Just don't say I didn't warn you, 'cause I am: these are not happy stories, and my nomination summaries are not cheerful and amusing, and there's a very good chance these fics could upset you. And did I mention that somebody dies? So if this isn't your thing, read no further; the next entry will return to that old familiar beat.
Best FF That Really Brings Home the Eeriness of a Certain Nursery Rhyme Song: Clock Eulogy, by Mia. X-Files, gen. Sing it with me, now: "And the clock stopped/never to go again/when the old man died." The narrator (who is not identified, sorry) never wanted to believe in the paranormal. Fox Mulder made one last attempt to convince her. That time seems to stop when someone dies is hardly a novel observation, but what happens here is a little less common, and frankly, I'm glad.
Best FF Featuring a Sarcastic Argument That's Literally Done Over a Dead Body, Proving That Some People Really Can't Just Get Along: The Virtue of Decision, by Penknife. Harry Potter, gen. What I love about this one is how it makes Hermione a person, a real person, in a way Rowling has just not managed (though I guess we can continue to hope). I actually found myself wanting to give feedback to the character as I read this - I wanted to tell her that when you're 16, you don't have to be a wizard to feel out of place at home or like you're walking into a dangerous situation your parents could never understand. And when you want to give advice to a fictional person, you know you've bought into the story maybe a little too much.
Best FF That Makes You Wonder What Little Secrets You've Got Lying Around Your House: Executor, by Kat Allison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Come on, admit it. Haven't you worried about what your parents or other loved ones might find if you died suddenly and they had to sort your stuff? I'd like to think this is a common fear. (The alternative, that I am morbid and paranoid, may be equally appealing to Occam, but it definitely doesn't appeal to me.) And then there's the things you might be glad for them to find out, because you do want them to know but you don't want to be around to experience the consequences of their knowledge. So which problem did Fraser and Kowalski have? You decide.
Best FFs That Elucidate the Sadness Inherent in Shampoo and Green and White Curtains: This Is How and the sequel, Ours, by Siarade (sorry, no link for her). X-Men comic books, Cable/Domino. (Links go to character bios, and if you don't know who these people are, please do scan the first part of the linked pages.) See, the problem with entwining your life with another human being's is that eventually one of the strands snaps. And then you really come unraveled. That's what's happening to Cable here. Siarade captures the feeling of loss so perfectly I found myself a little concerned for her mental health; I'm hoping she's just got a lot of empathy and imagination.