Merlin didn't mean for Arthur to drink it. He'd left the potion lying around, not realising that Arthur was going to stop by and the prat would be curious (and idiotic) enough to taste something that was in a small phial.
Gods, he was just such a pain wasn't he?
"Merlin…" Arthur walked into Merlin's room and locked the door behind him.
"Sire…" Merlin said, his eyes widening the moment he'd seen the tiny vessel in Arthur's hand. "What are you doing with that?"
"I thought it was the medicine Gaius had left for me," Arthur replied, his eyes staring at Merlin. Watching him so hungrily, Merlin didn't know what to do with himself.
"That isn't your medicine, Arthur…" Merlin's heart was beating so fast he could barely breathe. "That's a sex potion, it was for—"
"A sex potion?" Arthur said, removing his gloves and throwing them on the floor before he began to work on his shirt.
"Keep your clothes on, Arthur."
"What?" Arthur asked, confused and loopy. "It's not a sex potion! There's no such thing."
Before Merlin could respond, Arthur's mouth was on his neck and he was licking Merlin's skin. "Have you always tasted this sweet?"
"Sire…" Merlin squirmed under Arthur's grasp; his hold on Merlin was so tight, Merlin couldn't escape if he'd tried.
"I want you…" Arthur said, pushing Merlin on the bed.
Brilliant. Now Arthur was under the influence of a sex potion and wanted Merlin. Now he wanted Merlin.
"Arthur, you're not yourself…"
"Merlin…" Arthur panted before he dropped to his knees and started to unbuckle the belt on Merlin's trousers. When Merlin tried to swat his hand away, Arthur pouted, but then rubbed the palm of his hand against Merlin's cock—which was betrayingly growing harder by the second. "You want it too, don't you?"
Arthur's voice was so sweet that Merlin found himself nodding. It wasn't what he should have been doing. He shouldn't have been going along with it but before he could change his mind, Arthur's hot breath was on Merlin's skin again and he could barely think. Was Arthur really going to swallow him—
He groaned when Arthur licked the head of Merlin's cock and swirled his tongue around it.
"Sire…" Merlin whined. Oh he was so needy and desperate for Arthur's touch, he couldn't even find himself feeling sorry for taking advantage of Arthur like this. But Arthur was being persistent, it wasn't as though Merlin had started the exchange. After accidentally took the potion, he'd come seeking Merlin.
He could have gone to anyone he'd wanted. But he came to Merlin.
That had to mean something. Didn't it?
Arthur wrapped his mouth around Merlin's prick and he grabbed Merlin's wrists, guiding Merlin's hands to his hair.
"You can't be…" Merlin moaned, raking his fingers through Arthur's hair as Arthur took him in deeper. If Merlin were in the right mind, he'd realised that this had gone far enough. He should have put a stop to this a while go. There was no way Arthur was going to react to this in a positive way — once he got his senses back.
The moment the head of Merlin's cock hit the back of Arthur's throat, Arthur groaned around. Merlin bucked his hips, teasing Arthur's mouth, pushing in and pulling out slightly as he tugged on Arthur's cock, setting a rhythm. Shite, how could he focus on doing anything else when Arthur was doing this to him.
Arthur released Merlin's cock and Merlin panicked. Had the potion worn off already? Merlin was in a near state of panic when Arthur pushed him on the bed as he started to undress himself.
"What are you doing?" Merlin asked, terrified.
"What does it look like?" Arthur asked, looking as if he were resisting rolling his eyes. He dropped his trousers, removed his shirt, taking his cock in his hand. "I want to do everything, but I need to feel myself inside you. But you can't touch yourself though; I want to suck you after."
Merlin's eyes widened. Now was the time to deflect. Now was the time to show some sense; making sure this didn't go on for any longer.
"Merlin…" Arthur said softly, as he kneeled down on the bed, his leg brushing against Merlin's. "I have wanted this for so long…"
"You have?" Merlin asked. "I thought you hated me. I'm your servant…"
"Well, I couldn't bloody well come out—announcing it to the kingdom I think about you every night. That every morning you come to wake me up, as annoying as you are, all I've wanted to do was pull you into bed with me."
Before Merlin could say anything else, Arthur leaned down and kissed him. "Don't deny me this…"
Merlin arched up, seeing Arthur's lips again as Arthur settled himself in-between Merlin's legs. They kissed for a long time. Even though their erections brushed together, leaking with pre-come, aching for more friction, Merlin revelled in the fact that Arthur wanted to kiss him just as much as he wanted to fuck him.
Finally, he settled back, bringing a pillow to slide under him, and spread his legs.
"Have you ever…?" Arthur asked, looking slightly disappointed, and searching Merlin's face at the same time.
Merlin shook his head.
"Then how do you—what do you know—"
"Gwaine," Merlin said with a smile as he felt his felt his face flushed. "He's told me stories. I know what to do, to expect, I suppose, even if I've only been waiting for you…"
Merlin had never actually thought his first time with a man would be Arthur. He'd wanted it to be Arthur, that's why he'd never done anything with anyone except for a few fumbling hand-jobs. Besides being Arthur's silent protector, always watching him, didn't allow him a lot of free time to seek release elsewhere.
"Have you wanted to…with Gwaine, I mean," Arthur asked, stroking his cock against Merlin's. He was taking his time, teasing Merlin — possibly waiting for Merlin to beg. Since he had nearly done a similar thing not too long ago. Arthur had begged for Merlin to let him fuck him, and now he was waiting for Merlin to ask for it too. Merlin knew how to read Arthur better than anyone else.
"Don't be stupid, Arthur," Merlin said, jerking his hips forward to get a bit more friction. Gods, he was going to die, if Arthur kept his pace this slow—tortured him so much. "I want you. It's always been you."
The way Arthur grabbed on Merlin's hips, Merlin was sure was going to leave bruises.
Never in a hundred years did Merlin think Arthur was going to be there, settled in-between his legs, and slamming into him.
Sure, he'd heard tales of how good it could be, how it'd hurt at first, but eventually there was pleasure. But with Arthur, Merlin had simply not imagined it. Arthur said he loved him, and he was showing his love to him.
Arthur's tenderness, the way he was firm and caring at the same time was almost too much for Merlin to handle.
Merlin had the biggest fear of being totally and utterly embarrassed if he did something wrong during sex. Still, Arthur's kindness was almost unreal.
He kissed Merlin's neck, making his way down his chest, as he slowly pumped in and out. When Merlin tried to wrap his hand around his cock, Arthur pushed his hand away.
"Not yet," he commanded, and Merlin was all but willing to give into his demands. Gods knew he was willing to do anything for Arthur.
Merlin's hole clenched around Arthur's cock as Arthur spilled himself inside him, moaning Merlin's name.
Then, finally, Arthur returned to giving all his undivided attention to Merlin, and when Merlin warned he was going to spill—spill into Arthur's mouth, Arthur didn't flinch. He took him down his throat, moaning around Merlin's cock.
Merlin raked his fingers through Arthur's hair, wondering if this would be the only time he'd get to do this. Eventually, the potion would wear off, and Arthur would come to his sense. He'd realise he was simply under the influence and was simply interested in Merlin because he was around.
"We should clean up, I've made a royal mess of your bed," Arthur said, pulling away from Merlin and Merlin immediately missed the strong body that was against his. That, even temporarily, belonged to him.
"I'll be right back," Merlin said, starting to get up, when Arthur stopped him.
"No… Let me," Arthur said, getting up and leaving the room only to return a few minutes later with a warm, wet cloth. How did he even know how to move around Gaius's chambers, Merlin had no idea.
Arthur paid attention to Merlin's body as he cleaned him, wiping the cloth up and down his thighs. "You're so beautiful…" he mumbled and Merlin had to wonder if Arthur meant to say that. He looked at Merlin, catching his gaze and smiled, "Well, you are."
"You're completely insane," Merlin replied.
"Maybe, but doesn't mean that you're aren't just so…pretty." He pressed his thumb against Merlin's hole and Merlin's body trembled.
"Fuck, Arthur. You're going to be the death of me."
Then, Arthur smiled again. "I didn't come here for this," he said, but he didn't sound confused, or angry, but it still disturbed Merlin. "I don't know…I mean, it's great…but…"
"It's the potion," Merlin said softly. "It'll wear off. You should get dress—"
"No, Merlin. I wanted this. I thought about this all the time, but now, I just don't know what came over me."
"It's okay, Arthur," Merlin said, trying to remain calm.
"Do you think we could do it again some time?"
Merlin gave a tentative nod. "Anytime you want. But you should still get dressed. They'll notice your absence, and the knights will come looking for you."
"And that'll be a sight, won't it?" Arthur said, laughing. "I bet Gwaine will have a riot seeing us like this."
"You were jealous of Gwaine," Merlin blurted out.
"I still am."
Merlin was about to speak to Arthur when he noticed Arthur's eyes were looking glazed over. Did this mean the potion was wearing off? Merlin got worried, wondering how it'd be that he'd explain what'd just happened to Arthur.
"I don't…I don't feel so well…"
Arthur stumbled out of Merlin's room and Merlin helped him settle on the bench in Gaius's office. Maybe he was getting sick, was this a side-effect to the potion.
Merlin was supposed to deliver that potion to a long client of Gaius's. The man had trouble with his performance and his wife had initially requested it. Now that Arthur had drank it, Merlin worried for his health - and also how to tell Gaius that he'd so completely messed up.
What would he say. Hi, Gaius. We need to talk. Please don't kill me.
"I'll just lie down for a bit," Arthur said, and Merlin agreed. As he helped Arthur settle on the cot, and took a step back, Arthur had immediately fallen asleep.
Merlin grabbed the empty phial and filled it with liquid, he murmured a spell to change the colour of it, and ran out the door to deliver "the potion." It wasn't the real thing, of course, but Merlin figured perhaps the "power of belief" would help the man perform. He'd seen plenty of that as the physician's assistant. Most people just needed to believe the medicine would work, and it did.
When Merlin returned, Gaius was sitting by Arthur, looking concerned.
"Merlin, what's the reason of this?"
In a panic, Merlin explained everything to him and Gaius looked grim. Gods, he was going to kill Merlin, wasn't he?
"You said he came to you without hesitation?"
"Yes, Gaius," Merlin said, looking down on the floor.
"I can't say that I'm happy about this. If you did your chores when you're supposed to, this mess wouldn't have happened."
"I know, Gaius. I'm so sorry. Do you think he'll be all right? Will he remember anything? I mean, is he going to kill me for what we did. I…"
Gaius took in a deep breath, walking away from Arthur's resting body, and approached Merlin. "He’ll remember. He might be embarrassed, but I don't think he'll kill you."
"What makes you say that?" Merlin asked, confused by the softness of Gaius's tone.
"The potion I brew for Delia and Jedahan is also a fidelity potion. It does have the enticing effect of sexual performance, but only with the one you're attracted to, or in Delia and Jedahan's case, in love with. If Jedahan didn't love Delia, he wouldn't want her."
Merlin's mouth gaped. "That means…"
"Arthur's wanted you. If he'd drank that potion, he'd be going to the person he wants to be with, or well…perform the act alone…" Gaius looked absolutely uncomfortable so Merlin decided to stop his misery.
"Very well, Gaius. I understand. No need to explain any further."
"Thank you," Gaius said with a relief.
"So what do we do now?"
"Well, we wait for the Prince to wake up."
"This is obviously something you need to discuss with Arthur," Gaius said standing up from his seat. "I'll leave you two to talk."
"Where are you going?"
Gaius looked at the door and then returned his gaze at Merlin with a kind smile. "I do not wish to embarrass the prince by being here when he wakes. You two need to talk."
Gaius left them alone in Merlin room and left.
Merlin waited and waited but it didn't look like Arthur was going to wake up soon. His body was starting to get tired. The fact that he'd been used by Arthur and then the stress of what it all meant was starting to wear him down. Merlin sagged back in his chair and closed his eyes.
When he opened them next, Arthur was gone.
Merlin could only avoid his duties for so long. He was already paying the price of not delivering the potion to the right party (and then Arthur accidentally drinking it), he didn't need to be punished by the king also.
Being punished by Arthur was enough.
He was still thoroughly confused about what had happened between them. Arthur, apparently, had feelings for Merlin. Feelings that weren't in anyway unrequited. But, what could happen. Merlin was a servant. He was certain the Prince would get in loads of trouble if he were caught consorting with the help.
Merlin tip toed into Arthur's room as he was still asleep to deliver his breakfast. He could get another servant later to help the prince get ready for his morning routes, but at least this way, it didn't completely look like Merlin was neglecting his duties.
As he set the table and went about cleaning the room as quietly as he could, he should really have been using magic, Arthur stirred in bed.
"Merlin?" Arthur's voice was faint and Merlin wasn't entirely sure he'd heard him correctly or if he was simply imagining the notion.
Merlin thought about mumbling a spell to keep the prince sleeping just a bit longer.
"I know you're here."
Merlin stood very still in the corner, just out of Arthur's gaze, hoping he could remain still. Or disappear.
Arthur sighed. The sheets rustled as if Arthur was turning around, and he mumbled, "You're imagining things again."
When Merlin was certain Arthur had fallen back to sleep, he sprinted out of the room.
"Why are you avoiding me?"
Arthur barged into Merlin's room and startled Merlin.
"Avoiding you?" Merlin's voice squeaked.
"Yes. Don't think I don't know you come in and bring my breakfast in, clean the room, and then have the other servants deal with everything else. I know you've been helping the knights prepare for our runs and duties around Camelot but you're never around to go with us anymore."
"Well, you did once say I only slow you down."
Arthur glared at Merlin for a long minute and then his voice was uncharacteristically soft. "Is this about the other thing?"
"No!" Merlin quickly stood up off his bed and shook his head. "No. This isn't about anything. No other thing. There's nothing. It isn't about any...thing." He cringed inwardly at sounding like such an idiot. "I have other duties assigned to me. I still manage to do the best I can for the prince, but I also need to finish my duties with the court's physician and Gaius keeps me very busy."
Arthur took a step towards Merlin who instinctively took a step back. He hit the wall behind him, unable to go anywhere else, and sighed. "Have I upset you with my performance, sire?" Then his eyes widened and he added, "Work performance."
"Gwaine says he has a pint with you almost every night," whispered Arthur.
Merlin opened his mouth to respond but Arthur didn't let him. He quickly turned around and walked away, just as swiftly as he'd entered Merlin's room.
Merlin was left alone, feeling cold, and defeated. This time, he didn't have anyone to blame but himself.
Defeated, at the end of the evening, Merlin headed towards his quarters. The last thing he wanted was to have another confrontation with Arthur. More than that, he didn't want to run into Gwaine.
Gwaine had lied, obviously, about meeting Merlin at the tavern and having a pint with him. Gwaine had his own secrets and Merlin was just about tired of keeping everyone's secrets.
"Hey, where are you headed?" Gwaine asked, as if thinking about him had immediately conjured him up.
"Back to my room."
"Why? Come and have a pint—"
Merlin chuckled. "No, thanks. I don't think I want to be your excuse anymore."
"What happened?" Gwaine came closer to Merlin and placed his hand on his shoulder. "I… I thought you said it was okay for me to use that as an excuse. Because Arthur asked me where I was last night and I couldn't… I couldn't tell him the truth. You know I'm not ready for that."
Merlin nodded once. "Yeah. I know."
"But… there's a problem?"
"No. Nothing I can't handle, friend." Merlin gave Gwaine a reassuring smile but he knew it was fake and Gwaine knew it was fake.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Merlin shook his head. "I'm tired so if you don't mind—"
"Just one drink. Come on!" Gwaine didn't wait for an answer and he dragged Merlin to the tavern.
Once they entered, Merlin could feel the air had changed and there was just something different. Of course he should have known. When they reached the back, where the knights usually gathered, Arthur was sitting them.
"Bloody brilliant," Merlin mumbled to himself. "Good evening, sire."
"Ah, Gwaine. Merlin! I was just asking after you two."
"Yes, we were a little occupied with other duties," Gwaine said in a flirtatious way as he gently pushed Merlin away and then pulled him close, wrapping his arms around Merlin's shoulder.
He didn't think Gwaine knew what he was doing and whatever he was doing to help his own case, wasn't helping Merlin's.
"Excellent," Arthur said turned away and he motioned for someone to fill his mug.
Naturally, Arthur would never pour his own ale. Merlin pushed Gwaine away and grabbed for the tankard. He obediently filled Arthur's mug before continuing to pour the ale for the others.
"Merlin…" Percival said softly as he reached over and pulled the tankard away. "We've already talked about this here…" Then he pressed Merlin to his side and sat him down. "Here."
Arthur watched the interaction intently but didn't say a word.
Merlin should have just gone home when he had the chance. Now, he had no idea what he was going to do. Arthur was upset, that was clear. But why? Was he jealous. Was he resentful towards Merlin's friendships with the knights?
He would know. Arthur never talked about anything. The fact he'd got inebriated on the potion and revealed as much as he had to Merlin in the first place, was a miracle.