I have a special weakness for fill-in-the-blanks fic. This probably started in my misspent youth, when I spent a lot of time bitterly resenting books that ended too soon or didn't tell the whole story or left out the first part. (Thinking back on it, I was apparently a FF reader born, not made.) The only book I ever felt really covered everything sufficiently was David Copperfield, but in that case, what was mostly covered was whining. (Memo to David: Life sucks, yes, we know, especially when Dickens has hold of you. Get over yourself. You could be wearing a decaying wedding dress, you know.)
So I love those fan fiction authors that apparently share my need to get the whole story, and when getting it is impossible, to make it up. Go obsessives! (Because, hey, isn't that what fandom is really all about?)
Best FF That Shows Us What Mountie Training Is Really Good for*: Instilling Sufficient Poise to Watch Your Adolescent Fuck-Buddy Interact with Your Current Lover Without a Single Flinch: Passion, by Speranza, aka cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/assorted, but I promise a Certain Person that it ends as it should, with all due (*snerk*) pairing correctness. I think we can agree that it's pretty much canon that Fraser's life has been a) sucky and b) remarkably loveless. But it takes a cesperanza to show us just how much that hurts. I love the little things in this - 12-year-old Ben's fury with himself over his inability to talk to his father, or 38-year-old Ben's fury with himself when he once again gets overwhelmed by passion. (Overwhelmed by Passion, by Roan Strober, from Harlequin: when young, cultured Cordelia Markham's ship founders at sea, she accepts rescue from the least-likely source - the dread pirate Bartholomew Bradley. He's a bad, bad man, but he's all man. Soon, she'll be...overwhelmed by passion!) Special added bonus for readers (of "Passion," not Overwhelmed by Passion, which does not exist but which I confidently predict contains no bonuses at all aside from a euphemism-filled heterosexual sex scene on page 79): the brilliant original characters in this story. Think OC = disaster? Doesn't. Here's proof.
Best FF That Shows the Hidden Horror of American Family Holidays Better Than 3 Million Student Films (or Ang Lee Films, for That Matter) Ever Could: Triskaideka: A Door Closing, by Luna, aka Violet, aka tangleofthorns. Homicide: Life on the Streets. Warning: this story is implicitly but extremely disturbing. Do not read if you are easily disturbed. By anything at all. And, yes, I do mean implicitly disturbing - there's nothing stated, but what isn't stated is so awful it's...well, I wish I could say beyond imagining, but the truth is it's all too easy to imagine. That's the problem. This story is about 13-year-old Tim Bayliss having a Magical Family Thanksgiving (tm), and I love the way Luna manages to overlay the sweet, wholesome images of this Great American Holiday (tm) with such horror. (umbo or anyone else who watched the TV show - is what Luna's implying here canon? Did this really happen to him?) "A Door Closing" is part of Luna's "Triskaideka" series, and I love this series concept. (I also love the series, of course.) I want to get a look at the 13-year-old version of every single character in every single one of my fandoms (excepting of course those in which the canon shows us the characters at 13), and I want it now, and I'm going to spend a lot of today whining because I can't have it. (Come on, people. Tell me you don't want to read about 13-year-old Casey McCall watching a baseball game by himself, announcing it under his breath, occasionally trying out 18 different inflections to get that one perfect one, or 13-year-old Ray Kowalski learning to tune a carburetor and failing to have a conversation with his father, or anything involving Midshipman Aubrey learning the, um, ropes, or freshman Danny Ocean hiding a smile while conning the senior jocks who thought they were going to kick his ass, or 13-year-old Logan listening to the declaration of WWII on the radio in some cruddy shack, wondering how many years it'll be 'til he can join up, or...look, stopping now. But you see the temptation, don't you? Tell me I'm not alone in this.)
Best FF That Shows That All's Fair When You're Helping War with Her Love Problems: Holiday in Spain, by Cimorene, aka minkhollow. Good Omens, implied War/Pestilence. Pollution learns a secret (this story is from therealjae's Secrets Challenge) and gives War some career advice. And, look, for personal reasons I am not typically fond of light-hearted stories on this particular topic (not spelled out because a) I want you guys to read the story, and you won't if I tell you and b) it'll spoil it but good), but Cimorene makes it work here, somehow. (Originally mistyped as "somewow," which seems like a - I don't want to say Freudian - Jungian slip?) Possibly because this story just sounds right. The little details help - the wine, Pollution's psychobabble (because psychobabble is pollution, people), the setting. I just really like this, and if that makes me wrong...no, wait. This is my LJ. I like this story, and that makes it right. (Yes, those years of assertiveness training have finally paid a dividend! My parents will be delighted.)
Best FF That Shows Us That Some Traits Persist Right Through Surgical Torture and Mind-Wiping, Leaving Me Wish I Was an Apollo-Type Rather Than a Midnighter-Type (and If That Doesn't Cry out for an Internet Personality Quiz to Determine Your Superhero Type, I Don't Know What Could): The Waiting Room, by Andraste, aka andrastewhite. The Authority, Apollo/Midnighter. I love this look at who they were before they wore Spandex and capes (well, before they wore them all the time) and had only one name each. In particular, I believe in this look at the man-who-became-Apollo; the man is clearly the father of the superhero, in this case. And I love this line from Midnighter, who can't remember much but sure can deduce based on what he does remember: "Clearly he was a moron in his former life." Normally I don't quote from stories I'm recommending, but I had to quote that, because, really - that's what I'd conclude if I had to judge who I used to be entirely from, well, any of my memories. (Which, um, suggests that I am a moron in my current life, so not the most felicitous of thoughts there. Moving on.)
Best FF That Shows Us That the Best Way to Vacation in Spain is to Visit France. And, One Assumes, Vice Versa.: Euskadi Six Hour, by Sabine, aka iamsab. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. (Warning, because a Certain Person has proven to be even more ending-sensitive with Sports Night than with due South: you couldn't exactly call this a happy ending, though I choose to believe that there's an unwritten sequel that is set after the canon that has them work it all out in Spain at the Tour de France.) (Second Warning: this contains infidelity. It didn't trigger my fidelity issues, mostly because I consider that Casey only has to be faithful to Danny, but it could trigger yours. You know, if you have them.) I'm offering a bonus story today for several reasons. First, I am obligated by my new religion to include an SN fic in each set for at least the next month, but I'm feeling pretty guilty about it. Second, I really, really hope that people took my warning about "Triskaideka: A Door Closing" seriously and didn't read it if there was any chance it would bother them, so I'm offering this story as a substitute. Third, there's just too many good history stories out there to limit myself to four. Justifications end now. This story gives us a look at Casey, already grown up, pretty much the Casey we know, but a Casey without Danny, which turns out to be a sad thing. We also get to meet a different flavor of Danny - a Danny who is overage but not really grown up, a Danny who is, at least on the surface, just like most college guys. And yet when the two of them get together, they instantly become the single-word DannyandCasey of Sports Night fame (vaguely intoxicated edition). It's fun. At least while they're still in France.
* Well, yes, Mountie training is good for that, too. But I figured that went without saying in the dS fandom.