Title: No Refunds or Exchanges by astolat
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Rodney/John
Categories: AU, angst, humor, virgin (to gay sex), fluff, favorite
Length: ~10,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Rodney McKay's apartment on Atlantis is an absolute mess and Jeannie *refuses* to come play maid. What other option is there than a mail-order bride? What he gets is John Sheppard. (AU, obviously.)

This is one of my most reliable go-to fics if I need a pick me up. Astolat's dialogue sparkles, as always, and the story is the perfect length to sustain the ridiculous (and utterly awesome) plot. I especially love the way that she manages to convey John's thoughts even though the story is from Rodney's POV (and Rodney, himself, is clueless).

Fluffy and fun with just enough angst to keep things interesting, this is one of my favorite SGA fics of all time.

No Refunds or Exchanges
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: Proverbial Trees by unadrift
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey/Nathan/Duke
Categories: angst, drama
Length: ~10,000 words
Warnings: set early Season 2, so inherently AU

Review:
Partially due to a few troubling incidents, Nathan, Audrey, and Duke get it on. And then Nathan freaks. Because he's Nathan.

I'm always a fan of the path to true love being rocky and full of potholes, and there's no bigger pothole than Nathan finding himself caught up in a (rather successful, actually) threesome. If you're a fan of denial stories and/or someone being dense (but ultimately finding a happy ending), give this one a shot.

Proverbial Trees
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
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: 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: 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
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: a day too early (still a couple dollars short) by thatotherperv
Fandom: Suits
Pairing: Mike/Harvey
Categories: AU, drama
Length: 11,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Instead of meeting Mike at the associates interviews at the hotel, Harvey is served by him at a restaurant. The subsequent hook-up was supposed to be the end of it, but in reality it's just the beginning.

I have a confession: I just can't see the point of most AUs in the Suits fandom. So much of what makes the show interesting is tied up in Harvey and Mike's interactions within the high pressure, fast-paced world of law (complicated, of course, by Mike's past and their shared secret) and you just can't get those interactions when they're two random men who happen to meet on the street (and, honestly, the entire cast of characters is vastly too driven and ambitious to be believably transplanted into, say, a grocery store or a coffee shop).

The exceptions to the rule, at least for me, are fics that are just ever-so-slightly AU. Like story fic, which does a brilliant job of changing just one small aspect of canon (where Mike and Harvey meet) and then exploring the altered character dynamics that result. It's extremely well done, too -- both Mike and Harvey are very much in character and the progression of their relationship from one night stand to something more is very believable. Best of all, the author manages to incorporate the feel of the canon interactions without the story being strictly within the canon universe (yes, even the D/s elements -- the fic is clearly heading into kinky territory post-story).

If you're looking for a full-AU, this probably isn't the fic for you. However, if you like What If? scenarios and the idea of Mike and Harvey exploring their relationship without the whole "Harvey is the boss" aspect, give this fic a try.

a day too early (still a couple dollars short)
Title: Everything's Better with Bunnies by khilari and Persephone_Kore
Fandom: Thor
Pairing: gen
Categories: crack, humor, angst
Length: 12,700 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Authors' summary: "When frightened or stressed, Loki transforms into a bunny and sometimes he needs to be cuddled to calm down enough to turn back. Unfortunately, the events of the movie are extremely stressful."

I passed on reccing this the first time I read it, because... well, because it features a Loki who turns into a bunny. Besides, I figured that if the Thor fandom is churning out well-written and interesting Loki is a bunny fics, the non-cracky fics must be phenomenal.

Since then, however, I've found that well-written and interesting Thor fics are not quite as plentiful as I'd hoped and none of the fics I've read so far are anything near as entertaining and engaging as this story. Khilari and Persephone_Kore have done a brilliant job of taking a premise that should, by all accounts, be pure crack and giving it a gravitas and sincere realism that manages to surpass the movie. If anything, having Loki randomly turn into a rabbit gives him more reason for the actions of the movie, because unlike in the movie (where he doesn't find out about his origins until part of the way through), in this story he has a reason going in for feeling outcast and different.

I will say that this story does hinge a little too much on the movie's plot, but it makes up for it with its latter half which takes place after the end of the movie and which explores how Loki might've felt if he'd survived to face the consequences of what he'd done. Even better, nearly every single Asgard character makes an appearance so you get to see Loki truly owning up to his mistakes.

All in all, if you're looking for a serious, interesting, and entertaining Loki character study (and can either overlook the bunny thing or, even better, embrace it), this is the fic for you.

Everything's Better with Bunnies
Title: What Partners Do by cheride
Fandom: White Collar
Pairing: gen
Categories: drama
Length: 10,700 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Set in season one, Neal slips his anklet. Peter, despite his better judgment, decides to go after him on his own. Some much-needed communication ensues.

This isn't my usual cup of White Collar tea. Elizabeth doesn't make an appearance, for one, and there isn't even a hint of UST. What this fic does offer, however, is Peter and Neal having some long talks about honesty and trust that I always wished had happened on the show but never did. As a bonus, Neal confronts the Kate issue! (I should note that some parts of this story might be considered out of character based on later events, but for S1 it is definitely in character.)

It's hard to say who would enjoy this fic the most. If you like well-written fics with trust issues (realistic ones, not the overly contrived nonsense from the current season) and/or just like it when two characters actually talk to each other, this is a good fic for you.

What Partners Do
Title: The Substance of Things Hoped For by vega rin
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: gen
Categories: angst, hurt/comfort
Length: 7,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
While chasing a Troubled serial killer, Nathan and Audrey end up stranded in the middle of the snowy woods on a very, very cold night.

There isn't much Haven fic out there, and the majority of what I have found has been very middling. Not so this fic, which is beautifully written, has tone-perfect Audrey and Nathan voices, and manages to incorporate an unusual and quite intriguing Trouble. There's also a stab at creating a mythology for the show's central mystery (namely: who, what, and why is Audrey Parker) that gives readers something to think about.

If you've found yourself stuck in the mire of mediocre Haven fic, give this fic a try. It's definitely the best of the fics I've read so far in the fandom.

The Substance of Things Hoped For
Title: The Green Light Job by LithiumDoll
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: gen
Categories: casefile, action
Length: 14,200 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When a good (albeit naive) man gets set up as the Mob's fall guy, the Leverage team steps in to help him. The end result: Eliot in prison, Parker playing a prison guard (!), and Nate wearing a feather boa. How could this possibly go wrong?

It's been a while since I've found Leverage fic I liked enough to finish, so I was happy to discover this intriguing casefile fic. I will say that two of the three flashbacks in the story are unnecessary, but otherwise this is a very solid fic that could very easily have been pulled straight from the show, with a good plot and some fun twists and turns. Full of team respect, humor, action, and drama, this is a fun story for anyone who has been craving a bit more Leverage team!fic.

The Green Light Job
Title: The Snow Queen by Doyle
Fandom: Angel (with Buffy universe cameos)
Pairing: gen, with flirting
Categories: action, casefile
Length: 13,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Set after Doyle dies and before Gunn joins the team as a regular member. When Angel and Wes are abducted at a simple rescue gone wrong, it's up to Cordelia (and her mad recruiting powers) to save the day.

As I'm not a huge fan of brooding vampires (be they of the Angel variety or the Spike variety), I don't read much Buffy 'verse fics. Fortunately, this fic features neither, as it's all about Cordelia and her delightfully practical approach to saving the day. Between her superpower (bitchiness), Gunn (even more awesome than in canon), and the Buffsters (elevating squabbling to an art form, heh) you have a fun, fast-paced fic that could (and absolutely should) have been an episode of the show.

The Snow Queen
Title: Head Wounds Are Only Part of the Package by everysecondtuesday
Fandom: Psych
Pairing: Shawn/Gus
Categories: drama, humor
Length: 11,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Gus gets a girlfriend. Shawn gets jealous.

It's been a while since I've read a Psych fic I really liked and even longer since I've read a Shawn/Gus fic, so I was thrilled to stumble on this gem. Tuesday does a brilliant job with both Gus and Shawn's characterizations and provides hilarious cameos from Henry and Juliet. Where this story really shines, however, is with Gus's girlfriend Kim, who I liked so much that I was prepared to be very indignant on her behalf during the inevitable breakup. Fortunately Tuesday handles the situation deftly and the result is a perfect Psych ending. Surprisingly sweet and lots of fun, this is a ideal choice for both established Gus/Shawn fans and for folks who are trying the pairing for the first time.

Head Wounds Are Only Part of the Package
Title: Lock and Keys by Emma DeMarais
Fandom: Burn Notice
Pairing: gen
Categories: casefile
Length: 7,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When a friend of Barry the money launderer gets abducted by a human trafficker, Michael, Sam, and Fiona are tasked with rescuing her.

This is a meat and potatoes fic, with good writing and an interesting (if a bit thin) plot. The characterizations are why I'm reccing this fic; all three members of the team are spot on, with Fiona a special standout. Though I gotta say my favorite bit is when Sam goes undercover as a "puppy". A solid casefile.

Lock and Keys
Title: Jeeves and the Literary Gifts by triedunture
Fandom: Jeeves and Wooster
Pairing: Bertie/Jeeves
Categories: angst
Length: 13,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Jeeves stumbles across a bit of Victorian slash and becomes obsessed with finding the author. Hm. Who do we know in the J&W universe who is a writer?

I'll warn you in advance that this fic has a slightly bittersweet ending; technically it's happy, but the last scene is emotional and a bit painful and that's the feeling I took away from the story. At the same time, that's the reason why I'm reccing this fic: as much as I like the happy-go-lucky world of Bertie Wooster, I also enjoy stories that acknowledge the challenges for gay men (and women) of that time period. The end result is a fic that is a bit more intense than most J&W stories, and that's what makes it so satisfying.

Jeeves and the Literary Gifts (pt. 1) (pt. 2)
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