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- Final Fantasy VII - Behind Closed Doors by Thorne Scratch - I... I... I... I think I almost cried reading this fic. Tears gathering at the corners of my eyes and everything, because I just... Zack just... Sephiroth just... Cloud just... oh, god, I just utterly lost it at so many points in this fic that I had trouble reading through it in one sitting. The summary reads: Sephiroth, Zack, and Cloud's Friday night tradition. and I just... god, once I started laughing, I could not stop. That wheezing kind of laughter that you get where you're glad no one else is in the house, lest you have to explain because they're all such beautiful idiots, especially Zack and poor Cloud and poor put-upon Sephiroth to have to deal with this shit and did I mention beautiful, beautiful Zack? I will say no more as I could not give away a single joke from this fic. ♥ (Hints of Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Thursdays... by Thorne Scratch - I admit, I don't normally go for the threesome stuff, but Thorne Scratch's Zack is just too brilliantly funny to resist. Hell, this whole fic is just too brilliantly funny to resist, from Sephiroth employing all sorts of methods to wake Zack up in the mornings to Cloud pretty much ducking and covering to Zack's entire... Zack-ness to the way the writing and little details of their hijinks are genuinely clever and funny. This is exactly the kind of fic that shot Zack up on my flist of favorite characters, the kind of fic that made me love the SOLDIER-era fanon so damned much, because these characters deserve at least a little time in their lives to be happy. And, god, the funny in this fic. ♥ (Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud.)

- Final Fantasy 7 - Chapter One: INFILTRATION by Tammaiya - So, one of the great things about getting into the crack of the FF7 fandom is that it's given me a wonderful, joyous love of Zack. As well as a wonderful, joyous love of being mean as hell to Zack, in the way that's totally done out of LOVE. And then Tammaiya goes and writes beautiful cracktastic, parody-ish, silly, light-hearted antics with the cast and there are so many moments that just... make me laugh like hell. Yuffie and her singing that annoys the hell out of Vincent (in a Vincent sort of way), Cid and Barret talking about blowing shit up ShinRa up together, Cloud staring dreamily at Sephiroth, Zack trying to hit on Aerith and Tifa, just the kind of dialogue fic (?) that made me giggle and love them all all over again. All of them. And I mentioned the whole ♥♥♥-inducing Sephiroth/Cloud interaction, right? Okay, good. (Sephiroth/Cloud, but hints of one-sided pairings all over the place.)

- Final Fantasy VII - reverse psychology by volly - There are a couple of reasons I wanted to rec this--aside from that it hits that button I have for Zack love, because he's just so... awww, Zack! The dialogue is good, the writing is solid, and Cloud's characterization is actually rather refreshing, he's still a grunt, he's a bit of a brat, but he's not acting like he's a shy twelve-year-old with no spine around the big boys. But he's not perfect or super-special, either, there's a good balance. There's a real sparkle to the interaction with Zack as well and the use of the theme was one of the better ones I've seen recently and I promptly burst out laughing at the end of the fic. That was what completely won me over. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings. You could probably read Cloud/Tifa or Zack/Cloud into the fic if you wanted, but it's closer to gen.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Killing Chocolate by gelfling8604 - I admit, I was hesitant to read a fic about Kadaj because of my issues with the character, but I really like the author's style of writing and I liked her previous FFVII fic, so I read. And, wow, am I ever glad I did because this fic hits my Kadaj buttons perfectly, the looming figure of Sephiroth that's never really specifically said, the brilliant way Kadaj (and Yazoo and Loz) tries to find himself amongst all the fleeting memories that aren't his, the brilliant way everything is so raw and dirty and aching in Midgar that makes you feel this piece. Everything about this was just spot-on in the way it needed to be. Also, the chocolate metaphor? Far more brilliant than it really had a right to be, I think. *__* (Hints/references to Kadaj/Cloud and implications of Sephiroth/Cloud.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Spike, Hedgehog's Dilemma, Sparkles by ChibiRisu-chan - You know how every once in awhile I have those fics where I mention that I sat still through the whole thing, didn't get up to check my mail or fidget around the room or anything, 'cause normally I have a horrible attention span and only really engrossing fics can get me to sit still for 50k+? Yeah, this was one of them. As with the other fics that ChibiRisu-chan wrote, there's this really lovely balance between the bittersweet and the so-funny-I-nearly-stuffed-my-fist-in-my-mouth-to-keep-from-laughing-too-hard. The characterizations are beautiful, Zack is irreverant and teasing and just so much fun, but he has his serious moments. Cloud is young and naive in so many ways and idolizes Sephiroth, but he has that core of determination and backbone that you see emerging again in later years. (This fic really, really made me love Cloud.) Sephiroth is reserved, serious, distant, and brilliant, but also just barely discovering what it means to be human and to have people that are important/likable to him.

The fic manages to balance so many things together, the shifting moods and the deeper point underneath all the hilarious teasing and silly nicknames. (Which are actually funny! So few fics could make me take the nickname General Sparkles and not want to click the back button as furiously as I could. Here, it actually worked the way it was supposed to!) The mood can be bittersweet one moment, almost painful the next, and then I'll be right back to laughing so hard I was practically crying, all with a beautiful, fluid grace to the writing. It's not jarring going from one mood to the next, the whole thing has this lovely flow to it--it's basically one really long scene and you know what? It doesn't feel padded or unnecessarily stretched out, it feels like it was the exact right length.

And, okay, yes, there are a lot of things to like about this fic. The way Zack slowly pulls both Sephiroth and Cloud into something like a friendship, the way you can see so many moments of brilliant characterization. A million other things. But, really, the reason you're going to click on the link and read is because it's hilarious. Because Zack being Zack around a campfire on a quiet night is too funny to be missed. Because Zack teasing both Cloud and Sephiroth and you can't decide if you want to smack him or hug him, but he always makes you want to laugh and you love him a little bit more? Totally worth the ride right there. I adored this. (Hints of Sephiroth/Cloud, Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud if you squint. But it could also be read as gen, there's no hard romance here.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Mistletiptoe by ChibiRisu-chan - Everything I said last time about the author's FFVII fic, about her characterization of Zack, the lovely way she makes Sephiroth the straight man of their little comedic trio without making him too much of a walking cliche, the way he actually is a three-dimensional character instead of a walking scowl-and-headache for Zack's amusement. The same thing is true of Zack, actually, that he's not a walking stereotype, instead he has his very... um... loud.. personality, but there's a real person underneath it. And Cloud continues to be cute and small and squawk-ish but with a real backbone when he needs it. Zack dragging Cloud along as they bring a holiday party to Sephiroth could have been so cliche, but instead it wound up being exactly what the author was going for, the way the three of them developed this fabulous relationship, the way Sephiroth grew a little more human bit by bit because of these two, the way Cloud has two of his most important people here even while they're making him embarassed or feeling like an idiot, the way you can just feel how much Zack loves them both. Each one of them is a wonderful character, the kind I want to revel in forever... especially when Zack's bringing presents and there are a million little details or ways he'll tease Cloud and Sephiroth. I just... I love all of this, every side of the triangle, right down to the way Sephiroth and Zack are friends. *happy sigh* This is totally why I fell for this fandom. (Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud, but it's more gen than romantic.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Switchback by sf - This is a different take on Rufus and Reno than I'm used to and, I have to admit, I'm not sure I entirely fall in line with it or can really believe it. Which is less of a sleight against the author than I mean it to be, because the writing is very sharp and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. When I say it's an interesting take on the characters and their relationship, I don't mean it in that way that says I'm trying to be polite, I mean that it's actually interesting and I would definitely like to see more of her take. Not that there's really much more to say than what's here, which leaves the piece with a rather satisfying feel, despite no real happy ending. It's just... there's something in the way that Reno tests Rufus' patience, in the way Reno manages to get to Rufus, in the way someone like Rufus would set Reno into that kind of mode... it somehow fascinates me. Plus, I mentioned that the writing is very lovely, yes? (Rufus/Reno, one-sided Rufus/Tseng, implication of Rude/Reno, hovering around an R rating.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Mistletiptoe by ChibiRisu-chan - [Note: This is part four in a series of fics, click on the tags to find the other entries in the comm.] You know what I keep saying about this author and her FFVII fics? The way I can sit down and read 60k of fic before I've even noticed it in a time when I can barely get through 30k of other fics? Still true. *sigh* I'm beginning to suspect it's not so much my attention span as the fics I'm usually clicking onto these days. Anyway. This fic actually starts moving more towards romantic relationships between the three characters, but still with the same sparkle and charm that was in the previous fics--it's the way Zack cares so much about Sephiroth and Cloud, even as he's teasing the hell out of them, that really gets to me. Because they care about him in return, even when he's teasing them mercilessly or embarassing the hell out of them, because that's the most precious thing to him in the world, that he's making them a little bit more human or that he's making them a little less fragile. I love that the fic can swing back and forth betwee serious moments that make my heart ache and antics that make me burst out laughing, I love that everything Zack does, even when he's being nice, it's all done in that teasing way. I love that the magic between the three characters that's so necessary for a story like this is there and in full force, I love that the characterization and writing actually work in the way the author intends. I love that the characterization of all the characters are actually subtle, that Sephiroth is human under the reserved, cool exterior, that Zack may be flighty, but he comes through when needed, that Cloud is easily embarassed and shy, but he stands up when he needs to. I love that I can get incredibly wibbly over the exchanging of presents and everything is just so damned perfect about it. I love that I set aside my usual reservations about threesomes (I'm still not sure if this is heading for actual threesomeness, Sephiroth/Cloud, or if it's gen with slight yaoi overtones) and don't feel a bit guilty because every aspect of the relationship is balanced. ♥ (Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud, possibly SxC, possible gen with yaoi overtones.)

- Final Fantasy VII - The Morning After by ChibiRisu-chan - Oh, the beginning of this fic is just so beautiful. Set directly on the heels of the previous fic (which you really need to read to understand this one fully, I would say), Cloud wakes up with Sephiroth's apartment and it is beautiful, it's the same sense of hilarity mixed with genuinely touching moments of friendship and something more. This is the fic where it feels like the author is moving closer to actual romantic territory, especially with Cloud's reactions to Sephiroth (and Sephiroth naked ♥), which really sort of impresses me that she's building everything up so well. And, of course, once again, the fic is filled with those little touches, the way I'm practically gleeing on the edge of my chair waiting for Zack to see Cloud again so he can start teasing him or feeling wonderfully warm because Zack might give them both a little comfort and humanity before everything goes to hell... because that's one of the great things. Even as Zack is nagging at them to eat their breakfast (in a surprisingly Zack-like way XD), I don't feel that sense of impending doom. Instead, I feel warm and happy and like I could read these fics forever. I really could read about Sephiroth becoming more human, Zack caring about his friends, Cloud screaming at Zack because his boot was stolen and he couldn't leave without it and the bastard knew that and was doing it on purpose, or Cloud trying not to turn neon red when a naked Sephiroth is standing in the doorway. ♥ (Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud, but I think Sephiroth/Cloud deserves a special mention for now.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Wark With Me, Kid by ChibiRisu-chan - I admit, the first several pages of this fic felt almost slow to me... but, then, I'm very much the Sephiroth fangirl and it's hard to get my attention with other characters. Well, except for Zack. God knows I love Zack. I did wonder if the fic was going to feel too fluffy at first, but somewhere around a third of the way in, the author's usual sense of humor kicked in and it was all about the little things that made me laugh or just feel all warm and fluffy on the inside, in a good way. The author makes good use of chocobos and the jokes about how Cloud's head looks like one, but without ramming it too far into the ground, the scenarios set up aren't just one-note jokes, instead they're the kind of things that could be referenced later. The kind that are referred to with the word "Incident" tacked onto the end, ie, the Chocobo Preening Incident. The situation here is funny enough to warrant that I think. ....which is a long-winded way of me saying that it was funny and "big" enough to warrant the reaction it was trying to get. Plus, omg, yes, I still love the interaction between the characters, I love the author's take on Sephiroth especially. I love the way she strikes that balance between a deadly, lethal, reserved fighter and someone who cares about the people important to him and his chocobo. (Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud, but it could be gen, too.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Hands On by gelfling8604 - Like pretty much everyone else, I have a soft spot for Reno, it would have been pretty difficult not to by the end of AC. But I don't find a whole lot of fic about him that I like (not that I look all that much, mind--I keep getting distracted by fanart), so when I do find a piece that's as beautifully sharp and touched with intelligence like this one, I get a special little thrill out of it. The author captures that sense of Reno, who is someone so hard to look away from, so attention-grabbing that you don't notice how very dangerous or sharp he is. You watch him the whole time and you never see him snatch the important things off you and this story actually manages to make me feel that, rather than just simply telling me that Reno is such. Really fantastic Reno piece. (Implied Reno/Rude.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Tokens and Trinkets by otilu - I was incredibly wary when I first clicked on the link to a Rufus/Yuffie story of all things. But there was something about this fic, something about all the little details of when they were younger, the way it makes a quiet sort of sense to me that I can't help being drawn to. It gave such a lovely depth to Yuffie's character, more than I was expecting--not that I dislike her, far from it, but I wasn't expecting the way I felt so much for her here. The same is true of the interaction with Rufus, I wasn't expecting something that very nearly shone with charisma or... well, something. It was still quiet and almost reflective, but it hit exactly the right note--and, really, how could I not love a fic that started out with them as kids saying It had been a mutual thing from the start. "ShinRa scum." She had said, in his language, though heavily accented. "Wutain peasant." He had replied pleasantly, in her language, though with the grammatical forms of an older man. Tseng had winced from next to the President, and the bond had been formed. I realize that I have totally shot myself in the foot by liking this fic, yes. (Rufus/Yuffie.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Against Regulations by ChibiRisu-chan - [ part 01 - part 02 ] - I keep wanting to ramble on for a few sentences about OTPs and shipping pairings that go against them and how this fic isn't my OTP, but it's an almost-OTP, but I'm not really sure what I want to say, where I'm going with that thought. This is one of those fics where I want to have deep and insightful things to say because it struck a certain resonance with me so strongly that I didn't want the fic to end, I wanted to keep reading and reading and see where Sephiroth and Zack's relationship would go, the complicated and yet surprisingly simple friendship-romance-love-whatever they have here. For all that I OTP other pairings, it's stories like this, portraying the relationship in such a brilliant, fully-fledged way that I don't feel there's anything missing. It's about Sephiroth and Zack and there aren't any missing people hovering just out of their reach or just out of my mind's eye, it's them and it's enough. More than enough. It's what I craved from a Sephiroth/Zack fic, because there are enough complications and layers to their relationship to deserve something like this.

And what I say about the author's fics over and over again still holds true here, too. I sat still for 70k worth of fic, always reading the next scene and the next after that because the author's writing is so clean and smooth that I just sink right into it. I could read novels of writing like this and probably not come up for air for hours. Not to mention that her characterization is beautiful here, it aches in all the right places, it makes me smile in all the right places, reminds me that the FFVII world is a dark place, but not one without hope, light, and caring. The author never has to say this with words, it's simply present in the way Sephiroth tries not to break apart sometimes and the violent anger simmering underneath the surface because of ShinRa and what he's forced to do, Zack trying to redirect that anger, trying to save the person in there that he cares so much about, the dynamic between the two of them something powerful and wild and intense and I can believe it.

And even beyond that, one thing really impressed me, which was that the author didn't pull her punches with Sephiroth's anger and the destruction he's capable of and I could absolutely believe this story was in a universe where things could go so horribly wrong, where Sephiroth would lose his grip on the rage and sanity and Zack wouldn't be able to stop him and things would go to hell. Watching Sephiroth viciously destroying a monster, so much power in one person, so much weight placed on his shoulders, so much constricting what humanity he had... yes, I can put this together with the Sephiroth I saw quite easily. Add in the violent, angry sex and the wibble-inducing conversation at the end? Yes, this is why Sephiroth/Zack is a ship I love. (Sephiroth/Zack, hovering around a light-ish R rating.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Starting Here by gelfling8604 - Given the events of Last Order and how I sometimes poke at them and try to fit them together with my notions of the SOLDIER-era days, this was a really, really intriguing piece on Sephiroth's mindset during the time. It's not quite so much insanity as anger here, the way his relationship/friendship with Zack is seen through his eyes is intense, powerful, and so very, very... intriguing. It adds a new facet to the scene where Zack confronts him and Sephiroth is cold in his reaction and I know I'll be thinking about this the next time I watch LO and how it's such an interesting fit with the OAV and how I really, really like this take. And, god, the ending is beautiful here, the build-up in Sephiroth's thoughts about Zack, the intensity of what few words (word?) there is, and the final two paragraphs are fantastic. (Could be taken as Sephiroth/Zack, but it's more gen than anything, I'd say?)

- Final Fantasy VII - Surveillance by White Aster - I mentioned, after reading the LOVELESS fic in this post, that Meg has the bestest friends who write her porn and I'm thankful to be able to share in the spoils. This fic furthers that because, omg, Reno's narrative on this is beautiful, especially when he's watching the bugs they've planted in Seventh Heaven and watching the triplets be all batshit insane and then Reno is just so... Reno and I was laughing hysterically and, god, the first two paragraphs of this are just genius. I just... man, this was beautiful, I cannot flap my hands and squee enough about that. ( Lots of pairings. It's got Reno, okay?)

- Final Fantasy VII - drabble requests by thewriter - I'm going to rec these properly because there are four of them and that makes up a decent-sized fic. Also, Cid/Vincent that's beautiful and sharp and intelligent and all things that that pairing usually isn't with the majority of the fandom. (Or so it seems for one who doesn't venture out that much.) There's a lovely quality to all of the author's writing, sharp lines and dialogue with a natural sort of flow, the kind of writing that's just good. But then it's backed up with charming little moments (Vincent's deadpan style with Cid or Reno being... well, Reno were some of my favorites) or absolutely, utterly hot Rufus/Reno. The kind where the author barely has to describe much of anything, where not that much actually happens, but it feels like it's such an incredibly complete, detailed ficlet somehow. Also, the description of Rufus' expression/eyes as he's furious with Reno and Reno's reaction... a thing of beauty. That and the Cid/Vincent ones are my favorites. *__* (Cid/Vincent, Rude/Reno, gen, and Rufus/Reno, respectively.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Ground Zero by The Dream Whisperer - Reno had once said that Rufus had a way of talking that made every single word seem like a proposition. I'm really not sure what to say about this fic, because it's so... there's so much of it here, there's so much to the Rufus characterization, that it's difficult to describe. It feels like there were a thousand little details in the story, yet they all woven together to show the progression of his sexual encounters through life. Not all of them are about sex specifically, but all contain some quality or aspect of a lover and Rufus' interaction with them. It's a fantastic fic because there's a real intensity to the writing, something that's pointed and weighty without being particularly angsty... it's almost harsh, like just about any good Turks fic has to be, but not quite. The way Rufus uses people, the way he twists them around and manipulates them and pulls the wool over their eyes is beautifully done, the way he's absolutely brilliant at leaving a trail of broken people in his wake, the way he uses and discards people, it was very much like what I think Rufus must be like.

I also love the technical aspects of the fic, where each piece of the fic, where each scene leads you through Rufus' live and the events of the game and movie--not to mention tying the two of them together very well, making them actually feel like seamless continuations of each other--while actually shedding illumination on the character. The pacing is grand, it never lingers too much in one place, it does a lovely job of showing the darker sides of the character and the more human sides, while making them balance each other rather than jar against themselves. I really rather liked this fic a lot. Also, the Rufus/Reno scene was ♥. :DDD (Rufus/Everyone, some NC-17 content in one or two places.)

- Final Fantasy VII - This Is Your Life, One Day, and Partners by Tammaiya - So, how much do I love that Tammaiya was doing shortfic requests and that she did a few FFVII ones? The first one is a sweet, cute Cloud fic where he's talking to a Moogle and it's the most adorable thing in the world. A little kooky in the head, but adorable. And the ending makes me all gooshy happy. And the third one is a beautiful Rude - and - Reno fic that captures what's so fantastic about them, how they're partners and what that means, even when it's something as simple as reporting back and getting chewed out by Rufus. But it's the second one that just... it's quite possibly the best Zack/Aerith fic I've ever read. It's exactly the right length for all that it's short, takes the prompt of "hopes and dreams" and spins something beautiful out of it. The sweetness of the pairing, how hot it can be at times, how much those two crazy kids were made up of pure love, but also fitting with the FFVII themes, the warring green and life of Aerith, the decay and dirty metal of the rest of the series, everything that fascinates me about it. And that last line? It's a killer. (Sephiroth/Cloud, Zack/Aerith, and not-Rude/Reno, respectively.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Long Odds by laylah - It's strange. I wouldn't have thought I would like a Cid/Tifa fic, but... I've liked a lot of the author's other work, Meg said I should read this, and the writing here managed to hit a line somewhere between gen and a pairing that made it work for me. It's not something I'll seek out regularily, but I really liked it here. The way Cid's voice was really quite solidly good, the way the imagery of Tifa racing on the chocobo made her just that much cooler, the way there was real chemistry between the two characters and their little wager of whether or not Tifa could win the race. One of those odd fics that I might not have read if it were by a different author, but wound up being rather impressed by. :D (Cid/Tifa.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Calling by ChibiRisu-chan - I'm not sure why I hadn't read this fic until now. I like the author's work a lot and this is a story idea that I've craved for who knows how long now. Sephiroth and Cloud post-game (post-AC as well, I think?) and Zack's echo still there and it's... it's about all the pain they've all gone through, what they'll always go through, how these three characters all make my heart positively ache with how much I love them and care for them. Which is very vague, I know. It's about... about a what-if, what if they'd recovered Sephiroth's body and Cloud had to take up the role Zack had once again, to pull something out of a shell that might very well be empty (and not knowing what was going to come out) and how damned hard that is for all of them. It's. It's just. Watching Cloud try to be Zack, knowing all the things I know now, watching it obviously be Cloud trying to be Zack for Sephiroth... it made me want to curl up in a little ball and clutch at my heart for how much it hurt, how sad everything is, even when things are calm now. And the ending? The ending totally got me and made my SxC fangirl heart seize up and then do double-time for the squee. Shut up. (Technically, gen. But you could read Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud or Sephiroth/Cloud into this.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Smells Like Life by gelfling8604 - [ part 01 - part 02 ] - This author's work often tends to leave me at a loss for words because I'm not sure how to describe the feeling reading her stories leaves with me. Part of it is that it's something sensed/felt than simply read, but I know how incredibly pretentious that sounds and I wonder if it's simply the way I react to her writing. Whatever it is, I always look forward to her style because it meshes so well with FFVII, that underlying sense of insanity and surreal atmosphere that follows Cloud around wherever he goes. There's something very intense about the way she writes Cloud being so fucked up, something that's different from a lot of the other fic I read. It's not just dysfunctional, it's something different from that. Which, that alone, would make the fic an interesting read, but then couple it with the fascinating insane relationships he has with Kadaj and Sephiroth and the way everything seems to come back to that, the way Cloud wants other things but never seems to do them, the way he keeps making mental notes to call Tifa but never does, the way you can feel her slipping away from him in those years after the game and before AC, yet it doesn't even have to be said, you just feel it. And the way dreams and random encounters and everything is so confusing and jumbled and Cloud himself is so off-kilter and fragmented... it's not the kind of story I could read constantly, I would be a giant ball of knots then, but it is the kind of intense, fascinating read that I enjoy whenever it's written. Does that make sense? (Sephiroth/Cloud, Kadaj/Cloud.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Unleash, Routine, Corolla, and Afterwards by thorne_scratch - I'm counting these together since none of them are quite long enough to rec by themselves and they read quite well together, I think. I don't know if I could pick a favorite of these (though, Corolla and Afterwards probably vie for top spot, though), they're all these great little moments, whether humorous or something a little more serious. The author does a brilliant job with her cracked out Zack and Reno antics (I have such great fondness for the idea when it's in this author's hands, a full-on fic would be, like, the best thing ever) and she did something I wouldn't have thought possible--a FFVII and Shoujo Kakumei Utena crossover that was breathtakingly gorgeous and haunting and brilliant. My favorite probably still has to be Sephiroth and Zack, though. That's just. Yeah. That's what they needed more of, moments like that. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings, maybe a little Sephiroth/Cloud or Sephiroth/Zack or Sephiroth/Zack/Cloud implied, but you'd have to squint.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Living (Breathing) Like This by green_and_warty - I'm often a little wary of any fics with Aerith and Tifa in them, just because the pairing seems to be so rarely well-done, it's a delicate balance at times, but this fic was really lovely. The language used in it is delicate and beautiful, the words chosen to show the two of them, to contrast them against their pasts and the dirty city of Midgar that they come to live in, all of it is very well done. The fic also has a really good punch at the ending, making it just that much more of a good read. (Aerith/Tifa.)

- Final Fantasy VII - untitled by Meia - This is a very short little fic, but after the previous one, I needed something a bit more cheerful and Zack being so very Zack cracked me the hell up. It's so adorable, especially the way he treats Cloud even while he's trying to get advice out of Cloud. Just. It's pure dialogue and so great. ♥ (Zack/Aerith, but Zack/Cloud fans may enjoy it as well.)

- Final Fantasy VII - Malkhut by Joudama - One thing that FFVII fandom never really seemed to do much with (or at least that I was aware of) was the origin of Sephiroth's name and what that might mean to the themes of the game (or the movie as well, in this case) and how they might fit together. The use of the Kabbalic mysticism is really well-done here, the fic is very surreal and about emotion/thoughts than it is about physical sensation, yet there's something very stirring about it, and it succeeds on the level the author was going for. The way she writes Kadaj and Sephiroth (and implications of JENOVA) on this other plane of existance is really impressive, it's a beautiful fic that is almost kind of creepy for what they feel when they interact and the larger whole that they're a part of, the almost religious feeling of the whole piece. Very nice. (Some Sephiroth/Kadaj, it's not precisely the point.)

Final Fantasy VII: Poetry of the Air by Scribbler - This is a series of four connected short fics (so far, I imagine there'll be more updated as the author writes them) focusing on Cloud with various cast members. Admittedly, I picked this one up for the Sephiroth/Cloud, but I actually stayed for the general Cloud characterization and the gen aspect. I think my favorite so far is actually the third chapter from the pov of Cloud's mom, showing what a strong person she must have been and what a tough life they had, but still somehow making it through. Each one of these does that--shows the good with the bad, nothing is really either all the way one or the other. Add in the author's really lovely, clean style and this is a really interesting series of fics. (Various pairings, though only Sephiroth/Cloud is more than implied at the time of this rec.)

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