A/N: Sorry for the delay with this, I was on holiday and then got side tracked by some Twi fics I needed to write but I finally got this done. I hope you enjoy it.
Huge thanks go to mamdi for betaing this for me. She was super fast again, so I could post it today!
18 months later
Arthur woke early, his stomach fluttering unpleasantly with anxiety as he shifted onto his back. Beside him Merlin murmured in his sleep and curled in on himself, burrowing deeper under the duvet. It was safe to say that Merlin was not a morning person. After being with him for eighteen months and spending most of their nights together, Arthur was used to having to kick his arse out of bed in the morning.
Arthur lay and stared at the ceiling, just visible in the dim light that filtered through the curtains. Today was a Big Day. It merited mental capital letters, Arthur decided. His father was coming to the city for Arthur's graduation and was finally going to meet Merlin for the first time. Arthur forced himself to breathe slowly, trying to calm the nerves that were already threatening to overwhelm him.
Coming out had generally been easier than Arthur would ever have expected. His friends had been totally supportive and had accepted Merlin straight away. Only Gwaine knew the details of how the two of them had met and he had kept these to himself, displaying discretion that was quite out of character. Arthur was eternally grateful to him for this.
Merlin's friends had been equally accepting and his mother had never had a problem with Merlin's relationship with Arthur. Merlin had introduced them early on and they visited Hunith fairly regularly as she lived in South Wales, not far from Bristol. She was coming to see them next week for Merlin's graduation and Arthur was looking forward to seeing her again. He always enjoyed the time they spent together. Hunith was warm and kind and treated Arthur almost like a son.
It had taken Arthur several months to pluck up the courage to be honest with his own family. He had told his sister Morgana first. He didn't know whether to be relieved or perturbed when she barely displayed a flicker of surprise. Having been so sure that he was heterosexual before he met Merlin, Arthur had expected his sister to be at least a bit shocked by his sudden revelation. But she told him that she had suspected as much ever since he was in the sixth form at school. Apparently her gaydar was spot on.
It was Morgana who had finally persuaded Arthur to bite the bullet and tell his father that he was in a relationship with another man. After she had met Merlin and seen them together, she pointed out that they were obviously serious about each other, so Uther would have to find out eventually. Leaving it longer wouldn't make it any easier, so it was best to get it over with, she advised – like ripping off a plaster. Arthur couldn't argue with her flawless logic.
He had gone home to visit his father for the weekend, deciding that Uther would appreciate the courage that it took Arthur to tell him his news face to face. He knew that his father cared about him, but he feared his disapproval and he had never been confident that Uther's love was unconditional.
When Arthur had finally found the words, he had looked his father in the eye and hidden his anxiety well. Arthur held his head high and explained without apology. He refused to be ashamed of who he was. Uther had listened and accepted as far as it was possible for him to do so. Arthur could tell how hard it was for him to hear, but appreciated the fact that Uther didn't openly express any disappointment. Arthur didn't suggest that he introduce Merlin to his father, and Uther didn't ask to meet him.
For a year after that confrontation, Arthur had hardly seen his father and their contact was usually limited to brief emails. They had never been close, so Arthur didn't feel that anything had really changed between them. He did notice, however, that his father never asked after Merlin. Uther seemed quite happy pretending that he didn't exist. Well, he wasn't going to be able to do that today. This evening they were going to sit in a restaurant together and Arthur's old-fashioned, bordering-on-homophobic father was finally going to be introduced to Arthur's boyfriend.
"Fuck," Arthur muttered. "Oh fucking fuck!" he let out a puff of air through his nose and rolled over to spoon against Merlin, needing to feel his reassuring warmth.
Merlin sighed and relaxed back against him, turning his head and cranking his eyes open. "G'morning," he croaked. "You okay?"
"Honestly?" Arthur grimaced. "Not so much. I feel sick."
Merlin rolled over and curled his hand round the back of Arthur's neck, pressing their foreheads together. "We talked about this. What's the worst thing that can actually happen?"
"I know, I know..." Arthur huffed. "I just can't help freaking out, I'm sorry."
"Would it help if I distracted you?" Merlin's breath was warm on his lips and Arthur felt heat flood his groin despite his anxiety. Merlin was excellent at taking Arthur's mind off things.
"I suppose it's worth a try..." Arthur closed the gap between their lips and smiled against Merlin's mouth as their lips parted.
"Okay, roll over." Merlin pulled back and grinned. Arthur shifted to his front, adjusting his cock carefully. He was already half hard in anticipation. He felt Merlin straddle his thighs and sighed in pleasure as warm hands slid up his bare back and across his shoulders, kneading the tension out of his muscles. Merlin worked over Arthur's back with firm strokes and small circling movements of his thumbs. He was amazing at this. Soon Arthur was moaning and pressing his erection into the mattress.
"God, Merlin... that feels good," he murmured.
Merlin adjusted his position as he moved lower, running his fingertips just above the line of Arthur's pants, teasing the sensitive skin there. Arthur felt Merlin wiggle slightly and grinned to himself as he felt the hardness of Merlin's prick against the back of his thighs. Giving Arthur a massage never failed to turn Merlin on too.
Merlin moved off Arthur's legs for a moment and pulled Arthur's pants off. Arthur kept his eyes closed, but recognised the rustle of fabric that indicated that Merlin's were also being cast aside. The bed dipped as Merlin crawled back over him. Arthur felt Merlin's prick slide against the crack of his arse as Merlin leaned forward and pressed a line of biting kisses across his shoulders.
Merlin moved lower, his cock dragging tantalisingly down Arthur's inner thigh, leaving a trail of wetness to match the one his tongue was painting on Arthur's back. When Arthur felt Merlin's hot breath on the swell of his arse he groaned and Merlin responded by pushing Arthur's legs apart and kneeling between them, lifting Arthur's hips off the bed.
Arthur folded his arms for support and pushed his arse up shamelessly. His cock was straining now, untouched and leaking.
"God, Arthur, you look so good like this..." Merlin's voice was breathy and filled with want.
"Get on with it!" Arthur grumbled, "fucking tease..."
His complaints turned into a gasp, as Merlin licked lightly from Arthur's balls to the top of his crack in one swift stroke. Merlin repeated the movement again and again, barely grazing Arthur's sensitive hole each time, until Arthur was moaning incoherently and begging for more.
Arthur was a total slut for a tongue in his arse and Merlin knew just how to torment him until he was wrecked and desperate and rocking his hips back helplessly with each delicate pass of Merlin's tongue. Finally Merlin took pity on him and concentrated his efforts, circling Arthur's tight hole and pressing the tip of his tongue inside. Arthur keened, breathless and panting, his body slick with sweat.
"Please!... I'm so close... need more..." he gasped.
"How do you want to come Arthur?" Merlin murmured, his breath hot on Arthur's arse, "with my tongue in you? Or do you want my cock?"
"Uh... fuck!" Arthur clenched his fists. The words themselves and the sound of Merlin's voice, rough with need, made his balls clench. "Your cock... I want your cock."
Merlin pulled away from him and Arthur hung his head, his breath ragged. He heard Merlin rootling around for lube. They no longer used condoms.
"Turn over," Merlin urged him. "I want to see you."
Arthur obliged, moving onto his back and pulling his knees up and apart. Merlin leaned over and kissed him hungrily as he slid two slick fingers into Arthur's already loosened hole. He swiftly added a third finger and Arthur moaned into Merlin's mouth.
"I'm ready... now, Merlin, please!" Arthur's voice was tight and wanting. He felt strung out, stretched... at breaking point. His world had narrowed to exclude everything except the man above him, the fingers inside him and the overwhelming, intense need to come. He could see that Merlin was close too, his cheeks were flushed with colour and his hand trembled as he reached for his cock and lined it up at Arthur's entrance.
Their eyes met as Merlin pushed into him and Arthur let out a low moan of delight at the feeling of being filled, finally. He was so close to coming already – he bit his lip and fought for control. Merlin withdrew almost completely, then slammed back in hard with a grunt. He reached for Arthur's hands and linked their fingers together, pressing their joined hands back into the pillows above Arthur's head.
Merlin leaned close, so that Arthur's aching cock was trapped between their bellies as he thrust repeatedly into Arthur, setting a fast rhythm. Arthur was on the brink again but was past speaking, he could only groan and squeeze Merlin's fingers. Merlin released one hand and curled his fingers around Arthur's cock. He slid his hand up and ran his thumb over the head and Arthur cried out and came hard, tensing and clenching around Merlin as his orgasm momentarily blinded him with its intensity. Merlin thrust into him a few more times and arched upwards, throwing his head back and coming with a gasp of – oh, fuck... Arthur, fuck!
Merlin collapsed onto Arthur's chest and lay in the sticky, cooling mess of Arthur's spunk. Arthur wrapped his arms around him and stroked the soft skin of Merlin's back as their breathing slowed and steadied.
"Better now?" Merlin murmured, tickling the hair on Arthur's chest with his soft breath.
"Mmmm... much better," Arthur hummed appreciatively. "It will be fine today – and even if it's awkward, it doesn't matter. He can't spoil things for us, because this... what we have, is nothing to do with him." He tightened his arms around Merlin and whispered. "I love you, Merlin Emrys."
Merlin tipped his head back and pushed himself up, wriggling upwards to claim Arthur's lips in a deep kiss. When he pulled away he gave Arthur a blinding smile that made Arthur's chest flutter and his voice was clear and strong when he replied. "I love you too."
Arthur and his father went to the Royal Fort Gardens for drinks after the graduation ceremony, with the other graduates from Arthur's course and their families. After that Arthur took his father on a tour of the city to show him some of the sights of Bristol.
They travelled around by taxi or walked some of the shorter distances and stuck to safe topics of conversation throughout the afternoon. Arthur told his father more about the pharmaceutical company that he was due to start work for in the autumn. Arthur had graduated with a first and had had several good job offers but had chosen one which would allow him to stay in Bristol. He was happy there and that was where Merlin was going to be for the next three years. Merlin had managed to get funding for a PhD and would be staying in the city. Arthur didn't mention that particular part of his decision-making process to Uther.
They ended their tour in the early evening at Clifton Suspension Bridge which was only a short walk from the restaurant that Uther had picked. As they leaned over the railings and took in the spectacular view of the gorge, Arthur finally found the courage he'd been looking for all afternoon.
"So... Merlin and I are moving in together next month," he kept his voice light but couldn't prevent his fingers from gripping the railings more tightly as he waited for a response from his father.
"I see," Uther replied calmly. The tone of his voice gave nothing away. "He's staying in Bristol too then?"
"Yes," Arthur swallowed uncomfortably.
"This bridge really is a feat of engineering isn't it?" Uther turned to gaze along the structure they were standing on. "That Brunel chap was quite something."
Arthur didn't know whether to be infuriated or relieved. He decided to go with the latter. He looked at his watch.
"We'd better go. Our table is booked for seven thirty."
The restaurant was predictably expensive and ostentatious. Uther had insisted on choosing and Arthur wondered if he had deliberately picked somewhere that might make Merlin feel uncomfortable. Uther didn't know a lot about Merlin and his family, but he knew that his background was very different to the Pendragons'.
Arthur and his father arrived first. Uther ordered a bottle of suitably expensive wine and made a performance out of tasting it and examining the label carefully. Once he deemed it acceptable and allowed the waiter to fill their glasses, Arthur took a large swallow, resisting the urge to check his watch obsessively.
Merlin wasn't the most reliable person in the world when it came to time keeping but he didn't disappoint Arthur tonight. He arrived barely five minutes after Arthur and Uther. Arthur's heart thudded erratically in his chest as he saw Merlin approaching the glass door of the restaurant.
He looked impeccable and Arthur's chest swelled with pride. Merlin rarely dressed in anything that could be classed as smart. But he had gone shopping just for this occasion and looked delectable in the trousers, jacket and tie that he had bought. He caught Arthur's eye as he entered and his lips curved into a smile of greeting, his blue eyes glowing with unspoken support and understanding.
As Merlin approached the table, Arthur cleared his throat and rose to his feet to greet him. He longed to touch him, but didn't feel that he could. He just smiled and nodded as Merlin pulled out his chair.
"Father, this is Merlin Emrys," Arthur's voice wobbled almost imperceptibly. "Merlin, my father, Uther Pendragon."
Uther stood to shake Merlin's hand in a firm grip. "Merlin, it's good to meet you at last." He nodded formally and looked at Merlin appraisingly.
"Indeed, and you, Sir." Merlin replied as he slid into his seat.
They exchanged pleasantries, talking about inconsequential things such as the weather and the bits of Bristol that Uther had seen today. Merlin was offered wine and accepted and Arthur began to relax just slightly. This wasn't so bad, he could do this.
The conversation flowed quite easily. Uther grilled Merlin a bit about his plans for the future and was a little dismissive of academia as a career, but Merlin took it in his stride and didn't seem to be offended.
They didn't bother with ordering starters, going straight to the main course and by the time the food arrived Arthur finally dared look at Merlin properly, while his father was concentrating on his steak. Merlin looked beautiful. His striking features were accentuated by the subtle light of the restaurant and the reddish glow from the burgundy wallpaper lent a subtle flush to Merlin's pale cheeks and made his full lips look even pinker than usual. Arthur felt a rush of mingled love and arousal and moved his knee just slightly, so that it was pressing against Merlin's under the table. Merlin caught his eyes for a moment. His lips curled in a tiny smile and he looked at Arthur with such affection that Arthur had to fight the urge to reach for his hand and twine their fingers together.
The sound of Uther clearing his throat startled Arthur and he felt his cheeks heat uncomfortably, realising that his father had seen their intimate, unspoken exchange.
The rest of the meal passed without incident. As their pudding plates were cleared, Uther ordered coffee and brandy, without asking either of them whether they actually wanted it. Merlin caught Arthur's eye and Arthur could see that he wanted to giggle. Arthur gritted his teeth to stop himself from smiling.
Once the waiter had gone, Merlin excused himself and went in search of the toilets. An uncomfortable silence stretched out for a moment and then Arthur and Uther started to speak at once.
"So..." began Arthur.
"Well, he seems..." Uther started.
They broke off and chuckled, the tension dissipating a little.
"Go on," Arthur said.
"He seems... pleasant enough, quite conventional really." Uther sounded surprised. Arthur wondered what he had been expecting – someone wearing a tight rainbow patterned t-shirt and guyliner perhaps? He let it pass.
"I don't need your approval," Arthur said stiffly, knowing that on some level he still wanted it, even if he didn't need it.
"I know you don't," Uther fixed him with his clear grey gaze. "You're a grown man now, Arthur, and are eminently capable of making your own decisions. You obviously care about Merlin and if this is what you want then I'm not going to challenge you." He paused thoughtfully for a moment then continued. "I'd be lying if I said that I wouldn't prefer to see you take the conventional route of settling down with a girl, but I understand that this isn't something you necessarily have control over."
Arthur smiled weakly, "no," he agreed with a shrug.
Uther put his hand on Arthur's shoulder, a rare and brief gesture of affection. "Arthur, you're my son and I love you and I want you to be happy."
Arthur felt a hot embarrassing prickle behind his eyelids. "Thank you, Father," he met Uther's gaze and saw that his usually stern face was crinkled with a smile. Uther's hand dropped away as Merlin returned to the table.
"So, boys..." Uther sat back in his chair, regarding them both genially. "How exactly did you two meet anyway? You've never told me."
Arthur nearly choked on his own tongue and scrambled desperately for an appropriate response, but Merlin came to his rescue.
"Oh, well... we were in the same Biochem class in our first year," he answered smoothly, nudging Arthur's shin under the table with his foot. "We just got talking one day and one thing led to another..."
A/N: Thank you for all the support for this story. If you've enjoyed reading it, please review and let me know. It's always lovely to get feedback.