March 2nd, 2011


"No Simple Highway" by Thistlerose (Teen and Up)

Fandom Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Anya Jenkins / Xander Harris
Fic Title: No Simple Highway
Authors: Thistlerose
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and Up
Genre: One-shot, angst
WIP?: No.

Why This Must Be Read: Poor Xander. Fandom doesn't really give a lot of love to the Anya/Xander ship, even though they were together for almost three seasons.  They were even engaged at one point, and yet I'm pretty sure I see "Spander" fics way more often than this canon pair.  Thus, it's nice to see a fic like this, which gives due respect to their relationship and keeps both totally in character (as well as those around them).  It's also wonderfully consistent to see Xander's own treatment of that relationship--losing her isn't the total pit of devastation that Buffy's loss of Angel at the end of S2 or Willow's of Tara at the end of S6, but he did love her, and he does have some grieving to do.

Special Rec: 3/35

Echo by vatrixsta (PG)

Fandom Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel: The Series
Pairing: Cordelia Chase / Xander Harris
Fic Title: Echo
Authors: Vatrixsta
Rating/Warning(s):Unrated by author, but PGish
WIP?: No.

Why This Must Be Read: Another entry into the canon-Xander-pairings file. Cordelia/Xander was a delightfully unlikely pairing and (unlike most from either series) exist pretty much outside of the supernatural world. Instead, the pairing plays strongly on the high school themes in which "Buffy" was rooted, and it does so with wit, a heap of chemistry, and a strong dose of emotions that anyone who's survived high school can relate to.

Vatrixsta's fics are always worthwhile in my experience, but in this one, she really shows where and how Cordelia and Xander shine together--the clever little barbs, the emotional confusion and raging hormones, and the underlying sense that they could've really been something if Angel hadn't needed a sidekick in L.A. I always wished that the older and wise Cordy and Xander we knew in the last seasons of "Angel" and "Buffy" had had the chance to meet again--and here, we get a taste of that.

Special Rec: 4/35

"Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sex Poodles" by Doyle (PG-13)

Fandom Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Anya Jenkins / Xander Harris
Fic Title: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sex Poodles
Authors: Doyle
Rating/Warning(s): More implied than explicit, but there are some pretty kinky things implied.
WIP?: No.

Why This Must Be Read: Like Anya in all of her uncensored, sex-addict glory?  Like Xander gettin' some and still being a little hapless?  Like fics that feel like scenes deleted from canon?  Read this.  (Set after S4.)

Special Rec: 5/35
Ferris Wheel

"How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns" by Lirazel (PG)

Fandom Category: Downton Abbey
Pairing: Sybil Crawley/Tom Branson
Fic Title: How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns
Author: Lirazel
Genre: General
WIP?: No

Why This Must Be Read: I've been looking for well-written Sybil/Branson stories, and this one really stood out. A character-piece, the timeline is after the start of WWI, and Branson is off at war, but it takes place mostly in Downton, and in Sybil's thoughts about the world, her life, and Branson's place in it now and perhaps in the future.