(If you've never seen the show, the crack_van summary might help you. Just cause, well, you shouldn't miss out on the joy that is Dan and Casey and Jeremy and Natalie and Isaac and Dana.)
Synergy by merryish is about what happens when Natalie fails to appear at work one day. It’s one of the best ensemble fics out there: I love Dan/Casey, which this is too, but what I love best is that sense from the show of all these crazy people working together, around each other, and occasionally thwarting each other, but always caring. Here we get that sense in spades, and I love this fic for it. It helps that the author’s really caught the particular SN brand of crazy, too, the show’s ever-so-slightly-off-centre view of the world.
Four Conversations About Sandwiches by starfishchick shows how perfect a therapist Abby is for Dan. They just get each other; they work in ways the other can understand, because they’re both weird. This is a lovely illustration of that, as well as of the fact that office life really does revolve around food. Both those things make it feel delightfully close to canon, and just, aww, yay. It makes me want to rewatch my DVDs right now.
Granted by meadowlion is a very short snippet which explains a hell of a lot more about Dan than its length would imply, and despite the fact that it’s also a fairly traditional – and very cute – Dan/Casey first time fic. I especially like how it recaptures the sense from canon that Dan and Casey’s love for each other is easy: they both completely adore each other on the show, and despite my tendency towards the angsty and the complicated, having that natural balance between them done so beautifully is really nice to see.
Untitled by littera_abactor is a story in which everything’s the fault of the girl Casey’s been seeing, and there is little more canonical than that. Hee. Basically, it’s a day in the crazy life of the Sports Night crew, with all that entails: cute and fuzzies, Natalie being invoked as a weapon, and a whole lot of weirdness. Feels just like an episode we didn’t get to see, and that is praise indeed.
Gynecology by Charlemagne (whose LJ, if existant, I know not of, so feel free to tell me if you do). This is the Dan’s A Woman fic par excellence. And before you run away, I don’t, thankfully, mean that Dan literally is or becomes a woman: just that this fic takes the “I’ll stick you under a hairdryer!” jokes from canon, and gives Dan a chance to think about that a little. It’s cute and charming and funny, as well, like all the best Sports Night fics should be.
Even Sugar Peas Run Out Of Snap by callmesandy is the one truly angsty story I’m going to rec. I want my Dan and Casey to find happiness in the end, together if not together. This fic, though, points out in the saddest of true ways that it isn’t always that easy; it’s beautifully, impeccably written, with perfect details, and it breaks my heart every damn time.
A Better Game by kestrelsan is the SN story I’ve read which best incorporates the way the show has of turning sports into art. In the process, this story helped give me a glimpse of why anyone, anywhere, ever, might give a toss about baseball. It certainly helped explain why Danny does, while also managing to be a beautiful and whistful look at the inevitable imperfection of life. Which sounds depressing, but it’s weirdly not… it’s kind of like looking out of the window and watching the rain fall.
You Get What You Need by corilannam is a long, fulfilling gem of a story where Dan and Casey have to figure their way through some stuff – namely, both their feelings for each other and an actual plot. A good plot, too, although Bad Things happen. And handily for us, it’s also fantastically written. This is the kind of meaty goodness that I wish more people would write, dangit: there is a sequel, but after something so plot-rich, it paled in comparison.
Being an Anchor and its sequel Location, Location, Location by lanning. This is something I didn’t think I’d ever do, but here I go: I’m reccing a rape fic. I’m doing it warily, and in the knowledge that this fic is neither perfect nor without some of those aspects of rape fic as a genre which bother me. However, generally speaking, it’s worth it: it actually tries very hard to do the seriousness of the subject matter justice, and mostly it succeeds. I think the main thing that mollifies my inner shriek of “gaaah, rape fic!” is that not only does it have a much better handle on the aftermath than most, it actually discusses the reasons for rape… and I’ll just say right now that I haven’t been able to look at the rapist character in the same way since, it does that good a job of showing how their canon behaviour could lead to this. I thought he was a smarmy git anyway, but now, gah. It even does pretty damn well at navigating the traditional Hurt/Comfort tropes that tend to bother me, but really, I’d recommend you read it for other reasons. For instance, there is a lot of fabulous and funny banter, decent length appearances by all major characters (I especially love the Natalie), and some really touching and believable moments.
Five Things That Never Happened to Dan Rydell by shrift. I love good Five Things fics: done well, these little glimpses into alternative universes manage to be gorgeous stories which also manage to get you to think about canon in a new way. And this, my friends, is one of the best Five Things fics I’ve ever read. Shrift is excellent generally, and with this mix of heartwrending angst and cuteness she’s surpassed herself – I especially love the glimpse of Dan as a dad, but every one is thought-provoking and totally worth spending your time on. Meet Dan Rydell as we never knew him, and realise why you love him all over again. Masterful.
The Story of the Hurricane by scrunchy is technically an AU, but really it’s more like they’re just… shifted a few degrees to the left. To become, er meterology nerds. This is, for some reason, inherantly cute. I also connect this to the show’s link with Galveston, Texas... it makes sense in my head that if in some alternative world Natalie’s the weathergirl for Good Morning Galveston, Dan and Casey should also be experiencing hurricanes and such right along with her.
Weekend by Raietta (whose LJ I also do not know). This is set during the Great Second Season Rift between Dan and Casey, when it looks like their friendship might not be indestructable after all, and looks at how that’s affected the lives of everyone around them. Here, the person affected is Charlie McCall… and god, I love Charlie. I especially love Dan’s relationship with Charlie, how clearly he adores this kid who is so very much Casey’s son. And this story does both those things justice, which is saying a lot.
Like Sailing and Home Runs and Not Homophobic by out_there. For some reason I feel the need to point out epics right now, and these are both Epic OMG. That’s a hell of a lot of words, and will keep you going through a long winter evening or two. However, you’ll then finish those two long, fairly plotty pieces and long for more. And fair enough, because Annie writes Dan and Casey like nobody’s business; she’s got a lovely, light style, a sense of the ridiculous that mimics the show beautifully, and so clearly loves these characters that it’s a delight to see. But never fear: she’s written a lot of fic about Sports Night, and all of it is at least worth reading. Some of it falls slightly on the sappier side than I generally like, but, well, this is a fandom where Danny being upset over Casey missing their anniversary is canonical, and that’s even before we get into things like Casey thinking roses and carriage rides in Central Park are the epitome of romance. Who am I to argue with canon? :)
Djibouti by linabean and darthfox is the Danny Turns Thirty story. It had to happen, and frankly, I’m glad it happened like this: it’s adorable, and funny, and is generally excellent Sports Night fun. (The other major characters are actually in it too! And are done really well! So happymaking.) It’s also a little pornier than my usual fanfic tastes in SN, but, well, I know you people are all perverts. And really, the only people who shouldn't read this are those who don't want to know what precocious twelve year olds get up to at camp. Heh.