Zaylor is a polarizing topic in hanfic. If you aren’t into it, you should probably avoid this post. If you are or think you might be, this recs list will provide you with the “essential” fics for this pairing. They may not always be the best, but these are some of the fics that in my opinion define the genre and should be read by everyone.
Believe it or not, Zaylor is not new. The very first Zaylor fics were published on the gay fic site Nifty.org as early as 1998. Many of these were cheesy and not all that appealing, but they were the first exposure to Zaylor that any of us had. One that always sticks out to me, mostly because of its title, is Zac Hanson, Boy Slut.
One of the first authors to bring erotica to the Hanson fandom at large was Candystix and her website The Sweet Shoppe. Her works included nearly all possible pairings. Amongst her “Exotic Delights,” you’ll find several short, smutty Zaylor stories, but she also has a trilogy of slightly longer Zaylor stories that have more of a plot to them.
Ask many fans, and they’ll tell you the first Zaylor they ever read was On My Own by Akimbie. Although it’s far from the most polished writing out there, it is unique in its portrayal of brothers forced apart by their family and dealing with a relationship that should never have happened.
As Zaylor became more and more popular, writers found new ways to bring the brothers together. One from the second “golden age” of hanfic that sticks out to me is Look to the Stars. Leigh and Amy went to extremes — including kidnap and near torture — to bring Zaylor together. The result is so explicit that it isn’t to all fans’ tastes, but it’s strangely sweet.
Perhaps as a reaction to this explicitness, some fans began to write less smutty versions of the two brothers. One of these, the so-called Zaylor Queen, was Kerry. Her first trilogy, Lost Without Each Other covers a lot of angsty territory, as does her more recent and on-going series, As Long As I Come Home To You, which features a reunion story similar to that of On My Own.
In the same chaste vein is Ali. She has written a number of stories that feature Zaylor. One of her first, What If… explores a teenage Zaylor and has a spinoff that features a relationship between Taylor and an original male character. Although unfinished, her story Life Less Ordinary is an interesting take on brothers reunited and features a vision of Seattle that’s almost a character in the story.
Then there’s the opposite side — the backlash against the sweet, chaste stories. Abby is one of the best examples of this, and her debut story Guilt could not be more perfect. It’s smutty, even twisted, and features a wonderfully clueless Taylor. In Praise of the Vulnerable Man is still being republished, but when it is, it will feature an obnoxious and hilarious Zac and yet another take on the reunion trope.
Diamond is similar to Abby in her ability to write the most twisted smut and make it fantastic. Her Avenues series of three stories and lost chapters feature more than just the Zaylor relationship and quite a bit of angst, but have possibly the perfect and most “realistic” versions of Taylor and Zac that I’ve ever read.
Lastly, I have to be a little self-centered. My collab with Amber, Truth is a Whisper, may not be the best story out there, but for whatever reason, it became wildly popular right after its debut and brought a ton of new fans to the genre. For that reason alone, it’s pretty noteworthy.
And because I couldn’t narrow it down enough, here are a few honorable mentions:
*Chia, a Zaylor horror story by Nothing was featured in the last edition of The Taylight Zone.
*Not All Right In That Little Town by Kim Delphi, featured in the first slash edition of The Taylight Zone, is a BDSM themed Zaylor.
Enjoy the Zaylor love!