This morning I did an overhaul of my story binder, reluctantly relocating any stories longer than 5 sheets of paper to a new holder. I have a 1.5 inch clear-plastic binder packed full of other peoples' fanfic (technically it also includes my stories/poems and a few selections from other people on fictionpress.com, but the ratio of that to others' fanfic is approximately 3 : 2 : 95). And even now that I've restricted it to very short stories and poetic one-shots only, and I print double-sided in size 10 Times New Roman font, it is STILL nearly full to bursting. I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, it's great that there is so much good material out there, but on the other hand, I really liked it when I could just grab one binder and have all my favorite stories carted around in my backpack.
But I digress. Onward to the fic recs! I notice I'm kind of chatty this time around, don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. Sample text excerpt whenever I feel like it's warranted.
Categories: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, O.C., Law & Order: CI, House, Pirates of the Caribbean, Joan of Arcadia.
Look! I found someone else who can write Yelina. Yelina and Horatio. Not together. Well, kind of...about as much as it was in the show. This particular story explores and then expands upon the scene from "Nothing to Lose" where Horatio tells Yelina about Madison. Part 1 is really just a walkthrough of the scene, but it's got so many additions in the way of Horatio's thoughts and inner conflict that it adds a whole new dimension. Part 2 goes to Yelina's side of things, in which she seeks refuge with Stetler, and later on gives us a concrete reason for her sudden change of heart - something the show rather slighted us on, so I'm glad to see this.
2. [CSI Miami] Simplest Gift - Speedfanatic05
I have to keep reminding myself that it is not called "Sunrise, Sunset." I know it's not the title, but even though I've only seen Fiddler on the Roof once that's the song that jumped into my head and soon as I started reading. Um.
I am very excited about this one too, because aside from the stories composed of a series of vignettes, it's the first good story about Horatio and Marisol I've ever seen. For true. It's a quiet moment between the pair on the beach, drawing comfort from one another and the sea. Completely sweet and satisfying, no tragedy in sight. It's the kind of scene I struggled for weeks to write but could never completely envision.
I have some minor qualms with whether or not Horatio would really just let her cut him off in the middle of a call and then not answer it on subsequent rings....but no worse than in my own stories, so the qualms can be overlooked. Anyway. If/when ze 2007 CSI fanfic awards open up, this one is my first nominee.
3. [CSI] The Heart of the Woods - VR Trakowski
VR has an endless list of great stories; it could take a lifetime to finish them all. But most recently I've been drawn to this one - it is a heartwarming little Christmas story, "total AU," in which Grissom is a hermetical woodcarver living in a woods cabin with only a pair of sled-pulling mules for company, when he acquires the unlikely companionship of a Miss Sara Sidle, a new teacher in the village, who crosses his path when her runaway reindeer joins the mules in their pen. It feels like it could be an original, but at the same time there are nice hints of the characters we know that do, indeed, make for a nice AU CSI story.
4. [CSI] Drop of a Name - Bicoastal (VR Trakowski/Cincoflex)
You know that game where you figure out your porn star name by combining the name of your first pet with the street you grew up on? Yeah. This fantastically funny story is pretty much all about that, as on a slow night in the break room, Greg challenges everyone to divulge. And you would not believe how amazing the ones they come up with are. Such as...Cooter Bluegrass and Rusty Ryder. I thought I was going to be sick from laughing too hard before I got to the end.
5. [CSI: NY] Killing Time - Draejon Soul
There are many, many ways to write a great post-ep for Charge of This Post, so I can't pick an overall best, but this wins for Flack/Danny friendship. A more lighthearted piece; takes place a couple of weeks afterwards so Flack's awake and aware, if not quite ready to be discharged yet, and rather sick of being stuck in bed. So Danny comes to visit, a word here which means "temporarily liberate Don from his room, hang out on the hospital roof, and skirt around the topic of bomb-related trauama while shooting 'hoops' with a rubber ball into an empty trash bin." It's a fun read, neither overly fluffsome nor dead-serious.
8. [CSI: NY] Sweet Pink - Faylinn Drake
Summary: "Don, ever the dutiful boyfriend, tries to learn a new skill, but he gets a bit sidetracked with old thoughts and new memories."
I had never considered Flack/Lindsay as a pairing before, plain hadn't thought of it. But, since all the D/L fic I was reading was so awful, I thought I'd try something new. I was pleasantly shocked. It was just so natural-sounding and easy to picture them in a relationship. Now, in my head, there will never be anyone but bookwrangler's OC to really go with Flack, but if I assign myself the (phenomenally difficult) task of admitting that Tess Nagy does not actually exist in show canon, then these two are CUTE. Especially when the story is about Don attempting to paint Lindsay's nails, per her wishes (or so he thought).
“Don, you’re the one who bought the nail polish - which, by the way, is something that I would have paid to see.” She chuckled again as she elaborated, “The tough homicide detective, with a gun on his hip, debating over whether to buy ‘sheer pink’ or ‘shimmering rose.’”
“Eight different kinds of pink,” he grumbled. “Whatever happened to just ‘pink?’”
It begins and ends on amusing, happy notes, but the middle, with Don reflecting on their respective injuries from the bomb in Charge of This Post, is what really sold me on the pairing. I ended up reading the whole thing a few times over. I am so in love with this story!
9. [CSI: NY] Dear Tragedy - Nat
Summary: "A wise man once said that tragedy is not what we suffer, but what we miss."
Another one that is really quite good, emotionally powerful. I thought would almost have more of an effect if it were just Stella alone, without the addition of a child, but that doesn't detract from it. Anyway - just a drabble, Mac/Stella...or really, Stella in mourning. I <3 the details.
Gold buttons on Marine dress blues sparkle at her from the wardrobe; she knows that in the second drawer from the top, in the dresser, she’ll find medals that proclaim his bravery and heroism.10. [CSI: NY] Necropolis - Stellaluna
Summary: Hideous city of unknown words; that's where I live when I go to sleep.
If you read nothing else on my entire recommendations list, READ THIS. "Poe meets Hitchcock" in this incredibly disturbing tale of dreams and waking nightmares in Mac's world. Bonus points for including Claire, double bonus points for it being in the form of her haunting him, a macabre, leering, surreal apparition of the woman he knew. I don't know how else to explain this. It's weird, creepy, gives me chills. It's one of those stories I feel like I'm going to read over and over until it's half memorized and I'm quoting passages under my breath.
Claire kisses him, and her open mouth is full of dust.
...she's smiling as the gray dust continues to pour from her mouth, turning her blind face up to his. He backs up again, and it comes to him that this is graveyard dust, that he's coated in the dirt from someone's grave, and it's usually around this point that he wakes up.
* * *
She stretches up on her toes and whispers into his ear: "Tell me your secret name."
He blinks. "My -- what?"
She puts her hands on his face, and her hands are running red with blood.
* * *
"You could derail the trains," Claire whispers in his ear, and one icy little hand slides up his chest. He looks out at the Atlantic Ocean. He doesn't look behind him.
"I couldn't," he says.
"Oh, but you could. It's what you want, isn't it?" Her body against his back, a brush of heavy silk on his spine, and still that cold hand stroking his chest.
"I -- no."
"Look, then," and her whisper is now a hiss.
11. [CSI: NY] City Hall - Anna2
Summary: Just what can you accomplish with a quick trip downtown?
In categories overrun with, for lack of a better term, immature young'uns (i.e. this one and O.C.), I find that the best stories tend to be the single-chapter works that have next to no reviews. Using that logic, I checked this one out - and "HAAAALELUJAH!" It was a Danny/Lindsay piece that was brilliant and breathtaking and word art.
Basically, it's Lindsay writing a simple letter to her family that yes, she and Danny got married at the courthouse. But what she doesn't tell them is everything she reflects upon - about the team being like family, how everyone managed to turn it into an elaborate celebration anyway... There is amazing detail, and literally everyone gets in on this.
She didn’t tell them about the surprise party that was held two days later and attended by every member of dayshift, whether they were on the force, in the morgue or in the lab. She didn’t tell them about Peyton threatening to kill whomever it was that gave Hammerback alcohol (apparently he had been censoring himself at work and the liquor served to verbalize his internal monologue). Peyton was still claiming she’d never recover from the trauma. Jane Parsons had reportedly told her to stop being a drama queen and the result was some sort of British accented feud being carried out between the morgue and the DNA lab.
12. [O.C.] L is for Learning - Arualms
Summary: Ryan learned a lot of things in Chino. None of them at school.
Wow - it's a perfect explanation of what Ryan learned in Chino about keeping his mouth shut and toughening up in order to survive. Definitely sets up the picture of the quiet, withdrawn, disillusioned kid in the pilot.
13. [O.C.] Helpless - Rainbowishprincess
The first time I read through this, it didn't leave much of an impression. Good, not brilliant. But it percolated at the back of my mind for a couple of days as I thought about its premise - another post-season-3-finale story, but this one from Seth's point of view, and their (platonic) relationship is one that doesn't get explored very often. I went back to read again, and this time it struck me how well this story sounds like Seth's voice. His thoughts are long, run-on sentences, a rush of words tumbling over themselves. And as I said in my review, there's Summer the best friend, Ryan the ex and there when she died; Seth's connection to her pales in comparison, even though it shouldn't. This fic does a lovely job of exploring his side of things.
He's sad she died. He isn't depressed and waking up in the morning is as easy as it used to be. But he is sad.
14. [Law & Order: CI] That Was Long Ago and That Was Yesterday - Temet Nosce
Be good, be good, and weren't we?
I despise this show, but it's Temet, so I love the fic on principle. And I honestly do - her style of writing is perfect for a character sketch of Bobby Goren. Well, really, like many of her stories, it's a series of moments that showcase the evolution of a relationship (romantic or not), this one Bobby and Alex. For example, their first case:
A short while later Bobby is sniffing the ears of a dead woman, and it's the first thing that comes between them.
15. [Pirates of the Caribbean] North Star - ScreamingPoetically
He tries telling himself that Elizabeth is just a woman, the same way he tries telling himself that The Black Pearl is just a ship.
I'm not so big on the Jack/Elizabeth 'ship, but she writes it well. Considering there aren't many oneshots in this fandom, and so far I've only been able to sit through three stories, period, this one deserves merit. It's a nice standard bit of art.
16. [Pirates of the Caribbean] Six Strong Winds, Seven High Seas - Temet Nosce
A moment isn't over until it's understood.
Word art on a deeper level. Really, I don't know how she does it, but somehow relationships seem validated after she's given a story over to them. This one isn't even particularly heavy on the Jack/Elizabeth pairing - oh, it's about them, but it's more about the tension between them, the little give-and-take, and if you look closely you'll see Will is still caught in the middle of it. It took me a few reads to get into this piece, but as always, understanding settles in.
(She will never be trusted with rum, but months after the incident he wakes with a song in his ear, wondering about people who know how to stop.)
17. [House] Alien Tears - Temet Nosce
Outcasts always mourn.
I really didn't discover these all in the same day...anyway. This is my other definitive House fic. There's a slashy-type line, and it's all kinds of vulgar and sexual (though she's written worse), and yet I can't put it down. It starts with Wilson's death from a heart attack, and the loss of his only friend pushes him closer to Cameron. It's rather more complex than it sounds.
You held her until she fell asleep because she was upset over Wilson’s death. It was her sweater to which you were allergic. That’s why you woke up the next morning with puffy bloodshot eyes and a raw throat. She changed into a different sweater, but they must’ve been made of the same material, because you were allergic to that one, too.
18. [House] Messenger - VR Trakowski
A short piece, Wilson-centric, following him through his rounds as he checks on patients. (so in other words, what 90% of the show should be like in order to make me happy). And as there have been so many times before, not that he or anyone else will admit to seeing them, there are silent shapes of angels waiting beside some of the beds.
New Section! Joan of Arcadia
One day over break, I was cruising the Pit, and I decided to check out a category I'd never read. Now, I loved JoA when it was on, but I've never read fic for it. I wonder if anyone still writes it. Not a lot, but a few...there's this fairly new story with an intriguing summary, so I click and I am SHOCKED at how good it is. This led to me reading nearly everything else the author had, which I'm listing individually here instead of just tacking up under a general author heading because: her work is so amazing that I'm pretty much afraid to read any other JoA author ever again, for fear it won't be as good.
So yes, these are all by Wizened Cynic.
19. Miles to Go
Summary: The world ends when the last two minutes of "Grey's Anatomy" are cut off.
No, seriously. Slowly but surely, everyone starts getting sick. They go down with the flu and don't get up. It becomes a story of survival as loved ones and strangers alike are lost, even Joan, until it's pretty much Grace and Luke alone and looking for anyone else who might be left. It's eerie, sobering, and highly effective. This was the first story I read, period, and I was scared to read any other stories, even by the same author, because I was sure they couldn't possibly be that good. Fortunately, curiosity won out, and I read more of her work, lots more.
In the end, Joan told them the truth and they believed her.
A very interesting twist, that in being believed, Joan is more alone than ever, far from her friends and family and anything familiar, thrust into the role of leadership. Poor Joan. :(
People were willing to believe now, after the outbreak in southern California and the storms in the Africa. The way hills and forests couldn't stop burning. It was supposed to be a good thing --- faith is always a good thing, he says --- but somehow Joan got caught in the middle.
No one called her by her name anymore.
(Bride of Christ. Daughter of Heaven. Prophet. Messenger.)21. Same Sky
A very short drabble, but very moving. If I believed in God (that is, beyond fearing retribution for suicide and using him as a character to bounce sarcastic comments off of/blame for every bad thing), I would think this was a beautiful definition of His love.
..awright, I'm running out of steam. Others I reccommend by the same author are- "Side Effects," "Walls," "The Lost Art of Lamps," and "Summer, God and Manolos." For now, I'm off to bed homework.