Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Magical Meanderings July 24 Easy There

In our ongoing quest to seek out new smut fic to entertain and delight our readers the pervs have created the Magical Meanderings. Here we will spotlight sexy fics with a magical theme, from any number of fandoms. Fairies, dragons, wizards, shape shifters and even knights will take center stage in these magical and sometimes even mystical tales. Bring your imagination and prepare to be enchanted by some enchanting, erotic fan fiction.

Our latest Magical Meanderings pick is...

Title: Easy There
Words: 49, 826
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin aka Merthur
Summary: Arthur is an Oxford Blue. Merlin is an Oxford cox. Lancelot is Merlin's romantic-dalliance-loving friend. Morgana is horribly clever; Gwen is cleverly waiting for Lancelot to grow up. Merlin and Arthur rub each other the wrong way, at first, but it soon becomes clear that Arthur is a university-class rower with a world-class heart (yes, I typed that). Clichés ensue.

Guest reccer: BeckyBrit1
Firstly, let me just say that I know absolutely nothing about rowing. Nothing at all. So when I read the summary for this story, I was more than a little dubious about reading, but, since it was recc’d to me by someone with excellent taste, I thought - what the hell, right? 

After the first paragraph I was totally hooked. Even with my lack of knowledge of all things rowing related, (the author has a series of fabulous notes, explaining all the terms and more, which I highly recommend reading, btw), this story is so beautifully written that it didn’t take me long to immerse myself in Oxford college life and Blue’s training. The image of Merlin, Lancelot and Arthur all dressed in lycra had absolutely nothing to do with this. Nope.

Merlin and Arthur don’t get off to the best of starts, and Merlin has to watch Arthur flirting with the deliciously slutty (but still sensitive and charming) Lancelot.
When they were finished and the bill had come, Morgana picked up her coat from the floor and pinched Arthur on the arm, hard, before putting it on. Merlin contemplated the possibility of asking Arthur and Lancelot back to the Oriel bar for a drink they weren't supposed to have before tomorrow's outings, but Lancelot beat him to the punch and said, "Arthur, want to come over and play on the Wii?" Arthur nodded and Lancelot wiggled his eyebrows comically at Merlin, as if expecting Merlin to share his joy at the imminent seduction of Arthur through the ages-old, losing-at-videogames trick. Said trick had worked shamefully well on Merlin, and Merlin gave Lancelot a wan smile as he and Arthur wrapped their scarves around their necks and the two of them departed.
Merlin has the most wonderful, and often very funny dreams and daydreams, (getting increasingly filthier as the story progresses), all centering around Arthur in some way. He also has just a little magic, and while it’s not the main focus of the story, it is delightful part of it as Merlin struggles with the idea of telling people, particularly Arthur as it seems to have a mind of its own around him, about it.

The main story follows the team’s preparations for the Oxford/Cambridge boat race and the growing, if somewhat awkward, friendship between Merlin and Arthur, while also introducing the other characters - Lancelot, Gwen, Morgana and briefly Hunith and Will. Morgana is one of my favourite characters and is fabulous in this, with her biting wit and quiet understanding of everything going on around her.
"This is Arthur," said Merlin, widening his eyes at Gwen significantly. "Morgana's brother." 
"Stepbrother," said Morgana and Arthur in unison. 
"Sorry; stepbrother," corrected Merlin. Lancelot walked around the table and plopped down next to Gwen, wrenching his wooden chopsticks apart with a sort of feral anticipation, and Merlin stood behind Morgana's coat, unsure whether it would be appropriate to touch it and move it aside. Morgana was running a finger down the list of rice noodle dishes and seemed unaware of Merlin's plight, but Arthur scoffed disgustedly behind him before picking up the coat by its hood and dropping it unceremoniously on the floor behind Morgana's part of the bench. 
"Well, that's ugly," said Arthur, gesturing to the coat. "Yes; I heard you were coming, and coordinated my outfit to match your face," said Morgana, eyes on the menu. 
Arthur's mouth opened as if he were about to say something, but in the end he seemed unable to think of a quick enough reply, and he sat down next to Morgana, eyebrows drawn together as if he were still trying to think of something scathing to say. 
"So what's the thesis going to be about?" asked Morgana distractedly. 
Morgana asked most things distractedly--she always gave the impression that her conversation with you was not the only thing occupying her brain at the time. She could be simultaneously focussed, though, making you feel as if she had nothing but time for you; like Arthur, she could seem proud and distant one moment and warm and friendly the next.

I loved this story from start to finish, it’s funny, exciting, hot, has a few heart-clenchy moments and while I would love nothing better than to list all of my favourite things about it, I’m not going go. Firstly, because that would seriously take forever and secondly, I don’t want to spoil it by giving away all its secrets. I will just say that the unfolding relationships between Merlin and Arthur, which is not without its difficulties, and between Merlin and the rest of his friends are a pleasure to read and the ending left me feeling all warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day.

I absolutely adore this story. But I will say here my only gripe with the story, the darling Merlin, complicated and stuffy Arthur and roguish Lancelot all row(& study) for ruddy Oxford. I’m a lifelong Cambridge supporter come every boat race!!! So once I swallowed that up, it was all hunky dory!

Digital Art by emrysdragonlord
Watching the boat race everyear is such a key event in Blighty. Or it is for my family, and although we don’t have any family members who have graced the hallowed halls of Oxbridge it is a tradition we all enjoy. The boat race seems as British as the weather, or pimms or well Bradley James.

Saying all that, if you don’t know rowing or the boat race you can still get caught up in the brilliance that is this fic. As Becks says above there are great links to help explain some technical terms, but even without those, the story stands as being a brilliant tale of two competitive blokes falling in love and not really knowing what to do with it! So much of this fic is so ruddy real. Merlin’s POV works brilliantly. He’s confused, out-of-his-depth and at times a bit scared. He can’t help but fall for Arthur. Brilliant and confusing as he is. But he also doesn’t believe Arthur would ever truly accept him or be with him. Or his magic. As poor Merlin was majorly let down in the past by someone close to him over a magic reveal. It doesn’t help that Arthur seems to have a special connection to both Merlin AND his magic. ….. …

And what comes across as the realesty-real thing to me is how ..well.. awkward poor Merlin and Arthur’s sexual chemistry is. Plus how real the aftermath is. Do you ever read fics and think, gosh I wish I knew a bloke as eloquent and wordy as that after a shag? Yep! Me too! Well embrace the realness of this fic.
They wriggled down until they were lying on the bed, parallel to each other, and Merlin pulled at the bottom of Arthur's jumper, pulling it over his head. He tried to do the same with Arthur's polo shirt, but it was buttoned too high and caught on Arthur's nose, which prompted a pained sound and some very graceless fumbling as Merlin undid the button and eventually pulled the shirt free. He sat back on his knees and just looked, because this was how he'd first seen Arthur in the boathouse two terms ago, laughing with Lancelot but half-undressed in Merlin's mind's eye. His skin was golden, turned even more so by the lamplight from Arthur's dusky-shaded bedside light, and Merlin said, before he could help himself, 
"You're perfect." 
Arthur brayed out a laugh that sounded half-derisive, and Merlin drew back, hurt. 
"I'm just nervous," Arthur said, but he didn't apologise and somehow, Merlin wasn't able to say, Me too. Maybe we can just lie here for a minute.
I’ve talked about Merlin as its his POV, but this Arthur is brilliant too. The betrayal with the magic reveal is handled brilliantly. His charm, bluster and fears are so canon. As Becky says Lancelot in this fic is very very very well used. As are all the others.

So do you want some fit blokes? In lycra? Being all pally pally and homoerotic? Yep?! Me too. Plus want a great and REAL love story??! Yep me too! PLUS adorable boys being adorable and a bit stupid re love? YEP ME TOO! Which is why I loved this modern AU magic fic. And why I know you will too!

Easy There is a perfectly blended story of fierce sports competition and friendship turned romance. Syllic does a brilliant job of putting the reader into the action of a modern day AU, while playing each character loyally within their canon personalities. Arthur is obliviously snobbish but remarkably likable. Merlin is sweet and sensitive and amazingly loyal. Together, they are like watching Cupid’s trainwreck - messy, but covered in hearts, flowers, and earnest declarations.

Be prepared for an avalanche of Britishisms. There’s a veritable boatload of terminology that I simply didn’t understand, but smiled and let myself flow with the cadence the same way I do when Emmy gets on a lovely rant. Even when I’m not sure what we’re talking about any more, it sounds so lovely that the emotion is clearly understood even when the words are not. I swiftly found even the narrative had developed an accent in my head, which is a sure sign of competent writing.

I never get enough of the self-deprecating acknowledgement of the irony the characters express when they discover they all bear the names of figures from Arthurian legend - this is no exception, and Merlin’s belief that Arthur must be fucking with him is the first sign of their sparks to come.

"Your name really is Arthur?" asked Merlin.
"Yes," apparently-actually-called-Arthur answered tightly. "Is that a problem?"
"Well, no," said Merlin, conciliatory, before Lancelot jumped in,
"Mate. Mate. Your name is Arthur? Jesus fucking Christ. I'm Lancelot," he said, holding his hand out.
Arthur shook it as Merlin barrelled on, irrationally impolite but not really caring, because it was cold and he'd been up ludicrously early that morning to do some last-minute revision for a collection,
"--and I'm Merlin," he said. "Welcome to training with what will no doubt be known for the next seven months as the Knights of the Round Table. Again. Thanks for that, really. We weren't doing fine on our own, Lancelot and I, what with the stupid names and the cruel parents and the odd serendipity of our making the Blue boat together last year."

This light hearted exchange is a perfect example of the tone which carries through the work - even the angst hold the promise of giving you a reason to laugh about it all later.

I’m in love with the smut, because it’s so very real. Though undeniably sexy because if its intensity, it’s also awkward, fumbling, and poorly timed. It felt authentic, which can be so rare.

For my sports loving girls - this fic will feed your desire for intensity, and for romance lovers - you’ll be captivated by Merlin and Arthur’s unavoidable draw to eachother. A must read for everyone, really.

Emmy said ‘rowing fic’ and I jumped. I mean, hello, fit blokes, muscles working hard, bodies glistening with sweat and on display in well fitted lycra uniforms. On top of that it’s Merthur and soooo easy to picture Bradley and Colin (especially new and improved muscular Colin!) in your mind’s eye. Yeah, I’m there. And there’s no need to have prior knowledge of rowing.

At first, Arthur and Merlin’s interactions are kind of like when the teeth of a zipper don’t match up correctly. Just horribly awkward and grating and not approaching anything that could be called smooth. Yet somehow they start spending time together outside of training, and the fact that they’d become friends snuck up on Merlin.

The secondary characters, Lancelot, Gwen, and Morgana, are all wonderful and serve different purposes in the story. Gwen is Merlin’s inner zen, Lancelot is comic relief, and Morgana offers insight into Arthur. There’s a particularly fun scene where Merlin and Morgana spend an afternoon together, getting drunk as they wait for a special event at her college.

I love how Syllic wrote the boat race. You can hear the cadence of Merlin’s calls, and it’s absolutely as tense and exciting as a sporting event on tv. I could read this portion of the story over and over, it’s just that good.

Like Emmy, I absolutely love that their first sexual encounter is as awkward as their initial clothed interactions are. It’s just so real. It takes them a little bit to overcome that night, as well as the magic reveal, but these two are destiny, baby, and eventually everything and everyone *cough* comes together. In all seriousness, when they are firmly on the same page, they’re just adorable. Without being shmoopy, there are little things they each say or do that show how they feel about one another--very understated romance. Just lovely.

Easy There is a fun, rich, compelling story. So put your feet up, click that link, and enjoy yourself!