Immature by Walkingcensure
Summary: Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter are seven years old, plump, cute, and innocent. Life for them is all about cake, ice cream, friendship bracelets, and premature vows of love. Humour, 8,713 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s so cute! Mini!Marauders and Mini!Lily may just be the best things ever. There’s a wonderful ruefullness about reading this story, it takes you back to the dramas of being seven and all the crazy stuff you used to believe and it’s fun. Additionally, the author manages to keep all the characters pretty in character, and also passably young. It’s a nice gimmick, but done so well that it feels like more.
Why You Might Not Care: Vaguely AU. Also, small people are not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus, Lily/James.
Note: I haven’t actually been able to pin down Chelle about recs, but I guess I’ll just post as many as I can as often as I can until Chelle tells me not to…?
Death and King’s Cross by Sciathan File
Summary: Who was to know Death had etiquette enough to be personalized? Oneshot, 10,074 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s my very favorite Harry Potter afterlife fic ever, I think. It’s amazingly well characterised and considered, with each afterlife tailored to the individual. It is completely canon, having been launched from the springboard of the King’s Cross chapter in Deathly Hallows, and it’s just really, really well done. JKR would approve, I think. Hedwig’s interlude especially made me smile.
Why You Might Not Care: If you dislike afterlife fics, that is all this one is about. Otherwise, it’s really an excellent comment on the characters it covers. Definitely worth the time to read.
A Marauder’s Map by Xylodemon
Summary: Seven memories found in Sirius Black’s pensieve, one for each of his years at Hogwarts. Oneshot, 7,076 Words.
Why You Should Care: Xylodemon always delivers something worth a read, quite frankly, and these seven pinches from Sirius Black’s school-days is no exception. There’s enough character to keep the boys defined, though this fic’s focus is Sirius in particular. My favorite bits are the pranks — good Marauder pranks are difficult to come up with, especially ones that mix magical execution with light-hearted, boyish goals.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s a little overly generic, to tell the truth, though perhaps it wasn’t back when it was written in September 2005. Similarly, a splash of Remus/Sirius is thrown in and then never really developed or explained, which makes its inclusion — for me — a little pointless, though die-hard Remus/Sirius shippers will probably disagree vehemently.
The Delusionist by Sciathan File
Summary: In the Wizarding World, people who have passed on are remembered by their portraits. Some cling to these seemingly living and breathing works of magic and forget that they are, like Muggle portraits, breathed into life by the artist who created them. Oneshot, 9,300 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a really excellent look at a concept in the Harry Potter world rather than a particular character — though the ones that appear are as well written as you could possibly wish for — and it is by far the most interesting and complete consideration wizarding portraiture has received. It is a story about the process and the hand that creates the portrait just as much as it is about the cultural traditions based around the portrait. This fic is anchored by an original character that is well suited to the subject matter, crafted to suit the explorative nature of the piece, and the fic’s non-linear style acts as a focusing lens on scenes that might otherwise have been about the characters in them. Fabulously well done.
Why You Might Not Care: This is one of those fics that is more about an idea than a character, and some folk don’t bother to read anything that hasn’t got a “/” in it somewhere. Sure to attract and be remembered by the genfic connoisseur.
Literacy by Sin Fin
Summary: Sirius is an illiterate bastard, James doesn’t care for the Dark Arts, Peter just wants to pass Astronomy, and Remus is a werewolf. Hogwarts, years 1 and 2. Oneshot, 6,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is not quite canon and also not quite the typical characterisation of the young Marauders, but there’s something about it that still just works in that way fics sometimes do. The characterisations are solid enough that you get a feel for these boys as individuals, and tying the discovery of Remus’ lycanthropy into the theme of literacy is a nice touch.
Why You Might Not Care: It ends rather suddenly, I think because the thematic elements weren’t as tight as I wished they were throughout all the facets of the story — you’re left hanging because there’s the feeling there ought to be more, that the author hasn’t quite said everything she meant to say. As a whole, it lacks… something. It feels unfinished and loose.
And But For The Sky by WinglessFlight
Summary: And never say Sirius didn’t love them. He loved them, all of them, whatever they’d done and whoever they’d become. Drabble, 975 Words.
Guest Rec’d By: Glynnis Griffiths
Why You Should Care: Because it’s tightly written – even poetic in spots – and manages to convey a great deal of feeling in few words without going overboard into gratuitous angst. Sirius reflecting in Azkaban is hard to nail, and WinglessFlight strikes a wonderful balance between the inherent madness of the place and the thing that is keeping Sirius from completely succumbing to it.
Why You Might Not Care: Well, it strikes a great balance but it’s still angst of the first order. If you’re looking for fluff, look elsewhere.
Stealing Harry by Copperbadge
Summary: “Harry didn’t see why sharing a street with strange Mr. Black should mean he couldn’t go into the bookshop. After all, nobody actually knew that he owned it, and he had it on good authority that the shop itself was mostly run by another man named Moony.” Novel Length, Alternate Universe, Approx. 85,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: Alternate Universes are fun. They’re fun to write and they’re fun to read, and Stealing Harry by Copperbadge is no different. It’s a well paced, fully developed and well thought-out universe that branches off canon without feeling too contrived. In addition, it features a complex and interesting Remus/Sirius that feels like a fresh and original take on an over-written pairing. Their characters are familiar yet different, as all well constructed AU characters are, and while this version of Sirius may feel too settled for some people’s tastes, there is something wonderful endearing about him as he navigates deeper into the unknown territory of this new romantic relationship.
Why You Might Not Care: I’m not thrilled with the characterisation of eight (and a half) year-old Harry in this fic. Most of the time he comes off as quite a but younger than that, except occasionally when he comes across as quite a bit older; never once in this fic did the dialogue given to him sound like it might actually have come from an eight year-old boy, or at least not any eight year-old boy I’ve ever known. Snape’s character is likewise somewhat distanced from the Snape we know from the books, but considering this was written in 2005 without some of the canon knowledge we have today, I think overall the AU nature of this fic justifies the characterisation enough to be going on with. Be mindful of a handful of NC-17 scenes throughout the latter half of this fic that are not at all worksafe.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best AU Fic — Third Place
The Final Stage by Another Dreamer
Summary: 12 Grimmauld Place is nobody’s idea of the perfect place for a party. Yet that is where Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks find themselves spending the fourteenth anniversary of Voldemort’s defeat. Overwhelmed by memories of that Halloween night, the three just want to drink brandy and forget. Oneshot, 4,727 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is one of those lovely little plotless character genfics that I always gravitate toward, the value of which lies in what is said (and sometimes what is not said) rather than what is done. Just as Sirius and Remus are trying very hard not to think about it, this story dances around the edges of what it’s trying to say, and also just like Remus and Sirius sometimes can’t help but think about it, so this story sinks just deep enough into its subject matter to make it seriously worthwhile.
Why You Might Not Care: Low on the action-packed, high on the subtle character sketch.
An Undying Passion for Cupcakes by Ignipes
Summary: “That morning, when they were finishing breakfast, she had been very insistent: ‘I’m going to make them the Muggle way… That’s the proper way to make these cupcakes.’ ” Oneshot, 4,622.
Why You Should Care: In places it’s quite funny, and in others it’s just so well written I can’t help but rec it. It’s AU, taking place in a post-Voldemort world where Sirius didn’t die (or at least, didn’t stay dead), and there’s been some attempt to create an after the war that reflects some of the same price as the one JKR created. Hermione’s story, particularly, is rather touching despite being “frosted” with humour. In the end, though, I rather think this is mostly fluffy.
Why You Might Not Care: I think it suffers from trying to do too much with too few words. Either it’s a moderately fluffy piece of AU post-war or it’s an in depth AU treatment of another version of events. In the end, this fic tries to be both, and ends up not really being either. The AU world hinted here is fascinating and would fill several chapters of several novel-length fics well, but the gaps that inform the characters written are too big to get much out of this story (aside from a moderate understanding of Hermione’s journey) but fluff. There hasn’t been a clear enough picture painted of the path taken that resulted in this AU endpoint.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Nellie Darlin
Summary: The real reason Lily Evans keeps turning James Potter down? She’s already sleeping with his best friend…. Romance/Drama, 18,890. (NC17)
Guest Rec’d By: Kira
Why You Should Care: A canon-compliant Lily/Sirius fic that manages to (fantastically!) document how Lily migrates from one Marauder to another without being dreadfully angsty or making her seem like a fickle shrew. Nellie writes with an entrancing voice that creates perfect imagery and captivating characters. What really wins me over is the excellent dynamics that she writes between the characters – Lily and her conundrum between James and Sirius – and how, despite it being a Lily/Sirius fic, she manages to fill in the transformational gaps for James from “arrogant, bullying toe-rag” to love of Lily’s life and the Lily/James moments are precious. The final scene is possibly one of the best fanfiction end-offs I’ve ever read; it takes my breath away every time.
Why You Might Not Care: There’s not much here for people who can’t stand Lily/Sirius, but if you’re even mildly neutral towards the pairing, you’ll find this fic endearing. There’s an OFC best friend for Lily, which is common enough in Marauder-era fics, and while this one’s a little bubbly, she doesn’t annoy and serves as an important plot device as opposed to others who are window-dressing Mary Sues. Personally, I was initially a bit off-put by under-aged sex (16 y.o’s – but I frankly prefer to think that no one at Hogwarts is tapping any ass until they permanently leave the gates), but apparently that’s all the rage these days with young whippersnappers.
Our Private Universe by Busaikko
Summary: Watch Remus, Peter said, look for evidence; but what Sirius found was something different. Christmas 1979. Romance/Angst, 12,000 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is so much more than slash. This is the most beautiful story I think I have ever read: it gives Remus a history and a humanity, and it gives Sirius a beautiful naiveté which is so fitting. The search for the spy is such an intriguing part of the Marauder story and the author’s gentle handling of it makes the final inevitability of it all the sadder. Unlike so many fics about this particular era, Busaikko uses our prior knowledge to make this beautiful tragedy, rather than powering through as if it were new. The characterisation is lovely, as is the raw emotion carried through it, complimented by the sweetness of falling in love and some unexpected humour. Perfect.
Why You Might Not Care: Slash, yes, yes, and rated for one short section towards the end. Which may or may not be required, depends on your perspective. Enjoy, m’loves.
Sirius Black, Super Genius by Mistful
Summary: “A few weeks later with Valentine’s Day drawing inexorably nearer, it began to dawn on Remus that this did not appear to be one of the daydreams Sirius toyed with and then forgot about, like the time he wanted Dumbledore and McGonagall to get married and have superchildren.” Humour, 8,953 Words.
Why You Should Care: I have no solid understanding of the precise agreed-upon meaning of the term “crackfic”, but if I had to describe what the word means to me, I would probably use this fic as Exhibit A. And B. Also C through Z. This is one of those fics that zig-zags so violently across the line between comedy and parody that it becomes its own beast. It’s completely over the top while still somehow managing to have a solid foundation under all that crack; this one doesn’t just bring the clichés, it practically invents new ones. I can’t decide if Mistful is a genius or completely Sirius-Black insane. Probably both.
Why You Might Not Care: I suppose it all depends on what you define as crackfic and whether or not you like crackfic. I put forth only that in reading this I managed on several occasions to force hot tea through my nose in an attempt not to choke on my own laughter.
Five Reasons Why Lily Evans Does Not Like Sirius Black (And Five Reasons Why She Does) by Papered
Summary: Sirius Black is infuriating in a way only he can be. And maybe that’s why Lily Evans comes to like him. Romance, 3,374 Words.
Why You Should Care: Hey there, your resident Lily/Sirius shipper checks in with a rec. This fic tells the Lily/Sirius story in a original, almost funny, sweet and fitting way. You can see it happen: Papered is expert at giving just enough detail for us to envisage the scene. Denial!Lily is the best thing ever.
Why You Might Not Care: List fics should die. Even ones where the form is actually used pretty well, like this one. But read on.
Apology: This is late from yesterday. Laptop issues. Sorry for inconvenience!
Valedictory by Thirty2Flavors
Summary: It is the night before the Fidelius Charm is performed, and Lily cannot shake the feeling that this will be the last time she ever sees Sirius Black. Oneshot, 2,091 Words.
Why You Should Care: This piece broke my heart when I first read it. You might think, alright, the last time James and Lily will ever see Sirius — okay, not that original, moving on. But no, Thirty2Flavors dives right in and presents the scene with such raw emotion that I can guarantee that you have never seen it like this before. I rarely cry at fanfiction, but tears were streaming down my face by the end of this one. Lovely, and heartbreaking, and so real. Thirty2Flavors, once again, has set my personal canon.
Why You Might Not Care: Sharp, piercing angst. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also, like I said, you might have already imagined or read about this scene — but really, it’s so worth reading, even if you think you’ve seen it all before. (Maybe you’re tired of reading Thirty2Flavor’s fics, too, but I have no sympathy for you there, because you’d have to be mad not to love her work.)
Awards: 2007 Hourglass, Best Oneshot — Second Place.
Seven Things That Didn’t Happen On Valentine’s Day At Hogwarts, Or Maybe They Did by Pru
Summary: “At seven thirty-six AM on February fourteenth, the giant squid climbed out of the Hogwarts lake, dragged itself in front of a nondescript part of the castle, and began to sing “Daisy”. Before the encore performance and right after a glorious vibrato finale, the squid dedicated the song to Severus Snape, who had appeared at one of the nondescript windows at twenty minutes ’till eight.” Valentine’s Day over seven years at Hogwarts. Humour/Romance, 25,256 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is so funny — and so Marauder. Of course they would have prank wars on Valentine’s Day. As ridiculous as it gets — trust me, the summary is only the start of things — you never stop believing that it could have happened. It’s equal parts romance and humour, with just a little bit of angst towards the end to keep the saccharine from becoming overwhelming. A perfect fic for today.
Why You Might Not Care: Some of the formatting is a bit off, but that’s a minor irritation. One of the seven sections runs quite longer than the rest, but it never stops being amusing. Also, this is quite decidedly Remus/Sirius, and though about half of the fic focuses on the actions of all four Marauders, the ship does take over at the end. If you’re not interested, don’t read it, but I highly recommend that you do; I love this fic.
If I’m A Fool For You by Esinde Nayrall
Summary: On New Year’s Eve, Remus Lupin makes a promise to Sirius Black. Five days later, Remus Lupin makes a promise to himself. If he keeps them both, it will be the hardest thing he’s ever done. Romance, 84, 000 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s hard to write Remus/Sirius originally: it’s all been done before, but this fic feels fresh. The author has very clear characterisations of Remus and Sirius and they’re quite out of the norm, and yet they fit perfectly with the adults we know they will grow into. But this fic is more than heartbreaking (which it is, by the way. There’s a whole load of angst. I cried. I never cry at fic.). James and Peter are also really well characterised; these feel like real people and the way they react to different situations is also very real. Not to be missed.
Why You Might Not Care: There’s slash. Lots of slash. Some NC-17 slash. Quite a bit of NC-17 slash, actually. And also, angst that makes you want to die, just to stop it. And a rubbish attempt at using the Black Family Tree. As in, Sirius’ mother is Cassiopeia and his uncle Alphard is dating a guy called Marius. But yes. Read this fic, it’s fabulous.
Map of the Problematique by SullenSiren
Summary: “He’s going to make it a RULE.” Before they went their separate ways, Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail shared a flat. The flat had rules. This is how it went. Drama, 15,406 Words.
Why You Should Care: I feel like I haven’t rec’d a good, general Marauder fic for ages, so here we go: this is an absolutely smashing fic about the Marauders in their few years between Hogwarts and the fall of Voldemort, as accompanied and illuminated by a list of rules on taped-together pieces of parchment. It’s quite an underhanded tragedy, how the war and their work for the Order and Dumbledore slowly tears these four boys apart. We see them when times are still good and when they are as tightly bound together as brothers; then we see them slip away from each other and watch each of them fall by the wayside. The huge gaps of time missed near the end of this fic and the silence it brings with it is just as poignant as the moments SullenSiren does show.
Why You Might Not Care: There’s blatant Remus/Sirius, and it deserves at least an R rating, and maybe an NC-17, for it, so be warned: those who do not like slash will wrinkle their nose. That’s really about it, though.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Popular Choice — Best Multi-Chaptered Fic; 2008 Hourglass Award, Admins’ Choice — Angst (tied)
Scion by Phoenix Serapha
Summary: At sixteen, Sirius is confronted with the true nature of his family on his last night in Grimmauld Place. Oneshot, 4,404 Words.
Why You Should Care: There’s quite a lot of fic out there about Sirius running away from home at sixteen, exploring the when and the why. We know he had a miserable home life, though aside from the fact that his family supported Voldemort we don’t really know what kind of miserable it was. Phoenix Serapha writes us a much darker, harsher piece than we’re used to seeing on this subject, and — most unusually — she highlights Sirius’ father Orion as the premier adversary instead of Walburga. We’re used to reading about the formidable Black matriarch, and because of the madcap wailing of her portrait a lot of us have rather assumed she was the master of her house; Orion gets shunted aside, either glozed over completely, or characterised as the weaker half of the Black parental unit. Not here, though, and it’s utterly glorious to read this new twist on an old story as Orion and Sirius face off. It is Sirius’ character that is the most fascinating in this exchange, as much a bullied boy as a mouth-off, and he is driven to leave out of desperation rather than willingly by choice, which makes him feel much more a real person and less an impudent teenager. It’s a sharp contrast to the Sirius we see at school, and to most writers’ versions of him over all. Unique, and probably the most canon telling of this event yet.
Why You Might Not Care: A few typos that might irk you. A few missing words or mixed up tenses. An author that could really benefit from the use of a few well-placed semi-colons. But none of these should stop you from reading on.
Thanks To: Amy, who sent me some very lovely recs. Cheers!
The Seduction of Sirius Black by Sciathan File
Summary: “I hope to Merlin that everyone’s collective wisdom was very wrong and that neither Sirius Black nor James Potter has been the death of me – try though they may have to have been so.” Oneshot, 10,649 Words.
Why You Should Care: Sciathan File has a very unique style of writing, and she’s got a good handle on character as well as what it takes to write a good fight scene. She’s gone and done something unique with her plot, which is to say she’s engineered an Order of the Phoenix mission that seems like something that would have happened. She’s done her research (which is always something that earns big, shiny bonus points from me, as I’m the queen of too-much-research) and the plot has been well thought out.
Why You Might Not Care: Sciathan File has a … very unique style of writing. A uniquely complex style of writing. The ways in which she engineers a sentence are not to be taken lightly. My best advice? Read slowly, and don’t press on if you’re not sure you’ve understood what that last sentence just said. Take the time with this one, and you’ll probably enjoy it. Speed-read, and you’ll get to end not really knowing what just happened.
The More Things Change by Shimotsuki
Summary: Sirius Black has been unnervingly polite ever since Lily found herself actually kissing James Potter. Oneshot, 1,344 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because something of this sort probably would have happened. James and Sirius’ friendship was so tight that Lily taking up a certain amount of James’ time must have upset the balance a bit, and it would have taken all the Marauders some time to adjust to this intrusion; Sirius taking it the hardest seems very accurate, considering his character. The interaction on the tower between Lily and Sirius is well written, and Lily and Sirius’ characters are nicely portrayed; both of them are clearly defined without the author needing to explain to us in a long, dialogue heavy, angsty scene. Well done.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s very to-the-point. Perhaps a little *too* to-the-point. The scene on the tower and at the breakfast table the next day are excellent, but I think I would have appreciated a little longer build. A few more interactions between the five. This seems too short.