The first thing Merlin did when he got back to his room was tear through the place on an express-cleaning spree. He knew had time to clean it up properly later as inspection wasn't until the morning that they deployed for training, so all of his clothes (some dirty, some just in the wrong place at the wrong time) were kicked haphazardly under the bed. Merlin even took the time to change his sheets- and don't ask him why. He just did it- shoving the used bedding into his closet and slamming the door.
The second thing Merlin did was have his obligatory internal freak-out. He had managed to make it out of the canteen without being stopped by anyone, only drawing a few uninterested looks from the people he walked by, and had forced himself to not think about Arthur's words - never mind his words! What about the way he was touching you? - or what they might mean, until he was safely inside his room.
Arthur is coming to my room, he thought. The place where I sleep. Naked. In my bed. Also the place where I wank. While I think about Arthur.
Merlin looked over to his bedside table and couldn't stop the hysterical giggle that bubbled up inside him. It was already seven-thirty. Lights-out was at nine every night and while no one ever actually went to sleep (except maybe Lance, who was always sickeningly up early so he could help out Gwen in the weapons room every morning), the cadets still had to be in their rooms at nine on the button. Arthur could show up at any point in the next hour or so. What was he going to do?
Making to stand up, the sensation of his shirt un-sticking from his chest made Merlin grimace. He was still wearing his gravy-smeared shirt and the mess was beginning to fuse itself to his skin. Resigning himself to the fact that Arthur was going to show up whether he got up off of the floor or not, Merlin hoisted himself up. "I've already cleaned everything else," Merlin thought out loud as he stripped off his stained clothes, wrapped his navy blue towel around his waist, and made his way to the showers. Hoping to make it back to his room before Arthur arrived, he scrubbed himself down briskly, punching a button on the shower wall to dispense the low-grade soap that all the washrooms on the station were equipped with, and washing his hair quickly before toweling off and dashing back to his room.
Towel around his waist, Merlin dashed to his closet to find some clothes. Having forgotten that he'd shoved everything in there before he went to shower, Merlin yanked open the closet door and found himself buried under a pile of bedding.
"Damn it!" Untangling himself from the sheets, Merlin quickly jammed them back into the closet and forced the door closed. Turning to grab something from his dresser instead, Merlin froze at the sound of a knock on his door.
"Merlin? It's Arthur."
Scrambling to his dresser, Merlin wrenched open a drawer and started to pull on the first shirt he grabbed. Arthur was still calling from outside the door and it was doing nothing to help Merlin's anxiety. Realizing that he was trying to put his head through one of the arm holes, Merlin tried to yank his head free, only to bang his elbow on the open drawer.
"Merlin! Are you OK? What just happened? I'm coming in!"
Staggering around, clutching his elbow, his head still stuck in his shirt, Merlin barely had time to call out "wait!" before Arthur pushed open the door and tumbled into his room, obviously expecting to see Merlin grievously injured or bleeding on the floor.
Instead he found Merlin standing in the middle of the room, his head stuck in his shirt and his towel hanging precariously from his hips. And instead of walking away like Merlin was silently praying that he would,-Dear God, please just walk away- Arthur burst out laughing.
By this point, Merlin was hoping that the floor would simply open up and swallow him whole. When no such thing happened, he began to try to free himself from the shirt, which only served to make Arthur laugh harder, which in turn made Merlin struggle more fiercely, fumbling blindly around the room. Merlin couldn't see Arthur, his head being well and properly lodged in the shirt sleeve, but he could imagine Arthur rolling on the ground, clutching his sides as he laughed at Merlin's expense, and suddenly Merlin was angry.
"Could you stop laughing for two microseconds, you twat, and help me?"
To Merlin's surprise, the laughter stopped immediately and a pair of hands was suddenly on him, slowly easing the shirt off of his head. When his head was no longer stuck, Merlin ran a hand through his hair and looked up to see Arthur standing in front of him, his blue eyes sparkling with amusement.
Startled by how close Arthur was, Merlin reflexively took a step back, his knees hitting the edge of his bed. His eyes opened in surprise and, for the second time that night, he started to tumble backwards. Again, Arthur grabbed hold of him to pull him back up but instead of Merlin ending up on his feet, he ended up flat on his back with a very amused-looking Arthur plastered against his bare chest.
Face-to-face, Arthur's breath ghosted over Merlin's lips as he spoke, making Merlin flush a deep red. Why did he always end up in this situation?
"Um. Hello, Arthur."
Merlin could see the individual hairs of Arthur's eyebrows where they curled against Arthur's forehead, a bit damp and slightly darker than the rest of his hair usually was. He could also smell the trace of soap on Arthur's skin, the same kind he had used in the shower not ten minutes before, and another scent, not a cologne or lotion, lingering underneath it. Arthur's scent, Merlin realized, his face heating up even more.
Arthur was watching him intently. He hadn't made any move to get up, the weight of him was slowly becoming familiar to Merlin and much to Merlin's horror, his own body chose that instant to start responding. He had to get Arthur off of him soon before he noticed.
"Um you came here to get a shirt," he said lamely, hoping to jog Arthur's memory. "They're, uh, over there in the drawer. You can even take the one I was trying to get into. It's clean. I'd just taken it out of the drawer when you…" Merlin's voice trailed off when Arthur's face dipped closer to his own.
"I like you, Merlin," Arthur said, his blue eyes suddenly dark. He pulled his arm out from where it was lodged between their bodies and brought both hands up to card through Merlin's hair. "A lot."
Wait. Was he going to-?
Merlin didn't have a chance to finish his thought before Arthur's mouth was on his. Arthur's lips felt even better than Merlin had imagined and when Arthur's fingers slipped down to stroke the lobe of Merlin's ear, Merlin gasped against his mouth.
Chuckling lightly, Arthur took the opportunity to deepen the kiss, running his tongue across Merlin's teeth. Taking the initiative, Merlin stroked Arthur's tongue with his own, making Arthur groan and thrust his hips downward.
"Oh fuck," Merlin ground out, bringing his hands up to scrabble at Arthur's shirt. "Off. Now."
Sitting up, Arthur gripped the hem of his shirt and pulled it off. Merlin's gaze followed the exposed planes of stomach and chest before coming up to lock eyes with the man above him. Arthur's eyes were intense and his hair was sticking up wildly. The flush from before was back and this time Merlin could see that it traveled down Arthur's neck and stopped just above his nipples, which were hard even though the room was not cold in the least.
Merlin had only a moment to admire the view before Arthur was on him again, his kiss fierce and punishing this time and his hips grinding hard against Merlin's. Merlin could feel Arthur, hard against his hip, through the combined fabric of his towel and Arthur's pants, and when Arthur pulled back slightly to nip at his lips, Merlin braced his feet against the bed frame and thrust upwards.
"God, Merlin. So good," Arthur groaned, burying his head in the curve of Merlin's neck and matching each of Merlin's thrusts with his own, equally insistent and needy.
Merlin could tell that Arthur was getting close and he wasn't going to last much longer himself. He was going to come all over himself again, except this time Arthur was right here. Right on top of him, flushed and panting and hard and on top of him.
At the thought, Merlin felt his orgasm surge up inside him and he barely groaned out "Fuck. Arthur, I'm-" before his release ripped through him, hot and white and so good.
Through his haze, Merlin felt Arthur's body tense up against him and he opened his eyes to see Arthur, his eyes screwed shut tight, as he came in his pants because of Merlin.
Arthur gave several weak shudders before he collapsed on top of Merlin, his breath coming out harsh and searing against Merlin's shoulder. As the effects of his orgasms faded, Merlin could feel Arthur's heart still thundering against his chest. When his heart stopped pounding, Arthur slowly hoisted himself up and flopped down on his back beside Merlin. Unfortunately, now Merlin could also feel the wet stickiness of his release beginning to cool against his stomach and hip. As awful as it would feel if he let it dry, Merlin was in no hurry to get up. If you don't get up, you won't have to deal with the awkwardness. Just close your eyes and pretend you fell asleep.
Well so much for that plan.
"Isn't it much better when there's no camera separating us?"
The grin in Arthur's voice was evident and Merlin mentally slapped himself for hoping that Arthur would have forgotten what happened. The bed shifted next to him and he could feel the heat from Arthur's body against his arm.
"Now aren't you glad I got you in trouble on purpose?"
At Arthur's words, Merlin's eyes popped open. Arthur's face was right above his and his arms shot out in surprise, his elbow nearly knocking Arthur on the chin. Luckily, Arthur was fast and jerked his head back in time.
"Watch where you're flailing those things! They're sharp!"
Sitting up to face Arthur, Merlin fixed the blond with a murderous glare. "What do you mean 'on purpose'?"
Instead of looking guilty, Arthur just grinned. "Well how else was I going to get your attention? In training, you tripped over your own feet at least once that week because you were so busy looking at me and whenever I started to say "hi," you'd bolt." At the accusation, Merlin felt himself flush again and he turned away. "You wouldn't stay still long enough for me to talk to you like a normal person so I decided to give you a little show. I would ask if you liked it but considering you've been running from me all week, I'll just assume you did."
Merlin should have been affronted by the self-satisfied grin on Arthur's face but his brain was still processing Arthur's words. "How else was I going to get your attention?" "Whenever I started to say 'hi'..." Arthur had actually wanted to talk to him. He'd noticed him. And he liked him.
Looking back at Arthur, Merlin found him reclining against the pillows, his eyes closed and a content smile on his lips. He didn't look uncomfortable or like he was regretting it at all. He also didn't look like he was planning on moving any time soon.
Suddenly panicked, Merlin's eyes darted to the clock. Eight forty.
"Shit! Arthur, you have to go!"
Arthur's eyes popped open and Merlin mentally slapped himself again when he saw the hurt in them. "No, it's not you or anything like that! I'm not trying to say I hated it or something. It's just, lights-out is in twenty and you gotta get back to your room."
The realization dawning on him, Arthur jumped out of his bed and began struggling to get his shirt back on. In his haste, he managed to get both arms stuck in the neck hole and immediately stopped struggling once he realized what had happened.
"Uh. Merlin? Can you help?"
Snickering softly, Merlin went over and slowly helped Arthur get his shirt back off. Flushing slightly, Arthur had the grace to look guilty in the face of Merlin's appraising eyebrow. Then the moment passed and he was dashing out the door. As Merlin made to close the door begin him, Arthur's head popped back through the doorway.
"So you weren't trying to say that you hated it…Does that mean that you liked it?" Arthur's eyes avoided Merlin's as he asked and it took Merlin a moment to realize that this was what Arthur looked like when he was nervous.
It was quite endearing.
Taking his hand off the door handle, Merlin placed it on Arthur's shoulder and, when Arthur finally looked up at him, Merlin smiled.
"Yes, Arthur. I liked it. Very much. Now go!"
A grin burst out across his face and Arthur started to dash off again before turning back and pressing a quick kiss to Merlin's lips. Then he was gone, leaving Merlin standing in the doorway, grinning after him like a fool.