This entry, though, features no cross-dressing at all; frankly, there's a limit to the number of cheerleader outfit stories I can cope with in any given week, and that number decreases violently if there aren't any women in said stories. So instead, I'm offering stories in which clothes serve a significant purpose, a revelatory purpose - in other words, where an article of adornment acts as an agent of discovery, and, yow. Think I switched writing gears there for a second. But I'm not going to worry about it, and I'm not going to go back to correct it, either; onward and upward, that is my LJ motto. Onward to the stories, so that you can move upward to someone else's writing. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, and close up the wall with our English smut.
Best FF That Could Almost Make Me Like Thongs, Only Not, Because Thongs Are the Work of Satan and No Amount of Fan Fiction or Ready Cash Could Convince Me Otherwise. Cotton, by Vera, aka copracat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I have something I need to get off my chest. Smallville has become one of my fandoms. I thought I'd just come out and say that right now; I've learned the folly of swearing in public - or at least here - that I will not acquire a given fandom, no no no a thousand times no, because then the rabid weasels come for me. So I'm saving myself some weasel-time by admitting I'm on the SV train now. And also because, um. Let's just say that you might as well accept the fandom in your heart once you find yourself explaining to your Best Beloved, your Best Beloved who has actually seen episodes of Smallville, in direct contrast to you, who has most certainly not, that it's a pity the show didn't start a few years earlier because Lex was made for pre-turnover Hong Kong. And defending that statement with supporting evidence even though the Best Beloved seems not just willing but anxious to let it die a quiet, unacknowledged death and blame it on the fever. So this is my first SV rec, to the best of my knowledge, and I've begun as I mean to go on, with a lovely story in which Martha does the laundry. No, really, that's the whole story. It's fantastic. (Yes, this is how I mean to go on. In terms of quality. And, hell, laundry too, but if there proves not to be a large archive of SV laundry stories, I will be forced to resort to smut. Just a friendly warning.)
Best FF That Makes Me Wonder If I Should Start Inspecting the Labels of My Clothing for Statements Like "55% Ramie, 45% Cotton, and No Moral Fiber to Speak of." Paddle to the CSC, by Julian Lee, aka julianlee*. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Sam Donovan, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. A new fandom does not mean I do not still love you, old fandoms! I'm as slutty as slut can be when it comes to fandoms, and I continue to read all my old ones even as I assimilate new ones. (Why no, I don't get much sleep. Also, I'm experimenting with various dangerous, completely untested time-alteration devices. They could potentially destroy the world, but apparently slash can do that even on a good day, so I'm not worried. Plus, when you weigh the importance of smut versus a stable space-time continuum, well, let's face it; we have clocks 'cause none of us is that good with time in the first place, so who is ever going to notice if time breaks?) This story revolves around the Shirt. Yes, that Shirt - the one that Gordon got from Casey via Sally; the Shirt that is basically the all-cotton equivalent of a venereal disease. Did you know the VD Shirt had further adventures? It did, and Julian Lee is here to tell us all about them. (Note: Dan/Casey shippers should not be alarmed by the pairing list here. For one thing, I'm pretty much right there with you guys, so you should know I won't lead you astray. For another thing, the Sam interlude isn't, you know, permanent or anything. Plus, who doesn't feel the Sam love? Well, not me. And, judging by this story, not Danny, either.)
Best FF That Reveals the Unsung Sexy Side of the World Wildlife Federation's Logo, but Not in a Way That Makes You Want to Call the Cops or Anything. Adorned, by Resonant, aka resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski, plus mention of Ray Kowalski/Stella Kowalski. (Note: if you are a diehard Kowalski/Fraser fan - and I'm naming no names, here, but one of them has been sleeping in my bed - you will want to read the follow-up story, Borealis.) Just so that no old fandom (all together now: "get new fandoms but keep the old - one is shiny and the other is also shiny, only with a richer, deeper luster") feels left behind, I'm recommending another of my much-loved pairings. This one is so much a part of my life at this point that when I typed "Benton Kowalski/Ray Fraser" just now, it took me several seconds to see what was wrong with that. Plus, Resonant. You all know Resonant, right? Well, if you don't, it isn't from lack of effort on my part. She's high on my list of writers I'd chain up in my spare bedroom if I wasn't concerned that a) that might not actually increase their writing output b) they might compete with me for computer time and c) they might also pick up on the unfortunate Stephen King overtones of the whole thing. Plus I understand there could be some sort of legal repercussions. Anyway, this is one of the first dS stories I read by Resonant, and it just totally reinforced my unhealthy feelings for her, because almost every single word of this story is perfect. (I mean it. If there was anything even approaching justice in this world, Resonant's works would be way outselling John Grisham's.) This story is about what we put on our loved ones, how we mark them and how we make them our own. And, oh, Jesus. Worst story summary ever, so let me start again. Ray likes to make things pretty, and that goes double for the people he loves. Now go read the damn story already.
Best FF That Made Me Strangely Comfortable with the Concept of a Peep Show, Which Always in the Past Has Struck Me as Just One Step Above Stalking and Approximately 30,000 Steps Below Any Non-Skeevy Sexual Activity. Nice Shirt, by glossing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daniel "Oz" Osbourne/Xander Harris. Warning: this is a work in progress. I don't normally recommend works in progress, but this one belongs in this set, plus each entry stands alone as an essentially complete story, so I refuse to feel guilty about this. Do you hear me? No guilt. Cannot be made to feel guilt. And I am not protesting too much. But getting back to the story - well, first you should know that this is all about this shirt. Those are not photo manipulations; Oz and Xander really do wear the same shirt at different points in the canon. And while that could just be a coincidence, or a lazy costume director, or - hell - even two similar but not identical shirts, it could also indicate another shirt with low, low morals. And given what the shirt actually says, plus my general opinion of the morals of the cottton crowd, guess which way I'm betting? Glossing is justly renowned for her Oz, and this story will show you why. Also, her Xander is just the way I like to see him. And I actually did have more to say about this, but here's where I'm going to be ending this story summary, because my keyboard has just developed an irritating glitch. Arg.