Ah, jealousy. It's not an emotion so much as a disease, one that overtakes formerly sensible people and turns them into twitching, frothing wrecks. I whiled away many hours of my unfortunate teen years listening to sobbing and incoherent wails along the lines of, "he's fucking her! I know it!" And I once watched a guy punch another guy over advances purportedly made to me by the guy of the second part, even though I didn't know - and still don't know - either guy's name, even. And we won't discuss that one infamous New Year's Eve party that the police in the town where I grew up are probably still talking about, except to say that I hope that officer didn't have to pay for a replacement uniform. So, basically, my perspective on jealousy: it's a terrifying thing that comes out of nowhere and wreaks havoc all around you for no apparent reason.
Let's play with this fascinating malady ourselves now, shall we? Or, rather, inflict it on the characters we love, which is much, much more fun.
Best FF That Leaves Me Wondering, for Reasons Probably Best Not Explored, If Due South Ever Used the Phrase, "Truth, Justice, and the 'Canadian' Way" in Its Advertising. Respect, by Colleen Kane, and does anyone have a link for her of any kind? That actually works, I mean, as opposed to her MRKS site, which is dead and gone, my loves. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Here's why I love this story: it shows that Ray knows how to be in a long-term relationship and Fraser doesn't. And, I mean, why would he? His longest-term relationship has been with Diefenbaker, and a deaf half-wolf with an attitude and an eating disorder is not a set of training wheels for marriage. (God only knows what Dief could be considered training for. Nothing that's going to happen in this world, I hope.) In every relationship there's a moment when you have to step down, step back, accept that being with this person is more important than being right, holding the moral high ground, having the toaster settings the way you like them - whatever. Fraser, who is the definitive "my way or the highway, and then I'll still have it my way, thanks" guy - would he know how to do that? No. But Ray does. And, yay! Ray is a good, good teacher. (And he uses sex as an educational aid far more than I ever remember my own teachers doing. Which, you know, good thing, because otherwise they'd be in jail and I wouldn't know how to find the pressure of an ideal gas at a constant temperature, not that I've needed to lately.)
Best FF That Sets a Fandom Record for Number of Seriously Uncomfortable, Not to Say Unpleasant, Conversations and Yet Somehow Still Manages to Be Funny and Have a Happy Ending. Semaphore, by Helen, aka helenish. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Here we have a story that pre-dates the famed Rydell Second Season Meltdown, but oddly echoes the mechanisms that induced said meltdown. Except that Danny's the one who made a list, and Casey's the one who is jealous. For a whole variety of reasons, really. And then there's sex. Seriously, this is how that second season arc should've gone, and I wouldn't even insist on the sex. Because in between the list and sex, there's Danny not slinking or prowling but definitely acting as a pie procurement agent for the residents of Manhattan. There's Casey, who is not jealous. Not at all. Except for the parts where he's throwing a jealous tantrum, which is the entire story. There's Natalie and Jeremy breaking up, and wry conversation about said break-up. There's humor in dialog, which is very appropriate and good. There's angst, but not to worry - it all ends well. And did I mention they have sex? I did. Did I mention there's pie? I did. Did I mention the funny? I did. So why are you still here, instead of reading this story?
Best FF That Always Gives Me a Startling Burst of Sympathy for Two Characters I Otherwise Regard As Dull and Vaguely Loathsome, When I Think of Them at All. Green-Eyed Monster, by shati. Harry Potter, gen. Pretty much. See, the thing is, every bad guy needs his good guy. What's Joker without Batman? What's Ahab without Moby Dick? What's Angelus without, um, Angel? What's Sauron without - well, Frodo, I guess, or Aragorn, or maybe all Nine Walkers? (OK, so the answers are, in order: laughing every minute, sane and fully limbed, guilt-free and full of job satisfaction, and the vicious ruler of all Middle Earth ha ha ha ha, but you take my point.) Draco used to by Harry's bad boy, but by book five he really isn't getting a look-in anymore. It's all Voldemort this and Voldemort that and it's understandable that Draco would be, well, jealous. I love this story, which is more like an outsize drabble, because it highlights a problem JKR had better address if she knows what's good for her. (Because, baby, I write a mean letter when I'm irked, you betcha.) What's she going to do with Draco? His importance in the first part of the series argues that he should be important in the last part, too, but - not as he currently is, the conniving prat who can't look further than the next Quidditch cup match. He can't be important if he stays like that. It's unlikely she's going to take the fanon route, turning Draco into an oversexed sexy sex-god of sexiness, so - what, exactly? My own hope is that she's setting him up for a redemption character arc, but the truth is she's probably just planning to make him the first real Death Eater Harry knows personally, or something. Sigh.
Best FF That Gave Me an Entirely Different Impression the First Time I Read It Than It Has on Subsequent Readings. What New York Couples Fight About, by Zahra, aka hackthis. X-Men movieverse, John Allerdyce*/Bobby Drake, John Allerdyce*/Piotr - um, Piotr. Will someone please help me remember what Piotr's last name is? OK, see, this is why I love this story, because it is so completely what teenagers do when faced with jealousy. They feed the monster. They declare true and eternal love and whisper "only you, only you, only you" as they fuck on the balcony of a cruddy apartment somewhere. And, you know what? Sometimes it works out fine. Sometimes those teenagers grow up to be adults who cope with jealousy the way adults do. I'm not trashing the teenage coping strategy. If you can skip the meaningful conversations and go straight to the great make-up sex, go for it, is what I'm saying. Because this LJ? Totally pro-sex of pretty much any kind at all. But this story teaches us an important lesson, namely: even if you are going the teenager route with the jealousy, don't hit someone who's made of metal, 'cause that way lies pain. Embarrassing pain. Oh, warning: you might not want to totally trust me on this story summary; I wasn't kidding when I said I read this an entirely different way the first time through. I mean, I really liked it that way, and I also really like it this way, but still - two totally different and mutually exclusive interpretation. So mine may not be the most reliable opinion about it on the planet.
* I've accepted that John Allerdyce, aka movie Pyro, is a whole different person than comicbook Pyro, and I'm therefore reluctantly coming to terms with the name change. Though, dammit, St. John is just so much the cooler name, and it's his name, but I'm not going down this path again, I'm just not. It's one of those changes you have to learn to live with, unless you prefer to live with insanity.