This is my final day of participation in the Pros Slash Proliferation Challenge. It's been a lot of fun. I've learned about several fics I hadn't read, made some new friends, had some thoughtful conversations and basically discovered countless ways to avoid work. *g*
But now the new quarter has started and I need to get serious again. So here is a VERY serious list of fics and vids I would tote along with me anywhere--even to a remote desert island. As is always the case with lists such as this, I've left out work I adore. The stories discussed are almost entirely novel length fics. I want as much bang for my buck, after all. Don't know how long I'll be on the bloody island!
So without further delay, here are my Desert Island Fics (In No Particular Order) – All available at the Circuit Archive unless otherwise noted. Vids will follow!
1. Harlequin Airs – Ellis Ward
I rave every chance I get about this story, so I don't know that I have anything new to say at this point. This just hits so many of my kinks. I love a vulnerable Doyle and a protective Bodie, which is how Ellis portrays them here. The sex is hot and the emotion is wonderfully rich. Plus, with this story, I get pictures (that are so freakin' gorgeous)! Talk about getting your money's worth…
2. Fruits of the Spirit – Cherilyn (Zine from Gryphon Press)
This traces the evolution of Bodie and Doyle's relationship from early days, when it looked like they quite literally might kill each other to a successful partnership and beyond. The author weaves in various episodes and realistically traces the emotional growth between the pair. I loved her scene where Ray confesses his feelings and Bodie's reaction. It's a lovely, involving read I go back to time and again.
3. Catch a Fallen Star – Rosemary Callahan
This story could have gone wrong in so many ways. Rosemary tells a tale about a Doyle who has been kidnapped and abused physically, psychologically, and sexually for months. No sign of him has been found by CI5, so common wisdom dictates Ray is dead. Only Bodie doesn't believe that. He becomes obsessed with getting Ray back, and succeeds, only to find the shell of a person he has rescued is nothing like the Doyle he remembers. So he sets out to try and make that right too.
I told Rosemary, when I wrote her a note of feedback, that I'd actively avoided this story for months because, going by the plot synopsis alone, I'd feared the story was going to be either a clinical how-to on bringing a person back from the edge, a pornographic revelling in the abuse Ray had suffered, or an opportunity to turn Ray into an utter basket case because of what's been done to him.
It's none of those things. Rosemary worked a miracle and kept the boys in character, let Ray retain buckets of his essential self and showed Bodie as a man so utterly devoted to his partner, he was willing to turn his life upside down and inside out to save him. Wonderful, wonderful read.
4. The Yellow Brick Road – Kate McLean (Zine from Gryphon Press)
This is true confession time—while it's pretty universally held that Kate McLean and Sebastian are two of the very best of what Pros fic has to offer, they are authors I approach with extreme caution. I don't disagree at all with the assessment of their skills. They are unquestionably talented. My issue is they often take the lads in directions I'd rather not see them go. In many of their stories, they like to examine the notion of power in a relationship, and how what Bodie and Doyle feel for each other messes with the characters' own senses of self. I fear, after reading some of these stories, that the callousness the lads often display towards each other could damage their relationship past the point of redemption, that they've been betrayed by each other often enough and cruelly enough that they won't be able to fully trust again. And I don't wish that for the boys.
The Yellow Brick Road goes in that general direction, but gives me enough hope at the end that all will be well. The lads are in a relationship. But they're keeping it light, keeping it cool. The story is told entirely from Doyle's POV, so we understand better what he wants and needs, and how he reacts when Bodie hurts him. Initially it seems like he is more invested in the two of them being together than his partner. But gradually the reader realizes how inaccurate that assessment is. Bodie is crazy about his partner and terrified of showing it. Amazing read.
5. The Chameleon's Dish – Kitty Fisher
This story goes against nearly everything I say I like in fic. It features older lads, partner betrayal and an entire ocean full of angst. God, I love it. Years before, Bodie admitted to Doyle how he felt about him. Doyle didn't take it well. Bodie left and Doyle married Ann. Years have passed and Bodie has nursed a grudge that has become like a cancer inside him. He comes back with a mission and finds Doyle a very changed man. Ray has divorced Ann and is at a point where he's not sure who he is or why he has made the decisions he has. He is vulnerable—and ripe for the picking where Bodie is concerned. Not very nice things happen in the story, but the ending is satisfying in the extreme. To say more would ruin the plot. Read it for yourself.
6. Rules – PFL
Another twisty little tale. This one is set during the time of Wild Justice. Doyle is angry and concerned because of Bodie's performance during assessments. When Doyle shows up at Bodie's door wanting to have it out, Bodie sidesteps his partner's more probing questions by seducing him. After the showdown with King Billy, Doyle realizes how he has been used and can't help but distance himself from his partner. Bodie doesn't fully realize the damage he's done until it all goes horribly wrong one night in the field. Terrific, angsty little story that shows both men so deeply connected even when they're at odds. I could read it (and have!) over and over again.
7. The Snowman with the Dark Coat – Castalia
Apparently I talk out of both sides of my mouth. I talk about how, with certain stories, I worry about Bodie and Doyle being so cruel to each other there's no way for them to ultimately move forward. Then I rec a story like this. I should also confess that I have a lot more tolerance for this kind of thing when it's Bodie being difficult and Doyle being hurt. I'm sure that says more about me than it does the authors. Anyway—this story features a betrayed Bodie who will not forgive, no matter how often Doyle tries to set things right. Then one day Bodie realizes he may not ever have the opportunity for Doyle to try again. A wonderful story with a terrific final scene, featuring lads who are not being all that nice to each other. The angst quotient is high.
8. All These Years – Angelfish
I had a hard time choosing between Angelfish's three archived stories. I wound up choosing this one because it's the longest. (I did warn you in the beginning that would weigh heavily in my decision-making process!) Angelfish has been getting a lot of attention lately, and rightly so. She is a writer of rare perception and elegance. This story features attributes which often give readers trouble—an original character that factors heavily in the action, child abuse of a canonical character and an oddly downbeat ending. I love it though! Love, love, love it. The scene in the garage between Bodie, Ray and Kat is engrained in my psyche. I couldn't believe it when Angelfish told me more folks didn't get her pieta moment. See if you recognize it. Yum!
9. Return to Neverland – Slanted Light
This is another author from whom I could have chosen any of a number of selections. I went with this one though because I liked the idea of Bodie trying to do the right thing for his mate—even if the silly sod got it all wrong. The boys are involved, though it's all relatively new and unsure. Leia, the woman from Blind Run, wanders back into their lives. Bodie is obviously jealous when Doyle and she strike up a rapport. He makes himself scarce before deciding to step out of the picture entirely, which of course makes Doyle want to belt him one. Wonderful story chock full of excellent dialogue and compelling characterizations. SL can do little wrong in my eyes.
10. Of Tethered Goats and Tigers – Tarot
I needed to include this classic. It is so right in so many ways I could devote an entire day's listing to it alone. Doyle is chosen to pose as Cowley's lover on an op. He is told everything must be kept strictly confidential. No one must know the truth, not even Bodie. I think what I appreciated as much as anything was how steadfastly and how movingly Bodie defended Doyle from what others were insinuating. For the longest time, he is sure that all the whispers and rumors about his partners are wrong. But when he sees "the truth" with his own eyes, he goes to confront Ray. And everything changes. This should be required reading for anyone new to the fandom. It's a textbook example of all that's right with Pros fic.
Desert Island Vids (Once more, in no particular order)
I'm only doing five here, because there is less content overall from which to choose and because, frankly, after doing the fic list—I'm exhausted. *g*
1. Cosy Prisons – PRZed
Lordy. Is it any wonder why I ask this woman to please beta all my work? This is an amazing vid. Note, if you will, her split second time, her wonderful choice of clips, the story arc of her piece, how she handles the frighteningly problematic "Trans-Atlantic Shopping Spree" section (that alone would have scared me off tackling this song). She picks interesting music (love the piano line in this) and the way the vid builds is just tremendous. I could watch this one over and over. And do.
2. A Fire is Burning – Media Cannibals (remastered by Justacat)
Probably the archetypal vid for the fandom. If someone were to ask you, "What is Pros?" you really couldn't do any better than to direct them to this vid. A miracle of pacing and editing, this is all about the action. I love how the vid ends on the final scene for the series, the explosion of the car bomb from No Stone. It's as if that moment puts a punctuation point on everything.
3. I Don't Know Why I Love You – PRZed and Justacat
I don't see how you can watch this vid and not smile. It's just so much fun! Bodie wonders what the hell he sees in Ray. Not all the time, mind. Just when he's being asked to schlep the luggage again or is being dragged off to jail while Doyle laughs himself sick. He figures it all out in the end, however. "It might be your soul or your heart." They're meant to be together. This vid proves it.
4. I Walk the Line – Lithium Doll
I know purists have an attack over this song (LD uses the Live version, rather than the original by Johnny Cash). But I really think it works here. Most especially as LD has a field day with the percussion. She sets up a wonderful broody mood that erupts as the song reaches its climax and we see the lengths to which Bodie is willing to go to keep Ray safe.
5. 500 Miles – Media Cannibals (remastered by Justacat)
This makes me chuckle. We get clip after clip of Ray walking (usually away from the camera!). Gradually the journeys get more and more arduous. Soon he's climbing and crawling and hobbling and… You get the picture. I've always been fond of the song. Now with this vid I have lovely visual to put with it. Wonderful.