Best FF That Makes Human and Real a Character Who Was, in All Seriousness, Called Wormtail by People Who Were Purportedly His Friends: Reasons, by the redoubtable penknife. Harry Potter. Look, Peter never had a chance. From the moment he got that nickname and that animal form, he might as well have had a sign on his back reading "My name is Peter and I'll be turning evil at a strategic moment in the very near future. Betrayal is my specialty! See me about group rates!" Gee, I hope I didn't spoil that for anyone. Rowling's been content to keep Peter a cipher, a sort of generic bad guy. Naturally our beloved fan fiction writers could not allow that to continue. So here it is, folks: what I consider the definitive reasons that the worm turned. 'Cause I don't think Rowling can do any better than this.
Best FF That Contains Possibly the Strangest Reason for Living I've Ever Seen, and I've Seen Some Doozies: Measured Out in Coffee Spoons, by David Hines, aka hradzka. Batman. Those who think that gen might as well mean gentle are invited to read this marvelous, marvelous story. I don't want to give too much away - you'll figure it out for yourself if you know anything about any Batman canon (as in, you've read plot summaries for the movies), and I don't want to deny you the experience. So let me just say that this is FF at its best. It's a character study, it's absolutely in canon, it's well-crafted, and it's better than anything we've seen from the canon authors lately. Plus the title references the greatest poem of all time. I just don't see how it can get any better than this.
Best FF That Should Have Quoted Prufrock but Is Excellent Even Without That: The End of the Summer, by ashkitty. The Dark Is Rising. Bran grows old. Will returns. Those of you who have been cringing at the thought of slash in this canon have no need to fear this story. It's not slash; it's just a wonderful picture of what could have happened. I particularly like the glimpses of Will we get here - he's a very believable watcher, doing what we all knew he'd do: the right thing. I love how the author invests this mundane setting with majesty, and good lord, if I keep up with this summary I'm going to start using phrases like "richly textured" and "perfectly realized" and "achingly poignant." And then I would be forced to punish myself with at least 50 randomly selected titles from fanfiction.net, and then my eyeballs would bleed. So I'm quitting now, while I'm ahead.
Best FF That Reminds Why We Should Ask "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?": Vigilance, by Victoria P., aka musesfool. Lord of the Rings movies. I'm a sucker for Boromir. I admit it. There's something so human about him, for one thing, which is not something you can say for any of the other main characters, not even in the movies. And, hey, so maybe I have a slightly unhealthy interest in the doomed. We all have problems, and if I ever set out to fix mine, there's no way I'm starting with that; it's not even a contender for the top 100. In the meantime, for those who share this fixation, here's a lovely little character study of Boromir. The last line of this story is particularly good; as always with this guy, we get to see his strengths turned to weaknesses by the One Ring, which is remarkably skilled at turning a knife in the back for something that's so small and shiny and round. Fear the small and shiny and round, people.