Nothing Ever Promised

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Title: Nothing Ever Promised
Author(s): caitcupcake
Date(s): 18 August 2011
Length: 69,076 words
Genre: slash
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: Nothing Ever Promised (AO3)
Nothing Ever Promised (LiveJournal)
Nothing Ever Promised: Art (LiveJournal)
Nothing Ever Promised: Art (Tumblr)
cover by feyuca

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Nothing Ever Promised is a Merlin/Arthur story by caitcupcake. It was written for Paperlegends 2011 and has an optional NC17 epilogue.

Summary: "Between the trees of Cenred's ruined kingdom, a heartbroken Arthur and an orphaned Merlin discover new feelings for each other, but quickly learn that nothing is promised, and no lie can stay hidden forever. (Post!S3, canon era fic)."

feyuca made a cover and two illustrations for the story: mourning (a study of Merlin alone in his grief) and the once and future king (Arthur drawing the sword out of the stone). As a bonus there are discarded drafts/Alt. versions of the cover and the illustrations.[1]

Recs and Reviews

  • "This features multiple things that I look for in Merlin fic: Arthur not being an asshole, Lancelot&Gwaine cameos, serious acknowledgment of canon!Arthur/Gwen before moving past it, some acknowledgment that Uther sucks."[2]
"To call this fic amazing would be an understatement. You managed to capture each character's voice amazingly well, switching effortlessly into different perspectives to keep the narrative fresh [...]. There was a perfect combination of drama and humor that carried the story beautifully (If I tried to quote all of my favorite parts of this story it would probably take me into next week [...]). Not to mention you brought these characters to life in so many imaginative ways and situations. [...] I loved Arthur's coming to terms with Lancelot and Gwen's relationship, and his slow realization that he could let her go because he had Merlin. Morgana's role in the story was brilliant as well--by taking her own revenge she fueled the dawning of a new era in Camelot (The magic reveal was wonderful, heart-wrenching, and very realistically done. And Arthur pulling Excalibur out of the stone? I all but died). I loved the idea that Arthur had to accept truths about Merlin, about magic and about all that has shaped his own ways and beliefs in order to become truly ready to be king. I cried a little bit when I finished reading this because it took me on quite the emotional journey."[3]
  • "I just love the premise of this, and though it’s heartbreaking in the beginning, I love how Merlin is surrounded by friends. It’s a realistic fic dealing with both hard life situations and wonderful ones. There are two rating for this fic, the overall story is PG13, but there is a standalone epilogue that is NC17 the reader can choose to read or not."[4]
  • "Oh good lord, if I could have my ideal S4, I think this might be it. The author's characterizations were BRILLIANT. No one was out of character. Even when my heart was breaking, I never once didn't believe what was going on. And considering everything the boys went through (at times, I was literally crying), that's a feat. This is such an emotional journey for the characters. If you love being put through the emotonal wrangler, you'll adore this fic. And Morgana was delightfully evil, though not over the top. I was hooked from the very first words I read, and this is definitely one of those few fics I'm adding to my list of fics that NEED to be reread. Really, really brilliant."[5]


  1. feyuca. Merlin Big Bang 2011 - Nothing Ever Promised by caitcupcake, 18 August 2011. (Accessed 27 August 2011)
  2. silviakundera. malaise, recs, 23 August 2011. (Accessed 27 August 2011)
  3. caughtfire. Comment, 18 August 2011. (Accessed 27 August 2011)
  4. fuckyeahmerlinfanfic. Nothing Ever Promised, 21 August 2011. (Accessed 08 October 2011)
  5. rebeccaann08. Arthur/Merlin Canon Recs, 17 January 2012. (Accessed 25 February 2012)