1. John Crichton and Scorpius. It ought to be John and Aeryn, I know, or even Aeryn and Bialar Crais, or John and Chiana, or Chiana and Aeryn. But the evil black-clad renegade and the confused charismatic pilot share one of the hottest moments ever on television, one of those moments where you blink because you cannot believe you just saw that at 7.15 in the evening. To confirm their pact, Scorpius slashes John's hand and sucks the blood, slashes his own and smears pale ichor on John's lips. John knows that Scorpius wants to own him body and soul, and his relationship with the Scorpy in his head is deliciously uneasy. Crichton is just clueless about the whole lust thing - they don't swear blood oaths in Kansas.
2. Cordelia and Faith. Of major pairings in fanfic, this has to be one of the least canonical ever - two characters who hardly said ten words to each other on screen. And yet, both are Buffy shadows, both are obsessed with Angel, both have chemistry with staggering numbers of other characters - and I lust after both of them, let us be clear. I need to write at length about why I got obsessed with the pairing - partly my own drag queen history, and partly my doomed love for a beautiful psycho, and partly a sense that here was a pairing of rich passionate fucked-upness which it would be fun to play for angst and in canon. After all, the reason they speak to each other so little has got to be that they are playing it cool in front of others...
3.Jack and Irina. He loves her so much he wants her shot by a firing squad for betraying him and his country, which is not hers. She loves him so passionately she betrayed him with his best friend because she could and it woudl hurt him. And the daughter they made together may one day destroy the greatest power in the world. It makes shagging until a house falls down seem pretty tame.
4. Angel and Darla. She loves him so much she is prepared to die a human death for the sake of his approval; she loves him so much she walks out on her sire and the whole world of darkness; she forgives his having a soul and never believes he would kill her for a cheerleader. He kills her and then puts himself in mortal jeopardy to save her returned human life, and tries to kill her again to stop her rising as a vampire. And she utters a line earlier than that which is one of the most romantic ever, up there with 'Garance! Garance!' in my favourite film, "No matter how good a boy you are, God doesn't want you - but I still do."
5. Nate and Brenda. She betrays him all the time - one of her other lovers tells her that she is addicted to betrayal, not sex, and that is surely true. He betrays her - he has sex with his ex-girlfriend the ghastly Lisa - and that comes back to bite them both when he is sick, and tired of being betrayed. And yet they will always end up back together, because they fit.
I am quite surprised that three of my five are straight couples, though none of them is even a bit vanilla, so that's OK then. And there are other possibles - Giles and Ethan, Brian and Justin, Janeway and Seven - and then there's opera, where we are not going to go. Not this time.
And then there are
1. Aeryn Sun - such a cliche, but the toughest softest woman in television. She wants redemption and gets it, but she doesn't waste time being sorry for all the crimes she was reared to. There is a grim satisfaction on her face in Peacekeeper Wars when she finally finds out where her people went wrong - she is a woman who likes to see things that are broken finally fixed.
2. Illyria - so ancient and powerful that concepts like good and evil hardly apply, conscious of being a broken thing and stained with the consequence of the woman who was annihilated to bring her back into the world, suddenly female and human in most respects and angrily clueless about what this means. A few episodes gave us a great character and cancellation took her away again.
3. Audrey Horn. A terrifying young woman with a mouth like a lewd angel. Good was never what she was, it was a side she had more or less chosen. The moment with the cherry stalk is a cliche, but it was still a great moment.
4. Cloned Ripley - half human and half something else, she stalks her sexual prey with a sardonic leer on her face whether it is the little robot girl or the creatures she is sworn to destroy but is now sister to or just the thug she tests herself against. Whedon took the character from the earlier films and changed her into something else - she came back wrong, but it is a wrong that is very right indeed.
5. Lilah Morgan. Bad to the bone and yet in love; realistic about the consequences of her choices and prepared to live and die with them; and another of Whedon's great sexual predators, flirting with men, women and monsters that could break her in seconds because flirtation is part of her way of being brave.
6. Philip Marlowe - I am a junky for noir and this bitter snobbish private eye is just about the best there is whether played by Dick Powell, Bogart, Mitchum or Elliott Gould. And one of the great slash relationships of fiction is Marlowe and Terry in 'The Long Goodbye' - not so much in the otherwise good film - and you realize that a man as homophobic as Chandler clearly was had all sorts of issues. And you can forgive both author and character for a line like 'The stars were a long way off, but not as far as Velma had gone.'
7. D'Artagnan, definitely in the Michael York incarnation. Stubborn, dim-witted, loyal and a genius with a sword. I just love those films - the clumsy doomed loving Constance; the grim charming Cardinal; and Milady de Winter, who almost deserves a hotty spot of her own when played by Faye Dunaway, the part she was born to play.
8. Lymond. Dorothy Dunnett's think-his-way-out-of-the seventh-problem-down-the-track-while-fig
9. Frankie - Angelina Jolie in a tight uniform. Enough said.
And everyone who made the pairings list, of course, so no tenth.
And thanks to hjcallipygian for that.