Title: While the stars froze above you
Rating: R (Series rating: Nc-17)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Ragnor, Mordred, bandits
Summary: Ragnor and his men have fun at Arthur and Merlin’s expense.
Warnings: SPOILERS for 5x02! Also, gay sex of the exhibitionist, dub-con variety.
Word Count: Onethousandand*coughcoughhem* (1695)
Prompt: #28 Jealousy
Author's Notes: ... I know, I know, but it’s not like I could stop in the middle of the porn, now could I, and it’s two in the morning here in Norway so it’s way too late to write another drabble, and can’t we just think of this as an artist abundantly inspired by a wonderful challenge community rather than as me breaking the rules, and are you really going to argue that there should be LESS Merthur porn in this world and please please don’t disqualify me! Please.
(Drabble inspired by that moment in 5x02 around 0:30 when Merlin is crouching and Arthur puts a hand on his chest and Merlin fucking undulates his hips. I’m sure you’ve all seen the tumblr posts.)
EDIT: This is now the Frozen Stars verse. You can find it on AO3, or here on livejournal:
01 "While the stars froze above you" (You are here)
02 "And the Earth held its breath"
03 "Your hearts beat as one"
04 "A building storm"
05 "Tied together with string"
09 "They will fall like leaves"
10 "Into the silence" (only on AO3)
12 "Not carved from stone"
13 "Falling for you" (Only on AO3)
14 "By fee and gift" (Only on AO3)
15 "Should war draw nigh" (Only on AO3)
17 "Love calls you home"
18 "The world will end in fire"
19 "Bonds of love and loyalty"
21 "The fall"
22 "Minds and bodies"
23 "Lost and found"
24 "Hurtling towards the day"
25 "The gift of a good day"
Night falls quickly on Ismere’s frozen valleys, but though it means an early end to their march, it brings little relief to Ragnor’s pitiful band of prisoners. It’s so cold. Freezing. And without food and proper coats, it’s a tossup whether they’ll even survive to reach the Lady Morgana’s dungeon.
Merlin has been distracted all day, plagued by his secret fears, so it is only after the cart comes to a halt, and Arthur falls down in the snow and remains there, that Merlin realises how much of a brave face the King has been putting on this far. The prisoners huddle together as best they can while the bandits build a fire. Merlin stays by Arthur’s side, but the King doesn’t even wake when a man comes to tie his feet together, and eventually the cold grows unbearable, so Merlin inches himself as close to the blazing heat of the fire as his bonds allow. He can’t feel his ears or his toes, and if he couldn’t see his own fingers curled, red and sore, over his knees, he would think they had fallen off somewhere on the road.
He continues to watch Mordred, but is distracted by the food that the bandits are so carelessly devouring.
“Is this what you want?” Ragnor dangles the loaf in front of him, but of course it is not with the intention of sharing. When it’s thrown at him, it lands out of reach by a good bit, but Merlin thinks he could get it if he can only make Arthur move. So once both Ragnor and Mordred have turned away, Merlin shuffles over to Arthur.
There’s no response. Arthur’s lips are blue, his body too still, his shoulders relaxed. All at once, Merlin is terrified.
“Arthur? Arthur!” He shakes the King until he stirs with a groan.
“Leave me alone, Merlin.”
Merlin lowers his voice, aware that he’s drawn attention to them with his shouts. “Don’t fall asleep, you won’t wake up again. Come on, Arthur.”
He startles when Ragnor speaks up right behind him. “What kind of servant doesn’t use his master’s title? I’m beginning to wonder about you two.”
Arthur’s eyes open reluctantly, his lashes full of snowflakes, and he glares tiredly up at the Scot. Merlin ignores Ragnor altogether, pulling on Arthur’s arm to bring him into a sitting position. Icy chainmail brushes his fingers, and it says something that he can feel it, despite his numb hands. The mail shirt isn’t helping Arthur keep warm at all, and the arms of the gambeson are stiff with frost.
Arthur shakes his head to throw off lethargy.
Merlin doesn’t have to think twice before he turns to Ragnor. “Please. Please let him sit by the fire, just for a little while. He’s so cold.”
Ragnor cocks his head to the side, studying them with a mocking little smile. “What do I care if the King of Camelot passes a chilly night?”
“If he dies, the Lady Morgana will have your head!”
Arthur’s hand comes to rest on Merlin’s arm. “Merlin, stop it,” he says softly.
Ragnor’s eyes light up with interest. “I see how it is.” He raises his voice. “The boy’s gotten so used to moaning his master’s name, he forgets his title in public. Been a while since you were good and had, has it boy, or did you find an opportunity in the net last night?” The men around the fire laugh, all except Mordred, whose expression remains inscrutable.
Something flutters in Merlin throat and stomach. It’s embarrassment, yes, but heat too. Because he has thought about it ... so many times.
Ragnor grabs them both and hauls them to their feet. “You’ll have your wish, boy. Your master will be warm in no time.”
The two of them are untied from the cart and dragged over to the fire, where Arthur is pushed down with his back against a couple of crates. Merlin's feet are freed, and then they shove him down on Arthur's lap, with his knees bent so his legs are on either side of Arthur's. Arthur’s arms are pulled painstakingly over Merlin’s head and down to surround his waist.
Arthur is definitely awake now, his eyes wide and jaw tight. Merlin swallows and looks up at Ragnor, because it’s safer; he’s shared a lot of long looks with Arthur before, in significant moments, but none as dangerous as now, when the King might read too much of the truth in his flushed cheeks. They, at least, are not cold anymore.
Ragnor smiles, and it’s almost friendly. “Well? I’m giving you a chance to get your master’s blood pumping again. So hop to it.”
“I don’t understand.” Although maybe he does, because Arthur’s legs are big and solid between his own, and his arms have Merlin trapped close against his chest, and his breath curls against Merlin’s cheek with every exhale. There is an inescapable physicality to their situation that speaks clearly of Ragnor’s intentions for them.
It’s one of the other men that speaks up helpfully. “Ride him, idiot-boy. Give us a show.”
No misunderstandings there.
Ragnor goes to sit down next to Mordred, who looks faintly disapproving and a little confused.
Arthur bows his head. “I’m sorry,” he whispers.
Merlin can’t speak.
“Get to it,” Ragnor says. “Or his Highness will spend the night sleeping naked in the snow.”
Merlin swallows again, and begins to move his hips. It’s stilted at first, his body too tired and stiff to obey him properly, but the fire at his back is thawing his limbs, and despite himself he begins to melt into the rhythm, the swivelling movement of his hips.
Arthur is looking determinedly straight ahead, which doesn’t help because it makes Merlin feel as if Arthur is looking straight through his chest and into the chamber where his heart is beating hard and fast.
Someone laughs, an ugly bark of sound. “The King of Camelot is a lucky man. I wish I had a girl who could ride like that.”
Humiliation makes Merlin’s head spin. He misses a beat and can’t seem to start moving again, and it startles Arthur into lifting his gaze and then they’re locked together with an intimacy that makes Merlin realise just how much both their bodies have thawed because oh, that’s not cold at all.
“Are you jealous, Hamár?” Ragnor asks, chuckling. “Maybe we should keep the boy, hand his Majesty over by himself? It would be nice to have a warm body to hold on these long winter nights.”
Merlin trembles, ducking his head. He feels Arthur’s arms around him tighten and his jaw clench.
Surprisingly, Mordred comes to their rescue. “The Lady Morgana knows them both well. She’ll no doubt pay extra, even for the servant. She’d be displeased if she were denied him.”
Ragnor glances at Mordred, intrigued and annoyed at the same time. Then he shrugs. “Looks like it’s your loss, Hamár. I’ll take the money first any day.”
Across the fire, Hamár groans theatrically in disappointment.
Merlin doesn’t stop trembling, but it’s from relief now.
“What did you stop for, boy?” Ragnor asks.
“Give me a minute,” Merlin says, the words born just behind his teeth with no connection to his brain or his heart.
Then Ragnor is coming over to grab Merlin by the hair and pull his head back. “You’re not listening to me, boy. I thought you said he was cold and you wanted to help him.” It isn’t apparent that he wants some sort of answer before the hand in Merlin’s hair becomes cruel. “Well? Do you want to save your master or no?”
“I do,” Merlin grits out, eyes tearing up.
“Good, then you’ll do better than you have so far.”
“He will,” Arthur says, and the sound of his voice is familiar and beloved in a way that makes Merlin’s heart ache. “Let him go.”
He is released with a shove, and doesn’t lift his head again, hiding his face against Arthur’s cheek.
Then Arthur’s breath is hot on his ear. “Come on, Merlin. We have to get this over with.”
But when Merlin shoves down again it punches a groan out of Arthur, making the men laugh uproariously.
“Someone’s enjoying himself.”
Merlin doesn’t stop again, doesn’t dare to, but he has to make himself move because now he knows, now he can feel that Arthur is aroused, the shape and warmth of him even through his trousers, and it makes his own body respond in kind. Before there was only friction, now it translates into pleasure. There’s a coil low in his stomach that is wound tighter with every thrust, every time the shocking hardness of Arthur’s cock shoves against his own. Merlin digs his fingertips into the short hairs at Arthur’s nape, forgets himself and mouths at Arthur’s cold neck.
Arthur is breathing harder, his legs spreading a little to give Merlin better access, and Merlin almost whimpers at the way his own legs are forced to spread with them. Oh, he has thought about this too.
But he can’t do it like this, surrounded by people, with Ragnor’s mocking gaze and Mordred’s unreadable one like tangible weights on him. So he leans his head back and looks up at the stars. Pretends that there is nothing but Arthur against him and the bright lights above him in the whole world.
He is utterly surprised when Arthur uses his hold on Merlin’s waist to drag him down in one, two, three sharp thrusts and growls at him “Come for me.”. Merlin isn’t usually one for obeying orders but on the other hand he can never deny Arthur when he’s being honest about his needs, so when Arthur adds “Now, Merlin.” in a wrecked voice, Merlin shudders and comes in his trousers, his hips jerking forward on their own accord before stilling. Arthur continues to thrust up against him, and Merlin holds on, holds his master close, until Arthur too shudders and is still.
Hooting and catcalls bring them back to Earth. The stars are far away and cold. But at least Arthur and Merlin are both warm, and not just because of the fire.