Hold It All At Bay by psocoptera (NC-17)

Title: Hold It All At Bay
Fandom: Check Please!
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Psychic abilities, Soul Bond, Drama, Romance, Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Epic (49957 words)
Warnings: Consent issues by way of emotional projection

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] psocoptera
Author Website: psocoptera

Summary:

The theory of extrapolative synchronization of the mirror neurons was debunked back when he was still in his teens, so Jack is reluctant to mention that he can smell Bitty's pies baking from across campus.

Review:

As odd as it may sound, I really enjoy a little realism in my fantasy. Not realism in terms of how the fantasy world's people behave, but realism in the scientific sense. If a fantasy setting has magic, then there should be rules that the magic follows. If there are mermaids, then it would only make sense for them to have gills. And et cetera.

psocoptera takes the soul bond trope and dissects it through two differing perspectives: the scientific and the spiritual. Jack, who is extremely empathic, takes a controversial medication to dull his receptiveness to others' emotions. Bitty was taught as a child to redirect his attention in order to control his emotions, as they tended to reach out and influence others'. The contrast of their respective regimens alone is, for me, the most fascinating aspect of a story with a vast but lightly explored backstory.

Contrast in general is the name of the game in Hold It All At Bay. Not only do Bitty and Jack's upbringings contrast, but their reactions to their respective feelings differ in the extreme. They even contrast with their canonical and fanonical characterizations. Though Jack is canonically prone to anxiety, Bitty calms and centers him in psocoptera's story, and Jack accepts what he feels for Bitty with considerably more ease than Bitty does. A pivotal portion of the romantic plot is actually focused on Bitty's anxiety regarding Jack and the possibility that Bitty's forceful ability has accidentally forced an emotional attachment that Jack believed to be genuine.

The alternating POVs provide vast insight into Bitty and Jack's respective thoughts, but I found the outside POVs to be especially charming. They're well written with distinctive voices that give a strong sense of the personality behind them. The original characters that are introduced have flavor and depth, and while I personally disagree with psocoptera's decision to make Shitty not believe in ESMN, him and the other canon characters read so remarkably true to Ngoizi's vision.

Hold It All At Bay

Freeze on the Stones by Robin4 (NC-17)

Title: Freeze on the Stones
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Pairing: Belle/Rumplestiltskin, Emma/?, Regina/?
Categories: Drama, AU, For Want Of A Nail, Darker and Grittier, Romance, Family, Redemption
Length:  Super-Epic (635 000 words)
Warnings: Non-con, Torture, lots of non-consensual things going on, violence, a couple of the more evil characters die

Author Website: Robin 4 on AO3 or Robin 4 on fanfiction.net


Author’s Summary:
One choice can change fate. Regina chooses love, Snow stays silent, and Cora casts the curse. Rumplestiltskin knows that trusting Cora with that much power is dangerous—but he has no choice if he wants to find his son. 28 years later, Gold and Regina awaken in Storybrooke and must work together to make the Savior believe.
Yes, this Storybrooke is far darker than the one you know.


Regarding the warnings:
A theme that comes up several times in Freeze on the Stones is the nature of consent and responsibility. Multiple characters are magically mind-controlled in various ways and encouraged or forced to harm or betray others. The different approaches and the different ways characters deal with it are interesting, but unflinching.

If you’re not comfortable with reading about people being trapped or forced into doing things, I’d definitely advise giving this fic a miss. None of the bad stuff is romanticised, but a lot of it is graphic. (Also, two men become better people because they are in love with good women. Which seems like a rather dodgy message to me.)


Review:
Freeze on the Stones assumes knowledge of canon. I would expect someone unfamiliar with canon to find the characters and circumstances hard to follow. However, the story takes the time to develop the characters it focuses on, so a basic grasp of the TV series is definitely enough to get you through.

Despite being a very long story, Freeze on the Stones is actually relatively fast-paced. It follows multiple people at any point and generally gives them one scene a chapter for the length of their story arc. Unusually for this style of writing, I only rarely found one story arc less compelling than the others. All the scenes were all well-written enough to be compelling, even when I didn’t particularly care for the main characters.

As you have probably gathered, this is a for want of a nail alternate universe, which explores what might have happened had it been Cora who cast the curse that created Storybrooke. While the result is very recognisable - the same characters in the same area in similar circumstances - there are many fascinating reversals from canon Season 1.

One of the more interesting themes it explores is Rumplestiltskin’s relationship with power. In canon, he feels extremely powerless without his magic, despite having sufficient money, reputation and blackmail to unquestionably be the most powerful person in town. In Freeze on the Stones, he is faced with a mayor who has the magical knowledge and viciousness to threaten him. It’s enjoyable to watch him deal with both that and a more equal relationship with the heroes.

Regina’s story is not about choosing between power and the people who love her, but about endlessly attempting to save the people she loves from her mother. It makes for less character development, as Regina simply ages to be more confident and caring. However, she is more active as a hero than a villain, so we still get a good look at her character and it is hard not to feel for her quiet sadness, calm compassion and desperate need to protect those she loves.

Freeze on the Stones at AO3
Freeze on the Stones at ff.net

Shadows in the River Fog series by NoHolds (PG-15)

Title: Shadows in the River Fog series
Fandom: Dishonored
Pairing: Gen
Categories/Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Family, Violence, Low Chaos
Length: Medium (13,183 words)
Warnings: Canonical character death, child abuse

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: NoHolds

Summary:

Corvo Attano continues to defy expectation.

Review:

Joining the ranks of many similar video games, Dishonored's Corvo Attano is a silent protagonist. He's a blank slate with no reactions beyond what the player chooses to assign to him. Whether he massacres his way through the game or puts every single NPC he can find into a sleeper hold is utterly up to the player's discretion, though the end is, uncommonly, influenced by the means.

What NoHolds does is generate Corvo's personality, mannerisms, and even posture all from scratch. She invents him, fills him in like a coloring page even as she makes him suit her image. It truly is a marvelous thing to see.

Each story in the series is from the perspective of a different character, and each in their turn describes Corvo through the filter of their experiences with him. Samuel, a stranger, looks on in curiosity. Daud reflects on his guilt. Emily's soft, kind memories are torn ragged by what she experiences at the hands of her kidnappers and what she is told by them about Corvo. Through each tinted lens they provide, the reader is able to glean something new about NoHold's imagining of Corvo, and the picture each glimpse paints is a marvelous portrait indeed.

Shadows in the River Fog

the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world by thyrza (NC-17)

Title: the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world
Fandom: Iron Man Noir
Pairing: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Categories: Romance, Angst, Drama, Post-Canon
Length: Long [~25 000]
Warnings: Comic Book Violence, some mentions of medical procedures that can be uncomfortable

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] stray_heart/thyrza
Author Website: thyrza's AO3

Summary: Tony Stark disappeared without a word at the close of World War II, and hasn't been seen or heard from since. When Commander Steve Rogers, newly retired from the mantle of Captain America, arrives in Madripoor to investigate the presence of a Hydra cell, he is reunited with his former lover. But Tony is keeping secrets of his own ... and Steve soon finds out he isn't the only person interested in Tony Stark's missing years.


Review:

This is a Steve/Tony story written for the Cap/Iron Man Big Bang a couple of years ago and and even better for one of the more obscure canon versions of Tony Stark. It’s based on the Iron Man Noir mini-series from 2010 in which Tony Stark is not only a genius inventor, but also an Indiana Jones style adventurer with his own pulp magazine that fictionalizes his exploits. He has run-in’s with Nazi’s like Baron von Strucker and Baron Zemo and it’s implied at the end that he’ll join the war effort at the end of the comic.

This Big Bang story takes that as a given and jumps ahead in time to the post-war era and is told entirely from the perspective of Steve, who we learn was indeed Captain America during World War II and is now “retired”, but still works for SHIELD - not as Captain America, but as Steve Rogers. Tony Stark has vanished right after the war and his whereabouts and reasons for leaving remain a mystery to Steve until he’s sent on a new mission.

While the main story takes place in 1947, the set-up and most of the exposition, is done very deftly through the use of flashbacks, that give us the missing background for the romance and go into some details of their time together during the war, before the real action starts.

The story is very well written and has some of the most heart-breaking angsty Tony moments imaginable. It does go some dark places, before things get better, but nothing darker than the original mini-series (which was full of pulpy violence and noir themes). The author does a good job of using the cast and little details that the mini-series’ worldbuilding provided and add re-interpretations of other Marvel universe plots and characters to build upon it. It’s a very engaging read, a very emotional adventures and some of the moments of desperation and fear driving the main characters here were probably among the best I ever read.

It’s likely helpful to know the gist of the 4 issue mini-series, but there is so much original worldbuilding going on here that it can also be read without much canon knowledge.

the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world

Hazy by Minuiko

Title: Hazy
Fandom: Marvel MCU
Pairing: Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers
Categories: Angst, Friendship, Post-Canon,
Length: 1.5 minutes
Warnings:

Author on LJ:
Website: Minuiko on Tumblr

Summary: If I forget who I am would you please remind me?

Review: This is a beautiful lyrics comic. The colors and art are amazing. And Minuiko picked the perfect song to use for Bucky and Steve's relationship

It is fairly short but definitely worth a watch.

Comic
Video

Defender by Kalliopeia (Teen)

Title: Defender
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: gen
Categories: friendship, kids, bittersweet, pre-canon, child pov
Length: Medium, 2,820 words
Warnings: Bullying (perpetrated by a teacher, no less) and prejudice, cruelty to animals, implied childhood abuse (physical or psychological) and implied neglect (pretty much canonical). Some blood.

Author on Livejournal: n/a?
Author Website: Kalliopeia on fanfiction.net

Summary: Nathan and Duke, age seven, shave their second grade teacher's cat. Come for the shenanigans, stay for the implications. Not intended as a fluff piece.

Review: Again I bring a fic that to all intents and purposes should be fluffy, and comedic, and cute, and in actuality definitely isn't. The adorable moments and the funny moments (there are a few) are far outweighed by the depths of Haven's history and vast divisions lurking in the background underneath. From a seven year old perspective of innocence, nothing is spelled out, so this fic rewards canon knowledge for what exactly is going on between the adult characters. There are some downright disturbing implications between the lines, to be honest. We know what happened to this relationship next, but not exactly what happened to degenerate things to the level of the Tacks Incident.

But everything is so simple and innocent here, in this snapshot of a childhood event between two friends supposed to be on opposite sides of the town's divide. The basic idea, of seven year old Duke deciding to be the defender of Nathan, is just too heartbreaking in context.

You may get another bonus Haven rec from me today or tomorrow, if I have chance, to celebrate this week's return of the show's (probable) final season.

Defender

The Trouble with Threesomes and Supernatural Soul Mates by Akira_of_the_Twilight

Title: The Trouble with Threesomes and Supernatural Soul Mates
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Chris Argent/Peter Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: Angst, AU,Slash, First Time, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Supernatural.
Length: Epic [87983 words]
Warnings: Canon Levels of Violence, Minor Characters Deaths, Age Diference, Alpha!Peter.

Author Website: Akira_of_the_Twilight(on AO3)

Summary: Peter looked at Stiles from the corner of his blue eyes and smirked. Stiles swore he saw a flash of red Peter’s eyes, but it might of have been his brain’s lack of oxygen making him hallucinate. “I’m looking for my soul mate. Christopher Argent. I believe he volunteered to be taken in for questioning.”

An iron fist clenched Stiles' heart. This man was Argent’s—Christopher’s soul mate?

Stiles stared at the Peter’s wrist, examining every detail of Peter's soul mark. Stiles couldn’t find anything different between his and the blond’s.

Stiles lifted his hand and ghosted his fingers along Peter’s forearm.

It was lightning all over again, and Stiles yanked his hand back, only to have it caught in an unbreakable grip.

Frosty blue eyes burrowed into Stiles', and he couldn’t stop himself from gulping. The smirk on Peter’s lips grew as the corner of his mouth quirked higher, and he drew Stiles’ hand close to his face.

Peter’s nostrils flared slightly as he stared at Stiles’ soul mark. He pulled Stiles forward, pressing soft lips to Stiles wrist.

“Now what would your name be?” Peter purred.
[original summary]

Review: I want to start this fic by saying I wanted to find a good Stiles/Peter/Chris fic, and I was surprised to find such a big and awesome one. I love how it has a twist, where the Soulmate trope is not that simple and that the soul marks give an interesting feel to their relationship. The best part of the fic it’s that we get equals amounts of relationship develop and supernatural action.

Basically Chris and Peter are already in a bond, believe they are only soulmates to each other when Stiles stumbles upon them in a very shifty situation. What follows is a mad dash to figure out what it’s going on, with Stiles figuring out the supernatural element in his soulmates and himself. There are two good subplots, one with Kira’s and Scott’s relationship and another with the Alpha Pack. This fic is just the first of a series, and gives a good base to what will develop in the third story, equally as great.

One of my favorite things about this fic is that the author handles so well the age difference; the fic has several points of view on Stiles joining an already established relationship, with older man. We also see through all the series moments of vulnerability on all of them, and Stiles adapting himself not only to a relationship, but to the image his mates present to everyone around him.

I really like their characterization, while the author warns about out of character behavior, I think they gave a great treatment to each character. Peter and Chris are truly amazing portrayed, and only Stiles had for me a little of variance on the more innocent side, less awkward and funny and more insecure and vulnerable.

If you give it a try, do read the other two fics, because they are amazing. The second is very sweet and domestic, and the third one is darker, a case fic where Stiles shines developing his new powers.

The Trouble with Threesomes and Supernatural Soul Mates

Breaker of Horses by Sineala (PG-13)

Title: Breaker of Horses
Fandom: Marvel comics (616, main continuity)
Pairing: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Categories: slave fic, AU, drama, romance, angst
Length: Epic [47943 words]
Warnings: interspecies romance between human and centaur

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] sineala
Author Website: Sineala's AO3

Review:
Author’s Summary: What do you do when the Roman Empire you were raised to love consigns you to the sands of the arena? Antonius is a prince of the Dacians, captured in war and sold as a gladiator. He yearns for his freedom. Stephanos -- the last living centaur -- is his fellow slave and trainer. Centuries old, disillusioned by a Rome that has become a shadow of itself, Stephanos has all but given up on life... until he meets Antonius, and both of their lives are forever changed.


This is an amazing story that was written for this year’s Reverse Bang over at the [livejournal.com profile] cap_ironman community and was inspired by some amazing artwork of gladiator!Tony and centaur!Steve. I might preface this with the fact that I’m not usually good with AU’s that radically change the setting like this, but this fic totally won me over and intrigued me from the get go. It’s hard to write a setting like this convincingly and at the same time keep this characters who they are and [livejournal.com profile] sineala does justice to both. She puts so many awesome details about Roman culture in there and then manages to sneak in the comic references right in on top of that. I think my favorite thing how Stephanos’ story parallels Steve’s super soldier history.

It’s a wonderful adventure story with some nice action and fight scenes (and it’s obvious how much research about gladiators went into those), but even more than this it’s the story of “Antonius”, who very much still is Tony at the heart of it, from privileged childhood to the pit of the arena and his fight against having his freedom and dignity taken from him, making friends (which involves meeting "Avengers" in gladiator guise) and who doesn't give in to circumstances. The romance is a delicious and wonderful cherry on top. The emotional scenes are vibrant and hit me right where it hurt sometimes and the character arcs that unfold in the story alone are making this a worthy read. The angsty themes are running high with this one, which with the themes of slavery and fights to the death in the arena isn’t surprising. But there are also quieter scenes of friendship and blossoming, uncertain romance to balance that out.

And above all it’s just so well written.

As the author points out the fic contains no centaur/human sex, so this doesn’t need a right out bestiality warning. There is the interspecies romance and kissing, though, that not everyone might enjoy. Those who are here for the xenoromance though might be glad to know that the relationship is consummated in a NC-17 sequel fic.

Breaker of Horses

Confusion and Consequences by Guiltyreasons (Explicit)

Title: Confusion and Consequences
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey Parker/Duke Crocker/Nathan Wuornos
Categories: casefile, threesome, genderswap (sort of), polyamory, established relationship (het), first time (threesome)
Length: Long, 20,765 words
Warnings: I'm... not sure how to warn. Duke and Nathan end up with some girl parts, but not completely genderswapped, and the fic revolves around the issues of masculinity and sexuality that come out of that. If that's likely to be a problem or potentially triggery in some way, don't go there? There's also a warning for mild mind control, but it doesn't go too far with anything happening consent issues-wise in terms of the main trio. There are maybe a few potentially triggery things happening in the background with the other people affected by the gendermixing Trouble.

Author on Livejournal: n/a?
Author Website: guiltyreasons on AO3

Summary: Nathan thought he had seen everything until a half naked woman walks up to him claiming to be Duke Crocker....

Review: “It’s Haven. Trans hate is the least of our worries...”

Oh, I enjoyed the hell out of this one. Last week I was emailing the link to friends after I read it, so it's still pretty hot off the presses. Yes, there is the odd typo and grammar hiccup, but really, with all the other goodies on offer here, I find myself disinclined to care about those.

I love the stuff that really digs into the questions of sexuality and masculinity and sexual dysfunction and this goes there and then some, as this particular Trouble turns Haven upside-down and Duke and Nathan end up kind of not their usual manly selves. The fic is told from Nathan's point of view, and I love the POV -- getting to watch him angst in his low-key way about all these things, weird sexual situations and hangups and shame, is entirely wonderful. I also love how his senses are used in interesting ways in the smut. :)

The fic is established Audrey/Nathan leading into an Audrey/Duke/Nathan threesome, and while usually I'm more partial to the latter and the Duke/Nathan dynamic, I've seldom loved Audrey and Nathan's relationship more than the way it's presented here. They are so understanding of each other, and such good friends as well as lovers, who talk about all the knotty things and work through the changes that have happened to Nathan's body and how those effect their sexual relationship. And how they make the decision together when it comes to taking Duke on... they are so sweet and down to earth in this.

Anyway, this is just so hot and odd and interesting, with such a good POV, and the issues of gender and questioning sexuality I felt were nicely dealt with.

Confusion and Consequences

I've Lived For These Few Seconds by kyrene (nc-17)

Title: I've Lived For These Few Seconds
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: Angst, First Time, Slash, Romance.
Length: Super!Epic [124126 words]
Warnings: Violence, Minor Character Death, Manipulation, moments of Dark!Stiles, Hate Crime, Homophobia, Graphic Sex.

Author Website: kyrene(on AO3)

Summary: Even in Beacon Hills the dangers aren't always supernatural. There's plenty that is supernatural, of course, and sometimes that can include the solution as well as further danger. Even though this can mean playing with fire.

It wasn't Scott he called once he regained consciousness. Or Derek, even though Derek Hale was the first person to spring to mind when he thought of being slammed into walls, when he tasted and smelled and breathed blood.
No, it was his father that he speed-dialed and his father who came to him where he crouched in the alley, clutching her hand as she wheezed out her last bubbling breaths. It was his father's pained blue eyes that he met as the paramedics swarmed over them both, pulling her away even though it was obviously too late, she was already dead, touching him and shining lights in his eyes and asking him over-loud questions.
It was his father who elbowed his way through the paramedics, because it had been his father that he had called.
[original summary]

Review:

This fic is one of those you aren’t that sure where it will take you; that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good fic - it’s actually great - it just means it’s fic that keeps you on your toes. This fic is part of canon divergence, very clearly stated by the author’s initial notes: Boyd and Erica get back to Derek and the Alpha Pack doesn’t exist. The action starts in the first chapter and then takes us into a path that traces a very different Stiles from canon.

It’s not a fic that concentrates on Scott, Allison, Lydia or any of the other secondary characters. The fic cleary moves in between Stiles’ relationship with his father and his relationship with Derek, as well as a growing friendship with Danny. Scott and Stiles are falling out and it’s not a fic that shows Scott in favorable light, which is refreshing.
Another prominent character is Peter and as the author warns who starts reading, there are undertones and explicit Peter/Stiles, with a delivered Derek/Stiles endgame. I like this, I love Peter/Stiles, and I specially like when Peter encroaches in Derek’s territory to make him wake up. I also love the way Peter cannon and otherwise see the brilliance of Stiles, and this is a essential part of this fic.

This is a Derek/Stiles fic, so the most important part of the plot focus on them trying to be together and passing through the awkwardness of knowing each other, having had life and death situations together, and still not being sure if there are or not feeling, if they can or not trust each other. What makes this a great fic is the fact while Derek and Stiles are struggling to make each other see what they are and how they feel, Peter is trying to make Stiles his own and Stiles is discovering his sexuality.

It’s a good fic to read when you want a mixture of angst and sex, of teenage problems and real issues with the supernatural.

I've Lived For These Few Seconds

Twenty Years of Stealing my Food by HWShipper (NC-17)

Title: Twenty Years of Stealing my Food
Fandom: House M.D.
Pairing: Gregory House/James Wilson
Categories/Genres: Cheating, Relationships,
Length: 103,374
Warnings:Lots of cheating and adultery

Author/Artist on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] hwshipper
Author/Artist on AO3: HWShipper

Summary: A backstory taking place over twenty years, from how House and Wilson met all the way to canon.

Review: This fic is certainly not lacking in details. Want to know the huge amount of unheard story the show didn’t even try to capitalize on? This fic tells about how Wilson and House met way before the show says they did and how they stayed friends and more while everything else moves on around them.
This fic is rough and mean which is what makes the characters so believable. House is his usual self but this fic makes a point out of showing that Wilson is just as bad if not worse in a lot of ways while still maintaining his goody two shoe side which had to be tricky to do.
I doubt you will find a fic with as much cheating in it as this one but at the same time you won’t find a fic with this kind of faithfulness either. Despite the fact neither have moments of monogamy that last more than a few weeks they are constantly open with each other even when it hurts both of them and there are so many moments where their love for each other shines through.
This fic also has many side stories any my favorite is about Wilson’s two twin nieces and how they perceive House and Wilson’s relationship. They first see them together when they are very young and throughout all Wilson’s wives have wanted the two to be out about their relationship. They love Wilson but their reactions to House are so funny and adorable because they easily see through his scathing words to what he really means and like him for it.

Twenty Years of Stealing my Food

Art: ユートピア・ノーリターン by 三宅 (PG)

Title: ユートピア・ノーリターン
Fandom: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Pairing: Kakyoin Noriaki/Kujo Jotaro
Categories/Genres: Fanart, Angst, Romance
Length: N/A
Warnings: Reference to canonical character death

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: 三宅

Summary:

N/A

Review:

To those of you who haven't heard of Hirohiko Araki's Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, I'm not surprised. You, however, should be, because this manga is as well loved in Japan as Naruto, which I'm sure most people in fandom are at least aware of, whether they want to be or not. But taking into account the manga artist's very distinct style, it is perhaps unsurprising that the manga, however beloved in Japan, has failed to catch on in the U.S. In fact, it is the pointedly visual aspect of the manga that has led me to rec a fanart instead of a fic, because words can never quite capture the peculiar spectacle of the characters that Araki's style imbues them with.

I'm no student of the Japanese language, but as best as I (and Google Translate) can figure out, the title of this artwork in English is roughly No Return to Utopia. (Actual Japanese speakers are encouraged to correct me.) It's a poignant title that encapsulates the artwork and where it fits into the canon, viewing the colorful 'utopia' where Kakyoin and Jotaro's story came to its climax through the morbidly placed window in an otherwise greyscale image. The colorful skyline seems like a beautiful dream in comparison to Kakyoin and Jotaro's respective wry and possessive expressions.

Even if you'd never heard of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, the skill of the artist still makes this worth the effort to click. Nevertheless, if you have any interest in manga or anime whatsoever, try to check Araki's massive, multi-series epic if you get the chance.

ユートピア・ノーリターン

Sinking Ships by standinginanicedress [Nc-17]

Title: Sinking Ships
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: Angst, AU,Slash, First Time, Drama, Hurt/comfort, Marriage of Convenience.
Length: Super! Epic [106646 words]
Warnings: Racism, Non-Con Elements. Arranged Marriege, Slavery, Werewolves as the dominant class, Abuse, Exposure to Cold and Hunger, Sub-Human Life Conditions.

Author Website: standinginanicedress(on AO3)

Summary: Derek Hale has never met a human before.
Throughout his life, he's probably encountered, give or take, a hundred or so. A mere hundred human beings in his twenty-three years walking around on earth, compared to the millions of weres he's seen. And, even then, encountered them he might have, but met? Not even close.
He's had his dry cleaning handed off to him by a mousy looking human girl in a shirt three sizes too big for her with huge eyes and shaking hands while a beta werewolf yelled at her in the background for being too skittish (wonder why that could possibly be), he's walked past teenage humans cleaning windows and sweeping pebbles off of sidewalks, he's had the door opened up for him by older humans in pristine uniforms outside of restaurants – but never, never once, has he stuck his hand out to a human and said hi, my name is…
He could probably count on one hand the number of times he's even been made aware that a human within a hundred feet of him even had a name. [original summary]

Review: Oh, this fic is incredibly throat closing and hope to let that feeling die. It’s a hard fic to read, because is full of feelings and so realistic in portraying a classist society base on slavery, that almost cuts you heart. This AU shows us a world where the werewolves are known and the ruling class, and the humans are bred for their entertainment, becoming pets and slaves.

Stiles is still a human and also his father, Derek, his family, Scott, Allison and the Argents are all weres. In this context, I wish the fic showed more humans, because pretty much all canon characters are weres and we only see Stiles side. On the other hand, there is so much detail and variety in the sorrows he passed, we get an ample vision of what might happen to the other humans.

While the Argents are certainly opposition to the Hales, the true villain in this fic is Talia Hale, and I confess I had a hard time believing her character; the reason being, I always seen Talia as a good alpha, someone that cared for her children and someone that wanted them happy - she is not like this in the fic! The Hales are highly dysfunctional and there aren’t many fuzzy feelings of family.

Derek gets Stiles because of a maneuver in Talia’s career and he and Stiles start a relationship that is fake, but goes on to evolve to a careful friendship and later a romantic one. The highlights of this fic are confined mostly to Derek and Stiles, and one brief scene with the Sheriff, but there is plenty of interaction with the other characters.

This is a fic to be revolted by and at the same time to make you feel sad and make you think. Proceed with caution.


Sinking Ships

Howl by ADHeaven (Nc-17)

Title: Howl
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Kurt Hummel/Noah Puckerman
Categories: Romance, Mpreg, Angst, Supernatural
Length: Epic [82633 words]
Warnings: Werewolves, Violence.

Author Website: ADHeaven(on AO3)

Summary:
Kurt Hummel is a young werewolf just trying to survive high school. As the son of the pack leader and a gifted male capable of bearing children, he is coveted by the other werewolf boys. However, it is the human bully, Puck, who is there in his time of need. Because it is taboo for a wolf to mate with a human, Kurt and Puck battle their attraction to one another until something neither of them expected draws them together again. [original summary]

Review:
This is a werewolf AU, where Kurt is a special snowflake! Kidding, or not so much. This story is a favorite of mine, mostly because we see a Kurt that is powerful and confident, and Puck that isn’t really sure what he is doing. So expect a refreshing take on Puck’s and Kurt’s relationship with themselves and each other.

Another characterization that is gold it’s Burt, he is even more badass in this fic and slightly harder than in the show, which is obviously a result of the plot and the background story of Burt as a leader of a pack. I really like that while Burt loves Kurt and gives him some leeway, he is always worried about the pack as a whole.

Besides the evolution of Puck’s and Kurt’s relationship, and the very hot smut, there is also an element of suspense, introducing Puck’s own constitution and family; this elements create tension into the story and soften the romance side of it. Be also prepared to see male pregnancy and discussion on a male carrier, not always savory, but there isn’t a birth, so it might be ok for people that don’t dig the trope.


Howl

of the nature of the wound by buchanan (NC-17)

Title: of the nature of the wound
Fandom: Check, Please!/Hockey RPF
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann, Larissa “Lardo” Duan/Shitty Knight, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin, Past Kent Parson/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Epistolary, Established Relationship, First Time, Fluff, Friendship, Humor, Romance
Length: Long (33936 words)
Warnings: Homophobic language by hockey players

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: buchanan

Summary:

His first year in the NHL isn't easy, but Jack has spent his entire life playing through the hurt.

Review:

Note: While Check, Please! doesn't require knowing anything about hockey beyond the fact that it's a team sport played on ice, of the nature of the wound does require a functional knowledge of professional hockey and how its seasons are scheduled. Being a hockey RPF crossover, this fic does incorporate real hockey players, and knowledge of those players provides useful context for their roles in the fic.

A lot of the Check, Please! fic I read tends to be of the lighter variety. Humorous and/or cute, and generally threaded through with the pervasive sense of, 'oh, you adorable boys'. Considering how light-hearted the canon is, it's probably not surprising that the fanfiction I choose to read follows in that direction.

of the nature of the wound is not one of those fics. It's also not an easy fic to get through, namely because it focuses on Jack's anxieties about being a closeted professional hockey player. You could, uncharitably if honestly, call it Jack's downward spiral of anxiety and loneliness.

buchanan's fic exemplifies the proverb “it is always darkest just before the dawn” in that it feels very much like the very beginning of a story that we are not (yet) privy to, not just in terms of Jack and Bitty's burgeoning relationship, but also the NHL as a whole upon the coming out of one of its most recognized hockey duos. Hopefully more of that will unfold in buchanan's expected sequel.

And now that I've given you a lot of reasons not to read the fic, I suppose I should mention why I am actually reccing it: buchanan does a fantastic job of weaving the fluffy and fictional Check, Please! microcosm into the much colder real world, where people change and move past who they were and sometimes grow apart, and where they succeed, fail, break, and struggle to mend what is broken. Jack Zimmermann does not feel like a fictional character as buchanan writes him. Nor does Eric Bittle, nor even Chowder, who is something of a caricature even in the comic's canon. It truly is a testament to buchanan's grasp of emotional complexity that I clung, riveted until the end, in spite of the fic's darker tone and truly annoying ten-line section breaks. (No, seriously, keep a finger on the space bar or page down key.)

of the nature of the wound

The penny jar theory by Deputychairman (Explicit)

Title: The penny jar theory

Fandom: due South
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Categories: slash, established relationship, post-canon
Length: medium, ~13,000 words
Warnings: none really

Author on Livejournal: [livejournal.com profile] deputychairman
Author Website: Deputychairman on AO3

Summary: “How - ” Fraser cleared his throat. “How long is the contract?”
“Six months,” Ray told the stew.
“And will you,” he stopped. Ray heard the deep breath he took. Taking it on the chin, attaboy, Ben. “Are you planning to come back here, afterwards?”

Review: The last two weeks I've read nothing but due South, so with due permission--it's someone else's reccing fandom--I'm sneaking in a rec of my favourite so far of the fics that seem to have appeared since last I read dS.

The question that seems to have the strongest pull on me post-series is What does Kowalski do in Canada? and this fic is centred around the practicalities of him trying to find an answer to exactly that, and the ways Fraser and Ray's relationship has to shift around it. The fic exists in a world where the answers aren't perfect and the characters have to make compromises. It's not an unhappy fic, not really, but oddly bittersweet.

I love to bits the central images of the dubious gift of the Penny Jar -- and the time limit/death-knell of a relationship that it starts off by proclaiming -- and Ray Kowalski heading off to work on the isolation of an oil rig without Fraser's approval.

The penny jar theory

Endgame by cyclogenesis (addictedkitten) - NC-17

Title: Endgame
Fandom: 5 Seconds of Summer (Band)
Pairing: Michael Clifford/Luke Hemmings/Calum Hood/Ashton Irwin
Categories: Angst, First Time, Slash, Romance.
Length:Medium [10,396 words]
Warnings: Unsafe Sex, Sexual Orientation Issues, Coming Out, Minor Homophobia.

Author Website: cyclogenesis (addictedkitten)[on AO3]

Summary: Ashton’s bandmates are petting each other onstage again which is fine, it’s normal.[original summary]

Review: Endgame is a fic Ashton-centered fic, and something I haven’t read before. I usually read Calum’s or Luke’s pov, and to think about only once or twice a Michael pov. The whole fic focus in Ashton realizing his feelings about the other boys in the band and at the same time figuring himself out.

I think this fic is good because it draws out from a experience all of us have when we get into the 5 Seconds of Summer fandom: their affectioned nature, the touches, the glances and the way they speak about each other means something? Or are there units inside of the band, or are them all friends at the same level? We don’t need to discuss if they are or not in a relationship in real life, but what we would like to believe it happens or better, what we imagine it should.

Ashton doesn’t daydreams and berates himself on his thoughts about the boys and the relationship he has with them and how they behave with each other. He is very jealous in this fic and sounds a bit whiny, but it’s fun to see him angsting over the fact no one is touching him.

I highly recommend this fic, since it’s all kinds of bittersweet with a happy ending and you will get tons of shippy feelings, because while it is a OT4 fic, it mulls over all kind of pairings inside the band, including all of them together.

Endgame

Two Plants and a Girl by Thunk (PG-15)

Title: Two Plants and a Girl
Fandom: Trigun
Pairing: Meryl Stryfe/Millions Knives, Vash the Stampede/Milly Thompson
Categories/Genres: Action/Adventure, Amnesia, Angst, AU, Drama, Family, Fluff, Friendship, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Kids, Post-Canon, Pregnancy, Romance
Length: Epic (74,073 words)
Warnings: Minor (OC) character death, Non-descriptive mention of child molestation, Descriptions of gore

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Thunk

Summary:

Meryl becomes more important to Vash than he wants to admit. But Knives sees it. Knives capitalizes on it. But he finds it increasingly difficult to exploit the Insurance girl, for reasons far too old, and not buried deep enough.

Review:

I'm not entirely sure how I've gone this long without reccing this fic. Probably because it's posted on FF.net. No, don't run away! It's good, I swear!

Two Plants and a Girl is an AU fusion of the Trigun anime and the backstory that's revealed in the manga. It picks up from where the anime leaves off, with Knives slowly recovering from his fight against Vash in the anime's finale under the watchful eyes and tender mercies of Vash, Meryl, and Milly.

What I really appreciate about this fic is that Thunk knows their stuff. The bits and pieces of background and worldbuilding incorporated into the fic are sourced from the manga and thoroughly contemplated, providing a much more nuanced and believable Knives than the anime's straight-up-psycho interpretation. He's still an unrepentant asshole, but his canonical actions have weight and meaning and consequence that don't sit easy with him even a century later.

Thunk also presents a reasonable and quite logical plan to give Knives and Vash what they both want, pushing compromise rather than conflict in an anime/manga that basically centers around the conflict between the two. That's not to say that Thunk sucks all the friction out of their relationship, however.

Thunk also deals with Knives' massive damage with deft storytelling. The pacing of the story, which jumps over various stretches of time, can make it seem contrived on occasion, but the emotional depth of the events and the consequent growth of Knives' shriveled little soul signal to the reader a rocky but definitely substantial progress that is satisfying to watch.

There are some moments that are oddly OOC, mostly related to the forced early attraction between Knives and Meryl, and the very end, when Knives is so overcome with guilt and grief that he becomes a weepy parody of himself, but barring those, the interaction between the two is pretty damn great.

If you ever watched the Trigun anime and clicked away from the finale wondering, well, now what?, you absolutely read this fic. Yeah, I know it's on FF.net, but would I ever lead you astray?

Don't answer that.

Two Plants and a Girl

Wild Horese by thepsychicclam {Nc-17}

Title: Wild Horses
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: Angst, AU, First Time, Slash.
Length: Epic [78917 words]
Warnings: Scars, Permanent Injury.

Author Website: thepsychicclam (on AO3)| (on tumblr)

Summary: Derek's a drifter with no home, no destination, and no will to live. Stiles works on his family's failing cattle and horse ranch while all his friends are going off to college. When Derek falls asleep in a random barn, exhausted and half-starved, he doesn't expect to wake up on the other end of the sheriff's shotgun. And Stiles sure as hell doesn't expect his dad to invite the drifter in for breakfast. [original summary]

Review:
This fic is amazing! It’s a tiny bit cliche, the whole farm!au and wounded Derek running away, but at the same time, the story is deeply emotional, and not overall cheesy, though there are some very sweet moments towards the end that get pretty saccharine. Don’t be scared, that is good! The fic finds a good balance between emotional growth and vulnerability, which makes the sweeter moments refreshment to all the anger both Stiles and Derek have by the tons.

We have an au, where the Sheriff is still the Sheriff and Boyd, Parish and Isaac help around the farm, mostly for board and food. Lydia, Jackson, Scott and Danny are Stiles's friends from school, and there are a bit apart from the life in the farm. No werewolves included, but there is still plenty of angst and part of the Hale’s are dead.

You can count on a whole lot of angry fighting and headbutting with Stiles and Derek, and them dancing around each other for the longest of times before they finally get together. Which doesn’t erase their problems or how much they still fight. There is a great quality baking and wood carving, horse riding and tending to farm, which includes some castrating here and there, but I won’t comment on it. The sex is explosive, sweet and hot, which makes the fic even better.

The Sheriff of course is amazing and brings out so many touching moments with both Derek and Stiles that it makes me very happy. The flow of the story isn’t interrupted by any major plot twist, but we have some tension that doesn’t dissolve as easily. Erika, Cora and Laura also appear in the story, with minor scenes.

This fic also counts with amazing art by maichan and geeky-sova, embedded in it.


Wild Horses

Louder than words (NC-17) by Splash Pink

Title: Louder than Words
Fandom: Supernatural RPS
Pairing: Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles
Categories/Genres: Deaf!Character, Angst, Romance
Length: 45,934
Warnings: Cheating, Seizures, Medical condition

Author/Artist Website: Splash Pink

Summary: Jared throws a party for his best friend, looking forward to meeting the girl in his life. Jensen wasn't quite what he was expecting.

Review:
This is quite a brutal story for someone like me who always likes to see the best in people. Everyone in this fic is a piece of work. Even Jensen who is deaf. In a lot of stories people with disabilities are seen of as sweet victims. Yet here Jensen doesn't even consider pulling any punches and is downright cruel at times. It makes you hurt to see how they treat each other but it certainly makes you sit up and respect at the same time.

Yet this also adds to the deliciousness of some moments that are just heartbreakingly funny. My favourite being when Jared falls through Jensen's window drunk. I am also a sucker for stories that treasure someone who clearly doesn't think they deserve it.

This isn't Splash Pink's original website. I miss the days I followed her/his dreamwidth so I hope it's okay to point towards this tribute site someone has set up with all their work.

"He's really deaf?"
"Yep." David almost sounded proud.
"He's kinda…I dunno…pretty. For a guy."
Across the yard, Jensen flipped him the finger.
David grinned and hid a laugh behind his bottle. "And he's real good at lip reading."
"Fuck." Jared sighed, and ran his hand through his hair. He needed a haircut. And a hangover kit.


Louder than words