Kissing You Goodbye
by Reiko Katsura
Word Count: ~3,250
Warning (Highlight to read): Major Character Death | AR
Summary: Arthur asks Merlin one final request.
Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin. No copyright infringement intended.
A/N: Written for the prompt "Last fuck before dying" by an Anonymous poster at Kinkme_Merlin.
Beta: Silk_mistress . Not only did she do such a nice job beta reading, but she also taught me a thing or two, as well. Thanks so much! | Any mistakes are mine alone.
Extra: This was brought to my attention by the lovely silk_mistress : while it is very unusual for men to remain erect directly after orgasm, it is not impossible. There are guys who are certainly capable of remaining erect after ejaculating, and more commonly men who diminish to a half-hard state. Consider the character in this fic (you'll know who it is eventually) part of the minority, please. So is it rare? Yes. But is it impossible? Definitely not. :)
*Updated August 28, 2010
"Nowhere to go; I'm not leaving, I'm not going, I'm not kissing you goodbye.
On my own; I'm nothing, just breathing, I'm not kissing you goodbye."
-Kissing You Goodbye, The Used.
The sound of rain pelted against the glass windows of Arthur's chambers, casting a steady heartbeat throughout the otherwise silent room. The candles had all been blown out, save for the small one beside Arthur's bed, and the help, including Gaius, had already left for the night.
"He hasn't much longer to live," Gaius told Uther, mouth set in a grim frown. "There's no cure… no cure to this."
Merlin had slunk down the wall at his words, his knees losing the little strength he'd managed to keep in them.
"There must be!" Uther had roared, like a lion on top a mountain, cub slaughtered by a stray strike of lightning. "He can't—he can't die."
Even Merlin had to turn away from the look of absolute misery on the King's face. Gaius had issued him a light sleeping draught and sent Uther to bed, assuring him that his son—that the Crown Prince of Camelot—would be alive when the king returned.
But Merlin has seen the way his eyes glanced to the left, and the way his eyebrows drooped as they did when he wasn't being particularly truthful, and knew Gaius was lying.
Footsteps moved slowly outside, the sound of mud coated boots and rusty armor. Waves of lightning flashed from the opaque sky, washing the room in fragments of borrowed white light. The crashes of thunder seemed to beat against the castle bricks, causing its stones to jump at every resounding clash. The castle shuddered and quaked all around them, as if it were cold.
Merlin leaned forward and squeezed Arthur's hand with greater strength.
Arthur was awake. His eyes were open, half-lidded and dazed, staring up at the empty ceiling as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world. His breathing was for the most part labored, exempting the rattle that occurred after every twentieth breath, and the heat of his forehead had gone down considerably since the last time Merlin had checked.
"That means nothing, son," Gaius said, clasping Merlin's shoulder. "If anything, it's cause for more concern."
Merlin stared at Arthur's face, at the paleness of his skin and the sinking of his cheeks. He hadn't been able to take his eyes away since Gwen, the last to leave, had slipped out nearly two hours ago. Arthur had woken an hour after that. He hadn't complained, so Merlin didn't stop.
He didn't think he would even if Arthur did. He was afraid to.
Arthur's lips moved, and he coughed, and Merlin stood up quickly to massage his throat and chest in the way Gaius had instructed him to. He rubbed circles over the sweaty, warm skin until Arthur's breath rattled a little less, and the skin beneath his hands softened in its trembling.
"I'm dying," Arthur said, roughly, with his head tilted back and his eyes tightly closed.
Merlin, who'd never been able to lie to his prince before, whispered, "yes".
He wasn't asking Merlin to tell him. He was demanding him to.
Merlin, for the first time in hours, looked away. "A couple of hours. Sunrise, if you're lucky."
He felt, more than saw, Arthur nod brusquely.
"It's ironic," the prince continued, and the raspy way in which his words leaked out made Merlin move to get him water, "that after everything, it's illness that's going to be the end of me."
He chuckled, as if he were being funny, and Merlin had to refrain from throwing the pitcher of water in his face.
"Here, sire," he said, and helped Arthur to sit a little so that the water wouldn't leak too much. Arthur swallowed the entire thing, and looked longingly at it as Merlin took it away.
"At least I'm not in any pain. That would have been a pain in the arse."
Merlin ignored his second attempt at humor. "Gaius saw to it."
Arthur paused. "Of course he did."
He turned his head away toward the window, where the storm cried and raged on the other side, the winds whistling through the stones and glass.
"Merlin," Arthur said, "do you love me?"
Merlin chocked on his own spit.
Arthur was still looking out the window, face completely turned so that Merlin could see no more than his ears and the tips of his lips. Merlin fiddled with hands, scratched the calluses that lined his fingers with his dirt-rimmed nails, and glared at them.
Did he love Arthur? Of course he did. Had loved him since the time Arthur'd been willing to drink poison for him. Funny how that day seemed a lifetime ago, and not remotely near the short two years it had actually been.
"I—" Merlin stopped, his words catching in his throat. What was he to say? What good would the truth do either of them? Such words were useless now when Arthur, his everything—and how it hurt Merlin to admit that, seeing him like this—was so near in death he could practically feel it coming.
(Could feel the end to everything creeping through the window pane.)
But then, Merlin thought, biting his lip. If this is to be my last…
"Well?" Arthur said, impatiently.
Merlin had half a mind to hit him.
Merlin felt regret like plants felt the sun—it moved over him, enveloped him, soaked into his skin. Every inch of him felt as if it were burning; melting from the heat of his remorse. His mind was constantly repeating the same phrases over and over and over:
I wish I could have—
I should have—
I should have—
Why didn't I—
It's too late.
It was too bloody late.
"Shut up!" he shouted, and buried his face in his hands.
There was no more time left. Every thing he'd ever done—for Arthur, for Camelot, for himself—every seed he'd ever planted…
(Every heated glance, every lingering touch.)
…it was all a waste.
His garden will never bear fruit. His sprouts would never see the sun. Arthur would never be—
A hand, warm and trembling, moved over his, and like a shadow in dawn his thoughts were pushed to the back of his head.
Merlin's eyes snapped open and he blinked, surprised to see the world shimmering and wet.
He lowered his head feebly and wiped at his face with his dirtied sleeves. He tried to sniffle discretely, but when he glanced to the side and saw Arthur's hawk-eyed stare, he knew he hadn't succeeded.
"Er," he said, and cleared his throat, "sorry."
Arthur grunted. "I should have your head for telling me to shut up."
He didn't mention Merlin's crying, and for that Merlin was grateful. To prove it, he tried for a smile.
"I've done far worse over the years, sire."
Arthur rolled his eyes, and Merlin's smile became just a little bit more genuine.
And his heart broke just a little bit more.
Arthur's clammy hand squeezed his own, and Merlin closed his eyes. The tips of Arthur's fingers grazed the back of his palm, making the light scattering of hairs stand on end. He shivered, and unable to keep his eyes closed any longer, looked up.
Arthur was staring at him, the look in his eyes so similar to the ones he'd seen the servants and maids (and sometimes knights) give the prince frequently. And on a rarer occasion, seen some of the help—like Gwen, or Anne, or Roberts—give him. Merlin shuddered at the look; it made his insides squirm and his outsides heat with fever. Arthur's blue gaze—so pale in color in comparison to his own, like the early morning sky—asked for things Merlin didn't think he could ever give.
Arthur's tongue, swiping wetly over cracked lips, begged for it.
When their fingers entwined, Merlin knew he couldn't fight it anymore.
A soft cry escaped his throat and he stood from his chair, making it skit a good foot back, and rounded on Arthur. He cupped Arthur's warm cheek in his hand, took in his pallor complexion and the dark bruises beneath his eyes, and briefly thought it unfair that even on his deathbed—and how his gut churned at the thought of it—he still managed to look beautiful. Like a god amongst men, a gem amongst rocks, a—
wilting sunflower in a midst of weeds.
Holding back another cry, he leaned down and captured Arthur's lips, captured the cracked skin and dry teeth and stale, uneven breath, and thought it was perfect.
He felt Arthur's eyes close and Merlin deepened the kiss. He lapped at Arthur's top lip, nibbled and sucked on the bottom one, ran his tongue between them and along the roof of his mouth. Arthur moaned and Merlin brought their tongues together, sucked up the saliva their contact brought, and kissed.
Arthur, despite being weak, gave just as much as he was being given.
But then, Merlin knew, he'd always been that way.
A true prince.
"More," Arthur gasped, and for the first time since Merlin could remember he obeyed without arguing.
He kicked his boots off and crawled on top of the bed, peeled off the covers and shimmied under them. He moved over Arthur, brought his leg over Arthur's thigh and straddled him, then moved down for another kiss.
As their mouths moved together Merlin made quick, meticulous work of Arthur's clothes. Experience and practice enabled him to easily untie the strings on his shirt and lift it off Arthur's head, distracting their mouths for only a moment. They resumed their kiss and Merlin tossed the shirt to the floor, then brought his hands back to latch onto Arthur's bare shoulders.
Arthur's skin was hot and moist, tight from the hard muscles that flexed beneath them. Soft golden hairs moved across his sculpted chest, ran down his stomach and hid beneath the waistband of his breeches. His body rose with each breath he took, and when Merlin lifted himself from their kiss, he had to refrain from pressing his ear to his chest and listening to his heartbeat.
Merlin's hands ran over every inch of skin, massaged over every place that made Arthur gasp. He dipped his head and mouthed at the stretch of his throat, the wings of his collar, the space between his chest. When his tongue circled one dusky nipple and Arthur arched his back, he took his time in teasing the tiny buds; pinching with his fingers, biting with his teeth, using his tongue to lap at them and his mouth to blow them to their peaks.
Arthur groaned another "More", and Merlin, regretfully, abandoned the twin pebbles and continued to lick his way downward.
Arthur's skin was salty from sweat, but otherwise clean from the short bath Merlin had earlier given him. When Merlin's tongue slipped into his navel, he swore he'd tasted honey, or something close. He descended until further skin was hidden behind cloth, and looked up once to ask for Arthur's permission.
Arthur glared at him, and Merlin quickly got to work.
He unlaced the breeches, his fingers trembling the entire time, and slid them down Arthur's legs. He dropped them onto the floor, once again lifted the covers to his back, and kissed the patch of hair at the base of his cock.
"Merlin," Arthur demanded, and Merlin stopped massaging his thighs and sniffing his hairs. His hands took hold of Arthur's rising flesh—and how he reveled in the sounds Arthur made at that—and, with his heart pounding, engulfed Arthur with his mouth in a single movement.
Arthur cried out and arched his hips, and Merlin pressed down on them to prevent being choked to death. He kept one arm on Arthur's waist, and the other at the base of his still-stiffening cock, and began to suck.
The sounds Arthur made were almost enough to bring Merlin to orgasm. He whimpered and moaned, grunted and hissed, whined and demanded for Merlin to hurry up and keep on and harder and yeah, just like that—
He slipped his tongue into the foreskin of Arthur's cock, scraped his teeth lightly over the leaking slit on the head, and thumbed his way down the underside of it. When his fingers moved down to cup his balls, and his knuckled grazed the spot that Merlin knew drove most men wild, Arthur gave a shout and came in Merlin's mouth, shot after shot of hot, bitter semen pounding into the back of his throat, onto the roof of his mouth.
Swallowing, he pulled away and licked his lips. He moved onto his knees and, at the sight of Arthur shuddering and twitching, grabbed onto his own swollen erection and groaned.
Merlin quickly rolled off the bed and began to strip himself of his own clothes, his desperation making the task take longer than it usually would have. When his pants had finally been removed, kicked somewhere he'd probably regret later, he grabbed a jar of Gaius' bruise ointment and crawled back onto the bed.
The scorching way Arthur gazed at his cock made Merlin almost whimper.
Merlin hastily opened the jar and stuck two fingers into it, engulfing the digits in the cool, creamy gel.
"Sire?" he questioned.
Arthur, pupils blown, chest heaving, and cock still half hard with need, only nodded.
Merlin retrieved his two fingers and brought his arm behind himself. He glanced away from Arthur, his cheeks flushing in embarrassment, and inserted the two wet fingers into his hole with his eyes firmly set on the brown blankets.
When he was sure he'd been prepared enough (or as close as his patience allowed) he removed his fingers and moved forward, once again straddling the outsides of Arthur's thighs.
With another nod from Arthur, he coated the rest of the cream over Arthur's prick, smiled at the sight of Arthur closing his eyes, and tossed the jar to the side and positioned himself over him.
Merlin inhaled deeply as the head of Arthur's cock brushed against the outer ridge of his hole, and he bit his lip to prevent a cry as he lowered himself. When Merlin was completely seated, he shuddered viciously.
"Move, Merlin," Arthur demanded, and shifted his hips up.
"Yes, sire." Merlin took in a ragged breath and complied.
It was like everything Merlin had ever felt before, only so much better. Arthur's cock was large, and while it wasn't as long as Merlin's was, it was gratefully a lot thicker, stretching him out in a way no one had ever before. Merlin's eyes rolled to the back of his head when Arthur pressed against his prostrate, and he increased the pace of his movements, ignoring the discomfort it brought to his back and thighs.
Merlin rode Arthur from the top, and Arthur pounded into Merlin from the bottom. Pointless promises and words were made between gasps of breaths and breaks from snogging. They moved together perfectly, as if their bodies had been designed to fit the other, and never slowed down for even a moment. When Arthur, energy taken from God-knew-where, leaned forward and wrapped his hand around Merlin's cock, Merlin stilled and came, crying out as Arthur's callused hand milked him for everything he had.
Arthur continued to thrust inside him, and after a well-timed squeeze on Merlin's part, came shortly after, groaning and pumping as if he didn't dare to let the feeling die.
When it was over, he slipped out of Merlin, his own semen sliding down the curved length of his spent cock, and closed his eyes.
Merlin fell to the bed beside him, and placed his head on Arthur's shoulder when Arthur shifted.
"I love you, you know." Arthur whispered, voice slurred from exhaustion.
Merlin took a moment to catch his breath. "I know."
In mere seconds Arthur was asleep, pale face looking more relaxed than Merlin had ever seen it.
Quietly, Merlin moved away from Arthur and lifted himself from the bed. He moved across the room to where Gwen had left the bathing equipment, and dipped one of the towels she'd left behind into the now-lukewarm water. He went to Arthur and cleaned him from head to foot, going back to re-freshen the towel no less than three times, and pulled his spelled-neat clothes back on and lifted the covers over him.
That done, Merlin went to work on himself.
When the last bit of Arthur had been removed from inside him he moved into his clothes and spelled the room to smell fresh. Satisfied that everything looked in order, he slipped back into Arthur's bed and curled against him. Merlin shifted the two of them to fit comfortably, then moved his head onto Arthur's rising chest.
With the sound of his Prince's heartbeat thrumming heavily in his ear, he slowly fell asleep.
Merlin woke with the sound of chirping birds and peaking sunlight. He smiled, body singing in utter relaxation, and snuggled closer to the man he was holding, remembering the events of last night.
Moments more of utter silence passed before Merlin realized something wasn't right.
His eyes snapped open. No, something wasn't right at all.
The side of his face was pressed just as firmly to Arthur's chest as it had been the night before, but unlike then, there was no heartbeat reverberating into his ears. There was no moving chest pushing against his head. There was no ragged breath brushing his hair and tickling his scalp.
There was nothing at all.
Merlin's heart swelled to the point of breaking. Not daring to look up, he reached over and grabbed Arthur's hand—
(Cold, as cold as death.)
—and interlaced their fingers, squeezing so tightly that Arthur would have surely been cross about had been alive.
Had he been alive.
Merlin's eyes filled and his breath hitched and he bit his lip with enough force to make him bleed. He closed his eyes and buried his face into Arthur's (still) chest.
"I love you, too," he whispered. Too late. It was too late. Arthur's earlier words were replaying into his head, stabbing into his heart.
Despite his whizzing thoughts, Merlin wondered what would happen to the Camelot that Arthur had been prophesized to make great, to the Albion he'd been destined to unite?
And more selfishly—what would happen to Merlin, now?
Tears escaped without his consent, and Merlin forced thoughts of the world—a world without Arthur, a world without the man he'd served, and protected, and loved—to the back of his mind, and wept.
The sun rose higher, and footsteps approached, but still Merlin did not move. He held onto Arthur tighter, uncaring that he was holding a dead man in his arms, concerned only that it was Arthur.
His Arthur, his master, his prince, his love—
He'd made a promise to be by his side for eternity.
Muffled voices came from down the hall, metal creaked, and footsteps thudded against the stone floors.
Merlin's eyes flashed gold and a thin veil of light erupted against the doors. The window shut, the curtains came loose, the chamber darkened. The sounds of pounding, of yelling, echoed only for a moment before dying out completely. Everything went silent.
Merlin had never lied to his Prince before.
A verse from one of the many weddings Merlin had attended since he'd come to Camelot rang in his ears, thunderously loud yet eerily silent. It made his breathing soften, made his heart beat slow, made another rush of tears to burst from his eyes.
'Til death do us part.
He was prepared to keep that promise as long as possible.
Extra: Yes, another one. I realize that Arthur, considering how ill he was, probably shouldn't have been able to orgasm twice. His body being as weak as it was, he probably shouldn't have been able to orgasm once. For the sake of the pr0n, though, I hope no one will be to cross about that. That said, I hope you liked the fic.
About the ending: It was meant to ambiguous. In case your thoughts start spiralling to dark corners, though, I'll offer my two cents and say that I doubt Merlin is the type to commit suicide. What the poor boy needs is time, time he couldn't get with the entire castle looming over him (or more accurately, taking Arthur away), and made the decision to seal them both in when he was a bit out of his mind with grief and urgency. Hope that cleared it up a bit.
A/N: My second Merthur one-shot. I hope you enjoyed it! Comments are more than welcome. 'Til next time!