|Date(s):||Jan 2013 - present|
|Genre:||Primarily romance (slash and het)|
|Fandom:||Marvel Comics, Marvel Cinematic Universe|
|External Links:||Motion Practice on AO3|
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Motion Practice, also called The Motion Practice Universe or The MPU, is a popular Marvel Alternate Universe series in which various Marvel characters work together in the District Attorney's office in Suffolk County (in other words, a lawyer AU).
The series currently consists of 44 works totalling 1,405,078 words, and is still ongoing. It fuses the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and characters (including Agents of SHIELD) with the Marvel comics and Young Avengers characters and canon, featuring a varied cast and a wide range of pairings. Many of the characters also have or adopt children, all of whom are original characters. A number of spin-off fanworks have also been created for the series.
The two focal ships in the series are Clint/Coulson and Tony/Bruce, whose relationships are both depicted in the series from the very beginning, and are the focus of multiple long-form works. Other pairings, which aren't focused on as heavily but still have dedicated works and are a key part of the series, include:
- Bucky/Steve (who are married in-universe and have a daughter, Dot Barnes, and later a son, Timothy Barnes)
- Wade Wilson/Nate Summers
- Leo Fitz/Grant Ward
- Nick Fury/Melinda May (who are married in-universe and have three children)
- Maria Hill/Jasper Sitwell
- Teddy Altman/Billy Kaplan
- Peggy Carter/Daniel Sousa
Other background pairings which do not (yet) have dedicated works include Darcy Lewis/Peter Parker, Jessica Jones/Luke Cage, Victoria Hand/Isabelle Hartley, Carol Danvers/James Rhodes and Bobby Drake/Hank McCoy.
On 8th January, 2017, the_wordbutler posted an update to Presumptions (the most recent installment in the MPU) on AO3 to announce that they would be taking a writing hiatus as the story wasn't being written the way that they felt it should.
I feel terrible just writing this post, never mind putting it out into the world. The only reason I'm putting it up on here as an update is because I know some readers don't follow my tumblr, and I didn't want to leave this as a mystery. But the truth is that, right now, I need a break. Somewhere in the last couple months, writing's felt like this overwhelming obligation more than a hobby, something I need to do because of deadlines and expectations. I don't feel inspired, I feel forced.I promise this break is only temporary. Presumptions isn't pefect, but I'm proud of it. I want to finish this story and tell all the other tales that are waiting in the wings. But the problem with the last couple chapters—and, really, most of Sua Sponte—was that I let the schedule kick the story's ass. I worried about output, not what the characters wanted to tell me. My writing suffered because of it.
Since then, the author has announced via Tumblr that they have begun the process of rewriting Presumptions, and that they intend to finish the entire story this time before publishing it to AO3. However, they are sharing snippets of the new version via Sunday Six, their regular means of posting MPU updates on Tumblr.
Principal Canon Characters
- Clint Barton: A talented lawyer from the wrong side of the tracks who takes up a job prosecuting traffic offences at the District Attorney's office. The first story in the series, Motion Practice, focuses on Clint as he joins the District Attorney's office, and the beginnings of his relationship with Phil.
- Phil Coulson: The Chief Assistant District Attorney (together with Maria Hill), and a sharp legal mind who previously worked for the state ethics commission.
- Nick Fury: The District Attorney of Suffolk County.
- Maria Hill: The Chief Assistant District Attorney (together with Phil Coulson). Maria is divorced, and has a poor relationship with her ex-husband, Mark.
- Tony Stark: Appellate Attorney who is undefeated at oral argument. Tony Stark used to work for Cramer and March, a prestigious law firm, but left under contentious circumstances.
- Pepper Potts: Appellate Trial Assistant who formerly worked with Tony as a paralegal at Cramer and March, but left to join Tony at the District Attorney's office.
- Bruce Banner: Abuse and neglect specialist who also lectures part-time on family law at the local university.
- Darcy Lewis: Assistant to Steve, Clint and later Bucky, Darcy is a law student who has worked at the District Attorney's office for six years (by the start of the series).
- Steve Rogers: The charging attorney at the District Attorney's office and husband of Bucky Barnes.
- Bucky Barnes: A defense attorney who formerly served in the Army, and later joins the District Attorney's office. Husband to Steve Rogers.
- Thor Odinson: The best juvenile prosecutor in the state, and married to Jane Foster.
- Jane Foster: A trial assistant at the District Attorney's office, and married to Thor Odinson.
- Peggy Carter: A trial assistant at the District Attorney's office.
- Wade Wilson: A scatterbrained and unconventional, yet talented, defense attorney with Suffolk County Legal Aid.
- Dot & Timothy Barnes: The daughter and son of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, conceived using Bucky's cousin Leah as a surrogate
- Astrid Odinson: The daughter of Thor Odinson and Jane Foster
- Amy Jimenez: A little Hispanic girl who is the foster sister of Teddy Altman, and is fostered by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner
- Patrick "PJ" Barton: The son of Barney Barton and his girlfriend Ally, who comes into the care of Clint and Phil
- Simon "Augie" Barnes: Bucky Barnes' older brother
- Max: The son of Maria Hill and Jasper Sitwell
- Ilsa Smithe, Patricia "Patty" English, Hamilton Dunbar, Richard Hammersmith, Rodney Brassels, Thea Nguyen, Tracey Rees: Judges at the Suffolk County District Attorney's office
(Long-form, multi-chapter works that contain the main plot developments of the series. Usually focused on the progression of one main relationship)
- Motion Practice: When Clint Barton takes a job prosecuting traffic offenses and DUIs at the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, he's pretty sure his life is finally going in the right direction. But the problem isn't the direction: it's where he ends up. (Clint/Coulson)
- Permanency: Bruce has never been one to argue with the status quo. It’s brought him a rewarding job, dedicated students, caring friends, and, in some form or another, Tony Stark. He wants this life, surrounded by the things he loves, to stay the same. Permanent.
- But Bruce, for better or worse, doesn’t always get what he wants. (Bruce/Tony)
- Admissions, Interrogatories, and Other Discoveries: Once upon a time, in a far-away kingdom known as Suffolk County Legal Aid, there was a really awesome prince by the name of Wade Wilson. Because he was a noble and intelligent prince, Wade really thought he knew everything he wanted out of life.
- And then, Wade found out he was super wrong. (Wade/Nate)
- The Cardboard Hedgehog (and Other Stories): Grant Ward is a legal intern at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. He is also, apparently, both cardboard and a hedgehog. (Don't ask.)
- In today's installment, Grant's morning coffee stop is a little different than all the others. (Shut up, Skye.)
- Diversions: Clint’s first year at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office introduced him to friends who became family, to a job he feels passionate about, and to the man he loves. In short, it changed his life in ways he never imagined possible.
- But nothing guarantees that the good times will last forever. (Clint/Coulson)
- Duty of Candor: There are things Nick Fury never told the public when he first ran for office.
- They all concern what happened fifteen years ago, back when he worked in the attorney general’s office—and back before he married his wife. (Fury/May)
- Chain of Custody: The concept of causation is an easy one: you track events back until you find the one pebble that started the ripple, the event that set off the chain reaction. Bruce can track his life back and back, from Detective Munroe’s appearance in their home, to Jessica Jones’s meddling, to a fire a few miles away, to his settled family life with Tony and Miles.
- He’s not sure how the links fit together, or whether the chain might unravel. But that’s never stopped him and Tony before, now has it? (Bruce/Tony)
- Harmless Error: October: the tenth month in the year, retaining its name from the Latin for “eight.” Also, a month when Jasper Sitwell risks some small part of himself (not that he’ll admit it) and Maria Hill acts on an impulse she’s usually better at controlling.
- January: the first month of the year, taking its name from Janus, the god of doorways. Also, a month when literally everything changes. But then again, Janus is also the god of beginnings. (Hill/Sitwell)
- Sua Sponte: “Call your brother,” Bruce says, and a few days later, Barney appears on their doorstep.
- Clint’d always warned Phil that Barney might cause them trouble someday. Might pop back up, out of the ashes, armed with heavy baggage and ready to drag everyone he loved down with him. But despite all these warnings—these near-promises whispered in the dead of night—Phil’s never really believed his husband. At least, until now. (Clint/Coulson)
- Presumptions: In law, there are all types of presumptions: innocence, sanity, validity, paternity. Rebuttable presumptions you can beat with good evidence. Conclusive presumptions that, once triggered, can't be undone.
- In his private life, Tony relies on a little presumption of his own: namely, that his life will keep being happy and healthy. That it'll keep making sense, day in and day out. Turns out, that's a presumption you can definitely overcome. (Bruce/Tony) [Incomplete]
(These take place somewhere within the story's timeline, sometimes constituting extra scenes from the main stories, but are not crucial to understanding the plot)
- Chapter 6 Interlude: In Which Anthony Stark Goes For the Win: This is the story of Bruce Banner's cactus.
- The Fairy Godfather and the Flu: When Dot gets the flu, Tony isn't exactly sure how to handle his worry... and Bruce, in turn, isn't sure how to handle Tony.
- Equestria's Equality Rainbow (Or Whatever): Apparently, girl ponies can marry other girl ponies if they want to. At least, according to Dot.
- I Saw Daddy Texting Santa Claus: Steve Rogers appreciates an American family Christmas. He does not, however, appreciate the inherent design flaws of big-girl bicycles. Really. (Steve/Bucky)
- Wade Wilson Explains it All (Or at Least, How Clint's Keeping His Job. Mostly-Keeping His Job. It's Complicated.): Look, here’s the thing: all Wade wants to do is put together a fruit basket for a friend of his. It’s just that his coworkers have other ideas.
- The Survivability Thesis: They’re all made of the same stuff, and they’re all the toughest people she knows.
- The Banner and Morales Insomnia Helpline: The sprawl of Tony's big house is sometimes too much for Bruce, especially on nights when Tony's away. Bruce may not be alone in that, either. (Bruce/Tony)
- Astrid Alexandra: Thor's daughter is small, but mighty. Then again, so is her mother. (Thor/Jane)
- You Only Christmas Shop Once (A Year): Look, it’s not like Wade hates hanging out with Hope, because he actually loves it. And it’s not that shopping with Hope for Nate is a totally horrible idea, because it’s a kind of great one. It’s just that, well, Nate’s about as complicated as feelings, and feelings are freaking hard. (Wade/Nate)
- The Cosmos, and Everything Beneath: Every year, Loki returns home for Christmas and embarks on a private tradition he’d rather not share—or lose.
- The First Christmas: December 25 is crisp and cold, but the sun is shining and the sky promises to be blue. December 25 is also Bruce’s first Christmas with Tony and Miles, and he discovers quickly that there’s a lot about that worth celebrating.
- Don't Tell Your Dad (Or: Four Times Miles Kept a Secret and One Time He Didn't Have To): Tony’s not the best at crisis management. Miles learns this the hard way.
- Water of the Womb: Simon Barnes’s baby brother is born while he’s at preschool. This is the story of between then and now.
- First Days: In August, the kids head back to school. Not all their parents respond the same—or well.
- What I Learned on my Summer Vacation, an Essay by Hope Summers: When she’s ten, Hope goes to Disneyland with her dad and her dad’s boyfriend Wade. When she’s fifteen, she writes about how that trip changed her life. (Wade/Nate)
- On the Merits: It starts with two Brownie Girl Scouts and a ball of twine. And because those Brownies are a Barnes and an almost-Stark, it escalates accordingly.
- Code Double Red on the Last Day of Summer: Billy and Teddy decide to spend the last day of summer together. One day, just for them. Yeah, right.
- The Eight-Hour Postponement: Flight 616 is delayed 480 minutes. For one family in particular, that is a very long time.
- The Conference Room Where it Happens: Later, Bucky will reflect on Thursday's staff meeting and think, "Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now." In the meantime, Fury wants all their heads on a platter.
- Bags of Cats (Or: The Crisis Conference Strikes Again): Every year, most of the office attends a state-wide prosecutors' conference, leaving Bruce and Fury as a two-man skeleton crew. Most years, everything runs smoothly. Those other years... Well, that's a whole different story.
- Judicial Conduct: A review of last few years of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, as told by the seven judges who know them best.
- Bucky Barnes: Internet Sensation: On Saturday, Bucky jokes around with Peter Parker. By Sunday, the internet picks up the thread. Literally and figuratively.
(Shorter chaptered works or longer one-shots)
- Not Calm, But Bright: Phil’s not sure what he believes in religiously, but he believes in in his family: his mother who taught him to cook, his father who taught him to play baseball, the sisters he stood up for in weddings, the nieces and nephews he held as infants.
- But he also believes in Clint. (Clint/Coulson)
- Statue of Repose: This is the story of sixty days. Sixty very long days. (Clint/Coulson)
- A Long Time Coming: On a warm day in May fifteen years ago, James Buchanan Barnes met Steve Rogers.
- This is the story of how they moved from then to now. (Steve/Bucky)
- In re the Adoption of Miles Morales: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to adoption is paved with paperwork.
- (Of course, Tony knows he shouldn’t just worry about the paperwork, but somehow, that’s easier than worrying about how he’s about to be a dad.) (Tony/Bruce)
- The Adverserial Process: Assistant District Attorney Natasha Romanoff understands one very discrete area of the law, and she’s good at it.
- But being good doesn’t solve everything. In fact, it doesn’t even come close. (Natasha/Pepper)
- Degrees of Consanguinuity: It really kicks off when Bucky’s eleven, but that’s not the story. The story is a brother who stops for a day and stays for a week, breaks fifteen years of silence, and drinks too much on a Thursday night.
- A Marriage of True Minds: Love is not love which alters when it alteration find or bends with the remover to remove.
- Or, to put it another way: after a year and a half of cases, conflicts, happiness, and hope, Phil and Clint finally tie the knot.
- The Promise of Light: Natasha knows three things about Christmas in Suffolk County: the weather’s bitterly cold, it almost always snows, and she never quite feels at home.
- This Christmas should be the same as every other. It's not. (Natasha/Pepper)
- The Shelter Rule: Teddy’s life consists of a couple bags of clothes, a bed at the youth shelter, a therapy group run by his case manager, and two very dead parents.
- At least, until he switches schools. Then, Teddy’s life grows exponentially. (Billy/Teddy)
- Impeccable Taste, Rubbish Timing: Eleven years ago, Peggy met one of her best friends, a charming man named Daniel Sousa. But as with so many parts of Peggy's life, they ended up like two ships passing in the night.
- Most days, she's comfortable with that ending to their non-existent love story. Her friends feel very differently. (Peggy/Daniel)
- MPU Holiday Event: Counting Down to Christmas: There's more than one way to prepare for the holidays. In fact, strictly speaking, there's at least twenty-eight.
Themed One-Shot Collections
- Recorded Recollections: the Motion Practice Universe Turns One: Many prompts, many relationships, one year, one universe. Happy birthday to the MPU.
- Four Times Nate Saw Wade's Underwear by perpetual_motion: Exactly what it says on the tin. With sex! Set in the_wordbutler's Motion Practice Universe. (Wade/Nate)
- Pride Goeth by HugeAlienPie: Dot Barnes, age 6, is the rainbow. From the top of her hair-banded head to the tips of her sneakered toes, every inch of her is covered with rainbow clothes and jewelry. None of it matches. It's got to be driving Steve insane. Set in the_wordbutler's Motion Practice Universe.
- Scans by firewordsparkler: Every year, Wade Wilson does a thing he's not so happy about. In this story, he does the thing, listens to Taylor Swift, and watches some Bollywood. (Visible only to registered AO3 users)
- MPU (Motion Practice Universe) Ficlets by jfridely: A series of Motion Practice Universe ficlets.
Links & Resources
- i'm not a wordsmith, i'm a wordbutler: the_wordbutler on tumblr
- Motion Practice Feels: The Motion Practice Universe blog