A Long Time Looking by Anna - This story is pretty close to my definition of perfection in fan fiction. Subtle, elegant prose wrapped around a character's complex pattern of thought, and presented underneath the simple guise of dinner and a movie. God, this story rocks.
Exit Wound by Brighid - Stunning story, which Brighid warns is not a happy one, and I agree. The painful events are breathtaking, heartbreaking, and Brighid has blown me out of the water with her choice of metaphor. Yes, I'm a total sucker for a good metaphor. This one rocks.
Dystocia by Anna S. - In this frequently recommended Jim/Blair post-SenToo story, there's anger, pressure, tension, and release. And it's *hot*, hotter than hot, it will numb your mind, and while you're melting, take a second to marvel at her writing skill.
Hunger by Kim Gasper - This is a button fic. Jim and Blair meet in one of *those* clubs, where they've each gone looking for a substitute for the other, and scorching public sex ensues. Whew. Turn on the A/C.
Major Crimes by Meredith Lynne - Have I ever mentioned that anything Merry Lynne writes is worth reading, as in drop-what-you're-doing-and-go? Eventually I will rec all her stories, but I hope you don't wait that long to read them. This is one of my favorites. Jim and Blair have a bit of a revelation moment, in a semi-public place, and the resulting reactions from their friends and co-workers had me laughing out loud. Not to mention how hot that kiss is...and then other stuff happens. It's all good. Trust me. For contrast (and just because this is an easy way to sneak in two Merry-recs), check out Promises, which forever blows out of the water the tired theory that a PWP can't be fandom and character specific - these aren't generic guys fucking their brains out, here, this is Jim and Blair. You, gentle Reader, will be a big puddle on the floor when you're done reading.
Gentleman by Kass-Rachel - Sometimes when I'm reading fan fiction, I just want to smile. I want to be transported to a place where Jim and Blair are, well, happy. And so I find myself re-reading Kass-Rachel's stories when that's what I'm after. This story in particular just makes me grin. Especially that part where Jim does that thing with his finger that Blair wasn't expecting.... Two words: button fic. I'm sensing a trend, here.
Shadows and Light by Mairead Triste and Aristide - This story fascinates me because Jim is in such denial. In discussions about this piece, I've seen mention of the fact that Jim's feelings are unclear and the reasons for his actions are too vague, but I think it's a classic case of repression. We don't need much explanation; the story is all the more powerful because the writer allows the reader to sort of creep into Jim's head as the tension in his body and mind become unbearable. Jim rationalizes his desire by giving pleasure to Blair, but refusing to cross the line for his own needs, and it sets up some beautiful angst.
Hot Sky Blue by Livia, Julad and Calico - I love the imagery in this PWP. Yes, it's truly a story without plot, but the descriptions put the reader in the moment. Who would have thought a game of hoops could be so incredibly erotic? I was totally enthralled by this. If Jim in total control doesn't hit your buttons, this one won't appeal to you as much...but I absolutely loved it.
Imperfect by Molly - Great dialogue, good use of brief flashbacks to illustrate and parallel the important points, and some realizations all around. Technically pre-slash, but a good read.
Ocean, Moon by Lemon Drop - Another example of my fixation on the aftermath of TSbyBS. Blair is trying to deal with all the baggage that comes with catastrophic life-change. Lemon Drop has done his angst justice here.
Means, Motive and Opportunity by Miriam - This is a first for me; I'm recommending a fic that's currently not available online. Recently published in the zine Entr'acte, available from Agent With Style, this tale is told in flashback from Blair's point of view. It describes his reaction to the beginning of the process of becoming a police officer, and the changes in his relationship with Jim. The style of the story is fresh and unique, as is the "voice" of Blair - it feels authentic and new among so many fics with a similar theme.
Beyond the End by Katrina Bowen - I enjoyed this AU immensely. Blair meets Jim in the jungle while doing a little research there, and becomes a captive of the tribe Jim is protecting. As time progresses, he becomes a valued member of their extended family, and a relationship develops between Jim and Blair. It's well-written, it's believable, and I love the way she writes Jim -- a hundred percent he-man, few words, but still waters running deep. A wonderful story.
Paradigm by Sigrid - This beautifully written story gives insight into Blair's changing world view as he learns to adapt to being a cop. A series of events brings home the fact that he is no longer a bystander to Jim's violent world, and it's fascinating to watch him dealing with the consequences of his decision to carry a badge. Probably the best fic I've read dealing with the issue -- that being a cop isn't all happy and lovely. Highly recommended.
Storms of Winter by Meredith Lynne -- There's a running joke on Merry Lynne's page that she likes and writes first time stories a *lot*. All I can say is, if the rest of us wrote first-times this well, we'd be writing them all the time, too. This is a quiet, subtle piece that takes us camping with Jim and Blair. Dialogue is sparse and used to great effect, and the atmosphere is so perfect that I swear I could hear the fire crackling. A very lovely story, one of my faves. I have a feeling Merry's stories will be popping up here often.
Rough Trade (and sequels) by Laura JV - I'm fond of these stories because Jim has repressed his sexuality in that unique way only a macho man can, and is unwilling to admit he might actually want to get it on with a man. Laura JV gets right down to the brutal heart of the matter in Rough Trade, where Blair thinks about something that has happened between them and confronts the issue. Sort of. The other stories in the series carry through the theme -- Bad Touch, Blood Sport and Cutting Strings. Some folks won't like these versions of Jim and Blair, but to each their own. I did.
In the Eye of the Beholder Series by Francesca - First, a word about Francesca's writing. Awesome portrayals of Jim - speech patterns, motivation, even thought -- all nailed. And practically no Blair cliches. Thank goodness. I sometimes have trouble buying the various contrived situations writers create to get Jim and Blair together, but when I read Francesca's fic I am able to totally suspend disbelief. That being said: Francesca is justifiably famous for her Nature series, but actually, I liked this series more than Nature. It's a series of relatively short first-time stories in which the boys are brought together by external stimuli -- a videotape, an audiotape, a bit of voyeurism, and some photos. I loved 'em.
Out of Whack by Bone and Aristide - Damn, this story is hot. Featuring a purely hormonal Blair, who can't seem to have enough sex, and a Jim who is entirely in character, focused on getting Blair off. What more can a Sentinel fan ask? Add to that the incredible style of these two writers -- entirely original, and I love the way they describe emotions, situations, feelings, making me feel like the words are strung together like shiny things on a string, pretty to look at, impossible to take my eyes off of. My brain did that melty thing as I was reading this. Guh.
Paper Cranes by Deirdre - Wow. This story offers something I rarely see in TS fic -- a mature, thoughtful and *quiet* Blair, not completely ruled by his hormones. This depiction of him is about as close to my own vision of the pairing as I've found thus far, after reading hundreds of stories. In this lovely gem, Jim struggles with his blossoming feelings for Blair, believing that to reveal them will mean the end of their friendship. And Blair folds paper cranes obsessively, each one representing the wish of his heart. Jim is in *such* denial, trying so hard to talk himself out of loving Blair, and the story outlines his realization as he begins to understand. Beautifully written; the plot doesn't immediately descend into sex the very moment they realize their attraction is mutual. Sex comes *later*. (huge grin)
Love Amidst the Ruins by boyd - I resisted Sentinel fandom for a very long time, and this was the first story I read where I found myself musing over the possibilities. boyd has captured the sensations of the jungle; the descriptions make the danger and the situations palpable, visceral, and very powerful. In this AU, Jim and Blair are freedom fighters in a future where aliens rule the earth, and the fellas are free to be their most primal selves in service to their cause. An excellent story.
Territorial Imperative by Bone - The incredible thing about this story is the way Bone switches between first-person points of view without missing a beat. Not only does she find new and amazing ways to put words together to make things seem fresh and new, she captures and retains the unique voice of each character. She makes it seem effortless, and I'm here to tell you that it's anything but. A stakeout leads to a revelation for Jim and Blair, and then comes the aftermath. I love this piece. If "Love Amidst the Ruins" drew me in, "Territorial Imperative" hooked me.
It Happened One Night by Penelope Whistle - Writing dialogue is an art, and writing dialogue that flows perfectly is extremely difficult. Penelope has written a fic that relies heavily on dialogue, and if you read it straight through, you will hear Blair and Jim speaking. It's as though she channeled them directly. I was completely drawn in by this story of Jim and Blair's conversation regarding the top five things they would never tell one another -- and when they get close to number one, this fic goes from being very good to being amazing.
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