liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

Five Fave Fics

Okay, there's been this meme going around since before the election, but since RL and U.S. politics had eaten my brain, I had done and posted nothing.

Now...onward back to fluffyness!

So, this meme is simple: Pick 5 (FINISHED!) fave fics you'd use to pimp yourself to people who know nothing about your work and explain why they're your favorites.

Last Train Leaving Wonderland
Xander/Faith, Giles, Buffy; NC-17; Het — Xander has a plan. Life and Faith are not making it easy for him.

“What the hell is it with you?” Faith lazily swatted at his left shoulder. “To hear you talk, there’s some kind of rulebook out there for this shit, and you’ve memorized the whole fucking thing chapter and verse.”

“I bet there is a rulebook somewhere, not that I’d bother to read it if there was,” Xander good-naturedly admitted. “But despite my tragic inability to quote you chapter and verse from any kind of rulebook, I am pretty sure that I’m due a little respect.”

Faith did a half-abdominal crunch and captured his lips with hers. As she sank back down onto the sand, she nipped at Xander’s lower lip hard enough to get a groan out of him. “You’d be bored off your ass if I was a sub,” she said as she smiled up into his face.

Xander brought his fingers of his left hand to rub along his swollen lower lip, which was even now stretching into a genuine smile. “You figured me out way too fast.

Yes, this story is now in the "favorite child" slot, in large part because this story is so very much not something I'd usually write. What makes this one really unusual (for me) is that there are no unreliable narrators. In short, you can believe everything Xander "thinks" or says, provided you take into account his character filter and the fact that his point of view is severely skewed in this story. I enjoyed trying something else that was new: for once the characters are the ones completely in the know, while the readers are the ones who have to figure everything out. Oh, the clues are there from the get-go, which quite a few people picked up early on in the story, but weren't entirely sure if I was actually going in that direction until the moment I actually did. Plus...there is smut. And an actual 'ship. A rare story for me all around.

Walking Higher (The Childhood's End Remix)
Xander, Dawn, Buffy, Giles, Willow, Cordelia, Connor (cameo appearance); R; Buffy/Xander UST, Giles/Xander Light Slash — There’s only one person who’d ask you to give up heaven, and there are four people for whom you’d do it.

“Yeah, thought that’d be the thing that convinced you.”

When you look up, you see that her expression is compassionate. It takes you a little bit by surprise, since it’s so opposite of how you remember her. Maybe you’ve been remembering wrong. Maybe it was always there and you just didn’t see it.

Or maybe, like you, she grew up somewhere along the way.

Her smile is kind of sad as she adds, “You always did love them more than anything else.”

“How long do I have?” you ask. You know you sound hopeful, possibly even pleading.

“A few hours.”

“That’s it?” You drop her hand and stare incredulously at her. “That’s not enough time. That’s not nearly enough time.”

She looks away from you then, but unlike you she doesn’t turn away from the fire. She stares into it, as if it’s the only real thing she can see. “It never is,” she quietly tells you.

A Remix Fic, one of two on the list. But unlike The Murder of Crows (Blackhawk Down Remix), which I probably never would've written on my own, I probably would've written something like this story eventually. However, I equally confess that there are some elements that would've been very different if left to my own devices, and I'm not just talking the entire Giles section. In looking at this story, though, it's surprisingly similar in sensibility to Last Train Leaving Wonderland. For once, the narrator can absolutely be trusted — allowing for the character's unique situation and point of view — and again the reader is left to puzzle out what the hell is really going on. The added bonus for this one is that the narrator is just about the only person who knows the truth about anything. Most of the other characters around him (with the exception of Willow) are equally in the dark. Overall, I'm very pleased with how this one came out, including its unusual structure.

Cuckoo in the Nest
Tony Harris, Jessica Harris, Xander, Anya, Giles, Willow; PG-13; Gen — Tony Harris always knew there was something off about the kid. From the day he was born, he and Jessica never had anything but bad luck.

One night the kid shows up at the dinner table with bruises around his neck looking shocked and glassy-eyed.

“When did that happen?” Tony asks.

The kid startles and mumbles something about last night and him being with some friends when this fight started…a stumbling, half-assed excuse that is so pathetic that Tony tunes it out halfway through.

“You have to go to the hospital?” Tony asks.

The kid blinks and numbly says he didn’t.

Thank god. Tony can’t afford to fit a frigging hospital bill into the household budget. He punches a fork in the kid’s general direction and starts asking some questions. “What do you get up to at night?”


“Don’t give me that. You’re going out. Where are you going?”


“You show up with bruises, broken bones, you’re throwing clothes covered with god knows what in the trash and you’re doing nothing and going nowhere? Stop yanking my dick and telling me that you thought you were milking a cow.”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“Oh, well excuse me. I must have misunderstood with all the sneaking out, and you hiding ruined clothes, and the bruises around your neck.”

The kid looks surprised that Tony noticed.

From reliable narrators to narrators who are not only unreliable to the millionth degree, but completely ignorant about their world to boot. This story was hideously difficult to write, in large part because Tony's mind is a nasty place and just writing some of his thoughts made me cringe at the keyboard. It was also rewarding in another way: because I got to put my own twist on the "Xander's real father" genre (It's really Tony.) as well as put my own twist on "Xander's parents are monsters" genre (They're monsters in the way that way human alcoholics can be when they're drunk.). There was also a lot of fun to be had in writing a short story that was a mini-tribute to the kind of short stories Nathanial Hawthorne wrote in the 19th century. Certainly the language is not the same, but I deliberately structured the thing so it would reflect the same kind of sensibility. Plus, it was fun writing the basic events of Sunnydale through Tony's clouded vision. For example, the above exchange occurs between Xander and Tony the day after Faith's attempt to strangle him during a sexually charged attack.

The Murder of Crows (Blackhawk Down Remix)
Anders, Kara, Leoben, Tyrol, Ellen, Boomer, Tigh, Tory; PG; Gen (Mention of Anders/Kara) — Sam has learned that it’s better to be a crow than a bird of prey. Strangely enough, he’s okay with that.

Josh pushes off from the fence and walks almost a dozen steps before he stops and turns around. “The thing about people is that most of ’em are like your well-behaved little predators behind you.” Josh flicks a dismissive, pointed finger at enclosures behind Sam. “Guarantee their safety, make sure they’re fed properly, and they’ll sit all nice and quiet in their cages until the day they die.”

Sam tenses, and waits. For what, he’s not entirely sure.

“But some people,” Josh taps the side of his nose with a wink, “some people are crows. There’s never as many as you hope, but there’s always more than you think. Look for the crows, Sam, and you won’t set a foot wrong.”

“And if I decide that I’m a crow at heart?” The question is out of Sam’s mouth before he realizes that it had formed in his head. Some part of him is taking this far more seriously than he ought to.

Josh grins as if somehow Sam finally got it. “Then you’ll have yourself a murder.”

Ummmm, yes. I'm putting a Battlestar Galactica (2003) story into the mix. This one is a Remix Fic, and one I most definitely would not have written otherwise. What also makes it kind of a rare bird for me is that: 1) it's written for a fandom where the canon is still on-going; 2) the entire point of the thing hinged almost entirely of the revelations that emerged from the final moments of the final episode of S3. Despite both these points, the story and it's vague ending hinting at the development of the Dylan Four continues to hold up pretty well, even as the series hurtles towards its closing. It'll be interested to see just how badly it gets Moore'd before the series run is over.

Ishmael Sings of the White Whale
Faith, Angel, Wes; R; Angel/Faith — An obsessed Angel has a plan to bring down the Senior Partners once and for all, but he just might drag Faith down, too.

“He can’t even see you Wes, so how do you figure that?”

Wes’s face is full of soft sadness. “Because I’m Starbuck to his Ahab. Where he goes, I must follow, even it is into the maw of the white whale itself.”

Faith’s not exactly sure what Wes is on about, but she can break it down to the basics: he’ll follow Angel straight into hell if that’s where Angel’s going. Doesn’t matter what happened in the past. Doesn’t matter what’s going to happen in the future. Doesn’t matter that, as far as Angel is concerned, Wes exists in the present only as another item on the list of things he’s lost.

Wes is staying because he’s doing it for Angel. It has always been and always will be about Angel and there’s nothing she can do about that.

Wes reaches out a finger and touches a spot in the middle of her forehead. She can almost imagine that there’s physical contact there, even though the only thing she can feel is the warmth of the sun after six months of darkness.

“But you? I call you Ishmael,” Wes says.

“Ishmael, hunh?”

Wes drops his hand and favors her with a genuine smile. “You’ll be the one who’ll talk about all the people who got lost. People from Sunnydale. People from L.A.” He nods as if he’s made up his mind on the matter. “Yes, I really do believe you are Ishmael.”

She knows that this is important, but she’ll be damned if she knows what it means. She reaches down, slips the strap of the duffle bag over her shoulder and says, “Goodbye, Wes.”

She turns and walks deeper into the sunlight.

This one is a really, really old story, and one that I most definitely would not have written. In fact, its existence is due entirely to the prompt hernewshoes gave for a Faith-based Fic-A-Thon. This is the story that started my tradition of "killing characters," in one form or another, for fic-a-thon stories and fic challenges. It's also my first ghost story, and the first story where I wrote an actual 'ship, even if I did gloss over the potential smut. This is also one of those stories that I tend to like more and more as I get time and distance from it. I can't exactly explain why I like it more now than I did at the time I released it into the wild, yet I really do. Maybe it's the general darkness that infuses the whole piece, maybe it's the overwhelming despair that threatens to drown out the slim ray of sunlight. Maybe it's because tonally speaking this has a lot more in common with Last Train Leaving Wonderland than it does with any of the other stories that I was writing at the time.

All picks were pulled from here

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