What I'm saying is - sometimes you (not you specifically) have to, you know, go away for a while. I think we've all experienced that, right? Hurts but it's necessary. And the thing is, it makes getting back together so very wonderful. Would I have all these nifty packaged sets if I'd not gone on an interminable hiatus? No. Would you love me less if I was setless? Possibly. Do we not, instead, love each other truly and deeply? Well, I love you, and if you don't love me, I will sulk and make the Doe Eyes of Sorrow and maybe cry some, so my advice is: lie.
Um. Can I just start that paragraph over? And make it - I know, shock - slightly less about me? Or at least, less about my raving lunatic side?
Take two: to celebrate my reunion with the active side of fandom, I bring you stories about breaking up.
No, no, wait. These are breakup stories that don't hurt. (Like ouchless Band-Aids, except these are actually ouchless.) The breakup happens, but the story keeps going - or sometimes starts - and it leads not to sorrow but to a joyous (re)union, complete with foot-stomping finale and the whole cast (yes, both of them) on stage, and then everyone takes a bow and goes off for wild sex. Or, um. I meant cast party - wild cast party. Although, you know, thinking about it, there's not really as much difference there as you'd hope.
Best FF That Really, Really Makes Me Want to See the Remedial Version. With the Puppets. And That's Amazing, Given How Infrequently I Find the Occasion to Say, "Gee, I Wish My Life Had More Puppets." My Big Breakup, by Sabine, aka iamsab. Scrubs, John "J.D." Dorian/Perry Cox. Okay, first things first: the author says, in her note, that if you have not seen Scrubs, this story won't work for you. She is wrong. In fact, every Scrubs story I've read - and, seriously, I've been searching frantically for the stuff* - has worked perfectly for me, despite the fact that I know so little about this fandom that I had to look up the full names of the slashed characters to write this summary, and I spent the first portion of this story trying to figure out precisely what J.D.'s job was. (He's a doctor. Although, seriously, he could be the guy who wears the Goofy suit at Disneyland for all I know of him.) Doesn't matter. When Scrubs writers hit the voice and the tone right, it's gorgeously surreal and delightfully funny and surprisingly involving. Also? J.D. apparently narrates every Scrubs story ever written, and there is a reason, my friends: he has the best voice ever. He's, like, a conduit of pure crack comedy. I - seriously, I love this guy, and we've never even met. So, what happens in this story? Well, okay, check out the theme of this set and the title of the story and take a wild guess. Yep. J.D. breaks up with someone. Someone he didn't even realize he was, you know, that way with. Which, when that happens in real life? Embarrassing, folks. But in Scrubs-land, okay, it is also a little bit embarrassing**, but then it leads to the glorious reunion scene. And, even better, it's a reunion scene in which both parties are finally more or less on the same page. For these two, that must actually be kind of a disturbing experience, but: yay! Which is what this story will make you say. (To translate into Buffyese: it brings the yay.)
Best FF in Which John Is a Bit of an Ass and Gets - No. That Was Going to a Bad Place, So Let Me Just Say: Best FF That Will Forever Change the Way You Look at Scarves. And People Who Give Them to You. #435, the Atlantis Local Stitch 'n' Bitch Chapter, by rageprufrock. Stargate: Atlantis. SGA is the fandom of torture for me, lately; it has so many fabulous stories for nearly every category on my list (and yet it's entirely absent from a few of them, which is weird) that choosing just one is nearly impossible. Also, and I think I've mentioned this before, pure agony, so you should pity me. But in this case, it was easy, even though there's a solid boodle of great breakup stories in SGA, because this story has the funniest breakup ever. I don't want to spoil it for you or anything, so I can't go into detail, but I had to put my head down on my keyboard for a while after reading it. It's that good. And the best part is that I can totally see John doing that. Totally. Like, it plays out like a movie in my head, and that? Is totally a movie I would buy on DVD twice, in case I played the first one so much it wore out. Because that's what I do with that scene when I'm down; I read it over and over and over, and it makes everything better. This, people, is the breakup that heals. And I'm afraid if I type anything else here, I'll start describing it, probably with extravagant hand gestures that a) you all won't be able to see and b) that will take my fingers off the keyboard for large portions of my sentences, and then this whole post really will be gibberish, so, you know. Just read it. Be sure not to have any liquids nearby.
Best FF That Proves That You Can Get Lex Luthor to Do Anything If You Just Make It Difficult Enough. The Pragmatist, by nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. Well, I could hardly let a breaking-up-to-get-together set go by without including something about Lex and Clark, could I? Look, don't argue with me. I couldn't. Or, okay, I could have, but I would never have felt clean again. Because, see, I like my Clark and Lex best in the future, and then there's that whole - well, let's just say unpleasantness - to deal with. I don't do well with stories that end with said unpleasantness; I have a tendency to snap at them, "Look, if I wanted this, I'd be watching the canon." And then I have to go find some independent small retailers to crush or mad scientists to hire, because, seriously, the unpleasantness makes me want to go all Lionel on the world. I know OTPing is out of fashion these days, but Lex and Clark go together. They do. So one excellent solution for me - and, of course, for the many good and noble regimes I would doubtless overturn if I went to the Lionel side - can be found in stories that, cleverly, start after the unpleasantness, and go right for the careful, hesitant, but clearly predestined reunion. And even in that delightful cadre, this story stands out. It's gorgeous and evocative and true to character - and that's tough, drawing an accurate picture of characters so far into the future, after so many changes, after they've grown up - and, really, it makes me want to whip out the adjectives only New York Times reviewers are allowed to use. So I'll just note that this has the best ever reason for Lex reuniting with Clark, explained in a bit that makes me want to send nifra_idril email filled with nothing but exclamation points. Go read this, and find it. And then you can send her the exclamation points, and I can get on with my - um, not-Lioneling.
Best FF That Has Sex, and Squid, but Not Squid Sex. Which, Given the Fandom, Thank God.*** Every Day I Love You Less, by V, aka deepsix. Ocean's 11 (And can I get some input on that? I mean, are we calling it Oceanverse now, or is it still just Ocean's 11?), Rusty Ryan/Danny Ocean. I once told musesfool that the most slashy thing about Ocean's 11 is that Danny always comes back to Rusty. Always. What I love about this story is that in it, Danny does just that - and, seriously, that's one of my big criteria for good O11 FF, that the rubber band connecting them be invisible but highgly operational - and then we realize that Rusty's done it, too. In short: this is a story about how the rubber band goes both ways. And I very much support equal opportunity rubber banding. Plus, this story features three breakups - all of which happen off-screen and prior to the start of the story - which makes it a total curve-breaker in the extensive, important class of Unsad FF That Could Be Called 'Breaking up Is Hard to Do.' And let me just note that there are many fandoms in which any story that started with the premise that two main characters had ended their canonical marriages would totally suck, but in this canon, the girls are pretty much...no. No, I am not even finishing that sentence. It was going to feature a terrible, hideous, horrible metaphor involving scabs. I'm not going there. Ew. I've got some class left. So let me just revert to classic story summary form and then get the hell out of here before I break any more brains: This is a good story. It has breakups. And a getting-together. And squid. You should totally read it. Good night.
* Where is all the Scrubs FF, people? How can there not be a giant archive devoted to this fandom? Is there one and I just can't find it? Help me out, before I end up requesting a fandom I've never even seen for Yuletide.
** For reasons unknown, most of the stories in this fandom don't trigger my embarrassment squick, mostly because they all seem to be taking place pretty much entirely in J.D.'s overheated brain. But this tendency of J.D. to do embarrassing things is why you won't see me watching the canon. It might very well hurt me. Irreparably.
*** Yes, it is a sign of hideous moral degeneration that there are so very many fandoms that I think would be improved by an infusion of squid sex. Probably you should defriend me now, before I start recommending - um. You know, I can't actually think of anything more shameful than some of the stuff I've already loved and recommended. I'm open to suggestions, though.