Another year, another yuletide! This challenge has been so good to me in the past, and I have no doubt that 2010 will be another winner.
First, I just want to say thank you for volunteering to write in one of these awesome fandoms. I love gifted fic, and fic in a fandom I don't often see is an even bigger bonus. With this letter, I'm just hoping to help provide some possible direction for whatever fandom you've been assigned. My previous letters can be found here and here, if they'll help at all, but there'll be quite a bit of overlap in this one.
On the likes list, I love strong characterization and internal conflict. I'm a big fan of banter and sarcasm, symbolism and metaphor, and enjoy touches of meta and pop culture references. The plot-heavy is always welcome, but I love introspective, slice-of-life looks at character just as much. My favorite characters are the broken boy soldiers (Oliver Queen, Dean Winchester, Charles Gunn, Ronon Dex), the snarky sidekicks with hearts of gold (Kyle Valenti, Hoban Washburne, Topher Brink, every Judy Greer character in history), and the strong (and oft-overlooked) women who save the day and never take the credit (Chloe Sullivan, Miranda Bailey, Willow Rosenberg, Kaylee Frye). I love to see interaction unfolding between two characters, that delicious back and forth, especially if they have a long or complicated history, or make a big show of loathing each other or driving the other nuts when they clearly love each other dearly.
As dislikes go, I'm not a big fan of truly AU fic (without any canon point of origin whatsoever). I'm an angst lover at heart, so unabashed fluff is kind of my kryptonite (though I'm totally open to conflict and turbulence with open, hopeful or happy endings!). I hate to see characters of color marginalized – relegated to background action and passing mentions, or serving no purpose but backing up the hero. Sex is more than welcome when it's rooted in character, but I don't really care for smut-for-smut's-sake. And having any of my pretty boys in pain be emotionally overwrought or overly verbose will take me right out of a story. My only major squick is incest (though things like non-con, bloodplay, watersports, and other kinks aren’t up my alley, either).
I love a good crossover. Especially if an author can make a story work with universes that seemingly aren't a good mesh at first glance. I'm sure taking a look through my journal will give you a pretty good idea about what kind of fangirl I am, but for quick reference, some of my favorite fandoms are Supernatural, Chuck, Firefly, Dollhouse, Fringe, Community, Leverage, and Psych. In addition to the lit series I've requested, I'm also a big fan of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I'm obsessed with Inception (and its myriad of theories), and my OTP is Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen (Smallville).
With the general tidbits out of the way, here's the fandom-specific goodness.
Requested: Daniel Shaw. He paid his dues in loyalty and got nothing but blood back. What happens when the loyal are lied to and the best are betrayed?
So yeah, I'm that girl. I'm in that tiny Chuck fandom minority that absolutely adored Shaw. Even moreso when he was evil. I was fascinated by his arc – that he was basically a casualty of the very cause he believed in, that he fought for, and refused to go down without fighting for himself (or what had been taken from him). And I find it endlessly intriguing that he didn't start out a bad guy. He became one out of necessity, out of misplaced loyalty, and out of grief. But he was so good at it. Eerily, blood-chillingly good. Just like the CIA, he committed to the Ring fully, without hesitation. The impetus for that – not his wife's death, but his country's ultimate betrayal – had to have hit him harder than anything… I want to see that. I want to know what he was told about that red test, or if he initially fought feeling anything for Sara, or if he'd planned to stay with the Ring post-revenge or go out in some blaze of glory. Thoughts, memories, the final breaking point, whatever. I just want some introspection or motivation from Shaw's point of view, whether it's within the confines of canon or beyond.
Jacqueline Carey - The Kushiel's Legacy Series
Requested: Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel/Joscelin Verreuil. Father and son, communicating by beating the crap out of each other. Training fic with an underlying issue - Imriel's independence? Melisande's shadow? Their dual natures (Joscelin as the Queen's Champion, versus Imriel as the son of Terre d'Ange's greatest traitor)? Angsty, but understanding (as is the nature of my favorite Casseline).
This remains my yearly holdover. And that's because I really, really want to see it. The most important thing to know here is that I love, worship and adore Joscelin Verreuil. He sort of fascinates me, from a character standpoint. I requested Joscelin and Imriel father/son-dynamic training fic, which is still at the top of the list. My dream fic, really, would be set just after the second trilogy, with Joscelin teaching Imriel the terminus - the implications of that really resonate with me. I have a weakness for anything Cassiel-related (training, vows, and Longest Night vigils, for example), and would love to see character exploration from his POV - what was going through his mind while being held prisoner in Skaldia? What happened during the time he thought Phedre was dead? What was his mindset while Melisande had Phedre locked in La Serennissima? I also love Imriel and his Hero's Journey (not to mention Imriel/Sidonie, which totally violates my OMGINCEST squick, but go with it), but I've always been curious about what a meeting between an unearthed Melisande and an adult Imriel would heed. Hyacinthe, Ti-Phillippe, Eamonn, and Barquiel L'Envers are also favorites, and to go in a completely different direction, I've been itching for pre-series Delaunay fic as well. *Joscelin artwork by kit1
Requested: Lydia Adams. Is it easier to face the hard place when you're always the rock? A look at the Lydia we don't see… or the Lydia she tries not to be on the job.
In a nutshell, I love Lydia. In the world full of awesome that is Southland, she is the awesome top of the awesome pyramid. I love that she's driven without being blind and realistic without being jaded. I love that she's loyal to her partner but not at all oblivious to his faults, and I love that she can run on guts and adrenaline and sheer outrage and be totally shaken after the job is done. And really, I kind of love her mystery, that we're not entirely sure why she chose to this life, and why she stays. I don't have a personal canon for Lydia. So if you'd consider giving me one detail, just some slice of revelation – why Robbery & Homicide? Where does the sense of obligation with her mother come from? Who taught her to shoot her first gun? What history does she have with Mr. Married Man in the nuclear family bungalow? Alternately, does she ever visit the baby? Does she keep in touch with Janila? Basically, I'll take any piece of Lydia you're willing to give me.
Suzanne Brockmann – Troubleshooters, Inc. series
Requested: Martell Griffin. After being at death's door (and crawling like hell to get there), Martell decides to make some changes.
First, Force of Nature is probably my favorite book in this entire wonderful series. I mean, come on - there are essentially four leading men. Two are characters of color, and the other two are gay. It's like a love letter to marginalized characters. Once upon a time, the aftermath of a shooting changed Ric Alvarado's life for good, and now it seems his best friend has followed in his footsteps. We know that Martell ends up doing work for Tommy Paoletti out of TSI's Sarasota branch, but how did he get there? I'd love to see the steps from that elevator to the new calling, and everything in between. Or, you know, the important and painful and wildly entertaining things. Did he have some sort of crisis of conscience? Did the lieutenant's visit play any part in this decision? And what's the balance of power like in that office? Love the bonds between Martell and Ric, the instinctive trust between Martell and Annie, the burgeoning epic friendship between Martell and Robin, and the instant thick-as-thieves vibe between Martell and Sam – fic between any or all of them will make me giddy. I'm also a big fan of the Ric/Annie/Martell dynamic, and totally ship them as a happy, healthy, hilarious threesome. With hijinks. Basically, just give me Martell being glorious (as he is), and nobody gets hurt. :)
So there they are, this year's lineup. Please remember that, although I may have waxed poetic for each of them, I am ultimately happy to get fic about any of these characters in any one of these fandoms. Don't feel restricted – ultimately, I only ask that you play around in these universes and have fun doing so. Trust me, it'll show.