You know, there was a time when I did not understand the allure of bodyswaps, but that was before an email from janne_d Opened My Eyes. And, see, I have a specific way of coming by my themed categories (and, yes, there are still occasional new ones added, and you guys still haven't seen all the ones I started with, which is just - really disturbing, so let's not think about it, okay?), but that email led to an exception: I made a new category at someone else's suggestion. That hardly ever happens, and not because I'm ornery (...not just because I'm ornery); it's because usually suggested categories in some way overlap one that already exists. (Not that that should ever stop anyone from making a suggestion, because I love them.) Bodyswaps kind of overlapped (how I love the crack and cliche category; anything goes in there), but I started thinking about it, and I realized bodyswaps are special. And interesting. I began, in short, to ponder. And once I start pondering, a recommendations post is almost inevitable. (Best not to get me started, really; there we go, that's today's valuable take-home lesson. You can relax now.)
I will spare you the nine paragraphs of meta that originally occupied this space. (And the 13,000 parentheses that would have died to make those nine paragraphs are very thankful.) I will just say that if I had to do it again, genderswitch and bodyswap would share a category, because they both explore the same space: what is me and what is mine. In other words, if I'm not in the same body, am I still the same person? Which is a (and I hesitate to use this word, because ick, but it is, so I have no choice) profound question, and one that I am in no way equipped to explore, hence the much-meta-deletion. Instead, I offer you these stories; their authors did a much better job than I could at the thinkiness. Plus, they included a lot of sex, which meta is generally sadly lacking.
Note, though, that this category is actually bodyswitch. I have, as it turns out, developed a deep love for not-quite-bodyswaps, so what you'll find here is a variety of stories about people wearing things that don't belong to them.
Best FF That Gave Me a Brief Bout of Longing for Sports Night Vampire FF, but Fortunately I Regained My Senses Before I Did Anything Rash. The Cheese Does Not Wear Me, by Annie, aka out_there. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. In the author's summary, Annie says, "Every fandom needs at least one bodyswapping fic," and frankly that's a statement I think Certain Fandoms could take to heart. I mean, no one can fault the stargate-related fandoms for their dedication to bodyswitching. I'm sure Harry Potter has just thousands, although I actually haven't seen any of them, so if anyone else has, a link would not come amiss. But where is the bodyswap FF for The Sentinel? Come on - tell me you don't want to see how Blair copes with those senses and how Jim copes with that hair. Where is the X-Men bodyswapping, where the team has to get used to their new powers before Magneto realizes he has Xavier's? (I'd whine about Buffy and Angel, too, except that I have read bodyswitch stories in those fandoms. I just can't find them. Apparently, I have completion issues when it comes to recording bodyswap FF in my database.) Did I just miss all these? Because these things should exist, dammit, and no one can tell me otherwise. But, um. I have to say that Sports Night would not have made my list of "fandoms that need a bodyswap story." Which is why I was stunned and delighted by this piece, in which Dan and Casey cope with bodyswapping with amazing aplomb and not much more than a thirty-second speech at rundown. Because, when you think about it? The people who work with Dan and Casey generally don't understand them. It's expected. And there's always work to be done despite the Danny and Casey weirdness, so they all just deal with the weirdness. And that, in a nutshell, is why I love this story. And this fandom, come to think of it.
Best FF That Gives the Best Explanation for the Existence of Fanny Packs That I've Ever Heard. Although, Believe Me, There Are Still a Number of Unanswered Questions on That Score. First Impressions, by kormantic. Stargate: SG1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Okay. So I was very good and started this set with a traditional bodyswap. But now it is time for a bodyswitch. In this story, an encounter with aliens (god how I love the aliens of the SG universe: ready, willing, and able, the lot of them) leaves Daniel in a bar of soap. And Jack in Daniel's body. And his own. Frankly, Jack O'Neill probably should not be the first person on your list of potential temporary custodians of your body, given that in this one he uses Daniel's to eat revolting foodstuffs and watch Weekend at Bernie's II, which is probably against the law on more civilized planets. But that's why I love the concept of Jack in Daniel's body. I mean, you know, his personality in Daniel's - you know what, let's just move on and forget I ever started that sentence. This story contains a line that should be the basis of a whole challenge: "Are you saying I gave him my cooties?" Because, seriously. Tell me a fandom that sentence doesn't belong in, and I will tell you about a sad, sad fandom. But what I love most about this is how everyone reacts to Jack-as-Daniel; the scene in which Sam asks that Jack a version she wouldn't ask the real Jack just says volumes about that philosophical conundrum (look at all the big words I know!) I mentioned in the intro. So there's thinkiness in here, and gambling, and sex, and I just don't see how it could get any better than that.
Best FF That Proves That the Scariest Sex Toy Is One Mass-Produced by a Military Society Heavily Invested in Leather. Or, Wait. Is Scary the Word I'm Looking for There? Scientist, Astronaut, and Nymphomaniac: The Nine Lives of John Crichton, by Feldman, aka rubberneck. Farscape, John Crichton/Aeryn Sun. This story really makes it clear (to me) why I like John Crichton and Aeryn Sun so much that I'm actually afraid to watch Farscape. I love John's attitude toward being in Aeryn's body: a blend of "Toys! For me!" with "I am so going to pay for this later, so I'd better really enjoy it now" with "If a body's worth doing, it's worth doing well." And I love Aeryn's attitude toward John in her body. Ninety percent of female characters would have a fit in this scenario: "Don't you be touching that, you pervy thing!" Not Aeryn. No. She's amused, and she's more than willing to provide expert consultation (plus the aforementioned scary sex toy). And she has fun with the whole situation - as much as Crichton, and probably more, because she's not encumbered by, you know, ethical dilemmas and so on. Plus, she takes it about eight levels higher than John even imagined, leading to what must have been the most difficult sex scene ever to write, at least when it comes to pronouns. And, see, that's just - that's good, people. This is the approach I like to see from my bodyswapped characters: thoughtful experimentation and careful note-taking, followed by totally throwing caution to the winds. I mean, hey. What are the chances you'll ever be in this body again? (Stargate fandoms only: 40%.)
Best FF That Clearly Demonstrates the Undisputable Connection Between Cookies and True Love. Switch: A Comedy of Terrors, by rivkat. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. I adore this story because it makes me roll my eyes and say, "Oh, Clark," in the tone of voice I normally use only on people I really love when they're being really stupid, albeit maybe in a kind of adorable way. Because only Clark Kent (Smallville edition) could possibly hope to keep secrets about his body from someone who is currently occupying it. And that goes double - no, to the power of ten - if the person in it is Lex. Anyone else would throw in the towel. Clark just stutters his way through the lamest excuses ever uttered on the planet earth. It is just - so very like him, and so very adorable, and it leaves me loving him even though I want to smack some sense into his great big stupid head. But I have to be grateful for his bone-headedness; without it, we could never have stories like this one, in which Lex test-drives Clark Kent and Clark gets more than a taste of Lex. (And, no, really. It's not possible to talk about those two without using trashy double entendres; I have tried. Some things are just beyond the scope of human endeavor.) The best part of this story, though, is the way it makes it so very obvious that Clark and Lex belong together. And, yes, okay, like 80% of SV FF does that, but this is special; how often do people make such a great team that they actually do better in each other's bodies than in their own?
Best FF That Leaves Me Wondering About the AU in Which They Didn't Separate, and the Entire Pegasus Galaxy Was Terrorized by the Real McShep: Two Guys, One Body, Thirty Thousand Times the Trouble. Double Occupancy, by isiscolo. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. This is yet another SGA story in the everyone's-read-them category, but I had to rec it. Because, okay, first, I have a sick affection for the trapped-together stories (you know: they can't let each other out of sight, or if they get more than three feet from each other they fall to the ground in fits, stuff like that) - sick because that is pretty much my idea of hell. I mean, I'm happily married, and have been so for a really long time, and we spend loads of time together. But if we couldn't get away from each other, not ever, not at all? I would be insane and frothing within an hour. Seriously. Best Beloved will totally back me up on this, probably with a lot of emphatic wincing and nodding. So, you know, this story hits that kink of mine, plus the bodyswapping kink, and obviously I'm going to love it. But I wanted to be sure I recommended this now because - people who were interested in the Style Post That Will Never Be? Read this story closely. You will totally see what I mean about prior fandoms affecting the way people write SGA; this is one of my top twenty examples of that. It doesn't make the story better or worse (which, I mean, the story is good enough on its own, for sure), just noticeably, fascinatingly different. And so there's a weird meta element to this for me; it's a story about experiencing life through a different lens, and it's written through a different lens, and I just...I love that. This story is a total writing kinkfest, TFV style. (Thank god it's not also a sexual kinkfest, TFV style; I mean, if I had a sex-in-front-of-a-mirror kink, I would probably die from reading this. Consider that your warning label, mirrorsex people.)