Harlequin's Slash Fic

Season 2: 11 Showing Real Initiative

Title: Season 2: 11 Showing Real Initiative
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: Ongoing story; this part 1930 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: Arthur is rather aggrieved with Merlin, and they have different ideas about how to resolve the situation.
Warnings: Season two spoilers. Also, this is rather more angsty than recent instalments. I felt the two young men needed a crisis in their relationship – and based on the nature of this episode, maybe the Merlin writers did, too.

Happy birthday, BecsX!

Showing Real Initiative

‘Take off your britches,’ Arthur ordered in cold tones late that night. ‘In fact, take off all your clothes.’

Merlin baulked a little, and set to the task with slow reluctant fingers. ‘Arthur… I realise you’re unhappy. You’re angry. With me. With your fa–’

‘Shut up, Merlin.’

‘But is this really what you want to do about it?’

‘I told you to be quiet!’ Arthur paced away for a moment, frowning, but then soon turned back to face him. ‘And I told you to take off your clothes,’ he insisted with a hint of venom that Merlin hadn’t heard directed towards him for many long months now.

Merlin finally stripped off his tunic, and propped his rear on the bed to begin drawing off his boots. ‘Arthur –’

‘You said you’d be anything I need you to be.’

‘Well, yes, I…’

‘Right now I need you to be the creature that I –’

‘Arthur,’ Merlin said, cutting across him. Which was a risk, but he knew that even Arthur would regret having certain things said, once the urgency had passed. ‘You said that you liked me loving you.’

‘What of it?’

‘You don’t want that to change, do you?’

Arthur considered him with something remote in his eyes. ‘But you won’t stop loving me. Will you,’ he added in remorseless tones. It wasn’t a question.

‘No,’ Merlin replied equably. ‘But you might stop liking it.’

Stop trying to be clever, Merlin. For god’s sake! I just want to fuck you. You don’t usually have a problem with that.’

Merlin stilled, sitting there in his britches, with his feet and his chest and arms bare. ‘You want to punish me.’

‘And what if I do? You’re my servant. There are times you forget that! I’ve grown far too lenient. I trust you – and half the time you end up making me look a complete fool.’

‘Arthur, if you do this you’ll just be punishing yourself.’

The prince glared furiously at him, and strode over. Stood over him with a finger jabbing into the air between them as he made each point. ‘Stop trying to be clever. You’ve been horribly incompetent lately. You’ve embarrassed me before people I – And get those blasted britches off! Or do you want to fail me at this as well?’

Merlin set his jaw stubbornly, and stood up, forcing the prince to take a step back. He began working at the fastenings to his britches, though his fingers were even clumsier than usual.

The prince continued in a tone that ached with frustration and anger – and yearning. ‘I thought we’d reached… some kind of… understanding! I thought that –’


‘That – that I knew you. That you weren’t actually as useless as you seem. There’s – I thought there was something about you, Merlin. I always have. I thought – Well, whatever it was I saw, it’s been noticeably absent lately.’

‘Is that why – Was that why you cared about me?’

Arthur took another step back, and turned away slightly, folding his arms across his chest. ‘Well, if I did, it would have to be based on the assumption that there’s more to you than meets the eye.’

Merlin finally stepped out of his britches and linens, and looked down at himself. He knew he was no great prize, certainly no prince, not even a knight – and Merlin himself had been rather startled the first time he’d seen his face in a mirror, but – ‘I thought that… what met the eye didn’t entirely offend you, my lord.’

Arthur threw a stormy glance at him, and then finally softened a little. ‘It is true, I suppose… that you aren’t entirely offensive to look at.’

Merlin pressed on, in a slightly more tender tone. ‘And you do think there’s more to me than… than you might find in any other servant?’

An intense frown greeted this, though Arthur also softened the tiniest bit further. ‘Is there?’ he asked, half sceptical and apparently half wanting to have this confirmed.

‘Yes,’ Merlin replied, simply and honestly. His heart thudded hard in his chest.

Arthur let a long moment pass.

Merlin was breathless.

But when Arthur spoke, all he said was, ‘Then get onto the bed, damn you. And lie facedown.’

Arthur hadn’t undressed but simply freed himself from his britches. He followed Merlin onto the bed, straddling him on all fours. Merlin turned his face to the side so that he could glimpse the prince. Arthur was frowning down at him in concentration, and reaching down to tug himself into full hardness. It only took three quick strokes. Then Arthur spat into his own hand and swiped it over his cock, shifted down. Merlin opened his thighs, nudging at Arthur’s leg with his own, but Arthur muttered, ‘Stay where you are,’ and Merlin lay straight again, just tilted his rear up as much as he could to meet the prince – who lay close over him, his cockhead immediately nudging at Merlin’s hole as if they’d been formed exactly for this. Arthur grunted as if satisfied at what he found – and then he was pushing in, sliding in in one long thrust –

Merlin called out raggedly. It didn’t hurt, of course, not any more, but there was something sublimely shocking about being possessed so fully, so thoroughly in one sure move. ‘Arthur!’

‘God… god damn you,’ the prince complained hoarsely.

‘Oh!’ as Arthur began moving within him in short relentless jabs. ‘Oh!’ Merlin dragged in a shaky breath as deep as he could. Heat welled through him, lapping out and then rising from where Arthur possessed him. ‘Oh god, Arthur, I…’ He was hard against the bedding, and though he was pushed down firmly by their joined weight, there wasn’t enough friction or movement for the bed clothes or the soft mattress to do more than tease at him. ‘Arthur, I…’

‘Shut up, Merlin.’

‘I wanted this. I want this. God, Arthur…’

‘Shut up!’

‘Afterwards… remember I said that. You’ll want to know – I meant it.’

Arthur growled in frustration and anger. With one long fierce move he shoved himself as deep as he could within Merlin, and then he stilled and from somewhere above Merlin’s head Arthur icily announced, ‘You are mistaken. I do not want you to want this.’

Merlin took a breath. Thought about it. And as Arthur finally began moving again, Merlin whispered, ‘All right.’

And he began struggling.

The prince easily controlled him, of course. When Merlin tried to lift up, Arthur simply placed the heel of one hand between his shoulder–blades and leaned just enough weight into it to keep Merlin pinned. Arthur’s thrusts continued short and hard and remorseless, his hips rocking fluidly, and his legs still in their britches pressing down heavy against the back of Merlin’s thighs. Merlin squirmed, and shifted a hand back, trying to reach for somewhere vulnerable on his assailant, but Arthur simply took that hand in his free one and held it firm against the bed, just back and down far enough that Merlin’s shoulder was stretched to its limit – then deliberately took his hand away from Merlin’s back to restrain his other hand the same way. Merlin wriggled, but could hardly move without causing himself pain. And still those thrusts continued relentless. All Merlin could manage was to weakly drum his heels against Arthur’s rear, but that just made the prince laugh mockingly. Where had the prince learned to possess and control someone so completely? Or was he just acting on instinct, and applying lessons learned in other ways? ‘No!’ Merlin called out – though not loudly enough to reach the guards down the corridor, let alone summon them. ‘Sire. No!’ That made Arthur laugh, too, though there was a hint of appreciation in it now, almost as if despite everything he liked Merlin’s audacity.

Arthur dropped lower, pushed his face in closer – easily dodged Merlin’s wild toss of his head – and muttered in Merlin’s ear, ‘Don’t – ever – humiliate – me – again.’

‘Master…’ Merlin pleaded.

‘Do you hear me?’

‘Yes, master. Please, my lord. Please…’

‘Please what?’

‘Stop… Stop… Hurting me…’

Arthur actually paused for a moment then, gaze raking assessingly across what he could see of Merlin’s face. But Merlin’s mouth was open over his softly panting breath, and he knew his eyes betrayed his desire and devotion as they always did, and his body stretched below Arthur’s was obviously receptive. Arthur took all this in – then growled and lowered his head to bite at Merlin’s throat, to really bite right over where his blood pulsed. Merlin cried out loud and wordless, and squirmed again –

– and then, and then, as Arthur shifted back and out, Merlin summoned all his strength to force the slightest change in how he was held, and he tilted his hips just that little bit further up – and Arthur plunged even deeper within him – and Merlin then bore down on Arthur’s cock with all his might –

– and the prince was coming, coming, coming with a shout both victorious and surrendering torn from his throat, from his very soul.

But almost before he was done, Arthur was lifting up, pulling away – Merlin cried a protest – then flipping Merlin over onto his back, gnawing roughly at his nipples, first one and then the other – Merlin cried out again, though softer, and then he moaned. His cock stood hard between them, as remorseless now in its hunger as Arthur himself had been.

And Arthur – and Arthur – god! – Arthur settled over Merlin’s thighs, and took Merlin’s cock into his mouth – for the first time ever, took his cock into his mouth, and suckled then sucked on it hard. Hard!

Merlin wailed – just once, that was all he had time for – and then he was fountaining up into the prince, unable to stop himself pushing up, demanding – but the prince held him down firmly with both hands on his hips, and Merlin bucked up against that, it was beautiful, beautiful – and Arthur swallowed him down, seed and all.

For a long while afterwards they lay tangled together on the bed clothes, silent. Somewhat awed by what they’d done. Exhausted and raw, but still holding each other reassuringly.

‘Well,’ said Arthur eventually. ‘There you go, showing initiative again.’

Merlin grinned at him, glad that Arthur hadn’t started by apologising. That meant he’d understood. ‘I only ever want to serve you, my lord.’ He sighed. ‘To serve you as best I can.’

Arthur pressed a kiss to his temple, and then shifted heavily up onto an elbow. Surveyed Merlin from head to toe and back again with an assessing gaze. Eventually, when he was looking into Merlin’s eyes again, he quietly asked, ‘All right?’

‘Yes,’ said Merlin. ‘Are you?’

‘Yes.’ Arthur shifted up further, though as if really having to force himself to make the effort. ‘Come on. Let’s get into bed.’

Merlin dragged himself after Arthur, and between them they wrestled Arthur’s clothes off, struggling helplessly for a while before tossing them in the general direction of the floor, until at last a naked Merlin could follow a naked Arthur in under the covers. He stretched out by Arthur’s side, stretching long until his bones popped, and then curled into Arthur’s arms. It was warm and gentle, the bed, Arthur’s embrace. ‘Goodnight, sire,’ Merlin whispered, already feeling the tug of sleep.

‘Goodnight, Merlin.’ And then Arthur whispered, ‘Thank you,’ and he pressed a kiss to Merlin’s mouth. His lips still tasted salty with Merlin’s seed.

‘Love…’ murmured Merlin.

‘Yes,’ Arthur agreed.

And the darkness took them away and held them safe.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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14 responses to “Season 2: 11 Showing Real Initiative”

  1. avatar RurouniHime says:

    I’ve been really enjoying these episode tag fics of yours. When I found that you were writing fic for each ep, it made me want to watch the episodes faster just so I could read your ficlets (I’ve been a little behind lately on the show, what with school and all). You have a delicate touch when it comes to the intimate scenes; I’ve really been enjoying Arthur’s struggles with loving more than one person, and Merlin’s with trying to figure out how exactly Arthur feels about him, even if Merlin pretends he doesn’t mind either way, haha! Of course the boys love to talk in circles, don’t they? Part of their charm. But their true feelings for each other shine through, more often than not.

    That said, Arthur in this one… I don’t see him as being turned on by the idea of forcing subservience through sex, especially when it comes to Merlin. I think this last episode was generally very unsettling (I know I feel unsettled) for everyone. I just can’t see Arthur enjoying forcing sex on someone else, friend or not. He doesn’t have that demeanor of disrespect for other people’s space or personal rights. So this ficlet did not sit well with me, even though I realize Arthur isn’t really trying to hurt Merlin here.

    I’m sorry for the ho-hum review. I really do love your writing; I think that’s why I felt I should say something. *hugs*

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      RurouniHime – Hello, my friend! I am sorry this is the first time we’re in touch with each other, but I’m very glad to know that you’ve been enjoying the series of fics so far – to the extent that you are disappointed when our paths diverge. Thank you!

      I have been pondering how best to respond, but I think ultimately that perhaps we are fated to interpret these things in different ways. The way I see it, the relationship between the two young men in the first fic was presented in fairly pragmatic tones, and there was very little sentiment involved. Since then it has grown into something quite loving. But I suspect it’s human nature to be ‘one step forward, two steps back’ in personal growth. I think this Arthur was bubbling over with frustration and humiliation, and looking for a permissible way of taking it out on someone. He might have gone for a particularly fierce training session with Sir Leon instead, and hopefully Leon would have managed the situation as gracefully as Merlin did in making sure that nothing happened that Arthur would regret later. I think you’re probably right that Arthur wouldn’t ever force sex on someone – but at some fundamental level, he already knows he has permission from Merlin to take things quite a way – and he didn’t actually force anything. For me, he might have meant it or thought he meant it for a while, but Merlin found it easy enough to subvert that intent into something harmless. Maybe he actually just wanted ‘intense’ and didn’t know how to make that happen without being provocative.

      But, you know, I am just wittering on at this point, and I’m not saying all this in the hopes that you’ll change your mind! You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, and I’m glad you shared it with me. I hope that the next two instalments, if you read them, will mesh better with how you see the characters.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I do appreciate the feedback!

  2. avatar BecsX says:

    Yay! Another awesome installment! :D
    This was so so hot!
    At first I was like “:O ARTHUR! Stop being an arse!” and then, at the part where he paused to see if he was really hurting Merlin, I was like “Awww he loves Merlin really *happy face*”
    What a wonderful thing to read on my birthday. Thank you :) :)

    See you next week! :D

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      BecsX – Oh, happy birthday, my sweet! I’m so glad you enjoyed this fic despite the unsettling beginning. I don’t think I could ever write something in which Arthur and Merlin don’t genuinely love each other – but then I suppose everyone’s definitions of love, and how it might be shown or lived or spoken, will vary. So it might not always seem like that’s I mean…

      Looking forward to seeing you next week, and then gasp it will be the big finale! As I have said elsewhere, I am determined that these two shall have a happy ending, even if I have to create an ep 214… ♥

  3. avatar casey_sms says:

    Intense and angsty. I like it. Merlin’s characterisation, his appeasing attitude, was particularly well done.

    As a side note: I like the way you have responded to criticism of your piece.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      casey_sms – Thank you so much for your comment! I’m really glad this fic worked for you, and in particular this Merlin. That means a great deal to me. I think Merlin is a really interesting character in the show, so it’s lovely to feel I might be able to write a bit of him, too. :-)

      And your side note means a lot, too. It’s interesting to me that once fic is out there in the world, it gets interpreted more or less differently by each reader – so I always appreciate feedback, though sometimes it’s easier than others to handle it gracefully! I’m glad to know you think I’ve done so. I hope the other reader did, too. ♥

  4. avatar Dany says:

    *le sigh*

    I’m kind of speechless, I don’t know what to say, but I wanted you to know that I have read this chapter and that I like it. :)

    My friend use to say “It’s not always candies and cakes, you have to eat some bread too.” Life can’t be just fluff and happiness, I’m glad you showed different side of relationships between prince and his servant, it makes this all more realistic (your fic already seems more realistic than episodes , you have wonderful character development and bond between chapters). Thank you !

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Dany – Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad that you read this instalment and that you’re still on board. :-) Only two eps to go! Eek!

      Your friend is very wise. One of the things I like about the show is that it doesn’t present the relationship between the two young men as all candles and cakes, and yet to me it still feels unbreakable. And, speaking as a writer, I had been thinking that I need to have things go a bit wrong at some point before ultimately packing them off to a happy ending. I wasn’t really expecting the show to provide me with just such a context, though of course it was very apt and timely that they did! It’s nice to feel a bit in tune with the canonical universe in that way.

      Anyway! Thank you so much for your compliments about my writing. I am delighted to know that my fics feel realistic to you, and the characters show some development. That’s wonderful! Music to a writer’s ears… I’ll look forward to hearing from you next week. ♥

  5. avatar Sinka says:

    Still on board too!! Again, I *loved* this episode. It scared me a little at the beginning, when I was worrying it would be a dub-con. But you managed beautifully! It’s amazing how Merlin always understand what Arthur needs and wants and does his best to give it to him… It was no wonder Arthur needed to let out a little steam after this episode (he was, after all, humilliated in front of his father), but he would have hated himself forever if he had hurt Merlin on a whim.

    Although I can’t help worrying also about Merlin. He is obviously under a lot of stress too (knowing about Morgana’s betrayal, losing Arthur’s trust and scared for Camelot’s inminent downfall) but Arthur doesn’t even suspect it!! At this rate I’m afraid he is going to explode and nobody is going to be able to help him out!! Really, I dread what’s going to happen between them in the next two episodes…

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Sinka – Thank you, my friend! I very much appreciate your comment.

      Heh. Now you have me thinking about my warnings… If I’d intended it as really truly dub-con, or even ‘looks like dub-con from certain angles’, I would have warned as such. But now I’m wondering whether to warn for ‘might seem like dub-con, but at heart it really isn’t’. :-) Oh, I shouldn’t smile, should I? Someone out there is answering very seriously, ‘Yes, you should have!’

      Yeah, I think right from ep 102, it has seemed clear that Arthur’s biggest fear is to fail in the high standards he sets himself in certain areas (as a knight, as a prince), and his father’s good opinion is more crucial than his own in this regard. So to be humiliated before his father regarding a failure of duty is just The Worst Thing Ever. We all know he has to rely on his own sense of self more, and on Uther’s opinion less, but Arthur I think is still learning that. He is happy to rely on his own judgement when he knows he’s going one better than Uther expects, but his self-worth totally deserts him when Arthur himself feels he’s failed, and Uther isn’t above sticking the boot in… (He’s such a great antagonist! I’ll miss him if or when the show kills him off.)

      Ah, Merlin, yes… I’m not quite sure where they’re going with that. He seems to be coping, and he still seems quite proactive and involved rather than withdrawn. I wouldn’t say I’m dreading the next two eps… However, I have wondered if they’re ever gonna make Merlin go mad. It’s part of his story in the legends after all, and it could be due to either ‘too much power’ or ‘too many secrets’. But now I am just adding to your dread for no good reason. I don’t think that’s where they’re heading at the moment. I think we would have already had hints. Colin’s a good enough actor to have had Merlin’s last stare at Morgana show a crack or two, or a flicker of panic, rather than just anger and resolve. But of course that’s just my feelings at present, and I could be proved oh so very wrong within the next couple of hours! And of course he wasn’t happy about the Dragon hassling him… Hhhmmm… Will have to wait and see…

      Thank you again for commenting! See you back here soon, hopefully with some happier fic to wallow in. ♥

  6. avatar BecsX says:

    Okay so I may be stalking your journal a little but I’ve just noticed your birthday message to me… Thank you so much! That just made my day *grins madly*

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      BecsX – You made my day by liking my angsty fic even on your birthday! Thank you, hon. If I’d known ahead of time, it would have been dedicated to you all along… ♥

  7. avatar Blucola says:

    I’ve been spending the weekend catching up on these episode fics and I do simply love them. To the extent, in fact, that I believe I might have to have a Merlin marathon to remind myself of the details (except for Uther’s troll wife, I can only take those episodes so much.)

    I’m enjoying the duality of Arthur’s emotions for Merlin and Gwen and I’m so stoked that not only do you acknowledge her place, but you never disrespect in any fashion.

    This particular segment of the ongoing series was lovely. Arthur being angry and demanding, but never violent. And it’s always clear that if Merlin objected, then funtimes would stop. Merlin has the choice to submit because Arthur allows him the choice. In fact, once Merlin got it, he gave Arthur exactly what he needed. Loved it.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Blucola – Thank you so so much for your kind and thoughtful response to these fics! They were a real pleasure and occasionally a challenge to write, and certainly added to my enjoyment of the second season. (What I would have done with the third season is rather a puzzling question!)

      I am utterly delighted that you like my approach to Gwen. Acknowledging and never disrespecting her – absolutely. Even if we were only dealing with our show’s Gwen, she would of course deserve that. But I suppose I am also bringing all my old love of the Arthurian legends into the mix here. Back in my teens and early twenties, I was really into the legends. I loved Arthur best (!) and I loved the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot story. How they all loved each other so very much in different ways, how they all tried to do their best for each other, but how eventually love (supposedly the best thing in the world) led to the destruction of all they tried to achieve. To me, they all deserved our respect, affection and admiration. And now with our show, or at least with our fandom, we can add Merlin into the mix as well!

      I am so glad you liked this fic in particular. I took a risk, and it didn’t work for everyone, but I really had been feeling during the previous episodes that the boys were due for a crisis. I was quite astonished when the show gave me one. :-D Thank you again for your comments! ♥

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