Merlin looked up and apologized to the cardboard box yelling at him. It sighed. Merlin picked the box up and continued carrying it up the stairs.
"Now - now - turn the corner," came Arthur's voice, this time not muffled by a cardboard box full of Arthur's things.
"Okay, okay," Merlin said, and after a small bump against the corner, the pair smoothly delivered the box into the living room of their new flat.
"If I'd known moving in with you would have caused me this much pain -"
"It'll be worth it," Merlin said, smiling cheerfully.
"I hope that means I get a blowjob when this is all done with," Arthur quipped. Merlin made a disgusted face.
"Only if you bathe beforehand," he said. "You stink. And I want one too."
"I was the one carrying most of the weight of that box."
"It was your stuff. I shouldn't have even had to carry it in the first place!"
Merlin ducked to avoid a pillow thrown at his head and promptly ran into the box.
"Unpack that. I think we just have a few more boxes, and I don't want you dropping them on my feet for the rest of the day."
Merlin sighed and opened the box with magic as Arthur walked by, nudging Merlin with his foot.
At the end of the day, after all the boxes had been unpacked, they made a quick supper from what little food they had. Sitting on a barstool, Merlin swirled around quickly and surveyed the room.
"You know," he said, "I'm really not sure I like the couch there."
"We're not moving it, Merlin."
"It's facing the doorway, Arthur. What if - what if a psychopath broke into our flat and we came home and he was just sitting there, eating our food, staring at the doorway when we walked through it?"
Arthur turned to look at him strangely. "Is that any worse than if we had a psychopath in our flat who was hidden somewhere?"
"I guess not. But it'd be creepier if he was sitting on the couch. We should move it. It should face that wall, maybe. That way the psychopath would have to turn his head to look at anyone coming in."
Arthur sighed. "I think I'm living with a psychopath. Who also happens to be a sorcerer - that makes it even worse."
Merlin looked at him and grinned.
"I'm going to take a shower," Arthur said.
"Yeah," Merlin said. "I'll clean up."
Arthur stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist, remembering briefly that they would have to go mattress shopping the next day. Merlin's mattress from his mum's was worn out from years of use, and the old one of Arthur's was far too large for their bedroom at the flat. (Additionally, Arthur had his sneaking suspicions that his father would use his son's old bedroom for yet another guest room for peers and other members of Parliament.)
Arthur sighed, walking into the bedroom and picking his cell phone up from the (soon-to-be-bedside) table to check the balance on his bank account. He scoffed when he saw the figures and walked into the living room.
"You get to pay half tomorrow," he announced. Merlin didn't respond. When Arthur looked up to ask whether he was dead, he saw Merlin stretched out on the couch, fast asleep. He noted, however, that at least the dishes were on the drying rack. That was good.
Arthur rolled his eyes and proceeded to dry himself off. Once he had finished and put on a pair of boxers, he grabbed a blanket from one of the boxes and draped it over Merlin before sliding onto the couch as well, careful (for once) not to get his feet in Merlin's face.
The next morning Arthur awoke to the smell of breakfast cooking.
"'Morning," Merlin said, far too cheerfully. Arthur responded with a groan.
"Time is it?" he mumbled.
"Ten. We have to go mattress shopping today."
Arthur buried his face in the pillows. "I know," he said.
A moment passed; Arthur could feel the mischievous look on Merlin's face. "I was going to use magic to cook these eggs," he said enticingly.
"Hold on," Arthur said. "'m coming."
"I hope you don't mean -"
"Not yet," Arthur responded. After a moment he plucked up the courage to turn onto his back, the morning light permeating his vision. He dragged himself off the couch and shuffled over to where Merlin stood in front of the stove. "Mm," he said, wrapping his arms around Merlin's waist and smelling the food as it popped and cracked in the pans.
Merlin murmured a spell and four eggs flew out of the egg carton and hovered over a pan. Another spell, and the eggs all cracked neatly along their equators and tipped over to pour their contents into the pan. Merlin said yet another spell and the dial on the stove turned up. The eggs began to sizzle.
"Ok," Arthur said, "now I'm coming."
Merlin turned his head to kiss Arthur until the smell of burnt eggs wafted up to their nostrils.
Merlin looked up and apologized to the mattress yelling at him. It sighed. Merlin took this cue to pick the mattress up one more and drag it up the stairs.
"Corner -" Arthur said, and this time Merlin didn't run into anything.
Once they were in the flat, they sat on top of the mattress on the floor and took a moment to relax.
"We still have to set up the bed," Merlin breathed.
"Yeah," Arthur said. "That's what your magic's for, isn't it?"
Merlin glared at him for a moment but, of course, used magic to set up the bed. After making Arthur drag the mattress into the bedroom, Merlin used magic to set it atop the bed frame. Afterward, they both fell back onto the mattress, resolving to put the bedclothes on later.
Arthur stared up at the ceiling, thinking about nudging Merlin to tell him they should break in the bed. When he finally made himself look over, Merlin was... he was sleeping. "Bugger," Arthur murmured, and closed his eyes, suddenly inexplicably tired.
The Monday after that, Arthur awoke early to go off to class, and didn't see Merlin until that evening. He'd sent Merlin suggestive text messages all day in an effort to get what he'd most been looking forward to since moving in with him - after all, as big as his father's house may be, Arthur felt the safest way to avoid getting caught in a compromising position was to move out altogether. Merlin had replied with subtly suggestive messages, as was his wont when in classes, and Arthur could imagine the pink on his cheeks and the tips of his ears as he sent each one, which made them all the better. The result was that when Arthur was attempting to work on a paper about political philosophy, all he could think of were Merlin's mouth and hands and his bright-red face, rather than what's-his-name and the social something-or-other.
Eventually the door opened and Merlin entered the flat, smiling much more widely than he ought to have been.
"We definitely need to move the couch," he said, cringing as he looked at Arthur, who was lying on the couch, his laptop in sleep mode on his lap.
"If you want to move it, go ahead," Arthur said, throwing his arms up and putting them behind his head. Merlin muttered something and the pillow at Arthur's feet flew up. Merlin guided it with his gaze and finally dropped the pillow onto Arthur's still-smirking face.
That night Arthur tried to resist. He did. But Merlin was staying up late working on a paper as well, and Arthur... Arthur said he was trying whenever Merlin asked him, but all he could really think about were Merlin's mouth and hands and his bright-red face which wasn't actually bright-red at the moment but was staring at a computer screen, his mouth open in a strange O-shape. That in itself was not much better, Arthur decided, so after staring at the blinking line on his computer screen for about an eternity, he finished the word he thought he'd been typing originally and closed the laptop, mumbling something about going to bed.
"Yeah," Merlin said, eyes tearing away from his screen for but a moment. "Be there in a minute."
Arthur went to bed and waited a minute or two or a thousand (he'd lost track when his every other thought turned to Merlin and what the two of them could be doing in bed) and, when Merlin didn't come into the room, he sighed and rolled over and realized that this bed, this bed was very comfortable, and the next thing he remembered was dreaming of Merlin (two of them, in fact), naked and at his mercy, and it took a lot to wake him from that dream.
By the end of the week, Arthur was pretty sure he hadn't seen Merlin naked since they'd moved into the flat unless it was in a "Get out of the bathroom, you git, I'm brushing my teeth" sort of way. Which was not ideal, of course. Whenever Arthur mentioned sex to Merlin - over a text message, over a call, over their dinner plates - Merlin was game enough, but in the bedroom it always happened that one of them fell asleep before the other. Uni didn't help, either: the two of them were always on campus in class or with study groups, and when they were both at home, they were working on mid-term papers or trying to make sense of a professor's notes. Little time was left to be doing anything but eating or being utterly exhausted. And being utterly exhausted made one want to climb into bed... the bed that Arthur had decided must be evil. How could it not be? It wrapped its anthropomorphic arms around you and carried you away to a dream world and didn't let you run away from that world, didn't let you want to run away from that world. (Arthur had had the dream about two naked Merlins multiple nights now. It always changed, but never in a bad way.) The result was that over the week, he and Merlin hadn't fucked, hadn't even gone into that territory, and on Friday night Arthur was so exhausted from uni and honestly, honestly, the bed was so tempting (he was pretty sure it was actually calling out to him) that he just plopped onto it and let it have its way.
The next morning Arthur awoke to see Merlin's face directly in his, blurred by the proximity, eyes wide.
"'Morning," Merlin said, cheerfully. Arthur responded with a groan. "It's Saturday," Merlin continued.
"Thank God," Arthur said, turning his face in to the pillow further.
"I think the mattress is evil."
"You think?" Arthur scoffed. "It is evil."
A moment passed; Arthur could feel the mischievous look on Merlin's face. "We should take a shower. We haven't fucked all week."
Arthur felt the bed rise as Merlin left his side. He lifted his head up and squinted against the sun for a moment before focusing on Merlin, who was slipping his fingers underneath the waistband of his boxers as he walked to the bathroom.
"I'm awake," Arthur said, attempting to untangle himself from the sheets and falling off the bed in the process. He heard Merlin's laugh echo through the bathroom just before the sound of the shower coming on.
Eventually Arthur untangled himself and strutted into the bathroom, where Merlin was standing under the shower, running his hands through his hair. Arthur slipped off his boxers, tossing them onto the ground, and opened the glass door to join him.
Merlin's eyes were closed but when he heard Arthur, he said, "I think the mattress is enchanted, actually."
"Oh?" Arthur asked, closing the door as Merlin rubbed at his eyes to clear the water from them.
"Yeah," Merlin said. "That mattress is too cheap to be that comfortable. Although it still -"
At that moment, Arthur pressed his body closer to Merlin's to kiss him for a long moment. The water was falling over Arthur's shoulders, running down his back and waking him up as he leaned even closer to Merlin, who let out a small, content sound in response.
"We should probably buy another mattress," Merlin said, in between kisses to Arthur's collarbone, "get rid of this one, disenchant it..."
"Merlin, shut up." Arthur grabbed Merlin's arse and pulled Merlin's groin to his, drawing a moan from them both that had nothing to do with mattresses whatsoever.
"I never gave you a blowjob," Merlin said. "After we'd finished unpacking that first day."
Merlin kissed him, grinning against Arthur's mouth. Arthur pulled away slightly, his lips still against Merlin's skin. "Is that an offer?"
In response, Merlin merely smiled once more and got to his knees, looking up at Arthur as he wrapped his thin fingers around Arthur's half-erect cock. He leaned in and licked the base, working his way down to Arthur's scrotum and there massaging Arthur's balls with his tongue. Arthur shivered and rested his right arm on the wall of the shower, winding his left hand in Merlin's hair.
Merlin worked his way up, licking the water away from the wet skin between Arthur's scrotum and the base of his cock. He scraped his teeth against the base lightly, drawing a shiver from Arthur.
"Fuck," Arthur said, trying to stabilize himself against the wall. The water sliding along his front glistened in droplets in his pubic hair and slid down his balls, where Merlin spread it in small circles with his thumb.
"We have to make up for the last week," Merlin said. "This weekend."
Merlin kissed his way along Arthur's shaft, simultaneously stroking his index finger and thumb along the sides; Arthur made an undignified noise in response. Merlin grinned and popped the head of Arthur's cock into his mouth, leaning forward to swallow more of it. He slid his tongue along the length of it as he moved his mouth slowly up and down, twisting his fingers lightly around the base.
Arthur's grip in Merlin's hair tightened; his legs shivered and he involuntarily rocked his hips forward against the heat of Merlin's mouth. Merlin accepted the movements and increased the speed of his fingers on the base of Arthur's cock. Within moments, Arthur came into Merlin's mouth, his hips slowly stilling. After Merlin had licked him clean, Arthur leaned back against the shower wall, his head tilted back, catching his breath.
When Arthur opened his eyes he saw Merlin, who was now standing watching him. He almost seemed to be asking for something, completely naked, his knees red, water shining on his erection, and on his face an expression of curiosity. When he noticed Arthur looking at him, his cock twitched slightly.
"Lube," Arthur said, moving toward Merlin. Merlin said a spell, his eyes flashing gold, and within a moment, a bottle of lube was floating slowly toward the shower from the doorway of the bathroom. Arthur opened the door and grabbed the bottle quickly.
Still holding the bottle, Arthur kissed Merlin, tasting himself on Merlin's tongue. He grabbed Merlin's shoulders to press him against the wall; Merlin gasped when he felt the cool tile on his skin and arched his back briefly to make as little contact with the wall as possible.
Arthur kissed him again, more deeply, this time bringing his own hand up and pressing his fingers against Merlin's lips when he pulled his own away. Merlin licked them briefly and watched Arthur as he slid his hand down, pressing the heel of his hand against Merlin's scrotum and sliding his fingers further back. Merlin spread his legs further to welcome the motion. When Arthur pressed his fingers against Merlin's hole, Merlin let out a gasp and brought his hands up to grip Arthur's shoulders.
Arthur took his hand away and popped open the bottle, spreading some lube on his fingers. He pressed them back against Merlin's hole, gently pressing one into the tight heat.
"Arthur," Merlin pleaded. In response, Arthur worked his finger further in, pulling it back out and pressing his second finger against Merlin's hole. He gently pressed it in, feeling Merlin squirm and watching his eyes scrunch tight until Arthur stilled his movements.
Merlin shivered and opened his eyes, looking up at Arthur and relaxing his grip on his shoulders. "Okay," he said. Arthur slid his fingers further in and slid them back out slowly until Merlin's brow unfurrowed, until Merlin was used to it again. When Merlin was gently rocking against his hand, Arthur slid his fingers out and drew some more lube over them.
At his indication, Merlin breathed out a spell; Arthur could feel the lube warming slightly. He pressed his fingers back into Merlin and reveled in the response he received; Merlin moaned, his legs shaking. Arthur slid his fingers deeper in and stroked them against Merlin's prostate a few times. Arthur could feel the lube responding to every one of his movements. He could only imagine what Merlin was feeling as he dug his nails into Arthur's shoulders once more. He rocked back against Arthur's hand each time Arthur's fingers slid out, and each time they slid in his hips jolted forward as the stimulation coursed through his veins.
Arthur leaned in to kiss Merlin deeply, only breaking away to look at his face. It was flushed red, his mouth wide open and eager for air, his brow slightly furrowed. Watching him, Arthur pressed his fingers against Merlin's prostate a few more times, tipping his head to suck at the skin at Merlin's jaw, marking him. He could feel Merlin panting against his neck as he slid his fingers out slightly and back in; he could hear the helpless sounds coming from his throat. Arthur slid his fingers along Merlin's prostate slowly, savoring the small sounds Merlin was making, before Arthur felt Merlin shudder, convulsing around his fingers as he came with a gasp, semen splattering on both their stomachs.
After a moment, Arthur slid his fingers back out and tossed the bottle of lube onto the floor. Merlin slumped against the wall, breathing heavily.
"We need to make up for the past week," Merlin finally said, "if that's what you're going to do to me." He finally stood up, his legs still shaking. They both stood under the shower head, wiping their abdomens clean. When they were done, Merlin turned off the water and stood looking at Arthur.
"Want to christen the rest of our flat?" he asked Arthur, conversationally. Arthur opened the shower door in response, waiting for Merlin to step through. When he did, Arthur smacked him on the arse, laughing.
"Disenchant the mattress, too, if you can," he said. "I'm not living another week like that."
Merlin laughed, grabbing a towel from the cabinet and tossing another one to Arthur. When Merlin was done drying off, he wrapped the towel around his thin waist and hopped onto the countertop. "My legs," he said, feigning helplessness as he rubbed his reddened knees.
Arthur looked at them for a moment and looked back up at Merlin, remembering something.
"Merlin," he said, "how do you feel about doppelgängers?"