Rating: Hard R
Parings: Arthur/Leon, Arthur/Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a lot of firsts with Sir Leon, but he has the most important one with his new manservant, Merlin.
Notes: Written for eloquent_toast's First Time Fest on livejournal. This was in response to her prompt.
Surely by six he was old enough, Arthur thought. Surely father would let him learn how to use a real blade, one not made with splintered wood or dulled edges. So he prepared to ask: leaned his head across the table, opened his mouth, took a breath-
"But father!" Arthur whined. "I haven't even said anything!"
King Uther's frown was visible even to the guards standing at the back of the room. "If it the same question you have asked me every single evening for the past two weeks, the answer remains the same."
"I can handle a sword better than the knights, father! Everyone says so!" Arthur told him, proudly.
"You are royal, Arthur. Everything you do, you do better than everyone else by blood," Uther pointed out.
Ah ha, thought Arthur. "If I truly am better then I will excel with a real sword as well." He leaned back against his chair with a smug smile. "And it's my birthday soon. I am becoming too old to be so poorly trained."
Uther narrowed his eyes at Arthur's poor posture and dismissed him with a wave. "End of discussion," he said before resuming his meal.
Arthur huffed, but with a sharp look from his father he sat up straight, stabbing the meat on his plate viciously.
Alone in his room that evening Arthur called entry in response to the quiet knock on his door. He was surprised to see a knight enter, the new one, Lucan or Leonard or someone, something tucked under his arm. "What is it?"
"Sire," the boy said nervously. "I am Sir Leon."
Oh right, Leon. Close enough. "Yes?" Arthur replied, bored.
Leon cleared his throat and held out the box he had been carrying. "Happy birthday, sire," he said.
Arthur blinked in surprise, but quickly ran up to the knight. He would never refuse a gift, even if it was some weeks early. He set the box on a table and lifted the lid. A shallow gasp passed his lips before he could school his expression into one less filled with excitement. "This is a fine dagger, Sir Leon. I thank you."
A small smirk came across Leon's face. "I was to understand you could not use a sharpened sword yet, sire, but I thought perhaps I could show you the art of close-range combat with a small blade."
It was there, in the dim light of Arthur's candle-lit chambers, that Leon taught him how to handle his first real weapon.
At thirteen Arthur began to notice some peculiar changes with his body. Smells coming from places, parts that hadn't been particularly interesting before now waking him in the mornings, and hair slowly becoming visible on his face. He had, of course, seen the full beards some of the knights sported. Leon himself had a fairly reasonable shadow. But his father did not have hair on his face and if the king did not wear a beard, neither would the prince, he decided.
He sought out Leon. When Uther finally allowed Arthur to wield a sword he had been duly impressed by Arthur's skill. Arthur publicly thanked Sir Leon for "special training," and since then Leon had often become the one to spar with Arthur on the training grounds. The two grew close, and Arthur wondered if it was what having a brother would have been like.
Spotting him in the hall, Arthur called out, "Leon!" The young man turned his head and, seeing the prince, faced him with a short bow. "I should need your assistance. Come with me."
Arthur led them through the halls and back to his chambers. Once inside he walked to the mirrored dressed by the window, where he had already had a bowl of warm water set out along with a small blade. "I know what needs to be done, I just don't know how to do it," he confessed.
Leon smiled. He guided the prince onto the nearby stool and grabbed for a cloth. "The first thing you want to do is wet this cloth in the warm water."
It was there, during the brightly morning in Arthur's chambers, that Leon taught him how to shave.
By sixteen Arthur had quite figured out his distracting body parts. He just hadn't applied that knowledge to anyone other than himself. When a visiting noble came to the castle and brought his young niece with him, Arthur thought that might just be his chance.
He had been leaning against a fence post the morning they arrived, watching the servants haul multiple packs of personal belongings and gifts for the king inside the castle as the girl and her uncle watched and called out direction.
Leon came up beside him and rested his elbows on the fence. "Pretty girl," he remarked. Arthur made a noncommittal noise and kept watching. "Planning to shag her then?"
Arthur swung his head around in shock. He didn't know whether to be mortified that his plans had been so obvious on his face, or angry that Leon would so crudely voice them. Angry always won, of course.
"How could you say something so crass? She's noble, Leon. Surely you have more respect than that!"
Leon chuckled. "That's not a denial, Sire."
Arthur's face flushed. "What would you know about it anyway?" He remarked. "I've never seen you with a girl."
"Who needs a girl?" Leon casually asked.
There Leon went, shocking him twice in one conversation. That just wouldn't do. Arthur blinked at him, wide-eyed, before walking briskly toward to nobles. "Lady Katrine, how lovely to finally meet you."
Later that evening Arthur caught Leon's eye at the feast to welcome Katrine and her Uncle. Leon smirked and Arthur huffed, turning back to his conversation with the girl. She was much more shy than Arthur had anticipated, even with a belly full of wine. He could hardly get her to talk with him, let alone flirt. How would he ever convince her into his bed? Arthur sighed and resigned himself to another night with just himself for company.
When the feast finally ended and Arthur was excused, he walked back to his chambers, alone. He expected the night to be over and sleep the only thing on his schedule. He was thoroughly surprised to see Leon already in his chambers and sitting on the edge of his mattress.
"Where's Lady Katrine? That looked like it was going so well," he joked.
Arthur shot him an unamused look. "Perhaps I should look into one of your paramours instead?"
Leon leaned forward. "Or I could help you out," he suggested.
Arthur snapped him mouth shut. He was not shocked this time, he said to himself. It had been running through the back of his mind since the morning. He was surprised to find the concept more interesting than that of Lady Katrine and her who-knows-what under those skirts.
"Alright," he stated, moving closer to the man. "Show me what you know."
One of Leon's hands snaked around Arthur's waist, drawing him to the edge of the bed and in between the man's legs. The other hand rested against the front of Arthur's breeches, softly pressing and petting. Arthur gasped and leaned in to the touch. Definitely not like an older brother, Arthur thought.
It was there, in the drunken night of Arthur's chambers, that Leon taught him the touch of another man.
When Arthur was twenty-one he nearly died. It was not the first attempt on his life, nor would it be the last, but that time he got a manservant out of it. Merlin was infuriating at the worst of times, and incompetent at the best, but slowly proved himself to be the most loyal servant he had.
Over the years he gradually replaced Leon for guidance and support. Perhaps, Arthur thought, he and Leon were just falling into their adult roles as crown prince and head knight. Leon was exceedingly busy working directly with the king now, Arthur hardly saw him but at training. Merlin was always there. And Merlin didn't know anything about city life or court life; it was up to Arthur to teach him everything.
He still caught Leon's eye after feasts sometimes, they sought out each other's comfort on hunting trips and they talked about things that were probably far too inappropriate for the prince to say aloud. But as the years dragged on, Leon seemed to withdraw as Arthur and Merlin grew closer.
Arthur took Merlin out to hunt one day, just him and his servant. He wanted to see what other slack of Leon's Merlin might be up to taking. He wasn't sure how to broach the subject. Merlin was a country boy, surely he was not inexperienced with other men, right?
"Merlin," he called the man over. "I used to bring Sir Leon with me on these trips, you know."
Merlin looked at him with a bored expression. "So why did you bring me? You know I hate hunting, and I'm awful at it. You never cease to remind me of that." He said.
Arthur smirked, "Well the deer aren't supposed to run away, you remember." Merlin sighed. "Now Leon, there's a prime shot. He and I could bring down three beautiful stag for the castle in a single night."
"Lovely. Big burly man-trips. Got it," Merlin replied.
"Then, of course, there were those times we just used it as an excuse to come out here alone and fool around."
Merlin stumbled on the air in front of him and choked out a, "Wha-what?"
"It can't be that uncommon in Ealdor, Merlin, surely: the comfort of another on long nights," Arthur said.
"I...never took you for that sort, Arthur," Merlin told him. Arthur frowned. What sort? he thought. The sort that liked men or the sort that liked sex?
"Leon had been my closest friend since I was a boy. There's nothing wrong with sharing those experiences with him," he explained to Merlin. "And now," he braced himself, "you're my closest friend."
Merlin's eyes widened, then narrowed as his face hardened. "Are you propositioning me, Arthur?"
Arthur started at the anger in his voice. "It's doesn't have to be a big deal, Merlin, just a bit of fun."
Merlin set down the pack he had been carrying on his shoulder and stomped right up to Arthur. He leaned in close and poked a finger to Arthur's chest. "I don't do 'a bit of fun.' I don't do 'not a big deal.' I don't take my closest friend out to woods so I can shag them in secret." He removed his finger from Arthur's chest and raised his hand to Arthur's neck, grabbing the back of it and forcing Arthur's head forward. "When I sleep with someone, Arthur, I mean it." He closed the distance between them with a forceful kiss, full of teeth and tongue.
Arthur groaned. His experiences with Leon had been fun, rather whimsical and boyish releases. Merlin was passionate, licking at his mouth with insistence. Arthur tried to direct Merlin to the ground, sit him down on the bedroll nearby. Merlin wasn't having it. He pushed Arthur back, back, back until he hit against tree bark. Merlin broke the kiss, trailing his lips down Arthur's neck and to the join of his collar. Arthur could do nothing, would do nothing, to stop him. Merlin whispered things to him, "mine" and "always." Arthur whispered back, "yes."
When Merlin's hand pushed Arthur's breeches down and wrapped around his cock, Arthur nearly sobbed. This was different, this was so different than with Leon. There was a warmth surrounding them, a force that was both unnatural and the most natural thing in the world. Arthur let it wash over him, let Merlin show him what they would be together.
It was there, in the light of day in the middle of the forest, that Merlin taught him what forever meant.