Harlequin's Slash Fic

The Warlock and the King

Title: The Warlock and the King
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Uther
Category, Word count: Short story; 2058 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: Uther may be broken, but he’s not quite done with life yet.
Notes: For yue_ix, cos she is made of the awesome.

 

The Warlock and the King

‘Arthur!’ cried the king, startling awake. ‘Arthur,’ he whispered hoarsely, looking about him with desperate eyes.

‘No, sorry,’ Merlin replied. ‘It’s just me.’ He put his book aside and got up to help the king to a drink, to sip at the well–watered wine laced with Gaius’s herbs. ‘There,’ he said as the king sat back again. ‘D’you feel a little better?’

The king cast a distracted, disconsolate glance at Merlin, who sat back down in the chair opposite him, his bearing confident and comfortable, as if they were equals. ‘Where’s Arthur?’

‘At one of those interminable feasts,’ Merlin lied smoothly. ‘You know the sort. Too many speeches and too much wine.’

The king looked doubtful.

‘Everyone so well behaved to begin with, but embarrassing themselves by the end.’ Merlin cast him a curious look. ‘Arthur always leaves your chair empty at the head table, you know. And the first toast is always to your health. You haven’t been forgotten.’

Silence. But the king was watching Merlin, as if paying attention.

‘He loves you,’ Merlin blurted out. ‘I know Morgana hurt you, but Arthur loves you. Why isn’t that enough?’

Silence. The king turned away, and sank a little further down in his chair. Merlin assumed the conversation was over already. But after a long still moment, the king commanded, ‘Read to me.’

‘What?’

‘You heard me.’ The voice was tired, rough with disuse, but there was still a hint there of the king’s effortless authority.

‘Um…’ Merlin looked down at the pages he’d been browsing, lifted the book to consider the title picked out in gilt on the spine. The Albion Bestiary of Mystical Beings. ‘Um… Not really your sort of thing, I don’t think.’

A tiny smile seemed to quirk the king’s mouth. ‘I know well what sort of books Gaius has.’

‘You do?’

‘For the purposes of research, of course. We need to know that we’re fighting against.’

‘Ah. You do.’ Merlin sighed. ‘Well. I was reading about – I was researching wyverns.’

‘Go on.’

Merlin huffed a laugh. ‘Actually, it’s remarkably dull for a book about magical stuff!’

An awkward pause stretched, before the king remarked, ‘You’re not skilled in the art of conversation, are you?’

‘Not so much, no.’

‘I suspect…’ The king gestured at the book. ‘I suspect that Gaius considers you his apprentice in these matters. He wishes to pass on his knowledge to you.’

‘Maybe,’ Merlin warily agreed.

‘If you can advise Arthur even half as wisely as Gaius has advised me over the years, then my son will be well served.’

‘Oh.’

A wryly humorous  glance seemed to convey, You may thank me, if you wish.

‘Um. Thank you. But –’ Merlin sat forward a bit, the book serving now as a prop for his elbows. ‘But tell me. Why Arthur isn’t enough for you.’

Silence again, until Merlin decided he wasn’t going to be answered. He sighed, and sat back again, and opened the book.

But then Uther quietly said, without a change in stance, without even looking at Merlin, ‘She took my righteousness. She has all my righteousness now.’

Merlin stared at the man.

‘She left me a gift, however, in return. She left me all her compassion.’

‘I see,’ said Merlin, unsure how to respond for himself, and so responding as if he were Gaius.

The king was suddenly staring at him with maddened grey eyes. ‘You don’t know what it’s like, to remember all those you have killed over the years, and feel nothing but compassion for them.’

‘It’s called a conscience.’

‘Don’t you presume to tell me –’

‘I understand, you know,’ Merlin said, daring to override him.

‘You couldn’t possibly.’

‘I’ve killed men – and women – in what I knew to be a good cause. It’s just that… My lord – it’s just that I think your cause was wrong.’

‘What was your cause, then, if you think you’ve done right?’

‘Protecting Arthur. All I’ve done – all I’ve ever done – has been for Arthur.’

Those grey eyes returned to him directly. ‘Do you think I wouldn’t make the same claim?’

Merlin shook his head, but didn’t argue further. What use was there in arguing with a man so broken, when neither of them would ever change the other’s mind?

Then the king asked, ‘Where is Arthur? And don’t lie to me about banquets.’

Merlin considered the man for a long moment, but finally offered the truth. ‘Sharing his supper with Guinevere.’

‘The maid servant.’

‘Yes,’ Merlin agreed, feeling his jaw set mulishly. ‘You should be grateful. She’s been taking great care of you, when she has every reason not to.’

‘I might be grateful on my own behalf, if I weren’t all too aware that she – and you – are attending to me solely for Arthur’s sake.’

‘Does it matter whose sake it’s for…?’

‘Well. I am glad, at least, that Arthur inspires such devotion.’

‘Your son –’ Merlin choked out over his fury – ‘Your son is already twice the man –’

But Uther was smiling at him, coolly amused, and somehow warmly fond as well. ‘Do you know, you remind me of someone. Oh, from many years ago. Your eyes have the look of her, when you grow fierce.’

Merlin stared at the king mutely, hardly daring to even breathe.

‘There, it’s gone again.’ The king stirred a little, his mouth still curved in a smile that responded to both the present and the past. He sat forward in his chair, and said, with an odd diffidence, ‘I am ready for bed now, if you would –’

‘Yes, sire.’

Merlin put the book aside, and got up to help the man over to his bed. It was a short walk, but a slow one. When the king was finally standing by the side of the bed, Merlin helped slide the rich red silken robe back off his shoulders, so that he was dressed only in a linen nightshirt. Merlin reached to lay the robe over the nearest chair, and when he turned back to help the king into bed, he took the king’s outstretched hand –

He took the man’s hand in his, and –

And the king leant in close to press a kiss to Merlin’s mouth.

‘What?’ Merlin asked on a puff of breath.

‘Do you serve him in this as well?’ the king asked. ‘Of course you do. I have known for some while how attached he is to you.’

‘No. No, I don’t.’

‘His attentions are elsewhere tonight.’

‘No, I really –’

‘It must hurt to feel he has no need of you.’

Merlin scowled, and tried to explain: ‘He loves Gwen.’ Abruptly realised that wasn’t exactly a politic thing to say to the king. ‘I mean –’

‘Serve me this night, and you will find I can be grateful.’

Merlin just stared at the man, flummoxed – and then it was too late, Uther’s mouth was on his again, and while Merlin was reluctant and a bit scared, he was also curious and intrigued, full and overfull of need, and the tiniest little bit flattered. It had been so long, so long since anyone had desired him, and longer still since anyone had tried to do anything about it.

Uther’s fingers were ungentle at his throat, and under his shirttails, seeking flesh, while his mouth fed hungrily on Merlin’s lips. ‘Your belt,’ Uther said.

Merlin found himself scrabbling at the buckle already, wrenching it free, letting it drop to the floor – and then Uther’s fingers were at his waist, and Merlin sighed at the strange sensation of being wanted, of being touched. ‘You would hate me,’ he said, as a surge of power crackled through his skin as if the king could call down the lightning, too. ‘If you knew who I am, you would hate me.’

‘As you say,’ the king replied in indulgent tones, apparently content to let this man servant fancy that royalty might feel strongly about him one way or the other. ‘Here. Loosen your britches, and come to bed.’

Uther lay himself down, and shifted back in the bed, lying on his side to wait for Merlin to join him. Merlin hauled off his boots, wondering at himself, and undid his britches – obeyed when Uther impatiently beckoned him, even though he was still dressed in the britches and shirt, scarf, socks and the rest.  He lay on his back for a moment while settling, and then moved to turn into Uther’s embrace.

But Uther pushed him back, weighed down Merlin’s near thigh with one of his own – and Uther’s hand plunged in to wrap hard around Merlin’s cock – and he gasped, shocked at how excited he was already. Though how couldn’t he be, with someone wanting him, someone touching him… A steady rhythm of tugs, uncompromising. He wouldn’t last – He wanted to experience this, but he wouldn’t last – Then Uther’s cock, just as eager, pressing up against the top of his thigh, thrusting in a ragged urgent echo of Uther’s hand – They wouldn’t last, but Merlin wanted –

‘Please,’ he gasped. ‘Your skin. I want to feel –’

Uther rumbled an appreciative laugh, and detached himself. Between them they impatiently shoved Merlin’s britches further down, dragged Uther’s shirt up out of the way –

And then warm flesh against his own, the inside of Uther’s strong thigh against the delicate inside of his own, and then Uther’s cock thrusting hot and hard and damp against him, the head of it snubbing into his hip, Uther’s balls dragging against him – they both groaned. Merlin could feel all the details of hair and smooth flesh, hard curves and planes. Uther leaned in close, and Merlin clung on round his shoulders, their faces pressed tight together, intimately mouthing and sharing their panted breaths, as if they were kissing but not in any way that Merlin had ever imagined.

They couldn’t last. Uther was remorseless and practical, and Merlin was overwhelmed. Within moments he was arching up off the bed – except where Uther had him pinned – as the seed poured out of him. Uther saw him through those first intense moments, and then his hand slipped across to grasp Merlin’s far hip, to hold him firmly in place while Uther thrust hard, and then – even while Merlin’s pleasure was still deliciously throbbing and ebbing away, his cock pressed up against Uther’s forearm – Uther came, too, and he buried his face against Merlin’s throat and sobbed out a cry in what sounded like relief and despair and joy combined.

Then Uther simply collapsed heavily where he was, and Merlin lay there revelling in the remnants of pleasure, and after a while of feeling Uther’s quiet snores reverberate through him, Merlin slipped down with him into peace.

Merlin…’ came a whisper, easily ignored. Then a slightly fiercer, ‘Merlin!’

‘It’s not what it looks like!’ Merlin burst out. He opened his eyes to find Gaius gazing down at him lying there in the king’s bed. In the king’s slumbering embrace.

‘Oh, Merlin,’ Gaius chided in his fondest, most long–suffering tones. ‘Get up, and let the king rest.’

‘But –’

‘Come along. He’s fast asleep now. I suppose I should say, Well done! but don’t expect me to approve of your methods.’

‘Gaius, I –’

‘Come on, get up.’

Gaius was tugging insistently at his arm, so Merlin eased out from under Uther as carefully as he could, and then withdrew a couple of paces, turned away from the candlelight to discreetly put his clothing back to rights.

After a moment, the king’s sleep–roughened voice asked, ‘Arthur?’

‘No, sire, it’s only me. Here, let me help you get settled.’

‘Gaius…’ Merlin turned to see Uther looking up at the man, watching him carefully, even while he complied with Gaius’s prompting to shift him further into the bed, to place his head on a particular pillow. ‘You were right, Gaius, you know… about everything.’

‘I hardly think so, sire.’ Gaius pulled the covers up, and arranged them carefully around the king’s shoulders.

‘No, you were right…’

‘Uther,’ Gaius murmured in gentle protest. Then he leant down and pressed a kiss to the king’s mouth, stayed there for a moment resting forehead to forehead. ‘Sleep, sire. Sleep now.’

Arthur,’ the king whispered again, as if the word were prayer and spell and talisman. And then the king slept.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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