Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gaius
Summary: Arthur is being responsible. Merlin doesn't like it.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: Time to catch my breath a little!
“Arthur, come to bed.” Merlin didn’t care that he was whining; he was worried about his king. He had fallen asleep before Arthur had even got under the blankets the last three nights and Merlin was worried that Arthur wasn’t getting enough sleep.
“I’ll be there in a moment,” Arthur muttered. Merlin knew that tone though – Arthur’s `moment` would be several hours later when he had finally finished the reports. He was taking his duties as a king seriously and Merlin was proud of him. But now he needed Arthur to look after himself as well as the kingdom.
“Not now, Merlin.”
Merlin fell quiet. There was no point in arguing with Arthur when he got like this. Instead, the ex-servant slipped from the bed and dressed. He wasn’t sure Arthur even noticed him leave the room.
Merlin strode the dimly lit corridors confidently, knowing the route like the back of his hand. It didn’t surprise him that Gaius was still up, candles burning low as his old mentor bent low over a text book.
“Shut the door and stop lurking,” Gaius said without looking up and Merlin smiled, entering properly and sitting down on a stool. He knew better than to interrupt and watched as Gaius measured out some ingredients, peering at his page as he did so.
At last, the old man looked at him.
“What is it, Merlin?”
Merlin wasn’t surprised that Gaius knew something was wrong before he had said anything. This time of evening usually saw him engaged in other activities with Arthur – either formal dinners or informal tumbles beneath the sheets. He tried not to blush, failed, and hoped the candlelight didn’t betray him.
“He’s working too hard and I don’t know how to stop him,” Merlin said bluntly. Gaius stared at him over his spectacles.
“He is embracing his responsibilities.”
“I know,” Merlin muttered. His gaze traced a familiar knot in the wood on the table. “But he’s being too responsible. I’m not sure he is sleeping.”
Gaius nodded gravely. Merlin knew he would take it seriously; the health of the king was not something to be taken lightly and if Arthur wasn’t sleeping, then only so much time would pass before he crashed. Camelot needed a strong king, and Arthur had yet to realise that meant it needed him healthy.
“I’m not drugging him, Merlin. It won’t address the problem.”
“So what do I do?”
Gaius merely looked at him before sighing. “You’re the king’s lover, Merlin. If you can’t find a way to distract him, then no one can.”
This time, nothing would hide Merlin’s blush. Gaius had walked in on them “distracting” each other more than once; he knew their attraction was just as physical as it was emotional.
He was suggesting Merlin seduce Arthur to make him stop working.
“What are you still sitting here for?” Gaius snapped, “I have work to do. So do you.”
Merlin didn’t argue. He fled, uncertain of where the conversation would go otherwise. He hurried back to their joint chambers and paused momentarily outside of the room. Gaius was right; Arthur was his destiny, it was up to him to take care of his king.
Entering the room, he locked the door behind him and lit the candles with a wave of his hand. Arthur glanced up fleetingly before returning to work but Merlin moved to the centre of the room. With exaggerated movements to catch Arthur’s eye, he slowly undressed. Then he fastened one of Arthur’s cloaks around him, although it did nothing to conceal his nakedness.
He just had no intention of catching a cold because Arthur was being stubborn.
Without a word, he moved across the room and sat at the table. Arthur was focusing on his reports, but Merlin saw the flush to his cheeks and knew his performance had been witnessed. Leaning back, his foot touched Arthur’s leg. Then he did it again, this time pressing harder and slowly moving up Arthur’s legs.
He had to give the king credit – he had both heels pressed against Arthur’s groin before Arthur threw down his quill.
“What are you doing?”
“What does it feel like?” Merlin murmured, a coy smile on his face even as his moved his feet. Arthur’s breath hitched and Merlin felt his body respond. He leant forward, noticing that Arthur’s gaze was tracing his body. Finally.
“I don’t have time for this.” Arthur’s tone was far from its usual command and Merlin ignored him.
“You’re not the only one who needs to be responsible,” Merlin said. “As your servant, I should keep you comfortable and healthy. As your Court Warlock, I need to keep you safe. And as your lover, I should keep you satisfied.”
He slipped from the chair, sinking to his knees and approaching Arthur. It only took a flare of his eyes until Arthur’s laces were undone and Merlin reached in. He was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath.
“You’re not responsible,” Arthur muttered.
“Neither are you,” Merlin said, a hint of seriousness entering his tone. “You can’t keep this up, Arthur, it isn’t helping anyone.”
“Can wait until the morning when you can look at them with a clear head after a good night sleep.”
“Really?” Merlin smirked, leaning forward, his hands on Arthur’s knees. “Are you really thinking straight right now, My Lord?”
Arthur stared down at him for a long moment.
“Damn you,” he said. One hand fiddled with the clasp on the cloak, pulling it off before pulling Merlin up onto his lap and kissing him. It didn’t matter that Arthur was dressed and Merlin was bare, or that the king was pressing against him, his kisses desperate.
All that mattered was that Merlin finally encouraged Arthur to bed and made sure he wore his king out enough to make him sleep.
He was responsible for his well-being, after all. He might have been the worst servant, but he was an attentive lover.