First, my totally fabulous gift:
And a brother is born for adversity. Kings
Rose wondering where William went wrong. With a great reverse structure and very believable gap-filling scenes. Gets more and more heartbreaking the farther on you go, and then it delivers the death blow. Love it.
Aaaand some other fics that struck me:
Heavy Is The Head, Scandal
This is the AU President Mellie fic I have always wanted. This is also the AU President Mellie fic you have always wanted, I promise you, 100% satisfaction guaranteed. SERIOUSLY GO READ THIS FIC, even if you don't watch this show, it is totally worth it, but of course it's even better if you do watch the show. Mellie is pretty much my favorite lady, and this fic showcases her complexity and ruthlessness beautifully. Reaaaad it.
Applied Heresy, His Dark Materials
A lovely meaty fic about Marisa Coulter, her scientific pursuits, and her affair with Lord Asriel. Almost twenty-thousand words, and basically every one of them perfect. If I tried to quote my favorite bits I would just quote the whole thing, but here's a line, more along world-building lines -- did I mention the world-building is excellent? -- that caught my interest:
Once he'd sent her a morbidly cheerful little picture-book called An Alphabet of Heretics, in which he had thoughtfully bookmarked all the natural philosophers. There were rather a lot of them. It had made her laugh, though, to see the note he'd written under "N is for Newton," and the woodcut of the man sitting under an apple tree, serpent daemon coiled around his throat. He was only a Cambridge man, Asriel had scribbled, so it cannot have been any great loss.
And by caught my interest I mean I had to pause to guffaw into a pillow for a solid minute.
Perigee, Asimov's Robot novels
It is a casefic! A casefic that could fit right into canon! With the best robot! I mean seriously the best robot, he is just too charming. And Mike and Greg are their delightful selves, and there's a great Susan Calvin cameo.
remember this when you are queen, Snow White and the Huntsman
An absolutely beautiful fic about exercising power as a woman, and what happens after you've defeated the evil queen.
maybe she's the quiet type who's into heavy metal, Revenge
Thalassa Begat, Atlas Shrugged
Continuing the Yuletide tradition of making sure Ayn Rand never stops spinning in her grave, this is a great Hank/Francisco fic, tonally appropriate, not dogmatically overbearing.