tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana
thefourthvine

209: Wondrous Strange

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
VIP
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 [dreamwidth.org 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 [dreamwidth.org 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 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 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 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 [dreamwidth.org 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 [dreamwidth.org 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.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
Tags: [rec theme: rare pairings], dcu, heyer, historical, rpf, star trek
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