Yes, this is a Merlin fic.

No, I have not given up on writing twific. This is an anomaly that can be entirely blamed on Fr333bird and donnersun, who kept sending me amazing, filthy Merlin stories that I kept reading despite my insistence that I was not interested...

This is modern AU. There's a fairly big age difference, which you'll find out about right up front, so if that bothers you, feel free to move right along.

If you're not familiar with Merlin, maybe give it a try anyway-there's no magic or knights here. :)

It was only three seconds of hesitation, but it told Arthur everything.

"What year were you born?" he'd asked the boy across from him, switching the topic of conversation suddenly to catch him off guard.

"Nineteen ninety..." Merlin starts, his eyes rolling to the sky for exactly three seconds while he calculated what year he should have been born. "Four."

But it was too late. Arthur had been suspicious from the moment Merlin sat down across from him, giant mug of hot chocolate in hand, and the hesitation confirmed his worst fear. He'd known there was an age difference; it was quite obvious from the way Merlin spoke, his youthful black-and-white political views, and his relentless enthusiasm for bands Arthur had never heard of.

The entire time they'd been chatting online, though-first on a message board, then twitter, then gchat, and eventually through endless text messages-Merlin had steadfastly maintained that he was eighteen.

"You lied to me," Arthur said, his spine straightening in outrage.

"What are you talking about? I-"

"Don't." Arthur's voice was cold, no longer curious and friendly. "Months. It's been months, Merlin, of talking to you every night. I told you..." Arthur looked around then, noticed the other patrons of the coffee shop staring at him, and lowered his voice to a whisper. "I told you everything. I trusted you, and even though you were so young I told myself, 'At least he's of age.'"

Merlin's pink lips were pressed together tightly, his cheeks flushed red. "I..." he started, but his voice was hoarse and shaking. He wiped at his eye with a quick, angry hand and shook his head slowly, looking down at the table between them. "I'm sorry," he finally choked out.

"Why?" Arthur asked, resisting the urge to comfort the shaken boy in front of him. He summoned his anger and stuck his hands under his thighs, trapping them between the soft wool of his trousers and the cool wood of the chair so he wouldn't reach out.

"I didn't want you to stop talking to me." Merlin gave his other cheek a swipe and sniffled once before lifting his chin to stare Arthur in the eye. "You wouldn't have talked to me, and I needed you. I've got no one else... no one that knows about... well, that I'm..."

Arthur's heart softened just a little when he realised the boy still couldn't say it out loud.

"No one at all? Really? School chum? Weird aunt?" Arthur asked.

"No one."

"Jesus." Arthur lifted a hand and pushed his fingers through his too-shaggy blond hair. He was still angry, really angry, but he knew from their conversations that Merlin had a rough time at home-his dad was gone, his mum worked so much that Merlin was often alone, and he was afraid to upset her by coming out. Arthur couldn't bring himself to be too hard on the kid.

"I'm sorry," Merlin whispered again, his thin shoulders sagging.

It was quiet for a minute or two as Merlin moped and Arthur considered his options. He could adjust his expectations for this relationship and be a friend to Merlin. After all, he'd been hoping for a new friend, although if he was honest with himself, he'd been hoping for more too. The ten-year age difference he'd been counting on seemed taboo, exciting even, when he was flirting with Merlin online.

Now that he knew the truth, though, it made him feel pervy. Predatory, even though Merlin was the one to flirt first, the one who pushed for a meeting in real life.

Or Arthur could leave. He could walk away, cut ties, digitally erase Merlin from his life and move on as though nothing had happened.

"I know I'm nothing special," the boy blurted out, distracting Arthur from his thoughts. "I don't expect... well, you know. But I'd like it if we could still be friends."

Arthur opened his mouth to respond, but Merlin cut him off.

"I need a friend."

"Friends," Arthur confirmed, nodding his head. "Friends are honest with each other. Any more lies and I'm out, Merlin. No second chances."

"Of course!" Merlin grinned and his eyes grew bright as Arthur acquiesced.

"And you have to tell me how old you are. Really."


"Merlin," Arthur warned.

"I'm sixteen," the boy blurted out.

"Christ," Arthur swore, rubbing at his temples. Sixteen is technical legal, but it just seems so... young. "Sixteen? Seriously?"

"Yeah. Yes. Sixteen," Merlin said, nodding seriously. "In, um, three weeks."

The hard bit for Arthur was that Merlin wasn't any different online.

He was still charming, if a bit naive, and funny. Sweet, passionate, idealistic... Merlin was still Merlin, and Arthur couldn't stop himself from chatting with the boy every chance he got.

In person, though, he couldn't escape the fact that Merlin was young. They met every other week, when Merlin would take the train into London and meet Arthur at the little coffee shop around the corner from his flat. They talked about the things they saw online, the articles they'd read, Arthur's job and Merlin's schoolwork.

They talked about Merlin's family-his father was long gone, never a real presence in Merlin's life. The boy spoke fondly of his mother, almost reverently, but she worked two jobs to support herself and Merlin and wasn't around much. Merlin's voice would waver sometimes when he talked about his home life, about being desperately afraid of disappointing his mother, and those were the hardest times for Arthur to keep his hands to himself. He wanted to touch the boy, comfort him, but he was afraid that ultimately he wouldn't be able to control himself.

One morning, a few months after Merlin's sixteenth birthday ("I'm legal now," Merlin had announced breathlessly over the phone when Arthur called to wish him well), Arthur was late to meet him at their little coffee shop. He hurried, hoping Merlin wouldn't be cross with him for being late.

When he turned the corner, he was surprised to see Merlin standing outside the shop. The boy waved sadly as he approached, and Arthur noticed all the lights were out inside the cafe.

"What's going on?" he asked, straining to peer through the glass.

"Closed," Merlin said with a shrug.

"For the day?"

"I don't think so." Merlin pointed to a sign posted on the front door, announcing the closure of the cafe and thanking regular customers for their business.

"Shit. That was the only place nearby that could make a decent cappuccino."

"There's a Starbucks round the corner, closer to the train station."

"Ugh," Arthur groaned, frowning at the idea of patronising the corporate behemoth. "Fine, let's go."

They walked side by side, both feeling a little gloomy with the news of their favorite shop closing. The mood only got worse as they approached the dreaded Starbucks.

"Are you kidding me?" Arthur spat, rolling his eyes at the line of yuppies that stretched out the door and spilling out onto the pavement. A quick peek into the window confirmed that all the tables were full, and a few people already seemed to be hovering, waiting for the first spot to open up. "Merlin, we have to go somewhere else. I am not going in there."

"Okay," the boy shrugged. "Why don't we just go back to your flat? You have a cappuccino machine, don't you?"

Arthur was torn; yes, he had a cappuccino machine, and he could make himself the frothy beverage he was craving. But bringing Merlin to his home... well, it seemed to be crossing a line. Even if Merlin was "legal" now, he was still underage in most respects, and Arthur didn't want to encourage the kid's schoolboy crush on him.

He also wasn't entirely sure he could keep his hands off Merlin if they were alone in private.

He checked his watch, it was already half past ten and the pubs would be open soon. It wouldn't hurt to take Merlin to his flat for half an hour or so, just until they could go somewhere in public to sit and chat.

"Alright. Just for a few minutes, until the local opens."

Merlin was all wide, curious eyes as he looked over every inch of Arthur's flat.

Arthur declined to give him a tour, leading him directly into the kitchen. The kitchen was a safe, non-sexy zone-a perfectly appropriate place to entertain a platonic guest in one's home. He pulled out a chair for Merlin and gestured for him to sit down before turning to the cappuccino machine on his kitchen counter.

"I think I have some cocoa powder round here, I can make you a hot chocolate if you like?" Arthur asked, turning the machine on to heat up.

"I think I'd rather try a cappuccino," Merlin said shyly, his voice far too close. Arthur started and turned to find Merlin right behind him, grinning. He had divested himself of his coat and scarf and was standing there in a Radiohead t-shirt and too-baggy jeans.

Arthur backed up to put some space between them, but ran into the counter after one step. "I'm not sure if that's, err, an appropriate beverage for someone your age. Might stunt your growth, and all."

"I'm tall enough already," Merlin scoffed. "Besides, I drink coffee at school all the time."

"Right, well, at school then. With people your own age," Arthur said. Merlin's eyes narrowed.

"The stuff we have is crap, though. I think I'd like to try your fancy cappuccino. I really think I might like it."

"Maybe so, but that doesn't mean it's good for you," Arthur countered. They locked eyes and the boy stood straight, his shoulders squared, even though his cheeks were flushing. "It doesn't mean it would be right for me to give it to you."

Arthur turned away to cut the tension, spinning away from Merlin to retrieve some milk from the fridge. When he turned back, Merlin had backed away a bit and was looking down at the floor, his shoulder slumped. Arthur went about pouring the milk into a pitcher to froth it and then started searching his cabinets for cocoa powder.

"Don't you think..." Merlin started, his voice high and unsure. He coughed and started again, and Arthur could hear him shuffling closer. He could feel the boy's warmth just behind him. "Don't you think it would be better for me to have a real cappuccino here, with you? Since you know how to make them exactly right? Rather than, you know... sending me out into the world to try just any old cappuccino that comes along?"

Anger flared in Arthur's chest, picturing Merlin with someone else. With another man. In someone else's flat, in someone else's arms...

"Fine," Arthur said, turning to cuff Merlin on the shoulder. "Just a half-shot though. Don't want you getting all jittery on caffeine." He smiled, trying to cut the tension, and shooed the boy away.

"Just a taste," Merlin agreed, returning to his chair.

He was good for the rest of the day. They went to the pub for lunch, but came back to Arthur's flat to watch old episodes of Star Trek in the afternoon. Merlin behaved, sitting cross-legged on the end of Arthur's couch while Arthur took the armchair.

In fact, if it weren't for the tense moment in the kitchen earlier in the day, Arthur would have thought Merlin was starting to get over his crush. He was acting like a mate, not batting his eyelashes or flirting at all.

Arthur wasn't sure how he felt about that.

When the last episode on the DVD was over, Merlin stood up and stretched his arms over his head. Arthur tried his best not to stare at the pale stripe of skin that was exposed when the hem of Merlin's shirt rose up over his jeans.

"I ought to be going home, I suppose," Merlin said.

"Right, sure, of course." Arthur stood, stretching his own limbs as Merlin went to the kitchen to retrieve his things. He came back out all bundled up, looking impossibly young in a puffy green coat with a bright red scarf wrapped around his neck.

"You look like Christmas," Arthur joked.

"Maybe you should unwrap me." Merlin's eyed widened as soon as the words left his lips, as though he hadn't intended on saying them out loud. Arthur laughed it off, but he could see it in his mind's eye: unwinding the scarf, unzipping the coat, sliding his hands inside Merlin's sleeves and pushing the coat off of him. Wrapping his arms around that thin waist, pulling Merlin in close and kissing his long, graceful neck...

"Right," Arthur said, clearing his throat. "So, I'll talk to you online then."

"Right." Merlin turned to walk to the door, and Arthur followed him to show him out. They paused in the open doorway, Merlin standing with one foot still inside the flat as though he was reluctant to leave.

"Arthur..." he whispered, leaning in, getting far too close. He was beautiful, and Arthur's breath caught in his throat.

"Thanks for the cappuccino." Merlin lifted up on his toes, and before Arthur could stop it, kissed Arthur's cheek. Then he was gone in a flash, turning and scurrying down the hallway before Arthur could protest.

He watched until Merlin disappeared down the staircase, then closed the door to his flat. Arthur didn't have the strength to move; he just leaned back against the front door and sighed.

"I am utterly and completely fucked."

After that day, Merlin started showing up at Arthur's flat directly. Instead of every other Saturday, it became every Saturday, and some Sundays.

He would press his case, careful not to say anything outright, but making it clear that he was Arthur's for the taking, if only Arthur would make the first move.

It was becoming increasingly difficult for Arthur to object. Merlin wore his defences down one at a time, worming his way into Arthur's heart and Arthur's home.

Just when Arthur started to tell himself that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be so bad to give in... just a little bit... Merlin showed up at his door one Saturday morning and wouldn't look him in the eye.

"Hey, mate," Arthur said, opening the door wide for him.

"Hey," Merlin mumbled, stumbling past Arthur and dropping his backpack on the floor. He didn't look up, just went straight to the kitchen and starting fumbling with the knobs on the cappuccino machine.

"Good to see you, too," Arthur said. He closed the door and followed Merlin to the kitchen to watch the boy measure out milk and coffee just like Arthur had taught him. He turned out to be quite skilled at getting perfect foam, so Arthur let him take over the coffee-making duties most mornings. "So how are things, Merlin?"

The boy hadn't been online much the last few days, sending only perfunctory answers to Arthur's emails and IMs. Arthur had been worried, and Merlin's behaviour was not making him feel any better.

"Fine," the boy said, his voice barely audible over the noise of the milk frothing.

"Really? School's alright then?" Arthur probed.


"Problems with your friends?"

Merlin just scoffed at that question.

"Your mum?"

"No, it's all fine."

Merlin split the espresso into two cups and poured the foam carefully into each, then nudged one carefully across the countertop to Arthur.


The boy said nothing, just lifted the cup to his ruby lips and slurped quietly.

"Merlin. Come on," Arthur tried again, stepping closer so he could reach out and touch Merlin.

"Don't," the boy said, shrugging out of Arthur's grasp and walking into the living room, abandoning his nearly full cup of coffee. He settled on the end of the couch where he always sat, but pulled his legs up in front of him and wrapped one arm around his knees.

Arthur sat closer than he normally would, but still left a foot of space between them. "I'm really worried, Merlin. Talk to me, please?"

"I'm just... embarrassed. It's embarrassing," Merlin sighed.

"What's embarrassing? What happened?" Arthur started to feel panic rising up in his throat at the thought of anyone causing his Merlin harm.

"Nothing happened," the boy said. He finally lifted his big blue eyes to meet Arthur's. "It's just that it hit me this week. What I've been doing."

"What you were doing?"

"Yes... what a... what a fool I've been making of myself. Coming round here, pretending like I belong." The boy's eyes shone with tears but he swiped them away angrily and kept speaking in short, stuttering sentences. "Acting like... like a bloody idiot. Throwing myself at you. As if a man like you could ever, ever want..."

His voice broke and his hands flew to his face, covering his eyes. Arthur was horrified as Merlin's body started to shake with the force of his sobs.

"Merlin, Merlin, come here," Arthur whispered, scooting closer. He reached out to touch Merlin and the boy pulled away, sobbing harder. "Come here. I'm sorry," Arthur said, his voice firmer as he folded Merlin into his arms.

He held Merlin for a few minutes, smoothing his hand over the boy's back and trying to soothe him. Merlin clung tightly to Arthur, and didn't pull away even when he tried to speak again.

"Why are you sorry?"

Arthur swallowed hard, knowing he would be taking a dangerous step by revealing his true feelings. In the face of Merlin's sorrow, though, he felt he couldn't keep pretending not to be affected by the boy.

"For not letting you know how I feel," Arthur murmured, his breath hot against Merlin's neck. "For not telling you how much I love your company, love having you here with me on the weekends. I spend each week looking forward to your face at my door on Saturday morning."

"But not... I mean, but just as a friend," Merlin said, sniffling.

"Oh, Merlin... you have to know how wonderful you are. How sweet and amazing and... really, really lovely you are. If you were a little older... things would be so different."

Merlin stiffened, pulled back so he could look Arthur in the eye.

"So you do think that way? About me?"

Shit. Arthur knew he should lie, or make up an excuse that might spare Merlin's feelings. He knew he should do something, anything to keep up the barriers he'd erected between them. But he hesitated. Only for a few seconds, but long enough for Merlin to see the truth in his eyes.

And then Merlin was kissing him, all messy and awkward and desperate. Long, thin fingers twined in Arthur's shaggy hair, holding him close, and Arthur...

Arthur let it happen.

He tried not to respond at first, tried to cling to the last vestiges of his restraint, but it all went to hell when Merlin moaned into his mouth.

That's when Arthur pulled the boy into his lap, urging him up and helping him arrange his long limbs around Arthur so their chests were pressed tightly together. Arthur took control of the kiss, too, cupping Merlin's cheeks in his hands and guiding him, slowing the pace of the kiss until it was less desperate and more sensual.

When Merlin finally pulled away, gasping for breath, Arthur had forgotten every objection he had.

"I've wanted you for so long," Arthur whispered, dropping his head to kiss and nip at Merlin's throat. "Don't ever think... fuck, don't ever think that I don't want you."

Merlin whimpered and tilted his head back, wiggling in Arthur's lap and grinding down against his hardness. "Want you too, want you so much."

"Fuck. Merlin... Merlin, we have to go slow," Arthur gasped, reaching down to try to steady the boy's hips. Some part of his brain was still functioning, reminding him that above all else, he needed to be careful with Merlin. "Merl-"

Arthur was silenced by Merlin crashing his mouth down against Arthur's, kissing him with renewed vigor. Arthur tried to maintain control but all of Merlin's pent up desire was making the boy come undone, making him moan and writhe in Arthur's lap like he'd never been touched before.

Dear God, Arthur thought. He's never been touched before.

Arthur's hands stroked up and down Merlin's sides, caressing him slowly, and Arthur thrilled at the boy's responding shivers and moans. Merlin started to grind down against him again, and Arthur knew he ought to stop it. He knew he shouldn't let things go so far without discussing boundaries with Merlin, without talking to him about responsibility first and making sure this was really what Merlin wanted.

But then Merlin shuddered in his arms, his whole body quaking as his hips twitched into Arthur's, and Merlin's head fell onto Arthur's shoulder.

"Merlin, did you just-"

The boy had relaxed for only a few seconds, panting against Arthur's neck, but jumped up when Arthur began to speak. Arthur reached out to stop him, but Merlin stumbled down the hall and into Arthur's bathroom.

It was over so fast that Arthur barely had time to register it.

Merlin had come in his trousers, just from a few minutes of kissing and grinding on Arthur's lap.

And he had run away.

"Merlin!" Arthur called, adjusting his own erection as he pushed himself up and off the couch. "Merlin, it's okay." Arthur knocked quietly on the bathroom door, then tried the handle. Locked.

"Let me in."

"Merlin, there's nothing to be embarrassed about."

"For fuck's sake, Merlin, you can't stay in there forever."

Eventually Arthur heard the click of the lock turning, but nothing happened. He turned the knob and let himself into the bathroom, finding Merlin sitting on the edge of his bathtub with his face in his hands.

"Come on, now," Arthur said softly, kneeling before him. He kissed each of Merlin's denim-covered knees, then reached for his wrists and tugged his hands down gently. The boy was clearly mortified, his cheeks bright red.

"I'm sorry," Merlin whispered.

"Sorry for what? For turning me on? For being so turned on by me that you came? Don't be sorry for any of that. It was... it was fucking hot," Arthur assured him.

"You're just saying that." Merlin looked skeptical, but was able to meet Arthur's eyes.

"No way! It's the truth." Arthur stretched his neck up to kiss Merlin, just a tender brush of his lips against the boy's. He pulled away and whispered to him, their lips still touching, "I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life. You coming in my lap like that. It's the hottest thing that's ever happened to me."

When Arthur pulled away, he was relieved to find a hint of a smile on Merlin's face.

Arthur hadn't told anyone about Merlin, except Gwen.

Gwen had been his fiercest friend since they were at school, but she wasn't afraid to call him out when he was in the wrong. He told her about Merlin over pints and raised an arm to defend himself from anticipated blows when he finally let slip that their relationship had become physical.

"Oh, seriously, Arthur? Put your hand down, mate. You're making a spectacle," she hissed, slapping at Arthur playfully.

"I just thought you might punish me for my reckless, immoral behaviour."

Gwen shrugged.

"Who am I to judge?"

"You've done a lot of fucked up stuff, Gwen, but I don't think you've ever seduced a teenager," Arthur said, tilting his head back to drain the last of his lager.

"Please, don't flatter yourself. Seduced? Sounds to me like Merlin was the one doing the seducing. Besides, I may not have any experience in your shoes, but I've been in his."

Arthur was halfway out of his seat, ready to go after more pints, but Gwen's words stopped him short. He sat back down slowly and raised an eyebrow at his oldest friend, the girl he thought he knew everything about.

"Pardon?" he asked.

"Well... do you remember Mr du Lac? The physics teacher we had in sixth form?"

"No!" Arthur gasps, leaning in. "I told you every day that spring that the old lech had his eye on you, and you denied it!"

"Old lech! He was twenty-nine!"

"You were seventeen!" Arthur countered. "You were shagging him? Was it while we were in school? Did you do it in the classroom?" He was shocked that she'd kept it a secret from him then, and had never brought it up in all the years since.

"Jesus, Arthur. No! We did not. We only did it at his place." She grinned salaciously as Arthur processed this new information about his best friend.

"How is it fucking possible that you never told me about all this?"

"I didn't want him to get in trouble back then," she said, her grin transforming into a shy smile. "And regardless of what it sounds like to an outsider, it was... special. I never told you because it was just something private and very real to me, and I thought you'd give me a hard time."

"Gwen, I would never..."

"Oh yes you would," she teased, nudging him with her elbow. "Anyway, I'm telling you now because I don't want you to think your only options are to either stay away from this boy or ruin his life. My relationship with Lance was wonderful and I'm better for it."

"You really think so?" Arthur asked.

"I do," Gwen assured him. "You just have to observe the campsite rule."

"Campsite rule?"

"You know, when you go camping? You're supposed to leave it better than you found it. Same with dating someone younger than you-leave them better than you found them, emotionally, socially... sexually."

Arthur blushed, ducking his head.

"Just don't be a prat, okay? Don't lead him on, don't tell him you love him if you don't, don't take advantage."

"Gwen," Arthur murmured, meeting Gwen's eyes. "I would never."

She nodded and punched his shoulder affectionately. "I know."

Arthur made rules. Merlin broke them.

"I think," Arthur murmured into Merlin's neck, adjusting the boy's slight weight on his lap, "I think we should keep our clothes on. Just to... you know, keep our wits about us."

"Mmm." Merlin moaned, shifting closer. "I'd like to keep your wits about me."

Arthur chuckled at first, but it grew into a full belly laugh as he processed Merlin's words. "What does that even mean?"

Merlin grinned and shrugged his bony shoulders. "I don't know."

"Prat," Arthur teased.

"You like it. You like it when I pretend to talk dirty," Merlin countered, wrapping his arms around Arthur's neck. Merlin kissed him again, slowly and sweetly. "I don't know about this rule though. I have this... this fantasy about your naked chest."

"Oh?" Arthur choked, unable to articulate anything more.

"You posted pictures once-of you and Gwen on holiday-and you weren't wearing a shirt. You put them up on Facebook and I saved them. I look at them, sometimes." He was suddenly shy, burying his face in Arthur's neck.

"You look at them?"


"And you fantasize, you say?" Arthur asked, his thumbs skimming the bare flesh just above the waistband of Merlin's jeans.

"Yes-about kissing you, and being able to touch the little blond hairs you have just here," Merlin admitted, laying a hand over Arthur's heart.

"Fuck," Arthur breathed. The sheer innocence of Merlin's dirty fantasies was killing him.

Merlin lifted his head so his soft cheek brushed Arthur's stubbled one and pressed his lips to Arthur's ear. "I look at those pictures when I touch myself, Arthur."

"Maybe just our shirts, then?" Arthur said, lifting Merlin and tossing him down on the sofa beside him. He tugged his shirt off over his head and dove on top of the giggling, squirming boy, kissing him fiercely.

"I told you, Merlin, it doesn't bother me," Arthur assured him. He was lying down, stroking the boy's lower back while he sat on the edge of the bed. "But if you want to last longer, you have to slow down."

"I try to slow down, but you feel so good, and it happens so fast," Merlin whispered, reaching for another tissue. He cleaned himself up, having once again orgasmed from merely grinding against Arthur.

"I love that you get so turned on." Arthur stretched and pressed a kiss to Merlin's hip. "Come back here. We're not done yet. I bet I can make you come again."

Merlin tossed the tissue into the trash and crawled back into bed with Arthur, curling up against him. "You first?" he asked shyly, reaching out to stroke Arthur's half-hard cock.

"Mmm, feels good," Arthur moaned, curling his fingers in Merlin's tousled hair. "That's right. A bit harder. That's perfect, Merlin."

"Can I...?" Merlin asked, looking up into Arthur's eyes. "I mean, can I try?"

Arthur knew without being told exactly what Merlin wanted to try-he'd hinted at it a few times, but Arthur never pressured the boy.

"You can do anything you want, Merlin. I'm yours. Play with me, do whatever pops into your mind." Arthur's words made Merlin grin. He scooted down the man's body until his face was level with Arthur's cock.

For a while he just watched-watched his hand moving on Arthur's cock, watched Arthur's reactions as he twisted and turned his hand experimentally. Eventually, though, Merlin worked up his courage and leaned forward to taste the man he adored.

It was tentative, almost too light for Arthur to bear, but watching Merlin explore was the most erotic thing he'd ever seen.

Merlin licked him like an ice cream cone, occasionally pursing his lips and giving Arthur's cock little sucking kisses. When he finally wrapped his lips around the head and pulled just the tip into his mouth, Arthur had to reach back and grip the headboard to keep from pushing Merlin's head down further.

"Feels amazing, baby. God, that feels good."

Merlin pulled off and smiled up at Arthur. "I like it. I like the way you taste, and I like the way your muscles tense here," he said, teasing Arthur's abs with a pinkie finger.

Merlin kept stroking Arthur's stomach gently as lowered his mouth back to Arthur's cock.

This time it was the twenty-eight year-old who came suddenly, unexpectedly, and with a full-body shudder.

"Oh, Merlin... darling... I'm sorry," Arthur gasped, trying not to laugh at Merlin's shocked, spunk-covered face. His mouth was hanging open in surprise, his cheek and lips splashed with cum.

"Don't be sorry," the boy said, wiping his lip with an index finger before sucking it into his mouth. "I love that I made you so turned on."

Arthur groaned and let his head fall back against the pillow; he didn't think he could ever get enough of this sweet, filthy boy.

"I want you to fuck me," Merlin said, loudly and with conviction.

"Come in," Arthur countered, one eyebrow raised as high as it would go. He stepped aside to let Merlin into his flat, pausing to peek into the hallway to see if any neighbours might have witnessed his boyfriend's declaration.

Merlin went straight for the cappuccino machine as always, with Arthur following behind. "Last weekend you weren't so keen," he said casually, leaning against the kitchen island while Merlin ground some espresso. Merlin had brought it up last weekend, but admitted that he wasn't sure if he was ready. Arthur, ever patient, informed the boy that he was in no hurry and would wait for Merlin to bring it up again.

Arthur hadn't expected it to happen so soon.

"Well, now I am. Keen." Merlin said, tamping espresso down into the filter.

"Mmhmm. What changed your mind?"

"Nothing special." Merlin put the milk on to froth and crossed the kitchen to give Arthur a proper 'hello' kiss. "I just want to do everything with you."

"Merlin?" Arthur asked, grabbing the boy at the waist and looking at him skeptically, waiting for more information.

"Well, I may have been watching a video online..."

"Ahh, so this is the influence of pornography then?"

"Pornography," Merlin snorted. He twisted free and went to stop the milk from overheating. "I just think it would be fun to try, that's all."

"Fun..." Arthur repeated, turning the word over slowly in his mind. "It is fun, or rather, it can be fun, if you're with the right person."

"You're the right person," Merlin said quietly, fixing their coffees. "You are, Arthur. Don't tell me I'm too young or that I ought to wait for someone my own age."

"No, love." Arthur wrapped his arms around Merlin's waist from behind. "No, never. I just don't want you to think this is some next step that we have to take. I'm perfectly content with what we do now. I love what we do now."

"Me too," the boy said, his bravado from earlier gone. "I just want more. I want to try, if you want me that way."

Arthur kissed his neck and hugged him tighter. "I want you every way," he whispered.

Merlin brought it up every day after that. He was absolutely adamant that he was ready.

Right up until the exact moment that Arthur pressed the tip of his cock against Merlin's ass.

The boy was thoroughly teased, stretched, and aroused, Arthur had made sure of that, and just seconds before he'd looked lovingly into Merlin's eyes and kissed him sweetly. "Love you," Arthur had whispered.

So when he lifted Merlin's hip and aligned himself, pressed his dick into the slickness between Merlin's cheeks, he was perfectly at ease and finally, after weeks of discussing it, comfortable with the idea of fucking the boy.

"It's just-" Merlin said, reaching out to press a hand flat against Arthur's chest.

"What's wrong?" Arthur asked, frozen in position.

"I want to live here," Merlin blurted out. "With you. When I go to university."

Arthur blinked, processing this information.

"That's nearly a year away, Merlin. Why are you worrying about it now? Err, right now, specifically?"

"I just want this to be real," the boy said, looking steadfastly at Arthur's chest and avoiding his eyes. "I want to know we have a future and you won't be sending me away and telling me to spend time with kids my own age."

"Merlin," Arthur said softly, reaching to tilt the boy's chin up. After all their time together, all the hesitation over what was right, Arthur knew the answer here without a second thought. "Love. Of course I want you to live here with me. Or we can get a bigger place, I don't know. As long as we're together."

Merlin's face was open and vulnerable, a bit shy even, as he nuzzled Arthur's hand. "You won't try to send me off to study abroad? Or make me get a flat with my mates 'for the experience'?"

Arthur lowered himself to the bed beside Merlin and pulled the boy into his arms, cuddling him close. "If you want to do those things, I would never stop you, but I won't force you. You're an old soul, Merlin. Somehow I can't really picture you in a run-down flat, living with four other blokes and trying to make cappuccinos every morning."

Merlin giggled. "Neither can I."

"So if you want to, when you can, you can move in here. I really ought to meet your mum first, though, don't you think?"

"Don't talk about my mum while we're naked," he complained.

"Then go put some pants on," Arthur teased. Merlin grinned, pushed Arthur onto his back, and climbed over him, settling on top of Arthur's thighs.

"No, I still want to," he said, wrapping his hand around Arthur's half-hard cock. His erection had flagged a little but Merlin quickly brought it back to life, his long, talented fingers twisting and stroking.

"Like this, then," Arthur said, holding his cock steady with one hand and urging Merlin up with the other. "There, just there. You're in charge, love. Just move down slowly, keep breathing."

Arthur stroked Merlin's hip and his side soothingly, watching the boy's eyes widen as he took Arthur in just a little bit at a time. He rocked slowly, taking in just a little more each time and wincing occasionally.

"It feels good," he assured Arthur, reaching for the hand at his waist. He grabbed Arthur's wrist and held tight, sinking down slowly until his ass was flush with Arthur's hips. "Is that-are you all the way inside?"

"Yeah," Arthur said, his voice strained from the effort of holding still. "You okay?"

"Mmm." Merlin leaned down carefully until his face hovered over Arthur's. "I like being this close."

Arthur kissed him, sloppy and a little rough, but he was barely keeping control as it was. "Me too, Merlin. Do you think you can move? Just a bit?"

Merlin straightened up and balanced himself with a hand on Arthur's stomach before raising up a few inches and lowering himself back down. It was a slow start, stunted and a bit shaky, but Merlin was, as always, a fast learner.

"My God," Arthur choked, steadying the boy's hips once he started riding Arthur in earnest. "You're so tight. Slow down," he pleaded.

"But it feels good when I go faster," Merlin said, his cheeks red and hair mussed.

"I'm not going to be able to hold out. Are you close?"

"I don't think so." Merlin frowned. He looked down at Arthur with wide, innocent eyes. "But you are? Are you going to come?"

"Fuck me," Arthur groaned, unable to control himself. He pulled Merlin's hips down tight against his body and thrust up into him a few times, spilling his seed and shaking through his orgasm with eyes screwed tightly shut.

When Arthur regained his senses and opened his eyes, Merlin was grinning down at him. "So you liked that, then?"

"Mmmhmm." Arthur reached up to stroke Merlin's cock, flushed and curled up towards Merlin's stomach. "Did you?"

"Yes... oh," Merlin whined, arching his back as Arthur stroked him expertly. He came quickly, in thick white stripes over Arthur's stomach, and then slumped over as he began to catch his breath.

An hour or so later, after lots of kissing, cuddling, and cleaning up, Merlin walked into the kitchen with his phone. Arthur gave the boy his privacy, but couldn't help overhearing the end of the conversation as he went to grab a beer.

"... yes, Mum, I'm sure. I want you to meet him. How about tomorrow for lunch?"

Merlin paused, listening to the tinny voice on the other end of the line, and then grinned.

"I do, Mum. I really do."

A/N: Please let me know what you think. This is my first venture into Merlin territory, so if you're a Merlin fan, please let me know if I've fucked it up completely.

If you're not a Merlin fan and you read this anyway, you get a gold star. :)