Okay. So. Two years ago, for reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I re-watched Top Gun. I had not seen that movie in a long, long time. It, um, looked a lot different the second time around. (This resulted, by the way, in a never-posted Top Gun recap that would probably have broken the LJ post character limit, and 30% of those characters were along the lines of "RANDOM GAY VOLLEYBALL PORN OH MY GOD ARE THEY FUCKING KIDDING?")
Anyway. My point is: this is the story for that movie. This is what they were working towards the whole movie, even if they didn't know it (although, Jesus - how could they NOT know, given all that random gay porn?). This is the only story you need to read for this fandom. Although I myself would not mind several thousand more stories exploring the really gay, not really subtext of Top Gun, but my point is: if we never get them, that's fine; we can still file this fandom in the box marked "done," thanks to this story alone.
This is also a story you can totally read if you've never seen the movie. I will provide you with a summary, in case you need it. Spoilers, obviously.
Maverick: Hi, I am a Navy pilot, and I am just totally awesome. People cannot even get over how awesome I am. I sure can't get over it, because I am such hot shit my ass routinely catches on fire. Hey, would you like my autograph? Yeah, that'll be fifty bucks.
Goose: I am Maverick's gunner or wingman or something, and he's, yeah, fairly awesome. I am a nice guy who has a lovely wife and adorable small children. This is usually a terminal condition in an action movie. Just, you know. FYI.
Iceman: I am also a pilot. And, Maverick, sometimes when your ass is on fire, it's because someone is beating it. That person would be me.
Charlie: I am the token girl. I have a Ph.D. and a desire to fuck one of my students! And, mmmm, I love the taste of arrogance in the morning. Now, who shall I pick?
[Painful singing interlude.]
Charlie: I choose you, Pikachu! I mean, Maverick!
Maverick: Yay. And yet - Iceman - I must - um, engage in conflict with him. Yes. Conflict.
Iceman: You're not hot enough or good enough to engage with me, boyo. Just stand there and let me stare at you.
[Random gay volleyball porn.]
Iceman: Maverick, you piss me off so much that I need to punch you just so I can feel my skin against yours.
Maverick: YES, BABY, YES. Fuck - I mean punch - me harder.
Iceman: I win the competition we were having to be the best Navy pilot in all the land!
Maverick: PUNCH ME HARDER. I mean. Um. Yeah, you win. But I have Become a Man! In all senses of the word! Oh, god, YES.
Charlie: ...Wasn't I supposed to be the love interest?
Goose: *remains dead*
The One That Teaches Us That Brain Parasites Can Be an Effective Therapy. (Don't Try This in the Real World, Though.) Tongues of Men and Angels, by mad_maudlin. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.
Okay. I have - a thing. The Goa'uld make me want to CLAW MY SKIN OFF. Just, you know, preemptively. In case they turn out to be real. And yet. This story, for me, is alllll about a relationship, and it's not the McKay/Sheppard one. (Not that I am not bang alongside the McKay/Sheppard one, of course. I enjoy it! I am pleased it is here! But it is not the centerpiece of the story for me.)
Because this is a non-Atlantis AU, and there are Tok'ra in it, and this, for me, is about what being a Tok'ra is like. It's about the relationship between Tok'ra and host, and it's the first story I've ever read that made me believe the Tok'ra might be more than just Goa'uld with slightly (slightly!) better press. I actually like the Tok'ra, as they are portrayed here. Okay. A few of them. But that is a huge thing for someone who is as mind-controlling-parasite averse as I am!
But this story is 60k words of gateversey goodness, so it is also a fantastic action piece, and it has great hurt/comfort, and some very nice bits for SG1, and engineering, and sarcasm, and, just, everything I want from an SGA story (except Go-playing ghosts and John and Rodney turned into seahorses who are disturbed to discover that MPreg is their new canon, because no SGA story can be absolutely everything). In fact, this story probably also makes perfect toast and can bring rain to parched lands. It's that good, people.
And it's amazing to me, because it's a happy ending for John and Rodney that doesn't involve Atlantis, and the thing is - I always kind of assumed that there wasn't a happy ending for them that didn't involve Atlantis, largely because, well, it seemed like they had had that relationship conversation with earth. You know, the one that goes, "It's not you, it's me. It's just - we don't feel the same way, and we want different things, and - yeah. I mean. I care. I do. But it's not working out." (In Rodney's case, he'd be the one saying this. In John's case, it'd be earth.) So I am frankly stunned that mad_maudlin could use the guys as, you know, roughly the same people (and not seahorses or circus performers or satellites or whatever) and find them a happy ending that does not involve a certain imaginary flying city.
Anyway. Read this. It's awesome.
The One with the Most Nearly-Literal Slave Collar I've Yet Seen That Is Canonical. Did the Canon Writers Notice This? Were They Paying Attention? Figure It Out, by lightgetsin. White Collar, Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey.
Okay. I do not know from White Collar. I'm at that stage where I have to check IMDb to find out what the full names of the characters are. Usually, at this stage, I have about a one-sentence summary of the fandom in my head, but in this case, I don't. Instead, I have a picture.
Anyway. Like I said, I don't know from White Collar, but based on this story, if the DVDs were available, I would totally have Best Beloved watching it already. I might even be watching an episode myself (although that is unlikely, what with my current Kirk and Spock issues - but the very fact that I, deep in this weird TOSian fever, am willing to consider watching something else is significant). Because the characters are awesome, the concept is deeply appealing, and the dialog is first rate. In the story, I mean. My primary concern, if I had Best Beloved watch this, would be that the canon might not measure up to the fan fiction. This has happened before.
But, oh, it would almost be worth it, to know these three people better. Plus, you know, other people. I am sure there are other people in the show worth knowing. Probably.
So, this story - well. It is about Neal (conman!) and Peter (conman-catcher!) and Elizabeth (person who catches the conman-catcher!) and their really pure true love. But what I mostly love about it are the central questions it seems to ask, which is - how do you trust someone whose whole life has been built around making people trust him even though he's not, you know, actually trustworthy? How do you love someone whose job it is to make people love him? (And I would just like to note that it is awesome that for once the person whose job it is to make people love him is not a prostitute.) And exactly what happens when what is holding you together goes away?
(SECRET HINT: Sex! And PURE TRUE LOVE. And, knowing these three, someone (Neal) getting tied to something. But that's just my guess.)
The One Where We Learn That Even Logic Crumbles in the Face of a Really Short Skirt. Listening to Hear Where You Are, by frostfire_17. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/Spock/Nyota Uhura.
Sooooo. As some of you may be aware, I have recently had my brain taken over by Star Trek: TOS. And Reboot. Anything with a Spock, basically. (This is a painful process, but I am told that eventually I may regain the ability to speak in complete sentences, so I am trying to be strong. And you should all give Best Beloved massive, massive love for standing by me through it.) And, see, my TOS obsession makes this story even better (although I'm going to be honest here and say a) it did not need to be made even better and b) Frostfire may be liable for various damages to readers' brains for the stunning level of betterness in this story even without TOS as a point of reference), because now I have seen the women's uniforms that are the centerpiece of this, and, well.
Look at some of the images Frost linked to in her notes.
Okay. Now picture that outfit on Reboot Kirk. (In a fetching shade of gold, naturally). Yeah, I thought that would get your attention. Because, let's be honest here - Kirk was born to wear that dress. And Spock and Uhura were born to fuck him senseless in it.
Seriously, this is like 8k words of fantastic threesome porn, which is all by itself a reason to love the story, but what I really love, here, is how in character everyone is. This is an awesome Uhura, an awesome Spock, and a Jim Kirk in a dress. (Which is, obviously, the definition of awesome.)
And it's also an awesome use of a costume that actually made my jaw drop the first time I saw it in action, because holy shit that is a short dress. (Usually the argument against skirts on people in space is that if there's an artificial gravity failure, the wearer will end up with a skirt in the face. Let's just say that is not a problem here, since in the event of a gravity failure, this skirt will look exactly the same.) This story made me love the uniform a lot more than I previously did.
Also, did I mention the threesome porn?
The One to Read to Remind Yourself It Could Always Be Worse: You Could Be Spending the Holiday of Your Choice with the U.S. Congress. Die Hard 4.5: I'll Be Hard for Christmas, by Aja, aka bookshop (thanks to multiple people!). Live Free or Die Hard, Matt Farrell/John McClane.
I'm going to just pause for a minute so you can let the awesomeness of the title wash over you. Pause - pause - pause. Are you ready? Let's move on.
So, I think the title alone is sufficient reason to convince anyone, including people who haven't seen the movie (me!) and people who sometimes fantasize about punching Bruce Willis in the teeth (hardly me at all, anymore), to read this story, but I have more reasons even than that.
Like, okay, obviously I haven't seen the movie, but I always think the aftermath of action movies would be so much more interesting than the part where our hero blows something up and our villain meets his graphic end, often more than once. What happens when our hero stands up in the wreckage of a major American city, tosses aside his rebar, and goes back to work the next day? (Or, okay, six to eight weeks later, to allow for healing.) And that's what this story is about.
I also have to note that this story has the most wonderful original character ever. (At least, I'm assuming he's original. If he's a stealth crossover from somewhere, please god tell me where.) I don't know when I last met a character who could pack so much world-weary, cynical snark into a single sentence. Every bit of this story that he's in is awesome, and I would totally read a large number of stories in the Amit Sasses Washington fandom, or whatever it would be called.
Plus, you know, there's a whole thing where Matt and John find love in the midst of briefings and Congressional meetings, which has to be a first. (At least, it's a first in that no one was prosecuted or lost a major election afterwards.)
And there's a fivethirtyeight.com reference. Seriously, there's something here for every fan, except possibly those who hate happiness and good sex.