Best FF Featuring False Teeth: The Exquisite Yellow Ponies of Insomnia, by norah. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jose Arcadio Buendia/Melquiades. This story is just right; for me, at least, it blends perfectly with the canon - the characters, the plot, the overall tone of the novel. In fact, that's something that can be said of all four of these stories. With some slash, it's pretty clear that the author is reaching, fabricating, doing things with the characters that they themselves would not do. And I like that sort of slash. Well, I mean, obviously, given some of my past nominations. But today's stories make so much sense that it's like the FF authors are simply pointing out something that the canon authors also knew but chose not to mention. And in this case, what norah is telling us is that there was something, um, slightly unusual about Jose Arcadio Buendia's relationship with Melquiades. And something even more unusual about Melquiades' relationship with Buendia.
Best FF That Teaches Us the Important Lesson That We Should Always Try to Get a Good Look at Our Lovers Before We Have Sex with Them: Enough to Make a Cat Laugh, by Gloria Mundi, viva_gloria. Fairytale, Dick Whittington/Puss-in-Boots. Those of you who have seen Shrek 2 may have a slightly easier time picturing this pairing, because that movie contains the most obviously bisexual - no, omnisexual - Puss-in-Boots, or cat of any kind, that I've ever encountered. (In fact, the most omnisexual character I've encountered in a movie since Jack Sparrow.) Antonio Banderas's voice work may have had something to do with that. In any case, if your stomach is churning at the mere thought of this pairing, well, I don't blame you. Mine did. But Gloria makes it work without a single squick; she makes it work so well, in fact, that she's completely changed the way I see these characters. Let me put it this way: I read this story just to prove to myself that I'd hate it, and I loved it anyway. Trust me. Or, more to the point, trust Gloria. And go read the thing.
Best FF That Makes Me Sincerely Sorry for a Character I Once Despised: Lean and Hungry, by copperbadge. Julius Caesar, Brutus/Cassius. If your jaw doesn't hit the floor when you read this, check your pulse: you may be dead. It's that good. For me, this totally made up for the time I invested in reading the play (as it turns out, I do not so much love Shakespeare's histories), but I think you could read this without reading the canon as long as you know the basic plot. (If you don't, check your planet of residence: you may be on Mars. Or even further away from my world. Which is, for the record, Earth.) This, for me, is the relationship between Cassius and Brutus forevermore. And, really, I can't imagine that Shakespeare would disapprove, or even be surprised.
Best FF That Raises Some Truly Challenging Questions of Guest Etiquette: Sweetly and Steadily, by Torch, flambeau. Arthurian legend, Gawain/Bercilak. Again, I'm fairly sure you don't need to know the canon to read this, although, really, you probably should read one of the many variations on the Arthurian theme; it's a goldmine for fans of slashy subtext. Depending on your level of familiarity with various translations and interpretations of Arthurian legend, you might feel a little weird about the modern, colloquial speech patterns of the characters in this story. If you do, read through it; it will eventually start to work for you. And as for the challenging questions of etiquette - well, let me say that I have no idea what I'd do in Gawain's situation at Haut Desert. And I don't think Emily Post would've been able to come up with a good suggestion, either.