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22 February 2009 @ 07:09 pm
189: The Truth Shall Set You Free  
The intoxication set from last time got me thinking about secrets and lies. (And, yes, intoxication is totally linked to telling uncomfortable truths - I think that's alcohol's primary purpose to the human race, and certainly to fan fiction - but that's not what brought it to mind.) For one thing, a lot of the stories I considered for that set would fit in this one, too. Maybe intoxication and secrets and lies are the primary themes of fan fiction? Hard to say.

In any case. Onwards to the recs! (And, hey, for me, this month has been a crazy whirl of recommending. I think I've done three whole sets. I'm setting the world on fire!)

The One Featuring the Cutest Victim of Lies I Think I Have Ever Read About. Most Unpronounceable, Too. Is It Wrong That I Want One? They Grip the Ground, by giddygeek. Torchwood, and you know, if there's not actual cocks waving around, I consider all Torchwood stories gen, since, hey, that's about like canon. (And even with cocks, it could reasonably be an outtake. You can't tell me there aren't cocks all over the place on that set. I won't even believe you.) There's some flirting in this, which is really a pretty redundant thing to say. I mean, I already told you it was Torchwood.

So. Secrets and lies, my friends, and in this case the Torchwood staffers (I think "staffers" is a better term than "orgy participants," but you can make your own call, of course) are lying to a poor, innocent woodland creature. Well, assuming the woodland is from some other planet, and also assuming "poor and innocent" is a term you can apply to something large, irritable, and smelly. But it's the kind of lies I love in this: lies as a weapon! Lies that become truths! In some cases.

And more than that, I love the cheerful, frolicking nature of this story. I've been on something of a Torchwood kick these days, and disturbing themes are emerging. I don't know if it's just the stories I've been reading or what, but they tend to be rather, um, gloomy. These stories give me the feeling that there's a lot of fog in Cardiff. And rain. And people walk in that rain, and it mixes with their tears. And I am all for gloom, but I am also very much a proponent of joy, and this story is pure, shiny joy. Rhinoceroses! That aren't, exactly! Various lies! Frolicking (fully dressed, bizarrely enough)! A happy and g-rated adventure for the Torchwood crew.

Frankly, judging by some of the other things I've read lately, they need it.

The One Featuring John Sheppard's Worst Nightmare. No, Really; It's This and Killing His Own Team. And Maybe Clowns. Everyone Fears Clowns. Or Something Like It, by semivowel. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

I think we can all agree that some secrets and lies are necessary for a happy, functional life. But even more, they're necessary for our characters; some of them construct their entire lives around their secrets. (And then we give them additional extra secrets in fan fiction. Often these secrets involve blowjobs, which at least is a good kind of secret to have.) So the question becomes: what happens when you take the secrets away?

Terrifying things, obviously. And, more to the point, things that would trigger my embarrassment squick. So let me say, right up front: this story does not hit my squick. (And I have an embarrassment squick so exquisitely sensitive that I am currently writhing in horror over the Michael Jackson auction, not just because of the super-creepy (and oddly gilded) nature of the items, but because people are seeing this. He is showing people his creepy, slimy id! OMG ACK. The joke, of course, being that we all already knew about his creepy, slimy id, but still: I am embarrassed for him.) This story is more about - oh, teams, and the things they will do for you, and also how secrets and lies really are very integral to John's existence.

Which isn't to say that the truth serum isn't key. (And, oh, the way this story must look from John's PoV. I will tell you a secret: I actually wrote part of that out. I do that. Really more often than I should.) It's just an awesome use of truth serum, and an awesome, sweet story.

It kind of makes me want to see other truth serum stories, though. Clark on truth serum! LEX on truth serum! Benton Fraser on truth serum, which would give new and horrible meaning to "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," so help us god! Everyone in the entire court of Camelot on truth serum (hide the swords, the axes, and all means of making fire)!

But most of all, I just love and want and cuddle this story. John. Truth serum. No embarrassment. I could not ask for more.

The One That Will Be a Comfort to You the Next Time You Have to Eat with a Serial Killer or a Mother-in-Law or Whatever. It Could Be Worse. You Could Be Dining with the Luthors. Marble, by julad. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

Last time, I talked about how there are certain tags that define a fandom. Secrets and lies, it turns out, defines several fandoms, but Smallville is perhaps supreme among all of them. It's basically secrets wrapped in lies in a delicious betrayal sauce. So I had to look really thoughtfully at basically all my to-rec Smallville stories to pick one.

Except I didn't, actually, have to look that hard. This story was the obvious choice. And not just because it's what amounts to Smallville wish fulfillment for me. See, I know Clark and Lex are destined to end up enemies: plots to take over the world, doomsday machines, lots of paternalistic lectures. Superhero, supervillain - it's right there in the names. But what I really want is a future in which Clark and Lex team up and change everything. Clark has the body and also the unnatural array of superpowers! Lex has the intelligence and the actual sense and also a fairly decent body himself! They were meant to be. And this story gives us a glimpse of what they could do if they didn't let themselves get all distracted by ruling the world. (Or by Lana Lang, god help them both.)

No, the real reason this is the perfect story for this set is that Clark, the king of Truth Issues, talks about his desire to end the secrets and lies. (Superhero, heal thyself.)

(And a side reason for picking this is that it contains one of my top-ten alien coming out scenes in all of Smallville fan fiction. Awesome.)

The One That Proves That You Don't Want a Magician for an Interior Decorator. Caterer, Though? Maybe. Maybe. Onfindan, by astolat. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin.

You may have gathered from the previous story that I have a certain yen for two people taking on the world. This is absolutely true. And if, instead, they choose to take on a series of assorted monsters? That is perfectly fine with me.

Merlin is another fandom that is defined by secrets and lies. It was, you know, kind of set up that way, what with Merlin's famous sorcerousness and Uther's nifty way with an executioner. But in this story, wonderfully and marvelously, the Merlin-coming-out-to-Arthur scene takes place before the story starts. We don't get to hear about it! Instead, the secrets and lies belong to Merlin and Arthur both. Because once you have a magical manservant, it's really hard not to use him. (I think we've all been there. Bertie Wooster, especially, totally understands.)

And once that magical manservant has inadvertently turbo-charged himself (again, these things happen - I accidentally turbo-charged myself way back in seventh grade), keeping the secret becomes really, really challenging. Fortunately, Arthur Pendragon (who I keep desperately wanting to say, "Arthur, King of the Britons," even though I know that would be wrong) is up to the task. And I think I do mean up. Yes.

Magic! Adventure! Sex! Merlin and Arthur, becoming all they can be! This is just like I hope the canon is. (Somebody tell me the canon is just like this. No, really. Lie to me. This is the right set for it.)
 
 
 
Roga: cookiesroga on February 23rd, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
Merlin canon is not as awesome as Onfindan, sadly, but you cannot seriously expect it to live up to something so awesome! However, like in the case of SGA, the fandom more than makes up for it. Seriously. (YAY NEW FANDOM \o/)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
You were supposed to LIE TO ME, roga! You must control this tendency of yours to tell the truth. It can only end in sorrow.

But, yes, new fandom YAY!

Hmmm. Possibly I need a Merlin icon. *considers*
Girlfriend Resplendent Valentineimkalena on February 23rd, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I don't always want to read everything you rec if I don't know the sources, despite loving every minute of the marvelously amusing recs. These, however: I want to read them ALL. *bookmarks*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
*beams* Then my work here is done! (Bonus: there are TWO rhinoceroses in this set. TWO. You can play Hunt the Rhinoceros as you read! *sometimes has a very poor grasp on what tempts people*)
Jo: Squeeanimeartistjo on February 23rd, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
Merlin! Compared to Jeeves!

AHAHAHAHA!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Except Jeeves is actually GOOD at his job. He's probably, like, a relative a Merlin's, and he's all embarrassed because Merlin just does not get how to use his magical abilities for their true purpose: superior service.
(no subject) - animeartistjo on February 23rd, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vito_excalibur on February 24th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on February 23rd, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Actually--and I'm not even lying--it is sort of remarkably like that, except that Arthur doesn't know yet.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yay! *rejoices*
LadyStarlightladystarlightsj on February 23rd, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Okay, three fic sets in a month with a baby under a year old is fantabulous -- don't you forget it!

However, darn you to heck for posting this like thirty seconds before I was going to go to bed! 5 AM comes early!

*goes off to read anyways*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that it will only get worse when he can walk. Already he's mobile, and while that's awesome, he appears to have come equipped with a built-in Danger Detector, except it's broken, because he goes toward the danger instead of away.

But I'm actually doing better with fandom now than I did when I was pregnant. (Gestating: harder work than it seemed at the time, apparently.)

However, darn you to heck for posting this like thirty seconds before I was going to go to bed! 5 AM comes early!

*tries to look abashed and sorry*

*fails utterly*
awkward and potentially life-threatening: jackpocketmouse on February 23rd, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Actually, uh, walking around naked on-set is canon for TW. For both filming and 'we're just that crazy' purposes.

Also: John Barrowman. Man can't keep his pants on on the radio.
09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0: TW jack for obamalaura47 on February 23rd, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
Also: John Barrowman. Man can't keep his pants on on the radio.

not a lie. oh john. :-D
(no subject) - thefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pocketmouse on February 23rd, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fish_echo on February 24th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fish_echo on February 24th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0laura47 on February 23rd, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
Magic! Adventure! Sex! Merlin and Arthur, becoming all they can be! This is just like I hope the canon is. (Somebody tell me the canon is just like this. No, really. Lie to me. This is the right set for it.)

You are a nice lady, so of course it is! exactly!

by the way, i am going to my first baby shower for a friend this weekend, any suggestions for the prefect secret present that no one ever thinks to get? also, all those wonderful onesies, were they handmade, or how? SO CUTE. I have started showing earthling pics and reading excerpts to friends... HIS POWER IS SPREADING
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
You are a nice lady, so of course it is! exactly!

*pleased* This is what I'd hoped to hear!

by the way, i am going to my first baby shower for a friend this weekend, any suggestions for the prefect secret present that no one ever thinks to get? also, all those wonderful onesies, were they handmade, or how? SO CUTE.

The awesome onesies were screen-printed by norah, who has a way with screen printing. (She made one for misspamela's baby that says "Bigger on the inside" with a picture of the TARDIS. I AM STILL JEALOUS.) So I can tell you how to get a screen-printing kit, but probably you will not have time to make them before the shower. (Still! Screen-printing! Always fun!)

The most useful thing anyone gave to me in the pre-baby phase was actually my Maya Wrap, which is a baby carrying device. But I'm not sure you'd want to give it for a shower, because what your friend uses to carry her baby will depend on a) her baby and b) her preference. Some people like Ergos and Baby Bjorns and things. I am more into the cloth type carriers. And a Maya Wrap is pretty expensive for a gift you can't be sure she'll use. (Although their resale value is awesome; they cost almost as much on eBay as they do new.)

The second most useful thing I got was a small wipes carrier, a refillable plastic container with a dispensing slot. We had all these giant vats of wipes, and it never occurred to us that we'd also need a way to carry them around with us. As silly as it sounds, I use that thing all the time and think of the woman who gave it to us every time I do.

The thing that no one gave us that I'll probably make a part of any shower gift I give in the future is batteries. No, seriously, hear me out on this. It's not something cute that people can coo over, but the thing is, baby products take tons of batteries. We're always buying them, and always short. And in the first month or so that the earthling was home, any trip out was really difficult for everyone, but that's when we ended up needing batteries the most, because everything used them: the swing, the vibrating chair, the diaper pail. (And, then, later, the toys. Oh my god do toys use a lot of batteries.) So in the future I'll probably get a bunch of D and AA and maybe some C batteries that I'll toss into any shower gift. The parents-to-be probably won't understand why at the time, but they'll get it later, I bet.

And, finally, if you're looking for something cute as well as useful: Trumpette infant socks. These are the only socks I could find that would stay on the earthling's feet in the first six months of his life. We had a pack of five colors of argyles, and he wore them pretty much constantly for months.

So those are my suggestions! Other parents may have better ideas, though.
(no subject) - laura47 on February 23rd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Vera: reading clarkcopracat on February 23rd, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
It's basically secrets wrapped in lies in a delicious betrayal sauce.

Totally correct in every way. Mmmm, tasty.

I am now intrigued by the idea that Arthur/Merlin = Bertie/Jeeves, just when I was all Arthur/Merlin = fanon!Draco/Harry = Lex/Clark.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Totally correct in every way. Mmmm, tasty.

It's one of my favorite canon recipes!

I am now intrigued by the idea that Arthur/Merlin = Bertie/Jeeves, just when I was all Arthur/Merlin = fanon!Draco/Harry = Lex/Clark.

I like your equation, too! But, yes, Arthur/Merlin = Bertie/Jeeves, except after Merlin has grown up and gotten good at his job.
solar_cat on February 23rd, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Actually.... Okay, Merlin canon is not exactly like that, but it's damn close. I give them another six episodes or so before Merlin and Arthur save the world, get married, and like, adopt small orphan children or something. XD

*embraces her shiny, ultra-gay fandom*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV umbrellathefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
I give them another six episodes or so before Merlin and Arthur save the world, get married, and like, adopt small orphan children or something.

*glee* I appreciate a canon that is constantly threatening to write its own domestic epics before the fan fiction writers even get a chance.

*embraces the shiny right alongside you*
cathalincathalin on February 23rd, 2009 06:53 am (UTC)
I am sticking a note here that does not belong here, because I just saw, omg the flashfic challenge is skeevy Ancients!!! You are a Force of Nature!

And...my brain completely freezes, as it is wont to do when confronted with flashfic challenges. *g*

Still, this is awesome. *ponders*
tried to eat the safe banana: SGA Ronon smilethefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
*rejoices* Yay for cesperanza!

And, yeah, my brain has kind of locked up, too. Still. I'm wondering how the Ancients might take the presence of people without the gene (including Pegasus natives, and you can't tell me they didn't look down extensively on the locals) in Atlantis. Badly, I'm thinking. *ponder ponder*
Rozasharnrozasharn on February 23rd, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
That reminds me---there is an obscure book by Esther Friesner called Druid's Blood that might appeal to Merlin fans. It's not directly Arthurian: it's an alternate-history fantasy in which the Druids used their magic to repel the Roman invasion...and every invasion since then.

Fast-forward to the reign of an analogue to Queen Victoria, ruling a still-quite-Celtic Britain by right of heritage plus ability to wield druidic magic. Suppose there lives in her magic-ruled kingdom an analogue to Sherlock Holmes, solving mysteries by sheer logic, accompanied by his friend the humble country doctor. And structure it as a story of power struggles, loyalties and betrayals, and chapter titles building off Holmes' canonical adventures but leading to entirely original adventures.

I would rate it PG for one scene of non-explicit hetsex. And it has secrets and lies, oh yes.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, that sounds awesome. I am off to see if I can procure a copy!
Annie: TW Happy Ianto by cowboyhdout_there on February 23rd, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
Magic! Adventure! Sex! Merlin and Arthur, becoming all they can be! This is just like I hope the canon is. (Somebody tell me the canon is just like this. No, really. Lie to me. This is the right set for it.)

I refuse to lie, but I can in all honesty state that canon definitely has three of those four aspects. And as for the sex... well, that's what fic is *for*.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on February 23rd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
My friends list: bizarrely honest. But, hey, I will totally take three out of four! (Especially since I don't really trust canon writers to handle sex or romance.)
Suzume Torisuzume_tori on February 23rd, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
What about the epilogue for Onfindan?

( http://www.intimations.org/fanfic/merlin/Onfindan%20Epilogue.html )

It is short, but, could you link to it too? That way it will feel more complete.

Oh my gosh. My O.C.D. is leaking onto the internets >> Uh, feel free to ignore this comment as insanity if you want.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
It's not insanity, and I'm glad you provided the link! I just usually don't link to epilogues and the like, because I figure there's one central story I want to sell, and if people like and it read it they'll read whatever else is available, too. Don't want to dilute the message in the rec! But the comments are an awesome place for links to Bonus Extras.

Thank you!
KRIM: lollerskatesbitter_crimson on February 23rd, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
MERLIN IS EXACTLY LIKE THAT. BUT WITH EVEN MORE ACTUAL SEX.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
EXCELLENT NEWS. MY HEART IS HAPPY. (Presumably Merlin and Arthur are, too.)
mir8lle: wankermir8lle on February 23rd, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)
Uhm, so I have nothing constructive to say about the rec's - but I clicked on the Michael Jackson auction thing and spent half an hour willing my skin to stop crawling. With every gilded statue of small child, something died inside me.
tried to eat the safe banana: OMG RUN!thefourthvine on February 24th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
*holds you tight*

Oh, god, I know. It's horrible. It's - really, there's no piece of fan fiction anywhere on earth that needs warnings as much as that auction. HIS ID. ON DISPLAY. SO NOT WHAT I EVER NEEDED TO SEE.