Apparently, I took that as a challenge to myself, and decided I did in fact have 5 or 6 spare hours over the course of the weekend in which to draw up a list of reading pleasures for you. And I feel really weird because I didn’t agonize over this post for a week, rereading and rewriting my commentaries until I was sure they were perfect. I just said whatever came to mind. With frightful speed! Hopefully whatever I said still entices you to read some of these.
This set is a bit different; possibly because of my recent dive into new fandoms, I haven’t been as big on word art lately as finding good, feels-like-canon missing scenes. Most of the stories are still brief, but they have a lot more plot and/or dialogue than usual. Nevertheless, have a look through the last. And never you mind how much Christmas stuff is in here – my last recs were in late August, after all.
Also, I drove myself a little bit crazy trying to figure out a good order to put these in, with the end result being that I just threw them in helter-skelter. It’s shocking that I even put all the stories from the same fandom together.
Fandoms represented: Private Practice, The Office, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, CSI, Medium, Numb3rs, ER, Pirates of the Caribbean, The O.C., Lost, Harry Potter, How I Met Your Mother, Doctor Who, and a surprise.
EDIT: Well, that was the plan, and then LJ decided my post was just TOO DARN LARGE, so I'm posting approximately half, and the rest will have to wait for tomorrow.
Notes: Despite what that list may lead you to believe, these categories are by no means equal. For example, there are approximately a frillion Office stories in a variety of categories - the fruits of my entire exploration throughout the fandom to date. By contrast, several other categories only have 1 or 2 stories, or perhaps only 1 author represented (*cough* CSI: NY), or only 1 pairing (*cough* PP). There is no rhyme or reason at all. But all of it is good.
1. [Private Practice] In Which Cooper is a Man (Finally) – NeonHikari
“If you don’t move your hand right this second, our friendship will be permanently severed until the end of eternity, and then who’ll bail you out when jailbait495 or perkyboobs69 starts threatening you with her personal collection of bread knives?”
The author’s summary says it pretty well: In the aftermath of 1x01, Cooper persuades Violet to let him check out the bump on the head, but a routine examination culminates in something neither person was expecting. (“This was only meant to be a cute Cooper-looks-after-Violet-and-they-have-a-
2. [Private Practice] Bending Bikes and Melting Chocolate - angeletoile
A series of very cute, very fitting Cooper/Violet missing scenes for the first half-dozen episodes of the series. Of particular love is their miserably failed attempt to crush Alan’s bike with a car.
3. [Private Practice] Hair of the Dog – ijemanja
When he comes back he flops back down, a little closer this time, cheerfully informing her that he brushed his teeth, and showered, and shaved. "Totally cool if you borrow my toothbrush," he says. Then he runs his hand fondly up her leg and adds, "Razor too. Seriously Vi, one guy was a jerk, you shouldn't just give up." She punches him. He falls over onto his back, clutching his arm and laughing at her as she crosses the room. "Really, it didn't bother me," he calls after her. "I just pretended you were a lesbian."
What impresses me most about this oneshot is that it was written based only on the mashed-up pilot episode, and is STILL *completely* in character for both of them (as well as Addison & Naomi, in their cameo appearance the next day). Explores another potential starting point for their relationship, a George-and-Izzie style night of drunken sex, but unlike Gizze is much improved the next morning and develops into something stable. As stable as quirky Coopet can be, anyway. (Warnings: It’s not really quite explicit enough for an R rating, but there’s still some clinical sex talk that might make you blush in the presence of your mother).
4. [Private Practice] In Which We Discuss Loneliness - NeonHikari
He hated really stupid things about his lifestyle that other men would have given their right arm to have, like how he never had anyone to tell him to put his clothes in the laundry basket, not around it.
Just a brief little vignette full of warm snugglies. We all need one of those every so often.
5. [The Office] Borneo – Sophia Helix
“No, you cannot join my guild. It's for experienced, advanced night-elf rogues only."
"I have ... no idea why I should care that I don't know what you're talking about."
"That's fine, shield your wounded dignity. It won't get you onto the Quenya Force."
As I mentioned in passing before, this was literally my introduction to the Office fandom, and since it’s a very good place to start I would be utterly remiss to leave it off my fic rec list, even if everyone else already knows about it. Set post-Casino Night, where Pam’s called in sick, it revolves around a series of voicemails Jim leaves her over the course of one very long and trying day at the office, this is my *other* favorite alternate to season 3 for the couple. Borneo & Spring Cleaning, they’re two peas in a pod.
6. [The Office] Spring Cleaning – fearlessfan
A week after Casino Night, a memo comes in over the fax machine from New York: spring cleaning this week in the office.
The third Office fic I ever read, it has a very special place in my heart. Set right after Casino Night, it features most of the ensemble in various other scenes as, per Michael’s “innovative” suggestion, everyone cleans someone else’s workspace. The central storyline, however, focuses on Jim/Pam, and their post-Casino Night awkwardness/eventual resolution. This is still one of my all-time favorite alternates to season 3. And if you liked that, then you can check out the equivalent of a DVD extra: some deleted scenes that that didn’t make it into the final draft of the story.
7. [The Office] By Any Other Name – spamdilemma
"Now, Kelly -"
"Yes, Ryan, now," Kelly says. "We're ready, and the world is ready. For Kyan."
"The... pepper," Ryan says slowly.
Short but classic, the origins of slang words in the office workers’ lives, including: peronkey, buck-n-roll, Kyan, and the alternate meaning of “cookies.” Features classic Jim/Pam banter at the beginning, but I must insist that you read it for the buck-n-roll explanation if nothing else. Just make sure you’re not drinking anything at the time, unless you fancy spitting it all over your keyboard.
8. [The Office] The Proust Questionnaire, Dunder Mifflin Style – crackers4jenn
An absolutely hysterical set of answers, told through various TH interviews. I cannot recommend this one enough. Everyone’s answers are completely spot-on and believable.
9. [The Office] Occasionally We Stop and Stare Past Tiny Paintings – Pemulis
She dreams of pith helmets and khaki vests and small brushes that, ever so slowly, reveal things large and ancient and beautiful from underneath all that dirt.
“A peek into the lives of the staff away from the office,” not all of the lines are quite so word-arty, but it’s an amazing compilation of scenes featuring every character. Set in season 3, this is hands-down one of the best ensemble/gen fics I’ve ever read.
10. [The Office] Darryl Won't Let Us Call The Warehouse 'The Poopdeck' – stoney321
(Set in season 3) It’s National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Dwight takes this very seriously. Jim does not, except where it concerns pulling pranks on Dwight. Pirate-y vocabulary abounds throughout the office. I think I spent ten minutes laughing after I read this.
11. [The Office] Ever Afters – dollsome
Summary: Endings, angry dogs, beet fields, and beginnings. In that order. (The romantic aftermath of The Job.)
I have no words beyond “this is perfect” and “this is canon.” Required post-ep reading.
12. [The Office] Leaving on Your Mind – dollsome
This is how Karen’s last week in Scranton goes-
Alas, it doesn’t quite fit with what the season 4 premiere told us, but this is how it SHOULD have gone. Oh, and per the author’s note, “Kudos to anyone who makes it through the first section. It was an accident. I contemplated paragraphs, but I just felt like it would lessen the effect somehow”: This is true. Seriously, I know that giant block of text looks insane, but if you know Kelly’s voice, then just start reading it and you’ll quickly find yourself carried away to the end.
13. [The Office] Since It’s Christmas, Let’s Be Glad - Miss Bennie
The writer’s strike may have deprived us of Christmas 2007 – but that’s okay, because it’s restored for you right here in this glorious fic. This version might be even better, since it shows us all of the characters (Karen included) at home…or wherever they might be on Christmas Eve. It’s various blends of funny, bittersweet, and heartwarming, depending on which section you’re reading, but they’re all incredibly, vividly real.
14. [The Office] Stuck to the Ceiling, Don’t Mean a Thing - Fiorie
After the holidays, Jim gets left in charge of the office a lot.
Now this is fantastic. This picks up about where the writer’s strike left off, with respect to Jim and Pam’s relationship, and explores the hints we were starting to get about him lacking ambition and standing still while everyone else – including Pam – is growing and moving forward. It starts with some excellent office banter (including prickish Boss Ryan), and includes a fuzzy scene at home, and then one slipped comment about her looking for a house cracks the mood and takes us into the darker half. Jim ends up having a long conversation with Michael, and we once again learn how depressingly much they have in common sometimes. It’s not terribly doom-predicting or anything…but it’s dissonant. Exactly the mood of mid-season-4. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
15. [The Office] The Door is Open, but the Ride, it Ain’t Free – brokenloon
If you read nothing else on the list, READ THIS. (If you’re ship-inclined, anyway) I cannot express the beauty of this fic. This IS future canon; I don’t care what anyone says, as it takes their relationship and captures the picture of domesticity to a T: but not necessarily bliss. They’re very much still in love, but they struggle with issues of suffocation and financial restrictions like you might expect from any young parents. It is quite possibly the most realistic depiction of their future relationship that I’ve ever seen. And it has a happy ending. :)
16. [The Office] The Most Dominant of Schrute Genes – Big Tuna
“Hey, Mary. Where are you hiding?” He had a burlap sack with him and he wasn’t afraid to use it if it came to that. Angela could not know that he mentioned marijuana to their four-year-old. Also, Angela could not find out that Mary had missing for the past three hours.
Suffice to say that if Dwight & Angela ever had a child, this is EXACTLY how things would go.
17. [The Office] A Late Night Conversation – trace fiction
“Money” is the gift that keeps on giving: first you get the episode, then you get golden extra scenes, and now you get a golden companion fic. Depicting two splendid missing scenes, in the first you get Pam, unable to sleep, going downstairs and finding herself talking to Mose. It’s very real and very heartwarming. In the second, you get extra snuggling from Jim & Pam. What more could you ask for, really?
18. [The Office] To Wear Half a Smile – dreamingwriter
Today someone’s humming. Just a faint, happy tune, but there it is and she’s considering poking her head over like Angela does sometimes to see if she’s going crazy. [Last day of work before Pam calls off her wedding.]
A Pam character study, and one of the only pieces of straight word art I’ve read in this fandom, this perfectly captures all the little inanities about the personalities in the office, with a subtle but gnawing void where Jim ought to be, and there’s a palpable distance between her and the rest of it. To paraphrase the author, it’s Pam knowing that this isn’t the life she wants, but unable to walk away from the last lingering connection to Jim.
19. [The Office] What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting – Bebitched
There are some issues of tense-switching, but this is my favorite unexpected-pregnancy!fic in terms of how the confession comes out. Lots of babbling and good back-and-forth. Plus, you get some excellent Michael-Dwight-Jim banter in the Office.
20. [The Office] Eclipse – neverenoughjam
Summary: Pure, undiluted Jam fluff. Jim, Pam, the moon, and a decision that will surprise no one.
*points at summary* Surprisingly, it is actually a little bit difficult to find really solid, well-rounded Jam fluff. This one stands out.
21. [The Office] Five Stories Kelly Kapoor Never Told the Office – Winter Baby
This is the definitive Kelly fic Of All Time, and there is a reason for that. Using quotes from the show and digging deeper/expanding them, the author weaves a brilliant story of what goes on in Kelly’s head vs. the seemingly shallow babble that comes out, and you will never look at her the same way. (Warnings: I personally ignore the last couple paragraphs of part 5 (and its reference in part 1) because it squicks me out a lot and seems to come from nowhere, especially since everything else in the fic feels like such solid and beautiful canon. But your mileage may vary.) [Edit, 2009: Hahaha! Changed my mind. I wayward-ship them now, in such a way that this story is AWESOME for going there.]
22. [The Office] Chickenkiller – Angryhaiku
He thinks of himself as a basically good person. So he can't really figure out why he likes hurting Kelly so much.
Set early season 3, this is a brief but fantastic look into Ryan’s mindset that explains a great deal about the way he treats Kelly. Comes complete with a dark childhood anecdote to relate to the title.
23. [The Office] In Spite of Me - dollsome
In which Ryan slowly falls for Kelly. In his own bleak, Ryan-y way.’
Digs just under the surface and displays Ryan & Kelly in the way I’ve always believed was there, but which I could never quite visualize or articulate through the episodes alone. Fic for this pairing cannot be improved upon after this.
24. [CSI: NY] Blink and You’ll Die in the Dark – Stellaluna
Marble floor echoing beneath her footsteps. Sunlight through stained glass. The creak of a wooden pew in her memory. Sanctuary. Safety. She wishes for it.
Dark, creepy, and unsettling through nothing but implication and the suggestion of fear. That’s really all I can say. Best read late at night for maximum chill factor.
25. [CSI: NY] Snow Dog – Stellaluna
"Messer, did you know your dog is wearing a sweater?"
It’s slash, but she makes it very easy to squint and ignore that aspect of it (although, if that's your cup of tea, then you'll love it as-is). Which is good, because the Flack/Danny banter is incredible, and I love the idea of them out walking the latter’s dog (is not a plot contrivance, I swear). Although I do refuse to accept that the latter's male dog is named ‘Daisy’ for any reason, and had to paste the story into Word and run a find-and-replace before I could finish reading.
26. [CSI: NY] Christmas Night – Stellaluna (and no, I have not read CSI: NY fic by anyone else lately)
Summary: This is a day for family.
A little holiday party (arguably, according to Hawkes, “nerd party”) for the team at Stella’s place, it’s the perfect Christmas piece; all the team dynamics and friendships shine through. Very satisfying story in all respects. (Lindsay is not present, which should make a lot of people happy, but even Lindsay lovers can’t argue that it’s perfectly plausible for her to be back home in Montana for the holidays).
27. [CSI: Miami] She Sees Through Shadows – Stunt Muppet
You know what’s all but non-existent in the CSI: Miami fandom? Alexx fic. Especially good Alexx fic. So here, you get five fantastic ficlets, “built around the theme of shadow and light,” featuring our favorite coroner. (my alliteration gets out of control sometimes, sorry) I don’t know what else to say about them except that they’re descriptive and insightful. I feel like I've recced this one before, but I can't find it on previous lists, and I don't think it was finished the last time I did a round... *is perplexed*
28. [CSI] In Search of a Marshmallow World - Summer Reign [rated M]
You there! Are you sorrowful and heartbroken about Sara’s departure, particularly over how it affects GSR? You need this fic in your life. Yes, we’ll definitely be wandering through Mature Rating Land, so you’ll want to beware of that. If it helps, this is very much a love story and everything has its place within context. Anyway – the author starts with the lonely separation in the present year (2007) and then shifts between Christmases, not necessarily in chronological order, and shows us Grissom & Sara at various holiday seasons from the past…as well as a potential future. I know we’re moving into spring as I write this, but this is a beautiful and moving holiday fic that will bring you right back to December. And it’s something every shipper needs. *reconsiders* Every shipper over the age of 16.
See you later for the rest.