A/N So this is it... THE LAST CHAPTER!
WARNINGS: Explicit SLASH in this chapter! You have been warned. If you'd rather skip the sexitimes scroll about halfway down the page.
Chapter 14 - A Free Man
Unable to prevent himself from resisting Arthur for a second longer, Merlin kissed him, all passionate tongues and wanton desire. It was deep, thorough, and sent tingles shooting down his spine - not to mention blood rushing straight to his cock.
He brought his hands up to his boyfriend's hair and entwined his fingers into the silky strands, using the grip to pull Arthur impossibly closer, bodies flush against each other.
It felt different than it was before, less strained, and strangely intimate, as though Arthur was making a proper effort and was truly invested in the outcome. The thought left Merlin shivering, and he moaned, swallowing his cellmate's tongue into his mouth and thrusting his hips in a haphazard rhythm.
Both letting out breathy sighs, they collapsed onto the mattress and tangled their legs together, erections brushing teasingly through the material of their clothing.
"Clothes off," Arthur gasped, tugging away his mouth and moving fumbling hands to Merlin's shirt, face flushed and lips swollen. He let out a ragged moan against his boyfriend's ear and tugged at his top, so characteristically impatient, Merlin felt his heart skip.
But he grinned and complied nevertheless, lifting up his arms and allowing himself to be stripped, no longer self-conscious under Arthur's unwavering stare. He allowed the blond to place messy kisses down his chest, lap at his stomach and stroke at his sides, leaving him a shuddering wreck beneath Arthur's bucking body.
"I think I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here," Merlin couldn't help but point out, gesturing to his almost naked self and waving a pointed arm at his boyfriend's clothing.
The blond rolled his eyes but sat upright, stripping off his own shirt in one swift motion. The bare skin was just how Merlin remembered: smooth, shiny and bronzed.
But before he could truly enjoy the sight, Arthur startled him from his daydreams. "You're not going to ruin this by talking, are you?" he asked, attempting to sound longsuffering but merely sounding playful.
Merlin grinned and arched his hips, eyes glittering cheekily. "You love it," he replied, quite confident with his answer.
Arthur grumbled, but made no verbal objection, choosing instead to simply lower himself back into his lover's embrace. He sucked at Merlin's jaw, enticing a moan, and tweaked at his nipples, rubbing them into sharp pink peaks. His tongue lapped at his boyfriend's skin, teeth nipping, until Merlin felt sure he was going to bruise.
"Marks?" he gasped, running a finger down the side of Arthur's face and to the smooth slope of his neck. He wanted to know if the blond trusted him enough to let him mark, just like Arthur was marking him. "Can I mark you now?"
The blond froze, removing his mouth from Merlin's neck with a dull pop. He glanced up to look at him through hooded eyes, looking conflicted and unsure.
"Do you trust me?" Merlin asked, because this was the test he'd been waiting for. A test to see if his relationship with Arthur would really work; whether the blond would trust him enough to be equal.
"Yes," came the reply, although it was reluctant. But Merlin was not surprised; he supposed that Arthur would always be hesitant about admitting his feelings.
"Well, you'll let me do what I want then," the dark-haired man pointed out, holding his boyfriend's gaze. "Right?"
Arthur let out a breath, but he nodded, adorably flustered. "Right," he confirmed, licking his lips and brushing his fringe out of his eyes.
Merlin smiled. "Whatever I want?"
"Whatever you want."
"Good," Merlin replied, leaning upwards and tugging the blond back down towards him. He grasped at the back of Arthur's head and tilted it to the side, baring the side of his long smooth neck to his hungry teeth. Unable to wait any longer, he bit down on the skin, causing his boyfriend to jump in surprise and let out a rather breathy groan.
Grinning in triumph, Merlin continued his ministrations until Arthur was a sobbing wreck, sucking at his neck, shoulders and collarbone, leaving no inch untouched. And soon enough, his cellmate's chest was a mass of red tender skin, soft pointed teeth marks, and was moist with shimmering saliva.
Merlin had well and truly made his point.
"Christ," Arthur breathed, reconnecting their lips and licking his way back into his boyfriend's mouth with brand new enthusiasm, arousal straining against his pants. "Naked, now!"
Their boxers were discarded in record time, bodies pushed painfully against each other, with Merlin's hands clutching frantically at the newly revealed skin. His fingers descended down his boyfriend's back, feeling the muscles flex and the pool of sweat that was gathering there, heading straight to his mouth-watering backside. He pinched at it playfully before pulling it towards him, using it as leverage to grind their naked arousals together.
Arthur moaned pornographically and flung back his head, pre-cum seeping from his cock and onto Merlin's stomach, making their movements slick and easy. They rutted in the same way for several moments, both enjoying the sensation of the other's naked skin, before it became all too much for Merlin to handle.
He took in a calmly breath and stilled his movements, looking up into his boyfriend's bewildered face.
"Whatever I want, yes?" he repeated, as Arthur nodded confusedly in reply.
Taking the answer as the invitation he needed, Merlin instantly pushed upwards, catching the blond off guard and causing him to lose his balance. Using the momentum, Merlin switched their positions, landing on top of the flailing blond with a heavy thump.
"Wha - ?" Arthur choked in surprise, before Merlin's mouth descended down his stomach.
"I get to be in charge," Merlin explained, glancing up from under his eyelashes and giving his boyfriend's cock a tentative lick.
Arthur arched upwards and let his head fall back, unable to say anything more, or indeed voice any sort of argument. He merely lost himself in the sensations of Merlin's tongue, feeling it lap at his straining cock before his mouth descended on it completely, hot, wet, and embarrassingly eager. The blond felt his hips buck instinctively and cursed, closing his eyes against the vibrations, quivering hands fisting desperately at the bed sheets.
But before Arthur's arousal could build any further, Merlin pulled away his mouth and hooked his arms around his boyfriend's sweaty thighs, pulling his legs wide apart so he could settle comfortably between them. He licked at the crease there and nuzzled his nose affectionately against the skin, hearing Arthur let out a whining complaint from beneath him.
"Tease," the blond joked, his voice sounding thick and throaty.
Merlin grinned triumphantly but didn't reply, focusing instead on exploring the almost uncharted territory between his boyfriend's legs; Arthur had never really allowed him to explore before - despite how often they'd slept together - and the new freedom was leaving him almost dizzy with arousal. Arthur had his legs spread for him!
Feeling giddy with the unvoiced permission, Merlin stroked softly at his cellmate's wet red cock, brushed his hands through his pubic hair and dipped his fingers towards the cleft of his ass, nudging pointedly between the cheeks.
Arthur jerked and lifted his head, eyes wide and blood-shot. "What are you -?"
Merlin looked up to meet his gaze, giving his finger a meaningful push and feeling it breach Arthur's tight ring of muscle, causing his own cock to throb painfully at the sight.
The blond started and cursed, thighs trembling on either side of Merlin's head.
"You said you trusted me," Merlin pointed out, moving his hand with soft smooth movements and watching his finger disappear between his boyfriend's puckered hole. "Have you ever been on the bottom before?"
"N-no…" Arthur choked, jerking his hips and evidently not noticing the wide victorious smile spreading across his boyfriend's face.
"Good," Merlin breathed, feeling as though his face was about to split in half through sheer happiness.
He lowered his head and moved his finger, crocking it experimentally while watching Arthur spread his legs wider in invitation. Unable to resist, he leant forwards, brushing his lips against his boyfriend's reddening balls and flicking out his tongue next to his very own hand, rimming Arthur's stretching hole with his mouth.
"Holy fuck!" came his cellmate's cry of response, ripped unwillingly from the back of his throat.
Merlin grinned and repeated the action, using his spare hand to hold down Arthur's legs as he added another finger, scissoring them apart in his cellmate's tight hot heat. It was a sight that made his cock throb tenderly against his stomach, but he made no move to touch himself, instinctively knowing that he would climax in less than a micro-second.
So he just enjoyed the moment, and watched Arthur moan and writhe beneath him, chest heaving and legs coated in sweat. Merlin had never really been top before, but having so much control over the blond was frighteningly liberating, a thought which filled him with uncontrollable pride.
"You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he remarked, because it was utterly true. He added another finger and watched Arthur arch his back, flushed, aroused and all sorts of beautiful. "I'm going to come inside of you."
"Nnnghhh!" Arthur moaned, breathing raggedly. "Now! Do it now!"
Unable to resist a direct order, Merlin did exactly what the blond said, extracting his fingers with a experimental wiggle and leaning over to the bedside drawer. He immediately found the oil where Arthur had kept it, untouched since their last time, and felt his heart shoot instantly into his throat.
He leant up to give Arthur a soft kiss before uncapping the top, coating his fingers in the thick cool substance.
Arthur watched him with heavy eyes, still splayed lazily on the mattress, legs parted invitingly. He met Merlin's gaze with a languid smile and beckoned him closer, breathing warm and erratic against his ear. "I trust you," he admitted, voice low and honest, filling Merlin with a desire so uncontrollable he thought he might pass out from the intensity of it; Arthur was his and he needed him now.
He swiftly returned to his position between his boyfriend's thighs and pushed three fingers straight back into Arthur's reddening hole, hand dripping with lube. The entry was tight, but slightly smoother than before, giving Merlin every reason to believe the blond was ready.
So removing his hand, he hooked his arms beneath Arthur's legs and nudged them upwards, until they were curled tightly around his waist, his leaking erection slipping deliciously against his cellmate's entrance.
Simply incapable of waiting for one second more, he arranged his cock clumsily against the puckered hole, and propelled his hips slowly forwards, breaching the tight ring of muscle in a single stroke.
Arthur pushed up against him and clung to his back, mouth opening into an agonising 'oh'. He was tight - tighter than even Merlin had expected - but was hot and slick, muscles contracting around Merlin's cock as they parted to accommodate him. It was almost unbearable - so much so, Merlin couldn't stop himself from moving, pushing deeper into the addictive heat.
The blond moaned but made no objections, head falling back to expose his neck to Merlin's ravaging teeth, back bowed gloriously in pleasure.
He was panting, dirty and hot, just as Merlin drew out and drove immediately back in, brow shining with their mingling sweat.
They soon established a messy rhythm, hips smacking against each other, until Merlin was practically gasping for release. He panted against Arthur's neck, thrusts erratic, and attempted to hold back his orgasm, rotating his body in an almost automatic motion. But he couldn't hold back the inevitable, and it wasn't long until his balls tightened painfully, signalling his incoming release.
Letting out a cry, he brought his hand down to Arthur's cock and gave it a long sharp tug, feeling it burst messily over his palm.
Arthur's muscles clenched around him and he came, long, hard and deep, biting down on his boyfriend's collarbone to stop himself from howling.
It was over all too soon and he collapsed, lying limply over Arthur's sticky chest.
"Oh my god," the blond breathed, legs falling shakily back onto the mattress. "That was amazing."
Merlin smiled, feeling uncontrollably ecstatic. "You're amazing," he corrected, and lent up to give his new boyfriend a long filthy kiss…
One week later and Merlin still hadn't recovered from his post coital haze.
Much to his pleasure, he and Arthur had spent the week glued to each other's sides, touching, bickering and having plenty of vigorous sex, just to make up for lost time. They'd become so indiscreet that even most of the prisoners now knew of their relationship, and although shocked and disbelieving, their fear of Arthur's wrath had kept their unpleasant opinions at bay.
Merlin even liked the fact that he could now place his hand on Arthur's thigh for all the communal area to see; he liked watching the prisoners widen their eyes in surprise and scowl at him in jealousy. It made him feel almost triumphant, because he was with Arthur, and Arthur was his. It was a strange feeling of possessiveness that he'd never really felt before, but he didn't allow it to bother him, because Arthur seemed to share it as well.
Despite his happiness, however, and their new camaraderie, there was still one thing weighing on his mind. The appeal had gone to court, the documents were filed, and it was time for Merlin to go home.
Although both he and Arthur knew of his impending departure, neither had deemed to mention it, choosing instead to bask in the contentment of their new relationship, rather than dwell on a situation that would undoubtedly drive them apart.
But time was running out, and Merlin was finally due his freedom.
He sat in the cafeteria, a day before his release, and tried to decide how to approach the matter with his boyfriend. His departure was imminent and he could no longer ignore it, even if it did ruin everything he and Arthur had built together.
"Last supper," Will said over his dinner, startling Merlin from his musings and saying what the rest of them had all been too scared to voice.
"Looks like it," Merlin replied neutrally, just as Arthur looked away.
Lancelot shifted uncomfortably in his seat beside the blond and gave him a small smile, attempting to look reassuring. But the strain was visible; he felt bad for his friend.
"Going to miss this place?" Will continued, obviously oblivious to the tension.
Merlin shrugged and looked round the hall, taking in the bustling prisoners and the longsuffering guards. "Not the place. The people."
"Me most of all, right?" Will asked, grinning inanely, seemingly unable to drop the subject.
But before Merlin had a chance to reply (to which he was grateful), Mordred materialised next to their table, looking as blank and uninterested as usual.
Arthur jumped and glared, but Merlin merely rolled his eyes, secretly glad the druid had interrupted their increasingly uncomfortable conversation.
"Mordred," he nodded, by way of greeting.
Although he hadn't forgiven the druid for his betrayal in Arthur's fight with Tristan, Merlin knew that it had been foolish to expect anything else. Mordred and Arthur were enemies and always would be, despite their temporarily allegiance. But the Nimueh fiasco had caused them to reach an uneasy understanding, in which their disputes were confined to snippy banter and glaring matches; they'd both agreed to do nothing to actively harm the other, and that was the best Merlin could really hope for.
"I heard you were leaving," Mordred muttered, not bothering with pleasantries. He sneered at their small gathering with a look of great distaste, before turning to Merlin, lip curling nastily. "Good luck, I suppose. No doubt you'll need it."
And with that the druid turned and glided away, leaving all the occupants of the table blinking behind him.
Arthur was first to speak. "Did he actually wish you luck?" he asked, sounding faintly disbelieving.
"Sort of." Merlin nodded. "In a rather insulting way."
"He's obviously in a good mood," Lancelot commented, shrugging his shoulders. "The police - by which I mean Uther - found out that Nimueh was embezzling the money for a drug ring. She's going to be going down for a very long time. And I heard that Morgana's been released. False charges. I guess they realised Nimueh set her up as well."
"Well, better late than never," Will muttered, and Merlin couldn't agree more.
Unfortunately, before Merlin knew it, the day of his release had come.
He and Arthur had still not discussed his departure, choosing instead to remain in their land of happy obliviousness, but they could avoid the inevitable no longer.
They were stood in a bleakly white hallway, near the opening of the prison, waiting for the guards to come to set Merlin free. Lancelot and Will had also come to bid their goodbyes, both looking uncomfortable and solemn in the dim light, uncharacteristically silent.
It was strange, knowing that he was going to leave them all behind. The thought of saying goodbye was almost too difficult for Merlin to contemplate. Sleeping with Arthur the night before had been hard enough; the fact it was their last time together for the foreseeable future had weighed heavily on both their minds. It had been dirty, and desperate, and afterwards Merlin had to shove a fist in his own mouth to stop himself from crying.
He couldn't leave Arthur or the prison; he just couldn't. Because despite his fears, his insecurities, and the problems he'd faced, he'd actually come to regard the prison as home.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye," he said into the silence, aware that he was stating the obvious, but completely unable to think of anything more appropriate to say.
"Cheerio, mate," Will grinned, reaching forward to give him a friendly pat on the back.
Merlin smiled, although it might have been quite wobbly. "Bye Will," he muttered, returning his friend's playful gesture. "Keep an eye on him for me." Merlin flicked his teasing gaze over to Arthur, who was looking amusingly affronted.
"Oh, I will." Will's eyes narrowed suspiciously at the blond. "A very close eye."
"Thanks," Merlin replied empathically, despite Arthur's obvious annoyance, simply having nothing else to say.
"Good luck, Merlin," Lancelot smiled, drawing forward to give him a warm brief hug. "I haven't even known you that long, and I'll definitely miss you around here."
"Well, yes, obviously." Merlin jerked a finger in the direction of Arthur and Will, who were glaring at each other discreetly. "You'll just be stuck with those two for company."
Lancelot laughed. Arthur scowled. "Hey!" he cried.
Merlin sobered immediately, turning to his boyfriend with a pale, drawn face. "Oh, you know I'll miss you," he placated, taking in a quivering breath. Despite how much he loved Will and Lancelot, saying goodbye to Arthur was undoubtedly the hardest. "Do you know when you'll be out?"
"Well, I've got a couple of years until I can appeal," Arthur explained, shrugging his shoulders and attempting to look nonchalant. "Maybe less, if Uther can pull some strings."
Merlin couldn't argue with that; knowing Uther and all his impossible connections, the blond would probably be released in months. "Your father's good at that," he admitted.
Arthur's lips curled, exasperated and longsuffering. "Yes, I suppose he is."
Merlin looked down and took in a breath, knowing that he had to say some things before it was too late. He didn't want his relationship with Arthur to deteriorate through assumptions and misunderstandings; it already had once before, and he simply couldn't go through it again. He cared too much now.
"You do know…that I'll wait for you?" he asked, feeling a flush creep up his neck. He gave the blond a smile and shrugged, trying to be casual. "Or maybe I can do something ridiculous like Will, and get sent straight back in."
"Petty theft is always a good way to go," his friend chirped in the background, as helpful as ever.
Merlin rolled his eyes. "Thanks Will."
Arthur laughed. "You'd do that?" he asked, sounding both hopeful and disbelieving.
"Arthur, I jumped on the back of a complete nut-job to save you," Merlin pointed out, figuring there was no point in trying to hide his devotion; the whole Tristan fiasco had made his feelings perfectly clear. "There's not a lot I wouldn't do for you. Love makes us do funny things."
Arthur started, eyes wide. "Love - ?"
"Look, I'm not expecting a big declaration from you," Merlin interrupted calmly, before Arthur could freak out and ruin everything. The blond might have come on leaps and bounds regarding his feelings, but he was still Arthur, and Arthur simply didn't do romantic. "I just want you to know how I feel."
"No, it's….You do know I feel the same way, right?" the blond replied, to Merlin's immense surprise, face embarrassingly flustered. He took a deep breath and glanced uncomfortably at Will and Lancelot, who were both looking in the opposite direction and pretending not to hear anything. "Because I do."
Merlin smiled, bright and beaming, knowing he probably looked ridiculous but utterly incapable of caring. Arthur loved him! And ok, he hadn't said the actual words, but the intent was clear, and deep down, Merlin knew it was as close as he was ever going to come to hearing it. And strangely, he found it was more than enough. "I love you too," he replied.
They stared at each other for a long time, both unblinking, in a way that was both ridiculously sappy and chillingly romantic.
But before Merlin could begin to well up in tears, their moment was softly interrupted.
"It's time to go," Will informed them, gesturing helplessly to the guards, who were making there way over to collect him.
Merlin took in a shuddering breath, hugging both Will and Lancelot in turn, before turning straight back to his boyfriend, heart thumping erratically in his chest. He leant forwards and caught Arthur's lips in a breathy kiss, resisting the urge to cling to his shirt and never let go. "I'll see you very soon," he grinned, confident and reassuring.
The blond smiled, and it was both playful and challenging.
"I'll look forward to it," he replied…
-THE END -
A/N OMG I FINALLY FINISHED. THANK GOD FOR THAT!
I tried to end this in a somewhat believable way (come on, Arthur stabbed two people, so he wasn't going to be magically released!) but I left the ending pretty open. You can draw your own conclusions about what happens, whether it's Merlin waiting for Arthur on the outside, or committing a crime to go back in ;) I just hope it doesn't disappoint too many people!
Thanks very much to everyone who left reviews - I know the wait must have been frustrating, but I said I would finish and I did (eventually) ;)