Fanfiction Fridays: love is for children and other lies by Fahye

Asking certain types of questions is encouraged. It’s the start of a lifetime spent gathering information one way or another. So Natalia’s starting point for this mission is the same as any other: gather adequate data. She likes her intelligence firsthand, like any well-trained spy. Clean. As far as possible, unsullied by agenda or ego. The trust that webbed itself between the Black Widow girls as a survival mechanism is being teased apart, as they grow older and more aware of their roles, but she’s not in direct competition with anyone here. Natalia sits in a crosslegged circle of teenagers swapping stories about sex; they could be normal girls, anywhere in the world.

Question: is it enjoyable?

The consensus is: yes. Mostly. And they touch their throats and smile at the absurdity of it, these girls, at the sounds and the stickiness and the potential for sheer awkwardness. Natalia ventures, leaning back on her hands, that it doesn’t sound all that fun.

“Have a go with yourself,” Anna says, to a general wave of squirming and laughter.

—from love is for children and other lies, by Fahye

April is Asexy April in fandom; much like Femslash February, which celebrated works with female/female pairings, this month’s goal is to celebrate and educate all and sundry on asexuality-related matters through fanfiction. Today’s fic is from 2012, but it’s a great example of what this month could be.

love is for children and other lies spans Natasha’s life from when she was first recruited into the Black Widow program until a little after the events of The Avengers. Author Fahye doesn’t draw from any particular comics canon, instead choosing to construct their own backstory for Natasha through what we know of her from her MCU appearances. I may be biased, but Fahye does a great job. What a backstory this is—it’s so emotional and so real that I almost want Marvel to keep their vague Black Widow movie promises to themselves, because I’ve already got my Black Widow headcanon right here.

natasha romanoffMany times when a fanfic author writes a fic with an asexual character, the fic ends up intentionally or unintentionally sounding like an after-school special or an Asexuality 101 class. This fic never does, though. While Natasha is very aware of her asexuality, the author makes sure to emphasize that it isn’t “caused” by Natasha’s Black Widow training and no characters ever remark on how “wrong” it is or tries to “fix” her. Natasha’s asexuality is simply an intrinsic part of her, and it only adds to Natasha’s fantastically three-dimensional character. And while subtle, the fic also refutes various misbegotten ideas about asexual people: Natasha may not feel sexual attraction, but she can and does still form intimate bonds, albeit of a different nature, with her closest partners and friends.

At 30k, love is for children and other lies will take a good chunk out of your day, but it’s so worth it to finally see a fic with an asexual character that isn’t just about that character dealing with their asexuality or a couple learning to “deal” with one partner’s asexuality. Natasha is never reduced to her asexuality, and for that alone, you should read this fic.