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- Naruto - Dare not Breath by Virgo - I think this is actually the first Naruto fic I've ever read, though, I've been eyeing the section at FFNET for some time. *sigh* In a way, it's a shame that this fic is so good because I'm going to get too attached to the fandom and this pairing (Kakashi/Iruka) and I'll wind up constantly in need of a fix. But, I suppose, for now I'll just enjoy the ride. ^_~ I absolutely loved the interaction between Kakashi and Iruka, the sense of light teasing, the sense of trust they have with each other, the easy friendship slowly becoming something more. It's not a perfect road, but it's a... nice one, just perfect for these two characters. Combine Virgo's sense for the characters and the way they act/react/interact, their speech patterns, and some really good, smooth, sparkly writing and you have a fic that made me fall in love all over again. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Once is Enough by Virgo - There were two things that impressed me about this story, above and beyond the usual wonderfulness of Virgo's Kakashi/Iruka interaction. One was the excerpts from Icha Icha Paradise, how well they were written and how well they were intersected with Iruka's reaction to them. And, two, the, like, three sentances that hinted at citrus towards the end, managed to do more with those three sentances than some authors can do with three pages. And they were just hints. *sigh~* I really am falling for this pairing. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - One Night by Virgo - I liked the... mild angstiness that came with this fic, but not the kind that rips your heart out. The kind that's such a joy to read about because things aren't always smooth and easy, but you still know things will eventually work themselves out and be okay. Again, Virgo's writing is wonderful and she does these characters such wonderful justice. This is why I ventured into the Naruto section at FFNET in the first place. And just... this is what made me fall in love with Kakashi/Iruka in the first place, it just... sparkles. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - A Love Letter by Asaliah - Fuck do I love this fic. Every time I reread it, I have this huge smile on my face, because it's just so... fun! Gai cracks me the hell up and it's really nice to see a fic like this dedicated to him (he really is terribly underrated... he's not my favorite, but how could I not just love him?) and I dearly wish for more. The final scene never fails to make me giggle and I'd love to know what happens next. XD (Some KakaIru.)

- Naruto - Uzumaki Jinsen!! by Kakashi - Oh, I adore this fic, it's got my three favorite characters in it (Kakashi, Naruto, and Iruka) just... interacting, being themselves, the sweetly big brother relationship between Naruto and Iruka, the fun of Kakashi's relationship with both of them, and the little moments in this fic just making me sparkle. I loved the little things--like Naruto painting his name on the arena to Kakashi's tricking Iruka and Naruto into looking the other way so he can inhale his food in five seconds flat--all those things that really made me able to both see really believe this fic. It's not actual yaoi or shounen ai, but I like to think the vibes were there. XD I'll admit that the prose was a little bit stilted, but that's really being picky on my part, because I hardly noticed it as I was reading, it's got that much more important quality of being engaging. Anyway, enough with the crappy rec, I adored this story and highly recommend it. (Some mild KakaIru vibes if you want to see them that way. ^_^)

- Naruto - Weak Knees Goldilocks by Kaminiko - This story... was on CRACK. But the good kind. Oh, so the good kind. XD Normally, I really don't care for fairy tale parodies because they're just... bleah, but this one was actually really cute and funny and made me laugh so much. It was the discussion about whether or not to keep Naruto that just made the fic for me and sent me into even more giggles. The writing itself is actually really smoothly readable, making this even more enjoyable to read... just fun! (Some SasuNaru, KakaIru.)

- Naruto - Nighttime Play by Morien Alexander - Eeeee! I was all excited to see this fic in the Naruto section because I've read and enjoyed Morien Alexander's Yamimatsu fic (or at least I recognize the name from somewhere ._.), so I was all geeked to see a KakaIru from her and I wasn't disappointed! *sparkles* I admit, I was a little... weirded out... by Naruto's role in the story, but goddamn do I love this Kakashi-sensei. I love the interaction between Kakashi and Iruka (I loved their quiet conversation about how they hadn't seen each other in awhile, just before everything begins. It was so... nice. *_*) and the ending of the fic still makes me giggle like a maniac and love Kakashi-sensei all the more for doing that on purpose, having to know that Sasuke was wide awake the whole time. ....I love that wonderful pervert so, so much. *_* (Kakashi/Iruka, smile mild graphic content.)

- Naruto - Door by Morien Alexander - This... is exactly what I want from Naruto fanfic. This is exactly the kind of story that keeps me in the English fandom, hoping eventually something like this will come along. I absolutely adored this fic, I absolutely adored the characterizations (I'm very protective of people making Iruka out to be some sort of whiney, wimpy, "girly" character, but the author did just the perfect blend of blushing Iruka, parental Iruka, and teacher Iruka. XD Naruto was a wonderful little hyperactive idiot and I just wanted to hug him all the time. And my love of Kakashi-sensei in this fic? It knows no bounds. Just perverted and weird and teasing enough, but not, like, a parody of himself.) and the interaction between all four of the characters was just perfect, that place between warm, heartfelt moments and yet not pushing it too far, so that I could still believe it. The writing is also wonderful, smoothly readable, making the story just flow right along, making it so much fun to read. Gah, this review sucks. Just go read the fic, it's entirely possibly my new favorite Naruto fic. *sparkles* (Some mild KakaIru.)

- Naruto - Rules of Attraction by P.S. Speare - You know, one of the things I like about reading as many fandoms as I do is that I'm able to recognize a lot of names from other fandoms and so I have at least some idea of who to give a shot to when I see random fics appearing on FFNET. And I've been a fan of P.S. Speare's writing for awhile, she does some of my favorite WK fic, so I was terribly pleased to see she was writing Naruto fic, and Kakashi/Iruka fic at that. And! *sparkles* Wonderful fic, her writing is as amazing and lovely as always, and the back stories she's created for them in the first chapter kick ass. The action scenes are fantastic, the characterizations wonderful, the little details also wonderful, just... everything combining to make a fic that I'm dying to see more of. =^_^= Bah, I don't want to fangirl too much, because I could get carried away, but... yeah, I really love this fic so far. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - The Long Way Around by Virgo - Okay, I actually read this fic pretty much the second it was posted on FFNET and it's been on my list of fics to rec for months, but I'm just now getting to it. Eheh. ^_^;; Okay, first off, my problem with this fic is that it felt very rushed, that everything was too quickly resolved and blown away to be properly dealt with. I think I would have liked to have seen one more fic to really flesh out the storyline, since it'd taken several to build to this point and it felt a bit anti-climactic.

Okay, that aside, I, of course, loved this story. I love the interaction between Kakashi-sensei and Iruka-sensei and that it's not a perfect relationship, but that they find a way to make things work. I loved Kakashi-sensei's little story about Sasuke and Naruto and the quiet parallels the story drew between the four characters. And, finally, the way the story wove in elements of strength and the different kinds of it really made me happy, because strength is a very important thing with this anime/manga and especially these characters. Well, okay, one more thing--I, of course, loved the writing. It's smooth, easy to read, just flows right along, and is good. I love that. (Kakashi/Iruka.

- Naruto - A Logical Conclusion by solderini - Ahhhh, I know this is parody, but I can't help it, I loved the first chapter anyway. Sakura and Ino arguing was wonderful, just completely in character and fun to read. I could just picture everything happening, crystal clear in my head. But the part that really made me laugh was the end scene in the sakura grove, it was just... HEE! Gahhhh, I want more of this fic! I want more of the funny! I want more of the IC parody! I love that stuff! XD (Some implied yaoi/KakaIru, but parody.)

- Naruto - The Silent Blade by Carcinya - Oh, my god. Do you know how badly I wanted this fic? Seriously? Yes, yes, Kishimoto-sensei probably didn't intend for Iruka to be a powerful character and I understand reservations people might have about a story that deals with him being an incredibly strong ninja for secretive reasons, but I recommend this story, because it was done RIGHT. What the story did is that it really sold me on the idea that there could be more going on underneath the surface of the characters, plotted the story and the background details in such a way that it came TOGETHER with the text of the series, rather than trampling all over it. Also? The details and the fight scenes. Chapter four is one big fight with Iruka and I was practically spazzing in my happiness with the fic, because it doesn't make him the Ultimate Fighter, it just gives him a believable talent/strength and goes from there. It makes sense why we didn't see it before and OMG there's actually a three-dimensional Iruka here. He's not just a walking cliche here, he actually had reactions beyond that! He had a spine, too! Yet, he wasn't perfect, he still blushed and was embarassed and human and a good guy, it was all woven together, and I loved that.

Just... this story had everything I was looking for--the writing was smooth and readable, the details were well thought-out, but not so over-present that the author had become entranced with her own world-creating skills and overshadowed the story with the "Eeeee, look! Look at all the shiny details that I'm obsessed with! I'm going to describe everything for THREE PAGES!", the characterizations of Iruka (and Kakashi) and pretty much everyone (for someone who hadn't seen Tsunade at the time, she did really well and I really like her Kurenai), it doesn't flinch back from the harsher side of things, yet it's not ANGST, ANGST, ANGST. Honestly? I never thought this fic would exist, I thought it was too much to ask for. I'm not saying it's necessarily the Greatest Thing Ever, there are a few things it could stand to improve on (but I give the author a LOT of points for writing in a second language--I don't think I would have picked up on that if she hadn't said it) or a scene or two that was confusing, but overall? This is my new favorite Naruto fic because it actually FEELS LIKE NARUTO *and* gives me what I've been looking for. Oh, yeah, and the Kakashi/Iruka parts of the fic? (Which aren't the main focus until about chapter five, they barely even MEET at first.) *happy purr* (Some KakaIru, maybe some SasuNaru hinted at.)

- Naruto - Flowers on Old Graves by Vikki - So there are about a bajillion ways that I love Vikki, right? Well, now it's a bajillion and one. This story is just so incredibly right on the mark for Kakashi and Iruka that I feel this sense of... being sated that I rarely feel with Naruto fic, much less KakaIru fic. Vikki's way of describing Kakashi is just so painfully on the money that... I think this could ruin me for a lot of other fic; it just... it took these characters that are so often cliche and made them not cliche anymore, made them feel like the Naruto characters again, like they really had just stepped right out of the manga--right down to the tone used in the story. They weren't schmoopy, they weren't in love, they weren't OMG TRU SOULMATES, they were two three-dimensional characters who maybe had some sort of connection or maybe they didn't, they were stunningly in character, and the entire story had this sort of... undercurrent that I can't explain, but was just so explicitly three-dimensional and so incredibly Naruto that I fell in love all over again. The amount of little details that went into the story, that affected the way the characters thought/felt/reacted, but weren't tacked on (it wasn't so much that there were a lot of details worked into the prose, just that they were sort of factored into the way each character reacted), and just... I guess the best way that I can think to describe my reaction to this story is that it got me discussing the characters on AIM, got me thinking about them and expanding my views on them, looking at them in new lights, yet in the way that made this fic make all the more SENSE and feel all the more REAL to me. And I guess that's what I love, that it just sort of clicks together with the manga so clearly in my head. Much, much love. (Some very light KakaIru.)

- Naruto - Monochrome Squares by Francisco Montserrat - The summary of this story read as: Kakashi may be a legend when it comes to genjitsu, but when it comes to chess, no one beats Iruka. Which attracted me because it's nice to see Iruka good at stuff sometimes and this story doesn't make him out to be an omgsupergenius, he's just better than Kakashi at chess and it was... really cute. Especially when Kakashi thinks he's finally going to win and has little Kage Bunshin no Jutsu clones marching across the board in triumph. (What? I thought it was cute! XD) And the ending was a nice return to the usual dynamic without seeming schizophrenic about it, it was a smooth transition and it was well-written, nicely characterized without being cliche, yet still gave me what I love so much about these two characters. Just FUN and made me all sparkly. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - The Twenty-Fifth Rule by paxnirvana - It's so terribly easy to go over the line or to head into cliched territory when dealing with Iruka's feelings over Naruto--how young Naruto is, the parallels between them, how he feels protective of Naruto, the hurt they all feel because of the situations they're in, how it's hard to let go, all of that. It's so easy to go from "human" to "weak" with Iruka's character, but this story, I thought, did a fantastic job of walking that line, of making Iruka so very human, of slowly building a connection between Iruka and Kakashi over what's happening with Naruto. The characterizations aren't just solid, they're sharp, too. Which is how I would also describe the writing--it's not just 'readable', it's genuinely sharp, clever, fitting, and good. There's also this subtle sense of... what the series itself has, that it's painful and aching, when it was supposed to just be all about the action. The flashbacks to what happened with Zabuza and Haku were heart-wrenching, hurting all over again, especially knowing how it was going to end, especially know that Iruka was seeing what happened, just those little moments of how Iruka mentioned that Naruto didn't want to talk about it. Toss in the little touches about Kakashi--how he stands in a slouch that's so convincing even whe you know it's not, the way his Sharingan eye is mesmerizing even when you don't want it to be, the faint mention of Kakashi's voice being tight when talking about Naruto's goals--that give it this sense of... an edge, I guess, that's what made this fic hit me harder than a lot of other stories do. (Eventual KakaIru, but this fic is closer to the gen side of things. For now.)

- Naruto - Chance Encounter by paxnirvana - And this fic continues the subtle dialogue, prose, and actions that... could so easily have been like a sledge hammer hitting me over the head, but wound up being somehow so much more deft than that. Iruka's characterization also continues to be just outstanding (Iruka's not-really-as-unkind-as-he-would-think unkind thoughts delighted me because they were so... Iruka-like, I think. <3) and the slow building of the unresolved tension between Kakashi and Iruka is fantastic to watch, because there is a very nearly tangible something there between them. I also love that Naruto is never really forgotten, is always so important to Iruka, that he's important to both of them, but it's that perfect edge between... well, when you read the series, Iruka's influence in Naruto's life is very real, but it's not a focus of the series. This story fits with that--it's such an important, meaningful relationship, but it's not like they're a perfect little nuclear family straight out of the '50s. It's not cliche and yet it's still there and I adore the writing here for getting that balance so wonderfully. (Eventual KakaIru, but this fic is still closer to gen for now.)

- Naruto - Afternoon Missions by paxnirvana - Oh, well, this was such the nice treat to read, because it's rare to find KakaIru fic that's both well-written/characterized and... for lack of a better word, tight. The characterization has a sharp edge to it (not necessarily harsh, but crisp and clear), the writing and characterization also just so easy to read and GOOD. Iruka's sleepiness in the middle of the afternoon practically made me feel it with him, Kakashi's sudden presence jarring/surprising as it's supposed to be, and the dialogue between the Hokage, Kakashi, and Iruka very solid and real. This is the kind of writing I'm so often looking for, this is the kind of tone, feel, and characterization that has me vibrating with happiness. <3 (Probably more gen than anything, but I'm sticking it in the KakaIru section.)

- Naruto - Sharing Sake by paxnirvana - You'll note, if you're reading paxnirvanan's Naruto stories, that they are starting to read more like chaptered fic than stories set in the same universe, so if you're not reading them in order, it'd probably be a good idea to do so. (I read "Afternoon Missions" out of order, but because it was fairly early on, I wasn't too confused, but at this point, you really need to be reading them in order to understand what's going on.) This story was a delight to read because it went from a storyline that could have still been gen and carefully moved it forward into romance territory, but did it in a way that felt very smooth and natural, in terms of the story. It's awkward for the characters (and, god, Iruka was adorable and I loved Kakashi's reaction because it was... I guess real is the best word I can come up with, because the characters are so sharp here), but the story itself has a wonderful sense of a natural flow from one point to the next. The original characters were delightful to read about, the little details bringing the whole thing to life, and it's just... it was believable for me. It's not easy, there's a lot of genuine hardship in all their lives (I especially liked the way the idea of the family bloodlines having to be passed on was dealt with here), and the end of the story made me ache a little (in all the ways it was supposed to), despite it being an actually rather positive ending. Just... it's good KakaIru, the way I wanted it to be done. Not ignoring their issues, but still that sense of... fortitude, I guess?, that the series has. So much love. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Night Pursuit by paxnirvana - And, oh, how I adored this particular story in paxnirvana's storyline because it further fleshed out Iruka's character, further made him a real, three-dimensional character, and got to show him being a ninja, but without being pandering or unbelievable about it. The weaving together of his past as a trouble-maker and the sense of gleefully running through the village was probably better represented and woven together with his current personality better here than I've seen in any another fic that I can remember. It didn't feel at odds with his more polite and well-mannered side, it instead fit with the character and fit with the next step his relationship with Kakashi had taken here. The sense of... fluid, graceful motion as he runs, as Kakashi chases him and catches up to him, it was perfect, the way I really want to see KakaIru done, the way that's... gorgeous and talented and hot, even just the kissing was enough to make me want to fan myself. I love this Iruka so, so much. And even though you don't really get to see that much of what's going on in his head, I adore the way this Kakashi is presented. Slightly eccentric (as most jounin seem to be), very lethal and deadly, very obfuscating and confusing, but still very much a person under there, who isn't as dead inside as some might want to think. Beautiful writing. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Harsh Reality by paxnirvana - I continue to have so much love for this storyline, because this story... further makes it believable, because it's not always smooth for the characters, because there are doubts and hesistations that have to be present for characters that are as hard-edged as many of these characters are, especially someone like Kakashi, especially as he's been presented here. Because they're complicated and nothing seems to be easy and, god, that works for me. The way Iruka worries, the way you can tell he's falling, even through those hesitations and concerns, the way you can feel the raw emotion coming from both him and even Kakashi, yet, at the end of each story, it's not a depressing tale so far, so much like the series itself. It's amazing to read these stories, even as short as they are, they're so wonderfully paced, they're so in tune with the series, that it feels like there's been so much progression, even though there's still so much to go and the characters are just spot on (and, somehow, it does feel more like the manga, I really just get this... sense of it as I read the stories) and I'm just... I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this ride. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Calm Before the Storm by paxnirvana - You know, I continue to love that the perspective on Iruka's relationship with Naruto--very much caring about him, worried about him, but that's not the sum total of Iruka's life or his connection with Kakakshi--is so well-displayed in these stories. And that the whole ninja aspect of their lives is never forgotten in these stories--even when they're at rest or when nothing too much is really happening, they're ninja and that shines through in their thinking and the way they move, but it's not an obvious sort, hit you over the head sort of way, it's just... there. And, gah, I continue to just go over the moon for the dynamic between Kakashi and Iruka, the way they know what they want (even things don't always go smoothly) and there's desire there, on both sides, and that it's not treated all girlishly, these are both men and it's still so sharp and clever and... ....well, crap, yes, I'm flailing all fangirl-like now. But I'm a happy flailing fangirl, so what do I care? ^_~ (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Ninja Omake Theater! by paxnirvana - You... you have no idea how much I <3 this fic, because it's... it's hard to explain, I guess. It's that KakaIru dynamic--Kakashi annoying the hell out of Iruka, but in the fun way, making him blush, keeping him off-balance, but Iruka still stands his ground in his own way, and then toss in a whole heaping of sexual tension--that made me fall so damned hard for the pairing in the first place, the dynamic that I wasn't sure translated as well out of J-fanart, but, man, this fic did it and did it well. The writing is wonderful, just sharp and clear and clever, keeping it from being the trite and cliche storyline it could have been and instead makes me remember why I fell so hard for this dynamic in the first place. Makes me remember all this potential between the characters and how much I love them and then makes me stand back in awe at the deftness of her writing ability. So, so much love. <3<3<3 This is the kind of fic I would shove at someone to try to get them to understand why I like this couple so much and what I see in it. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Metaphors for a Rainy Day by Pirate Burn - As always, I tend to bitch a lot about the lack of KakaIru out there, that there never seems to be much from authors who actually read the entire series, who get the sense of depth of the series down. Much as I love the silliness, sometimes I want something with a little bit of a bite, too. And what I adored about this story is that there was a sense about Kakashi that really worked for me, the tone being almost weary, but not quite exactly that, the way he looks at all of the people even when they don't know he's there, the way he sees all these 'different' people inside the people they are around others, the way he looks at Iruka who never seems to reveal anything else even when there shouldn't be anyone else around, the way he finally finds him... all of it was wonderfully subtle and having that... it's not quite vague (Shut UP, I can too abuse the italics and run-on sentences if I want!), but it's... almost elusive. In the way it should be. It was like watching them through a rainy, misty fog, I think. And that hit me absolutely right this morning, so that I'm back to being all *hanya~~n* over this pairing. Plus, ooh, the imagery in this one! Very... Naruto-like, I guess. Or so it felt to me. <3 (Kakashi/Iruka.)

- Naruto - Fair Play by Pirate Burn - And then you've got the more playful fic, where Iruka suddenly has to deal with everyone being really nice to him and it takes him half a day to figure out why and it's just *so freaking fun*. I adored it because the author is really talented, the prose gliding by very smoothly, the pacing really solid, the way it flowed from one scene to the next very natural. But it was also that there was a sense of subtlty even amongst the obvious, that the concept of the fic (ie, why everyone was suddenly all over Iruka) wasn't hammered into our heads too badly so that the concept felt stretched and forced. Instead, it was lighter and had just enough little touches all over (Iruka's way of describing Kakashi towards the end, the way Kakashi was acting like a sulking six-year-old--which should have been a cliche description, but it worked--the way Kakashi menaced everyone without barely having to say a word <3) that I absolutely fell in love. Many ♥ for this one. (Kakashi/Iruka.)

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