Rating/Warnings: R, sex, alcohol, cursing, Arthur without sufficient sleep
Written For: hs_bingo, prompt "snow day." Prequel to From Either Side of a Closet Door.
A/N: All simply_shipping's fault. This is a bit hot-off-the-presses, but if I don' t post it now I'm afraid I never will. (Also, Ms. Kenyon is not an OC, but she's only a minor reference so I'm not tagging this as a crossover. Major props to anyone who recognizes her.)
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
As was customary on weekdays, Arthur woke up swearing at his alarm clock after far too little sleep. He whacked at the off button, rolled out of bed in an avalanche of blankets, and staggered over towards the window to take a squint at the day he was in for.
“Ugh,” he mumbled. The entire world had been suffocated by snow, the ominously sullen clouds suggested that it might get even worse, and the bit of road that he could see looked truly awful. Uther was out of town again, so that meant he had to shamble downstairs, call the housekeeper and tell her for God’s sake not to come in today, and then check the news and find out if he was actually going to have to drive in that.
Thank God, it turned out that the schools were closed for the day. He contemplated going back up the stairs and getting into bed, and then grabbed the ugly but warm brown afghan and stretched out on the couch instead. It was really quite irritating to have worked on that essay until two in the morning for nothing, but the chance to make up sleep was worth it.
Rolling over so that his back was to the television, it occurred to him that this meant there would be a three-day weekend. Fantastic.
It was nearly noon when he woke up again. There was cereal in the kitchen, but he ended up making himself a cold cut sandwich instead because it tasted better. He spent around an hour playing Call of Duty in his pajamas, but it got boring fast and none of the others looked any better.
Besides, he would never admit it, but the house felt huge and empty and sort of muffled. It wasn’t being alone, it was the snow. The roads seemed to have cleared up a bit, but there still weren’t a lot of cars passing, and other than that it was almost completely silent out. It made the entire world seem half unreal and very far away.
(The problem was mostly the snow.)
Arthur sighed and reached for the phone to call Merlin.
“Oy. Has the snow cleared enough for you to get over here? Uther’s out of town, we can raid the liquor cabinet.”
“At two in the afternoon?”
Arthur gestured vaguely with the hand not attached to the phone. “Oh, whatever, we can do something else first. Just hurry up and get over here.”
“Oh, all right. I’ll be over as soon as I can.” The phone clicked down, and Arthur smiled and went to go shower and find actual clothes.
About half an hour later the doorbell rang for about a minute straight, which was a sure sign of Merlin on the doorstep.
“Shit, it’s cold,” he complained, shoving his way past the door and bringing half the blizzard with him. Evidently it had started again.
“Don’t go any further,” Arthur ordered, grabbing his arm. “Uther will kill me if you ruin his bloody new carpets. What, did you walk here?”
“Well, you know I don’t have a car!” Merlin protested, tossing his hat in the general direction of the rack and shaking snow all over the room.
“I thought you’d take your mum’s!”
“She won’t let me drive in snow, and I couldn’t just sneak out.”
“Idiot,” Arthur grumbled, brushing snow impatiently out of Merlin’s hair. Merlin “accidentally” elbowed him in the ribs as he tugged his coat off, so Arthur thumped him lightly on the shoulder and continued brushing. Of course this meant Merlin ducked away and hurled his gloves in Arthur’s face (well, they ended up going about an inch over Arthur’s shoulder, but he was fairly that wasn’t Merlin’s intention), and naturally that required throwing Merlin’s hat back at him. Merlin grabbed a scarf off the hooks and whirled it at Arthur like it was a whip, and the only proper response to that was to grab it easily and use it to reel Merlin in like a fish.
As this meant they ended up very close together, and Merlin was still flushed from the cold and grinning wickedly with his soaked hair sticking to his forehead, Arthur could hardly be expected to do anything besides wrap an arm around his waist and kiss him mercilessly. Merlin twisted his fingers into Arthur’s hair and kissed him back, and the entire day was looking exponentially better until Merlin slid his other hand up the back of Arthur’s shirt. He barely bit back a yelp.
“Hell, your hands are freezing!”
“Well, it was your idea to make me walk through the blizzard to get here.”
“You’re the tosser who didn’t ask for a ride. My car isn’t there for decoration!”
“Sorry, but I think the blizzard was actually safer, thanks.”
“Prat,” Arthur snorted. “Come on, Call of Duty awaits.”
Blowing up soldiers was much more fun when he was thoroughly trouncing Merlin at it, at least until he crowed over yet another ridiculously easy shot and Merlin hit him in the face with a pillow. This obviously put an end to the video game as Arthur dropped his controller and retaliated in kind, and the entire thing ended with all of the couch pillows scattered across the room and Arthur flat on his back being tickled relentlessly and sputtering about fair play and dignity.
“Surrender!” Merlin ordered, laughing almost as much as Arthur.
“You ass,” Arthur gasped. Wriggling, he managed to get enough leverage to half-shove Merlin and half-roll the both of them until they’d switched positions, and things might have gotten very interesting just then if he hadn’t also knocked into one of the tray tables. There was a loud “Ooof!” as he ended up resting all of his weight on Merlin’s stomach in order to catch it, and he could do nothing but hunch his shoulders against the shower of DVD cases.
“You all right?” he managed, doing his best to untangle himself, Merlin, and table.
“Yeah, think so.” Merlin rubbed his head, eyeing the trashed den rather ruefully. “Oh, hey, it’s six-thirty. No wonder I’m getting hungry.”
“There’s cold fish and potato salad in the fridge,” Arthur offered, making his way towards the kitchen. “And we have popcorn.”
After stuffing their faces on mostly popcorn and potato salad, they made their way up to the living room (also known as the most somberly formal of the rooms in everyday use) and Arthur, with some ceremony, broke out a bottle of red wine and a couple of glasses. Merlin grinned at him and raised his own over-full one in a silent toast to nothing in particular, and Arthur knocked his own back on the grounds that there was no shortage of things to toast right now.
It wasn’t long after the second glass that Arthur reached the point when he could really appreciate the sight and fact of Merlin sprawled languidly out on the expensively uncomfortable couch: the way he looked so ridiculously out of place in dingy red and battered blue jeans against the green and brown room, the view afforded by the way he sat with one leg dangling and the other bent up, the way the light shone through his wine onto his skin and the wild gesticulations of his other hand as he expostulated something about Ms. Kenyon, the music teacher at school, and her draconian policies.
“Let’s go shag on top of Uther’s desk,” Arthur suggested, once the Ms. Kenyon rant had finished.
All right, that hadn’t been one of Arthur’s most sophisticated lines, but Merlin was looking at him with most of the right kinds of speculation.
“Why Uther’s desk?”
“Because we haven’t done that, and it would disgust him if he knew.” That must have gotten a little bitter, because Merlin’s expression quickly shifted into the wrong sort of speculation, with just a hint of sympathy. Arthur leaned back more and inched his legs marginally further apart, gave Merlin a very obvious and slow looking-over, and then returned his gaze to Merlin’s face with his eyebrows halfway up his forehead and his most lecherous smirk in place.
This seemed to have the desired effect. Merlin slid to his feet with admirable grace for someone fairly drunk, and outstretched his hand. Arthur took it, and immediately got himself pulled sharply into an absolutely brain-melting kiss, the kind involving one hand twisted into Arthur’s hair and their bodies pressed together and Merlin’s tongue on just the very edge of his lips. Gnhm.
“Well, come on then,” he managed.
Arthur hooked his fingers into Merlin’s belt loops as they shoved open the door to Uther’s study, and towed him backwards towards the desk. A few quick sweeps cleared the central surface with a recklessness that bordered on the vindictive, and then he seated himself on the edge and pulled Merlin down to meet him.
This one was easily the best kiss of the evening. Arthur pressed his hand against the small of Merlin’s back and pulled back until they were nearly horizontal, then slid his hands under the other boy’s shirt and started in on the serious business of exploring every inch of his skin. He could just see Merlin’s arms tense as he rested his weight against the desk; then Merlin broke the kiss, gasped once in Arthur’s ear, and then started in with his lips along Arthur’s cheeks and throat, moist and eager. Arthur rested one hand on Merlin’s stomach and started sketching light arcs across the skin, letting his thumb slide almost under Merlin’s jeans, closer every time. Both of them were breathing hard, and Arthur was just in the middle of thinking what a fantastic idea this was when Merlin abruptly stood.
Arthur shoved himself up onto his elbows and let out a protesting mewl that would have been utterly humiliating under any other circumstances, but then he realized that Merlin was sinking to his knees with an absolutely devilish smirk on his face. Arthur had to swallow several times, because fuck. This was going to be good.
Merlin settled his hands on the inside of Arthur’s knees, pressing just hard enough, and slid his hands gradually upward. Arthur sat up a little bit further, gripped the edge of the desk – sharp edges of the wood digging into his palms – and just gasped.
Afterwards, Arthur slid off the desk and onto surprisingly tremulous legs. He wasn’t sure whether to blame the alcohol or the orgasm, although both were probably to blame.
“You good?” he asked Merlin, rather huskily. The other nodded.
“Yeah.” Clearly Merlin had enjoyed this too, if his voice was any indication. Arthur let himself slide to the floor, a bit to the left of the mess they’d made, and leaned against the desk. Merlin slumped against him.
“We’re going to have to clean up the mess,” Arthur sighed, not moving in that direction at all.
“Mmmph. Later.” Merlin rested his head against Arthur’s shoulder and closed his eyes. Idly, Arthur covered Merlin’s hand with his own.
They stayed like that for a bit, half-dozing, while outside the snow continued very falling.
The rest of the world felt very far away again, but Arthur didn’t mind that at all this time.