Title: Twenty Times Uzumaki Naruto Didn't Die
Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: gen
Categories: five twenty things, future fic, darkfic, gore
Length: Medium, 14,849 words
Warnings: Blood, torture, gore, body horror and then some. Character deaths. Attempted suicide.

Author on Livejournal: n/a?
Author Website: Kraken's Ghost on fanfiction.net

Summary: Over time, Naruto learns what it means to be a Jinchuuriki.

Review: Had anyone bothered to search, they could've found shrapnel from the log almost a mile away. The boom is loud enough to scare birds into flight three miles away. An orange piece of fabric that used to be part of Naruto's distinctive suit drifts on the winds all the way to Lightning Country.

I love the device of writing a complete story composed of interconnected themed ficlets, whether it's five things or twenty things. This gruesome and thought-provoking what-if? fails to kill off Naruto multiple times in a variety of different ways as it addresses the consequences of being the host of a Jinchuuriki.

It's one of those stories that's told on a much larger scale than its word count should contain, rolling out enough emotion and imagination for a novel. The timeframe it's told over covers years, with the lives and deaths of other characters embedded in the tale along the way, leading to the most chilling of conclusions.

This is an old fic and was a future-fic at the time it was written. I've not read/seen Naruto-the-manga/anime since a while after the timeskip, so I can't attest to how it stands with where canon is now, but I doubt it could ever not still be worth reading.

The fic is linked by its format and a few references to two others by the author, but is not part of a series in a linear sense.

Twenty Times Uzumaki Naruto Didn't Die
Title: Na Na Na (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Fandom: Mad Max
Pairing: Gen
Categories: Action/Adventure, Apocalypse, Fusion, Future, Science Fiction
Length: 4 minutes
Warnings: Canon Typical Violence

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] violace
Website: Violace's Youtube Channel

Summary: This is simultaneously a tribute to my favourite movie of the year and a nod to my favourite band and one of my favourite music videos of all time.
I know many of my old MCR era friends loved the movie as much as I did and it inevitably reminded them of Danger Days as well, so if any of them are reading this, know that I thought of you and the times we had on tour a lot while making this vid. ♥

Review: The Epic mashup between two post-apocalyptic desert and car themed fandoms.

Violace did a great job matching up elements of the movie with elements of the song. I particularly love how they wove in the drum beats of the song with drum beats of the movie.

A fun vid to get your blood pumping.

Na Na Na (Mad Max: Fury Road)

points on a map by templemarker (explicit)

  • Jul. 15th, 2015 at 10:54 PM
Title: points on a map

Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey Parker/Duke Crocker/Nathan Wuornos
Categories: threesome, domestic, post-canon, non-specific future fic
Length: medium, 4,388 words
Warnings: none

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

Summary: The one thing they realized early on, about this relationship they figured out between all three of them, is that there was no way they could live together.

Review: This is just a lovely look at the Audrey/Duke/Nathan relationship examined through the lens of their living spaces, and the living practicalities of a three way relationship outside of the sex. I love that it's dealing with them as three different relationships between two people as well a relationship between three people. The acceptance in general here that people need space, even people who love each other, and particularly accepting Nathan still needing his own space and not having his quieter and less-social tendencies magically 'fixed' by being in a relationship with two more outgoing partners. How the character of the spaces they choose for their own illuminates the characters, and how the ways they collectively choose to spend their time in each defines the relationship(s).

Also, this fic may manage to lay out my ideal Haven future and conclusion to the series. No perfect endings and answers, but a continuation of their adventures while moving and changing at the same time.

points on a map
Title: Draco Malfoy and the Trials of Single Parenthood

Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: gen-ish, background Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny
Categories: drama, kidfic, diary, angst, humour
Length: long, 26,588 words
Warnings: I don't think so? See the bit about cynical-me and sobbing.

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] estora
Author Website: estora on AO3

Summary: Draco Malfoy: ex-Death Eater, former bigot, divorcee, and single father. His wife left him for Viktor Krum, his children worship the Weasleys who clash with the décor, something is rotten at Hogwarts, and he doesn't really know what he's doing. But maybe he's getting the hang of it.

Review: HP isn't really one of my fandoms, but reccing it last week made me want to re-read the previous really good HP fic I remembered reading. This rec is uncharacteristic for me, since I emphatically don't seek out kid fic. Yet evidently this story has some mysterious capacity to melt the cynical and hard-hearted. It has a couple of things working against it, actually, because I'm not a fan of the faux journal/diary style of narrative, and yet I did find that here I could get used to it after a while and still like the story very much.

Harry's generation are now in their mid thirties. As the story starts out it seems that Draco is still a prat, but a prat who loves his kids -- enough to disregard his own dignity and humiliate himself in front of his old enemies to provide parental comfort to them. And over the course of the story we get to see him mellow somewhat through the fronts he has to present and the stands he has to take for the sake of his children.

Perhaps the reason it works so well is that despite putting such an unlikely (and-yet-somehow-not) character in this situation, despite the magical world twist, the problems are real problems and the fic doesn't overplay things for angst, but takes on its situations with a genuineness and honesty. The impact of a parental separation. The way the parents' politics and actions and status impact upon their children. How parents have to fight for their children when they are different.

I suspect this has something to do with why this story reduced me to a sobbing mess in at least three places even on re-read. Really I don't know how to explain that.

Don't let that dissuade you from reading. It's actually a pretty funny story, too. Bring on the running jokes about Draco's receeding hairline.

Draco Malfoy and the Trials of Single Parenthood
Title: 99.607% Match Compatibility
Fandom: Person of Interest
Pairing: Root/Sameen Shaw
Categories/Genres: Soulmates, Future Fic, Alternate Universe, Romance, Established Relationship, Drama, Angst
Length: Medium (12944 words)
Warnings: N/A

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

Summary:

She doesn’t wait for Root to reply, doesn’t let Root get in a word edgewise. “Because it told you that you and Hanna are supposed to end up together, but it told me that you and I are supposed to end up together. You were my so-called soulmate, okay? It spit your name out at me.”

The Machine is just casually being a matchmaker on the downlow again, but nothing ever really comes easily, does it?

(Soulmate trope meets what-if-the-Machine-has-a-virtual-baby-and-it's-OKCupid)

Review:

The grand theme of Soulmate fics is that there's something inherently indefinable about love. That two people match at every point, on every level, two halves of a whole that was broken apart by a frightened deity. They're connected, through marks or what have you, that have no scientific explanation beyond 'idk, magic?'.

99.607% Match Compatibility is a soulmate fic that is not about soulmates. ionizable implements a soulmate matching system that is not based in magic, but an “algorithm that calculates relationship compatibility,” according to Finch, compiled by The Machine and put into use by first Shaw, then Root, as their individual curiosities overpower their better judgment. The results are... complex.

I really admire ionizable for the way they tackle the age-old fandom trope of 'young love will last forever' that's so incredibly prevalent in basically any fandom where any of the main characters are under 20. I understand it, of course. Writing out a couple's entire lifetime is incredibly tedious, so there has to be an end point somewhere, with the couple in question presumably living out their 'happily ever after'. But the moment we pull our heads out of fandom, the idea that a teenage couple can live out the rest of their adult lives in romantic bliss becomes anathema. People grow, people change. So too do relationships and what partners value in each other. Young adults marry in the rosy blush of love and divorce days, months, years later for innumerably myriad reasons. That ionizable acknowledges this reality within the fic makes Root's feelings for Shaw so much richer and recognizable than two people commanded by destiny to be together because, idk, magic.

99.607% Match Compatibility

Symbolic Constant by LithiumDoll (PG-15)

  • Jan. 10th, 2015 at 10:53 PM
Title: Symbolic Constant
Fandom: Person of Interest
Pairing: Root/Sameen Shaw, very faint Harold Finch/John Reese if you're inclined
Categories/Genres: Post-Canon, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Alternate Universe, Future, Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Angst, Romance, Established Relationship, Dark, Drama, Time Travel (from the characters' perspectives)
Length: Long (18078 words)
Warnings: Previous (Temporary?) Repeated Major Character Deaths (because clones)

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: LithiumDoll

Summary:

Here's the thing about constants: their value never changes.

Review:

In celebration of Person of Interest taking that ultimate step of making their subtexty lesbians officially and irrefutably canon, I'm gonna do my damned best to rec Root/Shaw every Saturday through the end of January.

To be honest, I've never been very fond of the apocalypse and dystopia genres. But my distaste stems from childhood trauma, and probably nobody wants to hear about that, so let me just say, Symbolic Constant is the apocalypse/dystopia fic for people who can push through the painful parts of a fic to reach the happy ending. And by painful, I mean repeated major character death. But it's okay, because they come back, thanks to clones and science and all the best cheat codes that are part and parcel of any decent sci-fi fic. And by happy ending, I mean the next generation of clones wakes up in the post-post-apocalyptic future without having to deal with any of the crap that came before.

So, y'know, don't let the warning scare you off. Please.

If nothing else, read for the lesbians. Shaw and Root's relationship is, as ever, complex at the best of times, a spicy simmer that gives the narrative delicious flavor. An older iteration of Root adds another layer of complexity that the author takes advantage of to portray a version of their relationship where their sizzling sexual tension for once isn't the backbone of their interactions.

LithiumDoll's portrayal of Finch and Reese are such perfect recreations of canon that it brings a tear to my fannish eye. The understated devotion that pervades their every interaction is just as prevalent here, allowing the reader the same freedom to interpret their relationship as the show's writers have taken such pains to cultivate. My favorite scene of the fic, even though it's really, really damn sad, involves a heartbreaking display of their bond to each other, particularly Reese's to Finch.

Basically, I freaking love this fic. I'm gonna go lay down and cry tears of joy now.

Symbolic Constant

"Eternity" by Xenobia (NC-17)

  • Oct. 8th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Another week, another late rec. *headdesk* One of these days I'll get my act together.

Title: Eternity
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairings: Sebastian/Ciel, William/Grell, with brief Sebastian/Grell and hints of William/Grell/Undertaker
Categories: Future fic, first time, creature fic
Length: Epic (127,208 words)
Warnings: Technically underage, although the relationship between Ciel and Sebastian remains platonic until Ciel is 17.

Author on AO3:  Xenobia

Summary: Ciel awakens to his new life filled with questions that only his butler can answer for him.

Review: After the end of the Kuroshitsuji II anime, Ciel and Sebastian are both adjusting to Ciel's transformation and the changed terms of their contract. Ciel struggle to embrace his new life, clinging to the remnants of his humanity even while moving on from his identity as the Earl Phantomhive. For his part, Sebastian remains one hell of a butler, mentoring Ciel through his transition even as he wrestles with his own conflicted feelings for Ciel and for his changed role in their contract. Meanwhile, Will and Grell are trying to track down a dangerous supernatural killer, with some surprising help from the Undertaker.

"Eternity" is technically a sequel to an earlier Sebastian/Grell PWP. Although you don't need to read it to understand the story, the casual Sebastian/Grell relationship developed in the prequel does carry into the first part of "Eternity" -- much to the chagrin of Ciel and William. However, the main pairings in this story are definitely Sebastian/Ciel and William/Grell. For me, the slow-burn romance between Sebastian and Ciel is the highlight of this story. As Ciel physically matures, he finds himself dealing with a newfound attraction to his butler, leading to all sorts of adorably awkward UST. I appreciate that Xenobia gives them the space to grow into their feelings for each other and the physical aspect of the relationship. I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the plot with the shinigami. Undertaker is a gem in this story, and I loved watching him interact with Grell and William. The killer they are trying to track down also has an interesting backstory with a satisfying link to Undertaker's past.

While this story is not as polished as I'd usually prefer (the prose could use some tightening, and the plot loses some focus near the end), it's a good read nonetheless. I've enjoyed it a few times now, and definitely recommend it.


Eternity

Morning View by Pygmalion Princess (PG-15)

  • Sep. 6th, 2014 at 8:39 PM
Title: Morning View
Fandom: Final Fantasy 8
Pairing: Seifer/Zell
Categories/Genres: Post-Canon, Future, PTSD, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Fluff, Angst
Length: Medium (2951 words)
Warnings: Descriptions of gore and violence

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] bastardized
Author Website: Pygmalion Princess

Summary:

Post-Sorceress, Seifer and Zell have gotten together. Psychological scarring, hyperventilation, conscience -- or lack thereof, chocolate theoretically for breakfast, and of love.

Review:

One thing that tends to get lost in the whole grand story of Final Fantasy 8 is the fact that it's literally about child mercenaries. As in children, sometimes orphans, who are selected and then trained to be soldiers, to kill monsters and government-run armed forces both. They're used as pawns in the political games of nations, contracted out as assassins. And all while they're still teenagers.

So now, looking back at my memories of the game, I find myself incredulous that there are no canon consequences of grooming children to be tools of war. Morning View dips into one of the consequence that canon so thoroughly ignores, exploring the relationship of two young men who have seen too much violence at too-young an age.

In spite of the slightly rough writing, the characterization manages to shine. Zell is a space cadet and Seifer a jerk, but there is genuine care and affection in the way they act toward each other. Though the fic exists within the scope of a single early morning scene, there are also tantalizing glimpses of the larger world and Seifer's place in it, being a rehabilitated villain, that I'd dearly love to see more of.

Morning View
Title: The Second of our Reign
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Ciel Phantomhive/Sebastian Michaelis
Categories: Established relationship, future fic
Length: Medium (5,720 words)
Warnings: Underage? (This story is a bit vague on Ciel's age. He is certainly older than his canonical age of 13, but likely still a teenager.) Knife/blood play.

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] p_zeitgeist
Author Website:  Phoebe_Zeitgeist

Review: I fell in love with Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler a few weeks ago after streaming the first season of the anime, and since then, I've been gorging myself on all of the fanfiction I can find. "The Second of our Reign" is one of the handful that's really stood out to me. This story follows the course of a day in the Phantomhive household in a structure that feels very in keeping with the show. But unlike other days, Ciel has some strange and pointed questions for Sebastian, as well as a mysterious errand to run.

This story captures a lot of what I love about Black Butler. The power dynamics between Sebastian and Ciel are what first hooked me on the canon, and [livejournal.com profile] p_zeitgeist captures them beautifully here. The constant references to the eating of souls kept the eventual termination of their contract firmly in my mind as I read, and served as a nice counterweight to Ciel's control over Sebastian as both his demon and his butler. The characterization was a real strength of this piece. This takes place a few years after the anime (though it ignores the ending of the first series), and I really enjoyed seeing how the two of them had settled into their relationship, while still keeping each other on their toes. The one sex scene is smoldering! The story conveys the obvious affection between Sebastian and Ciel without sacrificing either of their characterizations or giving way to sentimentality. The prose is lovely without drawing too much attention to itself, and the dialogue is as witty as I could hope from Black Butler. There was also a very nice exploration of the theology of this universe, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although on the shorter side, this story has some heft to it. I found myself thinking on it again and again after reading it.

I also highly recommend the remix, Cafe de I'Europe (The à la carte remix) by Lady_Ganesh (1,416 words and gen, rated PG-13), which is a lovely and tragic look at what, exactly, Ciel was doing during his mysterious errand in "The Second of our Reign."

The Second of our Reign
Cafe de I'Europe (The à la carte remix)
Title: Worlds That Turn On Their Own
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Future fic
Length: Epic (54,954 words)
Warnings: Angst

Author on LJ:  N/A
Author Website:  RemainNameless

Summary: When Stiles had left Beacon Hills, he'd done it with every intention of never coming back. Ten years later, he finds himself forced back to his hometown. Of course, it's not long before things are just as they had been before -- that is, falling headlong towards disaster, and this time, stopping it isn't really an option.

Review: "Worlds That Turn on Their Own" is a future fic where Stiles, now a cop in Minneapolis, returns home to take care of his father after a heart attack. Once in Beacon Hills, he needs to face the pack he abandoned so many years before, including Derek, who's the reason he left in the first place. Even after ten years away, Stiles hasn't managed to get over Derek. But life in Beacon Hills had continued moving forward in Stiles's absence, and Derek is now dating the daughter of a neighboring Alpha. When it becomes apparent that Stiles's feelings aren't as unrequited as he'd previously thought, he and Derek need to step carefully to avoid sparking a pack war.

I love pining, and this story delivers it in spades, with Stiles and Derek carrying torches for each other for over a decade of absence. This story starts on a melancholy note, and the angst builds from there, with jealousy and guilt, and beneath it all, a connection so magnetic that Derek and Stiles can't resist it, even when being together is downright dangerous. If you love UST followed by sex, followed by guilt and misunderstandings (peppered with more sex), followed by action and an eventual happy ending, this is the story for you! There is also some fantastic werewolf mythology here! I can't say too much without major spoilers, but I love the direction this fic takes some of the common TW werewolf tropes.

The backstory between Derek and Stiles is really at the heart of this story, and RemainNameless does a good job of gradually releasing it to us while keeping the plot moving forward. In addition to the strong pacing and the emotional connection between Derek and Stiles, I loved this glimpse at the pack as adults. The futures RemainNameless chose for everybody seem entirely likely, and I especially liked the characterization of Allison and Lydia. I'm also glad that she chose not to make a villain of Derek's almost-girlfriend. The OFC is genuinely likable, which makes Stiles feel even guiltier about the whole situation. For those of you who worry about infidelity, she and Derek are in the very early courtship stages and their relationship isn't at all set in stone. The real impediment to the Derek/Stiles relationship isn't the OFC herself, but rather her father, and the possibility of Derek offending a stronger pack by turning her down.

I loved this story to death the first time I read it, but then I ended up losing the link when my computer crashed and all of my tabs closed on me. Then, last week, I downloaded a podfic on a whim and realized it was the same story I'd been haphazardly trying to track down for a few months! Chemm80's podfic is strong in its own right. I did a full rec on Podfic_Love here, but let me just say that listening to it really is a treat. She makes fantastic use of filters and special effects, and I love the emotion she brought to the dialogue.

Worlds That Turn On Their Own
[Podfic] Worlds That Turn On Their Own

We Are Stardust by fuzzytomato (NC-17)

  • May. 6th, 2014 at 9:13 PM
Title: We Are Stardust
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Arthur/Merlin
Categories: Sci-fi/Space AU, romance, first time, action/adventure
Length: Epic (43,097 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] fuzzytomato02
Author Website: favicon fuzzytomato

Author's Summary:
The crew of the merchant ship Avalon are a good lot if a little odd. The captain, Morgana, has weird dreams. The first mate, Arthur, is an unpleasant ex-lieutenant of the Phoenix Guard. The ship itself is falling apart. When they take on a new engineer named Merlin at Tintagel drift to help with repairs, they not only get a genius, they get much more than they bargained for.

Review:
I don't know if this is intentional, but this story definitely has a little bit of a Firefly vibe, which I really liked. That doesn't mean you have to be a Firefly fan to enjoy it, not at all. There is so much to love in this story, from the phenomenal world-building to the well-developed characterizations and excellent writing.

I really, really loved seeing Merlin as a technopath, and for his gift in this world to be as rare and powerful as his canon abilities. I loved the element of risk involved, that he might merge with the machines in an irrevocable fashion, perpetually trapped in cyber-state. The use of paradoxes as a test for this state was an interesting detail that I really enjoyed.

Arthur is just a little bit broken, and as we see his initial mistrust of Merlin fade away and their friendship develop, it all feels very natural and organic. When the truth about Merlin's abilities comes out in a time of crisis, Arthur can't stop being concerned about Merlin despite his anger. Seeing them come together again, and seeing Arthur's protectiveness and caring for Merlin, as well as the depth of his feelings finally made physical was immensely satisfying.

Last but certainly not least, I adored Morgana's role as Captain and Seer. Fuzzytomato portrayed a Morgana as I love to see her: an awesome, steadfast, confident woman. She doesn't back down, is fierce in her defense of her family and crew (which in this case, are essentially one and the same), and is everything one could ask for in a strong female lead.

We Are Stardust

Miles Away by Sori (R)

  • Feb. 12th, 2014 at 11:29 PM
Your usual Tuesday reccer has gone rogue and is posting on a Wednesday night! Sorry for the change of schedule -- life is a little more hectic than usual.

Title: Miles Away
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: First time, future fic, romance
Length: Medium (12,509)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website:  AO3

Summary: Maybe it should have felt like a bad thing, realizing that his pack wasn’t actually his anymore. He didn’t really want to admit that the day he looked around and saw Scott taking care of everyone, Derek breathed easily for the first time since he’d met Kate Argent.

Review: "Miles Away" explores one possible best-case scenario for Derek that the show itself hinted at, that he might be happier packing his bags and saying goodbye to Beacon Hills altogether. After a brief road trip, Derek ends up in Seattle, prompted (in part) by Stiles, who reveals that his mother went to the University of Washington before she met the sheriff. Derek finally learns how to heal in Seattle, with a little help from graduate-level calculus, the sea, and Stiles.

I live in Seattle and have loved it all of my life, and Sori did an amazing job of capturing the essence of the city, how it's this paradoxical mix of fast-paced urban life and slow revelation, with a constant sense of renewal from the ocean breezes. I loved re-learning the city through Derek's eyes, accompanying him as the wounds from Beacon Hills began to heal. What I love the most about this story is the sense of quiet hope in it, as Derek begins to envision a life on his own terms. I also loved watching his relationship with Stiles develop, one text message at a time. I'm a sucker for slow-build first-time stories, even more so when they involve healing, and this story fits the bill perfectly on both levels.

Miles Away
Title: The Professor's Wife
Fandom: xxxHolic
Pairing: Doumeki/Watanuki
Categories: Romance, Future, Spirits, Supernatural, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Epic (56,217)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] foolish_m0rtal
Author Website: AO3 | Tumblr

Author's Summary:
The students all said that Professor Doumeki had a wife who made him lunches and impeccably pressed his shirts. Watanuki found this hilarious. For the wtfholic fest prompt: "The only people who can see Watanuki are customers with wishes."

Review:
Having read [livejournal.com profile] gezana's rec earlier this week, I was suddenly reminded of one of my absolute favorite fics in the xxxHolic fandom. Then I felt this overwhelming need to both reread and rec it because it's just that good.

The Professor's Wife is beautifully done. The prose is pristine and so neatly woven together it's a joy to read. Watanuki and Doumeki are both completely in character, except they've grown up through the years together and you can really see them evolving in such ways. The premise is an interesting one: imagine that after Yuuko has gone away that Watanuki has inherited the store and is waiting for her to come back. Except that nobody can see him beyond people with wishes and others with strong spiritual power. How do you live like that? Cut off from everyone and everything, unable to even stay in your apartment because the landlord thinks you've run off. But then there's Doumeki who's like a rock and the steady progression is mesmerizing.

You have a strong character in Watanuki who is willing to give up what is essentially his future just for Yuuko. Then you have an equally strong character in Doumeki, who isn't willing to let Watanuki go it alone, who is always supporting him and always pulling him back from anything that'd be too much. They have a wonderful relationship, and the fic shows how they grow and evolve together, how they fit together, how they get together, and how they live together.

It's just so good.

I must have read this fic about five times already, and I've loved it every time. It's a story you find yourself going back to time and time again because the plot and the characters are amazing. It's pretty much perfect and was a blast to read from start to finish.

The Professor's Wife

Bushwick Game Night by flamingmuse (PG-13)

  • Feb. 8th, 2014 at 9:36 AM
Title: Bushwick Game Night
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine, Santana/Dani, gen
Categories: Future fic, humour
Length: Medium (8282)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] flaming_muse
Author's website: flamingmuse on tumblr

Summary: Pictionary in the Bushwick loft is serious business.

Review:
This is a lovely, sweet and funny little fic that offers a glance into the life of the New York crew on one of their game nights. The premise is simple: a collection of classic film titles are placed in a hat and you have to draw whatever film you pull out for the rest of your team to guess. Unfortunately, one team is a lot stronger than the other, and that leaves a few people to their own sneaky devices to try and win.

As usual, flamingmuse's prose flows easily and naturally. She's got a good taste for what's funny and really hits everyone's characterisation bang on the head. It goes to show a great writer when an entire period of life can be painted in just a few thousand words.

Bushwick Game Night
on AO3

Inverted by alecdvnpt (PG-13)

  • Jan. 25th, 2014 at 12:23 AM
Title: Inverted
Fandom: The Mortal Instruments series
Pairing: Alec/Magnus
Categories: Angst, hurt/comfort, romance, fix-it fic
Length: Medium (6300)
Warnings: none

Author on LJ: N/A
Author's website: alecdvnpt on Tumblr

Summary: The world seemed a little more bearable upside down, or so Alec thought, until Magnus comes to him and their situation begins to reverse.

Review:
I'm a sucker for a good fix-it fic, and after the tragic happenings of City of Lost Souls, I think we're all in need of one. There's something about just the right amounts of angst and pain mixed with laughter and warm fuzziness that really makes a fic feel right, and I think this one hits that spot well.

All the characters we meet--of course, Alec and Magnus especially--are well-characterized, and it's obvious that the author really knows the world they're writing about. The flow and language is handled carefully and leaves you with a soft smile on your face. Alec and Magnus are meant to be together and this just really drives that home for me. There is hope for the future!

Inverted on AO3 or on FF.net
Title: Hello Operator, Please Give Me Number Nine
Fandom: Calvin & Hobbes
Pairing: None
Categories: Gen
Length: Medium (3,066)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] starlingthefool
Author Website: AO3 | Tumblr

Author's Summary:
The lesson here, Susie thinks, is that tricking Death is tricky business. How do you outwit the personification of oblivion? Chess, obviously, won’t be the answer.

Or: Susie plays Calvinball with Death.

Review:
I'm a main character person. I usually love main characters and ignore most side characters, but once in a while a fic comes knocking that features a side character and I end up loving it. This fic is one of those fics. I'm not even all that fond of Susie! But this was wonderful.

Susie's in college. She has a stellar GPA and a not-so-bad life. Then she meets Death who comes rather suddenly, but Susie's not the type of person who'll just go quietly into the night. Instead she challenges Death to a game. A game of Calvinball. (This, of course, made me instantly grin).

Calvinball is a game with almost no rules. Or rather, a lot of rules, only all kind of made up and on the spot. Now you'd think the author's rendition would be messy and chaotic and make no sense. And it doesn't. Except it does!! Because it makes sense in the context of the fic, while being true to what Calvinball actually is. It's not over done. It's not too crazy. It fits and it fits perfectly.

And that end! That end that just wrapped the story up in a pretty bow. I loved this fic. If you like Calvin & Hobbes then you should read this. It's truly a wonderful little piece.

Hello Operator, Please Give Me Number Nine

Promises Made by antediluvian (G)

  • Jan. 1st, 2014 at 3:26 PM
Title: Promises Made
Fandom: Spirited Away
Pairing: Haku/Chihiro
Categories: Future Fic, Spirits
Length: Medium (5,087)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: AO3

Author's Summary:
Chihiro tasted the rain cool and sweet on her lips, and remembered, fleetingly, what clouds had tasted like as she flew through them.

Review:
I swear this fandom has some of the prettiest writing.

I love Yuletide because it gives me fics like this that I just sort of sigh over and clutch to my chest and wish could just go on and on. Promises Made takes place in the future, where Chihiro lives her day to day life, but still remembers Haku and is still connected to the spirit world in mostly little ways. She's pragmatic, but she keeps an eye out for spirits and there's this dreamy quality to the entire fic that touches her, but doesn't overwhelm her.

I wouldn't say that Chihiro is waiting for Haku to come back, but they do have a promise to see one another again and it's important even if she doesn't let it define her. I think that's an important distinction and one I'm glad that the author made.

And it's so pretty. So very very pretty. It's not even--it's in the descriptions. It's in the way Haku smiles with his eyes and the way that clouds taste. It's the promise of more that kind of hovers in the background without overwhelming you. At the end I'm left with this brimming of feelings that just make me want to gush and leave me wanting more.

It's crazy because it's not like a lot happens. But there's a sort of internal pull in the chest and--I have no idea. Read it. It's lovely and fits the world of Spirited Away so well.

Promises Made

Unspoiled by forthright (PG)

  • Nov. 27th, 2013 at 4:16 AM
Title: Unspoiled
Fandom: Inuyasha
Pairing: Sesshoumaru/Kagome
Categories: Drama, AU, Romance, Time Traveling, Family Feels~, Fluff
Length: Super Epic (167,228)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] forthrightly
Author Website: FF.net

Author's Summary:
Something goes awry during a trip through the Well, and Kagome is stranded in the distant past where she encounters a familiar face. When a very young Sesshoumaru decides to keep her, the consequences ripple through time.

Review:
This fic is, hands down, one of my favorite Inuyasha fics ever. Inuyasha holds a special place in my heart, if only because I loved that show when I was younger, and Sesshoumaru is one of my favorites. And Kagome is one of my favorites. Ergo, Sesshoumaru and Kagome together is my favorite of favorites for this show and--uh, I'm getting off track. Whoops.

This is wonderful. You have Sesshoumaru who, at least in the beginning, is young (a child, really) and untried, but is still himself. Still reserved and proud and kind of terrifying, but he's a child. Kagome is confused and is clutching onto Sesshoumaru because he's familiar (and even then not all that familiar), but somehow their relationship grows in leaps and bounds. But not in a creepy way! There's no hint of any sort of romantic relationship when Kagome is together with Sesshoumaru in the past. Mostly there's a lot of affection and warm fuzzy feelings that have more to do with them being a pack and family.

This fic also takes an original character and runs away with it. Beautifully. Hisoka was so convincing as a character I paused in the middle of the fic, tilted my head, and went, "Wait, maybe he was actually some sort of really minor character...?" (I did a brief Google search. Answer is no, haha). Each character is nuanced. Each one has their own motivations and feelings and hopes, but they all mesh so well with one another. I found each person absolutely spot on.

The fic does do some time jumping, with most of the fic set in the past with Kagome and a young Sesshoumaru, but a good chunk of the fic is set in the future with the emergence of feelings. It's not an instant-click sort of thing either, there's still plenty of uncertainty and confusion (on Kagome's part, at least), but you never doubt the fact that she and Sesshoumaru would get together and be happy.

The story itself was written as a series of drabbles that interlock with one another, which might be a bit off putting to some, but it still flowed very well for me. I had no trouble with moving from one part to the next and a lot of the drabbles are direct continuations of the previous ones. If you want romance from the start this isn't the fic for you, but if you don't mind the long way around, lots of fluff, and the thought of how the past, present, and future are all related, well. Read the fic. You really won't be disappointed.

Unspoiled

Natural Selection by Aishuu & Murinae (PG)

  • Nov. 13th, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Title: Natural Selection
Fandom: Spirited Away
Pairing: Haku/Chihiro
Categories: Future Fic, Romance, Spirits
Length: Long (31,232)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] aishuu & [livejournal.com profile] murinae
Author Website: Aishuu's AO3

Author's Summary:
After marrying Chihiro, it's Haku's turn to explore a new world. Haku must navigate human life as he struggles to find his place as a god in a faithless, electronic age.

Review:
Spirited Away is definitely one of my most favorite movies ever, and every once in a while I find myself dipping a toe back into the fandom. This story was written a few years ago, but it remains one of my favorites--in part because it's written so well and in part because it kind of makes my heart squeeze every time I read it.

It's not a drama-and-action-everywhere! sort of fic. Rather, it's mostly about Haku. A Haku who has married Chihiro and still misses his river. It's about spirits and their place in a world that's increasingly faithless, and how some adapt and others don't. It's about a Haku who struggles as a dragon, a god, in a human body, but does so with nary a complaint because he fiercely loves Chihiro and she makes everything worth it (my heart you guys).

It's a lower key sort of fic. It mostly explores Haku's evolution and the way he interacts with the human world he has chosen to live in (while still interacting with the spirits around him). And it's so beautifully written. The descriptions, the turns of phrases--all of these set the tone and make you really believe that this is actually the future for Haku and Chihiro. Life isn't perfect for the both of them (for one, Haku can barely hold a job, ha), but it's worth it to them. I just sort of helplessly smile.

And Haku's a dragon. A dragon in a human body (most of the time), but still a dragon. His mannerisms and quirks are spot on, as are Chihiro's. Basically: Everything is believable! And gorgeous! And if you liked Spirited Away you'll love this!

Natural Selection

Never Was a Stranger by Dira Sudis (NC-17)

  • Nov. 4th, 2013 at 7:10 AM
Title: Never Was a Stranger
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Time travel, future, hurt/comfort , magic!Stiles, first time, virginity, romance,
Length: Medium (8,915 words)
Warnings: Sort of underage, but sort of not. (see LJ rec for spoilery details.)
Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] dsudis
Author Websites: favicon Dira Sudis

Author's Summary: Derek sighed and rubbed his forehead. "What if I told you I traveled back in time to protect you."

Review:
This opens with Stiles waking up to an altered world with no memory of how he got there, and I do have a soft spot for stories that drop me right into the thick of it. Despite the summary, it's Stiles who's time travelling, as the unwanted side effect of a spell cast in the future in order to find a way to keep the pack from harm. Luckily for Stiles, Derek is there to explain things to him, although really it's Derek's behavior that says even more than his words. They have a very different relationship in the future, one that Stiles is trying to wrap his head around while also trying not to freak out about his situation.

There are some lovely touches along the way, like the hurt/comfort, the moonlight app, and Derek becoming Stiles' first sexual experience even though he wasn't Stiles' first sexual experience... Time travel. It rocks.

Never Was a Stranger

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