Disclaimer: Don't own Merlin. I also don't own the rights to Okubyou na Yubisaki.

Chapter 3 of 3

Based on the Japanese manga: Okubyou na Yubisaki.


It should've been harder for Arthur to break into the principal's office and have a look at Merlin's records, both morally and physically, but the next morning Arthur had gotten the information he needed and slipped back out of the office to continue the rest of the day as if normal. Merlin hadn't come to school today, and the blonde really wasn't surprised. If Merlin had been half as confused and torn as he had been...it would make sense with Merlin's personality for him to miss today.

But Arthur wasn't an avoider, he was more of a relentless pursuer, so didn't think it should have been all that surprising for Merlin when he drove to his home after school and knocked on the door, looking around the nice house while he waited for someone to answer. From Merlin's records it said that he was living with his uncle, the renown---if a little eccentric---Dr. Gaius Emrys.

"Coming!" Merlin's voice rang from inside, and the door opened.

They stood facing each other in silence.

Looking into Merlin's face, Arthur had never felt so nervous or shamed, and he had to lower his gaze, taking in a deep breath. "Going to run away?"

There was a sigh. "No."

Arthur finally looked up and run a hand over his golden hair. "I wanted to find someone who I could talk to about Leon, and the only one I could think of is you." He gave a dark laugh. "That's pathetically ironic, isn't it?"

Merlin's gaze lowered to his feet before he stepped aside. "Come on in. There's---no one home at the moment---the maid has the day off, but, yeah. Oh, and take off your shoes. My uncle doesn't allow anyone in the house while wearing shoes."

"Sure." Arthur lowered his head, giving a smile of self-loathing.

He was so useless.

He couldn't even hold a proper conversation with Merlin without mentioning Leon, without bringing out the only thing they had in common, the only fragile link they had.

Merlin's weakness.

And Arthur was exploiting it desperately.

"Do you want something to drink?" Merlin asked as he walked deeper into the house, sending Arthur a look over his shoulder.

"Do you have beer?" Arthur asked, half joking and half serious.

He wouldn't say no to some liquid courage.

"You're still underaged." Merlin scolded, sounding like a responsible old man as he opened the fridge and pulled out two cans of Coors, passing one to Arthur with what could have been the beginning of a teasing smile. "Want a glass?"

"No, thanks. This is fine." Arthur opened the lid and took a long gulp.

Merlin cradled the drink in his hand before motioning with his head towards the hallway. "If my uncle comes home and finds you he'll barge into the conversation and end up deciding you might have a myriad of diseases that'll give you nightmares for years to come."

Arthur smiled, having heard that about the ever-worried doctor.

They were silent until they reached Merlin's room, Merlin sitting down on his bed and Arthur on the chair by the desk.

The blonde watched as Merlin took his first sip of the beer, and from his reactions, this wasn't only not the first time he'd tried it, but he enjoyed it very much.

Arthur chuckled and shook his head, taking a sip himself.

"What?" Merlin asked, as if sensing that what amused Arthur was himself.

"It wouldn't seem like it, but you also have this side to you." Arthur pointed out.

"This side?" Merlin blinked, confused.

"Well, you always look very serious," Arthur responded slowly. "But you're really just stubborn. You can unwind like this, and tease back."

Merlin watched him in silence, in curiosity, before taking a sip of his drink. "Were you the one who left Leon's key-ring on my desk yesterday?"

Arthur lowered his gaze. "Yeah."

"Why?"

The blonde took in a deep breath. "I figured...after the other day...it was the least I could do...to say sorry for how I acted when I found out. And that you...you would want...something...of his."

God, this was hard.

Merlin continued to observe him silently before clearing his throat. "So. You wanted to tell me something about Leon?"

"Yeah..." Arthur looked away.

As expected, Merlin only cared about matters related to Leon.

"You might not believe it, but..."

"Arthur?" Merlin interrupted.

Arthur turned his head back to look at the lithe, beautiful boy.

"What's wrong?" Merlin put down his beer on the bedside table and leaned forwards, genuine concern in his eyes.

But Arthur's gaze wasn't on his eyes.

No.

It was transfixed on those moving lips.

The lips he'd kissed before, tasted before.

On instinct Arthur put down his beer and got out of his chair, stalking to Merlin and bending down to his level, cupping the back of the thinner boy's neck as he brought their faces close. And yet before their lips could touch Merlin had pushed him away so harshly Arthur crashed to the ground, Merlin on his feet, an angered flush appearing on his alabaster skin.

"If you don't want to talk, then please leave!" Merlin announced, clenching his fists.

"Talk?" Arthur asked as if it were a foreign concept, from where he sat on the ground, looking up at the beautiful, flustered boy.

"About Leon?" Merlin asked, confused. "Didn't you have something to say about him? Didn't you tell me that that was why you were here?"

"Oh, that..." Arthur lowered his gaze, feeling so sick at his stomach.

Merlin really didn't care unless it had something to do with Leon.

It was---it was like a blow to the gut.

And yet, and yet he couldn't leave.

Arthur raised to his knees and leaned his upper body against the bed, clenching his hands in the sheets.

"Arthur?" Merlin asked, in that worried tone once more.

Arthur's gaze went to his fist, and he raised it, looking at the his fingers, feeling himself begin to lose himself a little more. "Aside from my voice, someone said that my hands resemble Leon's too." He admitted, unable to look away from that hand. "That my hands...hands!" He laughed, and wondered in Merlin could hear the desperation in the sound, if he could hear him breaking, getting closer and closer to that edge. "Only---only these two parts make us brothers."

Merlin didn't say anything, didn't do anything but look at him.

"Merlin." Arthur whispered, trying for the first time to make his voice actually sound like Leon's.

It shocked him just how similar he could make it, and if the flinch Merlin gave had anything to say, he was shocked as well.

Standing, Arthur turned to face Merlin. "If you want to hear a gentle voice, then I can let you hear it to your heart's content...in place of Leon." He could see Merlin's wide eyed confusion and something else, and Arthur couldn't stand seeing it. He brought up his hand slowly, noticing the way Merlin's eyes followed it, and wondered if Merlin could see the similarities between his hand and Leon's too.

"A-Arthur?" Merlin stammered as that hand covered his eyes.

The blonde just looked at Merlin.

Just looked at him.

At those lips.

"Merlin." He whispered back, encircling the boys shoulders with his other arm and holding him tight despite their being no struggles, before, before pressing a slow kiss to Merlin's lips, to his jawline, to the pulse beating erratically in his throat, and back up to capture those lips with his in a deeper, needier kiss.

He knew it was considered rude to kiss with your eyes open, but Arthur couldn't close his, couldn't keep from looking at Merlin, convince himself that really was Merlin's skin that tasted this way.

Deepening the kiss, his tongue invaded and conquered, claiming Merlin's mouth as his sole territory.

And then he lowered Merlin back down against the bed, without once losing contact with those delicious, addicting lips.

Merlin...

Making sure to keep his hand over those eyes, Arthur finally tore his lips away to attack that long, slender neck that had tortured him so long. He nibbled against the smooth skin, sucking and biting, wanting to leave a visible mark upon the unblemished skin.

"A-Arthur!" Merlin whispered, sounding tortured before his hands shot out to grasp Arthur's shoulders, trying to push him away weakly. "Stop it! D-don't..."

Merlin's rejection hurt him deep inside, but he just leaned forwards and sucked on the prominent collar bone. "You can pretend that I'm Leon." He whispered, closing his eyes so tightly they hurt. "Didn't you like him?"

"I----!"

"Right? Merlin?" Arthur continued to whisper against Merlin's skin as he insinuated himself between those long and slender thighs.

"What's gotten into you?" Merlin was trembling, his body heating up in a blush, and yet the hands on Arthur's shoulders weren't trying to push him away.

"Merlin." Arthur pulled away slightly, but only far enough so he could look at the thin boy's face. "I like you."

The shock was plain on that half-covered face, Merlin's whole body tensing.

"I like you, Merlin." Arthur ducked his head, making sure to keep Merlin's eyes covered so he couldn't see Arthur's pitiful face. "Merlin." Whose voice did Merlin hear when Arthur whispered his name? Whispered those three little words? Was it his...or was it Leon's? "I like you."

Arthur closed his eyes.

I like you.

And with that his lips attacked Merlin's once more with desperation. He was sloppy and might have nicked Merlin a little with his teeth in his urgency, but Arthur had lost all the suave charm that'd made him such a hit amongst the girls. With Merlin he lost all thought, lost all control. With Merlin he was a needy beggar eagerly devouring a banquet before him before it could be taken away from him.

Torment mixed with pleasure, as his mind reminded him that as Merlin gasped into his mouth, arching up into him, that his eyes were closed behind Arthur's hand, and that Arthur's face was probably not the one Merlin was seeing. It was the sound of the voice Merlin had confessed to mistaking for Leon's that had the pale, lithe boy trembling beneath him as his lips kissed back.

Arthur closed his eyes so tightly it hurt, biting back the cry in his throat.

His kiss grew harder, trying to kiss away any trace of Leon that might have remained on those lips.

Merlin's breath hitched.

Opening his eyes when he felt the corresponding hardness against his, Arthur tore his lips from Merlin's and sat up, keeping his hand against those eyes. His blue gaze consumed the sight that the blushing, panting Merlin presented, and he had to take in a deep breath before bringing his other hand to cup the smaller male cover his jeans.

A mewl escaped Merlin's lips as his blush darkened, his body twitching at the touch.

"Merlin." He hated himself for making his voice deeper, more like Leon's.

Hated Merlin for making him become this pathetic.

Arthur's fingers undid the buckle and zipper of Merlin's jeans, and with a sure move, turned them so that Merlin was facing the bed, on slightly bent knees, and he draped over Merlin, that hand still covering those eyes despite the uncomfortable position, and the other inside of the parted fold of those jeans. He hesitated for a moment, never having done this with another male, and not sure how this went, but he acted on instinct, trying to remember though the panicked haze how he pleasured himself.

A half-choked whimper escaped Merlin's lips, and his trembling grew more desperate.

"Merlin." Arthur whispered, feeling the warm cock in his hand twitching at just the sound of his voice. He grew more confident in his movements, leaning closer to Merlin's ear, breathing heatedly into it as he whispered once more. "Merlin."

"Haa..." Merlin's body curled as he clasped desperately at the bed sheets.

Every time Arthur called Merlin's name, the eyelashes that touched his palm shivered.

It was offending.

Turning Merlin around so that he was lying on his back, Arthur tried to wrestle the thinner male's shirt off, but found it impossible with just one hand.

Gulping softly, Arthur returned his attention back to the half of Merlin's face visible, pausing, his stomach in turmoil.

Taking in a deep breath he slowly removed his hand from Merlin's face, only to find those blue eyes closed.

He looked down at that flushed face before bending his head and smiling in a defeated way, feeling tears prickling at his eyes and yet fighting them.

You don't plan on looking at me, huh?

With a flare of anger he tore the shirt off, pulling his own over his head as well before lowering his lips to those waiting for him, kissing them desperately, angrily. His hands explored the ivory skin beneath him, which was heated and red from the blush that seemed to cover Merlin's whole body.

You don't need to confirm who the other party is?

He reached his hand between their bodies and found Merlin's quivering manhood, clasping it with more confidence than he had the first time, as he converted Merlin into nothing but a pile of whimpers and moans. With every sound, every shiver, Arthur felt spitefully victorious, and yet terribly defeated at the same time. He was the one making Merlin whimper, he was the one making him feel that way. But was it really him? Or was it Leon's face in Merlin's mind that was achieving that?

Merlin...if you don't resist me...

Pre-cum sticking to his fingers, Arthur rubbed his thumb over Merlin's head before rubbing his fingers together experimentally. He was somewhat awed at the amount of pre-cum, at the angry, throbbing cock before him, and then his gaze went lower.

He gulped.

Slowly, curiously, he pulled away enough to wrestle Merlin's and his pants off.

Arthur hesitated once more, eyes going to Merlin's face, to those closed eyes.

Can't you tell I'm being serious?

Those eyes remained shut.

Fingers sticky, Arthur hesitated twice before using the lubricated to probe that puckered entrance. He froze when a hiss escape those lips, but when Merlin only clenched his fists harder into the bed sheets Arthur continued on, working his digits into that tiny opening, awed and fearful.

How was such a feat possible?

His gaze went to his hard cock, and then to the small, tight hole.

He gulped.

A whimper of pain escaped Merlin's lips.

Arthur's gaze returned to those closed eyes. "Relax." He half lowered himself over that beautiful, lithe body, trying to distract Merlin from the pain as he laid homage to that body with his mouth. He managed to distract both himself and Merlin as his mouth and tongue tasted Merlin's skin, nibbling on the curve of his hip and trailing marks all against the ivory skin.

"Haa..." Merlin's voice lowered huskily in a way that made Arthur close his eyes as he throbbed painfully at the sound.

If you don't resist me...Merlin...

Slipping his fingers out, Arthur aligned himself and hid his face in Merlin's long, graceful neck as he slowly buried himself into the younger male's body. His gasp mixed with Merlin's as he was unable to believe the sensation, the heat, the tightness...

He was almost too afraid to move, but then Merlin's hand unclenched from the bed sheet and curled around Arthur's shoulders, those finger digging into his skin, and the contact was too much for the blonde. With his face still buried in Merlin's neck, Arthur began to move, slowly at first, still scared for hurting Merlin. But he detected the change in the moans, when he felt the throb against his lower stomach, he gave up all fear. Resting all his weight on his elbow Arthur reached between them and clasped Merlin once again. For a couple of minutes it was awkward to find the rhythm between thrusts and tugs, but he found it.

Open your eyes, Merlin.

He gazed down into that face, those closed eyes taunting him.

Open your eyes, and look at me.

"Haa..." Merlin gasped, lips parted, but his eyes remained closed.

Bastard! Damn! Arthur could tear his gaze from Merlin's flushed face. Open them and look at me!

In the end, Merlin never opened his eyes.

He gave a cry, his whole body spasming as he came all over his own stomach.

Despite the feeling of his clenching around him nearly sending Arthur over the brink, he held on, unsatisfied, continuing to torment Merlin. But the younger male didn't cry out anyone's name.

Not Leon's.

Not Arthur's.

And in the end, Arthur hadn't been able to hold on any longer, burying his face in Merlin's neck, chanting his name as he came.

It'd been...awkward...after that.

Arthur sat by the side of the bed with his head lowered while Merlin bathed. All the while his mind was going through a million thoughts a minute, and he wasn't sure exactly what to do now. Instead of helping clarify anything, this had only seemed to confuse him even further.

"Arthur."

He looked up so rapidly his neck hurt a little. "Yeah?"

Merlin stood in the doorway of the bathroom, towel in hand. "Uh, sorry, but my uncle is going to be home soon. You should..."

"Yeah." Arthur nodded, grabbing his shirt and pulling it on, surprised to notice that sometime during the haze he'd put on his pants.

God, he'd really been out of it.

"A-Arthur?"

Arthur stood.

"Are you okay?"

He somehow found it hard to look at Merlin. "What?" His blue eyes finally returned to Merlin's face. "Shouldn't I be the one asking that?"

A blush appeared on Merlin's face as he ducked his head, bringing the towel to it.

It was incredibly cute.

Arthur continued gazing at him before running a hand over his head. "Do you want to see my brother?"

Why was he doing this?

Merlin pulled the towel from his face, confusion clear in his baby blues. "Arthur...Leon isn't someone you can 'see' anymore."

"Friday night, 11: 30." Giving the thinner male an ironic smile as he ducked his head. "Go to the place you and Leon agreed on." He took in a deep breath, fighting his every instinct. "You might be able to see him."

With that he turned and headed towards the door.

"Arthur?" Merlin's confused voice followed after him.

The blonde hesitated at the raven-haired boy's bedroom door, unable to turn and look him in the face. "I'll go too." He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. "Later."


The next day in school Arthur spent in a haze wondering if Merlin would really go, and if he did, if he would see Leon. And the other reason Arthur couldn't concentrate or remember anything about that day was because his mind was so caught up in what had happened the day before. He'd actually touched Merlin. Even the parts that Leon hadn't been able to--Arthur had touched.

Arthur gazed down through his classroom window at Merlin's class below as they performed P.E.

Merlin was limping.

It made the blonde experience a mixture of guilt, pride and arousal.

It was proof that Arthur had touched Merlin, had opened him and driven deep inside. He'd entered the depths of Merlin's body...again and again.

The whole day all Arthur could think about was Leon's spirit, and Merlin's body.

Arthur's gaze followed Merlin as he tried to finish his remaining laps despite the obvious discomfort he was feeling.

It's not a dream.

Merlin paused for a second and looked up at the classroom Arthur was in.

Their gazes met.

Arthur's eyes widened and he jerked rapidly into a ramrod straight position.

In the time it took him to blink, Merlin was trudging off again.

Arthur gulped.

He really wanted to keep Merlin for himself.

Not just his body, but his spirit.

But it was impossible.

Despite what he'd done to unite their bodies, Merlin's mind, and heart, were both still very far away.

Both with his brother.

Arthur closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the coolness of the window.

Why did he have to let Merlin see Leon?

Was it some sort of attempt to put an end to the relationship?

Or...or was he trying to make it back up to Leon?

To...to give him what his spirit needed to be at peace...?

Bringing his clenched fist to the window, Arthur sighed deeply, never noticing Merlin watching him from down below.


Somehow Arthur managed to stay away from Merlin during the rest of the week, to give him some time and space, but as he waited at the place where Leon disappeared every single Friday, Arthur didn't know who he was anticipating to see more tonight, Leon or Merlin. He knew, deep inside, that Leon would appear, but would Merlin? And if Merlin did come, what would happen if he couldn't see Leon? He'd probably think Arthur was taunting him again or something and after everything that'd happened Arthur didn't think he could take another ignoring session from the raven-haired male.

Turning at every approaching footstep, Arthur began to give up hope, when he finally saw Merlin appear. The younger male wore an sombre expression on his face as he walked towards Arthur.

"I..." Merlin took in a deep breath, stopping in front of the slightly shorter male. "I don't know what your reason was for saying what you did, but..."

Arthur sighed and looked away, rubbing the back of his head. "Even after what happened...you'll come as long as I mention Leon, huh?"

Merlin remained silent, hands in his pocket, the wind playing with his hair as he looked at Arthur.

Arthur's gaze went to his shoes. "I want to talk about my brother."

"Huh?"

"I won't cut in and interrupt, because once I open my mouth nothing good will come out of it." The blonde had to admit.

Merlin frowned slightly. "Why don't we talk about something else? Like movies?"

"No." That golden head shook. "I need to know...why you like Leon. If you're willing, then let me hear why."

There was silence, before Merlin joined Arthur on the bench. He sighed, sending a quick look sideways to Arthur before staring ahead of him. "The owner of the video store didn't trust me very much, he thought I was dimwitted, and unfortunately I made a grave mistake during my first couple of days working there." There was a moment's silence as he seemed to gather up his thoughts. "There was a box of new shipments by the counter, but it was stolen before I even got a change to put on the security tags. It happened because I was too careless, and if the owner had wanted to fire me there was nothing that I couldn't said in my defense. But Leon...even though he's not usually good with words, he pleaded desperately and apologized for me, as my supervisor. Because the owner trusted and loved Leon, he let my mistake slide." A nostalgic smile touched those lips. "Ever since then Leon always looked after me."

Arthur closed his eyes, and it was as if he could see his brother covering for Merlin. Leon hadn't done it to secure any future favors or anything like that. Leon had just been a hopeless idiot always trying to help others and who could never see the evil in people.

It was what had always angered Arthur, had always made him so envious, and he felt incredibly stupid for even admitting it in his head.

"That's all there is to say, but," Merlin paused. "I guess I fell for him. I really liked him. My mother had just passed away after battling cancer for five years, and Leon was the first person to break me out of the numbing haze I'd been living through up until that point."

I think....I understand. Arthur closed his eyes and brought to hands to his face. Meeting you, discussing movies, arguing over Leon... You broke me out of my haze, a haze I didn't even realize I was lost in, and somehow I fell in love with you.

Suddenly he felt it, and opened his eyes, standing as he turned towards the direction he knew it was coming from. "He's coming."

"Huh?" Merlin frowned, before following Arthur's gaze and freezing.

Already Leon's distinctive silhouette could be made in the night.

Merlin stood, eyes wide as if in a daze, as slowly Leon came into view, smiling brightly.

"Merlin!" Leon smiled, hugging himself against the cold. "Sorry for being late."

"L-Leon?" Merlin whispered, taking a couple of disbelieving steps towards him.

Arthur hung back, clenching his fists to keep them at his side and not grab for Merlin.

This was what he'd brought him here for.

He should be relieved Merlin could see Leon.

"It's cold out today." Leon laughed, hugging himself tighter. "Sorry for making you wait in this kind of weather. I got careless and lost my way." He grinned. "Am I late? How long did I make you wait? Seriously, I have no sense of time!"

Merlin gazed upon Leon in silence, before a sad smile finally graced his face. "I didn't think you'd really come here, that I'd see you."

"Why not?" Leon made a face. "I promised to meet you, and you know I don't break my promises! And, well, I told you I'd answer on friday night, didn't I?" Leon cleared his throat and looked down, scratching at his head. "What you told me a few days ago, I thought about it, and I care about you a lot. It's true."

And finally the last piece of the puzzle sunk in.

The reason Leon had been more distracted than ever that night was because Merlin had confessed to him, and Leon was meeting him to give him his answer.

Arthur's fists clenched tighter.

"But...but I..."

"You don't have to answer, Leon." Merlin continued to smile that sad smile at him. "You came, and I'm really grateful."

"Really?" Relief was visible on Leon's face as he smiled. "That's great! I was worried this whole time that it would become awkward between us. It's rare that I get close to someone like you. You're like a brother, so I don't want to lose you...especially since my own brother most probably thinks I'm worthless."

"That's not true!"

It took a couple of seconds for Arthur to realize that the person who'd spoken was him.

His eyes widened and he took a couple of steps back, looking away from them, away from Merlin, who'd turned to look at him in surprise.

Thus he missed the way tenderness entered Merlin's smile as he looked at Arthur, before turning to Leon, who as always couldn't see or hear his brother. "That's not true, you know. Arthur really does like you, and I think deep down inside he's envious of you and how you are, but he just can't admit that, or express his feelings in general."

"That's dad's fault." Leon sighed, shaking his head. "Ever since mom died---Arthur's the one who looks like her, so dad's always come down harder on him than on Mori or I. I worry about him so much sometimes, but he doesn't let me or anyone else close to him. If we try, he gets defensive and will verbally attack us or try to offend us so we'll leave him alone." Leon looked at Merlin. "But I really don't think he wants to be alone."

"I really don't think so either." Merlin admitted.

Arthur bowed his head, emotions conflicted as he listened to this conversation.

This wasn't how the night was supposed to go.

He wasn't supposed to be a part of the conversation.

"So...you talk to Arthur?" Leon asked curiously. "I mean, I know you go to the same school, but I wouldn't think you'd have the same friends."

"We don't." Merlin chuckled, shaking his head. "But we like the same movies."

Leon smiled brightly. "You're joking."

"Nope." Merlin shook his head.

"You don't realize how relieved I am to hear this." Leon sighed, smile tired. "I've been so worried about Arthur, all the way here I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm always so scared he's gonna end up alone, but if he's friends with you, I know he'll be alright."

Arthur looked up at his brother's eyes watering.

The reason his brother hadn't been paying attention the night he'd died wasn't because of his thoughts of Merlin...but his worries over...Arthur.

He wiped viciously at a tear that escaped and made its way down his cheek.

"Don't worry about Arthur anymore." Merlin announced. "I got him, even though he's an utter prat."

Leon smiled. "Thanks Merlin. You're a good kid. Somehow, knowing that you're by his side...I think I can have some peace of mind now." A sheepish expression crossed his face. "To be honest, I always wanted him to become friends with you. A guy like you would do him a load of good." He then looked at his watch. "It's time for me to go home now."

Arthur watched his brother leave.

"Good bye." He whispered as the apparition slowly faded into the night.

"Thank you." Merlin finally turned to him.

"It was what was keeping him here, unable to find peace." Arthur shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets and unable to look at the taller male. "You were his 'unfinished business'."

"We both were." Merlin corrected, turning his gaze to where Leon had once been, a small smile on his face. "Even in his death he was worrying about others."

"Can't really compete with someone like that, huh?" Arthur chuckled darkly, turning his back on Merlin and looking down at the pavement. "See you in school. I guess."

"He's dead and you're still only interested in competing with him?"

Arthur paused and turned around. "What am I supposed to answer to that?"

Merlin stood there backlit by the streetlight, watching him gravely. "You're nothing like your brother."

It was like a kick in Arthur's gut.

He swallowed and nodded, turning away.

"Whoever told you your hands were like his were lying." Merlin continued to speak. "Your hands are completely different from his, especially the feel. Yours are very rough from what I'm guessing is a lot of working out and sports. They feel nothing like Leon's would. And your voice. It's your voice."

Arthur froze, not understanding what Merlin was telling him, and yet unable to turn around to face him.

"I might have confused your voices at first, but the more I hear you talking the more distinctive your voice becomes." There was a pause. "And the way you held me. It was possessive and tight and unyielding. Only Arthur Pendragon would hold me that way. There is no way I could have ever fooled myself into thinking it was someone else." There was another pause. "Even if I had wanted to."

Confusion reigned inside of Arthur as he finally found the strength to turn around. "What are you saying, Merlin? You wouldn't even open your eyes!"

"Because I felt guilty!" Merlin snapped, face flushing as he brought his hand to it. "I----you're his brother, Arthur, and I was supposed to be in love with him and in mourning, but you were the only thing on my mind!"

Arthur paused, eyes widening, along with a small smirk. "You have the hots for me?"

"Oh god." Merlin groaned, covering his face with his hand. "Don't make me say this out loud, you gigantic clotpole."

Arthur snorted, amused, not having known this insulting side to Merlin before.

He kinda liked it.

"You're insensitive, brutish, somewhat of a bully, and an utter prat." Merlin announced, finally removing his hand from his face. "But for some inexplicable reason I like you. And, and I was actually relieved tonight, when I realized that Leon didn't feel anything towards me but brotherly love."

Arthur nodded, admitting only to himself that he too had felt relieved at that revelation. "So...where do we go from here?"

"We go slow." Merlin decided, giving Arthur a shy smile. "Get to know each other better. Then we see what happens."

"Okay, slow. I can do that." Arthur nodded, smiling as he slowly made his way to Merlin's side, and then slowly anchored his hands on Merlin's hips.

Merlin snorted, chuckling as he shook his head and ducked his gaze. "Of course, that would be your definition of 'slow'."

"This is very slow, thank you very much." Arthur replied with a superior air as he used the hands on Merlin's hips to pull him closer to him. "Wanna go get something to eat at that ridiculously cheesy place you took me to last time?"

"Such a prat." Merlin sighed, shaking his head.

Arthur smiled up at the slight taller boy before reaching up and cupping the back of Merlin's head, pulling him down to capture his lips.

Merlin's breath was a gasp against Arthur's mouth as long, pale fingers rose to curl themselves in the front of his shirt as Merlin shyly opened his mouth to the kiss and the exploration.

Merlin's eyes were closed, but so were Arthur's.

"Arthur." Merlin whimpered as Arthur pulled his hips tighter against his, their hardening cocks brushing against each other's teasingly.

Arthur chuckled smugly into the kiss as he deepened it.

"Slow." Merlin gasped as he finally pushed away, face dark red, breath a pant as he looked around him in embarrassment and tried to straighten his hair and clothes. "We're going to do this slow."

"Course." Arthur nodded, grinning as he watched the flustered, lithe male begin to walk away.

Now that he had a good view of them, he decided he really liked Merlin's skinny jeans.

Sensing movement, Arthur turned and his eyes widened when he saw Leon leaning against a tree, smiling at him and shaking his head at him like he used to.

Arthur sighed and gave his brother a small smile, saluting him. "Thank you."

Leon just grinned one of his idiotically large grins and saluted back, before vanishing forever.

"Arthur?"

Turning towards Merlin's voice, Arthur noticed that Merlin had stopped up ahead and was looking back at him in worry.

"Are you okay?" Merlin asked, hugging himself against the cool of the evening.

"Yeah." Arthur nodded, smiling. "I think I am."

And with that he started forwards to join Merlin.


It is finished.

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