This is my fourth Yuletide, and for the first time, I ended up on the pinch hit list. That led to about five seconds of "omg, my assigned writer hates me," followed by unparalleled flailing. Pinch hitters, you see, are all kinds of awesome, and the thought of someone liking my prompt enough that they choose to write it makes me irrationally giddy. And the number of awesome people who chose me? Five. You best believe I was dancing the dance of Yuletide flailing once my final gift count came in.
I'll be back with a proper recs post once I've had a chance to really sit down with the archive - and I'm starting my hardcore reading with the 300+ fics that are part of the Misses Clause Collection - but I had to do a separate "go read my giftfics!" post to give these stories the attention they deserve.
Kushiel's Legacy, Joscelin Verreuil, Imriel de la Courcel.
Joscelin could never forget what he had seen in Daršanga. But he had put it aside and might go weeks without thinking of it. (TW for rape recovery.)
Okay, so, it must be said that I've requested the same Kushiel's prompt every year I've participated in Yuletide. Joscelin Verreuil is one of my favorite characters in contemporary literature, ever, and finally getting Kushiel's fic for Yuletide is a dream come true. This is such an interesting look at Imriel after Darsanga, even years after, and Joscelin's realization that every experience he'll have - even the ones they have in common - is forever changed because of it. It's a tough read, and an honest one, and almost an uncomfortable one, as it should be. And it immediately transported me back to the books, in that it absolutely nailed the dynamics of Terre d'Ange that differ so wildly from our world - that things kept quiet and hidden from view here are done without shame, celebrated, even, in the Kushiels universe. This Imriel, and all his lost innocence, broke my heart. And Joscelin has sort of settled into himself, and his place, both as a father and as a consort. I've seen it recced a few times, which is so deserving, and I'm absolutely thrilled that this was written for me.
And then, oh joy of joys, I got not one, not two, but four Peggy-tastic Cap fics. Three of them used the same suggested prompt in wildly different ways, and one went careening gloriously into another direction entirely.
Rumours and Telephone Calls
Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, The Howling Commandos.
One year after Captain Steve Rogers's death, Howard Stark calls Peggy Carter and asks her out for a drink. Peggy instead goes to the Stork Club where she had agreed to meet Steve. She doesn't dance.
Excuse me while I flail incoherently. This Peggy is so smart and sharp-tongued and quick-witted, all my favorite parts of movieverse Peggy. Also, she has a male secretary, which just, I can't even with the awesome. The Howling Commandos drink to their fallen brothers (hilariously), Peggy acknowledges and remembers and pays her respects and doesn't wallow in the slightest, and Howard bankrolls it all. And oh my god, Howard. Perfectly-drawn and absolutely delicious. Here, he's every inch as smart and sharp-tongued and quick-witted as Peggy, in completely different ways, and it's hard not to take note and wonder what might have been (other than something wildly different than what Peggy would have had with Steve) and be glad that Peggy wonders, too. Absolutely lovely.
Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark.
Same club, same core characters, vastly different fic. Peggy is remembering with such clarity and mourning so starkly (no pun intended), and Howard is so clearly sharing that headspace but so clearly not welcome to. There's no flirting, no back-handed insults, no double-entendres, but Peggy is Peggy, and Howard is Howard, and their dynamic from the film - her respecting his talent, him respecting her strong will - is carried over perfectly. This is a little sad and a little lonely and so very much what I can imagine happening. Beautifully done.
What Might Have Been
Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark.
On the first anniversary of the date Captain Steve Rogeers missed, Peggy is rescued from drinking alone by an old friend.
Let's just pause for a second to ponder the gloriousness of Peggy's drink of choice being a whiskey sour. Such a great little character insight. This is the take on the prompt in which Peggy gets drunk, Howard flirts shamelessly, and it's all a bit tragic and sort of hopeful and still respectful to what she could have had with Steve. And that's exactly what she's lamenting here - the life unlived, the possibilities unexplored, the promise unfulfilled. And then she's giving herself permission to move on, which is beyond wonderful.
No Rapunzel She
Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter.
St Evangeline's wasn't a bad school.
Oh my god, this fic. This fic, this fic, this fic. I want all the stories in the world for this universe, in which Peggy goes to boarding school, realizes what's expected of her as a woman in this time, and defies it all with style. One of the prompt directions I posed was the desire for pre-canon Peggy, coming into her own, bucking the system, and this does all of that and more. She's sent away to be primed and primped and trained as the perfect wife and mother, and everything she does after says, "Thank you, I'll pass." There's an entire, full-fledged universe in 880 words. There's even bonus archery, which is such a pitch-perfect precursor to her future in badassery-with-a-pistol. And the last paragraph is such utter perfection that I can't stant it. So, so glorious.
Last but certainly not least, I would be remiss in not mentioning the fic I received for the cap_ironman Secret Santa exchange.
Avengers movieverse, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.
Just because his future involves more penis than he’d expected doesn’t mean that Steve’s given up on happily-ever-after.
Steve reflects on the future in general, and his own in particular, and decides that what he wants out of life hasn't changed all that drastically at all. Steve is so perfectly Steve - steadfast, optimistic, adorably hopeful - and Tony is so perfectly Tony - headstrong and insecure and full of soft spots he tries too hard to hide - and Thor is so perfectly awesome, and gah. It's exactly what I wanted.
So there are my personal goodies. Please go forth and read and shower them in love and affection. As for me, I wrote three for Yuletide this year (two single fandoms and a crossover. Of sorts.), plus one for cap_ironman. Which means I wrote as much in the last two weeks as I have in the last two years. Sad, but true. And, as martinigrl and I spearheaded the aforementioned Misses Clause Challenge, I (*gasp*) actually wrote women. If you can guess which fics I'm responsible for (your only clues: two involve tv fandoms, and one involves something I always said I'd never do), you'll win a cookie and a smile and quite possibly the internets.