Originally written for .com/kinkelot/ Prompt: anonymity.


Masquerade

Merlin sighed as he half-listened to Arthur telling him about how he had defeated one of his knights in training. He wasn't really paying attention; not because he wasn't interested, but because his imagination tended to wander each time he was in close proximity to the blonde prince. It was all Arthur's fault, he decided, for being too damn gorgeous for his own good.

Oh, who was he kidding? Arthur saw him as one thing, and that was a servant. He knew that Arthur's interests ran toward men rather than women, but that didn't help him. All he could do was daydream. Unless…

"Merlin? You're not even listening!" Merlin snapped back to attention as he heard Arthur's irritated voice. "What are you smiling about?"

Merlin's grin grew even wider. "Nothing. Just thinking."

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Arthur was bored. He hated these events, when his father decided that he had to play the welcoming host and be sociable with people he wouldn't have chosen to even speak to on any other day.

The ball was in honour of their visiting dignitaries- King Olias and his son- and Morgana's idea of making it a costume ball had been a huge success. Everyone was enjoying themselves, dressed in their finery, their identities concealed by masks. Unfortunately, Uther knew what his son's costume was and would surely notice if he simply left without good reason. Instead, Arthur was biding his time before he could make his escape to go and have a drink and a laugh with his knights down in the tavern. It was a well rehearsed routine; at a certain time, he would suddenly have an emergency that he would have to go and deal with, letting him leave without his father getting angry. Usually he had Merlin to talk to until that point. Tonight, however, even his manservant had abandoned him, running off to who-knew-where with some lame excuse of having errands to do for Gaius.

He stared out at the guests, watching them and wondering how long it would be until his 'emergency' call.

"Arthur? Isn't this fun?" He let Morgana chatter, sharing stories about their guests and who she had danced with and so on.

Suddenly, Arthur's attention was caught by the man who had just walked into the room. He was tall, the upper half of his face hidden under a black mask, a hooded cape covering his head and shoulders. When the people moved apart, Arthur saw that he was clad in black leather trousers that fit him like a second skin, with laced boots up to his knees, and a partly unbuttoned black shirt. He moved gracefully through the room, politely returning the smiles that various women cast him as he passed by, exchanging pleasantries and greetings with others.

Arthur was aware of Morgana's offended complaint as he stood and walked away without a word, but his focus was elsewhere.

He approached the stranger, unable to shake the feeling of familiarity he felt. It was odd, but he couldn't for the life of him place where he had met this man before. What he did know was that this party had suddenly become a lot more interesting.

"Excuse me."

The man turned, his eyes fixing on Arthur as he smiled. The woman who had been talking to the stranger was gone, leaving them alone. Arthur steered them toward the edge of the room so as not to be over heard. His father may be aware of his preferences but that didn't mean he could flaunt them.

"I can't help but think that we've met before…"

The stranger shook Arthur's hand, holding onto it just a fraction longer than necessary.

"Well now, we may have but how would we know when our identities are concealed?"

Arthur nodded. "Good point. My name is Arthur."

"I know," the stranger told him, eyes twinkling.

When Sir Percy came to Arthur half an hour later, informing him that he was needed urgently, Arthur nodded. Turning to his companion, he smiled.

"Would you like to join me?"

That earned him a frown. "Aren't you needed elsewhere?"

Arthur shook his head, leaning in to whisper, "No, though please don't tell anyone else that. I would like to spend some more time with you, perhaps somewhere a little less crowded?"

Delighted when the man nodded, Arthur turned to Sir Percy. "Percy, I'd like to introduce you to, um- I just realised that you never did give me your name."

"Roderick," the stranger supplied helpfully.

"This is Roderick," Arthur continued. "He'll be leaving with us."

----------

Arthur never did make it to the tavern. He told Sir Percy to go on ahead, that he would catch him up. As soon as the knight was out of sight, Arthur took Roderick's hand and tugged him closer.

"I want you," he said softly, "and I believe that the feeling is mutual."

The smile on Roderick's lips gave his answer even before the other man had spoken. Arthur reached up and slid a hand around to the back of Roderick's neck, pulling him in for a kiss. The other man responded eagerly, pressing forward until he had Arthur pinned between his body and the wall behind.

"My rooms," Arthur told him as they parted, breathing hard. "Unless you want to fuck me out in the hall."

Roderick followed where Arthur led, the journey seeming to take forever, until finally the door was closed and locked behind them. Arthur's fingers instantly began to work at the fixings of Roderick's trousers, wanting rid of the material barriers between them, but Roderick stopped him. He slowly divested Arthur of his clothing whilst remaining full dressed himself, but Arthur didn't mind. He felt just a little dirty being spread out, naked, whilst the other man hadn't even removed his mask or cape- and he liked it.

"Please…" Arthur was just a tiny bit ashamed that this man had him begging, but it got him what he had been waiting for.

"Get yourself ready for me, then," Roderick told him, standing back and watching as Arthur found a bottle of scented oil from somewhere, coating his fingers.

One hand wrapped around his cock, his other stroked lower until he pressed one finger inside himself. One became two, then three, the thought of Roderick standing there and watching him so intently spurring him on as he fucked himself on his fingers. Eventually, Roderick told him to stop, and not a moment too soon, Arthur thought. He was damn close as it was.

When he felt Roderick's dick press into him, Arthur let out a groan that he quickly stifled. The other man quickly set a pounding rhythm, taking Arthur at his word when he begged for harder or faster. When Arthur cried out, release rushing through him hard enough to make his see stars, Roderick was right there with him, body tensing as he shot deep inside Arthur.

----------

Arthur awoke a short time later, alone and aching pleasantly. He smiled at the memory, wondering briefly when Roderick had left. He must have been dead to the world if he hadn't heard him go.

The door rattled as someone let themselves in and he looked up expectantly, only to see Merlin sneak inside.

"Merlin, I thought you had errands to run?"

Merlin jumped at the sound of his voice. "I thought I'd stop by and see how the party went," he said, lighting a couple of the candles to give them a little light. "Did you have fun?"

Arthur smiled. "Actually, I did."

"Sir Percy came looking for you," Merlin continued. "He wondered if I'd seen you, since you were apparently meant to meet him."

"Well, here I am." There was a pause. "Merlin, you tend to hear things, gossip and such, don't you?"

Merlin nodded.

"Have you heard of a man named Roderick?"

Merlin's face remained neutral. "Why?"

Because he just had his cock in my arse and I want a repeat, Arthur thought, saying aloud, "Just asking."

"So, you're interested in him, then?"

Arthur frowned; how the hell did Merlin know that? Had he really been so obvious?

"I'm not going to tell you anything until you answer me."

"Merlin, I can order you…"

"Just tell me."

Arthur sighed in frustration. "Fine! Yes, I am. Happy now?"

Merlin grinned. "Extremely. And as for Roderick," he said, tying the cloth mask he had in his pocket around his eyes and pulling up his hood before stepping into the light, "He's right here."

Arthur just stared at him, more from shock that he hadn't figured it out than anything else. He had seemed familiar, hadn't he?

Of course, he wasn't to know that Merlin had used magic to disguise his voice and to keep Arthur from figuring out his identity.

"You? Why did you do that?"

Merlin removed the mask and hood once more.

"I knew you wouldn't want me, a servant, so I gave you someone you would want."

Arthur kicked back his bedcovers and strode, naked, across the room to Merlin. Rolling his eyes, he dragged his servant into a passionate kiss.

"Does that seem as though I don't want you?"

Merlin shook his head.

"Good. Now we have that settled, I'm going back to bed. Whether I sleep or get fucked until I can't sit down tomorrow is entirely up to you, Roderick."

It was amazing how fast Merlin could move when properly motivated.

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End.