Title: Merlin's place (part 2/2)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur makes it good again.
Word Count: 1600
Prompt: #102 Fool
Author's Notes: I am aware that there are other, very similar Merthur bath-fics out there. It's a set-up I am extremely fond of and can never get enough of, and that is why I have written my own version. I swear I am not trying to copy anyone or steal anyone's thunder, and when I post this to AO3 I will try to hunt down and cite as inspiration the fics that I have emmulated here.
Merlin's place part 1
Merlin's place part 2
Merlin crosses the room to stand awkwardly next to Arthur, who rises from the bed and looks Merlin up and down. "You've got bits of cabbage everywhere." He reaches up and runs his fingertips through Merlin's hair, picking out bits of green as he goes.
Merlin stands very still with his shoulders drawn up and wonders what's going on.
"Better get in the bath before you stink up the whole room," Arthur says cheerfully and claps Merlin on the back so hard he stumbles a step.
Merlin looks at Arthur sceptically. "Oh yes, very funny. Did you actually need me for anything or didn't you get your fill of harassing helpless woodland creatures today?"
Arthur gives him a mocking, narrow-eyed look. "I did used to think of you in terms of helpless woodland creatures, but I feel like we've come pretty far in domesticating you, though you've yet to become useful for anything."
Merlin decides that Arthur is just being a jerk. Merlin has taken his punishment, and all the abuse he can handle today. Arthur can put him back in the stocks tomorrow: Merlin is leaving. He gives Arthur a pointed look and turns on his heel, but only gets two steps towards the door before Arthur grabs his arms from behind and redirects him towards the tub.
"Get in the bath," Arthur says, amusement and finality in his tone. "It was ordered for you." He gives Merlin a small push forward.
Merlin turns back and gawps at him, but Arthur only nods.
Merlin figures he must have heard wrong, and remains frozen long enough for Arthur to get the wrong idea.
"Oh fine." The King turns his back with a huff, thinking Merlin is being shy. "It's not like I haven't seen you naked before, or you me for that matter." He crosses his arms over his chest. "You've got to the count of twenty."
Somehow, Merlin finds himself hopping to, pulling his clothes off and trying to remember if it is April fool's day today, which would explain everything.
"Eighteen ... nineteen ..."
When Arthur turns around, Merlin is sitting in the tub. The water is hot and fragrant, and Merlin struggles to keep his eyes focused on Arthur and not let them drift shut. The aches in his body are muted by the glorious heat.
Arthur looks pleased with himself, that dollop-head. He goes to his desk and begins puttering around with some documents, while Merlin leans his forehead against his knees and enjoys the rare pleasure of being submerged in warm water. After a while, Arthur footsteps come closer, and wood scrapes against wood as the King nudges the stool next to the tub with his foot.
"Get on with it," Arthur says, not unkindly, before moving on to stand at the window. "I would like to go to bed some time before morning."
Merlin opens his eyes reluctantly to see Arthur reading a letter in the pale, early-evening light. On the stool is a cup with a bar of soap, and a washcloth. Merlin lathers up his hands and rubs the soap into his hair.
After a moment, Arthur lowers the letter and sighs. "Merlin," he begins. "What happened today ..." he trails off. He doesn't turn from the window, just angles his head to the side. "I am sorry for losing my temper with you."
Merlin stops in the act of rinsing out his hair, water running into his wide, astonished eyes.
"Did you just apologise?" he asks a little louder than he means to.
Arthur turns, frowning. "No."
"I distinctly heard you say you were sorry."
"Alright, but if you repeat it to anyone, I'll have your tongue pulled out."
He frowns at Merlin, who blames the water for the way his cheeks grow hot under the scrutiny. "I'm sorry I forgot your gloves," Merlin says. "It was stupid."
Arthur shakes his head. "You're run off your feet. We all are. It's the other Kings; I feel like I am under pressure to exceed expectations all the time. They are all so much older and wiser than I am."
"That's true, they are wiser." Merlin ducks his head when Arthur glares, but can't help but grin. He loves it when Arthur confides in him.
"My point," Arthur says a little sharply, "is that I wouldn't have punished you if Ban and Olaf hadn't been watching. Or at least I would have chosen a more appropriate punishment, like a good spanking."
The water is really very, very hot. Merlin sinks a little lower in the tub and hopes Arthur doesn't notice the goose bumps racing down his back.
But Arthur is turning to the window again. "George might be the best manservant in the five kingdoms, and you might be the worst, but you are still mine." He clears his throat, made uncomfortable by his blunder. "My manservant that is."
Merlin feels equal parts mortified and overjoyed. When Arthur moves to walk past him, he twists around to follow. "I am," he says quickly.
Arthur stops, looks down at Merlin, who can't seem to look away. When did Arthur's eyes become so wise, and so sad?
"I am," Merlin repeats, voice almost gone.
Arthur must be standing too close to the bath, because now he is growing hot too, cheeks staining red. He coughs again. "Really, Merlin, you are completely incompetent. I told you to wash up." He shakes his head and grabs the washcloth before repositioning the stool behind Merlin. "I suppose there's no cure for being an idiot. I'll just have to help you this time."
Merlin goes stiff as a board, unable to believe his ears.
Arthur notices, and his expression softens. "May I help?" he asks gently, taking the soap from Merlin's slack hand without looking away from his eyes.
A shudder of shocked arousal grips Merlin, and he nods quickly before turning back around to sit properly, but he's blushing to the tips of his ears now, which Arthur has to notice.
The touch of the soapy cloth on his neck brings the goose bumps back in full force, and then Arthur's other hand moulds to the other side of his neck, supporting, and Merlin is hyperaware of the five fingertips pressing against his skin. Arthur's hands are capable and confident, rubbing Merlin's neck and ears while Merlin clenches his teeth so as not to moan. He has never been so turned on in his life, can't stop himself from going hard even if he wanted to.
He focuses so intently on staying silent that he forgets he needs air, until Arthur pulls him back against the edge of the tub and says "Breathe, Merlin," admonishingly, and Merlin does, but then Arthur slides his hands down Merlin's chest unexpectedly, and the touch zings across Merlin's tortured nerves and makes him buck his hips up and moan shockingly loudly.
Oh god, now Arthur has seen, must have seen that Merlin is hard. He is ready to die of embarrassment right then and there, and might have, if Arthur had not taken it for encouragement; he rubs the rough washcloth over Merlin's nipples, making Merlin writhe in the water, all control lost.
"Arthur! Please!" Merlin says hoarsely, begging for mercy and for more in the same breath.
Arthur lets out a quiet oath, one hand holding Merlin by the throat while he leans forward and reaches into the water, closing his hand firmly around Merlin's erect cock.
Merlin makes a wounded sound and let's his legs fall open, hips rising to meet Arthur's hand. He is on fire with arousal and embarrassment both, already on edge and heading for the most powerful orgasm he has ever experienced.
"Oh, Merlin," Arthur says, sounding awed as his soap-slick hand pumps Merlin's shaft with slow, measured strokes.
Merlin's breath hitches, he turns his face into Arthur's knee and shuts his eyes hard, knowing he's going to come within moments like a little boy.
"So good for me, Merlin," Arthur praises, nosing at Merlin's damp temple and pressing a kiss there.
Merlin turns to him blindly, seeking his mouth, and Arthur obliges, their lips sliding together chastely for a moment before Arthur pushes his tongue into Merlin's mouth and starts gently thrusting in time with his stroking hand.
Merlin loses it, owned by Arthur's hands and Arthur's mouth and those blue eyes he helped turn wise. He makes shameful pleading sounds, hips shaking with tension, until Arthur takes pity on him and pumps his cock faster. Merlin almost screams into Arthur's mouth and comes so hard it borders on painful.
He comes down, trembling like a fawn, clumsily turning over in the tub and leaning on Arthur's legs while Arthur runs the cloth luxuriously over Merlin's heaving back.
"You are amazing," Arthur says, a slight breathlessness in his voice betraying his own lingering arousal.
Merlin reaches between Arthur's legs and cups the straining bulge there, leaving a wet handprint. "Want to suck your cock, Arthur."
Arthur hiccups in surprised lust, and it makes Merlin laugh. Arthur swats his behind with the cloth.
Merlin's stomach interrupts them then, rumbling discontentedly.
Arthur lets the cloth fall into the water. "How about eating first? The food is also for you."
Merlin looks up into Arthur's kind face and feels warmed through, and not because of the water. "Thank you, Sire."
Arthur's expression grows uncertain. "And after ... will you ... will you stay?"
Merlin leans up and kisses Arthur's lips. "Of course. Your bed is a lot more comfortable than mine."