But this is a weird set, one that I did not, until recently, think I'd ever be able to put together. (Thank you, Avengers fandom. You made me think this was possible.) It's first times that are actually someone's first time; in other words, to the best of my knowledge, someone loses some kind of virginity in all of these stories. Woo!
And now: stories.
The One That Proves That the Drunken Avengers Would Be Simultaneously the Best and the Most Horrifying Comic Book in All the World. (Yes, Even if You Take the Haunted Vagina One into Consideration.) Ready, Fire, Aim by gyzym. Avengers, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.
Oh my god, you guys, the Avengers fandom is killing me with the first times. It's like everyone looks at Steve Rogers and thinks, "There is a dude who needs to have some adorably sweet first times with a total sex monster." Or, hey, maybe they say that in the actual canon. (Which is - a movie? And a trailer? I don't know. It turns out I can have a small child or I can keep up on popular culture. Not both. Although to be honest I wasn't doing such a hot job with that before we had the earthling, so it may just be the old problem with me and popular culture, here.) It could be canon! Many Marvel products have lengthy scenes in which costumed superheroes explain how they really don't have time for love, Dr. Jones.
...No. And I suppose if I mention that that would make me more likely to purchase their products, Marvel will, in the fine tradition of Western comic book publishers everywhere, make double double sure that never happens. But it doesn't matter, Marvel! There is fan fiction enough for everyone. And in the fan fiction, Steve Rogers gets to have sex with Tony Stark a lot the end.
But that is not all I love about this story (although Steve Rogers/Tony Stark is, as far as I'm concerned, a winning combination right there), because this story has great Tony voice and great Steve personality. I like my Steve, you know, a trifle fucked up by the fact that he's risen from the dead and doesn't even get the pointy teeth and sparkles, and this story delivers on that. (Although oh god a whole Avengers vampire AU just popped into my head unbidden, and I have to hope that someone has already written it. Someone has already written it, yes? Please?) And I like my Tony to be just precisely the sarcastic neurotic hyperactive asshole that somehow we all end up loving, and this story delivers on that, too.
Plus, I mean, adorable first time. There you go.
The One That Reminds Us Not to Run Around in the Hot Sun with a Full Wheel of Brie in Your Stomach. (Frankly, I Get Queasy Just Thinking About It.) Summer 2010, by cimmerians. Glee, Kurt Hummel/Finn Hudson.
I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I generally avoid fiction about teenagers. (And, yes, I have since I was a teenager.) My reasoning is: I had to live through it, and that was bad enough. I shouldn't have to read about it.
But I will make quite a few exceptions for cimmerians, who writes consistently amazing stuff and has a name that means Best Beloved and I occasionally conquer her in Civilization. (She's a barbarian state. I'm as surprised as you are.) And one thing you can say for fan fiction about teenagers: it's where the first times are a lot more believable. (I really struggle with, for example, first time stories about immortals. I'm sorry, but if you haven't tried every sexual act there is to try after the first three hundred years, you are not putting forth your best work effort. Immortality is wasted on the prudish and unimaginative, and Methos would tell you the same if you asked him.)
So obviously this story started with some advantages. (Author and fandom, in case you missed it in the rambling.) But there is so much more than that here. First, there's Finn, who is adorable and galumphing and confused and sincere. It's - well, I already used the word adorable, so let's just say - no, I have to go with fucking adorable. And then there's Kurt, who - do I need to say I've never seen Glee? I've never seen Glee. But I love Kurt in the fan fiction, so much so that it was a struggle to pick just one story from the fandom for this set. He's got the witty dialog going for him, and the intelligence, and this combined confidence and vulnerability that just makes me want to hug him and also want to enable him to skip his teenaged years entirely.
Except not. Not if people are going to write stories like this about him - stories that feature an entirely reasonable modern-day summer of love and discuss the gay subtext we all know is lurking beneath the spandex of all those superhero costumes.
The One in Which We Learn That, Really, an Obnoxious Little Sister Is a Life Advantage. I Would Like My Older Sister to Take Note, Please. Make Kings and Vagabonds, by noelia_g. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick. (Which I initially wrote as Brad Fick/Nate Colbert. This means something. Maybe just that I need more sleep, though.)
There are some stories you read because the concept is instinctively right. And there are other stories you read because the concept is so very wrong you suspect it might actually be right, and even if it remains horribly wrong, it will still be really fucking funny. This is one of the latter.
Because, okay: Brad Colbert stars in The Princess Diaries. Tell me you didn't fall over laughing when you read that sentence. And tell me you aren't also staring speculatively at it, your mouse hovering over the link as you wonder if that could possibly work, because probably not - but if it did, oh if it did -
Well, I tell you what: it works. It works precisely because Brad Colbert is one of the last of fandom's favorites you'd pick to be a sudden unexpected princess. (I did have a lot of fun while I was reading this trying to imagine the ones who would be even worse at this than Brad. I mean, John Sheppard. And Aeryn Sun. Brian O'Conner, I guess. But it's a surprisingly short list. Buffy would handle this better than Brad, even though it would make her vampire slaying activities really challenging (paparazzi and vampires, never a good combination). So would Captain Jack Sparrow and every major member of the Marvelverse, including Erik Lehnsherr. Although I tell you what, I would pay actual money for a ringside seat at the first attempt to put a tiara on Erik.) Brad also makes a surprisingly excellent star of YA novel - moody, a trifle sulky, and with a Hidden Secret, but prepared to rise to the occasion awesomely when necessary. And Nate Fick works perfectly as Best Boyfriend Ever material.
The only real problem with this story is that I wanted at least another 30,000 words of it. (Which is the true sign of a great YA novel, in my opinion: not that you can't put it down, but that you can't give it up.) It's just - gay Princess Brad, trending on Twitter! (Okay, fine, he's a prince, whatever. He'll always be Princess Brad to me.) Just thinking those words makes me happy. Reading a story involving them made me happy all day long.
The One That Proves, Again and Again, That the Primary Advantage of Getting Older Is That You Can Be More Creative About Sex. The Winter of Banked Fires, by yahtzee63. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr, Rogue/Wolverine.
You know how it is. You meet someone, and it's wonderful. The two of you share something you've never shared with anyone before. You can't get over how amazing your beloved is - how amazing the world is with your beloved in it. It's bliss. It's perfection.
Then you have a really bad breakup and your beloved starts trying to destroy the world, and all you can remember even about the perfect time is how the seeds for this hideous nuclear winter were planted way back then.
That's pretty much my relationship with the X-Men, right there. Except. Except. Lately I've been able to go back! Revisit my past love! Remember why I thought it was so awesome, and forget about that whole unfortunate nuclear winter thing that came between us! Thank you, fan fiction. (I guess technically I should also think the fine cast and crew of X-Men: First Class, except I have not actually seen the movie, and also I suspect they may not have been seeing the key X-Men relationships exactly the same way I do.)
And, of course, that's not just my story with the X-Men; it's also one of the main stories in the X-Men, how there were these two awesome boyfriends in love and then ideological differences came between them and then, well, you know how it goes: decades of bloodshed and yearning. I think we've all been there.
This story simultaneously addresses both of these traumatic breakups. It's a blend of the X-Men movieverse (um, what are we calling the old trilogy, now?) and First Class - sort of the good parts version of all of them, from what I can tell - so it deals with the every-so-slightly fraught relationship of Charles and Erik. And resolves it. (And, okay, no spoilers, but they actually come out of it saner, which has to be the first time this has ever happened to anyone in the Marvelverse anywhere.) It's fucking brilliant.
And then there's the relationship between Wolverine and Rogue. And the plot, which has everything I have ever wanted from an X-Men story that I would never get in the canon. And, just. Everything. This story has everything. I will smile more for the rest of my life, just because it exists.
And that is why I'm recommending it, even though everyone in the world seems to have read it already. (If you haven't - please please please do. It's pure joy, people.)
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.