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- X - An Ordinary Man by Kerianne Gaaahhh!!! Kerianne sucks. Utterly and completely sucks. *fume* She made me like a SeiichirouxKaren fic! *grrr* This frustrates me because part of the reason I like Seiichirou so much in the first place is that he's a sweetly devoted family man and not part of the whole soap-opera-esque thing of X's. (Plus, I've kinda got this weird thing for Yuuto/Karen.... *sigh* I know I'm weird.) But... but... but I like 'An Ordinary Man'. It was beautifully written, having a sort of graceful style to it that's just good writing, but without being really obvious that the writer is trying to be 'good'. *sigh* I can't believe I wanted more to happen than what did. GAH! Stupid Kerianne. *sulksulksulk* (Seiichirou/Karen.)

- X/Tokyo Babylon - Broken Wings by Kerianne - Hrmmm. Well, it's not like there's ever any suspense about whether or not I liked a fic--if it's up here, I liked it. However... I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the characterizations of Keri's characters, especially Fuuma and to a lesser degree, Seishirou (sort of). I don't agree that Fumma is a typical villain, the kind that gets off on causing pain in the innocent and chaos in general. Buuuuu~t, that's a matter of opinion, ne? What I like about Keri's work is that she's such a good writer and she writes a wonderful Karen (which isn't surprising, ne? ^_~), and she writes stories that haven't been done to death. I liked that Broken Wings wasn't just focused on any one or two characters, but included many different ones, and wove the plot all together. And I really, really want more of this story! *wistful sigh* I wish there were more writers like Keri out there. (A little bit Seishirou+Subaru, Aoki+Karen, and SorataxArashi.)

- X - Vagaries of Flame by Rae - I admit, I have strong opinions on the Aoki/Karen relationship and where I do/don't want to see it go, and Rae's writing here just brings out the trouble I have sticking to those opinions, because... they would be so wonderful together. I love the way Aoki sees her, the way he compares her to her element, the way he sees the different sides of her, and the way he feels about the sum of her. It's quiet and poignant and does such wonderful justice to both characters. (Mild Aoki+Karen.)

- X - Superstar by derlirum - I was very, very wary of clicking onto this link, because I rarely find Aoki/Karen fics that are well-done or don't just ignore that he genuinely loves his wife and that, by all indications, it's a wonderful relationship. But this... oh, this was subtle, deft, and poignant, just a little bit hurtful, but not pitying of Karen's job or pining on either of their part. The imagery is just gorgeous, right from the beginning with the client to the placard that Aoki's gaze happens to travel across to the short conversation before they leave together. Just the exact right touch a story like this needs and did I mention that I love, love that Aoki never pities her here? (Aoki and Karen, but more gen than anything.)

- X - Gardenia by derlirum - With such a short story, with such lovely, almost aching imagery, this author so amazingly captures the Aoki&Karen dynamic that it takes my breath away. It nearly makes me forget how much I love Aoki with his wife because these two are just so... breath-taking and heart-tugging in their own way. A quiet moment in a church before confession and the discussion of scents shouldn't be able to pack as much impact as this story has, but, oh, it does and it's quietly heart-rending for it. (Aoki/Karen, but closer to gen than anything.)

- X - The Sound of Waves by derlirum - Oh, this was just... lovely. It was the first two sentences of this fic that immediately grabbed me, because they just said everything about these two wonderful characters: She meets him, unexpectedly, on the pedestrian bridge leading into Ueno. She hesitates, wonders whether she should greet him. But he immediately steps up to her, bows and shakes her hand, asks if she is well. The writing of this piece was gorgeous, the characterization amazing, even as they're simply standing on a bridge and listening to the sound of the traffic as it goes by underneath. Absolutely breathtaking in how much it fits these characters. (Aoki and Karen, but more gen than anything.)

- X - Jolt by derlirum - Again, another absolutely lovely piece with Aoki and Karen, full of these little touches that say so much about their relationship, yet they're so subtle that if you weren't watching, you'd probably have never seen them. It was the way he said she must be cold or the way he held her arm in a perfectly gentlemanly way or the way she presses against that spot gently and just... all that that says about them without saying it. Beautiful and gentle and absolutely absolutely the way Aoki and Karen should be done. I could read pages and pages of them like this. (Aoki and Karen, but more gen than anything.)

- X - Red by derlirum - She comes to him, dressed in a coat the color of flame. She takes her station next to him, fronting the rink where people skate past them. One of the things that first caught my attention was that the author didn't go for the obvious "red" theme with Aoki and Karen, instead going for something that fit with the characters so much better and the imagery is just beautiful. And the characterization just... it's brilliant and perfect. (Aoki and Karen.)

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