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Staying Power: Fandoms You're [Glad to Be] Stuck With - if there's a place for [us] that love has kept protected [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Staying Power: Fandoms You're [Glad to Be] Stuck With [Nov. 13th, 2008|10:44 pm]
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We all have them: the fandoms we love, the fandoms we flirt with, and the fandoms that got away. I'm grossly oversimplifying this, true; however, in my experience there's also a tier of fandoms that transcends even all of the various permutations that you can derive from the aforementioned list. For all of the fandoms that I've written over time, listed as they are in one big chaotic block of tags in my floating post, and for all that I revisit a good number of these on a semi-regular basis (or, frankly, when asked to), only a very small handful are what I would call lifetime commitments. In most cases, I'm basing this classification on the fact that the typical specimen from this select grouping fits the following criteria:

1) It wasn't a whirlwind fever of activity that seemed to possess me, lay me out flat in a writing trance for weeks on end, and vanish in the blink of an eye. While most of my obsessions start out as a whirlwind fever of activity that possesses me for weeks on end and barely lets me sleep, it's rare when one of those sticks around for, say, more than six months to a year. The whirlwinds return again and again and again, in addition to the fact of sporadic stories and drabbles in between.

2) Even if I go three to four months between periods of activity in said fandom, returning is like coming home. In between times, the characters are never that far from my thoughts. I'll be walking down the street and, out of the blue, smile because I see something and know exactly how they'd react - almost as if they were walking along ahead of me, idly chatting. Both the characters and their world get so firmly programmed into my psyche that it's not so much a flip I switch on and off at will as an additional layer of existence that's always there. I'm the ghost flitting in and out of their world rather than vice versa. And I would never want them to see me there, either. I'm content simply to watch and know and report back on what I've seen. I hold the fourth wall so sacred you'd probably think I'm a bit cracked (which I am).

3) My emotional reaction to the source material is, nine times out of ten, what hooks me and keeps me rooted to the spot. Amaze me, humble me, devastate me: these are the building blocks of endless wonder and fascination. Where there's the deepest pain imaginable, I no longer fear to tread; where there's the greatest love conceivable, I will return again and again. This is why, for example, The Dark Knight is not going to end up being one of those fandoms. I walked there for a while because there was something inescapably dark and fascinating that I wanted to explore, and now that I've explored it? I'm content. But with these faces and places that draw me inexorably back? I will never be content. I will never feel as if I have reached the limits. I will never feel that I have done enough. And yes, this is a good thing.


Toy Soldiers (since 2003) is the dead obvious one, for those of you that have been here for time out of mind. I have never been so broken, so ill used by a fictional landscape and its inhabitants - while, at the same time, so utterly exhilerated and at ease in the midst of the turmoil. And if you had told me I'd make myself a home in late 80s/early 90s east-coast America with more than a handful of troubled, rebellious teenage boys, I would've called you mad. It's not just Billy and Joey and their utterly jaw-dropping bond that keeps me there. It's their dysfunctional circle of friends and even more dysfunctional families. It's the bizarre microcosm of their private school and its attendant trappings. It's the way they have to negotiate themselves in a world that's stacked against them in more ways than I can count, and it's the way they do so with so much courage. Even unto death, even unto death and the bleak shores beyond. I am never warm in this world. It's always autumn, and I'm always racing toward the gates, racing, and I never reach them. They'll always be ahead of me one breathless heartbeat, and that heartbeat is what stands between them and oblivion.

Good Omens (since 2004) was dropped on my unsuspecting head by none other than azureflight. I finished the book in just under three hours, and I called her and left what was, to my memory, an incoherent 15-minute ramble of a voicemail that added up to something translating to, roughly: I'm head-over-heels in love with EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK and it is ALL YOUR BLOODY FAULT. This revelation, which goes largely by the name of Aziraphale/Crowley, came a mere eleven months before I moved to the UK. In some ways, I feel it made my transition into this new world all the easier. I'd been obsessively researching life in Britain just so I could write them all the more convincingly, and by the time I got here, I thought, I know this, I know this. And I can't walk the streets of London without my favorite angel and demon somewhere near. I've followed them to the end of the world one too many times, and I'm always waiting for the next. They're my safety and sanity in the face of all that is not safe or sane. If I hadn't gained this crucial counterbalance, Toy Soldiers might've done me a lot more damage. That's not to say Good Omens has left me in one piece, however. The abyss does occasionally manage to rear its ugly head. Fortunately, Aziraphale and Crowley are immortal and, therefore, largely immune to its vagaries.

Hamlet (since 2004, provisionally) may, at a glance, appear to be insignificant (on account of the small amount of fic I've produced for it in comparison to the previous two), but the impression is deceptive. It was the first story, period, that hit me smack in the chest and left a noticeable bruise; I first read it in my junior year of high school, of which fact I'm sometimes ashamed, given that I'd read so many of Shakespeare's other plays between the ages of 9 and 15 alone! Perhaps it was the endless pop-culture portrayal of Hamlet as a cliché - skull and Yorick, to be or not to be - that kept me away until it was forced upon me. I got to the death scene during a free-reading session of English class during the week we were studying it, and I had the royal embarrassment of sitting there sobbing over my book when I hit Horatio's Now cracks a noble heart! Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. I hadn't known that was there; I hadn't seen it coming. And in years to follow, I would never understand why Horatio is so frequently marginalized. If you were so fortunate as to see the Boston's 2005 Shakespeare on the Common production, you will have seen the rarest treasure on earth: a production that not only gave Horatio his due, but gave him his sweet prince (for as long as it was able).

(In this vein, I'm also stuck with Chanson de Roland and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Stupid, stupid boys! I must be half in love with foolishness.)

Everything Is Illuminated (since 2007) has been fence-sitting. I can tune in to Alex and Jonathan with disturbing ease, but my writing drive with them has, recently, been dormant. I had a story hit me while we were in Dublin in June, and because I lost the notes I'd taken, it frittered itself away in idle fancies and forgotten dialogue that, until I'm sure I have it back, will never be as good as when I thought it up. I resisted this book for as long as I could, but twilightgardens has the rare ability to hold my chin still, look me in the eyes, and say, Look - there's work for you here. And these two were the hardest work I'd done since Billy and Joey. Truly an honor.

...which brings me, then, to Hot Fuzz (since September). Obviously, this is still a developing situation, but there are a whole passel of commitment-laden red flags attached. One: Nicholas and Danny are so perfect for each other it hurts. Two: Danny doesn't die, which in my world is a fucking miracle, considering the track-record I've just finished laying out. Three: This is home, this is where I am living, and this is in some ways the world of Good Omens cast in another light (don't be astonished if I produce a crossover between the two one of these days). Already the possibilities are spilling from that hole in my chest that I never did manage to patch up, and from where I'm sitting, they appear to be endless. Also, I'm a sucker for ice cream.


So who are you stuck with, and why are you glad to be stuck with them?

[User Picture]From: ineptshieldmaid
2008-11-14 12:14 am (UTC)
oooh, pretty. That is one highly moving thingo you've written there.

*scratches nose* I don't know what, if anything, is my Fandom For Live. Narnia feels like home, but then, so did LOTR, and I slipped out of the cracks of that.

Although... I will never leave my Tolkien obsession completely behind. It's too wound up in how I think and who I am and what I study :P. So chalk that up as Lifelong Fandom.

The other would be Arthurian. Started reading Arthurian stories in my early teens; tried to write a major work on Guinevere and got horribly stuck and had to give up, in my last year of high school. Came to uni, decided to be an Arthurianist. Discovered Old English, decided Arthurianists were a bunch of boring time-wasting Celtomaniacs.
And then discovered Middle English, and Gawain. Now we're back to all the things which captivated me about Arthuriana in the first place: a living mythology, which is everyone's and no-one's. There's not much of a line in my head between scholarship and fic, for Arthuriana. I should probably start footnoting my fic...
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:03 am (UTC)
For me, LOTR was...well. It was my first foray into fandom hardcore, you know, at it with both barrels, all the energy I could possibly spare. And while I still read in LOTR and write the occasional drabble, I know my days as a heavy-duty participant are over. It was a rough place, to say the least. In the long run, I somehow didn't fit in.
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[User Picture]From: highfantastical
2008-11-14 12:21 am (UTC)
Hot Fuzz/Good Omens crossover? OMG YES. You would have at least one enthusiastic reader, in the shape of ME!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:03 am (UTC)
That's good to know!
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[User Picture]From: goddessdster
2008-11-14 12:41 am (UTC)
I, for one, am pleased to see Hot Fuzz joining your ranks. We need more good, dedicated writers who love these characters as they are.

To answer your question:
I started reading and writing fanfic (mostly slash) in 1999 and stopped in 2001. I only came back because of Hot Fuzz. Specifically, basingstoke's "Hard Bend." That story still breaks me in many ways, as brief as it is. But it helped seal for me my love of Danny and Nicholas for a good long while.

I don't see myself deciding to be done with this fandom, mostly because it is ripe for so much: humor, angst, drama, romance, and even a dash of the paranormal (God, I hope!). Danny and Nicholas are the perfect couple, much the same way Fraser and Ray K. (dueSouth) are the perfect couple: they need each other, they depend on each other, they get each other in ways others never understand, and--primarily--there's such a strong foundation of friendship already there that building upon it is almost easy. Thinking about their relationship, thinking about new ways to write about it, all of this makes me happy the same way the movie makes me happy every single time I watch it. I want this fandom to live a good long while, as others have managed to, but I hope it can do that while remaining small.

There are other fandoms for which I will read and even write the odd story here and there. But I don't feel the same resonance for them as I do this one. As long as that emotional connection is there, I am staying (and I hope you do too).
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:06 am (UTC)
The paranormal is something I hit pretty hard in some of my TS fic, and it's something I'd love to work into HF in the future (though not in the same way as I did in TS, not really). And small fandoms can survive with said size intact for years; TS is actually living proof of that. We're tiny, but we're a slow, steady shade of active. It's another one of those things that has me convinced it's some kind of miracle!

(Nicholas and Danny are misfits. Come to think of it, all my boys are misfits in one way or another. It's why I can't leave them. I can't leave my own. That would be treachery!)
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[User Picture]From: squeeful
2008-11-14 12:46 am (UTC)
(don't be astonished if I produce a crossover between the two one of these days)

Ys plz!

A life-long fandom? I don't know, each of mine has felt like it at the time. That I could stay there forever and be happy. But most of them, if I come across again, at least make me content.

Currently it's these two. On one hand they're just plain fun, but at the same time they're so inextricably bound by circumstance and a prickly kind of love. The potential is there to have a good time and utterly devastate you because being the all for each other is both charming and terrifying. You never learn a lot about them, but sifting through the tiny details you do is part of the joy. And the information you do glean is so much more than car chases and gun fights.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:08 am (UTC)
It's all in the details. And in that respect, it's hard to learn these two at a glance: my learning curve for Nicholas and Danny has been a bit slower than I would have predicted, at least by my own standards! I feel like I'm still trying to get them all pitch-perfect, or trying to sound them out for the full register. I have the feeling I'm going to be amazed when I discover the full extent of what they can do!
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[User Picture]From: assimbya
2008-11-14 01:04 am (UTC)
You describe it so well. I find that there is this remarkable intensity of reaction to a source material that draws people to fandom in the first place, and sometimes that can be so difficult to articulate.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:09 am (UTC)
I've tried to articulate it repeatedly, but it never quite comes out right. I'm fairly pleased with the above, though; it roused me from a light sleep, as I was thinking about these things, and suddenly I thought, oh, I need to go write this down...
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[User Picture]From: sirdrakesheir
2008-11-14 01:06 am (UTC)
I, alas, have never found my One True Fandom.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:10 am (UTC)
Well, as you can see, I don't have one true fandom - it's more like a handful of true fandoms surrounded by a whole passel of slightly-less-true ones.
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[User Picture]From: cracked_shield
2008-11-14 01:18 am (UTC)
You are such a romantic! Which leads me to a recommendation to you: the Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey. Her writing style is so lush and poetic, and they're all told through the voice of Phedre who is a courtesan in the Court of Night Blooming Flowers. You get everything from sex to politics to religion. Her main antagonist, Melisande Shahrizai, is such a devious genius. The first one is "Kushiel's Dart" if you're interested.

You are also the first person I've met, other than myself, who has even seen the movie Toy Soliders. I freaking LOVE that movie and I always get just a little choked up when Joey bites it. Real machine guns are different from Hollywood ones honey.

Fandoms that have hung around for more than a handful of months...well, for me, the number one there is Transformers. *laugh* I've been a fan since I was about six, saw the animated movie in the theatre when I was seven, and then twenty years later I was in the theater again, trying not to cover my eyes and saying: Please don't let him die! Please don't let him die! I can't stand to see that 'bot die twice! (about Optimus Prime, who isn't even my favorite, but he had a profound effect on my life)

Then there are the Heralds of Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. The ones that really stick with me out of this whole series are the three that make up the Last Herald-Mage trilogy about the life and death of Vanyel Ashkevron. They even won PFLAG awards, and I just identify way too much with him and how he grew up.

The Final Fantasy series as a whole, as well. Every time I hear the Crystal Theme/Prelude, I squee. The majority of my plushie collection is made up of FF creatures. There are always amazing lessons to learn about life, love, friendship, religion, personal delusion, loyalty, etc. in these games. And Black Mages! >D
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:11 am (UTC)
Joey biting it was what made me snap. And boy, did I snap. If you're ever brave enough to wade through the Series and Book of Hours, I commend you. I don't know how I wrote all that shit without losing my mind. Near the end of it, I kind of did, for a little while.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:12 am (UTC)
It's a 1991 film starring Sean Astin and Wil Wheaton. At the time I saw it, I barely knew who either one of them was. So I don't see them; I just see the characters. But then, I'm very actor-blind when it comes down to it. In theory, it's Death of the Author. In my world, it's Death of the Actor (at least when I'm working with characters from films).
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From: arcadiaego
2008-11-14 01:54 am (UTC)
(Embarrassingly) The Vampire Chronicles.
Brideshead Revisited
Remus/Sirius (*headdesk*)

In a way, aspects of Highlander: The Series and also of Doctor Who fandom. Weirdly probably aspects of Lexx too, which is *really* embarassing.

Possibly Lost, but I have to wait to see how it ends. :/

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 02:14 am (UTC)
Remus/Sirius is one of my Pairings That Got Away. I wanted so badly to write them, but everything went so far to hell in a handbasket that I didn't even want to touch it. When I get that angry at a writer, I get a bad taste in my mouth.
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[User Picture]From: thesilentpoet
2008-11-14 03:53 am (UTC)
Commonwealth's Hamlet was 2005, wasn't it?

eta: yep, 2005, as per website..

Gods, that show hit me in so many ways.

Edited at 2008-11-14 03:54 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 10:42 am (UTC)
It seems like longer ago than that, somehow! I know I went to SoC two years running, so that probably accounts for why I got mixed up.
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[User Picture]From: bacchae23
2008-11-14 04:44 am (UTC)

Love this post.

Yeah. What you basically said is what I feel about most of the stuff I write too...except outside of ZE INTERNETZ, it's sometimes hard to find an audience that appreciates awesome books/films/shows as much as some of the folks in fandoms. Well spoken, ma'am.

And *gah* Good Omens reeked of aewsome and amazingness. I loved that book so damn much. It made me giggle inappropriately.

What am I stuck with?

Oh, boy...

I'd have to say my first is The Bourne Supremacy. The books were the first 'adult' like thing I read when I was twelve, and when the movies came out -- particularly the second -- I just fell in love with it. Just because it didn't follow the usual action movie mix. I mean, yeah, you had explosions and kung-fu drama and gunfights, but in the end, the guy doesn't get the girl, he doesn't truly get the bad guy, and he's still lost. Still has more of a journey to go. Just something that I weirdly connected with at that point in my life, I guess.

Batman, and most everything associated with it (including the cartoon series JLU, Batman: Animated Series) basically makes up my entire existance...sadly enough. I was raised with the cartoon Batsy as a kid and as I've gotten older (yeah, being a teenager doesn't terribly count, I suppose), I've come to appreciate and enjoy the characters of Batman a helluva lot more. It's just -- an amazing, huge world, and it has so much more depth than a lot of fandoms.

There are other, smaller things that I feel rather attached to, but at this point, the ones above definitely contribute a lot to my fandom glee and occasionally *facepalm*.

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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 10:43 am (UTC)
I have yet to see the Bourne films, but they're on my list! How do they compare to the books?
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From: teacrumb
2008-11-14 05:48 am (UTC)
Something Wicked This Way Comes. This fandom is practically nonexistent, but I write it almost compulsively sometimes because I've never fully recovered from the intensity of the connection between Will and Jim. They are light and dark. Inextricably bound. Will's father is one of the greatest heroes I've ever encountered in a story. And Mr. Dark? Such a twisted, twisted being. This book gave me a hope I'd never held before.

Death Note. More duality here. (I'm noticing a pattern.) L/Light is the struggle for power, for perfection, and for a word. I will never see justice or death (or cake) the same way. Near/Mello--finding identity in the hatred of what you admire the most. Mello/Matt is worship at its most sacrificial. When I finished this series, I think the world looked a little more rotten. (But I wanted it to live more than ever.)

With Batman, it remains to be seen. It's another one that's wormed its way into the everyday, but it's too soon to tell.

Fandoms that come and go...Mushishi, Alice In Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, Fullmetal Alchemist, D. Gray Man, V For Vendetta, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, and The Prestige.

Good Omens blew my mind, but with a few exceptions, the fanfiction hasn't impressed me much. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places? Any recommendations?
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 10:46 am (UTC)
Something Wicked - oh, I love that short story! It's been years since I last read it. I think I'll go to the trouble of tracking it down again...

As for GO fic, this journal's absolutely full of it - as is the collaboration community that I've got going with artist linnpuzzle - puzzlebleuink (and if you've already tried my fic and it's done nothing for you? tell me, because I really do want to know what's working and what's not!) And for as much as I write, my list of favorite authors is quite small. I'd check out the works of louiselux and daegaer if I were you, and stjamespark is less of a slog than lower_tadfield.
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[User Picture]From: haliyah
2008-11-14 06:33 am (UTC)
Oooh...what a lovely, interesting, and introspective post. Truly, never have I been faced with the question - why do I call certain fandoms home?

There are many things which draw me to source material, and, thus, their fandoms - clever writing, humorous overtones, a few dashes of angst, good drama - but mostly, it's the characters, and how they interact with each other and the world around them. I'll often enjoy media, but it's extremely rare that the worlds or characters insert themselves deeply enough into my heart to become permanent residents, or even brief fancies. To date, there has only been five fandoms that I've been a part of for any great while: Sonic the Hedgehog (the comics, not the games), LOTR, Harry Potter, Stargate Atlantis, and Hot Fuzz. For a fandom to truly insinuate itself into my life and my being, it has to have stories yet to be told, and characters worth writing.

In each case, I've been inspired enough by said fandoms to produce fan material, be it written or drawn. I'm no longer part of the former three, but I have a feeling my love for Atlantis and Hot Fuzz will last for most of my adult life.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 10:48 am (UTC)
I have so many friends who are into SGA, and from what I hear, I can understand (in theory) its draw. There are probably a lot of fandoms out there that I'd buy hook, line, and sinker, but I just barely manage to find time for the ones I do stumble across on my own as it is!
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[User Picture]From: miss_morland
2008-11-14 11:15 am (UTC)
What a thoughtful, interesting post.:-)

I've only been active as a writer for about a year, but I've read fanfic longer than that, so I know a little about the way fandom love will come and go. For example, I discovered fanfic through HP, but these days I rarely read in that fandom, except when it shows up on my friends list. (However, I mostly write in HP, but that's not because I think the books are all that brilliant - rather, I'm a lot more wary of writing fic based on source material which I adore, because I'm afraid I can't do it justice!)

Btw, I've bookmarked your latest Hot Fuzz fic and I'm looking forward to reading it this weekend. :-)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-14 11:17 am (UTC)
I probably get too emotionally involved, you know? Then again, I don't think I'm capable of preventing myself from doing so. I jump off cliffs. That's just my way.

(Aw, thanks - I hope you enjoy it, in any case!)
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[User Picture]From: ida_pea
2008-11-14 11:07 pm (UTC)
And I can't walk the streets of London without my favorite angel and demon somewhere near Aw. This doesn't surprise me at all. It's been quite a while for me since I was actively involved in a fandom. I'd love to fall for one again. But Good Omens was a big one for me, obviously. And you should know that your contributions to said fandom are just as much a part of that world for me now as the source material itself...they're interwoven, as far as I'm concerned, and all the better for it. I was quite into HP fandom before I became so disenchanted with books six and seven. Boo on JKR. And before that was LOTR. Oh, and Will from His Dark Materials is always in the back of my mind lately. He's such a dark horse, especially for someone so young. :)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-11-15 10:49 am (UTC)
JKR turned me off at book six, although I read seven (and was pretty sorry I did). I had wanted so badly to love it all, I really had. Remus/Sirius are the pairing that got away.

For some reason, HDM is so bloody perfect that I don't think I could come close to touching it. Then again, I'm planning a re-read, and I may change my mind about that.
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