The One in Which We Learn That You Can Put a Boy in a Monastery, but You Sure Can't Make Him Pure and Innocent. At Least Not Once a Fan Fiction Writer Gets Hold of Him. Patience, a Steady Hand, by helenish. Inception, Arthur/Eames.
Okay, I will be honest: slavefic is not for me. I am the person who gets 2,000 words into a 100,000 epic slavefic, reaches the part where someone is wearing leather pants, and wanders off to find a different trope to read. I am in no way judging slavefic as a trope! I am sure it is awesome, and my inability to bond with it is entirely a failing of mine. I just prefer to spend my tropeish reading hours with other types of AUs.
Having said that, people, this is awesome. Partly that's because Helen does not skip over either the realities of Viking life (hard, and also cold) or of slavery (hard, and also awful). I mean, okay, yes, the slave does fall for the owner in this one, but at least he has issues with it. Also, Arthur is an extremely nice slave-owner, as Viking berserker slave-owners go (because I am acquainted with so very many, yes indeed, there's one living down the street from us, even; I try not to judge), but he's still kind of a bastard. This works for me.
But most of all, this story works for me because helenish is magic. As she was writing this, I was gazing at the updates with a sort of wistfulness, because, yes, I knew I would read it - she could write a story in which Arthur is a fairy with sparkling purple wings that shed time-altering fairy dust and Eames is a dark elf with tattoo magic powers and I would read it. (Although actually that's a bad example, because of course now I am considering this, and trying to figure out if it would work, and developing a system of tattoo magic. Don't let this happen to you, people: Hypothetical examples are not your friends.) Anyway, my point is, while I knew I would read it, I couldn't really summon up a lot of excitement for Viking slavefic. It just didn't sound gripping.
I was absolutely wrong. This story is so gripping. And so awesome. And I love it. Even though there is not an ounce of magical fairy dust anywhere. Except for whatever went into the creation of the story, of course. (Probably helenish snorts magical fairy dust! It would explain her terrifying writing powers.)
The One in Which We Learn that Hawai'i's Criminal Element Is, Frankly, Tragically Bad at Pickup Lines. I Can Only Hope That Law-Abiding Hawai'ians Are Cooler with the Lines. All the Girls out on the Stoop, by mirabellafic. Hawaii Five-0, Danny Williams/Steve McGarrett.
I have been reading Hawaii Five-O. (And can anyone tell me, just to ease my pain a little, if it is Five-Zero or Five-Letter-O? That has been making me crazy, and while I think it's five-zero, there is no way to know for sure. Also, if it's a zero, then why is the five spelled out but the zero not? These things keep me awake at night.) I mean, I think everyone has; it is in the part of the fandom cycle where it's kind of like that kudzu you planted in your backyard last year (although it is, for the record, way more fun to read than kudzu). And I tell you what; as I read and figured out who the characters are and tried to determine what relationship this particular universe's police officers have to ours (my conclusion is that I really hope it's no relationship at all), never once did I think that what I really needed was a story in which Danny is part Veela.
I don't know why I didn't think that. I mean, I was looking hopefully for other common AUs. (Surely there is a werewolf AU, so why haven't I found it yet? And some kind of Harlequin-type AU? And while we're at it, where is the high school AU? They aren't my favorite, mostly, but I just can't feel at peace until I have located a few high school AUs. They make a fandom feel like home.) Obviously, I am just not as brilliant as mirabellafic.
Because Danny as a Veela is exactly what I wanted to read, as it turns out. And this story has it all. The burdens of being part Veela in this day and age! Modern ways to cope with mating cycles! The in-depth exploration of the appropriate office etiquette when you discover that one of your co-workers is only partly human (come on, you've suspected it, it would explain so much) and has to fuck your boss or die (probably this part you haven't so much suspected, I'm hoping)! Okay, no, not really, but this story is really damn funny, and it has a part-Veela Danny Williams in it. In heat. I can't imagine you'd need any further reasons to read this.
The One in Which We Get to Watch Two Experts at Wiping out Wipe Each Other Out. In an Entirely Different Way, I Mean. It Takes One to Know One, by Bone, aka bone. Point Break x The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Johnny Utah, although not in a way that will seriously break up anyone's OTPs.
There are some things you can only really comfortably say in the company of slash fans, and this is one of them: I watched Point Break - not when it came out, but years after it was released, and by my own free will. There. I've said it. I'm not ashamed.
It was an interesting experience on many levels. It was one of those deals where you can't stop watching or reading something even though it is, objectively, really really bad, simply because it is also so slashy you can't help thinking that if you hang in there eventually these guys will stop staring at each other and just fuck right there on the beach. It was also eerily reminiscent of The Fast and the Furious, to the point where I sort of suspected the screenwriter of TFatF loved Point Break, watched it all the damn time, and just wished - dreamed! - he could one day write something that good. But something maybe a little cooler. I know! Race cars instead of surfing!
So while I was watching Point Break, in the few moments when I was not being astonished at how much Johnny Utah wanted to fuck Bodhi, I was being astonished at how much Brian O'Conner and Johnny Utah would have to say to each other. Although I think, at the time, I sketched out the entire story like this:
"Dude. Hot criminals. They fuck your life up. Worth it, though, maybe."
"Yeah, I hear that. So, wanna fuck?"
Bone also came to the conclusion that fucking was inevitable - well, I mean, she's an intelligent person, of course she did - but she found actual plot and feelings and stuff in there, too, which is why she is the writer and I am the recommender. And I am seriously recommending this. There's surfing. There's the FBI. There's sex. And there's no Patrick Swayze. (This is a good thing for me because I've still got residual trauma from his hockey hair in trelkez's Festivid.)
The One in Which We Learn Never to Impugn the Honor of the Emu. Ask Yourself, Before Reading: Have I Impugned an Emu Lately? Relatives and Relativity, by Yahtzee, aka yahtzee63. Sense and Sensibility x Doctor Who.
And from a crossover everyone (okay, everyone who lived through both Point Break and The Fast and the Furious, although I am here to tell you one is more than enough) knew had to happen to a crossover I don't think anyone even considered before Yahtzee did. Because, I tell you what, I re-read certain of Austen's works a lot, and never once did I say to myself, "You know what this 19th century work of mannered romantic fiction needs? MORE TIME LORDS. And you know what would buck up this wilting disappointed heroine? MORE TIME LORDS."
I was wrong. I see this now. I just didn't have sufficient vision, and I am extremely thankful that Yahtzee did. Because this is awesome. This answers certain lingering questions about the Doctor - When did he become Nine? Exactly how many people did he depress immediately after? Why did he start adventuring, post-Time Wars? - and gives an entirely appropriate end to a character who did not get all he deserved in the novel. (Yes, I love her, too, but Jane tended to leave her baddies alone and trust that they would grow bitter and regretful and probably spend a lot of time staring into the fire and speaking wistfully of lost opportunities. And maybe staring at the shapelier footmen. Or possibly I am reading too much into it, there. Anyway, my point is: Jane, sometimes you want to see an asshole go down in flames. Or at least ground into the dust beneath the heels of an oppressor for a bit, which is what happens here. Look into it!)
Plus, man, sometimes I wish they were a bit more creative with their companions, if only for what we get at the end of this story - seeing our world and our time through eyes as amazed and appreciative as Rose's when she sees some alien sunrise. (Okay, I admit it, I wish they would get a bit more creative with their Doctors and companions in many ways. Has anyone ever done a genderswapped or chromatic recasting of this show?)
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.