Oct. 26th, 2013

gladdecease: (☆ grief has many causes; one is loss)
Rivals to lovers is one of my favorite tropes - granted, I like it a little better as "rivals to allies to friends to lovers," but that's such a mouthful. But positive/constructive relationship growth in general is my favorite thing, and while the trope could lead to destructive relationship growth (rivals become lovers and it blows up in their faces/their relationship really is as dysfunctional as their rivalry would suggest), I don't come across a lot of fics that treat it that way.

To get the full "rivals to allies to friends to lovers" effect usually requires a hefty word count to show the transitioning/developing relationship, but I love me some longfic. And even when it's a more direct rivals to lovers fic, there's potential for longfic. And I can't deny that direct-to-lovers fic makes for more belligerent sexual tension, which I like a lot.

Early on in Psych, for example, Shawn and Lassiter have a relationship that runs the gambit from simply competitive to irritated to outright hostile, but with an edge which lends itself well to rivals to lovers. My favorite of these is probably What Happens In Freedom Stays In Freedom by Lenore, a really excellent get together/caper fic written for Yuletide 2007. It's got this slightly absurd nature that really suits the show, and has a great Lassiter voice.

Teen Wolf is good for rivals to lovers fic too - though the life-and-death situations makes the term "rival" feel a little inaccurate, the bickering and tension between characters definitely fits the trope. Unmovable & Unstoppable by maderr is a good Derek/Stiles fic in this respect, though it takes a long time to move from one state to the other. It's also got an interesting casefic element to it, which I can always appreciate.

I also like fic that fits the anger-to-attraction mood shift of rivals to lovers, even though the characters involved aren't always rivals. Just What is a Karmic-chi Love Thing, Anyway?, an NCIS fic by catwalksalone, takes an episode where Tony and McGee being stuck on a stakeout has made them petty and quick to anger, and turns their cut-to-commercial scuffle into cut-to-commercial frottage. Cat always has an excellent Tony voice in her fics, and this one is no exception. You do probably want to be familiar with the episode in question, though, since the events serve as a strong framework for the fic.

The Mindy Project is great for het rivals to lovers, small fandom though it is - the titular Mindy has off-and-on antagonistic relationships with so many people. Her coworkers, the midwives downstairs, total strangers... even some of her canon relationships get antagonistic. when you wish upon a star (or bury some mustard seeds outside your place of work) you look like an insane person (but i'm into that, i guess), a Yuletide 2012 fic by Kindness, does a really good job of infusing Mindy's narration with those antagonistic thoughts. It works really well from the first line to the last.

And then there's fic where, even when they become lovers, there's still an antagonistic element to their relationship. (aka: hatesex) The Curves of Your Lips Rewrite History, a Les Mis fic by zamwessell, does a pretty amazing job of taking characters who canonically don't really do either hate or sex and presenting a convincing hatesex relationship between them. (There's also really nice, gradual growth and realization of feelings going on in this fic, though the characters take their time in acknowledging that the hatesex has become something else.)
gladdecease: (*happy-making fluff type stuff)
Fake relationships! Another one of my favorite tropes - intimacy and domesticity is forced on a couple for work reasons of some kind, or maybe they need to be married for legal reasons... or maybe they're trying to get away from a date who doesn't understand the word "no", or maybe they don't want to have to deal with their parents asking why they're still single. Whatever the reason, it brings about a lot of fun.

Firstly, fake relationships in actual media.

Person of Interest played with this in the episode "The High Road," when John and Zoe pretend to be a married couple freshly moved to the suburbs. I love what PoI did with the trope - John and Zoe are a fun pair of characters in any situation, but when they're both messing with someone else is probably the best.

NCIS did a story with this trope too, to delve into the UST between Tony and Ziva early on in her time on the show. Looking back at the episode so many years later, how the two of them interact while not!married seems a little strange... but at the time it made for quite the interesting story.

One of the Torchwood companion novels, SkyPoint, does something similar - Owen and Tosh pretend to be married so they can investigate the alien thingamabob of the week. It fits neatly into canon, so the arrangement doesn't end as happily as fic would make it, or as I would like, but I still enjoyed it.

Now, fake relationships in fic!

chellefic's SGA fic titled Catch-19 is a fun "for the green card" subtrope fic - except the green card isn't for staying in the US, it's for staying on Atlantis. SGA, both fic and canon, has a way of making me believe in any ridiculous idea Rodney has, and this one is no different. (There's also a very enjoyable podfic of the story read by torra, which is worth a listen if you have an hour to kill.)

Collar U, a BDSM AU Fake News fic by SailorPtah, sort of falls under that subtrope too. Stephen's traditional parents don't want to let their young sub go to college uncollared, so his switch BFF Jon agrees to be his dom for the duration of school. I don't really go for BDSM AUs much, but this one is more worldbuilding and "what does queerness mean in this context" than kinky sex, and the relationship development is great.

Even a Miracle Needs a Hand, an MCU fic by victoria_p, is a great example of the "pretending a guyfriend is a boyfriend for the parents" subtrope. Clint and Darcy have romantic tension underlying their interactions throughout, but it's the sudden domestic context and seeing how well he gets along with her family that pushes Darcy to actually make them happen.

thehoyden's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fic, Opacity of Paradise, is another really good one. It's not quite a fake relationship - it's more accurate to say they're getting space!married and starting a romantic relationship at about the same time - but there's a big ulterior motive to the marriage that reminds me of this trope.

Last, but hardly least, A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue by language_escapes is a fantastic Elementary take on the "fake relationship for work reasons" subtrope. Sherlock and Joan go undercover to find out where babies are disappearing to, and the forced intimacy of the situation kinda messes with their heads, and stays with them afterwards.
gladdecease: (*sad-making angst type stuff)
So your favorite character is dead.

Well, that sucks. There's a couple things you can do about it: you can accept it, and try to move on; you can live in denial, and pretend it never happened; you can imagine ways they might have survived. And if you're lucky, maybe it'll turn out that they did.

Sherlock Holmes is one of the more famous cases, pretending to be dead so Watson would write his death for the public, so he could get rid of his enemies in secret. The BBC Sherlock adaptation's is in the middle of an interesting take on it, and goodness knows I'd love to see Elementary try it. (Not for a few years yet, I hope.)

Of Reichenbach-related fics I've read go, I favor the work-in-progress The Sigerson Letters by h3rring and makokitten for Sherlock, and The Three Favors by Katie Forsythe for the ACD book version of Holmes. Sigerson deals with John in the interim, and Sherlock subtly making contact with him via pseudonyms and the like. The Three Favors brings a heartbreaking twist to things - and really, the idea that Holmes thought Watson could only write a convincing death for Holmes if he actually believed him dead is more heartbreaking, so I'm really quite okay with the twist.

Another well known presumed dead context: superhero comics! There used to be a saying - no one stays dead except Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes. That's certainly no longer true. It might be more accurate to say no one stays dead except the Waynes and Uncle Ben, but even that isn't always certain. Death is very impermanent in comics - and in the rare cases when it isn't, fans are more than ready to take up the task.

One prime example is Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, who was so unlucky as to be killed off during a Crisis event, and succeeded by the more popular Beetle Jaime Reyes in a way that essentially requires Ted's death for him to take on the mantle. (Not to mention that Ted doesn't exist, dead or otherwise, in the current comics continuity.) This leads to a lot of denial fic, and a lot of fix-its - many based on the almost fix-it that appears in the 2010 Booster Gold run.

An excellent death fix that predates those comics is DoctorV's Mullet-verse, a cracky, long, and involved series including kidfic, zombies, failed attempts at villainy, time travel, legacy heroes, and a heaping helping of denial. It's... hard to explain properly. But trust me, it's worth reading. Set aside a weekend, or space the fics out over a few days.

A fic on the opposite end of things - which takes into account the almost fix-it from Booster Gold, the Flashpoint reboot, and two months of new 52 continuity - is the fantastic Trapped on the Merry-go-round by Muccamukk. Ted, having accepted that he needed to die to keep the world from falling into a Crisis-related dystopia, is about to die again when the reboot happens, and Rip Hunter drags him into the reboot. The resulting events, and the reason why Rip saves Ted, make for a very fun read.

Stargate's good for presumed dead fics - they've got a canonical "get out of death free" clause in Ascension, and there's any number of episodes where Jack or John or the entire team goes missing for awhile, to say nothing of the countless near death situations. argosy's Ascending Order takes one such situation ("Tao of Rodney") and turns it into a presumed dead fic, with an Ascension escape clause. Most of the fic is centered on John dealing with his grief and realizing Rodney is still helping out around Atlantis, and it works really well.

I also really enjoy kisahawklin's Cardiogenesis (The Heart of the Matter), which also kills-but-not-really Rodney off. This one takes advantage of the mysterious, poorly understood Ancient technology in Atlantis to bring back Rodney, and then bring back Rodney, in a way that makes you think about personality, individuality, how much you can influence that and how much is set in stone.

Another genre's take on dead-but-not-permanently is ~magic~. Buffy Summers crawled out of her own grave, the Winchesters have died and been brought back any number of times (including one very similar to Buffy's), when Andy Brook's contract with Moloch wasn't up when he died, he got revived... you name a horror/fantasy show, and it's probably messed around with death at least once. For a long time one of my favorite subgenres of Supernatural fic was character death fixes - Anna's, Gabriel's, then Sam's, then Castiel's... for human characters, death fixes are pretty easy. They happen so often in canon, after all! Angels are a little more complicated, and I think no fic shows that better than In His Image, a Gabriel resurrection/redemption fic by Whit Merule where Kali revives him. Since she's from a different pantheon he doesn't come back quite the same, and he spends a long time trying to figure out who he is now, and where he stands when it comes to the Winchesters and his brothers' world-destroying fight.

To end this rec list, here's a fic that plays the trope straight: on admin error {execute contingency plan} is a really excellent Person of Interest fic written by jedibuttercup for Yuletide 2012, that takes a situation where Finch and Reese are presumed dead and says, "Okay, what then?" The Machine is still functioning, after all, and there is someone out there who can do the legwork...