Best FF That Provides More Comprehensible Backstory in 5,000 Words Than the Entire Video Game It's Based on: The First Book of the URTV, by Mooncalf. Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zer Macht, gen. I've played Xenosaga. It's a fantastic game. It's also really fucking confusing; I can completely understand why it's going to take five more games to explain everything and tie up all the loose ends. So don't worry if you've never played the game; you can still read this story and be almost as up on what's going on as those of us who did. And this story is coherent in a way that the game never, ever was, which is one reason why I love it. Another reason is that it makes Rubedo human and sympathetic, instead of repulsive, juvenile, and irritating, as in the game. The story also fills in a lot of the history of Gaignun (aka Nigredo), a rich and sarcastic good guy, and Albedo, an androgynous villain with great hair, an evil laugh, and a mission to be slashy.
Best Slash FF That Has a Lower Rating and Less Gay Sex Than the Canon on Which It Is Based: Pleasantly Surprised, by shrift. Velvet Goldmine, Curt Wild/Arthur Stuart. You really do need to have seen the movie to read this story, but I assume everyone who is reading this blog has seen it. You mean you're a slash reader who hasn't seen the Only Movie There's No Reason to Slash (Not That That Will Stop Us)? Go rent it at once. After you're done watching it, you can read this story and be, well, pleasantly surprised that Curt Wild, the quintessential insane rock star, could grow up to be reasonably sane and reasonably happy.
Best FF in Which Someone Finds a BBC TV Movie More Interesting Than an Unknown Universe Outside His Door, Thus Proving That People Who Can Wear Superhero Costumes Really Do Have Taste Deficiencies: Still, by Jane St. Clair, aka 3jane. The Authority, Apollo/Midnighter. This is another gay-in-canon couple. Makes you wonder why these are small fandoms, doesn't it? Well, one possible answer is that canon authors apparently really enjoy tormenting their gay characters; though you don't need to have read the comic books to read this story, you do need to know that, in the canon, Apollo was badly beaten and probably raped after losing a fight. But, no matter what your knowledge of the canon, read this and be impressed; Jane does an excellent job here of showing us a realistic long-term relationship. And she manages some post-hurt comfort that actually makes sense. And that's rare enough that maybe I should've called this nominations set "Endangered Slash Species."
Best FF That Reminds Us Just How Irritating It Is to Have a Friend Who Insists on Being the Best at Everything: The Ghosts of Women, by Miro (sorry, no link for her). GoldenEye, James Bond/Alec Trevelyan. Let us all take a moment to remember that Sean Bean is the patron saint of slash. This story really gets to the heart of why. We can believe that James Bond has lots of women. We can believe that Alec Trevelyan has lots of men. And we can believe that Bond would switch teams for Trevelyan. (And, as so many writers have pointed out, Bond would be more than a bit of jerk about that.) Be thankful, then, for Sean Bean, who makes every role just the right combination of slutty, slashy, and morally ambiguous. It's a recipe more actors could stand to follow.