Really. This is canonical.
So, you know, the slashiest fandoms post is coming right along, and my fear of it is also advancing in leaps and bounds, because if there's one thing you don't want to do in a LJ, it's tell someone that her fandom is not as slashy as this other fandom over here which she is not an actual follower of, and, as I said, no one but me and, like, three other people follow Shadow Hearts. So I've been procrastinating by, well, reading the news and stuff. But, frankly, there's only so long I can spend involved in the real world before I'm ready to give up on life altogether. And my Best Beloved continues to monitor my LJ and present me with distressing details about how long it's been since I updated. (Hint: if you don't want exact information, don't marry a librarian. They're like wolverines with the facts, people.) So the time has come for me to recommend some actual fan fiction, before we all forget how to read, and I forget how to write sentences involving words like "smut" and "cock" and "schmoop."
Anyway. I was looking through my Scary Recs Database That I Will Never Finish Recommending, Not If I Live to Be a Hundred and Get a Lot Better About Updating Regularly, and I realized that there were - well, several, and by several I mean "more than I care to admit" stories described as PWP. Know that to me this is not a condescending description or an insult; speaking as someone who could not write smut if there was a gun to her dog's head, I truly appreciate the great smut-writers of this world. And people who write great smut are great writers, because maintaining the reader's interest when your entire story can be accurately summed up by a three-letter acronym? Not easy, folks.
So let us all appreciate these writers and their stories. While we still can, because the lunatics are truly taking over the asylum out there - see, for example, the recent and depressing Time Magazine cover story on, among other things, the new push to have the FCC regulate cable TV. (Which would mean that we'd never see another show like Oz or Queer As Folk. Admittedly, I've not seen those ones yet, but I still like knowing they exist.) This is what happens when I pay attention to the news, people: links to actual information in this LJ. Let's hope it isn't a trend. As an apology, I offer you Smut (yousendit download, and it's a small file because it's low-fidelity, but it's also a live recording from 1965, so it's not like you're missing anything), which, as I know I've remarked before, should be fan fiction's anthem. And, of course, this set of PWPs. Because we should love our smut while we still can.
Best FF That Proves That a Harvard Education Is No Match for Innate Talent When It Comes to Lingual Activities. Dirty, by actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. I love Oz lockdown stories; they may be a fandom cliche, but only in the sense that everyone has to write one. Because - look. In Oz, you can write an AU, or you can write a lockdown story, or you can write a story that begins, ends, and middles with angst or unhappiness or pain. (Experienced writers routinely go for the Oz hat-trick, which includes all three.) But I - well, I'm the person who can these days recognize both Beecher and Keller (which is, trust me, a major accomplishment for me, as I can count on the fingers both hands all the people I can identify from their faces alone), and I learned to do that exclusively from the pain associated with Oz vids. (It was the one featuring Beecher's first season arc that killed me, folks, and it was the one about Keller's last few seasons that jumped up and down on my tragic early grave.) I can even sometimes recognize the actors; if I see a random photo of a man looking calm and confident even though he's wearing clothes that would give a supermodel cause for concern, and I wince reflexively, I know that's Christopher Meloni. And if I see a photo of a man who is wearing normal clothes, but I'm still wincing - well, that's Lee Tergesen. But you know what? I love Oz to death despite the pain. This puts me in a great frame of reference for appreciating Beecher/Keller stories, and gives me a serious love of stories that focus on the approximately two weeks of their lives (I accidentally typed "lies" there, and that was a Freudian typo if I've ever seen one) when they were happy together. So: PWP, lockdown, happy ending. Could you ask for more? Actually, if you can, there is more; this story hits, for me, all the right Keller notes - the incredible confidence, the flashes of near-pathological insecurity, the power, the helplessness. It's all here. So this is also a character study. And did I mention that it's smut? Read with joy, my friends.
Best FF That Might Make You Willing to Stay at One of Those Creepy No-Name Motels That Normally Make You Think "Horror Movie Psycho Killer RUN RUN RUN!" Crescent Moon Lodge, by Anais, aka minkboylove.* Stargate SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill, whose damn name ALWAYS looks like it's spelled wrong. So. There's a motel, and there's sex, and that's the plot summary. And that is why I don't do PWP sets more often - not because I don't love the things, because lord knows I cherish them, but because it's tough to write a story summary of a PWP. (Only so many times you can write, "There's some fucking, and also...more fucking" without feeling just a wee bit inarticulate.) My solution is generally to maunder on about something only vaguely related to the story, so let's go right to that, shall we? See, the thing about SG-1 is that there's only a few options for a Daniel/Jack relationship: post-military, post-apocalypse, the ever-popular Denial of Military Reality route, and then, of course, the sex without the relationship. Or with only part of a relationship. This is one of the few fandoms where I honestly don't care which path authors take; if they want to deny military reality, I am happy to go along with them, and if they'd like to level Earth's immediate galactic neighborhood with massive ancient alien solar wind machines, well, there are days when I'll help. But the toughest choice is definitely the relationship-less fuck, because Daniel and Jack are both oddly devoted individuals who don't seem to do sex without commitment (unless an alien has taken over their brains, although you'd be surprised how often that happens); I suppose the canon writers went that route because they needed some way to explain the fact that Jack and Daniel essentially never have sex with another actual human being. Getting back to the story - I think Anais does a good job with the semi-relationship option in this one, mostly by focusing heavily on the sex, always an excellent choice.
Best FF That Proves You Shouldn't Spar With Anyone You Wouldn't Fuck. And You Don't Want to Know What That Says About the D.C. Universe, Where I Suspect They Take That Rule to Heart. And Other Places. Hit, by Te, aka thete1. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Tim Drake. (Note for my Much-Loved Long-Lost Mystery Relative and Comics Abstainer: try this one, OK? Because there's not a lot to throw you, here; if you know they're both costumed heroes affiliated with Batman, you know everything you need for this story, and it gives you a very good impression of the characters. If you can't take this one, you've got Spandex Issues, which is perfectly understandable, but it's not something plot summaries can cure, unfortunately.) So. Here we have the still-living Robin assortment smacking each other up. (Anyone who immediately launches into "Smack my bitch up" after that line is - well, probably right on target, actually. There's canonical backing for that, I'd say, though Te's the expert.) This story works on several levels; its plays with the strangely sexual sparring that is just way too common in the D.C.U. to be accidental, and it's a good introduction to the characters, and also there's the smut. My favorite thing about this, though, is that it shows why Tim worked as Robin. (I'm not going into the Jason argument here; I'm not insane. I'm just saying - Tim definitely worked as Robin, although Christ only knows what he's like now, as a certain Major Crossover Event pretty much killed my desire to follow the Batverse.) See, Tim is the absolute flip-side of Dick in every way. I mean, Dick fell into Robinhood. Tim thought his way into it. And because Tim is so very, very different, it's impossible to judge him solely by the way he fills Dick's old Robin panties and elf boots. (Which he would not, in any case, be caught dead or catatonic in Batman's arms in. Sorry; that was some seriously tasteless humor there.) To sum: fighting, sex, and great characterization. You could not, in good conscience, ask for more.
Best FF That Really Highlights the Beauty of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Chicago-Style Alternative Dispute Resolution, That Is. All Talk, by estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. You may not like the Ray/Ray, but you've got to admit writing it takes guts. I mean, it isn't like slashers don't have enough trouble with pronouns just generally. And yet you have these brave writers willingly rushing into a pairing where even the proper nouns are guaranteed to be confusing, what with them both being called Ray and them both having worn the name Ray Vecchio at some point in its distinguished and multi-hued history. You've got to respect that kind of courage, even if you think Ray/Ray is an abomination upon the Earth. Which I, for the record, don't. I did once, I admit, but now I like it. I just sort of treat it as - well. Not a different pairing so much as different characters. There's Ray Kowalski with Benton Fraser, and then there's this whole other Ray Kowalski with Ray Vecchio, and I have no problems reading about either one. (No, really, I don't, even if reading about them in close succession gives me these horrible meta-fic visions of the two Kowalskis meeting, which is second in horror only to the one where Stanley Raymond Kowalski meets Stanley Kowalski from Streetcar, which is the sort of thing that can drive a woman to drugs, or maybe just rocking in a corner in a mental hospital somewhere.) Anyway. This story is another one of those fighting-leads-to-sex PWPs, but given that this pairing consists of the two mouthiest guys in Chicago, the fighting is all verbal. Or verbal and positional - you know. And then they have sex!
Best FF That Proves That Fate Hates People Who Make Bets They Think They Can't Lose. Competition, by qe2. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This is the Certified Safe Alternate Story I'm required to offer whenever I recommend a dS story involving Ray/Ray or an unhappy ending. (Or, god forbid, Fraser/Stella. You don't want to know what kind of shit I got for rec'ing that one, and I shudder to think what will happen the next time I do. Which will be soon. And it is not my fault that people write great stories with the other dS pairings; I only rec the stories. I don't, like, order them up from the Great Porn Warehouse in the Sky.) I have to do this alternate-story thing, because one of the Kowalski/Fraser True Believers out there knows where I sleep, but I'm also happy to do it, because there's such a lot of great dS FF out there. So this is a way for me to cheat on my own rules and recommend two stories from the same fandom in the same set. (If you think it's weird that I want to do that, well, I'm the person who wants a "Cheat" button in computer solitaire. In other words, I'm not the most moral person out there, and that remains true even if the competition consists entirely of people who made a lot of money in Florida land deals.) I decided to go with this one, even though I have a summary all written for a different F/K PWP, because I realized it's the perfect counterpart to "All Talk." That story is about Ray Kowalski's competitiveness as seen through the lens of Ray Vecchio, and this one is about how that same trait looks on Fraser's Kowalski. And, yes, I realize that sentence made no sense, but nonetheless it is correct. Read and you will see. I hope.
* Thanks, oneminutemovies!