I have been in Shanghai basically since the Yuletide archive went live, and while I was able to sneak away to an internet cafe to frantically download stories every day, I forgot about the Great Firewall of China and how it keeps out LJ! In other news, I think this made me skip over a ton of stories I would have otherwise liked, because the feeling of your mother waiting for you to finish your email ("How can you take so long every day checking email?" and I was not about to explain Yuletide to her) is not conducive to fic appreciation!
That said, I got not just one, but TWO Sancia/Alfonso Cantarella stories! AWESOMESAUCE! I made squealing squeeing noises and flapped my hands about in glee just because two people (or possibly one?) wrote my favorite characters from one of my favorite crack gothic shoujo series!
The first is If I Could Move Time
, and it has Alfonso yearning and Sancia being guarded and wary and bonus reincarnation (whoo!). I love that it captures how constrained by politics and their own fears and desires they are, but mostly, Alfonso/Sancia yaaaay!
She does not dream at night, or imagine a place where it is possible to be loved and be more than a pawn. Where it is possible to have a love that does not need to be broken or looked down upon, where politics and birth do not determine their fate, where it is possible to be happy and free.
The second is Under Light
, which has twelve-year-old Alfonso and fourteen-year-old Sancia and sex and is disturbingly creepy in a good way. My favorite thing about it is that it follows with the series and doesn't punish or look down on Sancia for having sex, and I love that wee!Alfonso thinks she's amazing no matter what.
But nothing he's heard helps, because right now, even in this dimly lit old servant's corridor, Sancia is breathtaking.The Work of Chemists (Skip Beat!)
Her head is tilted back and she's smirking up at the man, so much confidence it makes his heart ache.
- I gave up on the series a while ago, but I think I will have to pick it up again now. OMG. So this fic? Is hilarious. I would have been on the floor, howling, had I not been reading around one in the morning and trying not to wake up my entire family. It so amazingly perfectly captures Kyoko's narrative voice, and I love love love the over-the-top shounen "I must try harder to devote all I can to acting" and her plummeting from the heights of joy to the depths of despair to her cluelessness and just everything! And it has Moko-Kyoko too! I am just pulling out a single quote, but I honestly want to quote the entire fic.
Kyoko's heart was racing happily. She had been invited to visit Moko at home! Their friendship was growing stronger and deeper before Kyoko's very eyes! Would they braid one another's hair? Perhaps she and Moko could give one another a makeover? Or! Or Moko might open her heart to Kyoko, and shyly share her secret thoughts!Azumanga Daioh's Romeo and Juliet (Azumanga Daioh)
- This manages to perfectly capture the four-panel pacing of the original, with the addition of a delicate, understated romance (at least, as delicate as Tomo ever gets...). It's got great lines for all the characters, and I particularly love the Tomo. And the Osaka. And Ms. Yukari. And and... all of them, really!
"I tried to get into the movies once," Osaka replied. "It didn't work."and if they are not dead (Monster)
"You?!?" Yomi said with her mouth hanging open. "Did your parents try and get you in a commercial when you were a kid? Is your uncle a movie producer?"
"No, I just walked right up to the screen. But it turns out it's just a big piece o' cloth..."
- This is a lovely post-series fic full of tension and fear and ultimately the same forgiveness and humanity that the series shows, and just like the series, it's about what makes us monsters, but more importantly, what makes us human.
She takes the postcard upstairs to her flat, then searches for the other two while the kettle heats up. She fills a French press and, while the coffee is brewing, pins all three postcards to the board above her desk, isolated a little apart from the clippings of Dieter's team and the take-out menus. And then, gazing at the three sketches, she unwraps the last of the bread from Paris, pours a cup of coffee, and tips five spoonfuls of sugar into her cup.Cinderella, Made of Steel (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
The sugar is sweet. The bread is good.
- My favorite of the SCC stories this year. This gets Cameron-voice absolutely perfect, and just like Cameron, the fic is heart-warming, funny, sad, and terrifying, often at the same time. And while it's mostly about Cameron, it's also about Sarah and what she's lost, with Derek and John as lovely grace notes.
"Be quiet as you go up," says Cameron. "Sarah has not been sleeping well."the sandwich story (Calvin and Hobbes)
"Thanks," says Reese. "I don't want to be shot."
Cameron does not want him to be shot either. He would require medical attention. That would be bad. He might die. That would be worse. Cameron has not allotted time in her schedule for disposing of a body. She does not say this.
- Waaaah! This made me cry. When I was a kid, I named every single one of my stuffed animals and loved them and made them houses out of blankets and my sister and I would never buy just one (stuffed animals must be bought in pairs, so they will be each others' best friend). Now I'm back home, and I've forgotten the names of the newest, the ones bought closest to teenagerhood, and they all sit in the closet, gathering dust. This fic is about that.
"Hobbes," Calvin says thoughtfully, perched on the sharply slanted roof outside his bedroom window. "Have you always been around?"5 Things Olive Snook Never Thought and One Thing She Did (Pushing Daisies)
Hobbes looks very wise and takes a large bite of his tuna sandwich. His reply is muffled and incomprehensible around the food.
Calvin takes this to mean that Hobbes doesn't know, either.
- A lovely little treat with Olive, Ned, and Chuck, and no quote for this, since it's so short.Wearing the Sod Gown (Castle in the Sky)
- I love Yuletide for giving me stories in fandoms I never would have thought of! It's been years since I've seen the movie, but all the same, this fic is wonderful. Like many of the other pieces I'm enjoying most this year, this is a wonderful coda to the series, and I really want this to be canon.
"People who can be free shouldn't, and the ones that should are chained to the earth until it's too late," he said.Whole New World (Aladdin)
- The genie, post-series, and the people who keep shaping your life and make-shift families (my favorite kind).
He wonders, sometimes, what freedom is worth, if he always returns to the same place; but Agrabah isn't just a place. For the brief and golden time that it exists (and relatively, for Genie, it is brief), it's home.One Thousand and One and Counting (One Thousand and One Arabian Nights)
- I am not entirely sure this fic makes sense without the request ("A woman tells stories to a man at night - stories that keep her alive. Let it matter that much."), but I love the interpretation of the prompt and the anger in the story along with the celebration of so many cultures.
"Yes, you are here to help," she agrees amiably. Keep him engaged, throw any tall tale at the monster to pacify him. "My sister," second cousin on her mother's side, actually, but English does not have a specific word for that, "says that as well. She wishes..."Red Sky by Morning (Mythology - Chinese)
- I wish I remember the Matsu (Mazu) legend more so I knew what this story was doing with it, but I love just seeing this in the archive and remembering hearing stories of her in history class back in grade school.
Until the world narrows to this, this point, this moment where she's standing by the harbor rocks, watching for ships at sea, blood-red clothes like a shout against the gray of sea and sky.Fools and Their Money (Antique Bakery)
- Bwahaha! Chikage being Chikage.
Chikage had picked an agricultural chemicals company that traded on the Nisei because according to him, it looked lonely. Tachibana set up a computerized trading account and bought him four shares, and that should have been that.One Minute, Counting (Pushing Daisies)
- Emerson! The coroner! A premise that is absolutely awesome.
And then he really was done. He swallowed. Goodbye uncomfortable metal slab, he thought. Goodbye Knit-Wit magazine and the sweet smell of yarn and the soft click-click-click that needles made when you got into a rhythm. Goodbye fresh crisp checks in the mail.The Queen's Wedding Night (Attolia series)
- Someone wrote sex in the Attolia universe and it worked! Giant spoilers for the second book, and I love that this fic has so much unsaid and so much hurt. No quotes for spoiler reasons.