So statistically speaking, I killed a lot fewer characters this year. No one was raped, mutilated, or tortured, though some may have been drugged. There were new fandoms, old fandoms, things I'd never done before, and things I've wanted to do for a while.
There was Star Trek, my first fandom and the root of a lifetime of adoration of sci-fi, and there was RPS, which, yeah, I didn't see that coming like, at all. And there were people that make life so much more than it would have been without them.
1. I Hate This Part Right Here - Fandom: Chuck - Pairing: Gen
Time has been kind; the first time (and last time) I dropped acid was a nightmare from which I could not wake up and informed my opinion of hallucinogenics for all times. I don't like being in control (please restrain your shock), I'm claustrophobic, and things that fuck with my perception do not work for me. That I knew all this and still tried is another story entirely. I haven't necessarily been waiting fourteen years to write this, but I will say that the opportunity was not to be missed.
I love this one, however, for tracing the relationship between Chuck, Casey, and Sarah, protective, confrontational, and in the end, tightly and mercilessly loyal. As the people Chuck trusts absolutely, before he trusts himself, they use their skill as agents to strip away at least part of what had been done to him while drugged. I didn't go into detail on the weekend of conditioning or what they'd given him to get him through that, mostly because that would have been a long story. But they didn't do it because they were agents protecting an asset, but because they needed Chuck to be okay, and they did what they had to for him to be that way. It's literally pre-threesome, because that's pretty much where this is going.
2. Summer Country Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
For sheer joy in writing, this is my favorite. I love rain, and I love mythology, and I love the love stories that began well before they start, and theirs began before they were born. And I love that Arthur is Arthur, created by magic and of course he'd love Merlin, magic distilled and concentrated, and Merlin would love him.
3. Hemlock and Pendragon - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Gen
Snippets to work on my canon and characterization. I usually don't post pieces like that, since most of them end up incomplete, but these were nice, and then shinetheway sequeled the second one, so just for that, they were worth posting.
4. So Are They Are, All Honourable Men - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
This was titled by elke_tanzer and to this day, I don't remember if I started with this idea or it just showed up after the drama with Arthur's clean quarters. I like what it says about Merlin--though I'm not entirely sure about his idea of fair play being canonical--but even more what it says about the king Arthur is becoming, and the one he almost is at the end. Arthur is very duty-oriented, and I don't think its entirely Uther's training, but also an inborn trait.
Arthur fought for Merlin because he loved him and couldn't lose him, but he fought as much for the idea of what he was forced to represent--those who didn't have power used by those who did--and what he was in status and position, Arthur's responsibility and strictly speaking, a kind of chattel. My favorite scene, and it was literally I think the last one added, was the second confrontation with Uther. It's one thing to risk life and death, but for Arthur, public humiliation would be so much worse. Risking his father's affection and approval was just icing. And he did it.
5. Privileges of Rank - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
It was coldoutside, which leads to, of course, to stories of sex by incipient hypothermia, as one does. Instead, I thought about Merlin's position as a newcomer to Camelot and a highly ranked position (I explored that a little more in Truth Is a Whisper; it's a fascinating point to think of, how in dark ages terms he hit the lottery for good jobs for people not highborn. And for that matter, a job lower gentry might envy). He wouldn't have gotten off scot-free, and other servants would have motivation for him not to do a good job.
Arthur always strikes me as someone who has the attention span of a gnat when it's not something he's interested in, but when he's interested, it's like dealing with a pit bull attached to one's leg; ie, you will not get that leg back. Once he was made aware something was wrong, (and Merlin stumbling drunk and rumpled into his quarters without a key would be about five red flags for a boy raised in a royal household and knows Merlin is very much not up to the differences living in the city and with royalty), he investigated and didn't like the results. At minimum, it makes him look bad to let them get away with it, since Merlin is his servant and it's his duty to care for him. At maximum, he likes Merlin and it's really damn annoying that his servant was felt up for the sake of a key.
Seducing him was just a side benefit, albeit a deeply enjoyable and anticipated one. Because really, who wouldn't?
6. Job Orientation - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
I wrote this to cheer up a friend. It's about what it states. Arthur forgets to explain himself, Merlin is about to invent emo meanderings into the pain of existence, and I'm still convinced if he'd had another few weeks, he'd be wandering around in badly-dyed black robes and trying to paint his nails black and make the bards sing sad songs in the corner or something.
7. The Tale of the Sea Serpent - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
I didn't actually--mean to write this one. But mercurydraconix asked, and I nodded thoughtfully and thought, sure, and then it started in a storm and Arthur pining for the guy he's already sleeping with, which just goes to show, Merlin is not the only melodramatic one in the family. I liked it most because unlike Merlin, Arthur channels his feelings into his work or his playtime and doesn't necessarily explain the origin of why he's upset.
I think he'd understand perfectly why Merlin would keep this a secret from him, even if they're involved, and I could see him covering for Merlin, because obviously, if he made a mistake with Arthur that one time, he could make it with anyone. And again, he won't explain what he's doing (in this case, can't, since Merlin doesn't know) and Merlin leaps to all the wrong conclusions.
And of course the sea serpents are going to get nervous when Arthur takes his manpain out on saving everyone's life and trying to be the most awesome prince ever. There is, in fact, a good magical creature network and they gossip a lot. Merlin's rep is kind of trashed, but they'll let it go this time. They know Arthur's kind of crazy like that.
And who wouldn't want a moat of friendly sea serpents?
8. Truth Is a Whisper - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing; Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Other
I have no idea what to say about this one. See, the thing is, a lot of times, any decent fic I write starts out with something like this: "OMG THIS IS A HILAROUS IDEA" and there we go! Just sometimes, I end up taking it way too seriously, and I liked Merlin pining with orgasms in other people's beds, and Arthur not really knowing he should pine, because he already learned that shit gets you a terrible reputation involving sheep.
The plotline around it surprised me, because I liked the idea of both the power of rumor and how it can take on its own life and existence, and how Merlin over time has learned to not only appreciate it and use it, but also the art of weaponizing it. I liked the idea that a silly joke can turn wrong, even if it really shouldn't, and I loved the idea that Merlin would get off a little on having this kind of power over Arthur, not in a bad way, but in a way that there's something he can give and do for Arthur that no one else ever has or ever could, and that he can be the sole recipient of all that focused attention just on him, just for him.
9. Tintagel - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur, Nimueh/Ygraine, Uther/Ygraine
If you wanted to distill a lot of what I love and hate and kind of feel weird about writing, this story hits all of it.
There is a lot I wish I could do differently, but I don't know how in the space of the story. I like this one, but it makes me uncomfortable because I think I pulled back from a lot of the implications of what Nimueh, Ygraine, and even Merlin did to Arthur's life, because it's a really uncomfortable realization. His choice was stripped from him before he was born, and Merlin picked up basically where Nimueh's control left off. He'll be a great king and a great man, but that doesn't change he never had true freedom to choose the person he'd become.
When Nimueh used all of Uther's murders to fuel the spell, she locked time into place, and locked every death until the day Merlin came to Camelot and the spell ended. In that time, nothing would ever deviate even a little because the spell held Ygraine's vision in place.
Merlin's actions were kind of horrifying but not until I re-read it a few weeks later, and again, this is one of the times I really didn't know what I was writing even after it was done. He rewrote Arthur from the ground up, and while sure, it made it less hideously painful and traumatic for Arthur, he doesn't get Arthur also lost something in the person he was to become the person Merlin thought he should be. He did it because he loved Arthur, but in the end, like Ygraine, and interestingly unlike Nimueh, he also did it for himself, for what he wanted Arthur to be, what he totally believed he should be, not what he was. He could be everything to Arthur like this, but that doesn't mean he should be, or that he should have used Arthu'rs pain at Uther's actions to get Arthur to agree.
Nimueh, on the other hand, didn't give a flying fuck in the end about destiny or fate or herself, because she knew she'd go crazy when she lost Ygraine--she did it because she fell in love, and this was the last gift she could give the woman she loved more than anything in the world.
I'm really uncomfortable with this one, though not entirely because of the subject matter. If I'd known I was doing this, I would have gone a lot farther with the idea--it's a fascinating idea about love and power and the uses and abuses of both in the name of something you want.
10. Bedmate - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Porn. God. Posted at Easter, even.
11. You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While) - Fandom: Star Trek Reboot - Pairing: Kirk/Spock
You know, when I wrote this, I later thought I really could have skipped meta'ing on the movie altogether; this is in a lot of ways my meta, my love letter to Star Trek for being the foundation of my love of sci-fi, and my love letter to a pairing I knew should exist well before I knew about slash, fanfiction, or like, sex. I love Star Trek for what it was, for what it is, for what I wanted it to be, and for what it is becoming and what it will be.
It's also just--to explain how much I love dueling timelines is hard, but I love that. I love working with a mystery, I love working in multiple timelines, I love writing two people who are professional antagonists before they were friends and live life like a competitive sport and fall in love the same way they fight, like falling off a cliff and hitting the bottom hard. The way they met means it will never be easy, but then again, their lives weren't easy, and I'm not sure they'd want it any other way.
I could go on forever what I love about Jim Kirk and his aimless, restless anger that Pike gave direction but not purpose, not until Nero, the Enterprise, and the fine and narrow line that separates doing the right thing because you're supposed to, and doing the right thing because that's the person you want to be and never knew you were or could be. And I love Spock for being so angry, and learning so young to repress if not control it, and in a lot of ways finding in Jim the externalized version of himself. He can be the voice of logical reason and calm if Jim is the one that can be the part of himself he can't express and remain who he is.
And I love they're learning these things about themselves, and each other, together.
Also, come on. Kirk with pon farr. Fuck yes I had a blast with that.
12. Just Wait for It - Fandom: Merlin/Smallville - Pairing; Arthur/Lex Luthor, Merlin/Arthur
There is nothing I love more than people fucking in bathrooms while high. Merlin and Clark like oil and water just made it that much better, because they're just enough alike to grate on each other and just different enough to bewilder each other. And of course Lex would want Arthur; he's a mystery and Lex is a slut for a mystery, for a too-pretty teenager with father issues, a little jaded but not quite jaded enough, and yet something far more than those things should make him.
I had a scene I wanted but didn't get to write, since I don't know fencing well enough, where Arthur's pissed that Lex slammed Merlin to Uther in revenge for the bathroom thing and challenges him to fencing, and Lex says, sure, because he's been fencing for years and Mercy and Hope have beaten all the flaws out of him and Arthur's fencing has always been mediocre.
And it starts that way, but Arthur's never fought to win before, never fought because he had a reason and a duty to do so, and he beats Lex into the ground. And Lex thought, mystery and all bets are off.
13. You Say (That's Not an Answer - Fandom: Due South - Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski, Fraser/Victoria, Fraser/Victoria/Kowalski
I wrote this originally in 2008 but in scattershot. I never knew what to do with it. It's moody, depressing, and worse, it's horribly going to stay that way. Fraser is years past thinking he can ever hope for redemption, and Kowalski is too screwed up himself to even want redemption for himself, much less help Fraser find it. Not that they aren't going to spend many years successfully robbing many banks, having a lot of sex, and scaring the shit out of Victoria, because she made Fraser into this, but Kowalski and Fraser escalate each other in new and frightening ways. Dynamite and nitroglycerin? Meet a match that will never go out. Have fun with that.
14. Heat Wave - Fandom: Due South - Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Missing cats! Hiliarty! Physics jokes! I was an SGA fangirl. It's in the blood now.
15. Background Noise - Fandom: Star Trek Reboot - Pairing: Gen
This was a snippet I just enjoyed writing. Not everything is wild and daring explosions in space. There's the time after that, when you're still healing and hurting and everything is so hard, for both the person who was injured and the person who has to watch.
16. Taste - Fandom: The Vampire Diaries - Pairing: Damon/Stefan, Damon/Katherine, Stefan/Katherine
To say I have been waiting to write this since I was eighteen is not an exaggeration. So I didn't know then I could, now I do.
17. Repeat Offender - Fandom: Star Trek Reboot - Pairing: Kirk/Spock
I wrote this parallel with editing You'll Get There in the End and stopped three times, rewrote it, then put it away. It's--problematic, especially after the last two years, to take hold of a subject like child abuse without first sitting down and completely thinking through the reasons I wanted to try it. If the purpose was to h/c porn, then fuck it, I'd folder it like any sane person, and when I was done, I didn't trust myself enough to know if I'd written what I'd wanted to and what it should have been. So I waited until I was sure I could read it like a reader and rewrote again to see if I could get it right.
It's not just the abuse of a child at stake, but a lifetime of living with it and never being permitted to deal with it, and being forced to ignore it because no one ever told him there was another way to live. Of the three people who knew what had happened to him, one of them was dead with no hope of ever getting an answer he could live with. The other person was Jim's own answer for not just the kid he was and the years spent not only being abused, but having to learn to hide it in plain sight, but the lifetime spent wondering not only why this happened to him, but the person he became because of it.
All of those things are things Spock would understand and recognize, not only being hurt and not entirely understanding why, but learning to hide it and learning ways to cover for it so well that even the questions he wanted answered couldn't be asked (he learned the lirpa; Jim learned to get in fights; bruises are bruises and if there's an obvious answer, no other questions will be asked).
I realized I did really want to finish and post it, because of how much those events I think formed who they were and who they became and who they wanted to be. I hope to God I handled it well; it was a story I didn't want to tell unless I could do it right, and not one I could post without knowing not only what I was writing, but all the reasons I wanted to write it, and what it meant to the characters as well as to me.
18. You Must Remember This - Fandom: Merlin - Pairing: Arthur/Bacchus, Arthur/Other, Merlin/Arthur
Literally, it started with "Wouldn't it be cool if Bacchus seduced Arthur?" Then it took off; the original story was a three day myth, with Bacchus claiming Arthur at the end if there were no other claimants, but this made more sense. Arthur's created out of magic, his conception and his birth and his life and even his death seeped in it. That much power would be attractive to a god who is slowly losing power as the world changes, and the kind of power that created him made it possible for him to be tempted by the Maenads and by the life Bacchus would offer, eternally hunting and eternally binding bloodletting with sex like a drug, like a life lived in adrenaline. Arthur's paternal ancestery is Roman, so that gave him the claim
The cannibalism kind of sneaked up on me there. But if part of your power comes from death, then taking a few humans along the way would be a great way to get more.
Merlin didn't know what he was seeing but he knew that he shouldn't be, and calling on the Old Religion and the Goddess that came with Arthur's matrilineal line and well, the facts of his birth reminded him, for a little while, of who he was before he was a peasant servant to a future king. It was a choice he made, the one future for himself that no one ever saw, and he wanted a lifetime of surprises with the king he had waited forever to serve.
19. Suppose It's Too Much to Call Coincidence - Fandom: AIRPS - Pairing: Kris/Adam, Kris/Other
RPS. So that's new. Because being a semi-regular reader of it became a full time reader of it this year, and writing I guess was going to be the inevitable result, though really, I didn't expect that.
Magical dogs. I mean, I cannot say I have been waiting my whole life to write this, but seriously, I feel like I should have been. Every once in a while, I don't necessarily so much write a story as answer a series of semi-related yet highly relevant questions. It goes something like this.
Q: What is more awesome than a magical dog?
A: A magical dog whose purpose is to save Kris from making terrible life decisions!
Q: How best can this be illustrated?
A: A tooth-stealing serial killer!
Q: In what deeply hilarious way will the serial killer be discovered?
A: OMG, wait…
Q: …um, I need an answer to this question?
A: Hold on, they're in Vegas and Adam thinks he lost his girl virginity to a girl.
Q: Are you high?
A: No, it gets better, she's a /b/tard!
Q: Yeah, I'm leaving.
A: But I haven't gotten to the Katy/Bradley/Colin threesome!
I have high muse turnover.
There was also an entire train of thought about how you can a.) live with your crush who is b.) single and c.) always around you and d.) lives the next bedroom over and e.) likes to cuddle with you randomly and yet require a.) a magical probability manipulating dog, b.) a mildly psychotic PA, and c.) the help of your crush's ex-wife to actually do anything about it and only after he a.) almost marries your crazy dominatrix PA that scared you b.) dates a tooth stealing serial killer and c.) nearly marries an AI fan in Vegas who is on the rebound.
You know, writing it out like this makes me realize I had to have been high during the process. I mean, there's really no other explanation. Who was reading this for me and why did you let me post it? Oh, that's right, jamesinboots.
These are the people who changed my life.
I met shinetheway this year when I first posted Summer Country and did not know at the time that only a month or two later I'd be sulky if I didn't get to talk to her every day. She wrote sequels to my fic that were better than the original, beta'ed on demand, and listened to my writing angst. She helped me with my corset at VVC and wrote me snippets when I was bored and made me write when I didn't know I needed to. She makes me laugh and think and dream in ways I didn't before. She--I don't know--she gets me, like we've known each other so much longer than we have, and it still surprises me that she wants to stay around.
transtempts got me through my Star Trek stories and helped me finish the novel, petted me, and wrote things that blew my mind and seriously hot Kirk/Spock/Uhura-ness. She is kind of awesome in ways that are hard to explain and makes me a better writer by making me think about what I'm writing and about what she's writing, she lets me see her fic before it's posted and thinks I can give good advice, and she doesn't mind I'm vaguely neurotic. She beta's me and is patient with me and I'm so very glad I know her.
celli has been a friend for so long I don't actually remember sometimes we only met in Smallville. She's complicated and fascinating and funny and strong in ways that surprise me and make me humble at the same time. She's a great writer and a great person and someone I don't ever want to lose.
winterlive did not so much drag me into RPS as tempt me there with Pinto and then laughed when I realized I was not getting out like, ever. She's hilarious and makes fun of me pretty much all the time and reminds me to take what I write seriously by not taking it all so seriously. She coaxes me to write when I don't want to and when I think I can't, and she makes fun of other people even more than me, which is incredible fun, like a fandom_wank of one. She's vaguely insane and painfully cool and thinks in ways that are unlike anyone I have ever met.
girlnamedpixley I've known for years and still find her hilarious and unexpected. She makes beautiful art and then throws youtube vids of Adam at me and talks about his hips, holy shit that conversation was good. I like that when we talk, even though it's not often, it's impossibly easy and picks up where we left off like it's been seconds and not days or weeks.
tricksterquinn I met this year and am seriously surprised how quickly we got along, suspiciously fast, like fate or like, maybe an infection, I'm not sure. She's my friend and makes me laugh and is unexpected in ways that are hard to explain. I feel very much myself with her, and she doesn't seem to mind that person at all.
amireal is one of the best friends I've ever had and maybe ever will. I'm always grateful for that, and the time she takes to answer questions I could never ask anyone else and she is patient when I stumble and forgiving when I'm wrong and mocking when she's bored. She is and has been and will always be my cowriter, my confidante, my critic, sometimes a beta and always and first my friend. It makes me happy I met her and that I know her and that she let me keep her.
svmadelyn is the best person I've ever met and the closest friend I've ever had and an adventure that I want to continue the length of my life. She fights with me and makes fun of me and sometimes I think keeps me sane even when I don't see the point of it all that much. She's my harshest critic and my most relentless supporter and might very well kill me in my sleep one day and may even regret it eventually.
She has all my passwords and most of my secrets, even the ones I've forgotten, because she saved the convos for blackmail just in case, tells me truths I don't want to hear and thinks it's funny to paste badfic into YIM to haunt my sleep and reminds me to drink water when I get a headache even when I haven't told her I have a headache, which wtf? I've gotten lost in major cities with her, visited tropical islands with her, go to cons with her, and realize yes, I will end up going to Peru with her and probably die weirdly on a mountain while she updates my lj to announce my death. I never, ever expected to find anyone like her in my life. I'm always surprised she's still around, because I'm not an easy or even particularly good person, and I'm perfectly aware there are very good reasons people can't stand being around me. I make it hard to be a friend and it doesn't become any easier with time, and a friendship requires work to, you know, work, and I'm very bad at doing that. She makes me want to work, and change, and become the person I want to be, and pushed me toward a lot of what I already am and am still becoming. To say I am grateful is like saying water is wet. I mean, sure, she may end up killing me, but that's why I keep blackmail, too.
And finally, this.
To astolat who founded OTW and An Archive of Our Own, who does amazing things and doesn't really get, I think, how many people think of her as a model of what a fan does in fandom. I admire her for a lot of things, and I live and die on her fic, but there has never been anything in her behavior or her interactions with anyone that has ever been less than gracious no matter what the pressure is brought to bear. She's the easiest and most visible target of spite for being exemplary in everything she does and doesn't permit that to affect her love of what she does here. In a lot of ways, for a long time, OTW made me uneasy, but the truth is, because she founded it, and because she's so involved in it, and because she has been willing to be it's most visible patron and it's defender, that's enough for me to trust what she wants to do and where she wants to go with this and everything it will become.
To synecdochic for Dreamwidth, which is a breathtaking leap for her to make. Everything I said about her and Dreamwidth earlier this year covers how in general I feel, but it bears repeating, as it does with astolat, that in so many ways she models another aspect of fandom and of women in fandom as well. She does amazing things and takes amazing risks and does it all in public.
They aren't afraid at all. They're extraordinary women and extraordinary people. I'd follow them anywhere they cared to go.
All these people are the reason that fandom, and for that matter life, is challenging and complicated and above all, fun. Every day I see these extraordinary people doing extraordinary things, and it's amazing that I have the privilege to know them. They are what I hope I will someday be, and I work toward that every day. The standard all of them have set for me is extraordinarily high, but you know what, I want to try anyway.
In retrospect, 2009 wasn't bad at all. Thanks for that, too.