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- Naruto - The Lost Child by SW - This is one of those sweet little stories that I so adore seeing in fandoms, the kind that are wonderful little character sketches that sum up how one character views another. Despite the fact that Naruto is more of a comedic action series, there is angst in the series, and my heart hurts for Naruto so much of the time. It's wonderful to see Iruka seeing Naruto in this story, the little lost child who just wants people to see him, not the Nine-Tails. Wonderful little story. (No warnings.)

- Naruto - Paper Training by Beeblebabe - I admit that I don't really know much about Kurenai (other than she seems cool, she's dating Asuma, and that her dress looks like it's out of bandages yet still manages to be kinda pretty) and the only one of her group that I really know much of anything about is Hinata, but you really don't need to know much about them to enjoy this fic. Full of interesting, fun little touches with Kurenai's actions, the way she handles her group of students, and some really funny bits of humor. I still giggle at the listing of various mission numbers and what they mean. And! And! The ending was quite funny! Toss in some nice writing and you've got yourself a fun little fic here. XD (No warnings.)

- Naruto - Strange Rooms by Leah Aute - I remembered Leah Aute's name from the first FAKE fanfic I'd ever read that wasn't a small little oneshot and I remembered that I quite liked her writing, so I was interested in seeing what she would do with a Naruto fic. I clicked on the story to read and was immediately entranced with the story--she writes some of the most incredible dialogue for the characters and keeps them all wonderfully in character. I was really expecting to want to read this story just for the Kakashi-sensei and/or Iruka-sensei parts, but the writing actually kept me glued to the screen during everything.

I'm just... so impressed. Such a large cast, yet she gives them all their moments and she writes all these relationships that I want to read about--I had so much fun reading about Kakashi-sensei with Iruka-sensei's class, Sasuke looking in on Naruto, Iruka-sensei visiting Naruto in the hospital, Kakashi-sensei and Iruka-sensei going out for ramen... geh, so much love for this fic. (No pairings yet.)

- Naruto - Presence by GenX - As I've mentioned, I don't normally recommend drabbles because they're too short, but I make exceptions whenever I feel like it. And I'm making an exception in this case because... well, to be honest, there are times when my interest in Sasuke wanes, because he's mishandled by the fandom. But then GenX writes a drabble like this, when she shows his motivations and the way he lives his life, the way he's forced to live his life, in just a few sentences, when she makes me hurt for him in just 200 words, and does it without getting out the sledgehammer... that is the Sasuke that could utterly fascinate me.

- Naruto - Fated by GenX - Again, I admit that I often times have trouble focusing on Sasuke, because his character was tough for me to understand/get into, but it's stories like this that really start to make me go, "Ooooh, that's interesting...." with him. GenX, when she puts her mind to a character, does these wonderful stories/ficlets/character sketches that get to the heart of what fascinates me about a character, showing them beautifully and subtly. The way she writes Sasuke's thought process here is just... wonderful. Subtle, yet powerful, very in character, and so insightful, not to mention she writes wonderfully. This is one of those stories that makes me practically bounce in my chair over how spiffy the character seems to me now. XD (No pairings, some spoiler warnings.)

- Naruto - Parallel Horizontal by jii - I don't often crawl out of my KakaIru/SasuNaru hole to read other fics, but it isn't because I'm not interested. It's more that I've chosen to stick with the anime rather than reading the manga, because, to be honest, I like the moving pictures and flashing colors better. Anyway. The point is that I do occasionally branch out into fics about other characters, even if I don't know them as well as I would like. And this story was a nice, interesting little story about Neji and Hinata, about the awkward way they interact, and just an all-around well-written story. And, you know, sometimes it's nice to read a story that's not about Naruto-tachi. ^____^ (No warnings.)

- Naruto - Do Not Feed the Animals by Meg - *squee!* Eeeee! Oh, this left me with the biggest grin on my face because it was just absolutely damned darling and so funny. XD XD I adore Meg's writing and she could get me to read just about anything, but I'm terribly thrilled to see her writing Naruto fic and to characterize Sasuke and Naruto and Hinata and the way they interact so damned perfectly. I just... I could absolutely picture everything in this ficlet, especially Naruto, just... *happiness* I love goodgoodgood fic. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Circular by Gen X - Aww, she's probably getting frightened by the amount of fawning I do over her, but there's a reason I adore Noel--she writes these stories that have all these amazing details in them and good god does she understand characters and put them into these fascinating ideas. I'm not sure how much to say about this ficlet, lest I give it away--let's just say that the summary is Naruto and Sasuke clash, determined to finish their fight for the last time. and that things are rather dark. But in the gooooooood way. (No pairings/warnings.)

- Naruto - Coffee Spoons by Katty - I love Naruto, I really do, but I've kind of gotten a little burnt out on it lately. A lot of it is that I love all the characters, but I am a Kakashi-sensei and Iruka-sensei fangirl at heart, but there's not a lot of good fic out there to feed my cravings, so when one like this comes along, it just re-reminds me how much I miss this series sometimes. Iruka-sensei is wonderfully three-dimensional and capable here and his interaction with Kakashi-sensei is nice because, honestly, it's not about the yaoi. At all. Well, unless you're trying to read into it and then... still not really. ^_~ But that doesn't hurt the fic at all and helps it, really. The characterization is solid, the writing good, and the little touches of Iruka-sensei thinking about Naruto made me just feel... warm. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Only Best by Quatrina Raberba - This was a nice little fic about Iruka-sensei's birthday that wasn't really yaoi at all, but gave me my KakaIru fix for the day anyway. ^_~ And I really am aware that it wasn't yaoi at all, it was perfectly gen, and I liked it on that level, because these are two of my favorite characters and I just like seeing them interact, even if it's only very shortly. Anyway, cute little fic that was just a nice re-visit to the Naruto fandom. ^_^ (No pairings/warnings.)

- Naruto - Foolish Little Brother by solderini - So I marathoned about 40 episodes yesterday and almost got all caught up, but I had to end my little spree on the Itachi intro episode, right? And clearly I'm all "NARUTONARUTONARUTONARUTONARUTO" now and I was skimming the Naruto section at FFNET (Holy shit, it's grown since I was last there. Literally ten times the size I remember it as. o__o) and this was the first fic that jumped out at me with an author's name that I recognized. One of the things solderini does best is write funny, funny fics and this is no exception. I about sprained something laughing at some of the jokes (especially when Itachi was writing about his new partner, Kisame) and just generally enjoyed Teh Funneh. (No real warnings/pairings, I don't think?)

- Naruto - Of Pidgeons and Bugs by Lizmun - The writing of this story is a little awkward and there are some honorifics issues, but the story was ultimately cute and I ♥'d Naruto in it. His staunch loyalty/affection for/connection to/whatever-you-want-to-call-it for Iruka was just about perfect and the way he misunderstood the whole "birds and bees" metaphor was hysterical (and I could believe that Naruto would) and I laughed when Iruka was trying to explain the different types of love to Naruto and... the poor kid misunderstood or perhaps he didn't *ufufufufu* and, hell, three of my favorite characters (Kakashi, Iruka, and Naruto) being amusing together, I can't ask for too much more. ^_~ A cute fic that I liked, I guess. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Mailbox by Morien Alexander - Oho, this was terribly amusing and actually really clever in the way the cards were both described and individualized--a peek at the Naruto characters' mailboxes on Valentine's day pretty much sounds like a recipe for a boring, flat, and uninteresting fic in the wrong author's hands, yes? But this was fun to read and I laughed out loud at least twice and I LOVED that there wasn't too much time spent on any one particular thing (like the descriptions of the cards or the inscriptions or heavy favoritism towards one or two particular characters). And... I guess I was just quite amused and thus must shove it at people, if I can. ^_~ (No real pairings/warnings.)

- Naruto - Hell is for Neji by Mucktron and Pierrot twixt Columbine - This was... oh, I couldn't stop laughing, because it was a hysterical parody and, well, really, HELLISH for Neji. Deeply and truly. Just... it's that kind of story that's beautifully OOC but yet not, you know? The kind that takes their basic character traits and amps them up until they're over-exaggerated versions of themselves and that's where the funny comes in? And just... it was clever and funny and, oh, god, that really is just HELL and I laugh just thinking about it and... yeah. This rec kind of sucks, but you should read the fic anyway. Just because Lee, TenTen, and Gai are so much fun when they're making poor Neji's life torture. And because Neji's cute when he suffers. And. You know. The funny. XD (No real warnings/pairings, I don't think.)

- Naruto - Fingerprints on Glass by Luc Court - I've noticed that pretty much everything of Luc Court's I've read is amazingly intense, even if I can't always put my finger on what exactly it is that makes the whole atmosphere that way. But this was an amazingly written Kabuto piece that got across this wire-thin line he had to walk, the brilliance and incredible strength of both himself and even Kakashi, lying in the bed after being injured, the way there was so much detail in the piece that made sense, given what Kabuto has to be able to do and know. Especially considering that he has to be able to leave no trace of himself, which was wonderfully worked into Kabuto's methods and thought process here. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Hunter x Hunter/Naruto - The Distance Between You and Me by Celeste - ....oh. I was expecting a cute, fun little crossover when I began to read this and for the most part it was... until somewhere around the middle, the author climbed inside both Killua and Sasuke's heads and drew absolutely beautiful parallels, the kind that took my breath away with the shocking rightness of them. The narrative of the story is just so utterly Killua, how much he understands, how he looks at the world and other people, the way his past is still a part of him, even right down to the way he and Sasuke fought. This crossover did justice to the depth of both series' characters and gave some absolutely brilliant insight into them and, oh, god, the end was adorable and this was just... genius. Beautiful, perfect, seamless, natural melding of the two stories and had me spinning in glee. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Dear Sir or Madam by Never Eats Oranges - I know I've seen this fic summary before and it seems like I should have read it before, but... well, anyway, I was in the mood for humor again the other day, so I stumbled over this one, read, and promptly laughed the entire way through. The kind where it could have been so flat and unfunny, various members of the series writing anonymously to Iruka for an advice column, but the author's talent and sense of timing really pulled it off, so that I was nearly rolling around on the floor, clutching my sides in laughter. It's just... from the way Kakashi is teasing him to the way notes spread around the characters like wildfire (like the way Tsunade just knows stuff, the way she has her sources) to the way the teachers discuss amongst themselves to... just... Gai... *rolls around on the floor and giggles* (Err. Mostly parody, so I'm not sure anything counts?)

- Naruto - drabbles by Kelsey - I... I... I... my love for Kelsey and these drabbles knows no bounds. Especially the first one, which is just absolutely perfect Team 7 fic, her portrayals of both Kakashi and Iruka just... they're perfect, in that sense of that this could have come straight out of the manga itself. And, god, Naruto. <3 But each and everyone one of these was fantastic, each with little brilliant insights to the characters (god, I loved Chouji and Shikamaru antics and the one with Kurenai and Hinata was just so touching and I laughed throughout the Itachi and Kisame one) or moments of humor that were genuinely clever and sparkling and I just... I love the way that the series of drabbles covered a range of the characters, very much the same sense the series itself gave me. I demand more Naruto from her, RIGHT NOW. >:O! (No real pairings.)

- Naruto - Smack by Sunfreak - I gank the link for this fic from ladycosmos and, after reading it, I just had to say something because it's one of those stories that seemed to start out as a crack idea, but somewhere in the middle of it, it became something so much more. The kind of story that makes me hurt a little for Sasuke all over again, the kind of fic that makes me LOVE Tsunade all that much more, because she's just that cool and because of what her actions SAY without having to actually say it. I just... wah, this one got to me. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Coping by Kelsey - Oh. Oh. This was so, so perfect. Tsunade and sake and Jiraiya and brilliant characterization, the kind that starts out fun and then takes a turn in the middle, but the end brings it back around and it's JUST LIKE THE SERIES FOR THAT. This is why I'm so glad Kelsey is writing for Naruto, because this story was just about everything I could have asked for from a fic with Jiraiya and Tsunade in it (the only other thing I could grump for is kissing or sex, but since it's gen, I suppose it's all right ^_~) and the kind that slips right into canon and hits the EXACT right notes it needs to and just an amazing Tsunade reaction and I am INCOHERENT WITH LOVE. I ABUSE THE SHIFT KEY OUT OF *LOVE*. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Home Sweet Home by Kelsey - The fight was a foregone conclusion, as far as he was concerned. His special gift was not only thinking several steps ahead of the enemy but determining how many steps ahead the enemy could think--and simply outthinking him. Eeee! Shikamaru fic! Shikamaru and Ino and Chouji and wonderful team antics and everything just sparkled and was so clever and Kelsey just nails the characters and I loved this so much. She totally needs to write more Naruto fic. <3 (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Falter by imazuul - I had no idea what to expect from this story, I randomly clicked onto it, started to read (*gasp!* Actual readable Iruka narrative! Hooray!) and was promptly utterly engrossed by the story. It's about the days just before the series begins, with Iruka's latest crop of students, including one Uzumaki Naruto and the writing is just absolutely brilliant. Iruka is fully realized here, his balancing his hatred of the Nine Tails with his basic goodness as a person, with wanting to give Naruto a chance, but nearly making himself sick in the process and, god, frustrated, upset Naruto that everyone ignores and nothing is easy and everything is difficult in that way the series has and no one is perfect, everyone has their faults and it was just brilliant, to the point that it left me incoherent. Quite possibly the best Iruka fic I've ever read, it absolutely does justice to his character and the heartwrenching story told/about to be told. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Fair Play by nescione - [Note: Kakashi Gaiden spoilers.] ........WAH. ;____; Kakashi and Yondaime and a brilliant little story that just... makes my fangirl heart hurt and yet attracts me at the same time, because Yondaime and Kakashi and you just do not see enough of that in fic! Much less in fic that feels so absolutely right and true to both characters and the way they interact. Yondaime is just... I can't imagine that this is anything other than accurate, the way he smiles, the way he's such a dangerous fighter, but still such a likable, sunny person, the way there's a real bond between teacher and student. And little serious!Kakashi and an absolutely killer ending to the story that broke my heart. This was really good. ;__; (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Genius Under Fire by sna - [Note: Spoilers for the Kakashi Gaiden.] Oh, well, now this was just... there were one or two moments I was nearly thrown out of the story (Kakashi couldn't count past eighty? If he's a genius, he can figure out the patterns, I'd think. If you can count seven-eight-nine, you can get seventy-nine, eighty, eighty-one, etc.), but the overall effect was breath-taking. The comparison of Hatake Sakumo and Hatake Kakashi as they moved through similar points/milestones in their lives and the punch the author hit the readers with was intense. It brilliantly showcased the differences and heartbreak father and son went through, the way their lives eeriely ran parallel, yet are completely different, but both hurt like hell. Just... the writing is gorgeous here, the effect the author was going for brilliantly achieved and I really can't go "....holy shit." enough. *__* (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Persistance of Vision by sna - [Note: Kakashi gaiden spoilers.] Quite literally, Kakashi's always got someone keeping an eye out for him. Oh, my god, this was so good. Just brilliant, really. The people in Kakashi's life, the ones he's loved and lost and how they continue to watch out for him, the way Obito, even in death, still watches out for him, because Kakashi needs it. The entire story, whenever Kakashi would get better or worse, whenever he would get closer to people or more alone, whenever he would lose another person, it all tugged at my heartstrings, because it makes beautiful sense of the characters and their relationships, it just nails the heartache of them (Kakashi especially). It's got a lovely pacing to it as well, the way it covers years and everything just flows together and... brilliant writing, brilliant tone/style, brilliant heartache, brilliant characterization, and a brilliant ending. I ached reading this. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings, I wouldn't say.)

- Naruto - Girl Talk by sna - Oh, man, I loved this story. So many little details about the kunoichi in the village, a lovely way of having them all interact that doesn't feel forced, there was such a natural feel to the entire story that was really impressive. Add to that that there was some fantastic stuff with Yondaime and Rin, making them such realized characters, making them so... vibrant, really, the way they both just came to life here. I really, really like sna's take on Rin's character and her writing is gorgeous and my only complaint is that there isn't more of her writing. ^_~ (No real warnings/pairings, I wouldn't say.)

- Naruto - True Self by Lady Cosmos - Ooh, ooh, I liked this. After discussing a lot of the finer details of what Kyuubi may or may not be, LC wrote a fic that's just... I love what she did with it, the way the narration is through a particular character's eyes, the entire tone to the story that feels almost as if it's underwater, that there's a sense of chaos in the background, even as the writing is almost calm. The little details, the way people fight, the way the Hokage reacts, the way Kakashi is slow to answer, the way Sakura pleads, all those little things in the background just make this fic. Really, really interesting fic. *__* (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Cats will be cats by Carcinya - This story isn't going to make sense unless you've read The Silent Blade first, which I recommend, as it's a really neat Iruka (well, Kakashi/Iruka) fic that actually has a plot. This story is a cute little sidestory about some of the background set-up for that longer story and I liked it because... well, for one thing, I like that the author takes her time to develop these things, but also because it shows Iruka at a younger age, before he's been tempered into what he is now, but not quite the reckless, attention-seeking youth he used to be. It's hard to imagine a transition from one to the other, since we see none of it in the canon of the manga, but I liked this story because I found it to be a good middle ground between the two, a way to bridge one to the other. (No warnings/pairings for this fic.)

- Naruto - Icarus by Chevira Lowe - [Note: Kakashi Gaiden spoilers both in the fic and the rec.] I've been on a Kakashi fic-reading spree lately and I finally got around to reading this fic and... I'm not sure what took me so long to finally get here, because this is another one of those stories that's really good. The writing is sharp and clever, it strides the line between angsty and too angsty, so that everything hurts even more because it's so Kakashi about it. The interaction between Yondaime and a young, worn-down Kakashi is heartbreaking and sparkling all at the same time, the way the chirping sound of the Chidori is woven into the entire piece, the way the ending hit me like a ton of bricks. Just... ouch. Heartbreaking and beautiful. ;__; (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Small Heroes by Sunfreak - How stupid, he thinks, to be jealous of two adolescents over the attentions of a twelve year-old. Sunfreak is one of those authors that I will consistently read Naruto shortfics for because she has this way with the characters that makes even a 300-word story such a little gem. This story is a little longer than that and it is an absolutely gorgeous Iruka piece, the kind that makes my little fangirl heart turn over in my little fangirl chest and want to wobble in the corner for awhile. The writing is deft and lovely, bringing home what a fascinating character Iruka is without beating us over the head about it. The parallels between Iruka and Naruto are beautifully, beautifully drawn here, all the more lovely for that they're not the point of the story or even a major focus. The focus is Iruka and what's going on inside him, the way he sees the world, and this... there's a heartwrenching quality to it because I love the character so much, yet it's not sad. That's what this kind of writing does to me, the lovely way the words form the pretty images and sentences. And the ending with Kakashi is so sweet for me as a fangirl right now because it's not about the relationship, it's barely even there, it's just a fraction of Iruka's current thoughts and that's so, so, so exactly what I wanted. I have such wibbling love for this story. (Almost pure gen with a faint hint of KakaIru.)

- Naruto - Proportions by ladycosmos - Heeheehee. Oh, Jiraiya. I love you. I'm so amused by the way the theory behind the jutsu creation (which I could think with what we know of how they're made) and the way Jiraiya thinks of it and explains it to Naruto and the way Naruto puts his own spin on it and HEEHEEHEE, Jiraiya is the best perverted teacher EVER. Plus, the pacing of this is fabulous, one of those stories that stretches the joke out just as far as it needs to go, and adding some genuinely funny lines in along the way. Much love. XD (No warnings/pairings.)

- Naruto - Past Legends by rayemars - I often grump (quietly to myself, for the most part, I think) that there's not enough Sannin fic out there, so seeing a lovely piece like this, one that plays on all the facets of these three legendary people, it's such a beautiful treat. I love the team feeling they had here, making that you know what's going to happen later, all that more poingnant, knowing that Jiraiya's poems for Tsunade will never lead anywhere (god, that was so clever, it fit with the character so damn well), that Orochimaru's feelings for Tsunade will never make a difference, not really, that Jiraiya and Orochimaru could never quite make it work. I love it because it brings even more of a three-dimensional quality and depth to the characters, that it weaves together brilliantly with what we know of the characters, that you get to see more of each character here, but the punches aren't really pulled. Jiraiya is still Jiraiya and Tsunade is still Tsunade and Orochimaru is still Orochimaru. And, man, when Tsunade kept the little keepsakes from both of them, when she reread Jiraiya's poems and buried Orochimaru's earring, that fucking ripped my heart out and made me want to cry right there. Beautiful fic. (Jiraiya/Orochimaru/Tsunade in various forms.)

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