I am hoping you can help me with something.
See, our beloved Philips plays-anything DVD player experienced serious trauma in the move. (Well, we all did.) Now it just sits there with its power light blinking red, and nothing we can do will make it open or play. We've given it time to heal, largely because I hate hate hate replacing things, but it hasn't gotten better, so - what is the current fannish DVD player? The one that plays the most formats, and so on? What do you folks have and love? (That can currently be purchased, I mean.)
Now, onto the recs. Once again, it's long stories. (Parenthood and breastfeeding have really changed the way I'm reading; since I only managed to read fan fiction on the Kindle, and I tend to Kindle mostly longer things, that's what I end up reading. Someday, presumably, there will be more variety here, but you'll have to take that up with the earthling.)
The One with Extra Vulcan Goodness. So Wise We Grow, by captanddeastar. Star Trek Reboot, Jim T. Kirk/Spock.
Okay, I will admit it. I am unabashed lover of epic kidfic. But my standards for kidfic went way, way up during pregnancy. (True fact: at one point, in around my eighth month, I snarled at the screen, "That is NOT how it happens, and that is NOT medically accurate, and also -" and then I realized I was criticizing the medical realism of MPREG. People who tell you pregnancy makes you crazy probably aren't thinking of this moment, but they should be.) And then they skyrocketed again after I was living my own version of kidfic, complete with earthling. So I now approach kidfic with joy and trepidation, because either it's going to make me happy all day long or it's going to make me write yet another lengthy mental post entitled Pregnancy and Childrearing: Actual Facts, Because You Seem Not to Have Any Even Though the Internet Is Totally Full of Them.
This one fell squarely into the "happy all day long" category. And in a rather unusual way, too. See, okay - most kidfic starts from one of two places: either a new baby, via MPreg or alien/divine/future/magical intervention, or a (gasp!) woman, whatever, or a kid still firmly in what I think of as the Era of Cuteness. This story starts out with a kid in the Era of Snottiness, and I just love that. (Partly this is because I have a nephew who has just embarked on the Era of Snottiness, and I have so much enjoyed seeing him discover sarcasm and obstructive literalism and eye-rolling and various gestures behind my sister's back. I imagine I will love this age much less when the earthling gets there, but for right now, it's comedy gold.)
And I also love (we're back to the story again) Jim and Spock, getting it backwards as usual. (First comes baby, then comes marriage, then comes love: I am pretty sure that is not how it usually goes, guys! But then, being captain of the whole fucking ship doesn't usually come at the start of one's career, either, so I am guessing they're used to inverting these things. They'd probably be all shocked if they actually did something like other people for once.) And I love how they fuck up, and also get things right, and how they get it all figured out in the end.
Most of all, I just really, really love seeing Jim Kirk dealing with TWO snotty Vulcans. I cannot think of anything better than that.
The One Where Ray Totally Calls Fraser on His Bullshit. More People Need to Do That! A Moment of Insight, by cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.
Did I really not recommend this before? That hardly seems possible, and yet LJ Archive insists that it is so. In which case, I really have to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. Because this story is so very marvelous, and I re-read it regularly, and yet somehow I failed to mention that fact to you. Maybe I assumed you all knew about it, but if so, I am sure I assumed wrong. (If I've learned one thing on the internet - besides "never click without first seeing where the link goes, especially if the link text is something like HA HA HA" - it's that there is always someone who hasn't seen it, someone staring at the screen thinking, but what's a LOLcat? Often that person is me. Although I do know what LOLcats are, thank god.)
I can't take the risk that there is someone out there who is looking for a good, long story, or a good dS story, or just a story involving hotel rooms in middle America (and if you think there isn't someone looking for that last one, watch a few storyfinders communities - there is always someone looking for a story involving, like, eye infections, or learning to stand on your head, or French-Canadian pastries, things like that.)
So. What we have here is:
- Ray and Fraser. (A good way to start! Years of happiness started that way for me.)
- Trapped in a hotel room. (I think we can all agree that this is a fundamentally excellent plot development in virtually all fandoms, and before you argue, consider: Buffy and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! Hercules and Iolaus, trapped in a hotel room! Reboot Kirk and Methos, trapped in a hotel room!)
- Engaged in sex and case-solving, and, really, what could be better? (Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the bad guys, and don't actually fuck or flirt or have a moment of relationship-defining staring or whatever. This is funny because I love gen fan fiction and almost never have that problem there, but then, fan fiction writers actually know when they're writing slash, most of the time; pro writers often don't.)
The One Where We Learn About the Persistence of Pizza. In the Memory, I Mean. Forget Me Not, by maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.
I love amnesia. I just - I really do. (When it happens to fictional people, I mean.) Someone on my friends list was talking about her incredible folly of starting a story with everyone with amnesia and lost in the dark, and I was like: that is an awesome idea. I would love to read that! What's wrong with starting out with everyone amnesiac and lost in the dark?
(Answer: hard to write. Apparently. Whatever.)
I'm not sure what I love more about amnesia - that you get to see everyone without their internal history (who I am, where I hurt, what I've learned) or that you get to see folks interacting without their interpersonal history (who you are, what we fight about, why I like you). Fortunately, in this story, I don't have to choose. Because, okay, Rodney and John may not be lost in the dark, but they definitely both have amnesia. And they're in an unfamiliar world. And not only do they stay that way a good long time, but John gets extra amnesia, which is, obviously, extra awesome. (Also just like him - always taking the largest share of the pie, as long as the pie is made of pain, suffering, time on his knees, or emotional maladjustment!)
I love watching them renegotiate their relationships when they're missing most of the pieces of the puzzle, and figure out what the hell is going on, and deal with the circumstances of their capture. And, equally, I love watching them manage the little stuff - like, they have to reinvent pizza and ice cream and coffee. I think we can all agree that would be a major priority for anyone stuck on an unfamiliar world. (I'm only surprised they didn't reinvent Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seems like every American who goes to a distant land sends back pathetic pleas for suitcases full of Kraft. Even when they did not eat it at all in the US.)
Basically, this story takes two classic fan fiction tropes (Imprisonment! Amnesia!) and does them up right, in an intensely satisfying story that I re-read at least four times a year.
(Note for readers who happen to be best_beloved: Yes, maisierita also wrote that one really sad story. This one is not sad. Authors are allowed to have many facets. READ THIS. You will like it, I swear.)
The One That Will Cause Anyone Who Routinely Drives in Los Angeles to Spend a Lot of Time Imagining the Commute and Sigalerts on This Day. Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, by Annie D., aka scaramouche. Die Hard 4 x Speed, John McClane/Matt Farrell.
No, I am not recommending this one just because I spend a suspiciously large part of my life singing this song. That is just a bonus. (Although I am kind of sad that there won't be a sequel, because that so obviously would be titled Row Row Row Your Boat.)
Here's the thing: I have never seen Die Hard 4, although I am fairly sure I can fill in many of the blanks. (John McClane is manly and kicks some bad guy ass, for example.) And I actually have seen Speed, but I realized, while reading this story, that I don't really remember it. What I remember is, like, the movie trailer version of it. I remember the central plot device - the bus thing, of course - and a few snippets of dialog and some of the characters. (I think my brain has even set this memory to stirring instrumental music, and prefaced it with a ratings screen.) And I very clearly remember thinking at one point, wow, this movie really needed to end about 20 minutes ago. But I don't actually remember, like, who the bad guy was, or, um, the plot - things like that.
I do not regret this at all, because I am just going to pretend, for the rest of my life, that both Speed and Die Hard 4 went exactly like this story. It has everything I want from an action movie - ass-kicking! Wise-cracking! Manliness! Injuries! Inexplicably well-equipped bad guys who, in reality, would just make several billion dollars looting hedge funds and then buy a tropical island, which would in any case be easier than their nefarious plans! Kissing!
But this story is better than most action movies I can remember, and certainly better than all the ones I can't.
Also, the kissing is between the two main dudes, and I don't think I'm going to be seeing that in a big-budget action movie any time soon. Thank you, Annie D, for giving me everything I want in an action movie. Without even requiring me to hire a babysitter.