Title: Another Mark Against Him
Summary: Merlin is careless and Arthur is curious.
Word Count: 680
Author's Notes: First time for this, please be gentle!
(Also sorry for the title, I utterly fail at titles.)
“Merlin, what is that?”
Dry, callused fingers slid up under the crumpled edge of fabric where his tunic had partially ridden up his back. He’d been bending down across the King’s bed, trousers low on his hips but thinking little of the arrangement of his clothes. Merlin cursed his thoughtlessness as he shivered and tried to twist away from Arthur’s questing digits.
He tried to feign ignorance but he never had been a good liar.
“What do you-come here!”
Merlin twisted around to face Arthur putting his back to the wall. He tried a guileless grin but Arthur wasn’t having any of it.
“There’s a mark on your back. What is it?”
Merlin widened his eyes, cocked his head slightly, fake-grinning all the while.
“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
He nearly swore aloud at his feet for the step back that proved his nerves. Fire was flooding his face as he attempted to skirt around the bed he’d been making, intent on gaining the safety of the chamber door before Arthur could question him further. He never made it past the foot of the bed.
“Merlin! Get. Back. Here.”
Snagged by his trailing wrist, it was but a matter of seconds before Merlin found himself slammed face down across Arthur’s bed. The waistband of his trousers and the hem of his shirt parted ways and the cool evening air curled around his backside for a moment before being brushed aside by curious fingertips.
He could hear the rush of breath being pulled too quickly into Arthur’s lungs in a soft wordless gasp. He could feel the dry heated rub of skin ridged with callus rough against the tender skin that curved low on his back. Arthur’s fingers traced the spiraling arms and the triangular heart of the triskelion that inked the skin well below his waist. Those fingers dug in over the prominent edge of his iliac crest and softened again when the line of bone fell away.
Closing his eyes, Merlin did his best to swallow back the groan of pleasure that rose, unbidden, to his lips. Arthur had never touched him like this, not in all the long years of their acquaintance…their association, their friendship? Merlin wasn’t even sure what to call their relationship any more as he submitted to Arthur’s curious explorations. All he knew was that he wanted more…and that he shouldn’t.
He arched feebly in Arthur’s hold and the King’s grip on him changed. His large hands pinned Merlin’s restless hips down.
He sounded out of breath, as if he were just as affected by this as Merlin was. Perhaps he was, perhaps this was pushing his boundaries even more than it was pushing Merlin’s. It wasn’t going to stop him though, Merlin knew that much. His king was a stubborn man and once decided on a course, there was little that could sway him from it. Right now he was intent on discovering the secret of the mark that spiraled across Merlin’s skin in damning branches of black ink.
“Merlin…what? How? What happen…what is this?”
Desperately looking to deflect Arthur’s attention, Merlin groped for any distraction. He went for sarcasm.
“What do you think it is, you great lumbering buffoon? “
Arthur’s answering growl was promising.
“And anyway, why the hell were you looking at my arse?!”
Bucking a little, he tried to remind Arthur exactly what his hands were holding onto. Arthur shifted his grip again but he didn’t let go.
“I-I wasn’t-I mean-I was…Stop changing the subject Merlin. That’s hardly the point!”
“It’s all the point with me!”
“That’s a Druid’s mark! Merlin, what the hell?”
He squirmed, one of Arthur’s hands scorching the small of his back, the other cupping his left buttock all too intimately. He knew at least one of his secrets was about to come out and given the current state of their…relationship, he’d better choose which one he felt was less dangerous. Huffing out a sigh, Merlin followed it with a deep breath.
“You remember ever hearing the name Emrys?”