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Arthur by firelight is beautiful, even more so when he's still wet from his bath. His skin seems to glow where light from the flames catches in the drops of water sliding down his skin. Merlin crouches at his feet, towel clutched in his hands, but he can't quite bring himself to start drying Arthur off.

There's a huff of irritation as Arthur reaches down and prods at his shoulder, trying to shake him out of his distraction. Merlin ends up sitting back on his heels as his gaze travels slowly up Arthur's body: strong thighs, half-hard cock, broad chest... When Merlin finally reaches Arthur's face he's looking down at him with an indulgent expression.

"What am I to do with you, Merlin?" Arthur asks, a thread of amusement in his voice.

Merlin has several suggestions to offer, but he has the feeling it was a rhetorical question.

"I'm sorry, sire," he says instead.

Arthur snorts derisively. "And now you learn deference? I'm not sure it suits you. Though I think I like you on your knees."

"What would you have me do, sire? While I'm being deferential, that is." Merlin shoots Arthur what he hopes is a suitably coy glance, fluttering his lashes for effect.

"You know full well," Arthur replies. "And I know you've been thinking about it too. You're an open book, Merlin."

Merlin ducks his head at that, knowing how manifestly untrue it is, but he doesn't want anything to spoil the moment. Instead, he casts the towel aside and reaches out to clasp Arthur's hips. He leans in and nuzzles the wiry curls at the base of Arthur's cock. They're damp from the bath and Merlin likes the feel of them against his cheek. He breathes in the clean scent of Arthur, heavier here with his growing arousal.

Fingers tangle in Merlin's hair, not rough, but urging him to redirect his attention just a little. Merlin lets Arthur guide him until he's mouthing Arthur's shaft, licking water off the smooth skin. Arthur's hips move just slightly and Merlin shifts his hands until they're curved more securely around his buttocks. He can feel the muscles flex with each shallow thrust. Arthur is fully hard now and Merlin laps at the head, chasing the taste of pre-come. Arthur's grip tightens convulsively, a sharp tug against Merlin's scalp, and he gasps softly.

Opening his mouth, Merlin slowly takes him in. Arthur is hot and hard on his tongue as Merlin hollows his cheeks and sucks his cock in deeper. Merlin rises up on his knees so that he can take more of Arthur; the angle is better this way. Arthur is slowly clenching and relaxing his fingers in Merlin's hair and he can sense how close he is to abandoning restraint and just dragging him closer.

Merlin pulls back, breathing deeply and swallowing saliva. Arthur's eyes are wild when he looks up at him, wordlessly begging him not to stop. There's a pink flush to his skin and sweat beading up, thanks to the heat of the fire. His cock is spit-slick and perfect and Merlin wants it back in his mouth right now, but there's something he needs to say first.

"You can do it," he tells Arthur. "You don't have to hold back. If you want to fuck my mouth you can."

Arthur groans and his hips buck sharply. "Fuck, Merlin!"

"I want you to," Merlin adds and then he's bending his head to take Arthur in again.

Arthur's grip on him tightens before he thrusts forward, pushing fully into Merlin's mouth. Merlin swallows around the thickness of his cock, feeling the tip nudge at the back of his throat. It seems to spur Arthur into action and he lets go of his control finally. Merlin closes his eyes and concentrates on breathing, leaving the rest to Arthur. Within seconds his senses are overwhelmed; all he can feel and smell and taste is Arthur.

A little desperately he clutches at Arthur's arse and his fingers slip into the cleft. The skin is slick and damp between his cheeks and Merlin's fingertips find his hole, pressing against it. As Arthur thrusts, fucking into Merlin's mouth, the movement pushes just the tip of Merlin's middle finger inside. Merlin feels the muscle clench around him and presses gently. He won't try and go deeper without anything to ease the way, but while he's not meeting any resistance he won't stop either. He knows Arthur can feel it and hopes it's enough to let him know what he's thinking, what he would like from him later.

Suddenly, Arthur's whole body tenses and then he's coming. His release spills into Merlin's mouth and he swallows, wanting it all. Arthur's hands tug at his hair, pulling him back so that the last of his comes lands on Merlin's lips and trails down his chin. As Arthur slowly relaxes, Merlin eases his finger free and strokes his palms across Arthur's buttocks. They twitch at the touch, overly sensitive. Merlin can feel Arthur's legs trembling and he reaches up to support him as he sinks down onto the rug beside him. His skin's still wet, both with the remnants of his bath and the fresh sweat. Merlin reaches for the towel and begins to rub it over Arthur's chest.

Arthur shifts until he's leaning back on his elbows and Merlin knows he's being watched. He tilts his head to the side and then beckons Merlin closer.

"You have something right... here," he says before stretching up to lick the traces of his come from Merlin's mouth.

It's a long, leisurely kiss and Merlin loses track of what he was doing somewhere in the middle of it. His own cock is hard, a warm, throbbing ache between his legs. He makes no move to ease it, though, because Arthur is nothing if not a generous lover. He knows things won't remain unreciprocated for too long and, hopefully, Arthur will have taken note of his earlier, less than subtle, hint about the form he'd like that reciprocation to take. Then, later, they can both make use of the tub to get clean again.