Until the Pieces Fit

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Title: Until the Pieces Fit
Author(s): Anonymous
Date(s): 01 May 2009
Length: 13,990 words
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: Merlin
External Links: Until The Pieces Fit (LiveJournal)
MSA-Until the Pieces Fit.jpg

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Until the Pieces Fit is a Merlin/Arthur slash story by an anonymous author (13,990 words). It was originally posted in 22 parts[1] to kinkme_merlin and later reposted in two parts by the meme mods[2] with permission of the author, who chose to remain anonymous despite the popularity of the story. The author replied to the many request to de-anon with an explanation of her decision which gives great insight into the reasons for and advantages of posting anonymously.[3]

Until the Pieces Fit won the Spring 2010 Merlin Slash Awards in the "Arthur/Merlin Fanfiction" category Best Kink.

The story is a fill for the prompt "humiliation" and comes with the warnings dub-con, homophobia.


"You deserve about 22 rewards. First off, you did it. You really, truly used the magic/gay metaphor and drew it out into actual story form in a contrasting way. The lit geek in me wants to marry you. Second, wow on the characterization front. There were definitely moments when I was uncomfortable, but I was meant to be. Merlin as an unreliable narrator (or at least a contrary narrator) is a brilliant idea, but I can imagine it was very difficult to pull off. Arthur's shifts between dominating and submissive roles was also fascinating. And again, unexpected. Third, there were things you did here that could have been cliches in other stories (Morgana already knows, gay is something to hide, smexing in the forest, etc.), but because of your language and the rich detail, they come across as original. I loved even the briefest of interactions between Merlin and other characters because of the warmth/honesty you infused into those relationships. And fourth, Arthur's ptsd was terrifying and beautifully captured. I love how you showed us the after moments of the storm cliche, but by going with the bath instead of the shouting-at-thunder moment, you made the whole thing about Merlin's worry for Arthur, rather than Arthur's epiphany per se. And since the story was essentially about Merlin learning to accept Arthur, that's where the money was. Good call. So, um. I might possibly love this fic so very, very much that I would be willing to collect it for you and pm it to Mod, if you would prefer it in one place." (B-mouse)[4]
"I don't think that there are words to express the brilliance and depth of this fic. The whole emotional journey was palpable, and I've not read a fic where it was Merlin who had the perception issues to overcome, so it definitely felt fresh. I love how the boys skirted the edge of ruin with equal blame before Merlin (unwittingly) remembered what was more important and shifted back towards the right path. The idea that it was a subconscious belief picked up from the environment he grew in was handled well and was very powerful, especially when he finally made the conscious shift to thinking that maybe it wasn't wrong after all. You showed us Arthur's side of the conflict clearly, too, without compromising your chosen P.O.V., which is no small feat." (inmemorybound)[5]
"Let me tell you what I loved (I mean, aside from everything). I loved the pace, this BRILLIANT pace where you never dragged out the details but also always stopped at the EXACT RIGHT places, I loved Arthur's characterisation in this and how it fit so neatly with what we know of him--this attempt at secretiveness clashing with his eagerness, this giddy yet proud air the dude has about him, ugh--MERLIN'S REACTIONS, throughout it all, how they change and grow and confuse themselves before melding into a vague understanding of perhaps not what's right, but what NOT to think, and then. UGH. THE HOTNESS. THAT. JUST. I mean, I know that's not what it's about, but, come on. I. CAN'T. ARTHUR'S MOUTH, JUST. HDSFK. That's always been a quiet favourite of mine. Arthur loving it so much, unable to stop him, and YOU DID THAT SO FUCKING WELL. I nearly bit my tongue off at that description in the alcove. Holy SHIT. My brain, it melted. SO, YEAH, all in all? The world. *hands it over* (and to repeat what everyone above me have already said--I'd seriously consider posting this somewhere MxA-ish. MY GOD, MAN, YOU MUST SHARE THIS BRILLIANCE W/ AS MANY AS POSSIBLE :D)" (derryere)[6]
"All right, let me try for some slightly more intelligent feedback: This is the first Merlin fic I've read that deals with the homophobia that certainly existed in more than a few of the many, many centuries during which the show appears to take place. And you don't confront the issue in a gimmicky, afterschool-special kind of way (which seems to happen with far too many fics that stray into SRS BZNS territory). You capture the volatile combination of bravado and vulnerability that is Arthur, and the seesawing power dynamic that he has with Merlin." (kurage_no_hone)[7]
"Oh my. I nearly didn't click because of the anonymousness and the kink thing - emphasised kink fic not being my favourite. I'm so glad I did - it's nothing about the kink really, I mean, it's there, of course, but it doesn't matter, because the story is all about the relationship, about Arthur allowing himself to be vulnerable, and Merlin overcoming his instinctive prejudice, and the boys stumbling themselves into happiness. It squeezed my heart, and then squeezed it some more. It was wonderful!" (valderys)[8]
"I. YOU. NNNNGGGGH. UMMM, THAT IS. AKLSDFJALEWKJGKLDSFDKFJGAEKE. OH MYSTERIOUS ANON AUTHOR. *breathes* Okay let me try again with slightly less flailing. [...] I already know this is going to be one of my all-time favorite fics. You had me hooked from the very first part and kept me wanting more for every single one of the 13,990 words thereafter. (THE LAST LINE IS PERFECTION. NO SERIOUSLY. PERFECTION.) I love the premise, and you deal with it in such a subtle, beautiful way, letting the story quietly unfold before your readers with grace and mastery. Fiction (fan or otherwise!) is all about believing, and let me tell you, I believe this story like whoa. Merlin and Arthur are so utterly, heart-breakingly Merlin and Arthur. All their little faults and brilliances, their shortcomings and passions come through so strongly, shaping and being shaped by each other from the tension and guilt and fear of the opening paragraphs to the beauty of the last scene (it feels like a certainty in the pit of Merlin’s stomach: they’re going to be all right: that's it. I'm dead, you've killed me). Like someone else said above, I feel winded by this story, breathless in the best possible way. I'm going to go lie down now in a dark, quiet place and recover. Then I'm going to come back and read it again. :D" (i_claudia)[9]
"This fic just leaves me raw. By the number of comments it’s got I think it is one oft he fandom classics (and if it’s not it deserves to be) so it probably doesn’t need reccing, but. But. Rereading it again it still gives me goosebumps."[10]
The whole thing was like walking down into a dark tunnel. Merlin and Arthur pushing and pulling at each other in a sort of destructive way, until slowly they walked back toward the light. It was lovely in a dark, slightly twisted way, in its storytelling and the characterizations. And as one of the comments pointed out, Merlin is a bit of an unreliable narrator in this, and I have a thing for unreliable narrators. It’s very hard to pull off, and I think it was really well done here. It was really well written and built.[11]


  1. Anonymous. Until the Pieces Fit, NC-17, Part 1, 01 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  2. merlinkinkmeme. [FIC] Until The Pieces Fit, 03 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010).
  3. Anonymous. let me try and explain why I want to stay anon, 03 May 2010. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  4. B-mouse. Comment, 01 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  5. inmemorybound. Comment, 02 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  6. derryere. Comment, 02 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  7. kurage_no_hone. Comment, 03 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  8. valderys. Comment, 03 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  9. i_claudia. Comment, 03 May 2009. (Accessed 18 July 2010)
  10. natanilik in epic_merlin. Until the Pieces Fit, 19 May 2011. (Accessed 21 December 2011)
  11. dirtybookshelves. Until The Pieces Fit, 20 July 2012. (Accessed 16 August 2012)