Dolores Labouchere, Dances with Groos
Numfar slash. Deeply inevitable and just as deeply wrong. A great summertime goof.
Sheila, The A-less Team
Not a story, but a photomanipulation. I'm not very fond of them in general, but this one is believable enough looking, and, damn, it made me grin and run off to write rather mushy stories set in Angel's absence. It'll probably make you do the same, which is all for the good. What do they need the big galoot for, anyway?
I'm so relieved that Jennifer's finally written a story I can rec. Her work is always technically very strong, but she's somehow managed to keep choosing types of stories (clubbing, futures) that you need to pass a miracle to make me really care for. At last, a story whose form and content grabbed me. Utterly believable, sympathetic, and horrifying Angel POV, utterly bleak and plausible picture of a vampire Cordelia and the consequences of her creation. Frankly, just reading Buffy fic that remembers that vampirism is a horror is a cause for celebration these days, but this one goes straight to the heart of the matter. Merciless.
Resonant, Broadway Hotel
To be honest, I've never seen a single episode of this show (Due South), so if this is horribly canon-warping, I wouldn't know--and I don't really care to, either. A gripping meditation on identity and completeness. Technically, this story is impressive, with skillful pacing and wonderfully economical but suggestive language. Emotionally, it made me ache and grin alternately, even though I had no previous investment in the characters. Definitely worth a read, even if you don't follow the fandom.
Resonant, American Way
I still haven't seen this show. I'm starting to think I don't even want to. It can't be this good in real life.
Jenn, Grey Water
I didn't like the X-Men movie very much; it wasn't laughably bad, but it wasn't that great. Ian McKellan's Magneto choices struck me as misguided, and since I am an old-school Magneto fan, that in and of itself would probably have been enough to torpedo the movie for me. One thing I did enjoy unreservedly, however, was Ray Park's performance as Toad. I raised my eyebrows at the Magneto/Toad pairing here, but, as always, the truth of the tale is in the telling. "Grey Water" made it all make sense, in an extremely odd, evocative, and touching way. Intelligent use of Rogue and her absorbed memories and an interesting view of Toad's past and his attitude towards his teammates are added bonuses.
V. Hayrabedian, Grass
OK, I've got pacing issues, I've got characterization issues...heck, I've probably got issues issues with this story. But it still has a quality that distinguishes it from the masses of stories--a genuine sorrow and regret at its heart that I believe in even though I don't quite believe in the broader construction of Giles. Furthermore, this is one of those rare post-"Gift" stories in which Giles is not absent, an ineffectual semi-drunk, or a cheerful Dawn-raising shopkeeper. Someone else noticed what ME was trying to do with the character in the S5 denoument! Being the unrepentant Giles-adorer that I am, I'd probably rec this story for that alone.
Jennifer-Oksana, All Things Cold
Again, Jennifer's ability to bring the creep impresses. The best resurrected-Buffy story I've read yet, though it's just a quiet psychological study of persistence in the face of alienation. I still don't quite get why Giles didn't even merit a brief mention, though.