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- Bleach - Honour and Pride by The Dream Whisperer - More Shunsui/Ukitake fic! Well, not precisely, it's more Ukitake fic with a good dose of Shunsui in it, but I'm still going to count it because it has the vibe of the pairing all through it. Again, the author does well with the emotion of the piece, of the little details of Ukitake's life and his relations with the people around him. Byakuya, Rukia, Shunsui, Kaien, Hitsugaya, Urahara, there's a lovely feeling of connection and background detail that's so much a part of the reason I fell for the Soul Society characters in the first place. And I do really like that Ukitake here is such a... weighted character, there's such depth to him here, it totally feeds my love for the character. (Shunsui/Ukitake sort of implied. Not implied enough to not be gen, though.)

- Bleach - Fragmented by The Dream Whisperer - They are parts of a circle. ....okay. I really only had to get as far as the third scene, where Kaien, Kuukaku, Yoruichi, and Urahara where playing their own version of shogi as children after having obviously escaped from the boredom of a noble family social, to know that I was going to sort of fall in love with this fic. XD It's... it's the sense of connectivity between the characters that gets me, the way Byakuya and Kaien were something very much like friends, the way Urahara and Yoruichi used to be his friends as well, the way the connection with Kuukaku is nothing like it used to be, but it isn't forgotten, the way things are so different now, after so many years, but there's still something there and it's laden with such an emotional weight that I feel it. It helps, of course, that Byakuya is one of my favorite characters and I'm fascinated by the connections in his life, but the author really does a terrific job with making these twenty scenes/facets come to life and creating a coherent whole. And I love, love that these stories stand on their own, but they also fit into a larger picture that she's building with every new story she writes. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Question by The Dream Whisperer - I have a growing fondness for Byakuya and Kaien's friendship, largely due to reading several of the author's fics over the past few days. There's just something that makes me smile while reading about quiet, reserved Byakuya and bright, enthusiastic Kaien and how it's not a friendship you would normally think of and yet... somehow it works. Especially knowing what's going to happen much later and, yet, it's not sad or bittersweet, instead it's just... intriguing. Plus, omg, Kaien waxing practically poetic about girls while Byakuya just sort of goes "...." at him is fantastic. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - The Care and Maintenance of Pets by Ju - I kind of knew I was going to like this fic right from the beginning, just because I like the author and I always like whatever fandom she writes in, but that it was 11th Division retardation on top of that? That was about Yachiru and pets and boys? Even better still. And the fic is lovely, the different boys Yachiru brings home are brilliantly used and the relationship between Zaraki and Yachiru isn't overdone, instead it's beautiful as it should be, and, god, I laughed so incredibly hard at the second boy she brought home and the reaction. Beautiful comedic timing, great details, great pacing, all the usual things one pines for in Zaraki & Yachiru fic. ♥ (No real warnings.)

- Bleach - untitled by Chevira Lowe - I was lured into this fic by the promise of Renji/Rukia, but I totally stayed for the 11th Division retardration, because they are beautiful here. From the first moment of Yachiru dragging Renji out of bed on his birthday (where I started smiling a little because there were cute moments) to go be greeted by his former comrades in the eleventh division and Rukia (where I started to giggle a little more) and then it just got funny (where I started cackling quite loudly) because the 11th division is just so... them and Renji totally fits in in his own way. The birthday gifts were lovely because they weren't over the top and um. I think I may have sprained something with the way I squeed at the ending. Because, yes, that is totally how Renji/Rukia fic needs to go. Snarky and bitchy and an awesome use of rabbits and dogs and it was perfect. This was awesome. ♥ (Renji/Rukia, but worth reading for the 11th Division.)

- Bleach - untitled by Chevira Lowe - A series of little short fics for various Bleach characters and, holy shit, there is so much love here. Urahara and Yoruichi and Benihime and fighting and hotness and slinking and practically purring and there was something so sleek and perfect about the first one. And then 11th division retardation and then there was Renji/Rukia not-quite-porn but it was hot and it was perfect because I was laughing, sparkling, and practically humming from how hot they'd be together, all at the same time. And then. AND THEN. Ikkaku and Yumichikia in the human world in a coffee shop and there was something so perfect about these last two Ikkaku/Yumichika drabbles, the way both characters were such love, the way they were both perfect that... I. Um. Thinking I maybe might want more Ikkaku/Yumichika. Shut up. And everyone seriously needs to read the last one with Zaraki and Yachiru. Five lines of brilliance. XDDDD (Some Urahara/Yoruichi, Renji/Rukia, Ikkaku/Yumichika, and some gen.)

- Bleach - untitled by tokyofish - I have a fondness for the idea of pre-series Ichigo and Tatsuki, because there were hints of what could have been a strong friendship before they went different ways after the series started and I liked the way the author connected them through karate, the way Tatsuki saw Ichigo changing and growing distant and she sensed more than she might have let on. The way there was something different about him now, even while she didn't know what, and the story just... quietly hit all the right notes for that somehow. I really liked their friendship here, it makes me pine a bit for more of them. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Contagion by incandescens - [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 - part 04 - part 05 ] - For the past couple of months, I've had one major complaint with the Bleach fandom--that there aren't enough fics that I can truly sink my teeth into, something that's not just a tiny ficlet or only focusing on character reactions. It's a fic like this, one that's got a fantastic hook of a plot right from the opening scenes, that I could still come running right back to. But it's not just the plot--though, that's intriguing the hell out of me, because it feels like something that could have come straight out of the manga itself, that's how goddamned good it is so far, in all it's complicated Soul Society politics and Bleachworld workings--it's also that the character voices are just so incredibly spot on. Renji's voice is utterly fabulous, a thing of beauty. The other characters shine in the author's hands as well, she has their personalities and mannerisms and voices down cold. The writing style, the descriptions of the strange Hollows or the way the characters run around Soul Society or the way certain characters simply react physically, is brilliant for the way it, too, just utterly nails the Bleach style of storytelling.

The author also balances out the large cast, yet doesn't make it feel too frantic or like the characters aren't getting their proper screentime. Renji is probably my favorite in the fic, but Ishida's role in the fifth chapter struck a particularily sharp chord with me, Rukia just... well, shines here. The fight scenes are awesome. Renji and Ikkaku being dumb retards around each other was great. And a million other little things like that. It all comes together the way the author wants it to and, hell, even if there's never another chapter of this fic, I will be happy in knowing that at least this much of the build-up exists. This is the Bleachfic I wanted. ♥ And that's not even getting into how I squeed like a mad, mad squeeing thing over the scenes with Renji and Rukia that were perfect, too. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach/Shaman King - sunday morning by Pei Yi - Ahh, for some reason I just knew this crossover would work in this author's hands even before I read it. Obviously, since I'm squeeing about it now, I was quite charmed by the fic and there's a certain... I don't know how to describe it, but there's a certain quality to the author's style that fits both series so well and makes this crossover just lovely. Rukia and Anna in the same supermarket and they're so quietly themselves, both in their own ways, and it's just such a natural scene that it feels almost strange no one has done it before. It's just... almost like it was inevitable in this author's hands, like I can't imagine this crossover not existing somehow. But. Yes. Lovely, lovely fic that everyone should read if you've ever touched either series. (No real Bleach pairings, some Yoh/Anna, but it's not the point.)

- Bleach - Vision and Blindness by Jedi Boadicea - Tousen does not consider himself a blind man. He is merely a man without sight. / He is also, as he came to realize after meeting Aizen Sousuke, a man without a vision. Tousen is one of those characters that I didn't think I would find myself fascinated by, am rather surprised about it, but nonetheless fascinated I am. This story is beautifully written, the parallels and constrasts it draws between sight and vision, the way it weaves insights into the prose is wonderful. It's, forgive the language, a very illuminating piece on his character, one that I think could easily go hand in hand with the manga itself, it presents Tousen's character in such a way that... I understand why he sided with Aizen, why he is still an honorable man. You can feel the steel of his resolve, of his soul in this piece. It's... one of those pieces that... I think should be read by just about everyone who has fannish investment in the whole of the Bleach manga. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach/xxxHOLiC - Cat's Paw by Aishuu - No matter how many well-done crossovers I see these days, I still have that initial burst of skepticism about two such different series being wound together. But I could potentially see it and I was curious as to how Aishuu would write it and... well, obviously, I really liked the whole concept of Watanuki and Yoruichi's interactions. I like that it's not an "obvious" crossover if you don't know the Bleach world, like it could slip seamlessly into Watanuki's life without disrupting it any more than anything else he sees. It's a really cool, clever little way to bring the two series together and it wove in some night insights that ring true for both series, especially given what we know about where the Bleach storyline was headed. This is an intriguing read and I'm glad there's at least one other series (vaguely... sort of) in the same vein. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach/xxxHOLiC - Site Unseen by Aishuu - As much as I liked the first one, even as much as this one was much shorter and lighter, I think I actually liked this one a little bit better because it uses one of the details of Yuuko's shop so well. Only certain people can see Yuuko's shop (and it helps to be familiar with later chapters of HOLiC to get the whole point of this fic) and Ukitake's use of that is just cool. I loved the way this story ended, especially as I can totally imagine Ukitake doing this and just... *fangirls* I flail at the neatness of this. Shut up, I know I'm a dork. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Twenty Ways to Die by Aishuu - I'd been meaning to read this one ever since Aishuu posted it and I'm not sure why I didn't read it until this morning. Aishuu has this talent for taking large casts of characters and bringing them to rich, vivid, nearly lush life, her "It Takes a Village" fic for Naruto is still one of my favorites to this day. And she's done the same thing for Bleach, written twenty backgrounds for the Shinigami and each one of them is a small masterpiece. Twenty brilliant ways they died that explain--and positively define--the characters and their quirks in the series, so brilliantly able to wind together with the manga itself. I simply cannot pick a favorite, I've tried and each time I fail. Each one is part of a larger whole that's breathtaking, each one is beautifully detailed (the places she chose for the characters, the details of their lives, the way it shaped who they would become, all gorgeous) and heartbreaking. Every single one of them kept me staring at the screen, unable to look away until it was done because of how powerful and effective they were for me. Sure, this rec is probably a little over the top in terms of my reaction to the fic. But it hit me exactly right and I love it dearly for that. And the ending was just... brilliant, subtle, effective, powerful. All those things. (No real warnings/pairings beyond what's canon.)

- Bleach - Isshin Explains It All by memlu - This fic starts out with: "Ichigo," began Isshin five after six on Monday morning, "it is time. Time! for us to talk." / "Not while I'm eating," said Ichigo, picking up his cereal bowl and moving two seats over. and is it even possible not to love a fic with that title that starts out like that? It's NOT, I tell you. The fic may be short, but every word positively drips of genius. And, OH MY GOD, that ENDING. I... I-- Yes. ♥ (No real pairings aside from some Isshin/Masaki implications. Warnings... well, it's Isshin.)

- Bleach - communication by Zau - I've been going through old archives to see what fic I've accidentally missed and I'm not sure if I've recommended this one or not yet (my memory is terrible lately) and if I have... well, a double rec won't hurt anything. I do it with fanart a lot. Normally, I would go check, see if I've already read/recommended this one, even if the fic felt new to me, but this time... there's something so incredibly powerful in the emotion, the way it's quiet but intense, the way there's such regret and sorrow underneath the calm surfaces. But it was the second half of the fic, the way Ryuuken's fantasy played out that broke a little part of me. I honest to god felt like I was going to cry for how much I wanted father and son to put the past behind them, to just... be who they should be with each other for five minutes, even as I know they never can. It's gorgeous and heartbreaking because it's not the end of the world, it's just... lonely. Oh, god, nobody writes the Ishidas like Zau. No one. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Parting is all we know by Rilina - [Note: There will be some spoilers for those who are anime-only or haven't gotten to chapter 200 yet.] This was a brilliant fic, one of those that I never knew I wanted until I was a third of the way through it and then I couldn't put it down. I often crab about Bleach fandom and it's lack of stories with plot or anything to sink my teeth into, but this story has become one of those that makes me remember why I love the series/fandom in the first place. The details and little touchs are incredible, Karin making her way through Soul Society, her reaction to everything we've become so familiar with is so incredibly spot on that it... you know how when you read something that really, really resonates with you and it gives you a charge of restless energy afterwards? That's what I have with this fic. The way she interacts with the Shinigami we've come to know, the way she finds out things about her family, about herself, about 'life' after death, all of it is revealed and paced beautifully. The ending packs one hell of a punch. There is probably no part of this fic that's not done just exactly right. It's gorgeous. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - untitled by Rilina - This is such a short fic, but I had to rec it regularily because it's just... it's one of those moments that must have been so powerful in the series, when those two people left Soul Society, but it's rarely written about, it seems. Or maybe I just haven't been reading the right authors. With this fic... the way it builds up Soi Fong's situation and the way you know it's going to resolve itself... it's incredibly powerful. You don't even see the resolution, but it hurts all the same because you know how it ends. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Psychiatry by purplekitte - So often with this kind of fic (Summary: Aizen, psychiatrist, mentions of others, implied Aizen/Momo), the humor falls flat because the author doesn't have a delicate enough hand to pull off the parody, they just go for OOC crack and it doesn't quite work. This fic... had me laughing out loud at several points, I could actually picture Aizen doing these things in a parody and I just. There were moments that were really funny (you'll know the ones I mean when you get to them) and the Aizen/Momo humor was... I wouldn't quite have thought their situation could be funny, but this had me giggling out loud. Also, the reference to the Evil Overlord list? WIN. ♥ (Some implied Aizen/Momo, but it's half gen, too.)

- Bleach - The Color Of by Chrissie - [Note: There may be some spoilers in this fic if you're only following the anime.] You know those fics you didn't know how badly you wanted them until you're halfway through them and just not wanting them to end? Yeah, that's what happened here. I mean, I was pretty sure I was going to like the fic, it was by Chrissie and it was Aizen/Gin and I'd wanted that quite a lot, but I didn't think I would be squeeing quite this much. Because, holy crap, I love her take on Gin's character, the sense of whimsy and cute little waves and cheerful attitude even while he's being wholly evil and it just... all fits together. Nothing feels forced, it feels very natural to read about her Gin here, the way he plays with the inhabitants of Hueco Mundo for entertainment, the way he looks at Aizen, the way his characterization is clever and brilliant in this fic. The relationship dynamics between the characters are fabulous as well--and what I mean by that is that it's a delight to watch Gin be both respectful and whimsical around Aizen, it's a delight to watch him taunt Grimmjow, it's a delight to watch him have a conversation with Tousen. This is the Aizen/Gin fic... well, the Gin fic that I always wanted to read. I can rest a little easier in fandom now. ♥ (Aizen/Gin, but it's an interesting Gin fic more than anything.)

- Bleach - Bitter Business by Rilina - [Note: There may be spoilers if you're anime-only.] This is an absolutely gorgeous Isshin piece, one that gets across the serious side of the character without losing what it is that makes Isshin so... special. So little has been done with the revelation of him being a Shinigami, that night he went to save Kon was such an impactful moment in the series... and this is an incredible piece that captures all the emotion that makes me love Bleach. The little details, he won't go near the river, the way his zanpakutou screams at him, the way he watches over his children, everything about the fic was gorgeous, breath-taking, and heart-breaking. I cannot imagine a more beautiful Isshin piece. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - A Matter of Mind by Sophia Prester - Oh, Bleach fandom, how you're becoming something I love again. For all that I have my favorites, I think I've quietly wanted Bleach to become a fandom that has good fic on all the characters so that I can read a wider range of stuff. Which is why I was delighted to see Sophia writing a Mayuri fic, because I know she does brilliant work and it would be an interesting story that I hadn't seen before. Her take on the character (as well as Aizen's character) after the betrayal is gorgeous, it's intense and brilliant and just a little creepy, all the things Mayuri should be without being too over the top about them. It gives Mayuri a depth that you always sort of knew was there but never really had time to delve deeper into, he isn't nice, but he's not cartoonishly evil, either. The way he examines things after the invasion and the betrayal, the way his mind puts the pieces together, the way he considers Aizen's previous actions and what they meant/what they still mean, the way Mayuri has no strong loyalties, all of it creates this beautiful character piece. But the best part of the fic? The build-up to the ending. The pacing of the story is lovely and the ending is just... *shivers* gorgeous. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Cue the Heroic Rescue by incandescens - [Note: There will be some vague spoilers for the 230s chapters.] Okay, this was just fun! With all the talk of a Rescue Orihime arc possibly coming up, this was a great counteragent to all of that, where it's so... Bleach in that it goes against expectations of traditional shounen manga. The humor is lovely, Orihime is fantastic (she's wonderfully in character here) and the Shinigami are brilliant in the way they play off each other (and off Ichigo, who still doesn't quite share the same reactions as them ♥) and then it tops it all off with a fantastic ending. Just. as;dfjalslask, GOD, I LOVE ORIHIME. It strides the line between serious fic and humor fic incredibly well, so it's just one of those things that puts a smile on my face and a willingness to dive right back into the fandom if it'll produce stuff like this. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Fevers and Fingertips by flash_indie - This was a gentle, sweet fic that was... so like Orihime. She can be a sad character sometimes, but she's almost always sweet and her history with her brother combines both of those things. The author does well with bringing out that part of me that goes, "Awwww, I love you, Orihime~!" a lot, with not making her past too over the top, but still showing how difficult it was at times, how sad what happened to her brother was. How much he really loved her and how much she really loved him, too. I have such a soft spot for Orihime and her brother. Also, the way it was compared/contrasted with the Ichigo/Orihime implications at the end was really sweet. ♥ (Some Ichigo/Orihime implied, but it's not really the point.)

- Bleach - raising hell by measuringlife - There is something incredibly atmospheric about this piece, something in the air of it, something that the author captured brilliantly just as she intended it. I can very nearly feel the tension in my fangirl bones, the sense of ozone in the air, like the calm before the storm. That's actually what epitomizes this fic, the sense of something impending, looming over them all, something just out of sight, but it's coming. The author does a lovely job of conveying that. (No warnings/pairings.)

- One Piece/Bleach - Thirteen Going on Fourteen by Celeste - Sanji sighed to himself as he heard the sound of weapons being drawn. The chef wondered rather philosophically, why dying was necessary if the parts that came afterwards were exactly the same as the ones you’d been through when you were alive. I sort of knew I wanted a OP/Bleach crossover, but I didn't know how badly I wanted it or how beautiful Zoro and Sanji in the afterlife would be until I read this. It's just. It's just. The author so beautifully captures the whole... so strong it's stupid attitude of both series that makes this crossover work. That's the beautiful thing about the OP characters in Soul Society, that they'd be ridiculously, idiotically strong and I would laugh the entire way through it because they wouldn't stop bitching at each for a minute. The other thing I love about this story is that it captures the... it's not quite crude dialogue (though, there is a lot of swearing), but there's a very rough quality to these characters and it's great for both Bleach and OP that further contributes to how much it makes the fic work. It's just. A crossover that works, omg. After the Naruto/Hunter x Hunter crossover Celeste did, I'm ready to call her Queen of the JUMP Crossovers now. XD (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Uncoiling the Snow by lurk_stiltzkin - This fic combined so many of my favorite things when it comes to Bleach, at least in relation to Byakuya--his marraige to Hisana and his relationship with Kaien. It's a beautifully written piece, there's something almost delicate about the style and the imagery, something that's still on the surface, but with a deep well of intensity, very much suited to a character like Byakuya. And, yet, for all that I get that impression of the fic, it's from Kaien's point of view and he is characterized perfectly. You can see how very loud he is, how he comes off as an idiot, but he's really not. What a good-natured person he is and how he can get along with someone like Byakuya and, god the parallels in this fic are beautiful--Kaien, Byakuya, Hisana, Rukia, Ichigo, all of is so understated that I didn't even think of it until the fic was over. There's a richness to the detail of this piece that fits so well with canon that my fangirl heart fluttered for it. (Byakuya/Hisana, but that's only half the point.)

- Bleach - extreme sports by incandescens - This is such a short piece, but it's so... it's so insanely perfect for the House Shiba that I had to rec it properly. Lawn croquet at the House Shiba and it's just as awesome as the premise would indicate. I flap my hands and complain that more people don't write them. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Karma Cycle and Intuition by ofudamaster - These two stories were an interesting look at the possible Ichigo - Kaien connection, touching on what people saw when they looked at him, why it was hard and why they helped him as well as Ichigo recognizing something in the way people treated him, there was something more he was missing. They're short pieces, but they don't need to be any longer, they don't sledgehammer it too hard, instead it was just this interesting little set of fic. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach/xxxHOLiC - A Deal With the Devil by Aishuu - I've mentioned it before, but it always bears repeating--I love HOLiC crossovers that actually work, that aren't just about tossing random characters together, but in finding little connections and comparisons that are deeper than just the surface level. Yuuko dealing with a very powerful customer is something that's all too easy to believe, the weight of it in the prose an intense thing. I love the way Aishuu compares him and that other person Yuuko used to know, the way he reminds her of him, and I love how much is accomplished without it having to be actually said, the author uses understatement and implication so very well here. Lovely. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Bleach - Polygons by Chrissie - Man, I love it when Chrissie writes fic, which, of course, never happens enough. The first of these two fics is a Byakuya POV and it's just... it's beautiful for that stoic, almost serene way it has on the surface, even when there are far more intense things happening underneath, the whole effect of still waters running deep, without having to tell the reader that, it just... is there. I think the first one is my favorite, simply because I adore those characters so much, but the second one shows how brilliant Chrissie is at capturing Gin's personality, especially through Kira's perspective. The imagery (especially of the fox, because it's so perfectly apropos), the lack of every specifcally defining even the tiniest little things, the way it's almost as much about Gin's relationship with that person who knows him and how to push his buttons as it is about Kira trying to figure Gin out and being a little afraid of the answers. Beautiful, gorgeous fic all the way around. ♥ (Nothing I'd really warn enough for.)

- Bleach - The Other Stranger by eleni459 - This was a Bleach fic that I'm not even sure how I got to anymore, probably one of the newsletters and seeing it was labelled as Ishida and Nemu. I'm a sucker for their interaction. I like that the author keeps the tension between the characters, there's a certain something there underneath it, but that doesn't take away from how they're most emphatically not on the same side. Just a possible meeting with a lot of potential that could go out from here; I really liked this. (This is gen, but Ishida/Nemu fans might enjoy it, too.)

- Bleach - untitled by Chrissie - This is quite possibly the best Gin/Kira fic in existance. It is both hilarious and HILARIOUS, the writing is clean and smooth, as always, but it's also... I howled with laughter during the entire piece. The contrast of Kira's thoughts against Gin's thoughts, the masterful setting of the background battle around them. Beautiful writing, beautiful fic, I flail in my attempt to write a rec that does justice to it. (Could almost be gen, could sort of be Gin/Kira.)

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