it, he deserved this moment of eye candy.

‘Spread your legs a little - I want to see you.’ Merlin glanced up and around, he was still alone (to a degree).

Arthur’s sharp inhalation did things to Merlin’s insides, ‘like this?’ he asked voice cracked.

God’s , Arthur was almost gone already, his cock twiched as Merlin’s gaze caught his and he nodded. Arthur had moved so he was directly in front of Merlin, legs open enough that if he placed his feet up on the bed and lay back, Merlin would have the perfect view of his arse. He swallowed hard and shifted, uncomfortable and regretful of his decision to go home and not to Arthurs.

‘I want you to stroke yourself…..slower than that - pretend I’m next to you and it’s my hand - I wouldn’t go that fast - I’d tease you…’ Merlin was lost in the moment, Arthur had started to wank in earnest before he told him to slow it down. Merlin was in pain - a delightfully aroused pain. His cock was going to explode from watching Arthur do this - then he spied the small tube of lube thrown on Arthur’s bed and had an idea. He watched Arthur’s cock disappear into his hand as he twisted slowly up and down in the same manner Merlin had the other day - holy fuck.

‘I wouldn’t have to pretend you were here if you just fucking came over.’ Arthur groaned petulantly as his hand slipped off the end of his dick - a surprise gasp escaped.

‘I’m not your plaything, Arthur - I don’t just drop everything because you say so - I get that enough at work. I said slow it down.’ He hadn’t meant to say all of that out loud, but the tube was coming to a stop and Merlin felt nervous as an influx of people boarded and he tended to ramble.

He only just heard Arthur’s quiet question, ‘that’s what you really think?’

Merlin sighed and ran a hand through his hair as he watched an elderly woman walk his way then stop ten seats away. Thank god.

‘Pinch the bottom of your cock - I don’t want you coming too soon.’ Merlin tried to pay Arthur attention while he eyed the new arrivals. Once everyone had settled into their seats he looked back at the screen and took a deep breath. Arthur had waited, his cock gripped in one hand and a question in his eye - Merlin couldn’t remember what they’d been talking about and took a mental picture of the blonde spread out for him.

‘Fuck - you are...just remarkable,’ Arthur’s chest flushed at Merlin’s words and he couldn’t help but wonder at the reaction - surely people had said that and more to him.

‘Now I want you to grab the lube near your head.’ Arthur fumbled at Merlin’s words, one hand still clasped around the base of his cock tight. ‘You can let go - but only to lube up a finger or two.’

Arthur’s wide eyes met Merlin’s and he gulped. Merlin smirked and cocked his head, ‘something you want to say?’

‘Uh - no, I’m good - so you want me up like this?’ Arthur moved so his feet were on the bed as well and Merlin sucked a sharp breath through his teeth.

‘Perfect, now touch yourself, play with yourself - I want to watch, I want to see it all.’

Arthur’s potent gaze met his a moment before he let his head drop back to the covers, one hand held around his cock and his newly lubed finger danced around his tight hole. Merlin let out a groan, and in his periphery saw a few people look his way. Fuck - he needed to reign this in.

‘Is this what you want, Mer lin?’ The question caught him off guard, the meaning behind the words varied and complex, but he wanted to scream, “ yes this is what he wanted - needed and so much more ”, but opted for something less...confronting.

‘What I want is for you to fuck yourself on your fingers until you come,’ Arthur growled loud at the coarse words, his gasp shook Merlin to the core as his finger breached the tight ring of muscle. Merlin watched with eagerness as it slowly disappeared into Arthur’s body, the blonde squirmed a little before letting his knees fall apart, the view for Merlin mesmerising. Then Arthur began to slowly move his finger, in and out, breath after gasp and Merlin was on the literal edge of his seat.   

A soft touch on his shoulder surprised Merlin and he almost jumped out of his skin, an elderly lady stood before him and motioned to the seat next to him which currently housed his bag. He slipped an earphone reluctantly off, Arthur’s obscene moans and lube slicked fingers fucking into his arse making him hazy and confused.

‘Excuse me love, is this seat taken, can I sit here?’ Merlin had a feeling his eyes were as wide as someone high on drugs. He wanted to yell, no, no fucking way. But instead he plastered a smile on all while Arthur keened into one ear and silently told her it was free by removing his bag. Fuck, fuck and fuck again.

Merlin was caught - he couldn’t say anything suspect now and he had to tilt the phone away from his newest tube friend. Thankfully he was in the corner seat and no one stood on the other side of the partition. But still - it wasn’t fucking ideal .

‘Another one,’ Merlin said and knew it wasn’t a ridiculously odd thing to say to someone on the phone. The lady took out her knitting. For fuck sake he was sat next to a veritable grandmother, she probably made ginger biscuits and almond bread and owned a bird called “pretty boy”.

Arthur’s loud pants came in longer and more forceful as a second slicked finger slipped in next to the other, Merlin could see his rim allow the two digits passage and he was hopelessly obsessed with this man and needed to be sat between his thighs, tongue and finger fucking him until he blew.

‘Merlin, please - I need, can I touch….’ If a voice could sound blown, then Arthur’s was. Merlin couldn’t tell him in explicit terms what he wanted, but instead said, ‘yes - yes you can.’

The groan as Arthur’s hand flew over his cock all whilst he pumped two fingers into his tight hole had Merlin longing for privacy - but he was acutely aware of his surrounds.

Arthur gasped his name, saying it over and over like a mantra and Merlin had never heard his name said like that, all drawn out, husky and filled with longing. Arthur lifted his head and looked directly at Merlin, he held his breath for a moment before whispering, ‘I want you, here, inside of me.’

Then the blonde came with a gush of thickness all over his stomach, arse lifted off the bed while his abused hole clenched tightly around his fingers. Arthur’s whole body twitched in aftershocks as he came down from his orgasm, Merlin couldn’t believe he had witnessed something so incredibly hot and all for him - his own pay-per view.

‘Fuck you’re gorgeous...perfect.’ Merlin murmured, Arthur’s gaze snapped to his and for a moment Merlin thought he’d said too much but the blonde’s eyes softened minutely as he moved towards his phone. Merlin’s eyes devoured the sight of Arthur's come splattered stomach, the need to lick and taste unbearable.  

‘Goodnight, Merlin - and,’ Arthur trailed off and looked past the camera at something then his eyes focussed on Merlin again, mouth lifted in a half smile, ‘thanks.’

The phone went black before Merlin could say anything in return, his thoughts jumbled as a softer side of Arthur infiltrated his thoughts. Slightly mussed, sated (because of Merlin) and languid after his orgasm (also because of Merlin), Arthur really was going to be trouble as his chest and still hard cock pulsed.

‘Would you like a biscuit?’ He heard from beside him, the elderly lady held out a tupperware container with what looked like ginger nuts and he couldn’t help but let a huff of laughter out.

‘Thanks, but I’m good.’ Merlin responded and realised he’d missed his platform five stops ago. He settled in, there was no point getting off until his boner went away - maybe he would take a biscuit.

 

Chapter Text

Merlin groaned into his pillow as the alarm sounded, he’d now made a habit to hit snooze three times before he got up - it really wasn’t conducive to a good morning routine and he found himself late more often than not. As he lay back, images of the evening before assaulted him along with Arthur’s soft gaze before he hung up - it made Merlin light headed and he didn’t know why. Merlin also knew he didn’t want to think on the why too much because if he named what he felt - it became real and he was not ready for that, not by a long shot.

A knock and a body against his bedroom door made him roll towards it, Gwen entered with hands full of coffee, steam still rose from the cups of liquid gold and Merlin almost turned straight for the beautiful girl bearing the most wondrous gift.

‘Coffee?’ Merlin questioned, ‘in bed, - my birthday isn’t for another month, what’s the catch?’

Gwen gave him a small sheepish smile before she curled up against him, a cold foot pressed on Merlin’s shin which made him kick out in shock. ‘What makes you think I want something?’

‘Gwenibear….’

‘Yeah okay - so tonight…’

‘You’re seeing the most beautiful man in the cosmos?’ Merlin put on his best Fabio impression, which made Gwen slap his chest before she took a sip of coffee. She leant her head against his shoulder - Merlin shifted so she was tucked under it and Gwen hummed in happiness as her other cold foot caught Merlin’s shin. He couldn’t jerk away or coffee would spill everywhere. ‘Well played,’

Her laugh rumbled through him and he snuggled down further, it was ages since they cuddled and caught up - he was not going to look at the clock - if he was late then Arthur would, what? Not even notice probably...

‘Anyway - yes, Lance is coming over and I was hoping you could make yourself scarce - like not be here...at all - at least until late.’

‘You wound me, kicking me from me home. But, yeah I can catch up with Will or the boys.’

Gwen beamed up at him, ‘thanks Merle’s, his housemates are having people over and only told him last night and as much as I know you get along - I was hoping to spend some one-on-one time with him.’

‘You know I love you - right?’

‘Yeah,’ her eyebrow was raised in question.

‘But if I find out you had sex in my bed, or on the couch, the kitchen table - oh god, the bench - I cut sandwiches on there without a board - oh shit I’m using a board now…’

‘I would not, that’s disgusting - but the showers not off limits is it? Or the linen closet, oh against the stove - the balcony, yes!’

‘Smart arse.’

‘Takes one to know one.’

Merlin’s phone started to beep and although he loathed to move, he knew he had to at some point. A new meeting request popped up, for an hours time - with Arthur in his office. What the hell? Did he know Merlin was planning on coming in late? He flushed as he thought about coming and also at the thought of seeing Arthur the morning after the Skype before.

‘What’s got you so bajiggity?’

‘Uh - Arthur, meeting in an hour - I’ve got to get ready.’

Gwen hummed which made Merlin stop and look down, her brown eyes twinkled. ‘What?’

‘Nothing, nothing at all - just be careful, be happy and don’t forget to use protection.’

‘What?’ Merlin exclaimed as he felt his face redden at Gwen’s laugh and he couldn’t even be bothered pretending anymore. ‘That obvious?’

‘Not to most - but I’ve known you forever. Like I said, be careful - you don’t know him well and from all accounts he can be an absolute arsehole. I don’t want you hurt.’

Merlin gave her a wan smile - he couldn’t answer her, he had no idea what was happening yet knew he was most likely in for a world of hurt already. He slid out from under his warm covers, ‘gotta get ready - and I will - be careful that is.’

Gwen closed her eyes and leant into the warmth Merlin left, ‘Well I know four very amazing guards who would defend their princess’s honour if something bad happened.’

A warmth spread through Merlin at her words because they were true, ‘Why am I a bloody princess, why can’t I be a bad arse dragon?’

‘Cheekbones, love - cheekbones…’

Merlin threw a worn sock at Gwen’s head and much to her horror the toe landed in her coffee. Merlin ran out in laughter at her cry of fury.

/*

Elena giggled as Merlin told her a story about a guy he knew at university who had packed his car so full of illegal fireworks for a camping trip that half way out of the city one caught aflame and it turned into the best display this side of the Thames, his car not so fortunate or the night he spent in jail.

‘Seriously, you’re going to run out of stories one day.’

‘Just trying to brighten your day, stuck up here in your ivory tower.’ Merlin retorted.

A cough sounded behind him and Merlin couldn’t fathom how Arthur always caught him in a situation where he had spoken out of turn about something. Elena giggled and inclined her head towards Merlin before taking a call.

Merlin’s blue gaze caught Arthur’s and he thought he saw a flicker of something cross the blonde’s face before he spun and headed back into the office and spoke over his shoulder. ‘Is there anyone on my staff you haven’t bloody managed to swindle with your inept tomfoolery?’

‘Swindle with my inept tomfoolery - what are you sixty ?’ Merlin managed to snark out as he walked into the office and was surprised when he found Arthur by the door waiting to shut it instead of striding to his desk like usual. ‘So what couldn’t wait until a decent hour - the next lot of slides aren’t ready yet - hopefully later today.’

The door shut with a snick and Merlin turned to find six foot plus of blonde masculinity bear down on him. Arthur loosened his tie as he stalked forward – and if that wasn’t the most all out fucking sexual thing Merlin had ever seen he didn’t know what was.

Letting out a very manly squeak he found himself pushed up against the desk (still mahogany for christ sake) as intense eyes held his while Arthur pushed himself along the line of his body.

‘Wha……..’ Merlin managed to hiss out as Arthur’s nimble fingers cupped his rapidly hardening prick.

‘It’s called reciprocating, Mer lin.’ Arthur whispered as his lips found the spot just below Merlin’s ear which made his body quiver. Arthur’s lips were so soft, so precise and so warm, Merlin had to make a fist else he grab a handful of blonde hair and smash their mouths against the other. His eyes fluttered shut as his pants were unzipped and the rustle of his clothes hit the floor. Arthur’s knee jutted between his and forced his legs apart all while a hand curled around his cock, already leaking and ready for release.

‘You don’t have to..’ Merlin gasped out. Arthur’s hand was dry and warm and Merlin tried his hardest to keep the noise to a minimum, knowing Elena was in the next room, his cock bobbed at the thought they could get caught - had he developed a voyeuristic kink? Hell - Arthur was a kink in itself, he would take anything, do anything to see those blue eyes hooded in desire.

‘Oh of course I do - I wouldn’t want to be seen as not being fair, of ordering you around with nothing to show for it.’

Merlin felt a tension behind the words and wondered what the hell Arthur meant - had he missed something? But it was almost impossible to get a straight thought out as the blonde slid to his knees before him.

The warmth was incredible and when Arthur’s tongue began to lathe at Merlin’s rigid cock his knees almost buckled. Merlin clamped his mouth shut as the moans rumbled through his body while Arthur hummed around him. The blonde man was full of surprises, Merlin never in a million years would have thought he’d be pulled into the office for a blowjob, and it wasn’t even nine in the morning .

He hadn’t even had time to comprehend he could see the city spread out below from where Arthur had pushed him. The heat, wetness and slurping detracted from his fear. Merlin looked down and jerked as Arthur stared back up at him, mouth stretched around his cock like it was his purpose to bring him to orgasm.

Arthur then began to lick and nip at the underside of his cock while he jerkied him off, his hand slippery and taut. Merlin lost function to breathe and grasped the desk behind him.

‘Stay still,’ Arthur growled up at Merlin, who felt chastised for barely a moment.

‘I’d like to see you try and stay still while somebody does this.’ Merlin gritted.

‘Is that a challenge?’

‘Not everything is a fucking challenge…oh fuck...shit…’ Merlin twitched involuntarily - damn it .

‘Challenge accepted.’ Arthur grinned as he hollowed his cheeks and inhaled Merlin’s very essence.  

Arthur was beyond infuriating, though what did they say, hate and lust were closely related? Merlin actually didn’t care in this moment – as long as Arthur didn’t stop – oh, gods – that

‘Fuck, stop - I’m going to come in a second,’ Merlin gasped and tried to pull away. Arthur gripped him tighter instead and let his mouth slide off with a “pop”.

‘Grip my hair and fuck my mouth. I want to taste you.’

Merlin lost his ability to think as his jaw dropped open and the visual of what Arthur just asked him to do took over.

‘I won’t ask again.’

So Merlin did the only thing open to him. He carded his fingers through soft blonde hair before he grasped tighter, eliciting a deep growl of lust from Arthur. Wide blue eyes full of arousal and anticipation gazed up at him as he tentatively moved his hips. They fluttered shut for a moment before opening back up, something indescribable and depthless stared back up at Merlin as his thrusts stopped being soft and cautious to jerkier and uncontrolled. He was not going to last.

Merlin came with a muffled shout, quicker than he would have liked but it was still one of the most satisfying orgasms he’d ever had. Merlin had a feeling it wasn’t just Arthur’s skills which left a thrill through his entire body, but he squashed the thoughts - madness and mayhem was at the end of that particular road.

Arthur swirled his tongue, cleaning Merlin’s overly sensitive cock before he leant back on his heels, a self satisfied grin on his face. Usually Merlin would be annoyed at his cocky self assurance, but it was well deserved.

‘Uh - can I…’ Merlin gestured to the tent in Arthur’s pants, his mouth watered at the thought of getting his lips coated with Arthur’s saltiness.

Arthur glanced around and swore under his breath, Merlin followed his gaze to a clock, ‘can’t - my nine o’clock is waiting outside.’

Merlin blinked once, Arthur pulled him into the office to blow him while his first appointment of the day sat outside. Fuck - this was not hot at all...at all - Merlin was screwed - this man...

‘Dinner tonight?’ Arthur had moved to sit behind his desk - all arousal hidden, while Merlin stood, pants pooled around his ankles, spent cock stuck to his thigh. Did Arthur just ask him out to dinner?

‘Err - dinner?’ Merlin stumbled over the word as he bent to pull up his trousers, and saw Arthur give his arse an appraising look as he did this. Like a date Merlin wanted to ask.

‘Yes, I assume you eat - most humans do.’

Merlin stood trying to regain some semblance to normality in his day - he couldn’t think properly. Arthur’s face started to do a weird twitching thing as Merlin just stared, it took him longer than it should have to realise he hadn’t actually agreed to go and just gawped at the blonde instead. A slight pink began to bloom on Arthur’s cheeks and Merlin found it delightful, not that he would admit it out loud.

‘I eat…’ Merlin bit back the words that he would like to eat Arthur out instead.

‘Good, meet you in the garage at seven.’

It took a second for Merlin to realise he’d been dismissed. Slightly annoyed at the tone, he ran a hand through his hair and hoped it looked better than Arthurs - who had bits sticking up from Merlin’s tight grip. Merlin wasn’t going to tell him either as he walked out of the office - let Georgina from Payroll bring it up.

/*

Merlin was most definitely not pacing in the underground car park, he just so happened to walk one direction for a few steps then turn to head back - completely normal and not nervous at all. Ok, he was nervous - why? He was about to have dinner with Arthur Pendragon, veritable wet dream with a cock made to be sucked, lips made to be kissed (a pang went through him at not knowing how that felt still) who had actually turned into a complex man that made Merlin's inside feel jumbled. He also was still a colossal prat, yet something softer and much more tangible had started to emerge. Merlin wasn’t sure if he should shut down what they started before he became too invested - a maniacal laugh reverberated in his skull - became invested. Too late.

He was also nervous because all of their interactions went one of two ways, anger and snark or lust and orgasms. Except for the night spent on the roof of Pendragon Corp, Merlin and Arthur had never just sat with each other in the capacity of, what - friends? Lovers? More…? No, not more, but Merlin for all of his free spirited thinking was unsure on where they stood and it grated him. He couldn't forget the Arthur who cradled him in his fear of heights on the rooftop, it was burned into his mind. He needed to let go of all of his preconceived ideals and attempt to “go with the flow” - he already knew he would take whatever Arthur was willing to give, was it smart - no, most likely not, would he tell his friends or Gwen - most definitely not. He knew they wouldn’t understand his way of thinking and would tell him to abort and escape while he still could. Trouble was - Merlin did not want to escape and this should have scared him.

An Audi flew up the ramp and stopped before Merlin as he took an unconscious step back from the tonne of steel and metal which barreled his way. Arthur smirked behind the wheel as he released the lock on the passenger's door.

Merlin climbed in gingerly, his bag getting caught on the stick shift as Arthur huffed out a sigh. He didn’t look at Arthur as he adjusted himself and put his seatbelt on, purely because Arthur had sucked his cock in the most spectacular fashion hours earlier - how on earth was he supposed to speak to him without images of that flashing through his mind?

‘You really are the most awkward man on the planet.’ Arthur stated as he took off quickly, which made Merlin’s head fall back to the headrest.

‘You really are the biggest Pillock to roam the Earth - but we all have our calling,’ Merlin replied, a note of what he hoped was teasing in his voice. When Arthur stiffened slightly he realised he probably dead-panned it a little too much.

Before Merlin could make amends Arthur spoke, ‘do you like Mexican?’

‘Uh - yeah I do. I didn’t mean…’

‘It’s fine.’ Arthur interrupted in a tone which brokered no room to bring it up further, ‘there’s a street-food alley which opened up last week and I want to try it - if you’re keen.’

Merlin couldn’t equate the Arthur in a suit next to him as somebody who wanted to try an alley full of small bites and drinks in plastic red cups - but he was rapidly learning Arthur Pendragon really was still an enigma to him. One he felt he was nowhere near unravelling.

‘Is that near Rostrevor Street?’ At Arthur’s nod he grinned. ‘Gwen and Lance went opening night, said it was wall to wall people, but the food was heavenly and the atmosphere electric - I think they had a three piece metal funk band….anyway they had Thai and I think South American…which was too spicy for Lance, and Gwen couldn’t stop laughing at him trying to find a bar which served milk.’

Arthur’s face slowly gained a half smile as Merlin’s mouth ran away from him, and he realised he had rambled again like a nervous teenager on his first date. But the quirk of the blonde’s lips had started to make Merlin’s cock take interest and he had no idea if this was a night which would lead to more touching (sucking, frottage, fucking..Merlin would take them all) or what the hell it was - was dinner a euphemism ?

He suddenly had an image of Arthur parking the car in a secluded spot so Merlin could push the blonde over the slowly cooling heat of the bonnet and take him apart with his fingers, tongue and cock. Well fuck - his imagination needed to tone it down a notch.

‘You’re thinking hard,’ Arthur interrupted Merlin’s vivid thoughts of cock, coming and cuddling - what? No cuddling…

‘Ha - hard…’ Merlin blurted then realised what he’d said as Arthur went still, very still. Abort - abort. ‘So, how was the rest of your day?’ you know - after you sucked me dry - he facepalmed himself, he was going to get into trouble soon.

‘Er, fine - my day was fine. Actually - you know what - it wasn’t really, it was just…’ Arthur ran a hand through his hair as he indicated and turned into a parking lot, Merlin watched enthralled at the gesture and what it was doing to his insides.

‘Hard?’ Merlin questioned with a smirk which made Arthur huff out a quick rush of air. He decided he liked this quick to laugh version of Arthur, probably a little too much.

'Yeah, hard…’

Dinner consisted of trying seven different plates which all smelt and looked as delectable as the next and Merlin couldn’t help the teasing tone his voice took on at Arthur’s wide eyed gawping at the food on offer, then at his inability to make a decision. After telling Merlin he spent all day making decisions that affected people's livelihoods Merlin took pity and ordered on his behalf - and watched in interest as the blonde’s shoulders sagged minutely in relief as he took over once more. Merlin's gut feeling that Arthur needed to give up some forms of control to be able to function like a normal part of society seemed to be accurate - it was a heady realisation that Merlin could be the one to do it for him.

‘Did you want to talk about today?’ Merlin asked with a hint of laughter in his voice from Arthur's tale about his rugby teams end of year trip to Ireland and subsequent banning from all future trips.

‘When I sucked your cock in the most impressive way?’ Arthur tilted his head forward and kept his voice low and teasing which made Merlin inhale sharply (and also harden in his jeans).

'No you arrogant prat,’ his voice flustered and higher pitched than usual, how could a twinkle in Arthur's eye and a tilting lilt to his mouth make him lose all coherent thought? ‘You know what I meant.’

Arthur took another sip of lemonade from his red cup and cut his eyes from Merlin and looked back at the crowd of vendors and customers behind him. Merlin observed him take in a large breath before he turned his deep blue eyes (which was not fair at how incredible they were) back to him. 'Let's just say you were the highlight of the morning.’

‘Well I bloody well hope so,’ Merlin bristled which earned a smirk from the blonde, ‘sorry about, you know, not helping you out…’

Arthur's eyes transformed impossibly darker as they moved over Merlin's face, taking in every angle and blemish which made Merlin's cheeks flush, ‘you'll make it up to me.’

The matter of fact way Arthur stated his words had Merlin's insides doing flips - he should just ask Arthur what they were doing instead of guessing every three minutes and tying himself into an anxious ball of Merlin shaped knots. The words died in his throat due to fear though, fear that Arthur might end it the minute Merlin asked, fear that Arthur was already looking elsewhere for fun, fear that he wasn't satisfying enough and fear he was way in over his head to be able to get out unscathed.

The conversation took a lighter turn as they finished up and shared a piece of chilli brownie (because Arthur loved hot food and Merlin didn't want to look like a wuss… again) and went to buy decaf coffee for the drive home. He messaged Gwen while Arthur ordered.

Merlin: safe to come home?

Gwenibear: yep, just don't make a sandwich tonight - I need to clean up ;)

Merlin: oh God, you'd best be joking

Gwenibear: of course I am…. *Shiftyeyes

Merlin: urrgh, I'll get Arthur to drop me off then

Gwenibear: Arthur???? Is that why the boys had the night off, they've been messaging Lance all night…

Merlin chuckled, of course they had , he wouldn't be surprised if they had turned up at the house either, just to annoy Lance on his night off.

Gwenibear: holy fuck Merlin, are you on a date???

Merlin: no, no way, just grabbed food, look, talk later gotta go

Merlin ignored the string of winky faces and eggplants Gwen typed back.

Arthur kept up the small talk as Merlin directed him to his place, and was astounded at how well they conversed about mundane ordinary things. Apparently they were not all just about snark and fucking after all. Merlin was getting deeper in trouble with this man. Arthur pulled up out the front of his place and eyed the multi storied unit suspiciously.

‘Okay, I have to know,’ Merlin started, earning a sideways look from Arthur.

‘Know what?’ the blonde replied tentatively.

‘Who are you wearing tonight? And I don't mean the Hugo boss suit.’

The laugh which burst from Arthur's chest was delightful in its innocence and surprise and Merlin beamed back.

‘You know, Merlin - a man has to keep some things mysterious, can't let you know all my secrets else you'll have no reason to keep coming back.’

Merlin knew his expression had changed by the unexpected look on Arthur's face, ‘I really don't think I need a reason.’

Arthur gazed at him for the longest moment, the air electric and tangible in the small space of the Audi. Then he began to lean forward gradually while Merlin held his breath, waiting and watching for the moment he was sure was about to change everything. Then Merlin’s phone chirped. Arthur flew back wide-eyed in his seat, sharp breaths loud in the quiet, Merlin saw his eyes scrunch up for a moment and his hand curl into a tight first on his leg, tensed. He was still trying to decipher the blonde's actions when his phone went off again. The moment was gone - shattered. Why in hell did Merlin feel bereft - like something was taken from him?

‘Well, see you tomorrow Merlin, err thanks for eating with me.’

‘Yeah, anytime. I mean that - tonight was fun - you're not such a pillock after all, well no more than usual.’

Arthur's head spun toward him at his sincere words and Merlin opened his door then turned before he got out and decided to tease a little. ‘But if we get dinner again - I'm eating you out first…’

The groan Arthur let escape had Merlin's cock on high alert, ‘I'm sure that can be arranged sometime.’

'I could always.. you know - come back to your place now if you want…’

Arthur watched him with wide eyes for the longest moment then turned head-on and lightly tapped his steering wheel a few times with his fist like he was making a momentous decision and arguing with himself. His face was unreadable as he turned to Merlin.

'Uh - maybe not tonight - I should, yeah I should go.’

Merlin nodded a sinking feeling and an embarrassed flush had taken over his whole being. He jumped out and closed the door with a snick. Arthur pulled out almost immediately and Merlin checked his phone a frown marred his features at what had just unfolded. Did Arthur just shut him down? Did he do something wrong?

Gwenibear: I've left the light on and door is unlocked - hope you've had fun on your date!!

Merlin had been mouth-blocked by his housemate - bloody Gwen. He couldn't help but wonder if things would have turned out differently if she hasn't messaged in that moment - but he guessed he wouldn't ever find out now.

Merlin made a cuppa when he got inside then climbed under his quilt and tried desperately not to think about why Arthur said no. He was officially invested heavily without a clue on how to proceed.

 

Chapter Text

Merlin started to wonder why he always ended up in the same place - The Tavern. It was as if the boys knew he had a weakness for the small bar as he constantly found himself within its walls. Not that he was complaining - it was a great bar - dark wooden tables and chairs with nostalgic posters of movies from another era adorned the walls and they had the biggest array of craft beer he had ever had the fortune to stumble across - Merlin really felt at home.

He had just been to the movies with Gwen to watch a French film she had always wanted to see - which Merlin was usually keen for (he could be high brow when needed, plus the French accent did things to him - so did a deep English one as well apparently). But the reel they showed was the wrong one and he and the other thirty people in the theatre realised that the subtitles and dialogue were all in French. The movie was also a drama, mainly talking and little action and Merlin only knew three swear words of French and a phrase which could get him a baguette. Suffice to say when Lance asked if they wanted to meet at The Tavern afterwards - Merlin all but yelled, Oui .

‘I thought you spoke a little French?’ Gwen laughed at his expression as he told everyone the story.

‘He only speaks in French kisses,’ Gwaine leaned closer, lips in a pout before he licked them. ‘Or French letters.’

Merlin tried hard not to roll his eyes like a twelve year old, ‘how old are you? I think my granddad would almost get that joke.’

‘You wound me,’ Gwaine exclaimed just as the small blonde next to him asked ‘what’s a French letter?’

Merlin burst out in laughter at Gwaine’s face when Neil asked the question. He had really taken a liking to the small blonde from IT and from what he could see, Neil was besotted with Gwaine - which was sweet. He just hoped Gwaine wasn’t going to screw it up like he currently was with Arthur (even if he didn’t understand how he was doing it). The thought almost made him laugh as realistically there really wasn’t a he and Arthur (or was there? Merlin was confused, more so than usual). Sure they had caught up, screwed around and Merlin felt like it was possible there could be more to it, but when Arthur drove off without a backwards glance after Merlin had all but thrown himself at the blonde (he knew he was being overly dramatic but at the time it felt that way) he wasn’t sure what to do next. It had been almost four days since he’d seen Arthur and his last lot of slides from the campaign had been vetted by Uther. He had begun to think he needed to take control and force an audience with the blonde. Arthur did seem to like it when Merlin took charge ...

Merlin watched as Gwaine leaned into Neil who all but purred at the touch before he left a chaste kiss to the blonde’s cheek and went to buy another round of drinks. Obviously Gwaine had not ended it as he had told them he would the other night and a spike of jealousy at their openness left a sour taste in his mouth. Don’t be crazy, you know you're happy for them.

It was at that moment Leon and Percy started to debate the merits of having shorter or longer hair in winter and Lance and Gwen laughed about something he’d whispered to her and Merlin couldn’t hold it in any longer.

‘So hypothetically I have a friend.’

All of a sudden he found everyone's eyes on him, ‘more than one - I’d say mate,’ Gwaine laughed as he returned.

Merlin swallowed and gave what he hoped was a withering look, he didn’t sell it if Neil’s smile was any indication. ‘As I was trying to say - I have a friend, one who has an interesting love life quandary and I wanted some advice…’

‘Details! I love a good love life quandary - who is this friend? Fairly certain we’re your only friends though.’

‘Hey,’ Gwen called, ‘he has the cat next door as well.’

‘Look - he’s just a friend - human,’ Merlin clarified and heard the slight edge of exasperation in his voice. This was hard enough without being teased.

‘Who? Will? We know him - oh look, here he is. Will, buddy - are you having love life trouble?’

Merlin was going to throttle Gwaine and he didn’t give a damn how much Neil’s lip might tremble at it.

‘Hello fellas, no, my love life is fairly damn epic right now - Morgana is fucking ace.’ He eyed Merlin as he shook hands with everyone. Merlin rued the day he introduced them all, he was essentially being ganged up on.

‘Oh, Merlin here was just complaining that he had a friend who was in a romantic situation with someone and wanted advice - thought it was you.’ Percy was now on Merlin’s strangulation list, it was as if they were all in on a joke, one Merlin was clueless about.

Will gave Merlin a side eye and a small unsure grin, ‘no, not me…’

Merlin groaned embarrassed, ‘forget it.’

Leon finally decided to pipe up, ‘if it is about you and Arthur, you can’t stop fucking him.’

Merlin’s empty glass clattered to the ground (how could something inanimate be so loud?) his vision blurred and the heat which coursed through his face could not be natural. ‘I’m…..I’m really not...fucking him I mean.’

Leon’s mouth tilted up on one side and Merlin’s entire body flamed red and blistered to a degree where self combustion was a probability. ‘Well you can’t stop whatever you’re doing.’

‘Oh - Gods - we are not doing anything.’ Merlin lied in what he knew was the most unconvincing manner.

Leon gave Merlin the long suffering look of a man who had been bullshitted to, too many times in his life. ‘Look, as I said whatever you are doing - don’t stop. Arthur has never been so amenable, I mean he’s actually a decent human at the moment - you’re good for him.’ Merlin went to protest once more knowing at some point somebody would call him on it with a “he doth protest too hard”, when Leon continued, ‘plus we are his fucking guards, if we didn’t know about you, how shit would we be at our jobs?’

Merlin went impossibly redder and the realisation hit him in the stomach, because these guys knew the whole time (what in hell - he’d had Arthur fingering himself open on camera - ok, he was certain they didn’t know about that ) and a twinge because they thought (maybe) that Merlin and he were more or less dating which they were not. One dinner, a few handjobs and a knockback did not mean dating (though in some situations it was fairly accurate of a date), but not in his mind anyway.

‘Okay, I can see from your reaction you really had no idea we knew,’ Leon had started to look a little concerned and chagrined. ‘Ok, seriously, what’s going on - Arthur can be prickly.’

Gwaine snorted, then spluttered as beer almost came from his nose, ‘can be…?’

‘Well probably more so at the moment. Have you see how Uther has been hounding him the last few days? Brutal.’

He looked up at that, what was happening? Why was Uther being extra hard on Arthur? Merlin couldn't help but wonder if that's why Arthur had been silent and ignoring him.

‘Yeah, I'm fairly certain if I wasn't standing in the boardroom yesterday he would have taken Arthur by the ear and dragged him out like an errant child. Unfair really - Arthur didn’t cause the issue.’ Percy resettled in his chair and took a sip of his beer while Merlin processed what was being said. What issue?

‘But we digress, Uther being an arsehole is nothing new. So tell us what your love issue with Arthur is… is he a screamer? Do your neighbours complain - I always saw Arthur as vocal.’ Gwaine winked as he spoke, then spun to Neil, ‘not that I have ever thought of Arthur in that way…’

‘Really? Well I have,’ Neil said levelly, Gwaine went deathly still before the IT guru smacked him on the shoulder his face split in a huge grin, ‘joking - well...yeah. No - I’m joking. But Merlin - what’s going on, how can we help?’

Merlin hid his face in his hands for a moment, wanting to relish in Gwaine’s shock then his begrudgingly admiring look at Neil, but couldn’t. He also appreciated Neil’s concern, the kid was a keeper. ‘I kind of really don’t want to chat to you guys about it now - no offence, I mean it’s weird now - weirder than I anticipated. And for the record we are not fuck...’

‘La la la,’ Gwaine interrupted, fingers in his ears, ‘It’s like knowing my parents had sex after I was conceived - I don’t need details - ok that’s a lie - Merlin I want details, is Arthur’s cock as b…’

‘Oh my God - shut up you uncouth tosser,’ Lance threw out into the group. ‘Sorry about him Merlin, he really doesn’t get it.’

‘Thanks Lance.’

‘But - valid question - is it as big as a baby’s arm holding an apple?’

Gwen hit Lance and she laughed as Merlin found himself with a grin as well. Mortified but thankful everyone seemed to tease and not get angry or strange with Merlin at the revelation (in fact they all seemed happy). Which in turn made him want to see Arthur and find out if Uther was the reason he went from hot to cold all of a sudden.

/*

Merlin : I'm thinking maybe Dr Strange or the Invisible Girl

Merlin went for light humour - unsure how Arthur would respond, if at all. Instead of waiting like an impatient schoolkid, he sat in his home office and continued to work on his slides while he tried hard not to stare at his unblinking phone. As he looked over his concepts, Merlin realised he really did enjoy working at Pendragon Corp. The hours were good, his job conditions and pay even better, he had almost free reign over the art he created (clearly a few parameters had to be followed, no magic wands, dragons or cheeky wizards to be inserted) and then there was Arthur. Which bought Merlin back to checking his phone - nothing.

Merlin : you know, because you've disappeared….

He had the idea he wasn't going to get the response he was after, especially now he knew Uther was being an arse, but still, he expected something - even a thanks but no thanks. It then dawned on Merlin as his phone remained stubbornly silent, if he wanted Arthur's attention he had to try something out of his usual comfort zone. He knew exactly what he had to do and it started to gnaw a small hole of nervousness in his gut. What if Arthur didn't respond, what if he really was done with this thing with Merlin? Merlin couldn’t - no , he wouldn’t accept it until he heard it direct from Arthur himself.

Once he’d decided to squash his defeatist attitude (well tonight anyway) Merlin got up and made his way to the bedroom while he checked Gwen was actually gone. It was clear. She’d mentioned she might stay with Lance and it looked like she had. Merlin was ready for his ridiculous plan , which could never backfire - not at all…

It took a few moments to get his phone set up at the right angle (he was fussier than he realised) but once he had the frame he wanted, Merlin slid his pants down, positioned himself and slowly jerked his cock into a nice thick and heavy hardness. He ensured his face wasn't in the frame (he was still being cautious, maybe too cautious) but once he had his dick to almost full attention, Merlin leant over, hit the record button and ignored the nerves which flittered in his stomach.

He only taped about fifteen seconds of teasing before he pressed stop then created a banner across the bottom of the video - “Arthur. Come here now. And when I say now - I mean it.”

After twenty minutes with still no response, Merlin felt foolish and doubly glad he kept his face from the video. He wandered into the kitchen and ignored his still hardened cock as he pushed his reading glasses up on his nose to make a cup of chai spiced tea before he headed to bed to read the latest update to a webcomic he’d stumbled upon about ice hockey and college students.

He wasn't sure what to feel, disappointed of course, but after the last few weeks he honestly thought Arthur had actually started to think more of him than just a sex thing (they’d been on an almost date - well he thought so…). But did Merlin really give enough of himself for Arthur to realise it wasn't one sided? Merlin let out a slow deep breath and grabbed his hot tea and headed for his room. He was two steps out the kitchen when there was a faint knock at the front door. Merlin spilt hot tea on his hand as he jerked in surprise, his heart started to hammer in his chest - was it Arthur?

Merlin padded to the front door to check the peephole and just about lost his breath, Arthur stood, head bowed, waiting - waiting for Merlin. Well fuck, it worked.

He unlocked the door and opened it slowly, Arthur glanced up hesitantly - appearing abashed before his face took on an entirely different slant as his eyes all but devoured Merlin’s face. Arthur’s jaw dropped open slightly and Merlin couldn't help but wonder why.

'Umm, glasses - I've never seen you in… Fuck - they look good.’

Merlin flushed red for a second as heat pooled below his belt, he'd forgotten he was even wearing them, but he liked Arthur's reaction, he liked it a lot. He also liked Arthur's deep rumbling underused voice - it was doing things to him.

‘Come in,’ he replied instead and opened the door enough for Arthur to slip in, ‘tea?’

Arthur looked surprised at the offer, ‘yeah, that would be good actually.’

Within a few minutes Merlin sat beside Arthur on the couch before he realised the blonde had never been in his living space before, apparent as Arthur tried hard not to look around at everything (Merlin could see his eyes moving over the photos and knick knacks everywhere).

‘The tea is good,’ Arthur spoke in a soft voice after a moment or two of silence.

‘You're not here for tea though are you?’ Arthur's cup clattered on the coffee table as he put it down, 'I didn’t specifically tell you what I wanted with you, did I?’

Merlin watched as Arthur licked his lips then slowly faced him, eyes burned with desire which kickstarted Merlin's heart tenfold. This blonde was beyond gorgeous he was almost ethereal, untouchable and by some grace of God he was Merlin's if only for the short term.

‘I'm going to clean up the kitchen, you have ten minutes in the bathroom to ready yourself for me then be naked and kneeling on my bed, can you do that?’

Arthur's blue eyes were wide and fathomless in desire as he nodded, Merlin waited until their eyes met before he continued, ‘but before that, I really need to clear the air about this whole,’ he gestured between them, ‘situation…’

Arthur looked pensive for a moment, 'okay...’

The word was the most drawn out Merlin had heard, what did he think he was going to talk about - feelings? Gosh no...

‘If we do anything you don't want to do or you're uncomfortable with, you need to let me know, I'm not an expert at this, not at all, I haven't ever really... I mean I'm not a very good.. Christ Arthur, I'm not a “scene” person...’

Arthur let out what appeared to be a relieved sigh and gave Merlin a half smile which his chest pulsed at again, Arthur was utterly breathtaking, 'I know, either am I, but sometimes just a taste of it is what I need, like roleplay or something. So right now, I need...look it’s not always, but….’

‘Third door on your left,’ Merlin interrupted, taking pity on the blonde’s stammering, ‘you'd better be ready for me.’

He received a curt shaky yet also grateful nod before the blonde was up and off the couch as he strode down the hall, which gave Merlin a second to breathe and get his out of control thoughts into a semblance of control. With Arthur, it was almost impossible, gods he wanted him, so bad. He was almost his.

Merlin barely held onto his facade of appearing more dominant when he entered his room a short time later. Arthur, all delicious tanned golden skin was on full display for Merlin and it just about had his heart beating out of his very chest. Arthur had not met his eyes yet which gave Merlin the chance to compose his slack jawed gawp and also allowed him a moment to look his fill. Magnificent.

‘Arthur,’ Merlin looked on in anticipation as blue eyes met his then lowered, desire rampant in their depths. Then he threw a tube of lube at him, ‘stroke yourself for me.’

Instead of joining Arthur on his bed (although his body yearned for it) Merlin pulled up a chair, grateful he'd not moved it back to the kitchen after he used it to put things on top of his closet. He placed it about three feet from the bed and sat down and leaned forward so his elbows rested on his knees, he gazed at Arthur and knew the arousal in his own eyes was heightened by the glasses he wore, glasses Arthur couldn't stop staring at. Merlin was secretly chuffed he was getting to the blonde on some level. The boy had a kink, Merlin had a vision of a Clark Kent Superman fantasy… he'd come back to that .

Arthur's slick hand on his cock was one of the most astonishing sights Merlin had ever witnessed, the small strokes leading into a quick twist, the purple head disappeared beneath a layer of uncut skin as Arthur pulled and gasped Merlin's name. It was perfect, Arthur was perfect.

'Stop.’ Merlin ordered, his voice cracked in the smallest manner, he wondered if Arthur noticed. ‘turn around. I want you face down on the quilt, on your knees spreading your cute arse for me.’

He wondered if he'd pushed too hard when Arthur stared at him and didn't move for a moment before Merlin noticed the definate glob of pre-come leak from his cock - oh fuck, so fucking hot .

Arthur when he moved at Merlin's raised eyebrow, did it extremely quick and was on his knees to present his arse to Merlin in the most mouthwateringly manner. Merlin had to pinch himself, this was actually happening - Arthur was here, he was finally going to be able to touch, lick and taste the blonde. As much as he wanted to fuck into Arthur’s tight hole, he wouldn’t, not tonight, Tonight the blonde needed to be taken apart, he needed to feel appreciated, he needed to be needed. Merlin couldn’t give the required aftercare in the frame of mind Arthur was currently in and he knew fucking into him (as astounding as it would be) Arthur would require a different headspace and Merlin couldn’t provide that level of care, not without research and know-how.

‘Ant-man - perfect choice,’ Merlin mumbled as he saw Arthur’s discarded underwear next to the bed. Arthur felt small within himself yet Merlin knew he was the biggest person he’d ever encountered. Merlin pitched his voice deeper to lose the nerves he knew would be heard, ‘Spread yourself further.’

Merlin’s breath hitched as Arthur unfailingly obeyed his command, the blonde’s hands trembled and were still slick from the lube. His pucker all but twitched under Merlin’s careful gaze, and he sat mesmerized for a moment to let the moment build for not only Arthur but himself. He liked taking people apart like this, but with Arthur he knew he would adore it - it felt different, it felt real in a way it never had before.

‘Merlin….please...’ the soft cry had Merlin pull the chair forward and it squeaked on his floorboards - jarring in the silence of only their breathing.

‘I’ve got you,’ Merlin mirrored the very words Arthur spoke on the rooftop, and he saw the tightness in Arthur’s shoulders loosen further.

He removed his glasses carefully then placed his hands over Arthurs and the blonde jerked at the first contact. Merlin guided his fingers to hold Arthurs at a certain angle, then let go of one hand to drag a finger from Arthur's lower back, through his crack then light over his pucker. Arthur trembled and let out a low keen. Merlin hadn’t even started - he was going to die from the anticipation in his gut. His own cock cried out to be released from his soft sleep pants.

Before he became too distracted, Merlin leant forward and flicked his tongue over Arthur’s hole. The blonde’s growl should have been outlawed because if he kept that sound up Merlin would be dead in a matter of minutes. Arthur’s hands began to loosen their grip as Merlin’s ministrations became firmer and more persistent.

‘You need to hold still, else I’ll stop - do you want me to stop?’

The blonde shook his head emphatically and groaned a negative into the sheets (which thankfully were not star wars today). ‘Use your words…’

‘No, please don’t...I’ll be still…’

Merlin smirked then leant back in to devour Arthur’s hole, his tongue flicking and wet as saliva pooled down Arthur’s crack and Merlin wriggled his tongue deeper and deeper so the blonde came up off the bed tense and panting. Merlin had never heard such sweet murmurs, once more Arthur was using his name as a mantra, incoherent except for every other word. Merlin pushed as far in as he could, Arthur’s heat tight and musky on his tongue.

It was the most intense sensation having Arthur like this before him, he was trying desperately to catalogue each and every noise, growl and spoken word to commit to memory incase Merlin never heard them again. He pushed those thoughts aside as he reached around Arthur to grasp his heavy hard cock and squeezed the still slick length. God’s he was brilliant.

It took a moment for Merlin to realise over his overtly loud slurping that Arthur was trying to articulate something.

‘What was that babe?’ Merlin tried not to stiffen at his words, he was fairly certain Arthur hadn’t heard the slip up. What was he thinking? Calling his boss - no - not just his boss, but babe?

‘I want…’ Arthur started, Merlin left a hand on the small of his back circling softly - a touchstone for Arthur, and released his cock, ‘I want you to come on me.’

Merlin’s circling stopped - this man...this impossibly beautiful man could not be real.

Before he could think about it twice, Merlin pulled himself from his pants while he dipped forward to circle Arthur’s hole with his tongue again and began to stroke himself. He stood on unsteady feet and pressed against Arthur, his cock unintentionally touched against Arthur’s crack - nestling for a moment before the blonde pushed back so violently that Merlin had to steady himself. It was only by his own willpower (and who knew where that resolve came from) that he didn’t lube himself up and plunge deep into where his tongue was moments before.

Instead he pressed a finger deep inside Arthur which made the blonde quake, while Merlin jerked off with his other hand. He was going to last all of five seconds. Merlin’s loud huffs and groans punched through him as Arthur held himself open and Merlin added a second finger to the blonde’s tightness. His own hand popped off the end of his cock as it grew harder while his balls tightened heralding his impending orgasm. Suddenly his whole body went stiff and he lost his rhythm inside of Arthur’s heat as he came all over Arthur’s lower back, whiteness slid down his crack. Merlin squeezed out every last drop as he felt Arthur groan gorgeously underneath him. He used his come as a lubricant and Merlin plunged two fingers in deep as he grabbed Arthur’s hip and pushed him to the side. Arthur flopped surprised as Merlin kept his fingers pumping in and out before the heat of his mouth took Arthur’s cock in as far as he was able at this angle. The next few moments were nothing but hands in Merlin’s hair, keening growls and Arthur’s come hitting the back of Merlin’s throat - the saltiness the perfect ending.

‘Well, fuck.’ Merlin managed to say a few moments later, before he moved himself away from the sleepy eyed sated blonde, who looked like he wasn’t going to move ever again from Merlin’s bed. Merlin felt a jolt as he realised he didn’t want Arthur to leave…. ‘I’ll go grab a cloth to clean us up with.’

His head spun in thoughts he didn’t want grounded, Merlin came back, a damp cloth in hand with a toothbrush hung from his mouth and another new one for Arthur when he stopped in surprise. Arthur held his soft overwashed sleep pants in his hand, cuddling them against his chest. His face was tinged pink but Merlin ignored all of it and cleaned Arthur up before the blonde went to brush his own teeth, and when he returned Arthur was wearing Merlin's pants (he couldn’t blame him - they were beyond comfortable and there was something indescribable about Arthur in his clothes).

‘Should I go?’ Arthur asked, uncertainty tainted his voice.

‘Don’t be a dolt,’ Merlin replied as he motioned for Arthur to climb into bed which he complied easily to. Merlin settled in next to the blonde, not quite touching as he wasn’t sure what this was going to be.

‘I'll have you know you're talking to your superior.’

Merlin scoffed and lay down he wanted to touch but was still unsure, oh fuck it - he pulled Arthur into a half cuddle, 'Superior what? Prat, Neanderthal, Pillock?’

'I could still have you fired you know’ Arthur responded with no bite as he relaxed against Merlin.

‘Yeah, but you won’t.’ Merlin retorted with a sleepy smile

‘True, well not tonight anyway.’ Arthur buried his head into Merlin's pillow but clasped Merlin's hand which had somehow snaked its way around the blonde's toned body. It took all of three seconds for Arthur’s breath to steady in sleep and about three hours for Merlin to fall asleep, mind spinning with thoughts and questions.

/*

Merlin woke slowly from the two minutes of sleep he was sure he managed to get, only to find the bed empty except for his own body. Why he thought this would be otherwise he didn’t know - maybe he hoped. Last night had been...indescribable.

He was about to get up when he noticed a certain smell, one coming from his bedside table.

‘Oh my God, Coffee…’ Merlin felt the cup - it was still warm, not hot but had been there about ten to fifteen minutes or so. If Arthur had stuck around he would have found out how appreciative Merlin could be for coffee in the morning. He also couldn’t believe Arthur had gone out of his way to make him a cup. His phone chirped and he hoped it was Arthur but saw the group chat light up.

LotsofLances69: How’s our princess this morning?

Perflexed: Yeah - and how did your love quandary go?

SirLeon: Yes @Warlocked87 how did it go?

Gwaineloves^$$: Not sure on @Warlocked87, but I had an early morning this morning

BigWilly88: Oh really @Gwaineloves^$$ why was that?

GwaineLoves^$$: Well @BigWilly88 while you lay in bed dreaming of our lady Morgana naked - I had to pick up my boss from a different location

LotsofLances69: Wow - very unlike the dragon I must say, he’s a stickler for routine

GwaineLoves^$$: And all I’ll say is that somebody looked thoroughly shagged this morning

Warlocked87: oh fuck off @GwaineLoves^$$

Merlin laughed and hid under the covers and wondered why he invited Will into their group chat then remembered his coffee - the coffee Arthur had made - what the hell was going on? How was he going to keep his heart out if it when coffee was involved.

Chapter Text

Merlin watched as Morgana looked through the slides spread out before her on the desk (teak he noticed - his desk obsession still ran rife). Her long fingers trailed across the page before her, tracing the image he had drawn, he couldn’t tell by the slant of her head what expression she wore, he hoped it was favourable. Morgana moved one to the side and started to do the same with the next picture.

‘Merlin, the grand opening will be a roaring success - you truly are an artist,’ her words were distracted and drawn out and Merlin felt a flush of pride.

‘Well three years at uni and a lifetime of dabbling hopefully has given me enough to be able to put a stick figure together.’

Morgana smiled a half smile, distracted. He could see why Will was smitten, she was beautiful, fierce, kind and still scary if he was honest with himself. But since dating Will (unofficially, they hadn’t labelled it, much to Wills chagrin and midnight phone calls after she’d left him for the evening) she had become much more approachable - if not friendly.

He was of course nervous about the Pendragon Corp grand unveiling of their new advertising campaign, Merlin had now started on his fourth lot of slides in preparation of it going live. He had worked tirelessly on it, and had an amazing team behind him to encourage and inspire to make something which could have been mediocre, into something to be proud of. Judging by Morgana's reaction, he was on the right track.

Merlin was so deep in his thoughts he didn’t quite hear what Morgana had asked and gave a small grunt of question instead (something about dinner maybe), his noise must have been taken as a yes if the dazzling smile was anything to go by.

‘Perfect - I knew he hadn’t asked you.’

Merlin tilted his head and was about to ask who hadn’t asked him what, when her desk phone started to ring. She held up a finger at his half attempt at asking, effectively shushing him - to her credit, Merlin actually did stay quiet. Maybe he could use this technique on Arthur.

Morgana placed a hand over the receiver and motioned she needed to take it, ‘see you and Arthur tonight at seven. Hi Alec, thanks for holding - I can have the contract drawn up and on your desk by four.’

He stood for a moment, trying to understand what Morgana had said, but if her arched eyebrow (as he was still in her office) was anything to go by then he would have to figure it out on his own. He smiled at her PA on the way out only managing at the last moment not to ask her if he could see Morgana’s diary to find out what seven and Arthur meant.

Seconds later he was in the lift, the panic it use to induce all but dissipated the more he’d had to use it - when it stopped two floors below Morgana’s. Merlin’s sharp inhale was audible in the small enclosed space as Arthur walked in, suit moulded to his muscular frame in the most mouth watering fashion. Merlin still couldn't believe he had been privy to the gloriousness which lay underneath it. A look of surprise crossed Arthur's features at finding him in the lift, which soon turned into a loose smirk - it did things to Merlin (things he was desperately trying not to feel).

Mer lin,’ he drawled.

‘Really? Do you need to draw it out each and every time,’ Merlin left a bit of bite in his words, he really did get annoyed at the way Arthur said his name.

‘Until you don’t react - then yes.’ Arthur said smugly then hit the ground floor button. ‘What are you doing in the service lift anyway?’

‘Because you insist on have glass death traps in the lobby,’ Merlin retorted and watched as comprehension from their night on the roof dawned on Arthur’s ridiculous face (ridiculous how it made Merlin’s heart race to a degree where he wasn’t sure if he should see a doctor).

‘Oh - true. It was on Father's insistence, thought it would make us cutting edge. I much prefer being able to pick my underwear out of my arse without an audience to be honest.’

The laugh which burst from Merlin even shocked him in it’s mirth. If you’d told Merlin two months earlier, he would be sharing a joke with Arthur Pendragon in a lift coming from the top floor of a high rise he would have scoffed (not to mention the unmentionable things he’d done to the blonde as well). He had an idea by Arthur’s side-eye glance he had made the joke to make Merlin feel more at ease about his phobia. This man…

Let's be honest Art hur, your arse deserves an audience.’

The flush which infused Arthur's face was sinful. It was as the lift almost arrived at Merlin’s floor he remembered Morgana’s cryptic message, ‘Oh - what is with seven, you and Morgana tonight?’

Arthur frowned for a moment before his eyes widened in comprehension, ‘Oh god, that’s tonight….’

Merlin watched in slight fascination as Arthur started to look nervous, what on earth was he about to say?

‘So, Morgana wants Us to come around for dinner.’

He left it at that, Merlin frowned in confusion, ‘so it’s work related?’

Arthur squinted then looked down at his watch, he was avoiding eye contact, Merlin wanted to laugh. This corporate dragon was dodging his question, it was mesmerising.

‘Uh - no, Oh look it’s your floor - so, basically Morgana is having a few people around and wanted Us there.’

‘Us?’

‘Will - he’ll be there…’

Merlin still had no idea what in hell was going on, but watching Arthur like this was pure joy. ‘OK then…’

Arthur let out a breath and Merlin grinned, entertained beyond anything else, ‘I’ll pick you up about 6.30, see you then.’

Merlin was all but pushed out the lift, and received a small awkward smile from Arthur before the doors shut. He stood in the hall for a moment and thought about the fact Arthur said “us” like it was capitalised and why he seemed more embarrassed about that than having Merlin’s tongue buried in his arse.

/*

They had been in the car for about ten minutes, Arthur silent and tense and Merlin so far hadn’t plucked up the courage to ask what was going on, but felt like he had to say something.

‘So the other night, that was fun,’ oh for fucks sake, don’t bring that up - you sound like Neil…

Arthur glanced his way a moment, before he let out a small sigh, ‘Yes, Mer lin, you could say it was.’

Merlin glared at the blonde and let out a disgruntled noise. ‘Seriously, you are such a cock, Pendragon.’

Arthur let out a full blown laugh and Merlin hated how his chest restricted in happiness at being able to make him react in that way. ‘You seem to like it enough.’

Heat pooled in Merlin’s gut at his words, ‘I definitely like it better than some parts - that’s for sure.’

Arthur smirked then went quiet as he changed gears and slowed down for traffic. He glanced at Merlin quickly then back to the road, ‘so...I mean - so, are we doing this then?’

For a moment Merlin almost blurted “what” but then realised what Arthur meant. He gave a side on look, heart racing. ‘Well, yes. I’m in if you are.’

There was no way he was not going to do an inappropriate boss with benefits scenario with Arthur. He just had to keep certain “feelings” locked away, but he could do it (the maniacal laugh returned).

‘Oh, ok, good. That’s great - unexpected, but not at all in a bad way…’

Merlin couldn’t help but let out a huff of laughter, ‘unexpected? As if I could turn you down.’

His heart stuttered at the soft look Arthur gave him in return, then the cocky grin which spread moments later. Hell, Merlin’s heart was in serious trouble. ‘Do we need ground rules?’ he asked instead.

Arthur drummed his fingers on the wheel for a moment, clearly thinking. ‘I guess just let the other know if you don’t like something. Probably nothing in front of the general staff, wouldn’t look good. But how about we do what we like when we like really, does that sound ok?’

He had an idea Arthur could hear the blood rushing through his body, because sure as shit he couldn’t hear anything else at that moment except white noise. The idea of being able to do what he wanted with Arthur (when he wanted) was a strangely addictive thought. He also understood why they couldn’t do anything in front of his co-workers, it would look bad if the boss was fucking an employee for fun.

‘Sounds perfect,’ Merlin replied, voiced strained as much as his pants were now. ‘But just to give you the heads up, the guys know.’

Arthur looked at Merlin like he should be wearing a dunce cap, ‘Well of course they do - they’re my guards.’

Merlin chuckled wryly, embarrassed and completely done, ‘of course…’

/*

It was about an hour into being at Morgana's modest (surprisingly) apartment, when Merlin began to notice it. At first he thought it was his imagination, there was no way what he thought was happening - was actually happening. Arthur's fingers brushed against the nape of Merlin's neck once again as he laughed at something Morgana had said and Merlin couldn't deny the obvious any longer. Arthur was touching him on purpose.

Small jolts of electricity danced down Merlin's neck and it took all his willpower not to shiver in want which Arthur noticed if his small side glance and smirk had anything to do with it, plus the extra small touch he lay below Merlin's ear. They had just finished the entree which Morgana had whipped up (gorgeous and a great cook) and Arthur had a glass of red wine in one hand and the other slung over the back of Merlin's chair. It was infuriatingly distracting and Merlin to be totally honest wouldn't change a thing.

When they first arrived, Arthur had his hand placed on the small of Merlin's back, almost as if to guide him into the room, this Merlin could explain. When he held Merlin's elbow while he showed him Morgana's wine selection then squeezed slightly and trailed his hand down towards Merlin's wrist, he could explain that too. But when Arthur pulled his seat closer to Merlin and squeezed his knee under the table in a gesture that clearly meant more than just helping him sit, Merlin couldn't explain - nor every other small motion, touch or look thereafter. Arthur was being the most attentive person Merlin had ever been around.

The only way to explain what was happening was that Arthur felt comfortable in the presence of his step sister, his family. Merlin could understand that and maybe since he didn't know Arthur all that well (though he was hoping to change that) maybe this level of touching was how Arthur treated all his friends and lovers.

‘Arthur, help me with dishing up,’ Morgana sang from the kitchen. As he stood, he grasped Merlin's shoulder quickly and squeezed before he walked out, leaving him alone with Will.

‘Finally mate, it took you long enough.’ Will teased.

Merlin frowned, ‘what do you mean?’

‘You and Arthur.’

‘Huh?’

‘Really? You’re actually dodging me like I'm stupid?’ Will pressed.

Merlin looked towards the kitchen where he heard Arthur and Morgana laugh, it was good to hear, ‘oh you mean this whole friends with benefits business…’

Will raised an eyebrow, ‘so that’s what this is? You're fucking the arse off Pendragon for fun….but, I thought…’

‘Thought what?’ Merlin asked, distracted as Will trailed off and he saw a flash of blonde hair. He now knew first hand how soft it was.

‘You know what - nothing, it's all good,’ Will glanced at the kitchen and caught Morgana's eye who smiled brightly in return before she almost dropped her plate and giggled when Arthur teased her.

‘You seem happy,’ Merlin smiled at his oldest friend.

‘I am - strangely enough.’

‘So what about Christmas? And Cassie? Its coming up quickly.’

Will seemed to deflate somewhat at Merlin's words. ‘Yeah she's still coming,’ he plastered on a fake grin, ‘can't wait…’

‘Will, you can stop bullshitting me any time - seriously though, why are you so down about it? I thought you were excited?’

‘I don't know - I am, I mean she's my long lost sister so of course but, just - you know. The usual…’

‘Yeah, I know,’ Merlin patted him on the shoulder, knowing he felt self doubt but not wanting to verbalise it incase it made matters worse. ‘Look, I'll cook a roast, make a pudding from scratch and do a super alcoholic eggnog jug - Cassie will never want to leave.’

‘Hey, I want her to like me - not you!’

‘But I'd be a much better brother…’

‘Screw you.’

Merlin laughed then watched as Arthur and Morgana came into the dining room with something which smelt delectable. He was surprised when it hit him a moment later - he was content, this felt right - here with his best friend, Morgana and his… Arthur. He tried desperately not to want more from the blonde than he was willing to give but it was hard - maybe even harder now they made a decision to dip their toes into the sex pool.

The night continued with laughter about shared childhoods, the differences between them miniscule even though the Pendragons had vastly more money and influence than Will and Merlin. It seemed kids everywhere played the same pranks and rebelled at the same rules, and the whole time they drank wine and told stories, Arthur was a constant presence beside Merlin.

Morgana managed to get everyone on the couch to play a game of Scrabble, and for the first time in history Merlin didn't do very well (he was a wordsmith and generally had obscure words ready to go). This most likely was due to the fact Arthur's thigh was pressed up against his and the ease at which he leant into Merlin's space and the tangling of their hands between go’s had Merlin on edge the whole time. He’d started to have the errant thought Arthur was touch starved and now Merlin had said yes to anything (though Arthur did say if they didn't like something to tell the other) he was in no way going to say no to this. If Arthur needed Merlin in this capacity then he would ignore the screaming part of his self preservation and his heart to give it to the blonde. He was significantly worried he was giving too much - but what Arthur didn't know wouldn't hurt.

'Are you excited about the presentation next week?’ Morgana asked as she poured more wine into Merlin's glass, Arthur had a cup of tea since he was driving.

‘Well it's not like I have to make a speech in front of the whole company and guests.’ Merlin stated.

Morgana and Arthur shared a look, ‘Umm..’ Morgana hummed and Merlin knew his face blanched.

‘No, no way - I am not - I can't - oh God…’

Arthur started to laugh so Merlin smacked his arm, which earned him a breathtaking grin, ‘this is not funny!’

‘Oh, but it is.’ Arthur replied gleefully.

Panic threatened, ‘I can't talk to hundreds of people - I'm inept. I'll say fuck or something.’

‘We’re playing with you, Merlin - you don't have to say anything, just be there to talk to the stakeholders that's all - do you own a tux?’ Morgana spoke, taking pity on him.

At Merlin's blank look Arthur sighed, ‘we'll sort something out…’

Merlin's brain had stopped at the word tux and thinking of Arthur in one - whoa .

Arthur peered at his Scrabble tiles intently before laying a word down over a triple word score.

‘That is not a word.’ Morgana protested.

‘Yes it is - trooze! I can't fathom you of all people don't know it.’

'I don't believe you - it's not a word.’

‘Look it up! I'm not lying.’ Arthur declared.

'No, we always had a rule if the others had never heard it, you can't play it.’ Morgana smirked, looking eerily like Arthur.

‘Back me up Merlin,’ the blonde pleaded.

‘Ha, you are on your own, pay back for making me sweat before.’

Arthur's eyes twinkled, ‘you'll regret this.’

‘Oh God, close your ears Morgana - he's going to withhold cock.’

‘Will!’ Morgana laughed as Merlin's face went beet red, he really was going to fucking kill Will.

‘How about I use it in a sentence then?’ Arthur asked.

‘Well you can, but it's still not a word.’ Morgana, Merlin realised, was not going to let it go easily.

‘I'm telling you it is - right - “Merlin would look resplendish in a pair of trooz”….’

‘Is it silk panties?’ Will asked innocently as Merlin choked while Arthur's gave him a sharp and extremely interested look - what the fuck?

‘No, unfortunately it's not, but yes Merlin would look scrumptious in those as well.’

By this stage Merlin could hardly swallow or give anyone eye contact he was so embarrassed and turned on by Arthur's gaze.

Suddenly Will burst out laughing and held his phone up to the group. ‘I know it's cheating, but I had to know.’

Merlin groaned as he saw a man wearing tight short tartan trousers.

‘See - I told you, trooz - short pants,’ Arthur looked proud as punch at his declaration.

‘And this is why I hate playing with you,’ Morgana laughed, no real bite in her words.

‘Right, let's play dirty Scrabble next,’ Will declared, ‘you can only play swear or sexual words.’

Merlin took another swig of wine - the night was only going to get embarrassingly messy.

/*

Merlin to his surprise (and joy) received the most mind altering blow job in the car park of his apartment building after dinner. He left the car on shaky legs, slack jawed with a red lipped Arthur smirking at him as he wiped excess saliva from his mouth onto the back of his hand. This man was beyond hot and somehow deadly too .

Merlin crawled under his covers still trying to comprehend the evening and Arthur's touches when his phone vibrated.

Spiderprat: movies tomorrow night? New Marvel movie is out…

Merlin: I don't like superhero movies - I just like the underwear they produce

Spiderprat: if you come with me I'll let you put your hands down my brand new Thor underwear for the whole movie

Merlin: done ;)

He couldn't believe the thought of just touching Arthur in public had gotten him hard again, not that he was actually thinking of taking Arthur up on his suggestion - or was he ?

Spiderprat: ok, seriously though…. you do like Marvel don't you…??

Merlin laughed and decided to let Arthur hang for a bit. He couldn't help think though as he looked at Gwaine and Neil's latest Instagram pic (Neil was cooking pie and Gwaine had written - “marry me” across the screen) - Arthur asking him to the movies felt a hell of a lot like a date.

Spiderprat: Merlin..? Don't ignore me - I need to know!!!

Chapter Text

Merlin was in both heaven and hell, heaven - as Arthur had just grabbed his hand and slid it into brand new Thor underpants, and hell because he couldn't do more than touch with said hand, he needed so much more - but they were in a bloody movie theatre.

He was never one for voyeuristic pursuits, but somehow the screening they were in only had a handful of hardcore fans whose eyes were glued to the screen before them, and not looking back at the flustered man and his almost whimpering companion in the back row.

Merlin placed the popcorn on the empty seat beside him (because spilling it would be blasphemy) so as to give Arthur the full attention he deserved. Arthur slid down in his seat a little - eyes on the screen, though Merlin could see the flush of his cheeks and the slightly glazed look he currently tried to hide.

As Merlin's fingers wrapped around Arthur's hardness, the blonde bit his bottom lip and Merlin had to forcibly restrain himself not to lean over and capture them with his own. The whole not being able to devour Arthur in every sense was killing him, maybe he could ask again, but Arthur was so adamant he didn't want Merlin's kisses and he’d not tried since that night - so in Merlin’s mind that equated as Arthur still not wanting them. He squashed the disappointment this revelation garnered and hoped like hell one day he'd get to press against the pink plump lips that haunted his waking dreams.

Arthur let out a small groan when Merlin began to pump his hand in slow steady beats - and tensed up as his pleasure began to build. Merlin would never get sick of this - how could he?

An epic fight scene burst onto the screen and as much as Merlin wanted to watch (because Marvel) he had something he wanted to do more and that meant he had to take his eyes off the screen.

He quickly looked over the crowd just to make sure no one glanced their way, then he lifted the arm up of the chair next to him, moved the popcorn across again and slid over so he could bend and capture Arthur's glorious cock in his hot wet mouth.

Arthur almost jumped out of his seat and Merlin felt the groan rumble through his body, thankful the fight scene was loud enough to cover what Merlin thought was a loud curse and subsequent moan. He craved to hear it unfettered.

Using pressure, tongue and saliva, Merlin jerked Arthur to within an inch of coming - impressive purely because of the awkward position he was in. Arthur's fingers knotted in Merlin's hair and the slight push as he lost control and ran his nails over Merlin's scalp had Merlin keening for release of his own.

Merlin took as much of Arthur as possible into his mouth without gagging and hit the sweet spot when Arthur tensed and came with a muffled bellow, thick saltiness coating the inside of his mouth. Merlin grinned and swallowed at the same time, gobsmacked at being able to touch freely and make Arthur forget his bad days, he was no longer as needy after a fight with Uther - and Merlin couldn’t help but realise he was the definitive factor in that. He let go of Arthur’s cock with what he knew would've been an obscene pop then leant back in his seat with a shit-eating grin on his face. Arthur boneless and pliant next to him gazed at Merlin, there was something unreadable in his eyes but due to the darkness Merlin couldn't quite figure out what. He stared levelly back and kept eye contact as he wiped a tiny bit of missed come from the corner of his mouth and licked it from his finger. Arthur's eyes fluttered shut for a moment before he flew forward and grabbed Merlin in a tight hug then leant in to kiss his neck softly. Merlin melted.

Even with the missed scene, Merlin caught up and watched the rest of the movie enraptured, not by the story line but of their fingers tangled together on Merlin's lap. He was officially in strife.

/*

Gwaineloves^$$ : let's get smashed

SirLeon: you do realise we are going to our boss's place?

Gwaineloves^$$ : no - we are going to our mates boyfriends place, there's a difference

SirLeon : I actually don't think there is…

LotsOfLances69: well, we are watching the game so alcohol will be consumed

Perflexed: shots shots shots

Gwaineloves^$$: and there he is!! Yes @Perflexed - you are speaking my language

Warlocked87: what? the language of bullshitting

Gwaineloves^$$: #merlinyouareacallousmannowyouredatingspiderprat

Warlocked87: for the 10000000000 time we are not…..

SirLeon: you can stop lying @Warlocked87 we are happy for you! Gwaineloves^$$ seriously - enough, banning you doesn't work does it?

Gwaineloves^$$ : you can't keep a good man down - ask Neil ;)

Perflexed: TMI

Gwaineloves^$$: like the man said - Ten Massive Inches

SirLeon: banned…. Again….

Merlin put his phone down and smiled but his chest was also tight - the guys seriously thought Arthur and he were dating. Merlin knew he said he'd be happy with whatever Arthur could give, but the more the blonde let his guard down, the more Merlin realised he was the most remarkable person he'd ever encountered - and now he wanted more.

Pushing aside those thoughts (which he was getting really good at) he couldn't believe Arthur had invited everyone to his place to watch the game that evening. It was going to be hectic, loud and boisterous but Merlin was proud that Arthur had stepped out of his comfort zone and instigated a gathering. He knew Arthur found it hard to let his guard down - to be himself, even Merlin hadn't been privy to that completely (though he was starting to believe he was close). When they spent that fateful evening on the roof, Arthur quite emphatically said he couldn't be friends with the people who worked for him, but here he was trying. What had changed?

Merlin had never been to Arthur's apartment before and wasn’t sure if he was looking forward to seeing the space he resided in, or slightly terrified at the same time. He then had the predicament of whether he was staying the night (if he was honest he knew he would be - but he didn’t like to presume). Merlin chucked his toothbrush and a change of underwear into his satchel and realised how boring his selection was and decided he needed to go shopping at some stage. The thought of silk panties came first and foremost in his mind - fucking Will.

/*

Merlin walked past the friendly doorman, collar of his jacket up against the cold evening air and almost laughed when the man tipped his hat towards him (he really wasn’t worthy of a hat-tip). Of course Arthur Pendragon had a bloody doorman (he probably had someone to bathe him to keep the Royal penis clean as well - his gut twisted at the thought, that was his job). Merlin gaped as he strode into the warmth of the foyer, one which put the Victoria and Albert museum to shame.

All Merlin had out the front of his place was a gnome aptly named Gnomey who Gwen painted pink nails and earrings on to liven up the haggard look of a coal miner, and a half dead shrub which at Christmas got a makeover with fairy lights - his foyer was a doormat which read - “you shall not pass” with Gandalf the Grey on one side. Merlin tried and failed miserably not to gape at the opulence, his heart sank knowing it would only get worse - especially when he saw a distinguished grandfatherly man working the lift - it was as if he stepped back in time to the forties and he was shopping at Macy's.

‘Where to Sir?’

'Uh…’

‘Merlin, buddy - thank God you didn't freeze to death getting here!’ Gwaine and Neil had popped up behind him, faces pink from the chill - he hadn't even noticed them, he was too busy gawping at his surrounds (trying desperately not to feel inadequate) thank goodness he wore his good Converse.

‘It's not that cold yet, snows at least a few weeks off,’ Merlin replied as the lift man waited patiently (what was the appropriate name to call him?).

‘Evening, Kenneth,’ Gwaine beamed, ‘this is Neil - my boyfriend.’

Kenneth's face broke into a wide grin, ‘nice to finally meet you, young Gwaine here has spoken non-stop about you.’

Merlin watched as Neil's face blushed red and he adjusted his glasses then took off his ear muffs looking pleased as punch, ‘nice to meet you too, Kenneth.’

‘Oh, and this is Merlin,’ Gwaine started and Merlin swore to god if he introduced him as Arthur's beau he would smack him.

To Merlin's surprise Kenneth only stared at him for a moment before giving him a knowing look, ‘well I thought you just might be.’

They climbed into the lift and Merlin couldn't decide what Kenneth meant, but he listened as Gwaine and he spoke the whole way up, realising that as one of Arthur's many guards he of course would know all the people who worked in Arthur's building.

‘I'm hoping for a true white Christmas this year,’ Neil chatted to Merlin, ‘I've got my extended family from Australia visiting and I've already started baking, I want to give them the whole experience.’

Merlin laughed, ‘they will probably freeze, I had a friend who spent Christmas in Australia, it was over 43 degrees Celsius and they had cold meat and salad for Christmas lunch in a swimming pool, got so burnt he couldn't lie down for a week.’

Neil looked aghast, ‘cold meat and salad, no sirree - I do the whole trimmings - Gwaine won't be able to move for a week.’

‘Is that so?’ Gwaine interrupted and followed up his suggestive sentence with a overtly exaggerated wink.

‘Oh gosh, you know I meant because you'll eat too much!’

‘Is that so?’ he asked with even more suggestion then laughed at Neil's beet-red face. Merlin watched it all with a fondness in his heart, these two were adorable. He refused to feel jealous, but couldn’t stop the pang - Arthur though touchable, still felt unobtainable on some level.

Merlin knew Arthur lived in the penthouse, knew it was on the top of the building, thankfully not as tall as Pendragon Corp but it was still at a height Merlin hoped wasn't all pure glass, although he noticed the fear he used to hold close no longer had him in its grasp every time he scaled heights. Sure, he had small rumblings of panic, but nothing close to how he reacted when he and Arthur were stuck up on the roof. Merlin went a little soft at the memory ingrained in his mind, Arthur holding him was when he first started to realise there was more than met the eye with the blonde.

Before he could allow his thoughts to linger any more, they were up and in Arthur's foyer with Leon to greet them before they were shepherded into a huge open plan sunken lounge area. Merlin soon realised that Arthur's living space was as big as three of Merlin's units and he froze.

What in hell was Arthur doing with him? Merlin couldn’t compete with someone in Arthur's league, this was fucking ridiculous. He felt his breath come in short bursts and his entire being grew uncomfortably warm and just as he was about to flee in the hope no one would notice, strong steady arms pulled him against bodily warmth while soft lips pressed quickly to his hairline.

‘Arthur,’ Merlin managed to get out, feeling better already. Danger Will Robinson, danger...

‘You ok?’ the concern in Arthur's voice was real so Merlin leaned into him more, just for a moment.

‘Yep fine, just, you know - the height thing..’ and the money thing and the kissing thing and just generally the Arthur thing...

‘I thought as much, so I've closed the shutters on the side the TV is on so you can't see out, but just stay clear of the far side of the dining room, it's a view straight down to the city, no blinds on that side - sorry.’ he squeezed Merlin's hip before he released him to go sort out Gwaine's bag of alcohol and Neil's platter of homemade biscuits (sticky date maybe?).

Merlin didn't move, because it was in that moment he realised Arthur had actually thought about his fear and managed to find a way to assuage it without making Merlin feel like a needy freak. It was also the moment Merlin realised he was utterly and most helplessly in love with one Arthur Pendragon.

/*

The evening went downhill quick, Merlin should have called it a night when Gwaine did a body shot off a red faced Neil’s stomach (he was built like an athlete to Merlin's surprise). Percy lamented his teams loss and the subsequent failing of his fantasy league by drinking a half bottle of Gin, while Leon and Lance had a debate over the new security measures in place at Pendragon Corp and Arthur was adorably tired after a few beers, face-planted on the couch his fingers twisted in Merlin’s belt loop as he tried to have a serious (albeit drunkish) conversation with Neil about how to bake a blueberry pie from scratch.

Merlin to his credit had drank only a little bit, as his horrendously timed revelation of feelings had left him more than a little raw and vulnerable. He needed to get his head back in the game - he couldn’t let anything slip - if Arthur knew, he would surely stop this thing they had going immediately. Merlin was generally obtuse and a little oblivious, but he knew Arthur had some form of fondness for him - else he wouldn’t have agreed to this “benefits” thing they had going. You don’t fuck around with somebody the way he and Arthur did without some type of affection. But what exactly was it that Arthur felt and was Merlin projecting his own feelings on the blonde?

Before he knew it everyone had gone, which left Arthur and he alone in the mammoth lounge, the blonde curled up against Merlin, sleepy and gorgeous. He could get used to this.

Arthur beckoned him closer and Merlin huffed a laugh, he was practically on top of him already. Hot lips found his neck and Merlin cursed as his cock came to attention within a second of the contact. It soon became a blur of rubbing, groaning and nakedness.

‘Gods, Merlin you feel so fucking good,’ Arthur mouthed into his neck as his hand fisted Merlin’s cock which made him shudder and twitch. ‘Want you so bad, always have - you’re gorgeous.’

Before Merlin could fathom the words that fell from Arthur’s lust addled mouth he was yanked from the lounge and dragged through a hall (as wide as a bus) and into Arthur’s bedroom where he was unceremoniously thrown on the bed. He let a laugh escape as Arthur launched himself, then landed on-top of Merlin's half nakedness. Arthur ground against him, cocks aligned which sent shivers through his body so he grasped both in hand and stroked them together.

‘Lube - you have any?’

Arthur stilled for a moment and looked down into Merlin’s eyes before he leant over to his bedside cabinet to grab the familiar lube bottle from the Skype session - the thought of it sent a spark of arousal through Merlin.

‘Merlin?’

‘Arthur?’ Merlin replied when Arthur didn’t continue.

‘Can I ride you? I want you to fuck up into me while I watch your face...’

Merlin bit his tongue and stopped breathing for a good ten seconds as Arthur watched him with obvious hunger in his eyes. ‘Uh - sure, ‘ is all he managed - because Merlin was about to come untouched just at Arthur’s words. Then he murmured something which might actually turn him inside out, ‘do you want me to prepare you…?’

Arthur visibly shook at Merlin’s hushed words and nodded, and watched Merlin reverently like he held all of Arthur in the palm of his hand. He felt like he did.

The lube was cold and Merlin warmed it as best he could but Arthur still hissed as he touched him for the first time. He ran his index finger in soft circles, testing the tightness before he put more pressure on the tight ring of muscle. Merlin couldn’t even begin to image how pushing his dick into Arthur’s warmth was going to feel - he had an idea it might just break him.

Arthur was knelt over Merlin, legs spread wide, his cock bobbed and slapped ever so lightly against Merlin’s stomach. Merlin was enraptured, looking up into blue eyes crinkled in pleasure and lust. As Merlin pushed inside he wriggled his finger, Arthur keened and clenched tight as he threw his head back and moved his hips in a rhythm Merlin couldn’t hear.

‘Arthur…babe?’ Arthur's eyes snapped to his and Merlin’s face bloomed in heat and mortification, 'uh...I mean, did you have condoms?’

'That's the second time you've called me that, Mer lin…’

'Um - sorry?’ Merlin tried and slid his finger up to the knuckle to distract Arthur - it worked until the blonde fell flush onto him; lips against his ear.

'I like it when you call me that - and I do have some somewhere - probably out of date, I’ve been tested recently and clear, if you trust me?’

‘Me too and ditto,’ Merlin replied as a second finger nudged in next to the first. He was too embarrassed to admit he'd been tested two years previously and hadn't slept with anyone since.

‘Thank fuck, I want to feel your skin inside of me.’

Merlin bucked upwards clearly shocking Arthur with the force because Merlin had to grasp the base of his cock with one hand else he really was about to come. God damn he was too sensitive tonight - in more ways than one.

He spent the next ten minutes teasing Arthur open until they were both panting and drenched in sweat. Arthur glorious in his arousal so much so Merlin had whispered babe no less than twenty times, mesmerised by Arthur's reaction each and every time to the soft words.

'I need you - now, if you don't fuck me like yesterday…I swear I'll...’

‘What?’ Merlin huffed a laugh at Arthur's bossy bottom persona.

‘I'll give Will a job, next to you.’

As far as threats went, Arthur was on point. Merlin pulled his fingers out and aligned the bluntness of his cock against Arthur's loosened hole as he moaned and wriggled down, ‘babe you need to wait - I don't want to hurt you.’

The last thing in the world Merlin wanted to do was take it slow, he wanted to slam himself into Arthur to the hilt and fuck him hard, quick and messy, but by the tightness of Arthur it had been a while for them both so here he was, sweaty with the struggle it took not to bury himself balls deep in one thrust.

Finally he was ready to move, Arthur's heat engulfed him, sliding, wet and absolutely breathtaking. Fuck Merlin loved this arrogant yet soft man.

Arthur was now fully seated, sweat glistened on his chest, eyes closed in rapture as his body adjusted to having Merlin inside of it. Merlin twitched making Arthur smirk, he couldn't help it, the feeling was indescribable. Then Arthur moved, and Merlin was suddenly a bundle of nerve endings, short circuiting as warmth, pressure and slickness became his world.

Arthur rode him with more intensity than when he chaired a meeting, he kept a steady pace, which made it build with each movement until Merlin all but exploded. He tensed up beneath Arthur and grasped the bobbing cock before him to jerk the blonde. Moments later stripes of white covered his chest as Arthur came clenched hard around Merlin who also came with a bellow, seeing white behind his eyes.

Arthur slumped over and managed to sit up minutely until they were almost face to face. Merlin leant forward by pure instinct before he realised what he was about to do and averted his kiss to hit a surprised Arthur's cheek. The blonde wore a confused frown when Merlin leant back which disappeared as quick as it had appeared that Merlin was unsure if he saw it at all. Had he done something wrong?

Arthur gingerly climbed off Merlin on shaky legs and Merlin heard the taps in the bathroom run before he came back minutes later with a cloth to clean him up. Merlin found he couldn't stop his yawn. But he started to get up as he still had a long way in the cold to go home.

It was while he slid to the end of the bed and picked up his jeans, Arthur's single almost-plea stopped him in his tracks.

‘Stay.’

Merlin just looked back owlishly while his brain tried to function the one word Arthur had uttered. He wanted Merlin, here in his bed…overnight. He nodded and the smile which was returned was brilliant in its entirety.

‘Be back in a minute, just packing up the house,’ Arthur half whispered and Merlin murmured an affirmative response back.

Arthur returned soon after and crawled into bed, and pulled Merlin tight against him, and as Merlin drifted off to sleep he swore he felt fingers card through his hair softly.



Chapter Text

‘Oh Merlin, you're going to make me cry,’ Gwen sighed as she adjusted his tuxedo jacket.

‘Surely I don't look that bad!’ he teased which made Gwen hit his arm as tears brimmed, ‘oh God, you're serious.’

‘Well of course.’

‘You can't exclaim I'm growing up too quick - we met as adults.’

'I beg to differ - only one of us was.’ Gwen laughed as she dabbed the wetness from under her eyes with a well used tissue. Merlin grinned, ultimately touched by her love for him and pulled her in for a hug.

‘Hey back off, you'll ruin my dress and makeup.’

'I think you sobbing like a little bitch is doing that,’ Merlin deadpanned.

‘You sir, are an arsehole,’

‘The one and only, aside from Will obviously.’

'Obviously.’ Gwen responded.

‘I'm glad you're coming tonight,’ Merlin admitted as he attempted to pull her into a side hug this time - Gwen allowed it and squeezed him back.

‘Wouldn't miss it for the world - it's your first Gala, your first tux, Morgana has a great eye for a fit by the way. It's also your first display of work for a major company and the first time you'll tell a boy how you really feel.’

'Gwen,’ Merlin warned.

‘Worth a shot, but Merlin you really should talk to him, I mean really talk.’

Merlin hummed noncommittally. Things had been going perfectly, except every time they had sex Merlin had to bite back certain words that wanted to escape then avert his lips each time his subconscious took over and craved a kiss - which was constantly. Merlin spent more energy thinking about the things he couldn't do than on the ones he could, but wasn't that what being an adult was all about?

‘What time is Lance picking us up?’ he replied instead, Gwen thankfully took the hint and sighed.

‘Any minute now - and did I ever tell you thanks?’

‘For what?’

‘For groping Arthur's junk and being a drunk fool,’ Gwen smiled up at Merlin her brown eyes sparkled in happiness.

Merlin raised his eyebrow in question and Gwen continued, ‘if you hadn't groped him that first day, you never would have gotten smashed that night with Will and I, and in turn never stalked the guards on social media - you’re the reason Lance and I are ridiculously in love. The best wingman on the planet.’

Merlin grinned in what he knew was a cocky fashion, ‘obviously it was my ulterior plan the whole time, Gwenibear.’

Gwen just hummed in disbelief, and started when there was a sharp rap on the door.

‘Must be Lance - Arthur is meeting you there isn’t he?’ she asked and headed for the door.

Merlin adjusted his glasses, checked himself one last time in the mirror (he actually looked smashing - eat your heart out Kingsman) and nodded. ‘Yep, it's not like we're dating and he’s going to turn up with a corsage and a limo to make me want to sleep with him after the ball.’

Gwen laughed as she opened the door and Merlin looked up at her small gasp. Arthur freaking Pendragon stood on Merlin's doorstop in a tuxedo, looking every inch the man Merlin wanted to spend the rest of his life with - he was screwed, utterly helplessly screwed.

'Arthur!’ Gwen exclaimed in surprise and leant up to give him a kiss on the cheek, Arthur's eyes hadn't left Merlin yet but at her kiss he flicked his gaze sideways at her for a moment before they snapped back to Merlin. Merlin felt like he was being undressed in company, the intensity of Arthur's blue stare had Merlin wanting to drag him into the bedroom and shuck their ridiculously priced suits and spend the rest of the night naked and sweaty.

Instead he pushed his glasses back up his nose and gave a small awkward wave, what in hell could he say?

‘Are you both ready? Lance has the limo parked in the alley, waiting.’

Merlin gave a small laugh, ‘well we'd best go, if he parks it there too long the wheels might go missing.’

Arthur smiled and helped Gwen through the door as she walked out to the limo, he caught Merlin before he could usher the blonde out, giving him a surprisingly soft kiss on the cheek, Merlin couldn't help the twitch to move his face slightly and capture Arthur's lips, he refrained - just.

‘You, Merlin are fucking beautiful.’

Merlin stood shocked and had nothing to say in return except, 'I want you to fuck me tonight.’ Not exactly a sonnet or even appropriate but Merlin had always been a blurter. Arthur stilled then leaned back, his eyes roamed over Merlin's face, and lingered in some places.

‘How are you even real?’

‘Honestly, half the time I wonder how I've made it this far - and yeah sorry…I kind of blurted that out.’

Arthur grinned fondly at him, ‘blurt away, especially when you're giving me delicious visuals and something to look forward to after the pomp and circumstance is over.’

‘Hey that pomp is all about me tonight, be respectful,’ Merlin teased as he locked the door and walked to the limo next to Arthur, the feeling of rightness square in his shoulders. He pushed back the knowledge they were not actually dating and decided that just for a bit he could pretend. Arthur for some reason made it easy.

‘Well Mr important, I may just fuck you in the back of the limousine later as I'm so starstruck.’

Merlin tripped over his feet and Arthur's laugh followed him to the car.

/*

True to Morganas words he didn’t have to make a speech (thankfully, he really was inept in social situations) yet he was accosted by more people than he could imagine, all impressed or gushing about his artwork. Faye from payroll was more than three sheets to the wind and had propositioned Merlin more times than he could count, he wasn't offended in the least, Faye did it sober too.

Merlin had made his way to the edge of the room, he was hidden from the crowd a little and he could finally breathe easy then spend time to people watch, one of his favourite things to do. Gwen and Lance were on the dance-floor and Merlin laughed quietly when he saw them doing a slow-motion chicken dance, glowing in happiness - they really were a perfect couple.

Percy had taken over guard duty from Lance and stood solidly on another wall watching the proceedings like a hawk, and doing a wonderful job of ignoring Faye politely. Leon also was on the clock and seemed to be sticking close to Merlin, which was odd - but they had started a game, only talking in 80s song lyrics as they passed the other. Then there was Gwaine and Neil also both on the clock, Neil for IT support for the presentation and Gwaine to guard his hot boyfriend from unscrupulous drunk men in suits.

'Take on me,’ Leon whispered as he did a round.

‘Hit me with your best shot,’ Merlin retorted.

Arthur had disappeared soon after they arrived, citing “shit he had to do to make Uther happy”, so Merlin had more time than he'd like to think about things. Gwen was right, he would have to say something - he had been keeping his head in the sand too long, but what if he spoke up and Arthur left? Could he actually say goodbye to the blonde, now that he had edged his way under Merlin’s skin so deep he wasn’t sure anyone else would even come close to the pure magnetism that was Arthur Pendragon.

‘When will I be famous?’ Leon lamented as he stood directly next to Merlin, eyes roaming over the crowd, which broke Merlin from his spiralling thoughts.

‘Don’t stop believin’…’ Merlin encouraged with a grin.

‘Should I stay or should I go?’

‘This could be the night.’

‘I’m holding out for a hero,’ Leon tried hard to make it look like he was working, but his lip kept sliding up into a smirk.

‘You can’t hurry love,’ Merlin responded before he felt a presence at his elbow.

‘Never gonna give you up.’ Merlin laughed loudly as Arthur somehow managed to surprise both Leon and he with his offering.

‘Did you just Rick-roll us?’

By Arthur’s pleased smirk, he clearly had which made Merlin grin - the blonde was full of surprises. Merlin’s heart swelled as he gazed at Arthur in a tuxedo - gorgeous was such a tame word to describe him. Merlin knew by the appreciating glances he’d been on the receiving end of that he scrubbed up ok as well as Arthur’s gaze kept coming back to Merlin and his glasses.

Leon moved on, but not before he sang at them, ‘all night long…’

Merlin flushed red, still not used to people knowing he and Arthur were doing the dirty. Arthur’s hand made it to the small of Merlin’s back and he was glad they were on the cusp of the crowd - what if somebody saw? He took a small step away and felt Arthur glance his way then drop his arm. Did he look hurt? He couldn’t be, Merlin was protecting him, if Uther found out - he shivered.

‘How’s the shit for Uther going?’ Merlin asked to break the now slightly uncomfortable silence.

Arthur started a little, clearly lost in thought then looked at Merlin, eyes inscrutable, ‘it’s done, well the schmoozing part of it anyway - I have spoken to all directors and board members so have some free time now. Oh Uther also told me he’s off to New York for the next three weeks.’

Merlin hummed then realised why this might bother Arthur, ‘that means he’s gone for Christmas?’

‘Yep,’ Arthur then leaned in, careful not to touch Merlin, which now because it was being withheld he craved more than ever. ‘Can I fuck you in the limo now?’

Merlin felt his stomach clench in desire, he could only nod which made Arthur smirk as he turned and walked towards the side doors. Merlin couldn’t move for a moment, worried he was hard and everyone knew that Arthur was about to rip his tuxedo off and own him in a way Merlin craved.

‘Well fuck,’ he managed to whisper then tried not to look like he was about to run after the blonde. He managed to walk steadily from the ballroom, from the dancing and from all the finery to follow the only man who made his world spin.

/*

Arthur was two fingers deep into a sweat soaked and keening Merlin who was sprawled on his knees in the back of the limo. His bare chest flush against the leather seat as Arthur's relentless movements had Merlin unable to make a coherent thought except, need, Arthur, fuck and love.

‘Another?’ Arthur husked into Merlin’s ear as he leaned over, bare chest against Merlin’s nakedness. The sensation heady and perfect.

‘God’s yes - I want...I…’

‘I’ve got you,’ Arthur replied, unintentionally using the very words Merlin needed to hear in that moment - unofficially the words they had whispered to the other on many occasions. Merlin wondered if they meant the same to Arthur as he spoke them as when Merlin murmured them.

A third finger joined the others in Merlin's tightness and the burn never felt so good, so wonderful, he was full - full of Arthur. The musk, the softly spoken words and the maleness that was Arthur filled the space in the limo, making Merlin drown in want. Arthur leant forward and left trails of kisses against Merlin’s back, as he whispered words of encouragement. Merlin was done.

‘Now - I need you now,’

Arthur growled and before Merlin knew it, a cock nudged against his hole and the extra burn as Arthur ever so slowly slid in to open him up in a stretch that was just on the side of uncomfortable. Once Arthur was fully seated, he waited, something Merlin didn't know how to articulate thanks for (as Arthur was filling him up gloriously and he couldn't think). He clearly felt Merlin's need to adjust to having something larger than just fingers inside of him.

Merlin breathed steadily in and out and waited for a moment - relishing Arthur's nips and kisses across his shoulders as he waited for Merlin.

Merlin wriggled ever so minutely in permission to go and Arthur didn’t waste any time. He slid almost all the way out before slamming back in which made Merlin see stars and let out an embarrassingly loud grunt as he held onto the seat before him. It was pure, it was perfect. If Arthur was relentless when he teased he was exactly the same when fucking. He kept up a brutal pace which had Merlin gasping for more, sweat slick between their bodies while Merlin spread his legs a little further apart and slanted his hips up and then Arthur hit the spot which made Merlin bellow out and see white. The pressure, the sensation the feelings which welled up was too much and Merlin took himself in hand and after two jerks he came while he heard Arthur's shortened breath above him. His arse clenched around Arthur which made the blonde gasp and shudder as he pulled against Merlin's hips and kept pounding.

‘Oh fuck, Merlin - you’re perfect, feel so fucking good - never going to stop…’

Merlin felt his insides swell at the blonde’s lust addled words all while he still pumped furiously into Merlin as he came closer and closer to his own end. Moments of sensation later, Arthur came with a shout and tensed inside of Merlin who could feel the heat of his release, he really didn't know how he could live without this now, he was so very, very screwed.

Arthur held onto Merlin, arm wrapped around him as his breathing returned to normal, his spent cock slowly lost its firmness before Arthur drew out - Merlin not proud of the small whimper that escaped at the loss of fullness.

He was spun around and placed on the chair he’d just been so lewdly spread across and Arthur cleaned him up with a small towel he retrieved from who knew where. The limo bar at a guess.

‘Are you ok?’ Arthur asked concern tinged his words.

Merlin cracked an eye and let out an utterly sated smile, one he couldn't hide even if he wanted to, ‘very.’

Arthur returned his grin, blue eyes crinkled in the corners as he wiped the sweat and residual come from himself, how was that sexy?

‘Do you want to head back in?’

Merlin eyed Arthur a moment then smiled wryly, ‘not really.’

‘Thank fuck,’ Arthur huffed. ‘I can call Leon and we can go get burgers and head back to my place and watch a movie?’

Merlin’s brain jumbled at the thought, it sounded so normal, so absolutely wonderful but he didn't want to appear over eager. ‘Look, I'm not agreeing to anything until you tell me what movie. I have standards you know.’

Arthur grinned, ‘you do, do you? I should be flattered then.’

'I didn't say they were high,’ Merlin retorted and earned a slap from the disgustingly sticky towel. ‘That was gross.’

Arthur's unfettered laugh had Merlin humming in the inside, he couldn't believe he had this piece of the blonde, a piece no one ever saw.

‘Well how about something classy like Police Academy? Or if you are up for something else - Netflix and Chill?’

Merlin snorted, ‘are you propositioning me - again?’

‘Have you seen you - yes, a thousand times yes.’ Arthur grabbed his underwear and slid them on and Merlin couldn’t help but think on the blonde’s words. They left a very warm place inside of Merlin’s chest and he knew he needed to talk but he really didn’t want to ruin the now.

‘Police Academy is probably the classiest movie I've ever seen - but trick question  which one do you have?’

Arthur grinned, ‘all of them - you up for a marathon?’

Within an hour Merlin had showered, gorged a burger and fries and was laid across Arthur’s couch, legs tangled while his head rested on the broad chest of the blonde. Arthur's arm was wrapped loosely around Merlin while they watched the opening credits and chatted about the first time they'd seen the movie.

As they lay against the other Merlin couldn’t help but come to the not so shocking realisation that things had definitely shifted between them, this didn’t feel like a friends with benefits thing, not so much any more. Not unless this really was Arthur’s way of being with someone casually - which meant not being casual at all. He was trying to work up the courage to ask when Arthur looked down at Merlin and stole the very words from him purely by the naked desire and want in his eyes.

Arthur began to speak then stalled before he tried again.

‘Merlin…’ he went still and ran a hand through his hair, jostling Merlin who could only watch in wonder before he spoke again, ‘can I kiss you?’

All the breath fled out of Merlin’s body in a rush, he stayed motionless for the longest moment - had Arthur really asked to kiss him? All that flew through Merlin's brain was that he wasn’t supposed to ask, he wasn’t supposed to want this - he had been avoiding Merlin’s lips for the last few months - hadn’t he ?

‘I mean if you don’t want to…’

‘No,’ Merlin all but shouted, chest heaving and trying to respond without seeming desperate and before Arthur changed his mind, ‘I mean, yes I want to...but...’ he trailed off, his stupid mouth had to blurt “but”.

‘What?’ Arthur asked, his eyes all of a sudden wary making Merlin want to back peddle immediately, but he'd started now.

‘You...eh - you told me you didn’t want to kiss me…’

‘When on earth did I say that?’ Arthur's incredulous tone made Merlin question if he'd actually imagined the whole conversation, but he forged ahead.

‘At the bar - when you know - we first…yeah - I called you pretty woman.’

Arthur’s eyes closed for a moment as realisation dawned, ‘so that’s why you avoid kissing me?’

‘Well of course, a man tells you they don’t want your kisses - it’s something that sticks in your mind….plus I...’

Arthur leant down and silenced Merlin with his lips. Merlin moaned into the contact and found his hand twisting up into Arthur’s hair to tug him down and deepen the already hot and wet kiss. Merlin couldn’t get a purchase on a thought, all he could feel was Arthur’s lips as they slid and moved over his own. The blonde's tongue dipped into his mouth clearly to seek permission to deepen the already toe curling kiss, a permission Merlin freely gave. Arthur also kissed like he fucked, relentless, brutal and oh so sweet. Merlin’s tongue wrestled with Arthur’s for a moment before he moaned and sat up further so as to completely and utterly be in Arthur’s space.

'It wasn't my intention for us to never kiss, I just knew if I allowed one, I'd want more, and more than just the kiss - I did anyway so fucking hell what have we been missing out on?’ Merlin silenced Arthur's confession once more as he battered him with open mouthed kisses and sucked in air knowing he never wanted to stop, he wasn't sure he even could. Did Arthur mean what he thought he did?

The blonde’s arms tightened around Merlin, not giving him an inch to move, but why on earth would he want to - he was right where he wanted to be - he was in Arthur’s orbit, and got to have a piece of him he never could have imagined receiving.

Merlin tugged again on Arthur’s hair which made the blonde groan deep and throaty, then he moved to straddle Arthur just so he could press their hardness against the other. Their mouths never disconnected the entire time - it was as if a floodgate had opened and now they could kiss, they were not about to stop.

Merlin’s mouth moved to nip at the side of Arthur’s mouth, the blonde whispered words of which Merlin only caught a few, things like wonderful, perfect, gorgeous and mine, the last made Merlin shiver - he surely misheard.

Pants were shucked and cocks gripped in Arthur’s large hand as he jerked them slowly together. The sensation of finally having Arthur’s lips against his and a large hand which rubbed and twisted their cocks against the other left Merlin breathless and unable to come down from his high.

In what only felt like a minute but Merlin knew was longer he tensed up and came between them, stickiness and saliva combined to make  a relatively unpleasant mess of the couch, one Merlin would make a thousand times over if he were allowed. Arthur finished moments later and threw his head back which Merlin couldn't help but place open mouthed kisses across his neck.

‘Well fuck - that was intense.’ Arthur managed after a moment and grinned at Merlin as he kissed his lips again which made Merlin’s insides flip.

Merlin rested his head against Arthur’s shoulder a moment if only to catch his breath and thoughts, then he said the only thing which for some reason was at the forefront of his mind, ‘You’ll spend Christmas day with us.’

‘What?’ Arthur responded, confusion at the change of topic apparent in his voice, Merlin was thankful that's what he blurted out and not “I love you’, which was also a strong contender.

‘You said Uther is away - no one should be alone on Christmas day. So come to mine, you’ll know everyone except Will’s sister - but I’m sure you'll get along.’

Arthur didn’t say anything for a long moment, just stared directly into Merlin’s eyes unblinking with something Merlin could only see as shock and delight, it made him dizzy with possibilities - if they were just fucking - Merlin was not going to recover.

He pushed aside the thought Arthur had never indicated he wanted more than this - even if their body language said something different. Merlin had to be willing to take whatever he could get, having this piece of Arthur, his lips, body and smile would sustain him, would have to. Gwen’s gentle teasing but worry for Merlin's heart floated to the forefront of his mind, he would chat to Arthur, but not now, not when he could drown in kisses.

‘I would love to - thanks for thinking of me.’ Arthur replied shaking Merlin back into the now. The blonde ghosted the softest kiss over Merlin’s bruised and beautifully reddened lips - he would ask - truly, just not yet.



Chapter Text

Merlin took the eggnog away from Will, who growled like a protective wolf over his cubs.

‘You've had three, you can't get pissed while Cassie is here.’ Merlin reasoned.

Will seemed to go quiet at the words then deflated when Merlin raised an eyebrow.

‘Why not, I sure as hell need to?’ A tall redhead leaned up against the doorframe as she smiled and held out her mug to Merlin.

‘You are as bad as your brother,’ he laughed and took the cup to refill it, while he ignored Will's “hey” at not taking his cup as well.

Merlin was more than surprised when he opened the front door (as Will was having a nervous wee in the toilet, proclaiming he couldn't answer or he'd wet himself) seeing a tall woman dressed in casual cargos looking so grown up, Merlin thought she was at the wrong house. But when she grabbed him in a bear hug and squealed “Wizard boy” he knew Cassie (for all the passing years) hadn't changed a bit, her smile was exactly the same - as was the glint in her eye, too much like her brother for Merlin's liking.

Will to his credit, didn't hide in the bathroom for long as Merlin had a suspicion he would, but came out moments later, teared up and unsure. Watching them stare in awe at each other warmed Merlin's heart (more so than seeing Arthur's small smile at what was unfolding before him). Will stepped forward first and with a small “Cassisaurus” the years fell away.

Just as Merlin predicted, Cassie did not listen to their parents and was thrilled to be sharing Christmas with Will's chosen family.

‘So Will,’ Cassie started with a small smirk as they sat around the lounge catching up before lunch. ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ Will’s face broke out in crimson, ‘oh my gosh, you are - where are they?’

Merlin appreciated Cassie didn't use a gender pronoun, so many people made assumptions and it was lovely to see she hadn't.

‘Uh, yeah - Morgana - she's bloody brilliant, but couldn't make it today - she's in France...’

'Ooh la la, she’d better treat you right, else I'll have words.’

‘He better treat her right as well,’ Arthur drawled with a smile, earning a sharp look from Cassie, ‘she's my sister.’

Cassie’s burst of laughter was pure joy, ‘ok I take that back - Will, you'd best propose!’

Arthur and Cassie had hit it off from the moment they were introduced, Merlin taken aback at how casual and open Arthur was with Will's sister. He looked comfortable in Merlin's space, he looked…happy, content and everything else Merlin wanted to see - but probably shouldn't as the craving to need it on a permanent basis had started to overwhelm him.

Arthur brushed his hand along Merlin's neck while he spoke to Cassie about the army and her experiences - this in turn made Merlin stammer as he responded to Gwen who’d asked him about the turkey and if it needed checking. Gwen gave him a knowing look and a smirk and all Merlin could do was smile wryly in return, unable to verbalise that Arthur's touch drove him insane - he just wanted to strip the blonde naked, fuck him, make him come and tell him he loved him. Three out of four wasn't bad though, was it?

Half an hour later he was so deep in conversation with Leon about the pie crust the guard had made, he almost missed Arthur's words. ‘We've been seeing each other a few months now, I think.’

Cassie's little cry of happiness did not sit well with Merlin, why was Arthur telling Cassie how long they'd been screwing?

He decided to let it slide and bring it up later as lunch was almost ready and he and Leon were about to dish up (the kitchen too small for any more people to help than that). Gwen hustled everyone else to the table and as Merlin began to bring out plate after plate of festive fare he couldn't help the stupid grin of happiness which spread at seeing his table full of family - old and new.

Leon, Percy and Gwaine were the most boisterous who’d also brought a Santa sack full of presents (Merlin shuddered to think what weird and wonderful things they had concealed), Lance and Gwen were sharing their first holiday season together, Cassie and Will - together again and then there was Arthur. The one person who illuminated the room in such a way Merlin could barely function yet who also cast a dark cloud over it all in the same sense. Merlin swallowed the lump which didn't want to go away. He coughed lightly, which earned a quick concerned glance from Arthur - why did he fall for a bloody Pendragon?

A sharp crack startled Merlin from the beginnings of his melancholy and saw everyone had started to burst their Christmas bon-bons. Bad dad jokes, party hats and cheap plastic knick knacks assailed the table and Merlin was pulled back into the present - his cheeks soon hurt from his easy grin.

‘Bloody hell, Merlin - you didn't tell me you could cook like this! Arthur I may have made a mistake. - I'll take Merlin for a bit and you can have Neil.’

Merlin laughed then felt pressure on his knee, Arthur had a death grip on him and a tight smile. ‘No deal,’ is all the response Gwaine got. Merlin felt a swift jolt of joy at Arthur's misguided jealousy.

‘To be fair, you actually haven't tasted Neil's Christmas cooking - did you see his insta picture?’ Merlin responded and quickly squeezed Arthur's hand, making the blondes lip pull up at the side.

‘What? When did he put that up?’ Gwaine ripped his phone out, clearly worried he'd missed something important from his boyfriend and Merlin let out a huff of laughter. Gwaine was so far gone on that delightful boy it made everything right in the world. ‘Holy shit - I take it back. Arthur, Merlin's all yours.’

‘Damn straight he is,’ Merlin heard Arthur whisper and his heart stopped. This playful open Arthur was killing him, he really couldn't take much more of the pretending - it ultimately hurt Merlin more than he thought it would. Well of course it did - you're in love with the Prat.

Merlin put on a toothy grin, told jokes with the rest of them and laughed, ate too much food then sang off key to Christmas carols that Gwaine kept making dirty lyrics up to. It was the perfect Christmas lunch.

/*

The third time it happened, Merlin really couldn't take it anymore. He knew bringing Arthur into his family unit would make it harder for him to differentiate their fucking and Merlin's unavoidable feelings, but his poor heart had taken enough battering as he heard Arthur talk as if they were a couple.

‘Sorry Cassie, can I just borrow Arthur for a moment, I need to chat to him,’ Arthur frowned and followed Merlin to his room - which was not sound proofed enough for this conversation. And why was he having it now, at Christmas while everyone he loved was in the next room - and in front of him .

‘What is it - you look serious? Is everything ok? Do you need me to get some more beer - I have a fully stocked bar back at my place.’

‘No - no, Arthur nothing like that, but I...just...look I…’ Merlin couldn't seem to grasp the words he needed.

Arthur leaned in and grabbed him in a small tight and comforting hug then kissed his lips quickly before he moved back, stealing Merlin's breath with the action, ‘what is it - you’re worrying me? It's Christmas - be happy.’

It was Arthur's blinding smile which undid him, ‘I - just don’t think I can do this anymore.’

Arthur dropped his arms immediately, Merlin missed the warmth acutely. This was infinitely harder to do in person now they stood here.

‘What do you mean - this?’ Arthur's voice was tight, the flatness made Merlin wince.

In for a penny in for a pound , he had to tell him - no matter the reaction, ‘I can’t keep pretending we’re together.’ There he had finally said it.

‘What?’

‘I just can’t do it anymore…’

‘Can't do what? Merlin, I'm confused - pretending?’ Arthur’s frown was more than adorable and he wanted to reach out and smooth the lines away, but Merlin also needed to focus, get the heaviness out of his chest. He needed to be free of the weight, no matter the consequences.

‘I can’t take this...whole thing.’ He gestured between the two of them, his nerves ensured his articulation was horrific.

‘Are you breaking up with me?’ Arthur took a half step back, his face unreadable and Merlin laughed wryly, chest tight.

‘How can we break up when we aren't even together?’

‘Huh?’

‘Look.' Merlin stopped his words clambered to come out at once, he tried again. ‘I thought I could do the whole friends with benefits thing with you.’

Arthur's frown lines grew deeper, so Merlin kept getting distracted at how utterly breathtaking he was, why was he making this so hard ? 'You what?’

‘Yeah, exactly - how silly was I? Because you, Arthur Pendragon - you are fucking impossible not to fall in love with.’

Merlin snapped his mouth shut as every blood vessel in his face and body exploded - he did not just blurt that out, oh fuck . As his stomach fell through to his feet, Arthur's mouth opened and closed a few times before words came out, Merlin acutely aware he’d placed his heart in an Arthur shaped blender, and could no longer snatch the words back which had fallen from his mouth. ‘You - love me? Holy fuck, Merlin. That changes everything.’

The blonde swept a hand through his hair before he gripped Merlin's upper arm in a hold so tight it almost hurt. Merlin let himself be manhandled, he was exhausted, he had no fight left, ‘yeah, look I know, forget I said anything - I’m the biggest idiot alive. ’

‘Well, yes you are - I completely agree.’

‘Whatever,’ Merlin let hurt colour his words as he tried to shrug off Arthur who gripped him tighter, seemingly like he refused to let him go. This was too painful.

‘No...urgh - I mean you are an idiot, but - fuck. I'm not explaining myself.’

‘Standard,’ Merlin snarked and wanted the floor to open up and swallow him whole. He should have waited until after Christmas Day, why in the world did he put this hurt onto himself today - he really was a dolt.

‘You’re just as bad at communication.’

‘Arthur…’ Merlin was done with this all, his voice made it obvious, so Arthur thankfully dropped his hands and took a deep breath.

‘Ok, let me get this straight, this whole time you thought we were just fucking - like, friends with benefits?’

‘Well yes, aren't we?’ he felt a frown furrow his brow as Arthur's eyes trailed over each feature of his face.

‘Oh, Mer lin…’ Arthur's drawl was soft and did not contain the usual snark, which is why Merlin met his bright blue eyes, and his breath caught in his throat. ‘When I asked you “if we were doing this” all those months ago you thought I meant fuck buddies?’

‘Of course.’

‘Of course,’ Arthur echoed then let out a dry humourless laugh, Merlin's heart hammered in his chest at the indecipherable look on the blonde’s face. 'Do you think I act in this manner, like I have been with you - when I'm just fucking people?’

‘Well...yes, I mean - I really wouldn't know. I haven’t been with anyone in forever and you are rich, powerful and so out of my league it’s not funny.’

‘Oh, Merlin,’ Arthur breathed out the same words as before, now sounding so very sad and somewhat lost, Merlin tried to grasp at why, but Arthur was too close - speaking too quiet, ‘seriously, I'm an arsehole but I'm not a fucking arsehole.’

‘I never said you…’

Arthur ran a hand through his hair roughly, the action stopped Merlin's words as he watched Arthur’s face and the emotions which fluttered over it, he really didn’t understand. It was as he tried to decipher Arthur's expression the blonde grabbed him and hauled him into a kiss so filthy and hot Merlin was left gasping - and hard.

‘Fuck this - I love you too,’ Arthur murmured into Merlin’s mouth before he devoured it again, ‘so goddamn much.’

‘You what?’ Merlin tried to say but suddenly had a mouthful of tongue that demanded his whole attention and Christ did it feel, oh so right. Did Arthur Pendragon whisper the words Merlin was so desperate to hear - was he lucky enough to claim that piece of the blonde? The world was off kilter, he couldn't fathom this amazing man who was kissing him with an almost desperate air, loved him - Merlin Emrys. But it hit a second later, holy fuck, holy fuck - Arthur was his . He managed to break free of Arthur's lips - the soft groan of complaint from the blonde music to his ears. Arthur wanted him as much as he wanted Arthur - Merlin was giddy with possibilities.

‘Holy shit, are you sure? I mean - that’s not how this is supposed to…’

Arthur huffed a laugh and leaned in to capture Merlin's lips again before he trailed kisses along his blush coloured cheekbones, ‘you are ruining a perfectly beautiful moment. Again.’

‘But….I can't believe I'm going to admit this - I don’t understand - how this happened I mean.’

‘You really are clueless aren't you?’ At Merlin's petulant glare Arthur pulled back, mirth twinkled in his gaze, ‘you are almost too perfect for words. Bloody hell - those cheekbones. Gods the amount of times I got hard at work thinking about touching you, about kissing them.’ Merlin could only stand shocked at the words which tumbled from Arthur, he had no idea. ‘That night on the roof, I couldn't stop staring, all I could think about was leaning over and making you mine - it was torture not being able to touch you, then suddenly we were at the bar and I saw red when Gwaine tried to kiss you and I had to do something. I had to make my claim,’ he punctuated each word with a kiss which made Merlin’s insides melt. ‘Each time we touched I felt more for you, hell - each time I spoke to you, looked at you, fought with you I was falling - that's why I couldn't kiss you at first - it was too much I would have blurted how I felt. And when you ordered me around - fuck - you just got me. You just soothed the feelings raging under the surface, you knew exactly what I needed, what I craved. That night in the car I finally got the courage up and I believed I asked if you'd be my boyfriend in a roundabout way, I thought I was being clear. I was giving you space and when you didn’t try and kiss me I was waiting for you to be comfortable with the new arrangement. Fuck that was torture - finally thinking I had you but not having all of you.’

Merlin couldn't speak, he'd really had no idea, he honest to god had no thought in his head Arthur felt that way about him, it was if a light had finally shone on Arthur and Merlin could now see so very clearly how he felt. The blonde watched him with hooded eyes, a slight amount of insecurity and vulnerability apparent which he tried to hide behind his smile. Arthur really was in love with him - truly. It was almost too much to take in. ‘Oh - well fuck…’

‘Yes - well fuck.’ Arthur mirrored with a grin.

‘That explains so much.’

Arthur laughed in response then threw Merlin on to the bed for a tackle hug, Merlin was just about fit to burst he was so euphoric. He couldn't have wished for a more perfect day.

/*

Later that evening Merlin rested his head on Arthur’s shoulder as they watched Scrooged with Bill Murray - a Christmas tradition in Merlin’s household. Gwen and Lance had left earlier to spend the evening with Lance’s family and Gwaine had made haste to “devour” Neil’s white sauce (he lewdly winked as he said it, then followed up with the fact it was actual white sauce for the roast veggies). Will and Cassie were about to head off back to Will’s to catch up properly and Percy and Leon (who Merlin was fairly certain were not dating) were about to visit Percy’s mum for her famous pudding and have dinner with her.

Everyone said their goodbyes so Merlin shut the door with a quiet snick and before he could breathe, over six feet of blonde was on him, kissing, touching, feeling and whispering words Merlin never thought he would hear. He was in sensory heaven pushed against his front door - Merlin was hard in seconds.

‘You haven’t opened your present - Mer lin,’ Arthur pouted as he let Merlin go and sped to the tree and grabbed a lone wrapped gift. Merlin hadn’t even noticed it was there. Whiplash , being with Arthur was definitely akin to whiplash.

‘Haven’t you had enough of presents?’

Arthur wryly lifted his “World’s Greatest Boss” coffee mug and Merlin cracked up, Gwaine had bought it, complete with a ceramic cock on the inside that bumped your lips each sip you took. ‘With gifts like these - no way.’

Merlin was still caught in a bubble of surprise each time Arthur loosened up and let himself be...himself.

‘So open it,’ Arthur’s eyes glinted as he proffered the gift once more. It was small and wrapped tight in reindeer paper, Merlin had a suspicion Arthur was the one to wrap it, taking the thoughtfulness to a whole new level.

As Merlin undid the paper, he caught a glimpse of pattern and when he touched what was inside his breath came quicker and the hardness which was forgotten from before, returned tenfold.

The wrapper fell to the ground and Arthur held Merlin’s gaze until he dropped it to what was in his hand. Arthur Pendragon had bought Merlin a pair of silk panties - but not just any pair - these panties were emblazoned with a Guardians of the Galaxy comic strip. If Merlin wasn’t sure of his love before, he was most definitely sure now.

‘Can I go put them on?’ he asked, more breathless at the thought than he imagined.

Arthur watched him a moment, ‘if you don’t - I’ll be very offended you don’t like my gift.’

‘There is no fear of that,’ Merlin hoarse voice surprised even him and by the way Arthur stiffened up he was too.

Merlin made his way to the bedroom and stripped off as he held the small slip of silk in one hand like it was a precious rare commodity. He stepped carefully into them, he did not want to chance a rip in the delicate fabric - slow and steady he shimmied into the lace, and tucked himself as best he could into the small cup.

A sharp intake of breath from the doorway made Merlin spin, Arthur naked (when did he disrobe) stood in his doorway - cock hard and ready. Merlin’s mouth went dry - fuck this was just too much, too perfect - it had to be a dream, but his dream strode towards him then fell to his knees before his silk clad cock.

Arthur stared for the longest moment, fingers trailing across the fabric which encased his hips then around towards his arse then back again. Merlin opened his legs to get a better stance else he fall.

Hot breath and wetness pressed against the front of the panties, heat blossomed over Merlin’s cock as Arthur mouthed it, moaning. Merlin looked down at the blonde whose eyes were already blown completely and stared back at Merlin’s face, Fuck...

Arthur almost reverently pulled the panties over Merlin’s cock which bobbed as it became free, the weight and heat of Arthur’s stare had pre-come leaking in a long clear strip. Bloody hell - Arthur had only been looking with feather light touches so far - Merlin was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to handle any more pressure.

How wrong he was - Arthur left the panties tight around his thighs which ensured Merlin couldn’t jerk or move else he rip them in half. It was torture, pure beautiful torture and Arthur knew it if his hungry smirk was anything to go by.

Heat engulfed Merlin as Arthur took him deep. The blonde lathed and swirled his tongue as his finger pressed insistently against Merlin's needy hole. Merlin was about to come - embarrassingly quick. The heat, wet and suction too much and as Arthur’s spit slick finger breached the tight ring of muscle Merlin shook with his orgasm, conscious not to tear his new present.

‘Well - who’d have thought your kink for Guardians would have resulted in a thirty second blow job.’

‘Give me five, smartarse - and I’ll be back. Then you can fuck me, panties exactly where they are now.’

Arthur coughed as he swallowed wrong at Merlin’s words. ‘did I tell you I love you?’

Merlin beamed, ‘yes, but you can keep telling me. Though, just promise me one thing…’

Arthur looked up at him, eyes full of lust, ‘sure, anything you want.’

‘Please never call my dick Baby Groot.’

Arthur’s deep laugh cemented itself in Merlin's mind as one of his new favourite things in the entire world.





Chapter Text

6 months later

Arthur watched as Merlin lay asleep on the couch, tuckered out after a full day moving. He couldn't believe he had this, he couldn't believe Merlin Emrys was his and now he would have him in his house, in his bed, in his life for as long as they could put up with each other (which Arthur worried about as he knew he was a bit of a princess).

Arthur still felt a thrill of ecstasy course through him at Merlin's reaction when he asked him to move in. To be fair, Arthur wanted to ask him three minutes after their first kiss, never wanting the brunette out of his sight again - but refrained. Merlin's gorgeous eyes lit up at his embarrassingly stammered request and he blew Arthur right there in the parking lot of IKEA, and as he wiped the back of his hand across utterly perfect lips he beamed and said a breathless “of course I will”. Arthur was so brain dead after what could only be described as the most earth shattering suckage of his cock - those damn blue eyes looking up at him in arousal… they had walked out with seven ice cube trays he really didn't need. Arthur was categorically obsessed and so fucking ridiculously in love.

A pang went through him at the thought he'd almost let this opportunity slip through his fingers. Being Arthur Pendragon (in the shadow of the monstrosity that was Uther) with the weight of the company and name on his shoulders, he really didn't think he deserved this, deserved to be happy anyway. Not one person in his lifetime had stolen his breath the way Merlin had. He came to that rather untimely conclusion when he rang Merlin the day after his interview to offer him the job (and how could he forget the clumsy cock grab from the man who invented cheekbones) the husky voice which greeted him had him stiff in a second. Follow that up with Merlin's dishevelled appearance in his office, meant Arthur was a complete lost cause. The deep morning voice still had Arthur painfully hard each and every time he heard it, but now he at least could do something about it instead of being frustrated twenty four hours a day.

‘Hey, what you doing?’ Merlin's sleepy voice came from below him, Arthur grinned.

‘Thinking about stripping you naked and throwing your sweaty arse in the bath?’

Merlin responded with a smirk and the twinkle in his eye made little Arthur take notice in earnest, ‘and you will be?’

‘Sliding in behind you….then in to you…’

Merlin's sharp intake of breath ensured Arthur wasn’t about to muck around and take his time. What was it about this man which made him lose his head? Everything .

Merlin disappeared to run the bath and Arthur stripped off in their bedroom as he gazed out the window noting the blue sky behind the buildings. He had negotiated with Merlin quite a while in regards to where they would live, clearly the penthouse was off limits due to the height but luckily an apartment closer to the ground floor came up for sale, which they both agreed upon. Arthur didn't want to leave the security of the building nor did he want to leave people like Kenneth behind. Merlin thanked him every night for a week on his knees that Arthur had taken his fear serious enough to accommodate him. Arthur was unsure how to verbalise he'd move to a country whose language he didn't speak with no money just to be with Merlin - moving twenty floors down was probably the easiest thing he'd ever had to do.

Telling Uther about Merlin was more problematic, but he pushed aside thoughts on his father - that was a battle no one could win and he would either accept it or not, only time would tell. Arthur once again could not believe how Merlin with just a few ordered words and the willingness to take control calmed him to a degree where instead of blown out panic attacks over his supposed failure as an heir he now stood up for himself and had flourished in front of his peers and the business world. He'd even had a job offer from a rival company, to which he gave serious thought on. But Pendragon Corp with all its nuances was his home.

'Arthur get in here, my back won't wash itself.’

Arthur grumbled good naturedly about his bossy boyfriend, but wouldn't have him any other way - especially as he strode into the bathroom to see Merlin in the tub leaning out of all the suds, glorious arse exposed to Arthur's hungry gaze.

‘Is that…..’ Arthur trailed off, unable to talk as his cock took every ounce of blood from his brain.

‘Yep, thought I'd try it out, not the most comfortable when moving, but I'm sure it'll reward itself,’ Merlin smirked over his shoulder as he wriggled his hips.

Arthur's eyes hadn't left the small black plug nestled in Merlin, which he now so desperately needed to remove then replace with his cock which pulsed unbearably, he was going to come in a second flat.

‘Do you want to slide it out of me?’ Merlin husked.

Arthur nodded dumbly, speak you idiot! ' Uh-huh…’ good one Yogi….

He took a step forward until he sat on the side of the tub, glad he'd stripped naked if Merlin's appreciative gaze was anything to go by. Then he reverently trailed a hand down Merlin's back before he ghosted his fingertips over the plug and the alien feel of it in his boyfriends hole…he liked it - immensely . Arthur ran his fingers around the edge, the feeling of skin and plastic new to touch, the sensation strange yet not unpleasant. Merlin twitched and let out a groan so deep, pre-come leaked from Arthur's untouched dick - fuck. Perfect, Merlin was beyond perfect - and all his. The possessiveness he felt over the brunette no longer scared him, he relished it and the response it evoked in Merlin.

Instead of going with the urge to yank out the plug and fill Merlin with his flesh instead, Arthur pulled slightly and once he saw Merlin's reaction to the movement pushed it back in. Merlin's whine went straight to Arthur's core, so he began to fuck Merlin with the toy. He pulled and pushed until Merlin was a needy, messed ball of feelings and so close to coming Arthur could grab Merlin's cock and the brunette would be finished. But he didn't. Arthur loved nothing more than being inside of Merlin when the brunette came, the way he clenched, cried out and grabbed Arthur over his shoulder so Arthur's head was nestled in the crook of his shoulder was addictive.

Once he saw Merlin couldn't take being teased anymore he slid into the bath behind him and kissed the nape of his neck softly, 'you ready?’

‘If you don't fucking get inside of me now….’ Merlin's threat died in his throat as Arthur lined up and pushed past the loosened muscle of Merlin's arse, the plug not as big as his cock but was worth its weight in gold as the ease of penetrating Merlin was breathtaking. Arthur absently wondered what other toys they could try as he bottomed out in Merlin's heat.

The next few minutes was a blur of water, suds, growls, whimpers and obscene wet slaps until Merlin cried out and came, hand curled around his own dick. Arthur continued to slam into Merlin hard - and rode the wave of the brunettes orgasm until his own took him in a blind white heat.

As they caught their breath, Merlin huffed a laugh.

‘What?’ Arthur asked with a tired yet sated smile.

'I just can't wait to show you the other things I bought from that shop.’

Arthur's mouth went dry, ‘have I told you lately, you're perfect and I love you,’ he grabbed Merlin loosely and kissed him soundly, his tongue traced the perfect pinkness of his lips - fuck he adored kissing Merlin.

‘Not for at least an hour,’ Merlin smiled, ‘so...how do you feel about restraints?’

Arthur died.

/*

18 months later

The wedding was perfect, Arthur wouldn't have expected any less when Gwen and Lance were involved. But as ethereal and stunning as Gwen looked on one of the most important days of her life, Arthur's eyes always moved towards her man of honour - Merlin. How the brunette looked in a deep blue suit should be labelled a crime and had made Arthur's chest pulse in a decidedly unhealthy manner - he wasn't sure if he was about to have a heart attack or if it would be frowned upon to run up to the bridal party, steal Merlin and fuck him until they both were boneless.

Gwaine as the MC could not have been more perfect, and although at times his speech began to border on the cringe scale he always pulled the story back beautifully to a chorus of laughs, Gwen's usually the loudest and Lance's face a shade of red which looked painful. Arthur enjoyed himself immensely, his favourite part of the night though was when he managed to secure Merlin from the bridesmaids for a dance. Being able to pull Merlin close against his body as they moved to Frank Sinatra surrounded by close friends made everything right in the world. He would forever be grateful to Merlin for bringing him this kind of peace.

It was at the wedding breakfast the next morning as Arthur watched Merlin interact with everyone a cheeky twinkle in his eyes and a quick smile he knew, knew it in his bones. He was never letting Merlin go, he'd found his home, his forever. All he had to do now was make it official.

‘Merlin?’ Christ, did his voice just crack?

There must have been something in his tone as Merlin spun quick in his seat and gave a small frown, ‘what is it? The eggs too runny? Or did you get the orange juice with bits - you know you hate bits, they make you dry retch.’

Arthur couldn't help but smile at Merlin as he fussed and checked his glass. It was so fucking domesticated and he thought he'd hate being a part of something like this - how wrong could one Pendragon be?

'Uh - no, no bits - but just….’ he ran a hand through his hair knowing the nervous gesture was a tell, especially when Merlin narrowed his eyes at him. Shit .

‘What is it?’ Merlin started warily.

‘So, I was thinking… I'm… Merlin - would you…’ Arthur was cut off by the dining room door being flung open and a red faced Gwaine followed by a suspiciously wet eyed Neil who beamed, flew into the room.

'He said yes - you fucking ripper - Neil is going to be my husband!’

As Merlin jumped up to grab Gwaine in a bear tackle, Arthur deflated and sank back in his chair, thunder well and truly stolen. But as he listened to Gwaine and Neil retell the story of how Gwaine proposed by a drone flying in a bottle of champagne with a ring attached for breakfast on their private balcony, Arthur realised he needed to put more thought into his actual proposal. Arthur wasn't stupid, he knew Merlin would say yes, but he deserved a story, not a stammered question asked over breakfast a day after his best friend's wedding. Arthur now had an idea and he was going to make it perfect and organise everything to a strict plan. Nothing could go wrong.

/*

19 months later

Arthur was sprawled on their oversized lounge watching Die Hard (still a Christmas movie he argued with Merlin), the brunette draped over him like a human blanket when he realised he didn't have to rush a proposal, they had forever after all and he needed it to be perfect, perfect for Merlin.

Gwaine and Neil's wedding was in a few months and Arthur had well and truly started to plan his own proposal so everything would follow a timeline and everything would be ordered and precise.

‘We should totally get married,’ Merlin said nonchalant with a stupid grin.

Arthur, stunned at Merlin's words because, goddamn it he wasn't supposed to mention the M word until Arthur had proposed. What about the well ordered plan! He growled in annoyance and huffed, ‘Merlin, you're ruining a perfectly good upcoming proposal surprise.’

The absolute shock on Merlin's face was worth his small outburst, even though Arthur berated himself on saying it, what part of surprise did Merlin not understand? But when the brunette snuggled in closer against Arthur's chest and tightened his arms around his body to give him a kiss which made Arthur's toes curl in ways they shouldn't be able to, he didn't mind. ‘Well I'll just be quiet then.’

Arthur chuckled, ‘that's an impossibility isn't it?’

Merlin smacked him lightly and Arthur grinned down into blue eyes so unguarded and full of love it stole his breath. Fuck he loved every inch of this man, well and truly . ‘Marry me, Merlin,’ he blurted, to his absolute shock.

Merlin stilled and looked up into Arthur's eyes a cheeky grin spread over his face and Arthur had no idea what was going on behind those gorgeous eyes. ‘Is that my surprise? Not very, well...surprisey was it?’

‘Are you seriously…’ Arthur's words were cut off as Merlin surged up and seized his lips in a kiss which started chaste then turned into a languid exploration of each other's mouths, protest forgotten in the heat of the moment.

'Yes, of course, yes.’ Merlin breathed before he closed the gap between them again and started to deliciously wriggle his hips against Arthur.

‘Just so you know…’ Arthur started then stopped as a sly hand slid into his pants and started to stroke maddeningly. ‘Your actual proposal is still coming.’

Merlin's face lit up in a smile so wide, ‘well, Pendragon - it's a good thing I love you so much, I'm sure I can wait.’

As he slithered down Arthur's body, taking off clothing as he went, Arthur lost all coherent thought except for the complete adoration he had for this man.

‘But you know - I won't wait forever…if you like it then you should put a ring on it.’

‘Are you quoting Beyonce to me with a mouthful of dick?’ Arthur asked incredulously, thoughts filtered out of his brain as hot wet heat engulfed him again.

Merlin's responding laugh was magical, Arthur was going to call his guards - his friends and start one epic proposal of Merlin Emrys. But first things first, Merlin had too many clothes on and he needed to rectify it immediately.

 

*Just for the record - Merlin said yes - again.