Disclaimer: These two don't belong to me. If they did, this would be a very different show. I'm just borrowing them for my nefarious purposes.

A/N: Written for the kinkme_merlin: Kink Me! #9 prompt: Arthur/Merlin - Merlin rolls his own cigarettes (or Arthur does). Cause I cannot be the only person who finds that incredibly sexy...

Romance and Cigarettes on the High Sea

Tobacco-stained fingertips rub lazily together, middle finger to thumb, a slow slide of calloused, ocean-salted skin. Merlin is restless, though he doesn't retreat from the shadow of the sails, instead shifts a bit on the coil of rope he's made into a temporary bed. Arthur doesn't know how he does it. He much prefers his cot in the First Mate's cabin - two planks nailed together with a blanket thrown across - to a coil of rope. Merlin's practically feline in the way he drapes himself in the oddest angles, making it look comfortable somehow.

His limbs are long, loose, they hang over the coil, knees bowed open. His fingers tap, drum roll against his thighs, keeping beat to a shanty Arthur can't place. It's familiar though: a swift flash of star-strewn sky and the smell of rain, underlying the push of a hot mouth against his own. The groan of the boom, the grumble of thunder, moans pulled from his throat as Merlin fucks him, fill his ears.

He remembers, looks away for a moment.

Arthur tries - fails - not to glance at the pale strip of flesh revealed when Merlin leans back. His shirt rides up, no washboard stomach, but a runway of lean torso flashes, oddly pale despite the time spent in the sun. In contrast Arthur is dark, golden, his hair bleached out, about the color of an albatross wing.

Merlin smiles, teeth flashing in Cheshire cat grin. The corner of his mouth curves upwards. His head falls back, exposing a sliver of pale throat. Arthur wants to rip the scarf from his neck, lay bare that soft skin - taste the salt crystals coating it from their last dip in the sea.

He doesn't.

"Shouldn't you be swabbing the deck?" asks Arthur, easy grin and bold swagger curving around his words. His head tilts to the side as he tries to catch a glimpse of Merlin's eyes. Blue iris is chased away by dark pupil in the shade, a feral cat peering at him from beneath lowered lashes. Merlin sits up, leans forward into Arthur's personal space with a coy smile.

"Lancelot is handling it, I think." He shrugs; he's an awful Bosun. Arthur knows it - hell, everyone on the Camelot knows it - but doesn't reply.

The silence grows, though nothing is truly silent on a ship. Waves slap the hull, the beat of hands on a drum; the call of seabirds is an off-key choral, singing them on their way like raucous cherubs with nowhere to go. Arthur glances up and watches the noisy gulls frolic in the sky, wingtip to wingtip, currents lifting them up until they're mere specks, dots on the horizon.

Life of a sailor; he can't imagine it any other way.

Merlin is watching him. He feels the gaze drag down his face, tentative, the soft brush of a shy lover's fingers. It seems ridiculous. Arthur says so; Merlin shrugs and digs something from his back pocket.

Arthur watches, drawn by the motion of Merlin's long fingers as he tears a bit of rolling paper off with his teeth and wraps the rest in a small square of oiled cloth. He holds it, pinches a crease in the middle with his forefinger and thumb, hips lifting as he digs in his other pocket for his tobacco. He struggles for a moment. Arthur leans forward, curling over him. He drops his hand onto Merlin's knee and walks his fingers up his leg, stopping, palm resting lightly upon his hip. Arthur digs two fingers into Merlin's pocket, thumb pressing into the hard muscle of his thigh. He rubs his fingers lightly over the jutting hipbone, sharp under the skin.

Merlin's breath hitches, and his lids drop heavily over his eyes. Arthur smiles, pulls the packet of tobacco free, and holds it beneath Merlin's nose.

"Looking for this?" He smirks. Merlin scowls, but runs the pads of his fingers across Arthur's lips, before snatching the tobacco from him.

"Thanks - sir," he adds, lips curling into an impetuous grin. The "sir" is an afterthought, more insult than compliment.

Arthur ignores it.

Merlin takes a pinch of tobacco and spreads it evenly over the paper. He lifts his eyes to Arthur's face, a shaft of sunlight highlighting the keen angle of his cheek as he begins to saw his fingers back and forth, dragging them languidly against one another. He watches Arthur watch him. Arthur's gaze is riveted on Merlin's fingers. Merlin slows his motion, sliding the blunt tips of his thumbs over the paper gently. Tobacco stains his fingertips.

Arthur wants to suck them into his mouth.

Merlin leaves a little tobacco at the end as he curves his fingers a bit, rolling the paper over the tobacco and into a cylinder. He stares at Arthur, offers the cigarette to him, held loosely between his thumb and three of his fingers. "Lick it," he says; doesn't ask. His voice is low; there's smoke to it. Arthur feels his voice low in his belly, inhales a jagged breath, feels it resonate even lower.

He takes Merlin's wrist and pulls his hand to his lips, holding Merlin's eyes as he flicks out his tongue. It's barely a touch, a quick dab along the edge of the paper, before Merlin rubs his fingers together and seals it. Merlin palms the cigarette when Arthur sucks the tip of his index finger between his lips. His eyes drift shut.

"Hey, A-Arthur," he croaks, voice shaky. He cracks open an eye to peer at him, a moment later. Arthur pauses, his lips hot and careless around Merlin's knuckle, and arches a brow.

Merlin manages a sloppy grin. "Got a light?"

(The End.)