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

Slashy Nominations 129: Rare Birds

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 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 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 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 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 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 saeva and 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 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?
Tags: [rec theme: rare pairings], firefly, sesame street, smallville, sports night, stargate: atlantis
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