Title: Come at Me by Closer
Fandom: Avengers
Pairing: Tony/Pepper/Steve
Categories: friendship, drama, virgin
Length: ~27,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
After the movie, Tony and Pepper adopt Steve. It starts as friendship, but...

I adore the characterizations in this story. Everyone is spot-on and real, but Closer does an especially good job with Tony, Pepper, and Bruce, all of whom are layered and wonderful -- it's easy to see why Steve would want these people to be his friends. All of the relationships, be they romantic or platonic, are unique and distinct and lovely to read. A relaxing, peaceful exploration of the development of an OT3.

Come at Me
Title: Getting to Know You by miss_pryss
Fandom: Die Hard 4
Pairing: Matt/John
Categories: friendship, fluff, post-canon
Length: ~10,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
While recovering in the hospital, John and Matt make a mutual pact to start having some fun together.

This is such a sweet, fun, and fluffy way of getting John and Matt together. I loved their Sunday play dates and the various adventures that they embarked on and the fact that they took turns picking what they were going to do. Even more, I loved all of the secondary characters: Lucy and Chen and even Warlock's two-line cameo. Most of all, however, I loved the way that Matt and John take the time to become friends before they become anything more. A lovely story about friendship and fun.

Getting to Know You
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: 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: 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: 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
Title: Fellow Travelers by J. Brooks
Fandom: Magnificent 7
Pairing: gen
Categories: kid!fic, AU, drama, adventure, h/c, humor, friendship, favorite
Length: ~30,000 words
Warnings: mentions of slavery and child abuse

Review:
A historical AU in which Ezra is a child living with his abusive uncle and Nathan is a slave on the uncle's plantation. Together Ezra and Nathan go on the run, heading west for freedom and encountering all the rest of the seven on the way.

I've been going through the longest fanfic dry spell ever. Intellectually I know this streak of mediocre-to-bad fic can't last forever, but emotionally I needed a pick me up. Thus I turned to one of my absolute favorite feel-good stories of all time.

J. Brooks is far and away my favorite M7 author. Not only does she have a brilliant grasp of the characters and a phenomenal sense of humor, but she accomplishes does what very few other M7 authors even attempt, much less succeed at -- to make Nathan and Ezra *both* likable and, more often than not, great friends. That talent is never more apparent than in Fellow Travelers. While the rest of the seven's interactions are engaging and enjoyable, it's Nathan and Ezra's relationship that is the heart of the story, from Ezra's (adorably) conniving ways to Nathan's sweet and often amusing over-protectiveness. Mix in a lot of humor, an engaging plot, and plenty of opportunities for every one of the seven to shine and you have my absolute favorite Magnificent 7 fic of all time. A must-read for fans of the show or for anyone who likes great writing, sparkling wit, and engaging characters.

Fellow Travelers (links to all four parts)
Title: Switch: A Comedy of Terrors by RivkaT
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Categories: humor, friendship, bodyswap, fluff
Length: 35,400 words
Warnings: underage (Clark is 16), super!creepy!handsy!Lionel

Review:
After getting electrocuted while surrounded by meteor-rock infested Christmas trees, Clark and Lex find they've switched bodies.

Ah, the halcyon days of early Smallville fic, where everything was either light and fun or black as pitch. Fortunately, this is an example of the former, where Secrets Are Revealed, Lust Is Assuaged, and Friendships Are Destiny. Funny, light-hearted, well-written, and very much in character for early seasons of the show, this is a great fic for anyone who wants a piece of Smallville fluff.

Switch: A Comedy of Terrors
Title: Time to Grow by zarah5
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Pairing: Charles/Erik
Categories: fix-it, angst, post-canon, friendship
Length: 21,000 words
Warnings: An overabundance of commas, many with dubious grammatical correctness.

Review:
With two small changes during Charles and Erik's fight on the beach, the course of history can be changed.

From what I've seen, the X-Men: First Class fandom is going to be dominated by fix-it fics, which totally makes my day as I wasn't happy with the ending either (no matter how pre-ordained it might have been). This fic is the best of the ones I've read so far, with solid characterizations and a firm grasp of real life history and genetics that give the story an impressive amount of depth and weight. Full of shades of grey and tough decisions, but with a happy (or at least hopeful ending), Time to Grow should appeal to any fan of X-Men: First Class.

Time to Grow
Title: The Tin Man by James
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Eliot/Hardison
Categories: AU, angst, family, friendship, favorite
Length: 21,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Eliot is a cyborg. No, really.

This is the first Eliot-centric fic I've ever liked (actually, it might be the first Eliot-centric I ever *finished*), and the reason why I like it so much is the same reason why I like all good Leverage stories: it's all about how the Leverage crew is not just a bunch of random strangers who work together, but instead a found family, with friends who would do anything for each other. Every one of the crew is awesomely in character (including cyborg!Eliot) and I love all of them. Best of all, Eliot Spencer is not a woobie; he may not be strictly human, but he's strong and capable and cared for. Anyway, being a cyborg is a lot less weird than being Parker.

Well-written and full of friendship and love, this is a fic for anyone who enjoys tales of acceptance, found family, and/or Leverage.

The Tin Man
Title: The Magic of Deduction by TheShoelessOne
Fandom: Sherlock BBC (with a dash of canonical Harry Potter characters)
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Categories: angst, drama, friendship, suspense, crossover (sort of)
Length: 65,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
In a world where John and Sherlock are wizards, there is still a Moriarty and the Game is still on. AKA John and Sherlock Do Hogwarts.

First, I want to note that this fic is tough to categorize, because while it's technically a crossover with the Harry Potter universe, the only Harry Potter characters to make an appearance are the teachers (and they get dramatically less face time than in the books). Thus I'm calling this a fusion with cameos.

Second, I want to announce that, after reading this fic and The Best Revenge, I want more Hufflepuff fic. (Recs welcome.)

Preliminaries out of the way -- this was a great fic! I loved the way that John and Sherlock's relationship developed organically throughout their seven years of school, I loved the large cast of Sherlock characters who were used in unexpected but ultimately perfect ways, I loved Mycroft and Mummy, I loved that Irene and Moran were significant to the plot, and most of all I loved that John is a Hufflepuff, because Hufflepuffs rock.

There are a couple of issues in the fic: you know going in that Moriarty is the bad guy (hence the 'suspense' tag rather than the 'casefile' one) and the POV does drift a bit in places. Still, those are very minor quibbles with a fic that not only has a great plot and great characters, it also has one of the best friends-to-lovers romances I've ever read. Very entertaining and wonderfully satisfying.

The Magic of Deduction
Title: The Ties that Bind Job by Hickumu
Fandom: Leverage/Angel
Pairing: gen
Categories: action, casefile (sort of), crossover, drama, family, friendship
Length: 40,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When Eliot stumbles into a nest of vampires, it's sheer luck that Faith is there to save him. The only problem is, he's now in a coma and Faith (and Angel) thinks that he's Lindsay McDonald. The Leverage crew, on the other hand, have never heard of this 'Lindsay' character (and don't get them started on the subject of 'vampires'). Thus begins one epic tale of friendship and family drama.

I've had a streak of bad luck with fics of late, so I my expectations were low when I opened this story, especially since I'm not a huge fan of Eliot or Angel centric fics. Fortunately for me, this story is a perfect ensemble piece with everyone getting a chance to shine and with plenty of attention paid to team dynamics. Even better is the fact that everyone is beautifully in character, with the two worlds tied together so seamlessly that I had a tough time remembering which bits were canon and which were crossover. Finally, I really appreciated that the crossover is weighted on the Leverage side of things; fans of both shows should be satisfied, but for a Leverage fan a well-written epic is a special treat.

If you like team stories, or tales of found family, or friendship fics, or just plain like a good, well-written crossover you should give this fic a try.

The Ties that Bind Job
Title: This Thing of Ours (It Needs a Better Name) by leupagus
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Pairing: Danny/Steve
Categories: AU, friendship, family, drama, action
Length: 35,800 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
AU in which Danny is a mafia man who moved to Hawaii with his daughter and his (equally mobbed up) ex-wife and her husband, and who finds a great deal of entertainment in poking a stick at Steve and the rest of the 5-0 task force.

This fic is very reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can and was apparently inspired by a White Collar fanfic, which means that it's really a whole lot of fun. Criminal life suits Danny; in this fic he's less bitter than in canon and his cross-legal-lines banter has just enough edge to give it some emotional impact. Rachel is even better: ruthless and witty and utterly awesome. Between the two of them and Gracie and Stan (both great -- yes, even Stan), Steve quickly finds himself outclassed and charmed despite himself. The end result is cute and deeply satisfying, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

This Thing of Ours (It Needs a Better Name)
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