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Stone & Sky
Note: Vague spoilers for Teen Wolf follow, though I'm only talking about the first two seasons because that's the point a lot of the fandom refuses to look beyond.

So a while back I got into the Teen Wolf fandom in my usual ass-backwards way. I wanted a new fandom to read fic in and Teen Wolf is massive so I gave it a try, figuring out the canon based on the things I saw repeated over and over again in fic as is my wont. I had been on tumblr long enough to know that it was a fandom like Inception where the largest pairing did not involve the lead character at all, and that plenty of people invested in social justice had significant problems with that because unlike Inception the lead character in Teen Wolf is Latino. I had also heard vague rumblings about creepy consent and sexual assault issues in canon.

And reading the fic, I thought I got some of those vague rumblings. Characters were constantly invading each others' space in vaguely sexual ways, stalking abounded, and Stiles was a Nice Guy(tm) with a ten-year plan to win Lydia's heart, despite Lydia & Jackson's epic love story.

But then I learned that the Teen Wolf show runner is the guy who created Criminal Minds, which was such a WTF discovery that I had to check the actual show out, something I still haven't done for, for instance, Sherlock, my first fandom. (It also explained why characters in fic often watch Criminal Minds, which was baffling to me before I knew this fact, because generally when fic writers bring in pop culture it's Joss Whedon and Disney/Pixar, not cerebral police procedurals.)

And watching the show did provide lots and lots of examples of the personal space invasions and sexualized violence and creepy stalking. Derek was the worst offender (of the heroes, the villains are all terrible too), constantly lurking around the high school (Derek's somewhere in his early/mid-twenties) and locker room, breaking into peoples' houses to lie in wait in their bedrooms, grabbing people and throwing them up against walls to yell in their faces. Jackson was nearly as bad, and even Scott, while never violent like those two, definitely stalked Allison, lurking on the roof outside her bedroom window to listen to her with his heightened senses. Derek was totally Bad Touch in his seduction of Erica (a 16 year old girl) to take the Bite, and then Erica and Isaac immediately used their new werewolf powers to also start throwing people into walls and talking in their faces in vaguely sexual ways.

But I didn't (and still don't) see Nice Guy(tm) Stiles at all in canon.The things that came up over and over (and over and over) again in fic were: Stiles has had a crush on Lydia since elementary school; Stiles asks Lydia to all the dances even though she ignores him; Stiles obsessively collects invasive personal data about Lydia; Stiles has a ten-year plan to woo and win Lydia. And, well, those things are kind of there in the show. But the overall effect is startlingly different.

So (in my view of) the show: Yes, Stiles has had a crush on Lydia since elementary school. We know this because in one early episode when Lydia enters the school hallway Stiles calls out a witless infatuated "Hi Lydia," which she ignores, and then Stiles and Scott have a line or two of exposition about his crush. Yes Stiles asks Lydia to a dance and she turns him down because she's going with her boyfriend, but I don't remember anything establishing that he always did that. Yes, when Lydia has been assaulted and is missing Stiles can rattle off her height and eye/hair color to his dad, the Sheriff. Yes, Scott references Stiles's ten-year plan, once, when they're off on their own, and Stiles has just wished Lydia happiness with her boyfriend. (I think; I've only watched the episodes once. But the context was definitely Stiles doing something to indicate he's cool with Lydia being with Jackson, because Scott's line was "But what about your ten-year plan?")

But all of that seems so much less creepy Nice Guy(tm) and so much more benign teenage crush in context. Both the immediate context of the scenes which I tried to explain above, where in canon the interactions struck me as one-off but fic writers assumed they exhibited a pattern of harassing behavior, and also everything else about Lydia & Stiles' interaction on the show, which somehow never makes it into fic.

Like the scene where Stiles comes over to Lydia's house after some supernatural attack to check if she's all right and she starts hitting on him, acting super seductive and inviting him to lie down with her, and he gets wide-eyed and gleeful until he realizes she's taken some painkillers and thinks he's her boyfriend Jackson, at which point he immediately turns her down and leaves the room. Or the multiple times that Stiles is the only person willing to listen to Lydia's concerns that something weird is happening to her (spoiler: something is), after both her boyfriend and her best friend have brushed her off in fairly cruel ways.

I try really hard to second-guess my instinct to defend white male characters. I have stopped myself repeatedly from defending Tony Stark, because while I love him there are definitely elements of his character in the movies that are problematic -- I personally don't read him as a chronic sexual harasser, but there's enough in canon to support that reading so I won't argue with people who see him that way.

But I am disturbed by (and wish to argue with) the reading of Stiles as a Nice Guy(tm) who feels himself 'friend-zoned' by Lydia, because I don't see that in canon at all. I can't think of a single point where Stiles seems to expect anything of Lydia -- he thinks himself in love with her, yes, and he has clearly spent a lot of time watching her from afar, picking up details that everyone else around her has missed (like the fact that she's a math genius). But he never exhibits any disappointment or anger (or even surprise) when Lydia does not return his feelings; he doesn't feel she owes him anything, which to me is the hallmark of a Nice Guy(tm). As they become friends, rather than the acquaintances they are at the beginning, he seems happy about that -- not because he thinks it's getting him closer to getting in her pants, but because he genuinely likes hanging out with her and values her friendship.

And the thing is. . . Stiles is one half of the fandom OTP of Derek/Stiles. All the fics where I was getting that impression of Nice Guy(tm) Stiles were fics where the writer was brushing off his crush on Lydia as unhealthy in order to get him together with Derek. Meanwhile, Lydia was being written as still eternally devoted to Jackson, their romance a Hollywood-style True Love.

And that's what seriously bugs me. Because even if I were to read Stiles's behavior as critically as I am capable of, Lydia/Jackson as a romantic relationship is waaaaaaaaaay more awful. There's one scene very early on where Lydia, in her persona of Queen Bee, is kind of controlling and bitchy* to him; and then there are two full seasons where Jackson is verbally and emotionally abusive to Lydia, repeatedly saying the most awful things he can think of to her, often at the top of his voice and in public.

Like, really fandom? You're going to harp on Stiles's crush as unhealthy, then write her staying with Jackson as unambiguously happy and not at all problematic? In that context, people "calling out" Stiles's behavior feels less like legitimate understanding of consent and rape culture and more like grasping at straws in order to erase a canon relationship (even an unrequited one) with a woman and advance the fandom relationship with a man. Just part and parcel of all the female love interests who are suddenly "too good" to be with the male main character, who get backgrounded and relegated to the role of matchmaker for the dude/dude romance.

But, well, issues of consent are one of the three places where I often find myself at odds with the Social Justice movement online, so maybe there's still something I've internalized that I need to work out.


*I try really hard to avoid this word, but so much of how Lydia is constructed in the early seasons of the show is upholding a very particular view of women and femininity that I couldn't come up with any alternative. She's clearly the equivalent of Cordelia Chase from Buffy; the writers deliberately wrote her as The Bitch in what I'm sure they think is an attempt at subverting the trope, and calling her behavior anything else would miss the point.

Fic: Annul a Want

Melinda May/Hold Tight
Fics have come off anon in the rarepairfest, so I can now claim mine! I was assigned to write for originally (who also wrote my fabulous White Collar gift fic, coincidentally) who wanted Melinda/Natasha and didn't mind angst and character/relationship studies. I had a lot of feels about how the dynamic between these two might work after Ward's betrayal, so for maybe the first time I posted something without a happy ending. I'm pleased with how it came out!

Title: Annul a Want
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe -- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Relationship(s): Melinda May/Natasha Romanov
Word Count: 1,020
Genre: Angst, Character/Relationship Study
Rating: Teen & Up
Summary: Since the fall of SHIELD, Melinda has been avoiding Natasha. Natasha’s given her time, but enough is enough. Unfortunately, the conversation doesn't go as she would've liked it to.
Natasha uncurled, spreading her legs and stretching her arms over the back and arm of the couch so that her uniform gaped where she had unzipped it. “Is there some reason we can’t get a little mutual stress relief in the meantime?”

Melinda slammed her cup down on the table. “Don’t do that.”

Natasha sat stunned for a moment, then drew her limbs back in carefully, arranging herself in a neutral, attentive pose. She didn’t speak until she knew her voice would be steady, abstractly curious instead of defensive. “Don’t do what?”

Melinda took a deep breath, then looked her straight in the eyes. “Do not seduce me to get what you want.”

Writing Recap, 8/17 - 8/23

Stone & Sky
Total words: 2,365
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 0
Other Fan Fiction: 7
Original Fiction: 288
Blog Posts: 2,070

Total days: 2

I waffled on counting this week's blog post, because it was more spewing my neuroses at the internet than the sort of thoughtful, analytical stuff I intended to count with the blog post segment, but I'm way short on words for the month and the year so I'm counting it anyway. Beyond that, I didn't do much writing this week (obviously) but did make progress on the original erotica, so that's a plus?

I'm still going back and forth on my plans for the JATWITB 'verse and whether or not I'm participating in the polybigbang this year. I need to sit down and reread what I already wrote on the soulbond fic, go over my outline again, and see how I feel after that. But I really want to finish the original erotica this month, so that's my priority.

Writing Recap, 8/10 - 8/16

Stone & Sky
Total words: 821
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 292
Other Fan Fiction: 529
Original Fiction: 0
Blog Posts: 0

Total days: 3

Finished my rarepairfest fic just in time for the deadline, complicated by the necessity of using my Obamacare for the first time to get a tetanus shot on the day that it was due. The fic was revealed today (I'm still anonymous though, so I can't claim it yet) and my recipient seems to like it, which is a relief because it was something new for me. Then I was able to get the next section of the Sam/Steve kinkmeme fill up, which was nice; I'm only two sections away from being done with that, and one of them will be a short one. But it felt like I wrote more words than this! I don't know what happened!

Writing Recap, 8/1 - 8/9

Stone & Sky
Total words: 967
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 728
Other Fan Fiction: 239
Original Fiction: 0
Blog Posts: 0

Total days: 2

Still having trouble finding the motivation to sit down and write most days, even though I was without internet for much of the past week. Still, when I did write, the words came a bit easier than they were before, probably in large part to being done with the marvel-poc fic (which was revealed yesterday) and able to turn to slightly less difficult pieces. I'm mostly done with my rarepairfest fic (it's going to be a short one, because the best idea I had was just a single scene fic) and then I think I'm going to prioritize finishing up the Sam/Steve kink fill, and hopefully when I've knocked down a few of the assignments that have been looming for what seems like forever I'll feel a bit better about everything.

Fic: an' ye sometimes have t' roam

Rhodey in Uniform
marvel_poc fest fics are being revealed four per hour today, and mine was one of the first. It was one of the hardest fics I've written yet, because Nick Fury's POV is a bitch for me to get into, and I'm still not sure I managed to capture everything I was going for with it. But I'm glad I made the attempt.

Title: an' ye sometimes have t' roam
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe/Captain America Movies
Relationship(s): Nick Fury/Maria Hill
Word Count: 2,435
Genre: Developing Relationship, Kink Exploration
Rating: Mature (for the BDSM, though the fic isn't really explicit at all)
Summary: Nick Fury was just about done with this being homeless shit.
Her hands were nimble as she moved, her spine lithe as it curved over the table. The lantern cast the planes of her face into stark relief, cheekbones sharp and mouth soft and enticing.

It had been a while since Nick went out and got laid, and though it had been years he still had vivid memories of their first meeting and what happened after.

But just as he was thinking he needed a different line of thought or risk making them both uncomfortable, it became clear that Maria still wasn’t right. She came to the end of her pack, put it all back together, then just sat with her hands on her knees, every line of her body tense. It made Nick tired just to look at her.

July Writing Recap

Stone & Sky
Total words: 4,039
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 2,435
Other Fan Fiction: 1,604
Original Fiction: 0
Blog Posts: 0

Total days: 14

July didn't suck in my offline life like June did, but somehow I still didn't get any writing done. The oppressive heat is not conducive to it, and I'm beginning to feel worn down generally. Still, at least I wrote my marvel_poc fest fic and got it in just under the deadline after the deadline surprised me by being a full 24 hours earlier than I thought it was. (The last scene is kind of a mess because of that confusion, but I have a few days to fix it before the fics are revealed.) Other than that, despite writing a decent number of days, all I actually got out was a mess of ficlets. No blog posts or book reviews; my brain just wasn't working that way this month. And I didn't touch the original erotica, which is stupid of me and I really need to just buckle down and do it.

My rarepairfest fic is due in two weeks, and though I haven't started it I at least know what it's going to be, so that's my priority for the beginning of the month. Then there's the same fics I've been saying I need to finish for months: the Sam/Steve kinkmeme fill, the Bering & Wells catgirl fic, chapter 2 of Slow Ripening Fruit, and the fic I owe the winner of my tumblr giveaway. And the original erotica. For word counts, I now need 7,212 words this month just to stay on track for 75,000 words, and the 100,000 word goal has ballooned to 12,212 words. (Ha!)

Writing Recap, 7/20 - 7//26

Stone & Sky
Total words: 715
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 715
Other Fan Fiction: 0
Original Fiction: 0
Blog Posts: 0

Total days: 2

So I feel. . . better, about this week's production than the last two weeks? Obviously it's still a terribly low number, and this month's word count is going to be pitiful, but I spent all of Friday staring at my computer screen and dragging 150 words out on my marvel_poc fest fic, then I spent all of Saturday afternoon staring at my computer screen and dragging another 100 or so words out on the fic, and then Saturday evening something finally clicked and I actually made appreciable progress, and hopefully I'll be able to finish this scene (which should be the longest in the fic) today, and finish the fic in time for the deadline (ideally a few days before, so that I can have a couple days to work on the Sam/Steve kink fill before I need to focus on my rarepairfest fic).

Here's hoping?

Writing Recap, 7/13 - 7/19

Stone & Sky
Total words: 375
JATWIWB 'Verse: 0
Fic Assignments: 125
Other Fan Fiction: 250
Original Fiction: 0
Blog Posts: 0

Total days: 2

HA! Another terrible week for word count, and for no particular reason, just feeling lazy. I got a few more words out on my marvel_poc assignment, and wrote a Kushiel's Legacy ficlet for femslash100's Drabbletag5; but deadlines are now looming (for marvel-poc and for rarepairfest, at least) so this week I really need to buckle down and be productive. Which means not getting sucked into editing Fanlore. . .