Deliberately marking his royal territory, Merlin had said in a huff. Arthur denied it, of course, vehemently, grumbled about it being bollocks and Merlin an idiot, but that's exactly what it was. Marking his territory.
Yet knowing that, Merlin still tied that ridiculous cloth around his neck - hiding the bruises that Arthur sucked into his skin a few hours before.
The tease. He knew that Arthur liked to see what he'd done afterwards, liked to have others see as well.
Mouthing and biting and rubbing his not-quite-shaven cheek against that alabaster flesh, raising red marks, his energetic handiwork stark against that pale throat. How could he not want the world to know that Merlin was his, would always be his.
Then Merlin had to go and cover it up.
Well, Arthur would see about that. Next time, when Merlin was gasping out his desire, loose and pliant under Arthur's hand, Arthur might just have to show him what other uses there were for ratty neckerchiefs. And then tied up like a pretty package, Arthur would show Merlin just how much pleasure could be wrung from mouths sucking bruises across pale skin and fingers probing deep inside.
Arthur couldn't wait.