Tag Archives: hurt/comfort

Enquiries (Merlin Fanfic)

Author: StarlightInHerEyes22

AO3 ID: 4943506

Status: Complete (10 Chapters)

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Note: This is officially rated M, although I feel T+ is probably more accurate and the author’s just being paranoidly careful. There’s definitely some whump and blood, and yes some OC death, but nothing too crazy.

It all started when Gwaine and the other knights got the bright idea to go track down Merlin and find out his last name . . . since suspiciously no one seems to know. But when they find him in the marketplace of Camelot, Gwaine only just manages to warn Merlin in time for Merlin to avoid being stabbed by an assassin. And that’s not the only one to find him over the next few days. Not to mention, Merlin soon finds out that the twin Powysi crown prince and princess–officially at Camelot to sign a treaty with them–are actually there to “protect” Merlin. It seems that Gwaine and Merlin are the only ones who really know what’s going on, while the rest of the Round Table are clueless around them, but are these two friends even able to trust each other in light of recent revelations?

Enquiries was a very enjoyable Merlin fanfic for any number of reasons. For one thing, the writing itself is of excellent quality and is just plain fun to read. For another, the author did a great job of creating a unique, interesting plot and some complex, rich original characters–including Gwaine’s frenemy of a half-sister. Speaking of, we get some fascinating–and entirely plausible–backstory for the most secretive Sir Gwaine. Quite the can of worms to open there, I must say, but I thought that whole part was both well thought out and well executed. Plus, we get some great development on the Gwaine/Merlin friendship front, and that’s one of my favorite friendships in the whole Merlin fandom. It was nice to see a story focus so much on that, although it’s also weird to have so relatively little of Arthur in a story, if only because he figures so largely in most of Merlin’s stories. Still, both of Gwaine and Merlin and for other characters that don’t show up as much, I got the feeling that the author really understands the characters and the reasons the fandom loves them; these aspects of them are definitely highlighted. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good whumpish bromance that also has some solid plot.

Note: You can find Enquiries on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/works/4943506/chapters/11347294#comments.

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Please Help My People (Merlin Fanfic)

Author: M1ssUnd3rst4nd1ng

FanFiction ID: 12509765

Status: Ongoing (10 Chapters)

My rating: 5 of 5

King Arthur has had all too much experience dealing with both sorcerers and traitors, so when it is revealed that his best friend and personal servant Merlin is a liar and a sorcerer himself, Arthur thinks he knows what he’s dealing with. He demands that Merlin reveal his secret plans, his desire for power or revenge or whatever it is that sorcerers usually want. But what Merlin says in response shakes him to the core and forces him to re-evaluate his most basic beliefs about the nature of magic and those who use it . . . because Merlin asks nothing for himself, only for the good of other magic users and for Arthur’s own safety. And what is a king and a friend supposed to do when faced with a request like that?

M1ssUnd3rst4nd1ng is such a great writer of Merlin fanfic, and Please Help My People in particular is a fabulous, moving piece. It’s not so much a reveal fic (although the associated reveal itself is available as a separate fic, which I may review in the future); rather, it’s a thoughtful, rich development of the aftermath of the reveal. I love, love, love that the author actually takes into account all the various political and personal pressures that Arthur must consider when making his decisions about Merlin’s fate and about the laws regarding magic in general. Because yes, those fics where Arthur’s just like “Merlin’s my best friend, magic’s legal now, deal with it,” are adorable and sweet, but stories like Please Help My People show us the great, wise king that Arthur has always shown promise of being. The pacing in this story is slower because of the development, but the deliberation is part of the story’s charm rather than a detraction from it. I feel like the author absolutely nailed the characters, Arthur, Gwen, and Gwaine in particular. Merlin’s character feels different from normal, but seems in character considering the circumstances in which he is placed; no, really, if anything his character is richer for bringing out aspects that you don’t see as much of sometimes. And no, the story’s not all just political conversation; the balance of angst, whump, bromance, and humor is perfect. Of note, since humor isn’t really something I’ve mentioned above, I particularly love the part where the knights (sent by the king and coached on what not to do by Leon) exact revenge on the guards who hurt Merlin–satisfyingly vindictive and quite funny as well. I would highly recommend this story to all Merlin fans.

Note: You can find Please Help My People at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12509765/1/Please-Help-My-People.

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At a Loss for Words (Merlin Fanfic)

Author: staymagical

FanFiction ID: 9734242

Status: Complete (14 Chapters)

My rating: 4 of 5

Warnings: Mature Audience/rated T/mentions of drugs, forced addiction, mutilation, slavery, etc.

King Arthur has gone to great lengths to retrieve his servant (best friend) from the hands of the slavers who captured him. But by the time he finds Merlin, well, words like “safe” and “normal” don’t exactly cut it. Some of the things Merlin has endured are going to take a long time to recover from–like the drug addiction forced on him to make him more obedient and his stubborn determination to knock the addiction no matter how bad the withdrawal symptoms may be. Or the panic attacks and depression that plague him even after he beats the drug. And there are some things that will never be the same again . . . like the fact that they took away his ability to speak forever. All of it is so very wrong, but Arthur is determined to help his friend get through this somehow.

I know, it’s probably sadistic of me, but I really enjoyed At a Loss for Words quite a lot. Yes, it’s very whumpish, and a lot of bad stuff happens to Merlin in it, but it’s also a hopeful and sweet story; the best sort of hurt/comfort, right? I love how a great deal of the story is from Arthur’s perspective and how we actually get to see an Arthur who’s openly concerned, who takes the time to be there for his friend and acknowledge how much Merlin actually means to him. And Merlin’s sections, even though they’re angsty, are also filled with that great sass that so characterizes him. I felt like the author’s handling of some very difficult content–like addiction, withdrawals, PTSD, and depression–were tastefully handled and really added a lot to the story. And (although I love a good reveal), it was neat to see a story with lots of caring and Arthur/Merlin friendship that didn’t involve a magic reveal–but leaves us set up nicely for a potential reveal in the future. The writing isn’t always perfect, but it’s quite readable and has a nice flow and a good feel for the characters, which is honestly more important that perfect grammar and word choice. And yes, there’s at least one place in which concepts are presented that weren’t discovered until years later . . . but let’s face it, Merlin has always placed story before technicality and historical accuracy anyhow, so I can’t really bring myself to care. In all the ways that count, At a Loss for Words is a touching, intense, heartbreaking, and enjoyable story that I would definitely recommend.

Note: You can find At a Loss for Words at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9734242/1/At-A-Loss-For-Words.

 

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Compromising Position (Merlin Fanfic)

Author: staymagical

FanFiction ID: 10589062

Status: Complete (18 Chapters)

My rating: 3.5 of 5

While out on a hunt (by themselves, of course), King Arthur and his manservant (best friend) Merlin find themselves captured by mercenaries. Naturally, in his attempt to keep the heat off of Arthur, Merlin manages to get himself injured pretty seriously, leaving him weak and sickly. Desperate to get his friend some help, Arthur finds a way to sneak them out of the mercenaries’ camp in the night, and it looks like they might just make it back to Camelot–none too soon, as Merlin’s condition continues to deteriorate. But the mercenaries track them down and catch up, taking Arthur and leaving Merlin for dead on the roadside, too ill to help Arthur even if he had been willing to use his magic and reveal his secret. Will either of them make it home safely? And even if they do, will they be able to handle the fallout of the events leading up to their return?

Compromising Position is one of those stories that, while in some ways following a lot of the usual Merlin fanfic plotlines, manages to be unique and memorable. I enjoyed the treatment of the characters–especially Arthur, Merlin, and Gwaine. We get at least one chapter from each of these three’s perspective, alternating depending on what’s going on. Gwaine’s chapter is probably my favorite chapter in the entire story; staymagical’s portrayal of his character is . . . flightier than I usually picture him, but very amusing and still quintessentially Gwaine. This is a pretty whumpish story, heavy on the hurt/comfort and angst fronts, but with enough bromance and humor to keep it from getting too heavy. Although the tension does run high at some points–one of the things I actually really enjoy about this story. I liked the way the reveal was handled, again, more angsty than some, but with a nice resolution. On a technical front, there are some minor grammatical issues and the occasional logical jump (most notably when Arthur sneaks away from the outskirts of camp after being tied up–no mention of rummaging around to find a sword–only to later somehow have a sword on him, how I have no idea). But the overall writing style is remarkably readable and enjoyable despite that. I really liked Compromising Position and would recommend it–and will likely re-read it myself several times over, as I have with staymagical’s other stories (also recommended).

Note: You can find Compromising Position at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10589062/1/Compromising-Position.

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Thicker Than Water (Supernatural Fanfic)

Author: Mousme

FanFiction ID: 6266954

Status: Complete (1 Chapter)

My rating: 4 of 5

Warning: Spoilers through season 5/Mature Audience (officially rated T, but I’m pretty sure NC-17 would be more accurate)

Sam and Dean get hit with a spell that sticks them in each other’s body, but it’s only supposed to last a couple of days, so they figure they can just ride it out. What’s the worst that could happen? At first, they’re a bit awkward getting used to the feel of a different body–and the weirdness of seeing their own face looking back at them with their brother’s facial expressions. But as time passes, Dean becomes more and more aware that something is off with Sam’s body. There’s a hunger, a craving, that he just can’t place, and the big, unhealthy meals that he loves just seem to make him feel worse. . . .

Thicker Than Water was a very enjoyable and thought-provoking SPN fanfic. The premise is just fabulous–both the body-swap itself, and the use of that to force Dean to see the whole demon-blood addiction thing from Sam’s perspective. I loved how well the author wrote the whole family/bromance thing that the boys have while still highlighting their differences and being honest about how much they keep from each other. Because really. Major kudos to the author for writing a third-person, present-tense story that not only doesn’t feel stilted and awkward but actually has a great flow and feels really natural to read. It’s rare to see present tense written with any kind of skill, so I found this particularly impressive. I also liked how much the phrasings and mood of the story feel like both the show in general and Dean in particular (since it’s mostly from his perspective)–including the use of concepts like seeing one’s face in a mirror with a bitchface filter. Well written and very credibly Dean. I enjoyed Thicker Than Water a lot and look forward to reading more of the author’s work.

You can find Thicker Than Water at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6266954/1/Thicker-Than-Water.

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Entertaining Angels (Supernatural Fanfic)

Author: Laura of Maychoria/Maychorian

FanFiction ID: 4674416

Status: Complete (22 Chapters)

My rating: 5 of 5

Warning: Spoilers through 4×10/rated T

Unable to ignore the insistent knocking, Dean Winchester opens the hotel room door in the middle of the night to find a small kid with dark hair and blue eyes staring up at him. Blue eyes that begin to look remarkably familiar as they stare into his own. Because they’re the eyes of the very angel that pulled Dean out of hell less than a year ago. Only, how did Cas who is not only an angel but also an adult the last time Dean checked end up in a little kid body that appears to be all too human? Dean and Sam try to figure it out, but every time Castiel even begins to think about how he ended up this way, he becomes terrified. Time to get help from elsewhere, then, but in the meantime, they’ve got a kid to feed, clothe, and generally take care of . . . and it seems that he’s become awfully attached to Dean.

I absolutely loved this story. I have a weakness for de-aged characters, I know; they’re just too adorable. And this story has just the right amount of cuteness and fluff while still having actual plot as well. It’s a great balance. Human/kid Castiel was really well written, with enough Cas to be believable but enough memory loss and humanity to be really adorable as well. In general, the author just did an amazing job with the characters. The way Dean behaves around the kid is so very Dean–I love how he is around kids in the show, and this fic captures that side of his character so well. The contrast with how Sam handles kids adds an amusing counterpoint, also very in character. The author also has some great insights into other aspects of their characters, like the way the two of them approach jobs and problems differently; it was quite interesting to read. I found the choice of timing (for when this falls in the series) to be interesting as well, both in the fact that they know Cas and have been working with him, but he’s not exactly family yet, and in the way it allows the story to deal with Dean’s guilt over what happened in hell while it’s painfully fresh to him. Added bonus–we get Missouri Moseley and Bobby Singer in the same fic, and both of them are also excellently written and in character. And have I mentioned that the writing itself is just fabulous, fun, and easy to read? Entertaining Angels is an adorable, well-written Supernatural fic that I absolutely recommend, and I will be reading more of this author’s work in the future.

You can find Entertaining Angels at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4674416/1/Entertaining-Angels.

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Men of Legend: The Butterfly Effect (Merlin/Supernatural Crossover Fanfic)

Author: hells_half_acre

AO3 ID: 7506826

Men of Legend, vol. 2

Status: Complete (3 Chapters)

My rating: 4.5 of 5

When Sam and Dean Winchester were in Camelot–summoned there by Merlin himself to help handle a supernatural threat dragged over from their world into his–they gave Merlin some advice. Sound advice, probably, but advice he’s having an awfully hard time following through with, nevertheless. Because the brothers told Merlin to take fate into his own hands (yay, Team Free Will!), trust Arthur, and tell the king his secret–that Merlin has magic. Only, telling Arthur goes against everything Merlin’s been raised to do since he was a child, against everything the Great Dragon has told him to do. Not an easy decision to make. . . . So when Merlin does decide to go to Arthur about his magic, he is understandably nervous about the whole thing.

loved this short fanfic exceedingly, as I did the previous volume in this collection, Men of Legend. Unlike the first volume, The Butterfly Effect is really just a Merlin story, with the SPN part limited to references to Sam and Dean’s time in Camelot–although those references are important since they influence not only Merlin’s decision but also Arthur’s and Gwaine’s reactions. I love the way we get a chapter each from Gwaine’s, Merlin’s, and Arthur’s POV, with each bleeding into the next a bit and giving a different perspective on the events as they unfold. And I love (and this is something I love about this author’s work in general, not just in this story) the insights into the characters that we get–the motivations behind Merlin’s fear, the loyalty and insight hidden behind Gwaine’s usual goofiness, the wisdom and understanding of Gwen, the uncertainty of Arthur and the tiny things that shape his decisions. It’s those insights that transform this from just another fanfic to something powerful and lasting. Another thing I loved about this story is the fact that Merlin actually tells Arthur about his magic. Like, that never happens. In almost every magic reveal I’ve ever read, as well as in canon, Merlin is forced to reveal his magic, shows Arthur by accident, something along those lines. He almost never willingly trusts his friend with his deepest, scariest secret, even though that is the way that it should happen. So it’s nice to see these friends getting it right. Fabulous story, and I’m hoping for a sequel!

You can find Men of Legend: The Butterfly Effect on AO3 at https://archiveofourown.org/works/7506826/chapters/17064571.

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