Full Circle - Shanalle
Part of what sucked me into this fandom to begin with was The Boys. They are Boys. They are Boyish. They arse about and make me laugh. This was a Boys story up there with the best, and pricked with that same feel of nostalgia that is coming through in quite a few of these stories - not that that's at all a bad thing! It rings in this one through the title, through the way that title resonates through the scene-by-scene slot-into-place compilation of the story, shading us around the vectors until we do, indeed and with much quiet satisfaction, come full circle. Both fabulous and flamboyant, and endearing and true - it's everything that makes the Boys the Boys, and Shelly's just done so well with it. So many moments when I cracked up laughing - Elijah's "Try not to think of anyone else for us to fuck" the most memorable - and so many moments when I Felt The Love. Delightful.
Dearly Beloved - Mcee
My very, very, very first thought upon finishing this beautiful, tight, melancholy gem was "Oh, but I wish there were more of that". Not because it needed to be longer, but just because I could read Mcee's somehow simultaneously careful and careless prose (the one because it's so crafted, the other because it really doesn't feel like it) endlessly. However, the story is just long enough, just enough glimpses, just enough of a brush against the surface to cause precisely the right ache. The precision of telling detail is elegant and brilliant - the exchange rate mention was superb. A story to create a space of stillness.
Emergence - Cassandra
My first thought was one of almost laughing delighted disbelief that she wrote Wing!fic. I do underline the delight part of that, though. I've always enjoyed a little bit of the wingfic, though it's not a big personal fetish of mine. It's light and harmless and fantastical and fun. Then this story was absolutely fucking fabulously laden with metaphor. The wings meant something. And I just about keeled over from the impact of it.
The agony of his wings alongside the agony of something burgeoning and building between the two guys he fancies! The two elements breaking into the open. He has to face it as he faces them. And then as they accept the wings they accept this unusual (outside of fanfic... *G*) arrangement of desire and... just, wow. It works so strongly and on so many levels. I am in absolute awe.
The whole story is put together with the deft skill I love about her work. Even without the wings, the skeins of the story are woven with premeditated skill. The characters are fabulous and fresh, and the relations of the triangle are placed with a delicate implacability that makes everything absolutely the Way It Must Be. It was all so believable that the wings were just the right cool, sharp touch of surreality.
Dinner Dates - becoming
Just when I'm getting utterly cheesed off with the degredation of the short, sharp bite of the drabble form, I flip open at a page that not only has beautiful art, but has a drabble just the way the things should be done. Just this snippet, this slice, mid-everything - mid-relationship, mid-development, mid-rant. There is so much in there, every word weighted with the implications of hundreds of other words and concepts that just slot into place perfectly in our understanding through Becca's absolutely masterful selection. Such a feeling of these two characters, of where they've been, of where they are, of where they're going. Of a whole fragile fabric of history and a relationship reflected in this one pristine, sharp lens. Piquant. Just right.
Never Go Home - Inbetweens
At times, reading this story, I wasn't sure I was enjoying it. Because Viggo's faint, underlying lack of comfort was that strong through the words. It was the same jittery sort of feeling I get from other edge-of-unease fics that I love, like Calico's Accessory or Doom's Eyebrow's Flint. Except that the sandpaper, reluctant slide of this one rubbed itself smooth into the most satisfying crunch scene I've read in a while - they're so them, they're so... real - and then mellowed out to a golden moment of memory that isn't perfect, but that's part of the beauty. And I finished it and picked up the book and hugged it.
I adored this Dom. I adored this Viggo with this Dom. I am happy to have read the story and to carry it with me.