Title: A Clear View of the Sea by hesychasm
Fandom: The Eagle of the Ninth (books and movie)
Pairing: Mostly Esca/Marcus, with some slight progress towards future OT3
Categories: angst, post-canon, miscommunication
Length: ~17,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
In preparation for Marcus's marriage to Cottia, he and Esca go to Marcus's new land and start to build a farm.

I have to admit, I've never read The Eagle of a Ninth, so I have no experience with canon!Cottia. Based on how she's portrayed in fanfic, however, she must've been one fantastic character, because she's utterly awesome in everything I've read that featured her. Frankly, the main reason for all the angst and drama in this story is the lack of Cottia, because if she'd been around, she would've gotten everyone straightened out right off the bat.

Fortunately for my angst-loving soul, there is no Cottia to knock some sense into the boys and thus they spend lots of time building the barn and not communicating in any useful fashion. I really enjoyed the details of the building of the farm from scratch (though building the villa seemed to be an awfully easy task) and I loved the increasingly fraught relationship between Esca and Marcus.

If people behaving rationally and talking openly about their feelings is your kink -- well, this is not the story for you. But if you're in the mood for angst and miscommunication, give this fic a shot.

A Clear View of the Sea
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: A Time to Forget by GatewayGirl
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry/Snape
Categories: post-canon, angst, amnesia
Length: ~25,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
While teaching at Hogwarts, Harry discovers a secret room. Inside that room is Snape, still alive but missing some very important memories.

I love how difficult it is to classify this story: on the one hand, Severus is younger than Harry and his mind is that of a teenager. On the other hand, there is no deaging involved -- Snape's just been in suspended animation for a couple of decades, while Harry caught up (and surpassed) him in age. And the mental deaging is a side effect of the amnesia, rather than him actually having the mind of a teeager.

All of this results in a story with some very unique moral and ethical implications as Harry and Severus interact with each other, especially as Severus's memory slowly starts to come back. You've also got some great interaction between Severus and the other students, as Snape's memories are no longer politically correct and he is, to some extent, still an adult.

I will admit that this story feels a little unbalanced -- the beginning (before Snape's awake) feels long, and the ending feels rushed. Compared to the sheer awesomeness that is a sorta-but-not-really teenage!Severus, however, that's a minor quibble. Mix in some great characterizations and fantastic writing, and you've got a wonderful Harry Potter fic for Snarry fans.

A Time to Forget
Title: Coffee May Be Hot by BlueMorpho
Fandom: Dead Zone
Pairing: Johnny/Bruce
Categories: humor, angst, virgin (to gay sex)
Length: ~22,000 words
Warnings: really, really bad sex

Review:
Starbucks is making Johnny gay. Or maybe it's just all of the sex-with-guys he's had in visions over the years. Either way, Bruce is looking pretty damn fine right now.

It's been a long time since I've seen the Dead Zone, so I can't promise that these characters are at all in character. That said, they're certainly entertaining characters, from Bruce's hysterical laid-backedness to Johnny's would-put-Woody-Allen-to-shame neuroses. I especially love Sarah, who is completely awesome, even when having to have The Talk with Johnny. Fair warning, though: when the sex comes, it's very, very bad. Which I sort of liked (too much sex in fanfic is blandly perfect), but must admit is sort of icky. Still, the end result is a fun ride, and there's even hope by the end that Johnny will one day have actual good sex. Eventually. Bruce willing.

Coffee May Be Hot
Title: On Feathers and Bacon Sandwiches by Kryptaria
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Pairing: Sherlock/John (asexually)
Categories: creature!fic, AU, supernatural, fluff, humor
Length: ~21,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
John's a demon. And compared to Hell, Sherlock Holmes wasn't really all that bad.

This is probably the fluffiest fic featuring a demon that I've ever read. I do have to admit that demon!John sounds a little more like Sherlock than actual!John, but the writing is good enough and the internal dialogue entertaining enough that I don't mind. Mix in some wing!porn (without sex) and a delightful subplot involving ducks, and you have a lovely story to while away an afternoon.

On Feathers and Bacon Sandwiches
Title: Odd Jobs Series by Betty and Emerald Woman
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Parker/Hardison, Parker/Hardison/Eliot
Categories: humor, case file, favorite
Length: ~18,000 words
Warnings: That rating is for one (IMO, over the top) scene of violence in The Cat-Burglar Job

Review:
When Parker decides that it's time to express her interest to Hardison, she goes to Eliot for help. (I'm so sorry, Eliot.)

The first story in this series, The Underwire Job, is far and away my favorite Leverage story of all time. Parker and Eliot are hysterical as they undertake the mission of Getting Hardison's Attention, especially Eliot, who is participating under protest (and, whenever possible, partially drunk). This story never fails to make me smile.

The other two stories in the series are also good, but not quite as flawless as The Underwire Job (I have to skip over that scene mentioned in the warning, as it makes me queasy, and House Rules is more a vignette than a story). Still, they're an enjoyable and satisfying extension of the universe and it's always fun to see the whole team go on a mission, as they do in The Cat-Burglar Job.

Odd Jobs Series
Title: The Crown of the Summer Court by astolat
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Categories: AU, action, drama, humor, fantasy, favorite
Length: ~24,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
A troop of elves comes to Camelot to pick their next king. (Uther is not pleased.) Turns out Merlin is in the running. (Uther is really, really not pleased.) And Arthur is his champion. (...Uther? Uther!)

This story isn't quite as silly as my summary would lead you to believe -- in fact, it's a damn good old school fantasy, full of challenges and intrigues and the aphrodisiac qualities of magic. The beauty of the story, though, and what truly makes it worth reading over and over again, is the fact that astolat doesn't take her premise or her plot too seriously, which results in a lot of banter, a lot of humor, and a truly engaging tale of bravery, sacrifice, and magic.

Reminiscent of season 1 Merlin (with a less dickish Arthur), The Crown of the Summer Court is a fantastically fun way to while away a few hours.

The Crown of the Summer Court
Title: Point of a Pistol by Giddygeek
Fandom: Person of Interest
Pairing: John/Harold
Categories: drama, action, case file
Length: ~25,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Root comes after Harold again and this time John's not taking it lying down.

Branching off of canon sometime during early season 2, this is a fun cat-and-mouse game between John and Root, with Harold providing technical support and enough trust issues to sink a boat. I really loved getting to see John being the clever one for once, and the developing relationship between John and Harold provides a nice focal point around which the action centers. An enjoyable story that (aside from the gay romance) could be an episode of the show and a perfect read for anyone in the mood for a Person of Interest style case file fic.

Point of a Pistol
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: 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
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: 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
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: 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: Disaster Stories by agatestones
Fandom: Suits
Pairing: Harvey/Mike
Categories: hurt/comfort, drama
Length: 22,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Mike's life as a series of environmental and personal disasters, and how they all turned out all right in the end.

For anyone who's watched Suits, it's probably not surprising that the fandom is heavily BDSM oriented. For better or worse, BDSM isn't really a kink of mine and, honestly, I find the power-inequality in canon to be a bit more than I really like, so I've been a bit wary of the fics. Thus I was really happy to find this little gem, in which Harvey is not quite as much of an asshole (or quite as invulnerable) as he is in canon and in most fic and Mike isn't quite as much of a spineless pushover as he is in most fic (though not so much in canon). Even better, both characters grow over the course of the story, as their relationship slowly and believably gets closer and as Mike comes to grips with his potential bisexuality in fits and starts. As a bonus, you get some extremely entertaining Donna scenes, and Rachel is simply phenomenal.

If you're in the mood for some non-D/s Suits fic or maybe just want to see Harvey Specter recovering from the flu (spoiler: he's a terrible patient), this is the story for you.

Disaster Stories
Title: Higher Education by Resonant
Fandom: Breakfast Club
Pairing: John Bender/Brian Johnson
Categories: post-canon, drama, favorite
Length: 15,200 words (story and coda)
Warnings: n/a

Review:
After dropping out of high school, John Bender has a whole lot of growing up to do. Just when he's finally gotten his feet firmly under him, Brian Johnson makes a surprise reappearance in his life.

This is one of my absolute favorite fanfics of all time and has inspired pretty much all of the Bender/Brian fic out there (of which there can never be enough). I'd never even considered the pairing (hell, I'd never even considered the fandom) till I stumbled on this fic and ever since I've been totally hooked. Resonant does a brilliant job of mapping the change from asshole!teenage!Bender to adult!John, using a sparse writing style that never gets bogged down in the incidentals, but which still spends just the right amount of time on all of the really good bits (read: any scene with Brian and John together). Mix in some interesting OCs, the wrapping up of just enough loose ends, and some really smoking hot sex, and you have an absolute must-read fic for anyone who likes good writing and brilliant characterization. Highly recommended.

Higher Education
Bare (coda)
Title: When All of New York City Misses You by leupagus and sutlers
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Pairing: Steve/Danny
Categories: angst, humor, hurt/comfort
Length: 15,400 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When Steve and Danny finally have sex, the last thing Danny expects it to wake up alone. The call from the governor informing him that Steve has been recalled to the military just makes it worse.

I tend to think of this story as the Star Trek: Reboot Hawaii Five-0 fic. Which isn't to say that it's a fusion or an AU (it's neither), but it has the same feel as the vast majority of ST:R fics: wackiness, humor, a bit of angst here and there, and some more wackiness. And while that style of writing has been way overdone in the ST:R fandom, it's rather novel in the Hawaii Five-0 fandom and is a very enjoyable contrast to the endless hurt/comfort banter fics out there. The ending isn't exactly what I was hoping for, but that's more than made up for by very good writing, the most put-upon OC ever (seriously, I would never want to join Five-0 if this is how they treat people), some very smoking smut, and some very lovely Steve/Danny scenes.

When All of New York City Misses You
Title: The Fast and the NBTs series by Jedi Buttercup
Fandom: The Fast and the Furious/Transformers (Bay 'verse)
Pairing: Brian/Dom
Categories: crossover, drama
Length: 22,000 words (so far)
Warnings: n/a

Review:
For reasons that don't really matter (and which, to be honest, I didn't really understand), Brian was in Mission City when Sam released that pulse of Allspark. Which means that, given enough time and motivation, he can fulfill the ultimate dream of car geeks everywhere: he can create his own Transformers.

A few notes up front: first, this series is apparently still in progress, though each story stands on its own. Second, unfortunately every story in the series thus far has had a bizarrely rushed and abrupt ending. Third, there's a lot of references to the movies of both franchises and if you haven't seen the movies (or if, like me, they went right out of your mind the moment you left the theater) you might be a bit confused.

Normally I wouldn't rec a fic with this many caveats, but this is one of those rare cases where the premise is good enough to carry a story (or a series of stories) despite the fics' flaws. Brian's transforming talent is positively inspired and the Transformer OCs he creates are both adorable and wonderfully unique personalities. Honestly, I'm reccing the story for them, because they're likable enough that even with the rushed endings and the random movie exposition, I wanted more stories so I could see more of the various Transformers Brian has created. Mix in solid characterizations for Mia and Dom, some cute Rome family connections, and cameos from nearly every other Fast and Furious secondary character and you have a fun, light, entertaining set of stories.

The Fast and the NBTs series
Title: Ordinary Life by Shalott and Speranza
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Categories: action, drama
Length: 20,200 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
On their first trip back to Earth, Rodney picks up a cushy consulting gig and John tails along for the free perks. Pity things don't go quite to plan.

I don't read much SGA fic these days, but I'm making my way through my old possible recs folder and came up with this fun first-time fic, full of action and humor and John in a speedo. It's a joint venture by Shalott (aka astolat) and Speranza, so you know it's well-written and the characters are vividly drawn. Mix in some some light-hearted relationship sorta-angst (seriously, I almost gave this a 'fluff' tag), John and Rodney being treated to lots of exotic and upscale goodies, and an action-packed climax and you have a light but very enjoyable and satisfying read.

Ordinary Life
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