- X/Tokyo Babylon - ANNEX: Warmth by Ayako - The only problem I had with this story is that it felt a bit... almost disjointed, like it was part of a larger story, that there were things going on that I wasn't fully aware of. I'm not sure if that was intended, if it is a sidestory to another fic (I read a hardcopy of it), or if it was just written that way. Beyond that... I adored this story, because it captured the elegance (I used that word a lot, because I can't think of a better one ^_^;; ) of the characters, and I love that it wasn't overly melodramatic. As much as I love drama, sometimes the most powerful stories are the quiet little moment ones. While the story had some POV problems (it's a pet peeve of mine when authors shift a POV in mid-scene -_-), it wasn't too distracting, and I thought the author nailed what I love about S&S interaction. They're cleary attracted to each other (I don't mean that so much in an "I want to fuck you" sort of way, but... like they can't quite stay away from each other.), and I cannot express enough joy at Subaru's characterization. I'm so glad I decided to read this one. *hearts* (Seishirou+Subaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Beautiful Fate by Feros - I know I've read this one before, but I can't remember writing a rec for it, so if I rec it twice... oops. ^_^; I loved the style of this one, it felt very fitting with the way I think Seishirou would think (though, it was a bit... what I think of as stacatto. Kind of like "choppy" notes, rather than one flowing into the next... but I'm being very picky there) and what was very likely going through his head during X16. A nice, short Seishirous character pieces. (X16. You should know the drill by now.)
- 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.)
- Tokyo Babylon - Towards the Ground by Meimi - This is the second TB/X fic I read since I took my long hiatus, so it was probably just me that took awhile to get into the feel of this fic. But about halfway through, this story had completely hooked me and I couldn't put it down--Hokuto is such a beautiful character (on the inside--pretty much every CLAMP character is beautiful on the outside ^_~) and this story shows her perfectly. Her love and sacrifice for her brother tug at my heartstrings every time. (Li'l bit SeishirouxSubaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon/X - Winter Nights Gone By by Blue Sakura - Normally, I'm not that great a fan of Setsuka. I like her, but she doesn't capture my imagination like other characters do, so I wasn't expecting to like this fic quite as much as I did. Setsuka's delicate elegance and beauty and insanity and Seishirou's tranquility (that's the best way I can think to describe the way he looks in his side story, too) come through beautifully, and this is a gorgeous telling of the fate the Sakurazukamori are meant to follow--being killed by the one they love most. (Tiny, tiny bit of SeishirouxSubaru.)
- X - Starlovers by Katalyst - Oh, this is what I missed, this is the kind of X fic that I crave. (And this deserves better than a fawning fangirl review, but that's what I'm good at, so.... ^_~) So elegant and beautiful and heartbreaking and subtle and gorgeous. Seishirou's reason for being at Subaru's apartment was wonderful and it was a reason/explanation that could I not only buy, but it made sense to me--I really believe that would be something Seishirou would do.
With a lot of series, I like a lot of different styles of writing, but when it comes to X, I tend to be very picky, I tend to prefer writing that's truly lovely and this definitely fit that description. The characters were perfect--Seishirou was sleek, charming, and dangerous; Subaru was heartbreakingly lovely and the author portrayed his duality of anger and love fantastically and even gave him a spine. He knew what he wanted and went after it and this is the Subaru I adore. Just... exactly what I needed. (SeishirouxSubaru, li'l bit graphic content, but no more than an R-rating, I would say.)
- X - After the Fact by AlseGold - (Note: I'm linking to the CLAMPesque board because the majority of the story isn't up on FFNET and I don't know if the author has a homepage. Just do a search for the fic and you should be able to find the parts you need. ^_^v) This was the first multi-part X fic I'd read in quite awhile, and I was very surprised to find myself as engrossed in it as I was, which I chalk up to the author's writing charm. The writing has this particular... well, I call it "charm" (the good kind, mind), but I also often refer to it as "readability". It's when the author's style pulls you right into the story and you focus in on what the plot is doing, making you forget all about the way the words are strung together, whether good or bad. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good turn of phrase, that can often make a fic one of my absolute favorites, but some stories really don't call for super-fancy turns of phrase; instead, they require the reader's attention to be drawn to the storyline and I thought this story accomplished that nicely.)
I'm also terribly impressed at the way the future timeline (after the characters are reincarnated) is both being integrated with the characters' past lives and is actually interesting. It's just... captured my attention in way I didn't necessarily think it would at first. The story also seems to be taking its time to tell the story properly, not shoving too much into a smaller fic that glosses over too many details--which also has the added bonus of really giving the reader a feel for the current incarnations of the characters. Which is really important in a story like this, because those current incarnations are dueling with the past incarnations (not literally, you know what I mean >_>; ), causing conflict in the characters' lives and I felt pulled into that. (SeishirouxSubaru, FuumaxKamui.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Saranagi by Katalyst - This is one of those rare Seishirou POV stories that I actually really, really like and find myself agreeing with. It's an interesting style to write in as well, short snippets of Seishirou's thoughts interspersed with quotes from Tokyo Babylon (and song lyrics, but to be honest, I skip over the lyrics in every single sonfic I read, I barely even notice them anymore) and it combines into a really, really cool little fic. (Mild SeishirouxSubaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon/X - Dance Under a Dark Moon by Xandra and Aishuu - You know, I'm having the hardest time getting this rec started. Because normally when I don't necessarily agree with the direction an author took, I have my reasons and I tend to, you know, like all people with opinions everywhere, think that I'm right. But Dance Under a Dark Moon has given me pause because I'm not sure if it's just that I disagreed with a few things that happened or if I truly thought they could be done better. (*chews lip* And I can't say in this rec what they were because I don't want to spoil the story.) So... um... I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. I guess, I just had a few reservations about the characterizations--but I would also like to point out that I am an anal-retentive FREAK when it comes to SxS characterizations. *grin* And this story is definitely one I would definitely say is one of the better characterizations out there. I loved that Subaru had this big tangle of emotions towards Seishirou that he had the worst time sorting out and that Seishirou being Seishirou just exasperated the situation.
Xandra and Aishuu's writing is very solid, very readable, making this story just sail right along, combining just enough quips so that the writing is clever, but not too much, as these characters aren't that pithy. Their elegance comes through nicely and I absolutely, purely enjoyed the Tokyo Babylon part of the story. The night of Subaru's 17th birthday was so very much fun and captured that innocent, sweet, fun Tokyo Babylon atmosphere. The later sex scene was niiiii~ce and there were moments that I just loved--when Subaru expressed some polite doubt, I just about melted from the sheer adorableness of that. XD XD XD (SeishirouxSubaru, graphic content.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Aite by Jessi Albano - I will admit right off the bat that there were a few moments when I wanted to pause and tilt my head at the characterization in this story, maybe melodramatically put a hand to my forehead and moan woefully just a little. ^_~ (Okay, I'll stop that now.) Seishirou's characterization is a little on the... "evil psychopath" side of things that permeates some corners of the fandom, but only a little. The reason I'm only mentioning that is because I'm hyper-sensitive about these characters. Eheh. ^_^;;
However, I am still more than happy to rec this story because there are a lot of gorgeous little lines in the story, Subaru's characterization is a wonderful, wonderful blend between attraction to and anger at Seishirou, and Seishirou is dark, smooth, dangerous, elegant, and charming. The writing is lovely, it flows so very well, keeping that elegant touch of what I like so much about TBX. And the sex scene is just... fantastic. Definitely one of my favorites for these two. I really, really liked this story, so don't let my mild criticism fool you, ne? It's more about personal preference than actual criticism anyway. (Meaning, if you fall on that side of the characterization, you'll probably enjoy it even more than I did.)(I'll end this rec babbling now, really.) (SeishirouxSubaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Decieve the Senses by Rae - I freely admit that I am incredibly fussy about the Seishirou I like/will read, because, well, he's likely my favorite X character. (Subaru and Aoki-san have also captured my heart, but I'm just in utter love with the drop-dead gorgeous Sakurazukamori.) But Rae... oh, she writes the Seishirou I know and love, not pulling back from who he is as a character, yet not making him outright evil. He is subtle and elegant and... just... just... GAH! It makes me crazy (and incoherent, apparently >_>) with how much I love this Seishirou. (SeishirouxSubaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon/X - Stained With Red by Rae - It would be criminal- almost as criminal as the act he has just committed- not to appreciate it. In fact, to the mind of the Sakurazukamori, it would be more so- he is above and beyond the law, his calling gives him that, but there is no excuse for not appreciating beauty. It's those little bits of beauty and elegance and ways of thinking just like this that make me fall in love with the TBX characters. Rae doesn't flinch away from the darker sides of these characters, the sharp edges, the darker sides to them, if I may be so cliche for a moment, but, at the same time, shows how hauntingly beautiful their interaction can be. I just... these are the characters I fell in love with. Plus, the style really worked for me, the different moments in the characters' lives, showing the bits and pieces of the times, yet retaining a nice, soft flowing feeling to the ficlets. (SeishirouxSubaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon - A Day in the Life by Trin - It took me awhile to finish this story because my Inner TBX Fangirl has been on a loooong vacation and I've only been randomly reading short stories here and there, rather than delving into something longer like this story. I... just... damn. There really are no words to describe how much I love this story. Trin has captured the feel of Tokyo Babylon, from the characters to their interaction to even the way the words are put together. It's... sweet and cute and beautiful and tragic and elegant and fun and heartwarming and heartbreaking, all wrapped up in one single story, just like the manga itself.
The plot, as well, is, you know, actually existant, there's a story here beyond just the character stuff, yet it isn't ALL about the plot, the two are woven together, each making the other more fully-realized and wonderful. The plot itself is one of those ideas that people often toss around but almost no one does because it'd be so much damn work to write it and do it right, but Trin really does the idea justice.
Not only that, but there are a thousand little details in the writing, from the various spells to the way magic and spirits work to the mentions of various symbols to cultural references to even the people Subaru is called up by. The characterizations are marvelous as well, truly Tokyo Babylon, and not just "the story that came before X". Subaru was his sweet, adorable self, Hokuto bubbly and cheerful and just so much fun, and then Seishirou... oh, how very much I loved Seishirou. Trin didn't back off from the Sakurazukamori side of him, yet neither was he completely evil. Seishirou was just... Seishirou. He wouldn't let anything come to harm Subaru in that year of the bet, and I really adored the way that came into play at the end of the story. There were also small seeds sown for the future that was to come, for the way the characters were changing, but nothing too overt, more subtle than anything. Just... everything I could ask for in a fic. (Some SeishirouxSubaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Seishirou and the Great Feed Subaru Caper by Evil Asian Genisu - Why, yes, I do wish to go through and rec each and every one of EAG's fics. ^_~ She's labelled this fic as a "spam fic" and while it is humorous, I agree with Di-chan (*huggles the Di-chan for cheering me up with fic*) that Seishirou is still beautifully in character. Just... this is the Seishirou I fell in love with. And, oh, this is the Subaru I fell in love with, too. He still eats the food Seishirou shoves at him, still does what Seishirou wants him to do, but has his spine and is just so... Subaru. *_* Her writing is wonderful, full of all the right timing needed for a fic like this to get across the clever humor, to make it a treat to actually read and... yeah, okay I'm going to shut up before I fangirl too much more here. >_> (Seishirou+Subaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Wednesday Night by Evil Asian Genius - As anyone who listens to me or pays too much attention to my changing obsessions knows that X has fallen out of favor with me lately, and large part of that is due to how I've been having trouble finding fics that really capture the characters, their subtlties and layers, their elegance, their balance between love and hate, between selfishness and obsession/posession. But I was talking to Mura this morning and it was a wonderful discussion and then I was babbling at Di-chan later and she recommended this fic. I admit, I was skeptical but I figured what the hell, it was pretty short, so I'd give it a shot. And just.... I could cry with how much I've missed these characters. Seishirou and Subaru will always have a little piece of my heart and this is the kind of fic that just sucks me back into all of that and makes me happy to do so. This is the kind of fic I could obsess over again.
Right from the beginning, several things grabbed my attention--the basic concept is a wonderful one, carried out with a sort of simplicity that somehow moves into being intricately complex and layered, and the imagery is gorgeous. The way the author describes Seishirou or Subaru moving through a crowd is gorgeous. And let me just say? Seishirou makes his way through the crowd, a fine mist of rain leaving tiny droplets of water in his hair, on his coat, beading on his sunglasses. That alone was enough to leave me *_*'ing for a long time after reading the fic, doing more for me than a lot of fics can do in pages. (Some Seishirou+Subaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon/X - Northern Light by Kelsey - ....oh. I just... just.... I read this story because I'd read Kelsey's Prince of Tennis fic and liked it a lot, so I meanered over to her TBX fic and read this one on a whim, expecting it to be a nice little SxS fic. I was not expecting... this. I did not see it coming until it was upon me and breaking my heart, because... just... I can't explain more than that. But it further broke my heart when I didn't think it could be any more broken after Rainbow Bridge. ;_; (Some SeishirouxSubaru.)
- Tokyo Babylon/X - Beneath the Tree! by Kelsey - Oh, how I adore oneshots like these. Ones that are just fun to read and make me giggle like crazy and sparkle over a re-emerging love of Seishirou and Subaru. Kelsey's writing is just perfect for a fic like this, it's sharp and readable, just spunky enough to make the humor work, but without being overly... BtVS. >_> Plus, I admit, I *___* over Seishirou when he's about to pounce on Subaru and there were a ton of little things for me to love about this fic. Was good to read. ^_____^ (A little bit Seishirou+Subaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - The Other Side of Destiny by Xandra and Mizu - Obviously, I haven't been reading much TBX fic lately, having gotten distracted by those JUMP series so badly, but I was talking with Xandra the other night and she mentioned SxS lemon and who I was I to resist the lemon? And that was what really impressed me about this fic--I adore a fic that not only takes its time with a sex scene, really does it justice, but has a purpose to the sex. Sex for sex's sake can be fun sometimes, but what I really like is when it offers insights into the characters and the dynamics of their relationship--Seishirou's dominance over Subaru, Subaru's struggle to not fall into that trap, to be strong against him, but wanting him so much at the same time, Seishirou's returned obsession with Subaru that Subaru may never realize... I love all those things and they were worked into this sex scene and guh was it niiiiice. Plus. Long sex scene. Becky happy fangirl goo now. (SeishirouxSubaru, graphic content.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - A Quiet Dinner by Megan - *hums~* I probably wouldn't have clicked on this story if it weren't written by Megan and if it hadn't been rather short (it's not quite 500 words IIRC), but I'm so very glad I did, because it's a gorgeous little SxS story about the way they interact and I can just see this being woven around/slid into the canon of X. It's one of those stories that depends on the author's talent to carry the premise off, it's a simple concept, Subaru and Seishirou have dinner together, but the way the author writes it... it's such a gorgeous little insightful piece that reminds me of exactly why I fell so hard for SxS in the first place. (Some very light Seishirou+Subaru.)
- X - A Lullabye by Kelsey - You know, just when I think I'm done with the X fandom, that it'll only ever be a fond memory from here on out, along will come a fic that is beautifully written and just... sparkles in both the writing and the characterization. This relationship (SxS) is one I am endlessly fascinated by, but at this point there have been so many stories that unless the writing is truly beautiful and clever, I feel like I've been there and done that. This, however, made me ache for the characters all over again, made me realize just how much I love them both and makes me weep that there aren't more authors like this. It's just a simple few moments, a short story from Seishirou's POV, and it's all the more poingnant for them. ;__; (SeishirouxSubaru.)
- X/Tokyo Babylon - Twilight Incarnadine by Xyn - It's been a long time since I've read X fic--I've tried several times, but nothing ever quite really dragged me back in. This fic, however, was just... it made me want to cry with how painfully beautiful it was. The writing is gorgeous, the style just flowery enough without being pretenious to really capture the feel of X. The characterizations were just so painfully them, the little touches of elegance and beauty to both characters, that I could cry happy tears even as my heart is breaking for the characters. This is an AU, but one I can so clearly see in my head, one I could really believe, and broke my heart because of that believability. Just... ow. Owwie in all the right ways. ;___; (Vaguely SeishirouxSubaru, but almost gen instead, character death warning.)
- X - Little Boy Lost By by elihice - Awww, this was so adorable and cute and just... fun! I really liked the author's sense of timing with the fic, the way the jokes might not have been as cute/funny if they were worded slightly differently, but the author pulled this off really well. There were several lines that just made me giggle aloud as I was reading--a lot of them are quotable, but better read in the fic itself, so I'm not going to quote. But go read. It's one of those stories that's sweet and generally happy, but without being completely OOC and saccharine about it. Which I love 'cause we need more happy-toned fics around the X fandom. *huffs!* (Some Sorashi and SeishirouxSubaru referenced/hinted at.)
- X - A Change in Weather by Kelsey - The thing that sticks out most in my mind after reading this story is the... wet feel I had on my own skin (in my mind's eye, that is), because Kelsey did such a lovely job setting the atmosphere with this piece. I could practically feel the moisture in the air as she wove her scene... not to mention that my heart breaks when S&S are in her hands, because she gets to the heart of what makes me feel for them. That attraction, that obsession, the hurt and pain lingering under the surface, the tragedy to them, yet they're still beautiful and you can't help but hang on to that last little bit of hope because they do need/care/want each other. Her Seishirou is gorgeous--elegant and lethal, not a typical bastard, but not fluffified, either. Her Subaru is gorgeous--aching and hurt, not wanting to fight anymore, but still posessing his spine. And the atmosphere in this piece? The sort of... I don't want to call it an impending sense of doom, but whatever it was that Rainbow Bridge had in the manga, this has, too, I think. Her writing really helps with that--it's pretty and elegant much like a CLAMP manga drawing and I just... picture the beautiful scene on the bridge. Plus, the last couple of lines? Cut right to me. *wibbles* (SeishirouxSubaru.)
- X - Moment of Truth by Kelsey - And Kelsey's other piece is another one of those stories that... does such a good job with Seishirou that sometimes I feel like I could cry with the relief that someone understands him, that they don't make him fluffy, but they don't make him a psychopath, either. Yes, yes, he's a bastard and incredibly deadly and he doesn't particularily care about much, but he's also shown signs of genuinely being affected by Subaru, that he wants certain things in life and smoothly strolls after them. Which is what I really liked about this story, the way Kelsey writes about Seishirou's mindset shows the reader why he acted the way he did, a little of how he thinks and why he chose his death the way he did in the series. Plus, again, the writing is the story that's full of beautiful (if rather awful when you stop to think about it for a second) imagery that a CLAMP story really kind of needs in it for a mood piece like this. (Or at least rather close to a mood piece.) And, again *g*, the last few lines? Cut straight at me. *wibbles more* (Some SeishirouxSubaru.)