Reviews for Learning to Breathe
ccase13 chapter 9 . 9/15/2011
This is an amazing story. Cal was a very endearing character even tho he stalked Sam. I was so glad he finally got a full picture of the brothers and found himself.
Prairie City chapter 9 . 1/7/2011
When I finished this story, I sat there for a moment and then thought, ‘that was like a breath of fresh air.’ Unlike many fics in the SPN fandom, this one didn’t make it hard to breath after I was done. Then, of course, I remembered the title, and had a good laugh out of that. But I wanted to say thanks, for such a good read. So...thanks.
Menthol Pixie chapter 9 . 11/12/2009
Wow. Let me tell you, I wasn't too sure about this at the beginning - O/C stuff isn't normally my thing - but I'm so glad I stuck with it. By the end I was really feeling for Cal. Heroic Sam and Dean from an outsiders point of view.

I think I've read all your stories now, and I've loved every one of them. Thanks!
Alyssa Halliwell chapter 9 . 8/17/2009
I really liked this, I was a bit iffy at first, wasn't really sure what to expect with Cal, but I soon got into it.

I really liked Cal, and his whole journey throughout, particularly his ending. I thought his connection/fascination with Sam was very interesting, as was his interpretations of the brothers and their actions.
Silwyna chapter 9 . 4/19/2009
This is an amazing story, a very unique way to tell us about Sam and Dean. I love Cal's view of them, the story was interesting and I really liked Cal's character. Awesome job!
tea candles chapter 3 . 3/14/2009
I just started reading your story, and I must stop here and say wow. You've blown me away. I love the way you've set this up, and this chapter in particular is just spectacular.
irismay42 chapter 9 . 3/6/2009
Fabulous ending to a fabulous story! I've loved every minute of this. The outsider POV was brilliantly executed, and you chose an unusual 'hero' in Cal who really was perfect for the role. Choosing a gay man was a good way of putting someone in there whose feelings could be as mixed up as Cal's were about Sam - kindred spirit, would-be friend, as well as a little romantic interest, even though he continually denied it and knew Sam would never reciprocate - without being accused of putting a Mary Sue in there! (Sad, but that's the way most female OCs are regarded in this fandom!) So a little stroke of genius there I think!

I loved the subdued but positive ending too - that Cal realised he could help other people who'd been in his situation in a different but just as important way as Sam and Dean did.

Great stuff, well done! (And sorry it took me so long to read it!)
irismay42 chapter 8 . 3/5/2009
Yay! Sammy's not dead!

I really like how you've gradually made Dean and Cal accept and kind of respect each other here - and I loved Cal's concern when informing an obviously conscious Sam that he had no pulse! I thought for one minute there you were going to do a Sixth Sense on us and make Cal a ghostie!
irismay42 chapter 7 . 3/4/2009
Loved how you kind of made Cal the Substitute Sammy here - kind of filling Sam's role in calming Sarah down and taking care of her. Interesting that he may have realised it's not being WITH Sam that makes him feel he has a reason for living, but rather being LIKE Sam...
Von chapter 9 . 3/4/2009
Outstanding. Outside looking in in a really engaging and surprising way.
irismay42 chapter 6 . 3/3/2009
Another great chapter! I really love the understanding Dean and Cal have come to, and Dean's gradual realisation that Cal isn't responsible for Sam being missing, but might be able to help him find him. You've really taken this story in a direction I wasn't anticipating!
bhoney chapter 9 . 3/3/2009
I just realized I'd never come back to leave a review for the epilogue of this. Sorry about that.

I really liked that Cal finally got to see this side of Dean: "...he also exuded a level of peace and calm that had been absent every other time Cal had seen him. One that made all Sam’s defences and devotion make sense, and caused Cal to regret some of his more bitter thoughts and words."

This is quite a switch from Cal's earlier thinking that because Sam had saved his life, he owed him emotional saving too: "Because he had saved Sam’s life, and he had intentionally done so, but that didn’t mean he owed Sam anything. It didn’t mean there was more for him to do." Shows a new perspective and understanding on Cal's part.

I was kinda proud of Cal here (which, considering I didn't like him much at the beginning of the fic, is saying a LOT): "If he wasn’t needed here, he had no reason to stay. No reason to ever see Sam again. It should have been liberating; he wanted it to be, but it was still as terrifying a prospect as it had ever been. Knowing his dependence wasn’t healthy didn’t mean he could snap his fingers and stop needing what Sam represented. But he was an emotional crutch, and it was long past time Cal learnt how to walk alone."

Nice insight into Cal's growth: "The world was full of people that needed someone to talk to; Cal had learnt to see that, and had learnt to listen."

This made me giggle: “You sure?” Dean questioned. “There might be a job going here, stalking Sam. As a security device. Just until I’ve saved up enough to get him micro-chipped like a dog.”

“Hey! ’m right here.” Sam spoke up indignantly.

LOL

And the ending of this-Cal leaving, knowing they'd cover their tracks better and he'd likely never see them again, not taking Sam's new number, not knowing what he was going to do with his life...it left me feeling really melancholy. It was very bittersweet. Cal grew up a lot here, and learned to live with his grief, and yet...I hate goodbyes. And you did a phenomenal job of bringing me around to a point where I'm kinda sad to see Cal go, and know we'll never know what happens to him. I mean, it's definitely good that he's standing on his own, but...it still leaves me feeling really melancholy. Like saying goodbye to a friend.

Really well-written fic, intriguing premise, insightful, and well-executed. Good job!
irismay42 chapter 5 . 3/2/2009
Ooh I so wasn't expecting that twist! So now Dean has to work with Cal to find Sam? Oh wow, talk about personality clash! I hope Cal manages to convince Dean that his intentions are honourable. Oh and that Sam's okay!

I really liked how you referred to Sam and Dean as coming 'as a set'. I think that even applies in season 4 to some extent!
Rat chapter 9 . 3/1/2009
Great story, I love your Cal, and the outsiders view you take in the story. Poor Sam! (love the whump) Great story with a lot of layers!
Phx chapter 9 . 2/27/2009
that was an unexpected treat. I have to admit I was a bit wary a story written by an outsider POV. I was worried that the things I love about Sam and Dean would be a bit lost in the outsider perception. That and I was worried about the character being a mary sue and going on and on about how wonderful and good looking Dean was. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I met and got to know Cal.

I will admit I was a bit confused on the chapter where Cal was following the brothers by what was happening. But by the third read, I figured I'd figured it out, lol!

And then I just totally inahled the rest the story, totally sucked in when Cal made things worse by so misunderstanding what was going on at the bar and then on to Sam's abduction.

Totally loved and enjoyed the story. My favorite part was when Cal realized why Dean had been so desperate to get Sam out of that room, only then realizing because it was a freezer.

Excellent story!
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