"Driving Rain" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 25th September 2000 (4)

Now that this is actually finished, I can review it properly. This is an alternative universe story which proposes that Jim meets Blair in a different way. This is unusual for an AU, because it actually feeds itself back into the mainstream version of TS history by the end of it. However this has in common with some other AUs that I've read, where there seems to be a need to make Jim uncharacteristically protective of Blair (that is, more so than Jim would normally be with a stranger) due to the instinctual non-reasoning Sentinel/Guide bond which apparently slips into place as soon as they meet. This story didn't do it to the same degree as some others, but still, since I feel that it's more about friendship than instinct, it doesn't sit easily with me. But I like this anyway, this has got some good scenes, and a very plausible setup. I like seeing the developing relationship, and, yeah, it's fun watching Jim look after Blair. And fun seeing Blair in action, brain humming like a dynamo.

Addendum: nominated for favourite alternate universe story, 2001 Cascade Times Awards

"Fear Factor" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th July 2002 (5)

There are a fair few warnings at the top of this story. There's a "this is my first story" warning (though it is the eighth posted, this was apparently her first written, though I would think that since she finished it off at this late date, it has the benefit of more mature polishing, though the bulk of it is typical of a First Story). There's a "smarm and cliche" warning; and there's certainly plenty of fannon cliches here there and everywhere, from the "trouble magnet" to the "heartbeat" to the "Jim was a loner before he met Blair", to the "Blair never stays in the truck" to the Sentinel/Guide bond, to the "Jim stops breathing if he zones out too long" and one which isn't quite popular enough to be fanon, though it happens fairly often: that Blair has low self-esteem. There's also smarm, though I liked this smarm for the most part, because I do enjoy smarm which happens as an angst-aftermath. (And there was a fair bit of angst here too.) However there was a point when my smarm-overload alarm went off in the epilogue.

There's also an "Anti-Warning" that "this is not a Domestic Discipline story", and, strictly speaking, that is true. From what I know of DD stories, a typical story has Jim punishing Blair (up to and including hitting) and both of them thinking that it is just and fair for Jim to do so, and Blair being grateful for Jim's parental oversight. This story, a sense, is more of an anti-DD story, in that it shows what might happen if Jim were really to do such a thing... with an added twist. That whole thing is what I found compelling, the central mystery of why it actually happened (though the explanation finally given seemed a bit thin to me) and watching Blair trying to cope with the aftermath. It made me remember the most frightening day of my life, and I could really see why Blair reacted that way. However, some people are definitely not going to like this story, either (a) because they can't accept that this would be one possible reaction, feeling that this is character assassination against Blair, or (b) simply because they couldn't bear to read a story in which Jim and Blair are emotionally at odds for a lot of the story; that they can't bear the factors in this story which do make it like a DD story, even though it isn't.

Other things I liked about it; the scene where Jim is trying to be really really calm dealing with an incoherent Blair; the title -- a nice double meaning, because it applies to both Jim and Blair -- and, well, it just reminded me of why I like TS fic.

"Food For Thought" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 30th July 2000 (26)

Not a bad story. I'm not sure of the characterisation this early, but it's plausible. The plot is plausible too - who's to say that Blair didn't lose almost everything in the fire that destroyed the warehouse.

"Lean On Me" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 30th July 2000 (27)

Songfic, of one of my favourite songs. Angst and smarm. I sorta felt it cut off too soon, though. I wanted to know what happened next.

"Unboxing Christmas" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th January 2001 (2)

Another early story showing the developing relationship between Jim and Blair. This story gives one a warm glow. It worked. In someone else's hands, the same events could easily have been over the top, but this managed not to be. We've got misunderstandings, owies, guilt, and reconciliation. Good stuff. The title was very appropriate; I like double meanings.