Same guidelines as before apply; you may want to refresh your memory. I suppose I should also point out that I do not bother with things like ratings, because you can assume that everything is T/PG-13 or lower, and I shall warn you in the summary of anything slash or potentially squicky. The fact that it took me three months to come up with a decent handful of stories, and kept wanting to choose multiple stories from the same authors, means that either the percentage of bad!fic has spiked recently, or I got so fed up with the bad!fic everywhere that I became stubborn and unwilling to browse for new stories once I found an author I liked. Possibly both. Maybe things will get better over the summer?
Fandoms Represented: X-Files, Without a Trace, Lost, O.C., CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Numb3rs, NCIS, Pirates of the Caribbean
Total Stories: 23
1. [X-Files] Running Red Lights - Puggy (?)
I stopped hunting for X-Files fic a long time ago, but I recently stumbled across the commentary version of this while on one of my various fandom-journal hunts through Google. Lost that link but managed to find the original story, and am now sharing because it's such a lovely vignette. I don't even know what to say about it other than it's so... Mulder and Scully, circa seasons 5-7. The author has their voices down pat; bit of an MSR tilt without being overly focused on it. There's snappy dialogue but also plenty of imagery and other assorted figurative language, which is generally difficult to find, and reading this, I couldn't stop smiling.
2. [X-Files] Driving - same author
While I was exploring the site, I decided this needed highlighting too. I never did find a post-series-finale fic that I really liked - until this one. A sort of interim, Mulder and Scully on the road to a new life and new identities. Rather bittersweet (because after the way the show ended, how could it be anything else?), but there are some light moments in it too. And, always a bonus in my book, it's perfectly believable in show context.
3. [Without a Trace] - Decompression - crazy_magpie
I was actually hunting WaT episode reviews, and I tripped over this. It was like striking oil. Martin-centric, it provides absolutely beautiful closure for the post-ep where Sophie is kidnapped, which ended on a most disappointing chord of uncertainty, and the feeling of many loose ends. Most of them are tied up beautifully in this fic via a conversation at the bar (yes, the addiction thing is addressed), which mostly consists of Danny morosely rambling in circles about what did or didn't happen, and Martin doing an admirable job of talking him out of it, without slapping him upside the head at any point (it wouldn't be unwarranted). The story is actually split between the present conversation and a series of flashbacks to a conversation in Kansas, but I couldn't really get into the latter. You may enjoy them more; all I know is that the conversation itself was so in-character that I frequently have to remind myself this is NOT actually part of an episode somewhere.
4. [Lost] King of the Jailhouse, Queen of the Road - She's a Star
And here he is, a man posessed by something - contradiction, if you want to be delicate, but he's never been one for airs; knows it's just a fancy term for war.
One of the first things I found upon cautiously venturing out of my </a></a>mrstater</b>/Leah Kate Lost-fanfic bubble, and easily among the best batch of Sawyer/Kate drabbles I've ever read. Five in all, highlighting various points in time from the first episode to the beginning of season 3, showcasing the evolution of their relationship in every sense of the word, though really, they're character sketches more than anything pairing-wise.
5. [Lost] White Wings -</a></a>halfdutch</b>
Actually...this would be the *first* thing I found outside my bubble, and though it's only a drabble, barely clears 300 words, it's noteworthy. Sawyer/Kate, set in take-your-pick of the cage episodes, a surreal mix of dream and fairytale.
It also gets me my fix of superficially hurt Sawyer. Fine, if nothing else, click the link to see the illustrative banner.
6. [Lost] Ends - bebitched
A beautiful, apocalyptic, dark bit of word art about the last days of Mystery Island. More poetic than usual in that it's made up of several small sections, each just a few sentences long, and every word carefully and deliberately placed. I get shivers every time I read it (or rather, savor it, because it's just that lovely). This is as cool an end to the Island as anything the producers have or could come up with. It's also very dark. Did I mention that? Dark, dark, dark.
7. [Lost] Eden - </a></b></a>isis2015
What Jack doesn't know is that the whole island is a cage, and always will be as long as Ben is alive to make sure of it.
Essentially, it's a look into Jack's first night alone with the Others, at the houses rather than the Hydra station. A mix of Jack and Juliet-centric, I'd say it works rather spectacularly as a missing-scene, so if you're one of the people who whined about how we never got to see that, here's your answer. Lovely imagery and introspective commentary lie within.
8. [O.C.] What Lies Beneath - dirtyprettything
‘Never judge a book by its cover, except in Newport Beach where looks mean everything.’ Alex considers the merits of judgment by undergarment.
This is the fic that set off the Ishida Insanity-related flailing, by the way. It's also one of those slashy sorts of stories that is allowed to slip past my strict border controls on a Word Art visa, which is crazy because it's Alex-centric, and goodness I couldn't stand that character. But the slash pairings mentioned within are all mild and mostly unrequited, which is part of their charm. And yes, this little oneshot is basically about underwear styles, but rest assured that it's perfectly serious. They can say a great deal about a person.
9. [O.C.] Shine On - pm153
And Ryan finds it so ironic that as he keeps moving on with his life, Marissa just stays at the bottom of the driveway.
Someone out there always seems to fulfill my wishes with regards to missing-scene and/or post-ep fic in my various shows, and so here's one that perfectly wraps this one's series finale. Ryan-centric, we follow him through various milestones in his life, with Marissa at the back of his thoughts. It's a fitting tribute to her without being warped by the usual R/M mushyness. He doesn't spend his life pining, but he doesn't let her memory be left in the dust, either.
10. [CSI] Alchemy - Wintertime
Over the summer, Sara paints her house, takes up photography, and turns into gold.
I read this years ago and fell in love, then lost it and couldn't remember its title or author. Found it again last month, and...oh yeah, still in love. Back then I had no definition for word art and wasn't even particularly aware I liked that style, I just knew that reading this on a late summer night made me feel like I was drifting into another world. Because this story is magic. It doesn't bend the borders of reality or anything, it's just a dreamy bit of rather innocent romance. An alternate path to the beginning of GSR, set post-season 4.
11. [CSI] The Radio Diner - Wintertime
They eat strawberry pie and listen to country music in a truck stop outside Heaven, Nevada, and Grissom can't quite call it a reconciliation since he never quite lost her.
How had I not read this before? I don't care if this is as old as the previous one, it's timeless. It could be an original story - and I swear the quality of the writing is better than much of what we had to read for reference in my creative writing class - but that doesn't mean the characters are generic. No, it's most certainly Grissom and Sara, if removed from their usual element. I can't think of anything else to say, as I keep getting distracted by the pretty lines I'm using for reference and rereading the story in full. You know, I think this just might be my favorite CSI author in the world.
12. [CSI] Three Days - Angel Queen
Three days and Grissom is now intimately acquainted with hell.
I'm sure if I poked around I could come up with another take on the finding-Sara scene in the aftermath of the finale, but this one popped up right away, and I'm rather leery of spending too much time in the CSI section of the Pit because it rapidly drives me into a frustrated rage. So I'm going with it. I needed continuation fic to soothe my hurt feelings over that ending, and this is part 1 of 3 on that front. Very short, but it's at least as satisfying as the finding of Nick in "Grave Danger," so if the season 8 premiere doesn't do it right, I'm clinging to this as indisputable fact. The major winning point for me is the lack of Grissom falling to pieces and being weepy and/or spilling 'I love you's' at the scene. *glowers at the six fics she kicked aside before this one*
13. [CSI] Life After - Camilla Sandman
Welcome to part 2 of 3 on the post-"Living Doll" front. This part, over to Sara's perspective now, encompasses the finding-her scene but mainly depicts her recovery in the hospital, and is probably my favorite. There are a few grammatical errors here and there, but the overall effect is quite moving. One scene for each of the eight days she's there; there are bits with Catherine, Nick and Warrick, and some just alone with her thoughts, to break up the scenes with Grissom. Speaking of which, some of them are exactly the lovely sort of bedside conversations you dream about, and some are lovelier still for the fact that they aren't all bunnies and rainbows. Sara lashes out, and Grissom can feel as guilty as he wants - she won't always contradict him. It's refreshingly realistic, and I will hold this story to be irrefutable fact no matter what canon eventually has to say about the matter.
14. [CSI] Wash Your Worries Down the Drain - csipal
I shall warn you up front that if you didn't like the shaving scene (and oh, I so didn't), you will probably not like the end of this story. Why am I recommending it anyway? It's installment #3 in my post-Living Doll timeline; this part is where Grissom takes her home. Not nearly as heavy as the preceding fic, and a completely different writing style, but it works well enough for me to see it unfolding without having to fight an urge to slash passages for poor characterization. Rather more dialogue-based than the others, it involves an unusually quiet drive home followed by the drawing of a bath. That last bit may or may not hold universal appeal, but the premise aligns nicely with my daydreams, so I'll pretend it does. Besides, the author worked the dog into the story, and we all know that I love authors forever when they include pets.
And those three, in an unusually rambling nutshell, are why I am now spared a summer of fretting over Sara's fate.
15. [CSI: NY] Naming the Bones - stellaluna_
Mind the slash. Or don't, as it's rather mild and confined to subtext, and if your brain is like mine, it has a way of screening out the more questionable lines until you're not actually sure if it IS slash. Because it works very, very well as a canon-type post-ep for the season 3 finale. (which I didn't initially think needed any further continuation, but apparently does since this is absolutely fantastic.). It more or less ties up an admittedly nagging loose end, in that the Wordless Montage of Beauty and Shippyness didn't leave any room to check in on Danny's injuries. That's taken care of here as Mac visits him in the hospital. Danny-centric, it's not overly forgiving of Lindsay, but the conversation with Mac is meaningful enough to overlook that tiny drawback. *nods* This is my definitive post-ep. Right here.
16. [CSI: Miami] Castaway Dreams - Duckie Nicks (um. By the way, I broke my no-reading-until-ready-to-review rule and finished the whole thing today, but I promise I will comment on chapters 4 and 5 as soon as I can form coherent thoughts on the subject matter again.)
What really connects us as human beings is what makes us miserable.
The CSIM category on ff.net is very, VERY dull these days...it takes all my effort not to put my fist through the screen when I check it. However! I can forgive the lack of gold lately because right here under this one title are 30, count 'em thirty, vignettes. Five chapters (Mom, Growing Pains, Sickness, Death, Recreate) of six sections apiece, for Horatio, Calleigh, Speedle, Yelina, Eric and Alexx. They come in varying lengths, but these are beyond drabbles - more than a couple crack a thousand words. It's like finding a season's worth of word art in one place. Besides which, how often do you find well-written Yelina stories? Or stories about Alexx at all? In addition to the umbrella chapter headings, other themes wind throughout - Horatio and Yelina's extremely complicated relationship, Speed's death, Marisol's illness... Reading this story is like studying a fine piece of artwork. You find something new to discuss every time you look at it from a different angle.17. [CSI: Miami] Mind on the Job and Vanilla - stunt_muppet
Let's take a break from the noticeably heavy fare I've been recommending so far, and turn toward some fluff. Because it's very nice fluff. Believable fluff, which explains Marisol's use of the phrase "He's not the same man you see at work," which as you may or may not be aware, is what I spent most of last summer trying and failing to envision on my own. Most H/M fics which attempt this make me cringe at the poor characterization. Here, that is most certainly not an issue.
Okay, back to the heavy and the angst.18. [Law & Order: CI] A Shape They Recognized - stunt_muppet
Maybe the dreams were memories.
Just a drabble, but a perfect cap to the season finale. Mike Logan, introspective wanderings...you know what, if you saw the finale, it is imperative that you read this.
19. [Numb3rs] In His Head - Nixa Jane
Don can't see in numbers, and Charlie can't see in anything else.
Normally I don't care much for pre-series fic, but I can't argue with a summary like that. Especially when it does in fact prove to be a lovely character study of the two brothers, highlighting their differences through scenes from both childhood and adulthood. My favorite is an angry confrontation over the death of their mother, throughout which Charlie is eerily detached and focused on solving his impossible problem until both Don and I very much want to shake some emotion into him. Quite possibly my favorite Numb3rs fic ever, though admittedly I am not well-versed in the area. I just know I loved it on the spot...and had to check out more of her work.
Like the above, this one is a multiple character study, Tony-centric but largely about the differences between Kate and Ziva. You'd think this would be a logical theme of exploration, but I can't remember ever having seen it done before - or if it has, then not nearly so well. It's been quite a while since I found any half-decent NCIS fic, so this was a real treat.
Kate wore a cross every day like she thought it might protect her. Ziva wears the Star of David, but she doesn't believe it protects her; for all of her faith she still expects she'll be dying young.
Found while on my quest to
torture myself collect random movie reviews to read later, I had no desire to read it because Norrington is waaaay far down on my list of favorite characters. Personally, I'm quite happy thinking he's a pompous dipwad in the first movie, and a loser who richly deserves his comeuppance in the second. But other people praised it, so I gave it a click. And WOW. First of all, I will never not love stories told in a series of drabbles. And second of all, I not only feel sorry for Norrington, I'm moved by the sad set of conditions that took him from "Curse of the Black Pearl" to "Dead Man's Chest." Dammit.
22. [Pirates of the Caribbean] Shrouded Heart - She's a Star
There is a distinctly triangular shape about this fic, but it's more or less Will/Elizabeth. Or rather, it's a exploration of Lizzie's torn desires in which her head and her heart tell her the same thing, and she obeys, but some other little piece of her can't stop nagging, whispering longings of "what if." When I find a W/E fic that's heartwarming without being nauseatingly sugary, I'll tell you and it will be my new favorite, but until then, this somewhat splintered version of a happy ending seems as close to realism as anything I've read.
I'm going to stop reading PotC fics now before they completely ruin my formerly very content W/E-shipping self.
And now, it's your turn. I cannot survive the summer on a diet of reality television and Standoff alone, and I'm beginning to think I will never recapture my temporarily restored love for fic-writing, at least not with the same zeal and drive I had last year. Ergo, I shall amuse myself by reading fic. But it gets very tiresome, trying to think of keywords to tap into LJ, or digging at the Pit. Not that I won't still do it, I'd just like to try something else today.
Please? *puppy dog eyes*