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Dickmagician

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It was a masterpiece.

Arthur had never really taken a picture of his cock before. He’d never really felt the need to immortalise it in any sense considering it was permanently stuck to him anyway. Besides, it seemed like something complete tossers with subpar dicks did, before sending it to people who had no interest in seeing their attempt at sexiness flop to the ground with a sad fanfare.

It wasn’t like Arthur was going to send it to anyone. He’d just been overcome with this need to see if he could take one. It was a personality flaw he was well aware of. It was like that time he’d just had to see if he could pull off Morgana’s red lipstick (he could) and that other time when he just wanted to know if he could pole dance as well the stripper (he couldn’t).

There was a strange sense of accomplishment in proving to himself that he could do things, no matter how outlandish. And he could definitely take pictures of his cock. It took up most of the frame as it jutted out from his crotch, thick and hard. The only other thing that could be seen was the blue of his jeans, but it wasn’t enough to distract from his cock in all its… cockness. It was the embodiment of a dick pic.

His finger hovered over the delete button and he leant back against the pillows on his bed. It didn’t really have to go just because he wasn’t going to send it to anyone. Except it really did because Morgana routinely looked through his phone, and Gwaine always had to borrow it because he forgot his own. No matter how fantastic it was (or maybe because of how fantastic it was), it was not for their highly judgmental eyes.

“Hey, knobhead,” Merlin said through the door. “I’m not taking your dirty pants out of the washer.”

Arthur dropped the phone as if it had burned a hole through his hand. “Maybe you should try. Might even build some character.”

“Sod off.”

When Arthur pulled the door open, Merlin was bending over their kitchen counter next to their Leaning Tower of Pisa made from take out menus. He’d picked one from the bunch and leafed through it, teeth sunk into his bottom lip.

“I thought you were going out with Elyan.”

Merlin looked up and shrugged. His hair was damp, but had started to curl at his neck. It had gotten long and unruly again. If Merlin’s mum were here, she’d be tugging at it with every kind of disapproving sound in her repertoire, Arthur reckoned.

“Something came up. I’m getting Korean. Want any?”

“Yeah, I’ll have some of whatever you’re getting, it’s fine.”

“Alright.” Merlin picked his own phone out of his pocket and dialed the number with his tongue peeking out at the corner of his mouth. “Don’t forget your pants.”

Arthur rolled his eyes and left Merlin to carry out the “being obscenely annoying” part of their flatmate arrangement in peace.

*

It was Merlin’s fault. If Merlin hadn’t distracted him, he would have deleted the picture from his phone right away instead of suddenly remembering its existence as he happened upon a blog reviewing dick pics.

Not exactly what Arthur had expected while trawling the internet for porn, but it made him pause. He sat up in his seat, ignored his half-hard cock and scrolled through the submissions and the comments on them. Maybe it was the image still on his phone, or maybe it was just plain curiosity, but he was oddly captivated by the whole thing.

There were cocks in all shapes and sizes. Some of them made his erection harden and some of them, quite honestly, made him laugh. And yet the reviewer was never rude about size or shape or look. He was plenty rude about the pictures themselves, though, and bless him for that, because Arthur was wheezing with laughter.

And his picture was definitely better than most of these.

Not that he was sending it in, anyway. He wasn’t bonkers.

*

As it was, alcohol made him bonkers.

He should have known this already, of course, considering he once swam across a river in the nude during a thunderstorm because Gwaine told him to. There was also the time he sucked off that really scary looking bloke who was wearing a wedding dress. He’d been all muscle, lace and tulle.

And yet, Arthur never seemed to learn.

He let his forehead smack against the surface of his desk. Of course he would drunk-send the picture of his dick to a person who reviewed dick pics. Drunk Arthur had different life goals entirely. He wanted attention. And to humiliate Sober Arthur as much as humanly possible.

His only hope was the message at the top of the blog saying that the dick reviewer was literally drowning in pictures of penises. Maybe his would somehow slip by unnoticed, even if it was a good one.

He sent a group text saying, would everyone just hide the drink from me please because it was a legitimate concern that he should have brought forth many times already.

He was answered with a barrage of nevers.

*

“What crawled up your arse and died?” Merlin said.

He stood in the bathroom doorway, vigorously towelling his hair. Arthur tried not to glare, but judging by Merlin’s raised eyebrow, it didn’t work.

“Nothing.” Arthur tried to close the cupboard door with a little less force.

“Right. I just figured it might be something because I thought the entire kitchen was falling apart while I was in the shower.”

A D+. A fucking D+. That’s what that bloody charlatan thought his dick pic was worth. Arthur was beyond angry. But what was he supposed to tell Merlin, anyway? Oh, I’m furious because some random bloke on the internet calling himself dickmagician thought my dick pic sucked. And what’s with the whole dickmagician thing anyway, why not cockwarlock?

“You’ve got paint on your earlobe,” he said instead, and Merlin ran his fingers along his right ear.

“Bollocks, I thought I got it all.”

“How’s—“

“Don’t ask.”

“You know I’m still going to ask,” Arthur said, watching as Merlin threw the towel back into the bathroom.

“Sure, I’ll tell you about my project if you tell me what’s bothering you.”

Arthur scowled into his newly brewed tea. “It’s nothing important.”

Wow. Well, sure, this is a very fine looking dick, ADP, but it’s just sitting there, looking like any other dick. Where’s the teasing? Where’s the allure that’s going to make me interested in what more you have to offer? Any old dick can just sit there, ADP. And that doesn’t make anyone want more. The fact that it’s blurry and pixelated doesn’t really help your case either.

It was patently ridiculous to take this imbecile’s word to heart (especially because he addressed everyone as ADP for Aspiring Dick Photographer), but somehow he was just getting angrier and angrier. At first he’d laughed (out loud, slightly deranged), but then the sting of it kicked in.

When there was no reply, Arthur peered over at Merlin to find him looking back with his eyebrows raised.

“It’s just some bad feedback.” On the kitchen table, his phone buzzed once and then again. “At work.”

“Since when do you care so much what other people think?”

Arthur shrugged. Sometimes he forgot that they didn’t truly know each other. Since they lived together and more or less walked on top of each other every single day, it was hard to remember. There were a lot of things Merlin didn’t know about him, and probably a lot of things he didn’t know about Merlin.

Because Arthur had always cared, to a fault, what people thought of him. So much so that he wanted everyone to think he didn’t care at all.

“Whatever it is, it can be fixed, yeah?” Merlin leaned his hip against the counter, his arms crossed over his stomach. “Of course the criticism sucks, but in a while you can look at it and learn. Well, unless the feedback was completely off base.”

Arthur’s phone buzzed again, three times in rapid succession.

“Who’s blowing up your phone?”

“Morgana,” Arthur said as he picked it up. “She’s moving in with Gwen this weekend and they keep trying to bring other people into their fights to settle them. God, I don’t care if they paint the bedroom blue. Christ.”

Merlin laughed and Arthur’s eyes were drawn to his neck.

“You plan on getting dressed any time soon?” He asked, throwing the phone away without answering any of Morgana’s texts.

“Eventually.”

“Such a good flatmate.”

“You know it.”

“I regret the day I put it up on Facebook instead of just advertising in the paper. Maybe if I’d done that I’d only get upstanding citizens wanting to live here.”

“Right.” Merlin inspected his nails. “If you’d run it in Financial Times, maybe you’d have ended up with someone as terrifyingly uptight as yourself, even.”

Merlin squeaked when Arthur grabbed the nearby kitchen towel and swatted at him.

“I didn’t say you haven’t gotten better! I’ve helped immensely.”

“Are you saying you’ve been working on my personality?”

Merlin snorted. “Of course I have. It’s why I get way better Christmas presents from Morgana.”

The sad thing was that it was true.

“Just go put on a fucking shirt.”

*

The thing was that maybe Merlin was right. Maybe this wasn’t about being upset over the feedback he got, but about learning from it. In an ideal world, he’d shrug it off and come to terms with his inability to take alluring dick pics, but this wasn’t an ideal world and Arthur never tended to come to terms with shortcomings.

The only viable option was to get better.

At this point it was a matter of getting peace of mind. Arthur couldn’t live his life knowing he took mediocre dick pics. It was something he was completely unwilling to list as a personality flaw.

That was the only reasonable explanation he had for gingerly placing his cock on an opened book (Great Expectations because it felt poetic). He had no idea what made a dick pic teasing or alluring, specifically, but he gathered from the comment that he needed something else in the picture and not just his cock standing there.

He moved his half-hard cock around on the page, frowning as he tried to find something that looked at least vaguely artistic. Dear God, what was he even doing? Surely dick pics weren’t supposed to be this complicated? It was a picture of a dick, not a fucking graduate art project.

And yet, here he was, trying to arrange his dick alongside a Charles Dickens book as if that was something normal people did. If his friends ever found out, he’d have to leave the country and change his entire identity.

Oh, wait. Dickens. Hah, that choice just got better and better.

Eventually, he ended up with a picture where is cockhead rested against the page of the book in a close up. He sent it to the blog from the same email address he’d created the first time around, because for some reason, he really wanted the reviewer to see that he’d improved.

And then he had a wank since he already had his dick in his hands.

*

“Remind me what I’m getting out of this again?” Arthur said, nearly losing the grip on the box he was carrying up the stairs.

Gwaine huffed. “The absence of my foot up your arse.”

“Swell.”

The door to Merlin’s new studio space was wide open and he fastened his grip on the box as he reached the top of the stairs. He made it inside before dropping it as gently as he could. Merlin looked up from where he was unpacking and a small smiled played on his lips.

“How’s my muscle doing?”

Arthur scowled at him as Gwaine dropped a box by Arthur’s feet.

“Brilliantly, thanks for asking, Merlin. It would’ve been a lot better if you asked Elyan instead of the whining eejit here. He’s wearing me out with his constant nattering.”

“Just give him a treat whenever he’s being good,” Merlin said, picking out several bottles of paint. “Eventually he’ll learn.”

Gwaine laughed, and since Merlin was well out of reach, Arthur shoved him in the shoulder with as much force as he could muster. Gwaine nearly toppled over, but it didn’t cure his amusement at all.

“Come on, princess.” Gwaine clamped a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go get the rest.”

Oddly enough, a few more trips up and down the stairs pulled Arthur into a sort of routine that made his annoyance evaporate. Instead of getting more tired, he found himself settling into it. Merlin had been sharing a studio space with five other artists and was finally able to afford something of his own, and maybe it was a little ridiculous of him to be annoyed about helping out.

Just as Arthur brought the last easel up the stairs, a delivery man passed him and hovered outside the open door. Arthur stopped behind him and waited, leaning against the easel as Merlin appeared at the door.

“See?” He said and waved his money around. “I’m even feeding you, Arthur.”

Arthur rolled his eyes and squeezed himself through the door as soon as the delivery guy went back down the stairs.

They sat down on the floor to eat since there wasn’t really anywhere else to sit. Merlin had a chair that he used for painting, and that was about it.

“Maybe I should get a sofa in here,” Merlin said as he put the pizza box on the floor between them. “There would probably be room for it, don’t you think? And I could probably get it cheap too. I don’t need a new one, so I could just get one second-hand.”

“I don’t know. It would probably kill your productivity, mate.” Gwaine reached in to take the first slice.

Merlin snorted. “My productivity is already dead.”

Arthur sat with his knees bent, leaning his arms onto them as he peered around the room. It still looked fairly spacious, even with all the stuff inside. It had high ceilings and the windows were tall. They weren’t entirely clear, and the glass could probably benefit from being replaced, but they let in a generous amount of daylight that made the room light and airy.

“A sofa would probably look good,” Arthur said. “You could invite people over.”

Gwaine huffed a laugh. “To watch him paint?”

“No, to paint them, of course.” Arthur gestured at the imaginary sofa. “Lay them out on the sofa and turn them into art or whatever it is you painters do.”

“That sounds oddly poetic,” Merlin said, and bit into his slice.

Arthur unfurled himself from his position and draped his body across the floor as if he was lounging on a sofa. “Paint me like one of your French girls, Merlin.”

Merlin choked on his pizza and laughed. “Oh my god.”

“That’s the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in my life,” Gwaine said, and he did look truly horrified. Arthur just grinned at him.

Merlin looked up towards the ceiling, a smile spreading across his face like he couldn’t quite believe he was there. Merlin looked happy. And that was kind of nice.

*

It’s very admirable when people want to improve, which is why I’m including your image again, ADP. See, this would be pretty interesting if I could actually see your dick. Right now I’m pretty much just reading the novel and then a tiny bit of your dick is slapping me in the face when I get to the bottom. Dick slapping is not as sexy as it sounds, especially if it’s only, like, the tip of your dick.

Find your middle ground, ADP! Composition matters, friends. You want to tease us, to make us want more, but you also want me to see enough to be enticed. Right now I just really want to read Great Expectations.

C+ for you.

*

Arthur was honestly two seconds away from asking Gwaine if he was a dick pic pro and if he had advice to share. Because, let’s be real here, if anyone he knew would be a dick pic expert, it was Gwaine. Sadly, Gwaine was also the person who would make his life one of misery and pain if he ever so much as hinted at this.

If he watched porn for research, no one needed to know, right? In the same vein, no one needed to know if he spent two hours at work planning his new submission. But he’d always judge himself.

When it came down to it, he blamed the end result on desperation. The dickmagician wanted composition. He (and Arthur was pretty sure it was a he at this point) wanted something that stood out.

Arthur ended up sneaking out from work to buy body paint and then made his dick look like a twisted, dirtywrong rainbow for Pride. It was absurd, really. His dick looked like an arts & crafts project for perverts where it curved hard against his stomach, the base smeared with multi-coloured paints. The lines going horizontally around it were mostly even and not entirely sloppy, but he had paint on his hands and paint on his sheets and it was all a mess.

Maybe he’d count that as a win.

Sex was messy, right? And as such, messy could be sexy. That was just a logical fact.

He twisted his hand into the sheets by his hip, careful to include it in his sideways shot. His hand was smeared with paint and there were streaks of it in the sheets bunching in his grip as well.

When he looked back at the shot, it was kind of hot, if he was honest about it. Maybe he kind of understood dickmagician’s points a little. He was always going on about bringing in other parts of your body, about showing other things, about light and composition. And in these pictures, Arthur could see the swell of his thigh and the desperate curl of his fingers and the mess he made of the paint.

Arthur was two seconds away from being the Van Gogh of dick pics.

*

Dear readers. Do you know how much I love improvement? I love it a lot. I’d spoon the hell out of it. So when this popped up in my inbox, I had to post it right away, because this? This is a world away from when you just flopped your dick into the frame and took a blurry picture, ADP.

Sure, it’s a little much, maybe. I mean, your dick is covered in paint. But your hand is gripping the sheets just right, and your angle is showing us a great view of your side, letting the light hit the curves.

It’s fun. Is it perfect? I mean, no. It’s a little on the silly side, perhaps, although I’m not at all opposed to this kind of rainbow.

I’d give you a B+, but come on guys, it’s Pride! So to hell with it. A for Pride!

*

Arthur preened.

And yet, he needed that A+ before he quit this whole thing. There was no discussion.

If only he’d been this dedicated in school.

*

His rainbow dick pic was as close as Arthur had come to properly celebrating Pride in a few years. After he first came out, Pride had been like some sort of clichéd liberation where he ran around topless and sucked off random dudes in clubs. And he realised Pride wasn’t necessarily about that, unless that’s what one wanted it to be, but he didn’t seem to be able to find the middle ground between going all out and going nowhere at all.

That was how it often was, really.

Merlin, though – he really went for it. No one else in Arthur’s social circle was so wrapped up in the enthusiasm of Pride. It was a little refreshing, truth be told. He even felt a twinge of regret as Merlin ran out the door decked in glitter and paint, telling him not to expect him home for about three days.

Merlin wasn’t even exaggerating. Arthur’d learned that much last year when he literally didn’t see Merlin for days until he came home one day looking like he’d gone to war against a glitterbomb.

“Wanna come out with Gwen and me?” Morgana asked as soon as he’d answered her call.

He eyed the episode of QI that was on, not really intending to miss it.

“I don’t know, Morgs. I’m sure you guys can make it at the pub without me.”

“Well, you’re no fun. Besides, I’m not so sure we can.”

“What, you can’t get drunk without me tipping drinks into your mouth?”

“That’d help! See, you’re totally needed.”

Arthur laughed as he crossed his legs on the table.

“I’ll drink you under the table some other time.”

“Oh, sweetie. You’d never.”

“I would, and I have. And don’t think I don’t know you’re just saying this to get me to come and prove you wrong. I totally see—“ Arthur stopped, his lips opening and closing a few times as he saw Merlin stop in the middle of the room, looking like a complete wreck. “Morgs, I gotta go.”

“Not off the hook that easily, kid, I—“

“No, I really need to go,” Arthur said, hanging up before she could protest any further. He sat up, lowering his feet from the table. “Merlin.”

Merlin was covered in glitter and paint. It streaked across his cheeks and down his neck, with random splatters all over his naked torso. He was blue and pink and green and yellow, with purple at the corner of his mouth. Tears had etched vertical paths into the paint on his cheeks.

“I came back early.” Merlin’s voice wavered.

“What’s wrong? You’re scaring me, Merlin. This is… You look terrible.”

“No, it’s not…” Merlin stepped towards the sofa. When he sat down, he curled up into himself, his arms wrapped around his knees. “It’s not serious. I’m sorry I scared you.”

“No, Jesus. Don’t be. What’s going on?”

“Oh, God, it’s so feckin’ silly.” Merlin’s accent seemed to have gone broader in the few hours they’d been apart, and Arthur could smell the alcohol on his breath.

“You’re upset,” Arthur said, cringing at the obviousness of his statement. He was so terribly shite at these things, it was frankly unbelievable. “So it’s not silly.”

Merlin ran the back of his hand over his own cheek and shook his head. “I had a fight with Elyan, is all. He said some shit, I said some shit. Then I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

Arthur shifted, not knowing what to say as Merlin gnawed on his bottom lip.

“It’s stupid, because we’re not even dating, really. It was just an undefinable… indefinable?” He paused and shook his head. “Something. And I don’t think I even wanted it to be more. But I hate arguing with people, you know. My mum and my dad used to argue all the time before he left.”

Merlin picked at his socks, brows furrowed. His eyes were downturned, so Arthur couldn’t quite read his expression.

“It’s OK to be sad, you know. It’s…” Arthur faltered, biting back a frustrated sound.

Holy fuck, he was not made for this. Merlin just nodded, not looking at him.

“Do you want me to call someone?” Arthur said. “Someone you can talk to? I’m not… I’m not that good at this.”

Merlin looked up, distressed. “No, don’t. I—You’re doing fine, Arthur. Can we just talk? Or not talk. I don’t want to talk to anyone else.”

Alright. It seemed like Arthur was doing this. He’d never really had to, before. Arthur had never been one who people naturally confided in. But now he was, and that… yeah. He smiled a little and reached out his hand to nudge Merlin’s leg.

Merlin smiled too, almost out of surprise, it seemed.

“Do you want him back?” Arthur asked. “I’m sure it can be fixed if you want to.”

Shaking his head, Merlin stayed quiet for a moment, seemingly picking his words. “No, I don’t think I do, actually. I think I’m just really sure it’s over? And things are never fun when they’re over, even if that’s what you want.”

Arthur nodded. “Do you want to talk about something else?”

“Yeah. That’d be great, actually.” Merlin unfurled himself from the ball he’d twisted his limbs into and sprawled out on the sofa next to him. “What are you watching?”

“Old episodes of QI.”

“You’re such a giant nerd, it’s unbelievable.”

“Hey, careful. I was about to order you a pizza.”

Merlin perked up, peering up at him. “I take it back. I’ll be good.”

Arthur ordered pizza and made them tea, and they didn’t move from the sofa all night. It was probably the longest they’d ever hung out without anyone else as a buffer. And it was weird because Merlin’s face was full of paint and tears, but in most other ways it wasn’t weird at all.

*

Several weeks passed before Arthur felt the need to finish his dick pic project. It rested comfortably in the back of his mind, and for the first time since he started this whole thing, he was in no particular rush to get to perfection. Maybe it was because he knew he could now. That A+ was perfectly attainable if he just waited for the right moment.

He’d become Arthur Pendragon: dick pic master. Maybe someday he’d teach someone else the art of dick pics. Let the perfect dick pic come to you, young grasshopper.

The perfect dick pic came to him when he was lounging on his bed on a Sunday morning, lazily stroking himself while his mind skipped aimlessly from thought to thought. Arousal burned slow and steady in his gut as he thumbed at the head of his cock and turned his head into the pillow. He imagined another cock pressing against his, hard and perfect.

The ring on his thumb dragged along his skin and he twitched, letting out a soft gasp. It was cold and smooth on his heated skin, and it hit him then that this was the perfect opportunity. He turned and fumbled for his phone, getting a little pissed off about his choice of moment because he really kind of wanted to come, but that was definitely getting delayed until he could get this done.

He rose from the bed and fiddled with the lights in the room, trying to find something that would work to his advantage. In the end, he left all the lights off. The natural light of morning seemed to work best.

He climbed back into bed, his cock straining hard, and he groaned, pressing his palm along the length of it to take the edge off. Splaying himself out, he spread his legs and curled his hand around the base of his cock, trying to find a grip that looked good. The other hand held the camera between his legs with slight difficulty, attempting to catch the image of himself splayed out from below. He needed to find the best way to utilise his thumb ring, but it was a bit of a hassle trying to look at the framing of it on his phone from this angle.

At least, the messing around pulled him back from the edge of coming and he only felt the steady thrum of arousal as he sunk back unto the mattress, gripped his cock and pushed the button.

It wasn’t quite right. It looked like he’d actually been straining to take the photo, and his head was just sort of lying there, like he wasn’t actually enjoying the grip on his cock that much.

He tried a few more times, relaxing, turning his head a little.

And then, finally, he had it. He looked relaxed. It didn’t seem like a picture as much as someone was sitting between his legs looking down at him wanking. His head was thrown back and his thumb ring was visibly pressed to the skin of his cock.

He threw his phone aside and flopped back onto the bed, slinging his arm over his eyes. Grinning into the empty room, he felt the rush of accomplishment as he reached down to stroke his hand along his length.

*

I’m speechless, ADP. Can I remind you, and everyone else, of the blurry mess of a picture you sent me two months ago? This is extraordinary and I’m downright proud of helping you on this journey to achieve dick pic perfection. This is tantalising, it’s sexy, it’s the perfect combination between being quite obscene and still leaving something to the imagination.

And I don’t even think you realise how hot this composition makes me. It’s composition porn, is what it is.

A+, ADP. A fucking +

*

“Late night?” Arthur asked, amused, as he came into the kitchen at lunchtime to find Merlin hunched over a cup of coffee. Merlin only ever drank coffee if the situation was dire.

Merlin gave a garbled noise and Arthur’s shoulders shook with laughter. He turned his back to Merlin as he put the kettle on and reached up to get a mug for his tea.

“Not the kind of late night you’re thinking of,” Merlin said. “It was decidedly less fun.”

“Studio?” Arthur peered over his shoulder to find Merlin rubbing at his eyes.

Merlin hummed. “Project deadline tonight. I’m a fucking mess, Arthur. I lost like a week of work when that thing with Elyan happened. I was completely dry.”

“You’re doing OK now, though, right?”

“Yeah, I’m just behind. I need to seriously pull something off today. Something hitherto undiscovered by mankind.”

“You’ll figure it out. You always do. Last time, you were praying for a miracle too.”

“And none came.”

“It went fine, though. It always works out somehow.”

“It went fine, sure, but that’s about it. And I don’t think anyone ever aspires to do fine.”

Arthur paused with his hand on the handle of kettle. If Merlin only knew.

“I know what you mean,” he said, keeping his voice neutral.

Merlin sighed and when Arthur turned around, hand curled around his mug as he leaned back against the counter, Merlin was dragging his fingers through his hair.

“It’ll be fine, I know you’re right. I just wish it would be spectacular, you know, it’s—“

Arthur’s thumb ring gave a metallic clang against the mug as he adjusted his grip and Merlin stopped talking, frowning for a moment before his eyes widened.

“Merlin, what—“

“I have to go,” Merlin said, words running together in his haste to get out of his chair.

“Merlin?”

There was no answer as Merlin almost sprinted out the door.

“Merlin!” Arthur yelled after him.

He shook his head, dazed after the abrupt end to their conversation. Merlin always got weird when his projects neared the end, and he’d probably been struck by some sudden inspiration. It wasn’t entirely unprecedented.

Arthur tried not to worry about Merlin as he took his tea into the living room and put in a couple of hours of work.

*

Arthur’s phone buzzed at 11 that night. He was lounging on his bed, marathoning Game of Thrones as a reward for all the work he’d managed to get done. To get to his phone, he had to twist a little and hold his laptop in place, and he just about managed it without the laptop sliding off his lap. He glanced at the screen of his phone and saw that the message was from Merlin.

He paused the episode right on a still of Joffrey’s ugly face and he grimaced, pushing the lid of his laptop shut before putting it aside.

At first he couldn’t quite understand what the message was. It was a picture, but it was high in contrast, dark on light, and Arthur could only really make out contours against the brightness. But then he caught on, seeing the outline of a person standing by a large window, and God—

That was Merlin, naked, in front of the window in his studio. His face wasn’t really recognisable, only the profile of it against the brightness of daylight. But now that Arthur looked at it properly, the angle of his body allowed light to hit certain parts of him in a way that made Arthur’s pulse pick up. Light emphasised the swell of his thigh, and then he noticed part of his cock, hard against his stomach. It curved upwards, thick and gorgeous and Arthur’s mind went blank.

He pushed his hand into his jogging bottoms and gripped his cock so hard he became dizzy. Unable to think any kind of rational thought, he jerked himself so fast that he almost lost his breath from how quickly the pressure built in his gut.

He hunched over, staring at Merlin’s body leaning against the window pane, his mouth falling open as he started thrusting his hips into his hand, breath shuddering.

It was only after he came so hard that the edges of his vision blurred that he wondered what this might mean.

*

Arthur paused outside Merlin’s bedroom the next morning. After he’d gotten that whole wanking thing out of the way, he’d gone back to look at his own pictures again, not quite sure if there actually was a connection between his pictures and the sudden appearance of naked Merlin on his phone. In the end, he only came back to one possible solution – one farfetched solution that involved his stupid thumb ring and his artist flatmate with a flair for composition and a tendency to rant at length about anything from blurry instagram photos to classical art.

He only had half an hour before he had to go to work, and he supposed talking to Merlin now would be easier, because if things went to shit, they’d have a whole workday between them before Arthur had to look him in the eye again.

Although, Arthur wasn’t even sure if he could ever look Merlin in the eye again considering how fucking fast he’d come.

It had been a night tinged with shame.

Taking a deep breath, Arthur tapped his finger against Merlin’s bedroom door, his heart picking up speed as he heard movement coming from inside.

There was a muffled, “Come in” and Arthur almost choked because the in was barely audible and, yeah—

He pulled himself together and opened the door. Leaning against the doorframe to appear extremely relaxed, he fixed his eyes on the top of Merlin’s head to avoid looking him in the eye. Merlin was sitting in his office chair, swivelling back and forth slightly.

And then the temptation became too much and his eyes dropped to find Merlin looking at him, lip curled slightly at the corner.

“Dickmagician.”

“Penisdragon.” Merlin quirked an eyebrow. Arthur knew that look.

“You have no room to criticise names,” Arthur said, crossing his arms over his chest. Besides, penisdragon was a stroke of genius, and leagues better than dickmagician.

Merlin smiled, amused.

“Maybe not.”

Arthur still couldn’t quite get over the fact that the person he’d sent pictures of his dick to, for reviewing purposes, was his fucking flatmate of all people. There was probably some kind of law of the universe that things like this shouldn’t happen to unsuspecting good citizens.

But then, he couldn’t quite complain either when Merlin had sent him an artsy dick pic in return.

Of course, it made sense that Merlin would think about the composition and lighting in the picture of a dick. It was just like him, really. But even Arthur had to admit that he enjoyed the results. Half the reason he’d gotten hard so fast he couldn’t even think was the way Merlin had been leaning against the frame of the window, all inviting and relaxed.

Arthur was becoming a dick pic snob. There were no two ways about it, really. He was forever ruined.

“How did your project go?” Arthur said, because he didn’t know how to vocalise any of his thoughts about their mutual dick pic adventure.

Merlin’s smile was downright wicked. Arthur’s cock was showing definite interest. Fuck.

“Excellent, actually. I had a sudden hit of…” Merlin paused, waving his hand a little. “Inspiration.”

Arthur gave a slightly distressed sound, not really knowing how to navigate this situation at all. Was Merlin flirting with him? Was the picture last night just a way to even out their interaction? Since Arthur had sent Merlin a truly atrocious number of dick pics, maybe Merlin felt like he owed Arthur something.

“Merlin,” he said, throat tight. “I don’t know—maybe—Look, if you felt like you needed to even the score or something, you don’t have to, you know.”

“You think I would send pictures of myself naked to even out the score?” Merlin raised both eyebrows at him. “If I did, I’d never be doing anything else.”

“Well, not for everyone. But since we know each other, I thought maybe you thought that… I don’t know. That it was awkward.”

“I could’ve just ignored it, you know that, right?” Merlin said. His foot was tapping a quick rhythm against the floor. “If I thought it was too awkward you’d never have known I’m dickmagician. I did it because I wanted to.” He paused. “Was it unwelcome?”

“No,” Arthur said hurriedly. “It was… very welcome.”

Merlin didn’t say anything, he just looked pleased.

“Very,” Arthur repeated with emphasis.

Merlin laughed, the sound melodic and joyous. “Mm. Would love to know the details of exactly how very.”

“You don’t even want to know,” Arthur said, his cheeks growing hot. Which was ridiculous, because Arthur never blushed.

“I do.” Merlin got out of the chair and moved towards him, eyes bright. “Tell me.”

“Uh. God.” Arthur cleared his throat, his fingers digging into his own arms. “There was… I had come on my fucking mouth.”

Merlin’s eyes widened and he stopped in his tracks, quiet for a beat, before he threw his head back and laughed. “Oh my god.”

Arthur scowled and Merlin laughed again, moving forwards until he could reach out and pet Arthur’s cheek. Merlin leaned in close, his body a solid pressure. He gave Arthur a soft, open-mouthed kiss that was easy and warm and smooth.

And then he dropped to his knees and put his hand on the button of Arthur’s jeans, looking up with a clear question on his face. Arthur nodded, throat dry. Shit.

“The last fucking picture you sent, Arthur, Jesus. I jerked off to it the first time, and when I realised it was you I wanked myself raw.”

Arthur let out a sound that sounded embarrassingly like a whine and his hand went to Merlin’s hair, fingers tangling into it.

“You. You’ll have a life supply of dick pics,” Arthur said, and then panicked slightly at the inherent promise in it.

Merlin grinned as he pulled Arthur’s jeans and boxers down in one swift movement, his hand closing around the base of Arthur’s cock.

“As long as you send them to my phone this time. I’m not sharing those anymore.”

Arthur braced himself against the doorframe when Merlin’s mouth closed around the head of his cock, the tip of his tongue sliding along his skin. His breath was punched out of him, and he rubbed his fingers into Merlin’s scalp. It made Merlin hum around him before he slid further down and Arthur’s cock swelled rapidly in his mouth.

When Arthur brushed his thumb over Merlin’s cheekbone and Merlin looked up at him, eyes bright and his mouth full of Arthur’s cock, Arthur distantly wondered if he’d be allowed to take a picture of this.