Pairing: Leslie Knope/Ben Wyatt
Blurb: Parks and Recreation snuck up on me. I watched an episode from season one and didn't care for it, but then people on my LJ reading list kept talking about it, so I tried it again... and yeah, it was fun. I loved Leslie Knope and her often-crazy determination and enthusiasm. "Galentine's Day" from season two was the episode that truly converted me to fan status, because Leslie did what so few adult women do in sitcoms: break up with someone because the relationship wasn't right and then move on, sad but okay.
So I didn't need a Ben Wyatt to show up, but he did... and he liked Leslie and her over-the-top antics. And the show did this weird thing of having an actual obstacle to the relationship that wasn't a third person forming a ridiculously artificial triangle, and suddenly I wasn't just rooting for Leslie, I was rooting for the pair of them to find some way to be together. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. I'm not the person who ends up shipping fandom's favorite pair--until this show.
So I love Leslie and Ben as a team, and the fact that the show has given them growth as a couple and plausible setbacks makes me like them even more. Plus there's canon sexy-times political role-playing, which is hilarifying and adorable. Oh, and I forgot to mention that their love for each other is now part of the official city records.
I even like them enough to post gifs. (Normally I hate gifs with a fiery burning passion. Sorry, that's a weird me thing. eta: not a weird me thing, but that first gif isn't moving! What's up with that?)
(I tried not to include any fics that have already been recced... which means you should definitely take a look at the Leslie/Ben tag here and read the others, because some of my other favorites are there. If you do spot a repeat rec, please let me know!)
Fic Rec #1: How Ben Wyatt Quits the Government and Finds Himself
Why This Must Be Read: jncar has a knack for plots that fit the characters. This story was written between seasons three and four; it's now AU, but it was compelling and plausible enough that sometimes I have to remind myself that on the show, Entertainment 7-20 failed. (In this fic, Ben Wyatt helped save Tom and Jean-Ralphio from their nightmarish mismanagement of the company.) Four chapters, complete.
Fic Rec #2 Power Struggle
Why This Must Be Read: Just 700 words, it's a funny and sexy glimpse at Ben and Leslie during sex, in all their ridiculously verbose glory.
Fic Rec #3: A Fool for Lesser Things
Why This Must Be Read: "Smallest Park" was LIT-erally the most inspiring episode for Leslie/Ben shippers. This story gives an in-depth look at both Leslie and Ben's emotional states after what happens. They talk about their feelings! It's sad and sweet and shippy and awesome!
Fic Rec #4: Build Something
Why This Must Be Read: "The Trial of Leslie Knope" had that fantastic ending; this story starts just before that and adds on a sweet coda.
Fic Rec #5: A Pawnee Thanksgiving
Why This Must Be Read: "Smallest Park" aired near Thanksgiving, which gave the fic writers a chance to do post-episode holiday stories. This is my favorite--it switches POV so we have glimpses of the ensemble cast and what Leslie and Ben seem like as a couple to others. Funny, charming and the author has an excellent voice for all of the characters. (April's POV might be my favorite.)
Fic Rec #6: Who More Engilds the Night
Why This Must Be Read: The episode "Go Big or Go Home" mixed with Shakespeare's A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. Do I need to say anything else? Oh, wait, there's some adorable fanart by craponaspatula, too.
Fic Rec #7: Of Twain, Trousers, Trick-or-Treaters and Tuesdays
Why This Must Be Read: The author's summary says, "The very good reason why Leslie never thought Ben's "clay-mache" obsession was a sign of depression." Funny, nerd-tastic Leslie/Ben watching movies together and talking about stop-motion animation.
Fic Rec #8: Solving the Debt Crisis
Why This Must Be Read: from the parksandreckink prompt of "How April and Andy find out," this includes some of the Angela Merkel/Nicolas Sarkozy roleplay that we know Leslie and Ben do. Sexy, but mostly hilariously funny.
Fic Rec #9: The Trial by Leslie Knope
Why This Must Be Read: a work in progress (3 lengthy chapters posted so far), this is future fic with established Leslie/Ben and a side of messed-up Ann Perkins/Chris Traeger. It's definitely plotty rather than shippy. I really like this author's characterization of Leslie.
Fic Rec #10: Bumping and Grinding Teeth
Why This Must Be Read: A mid-season three story--Ben is already living with April and Andy, but Leslie and Ben aren't in a relationship yet. P&R fandom hasn't ignored the potential for drunk-fic; here, it's Ben's turn to need a ride home from a highly amused Leslie. Some enjoyable moments as Ben's crush slips out while his filters are down.