But first, I need to highlight some of the amazing fics I’ve read this year, mostly as a way to keep track of what I’ve already read, but also as a shout-out to the incredible talent that makes up this wonderful fandom! I'm continually shocked, overwhelmed, and thrilled, and just as often crumbling in tears over the creativity and imaginative power of these writers, not to mention the craft and mastery of the written word on display every minute for my consumption. Free! This just doesn't seem real sometimes and I have to pinch myself on a regular basis to be sure I'm not swimming around in some djinn-induced coma of fic-reading pleasure!
This was only my second full year in the Supernatural fandom, and I really didn’t do much reading during my first year of writing (I was terrified I might plagiarize somebody without meaning to!) So this is the first time I’ve kept track of my reading. I probably left comments on things I don’t remember during 2014, before it occurred to me to keep a list, but I guess those are lost forever, except what I managed to bookmark on AO3.
Anyway, here’s my random, out-of-order, desperately incomplete list of The Best Fics I Read in 2015. This list isn’t in any particular order, I’m afraid. Nor is it comprehensive (I know I’ve left out a few fics that really excited and inspired me! I firmly resolve to do better in 2016!) Sometimes I left the author’s summary, sometimes I just added my own comments or notes (in italics). Some of these stories were posted in 2015 and some in previous years. Most of them are Wincest or J2, although a few are Gen because apparently I really enjoy reading those too! (Thanks to elwarre for convincing me to participate in the 2015 summergen challenge, thus breaking me out of my comfort zone!)
O Sea-Starved, Hungry Sea (Sam/Dean, R) by stripytights
Sam gets bit by a selkie and starts turning into one. Things get really, really intense. The imagery, the tension, the sheer gorgeousness of the language, the boys not talking in the car. The eventual, long-repressed admission of want and desire. It's all here! Pretty much perfect, this fic.
For the Time Being by de_nugis (Sam/Dean/Castiel, R)
This is a curtain fic told from Castiel's POV. Castiel reflects on the Winchesters' mortality, on the bunker and its magical properties, and on his future after the Winchesters are gone. There are spot-on observations of Sam's and Dean's personalities, gorgeous seasonal references (Sam's eye-color changing to woods-in-winter as he ages while Dean's eyes stay eternally summer is amazing!) and an imaginary cat.
Where Sam & Dean Leave Off and We Begin by runedgirl (Jared/Jensen, NC-17 eventually)
First posted in 2007! Jared/Jensen super-slow burn. Gorgeous writing. I love everything this writer does, and I never have enough time to read it! I think this one may have been her first fic. I'm trying to read them all.
But the Days and Nights Are Long by sharlot1926 (Sam & Dean, Gen but Rated Mature, I would say, for violence, and subject matter.)
Dean suffers a traumatic brain injury. Sam tries to save him. This fic is so good it's hard to describe! Sam cares for Dean after he suffers an injury that almost kills him, then becomes increasingly frustrated as Dean recovers just enough to be permanently disabled. It's heart-breaking to read Dean pleading with Sam to accept him the way he is, while Sam is obviously desperate to fix him, sending Bobby on wild-goose chase after wild-goose chase until the older hunter finally abandons them, convinced Sam's obsessive behavior is dangerous and bound to get them killed. It's hard to read Sam being so angry and miserable, harder still to read Dean believing he's a burden on Sam, believing Sam hates him now. Painful, but definitely worth it, and with a happy ending, but not the one you might expect. Not Wincest per se, but oh the brotherly feels!
miles to go before I sleep by Trojie. (Sam/Dean, Explicit)
Sam needs Dean to take him to pieces. Dean does. This story is hot and sad; desperate pre-series boys (Dean is 20, Sam 16) filling holes in each other's lives with violence, gunplay, blood and the safety they can only find in each other. A little dark, maybe, and definitely explicit, but so worth it for the brilliant writing and compelling characterizations.
Paperweight by viviansface (Jared/Jensen, R)
Jensen is a writer whose android dream-boy character comes to life on New Year's Eve and begs for his life. So angsty and sweet! Sexy without being explicit, and with a happy ending!
I Dream the Rest Away by Whispered Story. (Sam/Dean, Explicit) After John's death, Dean finds a photo of their family - Mary, John, his four-year-old self, and a baby Dean never knew existed. After I wrote my boys raised apart fic, I searched the tag on AO3 and found this gem. It’s awesome.
Charmer and Gentle by steeplechasers (Sam & Dean, Gen) Told from the POV of a convenience store clerk in Lebanon, Kansas, this story packs just the right amount of dread and heartbreak, giving us a glimpse over time of the Winchesters' lives, their hunts and tragedies, from the perspective of a lonely, small-town shop girl who gives all her customers nick names and wishes they would just stop and talk to her once in a while.
Gone for Good I usually don't read dark!fic, but this one by tipsy_kitty is so heart-breaking, so real, it goes on my list. Demon!Dean tortures Sam in ways only Dean would be able to do, and it's just horrific in the truest sense of horror.
It's No Better To Be Safe Than Sorry by deirdre_c (Sam/Dean, PG-13) Wonderful casefic inspired by "Take On Me," one of the best music videos of the '80s (yes, I'm that old!) Dean falls into a comic book and Sam is desperate to save him. Wincest! But not explicit. With wonderful artwork by fiercelynormal
The Rose Colored Glasses of Life (Sam & Dean, Gen) by frozen_delight
The idea that after all they've been through Dean still thinks Sam could leave him is just the saddest damn thing ever. And the fact that I'm totally convinced of that, despite the fact that I can't imagine either of them living without the other, is what makes this story so incredible (I could say quietly brilliant, but there's blood and violence, so not so quiet, I guess ;-) So many kudos!
The Intuitive Art of Touch by stripytights (Sam Wesson/Dean Smith, NC-17)
The look that Dean’s giving him isn’t a look that belongs to Dean Smith, vice president of marketing. It’s older and darker, and Sam’s seen it before, quite literally in his dreams. The shaving fic. All the intimacy, Dean's funny fastidiousness and management-speak, Sam's certainty that this is something familiar, that this stranger is somehow important to him, all make for a fic that is just awesome.
Courting Death by TheProblematique (Sam/Dean, R)
Sam's brother dies when Sam is a baby, and Sam is raised by his father to be a hunter. After John dies, Sam becomes increasingly reckless, hunting on his own, lonely and obsessive and careless. Then one day he almost dies in a fire, but the gorgeous green-eyed reaper who comes for him won't reap him. No matter how close to death Sam comes thereafter, the same beautiful pop-culture-quoting reaper is there to save him every time. This is one of the first Sam/Dean stories I can remember reading, and it's still one of my favorites. Very romantic, sometimes sad with some mild body-horror, often hilarious, somehow just pitch-perfect.
Behold a Pale Horse by cherie_morte (Sam/Dean, R)
Sam discovers a way to complete the third trial and close the gates of Hell, but at a terrible sacrifice. Years later, Sam is killed on a hunt, and the reaper who comes for him is – surprise! – his brother, who isn't exactly keen to reap him. Yes, I sense a pattern here. I really love this trope, what can I say? This one is bloody and grotesque, with lots of body horror, and the ending is just gory and perfect (and gory!)
ForKeeps by fools_game (Sam/Dean, R)
Sam was a cat, now he just wants Dean to treat him like one. Only maybe now that he's human again, there's more to it than that. This is something I stumbled on but never want to lose again because it's just THAT AWESOME!