Harlequin's Slash Fic

A Pleasure to Serve

Title: A Pleasure to Serve
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur/Guinevere
Category, Word count: Short story; 4464 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: Guinevere knows that Arthur loves Merlin as well as his wife, and she has never forgotten that she was once in love with Merlin herself. It seems time to acknowledge all this in the most intimate ways.
Notes: This isn’t meant to be part of my series of fifth season episode codas, but draws on them as backstory. It is set somewhere around episode 510 The Kindness of Strangers.
I wrote it for cecilegrey in response to her Merlin Winterfest wishlist… though I am afraid it might fill her prompts very narrowly. A humble offering, in any case, and with thanks to glimmergirl for organising the fest!

 

 

A Pleasure to Serve

They were discreet, Guinevere could say that much for them. She didn’t think anyone else had even worked out their secret, except no doubt for Gaius, who tended to know everything that was happening, one way or another. But Gaius was forever discreet as well.

Beyond that, Arthur had always been a kind and attentive husband, and she’d never doubted he was very much in love with her. Merlin had never presumed, never overstepped the mark, never infringed on her marriage. But Guinevere was certain that Merlin and Arthur had been lovers for years. It had started within months of Merlin arriving in Camelot, she thought – and perhaps lovers would have been too strong a word for those early times, perhaps it was a more pragmatic thing back then. Even while Arthur had been first courting Guinevere, however, she’d been aware that he had an ongoing commitment of another kind. Since then, and despite a lengthy break when she and Arthur were first married, the relationship between the two men had grown into something solid and reliable and undeniably loving. It was evident in the way they stood tall together, as if fashioned from one block of stone. It was clear in an occasional affectionate glance, in the teasing banter neither indulged with anyone else, in the fact that Arthur spoke to Merlin of things on which he otherwise kept his own counsel, matters that he never raised with Guinevere or Gaius or the knights. Merlin and Arthur were a pair, in different ways and in many of the same ways that she and Arthur were.

She could hardly take Arthur to task over his choice, for Guinevere herself had been a little in love with Merlin when first she knew him. It had been nothing like the fiery passion that Lancelot alone had kindled within her. No, her love for Merlin had been a light thing, and pure. An appreciation of Merlin’s honesty and innocence, his transparency and cheeriness, his engagement with life. So unlike the brawn and bluster of the knights, so unlike the dry reticence of the courtiers. He had remained quite oblivious to her, of course, but they had been good friends, and still were in many ways. And Guinevere never forgot what she had felt. She wasn’t the type of person to forget a love.

And so there came a time a few years into her marriage, a time soon after she had been cleansed of Morgana’s spell and restored to Arthur, a time when Arthur was happy and secure, a time when Merlin seemed peculiarly content. There came a time when Guinevere began to feel that it was foolish to still hope for children; a time when she might be permitted to be slightly less scrupulously proper. There came a late candlelit night in Arthur’s rooms when Guinevere said to Arthur, ‘I thought I might stay, if I may.’

‘Of course you may,’ he said, with just the right amount of happy eagerness tempered by the perfect amount of chivalry. ‘You must know you’re always welcome.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Are you ready to go now?’ Arthur asked, obviously assuming that despite the wording of her request they would, as usual, take such activities to the queen’s rooms for the sake of her regal modesty.

‘I’d like to stay here for once,’ Guinevere said.

‘Oh. Oh, of course.’

‘And I wondered if you might,’ she began, before faltering. They were sitting across the fire from each other, and her bare feet were crossed at the ankles and resting demurely on his booted feet. She was already in her nightdress, with a shawl for her shoulders, while Arthur was still in tunic and britches. Arthur discreetly averted his gaze to try to let her speak freely. ‘I wondered if you might,’ she began again, in the lightest and clearest of tones, ‘if you might like Merlin to stay as well.’

There. The words were there between them now. The knowledge and the idea were between them.

A still moment passed, and then Arthur’s face knotted into a furious frown. Not that he was angry with her, but he was thinking, and thinking hard. His whole world had just shifted.

‘How long –’ he eventually said. But then he gestured with one helpless hand. ‘No, you’ve probably known all along, haven’t you?’

‘I think so. If I have understood aright.’

‘No doubt you have,’ he said with a slight bow of his head. Then he sighed. ‘I’m sorry, Guinevere. I am sorry. It wouldn’t have been my choice to ever betray your trust.’

‘You have sometimes spoken in defence of – prior loyalties.’

‘Yes. The tangles we get ourselves into…’ Arthur sighed. ‘I should have broken with him, I know. I should have, but I didn’t. Though we drifted apart at last.’

‘When you and I married.’

‘Just so,’ he acknowledged, hiding the tiniest wry smile. ‘Obviously you have understood perfectly well. And of course you know that lately we have… drifted back together again.’

‘Yes.’

‘I have always loved you, Guinevere,’ Arthur declared, raising his head at last to look at her very steadily. ‘I hope you will believe me. I have never loved you the less.’

‘I do believe you. And I know that you love him, too.’

‘It is that now. I admit that it wasn’t always.’

‘I’m not sure,’ she countered with a frown. ‘Perhaps it was, but you didn’t recognise it.’

Arthur considered her for a moment. ‘You’re being very reasonable about this, Guinevere. And –’ Shock rippled through him again as he remembered how this started. ‘And you also want – Merlin –’

‘I was a little in love with him myself, for a while. Many years ago. The feelings are no more than friendship now. But I don’t forget, Arthur. I never forget.’

He bowed his head, perhaps thinking again of Lancelot, as they both must. Eventually, though, he said rather diffidently, ‘You ask for yourself, then? It is your wish… to love Merlin.’

‘To love you both,’ she amended before he could leap to the wrong conclusions.

‘You mean –’

‘Yes. The three of us, perhaps for only this one night.’

‘I see.’ Arthur was puzzling over something; she sat there silently, letting him come to his own understanding of this. Eventually he said, ‘It might be rather odd – It will be rather odd!’ he amended with a laugh. ‘It is not the same with him as when I’m with you. It is a less… romantic thing.’

She tilted her head in a slight quibble. ‘Perhaps it’s not so different as you think.’ And she said again, ‘I know you love him, Arthur.’

The man himself appeared before they reached any greater understanding than that. ‘My lady!’ Merlin blurted, surprised to find her in Arthur’s rooms so late at night. ‘I’m sorry to intrude.’ He hovered by the door, ready to escape. ‘You don’t need anything, sire?’

Arthur took a moment with this, his head down as he thought things through and came to a decision. He glanced at Guinevere, and she nodded. ‘Actually, I do, Merlin. Need something, that is.’

‘Yes?’ Merlin was still there by the door, awaiting his orders.

‘Come in, would you? And for god’s sake shut the door behind you.’

‘Yes, sire.’ Merlin obediently closed the door, and came a little further in, hovering somewhere midway between the door and Arthur. Then he stood there waiting, with his hands behind his back.

A brief silence stretched, but it seemed Arthur already knew that he was the one who must do the asking. It was only chivalrous, after all. ‘Merlin,’ he began, ‘we would like you to – Well, this is a request, not an order. Do you understand? We would like you to stay with us tonight. With both of us. If you would like that, too.’

There was a moment during this halting speech when Merlin realised what was being asked, and he went completely still, and carefully didn’t look at either one of them, though his eyes flicked towards Guinevere before finding some neutral spot on the further wall.

‘Merlin?’ Arthur prompted, when no answer was forthcoming.

‘Sire,’ he finally said, a little brokenly.

‘If you don’t wish it, then you can simply turn around and walk out, Merlin. You’ve no need to apologise or explain. Walk out, and there’ll be no hard feelings. It won’t be mentioned ever again.’

Merlin’s gaze finally swept to Arthur and fastened on him. ‘Is it what you wish, sire?’

‘Yes.’ Arthur sounded irritable for a moment, but they all knew well enough that was only due to the difficult situation in which they found themselves. ‘I wouldn’t have asked otherwise. But I mean it, Merlin. If you don’t want to –’

‘I do want to, sire.’ His intonation was still broken, but he meant it. ‘You know I’d do anything – anything to serve you.’

Arthur’s irritation became exasperation, but then as he gazed upon Merlin it transformed to wonder. And the king was silent in the face of such honest loyalty.

It behoved the queen to make the next move. She stood, and walked over to Merlin, and reached a welcoming hand towards him.

‘My lady,’ he said, unfreezing enough to at least take her hand in his. And then he looked at her, and he was her old friend Merlin again, and he met her gaze squarely, and said, ‘I’m sorry, Gwen.’

‘Don’t apologise for loving him.’

‘No. But I apologise if it has caused you pain.’

She smiled gently, and backed away, bringing him with her. She said, ‘Come to bed.’

He winced and his gaze swung to Arthur, even as his feet followed Guinevere. Her smile turned a little wry as she wondered what else they shared as well as those three simple words.

‘Both of you,’ Guinevere added. And soon she was sitting on the side of the bed, sitting back far enough that her bare feet hung free with her heels drumming lightly against velvet, with Arthur on her right and Merlin on her left. They sat closely together. Arthur was embracing her warmly round her waist, kissing her lightly, as he had a perfect right to do, while Merlin simply held her hand in both of his resting on his thighs, watching her and Arthur. But when Arthur lifted his head and Guinevere turned to Merlin for his kiss, he seemed to grow bashful, and shook his head slightly, dropping his head just far enough so they couldn’t make out his expression.

‘Merlin?’ Arthur asked.

Guinevere knew very well that Merlin had been attracted to other women in his time, and had even enjoyed the kiss she’d once pressed to his mouth in an excess of giddy relief when she’d realised he hadn’t died after all. Maybe he just needed time. Maybe he needed, for now at least, to focus on their beloved Arthur.

‘Merlin,’ she said lightly. ‘It seems to me that the king is wearing far too many clothes.’

‘You’re right, of course, my lady,’ he agreed in easy tones. Merlin got up, and as Arthur raised first one leg and then the other, Merlin helped Arthur off with his boots and then his ‘royal socks’, as Merlin had once dubbed them. The two men shared a smiling glance, obviously starting to feel they were on familiar territory. Arthur lifted his arms, and Merlin pulled his tunic up and off, so that the king was bare–chested.

‘Now you,’ said Arthur – and the king and queen watched while Merlin unknotted his neckerchief, drew it off and then let it fall to the floor. Merlin bent over to haul his own boots and socks off next, with Arthur reaching out to lend a steadying hand to Merlin’s elbow when Merlin seemed about to lose his balance, all folded up and stood on one leg as he was. Then his tunic was discarded. Guinevere took in the sight of his surprisingly broad shoulders, the dark hair across his breastbone, his long torso and narrow waist. Arthur was smiling as if pleased to have someone else appreciate what he alone had admired for so long. He looked proud, as well he might, and a little smug.

The two men were now each dressed in only their britches. Guinevere wondered if Merlin’s earlier hesitancy had been shyness, so she thought that might be enough to be getting on with. ‘Merlin, why don’t we make sure between us that Arthur is in the right mood.’

Arthur laughed a little, genuinely amused. ‘I don’t know that that’s really going to be an issue.’

‘Hush,’ she replied imperiously. ‘That’s for Merlin and I to decide.’

‘I see,’ he said, apparently happily resigning himself to his fate.

Merlin already had one knee up on the bed, though was now waiting for orders, so Guinevere nodded, and said, ‘Come on.’ She and Merlin each took one of Arthur’s arms, and encouraged him up to lie in the middle of the bed with his head on the pillows – and then they each fitted in along his sides, pinning him down each with a thigh overlapping his, and their knees meeting provocatively in between… After a shared wicked glance, they dove in and attacked the king with kisses and caresses.

Arthur laughed at first, and tried to fend them off, but soon enough his laughs turned to moans, and instead of wriggling away he was striving to lift himself, trying to kiss first one of them and then the other. They each darted out of his way, or teasingly retreated as his hungry mouth tried to follow theirs while the other weighed him down in place. His arms had them each caught around the waist, and from the way Merlin stretched and pressed and arched against this restraint, she thought he loved it as much as she did.

When Arthur’s moans turned to the kind of mewling panting breaths he seemed to be completely unaware of, Guinevere said, ‘Merlin,’ and indicated Arthur’s britches. Merlin knelt up beside Arthur and had him stripped in a moment – and there was Arthur’s cock standing proud from the golden curls, eager for their attention, and his balls full and tight up against his body. At an encouraging nod from Guinevere, Merlin stripped, too, and she was conscious of Arthur watching her fondly as she looked at Merlin still kneeling there with his thighs wide. His cock was just as eager, though his balls hung heavily, and were not yet gathered and ready in the way that Arthur’s were. Merlin’s cock was narrower than Arthur’s, but longer, as if these precious appendages echoed the build of their owner’s body.

She enjoyed looking, and felt that neither of them minded; there was no hint any more of Merlin’s bashfulness, or at least not in relation to himself. Merlin’s dark hair was more abundant, both at the seat of his cock and down his thighs. While both men were pale–skinned, Merlin had a cool tinge to his, like milk in the dairy, while Arthur was all pale gold, like butter. They were each, in their own way, virile – Arthur was civilised and honed, while Merlin was wild and wiry.

Once she had looked her fill, she asked Merlin, ‘What do you think the king would most like?’

He looked to Arthur, who was glancing about him as if unable to choose for himself from such riches. After a moment, Merlin said, ‘I think he would like to make love to you, my lady.’

Arthur’s gaze turned hungrily to where her cunt ached hot and wet, unerringly targeting the place he wanted to be despite it still being hidden by her nightdress. Nevertheless, at the same time he reached again for Merlin, his arm winding about Merlin’s waist and drawing him near again.

‘And what of you?’ Guinevere asked.

‘If I may touch him while he loves you, my lady, and kiss him, and watch –’

‘Of course,’ she said reassuringly. And then she added, ‘You could do those things to me as well, if you felt so moved, Merlin.’

‘Yes, my lady.’

‘You’re not waiting for my permission, are you, Merlin?’ Arthur asked, that hint of exasperation in his voice again.

‘No, my lord. I assumed I already had it.’

‘You do. So don’t neglect the queen. That’s an order.’

‘It doesn’t have to be an order,’ Merlin smoothly replied, as if conscious she might feel hurt by the thought.

‘No, of course not. Why would it be?’ Arthur tugged him near, and pushed up to kiss him – a full, devouring kiss that Merlin initially surrendered to, before beginning to return it in kind. Guinevere watched in fascination, her fingertips going to her own lips as she remember exactly how it felt to have Arthur so devour her.

Then Arthur was turning to her, and kissing her in just the same way, so that the kiss echoed and multiplied in effect, through what she’d witnessed and what she’d felt and what she remembered.

Soon he’d let go of Merlin and was turning to her, gathering up the skirt of her nightdress, and then running a hand from her knee up her bare thigh so enticingly, and his body followed, and Merlin followed close after. Soon Arthur was widening her thighs with a masterful knee, and then lying between them. She lifted her legs to press either side of his waist, and stretched deliciously, tilted her hips to receive him. They knew so very exactly how this configuration worked. Soon, because she loved it that way, because he knew all too well she needed no further preparation – soon he plunged inside her in one long deep hard stroke, and she caught her breath in a great gulping cry, arching back further and feeling him move within her. It was gorgeous. It was glorious.

Merlin lay there beside them, propped up on an elbow to watch them. She wondered distractedly if he also felt that echoing and multiplying of sensation as he saw things Arthur did with him being done with her.

‘Oh god,’ cried Arthur in protest, obviously so very close already, so very overwhelmed by the emotion and the physicality and the wickedness. ‘Guinevere –’

‘Yes, my darling,’ she said, giving him permission to simply do whatever felt best for himself alone. After all, she thought they wouldn’t be done for a long while yet.

‘Merlin –’

Merlin pushed closer still, so that they could both feel him near, and he curved an arm around Arthur’s shoulders, before running that hand down his back.

‘My two dearest friends,’ said Arthur, kissing her and then kissing him and kissing her again and then him – and somehow drawing Merlin in closer as he did, so that Arthur was almost kissing both of them at the same time as he turned his head from one loving mouth to the other.

‘Oh…!’ Arthur suddenly cried as if distraught – and his whole body heated and changed in her arms, became heavier – and though he still thrust within Guinevere, the rhythm became slower and somehow denser, if that made any sense – and Merlin was watching him carefully while Arthur groaned low and guttural, his eyelids drifting closed as if surrendering. And a startled Guinevere guessed just what Merlin was doing with that impertinent hand of his, or at least a finger of it – and she was fascinated. Arthur seemed to embody nothing but pleasure now, though conversely at the same time he seemed so overwhelmed that the completion that had threatened him so quickly was now postponed.

They kept it going, she and Merlin, agreeing in quick glances that Arthur should feel nothing but this perfect pleasure for as long as he could possibly bear it. Which wasn’t very long of course, but they made it last and last, until Arthur groaned roughly as if he were tearing asunder, and the pleasure quaked through him in what seemed an oddly unfocused completion, or perhaps a particularly thorough one, and then Arthur collapsed upon her, murmuring, ‘My dearest loves…’

Guinevere held him there, encompassing him safely in arms and thighs, while Merlin carefully withdrew his possession of Arthur, but then wrapped himself around them both, and held on.

They gave him his due, but they were both so keen as well. As soon as it was right, Guinevere shifted from under her beloved husband, and knelt between the two men where they lay, Arthur so sated and Merlin so eager. She lifted up to peel off her nightdress, and let it fall on the foot of the bed, and she looked at each of them while they gazed appreciatively at her. She was conscious of her nipples hard and aching, her thighs trembling with want, and she wanted them both to see that, too.

Then Guinevere looked from Arthur, to Merlin’s long hard cock, and she said, ‘Please. I want –’

After the briefest of pauses, Arthur nodded, and the king and queen each looked to Merlin. He lay there as tense as a bent bow, and he couldn’t seem to help himself running the tip of his tongue over his lower lip and then biting at it as he contemplated what was on offer. ‘Merlin?’ Arthur prompted when it seemed the man wasn’t just going to take what he could. Though really it was evident in every line of his body that Merlin was yearning towards her.

‘What if…’ Merlin finally asked roughly. ‘What if there’s a baby?’

‘Then I will love it as my own,’ Arthur immediately replied.

Merlin stared at him in a stunned kind of wonder – though Guinevere was less surprised. Deeply gratified, but not surprised. And at last Merlin nodded once, abruptly, and then Guinevere was climbing atop him, straddling him and positioning herself – his long fine hands lifting to grasp at her hips almost painfully – and then she plunged down, and he was deep deep within her, she was wet with her own juices, and with Arthur’s seed, and now Merlin was impaling her, and it was glorious. He bent his legs and shifted his feet up close so he could push up into her, reckless and relentless, it was just the wildest thing. Arthur reached to rub a knowing thumbpad at the place she had no name for, but which she thought of as her secret jewel. And then Arthur was sitting up beside her, and sucking and gnawing at her nipples while his thumb continued its insistent caress – and somehow despite Merlin’s wildest thrusts, Arthur anticipated and followed every move perfectly, and Merlin was watching them both with his mouth parted over panting breath and his eyes glowing in something like awe.

When Guinevere came, she arched back and then curled up, but Arthur’s arm was there to hold her, and Merlin continued his ragged thrusts, seeing her through the shocks of pleasure, and then at last finding his own completion. His seed shot deep within her, as he cried out sharply – and afterwards she lay back down between them still lost in the glow of it all, and wistfully imagining babies, all with warm brown skin and blue eyes, some with high sharp cheekbones and some with noble noses, and all the consequence of love…

They lay there together for a long while, Guinevere feeling treasured in the embrace of these two men, and loving the fact that their embraces encompassed each other as well. The men dozed for a while, and she lay there thoughtfully. When they were both awake again, and their interest was starting to stir anew, Guinevere asked, ‘Arthur… do you let Merlin make love to you…?’

He remained silent, but his cheeks flushed and he looked wary, which was answer enough.

Merlin murmured, ‘Not often, my lady. Not often at all. It is too great a privilege…’

‘Only on special occasions, then?’ she asked, rather cheekily.

Merlin couldn’t help but grin. ‘Just so, my lady.’

‘And what is this, if not a special occasion…?’

Merlin gaped a little, and was about to speak, but then changed his mind. Guinevere looked at Arthur, who had flushed further, but there was also that heavy hot surrendering languor within him, uncoiling and demanding its due.

‘Why?’ whispered Arthur in fraught tones, though she knew he wasn’t going to argue the point or refuse her. He was curious.

‘I want you to take your pleasures, my lord, and you are both so very beautiful… It will be my great pleasure to watch, if you will let me.’

He nodded, just a little, but it was enough. And soon Merlin was lying between Arthur’s thighs just as Arthur lay between hers, and Arthur was undone with pleasure. This time she only wanted to watch, and so she let Merlin take care of Arthur rather than complicating matters or even simply reaching in to help. It was one of the most incredible things she’d ever seen, the king so conquered and so well loved. If she had ever feared Merlin’s claims on Arthur, then she saw now from his profound generosity that he would never take anything away from either Arthur or Guinevere, or indeed from Camelot itself.

Afterwards, once both men were recovered, they repaid her tenfold for their own pleasure as Arthur gave Merlin very thorough instruction in how to pleasure a woman with his tongue.

Eventually it was time to sleep, and the king and queen both insisted on keeping Merlin with them. The three of them were bedded down so warmly and comfortably, it would have been like losing a limb to let him go.

But at some stage around dawn he must have slipped away, for the next they saw him, he was dressed again, and bearing a tray full of breakfast items enough for his two rather ravenous lovers.

‘Won’t you join us?’ Guinevere wistfully asked, though she knew well enough that he would not.

‘I thank you for the thought, my lady,’ he said, with an oddly formal bow of his head. And it was that gesture that convinced her. They needed to return to their old familiar ways.

‘Merlin,’ Arthur said easily, ‘why don’t you spend the morning with Gaius? I’m sure he has plenty of things he could use your help with. I’ll see you in time for training this afternoon.’

‘Yes, sire.’ Merlin bowed again, but he said with a rather cheeky intonation, ‘It is always a pleasure to serve, my lord.’

And Arthur threw a bread roll at him, which Merlin deftly caught and then waved triumphantly as he left the room. Arthur was grinning, and then when the two of them were alone again he smiled affectionately at his wife. And all manner of things were well.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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