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A daemon AU is an Alternate Universe fanwork that incorporates the fictional type of creature that appears in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Not to be confused with demon AU, an unrelated horror trope.
In the book series, daemons are the external physical manifestation of a person's 'inner-self' that takes the form of an animal. Daemons have human intelligence, are capable of human speech—regardless of the form they take—and usually behave as though they are independent of their humans. Daemons frequently interact with each in other in ways that mirror the behavior of their humans, such as fighting one another when their humans are fighting, or nuzzling one another when their humans embrace, and such contact between daemons is unremarkable; in contrast, humans touching other people's daemons is taboo. When one's daemon dies, so does the human and vice versa.
Similar to the debate over how to sort characters in Hogwarts AUs, different fic writers can have different ideas about what animal their character would have as a daemon. The daemon represents an important piece of characterization in daemon AUs.
Meanwhile, ship fic often expands upon the implied suggestion in the books that human-daemon contact feels sexual.
- American Idol: sings the song without the words by astolat. Kris wants Adam to touch his dæmon. April 2010.
- Arrow: Monsters in the Dark by somethingelseornothingatall, Oliver/Felicity, Felicity has the ability to see guardians, spirits that protect the majority of people. Some guardians talk, others don't. Oliver Queen's is a sassy, chatty beast. She starts helping Oliver, forming Team Arrow, and getting drawn into the pull that is Hurricane Oliver. (Fantasy AU that rewrites S1; called "guardians" here)
- Bandom: read me like no one else (we'll make them so jealous) by foxxcub. Panic! at the Disco with dæmons. October 2007.
- Hawkeye: my heart beats so that i can hardly speak by weatheredlaw, Clint/Kate, The night they kissed, Clint tore himself away, eyes blown wide and mouth hot and red. Maggie was up his leg and cradling herself in his palm in a second. Kate reached out a hand for Sebastian and that was it.
- Inception: The Kind You Could Sing by foxxcub. Eames's dæmon does something that upsets Arthur. August 2010.
- Merlin: A Study in Natural Philosophy by mad_maudlin. Merlin hides his dæmon. February 2010.
- Sherlock: Asteroidea by etothepii. Mycroft has an unusual relationship with his dæmon. September 2010.
- SGA: Dæmonology by trinityofone. John's dæmon's form reflects self-sabotage. October 2005 - possibly the first HDM fusion]/Daemon AU in any fandom
- SGA: Animus, Animalia, Familiae by tzzzz, written for the team challenge on sga_flashfic. To touch another's daemon is to touch another's soul. November 2008