But, anyway. Secret message to Mother Nature: God, I'm sorry, OK? Whatever I did, I'm so so so sorry, and I swear I'll start work to fix it just as soon as you a) tell me what I did and b) stop with the fucking pollen, because, seriously, I can't even match my socks when my allergies are this bad. I mean, I have bruises from walking into walls because my eyes were swollen shut. This is cruel and inhuman punishment, Mother N., but it's persuaded me. I will begin to do right by you just as soon as you quit it already.
And if you don't stop, little miss Nature Queen, I'm buying toxic chemicals in job lots. If you're going to kill me with allergies, I'm at least going to take out our ficus before I go. Ha.
Anyway. What with the allergies, I've been diverting all my available resources to coughing and Kleenex use and little pathetic moany noises, and so I haven't had a lot of time for, well, much of anything. Like cooking. And today is the day our produce comes. I have already eaten almost all the fruit on the grounds that it is - or rather was - the easiest food to prepare. (Sole survivor of the Fruit Gorge: a mysterious green and orange oval thing. I know it's a fruit, but beyond that, I've got nothing. Anyone have any suggestions? And let me just add here that anyone who thought Mother Nature was strictly on the side of the good - she made fruit that clashes with itself. No one tasteful would give counter space to a fruit like this.)
Of course, my fruit eating got me thinking about fan fiction, because everything does. (No, really, everything. After slash the slashers got posted, I had a dream about four of you who shall remain unnamed. You were exploring Atlantis. I need help, people.) Obviously, there aren't a lot of stories where the characters sneeze a lot and eat too much fruit - although, if you added enough whining about citrus, seems to me you could do something with Rodney McKay, there - but there are stories where characters eat. But, because they are characters, they do it with infinitely more style and a lot less whining. So, today: food. Without whine.
(For the record, I mean the stories will be whine-free. This entry? Whinalicious! Whineriffic! Whining with added extra why!)
Best FF That Proves That When You Enter Into the Right Long-Term Relationship, You Become Even More Yourself. Which, If You're a Sarcastic Con Man, Can't Be Anything but Very, Very Good. One More Cup of Coffee, by shrift. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. And I begin the way I mean to go on, with a happy story that features no angst of any kind. I can't handle angst and allergies, see. I have a delicate constitution. So here we have Danny and Rusty, the original feel-good couple (OK, they really aren't; maybe I meant "the original feel-up couple"? Or "the original felt couple"? Hmmm. Not sure.), doing research and making idle threats involving cosmetics. And eating. Eating lots of stuff. Which is good, given my basic belief is that any O11 story should be, at minimum, 25% eating, because that's about how much eating there was in the movie. (Not slashy, you say? Ha. I'll see your eye-fucking and no personal space and raise you an oral fixation that won't quit.) This story fulfills my need for Rusty to eat a lot of really inappropriate foodstuffs - and when I say inappropriate, I do not mean it pornily. (Oh, stop with the complaints, you babies. You don't need porn every minute, do you? Don't answer that.) I just mean he's eating stuff that the rest of us know for a fact is not food. (Seriously. I'm waiting patiently for the story in which Rusty eats Circus Peanuts, which are possibly the ultimate non-food "food" item. Nothing that is actually food is sproingy like that.) This story is short, fun-filled, and light. Perfect for the convalescent and the unwarrantably self-pitying. Any wonder I'm recommending it today?
Best FF That Proves That Reminds Us That, No Matter How Intrusive or Outright Crazy Our Parent or Parents Might Be, It Can Always Be Worse. Our Parent Could Be Lionel Luthor. That Fact Is Guaranteed to Make You Feel Not at All Better During Your Next Parental Visit!* The Milk and Cookies War, by Punk, aka runpunkrun. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. (Let's get this out of the way right now: I waaaaaaaant cooooooookies. Waaaaaaant them. OK, no, really, I'm done with the whining now. Well. For a while.) So. Clark torments Lex. Did I need to say anything else to sell you on the story? I thought not. Because we all know that there's nothing more fun than Lex-torment, right? And I don't mean the kind that Lionel dishes out, no; I'm talking about the kind where Lex never once gets trapped or imprisoned or has anything worse happen to him than losing his train of thought. See? You're smiling already! Plus, it's fun to see Clark working his strengths so well. What farm boy from Kansas doesn't know the secret powers of food? (Some of you may wish to substitute "washboard abs" into that sentence.) Not Clark Kent, my friends; he knows his superpowers all too well. So well that when you're done with this story, you'll be singing an ancient song with a title I don't quite recall by an artist I can't quite recollect, and it will go like this: "Stop using food as a weapon/stop using food." (In the original, it was "sex as a weapon." And, hey, what do you know? That works here, too.) Plus, bonus: you will get to see Lex Luthor's true arch-nemesis. And you can just forget all that Rift crap, because it's prosciutto. Take that, Smallville writers!
Best FF That Proves That You Need Patience to Be a Therapist. Or to Eat with Dan Rydell. Or to Date Him. Anyone Who Tried All Three Would Likely Explode, So Isn't It Good That Casey's Not a Therapist? Four Conversations About Sandwiches, by starfishchick. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I have an unhealthy but very pure love for the last segment of this story, which in my opinion proves that Abby is quite possibly the best therapist in all of visual fiction. I'm even willing to excuse her little ethical lapse at the beginning of her treatment of Dan, because - she's good! She gets Dan! And is nearly always mostly ethical! Plus, she can make him stop with the sandwich-related panic, which, face it, is quite a skill when you're dealing with second-season Danny. Bonus: this story is based on the very true fact that all office life revolves around food that can be delivered. I've worked in one, so I know this to be true. If you aren't searching through an enormous file-folder of menus for the one restaurant that a) everyone can agree on and b) will still be delivering when the negotiations are done, you're doing careful calculations to determine how much money you need to give the receptionist. Or you're listening to the lunatic from next door explain her new and brilliant system for ensuring that no one, no one will violate the sanctity of her leftovers. (Hint to office workers: give up. Say your goodbyes before your leftovers go in the communal fridge. No force on earth will keep people's hands off them until one o'clock tomorrow.) Hmmm. You think maybe this is why I don't work in an office anymore?
Best FF That Truly Defines the Phrase "Seller's Market," to the Point That It's a Whole Education in Basic Economics Packed into One Short, Fun Story. I Bet Those of You Who Actually Read Your Econ Textbooks Are Crying Right Now. Lifeblood, by misspamela. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Tell me this, people who have watched the entire first season of SGA: was there an episode built around the inevitable coffee shortage? Because if not, there so should've been. I've spent enough time around the McKays and Zelenkas and Kavanaghs of this world to know that when the coffee stops flowing, they stop working. It's not even like they want to. Coffee just happens to be one of the fundamental elements of the hard sciences; without it, whiteboards don't work, computers don't compile, and every theorem proves only one point: we need more coffee. Coffeeless theoretical physicists can't do anything but whine (hands up everyone who isn't surprised that I'm descended from one!), coffeeless applied physicists can't do anything but create convoluted machines to steal the coffee from engineering, and coffeeless chemists spend all their time trying to refine caffeine and then distill it into a tasty hot beverage with four times the kick of espresso. (Note to the suddenly inspired: don't try. Two-word reason for you: Jolt Cola.) So I totally love this story, which proves that a) Sheppard was smart enough to see the coffee shortage coming, b) he's able to endure privation for the good of his team, and c) he's not noble enough to do that without getting...something in return. If I'm bitter that Miss Pamela has not written sequels to this explaining how much coffee Sheppard has and exactly what he gets for it, well, this story is so fun that I can only manage to be mildly bitter. Which, given my current level of Whine Alert (Puce: duck and cover), is extremely impressive.
Best FF That Proves That, Even Though Canadians Are Fine People in Many Respects, You Should Never Eat Anything They Invented.** Too Sweet, by Resonant, aka resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Did I...did I somehow not recommend this before? Because I don't have it marked in my database or in my set list, but...I feel like I've recommended it. And I definitely planned to recommend it. So today you get five stories, because if this one isn't a repeat, it should be. (Note: when I get done with all my tagging - on that distant and glorious day - we will never have this conversation again! Maybe! Although if the limit actually is 100 entries, we will, at least when it comes to due South!) I love this story. I love everything about it. Re-reading it today made me forget about both my orange and my troubles for a full half-hour, and, seriously, I can't imagine higher praise than that. If you've read this before, well, you'll be clicking on the link anyway, and if you haven't - read it. Or print it out and keep it by you against the time when you really, really need it, for that dark night full of coughing and unwelcome relatives and two inches of floodwater when only a solidly happy story can save you. Because there's Ray being absolutely Ray, right down to his reasons for marrying Stella, and Fraser baking, and horrible mutant Canadian not-cookies, and just...god, it's the perfect recipe. For...for happiness. No, really, I mean that. Hmmm. May have overdosed on decongestants, though. Better check that.
* This title is, yes, directed at a specific person. I'm assuming I don't need to name names. Remember, specific person: if your current mantra fails, switch to, "At least she's not Lionel Luthor. At least she's not Lionel Luthor." Again, it won't help, but at least you'll have an amusing Lionel MPreg mental image to help while away the hours.
** It is possible that Canadians in the reading audience may take offense at this or feel it is unjustified. I have one word for you people: poutine.***
*** But, seriously, I do love the more northerly residents of this fine continent. I do. I don't even hold the poutine thing against you, despite the scientifically-provable fact that my single experience with it (at the tender age of 11) was responsible for 30% of the therapy I needed in my teen years. Just...don't get creative in the kitchen, please. Stick to foods invented in Italy. I'm begging you.