Title: In Training
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur gives Merlin some hands-on training.
Word Count: 532
Prompt: #88 - Breathless
Merlin’s chest heaved and his feet slipped on the thick green grass. They were about three-quarters of the way to the crest of the hill behind the castle. Sweat dripped down his forehead and into his eyes. His thighs screamed.
“Arthur,” he huffed.
“Come on, Merlin, don’t be such a wimp.” Arthur wasn’t even breathing hard, although his face was flushed. He threw a glance back at Merlin from a few paces ahead, a boyish smile lighting up his face. Merlin’s chest tightened even more. Bloody King Arthur, who could do such things to him with just a smile.
Arthur reached the top of the hill and jumped up and down, pumping his arms in victory. The sun glinted gold on his hair and you’d think he’d won the annual tournament, the way he was carrying on, instead of just a spur of the moment sprint up the hill with his manservant.
Merlin finally made it up to the top and leaned over, his hands on his thighs, trying to recover. “Next…time…I’ll… beat…you,” he managed to get out, thinking he really needed to spend more time doing vigorous exercise.
Arthur gazed at him, for all the world as if he’d just rose from his bed. “Is that right?
“Yeah, that’s right.” Merlin straightened up and raised his chin defiantly. He noticed that Arthur was also breathing hard even though he appeared relaxed. “I bet I can beat you if I just do some training. Leon said he’d be happy to help me.”
“Oh, really now? Leon said?” Arthur scoffed. “That’ll be the day. You’re skinnier than a rat at the end of winter.”
“Hey, rats can run pretty fast.”
“Har-dee-har-har. When you catch your breath, I’ll teach you some techniques that’ll improve your running.”
Who knew that learning better running techniques involved so much hands-on work? It turned out that Arthur had to get a good feel for Merlin’s entire chest in order to evaluate his breathing and Merlin had to flex his thighs quite a few times, Arthur’s hand wrapped around his leg, so he could understand Merlin’s gait. And of course after that, Arthur insisted on massaging Merlin’s thigh muscles, which were too tight, according to him. Then he determined Merlin’s breathing really had to be tested with an intimate kiss, which was something Merlin had definitely never heard before. But he had to say, regardless of how legitimate it was, it was infinitely more pleasurable than running up the hill.
“You know, I think I might be able to help you a lot more than Leon,” Arthur said, his lips just a couple of inches from Merlin’s. Merlin could still feel their warm imprint on his mouth.
“Yeah,” he managed to get out. “I think you’re right. I have a feeling your lessons would be much better than Leon’s.”
“Learning to run is really quite complex,” Arthur observed. “It involves many more parts of the body than you’d think.”
“Really? I think you’d better tell me about each and every one of them,” Merlin said, a thrill going up his spine in anticipation. He pulled Arthur close again, eager to find out just what Arthur had in mind.