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- Final Fantasy VIII - Desire Stone by Deena - Okay, so, after reading the FFVII/FFVII crossover above, I had an itch to go read FFVIII fic. Specifically Seifer/Zell fic. Because I like the idea of their interaction, not that there was any interaction in the crossover. And Noel was lovely enough to provide recs and one of them was Deena's fic here and I remember her from reading her Weiss Kreuz fic and... the fic isn't going to be for everyone, it's what I affectionately like to call "doujinshi sex". Which I have a rather strong kink for, so this fic hit all the right buttons for me--snarky bitching at each other while they're lost in the woods, thin plot elements as an excuse to get Seifer to fuck Zell senseless, and intense, no-holds-barred sex... all while they keep bitching at each other, but in a slightly friendlier way. Sort of. It worked for me! I really do <3 Deena's writing, I love the smoothness of it (I still go back to reread her WK fic because she did quite possibly the best YoKen smut I've ever read) and I really like her characterizations, I actually laughed at all the right places and I actually liked that the balance between the aggravated nature between Seifer and Zell and something a little bit nicer. It didn't make me feel badly for either character, you know? It made me want more. :DDDD (Seifer/Zell, NC-17 content.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Closet by damnnn lolita - I've been trolling for FFVIII fic lately and happened upon a rec of this fic and I stopped to read it since it wasn't very long. (I have a horrible attention span lately.) And it just... I was pretty sure I liked the Seifer/Zell pairing before this, but when I went all starry-eyed over the rather strong references to smut in this one, I knew I was going to be with this pairing for awhile. There are two things that impressed me about this story--one, that the semi-graphic parts were hot, you really got a sense of what Zell was feeling as he was having sex with Seifer in the closet. The other is that the inner voice for Zell, the writing of the prose really did a terrific job of pulling the whole thing together and just being a GOOD STORY. I admit, I did have a moment of pause over the feather boa, but it's a minor thing among a story that really revved my engine. *__* (Seifer/Zell, R-verging-on-NC-17 content, definitely not safe for work.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Morning View by Pygmalion Princess - I randomly clicked onto this story to read, god knows why, it was probably a rec somewhere, but I'm glad I stopped to read, because Seifer and Zell fic always makes me happy. XD But it's also that there was a sense of fun and actual sharp dialogue at times here, that I could actually believe these characterizations because they were still guys. But it was also that it blended a lot of things I like about the pairing--that it's not all sunshine and roses, Seifer's still got a lot of shit to work through, but it is fun when they snarl at each other or elbow each other in the face, yet there's also still real attraction and feelings there. Add in a hint of sensuality (since they are in bed together, after all <3) and genuine caring--even while Zell continues to yell at him--and some very solid writing... and, yeah, this is another one of those fics that just continued to feed my fondness for these two. Also, the first page or two of the fic? Just grand. What I wouldn't give for more like that. XD (Seifer/Zell, hint of sexual content.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - untitled by grayout - I clicked onto this fic because it was for the 1sentence comm, which meant that I could read one or two of them to see if they were any good. I was immediately sucked in, despite that this isn't my usual type of fic, because it's so hard to be satsifying with such little bites of fic. This one, on the other hand? Made the format work. There were 50 fabulous little ideas, each one showing a different facet of the Seifer/Zell relationship, balancing out the snark and the softer side of the relationship without going too far with either. And I mentioned that the format actually worked with this fic? I swear, I was just... satisfied by the end of this one. And, omg, omg, omg, I totally don't know which ones to quote or specifically point out because so many of them were just genius. So many of them show these little moments of why this pairing appeals to me, why I think it works, despite potentially seeming random. Just... wow. This is what I want from Seifer/Zell fic. (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - untitled by grayout - I was a little wary of this fic at first, I wasn't sure Seifer would actually say the things he said... until he kept going and then this fic suddenly clicked right into place for me and it just worked. This is why I have such a fondess for Seifer, even if he is a stupid, arrogant bastard much of the time. He goes through more than a lot of people may realize at first and Zell is a great choice to play off him in this scene. This fic is also fantastic because there's just enough violence, a real hard edge to it that's backed up by harsh movements, hitting things and knocking things over, there's real anger in this that was necessary to make the fic work. There's a real point to this fic, one that gives a bit of depth to the characters and that makes it all the more interesting. *__* (Seifer/Zell, but there's no romance involved.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Misery and Company by Gen X - *squees* Seifer/Zell dialogue fic! Well, it's not really Seifer/Zell, it's gen more than anything, but I have such love for their dynamic. I tend to be wary of dialogue-only fics, just because I like a little bit of prose around them better, but this one was just so sparkly and clear with their voices that it didn't need the prose. You know how sometimes you can tell the author is trying too hard to get the facial expressions across through the words and it ends up being awkward and the dialogue sounds stilted? This dialogue totally worked for me, it sounded like things they would actually say and, oh, the characterization was lovely and there were so many little details and I totally squee over this. (Not Seifer/Zell, this is gen, but I'll put it in that section anyway.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Theme 008: Our Own World by grayout - *bounces* More Seifer/Zell fic that makes me squee! I really love the use of this theme, the way it could have been cheesy or cliche, but the author's talent and natural charisma with these characters totally pulls it off, so I can feel that odd sense of connection between the two characters. I love that none of the snarking at each other is love, that Seifer is still an ass, but a human one, and Zell is still a bit of a spaz, but also a human one, and, god, did I grin like an idiot at Zell's internal monologue. I loved that the author really pulled that off... and managed to flip over and give a real weight to Seifer's characterization, the way he feels just a little off/detached from the rest of the world. Great fic here. ♥ (Seifer/Zell, except that it could be entirely gen.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Theme 13: Excessive Chain. by grayout - This was actually a pretty clever use of the theme, clever enough and amusing enough that I sailed right past the type of characterization that might otherwise trip me up. Admittedly, Zell's more hyper in this fic than I usually like him, but I like the little quirk that the author tossed in for why he's acting that way (ie, 12 cans of JOLT! will do that to anyone, I'd bet), but also because it's just damn funny and Zell's thoughts on all the people around him are just terribly amusing. I giggled the entire way through, for the right reasons, and that's all I needed from this fic. ♥ (It's from the Seifer/Zell comm, but it's not actually a pairing, I'd consider it more gen.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - untitled by Renay - I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the 1sentence fics, because some of them are really well-written, but some of them leave me feeling dissatisfied because I want something with weight to it. This is one of the fics that makes me remember, oh, right, you can actually achieve something pretty cool and insightful with just one sentence, especially if you write gorgeous characterization with Seifer and Zell. There are so many of them that I want to point out, each of them is perfect and concises and doesn't try to fit too much into each sentence, so the pacing feels light and snappy instead of clunky or bloated. Plus, omgz. I mentioned the characterization, right? Seifer and Zell alternately hitting each other or quietly appreciating the other's skill or going, oh, fuck, I think I like him or getting along surprisingly well and they little details are actually clever. It's really one of the better fics for the pairing, I think. <3 (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - The Philosophy of Movement and Analysis of Touch by Renay - I spent the entire time I was reading this fic, thinking (and occasionally muttering to anyone who would listen), "I cannot believe that I'm reading bouncer/high school!AU Seifer/Zell fic and it's really fucking weird that I'm enjoying it." because, oh, my god, high school AU fic should not be this charming, witty, or intelligent. The cahracters should not slide this seamlessly into their roles, Seifer's characterization/narration should not be this fucking perfect, and Zell should not be... oh, hell, Zell's perfect for this right from the start. ♥

The thing that's utterly brilliant about this fic, beyond that it somehow magically works when I normally intensely dislike high school AUs, is that the author takes her time with every scene, really establishing the world she's setting up here so that it genuinely felt complete to me, rather than being a paper-thin excuse to write high school stereotypes. In addition to that, the writing is just stellar, I don't normally read on my regular computer because I get too distracted by LJ and e-mail and AIM and such, but this one I plopped myself down to read a little bit of and pretty much didn't look up the entire time, I never felt antsy or restless, because I was too busy enjoying the sparkling writing.

It's full little details and I actually enjoyed bouncer!Seifer and the surprisingly likable work environment he was in, especially because it served to set up his character and the OCs actually felt like real people, rather than cardboard cutouts the author randomly jammed in. You add in Seifer's home life situation, the absolutely brilliant interaction with Zell (I absolutely burst out laughing at the final scene of this fic, I knew it was coming, I knew exactly what Zell was going to say, but I still laughed out loud for a good thirty seconds anyway) and I'm totally going to be climing the walls until the second part of this comes out. ♥ (Eventual Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - The True Story of the Butterfly and the Bumblebee by bottle_of_shine - You know how some fics are only 3,000 words and they seem like they drag on forever? Maybe that's just me. But then there are other fics that are over 10,000 words and it seems like only a fraction of that? This is totally the latter, I sat through the whole thing without even thinking about looking up from it once because the author's narrative is just so smooth, clever, and fun to read that I never wanted it to stop. She does a beautiful job with the Seifer/Zell relationship, where Seifer is human and a teenager and such an asshole but you love him anyway. And, god, Zell. This is why Zell is one of my favorite characters, the way he bounces and hits things and yells at Seifer when he's being mean and doesn't quite get stuff immediately but he's not dumb he's just distracted a lot and he's adorable and I want to hug him and maybe molest him a little.

But even more than that is the dynamic between the two characters. It never forgets that they snarl at each other, that they fight and hit and kick each other, Zell thinks Seifer is a bastard, Seifer thinks Zell is a moron, but there's something really sweet and likable underneath all of that. Sort of. What I mean is. I believe that Seifer likes and wants Zell here, I believe that Zell doesn't pick up on it, even as Seifer condemns himself as about a hundred different kinds of idiot. And, god, did I love all the little touches. Zell trying to give Seifer pointers on how to date a girl was absolutely hilarious, Seifer's friendship with Fujin and Raijin was lovely, especially when they're giving him advice about his love life, and Seifer is all, "I am not having this conversation." The characterization is such a lovely thing in this fic, I really, really love the author's take on Seifer, this is why I find myself so fond of his character, when she doesn't back down on that he's a jerk much of the time, but still manages to make him human. And Zell... Zell's just beautiful here. This fic completely hits my dynamic for the two of them. ♥ (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Midway by worldoutoforder - So, Noel mentioned that she liked this fic and I clicked out of curiosity and, oh, I fell just as hard for it, too. Because it's so Zell when he's all fuzzy and wounded from being on the battlefield and there's a trained, deadly soldier there who keeps forcing himself to get up and move on, but there's also Zell there and the author accomplishes this without having to say it, it's just there. And then Seifer yelling at him, almost lecturing him and Zell's fuzzy reaction to try to shut him up? Perfect. It could have been such a cliche idea, but somehow the author manages to make it work wonderfully. (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Lost in Translation (No Longer) by worldoutoforder - After reading the author's previous fic, I had to go see if they'd written any more and... eee, yay, more genuinely sparkly, clever fic! It's one of those ideas where it feels like it may have been done a bunch of times before--Zell "translating" what Seifer really means when he says stuff like, 'Shut the hell up and get out of my way, chickenwuss.' and being all Zell-like while doing it, but the author manages to put in all these little details or keep the characterization from going over the top so that it actually feels right for the characters. And reminds me of just why I ship these two. XD (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Arrest by Baconfat - What I liked about this story is the sense of boredom and arrogance radiating off Seifer, not so far over the top as to make him a cardboard villain, but someone you might not get along with very easily, someone who could be seduced by a Sorceress. Well, that and the way Seifer watches Zell run into the cafeteria pell-mell, panting from the exertion of it, asking if there are any hot dogs left and every time the answer is the same and Seifer wonders how the hell he can think otherwise and it's got this great little charm to the writing to pull it off. And yet, even more than that... I liked the title. Arrest. It has a lot of different meanings when you step back to look at the whole of the fic and I'm a sucker for stuff like that. <3 (Not Seifer/Zell, but.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - Boy Scouts by fyre_byrd - Oh, god, this should not have worked. It was the FFVIII kids going to the Boy Scouts set from Seifer's point of view. The Boy Scouts. Yet from pretty much the first page onwards, I was alternately laughing and cooing over the fic, little!Seifer's terrible attitude was just too damn perfect, all ego and casual insults and it's just like how Seifer would have been as a kid. It helped that he seemed permanently stuck with Zell (ad;lfkjad;fjasd, god, the running list of insults was beautiful) and it was the cutest goddamned thing ever, especially when Seifer wasn't really mean when Zell was constantly crying or messing up, just annoyed and it was the perfect balance. And adsklfjal;sdfjkas christ every scene was more fantastic than the last, Seifer complaining that they don't know how to build a real fire and Zell saying he's not allowed to use kerosene anymore, he'll tell, and Seifer being all, god, this place is stupid and alkdjfalkjsdfls LOVE. I mean. Maybe others won't get the same insane joy out of it that I did, but for me... it hit so perfectly. Just so, so perfectly. Every last one of those little brats was beautifully done. Just... I can only keyboard mash in love so often. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - The Weakness and Power of Flawed Depth Perception by Renay - [Note: This is an Alternate Reality story, it really helps to read the author's notes to understand the premise of the universe before diving into the fic.] This was... you know, I love the FFVII fandom because it gets some of the most brilliant fic, often with plot even. But if FFVIII fandom continues to put out stuff like this, I'm going to be very, very torn over which I love more. (Not that that's a bad thing, I suppose.) This fic takes the FFVIII world and tweaks it a little, then shoves the ball rolling off down the hill to watch it snowball and make something entirely fascinating out of it. It's not just the concept, though, it's the execution of it, the fabulous timing and scene switching back and forth so that you uncover each new piece with every new scene. The story starts off with Seifer in the infirmary and you know something really bad happened, but you don't know what and then the story switches over to the beginning of the mission and this pacing actually works really, really well.

It's not just that, though, it's also the characterization and effectiveness of the piece. Seifer is gruff and prickly, recognizably himself, but having taken a different path because the situation was different. Zell is beautifully himself, being all speaking-before-thinking but quick with words and even quicker with his fists when he needs to be. I love this Zell because he gets to do stuff and he's such the fully realized character here. And even better? The subtext between the two of them is beautiful, you can feel the unresolved tension, the way they like each other under the banter, they way they can spar against each other or fight together. You can definitely feel the author's affection for them both, for the idea of them as a pairing, even as the fic maintains a careful balance, not tipping them too far over into pairingfic. This story is actually more about the plot than it is anything else.

There are torture scenes that are effect--not so much that they'll make you, the reader, want to curl up into a ball and cry, this isn't a horror fic, but enough that they made me uncomfortable and enough that they justified the reactions of the characters. I believed that Seifer went through hell. And, asl;dfkjasldfkjaslkjdf, god, I loved the ending. Not just the rescue (because you know he was going to be rescued), though, that was awesome, too, but the last two paragraphs were just a beautiful, perfect ending. LOTS OF HARTS. (This is gen, it's about plot. But Seifer/Zell fans will be interested anyway.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - The Philosophy of Movement and Analysis of Touch or, G-String Night at Joystix (2) by Renay - [Note: This is the second chapter of a fic that starts here.] Okay. Normally, I don't do high school AUs. If I want high school fic, I'll go read/watch a high school series and read fic for that fandom. Much less high school fic where it's a complete AU of the series. But. But. This series. It's got this great, sharp dialogue and Zell is such a... such a... such a firecracker in it and Seifer is smug and condescending and prickly and there's all these dark edges to him even as you want to hug him. Somehow it keeps the spirit of the game/characters and makes them still sparkle. I mean, a month ago, I would have balked at the idea of reading Laguna as a teacher, Seifer and Zell in his class. Or Seifer being adopted by Cid and Edea and going to a new high school. Or a dozen other little things. But. It just. I don't quite know how to say it. It's more than just that it keeps the feel of the series. It's that it's... clever. I'll read just about anything for clever dialogue and this fic shines with it.

And, sure, it helps that Renay's writing always has that quality where I can read almost 6,000 words of it and it feels like I just barely got started, because time flies when I read it, but. Again. More than that. It's more than that the Seifer/Zell scenes shine or that the pacing of the piece is fantastic, that the story is taking its time to set the world up, but without dragging or unnecessarily padding everything with pointless scene-stretching details. All the little things added into the writing help further flesh out the storyline. It's all of these things combined together, I think. ....okay and a lot the Seifer/Zell, shut up, I like them. (Seifer/Zell... sort of. It's kinda gen. Right now. But.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - five times zell beat seifer by Renay - One of the things I like about the Seifer/Zell pairing is that Zell is totally loud-mouthed and uses his fists and would happily punch Seifer in the face if pissed off enough, which Renay captures so very, very well in her writing here. And I love that these five scenes show different ways that Zell "wins" because it is nice to see him winning sometimes and reminds me why Zell was totally one of my favorite FFVIII characters, yet it doesn't have to--entirely--stomp down on Seifer's character to do it. The different settings, the different ways that you see Seifer "losing" and why it's kind of okay and how you can feel how much he likes Zell and just... I flail with love. ♥ (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - untitled by baconfat - There are certain concepts I love to see in any fandom that I'm in. Roadtrips from hell are one of them... well, they are when done by the right author. This fic is definitely done by the right author because it's Seifer and Zell and they're absolutely maiming the car and it's sharp, clever and fun. It lives up to the potential of the idea, it's so much fun snarking and bitching between these two, yet still showing the UST underneath. It's Seifer being Seifer and Zell being Zell and they have a rental car and they are on a roadtrip and that means everything you think it means. This is why I ♥ this pairing so damn hard. (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - handcuffs by Baconfat - Do you know how much I love a pissed off Zell who actually hits things and gets mad and then hits things even harder? I love that Zell. This author is so good at showing that side of the character, of showing how much of a smug bastard Seifer is even when he should be at a disadvantage, of showing how there's so much chemistry underneath their bitching at each other. I loved that the fic was a little uncomfortable to read because Zell's emotions were wound so tight, that I could feel that tension in him that felt like it was about to snap in him, I could just see the superior look on Seifer's face, even while he wasn't being that much of a bastard., I love this pairing and this is the kind of fic why. (Seifer/Zell.)

- Final Fantasy VIII - untitled by Baconfat - There are some authors that I just automatically put into my mental "automatic thumbs up" folder and fic like this is why they deserve that, because every time I read this author's Seifer/Zell, I love the dynamic. There's such a sharp edge to them, all the anger and bitterness (especially in Seifer post-game like this) and neither really quite backing down, even when they find some way to not kill each other. Zell hits things and Seifer presses buttons because he knows how to get Zell worked up and I half think that he can't not take shots at Zell in this fic and it's... it's not nice but it's not horrible, either. Just right for the two of them, especially in such a deceptively not!simple piece where they're in the dessert and there's gameplay system details here! They're background more than anything, but! Looking for rare items in the dessert! I immediately felt their frustration and it's used fantastically here. ♥ (Seifer/Zell.)

Final Fantasy VIII: Accrete by Akare - I'm a sucker for a collection of scenes/drabbles all put together to make a longer fic. Yeah, these are only drabble-length, but there's 26 of them, which made for a pretty satisfying read this morning! I was also impressed that the scenes genuinely felt the right length, that each one contributed to a larger whole but didn't need to be more than what each of them were. Plus, the way Zell and Seifer were written, how they never lost that edge of fighting with each other, especially on Zell's side, was really nice to see. And, oh, bless the author for the bits of porn in there, too! :Db (Seifer/Zell, occasionally somewhere between R and NC-17.)

Final Fantasy VIII: untitled + Ways to Pass the Time by Akare - I'm recommending these two together since they're directly related, the second won't make much sense without the first. Well, it would, but they go better together. Anyway. This is a simple sort of set up--Zell and Seifer on a mission together, Zell accidentally falls into the frozen lake, he needs warming up, and hey Seifer is there. I really liked how they were both clearly attracted to each other, both wanted the sex, but it didn't lose it's snarky edge, they were both still flinging insults at each other, even as they wanted the other to hurry the hell up. I love rivalsex when it takes on that tone, which made this a fun treat this morning! (Seifer/Zell, NC-17.)

Final Fantasy VIII: gloves by nanthimus - I probably shouldn't enjoy this one as much as I did, but... Seifer fucking Zell over a desk and they both still kind of can't stand each other even as the sex is good, until finally Seifer finally figures out a (kind of total bastard) way to shut Zell up. But size difference has always been one of my preferences and this reallyw as kinda hot. (Seifer/Zell, NSFW.)

Final Fantasy VIII: forgiveness by nanthimus - Oh, I really adored this one as well. More Seifer/Zell almost angry sex, but more like... banter sex? Which was very nice, but it's also what Zell is trying to tell Seifer and the way that half-conversation goes that was really kind of great. XD (Seifer/Zell, NSFW.)

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