Harlequin's Slash Fic

with careful fingers and benign

Title: … with careful fingers and benign
Author: Harlequin
Beta: the awesome ravenflight21
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: Short story; 1493 words
Rating: mild R
Summary: Arthur falls in love on his first day of high school… with Merlin’s fingers.
Notes: The title was borrowed from ‘Sonnet to Sleep’ by John Keats. ♥
This was written for LiveJournal’s glompfest.
Recipient: for lambbaby, with love and thanks for being part of this awesome fandom!

… with careful fingers and benign

It was always about Merlin’s fingers. Always.

Yes, Merlin had a great smile that never failed to make Arthur’s mouth twitch at the corners no matter what kind of bad mood he was in, and he had these intriguing blue eyes like there was a whole mysterious ocean in there, not shallow and simple and flat like Arthur’s own blue eyes. And anyway, Merlin was Merlin, and he would have been Arthur’s bff no matter what kind of body he was in, girl or boy, cuddly or slim, dark or pale, it wouldn’t have mattered: Merlin was Arthur’s. And Merlin’s fingers were…

No, he wasn’t going to say it. He wasn’t even going to think it. No young man, and certainly not Arthur Pendragon, had any business using words like bewitching. It just wasn’t on.

But there you had it. Merlin’s fingers had always been capable of bewitching Arthur, right from when they met on the very first day of high school, and those long willowy wands had pushed up through the thatch of thick dark hair, impossibly disordering it even more, and then settled on a long wiry thigh, hand splayed delicate and strong against the black of his already dishevelled uniform trousers. And Arthur had wandered over, leaving behind the raucous game of football he’d been playing with other boys just like Arthur himself, the sort of boys he was meant to make friends with – Arthur had wandered over with his own hands thrust into his pockets, even though he usually remembered he wasn’t meant to do that, and he said, ‘Hi, I’m Arthur.’

And Merlin had looked up from his book – not with the surprise that Arthur expected, or the anxiety that the disadvantaged and nerdy were supposed to feel when confronted by the privileged and cool – Merlin had looked up and broken into a grin, and he’d lifted his hand in a greeting (god those fingers) and replied, ‘Hello. I’m Merlin. No, really.’

‘I didn’t say anything.’

‘Everyone does.’

‘Well,’ huffed Arthur, ‘I do suppose you’re allowed to be called Merlin, aren’t you.’

The grin widened, ‘So now I’ll refer anyone to you who says otherwise.’

‘You do that.’ And they were best friends from that moment on. They just belonged together.

Or maybe it was that Arthur belonged to Merlin’s fingers. He couldn’t quit watching them. He even got into trouble once for cheating in an exam, when really he had just paused for thought, happened to glance over, and became mesmerised by the sight of Merlin’s fingers diligently, flexibly, confidently pushing a pen across the paper, and he honestly couldn’t have said what Merlin was actually writing, just how he was writing it, so very…


Oh it was hopeless. Merlin’s fingers did this to him, reduced him to this.

Just how Merlin was writing so very beautifully, and Arthur didn’t mean his penmanship, which was adequate at best. When it came to Merlin’s physical being, there was nothing graceful about him, or confident, or skilful – except for his fingers. He couldn’t kick a ball like Lance or dance like Gwaine or fence like Leon, or do anything much along those lines. But when it came to his fingers he was bewitching beautiful bold.

And Merlin never seemed to twig to Arthur’s responses, but others did. There had been a Sunday morning after a sleepover at Merlin’s house, when Hunith had tried but failed to hide a poignant smile as she watched Arthur utterly enthralled watching Merlin knead the dough for the loaves of bread that would be served at lunch still warm from the oven, and still warm from Merlin’s strong massaging, so that it felt deliciously wrong for Arthur to be eating this bread, or at least he shouldn’t be doing so in company, though thank heavens Hunith didn’t seem to realise quite how weird Arthur was being. ‘Don’t you like the bread, Arthur? I could find you something else. I wonder if I still have a few of those savoury scones we had with the soup on Friday…?’

And she was just about to wander off back to the kitchen when Gwaine cheerfully declared, ‘Arthur loves bread. Especially that bread. Don’t put yourself out, Mrs Emrys.’

‘Call me Hunith, dear,’ she reminded him, with the fond smile that did things to Gwaine and Leon somewhat akin to what Merlin’s fingers did to Arthur.

There finally came a day, just before they broke up for the long summer holidays, when Merlin’s fingers beckoned, and Arthur followed, and within moments he found himself leaning back against the cool stone of the school walls – football and other games going on not six feet away behind him, then nothing but empty fields and woods and hills rolling out before him – Arthur found himself with shoulders pressed back against the wall, and Merlin’s lips gentle on his own, and that was good, that was right, they had perhaps always been journeying towards this, this tender exploratory kiss, here at last was something else Merlin was bold about –

But it was when Merlin’s fingertips trailed across Arthur’s lips that his legs really turned to blancmange, Merlin brushing kisses across Arthur’s left cheek to his earlobe then down his throat, and Merlin’s fingers mirroring the same pattern across Arthur’s right, the slightly rough pads of his fingers and then the softer length of them, the pressure increasing a little, starting to dig in deliciously as Merlin moaned and became more involved.

Arthur’s eyes closed, and he tilted his head back, needing the wall to bear him up against this gentle assault, ‘Touch me,’ he found he’d murmured, and his cheeks flamed, but Merlin sighed yes, and lifted again to press a kiss to Arthur’s mouth, but it was Merlin’s fingers pushing just inside Arthur’s skewed shirt, running across the dip of skin and the lift of collarbone that made the day disappear –

For a moment there was nothing but darkness and confusion, but sweet not scary, and Arthur forced himself to rise past it, came to dizzy, demanding of himself omg did you just swoon…? And the next thing he knew he was stumbling along through the long grass in Merlin’s wake, only capable of even that much because Merlin’s hand had taken his firmly, and was leading him on, Merlin’s palm cool against his own, and his fingers wrapped close around him. He was safe, Arthur was safe.

Which must have been the reason why he did as he was bid, and soon was lying in a hidden dell just near the woods, bathed in sunshine, lying stretched out on his back, with Merlin kneeling up tall beside him – and wasn’t Merlin meant to be the girl in this, wasn’t Arthur meant to be taking care of Merlin? but that’s not how it was working – Arthur was lying there, again murmuring, begging, ‘touch me, please, your fingers…’ Merlin looking down upon him, bemused but willing perfectly willing and happy, it was just the two of them like it was always meant to be, and Arthur was still dressed in shirt and trousers, belt and shoes, briefs and socks, but to feel Merlin’s fingers running carefully over him, inscribing gentle patterns through the fabric was enough – it was as if Merlin was playing some kind of magical musical instrument which was Arthur himself, provoking the response of Arthur’s hitching breaths and occasional moans which he couldn’t quell, Merlin creating patterns down his arms, his chest, some symmetrical and some not, then his stomach – and Merlin hadn’t even touched him there but only swept down to the top of his thighs, and suddenly Arthur was gasping and coming in his pants like – like – like this was how it was meant to be, and he cried out as the sunshine poured into him and out of him, while Merlin quietly said astonished, ‘Oh Arthur!

Then Merlin was lying down beside him, and shifting over him a little, just enough, just enough to press his own hardness against Arthur’s hip, and it was Merlin’s turn for his eyes to flutter shut, and he hardly even moved, just groaned a little, pressed close, and a little knot of concentration appeared between his eyebrows, and apparently this was for him what Merlin’s trailing finger–patterns had been for Arthur, and within moments he was saying oh! in surprise, his eyes flying open to stare into Arthur’s with so much – so much of himself, it would have been too much if it were anyone else, too much, but it was Merlin, Merlin, and they belonged together, just like this.

And so they lay there for a while, watching each other with the blue sky arching high overhead, the sun gently blessing them, and finally Merlin lifted his hand to trace the shape of Arthur’s mouth once more with careful fingers and benign… and Arthur groaned and arched up into his touch, and they began all over again.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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