And what no one told me is that White Collar is an Operation Petticoat AU.
It's so obvious! Tony Curtis is the guy who joined the Navy for the shiny uniform and turned everything to his advantage, and then smooth-talked his way into being the supply officer for the submarine, and then robbed an entire Navy base blind to get the stuff he needed. Cary Grant is the captain, using Tony Curtis's skills because he needs them, but always aware this is a double-edged sword with no handle. Come on; that is obviously Neal and Peter, right there. And if you needed any proof beyond that, there's the name of the Tony Curtis character, which is: Nick Holden. As in, you know, one letter different from Neal Caffrey's favorite alias.
(If you're curious, by the way, Mozzie is clearly Ramon, thief and conman extraordinaire. Elizabeth, we decided after a lot of discussion, is the best parts of Lt. Crandall and Lt. Duran, combined; this is clearly why the OT3 vibe is so strong in White Collar. But there is no Satchmo equivalent. I guess you can't have everything.)
Anyway. If anyone has been yearning for a WWII White Collar AU that's heavy on the humor and features a pink submarine, there's one available for rental. I just thought you should know, in case your friends were keeping you in the dark, too.
And if you already knew, here are some other AUs for you to consider.
The One in Which We Learn That in the Right Hands, the Sketchbook Is Scarier than the Sword. Never Leave a Trace, by sam_storyteller. White Collar, Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey.
You know what's weird about White Collar? I remember the stories, but most of the time I can't remember if a given story was gen or OT3. (If it was something else, I remember.) I assume this is because White Collar itself is so OT3 that gen is just OT3 without actual sex scenes. (Dear White Collar people: Just have the canon sex scene already. The Burkes have a big enough bed, and it would save us all a lot of confusion and double-checking. We all know the fucking is happening, you realize. It wouldn't come as a surprise. <3, TFV) So take my pairing notes with a grain of salt, is what I'm saying. I double-checked, and I double-checked again, and I am pretty sure I'm right. But with White Collar, you can never be sure.
And now let's talk about this AU. It's not, like, the Neal, Peter, and Elizabeth gladiator AU. (Um. Please tell me there is not actually a White Collar gladiator AU. I think I sprained something just imagining that.) Instead, it's the show, except with magic. And this is not shiny happy magic with clear rules, where every first-level spellcaster gets one magic missile spell per day and his party only keeps him alive because at level 15 he will get lots of magic missiles. (And also because the player will whine if you let this character get killed off like the last one.) This magic is - fuzzy. Murky. Edgy. This is magic I can - okay, not believe in. But this is magic that works for me. (Hey, there's a reason I never played a magic user, okay? And not just because magic missile doesn't do all that much for me. I just have a hard time having fun with magic that's structured like an Amway sales chart.)
I love how this story manages to be so much like the actual show in the basics - I mean, everyone still has the same jobs and no one is wearing a toga - while being completely different in tone and genre. I love how much sense the magic makes, how it totally works to have prison, a place where people suffer and are often powerless, be a nexus of supernatural power. And I love how even though the entire picture is different, Neal and Peter and Elizabeth are still absolutely themselves.
This story is gorgeous and involving and lovely and great. And that's all I can say. Go read it right now.
The One That Starts and Ends in Pretty Much Exactly the Same Place, and Covers the Entire Galaxy in Between. It Is the Infinity Symbol of Fan Fiction Stories, Basically. Only Good for Legends, by leupagus. Star Trek XI, Jim Kirk/Spock.
Star Trek is officially the canon that ate my life. It should come with a warning, actually:
WARNING: Susceptible individuals may find themselves dramatically altered from continued exposure to this material. Changes may include, but are not limited to, a tendency to write "Spock" in hearts on your shoes, laughing at stories rated NCC-1701, and partial or total loss of your leisure time. You will never recover, and there is no way to know if you are susceptible until it is too late. Please check your schedule for the next four decades before opening this DVD.
I mean, that totally happened to me. So it is extremely cheering to me to happen upon a story like this and know, for sure, that I am not the only person who lost her soul and her evenings to Star Trek. (Okay, yes, I already know I'm not alone. frostfire fell down the well with me. But more company is always nice. It's a very big well.)
And then I get to read the story. Which is, well - it is a giant sprawling epic in which Spock is a cop and Jim is, you know, Jim. (I'm pretty sure in Iowa they use "Jim Kirk" as a descriptive phrase. As in, "Did you hear about Roger? Pulled a Jim Kirk with a Klingon; hear he won't be walking for months." Or "The barn's missing and there's giant letters spelling out a graphic insult where the floorboards used to be; gosh, this looks Jim Kirk-y.") And then stuff happens. I mean, a lot of stuff, because did I mention the sprawlingness of this story? Trust me, it's worth mentioning twice. This story goes from earth to Vulcan and back again.
I love lots of things about this, but probably what I love most is the mystery plot line. Mostly that's because SF mystery is something that's hard to do and, in my opinion, totally worth doing (All the time! Everywhere!), but I admit that there's also the fact that the mystery plot line has got a lot of Vulcans in it. I love Vulcans, especially when they aren't being a frankly creepy faceless monolith, and they are the furthest thing from that here.
Plus, T'Pring is wonderful in this. In fact, my notes on this story read, in large part: "Come for the Kirk/Spock, stay for the T'Pring of awesome." (If you're wondering why I don't share my bookmarks on Pinboard too often, this would be why. I rec slowly because no one anywhere should be subjected to my immediate reactions to stories. Also, said reactions are often at least partly expressed in long strings of vowels. I try to edit that out of the final recs, too.)
The One in Which We Learn What Happens When You Hire a Wizard as an Interior Designer. The other things the road to hell is paved with, by luciazephyr. The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden/Susan Rodriguez, Harry Dresden/John Marcone.
The Dresden Files is turning out to be one of those fandoms where I find myself inexplicably sulking at the internet, wondering why there isn't more fan fiction for it out there, even though I have not taken the time to get to grips with the actual canon. But Dresden/Marcone apparently speaks directly to the part of my brain that was shaped by intensive exposure to Smallville fan fiction.
No, seriously, if you've ever wondered to yourself what the world would look like if Clark Kent had magical powers instead of, you know, super powers (primary difference: none noted) and Lex Luthor was a businesslike criminal instead of a criminal businessman, Dresden Files fan fiction is where you should be turning. And if you have no idea at all what the Dresden Files is about, not to worry, because this story will teach you everything you need to know. (And if you don't want to dive in there until you know, here you go: There's magic and crime. Dresden has magic. Marcone has crime. There are some complications. And then they have sex the end. Okay, technically that's what the fan fiction is about, but I think it's already established that in this case the fan fiction is my canon.)
This story is perfect for me, because I am - well, pragmatic might be a good way to put it. In Smallville, I rapidly grew tired of Clark's Lone Hero pose; I always wanted Lex and Clark to team up, because Lex got shit done. And Clark, honestly, needed someone to get his shit together. And then Lex could borrow (and slightly modify) Clark's moral compass, and together they could save the world. Seriously, people have no right having these prolonged declared mortal enemies/rivals things going on when by working together they could be so much more effective. Basically my message to them is always: With great power comes a great need to get your head out of your ass. (It's probably a good thing I'm not on any comic book writing team.)
Well, that is what does happen in this story with Dresden and Marcone, provided you are willing to consider Chicago to be roughly the same thing as the entire world. (It isn't. However, it definitely has the strangest pizza in the world, and that is almost the same thing.) Dresden even manages to get his head out of his ass. I cannot tell you how immensely satisfying I found this.
(I cannot help but notice that I'm a lot more concerned about Dresden's issues than Marcone, and I'm concerned that you might be envisioning me as a sort of chaotic neutral type person now. I'm not. I used to play paladins. Really, I did. I still like them! I find the concept of lawful goodness truly interesting! I give to charities and am kind to puppies and hardly ever break any important laws! Just, in fiction, I tend to prefer people who are effective but immoral to people who are the kind of moral where they screw things up all the time but for the best possible reasons.)
Anyway, this story is long and glorious and features the unstoppable team of Dresden (in charge of magic) and Marcone (in charge of everything else). Which is as it should be. The end.
The One That Left Me Twitching with a Need for the Recipes, Damn It, the RECIPES. Grande Soy Triple Dirty Chai, by friskaz. Suits, Mike Ross/Harvey Specter.
You can blame frostfire for this one. She's the person who emailed me while she was in a distant country with a summary of this fandom, which meant when I started seeing fan fiction for it I responded with "Oh, right, that's the one with Harvey and Mike! The lawyers!" instead of "So, what, we're big into Brioni/Armani now? How does that go? 'Oh, baby, slide your button into my notched lapel - harder, harder, YES.'"
(If you don't know the canon, although it's hard for me to believe I could be speaking from a place of greater knowledge than anyone when it comes to a currently airing show - it's about, well, Harvey and Mike. Harvey is a lawyer with an awesome boss. Mike doesn't actually have a law degree but is practicing law anyway. Note for people following along at home: In the real world, it is better not to do this.)
So. I think we can all agree that the barista AU is a fine and honorable tradition in fandom. (Although - when did this start, exactly? Is there a Highlander barista AU, in which Methos is the guy who knows everything about the history of coffee but will happily drink the stuff from a vending machine and Duncan is the guy who takes coffee way too seriously and works endlessly to bring good coffee to everyone? Is there a Starsky and Hutch barista AU where they hug a lot and fight corporate coffee? Is there a TOS barista AU in which Kirk is the - you know what, no. I can work a Reboot barista AU fine, but trying to imagine James Tiberius Kirk mark 1 as a barista is hurting my head, even given the worrisome similarity between Starfleet and Starbucks.)
Anyway. My point is: I can generally take or leave a barista AU, except when they are awesome. This one is awesome. I buy Mike as a barista (yes, based on my extensive experience with this canon, which involved reading not one but two intercontinental emails, I feel wholly comfortable making this assertion), I love the way Mike and Harvey interact, I love the (I assume) original characters, and this is just a totally satisfying, sweet, lovable story, from beginning to end.
Much like a really good pie. Which, note, if you read this story, you're going to want some pie. (Or other dessert of your choice, pie-haters; I know you're out there. I'm married to one.) I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Just, some stories should come with a kitchen warning up front ("Warning: Do not read if you don't have ready access to a kitchen or at least the excellent products thereof"), and that's what I'm giving you here.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.