Fanfiction Fridays: love is for children and other lies

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.

Fanfiction Fridays: Faultlines by Luc Court

“…But there is a flaw in my coal, Hespith. I will not tell them. They will not admit it. Instead, they will one day make a Paragon not out of whoever proves me wrong, but in who ‘improves’ it.”

Your lungs draw in a sharp breath automatically, though Branka is no warmongerer; she has nothing but passive scorn for the Assembly, a low-level bile that sees no need to purposefully stir up dissent. She will not walk the floor, call out publicly what she sees as heresies – though they would tolerate her, if she did. They must. It makes you afraid of what would happen if they did not.

You touch her arm.

“Hespith.” She makes your name sound like a snake. She hisses against your ear. You imagine her tongue to be as cool and dry as a serpent’s belly, but she is far more moist than that. “I am your Paragon,” she whispers. “Say it.”

You do. You say it, again and again. Everything she wants. All for her.

Sometimes, when in search of a certain type of fic, it’s easy to get swept up in the fanon instead of appreciating what’s already in canon. So, as much as I love reading about femslash that would probably be dubious at best in its canon, this week is about giving a little love to a canon pairing that I forgot about completely. I blame Orzammar.

For “wardens” who have played through Dragon Age: Origins, naming this home of the dwarves brings up almost as many bad memories as The Fade simply for the fact that it’s horridly long and, after those hours among the underground tunnels, the entire environment becomes boring to look at. However many bad memories exist, though, Orzammar houses one of the most complex choices the player can make during the game. This decision, much like this fanfiction, revolves around one person: the Paragon, Branka.

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Fanfiction Fridays: The Sad Orphan Kissing Society by Solshine

“I know Marius was gonna try to ask you out. He totally didn’t do it, did he?” says Éponine.

Cosette sighs. “No,” she admits.

“Okay, then I’d like to take his missed opportunity.” Cosette looks blank. “Uh. Would you like to. Get coffee? Sometime?”

Cosette blinks. “Oh. Oh! I’m, um. I—”

“You’re straight, right, yeah. Worth a shot.”

“No, I— I mean, I’ve just never—”

“It’s fine, it’s okay, forget it. I’m gonna go back to work, it was great catching up.”

“No, wait,” Cosette insists, and Éponine stops in spite of herself. “Um, can I…?” She gestures to the pen behind Éponine’s ear. Éponine hands it to her hesitantly. Cosette takes her whole hand instead of just the pen, and it feels like an electric shock up Éponine’s arm. Which is nothing compared to when Cosette uncaps the pen with her teeth and holds out Éponine’s arm to write something on it. Something that’s a phone number.

“Call me,” Cosette adds needlessly, and smiles, and this is definitely the best smile yet. Éponine feels a little dizzy.

“Yeah,” she says. “Yeah, totally, I will.”

–from The Sad Orphan Kissing Society by Solshine

One of the only non-miserable things about Les Misérables is Marius and Cosette’s relationship, but even that, obviously, grew out of some pretty miserable stuff. Cosette used to be in the care of Éponine’s abusive parents, the Thénardiers, and Éponine had a massively unrequited crush on Marius which eventually led to her death. Aside from all that depressing stuff, though, I never really liked Marius and Cosette’s relationship. It’s not that I don’t believe in love at first sight, it’s just that the way Marius goes about it is so silly. Honestly, he sees a girl across a square, decides he’s in love with her, and then, upon finally being introduced to her, he tells her “I do not even know your name”? And in the book he even obsesses over a handkerchief that ends up being Valjean’s, not Cosette’s. I just. Marius Pontmercy, everyone.

Marius's face as he stares blankly at Cosette is one of my favorite things, though

Marius’s face as he stares blankly at Cosette is one of my favorite things, though.

That’s why The Sad Orphan Kissing Society, by Solshine, is so awesome. Not only does it have a kickass title, but it also includes a Marius Pontmercy who’s just as hopeless (and kind, and fair) as he is in the canon versions of the story, and that’s not easy, considering that this fic is a modern day AU of Les Misérables. In fact, everyone is fantastically in character for having been brought a couple centuries forward. Éponine is a little rough around the edges, a little unsure of herself, and Cosette is as innocent and as forgiving as she’s ever been.  When the two girls meet, they instantly hit it off—and Solshine even gets into the sticky issue of the Thénardiers’ abuse without detracting from the fun, teenage feel of the fic.

And even though I dislike Marius, Éponine and Cosette clearly like him, so, just as a rising tide lifts all boats, an OT3 solves all problems—and make no mistake about it, it’s Éponine’s and Cosette’s joint decision to invite Marius into the fold. It takes Marius a hilarious scene to understand what’s going on, but when he finally figures it out, it goes very well for the three of them.

The Sad Orphan Kissing Society is a fairly short read at 10k words, and can be found here on AO3. Enjoy, and I hope you all found some good femslash fics during this Femslash February!

Fanfiction Fridays: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime by owlmoose

I figured it was about time to switch fandoms in my search for femslash, and given my current parameters—games that allow for character creation—I figured there was no better choice than to finally dip my feet into the Dragon Age fandom. I’d seen some fantastic fic already from this fandom, but none of it was femslash. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about looking. Unfortunately, the search ended up being a load of trouble: maybe it’s just my inadequate searching skills, but the amount of femslash was much, much smaller than I was anticipating. (I may have been excited, but I did not set my standards high.) I’ve resolved myself to look again, but for now I’ve found a short fic that satiates my need and features one of my favorite friendships in Dragon Age 2.

The ladies in this game aren't anyone to trifle with.

The ladies in this game aren’t anyone to trifle with.

When writing for the pairing or friendship of Aveline and Isabela, I’ve noticed a trend of making Aveline this shrinking violet in the presence of Isabela’s sexual prowess, and I have to wonder if these authors even played the same game I did. Isabela may be a pirate queen who owns her sexuality, but Guard Captain Aveline is not known for backing down or batting an eyelash at anything vulgar. In the game, I believe the one conversation between them that defines their relationship entirely is:

Aveline: You’re right.

Isabela: About?

Aveline: About knowing who you are.

Aveline: I’m the captain of the guard. I’m loyal, strong, and I don’t look too bad naked.

Isabela: Exactly. And if I called you a mannish, awkward, ball-crushing do-gooder, you’d say…?

Aveline: Shut up, whore.

Isabela: That’s my girl.

From this, the respect they share for each other is obvious, but it’s also easy to see where certain facets can be eschewed to the point of ruining the nuances that make the relationship so interesting in the first place. In the aptly named Let the Punishment Fit the Crime, author owlmoose refuses to fall into that trap and gives the audience a very real picture of the blooming friendship between these two strong women.

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Fanfiction Fridays: stick with me baby by FreshBrains

It’s February, which means it’s time for femslash! In an attempt to read better and more diverse fanfiction, I began my quest by looking for some good femslash. I also looked for it in places where it may not be as common. For example, fandoms like the Xena: Warrior Princess will obviously have more femslash because its source show stars two strong women. So I began my search in popular fandoms that had noticeably less popular f/f ships. This time around I started with Teen Wolf, and this excellent Christmas fic that focuses on Lydia Martin and Laura Hale.

I might be late, but the season doesn’t detract from how good this fic is.

e906812002844e77965497e1bfbf71faOne of the things I love about stick with me baby is that it is very lady-heavy. The only male characters to really put in an appearance are Derek, Peter, and Scott. I think Stiles gets a mention, but he never actually shows up. Instead, the story relies heavily on our female characters, focusing primarily on Lydia and Laura, who are in a serious committed relationship when the story begins. The main conflict focuses on the fact that Laura never told her family about Lydia and that she may have accidentally mated (aka the Teen Wolf equivalent of werewolf marriage) with Lydia.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Family Affairs of the Busybody Sort by aquamarine

“…You’re right. We couldn’t do that to them. But, but then, what do we do!?” The pitch in Cynthia’s voice approached hysteria. She wished a Risen was still skulking around, ready to be lanced through by a righteous hero. Even if said righteous hero was currently in the throes of a berserker fury, justice would still be on their side. “Are you saying we just have to hide it? Everything!?”

“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. At least until those two work it out. They managed it once without us; they can do it again. Hopefully.” Severa sighed. “It’ll be harder to keep it a secret now, with both of us here. We have to be careful not to slip what we really are to each other. I’ve already told all the others about our situation – no one’s screwed things up. Yet.”

I have a confession: after I wrote my last Fanfiction Fridays I ventured deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening. Balls deep. So, I’m not quite ready to leave this fandom just yet. And really, I can’t leave when there are so many other good femslash pairings that could be written about; I had to see what the fanfiction authors had to offer. Though, sadly, there weren’t any tales about the female Player Character and Tharja, the hex-obsessed dark mage (I can’t be the only one who ships this), I did manage to find a fic about another pairing that a) I didn’t think about before and b) adds some of the lightheartedness from the games back into the fandom.

Fire Emblem Awakening BannerMinor spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening under the cut.

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Fanfiction Fridays: (i’ll go) wherever you will go by fadeoutin

Here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends, we address just about every social issue you could shake a stick at; however, in terms of fandom and fanfiction, the issue that speaks directly to my heart is the lack of fics starring a female couple in a romantic relationship. I’ve already made mention of this in an earlier Fanfiction Fridays of mine, but this time I decided to approach it from a different angle. Rather than hoping that some author would kindly decide to extrapolate on the relationship between two ladies already present in canon, I wanted to see if game series that focus on making a customizable main character might be more evenly divided between the types of slash fic—if not evenly divided, at least an easier task to find actual femslash fic.

Before plunging myself into the depths of fanfiction created by Bioware titles—I could lose days sorting through all that fic-y goodness—I wanted to start with a fandom that is a little more reserved in its output. Or at least it seems like it from this side of the ocean.

Fire Emblem Awakening BannerFire Emblem: Awakening is the newest addition to the Fire Emblem series of turn-based strategy games. Its plot deals with a huge multi-continent war, a legion of the undead—named ‘the risen’—coming to wreak havoc on everyone and everything, memory loss, doppelgangers, and time travel, just to name a few things. I know, it sounds like standard fare for a JRPG, but what this has over a typical JRPG is a mechanic in which fighting alongside certain members of your army unlocks new conversations with them, and even marriage later on. It’s a shipper’s dream, and the fanbase loves it. However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no homosexual relationships available for the player character to pursue. This is disappointing especially considering that there’s a pairing that’s so hinted at it may as well be canon (at least in terms of being available for the final, ‘marriage-tier’ conversation).

I had thought that finding a fic based on the seemingly forbidden relationship between the player character and a member of the same gender would have been the easiest path to tread (since self-insert fic is a long-lasting love of any canon), but once more I was surprised: a fic on the front page staring two characters that I hadn’t even thought of together caught my eye. And it was femslash? Be still my beating heart.

Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening under the cut.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Seeds

The cracker was square and made of thin strands of baked wheat that all ran in the same direction, and there was a grid pattern on it from having been stamped with something like a meat tenderizer. So all the crackers were formed in a very long sheet, then stamped en masse, baked, and then shuffled into a bag and packaged in this box that had a square (cracker) shaped hole cut into the back, with a dotted arrow pointing at it, commanding that he “GROW DILL!” in all capital letters, just like that.

There was a larger square of cardboard glued to the back of the square hole, and Sherlock tore this off and tossed the rest of the box back onto the table. From this square of cardboard, one could apparently GROW DILL! Sherlock retrieved the box and read the instructions. See what the idle hours had reduced him to? John would regret ever having sought gainful employment when the flat was overtaken by DILL! on account of Sherlock’s new and determined agricultural pursuits. “Get a hobby,” John had said. Well.

—from Seeds by thesardine

In honor of the BBC Sherlock premiere (finally!) this past Wednesday, today’s Fanfiction Fridays is a lovely Sherlock fic by thesardine.

When there are suddenly no interesting cases in London, Sherlock falls into what John might term a “massive strop”. As John has rather frankly told Sherlock to get a hobby, Sherlock decides to appropriate all of John’s kitchen utensils to start a garden. The results are more touching than you might expect. Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: A Strange Adventure with Mrs. Nakamura the Safety Consultant

Haruki was by and large a blameless man and had not done anything to deserve his new assignment. His only transgression was that he was not indispensable. And it had been explained to him three or four times that this was not a punishment, as far as that went. Not for him. Still, it smarted to be called before the board of directors and reassigned to a woman with a reputation as odd as Mrs. Nakamura’s. She had no friends in the company.

She was a normal kind of woman: her eyes were dark brown and always moving; her hair was tucked back into a bun. She was shortish and neither slender nor fat, with a face just too long to be pretty. She was well spoken and dutiful, polite – ‘To a fault,’ they would say. ‘Polite to a fault.’ Mrs. Nakamura was so polite that she could freeze a man’s blood in his veins at ten paces.

But there was no reason that she should be followed by a reputation for oddness and unreliability, a very vague reputation, because there were never specific charges. It could only be agreed that she was strange, and the exact manner of that strangeness had not been quantified yet to anyone’s satisfaction.

—from A Strange Adventure with Mrs. Nakamura the Safety Consultant by shiplizard

Most Spirited Away fanfics which are set post-movie tend to focus on the burgeoning love story between Chihiro and Haku. I can certainly see the reason why—we had come so close to a romantic coda, just for Chihiro to be sent back to the real world with only Haku’s promise that they’d meet again. Who wouldn’t want to see that play out?

spirited-awayBut on the other hand, there are so many things in the world of Spirited Away to explore that I can’t help but wish they got equal time alongside the romance. So A Strange Adventure with Mrs. Nakamura the Safety Consultant by shiplizard was a delightful find. It stars a hapless company employee, Haruki, who’s forced to accompany Mrs. Nakamura, otherwise known as our Chihiro, and report back on any strange events. Haruki’s an adorable original character whose narration is pretty much spot-on what you’d expect from a newbie suddenly thrust into the spirit world. The imagery, in particular, is beautifully descriptive—shiplizard’s poetic description of every little detail renders the new version of old characters completely believable.

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Fanfiction Fridays: can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful

stiles-derek-teen-wolf-sterekSo it’s Friday, you’re back from your super-early-morning Black Friday shopping, and you want to read a nice fic before you crawl under the covers and don’t come out for the rest of the weekend. Well, in that case, I’ve got just the fic for you.

can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful by HalfFizzbin is jam-packed full of fluff and Thanksgiving goodness. Stiles and his dad are invited to Stiles’s grandma’s for Thanksgiving, and Derek tags along because Stiles’s dad can’t help but take in strays, and also Derek’s sort of been pining after Stiles. (Of course he won’t admit to it, in the same way that Stiles won’t admit to stealing Derek’s leather jacket.) Upon arriving at Stiles’s grandma’s house, she demands to know why Stiles has brought a complete stranger home and Stiles manages to trick her into believing that Derek is his boyfriend. Chaos and a happy ending ensue. Also, Derek helps to make mashed potatoes.

If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving fic to complement your post-Thanksgiving food coma, this is it. The banter is great, Stiles seems perfectly in character, and the romance is awwdorable in all the right ways. At 6,000 words, can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful is the fun-sized cherry on top of your holidays. Read it here at AO3.