cooling off by the river
Title: cooling off by the river
Character/s: Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin, Gwaine
Summary: After going hunting, Arthur, Merlin and the knights go to a nearby river for a swim.
Word Count: 645
Prompt: Bingo Round 2 – summer
Author's Notes: set post-s3, with all the knights together. this story was inspired by posts i’ve been seeing of these two. i hope you enjoy :D
Arthur threw his waterskin at Merlin, which hit him on the shoulder.
“Ow!” Merlin shouted. He glared at Arthur while he shrugged and looked at Merlin innocently.
Arthur caught Lancelot's eyes – disapproving, with a hint of amusement underneath.
“You are a strange man,” Arthur said. “You could juggle eggs, but could never catch anything I throw at you.”
“Just one of my many talents, sire,” Merlin said sarcastically. He grabbed the waterskin and walked away to tend to the horses before Arthur could reply.
Lancelot approached him. “You never give the boy a break, do you?”
“Only when I feel like it,” Arthur said cheekily.
Lancelot shook his head and smiled. “If only you knew how much he has done for you.”
Arthur huffed. “Like what? Like forgetting to fetch me some fresh clothes or barely answering me when I call for him? Sure.”
Lancelot laughed and put his arm around Arthur’s shoulder. He forced himself to relax as his heart fluttered at the contact.
It was summer and they just finished their latest hunt. In silent agreement, they all headed to this river in the forest, which provided ample cover from the sun through the thick canopy overhead. The water was also cool, making it perfect for a swim in the late afternoon.
"Last one in the water will pay for the first round of drinks tonight!" Gwaine shouted, already halfway through undressing.
Arthur and Lancelot looked at each other, and raced to undress themselves in a silent competition to get to the water first. He faintly heard Merlin shout, "Hey!" from where he was still tying the horses to a tree.
Lancelot hit the water first, with Arthur following a close second after. Arthur took a breath at the wrong time, causing his lungs to fill with water. As he coughed it out, he felt Lancelot's hand rubbing gently along his back.
“Thanks,” Arthur said once he recovered.
“You’re welcome, sire,” Lancelot whispered in Arthur’s ear. Arthur hitched a breath and felt blood rush south. With Merlin, the honorific was usually sarcastic, but with Lancelot, it was almost reverent.
Arthur turned towards Lancelot, their faces close to one another. Then, he smirked and went underwater. He opened his eyes despite the sting. Lancelot followed, and Arthur moved towards him and kissed him in earnest.
Once they were out of breath, they broke through the surface together. He heard the knights’ shouting and thunderous applauses. Merlin was just about to get in the water, and when he saw them, he smirked.
Arthur rolled his eyes while Lancelot ducked his head and smiled.
“It’s so great being in love, am I right?” Merlin teased.
“Shut up, Merlin.”
Merlin splashed water on Arthur. Arthur looked at him indignantly, until he smirked, taking up the challenge. Arthur retaliated together with Lancelot, and soon, the other knights joined them and they all became a total mess afterwards.
Arthur and Lancelot held hands as they moved away from the others while they continued their roughhousing. Gwaine was shoved underwater by Percival, and when Gwaine managed to get off him and break into the surface, he was cursing wildly.
Arthur laughed. When he looked beside him, he saw Lancelot staring at him while smiling.
Lancelot shrugged. “I’m just proud of you.”
“Oh no, not one of your speeches again,” Arthur mocked but not really meaning it.
“You know I am,” Lancelot continued. “You’re going to be a great king, Arthur. And I’m honoured to be able to witness your journey and support you.”
Arthur felt his heart burst in happiness. “Thank you, Lancelot. I’m glad you’re back.”
“As am I.”
Lancelot cupped his cheek and kissed him gently. He heard the knights’ howling once again, and Gwaine shouting, “Get a room!”.
Being surrounded by his most trusted men and his love, there’s nothing more Arthur could ask for.