I was meaning to do every fic in one go, but I realise that's not going to happen anytime soon, so this is just a few applaudings for various people:
Orlando by Rave.
I knew that this would be good. The terseness of the title made me sit up and take notice; this is going to be more than just an idle pairing fic, more than just porn. And so it is. Orlando and his fragile flesh, his gritty dignity, and his tenacious conflict with Viggo, all working so well together to make a portrait of a whole person, not just a sexual entity. He’s heartbreaking and brave and real, a real young man struggling to contain himself (the blood) and express himself (the words). Viggo so sure and cryptic and older, wiser; Dom outside the door, just as kind but seeing just what’s in front of him.
The writing is superb, visceral and tactile and compelling, and it flows, in and out of the italicised sections and forwards, leading to resolution. Lovely work.
Monkey Lore by Eliyah
The best opening line I can remember. And then a fable! A quest narrative! A story of Elijah, yet again, stumbling towards what he wants, or imagines he wants, and of course not finding it, but getting something anyway. Your Dom is a favourite of mine; so sure, so casual, so rumpled and slurping his pearl sago. Oh, the love.
Equipoise by Blythely
Oh, now this was a bit different. This took me back to my early days in lotrips reading stories that described sex in ways I’d never seen it described before; to fics that were nasty and sly and so brimming with erotic imagination that even when I tried to describe them to myself I couldn’t. Stories where sex tells the story, and yet is only a part of the story, and infuse the whole thing—the characters, the narrative, the atmosphere—with something almost too thrilling to ever tell anyone about.
This one showed me the pairing in a way I’d never conceived, it had so much tenderness and understanding and then oh, such ruthlessness, such images, that I really had to stop for a moment and have a think, and I’ve still got Billy on his toes, trembling with stillness, and Orlando circling him, in my mind, days later. Just wonderfully poised writing, as it should be.
Vanishing Points by Echo
This story was artful, in the best way. A writer who knows so well what she’s doing that she can afford to leave caesuras, can afford to say less. Who takes us past fanfiction and into literature. So competent, so assured and so exquisite. I had to read it twice to get past my awe at the style and the handling (not that this is a failing of the story’s emotion!) and feel the sadness, because it was so subtle and awful, almost too much to bear. Brief, perfect, and stunning.