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Fanfic / Loaded March

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Loaded March is a Merlin (2008) fanfiction series written by Footloose. The series re-imagines the series as a modern military fic, where Arthur is the Captain of a military team called Excalibur, and Merlin as the newly appointed Communications Officer. The team go on missions and uncover secrets that ultimately lead to their being assigned to take down a terrorist group called the NWO. At the same time, the series explores the relationships among the different characters, especially the growing attraction between Merlin and Arthur.


The series is a huge, sprawling epic series, exceeding 1,000,000 words in 16 instalments. And that's not counting the extras.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: During an argument with Gwaine in Collaborations, Arthur accidentally lets slip that he and Merlin had gotten married.
  • Action Fashionista: Morgana.
  • Adorkable: Merlin and Gwen.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Mordred. In his appearance in Collaborations he acts as if he's genuinely concerned for Merlin's well-being and helps him escape, but his behaviour is still somewhat suspicious.
  • Almighty Janitor: Merlin, sort of. He has immense magical powers, and it's heavily implied that he's the most powerful sorcerer of all time, but his military rank isn't that high, and he still takes orders from Arthur.
    • On the other hand, Merlin's security clearance is initially much higher than Arthur's.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: How Arthur and Uther got their respective positions in the military.
  • Badass Beard: Gwaine.
  • Badass in Charge: Arthur.
  • Battle Couple: Arthur/Merlin, Perceval/Gwaine, and Lamorak/Gareth.
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  • Badass Crew: Excalibur.
  • Badass Gay: All the gay members of Excalibur.
  • Badass Normal: Arthur most noticeably though also applies to the entirety of Excalibur.
  • Beta Couple: Gwen and Lance, Morgana and Leon, and later Perceval and Gwaine, and Lamorak and Gareth.
  • Big Bad: The NWO.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Usually once an instalment, which is expected since the series is a military fic.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Merlin and Arthur in Avalon when Merlin's giving Arthur CPR. In the very next installment Intermission, Arthur chooses to kiss Merlin when Merlin reveals that he has magic.
    • Merlin and Arthur again when Arthur rescues Merlin at the end of Collaborators.
  • The Big Guy: Perceval
  • Bi the Way: Gwaine, Perceval.
  • Break the Cutie: Merlin and Kay when they get captured
  • Breather Episode: R&R
  • Brought Down to Normal: Merlin after the events of Means to an End; he's unable to access his magic for the bulk of Desperate Measures
  • Buffy Speak: Crops up from time to time.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Merlin and Arthur mutually don't act on their attraction because of their uncertainty towards one another's feelings.
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  • Cast Full of Gay
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Balinor
  • Childhood Friends: Will and Merlin, Arthur and Leon.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Arthur has been stated as having up to a Plan D at times.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Merlin's cover is to be one
  • December–December Romance: Gaius and his on-again-off-again girlfriend Alice.
  • Disappeared Dad: Balinor, Merlin's father; Merlin believes that he's dead he's not
  • Distressed Dude: Merlin and Kay when they get captured. Neither are completely helpless however
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Merlin and Arthur towards each other. Frequently.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Morgana
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Empathic Environment: In the end of Means to an End it rains when Arthur visits Hunith to tell her that Merlin's been captured, and to ask about Balinor.
  • Erotic Dream: Gwaine mentions that Merlin's (very audibly) been moaning and calling out Arthur's name in his sleep.
  • Everyone Can See It: Merlin and Arthur are so obvious about their attraction to one another
  • Gayngst: Thankfully averted.
  • Genius Ditz: Just like in the source show, Merlin abilities come from simple instinct, not years of patient study. However, this is subverted somewhat in that his control gets significantly better after training and studying with Gaius
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Excalibur
  • Good Is Not Soft: Just like in the source series, Merlin and Gwen are two of the nicest, sweetest people in the series and both are shown to be extremely reluctant to pick up a gun and shoot people. However, Merlin didn't hesitate in killing to save Arthur's life in Avalon, while Gwen doesn't take fools or villains lightly.
  • Happily Adopted: Morgana
  • Happily Married: Gwen and Lance
    • Arthur and Merlin. Well happy with each other; the bulk of their time as a married couple has unfortunately coincided with Merlin's capture by the NWO.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Merlin, briefly, when he sees Arthur kissing Sophia.
    • Gwaine as well shortly after realising that he and Merlin aren't going to happen. He gets over it really quickly however.
  • Heroic BSoD: Arthur goes through one when the NWO captures Merlin, Kay, Morgana, and Gwen
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Some of this goes on between Merlin and Arthur.
  • I Owe You My Life: Lance notes when Excalibur is discussing what to do after Merlin's accidental reveal of his magic that Merlin's probably saved Excalibur more times than they can count.
  • I Will Wait for You: In Intermission, Arthur confesses to Merlin that he fell in love him but that they can't engage in a relationship under the military rules. Merlin's response is that he's willing to wait.
    • They don't have to wait that long however, since the rule is suspended for them the very next instalment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Uther is a very stern, very strict man whose own children refer to him as The Colonel. However, he's also shown to be loving towards his children as he was pretty accepting towards Arthur's homosexuality, and immediately sought to have Morgana adopted after she discovered she wasn't his biological daughter.
  • Just Friends: Merlin and Gwaine, though not without having Gwaine be really flirty towards Merlin first. Their friendship becomes much closer when Gwaine stops trying to get in Merlin's pants.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Arthur and Sophia
  • Like a Son to Me: Gaius sees Merlin more of a son than his nephew.
  • The Lost Lenore: Igraine to Uther.
  • Love at First Sight: Arthur and Merlin pretty much.
  • Love Triangle: A very mild one among Gwaine/Arthur/Merlin. Gwaine expresses some interest towards Merlin, while Merlin is only interested in Arthur, who reciprocates Merlin's feelings. However, neither Merlin nor Arthur act on their feelings for a while.
  • Loveable Rogue: Gwaine
  • The Magic Comes Back: The ultimate goal of the NWO but to the detriment of everyone who is not magically gifted.
  • The Mentor: Gaius to Merlin, and mildly to Gwen on a tech side.
  • The Mole: Gilli is planted by The Directory to spy on Merlin
    • Will becomes one for The Director as well, as he's tasked with infiltrating the NWO.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Lance and Leon by the "bar bunnies" as they're both in happy relationships.
  • Official Couple: Merlin and Arthur as of Intermission
  • Only Friend: Will to Merlin and vice versa.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Kilgarrah can shape-change into a human form, is highly intelligent and calculating, and talkative
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In Avalon, Gwaine clues to Merlin that something's wrong with Arthur when Arthur kisses Sophia.
  • Power Glows: The eyes of magical people/creatures briefly glow during spellcasting.
  • Power Incontinence: Merlin initially. At the beginning of the series, he's never studied magic, or knows any spells, but his power... just sort of happens.
    • Morgana is a better example. She has no control over her seer powers at any point.
  • Pregnant Badass: Gwen
  • Really 700 Years Old: Kilgarrah
  • Red Is Heroic: Excalibur wears red scarves, but not during undercover missions.
  • Religion Is Magic: Merlin and dragons (as well as various magical beings) are creatures of Old Religion, which appears to be a form of paganism.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: Merlin's confession of having magic in Intermission is basically his way of telling Arthur that he loves him, which in turn encourages Arthur to finally act on their feelings. Somewhat played with in that Arthur was aware of Merlin having magic by the end of the previous chapter Avalon
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Morgana and Gwen
  • Secret Keeper: Only Hunith, Gaius, and Will are aware of Merlin's magic.
    • Arthur becomes aware by the end of Avalon but Merlin actually only confesses this to him in Intermission.
      • The rest of Excalibur becomes aware by the end of First Contact and agree to protect Merlin's secret in Groundwork
  • Secret Relationship: Played with. Leon assures Arthur that the whole team would keep a relationship between Arthur and Merlin a secret so that they don't get reprimanded by their superior officers but this becomes moot once they're enlisted by the Directory as the particular rule on fraternising among themselves gets suspended for the purpose of their mission and maintaining their cover.
    • Played straight when Merlin and Arthur get engaged and then married without telling anyone (aside from Gaius, who presided over the marriage). Arthur rationalises that Morgana will kill him if she finds out that he got married before her.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Merlin's the sensitive guy to Arthur's manly man.
  • Shipper on Deck: Morgana, Gwen, Lance, Leon, Perceval, Gwaine, Kilgarrah...practically the entire cast for Merlin/Arthur
  • Ship Tease: Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Gwaine, Lamorak/Gareth, Will/Kay
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Ballinor distrusts Arthur because of his experiences with Uther.
  • Straight Gay: Merlin, Arthur, Lamorak, Gareth
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Merlin when using magic.
  • They Do: Merlin and Arthur
  • True Companions: Excalibur.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Just like in the source show, Uther's relationship with both Arthur and Morgana comes off as this way, but it's also apparent that he does indeed love them both.
  • Wham Episode: Means To An End Merlin and Arthur have an impromptu wedding, but the instalment ends with Gwen and Morgana captured by Morgause, Kay suffering grievous injuries, Merlin unconscious, and then both Kay and Merlin get captured by the NWO. Then the dragons reveal their existence. Then this is followed by Arthur going to Hunith with his suspicions that Balinor's still alive.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Merlin/Arthur they do.
  • World of Badass: Practically everyone has to be one.
  • You Are Not Alone: Arthur subtly wakes Merlin up for the latter to overhear Excalibur speaking about him after the magic reveal to assuage his fears that he'll be abandoned again.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The NWO see themselves as this.

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