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03 June 2005 @ 07:04 pm
Slashy Nominations 120: Love Me Long  
I have a serious love of established-relationship stories, even in canons where that's maybe not the most obvious line for writers to take. (For example, I see nothing wrong with an established relationship between two people who never co-existed in the same time or space; early exposure to science fiction had something of a deleterious effect on my grasp of causality.) Don't get me wrong; I love first-time stories, too - well, obviously; I'm a fan fiction slut born and made - but after-the-happy-ending stories are peculiarly entrancing for me. Maybe it's because they have some direct relevance to my own life. I don't look for myself in stories, and I don't identify with any characters in 99.9% of them, but in established-relationship stories I do have something I can compare directly to my life; so much of it has been in the after-the-happily-ever-after part of it.

Plus, of course, I learn valuable tips from established-relationship FF. I doubt I will have much use, in my future life, for tips on coping with sudden penguin transformations and the gay relationships they lead to (although I didn't mind learning anyway, and, hey, knowledge is good), but I'm sure I can find a way to use themed food terror to improve my marriage.

Well. Except I'm not really sure modeling myself on Lex Luthor is a way to ensure a long and happy love life. Or, you know what? Just delete "love" from that last sentence.

Best FF That Teaches Us How to Improve Our Long-Term Relationships Via Strategic Menu-Planning and the Use of Food As a Weapon of Mass Psychological Destruction.* Meanwhile, Back in Metropolis, by Punk, aka runpunkrun. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I was three-quarters of the way through this story before I realized that it was in the second person. That is - I mean, seriously, that's amazing. I generally read second-person stories with a very jaded, snarky, oh you think you are so clever, Ms. Author Person, but let us see if you will drown in your own hubris now sort of attitude (no, really - mixed metaphor and evil-overlord chuckle and everything). This, obviously, is not conducive to loving the second-person story. But this one, this one sucked me in so fast I didn't even have time to wave for the lifeguard, never mind get my Fan Fiction Hauteur on. And no surprise, because this story is indescribably wonderful. It takes all the reasons that I can't ever have the Pure Fandom Love with Smallville and just erases them, replacing them with the jumbo family-sized package of fantastic dialog, humor, and green food. (Authors: now on sale at a store near you! Stock up! Why not see what amusingly green food can do for Jack O'Neill, or to Rodney McKay, or with Gollum, or near Angel?) This is the kind of FF you read blind, knowing nothing about the canon, and leave with a tiny voice in your mind shrieking "their love was meant to be" in embarrassingly high-pitched tones.

Best FF That Provides Important Clues to Why the Asgard Have to Reproduce by Cloning These Days. Far Afield, by destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. I have spent much time blithering on about the Great Looming Darkness in SG-1; if you're unlucky, you've heard me do it. Often in comments on someone else's post. (I do these blitz-type strikes on other people's posts, waxing highly philosophical about fandoms I don't know. It's a not-sleeping thing. If you see me doing this, tell me to go lie down, please.) Briefly, the Great Looming Darkness of SG-1 het and slash FF is this: the characters can have romance or they can have adventure. Not both. For it to be more than just sex, it has to be one thing or the other. So I love this story for not flinching from that fact. But I love it even more for showing us that you can face the cold hard facts of the SG-1 universe without loss or sadness or unhappy endings. (Actually, the adventure is what seems to mean loss and sadness for this crew; sometimes I think they only go to new places to bleed there.) Because this is, for me, essentially a picture of a good established relationship: they function, they plan, they travel extremely long distances to leave firmly-worded calls to action. (One of the major prerogatives and duties of long-term love – your loved one is the one who gets to tell you the hard truths, because he knows so much about you that he knows things you don’t. Yet. But you will, immediately after he says, "Um. You know that's...[ill-fitting/paranoid/a bad idea/wrong wrong wrong/flat-out crazy], right?")

Best FF That Proves That the Key to a Successful Long-Term Relationship Is Knowing When to Call for a Sitter, When to Hand Over a Lot of Chocolate, and When to Drive Very Very Fast. A Beautiful Lifetime Event, by Shallot, aka astolat. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. OK. I really didn't want to recommend this one right now, because everyone else on earth has done everything in their power to get people to read it, including bribing, begging, and threatening with pointy weaponry. I figured if I waited a few months, at least I'd be getting a few new fans who might not have seen it yet. Because they were, like, from Mars. But, OK, I can't resist, and anyway I keep quoting this and Best Beloved has no idea what I'm talking about. So, fine. Anyway, there's always a chance that one of you has been waiting, on some ridiculous grounds. In which case I'm here to put a stop to that. (And no, I don't even want to hear it - "But I hate kidfic!" "But I hate John Sheppard!" "But I have no idea what SGA even is!" These are not acceptable excuses, people. The only excuses I'll accept for not reading this story are: 1) That you've been saving lives 24/7 ever since it was posted, 2) That you've been writing FF 24/7 since it was posted**, or 3) That you are in fact recently arrived from Mars***.) You don't need to know the canon to love this, but if you just can't bear the thought of reading it blind, you can go study this thread (aka "A Foolish Mortal Tries to Avoid SGA") first. But that's only good for a 24-hour reprieve, mind. So, what do I have to say about this story other than read now now now? Well, it's interesting, because it's kind of backwards: baby leads to marriage leads to love leads to sex. Which is not generally the formula for a successful relationship, no, but if anyone was going to manage, it'd be these guys; they're just looking for an excuse to marry, anyway, 'cause it's not like anyone else understands them. And I love that this gives this pairing the one thing it does not (yet) have: a sense of history, of depth, of more there than anyone else can understand. Which, of course, is exactly what a long-term relationship is. So, yes, it's a work of genius. And there will be a test on this.

Best FF That Teaches Us That in Every Long-Term Relationship There's a Time and Place to Be a Drama Queen, and There's a Time and Place to Let Things Go. Sometimes They're Even the Same Place. Dirty, by sprat. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. So. First, for those just joining us, you should know that Certain People do not read Ray/Ray, or indeed anything other than Kowalski/Fraser, and I respect their choice. (OK, honesty time, here in the parentheses where no one can see me. I actually only respect one person's reading choices, and only because that one person knows where I sleep. Otherwise, I'm pretty much the Jehovah's Witness of Fan Fiction: read read read read now now now or you'll never get me off your virtual doorstep. Listen closely on quiet nights and you'll probably hear me out there, saying, "Would you like a free connection to some really excellent Ocean's 11 slash? And can I tell you about the heaven that awaits you in the due South fandom?") So we have to have an alternate story for said People, or at any rate Person. But both stories always kick ass, and I heartily recommend both, and this is no exception. In fact, this is fucking brilliant, because it's the only good explanation I've yet seen for what I like to think of as the Dirty Vecchio Problem. And by "good," I mean "explains the canon without making Vecchio an asshole." I worship stories that manage to patch canon holes like this. (One of the strengths of the dS canon is how few repair stories it needs.) And I love all the details here, too - the way Ray copes with arguments, the bigger stories that are clearly lurking on the edges here, the rare sighting of the Viable Ray/Ray Long-Term Relationship. I just...I have love for this story. In egregious amounts. Now, can I speak to you about accepting gay porn into your heart?


Best FF That Teaches Us That There Is a Time and a Season for Loving, and Also a Time and a Season for Moving to Canada. (Unless You're Ray and Fraser, in Which Case Every Season Is for Moving to Canada.) A Reverse Country Song, in D Minor, by lyra_sena. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I paired this one with "Dirty" because they both involve fights. (Fights in which, actually, Ray Kowalski is kinda drama queeny. But, um, we love him anyway.) In long-term relationships, you fight. It's inevitable. And marriage counselors may tell you that active listening and communication and blah blah blah are the keys to a successful relationship, and they probably aren't wrong. But I personally believe that post-fight behavior is at least as critical to marital success as fight behavior. Seriously. The fight will end if you let it. Whatever comes next will matterway more. And, see, in FF we hear a lot about the fights that end with angst, and then angst, and then some extra angst when the poor abused party weeps in the rain for several hours. And we also hear about fights that never do end. And fights that last as long as Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and then are resolved with a single kiss - plus, apparently, mind-wipes for all involved, since we never hear tell of the fight again. But we don't spend so much time reading about, you know, the stupid fights that end quickly. Or about people being legitimate grown-ups and just kind of dealing with problems. (The grown-up aspect of this is why it's a reverse country song, I suspect.) Which is why I love this story, 'cause, c'mon, they fight about beer and someone is a jerk but then, you know, he gets much-needed sleep and makes general and specific confessions of assholery and then they fix it.**** That is some seriously excellent post-fight behavior right there. (And they get bonus points for getting it all done before morning coffee.)


* Of course, food can also be used to positive psychological effect, as anyone who has ever given chocolate to a seriously grouchy woman will attest. Well, if the woman is me, anyway. But we're talking about Lex Luthor, here, so naturally we're learning by negative example. (Lex: put on this planet to serve as a lesson to others. Well, except when we're talking about loyalty, because this is a guy who knows how to back up a friend.)

** I will require links, of course.

*** I will want photos. Also possibly a ride back.

**** Warning: the "moving to Canada as dispute resolution" tactic is not recommended in every instance. It gets cold up there, for one thing. Also, not everyone likes moose.
Jonathan Toews does not want a sandwich.svmadelyn on June 3rd, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
Hee! Not sure if you're into these, but Punk just had a great commentary on the story you listed here: http://www.livejournal.com/users/runpunkrun/125734.html
tried to eat the safe banana: Stylethefourthvine on June 4th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
Oh, god, it's wonderful; I'm somewhat dubious of author commentaries, but I'm glad I read this one.

Except. She doesn't know what the dessert was going to be! My heart is broken, because that was what finally made me read the commentary: I wanted to know what they were having for dessert. And possibly get recipes.

I have nothing but my green-food fantasies left to me, now.

Maybe it was lime rock cakes.
(no subject) - runpunkrun on June 7th, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - svmadelyn on June 5th, 2005 08:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - apatheia_jane on June 5th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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the upper echelons of mediocrity: Obsessed with Canadathe_star_fish on June 4th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
They just need to use more ketchup.

(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 4th, 2005 09:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
aliquid stat pro aliquomaygra on June 3rd, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
Best FF That Proves That the Key to a Successful Long-Term Relationship Is Knowing When to Call for a Sitter.

sitters make me think of snack foods. Veggie sandwishes [sic] with sprouts.

Now off to read dueSouth recs...

la la la....


tried to eat the safe banana: Evil planthefourthvine on June 4th, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)

Check your email.
You're out of adventures :(claire on June 3rd, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
I adore your recs and the way you write about these stories. Thank you so much for doing this for us, the less literate masses ;)
tried to eat the safe banana: Elektra is angrythefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 06:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love getting comments like this. (Because I am a praise vacuum, apparently. But I own my...hmmm. "I own my sucking void" just doesn't have the precise, delicate, many-layered shadings of meaning that I sought for that sentence. I'll work on it and get back to you.)

Except, you know, I don't do this for the less-literate masses; I do it for my friends list, which is populated entirely by brilliant individuals of excruciatingly good taste. (Really. I can prove it. Citations and a complete methods section and reproducible results and all.)
(no subject) - claire on June 5th, 2005 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: Suspicious owlthefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 06:16 am (UTC)
Well, no one here, obviously. But, trust me, there are Anti-Moose forces out there. Probably closer than you think. Join the fight! Love the moose! Become a card-carrying moosefan!

(And your icon is rendering me sad, for the record. *gloom*)

Iphiginia Saberhagen: Celtiknot: fanofall on June 3rd, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
I learn valuable tips from established-relationship FF

I am so unbelievably proud that you had the courage to say that. We all think it, I'm sure: "But Fraser wouldn't do that, no matter HOW big a dick Ray was being, so maybe I should back off..."

This is the kind of FF you read blind, knowing nothing about the canon, and leave with a tiny voice in your mind shrieking "their love was meant to be" in embarrassingly high-pitched tones.

It is the attack of the stealth squee!

I actually made that noise when I read "A Beautiful Lifetime Event" the first time. Because Rodney. And Sheppard. And the baby. And...SQUEE! Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled gushing.

Warning: the "moving to Canada as dispute resolution" tactic is not recommended in every instance. It gets cold up there, for one thing. Also, not everyone likes moose.

And yet, somehow, it's looking more and more like a viable option EVERY SINGLE DAY. Plus, who doesn't love moose? Especially space moose. :-D
anno_domino on June 4th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC)
And yet, somehow, it's looking more and more like a viable option EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Word. I keep telling myself that it's the wuss's way out, but it sounds less convincing every time I talk to my American friend who actually did move to Canada & absolutely loves it & says it was totally the right decision & people are sane up there & stuff. :/

No shack for her, though.

"fights that last as long as Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency" had me helpless with laughter, btw. Good recs!
(no subject) - fanofall on June 4th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fanofall on June 5th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - astolat on July 3rd, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
plus one skeleton: Paledelurker on June 4th, 2005 06:08 am (UTC)
You don't need to know the canon to love this, but if you just can't bear the thought of reading it blind, you can go study this thread (aka "A Foolish Mortal Tries to Avoid SGA") first.
Hee! You linked to it. And when it comes to SGA, resistence is indeed futile. *g*
In a week or two, when I've finished my exams and essays and the semester, I'll add some stuff to that thread: other characters, other races, etc. Did you have any more questions you wanted me to answer when I do that?
Iphiginia Saberhagen: My Fandom shamefanofall on June 4th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
If we can put in requests, can you please explain the second half of the two-part with the storm and the Genii? Because Sci-Fi felt the need to not show that half of it, so all I know is that Rodney has a cut on his arm and Poor Man's Edward James Olmos (I can never remember that guy's name) was threatening Weir.

If not, a general overview would be lovely. :-D
(no subject) - delurker on June 4th, 2005 04:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fanofall on June 4th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - delurker on July 4th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - delurker on July 4th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fenris_wolf0 on June 4th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fanofall on June 4th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fenris_wolf0 on June 6th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 06:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fenris_wolf0 on June 11th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - delurker on June 22nd, 2005 01:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
apatheia_jane on June 4th, 2005 08:19 am (UTC)
wow. Not familiar with canon SGA, but I do know that Sheppard is pretty & McKay is a neurotic genius, & that's defn enough to adore 'A beautiful lifetime event'.

Also, I love the idea that Superman is afraid of green food. & Lex exploiting it in a lover's tiff - it's brilliant.
tried to eat the safe banana: Big eyesthefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
My secret suspicion is that being a human being is enough to enjoy "A Beautiful Lifetime Event." It's just that good.

And, oh yes yes yes on the green food thing. Aside from the humor, I truly think this is so very Lex. IMO, SV Lex/whoever futurefics just don't spend enough time exploring what it'd be like to live with an evil genius who has diverted his energies from ruling the world to...you. Run, Clark! Run! (Only don't, because you and Lex were clearly meant to be. Anyway, you wouldn't want to put someone else in the dangerous position of living with Lex, would you?)

(no subject) - apatheia_jane on June 5th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 5th, 2005 08:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fanofall on June 5th, 2005 10:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - legistella on June 5th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - apatheia_jane on June 5th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - janet_carter on June 22nd, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Adoable Frunk: textually renderlyra_sena on June 9th, 2005 10:10 am (UTC)
*squeals* thank you for the rec!! Wow. Just -- thank you, hon.

tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
See, my thinking is that Ray didn't start out loving moose. I think the first time he saw one was his first week in Canada. He probably made a lot of really good points to Fraser:

"I could make better horns than that out of cardboard. They look like the hand turkeys little kids make."

"Anything that big that eats that messy was designed to be way far away from Ray Kowalski all the time."

"Oh, jeez. See what I mean? You get that big, you spit out a gallon of snot every time you sneeze. Yuck."

"And if one moose is a moose, what's two of them? Mooses? Meese? I'm not kidding you here, Fraser. Only Canadians would love these things."

And Fraser just smiled, sort of half-smiled anyway, and that was that. Point made. Although a few minutes later he did say, "You know, Ray, moose are indigenous to much of North America, including parts that are within the borders of the United States." Ray had laughed, just trying to imagine a moose making it in the USA.

The last time he saw a moose was his last day in Canada. It wasn't a real one, just a picture, but the guy who drew it totally got moose - how it might look big and dumb and Canadian, but it was, like, designed for the weather and the isolation and the tundra in a way Ray wasn't, could never be, no matter how much he might want that. In Chicago, he'd miss Fraser, but at least he'd be Ray missing Fraser, not just some guy with bad hair trying to live in a place he didn't belong with a Mountie he didn't deserve.

Actually, that was the last time he saw a moose until today. Dewey gave Frannie a baby present, and it turned out to be a stuffed moose. Frannie got a little teary when she looked at it, but that was nothing to how Ray felt - he had to go to the men's room and push hard on his eyes or he'd have been crying, fucking crying in the bullpen.

He calmed down, got himself the fuck back together. Washed his hands, splashed cold water on his face. And then he just stood there, staring into the mirror, thinking: I'm Ray. Ray in Chicago. Ray where he belongs.

But he just kept thinking of that moose, the little stuffed moose, how it was going to make it in Chicago, spend the rest of its life with some kid going to be born in a couple months, make that kid happy, get old and chewed and covered in spit by that kid, and be happy itself, even so.

And then he realized he was getting teary over the damn stuffed moose again, and he might not have a Mountie-sized brain but he could read signs when they were hitting him over the head.

So he went back to the bullpen and started sorting through his files. If he was leaving forever, the next guy would need notes better than "Saw M with F on 2/11: liar liar pants on fire" and "Yeah. Right. Fucker."

Was surprising how fast the paperwork went once he wasn't thinking about how much better Fraser would do it.

And now he's sitting in his apartment. All the lights are off, the stereo's off, the heat's off; it's cold and dark and Ray is all alone. And he's staring at the phone.

In his left hand, he's got the moose; Frannie gave it to him before he left work. She wouldn't say why, but he guesses that moose's destiny isn't to grow up happy with that baby after all.

In his right hand, he's got a piece of paper. He can't read the phone number that's printed on it in Fraser's neat script, but he's got it memorized, even though he's never dialed it. So he can do this, he can, he can, he just - what does he say?

So it's cold and dark and Ray's alone. He puts down the paper, looks at the moose. Looks at the phone.

Takes a deep breath, picks up the phone, dials. When he hears Fraser's concerned voice on the other end - shit, it's almost two a.m. - Ray can't help smiling. "Hey, Fraser, it's me," he says. "Wanna moose?"
(no subject) - lyra_sena on June 10th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 09:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyra_sena on June 11th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - misspamela on June 10th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lyra_sena on June 10th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sageness on June 10th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - lyra_sena on June 10th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Destina: sam smiledestina on June 9th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the rec! :D Far Afield is one of those stories I wrote 'cause it was just pestering me to death, even though I assumed no one else in the fandom would be interested in the underlying theme. The Great Looming Darkness issue (what an apt description) is, I think, one of several things that deflect people away from SG-1 and over to the shinier SGA side of the street. But I'm intrigued by the complications that arise when duty comes up against domesticity. Anyway, I'm sorry for nattering. But thank you. I was very surprised to see the story there. You totally made my day. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Exitthefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
See, now, "Far Afield" is the story I kept looking and looking for when I first started reading SG1. Because, you know, I wanted someone to 1) address the Great Looming Darkness 2) without letting it be an excuse for angst or bad plot machinations or what have you.

The Great Looming Darkness issue (what an apt description) is, I think, one of several things that deflect people away from SG-1 and over to the shinier SGA side of the street.

Hmmm. I think so. But that's only partly it; I know some people who would really, really love SG1 who nonetheless sort of rebound off the fandom. I mean, I can get them to read SG1 FF that I rec, but I can't get them to commit, even though I know they'd be all over the aspects of the fandom that I can't handle. It's just a very tough fandom to get into for some people, especially multi-fandom types.

But SGA, I think, will stop having such fannish overlap with SG1 fairly soon. Already it's being colonized by people from the fandoms with which it has much more in common. Because, really, unless they change a lot about SGA in the upcoming seasons, it isn't SG1, never will be; the "Stargate" in the title is kind of misleading, in that it seems to promise much more similarity between the two than there really is.

(Oh, I know, SGA characters were designed to be sort of like SG1, and there's the gate and the Ancients and the Alien Menace of Terrifying Badness and Might. But the mechanics of the show, at least as played out in fan fiction, and the underlying dynamics that are of the greatest interest to FF writers? Very different.)

And, wow. Talk about nattering. But it's an interesting question, SG1 v. SGA, and why it's so much easier to get into SGA than SG1, and I just kind of...um. Babbled a lot. Which is really not that unusual for me. Sorry!

*shuts up before entire brain leaks out of fingers and onto screen via keyboard*

*silently loves on you for writing brilliant, brilliant story*
sprat: ray k by seanarenaysprat on June 9th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
A belated but heartfelt thank you for the rec. Reading it totally made my day. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: The world is my fandomthefourthvine on June 10th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, cool. I'm glad to hear it.

Soooo...does this mean there will be more fic soon?

*blinks hopefully*