The Things We Do For Love
(- or the things Merlin swears he won't do for Arthur but ends up doing anyway)

Cover for The Things We Do for Love
Beautiful cover done by Nicci_mac

Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Category: Modern day AU, crossdressing, humor, smut, First time
Rating: R
Summary: There's a long list of things that Merlin won't do for Arthur. Unfortunately the list is a lot shorter than the one of what he ends up actually doing for Arthur.
Notes: It's a bit of one-upmanship that caused this fic to be written. Nicci did a manip of Arthur. She showed me the original and I told her she should put Merlin in the dress and I'd write it for her if she did. One should think we'd learned our lesson by now, huh?

For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, Merlin grew up with Arthur and Morgana. It was a bit like having a really warped sort of sister and brother. Even if the latter made Merlin cringe. It felt incestuous for him to view Arthur as his brother. Really, it did, especially when he thought of the pictures in his head when he was having a really good wank. Even a mediocre wank featured Arthur in all his naked glory.

Sometimes there was leather involved.

Merlin was quite sure he loved Arthur, even if Arthur made it very difficult at times. Of course it could simply be that he did have that mental affliction Arthur occasionally accused him of having. And sometimes, just sometimes, he wondered if Morgana viewed Arthur and him as the best entertainment ever. He didn't quite trust that quirky little smile she sometimes wore on her painted lips.

Speaking of painted lips...

Merlin stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Then his eyes slid down to the lipstick that he was trying to apply. Had been trying to, for more than ten minutes. He kept doing something weird with it and it would smear, making him look like a deranged circus clown.

He eyed the lip gloss instead and decided that it might be easier to use than the lipstick. Besides, the lipstick was just a little bit too garish for his taste. Especially with the white on white dress he was wearing.

Merlin squeezed his eyes tightly shut. He shouldn't have been in the current situation. It was all Arthur's fault, which was nothing out of the ordinary. Since Merlin had been five and Hunith had taken over as housekeeper of the Pendragon home, Arthur had dragged him in and out of trouble on a far too regular basis.

Once Arthur had figured out about Merlin's weirder side, the inexplicable things that tended to happen around Merlin, the amount of trouble had seemed to grow impossibly. Well, once Arthur had forgiven Merlin for keeping it all a secret through nearly five years.

It was amazing that Merlin had managed to keep anything a secret around Arthur. While Arthur had eventually proven observant when it came to Merlin's freaky nature, he seemed to be almost blind to Merlin's more personal interest in him.

Merlin put on the lip gloss and was surprised that it worked much better than the lipstick. It had a faint taste of raspberries as well and he wondered if he could permanently nick it from Gwen without her noticing.

Adjusting the bodice of the dress, Merlin drew a deep breath and reached for the wig. It was long and a little heavy. As dark as his own messy hair but a lot more manageable. He put it on over the headband he was wearing. The rough texture on the outside of it would help keep the wig in place.

Doing the last corrections on the wig, he stared at himself in the mirror and for the nth time that day, he felt like a complete idiot. It would be Arthur's fault when he ended up the laughingstock of the costume party.

A hard knock to the door made Merlin jump, staring guiltily at his reflection in the mirror.

"Merlin! Even makeup won't make you pretty you know, so stop stalling."

Merlin rolled his eyes. "You're the one who wanted me to do this," he yelled back. "So shut up and deal with it." Pursing his lips, Merlin shook his head and stuck his tongue out at himself. With a heavy sigh, he opened the door and stepped out into the hallway.

Arthur stared at him and Merlin had to force himself not to look down to see if he'd left anything open that shouldn't have been. He was sure everything was where it was supposed to be.

Morgana had helped him find something he could get into on his own. It would have been too embarrassing if he'd had to ask Arthur for help. Only, he wondered how many comments about fair maidens he'd have be subjected to through the evening, because as simple as the dress was, Morgana certainly had taste.

"Are you ready?" Merlin asked and tried to make out the outfit Arthur was wearing, but the trench coat Arthur had been favouring lately covered everything. Apart from the soft looking brown leather boots he was wearing.

Merlin licked his lips. He had a serious thing for leather, at least when Arthur was wearing it. He remembered some pretty embarrassing dreams a few years earlier, featuring Arthur wearing nothing but the old leather jacket he normally wore in the early winter.

Arthur blinked rapidly as if trying to shake his thoughts from something. The smirk on his face made Merlin want to pin him to the wall and wipe it off.

"I've always said you're such a girl, Merlin," Arthur drawled. "You took forever in there. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought you didn't want to go."

Merlin glared at him. He wasn't going to tell Arthur that was spot on, because he knew that would earn him Arthur's jibes about him being a whiny child.

Arthur cleared his throat and held out a knee-length coat. It wasn't one of Merlin's and his assumptions were correct when he could feel that it was a little too big for him. Before he could argue Arthur's decision, he was cut off.

"One, you won't get those sleeves into your own jacket and two," Arthur said with a grin, "I am not going to be seen with you at a party with you wearing that ratty thing."

Merlin snorted. "It has personality."

"Personality?" Arthur stared at him, wide-eyed. "More like it's become a sentient being. I'm not entirely sure it's not plotting world domination."

Trying not to smile or laugh at that comment, Merlin gestured for Arthur to go first. Which he did, with his usual cocky grin.

Merlin should have known something was off when first, Arthur held the door to the limousine for him, then proceeded to pour Merlin a glass of champagne once they were settled in the car. They had it all to themselves as Morgana and Gwen had left earlier. Merlin didn't envy them the work they had to do as part of the group hosting the party.

Merlin stared at the champagne. Arthur knew perfectly well that Merlin wasn't all that good with alcohol. As in, he couldn't hold his liquor. At all. One glass and Merlin knew he'd be more than a little unsteady on his feet.

At least he'd overruled Morgana's choice of footwear. No heels, thank you.

Taking small sips, Merlin made sure to not just guzzle the stuff. He'd be a giggling idiot, crawling all over Arthur if he let himself get too drunk.

It struck Merlin as being mildly hilarious that he almost longed for Arthur's normal brainless chatter about this or that. As it was, Arthur sipped his own champagne in silence, staring at Merlin in an unnerving fashion.

At least the drive to the party wasn't too long or Merlin might possibly have tapped the window to their driver and asked to be let out long before arriving. He couldn't figure out how to deal with Arthur's staring so he settled for a sullen one of his own, staring out the window, trying hard not to shiver at the intensity of Arthur's gaze.

Being helped out of the limousine like he was a girl didn't help Merlin's mood either. "I'm not actually a girl," he hissed at Arthur.

Arthur reached out and straightened the collar on Merlin's coat. "I know that, you idiot," he replied, the comment very much lacking its usual bite.

"Then stop acting like I am one," Merlin growled and stalked past him. He wanted nothing more than to pull his mobile out of his stupid handbag, the one Morgana had insisted went perfectly well with the dress, and phone for a taxi so he could go back home.

Arthur's hand in the small of his back put a stop to that option and for a few steps, Merlin let himself be led, too surprised by the intimate touch to argue.

"Arthur, you're such a prat," Merlin spat when he finally managed to get away from Arthur's hand. His whole body was thrumming with power, all centred right where Arthur's hand had been. If he wasn't careful, he might blow a few light bulbs. Worst case scenario, he might burn the house down.

"Fine, if that's how you want it," Arthur said coldly, "then have it your way." With that, he stalked off and left Merlin on his own.

Merlin snorted and turned toward the entrance, wanting to go back out, as far away from the party he hadn't even joined yet. So far he hadn't been spotted by anyone he knew so....


Merlin closed his eyes for a moment then plastered on the best smile he could come up with. Judging by Gwen's frown it wasn't a successful one, though.

She shook her head at him and dragged him off without a word, along a hallway and through a door into a room that Merlin guessed would be the library, at least once the light was switched on.

"What did you do to the wig?" she asked, tsk'ing at him as she righted the strands of hair and did something weird to the back of it. It had felt oddly heavy on his head since he'd put it on, but Gwen's fiddling did something that almost seemed to lighten it.

Gently, Merlin stilled her hand as she made to push his coat off. "Don't bother, Gwen, I'm going to phone for a taxi and go back home."

"Is everything okay?" she asked, giving him a worried look. "Aren't you feeling alright?" she asked. "I mean, if you're not feeling good, then you should've said so and you wouldn't have had to..."

Merlin put a finger over her lips. "It's okay, Gwen. I'm just not in the mood for a party and having everyone laugh at me." Merlin winced. Now he was definitely sounding whiny.

"Is it something Arthur's said?" she asked curiously. "If Morgana catches wind of him being an arse to you over this, you know..."

Merlin laughed out loud. "She'd castrate him, I know."

Gwen laughed along with him. "Come on, Merlin. I'm sure you'd love the party. Good food and the music is, if possible, more cheesy than the decorations."

Sighing and admitting defeat, Merlin let her push the coat off his shoulders. He grinned a little as she proceeded to pull and tug at various laces and seams before stepping back and nodding to herself.

"At least stay for a drink," Gwen said softly. "You've gone through all this trouble already..."

Merlin nodded. He couldn't really turn her down. Never had been able to. "Nice dress," he managed to get out as he steeled himself for joining the rest of the party.

"Thank you," Gwen said, giving him a sunny smile. The pale green dress looked amazing against her dark skin and Merlin felt both awkward and pale next to her.

Gwen made sure that his coat was left in the cloakroom, before leading him off through the house to a huge ballroom.

Merlin grinned and leaned into her. "I get what you mean by 'cheesy'."

Gwen laughed and dragged him along, through groups of people where Merlin recognized a few faces. He tried not to flush red when he was noticed and the double-takes when he was recognized.

Much to his surprise, there weren't more than a few jibes as they went past. Most people just smiled and nodded in greeting before going back to the conversations they were in the middle of.

Thankfully, he couldn't see Arthur anywhere. Merlin told himself that was a good thing.

"My god, Merlin," Will exclaimed when they passed him. "Is that prat making you wear a dress now?"

Merlin just gave him a two-fingered salute that made Will's clique laugh loudly.

Gwen pulled him over to another group before he could make any scathing remarks about Will's pompous outfit, complete with crown and sceptre and obvious delusions of grandeur.

"Merlin, there you are!" Morgana broke away from the group and gave him a hug. "Where's that no-good brother of mine?" she asked with a frown.

"Around," Merlin said and that, he decided, was all he was going to say, because Morgana's wrath was a mighty scary thing. He wouldn't wish that on his worst enemy, and as obnoxious as Arthur could be, he was the target of it far too often as it was.

He chose to ignore the look Gwen gave him.

The whole place was thrumming with people and Merlin almost felt at ease as he was pulled into conversations here and there, for a little while forgetting how badly the evening had started off. He'd found, to his pleasant surprise, that he wasn't the only bloke in a dress and he had to agree with Morgana when she'd pointed out that he wore his a lot better than some of the others did.

So, a rather pleasant night as far as he was concerned, at least until the music was turned down a little and someone made an announcement over the loudspeakers.

"It's mostly for couples, isn't it?" Merlin asked, inching in the opposite direction from everyone else. A bloody photo session, he thought to himself. He was not going to let anyone catch a photo of him in a dress. And he was planning on stealing and wiping the memory of Morgana's phone the second he could get away with it. Damned modern mobiles with cameras.

If there was a photo session, knowing Arthur, he'd be in the middle of it all. The centre of attention, and Merlin had done such a nice job of avoiding him so far.

"Don't be daft, Merlin," Gwen said with a laugh. She had her hand on Lancelot's arm and Merlin had to admit that the man cut a striking figure even with the puffy sleeves of his white shirt and the neckerchief. It didn't hurt that the black trousers hugged everything that could be hugged and the black boots went up mid-calf.

"Hey, he's spoken for," Gwen teased him and Merlin felt his face flush with heat when Lancelot turned his head to give him a wink. It was okay, Merlin knew that. It wasn't as if they hadn't joked about it before. Only, normally Merlin wasn't dressed like a maiden.

"I'll take Merlin's appreciative glances as a compliment," Lancelot said with a wide grin. "Considering that he normally can't tear his eyes away from Arthur, I'm not complaining."

Merlin's smile slipped and he made a face at Lancelot who at least had the grace to look sorry.

"Come on, you two," Gwen said, and Lancelot held out his other arm, offering it to Merlin.

Making a decision, Merlin nodded and accepted the gesture and the apology. He couldn't help grinning at the cat calls it got Lancelot. Mostly accompanied by comments about not hogging all the pretty girls.

He was amused to find that the room that had been converted into a photographer's studio had several set-ups with really cheesy backgrounds. Some were of fairytale castles and he let go of Lancelot to allow him and Gwen to proceed to one of those. At Gwen's questioning look, he shook his head and stepped aside to let other people pass by.

A hand on his arm made Merlin turn around and his smile fell. He was almost glad that he had been avoiding Arthur all night and doubly so that he hadn't been drinking any alcohol, because in that get-up, Merlin wasn't sure that he could have kept his hands off Arthur.

Soft looking brown leather trousers, soft leather boots and a leather vest. The leather armbands, Arthur's naked chest, the fake dragon's tooth on the leather string... Merlin tore his attention away and met Arthur's eyes.

To his surprise he didn't see any annoyance there just... Arthur looked almost sorry. His cheeks were flushed and Merlin wondered how much Arthur had been drinking. His hand was still on Merlin's arm and Merlin couldn't help but look down at it rather pointedly. At least it gave him something else to focus on.

Arthur's grip tightened a little, but he didn't let go.

"Got anything to say?" Merlin asked as pleasantly as he could.

"We're having our picture taken," Arthur replied and then he promptly dragged Merlin off.

"Arthur," Merlin hissed, trying to get free without causing a scene. And yes, people were giving them looks.

He didn't manage to get out of it, though. One of the photographers waved them over and placed them in front of a huge poster with a forest setting. He positioned Merlin with his side to the camera and before Arthur could complain, he was pushed down in front of Merlin, into a crouch and handed a prop sword.

"Just for the record," Merlin said pleasantly as the photographer left them to fiddle with the camera setting. "I hate you."

"You're not exactly my favourite person right now, either," Arthur muttered back.

Merlin forced his face into a neutral expression, but he couldn't help it. He had Arthur kneeling right there, in front of him, dressed in leather and... Merlin swallowed hard and he could tell Arthur tensed as Merlin failed spectacularly at controlling his freaky powers. Arthur had been sensitive to them for years and Merlin could almost see the hairs on Arthur's arms rise.

"Merlin," Arthur hissed, his head turned a fraction. Right when the camera went off.

Merlin blinked, seeing nothing but blue spheres for a few moments. A few more flashes and suddenly Merlin was dragged off by Arthur again.

At least Arthur was heading for some privacy and Merlin figured at least they could have their row in peace. Merlin wondered if once he'd let Arthur rant at him, he could finally get out and go home.

"Look," Merlin said as the door closed behind them and they were in the same room that Merlin had let Gwen drag him into. He was going to tell Arthur that he'd reacted because he'd been annoyed with him and that would have to do.

Only, Merlin never got any further than opening his mouth.

Arthur crowded him up against the door, not quite touching, but Merlin stumbled back, feeling the hard wood of the door against his back. Arthur planted one hand on either side of Merlin's head and leaned in, pressing his nose against Merlin's collarbone, lifting his head enough to nuzzle along the column of Merlin's neck right up to that sensitive spot right under Merlin's ear.

Merlin might possibly have let out a rather unmanly squeak at that.

He also made the mistake of putting his hands on Arthur's chest, intending to push him away. Unfortunately any higher brain functions Merlin might have had (it was still an ongoing debate with Arthur whether he'd ever had any anyway), went out the window when Merlin's palms connected with Arthur's bare skin. He could feel Arthur breathing heavily, how it hitched and the puffs of air tickled Merlin's skin in turn, making him shiver. He was lost in the feel of warm skin against his hands, the light dusting of hair, the well-defined...

Merlin swallowed hard and drew in his breath. He could smell the alcohol Arthur had been drinking and shook his head to clear it.

"Arthur, you've been drinking. Don't do this now; don't do something you'll regret." Something they'd both regret.

"I haven't had more than one beer," Arthur muttered against Merlin's skin.

"You smell like a brewery," Merlin argued

"Some jerk spilled his drink on me," Arthur replied. Then he bit lightly at Merlin's earlobe. "Now shut up and go with the flow."

Merlin might have whimpered, he wasn't sure, nor did he care all that much. He slid his hands around Arthur's waist, splayed his hands over Arthur's back, under the vest. One between Arthur's shoulder blades and the other across the damp skin of the small of Arthur's back.

A light pressure and a sizzle of power and Arthur crashed against him, attempting to push Merlin through the door, trying to find his mouth with his own and generally not managing all that well.

However, Merlin wasn't complaining. When he finally managed to find Arthur's mouth, their first kiss wasn't exactly the stuff of legends. Clashing of teeth and too wet was all Merlin managed to think before he slipped one hand out from under Arthur's vest and cupped Arthur's chin to hold his head steady while tilting his own and fitting his lips over Arthur's in a far more pleasant kiss.

Merlin moaned as Arthur pushed forward, his erection brushing against Merlin's. Even through a few layers of clothes, Merlin could feel the heat of it. Power fizzled through his veins and with each peak of it, Arthur's moans intensified.

Arthur took hold of Merlin's arms, pushing them up over his head so he could pin them against the door.

Merlin moaned and stared at him when their kiss broke. They were both breathing harshly and Merlin couldn't stop himself. He knew his eyes were flashing as Arthur had told him in the past they did when he lost a little control, often in situations where Arthur had pissed him off. He could tell that if possible, it racked Arthur's arousal up a notch or five.

Arthur gasped when his belt undid itself and his trousers were yanked down as if by invisible hands.

For once, Merlin just went with it, letting his power crackle and spark the air, pushing Arthur back until he stumbled right down into a chair that had skated across the floor from the other side of the room.

"What are you doing?" Arthur asked, short of breath.

Merlin swallowed hard. "Going with the flow," he replied as he took in the sight before him.

Arthur's face was flushed with arousal, the colour spreading down over his neck and chest as well. His trousers were pooled around the boots and his cock was free to curve up against his abdomen.

Biting his lower lip, Merlin hitched up his dress and pushed his underwear down.

"You're wearing a thong," Arthur whimpered.

Merlin smirked. "Anything else would have bunched and shown under the dress," he explained before holding the dress up and sliding onto Arthur's lap, a leg on either side of Arthur's. He then let the dress fall down again, effectively covering them both.

Arthur's eyes closed for a moment when Merlin grabbed the back of the chair and rolled his hips experimentally.

"A little assistance?" Merlin asked breathlessly and it seemed to startle Arthur out of it, because a split second later, he was cupping Merlin's arse through the dress, urging every slide and roll to rub their erections together.

Merlin buried his face against Arthur's neck and almost cried out when his skin seemed to crackle with energy, and Arthur was clinging to him and making the most obscene noises.

Arthur slid a hand up along his back and buried his fingers in Merlin's hair or rather, tried to, but the wig slid to the side and with a grunt, Arthur yanked it off and dumped it somewhere to the side. Then he gripped the back of Merlin's neck and held on tightly.

Letting Arthur set the pace, Merlin closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of Arthur's sweat. He lost himself in the slip and slide, ignoring the strain on his thighs. He clung to Arthur as they moved and with every movement, every slide of their cocks together, Merlin felt his body building up energy and when Arthur shuddered underneath him, fingers digging into Merlin's arse, he couldn't hold back anymore, not with the warm and wet heat easing the slide of his cock.

With a hoarse shout, he felt himself falling apart, and clusters of colour exploded behind his eyelids as he shook against Arthur.

With a shiver and a soft sigh, he collapsed against Arthur, wondering if he'd slide to the floor if Arthur ever let go of his arse.

"Wow," Arthur muttered in his ear.

"Urgh," Merlin grunted in agreement against the damp skin of Arthur's neck.

"No, seriously, Merlin," Arthur whispered.

The burst of breath tickled Merlin's ear and he finally opened his eyes and felt them widen in horror.

"You made indoor mini-fireworks," Arthur said, awe apparent in his voice. His fingers flexed on Merlin's arse and Merlin thrust against him in surprise.

Arthur moaned in his ear and Merlin wondered if they'd ever make it out of the room before someone could come by and find them, completely shagged out of their brains.

"You're crackling," Arthur muttered and let go of Merlin's neck to run a finger along Merlin's bared shoulder where the dress had slid down a little. Sparks literally lifted up from Merlin's skin, shining for a moment before disappearing.

"Oh," Merlin said, staring at shoulder, shivering when Arthur repeated the movement.

"We're going home," Arthur said, his voice thick with need and Merlin could feel him hardening against his own cock. "We're going home where we can um..."

"Experiment in peace?" Merlin asked, trying not to laugh.

"Uh huh, that," Arthur agreed, licking along Merlin's jaw and finally getting the kiss right on his own.

Merlin finally had to pull back and get off Arthur's lap. Unfortunately his thighs obviously weren't used to such a workout, because his legs folded nicely beneath him.

Arthur laughed at him. Not maliciously, but with surprise and wonder in his voice. He looked down at Merlin as he stood and offered him a hand up. Merlin accepted it and watched as Arthur let go of his hand to pull his trousers up and redo the belt.

"You look like someone who took a tumble," Arthur told him as his eyes slid over Merlin's body.

"Your fault," Merlin sniffed and grinned, running his fingers through his damp hair, knowing it would be standing on end. "Find our coats will you, so we can get out of here."

Arthur raised an eyebrow at him.

"Just do it," Merlin growled. "The sooner we can get out of here, the better."

Arthur grinned and nodded, heading for the door.

Merlin collapsed into the chair and decided with a wide grin that maybe the evening hadn't been so bad after all. Even wearing a dress and makeup. Reaching down the side of the chair, he picked up the black wig and chuckled to himself.

The End