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- Yami no Matsuei - I Hate You by qkslvr - This story idea/style is one of those that most authors can't quite seem to make work. There's nothing out and out wrong, it just doesn't quite flow, but I thought this story pulled it off. There were some very awww-worthy moments (and I mean that in the good way ^_^), and it was a nice little Hisoka-POV fic. (Little bit Tsuzuki+Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Sympathy for the Devil by Persephone Elysian - I probably wouldn't have read this story if Di-chan hadn't pointed it out to me and swooned over it, but I am so glad I did. This is... wow. Damn fine smut. But it's not just that, it's got amazing writing, insights into the charcters, terrific lines, such wonderful ICness, and takes its time with the concept to be so incredibly satisfying. Easily one of the best Yamimatsu NC-17 fics out there, and what impressed the hell out of me was that I tend to be kinda picky about sex scenes, and I didn't find anything to complain about in this one. My only complaint? It needs a sequel to have Hisoka and Tsuzuki's talk and to follow up on those Tatsumi/Watari vibes. Dammit. (Tsuzuki/SagadaliusxHisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Rest of Forever by Asidian - (Just a note: I'm rec'ing this story before the final chapter has been posted, because I'm impatient like that. ^_~) I've been thinking about this story for a bit, trying to be fair in any potential criticism I might have. Let me elaborate. I'm a MurakixHisoka fan. Despite how much I try not to be, I couldn't help but fall in love with how beautiful and tragic and awful and gorgeous they were. And if I were to have one criticism of this story, it's that I didn't feel the... tragic beauty of Muraki's relationship with Hisoka coming through.

However. This is where things get a bit tricky for me. Because every choice Asidian makes, I've found myself agreeing with. She writes all the characters very, very well, capturing their personalities, including Muraki and his... Muraki-ness. And given that the story is largely set from Hisoka's POV, there would be no reason for it to be anything but awful. So, I cannot argue with any of the character choices she's made, it's just that the MurakixHisoka fangirl in me is wailing for that... attraction the two of them have. Not even attraction in the typical meaning (Ie, "Ooh, he's pretty!" type of physical attraction.), but more how they often gravitate towards each other (which isn't quite how I wanted to say it, but I hope the meaning comes across).

And I don't mean for that to sound as critical as it does, because this story is very, very good and I'm enjoying it immensely! The Tsuzuki/Hisoka stuff is gorgeous and heart-warming and angsty in all the right places. Asidian's writing is lovely, capturing that Yamimatsu feel I burble so much about. And while it's not a huge epic, it's long enough to really give me that sense of satisfaction that I crave from fic. Really, one of the better Yamimatsu fics I've read lately. And I've mentioned the Hisoka is so cute when he's in pain, right? Just checking. ^_~ (TsuzukixHisoka, references to MurakixHisoka, non-con, and some mild graphic content.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Mating Habits of the Species Shinigami by Kouri Arashi - Well. Given my recent renewed interest in Yamimatsu and my constant deep and abiding love for TatsumixWatari, I could hardly pass this one by, now could I? ^_~ I really do adore 003 and it's a hell of a lot of fun to see the story set from her point of view. And, really, that's what I like so much about this story--how much fun it is. I think my favorite moment (so far) has to be in chapter three, Tsuzuki's reaction to stumbling into Watari's lab. That amused me so much. (TatsumixWatari, some with TsuzukixHisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - I'm Not Bitter by Lodestar - *melts* I admit, I wanted to cry while I was reading this fic... for all the right reasons. Lodestar's writing is lovely and powerful and subtle without being vague and managing to turn a storyline that might have been cliche in another author's hands, to be a perfect little Valentine's Day present. I love it when fics can do what this one did--show how much these characters hurt, make you hurt for them, but not in a manipulative way, and by the time the fic is over, you're actually (wanting to) cry because you're happy, because the story is so touching. (Mild Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Ichigo by Imbrii - Normally, I'm not wild about those eating-food-as-a-metaphor-for-sex/oral-sex stories, but Imbrii wrote such a wonderfully charming little fic here that I can't help but be won over. The writing is very readable and I *heart* the author's Tsuzuki. And the ending! Loved the ending. All in all, a nice read that makes me... happy. (Tsuzuki+Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Six Feet by lodestar - I look at this story and wonder to myself, how the hell did the author manage to write such a powerful story in such a short fic? There's got to be, like, some sort of fanfiction space-time vortex continuum in there or something. >:P Anyway, lovely, lovely fic that so perfectly captures the subtlties of Tsuzuki and Hisoka's personalities, makes me hurt for them, makes me happy for them, makes me feel warm and snuggly on the inside (God, did I just admit that out loud...? Now I must kick at least ten puppies before the damage to my cold, black little heart will be repaired.) and... just... just... *happy sigh* such good fic. (Li'l bit Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Exorcism of Demons by Akasha - Okay, I wasn't very far into this story, but then a particular line caught my attention, The odds of escaping such an experience unscathed were about the same as the odds of Tatsumi voluntarily granting someone a pay raise…if either event took place it would probably herald the coming of the apocalypse. and I just loved that so much. XD Okay, I want to be fair in this rec, so I will mention there are a few things I had problems with--the portrayal of the characters was a little off, like Hisoka calmly giving himself over to Muraki in order to keep everyone else safe. Muraki was also a little too obsessed with Hisoka (much as I would prefer that, he really drops everything else when Tsuzuki is around--though, I'll give a lot of points for the eventual reasoning for it, I could buy a case set on the idea of Muraki using Hisoka as a doll to silence his mother's voice in his head calling him her little doll), Tsuzuki just blurting out the truth about being a Shinigami, Tsuzuki not frying Muraki to a crisp as Muraki taunts him about what he's going to do to Hisoka, etc.

Okay, getting to the reason I'm rec'ing this fic... it has so many other things going for it that it was a good read. The writing is readable and enganging, and it has all these adorable little one/two-liners like the one quoted above. I could probably quote twenty different passages from this fic that made me giggle and are the type that I would use to draw my friends into reading this fic. (You know what I mean by that. ^_^) And the Tatsumi/Watari? Makes my heart melt with the cuteness.

There are also some really interesting character insights woven into the fic, my favorite being about Hisoka: This was one of the things he had discussed with SohRyu: for much of his life he had been a pawn in someone else's game, powerless and utterly dependent on the whims of others. During his stay in GenSou Kai, he had not been searching for power as much as he had subconsciously wanted independence; to break out of his mold and determine his own destiny. For the first time, even in such a small way, he felt that he had done so. Which was freaky in a way, because just a couple of weeks ago (long after this had been written, but well before I had read it) that was exactly what I came to realize about Hisoka while talking in a group chat.

Other random things.... Hisoka all but saw a pair of fox ears prick up on Muraki's head as his curiosity was piqued. Dude. That line had no right to work as well as it did. I love it. XD XD XD

Or: Sitting motionless by his partner's bedside for days on end had certainly not been a pleasant experience for Tsuzuki, but it had at least given him time to think. While he was by no means unintelligent, prolonged introspection was not a pass-time with which Tsuzuki was well acquainted. It had been his experience that when one delved too deeply into one's own psyche, it was quite likely that a miasma of unpleasant memories and unvanquished demons would arise to plague their helpless victim. It was an occupation his partner seemed entirely too prone to, no matter how hard he tried to dissuade Hisoka from following it. I. Loved. That.

Now, before I get any more carried away with this rec (I really am sorry, but it's these stories that I have all these things to say about them that cause me to go on practically endlessly....), there are things I thought could have been better with this story, but that's only because I do think this story had the potential to be great. As it is, I enjoyed reading this story immensely and I loved that it was a nice long, satisfying read. That doesn't happen often enough with Yamimatsu. (TsuzukixHisoka, TatsumixWatari, some graphic content.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The City of Lost Causes by Dorian Gray - You know, I was talking with Di-chan tonight and she recommended this fic to me and we eventually got to talking about what made us both love this fic (and the other one by Dorian Gray) is that she writes this amazing Tsuzuki. Tsuzuki is one of those characters who is very murky and difficult to pin down, he's not just a smiling face over a huge well of angst, he's not just a clueless, smiling idiot who's in chibi-inu form half of the time, and he's also not pathetic and broken. He can touch on all these things at many points in his life, but no single one--or even just a bouncing back and forth between them--really captures Tsuzuki. But this fic... Tsuzuki moves through all these emotions while watching over Hisoka, and it felt like the Tsuzuki that I'd fallen in love with. *_* The writing is gorgeous as well, and just... I sparkle over how much I love this Tsuzuki. *gushgushgush* (Some slight Tsuzuki+Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Traditions by Beeblebabe - Another fic that Di-chan suggested I checked out and I rather enjoyed it. I love this Tsuzuki--and one of my favorite parts in this story was: Hisoka tries to pull his leg away, but Tsuzuki hooks his ankle around it, to make it so they're touching more. The writing is smooth and nicely readable, the characters are just so... wonderfully themselves, and I found I didn't mind Hisoka-seme in this fic as much as I usually do, it worked better here than most other times I've seen it. And, hey, coming from me, that's practically a ringing endorsement. ^_~ (Kidding, kidding. ^_~) (HisokaxTsuzuki, some graphic content, about R-rated.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Ending Hours / Shadows of Ourselves / Walking Wounded by Amet - Sometimes I think I'm too picky with fics, but... well, hell, that's what a recs page is all about, isn't it? ^_~ So let me get the problems I had with this fic out of the way first--there are two things that kept me from loving this story with all of my heart. The first is the overwhelming Blair Sandburg-ness of Watari's character--I got the science geek vibe, but not enough of the good-hearted mad scientist vibe, you know? Second was that some of the paragraphs were so long and flowery that I had to keep stopping to back up and reread. But, then, I tend to lean a bit towards the minimalist side of the fence when it comes to prose. That long prose can also interfere with the point that the story is trying to make--when Watari made a verbal slip and Hisoka's feelings were hurt by it, it took me a minute to realize that anything had really changed. Though, things get moving really nicely once the characters start talking again.

That said, I really, really like these stories--in a time when I'm not reading much YnM fic, I'm actually interested in reading these stories all of the way through. I love the slow build the story is taking, doing everything justice, really getting you into the storyline and I love that Tatsumi and Watari have a healthy role in it. I love that there're hints of TatsumixWatari, too. XD The prose itself, while long, is very lovely, invoking the feel of Yami no Matsuei with the dark beauty of the descriptions. (....that sounds so cliche when I put it like that. >_>) The basic characterizations of the characters is solid--I find myself especially liking Hisoka and actually really believe the way he's reacting, the slightly lost feelings he's going through making him quiet and subdued for now, but on his way to the cranky little pretty boy we all know and love. ^_~

The story has some great lines in it, just enough humor to make me smile and sparkle at the fic, but not so much that it's not still a dramatic, serious story. The plot is solid and, as I mentioned, the author is taking her time with it, not dragging it out, but really building it up, and that's not something enough authors can do these days. So... very nice writing and it's so got that... sparkle that I need in fics to keep my attention. (TsuzukixHisoka, mild hints of Tatsumi+Watari.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Irristetible Force: Immovable Object by Laekin - I admit, there are a few things I had trouble with in this story. The random Japanese (especially "baka" when "idiot" would have done just as well, or "arigatou" when "thank you" would have been just fine, etc.) and the revolving nicknames (I was rather jarred when Tsuzuki called Watari "'Taka" or even Tatsumi being friendly enough, with someone he's known for twenty years, to call him "Yutaka"), but... that all flies out of the window when I read something like this: A mother/child dynamic was the closest thing to an Achilles heel that Tatsumi had. It defined everything about the man. Tatsumi's reserved nature, his almost fanatical obsession with money and providing for those in his care, his lamentable habit of wanting to mother those close to him, all of it stemmed from the dysfunctional relationship he'd had with his own mother. woven so beautifully, perfectly into the prose.

Laekin's characters sparkle, the way they interact and get on each other's nerves in the way only they can, the way it's good for them, that each of them can ruffle the other's feathers, when most people can't phase them at all. What drew me into the takes on the characters so quickly was that not only is the writing itself lovely and readable, not only do I highly approve of the characterizations, but the lines are clever. It's not just good characterization in terms of whether or not I think the characters would react the way they do, it's that they have that sparkle to them that's present in the original text itself. And, you know, it's about time that Tatsumi and Watari had a story about them that was this in-depth, rather than just being the background for a Tsuzuki/Hisoka fic. XD (Tatsumi+Watari, some TsuzukixHisoka hints.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Lie by Dorian Gray - Dorian Gray somehow manages to write these fics that just... hurt so very much, the kind that bring to life these awful, horrible little ideas that hurt so much because she does such an amazing job with them. After reading this fic, I want to cry, I want to shove it away, because it feels like it could happen, that it's so very easy for this to happen, that they'll hurt even more, when I just want them to finally be happy. And, yet, at the same time, that's what makes me love this fic, because it's so beautifully written and because it gets at me. ;_; (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - A Wing Short of Flying by kireira - This fic was recommended to me by a friend, saying it was an interesting little AU and looking at the summary/pairing possibilities, I decided to give it a shot. I do have such a weakness for anything with Muraki/Hisoka in it. And... this is a very interesting story the author is developing, an interesting, "What if...?" rearrangement of the timeline. The writing... is smooth and readable and really lends an air to the atmosphere, giving it a quality rather like the manga itself, and there are a lot of wonderful little details added into the story (but not so many that they detract from the storyline) and... it's just... interesting. The way the author has portrayed the characters, how Muraki effects them is well-done, you can see why Hisoka and Tsuzuki act the way they do, even after they spend a lot of time with each other, healing just a bit. I especially like the characterization of Muraki, the way you can feel his... intelligence and how adept he is at emotionally manipulating others, yet how mad he is, perfect for a story like this. ^_^v And... I admit... a part of me is curled up in a little ball and whining about how awful the author is being to the characters, how much she makes them hurt and would she just stop it already and let them be happy? ;_; ....but that's the reaction she's supposed to be getting from me, I suspect. XD (A little Muraki/Tsuzuki/Hisoka yaoi, but basically along the lines of the manga itself, a little disturbing content.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Karmic Ocean Dried Up by Rana Eros - Di-chan pointed this fic out to me and so of course I had to read it. And just... Jesus, after I finished reading this, I had that feeling in my chest that was like I was on the verge of literally being almost ready to cry, you know? That sort of sensation that's almost like tingling because the story was so sadly happy and gentle and sweet and lovely. (And I do NOT cry at fanfic, like, EVER.) The writing is absolutely gorgeous, full of these soft touches, this gorgeous atmosphere, these beautiful colors, and a sense of... peace that's achieved through the fantastic writing. And the end? I just... I feel almost like the wind has been knocked out of me. ;___; It made me want to cry, but it really was HAPPY. (Though, man, my heart twinged at the mentions of Tatsumi and Watari in here. *cries and seeks out other fic to make it better*) (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Leading a Double Life by link621 - This is one of those stories that... it should be hideously cliche and sappy and trite... and yet the author has enough talent to pull it off. And it's blatantly obvious what Hisoka is doing/what he's taken in right from the beginning and you know Tsuzuki should be smart enough to figure it out instead of thinking that Hisoka's taken a lover and yet... this story is the reason why people write this kind of fic, because it's the kind that makes you smile and you somehow buy it, because the author writes it with such a sense of FUN and light-hearted silliness and the characterizations are just perfect. I went along with Tsuzuki's crazed ramblings about who Hisoka might be seeing, I went along with Hisoka not picking up on Tsuzuki's crazed thoughts, I so went along with the wonderfully WAFFy ending when Tsuzuki finds out the truth and pretty much parks himself in Hisoka's life even more thoroughly as a result of the whole escapade. This fic... just made me feel good. (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Fade to Black [ part 01 - part 02 ] and Lies and Secrets [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 ] by Helene - Di-chan has been poking at me to read this story for awhile and I finally settled down to do so because she has the best taste when it comes to Yami no Matsuei fics, I think. And... what's so fantastic about this series is that it's solid. It's not just emotional/romantice angst or fangirl fluff, it really feels like a whole, solid storyline with cases and events, with details that are spread out across a storyline, rather than just a tiny little fic. There's a plot here. Not just any plot, either, not just a romantic machinations one, but one that deals with demons and spirits and old cases and old mysteries and the romance is on the side, if at all. The writer is also flat-out awesome in her ability to build a tense atmosphere--when Tatsumi and Watari are angrily at each other's throats and when they argue, there's a rather painful realism to it, I feel like I'm tensing up right along with the bystanders, it's that explosive a situation.

The fic is an AU, which initially made me a little reluctant to read it, but the writing is so smooth and polished, the opening scenes such good hooks to get me interested, that I wound up falling into the story practically immediately. Things are a little different in this universe, but they're done in such a way that you feel like you're collecting pieces of the puzzle all over again. Learning what's different, what's the same, what happened to Tsuzuki, oh, there's Muraki, where does he fit in, what happened with Tatsumi and Watari, oh, my god, Kazusa, what happened with Hisoka, etc. The second part of the second fic was just... tense as all hell and it was practically painful to force myself to sit and read it properly, rather than skipping ahead to find out what was going to happen. There're also awesome fights with their powers and... just... I was one big ball of tension by the time this was over. I need that fourth part. Now. (Potential hints of pairings, but nothing more than the series itself gives, PG-15-type content.)

- Yami no Matsuei - I Hate Your Smile by Honooko - Oh, this story just... my heart hurts for Hisoka sometimes and this story is an example of why. My heart hurts for Tsuzuki and Hisoka's relationship, despite that they care a lot about each other, everything still hurts so much. Like her other work, the writing is painful and heartaching, but it doesn't step too far over the line to make it cliche and overdone, instead aware of that line and staying on the right side of it. Hisoka's pain at having to interact with normal, happy teenagers during the Kyoto arc is really well-done and Tsuzuki's understanding and Tsuzuki's smile... it's really wonderfully done. ;___; (Some very light Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Love Must Be Like Rain by sub_divided - I just happened to randomly click onto this story this afternoon and it was... just... oh, this is Tsuzuki and Hisoka, so sweet and touching, but without them really having to do much of anything or directly say anything, but you GOT it. You understood what the parallel between rain and love meant about the characters, what it said about Tsuzuki and Hisoka both, the way their issues were always just underneath the surface, but didn't need to be brought out for the reader to know they were there. The story also had lovely, lovely writing (without being flowery) and gorgeous characterization and dialogue, but it was really that sense of... this was the kind of moment I could believe between Tsuzuki and Hisoka, that the power of the connection between them was nearly tangible, but it was all show and not tell here. I recognized the characters here and this is definitely one of the better fics out there, I think. *happy sigh* (Some very light Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Incident with the Owl by Asidian - How could I have never read this fic before? I know I've read at least one of Asidian's stories, but I missed the one with the Tatari hints? SHAME on me! Which makes me glad I've been going back through old files again to find some of the Yamimatsu fics I'd never read or rec'd, because this fic was just so much fun. I have great, great love for stories that can do Watari's character justice, that can balance the mad scientiest, the cheerful friend, and the surprisingly intelligent person all wrapped up underneath all that blonde hair and this story was very nice for that. But it's also that it got a genuine sense of humor to the writing as they tried to figure out just what the hell was making everyone act so weird (When Watari figures it out and goes to test his theory on Tsuzuki and Hisoka? GENIUS. Especially the final line, I LOVED THAT.) and every time Tatsumi and Watari would have a conversation... I fluttered because it was the sparkling, non-cliche, charming dynamic that I'd fallen in love with. Plus, 003 being so cute and an ending that made me utterly squee and cute/funny Yamimatsu cast antics, how could you possibly go wrong with any of that? ♥ (Tatsumi/Watari, Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Tuesdays by Baka Neko - "I believe I've emphasized that he's rare, nearly extinct, doesn't have the sense God gave a lemming." Another story from this author that has a sense of weirdness to it (Yamimatsu AU with Hisoka as a vampire hunter? Should have been SO weird and awkward, instead ended in a really cool little AU that fit surprisingly well with the tone of the original series.), but with an internal consistency that makes it work. The writing is again lovely, which pulled me right into the story, but it was also Hisoka's characterization, the way the relationship with his family was thought about, the adorableness of Tsuzuki that was just so Tsuzuki, the fantastic conversation with Tatsumi, the delightful batshit insanity of Hakushaku-sama, and so on. Very worth the read. <3 (A liiiiittle Tsuzuki/Hisoka, but blink and you'll miss it.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Exorcism by Gaudior - [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 - part 04 ] - It had been easy to say then, desperately sobbing out the words-- I need you. Live for me. I don't want to be alone again. He hadn't been thinking about consequences or about all the things he usually kept so carefully from saying. He'd been too busy trying to find the right thing to say, the thing that would keep Tsuzuki from leaving him, and he didn't have time to think about why that threat scared him so much. So, Meg points out these fics on her journal (ALL HER FAULT) and I read the first line of the second fic (Surpassing) and I'm immediately, "Ooh. Gotta read that one." and spiral back into a mini-Yami no Matsuei whirl. (ALL HER FAULT.) And, wow, this fic was just... it combined casefic! with gorgeous writing and a fantastic Hisoka perspective, really getting some of the best insight into the troubles of the Tsuzuki/Hisoka relationship I've seen in fic form. There are moments in this story, before the demon pops up that they have to figure out and take care of, that hurt because their relationship couldn't be clean or neat or anything but painful and messy after the Kyoto arc. Every time Hisoka senses how his words hurt Tsuzuki, how he covers them up with a smile that Hisoka can't bring himself to call Tsuzuki on, is painful and gorgeous because it was just so vividly them. Then you get the demon in the woods that they stumble over, contrasting the feelings of the demon (the need to posesses, to take the girl by force, over and over again) and it plays beautifully against Hisoka's own experiences and feelings without being overwhelming. It's so quiet you have to pick it up on your own and, god, I loved that.

I'm gushing about this story because every so often the Yami no Matsuei gets a talented writer who will tackle these characters with the patience and deft writing that they really demand and Gaudior is another one of them that needs to be put on the "must read" list. She does these characters justice and writes a story that's so clean, smooth, and beautifully told that I was just sucked right into the words and couldn't stop reading until I was done with the story. Tsuzuki and Hisoka are so three-dimensional here, never flat or parody-ish, instead I could so very easily see this dovetailing with the ending of the anime perfectly. I also mentioned the beautiful writing, yes? What also impressed me was that the case fic was interesting in its own right, the original character did exactly what she was supposed to do, reminding me a lot of Hijiri or Maria Wong, the demon being an interesting legend turned into something more frightening for the characters, and there were even action scenes! Not super-long battles, but the kind that showed up in Yami no Matsuei, further lending the feel that this could indeed have taken place right after the anime. Definitely a must-read fic, I'd put this up there with the best of the fandom. (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Surpassing by Guadior - [ part 01 - part 02 - part 03 - part 04 - part 05 ] - I was a little worried about Surpassing at first, since I so enjoyed the casefic of the story that comes before this and I'd hoped for more in the same line, but then I actually started to sit down and read this story, which wound up sucking me in just the same way the previous one did. The writing is lovely, the kind that you barely even notice the words, it tells such a vivid picture, which is coupled with painfully sharp insights into both Tsuzuki and Hisoka's characters. This is one of the best fics I've read that deals with the aftermath of Muraki's attack on Hisoka, the way it got across the way it hurt Hisoka and is something that affected him completely, his revulsion of anything to do with sex, the turmoil he felt at wanting that with Tsuzuki, trying to seperate out his own feelings/desires from those around him, trying to deal with being in love with Tsuzuki and how to handle that, all while juggling Tsuzuki's own reactions... all of it was tremendous. All of it was done in that gorgeous Yami no Matsuei sort of style, so that I didn't have to tilt my head and squint to picture the characters, they were just there in my head. (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Joys of Motherhood by Tammaiya - Heeheehee. Watari, gender-changing potion, massive confusion in the Meifu, Tatsumi strangling him, and poor, poor confused Tsuzuki. Beautifully hysterical use of the above elements to make a fic that could have been rather flat and not that funny into something that had me cackling the entire way through it. It's just... the little things like Watari's evil little smile or Tatsumi baiting, Tatsumi actually attempting to strangle the life out of Watari, Tsuzuki just trying not to get caught in the crossfire, girl!Terazuma and boy!Wakaba, the cute Tsusoka, to... just... the beautiful ending that was so absolutely perfect for these characters. It really is a wonder they haven't all strangled Watari yet. But that's what I loved about this story, that it was the sort of madcap humor that I could believe and just see with these characters. ♥ (Some Tsuzuki/Hisoka, hints of Tatsumi/Watari.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Musical Chairs by Tammaiya - How, how I missed that she'd written Yamimatsu fic, much less fic with Tatari in it, I will never know. The author had done some really funny 30-second summaries, I realized I hadn't read the Yamimatsu ones, promptly zoomed off to read and then sparkled like hell, because... eeeeee! Get Tatsumi Drunk Party! That's just so brilliantly Watari, especially right down to the narrative, that was that beautiful mix between brilliance, something serious, and completely mad-scientist!insanity that Watari has--this story was worth it for the Watari narration alone, then adding in the genius insanity of Muraki crashing the party, Tatsumi's reluctance to get involved with any of this mess, MUSICAL CHAIRS, Watari cheating, and a lovely, lovely end. Oh, man, why can't there be more fic like this in the fandom? ♥ (Tatari, Tsusoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Ascent by shrift - What wins me over with this fic is the solid writing, you can tell the author is used to writing very, very well, that she has a lot of discipline. The characterizations are solid and the fic is overall very readable, which doesn't always happen with this fandom, at least not nearly enough. Both characters are recognizable, the author sets a nice scene, it was a nice addition to my Yamimatsu reading this morning, and, hey, it's hard to go wrong with Tsuzuki, Hisoka, and a bathtub. XD (Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Courage by Yasmin M - Oh, this was lovely, one of the better Hisoka POVs that I've read in awhile, the way Tsuzuki's emotions nearly overwhelm the poor kid, yet how well Hisoka handles them. The way Hisoka understands so damn much even if he can't really figure out what it is that he should be doing or what he wants to be doing, the way he knows Tsuzuki, knows why he is the way he is, yet is so confused sometimes... it's a beautiful piece on Hisoka's reactions. Plus, the imagery and writing are lovely and I just... eeeee. Many ♥ for this piece. (Hisoka/Tsuzuki.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Kokoro / The Stringless Marionette by aki_omoi - Two very interesting, haunting Yamimatsu fics, one Tsuzuki/Hisoka, one faintly hinting of Muraki/Hisoka and both have this... dark, but lovely quality to them, the way each highlights a relationship Hisoka has with someone important, whether good or bad. The imagery, especially in the second one, is just... really, really lovely and harsh and all the things a good Yamimatsu fic should be. (One hints of Tsuzuki/Hisoka, the other hints of Muraki/Hisoka.)

- Yami no Matsuei - Mercy of the Fallen by Gaudior - So, it was Dian's birthday and I asked if there was something I could do for it. She told me to read this fic, as she's been trying to get me to do so ever since it was first posted. Well, who am I to say no to a birthday girl? Now. I am not even sure where to begin with this fic, there's so much I want to say. It's tempting to just put it in bullet points instead of trying to coherently write it all out, but... well, here goes. First of all, one of the biggest attractions to Gaudior's fics is that the writing itself is absolutely soothing and wonderful to read on a sheer technical level. It's the kind of story that I could just let myself sink into because it had this gorgeous, beautiful natural flow to the writing that I get so addicted to.

Second, the author obviously put a lot of work and thought into her story, there are details all over the place, from the tiniest little details of the hospitals Tsuzuki and Hisoka visit to the larger, more overwhelming details of Eastern religions and the politics inside Yamimatsu. This isn't just a case story (though, the case itself is interesting as well, which deserves yet more sparkly ♥), instead it's something that's complicated, twisting, and builds off the established universe and does something with it. Both with the resolution of characters and the Tsuzuki/Hisoka relationship, there is certainly no reset button with this series of fics. (This is the third in the series, I believe?) I have much love for stories that have plot, resolution, or are terribly well-written. But when it combines all three? Yum.

Even beyond that, the story is effective, there were moments in this story where I was truly sick or horrified by what was happening, there are moments when I wanted to cry or I felt like there was a layer of slime underneath my skin, because events that were supposed to be abhorrent actually were. This is one of the major things I want to warn for, that the contents of the story are genuinely disturbing at the points they're supposed to be. I'll grant that I'm not sure how I felt about the ending, but it was very, very well-written and everything else... was exactly as effective as the author intended.

You put all these things together and... well, really, I'm only just barely touching on each of these things, I'm barely putting together anything more than previously mentioned bullet points list and expanding with a few sentences. This fic actually wraps all these things together, the plot, the resolution this universe needed, the politics of the Yamimatsu series, the Tsuzuki/Hisoka relationship, the workings of religion inside the series, just... everything and wrapped it up into one amazingly coherent, beautifully written, satisfying story. By the time I was done, I felt that the author had done the ideas conceived here real justice.

There were scenes, even aside from the ones that horrified me, that also left me feeling exactly as they were meant to. Whether peaceful or angry or sorrowful, the emotion of this story never let up and it was gorgeously done. And, oh, how I loved trying to piece the events together before they were revealed. I guessed at some things, I was completely off about others, and I think the story worked brilliantly for that. This is one of those stories that makes me remember why I do still like to play in the Yamimatsu fandom, because it gets amazing stories like this. My only complaint? Well, now I want Tatsumi/Watari fic. XD (Hisoka/Tsuzuki. Graphic content and discussion, heed the warnings listed, this will not be a story for the faint of heart.)

- Yami no Matsuei - The Demons That Are Mortal Men by Alka Iris - I mostly stopped to read this one because I was reading "Mercy of the Fallen" around it and I figured, what the hell, I'll read a couple of lines since I'm in a Yamimatsu fic mood. I found that I genuinely enjoyed the story for this lovely, creepy way with imagery it had, little Hisoka drawing protective circles in the dust every night somehow just hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. The way he met the different people at night, the way there was this air of melancholy to the little child without it having to be stated, there was a real sense of subtlty here and everything was just so... tragic. Strange and almost a sense of being underwater and lovely imagery to it and somehow, it's all just so... sad. But in the way it really needed to be. (References to Muraki/Hisoka and Tsuzuki/Hisoka.)

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