Anyway, a handful of awesome Merlin recs for slylilgoblin and others, not quite as comprehensive as I'd like but I'm likely to be swamped over reading Yuletide stuff after tonight (!!!), so won't get around to it later. Ha.
Quickening Days, by fahye (Merlin/Arthur, R): one of my absolute favorites. This is a tense Arthur-finds-out drama, an impossible-yet-inevitable Merlin&Arthur romance, a classic Groundhog’s-Day-time-change cliché (except not deserving of the word because it is still so original), a pleasantly silly Merlin-wears-a-dress fic, all wrapped up in an intricate, fascinating mystery and adventure plot that could very well be an episode of the show, except better. I adore fahye’s writing style too – sharp, bright dialogue and metaphors that I wish my brain were able to create. Plus, there is Merlin’s ridiculous hat, mild drunkenness, a scary old-lady suitor who wants in Merlin’s pants, and pranks. This fic is completely my happy place at the moment.
Three Tasks, by syllic (Merlin/Arthur, R): THIS. IS AMAZING. It starts of seeming like a bit of a crack!fic, since the basic premise that Arthur serves as the Royal Arbiter for Suitable Suitors' Disputes and so has to oversee tests between rival suitors to determine who should be allowed to court a person, but it quickly turns into a heartwrenching, hilarious, touching love story of Merlin and Arthur, including Merlin’s (initial) obliviousness and Arthur’s helpless pining. syllic’s Arthur-voice is fantastic, and so are the depictions of the other characters – a particular line by Uther had me bouncing with glee. Plus, she has a wonderful writing style, with sentences that seem like they should be confusing run-ons but instead more resemble Austenian lines in their command of language, wit, and insight. And I’m going to stop before I get any more pretentious and/or embarrassingly fangirly, but just, READ IT.
August, by rageprufrock (Merlin/Arthur, NC-17): sweet, funny story of Merlin and Arthur returning to Ealdor for Hunith's birthday. Wonderful followup to 1.10 "The Moment of Truth", and also Arthur is really quite adorable in his affection for Hunith and his pining for Merlin. (Can you tell I really love it when Arthur pines?)
Her Lady's Maid, by gnimaerd (Morgana/Gwen, R): because a fandom where I can have a slash pairing and a femslash pairing that I love equally is almost too good to be true. (Even if there still isn't as much Morgana/Gwen as I'd like!) Set during 1.12 "To Kill The King", Gwen and Morgana take care of each other, and Morgana has her secrets to keep. Slow, sweet prose, but with a hidden tension because of Morgana's plans.
Misrule, by thehoyden (Merlin/Arthur, NC-17): during the Feast of Fools where the servants get to rule the court for a day, Merlin ends up as the Maiden. This cannot end well. Funny, tense, sweet.
The Seventeen Uses of Elder, by rivier (Gaius, gen, G): alright, I admit I haven't been reading much gen in this fandom, but since I only had a couple to rec it's good that they are fantastic, especially this one. Pre-series, Gaius watches Arthur grow up, and it's a great character study of Gauis, Arthur, and Uther.
Two Short Interludes in the Nature of Possession, by stealingpennies (Merlin/Arthur, R): Merlin is possessed by the spirit of a woman who was drowned in a witch-hunt, and he learns something not only about magic but about Arthur. Beautifully written.
Who’s Counting Anyway, by phantomjam (Merlin/Arthur, NC-17): the one with the touching and mutual seduction. Um, HOT.
This Day, As Any Other, by takadainmate (Morgana/Gwen, PG-13): great snippet of how Morgana and Gwen are so on the same page for thoughts and predictions, and of course romance.
The Hazel and the Honeysuckle, by aleathiel (Merlin/Arthur, PG): a retelling of another Arthurian legend, wonderfully written, and just mildly heart-wrenching.
Next Time, I Will Remember This, and I Will Say No, by paperclipbitch (Merlin/Arthur, PG-13): written early on in the fandom, but still great. Merlin pretending to be Arthur in a foreign kingdom, misunderstandings, romance, fierce Morgana - all you could ever want.
Mount Badon, by brown_betty (Arthur, Merlin, gen, G): an attempt to give historical accuracy to this show! Ha, but really, a great one-shot of Arthur as king dealing with the conflicts of kingdoms, and Merlin being just as annoying and protective as ever.
Take Me Home, by julesoh (Merlin/Arthur, PG-13): set immediately after 1.13 "Le Morte d'Arthur". Arthur finds out.
Firsts, by elandrialore (Merlin/Arthur, G): a handful of firsts in Merlin and Arthur's relationship, cute and funny!
MERLIN and the sequel, A Random Collection of Firsts, by moonythestrals (Merlin/Arthur, Morgana/Gwen, NC-17): this may seem like crack - okay, it is crack, but the most fantastically written, hilarious crack EVER. College!AU in which Arthur is a frat-boy business major, Merlin is not an English major, and both of them have to collaborate on a project for their required Screenwriting Class - which of course turns out to be a rather familiar, ridiculous TV show that we all know and love. Seriously guys, just READ IT, it will BLOW YOUR MIND.
Be Resigned, by frantic_allonsy (Merlin/Arthur, PG-13 but eventually more?): in which Merlin and Arthur are meteorologists for the US Air Force. May sound hard to believe, but it works really well, and the tension between the two is great. Plus, though it's a tricky subject to approach, I love the way frantic_allonsy has woven in 9/11 and the Iraq War because it's realistic and relevant. In progress, but worth reading and waiting for updates.
and I am alive, by thisissirius (Merlin/Arthur, Morgana/Gwen, R): band!AU in which there is not only fic but music! I love the way the songs and story are worked in together, and also just thisissirius' writing, honestly.
10,000 Nights, by mamoru22 (Merlin/Arthur): this was one of the first vids in the fandom, and though it only goes up to the fourth episode of the series, it's still probably my favorite Merlin/Arthur vid. It's fun, snappy, so slashy that I would call it a fluff vid if it weren't so well made, and set to a great song.
Non Lievi Alchun, by halycon_shift (Morgana/Gwen): this tells a story of Morgana that is tragic, beautiful, and ultimately chilling. The ending literally makes me shiver every time I watch it. (Which is a lot.)
500 Miles, by suzvoy (Merlin/Arthur): okay, so you know how Merlin and Arthur have this ridiculous (wonderful) habit of not only saving each other but trying to die for each other? This vid exemplifies that, and even though it's happy and extraordinarily cute, it also makes my heart twinge. Perfect song choice, too.
The Book of Love, by such_heights (Morgana/Gwen): sweet and romantic, just like Morgana and Gwen. Also, PRETTY.
Red, by obsessive24 (Merlin/Arthur): poignant, heartbreaking foreshadowing for the future of the characters that we know from the Arthurian legend (well, as closely as we can for this show). You're a tragedy waiting to happen, indeed, and the use of imagery is amazing.
Aaaah, these took an embarrassing amount of time to compile and write up, and I'm sure I've left out things that I really like. Most of the above authors also have other great stuff, and other authors that I've liked but didn't yet include are linaerys, averaird, ariafic, janne_d, and - oh my goodness, guys, just go to the Merlin recs at my del.icio.us if you still need more stuff to read. Phew.
Off to wrap presents, and try not to bounce too much in anticipation for Yuletide. YAY.