Above and Beyond cover by

Above and Beyond
by lamardeuse

Rating:  R

Pairing: Merlin/Arthur

Spoilers: Through Season 1, to be safe

Warnings (highlight to view):  explicit sex 

Inspired by Nicci's gorgeous art.

Merlin knew something was off when he awoke on his own instead of being roused by Gaius banging on his door loud enough to wake the dead. Eyes still closed, he stretched his arms over his head slowly, then out to the sides. His eyes flew open when his left hand collided with something warm and solid. Something warm and solid that groaned and shook the bed as it moved.

Oh, bloody hell. He was still in bed with Arthur.

Turning his head carefully, he saw that Arthur was fast asleep again, lying splayed on his back with a small, contented smile on his face. Impossibly, he was still wearing his crown; he'd insisted on keeping it on so that Merlin would 'show him the respect due his exalted position'. Considering Arthur had been otherwise naked at the time, this had caused both of them to erupt in fits of truly embarrassing giggles, which had ended abruptly when Merlin had slid down the bed and proceeded to show his respect for Arthur's exalted cock. Clearly Arthur didn't toss and turn as much in his decadently comfortable bed as he had when sleeping on the floor in Ealdor. Either that or he slept better after he'd had a thorough shagging.

And it had been thorough, Merlin remembered, though his memories of the events of last night were somewhat hazier for the wine he'd drunk. They'd both been the worse for wine, which might have explained how they'd ended up with Arthur's hand down Merlin's breeches and Merlin's mouth attached to Arthur's neck like a limpet, though they hadn't been drunk enough to not know exactly what they were doing. At least Merlin had known, because he'd been secretly thinking about exactly this for months and trying not to, in that way you tried not to be distracted by a bit of doggerel you'd learned as a child and ended up running it over and over in your mind incessantly until you wanted to drown yourself. Thinking about him and Arthur naked and doing wicked things to one another had been an exercise in futility – not to mention the fuel for desperate late-night wanks – and Merlin had been resolved to give it up, because going on hopelessly besotted with Arthur Pendragon for all of blasted eternity was only going to lead to heartache.

And then Arthur had stuck his hand down Merlin's breeches, and Merlin had realised that perhaps he wasn't the only one who'd been thinking about them doing wicked things to one another. He hadn't had very much time to reorder his world view to fit this new knowledge, however, since he'd been fairly busy last night, and now that he had time to think, he – well, he still found it completely mad, really. Perhaps Arthur had been more drunk than Merlin had thought; perhaps it had only been a bit of fun, and now that he'd had Merlin he could move onto the scullery maid or the stable boy. Perhaps Arthur would wake up in a few minutes and boot Merlin's arse out of his bed, demanding he wash the spunk out of his sheets.

Or perhaps he wouldn't remember a bloody thing.

Carefully, Merlin slid out from underneath the covers; Arthur didn't so much as stir. Now, where in blazes were his clothes? He began wandering across Arthur's chambers, picking up scraps of clothing as he went, folding Arthur's breeches over the arm of his chair, smoothing out the wrinkles in his tunic before draping it over the back. He was just lacing himself into his own breeches when he heard a sound from the bed. Closing his eyes briefly, he steeled himself for what he'd find when he turned around.

What he saw took his breath away. Arthur was sitting propped on his elbows, his crown askew and his hair wild. His broad chest was exposed, and Merlin had a sudden memory of trailing his mouth along the ridge of Arthur's collarbone whilst Arthur's fingers tangled in his hair. The rest of his body was mercifully hidden under the covers, but Merlin had taken care to memorise every inch of him last night with eyes, lips and tongue, so really it was no help at all. Christ, Arthur could be in full armour and Merlin would still see him stark bollocks naked.

“Merlin?” Arthur was blinking at him, expression bemused and a little lost and terribly, terribly dear. “What's wrong?”

Merlin shook his head slowly. “Nothing, sire.”

Arthur froze, then seemed to notice the weight of the crown on his head. Making a face, he plucked it off and set it aside. “I suppose I deserved that,” he murmured. “Look, you –”

“You don't have to say it,” Merlin interrupted.

A line appeared between Arthur's brows. “How did you know what I was going to say?”

Merlin shifted on the balls of his feet. “I – well, I mean it's fairly obvious, isn't it?”

“Merlin,” Arthur said imperiously, “come here.”

Normally Arthur's voice of command brought out Merlin's rebellious streak, but since Arthur had used it last night when ordering him to come, Merlin had seen it in a new light. He found his feet moving without his conscious consent, and soon he was standing beside the bed, close enough to touch Arthur, to lean down and – and alright, that was enough of that.

Arthur's frown deepened as he studied Merlin's face. One of his hands slid across the bed toward Merlin, then stopped. “I'm sorry,” he said, looking down. “I shouldn't have – taken advantage last night.”

Of all the things Merlin had been expecting Arthur to say, that hadn’t been one of them. “I knew perfectly well what I was doing,” he countered. “I wasn't that drunk.”

Arthur met his gaze, his expression now grimly determined. “That's not what I meant. I used my position –”

Merlin felt a sudden rush of relief course through him. God, was that why Arthur looked so grave? Could that be all he was worried about? “I seem to remember several positions, actually,” he said, unable to help the smile from curling his lips.

“Merlin,” Arthur gritted, “what I'm trying to say is that – servicing me is not one of your duties. And I shouldn't have led you to believe, even for a moment, that it was. Last night won't happen again. You have my word.”

Hesitating only briefly, Merlin reached out to cover Arthur's hand where it lay on the bed. Arthur jerked under his touch, but didn't withdraw his hand.

“It seems to me,” Merlin said softly, “that I do quite a bit for you already that isn’t strictly part of my job.” Arthur opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, Merlin added, “And you do things for me that far surpass the duty a master owes his servant.”

Arthur raised an eyebrow at him, as though conceding the point. Steeling himself for rejection, Merlin leaned down and bestowed a gentle kiss on Arthur’s mouth. “It’s more than that,” he murmured against Arthur’s lips, “and it always has been. And we both know it.”

Truthfully, Merlin knew nothing of the sort, but he was taking a risk, and it clearly paid off when Arthur groaned and grabbed Merlin round the shoulders, hauling him back into the bed. Merlin went willingly, tossing back the heavy furs to expose Arthur in all his glory, straddling his hips whilst Arthur kissed him rather frantically and began attacking Merlin’s laces blindly to free his cock. And when they tumbled down together, finally skin to skin again, Arthur looking down into his face with a shockingly fragile joy, Merlin realised that being hopelessly besotted with Arthur Pendragon for all of eternity might not be such a terrible fate after all.


April 2009

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