Okay. So. Trader Joe's, in its infinite marketing wisdom, offers a lot of time-limited products, thus teaching its customers that you must buy now or wonder forever. In a recent shopping expedition, I chose to buy now. The purchase in question was a bag of cherry-flavored heart-shaped gummy candies.
One afternoon shortly thereafter, I opened the bag and explored them with the earthling, and we discovered that the hearts had a red, liquid center. I learned, through subsequent experimentation, that you could sort of pry the hearts partway open and the red center would well up and ooze out. Bleeding heart! I thought. Trader Joe's sold us literal bleeding hearts. I of course made a note to tell Best Beloved.
That night, she came in, and I picked one out, dug in my fingernails, and began to pry. This created a sort of vertical chasm in the heart.
"It looks like a vagina," she said, watching me. The liquidy center welled up and started oozing. "...And now it's a vagina that's leaking," she said, in tones that communicated that she was extremely unimpressed.
I lost it. I started laughing, and - see, unfortunately my computer chair is not the most stable, and of course I flatly refuse to replace it while it can be sat in at all, so I fell out of the chair, collapsed at her feet, and made a spirited attempt to die laughing. For me, this is entirely possible; I have been sick since December, and anything at all triggers a coughing fit at this point.
So I laughed until I coughed and coughed until my ribs ached and I could not breathe at all, with my face buried in her thigh because of course I could not hold myself upright, either. And as soon as I almost had my breath back, Best Beloved said, "You know, as long you're down there anyway..." and I lost it again. The laughing-coughing-choking-gasping-weepin
When I got back to the desperate gasping for air phase, Best Beloved patted my head and said, "Happy anniversary, sweetie." Because, uh, this happened on our anniversary, which we of course forgot because we have forgotten every single one since forever. We used to forget how long we'd been together, too, which led to a lot of embarrassing back-dating; we'd be having a date, except really we'd just be going, "Well, you graduated from high school in..." and sometimes searching our purses for paper to do calculations on. But we have, in the past few years, made a spirited attempt to memorize the year we got together, and it has worked, which is why Best Beloved was able to add, as I whooped back into the laughing phase because I got my wife a bleeding vulva candy for our anniversary, "Nineteen years."
And then she lost it. Because - well, I assume because we've been together for nineteen years despite the fact that we are exactly the kind of people who would do the things we had just done.
But, yes, Best Beloved and I have been together for nineteen years. And we're going to have to stay together, too. No one else would ever put up with either of us now. (This is the real meaning of "ruining you for all other partners," let me just say.)
I love you, sweetie. Happy belated anniversary. This set is for you.
The One That Makes Basically Any Other Character's Daddy Issues Look Totally Healthy. Set Me As A Seal Upon Your Heart, by dorkorific. Football (Soccer) RPF, Cristiano Ronaldo/Ricardo Leite.
For those of you who are on a busy schedule, let me summarize this recommendation using an extract from a chat I had with frostfire_17 when I was reading it:
TFV: I AM READING SOCCER RPF.
TFV: IT'S REALLY GOOD.
There you go. It's soccer/football (maaaaan, there is a hatesex pairing if I've ever seen one) RPS. It's really good. People will mock you for reading it, and then read it themselves and marvel. You can skip the rest of this now if you're already sold. Link's up there. Use it.
And, hey! I think it's official: I can read sports RPF! Or, okay, two sports, but if anyone wants to throw some baseball or figure skating RPS at me, I am prepared to see if it sticks.
Because if it's anything like this? I want to embrace it. This is - look, I have no idea who these people are. None. I have learned, thanks to google, that they play for Real Madrid, and presumably do - stuff. Kicking? I'm not sure. I actually did play a year of soccer in elementary school, and my entire acquired knowledge of it can be summed up as: Hope the ball does not come to you. Wait for the game to be over. Probably you will get oranges.
But this is not just sport stuff, even though I am sure soccer (football!) is an amazingly wonderful game when you aren't playing it, or I guess even if you are if you happen to have some athletic ability. Yes, this story has some nifty kicking and the occasional deeply hysterical game between an adult and fourth-graders (and, for the record, I love how professional athletes are incapable of losing even to children, and yes, I am looking at you, Jonathan Toews, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo - and, whoa, there's another terrible pairing to contemplate). But really this is a gorgeous story about the love between a half-demon incubus type person and a priest.
...No, really, it's fabulous. I love the world-building, with the various parents of the half-demon characters, and the abilities they have. I love the way Ricky (the priest) deals with it, the way he talks about his faith, the way he manages to (verbally) beat some sense into Cris again and again, which is frankly something Cris needs to happen to him every minute for the rest of his life. I love this world, oh my god so much. And, as always, Rave can fucking write. I love her. And you will love this. (And if you really have to know who these people are before you read, and you don't, maybe - maybe google them? I don't know what to tell you, there.)
The One in Which We Learn That Some Alphabets Are Angrier Than Other Alphabets. Heroes and Devils, by marinarusalka. Avengers x Echo Bazaar, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.
I have never played Echo Bazaar. (No, really, I like it this way. The primary difference between the me of this moment and teenage me is that these days I sometimes don't start things I know I shouldn't start.) I know only the basics about it, and generally classify it in my head as If Neil Gaiman Decided to Make a Twitter-Linked Browser RPG and leave it at that. And that entirely does not matter for this story, because you can learn everything you need to know about Echo Bazaar from reading it.
And you will read so much amazing stuff in the process. I mean, I never really asked myself what would happen if the Avengers got sucked into a permanently dark, magical world - I see now how wrong that was - but even if I had, I doubt I would have come up with anything as awesome as Tony Stark: Basement Troll. I also don't think I would have pictured Spider-Man as causing disaster through impulsively pocket-picking demons (really, any superhero of normal intelligence should be able to predict that disaster would be the result of that, but I think Spider-Man has spidey sense because he's not really able to make those connections most of the time; clearly that spider was like, fuck, if I just give him the web spinning and stuff he'll be dead inside of three months), but that is exactly what happens here, and it is fabulous.
What I love most about this story - aside from, okay, the general wonderfulness of the Avengers cast in it - is that it's modern superheroes cast into a fantasy world. It gives me all these beautiful thoughts. Batman in one of those highly mannered Regency-inspired fantasy worlds where everyone duels with rapier wit and actual rapiers and also magic! The X-Men attempting to navigate Middle Earth! ("I could just bamf it to Morder!" "One does not just - what is 'bamf'?") Oracle running her entire operation from a clockwork, steam-powered computer, with the able assistance of Ada Lovelace! (Um. That has to exist, right? I mean - steampunk, Oracle, it's kind of an obvious combination, right?)
Anyway. This is great and funny and dark and gloomy. And the Avengers get to save the world! And Steve and Tony forever the end.
The One in Which We Learn That Nicknames Are a Lot More Fraught with Irony When You're a Werewolf. By Daybreak We'll Be Gone, by storm_petrel. The Losers, Cougar Alvarez/Jake Jensen.
Someone should do an AU tracking project, to figure out how AU types wax and wane. Like, I remember when I got into fandom, you couldn't even call it a fandom until it had a vampire AU. These days, seems like the supernatural AU of choice is werewolves. And for reasons that are totally unclear to me, but much appreciated all the same, Losers fan fiction is packed with werewolves. (See what I did there? I am so funny I should probably spell it with extra letters, like: fuuuunnnnnny.)
And, see, I have actually seen the movie for this canon (although not read the comic books, and really even the movie was emphatically Not for Me, on account of all the child death and so on), and when I watched it, nothing about it said "let's get some fur and teeth in here, stat." I mean, nothing said that to me. Clearly I just wasn't paying attention, because the Losers, as a bunch, make so much more sense if they're werewolves that it's hard for me to believe they're not. Like, seriously, someone missed a trick in the canon. Thank god we have fan fiction to make up for it. (And, also, thank god this is a textual medium, because one thing I have learned over the years is that vampires look great in visual media - basically Sherlock plus pointy teeth - but werewolves are always and ever laughable. There's just no way to make that transformation scene not funny.)
Anyway. I think I was talking about the story and not my lingering issues with Oz on Buffy. (For the record: Loved him. Wish they had done all the werewolf stuff off-screen, although comic relief is always welcome.) This story is a fantastic werewolf AU. And it completely changed the canon for me, because now I understand that they all had tails when we couldn't see them. Perfect!
The One in Which We Learn That Patrick Kane in Any Other Field Would Smell the Same but Have Less of an Oral Fixation. (Only Because It's Impossible for Anyone Anywhere to Have as Much of an Oral Fixation as Real-World Patrick Kane.) Human Empanada, by impertinence. Hockey RPF, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews. (Useful pairing primer, in case you want to know what they look like or are just curious to see what happens when sports journalists write slash. (Answer: hockey reporting. All of it. But you can start here.))
Perhaps you have been thinking to yourself, "This hockey RPF sounds fun, but... I have an allergy to hockey. If only there were a way to read hockey RPF with no need to google the name of the Edmonton team and why icing is bad!" (Although I tell you what: those things are not critical in basically any hockey story, and, tragically, if you really want to know them, you can always just ask me.) This story is for you. In it, Kaner and Tazer are princes. Of an alternate North America. It's awesome. And you don't need to know anything about hockey, or who they are, or anything. This is a perfect starter story, basically.
I mean, it is so awesome I'm recommending it without hesitation even though I cringe every time I see the title. (My life lately is bizarrely and tragically full of Human Centipede references, and the result is I am basically flinching in response to "human [whatever]" these days, unless it's, like, "human dignity." And, uh, for the record - I don't think anyone out there has not heard of this thing, but if you haven't, don't google it. Seriously. This is an area where any innocence you have should be lovingly nurtured, and preserved, if necessary, with firearms.)
Anyway. Back to the story. Going into it, I was dubious. I admit it. I don't know, in retrospect, why I was dubious - I mean, arranged marriage, royalty, hockey players: obviously this is destined to be a good time. But for some reason I couldn't think about Prince Patrick Kane without laughing a little bit (it was probably the mullet), and here's the awesome part: neither can he. But he manages to surprise everyone. It's wonderful.
So wonderful that I came as close I can these days to reading this story in one sitting. Although I had to take frequent breaks in certain spots because of the extreme tension. Which, when you are biting your nails out of concern for the characters in an AU where hockey players are royalty, you know you are reading a fucking great story.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.