.

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Merlin did very much enjoy mornings like this.

A whisper of balmy, summer-thick air drifting through open cloister, so high above. The low, building heat of a new day that brim the catches of white sunlight. He enjoyed the sensation on his face, as Merlin pensively walked the empty corridor through an upper level of the castle. Everything quiet, no trouble looming over him.

It felt like these moments were becoming rarer with the coming and going seasons, this gentle simplicity.

(Arthur took on the responsibilities of King of Camelot, prompting more danger from other invaders and mercenaries. Others whom hated him and the power he potentially held. Greed and bloodshed. Like Morgana wanted blood. Always blood, whether it was Arthur's or it could be Merlin's. He had a feeling either might settle a passing whim.)

To interrupt, a wrist shot out from nowhere.

Merlin jerked in its grasp, nearly dropping his pewter tray. "Gwaine!" he cried out, once anxious features relaxing to a smile as the knight grinned back, mischievous. "I nearly jumped out of my skin, gods…"

Gwaine's fingers gave a warm squeeze to Merlin's wrist before releasing him.

"Wouldn't that be a sight…" He began poking idly at the contents of the tray, rolling a few, untouched cherry tomatoes off to the side. "So, what did the princess leave for scraps this time? Anything good?"

Merlin chuckled, adjusting the balance of his hand on Arthur's breakfast tray as he observed his dear friend. Without the heavy mail and thickly woven cape, it may have been difficult to tell which version of Gwaine this was. The one knighted, or the one getting thrown out of every tavern in Engerd, brown eyes hazy with drink but impossibly bright.

"Broiled lamb with camelyn sauce," Merlin said, frowning after a moment. "Dunno about the sauce. Thought it had to do with cinnamon."

Gwaine smacked his lips, flashing another grin at Merlin as the servant plucked up a bit of the tender meat between his thumb and first finger.

"Mmm, my favorite," he rasped out.

"I didn't think you had a favorite meal, Gwaine."

An unashamed and suggestive eyebrow wag. "There's no complaints from me," Gwaine told him, leaning in to snatch the lamb-meat between his teeth. Chewing. "As long as a beautiful boy is feeding it to me, Merlin… then it's my favorite.

"Tart," Merlin said affectionately, managing to keep his shiver under control, when Gwaine's tongue swiped across the fleshy joint of Merlin's fingers.

"Beautiful and has a filthy mouth." It was more of a growling purr than a voice from Gwaine. Merlin's heart began rabbiting in his chest when larger, skin-hot fingers trailed over Merlin's shoulder and his tattered, brown jacket. "It's my lucky day, isn't it?"

It wasn't unusual for a person like Gwaine to show friendly inclination by pawing at someone, or when they did this private, little ritual. By now, it was habit.

(Arthur didn't necessarily need to know where his partly-consumed meals were being disposed, nor did Merlin suspect he cared.)

Waste not, want not.

Another sauce-dripping chunk pressed to hungry lips. Keeping expressionless, his stomach coiling pleasantly, Merlin let his first two fingers slid into Gwaine's moistened mouth. With eyes slitting shut, Gwaine sucked them in deep with an obscene noise rumbling his throat… that in degrees seemed laughable, and nauseatingly arousing, and just… arousing.

Merlin felt his bottom lip scrape pink against his front teeth. Gods—really?

He murmured his friend's name, catching Gwaine's full attention, and Merlin didn't hesitate to push his mouth to the scratchy, closed kiss.

Gwaine's hand lifted from cradling his shoulder to fondle the short, curled ends of Merlin's hair. Too much cinnamon in the sauce, making it straddling the line of overpowering, but he wasn't a complainer either. He was instead rather focused on the damp, heady mingle of the other man's taste.

It didn't last nearly as long as Merlin wanted, but then again, they were out in the open. Any servant or guard could see.

He reluctantly pulled away, exhaling and smirking at the grumpy mutter from his companion smoothing his bangs from his face. Merlin nudged Gwaine's arm with his elbow not aiding his hold on the pewter tray, and stepped back. "You're going to be late," he said.

"So are you," Gwaine replied, tilting his head in the same direction Merlin faced. He yawned, reaching over his head with both hands and cracking his knuckles. "Heard from Percival that the new meat are needing training with the maces." The lighthearted smirk dropped from Merlin's face, replacing with growing dread. Gwaine snickered, thumping his back. "Don't worry, Merlin. I won't let them bruise your pretty face."

Merlin snorted. "I thought I was beautiful," he pointed out, color returning to him.

A casual shrug.

"What ever gave you that impression?"

The mildly sarcastic quip did not go unnoticed. Merlin only shook his head, rolling his eyes good-humored.

He must have been entirely mad to have enjoyed mornings like this, framed in the warmth of morning, with the after-tingle on his lips and skin of a long-craved taste of Gwaine. A loud, sing-song whistle perked Merlin's hearing. He watched Gwaine interrupt his own stride down the corridor for a quick turn on his heel.

"Oh," Gwaine told him, winking, "suggest pheasant next time."

.

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BBC Merlin is not mine. Setting right around Pre-Series 4, if anyone's wondering. Also, I couldn't resist the small inside joke between Gwaine and Merlin based on the Series 3 episode "The Eye of the Phoenix". This is a day-early birthday gift to my darling-dear Marlena who not only is a brilliant writer/RP partner, but who has also helped me through a lot of shit that happened this year. Being sick off and on… a noxious and unpredictable overcast of family and friend troubles… and general breakdowns being the lot of it. I value our friendship more than I could probably express in words, okay? Happy, happy birthday, you horrible angst machine. And everyone else, happy future reading and I reeeeeally hope this fic made you smile!

kink-me merlin prompt:

"Gwaine/Merlin

The reason for Gwaine's confused face when Merlin won't let him eat off Arthur's plate is that they have this little ritual where Merlin will feed him bits of Arthur's food.
Would like some food porn with sucking on fingers please."