Fandom: Merlin (UK)
Summary: American summer camp AU. There's not much to do for the counselors at Camp Camelot to amuse themselves once the campers get put to bed, but one night's strip poker game may end up having summer-long ramifications.
A/N: Special thanks to peasant_ for a very useful beta.
Nights are pretty quiet at Camp Camelot. The campers are put to bed by nine, and while the counselors' curfew isn't until eleven, mostly it's just the four of us unless Mr. P or Mr. G. stick their head in, which they pretty much never do, so there's really not that much to do. Usually we just hang out in the staff lodge killing time until it's time to go to bed.
So we're all in the staff lodge, and I'm listening to the hum of the fluorescent light and sipping my caffeine-free RC Cola vended from the camp soda machine as I watch Arthur and Morgana pretend to ignore each other.
Gwen's reading some book or other--The Time Traveller's Wife, I think?
There's been a good twenty minutes of complete silence when Morgana produces a deck of cards and asks "Anybody want to play a game?"
"Rummy?" Arthur suggests.
Morgana looks at him disdainfully. "Five card draw," she says. "Unless you're afraid of a little wager."
Arthur frowns. "If my dad finds us gambling, we're dead."
Arthur's dad is Mr. P, the Camp Director. If Mr. P knows how to smile, I've never actually seen him do it.
Morgana just shrugs. "Then let's make sure he doesn't find out," she says, which means that Arthur's going to have to play her, because his sense of machismo's not going to let him step down.
I look at Gwen. I barely have enough money to see a movie and get something to eat when we get to go into town on weekends; I can't afford to lose any in a poker game. I know her parents aren't exactly made of money either, not like Arthur and Morgana's, at least. She meets my gaze with a look of nervous commiseration.
Arthur seems to understand what's going on between us. "Come on. It wouldn't be fair to Merlin or Gwen."
Morgana's smile is smug as she shuffles the deck. "There are other things we could wager than money."
Arthur's eyebrows raise, but his mouth curls into a grin. "Strip poker?"
"Sounds good," Morgana says, still shuffling. "Rules?"
"Five card draw, no wilds," Arthur says. He's downright gleeful. "Shoes and socks each one point, shirts and shorts two points, underwear three points, and you can buy back clothes if you win a hand. Bra counts as part of the shirt, to be even."
"How is that even?" questions Gwen. It's the first thing either she or I have said since Morgana brought out the cards.
Arthur sighs. "Fine. Bra is two points, but girls' shirts only count as one. We'll spot you girls the extra point." He glances at me. "Isn't that right, Merlin?"
I've so lost control of the situation that I don't know what to say. I'm glad I'm sitting down because the room almost feels like it's spinning.
"Gwen can take the extra point," Morgana says, "but I don't need any favors." She pulls her shirt off over her head and throws it on the ground behind her. Her bra is simple white cotton; summer camp's not exactly the place for fancy underwear. Her flesh is only a shade pinker than the bra; God only knows how much sunscreen she must go through in a week.
Gwen keeps the extra point, I notice.
Morgana hands Arthur the shuffled deck and he deals. I look at my cards and frown.
I know how to play in the sense that I know the rules, but I don't have any reason to believe I can demonstrate any actual skill, to know how to bet or bluff or anything like that. I look at Gwen and she's biting her lip as she stares at her cards. Arthur and Morgana are each completely impassive, of course, with perfect poker faces.
I have an ace of spades, a deuce of clubs, a three of spades, a six of diamonds, a ten of spades, and a queen of hearts. Not exactly a winning hand. I keep the spades and get rid of everything else. I get a deuce of diamonds and a deuce of hearts. Well, at least I have a pair.
"Ante up," says Arthur, taking off his shoe and putting it on the table. Soon there's four left sneakers sitting on the table.
Arthur takes off his right shoe and puts it next to his left. "I'll put in one," he says, going out of order.
Gwen shakes her head, puts her cards down. "I fold," she says.
I nod, putting my cards down as well, my hand shaking. "Me too." Okay, maybe my hand's not the only thing shaking.
Morgana leans back, still impassive. "I'll match you," she says, putting her right shoe next to her left, "and raise you one." She drapes a sock over the two shoes.
Arthur adds a sock. "The dealer calls."
Morgana wins the hand with a flush; she sets the six shoes and two socks down on the floor next to her but doesn't bother putting those which belong to her back on.
Gwen deals the next hand; I stay in for this one and end up losing my other shoe and both socks. It's not long before Gwen and I are both down to two garments each; me in my camp shorts over my boxers, Gwen in a grey sports bra and matching panties. She seems smaller, scrunched up. I keep my eyes on my cards.
The night air, even in summer, is cool against my bare chest.
Morgana and Arthur both have all of their original clothing plus Gwen's and my clothing divided between them.
Gwen wins the next round, and quickly puts her shirt and shorts back on with a sigh of relief, which means I lose my shorts. I hand them over to Gwen reluctantly. not meeting her eyes, and sit back down, stuck there in just my boxer shorts. If I don't win the next hand, I'm naked.
By some miracle, I do win the next hand with a straight flush, but I lose the next two hands, and end up having only delayed the inevitable. I take off my shorts--which I had managed to win back--again and hand them over to Arthur, then put my thumbs inside the waistband of my boxers--and freeze, as Arthur, Morgana, and Gwen all stare at me expectantly.
"Well, come on," says Arthur, impatiently. "Get on with it." When I still don't move, he shakes his head, a big grin on his face, then gets up and walks around the table so he's standing behind me. With one fluid motion he grabs the hem of each leg and pulls down smoothly.
Gwen immediately averts her eyes; I think she was more hoping that I wouldn't end up naked than that I would. It doesn't take much to figure out it'll be her turn next.
Morgana looks for a moment, interested, then turns her attention back to the cards on the table.
It's Arthur who stares long and unabashedly, still smiling, taking the sight in. "Not bad," he says at last, approvingly.
I retreat from the table and sit on the bench in the corner. The smooth, hard wood feels strange against my bare buttocks without any clothes in between me and it.
I hunch over with my hands in my lap, doing my best to cover the erection I've had pretty much ever since Morgana took her shirt off, before we even started playing, and hope they'll finish the game soon. I watch them continue, Morgana's white bra constantly drawing my attention.
Gwen manages to hold out for three more rounds, but eventually it's time for her to turn her bra over to Arthur. She takes a deep breath, then does it quickly. She picks up her card and holds them very close to her chest.
She loses the next hand as well, this time to Morgana. She glances at me quickly, looking away immediately, then takes off her panties and goes to sit down on the other side of the bench.
"No more buying back clothes, now that the kids are out of the game," Arthur says.
Morgana nods. They're both fully dressed (again, except for Morgana's shirt, and the shoes and socks they haven't bothered to put back on) and each has a healthy pile of Gwen's and my clothes, but I sigh in relief anyway. Any shortening of the game is a good thing; otherwise they could be there all night, articles of clothing changing hands and neither of them getting any closer to being naked and ending the game.
I don't look at Gwen.
Look, I like Gwen, a lot. She's probably the friendliest and most helpful person at Camp Camelot. And she's pretty, too; I probably wouldn't mind seeing her naked under other circumstances. Okay, so scratch the "probably" and replace with "certainly." But I respect her, and it's clear that she wants to be naked just as much as I want to (which is not at all), that the only reason either one of us got roped into this thing is that neither of us are able to stand up to Arthur or Morgana. It's not the first time we've found ourselves giving in to those two against our better judgments.
But I'm human, too, and there's a naked girl sitting three feet to my right, and I can't help but to give in to the urge to glance at her out of the corner of my eye every couple of moments. I catch her doing the same thing once or twice, and know she's caught me doing the same thing.
Talk about awkward.
Gwen's breathing a little heavy, and can't seem to decide whether she wants to keep her arms crossed in front in front of her breasts or folded in her lap. I force myself to be calm, but I know how she feels. It doesn't help that Arthur has a clear sight line of both of us and doesn't feel the need to disguise the fact he's enjoying both views.
I root for Arthur. I mean, I respect Morgana, too, I guess, but--it's just not the same, you know? Morgana's one of those hot girls that just shuts down the gentlemanly portions of the brain, who makes you just stare and imagine her naked and want to--well, you get the idea, right? I'm not proud of my baser instincts, but neither can I pretend they're not there, and with Morgana they're undeniable, especially with her shirt off.
If Arthur manages to win the game, I won't have to imagine. I cross my fingers.
Arthur doesn't win the game.
He stands up and strolls across the room, apparently without qualm or insecurity. I try not to look, but really, it's impossible not to. My gaze is fixed regardless of what my conscious mind might claim to decide. Then Morgana stands up and I instantly go cross-eyed trying to look at both at once. Arthur managed to get her down to her underwear, that white cotton bra that's been exposed the entire game and a skimpy black thong the only thing now covering her. She's still the most-dressed person in the room, but the sight of Morgana in her underwear is almost worth the entire ordeal so far. Almost.
Gwen and I leap to our feet, about to make our way to the piles of our clothes to get dressed as quickly as we can, when Arthur says, "Come now, Morgana, you've seen all of us naked, you got to give us a chance to see you."
Morgana smiles, leans back, a graceful curve accentuating her thin body. "You had your chance, boy," she says. "But I'll give you a second try." She walks over to Arthur and whispers something in his ear. His eyes go wide, but other than that his expression doesn't change.
He walks over to me, and whispers into my ear. I'm pretty sure my eyes go wide too, and my jaw drops open, and the blood begins to rush to my face, and I stare forward dumbfoundedly.
"Well?" he asks impatiently, as Morgana watches, smiling, and I barely manage to nod. That's enough for Arthur, and he drops to his knees in front of me and takes my penis in his mouth. The sensation is strange, wet and warm, but . . . good.
To see Morgana naked, I remind myself, because yeah, this is more than sort of a little gay, not that there's anything wrong with that, but--Morgana. Naked. Think about Morgana naked.
Think about Gwen naked. (This is easy, because she is.)
Think about Arthur naked. (No, wait, don't think about Arthur naked. But I can't not, because he is, too.)
It doesn't take much before I come in his mouth. He swallows, then stands up and looks triumphantly at Morgana.
She nods, takes off her bra, and drops it to the floor. Her breasts are--well, they're breasts. What can I say, really, to do them justice?
After a moment--hell, I've earned that much--I force myself to take my gaze off her breasts and look at Arthur. No, look at him higher, make eye contact. We did all this and all we get is this?
Not a bad this, though. We can't complain too much.
"Now you," Morgana says, pointing at me, "do her." She points at Gwen.
Arthur and I exchange glances. He and I both had a stake in seeing Morgana naked, but there's no way that Gwen, shy as she is, is ever going to agree to what Morgana just proposed.
But to both of our shock, Gwen stands straight and says, her voice wavering a little, "Okay, let's do this."
I swallow, kneel down in front of Gwen, and ask myself again exactly how we got into this situation. I have no clue what we're doing, and I'm pretty sure Gwen doesn't, either.
To my chagrin, Arthur begins to speak, giving me instructions. Not knowing what else to do, I follow his instructions, doing what he says. Every once in a while, Morgana offers some advice; for some reason, that stings.
Gwen and I manage to get through the ordeal alive, and when we're done, Morgana wordlessly slips out of her underwear.
. . .
Apparently, strip-poker cunnilingus is a lot like I always imagined drunken sex would be; it's real hard to look your partner in the eyes the next morning. Gwen and I are standing next to each other refereeing a game of flag-football and trying very hard not to look at each other.
Strip-poker blowjobs are easier, in large part due to Arthur's and Morgana's utter brazenness. They had been perfectly normal at breakfast, if anything a little more outgoing, as if daring Gwen and I to react any differently.
But Gwen and I just aren't made that way. So we stare at the campers playing even more intently, as an excuse to not acknowledge the other's existence. Which is harder than it might sound when you are standing right next to each other.
But what can I say to her, after the previous night? How do we go back to the way we were before?
Do we want to?
I glance at my watch. Twelve noon. I blow my whistle. "Okay, lunch time!"
The kids shout and start running toward the mess hall. Gwen and I walk more slowly, keeping pace with each other, but not saying anything. "Look," I finally say. "I'm sorry about last night."
She turns and looks at me, stricken, doe in headlights, and I realize I've said something wrong, but I have no idea what it is. I blunder forward. "I mean, I know you didn't want to do it."
"No," she says, and there's a persistance in her voice that isn't usually there, a steel which is rather un-Gwen-like. "I mean, Morgana naked. That's not something you get to see every day, right?"
"Yeah," I agree, "but I know you don't care about that."
"I care too," she says, so insistently that I almost feel like she's going to break right in front of me. Like, just go pop and fall over. "Really. I wanted to do it. I wanted . . . you to do it."
She picks up her speed and enters the mess hall before I can say anything else.
Over lunch, I try to figure out where we all stand.
- Arthur gives really good blowjobs.
- Apparently, Gwen wanted to see Morgana naked too.
- Apparently, Gwen wanted me to perform oral sex on her.
- Arthur and Morgana have been making cats' eyes at each other all summer.
When they finally do, it's sort of rhomboid.
. . .
"Gwen," I say to her after lunch, out of earshot of any campers, "what do you say about. . . ."
. . .
Nights are pretty quiet at Camp Camelot.
Arthur pulls out the deck of cards. "Rummy?" he asks.
I stand up, dramatically. I also accidentally knock over the chair, which does a really good job of attracting Arthur and Morgana's attention.
"Um," I begin, stumbling. Gwen nods at me, encouragingly. "Gwen and me are going to have an orgy. Or, at least, we're having an orgy if you guys want to join in. Otherwise we'll just be having sex, I guess."
There's a long silence as everyone in the room just looks at each other. You can hear a pin drop.
"Okay," says Morgana.
"Yeah, I'm in," says Arthur.
. . .
Nights at Camp Camelot aren't as quiet as they used to be.