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The Unintentional Wooing Skills of Arthur Pendragon

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When Merlin thinks about romantic films, and all the different ways the handsome boy woos the beautiful girl, he never once imagines himself missing out on a similar experience. He has Arthur after all.

Arthur and all of his unintentional wooing skills, and inevitable wooing fails.

He’s perfect, and he’s Merlin’s...despite his best efforts.




The first time Arthur tries to woo Merlin it’s at a barbeque, and somehow Merlin loses his heart over a plate of chicken and one posh idiot.

The first words Arthur ever speaks to Merlin are, “Chicken. Wise choice.” Not exactly the most auspicious of starts but when Merlin looks up and sees how painfully gorgeous Arthur is the really sarcastic - i.e. really rude - response that first springs to Merlin’s mind is replaced with a slightly less sarcastic - i.e. only mildly rude - one.

“Yeah,” he says. “It’s like it was destined for my plate or something.”

Arthur, clearly missing the sarcasm, looks him in the eyes, really deeply, intensely, like almost uncomfortably so because Merlin suddenly feels like Arthur sees everything about him in a matter of three seconds. It’s disconcerting, and Merlin’s never felt the kind of heat that centers itself solidly in the middle of his chest like he does right then.

Arthur nods and says, “Destiny and chicken,” like that’s a thing, which it very decidedly isn’t among the normal people of the world, and Merlin goes a bit dizzy with panic because he’s fairly certain he’s going to want to keep hearing every stupid thing Arthur has to say for the rest of his life. He’s almost breathless with the thought and he has to take a couple of seconds to right himself before he answers Arthur.

“That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Instead of being insulted, or embarrassed, Arthur laughs. Really loudly. “Hey, that’s romantic. Right? Destiny and all.”

“And chicken,” Merlin adds. “Chick. En.”

Arthur laughs some more. “I know. I panicked. Sorry.”

Merlin smiles and thinks, I’d forgive you anything, as he plonks a pile of chicken onto Arthur’s plate.

“There,” he says. “Enjoy your big, juicy plate of destiny.”

Arthur looks at him and says, “I will,” and it sounds more like something else entirely, something Merlin wants to hear more about.

It’s only later that night when Arthur woos him properly, once they’re naked, sweaty, and lying in an exhausted tangle of limbs and sheets on Merlin’s bed - because, yes, Merlin is that kind of boy, and yes, it was very very necessary. Arthur’s completely unaware he’s doing any wooing at all, and that he should have started with the sex wooing instead of the whole ‘destiny and chicken’ nonsense (but then again, Merlin finds he’s grown stupidly charmed by destiny and chicken).

“I saw you,” Arthur says, his voice quiet in Merlin’s ear, “and I had to talk to you. I couldn’t have left that backyard without having spoken to you, but then you looked up at me and I saw your eyes.”

Arthur stops then and Merlin turns into him. “And?”

“And nothing,” Arthur says. “I saw your eyes. That’s all.”

Merlin closes his eyes and thinks, Damn you, Arthur Pendragon. Damn you for changing my entire life in one day. With a plate full of chicken.




On their first official date (because Merlin doesn’t count fucking four hours after they met as an actual date date) Arthur takes him on a picnic (because apparently he thinks Merlin only enjoys eating outdoors).

To say it’s a tragedy would be an understatement.

There are bugs and mud, a football kicked at Merlin’s face from the group of lads playing a game nearby (granted, they were all very lovely, very apologetic, and very gorgeous - Arthur scowled at them a lot - but Merlin still had a bloody nose at the end of it), and an odd toddler who wobbles over to their blanket and starts helping himself to their food before his mother comes rushing over to get him.

Once the food burglar is led away by his mother screaming bloody murder Arthur looks forlornly at Merlin’s crème brulee - toddler-sized footprint in its center - and says:

“Picnics are meant to be romantic.”

He looks so sad, so let down by the picnic romance gods, that Merlin swats away the bug buzzing around his head, removes the bloody tissue from his nose, and leans in to kiss Arthur.

“Points for effort,” Merlin whispers against Arthur’s lips.

“I don’t want points for effort,” Arthur says. “I wanted a perfect first date for you.”

“There’s no such thing as a perfect first date. First dates are always awful and awkward and ultimately filled with shame and embarrassment, it’s a fact of life.”

Arthur gently presses his finger to the side of Merlin’s nose. “You’ve a bloody nose, Merlin, that goes beyond shame and embarrassment.”

“It does qualify as awful though, so there’s that.”

“I’ve injured you.”

“You didn’t,” Merlin says cheerfully. “Those blokes over there did.”

“Merlin.” Arthur sighs.

“If you can believe it, I’ve had worse first dates.”

“I think you’re lying, but I appreciate the effort.”

“No, seriously,” Merlin says. “I’ll tell you about them on our next date.”

“Next date?” Arthur asks. “You’re actually willing to repeat this tragedy?”

“Well I’m pretty sure our second date won’t be nearly as awesome as this one, but I live in hope.”

Arthur snorts, which is adorable (and just confirms Merlin is in trouble), and leans in to kiss him.

“I can accept the law of first dates,” Arthur says. “But I really wanted it to be special. For you. We kind of just jumped to the good stuff the first time and I wanted you to know I want all the other stuff too.”

“The other stuff?”

“The awkward dates, and holding your hand, and asking you every question I can think of because I want to know every single thing there is to know about you. All of that stuff.”

Merlin’s heart clenches, and he wants to punch Arthur in the arm, the sweet bastard, but he stupidly says instead, “But there’ll still be fucking too, right? Because you were really good at that.”

Arthur laughs. “So I should stick to what I know, huh?”

Merlin realizes how it must have sounded, and there’s no way he wants Arthur to think he only wants him for sex because he wants all of that other stuff too. Desperately. More than he’s ever wanted it with anyone else before.

Merlin takes Arthur’s face in his hands and kisses him.

“No, I didn’t mean that. I want all of that other stuff too. Very much.”

“Good,” Arthur says, “because I want to go on a thousand more really horrible dates with you.”

And somehow, that’s the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said to Merlin.




On their sixth date Arthur takes Merlin to a polo match that ends in a lesson from Arthur’s mate Leon. All because Merlin once mentioned he liked horses, which he only did because Arthur wouldn’t let him choose ‘unicorn’ as his favorite animal. And even then it wasn’t a horse so much as ‘a white horse with a horn glued to its forehead.’

Arthur tells him they can’t play polo with fake unicorns so he’ll have to make do with regular, normal horses from Earth and not fake unicorns from fairy-land. Merlin argues that they wouldn’t be fake unicorns if they were from fairy-land, but by then Arthur has walked away.

The lesson goes quite smashingly, until Merlin actually gets up on a horse; everything after that goes pear-shaped rather quickly.

They’re at the hospital where Merlin is trying to decide whether to get a lime green cast or a purple one when Arthur first tells him he loves him.

Merlin is asking him the pros and cons of a purple cast (they’d already gone through the process for lime green) when he notices Arthur isn’t being as forthcoming with pro and con suggestions as he’d been with lime green. In fact, he’s sitting in the chair next to Merlin’s bed looking rather shattered.

“Does purple really pain you that much?” Merlin asks. “Because I can totally pick lime green instead. I don’t want you moping about for the next six weeks.”

Arthur doesn’t respond and Merlin pokes at him with his good arm.

“Huh? What?” Arthur says as he looks up at Merlin. “I like purple.”

“And here I thought you weren’t listening to me.”

Arthur is staring daggers at Merlin’s broken arm and Merlin thinks he’s lost him again but Arthur suddenly bursts out:

“I love you and all I do is break you,” he says as he waves his hand at Merlin’s arm.

“What?” Merlin asks, and he kind of thinks his voice went up an octave or so; it’s definitely the least manly his voice has ever been. Ever.

“I break you,” Arthur says. “Or I bloody your nose—”

“Neither one your fault,” Merlin says. “But never mind that, what’d you say before the breaking bit?”

Arthur looks at him and Merlin can actually see the flush of pink rise up his neck and into his cheeks when he realizes what he’s said. Merlin expects him to make up something ridiculous, or take it back, but instead Arthur threads his fingers through Merlin’s and turns his hand until he can kiss the back of it.

“I love you.”

The words are solid, said without hesitation, and Merlin knows for a fact that it’s not the gleeful rush of painkillers coursing through his system, but stupid, idiotic love for Arthur that makes him feel high as a kite.

“I mean I know we’ve only been on six dates, but, well, I broke you so I guess I have to buy you now.”

Merlin bursts out laughing. “You are the biggest arsehole I’ve ever met.”

“Well it’s store policy, isn’t it? You break it, you buy it.”

“There’s no returns either,” Merlin says. “You’d best know that right now. Store policy.”

Arthur shrugs. “Eh, I can live with that.”

Merlin can’t stop smiling, and he’s pretty sure he’s never done anything so bonkers before, but when he says, “I love you too, you silly bastard,” he really, really means it.

“Just promise me no more dates where I’ll do myself an injury,” Merlin adds. “Let’s just stay at home, order take-away, and fuck like rabbits. It seems safer that way.”

“Oh, absolutely,” Arthur says as he leans in for a kiss, his mouth hovering over Merlin’s. “We’re never leaving the flat again.”

And Merlin’s totally okay with that.




Their first fight is ridiculous, and would make Merlin laugh if he wasn’t so arsed off about it all. So he’s listing every stupid thing Arthur has ever done and is halfway to shit-faced with Gwaine and Elena when they hear an awful caterwauling outside his window. Elena opens it up and pops her head out and actually snorts.

“It’s this window, you twat,” she yells.

Merlin hears Arthur’s voice shout something back and he’s up off the sofa and heading over to the window when Elena yells again.

“You’re in front of Mrs. Harrison’s window, move one over. You’re going to get arrested for public disturbance and then we’ll all laugh at you.”

Merlin pushes in next to Elena and looks down to see Arthur fumbling around with his phone. He’s barely upright and Merlin’s pretty sure he can smell the alcohol stench waves coming off of him from three floors up.

“Go home, I’m mad at you,” Merlin hollers.

Arthur looks up and Merlin can actually see his stupid face light up when he sees him in the window next to Elena.


“Go home, you drunken twat.”

Arthur shakes his head. “I’ve got a thing for you.”

By then Gwaine has joined them at the window. “Oh yeah, I bet you have, mate. And it’s in your trousers, right?”

“I’m not talking about m’dick, arseface.”

Gwaine just laughs and Merlin rolls his eyes. “I’m calling you a taxi, you’re barely upright. You’re going to fall over in the street and get yourself killed and then I’ll be really mad at you.”

“Don’t need a taxi. Leon’s here.”

“So he’s turned invisible then?” Gwaine asks.

“He’s parking the car, you bloody idiot.”

“Well he’s just going to have to unpark it and drive you home,” Merlin says.

“But I love you. And I’m apologizing. Even though I’m right and you’re wrong.”

“Not helping, Arthur,” Elena says.

“But I love him so much that I’m willing to apologize even when I don’t need to. That’s quite romantic, isn’t it?”

“Oh yes, very,” Merlin says.

“See, Merlin agrees.” Arthur waves his hand over his head and goes back to dicking around on his phone.

“Put your phone away, sit down on the kerb, and wait for Leon. Quietly,” Merlin says. “I’m still mad at you and don’t want to hear another word out of your stupid mouth.”

“Yes, very smooth, Merlin,” Elena says as Gwaine laughs.

“But I have a thing, Merlin. For you,” Arthur shouts. “And it’s not even my dick.”

“Congratulations,” Merlin says. “Now shut it.”

“Yeah, okay, cos I found it,” Arthur says as he holds his phone over his head and Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ starts to play.

“What the actual fuck, Arthur?” Merlin shouts as Elena and Gwaine start laughing next to him.

“Oh, fuckity shite,” Arthur curses as he stops the song. “Wrong one. Fucking iTunes.”

Merlin feels a stupid smile fighting to come out as Arthur struggles with his phone and nearly falls off the kerb in the process.

“Got it!” he shouts triumphantly as ‘In Your Eyes’ starts to play instead.

“Are you Say Anything’ing me, you stupid arse?” Merlin asks, trying to sound as fucking irritated as he should be but knowing he’s smiling like an idiot.

Arthur just nods and holds the phone over his head with both hands and Merlin bursts out laughing.

“You are the absolute worst and I hate you,” he says. “And I’m sorry but your phone is a really lame substitute for an 80s boombox.”

Arthur just turns up the volume on his phone and points up at Merlin. “I fucking love you, Merlin. You’re my Ione Skye.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a piss poor John Cusack.”

“Uh-uh.” Arthur shakes his head. “I’m a fucking brilliant John Cusack and you’re my beautiful Ione Skye.”

Merlin knows Elena and Gwaine are slowly dying next to him, and Leon has finally parked his damn car and is standing halfway across the street laughing at them as well, but Merlin thinks he’s never heard anything so stupid and so wonderful in his entire life.

“You know that’s not their names in the film, mate,” Gwaine says.

Arthur just gives Gwaine the finger and asks, “Am I forgiven, Ione?”

“Oh for fuck’s sake, yes,” Merlin says. “Just shut it and get your stupid face up here before Mrs. Harrison calls the police on you, John.”

Merlin makes a big deal out of pulling Elena and Gwaine back from the window and giving it an angry shove to slam it shut, but he’s smiling like a complete tit and Elena is cooing at him.

“You’ve got it bad, haven’t you?” Gwaine says. “I mean that was some high-level patheticness going on out there.”

“I know.” Merlin smiles. “Wasn’t it perfect?”

He doesn’t hear Gwaine’s response because he’s at the door to catch Arthur when he stumbles through it.

And to kiss him bloody senseless.

The twat.




The delivery man hands over the bouquet of flowers and Merlin just smiles at him.

“Another Monday, huh?” Merlin asks.

“Looks like,” he says as he eyes the bouquet like it’s personally offensive to him, as he’s done every Monday for the past six months.

“See you next Monday, Gilli.”

“Yeah, see ya then. Have a good one, Merlin.”

“You too.”

Merlin plops the flowers in the vase of water he already has waiting. Gilli’s like clockwork, every Monday at half past ten sharp. Merlin can set his watch by him. One of the flowers droops but Merlin leaves it, the bouquet is an utter disaster anyway and one drooping flower isn’t going to make a bit of difference.

“Monday morning, eh, Merlin?” Freya asks as she and Sefa pass by his desk and start to giggle at the sight of the flowers.

Merlin just smiles and says cheerfully, “And a lovely one at that.”

He knows there are rumors galore going around the office about who on earth would possibly send anyone such a hideous bouquet of flowers every week. There are bets being taken over whether Arthur is blind, a bit of a simpleton, or an ugly troll who lives in a basement unaware of what the outside world deems an acceptable bouquet. Merlin’s pretty sure there’s even someone who thinks Arthur is a serial killer.

How on earth they came to that conclusion based on a bunch of flowers Merlin will never know.

He ignores the whispers and dodges all of the questions, never quite answering them to anyone’s satisfaction because he rather likes the mystery. And the Arthur Theories are actually pretty fucking hilarious, he’s even started a few of his own.

Plus he doesn’t actually know why Arthur sends him a giant bouquet of hideous flowers every Monday. Ever since he got his first one, and the 24 subsequent ones, he’s never had the heart to ask why.

And besides, electric blue carnations aren’t that bad.

Merlin flicks the droopy flower with his finger and sighs; except they really, really are.

“This is Merlin.”

Merlin looks up; Sophia is standing in front of him with the new girl in tow.

“And those are Merlin’s Monday flowers,” she says, and Merlin can hear the fake sweetness of her tone. “Aren’t they adorable?”

“Merlin’s boyfriend sends them to him every Monday,” Sefa says as she pops her head up over the divider between her and Merlin’s desks.

“Merlin’s very mysterious about him,” Freya’s voice adds from two cubicles over.

“There’re bets, you should get in on one,” Mordred says as he walks over and leans against Merlin’s cubicle. “I’ve got my money on serial killer.”

Of course it was Mordred, the fucking weirdo. Merlin just rolls his eyes.

“Arthur’s not a serial killer,” Merlin says at the same time Sefa says, “Mordred!”

“What?” Mordred asks. “Like he doesn’t know about the bets. This office is ridiculous, everyone knows everyone else’s business.”

“But you don’t need to say it out loud,” Freya says as her head pops up past the divider as well.

Merlin’s mobile buzzes as everyone around him starts talking all at once. He looks down to find a text from Arthur.

you forgot your lunch. coming up with it.

“Oh, fuck me,” Merlin says, maybe a little too loudly judging by the way everyone goes quiet around him.

“Language, Merlin,” Sophia says, sounding every inch the massive pill she is.

“He really does have a filthy mouth,” Arthur says from behind her because of course he was already basically in Merlin’s office before he bothered to text him and thus eliminated all possibility that Merlin could’ve met him at the lifts and avoided the upcoming situation.

“Well, hello,” Sophia says when she turns around and sees Arthur. Merlin can see the flirting gears starting to turn in her vapid little mind the second she takes in how gorgeous Arthur is.

“Hey,” Arthur says and doesn’t even look at her as he walks past her and straight towards Merlin. Merlin really could kiss the bastard right now for the look on Sophia’s face alone. Arthur takes care of the kissing when he leans in and kisses Merlin’s cheek. “I always knew you did as little work as possible, but really, Merlin, you ought to at least try to look like you’re doing something.”

Merlin rolls his eyes and gives Arthur a shove. “I work.”

Arthur laughs. “Whatever you say.”

“You’re Merlin’s boyfriend?” Freya asks, and Merlin wishes she didn’t sound so bloody surprised. It’s not like it’s entirely impossible he could’ve gotten someone like Arthur to date him. He has skills.

Sort of.

“Surprising, I know,” Arthur says, the arsehole. “It’s hard to believe someone as ridiculous as Merlin managed to snag someone like myself, but, there you go. Miracles do happen.”

Merlin taps the back of Arthur’s head and whispers, “Twat,” loud enough for only Arthur to hear, but all it does is make Arthur smile back at him.

“We thought you were a serial killer, mate,” Mordred says helpfully.

“Um, okay?” Arthur says.

“There’s no ‘we’ in that sentence,” Sefa says. “You’re the only one who thought that. I thought he was blind.”

Arthur looks over at Merlin who wants to laugh at the look on his face. “Don’t ask,” he says.

“Well, I’m neither, if that helps,” Arthur says.

“What do you do?” Freya asks. “Since you’re not a serial killer and all.”

Merlin has the worst co-workers in the world.

“I’m a firefighter.”

“Oh my bleeding God,” Sefa says. “It’s like you stepped out of one of those calendars.”

Merlin wants to shoo her away because he knows Arthur will lord that little bit over him for ages, smug tit that he is.

“You seem totally normal,” Sophia says.

“Uh. Thanks?”

“How in the hell does that explain you dating Merlin, and the flowers?” she adds.

“Ta very much for that, Soph,” Merlin says.

But all hope is lost now at the mention of the flowers because of course everyone has something to say about them.

“Oh my God, the flowers,” Freya says.

“Yeah, what about the flowers?” Sefa asks.

Arthur looks to Merlin for help but he only shrugs and says, “The flowers are very popular.”

“It’s just so sweet that you send those to Merlin every Monday, what a lucky boy,” Sophia says, every word sounding like the exact opposite.

Arthur takes her words at face value though and actually blushes, and Merlin can’t help but smile, even if he knows everything is probably going to go tits up from here on out.

“I just like sending him a little something to let him know I’m thinking about him, hoping it gets him through the week,” Arthur says, and he’s adorable as he says it, but Merlin knows the rest of them aren’t going to let it go at that.

Freya and Sefa mutter little ‘awws’ like they’re dealing with a kitten but of course Sophia puts in, “Such an interesting flower choice too, and such a bright, unusual color.”

“God, yeah,” Arthur says as he looks over at Merlin’s desk and his massive bouquet of electric blue muppet flowers. “Aren’t they great?”

Oh bless, Merlin thinks, he has such awful taste in flowers.

“They’re blue,” Mordred says, again, very helpfully, as he points at them with his mug of tea.

“Yeah, they’re perfect. They match exactly,” Arthur says, which doesn’t make any sense at all.

“Match?” Freya asks before Merlin can make an arse of himself and let on to Arthur he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

“Merlin’s eyes,” Arthur answers. “I was walking down the street one day and there they were, the exact color of Merlin’s eyes, so I had to buy them. Paid extra as well that first time. They were dyed for a wedding or some such nonsense, but I got them.”

Of course.

Of course Arthur picked out the tackiest flowers on the face of the earth. Of course they were for someone’s obviously tragic wedding. And of course Arthur tortured Merlin with them every week after because he didn’t have the heart the first time to tell him how awful the flowers actually were.

Fucking hell. It’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for Merlin and his stupid heart is doing stupid fucking somersaults in his chest and he can’t stop himself from beaming at Arthur like he’s the best thing in the whole entire world.

Because he is.

And electric blue carnations are the best fucking flowers in the world too.

If you eliminated all other flowers from the world, but whatever.

They’re fucking perfect in all of their electric blue tacky glory.

And they’re all his, every Monday morning at exactly half past ten.




Merlin wakes up to Arthur gently rolling him onto his stomach and laying his own body out on top of him, his cock already hard and slowly pushing into him. Merlin sighs at the warmth, the fullness, and spreads his legs so Arthur can sink in deeper.

Arthur’s breath is hot against the crook of his neck and shoulder, his weight pushing Merlin down into the mattress. Arthur is only moving his hips in tiny little rolling hitches; the rest of him stays plastered against Merlin and it’s the best kind of wake-up he can imagine.

When Merlin makes a happy little moan of contentment Arthur’s hands slide around Merlin’s wrists and push them both up underneath the pillow Merlin’s face is pressed against. Arthur doesn’t say anything, just keeps that slow roll of his hips going, and Merlin’s cock is growing heavy with a delicious ache as it stays trapped between his body and the mattress. He wants to touch himself but Arthur must read his mind because the grip on his wrists tightens just so; Merlin knows he can get away, but it’s just that tiniest bit on the side of too tight and a gasp slips past his lips.

Merlin feels, more than hears, the soft ripple of self-satisfied laughter that moves through Arthur’s chest and against his back. Merlin pushes his arse back against Arthur in half-hearted protest, but the laughter only rumbles against his back again.

His limbs are like lead and his dick aches with the slow torture of Arthur’s movement. He turns his face into his pillow and makes little whimpering moans as he starts to fuck his hips against the mattress. The sheets are soft, worn down from washings, but the touch of them against his cock is too much. The noises he’s making sound like frustrated whines to his ears but they only make Arthur’s breaths come more quickly against his bare shoulder.

Arthur’s weight keeps him trapped; he could easily twist away, but the restraint makes something twist perfectly in the pit of his stomach. Arthur knows him so well, though, knows his every breath, knows he’s on the cusp. He moves Merlin’s wrists towards the headboard and wraps Merlin’s fingers around the spindles of the headboard and covers them with his own as he uses the hold to pull his body up as his hips fuck harder, deeper. Merlin feels Arthur’s arms flex against his own and he hears himself quietly begging, near incoherent words, but Arthur knows what they mean, and he fucks him harder.

Merlin hikes his right leg up, uses it to try to leverage himself off the mattress, and the burn in his thigh makes him bite his lower lip. Arthur’s still silent but Merlin’s a twisting, whining mess beneath him. Arthur takes pity on him, bites at his shoulder as he lets go of the headboard and yanks Merlin back against his chest as he rolls to his side. His hand is on Merlin’s dick before he can even gasp in relief. Merlin twists into Arthur’s touch and looks down as his cock releases a warm string of come over Arthur’s fingers and the sheets.

Merlin’s body shudders and he feels a contented, lazy smile turn up the corners of his mouth. He loves coming first, loves to be sated and happy as Arthur fucks into him, loves to feel every moment of Arthur’s own orgasm. When he’s fucking Arthur he loves to hear the whimper Arthur makes when he pulls out of him, and the way Arthur’s thighs trap his face when he scrambles between them to suck Arthur’s cock as far down his throat as he can stand.

Arthur’s right hand is gripping Merlin’s hip and his left is splayed over Merlin’s chest, holding him in place as he keeps fucking into him until he finally breaks his silence and cries out as Merlin feels the wet heat fill him up. Merlin stretches his limbs out against the mattress, like a cat, as he presses himself back against Arthur and takes everything he spills into him. Arthur’s about to pull back out but Merlin reaches back and grabs at his hip to stop him and he settles back to let Merlin curl into him.

He keeps Arthur inside him until his cock grows soft, smaller, and it slips out of him. Arthur mumbles something against his skin as he rubs his hand across Merlin’s stomach.

“What was that? You’re in Arthur’s Sex Speak mode,” Merlin says.

Arthur laughs as his arms tighten around Merlin. “I said I’ll get a flannel once my legs start working again.”

Merlin turns around and kisses Arthur. “That good, huh?”

“Yeah, yeah, your arse is magical. My dick is powerless against it.”

“Of course.” Merlin laughs.

Usually Merlin loves it when Arthur cleans him up; he’s always so careful, gentle, and takes such joy in it, but he’s thirsty as fuck and needs to get up anyway.

“You can stay here and recover, I’m gonna go get a drink,” Merlin says. “Want anything?”

“Mmm, maybe a blowjob, but that can wait for later.”

“Well, aren’t you gracious.” Merlin laughs as he rolls away from Arthur and off the side of the bed.

“I’ll laugh when you actually roll yourself onto the floor one day,” Arthur says. “You being so graceful and all.”

“You’re such an arsehole.”

Arthur smiles at him from the bed, the sheets all tangled around him. “All part of my charm. You love it.”

Merlin smiles back. “Maybe a little,” he says as he holds his thumb and index finger a couple centimeters apart. Arthur laughs and drags the sheet over himself and Merlin knows he’ll probably be snoring by the time he comes back from the kitchen.

He goes to clean up first before walking to the refrigerator and reaching in for some orange juice. He lets the door swing shut as he drinks from the carton, because he know it pisses Arthur off, and he notices the magnets in the center of the door. He has to laugh. Arthur must be reading Shakespeare because there’s a truly horrendous attempt at a sonnet in the middle of the refrigerator door.

There’s something about ‘alabaster skin’ and ‘beauty’s delight’ and Merlin snorts. It’s awful, and it’s in the center of all of their other creative masterpieces - Merlin’s ‘rainbow beaver happiness’ and Arthur’s ‘lick hairy wizard balls daily,’ but Arthur must have taken the time to clear away a space so it would stand out.

Yeah, it’s terrible, like really really terrible, but just the thought of his big, silly Arthur writing him a love poem twists Merlin’s heart to pieces. It’s Arthur’s sweetness that always does him in. No one looking at Arthur would know the gentleness of his heart - granted he tends to hide it by being a massive tit nine-tenths of the time - but it’s there, and it’s Merlin’s to hold onto, to keep secret and safe.

Merlin grabs his mobile from the counter where it’s charging and snaps a picture of Arthur’s ode to his ‘cerulean eyes.’ He stares at the picture with a dopey smile on his face, he can’t help himself, but before he lets his fondness get too out of control soppy he decides he also needs to take a picture of his dick next to ‘lick hairy wizard balls daily.’ He can practically see Arthur’s laughing face as he does it.

After he puts the orange juice back and closes the door he lets his fingers slide across the magnetic words and smiles.

When he gets back to their bedroom he finds Arthur snoring, just like he knew he would. He kneels down on the bed next to Arthur and watches him, runs his fingers through the messy strands of Arthur’s hair, and wonders how he got so lucky.

He may not be the smoothest in the world, but Merlin is painfully fond of him, and he dedicates all of his misguided love and adoration to Merlin. And that’s what matters in the end, what makes Merlin wish everyone had an Arthur to woo them very thoroughly, and terribly.

Merlin crawls under the sheets and presses himself to Arthur’s side as he wraps his arm around his waist and whispers against his skin.

“I think I’ll keep you.”