Tag Archives: staymagical

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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