Merlin’s arms are stretched wide, an amused grin making crinkles of laughter in the delicate features of his face.
Arthur stops in mid-step, able to etch in his mind the teasing stance of his manservant without having to take a single glance behind him, and decides he’s having none of it. He whirls around, marching toward Merlin, who lets out a yelp of surprise.
“Arthur—ow! Hey, you big prat!” Merlin feigns annoyance as Arthur pulls him into a headlock, squeezing tight. “Let go! Ow!”
And Arthur does.
Only to shove Merlin against the wall, and kiss him, hard.
“Mmph,” says Merlin, clutching his fingers around the fabric of Arthur’s white shirt.
Arthur bites at Merlin’s bottom lip, slinking his hands under Merlin’s shirt as he shudders, tracing his fingers along the white-warmth of his skin. “You drive me absolutely mad, you know,” is his voice, low, hot like fire, “I’ve a good mind to teach you a lesson.”
Merlin chuckles breathily. “You never answered my question,” because he always wants the last word.
“Forget about the bloody hug.” And Arthur tugs Merlin to the bed.
And for a while, Merlin does forget, because Arthur Pendragon’s tongue roaming around freely on one’s body can be distracting indeed.
But after it all, in the still of the early evening, Arthur’s arms are wrapped loosely around Merlin as he sleeps, his tired bones and the pumping of his veins whispering safety and comfort and I love you.
Merlin runs his fingers gently along the warmth of Arthur’s arm, and thinks how his many questions (hidden in one) have been answered.
He says, “I love you, too,” and though Arthur doesn’t reply, Merlin thinks he can feel his King hold onto him just a little bit tighter.
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