Best FF That Leaves Me, at Any Rate, Longing for a Happier Ending for a Certain Fandom's Number One Doomed Couple: Conjugal Visit, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. This is a hundred-word story that packs a thousand-word wallop; it's a snapshot of Magneto in prison and of Xavier doing the Right Thing (which, for once in his life, coincides with what he wants to do). C. Elisa is the queen of this kind of story-telling; you should read all her stuff immediately. But read this one first, because it gets right to the heart of why M/X is so compelling - there's still so much left in the relationship, even after all the years they've spent destroying it. That's got to count for something. (And I have to quit now, before I succumb to the temptation to quote Philip Larkin's No Road in toto, with lengthy commentary on how this poem so perfectly sums up M/X. Help me. I'm one step away from writing "theirloveissoliterary!" and really meaning it.)
Best FF Involving Harry Potter and Severus Snape Touching That Still Manages to Be, Well, Touching: Pale Shadow, by Sushi, wikdsushi. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Severus Snape. This is an aged-up story (and how!); you will not be exposed to teacher/student or adult/teen naughtiness here. It's also a special prose form: four connected hundred-word stories, rated, in order, G/PG/R/NC-17. If that form doesn't make the writers in the audience want to get cracking, I don't know what will. And be sure to visit Sushi's website for the best implicit definition of slash I've ever seen. In the future, I will simply point slash doubters and nay-sayers to Sushi's site, and if they don't get it, I will point again. (I'm practicing the silent pointing so that I can come back as a Ghost of Christmas Future. My kind of afterlife, y'know?)
Best FF That Proves the Basic All-Round Usefulness of Yellow Goop, Especially in Teamwork, Bonding, and Character Perspective. Yellow Goop: Buy Some Today!: Small Unit Tactics, by Livia, liviapenn. Teen Titans, gen. This is one of those little stories I'll be recommending in the inevitable (but much dreaded) DC Universe Fandoms I Have Loved. It serves as an excellent introduction to the characters, which the average human desperately needs in DCU, and it's still good reading. We can't blame Livia for its G-rating; this story is already so densely packed that any more goodness, even of the slashy kind, would probably create an exceedingly literate and sexy black hole.
Best FF That Reveals the Evil That Lurks in the Heart of Men: Lights Out, by penknife. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. Giles wants to kill Angel. Actually, he wants to hurt Angel. And he knows exactly how to do it. I love this story because it shows the side of Giles the canon implies but never (as far as I know, which isn't that far) truly explores. We know he's human and we know he has a dark side; it makes an amazing amount of sense that this is what he keeps there.
Best FF That May Be of Interest, or Even Comprehensible, Only to the Author, My Best Beloved, and Me: Your Pilgrimage Is Over, by Mooncalf. Final Fantasy X, gen. This is a special bonus story, included for the roughly 1.5 readers of this blog who a) have finished, or nearly finished, FFX (a must for this story, I'm afraid) and b) want to read gen fic about it. (I would, for the record, gladly recommend FFX slash, especially any combination of Auron/Braska/Jecht, except that it's damned hard to find. So gen is what we're left with, fellow player(s).) Note that I love Auron with an unhealthy passion, and this story puts him in a somewhat darkish light, but that's, well, perfect for good ol' Aurie. You want proof this is a fantastic story? It directly contradicts the canon; what happens here could not have really happened. And yet I believe this version of events; it just makes so much more sense.