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updated August 31, 2016
Arthur/Merlin Canon Recs More Than 10,000 Words
Title: You Drained My Heart (And Made a Spade)
Word Count: 10,190
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, bottom!merlin
Summary: Desperate to keep his head and body intact, Merlin flees Camelot, Arthur and his Knights not far behind. But Arthur is willing to go to great lengths to get Merlin back with him, though not for the reasons anyone suspects.
Great fic that starts with Merlin revealing his magic in front of the court, and then running off to escape Camelot. I loved the switching POVs, seeing Merlin's thoughts while he's on the run, and Arthur's as he pursues him.
Word Count: 10,217
Summary: Merlin looked uncertainly to Arthur. “Have you ever made bread?” he asked. “How hard could it be?” Arthur said.
Such a lovely fic! Merlin's mom was wonderful and I adored the boys in this one.
Title: Until Morning Light
Word Count: 10,380
Content/Warnings: massage!fic, holiday!fic, implied bottom!merlin
Summary: The citadel is coldest during Midwinter vigil, but warmth comes in many forms on that magical night.
Really gorgeous and sexy fic. Loved the midwinter rituals here and watching Merlin and Arthur finally come together.
Title: Cause There's No Choice In The End
Word Count: ~10,600
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, future!fic, bath!sex, bottom!merlin, camelot solstice 2009
Summary: Shortly after the death of his father Arthur has to fight his first battle as King of Camelot.
Awesome fic that follows canon up to season 2 and then takes place sometime in the future, once Uther has died and Arthur's become king. Loved seeing Arthur and Merlin's relationship here, with Arthur already knowing about the magic.
Title: Pain Series (2 Fics)
Word Count: 10,617
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, implied bottom!merlin
Summary: Merlin takes Arthur's pain with unexpected consequences. Written for merlin_melee Round One: Hurt Comfort, Team Physical. Special thanks to linnet_melody for the pain-switch prompt!
Gorgeous fic that has Merlin casting a spell to feel Arthur's pain during a tournament. Which luckily works just as well on feeling pleasure as well!
Title: Fools of Us All
Word Count: 11,141
Summary: Merlin accidentally makes everybody in Camelot fall in love with him. Everybody except Arthur, that is.
This fic is so much fun! Sort of rom-com-esque with a really delightful Arthur. Light and enjoyable read.
Title: Wager of Battle
Rating: Hard R
Word Count: 12,073
Summary: When a knight-in-training mistakes Merlin for a common servant, Arthur is Most Displeased. Trial by combat ensues...but Arthur isn't the one who takes up the sword.
Enjoyable fic with all the knights having to train Merlin up for a duel, and, of course, Arthur and Merlin's relationship grows.
Title: His Own Hand
Word Count: 12,206
Content/Warnings: spanking, voyeurism (sort of)
Summary: In which Merlin is punished for saving his life for the thousandth uncredited time, and arguing with Uther is the stupidest thing Arthur's done until the next thing.
Hot and hilarious and awkward in turn. Great characterizations of everybody in this one.
♥ ♥ Title: At Our Best When It's From the Hips
Word Count: 12,781
Content/Warnings: first time, bottom!merlin
Summary: Merlin goes to a brothel to get rid of that virginity thing and runs into Arthur. From there on, it's all madness.
JFC this is the hottest fucking thing ever. Virgin Merlin and hopelessly turned on Arthur and crazy hot sex.
Word Count: 13,035
Content/Warnings: switching, bottom!merlin, bottom!arthur, bath!sex
Summary: Arthur was tipped back against the wall, his mouth open for breath and staring at the small arrow-slit window over Merlin's head, trying to work out how it could possibly be that good with Merlin, of all people.
Funny and sexy fic with Arthur and Merlin having an ungodly amount of sex and stumbling into a relationship.
Title: Return From the Isle
Word Count: 13,123
Summary: After Merlin kills Nimueh, he becomes trapped on the Isle of the Blessed, learning all he can from the ancient magic there until he is needed again.
Cool fic that twists canon a bit, with Merlin being stuck on the Isle for five years after the end of season one, and coming back once both he and Arthur were ready. Great characterizations and a fun concept.
Title: On a Dare
Rating: Hard R
Word Count: 13,358
Summary: Merlin confidently accepts a challenge to go without his magic for one week, but will he be able to hold out, or will Arthur win?
Arthur and Merlin were lovely in this and I really enjoyed seeing the bet sort of give them that final push they needed to come together.
Title: Let Go and Watch the Sunlight Bend
Word Count: 15,338
Summary: It's the hottest summer in Camelot's history. Arthur is confused about what he likes, Merlin tries to help him figure it out, but neither one of them has a clue what they really want.
Wonderful fic that has an inexperienced Arthur figuring out his desires during a Camelot heat wave.
Title: So Are They All, All Honourable Men
Word Count: 18,199
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, bottom!merlin
Summary: Considering Arthur's future wife will be chosen less for compatibility than for her political value, Merlin may be the only marriage he'll have that won't end in bloodshed or a great deal of fortifying wine.
So the summary is a bit misleading in that there is not marriage, but rather the marriage-like arrangement of servant and lord. But this fic is really fabulous. A wonderful Arthur sort of realizing how important Merlin is to him, and Merlin is so perfectly in character, even without his POV. The emotion here is just great and the sex is super hot.
♥ Title: Arthur, Unconscious
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, mention of past Merlin/Will
Word Count: 20,351
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, first time, bottom!merlin
Summary: Some quests are about much more than finding medicinal plants, mythical treasure, or large quantities of meat. Arthur is slow on the uptake, but he will get there, eventually.
Really wonderful Canon AU fic. This is basically my perfect kind of canon getting-together fic.
♥ Title: Come Here to Me
Word Count: 21,201
Content/Warnings: first time, bottom!arthur, dragons
Summary: When Merlin accidentally brings home a dragon egg, his relationship with Arthur is forever changed.
Super fun fic with a great Merlin and Arthur and a super freaking adorable baby dragon!
Title: A Disarming Act of Loyalty
Rating: Hard R
Word Count: 23,706
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, temporary character disability, bottom!merlin
Summary: Arthur is severely injured in a fight with a mysterious creature, and Merlin's determination to help brings certain secrets to light and turns Arthur's world upside down.
Surprisingly funny fic, with a lovely relationship between Arthur and Merlin.
Title: And No Birds Sing
Word Count: 34,783
Content/Warnings: memory loss, amnesia!fic, ambiguous/open ending, canonical major character death, first time, bottom!merlin
Summary: Merlin has been cursed and lives as a hermit, knowing he has lost something, although he cannot remember what. One day he finds a knight, weak and injured, by the lakeside.
Oh goodness, this fic killed me! The writing here is gorgeous, and the longing tone of melancholy is really fabulously done. It's definitely not a fluffy fic, and the ending is not what I would call happy, but the whole thing really is so beautiful and meaningful. It's the kind of fic that will stay with you for a while.
Title: On the Knob Training
Author: [Bad username or site: morcalivan" @ livejournal.com]
Word Count: 36,523
Content/Warnings: first time, bottom!merlin, box of magic fest 2009
Summary: A promotion and a swanky new title, one might even think Merlin’s luck had changed. That is, if you didn’t look too closely to the fine print on Uther’s offer. There is companionship and then there is companionship.
Fun fic with Merlin being promoted to Lord of the Bedchamber and having absolutely no clue what that means and why everybody is acting so weird around him. Though I will say that the ending felt a bit abrupt and there were a few loose threads.
♥ Title: In Time of Trial
Word Count: 36,807
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, bottom!merlin, box of magic fest 2009
Summary: Uther fears his son's power, and Merlin has helped Arthur flee to escape imprisonment. Now the two of them must fight to regain Arthur's rightful place in Camelot.
Really wonderfully written fic that shows Arthur coming into his own while essentially starting up a rebellion against his father. Merlin and Arthur's relationship in here is really great, and I adored seeing them both grow together and grow in their destinies. Plus super hot sex. :D
Title: Ivy and Amaranth
Word Count: 41,866
Content/Warnings: switching, first time, bottom!merlin, bottom!arthur, arthur finds out, paper legends fest 2013
Summary: While clearing out Morgana’s old rooms, Merlin discovers a pair of unusual magical bracelets. Arthur wants to destroy them, of course, and so begins a quest that will take them over snowy mountains and through rain-soaked forests, dealing with Druids, bandits and inns of questionable repute. With the future of magic itself hanging in the balance and matters complicated by the changing nature of their relationship, Merlin discovers that destiny comes at a price.
Wonderful post-season 4 fic that has Arthur on a quest to essentially destroy magic, and Merlin, of course, tagging along in hopes that he can persuade him otherwise. Merlin was wonderful here in all his pining glory, and I really like this conflicted, confused Arthur who is so clearly in love with Merlin. Great read.
Title: From The Ashes
Word Count: 42,102
Content/Warnings: temporary major character death, paper legends fest 2011
Summary: When Merlin uses magic to save Arthur’s life, he is condemned to death, and Arthur is too late to save him. But when the grief-stricken prince, along with Morgana and Gwen, journeys to Ealdor to return Merlin’s ashes, a series of strange events leads them to believe the warlock may not be as dead as they thought.
Oh this fic! So, so good and heart-achy and fabulous! I was tearing up in the first section, which is rare for me. I know MCD can be a squick for people, but it's temporary in this fic and I swear it's so worth it. Arthur here is so wonderfully characterized especially, and watching him deal with his grief and then seeing his hope that Merlin might not really be lost is just gorgeous.
Title: A Long Way to Go Before We Are Truly Divine
Word Count: 45,022
Content/Warnings: bottom!merlin, arthur finds out, implied switching, box of magic fest 2009
Summary: Merlin is content, but not exactly happy, in Ealdor, so when his mother's friend Gaius' shows up with a tale of dragons under castles and priestesses and an exiled prince, Merlin is thrilled to listen. The reality, however, isn't so great: the priestess is a killer, the prince is a prat, and the dragon sure does have some curious ideas about them. But Gaius is saying it's Merlin responsibility -- destiny, even -- to help Arthur win back his kingdom, and to evade all the forces amassing against him on the way. This would, of course, be a whole lot easier if he could stand to be in the same village as Arthur for enough time for them to stop arguing.
Super cool canon twist with Nimueh taking over Camelot and sending Arthur and company out into exile and into Ealdor, where they meet Merlin. Really interesting how canon events are tweaked here, and great buildup.
Title: The Apple Grove
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, Arthur/Gwen, Gwen/Lancelot
Word Count: 51,043
Content/Warnings: bottom!merlin, arthur finds out, outdoor!sex, paper legends fest 2010
Summary: After saving Arthur from Morgause in a very public display of magic, Merlin must flee into the forest to avoid Uther's men. Living apart from civilization, Merlin loses his mind to the wild magic that teaches him how to survive on his own. A year later, rumours of a magical wild man finally reach Camelot. Arthur convinces his father to let him lead the small troop of knights responsible for hunting down and killing Merlin. Torn between his duty to Camelot and his feelings for Merlin, Arthur must somehow draw Merlin back from the wild magic. However, he must hurry, for Morgana has seen Merlin's hiding place in her visions, and she and Morgause are eager to seek revenge.
Really gorgeous fic that shows how everything could work out between Arthur and Merlin and all the other characters. Fabulous characterizations and I loved the relationship between Arthur and Merlin here.
Title: The Isle of Mora
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, background Gwen/Morgana
Word Count: 53,739
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, intercrural sex, memory loss, rimming, felching, bottom!merlin, paper legends fest 2013
Summary: When Arthur and Merlin go on a trip to the mysterious Isle of Mora, the best case scenario would be that Merlin summons up the courage to finally tell Arthur how he feels about him, they have amazing sex, and enjoy the scenery. The worst case would be that Merlin gets magnificently sunburnt, accidentally reveals his magic, is almost sacrificed to the Gods of the Isle, loses his memory, and finds himself on the run with an Arthur who is struggling to come to terms with Merlin's betrayal and the idea that magic is not all he was taught it was. This story is a combination of both scenarios.
Really interesting fic with good!Morgana and Mordred and a fascinating trip to a darkly magical island. I like the creepiness of the island culture, and the connection between Arthur and Merlin was wonderful.
Title: The Mirror, The Sword and The Shield
Word Count: 62,609
Content/Warnings: bottom!merlin, arthur finds out, outdoor!sex, box of magic fest
Summary: Fate is a fickle mistress – or rather, the Fates are. When the Wyrd Sisters offer Nimueh a second chance to fulfill her destiny, she takes the opportunity to seek revenge on Merlin. When Uther enters the equation, Nimueh's victory seems certain. Loyalties and allegiances are tested, making Merlin question the lengths that Arthur will go to in order to protect him. Through daring escapes, attempted coups, and fierce battles, Merlin and Arthur discover that the twisting threads of fate are not easily understood, and that the webs they spin cannot be readily escaped.
Super wonderful post season-one fic that explores Merlin dealing with killing Nimueh, and both Arthur and Merlin exploring what they mean to each other while dealing with Nimueh's resurrection.
Title: Light of Arthur
Word Count: 63,850
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out, paper legends fest 2010
Summary: An epic tale of gods and man, destiny and choices, darkness and light, and eternal love that's fixed as the stars to the celestial sphere.
Really interesting fic that have Arthur and Merlin on a quest with the rest of the knights to bring light back to Albion. I thought the introduction of God vs the old religions made for an interesting read, and I really loved Arthur and Merlin both here.
♥ Title: Ascension
Word Count: 65,785
Content/Warnings: bottom!merlin, first time, bonding!fic, rimming, arthur finds out, merry merthur fest 2010
Summary: Faced with the harsh reality of another attack on his father, Arthur sets out to complete the Rites of Ascension alone and unaided, but, as he and Merlin discover, he was never meant to succeed alone.
Wow, this fic is just stunning. The characterizations are fabulous and the connection and relationship between Arthur and Merlin is really wonderfully done. Lots of amazing pining leading to some seriously hot sex.
Title: The Knights Have a Thousand Eyes
Word Count: ~72,000
Content/Warnings: arthur finds out
Summary: In which Arthur attempts to teach his knights, his knights attempt to woo Merlin and Arthur is definitely not jealous....
Really wonderful fic that has some fabulous Knights who adore Arthur and slowly come to love Merlin as well. I really enjoyed seeing the relationships here and watching Arthur and Merlin slowly come together. (Also note that the author's rated this as R, but there isn't any sex at all.)
♥ Title: Stars Above, Stones Below and sequel Para Bellum
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin, part Arthur/Gwen, Arthur/Mithian
Word Count: 98,307 total
Content/Warnings: switching, mostly bottom!merlin, bottom!arthur, bonding!fic, arthur finds out, paper legends 2012 & 2013
Summary: After the disastrous end of his betrothal to Gwen and the regret of his offer to Princess Mithian, Arthur swears off finding a wife until he's ready to wed. When Merlin offers himself to Arthur as bedmate, Arthur suggests they hand-fast in secret for a single year of mutual pleasure without obligation. As their year together unfolds, and secrets and betrayals unravel around them, Arthur and Merlin learn there is no such thing as uncomplicated pleasure. Everything they thought they knew can change in the span of a single year.
Really wonderful fics! The first details Merlin and Arthur coming to an arrangement while Arthur gets over everything that happened with Gwen, and shows their feelings deepening into love, along with how they deal with the reveal of Merlin's magic. The second has them in an established relationship handling Mordred and Morgana and other enemies. Their connection and relationship in the verse is wonderful and the characterization are on point. Plus lots of hot sex! :)
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