*asterisks means these were beyond superb and a must-read in my book (in no sense a mark of hierarchy though)
Will be edited as I add more ficcage.
Drastically Redefining Protocol Series* by rageprufrock
Summary: Epic, present day AU where Prince Arthur meets doctor-in-training Merlin, and they change the world by being who they are. It's lovely, in character, and best of all--very, very hot sex. Fandom classic.
Smoke and Mirrors by Footloose
Summary: Arthur finds out about Merlin's magic but everything goes wrong--yet Merlin must stay by his King and protect him. Well written, deeply painful angst. This one's not necessarily Arthur/Merlin, but is if you squint the right way.
Loaded March Series* by Footloose
Summary: Epicly long and still WIP fic about SAS Team Excalibur and their Capt Arthur Pendragon, who can't seem to keep a communications specialist around until Lt. Merlin Emrys gets assigned. There's war, battle, and this new thing with magic in war that the enemies are using. Oh, and super tense sexual tension between Merlin and Arthur. Can't wait for it to be fully completed but just as enjoyable in the meantime.
Insubordination by mclachland
Summary: (from the author) arthur, being the crown prince, is allowed a certain amount of power. actually, a lot of power, really. except when he isn't.
Arthur trying to deal with everything Merlin gives him. Really touching.
Privileges of Rank* by seperis
Summary: PWPish but that's exactly why it's so wonderful. Arthur helps Merlin realize that rank has its privileges.
The Just Read astolat's Fics Section***
Crown of the Summer Court* (AO3 Link) by astolat
Summary: The Summer Court of the Sidhe come to Camelot. Arthur and Merlin compete for the Sidhe crown and along the way, fall not a little bit in love with each other.
This fucking fic--I've read it about 5 times already. It's one of the most satisfying Merthur reads, not only for the Merthur interaction but also for its world building and the sheer beauty of the fic which is highlighted by its lovely fanart. One of my all time favorites.
Also astolat is a wonderful human being and all fics must be read! Is one of my favorite authors and most well known/good writer in fandoms like Stargate Atlantis and Sherlock.
Favorite by astolat
Summary: (author's) Arthur was tipped back against the wall, his mouth open for breath and staring at the small arrow-slit window over Merlin's head, trying to work out how it could possibly be that good with Merlin, of all people.
So there's lots of sex hah, and Arthur appoints Merlin his favorite mistress. Who wouldn't love it?
Reciprocation by astolat
Summary: (author's) He only meant to complain; you didn't take serving girls on hunting trips, and the alternative interpretation didn't even occur to him until Merlin said indignantly, "I'm not going to do that!"
In other words, Merlin convinces Arthur to get down from his high horse and reciprocate.
The Trouble with Unicorns by astolat
Summary: (Author's) "If you'd been lectured by my father for four hours on your thirteenth birthday about all the many disasters that occur to a realm when you muddy the succession with bastards, you wouldn't have been very quick to dive into bed with the nearest servant girl, either," Arthur muttered.
Arthur and Merlin encounter a unicorn, and decide to do something about it.
Despoiled by astolat
Summary: (author's) In which various people become various things they weren't before.
Memorable line: "You think I make a spectacle of myself walking across the yard," Merlin said.
Arthur is jealous, and Merlin lies and says he's queer and then proves himself to be true to his word.
Injukyoshi by astolat
Summary: (author's) Fine, so maybe it really wasn't the best idea to attack the giant tentacle monster.
One of your tentacle PWPs--well, Merlin and Arthur deal with the aftermath of a tentacle monster, really.
Onfindan by astolat
Summary: (author's) Arthur didn't speak to him for a week after he found out.
Also known as the one in which Merlin's magic is "a giant girl" and the story of how Arthur and Merlin really become King of Albion and his councilor--a pretty much epic journey, and very sweet.
There's a separate Epilogue for Onfindan.
The Tower by astolat
Summary: (author's) Outside the city walls, the tower stood black against the sky.
Merlin the sorcerer goes rampant in Camelot, and Arthur tries to bring him back. It reminds me a lot of Angela Carter fairy tales in its style and it has quite a lot to say about possession and freedom, a really deeply felt fic almost in spite of its short length.
The Beltane Cycle Series by astolat
Summary: AO3 says its incomplete but it really is complete. There is a Beltane legend about Lord Herne the Huntsman and any child born to him, of wild magic. Arthur and Merlin go through this legend and it's a whole nother journey to get Arthur to become King of Albion. Merlin is given his due in magical respect.
And Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming....
The Pendragon Guide on How Not to Date by definewisdom
Summary: (Author's summary) Modern day student AU. Still set in Britain. Morgana sends Arthur on some blind dates that don’t go quite according to plan.
Three Tasks* by syllic
Summary: (Author's summary) Arthur is the Royal Arbiter for Suitable Suitors' Disputes. He (and his trusty companion, the golden-dragon-tasselled hat) alone can determine who is fit to woo royal servants and other assorted courtiers in Uther's court.In a Rather Predictable Set of Events, Merlin becomes the object of a Suitable Suitors' Dispute. Arthur attempts to arbitrate. This time, he does not do so well.
Well done, touching, and stays with you.
The Student Prince by FayJay
Summary: (author's) 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...
Very enjoyable fic where Merlin, who's always admired Prince Arthur, gets stuck with him as a roommate at uni, knowing him as a prat until they get a little closer. How they treat magic in this fic is genius, and the dragon here is truly wonderful as well. This is part of a longer series that is currently WIP but the fic itself is finished and well worth reading.
Two Week's Notice* by ras_fic
Summary: (author's) Arthur is a prattish Executive VP of the Pendragon Corporation with a disturbingly non-ironic love of Demotivational posters. Merlin is a tree-hugging barista with a "magic" tongue. Morgana's a peeping Tom and her breasts have superpowers. Gwen and Lancelot get married. Owain is the company bicycle. Arthur attempts to steal Merlin's affections from Will through epic DDR combat. Merlin gets drunk a lot. There is a pillow fight, and a helicopter ride, and rooftop confessions, and Arthur decides Merlin really is his destiny, whether he likes it or not.
Wonderful fic--at times leaning in the romance genre, if you couldn't tell already by the title. Always a good fic to re-read.
Timshel* by ems
Summary: (author's) Merlin is definitely supposed to work for Arthur, but spends most of his time mocking Arthur's dress sense, berating him via IM with Morgana, sending Gwen capslock-filled emails about him and, most of all, trying not to fall in love with the shiny-shoed ponce. Arthur, meanwhile, is definitely supposed to be taking over his father's company some day, but instead spends most of his time scowling at Merlin, making lists about him, trying to find excuses to fire him and, most of all, trying to pretend he is totally not head-over-heels for the jumped up little upstart. Someone's got to make some difficult choices eventually, and this can only lead to one thing: angst. Or hilarity. Or, embarrassingly enough, self-discovery.
Merlin starts working for Arthur (and Uther's) company, insults Arthur, and somehow manages to become Arthur's secretary. Marvelous fic, would absolutely re-read over and over as well. These big company fics get me.
"Next Time, I Will Remember This and I Will Say 'No'" by paperclipbitch
Summary: (author's) “Arthur wants you to pretend to be him so that he doesn’t have to get married to Princess Helena?”
Merlin pretends to be Prince Arthur and Arthur tries his hand at being a servant, all so Arthur won't get married--and god their attraction is amazing in this fic.
Not Quite Mary Poppins by claire_debonair
Summary: (author's) The one where Merlin is a nanny, Arthur’s both a prat and a normal human being, Morgana schemes and Uther does relatively little.
Arthur's a single dad and Merlin gets to be his nanny--fun fic.
Sequel: Not Quite Mrs Banks Either
For Your Information by reni_days
Summary: (author's) Merlin sighs. "After your...announcement," he explains, "your father decided he needed a bit more information. Which is apparently where I come in. I'm sort of like his gay tutor, it's hard to explain."
In which Uther asks Merlin for help understanding his recently out of the closet son, Arthur. Uther and Merlin develop a friendship of sorts, and then he meets Arthur.
The Hunt by novemberlite
Summary: (author's) “Those Pendragons, they’re a different sort. Beastly, but clever. It’s said they’re drawn to magic--to power--and that’s how they find their... mate.”
This one's a bit of a PWP with some interesting world building--people mate through the hunt and Camelot's come to bind Prince Arthur to one of the People. Includes knotting, rimming, and scenting, and lord is the sex scorching.
Lupercalia by novemberlite
Summary: (author's) Canon AU. On his way to Camelot, Merlin goes into heat for the first time. Things progress from there, as they are wont to do.
This author continues to write scorching hot sex in this PWPish Alpha/Beta/Omega fic.
Harmonia Mundi by pen_rabbit
Summary: (author's) Music has always been the centre of Merlin’s reality, and the idea of silence is unimaginable. But when Camelot is deafening, Arthur is distracting and the dragon is utterly unhelpful, will his gift turn out to be a blessing or a curse?
A world where Merlin hears the whole world as music, where for him, magic is music, and when Mordred, Morgause, and Morgana kidnap Merlin the whole thing turns out rather unexpected.
Stars Above, Stones Below by Destina
Summary: (author's) After the disastrous end of his betrothal to Gwen and the regret of his offer to Princess Mithian, Arthur swears off finding a wife until he's ready to wed. When Merlin offers himself to Arthur as bedmate, Arthur suggests they hand-fast in secret for a single year of mutual pleasure without obligation. As their year together unfolds, and secrets and betrayals unravel around them, Arthur and Merlin learn there is no such thing as uncomplicated pleasure. Everything they thought they knew can change in the span of a single year.
This was absolutely lovely, there's a revealing of magic and an acceptance of it, surprising emotion from Arthur, and Arthur's jealousy is fire hot.