Title: Oh No They Didn't
Summary: A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this one definitely won't be quickly forgotten. Modern Royal AU.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: #43 Photographs
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd, so I apologize for any mistakes!
“This is bloody ridiculous,” said Merlin with emphasis.
He blamed Arthur. He basically blamed Arthur for everything these days.
On this fine morning, Merlin was stuck in a room full of people who inspired mind-numbing terror in him – on average. But today there was the added bonus of the damn photograph, displayed on the wall in high resolution.
His eyes kept drifting towards it, and each and every look brought on a new wave of shame and nausea.
Belatedly, he realized that the words he said, intended for Gaius only, echoed in the entire room. Everyone was looking at Merlin now. Including Arthur. And the King himself.
Well. In for a penny.
“Excuse me, sire,” he said. “But why is a statement even needed? Somebody broke in and invaded Arthur’s privacy. It’s them who should be making statements, not us.”
There was a long period of silence.
“Arthur,” the king said eventually.
“Yes, sire?” Arthur spoke, with all the stiff formality drilled into him over the years.
“Do tell your assistant to shut up. His stupidity is giving me a headache.”
“Shut up, Merlin,” said Arthur loudly.
Arthur was handling the situation remarkably well. Really, for someone forced to sit in a room with his father, sister and the entire PR staff under a giant explicit photograph of himself mid-coitus, he was a picture of serenity.
Merlin wished he had his mental balance.
The king cleared his throat.
“There’s also the matter of the other—man,” a cold glare at Arthur. “And when will he start to take advantage of his brief moment of fame.”
Sweat broke all over Merlin’s body. He tried to wipe his brow inconspicuously.
“He won’t,” said Arthur calmly.
“You can’t be sure of that,” said Morgause.
“I can,” said Arthur, a steely edge to his voice. “And I am.”
Morgana punctuated that with a snort.
“Who is the lucky guy?” she asked, eyebrows arched. “Shall we start talking with the Archbishop? You know it’s going to take a while—“
“Your security detail claims that no-one came anywhere near your rooms,” said Leon.
(“Well, someone sure came in them.”
“Was it someone from the hotel staff?” asked Gaius.
Arthur strategically rested his forehead on his folded hands, possibly in the attempt to keep his head from banging against the desk in sheer frustration.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “He won’t tell anyone, I promise. Can we please move on?”
Much, much later Arthur collapsed onto the couch of his private quarters, Merlin trailing silently behind him (no eyebrows raised, people didn’t notice Merlin unless they meant to yell at him).
He closed the door. He locked them.
The memory of that night in the hotel room was still burning. The photograph – tomorrow sure to grace the cover of every newspaper in the country, already an Internet sensation – didn’t show his face, which was a small miracle he should be grateful for.
Arthur’s arms reached out for him and pulled him close. Arthur’s soft, familiar lips pressed a kiss to his neck.
“They will never let us forget that,” said Arthur into his hair. His tone was light but with an underlying note of weariness.
Merlin said nothing.
Arthur got busy undoing the buttons of Merlin’s shirt and pushing it off his shoulders. His mouth was hot and insistent, making its way down Merlin’s chest, his fingers caressing Merlin’s ribs.
(It was stupid. They were taking risks. The hotel wasn’t one hundred per cent secure. But Merlin wanted to, and Arthur wanted to. Shouldn’t that be enough?)
Merlin pushed those thoughts away, worry and anxiety melting with every hot swipe of Arthur’s tongue over his naked skin. He closed his eyes, buried his fingers in Arthur’s hair and tried to forget.
Arthur was gentle. He unzipped Merlin’s jeans and snaked his hand down his boxers, his grip sure but so bloody gentle. He hummed something against Merlin’s jaw, whispered words that Merlin didn’t want to hear, promised things that weren’t his to give.
And suddenly it was too much.
“Stop,” said Merlin, his voice an octave lower. Arthur looked up at him with those innocent blue eyes, widened with surprise, darkened with arousal.
Merlin leaned forward and nibbled at his lower lip, taking control of the kiss. Pushing forward and not giving an inch back, until he had Arthur turned into a whimpering, shivering mess. He broke the kiss only to latch onto Arthur’s neck, to leave a bruise there (terrible idea, but oddly satisfying).
He held Arthur’s gaze as he slipped to his knees, knelt in the open V of Arthur’s legs. He started massaging Arthur’s firm thighs through the fabric of his trousers, Arthur smiling down at him in an infuriatingly soft way.
He didn’t look away while his fingers were working at Arthur’s zip.
“We never learn, do we?” said Arthur. He reached out, pressed his palm to Merlin’s cheek; Merlin didn’t let him.
Arthur’s cock was already hard, a tiny bead of liquid collecting at the slit. Merlin took him in, too deep and too fast, nearly chocking. He forced his breathing to even, reminded of the way his throat constricts when he’s about to cry and nearly laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of that thought.
He sucked Arthur off with more enthusiasm than finesse, helping himself with his hand. Arthur, judging by his breathless moans, didn’t seem to care about Merlin’s performance being sub-par.
When he came, Merlin swallowed it down to the last drop, enjoying the bitterness in ways he never expected to. He pressed a few more kisses to Arthur’s softening cock and his balls, a few more swipes of tongue, and then tucked him in. Made him presentable again (Arthur wasn’t going anywhere that evening, but it was a habit).
Later that night Arthur fucked him (not like on the photograph, with Merlin bent over his desk, but on a proper bed). He said more silly things, made more empty promises. Merlin didn’t listen.