So if I had to admit to a “guilty pleasure” fan fiction would be it. I have been “writing” stories based in established universes in my head since I was a wee thing, and when I encountered the internet and found out that it was a real thing that people do, I was amazed. I inhaled everything I could find in my favorite ‘verses, from the awesome to the not so awesome. Just like some people have comfort books and comfort movies, I have comfort fics. Stories I come back to over and over again when I need to feel safe, or like I’m home. Fandoms are highly specific, I know, so if none of these make any sense to you guys, that’s totally cool, but here they are anyway.
1. Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness- If you’ve been hanging around the Harry Potter fandom in the last few years, you probably know about this one. It’s a novel-length fic of excellent quality, that blends in seamlessly with the canon novels. To the point where I basically count it as canon at this point. Which can be confusing. It follows the same timeline as the Deathly Hallows, but instead of wandering around the woods with the Golden Trio, it follows what’s going on at Hogwarts, with Neville Longbottom and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army. To be honest, Deathly Hallows wasn’t my favorite book of the series, I found the Harry Potter Goes Camping middle bit kind of boring. But Neville makes a great protagonist, and I really understand the problems he faces, being uncomfortable with the position he’s put in, but still trying his best for the good of others. Doing things for yourself is great, but not always possible, and it’s ok to do things for other people too.
2. Reluctance- This fic is set in the world of Sanctuary, a Sci-Fi channel series produced by, and starring Amanda Tapping (who you might know from the Stargate series). In this world, humans live side by side with Abnormals, like werewolves, mermaids, and Bigfoots, and Dr. Helen Magnus saves, studies, and rehabilitates them. This story is about Magnus and her protégé, Will. Will, for lack of a better word, doesn’t want to be known. He hides everything about himself, from his medical issues to his mental health. The whole, ‘I don’t trust you to handle me as I truly am’ trope is old and worn, but that’s what makes this one comfy for me. I share a lot of the anxieties that Will does. That I’m hard to love, that I’m too complicated for people, and that because my childhood wasn’t filled with comfort, that means I don’t deserve it. It also has a chapter involving Drugged!Will that’s hilarious.
3. Love is for Children- So this story is the only one I found on AO3 instead of fanfic.net. It’s also the most recent of my faves, and I feel slightly different than it than the other ones. It’s still comforting and relatable, but I think what’s different is that it’s so immersive. The author is incredibly dedicated to detail and it makes my little research heart so happy. If they mention making chili, a chili recipe is provided. If they make Russian Easter Eggs, there’s a link to the history of Pysanka. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this story follows The Avengers after the events of The Battle of New York (basically after the first Avengers movie). All the Avengers are experiencing PTSD, and their handler Phil Coulson devises teambuilding exercises to help them heal and come together as a team. This fic started as a single story, but eventually more have added. I particularly love the ones from Hulk’s point of view. He is written as a foil to Bruce Banner. Where Bruce is a genius with no emotional intelligence, Hulk is more childlike, but with a deep understanding of emotion, and a warmness that goes with it. As someone with a trauma background, I really appreciate how this series represents PTSD in so many different ways, and also that there are so many things that can help.
Here lies the end of what has probably been my most awkward and off the wall list. No worries, I promise the next one will be at least slightly more relatable. As always, feel free to let me know if you’ve got any favorite fics!