Title: Save one for me
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Dancing was the first step to courtship
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: I needed some pure fluff!
“Wha-? No, don’t move.” Merlin pouted up at Arthur, knowing it was usually the expression that allowed him to get his own way. His lover merely smirked down at him and Merlin sighed, resting back against Arthur’s cloak, the sun casting dancing patterns against his bare torso.
Both of them were bare-chested. And bare-footed. Arthur had insisted they put their breeches back on after they had made love, insisting he was not going to be caught by some bandit in such a compromising position. Merlin knew Arthur wouldn’t relax until they had some clothing on, so hadn’t argued but wriggled into his trousers, insisting he couldn’t possibly move because Arthur had broken him.
But for the last half an hour, his head had been resting on Arthur’s chest and the prince had been combing his fingers softly through Merlin’s hair. Merlin wasn’t sure what they had even been talking about, but he had felt the tension drain away from Arthur as he softly admitted fears that he wouldn’t utter anywhere else. He wouldn’t even tell Merlin while they were in the castle, bound by duty.
Out here, in the sun, with no one around but them and their love, he finally would confess to the doubts that plagued him. Merlin would listen, offer advice if necessary, but more than anything, he was just the one person that Arthur trusted enough to let down his defences around and say what was in his heart. Merlin would never do anything to compromise that.
Now, however, he was feeling most put out that Arthur had moved. He was still lying on his lover’s cloak from where Arthur had spread it out the second they had arrived, insisting stray rocks were not going to distract Merlin this time. But it already felt cold without Arthur lying next to him.
“Come on,” Arthur insisted. Merlin didn’t have a choice; Arthur grabbed his wrist and hauled him to his feet. He had to wrap an arm around Merlin’s waist to keep him steady and Merlin made the most of it, pressing against Arthur, nuzzling into his neck and peppering it with soft kisses. Arthur’s laugh made him smile, but the prince shifted until there was a small amount of space between them. Merlin didn’t complain though, not when Arthur’s arm was still wrapped around him.
Merlin simply stood there for a moment, wondering what Arthur’s grand idea was. Then he realised the prince was slowly moving, taking Merlin with him. Merlin’s eyebrows rose and his lips twitched, but Arthur had his eyes shut and he didn’t notice.
“You wanted to dance?” Merlin spluttered, trying to keep from laughing too obviously. Arthur opened his eyes and shot him an annoyed look.
“If I was courting you properly, this would have been the first contact we had.”
“So instead you bedded me first and then wanted to dance?”
“Fine,” Arthur snapped. He made to let go, but Merlin rested his hand over Arthur’s wrist and stepped closer.
“I didn’t even know you could dance,” he murmured softly, letting Arthur hold him close. For a moment, the prince remained tense. But Merlin knew him well and sure enough, Arthur quickly relaxed and started moving again.
“I’m an excellent dancer,” Arthur said. Merlin shook his head fondly, resting it on Arthur’s chest and letting his love lead him. Arthur was steady, knowing exactly what he was doing and Merlin was soon grinning as they moved faster and faster. Even when he tripped, Arthur held him steady and pulled him closer, stabilising Merlin with a well-placed hand.
Eventually, Merlin was breathless with laughter and Arthur brought them to a stop. The prince’s eyes were shining in a way Merlin hadn’t seen for a long time and he reached up to brush a stray lock of hair from Arthur’s forehead.
“Where did you learn to dance like that?”
“I was raised at court,” Arthur began. He must have seen the confused look on Merlin’s face and he tugged at his hand until they were both sitting back on the cloak. “I meant what I said; dancing with a lady is the first stage of courtship.”
Merlin nodded, but tried to keep his expression neutral. He hated it when Arthur talked about how his father intended to marry him off as if he was a horse rather than a human with feelings.
“But it wouldn’t impress anyone if I couldn’t move,” Arthur continued. “When I was a boy, I used to spend the mornings training with a sword and the afternoons learning the fine points of how to survive in court.”
“What was harder?”
“Court, for sure. Morgana used to laugh when I forgot the steps, so I always vowed I would be the best dancer there was.”
“You never do things by half, do you, my love?” Merlin murmured, grinning up at Arthur. Arthur pulled a face and Merlin kissed him. Out here, right now, he did it just because he could. There were not many times or places they could act on their feelings, not with Uther around.
“Was that you courting me then?” He teased and was rewarded with a blush.
“I thought I should do it properly,” Arthur mumbled, “even if we have done everything backwards.”
“You don’t need to court me,” Merlin said, making himself more comfortable. “I’m already yours.”
He rested his hand on Arthur’s crotch and was rewarded by a sharp intake of breath. He rolled over, kissing him deeply and moving until he was straddling the man, fingers already working his own breeches.
“I know a dance of a different sort,” he said, his voice hoarse with need. Arthur’s eyes darkened and Merlin felt his fingers batted away so Arthur could free them from the confines of their clothes.
But when Merlin finally caught his breath again, legs entwined with Arthur’s, he pressed a kiss to the corner of the prince’s mouth.
“From now on, whenever there is a feast, save a dance for me.”