My gift, "For the Living", was written by brightknightie. Despite the usual anon period, I had no doubt of my author. Her footnoting style is very distinctive. (Not that I said anything, of course.) It's a marvellous slice-of-life fic about Natalie and Grace, set at work in the Coroner Building. Multiple cases are described, each different and demanding a different response. Although there isn't a lot of medical detail, Amy did a lot of research into the daily routine of a pathologist's duties and the way a lab like that is run. She also tied her story into canon, picking up on Natalie's comment in "Cherry Blossoms" about staff cuts and applying that to Eddie, the morgue attendant from "Only the Lonely", who also appears in the story.
If you haven't read it already, I strongly recommend it. As always, Amy's done a crackerjack job.
My own assigned recipient was my sister, fawatson. To put her off the trail, I told her I was writing for Amy. Which I was; but, of course, as a treat. I don't think Flo guessed the truth until the collection opened, at which point she discovered that there were two FK stories and only one gift for her. "A Day in the Life" is based on Mary Renault's The Charioteer. Among other things, she'd asked for a story about the hero's mother's housekeeper (a very minor off-scene character in the book) and her relationship with her employer (who is a very sweet, decidedly manipulative woman). As I put it in the story summary, "No man is a hero to his valet. Nor woman to her housekeeper." Mrs Timmings has few illusions. The background is World War II, of course; but it becomes clear that I've set the story during one particular period shortly before the main action of the book, making it backstory of a sort.
As for the treat for brightknightie (which was actually written first), "Sunny Days, Sunny Ways" is about Tracy—both her relationship with her (numerous!) family and her friendship with Vachon. Amy had said, "I think that the series started out trying to make her contrast with Nick, as Schanke did, but ended up paralleling them instead, and never fully grappled with what that change offered to the larger story." As the third season progressed, TPTB shifted from really using the full group of new characters to just sticking Tracy in the position of "Nick's new partner". I suppose her relationship with her father, her mother, and the apparently enormous Vetter clan substitutes for Schanke's family; but her friendship with Vachon was almost dropped for a while, and could have been profitably elaborated in contrast with Nick's work romance with Natalie. In the story, Tracy bitches to him about her mother's insistence she spend the Labour Day holiday with her instead of attending the usual big Vetter bash.
Both stories are now uploaded to my website. "Sunny Days, Sunny Ways" has a yellow-themed design, with a turbulent background reflecting Tracy's annoyance with her family, and a gold & white gradient carefully positioned to give a "sun" within the border round the story itself. "A Day in the Life" has a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper design (from Ambographics Art) in lavender and tan, with a rather demure border round the story. As the story takes place on the home front during the Dunkirk evacuation, I included a picture of one of the actual "little ships" involved, taken from Wikimedia Commons.
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