You people have a deft hand with the AU, and I love you for it. It's not just that I could count on virtually every author I love to get a supernormal powers AU (the kind the published author failed failed failed at) exactly right; it's that most of you have already gotten it right, and then graduated to things like random inanimate objects or apocalypses or everyone is one inch high and lives in the walls of a castle AUs.
So here I celebrate two of my very favorite kinds of AUs: the kind where someone is a robot, and the kind where they all have different jobs. Yay AUs! That are written by people who know how to write them!
The One with Baby Robots. Baaaaaaaby Robots. Why Is There Not a Community Dedicated to Pictures of Baaaaaaaby Robots? Muscle and Blood and Skin and Bones, by Leah, one half of leahwoof. Stargate: Atlantis, mostly gen with background John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.
I have a well-documented, possibly unholy fondness for robots. Particularly for turning characters into robots. Not like the Buffybot, though. No. More just like - what if John Sheppard was really a robot? What if Rodney McKay was? (And, huh. I don't think I've seen any Rodney is a robot stories. Am I just forgetting some? He has a brain like a computer! What if it WAS a computer?) So, of course, I've already recommended Male Enhancement (The Soul and the Company Store Remix). And this story is a sequel to that one.
But, oh, it's so much more. Because this is the story of how John and Cameron grew from little bitty boxes with treads to be, you know, Real Boys. I love Lorne in this, I love the background of it, and I just insanely love the Johnbot and the Cambot. I actually re-read this story far more often than I re-read The Soul and the Company Store, because it makes my heart swell with happiness.
And, see, I never really wanted to see John Sheppard or Cameron Mitchell as human babies. But as robot babies, they are so insanely cute that I just cannot even deal with it. (Possibly this says something bad about me, that I find robot babies cuter than human babies. But I would submit, in my defense, that a) that's not true in all cases - I find the earthling indescribably cute - and b) I'm pretty sure John WAS a robot baby, so I'm just going with what nature intended.)
The One Featuring an Uther Pendragon Who Is Clearly Closely Related to Lionel Luthor, and, Wow, Isn't That a Terrifying Crossover Waiting to Happen? We're a Storm in Somebody Else's Teacup, by paperclipbitch. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon.
So, I know that all of Merlin fandom was asquee about this story, but I found it totally randomly. I saw the link from the Merlin newsletter while I was looking for stories to Kindle, clicked through, and saw this line:
Merlin meets Morgana Le Fay at a support group for People With Freaky Unnatural Powers.
And I thought, yeah, I'd like to read that.
This turned out to be one of my more fortunate snap decisions, because this is - I don't know how to describe it, even. It's utterly addicting - I read it on my Kindle while the earthling was nursing, and I found myself desperately hoping he would eat for just a few more minutes, because I had to know what happened next. (I think, if I'd been reading this as it was posted, the wait would have killed me.) I was entirely caught up! I cared immensely about these characters and their lives and their decisions and their hair and their coffee table books!
It was a total immersion story experience. I loved it.
This was one of the earliest stories I read in the fandom, and I'm just lucky that it didn't set my expectations so high that I spent the next month reading Merlin stories with an expression of spoiled disappointment on my face.
Anyway. This is a modern Merlin AU. (Side note: why do modern Merlin AUs so frequently feature a Merlin hitting the coffee so hard you expect his eyebrows to zing off his face? Is this canon or something? I mean, they have tomatoes. I guess they could have coffee. Although that's veering perilously close to, like, Post-It notes and Gaius as a first generation hacker with punch cards and - wait. Is there a Merlin hacker AU? If not, why not?) There are powers! There is drama! There are action sequences and love scenes! But that's all beside the point. The fact is, each sentence is laced with undetectable but extremely savory and instantly addictive glee. Read it.