Arthur tossed and turned, but it wasn't the heat that was bothering him-it was the lack of a certain dark-haired individual and his goofy grin…

He flopped over, glaring at the ceiling. He was a prince, dammit. What was stopping him from just going in there and taking what he wanted?

Oh yes-the fact that Merlin probably didn't think of him in the same way. He flexed his hands beneath his sheets, scowling. "Come on." He growled at himself. "Are you a man worthy of the Pendragon name, or just a damn coward?"

His eyes narrowed. "I'm certainly no damn coward." The answering silence seemed to mock him, to dare him to prove it. Growling softly, he kicked off the sheets and stood up. Without giving himself a chance to think any more, he marched out of the room.

Gaius's study was dark and quiet; Gaius himself was out in the countryside, visiting friends. Which only left Merlin. Arthur padded towards the boy's half-open door, plucking a single rose from a bouquet near the window.

As the prince stood in the doorway, he inhaled sharply. Merlin lay half curled on top of his blankets, completely unaware of his visitor. Weak moonlight slanted in from the room's one tiny window, making the bare white skin of Merlin's shoulder and back glow softly.

Arthur padded over to the bed, gently easing his weight onto its edge, careful not to wake the delicate, ethereal boy.

Tenderly, he trailed the rosebud across Merlin's cheek and down his neck, reveling in the sweet, delicious contrast of the scarlet flower against Merlin's paleness.

Arthur was brushing the flower across Merlin's thin chest when the boy finally stirred, his eyes slowly opening. "…Arthur…?"

It was now or never. Arthur leaned over and pressed his lips softly against Merlin's slightly parted ones. He squeezed his eyes shut, preparing, expecting to be pushed away. But Merlin didn't push him away; he turned into the kiss, his slender arms wrapping around Arthur's neck, holding him close.

Arthur smiled against Merlin's mouth, relaxing. Merlin seemed to naturally fit beneath him as he kicked off his boots and leaned fully onto the bed.

The kiss slowly deepened as Merlin hesitantly opened his mouth beneath the gentle pressure of Arthur's tongue. The prince moaned softly at the taste, running his tongue lightly over Merlin's teeth and tongue, gently exploring. His fingers did the same, ghosting over the beautiful, baby soft skin of Merlin's back, shoulders and arms, learning every dip and curve, every mole and freckle…

When oxygen became necessary for both of them, Arthur reluctantly pulled back. He ran his hands back up to cup Merlin's face. "Merlin." He whispered, partly a question, partly a reverent prayer.

"Arthur." Merlin whispered back with his trademark sweet, slightly goofy smile-a firm, warm answer to both Arthur's question and prayer. He drew his prince's mouth back down to his for another kiss.

This second kiss was deeper, rougher. Merlin gasped as Arthur nipped at his sensitive bottom lip. Arthur shivered as Merlin's long, pale hands slid underneath his tunic, and across his stomach and chest. He tugged at the fabric with a low whimper, and Arthur pulled back just enough to let him pull it off.

Dear God. It was much better this way. Merlin felt better than the finest silk sheets beneath him. He wanted more.

Arthur's mouth moved to Merlin's slender, delicate neck, kissing and biting as his hands slid down the boy's body, to the waistband of his breeches. With only the slightest pause, he pulled the too large cloth breeches down, off the boy's slim hips.

Merlin gasped, bringing Arthur's mouth crashing back to his. The prince smiled wickedly, entirely in his element now. He brushed a hand across Merlin's creamy thigh, maddeningly slow, drawing it up towards his hips…

Merlin's whole body shuddered, and he moaned deliciously against Arthur's mouth. As Arthur slowly approached the source of Merlin's heat, the boy bucked and whimpered beneath him in protest of his prince's cruel teasing.

Fortunately for him, Arthur couldn't stand the teasing anymore either-he was so hot himself for the boy beneath him that it hurt. Growling, he yanked off his own breeches, chucking them across the room as he turned his attention back to him panting, trembling servant.

He crushed his mouth against the other boy's much abused lips, wrapping his hand around Merlin's heat at last. He nearly fainted as Merlin's cooler hand did the same to him.

They moved in unison, gasping, panting, moaning against each other's mouths. Neither lasted very long.

When it was over, Arthur rolled off of Merlin, breathing harder than he ever did during a fight or while training his knights.

Merlin's head lolled limply. "Arthur…" He sighed. The prince stared, transfixed; Merlin's pale face was flushed, his dark hair sticking up everywhere…and his mouth. It was ruby red and raw from Arthur's bites, glistening with the prince's saliva.

Mine, Arthur found himself thinking in satisfaction as he turned over, pulling Merlin's limp, sated form into his arms. Mine mine mine. All mine.