Warnings: Possible dub-con due to enchantment.
Summary: After rescuing Arthur from drowning by Sophia's enchantment, Merlin gets a bit more than he bargained for. How far will he go to break the spell? Set at the end of “The Gates of Avalon.”
The water is murky, lit with a strange light, and Merlin fears that he will never find the prince. Again and again he dives under the surface, eyes wide and searching, lungs straining for air as he kicks and flails beneath the cold depths. It's deep, too deep, deeper every time he dives, despite the fact that his feet touch the ground when he pushes back to the surface. He knows that Arthur is still drifting further down, impossibly further, drawn toward the unearthly light, and that knowledge keeps him diving ever deeper, his lungs burning and black spots dancing in his eyes as he pushes himself on. Finally, his stretching fingers brush against chain mail, grasping, pulling, and he drags Arthur to the surface, gasping as he breaks free of the water's pull. Arthur is a dead weight against him, heavier still by the armor and clothes he wears, and Merlin struggles to drag him back to the shore. His eyes flash gold briefly, and Arthur becomes lighter in his arms, the water barely a hindrance to him as Merlin hauls him up onto the rocky ground.
“Arthur! Come on, you prat, wake up,” Merlin gasps, crouching beside the prince, shaking his body none-too-gently. But Arthur's eyes are closed, his face is white and cold and... and he's not breathing, Merlin realizes with a jolt. “No... no no no, don't you dare do this to me! Come on!” A hundred spells rush through his head, all of them wrong, Merlin knows, and he mutters a few words despite himself, even though he knows it wouldn't do any good. Gaius would know what to do...
Shifting to lean over the motionless prince, Merlin runs his fingers over the other's face, pushing away the thought that he already looks dead. Give him your breath, the idea springs unbidden, and he's bending down before he can think on it beyond that. Tilting Arthur's head back, he pinches his nose closed and seals his mouth over Arthur's. The prince's lips are cold and wet, tasting of lake water, not warm and soft like Merlin might have imagined wait, when did I imagine something like that?
No, no time to think about it, just breathe into Arthur, watch his chest rise under the chain mail, now let it out, then breathe again, come on, come on, watch for movement, any sign of life, “Arthur!” Merlin can't give up, won't give up, forcing air into Arthur's lungs, dragging him back to life as he'd dragged him back to the shore, and finally, finally, Arthur chokes and convulses in Merlin's grasp, water spilling over his lips. Merlin sits back on his knees and rolls the prince onto his side, holding him up as he coughs and gags, bringing up all the water he'd breathed in and swallowed. Merlin allows himself a sigh of relief, sagging slightly against Arthur's back, and tells himself that the dampness on his cheeks is only from the water dripping down from his hair.
After what seems like forever, it's over, and Arthur slumps back against Merlin's supporting arms with a groan. Merlin eases him down onto the ground and glances over him quickly. “Doesn't look like you're hurt, aside from nearly drowning,” he comments, trying and failing to keep the relief out of his voice.
Arthur lies quietly a moment, too quietly for Merlin's liking, his lips parted as he draws in several shaky breaths before his eyes open slowly. Merlin gasps, leaning forward to grasp the prince's shoulders, looking closer... yes, his eyes still hold the red glow of the spell. “No... it can't be! You're still enchanted? How...? But I... they...” His sputtering is interrupted as Arthur's hands come up, gripping his arms above the elbows, drawing him closer. Arthur's head tilts curiously, as though he's seeing his servant for the first time, and one gloved hand slides up Merlin's arm to touch his face.
Oh, this is bad, this is really, really bad... he's still under a love or infatuation enchantment and I just practically kissed him, well, not exactly, only to save his life but how do I explain that to someone who's under a spell and how do I break this and oh no what is he doing...?
Merlin's racing thoughts come to a screeching halt as Arthur wraps his hand around the back of his neck and pulls him down. Arthur's lips are still wet with lake water, but this time they're warming quickly, soft and pliant against Merlin's, yet demanding in the kiss. Kiss... kiss... I'm kissing Arthur... I'm kissing the prince... he's kissing me... he's enchanted, I need to stop this, but oh... in a minute... Merlin's eyes slip closed as one hand tangles in the prince's wet hair, tugging lightly. He feels more than hears a low groan from the man beneath him, and suddenly his lips are parted by Arthur's tongue as it demands entrance. Shifting over the other, he meets the intruding tongue with his own and returns the favor, and is rewarded with another shudder and groan from the prince beneath him.
In the back of his mind, Merlin knows he should be focusing on breaking this spell and releasing the prince from the enchantment, but at the moment, all he can think of is how good it feels to have Arthur's lips and tongue working against his. A slight shift is his only warning, and suddenly he finds himself on his back on the loamy ground, the prince's weight bearing him down. Arthur lifts his head and looks down at him, and for a moment his eyes flash back to their usual clear blue, and Merlin wonders if he can really see him, but then they're back to red and Arthur closes his eyes again and his lips are on Merlin's and Merlin can barely think any more. He lets his hands slide up Arthur's arms to rest on his shoulders and the back of his neck, avoiding the cold metal of his armor, shifting underneath him, and this time the groan comes from his own throat.
Arthur moves over Merlin, one leg pressing between his, and Merlin gasps, his hips jerking upward in uncontrollable instinct. Even through the curtain of cold and heavy chain mail, he can feel the hard length of Arthur's arousal pressing against him, and his own body heats in response, a shiver that has nothing to do with his wet clothes rushing through his body. His hands roam over Arthur's shoulders and back, trying to touch as much as he can of him, and it takes him far too long to notice that the prince's arms are trembling as he holds himself up, and he's leaning far too heavily on Merlin...
“Oh!” Merlin breaks the kiss with a gasp, clutching at Arthur's arms. “I'm an idiot, you're the one who nearly drowned today.” Arthur simply looks down at him with a confused expression, then tries to lean back down for another kiss, but Merlin manages to struggle upright against his weight. “Just let me...”
It's a testament to how much the ordeal has weakened the prince that Merlin is able to roll him onto his back on the ground again so easily. He settles himself straddling the prince, one leg between Arthur's thighs, pressing tight against him. Arthur groans and grasps Merlin's shoulders, pulling him down for another kiss, and Merlin is silently grateful that his eyes stay closed. He doesn't want to see the red tint of the enchantment in this moment. Reaching down, he quickly unfastens Arthur's belt, then slides his hand under the front of Arthur's chain mail, pushing the heavy weight up over the prince's hips. His tunic soon follows, the wet fabric clinging and awkward around Merlin's fingers. Breaking the kiss to watch Arthur's face, Merlin palms over the front of Arthur's damp breeches, feeling a thrill at the way the prince arches and moans underneath him. Before he can think clearly as to what he's doing, his fingers are working at the wet laces, fumbling, tugging, desperate, and then his hand is wrapped around a hot, hard length and Arthur is gasping and clutching at him, pulling him even closer. Merlin bites his lip as he begins to stroke him, watching the prince's eyelashes flutter, memorizing the way his breath catches, the way his hair sticks to his forehead as his head tilts back in pleasure.
Merlin's own cock throbs anxiously in his trousers, and he presses himself against Arthur's hip, a shudder racing through him at the feeling. It isn't nearly enough, and he sits up to unfasten his own pants and push them down over his hips, just enough to free his erection. Shifting to straddle the prince fully, he gasps as their arousals brush and slide against each other, and he hears an echoing moan from Arthur beneath him. His fingers curl around both lengths as he begins to thrust against Arthur, his body moving on instinct. What am I doing? This is... I shouldn't... but... oh god, he feels so good...
Arthur's hands tug at Merlin again, pulling him out of his thoughts and into another deep kiss. The prince's lips are heated and forceful, and his tongue has barely any taste of lake water as it slides into Merlin's mouth. Merlin responds without thought, matching Arthur's movements, not about to be outdone by him, not in this. Arthur's hips jerk under Merlin, and then there is a gloved hand covering his, urging his fingers on, faster, harder, more, and Merlin can't even think about stopping. A moan echoes between their mouths and he's not even sure if it's his or Arthur's voice now, and his eyes close as he loses himself in the heat and pleasure and feeling of Arthur beneath him, Arthur's hand on him, Arthur's cock sliding against his own, Arthur's lips, Arthur's tongue, Arthur, Arthur, “Arthur!”
It's over far too quickly, a shudder and a cry of his prince's name, and Merlin curls forward, his body moving in an uncontrollable writhe. Pulling back just slightly, he braces himself on a trembling arm, the other still moving in quick, hard jerks over Arthur's cock, now slick with more than water. He watches Arthur's eyelashes flutter as his head tilts back in pleasure, breath quickening and mouth falling open in a silent cry. Arthur's hand still rests over Merlin's, guiding his strokes, urging him on, and though Merlin's own cock is twitching and oversensitive, he can't bring himself to pull away, so he presses hard against Arthur, his gaze flicking down for only an instant to watch the movement of his own hand. I can't believe we're...
Arthur's cry pulls his attention back to his face, and he looks up to see the expression of ecstasy rush over the prince's features. Arthur's head is thrown back, his mouth open, his cheeks flushed as he jerks and thrusts into Merlin's hand, thick streams of white coating Merlin's fingers and the front of his chain mail. Finally, he slumps to the ground, his eyes opening to show glorious blue as he smiles breathlessly at Merlin, before a slightly confused look crosses his face.
Merlin only has a moment of panic, wondering just what the hell he's going to say to explain this before the prince solves his problem by passing out cold. “Well... that's one way...” Merlin says aloud, blinking in shock. After checking to make sure Arthur isn't injured or in more danger from the water he'd inhaled, he sighs and goes about cleaning the both of them as best he can before starting the long process of getting Arthur back to Camelot.
The entire trip back, Merlin wonders what will happen when Arthur finally does wake for good. Will he remember what happened, or will it all be a blur from the spell? Will he dismiss Merlin, or perhaps have him executed for taking such... liberties? Will he be grateful for Merlin doing what was necessary to break the spell? Merlin snorts a laugh at that thought.
Thankfully, Gaius doesn't ask any questions about the suspicious stains on Arthur's clothes, and goes about treating him as he would any other patient. Merlin doesn't volunteer any additional information, and insinuates that the spell should be broken now that Sophie and her father are dead. He can't help worrying his nails to the nubs, however, as they wait for Arthur to awaken...
Telling Arthur that he knocked him out is somewhat satisfying. Merlin doesn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved that Arthur appears not to remember what happened. Relieved, of course you're relieved, why would you want him to remember that? But sometimes he catches the prince's eye, and wonders...