"Until" by objectlesson (R)

  • Feb. 10th, 2015 at 10:54 PM
Title: Until
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Character study, supernatural, dark
Length: Medium (4,435 words)
Warnings: Underage relationship (13-year-old boy/ancient demon), though the sex is only implied. Suicidal ideation. Possible TW for eating disorders.

Author on AO3:  objectlesson

Summary: Long before he contracts the Earl of Phantomhive and becomes Sebastian Michaelis for better or for worse, he was known as a poet and a fool among demons.

Review: Reading Object Lesson's stories always feels a bit like standing in the eye of a thunder storm. There is something potent, almost electric in their prose. "Until" is a perfect example of this, a short but beautiful character study that takes an entirely different look at Sebastian than I've seen from other authors in this fandom. One of the central premises of Kuroshitsuji is that demons are guided primarily by their sense of aesthetics. Object Lesson takes this conceit, along with various quips that canon characters have made about Sebastian being "half mad with hunger," and runs with them.

As the summary implies, this Sebastian is an aesthete who "sought beauty while his peers sought sustenance." This Sebastian is melancholy, prone to introspection and self-destruction in equal measure. In Ciel, of course, he finds the beauty he was searching for, to the ruin or possible salvation of them both. Object Lesson has a great grip on these characters, and on the painful but beautiful relationship between them. The end result is a character study that is insightful, poetic, and hopelessly, tragically romantic.

Title: bring you to my hell
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Supernatural/horror/creature fic, established relationship, PWP, dark
Length: medium (4,725 words)
Warnings: Underage (13-year-old boy/ancient demon), danger kink, master/servant dynamics

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

Summary: Other devils might enjoy offering fruit to tempt the innocent into damnation, but Sebastian -- he much prefers sharing it with one already damned.

Review: As Ciel eats his orange after the Book of Circus arc, Sebastian reflects on his own hunger, on temptation, damnation, and forbidden fruit. But as the summary implies, Sebastian's role is not to tempt in this story. Ciel is already damned, and once again, he has an order that surprises Sebastian.

This is a hard story to rec without spoiling its central premise, which is one of the main reasons I've hesitated to post about it here. But [livejournal.com profile] dustofwarfare is one of my favorite Kuroshitsuji writers, and this is a great read to start off 2015's year of recs. Her Sebastian is always a delight to read, and always a refreshing change from the many mundane AUs floating around. As in furnace room lullaby, which I previously recced here, Sebastian is more demon than butler in this fic, and Ciel wouldn't have it any other way. As the warnings imply, this story is not for everyone. This is a Sebastian who, as in canon, literally hungers for his master, and a Ciel who gets off on testing the limits on that hunger and of his demon's patience. Ciel is canon-aged in this story, so there is shota/underage. However, it does not particularly focus on his youth as a kink. Instead, [livejournal.com profile] dustofwarfare highlights the qualities that make Ciel so formidable in canon. He may be damned, but he knows it, and he's quite prepared to step into that good night with Sebastian when the time comes. In the meantime, Ciel, as always, knows exactly what he wants -- and he expects Sebastian to deliver it.

bring you to my hell

"Untouched" by GarGoyl (NC-17)

  • Nov. 25th, 2014 at 11:30 PM
Title: Untouched
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Canon AU, future fic, horror, angst, casefic, master/servant
Length: Epic (52,547)
Warnings: underage (13-year-old boy/ancient demon), dub-con, drug use

Author on AO3:  GarGoyl

Summary: After failing to collect Ciel's soul in strange circumstances, Sebastian returns home in Underworld to brood over his misfortune. But little does he know how their fate will change now that he is no longer the butler...

Review: One of the primary strengths of "Untouched" is GarGoyl's version of the Underworld where Sebastian makes his home between contracts, not to be confused with the Victorian underworld where Ciel and Sebastian solve cases for the queen! A lesser demonic noble, Sebastian (or the Black Crow as he is known in his own world) is charged with occasionally advising and carrying out tasks for the mysterious Council that rules the Underworld, much like Ciel in his role as the queen's watchdog. This role reversal between Sebastian and Ciel is one of the primary motifs in this story, playing out in some interesting and entertaining ways, though I can't elaborate much on that without spoiling the plot.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say "Untouched" is not without its flaws. I wasn't a fan of the author's use of epithets, and Ciel's characterization didn't always work for me, although those things are, of course, subjective. However, the plot kept me engaged enough to keep reading despite those quibbles. I really enjoyed this take on Sebastian's demonic life, which is very different than anything else I've read in this fandom. The minor characters were also entertaining. The Undertaker is especially great in this, and I also found myself surprisingly fond of the OC who serves as Sebastian's housekeeper. This kind of imaginative, plotty story was exactly what I was hoping to find when I first started reading Kuroshitsuji fic.


"Chasing Butterflies" by haldolhs (R)

  • Nov. 18th, 2014 at 10:20 AM
Title: Chasing Butterflies
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Dark, angst
Length: Medium (12,063 words)
Warnings: Angst, bondage, spanking,

Author Website:  haldolhs

Summary: Ciel is held hostage by personal demons. Sebastian vows to do whatever it takes to recover his lost master.

Review: Ciel, now twenty, is determined to take out a serial killer on his own, having ordered Sebastian off to France on a wild goose chase. This works out about as well as you'd expect.

Where to even start with this story? I found it during an idle sweep of AO3 one lazy morning while only grudgingly awake and not quite ready to get out of bed yet. I clicked on "Chasing Butterflies," read the first two paragraphs, and immediately got out of bed to make coffee because I could tell I'd stumbled across something good and I wanted to be awake for it. And, yes, it was worth getting out of bed for!

As the tight third-person limited narrative dances around the story's central question of why Ciel sent Sebastian away, it reveals new questions, and new facets of their relationship. Haldolhs lays out a tantalizing path of crumbs that hint at Ciel's life from thirteen to twenty without ever losing the present conflict in drawn-out backstory. The end result is that Ciel is recognizably himself, but more so, his forceful personality and reckless streak rooted in an adult's sense of self. If Ciel manages to survive to twenty in the manga, he will probably end up something like this. Sebastian, too, is beautifully characterized in this, though I feel I can't say too much about his role without giving away the plot. His dialogue is spot-on, though, as are the power dynamics between them. I also appreciated that this is one of the few Kuroshitsuji stories I've read that lets Ciel top. "Chasing Butterflies" is one of those stories that reads like a jigsaw puzzle, every new bit of information sliding another piece into place until we're finally able to see the whole of Ciel's relationship with Sebastian. The final picture it forms is breathtaking -- dark-edged, surprisingly romantic, and layered with symbolism. This is absolutely a must-read.

Chasing Butterflies

"Terms and Conditions" by sonderling (NC-17)

  • Nov. 12th, 2014 at 12:30 AM
Title: Terms and Conditions
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: PWP, negotiation, first time, virginity
Length: medium (7,281 words)
Warnings: underage/shota (thirteen-year-old boy/ancient demon), dubcon, negotiation

Author on AO3:  sonderling

Summary: "Since that day, I have always been young master’s faithful servant. I shall do whatever young master wishes… in exchange for the sacrifice… and the pleasure that has been offered."

Sebastian thought they'd negotiated the terms of the contract quite clearly, but Ciel's got a few, well, conditions.

Review: In "Terms and Conditions," their contract entitle Sebastian not only to Ciel's soul upon his death but also to "small samplings" of it during his lifetime. (I'll give you one guess what sampling entails!) For the past three years, Sebastian has been waiting patiently for Ciel's soul to ripen with adolescence. Now, that long-awaited day is finally here -- but before Sebastian can get a taste, Ciel has a few conditions of his own.

Take a good look at the warnings because what you see is what you'll get in this PWP. Consent issues, age issues, and uneven power dynamics are pretty much a given with this scenario. But if you're onboard with the idea of Sebastian and Ciel negotiating for Ciel's virginity, you have come to the right place! "Terms and Conditions" promises porn and it delivers. However, it is well-written, in-character porn, and if you've poked your head into the Kuroshitsuji tags on AO3, you know what a rare find that is! Sebastian's aesthetics (and his own self-serving nature) make him want to convince Ciel to be just as enthusiastic about this new turn in their relationship as he is. And while Ciel is nervous and inexperienced, he still shows the forceful personality and strength of character that make him so intriguing in canon. Strong characterization, lovely prose, and smoking hot sex make this one of my favorite Kuroshitsuji stories. I'm just crossing my fingers that sonderling keeps writing in Kuroshitsuji because the fandom could use more stories like this!

Terms and Conditions
Title: Lust is but Gluttony's Twin (series)
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: First time, supernatural, virginity
Length: Medium (the series as a whole is about 15k)
Warnings: Underage/shota (13-year-old boy/ancient demon), references to previous non-con (not between Ciel and Sebastian)

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] _newworld

Summary: “Gluttony is your sin of choice, is it not, Sebastian?”

Review: Ciel supposes that demons are free from human desires, driven as they are by their deep hunger for souls. When he suggests this theory to Sebastian, however, he learns that lust and gluttony are overlapping sins, sometimes impossible to tell apart. Realizing that Sebastian hungers for his body as well as his soul, Ciel tries to re-draw the line between the two of them, even as part of him desperately wants to cross it.

The UST in this series is absolutely sizzling as Ciel and Sebastian dance around the line between earl and butler, master and demon. Kagome beautifully layers this new element into the power dynamics that already make the Sebastian/Ciel relationship so intriguing. I loved watching Ciel and Sebastian try to one-up each other in their new game, and I loved the perfectly in-character dialogue. And when they finally do decide to cross that line, the sex is well worth the wait. Part character study, part PWP, and part meditation on the nature of hunger and desire, this series is one of my favorites in the Kuroshitsuji fandom. Unfortunately, since it's hosted on LJ and not AO3, it's also one of those gems that new fans might have to do some digging to uncover, especially as only the final story in the series contains links back to the others. I'm including links to all four stories below to make it easier for readers to find their way across it.

Lust is but Gluttony's Twin
The Thin Line Between
Lead me (not) into Temptation
Lines not to Cross
I've been sitting on this gem for a few months now because we at [livejournal.com profile] epic_recs have a policy of not reccing work by our fellow reccers (for obvious reasons). But since [livejournal.com profile] mothlights stepped down from the team awhile ago, I got permission from the mods to go ahead and post it. This collaboration is really too good not to share!

Title: Misfire
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Time travel, angst
Length: Long (28,804 words)
Warnings: None

Author on AO3:  unpossible
Podficcer on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] mothlights
Podficcer on AO3:  mothlights

Summary: “The debt must be repaid,” she says, and it has the weight of a vow. The words resonate through him, ringing through his ribcage and the bones of his jaw, and Stiles loses his breath and maybe his grip on reality because she draws herself upright and where there had once stood a supermodel-level MILF now there is Galadriel’s much hotter older sister, a Presence of unmistakable power in their ordinary, smells-vaguely-of-Thai-takeout hallway.

“Oh shit,” Stiles says.

Review: "Misfire" begins several years after season two. Stiles is an adult now, in a committed relationship with Derek, who is still painfully scarred from the trauma of his past. When a powerful faerie grants Stiles a wish after he inadvertently does her a favor, he asks for the one thing that might make Derek truly happy. Armed with his knowledge of the present, Stiles travels back in time determined to prevent Kate Argent from murdering the Hale family -- even knowing that, if he succeeds, he will be writing a new future, where Derek will have little reason to know Stiles, let alone fall in love with him.

I'm a sucker for angst, pining and noble gestures, and this fic is packed with all three! In the brief glimpse we get of Stiles's pre-time travel future, Unpossible paints a vivid picture of his love for Derek and the impact of Derek's trauma on their relationship. This story makes it easy to accept that Stiles would choose Derek's happiness over his own, even though it tears him apart to rip away the relationship that has become the cornerstone of his life. I also loved seeing the Hale family through future!Stiles's eyes. Peter, especially, is a delight in this story, and I loved Talia as well. Their reactions to Stiles were perfect. However, I think my favorite character in this fic might be the new!Derek, unknowingly freed of his tragic past. The direction unpossible took him in was entirely believable to me, and I was really intrigued by his new relationship with his now-surviving family/pack. And I loved the dynamic between new!Derek and Stiles. This story's happy ending is well worth all of the angst.

This was a pod-together collaboration, and as such, I highly recommend listening to the podfic by [livejournal.com profile] mothlights, which is how I first took in this story. As a collaborative effort, "Misfire" was written to be read aloud, and it sounds fantastic. I'm always a fan of [livejournal.com profile] mothlights' readings. Her performance really highlighted the emotion in this story, without ever going overboard. The production in this podfic was also fantastic with subtle (and well-done) sound effects. And as an added bonus, it hits my sweet spot for podfic length at about 4.5 hours long -- meaty enough to really get into, but short enough to easily finish it in a day. It made an afternoon running errands much more tolerable, that's for sure!

Title: It's the Fault of the Kid in the Dress
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Fantasies, Telepathy/Soul Bond, Virginity
Length: Medium (3,648 words)
Warnings: Underage (13-year-old boy/ancient demon)

Author on ff.net: Sanpizil

Summary: In which Ciel and Sebastian share, or don't, an intimate moment- or a non-intimate one. Complete whimsy.

Review: Ciel can't stop thinking about the way Alois (the "kid in the dress" to whom the title refers) licked his ear at the Trancy ball. Although "he's never really thought about that kind of thing before," too focused on his work and his revenge, Ciel finds himself reflecting that ear licking might actually be pleasant, if someone other than Alois were doing it. Naturally, his thoughts stray to Sebastian. But fantasizing about a demon has unexpected consequences.

It's hard to review this story without spoiling the central conceit that makes it so wonderful. Let me just say that, literally and figuratively, it works on many levels. On the one hand, it's a story of Ciel's sexual awakening. On the other hand, it's a story of the relationship between Ciel and Sebastian, mostly proper on the surface, but with hints of much deeper possibilities. The characterization is golden in this fic. I especially liked that Ciel, though young and virginal, isn't the wilting violet some Kuro writers like to cast in his place. Instead, their dynamics echo the mentor/mentee relationship Ciel and Sebastian have in canon, where Ciel's forceful personality and power over the demon help to balance their differences in age and experience. Although short, this story packs a powerful amount of characterization, and it's worth reading multiple times to catch all of the nuances folded into it.

It's the Fault of the Kid in the Dress

"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.


"Muérdago" by Starbolin (NC-17)

  • Oct. 1st, 2014 at 8:47 PM
This is your usual Tuesday reccer checking in a little late (24 hours, who's counting?). This fic is one of my favorites in the fandom. I hope you enjoy it!

Title: Muérdago
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: First time, casual sex, accidental feelings
Length: Long (17,674 words)
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence, underage (Stiles is a teenager)

Author on AO3:  starbolin

Summary: "Mistletoe was often considered a pest that kills trees and devalues natural habitats, but was recently recognized as an ecological keystone species, an organism that has a disproportionately pervasive influence over its community. In Norse myth, an arrow made of mistletoe was the only thing that was able to kill the god Balder. The goddess Frigg had asked all other things to vow not to hurt Balder, but she had ignored the mistletoe because it seemed too small to be dangerous."

Review: Muérdago is an old favorite from the Teen Wolf fandom that still holds up to the test of time. In fact, certain elements of this fic ring surprisingly true for seasons three and four, such as the mistletoe legend the author quoted in the summary. Muérdago begins after season two, when everyone is still trying to figure out what the Alpha Pack wants and whether Erica and Boyd are still alive. In the midst of trying to answer these questions, Stiles and Derek begin a sexual relationship, though the antagonism between them remains as thick as ever. The sex is definitely a high point in this fic. We're talking a smoking hot scenario for Stiles unexpectedly losing his virginity, which is a trope I can 100% get behind! I also enjoyed the way starbolin dealt with the lack of communication in this fic -- it felt more in character to me than it does in a lot of fanfiction. I also enjoyed this take on Derek. He's still the damaged, cocky alpha from season two, but starbolin rounds out his personality through a number of satisfying details that feel absolutely right to me. This is a great read if you're feeling nostalgic for the days when Teen Wolf plots made some kind of sense and the characters actually had motivation.

Title: furnace room lullaby
Fandom:  Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing:  Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Vignette, hurt/comfort, horror
Length:  Short (1,658 words)
Warnings: None

Author on AO3:  dustofwarfare

Summary: Sometimes Ciel dreams he died on the sacrificial altar, and wakes up gasping his demon's name. And sometimes, his demon hears.

Review: The Kuroshitsuji fandom has several excellent stories under 2,000 words, but in the end, I decided to rec this newer piece by dustofwarfare. In "furnace room lullaby," Ciel wakes from a nightmare to find Sebastian in his room, summoned by Ciel calling out for him in his sleep. What follows is a wonderfully in-character exchange between demon and master. Like Kuroshitsuji itself, this story is hard to categorize. Sebastian's very presence almost classifies it as horror, but there is also hurt/comfort, as much Sebastian would offer and Ciel would allow. I suppose you could call it a slice-of-life vignette, for all that it emphasizes how delightfully strange and dark Ciel's life is.

All of dustofwarfare's stories portray a Sebastian as mysterious (and occasionally sinister) as he is in canon, a refreshing change from a lot of Kuroshitsuji fic. Sebastian's mask as a devoted servant sometimes hides the demon inside. This story is a reminder of the danger he poses to Ciel, and it leaves me feeling somewhat unsettled, like waking from a nightmare. But the inner fortitude provided by Ciel's point of view keeps "furnace room lullaby" from devolving into pure angst. This is a Ciel who was damaged by his past, but not broken by it, and who doesn't flinch away from who and what Sebastian really is. I love that, while highlighting the threat of their bond, this story also hints at the real affection between Ciel and Sebastian. For those of you who don't read underage, this story is only about as slashy as the anime itself, and could easily be read as pre-slash or gen, depending on how you interpret Sebastian's motivations. This vignette is like a photograph that illustrate everything I love about the relationship between them, however you decide to interpret it.

furnace room lullaby

Sep. 9th, 2014

  • 9:43 PM
Title: Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Categories: AU, found families
Length: Long (14,925 words)
Warnings: Mild drugs and alcohol use, pegging, mention of mental illness, transgender issues (one of the characters is pre-op ftm)

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] new_kate
Author on AO3:  new_kate
Podficcer on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] sophinisba
Podficcer on AO3: sophinisba

Summary: Modern AU. Arthur moves to a a different city to start a new life and become a new man. On a whim he decides to share a flat with an attractive stranger, and quickly gets drawn into Merlin's odd little world.

Review: I've already recced the podfic for Amplirecathon 2013 and Podfic Love, but I love this story so much that I couldn't resist giving it a shout out here as well. Every now and then, a podfic opens you up to a story you might not have clicked on otherwise, and this was definitely the case for "Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love." I'm often wary of fanfiction that deals with trans issues because I've come across too many stories that fetishize the trans character in a way that makes me feel really uncomfortable. But this story has a wonderfully realistic and three-dimensional portrayal of Arthur as an FTM. Arthur is more than his gender here, which is a refreshing change from so many stories with trans characters. I also love his relationship with Merlin and Merlin's group of friends. I'm a sucker for found families, and this story is all about finding your place with people who love you. I really encourage you to give the story a try, even if you're unfamiliar with the Merlin fandom. It really doesn't take a lot of background knowledge for you to fall in love with these characters.

And [livejournal.com profile] sophinisba's loving performance brings it to life in an absolutely delightful way. I get the sense that she really cares about these characters. Listening to this story feels intimate, like she's taking us right into Arthur's heart. As a reader, she manages to convey a wide range of emotion in the dialogue without ever being overwrought. This podfic, like the story itself, has a sense of healing to it, of creating a whole from many fractured parts. It's one of those comfort stories that I've listened to dozens of times. Also, [livejournal.com profile] yue_ix cover art is absolutely gorgeous. I always love seeing it in my iPod.

Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love
[Podfic] Little Wooden Boy and the Belly of Love
Title: little lamb, stained in red
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Angst, character study
Length: Long (about 19,500 words)
Warnings: Underage (13-year-old boy/ageless demon). References to previous sexual abuse. Occult and cult activity. References to opium use. Victorian-era hypocrisies and graphic/dark content.

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] obstinate_fate

Summary: The hands before, the hands now. The same stains. The same dirty smell, the same sick feeling in his gut. This was the shame of Ciel Phantomhive.

Review: If you're in the mood for something lighthearted and fluffy, you'll want to stay as far away from "little lamb, stained in red" as possible. But if you're in the mood for something dark and poetic, unsettling, yet strangely uplifting, do I have a story for you! Those who follow Kuroshitsuji know that Ciel Phantomhive is no ordinary 13-year-old. He's a keen businessman, a ruthless leader in the Victorian underworld, and the master of one hell of a butler. In "little lamb, stained in red," he also has a sexual relationship with said butler. Much of the story consists of Ciel comparing his relationship with Sebastian to his earlier abuse at the hands of the cultists who abducted him.

This story captures a lot of what unsettles me about the Sebastian/Ciel pairing. Yet paradoxically, it also highlights everything I love about their relationship. The lyrical, stream-of-consciousness prose positions the reader into Ciel's head, and that's never a comfortable place to be! Ciel skirts the edge of sanity in this story, as he does in canon. [livejournal.com profile] obstinate_fate also does not shy away from the problematic aspects of the age gap between Ciel and Sebastian. Though the sexual encounters are skimmed over with a few key details rather than a pornographic play-by-play, the constant references to Ciel's size remind us how young he is, and the story dwells on sexual abuse that occurred when he was even younger. And, as in canon, Sebastian himself is something of an enigma. Though we get the sense he cares for Ciel, we're never entirely sure of his feelings or his motivations. But this isn't Sebastian's story. It's Ciel's, and as such, it was entirely satisfying to me.

I first discovered this story through the podfic by [livejournal.com profile] rhea314, which does a beautiful job of conveying the stream-of-conscious prose. The podfic, like the story itself, demands the reader's attention. I was trying to do the dishes my first time listening to it, and I kept realizing I'd missed some key detail and needing to rewind. But if you can listen while giving it your full attention (it is a favorite of mine for driving), it really is a treat. Rhea's voice brings across Ciel's youth as well as his instability, and I loved that she sang the song lyrics that twine through his memories.

This story, like the best Sebastian/Ciel fics, does not fall into the common romantic tropes. There is no magical healing cock here. Yet there is healing, though perhaps of the sort that only Ciel would recognize. It reminds me of the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold to illuminate the beauty of the cracks. As in canon, Ciel has managed to turn his pain into a victory of sorts, and if his story is a tragedy, it his his tragedy, and he's walking into it with his head held high.

little lamb, stained in red
[podfic] little lamb, stained in red
Title: Lock All The Doors Behind You
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Hurt/comfort, feral behavior
Length: Long (25,959 words)
Warnings: Aftermath of torture

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

Summary: He has no idea what you're supposed to say when you find one of your...werewolf acquaintances, completely out of their mind, growling like they're about to see what your insides taste like. There's no handbook for this. Stiles is thinking that if he survives he might write one.

Review: This is a story that I would have recced sooner, except it's so well-loved that I'd assumed one of my fellow Teen Wolf reccers had already beaten me to it! Naturally, I was both thrilled and dismayed to find out I was wrong. "Lock All The Doors Behind You" is probably in my top 10 Teen Wolf fics, a delightful classic from that golden age of Teen Wolf fanfic between season 2 and 3. It begins with Scott and Stiles learning that Derek has disappeared, which Stiles dismisses with a kind of good-riddance attitude. A few days later, though, Derek turns up, but he's not himself. After having been kidnapped and tortured, he's reverted to a feral version of himself -- and to Stiles's dismay, he's the only person this new Derek will tolerate.

This story does what a lot of Teen Wolf fic doesn't, and starts with a Stiles who doesn't have some sort of secret crush on Derek. In fact, his initial attitude can be summed up as grudgingly indifferent to him. But in taking care of this new, feral version of Derek, he clearly comes to care for the real thing as well. I also get a kick out of feral Derek himself -- he and Stiles have a very boy and his terrifying puppy relationship, and [livejournal.com profile] entanglednow has clearly spent some time around dogs. Readers familiar with the story will know why I love it so much, and those who have managed to miss it are in for a treat.

I also highly recommend the podfic by [livejournal.com profile] rhea314. Rhea's performances are always delightfully easy to listen to, and this is no exception, with clear articulation, easy pacing, and clean production. It's one of my favorite podfics, and I've honestly lost track of the number of times I've listened to it.

Lock All The Doors Behind You
[Podfic] Lock All The Doors Behind You
Title: The Second Coming (of Werewolf Jesus)
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Mpreg, Humor, First Time
Length: Epic (40,104 words)
Warnings: Mpreg, nonconsensual pregnancy/sperm donation

Author on LJ: NA
Author Website:  lupinus and uraneia

Summary: Stiles was enjoying his senior year until his crazy English teacher decided he made the best candidate to gestate Derek's kid. Now Stiles is a seventeen-year-old pregnant dude and he and Derek have to figure their shit out, because in nine months they are going to be tied together for the rest of their lives.

Review: I've been meaning to rec this story for a good while, but wanted to put some distance between it and my rec for Tiny Houses, lest I earn a reputation as that reccer who's really into mpreg. "The Second Coming (of Werewolf Jesus) is another dark-magic-gets-Stiles-pregnant story, but it's about as different from "Tiny Houses" as Teen Wolf season one is from Ginger Snaps. Though the story starts with Stiles getting forcibly impregnated (and unable to abort the fetus because of magic), that's where the similarities end.

As you might expect from the title, "The Second Coming (of Werewolf Jesus)" has a lot more humor than angst. After his initial panic attack upon learning that he's a pregnant 17-year-old virgin, Stiles tries to take the situation in stride, while Derek (through a combination of misplaced guilt, werewolf instincts, and a genuine desire to have a family again) tries his best to step into a supportive co-parent role. This is very much a story about two people trying to make the best of a shitty situation. Knowing that their child is going to bind them together forever, the two of them go through a lot of trial and error as they try to figure out where they fit in each other's lives. Their relationship feels more real to me because of their occasional stumbling blocks. Sheriff Stilinski was excellent in this story as well. I loved the dynamics between the characters as the sheriff and Stiles expanded their family to include Derek (and the baby). And maybe it's just my biological clock ticking, but the actual arrival of Baby Jesus made me melt. So adorable! Equal parts heartwarming and hilarious, "The Second Coming (of Werewolf Jesus)" is one of my go-to stories whenever I want something lighthearted and fun to read.

The Second Coming (of Werewolf Jesus)
Title: Devilish Impulses
Fandom: Kuroshitsuji | Black Butler
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel
Categories: Hurt/Comfort, First Time
Length: Super!Epic (208,816 words)
Warnings: Underage (Ciel is 13; Sebastian is an ageless demon) and non-con (not between Ciel and Sebastian)

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website:  KittyGetsLoose

Summary: He impulsively broke the covenant, then remade it. But can the trust, once shattered, be recovered? Sebastian must work twice as hard to rebuild what he briefly discarded.

Review: The trust between demon and master is shattered when Sebastian breaks the terms of their contract. As Ciel and Sebastian struggle to find peace within their new contract, a case brings them deeper into the world of the supernatural. "Devilish Impulses" ignores the second anime series, instead envisioning a future beyond the end of series 1. The dynamics between Ciel and Sebastian capture everything I love about their relationship. This is a Ciel who is struggling to find a reason to live now that his revenge is carried out, but who still has his pride and his cold ease in dealing with London's criminal (and supernatural) underworld. And Sebastian is still a demon, wrestling with his surprising new feelings for his Ciel, along with the old devilish impulses to hurt him.

A few things in this story might throw some readers off, though I saw them as icing on the cake. First, obviously, is the underage relationship. Underage fic doesn't bother me in this fandom because, despite his physical age, I have never seen Ciel as a child. After all, not many boys are capable of policing London's underworld, with or without the help of a demon! But I think even readers who are more wary about underage relationships might appreciate how this one is handled. In this story, Ciel is the one who advocates to move forward with a physical relationship, while Sebastian keeps throwing on the brakes, insisting they have time to wait for certain things until Ciel is older. It made a big difference in the relationship dynamics of the story. Second, the hurt/comfort is laid on thick. Prepare for many long, loving descriptions of Sebastian tending to Ciel's wounds and looking after him during a long illness. For me, that's a selling point, but I get that other readers like their h/c more understated. And third, the writing in this story is very lush. The long sentences and occasional epithet threw me off a bit as I started reading, but there's so little long Kuroshitsuji fic that I pushed past it, and I'm glad I did. I'm now inclined to look at the prose as an homage to the writing style of the time period -- this sort of prose is far more at home in a pseudo 19th-century world of Kuroshitsuji than in something like Teen Wolf.

In the end, "Devilish Impulses" stands out as one of the best Kuroshitsuji fics I've read. I loved how the author handled the long format -- it reads more as a novel than the typical long fic does. I also loved the theology the author introduced to the canon. Finally, I loved watching Sebastian and Ciel mend the broken trust between them, emerging on the other end stronger and closer than ever. Certain scenes in this fic have been running through my head more or less constantly since I read it, and I know it won't be long before I give in and read the whole thing over again.

Devilish Impulses
Sorry for the late rec, guys! This was supposed to go out yesterday, but life had other ideas.

Title: The Boy and the Beast
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: Creature (wolf!Derek), hurt/comfort, AU
Length: Super!Epic (116,686 words)
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence, underage (Stiles is a teenager)

Author on LJ:  [livejournal.com profile] dsudis
Author Website:  Dira Sudis

Summary: In which events in Beacon Hills go rather differently from the start, and a Beauty and the Beast (ish) story ensues. (Scott is not a teacup and no one sings about their feelings.)

Review: After writing up my rec for "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" last week, I was shocked to discover that another of my favorite actual wolf!Derek Hale stories had not been recced here yet. Naturally, I had to fix that.

"The Boy and the Beast" starts off much the same way as the show itself, with a body turning up in the woods. But this time, the body belongs to Peter. The sheriff is trying to track down Derek and Laura, who went missing around the same time their uncle died. So naturally, Stiles decides to "help" by searching for the two of them in the woods. In the dark. By himself. It's not really a surprise when Stiles falls through the rotten floorboards of the old Hale house, managing to injure and trap himself at the same time . . . it is a surprise when a wolf turns up to help him.

If you're a fan of hurt/comfort, as I am, this story will leave you more-than-satisfied. [livejournal.com profile] dsudis describes Stiles's injury in a way that's almost visceral. We feel his pain and desperation, and his overwhelming relief at Derek's appearance. We also feel the joy he finds in his friendship with Derek. In this universe, Scott has managed both to make it onto the lacrosse team and get a date with Allison without werewolf powers, leaving Stiles a little more alone than he is in canon. With Derek similarly alone and grieving, the two of them naturally gravitate towards each other. Even though Derek spends most of this story as a wolf (for reasons that gradually become clear), that doesn't impede his ability to form a deep friendship with Stiles. [livejournal.com profile] dsudis does a masterful job of conveying Derek's emotions and thoughts without dialogue -- in this case, actions really do speak louder than words. The way the story deals with relationships is another of its strengths. While Stiles is thrilled to have found "a secret magical friend in the woods," Derek complicates his life. Trying to keep Derek a secret means lying to his dad and Scott. The friendship between Scott and Stiles is another strength in this story, as is the relationship between Stiles and his dad. This is a more parental sheriff than I've seen in a lot of Teen Wolf stories, but it felt like a realistic interpretation of the character to me.

One part hurt/comfort, one part werewolf mystery, and one part slow-burn romance, "The Boy and the Beast" has a little bit of something for nearly any mood. Even if you're not in the Teen Wolf fandom, I encourage you to give it a try -- this AU doesn't require a lot of canon knowledge. Don't get intimidated by the high word count, either. This story is engaging straight through till the end. And if you're like me, once you reach it, you'll probably turn right back to the beginning and start again!

The Boy and the Beast
Title: What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek/Stiles
Categories: AU, First Time, Actual Wolf Derek Hale
Length: Super!Epic (118,749 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Grimm

Review: The theme this week is your favorite cliché. In the Teen Wolf fandom, that would probably have to be Actual Wolf Derek Hale. A number of stories have the Beacon Hills werewolves turning into actual wolves, rather than the beta form they assume on the show. Not only is "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" a fantastic example of Actual Wolf Derek Hale, but it also reinterprets a number of other Teen Wolf clichés in a fresh and unexpected way.

In "What I Did On My Summer Vacation," Stiles's dad takes a new job while Stiles is off at college, as the sheriff of a tiny town called Beacon Hills. When summer vacation rolls around, Stiles visits his dad in his new home. It doesn't take him long to realize that there's a lot more to Beacon Hills than meets the eye -- and that his dad knows something he isn't telling him.

Where to even start with this story? Like I said, much of its charm is how it reinterprets fandom clichés. Grimm takes that "Beacon Hills is a magnet for the supernatural" cliché and runs with it. This is a Beacon Hills where everybody is in the know except for Stiles, and I loved seeing how the open secret of the supernatural subtly changed the town and its characters. It was also hilarious to see the sheriff lying to Stiles about werewolves, rather than the other way around! This story also portrays Laura Hale differently than a lot of fanfiction does. She's not the alpha here, just a beta struggling with the loss of her family. That vulnerability gives her a touch of realism I don't always see in Teen Wolf stories, where Laura is often painted as a 100% confident bad-ass leader. I also love the mythology and the magic system in this story. And of course, I loved the romance between Derek and Stiles! It's slower than most slow-burn stories, with Derek spending much of it as a wolf. But I loved their gradually-built friendship and trust, as well as their occasional stumbling blocks.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation
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


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Epic Recs

Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words


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