Dedicated to all the M/A OTP'ers who just can't resist this pairing. Somehow, I hope this makes it a little more bearable to cheat on your OTP.

Thanks to _makeachange and nu_breed for lightning-fast beta! ?

Feedback is always greatly appreciated!

"What are we doing?" Merlin panted, scrubbing a hand over his face and groaning as Gwaine's teeth grazed along his ribs, his wet lips dragging their way down and down. Hands on Gwaine's shoulders, he squeezed as Gwaine's mouth traced the line of his hipbone. "Gods, Gwaine, we've got to stop."

"From my perspective, that is the last thing we've got to do." The words hummed along his skin, interrupted by a long, slow lick, Gwaine's tongue slipping low on his stomach.

"See that sword over the mantle?" Merlin nodded in the general direction of the fireplace, hand rubbing up and around the back of Gwaine's neck. Gwaine didn't look up. "That's what he used to kill the last servant who messed about with someone on his floor. The stain's under that rug."

"Right," Gwaine agreed, quickly getting to his knees with a finger on Merlin's lips to silence him. "I can remedy that." Fingernails scraped over his nipple, down the centre of his chest, before Gwaine clasped his wrist and drew him to his feet. "Come on."

But instead of heading for the door as Merlin expected, Gwaine pulled him further into Arthur's room, turning him against a bedpost, mouth hard on his jaw, sucking and biting him senseless.

He gasped, knees gone weak and will worn down to nothing. He shook his head and glanced over his shoulder at the unmade bed, catching the rationality of his genuine fear by a thread. "You can't be serious. He'll skin us both. Before he kills us."

"We're not on the floor and that sword is a relic," Gwaine whispered, reaching up to turn Merlin's face back toward him. He grinned, then leaned in to mouth along his throat.

The back of his hand slid along Merlin's jaw, trailing down the centre of his chest to his arousal. Gwaine's lips followed just behind, closing hot and slow over each nipple, then right beneath his ribs and down to his hipbone, nipping and sucking.

Reaching behind himself to grip the bedpost, Merlin tilted his head back. If he looked down and saw Gwaine kneeling before him, he wouldn't care if Gods-damned Uther walked in on them. "Gwaine, please," he begged, the word changing from a request to something more like a command as Gwaine's hand brushed along the insides of his thighs, the tease slow, their skin dragging together sensually.

"You don't know how much I've wanted this." Gwaine's breath ghosted against his stomach and Merlin shook his head, staring at the ceiling, the solid bedpost at his back the only thing holding him up. "Look at me, Merlin."

Struggling for control, he lowered his head, groaning as he looked down his red-marked chest to where Gwaine knelt at his feet.

He sat on his heels, knees spread unabashedly on the inside of Merlin's unsteady stance, his thighs pressing Merlin's feet apart. His cock rose full and dark between his thighs, jerking as Gwaine reached down to quickly squeeze the base of it.

Mouth curling up at the corners as he saw Merlin watching him, Gwaine shook back the hair that fell over one eye and drew Merlin's arousal slowly along his cheek. His beard was a thousand pinpoints of sensation along the tender skin of his arousal. Merlin bit his lip on the small needy sound that escaped, gasping as Gwaine's hot, open mouth slipped up the length of his cock.

"Oh, Gods. Just- Just hurry." Let Arthur walk in. This was worth the pyre.

Gwaine's hand closed on him, drawing slowly up and down, tongue gliding from the edge of the tight circle of his fist to the tip of Merlin's aching cock. His words hummed along the side of it as he spoke. "That wasn't a 'yes,'" he said, voice low and thick with desire. "But if you fuck my mouth, I'll take it as permission."

Merlin groaned at the words, at the thought of doing it, of taking Gwaine's hot, slick mouth and not holding back. His knees wobbled, thighs straining for anything like control as Gwaine lowered his head, eyes glinting up at him, almost daring.

Gaze locked on Gwaine's, Merlin pushed resolutely through the sweet torment of the maddeningly tight sheath. On the other side was wet, slick incandescence. Gwaine's tongue curled on him, drawing in the tip of his dripping arousal. The firm, full lips closed around him, mouth pulling at his cock in slow, strong counterpoint to the uncontrollable hitching of his hips.

In the midst of all the velvety smooth warmth, sharpness scraped just under his cockhead, once, light as a fingernail. He stiffened, tense with wary anticipation. Gwaine wouldn't harm him, but he might hurt him, carefully, sensually, if he thought Merlin could take it.

He sucked in a breath, holding it for a delicious moment as Gwaine paused. "Do it again," he breathed, his rough whisper turning to a hungry growl as the bright pain grazed against his cock again. Hand clawing into Gwaine's hair, the strands tangling between his fingers, he keened as Gwaine's tongue speared against his slit, fucking against the tiny hole until Merlin saw stars.

Gods, he didn't usually enjoy pain, he really didn't, but Gwaine was good at it. He knew how to govern it, how to keep it bright and small and pull it away just in time to leave Merlin flushed with shame and pleading for more, just a little bit more.

One hand spread wide, pressing firmly against his hipbone, holding him torturously still. Merlin moaned, taking a slow, deep breath and letting it out, forcing himself to give up some of the tension and let himself feel, let Gwaine do whatever he wanted.

Gwaine's mouth closed over him again, teeth scraping harder now, drawing a hiss from him. One glorious, sucking, quicksilver glide and he was buried to the root inside the soft, wet heat of Gwaine's mouth. Gwaine's hand slid up the back of his thigh, pulling him in and in until any second thoughts Merlin might have had were chased away and he thrust, groaning, into that slick, hot cavern. He pulled out, panting, the heat radiating back and forth between them as they held each other's gaze second only to the scorching brand of Gwaine's throat as Merlin pushed back in. Deep, too deep, the hand on his thigh holding him there, surrounded by clinging, wet brilliance. His fingers fisted in Gwaine's hair and he groaned, pulling out and pushing back in, barely allowing Gwaine to take a breath.

Again and again, his restraint crumbling, he thrust inside, finding a rhythm and pulling Gwaine into it. He was close, too close, and he moaned, hands flying to Gwaine's shoulders to break their rhythm. He pulled all the way out, the cool air of Arthur's room even cooler against his slick, wet cock. Gwaine's tongue quickly smoothed away any regret at the loss of his mouth, silky and gentle now.

It swirled over the head of his cock, lapping and sucking at him as if he were made of spun sugar. Merlin could barely breathe, the unending parade of sensation dragging the air from his lungs.

Gwaine looked up through his rakish mess of hair, a smirk on his lips. "The sounds you make, Merlin –you have no idea. Gods, I'll have them all."

"All?" he asked, panting and flexing his fingers, combing them gently back through Gwaine's hair, his other hand slipping nervously on the smooth wooden support behind him. He'd been waiting for Gwaine to ask, to let him know. He drew in a shaky breath, not sure if Gwaine had meant all.

"Every. Single. One," Gwaine whispered, the smile spreading on his lips.

Gwaine pushed up onto his feet, standing and guiding Merlin to the side of the bed. He'd lain on Arthur's bed before, once or twice, but never like this - naked and open, body thrumming with anticipation and fear and the low, quick thudding of his heartbeat. He'd dreamt it, once, dreamt of him and Arthur making love on the velvety bedding. Despite his feelings for Gwaine, he thought of that dream every single day when he stripped the blankets off or tucked them back in.

Gwaine turned down the covers, pushing the thick quilts to the foot of the bed and jerking the sheet back. He turned and looked at Merlin for a moment, a small smile playing across his lips. "You can't know how I've wanted this."

Merlin stepped close, their thighs and cocks barely brushing together, sending chills down his spine, the thought of Gwaine imagining them there as alluring as his own dream. "Show me, then," he whispered. He slid his fingers into Gwaine's hair, brushing all the way back to curl on his neck and pull him in for a slow, sensual kiss.

Mouth dragging along his jaw and throat, Gwaine overcame his senses, the scent of the leather he'd worn all day clinging to his skin. His beard brushed Merlin's collarbone, soft and prickly at once. Merlin ducked his head a little, capturing Gwaine's lips, licking them apart, the salt-tang of his own arousal sharp above Gwaine's usual flavour. He started to pull away but Gwaine held him close, urging him back into the kiss, slowly leading his tongue through their mingled flavours until all he could taste was Gwaine. He hummed and deepened the kiss and, feeling Arthur's bed against the backs of his thighs, pulled Gwaine down with him as he lay back.

They moved up the bed blindly as they kissed, Gwaine kneeling between his legs again, Merlin gasping as their cocks lined up and he arched, writhing against the weight of Gwaine's body over his own.

Spreading his legs, he wrapped them around Gwaine, heels hooking behind knees as he thrust up, gasping as their bodies pressed together again and Gwaine's arousal slipped between his thighs, sliding long and thick into the cleft of his arse. A thin streak of fear shivered along Merlin's skin, all that was left of his apprehension after months of Gwaine leading him down this path.

He worshipped Gwaine, though it would never occur to a man like him to expect that degree of affection. It came as naturally as breathing to Merlin, who held Gwaine up as the shining example in his mind, the one no other man but Arthur could hope to equal, and Arthur had a long way to go.

Merlin couldn't imagine anyone else's fingers lacing through his own as casually as Gwaine's did, anywhere, anytime, as if the touch was more important than any consequences it might bring if someone saw it. No one else's lips would smile against his mouth as they kissed, either. Gwaine was home for him, everything good and safe and comfortable. After the attack on Camelot, he'd never believed he could feel any of those things again.

Their friendship, all the lust and laughter and quiet looks that passed between them, it all added up to an escape from the destiny that followed Merlin everywhere.

It was here, in this room, even with Gwaine there. His servitude was written on the bedding beneath his back. He'd made this bed. He'd be taking the sheets to the laundress later and remaking it, too.

He fingered the key that hung on a thong around his neck, tamping down the bright fear of discovery by the one man who had the power to ruin what he and Gwaine had between them. Arthur was trapped in this, too, as tightly bound as Merlin was and without magic to help him along the way. It's what Merlin was for, why he was there.

Gently taking the key from Merlin's fingers, Gwaine pulled the leather cord over Merlin's head and dropped it over the side of the bed, the metal ringing against the floorboards. His face was flushed as he stared down at Merlin. "It's all right," he whispered, obviously seeing Merlin's worry.

"I know," Merlin breathed, hands spreading open over Gwaine's sides, pulling him closer. He licked his lips, nodding. Arthur couldn't come in without the key. "I know it is."

A palm scorched the sensitive skin of his inner thigh, pressing insistently and Merlin laid a hand on it, stopping its slow upward progress.

Gwaine looked down at him, smiling gently, his eyes over-bright. "Let me," he whispered, smile fading from his lips. They'd done this much before, but only once, and Merlin had had more than one tankard of ale in him as Gwaine had touched him.

With a slow, spark-kindling kiss, Merlin relented and let his knees fall open, face burning. He turned it to the side, breaking their kiss, his cheek sliding on Arthur's pillow, the scent of him and Gwaine together eliciting another moan. Gods, it was insane to do this, to feel so many things at once, to want Arthur's soft bedclothes and heady scent beneath him as Gwaine took him.

He tilted his head back as Gwaine's mouth caressed the skin below his ear, teeth grazing his earlobe, then the juncture of neck and shoulder as slowly and patiently as if they had all the time in the world. Merlin inhaled deeply, the smell of the bedclothes permeating his senses, filling his thoughts with Arthur's parted, red lips and smooth bare back as he felt Gwaine's skin beneath his fingertips.

He shook his head, squeezing his eyes closed and seeing, Gods, the three of them, breathless and sated, tangled up in strong arms and soft covers, twice the skin and heat and desire. He gasped and shivered, realization like ice along his spine, like cold water to the face or a punch to his bicep.

"I want- I want all of this," he breathed, swallowing hard on the confession, fingers carding through Gwaine's hair then slipping along the velvet coverlet beside him, nerves bubbling up like one of Gaius' potions. He looked into Gwaine's eyes, willing him to understand. "In Arthur's bed."

"That's the idea," Gwaine whispered against his ear, hand drifting up between Merlin's legs.

Heart slamming so hard he was sure Gwaine could feel it against his chest, Merlin let the words slip from his lips. "Where he sleeps," he murmured, gasping on a half-sob of relief as Gwaine's body arched against him, cock grinding into his hip.

"Yes," Gwaine growled against his throat, mouth slipping up for a hard, frantic kiss. Just when Merlin had given up on ever catching his breath again, Gwaine raised up over him, knee pressing deliciously, gently into his sac, chest close enough above Merlin's head that he lifted his mouth and lathed his tongue across a rosy nipple.

Gwaine moaned and laughed softly as he stretched up, hand searching under the pillows, breathing out hard as he retrieved a tiny vial. Merlin lowered his head and smiled against the pillow beneath him, inhaling deeply. He'd helped Gaius brew that batch for Arthur himself, never guessing it would come full circle back to him.

A restraining hand on Merlin's chest, Gwaine scooted down between his legs again, rubbing his cock and ass back and forth unabashedly as he straddled one of Merlin's thighs. He pulled the cork from the small bottle with his teeth, grinning as he spat it across the room and poured the oil out, quickly slicking his fingers and cock. He slid slowly into his own fist, head thrown back and hips rocking steadily against Merlin's thigh. Their eyes met as Gwaine looked down again, hair falling across his face, eyes leading Merlin's gaze downward. Merlin watched, unable to tear his eyes away as the long, thick shaft slid easily through Gwaine's fist.

It was show, Merlin knew, but it was a show for him, and he could appreciate the sensual beauty of it. Gwaine released himself with a moan and slicked his fingers, handing the vial to Merlin, who reached up and back, setting it on the corner of the bedside cabinet.

Fingertips smeared down the crease of his thigh, the heel of Gwaine's hand pressing hard on the base of his cock, drawing a groan from Merlin's core. Wet, slippery fingers smoothed back and up, brushing firmly against the space behind his sac, pulling another needy moan from his parted lips. Mouth temptingly close to Merlin's cock, Gwaine looked up, eyes glinting deviously as if they had a smirk all their own.

Merlin wanted back inside that mouth, needed to be fucking those full, strong lips, the soft scratch of Gwaine's beard scraping red marks on his stomach. He pressed his thumb against Gwaine's full bottom lip, then his top, running it from side to side, pushing between them. Gwaine's tongue curled around him, satin and rose petals, slick and warm.

He groaned as a finger swept across his entrance, lightly at first, then firmly, the pressure against his unused body like a warning bell. His body tensed from neck to toes and he arched against Arthur's bed, groaning and flexing his legs, pulling them further apart for Gwaine.

Merlin closed his eyes, unable to watch, concentrating on the inexorable pull of Gwaine's mouth around his thumb and the soft caress of Arthur's sheets along his arse.

He drew his thumb out to the tip, eyes slitting open to see Gwaine staring at him, then pushed it slowly, slowly between Gwaine's full, firm lips as Gwaine's finger mirrored his below with a slow, patient push inside.

The burn was exquisite, the shame of his pleasure rushing to burn in his cheeks but the feeling of something, of someone finally inside him felt anything but shameful. He let his hand fall away from Gwaine's mouth, trailing his wet thumb down his neck, his shoulder, his chest. He wanted to touch Gwaine everywhere, to push and pull and move together, lingering on the jagged edge of release as long as they could.

"You're so tight," Gwaine whispered, his voice shaking with need. Merlin opened his eyes, unable to believe that this, just this, was stripping away Gwaine's composure. "I'm not this lucky, Merlin."

"Me either." Merlin smiled softly, lips parting in surprise as Gwaine's finger swirled inside him and began drifting slowly in and out. Each gentle glide drove deeper until Gwaine's knuckles pressed against his arse and Merlin thought he was going to go mad with need.

"Please," he begged, his whisper ragged as Gwaine's finger slipped almost out of him. "I need..."

"Yes," Gwaine hissed, and the bright burn came back, twice as thick and stronger, pushing into him fast and hard, pausing as he cried out. Merlin bit his lip to keep quiet, but Gwaine shook his head, reaching up to smooth his thumb across Merlin's mouth, pulling his lip free. "I don't care who hears us."

Arthur. He would be done with his ride soon. They had to hurry, they had to finish before he came back and found Merlin casually losing his virginity in his four-poster. Merlin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Giving in to his insistent imagination, he let it run away with him. Arthur was there, the pillow transforming into the prince, the sheets into legs that parted, cradling Merlin as he lay back against Arthur's chest.

He was there somehow, as real as Gwaine for an instant. He moaned at the feeling of Arthur below him, holding him in a warm, strong embrace and Gwaine above, open and wanting him, loving him unconditionally.

Merlin opened his eyes, raising up for a kiss, pressing his forehead to Gwaine's as emotion filled his chest. "I'm ready. Please"

"Patience." Gwaine pulled back, a small smile on his lips. "It gets better."

The fingertips twisted and Merlin bucked, choking on a sob, the overwhelming heat that coursed through him burning away any modesty or fear he'd had left. "Gwaine, that-" He braced his feet on the bed and arched up, angling to feel it again, to find that spot that sent him into a frenzy.

Gwaine chuckled softly, his free hand sliding up Merlin's thigh, his hip, his side. The pads of Gwaine's fingers smoothed over his nipple and Merlin pushed himself down, the firm touch inside wriggling against the white heat there, teasing it, then pressing gently, firmly against it.

Merlin shifted closer, unable to stand the distance between them a moment longer. Wrapping his hand around the back of Gwaine's neck, he pulled him down into a kiss, stretching to close his fingers tightly around the wrist of the hand working between his legs. He clasped it, holding it still, and thrust down, groaning into their kiss, fucking himself on Gwaine's strong fingers.

The low noise in Gwaine's throat was pure, savage lust and Merlin answered it, their kiss as breathless and desperate as the sharp jerks of Merlin's hips. Fingertips grazing that spot over and over again, Gwaine growled into his mouth and knelt up again, firmly taking Merlin's hand away. "Now you're ready," he said between panting breaths, voice impressively steady.

"Hurry," Merlin pleaded, his mindless desperation easing as Gwaine stared down at him.

"No." Gwaine held his eyes until Merlin nodded, gently rocking his hips in silent entreaty as Gwaine's fingers pulled away altogether, leaving him empty.

His aching hole tightened at the loss of the stretch and he thrust his hips up into Gwaine, chasing the pleasure.

"No, Merlin. On your hands and knees," he breathed, urging Merlin face-down onto the mattress before he could think to protest.

Soft mattress dipping beneath him, he knelt there, shivering at being so exposed for only an instant before Gwaine climbed up behind him, the thick heat of his length pushing without pause into Merlin's cleft. Despite his embarrassment, he arched back against it, groaning as it slid back and forth, mind spinning at the thought of Gwaine inside him, filling him. He shook his head, unable to believe that Gwaine would fit.

"Gods, look at you," Gwaine murmured against his neck, kissing and suckling at the curves of his muscles, all the way down his back.

He tensed as Gwaine's tongue streaked into his cleft, swiping against his hole, but it disappeared as he groaned, the slickness cooling quickly on the base of his spine.

A finger pushed into him, slick and fast, the desperately firm press inside relief and a goad to his desire at once. The nervous flutter in his stomach burning away, his breath catching in pleasure now, he moaned.

Gwaine lay gently over his back, his hair touching Merlin's shoulder as he suckled at his neck. The voice was husky against his ear, "I've dreamed of taking you like this."

The finger slipped from him entirely, the burning stretch returning abruptly, larger. Gwaine's slick, brilliant fingers glided in and out, quickly finding the spot that drove him mad with hunger. Gwaine's other hand rested on the small of Merlin's back, a hot weight keeping him still, keeping him sane.

Knees pushed against his calves as the fingers withdrew, leaving him aching and breathless.

Sliding over his arse and back up, one of Gwaine's big, warm hands curled over the curve of his hip, the other smoothing up his spine and hooking over his shoulder. He turned, rubbing his cheek against it, all shame silenced as he felt Gwaine line up against him. "Please-"

The first blunt push inside was like fire, like falling off a cliff with no magic to save him. He was too small and Gwaine too large, the pain overwhelming as he arched, his shoulder tensing under Gwaine's squeezing hand. He wanted to stop, wanted to crawl away and beg for his mouth again, to go back to anything but this, this raw, consuming stretch inside.

He panted and clenched his teeth, feeling the man go carefully still behind him.

"So fucking brave." Gwaine's hand lay at the small of his back again, flat and warm and Merlin concentrated on that and the low, gravelly voice reassuring him. "Bear with me. It's going to feel so good," Gwaine promised, his long fingers strong and sure, trailing along Merlin's side, soothing him as his dizzy mind reached for calm.

The hand rubbed up his back, fingers kneading the muscles of his shoulder, then gently, insistently pulling him further onto Gwaine's cock. He nodded, the stretch enormous as he took a deep breath and rocked gently back, Gwaine flexing inside him and groaning.

"You can..." He sucked in a breath as Gwaine slipped further inside, almost before the words were past his lips. He groaned as his body adjusted, the fit better, warmer, with Gwaine seated deeper in his body. "Oh, Gods."

"Should I stop?" he asked, pausing again.

Merlin shook his head and moved, the burning stretch easing as he did. This time, Gwaine's cock felt like heaven, the relief so sweet he felt tears spring to his eyes. "There, just there. Please!"

Gwaine did it again, again, finally, yes, brushing the hot bundle of nerves, lightening streaking through Merlin's body, his hips tilting up and back of their own accord, his head thrown back and craning around to see God, Gwaine, lips parted, panting, looking down at where their bodies were joined, watching himself as he started to move in earnest. Watching himself slowly, steadily fuck into Merlin.

"Gwaine," he whispered, gathering courage from the heat in his belly, wishing Arthur would break down the door and see them. Gwaine was so breathtakingly beautiful inside him. "Do it. Please… I want. Fuck me, Gods, just-"

The hand on his shoulder pulled him back to meet Gwaine's next thrust, the other hand brushing down over his side, up the front of his thigh, fingers wrapping around his throbbing cock. Merlin cried out, stars sparking behind his closed eyes, his arms shaking and giving. He shoved Arthur's pillow away, braced his face on his forearms and bit the skin to muffle his keening as Gwaine slid in deep, his hips flush against Merlin's backside.

"Let me hear you." It was an order, Gwaine's knight commander voice, and Merlin obeyed, his head lifting again to look over his shoulder as Gwaine's body pressed him down.

He cried out as Gwaine bit his shoulder, cock so deep it shifted Merlin forward on the bed, so deep he felt it everywhere, felt it even at the base of his cock, from the inside out. Gwaine stroked him in time with his thrusts, depth lessening as the pace quickened, Merlin learning the rhythm and answering it, fisting Arthur's sheets for leverage, pushing back.

He squeezed his eyes shut and gasped, Arthur's scent enveloping him, dragging him back to the dream. He shook his head, grasping for thoughts of Gwaine, for the emotions that reflected between them without fail, but Arthur arched up to kiss him from beneath and he was lost.

He threw his head back and cried out, teeth clenched, body losing control completely. He jerked against the arm that slipped around his waist and turned his head, Gwaine's lips strong and open against his. He gave himself up, gave himself to Gwaine, who drew the pleasure out of him, rode him through the pulsing chaos, quieted him with gentle thrusts and gentle strokes, murmured approval, a mouth soft on his shoulder.

He reached behind himself, body all but slack with his release, and wrapped his hand around the back of Gwaine's thigh, pulling him into a steady, inexorable pace. He wanted it like this, Gwaine on top of him, behind him, driving into him, always.

Again, it would happen again, but this time, this once seemed final somehow and Merlin scrubbed a hand over his eyes, pushed up on his hands and arched his back, turning, asking Gwaine for one more thing before it was over. "Hold onto me?"

He was too far away, even connected as they were, and Gwaine seemed to understand. Merlin sighed in relief as the man gathered him to his chest, settled him slowly back against his thighs, his cock never leaving Merlin.

"Yes, Merlin, you're amazing." Gwaine's strong, sure arms surrounded him, their hips finding a gentle rhythm, Merlin wrapping his fingers on Gwaine's forearms and bracing himself as Gwaine thrust slowly up and in, burrowing inside so deep it hurt.
Gwaine rolled his hips, dragging across the spark inside him and he cried out, unable to stifle it. Before he could bite his fist, Gwaine pulled out and thrust back in, bruising deep and hard.

"Gods, I can't-" Merlin sobbed, voice breaking even as his thighs tensed to hold him still for Gwaine's quickening thrusts. "It's too much. Someone will hear. Arthur will-"

"Please," Gwaine hissed, teeth closing on Merlin's neck as if to hold him still, murmuring approval against his skin as he rocked back in, gliding shallower, then pushing gently, slowly, as deep as he could go.

"Yes," Merlin breathed, hips answering Gwaine's movements, shifting a little to feel the head of Gwaine's cock pressing against the white-hot brand inside again. "Fuck, like that."

Gwaine took his hardening cock in hand, courting Merlin's arousal. He suckled at Merlin's neck, rubbing his beard along Merlin's hypersensitive skin. Gwaine's strong hand stroked his cock in a slow, even rhythm. As he began to move inside Merlin, he held his hand perfectly still so that with each drive of his hips, Merlin's cock pushed through the tight channel of his fist.

Moaning at the close heat as their bodies worked together, Merlin arched eagerly into the increasing strength and depth of Gwaine's thrusts, taking everything Gwaine gave him, wanting it, needing it.

Gwaine stroked up into him, faster and sharper, the arm around his chest holding him down on Gwaine's lap. Merlin threw his head back and groaned. He ached. He hurt, but he wanted it desperately, wanted the pain and the ecstasy mixing as he dove head-first into this entirely new, enthralling sensation.

Gwaine fucked into him, fast and breathless. "That's..." he gasped, shaking his head and squeezing Gwaine's arm where it tightened around his chest.

"Gods, I'm going to-" Growling against Merlin's ear, Gwaine thrust roughly into him again and again.

Their rhythm crumbled, torn apart by Gwaine's groans and the ragged thrusts that suddenly stilled, Gwaine at the pinnacle of his depth. Merlin reached back for Gwaine's neck, holding him tight. The cock inside him jerked, brushing against that sensitive spot inside as Gwaine broke and spilled, moans buzzing along Merlin's spine, making him gasp all over again.

"Gwaine." Merlin laid his head back on Gwaine's shoulder, his eyes closed and heart slamming in his ears as he listened to the panting breaths.

He felt a soft kiss against his neck. "For me, this time," he whispered against Merlin's ear, breathless and intense. His free hand ghosted back and forth along Merlin's collarbone and down the centre of his chest, slipping down between his thighs.

As he moaned softly, fingertips brushed around his opening, slick with Gwaine's release, circling the stretched, taut skin where their bodies connected. Gwaine rolled his hips, so perfectly gently it made Merlin wince with the emotion it brought to the surface.

"Oh, that's so... don't stop," he breathed, turning his head for a kiss. Gwaine's tongue slid against his own, Merlin's groan humming between them as he tipped over the edge.

He spilled up and out of Gwaine's tight fist, utterly lost in the endless circle of their bodies joined above and below, in front and behind.

They stayed there, stilling and quieting, Gwaine holding him, brushing his hair off his damp forehead, fingers trailing down his neck, his shoulder, mouth warm and gentle against his skin. He turned to it, eyes closed, and it found him. They kissed and kissed, his hand on the back of Gwaine's head, Gwaine's hand smoothing back down his chest and around his waist.

When they separated, it was only to shift onto their sides, Merlin pushing into the curve of Gwaine's lap, reaching back to pull the man's arms around him. He'd always imagined sleeping like this, someone wrapped around him, holding him all night long. It felt right, natural.

But they couldn't.

"He'll be back any minute," he said, noticing how dim the room was, the sunset filtering in despite the thick curtains. "I'm surprised he's not back already."

"He promised he'd knock," Gwaine answered sleepily.

"He promised-" Merlin spluttered, sitting bolt-upright. "No. Oh, Gods, Gwaine, what did you do?"

Gwaine shrugged and pulled him gently back into place, nuzzling into the curve of his neck. "It was his idea. Far be it from me to argue with royalty."

Speechless and utterly confused, Merlin sighed and lay his arms on the ones that circled his chest. Turning his face into Arthur's pillow, he grinned. His scent was there beside Arthur's, and Gwaine was just behind them.

The knock startled him.

Gwaine's arms tightened for an instant around him, then pulled quickly away as he rolled off the opposite side of the bed. Merlin did the same, standing dumbfounded, staring as Gwaine began to pick his clothes up from the floor, pulling on his smallclothes and trousers.

"Move, Merlin!" he hissed, throwing his trousers to him, then his tunic.

Leaning on a bedpost, Gods, the bedpost, Merlin stepped into his trousers and pulled the laces into a knot. His tunic tangled over his head and arms and he snorted as Gwaine yanked it down, grinning and kissing him quickly.

"Merlin! If you're asleep in there, I'll have your hide!" Arthur called from the corridor, knocking louder this time.

Merlin looked frantically around, falling to his hands and knees to fish the key out from under the bed, then crawled around the room, looking under the chairs and tables for his neckerchief.

Gwaine whistled softly and Merlin looked up, grinning at the sight of his smalls dangling from Gwaine's forefinger, his neckerchief around the other man's throat. "Thief," he teased, snatching his underclothes and tucking them into the pocket of his jacket where it hung on the back of a chair.

Looking around, he panicked. The bed was in shambles, the covers either shoved off entirely or bunched up at the foot of the bed. The pillows lay at odd angles, and there was no way he could get rid of the unmistakable scent that hung in the air. "What do I do?" he pleaded, looking back toward the door as Arthur knocked again, so loud the whole of the citadel likely heard it.

"Coming!" Merlin yelled, shrugging and gesturing wildly at the bed as Gwaine stood calmly watching, chuckling softly.

"Give me the key," he said, holding out his hand. "You're his servant, aren't you? Get the basket and start stripping the bed." Gwaine leaned in to whisper in his ear as Merlin handed him the key. "It's not like he doesn't know what we were up to."

Reminded of that, Merlin's thoughts tripped to what he'd imagined in Arthur's bed, his face burned. He kept his back turned as he heard the key slip into the lock, the latch lifting and the creaking of the hinges behind him. Arthur's boots clicked on the flagstones, his sword clunking to its usual spot on the table for Merlin to polish before breakfast.

"Gwaine, I trust you've not been distracting Merlin," he said, and Merlin heard the smile in his voice.

As raw as his emotions were from what he'd shared with Gwaine, Merlin didn't think he could stand it if Arthur started teasing him.

"Just leave that," Arthur said to him without even a hint of a smile, nodding at the wreck of the bedclothes as he stepped behind the dressing screen. "It's warm and I'd likely just pull it off anyway."

Merlin backed away, shaking his head at Gwaine, whose smile widened. Setting the laundry basket beside the screen, Merlin watched as Arthur's clothes landed all around it, only half of his belt landing in, and that was meant to be hung up, not laundered.

"Don't just stand there; get me something to sleep in," Arthur said, his head poking out from behind the screen. "Did Gwaine addle your mind, or are you as exhausted as you look?"

Moving quickly to the wardrobe, Merlin pulled out the first thing his hands found: a pair of sleeping trousers. He slung them over the top of the screen and backed away, right into Gwaine, who pressed the key into his palm and a kiss to his cheek.

"I'll get us something to eat and meet you in the tower," he whispered into Merlin's ear, then turned and said louder, "I'm off, then. See you on the paddock tomorrow, Arthur."

Merlin stared after him as he left, his body thrumming with the rush of fear. But Arthur had known it was happening, had suggestedhis room for the purpose. He was still staring at the closed door when Arthur came around the screen, bare-chested and footed.

He snapped his fingers in front of Merlin's face, sighing. "You can go on," he said, standing beside Merlin, hands on his hips, justlooking at the bed. He clasped his arm around Merlin's shoulders, squeezing. "I'll want you here early to prepare my bath in the morning. Don't make me send for you this time."

"No, Sire. I- yes, Sire," he said, closing his eyes and shaking his head at his stupidity. When he opened them, Arthur was looking at him, a small smile on his lips. "Thank you, Arthur."

"He's a good man," he said, looking away out the window, his arm still around Merlin. "He won't fail you."

"You never have, either," Merlin whispered, stepping away as Arthur moved to sit on the bed. Merlin picked up the laundry basket and rested it against his hip to open the door. "Sleep well."

Arthur didn't turn or say anything, so Merlin slipped out the door, glancing back just in time to see Arthur stretch out on the bed.

~ finis