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Title: Before the Darkness Swallows You
Fandom: Marvel 616
Pairing: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Categories: survival Horror, Romance
Length: Long [30,838 words]
Warnings: Temporary Character Death, Blood and Gore

Author/Artist/Creator on LJ: veldeia
Author/Artist/Creator Website: Veldeia’s AO3

Summary:Steve was gone.
Tony was all alone in the dark, the blackness of the damp, rock-walled corridor only occasionally broken by the fluttering fluorescent lamps in the ceiling.
He wasn’t afraid of the dark. An abandoned mine was by no means the scariest environment he’d ended up in. Still, he’d have been crazy not to be afraid of what lurked in these shadows.



Review: This is one amazing Horror story. It gets a bit bloody and gory in places and the characters act accordingly, but I felt it didn’t go “too far” and had no trouble reading all the parts, despite being a little squeamish. Despite all this i found the monsters and the cave setting really scary and I wasn’t all that sure how this story would end.

There is a nice twists to everything and the author builds towards it nicely without giving it away too soon, but in a way that readers can follow and figure out along the way and the emotional arcs of the romance are nicely built up.

Before the Darkness Swallows You

Chasing the Horizon by Stiliniski (Nc17)

Title: Chasing the Horizon
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: AU, Action/Adventure, Fusion, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Long (33k)
Warnings: Detailed descrptions of torture

Author on LJ: http://obroech.tumblr.com/
Website: Stilinksi AO3

Summary: Stiles nearly laughs and for a moment, he sits there trying to think of anything to say. "It's been a good year," he croaks at long last. "I got you back--I got you back and I was so scared I'd lose you, you know? I got out there; I backpacked across half of Europe with my best friends - I got to see the never less than perfectly composed Lydia Martin after a few days without showers or real beds. Scott and Allison got married, dad. I made a speech."

The Sheriff's expression softens and he smiles, reaching up and clapping Stiles' shoulder. "You did. I was there. You had Melissa, Scott and Allison in tears."

Review: This is a remarkably sweet story, given its really dark premise. Stilinski merges Supernatural style demons with Teen Wolf's cast of characters. To create a whole new kind of dark supernatural twist to the TW universe.

If you aren't familiar with Supernatural, don't worry. Pretty much all you need to know is that in order to revive people from the dead, or cure them of the incurable you can go to the crossroads and sell your soul. After that you have one year to live before the hell hounds drag you to hell.

Despite the dark premise and the fact that Derek has been a hell-houmd for a long time, he is still a very sweet and giving soul, determined to kill the demon Kate and avenge his family. Stiles is an well meaning asshole in pretty much every universe, and he will definitely try to snark you to death. The thriller part of the story has some nice twists and turns, but stays pretty straightforward and easy to follow.

If you like revenge/thriller stories or sweet supernatural romances with dark elements this story might be a good one for you to check out.

Chasing the Horizon

recs by chibifukurou,
Title: By These Broken Wings, Shall We Be Carried
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey/Duke/Nathan
Categories: adventure, AU - canon divergence, fix-it, romance
Length: long, 21,741 words
Warnings: none

Author on Livejournal: n/a
Author Website: Jadzibelle on AO3

Summary: Vince never becomes the controller of the barn. Instead, Nathan is the one to speak with Agent Howard and becomes the controller when he realizes that it will link him to Audrey forever. Instead of killing Duke, Nathan and Audrey realize that the 500 years worth of aether inside of him is more than enough to power the barn and the three of them build a new barn as they have done everything else, together.

Review: “Yeah?” Duke asked, fixing Audrey with a smile that Nathan knew entirely too well- stubborn and bitter and sure of himself. “How exactly do you see this working when Nate starts to go all bad strobe effect if we aren’t holding on to him?”
“...The crystal,” Nathan said, making them both look back at him. “Parker, you first touched it, there was- a reaction. I could feel... something. Might be enough, one of you is touching that. Hell of a lot easier than keeping a hand on
me the whole time, if it is.”
“...A reaction,” Duke said, the words carefully flat, and Nathan scowled at him.
“Yes, a reaction,” he said, trying to convey with look alone that
now was not the time for innuendo.

There's not really a way to spoiler this one, after that summary -- which is the prompt it was written from, this being my second rec from the collection of the After Forever (aka. post-finale therapy) fic exchange. But that's really the point. The function of this tale is to wrap up the elements which were present in the final episodes of Haven with an OT3 ending in the manner canon chose not to. It's a fix-all, a dose of much-needed happiness. But it comes with a great sci-fi wrapping exploring in more detail a few of the ideas canon barely touched on, in 20k+ of romance and adventure.

It always made far more sense to me that Nathan should be the one to choose to become the controller of the new Barn and take Howard's place, guaranteeing that if Audrey had to leave again he would at least be with her for the rest of their long lives, and much of the story focuses on the mechanisms of that. The frustration of Haven was that it never fully played out and explored so many of its sci-fi concepts, and it's fascinating to see that given more attention here as Nathan tries to learn to be the mind of a dimension travelling building.

I have some minor gripes with the ending, that it wouldn't be that easy to go back after the changes that take place here, that it isn't what I'd pick for the future of these particular characters with a wider universe at their fingertips, but it seems that I'm in the minority there, with my love of Bittersweet! with an extra dash of Bitter! and aversion to clear-cut happy-ever-afters, so ah, well...

By These Broken Wings, Shall We Be Carried

The Longer You Stay by emiv (T)

Title: The Longer You Stay
Fandom: Dark Knight Rises (2012 film trilogy)
Pairing: Bruce Wayne/ Selina Kyle
Categories: Fluff, Romance, Family, Drama
Length: Epic
Warnings: Parental Abandonment, Milder Than Canon-Typical Bad Stuff (Violence, Betrayal, Crime, Child Abuse, Neglect, Sexism, Classism, etc.)

Author on LJ: emiv
Author Website: Tumblr

Author’s Summary:
Bruce Wayne was never meant to be part of Selina’s clean slate. Then again, neither were a circus boy, a street rat or a rich kid.
For a girl who didn’t like strings, Selina found herself getting attached.

Review:
Apparently, emiv looked at Dark Knight Rises and decided that what it needed was some fluff and found family. So this fic consists of Bruce and Selina wandering the world, adopting this world’s versions of the Batman comic’s first three Robins and going sideways around their many, many issues. There are dangers and difficulties Selina has to address, but all that’s at stake is the main characters’ happiness and well-being.

Bruce and Selina are both pragmatic, the kind of weird that comes from being very solitary and achingly lonely. Abandoning their roles as criminal and vigilante allows them to have a close relationship without addressing the discrepancies in their morals, background and lifestyles. The narrative does a solid, but subtle job of conveying the way Selina thinks while Bruce’s personality is in the way she sees him speak and act.

The kids come from similar circumstances as in the comics, adjusted for location and lack of legal guardians, which makes for fun comparisons. They are all distinct, adorable and pose unique challenges to raise. They all need parents and this fic makes a strong argument that Bruce and Selina are the right choice.

The Longer You Stay is steadfastly hopeful and positive. I like that.

The Longer You Stay
Companion Stories (includes Bruce and Selina getting together and Bruce’s POV of story events)

The Naming of Hobbits by Margo_Kim (G)

Title: The Naming of Hobbits
Fandom: The Hobbit
Pairing: Gen, Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield
Categories/Genres: Humor, Friendship, Fix-It, Pre-slash
Length: Medium (9756 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Margo_Kim

Summary:

There's a certain point where you can no longer ask someone what their name is. Thorin isn't sure exactly when that point is, but he knows that it's probably some time before the person in question saves your life. On the far side of the Misty Mountains, Thorin realizes that he never quite caught the first part of Mr. Baggins' name, and he finds that it's astonishingly harder to learn than he would have thought. Fili, Kili, and Dwalin are no help whatsoever.

Review:

Improbably, Thorin has no idea what Bilbo's first name is. Thus begins a rather silly, but still charmingly warm quest to figure it out.

In regards to characterization, Margo_Kim's Thorin is kinder than what I'm used to. He's a little wiser to his own faults and foolishness, and is written with a softness that I'd always imagined Thorin to have, based on the way Richard Armitage's eyes go all warm and sweet in Thorin's rare moments of fondness. It's a departure from what I've encountered before, but by no means a bad one.

The Naming of Hobbits
Title: THEIR LAST NIGHT OF LOVE: A SPECIAL VERITY PRESENTATION, EXCLUSIVELY FOR PREFERRED CUSTOMERS
Fandom: Hunger Games
Pairing: Peeta/Katniss
Categories: first time
Length: Medium [5125 words]
Warnings: coerced sexual situation

Author/Artist/Creator on LJ: yahtzee
Author/Artist/Creator Website: Yahtzee’s AO3

Summary: Amid the media circus leading up to the Quarter Quell, Katniss and Peeta try to create something real.


Review: For a short story set in that time frame this one carries a lot of punch. It’s set before the Quarter Quell games and explores the voyeuristic TV culture and the themes of forced prostitution and decadence. A culture that has built a whole economy around the Capitol “fans” interacting with the Games as sponsors and later with the favorite Victors, it stands to reason that not only the wedding of Peeta and Katniss would have been a media spectacle and that with looming threat of death in the new Games people would have paid to see the doomed lovers have sex “one last time”.

I like how the story turns this around a bit by picking up the theme of not wanting to be a pawn that the Hunger Games established and gives Katniss and Peeta a way to deal with this situation without giving up their agency.

THEIR LAST NIGHT OF LOVE: A SPECIAL VERITY PRESENTATION, EXCLUSIVELY FOR PREFERRED CUSTOMERS

His Rebel in the Bedroom by Liadt (General)

Title: His Rebel in the Bedroom
Fandom: Blake's 7
Pairing: Soolin/Dr Bellfriar
Categories: romance, pastiche, humour, adventure-ish
Length: medium, 5,196 words
Warnings: author warns for references to past illness and after-effects

Author on Livejournal: liadtbunny
Author Website: Liadt on AO3

Summary: Dr Bellfriar is pleasantly surprised to find a strange female in his hotel room wearing a bath towel! He isn't interested in Soolin's sob story. He's late for a party and she'll be perfect as his ready-made date!

Soolin's completely bewildered.... She thought pretending to be a loving couple would be easy, but the chemistry between her and Bellfriar is explosive! She's also left with no doubt that what Bellfriar wants, he gets, and it seems he wants her — badly...

Review: It's ficathon season! (fic challenge, fic exchange...) and I seem to have signed up for allll of them *faints*. In case you haven't heard of it, let me introduce you to the spectacular piece of nuttery fannish genius. yes. that is the unconventional courtship challenge. I can't really explain this fic without mentioning it, and I think it deserves a little rec of its own... The challenge: take a Mills & Boon romance paperback novel blurb. Toss the book. Substitute the cast for the characters of your choice. Write fic.

It's not actually a challenge I was expecting to produce in-character, in-universe fanfiction centred upon Soolin, my favourite unsung character of the B7 'verse. In this fic, trying to win a Federation-allied doctor (a believed-deceased minor character from an earlier ep, at that) to her crew's cause while striking up an adorable banter and affectionate relationship with the fellow at the same time. Everything about the unexpected 'ship, Bellfriar's survival and characterisation, the cameo at the end, the discussions between the two characters throughout, I just found very heartwarming and uplifting.

His Rebel in the Bedroom
Title: A Mountain I'm Willing to Die On
Fandom: Zootopia
Pairing: Judy Hopps/Nick Wilde
Categories/Genres: Case Fic, Post-Canon, Romance, Drama, Action/Adventure, Fluff, Domestic
Length: Long (35970 words)
Warnings: Mild gore (a corpse)

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Vera

Summary:

In which they solve a murder, join a movement, and finish falling in love.

Review:

If someone had told me that Disney would make a movie that would tackle the issues of race and racism and proceed to pin them in a solid headlock, I'd never have believed that Disney would dare take such a progressive step. More the fool me, apparently. Enter: Zootopia.

A Mountain I'm Willing to Die On goes a step further, extending the kid-friendly canon to issues of sex and sexuality within the Zootopia canon via a murder case. The result is a contemporary look at issues that have and continued to plague society today. It's stunningly relevant, and an excellent example of a case fic, besides.

A Mountain I'm Willing to Die On
Title: A Far, Far Better Thing - A Shameless Indulgence of Two Writers
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Tenth Doctor, Jack Harkness, Wilfred Mott
Categories: Gen, Fix-it, pre-slash
Length: Medium [9173 words]
Warnings: none

Authors on LJ: wendymr and yamx
Authors Website: wendymr’s AO3 and yamx’s AO3

Summary: "Doctor? Got the strangest feeling you needed me."


Review:
This story is a co-written fix-it story with some Doctor/Jack undertones, although it’s mostly gen and I might be wearing my slash goggles. It builds up on the premise what would have happened if Jack Harkness had been around during the events of The End of Time and even offers a great explanation if why Jack would have been there at the right place at the right time. It’s very well written and even years after the fateful episodes aired it’s still joy to read.

A Far, Far Better Thing - A Shameless Indulgence of Two Writers
Title: Another Road Series
Fandom: Royal Pains
Pairing: Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz/Hank Lawson
Categories: AU, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Length: Long (20k)
Warnings: Mentions of character death, depression

Author on LJ: jade_dragoness
Website: Jade Dragoness

Summary: AU. Where in Hank didn't go with Evan to the Hamptons but instead left the United States. Three years later he's back in New York and meets Boris.

Review: Whenever I binge a new season of Royal Pains I always reread this series. It is light on plot but really big on warm and fuzzies. Boris is dealing with family issues and Hank is dealing with PTSD. Together they try and help each other to heal.

Another Road Series
Title: The Adventures of Young Charles Xavier and the Big Blue Box
Fandom: X-Men: First Class, Doctor Who
Pairing: Charles Xavier, Donna Noble, Tenth Doctor
Categories: time travel, drama
Length: Medium [3359 words]
Warnings: none

Author/Artist/Creator on LJ: teyke
Author/Artist/Creator Website: Teyke on AO3

Summary: In which Charles spots the TARDIS materializing, and the Doctor and Donna decide to take him along so that the Doctor can teach him how to stop accidentally mind-controlling people.


Review:
This is a wonderful time travel one shot about Charles discovering himself and getting revealing and some dramatic glimpses of the future. Despite the Doctor and Donna being more set pieces for Charles’ discovery they are extremely well written and characterisation is just spot on.

The Adventures of Young Charles Xavier and the Big Blue Box

Prism by StarMaple, stitchy (PG)

Title: Prism
Fandom: Starwars: The Force Awakens
Pairing: Finn/Poe Dameron
Categories: AU, Fan Comic, Romance
Length: 6 pages
Warnings: Soulmates

Author on LJ: starmaple,
Website: StarMaple, Stitchy

Summary: A 6 page comic set in a Soulmate AU in which one suddenly sees colors upon meeting their soulmate.

Review: This is such a pretty comic. Lovely shading and color. And such a cute story. I just love the expression the artists worked into the characters expressions.

Prism
Title: Don't You Know (We're Stronger Now)?
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey Parker/Duke Crocker/Nathan Wuornos
Categories: action/adventure, drama, threesome, slash, supernatural
Length: medium, 14,245 words
Warnings: none.

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

Summary: Nathan’s hand laces in her own and squeezes, incentive enough to tear herself away. “We’ll stop you,” she declares, the assertion filling her up with certainty. “We’ll find a way.” Audrey swears, swears, an invisible hand laces with her free one, a hand lacking in details, yet utterly right.

Review: So just before Christmas Haven broadcast its final episode to various receptions. After Forever is a fic exchange based around post-finale possibilities, which produced an archive of basically Haven finale therapy in fanfic form, including this particular story.

Here the trio are set down post-finale in the alien world that Mara and William hailed from, with the consequences there of the initial experiments using aether. It's fascinating to see some of the more sci-fi possibilities of Haven that the series was never able to venture into finally explored.

There's the odd typo early on, but I love this story most for the place where it leaves the main cast, which feels to me like the perfect ending for them that canon never managed to strike.

Don't You Know (We're Stronger Now)?

Second Best by NoBrandHero (Teen)

Title: Second Best
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Past Jade/ Davesprite, (Beta Strider Family Gen)
Categories: Angst, Character Study, Family
Length: Epic
Warnings: Depression, Betrayal, Unhealthy Relationships, Past Character Death and Suicide

Author Website: Dreamwidth Tumblr

Author’s Summary:
Dave doesn't survive the game. Davesprite does. When Sburb's endgame door sends the kids to a reset Earth, Davesprite finds himself restored as the Default Dave because Sburb doesn't care about anyone's survivor's guilt.

Review:
Probably the earliest incident in "Homestuck" that strikes me as truly horrific, rather than merely sad or morbid, is when Dave's power as the Knight of Time is revealed. Suddenly, there are Dave corpses all over the place. And the moment I started to rationalise away the profligate child deaths, Davesprite appears and reveals not just Terezi's murderous gambit, but his own abandonment of his Rose and well-planned suicide. (And the horror just set up shop.) So I was quite intrigued by a story about Davesprite.

"Second Best" is written before John's retcon, after the Alpha kids introduction; set post-game where the Beta kids are returned to the world they left, complete with occupants and their guardians. The story bills itself as emotional hurt/ comfort and this is entirely accurate. Davesprite stays in his apartment with a parent figure who discourages emotional communication and deals with one emotional blow after another. Throughout, there is the jarring duality of Davesprite and the not-doomed-Dave that Davesprite never met. Sympathy is easy even when Davesprite is lashing out or setting himself up to fail. "Second Best" also verges on being a character study of canon Davesprite (and Dave), delving into their canon issues and coping methods. Details like Davesprite thinking colloquially but briskly while talking in long, rambling metaphors really make the story work, echoing canon Dave's defensiveness and building upon it.

As the story progresses, we also get the (Beta) Strider-Lalonde family figuring out how to be a family, which is both full of interesting parallels and sweetly awkward. As Davesprite is the narator, we see his family through his interpretations, personal relationships and interests. This focus means their characterisations is often conveyed narrowly but vividly in telling details.

Second Best

Quid Pro Quo by sealdog (NC-17)

Title: Quid Pro Quo
Fandom: Borderlands
Pairing: Handsome Jack/Rhys
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Family, Kid, Romance, BDSM, Hurt/Comfort, First Time, Domestic, Fluff, Friendship
Length: Epic (55205 words)
Warnings: Gore, Blood, Handsome Jack and all that he entails

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: sealdog

Summary:

"As the stranger slings an arm under his to walk them both towards a waiting car, Rhys slowly comes to the realization that he might or might not actually be kind of really fucking drunk. “Might” seems to be winning out over “might not” right now, which would really suck, considering the person he seems to have inadvertently picked up is a) really hot, and b) very clearly down for sexy times."

---

Vaughn and Rhys just finished their first week as Hyperion interns. Rhys makes bad decisions. Jack just wants to get social services off his back (it's bad for his PR). Turns out having a(n interrupted) one-night stand the night before an interview is a really bad idea.

Review:

Note: This fic contains a major spoiler for Borderlands 2. A completed Borderlands 2 playthrough and a working knowledge of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Tales From the Borderlands' characters are recommended.

For a number of reasons, I havn't delved too deeply into Borderlands fanfiction, but I deeply suspect that I've spoiled myself by reading this one early on. sealdog's Handsome Jack is just so goddamn on the money that he steals the entire fic out right from under the rest of the fic's cast.

There are no fault lines in Jack's characterization between Jack-the-father and Jack-the-sadistic-megalomaniac. He encompasses both states simultaneously, his mercurial temper and mania almost as unpredictable and unstoppable as in the Borderlands 2. And I only say 'almost' because the presence of Angel and Rhys does soften him a little.

This is no fluffy jaunt, however. Jack is still Jack: egotistical, selfish, possessive, violent, and determined to prove that he's the hero of his own story. He finds amusement and takes pleasure in others' pain, threatens his employees with violence, and is quite happy to murder anyone who poses a threat to what he cares about. In spite of his love for Angel and his affection for Rhys, he's overwhelmingly more thorns than flower, as sealdog makes abundantly clear.

Quid Pro Quo

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