Thanks for checking out my letter! I'm sure I'll be very excited about whatever you come up with.
Basics: The whole spectrum from G-rated gen to explicit PWP is fine (if pressed, I'd say I prefer semi-explicit to super-graphic, but really I'll read anything). I've got no preference over POV/tense/narrative style, just use whatever comes to you!
I love: ANGST. Pining, subtle UST, first times, or established relationships with some level of conflict to be resolved. Intense friendship stories. Protectiveness in close relationships as well as in those that wouldn't obviously appear to be protective at first. Emphasis on that "A isn't the type of person B is usually attracted to, but..." sort of shippy vibe. Any kind of amusing/surprising/touching interactions between characters that don't usually get one-on-one time in canon. Characterization that focuses on the nature & nurture of who people have grown to be and the unique ways they take care of or need other characters. AUs are good, be it fork-in-the-road or a completely different genre/setting that strikes you as something that would bring some good stuff out of the characters/relationship(s)--and perhaps preferably still preserve some altered version of the conflicts those characters or relationships face in canon. I do often have issues with fix-it fics that are only written for the sake of being fix-it fics; let's just say I'd rather read an altered ending to something because it's an interesting place to go with it, not simply because it's happier. You are welcome to poke around my LJ or my goodreads (or even my tumblr, which is under the same username) to see what fandoms I'm familiar with if the idea of doing a crossover or fusion appeals to you; I am of the opinion that as long as big fandom characters don't take center stage, any crossover is fair game for yuletide.
I can handle: underage, dubcon, noncon, torture and incest, provided those are treated realistically or matter-of-factly, not fetishized. Character death. Love triangles. Infidelity I can deal with for the most part; actually the only character I requested that I absolutely could not handle being unfaithful in a relationship is Frank Mackey.
I don't want: super-fluffy slice-of-life curtain fic that has more emphasis on being in love than on falling in love (PWP makes me more flexible on this). Please no soulbonding/magical soulmate tropes played so straight that it takes over as the main catalyst for characters getting/staying together or realizing their feelings. I'm not into A/B/O, mpreg, or any body fluid kinks. Also, don't ask me why, but I'm not crazy about sex toys, so if anybody's being tied up I'd rather it be with something just lying around than with a pair of handcuffs from the adult shop. The more spontaneous the sex seems, the better.
Please forgive my TL;DR on some of these fandoms, and on the other hand don't be discouraged if I didn't talk as much about the fandom you matched me on as some of the others, it really doesn't reflect any preferences ;)
Another note: an oddly prevalent number of relationships relevant to my requests ends with one them dying? Perhaps this says something about me? Anyway, don't worry if you're inspired to write something in which the one character never appears presently in the story as long as the other character is reflecting on or doing something significantly relevant to the memory of that person.
The Departed (2006)
Billy Costigan, Madolyn Madden
One of my favorite movies. I love how the story weaves a lot of complicated connections and parallels that keep you interested but doesn't very often resort to those coincidences and revelations to make things easier for the characters, almost to the point of structuring it like a tragedy. Madolyn's role is one element that makes me partial to it as a remake. The incidental love triangle is connected across the subplots with a fair amount of restraint, and yet it puts this emphasis on all three characters' different forms of truth-twisting that wouldn't be possible if she was just a flawless pillar of support for the rising tension in Billy and/or Sullivan's lives. I get the idea that Madden is so conflicted about both relationships because she's simultaneously compassionate and wary towards the sense of some unarticulated secrecy in both of these men, but that it ultimately is some form of insecurity that makes her try to make it work with the guy who looks like Mr. Right, which of course all culminates into her moment of rage when she realizes he was the bigger liar and probably only worsens her grief and regrets over Billy's death because she just wasn't in a place to follow her instincts.
I ship these two so very hard, if that isn't assumed. One of my favorite bits in the film is when Billy picks up that old photo from Madolyn's childhood that Colin had previously made her feel embarrassed about, and just smiles. I love that when they first meet they're firmly planted in their acts: in Madolyn's case just the professional veneer who's obligingly put off of sharing anything personal, in Billy's the role of the chip-on-his-shoulder ex-convict that overlaps with his very real anger and violence and trauma; and seemingly because the pretense just doesn't work between them they quickly begin to get under each other's skin, and by the time he shows up at her place most of the pretense is still there but it doesn't really matter because neither of them is pretending to be a saint.
There are some vagaries to fill in with this relationship even though the movie gives us the essentials, like of how much convincing it took to get Madolyn to have a drink with him, what other things they would have talked about, or of how that love scene got from point A to point B (or, eheh, everything that was post-fade-to-black). One of the hardest scenes for me to get my head around is when Sullivan talks about moving to another city and she starts crying: Is it her bitter resolve to never see Billy again? Is it just guilt? Does she know by then that she is or could be pregnant? Also, feel free to fill in the gaps about The Envelope; I think it makes a lot of sense to assume it pointed her towards Dignam, and it would be interesting to see how their interaction might have played out.
For the record, if you wanted to add anything to the implications that Colin might be gay, I am 100% behind that interpretation, but the more metatextually homophobic moments--Costigan calling him a f*ggot being a significant example--are not something I need more of.
Dublin Murder Squad Series - Tana French
Cassie Maddox, Frank Mackey
You can absolutely go with this as an OR request if you'd like; after much agonizing I narrowed the characters to these two because they're both favorites, their relationship is fun, and their individual narratives cover a good range of stories and relationships I also love. Cassie/Rob is an OTP of mine and their friendship/partnership squeezes my heart; I love Frank's history with Rosie but also I would squee about anything related to absolutely any stage of his relationship with Olivia; I would love anything exploring the complicated Mackey family issues, particularly in his relationship with Jackie or Holly. I get a kick out of Frank's sort of warm rivalry with Scorcher too, whether you'd want to write something out of their training days or some future reconciliation between the two.
As for Cassie and Frank, I don't hardcore ship them but I appreciate that there's a pseudo-flirtatious banter there and a deep awareness of each other's natures. It always amuses me how in The Likeness, it would be ridiculous to say there's much of an actual love triangle between Frank and Sam, except it sometimes totally feels that way with the two of them competing for her commitments and Sam even seeming to semi-jealously acknowledge that she and Frank relate on this totally different wavelength that he doesn't understand. I think my favorite moments between these two are those interactions that imply a real enjoyment and familiarity with each other but also that, for whatever reason or a number of reasons, Cassie seems to consider him a friend best kept at arm's length. I remember being kind of floored by that moment when Cassie suddenly challenges Frank's mocking of Daniel as a projection of his own issues (and also by the fact that he does end up taking away that comparison as a compliment, because it's from her) and I think it would be interesting to establish some of their history based off of Cassie's instincts about him, if there was any moment she learned about or suspected his rough background or was surprised to learn just how ruthless he can be. I love Frank being protective both of his family and his detectives, and the idea that in the latter cases he'd pass it off as looking out for his professional reputation. I'd adore undercover!Cassie for sure but anything set in the future or perhaps post-FP has the potential to be so bittersweet; I wonder how different Frank would seem to Cassie now that he's settled into his family life but also been through some extreme losses and stress. I only ask that you not deal with more than the minimum of Cassie/Sam, please.
This is the first year that I haven't requested "any" for this fandom; if in doubt about whether I might enjoy anything a bit (or a lot) off the grid of my requests, the answer is I'd probably love it. I don't want to spam you with potentially irrelevant prompts but anything I mentioned in my letter last year is something I'd still be happy to get.
The Long Walk - Richard Bachman
Peter McVries, Ray Garraty
My investment in the relationship between these two slowly snuck up on me and then friggin killed me. I might as well get out of the way that I ship the hell out of it. I know that McVries maybe-jokingly offering Ray a handjob and Ray not being very pleased about it doesn't seem like much of a basis for anything other than the most subtle subtext, but--ridiculousness of the offer aside--I always felt that Ray's cold reaction came from being hurt that Pete was basically making light of how close they were by offering what was either a total joke or something that would feel desperate and impersonal, which is where he's reflexively coming from when he's thinking this garbled mess of yes, he wants somebody to touch him, but "all that mattered was McVries" and he doesn't want him to do it in that way. It's a very paradoxical ship in my mind, because it takes the intensity of the situation for this ruthless love to form between them, but because of their inability to express any of it in a vacuum the only sincere thing is the acknowledgment that any future involving both of them is impossible. Now, if you're only interested in focusing on them as a friendship I would still be very happy, and in some cases it may be more credible; even though strange things do happen on the walk I would prefer nothing to get sexual between them unless it somehow happens outside of that situation. But I do think that this book has something to say about harmful standards of masculinity and that Ray's anxiety about his sexuality is thematically important.
Since we're never in Pete's head, it would be great to get anything detailing how his initial distance from Ray quickly erodes into the protectiveness he obviously can't help over him, or what he's really thinking or trying to say at some of his more cynical and cryptic moments. I wonder what it was that Parker said to him to imply he thought he and Ray were "queer for each other" and how this apparently was covered without McVries feeling the need to deny it?
This is gonna be a much longer and more detailed prompt than I typically come up with, but: I was thinking about whether it could ever be credible to come up with an AU that involves a successful revolt or escape, and I thought that probably it would have to involve a group of armed rebel civilians (who are maybe set up underground in one of the more rural wooded areas) storming the soldiers, nabbing whichever kids they can, and taking them to some kind of hiding place before reinforcements come. There are a couple traits I would appreciate for this group to have: one, that they be less on the side of compassionate saviors who want to protect these boys for their own sake and more in the realm of political radicals using them as pawns to shake up the government's hold over them as symbols, and as such would probably be a bit rough and bossy with them; and two, that some of them be women. Honestly just giving the boys some time away from the soldiers' eyes would give some opportunities the original story doesn't have, so you could take this as short or as far as you want with how successful an escape it is. Maybe Ray and Pete are too shell-shocked to care about anything other than the chance to lie down and just end up falling asleep in a bunker
In the realm of more absolute alternate universes, I'm eager if it's keeping intact the angst and the general miasma of masculine insecurity and the utterly teenage conversations and McVries being such a troubled self-punishing sourpuss that his sweetness towards Ray feels like a small miracle. I don't know, what would a dystopian boarding school look like? Aggressive correctional camps? Anything where a compulsive make-out might happen in the bunks or the showers and then be stiffly denied later on sounds like a backdrop I'd love for these boys if you want to do something bleak-but-not-as-mortally-bleak.
I should add that while any acknowledgement of Pete's scar could actually be a plus, I don't want to get into my indecisive issues about how I'm not sure how I interpret the story of how he got it or how it's handled, so let's just say I'd prefer you mention Priscilla as little as possible.
The Stand - Stephen King
Larry Underwood, Lucy Swann
I have a whole lot of love for Larry/Lucy. Even with their relationship being sadly underdeveloped I really thought the sort of desperate yet reluctant give-and-take to it was more complicated and more true to the post-apocalyptic context than just about any other relationship in the novel, and I guess I'm saying this so that it's clear that I like that they're a bit messy and loose-ended and uncertain. Anything exploring this relationship and filling in some of the turning points/unanswered questions about it (What was their companionship like before or right after they first hooked up--maybe he did actually take her side over Nadine's once or twice when the plans were uncertain? When did Larry really begin to love Lucy? Good lord, what was their last goodbye like?) would be wonderful. It just drives me crazy that King jumps from the day they first met to a later time when they're in a vaguely defined relationship, but I somehow immediately connected with Lucy for her humility over Larry having obvious feelings for someone else, combined with her vulnerability, and her insisting that he listen to what she has to say--for me she's a perfect example of being compassionate in that situation without being characterized as a doormat, and in the context that kind of makes her the best thing that could have happened to Larry.
For the record, Nadine Cross is one of my favorites and I wouldn't mind any complicated references to all that drama; there was clearly a point even before Nadine's rude home wrecking where Lucy's initial show of friendship towards Nadine transformed into distrust, but please don't overlook that she still had some understanding for a clearly distressed woman or make Nadine a one-dimensional villain.