I've read a few of them now, and I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about reincarnation fic. The first one I read, neither of the guys had any clue what was going on. In the most recent one, Arthur was clueless but Merlin remembered everything. I've read some where they've been the only two, and others were it's been Morgana and Gwen and Lance and Gaius, as well. Ones with strange names and strange occupations and varying degrees of involvement with each other before things happen. Lots of variations on the theme, and I suppose if I'm taking the time to include
[#12 - Accidental Death in Case of Memory by Derryere]
Title: Accidental Death in Case of Memory
Word Count: ~75k
Author's Summary: Tony O does not befriend losers. Tony O is not gay, not crazy, he is not particularly nice and he is most definitely not royalty. Destiny disagrees.
My first reincarnation fic and I was seriously like, "What the hell is going on?" And when I thought I'd figured it out, I hadn't really. The writing is what I've come to learn is Derryere's style--gritty and real and not really doing anything to make me feel comfortable with it (that is not a criticism at all). The story flips between present and past and does it well--the past bits add rather than distract.
[#13 - Now I Will Unsettle the Ground Beneath You by nu_breed]
Title: Now I Will Unsettle the Ground Beneath You
Word Count: ~42k
Link 1: http://archiveofourown.org/works/233636
Link 2: http://nu-breed.livejournal.com/232011.html
Author's Summary: Merlin's dreams have always fuelled his art, but they've always been abstract and removed from reality. Soon after he meets Gwaine, he starts to see vivid images of a past full of death and magic and love for a King who was ripped from him. Things only escalate further when he spends a weekend in the country with Gwaine and meets his group of friends, which includes aristocrat and It Boy, Arthur Pendragon. Merlin soon realises that no matter how hard you try, one thing is certain, you can't fuck with destiny.
This is my favorite of the ones I've listed here [until I went and added "Blue Skies," so now it's tied for favorite]. Merlin's an artist, dating very posh Gwaine. Gwaine takes him to meet his friends out in the country one weekend (hmm, yes, this does all seem to be in the summary above), and things go pear-shaped when he has an immediate and bizarre response to Arthur. Before that point, he'd been having dreams, crazy dreams that he didn't really understand but painted anyway, and when he meets Arthur, he realizes it's Arthur he's been dreaming about. Arthur immediately feels "it," too, whatever it is. Things go on to get weird and painful and angsty, and if you like that stuff, it's amazing. I'll warn Gwaine lovers--if you are a hardcore Gwaine girl, this one might be on the painful side for you. Basically it's like Titanic--we know what happens in the end, right? The boat sinks. So if Merlin is with Gwaine at the start and the pairing is Merlin/Arthur, well... you can guess what might happen.
But as with all the best heart-wrenching stories, there is wit. Here's a little part that I highlighted while reading--Gwaine, Merlin, Merlin's angst, some subtle sharp humor.
The photograph session is horrible. Keeping with the non-traditional theme, Gwen has Merlin in the dual roles of Father of the Bride and the male equivalent of Head Bridesmaid, which means he is in a great many of the wedding party pictures, along with Leon, Gwaine and Arthur. Merlin despises photographs anyway, and having to maintain this false happiness and ease while he can feel the tension coming off Arthur in waves, well it's excruciating, to say the least.
He finds Gwaine in the banquet room, leaning against a wall, looking like the most gorgeous gatecrasher ever, with the hipflask he's been hiding in his inside jacket pocket. When Merlin had asked him during the photography session why he was sneaking drinks when surely Leon had enough alcohol at the house to drown a large country, he'd pulled Merlin in and whispered in his ear:
"Have you missed the fact that Uther Pendragon is here? The only remedy to having to endure His Royal Arseholeness is alcohol, and lots of it. You've never had the pleasure of meeting him, have you?"
You think this one is bad, Merlin wants to say, try dealing with the one who wants to burn you at the stake.
Oh, Uther, you are always a total ass, aren't you?
[#14 - Destiny That Darkly Hides Us by Nympha Alba]
Title: Destiny That Darkly Hides Us
Word Count: ~40k
Link 1: http://nympha-alba.livejournal.com/79835.html
Link 2: http://archiveofourown.org/works/240228/chapters/369296
Author's Summary: It's 1913, the practice of homosexuality is unlawful, so is the practice of magic. When Arthur Pendragon and Merlin Emrys meet as Cambridge undergrads, they're both hungry for a real and true connection without secrets. For a short time they believe they may have found it. But war breaks out and separates them, and it seems unlikely that they will meet again. After all, what are the odds?
I'm not usually big on historical or period fics, but this one did a good job of not overwhelming the story with the setting. The setting, the time period, was there, but just a backdrop that made the story richer. It didn't distract. And I don't think you even have to be interested in WWI to enjoy it. As a bonus to these interesting versions of the guys, there's a really great Merlin-saves-Arthur war scene.
[#15 - Flight Path by Lamardeuse]
Title: Flight Path
Word Count: ~24k
Link 1: http://www.puddle-wonderful.ca/ml/flightpath.html
Link 2: http://archiveofourown.org/works/77990
Author's Summary: Peter Drake just wants to lead a simple life.
Lamarduese's stuff is all well-written and smooth. I actually didn't know this was a reincarnation fic going in (which leads to my general conundrum about whether or not anything about a story should be spoiled (generally, I don't think so), including something as basic as the general theme), and was like, "Er, who the hell is Peter??"
Peter restores old airplanes (hence the title and banner), Rhys is a metal artist, and they meet when Peter is looking for a welder to help him finish restoring the plane he's been working on (after his original welder, Jean Margaret "Nessie" Kilgarrah, is injured). He hears about Rhys from Tish (she's immediately recognizable, too) and finds him with a little help from Naomi and a "cure for a lost soul" potion/elixir. Hmm, that makes it sound a bit more whimsical than it really is. I enjoyed meeting everyone in their new roles and seeing how their lives all fit together.
[#16 - Blue Skies over Bad Lands by Eldee]
Title: Blue Skies over Bad Lands
Author: eldee (eldee_fic)
Word Count: ~75k
Link 1: http://eldee-fic.livejournal.com/52315.html
Link 2: http://archiveofourown.org/works/244059/chapters/376212
Author's Summary: Merlin is fairly new to the town of Camelton, and finds himself in a friendship with Arthur and Gwaine. When Arthur's sister Morgana becomes increasingly unstable, Merlin and Gwaine try to support Arthur and help Morgana, but she is tired of being the subject of gossip and having Uther refuse to claim her as his daughter. As punishment against the family, she banishes Arthur to a magical place called New Albion, and Merlin and Gwaine accidentally get pulled in there as well. When they happen upon the bridge-keeper Grittir, they're told that by the rules of the land they have a chance to win their way home -- if they can complete their quests. Courage, Strength, and Magic must work together again.
Again, because I'm excellent at parroting summaries, this is a Courage, Strength, and Magic fic. Some of the story will be somewhat familiar, but some of it is utterly new. I really like how it played out, how they ended up at Grittir's bridge and what followed, how reincarnation works in this story, how Morgana and Morgause fit into everything.
I loved how eldee treats Merlin's magic in this fic. It was basically its own entity that was completely and utterly in love with Arthur and always had Merlin flailing about in a very charming way. It was the sort of cutesy thing that could have become overused and annoying but never did--it was just fun.
Sometimes Merlin marvelled at his terrible misfortune and how it landed him the summer student assistant for one Mr. Arthur Penn.
Especially since Merlin wasn't a student. And it wasn't even summer any more.
As he looked through a stack of mail, his magic tried to reach out and help; it was invisible, yes, but Merlin could feel it eagerly licking through the air as if searching for whatever it was that Arthur needed. Merlin's magic loved to help Arthur whenever it could, much to Merlin's frustration.
Merlin tried to rein it in as quick as possible, mentally tugging at it; it snapped back so quickly that Merlin's arm flung to the side and he very nearly knocked his cup of tea all over the pie-charts he'd just printed out. He quickly caught and righted it, thankful that it didn't spill and have the coloured ink run in rivulets all over the page. Arthur would've thrown a fit over that.
As if he wasn't already.
"Coming!" Merlin spied the report he needed and snatched it up. He walked briskly into Arthur's office. As usual, the power in Merlin tried to reach out to Arthur, as if to say hi there, hi, hello!, and Merlin hated when it did that. He nearly tripped over his own feet when he tried to control it.
Arthur snorted. "How do you make it through each day?"
"Working for you?" Merlin asked with a fake bright smile. "Haven't the foggiest."
Go forth and reincarnate!