Fanfiction Fridays: one equal temper by hairgel

I don’t watch a lot of television.

If you asked me what abomination recently happened on Supernatural or how I felt about the plot twist in Boardwalk Empire, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. I had thought my last hope for my interest in television shows died with the slowly fizzling embers of Sleepy Hollow (we could have had it all, FOX!!), but then… then I became involved with another show. Call it my lingering love for Law and Order: SVU and the desperation with which I want to see more diverse casts on prime-time television shows, but How To Get Away With Murder dragged me in quick and hard. I can’t say that ABC’s newest hit show doesn’t suffer from its own problems—what the hell is pacing and character development?—but I’m willing to give the first season of a show about a diverse group of law students led by a powerful, flawed, interesting Black woman a lot of leeway. However, and perhaps embarrassingly so, the one thing that keeps me coming back for more is the character Connor, and his trainwreck relationship with cute nerd extraordinaire, Oliver. By the end of the season, Oliver had effectively broken up with Connor, but luckily fanfic has come to fill my need. And what’s better than law students? Spies!

Yeah, that's right. You look sad. Never forgiving you, Connor.

Yeah, that’s right. You look sad. Never forgiving you, Connor.

“Hey,” Connor says, just as Oliver’s throwing out his ruined towel. Oliver’s old MIT sweater looks almost as ill-fitting and strange on Connor as his hesitant expression. “For what it’s worth, it wasn’t my idea. I didn’t want to work alone.”

Oliver stops what he’s doing with the first aid kit and pays attention.

Connor runs a hand through his damp hair, a strangely obvious tell for a field agent. “Keating needed me for a couple of missions. Objectives were strictly classified,” he says, soft like an apology. “I couldn’t tell you.”

Oliver’s eyes are drawn to his open laptop. “But the thumb-drive you gave me earlier..?”

Connor’s lips thin out. “I want answers. Too many of my ops have been compromised. Keating doesn’t know I’m here.”

Oliver’s blood runs cold. “Do you know what you’re saying?”

Connor looks exhausted when he nods.

I trust you. I trust you. I trust you.

“I do.”

one equal temper, Chapter 2

Oh my god, you guys. This fic is so good. hairgel’s one equal temper takes the main cast of HTGAWM and places them in a highly dangerous, yet still not as cutthroat and competitive as canon, setting through the eyes of someone who is arguably not on the main cast. In this verse, Connor isn’t necessarily the best spy, but he is the spy who’s willing to dance on that line between business and pleasure, which gets him results more often than not. However, after stumbling on the trail of a mole within the spy organization, Connor is captured and it’s up to Oliver to find him before all the team is left with is a good-looking corpse.

How To Get Away With Murder Connor and OliverWhat I absolutely love about hairgel’s fic is how Oliver is portrayed. As an openly gay man, and one that is prone to showing his nerves and being vulnerable, all too often he is portrayed as a stammering, blushing schoolkid whose only character defining trait is his raging crush on Connor. Luckily, one equal temper throws that characterization in the garbage where it belongs and shows Oliver as the dangerously capable hacker (slash-spy, in this case) that he is. Sure, he’s still nervous and awkward, but he’s also bitingly sarcastic and hardworking. In the same vein, Connor is more than just a charming asshole who sleeps with everyone: his dedication to getting the job done and unwillingness to show his growing attachment to Oliver is beautifully portrayed in a small amount of words.

Outside of that, the pacing of this fic is such that the reader isn’t given a chance to get bored, yet still manages to get a great handle on all the characters and how they would all possibly work as a team. Additionally, Connor’s PTSD is treated realistically and respectfully: there are no kisses that magically heal everything in this fic. At around 9k words, one equal temper won’t take up a huge chunk of your day to read, and there’s no previous knowledge of the series required to enjoy or understand the fic (although some things might be a tiny bit clearer with previous knowledge). If you’re a fan of HTGAWM like I am, or just like spy AUs, I’d highly recommend giving it a read here at AO3. But please be wary of the warnings within the fic: some of the scenes are rather graphic and hairgel doesn’t shy away from them.

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1 thought on “Fanfiction Fridays: one equal temper by hairgel

  1. Just chiming in to say thanks for this fanfiction rec-series. I found my most beloved fanficition writers through your posts. The story recommended here I enjoyed very much as well.

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