Arthur pounced on him the instant they'd got inside the tent, and if it hadn't been for magic, the brace of candles would have been knocked over, and the whole thing would have gone up in flames, and Merlin wasn't entirely sure Arthur would've noticed.
"Get this—damned—" Arthur panted, practically fighting Merlin, even though both of them were trying to get the armor off.
"I'm trying!" Merlin said. "You're not bloody help—ing—" He stifled a yelp against his fist as Arthur nearly attacked his neck, savage kisses all up his throat and over his jaw, and all the buckles sprang loose at once. An entire seam opened up along the shoulders of the mail, and the plate and chainmail slid straight down Arthur's body and all collapsed to the ground together in a hideous clatter.
Merlin had a moment of horror—Arthur was going to have a fit over his mail—but Arthur didn't even stop for breath; he was dragging Merlin down to the ground with him, ignoring the perfectly good pallet a yard away from them. His jerkin unraveled, and he tore his shirt off and snatched his short blade out from the heap of armor to rip Merlin's apart, too.
"I'm really stuck for whether this is more disturbing or amazing," Merlin said a little dazedly, flat on his back and staring up at Arthur.
"Shut up," Arthur said, like he did when he meant it, and was on him. Arthur was so frantic he couldn't even get in, he just started sort of rubbing, desperately.
"Is this what battles do to you?" Merlin wondered out loud, and cheated a little: a twist of magic to push them over so Arthur was under him. Arthur seized two fistfuls of Merlin's hair and hissed, "Merlin, Merlin," not quietly enough at all.
Merlin groped blindly on the table behind him for the tallow candle burning in its dish. It was clear oil on his fingers instead by the time he slid them into Arthur. Something wild was climbing in him as he watched Arthur's head tip back, the straining exposed line of his throat, and abruptly Merlin wasn't waiting anymore.
He was pushing in, and Arthur was gasping for breath, mouth open and eyes shut tight, pushing to meet him, his knee hooked over Merlin's arm and still gripping onto Merlin's hair so hard it hurt. "Yes, dammit, yes," Arthur said, and dragged Merlin in to kiss him. All the light in the tent seemed to curl towards them, flames stretching into long thin ribbons that wove around them, whispers of air to cool their hot skin down. The magic was holding them both cradled: offering Arthur up to him or maybe the other way around, letting him pay homage to his prince, and Merlin threw himself into worship.
= End =
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