Fanfiction Fridays: but do i want to know? by iswearitt

The [locker] door bursts open with a metallic clatter, and an innocuous piece of paper flutters to the ground. Kamala reaches down and snatches it up, eyes already burning with righteous anger.

“Don’t people get sick of sticking mean crap in your locker because you decided to wear hijab? It’s been over a year, I wish they’d get over it already,” Kamla says, unfolding the piece of paper and scanning it.

“Some people have nothing better to do,” Nakia replies, turning to empty her book bag into her locker. “It doesn’t bother me, you know.” It does, of course it does, but Nakia has always had a thick skin, so she doesn’t let it show.

Kamala lets out a strangled noise of death in response. “Nakia,” she whispers reverently. “Kiki. Read this. Please.”

Nakia faces Kamala, but her retort dies on her lips at the expression on Kamala’s face. It’s two-fifths mischief and three-fifths unrestrained glee, which is a combination that Nakia’s afraid of, at least when it comes to Kamala. She reaches out and takes the paper from Kamala’s outstretched hand carefully, like it’s dangerous.

If the look on Kamala’s face is any judge, it might as well be.

Nakia sighs and begins to read what appears to be a letter.

And stops abruptly, eyes going wide, face flushing with heat, gaze flickering between the letter and Kamala’s face. “What.”

Kamala nods, bouncing up and down in place. “Yes. Yes, it is. “

“This is–” Nakia can’t say it. She can’t say it aloud, but Kamala evidently can.

“It’s a love letter,” she says with relish. “From some mystery admirer to you.” Kamala grins again, shutting Nakia’s locker for her and grabbing her arm to drag Nakia down the hallway to the open door beyond. “This is going to require a sleepover.”

The Marvel Universe has been a bit of a mess lately thanks to yet another all-encompassing event, but even Civil War II hasn’t been enough to drag Ms. Marvel‘s quality down below “pure awesomeness”. And yet, despite its protagonist’s love of fanfiction, I don’t often find myself reading fanfiction set in her Jersey City-shaped corner of the Marvel Universe. After a (semi-)recent reveal in Kamala’s series, however, I found myself racing to AO3 to see what fanfic I could find supporting my new Ms. Marvel OTP.

Spoilers through issue #9 of Ms. Marvel below the jump.

Formerly Obnoxious White Girl™ Zoe Zimmer has come a long way in thirty or so issues of Ms. Marvel. As she and Nakia became friends, she unlearned the casually racist behaviors that she had once engaged in, and, for lack of a more succinct phrase, got woke. She’s gone from a tedious annoyance to a thoughtful and likeable character. And then, amid a bunch of predictive justice-related conflict and shenanigans in Ms. Marvel #9, she shared a quiet moment with her ex-boyfriend, who had asked her why their relationship fell apart. This was her answer:

Cue me, screaming. Cue me screaming louder when this was the next set of panels:

My heart immediately went out to Zoe, and I am now desperate for the two of them to get together. While there’s certainly hope they will in canon—we don’t know Nakia’s sexuality, but we can cross our fingers that comics goddess G. Willow Wilson will provide a happy ending rather than a sad side story about a gay girl crushing on a straight girl amidst all the other stress and tragedy in the book right now—an issue a month is a glacial pace for a side storyline to progress. Obviously fanfic was the answer.

but do i want to know? delivers sappy goodness that the fanfic writer in Kamala would be proud of. Nakia stresses over the note she’s received, and the fact that her one best friend Zoe seems to have suddenly started avoiding her. Kamala, best friend number two, tries to be helpful—she’s certainly as deeply invested in Nakia’s romantic shenanigans as a best friend can be—but only frustrates Nakia further with her secret-keeping and inability to lie well about wherever she’s disappearing to all the time. All of this comes to a head when Nakia confronts Zoe about her behavior, and Zoe insists that they can’t be friends any more—because she’s the one who wrote the note.

This leads to my favorite line in the whole fanfic, when Nakia realizes that she hadn’t considered the person who’d left her the note was a girl: “That was a very heterosexist stance of me to take.” From anyone else this would seem weirdly preachy to the reader, throwing them out of the story with such a direct read. But from Nakia, who’s never shied away from the terminology of intersectional feminism, it’s perfectly in character—Zoe has to laugh at how very Nakia it is.

The whole story is as innocent and precious and high-school-drama-y as Ms. Marvel itself is when it’s not facing down the end of the world. but do i want to know? is a brief and cavity-inducing one-shot at less than 3000 words. I definitely recommend giving it a look-see here at the AO3.


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