RECOMMENDATIONS

I read slash and gen both, so some of these stories are going to contain ::gasp:: m/m sexual relationships. Some of them ::double gasp:: won't. Feel free not to read anything that might bother you unduly.


ANGEL/BUFFY
Chocolatey Goodness by the Mad Poetess
SLASH, Xander/Spike. The author says it better than I can: "Xander. Spike. Chocolate. One neurotic human with dark eyes and no self-esteem, one psychotic vampire with bleached hair and no self-control, falling in love. And lust. And possibly vats of chocolate sauce..." If there are two things I like in a fic, they've got to be angst and word choices that sing off the page. This story has both. Go read.
Domestic Piranhas by James Walkswithwind and the Mad Poetess
SLASH, Xander/Spike, Angel/Wesley/Gunn. It's funny. It's silly. It's sweet, and angsty, and romantic, and frequently sexy. It's a world where a human and a vampire have a tank full of piranhas that they call their children. And best of all, it's a world where Angel, Wesley, and Gunn share a bed (and a shower, and an elevator, and ...)
Talk With Your Hands by James Walkswithwind
SLASH, Angel/Wesley. Angel asks a question, which leads to Wesley getting an answer. It's one of those quiet moments that is just exactly right, and it's so beautiful it hurts.
For the Mind Is Hollow, and I Have Touched This Guy by James Walkswithwind
SLASH, Wesley/Gunn. Speaking of hurting--this story made me ache. I kept wanting some way to fix it (the events, not the actual story), but a fix would have destroyed the impact of the final scenes. So . . . mind the author's 'Eep' warning if you're a cautious reader, but definitely give this one a shot.
Last Rites by Rheanna
GEN. I didn't know good gen existed in A:TS fandom until reading this author's work. Last Rites impresses me for two reasons: one, the author slips in the information you need to follow the story in little bits, never giving away too much, so that when you get to the end, you feel like you've made the journey along with Angel. Two, Angel himself is utterly believable; perhaps not the character we see on-screen, but definitely the man he could be in a few years.
Splinter by Rheanna and Yahtzee
GEN. You can tell a story is good when, months after you've read it, you can picture scenes from it like you'd actually watched them on TV. You can tell it's really good when you have to remind yourself more than once that something happened in the story, not canon. This is an alternate ending to the Angel season two finale, and it works on all levels. Angel, Wes, and Cordelia all have to deal with the emotional fall-out of Angel's betrayal while also coping with a universe that doesn't quite seem like they remembered it. Very much like watching an episode, and definitely shouldn't be missed.
Sands of Time by James Walkswithwind and Wolfling
SLASH, Xander/Spike, Xander/Giles (sort of). SoT is a mostly AU series starting when Xander is still in high school. The authors call it "angsty, dark, and dreary with a happy ending". While it is all that, it's also a sweet, engrossing tale. Good characterization, good storytelling, and touches of humor in just the right place. Xander tries to get away from a bad home situation, but at first, he doesn't know where to turn. Things complicate from there.
Stasis and Flux by James Walkswithwind
GEN, with slightly slashy overtones in Flux. So I'm reading Stasis and thinking, "No, Wes isn't like that! No, no, no!" and then I get to the end. And . . . yeah. It works. It punches you in the gut with how well it works, and then Flux makes it all better. Wesley plays it safe. Sort of.


BRIMSTONE
Earthbound, and the sequel Aftershocks by sidewinder
SLASH, Zeke/the Devil. Zeke finds himself in trouble and the Devil rescues him. The story is in what comes after. I never watched the show, so I can't comment on characterization except to say that the characters are believable as people--or fallen angels, as the case may be. What drew me into the story was the development of the relationship between Zeke and the Devil, and the realism of the details. I can see, smell, hear the setting. I can feel Zeke's confusion. My only gripe is that I would have liked more.


HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE
Price of Wisdom by James Walkswithwind and Mad Poetess
SLASH, Percy/various male characters. This one is actually hard to classify, so I'm just saying slash because there is m/m sex involved. Also BDSM, and yet I wasn't squicked even though I really am not a BDSM fan. The story shows just how far Percy would go to protect one of his brothers. There are some lovely scenes involving various members of the Weasley family, including lots of Bill (!), and also a lot of delving into Percy's personality that really brought him to life without, IMO, painting him as a different person from the one we see in canon. Supposed to be first in a series (hopefully!!), but can be read entirely on its own.
Just Let It Be, by Nym
SLASH-y, Remus/Sirius. Sirius finds refuge with Remus after his escape from Hogwarts. I like the fact that this story really seems to consider what it means to be a prisoner at Azkaban and what it would take to recover.
Thing, by Cimorene and Wax Jism
SLASH, Remus/Sirius. Another post-Prisoner of Azkaban story, intermixed with the story of how Sirius and Remus first fell in love. Both parts of the story are handled beautifully, with attention to the differences between a young man's reaction and an adult's, particularly when the adult has been through what Remus and Sirius survived.
Under Pressure, by Kimagure
GEN, Percy and Charlie. Set right at the end of Goblet of Fire. Percy's thoughts after the disappearance of Mr. Crouch. Very nice look at the brothers' relationship.


LORD OF THE RINGS
The Very Secret Diaries by CassieClaire
SLASH, many pairings and wannabe pairings. Diary entries of various LOTR characters. Absolutely hilarious even if you know nothing about LOTR, and even more so if you're a fan. NOTE: for those not familiar with LiveJournal format, posts are listed from the most recent to the least, so you have to scroll down (and maybe click the 'previous entry' link) to get the first 'Diaries'. There are also random personal entries by CassieClaire, so don't be put off by the fact that you don't see a story as soon as you click on the link. Just scroll down.


SEAQUEST UNIVERSE
Temporary Duty and Weakest Link by AT Jackson
GEN. An AU set in a world containing a special ops-type group called Outriggers. Lucas and Tim get assigned to an Outrigger team, and things get complicated from there. While these two stories aren't perfect in many ways, they're set in such a fascinating world and contain such fascinating characters that I loved them in spite of their flaws. Definitely a fun read.


THE SENTINEL
Things Fall Apart and Metaphysics by Meredith Lynn
GEN. Post "Sentinel, Too" duology that doesn't fall into the 'it's all your fault' trap. Jim is Jim, Blair is Blair, and they love each other too much to give up on each other. I believed these stories.
Paper Cut by Martha
GEN. I read this one back before the name 'Martha' became synonymous with 'good writing' to me, and I kept coming back to it to re-read. It's a "Dead Drop" post-ep, with a Blair who's not afraid to get in Jim's face and a Jim who's trying to tell himself he's not afraid. Wonderful relationship between the two.
Ordeal, Snake Oil, and Cake by Martha
GEN. Collectively known as "Tristes Tropiques". Each story can be read alone, but put together, they draw a magnificent picture of Jim and Blair's relationship. What makes these stories pretty close to unique is the element of horror (as in the genre) that Martha uses, creating a suspenseful plot on top of the relationship study. Makes me jealous, these stories.
True Minds by Lanning Cook
SLASH, Jim/Blair. Post-"Sentinel Too", Jim and Blair need to iron out their relationship, both on a romantic and a partnership level. Their situation is not helped by threats from a dangerous criminal and random outages of Jim's senses. I liked the Jim and Blair I saw here; both had backbones, both had issues, and neither was sanctified or vilified above the other. Nice touches of humor mixed with a strong understanding of the characters. Made me enjoy reading TS again.


SMALLVILLE
Somewhere I Have Never Travelled by jenn
SLASH, Clark/Lexx. A cross between Smallville canon and Superman movie canon. Clark finds a way to turn himself human. So does Lex. My biggest problem with Smallville has always been that I don't like un-hopeful endings, and this story takes care of that problem completely. I also found the characterizations to be exactly on target. The cuddling was nice, too.


STARSKY & HUTCH
The Goliath by Suzan Lovett
GEN. The Goliath was originally a print zine, and is reproduced here with the illustrations that came in the zine. Great art and an even better story, with a fully developed plot and an excellent exploration of Starsky and Hutch's relationship post-Sweet Revenge. Novel-length.
The Thousandth Man by Suzan Lovett
GEN. Another zine made available online, complete with illustrations. Probably even more so than The Goliath, The Thousandth Man deals with the bond between Starsky and Hutch, and there are scenes that are so powerful I go back and read over and over. Novel-length.
Crystal Blue Persuasion by Flamingo
SLASH, Starsky/Hutch. Yet another zine-put-online. I seem to be on a roll tonight. Starsky and Hutch's relationship is tested almost to the breaking point as they come to realize they're in love with each other, and my heart ached for them while I watched them try to keep from losing everything. The author doesn't ignore the implications of two men who've always identified as straight moving into a homosexual relationship. Novel-length.
The Devil's Day Off by Minnie K.
GEN. Starsky and Hutch try to go on vacation. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson, wouldn't you? This story is one of those rare ones that manages to combine a case story with a partnership story, and it does it so well you feel like you're watching one of the better episodes. Starsky and Hutch both ring true to character, and the plot is fully developed as well. Some lovely moments, like the boys up a tree, really touch my smarm-but-in-a-good-way-lovin' heart.
The Swing of Things by Minnie K.
GEN. Another long case/partnership story, this time set after "Sweet Revenge" and dealing with Starsky and Hutch's struggle to get their lives back to normal while dealing with a dangerous case. Again, good plot and better partner-moments, with on-target characterization and prose that lets you feel like you're watching the episode.


X-MEN UNIVERSE(s)
Zero Plus One, by Azurine
GEN, Logan and Bobby. Logan finds friendship in an odd place. I particularly enjoyed this one because of the careful, gradual change in Logan's relationship with Bobby.


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