"I'm aware that I've only just returned from Mercia this past week but I'll only be gone about a week, Merlin. Two at most. I wish it weren't so but this treaty with Lord Alwayn is very important to Camelot and my father insists upon my taking an entire entourage with me, which includes several more knights than I would usually have accompany me and bags upon bags of good faith offerings. Something about showing "the wealth and hospitality of Camelot," Arthur said, gesturing vaguely with one hand, silver glinting in the low firelight, as he poured a goblet of wine from the jug that Merlin had set on the table earlier that evening. "With all of that behind me, it's going to take me three days longer than usual to make the journey and that's only if the weather holds."

Merlin was sitting up in Arthur's bed, the deep Pendragon red sheets pooled around his slim naked waist and very firm pout set on his lips. Turning away from the table, Arthur froze at the sight, the goblet halfway to his lips, before sighing deeply and setting it back on the table.

"I know you're upset that you can't go. I agree wholeheartedly that Lady Eila was beyond rude at the feast last night," Arthur said in his most placating tone as he walked toward Merlin, the orange and gold tones of the fire flitting across his bare chest and thighs. Eye glinting mischievously, grabbed Merlin's exposed ankle and dragged him to the foot of the bed, while Merlin flailed madly.

Situating a pale thigh on either side of his legs, Arthur ran a hand through Merlin's unruly brown hair, tilted his head back, and dropped a kiss to Merlin's forehead before resting his chin on Merlin's head and sighing in that put-upon way that Merlin never took seriously. "However, you did spill an entire jug of wine all over her lap and no matter how amused I was to see her sputtering and flailing like a madwoman –much like you do in training-," he added teasingly, grinning into Merlin's hair when felt teeth nip him right below his navel, "my father was decidedly not impressed."

Merlin struggled for a moment to extricate himself from Arthur's hold before bringing his eyes up to meet Arthur's own, the blue orbs sparking gold, and Arthur schooled the grin off of his face as he waited for the indignant response.

"Well she deserved it," Merlin cried. "She made it a point to call me from across the room to refill her goblet when there was another serving boy standing right behind her. Then she knocked over the goblet while I was filling it!" At this point, Merlin's face was turning a bright shade of red, which reminded Arthur of the evening's previous activities, and he was gesturing wildly. Arthur had to take a step back to avoid one of Merlin's elbows hitting him somewhere important. He also had to fight extra hard not to break down in laughter as Merlin continued to recount his maltreatment at the hand of Lady Eila.

"And she was very rude to Gwen! Who could be rude to Gwen? Gwen was only trying to help clean up the mess that Lady Eila purposefully made and Lady Eila yelled at her!" Arthur decided that it was time to interrupt; if he didn't, Merlin's head was liable to explode. Arthur quite liked Merlin's head, especially since his mouth, which was still going a mile a minute ("I can't believe your father is forcing me to stay behind and clean out the upper rooms!"), was attached to it. There was only one sure method to shutting Merlin up. Since seeing Merlin all red in the face and panting was incredibly attractive to him, Arthur had no problem employing it so he grasped Merlin's head in both hands and laid a firm kiss on his lips, effectively silencing him mid-rant. The kiss slowly became filthy as Merlin took out his frustration on Arthur's lips, nipping at them and then soothing them with his tongue, causing Arthur to growl and climb on top of him, pressing him back into the rich bedclothes.

When Merlin locked his legs around Arthur's hips and started to move against him, Arthur decided that it would be completely unacceptable for him, both as a man and the Knight-Prince of Camelot, to leave his job of distracting Merlin half-done, so he untangled his left hand from Merlin's hair and reached down to take them both in a firm grip. On the first stroke, as the warm silver of Arthur's ring rubbed against his sensitive flesh, Merlin's hips faltered in their movement and he let out a whimper against Arthur's lips. On the second, Merlin's head fell back against the sheets, revealing his long neck to Arthur, who wasted no time in applying his lips and tongue to it as he continued to draw gasps and moans from Merlin slick red mouth.

Before long, Merlin was thrusting erratically into Arthur's fist, which was moving rapidly between them, slick with a mixture of sweat and precome. Merlin's hips stuttered for a moment before both of his hands were in Arthur's hair, dragging him in for a kiss that was laced with just a bit of magic as Merlin spilled himself all over Arthur's hand and his own stomach, Arthur groaning into his mouth as he added his own release to the mess between them.

Not allowing him any time to recover, Arthur reached up with his come-slick hand and pushed two fingers into Merlin's mouth. Merlin groaned as he was assaulted by the sharp smell of his and Arthur's come in his nostrils and the taste, tinged with the sensation of warm silver, on his tongue. Arthur watched glassy-eyed as Merlin sucked on his fingers, his tongue darting out occasionally as he chased the taste of them both across Arthur's flesh. When he was satisfied that he had done a good enough job, Merlin reached up and dragged Arthur down for a kiss, transferring the taste of them onto Arthur's lips and tongue. They both groaned into the kiss, enjoying the feeling of their lips on each other but not looking to start anything again so soon.

Flopping down beside Merlin, Arthur noticed the slight tremor than ran through the other man and realized that the fire had almost completely gone out. "It's very late," he said ruefully, "We should get some sleep. Father wants to see me off at first light tomorrow." Arthur rolled onto his side to face Merlin and noted that a pout was slowly working its way back onto his face. If even sex couldn't distract Merlin from his thoughts, then he must be quite upset.

"Look at me," Arthur said softly, brushing his hand across Merlin's brow. When Merlin turned to face him, Arthur gave him a small smile. "I know we haven't seen much of each other these last few weeks, with Gaius needing your care while I was in Mercia, and I know that I have to leave again quite suddenly but I'll be back soon, yea?"

Merlin snuggled up against Arthur's chest and Arthur's arm immediately wrapped around his pale shoulders as they fitted themselves into a position their bodies knew well. Merlin pressed a soft kiss to Arthur's chest and Arthur sighed deeply before his face suddenly lit up. "Take this," Arthur said suddenly, reaching across Merlin's chest to wrestle the ring off of his left forefinger and slip in onto Merlin's. "You know that I am never without this is I can help it so I plan on having it back as soon as possible," he said, watching Merlin's face as it struggled between maintaining its gloomy air and breaking out in a blinding grin. In the end, the grin won and Arthur was rewarded with a smile that he knew Merlin reserved especially for him and he made sure to answer with his own.

Merlin held his hand up to the faint candlelight and the silver made a bold attempt to shine as brightly as it could. Then he gave Arthur a mischievous look and buried his hand under his other arm.

"Hey, don't get any ideas about keeping that!," Arthur said playfully, making Merlin giggle –which he would definitely remember to tease him about when he returned- and bury his face in Arthur's chest. Arthur wrapped his arms around Merlin tighter and drew the bedclothes over them to ward off the night's cold, as he mentally went over every shortcut he could think of between Camelot and Lord Alwayn's castle. He ran his thumb across his forefinger, noting the slight indent and realizing that he didn't feel as naked as he thought he might, not when Merlin was there beside him.