Harlequin's Slash Fic


Title: Imagination
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: Short story; 3248 words
Rating: R
Summary: Arthur thinks he’s being visited by an incubus, but Merlin realises there’s another explanation.
First published: 25 December 2008 on Harlequin’s Slash Site



‘Gaius, I need to talk with you.’

It was Arthur, crashing into Gaius’s rooms soon after breakfast was done, urgent and demanding. Merlin was up in his own little room, darning his last pair of socks – which were almost nothing but darning now. He leaned forward to peer around the edge of the door, and caught a glimpse of his lord and master looking dishevelled, gorgeous, angry, and even a little… upset. Discretion was the better part of valour at such times; Merlin sat up straight again, and concentrated on his needlework.

‘Yes, sire,’ Gaius calmly replied. He’d been fetching a book from the shelves; Merlin could hear his footsteps heading back across the room, heard him place the heavy book on the table. ‘How can I help you?’

‘Look – this is personal, all right?’

‘Of course, sire. Then I must –’

Arthur was too impatient to hear him out. ‘If ever a word gets out about this, I’ll just die.’ Merlin raised his eyebrows, and peeked around the door again, to find Arthur glaring at Gaius, whose hand was raised towards Merlin’s room. ‘But not,’ Arthur continued, ‘before having anyone guilty of gossip executed.’

‘Uh – Yes, sire. But, Arthur –’

‘I’m being haunted,’ Arthur blurted, ‘or visited, or whatever – by a succubus. Or an incubus. Some kind of demon!’

Gaius stood there with his mouth agape. He turned towards Merlin for a moment. Caught his eye as Merlin continued watching, curious as hell. Perhaps decided that, if this involved magic in either the problem or the solution, then Merlin should probably hear it as well. Gaius turned back to Arthur and sat down. ‘Why do you think that, sire?’

Arthur just looked at him pointedly. And blushed bright red.

Gaius managed to maintain his proper composure. ‘When did it start, sire?’

‘Well, I don’t quite know. Last week while I was training, out on the field – I felt someone’s hand. On my – butt. No one was there, not close enough to touch. And anyway, I could feel a hand. Cupping my butt. Under my clothes, under my chain mail and armour. On my skin.’

Merlin nodded to himself. It was true that Arthur had a cute butt; Merlin had noticed it. A cute butt that was often in evidence while Arthur was training, too. This was making sense so far.

‘I see,’ said Gaius in his most thoughtful and unshockable manner. ‘That is unusual, sire… But are you sure you didn’t simply imagine it?’

‘That’s what I thought at first. Though it felt real. But then –’

‘Yes, sire?’

Arthur started pacing back and forth across the room. ‘Then – it was at the court gathering the other night. I felt as if… as if someone was admiring me. In all my finery and whatnot.’

A tiny smile quirked on Gaius’s lips. It seemed he couldn’t quite resist a gently ironic reply. ‘I’m sure everyone was admiring you, sire.’

And it was true that Arthur had looked particularly fine that night, Merlin reflected.

‘Not like this. You know that old saying: I could feel his eyes undressing me…? Morgana said it just the other day, about one of my knights. I had to reprimand him. There’s a time and a place, and there’s such a thing as respect, and –’

‘Sire,’ Gaius prompted.

‘Well, I could – I could feel someone’s gaze – stripping me naked. Touching me. Caressing me.’

‘Though no one was actually touching you?’

‘No. No, of course not. Not with the whole court there! But no one was even near.’ Arthur blushed again. ‘I had to – It got to the point where I had to – find the nearest private corner. Finish the thing.’

And Merlin had the most vivid image then of Arthur with his right hand busy on his own hard cock, left hand propping his weight against a stone wall, head falling back with a fraught moan, gold hair shifting in the flicker of torchlight.

‘I see.’

‘And it was as if – whatever it was – was with me the whole way. As if they were touching me, too. Like, swirling about me. All over!’

‘Sire… it wasn’t just a combination of hormones, imagination – and, as you say, admiration?’

‘No! Someone – some thing – was there with me.’

Gaius was looking a bit stumped; indeed, this wasn’t quite like any of the tales of succubi that Merlin had ever heard. But Merlin was beginning to suspect he knew exactly what was going on. And it didn’t involve demons. He felt a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach.

‘And then last night –’

It sounded as if Gaius was almost too afraid to hear more. ‘Yes…?’

‘As if I was dreaming – sex – the whole nine yards – just incredible – but as if –’ Arthur faltered to a halt.

After a moment, Gaius asked, ‘Are you sure you weren’t dreaming? There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Arthur. A young man of your age, in excellent health… Has it been a while since –? If you don’t mind me asking, sire –’

‘No. No. There’s something more to this. A succubus. Or an incubus.’

‘I see. Well,’ said Gaius, trying for a scholarly tone, ‘a succubus is a demon who appears as a beautiful woman, to seduce men, to take their energy. It ends with the victim exhausted, drained, even dead.’ And he grimaced in the anticipation of an enormous grief made tawdry by the circumstances.

Arthur turned away and muttered something.

‘I beg your pardon, sire?’

‘I said…’ Arthur groaned in despair. ‘It wasn’t a woman.’

‘Oh,’ said Gaius. Struggling to maintain his unshockable manner.

‘I had my suspicions before, but last night clinched it.’ Arthur was bright red again. ‘It – He – What he did, uh – I felt –’ Arthur cleared his throat. ‘It was a man. You don’t need the details, do you?’

‘No. No, sire.’ Gaius was obviously feeling a bit thrown by all this landing on him before ten in the morning. ‘Well, there’s no need to consider this very much differently. A person with normal, healthy appetites will imagine and perhaps act on a wide range of alternatives…’

‘Gaius. It wasn’t imagination. It wasn’t a dream. It was real. It was amazing. But a demon, not a man.’

‘Yes, sire,’ said Gaius.

And Arthur sighed. He sagged now that he’d finally told the worst, and been understood. Sat down at the table opposite his old friend. ‘How do we make it stop?’ he asked quietly. ‘Or soon I’ll be fit for nothing but lying in bed. Being seduced. Or waiting to be…’

At that thought, Merlin let the tiniest gust of breath escape him. Oof… Arthur was lost in his thoughts or memories, with his head down, and didn’t hear him. But Gaius did. The physician looked his way, and then visibly took in Merlin’s interest and anxious guilt. He closed his eyes for a moment as he considered this, and then nodded.

‘Sire,’ Gaius said. ‘Leave this with me. I know how to handle an incubus. I don’t think you’ll be bothered any more.’

A moment passed in stillness. Then Arthur got to his feet again. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘Good.’ He sighed. ‘Right. I’m due at the training grounds. God, I need a good workout. Thank you, Gaius! And remember –’

‘No gossip, sire. Of course.’

Arthur nodded once, and strode out again.

The silence stretched for a long while. Gaius remained where he was. Thinking. Eventually he dragged closer the book he’d fetched, and started leafing through it. Deliberately not paying any attention to Merlin.

But that could only go on for so long. Merlin gathered his nerve, and climbed down into the main room. He went over to stand by the table, and waited. Humbly.

‘Well,’ said Gaius, glancing up at him. ‘You do have a vivid imagination, don’t you?’ He didn’t seem too put out, let alone angry. But he wasn’t happy, either.

‘I’m sorry, Gaius.’

‘Are you?’

‘I never meant for it to go that far. I was just… daydreaming. I didn’t realise he’d feel it, too.’

Gaius closed the book firmly, and looked up at him. ‘Merlin –’

‘I know, I know. This comes under, Don’t abuse your powers, Merlin. Use them with respect. But it was just –’

‘Daydreams. Yes.’

‘Instinct. I didn’t mean for it to really affect him.’

‘Merlin,’ Gaius said solemnly. ‘You’ve made the prince feel confused. Abused. Even a bit frightened. He thinks of this as a visitation from a demon. I am assuming that’s not what you intended.’

Merlin scrunched up his face, and abruptly sat down at the table. At the opposite end to where Arthur had sat. ‘I’m sorry, Gaius.’

The old man nodded. ‘I can trust you not to do it again? Never anything like that to anyone – without the person’s full knowledge and consent?’

‘Of course. Of course. I promise.’

‘Well, then.’ Gaius left a long silence.

But eventually, once it could be supposed that Merlin was feeling appropriately bad, Gaius said, ‘Do you know how Arthur reacted when I told him it wouldn’t happen again?’

‘Relief, I guess,’ Merlin said morosely.

‘Mostly, yes.’ Gaius left a pause, then added, ‘But there was also some disappointment.’

Merlin sat there for a long long moment, wondering if he could possibly be hearing right. If he was interpreting what he heard correctly. But it seemed he was. He leapt to his feet and punched the air. ‘Yes! Yes!’

‘Merlin.’ Still sober, though with a twinkle in his eye. ‘Consent, all right? Always.’

‘Yes. Consent.’ Merlin was dancing towards the door.

‘And for God’s sake, don’t let him know the incubus was you. This mustn’t be how he finds out about the magic, Merlin. He wouldn’t forgive you. I can hardly imagine a worse scenario.’

‘Of course not. Woo hoo!’ And Merlin danced right out the room and down the corridor.

Merlin always helped Arthur bathe after a training session. The prince returned to his rooms tired and aching and sweaty, and Merlin undressed him, then assisted him into a hot bath. Washed his golden hair – something he’d had to learn how to do, because Arthur used all manner of potions that even the girls didn’t have back in Ealdor.

Then sometimes Merlin would massage away some of the aches with a soothing balm that Gaius provided. Today Arthur asked him to work on his right shoulder while he was still in the bath, so the heat would help, too. ‘Swung a hell of a blow at Sir Luke,’ he explained. ‘Would have had his head off in one swoop, if it was for real. But I managed to wrench a muscle in the process. Stupid damned body,’ he finished in a mutter that was too content to be really pissed off.

And it wasn’t a stupid body at all, Merlin mused as his fingers dug into the skewed tensions across the prince’s shoulder. He cast an eye over Arthur from head to foot and back again. It was a beautiful body. Fit and graceful and strong. Nothing like Merlin had ever seen back home. Arthur may be a complete prat, but he had an awesome body and the handsomest face. And a pure heart. Merlin had deliberately drunk poison for him. Even more significantly, Arthur had done the same for him; the prince had chosen to drink poison in order to save Merlin’s life. Which made something noble and lofty of the fact that… Merlin wanted to touch Arthur. Quite improperly. Merlin wanted to get his hands and his mouth on this beautiful body, and explore to his heart’s content.

And his hands had a mind of their own, for they’d already crept down past Arthur’s sore deltoids, and were now gently working on his pectorals… He hadn’t really meant to do that. ‘Arthur,’ Merlin mumbled.

‘Mmm?’ came the contented reply. Arthur was totally relaxed there, slumped in the bath, and… his cock was half hard. Unless Merlin was being fooled by refraction and wishful thinking. He tilted his head; squinted. No, Arthur was somewhat in the mood…

Consent! Gaius insisted.

‘Arthur…’ Merlin whispered. And his hands were on Arthur’s stomach now, massaging away at the strong abdominals. It wasn’t about easing aches and pains any more. It was about pleasure.


Working sideways now, around his waist. That finely shaped curve, that perfect torso. Working back and down towards the man’s hips, hungrily eyeing all that lay between them. ‘Arthur,’ Merlin said roughly. Needily.

Arthur rolled his head back and opened an eye to look at him. ‘Mmm?’

But then the prince suddenly woke to what was happening. Looked down at himself. Naked. Aroused. Fully aroused now. Merlin’s hands on him. Arthur looked back up in horror. Merlin’s desire must be plain to read.

Arthur pushed himself up and out of the bath with an enormous upheaval of water splooshing across the stone floor. Stood there glaring accusingly. Leaping to certain unwelcome conclusions. ‘You know, don’t you? Did Gaius tell you?’

‘No! No, I was there. In my room. I heard.’


‘Gaius tried to warn you, but you just kept talking.’

‘Damn you, Merlin, if you tell a soul –’

‘I know, I know. You’ll kill me.’

‘Slowly and painfully.’ Arthur paced away for a moment. Turned and came right back. ‘And anyway, what the fuck did you think you were just doing?’

Merlin shrugged. A long slow gesture involving not only shoulders but hands and face and pretty much all the rest of him, too. ‘I guess, uh… I guess, if you want it for real… with a man… I’m available.’

By the end of this, Arthur was considering him with cold contempt. ‘Of course you’re available,’ he said as if explaining the perfectly obvious to the utterly obtuse: ‘you’re my servant.’

‘It’s hardly one of my duties,’ Merlin scoffed.

‘It is if I say it is.’

Unbelievable! ‘Right. Well. I’m offering, anyway. Of my own free will, and all that.’

But Arthur was still in full contempt mode. ‘Don’t you think I could do better than you? One of my knights, for instance. Someone attractive. Someone… cultivated.’

Merlin glared at him. ‘Oh right, yeah – go take your pick from the queue forming at your door, sire.’ Dangerously dripping with sarcasm. He pointedly glanced down at Arthur’s still-aroused cock, then levelly met his gaze. ‘You can’t tell me you’re not interested.’

‘Why, you impudent little –’

‘Don’t you dare insult me again.’

‘I’ll do what I damn well please,’ announced the prince.

This had been a really really really bad idea. He should have known. ‘Supercilious twat,’ Merlin muttered, and made for the door.

‘Just where do you think you’re going?’

Merlin flung a hand towards the wet floor around the bath. ‘To get a mop to clean that up.’

‘The hell you are.’

And a hand grabbed his arm, spun him around – and that arrogant mouth was on his, kissing him, biting him, kissing him with far more need than care – and Merlin moaned into it, the memories flooding back through him of how it had felt to imagine Arthur, his beauty, his hunger, his eager responses –

They were stumbling towards the bed, mouths still devouring each other. Merlin’s hands running over that gorgeous body, Arthur’s fumbling at the fastening to Merlin’s britches. He was disengaged – shoved – lying back on the bed. Arthur pulled at Merlin’s clothes, rough, tearing the fabric – exposing him – then falling, landing heavily on top of him, matching cock against hard cock.

Merlin groaned, ran his hands down that strong back. Kissing again, kissing, as if the prince would never have enough of Merlin’s mouth to appease him. Arthur thrusting against him – ‘Wait!’ cried Merlin – ‘Wait!’

But it was already too late. Merlin was coming in great long pulses. This beautiful, irritating, incredible, arrogant, pure-hearted man working over him, gazing down on him. Belatedly slowing down now. Thrusting gently now against Merlin’s softening cock, gliding against Merlin’s seed – looking down all the way inside him with those beautiful knowing eyes – and at last coming, coming, groaning at the pleasure of it.

‘Arthur…’ Merlin murmured.

‘Mmm.’ Nothing but a short grunt in reply.

And they were done.

Afterwards it was as if neither of them knew quite what to do, or quite what they wanted. But they didn’t part. Arthur shifted to one side, and they lay there together on the bed, holding each other loosely.

‘Look,’ said Arthur. ‘Merlin –’ But he got no further.

Eventually Merlin offered, ‘Do you think you’ll want to do that again sometime?’

‘With you?’

‘Why would I be asking about anyone else?’ Merlin sighed. ‘But I guess you can and will do better, won’t you?’

‘No,’ said Arthur.

Merlin looked at him.

Arthur blushed again, in embarrassment and chagrin this time. ‘Look – I’m sorry I said that. I felt – rather at a disadvantage.’

‘Thanks,’ said Merlin. Royal apologies were few and far between in Camelot.

‘Yes, I would like to. Do that again sometime. With you. You’re, uh…’ Arthur cleared his throat. ‘You’re perfectly adequate to meet my needs.’

Merlin laughed. He wasn’t going to get any better compliments than that today. ‘Thank you, sire, very kindly. I’d like to, too.’

‘Good,’ Arthur said – on his dignity, but also as if he meant it. ‘Um –’ And he looked at Merlin with the tiniest hint of a request glinting in his eyes.

‘You wanna try again now?’ Merlin suggested.

‘Yes. I suppose so. Yes.’

Merlin chuckled. The poor fellow was tying himself up in verbal knots, but his body was speaking plainly and far more directly – he was hard again. Before he reached for Arthur, though, Merlin quickly dragged off his own clothes, adding a rip or two himself that would have to be sewn up later. He very much wanted to feel that beautiful body against his own skin.

Arthur was watching him hungrily, impatiently. And as soon as they were both naked, Arthur snaked a strong arm around Merlin’s waist, and hauled him close.

It wasn’t perfect. Not like his daydreams had been, not like the magical imaginings that Arthur had participated in. Those had been sublime. Nature’s laws hadn’t existed. The two of them had floated, moving under and over and around each other as if mattresses and gravity had been abolished. And they’d both known exactly what they wanted, and precisely how to get it.

Now they were clumsy, confused. Getting in each other’s way for even the simplest of acts. But this was better, Merlin was sure of it. This was real.

They tried to settle into tossing each other off, but Arthur soon quit with a frustrated groan. ‘Look – I want to use my right hand on you. We need to switch over.’

‘That’s all right,’ Merlin said, scrambling over his prince. ‘I can use my left just as well as my right.’

‘Weirdo,’ Arthur muttered – and ‘Oof!’ as Merlin accidentally elbowed him in the ribs.


‘Nothing a kiss wouldn’t fix,’ Arthur stoutly replied.

Merlin’s laugh was muffled by hungry lips. He kept laughing, though – in delight. ‘Arthur…’ he murmured as that mouth left his and trailed down his throat.

Arthur’s right hand took Merlin in a firm grip, and began a slow but relentless rhythm. ‘Mmm…?’ came the query. Though he was wise enough not to stop anything that he was doing.

Merlin learned the rhythm that Arthur set, and started applying it with his left hand. ‘Just Arthur, Arthur…’ Merlin clarified in utter contentment.


Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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5 responses to “Imagination”

  1. avatar Harlequin says:

    Harlequin here! Before this site was fancy enough to have comments, I received the following. Just wanted to share. :-)

    Caiyene from the Netherlands said: ‘Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading all of your Merlin stories! They are fantastic!’

  2. avatar Centaur says:

    How are there no comments to this awesome fic? The idea of Merlin’s magick having such an affect…. delicious!

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Centaur – Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’m delighted that this worked for you. I have to admit that I found the idea rather delicious, too… I’m glad that you feel my fic did it justice! ♥

  3. avatar mekare says:

    The Power of the Mind, huh? Loved it! And wouldn’t we all be a bit terrified if our thoughts came actually true like that?
    I also liked how you made it clear at the end that imagination and reality are WORLDS apart, but both are brilliant in their own way.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      mekare – Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad this fic worked for you. Ooh yeah… I can’t even… No don’t even go there with the thoughts coming true thing… Heh! XD

      I’m really glad that last point worked! I was afraid that the reality wouldn’t appear so shiny after all, but with you finding both imagination and reality to be brilliant in their different ways, then that’s very reassuring. Thank you for commenting! I really appreciate it. ♥

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