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- Naruto - Weak by Akauzu-kun - (Note: SPOILERS for the Zabuza-Haku arc in the series.) This story... brings out everything that made me want to cry for Haku (and Zabuza), it's such a beautifully written story, so bittersweet, so perfectly, beautifully in character. The last line of the story did me in the first time I read this, broke my heart for the characters and made me want to cry all over again. And not in a manipulative way--as I intensely dislike fics that feel manipulative--but... gahhh, just go read. This fic is wonderful. (Some light Zabuza+Haku.)

- Naruto - All Those Little Things by Lynnxlady - So, I'm still at the point in the manga where Tsunade hasn't been around that much, she's just come back to Konoha (at least as of the time I write this rec, I'm still getting to the rest of it! XD) and I just... I remember seeing a fanart or two of Jiraiya/Tsunade and being intrigued by the idea 'cause I liked Jiraiya a whole lot at the time. Thinking that I'd never be able to find a story that matched up with my hopes for the characters, I clicked on this one anyway 'cause it promised me smut. And just... holy shit, this is perfect for what I wanted. The writing is incredibly sharp and good, just beautifully written, and the characterization is so perfect that my teeth ached from it. They're not in smooshy love, but they're not just using each other, either, and the story never had to comment on that, really, you just GOT what kind of relationship they had from Tsunade's feelings. And, oh, it was gorgeous that she didn't pull her punches, that he didn't pull his, that they drank and swore and were fighters/ninjas, that there weren't any easy answers, but they didn't dwell on things, either. She didn't forget the people she'd loved before, but neither was the attraction to Jiraiya about them, it stood on its own. And the attraction/sex? Gorgeous. Just... wah, GOOD HETSMUT for a pairing that I suspect I will now be forever in love with. I could not have asked for anything more than what this fic gave me. LOVELOVELOVE. (Jiraiya/Tsunade, graphic content.)

- 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 - Waking by lynnxlady - I am usually very, very wary of any InoSaku fics, because the way Sakura behaved in their friendship often makes me irritated and it'd be hard to get past that in a fic pairing them up, but... lynnxlady writes such smooth writing, has these beautiful little flashes of imagery embedded into her writing, captures that gorgeous feel of emotion and the space between dreaming and awake, the way Ino's thoughts and views of Sakura change between Then and Now, the way she grows up, the way things are different now, if still kind of the same. Almost worth reading more for the Ino characterization than the InoSaku, but both are absolutely lovely and just a hint of hotness that works so very well. (Ino/Sakura.)

- Naruto - Red by ashchan - Red was the color of not only the dress she wore that night; but the start of the new romance in their own little world. Red was their color. I don't read much Asuma/Kurenai, despite really liking them, but I was going through the 30 Kisses comm and happened to stop and read this one. The writing is lovely, a thoughtful, smooth little piece about the progression of the relationship between them, from two ninjas of Konoha to friends to something more. The characters are so very human, but still themselves, not stepping over the Wangst Line. The color red plays a very nice theme in the story, but it, too, doesn't go too far, just winds gently through it, coloring it, but not taking over. Very nice and subtle, much like the couple themselves. (Asuma/Kurenai.)

- Naruto - Unhealthy Obsession by Haruno - So, I saw the pairing of this fic (Iruka/Anko) and was intrigued, hoping to find something halfway decent that may have fit the characters at least a little bit. Instead, what I got was something that was surprisingly insightful for both characters, Iruka's genuineness and forgiving nature, Anko's lack of innocence for a long time, but nothing that was so harsh or awful, it was almost... something almost sweet without being fluffy. Okay, that's a terrible description, but... well, this is what utterly won me over: She's always gotten what she wanted before - Her innocence had been lost long before she'd ever made chuunin. Her hand roamed to her neck and she winced at the memories. The village, they'd never forgiven her. He would, though, that was how he was. Surprisingly lovely Iruka/Anko, I'd love to see more from this author. (Iruka/Anko.)

- Naruto - Kisses and Kettles by Kit Spooner - I recently caught up with the Naruto manga and some of the recent chapters have left me absolutely pining for NaruSaku fic because they've been so freaking adorable/fun in the manga lately. Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, LeeSaku OTP, blah, blah, blah, I wanted NaruSaku just for a little while and this story was such fun. From someone sending Naruto flowers to the way he irritates her with asking what the hell to do with them to the way she snaps, put them in water, moron, and hangs up on him to the absolutely adorable ending, I just had fun with this one. I did quibble a little at the scene with Hinata, but it wasn't a very big quibble and I actually really adored the author's take on both characters--Naruto was Naruto and Sakura was suitably kick-ass. >D (Naruto/Sakura.)

- 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 - Special Relationships by Tammaiya - Okay, so, it was late, Tammaiya was reading the Naruto manga, getting to some of the more NejiNaru-friendly scenes and we started talking and bemoaning that both of us were more SasuNaru fans, but there was something that wouldn't quite disperse about the idea of NejiNaru, especially since we love Neji to squishy, squishy little pieces and were so, so amused at the idea of what would happen if Hinata found out. It, of course, immediately turned to crack and Tammaiya wrote this genius fic. GENIUS, I tell you. It's the kind where there's a joke every five lines that absolutely had me rolling around on the floor and clutching my sides with the kind of laughter that was so high-pitched only dogs could hear it. And, yet, it never felt crowded for everything that she managed to pack into it, it was just this steady stream of OMG FUNNY. It's also really clever funny--as the fic requires that there be a base misunderstanding, but it's the kind that could happen, not the kind that indicates the cast doesn't have half a brain to share between them, instead it was beautifully worded to make the crack story premise work. But, hell, even that's not the end of the reasons to read the fic--she manages to put in little details for this wide variety of characters that make them come alive. Hinata is the sweetest manga girl just about ever and I could not stop wanting to hug her the entire way. Kurenai was just genius, TenTen was even more genius, Iruka made me want to spaz and hug him so much, Kakashi was his usually SADISTIC FREAK self that had me cracking up, Neji was just absolutely brilliant, and Sasuke and Naruto were... perfect. I will not spoil any more of it than that, just... GO READ. SO FUNNY. Also, the ending is hilarious. (NejiNaru, SasuNaru, a few other pairings references or hinted at.)

- 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 - Get With the Times by chibirisuchan - There's just something about batshit Naruto crack that makes me laugh. So much. Especially being as steeped in the j-fanart/j-doujin/j-h-games with the series as I am, there's just something about the idea of Kakashi trying to convince the others that playing h-games is a good way to develop skills. And then the screeching rage that comes with that. ....heeheeheee. *cracks up some more* (....yaoi. Lots of yaoi.)

- 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 - Delicate by sna - [Note: Spoilers for the Kakashi Gaiden.] There is something about the idea of Kakashi/Rin that appeals to me, even if I can't say why. I just... I like the idea of Kakashi and someone more gentle and warm to balance out his world-weary, tired life, so the way this was written really sort of appealed to me. It wasn't fluffy, exactly, but there was a certain chemistry there, a certain connection/bond between these two teammates, a certain... I guess it was a certain yearning I felt, that maybe Kakashi could have something more positive in his life. It was the understanding present, right from the moment Rin talked to the plant in Kakashi's apartment, I knew I would kind of like these two together. The writing was lovely and the ending was lovely, hitting the notes it was trying to achieve. Surprisingly good story about a pairing I was a little wary of. (Kakashi/Rin.)

- 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 - Death and Taxes by Hoshiki - I will grant ahead of time that you likely have to be in the mood for crack to read this fic, but... yeah, I've got a big ol' soft spot for KakaIru vs GaiIru stories. And I was enjoying this story, it was cute and played up the crack and it was funny and the author has a way with a turn of phrase, but the part where I was totally won over? Besides Kakashi and Gai spying on Iruka who casually knocks them both over into a nearby pond, that is. When Iruka is cornered and they force him to choose a duelling method and... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that TOTALLY made me laugh my ass off because the author's sense of timing was perfect for that scene. It's totally cracked out after that, but that part alone would have been worth the price of admission. And, okay, I liked the ending here, too. XD (Kakashi/Iruka, Gai/Iruka.)

- 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.)

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