I have no words.
This is just so pure and beautiful, I don't even know what to say. Let me start with the fact that my eyes misted over when Merlin told Gaius that he loved him for the very first time. I was in genuine danger of crying. I'm not kidding, I swear.
I was so, so emotional throughout this. I loved it from the beginning because it was about the Merlin that we all know and love (and yes, you wrote him beautifully, and he sounds exactly like Merlin). I loved it even more upon seeing all these wonderful details that you add with such care into your writing, like how Gaius still had jam on his hand from lunch. All these little things just struck me. I loved your descriptive lists, just having these characteristics that are so perfectly Merlin. You're just amazing.
Seeing Merlin's growth from a bumbling but energetic little boy with a curiosity too great for his brain, to an adult who learned the responsibilities of dealing with uglier, legal problems and of taking care of a sick loved one, was just perfect. It was perfect. I don't know what else to say. You did it perfectly. I'm still so touched by his growth, and by the pain he's gone through and how he weathered through it all, and by his relationship with Gaius.
I'm a wreck right now. Just know that the scene where Merlin thanks Gaius and tells him he loves him, and where Gaius tells Merlin that he never expected such a joy so late in life -- that scene nearly made me break down. I just love stories about family so, so much, and this was just so, so wonderful, and thank you so much for sending it to me to read.
I loved this. <3
Eva, this review was incredible! You almost made me tear up from your sweet, kind words. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and share how you felt.
All the little details you picked out and mentioned make me so happy. I'm so glad you understood what I was trying to convey, because I know this is a slightly different and more detached writing style than I usually write with. That you caught them all and they touched you means so much.
I'm also overjoyed that you were able to enjoy this story and felt Merlin and Gaius were in character, when it's so far removed from what we usually associate with Merlin. That also means a lot.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this! You are the best!
Hey Jill! Happy to be here reviewing your Merlin fic! :) This is actually the first Merlin AU I've read! But I started reading your other Merlin fic and I enjoyed it so I know the characters are in safe hands :)
First of all - dragon toy! I love it! I think it's interesting how you've portrayed Merlin in this world, how he'd be without the context of medieval times, and Camelot, and magic. That he's filled with wonder and his brain still runs magically. I like how even though he has the freedom to be himself, he's still treated with contempt and forced to conform and behave.
I absolutely love that he still finds a father figure in Gaius, and that they have a lot in common, and that neither of them are quite so alone now. They both need each other and it's the sweetest thing.
The recurring 'big words' in italics are a really nice touch, I really like the way you've done that. And that eventually the adults accepted him for who he was, and he didn't have to change.
Noooo Gaius! :( I hated reading his slow demise but you wrote it delicately, and I love that Merlin was so dedicated to him.
Ooh, who is there to help him? I can't wait to find out!
Oh, you are so sweet! Thank you so much!
This is the first Merlin AU I've ever written as well, so I have no idea if I'm doing it right. But, thank you for the faith.
I couldn't resist the dragon toy. Just a little nod. Though I can hardly claim to have thought of that particular thing on my own - it's used quite often in modern AU stories for Merlin. But I liked it, so I stole it.
And thank you! I'm glad you like how he came across. I was trying to show how he was still different, even though he doesn't have magic this time around. But he's also still Merlin - selfless, kind, compassionate, gentle. All the things we love about Merlin.
Writing Merlin and Gaius finding each other in this was so nice. I wanted poor little Merlin and lonely Gaius to have that. Even though I was mean and took it away far too soon.
Oh good! I'm glad the italicized words worked out the way I wanted them to! Makes me really happy!
And yeah, I'm sorry. It broke my heart to do it, but I wanted to show exactly how selfless Merlin was, that he would give absolutely everything to help Gaius with no thought for himself. But I also needed him to end up alone to open the door for someone else to help him.
Which...you'll have to wait and see who it is. Hehehehe
Thanks so much for reading!