INT. BULLPEN — DAY — ESTABLISHING A multitude of people, detectives to uniformed officers to suspects in handcuffs, mill around in a large open work area. MERLIN EMRYS dozes at his desk, head resting on his folded forearms.
Det. Merlin Emrys (of the Pan-Albion PD, 99th Precinct (Camelot)), resident walking hangover, bolted up straight in his chair at the sound of his name, then immediately regretted it as his head throbbed. He groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut in an attempt to control the dizziness. The arsehole who’d just brought him back to unwilling life could wait a fucking minute.
Jesus. He didn’t even remember how much he’d had to drink. Fuck Morgana for dragging him to Shaw’s — he’d insisted he didn’t want to go, that he had an early morning shift, but the apple of the Pan-Albion Police Commissioner’s eye and the PAPD’s master
blackmailer hostage negotiator always got her fucking way.
Merlin opened one eye, as if that would lessen the giddiness in any way. His beloved arsehole (Captain Arthur Pendragon, with all the abbreviations and medals and fancy awards that the name carried) was staring down at him, face bare of any emotion. Merlin could swear that the arsehole was amused, though, and it showed in his eyes if not his
gorgeous fucking mouth. His perfidious heart skipped a beat. They’d agreed they wouldn’t be publicly affectionate, especially not in their workplace, so Arthur had taken to summoning Merlin to the office for a (sadly chaste) kiss every now and then, instead of stopping by the desk like he was doing now. What did he want?
“Whaddayawan,” said Merlin, and pretended that he’d intended the words to come out that way. Arthur was not fooled.
“Here. For your crapulence.” (Merlin did not snicker at the word crapulence, as he was much too much mature for that.) An opaque glass swam into sight, but Merlin was more interested in the hand wrapped around it. He reached out and savoured the few blissful seconds of skin contact with his sort-of-but-maybe-not-really boyfriend before he was left clutching only the glass. “Drink up.”
“You try’na kill me?” he asked faintly.
Arthur might just have smiled, then. “Come on, now.”
There must have been no one else in the bullpen yet, or no one was paying attention — only that could explain how Arthur took the glass back, touched the rim to Merlin’s mouth, and tilted.
Raw egg yolks slithered onto Merlin’s tongue.
“Motherf—” spluttered Merlin, already planning a projectile-vomit rebellion in his head, but Arthur had a hand on the side of his neck in moments, stroking his Adam’s apple with his thumb.
“Drink up,” he said, all gentle, as if he weren’t inwardly having a laugh at Merlin’s misery. Merlin glared at him. Captain Pendragon. Stroking him like he would a kitten reluctant to swallow its medicine. Merlin did not pretend to like Arthur’s affections one bit as he downed the entire — drink? Poison — and shuddered in a very un-kitten-like manner.
“I hope you feel better soon,” Arthur murmured, leaning down. Merlin froze. Would he go for it? Would Arthur really?
He would really.
Arthur kissed him on the cheek — perfunctorily, but he kissed Merlin in front of all their colleagues and underlings (“Subordinates,” Arthur would chide, and Merlin would roll his eyes) — and that simply had to be a delusion.
“Are you dying?” Merlin had to ask. “No, really, are you secretly dying and just realised that you won’t get very many chances to snog me in public?”
“You’re making me regret it,” Arthur said smoothly and, setting the horrid eggy glass down on Merlin’s desk, strode into his office. Merlin might or might not have ogled his arse throughout, the 5p coins in his wallet dying to be bounced off it.
The yolks sloshing around in his stomach seemed to be doing their job; perhaps it was time for Merlin to do the same. He groaned and turned to his case files. Three cheers for paperwork. Three more for paperwork he couldn’t skive off. Another three for his ‘relationship’ with Arthur, held together with prayers and longing glances.
Merlin flinched. “Not you, too. Not in the morning. Go away.”
“Nah,” said Det. Gwaine Greene, and sat on the edge of Merlin’s desk. Slid an arm over his shoulders and leant in close to whisper into Merlin’s ear: “So, was that a proper peck we all saw or is this display not going to make him jealous at all?”
Merlin stubbornly kept his mouth shut and pulled the topmost case file towards him, snatching a pen from his overstuffed holder. There were other eyes on them: Percy’s and Morgana’s, and Gwen’s and Mith’s (and the NPC underlings too), and he was going to be the very picture of professionalism around them. Starting right now.
“I have ways of making you talk,” Gwaine said, poking Merlin’s cheek with a thumb. Merlin smiled blandly down at the form. Vive la paperasse. “I’ll punish you if you don’t spill, Merlin.”
Merlin snapped. “Oh, Daddy, you tempt me so,” he sighed, swooning (the dizzying hangover helped). Gwaine had nothing on him; Merlin had raided all of his hideouts just the week before, and every love note Merlin had scrawled for Arthur
and swept aside in melodramatic anguish had been incinerated along with the week’s forensic waste.
He was safe.
Gwaine hopped (hopped) off the desk and went to the centre of the bullpen. Raised a certain mobile phone into the air — the one missing from Merlin’s jacket, the bloody pickpocket — holding it in front of his face in the manner of no one ever.
Merlin froze. He wasn’t going to look towards Arthur’s open door. He wasn’t. He wasn’t going to think about Arthur at all as Gwaine triumphantly made good on his threat —
“Hear ye, hear ye. Hark! A text sent by our very own Detective Emrys to a certain paramour: Blood spatters are red, your eyes are twilight blue; that arse is toit, Cap—ahem, bend over more, won’t you?”
The words faded into pin-drop silence as the bullpen ceased all work, staring with bated breath at the crime-scene-in-waiting. No one dared glance towards the captain’s office, not even Morgana, who looked like the cat that got the canary.
Merlin eased himself out of his chair. Met Gwaine’s eyes — the bastard grinned cheerily.
Then he lunged.
INT. BULLPEN — DAY
“That shiner suits you,” Det. Morgana Gorlois remarked, pausing at Gwaine’s workstation. Her leather jacket gleamed in the light, as if she’d given it a good cleaning. Ugh, had she used shoe polish? “You really can pull any look off, Greene.”
Gwaine, cradling an ice pack to said shiner, rolled his good eye at her. Merlin snorted noisily as he passed both of them. It wasn’t an inaccurate assessment by any means (the man had once shown up for work dressed in a Doraemon onesie and the Gwaine-sexual perps had all melted anyway); however, since Merlin wasn’t feeling too charitable towards the bastard, he would pointedly disagree with his best friend.
“Oh, go get spanked by your boyfriend,” Morgs muttered. Merlin made a face and jostled her with much more affection than he had Gwaine. Then he took a deep breath and marched to Arthur’s office, knocking on the door jamb.
The thing was, Merlin wasn’t really sure anymore. About the boyfriend thing, not the spanking thing, which never would have happened. Probably. They hadn’t got to that part of the relationship yet. If theirs had been a relationship. Which... oh, fuck, Merlin was panicking. Arthur was going to break up with him over the humiliation of the morning, because they’d just been mrmzeep and jinglebin all this time and Merlin had taken it too far with the love letters that’d been secret before Gwaine’d decided to be an absolute tosspot and read a s’posed-to-be-funny one out loud, but in light of what’d happened it wasn’t funny at all, was it —
“Breathe,” said Arthur, glancing up at him. He was wearing (Merlin’s heart constricted) reading glasses. “And close the door behind you.”
Merlin took a wheezing breath.
Merlin took a second equally-asthmatic breath, nudging the door shut with his heel and pressing his back against the doorpost. Arthur set aside whatever he’d been reading, and nodded towards the seat across from him. He looked so fucking hot, even doing something as utterly mundane as taking off his old-man glasses, and he was about to tell Merlin that he wasn’t worth going to the trouble of ‘adjusting’ the PAPD rules on workplace relationships and they were better off as captain and underling only —
“Hello, jinglebin.” And there Arthur was, having shedded his captain mantle, smiling at him. “Do sit.”
“I thought I was mrmzeep,” Merlin heard himself say.
“In an act of extraordinary sacrifice, I gave you the less-nonsensical one.”
I love you so much, oh my fucking God, I never want to stop being with you. “Why am I here?”
“Rather thought that was obvious.”
“Am I going to be suspended without pay for tripping and accidentally introducing Gwaine’s forehead to mine?”
“Was it really on accident?”
“I don’t hate the fucker, Cap.”
“Evidently.” Arthur shook his head. “You’re not going to be suspended. Greene is hardly going to file a complaint. But I must confess, I’m quite curious about the four-line poem he read out that inspired your ill-fated scuffle.”
“I’d been hoping you’d pull an Uther and ignore it,” Merlin confessed. To this day, Uther Pendragon, esteemed Police Commissioner (and also Arthur’s father), refused to acknowledge the tragicomic run-in he’d had with Merlin, Mithian, and two quarts of vodka. Not even to Morgana, and he’d made Annis give her the key to the damn city.
“Thank you for the kind compliment you paid my arse.”
“My pleasure. No, seriously. All mine.”
“I shall take your suggestion into consideration.”
“What sug—oh, the bending over one. Yeah. Wise decision. Mutually beneficial, I’d say.”
Arthur’s eyes were sparkling; oh, how desperately Merlin wanted to declare his affection for this posh Poindexter and be done with it. He refrained, however, because he was a coward. There was a not-small part of him that still thought Arthur had called him in to nip their blooming relationship in the bud; and if Merlin were to be honest (and pigs were to launch into the air), he would deserve it for being the one to suggest keeping it light and breezy. Light! and! breezy! After everything they’d been through — after his uncle Gaius’s accident, his undercover assignment, that fucking maniac Cenred. As if Arthur didn’t matter more than anything else in the world to him.
But what if he didn’t matter to Arthur, y’know?
Merlin blinked. “Nope,” he said, and he wasn’t lying, ’cause the nausea roiling in his gut wasn’t alcohol related at all. “Can I kiss you?”
“You can,” said Arthur, steepling his fingers under his chin and slanting forward to rest his elbows on the table. Merlin’s eyes narrowed; Arthur had never been that easy before. “Whether or not you may, however, is still up for debate —”
There it was. “No!” Merlin yelled shrilly, leaping to his feet and pointing very… pointedly at his boyfriend-but-maybe-not-really. “No. I don’t care if you’re the poshest, toffiest bloke in the entire Pan-Albion police force but you are not giving me a grammar lesson again so help me God —”
And Arthur was laughing. Merlin’s indignation immediately exploded into glitter rain and cartoon hearts. He would do anything for this man, and he’d royally fucked it up the minute Percy’d taken Cenred down.
“C’mere,” said Arthur, raising his chin and slumping (as much as he, an innate soldier, could slump, which was not very much) in his chair in invitation. Merlin sneaked a glance backwards. No spying spies peering through the slats of the Persian blind. And so he made his way round the fancy captain’s desk. He might have added a bit of roll to his hips. Couldn’t let Arthur take him for granted, eh. Couldn’t let Arthur get away.
“Sexy,” Arthur commented. Fucker.
Merlin bent down to press his mouth against Arthur’s for the captain-mandated five (chaste!) seconds, and resumed his seat on the other side of the desk. His lips honest-to-fuck tingled with just that. This was love, wasn’t it? This was true love! “Good kiss,” he said, voice strangled.
“I’d like you to tell me about the billets-doux” — who even talked like that — “you’ve been writing to me, but which I haven’t been receiving.”
“The text message Gwaine read out in the morning was only a draft I’d typed up whilst drinking with Gorlois last night. You know she’s a terrible influence.”
“The most hideous,” Arthur agreed.
“I don’t normally write a lot of them. So. You’re barking up the wrong tree.” Merlin’s poker face wasn’t often up to snuff, but today he did his best.
“Very well.” Arthur seemed… let down. Some of the sparkle in his eyes from before dimmed. Merlin grimaced inwardly. “Anything else to report, Detective Emrys?”
“No, Captain Pendragon.”
And they were captain-underling again. Just like that. Because Merlin couldn’t get his head out his arse long enough to speak from his heart.
He wondered if he ever would.
INT. BRIEFING ROOM — DAY
Det. Gwen Leodegrance punched Merlin in the shoulder as soon as he entered. “That’s for Gwaine! What were you thinking? We’re not the WWE!”
“I didn’t grass up, Merls, just so you know. I’m no nark,” Gwaine piped up, seated at the very front, in front of the podium. Morgana, right beside him, yawned and poked at Gwaine’s black eye, apparently for kicks. Gwaine cringed away from her. Merlin wondered when they’d spare the precinct their suffocating sexual tension and bone down. But he had no room to talk… assuming Arthur wanted him, too. Which he might not. Despite all the kisses and the fond ‘sexy’s and everything.
“I tripped,” Merlin said, but even Percy (fine, Sgt. Percival Knightsbridge) looked sceptical. “I really did. Tell them, Greene.”
“Still no nark.” The smug indifference to Merlin’s plight stretched Gwaine’s mouth into a shit-eating grin.
Useless shite, Merlin mouthed at him, letting Mithian, the civvie admin, usher him into a chair. Gwaine winked smarmily.
“Oh-kay,” Mithian said, skipping back to the podium. “Now that we’ve dealt with the most piddling thing that’s ever happened to this precinct—”
“Love Island would kill for our drama!”
“—let’s all get to the next item on the agenda.”
The very atoms in the room stilled. Merlin’s eyes honest-to-God widened with glee. Behind him, Gwen gasped. “I’m not ready,” she squeaked, the worst liar in the precinct. Her poker face was even worse than Merlin’s, bless her.
“Drumroll please,” said Mithian, waving a get-on-with-it hand. Percy closed his eyes in resignation and made a gesture with his hands such that, due to his bulk, it looked like he was shimmying. “The Halloween Heist!”
The room cheered, a massive ayyyy rising into the air.
“Last year’s champion, tosser extraordinaire — I meant hair-tosser, Greene — requisitioned thirty minutes to make a speech about how amazing he is, but I, being a benevolent civilian administrator, struck his request down.” Gwaine booed her, but she smiled sunnily and flipped him two fingers. “In light of my heroism, I’m going to treat myself and take this year’s neo-Samhain off for a date with Els, but I promised Morgana and Gwen I’d help hide this year’s trophy so here I am.”
“Wait,” interrupted Merlin. “Shouldn’t we wait for Ar—Pendragon? He’s participating, too, yeah?”
“You’re so sweetly in love with him it’s disgusting,” said Gwen, prodding Merlin in the back of his neck. He shrugged. It was true. Even though Arthur didn’t really know about it, and Merlin was being a craven idiot not telling him. Arthur would slip away, for fuck’s sake, he’d find someone else who loved him more outspokenly, and yet Merlin couldn’t get the words out his fucking mouth.
“Captain Pendragon with the toit-est arse this side of the Atlantic,” trilled Mithian, and Merlin realised with chagrin that he would never live this day down, “is too busy dealing with courtly matters re: the homicidal lunatic with a hard-on for him so bad he took us all hostage last month.”
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. BULLPEN — DAY — (FLASHBACK) A crazed man, formidably armed, stands on a desk, rifles in both hands. In the b.g., a number of police officers lie prostrate on the floor, hands behind their heads. MERLIN EMRYS crouches with his phone, hidden from view in the break room.
“Coward Pendragon,” Cenred Leweis yelled. “Come out and face me, or I kill one of your men every five minutes!”
Merlin scowled and typed, this the guy you put behind bars? What a cock on his mobile. Sent the message. In seconds, a reply lit up the phone: I’m going to go out there and try to negotiate with him. You, wait for backup.
NO, Merlin shot back, furious. HE WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY.
Arthur replied, And you can incapacitate him whilst he gloats.
SHUT UP, YOU MEDAL-GREEDY MARTYR. You can’t kick the bucket before I kiss you to pieces.
“I know you’re here. I’ve got my gun on your half-sister. Are you really going to let her die for you?” Cenred roared. Merlin’s heart clenched, even as his phone lit up again.
Oh, Merlin. I’d have loved to be kissed to pieces by you.
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. BRIEFING ROOM — DAY — RESUMING
“Anyway,” Mithian continued. “Merlin, you can brief him, or take his briefs off, whichever you prefer, once this meeting’s concluded.”
“So unprofessional,” Merlin muttered.
“And participating in something called the Halloween Heist is completely in line with the PAPD rules.” Mithian scoffed. “I do pray for your common sense sometimes.”
“Get on with it, Nemeth,” Percy said, nodding to his watch. Merlin eyed the straining buttons of his shirt. The sergeant used the gym downstairs for stress relief, and, judging by his muscle density, clearly had a lot on his plate. Merlin looked forward to the hilarious day his shirts gave up the ghost. He even had a bet running with a couple of the underlings about the number of buttons. “Haven’t got all day.”
“There’ll be no teams this year because I said so, and it’ll be an individual race to steal” — Mith picked up a remote and switched on the hanging projector — “Merlin’s pants.”
A picture of Merlin appeared on the screen behind Mithian. He was winking at the camera over his shoulder, showing off his stupidest, ridiculous-est pair of boxer-briefs (which featured nothing quite as tame as red hearts, merely the words Wish You Were Here and a downward arrow printed on the back. Merlin was going to skin Morgana for not deleting that fucking photo yesterday, like she’d promised she would).
“You’re not serious,” Merlin snapped, colouring. He was, incidentally, wearing them at that moment, not having changed since last night due to
the hangover a severe lack of coordination unrelated to any alcoholic intoxication. He fidgeted in his seat. Morgana smirked at him from behind Greene’s over-large head. Blew him a kiss. Merlin made a show of grabbing the kiss out of the air and crushing it in his fist.
“Just a joke, darling. I forgot to have the little trophy made, so we’ll be using your badge, actually.”
Merlin’s hand flew to his belt, where his badge usually hung.
Gwaine pulled it out of his pocket and, casual as anything, tossed it to Mith. “Easy as pie to pinch it off him this morn.”
“You whore,” Merlin retorted, though he had to admire the brains it took to play him like this. On second thought, maybe Morgana was the culprit behind everything instead.
“We just really like your badge, Merls,” Gwaine explained. “It’s… cleaner than ours, very shiny, very aesthetically pleasing. That’s the only reason we’re using it.”
Through absolutely no fault of his own, Merlin’s badge number was 6969.
“I give up. I really do,” sighed Merlin.
“Aw, baby,” Morgana crooned, leaving Gwaine to sit next to him. “You make it so easy, though.”
“Love you, too.” She rubbed Merlin’s shoulder and rested her head against his. She had every right to do so; they’d survived the academy together as baby cadets, bonding over the complete stupidity of the other hopefuls and a certain
shallow appreciation of their instructor’s gluteus maximus. Didn’t mean Merlin couldn’t hate her every now and then.
“I’ll be hiding the badge in the evidence lockers,” Mithian said, brandishing Merlin’s badge at everyone (and pretty much shoving it in Percival’s face), “and whoever has it by midnight will receive — go on, Knightsbridge, do the shimmy drumroll again, there’s a good sergeant — a week off work!”
“Has Captain Pendragon even signed off on this?” Gwen asked with a frown.
Morgana snorted loudly. “That uptight prig — I’m joking, Merlin, don’t throw a tantrum — wouldn’t give himself a shot at an hour off, much less a week.”
“Yes, Gorlois, your uptight half-brother who’s asked me to regularly remind you that he could fire you in the blink of an eye — he most definitely signed an ‘urgent’ form I shoved under his face. He didn’t even examine every line like he usually does. TL;DL: we’re good.”
“Do you want to maybe add a clause in the rules wherein the winner must give me my badge back after the heist?” Merlin said, raising his hand with a grimace. Number notwithstanding, he couldn’t do his job without it.
Mithian thought about it for a second. “Nah. The heist starts in half an hour, once I’ve properly hidden Merlin’s sex badge. Dismissed!”
“Tough luck, mate,” Gwaine offered as they all scrambled to get back to their desks, dodging Merlin’s bum swat with a bark of a laugh.
INT. EVIDENCE ROOM — NIGHT MERLIN EMRYS and ARTHUR PENDRAGON sit cross-legged on the floor across each other.
“So, here we are, trapped once more,” said Merlin, twiddling his thumbs.
“Here we are, trapped once more,” repeated Arthur, smiling softly in the dim light. How could he look so fantastic sitting so informally on the floor in full regalia? Why was he in full regalia? Merlin totally had heart eyes for him, and hoped to God Arthur could see.
“Ought I even ask?” Merlin said.
Arthur smiled a tiny bit more widely. “I didn’t get all these insignias by dint of nepotism, you know.”
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. BULLPEN — DAY — (FLASHBACK)
“On your mark,” Mithian called from over at the lifts, all dolled up for her date (with Elena Gawant from Forensics — there was a story there which everyone but Merlin knew, but they were being tight-lipped about it, the hypocrites). “Perce, I genuinely feel that as the Thanos to the others’ Loki, you need to give them a two-second head start.”
“Too bloody soon!”
“Where’s Ar—the captain?” Merlin asked, casting about for the golden hair that shone so bright Merlin was often too badly blinded to work, think, or breathe. Arthur was nowhere to be seen. “Isn’t he in this?” The heist seemed too haphazard this year, not nearly as complex and organised (‘organised’) as previous editions; and now Arthur, who was so into this glorious
ly silly competition that he’d made Morgana work overtime without pay for shutting him in the evidence room last year, that man was missing? What the fuck was going on?
“Commissioner Pendragon called him in for something, I don’t know.” Mithian shrugged. “Get set.”
“H’ve you ever considered how awful you are at your job?” Gwaine said, shaking his head and smiling broadly at her.
“Not any worse than you are at yours,” Mithian retorted. “Go!”
And they all dashed to the staircase.
Merlin had been on the track-and-field team in secondary school, regularly excelling at sprint hurdle races. It was part of what’d given him an edge over the other candidates at the police academy, and it was what let him leap down the stairs, hurdle the banisters, and reach the evidence room before his twat colleagues.
His athleticism was not the reason he was shocked to see Arthur already inside, nor was it why he yelped when Morgana slammed the door closed behind him and through it yelled, Have fun, you naïve twit, but he had nothing else to blame, nowhere else to turn.
“Have a seat,” Arthur said. He meant the floor. Merlin looked at it apprehensively. “I’ve had it cleaned, don’t worry.”
“You’ve clearly not worked here long enough.” But Merlin sat anyway.
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. EVIDENCE ROOM — NIGHT — RESUMING
“If you’d wanted to talk to me you could’ve just asked,” Merlin said. “And, I dunno, summoned me into your office, invited me to dinner. Going to all this trouble makes you seem like a bit of a villain, is all I’m saying.”
“You only live twice, Mr Bond,” Arthur intoned.
“You’ve been… distant, you know.”
Arthur laughed, a touch of sourness in it. “Don’t deny it.”
“Is that an order, Captain?”
“That’s denying it.”
Merlin bit his lip like a vampire-novel heroine, and got onto his hands and knees to crawl over to Arthur, sitting next to him under #J9544/426P. Arthur looked pleasantly surprised, but didn’t budge.
“You’ve been distant ever since you kissed me.”
“When?” But Merlin already knew.
“Perhaps you don’t remember; you were in shock.” (Arthur was being too kind to him, giving him an easy out.) “After Sergeant Knightsbridge tackled Cenred to the ground, you sprinted towards me — sprinted, Merlin — and then you flung your arms round me and gave me what was possibly the very best kiss of my life.”
Arthur turned his hand so it was palm-up on his thigh. Merlin marvelled at how open he was being. Tentatively, he placed his hand atop Arthur’s, intertwining their fingers. Arthur’s grip tightened, as if he’d never let go. Merlin never wanted him to.
“And then, because you’re an idiot —”
“— because you’re an idiot, you tell me that the culmination of our months and months and months of foreplay is a relationship where we’re not boyfriends, we’re… we’re mrmzeep and jinglebin, for God’s sake.”
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. CAPTAIN PENDRAGON’S OFFICE — DAY — (FLASHBACK)
In the wake of Cenred the Utter Cock, when the ambulances were wailing outside and the investigators bustling about in the bullpen, Merlin all but manhandled Arthur into his own office and launched himself at the stupidly-noble idiot. He’d never been this terrified before. Arthur could have died. Arthur had volunteered to die. If Merlin didn’t show him then and there just how much he treasured Arthur’s outdated notions of heroism, he’d die too, only on the inside.
“I’m here, Merlin,” was all Arthur had got to say before Merlin shut him up.
It was a nice snog, much in the way mind-blowing orgasms are nothing to write home about. They kissed for what seemed like hours, Merlin pinning Arthur up against the door, desperate at first, but slowing down as Arthur reciprocated, framing Merlin’s face in his hands, stroking the corners of his jaw with his thumbs. Merlin’s leather jacket made squeaky noises as they pressed up against each other; Arthur rucked it down to his elbows and Merlin finished the job.
He honest-to-God sighed as Arthur wrapped his arms around him, licked into his mouth, caressing his tongue, trapping it gently between his teeth to caress some more. Fuck. Arthur was so fucking good at this. He’d never have devoured Merlin like this if he’d gone out in the open, towards Cenred, to sacrifice himself—
“Merlin, oh Merlin, I’m right here,” Arthur whispered. Merlin squeezed his eyes shut.
“Haven’t you got enough medals already?” he said, voice treacherously shaky. “Gunning for the posthumous awards now? Letting all my seduction go to waste?”
“His beef was with me. I couldn’t let him hurt anyone else. You know how it is, Detective.”
Merlin swallowed. Detective. Right. They weren’t supposed to be doing this. Anything beyond verbal sparring was against the PAPD guidelines. Arthur could lose his captaincy. Fuck. He stepped back.
“I understand,” he said.
“You know. Our relationship.”
“Merlin, what —”
“No, no, no, don’t worry! We don’t need to make it anything more than it is! I get it! We’re cool, y’know? We’re light and breezy. Not boyfriends or lovers, just… mrmzeep and jinglebin, yeah?”
Arthur started to speak, then paused. “Of course,” he said finally.
SFX: STATIC NOISE
INT. EVIDENCE ROOM — NIGHT — RESUMING
“And then you barely smile at me for aeons, and keep looking at me like I’ve kicked your puppy into a river,” Arthur said, growing ever more animated as he spoke. “And then I find out you’ve apparently written and burnt love letters to me, which I never even had the privilege of reading! So of course I sacrifice the heist title and get my underlings —”
“You said underlings, oh my God.”
“— to lock us up in here so I can get some clarity out of you. Merlin, what is going on?” Arthur said, near-frantic by the end. Merlin had never seen his captain so desperate. Arthur was actually cross with him for this, and whilst Merlin wanted to be sorry about hurting his sort-of-but-maybe-not-really boyfriend, the implications of Arthur’s frustration were that he, were that he… that just like Merlin, he’d always wanted something more.
Fuck. Just how badly had he bollocksed things up?
He licked his lips. Swallowed. Decided that a course of self-deprecation was necessary before the arse-kissing. (May the gods of nooky smile down upon him and let the arse-kissing turn literal.)
“You’re right, I’ve been an idiot,” he began. Brought the hand holding Arthur’s up to his mouth, and kissed Arthur’s majestic knuckles. “I don’t — I don’t want light and breezy, all right? I’m utterly sick of those words. Can’t stand to speak them or listen to them.”
“I echo your sentiment.”
“Yes, okay, Your Poshness. What I’m trying to say is that I was scared out of my mind.”
“Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not Superman,” Merlin mumbled.
“I’m one hundred percent certain that that has never been an opinion at all.” Arthur seemed much less agitated now. Good.
“Fuck you very much! Look. You’re my captain. Your job is sacrosanct to you. We’ve been dangerously close to tossing the rulebook out the window, and I couldn’t live with myself if I got you dismissed by your own father. I didn’t want to put you in a position where you’d have to choose between me or him.”
Arthur grew conspicuously silent. Fiddled with his lapel. The formal outfit he was wearing was a fair bit dusty now. No good for a parade, Merlin thought, and then fought a mad urge to giggle.
“I may have met with Commissioner Pendragon today,” Arthur said after a while, avoiding Merlin’s eye. “To inform him that I am in a relationship with a subordinate officer, and that I plan on neither giving him up nor resigning my job, and that he would do well to steer clear of harming said subordinate. The commissioner may have voiced his displeasure very strongly, but I may have chosen to ignore it for the sake of my jinglebin.”
Arthur’s backbone could underpin Atlas’s sky for a fucking millennium. Merlin, not for the first time, wondered what act of supreme kindness he’d committed that he’d got Arthur in his life.
Forever, now. Merlin simply couldn’t help the grin.
“Of course, this still precludes us from public displays of affection at the workplace —”
Merlin had a stickler for a boyfriend; his mum was going to be so proud.
“Well, we’re not in public,” he said, “So one out of two. Not so bad.”
Then he lunged (he was good at that). Knocked his laughing boyfriend over, making even more of a mess of that (sexy, now that he allowed himself to think about it) uniform. Arthur’s mouth opened under his, sweet and yielding. Merlin moaned happily into the kiss and let himself be rolled onto his back. Arthur straddled him and, as Merlin’s buttons came quickly undone, they shared a fond look.
“Gonna shag me now, Captain Pendragon?” asked Merlin, rolling his hips and shamelessly laying the foundation for future incorrigibility. Arthur choked. Probably discovering a new kink or two thanks to him, Merlin thought with undue smugness, and considered it a job well done; at least until Arthur got his fingers on Merlin’s nipples and murmured in that beautiful posh voice of his,
“Oh, Detective Emrys, shagging is the least of what I’m going to do to you —”
— at which point Merlin promptly lost his senses and came in his pants, to Arthur’s delight.
As it turned out, the gods of nooky blessed him twice over.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE EVIDENCE ROOM — NIGHT The amorous noises in the evidence room grow louder. MORGANA GORLOIS pulls a fifty-pound note out of GWAINE GREENE’S hand. They walk to the staircase, pushing and shoving at each other like children.
CUT TO BLACK