Title: Good Business Practice, Part II
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur continues to torture Merlin
Warnings: Non magic AU. Modern AU
Word Count: 1200
Prompt: "Decision" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Continuation of the "Water. Sugar. Salt." prompt series from tavern_tales. PART ONE is here.
Naturally, Arthur was quite the exhibitionist while taking a shower too. In the guest showers by the pool, Arthur hummed a song for a while and then turned to keep up a conversation with Merlin. There was a divide between where Merlin sat and where Arthur was showering. At the bottom, Merlin could only see Arthur's ankles and his feet, and up top, he could only see Arthur's shoulders, neck, and head.
"Why didn't you just go to the bathroom that's attached to your bedroom? You have to get ready," Merlin asked when Arthur was out of things to talk about and they were quiet for a bit. It was more awkward than sitting there, imagining Arthur's naked body on the other side of the divide, and his cock twitching every time Arthur's hands were out of sight.
The idea of Merlin just sitting there while Arthur touched himself—even if it was non-sexually—was driving Merlin mad. Sexually.
"I hate showering alone. If you weren't wearing a suit, you could have come upstairs with me, but I figured if you got out of the suit and put it back on, it'd look too worn."
"You're ridiculous, Arthur. Why would I take a shower with you?" Merlin asked. Why wouldn't I take a shower with you? God, just to have one opportunity to rake my hands all over your body, to lather your back, to grab your arse—
"And that's why you are sitting there keeping me company."
"Did you often have company when you were at Camelot University? In the shower I mean." Merlin cleared his throat, shifting in his seat slightly, and he really wanted to rub his palm against his groin. But made a decision to refrain. He was being very strong, and he was very proud of himself. He was certainly going to reward himself for this later.
"Sometimes," Arthur said. "Why, you jealous?"
Merlin made a face again because he didn't trust his voice. Now he was imagining Arthur naked with another woman—? Man—? He didn't even know. Arthur was out as bisexual, but Merlin had no idea if he'd ever actually been with a woman. All the tabloid pictures were always with Arthur and some celebrity man, or his son, or his nephew.
Arthur had pretty much fucked his way through the socialites of Camelot.
When Arthur shut off the shower, Merlin got up and handed him a towel, looking away. He waited patiently until Arthur took it off his hands. He was sure Arthur was just standing there smirking at him for a while — at his discomfort — revelling in his own delight.
That bloody prat.
"I'll need you to help me pick out a suit," Arthur said a few minutes later and Merlin quickly snapped his gaze towards Arthur and scowled.
"Why? You're a big boy—"
"Merlin," Arthur said with one eyebrow raised. "I thought you were my very own slave today?"
"I never said that," Merlin replied.
"Come on, then," Arthur said, throwing his wet swimming trunks at Merlin and then walking away.
Merlin followed him begrudgingly, out of the guest showers, down the pool to the entrance to the house, past the sitting room, and up the stairs to Arthur's bedroom.
After what was probably Arthur's seventh shirt, fourth tie, and third pair of cufflinks, Merlin had had enough. "Oh my god, Arthur," Merlin almost shouted. "Morgana doesn't take as long as you. Gwen, doesn't take as long as you. Bloody hell, Gwaine with his perfect hair, and seventeen thousand types of hair products, and form fitting clothes to make his arse pop—doesn't take as long as you. Can you please just pick the black shirt, the dark maroon tie, and the chain link cufflinks, and call it a day!"
"See, I knew you had an opinion," Arthur said with a smirk. "So glad you're here, Merlin."
Merlin rolled his eyes and thunked back against the headboard of Arthur's bed. Bloody hell, he needed a nap, but if he slept in his suit now, he'd definitely crease it.
"Chain link, huh? Do you like to get chained up? Is that what you're into?"
Merlin shook his head and closed his eyes. He wasn't going to even answer that question. He just focused on his breathing and thought about how good Arthur's bed felt under him. No, that was probably a wrong train of thought also, but it was better than remembering Arthur's almost naked body in the pool, the naked Arthur in the shower, and the idea of Arthur tying him up and doing whatever he pleased with Merlin.
His mobile buzzed just at the right time, reminding Merlin it was time for him to head downstairs and work with the kitchen staff to prepare for the tea. "I have to go," he said, jumping out of bed, and when he looked at Arthur, his jaw almost dropped.
Arthur looked incredible. He didn't look like a man who'd just been soaking himself in the pool; the water, the salty smell of the chlorine was replaced by a smile as sweet as honey. He fit well in his suit, his hair was brushed back with minimal product, and the cufflinks added the finishing touch to the perfection that was Arthur Pendragon.
"How did you get ready so fast?" Merlin said. He'd surely not actually fallen asleep on the bed. He was certain of it.
Arthur didn't say anything for a while, so Merlin reckoned he'd really said something to piss Arthur off. He started to take his leave. "I'll just be downstair—"
Arthur grabbed Merlin's arm and held him there. Merlin was half turned towards the door, half towards Arthur. He'd no idea what Arthur was going to do to him now. Jesus, no matter how bad the teasing was, it'd never gotten physical.
"Don't ever compare me to Gwaine again," Arthur barely whispered the words, and Merlin had to strain himself to hear them.
"Right. Then," was all Merlin said and Arthur released him. Merlin was going to apologise for mentioning Gwaine's perfect hair, or his body, his arse—fuck me what was I thinking? He opened his mouth to say something but Arthur cut him off.
"I have to go to the office to pick up my laptop, just in case Godwyn wants a presentation—I'll be — I'll be right down."
"Very well," Merlin said, and left the room, feeling like an idiot.
He got to the kitchen where the staff basically shooed him out and told him to take care of himself. He finally got the minute to check himself in the mirror in the bathroom on the ground floor. His suit wasn't looking totally worn and torn, so he was glad about that. He straightened his tie, ran his hands through his hair, and practiced his best smile—all while trying not to feel like an arse.
Gwaine was one of Arthur's best friends, and he was a good friend of Merlin's too. There'd never been any bad blood between Gwaine and Arthur, so he had no idea why Arthur had taken offence to what Merlin had said. If he were delusional, he'd almost believe the theory Arthur was jealous. But that was ridiculous. Why would Arthur be jealous if Merlin commented on Gwaine's arse? No, there had to be something else there and Merlin was going to worry about that later.
He was just about to leave the safe confinements of the ground floor bathroom when he heard his name being called. Uther had arrived, and now it was time to put on the show.