sotto_voce: Joshua Chamberlain staring into the distance, with caption "brains are sexy" (Default)
Lexie ([personal profile] sotto_voce) wrote2015-12-27 03:02 pm


Okay so, FIRST OF ALL, I'm gonna need you to read my three fabulous gifts: Evolution (Nimona, Blackheart/Goldenloin + Nimona), The Buttering Up (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Kevin/Holt), and that launch'd a thousand ships (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Kevin/Holt). I'll have more detailed recs in their respective fandom sections!

And now: early-alphabet recs!

Stars and Stripes
(Every year, there are at least a couple of marvelous fics that warmly capture some absolute staple of my childhood. This is one of those, this year, and it's fantastic. I love how life and death the question of Halloween costumes is to Molly and the girls, and Molly showing her brave, kind heart. The crossover is a total delight.)
Dad folded the newspaper and set it aside. Molly scrambled up to sit on the arm of his chair. “Well, her name was Agent Peggy Carter,” he said. “I only met her a few times, but she had brown hair, just like yours, and she did have some curls. I don’t know if she was the Captain’s girlfriend, but I know he liked and respected her very much. All of the Commandos did. They told me about her. She was fighting in the war long before we were, and she was still there when I left.”

5 Habits of the Detective Most Effective
(I have to confess that I haven't watched much of any TV or movie Poirot adaptation, but this reads beautifully like the books that I love! It's such a gorgeous, gentle, true-to-voice little slice of life, with the fantastic added touch of the art deco decorative pieces.)
Is not the most important castle oneself? The grooming of the mustaches which have come undone during sleep. The snipping of the hair juste un peux trop long. The applying of the wax and the twisting. The application of the cream to the scalp. The patting dry of the cheeks. Ah! Just right for the day.

For if you do not put your best foot forward both in the home and for the self, then what can you expect from the world, non?

Burned Letters
(Diana Maturin, pregnant and furious, writes letters to Stephen that she won't send. This is absolutely scorched earth, and in that sense it's a little hard to read, and I mean that as a compliment -- Diana, trapped by her own body and by what's expected of her. It's brutal, and fantastic; the prose is spare in the best way and Diana is fleshed out wonderfully.)
It is her lot to be penned in by a man like a horse, be it in India or America or Ashgrove Cottage.

American Doll Posse
(This is a delightful look at what in the hell was going on in that music video, with vignettes about several of the characters - the writing is really evocative and gorgeous, and I especially loved the found family vibe.)
She tells stories, in the evenings, when they’ve all put away their weapons and their armour and are just a group of young women learning to kick back against the world. There’s more laughter than you’d expect. There are people running their hands through one another’s hair, trying out styles that are less practical than a tight fighting braid. They know, better than any man ever could, that the way you look is an important part of reinvention.

She tells stories and she’s a walking story herself. Her moral is this: you can come back from any loss, if you are prepared to adapt. You replace that phantom part of yourself with something stronger. You take the help that’s offered to you.

Field of Dreams
(I think you can read this without a whole lot of baseball knowledge - I know next to nothing about Max Scherzer and it still really worked for me [though I do love baseball, and that did add to the enjoyment for me!]. Dream and Death, watching a baseball game. I loved the little insights and the character voices.)
"Divine?" Death asks, and now she's the one smiling slowly. "You think baseball is a religion?"

"Look at those boys," Dream says. "The batter digs in his heel. He waggles his bat. The pitcher spits. Throws over to first. Looks at third. The catcher adjusts his cup. The shortstop crouches lower. The pitcher spits. When the ball is set in motion, a hundred small things will determine its path. The ley lines are marked. The positions are prescribed. It's ceremonial magic, simple enough for children to work, great enough to enthrall a nation of people."

On the Cards
(BERNARD COULD MAKE CONCRETE LOOK RUMPLED. Honestly, I just want to quote this entire fic. You should read it; it's hilarious, and so perfectly on-pitch for Black Books - it reads like the concept for a missing episode.)
Bernard appeared in the doorway looking dishevelled, which probably didn't actually have anything to do with the interrupted sleep. Bernard could make concrete look rumpled. "Why is my shop infested with vermin?" he demanded. "Everywhere I look they're scurrying around the floor, sniffing about in corners and scrabbling at the books."

"Those are children, Bernard," Manny said patiently.

Figuring It Out
(I love this look at the family after the movie - Scot and Ryan read as believably older while still recognizably themselves, and Eric is still kind of a giant failboat [I'm sorry Eric], but he gets there eventually, which I love. Scot's sneakiness was a particular personal favorite.)
Sam knew that Eric didn’t do subtlety. Eric liked to be told what to do. Preferably in a raised tone of voice, with lots of pointing at diagrams on a whiteboard. That was just the way his brain had been wired since adolescence. Take your shoes off. Throw dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Don’t drink the pear soda. And don’t leave any stray hairs in the soap, thank you very much.

Rearranging The Backroom Closet
(Okay look, I'm a huge nerd for hockey, and please forgive my mixed sports metaphors, but all the inside baseball here is SO GOOD. It's a fantastic look at Eric growing up trying to get to the show, and then figuring out what the hell to do after he bombs out young. What a fantastic fill-in of the movie's limited backstory. Particular shout-out to Sam here, who's both endlessly patient/warm, and very funny.)
The case ends up getting settled fairly quickly, because Sam – when he is not asking concerned questions about Eric's health – is apparently some sort of vigilante bloodhound.

'Let me get this straight,' Eric says as they walk out of the settlement. 'You got in touch with nearly every ex-player who retired because of injuries sustained during a season, and basically said, "come tell me your tragic NHL story," and compiled a list of said tragic NHL stories, and they took one look at the- the- tome you put together and said "nope, we're not even going to try"?'

The Buttering Up
(This was for me! It's Kevin's turn for some husbandly support! I loved Holt acting as a sounding board for and helping Kevin in his career here, since, for obvious reasons, we only ever seen Kevin on the show in the context of Holt's career. The academic in-fighting between Kevin and his rival is glorious, and the fic is so delightful as a slice of life that we don't normally get to see! There was a point where I was reading in bed and I laughed so hard I literally dropped my phone on my face.)
“I insist,” Raymond continued, picking up the basket and holding it under her nose. “They’re made from the finest butter and the finest ingredients man has to offer. My husband slaved for hours in the kitchen just to bake them to perfect, brown life. So therefore I must insist. That you eat. My husband’s. Buns.”

that launch'd a thousand ships
(I received an embarrassment of riches for Yuletide this year, including this fic. I was sold from the title, to be honest - the implication that Kevin thinks of Holt as the face that launched a thousand ships [aka Helen of Troy] is SO MAGICAL and so beautifully history-professor-nerdy, and the fic, impossibly, only improved from that delightful starting point. It's funny and warm and sweet. Holt's terrible jokes are amazeballs.)
"I must admit," says Raymond, "I am disappointed to learn that you live so far afield. I was hoping to...Poughkeepsie you a bit longer."

It's such a shame, Kevin thinks. How often does one meet a man so handsome and funny?

Margin of Error
(This is Rosa/Amy with a spot-on ensemble cast in the background and it is SO FUNNY, GOD. Amy has a cartoon deer face; it's the best. Like on the show, the case that they're investigating is rooted in truth but has hilariously bizarre details [margarine: mankind's greatest folly!!!] I'm going to stop this rec now because otherwise I'm just going to keep yelling inside jokes about a fic you haven't read yet, but really, you should read it.)
Sometimes Amy got weird and forgot how to stop talking for a while, and there was nothing to do but wait it out. It was part of Rosa’s day, familiar, like the rumble of the subway or the feeling of slipping on a well-worn pair of boots. Usually, Rosa didn’t—mind, or whatever. Usually. But if Amy called them “gal pals”, Rosa was punching a wall.

A Margaret Thatcher Kind of Night
(The Amy and Jake voices are so, so good here.)
“We can talk about your appalling nutritional habits later,” Amy says. “I meant, why are you digging through the pantry when you have a box of one hundred fifty-four condoms in the bathroom?” She frowns at the box. “Why are some of these umami flavored?”

Oh. Charles must have put them there. Don’t say that, Jake.

“Charles must have put them there,” he says. Dammit.

Seventeen Christmas Cards
(I love the interplay between Megan and Graham here, and just how much characterization the author manages to pack into each card. I love the little glimpses of other characters from the movie.)
Dolph and Clayton's card had rainbows all over it, both the card and the envelope. And on Santa's sleigh. And in Santa's hand. And on the elves, and the reindeer, and Santa's workshop. A small part of Megan wanted to ask them where they'd gotten it, and could she get some more to send out to certain people on next year's Christmas list.

"They are so gay," said Graham, but she gave the card pride of place on their only table, that divided the kitchen area from the living area in a half-assed wall situation.

ukeleles and other dangerous ideas
(So it turns out that what I want out of life is for Hayley Atwell and Chris Evans to bone and make each other laugh endlessly. Since that doesn't seem to be happening in real life [MAYBE], this fic is a particular joy - it's 11k of slow-burn, and it's fantastic. I love Hayley's voice here especially, but Chris is a delightful lovemuffin too, and supporting cast members like A. Mackie and D. Cooper just add to the hilarity. Shoutout to Hayley long-distance torturing Scott Evans with a ukelele, via Chris. That's some good stuff, man.)
“Chris,” Hayley says seriously, like she’s a general preparing her troops. “I need your help in a battle of great importance. Have you heard about dubsmash?”

your life looks good on you
(Something about Agatha's ending in the book didn't feel quite right to me, and now I know why: I was missing this fic. What a wonderful look at Agatha settling into her new life in California. I love it; I love all the little lived-in details, and Agatha slowly coming to terms with magic and making friends and putting a picture of Dana Scully on her bathroom mirror to look at every morning, oh my god.)
Sometimes, when the soles of her shoes are wet, the words are right on the tip of her tongue. Rain rain, go away… she thinks, but she keeps it to herself, tucked away like a secret. It feels good, like holding the an ace. There’s something grounding about the squelch, about getting home and throwing them in the dryer, the rhythmic banging that comes with a thing done slowly.

Shut Up and Skate With Me
(I need a BAZILLION Check, Please! fics that heavily reference just how bonkers last winter was in Massachusetts; this is such a fabulous specimen! It is hilarious, with approximately one billion uproarious cameos from hockey players, and so deeply cute - PROFOUND AND UN-BRO-LIKE FEELINGS)
Not even Shitty's plaintive whimpering can get Lardo to peel open an eyelid. She'd be more worried if Shitty were silent--if he's awake and talking, he's got a good chance of making it through Hangover City. What the fuck was in that tub juice, anyway? Lardo knows her tolerance, and it's a lot of booze. She must have felt like getting good and drunk last night, which would explain both their delicate states. Shitty uses her as a measuring tool sometimes: stop one drink before Lardo does and avoid a hangover.

French Canadian Toast
(Bitty makes various meals inspired by his teammates. The ensemble is so great, and the meal names are SO INSPIRED ["Holster Your Guns, I'm Holding These Muffins For Ransom" is a particular personal favorite]. There are many, many delightful details. Bitty is the goalie of the kitchen! Dex is a maple syrup snob [it's a Maine thing]! JACK CALLS BITTY 'CAPTAIN' WHILE THEY'RE BAKING, WHY.)
There's no deadline for the recipe, either, but Bitty has a moment of panic in the middle of a Haus party, realizing it's been a month since the froglets. "I'm the worst," he wails to an audience of maybe more people than he would allow, were he sober. The four girls at the beer pong table, who he vaguely recognizes from the Samwell women's basketball team, blink at him in bewilderment.

"The cookies are good…?" one of them offers, holding up a half-eaten heart. It feels like a metaphor.

blink back to let me know
(Ransom and Holster after Samwell. I love watching them figure out how to be post-college adults, with varying success, and how much they freaking love each other. The last line literally made me scream [a good scream!] in a sleeping house at three in the morning.)
Justin high passes Cardio and Integ and he honors Resp, Neuro, and Heme/Immuno which makes his mom really happy. Holster sends him a bottle of really nice whiskey after he honors Resp (it’s not like Justin brags about it, but he is pretty sure that Holster and his mom exchanged phone numbers at some point and now is part of the Justin Did Well In School phone tree) but they don’t talk much now that Justin’s in the thick of it for boards studying. Holster does his daily emoji check in, and Justin replies with his classic skull emoji as if to say, I’m still alive but it hurts to be this way.

Blood Sacrifice
(Mia wants to bring Gisele back. She can do that, because she's a witch. I love the ritual here; it's gorgeous. So is the sense of family that links all of these characters, and just how much they love each other.)
She can’t lose him too. Maybe, maybe, she could survive losing one of them, but not both.

“I know it sounds like a joke,” she says, her words coming fast. She sinks down to her knees in front of him, takes his hands. “I wouldn’t do that to you, though. I can bring her back. Like I did Letty.”

Soaked in Gasoline
(Han doesn't go to Tokyo alone. Tokyo Drift would have been a VASTLY SUPERIOR film if this is how it went, man. I love Gisele's voice here, and how utterly Not Here she is for everyone's bullshit, and the warmth and love between her and Han [and the rest of the fam] is just right.)
Gisele loves the racing in Tokyo. It’s so tight, so precise, every moment breathtaking. She’s always been a good racer, but she loves racing in the parking structures, skimming just past the walls as she drifts, curving down the mountain at high speed.

Han sits in the passenger seat most days, eating some crunchy treat – his favorite thing about Tokyo is the variety of snacks available, he teases, but she thinks it’s probably true – and watching her smile, teeth bared, breath caught in her throat.

Singin' in the rain
(This is a pitch-perfect take on Galavant and Richard between seasons 1 and 2; the voices are just right, and I laughed out loud a whole lot!)
There was probably another reason you shouldn’t wear armor in the rain, but did he look like Sid? It had been years since he was a squire and he really hadn’t paid very close attention because he’d been so obviously bound for knighthood that he had just made the other squires do the hard stuff like polishing and remembering rules.

No, he had the chiseled jaw and clear, focused eyes of a romantic hero. Izzy had known that. That’s why she came to find him, all those… days ago. Days? Surely weeks. How long HAD that training montage gone on for?

A Mind at Work
(♥The Schuyler sisters♥, through the years. What a lovely meditation on what the sisters mean to, and do for, each other.)
"We must pray for their safety, and our deliverance," Eliza said softly.

"Yes, especially that tall one," Peggy quipped. She nodded her head toward one of the older boys giving the commands.

the one you call sister
(Sisters are so important. This is composed of Eliza and Angelica's letters to each other through the years. I read the letters, and I see Phillipa Soo and Renee Elise Goldsberry's faces.)
What a brief note you have sent me, only one sheet of paper and that not even covered front and back! How eager I was, when I saw the thick envelope with your handwriting in the day’s mail, and how jealous – yes, that is the word, I admit it, jealous, when Alexander retrieved such a long missive for himself, and left me only one lonely page. You must imagine me pouting and sulking, you neglectful thing. My only saving grace was the excerpt Alexander read out to me, full of your good advice and clear thought and your voice, which I can only describe as Angelica’s. How I wish I could hear it today.

Christmas Rapping
(I love watching Philip and Theodosia flirt through Mary Wollstonecraft [and, you know, SURVIVE] and fall for each other, but I think possibly my favorite part of this fic is the family of it all -- the tremendous love that the Hamiltons and Churches [and Burrs] have for each other. Alexander is such a little shit but such a great dad here, much like the real man, and Angelica and Eliza are the greatest, most enabling auntie and mother.)
His father has always surrounded himself with ladies of sparkling wit and encouraged his daughters to emulate those ladies. Be a violet if it is your nature, but never feel as though you should shrink, my love, he told Angelica when she was small and shy and hid behind her big brother at dinner parties.

The Miner Refuted
(I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this AU -- Hamilton and the revolutionaries getting their sedition on in spaaaace, in a very Big Brother atmosphere. All the little details about this world are fascinating, and I cheered at the ending. Angry baby revolutionary Ham cracked me up, in the best way.)
“There’s a data port two inches to the left of your hand,” Laurens says, tone suddenly sober, but face still close to Alexander’s. “Here.” He moves their hands, slightly, and Alexander can feel it, a slight metal outcropping, probably undetectable unless you know to look for it. “You want to write? You gotta get a burner drive - I can help. Don’t use anything registered to your name. Even if you think it’s clean of trackers, it’s not. Upload it here. It’ll get to the right people.”

Interlude (Rise Up)
(Well, this is absolutely wild. HOW DID SOMEONE DO THIS??)
What's going on here?
Burr, have you abducted me?

No. Just your average sexual fantasy.

some bright equation
(Liz is everything here. E V E R Y T H I N G. The knitting together of comics and movie canon [KATE] is so great, all the character voices are so great, the mythology is so great, but Liz Sherman, man, holy hell. Watching her come into her own, and learn to control her powers, and deal with her shit, and go to therapy, is just. Holy shit. I wasn't sure at first if I was here for adding a third person to the Liz/Hellboy relationship, but the author really makes it work here with Myers.)
She exhaled fire, let it burn behind her eyes and glow from every part of her.

"I'll live here in these ruins forever," she said, "I'll eat grass and drink rainwater. For the rest of my life I'll sleep where he slept, and whatever comes out of the ground, I'll turn to ash," she promised. For the third time she commanded it: "Devil, imp, elf, I don't give a damn what you are. Talk to me or burn!"

The Queen of the Soft-Touch Pirates
(I did not know, until this moment in my life, that I needed Hilary Knight as the space pirate captain to a bunch of insubordinate hockey player crewmates, but I have it now and I needed it. The worldbuilding here is so great - I love the choices made for everyone. Szabados, formerly of New Canada and now of the Cottonmouths! Fujimoto, cookie-baking passenger and navigator extraordinaire! THE LAMOUREAUX TWINS.)
Monique only shouts twice - well, or three times, if you count the time she throws her hands in the air and yells, “What did I do to deserve this, God?” Brianna tries to stay neutral, but votes to help Szabados and the Cottonmouths in the end. It’s a close vote, with Brianna, Hilary, and Jenny all for, Monique and Jocelyne both against, and Amanda abstaining. Afterwards, Monique is grumpy, of course, but she’ll perk up when she realizes all the opportunities she’ll have for mayhem and violence at the occupied salvage belt.

hashtag bored
(PK Subban, hockey marketing nerd, is my favorite bit of ephemera to come to light about the real PK Subban since the time we found out he is also PK Subban, fancystats nerd. This fic makes fabulous use of PK's love of social media, and Carey's stoic acceptance of it; I laughed hysterically at Carey becoming uncomfortable with all the Twitter users calling him "dad." I never knew I needed Carey Price's thoughts on internet cat photos until I got them.)
“Jeez,” PK says, rubbing his hands together. “Turn on the heat or you’re gonna be a Price-sicle.” He grins at Carey, the same smile he gives after they win a game, or Carey makes a particularly impressive save.

“You’re not funny or clever,” Carey tells him, schooling his expression, but he crosses the room to turn on the heat anyway.

listen to your heart bleed
(If there is one movie I've watched more times over the course of my life than any other, it's probably Independence Day, and this is note-perfect for all of the characters. I never thought to want President Whitmore/Connie/David before, but I WANT IT NOW.)
He opens his eyes to see David watching him. The expression on his face isn’t hostile, but Tom steps away anyway. He feels unmoored, suddenly, unsure of himself, and he’s absurdly grateful when Connie smiles up at him and says, “Come on into our lair, I know David’s dying to talk your ear off about his latest discovery. He won’t give me a break.”

“That’s--that is just a completely inaccurate and unfair accusation,” David complains, but he’s smiling too as he lifts the tent flap for them.

air and ash and vapor
(Llewyn, getting used to being a solo act. Captures the movie perfectly.)
Pappi offers to let him split the basket at the Gaslight one cold night and Llewyn's kind of offended, but then again, he needs the money since he hasn't gotten anything from Mel yet. The crowd is almost all familiar faces. He figures a lot of performers like that sort of thing, but these people had all seen Timlin & Davis, and it feels to Llewyn like they keep looking for Mike on stage as he tunes up, their eyes sliding to the right of Llewyn where the empty space is. The resentment he feels is uncomfortable and creeping; it makes him want to hunch in on himself.

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