So uh, today got rather long. I know it said three, but I got carried away and ended up with closer to...20. Okay, look, I really like fanfiction :D Full disclosure though, some of these are rather old and I haven't reread them in awhile, but I distinctly remember my younger self loving them. So they're still on here, because they shaped what I enjoy and how I write.
Organized by fandom, but other than that they're not in any particular order. I don't like to rank fics by quality or whatever.
1.) In Spite Of by setosdarkness
Word count: 5429
Summary: Despite Emperor Hakutoku's recent death, since it's Hakuyuu who's ascending to the throne, the Kou Empire's future remains bright.
[OR: the Everybody Lives AU, but Hakuryuu and Judar still fall to depravity]
I just love the concept of this AU, because look: edgy boys are my favorite boys. I first read this in a hotel lobby and refused to get up and move until I finished it, even though I was at an anime convention and absolutely had other places to be XD It's one of the first juhaku fics I read that really stuck with me, and I've reread it a few times since.
2.) Tell Me Where It Hurts by nocturnalboys
Word count: 71,279
Summary: When a fatal accident takes the lives of Hakuryuu's siblings, leaving him as the damaged sole survivor, he isn't sure whether he's grateful or not that they refuse to pass on, their ghosts remaining tied to him. He makes a decision; to leave home, to find peace for all of them. Along the way, he meets someone new, someone who will change him irreversibly... Perhaps for the better.
Warnings: Major character death, trans Judal & Hakuryuu, angst, smut, mentions of abuse
So I love road trips, ghosts, and weird supernatural bullshit, and this has all of that and more. It's very much a coming of age and found family kind of story, and the writing can be a little rough at times, but there's an energy woven through it all that makes it an engaging read.
3.) Runaways (Series) by dragonofeternal
Word count: 23,420 (ongoing)
Summary: Snapshots and moments of Judal and Hakuryuu escaping on the road, where time is measured in shitty roadside attractions and trusting someone you hate is the best way out.
Warnings: Non-explicit sex, minor magical violence
Speaking of road trips...here's some more! :D Written as a series of standalone fics, they work best when read in order (since there is an over-arching plot) and feel like a cool monster/cryptid of the week adventure. It's like all the best parts of Supernatural but with a little more magic and a lot more juhaku.
4.) Kintsugi by dragonofeternal
Word count: 2648
Summary: On the eve of Hakuryuu's departure to war, Judal offers his thoughts on Hakuryuu's new arm.
Warnings: PWP, trans Judal, hand jobs, body worship, clothed sex
This is just some hot fucking porn, and I'm not just saying that because it was written by my wife :D It's good shit if you're into Judal being utterly obsessed with every aspect of Hakuryuu, and especially the most broken parts.
5.) because you could have by lightstep
Word count: 2210
Summary: People say Judal is a monster, but there is very little left of the human boy that was once Hakuryuu.
Warnings: major character death, graphic imagery featuring blood and guts, not romantic sex, unrequited love
I am actually really bad at putting into words why I love this one so much, but I'll try. It's far more angsty than I usually choose to read, but it's done so painfully well. It feels like sadness and violence with a purpose, and then also some fucked up, messy fucking. It explores the darkest ways that Hakuryuu could have turned out, combined with taking Judal's obsession to new depths. The writing is also short, sweet, and utterly gorgeous.
6.) Bedroom Hymns by oiyukis
Word count: 1571
Summary: sweating our confessions / the undone and the divine
Warnings: PWP, rimming, religious undertones (sorta)
Once again, just some really fucking good smut. It somehow turns rimming into another aspect of Judal wanting to worship and touch every bit of Hakuryuu, and it makes the whole thing way hotter than I expected.
7.) It Had to Be You by owlpostagain
Word count: 23,413
Summary: If Sora had paid an ounce of attention, though, he would have realized that he'd been a fool for thinking they were completely wrong. two-shot soriku, rated for language.
Warnings: mentions a previous relationship/breakup
Unapologetically fun and trope-y in all the best ways. The breakup mentioned is the catalyst for the fic but it isn't played for angst or unnecessary drama. There are a lot of good song lyrics through it - I'm a sucker for songfics still, whoops! - and it does a great job of making "we were in love the whole time and someone didn't realize it!!" not seem forced or overdone.
8.) Burning Bridges by A Spot Of Bother
Word count: 57,172 (ongoing)
Summary: AU. Maybe when we're done with endings this can begin. Roxas-centric.
An ongoing fic, first published in 2007, that somehow still updates (albeit sporadically). I'll be honest, I haven't reread it in quite a few years, but I remember it having some very good lines between Roxas & Axel, as well as just being a good read in general.
9.) Twilight by Zed-Azrael
Pairing: Axel/Roxas, Riku/Sora, implied Zexion/Demyx
Word count: 45,595 (abandoned)
Summary: Dreams always result in an awakening, and twilight always fades. What if Roxas had left Twilight Town with Axel?
Warnings: canon-divergence AU
An unfinished, abandoned chaptered fic, but still an amazingly good read. It handles its premise fantastically, and I have some very fond memories of reading new chapters while curled up in my college's library.
10.) Gravity by redwing55
Pairing: Axel/Roxas, Riku/Sora
Word count: 68,763
Summary: When Sora's parents sign him up for a summer climbing camp, he's less than enthusiastic. But with some interesting new friends, and a handsome, infuritating boy to deal with, this week could be more interesting than he thought...
Warnings: modern AU
I know, I know, I'm a little old for teenage summer camp AUs, but this one was long, good, and had a satisfying ending. It's a bit dated and cliched, but in a nostalgic and fun way.
11.) The Embodiment of Emotion by Conjure Lass
Word count: 58,667
Summary: With new lives come the promise of new possibilities. But just because you have a new shining future doesn't necessarily mean everything is going to be perfect. Will Roxas survive it?
Warnings: somewhat questionably plausible smut
Sort of a reincarnation AU, sort of set within canon, it deals with Roxas and Axel finding each other and making it work as different yet the same people. Despite being written during the rush of NaNo, it tells its story well!
12.) Waiting For God Tier by schellibie, t_ZM
Word count: 3003 + images
Summary: You are now playing WAITING FOR GOD TIER. You have DIED.
Warnings: canon-typical depictions of violence
Every time I read this fic, I cry. It just hurts so good and I love it all the more for it. It's sort of an AU, but set within canon as a what-if? type scenario (though I think some of that comes from it being written while Homestuck was still ongoing). The art throughout it adds to the immersive feel of the writing without taking away from it, and there's just the right amount of hope at the end to make the entire heat death of the universe feel uplifting.
13.) Like Forgetting the Words by elwing_alcyone
Word count: 2087
Summary: After the Scratch, Dave (almost) remembers John.
Warnings: canon-typical character death, sadstuck, unhappy ending
I swear not all my Homestuck recs are angst, but there is some good fucking sadstuck out there. This one explores another Dave, from another timeline where he didn't get to have the group of friends he has in the main timeline, and the lingering feelings of wrongness and desire for what could have been. It's another one that hurts so good, and I reread it today because apparently, I wanted to cry at work.
14.) Hemostuck (Series) by roachpatrol, t_ZM
Pairing: Eridan/Karkat, Eridan/Sollux, Karkat/Sollux, various others
Word count: 128,677 + art
Summary: Alternia: where warm blood defines a troll's nobility, cold blood their commonalty, and Her Imperial Luminescence Aradia Megido struggles to keep her people together. Whether or not she can do it before Ascension Day is another thing entirely.
Warnings: graphic depictions of violence, rape/non-con, hemospectrum shift, sexual violence, xenophilia, bloodplay
These fics made me love Eridan, and while that may be a questionable life choice, I still love them. The writing is spot on, the art fits the mood perfectly, and it's just a really fucking good series of fics. There were originally more planned but despite that, the series still got a satisfying and sex-filled ending. Mind the tags and length before diving in!
15.) Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy by Shantih
Pairing: Thief King Bakura/Malik
Word count: 10,590
Summary: Why Speaking Arabic At An Airport Is Actually A Very Good Idea. Malik's going home for the holidays, but this particular transatlantic flight just got a whole lot more interesting...
Warnings: completely non-canonical AU, slightly citrusy if you squint
There aren't a lot of modern AU citrionshipping fics - or at least there weren't in 2011 when I was last regularly reading YGO fics - but that doesn't mean that this one is just good by default. It's laugh out loud funny in places, pokes fun at its own ridiculous scenario, and involves some fantastic snarky banter.
16.) Faust by Ryuujitsu
Pairing: Yami Bakura/Ryou
Word count: 187,420 (abandoned)
Summary: To save his classmate's soul, Bakura Ryou trades in his own and is quickly absorbed into the chaos of the underworld, a household pet of the eccentric fiend who shares his name.
Warnings: violence, demons, questionable consent
An unfinished, abandoned chaptered fic (again sobs I'm sorry), but there's so much of it that's already written that it's worth a read. It's set in an exquisitely conceived high fantasy world with demons and adventure, and Ryou is a grounding spot of normalcy for the reader - at least in the beginning. It's the sort of Demon AU all fandoms wish they had, but rarely do.
17.) The Oath of a Thief by Koi no Soshan
Pairing: Thief King Bakura/Malik, Yami Bakura/Malik
Word count: 8327
Summary: Bakura had always believed that the oath of a thief was meaningless, until he took in a dying sorcerer who swore to return to him...and succeeded.
Warnings: canon-typical violence, some smut
God, this is like if someone looked at my thiefshipping/citronshipping wishlist and wrote a fic based on all my favorite things. Malik is snarky and loyal while demanding Bakura's loyalty in turn, and it's got a nice layer of grittiness to the whole thing.
18.) The Shoebox Project by dorkorific, ladyjaida
Pairing: Remus/Sirius, James/Lily
Word count: N/A
Summary: No proper one found, grabbed something from TV Tropes: The Shoebox Project follows the Marauders from the summer before sixth year through the first year or so of life after Hogwarts.
Warnings: canon-typical violence, not technically complete
One of the most well-known HP fics, I know, but I still love it. It feels like curling up with a warm mug of coffee on a rainy day: safe, comforting, and deliciously inspiring. There characterization is spot on, and I'm a sucker for anything illustrated.
19.) Stealing Harry by copperbadge
Word count: 99,937
Summary: In an alternate universe where Sirius Black never went to Azkaban, Harry divides his life between the Dursleys' house and Mr. Black's bookshop -- until Sirius realises what the Dursleys are doing to him, and takes him away from their care.
Warnings: canon-divergence AU, mentions of child abuse/neglect
Another oldie but goody!! There's a whole series that follows this fic, but if I'm being entirely honest - and I am, since this is my personal rec list - I think the first is the best (and it can easily stand alone). It takes a "what-if?" scenario and fleshes it out into such a deep and rich universe, it barely feels like an AU. Characterizations are spot on, even of children(!), and conversations feel like real people interacting. It's long but a good read, for when you feel like curling up with a good Harry Potter book.
20.) Dracilla by superscar
Word count: 3745
Summary: To escape his father's wrath, Draco disguises himself...as a girl.
Warnings: genderbend (but only temporarily)
Dramione is my actual HP OTP, but since I haven't read HP fic in so long, I can't actually remember what's good or what stands the test of time :T I know I found this one hilarious the many times I read it, and I'm gonna let it finish up my rec list before I lose my mind. It's very trope-y and humorous, and the last line is still funny to me!