a/n Huge thanks to sue273 for beta'ing this for me and to MssDare, Fr333bird andTwiWeasel for pre-reading. This is what happens when I write whilst in a miserable mood, thankfully I'd cheered up by the time I wrote the end, lol.
"Open your eyes, Merlin," Arthur urged, gripping Merlin's hips tightly as he writhed above him. "I want to see you."
"Why?" Merlin asked between gasps, Arthur's cock buried deep inside him.
Arthur had noticed that Merlin always had his eyes closed when he came. No matter whether Arthur was fucking him or Merlin was thrusting hard into Arthur's arse, he always kept his eyes tightly shut.
If Arthur was going to risk everything and tell Uther about their relationship, he needed to be absolutely sure that Merlin felt the same way. He was almost certain that he did, given the way he'd spent nearly every night for the past two months in Arthur's bed. If Arthur could look in Merlin's eyes in that one unguarded moment, then he would see the truth.
"I need to know," Arthur whispered.
Merlin's eyes grew wide and his movements faltered slightly.
"Know what, exactly?" Merlin's voice was unsteady, worried and Arthur quickly moved to reassure him, strong hands cupping Merlin's face and drawing him down for a gentle, but reassuringly deep kiss. Arthur didn't want Merlin to worry, he just needed confirmation of what he believed to be true - that Merlin loved Arthur, as much as Arthur loved him. They'd never said the words, but that didn't matter, as long as Arthur could see it in his eyes.
"Everything," Arthur murmured against Merlin's soft lips. "I want you to let go and show me everything." Arthur hoped Merlin understood what he was asking - that he wanted Merlin to bare his soul, to let Arthur see him laid open and vulnerable.
Deep blue eyes met Arthur's, holding his gaze and searching for something which Arthur fervently hoped they would find.
"Okay," Merlin whispered, rolling his hips again much to Arthur's relief. "No more secrets."
Arthur briefly wondered what secrets he was referring to, but when Merlin moved just so, increasing his pace and riding Arthur as if his life depended on it, it was all Arthur could do to keep up. His sole focus was Merlin. Arthur watched him come apart, eyes wide open and fixed on Arthur with a look so heated, and full of need, desperation and love that Arthur knew.
What ever happened when he told Uther, and Arthur was well aware it would be bad, it would be worth it.
"Arthur ..." Merlin gasped, reaching for his cock, but Arthur slapped his hand away.
Arthur wrapped a hand tightly round Merlin's prick, stroking him hard and fast. He felt Merlin's muscles clench and flutter around him. Tight heat surrounded his cock and Arthur fought the overwhelming urge to shut his eyes and lose himself. He wanted to see though, he'd been waiting for this exact moment and there was absolutely no bloody way he was going to miss it.
Arthur stared into Merlin's eyes as he came, crying out Merlin's name as he pulsed and emptied inside of him. Arthur watched, transfixed, at the sight above him as Merlin seemed to let go like he never had before. Arthur's heart, still pounding rapidly in his chest as the last licks of pleasure coursed through his body, almost stopped as the lights flickered. The furniture in Arthur's bedroom shook violently and Merlin's beautiful blue eyes turned golden as he tensed and stilled above him.
Merlin closed his eyes, seemingly unaware that Arthur lay open-mouthed and in shock, his head tilted back and the now familiar smile, that Arthur loved so much, spread across his face. When Merlin finally met Arthur's gaze, with such a look of wonder and unbelievable joy, it took a moment or two for Merlin to realise that something was wrong.
Arthur saw the smile disappear, quickly replaced by confusion and although Arthur knew he should say something, anything to stop the fear in Merlin's eyes, words failed him.
"What. The fuck. Was that?" Arthur could hear the accusation and anger in his voice, and his heart ached at the way Merlin flinched away from him, but he couldn't help himself.
"You want to see," Merlin whispered. "When you said everything, I thought you meant ..."
"I wanted to see how you really felt about me!" Arthur snapped, unable to rein in his temper. "I wanted to know that you felt the same, to see love in your eyes! Not ... not ..." he stumbled over the words as his breath caught in his throat. "Not whatever the fuck that was."
Merlin shrank back at his words, a look of horror on his face as he slid off Arthur's lap and backed away to the edge of the bed. "Oh, God."
They sat in silence; Arthur staring at the ceiling not understanding what the fuck had just happened, and Merlin huddled at the foot of the bed, hands wrapped tightly round his knees waiting for Arthur to speak.
"I thought you knew," Merlin said eventually, unable to stand it any longer. "I thought you at least suspected, or I would have never ..." he trailed off, waving a hand between them.
"No," Arthur replied, his voice cold and detached. His brain helpfully began to supply him with memories of all the other little odd things that had happened when Merlin was around. Things he'd just ignored or shrugged off, but he refused to let them in, unwillingly to consider the fact the maybe he had noticed something was different about Merlin. Arthur didn't know what to say or what to do. He didn't want to think what this might mean for Merlin, for them. He hated seeing his lover like this, all broken and lost, but his mind was still trying to process the events of the past thirty minutes and so he just lay there. Thinking. Except it was too hard with Merlin still in the room.
"I think you should go."
"What?" Merlin's head snapped up, eyes filled with worry as he shook his head. "Arthur, no." Merlin swallowed thickly, appearing to gather himself before speaking. "I know this is all a bit of a shock for you."
"A bit?" Arthur scoffed.
"Well, okay, a big shock. But please let me explain, Arthur." Merlin reached out to touch Arthur's leg, but he quickly snatched it back when Arthur drew his legs up and out of the way.
"Don't," Arthur breathed, turning to look away.
Arthur could hear the waver in Merlin's voice, knew he was close to tears, but despite the way Arthur's chest hurt at the sound of Merlin's obvious distress, he needed to be alone.
"Please, just go."
Merlin sat for a second longer, as if willing Arthur to change his mind, then drew in a ragged breath and started to collect his clothes from the bedroom floor.
Arthur shut his eyes, resting his forearms over his face as he listened to Merlin get dressed and get his keys and wallet from the lounge. Only when Arthur heard the soft click of the front door did he lower his arms and look around.
The room was just as it should be, everything in its proper place as if nothing had happened. As if Arthur hadn't seen the lights flicker and dim for a second. As if he hadn't felt the vibrations rumble through the room, shaking his things so violently he thought the drawers might fly open.
It looked peaceful. Peaceful and empty.
Arthur lay on his bed, going over and over it in his head. He'd asked Merlin to show him everything and he had. Arthur hadn't known just how much he'd been asking of Merlin, hadn't understood what Merlin was risking. As he lay there on his empty bed, alone, Arthur realised that when Merlin had trusted him with his deepest secret, had laid himself open for Arthur to see, Arthur had failed him. He'd treated Merlin with cold indifference when he'd been looking for understanding and love.
What the fuck had he done?
Arthur pictured Merlin's face as he'd asked him to leave, so broken and lost and all because of him. He felt the bile hit the back of his throat and rushed into the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet in time.
Arthur rested his forehead on the edge of the seat, waiting for his stomach to stop heaving. He didn't know how long he'd sat there before finally dragging himself back to bed. He pulled the quilt up tight around him, breathing in Merlin's scent where it still lingered from earlier. He needed him back, needed to fix the fuck-awful mess he'd created and hope that Merlin would forgive him.
Arthur was so tired, though. His eyes refused to stay open and as he drifted off into an exhausted sleep, he vowed to go see Merlin first thing in the morning. He'd fix this even if he had to camp on Merlin's doorstep and beg.
Arthur's eyes fluttered open; his mind a little foggy as he tried to work out what had woken him up. He sat up, rubbing his eyes and jumping a little at the loud pounding on his door. Ah, yes, that would be what had woken him.
His mind eventually caught up and he leapt out of bed, one thought running through his mind.
He'd come back - probably to tell Arthur what an arse he'd been and shout at him for a bit. But Arthur could cope with that, welcomed it even because he knew he'd behaved appallingly, anything as long as Merlin was back and talking to him.
He rushed to answer the door before Merlin left or started banging again. His head felt like it usually did after a night on the beer, and the incessant pounding on his front door wasn't helping.
Not bothering to check his appearance, since it really didn't matter in the scheme of things, he opened the door wide, an apology already on the tip of his tongue.
"What the hell did you do, Arthur?" Gwen hissed, poking a sharp finger into his ribs as she pushed her way into his apartment, closely followed by Lance.
Not Merlin then.
Arthur backed up and let them both in, raising an eyebrow at Lance as he passed. Lance gave him a small sad, smile in return and Arthur had that unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach - the one that you got when you knew something bad had happened.
"Do come in, then," Arthur muttered as he followed them into the living room, voice heavy with sarcasm. He sank into his favourite chair, watching Gwen as she paced back and forth in front of him.
Merlin shared a flat with Lance and Gwen, and had obviously told them about his and Arthur's fight, but Arthur didn't know exactly how much they knew.
"What ... um ... what did he tell you?" Arthur asked, tentatively.
Gwen whirled around and Arthur shrank back at the look on her face. "He didn't tell me anything," she said, looking at Arthur accusingly.
"But, then how-"
"He's gone, Arthur."
The unpleasant feeling in Arthur's stomach spiralled out of control as her words sank in.
Merlin was gone.
He felt sick. A cold sweat slithered down his spine, making his head spin. Merlin couldn't be gone; he wouldn't just leave that that, without talking to Arthur first.
"What do you mean, gone?" Arthur said, standing up and catching hold of Gwen's arm.
"I mean, Arthur, that he's left; packed a bag and gone and I have no idea where."
Arthur stumbled, holding on to Gwen as his legs threatened to give out. She grabbed him with both hands, gently moving him back down onto the chair.
"What happened, Arthur?"
Her voice was softer this time, and when Arthur met her concerned gaze it was too much. He went to speak but the words caught in his throat, and all that escaped was a choked sob.
"Fuck," he gasped, as the reality sank in. Merlin was gone, and it was all his fault. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."
A look of understanding crossed Gwen's face and she pulled her hands away from Arthur and took a step back. "He told you, didn't he?"
Arthur's head snapped up as he stared incredulously at her, thinking he must have heard wrong. "You knew?" he asked, unable to keep the accusation from his voice. "About all his ..." he trailed off, gesturing to his eyes and then around the room. "...well, whatever it fucking was. You knew?"
"Of course, we knew!" Gwen snapped. "And it's magic - you can say the word."
Arthur didn't miss the 'we' part and immediately turned to look at Lance. "You as well?" he asked, cursing under his breath when Lance nodded. "Did everyone know?" he seethed, eyes blazing.
"No, don't be ridiculous." Gwen rolled her eyes, and walked over to sit with Lance. "Only Lance and me. I've known Merlin since he was five, Arthur.
"Why? Why didn't he fucking tell me, his sodding boyfriend?"
"Why do you think?" she asked pointedly. "He was afraid, Arthur, afraid that you wouldn't understand. He was well aware of Uther's views on anything remotely different or out of the ordinary and he wasn't sure how much of it you agreed with."
Arthur rested his head in his hands, trying to wrap his head around everything. His father was narrow-minded and had a very low tolerance for anything that couldn't be explained by science. But Arthur was nothing like his father, was he? He thought back to the night before, and realised that he had behaved exactly like Uther would have done. Fuck.
"Do you know the worst thing though, Arthur?" Gwen asked, her voice a little shaky and when Arthur looked up he could see the tears in her eyes threatening to spill out. "I made him tell you. For weeks he'd been struggling with the decision, not wanting to run the risk of losing you." She took a deep shuddering breath. "But I told him, 'No, Merlin, you should trust Arthur - he loves you and will understand.'"
"I do love him," Arthur whispered.
"But you showed absolutely no understanding, did you?" Arthur winced at her sharp tone, but didn't deny anything because she was right. He hadn't listened, hadn't even tried to understand and now Merlin was gone.
"No," Arthur replied eventually, sagging back against the chair. "No, I didn't."
"What did you say to him, Arthur?" It was Lance this time; he had his arm wrapped around Gwen as she finally let the tears flow. "It must have been pretty bad to make him take off like that."
Arthur sighed, not really wanting to tell them, but they were his friends and they cared about both him and Merlin. "I told him to go. He tried to explain, but I wouldn't let him." Arthur hung his head, trying not to think about the look on Merlin's face when he'd said those things to him.
"So, basically he trusted you with his deepest secret and you threw him out without even discussing it?" Lance's tone was matter of fact, but the words still sounded harsh.
"Arthur, mate. I know it was a huge shock, and you had every right to freak out a little, but to just send him away without giving him a chance to try to explain. That's ..." Lance never lost his temper or got worked up over things, but Arthur could see he was struggling to keep his voice steady over this.
"Yeah, I know."
The three of them fell silent, and Arthur fidgeted in his chair as he wondered just what his friends thought of him now.
"We're going to go home, now." Gwen eventually spoke, getting up and reaching for Lance's hand. "I want to be there in case he comes back."
Arthur got up as well, following after them to see them both to the door.
"You need to fix this, Arthur Pendragon." Gwen fixed him with her steely gaze as she paused in the doorway. "I don't care what you have to do, just fix it."
Arthur just nodded once and closed the door behind them. He leaned back against it, closed his eyes and wondered just how he was supposed to fix it if Merlin was nowhere to be found.
Monday morning came round all too soon and Arthur still hadn't heard anything from Merlin. He'd left at least ten messages on his phone and constantly pestered Gwen and Lance, but either they hadn't seen him or they didn't want to tell Arthur that they had.
He'd even resorted to parking his car opposite the flat that Merlin shared with Gwen and Lance, watching to see if Merlin came back. Despite staying awake most of Sunday night, he hadn't seen him once. As a result, he was now shattered and was never more thankful for being off from Uni for the week.
He spent Monday doing much the same as Sunday; checking his phone constantly and waiting in vain for Merlin to call him back or at least send him a text. As a last resort, Arthur called Hunith. He hadn't really wanted to admit to Merlin's mother that he'd treated her son like shit and he doubted very much that she'd tell him if Merlin was there, but he had to try.
The minute she recognised Arthur's voice, her tone changed and Arthur knew that she'd spoken to Merlin.
"What can I do for you, Arthur?" She was still polite, but not the warm and friendly woman Arthur had come to know. He took a deep breath and prepared to apologise and grovel and do whatever else it took to find out where Merlin was.
"I know he's told you, Hunith, and I'm not proud of the way I treated him." He heard a soft huff on the other end of the phone. "I need to find him, to apologise and make things right between us. I love him, Hunith."
Arthur chewed his lip, pacing back and forth behind his settee as he waited for Hunith to say something. Anything.
"You hurt him, Arthur," she said, eventually. "He shared something incredibly special with you and you threw it back in his face."
"I know, and I-"
"I wasn't finished."
"Sorry. Please carry on."
"You hurt him so very much and I hate to see my boy in pain." Arthur felt his chest constrict at the thought of Merlin hurting because of him and wished, not for the first time, that he could go back and change the way he'd reacted that night. "But," she continued, sighing heavily. "I know he still loves you, and I believe that you love him, despite everything. So I'm going to help you, Arthur."
Arthur stopped his pacing and braced himself against the chair, relief coursing through his body as finally, finally, he was getting closer to finding Merlin.
"Don't thank me yet," she scoffed, but there was just the barest hint of a smile in her voice. "There's no guarantee that he'll forgive you."
"I know that," Arthur replied, evenly. "I just want to talk to him, to apologise and take it from there."
"He was here," Hunith said, sighing softly. "But he left early this morning. He said he was going to get some things from the flat before going to visit Will."
Will had been Merlin's best friend since primary school and he had a place not too far from Arthur's. Will wasn't overly fond of Arthur and if Merlin went there before Arthur got to speak to him, it would make things ten times harder.
"What time did he leave?"
"About two hours ago."
Arthur checked his watch, cursing as he realised that Merlin would arrive at the flat any minute now. "I need to go," Arthur rushed out, already grabbing his jacket and his keys.
"Yes, you do," she replied. "And Arthur?"
"Don't ever hurt him like this again."
She hung up before Arthur could reply, so he thrust his phone in his pocket and almost ran out the door to his car.
He barely registered the drive over to Merlin's flat; his mind occupied with what he would say when he got there. He needed to get it right first time - Merlin would be angry and upset and more than likely not inclined to listen to him. But Arthur had to make him listen, convince him that he was sorry and get Merlin to give him another chance.
He parked haphazardly across the street, not really caring if he got a ticket because, in the grand scheme of things, a parking ticket was the least of his worries. With a cursory glance either way, Arthur ran across the road and up the steps to the flat where, up until Saturday night, Merlin had spent so little of his time.
He knocked loudly on the door, impatient to get inside.
"All right, I'm coming!" Gwen shouted from behind the door. "What's the hurry, Arthur?"
"Hi," Arthur wanted nothing more than to push past Gwen and go straight to Merlin's room, but good manners prevailed. "I spoke to Hunith and she said Merlin's on his way back. Is he here yet?"
He watched the conflicting emotions dance across her face as she obviously debated how to answer him.
"Fine," she eventually replied, sighing heavily and stepping aside to let him in. "He phoned a couple of minutes ago to say he was on his way from the station."
"Why didn't you call me?" Arthur shouted, shaking his head in disbelief. He'd thought Gwen wanted them to work this out and that she would have told him the second Merlin got in touch.
"He asked me not to."
To her credit, she didn't look happy about it and the gentle touch on Arthur's arm made his anger disappear, leaving worry and nervousness in its place. He'd half-expected Merlin to do something like this, but it didn't make it any easier to hear. "Look, Arthur, I've never heard him so sad, so broken." Her eyes met his and Arthur hated the look of pity that he found there. "I'm not so sure you can fix this."
"I have to," Arthur replied curtly, refusing to believe that they were over. They loved each other, it wasn't some fleeting romance that they had, it was the real thing and Arthur would be damned if he'd let Merlin throw it away without a fight. He knew he'd behaved appallingly, and he would do everything and anything in his power to make it up to Merlin. Losing him just wasn't an option.
"Go wait in his bedroom," Gwen said, motioning to Merlin's door. I won't tell him that you're here."
"Thank you, Gwen." Arthur leant down and gave her a kiss on the cheek and she smiled sadly in return.
"Just make it right, Arthur," she squeezed his arm and turned to leave, just as the front door opened. They both froze at the sound of Merlin's voice. "Quick!" she said, pushing him through the door and hurrying back into the living room, presumably to go make a fuss over Merlin.
Arthur went and sat on Merlin's bed, his heart beating far too fast and his palms feeling sweaty all of a sudden. He counted the seconds, eyes trained on the door as he waited for Merlin to walk through it. It seemed like an age before he saw the handle turn and Arthur swallowed reflexively as the door slowly swung open.
Merlin looked up and stopped mid-step as his gaze landed on Arthur.
"Arthur?" A flash of hope skittered across Merlin's face before he reined in his emotions and replaced it with a blank expression. Arthur felt his stomach drop as Merlin's deep blue eyes, which were usually filled with so much warmth, regarded him with cool detachment. "Why are you here?"
"I wanted to talk to you," Arthur pleaded, rising off the bed, but the small shake of Merlin's head had him slumping back down.
"I think you said everything there was to say."
"Please Merlin, let me explain, I-"
"Oh, like you did me?" Merlin cut in, eyes flashing with anger and the barest hint of gold, which Arthur wisely chose not to mention at this point. "When I begged you to listen, to let me explain and you refused to hear a single word?" His hands clenched into fists at his sides. "No. I don't think so, Arthur."
Even if his face remained expressionless, there was no mistaking the pain in Merlin's voice, and it was more than Arthur could bear. He was off the bed in seconds, wrapping his arms around Merlin and pulling him, unwilling, against his chest.
"I'm so sorry, "Arthur whispered into the soft skin of Merlin's neck. He remained rigid in Arthur's arms, but Arthur refused to let him go. "I treated you unfairly, reacted in the worst possible way and there's no excuse, I know that ..." Arthur paused, his voice shaky as he realised for the first time that there was the distinct possibility that Merlin wouldn't forgive him.
Despair settled in the pit of Arthur's stomach as Merlin remained stiff and unyielding in his embrace. Arthur held him impossibly tighter, his nose buried in the crook of Merlin's neck as he breathed him in, hoping like fuck that it wasn't for the last time. "I love you."
"No!" Merlin's voice a harsh whisper in the quiet of the room. "You don't get to say that to me." He pushed against Arthur's embrace hard enough to force him back a little. "Everything, you said. You wanted to see everything and so I showed you - against my better judgement - in the hope that you'd love me enough to accept all of me."
Merlin walked over to the other side of the bed, away from Arthur, and sank down with his head in his hands. "I trusted you, Arthur." his voice was quiet and sad, all the fight gone out of it. "I trusted you and you let me down."
"I know," Arthur replied, sounding just as broken. "And I understand that you hate me right now, and that I don't deserve it, but please Merlin," his breath caught in his throat as he swallowed back tears. "Please give me another chance, give us another chance."
Arthur walked slowly over to where Merlin sat, and tentatively kneeled in front of him. He reached out to take Merlin's hands in his, almost sighing with relief when Merlin didn't move to stop him.
"Please forgive me, Merlin." Arthur took a deep steadying breath, encouraged by the fleeting squeeze of Merlin's fingers on his. "I love you. I love everything about you, and if you'll let me I'd like to show you just how much."
Arthur waited - it seemed all he'd done in the past few days was wait- barely daring to breathe as he sat watching Merlin's face for some indication of what he was thinking. Finally, just when Arthur thought he might go mad with not knowing, Merlin spoke.
"What about my magic?" he asked, softly. "I don't want to have to hide it when we're together. Can you handle that?"
"Yes," Arthur replied, tightening his grip on Merlin's hands. "I don't want you to have to hide anything from me ever again." Merlin looked up, his eyes meeting Arthur's and searching for signs of deceit or indecision. Arthur didn't flinch or look away, confident that Merlin would find neither of those things because as soon as he'd said the words he knew it was the absolute truth.
Merlin tugged his hands out of Arthur's grasp and, for one heart-wrenching moment, Arthur thought that he'd failed, that Merlin couldn't forgive and it was over. But instead, much to Arthur's intense relief, Merlin reached up to tenderly cup Arthur's jaw.
"Arthur," he breathed, stroking a thumb along the two days' worth of Arthur's stubble. "You broke my heart."
"I know," Arthur replied, biting his lip and dropping his eyes to inspect the interesting carpet on Merlin's bedroom floor. "Something which I am so very, very sorry for."
"But," Merlin continued, urging Arthur to look at him again. "I love you, you insufferable prat." A slow smile spread across Merlin's face and Arthur couldn't help himself.
He launched himself at Merlin, pushing him back onto the bed and landing heavily on top of him. "I love you, too," he leaned in for kiss, full of the desperation and longing caused by too many days apart. "... so fucking much." He kissed Merlin again, softer this time, pouring love and apologies into every touch of his lips and brush of his tongue.
When they finally broke apart, breathless and wild-eyed, Merlin pushed Arthur back slightly so he could look at him. "Don't ever do that again, Arthur. Don't push me away without giving me the chance to at least explain." The flash of hurt in Merlin's eyes reminded Arthur of that night. "I need you to promise that whatever happens, we'll talk it out."
"I promise," Arthur whispered and felt his vision blur as Merlin smiled. Not the sad, soft half-smiles like before, but a full-on teeth-baring grin that reached his eyes and made them sparkle with happiness.
Before Arthur had chance to give in to his impending flood of embarrassing emotion, Merlin roughly pulled him back down and kissed him, hard and urgent and full of the promise of deliciously hot make-up sex.
Their clothes disappeared in a frantic movement of arms and legs. Arthur was almost positive he heard something tear and knew he'd pulled off a few buttons in his haste to get and Merlin's bare skin, but that was a small price to pay for the feel of Merlin's naked body, hard and willing, underneath his.
Arthur was about to reach over to Merlin's bedside table, where he kept his supply of lube and condoms, when a hand on his arm stopped him. He turned back, face curious as Merlin just grinned and whispered to him.
"Let me get it."
Words that Arthur didn't recognise tumbled quietly from Merlin's lips and Arthur jumped a little when the bottle of lube and a condom suddenly appeared in his hand. Merlin's smile faltered a little until Arthur grinned in return, finding a new appreciation for Merlin's magic, and hurried to tear open the condom and slide it on.
Arthur slicked his fingers with lube, stroking them along his sheathed cock before adding a little more and sliding two thick fingers into Merlin's arse.
"I'm ready, Arthur," Merlin gasped, bucking into his hand. "More than ready. Please ..."
Merlin's needy voice had Arthur on the edge already and he desperately clung on to the sliver of restraint keeping his orgasm at bay. He counted back from ten, enunciating each number in his head until he felt some semblance of control again.
"Sorry. I ... um ... just needed a moment," Arthur answered, gently slipping his fingers out and settling himself between Merlin's legs.
"Are you okay, now?" Merlin asked, with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smirk.
"Yes," Arthur said, taking hold of his cock and pushing into Merlin with one, agonisingly slow thrust of his hips. When he was all the way in, he paused and lowered himself to whisper in Merlin's ear, "I'm so much better than okay."
Merlin shivered a little as Arthur's hot breath tickled his skin. Arthur placed a soft, tender kiss just behind Merlin's ear, in that spot that made Merlin whimper and writhe underneath him. He flicked out his tongue licking and tasting, and finally began to move.
"Arthur ..." Merlin muttered, eyes closed and head tilted as he let Arthur do as he wished. Merlin's arms wrapped tightly around Arthur's broad shoulders, holding him close as Arthur nibbled at his neck.
Arthur's pace was slow and steady, nothing like the frantic way they'd started out. He wanted to savour this moment, to wipe away the bitter memory of their last time together and replace it with something new. He wanted to take his time, to show Merlin that when he'd said he loved all of him - that he'd meant every single word.
"Show me ... again," Arthur breathed against Merlin's skin, moving harder and faster with each word.
"W-what?" Merlin's eyes fluttered open, understanding coming seconds later. "You're ... oh God ... sure?"
"Show me ..." Arthur repeated, lifting his head in order to see Merlin's eyes. "Please."
So Merlin did.
He kept his gaze on Arthur, letting him see the way his blue eyes shimmered moments before turning golden. Merlin held nothing back, moaning loudly and arching his back as pleasure coursed through his body, allowing his magic to flow out and wrap securely around them both.
Arthur gasped at the feel of Merlin's magic surrounding him like something tangible in the air. Soft tendrils snaked over his body, covering every part of him and it was extraordinary - like nothing Arthur had ever experienced before.
They moved together, hot and sticking with sweat as muttered curses filled the air. Arthur grabbed on to Merlin's shoulders, holding him fast as he came with a shuddering cry. Merlin's hand shot between them, fisting his cock with desperate strokes until he bit into Arthur's skin and followed moments later, the light in Merlin's room exploding spectacularly at the same time.
Judging by the sounds of mini explosions coming from all over the flat, not to mention Gwen's shrill scream, Arthur guessed that all the lights had suffered the same fate.
"Fuck ..." Arthur laughed softly, quickly disposing of the condom and burying his head in the crook of Merlin's neck. "That was ..."
"Amazing, wonderful, the best you've ever had?" Merlin offered, and Arthur could hear the smile in his voice.
"All of the above."
"Well," Merlin said, lazily running his fingers over Arthur's back. "Unless you want to incur Gwen's wrath - you know she hates it when we're loud - I suggest we do that at your place from now on."
"Yes, I think you're right," Arthur replied, nuzzling at Merlin's warm skin and settling himself half over Merlin's body, trying not to picture an angry Gwen right at that moment. "I think we should maybe invest in more light bulbs, too."
"Oh ... yeah ... sorry about that."
Arthur noted that Merlin didn't sound the least bit sorry and anyway it wasn't him he had to apologise to. But honestly, with sex that good, Merlin could break all the light bulbs he wanted.
They lay together in the silence of Merlin's room, the faint sounds of Gwen and Lance presumably cleaning up the mess in the rest of the flat.
"I'm going to tell Uther," Arthur said, eventually.
"About my magic?" Merlin asked, sounding more than a little panicked.
"Good God, no," Arthur could imagine the look on his father's face if he shared that particular secret. "I'm going to tell him about us."
"Oh," Arthur felt Merlin relax again. "What do you think he'll say?"
"Nothing nice, I'm sure." Arthur's father refused to accept that Arthur was gay, so he doubted very much that he'd acknowledge Merlin as his boyfriend. "But I don't care anymore. He'll either come around eventually or he won't. As long as we're together, I'll be happy."
Arthur felt Merlin's breath catch and strong arms wrap around him. "Well, that's just as well, Arthur Pendragon," he whispered softly into Arthur's hair. "Because I plan on making you happy for a very, very long time."