*The Shape of a Sooner State
Olivia Dunham/Peter Bishop, Alternate Olivia. It is the little things that are hardest to remember.
The grass is always greener... From the characterization to the phrasing to the very formatting, this is absolutely gorgeous.
Got So Far to Go
Penny Pingleton/Seaweed Stubbs, Tracy Turnblad. She could groove along to the music, could follow a few simple steps, but just about every time her friends got together, the choreography got too complicated for her to follow. Well, at least the rhetoric never went over her her head.
Penny finds her rhythm and her calling, even though the steps aren't clear. Absolutely wonderful take on Penny, looking at life without blinders or rose-colored glasses and still seeing the possibility for good in the world. And Seaweed is adorable.
Peggy Olson, Don Draper. Four times Peggy went to Don's office, and one time he went to hers.
Fifteen hundred words of growing maturity for Peggy, growing accountability for Don, and the growing bond between them. Truly, truly lovely.
*Diplomacy as (Con) Artistry
Ivan the Apprentice/Sandoval the Xoan Ambassador. Never kid a kidder.
I am new to Oglaf, but an Ivan lover like me could not ask for a better initiation to fandom. Hilarious and just the right amount of wrong, much like the comic itself.
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
Johnny Cade, Dallas Winston, Ponyboy Curtis, Sodapop Curtis. It seems to Johnny he's been watching Dallas Winston his whole life.
After a second, Johnny drops down beside him. Their shoulders touch, and Dally's so tense Johnny feels the shake in his muscles. He wants to say, thank you. Maybe say, you're a hero. None of the words will come.
"I'm no good," Dally says, pounding his fist twice into the gravel littering the lot. He grabs a handful of rocks and flings them sideways. They scatter into the street. "Won't take them long to catch up to me."
Johnny presses his face against the soft leather of Dally's jacket, the smell of it warm and familiar.
You're everything good, he wants to say. It's the only reliable truth he knows. Someday he'll find the words. Someday.
Aaaaand here it is, folks, this year's annual Fic That Made Me Bawl. Dally has always had Johnny's back, and Johnny has always had Dally. The way they're drawn here, as the best each other has and all they really need, is so poignant and perfect and beautiful, and makes canon that much more tragic, for both of them and the someday that never was. Oh, boys. I'm tearing up again, just thinking about it.
*Bordellos, Brothels and Berries, Oh My!
Chuck/Olive/Ned, Olive/Randy, Chuck/Ned, Emerson Cod. The facts were these. One day, three hours, seven minutes and six seconds ago one Madam Beatrice Bethany Comfort, owner, proprietor and, yes, Madam in the less respectable sense, of the famously infamous Madam Beatrice’s bordello, a brothel, walked into her boudoir to find a shocking scene.
"Well then, B.B., the fact of the matter is, I was having fun reading your book when a friend came in, and long story short, we both ended up coming. And then things got awkward as she has Ned and I have my Randy Mann." Olive said all this in a single breath, words rushing out.
B.B. raised her eyebrow. "Lucky girl."
"No, Randy Mann, with the capitals. While it can sometimes be a fitting description, it is his name all the time."
Excuse me while I try to prevent myself from flailing this entire review in caps. I love this fic. The Olive voice is the best I've ever read, ever, Emerson is all put-out and discombobulated (he even says so!), Chuck is discovering new and interesting things, there's an awesome case with awesome names, and it's one of my very favorite fics this Yuletide.
Archy, Johnny, Lenny, Pete. A history of Johnny Quid and Archy’s peculiar relationship, told through twenty years and twelve songs.
Fascinating Johnny and utterly amazing Archy here, told back and forth through the rock of ages. Just stunning.
*The Crook, The Brief, His Wife and Their Lover
One Two/Handsome Bob, Stella, Bertie, Mumbles. There are about a million things that could go wrong here, including but not limited to One Two showing up; Bertie coming home; Russians with guns breaking the door down; Stella calling the coppers; Archy popping round to borrow a cup of sugar. Bob, climbing the stairs, is honestly surprised to discover that erectile dysfunction is not something he needs to worry about. It's been one hell of a week, and it's not over yet.
OH MY GOD, THIS FIC. Starts with the premise that Stella managed to escape the wrath of Uri (and the gloved hands of Viktor) and that a lot more happened the night before Bob didn't get sent up river than a dance, and goes on brilliantly from there. Bob, in this, is pretty much my favorite thing ever, in all his disbelief and coming-to-terms and realistic forever love for his best friend. Stella is so cunning and glorious it's not even funny, Bertie is wildly amusing, and One Two is jealous and confused and a little lost, and it is long and plotty and full of epic friendship and feeling and so, so amazing that I can't even... I can't even. So much love. Easily one of my top ten of the year.
Son of a Preacher Man
Billy Ray, Narrator. A stomach full of fireflies, a house full of secrets.
This is a gorgeous piece, full of language and imagery so evocative of the deep south. There's so much to be said about it, but giving too much away would be a crime.
Past the Places Where You Might Have Turned
James Coughlin/OMC. Jem's first two years in prison.
One of the hardest reads in recent memory, and worth it. Jem is absolutely fascinating, both in canon and here, and this look inside his head, full of coiled hatred and tightly-wound self-loathing - is appropriately disturbing and altogether horrific. I was squicked halfway through, and can't imagine Jem being written any other way.
Allison Beaumont/Jason Walsh, Casey Shraeger/Davis Nixon, Nicole Brandt/Eddie Alvarez, Leo Banks, Eric Delahoy, Henry Cole. The second squad makes various dinner plans.
The dynamics! The character voices! The witty banter! The pranks on Eddie! This made me miss the show so very, very much.