Merlin was sitting on his sofa, trapped in a slightly uncomfortable position by the large, orange cat sleeping on his lap, when a shrill ringing sound cut through the air. Merlin winced as he carefully fished his mobile out of his pocket, trying not to jostle Kilgharrah—he tended to use his claws when he was disturbed. Merlin had been watching the telly, but his heart still raced from the sudden shriek of his phone. He really needed to change his ringtone to something less jarring.
He looked down at the screen and frowned at the caller ID. Morgana. Merlin had called her last week to set up a session, but they weren't supposed to meet until the weekend. She usually only called him the day before their meetings to confirm they were still on. His chest squeezed painfully at the thought that she might be calling to cancel. He'd already put things off for longer than he should have; the uncomfortable buzzing in his head, the tightness in his shoulders, and the unsteadiness of his hands were all starting to get out of control. He shook his anxiety off. Morgana hadn't cancelled a session yet. He was probably worrying for nothing.
Merlin took a steadying breath and answered his mobile.
"Merlin! Hi, how are you?"
"I'm fine, Morgana. What can I do for you? You don't usually call."
"I know. I'm really sorry, Merlin. I know we had planned for a session on Saturday, but I'm not going to be able to make it."
The tightness in his chest came back full force, constricting until Merlin had to fight to take a breath. "I...I see. Is something wrong?" His voice sounded far away, like he was hearing through a dense fog.
"I broke my arm in a skiing accident." Merlin was shocked to hear what sounded like embarrassment colouring Morgana's tone. Morgana was never embarrassed. It was part of why he liked subbing for her so much. "The doctor said no strenuous activity, and while I didn't exactly ask about specifics, I'm pretty sure it applies." She growled in frustration. "I can't even hold anything anyway."
"I'm so sorry, Morgana." He was. Morgana needed this outlet just as much, if not more, than he did. He couldn't imagine how frustrated the always-in-control Morgana must be feeling right now. "How long?"
"I'm not sure. But the doctor said it could take up to six months. And, because it was my dominant arm, she said that even after the cast comes off, I'll probably have to train up a bit to make sure it's all back to normal. Which means it'll be a little longer before it safe for me to use a whip or a flogger."
Merlin grimaced. He felt bad for Morgana and he knew this situation wasn't really her fault, but he couldn't help but wish she hadn't gone skiing last weekend. Why couldn't she have waited one more week? He felt immediately guilty at the thought. Morgana wouldn't be able to play for months, and here Merlin was, pouting because he wouldn't be able to get an immediate fix.
He wasn't sure he'd be able to wait for another week though, let alone several months. Unfortunately, ever since he'd met Morgana over a year ago, he hadn't felt the need to connect with anybody else in the lifestyle. His arrangement with Morgana had given him exactly what he needed, and he wasn't interested in anything more. Now, he was starting to regret his decision to keep his distance. Merlin knew it was for the best, but at times like this, it would certainly be helpful to know a Dom or two that could step in. He really didn't fancy having to go to one of the clubs and pull. It would take ages if he did things right, and Merlin wasn't one for taking stupid risks.
"Al—Alright, Morgana. Thank you for letting me know. Uh—" He broke off. His instincts were telling him to end the call and figure things out for himself, but his more practical side argued that Morgana was a lot more active in the community, and might be able to help with his new predicament.
"Actually, that wasn't the only reason why I called. The last time we discussed limits, you said that I was the only person you were submitting to. You're pretty regular about calling me, and I know you tend to wait a little longer than you should."
"And?" Merlin's voice was hard. How long he went between playing wasn't Morgana's concern.
"And." For a moment Morgana's voiced transformed to that steely, commanding tone that always made Merlin's knees go weak, but her voice gentled as she continued, "And I know you aren't very connected to the community here. I was wondering if you wanted my help setting you up with somebody while I'm...incapacitated."
"I—" Merlin fought his instinct to say no. He didn't really have the time or inclination to go out and find somebody on such short notice, and he trusted Morgana. He wouldn't be meeting with her if he didn't. "That would be great, actually."
"Oh, wonderful! I have a friend, well more like family, really, but he's just—"
"Oh, did I get that wrong? You mentioned subbing for men in the past, and you told me that you generally prefer—"
"No, no, that shouldn't be a problem. I was just surprised is all."
"Good. As I was saying, he's been out of the country for awhile, and a little out of touch with the scene here. I think you two will hit it off."
"Is he any good?"
Morgana laughed. "The best. Well, after me, of course. Or so I've been told. He definitely knows what he's doing, Merlin. He's been busy trying to get settled in, and he hasn't had a chance to play yet. He was pretty enthusiastic yesterday when I told him I might have a sub he could work with. But I wanted to call you first before I passed on your info. What do you think?"
"Yeah. Yes, that sounds good."
"Excellent. I'll have him call you and set up a meeting. If you don't click, I'll do my best to try and find somebody else for you. I've got a few friends who aren't in exclusive relationships that might be willing to take on something more casual for awhile."
"Thanks, Morgana. I—I really appreciate it."
"It's no problem, Merlin. I'm supposed to take care of you. Though—I don't want to push you, but it wouldn't hurt if you got a bit more involved, you know. We take care of our own, and you don't have to come out to the clubs if you don't want to. There's a monthly munch at Sword and Staff, and you'd be more than welcome there."
"I'll think about it Morgana."
"Please do, Merlin." There was a bustling noise on the other side of the line, and some muffled voices. "Okay, I've got to get going. But I'll give your contact info to my friend, so expect him to call you later today."
"Alright." Merlin moved to hang up before he realised something. "Wait! What's this guy's name, anyway?"
Morgana laughed with a little too much enthusiasm, and when she spoke, her voice was still full of mirth. "His name is Arthur."