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

Slashy Awards 148: We Remember What May Have Never Happened

I don't think I've ever had a set just...push itself into my hands like this. It was as though the universe deeply wanted me to post a second set of things that never happened stories, and was going to keep throwing stunningly excellent ones at me until I gave in. (Yes, there was a brief temptation to keep resisting and see how much great FF I could drag into existence, but I decided not to toy with the universe, on the grounds that it could, if shirty, revoke a number of privileges I enjoy a lot, like existing.) So, here we are: TTNH, part 2. (I'm assuming I don't need to go through the warnings and such again, since they are, shall we say, very available to the non-legions of you who missed round 1 but are reading round 2.)

The One That Makes It Clear That Some People Got Sent to Pegasus Because They Had Gone Beyond the Reach of Mere Earth Psychiatry. (Also Known As: John Sheppard Is the Goddamn Batman.) Five Ways John Sheppard Gets Laid, by dirty_diana. Stargate: Atlantis, and you probably don't need to know anything about the canon to read this, but I would think it would help. If you're short on time, I have a handy summary for you.

So. On the previous post, cad27 was the first (but by no means the last) to complain that there was no SGA story in the set. To which I had, as it happens, an obvious and easy response, namely: there was supposed to be. But this story wouldn't load, and it was getting late, and the post was already long enough that most American high school students would just buy the Cliffs Notes for it, so...I left it out. I see now that I was wrong to do this.

But if this had been in the previous set, it would've probably been the most classic TTNH story in there. It's five variations on a single theme, which I assume I don't need to explain, what with the title. (There is Sheppard. There is sexin'. Aaaaaand now most of you have already stopped reading this rec, leaving me free to just say random shit, not that I don't take that freedom regularly anyway.)

What I love about this story, about the use of the TTNH concept in this particular way, is that it undercuts my resistance. Because, okay, I know that the writers and (apparently) Joe Flanigan believe that Sheppard is a nuclear warhead of libido with the launch sequence down to 10 seconds, but - if he is, someone, likely Rodney, totally cut the red wire. Or, put it this way: if Sheppard is Kirk, he's Kirk in a chastity belt that can only be unlocked by Ancients, and even then he mostly looks kind of scared, like he'd really rather keep it on and just play a nice game of Go Fish instead.

My point is that he's got a weird - I don't know. Asexual chemistry? Like, he seems to get along with most people, at least superficially, but it's hard for me to imagine him having sex with them. Jerking off and thinking about them, maaaaaaaybe, but actually touching them and being touched by them? For me, that doesn't so much work, except with McKay, who seems to have a free pass into the Sheppard No Touch Zone. So when John switches on Love Monster Mode (and you can, like, see him switching it on, like it's almost physically painful for him to do it), my disbelief starts rattling its chains.

But if you frame Sheppard getting laid as a TTNH story, then it's suddenly all better. I don't need to worry about my own personal Sheppard Vision Statement, and I can just enjoy. And I do enjoy all these stories, because they are all so perfectly fucking in character. See, once I get into the story, my disbelief stops screaming, because the Sheppard No Touch Zone is in full and perfect operation here, just...well. With sex. You'll see. And then you, too, will say: "Oh, John. It's totally too late for therapy, isn't it?"

The One That Reveals to Me That Either Jack O'Neill Is a Cock-Eyed (Shut up. You Know What I Mean.) Optimist or I Am. I'm Not Sure Which Proposition Is Scarier. Five Holidays Jack O'Neill Never Celebrated, by cofax7. Stargate: SG-1. I have no idea if you need to know the canon here. I can tell you that I didn't let a lack of knowledge stop me, though.

Also in the comments to the last post, cofax7 said, basically, thanks for the rec but, well, I think my Jack O'Neill TTNH story is better. To which I said, "I like the story and I am doing the judgment-making around here and so you will kindly take your authorial opinions and...wait. You wrote a Jack O'Neill TTNH? I...huh." So then I had to go read that, obviously.

And my immediate reaction was: wow, she's right. I mean, the Teal'c story is excellent - I said it and I stand by it - but this one is even better.

Cofax seems to use TTNH as an opportunity to tell mini-stories, and I love the five stories she's telling here, because: oh, Jack. This is Jack through and through. The first one, in particular, has a kind of lingering sadness to it, at least for me, because that isn't quite the Jack we know. He's the Jack from before the stargate, the Jack he'd be if everything from the movie onwards had never happened. And I just find it sad that - well, Jack had to lose everything to become the kind of guy who could appreciate what he'd had.

And I find it interesting that - well. I said in the last post that TTNH stories tend to be sad and disturbing, that they are by their very nature prone to sadness and disturbance (that's not the right word, but you know what I mean), but - this one isn't, even though some of the scenarios really should be, and again, I attribute that to Jack. (Okay, to Cofax's writing skill, too. But I'm talking about Jack, here, and if I get off-topic, there's really no hope for any of us.) He's such a survivor - and he has such a long history of winning against long odds - that I fully expect every segment in this story to end happily (except the first one). The happy ending is implied, at least in my happy-ending-fixated brain, because Jack doesn't give up until there is one. And oh my god I love him so much for that.

So love is my basic reaction to this story. (Plus jaw-dropping astonishment that I missed it until now, but I'm choosing to focus on the love, here.)

The One That Proves Definitively That Some Frogs Really Are Princes, and I Just Have an Unrefined and Superficial Way of Judging People. Aliens. Muppets. Whatever. King of Infinite Space, by Hossgal, aka leadensky. Farscape. I've seen, I think, five episodes of the canon now. (It would be more, but the Farscape people apparently think subtitles are optional on a DVD package. And they are very, very, very wrong.) I know just enough to know that I'd get more out of this if I'd seen more. Doesn't matter. There's something here for everyone.

After Cofax introduced me to the story above, I said, "Hey, I'm halfway to another set. Know of any good TTNH in Farscape?" And she said, "Why, yes. I do." And she gave me this link, which blew my mind. I just...oh, wow, and also, holy shit.

Because, see, I don't like Rygel. (Rygel is the subject of this TTNH. Did I not say that before? He is.) I want to. I've tried. But so far...no. He's just not clicking for me. (Best Beloved, who does like Rygel, has taken to highlighting Points of Rygel Interest in the episodes we watch together, sometimes even rewinding so that we can relive particular moments of glory: "Look! There! He does care, and - okay, you can't blame him for that, because...look, let's just rewind for the good part." and "See? Brave! He's being brave! Are you surprised? Do you like him yet?" I have every faith that BB will eventually win this battle - it's, shall we say, a safe bet, as BB is another person who doesn't give up until the ending is a happy one - but the subtitle problem makes it a very slow war of attrition. And if you're wondering what's dying off, the answer is: my neurons, mostly. They die of stress, overwork, and unaccustomed exercise, because I need subtitles, people. I can't be expected to watch and listen at the same time; my brain is just not set up for that level of cognition.)

Anyway. My point is: I don't like Rygel. But this story made me love him. This is just - this is so absolutely and unquestionably Rygel, and it's not like he's not all the things I don't like about him, here. It's just - he's so human. More human than John or Aeryn (both of whom I adore), in fact, because this story is in large part about a very human pastime: turning strength to weakness and weakness to strength. His greed becomes courage, his pride becomes inspiration, his selfishness becomes love. And I cannot resist that kind of rags to riches to story. Never could. And with this one, I don't even try to resist; I just want it to go on and on and on.

I don't know if this story will make me love the Rygel I see onscreen. But it made me understand him, and I think that's even better.

The One with a Subtitle That Is So Much Fun to Say That I Think I'm Going to Just Repeat It 50 Times and Call That the Summary. Metonymy (The Ragin' Meijin Remix), by mousapelli. Hikaru no Go. Do you need to know the canon to read this? Hmmm. Maybe not. But believe me, this is a canon you want to know, and there are about a dozen ways for you to get it for free in the last post and in the comments, and for those of you who already downloaded the first two volumes of the manga there, here's the third: 9-12.

One of the things I love about the TTNH format is how it can be stretched and twisted to produce a story that is still reconizeably a TTNH even though it's almost entirely unlike one. Here, Akira loses four and a half times (as the author says, the last one is still up for debate), and these things could easily have happened in the canon or in the canon time line, so easily that by themselves they'd each make a normal fan fiction story. Taken together, though, they're definitely TTNH, because they're a series of stories that make a larger statement about some aspect of the canon. In this case, they're about Akira and how Akira fights over the course of his life.

Of course, given that I am who I am, what I love most is how clearly this reveals the effect that Hikaru has on Akira. Because by the end of this, Akira has found something more important than winning.

Which isn't to say that he doesn't want to win. He just wants the Hand of God more. (Well, actually, if you took an inventory of Akira's wants, it would probably look like this, in order: Shindou, Hand of God, Go, Winning at Go, More Go, and Also Go. Hikaru's would be: Touya, the Hand of God, Sai, Go, Winning at Go, and Ramen. And that's how we know Hikaru is the healthier character: fully one of his main motivations is unrelated to Go.)

This story also hits one of my personal kinks, which is people saying "I hate you" and meaning "I love you." I don't even like it when most characters say "I love you," because it's just - it sounds weird. (Except with people like Jim and Blair, who could seriously say everything you find in your average romance novel and not even come close to being out of character. Actually, now that I think about it, some of the canon dialog may in fact have been lifted from a romance novel, but that's obviously a whole other story.) Plus, well, I know I'm reading the good stuff when "I hate you" is obviously "I love you" - I mean, that's a fairly impressive display of showing rather than telling, right? (And, okay, also this may happen to hit the same kink that makes me spontaneously combust when people shoot each other out of sincere love. I...I don't know. I'm just going to blame society or my parents or something and move on, because I don't even want to know why I feel that way. My point is, it is also a hallmark of quality writing such as can be found in this story, so I have a perfectly rational reason to like it, so there.)
Tags: [rec theme: ttnh], farscape, hikaru no go, stargate: atlantis, stargate: sg-1
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