Reviews for Till Our Lives Burn Out
InsaneSmirkingRevenge chapter 3 . 1/19
if anything he displays more qualities like that of an empath than some sort of psychic
Phoenix2772 chapter 28 . 4/6/2019
HQ: “I have just finished re-reading this story after many years. Gosh, no wonder it was in my favourites. You took one of my favourite characters, fleshed her out and gave her so much depth and emotion that I couldn't bear to tear my eyes away from the story. “

PH2772: That’s very, very kind of you. I do, a couple of times a month, check the stats on this story and have figured out when it is actually being read and not just “pinged” by a bot somewhere. I did put a lot into the story and hoped that it might connect to a few who read seriously. It’s nice to be reminded that I may have actually succeeded.

HQ: “It is lovely to see a properly written fic about Setsuna, and my god you did a great job in creating a counterpart who actually matches up to her.”

PH2772: It seemed to me that we knew just enough about her, but not too much, so that one could be ‘true’ to the portrayal yet free to experiment. Honestly, if there were some way to do this story without the “OC” it would have been desirable to do so. But it wasn’t. The tale’s complexity, if such it has, arises from the double need of both Hotaru and Setsuna stated in previous responses. The Setsuna part of that required much contrivance because of the sophistication of the character.

HQ: “I was intrigued by the revelation of Chaos being the thing holding her back. How incredibly subtle; I did not see it coming at all, then WHAM, it all suddenly made sense. Great job with that.”

PH2772: I’m glad you thought it was subtle, because that is exactly what I was going for. The danger had to be subtle / sneaky and very grave.

Only a danger that threatened Setsuna at the very core of her being could move her off of the path of duty so central to her life and open up the possibility of new path / oath, and of “someone for her.” She is a very melancholy person, fraught with knowledge, always watching and occasionally forced to act. She bears a fairly unique burden. And this was the one time where she could see the problem or bear the burden alone. The burden had to become the problem, the duty itself had to become the threat and the only solution would be choosing something truly, even difficultly, “Other” than her wonderfully noble, yet insufficient, self. Given the teleological goal of finding “someone for her,” Chaos’s plan to use her own strengths of character against her was a necessary contrivance. And of course, it was necessary that Chaos be the villain in order to connect it all with the finale of the last season.

(Aside: Fun for me was suggesting that Haruka was first to see the possibility - in a general way. This also cued in Michiru, at least unconsciously, who came to realize Haruka’s insight might related to what she had seen in her mirror. Each knew something was up, before anything really was.)

HQ: “Pretty much the only real critique I have is that some of the chapters contain an awful lot of academia. You were working with two (three if you include Hotaru) geniuses with overwhelming amounts of knowledge. The challenge is in portraying that to an audience who is maybe not quite as clever or well versed e.g. in world history. I regret to say I skipped a few of those parts as I found them a bit laborious, and did little to add to the already wonderful story, except clog it up with facts.”

PH2772: Skipping stuff is essential to reading enjoyment. I do it all the time. Sometimes an author mistakes a hobby horse for something that the story truly needs. (Les Miserables, for example.) The only justification for rabbiting on about Rome was to show, rather than merely say, that the OC was “very competent.” At the same time, by connecting it to the kind of meta-history that Hotaru (or Setsuna, in the case of Kuryakin’s lecture at K.O.) thought so deeply about, I had hoped I was adding to the story by hinting at the sorts of thought paths that triggered Hotaru’s mental block. If I failed, well, that’s on me.

That whole bit is one thing I would certainly shorten, probably into bullet points, like the speech the OC gives later. Looking back on it, the story needs at least one comprehensive rewrite and a good editing or three. Sadly, not being an original work, such effort cannot be justified. I am attempting to write something original and it has given me a deep appreciation for how hard it is to build your own stage.

HQ: “I would have loved to experience a little more of the romantic side of their relationship.”

PH2772: I mentioned in one of the review responses that I had considered doing that. Just as I don’t know how I could take this whole story any further without messing it up, so I do not think I can do that either. The problem for me there is that, even as a made-up character, whatever Setsuna might derive from the relationship, I’m not sure it’s describable in her case. Seriously, what does someone like her need / get from a relationship? Is it anything like that of an ordinary person? Dunno. The only thing we know is that this “OC” manages it in part by being (unintentionally) regal, kind, bright and a few other things that remind her of her unrequited love.

HQ: “Another thing I would also love to see is, oddly enough, Kuryakin tutoring Usagi. For some reason, I feel like that would make for an incredible spin-off, and I'd truly enjoy a story where Usagi is more than her usual bimbo-like self.”

PH2772: That could be fun, because, even though the beginning of the story suggests that somewhere down the line Usagi does find her brain, and that the rest of the story suggests the OC may have been instrumental in that, it would probably be a very complicated affair.

Just off the top of my head, I’d go at it this way. Kuryakin seems ideally situated to bell this particular kitten since he, in a few of his offhand responses throughout the story makes it pretty clear he has trod a similar path. I first suggest this in the prologue when the ambassador is “almost teary-eyed with relief” that the royal couple has agreed to his request. Nico had been one of Kuryakin’s teachers and it had been a long, difficult road.

But teaching Funny Bunny would be trickier. Teaching Hotaru was easy because a mind can be educated by discourse. Hotaru is self-motivated and practically educates herself. Teaching Usagi would have to be different because she’s all heart and a heart has to learn by experience, and often by pain, which, if you think about it, is exactly how the show goes. Usagi is also flighty and pleasure-seeking (or, with the bark on, spoiled) so it is always hard for her to stick with things that aren’t immediately gratifying. Something like a boot camp has often been the recourse for such people. I can imagine scenes straight out of My Fair Lady until Kuryakin realizes why he is failing. It would not have been for a lack of patience, kindness or determination on his part. Such he has in spades. But he might have to get tougher on Usagi than he was even willing to do with Hotaru. I’d guess ultimately it would require Kuryakin finding Usagi’s emotional lynch pin; she applies herself only when her friendships are on the line. For example, she only knuckles down to pass high school entrance exams because if she fails her friends will move on without her. IOW, she will be alone and she cannot bear that. Mamoru would probably play a big part in it. In fact, it might come down to him. Perhaps it would even require something irreversibly tragic.

But again, I’m working on something ‘original,’ so it’s just not in the cards.

HQ: “Thank you for taking the time to write this story. I was sad to see it's your only story on this site. You have a great style and I'd love to see more from you. The fact I wrote a review this long is testament to that.”

PH2772: You are very kind to reread it again after all these years. I always appreciated the long reviews because they suggest that I succeeded in telling a story sufficiently worthwhile to elicit such thoughtful responses. A writer cannot ask for more than that.
heatqueen chapter 44 . 4/4/2019
I have just finished re-reading this story after many years. Gosh, no wonder it was in my favourites. You took one of my favourite characters, fleshed her out and gave her so much depth and emotion that I couldn't bear to tear my eyes away from the story. It is lovely to see a properly written fic about Setsuna, and my god you did a great job in creating a counterpart who actually matches up to her. I was intrigued by the revelation of Chaos being the thing holding her back. How incredibly subtle; I did not see it coming at all, then WHAM, it all suddenly made sense. Great job with that.

Pretty much the only real critique I have is that some of the chapters contain an awful lot of academia. You were working with two (three if you include Hotaru) geniuses with overwhelming amounts of knowledge. The challenge is in portraying that to an audience who is maybe not quite as clever or well versed e.g. in world history. I regret to say I skipped a few of those parts as I found them a bit laborious, and did little to add to the already wonderful story, except clog it up with facts.

I would have loved to experience a little more of the romantic side of their relationship. Another thing I would also love to see is, oddly enough, Kuryakin tutoring Usagi. For some reason, I feel like that would make for an incredible spin-off, and I'd truly enjoy a story where Usagi is more than her usual bimbo-like self.

Thank you for taking the time to write this story. I was sad to see it's your only story on this site. You have a great style and I'd love to see more from you. The fact I wrote a review this long is testament to that.
PaulBlay chapter 18 . 8/30/2015
Hey. I'm finding this story fascinating - thanks for putting it out for us to read.

Incidentally, I had a different interpretation of the riddle; a rather silly one perhaps but I thought that you might find it amusing. "Ride double". The idea being that both would-be princes share the same horse and encourage a riderless horse across the finish line before them.

Polyandry for the win ;)
Phoenix2772 chapter 27 . 2/27/2014
Desteni: Love this story. Thank you for writing. I feel like I could say a lot more, but I just don't know how to express it, so that will have to do, for now …

PH2772: You’re very kind to read it again, and with more experience behind you. It's a pleasure to know someone finds the story this worthwhile. I note that you do not have many favorite stories. I am genuinely grateful for all who’ve read the story, but that is especially meaningful to me.

Desteni: This story...I read it some time ago and am returning to it because I honestly believe it's one of the best I've ever read. Something in your message just rings so true, and it's thought provoking. At a point of change in my life I needed this story again. And it's changed! Your edits are fascinating, and I can see that it has more cohesion than before. I feel like I'm reading it fresh again and it's just as wonderful. I can't wait to re-absorb the rest.

PH2772: Message, eh? I am no “guru” nor am I in any way “original.” But I glad you find the story so meaningful.

Ashen Author: I loved that touch with Shingo at the end.

PH2772: Thanks! I had always planned to have a second moment where Hotaru revealed her healing power to Kuryakin (inadvertently, since at the time she didn’t know he could see it when she did that.) That Shingo was the young boy was a spur of the moment thing that was easy to insert. I got the idea from Jon Carp’s humorous story “The Things That Don’t Make Sense.”

Ashen Author: Overall this was an epic, INCREDIBLE story. I cannot stress enough how intelligent, thoughtful, developed, and emotional it was. You handled Setsuna's struggles and Hotaru's attempts perfectly, as well as making a perfect backstory for Kuryakin.

PH2772: You are very kind. Thanks for reading. As I’ve said, if I could have told it without the OC, I would gladly have done so. It would have been shorter too. Ah well. ;)
Desteni chapter 44 . 2/24/2014
Love this story. Thank you for writing. I feel like I could say a lot more, but I just don't know how to express it, so that will have to do, for now.
Desteni chapter 22 . 2/23/2014
This story...I read it some time ago and am returning to it because I honestly believe it's one of the best I've ever read. Something in your message just rings so true, and it's thought provoking. At a point of change in my life I needed this story again. And it's changed! Your edits are fascinating, and I can see that it has more cohesion than before. I feel like I'm reading it fresh again and it's just as wonderful. I can't wait to re-absorb the rest.

Although I admit I'm quite curious, have you written anything else that I can look up? I would follow your writings if there were any others, original, fanfic, or otherwise. You make me ponder the world and myself, and I love reading your work all the more for that.
Ashen Author chapter 44 . 10/31/2013
I loved that touch with Shingo at the end.
Overall this was an epic, INCREDIBLE story. I cannot stress enough how intelligent, thoughtful, developed, and emotional it was. You handled Setsuna's struggles and Hotaru's attempts perfectly, as well as making a perfect backstory for Kuryakin.
Ashen Author chapter 1 . 10/30/2013
Cool beginning. Can't wait to see where this goes.
Phoenix2772 chapter 26 . 7/17/2013
Thank you for reading it again. I put a lot of stuff into it to make it "re-readable." Nice to know someone think it is. :-)
cko2 chapter 3 . 7/17/2013
it been ages since i last read this story. but i did save it cause it was cool.
Phoenix2772 chapter 25 . 6/22/2012
Thank you for reading. The SM fandom seems to have moved on quite a bit, I posted this story at the tail end of it and it's been a few years, so I'm glad to see it still gets a reader now and then.

I did not study history in school but I have been studying it off and on all my life. I have also been fortunate to come across scholars who have not been corrupted by our money-and-ideology-driven Academic Theme Park System (universities, we used to call them ... ;) ) and are still doing serious and untainted work, as well as people who though not professional historians, have quite a good bead on things. In some cases it's just one book, (May's The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire would be a good example.) In another case, it's a graduate student acquaintance of mine who is just super sharp. You have to be on the lookout for this sort of thing, so you have to have a passion to keep you looking through the dry spells.

Thanks again for reading. I hope you can get to the rest of, and enjoy it.
DandelionKing chapter 6 . 6/21/2012
I was already really enjoying this fic. This chapter inspired me to mark it as a favorite.

What I am curious about is what did you study in school. Or, if you were not in school then what was your favorite area of self-study? History? A minor in Physics? *grin* A very fun chapter.
Phoenix2772 chapter 24 . 2/29/2012
EV3: … I thought I might get more out of the ending of the story. The elopement was a bit rushed and unexpected, I suppose I want to read more of Setsuna in love.

PH2772: Rushed and unexpected? Hmmm, yeah, I guess I can see how it would seem that way. In my defense, I saw it as the reasonable consummation of Setsuna's emotional / psychological trajectory. Granted, it looked funny, but “Setsuna in love” is precisely one of things going on throughout the story. She loved Kuryakin the moment she met him (and he her, though both were slow to realize it, its mutuality and its intensity.) Given who she is and the way Chaos - for his/her/its plans - is poisoning her thoughts and feelings, that’s what “Setsuna in love” looks like. (Did you pick up on how it was Chaos trying to "protect" her from the Ravager, just as it was trying to "protect" her from Kuryakin?)

That bit where she’s thinking about the last four months trying to decide when, had things gone differently, she should have told him of her love was, I hope, poignant and a short but satisfying romantic flourish. Once she saw everything clearly, Setsuna was profoundly angry at what Chaos had stolen from her. I may have failed to communicate that sufficiently, but with her so angry and in love, I can imagine she was susceptible to making an extravagant and passionate gesture. As they say, still waters run deep, and once roiled, I thought the elopement appropriate. I have Rei Hino say as much in the epilogue, though in words I hope were appropriate to Rei’s own passionate character.

I also meant to show that Setsuna was, in the end, determined to take NQS's advice and make a clean, decisive break with her past unrequited love. That seems to fit the Outer Senshi mentality as I’ve understood it. I would even say that’s a positive aspect of how they think. Usagi Tsukino might mope about a lost love, as in the second season, but not Setsuna Meioh - except under the influence of Chaos. I’m sure she thought about such things from time to time, but it was OOC for her to do so as much as she did in my story. Haruka’s discussion with Michiru about the consequences of “Chaos returning to everyone’s minds” was foreshadowing that, among other things.

EV3: … and pretty please write a story of Michiru/Haraka? lol.. I am a big fan of the couple and I always read fanfics where they are together so easily without much development...

PH2772: I like the characters of Haruka and Michiru, but other than what I did with them in my story - and they were a pretty big part of it, they are well fleshed out in season three. Since I am a stickler for canon, there’s not much more I could do with them, or for the same reasons, the Inner Planet Senshi. At any rate, it’s time I tried something original.

EV3: Anyway I do LOVE the way you write angst (how Mr. Kruyakin behaved when he's in an unrequited love) … I need some angst (darn it) lol … I think you are a master of angst stories.

PH2772: Thank you, but that’s really not a title I’m gunning for. :) Angst for the mere sake of it is annoying. For me, everything, including characterization, should be about the plot as much as possible. Kuryakin turned his brooding to something better: determination to see his love for Setsuna to whatever end, and more openness toward Hotaru.)

EV3: P.S. Oh and I forgot to mention that I applaud you for mentioning Haruka and Michiru's 'betrayal’ to Setsuna and Hotaru. I was disheartened when NO ONE (in the anime) and amongst fanfic fandom mentioned about that betrayal.

Thank you for putting that in your story!

PH2772: I don’t read much fanfiction actually, and was not aware that no one found that disturbing scene from the last season’s climax worth writing about. That is surprising as it seems to me to be good fodder for a number of possible stories. Perhaps everyone thought, “Hey, that’s just the way the Outer Senshi are,” and had no trouble with it, or even admired the fatalism and ruthlessness of it. True, that is “how they fight” and it is admirable, as well as tragic in the Greek sense, but I did wonder whether they could so separate their civilian from their Senshi personae that it would have no ramifications at all in their personal lives. You have my answer in the story. It does affect them, a little, and for one moment in Hotaru’s life, a lot.

EV3: Now go write more fanfics! D

PH2772: After plowing through all my prolix, I hate to ask you to go any further, but if you can read my responses in the review section, you’ll get more info on what I was thinking when I wrote this. Also, you will see that henceforth I intend to focus my efforts on “original writing.” I really don’t have anything further to say about the Sailor Moon universe, but I did enjoy my visit there.

EV3: Thank you for sharing your story and take care. _

PH2772: Thank you for reading, and for your kind words.
Kaiou Michiru chapter 43 . 2/29/2012
P.S. Oh and I forgot to mention that I applaud you for mentioning Haruka and Michiru's 'betraya'l to Setsuna and Hotaru. I was disheartened when NO ONE (in the anime) and amongst fanfic fandom mentioned about that betrayal.

Thank you for putting that in your story! Now go write more fanfics! D
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