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I've been toodling around in the Yuletide archive for a few days now and have come up with some favorites. Maybe there will be more! I hope so, actually, as there are literally thousands of stories; I have been picking the ones I read by following the winds of circumstance and mood and it is not at all methodical. Here are some I think you should read:

Reconaissance (1000 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Gem of Sphene, Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq, Kalr Five | Ettan, Translator Zeiat
Summary: There was a plan: to locate the AI cores before the Usurper could, to return to Ship and form a plan to retrieve them. I was to succeed, or I was to die. Bodies are precious, now, but not so precious Ship could not afford to lose one segment, in pursuit of something this important.

I feel extremely lucky to say that this is my gift! It's about Sphene, and it's poignant and careful and feels very true to the series. It's exactly one thousand words long, and somehow I admire this about it; it is one of the most economical Yuletide stories I've ever read, and gives everyone their due through the eyes of a very old, very reserved, very untrusting narrator.

The Rummy Affair of the Brinkley Ball (6667 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jeeves & Wooster, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Reginald Jeeves/Bertram Wooster, Madeline Bassett/Honoria Glossop
Characters: Bertram Wooster, Reginald Jeeves, Madeline Bassett, Honoria Glossop, Dahlia Travers, Bingo Little
Additional Tags: Beards (Relationships), Hijinks & Shenanigans, Fake/Pretend Relationship, Farce
In which there are unlikely allies, a party, and everyone is everyone else's beard.

This is the first Wodehouse fic I've read in a long time, and it's both nostalgic for me, and freshly delightful like the best output of the fandom. The voice is spot-on, in the best possible way, meaning that it not only sounds like Bertie, the author keeps coming up with new Woosterishly inventive ways to say things. And it's very sweetly shippy and true to form for all the characters involved--I have a special soft spot for fan writers who choose to write about the women of this universe with respect.

To drive the cold (5427 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Northern Exposure, Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Chris Stevens, Ruth-Anne Miller, Joel Fleischman, Maurice Minnifield, Shelly Tambo, Marilyn Whirlwind, Maggie O'Connell
Summary: It's still light out, but the sun is going down, and it won't be back for another twenty hours. Holling at the Brick wants to remind everyone about the complimentary chocolate fountain, courtesy of Maurice and the folks at Strexcorp, and the hats are a-plenty over at Ruthanne's store. All in all, the end or beginning to another day. I'm Chris-In–The-Morning, and welcome… to Cicely.

This has been the crossover of my dreams ever since I started listening to Night Vale! It's a mashup of the two universes and an affectionate vignette of Cicely and its people, all of whose voices are rendered impressively well; there's a weather video, which is impressively committed to its own particular flavor of lunacy; Chris sounds exactly like himself; and it has some nods to the Christmas episode of Northern Exposure, which is one of my favorite Christmas episodes of all time.

ain't it strange how love put things together (1309 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Saturday Night Live,Weekend Update (SNL)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Stefon (Saturday Night Live)/Seth Meyers
Characters: Stefon (Saturday Night Live), Seth Meyers
Summary: Seth suggests a calm, relaxing weekend vacation.
Somehow, things don't quite follow that plan.

Seth/Stefon is cracky AND sweet AND SOMEHOW ALSO canonical which makes it a very special pairing, and this story takes both the crackiness and the sweetness to great heights. This is SUPER clever and funny and also made me say "aw."

books to help you with your life (3498 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Grantchester (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leonard Finch/Ben Blackwood
Characters: Leonard Finch, Sidney Chambers, Ben Blackwood, Mrs. Maguire
Additional Tags: Pen Pals, Male Friendship, Friendship/Love, Bonding, Slow Romance, Insecurity, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Domestic, Happy Ending, Friends to Lovers, Yuletide Treat
Summary: A routine develops, in which Ben updates Leonard as to how his schooling progresses, and Leonard shares his summation of Sidney's exploits that've taken place since the last time they spoke. His own life is fairly monotonous — as, in truth, is Ben's — and so the pair of them have taken to living through Sidney and the nigh-constant drama that seems to overtake his life each week.
Sidney is, of course, flattered by such a thing.

Friends, have you watched Grantchester? It is a delightful, gentle, daring show, and this is a beautiful story about two of the people in it becoming closer to one another.

Revisions (3922 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Thaniel Steepleton/Keita Mori
Characters: Thaniel Steepleton, Keita Mori, Takahiro Mori
Summary: Love and friendship, like learning another language and everything else in life, require practice to perfect.

This is SO cleverly assembled, and it takes some of the world-building questions raised by the book and explores them sensibly and inventively, with some additional background about Japan, but what it really is is a character study of Mori. (This is post-canon, and entirely spoilery; if you haven't read the book, do that first, but if you have, click through and read the other stories offered in this fandom for Yuletide as well; it's a very strong bunch.)

From the Pen of Mrs. Bobo Gilding (3824 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Etiquette - Emily Post (1922), Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Mr. Clubwin Doe, Peter Wimsey, Mrs. Robert "Bobo" Gilding Jr. | Lucy Wellborn Gilding
Additional Tags: Epistolary, Crossover
Summary: A series of letters from Lucy Gilding to her cousin Rosalie Wellborn in Chicago, detailing the events of the New York social season, including the addition of one notable visitor from England.

This is a really fun take on the challenge of writing fic about Emily Post's Etiquette, with bonus Lord Peter.

Burned Letters (2712 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Stephen Maturin/Diana Villiers
Characters: Diana Villiers, Sophie Williams
Additional Tags: Pregnancy, Ashgrove Cottage, Mentions of past abuse, Mentions of Abortion

My dear Maturin,
I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that my belly continues to grow, this incipient lump of a thing, and the physician Sophie consulted during her own pregnancies is confident in its progress. My little Arabian is settling into the stables on my cousin’s property, and does not seem to mind the confinement. My own confinement, however, is...

She crumples the page again, jams her pen onto the block until the nib splinters and she has to cut it anew.

(Or, a pregnant Diana Maturin, nee Villiers, spends her confinement at Ashgrove Cottage, writes many letters, and sends one.)

SUCH GOOD DIANA FIC, oh my gosh. It is really special to find a fan writer who is not only willing to give center stage such a difficult female character who gets in the way of a popular m/m pairing, but to tackle her bitterness and resentment and pain and her grudging love. This story hurts in a really good way.


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