Title: We could be a whole parade by belmanoir
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Kowalski/Vecchio
Categories: pre-slash, friendship, post-canon
Length: ~8,000 words
Warnings: Fraser isn't portrayed in the best light (then again, it's pretty much the way he is in canon, so YMMV)

Review:
Ray comes back from Canada, licking his wounds, and runs into Frannie at a ballroom dancing class.

Despite the pairing, this fic is mostly about Ray K. and Frannie's growing friendship. I love these two so much together -- they're both a little broken and both often underestimated and they make a fantastic platonic couple. Mix in some closure on the whole Stella issues, as well as a lovely understated romance between the two Rays, and you have one of the best Due South fics I've read in years. Just lovely.

We could be a whole parade
Title: Precession by Spatz
Fandom: Life
Pairing: Charlie Crews/Dani Reese (pre-het)
Categories: post-canon
Length: ~3,000 words
Warnings: I have no idea if this story is AU or not (Tidwell ruined the show for me and I never did make it to the end)

Review:
Charlie's on suspension and keeps calling Dani at work to bug her.

The dialogue in this story is amazing! Crews and Reese are such distinct and unique characters that it sometimes can be a challenge to write their dialogue in such a way that it rings true, but Spatz handles it brilliantly. It's been years since I've watched the show and I can still hear the characters' voices in my head when reading this story; that's a rare feat for me. A small but delicious treat for fans of Life.

Precession
Title: Better to Reign in Hell by copperbadge
Fandom: Avengers Universe (specifically: Thor)
Pairing: gen
Categories: AU, drama
Length: ~23,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
In this universe, Loki knows about his Jotun heritage. What he doesn't know, however, is that he's a hostage of war. When he finds out, things go downhill, and he ends up cast out, powerless, in Midgard.

I love the Loki in this fic. As copperbadge says in his notes, canon!Loki is a horrible, miserable, evil being, which means that nearly every Loki-centric story out there features an OOC Loki, one who is nicer and less evil than in canon. While the same could be said of the Loki in this story, he has a different background than the canon version, and that makes the changes in character plausible. And the end product is very entertaining: clever, strategic, and harboring very dubious morality. He may not be someone I would want as an ally, but he's certainly not someone anyone would want as an enemy. Mix in a fantastic Darcy and the dynamic duo of Coulson and Clint, and you have a fun twist on the original plot of Thor.

Better to Reign in Hell
Title: Let Us Dare by kianspo
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Categories: AU, drama, humor
Length: ~29,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When Arthur is born, Uther dies instead of Ygraine. This changes everything.

I love the first half of this story so much. Watching Merlin and Arthur grow up together (two-year-old Merlin is adorable) is hugely entertaining and the writing is tight and fast paced. Things slow down quite a bit once Merlin and Arthur are grown and it isn't quite as engaging as the first half is. Still, it's a good read and you've got some court treachery to keep things interesting. Bonus: fantastic characterizations from all of the side characters, especially Morgana and Ygraine.

If you like canon!era Merlin AUs, this is definitely one you'll want to try.

Let Us Dare
Title: A Meeting of Equals
Fandom: The Sentinel
Pairing: Jim/Blair
Categories: canon divergence, angst, epistolary, favorite
Length: ~30,000 words
Warnings: Some of the formatting isn't quite right, which can make some of the e-mails hard to read.

Review:
After a nasty fight with Jim, Blair decides that it's time to learn how to stand on his own two feet.

I'm a total sucker for Blair Runs Away From Home fics, and this one is quite possibly my favorite of the entire genre. I love the fact that Blair isn't just running away to punish Jim, I love the fact that Blair and Jim correspond throughout the story, and I love the fact that the entire story is more about Blair growing as a person than it is about potential romance between Jim and Blair (though that's there, too). If you're a fan of epistolary fics or just are in the mood to follow along as two characters work out their issues over a long distance, you should find this a very satisfying read.

A Meeting of Equals
Title: Perfect Beautiful Good by OnYourMark
Fandom: White Collar
Pairing: Neal/Peter/Elizabeth
Categories: romance, drama
Length: ~16,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "Neal Caffrey doesn't know it, but he's probably the best thing that ever happened to Peter and Elizabeth's sex life."

Sometimes you just want a straight-up, well-written story where three people figure out that they love each other, and then figure out how to make it happen (though, strictly speaking, most of the latter work is done by Elizabeth). If you are in the mood for a slow burn romance with a dash of trust issues and some rather smoking sex scens, give this one a shot.

Perfect Beautiful Good
It's the start of the holiday season! To celebrate, I'm going to be posting a rec a day for as many days as I have recs for -- hopefully at least through the month of December. If I have any left on December 31, I'll spam you with the remainder. Enjoy!

Title: Bound by Jain
Fandom: The Eagle
Pairing: Marcus/Esca
Categories: angst, miscommunication, post-canon
Length: ~11,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
With one well-intentioned but disastrous lie, Esca might lose everything that matters to him.

I have to admit, it took ages for me to produce the above summary, because this story has almost nothing to do with plot and everything to do with miscommunication. If miscommunication is a kink for you, then this is a must-read story full of angst and emotional turmoil. If you aren't a fan of miscommunication, this may not be your best bet.

Personally, I *love* well-done miscommunication, especially when the author is talented enough that the reader can recognize both characters motivations, even when the story is just from one POV and the POV's character is being an emotional idiot. Jain does an excellent job conveying Marcus's motivations through Esca's POV and I was really impressed with how deftly she handled the growing rift between the characters despite their obvious and intense desire to be together. The only downside is an ending that is a bit too quick and neat and which doesn't quite pay off all of the prior angst. It's a minor quibble, however, compared to the awesomeness of the rest of the story.

Bound
This is the last one of this batch. Hopefully it won't be so long until my next one! If you're impatient, I occasionally post recs on my Twitter account: @IMJaneElliot.

Title: Trust by Neery
Fandom: Avengers
Pairing: Clint/Bruce
Categories: angst, drama
Length: ~13,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
After the events of the movie, The Powers That Be decide that someone needs to keep an eye on Bruce. Fury decides to assign Clint to the job.

Gah. This hits my trust kink so hard it hurts (but in a good way). Not only do Bruce and Clint have to learn to trust each other, but they also have trust issues with themselves, thanks to the Hulk (for Bruce) and Loki's magic scepter (for Clint). My favorite part is probably Bruce coming to terms with the Hulk during weekly "playtime" sessions in the desert -- lots of fun (especially with the Thor cameo).

I will admit that the ending is a bit spare (which is the only reason why this fic doesn't have a favorites tag), but overall this is a lovely, well-written, and highly enjoyable story of trust and growing affection.

Trust
Title: Imprimatur by Closer
Fandom: Suits
Pairing: Harvey/Mike
Categories: bonding, AU, drama, hurt/comfort
Length: ~22,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "Mike was raised to believe Imprint was a life-changing event for those few lucky enough to experience it. Harvey was raised to believe it was a form of mental illness. When it actually happened, neither of them noticed."

As anyone who follows my recs for more than a minute knows, I'm a sucker for a good bonding fic. Mix that with Suits!fic and I'm a happy reader. I especially enjoyed how realistic and low-key the bonding aspects of the universe was -- bonding fic traditionally revels in melodrama and miscommunication and angst and while I do enjoy all of those things, there's also something quite satisfying about a story that's just about the practical aspects of unconsciously bonding to another human being (read: impotence).

If you're in the mood for a well written, laid-back bonding fic (or maybe just a Suits fic that *doesn't* go the D/s route), this is the story for you.

Imprimatur
Title: How to Learn Latin in 10 Days by demon rum
Fandom: The Eagle
Pairing: Gen
Categories: crack, humor, favorite
Length: ~8,000 words
Warnings: foul language (which I wouldn't normally warn for, but woah)

Review:
For reasons that don't need to be explained here, Marcus has to teach Esca how to speak Latin. Like, immediately. And, let's face it, the most memorable words are the dirty ones.

This is absolutely hysterical! My favorite part of the story may be the way that Marcus's broken British and Esca's broken Latin are distinctly different from each other in English (and that takes a hella amount of talent, so my hat's off to demon rum), but even folks who aren't grammar and language geeks should get a kick out of Marcus's increasingly desperate attempts to cram even the slightest bit of Latin into Esca's thick head (not to mention Esca's initial reluctance turned to gleeful enthusiasm as Marcus turns to obscenities to make conjugating verbs just a little more interesting. Also? Latin is a filthy, filthy language.)

If you love language or humor or just want some Eagle fic that *isn't* full of angst and drama, give this story a try. If you're anything like me, you'll be laughing out loud (and getting strange looks from your coworkers.)

How to Learn Latin in 10 Days
Title: Copycat by IamShadow21
Fandom: White Collar
Pairing: Gen
Categories: kid!fic, AU, drama
Length: ~10,000 words (if you include footnotes)
Warnings: child in a crappy situation (pre-story)

Review:
An AU in which Neal is an autistic child forced to forge artwork, and Peter is the agent who finds (and rescues) him.

I debated this rec for a while, because the story overall feels very incomplete -- we never find out who took Neal, for example, and while the author really tries to put some foreshadowing of Neal's future in the story, Neal himself isn't fleshed out enough to really make it work (for example, there's no clear reason why Peter and/or Elizabeth would be part of Neal's future). Still, every time I've read this story I've enjoyed it, because the writing is phenomenal and the subject is interesting and, most of all, because the author clearly knows what she's writing about and I have a huge kink for authors who know their shit and express it well.

In short, if you're looking for a story in which Peter is Peter and Neal is a kid and together they build a family, well, this fic isn't for you. However, if you're in the mood for fantastic writing from someone who is clearly an expert in autisim, you definitely want to give this story a try.

Copycat
Title: Beauty by Elizabeth Culmer
Fandom: Fairy Tales
Pairing: Grace/Ricky
Categories: romance, friendship, family
Length: ~11,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "A retelling of 'Ricky of the Tuft,' with a greater focus on what a curse of stupidity might have done to the princess's family, and an attempt to make the ending seem more something the characters earn and less a predestined result of the fairy godmother's meddling."

I'll be honest, I'd never even heard of Ricky of the Tuft before reading this story, and I think that made it even more enjoyable to read, because I had no idea what to expect. Based on this fic, it's a very interesting fairy tale, one which explores the value of beauty and intelligence and family. I love both Ricky and Grace and I really enjoyed their (very fairy-tale-esque) romance, but what I love most about this story was the way the author fleshed out the characters more than most fairy tales bother to do, giving them motivation and feelings and complexity.

If you like fairy tales in general and/or Ricky-of-the-Tuft specifically, this is the story for you!

Beauty
Title: A Slight Misunderstanding and Dangerous Assumptions by Coragyps
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Categories: angst, humor, hurt/comfort, drama, action, casefile, virgin (to gay sex), favorite
Length: ~64,000 words (combined)
Warnings: In A Slight Misunderstanding, there are three instances where John thinks of Sherlock as *Sher*. (*shudder* -- that was almost bad enough to turn this rec into a rant.) Fortunately it's all in one scene in Chapter 9. Unfortunately it kind of ruins the climactic relationship scene.

Review:
In which John accidentally convinces Sherlock that he's in love with him. Or, from Sherlock's POV in the sequel, how his plan to turn John from his Assistant into his Lover goes horribly awry.

These are both highly entertaining stories that cover essentially the same time frame, but from John and Sherlock's POV respectively (though the author says that they both stand alone, I strongly suggest reading Misunderstanding first). My personal favorite of the two is A Slight Misunderstanding, because it has one of the most interesting and engrossing plots I've ever read in Sherlock fic, namely how Sherlock Holmes would commit and cover up the perfect murder (the victim in this case is Moriarty). I found the entire process fascinating to read, even more so than John's baffled and winding journey from friendly mates to physical love with Sherlock. While John's journey is hugely enjoyable as well and is laced with plenty of humor to cut the angst, the plot is what earned this fic its 'favorites' tag.

Dangerous Assumptions is more of a character study of Sherlock than a true retelling of Misunderstanding. Coragyps has given an intriguing backstory to Sherlock that's a lot of fun to read, and Mycroft is hysterical as he tries to give Sherlock advice in the most vague and unhelpful way ever.

In the end, these two stories have the best of both worlds. If you're in the mood for a plotty fic with a silly (but entertaining) romantic subplot, A Slight Misunderstanding is perfect for you. If, on the other hand, you want an in-depth character study, check out Dangerous Assumptions. Either way, you're in for a great read.

A Slight Misunderstanding
Dangerous Assumptions
Title: Behavior Modification by bendingsignpost
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Categories: angst, romance (sort of), hurt/comfort(ish)
Length: ~23,700 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
"Never theorize before possessing the facts. One inevitably twists the facts to suit the theory rather than the theory to suit the facts." Sherlock theorizes that he and John are dating, and starts ambushing John with handjobs. John is really, really confused. Whoops?

Fair warning, my summary makes this story seem a lot more fluffy and lighthearted than it really is. The reality is, Sherlock is a very messed up individual with absolutely no idea how human beings really interact. Since this story is from his POV, the end result is absolutely fascinating to read. I also love how the author portrays John through Sherlock's eyes -- his reactions all make sense, but you have to work your way backwards through Sherlock's filter before you really get what's going on.

There are a ton of asexual!Sherlock and sexual!John making it work stories out there, but this is one of the best (and not only because the story doesn't end on the ridiculous idea that John will okay with never having sex again). If you like stories that feature complicated relationship dynamics and/or negotiations, this is definitely the fic for you.

Behavior Modification
Title: A Disney Prince Consort by Mithrigil
Fandom: Tangled
Pairing: Flynn Rider/Rapunzel (but basically gen)
Categories: fluff, humor, family, post-canon, tiny bit of kid!fic
Length: ~1,300 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "In which Eugene Fitzherbert deftly and graciously contends with such highfaluting concepts as cognatic primogeniture, morganatic marriage, inter-state relations, and a spunky brunette wife who somehow knows how to manage everything including him."

I once enjoyed a very long e-mail exchange with lothy about all of those bits of royalty trivia that people who live in countries without royalty just don't understand. This story reminds me about this e-mail in all the best ways. Eugene's voice is spot-on and hysterical when he's panicking, Rapunzel kicks ass even when she is panicking, and Max never panics, but Rapunzel might have a point about the head of the navy being a horse.

Fun, fluffy, and wonderfully lighthearted, this is the perfect tidbit to brighten those winter blues.

A Disney Prince Consort
Title: Brokdown by OnYourMark
Fandom: White Collar
Pairing: gen
Categories: angst, h/c, friendship, favorite
Length: ~6,100 words
Warnings: Depression (with a capital D)

Review:
Neal has a breakdown.

I'll admit this up front: I have a depression kink. Well, to be more precise, I have a getting-over-depression kink, which means that this story hits absolutely all of my buttons. It's hard, but Neal gets there in the end, in spite of Peter's (oh so awful) attempts at nurturing. Featuring a different (and IMO better) resolution to the whole Nazi treasure storyline, as well as most of the White Collar crew being awesome.

Brokedown
Still alive, but not reading as much (damn you, RL!) Since I only rec about 0.5% of what I read, that's going to cut down on recs. On the plus side, I have a few recs saved up, so here's a really belated Christmas present for ya'll. (Side note: it seems LJ is fucking up again. Some more. So, as a reminder, this comm does have a DW mirror.)

Title: The Certain Stakes I Gained by Tom Cranver
Fandom: Nikita
Pairing: mostly gen
Categories: drama, family, friendship
Length: ~16,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Nikita loses Michael, finds a family, and keeps on keeping on.

Branching off from canon in mid-season 2, this is an different way that Nikita could have come to what eventually turned out to be the canon ending of that season (and mad props to Tom Cranver for figuring out exactly where the show was headed from halfway through the season). The biggest difference is that Michael departs pretty early on to be with Max and Owen comes back to stay. If I'd known that going in I'm not sure I would have given this story a chance, so I'm glad that I went in cold, because this is the best Nikita fic I've read to date. The character voices are fantastic, the writing is fast-paced and fun, and I adore the family that Nikita builds up around her, even if Michael isn't one of the crew.

One warning: this is a yuletide story, and the limited writing time is evident in a few rough patches and the occasional dropped storyline (hello, Percy). Still, it's entertaining and well written and the character relationships are captivating. A great read for Nikita and found family fans.

The Certain Stakes I Gained
Title: Turn a New Page, Tear the Old One Out by shrift
Fandom: Breakfast Club
Pairing: Brian/Bender
Categories: post-canon, drama, virgin
Length: ~8,000 words
Warnings: underage (technically)

Review:
John Bender's life, post-movie.

I'll be honest, all of the Breakfast Club fics I've read and liked to this point have had basically the same plot: John drops out of high school, life occurs, and then he meets up with Brian again. Thing is, John Bender is such an interesting character and his relationship with Brian has so much potential, that there seem to be an endless number of ways this story can be told. This one is a great version, with John joining the Army (despite the expectations of everyone in his family, who are hysterical and awful at the same time) and living his life and running into Brian a few times along the way. Sweet, hot, and satisfying, this is a must-read for Breakfast Club slash fans.

Turn a New Page, Tear the Old One Out
Title: Ain't Seen the Sunshine (Since I Don't Know When) by emungere
Fandom: Sherlock
Pairing: John/Lestrade (pre-slash)
Categories: AU, kid-fic, humor, drama, action, family, favorite
Length: ~26,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Back from Afghanistan and struggling to make ends meet, John gets offered a very unusual job: nanny for a five-year-old Sherlock and a twelve-year-old Mycroft.

This one just makes me smile like crazy. I love Mrs. Holmes, who has decided (quite rightly) that surviving a war is perfect practice for being a nanny for Sherlock and Mycroft. I love John, who feels utterly unqualified but who loves his two charges immensely, even when they're being irritating. I love Lestrade, who is sweet and wonderfully calm under pressure. And I absolutely adore the young versions of Sherlock and Mycroft, who are unique characters all of their own though you can clearly see the seeds of the men they will grow to be. A brilliant AU that makes me smile every time I read it.

Note that there are sequels to the original fic. I'm not reccing them specifically (since they are more focused on the growing relationship between John and Lestrade and less on John interacting with the kids, which is my favorite part of the series) but they're enjoyable stories and the link to the series is below.

Ain't Seen the Sunshine
Sequels to Ain't Seen the Sunshine
Title: Darkness, Flooded in Light by galaxysoup
Fandom: Thor
Pairing: gen
Categories: friendship, family, fix-it, angst, humor, hurt/comfort
Length: 42,000+ words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Loki falls from the Bifrost down to a small town on Earth. Redemption, self-discovery, and friendship ensues.

I find that there are two types of stories that rely heavily on OCs - those that completely suck and those that are incredibly awesome. Fortunately this fic is one of the latter, with Loki landing in a town full of richly drawn, realistic, and wonderfully entertaining OCs. They are the framework that makes this story possible, giving Loki the space he needs to realistically grow from the erratic, sorta evil villain of Thor into an interesting, fully three-denominational person. I do wish more time had been spent on Loki's inevitable meeting with Thor (actually, the ending as a whole feels abrupt) but that is a minor quibble next to my overwhelming love of his new town, his new friends, and the brilliant backstory that not only makes this story shine, but which puts a fascinating new spin on canon.

For anyone who enjoys small town stories and/or found family fics, this is definitely the story for you.

Darkness, Flooded in Light
.

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