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- Naruto - The House Guests by Moonsheen - Ahhh, I could really become fond of LeexSakura. I mean, I like it already, but I could become really fond of it. Lee took about all of five minutes to slide his way right into my heart and I just love him to tiny, tiny little pieces. And it's just... wonderful to read a fic about him and Sakura by such a wonderful author. It was so cute and fun and hysterical and just made me smile to read it when I was having a crappy day. Moonsheen really does have a talent for writing these funny lines that are the clever sort of funny, the kind that... I'm not sure how to describe it. But it's a lot like what the Naruto series itself has. Anyway, go read. LeexSakura! Funny! Plus! Squirrels!! There need not be any more incentive than that. (LeexSakura.)
- Naruto - To Come Undone by hoshi_no_koe - "Lee-san... What does it mean when someone comes undone?" I really liked this little story because... the characterizations felt right to me, the way Sakura slowly starts to talk about the painful thought running through her head, the way she tied it into Lee's bandages, which are such a part of him and... I just like the whole parallel/metaphor that's used so well here. And Lee's characterization was just... heart-breakingly perfect, so bright and earnest and true. (A little bit Sakura/Lee, but genfic more than anything.)
- Naruto - Lyric Wheel Challenge by Jamjar - This little ficlet broke my heart, but I had to rec it anyway because it seemed so... as much as I wanted to rail against it, as much as I can see other possibilities for them, I could also buy the way this story presents Lee and Sakura's relationship. In it's own way, it's very sweet--it's not a bad relationship by any means, there are lots of wonderful things about it, but... it sort of gave me a dull ache in the middle of my chest to read it because... it's very bittersweet. And I did adore the way Lee made her feel, even if it was that same bittersweet feeling. (Sakura/Lee.)
- Naruto - Lee and Sakura Get Laid - part 01 and part 02 by solderini - I... I... I... my love of LeeSaku knows no bounds with this fic, because... they're just... oh, god, I FLAIL at the cute. Admittedly, the storyline is a little bit parody-ish, especially the stuff with Neji and Lee's rivalry, but it's not out-and-out parody, so I wind up having spazzy fits over the cuteness that is LeeSaku. I just... this story is so much of WHY I love these two--how much he adores her, how much he loves her, how well he treats her, how much of a DORK he is, and the way she smiles around him, the way she's amused, but so terribly fond of him, the way they're more than they seem at first, the way there's something interesting to this relationship. Plus, OMG THE FUNNY. I just... god, I laughed so hard I think I had to stop a few times just to get it out of my system before I kept reading. Solderini plays on the quirks of the characters, creating these situations that are just absolutely hysterical and does it with a wonderful sense of timing even in text. Just... this is one of those rare fics that worked on every level it was going for, I think. And is exactly why I love Lee/Sakura so damn much. *happy, giddly, sparkly fangirl* (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Full Bloom by Lynnxlady - Have I gone on enough about how much I adore Lee yet? Because I do. This was a soft, sweet, gentle little ficlet that I enjoyed especially for the way Lee looks at Sakura, which just warms my heart, even as it causes a few twinges here and there. Lee is one of those characters who made my heart flip over and fall for him and this story capitalizes on what it is about Lee that can do that. My heart flopped about for him during the one line about how he thinks about her and Sasuke (it's not really a Lee-->Sakura-->Sasuke story, mind, it was just one line, but it was indicative of that feeling I get for Lee when he's being so... Lee-like) and the characterization just... brought to mind soft, gentle grasses and a light breeze and a slight bittersweetness and some genuine happiness. ....which is an incoherent reaction, I know, but this story just made me feel and that's the best way I can describe it. (Sakura/Lee.)
- Naruto - Untitled by Tenjou - This was just... cute! Oh, god, I'm such a sucker for LeeSaku cuteness, I really, really am. And what I adored about this story is that, indeed, Lee was just ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. The examples of him trying to puff up his confidence or to get ready for an outing with Sakura were ADORABLE and his interaction with Gai was ADORABLE (oh, the line about him trying to fix his hair cracked me up XD), and I just... I know I liked a fic a lot when I can just HEAR Lee saying the lines. Shame the fic isn't finished. *pouts* (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - The Height of Walls by Pierrot twixt Columbine - This was... oh, this hurt because I could see it and (as much as I don't want to) believe it. The dialogue between Neji and Lee was perfection, both three-dimensional characters in their own ways and not just plot devices (plus, Lee was just sparkling here, why, why, WHY DOES HE NOT GET MORE LOVE?), the writing was gorgeous, and the characterization was so right and fitting that it bordered on painful. It's one of those things that carried the Naruto feeling so sharply that I could almost believe that I had read this in the manga itself, I could hear the characters speaking their lines, and the light imagery (especially with the cotton candy) was fantastic. And there's a line in here, a certain moment where Lee comes to a point, that made me want to cry, that's how strong the emotional impact was. Quite possibly one of the single best Naruto fanfics out there. ;__; (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Youthful Flowers, In Spring by WhiteCat - I love SakuLee fics with all my little fangirl heart and stories like this just cut straight through me. I am incoherent with the happyhappy raburabu over WhiteCat's writing in this story, especially after "The Height of Walls", because it's... I mean, it's not uber-happy fluff, it's not sappy romance fic, but it's... something that could fit between the pages of canon, yet still gives one that happy, warm sort of glow for these two. WhiteCat just nails Lee's characterization and everything about this story really is awesome. The use of flower imagery in here is perfectly balanced between Lee's personality and overuse, the writing is gorgeous, and does a fabulous job of showing us the character insight woven into the story rather than hitting the pause button to explain it. Plus, it's just a fabulous moment between these two. .....what? I said I was incoherent with the love. *floats~* (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Before the Storm by haku_kaen - The writing of this story could maybe have used tightening up in a spot or two, mostly just a sanding down of the corners, but the heart of the story was there, when Sakura was visiting Lee in the hospital and you can start to see the glimmers of affection between the two, the way things start to become a little more comfortable. The author writes Sakura in such a way that she becomes so likable to me (not that I dislike her, mind <3) and Lee is OH MY GOD SO DAMNED ADORABLE. His enthusiasm and earnestness were wonderfully done--so intense in him, but not so bad that he became a parody of himself. And just... this made my LeeSaku fangirl happy, I totally wibbled when she gave him chocolates and they shared. ♥ (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Pure & True by number18 - Okay, this story starts out rather stiff in the prose, but it was hardly bad, so I kept with it and somewhere around the middle of the first chapter, the author found her rhythm, I think. After that? OMG, LEESAKU LOVE. I adored this story because it drew these wonderful parallels between the two characters without making them OMGSOULMATES, because it wasn't aiming for romance (even if there were still elements of that present and hints at something maybe in the future, maybe not), and instead focused on a friendship and understanding between Lee and Sakura, after Part One of the manga. I loved this because it fit with the Naruto world, because it had all of these moments that tugged at my heart in the exact same way that the manga itself does, because you got to see what amazing and likable characters they both are, seperately and playing off each other.
As much as I love LeeSaku romance, this one knocked me on my ass for the way it didn't just toss them into a relationship, that it might never happen at all in this timeline, but that they're both growing older and understanding more and more. I just... I don't think I realized how much I wanted a story like this until I was in the middle of it, so I'm gushing over the absolutely solid sense the author has on the Naruto world. It may not work for those who aren't a fan of the pairing, but because I love it so much, this was exactly what I wanted. (LeeSaku. Except it sort of isn't.)
- Naruto - First Frost by Moonsheen - How is it that I've never read this fic before? I mean, it's got LeeSaku in it and everything! Not that that's the main reason to read it, but I totally would have pounced the second it was posted if I'd been aware! Because, man, Moonsheen is one of the first writers I ever read for that pairing and she just sold me on it, hook, line, and sinker, and I love the way she writes them. And, god, I love her Naruto series-wide antics, the way it's not really about any one, single thing or relationship, it's several different things mixed together and, god, it was so lovely, this sense of... it wasn't a huge moment at all, it was just that you could see the progress Naruto was making with some of the others, the way the impending fight with Akamaru was more friendly than it was truly hateful and you just got that they were all slowly starting to accept Naruto. I loved the story for the way it showed several little moments with a variety of the characters in Konoha during the first snowfall of the year, the way everything wound together, and it was just... it was so very Naruto. Naruto and snowy antics! Wheee, fic high again. *shimmers* (A little LeeSaku, hints of lots of other pairings implied, but nothing explicit.)
- Naruto - Remember the Promise by link no miko - *burbles happily* LeeSaku fic! Well, okay, it wasn't really out and out LeeSaku, but it was about them and it was a moment of connection and it was so sweetly them. I really liked the way that Sakura was so human here, that she's proud of what she's accomplished with her own two hands (it's set towards the beginning of the time skip), but she still misses her teammates, is still angry with them as much as she's sad over them. Sakura is a wonderful character here and I've never liked her better than I do in these moments, which is made even better when Lee comes along and helps her remember better times, even when he isn't trying. The dynamic between them here is so sweet and adorable and just slightly spastic, but it's more mature than it used to be and maybe something will happen and maybe it won't, but they're lovely together the way they are. And I adored, so much, the ending and what it might or might not be saying. ♥ (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Not Quite Perfect by nescione - *squeaks happily* Sakura/Lee fic! The kind that's cute and adorable and so sweet, but still has that underlying bittersweetness that permeates all of the Naruto series. I adored this fic because it was so... their relationship isn't perfect, but it's better for that, because perfect isn't what she wants anymore and this is a good start. Plus, god, they're so adorable. *shimmers* (Sakura/Lee.)
- Naruto - This is Love by tin - I honestly missed that tin had written SakuLee fic! *facepalm* This is the kind of thing that I usually pounce on, so I have no idea how I missed it. Anyway! I adored this story, it was a little different from what I usually read with this pairing, but I found that it was really interesting and... I guess I'm not sure if it made me squee or slightly bittersweet. Or possibly both, I've certainly developed a taste for not-quite-perfect-but-still-functional relationships with this series lately. There's love, but it's not perfect, it's not exactly what Lee wants, but it makes Sakura happy and it still seems real. But, whatever else I feel about it, it was still tin's usual lovely writing in that sense that she creates an atmosphere that's just so... effective at what she's trying to accomplish. Sakura's desires here struck me particularily hard, what she gets from Lee, how he makes her feel, the ending really says so much about her here. And what I wouldn't give for tin's ability to weave these genuinely clever details into the background like she does here. (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Secondary Dreams by Sadie DragonFire - [Link snagged from headiscavingin. :D] I admit, when I first started this fic, I was a little worried that it would turn out to be a little... well, routine, that it wouldn't have the right spark of life to it. Don't get me wrong, it's cute and solidly in character and I really liked the way Lee looked at Sakura, the way they interacted. But then I got to the final third of the fic and just... oh. Yes. That's my LeeSaku right there. Because Lee isn't empty-headed by any means and because Sakura isn't just an empty-template of a cute girl, they're them when she tells him about her visit to Sasuke. Things like that melt my heart and make me fall even harder for these two, honestly. (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - The Day by Vee-sempai - Of course, he knows that I love somebody too. I'm still not too sure what Sasuke-kun thinks of him... when I said the name, he just arched an eyebrow and sighed like he does when he's resigned to the worst-possible scenario. Then he wished me the best of luck and said he hoped the two of us never have babies. I dunno. There's just something about that line that got me, the way Sakura and Sasuke's friendship had changed from her crush to actually being friends and that she's moved on to someone else (and knowing me and that I'm rec'ing it, it's obvious who it is, of course)... and that now I totally wish they did have babies, because that would be the BEST THING EVER. And I liked this story for the way it was just the right amount of wistful and just the right amount of growing up and just the right amount of looking towards the future. It made me happy and it was adorable and I really quite like this Sakura. ♥ (Sakura/Lee.)
- Naruto - Birthday Drinks by Sadie DragonFire - OMG. LeeSaku offspring silliness! I swear, they're about the only pairing I actually want to read fic about them having kids because Lee would be the greatest daddy ever and those kids would be entertaining as all hell. Plus, it was very amusing to see a glimpse of a silly future for Lee and Sakura, still so sparkling and Lee's perspective from the fic (well, and Neji's aside ♥) were just... fun to read. It's always fun to see through Lee's eyes, that Sakura is so beautiful and wonderful, even when she's pissed and he's promising any great effort to beg for her forgiveness. *shimmers* (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Ripple Effect by rayemars - Argh! I had about three paragraphs of a review written out for this fic and somewhere along the line, when porting my list of recs back and forth between this computer and the laptop, I seem to have erased or lost them! Which means I have to start all over again, oy. *rolls up sleeves* Okay. I am of mixed feelings when it comes to this fic. There are things that the author did that are pretty awesome. There are things that the author did that distract the hell out of me. The fic is good, it achieves far more than it doesn't achieve, which sort of makes the flaws stand out more to me. For one thing, the -chan usage in the fic is massively distracting to me, with pretty much every dramatic scene in the story, I can rarely fully let myself be immersed because I'm constantly being jarred by Sakura calling her friends Ino-chan or Hinata-chan or Anko-chan when they should have either long outgrown the -chan honorific or would never have used it at all. I also am not sure how onboard I am with the whole "Naruto's used too much of the Kyuubi's chakra and it's taking over him, so he's not allowed to use it anymore and now Sakura is hatching a plan to fix him and take the chakra out." idea. Just... it's not badly done, but I'm not sure I want to read about a Naruto without Kyuubi's role in his life.
On the other hand, this fic does so many things right. The characterization is solid, the dialogue sparkles, and it has some of my favorite dynamics very present and well-done. Sasuke and Naruto's relationship is done extremely well here, which comes out through the dialogue (the way they snark and snarl at each other really fits with the characters I know, it's actually interesting to me and keeps me entertained when I'm not really that SasuNaru focused as a Naruto fangirl) and in the way things aren't easy for either of them and the way they spar against each other. They fight, Naruto doesn't really let Sasuke forget that he was a dumbass to leave Konoha for Orochimaru, but neither does he drag it around their relationship constantly. Naruto is Naruto here. And Sasuke's betrayal of the village isn't forgotten, it's hard to be back when everyone looks at him with contempt now (and yet it's not over the line, it feels like this is how it would go if Sasuke came back), nor are the flashbacks of some of the things he endured/did under Orochimaru's care softened. Sasuke participated in some really awful things.
The other thing that totally sent me over the moon was the relationship between Lee and Sakura, which also just sparkled. They're not completely wrapped up in each other, but they do love each other very much and their feelings for each other don't waver, not even in the face of everything Sakura is going to go through with Sasuke back in the village and Naruto going through some bad stuff (given that he keeps slipping and using the Kyuubi's chakra at times). They're fun here and I always sit up a little straighter and beam whenever they have a scene together, because it's not all schmoopy love and smoochy faces, but it's still Lee and Sakura. I love Lee's characterization, honestly, because he's a wonderful blend of Lee and being more mature that a lot of people would expect of him. The whole relationship is wonderfully mature and I would rec this fic just for that.
Which brings me to the final point, I think, the other thing that I really appreciate about this story. For all that I'm wary of where the story is going with Naruto, it's a personal quirk, not one with the story, because it's actually doing it very, very well. The author also has a destination in mind for her story and each scene moves it forward a little and doesn't forget the things it needs to remember. What I mean by that is that Orochimaru isn't forgotten when Sasuke escapes, it isn't forgotten that Konoha is a village full of ninja on the brink of war again. There's plot here and it's the kind that feels like a natural extention of where the storyline might be going rather than throwing in an entirely new plot element. Which doesn't seem like it's all that interesting, but I don't find a lot of fics like that, honestly, that don't just create an entirely new plot, but instead work with what the series has given the readers and still makes it interesting and feeling like it could slide into the Naruto universe itself.
So, overall, I do have reservations about this story, I think the writing could be tightened up in a lot of places, a few things reworked, but all the necessary things are there and very strong. The author had me reading SasuNaru or Sasuke/Naruto/Sakura interaction scenes and not losing my interesting, which is rare. The author has a real flair for the sparkle of a fic, that certain element that makes it snap, rather than making my eyes glaze over with boredom. The LeeSaku relationship is fabulous and I would rec it just for that. And, hell, the author got me to read fifteen chapters (where I stopped when I wrote this rec) of a REALLY LONG fic and I have no trouble bailing on a fic that isn't working for me. Whatever reservations I have, I still think this is one of the more interesting fics in the fandom, period. (Romance isn't really the point/focus. It's gen more than anything. The SasuNaru isn't official, but there's enough interaction and if you squint and tilt your head and want to see it as romance... it's enough that I'll count it. LeeSaku is definitely romantic, though.)
- Naruto - Kiss That Frog by idiosyn - For some reason, I keep thinking it should be odd that the approach this fic uses, half fairytale, half quotes from the manga, but that it works so well... except that it's not odd, somehow it seems to fit these characters. It manages to be both sweet/cute and still with that bit of heart-tugging relationship between the characters, because it's not perfect and, yet, somehow it is. I just... eeeee, I melted over this fic! ♥ (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - line meme drabbles by Kelsey - I've already rec'd this post of Kelsey's for the HanaKimi shortfics, but I had to include the two Naruto ones I requested of her for two reasons. ONE. LEE READING SAKURA POETRY. It was brilliantly funny and I think I wheezed with laughter the entire time. And, oh, my god, the ending. I squeed quite madly as well. TWO. KAKAIRU AND A BOOK OF PORNOGRAPHIC HAIKUS. *cracks up* Man, I love Kelsey's brain so much. (Lee/Sakura, hints of Kakashi/Iruka.)
- Naruto - Carpe Diem by Kelsey - Oh. Oh, Lee. I've been so looking forward to Kelsey writing LeeSaku fic because I adore her writing and I know how much she likes them and that can shine through in an author's fic, when they truely adore a pairing. Which is so apparent in their scenes together, how much she loves Lee (and how much she makes me love Lee), with how much she likes Sakura (and makes me like Sakura, too), with how adorable and fun they are together when they do something so simple as go shopping. Her Lee voice is wonderful, he's so upbeat, energetic, and enthusiastic without being a chariacture of himself that it just makes the fic, it keeps it from being spastic crack. And then the ending... which I want to rail against, because I want everything perfect and happy and shiny for the pairing, but the ending also just utterly makes this story, because she didn't pull her punch at the last minute, because the ending made it fit better with the actual series, and it was really sort of unavoidable, given the hints scattered through the fic up until then. But it was still lovely and wasn't god-awful depressing and it was just right. (Lee/Sakura.)
- Naruto - Need by link no miko - You know, I could swear I'd rec'd this fic before... or at least read it because it seemed familiar, but I couldn't find it in my recs list, so here goes anyway. This was... it's bittersweet but not in a depressing sort of way, which is how I tend to view the Naruto series in general. And Lee is just... I love Lee. I love that he's not just comedic relief, that he understands more than a lot of people would give him credit for, but he still remains enthusiastic and strong in his beliefs. This fic was... something I could see working with the series itself, the way Sakura isn't perfect and how Lee begins to see how much more to her there is than he first saw and the way... even if it's not directly dealt with in the fic, the way it's implied and touched on how her feelings for Sasuke... it's not precisely that she moves past them or they fade, but that maybe they will someday and Lee holds her for that one moment when she needs it and there's a connection there. And then there's a future for them and it's good and it's... what I want for them someday. Because I love those two crazy kids together. (Lee/Sakura, one-sided Sasuke/Sakura.)