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subtle salvation. (alien series)

Logically, she knows she can't outrun the nightmares. Doesn't mean she can't try.

Ripley/Hicks, post-Aliens, of course. Ripley and Hicks become part of this spoken-word legend and they purge the universe of the threat. But beyond the legend is the story of two messed up, determined people. I love Ripley stories. She's like the ultimate stronghold.

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changes on the cusp. (angels in america)

"My husband slipped on a banana peel – an honest to God banana peel – getting out of the subway this morning. He says it's the ice that made him lose his balance but I'm sticking to the banana story. Too good to pass up as a conversation opener, you know?" She peeked at her watch. "I told him New York's no place for a tourist."

In which Harper is grown and mostly healed, and meets first Belize and then Prior. Angels in America was full of chance meetings, and this fic illuminates that with such a light touch. And then Prior appears as if to give absolution, and it's just a wonderful, wonderful read.

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when we were strangers to the sea. (the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford)

And Zee is a woman who likes to keep her iron in her spine, not her cupboard, and so it's that last thought that has her turning to her husband in bed tonight. She likes to confirm, now and again, which man she chose. This hero and legend with the aching ragged holes over his heart and the shot-off finger that he puts up in her as she hisses and bites the muscle of his shoulder. She keeps her mouth quiet when he drives into her. She is wary of the creaking bedsprings, the creaking floorboards, their own creaking bones. It is best to keep one ear elsewhere, always.

I came out of this film pretty much satisfied with what I'd seen, except for the part where I would have liked to have Mary Louise Parker doing more. This fic? Sews that up. Zee is married to an outlaw, and she bends to the will of the house. But she's not a blushing bride; she's a queen. This fic goes a long way into making her into a real, red-blooded woman, and I think it's probably my favourite from this year's picks.

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stray. (being human)

“Stop that,” he says. “For fuck's sake, I'm a werewolf! Hello! What if I eat it? What if Mitchell eats it?”

The housemates get a cat: chaos ensues. The dialogue is great in this, and so kindly. A very enjoyable read.

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drinking with death. (dead like me)

"You." Rube stood up, still glaring at Mason, who was trying desperately to remember everything he'd done recently that Rube might have found out about. "Don't fuck this up." With that fond farewell, he was gone.

I won't spoil it, but this is beautiful. Mason gets a name close to home.

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apocalypse how? (dinosaur comics)

"But are you really the embodiment of evil?" T-Rex asks him. "You could be merely an allegory for atheism and the need to look out for oneself instead of to a higher power!"

In which the Devil tries to stage an apocalypse, is in love with Utahraptor, and is afraid of how Dromiceiomimus knows EVERYTHING. It is kind of great! No, really: it is kind of GREAT.

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closing time. (empire records)

Lucas keeps spouting his philosophical bullshit about gently flowing rivers and the nature of life and to just keep floating and on and on, but after awhile it all starts to make sense. After a while Lucas starts to make sense, like you've finally put the puzzle pieces together, or cracked him open, and you're watching a boy turn into a man right before your eyes.

Gina/Lucas, in which a romance blossoms. I didn't think it could make me grin so much, but it truly did. This film had a warm touch which resulted in some bittersweet fics thereafter, but this fic is hopeful and light and delightful.

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naomi. (glee)

He sighed again and threw the magazine aside. "Like I was really ready to raise a kid anyway."

The baby is born; Puck and Rachel sit together, and wait. I can't really say much more, other than I loved this.

chartreuse. (glee)

"Chartreuse is the new charcoal," a voice said, and Kurt jumped. The voice had come from a sales clerk, a young man in his early twenties, whom Kurt had noticed a few minutes earlier, straightening the ties in a display. He was cute in a gelled-hair kind of way, and his eyes looked very blue.

Kurt attracts the eye of a sales assistant, and this is absolutely perfect. Mercedes is the best BFF ever, and Kurt deserves to get some. Brilliant.

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songs from inside the fog inside the world. (metamorphoses)

"Why? Because that Latin bastard said her punishment was a just fucking thing? Fuck that. Listen - no. No. Stop. Don't stop writing. I want you to listen. Okay? People think I'm sort of not a big deal, and you know what, that's great. Chained to a rock, fine; biggest accomplishment to mythological canon is being saved by a guy with flying shoes and a severed head in hand, and oh, in the middle of everything, let's all pause what we're doing and suddenly propose marriage to - not me, but to my parents, also known as the same people responsible for my current, you know, chained-to-a-rock thing. You know what? I'd write me off, too. At least Persephone vaguely tamed the wild heart of a chthonic deity, right? At least Eurydice was so awe-inspiring that her husband traveled to the depths of Persephone's husband's realm to get her back."

Oh, Andromeda. Even her name meant subservience to a degree. This is her story in her own words, and she is bitter and lovely and wants to talk. She has this lovely way of rethinking her words which is common to anyone not used to speaking for themselves. Wonderful fic.

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happy as can be. (juno)

Juno MacGuff, who was named for Zeus's beautiful and mean wife, a goddess of marriage, and one who hated and punished infidelity, turns the whole force of her frustration and fury with broken marriages on Mark, who may not deserve it, but who she trusted. Because really, only the people you trust can disappoint you.

Juno and Mark meet post-film, both having grown and still trying to make up for their mistakes. I love Juno, and she's so real in this fic. There are no easy answers.

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le mondain futur d'amélie poulain. (le fabuleux destin d'amélie poulain)

She laughs when things are properly funny, too, of course. And Nino mostly laughs with her, then. But she can't quite bear to share the other parts that have always been hers alone.

Oh, Amélie. A lovely, delicate story about two loners trying to make their love work. It takes time, but the romance they kindle is sweet and affectionate, and everything our heroine deserves.

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intreat me not to leave thee. (life)

Davis is Jack Reese's partner for a long time.

What an excellent story. I wanted to quote something longer, but this was the core of the story: Karen Davis and her relationship with the Reeses in her life. I loved Davis, and I love how this fic shows her more sympathetic side. The portraits of Jack and Dani are also both precise and painful. The closing lines are fantastic.

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the name on the door. (mad men)

Sometimes when Joan's phone rang, Sally would pretend that she had one on her desk as well. "Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce," she would pretend to answer, putting an emphasis on her last name. Daddy kept saying that when they finally found a building, their name would be on the wall in big letters.

The world needs more Joan and Sally (hopefully grown-up Sally, eventually). This is another instance of these two coming together and being absolutely delightful.

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the price of progeny. (new amsterdam)

All the lines over the years that he's lost to the world, children and grandchildren he's had to leave behind. He wonders if the businessman he passes on the street is a great-great-great grandchild, if the cashier counting out bills behind bulletproof glass is a descendant of his first child, his thirtieth child, a branch of his family tree that's grown beyond his reach.

When I watched this show, all I wanted was more, more, more about John's children, and this fic delivers it in spades. Such a great story, and so true to the centre of John's tragic existence.

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rituals (feathers and flames). (practical magic)

"I'm going to call Gillian," Sally says, though it is unnecessary. Aunt Jet will have guessed or, perhaps, had the same thought, because where Gillian is so is Aunt Frances. They're okay, they are. Nothing is wrong. She'd know, otherwise. They're sisters, and sisters just know, at least the sisters in this family.

A story about the bond of sisterhood, as warm and warming as the film itself. I loved this film, and this fic is the perfect addendum.

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facet. (push)

It was easy to lose track of time like this, sitting on a bathtub's edge with Nick applying butterfly stitches and gauze to keep her flesh knit together just long enough until they found a real Stitch. The alcohol shuddered through her, and if she'd been anyone else she would have gone to sleep, but instead it just turned her maudlin, her head full of visions to sketch: a quick flare of a carwreck the next day, a waitress in a Chinese restaurant, a subway car pulling away from its stop.

Cassie/Nick. Always on the run, always so close to each other. Cassie can feel the future coming towards them, and she's delicate in navigating the way. Their relationship is neatly drawn in this fic, but not without subtlety.

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caesura. (raines)

"Sometimes I think I never really learned how to compartmentalize," he says. "It's as if everybody says they do it, but maybe nobody really does."

Oh, Raines. The last of his sessions, and slowly that realisation that probably, yes, he needs people. Wonderful fic.

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oblivion with bells. (spooks)

"I had a call. From Malcolm," she says, as soon as Ruth opens the door to her at four in the morning, dressed in a nightgown and looking dazed and miserable. She blinks once, processing the information, and bites her lip.

!!!! I beta'd this so maybe I'm biased, but it also happens to feature my FAVOURITE things: Ros, Ruth, Malcolm, and a post-apocalyptic world. Ros and Ruth are the undead in Russia and they come home to a world no more. Lovely, crisp images of people and dead cities; a real, cold Spooks feeling throughout. Gah, I love this.

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naivety. (spooks)

It has been two hundred and fourteen days since his capture. Though even that is no longer a certainty after several ‘interrogations’. Lucas finds that he spends most of his time alone unconscious; but when he sleeps (oh, when he sleeps), he dreams of Elizaveta. She is waiting for him; she tells him how much she misses him, and describes their plans for the future. She wants a little girl, with her brown locks and his blue, blue eyes. So Lucas holds on because he has to; because he has a wife (and a little girl) to get back to. It is this image that gets him through all the shocks and the water-boarding. The beatings fade away at the first sight of Elizaveta holding their child in her arms. He gets a tattoo of a ship; proclaims his willingness to go along with every and any escape attempt. Lucas has to get home; he has a dream to realise.

Who is Lucas North? This is Lucas North. A wonderful character fic which cuts through a lot of the bullshit surrounding him and gets to the heart of his pain and his development. This is the Lucas I adore.

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where the fuck is malcolm tucker. (the thick of it)

Sam didn’t even raise an eyebrow. This was one of the many fine qualities that had kept her employed as Malcolm Tucker’s personal assistant for three years and counting. Another key attribute was the ability to not give a shit or feel any kind of human sympathy for people whenever Malcolm was giving them a bollocking. You didn't have to be a sadist to work here, but it helped.

Oh gosh, you have to read this. It's hilarious! It's so perfectly in-voice, and the details are spot on. The author didn't miss a beat with this fic; it's like watching an episode unfold. Fucking gold.

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today's just a day like the day he started. (the wire)

Lester knows he is good police, but sometimes being good police drives you to do something you know is stupid.

Nearly all The Wire fics were excellent this year, but the Lester voice in this one was especially good. Lester confronts Stringer Bell, though not how you might think, and discovers a lot in the process.

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the why of things. (the wire)

“It’s the same.” Prez has a beard now; there’s tired look about him that comes with getting older. He hasn’t been on the job for years, but stands battle weary in the classroom. Voices rise and fall outside the door, most of them too young to be so angry. “It’s pushing against the same tide, only without your gun. You do what you can.”

Another Lester fic, this one with a wider scope. The distance between him and Prez is especially painful. An excellent fic that I wholly encourage you to read. The atmosphere of Baltimore seeps through and through.

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it's just the way the game is played. (the wire)

"Stringer, man, he is all tall and regal and shit. Plus, he really be like a queen. I mean check it, not only is he running this whole collective thing, he is keeping the Barksdale crew in line. Plus, he is going legit, turning himself into the bank. Shit, he do everything. Got more tentacles than a fucking octopus."

This is the story of a boy named Bodie, and it's excellent. Bodie learns to play chess, both on a board and in his life. His insights are especially telling, and the ending is right but heart-rending. One of my favourite stories from this year's collection.

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symphony no. 25 in g minor. (united states of tara)

You don't remember when you first really started leaving, when you first left.

A beautiful Marshall-centric fic detailing his slow return home. It's like he exiled himself from his mother's love for too long. It's completely lovely.

--

You can find all the Yuletide fics I bookmarked this year at my delicious account.

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