This all just goes to prove the magic of fandom, though, because in these stories fan fiction writers create good from telephonic evil. But you shouldn't take that as an excuse to let your guard down around phones. You can't trust those things for a second.
Best FF That Shows Us How to Handle Long-Distance Relationships: with Lots of Telephone Calls, Lots of Talking, and Lots and Lots of Mutual Masturbation. Springfield, estrella30. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser does not strike me as a phone sex kind of guy. Which is why this story works so well; Ray almost has to handcuff him to the receiver to get him going. (I can just picture that, actually. Ray'd have to get Fraser to cuff himself to the phone, since he's not in the room, and he could probably persuade Fraser to do that, too. Immovable Object Fraser, meet Irresistible Force Kowalski. Turns out the result of that kind of meeting isn't the end of the universe, as we used to theorize back in high school, but rather hot, hot sex.) I also love that Estrella has Ray weirded out once the guys are actually in the same room together, while Fraser turns into Constable Sex Machine. But then, I love everything about Estrella's writing, so it isn't a surprise I'd love this story, which I think is her longest one to date. And she doesn't waste any space, either; every single detail is right, from the way Ray reacts to sitting in a courtroom (he sort of vibrates, like Kid Flash, only with more swearing), to the conversations that Fraser and Ray have before they get to the sex portion of the program (they don't say much, but they both view their conversations as a lifeline), to Dief's ceremonious dispatch into the hallway ("I thank you for your company, but you're excused now.") To sum: this is a wonderful story.
Best FF That Proves That a Certain Sports Anchor Can Use His Way with Words for Evil. And Also Proves That He Should Do That Way, Way More Often. Reach Out and Touch Someone, by Caroline Baker, aka linabean, and Fox, aka darthfox. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. For the record, "Reach Out and Touch Someone" was going to be the title of this entry, but Caroline Baker and Fox got there first, and I don't even hold it against them, 'cause they used it on a great story. This is funny and light-hearted and insanely porny, which I suspect will sell about 85% of this LJ's readers on it. Not enough? Wait! There's more. Because the funniest part is actually not technically part of the story - it's the chat extract that follows the end. So be sure to read the chat transcript at the beginning, because otherwise you might not get the joke. And if that still isn't enough for you - although, really, it should be - this story has yet another attraction to lure the jaded reader: evil Danny. Not, you know, Angelus-type evil, where you have to send nuns away for their own good. More like Spike evil, where, OK, yes, technically he is evil, but he's so good at it, and he's so likable that you just love him anyway. And people find him inexplicably sexy. (I sincerely hope that bit didn't make anyone imagine Danny being played by James Marsters, though, because that would be too weird for words.) So. I've told you there's phones in this story, and that it's funny, and that it's up to its apostrophes in smut; do you really need to know more? OK. One other detail. In this story, Casey has hurt his elbow. Now go read it.
Best FF That Features - I Swear to God - a Cameo by Ewan McGregor, Even Though It Is Set in a Totally Ewan-Free Canon. Conversation, by cara_chapel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. (You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm always recommending the same three fandoms, which means, I imagine, that the people who read this must be well and truly sick of said fandoms. So for the next entry I'll look through my list for a set that is made up of fandoms I haven't recommended for a while. It'll be kind of a palate-clearer for us all. Anyway, back to the rec.) Jim, on stakeout, commits an act of Sentinel voyeurism (which is just like regular voyeurism, except that it's got more detail and more sensory involvement than most of us get when we're having sex right up close and personal). And then he calls Blair, which is so what he would do, and only Jim could convince himself that he's doing it for some reason other than a desire for late-night phone sex. But, hey, Sandburg's no dummy, and he totally isn't fooled, so they have their phone sex anyway. The thing that always draws my attention when I read this story, though, is the couple Jim watches have sex; they sound to me like the characters played by Ewan McGregor and Yoshi Oida in The Pillow Book. (Hence the title of this story's award.) Anyone else get that? No? Well, but the blond guy in this story is named Jerome, and so was McGregor's character. Still don't see it? Maybe I'm insane. Anyway, this story just feels right to me. Somehow, Jim seems like the kind of guy that would feel more comfortable talking on the phone than in person, and Blair seems like one of those people that use telephones as almost an extension of their bodies, just one more way of guaranteeing that there'll always be someone to talk to. I doubt that's canon, or even in line with canon - for all I know, both guys hate phones - but it's one of the reasons this story works for me. Only one of them, though, so feel to read it even if you don't agree.
Best FF That Shows Us That Sometimes Even Telepathy Isn't Enough to Ensure You'll Win Mind Games. Golden, by Andraste, aka andrastewhite. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr. (And, hey. Did everyone else know this interesting fact and just keep it from me? Because I was reading the Magneto entry at the Marvel Directory, and apparently Magneto once used the alias Michael Xavier. Am I the only person shocked and delighted by this news? Am I the only person now singing "Charles and Erik, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jean Gray in a baby carriage?" Less delightful - more neutral, really - is the news that in the comics canon Erik Lehnsherr is not necessarily his real name, which I also totally didn't know. And I call myself a comics fan.) So, getting back to the story. This is a telephone-based fic with no phone sex; in fact, there's no sex of any kind. Charles and Erik have moved past using the telephone as a sex toy; for them, it's more of a weapon in their reach-out-and-hurt-someone-you-love arsenal. Not that they need any help, mechanical or otherwise, to hurt each other, because they've got that down. But, hey, there's a lot of FF couples who can do that; that's not what makes these guys special. This story shows us what does. It captures that indefinable Xavier/Magneto magic, in which love and hate and pain and pleasure are all inextricably mixed, so that they can't stop loving each other any more than they can stop fighting each other. This isn't an easy dynamic to write, so be impressed with Andraste. I sure am.
Next time: a recs set that doesn't contain a single dS, TS, or SN story. If I can write such a thing without dropping dead.