Title: Harvest Festival part 2/4
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur attends an Ealdor harvest festival with Merlin.
Warnings: short-lived dubious consent, panic, hurt/comfort, temporary body modification, possession, sex magic, ritual sex
Word Count: 957
Prompt: #260 art + "harvest festival"
Author's Notes: canon era
After the performance, and after the dancing and merrymaking, Merlin makes his way back to the tent where he can change back into his clothes. The dancing kept him warm, but he is getting cold now that most of the people have wandered off to bed for the night.
He is inside the tent and about to lift the antlers off his head when he feels a magical tingling come over him.
He pauses and listens for any telling noise from outside, then decides to hurry into his clothes to investigate.
Only, when he then tries to remove the antlers again, he feels them tug too hard against his scalp. With his heart beating faster, he follows their stem down to his hair to try to pull them up from the base. He feels around for the bottom edge, but finds nothing. The antlers are attached to his head.
The antlers are part of his head.
Panic does away with his higher brain functions, and he decides to try to rub the antlers off of himself. He drops down into a crouch against the dirt, bends his head all the way down to the ground, and frantically starts to rub the antlers against the hard ground to try to dislodge them.
The antlers do an effective job of tilling the packed soil, but they do not budge from their place on Merlin's head.
Merlin stops rubbing his head against the ground, but he stays on his hands and knees staring blindly at the dirt beneath him. Frustrated and now dizzy with the rush of fast-moving blood to his head, Merlin feels his eyes prickle with the beginning of tears. He makes no move to wipe them away, and instead lets them fall from his eyes straight to the ground.
After a short while, the prickle in his eyes starts to feel like a burning. Merlin rubs a dirty hand across his dirty face, but the burning stays the same. In his panic, he realizes that this is the same feeling he gets when he casts magic, only that feeling is brief because his eyes light up and then fade quickly when he casts. His eyes must be glowing a constant gold now. He cannot think of any reason for this, and he wonders how he is going to find help when Gaius is back in Camelot and there is nobody else in this town who might be able to help him.
Merlin is just coming to the decision that he should gather his clothes and go hide in his mother's house when he hears the tent flap open.
It's Arthur. Relief and panic war within Merlin at the knowledge that Arthur has found him.
"Merlin, I came to see how you were getting-- What are you doing on the ground?" Arthur asks.
"Nothing," Merlin croaks out. His throat is scratchy and his voice is hoarse.
Arthur steps closer. When he drops the tent back into place, Merlin realizes that the cold outside air felt good on his skin. Now that it's closed, Merlin feels too hot.
"Are you alright, Merlin?" Arthur asks. He puts a hand on the back of Merlin's shoulder.
Merlin cries out. With that touch, a swooping and falling feeling blasted through Merlin from the tips of his antlers to the tips of his toes. His eyesight goes fuzzy.
"Merlin?" Arthur sounds very concerned now. "Tell me what's wrong," he commands.
"Arthur," Merlin gasps out.
At that one name spoken, the feelings Merlin is experiencing change from tingling weightlessness to solid awareness. Suddenly, Merlin's body knows exactly what it needs.
Inside his mind, though, Merlin feels like he is not in control of his body; his consciousness watches as his body and mouth move without his approval.
"Arthur," he pleads, "help me."
"What do you need, Merlin?" Arthur asks. "I can go get help," he offers.
The antlers drag slowly along the ground as Merlin's head turns to look at Arthur.
A look of shock manifests on Arthur's face when he sees the golden glow of Merlin's eyes.
Though Merlin is not entirely in control of his physical self, the expression on his face does manage to reflect his pleading and his panic.
"Arthur, please help me," he begs.
Arthur is torn between backing away to protect himself from whatever magic has hold of Merlin and moving closer to help his friend, though he knows not how. He chooses the path of valor and moves closer in a crouch.
"How?" Arthur asks.
Lightning quick, Merlin's hand darts out to grab Arthur's wrist. Merlin's hand squeezes tighter as he feels himself swell between his legs. He reaches full hardness in seconds.
"Ow! Merlin, that hurts," Arthur says. The grip on his wrist is more bone-crushing than he would have imagined possible from Merlin.
Merlin does not pay him any attention. Instead, he pulls Arthur's arm toward the white cloth covering his groin. He positions Arthur's hand against himself there.
Arthur tries to pull his arm back, but Merlin's grip is unbreakable. "This is not what I was thinking, Merlin!" Arthur says hotly.
Merlin pants out heavy breaths. He turns his head more to look Arthur in the eye. "Please, Arthur," he begs.
Though Merlin's eyes are glowing gold with an unknown magical force and overly glassy to the point that he looks like he could be slightly feverish, Arthur knows Merlin well enough to see the terror behind all the magic.
Arthur knows that to participate in a magical bonding in any way will mark him and Merlin, but he can't leave his friend in such distress. He makes his decision, and he can only hope that this marking will not ruin their futures.