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February 16th, 2004

pearl_o @ 02:58 am: sports night / smallville
Networking by shrift
Summary: Flair, flirting, ink, inscrutability, and tiaras.

I don't actually read that many crossovers, I don't think, but the thing is that "You know what would be cool and/or hot? [Character X] and [Character Z]," is not a flawed idea in and of itself. It's only bad when a writer can't handle it, and some writers really can. And when they do, it can be totally nifty.

So this story, with Dan Rydell from Sports Night and Lex Luthor from Smallville? Totally works. And just the idea is hot on its own -- I mean, it's Danny! Danny and Lex! -- but shrift's execution totally rocks. There's a lovely feeling of Sports Night's brand of random witty wackiness (especially in the early bits, but present all through), but Lex unexpectedly fits right in without a hitch. Sexy and all sorts of fun.

"Well, you gotta sign at least one autograph in your life," Dan said, choosing to overlook the whole 'security team' thing, since it only reminded him of scary bomb threats. "So, Mr. Lex Luthor, may I have your autograph?"

Lex lips quirked, but he gamely pulled a pen from an inside pocket of his jacket. "Do you have any paper?"

Dan looked around the bar. There were a couple of napkins within reach, but they were nearly soaked-through with condensation. He had no luck hunting in his pockets. "We'll improvise," he said finally, holding out his forearm wrist-up like a groupie. "Sign me."

Lex's fingers closed around his wrist, hands warm and dry, and the tips of his fingers a little harder than Dan would have expected. He tugged Dan closer, and Dan had a moment to realize that Lex was left-handed before he began to write. The pen Lex used was an old-fashioned kind, dark ink spilling out of the sharp tip as it caught and scratched over his skin, staining it in bold loops. It was a weird thing to be turned-on by, the feel of being written on, someone's warm fingers snug around the bones of his wrist. The ink glistened on his skin. Lex bent over his forearm, pursed his lips, and blew a warm puff of air over the words until they dried.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
pearl_o @ 02:52 am: due south
Hate Story by Dira Sudis
Summary: Ray hates everything.

Mmm, another well-written story that does sweet in a way I can revel in -- here it's contrary and quirky with a lovely rhythm.

I hate the way he looked from me to Dief before he left, and told us to look after each other, like I'm going to fall down a well or something if he goes away for three days, like he wouldn't leave at all if he couldn't leave the wolf to babysit me. So I feed Dief takeout every night and donuts every morning, and he tells me he hates Fraser for that too; he's a wolf, for God's sake, why should Fraser think he can't take care of himself?

Current Mood: okayokay

February 9th, 2004

pearl_o @ 02:03 pm: due south
Cold Snap by Kalena
Summary: Vecchio's marriage to Stella is the last thing Ray cares about.

After their quest to find the Hand of Franklin, Fraser stayed up in Canada, and Ray went back to Chicago -- but back home Ray's not the same guy anymore. It's all about denial and need and, yeah, figuring stuff out.

The snow was cold. There were no compromises. He did okay, and never complained after the first couple weeks, because it was what it was. He started to understand why Fraser was the way he was. There wasn't room for anything else -- even though there was more room out on the snowpack than he'd ever seen before. Huh. Too many ironies in the fire.

He was so worried, before, about how he wouldn't be him if he wasn't with Fraser. Now he knew he could be just fine, all by himself, even with Fraser still around. He could walk away, not hang around Fraser's neck like a . . . what was that thing? Didn't matter. Ray would be just fine. He was fine already.

Current Mood: hungryhungry
pearl_o @ 01:54 pm: due south
To Unburden by s.a.
http://www.fubos.com/fiction/tounburden.html [ETA updated link]
Summary: Fraser got out of bed and thought that it might be a good day.

I have a big giant soft spot for the sweet, but it's in constant battle with my fear of sappiness or bad characterization. Given that conflict, there are seriously few things that do it for me better than a genuinely sweet, lovely, well-characterized story; it's hard to do as an author and all sorts of satisfying as a reader, and this story hits it right on the head for me. The structure is interesting here, too -- the scenes flow in backwards order, which sounds gimmicky, but it fits very well here, and ends up feeling organic and necessary to the story.

Fraser's picking at his food, which is never good, always a bad sign, because the man eats for survival, which means packing away as much as he needs and then waiting patiently for Ray to finish.

But instead he's looking at his burrito like it's telling him the secret code to destroy Siberia, and Ray can feel the tension coming off of him in waves, like when he's out on the lake and he puts his hand down to the water just to feel the lapping against his palm.

Current Mood: tiredtired
pearl_o @ 01:46 pm: classics
Follower by Gloria Mundi
Summary: like a dog, like a girl, like a ghost.

I don't, actually, feel a need to read fanfiction for everything I read or watch. Seriously. I was perfectly satisfied with the Iliad on its own without needing to read classics fanfic -- but when I'm given links to really good stuff, you know, I'm going to give in. Gloria Mundi's page has several excellent classics slash stories on it, but I think I like this one best -- the language is rich and clear, with glorious imagery, and the playing with tense works quite well to deepen the effect of the themes of love and honor and death.

When they were boys together, love was allowed. They would grow out of it. Every year there were new weapons, new armour, new tunics and sandals. The year he was fourteen, Achilles had been given a new longbow, as tall as himself. His cousin Patroclus, the taller of the two, had drawn the bow more easily.

"You're too weak yet," he had teased. "Like a girl."

"Like a girl, is it?" Always, before, Achilles would have knocked him over for an insult like that, rolling on the floor like a pair of hounds until Patroclus -- almost always Patroclus, for all his height and weight -- begged laughingly for peace.

That time, Achilles just looked askance at his cousin. "Like a girl," he said again, scowling. "We shall see."

Current Mood: awake

February 5th, 2004

pearl_o @ 12:22 am: firefly
charmed life by Northlight
Summary: Inara has a story.

I am still exploring my newly found Inara love; this is another lovely, lovely piece -- all about her, and who she is, and who she was, and where she may have come from.

Her father was the governor of their district. He was tall and straight and his grey suit was always neatly pressed. His voice was deep and grave and his laughter rumbled beneath Inara's ear. Mother did water-colours by the window. Sunlight poured through the tall glass and made her dark curls shine. Her voice was warm and rich and made Inara think of hot cocoa.

The earth and sea were rich and her family was made prosperous. They had a home by a lake that glimmered with fish and green grass that rolled to the edge of heavy woods. Their house was all white and brightness and arching windows and Inara's polished shoes clicked importantly against tiled floors. They had neatly dressed servants who dipped their heads at Inara and called her little mistress.

February 4th, 2004

pearl_o @ 09:29 pm: due south
Shopping for Mayhem in Aisle Four by shrift
Summary: In which Ray is unconscionable, mean people suck, and Fraser has questionable taste in pre-packaged foodstuffs.

I think I might have mentioned before in this journal that I'm a big fan of shrift's writing. You know. Once or twice. It might have come up.

At any rate, this is a small, priceless story -- funny, funny, *funny*, with the perfect Fraser and Ray dialogue going on, and the right amount of banter and sexiness to make me all goofy. It's one of those stories where I kind of want to just quote the whole thing at you -- it's hard to pick one thing out.

"Sir," Fraser said, "I'm sure that if you put down your weapon --"

"Shut up!" the kid yelled, gun swinging around to aim at them, and then back at the terrified clerk. She looked about eighteen, plump, a green apron clinging to her front. Her hands were up, way up, almost on level with the stubby ponytail that was showing off her creative dye-job.

"Sir, I'm sure that if --"

"I said shut up!" The kid's ratty T-shirt was dark with sweat rings, almost as bad as Dewey usually looked after trying to chase down a perp.

Ray turned his head, and said quietly to Fraser's nose, "Do not provoke the whackjob, Fraser."

"I was merely --"

"Fraser!" Ray whispered. "This guy would probably shoot his own Grandma right now, okay? Shut up." Ray could see Fraser glaring at him out of the corner of his eye. "Shut up, please."

Fraser nodded. "It only takes an extra second to be courteous, Ray."

Current Music: Kasey Chambers - Cry Like A Baby
pearl_o @ 09:16 pm: due south
The Whole Enchilada by Pares and Laura Shapiro
Summary: A zine story for Duet. It's a metaphor.

Fraser/Kowalski, post-CotW, with misunderstandings, wrong turns, arguments, banter, ex-wife obsessions, dancing, bickery sex scenes, animal calls, and naked pizza-eating. Honestly, what more could you want?

"So whaddaya want on it?"

"It doesn't matter to me, Ray. Whatever you like."

"Come on. Sausage or pepperoni? Maybe the Sandor Special. Or we could live on the edge and get that fancy goat cheese and pesto stuff."

"I honestly don't care."

"What do you mean, you don't care? Of course you care. Everybody cares what's on their pizza!" Ray's pique was obvious, if abrupt. He began to rant. "See, this is exactly the kind of thing that drives people nuts, Fraser. It's not normal. When someone asks me what I want on my pizza, I tell them I like Canadian Bacon and pineapple, and I don't like mushrooms or onions. I have an opinion!"

"Admirable, Ray. But what Americans call Canadian Bacon is really --"

Ray struck the table with his fist. "Don't do that! Do not fucking do that. That's not the point and you know it!"

Fraser opened his mouth. Perhaps this visit had been premature after all. He tried to be conciliatory, despite the acid roll of his stomach. "I had no idea you felt so strongly about pizza, Ray. I ap--"

"Jesus, Fraser, you got any real feelings?"

Fraser's confusion flared into anger.

"What do feelings have to do with pizza?"

Current Music: Badly Drawn Boy - About A Boy

February 1st, 2004

pearl_o @ 10:56 pm: firefly
Planetfall by dirty diana
Summary: The ground beneath her feet.

Another story from the Yuletide challenge. The pairing is Simon/Inara, which is fittingly obscure -- it's not, in fact, a pairing I ever thought about or wished to see before this story, but it works well here. It is only since I got my DVDs and starting rewatching the series that I've realized how much I love Inara's character, how much I enjoy her, and good fanfic about her pleases me quite a bit. The narrative here is second person, slow and lingering, and the Inara voice is lovely.

"Of course." You lean your head against his shoulder, your arms circling around him. "How could I have forgotten the trip to Whitefall?"

"I don't know. It was rather memorable."

"Well," you say, "I suppose we're all just used to Patience shooting Mal by now."

You kiss him, wanting to taste the smile on his lips. His mouth opens for you instinctively, gentle and welcoming, and then he freezes.

"Inara," he whispers, a blush rising over his face. He glances around the dockyard, crowded in the bustles of midmorning business. "Not here."

You smile, because despite the time that has scarred and weathered the outside, Simon has not changed on the inside.

It is possible, then. The thought comforts you, and you wrap it around you like a blanket.

pearl_o @ 06:31 pm: due south
It Was a Very Good Year by Shayheyred
Summary: A Canadian. An American. And Ol' Blue Eyes.

God, this story is so funny and witty and kind and man, so *sweet*. Frannie/Turnbull -- and you know, it's not that easy for me to take Turnbull seriously as character, but I can here. It's a lovely Frannie, too, sad but hopeful and with, eventually, a happy ending (yay!). The story just sparkles all the way through. All in all, it's probably my favorite of all the excellent stories coming out of the 2003 While We Tell of Yuletide Treasure challenge.

It's not that the Mountie wasn't tall -- good heavens, he was a foot taller than she -- or good looking, because he was rather good looking in an earnest sort of way, or even that he was kind of a klutz, because let's face it, Benton Fraser had a tendency to drop things in her presence, too. It was just that this Mountie wasn't her Mountie. He wasn't her Benton.

For nearly a year she'd notice him out of the corner of her eye and turn with hopeful expectation at the bright red of his uniform, only to be disappointed that he wasn't Fraser. When she talked to him, it was while she juggled phone and notepad, keyboard and files. After a while she got used to having him around. It was as if he were a piece of furniture. A large piece of furniture -- bigger than a sectional couch and as in the way as a badly-placed footstool.

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