I thought it was bad when I was going six months in between batches. But, oh-ho-ho, I have broken my own record and now gone nine months between such posts. I blame this on being highly discouraged by the fact that after starting to write this post in late November, I forgot to save my Favorite Places folder from my network account when school ended, and I forever lost a great big batch of URLs.
But! Now it is summer and I lack a fast-paced TV season to keep me occupied during my spare time, so it is time to do some massive and belated spring cleaning. Before today I had forgotten some of these stories even existed, so it was almost like seeing them for the very first time. This also means that some of these might be very old. Fair warning!
Fair warning #2: every time I do one of these posts, I always end up with one fandom drastically more represented than the others, to the point where it's more like "[Insert Fandom Here] Fic Recs, Plus Random Additions." This time, it is The Office, with a largely (though not exclusively) Jim/Pam bend. Because duh.
Total Stories: Um. 48.
Fandoms Represented: Pushing Daisies, The Office, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, ER, The Mentalist, Dollhouse, Lost, Numb3rs, Without a Trace (kinda), Glee, The Class, How I Met Your Mother, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Doctor Who.
Fair warning #3: Unless they are in bold, each of those fandoms has 3 or fewer stories. Probably 1. Possibly yours.
Fair warning #4: apparently I no longer warn for things that are rated R/rated M. BECAUSE I'M ALL CORRUPTED-LIKE. Or actually not; you can just presume that most of them aren't and for the few that are, I won't link to anything that is too terribly naughty, on account of my delicate sensibilities. Probably. If I do, I'll plaster it full of extra warnings and disclaimers. Probably.
Fair warning #5 (God, it's like prison rules in here): I am not courteous about old spoilers at all, unless it's something that only aired a few weeks ago. Anything that aired prior to about March is fair game.
OKAY, NOW YOU CAN GET TO THE STORIES:
1. [Pushing Daisies] Curses and Reverses - Europanya
Summary: Some curses are better left untouched.
Remember when I originally thought Pushing Daisies both looked like and would work better as a movie than a TV series? Well, if you clipped a few scenes from season 1 onto the beginning of this story, that's what you'd get, and it would be perfect. Alternatively, this could still kind of go ahead and be the series-wrapup movie. A gorgeous in-depth look at Ned & Chuck finally being able to touch - but not without a price. It's wonderfully long, perfectly in character (although I could take or leave the pet names), and satisfies my difficult-to-please demands for plausible touching scenes. And though the ending leaves me with a sort of bittersweet tinge in spite of everything...that's how this show rolls, so it fits.
2. [Pushing Daisies] Five Ways Digby Didn't Die (Again), And One Way He Did - thucyken
“I can’t just kill him.” Ned. What were they talking about? Digby strained for words he knew, like “walk” or “park”. He’d like to go for a walk, except for his legs. But Ned would fix it. Ned was magic.
Or, "five ways to break the reader's heart, and one way to fix it (bittersweetly)." All six vignettes are astounding. Bonus: starring Digby.
3. [Pushing Daisies] Camp - BluWacky
Summary: Tent pegs, meteors and comedy vegetables collide as Ned, Chuck and Olive investigate a travelling talent show.
It's almost like they sneaked in a 21st episode somehow, with all the fast-paced and witty dialogue you'd expect, including Emerson snark before he gets written out of the case. But then you find yourself not minding so much, because the remaining three investigators are fantastic. There is even a by-proxy group hug for good measure, not to mention some surprisingly spot-on probes into Ned & Chuck's psyches.
4. [The Office] Confessionals (and the secrets that make us tick) - Bebitched
I always adore her stark snippets of word art, and this is a surprisingly clear take on what various characters might have to say on something like PostSecret. Andy's especially; it's so great that it's now my personal canon.
5. [The Office] Draw - book_rapport
Summary: When Dwight brings a lightsaber to work, Jim can't help himself.
A short little season 1 gem, featuring everything you'd expect from such days, including Dwight's slavish devotion to Michael and Jim and Pam working in tandem to mess with Dwight.
6. [The Office] One If By Land, Two If By Sea - jengrrrl
Summary: Everyone needs a little vacation time.
I have no idea where I found this; must have followed a link from somewhere - ooh, Yuletide, maybe? Nevertheless, it's a series of snapshots set in season 3 (how's that for alliteration?), characters planning vacations and time off. Quite a lot of humor in there, too. Dwight in a tricorner hat and carrying a flintlock musket, for example. I am not making that up.
7. [The Office] Patience - NeverEnoughJam
Summary: Pam struggles with doubt and suspicion when Jim's behavior over the summer doesn't make sense.
(or, 'this would have greatly helped soothe my hurt feelings over the summer [FROM A YEAR AGO]') A nice take on the post-Goodbye-Toby doldrums we were all envisioning (well, I was envisioning). Best thing about this story, though? Keeping in mind that this was published in September, it may shock and awe you how much it has in common with a plotline on the show itself. Except even nicer, and sometimes I find myself wishing this was the canon version.
8. [The Office] Just Say When - andtheivy
“What?” Alex-the-douchebag asked. Jim had only recently determined him as a douchebag.
Speaking of things that soothe my hurt feelings -- this post-Customer Survey, pre-Business Trip alternate ending of exactly what Pam said to Lame Mad Men Dude (hint: it is the best verbal smackdown ever, without feeling author-indulgent at the expense of characterization), before unexpectedly arriving home.
9. [The Office] Live Each Season as it Passes - Blanca
"Well, it was quite a night. Thanks for letting me crash here, by the way."
"Did we... uh...?"
"Play checkers?" he asks playfully. She narrows her eyes, but it only encourages him. "Bake cookies? Crank call Dwight?"
-I didn't want to like this fic. In fact, I'm pretty sure I still dislike the idea of Jim & Pam's first post-The Job date involving copious amounts of alcohol. So it's not the version of the canon-compliant first date I'm looking for, but it makes for a worthwhile alternative because there are some truly excellent bits of dialogue that I do think sound like canon, and there's a very nice next-morning scene that pretty much slays me with cuteness and forces me to recommend this fic.
10. [The Office] Car Crash Underwear - shootingstars
“Because,” he sighs, suddenly seeming embarrassed. “You not worrying about whether your underwear matches means this - us - is ... normal, you know?"
Awwwww, it's a piece of terribly sweet and fluffy/cuddly early-relationship fic! Bonus points for managing to combine snappy Jim/Pam banter with cuddling in bed.
11. [The Office] The Romance of Afterwards -
I'll bring you the sad stuff in a second; right now I want to continue focusing on the fluffy and the giddy. Christmastime giddy! This story is everything that is good and wonderful about winter evenings 'round Yuletide. Plus so much banter I cannot stop beaming.
NOTE: The following section is the result of what happened when I set the filters at MTT to search for "future/married Jim/Pam" + "angst." I maintain that they are nevertheless some of my favorite things ever, and together they form my little Treasure Trove of Tragedy.
12. A Little Consolation - unfold
Summary: When her mom gets sick, at first it seems like it will be all right.
Now, I normally fire backwards at top speed from first-person POV in fanfic, since people only get it right about 5% of the time, if that. But honestly, this one works so well in Jim's voice that I tend to forget which perspective it's told in. Heartbreaking account of helplessly watching Pam's mother succcumb to cancer, with the natural transition to his fear of losing Pam the same way. Has magical tear-inducing properties.
13. The Part Where You Let Go - PamPongChamp
Summary: Grief can turn you into someone you don't recognize. Jim struggles silently through what should be one of the happiest moments of his life.
In all the fun of babyfic, sometimes I forget that there can be a darker aspect. This features Jim and Pam dealing with the loss of their first child to SIDS, and all the stress and division and struggle to start over that come with it. I apologetically don't know if it's the best writing in the world, but the emotional impact is stunning, to the point where I can retell the whole story with my eyes closed because I cannot stop thinking about it even months later. Extremely effective.
14. A Broken Hallelujah - oobadnama
She thinks maybe she knew.
Hey, speaking of that darker aspect...here's another one, this time with the baby dying in-utero. All of the above statements apply to this one as well, but I particularly thought there was a grain of truth in the idea that Jim would be more excited about the whole thing then Pam was, at first, before the idea really sank in. There are a lot of striking little lines that I keep forgetting aren't actually on film anywhere, come to think of it.
15. All The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands - sillyrabbit519
Sometimes, still, he would wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure that she was okay, that there was no blood. And only when he had made sure of it, made sure that it was just her, clean and peaceful, did he close his eyes and fall back asleep.
-I've got a million of them, folks!
16. Circle - Ruby Terrace
A/N I find amusing: "I really tried my hand at post-premiere fluff. Um. Then this happened. Please do not throw garbage at me."
She doesn't want to think about cancer or death or last days, so she puts her hand on his shoulder and closes the space between them.
-I've included all of the above info as an avoidance tactic for writing this paragraph, because I'm a little busy obliterating my Kleenex box. I've lost count of how many times I've read it, and the thing still brings the tears. It's just such a painfully beautiful, poetic look at the end, far in the future; a last moment of quiet happiness brought about by the accidental running-out-of-gas at the same place he proposed.
17. Tuesday - bebitched
And God she wishes that her tears would leave a stain as proof that she had ever been there.
On the off chance you are not a broken, weepy mess by this point, let me offer one more chance to break your heart. It's very short and the initial abstraction is part of what makes the story work, so I don't want to spoil it. Just read it.
END FUTURE ANGST SECTION.
18. [The Office] Nights When the Northern Lights Perform - Colette
Summary: They didn't get there by immaculate conception. Whoever said pregnancy was chaste - or simple?
THIS. THIS THIS THIS. Is one of my favorite stories ever, and I firmly choose to believe that this is exactly how Pam's reaction to pregnancy would go. It was ~*tragic*~ for me being separated from it for a month when I didn't have the link, couldn't remember the title and was afraid to search MTT for fear of finale spoilers.
19. [The Office] Idiosyncracy - Callisto
Summary: He thought he knew everything about her.
"You're messy, you're a klutz - you spill everything - and you leave the volume on the TV way too loud." And here is the fic that illustrates how Jim discovered all these things, with a bonus chapter for Pam to discover Jim's quirks in kind. All of which are now my personal canon.
20. [The Office] A Kwanzaa Christmas - dundiefromgod
Ryan: There is no money in your budget, or in this company’s budget, for you to hold a Kwanzaa Party.
Michael: So the fifty thousand dollars the company spent on diversity training last year was fine? But I can’t have three hundred to follow those principles?
Ryan: That - that’s not the same thing.
Michael: Why do you hate black people, Ryan?
FACT: This is 912 times better than "Moroccan Christmas," and I would have loved to see this at the end of '07. Because frankly, Darryl explaining the word "blacktro" is enough to make the script worthwhile, even if every other sentence wasn't pure gold and perfectly in character. Fortunately, they are. Especially the initial over-the-phone showdown, in which Michael (with Pam's aid) is magnificently competent at negotiating party money.
21. [The Office] Where We Go Remains Nameless -- Emily's List
Kevin was not kidding about this. He loved Jim, not in that Oscar way, but like a brother. Like the brother he never had. Except that he did have a brother, but he was a jerk with a speedboat who never invited Kevin to the lake. What a tool.
-"Kevin has a new hobby - outing Jim and Pam." An amusing pre-season-4 fic from Kevin's perspective, which is way more exciting and intriguing on paper than it is on film! (well, partly from Kevin's perspective. Also Oscar's, as an outing partner, and in the latter half we get to switch over to pure Jim/Pam. WIN/WIN/WIN.
22. [The Office] Visiting Hours - kells8995
He starts to hang up the phone but she yells back at him, “Ryan Bailey Howard don’t you dare hang up that phone on me! I drove three hours to get here and I’m looking amazing today so you better sit back in that chair and talk to me. We’ve still got seven minutes left.”
Last one: Kelly/Ryan, or its remnants, about the former visiting the latter in prison, which doesn't go quite like she expected. Her grand plans to be smug and superior rather unravel in the face of reality, and become something sad and a little bit pitiful instead. But, you know, still featuring plenty of Kelly-esque pop culture references and her usual delightful attitude. Oh, and I lied about this being the last one; it's only the last Office fic.
23. [The Office -- ESSAY(S)] - The Pam Dichotomy & The Jim Paradox
Apparently there are updated sequels to these magnificent analytical essays (which are like school papers, if school papers were extra interesting and relevant to your hobbies), whose existence I have only recently heard of and haven't tracked down yet because I am too lazy to do five minutes of Googling. So here are the ones written post-season-2, which honestly floored me the first time I read them...and still kind of do. I am operating under the assumption that the entire fandom already knows about this. But I have always been famous for being late to the party, so I am linking to them 3 years after the fact. Because that's how I roll.
24. [Private Practice] Vacations - krys33
Summary: Eight years of bonus checks.
Beautiful, rather word-arty description of how Violet & Cooper's annual bonus-check-blowing vacation gets steadily more elaborate. Sweet (well, bittersweet if you include the final year) read. From back in the days before canon made you never want this ship to happen after all.
25. [Grey's Anatomy] These Are Just the Ghosts That Broke My Heart Before I Met You - Sly Brunette
It’s those damn steps that got her in so much trouble in the first place – go figure that it’s where she chooses to sit, wait; something wicked comes this way.
Lovely Cristina/Owen post-ep for "Before and After," the closest I've come to finding word art in a while, with all kinds of pretty phrases in parentheses scattered throughout.
26. [Grey's Anatomy] Just Look At The State of You - Sly Brunette
There's something fitting to the idea that they end up in the shower, of all places.
Oh look, here's another one. But this one's even better, a post-ep for the finale, and it is rated M for the usual reasons but somehow their second time still does not squick me any more than their first did. Geeze, ship! Even in writing you are too pretty to protest!
27. [Grey's Anatomy] Porcelain Fists - Morgen(writes)
“My hands kill people,” he hissed, thrusting both of them up in front of her face. His glass toppled over forgotten, leaking tequila into the cushions and down the side of her leg. “You should chop ‘em off, Mer." The words slurred together, all slush and bitterness like dirty snow in winter, falling in chunks from cars, coated in fumes and dark, ugly things.
-This post-That Episode Where Derek Tragically Doesn't Hook Back Up With Addison But Drinks A Lot Of Booze On The Couch [5x16] Mer/Der fic is incredible, and pretty much everything I needed to read after feeling somewhat dissatisfied by their conclusion on the episode itself. It's canon in my head and should be in yours as well. Some of the most splendid writing in existence for this couple.
28. [ER] Five Men Neela May or May Not Have Loved - OregonBlondie
This is something you should remember: she isn't ever drunk when she kisses him.
There are no capital letters in this, which is bothersome, and it's extremely vague (the list at the beginning helps; don't overlook it). But this also makes it extremely word-artistic; it's a whole collage of images and not all of them are pretty, but the effect certainly is.
29. [The Mentalist] Visions of Vermillion - Kenzimone
Summary: Death will linger, given enough incentive.
As previously mentioned - I have no need to watch this show, because all the best possible angst is right here, in this story. This chilling, haunting, ethereal, utterly beautiful and heartbreaking story of Patrick Jane's reflections on his loss.
30. [Dollhouse] Lines - (fittingly by) Dollsome
They're told to draw something that makes them happy, so Sierra draws butterflies. . . . She enjoys the way the crayon sticks a little to the paper when she pulls it away.
I don't even watch this show, but the fic makes me want to. A drawing exercise with hints of an innocent romance between some people named Victor and Sierra (see, I don't even know who they are, and it's STILL GREAT), every line perfectly capturing the child-like simplicity of the dolls.
31. [Lost] Heart Knows Calm - Dollsome
They shack up together, him and Juliet, and soon he memorizes the way her footsteps sound against the floor.
Canon cannot contradict this story of how their early days in 1977 came into being, and while canon's lack of explanation initially made me grumpy, now I'm just delighted that this fic patch exists to cover that base.
32. [Lost] All This Time I've Loved You And Never Known Your Face - Dollsome
Summary: An encounter.
A fantastic Sawyer/Juliet AU in which Flight 815 never crashed and they never met, at least not the way we saw, but manage to cross paths anyway. Read the author's note. It's much more interesting than anything I can say about it.
33. [Numb3rs] Ever After - Emma Demarais
Summary: Don decides he's ready to spend the rest of his life with Robin
When someone writes good Charlie/Amita fic that is more than 150 words long, I will link to that. Until that day, have some heartwarming Don/Robin spinning through a lifetime with all the illustrious trappings of engagement, marriage, and family.
34. [Without a Trace] Jean Paul Sartre's Script For Without a Trace - Bob Woodiwiss
MALONE: I got here as fast as your perception of fast tells you I got here.
I'm not entirely sure if this counts as fic or should just be labeled creative fan expression, but still, I will include it here. Since my brain refuses to absorb information that even marginally pertains to philsophy, I can't actually appreciate the humor, but I know the name and I know enough to know why this is funny. Which is almost the same thing.
35. [Glee] Fame - Harper M [NC-17]
Summary: Fame is fleeting. And if it does flee, Rachel's going to make sure she has a way to get it back.
-I TOTALLY IN NO WAY ENDORSE THIS NC-17 STORYLINE. But I didn't know what I was reading until it was too late, until I was already wholly and completely absorbed in the fact that dude, based on the one episode we have seen, Rachel would so do this. She would make an artistic solo sex tape, flaunting the Lolita edge, and store it in case her future career ever needed a touch of scandal. And she would rationalize it in exactly this calm and collected, professional way. Simply amazing writing, rife with detail.
36. [The Class] Dates of Doom, Fire and Brimstone - Tommygirl
Summary: Kat and Ethan have their first date, with a little help from Kyle, Lena, and Richie.
-Initially recced by eleigh, this qualifies as the Best Thing Ever. Seriously, the characterization for everybody is perfect; it's like getting to watch an extra-special bonus episode from this tragically and unfairly canceled* show.
*I will never not whine about this. It's just a knee-jerk reaction whenever one mentions The Class.
37. [How I Met Your Mother] Five Things Robin Scherbatsky Doesn't Do - fearlessfan
Summary: Robin doesn’t fall in love with Barney (except for how she totally does).
-Somewhat AU out of the season 4 gate after Robin leaves for her job in Japan, it's yet another plausible-sounding way this ship could have happened, complete with lots of snappy banter and their particular respective quirks. It's one wonderfully long story (9,000+ words), and it's worth it just to hear them watching Walker Texas Ranger DVDs while thousands of miles apart. Or, you know, for all the other parts. Read it now! Or Chuck Norris will roundhouse kick you in the face.
38. [Torchwood] Trying to Communicate - copperbadge
Summary: There's an alien in the Hub, and it's trying to communicate. This borders perilously on crackfic.
-A nearly-G-rated Torchwood fic (I know! How is it possible!) that approximately the entire internet has already seen, but which I nonetheless have to mention being in love with. Because the complete and utter hilarity of real live talking (alien) lolcat just never gets old "O HAI SEXIE JAK."
39. [Sarah Jane Adventures] The Still Point - Eponymous_Rose
Summary: Sarah/Alan: he sees the universe in her, the turn of the planet and possibilities stretching on into infinity.
-I tripped over it by accident and promptly discovered that I'm kind of okay with this pairing, and by "kind of okay" I mean this story, at least, is extremely delightful. Possibly because most of it is just a conversation between the adults around interjections from the kids off hanging out in the background. But still, I cherish it.
40. [SJA] Paperback - Eponymous_Rose
Sometimes it frustrated her how little the books actually revealed about the adult world. All she knew was that it seemed like people were a lot angrier and did a lot more shouting after kids were in bed, and that didn't seem at all worthwhile.
-Another 2-for-1. I haven't had a lot of time to go exploring in this fandom, all right? But I'm very fond of anything that is Maria-centric, and if it features Maria who is an avid reader, that is twice as excellent. Perfect character study to set the mood for the series opener.
41. [SJA] Five Ways The Bane Didn't Return For Luke, And One Way They Did - Amilyn
By the time Maria arrives, Sarah Jane has arranged him in the bed, closed his eyes, and is sitting beside him stroking his hair over the words on his forehead: "All information extracted. Archetype obsolete."
-I mentioned this in passing a few days ago, but I'm obsessive about cataloguing everything properly. Ergo, delivers what the title promises in a variety of eerily chilling ways.
42. [Doctor Who] Incense and Peppermints - Skylar
"And in 1969 an unmarried white man and an unmarried black woman moving in together looks a bit, you know... 1969?"
-OH HAI, guess who forgot to put this on her last batch of recs? *headdesk* Anyway, this is pretty much the one Doctor/Martha story I've ever found that was likable - for which we can thank scsquidsnaps - because it takes place during those missing months of "Blink" and it's only ever meant to be temporary. And anyway, the way they build up to it, even the most steadfast anti-shipper couldn't argue with it.
43. [Doctor Who -- ESSAY] TARDIS/Everyone - brigadiertardis
Actually, this is less an essay and more of what I imagine would be a hardback reference text. It could take days to work through it all - I still haven't managed - but it's a bafflingly brilliant examination of the TARDIS' emotional reaction to/relationship with the Doctor and every companion he's ever traveled with, plus a few more people for good measure. IT IS AMAZING.
44. [Doctor Who] The Thirteen Series...Again - hippiebanana132
The sequel package to what is otherwise referred to here as "The Most Wonderful Series of Oneshots," again written one after each season (4) episode aired, though not necessarily related to said episode. And again, they are all wonderful, but my pair of particular favorites:
a) Footsteps: Little by little, Rose is making her way back to his world
--This IS canon in my head for how Rose gradually broke down the barriers enough to find her way back.
b) Once Upon a Time: She might be playing at Cinderella, but this is no fairy tale.
--A scene from "Human Nature," but with Rose in place of Martha and minus Joan Redfern. And not really much happier for it, in the end.
So it turns out that the rest of this post is all post-Journey's-End stuff. I am still weirdly courteous about this spoiler, probably just because I avoided it for so damn long that it feels brand new to me.
45. [Doctor Who] Life Among the Distant Stars - hippiebanana132
She will never admit it, but she needs someone to love her as much as he needs someone to fix him. This is his gift to her. ... He took away their history and left her his heart.
"A fic detailing the first twelve weeks of the Doctor and Rose's lives post-Journey's End." THIS. This is absolutely required reading, which I have decreed the best possible look at how Ten II and Rose start over (with a couple pingbacks to regular!Ten, just to make sure you don't get totally carried away), written in a series of vignettes based off lyric prompts - fanmix included. I can't even describe the perfection, it just exists in a pure state and is a large part of why watching that episode now only 90% wrecks me as a person.
46. [Doctor Who] Days Hence - Sunken Standard
Although if one post-JE fic were to equal the above one, it would be this. If only because this is an epically, wonderfully long saga devoted to exploring this new Ten/Rose dynamic in Alt!World. You can maybe tell from this statement that I haven't actually finished reading it yet, but I still know it's good. *is stubborn*
47. [Doctor Who] Throw Your Arms Over Your Eyes and Greet This Brand New Day - biggrstaffbunch (P.S. internet! Stop this trend of having obnoxiously long song lyrics for titles! Learn the majesty of the snippet!)
With a rueful smile and a few well-placed explanations, he maps her future and becomes a god. Turns a stranger into a lover and turns a girl into a jailor.
Post-JE option #3. There are SO MANY ridiculously pretty word-art things happening in this fic that I didn't know where to start. Many of them a much darker and more haunting spin than usual, but it sort of gets us to a happy place in the end. Maybe the darkness makes it more realistic. I don't know; this is a brand-new addition as of tonight (I finally got to break into my forbidden "LINKS FOR AFTER SEASON 4" folder!) and I'm still spinning it through my brain, but I really like what I've seen.
48. [Doctor Who] April in my Arms - shaggydogstail
Summary: This could just about be the worst idea the Doctor's ever had. If anyone can fix it, it's Donna.
And now, for a much happier version of post-ep events that do not involve Rose, but rather focus on the Doctor and those left on Earth. Like Sarah Jane! Among others. Like Donna, about whom I mysteriously have no fic, because I'm baaaad. Or because I was, you know, avoiding season 4 spoilers like the plague until seven weeks ago. ANYWAY. This is wonderful and good and completely in character despite being a little bit cracktastic, but awesomely so, and winds up being Doctor/Donna and everything.
Oh, look at that, we've come to the end! Actually, I'm pretty sure that over the course of the next week I will probably find a dozen more stories scattered about in random and forgotten places. Maybe we'll have a miniature "clearance recs" post for the 4th of July.