Leave it to Arthur's willful disregard for sacred ground and a livid, woodland sprite to give them trouble.
Gaius pulls Merlin eyelid back, examining the whites of his eye. Despite his complaining from the pokes and prods, Merlin remains still, hands folded, for the physician's examination. He knows better than to fidget needlessly. Gaius still needed that filthy leech tank scrubbed and washed out. It continues staring rather ominously at Merlin from the corner of his eye.
However, it won't halt the complaining.
"If that prat hadn't been in the way of it—"
"—You wouldn't have jumped in front of the curse?" Gaius finishes for Merlin, disapproval obvious in the growing amount of wrinkles. "I can't find anything medically wrong with you, ignoring your constant inattention to your own safety."
Merlin simpers, nails digging nervously into his hair.
A knock on the chamber door, but instead of overbearing, it falls in delicate, mindful raps.
He turns his head, blinking out the sudden moment of wooziness.
Gwen thrusts her head in through the opening, eyes concerned. "Merlin," she says, lips bitten red. Even from this distance he can tell. "If you're well, it's Arthur. He needs you."
Merlin rolls his eyes good-naturedly, and he smiles when Gwen's smile relaxes.
"Save Arthur's life again, and rewarded with being covered in dung," he mutters. "Shouldn't be surprised." Merlin pushes himself from the crude, wooden chair.
The ground decides it likes him better sprawled out on it, head spinning and thudding painfully, vision greying.
Something's wrong. Very, very wrong.
Asides from the fainting earlier, Merlin can feel his bones groaning and twisting their shape.
Night shadows fill his bedchambers. He writhes under a thin blanket, swallowing down each new shocked cry before they can pass his lips. It hurts, and yet it doesn't. It feels like tendrils of sweet, consuming pressure working their way through him, his chest and the pit of his stomach.
His prick feels it too, beginning to react, to swell and lengthen.
And then, it's gone.
Emptiness greets Merlin's hand as he worms it shaking between his legs, heart galloping to his ribs.
His fingers brush the too-warm, hairy lips of a cunt, slip-sliding against that brand new emptiness. A wild, maddened urge to roughly shove his bony, cold fingers inside himself, pound and overfill deeply, gnaws at Merlin.
"No," he croaks, brows furrowed.
To what Merlin answers, he barely knows himself.
The heat's unbearable. Sweat tacking the back of his neck and under his itchy night-shirt. Merlin wiggles out of it, still face-down to his cot and arching, desperately trying to avoid the heavy, awful weight of these new breasts.
Touching them lightly, he massages with air-cool fingers. Over his bulbous, large nipples and the full roundness. It brings no reprieve. It only makes that terrible hot spell, and that pressure in him, sputter back to life. Fluid leaks onto his thighs.
Merlin presses his open mouth to his pillow, clamping his eyes shut, and whimpers helplessly.
Sunlight floods in through the chamber-window.
His prick greets him like an old friend, hard as stone and needing to piss.
He jerks himself off into the pail afterward, narrow hips rhythmically timed with his hand grasping towards his cockhead. Stroking a firm hold until a release seizes him, cheeks red. One of his fingers trace softly over the dust of black hair over his flattened pectoral.
Chores happen less manually, and nowhere near the hours passed sunset.
Merlin's sorcery aids him in speed and efficiency, but he knows better than to commit treasonous acts anywhere beyond a door sealed shut.
He heads to the stables in the early morning hours, to the kitchens for the laundered clothes and for Arthur's meals. It leaves him to yield to the burden of his torment by himself. In the darkness, he tears his hands into his cot and sobs.
Gaius eventually learns of it, and commits less time to disapproval, poring over ancient tomes for a counter-spell. The sprite that meant to curse Arthur—what kind of damned curse was this—had been killed and deposed of. So grinding its heart and bowels and ingesting it with a few, garbled incantations isn't going to do the trick.
By then, Merlin is thankful for the unusually quiet activity of the citadel. No sieges. No long campaigns.
Arthur predictably says nothing about Merlin's unusual quiet, but occasionally insults him and gazes with a hawk's sharpness.
Of all people he should have suspected with intellect high than the ashy bark on a tree, Gwen tries to press the matter. "Gaius will not tell me about your condition," she begs. "Merlin, I'm scared for you. You look like you're in pain."
He allows a half-smile past his emotional barriers, leaning down to place a friendly kiss to her lovely, brown cheek.
"It's nothing you need to worry about, Gwen."
Except it is.
Gaius finds nothing in the texts and begins sending out ravens in secret, in coded language. Likely to the Druids.
Arthur's chores get more tiresome in the mornings as the nights go on without rest, wide-eyed and blazing and mortifying. Merlin loses interest in touching his uncomfortably ample breasts, or any body part, when relief doesn't come.
He curls into himself, hating the dead sprite, hating Arthur, hating Gwen's concern, and hating the throbbing between his woman legs like it was imitating a feeble heartbeat.
But above everything else, Merlin hates himself for being so useless.
If Merlin wasn't already sick of curses, he would be verbally cursing the whole of Camelot.
For bedecking their royal banquet hall with litters of flowers and their banners, pouring mulled wine and spiced ale. The servants rushing around each other until the sun dipped the horizon, with the feast only done with the first several courses, but not in guffawing conversations and playing competitions of wits.
Merlin grinds his teeth. He shouldn't be here.
Just as he fills Arthur's goblet with the wine, and then Uther's goblet, expression pinched and hands not spilling a drop—the first wave of heat slams into him. Merlin's jug grips tighter to himself, nearly hugging it. His jaw tenses.
One of the jesters has the court's attention and Merlin sways in places, passing off the jug to a nearby servant.
His bones and his blood scream inside his body, echoing in the nexus of his magic. He grunts, barely heard over the applause. The same dispassionate sentiments as Merlin braves a step towards the gallery, and promptly falls over.
One of the knights, along with Gwen and Lady Morgana, haul a limp Merlin into Gaius's workshop.
"What in the gods—?" Gaius yells. He stumbles around his bench.
"Merlin, my boy, what happened?" At no response, he directs them to Merlin's bed, aiding Merlin's head onto a sweat-stained pillow.
The knight bows stiffly as a grim-faced Morgana shoos him out. Gwen fetches cool water and a rag. "He collapsed," she says, fearfully. The cool rag weighs down on Merlin's head, soaking his black hair. "His brow is on fire, Gaius."
"I fear it's the curse."
At Gaius's sigh, Morgana's luminous green eyes narrow.
"You haven't found a cure for it?" she asks in some disbelief.
"There is very complex magic at work here," he says. "I dare say there might not be one."
"That can't be true. Merlin has done no wrong."
"Indeed, he hasn't." The old physician adds, knowingly, "But he stepped in the way of that curse for Arthur."
Gwen lets out a tiny distressed sound, attempting to shield it with her sleeve, face lowered. Morgana's face hardens.
"And nothing can be done?"
"We can only try and rid of his fever… but that is not all the curse has done."
"Gaius, no," Merlin protests, eyes closed, lashes fluttering, more high-pitched groan than voice. Gwen wipes his face, murmuring condolences.
Gaius's hands disappear into his sleeves as he watches him in sympathy.
"I'll let you see for yourselves, if you wish," he speaks up, calmly.
Morgana waves a hand, face softening.
"Yes, Gaius. That will be all."
Gwen pipes up, smile encouraging, "We'll see to Merlin."
As the bedchamber door clangs shut, Merlin's eyes open hazy. He rolls immediately on his side, facing his back to both women. Morgana tuts in reproach, tugging his shoulder fiercely with Gwen eyeing them in mild apprehension.
"Merlin, come now—"
"It's no use ordering me around, you know that," Morgana says, nodding to an equally stubborn-looking and frowning Gwen who rolls up his tunic at the front. He thrashes to get away, but by then, he knows they already seen.
"Oh," Gwen breathes, awed. Merlin's hand yanks the rough, wool material back towards his belly.
"You're a woman."
"Only at night…"
Everything hurts. Merlin scrunches his face, the picture of suffering. "Please, don't tell anyone," he says, trembling.
Morgana snorts unladylike, seemingly offended.
"And just who do you think we are? Common serving girls?"
At the pointed look from Gwen, she amends, voluptuous smile and charm, "You've never been common, Gwen. I promise you." Willowy, ringed fingers caress Gwen's cheek—the one Merlin's lips had grazed and tasted the faintest hint of rosemary and honey—lovingly.
The brown-eyed girl chuckles.
Within a short frame of time lost to his swimmy consciousness, Merlin finds himself without his smallclothes or his breeches. It offers scant gratification. He still flinches from any movement, at first rolling himself to his side when they adjust him to lie on his back, and then giving up fighting when Morgana holds down his hips.
"It's like a fire…" Merlin pants, unawares of how he nudges into Gwen's comforting palm to his forehead.
Morgana's lips thin, but her nails rake attentively up and down his bare, slender legs, easing them apart. Like a tickle, a good tickle that doesn't burn him up, because he wants this.
"You need to release yourself, Merlin…"
"Can't," he groans, shaking his head, salty perspiration on his mouth. Merlin's legs bending up and in, squeezing together. "Can't."
"Don't be ridiculous, you must."
Gwen shushes him, replacing her palm with her inviting, pliant mouth. "It's only your friends, Merlin. Let us do this for you," she murmurs to his fevered skin, helping Morgana ease his legs back down and rucking up Merlin's tunic. "You're safe now."
Merlin hisses at the exposed air on his breasts, jerking against their soft hands pushing him down but without vigor.
"You're safe," Gwen repeats, thumbing one of his nipples and smiling as a more pleasured noise escapes him. "Are you alright, Merlin?"
"…Yes," Merlin says, keening, eyes glass-bright. "Yes, gods."
He rocks shameless into Morgana's perfumed fingers exploring his opening, stroking him further open, quelling the fire. The sensation of two of them delving in, sharp and burning and sosoperfect, throws his head back into Gwen's shoulder and draws little, nonsensical pleas.
When Gwen's hand tightens a mound of his breast, and she reaches between his legs, rubbing hard at a swollen nub of flesh Merlin could have never imagined—he lifted his hips, riding Morgana's fingers harder, trying to catch up to Gwen's pace.
It doesn't take long for the terrible hot fire, the sweet pressure building for days, to flood out of him.
Merlin tries to contain the intensity of it, clenching his inner walls, but it dribbles out physically, wetting the sheets underneath him. He clenches round Morgana's damp fingers slowing their thrusts, gliding easier into him. She eases him through the passages, through hell and through the remnants of his first orgasm. Her own breath trembling and face grinning.
Sleeps catches him, but peacefully, as he dozes with Gwen talking in a whisper to Morgana, petting him.
Dawn breaks, spilling white light over Merlin's cot and in his face.
Alone, Merlin wrinkles his nose and grumbles. His prick weighs noticeable to his right thigh, needing a good, long piss.
And somewhere back in the workshop, a raven squawked.
Sprites were powerful, mischievous and foul creatures. But also, their magic was apparently temporary while dead.
Merlin cries out relieved when skies darken, and the moon hangs low, fingering himself all over and not chased by a terrible heat. Only the one he makes himself, face-down in pillows, bollocks heavy with seed and toes curled.
A huge thank you to the prompter and I HAVE NOT WRITTEN MORESOMES IN SO LONG. I haven't updated in a long time, too. Sorry! I got sick with a couple infections and my dad nearly had a stroke a few weeks ago, and everything's been a complete mess. The title was inspired by this quote by Mae West: "Curve: The loveliest distance between two points." Any comments/questions welcomed!
"Merlin/Anyone. Merlin's cursed to be a woman by day and a man by night. (Or vice versa.)"