All recommendations are either Fraser and Kowalski or Joe and Billy unless noted.
YeungMaiSu's recommendations are:
High Speed Chase by Ardent
Air Guitar by AuKestrel
Coming to Terms by AuKestrel
Like a small, perfect jewel, "Coming to Terms" glitters with the beauty of truth and understanding. Along with her uncanny comprehension of the characters, what I admire most about this story is AuKestrel's knowledge of both the Rays worth and their significance in Fraser's life.
Near Wild Heaven trilogy
This is the series that caused me to fall in love with an entire fandom. AuKestrel is not only a great dS fan fiction writer; she's a great writer period. She deals most convincingly and honestly what it would be like for Ray and Fraser to enter into a committed romantic relationship and how that decision would change forever not only their lives, but those of the people around them. These novellas will not only break your heart, they will cause your soul and spirit to soar.
Three Christmases by AuKestrel
Like all of AuK's fiction, this quietly commanding short story can be read and appreciated on a limitless number of levels. So, whether you're looking for a fabulously detailed character study, the absorbing prologue to her masterwork, the Near Wild Heaven trilogy (please see notes above) or a gentle hymn of unity and devotion, know that this fic succeeds admirably in each of those categories and more.
More Than You Know by Beth H.
I'm seriously convinced after reading this that Beth is a visitor from the future. Really. Because I haven't had this much fun with the exploration and understanding of time since watching MEMENTO and PULP FICTION. And by both brilliant manipulation and presenting the future history of Ray and Fraser in the manner in which she does, Beth manages to take concepts such as free will and predetermination and turn each on their collective ears. For all that is old is new again. And waiting to be discovered with the right person. *Sigh*
Touch and Go by Beth H.
everloving by Colleen
Reading this shimmering snapshot, is like meeting that special someone. It takes only one look. And you're hooked. By the use of both a few choice words and a prose style that borders on poetry, Colleen conveys not just the essence of Ray and Fraser's relationship and their devotion to one another, but most profoundly, their love.
Slaves, Slaves: Forgiveness and Slaves: Healing by Elizabeth
Into the Wild by Kalena
Tales of the Mountie Slayer by Karras and Magnes
Vivid, archetypal characters, a fabulously rich, Byzantine plotline that continues to awe and amaze, and a perfect blending of two of my personal favorite programs ever (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course, dS), all conspire together to make this one of the best supernatural thrillers on the net.
Somewhere Else to Be by Kellie Matthews
This isn't the Chicago we know from the series and Fraser and Ray are no longer unofficial partners or even officers of the law, for that matter, in this endlessly fascinating and imaginative AU. But in every way that really counts, Fraser is still Fraser and Ray still Ray, even though the situations and circumstances that molded them have been changed. I think what I enjoyed the most, was watching events taken from their shared history (such as buddy breathing *g*), reinvented completely yet absolutely true to both the source *and* this wonderful story.
Ray's Glasses by MR
All right, okay, I can admit this. I've always had a soft spot for stories where the focus is on things that go bump in the middle of the night. I think what frightened me most about this cautionary tale was the premise that evil is a living, breathing presence which could move in anytime to our everyday existence, unnoticed except for the very few. And besides that, any fic which features Ray's glasses as the main character, gets bonus points, well, just because. *g*
Creature Comforts by Rushlight
This is actually a wonderfully sweet love story disguised as a PWP. Certainly there's sex so hot it causes the skin on your fingers to peel back as you touch your keyboard. But the real, hidden themes are those of love and trust and need. It was also my favorite birthday present this year. As I told Rush, 'this is a gift greater than diamonds.'
Dark Stranger by Rushlight
Imagine if you will, Ray, wounded and brooding, situated after hours in a lonely place and confronting his darkest fantasy made flesh. Sound promising? In this fiendishly funny sequel to Thermidor's equally amusing "Break and Enter", it's all that and more. Although Ray is deliciously conflicted, fighting the good fight between his better and baser natures, it's Fraser (as Ben) who really stuns here; he's not what I would call truly bad, but aggressive, demanding and erotically charged, unmindful of anything except Ray's sexual surrender and their total mutual pleasure. Whoa. Between the happy shivers, it seriously makes you wonder what possible dangers and delight hide behind Fraser's Mountie mask.
Fraser in Chains by Rushlight
There are some PWPs that will rock your world. And that's a good thing. But then there is erotica, like this story, which challenges and forever changes your perception. As this is a WiP and I'm aware of its conclusion, I have to be very careful as to how I word this. But all you really need to know at the beginning of the series, is how a chance remark about the nature of fantasies, propels Ray and Fraser into a different direction as they express their physical and emotional needs in new ways while words like power, sex and trust no longer have the same meaning as they did before. Please read the warnings carefully; this subject matter is not for everyone though it's depicted in the most loving manner possible.
As in all her best work, Rush manages in "Gravity" to push each of the right buttons by skillfully taking the smart and sassy UST of the series, pouring on lighter fluid then stepping back to watch the boys' passions inflame. And even better is the unspoken yet heartfelt emotional connection that Ray and Fraser share afterward. Therefore, if you're looking for a sultry romp, that in reality, is so much more, this is what you want.
Schisms by Rushlight
I love being a beta. And what I love most about it, is watching an author whose work I respect, take her talent to a truer, higher plane. That is what has happen here. In this compelling novella, Fraser finds himself unsettled by a series of nightmares while working on a particularly repellent case. In order to rid himself of these visions and be able to function, Fraser must face not only certain truths from his past and present, but also his feelings for Ray.
The Delivery by Rustler
I've recently discovered the joys of Rustler's fiction with this and another charmer, "Moving" and now I can't wait for my next free afternoon so I can lose myself in her Shell Game stories. Here, Stella makes a series of discoveries about our favorite boys and perhaps most importantly, herself. There's so much to like about this, not the least that Stella is shown as a real human being, not just an one-note shrew. Plus her description of Fraser is so incandescently hot, it will leave you breathless and begging for more. Lastly, the polish and skill of her craft is a true thing of beauty; every word is just right and perfectly chosen. So do read this. You'll be happy you did.
Shell Game series: The Switcheroo, Misdirection, Distraction and The Reveal by Rustler
Pas de Deux by Sihaya Black
Enduring Distance by Speranza
Despite the potential for mass destruction and nuclear meltdown, the one act of violence that looms largest in this beautifully crafted lament, is the murder of a wife and mother twenty-nine years ago. That senseless barbarity destroyed her family and forever changed her husband and son. While in the present, Fraser, now grown and everyone's hero, but still very much a man pushed past his limit, finds himself emotionally shattered as duty and the desire for justice collide. If that was the grist of the plot, you could easily classify this story as wonderfully sad angst. But it's only the beginning, because amid the chaos and legal labyrinth which follows, something unexpected and magical happens, propelling Fraser and Ray forward to meet their future together.
The Killer Replacements by Speranza
This is an astonishing read. While on assignment in Canada, Fraser receives a cryptic message from Ray, which forces him to return suddenly to Chicago. Once there, he discovers that Ray has gone deep undercover and about to leave for places unknown. Determined not to lose anyone else in his life, Fraser takes steps that are alternately humorous and heartrending as he plots to be a part of Ray's life forever.
My Mark Smithbauer/other plus Fraser/Kowalski recommendation:
Mark's Story: Written on the Body by Colleen
No one gets out of here alive. As people, we are burdened by that awesome knowledge. Yet by showing how two ordinary men (Mark and his lover) become, in a very real sense, heroes, by their courage and dignity in facing their dark ending, Colleen turns what could have been a bleak tragedy into a magnanimous paean and tribute of the human spirit. Certainly you'll be crying at the finish of this. But the tears will be caused by joy.
And my Fraser/Mark Smithbauer recommendations:
I Remember You by Colleen
I never knew I had such a taste for hockey smut and Mark Smithbauer until I read AuK's marvelous "Strange Loops" (please see below) and this tragic story of lost chances and broken dreams. Part of why I enjoy this fic so much is Mark's easy, athletic charm and posturing surface machismo (he makes no apologizes for being politically incorrect), but once you get past that to the inner man - who's all too aware of his limitations and the fact there are very few second acts in professional sports - and his realization that it's his own smug, even arrogant behavior which has caused the situation he finds himself in, well, it just pulls at your heartstrings. Plus, the sex is so raw and needful, it seems almost real. So for whatever reason you choose to read this, know that the plot and characterizations succeed on every level.
On a Frozen Pond by Otsoko
And my Fraser/Billy Tallent recommendation:
Northern Comfort by
And my Billy Tallent/Brian Hawkins recommendation:
Shadows Fade by
AuKestrel and Kellie Matthews
The first thing you notice about this epic novel (yes, novel - it's over 700 KB) is the exact comprehension of every individual nuance and how all the characters (even the minor ones) come across as layered and dimensional, even quirky, just the same as real people you and I know. It's like looking at a vast mosaic. The second is how glowing, no, luminous this work really is. And how its message of the healing power of love, is expressed here with a forgiving, generous and wise understanding of the human condition. Finally, Billy's last lines of dialogue to Brian at the end (or beginning, depending on how you look at it) of their journey are among my favorites in fan fiction. I don't think it's possible to read them without really feeling them, all the way down to your very soul.
Seana's recommendations are:
Learning Patience by Alison
I absolutely do not want to spoil anything about this story, so: read it. You might not want to after seeing the header but *read it*. I promise that you will not regret it.
Sole by Anagi
I like my Kowalski with a little kink to him. This story is a lot of fun, and the imagery is priceless.
Sestina by Basingstoke
This series is unfinished as I write this, but it's on its way to becoming a masterpiece. Bas writes a beautiful and believable F/K, and infinitely entertaining plotlines that are alternately hilarious and heartbreaking. Bonus points for the rare
excellent use of second person narrative in part one, and a very special treat for fans of Homicide: Life on the Street.
Un-American by Laura Jacquez Valentine
If the rampant homoerotic subtext in dS had ever actually become canon, I imagine that the episode would have gone a little something like this. Laura's dialogue is wonderful, and her storyline is smart, funny and original. She also gives us a very well-written Stella, and a great new twist on everyone's favorite pizza guys, Tony and Sandor.
Refraction by Shrift
Kowalski. Black eyeliner. Leather pants. Body glitter. Sound appealing? Go read it now.
Perfect by Te
I've read "Perfect" at least twenty times, and every time its killed me, but I just keep going back. It's exactly like driving past a car accident; you don't want to look, you know it's wrong to look, but you *have* to. That's how I feel reading the story, and it's also the way Fraser feels *in* the story. My advice? Read the story once for Ray (believe me, you'll want to focus all of your attention on him) and then go back and read it again and concentrate on Fraser. That's where the real worth of this story lies, in my opinion; in the subtle perfection of Fraser's reactions to Ray.
If you need some cheering up after "Perfect" (and you will...), give "Score" a try. It's hilarious and sexy, and I love Instigator!Fraser. Just to make it clear: the two stories are completely unrelated.
Making a Legend by CatMoran
This story is written from the perspective of a Billy who's much harsher and more bitter than the usual in HCL fandom. The first time I read it, I was left staring at my monitor in shock, much the same way I was left staring at my tv screen the first time I watched the movie. Cat's writing is honest and original, and stays painfully true to the source material.
Hard Core Hotel Hell and Steal This Book by Hth
As the author says, "everybody likes a rock'n'roll guitarist" and in this story, two are definitely better than one. Hth is a stylistic genius, and her characterization is impeccable. She's weaved a twisted fairy tale; intricate and finely crafted but told with seemingly effortless lyrical ease.
Guest Starring by Laura Jacquez Valentine
You can't have HARD CORE LOGO fiction without blood, angst and violence, right? *Wrong.* This is Old-Days Joe and Billy on a good night; snarky, bitchy and hilarious.
Bruise Pristine by Wax Jism
Wax specializes in maintaining a precarious balance between the beautiful and the brutal. You won't want to love this story, but you will. (If you think you can hack it, give her dS stories a try as well. But don't say I didn't warn you.)
Her Fraser/Kowalski/Turnbull recommendation:
Three Lone Lorn Creatures by Matthew Halderman-Time
Matt's style is unparalled; intelligent, fun and real. His characterization has at times been called into question, but I feel that in dS he gives us a fresh and challenging new perspective. All of his work is worth a read but TLLC is a particularly good find both for Turnbull lovers and fans of well-written polyamourous relationships.
And her Gus Knickel/Ollie recommendation:
Crossroads by Kellie Matthews
I hadn't seen either BURIED ON SUNDAY or MASTERMINDS when I first read this story but it didn't matter at all because Kellie writes with such vivid detail and care that by the time I finished, I not only knew them, I absolutely loved them.
And her Gus Knickel/Craig Zwiller and Gus Knickel/Newbie recommendations:
Reaffirmation and Diversion by LaTonya
You can never have too much Gus, especially when he's being paired with a Callum character, as he is in both of these stories. LaT also provides helpful visual aids of Paul and Callum in their respective roles. I had not yet seen LAST NIGHT before I read "Reaffirmation", but I was still able to follow the story without difficulty and I enjoyed it immensely. "Diversion" is a fun, sweet PWP. Even if you aren't familiar with the characters, you can just feel the chemistry that Paul and Callum share.
redrush's recommendations are:
Strange Loops by AuKestrel
This is an incredibly ambitious AU and AuKestrel has risen to the challenge marvelously. Fraser and Ray are scientists and Fraser gets a job as Ray's assistant. Sparks fly among nucleotides and bunsen burners in this work in progress.
Talking to the Dog by Blue Champagne
The Talking to the Dog series by Blue Champagne is the best Dief-centric collection of fics I've come across. The stories mostly focus on Dief and RayK's relationship but also the difference in how Ray and Fraser 'hear' Dief. In part one, Ray is very startled to discover that he can communicate with Dief and at the same time gets advice on his growing feelings for Fraser. The author also gives an interesting explanation, through Fraser, of why or rather how Dief can communicate with other animals and some humans (namely Fraser and Ray but not Ray Vecchio so much). It's very amusing, especially how Dief speaks with Ray in the rough colloquial way Ray uses and in the more proper Fraser-speak with Fraser. Currently part three is up at the author's webpage.
Tilt by Resonant
It takes an ample bosomed Nordic woman named Wanda to shed some light on the situation for Ray and Fraser. I always thought Ray and Fraser wouldn't be adverse to public displays of affection and this story proves that. Physics, soda, semi-clean American fun and bingo, Ray and Fraser are happily rolling in the sack.
Where My Soul Dwells by Starfish
This post CotW death story was the first fic in quite a while to grab my attention. Starfish has an amazing way with Fraser, who just broke my heart here. She's also written "Wildly Courteous Ways" and its sequels.
And her Fraser/Joe Dick recommendation:
The Distance Between by AuKestrel
I awaited this story with baited breath. I have an unnatural predilection for HARD CORE LOGO and it blew my mind when I saw the pairing of Joe Dick and Benton Fraser. Beware, this is not the happy-go-lucky Fraser we know and love. Fraser is out to torture himself and even Joe Dick marvels at his talent.
Pollitt's recommendations are:
porcelain by Colleen
This piece is from Fraser's POV as he muses about the fragility and the strength that is Ray Kowalski. It's about the core of their love, and I think beautifully illustrates the brittle fragility that Ray does posses, and I get goosebumps reading Fraser's feeling of... protection, yes, but it's almost an adoration too. Fraser knows Ray is strong, yes, but he also knows and provides a safe haven for those times when Ray needs to fall apart. And vice versa, I like to think.
Silent Snow by Colleen
Wow. Okay, this literally has no dialogue, it's one night not long after Fraser and Ray become lovers, post CotW. It exemplifies so beautifully those times when words just aren't needed. When you know someone inside and out to the point that a smile or touch tells you everything. And the parallel that is made, between people realising tomatoes, which were once thought to be poisonous, were not, and Ray and Fraser's realization that this relationship, which may have been thought to be an unattainable or possibly tragic dream is nothing short of perfect - it's beautiful.
A Thousand Words by Kellie Matthews
Nearly two years in this fandom and this piece continues to be one of my favorites. I can still remember the first time I read it, and it's one of the stories that I have printed out to have a physical copy to read when I'm not near my computer. Yes, the fact that I am a die-hard romantic would be a part of the big picture, and this story is, in my humble opinion, a great romance indeed. Set after the tag for the episode "Good for the Soul" and extending into Christmas day, this story's movement isn't any huge adventure or long voyage – if you don't consider that their world stops and turns on a dime, but in the most amazing way. It's just the realization that everything that Ray and Fraser have wanted (i.e. each other) is theirs for the taking and they just have to reach out to take it. And they do, with some help from mistletoe accidentally left by an inebriated Frannie. I'll state right here that Kellie melts my keyboards with her writing, both in the sensuality as well as from sheer envy of her talents. She gives the reader romantic and hot lovemaking, and (of course, because this is *me*) a number of images that just stay with me, like the section where Fraser wakes up in Ray's bed, after their first night together – the emotions that play through his mind as well as the scene that follows… never fails to give me goose bumps. Plus, after reading this story, I went out and bought Marc Cohen's "True Companion" which has become a much beloved song as well. Some of Kellie's other stories have been rec'd above, and I eagerly add a 'me too' – you can't go wrong with Kellie's dS and crossover (especially the crossing over of PG/CKR characters) stories.
The episode "Asylum" is widely considered to be one of the key episodes in the evolution of the Fraser/Kowalski relationship. Ray turning to Fraser when he is in trouble (and the wonderful scene of Ray falling to his knees, calling out Fraser's name, well, it's just beautiful) and the declaration that Ray is Fraser's partner, and (cue the knee-melting head turn/lip lick) his friend, and that he (Ray) has to trust Fraser that everything will be okay ... it's those moments that just make you fall in love. "Blowback", beyond including one of the hotter scenes between the duet that I've read, fills in the gaps that the episode didn't show us (somehow, I don't think it would've made it past the censors). We're given a look into the confusion that Ray is feeling, both with the murder rap and in his feelings for Fraser, and here Fraser is given Ray's trust - both with his life/career and with his heart - and when that happens - that's when everything will be all right. The one image that stays with me relates to Ray's comment in the episode (and where the fic title gets its name) that he'd been to the firing range and so he'd be covered in blowback, and Fraser's solution.
Rearrangement by LaT
Apparently, I (as well as LaT, I'm guessing) have a thing for gunpowder references in fics. *g* This is a short piece that follows right after the bad guys are caught in MotB, but takes place before the ending scene. It's a Ray POV and it's Ray and Fraser getting their duet back in tune - adrenaline is high, they've not only saved the day, but their partnership is back in the groove, and they are just there in that perfect moment - sometimes you just have to kiss someone and reconnect with a bit of the physical, and that is exactly what they do.
Oh My America by Laura Kaye
What is there not to love about this fic? As a card-carrying die-hard romantic, this story unravels and wraps around me, leaving me as the reader sated and contented and just plain happy at the end of the story, much as Fraser and Ray are. Set post-CotW while they are on their adventure, the reader is with Fraser as he realizes he is in love with Ray, and then the most simple action - falling asleep together in a sleeping bag and shifting during the night - finds Fraser waking up quite literally held in Ray's arms and at that moment a kiss is shared, beginning the start of a new adventure. Whether it be their make-out session that ends up waking up the neighbor at the boarding house or the two of them, alone, learning where to step and where to follow in their new dance, the reader is right there watching them cast off past hurt and finding that rightness in what they have. There is now a sequel to the story, entitled "Emergent" that is just yummy as well.
Primal by Meghan Black
I don't want to give away too much of the summary of this piece, in part because I feel this is a story that needs to be read so that the reader might create their own summary of what happened. In the big picture, this fic is a look at what might happen to Benton Fraser when something that is his, in this case, Ray K, his mate, is threatened. The notion of the wolf pack, of that ultimate connectedness that is found within wolves as well as men ('men' meaning humankind, not just the gender) has always fascinated me and this story combines them both. To die for the one you love. To kill for the one you love so that they can stay at your side. There are no limits to the spirit (human or animal/wolf) when one of your own is threatened. Those are powerful images and ideas and Meghan Black gives the reader a taste, a look, into that world.
Adorned by Resonant
She said that this was first written in a much shorter form and it was depressing. Well angst without a happy ending isn't in my happy box - but thank goodness she picked it up again and reworked the story, because it's wonderful. Ray wants to give something to Fraser to mark their relationship (i.e., a bracelet or something) but Fraser's not one to wear the bracelet. This is a wonderfully structured story, and we follow Ray as he tries to find some way to 'mark' their connection.
American Way by Resonant
Benton Fraser must become an American to help solve a case involving stolen pieces of Canadian art. Benton Fraser as an American is sexy as hell, and the reader has to watch from afar as Ray is the only one that 'Ben' wants - which believe me, is so okay with me. The story offers humor, damn sexy Mountie and flatfoot, and the scene in the kitchen literally made this romantic's heart do double time. One of the scenes, with Ray needing confirmation of Ben/Fraser's true feelings...wow. It reminded me of a heartbreaking moment in one of her other pieces, another wonderful story, "Broadway Hotel".
Does a Body Good by Rowan
For anyone who *really* insists that Fraser is Mr. All Around Prim, Proper and Polite, I dare them to read this and then keep that pristine image. Granted, they'll have to pick their jaws up off the floor first. Not only am I just in awe of Rowan's talents, but also she has written a story about Fraser's un-Mountie and total "guy" quirk. And thank the stars that she did. This is a PG-rated piece and that's just because a certain Ray (Kowalski, of course) has to go and take something as 'innocent' as drinking milk out of the carton and make it so much more. And how. Not that *I* would do anything like that, no siree. All joking aside, Rowan has created a story that has a lot to say – and I envy Ray's opportunity to see the, ah, show Fraser puts on, whether he realizes it or not. Nothing like a simple act on a hot Chicago day (I've lived through my fair share), combined with some sexual tension and all-out aesthetic appreciation (to the point, this fic inspired an image in one of my own pieces) to make for a wonderful story.
And her Billy Tallent/Tobias Beecher recommendation:
Blue Eyes by Fannie Adams
I'll start by saying this, I am not one for angst, but one of my other fandoms, OZ, doesn't really provide a lot of fluffy romance (just love, pain, kissing, pain, declarations of true love, pain, and sacrificing yourself for love) and it's not like HARD CORE LOGO is exactly a skip through happy fields. This piece was written in response to a lyric wheel for an OZ list, and it does take in some AU-ness in that one of the characters mentioned didn't really commit suicide. The pairing here is Billy Tallent and Tobias Beecher (aka, Toby, from OZ), two damaged men who loved, lost and were broken for both the love and the loss. They can see one another's demons, they share a pain, and sometimes that's what you need to remember, as well as to help forget. This piece never fails to tear me up, but I go back again and again in awe ... and then console myself with quite a few 'happily ever afters' from due South.
Lys' recommendation is:
Eight Sessions by Speranza
Recently I came across a story by an author whose work I enjoy reading. The author is Speranza. I always find her characterizations, plot, motivations all quite believable and excellent and very true to both men. This story fits my mode of a story I love - a story I can dive into, visualize and get lost in while I read...this one did that and more. If you like an equal amount of angst thrown in to a story as well as good plot and characterization, you'll like this one. It's a story about a shooting and what police officers go through after being involved in one. It's main impetus though is the relationship between Ray and Ben. She did an excellent job here on a subject that's hard to deal with, and made it believable. This is also a story that I can see myself rereading several times.
Callie's recommendations are:
The Pretender and Loving Him by Bast
I really love the way that Bast depicts Ray and Fraser in these two stories. And you know they belong together despite all the obstacles. Plus, Bast gets them dead on in both stories, one which is written from Ray's POV ("The Pretender") while the other is Fraser's ("Loving Him"). Either one of these stories is just so good; together they're marvelous.
Kamikaze Pilots by Jennifer Allen
This is such a sweet story from both Fraser and Ray's points of view. I especially like the way Fraser and Ray get together and how Jennifer manages to portray a gentle and binding affection between them. It's just a wonderful story that I know you'll enjoy.
Peeps Revenge by MR
I'm crazy for a funny story that shows Ray and Fraser in love. And the thought of Fraser being brought down by a small piece of candy just makes me giggle. Meanwhile, Ray is just so Ray here. The story is adorable and I know you will enjoy it as much as I do.
This is a beautiful story from Ray's landlady's pont of view as she listens to the sounds from the apartment directly above. I just love the way you can perceive Fraser, Ray and Dief through her eyes (and ears). The last line for me 'it sounds a lot more hopeful and a lot less lonely' describes Fraser and Ray so well. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.