Renay is one of my favourite tweeters/bloggers, and always makes me think very thinky thoughts about gender and things.
From me, Renay wanted one of two things:
"secret shame fandoms (the fandoms you read in and love it but don't write in or talk about in public) and why they are secretly great. Alternately, since that's obscure and possibly too shameful, backup request of 10 favorite fanfics of all time and why you love them, because you can't go wrong with recs."
Well, I keep saying that I'm too old for shame, and I don't have any secret shame fandoms, so I'm going to do a list of recs. (I've not only started reading knotting fic, but also 1D fic. I've read 1D knotting fic. I have no room for shame.)
Disclaimer: I've only been in fandom for about three years, so I apologise if my recs tend towards the more popular end of the spectrum, instead of finding great fic that maybe others don't know all that well. They also don't span all that many fandoms, for the reason that I tend to find a comfort zone and hang around there
BUT I do love all of these recs, I truly do. They are fics that have brought me not only great joy and made me do FLAPPY HANDS FLAPPY HANDS in real life, they're also fics that I've discussed back and forth and sideways with other fandom friends. Which, for me, is what fandom is all about.
Anyway. Enough with the rambling.
These fics are in order from best to ... well, I love you but not quite as much as I love the fic above you. I'm totally playing favourites.
1): The Five Kingdoms by winterhill: http://archiveofourown.org/works/245092/chapters/377939
Summary: (from AO3): It was meant to be a solo quest — Merlin struggling to find ingredients for a spell to save King Arthur’s life — until Gwaine was sent to check on him and decided to stay. Now he’ll follow Merlin to the four kingdoms of the elements and back to the mortal realm, meet his own destiny at the Green Chapel, and become the willing champion of the most powerful sorcerer to ever live.
Why I love it: Let me count the ways ... The Five Kingdoms is my number one, absolute favourite fic of all time. It reads exactly like a questing fantasy novel, and it has depth and feeling and it's just. It's so close to perfect that - excuse me I need to flap my hands.
The primary pairing is Merlin/Gwaine, and they're written so beautifully. Just. This is what I always want from a fic relationship - depth and caring and all of the feelings. It shows that even though Merlin is 100 per cent loyal to Arthur as his court sorcerer, he can still have someone who's just for him. And Gwaine is actually, literally Merlin's champion.
It's a fusion with the Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight legend, and it's so vivid and beautiful, I want everyone ever to read it and love it as much as I do.
2) Play it All Night Long: http://janie-tangerine.livejournal.com/290160.html
Pairing: Dean Winchester/Castiel
Summary (from the LJ): the rom-com-ish one where Dean hosts a late night radio show, Castiel is a regular listener of his who starts calling one day and ends up calling more often than not and Dean finds himself liking it. This, until one day Castiel calls for not exactly petty reasons (just before Dean's brother Sam is visiting with his girlfriend for spring break) and things get very, very crowded at his place. He also doesn't know it's just the beginning of it. Also features Gabriel, Chuck, Andy, the Roadhouse crew and a huge amount of music quoted. Especially Bob Dylan.
Why I love it: Much and all as The Five Kingdoms is the fic of my heart, Play it All Night Long is the standard by which I measure every single other fic I read. I think it's that good.
It's just a lovely read from start to finish, and the characters are so well-drawn, that when I'd finished it, I was disappointed that Dean Winchester wasn't actually the host of a late-night radio show.
Cas is lovely here - very much in character (I'm sorry Renay I don't know whether you watch Supernatural!) and Dean is at first a bit o.O at the chaos that comes into his life, but when he starts to roll with it, is when things really start going right.
I love it, it's everything I want in a fic and an AU, and I love AUs more than I love ... some other things I love.
3) The Road Trip series: http://archiveofourown.org/series/10114
Fandom: Sherlock TV
Pairing: John/Sherlock (sort of)
Summary: (from the AO3): Based off this prompt on the kinkmeme http://sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal.com/6375.html?thread=29644263. Sherlock, John, and Lestrade on a road trip together, stuck in the same car for hours. The numbers are how long they have been on the road.
Why I love it: "Sherlock sees cows and wants to stop. They do not stop." That one sentence basically sums up the whole fic, and it's hysterical reading. I re-read it just a couple of weeks ago and it's as delightful as I remember.
It takes a slightly more serious turn in the last part, with Sherlock musing on Feelings and Stuff, and a lot of people found the ending heartbreaking. For me, though, it worked. Sherlock has an epiphany about love and friendship that is - yes - a little bit bittersweet, but also quite lovely.
Also there's this: "Sherlock sees goats and bides his time." <3_____ p="p">
4) Touchstone by machshefa: http://archiveofourown.org/works/30934
Fandom: Sherlock TV
Summary (from the AO3): On John Watson’s sixth birthday, his mum gave him a flat wooden box to hold his wish stones.
Why I love it: Magic realism. Magic realism is like catnip for me and Touchstone has a lovely premise with the wish stones and the yearning and ... let's just say 'and the everything.' Touchstone has been recommended everywhere and then some, but I don't care, I love it, it's so beautiful.
5) One Species Too Many by wallmakerrelict: http://archiveofourown.org/works/551105?view_adult=true
Pairing: Dean Winchester/Castiel
Summary (from the AO3): While Dean is laid up for a month after breaking his leg on a hunt, Cas decides that it's a perfect time to adopt a litter of kittens. But even though he's gotten better since Purgatory, Cas still isn't quite the same as he was before fixing Sam's head, and being trapped in a cabin with him for weeks on end is making that all the more obvious to Dean. When Sam takes off on a hunt, Dean has to figure out on his own how to navigate his new relationship with Cas while also helping to raise a bunch of fuzzballs that aren't even cute. Not even a little bit. (Well, maybe a little bit.)
Why I love it: KITTENS. IT HAS KITTENS. I mean. Um. Kittens aside, it has established!Dean/Cas which I like. Don't get me wrong, I do love a good Boys Figure Stuff Out fic, but there's something lovely and intimate and comforting about a fic with an established relationship. Dean is hilarious, Cas is ALL about the kittens and Sam finds the whole thing hysterically funny. It is a canon-verse fic, but I don't think you need to watch the show to get the hang of it. PLUS. KITTENS.
6) Infected by X: http://tenebris.org/x__art/x_fic_inception_infection.htm
Summary: (no summary)
Why I love it: Cobb/Saito was the Inception pairing of my dreams, but was overshadowed largely by Arthur/Eames. After a while, I stopped looking for fic, but this is lovely. It has a slight dream-like quality to it, and is a lovely character study of Saito.
7) Wizards Not Included by phaballa: http://phaballa.livejournal.com/554295.html
Fandom: American Idol RPF
Pairing: Adam/Kris (sort of, friendship mostly); past Adam/Brad
Summary: (from the LJ) Adam felt so weird and crazy that it couldn't be anything but full-on, true and for serious love. He was done. He was a Boyz II Men song. He was a Julia Roberts movie.
Why I love it: Wizards was one of the first-ever fics I read, and it hit me a bit like a punch to the solar plexus with a kick to the heart as a follow-up. It's a Figuring Stuff Out fic, and that seriously is one of my favourite things. It's very introspective and thinky, and just a little bit ... oooh, ouch, that hurt a little bit.
8) In Your Name by bohemia: http://archiveofourown.org/works/554551/chapters/988721
Summary: (from the AO3): For someone with so many secrets, Merlin doesn't think he's very good at lying. So agreeing to discuss his friendship with the Prince of Wales at University as part of a televised documentary is probably not a good idea. Juggling magic, Royal protocol, suave (and persistent) Dukes, a Princess with attitude, and a serious amount of coursework was only the start. Oh and then there was Arthur himself. Yeah, probably shouldn't mention much about that...ModernAU
Why I love it: I loved loved loved The Student Prince and Drastically Redefining Protocols, and In Your Name is a little bit in that tradition - a modern royal AU wherein Arthur is the Prince of Wales, but still essentially ... Arthur. Merlin has magic in this one, though it's a super-duper big secret. And. I cannot describe how much I enjoyed reading this. It's tense and angsty and lovely at the same time and Merlin is just so ... Merlin.
9) Gods and Supervillains by 8611: http://archiveofourown.org/works/582528
Fandom: James Bond - Skyfall 2012
Summary: (from the AO3): Dear SIS personnel,
Kindly stop sitting on my sofa and playing video games with my flatmate, because it is making my life disturbing. I cannot handle it.
Your friendly neighborhood Quartermaster
(or, the one where there's Christmas shopping, petsitting a cat who's a Threat To National Security, and Eve wiping the floor with everyone at every video game ever.)
10) Hanging Like Bricks Don't by minglingcrab: http://archiveofourown.org/series/3308
Fandom: American Idol RPF, Season 8
Summary: Aliens make them do it.
Why I love it: Bricks first appeared on the old _ai kink meme, and it was a delight right from the start.
Yes, I know aliens-make-them-do-it is the tropiest trope, but it's a trope that's in good hands here. :-) The characterisations are very good and the writing is engaging and fun. :-)
Happy holidays, Renay. I hope you like my list. :-)