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- X-Men - Always Relied on de Kindness o' Strange Femmes by Diamonde - You know, it's not that Mary Sue-like characters are inherently bad, it's that they're boring. And despite the MS-vibes the OC in this story gave off, I found myself not caring, because I enjoyed her, and, really, isn't that what's important? It helped that she wasn't really involved with Remy and actually developed a strong relationship with Rogue and that the story did seem to be heading in that direction. There were lots of funny lines, touching moments, dramatic scenes, and, overall, this was just a good read. I need the end, though. Neeeeeeeed it. ....bleah. Lackluster review for a fic that's actually really good. (Some Remy/Rogue.)

- Valerie Jones - "The Betrayal Arc" - I spent a lot of time yesterday/today obsessing over X-Men fic, which came at me pretty much out of the blue. It started with an Evolution-based fic that introduced Gambit to the X:Evo world, which I found to be a fascinating concept. And, then, since it's been forever and a day since I read it, I went back to reread my favorite parts of Valerie Jones' "Betrayal". If I had to pick /one/ fanfic out of all of the ones I've read to be my very /favorite/, it would be "Betrayal". It's... truly deserving of the word "awesome".

Without spoiling the fic, it's tough to say why I love it so much. The sheer /scope/ of the fic is amazing. Very few fics really deserve to be called "epics", but this one earns the description and then some. There are scenes that very nearly make me cry no matter how many times I read them. (The end of 'Paradox Law' gets me every time.) The characterization is phenominal, the plotting brilliant, and just.... You can't fully comprehend how amazing this fic series is until you read it.

And, wow, that was /totally/ unhelpful, wasn't it? Someday I'll do a proper rec.

- X-Men Movieverse - Coquine and the Suicide King by Jintian - It's a rare movieverse fic that I like, much less one that contains the movie version of Rogue, but Jintian skirts the line between movie and comics that I find really respects both sides and writes really damn well. I just absolutely adored the characterizations of both Remy and Rogue in this fic, the slightly harder edge to them, but still keeping that sense of... mm, that spark of idealism in them. I just loved the way Xavier's dream and what the X-Men mean was worked into this fic, the way Rogue and Gambit interacted because of it and just... gah, good, good fic! (No real warnings, some language.)

- X-Men - Imperfectly by Zeelee - Jesus Christ, Amanda keeps pointing out fic to me and they keep being these gorgeous gems of fics and I'm CONVINCED that SHE should be the one who has the fic rec journal/blog/whatever. (Or. You know. Revive IRF. *HINTHINTHINT*) This was... everything I could ask for from a comicverse Remy/Rogue fic after some of the events in X-Treme. (Which means you'll probably have to have read the first 20 issues or so to understand what's going on here.) It's hard to put it into words, beyond just saying that this story was well-written, because what I loved most is that it beautifully capitalized on the maturity they've gained under Claremont's hands AND shows what made them so much fun in the first place. The bits about their initial dates made me laugh so much because that's just the kind of bad luck that DOES happen to the X-Men, but the maturity of their later relationship--and I LOVELOVELOVE that it's not without its problems, because this isn't a blindly 'shipperriffic fic, it's an insightful, clear, beautiful piece about how far they've come and why they're so much better off these days--just SPARKLES here. I am in complete sparkly fangirl mode now. (Remy/Rogue.)

- X-Men - The Gestalt Arc by Lori McDonald - [ FFNET: story 01 - story 02 - story 03 - story 04 ] - [ entire story here, including The King of Thieves ] - This is a story that I've made reference to on my site before, but have never actually rec'd. It was one of the first stories that I'd ever read in the X-Men fandom and one of those directly responsible for getting me into the comics much more firmly than I already was, as I'd come from the animated series being aired on FOX. What hooked me on this story was the way the author took a concept (Rogue absorbs Remy, eventually they manage to de-merge, but are left with a psychic connection that's constantly on, but allows them to touch, and having to deal with that and work out their problems and the usual X-Men trials and tribulations that are thrown their way) that could have been ridiculously cliche, trite, and badly written, but pulls if off with flying colors instead. It didn't just ignore the issues Remy and Rogue had, but neither did it let them get too mired down in them. It also had a sense of humor! Everything I could want!

It was one of the first stories I'd read in the fandom that was really, genuinely long, but still kept me turning page after page because I had to have more of the storyline Lori had built with this storyline. It solidified my blossoming love for this couple, taking it from "Aww, they're neat." to "Holy crap, I LOVE THEM MUST HAVE MORE." It made me such a fan of hers that I followed her to the Yuu Yuu Hakusho fandom and turned me on to anime in the first place, actually. I consider this one a classic of the fandom, right up there with Game of Empires. I think I would honestly recommend this as one of the first places to start on comic fic fandom, despite the length. It's good, it's sharp, readable writing, it's sparkling characterization, and it just sails right along and the story never gets bogged down. It might be a rather old story by now, but I'm not sure there's much out there that could surpass it for me, even still. ♥ (Remy/Rogue.)

- X-Men - 5 Ways in which Rogue never met Remy LeBeau by flash_indie - I admit, I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to the "Marie" name, but I pushed past it to finish reading this fic because... well, do you know how long it's been since I read decent X-Men fic? Much less Remy/Rogue fic that... somehow felt right for them. Five different ways they never met, people they never quite were, but maybe could have been if circumstances were different. That's what I liked about this fic, that the spark that made each of the characters who they were, how they interacted with each other, the flirting and the hint of banter and all that southern charm, it was there in each one of these. The writing is smooth and clean, each scenario no longer or shorter than it needed to be, the five of them coming together to make something really neat. (Remy/Rogue.)

- X-Men - Betrayal by Valerie Jones - In the past, I've written two seperate recommendations for this story; this time will be my third. With every successive rewrite of the rec, it gets longer and longer in my attempt to capture just what it is about this story that makes it my favorite fanfic with absolutely no exceptions. In the past, I wrote the recs with only my somewhat fuzzy memory of the story to go on, because I hadn't sat down and properly reread it in awhile. This time, I reread all of Betrayal (this is actually about my third time through the story the whole way), intending to just plow through a few chapters before bed. By the time it was 2am and I was getting down to the last few chapters, I was back in that thrall this story puts me into every single time. It's not the only reason this fic is my favorite, but it certainly is one of the easiest ways to talk about how it affects me.

Previously, I've talked about how I can't put the fic down (and mentioned it again here), but this time I'm going to focus on the story and plot themselves. One thing that I will grant is that the story starts out rather choppy, the sentences are all very short, very stacatto in their beat, which distracts me a little from sinking into the fic properly for about six chapters or so. (They're short chapters, so they go by fast, mind.) But, at the same time, the dialogue and characterization are tight, so I forget about that pretty fast and by the time the fic is getting to chapter 47, I've completely forgotten about it. (Pulling myself back to look at the later chapters, the author has clearly found her style and is writing professional level quality.)

Everything about the story is tightly paced, always focused on where it wants to go, the scenes never wander, everything that's put in has its time and place. It was striking upon rereading how many details I'd missed the first two times through; knowing what I knew now, I could see all the clues that the author had placed in the scenes previous to the big reveal, how everything was planned, how everything came together and made sense when you finally had all the pieces. The scene where Remy has a hallucination about the intruder in the kitchen struck me all over again, knowing what I knew about what it meant, so much that my heart turned over a little for the character. Or when Charles and Jean dove into Remy's mind to see the large, black tree at the root of his subconscience, it hurt to see that because I knew what it was hiding. Every time I reread the story, the impact of the events the author puts the characters through affects me all over again.

The first time I read the story, when I got to the reveal, it was an incredible build-up, something that was so engrossing I couldn't put it down until the mystery had been unwound by the X-Men. Afterwards, it caught my imagination, both for how much sense it had made of the canon (at the time; the whole Witness thing, the X-Traitor, etc.) and how well everything came together. Yet, it's more than that. Perhaps it's because Remy is one of my favorite characters--and I do think that you have to be open to reading a story that focuses on his character pretty heavily, no matter what other elements the story is brilliant at, at it's heart, it's a story about Gambit--but it's more than that. The idea appeals to the creative part of me, makes me wonder what other situations could arise from this new situation, how this would affect the futures of everyone.

In addition to the actual plot of the story, the relationships are some pretty damn delicious frosting on this cake; the Remy/Rogue relationship isn't just dealt with, it's woven into the core of the story. The characterization continues to be gorgeous between the two of them, all those insecurities and issues and things they've been through, things they've seen in each other, none of it was left behind, but neither did the author let it drag them down. They worked through their problems in that way that I always desperately wish they would, it's never easy, but they both know they don't want to let go again. The chemistry between them is out in full force in the story as well, they're each a part of the X-Men family in their own ways, their whole worlds aren't made up of each other, but you can still quite simply feel how much they love each other, how strongly they're drawn towards each other. Not that it's limited to just them--the insights into Charles Xavier's character is quite possibly my favorite for his character. Bishop's role with the team is quite brilliant, the things he learns and goes through because of the Witness' actions are brilliant. Jean is absolutely everything I love about the character here, she's quite simply wonderful. There is a real sense of family here.

For all the plot antics that happen in the story, I doubt they would have had anywhere near as much an impact if it hadn't been for the emotional parts of the story resonating so strongly with my views of the characters. Remy's issues with self-worth without being a doormat. Rogue struggling to deal with her own issues and knowing what she knows about Remy. Charles' dream and his struggle to do the right thing for everyone. The X-Men's fight to forgive, to not judge out of place, to offer second chances to those who truly need it. For a story that's not quite 80,000 words, this fic contains the best mix of themes and 'bulletproof' kinks that I could possibly want. True, part of it is knowing there are two sequels, each a bit longer than the last, that continue the rammifications of the events set in motion by the first story, but the first will always be my favorite. I am not a person who rereads fics, much less lengthy ones all the way through. This is my third time reading every last bit of "Betrayal" and I know it won't be my last. (Remy/Rogue, half a gen story about Remy's character and the X-Men.)

- X-Men - Means to an End by sionnain - I was extremely hesitant to read this fic because I'm a die-hard Gambit/Rogue fan and this fic kinda fucks with that, but also because I'm still pissed about the whole Death thing and not taking it seriously. Also, I'm way behind. But. I'd just finished reading the author's Astonishing-based fic and thought it was fabulous, so I wanted to see her take on Rogue. And this was fantastic, the writing is so sharp and clear, both in characterization and in showing what Rogue's going through at the moment. She's tough as nails when she needs to be, even after being dealt a devestating blow like she's just been through. And I actually wound up liking the take on both Rogue/Remy and Rogue/Sabretooth, they both felt right for this moment in time. I really can't express how well this was written, how clearly I could see the characters (in Bachalo's beautiful pencils no less) and how chemistry-laden, how charged the conversation with Sabretooth was. Every line of this was gorgeous. (Implied Remy/Rogue, references to Sabretooth/Rogue.)

- X-Men - Seven Deadly Sins by vikingprincess - You know what one of the neatest things about comicfic is? You can take elements from so many different incarnations and blend them into a story that doesn't really fit in any one specific universe, and I won't even blink an eye at it. I find myself intrigued by the take on Gambit and Rogue's characters here, a little bit movieverse, a little bit comics, maybe a little Evo tossed in, so full of the usual sass and spitfire that I love about them, if a bit darker and more adult than they're usually portrayed. I find myself really curious about this portrayal of Remy especially, the way he's written is almost unsettling in that he's not really that nice of a guy but he's not supposed to be. I also really like the structure of the piece, the way it's set around the seven deadly sins. It makes for a very solid story, the emotions of the piece run very high, but in the way I want from Remy/Rogue fic.

I'm not sure it's a fic that would win over new fans, I suspect that it's a fic that's more delightful for those who enjoy the pairing already... which sounds like a back-handed compliment when I don't mean it to be. What it does is take all the usual tropes (the southern culture, the "swamp rat" insult, the bourbon and honey descriptions for how the other smells/tastes, the focus on Rogue's hair or Remy's eyes, all those things that are a staple of Remy/Rogue fic) and turns them into this fic that's like the epitome of why I kinda like 'em. It's solidly written, the author is quite good at portraying the chemistry these two have together, the way sparks fly between them very their very first meeting and she's building an entire dynamic for them here, rather than relying on springboarind from previous established canon. This impresses me because I'm not usually one for 'retellings', but this one was 24,000 words already (there'll be one more chapter to go) and it just sailed right along for me. (Remy/Rogue, some graphic/NC-17 content in certain chapters.)

- X-Men - Tangency by Nokomis - So, I was randomly journalhopping and plugging Rogue and Gambit into search engines to see if I could find anything, not really expecting much, and then stumbling over this gorgeous little piece of fic. Normally, I'm not very fond of Rogue angst pieces, I prefer her getting over her inability to touch, but this one gets to the core of the issue and why she can't just let it go, it skips past blaming other people for the problem in a way, instead focusing on sadness and yearning and why she can't let go of him, despite that she thinks it's not fair to him, either. This is a sort of Rogue angst that I could do, the language of the piece making it just that much more gorgeous. (Remy/Rogue.)

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