Harlequin's Slash Fic

First Night: 03 No Ordinary Love

Title: First Night: 03 No Ordinary Love
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Merlin
Characters featured: Merlin/Arthur
Category, Word count: Short story; 4148 words
Rating: NC17
Summary: The shock of almost losing Merlin forces Arthur to finally accept his own feelings for the ‘stable-boy’ he once tumbled in the hay.


No Ordinary Love

Merlin rode back into Camelot, leading the other horse, having seen his mother safely home. It was wonderful how quickly she’d recovered once Nimueh was dead and her magic no longer held sway over Hunith. The illness had taken its toll, however, no matter what its source, and no one had argued when Merlin said he needed a few days to take Hunith home and look after her.

Home. The journey had made him realise that Ealdor was no longer home for Merlin. Even Hunith seemed to know that. As Merlin rode up through the town towards the castle, he was beset by the strongest feeling that he was back where he belonged. Camelot was his home now.

He headed for the stables, and managed to dismount without disgracing himself. One of the grooms took charge, securing the horses’ reins to an iron ring on the back wall so the animals could munch on a pile of hay while the saddles were removed. Merlin watched, mildly interested in learning more about the tasks being performed, but also because he liked this place. These stables – this very room – was where he’d first met Arthur and fallen for him before Merlin even knew who he was. Fallen for him so hard he’d never recover. Despite all the unhappiness since, the memory of that first innocent golden night still warmed him.

After a while, Merlin put down his backpack and started brushing down the second horse, following the example set by the groom with the first one. He’d never really understood the bond Arthur felt with his own three horses, but he was at least beginning to appreciate the strength and grace and sturdy physicality of the animals.

The clatter of hooves on cobblestones announced the arrival of another rider. Merlin looked around just in time to see Arthur gently tug on the reins and swing easily down from the horse before it had come to a complete stop. Merlin watched, leaning against his horse, wallowing in thoughts of the strength and grace and physicality of his love. Not to mention his love’s beauty. ‘The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold,’ he murmured, muffled by the horse’s warm flank. (A wisp of glittering air took his words and curled away into the aether.)

The prince led his horse inside – but he baulked when he saw Merlin. ‘You’re here!’ Arthur cried in surprise. He didn’t sound very pleased about it.

‘Yes, sire. I just got back.’

‘Which way did you come?’ the prince demanded.

‘Uh… through the Annwyn pass.’

‘Why the hell did you come that way?’

Merlin shrugged. The grooms were keeping their heads down. ‘Does it matter?’

But apparently it did, if only because there was an argument brewing within Arthur. ‘I was riding out to –’ Arthur glanced at the grooms, and backed down a little. ‘I was just on my afternoon ride. And I went out of my way to meet up with you. For God’s sake! Any fool knows to skirt the mountains on a day like this, and not brave the passes.’

‘Then I am not a fool,’ Merlin mildly retorted. ‘Who’d have thought?’

Arthur glared daggers at him.

‘Sire,’ Merlin added. Then he asked, ‘Did you want me?’ Though that cut a bit too near the bone. ‘Did you need me for something, sire?’

‘One day your insolence is going to push you too far,’ Arthur said, hard as nails. Then he stepped back, and called out to the grooms. ‘Leave us for a while, would you? I need to speak with my servant.’

‘Yes, sire,’ they muttered, all dropping what they were doing, and backing out into the yard.

Arthur occupied himself for a few moments, taking off the saddle, and tying up his horse, fetching it hay. But he was obviously furious.

‘What is it?’ Merlin eventually asked. ‘Is something wrong?’

Yes, something’s wrong, you complete and utter idiot.’

‘What, then?’

Arthur took another moment. Swallowed down his first reply. Then came closer, and said in a rather threatening tone, ‘I have been talking with Gaius in your absence.’

Merlin’s heart pounded, though he was certain Gaius wouldn’t have betrayed the secret of Merlin’s magic. ‘Yes?’

‘I was given to understand that I almost lost you. That you were saying farewell when you came to my room that day.’

Merlin stared at his love, his master. Those beautiful blue eyes stared, hot and intense, right back at him. They had rarely let their gazes lock like this. Not since that first night. Not since it had all gone horribly wrong. Merlin whispered, ‘Would you have missed me, sire?’

‘Don’t you dare make light of this.’

‘I’m sorry, Arthur.’ And he didn’t mean about the levity, if levity it was.

‘I won’t have you sacrificing yourself so heedlessly.’

‘Will you not?’

‘Your mother and Gaius are fine people. But they are worth very little compared to you.’ On Merlin’s rather shocked reaction, Arthur had the grace to look a little ashamed. ‘Forgive me, but it’s true.’

Slowly Merlin replied, ‘I’ve never heard you complain about me being willing to give my life for yours. And that’s where this started. I offered myself in return for your recovery. Nimueh was going to take my mother’s life instead of mine. I was not going to let that happen.’

Arthur looked taken aback. He paced away for a moment, and then returned. ‘Obviously Gaius didn’t elaborate.’

‘Well, it got complicated. Maybe he gave you the simple version. And Gaius told your father that he healed you with a tincture of herbs – so please don’t go getting him in trouble. Gaius never did you or your father any harm. Quite the opposite, in fact.’

‘I am perfectly well aware of that,’ Arthur said, annoyed. He never liked being told what to do, especially if he already knew.

‘Yes, sire.’

‘Look,’ said Arthur, ‘I can’t lose you.’

And Merlin was shocked all over again. In fact, his whole world rocked. Arthur had never spoken to him like that. ‘Arthur…’ he whispered.

‘There really is something about you… I still can’t quite put my finger on it. And I don’t just mean –’ Arthur glanced around. Saw the grooms hanging back on the other side of the yard, out of earshot but watching curiously. Arthur growled, and said, ‘Come here,’ to Merlin. Led the way further into the stables, around into the stalls, so they could have some privacy.

Merlin followed him. Waited as close to him as he dared.

Arthur stood there for a long moment, hands on hips, frowning in thought. Eventually he said, ‘This isn’t just about –’ and he flung a hand back towards the room they’d come from, signifying emotion and love, lust and sex.

‘I know,’ Merlin murmured. He hadn’t realised Arthur felt any sense of their shared destiny.

‘I have this strange… certainty – that our paths crossed for a reason. That there is a purpose to it.’

‘Yes. I think so, too.’

‘Which is why – I can’t lose you. At least, not until that purpose has been served.’

‘You won’t lose me, Arthur.’

‘But the rest – is a distraction. A complication.’

Merlin frowned. ‘A distraction?’

‘Yes. I –’ Arthur paused. Considered him. Said in a more faltering tone, ‘An unnecessary complication…’ He was really looking at Merlin now, as he hadn’t since that first night. ‘If only you weren’t so extraordinarily beautiful. I can’t quit – I have tried, but I –’

And suddenly, without Merlin being aware of moving towards Arthur or of Arthur moving towards him – suddenly they were in each other’s arms, and kissing, kissing frantically. Merlin groaned with ardent need – then Arthur crushed him back up against a wall, and a cry was dislodged from his throat, their feet scuffling in the hay for purchase.

‘Prince Arthur…?’ came a tentative call from just outside the stables.

Kissing passionately. Arthur’s hardness pressing against his hip. Thrusting, already instinctively thrusting. Merlin moaned again, he couldn’t help himself. Ran his fingers through that beautiful sweep of golden hair.

‘Prince Arthur? Sire? Are you all right?’

Arthur growled in frustration and pulled away, leaving Merlin shockingly bereft. He managed to pull himself together, though. Arthur was standing there, breath coming hard, glaring at him – but glaring with lust now, as well as anger.

There were footsteps carefully approaching. Of course the people were concerned for their prince’s safety.

‘Hit me,’ said Merlin.

Arthur dragged himself back together. Boggled at Merlin in confusion.

‘Make it look like you were beating me. You know, chastising me.’

The prince growled again, but this time in refusal.

‘It’s not like I don’t give you cause,’ Merlin added.

And it seemed for a moment that Arthur was sorely tempted, if only out of sheer frustration and high emotion. But he ground out, ‘You want them to think I would beat my servant?’

Merlin shrugged.

‘I think I’d almost rather they knew the truth.’ And Arthur turned and strode away. Merlin heard him saying, ‘I’m fine. Thank you,’ with his impatience almost under control. Then he yelled back, ‘Merlin! Come along, damn you!’

And Merlin scurried off after his prince, his master, his love. Head down, and a hand at his face as if he had indeed been hit, because he figured that was as good a cover story as any. Just in case. Not really having to pretend embarrassment or chagrin or confusion, for he felt them all in goodly measure. He grabbed his backpack and hurried to catch up with Arthur. Not that he dared walk with him, but rather tagged along behind.

The grooms watched him go, no doubt imagining he would now be given a good bollocking up at the castle… Merlin grinned askew to himself, putting another interpretation on that entirely.

Arthur was quite calm again by the time they reached his rooms. Which was rather disappointing, as Merlin had been fondly imagining he would just be pushed up against the nearest wall, or maybe at last thrown across that luxurious bed, and taken with extreme prejudice.

Instead Arthur ushered him inside. Turned the key in the door behind him, and slid the bolt across for good measure. Poured two goblets of water and wine, and brought one to Merlin – who tried not to gape as he took it. ‘Thank you, sire,’ he muttered. Arthur had never served him anything before.

Arthur withdrew, as if he didn’t want to be too close to Merlin, or at least not yet. They each took a mouthful of wine in silence. Then Merlin put his goblet down on the table, and murmured, ‘Arthur –’

‘If I were just a knight,’ Arthur said, very calmly and reasonably, ‘and if you were just a stable–boy, it would be simple, wouldn’t it? It would be completely straightforward. But we’re not, and it isn’t.’

Merlin ran a hand back through his hair. ‘I don’t see why it has to be very much more complicated than that.’

‘Being the crown prince complicates everything.’

‘D’you mean, like… marrying, and begetting an heir, and all that?’

Arthur shot him a glance. ‘My father has told me he expects to see me marry before he dies. He trusts it will be as happy a marriage as his. I can’t quite imagine how I would explain to him why that is rather unlikely.’

Merlin was feeling rather fretful. ‘What will you do?’

But Arthur just shook off the whole subject. ‘I am twenty–one,’ he declared, ‘and I love you, and if you are going to insist on talking to me right now about my possible future marriage, I will have you thrown in the stocks.’

His fret was over. Merlin had started grinning fit to burst as soon as he heard the second phrase. ‘You love me?’

‘You know I do. Don’t you?’ It was a heavily rhetorical question.

‘Yes. But I didn’t know you knew.’ They were still standing several feet apart, with the table and chairs between them. It wasn’t quite how he’d pictured this going, but Merlin offered, ‘I love you.’

Arthur nodded. ‘And I must say, I appreciated it. That first night. I realise it wasn’t love back then, but I appreciated that you wanted me without knowing who I was. Most people don’t see very far past the crown.’

Merlin huffed with an ironic laugh. ‘I don’t know if that counts for much. I just thought you were the most beautiful thing ever. So, I guess I didn’t see past the beauty. I’m probably very shallow.’

‘There was a little more to it than that,’ Arthur insisted. ‘It’s not as if – Believe it or not, I was never in the habit of tumbling stable–boys in the hay.’

‘And you were decent to me,’ Merlin blurted on a sudden inspiration, not having really thought about the encounter from this angle before. ‘Maybe I’m not so shallow after all. I did like you, and I had reason to. Not every man would have bothered to take care of me once I’d taken care of him. Not like you did.’ He grinned. ‘Oh, and I finally figured it out. You weren’t wanting me to kiss you when you asked what I could do with my mouth.’

‘No, I wasn’t,’ Arthur admitted with a rather ashamed smile.

‘But you kissed me back anyway,’ Merlin stoutly reassured him. ‘So I guess I must have known somehow you were a far better man than you might have been. But…’ he concluded with a wistful sigh, ‘you were very beautiful that night, my prince… And you still are, and you always will be. And I’ll probably always be shallow enough to love you for it.’

Arthur took another mouthful of wine, and turned away a little. ‘I certainly hope there’s more to it than that, for mine is a very ordinary sort of beauty.’

‘You’re kidding,’ said Merlin, unable to believe either in such a judgement of Arthur’s looks or in his unexpected lack of vanity.

‘I’m just handsome, really.’ Arthur turned to look at him again. ‘But you’re beautiful in an extraordinary way. That’s rare. That’s precious. And I can’t – I can’t –’

‘Arthur…’ he murmured, feeling achingly sorry for the man as he struggled with the words, with himself.

‘I can’t quit thinking about you,’ the prince blurted. ‘Wanting you. Imagining you. Remembering you.’

‘We have to be together,’ Merlin said, ‘that’s all. We don’t have any choice. I’ll be at your side, Arthur, and I will serve you, until my dying day. I think you’re destined for great things, and I’ll help you achieve them. I promise you. But there’s more than that between us. There’s love, there’s so much love, so much passion. And if we try to deny it, the lack may destroy us.’

Arthur was listening very carefully, but he observed, ‘That’s rather melodramatic.’

‘At best, we’ll be unhappy to the point of bitterness. The lack will sour any other source of joy we might have. At worst, well – the lack might drive us mad.’

‘I can think of a worse worst than that.’

‘You can?’

‘That we don’t follow the same path. That you break with me, and follow your own path. That we become enemies. That you become my nemesis.’

Merlin stared at him, vaguely sensing the enormity of the horror that could bring, and not just for the two of them. ‘But if you really fear that, why do you resist loving me instead?’

‘Do I really need to spell it out? Because it would be dangerous. So dangerous. There are so many calamities that might prevent us achieving anything at all. It could all be over before we’ve even begun. What if my father found out, and had you executed? My own father having you killed… I don’t think I’d – Well, I don’t know about being driven mad, but that would certainly be enough to loosen my hinges. And if I rescued you from the dungeons in time, and we had to leave Camelot – what would happen to my people without a prince, what would happen to a king who’s lost everyone he’s ever really loved? And if I tried to rescue you, and failed – what then? And if all else went well, but my people discovered the truth and hated me for it, or absolved me but blamed you – what then?’

Merlin considered him for a long moment. ‘You’ve really thought about this a lot, haven’t you?’

‘Yes. Yes, I have. I have lain awake at night, trying to sort it all out, trying to see whether there’s a version of our story in which – in which we are just a knight and a stable–boy, and everything is simple.’

‘Arthur… Arthur, you must learn to hope. To trust in the future. Your destiny – I cannot believe it will not come true. You will be a great king – not just of Camelot, but of all Albion. We must have faith that what must be will be.’

‘All of Albion…?’ Arthur was frowning at him. ‘Where did you get such an idea?’

Merlin shook his head. ‘I just know how great you could become. How great you will become. And maybe the love we have for each other, maybe that’s part of our story. Maybe that’s one of the things that makes it all work. Maybe not loving each other is the thing that would ruin us.’

Arthur turned away, paced away, and thought for a while. ‘You think that not loving each other would destroy us.’

‘I am as sure of that as I am sure of anything.’

‘But I fear that loving each other will destroy us. How do we choose?’

‘We put our faith in ourselves and in our future. Arthur, can you really have so little hope? So little trust in who you are?’

‘Where did you…’ He was obviously intrigued. ‘No one talks about Albion. I haven’t mentioned that to anyone else at all. I mean, we have to unite, or our island will eventually be overrun. But no one talks about it. Every little king sits smug and secure in his own little kingdom, and is satisfied. Despite the fact that they’re left to fight alone when they’re raided from across the seas. No one talks about uniting and becoming a country to be reckoned with. No one, until you.’

‘Then I guess we are on the same path, aren’t we?’

Arthur just looked at him from under a brow –

But it was evident that Merlin had finally engaged him… just not quite on the topic that Merlin cared most about. He laughed. ‘Can we save the politics for another time? I want to talk about love.’

Arthur’s head was still down, but he smiled, almost reluctantly, and he shrugged. ‘Is it going to seem like an awful anticlimax if I just walk over there right now and kiss you…?’

‘I don’t care. I just wish you would.’

‘All right,’ he said. And Arthur walked around the table towards him, his gaze steady, and his beautiful ivory face only slightly paler than usual. Arthur lifted his hands to cup Merlin’s face. They looked at each other for a long moment. And then Arthur very deliberately leaned in and kissed Merlin on the mouth.

It was a passionate kiss, and yet quite solemn as well, as if they were pledging themselves to each other, as if this were their wedding ceremony. One of Arthur’s hands eased back to shape itself to Merlin’s nape, while Merlin’s arms wound themselves around Arthur’s waist. And they kissed. But soon the deliberation wore off, and their heated need for each other reasserted itself. Again, Arthur’s hardness was pressing against Merlin’s hip, and Merlin’s likewise against Arthur, so Merlin slid one arm down lower to haul him closer still, to mould them tight against each other.

After a while, Arthur broke the kiss, and stared at him, panting hard. They needed this consummation, oh they needed this so badly. Merlin turned away a little, propped his rear on the edge of the table, started fumbling with the fastening of his own britches. ‘Come on,’ he muttered urgently, when he saw Arthur just standing there.

‘No,’ Arthur said, though he was obviously fraught almost distraught with wanting.

‘What?!’ Merlin gaped at him. Surely they were well past any quibbles by now, and they had already talked for far too long.

‘I mean – The bed. Come to bed with me.’

Though even those few yards seemed an impassable distance to Merlin. Surely even Arthur was in no state to actually walk that far. Merlin was full and overflowing with imagining Arthur pressing up against him, here against the table, thrusting his cock against Merlin’s, at last the magic of hard flesh against hard flesh… ‘Arthur, if you don’t do me right here and now –’

‘It is our first time –’

‘It so is not!’

Arthur gathered himself. Even took a wobbly step back. ‘It’s our first time, knowing each other for who we are. We should do this properly.’

‘I am not your bride, I am not a virgin, I am not your wife or your queen –’

‘No, for you mean far more to me than any such person ever could.’

Merlin stared at his love for a moment. Drew in a long shaky breath, which transmuted into a frustrated angry growl. But then he pulled himself back together as well as he could, and regained his balance on his own two feet. ‘Fine,’ he bit out. And he half tottered, half stepped in Arthur’s direction. Who drew back another pace.

They headed towards the bed, Arthur walking backwards, both of them staring at each other, watching each other shakily undressing themselves as they went. Arthur misjudged, and ended up falling back across the bed with his britches still round his thighs. He gave up, and simply scrambled back further on his elbows, so he was lying fully across the width of the bed – while Merlin, naked now but for his socks, hauled himself up over him on hands and knees –

Merlin suddenly sprawled onto his love, skin against skin, Arthur’s arms around him, strong, Arthur’s mouth on his, famished – and their cocks striking, clashing, then matching – even their balls pressing and bobbling each against the other’s – ‘Aaarrrggghhh!’ Merlin cried out, hardly knowing whether it was agony or bliss – Arthur’s hands hard on him – Arthur kissing him relentlessly –

But Arthur wanted this done properly, so Merlin tried to draw back, tried to warn him – ‘Don’t – Don’t – I’ll –’ though it was already too late, and Merlin was shuddering and shaking, the seed pouring out of him, pouring out as if it were a lifetime’s worth, the intense pleasure of it almost too large to comprehend.

Arthur holding him through it, holding him so close as if wanting to share in every last wave and judder of feeling. But then as soon as Merlin was quiet again, Arthur was heaving up from under him, a hand shaping itself to Merlin’s rear even as Arthur moved over Merlin’s back – Arthur muttering, ‘May I? Merlin –’

‘Yes. Of course. Yes.’

And Arthur had barely even managed to thrust himself inside before he was coming, too, and it sounded just as intense, it felt just as momentous.

‘Dear God,’ Arthur muttered as they finally pulled apart, and resettled themselves deep in each other’s arms. ‘Oh, dear God…’

After a while, Arthur quietly commented, ‘There’s nothing ordinary about you, is there, Merlin?’

‘I’m afraid not, sire…’

‘But I must insist –’

‘Yes, sire?’ Merlin prompted after a while.

‘Lancelot?’ Arthur asked.

Merlin smiled a little sadly. ‘He knew – he knew I loved you. He knew I belonged with you.’

‘You loved him?’

‘I wished I could. But we both knew I couldn’t. It was the same with Will. My poor dear Will.’

‘Good,’ Arthur said almost savagely. ‘You’re mine now, do you hear? You’re mine, and mine alone.’

‘I think I always was.’ Merlin looked at his love, then hauled himself up on an elbow to consider him carefully. ‘I belong to the beautifulest knight in Camelot.’

‘And I to the most extraordinarily beautiful stable–boy…’ Arthur sighed. ‘But neither of us is only that.’

Merlin’s smile was happier now. ‘No, for you are the future king of Camelot and of all Albion.’

‘Idiot,’ said Arthur, very fondly. ‘But we can talk of crowns some other time. For now, bring that pretty mouth back here.’

The curves of your lips rewrite history,’ Merlin murmured as he lowered his head for a kiss. (Glitter twisted through the air above them, unheeded, and vanished.)

And, somewhere, the real Will was smiling in delight, in satisfaction, with only the barest hint of wistfulness. Somewhere, Will was blessing his love.

Posted in: Merlin, Slash fic

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26 responses to “First Night: 03 No Ordinary Love”

  1. avatar Jenny says:

    WOW that was……. AWSOME!!!

  2. avatar issahime says:

    What a beautiful ending! My heart broke a little bit through the first two stories, with the way Arthur was so resistant and Merlin so resigned, but this has more than made up for that.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      issahime – I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed these – or at least you did once I made it all better! You know, as you get to know me, I think you’ll find I’m pretty reliable for providing a happy ending at some point… Perhaps I focus too hard on making them earn it, though… :-)

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. avatar mcicioni says:

    I liked Part 3 very much. (Part 2 was beautifully written, but I can’t help loving OTP monogamy …) I have a soft spot for Awkward Sex, and you tickled this spot perfectly. And I also loved the can-we-can’t-we-what-if-what-if-not discussion, because it makes sense, and it’s presented convincingly, and the only solutiona re trust and hope.
    ♥ ♥

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Hey there, mcicioni! – Glad that you were on board with Part 3, mate. :-) I know I tend to write the more idealised kind of sex scenes, which is too unreal, but I can rustle up some awkwardness occasionally… And I’m so relieved you appreciated the conversation, because I thought it was getting way too long – but then, by that stage, they seemed to have so much to resolve. (And we haven’t even mentioned Merlin’s magic yet!) But, anyway, if it worked for you then I’ll consider it’s worked. :-) Ciao, bella!

  4. avatar Rohaa says:

    God, this is SO GOOD. I love how you wove destiny around love and actually wrote Arthur as having half a brain and thinking things through and being so goddamn responsible all the time, and…

    I could go on for hours. This is amazing. Keep writing <3

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Rohaa – Thank you so much for your comment! It’s brilliant to hear what has really worked for my fellow slashers. I totally agree that Arthur has a brain in there and uses it, even if he is also sometimes a prat… I’m delighted you like my take on him. I think I can promise you that I’ll keep writing… I was planning on having a bit of a break now, but within half an hour of signing off, I found myself mulling over another idea… I’m throwing my hands up in exasperation with myself, but I do also thank you kindly for the encouragement!

  5. avatar Tia says:

    Beautiful story, really well crafted and written.
    A lovely read. Thankyou. :)

  6. avatar Reveuse says:

    Can I just say…your writing is really beautiful. True to character, evocative, sexy and moving. Brava.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, you may indeed say it – as often and as loudly as you like. :-) Thank you for commenting! Your description of my writing does this little fannish heart a great deal of good.

  7. avatar ravenflight21 says:

    I second Rohaa – I love the fact that Arthur has run through all the arguments for not loving Merlin. But does it all the same! Yay!! Lovely story – all three parts

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      ravenflight21 – Thank you so much for your comment! Ultimately even Prince Arthur can’t resist his slashy destiny, eh…? He puts up a good fight, though! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this sequence of stories.

  8. avatar flwrpwr_vampyre says:

    I completely didn’t realize you had finished this series. And what a fantastic ending. I’m glad they got a happily ever after.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Hey, flwrpwr_vampyre! I’m very glad you enjoyed this one. Of course I had to give the boys a happy ending… They’d certainly worked hard enough for that one! Thanks for commenting. :-)

  9. avatar Rasiya says:

    In some ways I really just sort of ‘happened’ across this fic, but I had to pause a moment to comment because it’s had me rivetted as so few fics actually do. It was well written, intelligent, and your balance of description and dialogue is absolutely pitch perfect. It certainly sets a high standard for other Merlin/Arthur fic- in terms of characterisation, plot and certainly sheer sexiness.

    Also- ‘The curves of your lips rewrite history’- this was what really what made me comment, I’ll admit. I always have time for another Wilde fan :D Kudos.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Rasiya – Thank you so much! What wonderful praise indeed. You make me wanna go back and re-read it to see if it might actually be that good. :-D

      I’m glad you appreciated (and let me get away with) the Wilde quote. I must admit that for me, the oomph comes from Oscar via Velvet Goldmine – and I had an irresistible urge to put Merlin at the other end of that delicious run of cultural references.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  10. avatar Noor says:

    Love this one. Merlin’s external non-chalance was sad through out the series but this 3rd part makes it up. Great!

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad the mood of the series worked for you, and especially glad you liked the happy ending. Thanks for commenting. :-)

  11. avatar Laura says:

    ♥ so sweet and hot

  12. avatar ender says:

    awww, saw this bookmarked on delicious, and HAD to reread it coz our most beautifulest prince and stable boy are coming back sooooooooooooon!
    rereading this its even more pretty than the first time!

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      ender – Thank you so much for commenting! That’s wonderful to know, that you enjoyed it even more on a second read. :-) Isn’t it wonderful that we’re gonna have them back? I want to just squoosh them up and never let them go… :-D

  13. avatar Nagi says:

    The little “Velvet Goldmine” reference made me grin like a loon. Oh, the UST and the giving and…I like how reasonable Arthur was about why they shouldn’t get together. Not that I didn’t want them to get together, but I like smart!Arthur.

    • avatar Harlequin says:

      Nagi – Hee! I’m so glad you liked that Velvet Goldmine / Oscar Wilde reference. I thought I was being a bit cheeky, but what the hell. Sometimes you just have to dare to go with the inspiration. And hurrah for smart!Arthur! The show might do him a disservice every now and then by not hiding Merlin’s secret quite well enough, but that’s not Arthur’s fault – and leaving that aside, Arthur shows plenty of smarts along the way. It’s not always what’s wanted from him, but I like it when he gets to show what he’s really made of. Darling man.

      You know, I am amused to see the visitor stats for these three stories have shot up today. I wonder if someone has rec’ed them as suitable reading for Valentine’s Day…? XD Whatever has prompted this, I’m delighted! ♥♥♥

      Nagi, thank you again for your kind comments. I trust you’re having a wonderful day!

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