The Death of Narcissa Black by Winkout
Summary: Narcissa never intended to marry, but circumstances change and needs must. The darkest thing I could think of was abandoning the person you want to be for the person you feel you must be, so that’s what this is about. Art Fic, 1,000 Words with Illustrations (some rated R).
Why You Should Care: Wow. Between the story itself and the amazing artwork, I’m a bit shell-shocked. I’ve not got enough artistic background to really give you a solid critique of the art, but the style and the colours were so unique and well suited to the subject matter that I read the whole thing twice over, the second time just for the art. The story itself is well written and presses all the right buttons in all the right orders, and it creates a truly sad tragedy around Narcissa with this completely different take on her character. I would gladly purchase this as a real paper-and-binding book.
Why You Might Not Care: Some of the art is definitely Not Work Safe. Which only means you should read it at home instead of at work, not that you shouldn’t read it at all. Really, really wonderful. (It brought me back to make a rec after, oh, five months now is it? *grins*)
Untitled by Fernwithy
Summary: By now we’ve all got a pretty good understanding of the dynamics between the Marauders, but what about the Marauders’ mothers? Drabble, 668 Words.
Why You Should Care: Quite possibly because I’m a little bit in love with this particular characterisation of Dorea Potter, who seems to cheerfully fill the role of James Potter’s mother with style and a bag-load of zingers her son would be proud of. It’s also delightful to see Fernwithy remember that, even though Dorea ultimately chose to be a Potter, she’s also a Black, and she shows it. (The rest of the ladies are well characterised, too.)
Why You Might Not Care: The problem with doing this well is that now it’s too short! I wanted more Dorea, but I suppose I’ll have to make due with what I’m given.
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.
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.
Stasis by Andromeda311
Summary: There is no hero. There is no villain. There is only redemption and damnation, success and failure. Oneshot, 5,137 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s the Regulus everyone writes except that it’s so much better. This characterisation is everything I’ve been missing in Regulus fics — darker, harsher, more bitter, and on a path clearly marked by self-destruction. This is a character sketch I can sink my teeth into, and one that is sure to be enjoyed by darkfic readers.
Why You Might Not Care: You might like seeing Regulus as more a victim of circumstance than this portrays. Like Snape, Regulus makes his own bed in this one.
Surprises by Lady Bracknell
Summary: Lily likes surprises, and this thing with James Potter has been positively filled with those. Drabble, 678 Words.
Why You Should Care: Ahhh… this tops up my James/Lily metre nicely. It’s sweet, a bit romantic, and mostly sigh-worthy fluff. Lady Bracknell’s just damn good at finding all those impossible little nothing moments that mean so much.
Why You Might Not Care: All about James/Lily for people who ship elsewhere.
Laughter by Emiime
Summary: There is always laughter. Drabble, 250 Words.
Why You Should Care: I love everything about this flash fic — the character contrasts between serious baby Neville and his light and lively parents, the suggestions of real-life unromanced sex, the foreshadowing of what we know is to come for this family. It’s a wonderful word sculpture.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s rated R but I’m not sure I’d count it as NWS, but it’s all up to you.
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.
The Measure of a Man by Gilpin25
Summary: “I’m sixteen years old and I’m in love with a girl who thinks I’m an arrogant, bullying toerag, and I don’t know how to change her mind as everything I do just makes it worse.” James Potter, who usually has all the answers, has none for this… Oneshot, 7,690.
Why You Should Care: One of the most frustrating parts of DH for MWPP era writers was the order in which JKR presented the memories in Snape’s pensieve, suggesting in her cannon that Snape’s Worst Memory happened sometime after the Prank, which has made it difficult to track James’ character from childish, bullying tormentor to Head Boy material. This is the first fic I’ve read that addresses these events as in the order suggested by JKR and doesn’t use the Prank as the linchpin pulled in the growing up of James Potter, and it does an admiral job of tying those loose ends together into one cohesive whole. Creative, original, and very well characterised and executed on all fronts.
Why You Might Not Care: Tired of Marauder fic yet? Boy are you at the wrong recs site…. 😉
Paper Love by Lady Altair
Summary: Gideon Prewett learns to let go. Drabble, 962 Words.
Why You Should Care: Beautiful and deceptively simplistic, Lady Altair sets us up with sweet, hopeful innocence, then sweeps it away under the harsh reality of war and what it does to people. The use of the letter in metaphor is wonderfully used.
Why You Might Not Care: Sad ending…? Somehow I doubt that’s reason enough to stop anyone, though if you’re in the mood for fluff you should probably save this for another time.
Haggic From Algernon by Vea and GhostOfBambi
Summary: The fic about nothing. Humour, 101,594 Words.
Why You Should Care: Because it’s funny, and there’s not enough funny left in this damned fandom. Part-crack, part-romance, part-cat!worship, this fic is two talented comic authors playing with Lily, James and the eponymous Algernon to whom I give my heart.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s almost crack, and, hard as they try, there’s no poignancy or worthiness. Not drink-safe.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best Comedy Fic — Second Place
Curiousity by Lady Bracknell
Summary: Remus has always been curious about Lily Evans, but kept his distance. Now, he wants to do nothing of the sort. Oneshot, 2,183 Words.
Why You Should Care: No one makes me love the Remus/Lily pairing as much as Lady Bracknell does. Even though the idea of Lily cheating on James makes me all sad inside, I love this despite that. Somehow Lady Bracknell manages to make this infidelity the right choice for the characters and the situation, like a necessary aside rather than a moral detour. Neither of them regret it, and somehow neither do I. It’s cathartic for them, I think; it wouldn’t have been worse to continue to let their feelings be unfelt forever.
Why You Might Not Care: If James/Lily infidelity makes you weep, maybe steer clear. It’s rated R for sex, but it all seems fairly worksafe to me.
Nothing a Good Imperius Wouldn’t Solve by Afterthree
Summary: “Snape has nearly gotten used to dealing with the darkness creeping sullenly through the back of his head.” The tempting of Severus Snape. Oneshot, 1,562 Words.
Why You Should Care: Anything I put here will look pretty arrogant, eh? Rec’d in a couple of other places and the winner of an Hourglass Award, so I think it’s above board to put it up here.
Why You Might Not Care: Have shamelessly rec’d my own work, and you may all boo and hiss at your leisure.
Awards: 2008 Hourglass Award, Best Angst Fic — Second Place
A 12-Step Program by FalseEyelashes
Summary: 12 steps. 12 steps, and you can cure alcoholism, sex addiction, a love of coke, an uncontrollable rage or that hatred within yourself. 12 steps and you can dance in reverse, fall apart and watch the carefully constructed fabric of your life unravel. And in 12 steps, two people can foolishly fall in love. Novel-Length (almost), 39,019 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is a stirred and physicologically colourful look at love, lust, and the difference (or sometimes lack thereof) between the two. The characterisations of Lily and Remus are multifaceted and startlingly (almost shockingly) real — even bordering on gritty — and what strikes me most is how appropriate for their age this emotional opera is. The writing is stylized and almost exclusively narrative, slipping into and reaching most of Lily’s conscious and unconscious thoughts. In some ways, this is an angsty fic about angst.
Why You Might Not Care: This fic could be seen by some to be overindulgent, and in some ways I might agree, except I remember what it was like to be in my own head at 18 and think that maybe a little of that is part of the point, really. It’s both fascinating and tedious; in some places it digs so deep it starts going in circles.
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.
Twenty Random Facts About Lily and James by Thistlerose
Summary: Lily, James, and a popular LJ meme. Oneshot, 1,500 Words.
Why You Should Care: This is made up of the pieces that make a two people, and especially the pieces that make them work so well together. Wonderful, brief glimpses into two lives cut short, and beautifully poignant without being indulgent.
Why You Might Not Care: Surprise! It’s another list fic! There’s also some non-essential but ridiculously blatant Remus/Sirius that definitely didn’t have to be there, but that’s Remus/Sirius for you.
Eighteen by Seer_of_Spots
Summary: Eighteen. The world is your library and you have all the time to read, yet it all seems so much dimmer – as if that library is filled completely with appliance manuals and endless Arithmancy equations. Lying on a blanket with your unrequited love and a Salty Dog, you think. And sometimes your thoughts just don’t make you happy. Oneshot, 1,130 Words.
Why You Should Care: A great example of how a well done second person POV combined with just the right subject matter can really give a certain type of character piece a little extra stylistic punch. There is some really simple, excellent language in this one, and some great evocotive imagery. Remus’ bitterness at his lot in life is just strong enough to tint the piece, but not so strong it drives this into heavy angst.
Why You Might Not Care: Unrequited Remus/Lily, for those who roll their eyes at that pairing.
Spark by Jane St. Clair
Summary: “It’s London, miles from home and dripping down rain through this sticky bit of a night.” Molly Weasley, on a mission for the Order. Drabble, 860 Words.
Why You Should Care: Wow. This is just incredibly chilling, partly because it’s Molly for heaven-sake, and partly because it’s war and that’s just the way war works sometimes. Jane writes this so perfectly, and the notion that Molly’s done this many, many times before is thick. Gutsy.
Why You Might Not Care: You might not agree that this fits with canon — it might offend your moral sensibilities. I think it’s about right.
Group Therapy by Calliope08
Summary: An unlikely pair finds consolation at the funeral for James and Lily Potter. Oneshot, 1,140 Words.
Why You Should Care: It’s hard to find a good Potter’s funeral fic, but Calliope’s spare, fond style fits the bill perfectly. It’s the combination of the profound and the just plain mundane – this fic is very honest; the conflicting thoughts of the characters perfectly in keeping with the tone of the whole piece. Both Remus and Petunia are very humanly characterised – enjoyable and thoughtful.
Why You Might Not Care: It’s another Potter’s funeral fic, albeit a very good one. Also, too short, in my opinion: I’d’ve liked to have seen a little more from Petunia. But you can’t have everything.