When Arthur entered Gaius's chambers Gwaine was hobbling about the room, testing his leg. "You are looking well. I'm glad for it." Arthur clapped his shoulder, curling his fingers to give it a squeeze. "You saved my life, Gwaine. You shall be rewarded."
With an odd down-curl to his lips, Gwaine ducked his head. "I want neither your gold nor any other riches." He stepped away, leaving Arthur with his arm mid-air, grasping at nothing.
There was an edge to Gwaine's voice, a bitterness that took Arthur aback. Arthur frowned but pressed on, having seen many false refusals before. "Surely there is something you desire. Name it."
Gwaine looked up and held Arthur's gaze before the hardness to his jaw vanished and his grin turned wolfish. "There is one thing of yours..." Gwaine's eyes darted to Merlin and Arthur paled.
Merlin looked between them, eyes wide and unblinking. "What?" he said in perfect innocence. And Gwaine’s grin turned to a leer.
It seemed like the perfect time to panic, Arthur thought. "You don’t need to do this."
Merlin laughed and leaned forward until his lips brushed Arthur’s. "So you’ve said." He licked Arthur’s bottom lip until Arthur gave in, moaning into the kiss, slipping his hands into Merlin’s hair and holding him close. "About a dozen times now."
Arthur ran his hands down Merlin’s naked sides. "I want to make sure that you know." I want you to back out. From over Merlin’s shoulder, Arthur could see Gwaine slip into the room, close the door and slide the bar into place.
Merlin quirked a smile. "I know, Arthur. I don’t mind."
There was a mischievous glint to Merlin's eye that Arthur would have thought endearing and flirty in any other situation. Instead he felt a twist of something dark in his belly. His face must have given him away because Merlin’s expression softened and he whispered, "But only with you here. You know that, right?" Then Merlin’s lips were on his again, wet and inviting, pressing in hard like a brand. The rot inside Arthur that was threatening to grow into something ugly withered.
As soon as they broke apart, Gwaine was there beside them. "Are we doing this?" He peeled off his shirt and tossed his shaggy hair out of his eyes. His thumbs were in the waistband of his breeches, waiting. "As much as I enjoy the view, I’m more of a doer than a watcher, if you catch my meaning?"
Merlin turned a lovely shade of pink and Arthur felt the tension in his shoulders ease, lust edging out the jealousy.
"Well?" Merlin asked and Arthur nodded before he could think twice. Merlin nodded back then called over his shoulder, "Ready when you are."
Gwaine grinned, flashing his perfect teeth at Arthur, and in one quick tug his breeches were at his ankles then being kicked across the room. He hopped onto the bed with the roar of laughter of a man who couldn’t believe his luck.
Merlin’s eyes lit with mirth at the sound and Arthur found himself laughing along despite his nerves.
It was freeing, the tension of the moment lifting like a fog in the hot sun. Sex with Merlin was great. Fantastic even. They had a passion and companionship that Arthur had never dared hope for in a bedmate. But it was different than this. They had the desperation and tenderness of men who’d face death together more times than they could count. Arthur watched Merlin move to the bed, his face open and so alive. He crawled onto the mattress and Gwaine gave Merlin's arse a playful slap. It occurred to him then that Merlin had introduced a bit of the ridiculous to every corner of Arthur’s life but this one, and Arthur hadn’t realised until now that a bit of joie de vivre was missing from his bedroom.
Arthur hovered beside his wardrobe, undecided where he wanted to be for this – too close or too far both seemed unbearable choices.
"Your highness?" Gwaine asked, pronouncing the title like Merlin had once whispered in his ear, ‘may I suck your cock, sire?’ -- filthy and delicious with an edge of challenge to it.
They were both watching him from the bed, Gwaine’s hands on Merlin’s hips, possessive.
"Yes?" Arthur swallowed past his parched throat.
"On the bed, sire," Gwaine said and smirked at his own audacity. "If you’re joining us then I’d rather not have poor Merlin strain his neck looking for you when he needs to ask permission to come."
"Merlin does not need –" Arthur snapped his mouth shut. Gwaine had thrown his head back in a full-bellied laugh and Merlin looked desperate to follow suit. Arthur strode over to the bed and kissed Merlin’s twitching lips before they could break into a full smile. "Worst manservant," he kissed into his mouth, "ever."
Gwaine cleared his throat to stifle the laughter that was still obviously bubbling up his chest. "On your back, I think."
Arthur’s eyes narrowed at the command but it was more an automatic response than actual annoyance. As he leaned forward, Arthur could smell the ale on Gwaine’s breath but let it pass. He was not the man's keeper. Arthur stripped and slid onto the bed, laying his head on his pillow, unashamed of his half-hard cock, a heavy warmth at his thigh.
Gwaine’s eyes trailed over Arthur’s body, dark and hungry, while he nipped at Merlin’s shoulder and his fingers loosened Merlin’s lacings. "I understand how he caught your eye, Merlin. He has his charms."
Merlin sat up, allowing Gwaine to tug off his breeches, then he crawled over to Arthur and nestled between his legs. "Hello, charming,” he said once they were nose to nose, groin to groin.
Arthur snorted, amused by this new Merlin who was as quick with a joke as with a kiss. "Hello." He tilted just enough to peck Merlin’s chin. Then Merlin shifted his hips and their cocks rubbed, the soft smooth slide of skin on skin. Arthur hummed in approval, spreading his legs and thrusting up. He’d almost forgotten they weren’t alone. Almost lost himself to the feel of Merlin’s arms and the lazy-paced frotting that Merlin loved so much. Then Merlin’s breath caught. He stilled and Arthur blinked back to the moment. Gwaine was settled behind Merlin. A pot of salve lay next to Arthur’s foot.
"Don’t let me interrupt," Gwaine said with a wink, then Arthur saw his arm flex in a slow, distinct pump and Merlin’s breath hitched again.
Arthur felt his cheeks flush. He looked to Merlin, his eyes squeezed shut and his breathing ragged. He looked fantastic. Arthur’s cock twitched. He hadn’t expected it to be like this, a confusing mixture of painful and erotic. But watching Merlin’s face, seeing the blotchy pink of his neck as another man worked him open made Arthur’s skin tingle. He was hyper-aware of every sound Merlin made, that it wasn’t him that was drawing those whimpers from Merlin, that it didn't make him love the sounds any less. And that fact made him want to tear Gwaine’s throat out or possibly come all over Merlin (maybe both of them) in some insane marking ritual.
Merlin was thrust forward, with likely another finger being worked in. He buried his face into the crook of Arthur’s neck and keened. The drag of Arthur’s cock along Merlin’s hot, damp belly, knowing it wasn't him Merlin was being prepared for, was pure torture.
"You two are gorgeous." Gwaine’s voice cracked, thick. "But, I’m not going to last if I have to keep watching you."
"Do it." Merlin cried out, moving backwards to make his point. "I like it… God, I like to feel it."
Gwaine groaned a curse and Arthur felt like joining him. Merlin's sweet, pretty mouth saying the filthiest things could make any man fall apart. Gwaine’s left hand was on the small of Merlin’s back, steadying him as he pumped his fingers a few more times, ignoring Merlin's huff.
"All right," Gwaine conceded. "You're ready."
Arthur heard a soft wet sound and Merlin whimpered, a familiar protest of being left empty.
Arthur knew what was coming next. He’d agreed to it, of course. He and Merlin had talked it through and yes, they were okay with Gwaine’s request. It could even be a special memory, they’d said. Except now Arthur was pinned beneath Merlin’s weight and Gwaine was readying his cock to slide into Merlin. And Arthur could do nothing but watch. The room was suddenly too hot. He should have opened a window. Merlin was breathing, hot and wet at his neck. The room felt like it was closing in on him.
Then suddenly the weight was gone. Merlin was sitting up, letting Gwaine’s hands direct him until he’d maneuvered himself to be on his knees, straddling Arthur’s hips.
Arthur didn't understand. "What are –"
"My reward, my rules," was all Gwaine said.
Merlin leaned on the headboard above Arthur and shrugged right before his mouth fell open in a silent gasp for air. The mattress began to shift beneath Arthur with Gwaine’s slow, measured thrusts. After all the build-up it felt like it was happening suddenly, far too quick for Arthur to prepare himself for the sight. He focused on Merlin, watching the blush of his neck spread to his chest with each push in.
"Merlin, you feel amazing." Gwaine stilled, letting his head fall to Merlin’s shoulder as he caught his breath. "I knew you would. God, I could tell the moment I saw you."
"Shut up." Merlin’s laugh was more of a broken wheeze. "You’re as bad as Arthur."
"Me? Like Arthur? We can’t have that." Gwaine moaned into his first full thrusts and the bed began to rock with the snap of his hips. Merlin’s cock bounced against Arthur’s stomach with each thrust. Gwaine continued on in a breathless sing-song voice, "There’s only one Arthur. Golden boy of Camelot. Loved by all." Arthur wondered how much he'd had to drink before coming here.
"Gwaine," Merlin admonished and the room fell silent but for the thud of the headboard and the slap of flesh.
It didn’t last long, though. It was almost a relief when Gwaine began again. "God, Merlin. What you do to me." His eyes snapped open and he caught Arthur watching him. "He’s amazing, isn’t he, Arthur?"
Arthur’s cheeks burned, biting his tongue to remain silent. If he spoke now his voice would be thick with bitterness, revealing more than he wanted to.
"Does he make these sounds for you?" Gwaine went on, laughter in each teasing question. "Do you get to hear this every night, you lucky prat?"
"You like the sound of your own voice quite a lot."
Above him, Merlin snickered.
"Yes. Yes, I do." The bed shook as Gwaine slammed in hard. "It’s been my faithful companion for as long as I can remember. We don’t all have such pretty bedwarmers to amuse us on cold winter nights."
"Why do I imagine that you have no shortage of bedwarmers?" Merlin asked over his shoulder.
It was Arthur’s turn to snicker. He reached up and trailed a finger along Merlin’s cheekbone then down his lips. Merlin opened to suck Arthur’s index finger until his tongue flicked Arthur’s ring. Arthur’s cock twitched at the touch-memory, begging for attention. He felt sorry of Gwaine. One day soon he’d be off again, travelling, and Merlin would still be here with Arthur.
"Time to change things up, I think," Gwaine said suddenly and the mattress stilled. "Let’s see if you can take a bit more."
After a heartbeat, Merlin’s eyes widened, mouth gaping. Arthur frowned.
"Aren’t you delicious?" He mouthed at Merlin's shoulder before explaining to Arthur. "That’s my cock plus two fingers. And he’s taking it all. Look at him loving it." Gwaine rocked forward and Merlin whimpered.
"It’s good." Merlin bit his lip, nostrils flaring.
Gwaine barked a laugh. "You haven’t seen anything yet." Arthur heard Gwaine pull out. Merlin hissed. "You’ll like this," Gwaine said in apology. "Brace yourself. You’ll love it."
Gwaine grabbed Merlin’s hips until his arse hovered above Arthur’s cock. It took everything for Arthur not to thrust up and feel the slick, swollen hole around the tip of his cock. But this was Gwaine’s game and Arthur had agreed.
A large hand wrapped around Arthur’s cock and he almost cried out in relief. He felt his orgasm rising. He was already so close to the edge. It wouldn’t take much. But Gwaine’s fingers tightened around the base and Arthur didn’t know whether to be grateful or order the bastard to the dungeons.
"Not yet." Gwaine flashed his teeth at Arthur. "The best is yet to come."
Arthur felt Gwaine’s cock line up beside his own and cool salve being spread over both. Arthur’s eyes widened at the implication. Gwaine couldn't be thinking... it wasn’t even possible ... was it? But before he could voice a word of his thoughts, Merlin's arse was there, warm and dripping with salve, rubbing against the tip of his and Gwaine’s cocks. Arthur writhed in frustration, needing hard and now.
"Slow," Gwaine whispered to Merlin.
"Oh God." Merlin lowered himself, Gwaine steadying him with one hand and holding his and Arthur’s cocks with the other.
It took an age. Gwaine murmured soft, pretty words as Merlin sank down: how good it felt, how amazing Merlin was, how he was taking it all. Arthur trembled, fists clench in his sheets, barely keeping himself under control as the tight, tight heat enveloped him, clamping around him, squeezing him together with Gwaine’s cock.
And good Lord, finally, they were in. Both of them. How could Merlin even? Merlin’s knuckles were white from his clench of the headboard. He hadn’t said anything, only managed a few sounds – half pained, half bliss.
"Are you all right?" Arthur asked.
Sweat dripped down Merlin’s forehead, pebbled above his lip. Arthur wanted to kiss him, lick it off but he couldn’t reach, didn't dare move. Merlin ducked his head to catch Arthur’s eye. His face was so intense, eyes half-lidded. "Yeah. It’s-" Merlin let out a deep shuddering breath that Arthur felt as much as saw. "It’s good."
"When you’re ready." There was a barely restrained edge to Gwaine’s voice, and it was reassuring that Arthur wasn’t the only that was going to lose his mind if they didn’t start moving soon.
Aware of every pulse, every muscle spasm, Arthur knew exactly when Merlin had begun to relax. It was like Merlin’s soul was ripped open for him to see, to feel. Then finally, after another half dozen exhales – Arthur had counted – Merlin nodded.
"Okay. Move. Now."
Gwaine clamped his hands on Merlin’s hips and Arthur followed suit, partly overlapping. "Slow," he said to Arthur, like a warning. Arthur nodded.
They pulled out in unison, eyes on each other as they thrust back in, slow, sure and in perfect unison. Arthur was taken back to the bar fight, to the smooth easy way Gwaine had joined into Arthur and Merlin’s fight, standing beside them shoulder to shoulder like he belonged, instinctive. They were beautifully in synch as they sped up, keeping eye contact and listening intently to every sound Merlin made. Their pace quickened and they grew more daring with each moan they earned.
Arthur felt the thrill of a challenge. He snapped his hips, wanting to give Merlin everything, wanting to make Gwaine lose the tight grip on his control.
"Close," Merlin choked. His hand tried to reach his cock, but with the next thrust he scrabbled back to the headboard.
"Let me." Arthur’s hand found Merlin’s cock, loving the familiar feel of its weight, and he began to pull him off.
"I need –" Gwaine stammered then began to thrust, fierce and wild, sliding out of rhythm and rubbing deliciously against Arthur’s cock.
"Oh God." Merlin cried out. "Faster, Arthur. Please."
Arthur tightened his grip, pumping Merlin's cock and snapping his hips until his thighs and lower back burned.
Gwaine lost it first, slamming up into Merlin and shuddering. Arthur could feel the pulse of the dick trapped beside his, the wet warmth filling Merlin and surrounding Arthur’s cock. Carefully, Gwaine slipped out, leaving Merlin’s hole stretched and sloppy-wet around Arthur’s cock.
Merlin seemed to realise the new freedom and sat back. He let himself adjust a moment before grinning down at Arthur. He began riding Arthur fast, thighs trembling, chest damp and glistening, rosy pink. Arthur couldn’t take any more. His balls tightened and in an instant, his world exploded in colour, flashes of light behind his eyelids as Merlin's rhythm never faltered.
When he blinked his eyes open, his chest was coated in strips of sticky white. He laughed up at Merlin, who just snickered back.
"I'll clean you up when I can feel my legs again, your highness," he said with as much exhaustion as cheek and carefully climbed off him, collapsing at Arthur’s side and draping his legs over Arthur’s thigh.
"Best I’ve ever seen a prince look," Gwaine said, wiping his brow and climbing off the bed. "Maybe you were right about nobles, Merlin. Not all bad."
Merlin idly fingered the cooling mess on Arthur’s chest. Arthur wrinkled his nose but didn’t tell him to stop. They watched Gwaine search about the room, plucking clothes off the floor and slipping them on. Merlin spoke first. "You don’t need to go." Merlin’s voice was casual, steady and without a trace of pity or regret.
Gwaine smiled at them, tugging on his boots. "You’re lovely. Really. But a bit too..." He waved his hands in the air. "Domestic for me."
Arthur felt Merlin break into a smile against his shoulder.
"Hang on to your riches, Prince Arthur." Gwaine looked back at them, hand on the bar across the door and his smile full of bravado. "What you have there is worth all the gold in Camelot."