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Alright... I can't sleep, so I figured I'd post the next installment. Here goes!

#10- Mona Lisa by Blade Redwind 

Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: Sai/Sakura
Rating: M
Summary: Sakura Haruno has everything she could possibly want. The perfect guy, the perfect house, the popular friends and... it's not really what she wants. She just doesn't know it yet, not really. Not until one dark haired, dark eyed boy.

Why It's So Awesome: I don't normally like modern AU stories. In particular, I don't have a fondness for high school AU stories. Don't get me wrong. When they are done well, I adore them. They are just not normally done well. At all. As in I might find maybe one worth reading for every hundred I start. But this piece... this one is a beauty. It's a gorgeous balancing act of angst, hormones, and shattered cliches- by which I mean it sets up cliches, just to shatter them with subtlety later. It's Naruto meets The Breakfast Club in all it's disfunctional glory.

#9- The Rushing Wind by unkeptsecret

Fandom: Full Metal Panic!
Pairing: Kaname/Sousuke
Rating: T
Summary: Even if you try to stand still, everything will shift around you. Staying the same isn't an option. Based on the anime and set post-TSR.

Why It's So Awesome: I am a serious FMP! fangirl.  I own the much sought-after english translations of the novels (all four that were actually published), all three anime series, every manga volume that has been made available in the US, and the fanbook, plus I have read the fan-translations of the other eight main-story novels. And in all honesty, while I love the original story with every fiber of my being, I enjoy this story more. It doesn't quite get to that epic "end-stage" level that the original material does, but it treats the characters with a loving hand that is at times missing in the canon. This is canon divergence at its finest. Plus, no one writes Mao or Kurtz better. Not even Gatou himself.

#8- Partners in Shadow by Celtic Oak

Fandom: Naruto
Pairing: Gaara/Sakura
Rating: T
Summary: AU drabble series written for the 100 prompts community on LJ. The threat of war among the shinobi clans brings about unexpected and dangerous alliances; but some dangers are well worth courting and the heat of the flame is too enticing to resist. 

Why It's So Awesome: This author has written some of the best GaaSaku stories out there. I knew my countdown would not be complete without something from her represented. It was so hard to narrow it down, but I finally settled on this one. It's a little dark, as all good Gaara stories are, though not overtly so, and still so wonderfully fun. The pacing is amazing, the character chemistry is great, and the plot is top-notch. This is Celtic Oak at her finest.

#7- The Tiger and the Rose by Mika-Kuruyame

Fandom: Full Metal Panic!
Pairing: Kaname/Sousuke
Rating: M
Summary: AU - A love story unfolds under the blazing sun of the Afghani Desert.

Why It's So Awesome: This story does something that the canon never does, much to its detriment. It explores what Sousuke's upbringing as Kashim would have been like. It tells of the brutality and lack of human compassion that is often exhibited towards people who are considered different, showing well the plight of the outcast. But it is also shines hope in spades as it documents Kashim's struggle for freedom and purpose, all while showing what a small amount of tenderness can do for a person. 

#6- break the ice by therentyoupay

Fandom: Legend of Korra
Pairing: Tahno/Korra
Rating: T
Summary: ONE-SHOT. "BREAK THE ICE" SERIES: 1/3. A dance is a dance, except when it isn't.

Why It's So Awesome: I was a closet Tahnorra fan until I read this story. I could see the potential in this pairing - I mean seriously, that hair, that voice, the tension of rivalry -  but every fic I could find had the same glaring flaw. They pitted Mako versus Tahno in a contest to see who was more OOC. But then, I had the pleasure of reading this beauty. The premise is exceedingly plausible and rather than twisting the characters to her designs, the author uses the fissures in the relationships that are already laid out in canon to create the desired effects. It's full of unresolved sexual tension, in the best possible way, and haunting what-ifs. This piece (and the other parts of this series) create the best work of fanon I have ever read for any series. Period.


It's really late while I'm doing this, so if anyone sees any glaring typos, etc., please let me know. Thanks!
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