Arthur scrolled further down the page, trying to ignore the many headlines and articles proclaiming the newest royalty gossip to have hit the front page. It was an impossible task, seeing as it was all anyone was talking about. All the staff were aflutter, whispering in the kitchens and swapping gossip in the stairwells. Even if it didn’t concern his older brother, Arthur couldn’t escape it if he tried. The headlines were everywhere:
WHEN HARRY MET MEGHAN: A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT
ROYAL ENGAGEMENT SEEN AS SYMBOL OF CHANGE
QUEEN MIGHT APPROVE, BUT BRITS DISAPPROVE OF PRINCE HARRY’S ENGAGEMENT TO DIVORCEE MEGHAN MARKLE
PRINCE HARRY ENGAGED TO AN AMERICAN SEEN AS A DISGRACE?
Arthur sighed, closing the app and hitting the lock button on his phone. He wasn’t sure whether he felt like laughing or crying. On any other day, this would have been just another family engagement announcement. But today, on what should have been his and Merlin’s tenth anniversary, it was a low blow. If he wanted any more proof that tearing his heart in two had been the right thing to do, it was the country’s reaction to this announcement.
If the public thought his brother Harry and Meghan’s engagement was a scandal, he couldn’t imagine the outrage that his and Merlin’s relationship would have sparked.
The heartache stabbed bright and hot behind his breastbone, just as raw and painful as it had been those scant few years ago. It had been his decision, his choice to end it. He knew that but it didn’t make the pain any easier. He had loved Merlin so deeply.
He still did.
Those few that knew never said a word against it, but Arthur could see it in their eyes. The nervousness, the apprehension, the worry of what the people would think. Prince Arthur, engaged to a man. And his own bodyguard to boot. What a scandal, an embarrassment, a disgrace to the royal family and the British people.
And he couldn’t bring shame down upon his family, upon anyone. He wouldn’t. The people had to come first. His happiness, his desires would never best them.
He knew that, he had made that sacrifice. Didn’t mean it hurt any less. They had known each other for years. Merlin had been hired to protect a confused sixteen year old Arthur after his first personal bodyguard retired. Back then, Merlin was just barely of legal age himself and a fresh face in the personal security scene. Arthur’s father’s own head of security had suggested him, said he would be the best for the job, being close to Arthur’s age yet the most promising new student in the field. Arthur smiled at the memory of their first meeting. He had thought Merlin rude, with a complete disregard of protocol and decorum. And yet, in the first few minutes of meeting him, just Merlin’s mere presence had helped Arthur realize that his attraction to other men was very much real and wouldn’t be going away.
Their friendship had been rocky at first, before blooming strong and powerful as they spent every minute of every day together, be it Merlin’s job or not. Merlin had been through all the boring events, and public outings, through the car accident that left Arthur shaken and sore. It was that night that Arthur crossed the blurred line of friendship only to find Merlin felt the same. Merlin had been extremely hesitant at first, his respect for his job and Arthur’s royal standing preventing him from doing anything but admitting his feelings. Arthur had broken those walls fast though, bringing back out the young man he had met all those years ago who had no time for protocols and propriety and only acted with his heart.
A heart that Arthur had broke.
Merlin’s face, eyes pleading with tears streaming down his cheeks was still fresh in Arthur’s mind. The soft arguments he made in favor of their relationship, the understanding that eventually clouded his eyes when he realized he wasn’t going to win. The small resigned smile. That had been worse. Arthur knew it had to be this way but he still couldn’t help the anger he felt at the ease in which Merlin gave them up. But what could he have done except relent. There was no reasoning behind Arthur’s anger, just his own insecurity at not fighting more himself, at making the heartbreaking decision to end their relationship in the first place. It wasn’t fair, none of it was.
The final nail in the coffin had been a week after with Merlin’s announcement that he was stepping down from his post as Arthur’s personal security.
Two years later and the pain hadn’t gotten any better.
Arthur shook his head as he extracted himself out of his chair behind the old carved mahogany desk and straightened his suit jacket. It was no use contemplating what happened. It was done, over. He had to move on. No matter what his heart screamed for.
A knock at the door brought Arthur’s thoughts of Merlin to a completely halt. “Enter.”
The door opened with a soft swish on the carpet revealing his mousy haired valet. George gave him a customary bow. “Your Royal Highness, the motorcar is ready for you.”
Arthur nodded, pouring himself a glass of water from the pitcher on the side table. “Thank you, George. I’ll be there shortly.”
George bowed once more, always with perfect decorum and silently backed out of the room, closing the door behind him with a quiet click. Arthur sighed, pulling himself together for the long night ahead.
He gulped down the water in one go, wishing it was brandy or hell, scotch for all he cared at the moment. He laughed. That would have been a spectacle. Prince Arthur greeting various prestigious high class members of society and terminally ill children all while smelling of liquor. An act like that would surely bring his family shame.
Well at least then it wouldn’t matter who he dated.
The drive over was uneventful to say the least. His current head of security, a tall quiet man by the name of Patrick, sat in the front seat of the motorcar, divider down, eyes on their surroundings. He was a nice enough man and good at his job, but Arthur would be greatly stretching the truth if he were to call them friends. Patrick was only ever professional and nothing else. To his family, he was perfect. To Arthur, he was boring.
God, he missed Merlin.
There was nothing for it though. What was done, was done. He didn’t even know where Merlin went after he left, had no idea if he was in another country. Quite often during the days, he found himself wondering what Merlin was doing, if he was happy, if he had moved on and found someone else. It pained him to think of Merlin with someone else but as long as Merlin was happy, that was all that mattered.
The motorcar slowed down, turning off the single lane road onto a pristine cobblestone drive. Motorcars lined the drive, with event guests donned in all their finery traveling in groups and pairs up to the large oaken doors of the seventeenth century estate. Valets and security personnel shadowed their charges, black tie uniforms pristine and shoes shined to perfection.
The motorcar came to a halt alongside another idling car and gently rocked as the driver and Patrick exited the vehicle. Arthur stayed where he was, taking the time to gather his thoughts and prepare for the pleasantries of the night. Another charity event. Granted they were important and did some good to those they sponsored and Arthur was all for that. They were taxing, chipping away at his flagging patience and energy. Few people who attended felt genuine. Most seemed to care very little about the charity that they were claiming to support and only in attendance to show their face, announce they gave to a good cause, and build their reputation. Arthur found swapping pleasantries and putting on the royal facade draining. He didn’t feel much like being social tonight.
Merlin always made these events better. With his whispered comments and sarcastic remarks, the nights had actually become bearable. And with him by his side, Arthur had managed to find those few he found genuine and stick by them, making the events actually pleasant sometimes.
Eventually Arthur extracted himself from the car and made his way into the venue. He greeted fellow guests left and right, keeping up a mantra of polite smiles and solemn greetings as expected. The scrubbed stone flooring of the entryway bled into beautifully polished marble as he ventured further into the venue. The space opened up into a beautiful, elegant, gold accented ballroom, with mirrors, carved sconces and three large crystal chandeliers bathing the room in a golden light. The sea of handsomely dressed party goers grew until Arthur felt nearly overwhelmed, shaking hands here, kissing palms there, and smiling so much his cheeks started to hurt.
It was a painful and boring repetition but a necessary one. It didn’t mean he couldn’t mentally complain about it though.
Finally, a lull in conversation arose with his current companion—Gertrude, Gruhilda, Grace? Some elderly G name of sorts, he was sure—and he took the time to scan the room for an excuse.
But through the crowd of people, something else caught his eye instead. Something that caused his heart to skip a beat and his breathing to falter. Or rather someone.
He had filled out more since the last time Arthur had seen him, lean muscle highlighted by the sharp cut of his suit. His face was sharper, more angular but still held that same boyish quality that even his slight scruff couldn’t erase. But there was no mistaking the mop of unruly dark hair and familiar blue eyes that twinkled with mirth.
“Your highness, are you alright dear?”
“What?” Arthur glanced over at the woman he had been speaking to earlier, having briefly forgotten she was even there. “Oh yes. Sorry, but will you excuse me.”
Arthur didn’t wait for an answer, already weaving through the crowd toward Merlin before the woman could respond. He could see Patrick out of the corner of his eye struggling to keep up with him but Arthur couldn’t care less. All he could focus on was Merlin. He had no idea he would be here, and why would he? Arthur hadn’t heard word or whisper about Merlin since he had left two years ago. But it didn’t matter, none of it did. He was here and Arthur wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
As he approached, Arthur couldn’t help but notice Merlin kept looking down and speaking to someone on his right. There seemed to be no one there as far as Arthur could see but Merlin was clearly conversing with someone. He smiled and laughed, his eyes dancing with glee and a warmth Arthur had thought only reserved for him. The sight nearly made him turn around and leave Merlin to his new companion. He was clearly happy and Arthur didn’t want to ruin it. But the closer he got, the more the crowd thinned and finally Arthur understood who was grabbing all of Merlin’s attention.
A little girl, no more than eight stood beside Merlin, her eyes roaming around the room in awe and excitement. Hair in a casual updo with a simple dark blue dress, she looked more regal and elegant than half the women at the event. And yet, she still managed to keep her childish air about her. And when Arthur looked at Merlin, his stance, the way he stood beside the little girl, he finally understood the reason he was at the event.
The little girl was his new charge.
Merlin didn’t see him until he was but a yard away. Surprise flashed across his face quickly wiped away by a stoic expression that seemed odd. Merlin was an expressive person, barely able to hide his feelings in all the years Arthur had known him. He wondered when that had changed.
It wasn’t until Arthur had stopped in front of the pair that he realized he had no idea what to say. What was he supposed to say to someone whose heart you had torn apart? Who had torn you apart in return?
“Hi.” Smooth, elegant and oh so regal. Well done.
Merlin seemed to be in the same mindset as Arthur, unable to find the words to say but he didn’t have to for the little girl greeted Arthur before he had a chance to say anything.
Arthur looked down at her, a smile breaking out onto his face. “Oh, hello,” he said, kneeling down to her level and holding out his hand in greeting. “I’m Arthur.”
The little girl giggled when he kissed the back of her offered hand. “I know who you are!”
Arthur raised his eyebrows, feigning shock and confusion. “You do? And who is it that you think I am?”
“Prince Arthur.” She said with a roll of her eyes and a look that told Arthur she wasn’t fooled. He laughed, having seen that look before on a certain bodyguard he used to have. Merlin was clearly rubbing off on her. “You’re part of the royal family.”
Arthur shrugged in mock defeat. “Guess you caught me,” he relented, smiling at her. He chanced a glance up at Merlin only to find he was watching their interaction, several emotions flitted across his eyes. Arthur tried not read too much into it and focused back on the little girl. “And what might your name be?”
“Freya.” She performed a gentle curtsy, and Arthur’s smile widened considerably. “My father works with your father.”
Arthur cocked an eyebrow. “He does, does he?” He tried to rack his brain and remember if he had heard any mention of a Freya but he was too distracted by the feeling of Merlin’s eyes on him. Watching them. He could hardly think of what to say let alone re all who worked with his father.
Freya nodded, beaming at Arthur and clearly very proud of her father. “Yep! Very important business…things.” Her face scrunched up and Arthur laughed. He understood how Merlin could be so taken with her. She was adorable.
“I’m sure it is.” Arthur glanced up at Merlin, meeting his eyes briefly before standing up again and looking back at Freya with a smile. “Who’s your friend?” he asked, turning toward Merlin.
Freya nearly jumped in excitement, beaming and grabbing Merlin’s hand. “Oh this is Merlin,” her voice lowered to a whisper and she held her hand up to her mouth, as though she were conspiring against the crown. Arthur leaned down in order to hear her. “He’s my personal henchman. Does my evil bidding.” Then a bit louder, she said, “Isn’t that right Merlin?”
“Whatever my queen desires,” Merlin answered with a playful smirk, eyes dancing as he gave Freya an exaggerated bow. He glanced up at Arthur through his lashes and Arthur met his eyes. A world of emotions and words crossed between them in the span of a few scant seconds, all the pain and longing Arthur had been feeling reflected back at him in Merlin’s gaze. All the hunger and regret, hurt and unceasing love that still bubbled just beneath the surface, it was bursting forth, brought out by the appearance of the one man Arthur thought he could never have. But here, right now, Arthur felt invisible, reckless.
He didn’t care what the world might think, he needed Merlin.
Before Arthur could utter a single word, Merlin straightened up and the moment was gone. His heart sank a bit. Had he just imagined that? Was he so desperate to have Merlin back in his life that he would read too far into a single fleeting look?
Probably. Most likely.
Freya giggled, completely unaware of what had just transpired between the two men. “Father thought it best I have my own security ever since...”
“Ever since she was almost taken from me.” Arthur turned toward the deep voice as a tall thin brunette man approached. A spark of recognition flashed through Arthur’s mind and he could see the resemblance between the man and Freya. Her father.
The man held out his hand and giving Arthur a customary greeting. “Jackson Gilbert, at your service your royal highness.”
Ah now he remembered where he knew the man. His father mentioned him a lot and Arthur remembers seeing hima few times in passing. And he remembered seeing the man’s name plastered in the papers about a year ago when his daughter had nearly been kidnapped.
Which explained Merlin’s presence tonight.
Arthur nodded at Jackson. “Ah yes, my father talks a lot about you. If I’m not mistaken he considers you his most trusted friend.”
Jackson laughed, shaking his head in amusement. “That is high praise indeed.”
Movement to his left caught Arthur’s attention and with another nod to Jackson, he looked over. Merlin had knelt down next to Freya so she could whisper something in his ear. Arthur couldn’t hear what she said but could see the blush that colored Merlin’s cheeks as he laughed at whatever he said. When he looked up and caught Arthur watching them, a shy smile spread across his face. Arthur heart skipped a beat and he smiled back.
God, how could he have ever let Merlin go?
“You know,” Jackson said, looking at his daughter as Merlin straightened back up. “Merlin used to work for the royal family.”
Freya’s eyes went wide. “He did?”
“Yes,” Jackson nodded. He shot Arthur a sidelong glance. “He came very highly recommended.”
Now it was Arthur’s turn to blush and he ducked his head. All he had wanted was for Merlin to be happy wherever he ended up. A glowing recommendation letter written by Prince Arthur himself was the least he could do for a man he had wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
No not had….does. He wanted it so badly, it was almost a physical pain. He had thought he would never see Merlin again and that in itself had been painful enough. The not knowing, the constant wondering. But seeing him again tonight so unexpectedly, it had brought forth feelings he had thought he had done a decent job hampering. It had been tolerable, manageable. Now he felt like he was seeing Merlin walk away all over again. He couldn’t go through that a second time. He wouldn’t survive it.
“Pardon me, Mr Gilbert,” Arthur said before he could lose his resolve. “May I borrow Merlin for a second.”
Merlin looked up sharply at his words, surprise clear on his face. He quickly covered it with a stoic expression. Arthur tried not to read into that too much.
Jackson nodded. “Yes, of course.” His eyes met Arthur’s with a look of understanding and Arthur wondered how much he suspected. “Freya, come. I think it’s about time we raid the sweets table.”
Freya bounded forward and took her father’s outstretched hand. “Yes!”
“Just don’t tell your mother,” Jackson stated as they headed through the crowd of guests toward the other side of the ballroom.
Freya’s high pitched response could be heard over the din. “Oh, I won’t.”
Silence fell between them. Beyond, the party continued, people laughing, drinking and socializing. Arthur wondered briefly when announcements and event greetings were going to start. Not that he cared at the moment. After finding Merlin again, nothing seemed to matter except righting the wrongs and smoothing out what had been broken. If not something more.
Further along the wall, Arthur spied a corridor branching off the ballroom floor. He looked over at Merlin, caught his eye and angled his head toward it. Merlin nodded and followed, with Patrick silently trailing behind him.
Arthur led the way, turning down the corridor to find it littered with a few couples and groups. He sighed. This wasn’t really a conversation he wanted others to overhear. At least, not what he had to say.
A warm hand slid into his and Arthur jumped at the unexpected contact. He looked back to see Merlin nod his head toward a pair of large french doors that Arthur had overlooked. He shrugged and let Merlin pull him along.
The doors led out onto a flat stone patio with a low wall separating it from the large expansive garden beyond. A break in the center of the wall gave way to a gravel path well lit in the full moon and off further through the garden, an enclosed gazebo surrounded by floral plants. The night was brisk, with a icy breeze that carried the smell of freshly cut grass from the garden and chilled you all the way to the bone. But Arthur didn’t mind. No one else would bother to brave the cold. It meant they wouldn’t be disturbed.
Arthur stopped at the doors and reluctantly pulled his hand from Merlin’s as the man made his way further out into moonlit patio. He glanced back, a questioning look on his face but Arthur just smiled in reassurance. Then he turned as Patrick came up behind him and stopped him with a hand.
“Wait here, please.”
Patrick nodded and took up post by the doors. When Arthur was sure they wouldn’t be overheard, he headed to the garden wall and joined Merlin. A breeze blew across his face, throw strands of hair across his forehead and making his skin pimple. It was truly not a night to be outdoors, especially in his formal attire, but there clearly wasn’t much he wouldn’t do for a moment with Merlin.
Even if it was to just mend their broken friendship and go their separate ways.
In the moonlight, Merlin looked even more dazzling, silhouetted against the dark sweeping grounds of the estate. And when he looked back as Arthur approached, his blue eyes shone with an emotion Arthur couldn’t place.
“Seems you’ve done well for yourself.” Arthur said, breaking the silence between them.
Merlin nodded, falling into step beside Arthur, the stone beneath their feet turning into gravel as they ventured along the path into the garden. “They are good to me. And Freya is…” he paused, a chuckle escaping his lips, “...not like other girls. They have a very special little girl.”
Arthur couldn’t help but respond with a chuckle of his own. “Indeed, they do.”
“Your new security guard seems attentive.” Merlin picked idly at the cuff links on his shirt.
“He’s dreadfully boring,” Arthur sighed. “And much too quiet.” He shoved his hands into his trouser pockets, staring out at the gardens, trying to keep his tone light and joking when all he wanted to do was beg for forgiveness. “I think you ruined me. I expect too much from a security officer now.”
Merlin gave him a sidelong look as they walked, a spark of mischief in his eyes. “If you were to seduce all your security officers into your bed, someone would notice.”
They laughed, Arthur feeling the tightness in his chest relax a little at the familiarity of it all. He couldn’t remember the last time he had truly laughed, feeling light and carefree. Merlin was the only one who had been able to bring that out of him. Probably because Merlin was the only one who truly understood him. Who truly knew him.
He needed that back. Not just for his own sanity, but in order to continue being the Prince his country expected. And wasn’t that ironic. The one person he needed in order to properly serve his country was the one person his country might condemn him for needing.
“Are you still mad at me?” The words were out of his mouth before he could decide if he wanted to know the answer.
Merlin sighed, looking over at Arthur with a sincerity that nearly broke him all over again. “I was never mad at you, Arthur. I understood, I still do.”
Arthur turned away from Merlin’s piercing eyes, choosing instead to kick at a rock on the path, watching it skitter away amongst the roses. “I’m not sure I do anymore,” he admitted. “It was dumb and pointless. It’s my biggest regret, letting you go.”
Silence fell between them following Arthur’s admission. He had known it was a mistake the minute he had broken up with Merlin, and knew he would never truly be happy when Merlin walked out of his life. He knew the chances of getting Merlin to come back were slim, but if he could at least begin to mend what he had broken, he figured he could live with that. As long as Merlin wasn’t completely out of his life anymore.
They reached the gazebo and Arthur pulled open the door, letting them inside. It was marginally warmer away from the biting wind, but not by much. His breath ghosted before his face with every exhale and he pulled his jacket further around his body in a vain attempt to retain some body heat. Next to him, Merlin was shivering slightly but he seemed not to notice as he took in their surroundings.
“I would be lying,” Merlin said, his voice soft as he finally looked over at Arthur and Arthur met his gaze, “if I said it wasn’t mine as well.”
He wasn’t sure how long the moment lasted, the two of them, standing inside the gazebo and searching for something in the other’s eyes, but it was over soon enough. Though a heaviness, a feeling of some change lingered in the air long after.
“What are we doing?” Arthur groaned. He felt lost and unsure about what to do. About what Merlin wanted, about what he had planned when he asked Merlin to come out here, about everything. He wanted Merlin back, that much he knew. But beyond that, nothing. “Are we really okay with letting this go?”
“You started it,” Merlin pointed out with a shrug.
Shaking his head, Arthur turned fully toward Merlin. “I never should have. It was wrong and I hurt you.”
“And I hurt you right back.”
“Only to save yourself from more pain.”
“Doesn’t make it any better.”
Arthur sighed, sitting down on one of the white benches lining the edge of the gazebo. Merlin followed suit, their bodies close, thighs brushing against one another.
“Aren’t we a sad bunch,” Merlin chuckled suddenly, shaking his head.
Arthur let out a chuckle of his own. “Truly.”
Before he could think better of it, Arthur reached over, placing his hand over Merlin’s where it rest on his knee. Merlin automatically turned his hand over and interlocked their fingers, something he had always done back when they had still been together and Arthur needed his support. Now, it brought back the same feeling. Support, love, tenderness. Feelings he hadn’t had in a long time. His heart swelled, overwhelmed.
It was too much. Acting on instinct, Arthur turned toward Merlin, finding his friend mirroring his movement and they met in the middle. Merlin’s lips were cold and chapped, but just as comforting as he remembered, more so now with time spent apart. Warm breath mingled with Arthur’s, brushing against his cold face and igniting a heat in his cheeks. A hand cupped the back of his head, long lithe fingers tangling in his hair and pulling them closer together as Arthur deepened the kiss. Merlin parted his lips, sliding his tongue against Arthur’s no longer soft and sweet but sensual and desperate.
Suddenly it wasn’t enough and Arthur found his hands roaming, tugging at Merlin’s shirt until it came loose and he could feel warm skin beneath his fingers. Merlin shuddered, skin pimpling at Arthur’s touch. His breathing became heavy, the hand in Arthur’s hair tightening to nearly painful degree. But he didn’t stop, he couldn’t. His body was already responding, eager for a pleasure he hadn’t felt in a long time.
Merlin shifted, using his hold on Arthur’s hair to pull himself up and straddle his lap. Arthur was keenly aware that they weren’t in the most private of places, the glass walls of the gazebo offering no protection from curious wandering eyes. But as Merlin’s tongue drove deeper into Arthur’s mouth and the hard bulge of his cock brushing against his stomach, Arthur found he didn’t care. No one was looking this way and from inside the party, it was too dark beyond to see much anyway.
Besides, he was too far gone to want stop now. And from the feel of him, so was Merlin.
“Fuck, Merlin,” Arthur breathed as Merlin’s lips traveled down to his neck, leaving a trail of heat in their wake.
Merlin smirked against his collarbone. “That’s the idea, your highness.”
Merlin’s other hand journeyed down Arthur’s chest, pushing his suit jacket off his shoulders before plucking the buttons of his shirt apart as he made his way down. When he pulled the shirt free from his trousers, finishing with the last button, Merlin ran his hand sensually up Arthur’s chest, the mix of chilled air and heated touch nearly enough to send Arthur over the edge.
“Merlin, if you cause me to ruin these trousers, I’ll make damn sure the tailor knows exactly who is to blame.”
Merlin chuckled, continuing to tease with his mouth down Arthur’s sternum, pausing just above his left nipple. “I would love to see you explain it to him,” Merlin breathed over the sensitive flesh, before taking it into his mouth and giving it a hard suck.
“Fuck,” Arthur groaned. If Merlin kept this up, he really wasn’t going to last much longer.
Arthur ran his hand down Merlin’s hips to his buttocks, slipping his hands inside his trousers and giving them a hard squeeze. He was rewarded with a hitch in Merlin’s breath against Arthur’s nipple.
Without warning, Merlin released his hold on Arthur’s hair and slid off his lap to kneel at his feet. Arthur nearly whimpered at the loss of warmth but found his cheeks burning as Merlin fumbled open Arthur’s trousers. With a heated look up at him through his lashes, Merlin reached in and extracted Arthur’s hard cock from his pants.
Arthur couldn’t hold back a groan. “Merlin.”
Merlin held his gaze, a glint in his eyes. “I won’t ruin your trousers, I promise.” And with that, he leaned forward and swallowed Arthur down.
“Oh fuck, fuck.”
Merlin sucked him off hard, head bobbing, throat working in time with his movements as his hand picked up the slack at the base of Arthur’s cock. Arthur felt like he couldn’t get enough air, breathing heavily as his pleasure built up to a crescendo. He meant to stay still, to let Merlin work him how he pleased and not choke in the process but his hips had other ideas. He bucked, and Merlin took it in stride, adjusting.
“Merlin,” Arthur warned with a gasp. Merlin just looked up at Arthur from his position on the floor and kept up his rhythm.
That look alone did it for Arthur.
His orgasm crashed through him like a tidal wave, so strong and fierce that he had to bite his lip to keep from voicing his pleasure. Merlin for his part, swallowed it down, a few trickles of cum escaping the corners of his mouth to run down his chin and drip onto the gazebo floor. The sight nearly made Arthur cum all over again.
“Fuck, Merlin,” he groaned dizzy and shaking with post-orgasm bliss. Through the haze, he reached for Merlin, drawing him up off the floor and capturing his mouth in a languid kiss. He could taste his own release on Merlin’s lips, salty with essence of himself and he parted his lips to drive his tongue further in. Merlin situated himself back onto Arthur’s lap without breaking stride, his straining erection trapped between their bodies. Then he threw his arms around Arthur’s neck, and deepened the kiss further.
Arthur fumbled to match him in his post-orgasm haze, but managed enough sense to reach between them and free Merlin’s own cock from his trousers. Merlin groaned against his lips as Arthur’s hand closed around him, his breathing picking up in pace.
“I know,” was all Arthur said as he spit onto his hand and began stroking Merlin fast and rough. Just how he liked it.
In no time, Merlin’s thrusts became stuttered, his breathing almost erratic with his building pleasure. Arthur reached his other hand into the front of Merlin’s trousers, following his cock down passed his tightening balls to his hole. He gave the little furl of muscle a few circles before pushing a dry finger inside. Merlin keened against his mouth, eyes shut, body wound tight as he balanced just on the cusp of orgasm. A few strokes of his cock in sync with pumps of Arthur’s finger in his hole and Merlin crashed over the edge, Arthur swallowing his yell with a bruising kiss.
Arthur rubbed Merlin’s back as he took a few minutes to catch his breath and come down off the high of orgasm.
“I forgot how much I missed that,” Merlin said, breaking the silence.
Arthur angled his head to look down at where Merlin was still resting against his shoulder. “Sex? Or sex with me?”
“You, in general,” Merlin responded earnestly. “But yes, the sex with you as well.”
“I am pretty mind-blowing, I know.”
Merlin gave Arthur a half-hearted punch to the shoulder. “Don’t get ahead of yourself prat. Just be glad neither of us got any cum on our suits.”
Arthur looked down at himself and then at Merlin, both of them miraculously cum free despite Merlin’s unhindered release. The same could not be said for the gazebo bench but Arthur couldn’t worry about that. “Thank god for small miracles.”
Their breathing filled the silence, still slightly heavy and fast but slowing with the pace of their hearts. Arthur couldn’t help but watch Merlin, his body warm against his chest, head cradled on his shoulder. How could he have ever thought letting this man go was the right thing to do?
“I am sorry,” Arthur confessed, a wave of sincerity washing over him suddenly. “I’m so sorry for everything I put you through, that I inadvertently made you choose between your job and your happiness. It’s been miserable here without you.”
Merlin leaned up, still straddling Arthur’s lap and now shaking slightly as the cold night air seeped back into his body, and met his gaze. “I’m sorry too, for leaving you.”
A wave of emotions washed over Arthur and he felt his throat tighten. Merlin was his everything, he could see that now. His first and last love. There was no one else out there for him. So why should he deny himself the one person that would truly make him happy? Make them both happy. He shouldn’t have to hide in the dark, show the world only part of himself when the best part of himself was the one they hadn’t seen yet. Damn the small-minded, damn the bigots of the world. If hiding away meant he couldn’t have Merlin, then he refused to hide anymore.
“Fuck it all,” Arthur cursed. Merlin raised his eyebrows, an amused smile on his lips. “Let the country, hell, the world think what they want. I can’t do any of this without you.” He shook his head, voice lowering. “I don’t want to.”
With a soft endearing smile, Merlin leaned forward and drew Arthur in for a long languid kiss.
A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT HIGHLIGHTING THE CHANGING TIMES: PRINCE ARTHUR AND MERLIN EMRYS
PRINCE ARTHUR ENGAGED TO HIS FORMER BODYGUARD, MERLIN EMRYS
THE UK’S GAY PRINCE, HIS BODYGUARD, AND A WHIRLWIND ROMANCE STRAIGHT OFF THE SILVER SCREEN
BRITISH PEOPLE STAND BY THEIR GAY PRINCE AND HIS RECENT ENGAGEMENT TO MERLIN EMRYS