Commonly referred to as "Five Things" and sometimes "Five Times", this is a fanfiction or other fanwork structured in six small "scenes" with an event happening in the first five scenes and then either not happening or happening differently in the last. There are also some works that use different numbers, like three things or ten things.
The title usually follows the pattern of "Five times (event happens) and one time (event either doesn't happen or variation on event happens)" in an example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This trope occurs most often in romantic fics, where common titles include "Five times [x] kissed [x] and one time [x] kissed back" or "Five times [x] said 'I love you' and one time he didn't need to."
The earliest predecessor to this is a 1981 Star Wars fanfic called Four Preludes, and One Short Epilogue on Han Solo or After the Empire Struck Back by Marcia Brin. The format as its currently known began in the Smallville fandom circa 2001. A writer called "Basingstoke" wrote Five Things That Aren't True, which caused other similar stories to be created.
Fanlore discusses this fic style here.
- My Hero Academia:
- Dry Eye And Other Things That Burn by hakuraimaru follows "4+1" format: "Four times Aizawa helps his kids, and one time they get him back"
- Sing Sing (Lovin' You) by ModernArt2012 is about five times Hizashi sang about his feelings for Shouta, while "+1" bit has Shouta sing for Hizashi about his own feelings.
- Cinderella: Five Things The Baker Taught Anastasia, and One Thing They Learnt Together is a fanfic about how Anastasia's relationship with the Baker affects her recovery over her abusive childhood.
- Person of Interest:
- Five Times Harold and John Died Together (and One Time They Lived Together) by Disposal Unit is a very dark variant, with each chapter named after the type of damage done (which results in the death of both characters in all but the final chapter, which has a happy ending).
- Five Times Finch Compared Reese To Dillinger adds the "...and one time he didn't" part in the description. The fic puts some canon interactions in context of what Dillinger might've done to make Finch so suspicious of Reese.
- Five times Harold sang to John by talkingtothesky is an example of the version without the +1. It uses lyrics from six different songs within five mini chapters.
- a very private person by nowrunalong leaves the 5+1 note in the description: "Five times Finch avoids Reese's questions, and one time he doesn't." As is typical of the show, Reese tries to get information about Finch's past and his preferences, but Finch repeatedly evades the attempts.
- Horatio Hornblower:
- "Five Times Somebody Noticed Horatio and Archie Were a Couple (And One Time Nobody Did)": Fairly self-explanatory title. This one is a shipping fic with slash pairing Hornblower/Kennedy.
- "Five Times Horatio Looked After Archie (And One Time Archie Returned the Favor)": Caretaker Reversal fic.
- "Five things that never happened to Archie Kennedy": 5 alternate reality and/or fanon discontinuity fics. The "plus one" fic is missing. Some stories are dark and have a downer ending, while some end on a good and hopeful note.
- "Lives And Deaths of Archie Kennedy (Five Things That Never Happened)": Five divergences of Archie's path, moving backwards from point of death in the series. Rather dark divergences.
- Kingdom Hearts: Kiss is a Aerith/Tifa fanfic of this sort. It involves six kisses between them, with the sixth being when Aerith kisses back.
- (Don't) Blink by puppyblue is a set of snippets about Corvo accidentally Blinking somewhere he didnt intend to. Five times he finds himself in unwanted situations, and one time he gets a lucky peaceful moment in a pleasant company.
- oh quiet down, Ive had enough by taywen is about five times various people tried to hit on an asexual Daud, and one time someone asked instead of making assumptions. The fic changes the format a little: the "+1" bit is placed between fourth and fifth regular bits.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Five Times America Forgot His Own Strength by Dear Inconspicuous details five times America accidentally used his superstrength along with one time he remembered he had it (and used it intentionally). Unlike some of these fics, this one has an interwoven plotline where Germany witnesses each accident and attempts to learn why and how America is superhumanly strong.
- Hey Arnold!: Five Times And First is an Arnold/Helga fic about how four times they held hands and the fifth they kissed
- Young Justice:
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Five Times Aang Didn't Propose is an Aang/Katara fic revolving around Aang repeatedly trying to propose to Katara.