thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Those of you who were on the earthling filter way back when he was still leasing space in my body may remember that I suffer from a very severe case of Familial Lyrics Disorder, as did my father and my grandmother before me. (Some of our incorrect songs have been handed down through three generations!) It's not just that I mishear and misremember lyrics, it's that my brain hardwires the wrong things in and will not admit any correction. (It's worse with traditional songs that you mostly sing rather than hear. Never sing these with me. Ever.)

So. Recently, thanks to a certain Star Trek: TOS YouTube vid, I have been listening to Justin Timberlake's Sexyback from time to time. And. Well. There's a portion of the lyrics that goes like this (and I am copying these from a lyrics site, because god knows you shouldn't trust my brain on this one):

Come here girl
Go ahead, be gone with it
Come to the back
Go ahead, be gone with it
Go ahead, be gone with it
Drinks on me
Go ahead, be gone with it
Let me see what you're working with
Go ahead, be gone with it
Look at those hips
Go ahead, be gone with it
You make me smile
Go ahead, be gone with it

...And then my brain just INSISTS that the next line is:

Julia Child
Go ahead, be gone with it

Now. Best Beloved (and the aforementioned lyrics site) has pointed out to me many times that he is actually saying GO AHEAD, child, but my brain of course cannot possibly believe this. Every time I hear the song, I find myself singing about Julia Child.

Which means that my brain now believes it to be canon that Julia Child is pretty much Justin Timberlake's ideal woman. (He tells her to get her sexy on!) It just does. Nothing can convince it otherwise. And so I will be driving in my car and thinking about how sad their true love is, what with her being married and, you know, dead and stuff. I picture him secretly owning the complete Julia Child collection, including the extremely rare early public access shows, and saying to his bandmates (and I don't even remember which band he's from, which I know will get me soundly scorned in fandom, but probably not nearly as much as pairing Justin Timberlake with Julia Child), "No, guys, go ahead, I have - uh, some stuff I need to do here."

And then he puts on a DVD - ooo, forcemeat! - and sighs wistfully at the screen, thinking, Man, they don't make them like this anymore. And then later he does a perfect Julia Child imitation, and everyone laughs, and he smiles too, but inside he's dying, of course.

A long time ago (11 internet millennia), Bone told me that sooner or later, I'd find the RPF fandom that would drag me in. I considered it a promise. Ever since then, I have tried to read one story in every RPF fandom that came down the pike, always hoping that this would be the magical one that broke whatever it is in my brain that can't deal with RPF. And now I'm afraid I have, and the fandom in question is Justin Timberlake/Julia Child. I mean, what if this is the only RPF pairing my brain will ever accept? It's too weird even for Yuletide! No one else anywhere is interested in this pairing! It's just me and my defective brain!

It's very sad. And yet I experience such joy every time I hear Justin Timberlake say "look at those hips" and my brain pictures Julia Child. (Try it! You'll like it!) So really I have no regrets.

Now. Obviously, with a lead in like that, I have no choice but to offer you rare pairings. (And I would offer you Justin Timberlake/Julia Child, but unfortunately the entire archive is located in my head.)

The One That Features Very Serious Neckcloth Hurt/Comfort. Ascots and Ties May Wish to Skip This One. Clean Linen, by [personal profile] cimorene. Georgette Heyer novels, Claud Darracott/Felix Hethersett. (And, yes, even if you have read every Heyer novel ever, you may be sort of groping through your mind for who these people are. That's why they are a rare pairing! (Which I just almost wrote as rairing. OH GOD NO.) And if you've never read any Heyer, you may be thinking you shouldn't read this. Go right ahead! You don't need to know the canon, and it will allow you to see if you like Heyer's style, since this is basically Heyer, but with gay sex.)

So. One of the weird things about Heyer for me is that - okay, sometimes, reading older books, I have the sense that the author is sneaking gay people into the margins - leaving clues for people who know but not saying anything so as not to scare the horses. And generally I assume I'm right. I suspect Dorothy Sayers was really doing that, for example. But with Heyer I know I can't be. I learned this from one of her detective novels, which features a canonically gay character. Heyer was not the woman you wanted to be writing those, turns out. Her coded-as-gay characters are much, much more realistic than her ham-handed attempt to write an actual gay man. Also, she appears to have believed, in all seriousness, that homosexuality could be caused by childhood asthma. (Wait - I had childhood asthma! And I'm a lesbian! SHE WAS ON TO SOMETHING, PEOPLE.)

And yet. With so many of her male characters - often including the ones who end up, you know, married and all that - she seems to be standing on a rooftop shrieking, "GAAAAAAAAY. They are ALL GAY. MY MALE CHARACTERS LOVVVVVVE COCK!"

Cimorene appears to have been hearing something similar. And, wow, she does this up right. She gives the character an actual gay life, appropriate to the times and the country in question, in addition to Heyer's apparently unconsciously inserted (but nonetheless very clear) desire for cock.

So, here are the reasons to read this story:
  1. A secret gay Regency lifestyle!
  2. Hijinks and shenanigans!
  3. It's awesome!
  4. It's like it was written by a Georgette Heyer who owned her intense interest in gay men. So, basically, a healthier, happier Heyer. Who doesn't want that?

The One That Suggests That the Holidays Will Be More Interesting Than Ever in the Kirk Household This Year. Common Bond, by florahart. Star Trek Reboot (with TOS references, as one does). Winona Kirk/Sarek.

For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, it took a lot of temptation on the part of fan fiction writers before I could face up to reading Winona Kirk stories. (It will not surprise you to hear that this story was my gateway drug.) But I've started to love stories about her. Partly that's just because it's really rare in any canon to see the mother of a hero treated like a person. (Her most typical role is as a gravestone, and in any case, she exists primarily to give him interesting issues. Which is perfectly fine; that's the price you pay for having a hero, lady! Next time, have an accountant. They probably remember their mothers' birthdays.) And partly it's because I love the things authors in this fandom do with her, and how she, more often than George, gets to be the source of the Kirkiness in Jim's gene pool. (I firmly believe she was, even if in the movie all she really did was, you know, the actual action of becoming a mother.)

But this story is unusual even among the Winona Kirk stories, because it's about her in the canon now, as opposed to when she was young and crazy. (And I think the entire fandom is in agreement that to produce someone like James Tiberius Kirk, you probably have to be crazy.) This is an incredibly rare beast in fan fiction: it is a story about romance between adults.

In this story, Sarek and Winona both have jobs and grown-up (if only in the numerical sense) kids, and they've both had relationships before. And I don't mean "She'd been married before, of course, but she realized as she gazed into his eyes - sorry, I probably mean searing cerulean orbs - that she had never truly known what love was before this moment." I mean, I love a true first time as much as the next girl - more, actually, in most cases - but it is so refreshing to me that this first time isn't First Love or Best Love, it's just, you know, the first time for Sarek and Winona. They don't sit around ranking their relationships by total trueness of love, with the clear understanding that there can be only one! (Beheading the also-rans is optional. In some cases.) They know what they want and are comfortable with it! Or, you know, are pretty sure wanting is against the teachings of Surak but willing to take it anyway. (Vulcans, in some cases, are starting from well behind the line in the grown-up races.) They're confident in bed! They have to clear their calendars to get to bed! It's just - it's weird, is all. And awesome. I'm not used to reading fan fiction about people who are more mature than I am.

And yet they're not all dignified and shit. I don't even know how [personal profile] florahart did this. It's like they're real people!

The One Featuring a Novel Means of Accomplishing MPreg That Is Really Never Going to Be Popular in Fan Fiction. I Hope. Please God No No NO. Ahras Huitwalassis, by [ profile] frostfire_17. Historical, Mita/Lakan.

This story is a historical gay romance. And the historical site in question - this would not surprise anyone who had ever spent more than about ten minutes with [ profile] frostfire_17, although it's going to come out of left field for everyone else - is Hatti.

Now, possibly you are thinking to yourself, "I don't want to read about Hittites." Possibly you didn't even know Hatti meant Hittites until just a sentence ago. (I didn't, until I started listening to [ profile] frostfire_17. She is extremely compelling on the subject, and after you spend a few hours talking to her, you switch from not really caring at all about Hittites to wondering if you could find an authentic recipe for the thick bread.) But this story is wonderful. I promise you, even if your interest in Hittites is mathematically indistinguishable from zero, you will love this story. For serious. I went into it all, "Hmm. Hittites? Well, Frost is usually reliable, so -" and came out of it thinking that really she should write a whole book series set in this period. (I would read it! Hittite mystery novels, for example, would be excellent.)

It's just - this is incredible. I love the characters, I love the rich details of the setting - there is so much incredible worldbuilding. Which sounds strange to say about a historical period, so perhaps instead I should call it historybuilding. I love the progression of this romance. I basically love everything about the story except that it ends. (Every time I read it, it takes all of my willpower not to send Frost an unhappy email indicating that this story is not over until Mita and Lakan die of extreme old age, in their bed, surrounded by sorrowing great-grandnieces and nephews.)

And if that was not enough: I am not kidding about the MPreg, which you will be relieved to hear is not part of the actual story. It's a myth, and it's a real one, and it proves that fan fiction writers have nothing on the religion builders of old. You need to read this myth. Most of all, you need to read Mita's reaction to the myth, which will be familiar to everyone who has ever, to her astonishment, found herself reading MPreg for the first time.

The One That Proves That Canon Writers Should Not Make a "Secret Swinger" Joke, Unless of Course They Want Us to Take Them up on It. Wear a Moonlit Face, by [personal profile] gloss. DCU Silver Age, Barry Allen/Iris Allen/Bruce Wayne. (Don't worry if you have no idea who some of those people are. I will explain in a moment why you're probably better off that way.)

Comics are hard. Perhaps once upon a time they were light-hearted entertainment for children, but now you need a bank of computers and several dedicated data analysts to be able to figure out what's canon. (The good part about this is that when everything's canon, nothing is. You can pick and choose! Want a character who is at this moment dead to be alive in your story? If he's alive at any point in the canon, you can do that. Want two characters who have never met to fuck? Well, it's not like you can trace anyone's whereabouts through the entire continuity; the continuity doubles back, twists around itself, dives through a wormhole, and explodes, so just pick a time when the character is not actually in a panel. After all, anyone who wants to call you on it is going to need those dedicated data analysts, too.)

I bring all this up for three reasons:
  1. The only Flash I know anything about is Wally West. This story is about Barry Allen, so I went to Wikipedia to try to get myself up to speed (Ha! Oh, I slay myself sometimes) on the character. I'm going to give you the link, but take my advice and do not click until after you've read the story. (It will make a nice aperitif, provided you like your cocktails with gin, bitters, nitroglycerin, and just a hint of LSD.) That page is hysterical, because it's an attempt to summarize and explain something that cannot possibly be understood.
  2. This story does not require you to know any of that shit. Seriously, all you need is in the author's notes and the two panels (or the transcript of them) offered in the story itself.
  3. Everyone should read this story just for those two panels alone. I seriously think comics canon gets so complicated that even the writers don't hear themselves, because I do not know any way to interpret those panels besides the one [personal profile] gloss went with here.
This is a story about Iris, Barry, and Bruce having sex. And I'm using the Flash's and Batman's secret identities - their actual people names - deliberately. This whole story, to me, is about exactly how much a secret identity can fuck you up. (It should be required reading for Pa Kent over in Smallville, who honestly appears to believe that keeping secrets will be heathier for Clark.)

In this story, Barry doesn't fit inside his own skin. Bruce is playing the Asshole Playboy with his customary single-minded dedication. And the thing is - okay, I always have just assumed that Bruce was the three-dimensional equivalent of a cardboard cutout propped in the mansion window. But of course he wouldn't let that happen: Bruce would have a role, and he'd play it perfectly. And I am not at all surprised that he'd be kind of a dick. I cannot imagine Batman ever managing to pull off the role of cuddlebunny.

So what I love about this story is the way it shows what secret identities really mean. Which is, in this case, that Iris Allen is fucking two men who aren't real and aren't exactly there. Seriously, guys, a suggestion: therapy. Also, consider ditching the masks. They are not healthy.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, Bird acquired a friend. I stood at the bathroom window (extensive tests show that this is the best indoor spot for Bird monitoring) for - um, a while - listening to the beauty of interspecies communication.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

I quickly developed a mental image of Friend. Clearly, this was a small, cheerful bird. Possibly he had a dull brown exterior, but underneath was youth and excitement and enthusiasm for all things avian. I pictured him hopping about on the branch as he accompanied Bird.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

Of course, Bird is a dedicated guy. Nothing, but nothing, comes between him and his message. (Which, for the inattentive or forgetful, is: woo.) He has a mind that transcends the mundane; he's got purpose, he's got meaning, he's got soul.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

But as time passed (yes, I was in fact listening the whole time, and I don't want to hear a word about it), Friend began to flag. It's always the way with these youngsters; they start well, but they just don't have the stamina.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
[Pause, as of a rapidly tiring bird summoning the resources for another go.]
Friend: Chee-eeeep.
Bird, sounding encouraging: Woooo. Woo-woo?
Friend, sounding exhausted: Chee-eep.

Standing at the window, listening to this, I said, wistfully: "Their love is so doomed."

And then I realized what I'd just said, and added: "Jesus Christ. I've got to get out of here."

So I came in here to write a recs set, and if it just happens to start with an update on Bird, it's only because I know some of you are very interested in him. Or at least I'm pretending you are, for reasons of personal dignity.

But I do not come empty-handed, even if you don't count the Tale of Bird. Because I also have recs. Rare pairing recs. I mean, given the star-crossed love of Bird and Friend, what else?

(Added note: this weekend, we discovered that there is something that will shut Bird up, and that thing is: garage bands. Specifically, the one garage band belonging to the teenage boy - and please god let him go away to college soon, ideally to a very noise-tolerant state - a few houses down from us. Of course, given that said band's entire repertoire is Limp Bizkit, or rather the first eight bars of a number of Limp Bizkit songs, well - let's just say I won't be begging them to add extra practices or anything. And, yes. I'm not kidding. All Limp Bizkit, all wrong, all Saturday. For two years.)

Best FF in Which Rodney McKay Says Someone Is Smarter Than He Is. Seriously, It's a Moment That Would Totally Go Down in History If It Wasn't Way in the Future. The Big Bang and Everything After, by [ profile] mandysbitch. Stargate: Atlantis x Firefly, Rodney McKay/River Tam. (Yes, I'm recommending Firefly. It's only a crossover!) Most of the time, I just do not get Firefly FF. Like, at all. Apparently, you had to be there for this fandom. But this story fascinated me, and not just because of all the unanswered questions that lurk behind it. Actually, what I loved most about this was the character of River, who was just - really, improbably gripping. I normally hate this character type - the crazy genius, mad because she knows things other people don't. (I'm more of a fan of the grouchy genius. Or, hey, even a reasonable nice one.) Maybe this was different because the story is from River's point of view, so you get a look into her twisted logic. Or it could just be because [ profile] mandysbitch is a highly skilled writer. Because she obviously is; transplanting a character like this is never easy. It's ten times as hard when you're selling a pairing at the same time. Crossover pairings rarely work for me, probably because fan fiction relies, to a certain extent, on an initial buy-in; we go into most stories knowing the characters and being willing to believe they're involved. But authors of crossover pairings (and very rare pairings in general, but it's usually most extreme in crossovers) have to work without that, and that means a lot of fan fiction conventions don't work. But this - this works. I believe this Rodney, though I hurt for him a little, and I believe in this River, even if I've never met her before. Most of all, I believe they'd end up together in the universe of this story. Which you should totally read. Now.

Best FF That Proves That Luthors Are Entirely Too Talented for Their Own Good. Or Anyone Else's. Actually, Make That Especially Anyone Else's. No Quarter, by [ profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Lionel Luthor/Johnathan Kent. (And if you're right now thinking, "You know, there's a reason some pairings are rare," just wait. It gets worse! You'll be thrilled! Or maybe dead from the horror; could go either way.) I've never seen anything of Lionel except in vids. But his body language in those vids is so insinuating, aggressive, and confident that I seriously believe he could seduce anyone, and that's if he wasn't trying. I can't imagine what might happen if he was, but I'm fairly sure the words "total world domination" or possibly "catastrophe on an unprecedented scale" would be involved. And which would depend mostly on his mood that day. His mood in this story, for the record, is pretty much the same one a lion has when chasing a mouse: tolerantly distracted, because the little squeaking thing entertains him. And I totally and completely buy the reason he gives for going after Jonathan, mostly because the characterization in this story is amazing; the first four paragraphs are practically a textbook on Lionel, and most of the rest is a perfect justification for Jonathan. One that I rather like. Because at least in FF, Jonathan comes off as, well. Kind of a dick, sometimes, but mostly just - unclear. Inconsistent. But in this story, he makes a disturbing amount of sense. And I don't just mean the details of what happens here; I mean the dynamics of his relationship with the Luthors, and his behavior in general. Jonathan is so overmatched and outmaneuvered here that - seriously, it's like two different species: Home serpiens and Homo domesticus, and oh my god, no, I did not mean the really bad puns there. Obviously I'd better move on before the excellent Lionel/Jonathan destroys my brain.

Best FF That May Forever Taint Formerly Innocent Childhood Memories. I'm Not Kidding, People; Just Hearing the Pairing List Seems to Cause Permanent Brain Damage in Some People. Sunny Days, by [ profile] hyperfocused. Sports Night x Sesame Street, Dan Rydell/Cookie Monster, Casey McCall/Guy Smilie, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Sometimes the beauty of a rare pairing is just the pure astonishment that anyone managed to carry it off. In this case, it's more like astonishment that anyone looked at this prompt (obviously, it's from [ profile] ithurtsmybrain) and thought, "Yeah, okay. I can do that." (And I didn't even watch Sesame Street, and in fact had to resort to Google at a certain point in the story. I can only imagine what this does to people who actually watched the show.) But, you know, for me, this story works. Obviously there's the whole blue fluffy Muppet thing to get around - and, yes, I know some of you are saying, "You can't 'get around' the Muppet thing! For Christ's sake, which part of 'Muppet' did you not understand?" - but the author plays nicely on Dan's inherent flexibility and his tendency to do completely insane things when jealous, and the story's not so long that your disbelief snaps back, and somehow the Dan/Cookie Monster relationship comes off as...sweet. Sorry; it seems to be the set for puns punishable by death. But, really, it does. Or maybe this is all a sign that I have permanent brain damage. Can't say for sure. But I'm betting there are a couple people out there who are right now ordering CT scans on me, just in case.

Best FF That Makes Me Sing, "If You Were the Only Boy in the World, and It Was the Only Large Improbable City-Like Ancient Construct..." The Man Next Door, by [ profile] saeva and [ profile] verstehen. Stargate: Atlantis: John Sheppard/Atlantis. (Warning: spoilers for episode 2.08, Conversion. For those who do not wish to be spoiled, I have included another John/Atlantis story. See? Everyone's writing John/Atlantis! Why aren't you? You could be one of the very cool kids, here. Also, I warned for this because the episode was so recent. It's an experiment. Anyone who thinks I should keep doing this, please let me know.) So. When you're, you know, down and stuff. You turn to your beloved, and you say, "I am down and stuff. I need chocolate. Or sex." And we all know that Atlantis doesn't have chocolate. And that's about as much as I can say without totally spoiling the story or the episode from whence it came. But, see, this is why John/Atlantis is totally my emergency backup SGA OTP (Their love, as I commented somewhere yesterday, is so genetic. And Ancient. It is a love for all time and all biochemistries!): you cannot get more slashy or more destined to be together than this pairing. Forget Harry/[insert your chosen character here, because I am totally not stupid enough to walk in front of that flamethrower, thanks], people; these two really were made for each other. Now go read about John hurting and Atlantis comforting in a very, um, traditional way, for certain definitions of 'tradition.' Unless you haven't seen SGA 2.08 and you'd rather not be spoiled, in which case go directly to the other story. (Otherwise, read both. When I say "alternate story," what I really mean is "bonus story for most of you, plus an opportunity for me to recommend again in the same fandom, which saves me from yet another impossible decision." I swear, recommending is not for the choice-phobic.)


Best FF That Really Makes You Consider All the Sides of the Phrase, "A Deal with the Devil." Learning to Breathe, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Atlantis. Yet more proof that the John/Atlantis love is beautiful! Except, in this one, totally not. More like vampiric. But I don't mind at all. Sometimes our OTPs have these unhealthy, co-dependent, sucking-pit-of-need kind of relationships. It's just a little more literal in this story, is all. And, oh, the absolute beauty of what I think of as the command code line section of the story, which I have read so many times I now see several additional stories in them, which probably aren't there, but that's the beauty of art, right? We get from it what we bring to it, and whoa. Sorry. Went all Art Appreciation 101 there on you. (Mystifying, because when I took the class, it wasn't touchy-feely at all. It started as this eerily regimented thing like art boot camp, then disintegrated in mid-semester into a showcase for very disturbing videos. And there's a lesson in there for teachers everywhere: when we stopped hearing thoughtful discussions of alchemical symbolism in Marc Chagall's work and started seeing people in desperate need of therapy crucifying themselves on Volkswagens, everyone stayed awake. In some cases for weeks. But the point is: either you get great art or you don't, and if you don't, no amount of lectures will help. But excruciating, unnecessary, exceedingly silly pain is a language everyone speaks. Hurt your students today!) Um. Yes, this is still technically a story summary. But, really, all I have left to say is that this is brilliant, and the last few paragraphs are especially brilliant. And they should also be soothing to those John/Rodney fanciers who don't get the inherent perfection of John/Atlantis.* Although I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't.


*Yes, of course I've got a half-written Rodney/John/Atlantis story. It is the thing to do when you have two overlapping OTPs, after all. Plus, I mean - doesn't everyone?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note: I try not to do two entries in one day, because I figure my entries are long enough in people's friends lists without risking having two of them on the same page. What can I say? I'm bored. And I have this strange accession of energy brought on by sleeping for more than an hour at a time ; suddenly I'm not writing four nonsensical sentences, then heading into the kitchen in search of the caffeinated beverages I threw away when I thought they were causing the insomnia. It clears up all this time for - well, for what? That's the question. This, I guess. But my apologies to those who feel I'm oversharing.)

I love rare pairings. I love stories that stun me with their pairings - what? who'd ever think of writing this? - and then totally sell me on them. It's not an easy thing; I mean, there's a reason Ray/Fraser is more common than Welsh/Dewey (note to the easily alarmed: I've never actually seen a story with that pairing, so stop worrying) (note to the highly suggestible: I'm not sure I want to see a story with that pairing, either, so stop cackling in that scarily evil way) - subtext. It's a lot easier to slash people who have some chemistry. Hell, it's a lot easier to slash people who occupy the same part of the space-time continuum. But when an author finds some hidden gem of subtext or rationale for a pairing no one else would write, well, I want to embrace that author. And then tie her to keyboard and force her to write me stories every day. But I usually refrain from both those things, and I imagine the authors are grateful.

Best FF That Pairs the Two Least Scrutable People in a Whole Universe, Leading to a Relationship That Must Be Like Reading Runes in the Dark. But With Way More Sex. The Undiscovered Country series: Plans, by [ profile] debchan, Sun, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1, and Moon, by The Spike, aka [ profile] spike21. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daniel "Oz" Osbourne/Ethan Rayne. This is one of the very few series I've found with every entry by a different author; it's all the rarer because all the stories are good. (My personal favorite is "Moon," for the world's best look at the unimaginable power and impulsiveness of Ethan Rayne.) And Oz/Ethan isn't a pairing that seems like it would work, especially in a long-term sense - I mean, come on. Ethan Rayne? Committing to something? Committing to someone, and I don't just mean in the show-up-and-torment-him-every-few-years way, but in the here today, here tomorrow way that most of us mean by commitment? Except - if he was ever going to do that, it'd be with someone as deep and unfathomable (and, yes, those are horrible adjectives, but I'm sorry; they just are Oz, and there's nothing I can do about it) as Oz. Oz is never going to get boring, that's for sure, and yet he's reliable and constant. (That makes him sound like Oz Osbourne, the original strange attractor, but let it go.) Um, sorry, the Oz-love is getting a little overwhelming, isn't it? So let me just say this: read these stories, and you'll be able to buy into Oz/Ethan, too.

Best FF That Makes Me Pity a Character I Normally Dislike. And Makes Me Absolutely Despise Her at the Same Time. Which I Think You'll Admit Is Quite a Trick. Covet, by Speranza, ak [ profile] cesperanza.* Due South, Stella Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes. I am not kidding. Speranza has clearly taken the Fan Fiction Writer's Commandments to heart (#8 states that there is no practical difference between love and hate when it comes to writing sex scenes). And this isn't just some random thing where someone thinks of the world's least likely pairing - Dan Rydell/Sally Sasser, say - and writes it, canon be damned. No, this is a totally believable Stella/Fraser pairing, which is one of the stranger sentences I've written today. But slashers, do not fear; this will not hurt you. RayK/Fraser shippers, including the one who shares my bed each night, do not recoil; this will not violate your deeply-held beliefs. And everyone who is looking from the pairing to the fandom and back again and saying, "What the fuck?" loud enough for the person in the next cubicle to look over in surprise, trust me. No, wait, don't bother trusting me; trust Speranza. You won't be sorry.

Best FF That Makes Me Forget All About the Stupidity of Rubber Suits, and Makes the Distant Sound of Squishing Frenchmen Positively Romantic. Springtime in Paris, by [ profile] dijeron. I'm not sure what the fandom is - monster movies, maybe. Godzilla/King Kong. I am quite serious. And so is the author; this isn't played for laughs. When I started reading this, my mind was full of men in bad rubber monster suits tromping on tiny model cities, and I was prepared to giggle; when I was done, I understood for the first time why Peter Jackson wants to remake King Kong. I honestly can't think of any other way to describe this or to explain why you should read it. So instead I'll whine. See, the title makes me think of "Springtime for Hitler" - and, really, I'm not sure why, since there's only the one word in common - and every time I see it I find myself singing that under my breath. Which, OK, but there's a limit to the amount of time I want to spend with my own hideous live version of the soundtrack for "The Producers." Although that does suggest a rare fandom that I need to enter at [ profile], no. The sickness must stop.

Best FF That Accuses Dana Whitaker of Previously Unsuspected Evil - Namely, Love for K. C. and the Sunshine Band, Which I Think Is Punishable by Law in Some Boroughs of New York City. Girls' Night In, by Annie, aka [ profile] out_there. Sports Night, Dana Whitaker/Lisa McCall. (I guess that's Lisa's last name, at least at this point in the canon history.) This story answers an interesting question: how did Casey get Dana in the divorce? I mean, yes, crush, yes, friends, yes, working together - but Dana was Lisa's friend first and longest, and that makes a difference. I would've expected, at the least, a year or two of strained friendship with both sides. But as early as the pilot episode, Dana has made her choice. Or did someone else make it for her? I'm amazed by this story, and the moreso because I have a hard time seeing femslashiness in Dana; she tries so hard to be simultaneously one of the boys and one for the boys that it's tough to imagine her focus switching to girls, even for a night. This story, though, describes a Dana who didn't used to be like that. It's astonishingly well-done and believable. All hail Annie, who saw the femslash potential in a show practically struck blind by the boy love. (Note: so far I have not been required to post a Certified Safe Alternate for SN stories. I suspect, however, that's only because I've never recommended a story that wasn't Danny/Casey and happy-ending-ful. We shall see if death threats and bouts of vicious pouting result from this rec.)

* Many thanks to [ profile] estrella30, for solving the Mystery of the Missing Link (the missing link being me, of course, not the story; the story was there all along, but my brain was MIA) in a timely and soothing fashion.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Every fandom has its big pairings. And if you read this journal, you'll know I'm no opponent of Danny/Casey or Jim/Blair or Sirius/Remus. But I also have an abiding love for stories with rare pairings, or pairings no mortal ever dared to pair before. And I think I can safely say you'll find at least one of each of those in this set.

Best FF Featuring a Powerful Anti-Drug Message; Namely, That If We Spend All Our Time Stoned We Might Fail to Notice Critical Things in Our Environment, Like That One of Our Friends Is Actually Green. Kissable Fanatic, Unhinged Minim Artists, by [ profile] basingstoke. Marvel, Toad/OMC. There are very few pairings involving an original character that I'd put in a rare pairings entry, but I have never before seen Toad in any pairing anywhere ever. He could do nothing but jerk off in a story and I'd consider it a borderline rare pairing, and it's safe to say he goes well beyond that in this one. I actually put off reading this one for weeks because the thought of Toad doing, you know, that - well, it made me want to file taxes early, let's put it that way. But eventually I'd done all the accountancy and scrubbing I could do, and my curiosity got the better of me - and you know what? This is a damn fine story. It isn't squicky, the original character is an actual character, there's a plot - really, what more could anyone want? And if you said, "Someone who isn't green and sticky and whose tongue is less than three feet long would be first on that list," shame on you. Rank prejudice is what that is, and I tell you freely: you'll be the first up against the wall when Magneto takes over. But if you read this now, perhaps they'll be kind to you. So, really, I'm recommending this for your own safety as much as anything.

Best FF That Shows Us What Hides in Your Bedroom Closet After You Learn That All the Demons and Monsters Are Real and Right Outside: Paying Attention, by Lar, aka [ profile] obsessedmuch. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Larry (does Larry have a last name?). Xander/Larry is one of those pairings that should just happen a lot more often. I've actually seen the episode in which Larry outs himself to Xander, and there's definite slash potential in there. I mean, it happens in a locker room. And Xander and Larry have always hated each other, and they've engaged in the manly-yet-moronic art of fighting together, and, honestly, the whole situation is crying out to be slashed. And yet still this is a rare pairing. I guess it's more proof that there is no justice in bed*. Or in slash. But Lar is struggling to redress this tragic deficit. Read this in the name of Slash Equality, if nothing else. Plus, hey, it could well be the only pairing in this set that doesn't make your eyes roll back in your head from horror. That's got to be a plus.

Best FF That Is Totally Based on the Canon Author's Writing and Yet Would Cause Said Author to Burst into Flames Were He to Hear of It, and I Don't Mean the Gay Kind of Flames, Either: Peter in Love, by Tosca, aka [ profile] toscas_kiss. The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pevensie/Aslan. Really. Yes, I'm aware that this sounds even worse than the whole "That stag was a liar" bit in The Silver Chair. Please, don't run screaming yet. I wanted to stab my eyes out and spend decades wandering in the wilderness after I saw the pairing, too. But here's the thing: this story is great, and somehow Tosca manages to evade every single potential squick here, which must have been like doing an slalom. While stoned. And blindfolded. On a frictionless surface. Still not convinced? It isn't explicit, and that should help. So, really, give it a try. (Note: if you don't know how the last book in the Narnia series starts, I'm not sure this will make much sense to you. But, hey, if you don't know how that book starts, you are blessed beyond all measure, so be grateful. And I've never actually read The Last Battle, because I'm still bearing a grudge against C.S. Lewis for writing it, so you can be sure that don't need more than the bare plot outline.)

Best FF That Shows Us That Prison Showers Can Be Dangerous in Novel and Entirely Unanticipated Ways, As Well As the Old Boring Ones: The Color of Straw, by David Hines, aka [ profile] hradzka. D.C. Universe, Scarecrow/Harley Quinn. I know. As if I haven't disturbed you all enough as it is, now I'm recommending het. Again. It's like some horrible disease. But this - this is amazing het. It's got the best damn characterizations I've ever seen in DCU fic involving either of these two - admittedly, that sounds like damning with faint praise, but it's meant as an enthusiastic endorsement; it's just that I'm not so good at showing enthusiasm. And it's so, so right and probable and in canon. And it's even funny. It's also not very explicit, so if you just cannot bear the thought of male and female connectors interacting, so to speak, you can squint your eyes and think of England during that part. (Although you should probably try to avoid thinking about Peter Pevensie in England, especially if you're still feeling jittery about the whole Aslan thing.)


* Anyone who said, "Well, not unless you're sleeping with a judge" is going to be punished. I mean that. Hell, if you so much as thought that, you should be making like Rev. Dimmesdale right now. Have you no shame?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There are pairings we can all agree make sense: Magneto/Xavier, Aubrey/Maturin, Fraser/Kowalski, Jack Sparrow/Anyone At All. And there are pairings that aren't quite as intuitive. I find a lot more of the former, but I have a special love for the latter; a well done strange pairing story often lacks the "same sex, different day" feeling I sometimes get from FF, and it usually says more about the characters.

Best FF That Will Make You Stop Smearing Vitamin E on Your Surgery Scars: Scars, by Sonya, [ profile] virtualinsomnia. X-Men movies, Nightcrawler/Wolverine pre-slash. I have a well-documented problem with visualizing blue people having sex (See also: Beast, Mystique, etc., and why are there so many blue people in the Marvel universe? Did they get a special deal on the ink?), but I really believe I'm making progress. This story, though, didn't trip my issues at all; it's completely non-explicit. It also sounds so wrong and yet makes such sense after you've read it. We value our scars because they're physical memories. Wolverine has lost so much of his memory; isn't it something of an unkind cut that he loses this kind, too? And Nightcrawler doesn't just have scars - he has intentional scars, scars that tell a story, at least to him. I can get the envy, and I can get the attraction. But I couldn't until Sonya pointed the way.

Best FF That Pairs a Brad Pitt Character with a Matt Damon Character and Yet Doesn't Make Me Vomit: Drive, by Jess. Ocean's 11, Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell. We interrupt this nominations set for some intensive whining: why is this fandom not larger? Why why whyeeeeee? In my world, there'd be, um, oceans of Ocean's 11 slash, and it would all be this good. This movie has it all: subtext! Homoeroticism! A lot of men! A totally unconvincing token female character! It's crying out for slash, people! Whine ends. See, I looked at this pairing, and I thought, no. Just - no. Rusty belongs with Danny; apart from anything else, George Clooney and Brad Pitt have so much sexual tension in this movie they might as well have taken out a Massachusetts marriage license. But then I read this story, and I realized that, once again, I had been narrow-minded, and a great FF story had cured me of it. (If this trend continues, I may become the first person to die of excessive open-mindedness. Or the first person ever to cause a matter/antimatter type explosion upon coming into contact with Jesse Helms.)

Best FF Featuring a Fraser Who Is Actually Quick on the Uptake and Yet Still Totally Canadian (No Offense Intended to Our Beloved Northern Friends): Volpe, by Te, [ profile] thete1. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Andreas Volpe. (Note for those who haven't seen the series: Volpe is a real character; I think Te's intertwining this fic's plot with the plot of the episode "Asylum," though don't quote me on that.) Kowalski, yes, belongs with Benton Fraser. But isn't he entitled to more of a sexual history than just the Stella? I mean, come on; we've already got the classic one-woman history in Fraser, and I refuse to believe that Due South exists in a universe where men, on average, have 1.2 sexual partners in their lives. Vecchio's probably been married to more woman than Kowalski's had sex with. (And, tragically, Vecchio's probably been married more often than Fraser's had sex. Period.) That isn't fair at all, and I applaud Te for giving Kowalski a history, and for making it so believable. I also applaud her for not making Fraser clueless; given Victoria, you'd think he'd pick up on sexual, um, mistakes a lot faster than he mostly does in FF.

Best FF That Makes You Want Harry Potter Book Six to Feature a Campaign for Tighter Regulations on Teacher Malfeasance and Immorality, Most Likely Run by Hermione in Her Copious Spare Time: Perquisite and the companion piece Unnatural Acts, by Halrloprillalar, [ profile] prillalar. Harry Potter, Percy/Snape. So. Um. If you like your Snape loving and sweet, or with a hidden heart of gold, or tormented by a secret love, you won't like this story. But, hey, give it a try anyway, 'cause this is excellent. I admit I'm biased - teacher/student pairings, especially the ones that end in true love, usually don't work for me; I can't suspend my disbelief far enough. So I like the way this goes. And I love the way Hal makes a human being of Percy, who is, like so many HP characters, totally two-dimensional in the canon. So read this. But don't expect romance. (This nomination sponsored by Slashers Against Romance and True Love and for Nice Pornographic Sex. I'm not a member, people, so don't complain to me.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
These aren't icky pairings, or false pairings. They're ones I never even considered, yet that somehow work, at least within the context of one story. Obviously, surprising pairings are far more common in fandoms with lots of characters, so these ones come from Harry Potter and comic books.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features a Conversation the Canon Author Has Got to Stop Avoiding: If You're Breathing, by Sandy Justine. Harry Potter, Harry/Neville. Sooner or later, Harry and Neville are going to have to talk about the prophecy; Rowling can't put it off forever. And you know what? When they do, I bet it doesn't go anything like this. But I bet at least a part of me will be thinking that it should. And the best part: Neville's a person in this, not just a stuttering cipher, and yet he's still so totally Neville.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features Something We've All Been Dying to Say Forever: Knight after Night, by Jane St. Clair. (Also check out the sequel, Pulling Your Bat out of the Fire.) The Authority, Jack Hawksmoor/Batman. When Batman shows up in your subconscious to give you lectures, folks, it's well past time you listened. And when those lectures are about repression, it's well past time you got drunk, donned a grass skirt and a top hat, and danced a mambo with a startled librarian on the roof of the county jail. Read these stories even if you've never read The Authority. Read them because Jane St. Clair is a brilliant author. Read them because Batman is so perfectly in character. Read them so you can see Batman say, "Jack, you are the only person left living who thinks my relationship with Robin is platonic."

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features A Painful Lack of Conversation: A Journey in Ten Lies, by switchknife. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Bill Weasley. Yes, you read that right. Bill Weasley. Once the black mists have cleared from your eyes a bit, go read this story, which is not sweet and not nice and so good. This isn't Lupin as I like to imagine him, but the author sure has a handle on grieving and self-delusion.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features Much Giggle-Inducing Dialog, at Least at the Beginning, Though It's Pretty Much Just Moans by the End: Homecoming, by Janete (Jane St. Clair and Te). X-Men comicverse, Iceman/Beast. This is a double whammy for me, because in my mind neither Iceman nor Beast ever has sex. Iceman because he's - well, because he's not only named Bobby but he's exactly the kind of person you'd expect a grown man named Bobby to be. And Beast because he's, you know, furry and nice and smart and wonderful and I love him and it's worse than thinking of Chewbacca having sex. But these two wonderfully evil authors totally sold me on the pairing, and showed me the Beast I like best at the same time.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have never been the kind of person who believes in One True Pairings. If you're prepared to write a story about, say, Maturin/Dillon or Merry/Gandalf, I'm prepared to read it. But some pairings just seem irreparably incorrect to me, like slashing a shower curtain and a non-Euclidean polygon. So I am all the more impressed with these stories, ones that managed to sell me despite the voice in my head screaming "Wrong wrong WRONG."

Best FF That Provides a Total Life Philosophy in Seven Words: Leverage, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow/Will Turner. I suppose it would save us all a lot of time if I just nominated Gloria Mundi for some kind of author of the year award, but I prefer to drag these things out. In "Leverage," Gloria shows us a Will Turner who is both in character and in bed. Until the day, I would not have thought it possible. By the way, the life philosophy contained herein is "Who needs leverage when you've got rum?" Words to live by, people.

Best FF Containing an Actual Elf: The Question, by Belinda, Doom's Eyebrow. (Best author name ever, by the way.) Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Legolas. OK, I admit it. Many of my OFPs contain a character played by Orlando Bloom, possibly because the man has all the sexual magnetism of a My Little Pony playset. It's just impossible for me to picture any of his characters being interested in sex enough to get, you know, dirty and sweaty; to me, they'll always be the types that are far more interested in holding hands and reciting poetry while posing prettily in some exceptionally clean setting. But "The Question" persuaded me, mostly by making Legolas an elf instead of a teen-aged girl, and if I was being mean, I'd point out that that was more than Bloom and Jackson managed to do with any kind of consistency. And I guess I am being mean, but that's OK, because my horoscope says it's a good day for petty-mindedness and squalor.

FF with the Best Damn Magic Ever: Clay, by Kass. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Severus Snape. This story didn't trigger my OFP queasiness because I was so fascinated by the actual story. The kabbalah-based magic used in "Clay" is far more interesting than the actual magic of the HP books. By the time the sex showed up, I wasn't icked out because this was Snape in bed with Harry; I was pissed because all the thrusting was taking space that could've been used for more plot.

Best FF Featuring a Character Named Bobby Having (Ew!) Sex: Overture, by Wax Jism. X-Men movieverse, St. John/Bobby. Before I read this, I didn't want to see more of the annoying movie versions of St. John and Bobby. I didn't even like them in the comic books, to tell the truth. And, just in general, I believe that the name Bobby should be restricted to boys young enough to find trucks and cake frosting more interesting than their own, or anyone else's, genitals. But damn if Wax Jism didn't render me deeply interested in these two. I suspect Wax is actually a superhero herself, with mutant control over smut, fiction, and lumber. I fear she may be using her powers for evil, but I refuse even to try to stop her.


thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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