Merlin/Arthur, NC-17, 29.5k
Summary: In which Merlin searches for a solution and instead finds a way to reconcile the difference between what he wants and what he gets.
There are some things in life I will never understand. Why is the sky blue? Why are there tornadoes and thunderstorms in Los Angeles right now? Why does the bathroom in my London flat not have any outlets? And why does an amazing fic like "Under the Wild Oak" only have 36 reviews, half of which are the author's very gracious responses?
I discovered anowlinsunshine after the camelotsolstice reveals went up and I found out she'd written one of my favourite fics from the fest, you have a one-track mind like me. When I checked her fic masterlist and saw that she'd written a reel_merlin fic, I stopped for a moment to thank the god of fandom before I started reading it, despite knowing I have to wake up early tomorrow morning. In retrospect, I'm not sure if it was a good decision to read it tonight, but I sure as hell don't regret doing it.
This fic is incredible, guys. It's based on The Fountain, which is apparently one of the most heartwrenching movies ever made. Make no mistake: this fic will break you. It's the most realistic, honest depiction of death I've ever read. My heart ached so much for both Merlin and Arthur, and for the strength and stubbornness and constant devotion to each other they maintained throughout the story. The best part is the author weaves Arthurian legend (Morgana's uprising, the legend of the Holy Grail, etc.) into the story seamlessly. anowlinsunshine has such a lovely writing style: dense, but not overly so; understated and natural, yet more emotive than poetry. The flow of her language is wonderful, and her descriptions are gorgeous. She imbues the simplest scenes with so much grief and hope. It's not light reading by any means, but if you're feeling pensive and have enough time on your hands, read this. It's one of those fics that I won't stop thinking about for a long time.