“Make it stop!” Merlin sobbed, pressing his face into the pillow. “Oh gods, Arthur please! I can’t bear it!”
Arthur was having similar trouble himself. It had to be the single most awful, awkward, unbearable night they’d ever spent together.
“How did this happen?” he groaned.
“Oh I’m pretty sure it was that second bottle of wine,” Merlin growled. “She can’t hold her drink, I’ve warned you about that. Probably the oysters your father ordered at the restaurant too.”
There was the unmistakable sound of a creaking bed from the next room. The creaking was in a steady rhythm, getting faster and faster. There were other noises too, sighs and moans of pleasure. Arthur felt a bit sick.
Merlin rolled over and thrust the pillow at Arthur. “Smother me! End it now! I can’t ever look at either of them again. Consider me an orphan, Arthur! An orphan!”
“You think I like listening to that either?” Arthur retorted.
“Your father’s some sort of gigolo!”
“Your mother wasn’t exactly fighting him off. Didn’t you hear her earlier? ‘Oooh Uther, it’s so rare to find a genuine gentleman these days’.”
“She doesn’t sound like that!”
“Yes she does!” Arthur was quite proud of the high-pitched Welsh accent he’d produced.
“Hmph! Not very gentlemanly to shag her on a first date, is it?”
Arthur pouted. “I don’t think it’s a first date. I heard them talking earlier. Those business trips he’s been claiming he’s been going on every weekend… they were to Wales.”
“What? But she’s been busy every weekend with her Women’s Institute… oh. She lied, didn’t she?”
“Yeah. You did say at the time you didn’t think it was her sort of thing.”
“She even sent me a pot of jam!” Merlin wailed.
Merlin glared at him. “She’d never lie to me! That’s your father’s influence.”
“Are you calling my father a liar?”
“Yes! And you mocked my mum’s accent!”
There was an extra-loud creak from the other bedroom, and then the headboard started to bang in a steady rhythm against the wall. Merlin stopped arguing, gave a little scream and covered his ears. Arthur wished they could both go deaf.
“Can we go to a hotel?” Merlin begged. “Please, Arthur, I don’t think I can ever have sex in this room ever again. And I want a shower. I feel dirty, and not in a good way!”
The grunts and moans from next door were getting louder.
“I’m going to be sick,” Merlin whined. “This is horrible.”
Arthur quickly hopped out of bed, grabbed the waste paper basket and shoved it at Merlin. “In there, not our bed!”
The headboard-rattling continued frantically for a few more moments, paused, thumped one last time, and then stopped. If they’d had any doubts about what had just happened, those were removed by the accompanying appreciative noises that Hunith was making.
Merlin still looked a bit nauseous but the horror next door did seem to finally be over.
Arthur attempted to cuddle up to Merlin, but his partner was having none of it. “Oh come on, Merlin, we should pay them back in kind.”
But Merlin curled away from him miserably, still clutching the bin. “I’m going to be a monk,” he mumbled. “No more sex ever. Scarred, Arthur. Scarred for life.”
Merlin would get over it. And as there was nothing left to lose, because he was obviously not going to get laid that night, Arthur gave voice to what he was thinking.
“Well, sounded like my dad’s still pretty fit,” he smirked. “You’d better hope it’s hereditary.”
Merlin gave a cry of distress and sat up, glaring at him. “Gross!”
“Your mum doesn’t seem to think so!”
Merlin grabbed the nearest pillow, and started to hit Arthur with it. Arthur retaliated, because nobody was going to beat him at anything and soon there was a full-on fight going on that ended with Merlin shrieking and begging for mercy.
Well, Arthur thought later, Merlin snuggled up against him and half-asleep, at least he’d taken Merlin’s mind off their parents.
Breakfast the following morning was the worst.
Arthur and Merlin had tried to get up early and sneak out of the house before their parents emerged. It wasn’t to be. Hunith and Uther were sitting at the breakfast bar in matching white bathrobes, eating toast and drinking coffee. Merlin turned round and would probably have left the room, but Arthur wasn’t facing that alone so he steered his boyfriend back towards the kitchen.
“Morning boys,” Hunith smiled. “Sleep well?”
“Bit difficult,” Merlin told her. “I’m mentally scarred by the noises through the wall!”
“Poor baby,” Hunith cooed, holding out her arms and even Arthur could see she didn’t look at all genuine. “I’m sure it was horrible. It’s not nice to hear such things, is it?”
“Especially not when it’s from guests,” Uther agreed. “Very ill-mannered of us.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes suspiciously. His father seemed far too bright and smiley. Perhaps the aliens had landed and taken the original away.
“Very,” Arthur agreed.
“Perhaps a truce then, when we stay with you boys.”
That sounded horribly as if this was going to be a permanent thing rather than some brief affair, but Arthur let that pass. “Yes, please.”
“Good. That’s settled,” Uther told them. “And the same in reverse of course when you stay with us.”
“What?” Merlin had found his voice again.
“Yes, sweetheart,” Hunith patted his cheek fondly. “I’m glad you’re so happy with Arthur, but really it’s deeply disturbing to have to listen to the pair of you at top volume, all night, every time you stay.”
“I’m sure you understand,” Uther continued, spreading butter on his toast. “TMI is I believe the term you like to use.”
“We could always demonstrate again tonight, if it wasn’t clear,” Hunith offered generously. “Now, would you boys like some toast?”
Merlin gaped at his mother in horror. Arthur wondered whether they could divorce their respective parents…