Best FF That Asks You to Believe Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and You'll Want to, Too: About a Dog, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I realize that it looks like I'm breaking my "no animals were harmed in the making of this story" promise with the very first nominee, but Diefenbaker isn't dead. Keep that firmly in mind as you read this. And it's worth reading, too, because it's funny and touching and Speranza just really gets Dief. And, well, this is one of those that I'll spoil if I give too much plot summary, but let's just say that it's nice to see how Fraser copes with suddenly having a six-foot-two Canadian with no concept of personal space sleeping in his bed.
Best FF That Puts an Entirely Different Spin on the Whole Frog Prince Thing: The Familiar, by Resonant. Harry Potter, Harry/Snape. If you're not a Harry/Snape fan, please read this anyway; I'm totally not into that pairing, and I adored this one, even if the beginning is fairly rocky. Resonant does a kick-ass job of getting these two together. For one thing, she actually remembered that they hate each other. This story just shouldn't work, but oh how it does. I even love what Resonant did with Sirius in his cameo here; he's not Sirius-as-I-see-him, but he makes good sense. Resonant isn't afraid of the implications of this pairing.
Best FF Using the Familiar Formula Babbling + Sleep-Deprivation + Wistful Melancholy + Sandwiches = True Love Forever: What We Talk About When We Talk About Wolves, by Penelope Whistle. (Sorry, no link for her.) Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. I refuse to apologize for nominating two DS stories in the same set, because Diefenbaker's a major canon character, after all. Plus, he's a half-wolf, and I like him*, and I like stories about him, and there are some truly excellent stories about him out there, and - right, sorry, I'm babbling. Starting over. This is just a really wonderful story, folks, involving wolves in fact, wolves in cars, and wolves in metaphors. Read it. And then read it again, and think about the various ways you can use "the evidence being that I haven't eaten you yet" in your daily conversation. Your life will be the richer for it, I promise you.
Best FF That Has - Yes! - Magneto Being, Well, Rather Sweet, Yet Still in Character: Foundlings, by the ubiquitous (at least in this blog) C. Elisa. X-Men movies, and this is either gen or Magneto/Xavier. This is another story that so totally should not work, yet it does. Plus it's short and sweet and has an excellent moral at the end; consider it a modern-day fable that just happens to involve mutants and cats. (Actually, now that I think about it, traditional fables also seem to have far more than their share of mutants and cats.) And, hey, you can't convince me you don't want to see Magneto with kittens.
* Although I do wish I knew how to pronounce his name. Dee-fen-bock-er? Dee-fen-bake-er? Die-fen-whatever? True-dough? It's beyond me. As an American, I'm doing exceptionally well to recognize the name of a Canadian Prime Minister; they'd probably take my passport away if I knew how to say it, too.