coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Inconsistencies (Saul | G | 304 words): Tackles the problem of Saul's (non-)canonical wife. This is fascinating. I love things that try to reconcile the discrepencies in Stout's writing, whether that be in a meta way like this or not. I feel a little sad for this Saul, who's clearly missing something even though he doesn't know what it is.

Excerpt:
Lives don't always run in straight lines. Sometimes they double back on themselves, or break and start again elsewhere. Sometimes their paths are so complex that not even New York's finest operative can follow them.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Between the Lines (Wolfe/Archie | NC17 | 2,879 words): After Archie publishes his first account of Wolfe's cases, things are strained between him and Wolfe. There's something really fun about seeing scenes that might have happened but are set outside the boundaries of the canon.

Excerpt:
You would think, with all the fuss, that the fat genius would have something to say about it but after six weeks he still hadn't given any indication that he had heard of it, much less read it. Since I had made a point of leaving a copy on his desk the day it was printed, this act was not very convincing. I didn't understand his silence and you could even say it stung a little. For some reason I had expected Wolfe to be pleased but if he was determined to withhold his opinion then I was equally determined not to let on that I cared.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Conversation at West Thirty-Fifth Street, Not Far from the Hudson River (Wolfe, Archie | G | 100 words): A conversation between Wolfe and Archie about Lily. I can't say too much about this because it really is that short, but I love the punch of the last paragraph and everything it implies.

Excerpt:
"You fascinate that woman."
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Make Me an Offer (Wolfe-Archie | PG | 2,931 words): Another take on how Archie got hired. This version is different than others I've read in that Archie deliberately sets out to get himself hired as Wolfe's assistant, which is neat. I also really liked how quickly the dynamic between Archie and Wolfe and how they play off each other is established.

Excerpt:
"Thank you for being prompt, Mr. Goodwin. I regret to inform you that I cannot offer you the position. I fear that, being of different temperaments, we would clash."

"You're right, sir." I got up and poured Scotch and sat back down. "I'm stubborn and you're pigheaded."

Wolfe gave me his glare.

"The trouble is, sir, you are lazy and don't want to work. You have been interviewing potential assistants for nine months. Prior to that, you went through sixteen in two years. I'm restricting myself to those that survived at least a week, by the way."
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
The End (ensemble | PG13 | 3,157 words) is an exploration of what would happen if Archie ever died. It's more than a litte odd and depressing, but it really is good and works with Stout's universe. And the end is just... damn. I want to believe it so badly.

Excerpt:
"How are you?" he asked, which was about the last thing I was expecting. A rage, maybe, or why I couldn't help Archie out, or why couldn't it have been me shot -- the kinds of things I was asking myself.

"My head hurts," I said. Wolfe looked at Fritz, who nodded and vanished into the kitchen. He reappeared a minute later, carrying a bottle of beer, a glass, and a second glass of gin on a tray. I took the gin; Wolfe poured the beer deliberately, like he always did.

"How long has it been?" he asked. "We become set in our ways, and the world sometimes passes us by. How many years, Saul?"

I don't know what came over me, but for the life of me I couldn't recall when we'd started in this business. For a second it seemed like maybe Wolfe had started up during the depression, but other times it seems like Archie and I had a lot of work through the fifties. And Orrie had died in '74. But if that was true, we couldn't have started in '30...

"A long time," I said finally.

"Yes."

We sat there, him staring at nothing in particular, and me watching him, and Fritz making quiet noises in the other room, although God knows we wouldn't have expected him to cook dinner. I was worried; I knew that no matter how screwy my memory was, that it had been a damned long time since Archie first started work for Wolfe, and he was a part of our lives so ingrained it was like breathing. If the president of the United States had died, we wouldn't have been this silent.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Hostage (Wolfe/Archie | PG13 | 1,674 words) has a man with a gun menacing Wolfe in his office. Hmm, how to put this.... The story's sweet, and Archie and Wolfe, while very much being opposites, are also very much a couple that I can believe in. Also, I laugh when Archie points out his living arrangements because yes, that is in the stories.

Excerpt:
"Mr. Chauncey," Wolfe's words still had that narrow thread of irritation strung through them, "it was I who instructed Mr. Goodwin to acquaint himself with Miss Austin, in search of information about this case. I frequently require Mr. Goodwin to dance attendance on young women as a part of his duties. That does not mean that he has either the time or energy to solicit their more intimate companionship."

"I don't know--"

"Of course you do not know. You are not actually acquainted with Mr. Goodwin; at best, you have encountered the public persona that he assumes for the sake of his readership. I assure you, Mr. Goodwin did not impose upon Miss Austin." Now his voice was quiet, almost gentle, and his eyes had half closed. He was working the genius hard.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Ignorance or Bliss (Wolfe/Archie | PG | 131 words) has Archie ignoring Wolfe. I think the notes are longer than the story, but the story's cute and has a good Archie voice.

Excerpt:
"Pay attention." I said. "I'm ignoring you."

"Archie, don't be puerile." Wolfe muttered.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Lost Boys (Wolfe/Archie | PG | 11,771 words) is a version of the story of how Archie and Wolfe met. I like all the little touches that connect this story to the characters' counterparts in the books.

Excerpt:
I entered. To my right was a large brown desk. Behind it was a large brown man. Saul Panzer was in a red chair facing the desk. The man behind the desk, who could only be Nero Wolfe, looked me over and then spoke indignantly to Panzer, "Nonsense, Saul. What is this, flummery?"

If Panzer was offended by Wolfe's tone, he didn't show it. If anything he looked amused, "No sir. This is Archie Goodwin."

Wolfe turned back to me. "Bah, this is farcical. Mr. Goodwin, sit down. I prefer eyes at a level."

I took a yellow chair near Panzer. Wolfe regarded me, not happily.

"How old are you, Mr. Goodwin?"

I cocked a glance at Panzer, who had got me into this, but he was no help. "Look, Panzer asked me to come here, so here I am when I should be sleeping. And right away you start with personal questions. Do I ask you how much you weigh?"

Wolfe's eyes narrowed at me. "Saul?" he snapped.

"Archie Goodwin is 19 years old. Born and raised in Chillicothe, Ohio. Came to New York in September of last year. Has been working at the South Street docks ever since then."

I suppose my jaw dropped. Before I could work up a reply, Wolfe beat me to it.

"Good heavens. Nineteen. Are you quite sure about him, Saul? No, never mind, of course you are, you asked him to come. Mr. Goodwin, you are here because I am desperate. I'm at an impasse and I need your assistance. Mr. Panzer informed me that you were acquainted with the young woman whose body was recovered last night."
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Breakfast (Wolfe/Archie | G | 737 words) is Wolfe's point of view as he muses on himself, his schedule, and Archie dancing. It fits with what I understand of Wolfe very well. And Archie dancing, especially when it's so lovingly described, is a weak spot of mine.

Excerpt:
I do not follow a schedule to be quixotic. I do it to preserve my sanity. One can never entirely govern oneself, but by strict governance of one's surroundings an illusion of control can be created. I can, at least, pretend.

I am well aware that any control I have over my circumstances is an illusion. At any time the world may swat at me. Yet I carefully nurture the pretence. I keep a rigid routine. In exchange, this rigid routine keeps me.

Occasionally variations in my schedule are inevitable. Archie believes that they are good for me, that they stir my blood. They do indeed. For that reason they are to be avoided.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
Aesthetics (Wolfe-Archie | PG | 4,558 words) is the story of how Archie and Nero meet, from Saul's pov. It's good. Shows how Archie and Nero complement each other. And young Archie is always a plus. I feel silly saying it's cute because it's not really cute. But it is a fun read with good characterization.

Excerpt:
He opened his eyes again. "So, Monday night, I'm hanging around seeing if I can catch Grassman's goons, when Lonnie decides to send over a couple of his own. I shoot them, I go to jail, the crates get lifted, I get out of jail. End of story."

At some point Wolfe's finger started making little circles on the arm of his chair. I hadn't thought to warn the kid about it. I hadn't foreseen a situation where it would come up. It was too late now. Wolfe doesn't raise his voice when he's really angry. It gets low and tense. There's an edge to it you could shave with.

"Did it not occur to you to enlighten the authorities with what you had heard, Mr. Goodwin? Did it not occur to you that if you caught Mr. Grassman's 'goons' he would retaliate? Or that Mr. Brougham will do so once he is release, as he will no likely presume, as we have, that you told the police he was involved with the robbery? You have put yourself in grave danger, and you make no effort to avoid it. Are these the actions of a prudent man?"

If you had asked me before hand, I would have put it at ten to one the kid would lose his temper. I would have been wrong. Archie drew himself up and looked Wolfe in the eye.
coprime_recs: Chouji and Shikamaru on a roof cloud-watching (Default)
The Warm Room (Wolfe/Archie | NC17 | 26,446 words) has Wolfe and Archie flee to Egypt. I think they work well together, but don't ask my why. The author does these two right and doesn't gloss over either character's flaws. Nero and Archie travel to Egypt, and stuff happens. There's a nice mystery going on in addition to the slash. This story just... made me happy. Both Nero and Archie know each other so well that it's a lot of fun to watch them play off each other.

Excerpt:
Sometimes things happen over meals with Wolfe. Sometimes he spots the murderer or blackmailer and sometimes he expounds on his latest theory regarding oyster cultivation. Sometimes something much more remarkable happens. He put the omelette in front of me and said "Eat. You'll feel better." Then he pulled up a chair for himself and sat down to watch me. I ate. And damn him, he was right. It did make me feel better.

"You realize, of course, that I did not intend to badger you earlier," he said, softly. If I'd been sharper, I'd have said he said it gently. It was uncharacteristic. "But my... concern... for your well-being is paramount to my other worries. That we should both live such completely different lives and still co-habitate is a miracle I do not understand. Perhaps I am not meant to understand." He cleared his throat and watched me eat the omelette. I was still too sore to be mouthy, so I let him talk. "Perhaps you think I am an old fool for my convictions in regards to your relationships. You may rebuke me if you see fit, Archie, but surely you must understand this most basic sentiment."

"Did you say 'sentiment'?" The last of the omelette was gone and I pushed the plate back. Wolfe was silent. "You came to rescue me in nothing but a towel, which, might I add, was most impressive, because you were worried I might do something silly and still the only 'sentiment' you seem to have for me is anxiety that I might be hungry! And the real sentiment is dancing circles around both of us, and you haven't even seen it yet."

"Preposterous," he huffed. I pointed a finger at him, which I knew he hated, but it was dramatic and I did it anyway.