"Four Times Hardison Told His Nana He Was Sorry, And One Time He Said He Was (But Totally Wasn't)" for boosette
"Making Book" for alizarin_nyc
"The Dangers of Champagne and Shrimp Puffs" for halcyon_shift
"Mórrígan" for lisztful
My original assignment was halcyon_shift, and we matched on Jake 2.0 (naturally). I got my assignment and glee'd because I hadn't written j20 in ages and ages and I missed it like whoa, I was sure I could take a barely started WIP that had been languishing on my hard drive and turn it into her present because it had just about EVERYTHING she'd asked for (including dirtybadwrong Warner/DuMont) until I realised two things:
1. I'd openly discussed that plot several time over the years and since we're on each other's flist and I'm probably one of the only Jake 2.0 fans she knows, she'd know it was me immediately
2. I re-read the outline and, erm... yeah, that's a 40,000 word story, and I'm occasionally prolific, but I'm not that prolific.
So.... I scrapped that idea, and started trying to figure out what I could do, and the first paragraph about the Chivas Regal popped into my head and I started giggling maniacally, and then I decided I had to know why Jake was barefoot, and how he and Lou ended up locked up in a panic room, and from there the story was born.
(I also am a freak who actually set it in 2007 because December 13 there really was both a Knick's Game and an Ice Storm that night.)
I picked up lisztful as a Pinch Hit, because I saw the request come through the pinch hit list and I thought "I can do that. I already have all the books I'd need in my living room."
What I of course neglected to take into account was that I needed time to re-read all my books. In the end, I drew mostly on Lady Gregory, Michael Scott, Ulick O'Connor, Wikipedia, and the Oxford Dictionary of Irish Mythology by Peter Berensford Ellis. It was beta-read by the lovely cadhla, who was the only person I could think of off the top of my head who would be a) awake at that hour and b) conversant with Irish Mythology enough to tell me if it was utter shite. And the last bit with the spear is me stealing Lugaid's story and using it for my own nefarious purposes. Also, erm... using Aífe, Eimhear, and Deichtire as Mother/Maiden/Crone to take the Morrighan's place in the story.
alizarin_nyc's White Collar story happened because I went through all the Madness prompts and thought "I want to write June." I drove my sister nuts, sneaking off to the dining room so I could re-watch all of June's scenes, and you have no idea how much I learnt about both Sy Devore and Golden Harvest in that afternoon. I already knew about Pai Gow, tho, thanks to Shell Game.
And speaking of Shell Game...
So, funny story... See, I guessed boosette had written my glorious, beautiful, perfect pressie, Shell Game story You Are Not Your Cover ID. it was not a Holmesian identification of her stylistic traits. It was the fact that she left an Anonymous comment on my YAY I GOTS A PRESSIE post, and then 3 minutes later responded to the next post as herself. I went back and re-read all her Yuletide posts where she talked about writing for a soruce she'd never seen before, and freaking out about getting someone on her flist, and being able to add 2 + 2, was all "Zie has guess who wrote zir story..." And we spent two hours PMing back and forth while she was on holiday in California with her family with limited internet access, where she was all "I think whoever wrote my Hardison story is journalstalking me or on my flist" and I was all "Yep" *whistles innocently*.
Cos as soon as her request had come up on the pinch hit list, I'd saved it, thinking "I could write her a madness treat". And in the 45 minutes before the archive closed, I dashed off "Four Times Hardison Told His Nana...", giving pretty much Hardison a huge chunk of my own fannish backstory. I figured it would be a dead giveaway, and everyone who read it (I was thinking, you know, maybe 10 people) would know it was me, and it would be a huge laugh.
I had no idea it would end up getting more feedback than anything I had ever written for Yuletide ever in the history of ever. Seriously. And the only person who guessed was thuviaptarth to whom I now owe a drabble in the fandom of her choice.
But see, Boosette was SNEAKY, and I had no idea she'd written both my Yuletide pressies, as she'd also written my Bang Bang treat What Shadows See.
So in the end, SHE TOTALLY GOT ME.