Disclaimer: Do not own Merlin.

Warning: Slash. 20-year-old Merlin and 17-year-old Arthur.

AU. Igraine never died-magic was never banned from Camelot, Merlin and Arthur are very different than they are in the series. So beware for slight OOC-ness.

Merlin sighed, entering his chambers and undoing the clasp of his cloak, eyes flashing gold as his magic took over instinctively, like it was known to do, taking the cloak and hanging it up neatly. The Court Sorcerer ran his hand over his hair and sat down on one of the two seats by the table, looking down at the intricate wood. The day had been stressful, full of battle strategies with his king, and even though they'd been able to win a major battle, capturing large portion of the enemy's rank that didn't mean that the battle was worn. Men bred for war were willing to die for their countries, and Merlin might help his king come up with the battle plans-he was not a solider. He tried to make sure that there was as little bloodshed as possible...and yet as the months waged on he saw his hope of a bloodless victory die tragically and ugly.

How many good people on both sides had had to sacrifice their lives for their countries?

"You didn't even say hello." A voice scoffed from the bed.

Merlin sighed, closing his eyes tighter. "Hello."

He didn't know what his king was thinking of when he'd given Merlin the most beautiful male of the captured ranks. It was supposed to be some sort of reward, but the boy, who couldn't be older than eighteen, was as annoying as he was beautiful. Even though he knew that he was trapped, and that he had no way of escape, he never acted like he was a prisoner, was never afraid. Sure...he submitted...knowing his place...but Merlin could see in his blue eyes that he wasn't really submitting, merely buying more time...planning his escape...or waiting for his army to rebel-or for the castle to be placed under siege.

It'd been...stressful, the first couple of days after the boy, Arthur, had been given to him. The golden haired young man had been defiant and had fought, but Merlin had warned him, knowing how his king worked, that if the boy didn't submit, King Bayard would give him to a rough, violent man to 'teach him his place'. He knew that the boy didn't want to belong to him, didn't want to be his pleasure toy, but Merlin had tried to be soft and slow with him, and after that first time the blonde never struggled anymore...and the warlock felt a little less guilty about the situation thanks to the fact that the way the boy cried out, gripped him so tightly, and always finished before Merlin proved that he was gaining some pleasure from their union.

"You don't look as annoyingly happy as you usually do." The voice was oddly enough not as derisive as it usually was, the younger man slowly getting up from the bed and going to sit on the chair opposite Merlin's. "Did something happen today?"

It was situations like this that left Merlin conflicted.

The last couple of months Arthur had been...opening up to him more...been...less cranky and prattish.

Sometimes Merlin nearly forgot the boy was a prisoner here, forced to serve Merlin's every need.

"The King wants to end the momentary truce and invade Camelot with full force." Merlin didn't know why he was telling his slave what the king and he had discussed in private only hours ago. "Since...since the defeat that day..." the day when the golden haired lad had become his all those months ago... "Camelot's been slowly declining. Which is understandable, given we have their best warriors in the dungeon below this castle. And there have been rumors leaking out that the Prince has a terminal illness."

Arthur's eyes narrowed.

Merlin sighed, understanding why the boy reacted this way, given the fact the fact that the prince was the sole heir of the throne. If he died, Camelot wouldn't really have a chance. "Apparently, if the spies can be believed, since a little before the battle we won...the prince got ill and was confined to his room. He still has yet to show his face in the castle, which means that whatever it is he's contracted must be very bad."

"You must be happy to hear that." Arthur sneered.

Merlin glared at him. "Have you not listened to me? Have you learnt nothing about me during these months you've been under my roof? Someone dying is not something that would give me joy!"

Arthur looked at him oddly before sighing and lowering his head.

Merlin didn't look at him, insulted and offended like only Arthur could make him feel. "You may sleep in the adjacent room tonight." The sorcerer stood, beginning to disrobe. "I don't require your services tonight."

Arthur flinched.

The Sorcerer was just too tired and angry to really care. He just continued to take off his clothes, the movements jerky and frustrated.

In truth the best thing for him right now would be to sink himself into that delicious body, to feel Arthur warm and tight around him, to hear that voice go husky with need as he whimpered and pleaded for more.

When Merlin was inside Arthur was the only time the boy let himself become vulnerable and...well...unlike the boy who'd tried killing Merlin every night for the two first weeks he'd been placed in his service. In the end, Arthur had realized that even when Merlin was sleeping his magic was alert and protecting him, and the boy had, interestingly enough, decided that that made Merlin fascinating in a 'freaky' way. At least he'd stopped trying to kill Merlin, and things had become oddly comfortable between sorcerer and slave, somehow the golden haired youth spent his every night sleeping in the large bed of his master instead of the small cot in the small room he was supposed to be sleeping in when not 'pleasuring'.

Changing into his sleeping apparel, Merlin ignored his magic as it picked up the dirty clothes and placed them in the dirty basket. The sorcerer went to his bed and got into it, looking up at the ceiling, cradling his hands behind his head as he ignored Arthur.

He just didn't have the patience to deal with one of the boy's tantrums tonight.

Not when the promise of death and bloodshed weighed on his conscience.

Sighing, he closed his eyes.

He had to come up with a way to win this war without more people dying.

But-but he was beginning to realize that there was no way that was going to happen.

They couldn't keep taking prisoners.

The dungeons were full as it was.

It was going to get much worse, and it didn't matter who would win...in the end both sides would lose so many good, innocent people caught in a fight not truly their own.

The momentary cease fire that had followed the grand victory one that battlefield had given Merlin hope that maybe they could end the war, that they'd proven their point, but obviously King Bayard believed they were still in the need to prove more.

The bed dipped under another's weight.

A muscle jumped in Merlin's cheek as he kept his eyes closed. "I told you to sleep in the other room tonight."

"Since when do I ever listen to your orders?" Arthur wanted to know, moving on the bed on his hands and knees, heading towards the sorcerer.

Merlin didn't need his eyes open to know this.

That muscle in his cheek throbbed harder. "Go to bed, Arthur. I don't have the patience to deal with you tonight."

"Yeah, I am terribly afraid of you right now."

Merlin snapped, twisting in the blinking of an eye so that he was trapping Arthur down against the mattress, glaring golden eyes fiercely into his face. "How can you not get that you're a prisoner here? You push and you prod and you act all insolent when you should be licking my boots for how good I am to you and how I put up with you!" His eyes flashed brightly as his magic restrained Arthur's hands above him so that Merlin's hands were free to fist angrily in the sheets. "Any other master would have raped and beaten you half to death! Any other sorcerer master would have put you under the fires of hell for the first assassination attempt! Not to mention the countless ones that followed after!"

And what was even more infuriating was that Arthur didn't look scared.

The bastard.

He met Merlin's gaze evenly, as if he were his equal, if not his superior...in a way that the sorcerer would have admired if it didn't irritate him so much.

And the throbbing hardness Merlin could feel beneath him...and the darkening of Arthur's blue eyes...

The sorcerer closed his eyes. "No."

He rolled off of the slave and forced his magic to let go of him as he rested his arm over his eyes. "Go to the room, Arthur."

There was a slight growl next to him.

Merlin ignored him, taking a deep breath, trying to calm himself.

He refused to touch Arthur tonight.

He would be a monster if he did.

More of a monster.

He knew that there was dubious consent in their night unions...Arthur was his sex slave for crying out...but he didn't want to take the boy like he was now...furious. He wouldn't hold back like he usually did...and he'd hurt him.

And despite how much he wanted to hurt Arthur sometimes...Merlin knew he'd never forgive himself if he did.

"Go to your room!" Merlin ordered, voice a snarl...and his magic seemed to realize that he was about to snap...because in seconds Arthur had disappeared from the bed and reappeared in the next room...in time for the door to be shut between them, locked.

And thus began the angered shouts as Arthur pounded on the door, asking Merlin who he thought he was and demanding to be released this instance.

Merlin whispered a silencing spell and sighed, turning in bed, opening his eyes to look at the door.

Things...things were really getting complicated.

He wondered if he could just give Arthur back to Bayard...

...but he flinched at the thought of Arthur being given to someone else to pleasure...and Merlin knew that that was the fate that would befall the insolent, annoying, prat if he did give him up.

And Merlin knew that no one in Mercia would be patient enough to deal with Arthur like he had.

They'd break him, and his spirit...and while that spirited vexed Merlin's soul greatly, the sorcerer would be damned to see it destroyed.

In the end Merlin fell asleep looking at the door.

Arthur didn't speak to him for four days after that incident.

They hadn't had sex either.

Merlin didn't trust himself around the young slave boy, didn't trust himself not to let his darker, blacker side take over and hurt Arthur while buried so deep inside his warmth, so he refused to touch the golden-haired youth.

Instead he sought Lancelot, one of the King's head Knights, and Merlin's sometimes lover.

With Lancelot he didn't have to be cautious, fearing to hurt him.

With Lancelot Merlin was free to be as rough and dark and animalistic as he buried himself inside the Knight, bit his flesh, consumed his lips, thrust so harshly he knew it must hurt a bit.

But Lancelot had grown up in Mercia...so like all Mercians he was hardwired to like a bit of pain.

He even begged for more.

"You know," Lancelot smiled as they lay in his bed in orgasmic bliss. "People are starting to whisper. Say that that little pleasure boy of yours can't be very good if you've left him completely on his own and spend your time in my bed." He smiled. "I feel like the mistress."

Merlin chuckled softly at that, shaking his head. "You'd be a horrible mistress."

Lancelot snorted. "Oh really? I didn't hear any complaints moments ago."

Merlin grinned. "Oh. No. No complaints. All I'm saying is that if you became a 'mistress' it would only be because you really loved the person...and you're not a person who can love and share. Thus, you're terrible mistress material."

Lancelot thought that over. "You might actually be right, Grand Court Sorcerer."

"It has been known to happen in the past." Merlin snarked, cheekily.

There was a rather urgent knock at the door. "Lord Emrys? Y-your slave b-b-broke loose and he w-w-was apprehended in the c-c-astle...His Majesty requests that you..."

Merlin glared. "That boy!" He stood up, hurried dressing himself. "I leave him for four days-four days-and he-!" With that he flashed out of Lancelot's room, still half dressed, and appeared in the courtroom, where he'd guessed Bayard would be waiting for him.

And true to his belief, Bayard was sitting on his throne, looking amused, while Arthur was chained, forced to kneel by two burly guards.

"Merlin." Bayard announced, looking up at his friend before smirking at his state of dress. "I see you were with Lancelot. I am sorry to have interrupted your time together. We all know how you have bee enjoying it these past couple of days."

Merlin shook his head at his king, amused.

He thus missed the glare Arthur sent his way.

"My gift to you was trying to escape." Bayard motioned vaguely in Arthur's direction. "He must be feeling left out. Why don't you make him join you and Lancelot next time?"

Arthur opened his mouth to hiss something that would most probably get himself killed for.

So Merlin spelled him so that he couldn't open his mouth.

A second's confusion entered those blue orbs before they narrowed in comprehension and glared at Merlin, promising him hell for this.

"I'm sorry, your highness, I will take better care of my gift." Merlin sighed, tired once more.

It was like Arthur could just drain all the life out of him.

"You do that, Merlin." Bayard announced, dismissing him. "Now go. I want my Court Sorcerer rested and relaxed for our meeting tonight."

"Yes, my lord." Merlin nodded, and with a flash he and Arthur were in their bedroom, the blonde unchained and with full faculty of his mouth.

Which he seemed to realize and use right away. "Who the hell do you think you are?" He hissed, glaring dangerously at Merlin as he stormed towards him. "You leave me alone in this hellhole for four days! Four days you idiot sorcerer!"

"I can take your voice away again." Merlin threatened with little to no heat as he walked passed the fuming youth.

"And who is Lancelot?"

"Arthur." Merlin threw himself on the bed. "Who were you before you joined the army? Were you a nobleman's son?"

The boy froze. "I-why do ask?"

"Because you behave like a royal prat." Merlin replied easily. "And you feel like you deserve things when you've never done anything to deserve them, on the contrary, you're a slave. And yet you feel so entitled. And the only explanation I can come up with for such a strongly ingrained character like yours...is that you're one of the sons of some nobleman of Camelot. Not the oldest, since the oldest are the heirs and don't become Knights because they become lords...but maybe the second or third son?"

Arthur shifted slightly on his feet, looking younger than his 18 years at the moment.

Merlin sighed, looking at him. "Why did you try to escape? You must have realized that it would be impossible for you to free your comrades-or escape from Mercia undetected."

Arthur leaned against the door, face tilted towards the floor, marked with defiance.

The sorcerer leaned back against the bed fully, looking up at the ceiling once more. "If you're going to sulk, I have better things to do than to stay here and humor you."

"I need to get back home." Arthur surprised him by saying, with fierce determination. "I-need to."

"Well, you're not going home. Probably not ever." Merlin decided it was best to burst the bubble now. "And if you try to escape again, I don't think even I could persuade Bayard not to have you killed. His suggesting I make you join Lancelot and I is a way of saying let someone else rough you up if I'm too kind hearted to do it myself."

Arthur blinked.

"So don't do anything stupid again. Or he'll have someone like Valiant take over your 'training'."

Arthur went blanch, obviously thinking of the cruel knight who had tried to rape him the first night they'd been captured-which was how he'd come to the attention of the king in the first place. Valiant was bigger, stronger, and horrifyingly cruel.

"Good. You're starting to see what I've been trying to tell you." Merlin yawned, tired from his time with Lancelot. "Go to bed. The ordeal must have been tiring."

"Its the middle of the day." Arthur pointed out, not budging.

"Then get a book and read, if you can." Granted, that was provoking and Merlin had done so on purpose, but Arthur was annoying and Merlin really didn't give a rats ass whether he hurt the boy's sensibilities. "I am going to sleep. Just don't wake me up."

"You're going to sleep." The disapproval was high in that voice. "You leave me to my own company, for four days, and when you finally deign to come back to your own room you go straight to sleep."

"It never fails to amuse me how you seem to believe that I answer to you." Merlin chuckled softly, getting comfortable in the bed. "I've never met a slave like you before. There's just something about you, Arthur."

There was silence.

Blessed silence.

"Are you sleeping with Lancelot like the chamber maids were saying?"

"Yes, I'm sleeping with Lancelot." The sorcerer groaned as he opened his eyes and sat up on his elbows to look at the youth, surprised to see how forlorn he suddenly seemed there in the corner by himself. "Before you were...given to me...Lancelot and I were of an understanding."

"So you got tired of your new toy and went back to the tried and the tested?"

Confused by the utter venom in that sentence, Merlin frowned. "There are-certain necessities-that you would be unable to sate."

Arthur scoffed.

"You don't understand." Merlin sighed. "Do you know why Camelot will eventually lose this war?"

Fire and anger entered those blue orbs.

"Because they're soft." Merlin told the boy, knowing that that comment would offend the boy's pride and loyalty to his country. "Sure, they're seasoned warriors and determined, but they cannot put up with the things we can and go on in battle. We Mercians...to a certain degree we enjoy a little pain...both in battle, and in pleasure."

For a moment confusion mixed with the anger...and then it took over completely.

Obviously the boy had no idea what Merlin was trying to say.

The sorcerer took pity on him and sighed. "It's a chilly day. If you can lay here without disturbing me, you can."

Arthur didn't answer.

Merlin laid back down and closed his eyes, sleep slowly taking over him.

But right before he succumbed to the heavenly darkness of rest, he felt the mattress shift under another body, and after a moment's hesitation, a warm body lay down next to his, and a head of golden hair rest itself over his heart.

Somehow he fell asleep with a smile on his face.

"I forbid you from having any further intimate relationships with this Lance-a-lot."

Merlin hadn't expected those to be the first words uttered to him when he returned from his meeting with the King, and he had to admit, that Arthur always knew how to catch him off guard. "Excuse me?"

Arthur was still laying in bed, where Merlin had left him sleeping when he'd gone to the king, hair tousled and clothes askew. He had a petulant yet determined expression on his face, which was quite nearly a pout, and Merlin called himself a million vile names for finding it cute.

"You're never going to understand what sex slave means, will you?" The sorcerer laughed softly, shaking his head, as he closed the door that was magicked not to allow Arthur out of it (which really made Merlin wonder how the boy had escaped earlier on in that day, so he strengthened the magic on the door just in case).

Arthur watched him from where he lay on his stomach. "When you said pain during pleasure...you meant...painful sex?"

Merlin paused, eyeing him. "In a manner of speech, yes."

Those eyes narrowed in utter confusion. "Why the devil would anyone like pain while they were having sex?"

The sorcerer laughed at the perplexity in that voice. "Not everyone does, and not a lot...and nor all the time. It's-its just that sometimes certain situations..." he sighed, wondering why he was suddenly uncomfortable talking about this. "Sometimes, in times of stress...it's a more satisfying way of relieving it. Or-you know what?-forget it. I don't know why I'm trying to explain something to you that cannot, and doesn't need to be, explained. It isn't as if I would ever request that from you anyway."

Arthur frowned.

He didn't look as relieved as Merlin would have thought he would.

Then again, Arthur was an annoying and confusing pain in the arse, so Merlin should have been expecting his contrariness by now.

"Why wouldn't you request it of me?" Arthur made a face at the r word. "As you love to remind me, I'm nothing more than your sex slave. What should you care if I enjoyed it or not if you did?"

Once again Arthur had said the wrong thing.

Merlin glared at him. "Do you think me a monster? Arthur? Is that it?"

The boy looked genuinely confused, and a little startled.

"I know that this isn't the best of situations, and I know that you were forced into this, and I know that it must be a nightmare for you to be vulnerable, half clothed, having to service the sexual needs of your enemy...but I cannot do anything to help you." He went to the window and looked out at the stars above. "I'm not going to hurt you on top of it. Sure, I know that it isn't the most comfortable or pleasurable thing for you, but I do my best to make sure you aren't hurt! And I'm sick or having to explain myself to you! You impertinent boy!"

The sorcerer glared at the stars, as if this were all their fault, he failed to sense Arthur coming towards him until the boy had hesitantly wrapped his arms around him from behind, hesitating yet again, before resting his cheek against Merlin's back.

Merlin stiffened in shock, unable to believe what was happening.

His shock continued as those hands ventured down the flat of his stomach to cup him over the material of his trousers. Arthur's hands moved slow yet sure, practice having taught him just how much pressure, and speed, Merlin enjoyed, the sorcerer hardening embarrassingly quickly under his ministrations. He wasn't sure why Arthur was doing this, but he allowed himself to be turned and Arthur undid Merlin's trousers with nimble fingers before dropping to his knees before him. Those young blue eyes watched Merlin's throbbing, weeping member before he moved forwards and swiped his tongue slowly across the dripping slit.

Merlin hissed in pleasure as Arthur took him in his warm, wet mouth, the boy's eyes straining up to catch Merlin's gaze while his hand ventured dow to his own cock, timing his hand with his bobbing head. Arthur hollowed his cheeks, his tongue teasing and yet bold.

The sorcerer whimpered and leaned heavily against the wall one hand going to that mess of golden locks, encouraging the boy as he took him in deeper and deeper, humming around the cock in his throat.

It was hell to keep his hips from bucking, to keep from fucking the hell out of that marvelous little mouth, and just let Arthur do as he pleased.

And when Arthur did this amazing thing with his tongue, Merlin was utterly surprised that he was still coherent enough to wonder what exactly was going on.

He remembered when this...and any sexual chore...had been disgusting for Arthur, and yet now...the expression on his face, the whimpers of need that were smothered by Merlin's cock, the way his hand moved desperately over his own cock...

Merlin's eyes began to tint gold.

Gods, the boy was beautiful.

He gave no warning as his body spasmed as he came, deep inside that throat.

And Arthur just drank it, eyes never leaving Merlin until he own cry heralded his own climax and he came all over his hand. He then slowly pulled his mouth away, deliberately pressing his lips tight around the cock, encouraging it to remain at half-mast, and Arthur leaned up on his knees and commenced to clean it with deliberate, teasing swipes of his tongue that did manage to retrieve the trails of cum still coating it, but also coaxed it from its half-mast state to hard and throbbing once more.

Merlin's eyes were now melted gold as he grabbed Arthur by his arm and jerked him to his feet, dragging him to the bed and flinging him a bit roughly onto it. His self-control was fragile at the moment, so when he descended on the youth his mouth was harsh and demanding and the fingers he threaded through golden hair clenched into fistfuls a he tasted himself on those honey-lips.

Arthur whimpered, grabbing fistfuls of Merlin's hair as he arched up under Merlin, wriggling slightly so that one of the sorcerer's thighs was between his. The cry that left his lips was devoured by Merlin's, but the dark haired man could hear the desperation and need in the sound as Arthur began to rut against his leg like a creature in heat.

Merlin snarled, biting those lips in appreciation, one of his hands releasing the gold and venturing to the body, ready to bunch up the barely-there 'skirt' Arthur could boast of as his whole wardrobe...when there was a knock on the door.

Arthur stilled beneath Merlin for a second, before pressing up with his hips.

Merlin groaned into the boy's lips, cocking throbbing so painfully with the need to be buried inside of him.

"Merlin." Lancelot's voice could be heard on the other side of the door. "I know you're there. It's important that I speak to you."

The sorcerer groaned and started to pull away, but stopped, surprised when Arthur's teeth clamped onto his bottom lip, promising wordlessly to bite really hard if Merlin tried to move away any further.

He conveyed with his eyes that Arthur needed to let go.


"Merlin." Lancelot was sounding annoyed. "I need to see you at once."

Arthur wasn't letting go.

If anything, he was holding on tighter, eyes narrowed.

In retaliation, Merlin reached down between them and squeezed a pert, hard nipple, twisting it slightly so that there'd be pain, though moderate.

Arthur's eyes widened and he let go of Merlin's lip as he mouth opened in a guttural groan, his hips bucking up instinctively as he throbbed viciously beneath the sorcerer.

Merlin looked down into Arthur's darkening eyes in shock.

He squeeze the nipple a little harder in experimentation, and his eyes widened as Arthur whimpered loudly, throwing his head to the side as his body bucked once more.


Jumping in shock, having forgotten Lancelot, Merlin pulled away from the flushing, needy looking youth and cleared his throat, pulling up his pants, ignoring the glare Arthur was giving him. "Hold on Lancelot." The sorcerer went to the door and opened it, glaring at the annoyed man on the other side. "This better be life or death important."

A bit of Lancelot's annoyance melted into amusement. "That good?"

"Shut up." Merlin mumbled, exiting and closing the door behind him. "What is it?"

Lancelot looked around him before shaking his head. "Let's go to the balcony."

Frowning, Merlin joined his friend out onto the moonlit balcony that overlooked the beautiful castle gardens. Despite that, no one ever went there. "It's gotta be dire if you wanted such solitude."

The handsome knight ran his fingers through his hair. "I've just heard heard word that today Camelot cemented an alliance with Northumbria."

Merlin frowned. "The truce has fallen."

The knight nodded. "With Nortumbria's manpower they can try and attack us once more. And with that power, they might win."

The warlock ran his hand over his hair. "What has the king said?"

"He's sending riders out to the neighboring kingdoms to seek alliance as well." Lancelot announced. "We will be entertaining any that are interested."

"East Anglia has always wanted an excuse to go to war with Camelot. I won't be surprised if they haven't heard about the Northumbria alliance and are already sending their messengers offering for an alliance of their own." Merlin sighed. "I hate banquets."

Lancelot nodded, placing a hand on his shoulder in a comforting gesture. "You need to be strong for our king. You're his right hand man, the one who has his favor."

Merlin smiled bravely and nodded. "We should go to him now. He'll be needing both of our counsel."

Lancelot smiled. "Why do you think I was so adamant in interrupting you? King Bayard sent me to get you."

Merlin shook his head and walked away with Lancelot.

By the time he returned to his room, it was late, and Arthur was sleeping, a petulant expression on his beautiful face.

The sorcerer paused and looked at him before smiling slightly and bending to his knees by the boy's side of the bed, watching his face in the darkness.

Even in his sleep Arthur could look like a prat.

Amused, Merlin reached forwards and softly touched the golden locks, running his fingers through them.

He continued to watch Arthur, running his fingers through the golden silk, before trailing a finger down the side of that young, yet determined face. The finger molested the pouty bottom lip before, with a sigh, the older male withdrew and went to bathe. He needed relaxing, and he didn't have the heart to wake up the youth to continue what had been interrupted...especially after having left him the way he had.

As Merlin stepped into the large container he'd filled with heated water by way of magic, he wondered how long Arthur would refuse to speak to him this time.

True to Merlin's prediction, East Anglia rallied up happily, and along with Wessex (who didn't particularly like Northumbria) they joined forces with Mercia to battle. But before such bloodshed was to be had, banquets were thrown, celebrating the alliances, and Merlin was expected to attend the events, sitting up close to the king. The sorcerer hated these events, because they brought him into the limelight too much. He didn't enjoy the attention on him, preferring to let King Bayard bask in that, but when one was one of the most powerful magic users known to date, well, people tended to gawk at you. He also knew that Bayard was quite proud of this, so Merlin suffered through it, if only for his king's sake.

But it was always with a dark relief that he escaped to his room at the end of each night, tired and haggard and feeling so old despite only being twenty years old.

Arthur was, incredibly enough, supportive during these nights.

Like tonight, as they sat in the eternally heated water in the large container Merlin bathed in.

The sorcerer was sitting, arms wrapped around his bent legs, resting his head against his knees.

Arthur sat behind him, using a large sponge to clean him with. "It can't be all that bad."

"It is." Merlin complained into his knees. "I hate war."

Arthur was silent, scrubbing Merlin a little harder.

"They're down there, getting drunk and merry, at the thought of future bloodshed." Merlin sighed. "I don't understand that. I know it's necessary and cannot be helped...but they are so excited and anxious to start! How-how can that be possible from a human being?" He frowned. "Is it like that in Camelot?"

"Yes." Arthur surprised him by answering. Usually the boy was so closed-lip about his life before being captured. "My father told me that it was the warrior in the blood, the desire to protect your land and loved ones, and to prove that you are the strongest."

Merlin harrumphed.

"My mother said it was just men being men. That they needed the thrill of battle, and that if there weren't any reasons for war, that they made them up."

Merlin smirked at that. "I think your mother might be right."

There was a pause. "I think so too."

Encouraged by this odd yet enjoyable opportunity to learn more about the boy, Merlin felt himself finally relaxing. "Arthur?"

"Hmm?" The sponge continue to scrub.

"How old are you?"

The sponge froze. "Why do you ask? You haven't before."

"I know I haven't. That's why I'm asking now."

There was another pause. "I-I turned seventeen a month ago."

Merlin froze this time, before jerking around and flinging himself away from Arthur, though facing him, eyes wide. "You were sixteen when you were captured?"

Arthur was still holding the sponge, watching Merlin oddly. "Yes."

"But I thought in Camelot you couldn't become a knight until you were eighteen!"

Arthur's eyes were filled with defiance, his mouth a grim line, as he tightened his hold on the sponge. "I snuck away to join the knights when they rode out of Camelot. Not even the knights realized who I was. I-I wanted to fight for my country, for my people, but my father, he wouldn't let-he-I left a letter."

Merlin's eyes were wide and horrified as he brought his hand to his mouth. "You're a child."

Those eyes flashed viciously. "I am far from a child!"

Merlin wasn't listening to him, standing, water cascading down his body. "If I had known...!"

"You would have what? Left me in the dungeons? Let someone else have me?" Arthur snapped, standing up, equally as naked, clutching the sponge in a death grip. "Someone like Valiant? Who would have raped me and beaten me and killed me the first time I opened up my mouth?"

The taller male really couldn't come up with a good answer to that, so he just sat back down, shaking his head in utter disbelief. "I wouldn't have touched you...had I known...I just thought you had a youthful face...I never realized..."

Arthur growled in annoyance, throwing down the sponge and storming towards the still mumbling sorcerer before lowering himself down over him, straddling Merlin and effectively shutting him up by kissing him.

It was harsh and angry and there was biting involved, and Merlin tried to stop himself, but he was weak when it came to Arthur.

Arthur pressed himself against Merlin's chest, kiss deepening, as he brought his master's hands around him before burying his own hands in the dark hair hair, clutching fistfuls of it like Merlin had done to him before.

It pained, but only a little.

Merlin gave a little growl, arms going fully around Arthur and crushing him to him, both groaning when their cocks brushed against each other.

Arthur tore his lips from the kiss only to begin nibbling experimentally down Merlin's jaw, biting down a little harder each time, gauging from Merlin's reactions how much pressure he liked.

The sorcerer swore as his cock twitched at the sensations.

Arthur had never done anything like this before.

Hand spanning down Arthur's back, Merlin's fingers found that star between the cleft of his ass and hesitated a second, fingers circling the puckered hole. Arthur gave a little growl before biting down harder on Merlin's shoulder and pushing down against the fingers.

Unable to deny himself or Arthur, Merlin whispered a spell to add more lubricating qualities to the water, before slowly insinuating a finger inside.

Arthur mewled above him, back arching, before he lowered himself roughly on the finger, not giving himself the time Merlin would have to adjust. "Another."

"You haven't.."


Smirking at just how bossy Arthur could be in these situations, Merlin forced another finger inside of him, without easing it in slowly as he usually would stretching the boy. He scissored his fingers, stretching Arthur, as the youth found his mouth in a more desperate way. Arthur pushed down against the fingers, fucking himself on the digits, body trembling with need and desire. "Merlin."

That was the first time Arthur had ever said his name.

Something inside Merlin snapped, and he pulled his fingers out and grabbed Arthur's hips as the boy urgently brought one hand between them to align Merlin's cock...and the second that was done Arthur cried out as Merlin pushed down on his hips, impaling him in one swift movement.

"Merlin!" Arthur whimpered, hiding his face in the curve of the sorcerer's neck, biting down on his own bottom lip as Merlin's grip tightened on his hips, and he moved the boy easily in the water, up and down, up and down, nearly lifting him off of him only to shove him down to the hilt once more. It was harder, rougher, than usual, and yet Arthur only tightened his hold on Merlin and tried relaxing, whimpering his master's name over and over again in a breathless chant.

Merlin's arm went around Arthur's back, anchoring him on him tightly as he thrust up into him, the only hand sneak up to capture one of Arthur's nipples, pinching and twisting, causing that seem electric sensation to race down Arthur's body, straight to his cock. The young man cried out as Merlin teased his nipple mercilessly, the slight pain just seeming to stimulate Arthur's pleasure even more...and then Merlin was thrusting that spot that made Arthur see stars. The golden-haired youth half choked on his own cry when magic pulsed hot and agonizing over his cock, like living silk, stroking and caressing him.

He was going insane.

It was too good...too new...too much...too...

Arthur let out a sound he'd never heard before as suddenly his whole body was shaking uncontrollably with his orgasm, Merlin still working him throughout it, prolonging the intense, agonizingly wonderful feeling before climaxing as well, Arthur rested his forehead against Merlin's shoulder, smiling softly as he could feel Merlin twitching in him.

Merlin felt like he'd just died.

He held on tightly to Arthur and refused to let go, both panting desperately, sated and boneless.

Never in his whole life had he ever felt like that when he'd-.

The sorcerer closed his eyes tightly, refusing to continue that thought.

Instead he pressed lazy kisses to the side of Arthur's face and his neck. "Let's go to bed."

Prince Arthur of Camelot lay awake deep into the night, gaze upon the face of the sleeping sorcerer. The young man was cradled in Merlin's arms, the other man having fallen asleep holding him, and Arthur wondered when this became a necessity to his bedtime routines. When he'd defied his father's orders and dressed up as a knight to join the others in battle-when they'd been caught-when that filth Valiant had tried to force him-Arthur had been scared though he'd refused to show it. And yet when Merlin had saved him from the brutality, one look into those blue eyes and Arthur had felt confident somehow. Even when the king had given him to Merlin as a sex slave, even when he was forced to stay in the same room day after day, dying of being cooped up in that room, after having to...with Merlin...

Arthur didn't understand why he was blushing.

Even when his mind had rebelled against Merlin, against, against their nights together, had made Arthur try to even kill the sorcerer...well...his body had been more honest, melting at the sorcerer's touch.

Never in his young life had Arthur ever felt that way before.

It'd made him lash out at Merlin a lot out of pure confusion, but when he found out about Lancelot, he'd realized he'd been jealous. And with that he couldn't keep pretending anymore.

He'd developed feelings for the soft, gentle sorcerer who had all this amazing power in his hands...and yet spent nights awake at the thought of bloodshed and death of innocents on the battlefield, who was constantly trying to figure out a way to end the war peaceably...who, when he made love to Arthur, was always so considerate, so careful, who always made sure his slave had been sated before letting himself climax.

Arthur knew that Merlin didn't treat him like a sex slave.

Merlin treated him like a lover.

And Arthur...Arthur realized he'd come to view his 'master' in the same light.

Somehow...somehow...he'd fallen in love with the idiot sorcerer.

With a sigh Arthur turned on his back, looking at the ceiling.

He knew his parents were putting up the pretense that he was 'sick' so that no one would get suspicious and wouldn't ever guess that amongst those captured was the future heir. He knew that it was the reason why his father was seeking alliances, and he knew that they were desperate to get him back, believing that he was going through all sorts of torture and hardships.

And he felt guilty, because not only was Merlin treating him so uncommonly good...but Arthur-Arthur sometimes didn't want to be liberated.

Arthur couldn't imagine his life without Merlin coming to their room in the evenings, couldn't imagine not listening to Merlin talk about how his day had gone, couldn't imagine not arguing with Merlin...not having the makeup sex that always followed.

The young heir closed his eyes.

He knew he had to escape, knew he had go back and resume his place as heir to the throne. He knew he had to become Merlin's enemy.

But he didn't want to.

He wanted to stay with Merlin, to stay here, sleeping in his arms, to wake up randomly in the middle of the night to find their bodies tangled up in such a completely messy way.

He wanted Merlin.

He couldn't fathom a life in which Merlin was the enemy.

It made him sick at the stomach.

So he refused to think of it anymore; refused to think of anything else that night.

The future king turned towards his master, his lover, and curled into him, closing his eyes tightly.

He knew the future was going to change things, but for now he had Merlin.

He had Merlin.

And if he ever had to let him go, Arthur swore to find a way to get the idiot sorcerer back.