The theme for this month: housecleaning. In that, here's where I list all the stories I've wanted to rec for a while, but haven't had a theme for before.
Though kinky vacuuming fic would be appreciated as well.
First up is "Homecoming" by Janete, the unholy union of Jane St. Clair and Te. Which technically could have gone in my Comic Book Theme Month, but that would require some degree of organization on my part. Anyway: it's X-Men (the comic book continuity, not the movie), Bobby/Beast, and it's basically one long, lovingly detailed, hilarious, and above all erotic-as-hell sex scene. Set aside some alone time for this one, and proceed to thorougly enjoy.
The Professionals is one of those shows I've never seen (and probably never will), yet the fic sucked me into the fandom. And "Fly On The Wall", by Lezlie Conch, is the story that did it for me; it's highly entertaining in a bizarre British sort of way, and while the basic story is nothing new - one partner has to play a prostitute, the other (plus, in this case, half the department) has to pretend to pick him up - the attitude, attention to detail, and decidedly unromantic circumstances make this one pretty much a classic.
Then there's that other British show whose fic dragged me into the fandom, Blake's 7. I've actually managed to watch several episodes of this show, and it's damn good, not to mention ahead of its time (and certainly ahead of the laughable SFX available at the time - lord, what they could've done with CGI). "A Marketable Commodity", by Pat Jacquerie, is one of my favorite stories, another one that takes a common theme - crewmember "accidentally" sold as a sex slave - and turns it into something dangerous and new, something essentially B7 in its very conception: a battle for dominance in which the sex itself is only part of a larger whole.
Lately I've become fascinated by Weiß Kreuz and its flower-arranging assassins, so it only seems fair to recommend the story that lured me into it. Viridian5's "Reason" is so many things at once: an extended character study, a not-so-slow seduction (or rather very slow, if you count the series time), a much-needed resolution, and simply a beautiful story about young men whose lives have been ripped apart and shredded and stomped on so many times, yet who always somehow manage to pull it back together.
Continuing the theme of fandoms I've been drawn into because of the stories (and hey! I do have a theme after all!), "Short" by Erin Cayce is a Gundam Wing after-the-war fic, another character study, this one far more tragic. Erin rips away Duo's cheerful, sarcastic facade to expose the trauma beneath, and discovers just how much of his identity was wrapped up in being a fighter, and what happens when everyone else moves on and leaves him behind. It's not a happy story; it's desolate and lonely, and it's just beautifully written.
And now for something kinda different. I'm not much for video games to begin with; I've never played any of the Final Fantasy games and I only marginally enjoyed the movie. But none of that matters, because Rushlight's "Gambler's Luck" is enjoyable on a purely visceral level. Or maybe "enjoyable" isn't the right word; it's engrossing. Traumatizing, at times. Absorbing to a guilt-inducing degree. It's non-con in the most shattering sense of the word - Setzer cooperates, but not at all willingly - and Rushlight deftly avoids flinching, faux gentleness, discretion, or any other sin that would make a (metaphorical) blood-and-guts story like this teeter towards the patently false. As one may surmise, it's not for the faint of heart, but if you can overcome your nerves, or you're not the type to have any to begin with, it's a very, very good read.
In a similarly disturbing vein is another one from Te, "Logos", a holdover from October's Firefly recs. It's Simon/River, and so very wrong by definition; but it's Te, so it's also so very good.
Shade the Changing Man is coming out in TPB format! (Just as soon as I managed to buy all the individual issues, too. Bastards.) The series is by the same writer as Enigma, featured in a previous rec, and it's a psychedelic, identity-addled, gender-bending epic journey through the nature of reality and the illusion of sanity. It's a gay old time, sometimes literally. (Rimshot!) But seriously, folks - I would, without hesitation, call this one of the most important titles in modern alternative comics. Especially if you're a slash fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out. (And just you wait till the "On the Road" and "Shade the Changing Woman" storylines - issues 18 to 29, give or take a few - where the real slashiness begins.)