Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, Arthur/OMC
Warnings: Drug use, Infidelity
Word Count: 1760
Summary: An out-take from Now I Will Unsettle The Ground Beneath You - Arthur's POV set during the weekend he and Merlin meet at Leon's country home. This won't make much sense without reading the original fic.
Notes: For sapphirescribe on the occasion of her birthday. She loves Now I Will Unsettle the Ground Beneath You so I offered to write her an out-take from Arthur's POV. She asked for three possible scenarios, so I chose two: 1. When Arthur first meets Merlin and 2. When he first starts to remember.
Thanks to Alby Mangroves for the beta and Ememmyem for the Britpick.
Arthur arrives at Leon's, alcohol sweating from his pores and a tongue that feels like it's been licking sandpaper for hours on end. It'd been a launch for some new handbag designer. Arthur couldn't give a fuck really, these launches are all the same: celebrity dj, free champagne and a throng of no-name models as far as the eye can see. Hardly memorable.
He does remember the tall, skinny twink with the blue-black hair whose coke he shared in the VIP toilets, though. Long, long legs that straddled Arthur's hips as he fed Arthur lines of really good coke and rode his cock. Arthur didn't ask his name, he never does.
"Rough night?" Morgana asks, eyebrow cocked.
"Not even five minutes and you're already being a judgemental cow, Morgana," he says, "that must be a new record."
"Oh you two," Leon says, hugging them both, "do I need to separate you already?"
Arthur rubs at the stubble on his chin and yawns, stretching his arms over his head, "No, I just need sleep in order to deal with my darling sister," he kisses her on the cheek and she grimaces at him.
Morgana pushes him away, gently. "You reek, you know. And you need a shave."
"And a detox," Leon says, clapping Arthur on the shoulder, "but that's hardly happening this weekend."
"Detoxes are for amateurs." Arthur hoists his bag over his shoulder, "A bed would be lovely, though."
"Of course." Leon walks them both into the house. "I'm afraid you'll have to carry your own bags, I've given Harold and the rest of them the night off."
"Oh no," Morgana says in mock horror, "however will Arthur cope without someone to do everything for him?"
"Because you're such a paragon of non-privilege yourself," Arthur says, "I notice you brought your Birkin bag for a nice casual weekend in the country. So shut up and give me a moment's peace, would you? My head hurts."
"You'll be sleeping in the room next to Gwaine's," Leon says as they ascend the stairs. Arthur's calves burn on every step, and he's relieved when they finally get to the top. He's not unfit, not by a long shot, but he'd defy anyone to not be a walking zombie after a night of fucking and booze and drugs.
"He's bringing his new boyfriend," Leon says, as he points towards the bedroom door. "He's really besotted. You should have heard him on the phone; Merlin's so pretty, Merlin's such a good artist, blah blah blah."
Arthur's skin prickles, from his scalp to the base of his neck, as if someone just ran their fingers through his hair. "Great. So instead of sleeping, I'll be forced to listen to Gwaine shagging some fucking Shoreditch hipster all bloody evening. Just what I need."
He hugs Leon briefly, one of those very heterosexual manhugs. Ironic really, considering.
"Sleep well, brother," Morgana says, and she sounds almost tender.
Arthur toes his loafers off and strips down to his boxers. Overheated from the hangover, he lies on top of the covers, and in no more than minutes, his body is dragged down into a sleep that he'd be powerless to resist, even if he wanted to.
"You look so good like this. All spread out under me and begging for my fingers."
Arthur kisses him then, sucks on that insubordinate, wicked tongue and shoves his fingers in deep.
"Oh god. Arthur. My—" The boy, the one with the blue eyes that sometimes flash gold bites his lip and throws his head back, baring his taut, gorgeous throat.
"None of that," Arthur says, his other hand in the boy's hair, holding him there so Arthur can lick the shell of one ridiculous ear, "let me hear you."
"Mmmm, yes," Arthur says, his lips upturned, "tell me again how arrogant I am. How condescending and supercilious. Should I stop? Is that what you'd like?"
"No. Please. My—"
"Your what?" Arthur's fingers skate the boy's rim and he'd love to get his mouth on it, lick it where it's all puffy and fucked-out.
The first thing Arthur notices when he wakes is the noise. The muffled voices on the other side of the wall. Gwaine's and the boyfriend's, he assumes. There's giggling and shuffling and dear God if he has to listen to Gwaine actually shagging he might be sick.
Or not. Which is equally as worrying. He rubs a hand over his cock, which is already tenting his boxers and considers having a brief, but satisfying wank.
But Gwaine braying like a donkey next door would be enough to turn anyone off. Arthur bangs on the wall, hard, and hears Gwaine yell in response.
All he can make out is "Princess" and "booze". He closes his eyes, but his mind's racing now, and he gives up on the idea of more sleep, opting for a nice hot shower instead.
The cacophony from the kitchen is enough to bring Arthur's hangover, which while not completely gone had at least become a muted version of its former self, back full force.
Morgana's bell-like voice and the clinking of glasses would be enough, but when he descends the stairs he sees Gwaine is there with who he assumes is Merlin.
He doesn't know what it is, whether he's still groggy from sleep or whether it's the drugs still floating around in his bloodstream making him feel muted, but it's almost as if everything's covered in cellophane. He can see and hear but there's this translucence, almost. Arthur pauses at the bottom of the stairs and closes his eyes for a minute. When he opens them, it's all much clearer, as if some sort of veil's just been lifted.
"No manners," Merlin says, as Gwaine heads outside, "but what can you do?"
"Put him out of his misery."
Arthur mostly ignores what Morgana says, it's the same as always, but he gives her two fingers for her trouble, anyway.
Merlin's eyes are really fucking blue and Arthur tries not to look when he yawns and stretches, his T-shirt riding up just a little, his jeans low on slim hips. There's the barest strip of pale skin there, and Arthur can't help but stare.
He makes himself look away for a minute and when he looks back, Merlin's skin is thankfully no longer on display. His chest tightens, but he refuses to feel guilty for it. It isn't as if he wants to throw Gwaine's boyfriend down on the worktop and have at it. Clearly, the sodding dream made him horny as fuck and he should have had a wank in the shower, that's all.
Morgana leaves and it's just the two of them. It should be awkward, they really should have nothing to say to each other, but there's this strange, biting quality to the conversation from the get-go. Morgana's derision is nothing compared to Merlin's, and Arthur can't help but stand there, shocked and amused as he and Merlin trade insults back and forth, like a verbal sparring match. It makes his skin prickle and his mouth dry with the familiarity of it.
When he suggests starting over and takes Merlin's hand, it's as if a fire has sparked in his veins.
He grabs a beer and stammers his excuses. When he steps outside it's still daylight and he closes his eyes for a minute, just lets the sun's rays hit his face and neck. It's warm, but not as warm as Merlin's hands feel when they're touching his thighs. It feels wrong that he should know that, but somehow, impossibly, it's as normal and real to him as the sun on his face and his heart beating.
He dreams of Merlin, chained and broken with his own sister torturing him, and it's too much, too vivid. He forces himself awake to find the sheets thrown off and half-moon marks from his fingernails digging into the palms of his hands. His forehead's soaked in sweat, strands of his hair plastered to it and his tongue feels thick in his mouth.
Arthur doesn't want to think about it, how vicious Morgana was, how Merlin's screams sounded when he writhed in agony, so he pulls on jeans and a polo shirt, grabs his zippo and his Marlboro Lights and pads down to the kitchen barefoot. He pulls a bottle of champagne from the fridge and lets himself out, walking over the cobblestones to the pool. He stops halfway, opens the bottle and takes a huge swig, pops it down on the ground and lights a cigarette, taking a long, slow drag.
It's such a quiet night, so he stands there just for a minute and just breathes.
When he reaches the pool, cigarette hanging between two fingers and the bottle in his other hand, Merlin is sitting there moonlight hitting his pale skin. Arthur isn't surprised about it in the slightest.
He offers Merlin a drink and tries not to watch as his head goes back, throat going taut as he swallows. Arthur wants to bite him there, suck on his neck so hard it leaves bruises that don't belong to Gwaine.
Arthur's shocked that he doesn't feel guilty and when Merlin feels the way the air between them has changed, intensified, he does the right thing and walks away.
Arthur doesn't care about doing the right thing, not as much as he should, and when he closes his eyes he can imagine the two of them together: naked and glistening and Merlin begging in harsh, hitched whispers.
It takes him two more mouthfuls of champagne to give in, to get his jeans past his hips and his hand inside his boxers. Arthur strokes himself just how he likes it: long and slow, his thumb circling his wet, slick cockhead on every downstroke and his other hand on his chest, his fingers pinching at his nipples.
Merlin's face appears before him, wild and wanting. Arthur sees himself grab Merlin by the red kerchief tied around his throat and pull him in for a quick, savage kiss before he shoves him back down on the bed.
"You want this, don't you?" He asks and Merlin nods.
He slides inside him with one, deep thrust and Merlin wraps his legs around Arthur's back and begs for it harder, faster, oh fuck please, my lord.
Arthur comes with one hand on the ground, the other on his cock and the image, so real and vivid, of Merlin's face twisted in ecstasy forever etched in his mind.