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- Alias - The Influence of Many Circumstance by airebella e. spencer - So, Amanda pointed me towards this fic tonight, saying that it was a good Nadia fic, and all I had to do is read the first of the five things that never happened with her to be utterly hooked. What's fabulous about this fic, beyond the excellent writing that really evokes this feeling in the way that all Nadia fic should or the beautiful characterization, is that it takes elements of the series and turns them on their head. Things aren't the same, but what if they'd been a little different? The entire thing was just... beautiful and haunting and absolutely everything that made me like Nadia in the show itself even when I thought that maybe I shouldn't. (References to Jack/Irina, Vaughn/Nadia, Sark/Nadia, and Weiss/Nadia.)

- Alias - Hard-Boiled vs. Sunny-Side-Up by Yahtzee - [Note: Spoilers for 4x01 and 4x02] Neither Marshall nor Sark are my favorite Alias characters, but there was something tempting about the idea of a conversation (over eggs!) between the two that caught at my attention and made me at least try the beginning of the story. I was immediately zipped into the story by the sharp, sharp dialogue and Sark POV, both of which were just pitch-perfect to the point that I didn't even have to try to hear the characters' voices. They just popped immediately to mind, complete with facial expressions from the actors. Also? Hilarious. So, so funny. Yet, funny while still being brilliantly in character, the kind that isn't parody, but instead... I could have seen this in the show itself, right down to the way Sark managed to wriggle information out of the conversation, even without giving away that he knew a thing and yet was still having to have a conversation with Marshall to get it. Oh, how I loved Marshall in this. ♥ (No warnings/pairings outside of canon hints.)

- Alias - Bristow's 11 by Yahtzee - So, I've caught up on all of season four of Alias, the cliffhanger was murder as usual, and I was craving Alias fic. As always, I am totally a SpyDaddy fan, so the concept of Alias + Vegas Heist fic + Jack-friendly fic? Well, I had to at least give it a shot. And, oh, man, fic with plot, you don't know how badly I've been wanting that. What I liked about the story is that, in many ways, it really did feel exactly like an episode, the sheer level of detail that went into the plotting and background tech details was top-notch, it felt like an episode of the show for all the complications and that I could absolutely, completely picture the Vegas casino background. Even the pacing/timing/directing of the story felt like an Alias fic, all the hip style cuts or the imagery used, it was Alias to a tee. It's one of those stories that juggles eleven different characters with completely different motivations and schemes working against each other, yet I never felt confused or lost.

But beyond that, it was also interesting, very well paced, it felt like the whole thing flew by, and there was characterization. Jack and Irina's relationship was layered and complicated, Katya was awesome in the fic, Sydney was wonderfully herself, Sark and Lauren were pitch-perfect and so very themselves, Vaughn was wonderfully depressed and then... so Vaughn, Jack's protectiveness of his daughter, Irina and Katya's relationship, Marshall being so Marshall, even Dixon getting some of the most fabulous characterization. (One caveat: This was obviously written before season four and the show has diverged a little, but if you branch this off somewhere towards the end of season three, it really is amazingly in the style of Alias. The author really nails some of the characterizations/dynamics.)

It's just... there was plot and it was good, hell, more than that, it was fun and there was a nicely heavy focus on Jack and Irina's relationship to make me happy, but it never ignored any of the other characters, they all had this sense of sparkle to them. What I mean is that there was little disfavoring going on, each of them had their role to play, each and every character absolutely shone in their own way, a real fondess for each character came through here. There were no scenes that dragged or had me going, "I wish this story would get back to [whatever] now...." I enjoyed reading everything. I suppose I think this fic does rather deserve the label of 'fandom classic' that I've seen applied to it before. (Jack/Irina, Jack/Katya, Sydney/Vaughn, Sark/Lauren. Not-work-safe content in chapter 8, but the rest of the fic is about what you'd see on the series itself.)

- Alias - and possibly i like the thrill by Kathryne - I am always wary of fic with sexual content with women in it because there are so few ways (at least that I've found) to make it truly hot or appealing, it usually winds up as crude or overly flowery or just awkward. Especially if there's masturbation with an audience involved. But this? NICE. Very nice. It was so utterly Irina, with that senuality she had to every movement, the way she phrased her thoughts or words, the feel of the character, the way she reacted to Jack, the way he reacted to her. It was only R-rated and it worked so much better for that, the hints far hotter than graphic description. The way you could feel the heat and attraction between Jack and Irina was just absolutely lovely here. I adored this so much. (Jack/Irina, R-rated content.)

- Alias - what goes on in a heart by Kathryne - [Note: Spoilers for late season 4 episodes in the fic and this rec.] This was another gorgeous Irina story, especially that I wobbled a little over Irina's characterization when she first showed up again, because I knew she'd been through a lot, but.... This story sort of helped put into focus just a little bit more what Irina really went through, how much she suffered for that year, how much it tore such an amazingly strong woman down, but didn't quite break her. The mood of the piece is beautiful and painful, Elena and Irina sisters, knowing so much about each other, but so much cruelty between them, it was breathtaking. And the ending was beautiful and painful, perfect for these characters and this series. (Mentions of canon, but it's not entirely the point.)

- Alias - No For Yes by Yahtzee - [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 - part 04 - part 05 ] - So, the idea of fic set between seasons two and three and fic about the years where Jack and "Laura" were married have been done many times. I haven't read many of them, but I have little urge to, I would rather focus more on the current day stuff. However, I cannot resist the lure of Jack/Irina fic, not when I was so impressed with Yahtzee's last Alias fic and the opening pages were so strong here again. I think Yahtzee's writing has improved over time, it's less cut and dry this time, which worked well for a story that was less about action and more about reactions and feelings. Yet, at the same time, there was also an atmosphere to the writing that blended it so well with Alias, that beyond just that the details felt right and the timelines could work with the series, it felt like this is exactly what must have happened after Jack and Irina have gone through after Sydney's death. To the point that I'm a little lost on what's canon and what's made up for this fic.

The characterization is once again brilliant for these two, especially in that there's little favoritism being played. You can tell the author has great love for both characters and the dynamic between them, in the way that each of them is brilliant, dangerous, and such a deep, amazing character. I love a story that can present two characters that are so complex and layered, a relationship that's even further complicated and layered between them, yet absolutely does justice to that level of twisted, turning mess. And then you've got the moments of emotional heartache, where they're mourning for their lost daughter, each in their own way, connecting with each other in that way that Jack and Irina have, the kind that were just... it hurt to read some of those scenes, for the depth of emotion they both felt.

This was another of those stories that, despite the length, I just couldn't put it down, much like the series itself when I sit down to watch the episodes. It drew me into the story for these characters that I love so much and just... it's like... I mean, I know I'm gushing, but I'm gushing because I get the sense of Jack and Irina at their best here. I get that feeling I get from watching a particularily good episode, because I'm so entranced by these marvelous characters. And. You know. JACK AND IRINA FIC OMG SQUEE. Even more than the sex scenes, I love when their defenses are slowly stripped away and you can catch glimpses of the real them, which says a lot, I think, for how much I like this pairing and this fic. Plus, hey, the back and forth between current day and past, the balanced narrations was really one of the strongest I've seen in fic like this. The style worked really well here. (Jack/Irina, graphic content at times, so not work-safe.)

- Alias - Somewhere Only We Know by SpyKate - [Note: There are SPOILERS for the Alias series finale in this fic.] Ever since I watched the Alias finale, part of me has steadfastly refused to believe that it ended exactly like that. Partly because of denial, but partly because it's entirely plausible that some parts of Jack could have landed into the Rambaldi goo and then things would have gone just like this. This is that story I was desperately hoping to find, the one that would lend just enough credence to my denial, but also be a genuinely good story. The tension/lust/everything else between Jack and Irina is fabulous here, you can feel how much hate and lust is there, how deep the history goes between them. They're these incredibly large, intense characters and that comes through really well. The ending also had my heart just aching for the characters, especially because it felt somehow so... Alias in that way that was bittersweet but sort of positive. And while I'll probably still keep looking for resurrection fics, this fic... satisfied something in me that I desperately needed. It fit together with the series in exactly the way I was looking for, it packed the emotional punch that it needed. I loved this fic a lot. (Jack/Irina.)

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