The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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slow plague death and a snippet
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Day Three (Four?) of My Life as a Germ Depository:

Due to work rules, I have to go to the doctor today and get a note excusing me from work for having the plague. On the upside, there's no chest congestion, which is yay, as I have been a totally paranoid person and spending a lot of time coughing as much as possible to test this. For anyone who has had pneumonia and the doctor gave you a torture device to breathe with and then cough copiously, you remember this horror, but it's not nearly that bad. On the downside, head congestion is like walking around with lead sewn into my cheekbones and head and a headache that is like an analogy for the hugeness of the Titanic--or perhaps Australia?--and I have no intention of actually thinking up an adequate analogy so just deal.

So. Being miserable and sick, I want attention and basically, I will take it any way I can get it. Snippet below cut. It's a dumb snippet. But I am sick and it made me laugh myself into easy coughing fits to imagine it, so there you go. Dedicated to shinetheway for her life-saving porn ficlets. This is not porn. Which you will see, is the entire problem.



Efficient
by Seperis
Merlin/Arthur

Merlin's found, over time, that there's a relatively predictable pattern to Arthur's bad days, and all of them start with special, deeply familial midday meals with Uther and Morgana. Merlin doesn't even need to guess anymore; when the kitchen tells him they are setting three plates and they don't have visiting courtiers, Merlin knows he's doomed and plans accordingly.

Which is why he's ready, more or less, when he's summoned to Arthur's chambers at nearly midnight, because after the joy that was their afternoon together (fell off horse, fell over due to sword, fell down the stairs carrying armor; basically, Arthur's bad days are also Merlin's bruised days), their evening (he didn't have to duck a thrown dagger or a bottle of ale, but that's about all he can say for it), Arthur won't hesitate to let him escape any more prince/manservant bonding time for anything as ridiculous as sleep.

Merlin reserves the right to be an ass about it, though, pushing open the door and staring resentfully at Arthur, who is camped out in front of the hearth in nothing but his unlaced shirt and trousers, with three skins of wine and a wide, brilliant smile.

Predictable, yes. Merlin closes the door. "I'm not that funny when I'm drunk."

Arthur grins at him winningly. "Yes, you really are."

*****

This is how it goes wrong. Arthur blames society.

"Oh my God," Morgana says, and Arthur lifts his head and regards with no favor the swell of her chest only a few inches above his face. Morgana is not to be faced before breakfast. Or ever, really. "Arthur!"

Arthur reaches for a pillow and finds something terribly un-pillow-like. In fact, it feels a great deal like skin.

"I had--" Morgana, for a wonder, turns a hideous shade of red, backing up a step and actually stumbling. "How long?"

The skin-covered pillow moans and says, "Please, sire, next time, I'll do it without wine, I swear," and Arthur thinks Merlin and wine and fuck as Merlin rolls over and collapses across his back. Swallowing, Arthur tries to decide between vomiting and going back to sleep in hopes this is all a bad dream.

Hope wins. "Later, Morgana," Arthur manages with dignity intact, reaching for an (actual) pillow and covering his head, while Merlin's breath puffs against the back of his neck and he says, "Yes, later. Very sore now."

This cannot end well.

*****

Merlin wakes up to Arthur sitting up (naked) and staring at the floor (he's naked) with an expression somewhere between epic homicide and hilarity (while naked). This is never what anyone sane calls a good sign; Arthur lacks a reasonable sense of humor and finds the oddest and most inappropriate things amusing.

(But naked and Merlin admits, to himself if no one else, his own patience with Arthur grows in inverse proportion to how much he's wearing. Merlin's agreed to many terrifying things when Arthur's bathing. Many things.)

"Sire?" he starts, then realizes that the sheets feel so very good against his naked skin because he's naked as well. Closing his eyes, Merlin reaches for a pillow and covers his head. "Later?"

Arthur drops back on the bed beside him and nearly crawls under him with a sigh. "Yes, please."

*****

Here's what they know: they did not have sex. But no one will ever believe it.

"Merlin, you can't stay in here forever," Arthur argues, though his heart's not in it. Staring at the sun (well above the horizon, which will only add to the entire horror), Arthur stares hatefully at the wineskins and thinks of horrible purges of winesellers throughout the world for their foul discovery of what happens when grapes sit too long in large casks.

"I'm not going out there again," Merlin states, stealing half of Arthur's very late breakfast with the shell-shocked look of someone who was questioned gently about consent and willingness by Morgana for an entire hour in the dining hall and then even more gently questioned by Gaius on whether Arthur had been--had been-- "I can't face another inquiry on my virtue, Arthur. It's not happening. It's not."

Arthur sighs and picks at the bread and cheese and says, "Gaius asked me if I was gentle," Arthur says, staring at the wall. "After you ran away. And if there was bleeding."

Merlin says, "Why isn't there a purge of winesellers?"

"They're next."

Merlin drops his head on the table. "No one will ever believe us. Ever."

Arthur picks up a knife and wonders if falling on it would be such a bad idea. "My father did compliment me on the efficiency of using my staff for dual purposes," Arthur says, and this time, he doesn't even feel like crying. "One who cannot get pregnant."

Merlin lifts his head miserably. "Gwen complimented me on bagging a prince."

Arthur nods thoughtfully. "More wine?"

Merlin nods gratefully. "Please, yes."

*****

Which is how the entire rumor started. How it became true...well, that's a different story entirely.



shinetheway and I are snippeting here on what happens next. Feel free to add if you wish. And no, this is not a desperate and transparent plea for entertainment for the afternoon. Except you know, it totally is.

This is one way it went down.

Merlin decides, afer some thought, that he was absolutely right. He should never have left Arthur's chambers.

*Everyone* looks at him now. The chambermaids look, and giggle behind their palms in groups. The courtiers look, and raise cool eyebrows, and whisper together before he's even left the room. The knights look, and grin, and make completely unsubtle bawdy comments. Morgana looks, and offers relationship advice that makes Merlin want to hide underneath furniture until she goes away, and Gwen looks with questions in her eyes that she would never be so presumptuous to ask but hang between them anyway, and Gaius makes pointed remarks about the value of a good herbed oil to prevent unfortunate tearing which makes Merlin want to hide under the furniture until he *dies*.

Uther, thank god, does not look, because Merlin absolutely refuses to go near him.

Arthur looks, too, and his looks are the hardest to deal with. His looks are private, hidden, stolen in moments when Arthur doesn't think he's watching. Merlin likes those looks. He pretends not to see them sometimes, just to encourage more, but that means he can't give Arthur his own looks.

Finally, he gets tired of all of it: the giggles and the innuendo and Morgana's advice and Arthur's hidden stares and he shows up in Arthur's bedchamber with two more wineskins and a determined expression. And a bottle of oil, because Gaius does have a point, even if Merlin would rather claw his eyes out than admit it.

Arthur stares, and stares, and finally smiles, like the sun coming out and it's lovely and not hidden at all.

...I seriously love you so much. *GLEE*

Or it could have happened like this.

After about a week of horrifying embarrassment--during which Arthur spends most of his time hunting alone, beating things up, and avoiding Merlin--Merlin summoned his courage and stormed into Arthur's rooms at one in the morning.

"Arthur," he said, and the lump of blankets moved. He took off his jacket, and his shirt. "Arthur, wake up."

"I'm the prince," the lump of blankets said, muffled and sounding very plaintive. "I can have you killed, you know."

Merlin took off his trousers. "Whatever," he said heartlessly, and stalked to the bed and jerked the covers back. Arthur yelped and glared up at him, looking mussed and sleepy and pissed. Merlin belatedly noticed the frost on the windows, the empty fireplace, as the cold abruptly bit into his bare skin. "This is ridiculous. We have to talk."

Arthur gave him a stunned look up and down, then immediately looked shifty, which meant he was trying to figure out how to hunt alone, beat something up, or avoid Merlin *right that very second*. Merlin heeled off his boots and climbed into the bed, and Arthur scrambled out of the way, looking outraged.

"Just what the hell do you think you're doing?" he said, glaring. Merlin leaned forward, braced his arms, and kissed Arthur.

"mmphgs" Arthur mumbled, but Merlin kept kissing him, Arthur's mouth so warm and wet, and it was stubborn under his kiss, closed and resistant, and trust Arthur to be a prat about *everything*.

"Arthur," he breathed, licked at Arthur's mouth, coaxing, and Arthur made a shuddering sound and his mouth opened, and his arms came up around Merlin, and Arthur was so warm, Merlin held on dizzily and kissed him and kissed him.

At some point, Arthur pushed him down and crawled on top of him, and also managed to pull the covers up, which meant that they were no longer in danger of frostbite. Merlin stretched luxuriously, pinned down, Arthur's heavy body crushing him from neck to knee, and he moaned and wrapped his legs around Arthur's hips.

Arthur panted, hot air at his throat, and he bit Merlin's shoulder when he came in a rush of wet heat, smeared on Merlin's belly, and then obligingly lay where he was, limp and sated, while Merlin groaned and pushed at the perfect warm silk of his skin and came all over himself and Arthur and the sheets.

"Good god," Arthur mumbled into his hair. "You're messy."

"Am not," Merlin said drowsily, and fumbled for a bit of Arthur's shift to wipe himself off. Arthur thumped him, but didn't move

"I'm going hunting tomorrow," Arthur said after a minute, "want to come?"

It definitely DID NOT happen like this.

"Congratulations," Uther said, and raised his goblet to toast. The entire court stood, and saluted Merlin and Arthur with their goblets.

"To Merlin and Arthur," Uther said solemnly, and the whole court chorused "To Merlin and Arthur."

Merlin sat down, tried to remember his table manners, and that he absolutely could not kick Arthur in the shin in front of the entire nobility of Camelot. Arthur leaned over. "More wine?" he whispered, looking traumatized. Uther's announcement of Arthur's betrothal had come as a bigger shock to him than to anyone.

"Oh god, yes, please," Merlin said gratefully, and Arthur gestured to the servant behind them for more. Wine was evil, and wine had gotten them into this mess, but on the other hand, wine looked like the only way he was going to survive this night, after being scarred for life by the experience of being walked down the aisle by Uther.

"We pray that your union will be a fruitful one," Uther added, kindly, which was unfortunately just as Merlin took a deep swallow. Merlin choked and spat wine all over the table. "After all, the kingdom must have an heir."

"Oh god," Merlin said, and blindly chugged the whole glass.

It could have happened like this. (Although it didn't.)

"Do that again." Arthur groaned as Merlin licked him again, consideringly. "Oh my god."

"You know," Merlin said thoughtfully, shifting his grip and experimenting with a swirling motion over the tip of Arthur's cock, "this isn't actually that bad. I mean, when you give it a try."

"Merlin," grated Arthur, "if you don't stop talking..."

"Oh? What are you going to do to me," Merlin said dryly, and sucked at the head. Arthur made a series of extremely gratifying groans.

"I don't know," Arthur managed, and fumbled at Merlin's head. "I'll think of something, though. Oh, god. Do that again."

"Well," Merlin offered helpfully, licking his fingers and stroking them up and down the shaft, "you could put me in the stocks." He took as much of Arthur's cock as he could into his mouth.

"aghgfd," Arthur said, not very clearly. Merlin pulled back and grinned.

"Or you could have me flogged." He moved his wet fingers down, experimentally nudging between Arthur's legs. Arthur jerked and groaned and tried to spread his thighs wider and almost fell on top of Merlin.

"Or, I suppose you could just put me in the dungeon," he said, and took Arthur back into his mouth just as he pushed his thumb inside.

Arthur choked out something that Merlin couldn't hear because Arthur was scrabbling at his ears and pulling his hair, but from the way his hips were pushing up helplessly, Merlin decided he was going to take that as a compliment. He swallowed and swallowed, and licked his way back off.

Arthur stared down at him vaguely. His mouth was red where he'd bitten it, and he was flushed and sweaty. Merlin grinned and stood, then pushed him back and kissed him.

"Why don't you tell me all about it," he said huskily, and Arthur laughed helplessly as he pushed him back onto the bed.

This is, in fact, how it went.

Merlin left the room after all, because unfortunately, Arthur turned out to be completely unreasonable about his manservant hiding away until the end of time. He spent a lot of time avoiding Morgana, who tended to give him unbearably sympathetic looks, and Gwen, who tended to give him unbearably amused looks. He would have avoided Gaius, but, well, he lived with him. But he avoided basically everyone else because apparently the entire downstairs population of the castle wanted to be the one to heal his broken heart and body and teach him to love againm, and the entire upstairs population of the castle wanted to hear about Arthur's pillow talk and manly physique and bed skills. Merlin wasn't sure which was worse.

After a week, he was ready to kill them all.

While Merlin was skulking around avoiding people who wanted to soothe his poor ravished soul, Arthur spent an excessive amount of time attempting to forget that Gaius had ever asked him about Merlin's ass and ignoring the jokes and laughter of his knights and the cringing fear of the chambermaids that cleaned his rooms. He mostly accomplished this by hitting things--people, animals, targets, trees--with other things--swords, maces, his fists, crossbow bolts, and a horse (but that was only once). He avoiding his father, because Uther was apparently thrilled that his son had turned out to be a buggering sodomite, since it wouldn't muck up the succession and there was absolutely no chance that Merlin would ever be an effective pawn against the throne.

After a week, he was ready to kill them all.

Arthur opened the door to his chamber and threw his sword on the table. Merlin looked up from his seat on the hearth. "I'm ready to kill them all," he announced, and Merlin groaned and tipped over onto his back and stared at the ceiling.

"Tell me about it," he said wearily. "Do you know how many times Bronwyn has tried to get me to 'tell her all about it, so the healing can begin'? Five times so far. Two of them today."

"Sir Archibald called you my mistress," Arthur countered, and sat down on the floor next to Merlin.

"Gaius left a bottle of oil by my bedside," Merlin said, "with a note. It said 'tell Arthur to be more gentle next time.'"

"My father asked me if he should try sleeping with his servants, if it worked so well for me," Arthur said, and Merlin stared at him, horrified.

"All right, you win," he said, and shuddered. "That's just...god. Wrong."

Arthur lay down and pillowed his head on Merlin's stomach. "So," he said gloomily. "What now."

"Well," Merlin said hesitantly. Arthur felt a hand touch his hair, stroke it. "I don't suppose..."

Arthur lifted his head, careful not to dislodge Merlin's hand, and stared. Merlin looked apologetic. Merlin met his eyes. "I mean, if they all think we're doing it anyway, well. We might as well, you know..."

Arthur thought about this for about five seconds. "All right, fine" he said abruptly, and turned over, hitching himself closer to Merlin and grinned down at him. Merlin looked a little stunned, and a little relieved, and a lot happy.

"After all," Arthur said, hands starting to run down Merlin's sides, and Merlin was pushing into them hopefully, eyes shining and bright, and his mouth was pink and wet and Arthur couldn't resist it anymore, "I suppose there's nothing left to lose now."

"That's the spirit," Merlin said dryly, and kissed him, and the whole miserable week was worth it because Merlin is underneath him, hot and wriggling and willing, rying to get his hand down Arthur's pants and breathing hard. It's sunny and bright and there's no wine anywhere, and Arthur kisses him again and again and feels drunk just the same.

*FALLS OVER AND DIES*

God. I don't even know if I want to know how this happened. But poor, poor Merlin and his man-womb. And having to be questioned about his fertility every month by Uther in concern. YOU KNOW THIS HAPPENS, RIGHT? AND SUDDENLY HE CAN'T CONVINCE ANYONE HE HAS NO MAN-WOMB AND MORGANA AND GWEN OFFER ADVICE AND HE WANTS TO DIE.

That's how slash_dragon thinks it happened. :-)

I love this one beyond words. They are so adorable. And I think I'm kind of addicted to your smut?

Heh heh heh. [shifty eyes] It's all part of my master plan. The first taste is free, but after that... [giggles]

Seriously, it's fun writing them. And I'm really glad you like them. I hope they are helping to ease your slow plague death. And, you know, any more snippets you want to write for me, I promise to be *very* appreciative. :-D

The problem is, Arthur's never had to deal with this sort of thing. It's one thing to tumble a chambermaid or a visiting noble (and fun, if he does say so himself), but Merlin comes with entirely new complications.

In retrospect, his reaction to Sir Some Stupid Name approaching Merlin at the feast the night before was perhaps a little non-proportional to the actual offense (and that there was an offense is an entirely new and bizarre world order), but smiling down at him on the training field while the man stares up at him with one (1) broken nose and an expression of utter terror is surprisingly satisfying. Arthur leaves his sword resting in the delicate hollow of his throat for a few more seconds, then steps back and lets him consider standing up for a bit before taking the waterskin Merlin offers and wanders back to the armoury supremely pleased with himself.

Merlin stares at him thoughtfully. "Bit of an overreaction, yeah?"

Arthur shrugs out of his hauberk. "Problem?"

Merlin smirks. "Not at all."

[giggles crazily]

Arthur. Overreacting. GUH.

*is leaning on desk, giggling helplessly and trying to be quiet, as this is a library*

Or.

"Have you seen Arthur?" Merlin asked Gwen.

"No," Gwen said, but looked almost uneasy, and that was not a look she wore well.

"Gwen," Merlin said, and she backed up.

"Really, I haven't." Then she fled down the hallway, claiming that Morgana was in need of a fresh set of linens immediately.

Merlin continued searching, and got the same answer from Morgana, who was ripping out a row of embroidery in a violent way that made Merlin keep his distance.

"You haven't?" Merlin had thought that even if Arthur hid from him, Morgana would have an idea of what was going on, she usually did, in a frighteningly accurate way.

"No."

Another row was torn out with a jerk, and Merlin winced, it looked as though she was using a small dagger to take out the stitches.

Morgana glanced up, and Merlin was pinned in his tracks by the ferocity in her expression. "But if I did know, I would say you need to demonstrate care in handling his feelings."

"Arthur has feelings?" Merlin asked, joking, mostly, and Morgana *twirled the dagger*. He swallowed hard. "Feelings, yes."

"When he has exhausted all other options, there is one place where he seeks refuge," Morgana said and beckoned Merlin closer.

Merlin listened and stepped back, mouth hanging open. "Seriously?"

"Clearly this has to be resolved, immediately," Morgana said, and Merlin privately agreed as he ran from her chambers. When Arthur started hiding out in the library, he was in dire straits indeed.

**

...oh wow, this is serious. No wonder Morgana is enraged.

AWESOME!

Morgana? Is FURIOUS. Merlin has to go and fix this RIGHT NOW.

:) Hope you are feeling better.

[snickers] Oh dear. Merlin, what have you done?

Merlin is in a bit of trouble. *g*

"Arthur has feelings?" Merlin asked, joking, mostly, and Morgana *twirled the dagger*.

Eh heh heh heh heh! Oh, yes!

Heh, can't you just see it? I mean, yes, they fight almost all the time, but if anyone ELSE messes with Arthur, Morgana is VERY UNHAPPY.

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...okay, wow, I didn't expect this. You write in Merlin, don't you? This is really good. Wow.

*blinking* Seriously. Excellent.

Oooooooooooh. [big eyes]

Sequel!!

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Guh! (I was almost hoping she'd get to see it all, but that would be wrong. *ahem*) I love, love, love the way she looks out for Merlin, to make sure he wasn't forced.