I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I have a bookmarks folder called “Stuff to Check” that I open pretty well every time I open my browser, which is a few times a day (and way more on weekends). One of the bookmarks in that folder is a fanfiction.net search for stories about Saitou and Sano, and another is an Ao3 search for the Saitou & Sano pairing tag. The result of this is that I check the biggest general fanfiction sites on the internet multiple times a day for new fic about a dead pairing that never has new fic.

OK, well, occasionally there is new fic about them, but… well, let’s not be unkind. The point of all this is to say that the other day there was suddenly a new good fic about them on Ao3: Paper Hearts by plaidshirtjimkirk.

Of course I immediately had to decide how to handle in-progress fics in AEL’s, because that’s not something that’s ever come up before (on account of my not reading in-progress fics BUT I’M WILLING IF IT’S ABOUT SAITOU AND SANO), and I figure I’ll wait until it’s finished to log it in one of those. But I had to mention it here because of the inevitable effect new, good Saitou & Sano content has on me. I mean, we’ve been through this before, but not, I think, since before I started writing Productivity Logs. (Yep, in fact, my very first PL happened, like, a month and a half after the last time new, good Saitou & Sano content appeared.)

So, yeah, I got super excited. I’ve pretty well been freaking out all weekend and watching the view count go up on that new story. That excitement even helped with getting my HR chapter finished where I was sure it was going to take until next weekend to do so (more on that in a bit), and also, as usual in this situation, I started serious work on another, shorter story about Saitou and Sano. That is…

Naked Rooftops — Technically this has been a working title (short of that, even; it was really just the file name) ever since I thought this idea up many years ago, but I’m finding I like it more and more as the story’s actual title, so it may stay. There’s a possibility it won’t, but the level of attachment I have to it at this point is practically a guarantee XD

So, yes, I thought of this idea years ago (I don’t even know how many; more than eight, at least) and took notes and stowed them away as I do whenever I think of a promising idea. But obviously it wasn’t promising enough to work on for almost a decade XD The problem, I believe, was just that it wasn’t a very organized idea. But when I got so excited on Saturday, I organdized it right up, got the whole thing summarized in pretty good detail (and divided into the sections I want it to have), and even started in on the actual writing.

It’s a short piece — not vignette short, but definitely one-shot short — but that’s ideal, since not only do I want to avoid starting any longer stories (with the exception of Communication Skill if that gets off the ground) until I finish at least one of the three in progress, I also should be writing more vignettes and one-shots in the middle of working on longer stuff — as I used to do all the time!

Anyway, this story is set in that alternate timeline I’ve become so fond of where Zanza meets Saitou before he ever meets Kenshin, and Zanza and Saitou spend the entire story naked. Hmm, the way I worded that kindof implies that “Zanza and Saitou spend the entire story naked” is part of the alternate timeline — which would be a hilariously specific alternate timeline for me to become so fond of. This is not, in fact, the case, though I suppose, if there were a whole bunch of stories in which Zanza meets Saitou before he ever meets Kenshin and they’re both naked the whole time, I wouldn’t really be able to object.

And now I’ve spent as many words talking about the story (without really saying much) as the story will probably be long XD Well, that’s an exaggeration, but I should really wrap this up. Much thanks to plaidshirtjimkirk for writing good stuff and getting me so enthused!

TLY — Still working on a scene here that is tricky and not the most fun thing in the world to write. I’m excited to get my main character home, though, because some repercussions of this tricky scene are, I think, going to be very interesting. A certain symbolic sub-theme I hadn’t really noticed before is becoming more evident at this point, and I definitely like it; now that I’m conscious of it, I can deliberately work its development in in future. That’s nice.


Heretic’s Reward chapter 23 and interlude — Despite the fact that Sano and Hajime won’t reunite until chapter 27 (by the current layout), my Saitou & Sano excitement definitely carried over to Sunday and working on this story. As I mentioned above, I really didn’t think I’d have this chapter finished this weekend… but I was so energized about anything having to do with this couple that I not only reached linear completion, I edited and recording-edited this chapter all in one day.

Hey, guess what! I’ve got a cold! Can you believe it??? I had no idea how hoarse I was until I did the recording-edit. Sano’s voice in particular gave me a really hard time. This doesn’t matter much in the long run, on account of the recordings for this story existing solely for editing purposes… if I ever want to make an actual recording for it, I’ll reread the whole thing.

Anyway. The chapter as a whole turned out (at least to me) less boring than I’d feared, what with Chou appearing and Sano’s very evident (hopefully, to the reader) growing love and respect for Hajime. Next chapter will be more of each, though it’s mostly information from Katsu about what’s been going on in Elotica whilst Sano was hiding out after the assassination attempts.

I was glad to post the interlude too. I don’t even know how many years ago I wrote that thing, but fortunately it didn’t need much tweaking to be post-ready. Will there ever be another interlude? I honestly can’t say. I explained last time why they’re outdated and irrelevant… there are a few more started, but whether I’ll ever feel the need to finish them is a matter of question. The story seems imbalanced having so many near the beginning and then none in its second half, but such may be destiny.

Oh, I also (as anyone that read the chapter and the interlude may have noticed) moved all the HR-related pictures (except the one of Hajime and Sano about to make out, which has to be a standalone because of reasons, and three portraits of characters that haven’t appeared in person in the story yet) from solo posts to inside chapters. I think it’s better organization.

Nine Decades — Another big thanks needs to go out to Sharon, who cheered me way up last week (after my fairly lengthy period of discouragement) by expressing interest in this collection. It’s amazing what positive words from a single person can do! Thanks, Sharon!!

So the 80’s story has reached linear completion, and a reiteration of how bitter and sad a lot of this is. That particular story is, I think, cute and funny all the way up until the end, where we get dragged back to the fact that Duo is a helpless doll. Anyway, I moved on to writing the 90’s story after that instead of editing, since I was doing my WoW thing and new writing works a lot better than editing in a separate window from WoW.

These stories often tie subtly in to things mentioned in other HoH stories, but none of them are events Duo has ever directly referenced; i.e., the question raised in Plastic 51 of why Duo knows about safe words (when he isn’t familiar with so many other, more everyday things) will be answered, but things like Duo’s three years in a doll stand in a guest room (mentioned in the same part) or the serial killer/police Barbies scenario (mentioned in Confy 39) are not included. I like things to tie in, but I figure Duo had so many experiences as a doll that it would be a waste of storytelling to hit on any of them more than once.

So this weekend has been extremely productive, which is greatly pleasing unto the me. Here’s hoping this keeps up!