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2014 Yuletide Reveal Post

The short version:
This year I wrote 3 stories in the main collection, and 8 in the madness collection. For anyone who's new around here, I love feedback, and welcome con-crit. Please feel free!

Main collection
All Disasters Out of Season Elementary(TV)/Chalion Saga crossover
The Language of the Unheard The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Like a Dragon in a China Shop Temeraire/ACD Sherlock Holmes crossover

Madness collection:
Eight Times Captain Nick Medhurst Failed to Seduce Bird, and One Time He Succeeded Bluestone 42(TV)
Erinyes Elementary(TV)
A Hammer in the Doll's House Blacklist(TV)
the Other Law we live by Guardians of the Galaxy
The Perfect Hostess [drabble] Unusual Dragon Hoards
The Training Master's Ordeal [drabble] Protector of the Small
When you're going through Hell, keep going Pathfinder RPG, Dungeons and Dragons RPG
Wings of Iron [drabble] Maleficent

The epic tale of my Yuletide version
This was the first time I've had to default on my Yuletide assignment. Note to self: next time, don't assume that old TV series will be available on Netflix. I promised myself I would be extra vigilant about catching likely pinch-hits, and write some treats, to make up for it.

So the first story I wrote this year was a treat for the Bluestone 42 fandom. Now, you probably haven't seen this show. Almost no one has. But it is great! It's a black comedy about a British military bombs-disposal team in Afghanistan. There was no fic for it anywhere on the Internet, which is a clear violation of Rule 34, so I decided to employ Rule 35 and write some myself. I had requested this fandom, and so had one other person. (YAY!) So I set out to write her a treat. I poked around the BBC website, looking for some inspiration, and found this picture of aruq's Price list. Hmmm, I thought. Lentil beer, Flake bars, and tanks, but no condoms? And then this fic idea was born. For those of you who haven't seen it, The Captain in Bluestone 42 is a horn-dog who spends most of his time trying to convince the female Padre to have sex with him. He's friends with Corporal Bird, and apparently they slept together, once. My recipient had asked about that, so I thought I'd write about his endless attempts to convince Bird to go to bed with him. I wanted it to be an all-dialogue fic, which I think worked out well, but it turned out even funnier when I cut all of the Captain's attempts, and left only her rather brutal series of NOs.

In retrospect, given that he's her superior officer, writing it this way might leave people with an uncomfortable dub-con feeling. But don;t worry, Bird doesn't take shit from anybody, least of all her Captain. My recipient and one other person left comments, so there is at least one other human being out there who loves this show. Yay! I count that a win, even if that story has far fewer hits, comments, kudos than the rest.

Eight Times Captain Nick Medhurst Failed to Seduce Bird, and One Time He Succeeded (378 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Bluestone 42 (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Captain Nick Medhurst/Corporal Lynda Bird
Characters: Captain Nick Medhurst, Corporal Lynda Bird
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, Military, Soldiers, Women in the Military, Dialogue-Only, Pre-Series, British Comedy, British Military, Afghanistan, Humor
Summary:

Captain Medhurst isn't the first officer to try to get into Bird's pants, but he's definitely the most persistent.



Next I found the PERFECT pinch-hit recipient, rthstewart. I not only loved 3 of her 4 fandoms, I'd already written in them! I didn't reply back in time to claim the pinch-hit, but decided to write her a treat. I went through her letter. She mentioned loving cross-overs. I'd hadn't written one of those in a while, so I started making a list of possible cross-overs, given her fandoms. She specifically called out 'classic ACD Sherlock Holmes with added dragons', so I decided to write that for her. First I wondered if it were possible for Temeraire to make it to the Victorian era. Poking around looking at dates and timelines, as well as checking Naomi Novik's canon on dragons, I decided it was. Exciting! Watson's military career was the obvious tie-in between the two series, so I decided that Watson must have worked in the field hospital where Temeraire's captain was brought after a serious injury.

Then I did a bit of a canon review, trying to capture Watson's writing style. I spent a fair bit of time looking at Victorian London's version of Chinatown, its attitudes and laws towards the Chinese. Not good. For example, did you know that Chinese women were completely banned from entering the British Empire during the Victorian era? Ugly. Given the draconic advantage that the Chinese Empire held in Temeraire's verse, I think the Opium Wars never happened, at least not as they did in our world. But still, there would be some necessary racism and xenophobia, and I had to decide how to stay true to Watson, as a Victorian Englishman, that without being horribly offensive. I think I tread the line delicately enough, and my recipient actually mentioned that in her comment, which I was very happy about.

This fic had a very slow start, with few hits and comments in the early days of Yuletide, but it gathered steam over the next few days, garnered some recs, and became the most popular of my stories. Lots of people called for sequels. Apparently the world needs more of 'Temeraire and Sherlock Holmes - together they solving crime!' I hope Novik noticed - after all, Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain.

Like a Dragon in a China Shop (2779 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Temeraire - Naomi Novik, Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, Temeraire
Additional Tags: Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, Post-Canon, Dragons, Period-Typical Racism, Victorian, Yuletide 2014, Yuletide Treat
Summary:

When Holmes' investigation into a series of murders in Chinatown reaches an impasse, Watson must call upon an old acquaintance for help.



A few days later I found the list of cross-overs that I'd made for rthstewart's treat, and the Elementary/Chalion one caught my eye. rth had requested Ms Hudson as her required character. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with teh TV show Elementary, it is a version of Sherlock Holmes set in modern-day NYC. Ms. Hudson isn't a major character, but she's a fan favorite as one of the few interesting, non-stereotyped trans characters on mainstream TV. (Want another one? Check out Roscoe, Marty Kaan's non-binary child in House of Lies.) 'The Bastard', in the Chalion verse, is a go who takes as his own all those out of season, who don't fit into the proscribed categories or roles. And Ms Hudson, I decided would be the perfect acolyte.

This is one of the rare stories that I would really like to write a sequel to (Or a continuation, I suppose.) It would be a case fic, but before I can figure out that part I need to resolve the B plot line in my own head - what caused Sherlock's lapse in faith? Once I know that, I'm conviced I can write the rest quite easily!

It was interesting writing two treats for the same recipient. She was very warm and eager in both sets of comments, both before and after reveals. This story was quite popular, right off the bat. Most comments picked out the same few elements, which is always interesting to me, as an author. The most concise and enthusiastic of these was BEES! MS. HUDSON!. Those parts make me smile, too!

All Disasters Out of Season (1103 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Elementary (TV), Chalion Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Joan Watson (Elementary), Ms. Hudson (Elementary), Sherlock Holmes
Additional Tags: Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, Alternate Universe - Modern Setting, Alternate Universe - Modern with Magic, The Bastard - Freeform, Yuletide Treat, Yuletide 2014, Misses Clause Challenge, Case Fic, Character of Faith, Canon Trans Character
Summary:

At first, Curtis Atherton's death appeared a simple suicide. Of course, nothing is simple when the Bastard is involved.



Finally I picked up an actual, last-minute pinch-hit. The recipient requested 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', and would love a story that focused on Wyoming or the AI, Mike. I sat down to read the novel, and also found an online version that was searchable, which really saved my bacon in terms of needing to quickly look things up.

There is one very important detail that I changed from Heinlein's story to mine - the name of the girl who was raped and killed. In Heinlein's story, it was Marie Lyons. It was mentioned exactly once, although her rape and murder was alluded to many times in the ensuing action and propaganda. In my story, her name was more important, and I decided to change it to Aisha Freeman. Can you guess why? Was I out of line?

Heinlein had some odd ideas about women, but he really was ahead of his time in so many ways. This novel focused on riots, protests, and revolution by a politically and economically oppressed people. As a teacher in an urban school, discourse and protests around Ferguson, Eric Garner, and police violence against black men have been important to me this year. When I read her letter, Beatrice_Otter had a strong feminist, anti-racist focus, including links to some fantastic articles and discussions. So I felt like I could write the story I most wanted to write, linking this 50 year old novel to what's going on in my community, and that it would be well-received as a gift.

My story itself doesn't necessarily make the connection, but it tells the story of that revolution written in the past, about a revolution in our distant future. And then I used a series of 4 quotes in the end Author's notes to connect that back to what's going on today. This one reached a much smaller audience, whether due to the fandom or the 'SJW' tags which might have scared people off, but it got a very high ratio of comments, for which I am very grateful.

The Language of the Unheard (2142 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Wyoming Knott & Michelle
Characters: Wyoming Knott, Bernardo de la Paz, Mycroft Holmes (Moon Is a Harsh Mistress), Mike (Moon is a Harsh Mistress), Michelle (Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, POV Female Character, Artificial Intelligence, Feminist Themes, Gender Issues, Revolution, Riots, Protests, Yuletide 2014
Summary:

In her later years, Wyoming Knott claimed that the true founder of the revolution was not Adam Selene, but a strong-willed young genius named Michelle.



My assignments done, edited, and posted, I decided to work on some more treats! I wrote one for GotG, focusing on the relationship between Gamora and Nebula. I have no idea why my brain was so determined that Thanos' Empire used base 12 mathematics, but there you go. I like how it came out, but there is another story in the main collection with a startlingly similar premise (written for a different recip) that I think did a much better job. I actually put a rec to the other story in my end notes. This one had a working title of 'The Female of the Species', but that was a bit too obvious, so I used another line from the same Kipling poem.

the Other Law we live by (636 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Guardians of the Galaxy (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Gamora & Nebula
Characters: Gamora (Marvel), Nebula (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Pre-Canon, Origin Story, Misses Clause Challenge, Canon-Typical Violence, Threats of Rape/Non-Con, Female Character of Color, Even if that color is green
Summary:

In the 1728th year of his reign, Thanos demanded a tribute of the best and brightest war orphans. The most infamous of these sacrifices was Gamora.



As a palate cleanser, I decided to write a drabble for 'Unusual Dragon Hoards', which is a fun series of artwork on tumblr, the perfect 5 minute fandom. I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures, and tried to decide which ones I wanted to have interact, and how. Best canon review ever! This drabble does exactly what I wanted it to, and I think it has the highest kudos/hits ratio of any of my stories. Hah!

The Perfect Hostess (100 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Unusual Dragon Hoards - iguanamouth
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hoard of Pastries Dragon, Hoard of Junk Food Dragon
Additional Tags: Dragons, Inspired By Tumblr, Inspired by Art, Drabble, Yuletide Madness Drabble Invitational, Yuletide Treat, Dessert & Sweets
Summary:

Hoard negotiations are a delicate business.



I decided to try another drabble, this one for Maleficent. I re-wrote this particular drabble probably 20 times. It changed from past tense to present tense, from 1st person to 3rd person, I rearragned the chronolgy of it, even changed who the narrator was. In the end, I really do like how it came out, although it took an anon review in yuletide_coal to point out that I'd misspelled Maleficent. Neither my beta nor I caught it. *face palms* That was like the feeling when you've been walking around with your zip down all day, and no one says a word. Anyway, with that fixed, I really, really like the way this drabble came out in the end. It's dark, a bit haunting, and I'm very proud of it.

Wings of Iron (100 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Maleficent (2014)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Maleficent (Maleficent)
Additional Tags: Drabble, Yuletide Madness Drabble Invitational, Misses Clause Challenge
Summary:

Each pinion burdened with its full measure of darkness.



The next day I surfed the letters looking for something easy and fun. Malkontent requested Dungeons & Dragons, and she wrote in her letter that she'd love something with real party dynamics, possibly even based on a real campaign. I play Pathfinder, which is based on D&D 3.5 - it's close enough that people get really, really passioante about the differences, but no outsider can tell. So I wrote a novelized version of Sunday's game. I had a great time deciding how to introduce the characters, scrub the Pathfinder marks off the package, throw in some cool descriptions, and condense 11 hours of play into a story of exactly 666 words. *grins*

When you're going through Hell, keep going (666 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dungeons & Dragons (Roleplaying Game), Pathfinder (RPG)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original D&D Character(s)
Additional Tags: Deal with a Devil, Morally Ambiguous Character, Role-Playing Game, Bad Ideas
Summary:

This is why we can't have nice things.



After that, I decided I needed to treat a pinch-hitter. I looked through and saw that Keenir didn't have any gifts yet, and had requested Elementary. No problem! But they wanted Kitty and Moriarty working on a case together and that ... was going to be tough to pull off without going OOC. An hour later I found a way I could make it work, and write up a short little teaser for Keenir.

Erinyes (242 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Elementary (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Kitty Winter, Jamie Moriarty | Irene Adler
Additional Tags: Crueltide, Yuletide Treat, Misses Clause Challenge, Dark
Summary:

Sherlock had promised Kitty a career. Joan promised her a fresh start. But neither one offered her what she really needed.



Next I decided to treat the person who had requested a story about Wyldon, in the Protectors of hte Small series. I wanted to write a story about the Ordeal of the Chamber, so I pored over the books looking for Wyldon's style of speech, details about the Ordeal, etc. Once I had three novels with post-its stuck all through them, I sat down to write the story! It was 450 words of crap. No, seriously. It didn't work at all. I couldn't write Wyldon's voice, the whole thing flapped around pointlessly ... it was terrible. I took a break from it, came back the next day, and viciously pruned it down to a drabble. The resulting drabble is decent, and certainly worth giving as a treat, but it's still not quite the story I wanted to tell. *sigh*

The Training Master's Ordeal (100 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Protector of the Small - Tamora Pierce
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Wyldon of Cavall
Additional Tags: Drabble, Yuletide Madness Drabble Invitational
Summary:

Squires who survive the Ordeal of Knighthood become Knights of the Realm. Not all of them survive.



I wanted to write one more treat. I looked over the letters for people who had requested the same fandoms that I had, and found an interesting request for Blacklist, with Elizabeth being forced to explore her darker side. I'm intrigued by the canonical hints that Elizabeth isn't quite who the FBI thinks she is, and used that to write my final treat.

A Hammer in the Doll's House (308 words) by keerawa
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Blacklist (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Elizabeth Keen
Additional Tags: Crueltide, Misses Clause Challenge
Summary:

Elizabeth had always suspected there was something wrong with her.