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22 October 2008 @ 08:55 am
183: Let the Healing Begin  
Recently, I posted a set of SGA stories. They were all future stories, all long, and certain people - I am naming no names - thought there was perhaps an over-emphasis on the depressing and distressing.

In that set, I explained that I have a technique for dealing with potentially sad (or soul-destroying) stories: the safety tab. I have one story that I know is cheering and good and filled to the brim with joy and healing, and I keep that one ready and available in a tab. If a story takes a turn for the worse, or I finish it so depressed that I am ready to begin a career in coffee shop poetry slams, I simply click over to my safety tab and read until I feel better.

nestra, upon reading this, noted that she'd be interested in a safety tab recs set. (ainsley backed her up. Apparently there is a strong need for safety tab stories in fandom.) And I thought, hey, perhaps the people who are still silently resenting me for recommending such depressing futurefic will love me again if I only share with them the joy that is safety! So. This set.

I've had a lot of safety tab stories in my time in fandom. (I remember when I truly believed that safety tab stories could only be in due South, and then a dS story broke me so completely that I couldn't even look at anything in the fandom for three months. Those were sad, sad months, but at least I learned how to find safety in other fandoms.) But here's the thing: I've already recommended almost all of them. How could I not? There were times when I was re-reading my safety stories every single day. So I'm going to recommend a combination here: some safety tab stories that are newer, and thus haven't been featured here yet, and some of the great classics of safety. We'll start with the new.

We Can All Find Safety in the Knowledge That the Pegasus Galaxy Does It Better. And When I Say "It," I Mean Pegging. Healing Station Argh, by toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan/Rodney McKay, OT4.

This is my current safety tab story. I just do not even know how the world could be a bad place when there is a story that includes both alien General Hospital and pegging. You add in ice farming and Teyla being wickedly, wickedly manipulative, and you have a story that could heal the wounds inflicted by Ethan Frome. (Probably. Do not actually test this at home unless you have access to a 24-hour Literature-Induced Despair Hotline and fistfuls of psychoactive pharmaceuticals. Fistfuls. I mean this.)

I just - I am made deeply, seriously happy by this story. And then, like an extra bonus, there's something here that I look for in pretty much every SGA story ever, and hardly ever see: John and Rodney being bewildered by Teyla and Ronon's cultural references. Because, yes, okay, Star Wars and Star Trek and other things about stars - I can totally see John and Rodney geeking out about this, especially since their dream date apparently consists of playing Civilization and eating Cheetos and maybe making some drunk prank radio calls at around three in the morning. But Teyla and Ronon should have their own set of Pegasus in-jokes. (Like, there's that awesome SG1 story where the team are telling jokes, and no one laughs at all of them. I love that.) And here, they do. And John and Rodney get to be the people saying, "Um...what now?" Pegasus has popular culture, too!

So there's that, and then there's the humor, and then there's - well. The ending. Anyway. I'm telling you, and telling you true: this is a fabulous safety tab story. I have re-read this after reading stories where people have died, where favorite characters of mine have died and not come back, and it's fixed me right up. There's no higher level of safety, here. (Note: McKay/Sheppard OTPers who may be feeling wary: this will work just fine for you. I speak as one who knows!)

There Is Great Safety in the Deep Interconnectedness of Love and Real Estate Home Sweet Home, by astolat. Entourage, Vincent Chase/Eric Murphy.

You know how canon writers sort of beg us to slash their creations by writing two strong, likeable male characters (who are totally best friends and, okay, it's entirely for show-budget reasons but they share an apartment and spend 24 hours per day together and also they hold hands sometimes) who occasionally hook up with one-dimensional females with whom they have no chemistry and nothing approaching realistic dialog? The Entourage writers have taken this to the logical conclusion: Entourage, the show, is entirely about men. Women exist in its world essentially as window-dressing.

I am sure that the show writers believe that their characters are manly and tough and totally hetero. I am quite sure they believe that. But, well. When you spend every minute of your life totally focused on another guy, and all your emotional investment is in that guy, and everything else in the world comes second to that guy's needs...well. It kind of begs for slash, is all.

And there's one other thing that begs for slash in Entourage: it's that Vince and Eric are so totally married. I mean, they might as well have sex. They've already got rings. (Okay. No rings to my actual knowledge. But if there was an episode where Vince gave Eric a ring, I would not be at all surprised.)

So I find it supremely comforting to read about Vince and Eric. Their problems are just serious enough to be believable, while still being at least one remove from anything distressing in any other story I might be reading. And I seriously, seriously, seriously want them to just go ahead and accept their true love already. Which, in this story, they do. It is sweet and fun and all things comforting, and you don't need to know anything about the show to read it; I didn't when I started. (Plus, it has Ari Gold. Never underestimate the comfortingness of a Jewish pit bull with a filthy, filthy mouth. And Turtle and Drama. Dorks are comforting. Everyone knows this.) This story can heal a fairly major story wound - like, your OTP not ending up together. Or the world ending. Either one.

There's Nothing Safer Than Benton Fraser on a Rampage! I Mean, in a Story Sense, Obviously. In Real Life, That'd Be a Bad Thing, Albeit a Polite Bad Thing. Chicago's Most Wanted, by cesperanza. Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I have a friend who told me that once, when she was traveling through India, and sick and tired and miserable, she told herself the entire story of Some Strange Prophecy for comfort.

This proves two things: fan fiction is a powerful healer, and comfort stories are totally individual. Because Some Strange Prophecy in not a comfort story for me (fine story though it is).

But Chicago's Most Wanted totally, totally is. Why? Well. Amnesiac criminal Benton Fraser. Can there be a better reason? I just think the words and the healing begins.

Also, this story proves that in the land far beyond the Broccoli Test, there is another, greater test, and it is this:

If one member of your pairing can forget who he is and go on the lam, and the other one can track him and predict where he'll be next, your pairing has passed the Chicago's Most Wanted Test. I can think of few pairings that could pass, frankly. I mean, of my OTPs - Blair Sandburg could absolutely do this for Jim Ellison, but not vice versa unless you allowed senses-related trickery, which is a rules violation. Rodney McKay and John Sheppard likely have a 50/50 chance, but if they get it wrong, someone ends up in prison or something blows up. And, oddly, I don't believe Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson could do it alone, but any three members of (original) SG1 could easily find the other. I just think it would take all of them.

Anyway. This story can heal, at minimum, major, major tragedy. I turned to this after I finished The End of the Road, people. That's how powerful this is.

(There's another Speranza story that I also have used extensively for healing story-inflicted wounds, but it was never a safety tab story. I use About a Dog when a story has kicked me in my extremely sensitive - nay, hair-trigger - animal harm squick. If you have one, seriously, About a Dog should fix most problems. Don't thank me. Thank her!)

Traffic Jams and Car Accidents Are Extremely Healing! When They Happen to Dan and Casey, and Also Lead to True Love, That Is. Only Then. Diversionary Tactics, by shrift. Sports Night, Casey McCall/Dan Rydell.

Sports Night is perhaps the ultimate safety-story fandom for me. (Or it used to be, but we'll get to that.) Because, see, I truly believe that Danny and Casey are in love, and will always be in love, and that they will live happily ever after, bickering and making Dana's life hell and avoiding sports-reporting clichés forever. (No, really, this is a very sincere belief. You show me a story in which that does not happen, and my reaction will be, pretty much, "We all know the truth, thanks." Which isn't to say that a Sports Night story couldn't break me. Just - I have a very thick insulating layer of denial. Whale blubber thick.) Anyway. My point is - Sports Night = happy place. Danny and Casey start bantering, and I am suddenly soothed and cheerful and prepared to face the world again, even if the world contains a story that has hurt me greatly.

The only down side to Sports Night is that most of the stories that I used to use in safety tabs (Sports Night saw me through many, many much scarier, much larger fandoms) are gone forever, as far as I can tell; the archive is gone and the stories just aren't anywhere anymore. So now my happy place is tinged with sorrow; I go to recommend a story, and it's nowhere to be found, and I have a sniffly moment and have to turn to a healing story without even having read a sad one. (This is why we need the Archive of Our Own; won't anyone think of the poor recommenders? Our links! Our precious links!)

Fortunately, Diversionary Tactics still remains with us. And what a fine and excellent safety-tab story it is. There's banter, and then there's some momentary tension - but we all know in our hearts it will be fine, because this is Sports Night, where things are fine, damn it - and then, yay! A happy ending. And it all takes just enough time to heal one moderate-sized story wound, like a lengthy explicit torture scene. Or the death of a minor OC.
.: ari + lloyd = win (neversince)hackthis on October 22nd, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
They've already got rings. (Okay. No rings to my actual knowledge. But if there was an episode where Vince gave Eric a ring, I would not be at all surprised.)

Okay, no physical rings, but in the first season, Eric moved into the guest house and Vince was like, okay, not happy, but okay. In season three, Vince bought everybody Aston Martins, well, b/c Drama and Turtle would probably have cried if Eric got one and they didn't. In season two, Eric and Vince have a fight and Vince tries to drive off, but uh, Vince can't drive. Seriously, he totally destroys the SUV. Last season, Eric rented space for his own production company and Vince bought him a $50,000 desk. This season, Vince went on a sabbatical to find himself, and he told Drama not to tell E where he was, but E was like, fuck that noise.

That's pretty damn married to me.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dinosaurs and sodomythefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
They are totally married! They pretty much come pre-slashed for our convenience; seriously, I know the writers intended it to be all LOOK THEY ARE SUCH MEN, but - really. They come off as total men who just happen to love each other and need to bang each other's brains out.
snailsnailbones on October 22nd, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)

I love the idea of safety tabs. I'm such a wimp though, I may still need my blankie too *g*

tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
I totally encourage blankies AND safety tabs. Not to mention a dog to squeeze, if things get really rough.
¿es eso un libro de besos?darthfox on October 22nd, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC)
I can't believe I never read that Sports Night story before. See, so every rec is useful to someone! :-)
tried to eat the safe banana: SN stick aroundthefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC)
That would be a very bad thing to miss! I'm pleased I managed to point the way. (You should probably do a quick check to make sure you haven't missed any of Shrift's other SN. That would be tragedy.)
(no subject) - darthfox on October 25th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
tofttoft_froggy on October 22nd, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
I am SO DELIGHTED that Healing Station Argh is your current safety-tab story. It fills me with joy. Also, Chicago's Most Wanted is totally one of my safety-tab stories.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
It's such a perfect safety story it's like you wrote it just for that purpose!

And, really, it doesn't get any safer than Chicago's Most Wanted. The Mafia! Amnesia! Criminal actions! Leather jackets! To me, that is how you spell safety.

Um. I mean, fictionally, because obviously that's less than ideal in real life.
(no subject) - toft_froggy on October 27th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - toft_froggy on October 27th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
ngaio on October 22nd, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
Have you tried snarchive? If I've got the name right. (If not, check phoebesmum's user info which will have a comm with a *very similar* name to that (I hope!). Anyway, it pretty much does what it says on the tin, it's meant to be an archive of SN stories, so possibly you could find some of your missing links stories there?
tried to eat the safe banana: SN stick aroundthefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
The last time I looked at snarchive (which I keep mistyping - and misremembering - as snarkive, because that also works with this show), it was brand new and not much was there. Thank you for reminding me that I meant to go back someday, because obviously that day is now! And, oh, it would be so lovely to find some of my missing links. I have so many stories left to rec. *hopes hopes hopes*
cellia: heecellia on October 22nd, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I seriously thought I was the only person who had safety stories! Your recs=awesome.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! And, truly, everyone should have safety stories. They stand between you and fiction-induced madness!
aweszomerthsinsense on October 22nd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
So unbelievably necessary at the moment. Thank you!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
*beams* I am here for you!
I am never merry when I hear sweet musicpaper_tzipporah on October 23rd, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
OMG Ethan Frome is my MOST HATED BOOK EVER. When I was in college on the west coast, Ethan Frome was how I explained why New Englanders are cranky to all my west coast friends. None of them had to read it, of course.

Oh, Ethan Frome. Such terrible memories. You ruined sledding for me.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on October 25th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
I hate it so much I continually misspell the title - seriously, it's like a nervous tic or a stutter; I cannot help adding that extra 'm' (which I just had to edit this entry to fix).

Life sucks and it can always get worse! There are many fates worse than death! Anything you do that might improve your lot or make you happy will inevitably result in additional misery! THANK YOU FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL AND HEARTWARMING MESSAGE, EDITH.
(no subject) - paper_tzipporah on October 25th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - paper_tzipporah on October 26th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
out_there on October 23rd, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Dude, entourage slash! Awesome! For all those reasons you mentioned, and for the fact that this is the only show (okay, possibly other than House) where one male lead could canonically buy the other a house, a ring, a car and a pony, and it would totally be accepted as "in-character". *sniggers*

Because, see, I truly believe that Danny and Casey are in love, and will always be in love, and that they will live happily ever after, bickering and making Dana's life hell and avoiding sports-reporting clichés forever.

They remain my OTP of Hope for that very reason. I mean "Even Sugar Peas Run Out Of Snap" aside (and the total heartbreak of Danny/Casey breakup that story describes), it's a fandom full of happily-ever-afters. I know that some stories got reposted to inthetallgrass but most of the old archived ones are... pretty much lost.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
For all those reasons you mentioned, and for the fact that this is the only show (okay, possibly other than House) where one male lead could canonically buy the other a house, a ring, a car and a pony, and it would totally be accepted as "in-character".

Hey, I think I've seen that episode! Eric worried over the cost of the pony, Turtle wanted a thoroughbred instead of a cheap-ass pony, and Drama said he could totally train the pony: he played groom #2 in Legends of the Fall. Working with Brad was great.

They remain my OTP of Hope for that very reason. I mean "Even Sugar Peas Run Out Of Snap" aside (and the total heartbreak of Danny/Casey breakup that story describes), it's a fandom full of happily-ever-afters.

And, see, I read Sugar Peas, but I don't remember it. At all. My ability to deny any unhappy ending for Danny and Casey is legend. They are living happily ever after as we speak! Seriously! This is a cornerstone of my personal dogma!
(no subject) - out_there on October 26th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
xenxenakis_ on October 23rd, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
a rec to the reccer!
A recent comfort fic of mine is Maya's Coda to an Epilogue, which is a gen HP fic that takes place one year after Deathly Hallows' epilogue and is not only hilarious and brilliant, but also helped me deal with some of the issues I had with the last book. Healing from canon counts, right? ;)

I have no idea if you've read any of her stuff, but Maya's taking down her fics from the net on November 6th so if you ever want to give it a try, you can download the entirety of her work here: http://mistful.livejournal.com/119118.html until the deadline. It really is worth a read. (the PDF is kinda overwhelming, I'd recommend starting by Coda (page 2540 ) and then go on to Drop Dead Gorgeous (page 2231), which somehow make the cracked-out premise that Harry is part Veela *make perfect sense*)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: a rec to the reccer!
Ooo, I'll have to read that. I've been kind of debating with myself about whether or not to get the PDF, because - well, having stories I can't rec is saaaaaaad. But on the other hand, I don't want to miss out on good fan fiction!


*goes to download*

Thank you!
Re: a rec to the reccer! - bibliokat on October 26th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: a rec to the reccer! - xenakis_ on October 29th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on October 23rd, 2008 10:44 am (UTC)
Healing Station Argh is made of win! I love Teyla and Ronon in it particularly, and SGA totally needs more stories where John and Rodney are confused at Pegasus cultural references.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, I know! It has some of my favorite dialog ever, just really note-perfect, and Pegasus culture. That confuses John and Rodney. My heart explodes with glee! Only not in the fatal way that would suggest!
too much sugar for a nickel: ds gropesbonspiel on October 23rd, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Re Chicago's Most Wanted: so true! I'm glad I'm not the only one. It's a story full of conflict and plot, yet it doesn't feel *threatening* in some way, I suppose because Benton Fraser is the most well-intentioned outlaw ever.
tried to eat the safe banana: Fraserthefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
I would like to believe that Chicago's Most Wanted is a healing story for everyone everywhere. We should all be touched by the power of Chicago's Most Wanted!

And, yeah, it's really hard to be afraid of Fraser as an outlaw. Like, you know he'd be badass and fearsome and all, but it's just impossible to believe he'd ever hurt anyone who didn't totally have it coming. (This is why I could never get into the sociopath Fraser stories. It's not him! Okay, it's not my version of him.)
DC: Smallville - Loisbananainpyjamas on October 23rd, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Sweet Charity
Hi! Sorry for the OT comment, but I haven't seemed to have had much luck with email. Your Clark/Lex Sweet Charity vid is finished and posted here. Just wanted to let you know. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Vidsthefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Sweet Charity
OMG YAY. I have seen it, and I have an email in progress to give you feedback on it, but in the meantime: OMG YAY. Seriously, that is an awesome vid, and you will be hearing more squee from me shortly!
Re: Sweet Charity - bananainpyjamas on October 27th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
betzz: Jackbetzz on October 24th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)

I just found the Slashy Awards and I now, like, totally worship you! You cover all my fandoms and then some more and the recs are delicious.

I hope the friending is ok and I'll try to be a good and comment.

Have a great day
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Hi! Friending is always more than okay - entirely welcome and even encouraged! And comments are equally welcome - it's awesome to hear from and get to know the people who read this - but you don't have to comment if you don't want to. (I am the worst commenter in the world. Seriously. So I understand entirely how a person can be up to reading but not up to commenting.)

Nice to meet you!
Julietjulietk on October 25th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, man, thank you for the pointer to Healing Station Argh! I am currently far, far from home (Cambodia, in point of fact), and I read it at a net cafe, went back to my guesthouse; and then had to go back the next day, reread it, and download it onto the eeeeepc for portable happiness. Thinking about it cheered me up no end today during Bus Ride Khmer Pop Video Karaoke Horror (although putting the KLF on the mp3 device REALLY BLOODY LOUD did also help).

I have never seen Due South, Sports Night, or Entourage in my life, but what the hell, I was waiting for photo uploads, read them anyway, & loved all *those* as well. Awesomeness.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on October 26th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. When you're far from home, that is totally when you need many many comfort stories. (As witness my friend when she was in India.) I'm so glad I could help you find some.

And, wow. Healing Station Argh even works against Bus Ride Khmer Pop Video Karaoke Horror. I am impressed. Even though I can only vaguely imagine what BRKPVKH is. Clearly, this is a story that everyone should carry in case of emergencies, and I'm glad you now have it with you at all times.

(Due South, Sports Night, and Entourage are all fandoms of awesomeness. Stick around! I will attempt to drag you into them, kicking and screaming! I also have many many back recs in those fandoms that you might enjoy, and the ones for due South even mostly still work. Just in case you need further distraction while traveling. Or while subject to Karaoke Horror. Or both. Benton Fraser would want you to be prepared!)