He tumbles them down on to the grass, laughing. He straddles her and she looks up at him, all wide smile and pale skin.
“Has anyone ever told you, Merlin, that you’re very pretty?”
She’s breathless still and flings her arms up behind her head, stretching the tempting line of her throat and reminding him of the white flowers that the women of Camelot had worn in their hair for the first day of spring.
“Yes, but none who say it as sincerely as you.”
One of her hands come up to his face, lightly tracing the stubble of his beard and then the shell of his ear. There is something very alive about her since the snow melted and the birds began to sing again. Winter had left her worried as Uther failed to recover and Arthur lent on her counsel more every day. Even if he is blind to her in many ways, Arthur is coming to realise her worth.
He rolls her on top of him as she laughs and her hair falls down around them as she leans down to kiss him thoroughly. His skin tingles everywhere it touches her, the power she carries within her making itself known. They never speak of it aloud, but he has seen her cure the lame and bring fire down on the enemies of Arthur.
He has seen her speak to a Dragon and call it kin.
When they break apart she is still smiling, the moon at its brightest behind her dark head. She usually keeps it tightly braided, sometimes with an eagle or hawk feather hanging from the leather cord used to bind it. It marks her as a healer and in the lands of Gwaine’s birth, a wisewoman. How she has managed to get away with it in Camelot is beyond him, in much the same way as how anyone could mistake her as anything less than a creature of the wild old ways. It is most obvious when her head is bent next to Arthur’s pale golden one, the old and the new, the city and the forest. Two sides of the same dream.
He first wanted to kiss her in the Fisher King’s domain in the glow of the fire when he realised that she was truly the best friend he had ever had. Before he might have tumbled her in the hay and called it good fun, but that night he had seen something in the tilt of her chin that had made him shiver.
“Shall we welcome in the new days, my knight?” She whispers.
And he is hers. In name he serves Camelot, but in his heart he serves her. He puts his hands on her hips and thrusts up so that she can feel the hardness of him and she gasps a little, he mouth falling open, eyes slip shut. His hands go to the stays of her dress and he can feel her shudder beneath his hands.
“It will take forever to take all of this off,” her hands have gone to the laces of his breaches, “and I cannot wait that long.”
She arranges her skirts just so, and takes one of his hands to slide beneath them and between the heat of her thighs.
“You see? It must be now. I must have you.”
He brings his fingers to his mouth to taste the wetness at the heart of her and groans as she brings his sex out into the coolness of the night air. One of her sturdy hands strokes him as she raises herself onto her knees. She’s biting her lip, face twisted with want and impatience before she finally sinks down, seating herself on him and enveloping him in wet tightness.
It’s like expanding, like knowing everything, from the smallest sparrow to the wolves beyond, the pulsing golden power of the world makes itself known to him as he thrusts inside Merlin, brings her down to kiss him again.
“What you do to me.” He kisses every part of her that he can, her neck, her collarbone, the hollow between her breasts.
Merlin is groaning, lost to the world, tightening and moving, so, so wet. He can’t help but push her on her back again so that he can bury his head in her neck and breasts and thrust harder inside her, setting a pace that makes his thighs burn. He can’t last like this, so he uses one hand to touch her, make her groan and fling her head back, saying his name over and over again.
When he feels her shudder and come apart beneath, him, he lets go himself, spilling hot inside her. When his breathing slows, he thinks idly of Merlin’s belly growing big like the fat moon above, and trails his fingers through the wetness they have both left on her as she lies quietly dreaming in his arms.
“You are not like any woman I have ever known, Merlin of Ealdor.” He whispers as she stirs.
“Nor are you like any man I have ever known... I think in this place and time you might call me Merlin Emrys, for that is my true name.”
When they return to Camelot, she will braid her hair again and be simply Merlin. But there he can lay her out on the warmth of his bed and taste her truly. He will have to tell Arthur of his intentions: that one day he will stand next to Merlin with white flowers in their hair, and she will be his wife.
It is a good thought, and they fall to sleep as the new day begins.