thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Guess what that means? Family fan fiction, yup.

The One That Proves Conclusively That the DCU Is Where There's a Daddy Issue Under Every Rock, and Where Family Therapists Can Never, Ever Get Life Insurance. Reconcilable Differences, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Fused and bastardized Smallville and DCU, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. See, now, one of the things I love about Smallville is the family stories - Clark and Lex and their assorted parents just give rise to so many glorious disasters, you know? But that raises the question: what would happen if they were parents? Well, in the DCU canon, they are. Of the same kid, one Kon-El, aka Connor Kent, who got a raw fucking deal from DCU, but we're not going to talk about that now. Because this, this is the story that makes it all better. (Okay, 70% better. I'm never going to forgive DC entirely. I am just not that big a person.) See, even before the Recent Events of Unforgivable Unfairness Kon kind of - I mean, he's got an evil genius for one parent, and a tights-wearing superdork for the other, and also he starts out in life 13, which is so unfair there aren't even words. And Clark always treated him like a kind of...well. Inconvenience.

In this story, Lex gets a chance to have his say, and a chance to show that just because someone is an evil genius doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad person. (I know, I know. Lex brings these little brain twisters into our lives, and, really, I'm grateful.) Tim (Drake, aka Robin 3 and 5, and, seriously, if you don't know about him: OMG TIIIIIIIM! Sorry, I get incoherent when I'm talking about the Timbat.) also gets a chance to be, well, the Tim he was always meant to be. (He pulls off a feat in this story that should go down in the record books. Actually, I suspect it is going down in at least two record books; it's just that Batman and Lex Luthor aren't likely to look on it as a positive accomplishment, which it so obviously is.) I loved this story basically from the third paragraph, but I managed to contain the noises of undignified glee until I got to the scene with the underage drinking. Best underage drinking scene ever. And no one even has sex! (In that specific scene, I mean.)

The One That, Considered in Comparison with the Previous Rec, Indicates That John Sheppard's Parents Were Worse Than Lex Luthor. I Hope They Feel Terrible. Lost in Waiting, by [livejournal.com profile] laceymcbain. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. See, now, I would have said that a story featuring a virgin John Sheppard would need to be a massive, massive AU - like [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone's Priest John AU, say. So what alarms me about this story is how AU it isn't. I mean, I won't say that this is canon John, exactly - but he's. Okay. Am I the only one who looks at the way John acts and compares it to what the writers seem to believe about him and thinks, those are not the same people? (If I am, then, well, prepare for me to sound like an idiot.) This story is about, not the John they write about, but the John I see on the screen.

And, whoa, what a fucked up John he is, too. (And, hello, no, I am not saying virginity makes you a fucked up person. You can be a virgin at 38 and be an absolutely level, balanced, sane, and stable person - and, even if you're not exactly balanced, well. I am hardly one to suggest that the people having loads of random sex with assorted other people whose names they don't know - or want to - are the truly healthy ones. Been there, done that, had the subsequent decade of therapy, people.) This is a guy who, on his Pegasus Galaxy Embarkation Form, presumably wrote "Personal Item: One DVD of an old football game, and three million massive, hairy issues, including two so large they will also be part-time staff members." And, you know, you have to wonder. The Ancients: a bunch of irresponsible, skeevy people with dominance issues. John Sheppard: Issues Boy. Jack O'Neill: Repression of Issues Boy. Maybe the ATA gene has side effects, is my point here. It'd explain a lot about the Ancients and their massively unfortunate science experiments.

The One That Shows That Even If You, Yourself, Are More or Less Free of Family Issues, They Can Still by God Reach out and Grab You. (Yes, They Are in Fact Like Monsters in the Closet. Only with More Fangs.) Family Portrait, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Sarah Bannerman/Johnny Smith. (Although not so intently that gen fans could not read this. No, the people who should avoid this one are those who are liable to be upset by - well, can I just say disturbing content and let it go at that?) In the life sweepstakes, Johnny Smith has completely and totally lost. You know how, at the end of Season 2, the Buffy writers tried to take away her entire life? They didn't get nearly as cruel as the assorted Dead Zone writers and creators did. I guess that just proves the old axiom: when Stephen King sets out to destroy your life, boy howdy are you screwed. And if that's not an old axiom, it should be.

This story proves that nothing is normal, simple, or easy if you're Johnny Smith. And, okay, I know those of you with children would probably laugh at the idea of school supply shopping being easy. (In fact, I'd like to take a moment right here and now to apologize to my father for the year I would only accept folders not manufactured on the planet earth. Or that might as well have been my criterion, given how many I refused.) But at least you've never had a vision while school supply shopping. (And if you have, I trust and hope that you, at any rate, were simply standing too close to the permanent markers.) Because, really, a vision can ruin your whole day, as we learn here. Of course, we also learn that it can lead to a future of glorious threesomes. One of the many things I love about FF is that in it, Johnny's life doesn't always totally suck.

The One That Can Serve As Inspiration to Non-Traditional Families Everywhere. Well. Non-Traditional Families That Do a Heck of a Lot of Demon Slaying, Anyway. Family Comes First, by [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon. Supernatural, gen. (Or, if you prefer, non-explicit Sam Winchester/OFC.) I'd like to pause here to squeeze [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon until she damn near pops for writing a Supernatural story I can actually read. Oh, SPN: you have so many fabulous writers, and I want to read you so much, and yet you are denied to me (although, major points to [livejournal.com profile] maygra, who came up with a way that I could read at least some SPN - give that girl a prize, is my thinking on that one). I mean, apart from any personal problems of my own, so much SPN FF keeps me up at nights, insisting that the dogs patrol the house every five minutes and flinching away from shadows, noises, and my own hands. (Look. I am not good with horror. Seriously. You don't want to know about the night I read Misery after mandatory lights out in a psychiatric hospital, but suffice to say that it proved that I really, really, really am not destined to be cuddlebunnies with the horror genre. There's this scene in that book where - well, I won't go into it, but I still see spots and get dizzy when I think about it.)

I love this story because it shows that love isn't the only thing that makes a family. You also need, in nearly all cases, at least a few tablespoons of fucked-up-ness. Of course, given the background of the Winchester gang, that's more like "8 cups of fucked-up-ness, whipped to a light and pleasing froth and folded in," but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just gives me all the more joy when they manage to make it work. For definitions of "work" that include "a non-traditional, multi-parent family that goes back to demon-slaying after the kid goes into first grade," but tradition is important, people. If your father was a demon-slayer, by god, you should be, too. Or, okay. You can try to avoid it, but the demons will probably come for you in the end anyway. (And, wow. That gives me an entirely new perspective on "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/They may not mean to, but they do." In the Winchester edition of Larkin's poems, I'm betting the next two lines are, "They curse you with the fiends they had/Then add some extra, just for you.")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well. This has been a revelation.

Last week, after much consultation with y'all, I decided what iPod to get for Best Beloved. (The video iPod, if you're curious. Best Beloved likes lots of storage space.) I went to the online Apple store, put a bunch of stuff in a shopping cart, and checked out. As I am a human being with functioning brain cells, I of course immediately made a note of every single number Apple gave me, including what I suspect is Steve Jobs's inseam size, and I also carefully inspected their predicted wait-until-shipping and shipping times, making a mental note that, since they were saying 5 to 7 days to ship and then 5 days for it to get here, I should send my first, polite email inquiry on November 15.

Except. And this is the part that is so amazing to me I can hardly stand it. The iPod is already here. It came on Monday. Yes: I purchased something computer-ish that came early. And it came with the latest version of its software - no need to download patches large enough to contain every book ever written in English! It came with all the right connectors and cords! I plugged it in and it just started working!

It was weird.

Obviously, it's early days yet - Ivan the iPod could still prove to be severely broken or just plain evil, and I could still spend the next several weeks exchanging email with a whole slew of people in India who will not even read what I have to say before linking me to an irrelevant website and thanking me sincerely for my business. Or it could prove that iTunes has compromised our desktop's integrity, installed a cloaked rootkit, and sent all our personal information, including bank account numbers and humiliating childhood nicknames, to the residents of Folsom State Prison. But that hasn't happened so far, which is already a minor consumer miracle. The iPod has been in the house for days and I have not even needed the Knowledge Base yet.

About an hour ago, as I was wistfully reflecting on how much I suddenly want an iPod of my own, I thought: Wow. If only these people made computers..

Thank you all; you told me what to buy, and you were exactly right. The wisdom of the friends list (greater than the sum of its parts, which was already a very large number, let me tell you) has prevailed again. What with your help and Apple's shockingly non-violent attitude towards consumers, this has been a completely painless, nearly fun shopping experience. (Did I mention that I got free shipping? That got the iPod and all its add-ons here before it was due? With everything I ordered right there, as though I had a right to these things simply because I paid for them? Whereas I am, for example, still struggling to get Amazon to disgorge an item I purchased nearly a month ago, which was supposed to be in my hands last week but will not be here until - if I am lucky - my birthday. With no promise made about which birthday. And I will not even talk about the many joyous conversations I've had with Amazon's contractors in India on this topic, except to note that I've spent so much time corresponding with Neetu and Srividhya that I feel we should be sending each other holiday cards. Especially as I suspect I also chatted with Neetu about my Dell not too long ago.)

So I'm expressing my thanks with recs. (Which is, yes, how I express pretty much everything in this LJ.) Today: family stories. Because, hey, iPods are family members, right? Join me in celebrating Ivan's arrival (OMG early) with this truly excellent fan fiction.

Can I get a yay?

Best Moose-Free Story Containing Surprising Links to a Moose-Intensive One with Which It Has Nothing Else in Common. The Water Moon, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate: SG-1, and this is pretty much gen. There's mention of Teal'c/Drey'auc, but since they were canonically married, I don't think that exactly qualifies this as het. Because this story? Is so not about romance. It's about what comes after the romance, the marriage, the breakup, the dissolution, and it's about the way Teal'c's (eeesh, that possessive looks awful) choices and sacrifices have affected the people he loves. I love what Salieri does with the character of Drey'auc here. I'm totally unfamiliar with her canon appearances, of course, but I doubt that in them she has time to be anything like this, well, real. But that's why we love fan fiction, right? Equal time for lesser characters! (Our motto: proud to be forming whole pairing armies around characters who don't have canonical last names. Or first names. Or sexes. Hell, we can make a kerfluffle-ready pairing out of half a footnote and an unofficial spoiler.) Drey'auc is painfully human (okay, or Jaffa) in this story; she's in a bad situation that she didn't create, and she's making some very tough choices. There's also a wonderful original character in this, and while we're on that topic? Disturbing themes, people. This is a fabulous story, but it pulls no punches. Which is why I find it fascinating that the beginning of it comes from Salieri's silly, fun, moose-based Elvis Has Left the Building. As she says, this shows what context will do to you.

Best FF That Demonstrates Once Again That Evil Lurks in the Ocean. Do Not Trust the Shellfish: He Does Not Have Your Best Interests in His Squishy, Primitive Heart. Inheritance, by Dasha. The Sentinel, gen. No, wait! Come back! I know lots of people find the concept of Sentinel gen hilariously unappealing, like watery cheese or balloon animals. But, see, I like it. And you should, too. There, I've said it: you should read Sentinel gen, even though the show itself was apparently not really all that gen, judging from the vids. Because, see, there are aspects of the whole senses thing that are legitimately fascinating, in a way that makes me wish that TS had been written by other people. And, okay, I really have no idea what is canonically up with Jim's family, except that he is yet another character in the long line of them, stretching all the way back to, for example, Zeus, who has major daddy issues. Those things are like the plague, baby; they're everywhere. Which, um, makes me think of this, which I will put behind a cut for all our sakes: Jim sits in a bar... ) But getting back to this story - see, this is the Ellison family trying to enjoy a nice day out. But, no - they can't have nice things. They have to have intergenerational strife. And vomiting. I love this story for the Stephen point of view, the explanation of William's asinine behavior in re: the senses, and for the appearance of highly competent Sandburg. It's brilliant. It's compelling. It's the series the way it should've been written. Plus, just like the series, you can totally assume Jim and Blair are doing it. So, please - won't you try some Sentinel gen today?

Best FF That Teaches You About Ass Words. And Also the True Meaning of Family. Try Beating That Combination, People. My Claustrophobia and My Letter 'O', by [livejournal.com profile] julianlee. Scrubs, J.D./Dr. Cox. Okay, fine. All you people who said Scrubs was wonderful, you win. Best Beloved is watching it, and apparently it's good enough that soon I'll be watching it, too. So. You got your way. Happy? Good. Now write some damn Scrubs stories. How can the show be as slashy AND as funny as Best Beloved reports and not have more FF than this? Although, you know, what's there is choice, and these stories are fine examples of that. They are wonderful (yes, even as wonderful as Katharine Hepburn). And that's no surprise; Julian Lee writes great stuff, especially in what I have come to think of as the Dialog Fandoms (Sports Night, The West Wing, etc.), and Scrubs is apparently just such a fandom. The family connection does not actually come into this until the second story, which is an odd kind of familyfic, since it's about J.D.'s odd new family. But anticipation will only make it better, right? And in the first one you'll learn about ass words, so that's all right. And then in the second one you'll read a scene that I believe - although my studies have been necessarily limited because of a tragic lack of FF in this fandom - could only work in a Scrubs story. (I'm serious. I've been trying to imagine any other character ever doing it, and it's - really scary, people.) So read these. You have nothing to lose but your composure, and everything to gain. Ass words included.

Best FF That Makes Me Go All Wistful and Goopy over Numbers. Apparently, in My Secret Heart of Hearts, I Think Prime Numbers Are Just Adorable. Small Primes and Square Roots, by [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think I fell in love with this story before I read it. Seriously. The title alone did it. Except, you know how it is; you start out loving something - cookies, a fandom, your new socks - to the point where you would even confess to loving it in public ("Socks! I love you!"), and then later - maybe after you've eaten a few more or read some FF or actually put them on - you realize that what you felt before wasn't even love. That's what happened to me with this. Because the title is excellent, yes, but that's - whoa. I was going to say, "That's only the beginning," but fortunately I caught myself in time. My point is: this is an excellent story. It's kidfic - we all know of my love for kidfic, right? - and it's from the Harlequin challenge - and we all know of my love for those stories, right? - and, hell. I can't say anymore. I'm afraid of, you know, spoiling it. Oh! But I can say that Rodney is so incredibly Rodney in this it's surprising he doesn't climb out of the page and off the screen and stomp around your living room calling you an idiot for wasting your time on fiction when you could be learning something. And also, couldn't you find something better to be a fan of? Like Star Trek or Penrose tiling or Richard Feynman? But the answer is (sorry, Rodney) no, you could not, because anything that produces fan fiction this good, is by definition, the best thing ever. (Also - the kid in this? I love this kid. Why wasn't I this kid?)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You know, there are happy families, even in our fandoms. And there's happy family-related FF, too. But here I've elected to go with stories that feel real (which is pretty remarkable, given the predominance of aliens and undead and former queens of closet-based kingdoms in the story below). So these are brilliant stories, but some of them are slightly, you know, depressing. Not a lot! Really! No SSRIs required! Just - consider that the National Fan Fiction Tracking Service has issued a mild (really! mild!) Bummer Warning and expects it to be in effect for the next four recs.

I promise that the next set will feature mostly uplifting and cheerful stories, and also possibly some exceptionally perky baby vomit. (And now I never want to hear you complain that I don't give you things to look forward to.) I also promise that these are stunningly good stories that will repay reading even if you don't know the basics of their fandoms. (Except the third one, but everyone knows the basis of that fandom.)

Best FF That Proves That It's Basically Impossible to Make Small Talk with Daniel Jackson. Although, If You Ever Meet Him, I Still Suggest You Try; It's Bound to Be Entertaining. Almost a Statesman: Teal'c and the Jaffa of the Alpha Site, 2003-2004, by [livejournal.com profile] katie_m. Stargate SG-1, gen. This story is just - just amazing. Because, OK, I've hardly ever even found a story in Teal'c's voice, and the ones I do find are often so not right that even I can tell. (Which, given that for all I know Teal'c could talk like Shirley Temple on helium, means those things are pretty damn far out of character.) So a story that's narrated by, no, written by Teal'c's son? Brilliant or disastrous. There's no middle ground. So we're all very lucky that Katie M. has "brilliant" in her box of writing tools. (I'm guessing she keeps it somewhere between the nifty clicky eraser shaped like a pen and the cuneiform stylus - and, yes, I do plan to steal her writing toolbox if I ever get the chance.) But this story doesn't just have a fantastic Rya'c voice and a fantastic alternate future; it has a whole bunch of other wonderful aspects that are, frankly, going to make us all really tired of synonyms for 'fantastic' before we're done. (Hence my need to engage in toolbox theft.) Because, see, there's Teal'c, who in a lot of FF is more of a "This Spot Reserved for the Jaffa" placard than a character, but who is real and human here. And there's the rebel Jaffa culture, which is just fascinating. And there's Rya'c, who proves that certain things are definitely inherited. Most of all, though, there's a look at what it means to be both ahead of your time and the catalyst of change - in other words, different. I'm guessing you don't have a lot of personal experience with Goa'uld symbiotes and staff weapons, but you can probably key in to 'different' pretty well. I mean, you must be fairly different, right? You're reading a LJ devoted to media smut. And you're seriously considering reading gen. (Do it! You won't regret it!) That, yes, makes you a bit different. But not as much as Teal'c is. And because of the bummer warning up above, I have to point out that Teal'c, in this story, seems fairly happy to be the odd Jaffa out, and happy with his life in general. Possibly eighty years of slavery to a false god improves your perspective on certain aspects of life, which is something to keep in mind as conversation fodder for the next time you sit next to a really whiny chatterbox on an airplane. Plus, hey, Teal'c's got SG-1. And the false god is probably sorry he (Teal'c) was ever born. So, really, his life does not suck, and this story shows that, too.

Best FF That Will Make Your Family, No Matter How Dysfunctional and Non-Traditional and Humiliating to Visit Malls with, Look Staid and Nuclear by Comparison. Involuntary Bodies, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. I freely admit that this story is probably a lot cleverer and sleeker and more intricate than I could possibly know or appreciate, because it's probably an AU based on some specific episode or season or something that I haven't seen. But you know what? I appreciate this story a hell of a lot as it is. It's just - wow. Amazing, and I submit myself as evidence that you don't need to know anything (about, well, anything) to know that. This is set somewhere in the last three seasons of the show (as it features Dawn). And it's about life in Sunnydale after you subtract Buffy, Angel, Willow, and Giles (none of whom dies, for the record). What's left? Well, either the leftovers and the unwanted, as Xander thinks, or the heart and soul of the group, which is pretty much what this story proves, as they're sort of smushed into the world's least likely family. Because, hey, even if your parental figures are undead, robotic, or Xander, love is what makes a family. Or, no, wait - actually it's love and commitment. (First and foremost, commitment to not getting all above yourself. Or glowy.) And, yikes. I just wrote sentimental prose worthy of an off-brand greeting card and I don't even have it in me to be sorry. That's how amazingly good this story is; it leaves me sub-Hallmarkian and without a hint of shame. The author says in her notes that this could have been twice as long, and oh how I wish it was. This is one of those rare pieces of FF that leaves me wanting a whole series of novel-length stories, and even then I don't think I'd be satisfied. So, really, how can the greeting-card thing matter much? And, hey, silver lining: perhaps I can get a job at Hallmark. I think I'd be very good at producing schlock to commemorate events unique to modern lifestyles. Bonus: this is actually a damned happy story. Happy ending and everything. So read this, because, well, you might need it.

Best FF That Inspired Me to Write a Story Summary That Is Basically a Compressed and Not Even Remotely Funny Rant. I Therefore Advise Everyone to Go Directly to the Story, Which Is Excellent. And Totally Free of Suicide, I Promise. Growing Up, by [livejournal.com profile] sheldrake. The Chronicles of Narnia, gen. Someday I am going to write a list of a hundred (or so) things fandom has done for me, and somewhere in the top twenty will be this entry: "Turned my lingering discomfort with certain aspects of Narnia and my dismayed sense of betrayal at the ending of the series into a seething festering spewing ranting hatred of C. S. Lewis who I hope to god is even now coming face-to-face with his characters in Writer's Hell." And if you think that's strongly worded, well, you just haven't read the right FF yet; I'm sure I can get you all ranty and hostile with just five well-chosen recs. Possibly less. Probably less. Those who were traumatized by the last one will be pleased to note that this story involves no death of any kind - oh, well, except the deaths which happened in the canon, which as we all know involved every human character except one. And the funny part is that Lewis makes that character's survival sound like a bad thing. Yes, thank you, Professor; you managed to convince at least four generations of little girls that growing up was evil and lipstick and dating were unforgivable sins. Why this man isn't the subject of at least as many women's studies dissertations as Barbie I will never know. (Note, because this entry sounds so vituperative as to verge on insanity: I actually still quite like some of Lewis's writing for adults, and even certain of the Narnia books. I just think the warping of children via entertaining literature should've been left in the hands of Roald Dahl, who was seriously twisted, yes, but also kinky, which helps quite a lot.) We should all just be grateful that there's FF to make it up to the characters somewhat; as you may have guessed from the tenor of the hysteria above, this is a sympathetic view of a much older Susan, which makes it a rare collectible FF even before you get to the comparison between Susan and Lucy, then and (sort of) now.

Best FF That Suggests That a Scalp Squeegee Would Be a Thoughtful Gift for the Bald Man on Your List Next Holiday Season. If the Local Weather Is Inclement. And the Bald Guy Has a Sense of Humor, or at Any Rate Doesn't Own a Gun. Fathers, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South, gen, or maybe really mild Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski if you squint in the right place. And, OK, yeah. I know that some people react to the uttering of the name "Kat Allison" with a combination of instinctive flinching ("Those're the marks 'Executor' left on me. And right here? That's from 'The End of the Road,' back when I was a FF newbie. Can still feel it something wicked when it rains.") and signs of the cross ("Get thee behind me, you brilliant and depressing writer!"), but I love her. Which means, well, yes, I flinch - hey, I've read all her stuff and I'm not immune to classical conditioning - but then I dive right into whatever new thing she's written. She writes such real, perfect fiction that she routinely leaves me slack-jawed with astonishment and gasping in envy. And, yes, OK, sometimes hurting, but it's a good hurt, really. And it's from pain without angst, which is one of the toughest tricks out there, and most of the local supply of which can be found in Kat's toolbox. So, anyway, some people are already fleeing for the hills. I know that, and I don't blame them at all. But the rest of you really, really need to read this. Apart from anything else, it is honestly not that painful. (Yes, that's what comes after all that build-up. Believe me, it's better this way.) If someone is dying in this story, well, that's happening off-screen and anyway it's no one we know. And this isn't really about death; it's more about carrying on. Also, of course, about fathers, both the literal and the figurative, which makes perfect sense; the canon is just rife with daddy issues. (Well, can you think of another way to describe Fraser's relationship with his father?) And this is Kat's writing we're talking about, so stunningly good goes without saying.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sometimes it seems to me that the only thing worse than having a family would be not having one. This is, of course, only in reference to those families we don't choose, our families-of-origin. You know who I mean, right? The people you spent three years talking about in therapy? Good.

Because sometimes in fan fiction we get so focused on, um, one certain kind of relationship that we totally forget the other kinds, which are usually just as emotional and involved but, and let us all be grateful for this, not nearly as sexy.

Best FF That Shows Us There Can Be - Yes! - an Almost Normal Relationship in the Batworld: Fathers and Daughters, by David Hines, aka [livejournal.com profile] hradzka. Batclan, gen. I cried a lot the first time I read this. Unsurprisingly, that turns out to be something I brought to the mix. When I re-read the story a few weeks later, I realized it was brilliant and sweet and really not at all sad. And I do mean brilliant. David likes to show off in his fan fiction, I'm realizing; why else would he write a gen Batverse story about Jim Gordon (and there just is not enough Gordonfic, is there?) being paternal, and then toss in, apparently just to show he can, Batgirl? (Yes, I do see Batgirl as one of the toughest characters in the Batclan - toughest to know, toughest to write. I mean, it's sort of tough to find the voice of someone who spent a large part of her life mute. And that's just for starters - she's actually much more challenging than this would seem to suggest.) So David's a total show-off and I'd absolutely hate him for writing so well if I didn't secretly love him to pieces. Well, OK, not so secretly.

The Best FF That Reminds Us Just How Badly Attempts to Run Your Adult Child's Life Usually Turn Out: Grace, Paradoxically, by Laura Jacquez Valentine, aka [livejournal.com profile] jacquez*. The Sentinel, very mild Jim/Blair. We all know that Jim has mommy issues, but this is just about the best take I've ever read on them - on Grace, and why she left, and who she was, and who she became. Because Grace is just a plot point in most FF, but here she's a person, and while not entirely likable, she's definitely believable; this all just makes so much sense. And this story is from Grace's point of view, which just makes it that much more impressive. It's actually part of the Gone Native series (second from the top; there's no jump page link), but it can stand on its own, so jump right in. Additional inducement: this fic may also contain the strangest reason ever for Jim and Blair to get together. So, really, totally worth reading.

Best FF That Proves, Once and for All, That in a Really Difficult Situation There's Nothing Quite as Unhelpful as Parental Interference: Third Person, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser, being Fraser, cannot have father issues like everyone else. He has to have the ghost of his dead father hanging around commenting on his father issues, usually via totally nonsensical stories about Buck Frobisher and that time on the DeWitt 10-Meter Ice Gap when they got their man by constructing a primitive turbine engine out of a sapling, goose grease, Buck's second-best hat, and four live wolverines. "And that's when I learned that it's important, no matter how much of a hurry you're in, to grab wolverines behind the temporomandibular joint, son..." And meanwhile Fraser is trying to live his life and, you know, maybe even construct a primitive turbine engine of his own. In short, Fraser has to do everyone in the world one better even at having annoying parent problems, but it's hard to envy him. It is, however, really easy to laugh at him. And then go all gooey over the way his friends - well, let's be honest and just say Kowalski - don't laugh at him. Or, in this story, strangle him.

Best FF That Shows, Yet Again, That You Can Be a Great Parent Even If You Aren't a Remotely Perfect One: The Medal, by Celli Lane, aka [livejournal.com profile] celli. Sports Night, mild Dan/Casey. There's a surprising number of family stories in this fandom, maybe because almost all the relationships are just so - so - familial. Or maybe it's because Aaron Sorkin has issues of his own that he works out through his characters. Anyway, this story gives us both sides of parenthood, as Casey tries to be a perfect father (but is actually a dorky, uptight, and loving father) and Danny remembers being a flawed son (while providing the cool, calm, and loving side of the parental equation). I also like this story because it caters to my, well, OTPish leanings in this fandom; here Casey and Danny have clearly been together, and happy, for a long time. And I, of course, totally believe that long-term happiness for those two can only come in the form of sex, followed by more sex, followed by a painless emergence from the closet and the acquisition of the top ratings slot. (Yes. In my dream world, I also have my own personal wombat, a button to press to bring world peace, and a patent on the cure for the common cold. It's a nice place to live, my head.)

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] mamadeb!

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