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- Bleach - Stare at the Sun by Branch - [Note: This fic contains spoilers for chapter 181 and above.] *happy sigh* Another piece of the Lull arc that Emily is building slowly up, where each piece moves the characters forward a little more and shows a little bit more insight into their lives. And, omg, I love her Renji, the way she captures the gruff side of him that is totally covering the smooshy insides. I love her Rukia, who reminds me of absolutely everything I loved about the character in the manga, who reminds me of why I loved this kick-ass character in the first place, and actually lets her be kick-ass without cutting corners on the character. But what else I love, besides Renji watching Rukia and seeing the way she's back, in more than just physically returning to Soul Society and the aching sense of everything between them, is that she can take a conversation between Renji and Ukitake and make it feel like it could have come straight out of the series itself. ♥ (Hints of Renji/Rukia, but you have to peer closely to see them.)

- Bleach - Chocolate and Flowers by Branch - [Note: This fic contains spoilers for chapter 181 and above.] So I've mentioned how much I ♥ Emily's Byakuya, yes? Because I do. Especially when he's watching Rukia and seeing the way she's coming into her own again, the way you can feel that he's proud of her and he cares about her without going over the top about it, the way Renji is coming into his own as well, the way the two of them interact and it's just so... Byakuya. But, again, one of the reasons I love this arc of Emily's so much is because the relationship between brother and sister is what I've been craving since the end of the Soul Society arc, wanting to see the way Byakuya knows what Rukia is giving up for him, not for the House. Plus! Then there's Shunsui coming to talk to Byakuya and, eeeeeeeeee, it's great because both of them are so fabulously themselves and the hints of what may be brewing in the future? More with the eeeeeeeeeeeee! from me. ♥ (Some Renji/Rukia implied.)

- Bleach - wonders never cease by theyellowvespa - [Note: There are spoilers for the late-180s chapters in this fic and this rec.] I admit, I was hoping for a little more surprise when Ichigo saw that his father was a Shinigami, but I can't fault the fic too much when it was a nice little blurb about a battle with a Hollow and Ichigo needing to be rescued and OMG SHINIGAMI DADDY AND SON BONDING TIME WHETHER ICHIGO LIKES IT OR NOT. Okay, it wasn't actually that hyper, but that would have been awesome, too. Solid characterization, solid writing, solid concept, a couple of great likes by Isshin (and a kickass slaying of the Hollow), I had fun. :D (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Bedtime Stories for Little Girls by Celeste - Okay, so I'm skipping ahead in my progression through Celeste's drabbles, but it's Zaraki and Yachiru and I love them and it wasn't even until I opened it to read to notice the dedication note! ♥ ♥ ♥ I just... oh, my god, I love Zaraki and Yachiru and the utter casualness that they tear through a gang of bandits with, the way Yachiru is so completely unaffected, yet still a cute little girl and Zaraki doesn't have any style and is the Best Scariest Daddy Ever. I think it was about halfway through when Yachiru told him to poke at one of the not-quite-dead bodies to see if they had a book for a bedtime story where I just utterly lost it because they're so freaking great. Hee hee hee hee. XD XD XD (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Momma's Boy by Celeste - [Note: Set post-Soul Society storyline, but I wouldn't say there were any real spoilers.] Again, going rather out of order here, but I had this particular chapter onhand when I was reading and was intrigued by the concept. It's really nice to see stories like this, where Ichigo talks to Masaki and it's about family and there are these great lines about what he talks to her about, the awkwardness taking its time to melt away and the way my heart warms to read about a boy and his mother. Also, for all that I usually go the shippy route, I really got a gen feel off of the last few lines of the fic, given all that's been catalyzed to change in Ichigo's life recently. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Conspiracy by Branch - [Note: There will be spoilers for Bleach chapter 181+ in this fic and this rec. Also, this fic is part of a larger arc and best read in the order the author intended.] I think what pulled me in first with this fic is the way Shunsui drank his sake, the way he could wave the cup around and not a single drop would be spilled, because that seemed like such a Shunsui sort of thing. But it's also the easy friendship between the two, despite that they're not really that much alike, the vague way they discuss plans for the future, vague hints of what may be coming to pass soon, given all the changes in Soul Society. And, hell, maybe I just like Shunsui and Ukitake drinking sake together and imagining the pretty Soul Society background, but this was just... nice somehow. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Easier by Branch - [Note: There will be spoilers for Bleach 181+ in this fic and this rec. Also, this fic is part of a larger arc and best read in the order the author intended.] Eeeeee! It's amazing what Emily can do with Renji's charcter in under 3k, but she just nails him and the complicated (yet surprisingly not) way he looks at Kuchiki Byakuya, the way it would be so much easier for Renji if it were black and white and he could just dislike the captain. I love, love that Emily keeps Renji's character so beautifully intact here, the way he has his grumpiness, the way he respects Byakuya, but she doesn't make him a pushover, she keeps that fighting spirit to him, even when he's just thinking. I adored this so much. (There could be pairings, there might not be.)

- Bleach - Hellooooo Nurse! by Celeste - This is another one of those fics where I don't know what my reaction to the idea of it would had been ahead of time, but I find myself utterly charmed by the way Celeste writes it, because Karin is so... Karin when protecting her little sister and dealing with the creeps that occasionally come into the Kurosaki Clinic (which worked for me because this is Japan, land of the lolicon) and I love when a fic can come up with something that I'd never really considered before. Also, I totally ♥ her thoughts on her father here, too. Hee. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - 1000 Demons by Celeste - [Note: There are spoilers for the Soul Society arc in this fic.] You know, if you'd explained the concept of this post to me ahead of time, I'm not sure I would have thought it could be quite as cool as it was... but the way Celeste put the idea together with Komamura and Tousen, it was really cool and wound up being a rather powerful little fic. I mean, I liked the relationship between the two of them in the first place, but this did a fantastic job with them and it's a fantastic scene that... it isn't quite foreshadowing for what we know will happen, but it adds a brilliant little illumination on it. I just... really liked this one! (It's labelled Komamura/Tousen, but it could have been gen.)

- Bleach - Facts of Nature by Celeste - ...................*sporfles* It is totally the final line that makes this fic, because... I admit, I was thinking of that scene from Samurai Champloo, too, enjoying the fic well enough and wondering where it was going... but it was that last line that just did me in, because I could just so easily picture it and the accompanying expressions. Hee. Plus, hey. Any fic with Zaraki is always welcome with me. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - wilted yellow roses by theyellowvespa - .....oh, my god, this fic just made me want to bawl my eyes out for the way the author writes Ichigo's first birthday after Masaki dies. It's one of those things that could have been so cliche or so over the top emo wangst that it could have been less sad than it was, but instead, watching Ichigo and Yuzu and Karin be not quite themselves, almost listless, while Isshin still bounds around the house in his usual loud manner... it just broke my heart, because it felt like this is what they must have gone through. The writing and characterizations are brilliant and it's just... one of those fics I think everyone should read. The ending made me actually hurt. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Child by ingenius_inc - [Note: I wouldn't say that there are exactly spoilers in this fic, but it does take place after the mid-180s chapters and probably shouldn't be read by those who are avidly following only the anime.] I stare at the screen and wonder where to begin with this fic, because I've been flailing and flapping my arms too much lately and I want to get across that this isn't quite a fic that gives me that reaction, instead it's one that leaves me feeling like I want to cry, like I might actually cry, like it's the most wonderful fic I've ever read while making my heart just absolutely hurt. It is an astoundingly brilliant fic on the relationship between father and son with Ryuuken and Uryuu, one that delves into the issues they have, one that plays with them and plucks at their strings and moves them around the board, moves them forward (and, oh, there are so few things that hit me as hard as father/son issues do, which this one did masterfully), while still keeping them beautifully in character. The sheer raw emotion to this fic just astounds me and knocks me on my ass and, oh, god, the ending of each scene just... I felt it so much that it was almost a physical pain. Brilliant, brilliant fic. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Vindictive by Celeste - ♥ Hitsugaya and Matsumoto and being young and short and drunk Matsumoto and smushing Hitsugaya into her cleavage yet again and Hitsugaya being just a little bit vindictive--no, really, just a little bit, honest--and, hahaha, Yachiru, and, god, I have such fun with this kind of fic. :D :D :D (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - hey, let's make some mistakes by theyellowvespa - [Note: There is a fairly big SPOILER for the mid-180s chapters just in the premise of this fic.] .....ahahahaha, omg, this was awesome. Urahara and Isshin as roommates in the Academy, the sheer potential of the idea is mind-staggering. But the fic lives up to it, Urahara is just... oh, god, watching all those girls throwing themselves at him, the way Urahara treated them, the way the dialogue for him was pitch perfect sent me into fits of laughter. Also, I found the characterization of Isshin really worked for this fic somehow, which kind of surprised me... of course, one must wonder how he would react in a situation with someone even more fruit loopy than he is and I could get behind this back-in-the-day take on him. Plus, really. You totally need to read this fic to hork up your lungs laughing at the sheer comedic timing of the fic. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Breadwinner by Celeste - I think, more than a lot of fics I've read, that this story somehow really got me to sit up and consider Ryuuken in a new way, to remind me that there's two sides to every story and that we haven't really seen/heard Ryuuken's side yet. What I love about the fic is that I felt like it didn't try to soften Ryuuken's character, didn't take him out of character and make him regretful that he couldn't be there for his son, because Ryuuken made the choices he made for a reason and there's just something about this fic that... caught me and made me love the character even more. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - A Woman's Hair by fallofrain - Okay, so anything with Shunsui and Ukitake catches my interest, even if it's not a pairing and I decided to give this one a shot. I admit to finding the names a little distracting (....wait, am I wrong that Shunsui is his family name? Or is it his given name?), but it was nicely in character, the writing was solid... and then there was the last line. I totally had to be careful not to snort my soda back onto the keyboard, it was somehow just so perfectly timed. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Something Precious by Celeste - [Note: There may be faint spoilers for the post-Soul Society arc here.] Again, my love for Ryuuken is strengthened by one of Celeste's fics, there's something about Ishida's father that just... tugs at me, something that she captures so well in this fic. She does really well with the way Ryuuken looks down at the little baby in his arms, the way he hears the scream of the Hollow outside, the way it makes me feel such emotion for the characters, the way I actually feel a twinge at the wibbling this fic made me do. *__* (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - isshin blog by yachiru - ....I think this fic may have the single best Isshin voice in a Bleachfic that I have ever read. Just... Isshin gets a blog and it's filled with these insanely genius little moments (How can you not love a fic that starts out with Hello. Is this the interweb? Yuzu told me that all the hip people are making things called 'blogs'. Daddy is hip. He knows the cool hep jive talk. Yuzu says that's stupid. AND DADDY MUST NEVER TYPE WITH THE CAPS LOCK ON. SHE SAYS IT'S RUDE AND IT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE A DOOF.. ah. Better. And I must utilize the 'spell' feature because Daddy is a horrible speller.? I was HACKING UP MY LUNGS I was laughing so hard.) that are just spot-on, to the point of it being almost painful. Just... there is no part of this fic that doesn't have me wheezing in laughter, especially Isshin's "angst" and, god, the retelling of his day and just... Jesus, go read this. RIGHT NOW. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - the new student by memlu - [Note: There are SPOILERS for Bleach chapter 195.] I... I know this is short, I should put it with the shortfics, but... oh.. oh.. I just... I saw the raws for 195 this morning... and then this... this...! This masterpiece of brilliance that I am not fit to be in the same room with. I am flailing and running into walls and bowing down at the pure genius of Yes, this had to be done. Also, beautiful prose. ♥ (....hahahahahahaha. XD)

- Bleach/xXxHOLiC - untitled by half_sleeping - [Note: At least one of these scenes has spoilers for the Soul Society arc.] These drabbles should not work so well, you just shouldn't be able to blend Bleach and xXxHOLiC so well together! And yet. These three short fics were just... each had a different way to cross the two universes, each had a new bunch of clever little details (I loved the casual way Watanuki's powers were stronger in Soul Society, the way it made so much sense, but wasn't even the focus of the scene), the way each one of them had characters interacting in that way that made me sit up a little straighter and go "Oooh." Because, seriously? Aizen and Gin showing up at Yuuko's shop? Awesome. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - one liners by eree - So, I've been rather remiss about reading Bleachfic lately. And there's been a lot posted that I'm very curious about reading and, hell, I don't usually even like 1 sentence/line fic things, but... it's light, easy, something I can actually sit and read. I was going along, enjoying several (I was especially fond of the 11th division; rudolph the red-nosed reindeer one), but it was getting to ikkaku/yumichika; milkshake, it was having to put my hand over my mouth because I started giggling out loud and I didn't want to have to explain that to people, that I knew I was rather in love with the way this author was quite brilliant at what she could achieve with a single sentence. (Half gen, half multiple pairings.)

- Bleach - untitled by Zau - When I read a bunch of shortfics together like this, it's easy to see why multiple pairing fics are often so popular, why so many people write so many different things. But it's only the rare fics that actually pull off the style of writing so many different facets of a cast like Bleach's and Zau does it brilliantly. Every single one of these contributed to a larger whole--not in the sense that they're connected in the same storyline, but there's a certain feel, a certain style of imagery that knocks the wind from my lungs. Reading about all these relationships that the characters have with each other, some things I never would have thought possible (the Ukitake/Rukia piece is the one that put a lot of this together for me, because I found it brilliant in her hands, where I doubt I would have in another's) or just new aspects of relationships that are complete OTPs/friendships for me. I adored these, I adored the beautiful language and all the lovely turns of phrase. And, oh, that final one? Beautiful, I felt it. (Multiple pairings, both het and yaoi, as well as several gen pieces.)

- Bleach - Counting Clouds by Sophia Prester - Zaraki and Yachiru fic is one of my favorite aspects of Bleach fandom and I'm so glad that... well, there's not a ton of it, but there's certain a fair amount (certainly compared to many other things I'd like from the fandom) and some of it is just astoundingly good. This fic ranges from humorous to sad to incredibly touching and back again, all while having this incredible flow to it. The duality of the themes, one for Zaraki, one for Yachiru, balances out beautifully, the writing is just lovely, the details make sense, the characterization is amazing, and everything about this fic is gorgeous. It's everything you could want from a fic about these two, so many little things that fill in the gaps of the characters but feel like such natural extentions that they could have stepped right out of canon. Such the perfect balance and genuine cleverness of the style and tone of the original series--Zaraki explaining why his division always had perfect paperwork? The jokes about Zaraki would terrorize any boy Yachiru dated? Yachiru's reaction to Renji? All of these are beautiful things. And, oh, god, the bit about Byakuya in #5 was just so brilliantly painful. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Bloodstain Yachiru and the Laundry Technician by Angrybee - After having read "Counting Clouds", I wasn't sure that this fic could live up to that one, because it had been so perfect. Especially when the fic started out as being from the point of view of an original character and then as events unfolded... this is going to be a rather vague rec, because I really do not want to spoil the course of reactions you'll go through while reading it. Instead, I will say that I had every reaction the fic was trying to get me to have, by the end, I nearly felt like I'd been through the wringer in the best way possible, and the writing was really wonderful. It's smooth, clean, clear, and the characterization is really well-done. Yachiru is especially spot-on, the original character is likable and empathizable, and just... the whole fic was really good, but the brilliant thing was the realizations. There were about three times I realized something in this fic, each time everything hit me like a ton of bricks, harder than the one before. The last three pages or so are just a beautiful climax as you realize everything the author was building towards and the ending... oh, the ending was perfect. The way it was so satisfying, the way it was everything it needed to be. For that alone, I think this is a must-read fic. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - the stories he could tell by Pei Yi - These were lovely little pieces in the facets of Chad, which made me think of... something. I don't know. Something with a lot of different sides or like small pieces of glass I held in my hand, picking each one up at random to look at it. Which is a horrible metaphor and I'm embarassed to have actually typed it out. But the fic is really good, it has this lovely tone to it, the kind of examples that made me really believe these could be a part of Chad. His interaction with the other characters were lovely, the overall storytelling theme to each of the snippets was beautiful, the characterization and little details all felt spot-on. It was just. Right somehow. Any further attempts at explanation from me would probably result in a lot of embarassing hand flapping, so. ( specific pairings and they're so not the point.)

- Bleach - Eligible by infinitefirefly - I didn't mean to get caught up in this fic, I just meant to skim the beginning because it looked decently written but not the kind that would drag me back into the fandom, and then... I just never quite put it down, because there was something about the pacing of it that was just damned good. In the sense that I couldn't stop reading because each scene flowed into the next, because the humor was actually really engaging (I had gigglefits at least twice during the fic), because Rukia's characterization was really solid (the way she respects her brother, the insanity of Soul Society without making it a parody, the way Matsumoto was just genius in her Matsumoto-ness), the Renji characterization was lovely, and it played on so many of my favorite relationships in the series. It had Renji and Rukia working together, the fic was really all about Rukia and Byakuya, but there was Soul Society antics all over the place (Renji's mad dash through Soul Society about three-fourths of the way through the fic was golden XD), and... I dunno. The whole thing unfolded neatly in my mind's eye and it was just fun. (No real pairings, it's entirely gen. You could read a little Renji/Rukia or Byakuya/Rukia into it, but it's still gen.)

- Bleach - poker faces by cuppa_calamity - My only real complaint about this fic is that it's not nearly long enough. Because the 11th Division playing poker and being all... 11th Division-y? Totally needs more written for it. And this fic was a lot of fun and made the concept (of the poker night) actually work and funny, rather than just being an idea with potential. And now... I need more fic for these characters. Yes. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - untitled by random_prophet - This fic could use a little polishing, especially at the beginning, there's a little too much of "the pink haired girl" or "the blonde Shinigami", but it's far from being unreadable. Just needs a little tweaking is all. But the rest of it is pure gold, right down to Yachiru's affectionate nickname for Kira as "Twitchy-san" and Kira's oh god oh god oh god mantra running through his head that actually works. This is probably one of the best Kira characterizations I've come across, he's properly twitchy and sad and nervous without going into parody and Yachiru was adorable and cute without going into parody, either. I absolutely can imagine every little bit of this fic sliding right into Bleach canon, right down to Kira running into Unohana and continuing to oh god oh god oh god in the back of his head. Man, Yachiru and Kira in the same fic. AWESOME. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings.)

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