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30 August 2010 @ 12:22 pm
Gentleman of Quality, AU, Arthur/Merlin (NC-17)  
Title: Gentleman of Quality
Author: valderys
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 2,196
Notes: Written for my kink_bingo square: uniforms. AU. Somewhat PWP. And because I hate getting the details wrong, rather more Regency research than I expected for a piece of porn :)
Summary: Captain Pendragon is a Hussar - and that means there's a lot of uniform to remove...

As Merlin trotted up the stairs with a refill of hot water for Arthur’s bathwater, he reflected that it was exceedingly pleasant to be back in civilised climes again – places where hot water was able to be procured at all, never mind the unimaginable luxury of its constant availability due to the water heating in the copper tank behind the big stove. Which, he had been informed, was the latest in modern Closed Ranges and cost not a penny less than £150. Freya, the cook, was proud of how her mistress didn’t stint below stairs. “She’s not one of those penny-pinching nobs, where it’s all straw-coloured satin above and not a pan without a patch below, oh no. She’s real Quality, and her lord keeps her in bang-up style – she has more than pin money and quite right too.”

That was certainly true to all appearances, Merlin reflected, and they were certainly grateful to Arthur’s sister, Lady Morgana, for her hospitality. For all that Arthur called her a designing harpy, sometimes to her face, being her guests and surrounded by such luxury offered significant comforts. They were more used to being under canvas on the Peninsular, after all, but the war was dragging on and on – and so the 7th Queen's Own Hussars had been ordered home to London after significant losses. It was nice to be billeted somewhere other than the too empty barracks. For Merlin, all this was still a marvel and a wonder, although for Arthur, the gloss had seemed to rub off pretty soon.

He bounded up the back stairs to their rooms, and luckily managed not to drop any of the water. Arthur wasn’t shouting his head off yet, which was a minor miracle in itself, but it couldn’t last. He looked up carelessly as Merlin came in and said, “Ah, there you are, Emrys, about bloody time. These boots aren’t going to take themselves off, now are they?”

Merlin grinned back as he shut the door, before pouring the pitcher into the bath. Arthur did have his little ways. Well, to be completely correct Captain the Honourable Arthur George Cedric Pendragon KB had his little ways, but it was all the same to Merlin.

And he was Merlin, in private anyway, and not just Sergeant Emrys. He appreciated that too. There was a safety with Arthur that went far beyond bodily protection. To any man like Merlin, who had been used to going to the Molly Houses for his pleasure and his company, it meant the world. Arthur meant the world. He might grumble about it, because it wouldn't do to let Arthur's head get too big, and anyway Arthur expected a certain amount of recalcitrance from him, but Merlin was grinning widely all the same.

"It's your big feet," he said as he lifted Arthur's leg off the floor and then tugged at the boot. "They swell, just like your head."

"I'll have you know," said Arthur, with a huff, and a twinkle, "That I have Honourable feet, just like the rest of me."

"Aye, but your Honourable feet stink just the same as the next man, and so does your breath - it doesn't care how Honourable it is."

Arthur laughed, and lifted up his other booted foot before pushing Merlin lightly in the gut. "The next man is you, Merlin, so I'd be more careful what I say, if I were you."

Merlin snorted, in derision. "I'm from Ealdor, where mud is next to godliness, and I'm also a peasant, so people expect it. Besides, I've never noticed much difference between English mud and Spanish mud, and no-one cares if I stink anyway."

"I care," said Arthur, and Merlin looked up, startled. His tone was mocking, but his eyes told a different story, and Merlin found himself unexpectedly fond.

It was a different story a second later when Arthur suddenly pushed hard, and with an oof noise Merlin found himself flat on his back with a boot in his hand.

"And I hope you haven't covered it in fingerprints," said Arthur with an evil grin, "I want to see my face in them when I stroll down St James's tomorrow."

"You won't be able to see them past your puffed-up chest," Merlin retorted, as he tried to get his breath back, and Arthur laughed.

He didn't know how things changed in that moment, as he looked up at Arthur with his head thrown back, with one boot on and one stockinged foot, all green and red and gold in his uniform. Because he should have looked ridiculous, but he didn't, not at all. Instead, the air grew warm and Merlin found his cheeks heating along with it. Arthur stared down at him, and his laughter trickled to a halt, to be replaced with a complex look, the chiefest component of which was longing, with a side-dish of good old-fashioned lust.

They hadn't risked anything here in Lady Morgana's house. Merlin had been beginning to think that such relations were something Arthur was ashamed of at heart, an aberration best left in the field where the blood pumped hot and fear of dying was writ large. The smoulder in Arthur's eyes now made his breath catch in his throat.

Arthur leaned down and pulled Merlin to his feet, tugging him too hard, so that Merlin thumped into Arthur's chest, nearly face to face, their breaths mingling and noses brushing. Merlin sucked in an abrupt giggle, his sense of the ridiculous never far from the surface, and Arthur smiled back before tipping his head to one side and leaning forward for a kiss.

Arthur's mouth was lush and hot, and Merlin groaned into the sensation, chasing that elusive taste that meant Arthur to him, that meant safety and home, no matter where they were in the world. Their tongues met and matched one another, for a few precious moments, before Arthur pulled away panting. His chest was heaving, with all its scarlet and green wool and acres of gold braid, and Merlin cocked his head and considered the picture he made proudly, before gesturing for Arthur to raise his arms a little.

A batman and body servant both, that was Merlin, and factotum, and best friend. Undressing his master was a pleasure, most times, and then again sometimes, as now, a torment. Merlin's lips stretched wide in a grimace of concentration, as he reached around to loosen the sash, then his nimble fingers were flying over the myriad buttons, before reaching up to undo the stock and loosen the collar. He swallowed, as he paused, because Arthur already looked debauched, his lips damp and kissably soft, with his fine regimental all askew. Knowing he was the cause made Merlin's stomach tingle, made him feel wicked, and as he sidled around Arthur, ready to help him off with his tight jacket like any good servant, he couldn't resist sliding his fingers along the revealed linen of Arthur's shirt. The swell of Arthur's muscles tightened then, and he hissed through his teeth, and Merlin hid his smile, merely continuing to touch and to tease, swaying his body forward until he was brushing against Arthur's arse, trailing his fingers along planes and valleys of flesh loosely encased in the smooth linen.

He turned away then to carefully hang up the dolman, with its brocade and epaulettes, that still didn't come cheap even if Arthur could afford it, especially as Merlin would be the one to clean it all if he ruined it now. Besides, it was Arthur who was suffering, who was waiting with ill-contained impatience, in his pantaloons and shirt, braces still tight across his nipples, and it was Merlin with the power, here in these few moments. He was drunk on it, more than any cup of sack could offer, or a posset of his own making on a winter's evening outside Bayonne, and the thought was heady, made his cock fill, heavy in his trousers as it rubbed across the laces, a nagging promise he would fulfil soon enough.

Merlin turned back to Arthur, a half-smile on his face, and then leaned in closer than he should, before circling him, pulling the braces down until they hung loose at his side. He nuzzled at the fabric, inhaling Arthur's scent, before returning to face him and spreading the wings of his collar wide, baring Arthur's throat at last, which was a paler colour than the Spanish sun had left his face, and nuzzling the line of difference, where tanned skin met the strong column of Arthur's neck. Which belonged to Merlin really, as the only person who ever got to see it, to appreciate it - which Merlin did, as a special place, for him alone, and one that could make Arthur whine, if he nibbled just there... or there...

Merlin loved making Arthur break, and he counted it a victory when Arthur's arms came up and encased his own, and when he began to drag off Merlin's more simple mess dress, almost growling in his impatience. Merlin merely reached for the buttons that secured Arthur's breeches, allowing the trousers to easily slide down his arse, and to appreciate the view along the way. Arthur didn't wait to remove all their clothing before he was on Merlin, biting and sucking, his hands roaming everywhere, his flesh occasionally hot against Merlin's own, the sudden frisson when bare flesh met and parted again causing Merlin to gasp. He, in turn, ran his fingers up under Arthur's shirt, pulling it higher from where it fell to his knees, causing it to bunch up over his wrists, against his chest, a waterfall of material, finer than any Merlin owned, almost like silk as it brushed the skin of his belly, dampened slightly where it brushed his cock.

Merlin whimpered into Arthur's mouth when he finally reached down and gathered them both together, cocks lining up, skin like velvet, hot like a brand, yet slick and damp, the roughness of Arthur's fingers catching deliciously as he stroked them both. It had been a long time since the last such occasion, no chance at all for them during the long return to England, stuck together with the whole company in cramped quarters, and Arthur anxious to set a good example, to be the exemplary officer Merlin knew he was. Watching Arthur get more agitated the closer to England they drew, and Merlin knowing he was thinking of his father, who had forbidden Arthur his commission, but had been unable to stop him purchasing his own once he turned twenty one.

All these thoughts and more chased themselves in skittering waves around Merlin's head, until the pure pleasure of it all scattered them at last, allowing him to enjoy Arthur's touch in a purely primal way, the harsh grunts he made, the salty taste of his skin as Merlin peppered kisses on his chin, his neck, his shoulders, and skimmed his sides and back with needy fingers.

It was over too soon for both of them, for they were far too desperate. Arthur spilled first, with a guttural cry, hot liquid splashing his hand and his own shirt, the heat of it painting Merlin's stomach and causing him to fall over the edge himself, spilling in turn, clutching at Arthur even as his legs failed to carry him, feeling that sleepy lassitude spreading in the wake of his pleasure almost instantly. And Arthur holding him as always, gently supportive, about the only time Arthur was gentle at anything, with his nose buried in Merlin's hair, holding on tightly.

The quiet was companionable and close. Two friends who in that moment didn't think of other people, or social difficulties, or anyone but themselves. And then Arthur finally let go of Merlin and in one fluid stretch, lifted the soiled shirt over his head and stepped out of his breeches, standing before Merlin magnificently naked and unconcerned, while scratching at a drying itch on his hip.

"Do you suppose I need even more hot water for my bath, Merlin?" Arthur asked, at last, carelessly, "Given it's probably deuced cold by now."

"Prat," Merlin murmured, but it was laced with affection, and Arthur smiled back at him crookedly.

"Go on then," he said, and made a shooing motion.

Merlin tidied himself, which was easier said than done, before turning to go. He might have protested more, but he knew Arthur. Knew him and loved him with all his foibles. As he reached the door there was the splash and slap of water, as of a body lowering itself gingerly into a lukewarm bathtub. What most people didn't know about Arthur was that Merlin would fetch the hot water, but he'd use it too, that Arthur specifically intended him to have a hot bath as well. Merlin also knew Arthur would rather die than admit to something so sentimental.

But that was the Quality for you. Merlin grinned, sly and private, and fingered his reddened lips, warm from stubble-burn and myriad memories. There was nothing else he could do - because however you looked at it, Arthur was Quality through and through.
readbeforesleepreadbeforesleep on August 30th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
What a lovely moment between the two. It left me wanting to know more about their relationship.

Curious about the uniform, I looked it up and it would certainly be a production to remove. Poor boys. I was also amused to see that at one time there was a Prince Arthur in the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars, the grandson of Queen Victoria.
(Deleted comment)
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on August 31st, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
Doesn't he look handsome? :) Of course, he's a bit late in period for my setting, technically, but I doubt the uniforms changed that much!
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on August 31st, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
Ooh, well done on spotting that! I was busy trawling through pictures mostly. And lists of battles. I should have looked for an actual Prince Arthur, but it didn't occur - silly me!
riventhorn: arthur merlin huntingriventhorn on August 30th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
I can just picture Arthur in that uniform! Although the hat, lol!--I think it was called a busbie or something? Anyway, I loved all the details of Merlin undressing him, especially the part where he nuzzles his neck with the tan line--that was a really hot and sweet image. And I loved all the little additions, too, like about the hot water heater. They really added to it and made it feel realistic.
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on August 31st, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
Yay! That's me - putting the porn back into Georgette Heyer since 1995 :) Although to be fair, I didn't try and copy Heyer's style this time around - I need to have read one of her books before I attempt it, so the voices are in my head... I'm so glad you liked!
HermitKnut: Merthurhermitknut on August 30th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous work - I especially love the last line and I can just picture Arthur in that uniform!
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on August 31st, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was a fun image to work with, and a period of history that I love, which helped! :)
lynnchicaintcheap on September 1st, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
Lovely *_* I can also picture Arthur in that uniform, and it's a pretty awesome mental image.
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on September 2nd, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)
Which is what I started with too, and I completely agree - I've now written porn about both Merlin and Arthur, purely based on a particular visual image... Mmmm. *grin*
Dorothea: merlin - you and ifrogspace on September 1st, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
This was just perfect and their relationship translated really well into the historical setting. It just makes sense! (And now I can't get AU!Merlin and Arthur out of my head. *g*)
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on September 2nd, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
There are so many historical AUs that suit them, don't you think? Almsot anywhere there was a war, basically! So why not pick the war with the prettiest uniforms! :)
alba: Merlin - Arthur side smirk armoralba17 on September 2nd, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, I just love Regency AUs! This was really wonderful. Love the whole description of their relationship and the shedding of the clothing, with so many lovely period details. (I wouldn't know if you got them right, but I can appreciate the research involved.)

I just saw a photo of Bradley wearing some kind of military uniform - navy - I'd never seen it before and I don't know what it was from. It was part of a picspam, so not identified.
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on September 6th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC)
I think the pic of Bradley in uniform was from a photoshoot he did for a magazine - Colin was there too in a sharp jacket/suit kind of thing as I recall. I expect gealach_ros will have it tucked away somewhere! :)

And thank you - I love the Regency period for many reasons, so adding to the genre was a joy!
archaeologist_d: Merlin hatarchaeologist_d on September 9th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely. Costume porn! I liked all the details and how Merlin was teasing Arthur as he took the clothes off. Great job.
Valderys: Arthurvalderys on September 10th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
Hee. It fitted the prompt, and tried to think about the most elaborate over the top uniform I could possibly imagine - naturally the Regency came to mind! :)