Shades of Grey is the Shaw fic I've wanted since the season ended. Not redemption, not at all. Motivation, and understanding. And closure, or as much as there can be. When he's Shaw, my Santa fills him with all the delicious drive I expect of him, but takes away any reasons that aren't completely selfish, for what is undoubtedly the first time in Shaw's stellar career. And when he's Daniel, we get bittersweet slices of his life with Evelyn (Eve), and all of the memories he's sacrificing for revenge. It is, in a word, perfection. And I have the strangest urge to apologize for making hir come up with something so brilliant for a character so polarizing in this fandom, so go show it the love it deserves.
As if that weren't enough, someone else's Santa brought me a gift, too! Chuck vs. The Snowy Cabin Cliche features Shaw the recurring Big Bad (whose dress slacks suggest that, even on the run, he still has standards), hapless Chuck who's run off to apprehend him (and gotten himself captured in the process), possible hypothermia (and the shared body heat scenario that inevitably results), and the total lack of an evil overlord monologue (much to Chuck's consternation).
As for the rest of the archive (nearly 2700 fics in 1500 fandoms), my first pass yielded wonderful results, mostly of the television variety. Have 26 recs in (500) Days of Summer, Alice, Chess, Chuck, Community, Covert Affairs, Dollhouse, Sara Bareilles' "Fairytale", Goodnight Moon, Hawaii Five-0, Kushiel's Legacy, Mysterious Skin, Old Spice Guy, RocknRolla, Southland, The Town, and two cracktastic crossovers (Pushing Daisies/Telephone and Southland/Troubleshooters/Graceland/Metr
(500) Days of Summer
*Make Me Dance (I Want to Surrender)
Summer/Husband. This is not the beginning. This is only the meeting of two people, one of whom you already know, a little and the other? the other is a stranger to you.
Takes on the thankless task of making Summer's faceless husband a person worthy of such an epic change of heart, and does so effortlessly and beautifully.
*Eating Food in Different Places
Alice/Hatter. Through the Looking Glass (it's a living), and what Hatter found there (good nosh).
HATTER. Hatter being awesome and sort of irreverant and altogether adorable (and his name, y'all. His name.). Also, beautiful look at Alice, who's usually shortchanged in the wake of Hatter's awesome.
Crumbs in the Butter
Alice/Hatter. Alice and Hatter attend Jack and Duchess's wedding, and run into a few...small problems.
A+ for hijinks, shenanigans, clever canon references, Charlie being awesome, and cleavage. Not necessarily in that order.
On Somebody's Side
Florence/Freddy, Anatoly. They're in their fifth year back together when Anatoly shows up on the doorstep.
This, at least, is her area of expertise: the care and feeding of chess players. Florence, doing what comes so tragically naturally to her, and the two men she'll never say no to.
In addition to my marvelous assignment and wonderful treat, there was also...
*The Post-Black Friday Shopping Guide
Chuck/Sarah, Casey, Ellie. After the Not-Thanksgiving, Chuck and Ellie aren't talking, Casey has security concerns, and Sarah's pizza-making skills leave something to be desired.
Oh, this fic. I want to draw sparkly hearts around it and love it forever. The author has absolutely nailed the character voices, but given their thoughts the sort of depth and intention that we as viewers tend to make headcanon. And hooray for Ellie being every bit as smart as her brother, which is something she rarely gets credit for.
History of Film
Ensemble. "I hate it when we do genres. Next time, I at least want some kind of warning."
The group tackles great film through the ages, from noir (which seems to be a recurring theme in Community fic this Yuletide) to slapstick. The space opera is my personal favorite.
The Closest Approximation
Troy/Abed, ensemble. It occurs to Troy one day that a lot of Abed's films involve the two of them having sex.
This is going to be the Community fic recced 'round the world, but I still have to throw my hat in the ring, because it's just. That. Awesome.
In The Dark
Auggie/Annie. Set during "In The Light". This was the worst possible time in all of history for August Anderson to develop self-awareness where his relationships with women were concerned.
My favorite character, coming to terms (something he already has quite a bit of practice doing). I could wax poetic about this fic forever, except it would all boil down to one thing: Oh, Auggie.
Observations from the Peanut Gallery
Auggie, Jai, Annie. Auggie and Jai stay late to keep an eye on Annie's op. Banter ensues.
Does it ever. There's such a great ebb and flow here, with Auggie and Jai, a familiarity, and it's so easy that what they're really doing - having enough (complete) faith in Annie to go comfortably back-and-forth while she's on an op solo - kind of hits you over the head belatedly, in the best way possible. Also, crossover cameo FTW.
Both Hands (cross with Alias)
Annie/Auggie/Jai, Sydney Bristow. Annie can't figure out how to handle her attraction to Jai Wilcox and Auggie Anderson -- or the fact that they seem to be attracted to one another as well. Then she gets some advice from a veteran agent who has a tangled history of her own...
It's rare that I ship much anymore, and OT3s are kind of mythical creatures in my pairing pantheon - I have exactly two. One of them is in Troubleshooters fandom, and the other one is made up of Covert Affairs' three musketeers. This fic does an amazing job of illustrating why. Plus, it has Annie being observant and insightful and awesome, as she tends to be.
Alpha evolved once; he will again. And so, for that matter, will Echo.
Good lord, this fic. It is dark and twisted and perfect, and the way things shall end in my head forevermore.
Things Unknown and Longed for Still
Priya, the dollhouse and other wardens.
Priya, Sierra, and everything before and between. With bonus Maya Angelou. Really, really lovely look at a very plausible backstory and a very probable future.
Fairytale (Sara Bareilles)
Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming. Fairy tales we tell never go past "Happily ever after." The TV shows we watch never go past what's on the screen.
Love. That is all. Buckets and buckets of love.
Bunnies... in... SPAAAAAAAACE!
I'm not even sure what there is to be said about this fic, except that it is disturbing and thought-provoking and bleak and brilliant, and I have no idea who actually came up with the idea behind it, but I totally want to have coffee with them.
*The Princess is in Another Castle
Danno, Kono. Danny and Kono must go on an epic quest to rescue Steve from mortal peril and his own shortsightedness. There may or may not be goombas.
The guy moved for his rifle and Danny's finger tightened on the trigger, but Kono popped up from behind the truck and hit the guy with what looked like a length of pipe. He went down hard.
"I feel like I had that," Danny called.
"Whatever," said Kono, hefting her pipe. "I haven't had the chance to hit anybody all day."
I didn't ask for H50 for Yuletide, though I came close. I figured hey, there are lots of H50 requests. I shall live vicariously. And I just knew there'd be a wealth of Kono and Chin having lots of agency and being very awesome, or oddles of ZOMG TEAM fic that melted my heart and made me squee over how much they all love each other. In reality, there is lots of Steve/Danno (which is fine, if disappointing). This - with a spot-on Danny playing things fast(er) and loose(r) than he normally would, because it's his partner on the line, and Kono being the best backup ever (while shooting/clubbing/scarring several people for life and trying to keep Danny from going off the rails) - gave me a huge happy. And there's even bonus Super Mario bonding!
Danny, Kono, Chin, Steve. One Monday, Steve doesn't turn up for work.
Speaking of... yay, family fic! Apparently, Steve getting kidnapped is the recurring theme this inaugrual Yuletide season. This is adorable and fun, with an intriguing Kono b-story.
Danny/Kono, Chin. Danny's life would be a lot less interesting if Chin stopped trying to solve so many things.
There's nothing quite like "undercover made us do it" fic, but this one is a gem. Mostly because of everything that comes before - Danny's observation and appreciation, Kono's ease and assertiveness, and the complete faith they have in each other's ability. After all that, the smut is just icing on the cake.
Down the Shore Everything's All Right
Danny/Steve, Kono, Grace. There's a better than average chance that Danny is getting crazier by association -- and he wouldn't change it for the world (although he could do without the head injuries, thanks).
So remember what I said about the influx of Steve/Danno? The one that sounded kinda sorta like a complaint? Forget that, and read this fic, which has everything I love about Danny - his biting wit, his short temper (even when it's a joke), and his ridiculously glorious relationship with (and love for) his daughter - multiplies it by everything I could love about Steve - his loyalty, his well-meaning single-mindedness, his SEAL background, and all the guilt that comes with each - adds a side of casefic, and it all equals awesome.
Kushiel's Legacy - Jacqueline Carey
To Choose, and Choose Again
Phedre no Delaunay/Joscelin Verreuil. A life of peace is not always easy, especially when there are those who would have it otherwise.
“I will not leave you,” he repeated, softly. “I swore it, even unto damnation and beyond. So I chose that day, and so I would choose again, even as I have chosen every day since. So I choose now, and so I will continue to choose.”
Slots perfectly into canon, wonderfully captures the character's voices, makes me want to reread this entire epic series... and, best of all, reminds me why I love Joscelin Verreuil like no other.
*Life Among Aliens: Two Boys
Neil McCormick, Brian Lackey. For Neil and Brian, their pasts and the future are inextricably intertwined.
So I just kind of lingered there, mouth to mouth, like I was trying to revive him, like we might be able to revive each other.
I admit, I was hesitant to read this. The movie is a favorite, but almost begrudgingly so - it's one of those things that's simultaneously beautiful and hard as hell to watch. This fic, though, takes the hard and twists it into something almost bearable. And it takes all of Brian's promise from the film and makes it flesh - he's every bit as fascinating as Neil here, every bit as complex, with all of the tragedy in his past spun into something hopeful. Gah. Gorgeous.
Old Spice Guy
*Meta Yuletide Fic (The Fic You Wish Your Fic Smelled Like)
Why hello, Yuletide reader. Why don't you sit down for a bit? Get comfortable, because when you click my link you will be reading a work of such magnificence that you won't be able to look away, even if a crew of zombies breaks through your window and bites your neck.
Hello, rec reader. See the shiny synopsis there, sparkling with as much wit and charm as the Old Spice Guy in the (sadly, toweled) flesh? The answer to your unspoken question, oh dear reader - because I know you're wondering - is decidedly no, the rest of the fic is not as glorious as that belly-laugh-inducing snippet. It's better.
P.S. I may have read this in two tabs simultaneously, so that I could reference the footnotes as the citations rolled in.
Stay Too Long
Handsome Bob, Mumbles, One Two. The thing is, at first it's fucking hilarious.
It's to be expected that a crapload of fic in this fandom is One Two/Handsome Bob. With good reason, even. But this one is poignant and hilarious and has Mumbles as a narrator - Mumbles, with all of his quiet insight - and all of that makes it awesome.
The Victory Is
Chickie, Lydia, Cooper, Dewey. They could say what they wanted, but she’d learned the hard way not to listen. The women of Southland on the job.
A glorious Lydia and pitch-perfect Chickie make this a thoroughly enjoyable slice-of-life look at Southland's awesome, long-suffering women and what it takes to get by.
Five Years On
Claire/Doug. "A Statute of Limitations: an enactment in a common law legal system that sets forth the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated." Claire Keesey has a five year wait on her hands and for all she knows, she could be wrong about that.
This is quiet and anxious and desperate and haunted, much like Claire. One of those rare, tight fics where every word fits just right.
And from the Land of Cracktastic Crossovers, I give you...
Southland/Troubleshooters, Inc./Paul Simon's "Graceland"/Janelle Monae's "Metropolis: the Chase Suite"
The Way We Look To a Distant Constellation
Jules Cassidy, Robin Chadwick, Lydia Adams, John Cooper, Ben Sherman, Chickie Brown, Cindi Mayweather, Anthony Greendown. Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts.
This universe is positively made of crack, in the best way possible. You get Lydia in all her resigned glory, Ben being both astute and protective (and as a bonus, it's second nature), Jules being Jules (which is to say, awesome), and John, who's somehow even more disgruntled and hilarious (in a disgruntled way) than usual, but more open as well. And androids. I cannot wait for more of this mashup.
Pushing Daisies/Telephone (video)
Emerson Cod left, however, just minutes too early. For delivered to his door, twelve minutes, three seconds after, was a newspaper with its headline story blaring: 'No news in the case of the murder spree committed by Lady Gaga and Honey Bee!'
The facts are these: every year, a crack crossover steals my heart. This year, that honor belongs to "Honey Pie," which features prickly, lovable gumshoe Emerson Cod trying to track down murderous mavens Lady Gaga and Honey Bee. It's told completely in the style of the show, but the video and its vixens fold seamlessly into that technicolor universe, with Emerson the perfect intermediary. Also, it's just the right amount of hilarious, Olive is appropriately awesome, the dialogue is glorious, and there's precise timing!
I wrote two fics, in two separate fandoms. If anyone can correctly identify my fics (no, not you, darkmuse_ic or you martinigrl, you'll get a special treat of your choosing. Here's the only clue you're getting: both fandoms have a shared character name.