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July 6th, 2012

100 Things to Read #35, #36

I'm reading something kind of heavy right now, so I thought I'd recommend something pretty light...

TitleJob Orientation
Author: seperis
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 2.5k
Link 1http://archiveofourown.org/works/21035
Link 2http://seperis.livejournal.com/701536.html
Author's Summary: In the not so distant future, Merlin builds a tower. That's not suspicious at all.

TitleThe Tale of the Sea Serpent
Author: seperis
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 13k
Link 1http://archiveofourown.org/works/22604
Link 2http://seperis.livejournal.com/703417.html
Author's Summary: Prequel to Job Orientation. Before anyone built towers or became kings that hide from councils or thought five hundred steps was some kind of actual challenge, there was a prince, a sorcerer, and a sea serpent in a river. But really, it started well before that. Because first, there was a prince, and silence, and a secret that was no secret at all.

Seperis' stuff is pretty brilliant, and this short series is no exception. The stories are both fairly short (well, relative to the 300k monster I'm reading right now), and they're fun and make me laugh. Merlin and Arthur have an adorable amazing relationship, and Merlin is pretty BAMF (and so is Arthur, really), and it's just... fun. Both of them. The second is a prequel of sorts to the first, though written a few days after the first, but I'd recommend reading in the order in which she wrote them.

Umm, I can't really quote my favorite bits because they're major spoilers for the stories, so... just a taste.

[Job Orientation excerpt....]
From Job Orientation....

"…incompetent manservant I have ever seen."

The words are familiar, a dazed part of his mind suggests. Blinking, Merlin looks between one (1) broken vial, three (3) ounces of nightshade, pale purple smoke curling toward the ceiling, and wide-eyed Caleb the manservant in training and thinks, oh my God. No.

"I didn't say that," Merlin says desperately, and maybe he's powerful enough now that if he just wishes hard enough, that will be completely true and--

"Run along, Caleb," a voice says from the general direction of the door, and Merlin closes his eyes, because obviously, this isn't happening. "The chief sorcerer is having a bit of a sulk. And please, please talk about this to anyone you see. Consider that an order."

"Y-yes, sire."

Merlin stubbornly stares at the purple smoke until the door closes, and there's a soft scrape of metal against wood. Looking up, Merlin eyes the armoured figure currently taking up his most comfortable chair, one leg slung over the arm, pushing back sweaty blond hair with one gloved hand to look at Merlin with cheerful malice. "That didn't happen."

Arthur tilts his head back, eyeing the purple stain spreading across the ceiling, mouth curved in a mocking smile. "Good evening, Lord Merlin. How does your search for domestic help--"

"I will turn you into a frog, I swear to God."

"Years ago," Arthur says because he's an utter, utter bastard, "I, too, suffered the indignity of incompetent help. It's a trial, I know, but rank has its burdens-"

"My mother would be so ashamed," Merlin says, pained.

"...your mother tried to beat the last one to death when he attempted to intoxicate himself with your stores," Arthur says slowly. "You do realize she's downstairs with Gwen? I can ask her what she thinks."

"You have had a horrible influence on me." Merlin waves around the (wonderfully comfortable) room with the (very large) bed and the (marvellously soft) linens and the (extremely warm) hearth a little desperately. "I liked straw ticks and small rooms and--"


"Fleas! Wait." Merlin's eyes narrow at the widening smile. "Sybarite."

"Peasant. Clean that up." Arthur points to the fading purple smoke imperiously. With a murmured word, the mess vanishes, and Merlin eyes Arthur, wondering if it would really be that great a treason to do the same to his king.


Um, and....

[Sea Serpent excerpt....]
From Sea Serpent....
This is what he wanted, he thinks, watching Merlin strip for him bathed in firelight, outlined in yellow-red and soft gold. He feels too young to be this tired and too old to be this easy, when just watching Merlin turn toward him, fingers teasing on the laces of his shirt is enough.

"You want to chase a sea serpent?" Arthur asks lazily, sprawled at the head of the bed. Merlin, currently occupied with the laces of his trousers, looks at him with an incredulous expression.

"You want to talk about that now?"

Arthur shrugs. "Why not?"

Merlin hesitates, and Arthur wonders where he goes when his body is here. Ealdor, maybe, but Arthur doubts Merlin thinks of Ealdor when he looks like that, like the walls of Camelot are closing around him, shrinking him uncomfortably into too-tight skin. Arthur taught him to ride as easily as any knight, but he more often roams the forests on foot for Gaius' make-work errands, playful and light and bright like the golden burn of dawn in high summer stretching over the sky like a miracle. Noting like he is in Camelot, not since Arthur woke from what should have been his death to Merlin, pale and hollowed out, closed-mouthed at his bedside while Gaius gave him potions and refused to meet his eyes.

Picking up the goblet of unwatered wine, Arthur waits for Merlin to return, to the room if not to him.

"It's not dangerous," Merlin says finally, coming to sit at the foot of the bed, unlaced and a little obscene even mostly-dressed. "It's an ocean creature--"

"The name 'sea serpent' does tend one's mind in that direction," Arthur offers, and bites back a smile at the familiar exasperation he pretends to himself is fondness and affection both. "All right. So not dangerous?"

"Not dangerous. Moving it, though--" Merlin frowns, then sighs. "I can't even figure out how it got this far north."

"So from the south?"

Merlin nods absently. "I think it's lost."

The writing is fun and light, but there's some meaning and purpose to the stories. At the end of Sea Serpent, Arthur says one of my favorite things ever of any story. ♥ Actually, the same kind of goes for Job Orientation, too, now that I think about it. ♥♥

Go forth and giggle. Happy weekend!


elle em en oh pea

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