Disclaimer: Characters in this story I guess technically belong to the BBC. I mean, how can someone own something as wonderful as the sexual tension between Arthur and Merlin?
Author's Note: Sequel to 'A Different Secret' and 'A Different Secret, Too.' This one is told from Arthur's POV, and is the final installment of the 'Secret' series. I've had a lot of fun with this little 'verse and series. I hope this is a suitable (and not too sappy!) ending.
Summary: Arthur had a secret. Still has a secret. Maybe, he's not sure. Merlin's been acting really weird around him lately.
Warnings: Uh, major slash. Some hot n' heavy gettin' down between two boys.
Arthur had a secret. Still has a secret. Maybe, he's not sure.
Merlin has been eyeing him oddly lately. When he's helping to put Arthur's armor on, he gets this peculiar look on his face, as if he's drunk too much wine and he's trying to think too hard. If Arthur weren't so concerned he'd find it kind of funny, and maybe a little endearing.
But every time he tries to ask Merlin why he's looking like a drunken fish, Merlin avoids the question by either spouting off some kind of gossip he heard in the kitchens, or saying something about how Gaius told him that there's 206 bones in the human body, or, on the more pleasurable occasions, just press his lips to Arthur's in a sweeter distraction.
Ah, but Arthur was smarter than that. After he and Merlin finished what Merlin started, Arthur would try to ask him once again what was wrong, but then Merlin, with flushed cheeks and swollen lips would remind him that he was late for training and that it wouldn't do for Arthur to be late, because what kind of example would that set for the knights? And then he'd kiss him once more, deftly avoiding Arthur's hand that would make a grab for his neck, laughing as he skidded out of the room.
During practice he'd look over to Merlin, who was once again looking at him with that peculiar look, looking ridiculous with the way his ears stuck out at odd angles when his head was tilted and his lips pursed. And then he'd catch Arthur staring and send him a cheeky wink and scamper away from the training field to do whatever he did when Arthur was training.
Probably wanking on his bed. Again.
And then after practice, he'd eat dinner with his father and Morgana, and Merlin would stand dutifully nearby, filling his cup when he asked and chatting with Gwen otherwise. But then Arthur would look up, catch him with that odd silly-drunk goose look, staring directly at him, and cock his eyebrow. Merlin would shake his head then turn to Gwen in conversation.
At night, Merlin would help him get undressed for bed. His face would be a carefully schooled expression of aloofness. Until Arthur turned around to place his personal items in the drawer beside his bed and he'd feel Merlin's goofy gaze on him again and whip around. He'd ask Merlin what the hell he was staring at, and Merlin's weird look would melt into a cheeky grin, then he'd launch himself at Arthur and initiate a repeat of the morning's affairs.
And as Arthur fell asleep in his bed, Merlin cradled to his side, he'd catch Merlin giving him one last odd look before promptly falling asleep. And every night, Arthur would decide that tomorrow would be the day he got down to it. Because honestly, Merlin was all too adorable when he fell asleep with his face pillowed on Arthur's chest, drooling and snoring lightly.
This morning was different. Arthur decided that today really was the day. It wasn't until Merlin returned with breakfast that Arthur put his plan into action.
"I think I'll call off training today," he announced, and Merlin glanced up, startled.
"I thought there was a tournament coming up. Is it really wise—"
"I just really don't feel like it today, Merlin. Perhaps we'll go on a hunt, alone, just you and me," Arthur declared, nonplussed by Merlin's goofy gaze again. He'd ignore it all day, and then finally, when he had Merlin right where he wanted him…
Merlin swallowed audibly, loud. "Ju-just you and me?" he asked. And really, why was Merlin so nervous? They'd been going at this for nearly a whole year, now. These little hunting trips were nothing new, and he supposed half the court knew about him and Merlin by this point anyways. And it really wasn't all that odd for a prince to go off with his manservant for a little solitude and peace of mind in the form of hunting.
"Yes, Merlin. You, me and the horses. Go ready them, yeah?" Arthur replied, keeping his expression carefully guarded.
"Yeah," Merlin replied quietly, and then got that goofy look before quickly scampering out of the room. He heard him crash into somebody in the corridor, followed by the clanging of a silver tray and the cursing of a maid. Merlin was apologizing profusely, and then Arthur heard him run off at double the pace.
Arthur waited about five minutes, before he followed after Merlin. The mess in the corridor was cleaned up by now. The help around the castle was really very prompt. Arthur pretty much ignored everyone that passed him on his way to the stables, really just wanting to hunt; and get to the bottom of this Merlin thing.
When he approached the stables he stopped just short of the entrance, hearing voices.
"…what do you mean Arthur's been acting odd?" That's Gwen's voice, Arthur thought. Who was she talking to? He crept closer so he could hear better.
"I don't know. It's like…I think he knows I know," the other voice muttered, slightly out of breath. That was Merlin.
"You know, his…secret," Merlin coughed the last part out and Arthur had to really strain to hear it. But he heard it. Merlin knew his secret? The secret he had told to Morgana in confidence, and told her not to tell anybody on pain of death before he was ready? He'd kill her.
Gwen giggled, "Oh. And I don't suppose that has anything to do with you going all googly eyed whenever he's around, hm?"
"What? No, I don't go all googly eyed, I swear!" Merlin gasped.
"Oh yeah, and you're certainly not staring at his…" Gwen's voice got drowned out by the whinnying of a few horses, his especially, which finally noticed his presence.
Merlin and Gwen whirled around to face him, and Gwen giggled. Merlin just gaped.
"Ar-Arthur! How long've you been there?" Merlin asked, sounding worried.
Arthur was once again the perfect aloof prince and shrugged, "Not long. Just come to see what was taking you so long with the horses. I see now that you were too busy chatting to tend to the horses." Gwen coughed into her fist and quickly left, trying to hide a curious grin.
"I'm almost done," Merlin promised quickly, sounding relieved. Arthur just 'hmmed' and then waited as Merlin finished brushing down the horses and applied all the gear. They lead the horses out together, and then mounted up and took off towards the South Wood to hunt.
The time riding was spent in nearly comfortable silence. Except the one time Arthur caught Merlin staring at him as though he were a pint of mead and Merlin was a desperate drunk who was dying of thirst. Arthur didn't question it, though (yet). When they finally reached the edge of the wood, Arthur motioned to dismount, and then for Merlin to tie the horses in the grassy knoll not too far away.
They trudged on through the woods quietly (or as quietly as they could, with Merlin being there). They had yet to run into any animals, and Arthur was thankful. He could feel Merlin looking at him all goofy again, and when they reached a clearing with a fallen log, he finally whipped around to face Merlin.
"I'm going to ask you once, and only once, and you're going to answer. No dancing around the question this time," Arthur said suddenly, causing Merlin to jump and skitter back, his eyes wide. "Why, Merlin, are you acting so funny around me now? Why are you constantly staring at me as if you've been pickled in a tub of mead and are always drunk?"
"I…uh?" Merlin's brows furrowed, and he swallowed thickly, glancing off the side.
"So you're not going to answer, hm? I guess I'll have to force it out of you the good old fashioned way," Arthur decided, then dropped his crossbow on the ground and turned to Merlin with a predatory look in his eyes.
He began advancing on Merlin, and Merlin kept stepping back, keeping distance in between them. And soon, Merlin, clumsy Merlin, was falling backwards over the fallen tree.
"Eep!" said Merlin.
"Aha!" said Arthur, and pounced.
Merlin's legs were bent at the knees, draped over the log. Arthur situated himself on Merlin's groin, shedding his chain mail, tossing it aside into a mud puddle. Merlin looked like he wanted to protest, but didn't have a chance to as Arthur ducked his head, tearing Merlin's neckerchief off and immediately began assaulting Merlin's neck with his teeth and lips and tongue.
"Nngh, Arthur!" Merlin gasped, trying to buck his hips up into Arthur, but Arthur wasn't having it. He kept Merlin's lower half firmly pinned to the ground with his lower half, and his hands were pressed into Merlin's shoulders, pinning his upper half to the dirt.
When he felt Merlin was sufficiently tortured enough, he pulled back to regard Merlin carefully. Merlin was panting, flushed brightly, pupils blown wide.
"Arthur, please. Please, Arthur," he was gasping, almost chanting, squirming underneath Arthur. Arthur shifted forwards a bit so he could press his palm into Merlin's straining erection.
"Is this what you want, Merlin?" he purred, fingers wiggling on the bulge teasingly.
"Gods, yes, yes, Arthur. Please, Arthur. Arthur, please," Merlin began his chant again.
"Not until you tell me what's been up with you recently," Arthur demanded, pressing down hard on Merlin's erection, causing him to call out in more pain than pleasure, though he kept straining towards the touch.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about," Merlin turned his head to the side, to avoid looking directly at Arthur.
Arthur narrowed his eyes and removed his hand from Merlin's erection, causing the slighter man to cry out again. He cupped Merlin's chin and turned his face back towards him. He rolled his hips back, his arse pressing back onto Merlin's bulge. Merlin gasped, his eyes completely glazed over once again.
"Come on, Merlin. You know what I'm talking about," Arthur purred, flipping the switch from demanding to seductive so quickly it was almost scary. He bent down to press feather light kisses across the bridge of Merlin's nose, and Merlin sighed.
"I…might know a secret about you…" Merlin finally admitted, his voice as quiet as a whisper and as tiny as a mouse's.
Arthur rolled his hips back again, "Huh. And…?"
"Mor-Morgana told me…" Merlin gasped, trying to turn his head away again. Arthur just straightened it out again, then brushed his fingers lightly across Merlin's over sensitive neck, causing the man beneath him to lick his lips and look up at him with pleading eyes.
Arthur really had planned to get the whole truth out of Merlin, but when he was being stared at through the biggest, bluest eyes he had ever seen, and being tempted by the reddest, wettest lips he had ever seen, all prior plans flew out of the metaphorical window.
He let up a little, and there was much shifting and touching while they tried to situate each other in a more comfortable position. Sometime during the shifting about, Merlin had managed to use his magic to spread out their somehow discarded clothes beneath them.
And through much kissing and groping and moaning, they ended up lying on their sides, spooning; Arthur as the big spoon, and Merlin as the little. Arthur had two of his fingers buried to the second knuckles in Merlin's tight heat, and Merlin was moaning and thrusting back on the intrusions, begging and pleading for Arthur to hurry up.
When Arthur was certain Merlin was completely prepared, he positioned his aching prick at Merlin's entrance, then began the gentle push forwards. Merlin was almost sobbing with relief, and, none too gently, pushed back onto Arthur, crying out at the suddenness of it.
Arthur wrapped one arm around Merlin's waist, his fingers lightly fondling Merlin's own overheated need, and the other one acted as a cushion for Merlin's head.
As Arthur rocked his hips forwards, Merlin pushed back, a low, throaty groan coming from both of them. They moved in almost perfect accord, Arthur rocking forwards, Merlin rocking backwards. It wasn't the frenzied, passionate shagging they usually took part in. It was different and altogether better. It was sweet with a slow burning passion. It was leisurely, but hot.
Arthur began pressing small, loving kisses to the back of Merlin's neck, causing the lanky man to whimper and push back with shorter, more erratic thrusts. His fingers curled around Arthur's, which were still on his prick, and they stroked together.
"What is it she told you, Merlin?" Arthur whispered hotly against Merlin's ear, "Did she tell you that I loved you? That I love you?" Merlin whimpered again, and their rhythm began to falter. Arthur almost thought Merlin was crying. "I was hoping I'd be the first to tell you," Arthur continued, "I was waiting, for the right time. I wasn't sure how to say it."
He was certain Merlin was crying now, since his arm was wet. Merlin was such a girl sometimes. If he got all moist eyed at a profession of love that he already knew about…
"If she hadn't told you, right now would've been the perfect time," Arthur whispered, his lips caressing Merlin's ear. "Right now, as we were joined in the most intimate of ways, in the most perfect. This is perfect, isn't it?" Arthur pressed his lips to Merlin's neck again, and Merlin cried out, his hips jerking wildly as he covered his belly and his and Arthur's hands with his release.
Arthur grunted at the feeling of Merlin tightening around him, the movement spastic and altogether too tight for him to last much longer. He came with a sudden jerk and a cry of 'I love you!' And he and Merlin lay together, hands intertwined over Merlin's stomach, Arthur still pressed against Merlin's back. They lay like that for hours. Neither of them said a word. They finally separated and sat up when the sun began to sink and the air was growing too cold to lay starkers in the middle of a wood.
They continued not talking, but it wasn't awkward. It was comfortable and warm and Arthur felt like there wasn't really anything that needed to be said between them that wasn't already said. Maybe he was a little upset that Merlin didn't return his sentiments, but he supposed it might be a lot to take in.
Merlin finally spoke when they were half the way back to Camelot on their horses, "That's not the secret Morgana told me."
Arthur turned his head to look at Merlin, who was looking straight ahead and trying so hard not to smile, "What?"
"I said, that's not what Morgana told me about you. So it was the first time I heard it. Thank you," Merlin was blushing and smiling now, still not looking at Arthur.
"Then what is it Morgana told you?" Arthur asked, almost panicked.
"She told me you can't dance because you have two left feet," Merlin admitted candidly, finally turning to look at Arthur, who was giving him a look in between constipation and confusion, and then promptly burst into a fit of laughter, nearly toppling himself off his horse.
"Merlin, you are such an idiot," Arthur grumbled. Merlin stopped his horse, and Arthur's stopped next to his out of reflex. Merlin leaned over on his saddle and pressed a kiss to Arthur's jaw, grinning cheekily.
"Love you, too. Prat."