Title: Learning to Walk
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: After looking smugly around the dank cell then back to Merlin, he asked, “Have you been practicing?”
Warnings: Dubcon (but it's fiction so everyone has a good time with it), D/s
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: #201: The Dragon’s Call
Author's Notes: Obligatory “on your knees” fic.
He’d been in the dungeon for what felt like hours. The light coming through the window had faded from the pale of late afternoon to murky evening, though not yet fully dark, when the thud of footsteps down stone stairs and hallways stopped outside his cell.
He glanced up, then scrambled to his feet as a guard opened the bars to admit the ass—Arthur—Prince Arthur, who smirked at his gracelessness. After looking smugly around the dank cell then back to Merlin, he asked, “Have you been practicing?”
Caught off-guard, Merlin felt his lips part in confusion before he could stop them. “What, standing up?”
Arthur’s gaze had dropped briefly to his mouth when his tongue darted out before he spoke, but the prince raised his eyes to Merlin’s before giving the barest shake of his head to one side and deliberately lowering them to midway down Merlin’s legs. When they came up again, there was no mistaking the challenge in them. Still, with a condescending drawl, he corrected, “No, Merlin, not standing up. Very nearly the opposite of standing up, actually.”
Merlin wasn’t a complete idiot. He knew what it meant when someone looked at him like that, just like he knew that his cheeks and ears were starting to tint pink and that his voice was in danger of sticking in his dry throat if he tried to say anything in the next few seconds.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Arthur spoke before he could. “On your knees, Merlin.”
“Not a chance.” Glad he could now blame his redness on anger, Merlin backed up his refusal with the best glare he could muster under the circumstances.
It seemed to be convincing enough, because Arthur’s face hardened—without losing any of what Merlin was quickly realizing was its natural state of condescension—and straightened from his relaxed stance to something stronger. “You just don’t get it, do you?”
Merlin opened his mouth again, but Arthur once more beat him to it. “Either you get on your knees or I put you on your knees.”
Merlin’s jaw snapped closed. He knew he could beat Arthur with his magic, but then he’d have to get through the guards as well, and it all meant he’d have to leave Camelot entirely if he didn’t fancy a beheading. He’d only just got there, to Gaius, and he needed to stay.
Head raised with a defiant stare, he dropped to his knees. The dirty straw wasn’t thick enough to cushion the impact of the stone floor, and Arthur cracked a grin at his badly hidden wince.
“Well done,” the prince mocked.
Merlin hated him in that moment for many reasons, not least of which was the flush of heat spreading through him at the humiliation. It didn't help that Arthur's stupid, pratish face was, in addition to being the most stupid and pratish face Merlin had ever seen, actually quite handsome. Golden hair, a striking jawline, and when he smiled—at someone else's misery, because he was a stupid prat—his whole expression lit up like the sun. Then there was the rest of him, muscled and fit and impressively accurate with his knives, even if he was unforgivably cruel in the demonstration.
Merlin got another—not at all tantalizing—glimpse of that playful cruelty as the prince went on, “Now, Merlin, I could leave you in here to rot if I wanted. But I’m a nice guy, so I thought I’d give you a chance to tell me how sorry you are.”
“I'm very sorry, sire,” he forced out ungraciously.
“Hmm. Good start, though not terribly convincing.”
Merlin found it harder and harder to meet the prince’s gaze, which blazed with both heat and arrogance. He couldn’t look away, though; that would be a different kind of defeat than he’d already allowed. As long as his eyes were locked on Arthur’s, he knew Arthur wasn’t looking elsewhere—lower—and seeing Merlin’s obvious physical reaction.
Something must have given him away, though. Arthur’s voice dropped, low and hard, as he said, “I said I’d help you learn to walk on your knees, didn’t I? Come here, Merlin.”
Merlin couldn’t bear the predatory stare any longer. He turned his face down and away, burning with shame, but a harsh chuckle from Arthur had him steeling his resolve and setting his jaw as he swung back to glare at the man again.
Arthur spread his arms in a dare, just as he had when challenging Merlin to hit him, and the memory of that moment—Arthur’s hand twisting his wrist up, tight and painful; Arthur’s voice in his ear, breathy and dark; Arthur forcing him to his knees in front of all the laughing onlookers—felt like a throb of desire through his whole body.
Whatever Arthur thought, Merlin didn’t have to give in; he could kill the prince with barely any effort. But he knew, even before he started towards the prince, stumbling and shuffling awkwardly on his knees, that he would give in. He wanted to give in.
As soon as he was in range, Arthur’s hand settled onto his head to draw him closer until he could feel the heat of the prince’s body where they nearly touched.
“Go on,” Arthur urged, pushing slightly so Merlin’s gaze dropped from his face to his bulging crotch. Merlin’s fingers trembled as he reached to undo Arthur’s trousers, but not from nerves.
After, Arthur’s hand was gentle when it released his hair, stroking once before sliding down to turn his face up towards Arthur’s own.
“Rest now,” he told Merlin, “I’ll be back for you in the morning.”
Still mildly stunned, Merlin fell back when Arthur let go to tuck himself away and fix his trousers. The way his legs spread as he caught himself made his ignored erection strain against his clothes.
Arthur smirked at it. “If you touch that,” he warned, turning his back and leaving the cell, “I’ll keep you here for a week.”