All fics are Merlin/Arthur because of course they are. Occasional other couplings (e.g., Arthur/Gwen, Merlin/Gwaine) are referenced in the fics, but Merthur’s always endgame. Because of course it is.
For close to two years (2012–2014) I read Merlin fic almost exclusively. I had, uh, a really hard time letting go of the show after it ended. Until Merlin I’d never been in a fandom where half my OTP (permanently) died in canon, and it’s taken those two years of reading Merlin and Arthur falling in sappy forever-love over and over and over to convince myself
Arthur’s alive to be okay. But I still wonder whether and how character death changes things going forward. Just after the finale some folks said they couldn’t/wouldn’t return to the source material because it’s impossible for them to enjoy now. Others were focused on speculating about Arthur’s rise in modern time and reincarnation/reunion. Still others clung to early seasons or offered fix-it fic scenarios for season 5. But does the death of a character fundamentally change a fandom? Does grief (both the fans’ and the remaining characters’) impact fic, impact debate, impact the fandom’s longevity? Only time will tell. The Arthurian legend has been alive for centuries, and some say Malory’s tales were the first fanfiction. So maybe we’re now part of a grand tradition. Maybe together we are the once and future fandom.
Arthur Watched Magic” by cyus (canon era, R)
Summary: Arthur just wanted to understand magic.
Notes: Warning for ABSOLUTELY GUT-WRENCHINGLY SAD CHARACTER DEATH. but oh my god. oh. my. god.
As You Wish (canon era—sort of, PG-13)
Summary: Anon, who is feeling poorly, requests a story on the kinkmeme with Merlin, Arthur, forced marriages, knights, and the promise of internet cookies should their request be fulfilled. Anon author, who is a bit of an asshole really, obliges in their own idiosyncratic asshole way. There’s rodents of unusual size, magic that only behaves sometimes, epic love, and violins, but not necessarily all in that order.
Notes: Meta!fic. Sooooooo funny. Great pick-me-up fic. P.S. Read winterhill’s everything.
Champagne from a Paper Cup (Is Never Quite the Same) by anna_zee (modern athlete AU, NC-17)
Summary: Modern AU with magic. Arthur is a professional footballer on the verge of making history. Merlin is a medical student with special powers who’s just been hired to work for Arthur’s club. You know the rest.
Defenders of the Realm by lamardeuse (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: Arthur and Morgana are Metropolitan police officers drawn into a strange case involving robbery of ancient artifacts. Merlin is a graduate student at Imperial College studying the healing plants of Ancient Britain under Gaius – or at least that’s what he tells everyone. Soon they, along with Gwen, Lancelot and Uther, will be facing a battle for the future of the country. Can they defend the realm from those who would seek to destroy it?
Deluge by Suaine (canon era, R)
Summary: In the aftermath of Merlin’s battle against Nimueh, the rain seems a minor complication, perhaps even a cleansing influence. When the rain doesn’t stop, Camelot is pushed to the brink once more. This time, Arthur may be in over his head.
Despoiled by astolat (canon era, NC-17)
Summary: In which various people become various things they weren’t before.
Notes: Hotness + humor, which is how astolat rolls.
The Difference of You by ingberry (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: It’s not that Arthur Pendragon can’t get girls to fall for him; it’s just that he can’t seem to keep them around. Relationships and Arthur aren’t on the same page at all, really, but one day there’s Merlin on a bus and then it’s different.
Drawn to Any Good (Or, the Education of Lord Arthur Pendragon) by chibirhm (Victorian AU, NC-17)
Summary: In which Lord Arthur Pendragon loses everything and gains a magician.
Easy There by syllic (modern college AU, NC-17)
Summary: Set in the present, Merlin and Arthur are members of the same elite rowing team of the Oxford University Rowing Club. This is written as a cliché-fic, so; initially they rub each other the wrong way, but soon enough there’s plenty attraction between romantic day-dreamer with-a-secret Merlin and prat with-a-golden-heart Arthur. With lovely parts for Gwen, Morgana, Lancelot and Merlin’s mom. From the link (to the first part) you can click on to the next and the next etc. Includes handy info about the world of rowing, which is well worth reading too.
Every Story Is a Love Story by lady_ragnell (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: Camelot Publishing publishes romance novels, and when Arthur founds a new imprint of gay romance and invites his best friend and pet writer Merlin to write for it, it’s a bit too easy to miss the fact that apparently he’s living in one.
From the Ashes by RandomSlasher (canon era, NC-17)
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.
Gibraltar May Tumble by shes_gone (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: Merlin’s life in London is a bit of a mess: his career is trapped somewhere between student and professional, his love life is trapped in a relationship gone sour, and most days he feels physically trapped in the tiny, shared flat he can’t afford to move out of—until an unexpected opportunity sends him packing for the coast. There, he meets someone who might be in a even worse fix than he is: Arthur, a Victorian-era sea captain who’s trapped, a bit literally, between life and death, and who refuses to leave the house he died in over a hundred years ago.
In Want of a Wife by syllic (canon era, NC-17)
Summary: Arthur’s restless before his arranged wedding.
Notes: Friggin’ long. And sappily sweet.
Leaving Only Bells of Lightning by shes_gone (canon era, NC-17)
Summary: Arthur is king, and Merlin is avoiding him. Also, it’s raining.
Notes: Angsty little PWP using the prompt “alpha male on his knees.”
The Meat Feast by cornmouse (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: Merlin is a BNF fanartist for The Roman, a camp HBO gladiator show. He accidentally becomes involved with The Roman’s lead actor, Arthur Pendragon, over Skype without realizing it. Many pornographic shenanigans and misunderstandings ensue.
Notes: After so many years in fandom, it takes a lot to blow my mind. This fic did it in the first chapter. (er . . . It’s possible I have a voyuerism kink.) Also? Shit’s hilarious. The incorporation of fandom as a plot device is genius.
My Density Has Brought Me to You by ingberry (college AU, NC-17)
Summary: Merlin led the perfect university life during his first semester at uni, but once the second semester comes along, his life goes to absolute shit. The universe hates him. Not only is he majorly confused about what he actually wants, but he’s also stuck with a roommate from hell. When he goes to his RA to get at least some of his problems fixed, Merlin’s life manages to get even more complicated. Of course.
Notes: Do check out ingberry’s whole body of works—so many good ones to choose from!
Not in This Land Alone by torakowalski (modern royalty AU, PG-13)
Summary: When Merlin Emrys gets a summer job at Buckingham Palace, he doesn’t expect to even meet King Arthur, let alone become involved in protecting him from a plot to overthrow the monarchy.
Notes: THE BANTER THOUGH.
Onfindan by astolat (canon era, now with more historical accuracy, R)
Summary: Arthur didn’t speak to him for a week after he found out.
Notes: Sooo much more than the summary suggests. The canon Merthur fic. Fanlore says so and everything.
The Problem with Power by BookshopLaura (
Radioman by Footloose (modern military AU, NC-17)
Summary: The reason SAS Captain Arthur Pendragon can’t keep a communications specialist in Team Excalibur because none of them are good enough. And then Lieutenant Merlin Emrys gets assigned to his squad, and Arthur does everything he can to prove that Merlin isn’t good enough, either. Except he is.
Notes: Radioman is the first story of the Loaded March series—14 fics so far, some of which are multi-chapter. This story is in.cre.di.ble. The worldbuilding, the pining, the recasting of canon, the pining, the interconnected details, the angst, the plot twists, the sex—just an amazing effort. It *is* a WIP, but shapes near enough to a discernible ending, and (last I checked) the author has said it’s not abandoned. You could live in this fic for months. I did.
Seven Magpies by syllic (role reversal AU, NC-17)
Summary: Arthur opened his eyes a minute later to the sight of seven magpies streaking across the top of the clearing, their shapes dark against the white clouds and the muted grey of the sky. He tried to remember what it was that seven magpies meant—he’d had a nurse who had sung the rhyme to him as a child—but couldn’t. Arthur wakes up somewhere he doesn’t recognise, but where he clearly belongs.
Step by Step by eldee (modern AU, NC-17)
Summary: The Knights: A Boy Band. (Or, rather, the ten year span of how Arthur Pendragon discovers who he truly is by going from teen idol to solo sensation, maintaining friendships with his Knights and close staff, inheriting a musical empire, and happening to find his #1 fan, best friend, and eventual love along the way.)
Notes: Seriously some of the best relationship sex I’ve read. Ever.
The Student Prince by FayJay (modern royalty AU, R)
Summary: A Modern day Merlin AU set at the University of St Andrews, featuring teetotal kickboxers, secret wizards, magnificent bodyguards of various genders, irate fairies, imprisoned dragons, crumbling gothic architecture, arrogant princes, adorable engineering students, stolen gold, magical doorways, attempted assassination, drunken students, shaving foam fights, embarrassing mornings after, The Hammer Dance, duty, responsibility, friendship and true love… This story was inspired by the thought of Prince William of Wales (and indeed the current Max von Hapsburg) studying at the University of St Andrews; it is also, as the title suggests, at least a little inspired by the operetta ‘The Student Prince’.
The Way Out Is Through by derryere (canon era, R)
Summary: Written for kinkme_merlin. Prompt: Arthur/Merlin. When Arthur and Merlin go to drop Mordred they are followed by Uther’s knights and all the druids are massacred and the three have to run with a bounty on their head.
Notes: For as long as derryere’s LJ is available, do click around and check out her other stories. Well worth your time, no matter the length. She’s on AO3 too, but only three Merlin fics made the jump.
We Are Stardust by fuzzytomato (spacepirate AU, NC-17)
Summary: The crew of the merchant ship Avalon are a good lot if a little odd. The captain, Morgana, has weird dreams. The first mate, Arthur, is an unpleasant ex-lieutenant of the Phoenix Guard. The ship itself is falling apart. When they take on a new engineer named Merlin at Tintagel drift to help with repairs, they not only get a genius, they get much more than they bargained for.
Notes: I mean, come on—who doesn’t love a spacepirate AU?
We’re Lost, It’s Cold, and There Are Dragons out There by winter hill (modern AU, PG-13)
Summary: Arthur is relatively sure that Bear Gryllis has never had to deal with anything like the world’s most aggravating baby dragon when he was out surviving in the wilderness. Merlin thinks that Arthur has taken the whole “magic reveal” thing pretty damn well, which might have something to do with Merlin saving Arthur’s life just now when the helicopter crashed. The dragon thinks they’re both idiots.