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Yuletide Recommendations!  
20:35:00, December 29th, 2007
John Henry Holliday, DDS
It is time for my Yuletide recommendations! There are so many up already. There are so many good stories. I’ve tried to visit the fandoms I am closest to, either through childhood memories I’ve re-collected as an adult, or those I’ve discovered or been shown more recently. Some fandoms have been mentioned often already, so here then are the other stories that impressed me, touched me or gave me new or especial insight, in alphabetical order.

The Bible: The New Testament
Something tender and warm. Jesus and John. A vignette from the last supper. Short but wonderful. Mutual comfort, each in turn. I like that.
The One My Soul Loves

The Blues Brothers
Someone here likes the Blues Brothers, I know. Once upon a time I lived across the street from a repertory theatre. Every month or so, they played the Blues Brothers, and if one dressed like them one could get in for free. Messing with the Kid is my favourite of their songs. This story features Curtis prominently, and Elwood. A series of connected vignettes, very nicely done.
Hard-Headed Woman of Mine

Donna Tartt: The Secret History
A small college in New England – old and offering classical education. It is the college I would love to have attended, with Julian the teacher under whom I should have loved to study, and the characters students I would have been overjoyed to have had as friends. This book was almost wish fulfilment, and was my request last year. Francis and Henry slash. This is not exactly that story, but a series of fine little vignettes that illuminate the novel and may perhaps encourage you to read it.

Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle: The Molesworth Series (so-called)
Molesworth! These were old in my childhood, but the thin volumes were a joy. Nigel zoomed forth with his poor spelling, adventures and excellent and observant point of view. I never expected to see them here and when I offered to write for this fandom I snuck back hopefully every day to see if someone had requested it. It was not assigned to me, but this story is perfect and has every element of a true Willans description via Nigel. Please read it. The fandom is very obscure, but wonderfully funny.
Molesworth Rides Agane

Jim Butcher: The Dresden Files
A new fandom to which I was just introduced this year, by music_and_magic. I am about a third of the way through book 6 of the series, so alas could not read some of these stories as they provided major spoilers. I liked Michael best of Harry’s cohorts. Yes, there is character death, but I do not pretend to like the dead character, so there you go. These are scenes from the novels, reworked with new material added. I will admit it. It is PG-13 slash. But I like that...
Five Crosses Michael Carpenter never Bore

Lucy Maud Montgomery: Emily of New Moon
I read this a long time ago. When I was a child I hated books whose subject was ‘children growing up’ by which I meant dealing with problem with schoolmates, changing bodies, relationships, etc. These books came very close, though set in the late 1800s or so, they were more familiar than modern books. Emily wrote, so I could bear them. I still remember one passage in particular where Emily’s teacher is criticising her writing because she has used an uncommon word more than once in a story. I’ve tried to be mindful of that ever since. This story is about Perry and Teddy, who seemed a little disappointing to me at the time, but this story makes them deeper and more significant. Here is a quote from the story: “Perry learned very quickly that there was a difference in the silence of people who chose to avoid talking about certain things, and people who did not even know the things implied by silence.”
Pine Trees and Pigsties

Neil Gaiman: Murder Mysteries
This book was a gift last year, from... someone (winks and grins I guessed it!). Beautiful. I loved it. The artwork, the story, the ideas, the poignancy that creates the characters and carries the survivors on. This story too is a sad and beautiful tragedy showing further of Lucifer, with a little of Zephkiel.

RPF: The French Revolution
I asked for the French Revolution. I asked for Camille Desmoulins, with anyone. I made a board game once where one played major figures vying for power and their ideas in the Paris of the Terror. Marat/Sade made Marat my first favourite, when I was in university, but since then and researching for the game, I settled on Camille – loyal to a fault, dedicated to ideals and passionate with all, stuttering and vain, a brilliant writer with the willingness and ability to turn the fulcrum of causality to sudden and drastic ends. But reading this perfect and lovely piece, I turn again to Marat, with all his biting darkness and ugliness of body and word, his dedication and concentration, working alone and friendless in the spinning sparkle of new young lawyers creating a new society. And here he is, in a new light. I love him again. Once I dressed as Marat for Haloween...
Jacobin Literary Society

Obviously, this movie is the popular view of John – the gift made, I am convinced, just for him and his memory; not the way it was but the way he would have had it be. In large part. This was the Yuletide assignment I was given the first time, before assignments were reshuffled. But it has been beautifully done by another. Yes, it is Wyatt and John NC17 slash, with implied Johnny and John slash, so you have been warned. I approve though. Very nice.
3 A.M. Automatic
affect: refreshedrefreshed
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(no subject)
5:55:36, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
I'm so very glad you enjoyed it! This is the first time I've seen love for TSH on someone's rec list, so even if it hadn't been my fic you recommended I'd have been excited. To find it was mine was just the icing on the cake.

- the author of Fragmenta
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and because you said you wanted Henry/Francis: part 1 of 3:
10:53:39, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
“One more game and then I’m afraid I’ll need to retire. I’m expected for breakfast tomorrow with Julian.”

Francis cocked an eyebrow. “Breakfast? With Julian? He honestly invited you to breakfast?”

“Yes. Why?”

A delicate cough. “Henry, surely you --”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Henry, and Francis was just drunk enough that he couldn’t keep back an incredulous laugh at that, until it dawned on him that Henry actually meant it.

“You really don’t, do you? I hate to be the one to say anything, but surely you must have some idea --” In the face of Henry’s steady blankness (studied blankness?), Francis faltered. “Well, come now, you’re the one who did the translation of Anacreon.” It wasn’t only wine, women, and song that Anacreon wrote about.

Henry only took a drink of his Scotch, and set down the glass, and looked at Francis. “I see what you’re getting at,” he said, at last, “but I don’t see what breakfast has to do with it.”

Francis bit his lip. Honestly, this discussion was getting a little frank. He preferred the safety of allusion, the occasional coy aside. For perhaps the first time, he felt keenly aware of how much bigger Henry was, and how much stronger, and how much damage Henry could do if he felt in some way offended. He looked at the man sitting across from him, his friend of maybe a few months, and realized how little he really knew about this man; and an unease settled in Francis’ stomach that had nothing to do with the Scotch.

But there was Henry, staring him down, unwilling to let the matter drop. With a sigh, inwardly bracing himself, Francis spelled it out, as indirectly as he thought Henry would allow. “Look, when you ask someone to breakfast, usually it’s because you mean them to stay the night. So you‘d be waking up together.”

“I’ve stayed at Julian’s before,” came the ready and startling response. “I think if he wanted me to stay overnight he’d just say so.”

This was an intimacy Francis found shocking and a little enviable. He hadn’t yet seen Julian’s house, himself, not even the outside of it. “You mean to say you’ve --”

“He’s like a father to me,” Henry asserted flatly.

“So then you haven’t?” Relief, immediate and itself a little startling, at that; not for Henry’s sake but for Julian’s. Francis didn’t particularly want Julian -- in fact he found the idea of going to bed with the older man rather unappealing -- but he’d be jealous if one of the others did, anyway. Truth be told, he was a little jealous that Henry was the one Julian wanted.

“It’s never come up.”

“But surely you know he would --”

“I haven’t allowed it to come up,” said Henry.

“What do you mean?”

“Think about it. He’s never going to make a blatant pass at any of us. That‘s unworthy of him.” Even as Henry made this claim, Francis rather wondered whether Henry would know how to recognize a pass, blatant or otherwise, if and when one might be made. “From time to time he merely broaches a subject that might lead to such an opportunity if encouraged. Talk of erastes and eromenos, Socrates and Alcibiades, that sort of thing. It’s terribly easy to redirect it into academic discourse, and I’m sure he intends that ease of redirection.”

Francis didn’t know what surprised him most. To hear Henry lay out the matter so coolly, to think of Julian artfully creating opportunities only for Henry to deliberately defer the question, to realize all this had already been happening without his, Francis’s, knowledge -- “Well. Of course you’re not interested. But don’t you think you’d better let him down gently? Instead of going over to his house when he wants, and going to breakfast with him, and whatever else it is you’ve been doing? I mean, I know it’s not smart to alienate your teacher, but he’s going to be a damn sight more alienated if he thinks you’re leading him on and then he finds out you’re not interested.”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t interested. I just didn’t say I was.”

“That counts as leading him on,” said Francis, a little exasperated now at Henry’s equivocation.

“That’s not what I mean,” Henry kept on, unperturbed. “The thing is, I’m not sure whether I’d like it.”
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part 2 of 3:
10:54:39, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
Francis gaped. He couldn’t help it. “You mean to say you’re considering --”

“If I’d like it, then I would. I’d want it to be perfect, then, you see. Julian deserves perfection. He can’t stand anything to be badly done. You know that as well as I do.”

Henry. You can’t just go about it the way you’d go about -- I don’t know, translating some hieroglyphics or something. Either you’re attracted to him or you aren’t.”

“He means everything to me,” Henry stated simply, baldly, without affectation or hyperbole. “If I can make him happy, I want to. But it won’t make him happy if I don’t enjoy it.”

Francis could absolutely not believe what he was hearing. “And how do you expect to find out?” he asked a little tartly.

Henry tilted his head, very slightly, and looked at Francis for a long moment. At least, Francis thought Henry was looking at him. He couldn’t see Henry’s eyes behind those wire-rimmed glasses, light glaring flatly off the lenses. Francis’ stomach knotted.

All at once he felt certain, irrationally and horribly certain, that this was all a joke -- a joke uncharacteristic of Henry, granted, but what else could it be? Francis had never said anything outright, but the others had to know he was gay. Bunny had even made a stupid clumsy remark about it once, and Francis had frozen him out, refused to gratify him with a reaction. If Bunny could tell, then it must be obvious to Henry as well. “Stop fucking around with me.” The words came almost in a low growl, surprising even Francis himself a little, but damn it, this wasn’t right, this wasn’t fair, and he had to make Henry know that.

“I wouldn’t like to use that word for it.” Henry spoke with the same steady assurance he’d maintained all along, and that was as weird as anything else. “I wouldn’t like to be crude about it. Besides, I’m not even sure I want to go that far.”

“You’re already going too far,” Francis practically spat, and shoved his chair back from the card table, getting up with a haste that made the chair legs creak.

But Henry was up now too, quick -- god, how quickly he moved for someone so big, you wouldn’t think a man who walked like he had a stick up his ass could move this quickly and fluidly when he wanted -- and he was in front of the door. “You’re misunderstanding me,” he said calmly.

“Am I? I don’t know. Maybe I am. I can’t even tell what you’re talking about half the time.” Full-blown exasperation now, and a tension he couldn’t shake or suppress, and he wished he could shove Henry out of the way but he knew he didn’t have a chance.

“I’m trying to be as clear as I can.”

“Maybe you are.” Francis threw up his hands in exaggerated despair. “I’d need a decoder ring to understand you. Now if you’d get out of my way --”

“I don’t want you to go.”

“Why does it only ever matter what you want?”

And as quick as that, Henry closed the distance between them, a quick few steps and his hands were on Francis’ shoulders, not hard at all, not forceful, but weirdly gentle. Almost tentative, in contrast with the sureness he’d shown, because Henry really didn’t know what he was doing after all.

“It matters what you want,” Henry said, low. “Believe me.”

Whether it was the absurdity of the moment crashing down on him, or the relief at knowing he wasn’t in danger after all, or just the Scotch, Francis couldn’t have said himself, but he started laughing, helplessly, there with Henry’s hands on his shoulders. He leaned his head against Henry’s shoulder and laughed while Henry stood there silent and unsure and bemused.

“Fine,” he said. “Fine, I won’t go.” He drew back far enough to look Henry in the eye. Boldly, and astonished at his own boldness, he reached to pluck the glasses off Henry’s face. Without them Henry blinked in a sort of unfocused way, and his eyes were bigger than Francis had ever realized, wider and bluer and more innocent than Francis could have suspected. “I’ll stay. But you’d better make it worth my while.” And he wasn’t Bunny. Henry had to know he wasn’t talking about money. He didn’t need Henry’s money.
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part 3 of 3
10:56:16, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
“I mean to try,” said Henry, in a kind of straightforward way that Francis couldn’t take for anything but earnest. The very intensity of it made him shiver. “I want to know what you want.”

So, still half-disbelieving, in a haze of Scotch and sudden animal response, Francis showed him.


In the morning, very early, Henry slipped out of bed, trying not to wake him. The bed was narrow enough that Francis got jostled anyway. Crossly he rubbed at his sandpaper eyes. “Well? Off for your breakfast date?”

“No. I’m going home to wash up.”

Francis groaned. “I mean after that.”

“Well, yes and no. I‘ll go to breakfast but it certainly is not a date,” Henry declared. “I wouldn’t want to lead Julian on. As you said.”

“Oh, come on. You liked it.”

“I did. I don’t think I would with him, though.”

Oh, God. Drunken experimentation was one thing, but Francis really did not fancy making a habit of sleeping with Henry Winter. Henry just wasn’t his type. He tried desperately to think how he could say this without occasioning some dreadful breach, a task near impossible considering his drowsiness and the aftereffects of what he’d drunk the night before.

Henry spared him that. “I don’t think I should like to make a habit of it,” he said, seriously and clearly, as though he’d spent all night contemplating this, and for all Francis knew maybe he had.

“Well, bully for you,” muttered Francis, rolling over to bury his face in his pillow. “Lock the door on your way out, would you?”

“Of course.” Clothing rustled, Henry trying to be as quiet as he could, and at last there came the welcome creak of the door opening. Francis waited for it to click shut.

A pause.

“Thank you,” Henry said.

Another pause. Francis said nothing. Finally, the door closed, and it was only after he judged Henry well gone that Francis answered.

“Fuck you.”

- the end -

(Not sure whether it's what you would have envisioned at all, but it's the way I see them. I hope it was a decent read, at least -- when you said you'd wanted Francis/Henry, my first thought was 'my God, how on earth could that happen?' So then I had to take it as a challenge. ;) )
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Re: part 3 of 3
19:00:38, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
Dear mysterious and extremely generous stranger, how can I thank you for this wonderful and unexpected gift? I am stunned! It is just perfect! Henry's eyes! Oh, Francis! Your portrayal and descriptions, with poignancy of their desire and the awkwardness of their misunderstandings, with their inevitable dissatisfaction with one another! Henry's circumlocutory frankness, Francis' slightly drunken would-be revelations! Henry's approach and Francis' resting his head on Henry's shoulder to collect himself! It is beautiful and perfect - just what I wanted, though I had never expected it.

My delight on awakening today! Can I express my gratitude in proportion to that?

Perhaps you could post it for the New Years Resolution stories - I believe there were requests there for other years. Here is just what I asked for last year, from my confirmation email:

RequestFandom2: Donna Tartt - The Secret History
RequestFandomChar2: Francis Abernathy/Henry Winter
RequestDetail2: Henry/Francis angst and gentleness and sex and love

It was my first Yuletide, but also my first experience with fandom - somehow I had not known it existed and did not know to ask for 'slash'. Who would have guessed that it was possible to ask, let alone to receive!

The Secret History was the best book I had read in years. Henry was my favourite, especially after the awe I felt at his passing: my God! Not knowing what to do with a book with which I was not finished, I made Henry as a character in pencil-and-paper RPGs, notably a long-running Spycraft campaign. There was one session where he was able to provide a distraction by giving a lengthy lecture on the excavation of Herculaneum. Henry was my favourite - his strength, his responsibility, his brilliance, and his innocent (yes, innocent but deep) dependence on Julian. But Francis was lonely, and somehow, when able to ask for any story I wanted - any in the world - I wanted to see them together for even this brief moment. Still awkward, unsatisfied with one another, still frustrated, but with another memory. Francis! Henry! It was just wonderful. Perfect. Just what I wanted. Thank you so very much.
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Re: part 3 of 3
20:33:57, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
So much I want to say but can't until after the reveal! But anyway, this is my first year doing Yuletide too, so I don't know if I can post it as a NYR. I will try to find out. Seriously, I got out of bed with this plotbunny and could not sleep until it was done.

Permission to friend you, after all is said and done?
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Re: part 3 of 3
0:02:13, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
John Henry Holliday, DDS
Please friend me! It will be an honour, I assure you, and I shall friend you as well. This is John's journal, as well as the one we use for whatever personal purposes, so I do hope you are interested in 'Doc' Holliday.
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Re: part 3 of 3
1:31:26, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
Hee, well, I could always friend with a relevant character journal. ;)

The mods have told me I can't upload the fic as an NYR, so in order to keep your rec post from serving as impromptu archive, I'll repost it in my own LJ after the reveal. And I look forward to talking to you more then!
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Re: part 3 of 3
13:45:13, January 17th, 2008 (UTC)
Camilla Macaulay
Had dithered in friending because I couldn't figure out who to add with, and finally decided that a character journal would be most appropriate since I'm friending Doc's journal, after all. So: here I am, author of Nameless Francis/Henry Story (though I've since named it "Proposition" and uploaded it to Skyehawke here). Anyway, hi. :)
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Re: part 3 of 3
6:31:44, January 19th, 2008 (UTC)
John Henry Holliday, DDS: ventriloquist
Wonderful! Welcome to our world! True, it is John's journal, but he lets me use it. I had a journal - gwyryon - but have ceased to use it. I really loved your story, and can't really say it often enough... We've friended back Camilla, as you could see, I am sure.
Description: ventriloquist
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Re: part 3 of 3
17:09:13, January 19th, 2008 (UTC)
Camilla Macaulay: smile
I used to study Middle Welsh in college, but I don't recognize that word. Still, it's lovely. *grin*

What I wanted to talk about, actually, back when (when I said there was so much I wanted to talk about), was that I'd been toying for a while with apping Camilla to Theatrical Muse, and I saw that John was in it, so I wanted to ask about it -- but then, adding a TSH character to it at that time would have made it so clear who I was! I ended up not doing that before the reveal, anyhow, and in fact I still haven't gotten around to it.
Description: smile
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Re: part 3 of 3
4:33:56, January 20th, 2008 (UTC)
John Henry Holliday, DDS
*grins* That is because the word is not Welsh but Cornish (I am half Cornish.) It means innocence, but with the root word of gwyr, which means truth - so innocence through truth (ie experience as in Blake). There is no innocence with naiveté, but only with folly, pain and so forth.

That would be brilliant if you were to join TM. It is very good in terms of community. I've made friends here that have truly enriched my life. onewingbloody, smecker (both written by the same person.) Also the_real_peace and the_iscariot. They are diverse fandoms, but absolutely wonderful writers whom I admire very much indeed, perhaps even envy for their talents. I can introduce you in my journal also if you would like to join that they might read you also (if they have not already read your superb and astonishing yuletide present.)

Some of the prompts are clearly better than others, but it is a very useful and meaningful way to get to know John and to practice typing for him. It is quite easy to apply. You need only email the 'books' moderator at "books at theatricalmuse dot net" as follows.

If you have AIM, feel free to talk to me. I am mirorthauma. Honestly, though disappointingly, I know almost no Latin and less Greek, I am ashamed to say (I attempt to learn the former periodically on my own and am only at chapter 9 of Wheelocks.) But I am learning to be a magician, hence the name.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Re: part 3 of 3
1:34:50, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
I definitely would never have dreamed of Francis/Henry either. As Fragmenta probably shows, I'm a die-hard Henry/Camilla shipper, and in my personal reading of canon I take Richard's comments re gaydar and Henry ("Geiger counters zero," etc) at face-value. But once I read that john_h_holliday had actually requested it, my brain went "... hm, how could that happen?"
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Re: part 3 of 3
1:29:20, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
*blush* I'm glad to hear it. As Fragmenta doubtless shows, I'm a huge Henry/Camilla shipper, and would never have thought to write Francis/Henry on my own, so without john_h_holliday this really never would have been written.
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Re: part 3 of 3
3:24:08, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
Oh, ow. That packs some punch - it all makes perfect sense to Henry, no matter what damage he does along the way. Great stuff.
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(no subject)
7:39:07, December 30th, 2007 (UTC)
Hey. Thanks for the kind words on 3 A.M. Automatic. I've been looking through your LJ, and all I can say is, I wish that you and your LJ had been around about 10 years ago (Eeep!) while I was going through my John "Doc" Holliday obsession, lol. I had a hell of a time finding any information anywhere about the man.

--will friend your journal after the authors are revealed.
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(no subject)
0:14:59, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
John Henry Holliday, DDS: Dental office 1874
Wonderful! I will look forward to reading your journal also. I am glad you appreciate John. Everything for him, I always say. Your story seemed just like him and could surely have occurred. There is not record he met Ringo, but there is also no record he did not and both their movements are hazy for a number of years. My John was going to do a slash roleplay with Ringo that was (naturally) to have ended badly. Of course that is made-up but not impossible. I have a Lot of books about him - I am missing two of which I know only, and should you like a bibliography, as it suggest on his profile, I should be happy to provide one. I also have such things as his textbook from dental college (well, obviously not his very own but another copy thereof) and many books about cards and guns of the times if you are interested therein.
Description: Dental office 1874
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(no subject)
6:01:36, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
I'll definitely ask for that bibliography after the reveal. Though I moved on to other obsessions, Doc always holds a place in my heart.

My John was going to do a slash roleplay with Ringo that was (naturally) to have ended badly.

Was going to? Did you not do it? Because that sounds likes an idea made of awesome. In fact, I wrote 3 A.M. Automatic because my sister was watching Tombstone again and she commented "I always thought those two had a past. You should write that fic."
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(no subject)
6:17:35, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
John Henry Holliday, DDS
Ringo deleted his journal, putting a bit of a damper on it. But it was Johnny's person who found my old journal, told me communities and whatnot existed and brought me to this writing and collaborative writing world. John and Johnny never RP'd or talked as they hated each other, as in reality, but we had the above idea, so we could have them interact. So, alas. It never happened.
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(no subject)
6:37:30, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
Oh, that's too bad. I believe in my heart that there should be more Doc slash (and Doc fic in general) in the world, lol.
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(no subject)
2:16:42, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
I'd be one of those Blues Brothers fans...
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(no subject)
19:50:16, December 31st, 2007 (UTC)
strained, half-stranded: Connor
Oh-ho, shall have to be a-looking at these... Starting with the Blues Brothers one, o' course. ;) Many thanks for posting reccies, aye.
Description: Connor
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Time Travel  
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