That's pretty much the attitude you'll be needing for this set, which is made up of stories that somehow involve religion. I have no idea how many readers of this LJ (assuming there are any after the Long Hiatus, about which more, only - later) are devout adherents of any religion, but those of you that are might, you know, want to look away from this entry. Or at least skip to the last rec, which involves the Amish Satanism Plus Goats religion. Because, while I'm sure that one is just insanely popular and all, its members probably don't have internet access and therefore won't be offended.
But the rest of you can probably count on being irked somewhere in here. Just, you know, FYI.
Important Email Note: I have learned that something was wrong with my non-fannish email address (the one with 'dsl' in it) for most of the last week. Anyone who has tried to send something to it over the past five to seven days please please resend unless you've gotten a response from me, because I've replied to the mail I've received. Also, anyone who knows what I've done to offend the email gods - because when it was just my fannish email that screwed up all the time I could believe it was the server, but now I have to accept that the problem is me - or what ritual would appease them should let me know. Via comment or, for the braver set, email. Please.
Important Website Query: Will someone please tell me what's up with trickster.org? I've been out of the loop for long enough that I don't know anything except that it has apparently gone the way of the dodo. And that it's a total bitch assembling recs sets without access to the trickster sites. Should I go into mourning or what?
Best FF That Could Probably Cause the Author to Be Stoned in Certain Highly Intolerant Times. But We're Past All That, Aren't We? His Own Soul, by sssenza. The Bible, David/Jonathan. This is NC-17. Yeah. I thought I should begin as I meant to go on in the offense department. But, look - it's canon. Don't believe me? Check out the actual text, which says "and then they had sex" so clearly - I mean, come on, Jonathan takes off his clothes and hands them to David - that it doesn't even need slashing. But the author of this piece did a lovely job elaborating on the canon, including many fetching details about who did what to whom. And she took it out of the language of the King James Version, which is a good thing, because KJV is very pretty and excellent to quote and just packed with thees and thous and untos, but it is not all that easy to read as a story. Whereas this is extremely easy to read. And fun. And good. Still, I realize that "NC-17 Bible fic" is a squick all by itself for some people, so I'm offering an alternate story for this rec. Note that I don't call it a Certified Safe Alternate, though. And for very good reason.
Best FF That Proves That You Don't Need to Deviate from Canon to Produce a Highly Disturbing and Squicky Story, Provided You Choose Your Canon Carefully. Brotherly Love, by daegaer. The Bible, gen. Sort of. I mean, the Bible is far more explicit, in places, than this story, and the only sexual relationship mentioned herein is definitely canonical. But if you thought gen (or religion) was squick-free, my children, this will prove you wrong. I can't really warn any better than that without spoiling everything. (Those of you who like to be spoiled, though, might want to Google Amnon and Tamar.) Also, this story is one of the best short character studies I've read; it's only 500 words long, yet you don't need any familiarity with the Bible to understand the nature of Jonadab. (Which nature is, for the record, pure evil. Admittedly, he's really damn good at being evil, so good you almost have to admire it even as you're horrified by it, but that just makes the whole thing worse. Trust me.) In short: an amazing story. Bonus: if you were disturbed by the David/Jonathan story, you won't be after you've finished this, because this will show you what disturbing really is. Note: I've already recommended this story once, but it's worth rec'ing twice, and it's not like there's a ton of gen Bible FF out there.
Best FF That Shows Us That Religion Has Its Place in Oz. And That That Place Is Not a Comfortable or Happy One. Incense, by Brighid, aka mz_bstone. Oz, Christopher Keller/Tobias Beecher. We all know that Keller has some issues, yes? Religion is, canonically, one of them (and even more so after he had a vision of Hell while he was dying - one of the deaths that didn't take, for the record). Here we see what religion means to Keller and what Beecher means to Keller, and how those two things are not as separate as they might be in a totally healthy and stable person. It's another brilliant character story, with one of those joyful, fun looks at Keller's past that Oz writers love to give us. And the ending is just a killer, provided you know how the series ended; this is another short story that packs a godawful punch. Warning for the easily offended who have somehow made it this far in this recs set without spontaneously combusting: the very first line of this story features the word "Jesusfucking," and that's not exactly the only obscenity you'll find here. Or the only blasphemy. So probably best not to read this unless you're good with the blasphemy thing.
Best FF That Shows Us That When You Have New Powers, You Also Get to Commit Entirely New and Original Sins. Ten Thousand Candles, by Andraste, aka andrastewhite. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr (but non-explicit - blink and you'll miss the only reference to it; to my mind this is gen). You need to have seen X2 for this to make a lick of sense. If you haven't seen it, go on to the next rec now, because the rest of this summary will take place deep in spoiler territory.
And now that they've all gone, I've got a confession to make to you: the second movie didn't work for me. There were some good parts, but overall, it didn't hang together, and one of the biggest reasons is the thing that Andraste built this story around: Xavier, as we know him in XMM canon, couldn't have survived the events of the movie. The invasion of the school was bad enough, but then there's also the tiny fact that he murdered thousands of people. Murdered. Thousands. Xavier would not be, shall we say, comfortable with that; he wouldn't be able to keep his chin up, keep a stiff upper lip, keep on keeping on after doing that, no matter what the excuse, no matter what the circumstance. But the impression I got from the movie was that he'd found himself not guilty by reason of mindfuck, and that's just - not Xavier, not for me. So I have an intense love for this story. Unbelievably intense. Scarily intense. Go thou and read, and you will love likewise.
Best FF That Proves You Can Build a Story Around Religion and Still Keep It Light and Silly and Totally Not Blasphemous. You Just Have to Find the Right Belief System. Happily Ever After, by Merry, aka merryish. Once a Thief, Mac Ramsey/Victor Mansfield. Yes, we've reached the one that's safe for everyone except Amish Satanists and fans of human (and goat) sacrifice. Yay! Now let me tell you how astonished I am to find myself recommending anything in this fandom, because I just finished watching the movie, or possibly the pilot, of this show, and - wow. Bad, folks, I'm telling you. Bad. I can't tell you not to watch it - there's a scene involving a chandelier that makes a reality out of all the "swinging from the chandelier" jokes in various FF stories, inasmuch as the two male characters spend a goodly amount of time tied to each other and rubbing against each other so vigorously that you could use the scene as a visual definition of frottage while hanging from said lighting fixture - but I can tell you that you should be good and drunk when you do. Or just skip to the Chandelier Scene. Trust me, you won't be missing much. Anyway, the Best Beloved and I had just finished watching the movie/pilot thing when I read this, so the scars were fresh. And yet I found myself reading and giggling and loving this story. So I just have to recommend it. It healed me, I'm telling you, and it will heal you, too. Well, provided whatever ailment you have isn't made worse by laughter.