Alice/Hatter, Duchess/Jack. Hatter’s tried to explain the problem that Wonderland folk have with standing between two mirrors, but none of it makes a lot of sense. It’s something that you don’t do, something to do with memories, and Alice can’t quite tell if it’s anything more than superstition.
Oh oh oh, this is amazing. It delves into the inner workings of Wonderland with intrigue and care and all sorts of phenomenal little details that enrich the whole thing. And it shares the focus. I love Hatter as much as the next Alice fan (maybe more, if you consider my Andrew-Lee Potts habit), but it's all sorts of refreshing to read something where Jack and Duchess feel like flesh and blood, too. And they're glorious, both of them. As is Alice. Loved this.
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better
Helen/Annie, Annie/Nathan, Megan, Lillian. “I’ve got amazing lesdar, Annie. Ah-mazing lesdar and you pinged it right from the beginning.”
Brilliant Annie, brilliant Helen, brilliant Megan, brilliant dialogue, brilliant undercurrents... just brilliant all around.
Being a Nice Girl
Helen Harris. Helen had been brought up to be a Nice Girl. “Always smile,” her mother would advise briskly. “For goodness sake, girl, if you can’t be pretty you can at least look cheerful!” Now, don’t show me up and remember to be friendly. If you want people to like you, Helen, and god knows they have little enough reason to, you must always find something to compliment them about no matter how small. Never go anywhere without a gift, and it must be a good one – people will remember you when they think of the gift, and you’re hardly going to stick in their heads without some help, are you? Always be helpful. Never say no if you can say yes. What did I tell you about smiling?!”
Really sharp character study that doesn't handwave and doesn't make excuses, but does a bang-up job of explaining who, and why, Helen is.
Captain America: The First Avenger
I know. After my four wonderful gift fics, it's hard to believe there are more.
A Harsh Breath
Steve/Peggy, Tony Stark. He looks for her, of course.
Lovely, lovely look at how Steve finds Peggy in the future, and how Tony helps. Beautiful characterization here, just beautiful.
a kind of grace that shades everything
Steve/Peggy/Bucky. "Don't you understand, Steve? You don't have to choose."
Razor-sharp, with a slow burn. Peggy's patience gives way to understanding just what Steve needs and, eventually, just what she wants.
Unreasonable Degrees of Happiness
Cher/Josh. Cher and Josh: one year, five years, and ten years later.
Does an incredible job of making the movie's happily-ever-after translate to real life, with all the struggles and differences that come with. Beyond that, it made me smile.
Five times Jensen marks Cougar and one time Cougar marks him.
This fic is basically a shiny happy ball made of everything I love about this ship. Amazing Jensen voice, Cougar gave me the shivers, absolutely adorable setup, some really touching moments (the bit with Cougar's hand is just, guh), and there's bonus Pooch!
Mission: Dinosaur Adventures
Jensen/Cougar, Clay, Pooch, Aisha, Tim Murphy, Lex Murphy. Jensen couldn't decide whether he was having the best week ever, or the worst.
There are no words to describe how precious this story is. Jensen is rambly and freaked and slow on the uptake and pitch perfect, which would be more than enough to make this delightful, but Aisha is sage and Clay is weary and Pooch is hilarious and Cougar is frustrated and gets to shoot dinosaurs. Plus there's grown-up Lex and Tim (and, seriously, if it's going to sound like this, I want all the grown-up Lex ever) and portmanaeus and so much awesome I can't even stand it. This is so, so glorious.
Kenzi's Holiday Traditions
Kenzi, Bo. Five times Kenzi celebrated Novyi God.
Kenzi, celebrating through the years. With heritage and conflict and found families and a truly wonderful portrayal of a character who's tough as hell to portray well. One of the most engrossing backstory fics I've read.
To Know and Loathe, Yet Wish and Do
Bo/Lauren, Trick, Dyson, Kenzi. Lauren goes looking for distraction and gets more than she bargained for.
I had the pleasure of betaing this one, which is awesome, because I adore it. Lauren is fascinating here - torn, trapped, tempted... hiding it all beneath the surface. There are bonds here that are so deftly shown, with Trick and Dyson particularly, bonds that are apparent but Lauren doesn't even seem to fully realize. Kenzi has a hilarious cameo, but the real treat is seeing where Lauren starts, where she ends, and how she gets there.
Amanda Clarke, Emily Thorne. Two sides of the same coin can't lives apart.
Tightly-written and incredibly insightful look at the original Emily, and how she defines herself outside of whatever name she's wearing. Loved loved loved this one.
At War With Ourselves
Steve/Michelle, Steve/Brandon, Steve/Michelle/Brandon. Brandon's world was turned upside down in the movie. This picks up just before the end and shows us what comes next in his life and how Steve and Michelle fit in.
I adore this underrated little movie, and all the tough realities of war that it shines a light on - the loneliness, the weariness, the PTSD. This fic finds all the cracks in the surface with that light and highlights each one. It's a beautiful look at Brandon: how much he loves Steve, how much he loves Michelle, and how that "caught in between" cloud hanging over him the entire film is all he really has, and may be all he really wants.
Mace, Cassie, Capa. Mason Roosevelt Rawson is born on July 1st, 2025. The last solar flare ever seen from Earth is recorded three hours before Mace is born in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is also the last time the temperature in the northern continental United States spikes above freezing. The sun has already been dying for five years.
Stark, disjointed, and kind of dreamy in its bleakness. I have a weakness for non-linear storytelling, and this one does it really well. The setting is tragic, the story is tragic, but Mace has carved focus and determination from his tragedy - the picture painted here, his backstory, broke my heart, but made what we saw in canon that much clearer. Truly, truly gorgeous.
Messages from the vacuum
Cassie/Corazon, Capa, Mace, Kaneda, Harvey, Searle, Trey, Icarus. Kaneda needs an answer, and Capa flips the coin.
Engrossing "what if?" story that follows the path not taken. The character dynamics recall my favorite aspect of the movie - what a brilliant study of human interaction it is - and the way it unfolds is sad and beautiful and sort of perfect.
Ten Inch Hero
Priestly/Jen, Tish, Trucker, Piper, Zo. Priestly's got a secret, Jen's got good reason to be angry, and everyone else doesn't have a clue.
This. This is the way it should have happened. I have such a soft spot for this movie, but it's not without its issues. This is fix-it fic at its best, not just with the sexism and the shaming, but with Jen's image issues and Priestly's ill-thought image lobotomy. And the characterization is just delightful.
Terminator Salvation/The Walking Dead
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind
Andrea, Kate Conner. “But we also talked about hope, and winning, and believing. We were idealistic little assholes, and I guess I still am. It gets into your bones, that way of thinking, that way of living. One of my favourite memories of John is watching and listening as he gave one of his radio speeches to the Resistance. Stay alive, he said. Stay alive: you have no idea how important you are, and how important you will become. The people listening to that...they lived like animals, hunted and doomed, just like here. But they listened, and they believed. Can you imagine it?”
Dark and tough and bitter, and so, so fitting. That these two women would have this conversation, have these experiences, have this connection. Reminded me why I loved Kate in the first place.
And this year's annual Cracktastic Crossover Awards go to...
Burn Notice/Chuck/White Collar
A Nice Old-Fashioned Letter
Fiona/Michael, Fiona/Bryce/Michael, Chuck/Sarah, Chuck/Bryce/Sarah, Mozzie.
Bryce Larkin writes letters to (and has sex with) just about everyone in this canon trinity. This just snaps, crackles and pops - it's sharp, smart, sly, and so funny.
Classical Greece and Rome History & Literature RPF/Bill & Ted
Alexander the Great/Hephaistion, Bill S. Preston Esq., Ted "Theodore" Logan. In a letter to Aristotle, Hephaiston documents a brief detour to Meiza, the site of his formative education. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a peaceful few days reminiscing about old times is interrupted by two strange men the likes of which Hephaiston has never seen.
I usually take great pride in outlining exactly what I love about each fic I rec, but for this one, I just... I can't... there are no words. It's brilliant and hysterical and hysterically brilliant and brilliantly hysterical. So. Read it. Now. Yes, you.