please excuse my useless and overly-flaily comments.
Before the Sun Breaks Another Day by accordingtomel & adelagia: Three months after her disappearance, Morgana returns to Camelot with a hidden agenda, but she's not the only one keeping secrets, and a series of unintended revelations forces her, Merlin and Arthur on an intertwined journey of revenge, redemption and love.
comment: this is pretty much a season three rewrite! with what I feel is a much more realistic development of Morgana in some ways, compared to the S3 canon. a long and satisfying read.
Bringing Up Baby by oxoniensis: One minute Merlin's there, riding (like a sack of turnips) next to Arthur. The next— It's a very good thing Arthur has good reflexes.
comment: completely adorable.
The Common Touch by lamardeuse: Merlin opened his mouth, closed it again. “Come with me to the village fair over at Markham today,” he repeated patiently, as though Arthur were hard of hearing, or perhaps a little slow. Arthur hated when he did that. / “Why?” Arthur shot at him. / Merlin shrugged, looked away. “I thought it might be – fun.”
comment: in which Merlin talks Arthur into going to a village fair as a commoner.
The Route to Advancement by magog_83: in which Percy realizes the importance of knowing the right people.
comment: this was written before S3 and the official introduction of Sir Percival, so Percy is a different character than Percival. this is sort of an outsider's view of Arthur and Merlin's interactions, but this author does a fantastic job of developing Percy and inserting him into the midst of things, so by the time I was halfway though, I already adored Percy. route to advancement is the first in a series of Percy (and of course, Arthur and Merlin) -related stories.
Time Now To Be The Future by ToraK: They were running late. Well, Arthur was running late but obviously he'd found some way to blame Merlin. He was also somehow finding the breath to berate Merlin while racing him across the courtyard to reach training before Arthur's knights applied the ten minute rule and went home.
comment: TIME TRAVEL WITH A TWIST. when the twist comes, it's like a punch in the stomach.
And None But We Can Be Such Kings by janne_d: Merlin really was the court idiot. Was this what the Dragon had meant by halves of a whole?
comment: hearts in my eyes.
all I wanted was a white knight (I got a prince instead) by anon: Arthur makes Merlin warm his bed.
comment: not giving anything away, but this is so much more than the summary.
Anyone Can Tell by shes_gone
Arthur and Merlin have a casual sex-only relationship per Arthur’s request. But, once Merlin breaks it off to pursue something more meaningful, Arthur realizes that he has fallen in love with Merlin. So my summary goes something like: Arthur is a dumbass, but gets a little better by the end. Rinse and repeat.
comment: heart-warmingly adorable.
Five Times Merlin Wasn't Warm Enough (and one he was) by anon
comment: if I remember correnctly, this is gen, which I don't really end up reading that many of (somehow, they all wind up Merlin/Arthur, which I certainly can't complain about) - but this one stands out in my memory because it is basically one of the sweetest things I've ever read. :')
Bring the Sun Back by push_dragon
Fanfic classic #3: Unexpected Possession of Magic. Inexplicable things keep happening around Arthur. In the end, he can only accept that he's got magic in him. Magic is a curse that needs to be stamped out, and Arthur shows himself no mercy.
comment: heartbreaking but fantastic.
~ ~ ~
Possibly Maybe I'm Falling For You by lady_ragnell: Merlin walks into his favourite coffee shop one morning to find the Prince of Wales behind the till. His life only gets more surreal from there.
comment: what the summary says! I am forever weak in the face of coffeeshop!AUs.
We're Lost, It's Cold, and There Are Dragons Out There by misswinterhill: Modern AU with magic. Arthur is relatively sure that Bear Gryllis has never had to deal with anything like the world’s most aggravating baby dragon when he was out surviving in the wilderness. Merlin thinks that Arthur has taken the whole “magic reveal” thing pretty damn well, which might have something to do with Merlin saving Arthur’s life just now when the helicopter crashed. The dragon thinks they’re both idiots.
comment: guys, the baby dragon is the most adorable thing ever.
A New Low by rosemaryandrue: diabetic!Merlin stuck in a lift with Arthur.
Radioman by footloose: The reason SAS Captain Arthur Pendragon can't keep a communications specialist in Team Excalibur because none of them are good enough. And then Lieutenant Merlin Emrys gets assigned to his squad, and Arthur does everything he can to prove that Merlin isn't good enough, either. Except he is.
comment: long and epic military!AU. radioman is part one in the loaded march series, which is currently WIP with five parts done - but each part is like a whole story (it's certainly long enough to be one). so much delightful UST between Arthur and Merlin.
The Job Interview from Hell by winterstorrm: On the TV show ’The Apprentice’ Merlin is a candidate, Sir Uther is mean and Arthur is his boardroom assistant. Will Merlin make it through the twelve weeks without hearing the immortal words, ‘You’re fired’? Is he playing to win the job or Arthur's heart?
comment: this fic has crazy amounts of narrative momentum. the first time I came across this, I read until 5AM - it just has that page-turning quality that keeps you reading.
Meeting the Minister by magog_83: Arthur, recently elected into office (possibly dubiously) as the Prime Minister, meets the Minister of Magic. Who is really just trying to be helpful.
comment: this is a Harry Potter crossover! and it is SUPER CUTE - Merlin is seriously adorable. I could not stop smiling.
Drugstore Flowers by lady_ragnell: Merlin starts to receive lovely gifts (and less-lovely flowers) from a secret admirer.
comment: ♥♥ sweet and fantastic.
Pairing Pendragon/Merlin by anon: Arthur is a BNF and Merlin is his prized beta.
comment: this is delightful. I love fandom!AUs (...sometimes I feel like I say that about every type of AU, BUT IT'S TRUE!) - sometimes I want to clap my hands together and go yes, this, exactly, because it just reflects lj and fandom and everything so well.
Tilted by fuzzytomato02: In all the scenarios Arthur had conjured on the journey from his room to the physician’s chambers as to why his manservant was late yet again, none of them involved a baby.
comments: cute and cute and cuuuute.
Twenty Years Later by darkdeeplakes: Following a messy break up at University, Merlin and Arthur spend the next twenty years apart until circumstances bring them back together again.
comment: long and lovely with plenty of angst and heartbreak and tension.