ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-12-24 01:21 pm
Entry tags:

Fake News: Battered Rose

Title: Battered Rose
Rating: NC-17
Pairings/Characters: "Stephen"/Jon, Olivia/Kristen, assorted correspondents
Warnings: Sex, emotional abuse, (skip) consent issues, choking
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Characters belong to the Report. Names of real people are used in a fictitious context, and all dialogue, actions, and content are products of the author's imagination only.

By, um, popular demand: the alternate ending to the Castles In The Sand in which Jon refuses to give Stephen up.

(Or, to put it another way: an extended argument for why the canon ending is the happy one.)

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

"I never wanted to hurt you," whispered Stephen.

Jon meant to pull himself together and ask how Olivia was doing. And Kristen, for that matter. Even if he wasn't likely to have a civil conversation with the fire mage any time soon, he wanted to know that she was okay.

He was almost on the point of doing so when Stephen blurted, "If you ordered me to—"

Both men caught their breath at the same time. Dark-lashed eyes begged Jon to finish the sentence. Jon held silent. If Stephen wanted to fall back into slavery, fine, but Jon was damn well not going to help him down.

Waiting it out or giving in: the scales of stress finally tipped, and not in Stephen's favor. "If you ordered me to," he said, fingers curling around the wooden slats that crisscrossed between them, "I would leave them. Or do anything else you asked. I'm a better pet than person anyway, so if you want me...take me. Please, take me."

The weight of it hung heavy across their link. Jon stood and sidled closer, imagining the burden lifting with every step. Stephen's head was bowed; he didn't flinch as Jon stroked his knuckles. "Mine. In body and heart, to do with as I please. That's the deal, right?"

"Yes, sir," whispered Stephen.

"Then tonight, you're going to fuck them."

Stephen's head jerked up to stare, uncomprehending.

"You won't breathe a word of this conversation," continued Jon, in the same even tone. "Make sure both of them come, but don't neglect yourself in the process. Get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow, tell them you need some time to think, and have no more sex. After the End of the World, move back into my room."

Stephen swallowed. "That's...complicated."

"If you can't do it, sweetheart, just say so."

"I can do it." His grip tightened. "Sir."

"Good boy." Jon guided Stephen's chin forward and dropped a closemouthed kiss through the slats. "I'll see you soon."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Stephen's fears about how he's going to face Tad and Amy during the voyage back are wiped away as the Report races for shore in the course of a few days.

His gift from the Elementals spends the trip askew under his bunk next to his clothes. It and everything else are all but forgotten on their first night together, when Jon orders him to lie still and proceeds to work him over with nearly unbearable attention, using lips and tongue and fingers to tease all his most sensitive places. Guided by their link, Jon brings Stephen as close as humanly possible to the brink of orgasm before drawing back, over and over until Stephen is begging in every language he knows. He comes harder than he ever has in his life and passes out moments later in Jon's arms.

The next afternoon Olivia catches him spacing out with a sleepy smile on his face, asks in a whisper if it means what she thinks it means, and claps her hands when he answers with a shy nod. "This is great! You and Jon, me and Kristen...everything's back to normal!"

Tad invites him to stargaze that evening, sharing the newly gifted telescope. "I have to ask Jon," demurs Stephen. At the flicker of suspicion on Tad's face, he adds, "He only got me back yesterday...I don't want him to feel insecure."

"Of course," says Tad, voice cracking like a kid's. "Sure. I understand."

Jon lets him go, but only after pressing him against the hull and sucking on his neck long enough to leave a raised red mark. With the lamps dimmed for a clearer sky, Tad and Amy probably don't even see it. Doesn't matter. Stephen feels it like a burn.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

On the morning the Report pulls in to dock, Jon starts plying Stephen for an outline of their day-to-day life back in normality. How much slack is Stephen given? What things are decided for him? What safeguards are in place to be sure he obeys when Jon's eyes aren't on him?

"We have to wear collars to leave our owner's land," says Stephen. He's been on his bare knees beside Jon's bunk the whole time, never flinching by the look of it, though Jon's paying close attention to their link. "Thin metal chains, usually, with a spell on the locking mechanism."

"I've seen pictures," Jon assures him, carding through his now chin-length hair. Vulpin "pet" collars are iconic. Even an inert replica will raise red flags for everyone in Central who sees it, whether or not they've heard of Stephen himself through his adventures real or staged. "You can't have a collar here, but we'll find something else for you to wear. We'll walk through the En-by-the-Sea market together, and you can pick something out."

Stephen's heart lurches. The memory almost chokes him now, but oh, how proud he used to be to wear Papa Bear's collar.

Also, his knees are starting to get sore, which means Jon has had enough information for one sitting. "That can wait," he interrupts, when Stephen starts to say something about clothing. "C'mon up here and sit with me."

Stephen hops eagerly onto the bunk, flexing his legs before resting his head in Jon's lap. "Thank you, sir."

"When you say goodbye to Tad and Amy, you can hug them," says Jon, squeezing his shoulder. "But nothing more."

On the dock, Stephen embraces them both, and says (Jon's too far away to hear, but he was specific in his instructions, and Stephen's sick with the hunger to please) how glad he was to have met them. If Amy's upset when he yanks his cheek away from her lips, she covers it quickly. Jon doesn't speak to them at all, just catches their eye from down the pier and nods a polite farewell.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Behind the counter of Wilmore & Oliver Magical Creations, Larry turns over the ring with jeweler's precision. The metal is a dark silver, embedded with a diamond cut too low to be felt by any but the most delicate touch. "You're sure about the spell you want?"

"Is there a problem?" asks Jon. "I was told the gem would hold it."

"Oh, it's a quality gem, no question," says John. His violet cloak swirls in a nonexistent breeze. "There's not a technical problem, per se. The issue...that is, this is a rather delicate matter...I suppose Stephen ought to have told you if it bothered him, but all the same...."

"It's the tracking spell they put on Vulpine slave collars," says Larry flatly. "Stephen, if you're anything less than cool with this—"

Stephen toys with the rubies of his protective bracelet. "They use it because it's the best, right?"

"It's powerful, sure, but it's overkill, even for a wedding ring. A basic prized-possession charm will have you covered."

Jon laces his fingers through Stephen's and pulls his hand up to kiss the naked ring finger. "I want the best for you, Stephen. And remember, I'm paying."

It's a gentle reminder that Stephen signed over all his assets and earnings to Jon that morning. The licensing fees and any future performance revenues will be in his name, but Jon will be their sole executor. As Stephen understands it, the only rights he hasn't legally given up are the ones Commedien law marks as inalienable.

He nods to Larry and says the words Jon wants him to say. "The most expensive spell. The one they use in Vulpis. Please."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

There's no wedding. There's only Jon fucking Stephen into the mattress at night before sending him off to sleep in the stripped-down guest bed, and then, one night, ordering him to stay.

"Was I a good boy?" whispers Stephen, snuggling up beside him under the quilt.

Good has nothing to do with it. Jon's been catering to his needs in bed and then shooing him away before he has a chance to poison the afterglow by thinking too much. No time for suspicion or wallowing in might-have-beens when he's wasting from anxiety over what cue of Jon's he might have missed.

"You're always a good boy," says Jon, and means it. Stephen feels the sincerity of it, basks in the approval like a harbor seal warming itself on a rock. "And you haven't missed anything. Now c'mere."

He rolls over. Stephen presses against his back, arm around his waist, one leg withdrawn from the rumpled folds of the larger of their twin wool robes to crook itself over Jon's. The craving he has for every inch of Jon's touch he's allowed is addictive: Jon falls asleep quick, and dreams high.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Sam's bar is quiet in the early afternoon. Her toddlers make merry throughout the dining area, while a heavily pregnant Olivia watches with a mixture of excitement, apprehension, and abject terror. It takes ten minutes to pitch a two-minute proposal. She keeps stopping to wince when, say, the oldest dumps an entire salt shaker on her little brother's head.

"I'll have to ask Jon," says Stephen when she finally finishes. The diamond glitters on his hand (Olivia yelled at him for having a "private wedding" without even telling her; it stung before he realized she was teasing).

Olivia scrunches up her nose. "Don't you remember? Last time you did that, he gave you a soulful half-hour lecture on how you didn't need anyone's approval for your career choices, certainly not his. If you still feel the need to ask permission now, I wouldn't be surprised if he actually cries."

"I mean about the schedule," lies Stephen quickly. "He might be planning a trip, that's all."

He hopes it's a good-enough lie. Olivia doesn't blink, but he'll have to relate the conversation to Jon later, just to be sure.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Errands and chores, orders and busywork: Jon finds enough to keep Stephen busy whenever he has to be away. Central can't possibly provide that many things to want, he thinks at first, but he'll fake it until he makes it.

Cookbooks make an easy starting point: he has Stephen pick up the ingredients for one recipe at a time, then make them one per night. He moves on to decorating, reworking each of his rooms from top to bottom. When it comes out that Stephen has a keener sense of style than his own, he begins sending the pet off with looser guidelines: any curtains that match this sofa, any table that will sit well on this rug. As long as Jon has final approval, it works well. And of course there's always something to clean, or another chapter of the next-level Commedien reader to work through.

He comes home from the stables after a long day (Starbeam and Rainbow have been uncommonly touchy lately) and is promptly overwhelmed with warmth, the scent of fresh fish cooking with lemon, and a radiant feeling of pride. Stephen appears at his side with a snap of his fingers, eyes low but smiling. Jon kisses the corner of his mouth and asks for a report.

Dinner is right on schedule. The next set of exercises have been inked in an unusually confident hand. The decorations Stephen bought for the bathroom lie boxed on the table, waiting for inspection....

Thirty carved wooden bats meet Jon's horrified eyes.

"They're to hang on the wall," explains Stephen. He picks one up in both hands and waggles his fingers over its black-painted wings. "Ooooo...."

"Stephen," says Jon, almost too appalled to put words together, "what could possibly have given you the idea that I would like these?"

The bat stops mid-pseudo-flight. "I...I thought they were cute," stammers Stephen. "Sir."

You're the one who likes them, Jon thinks. Not only that: you haven't realized it yet, but the reason you like them is that they remind you of Amy.

With the shield of his own enthusiasm cracked, Stephen's wilting fast. "I'm sorry, sir," he stammers, putting the bat back with its fellows. "I'll take them back and find something more to your taste."

Jon snaps the box shut, almost quickly enough to catch Stephen's fingers. "See that you do."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

With Jon on his hands and knees, silent except for the odd grunt, Stephen has almost nothing to go on. No whispered words of encouragement, no eyes gleaming with love in the dark, only the hazy background of fulfillment or disapproval as he quests for the perfect angle, the right way to move his hands, the ideal rhythm for the bedsprings' squeaks.

The process is forcing him to attune himself to Jon's moods based on mental cues alone, as surely as he once interpreted Papa Bear's or Miss Jane's unvoiced feelings from a curl of the lip or a flicker of the eyelash. Normally they would've fallen into a feedback loop well before this; Jon's holding back remarkably well. For training purposes, Stephen presumes. There's no alternative he cares to contemplate.

(If there's a growing coldness in Jon when he reaches across their link, if it takes longer to win any approval that feels genuine, it just means Stephen has to work harder.)

Some nights Jon has insomnia. Tonight he drops right off after coming, leaving Stephen to squirm in the wet spot and worry the silver band with his thumb and try to accept this as unspoken assurance that he did well.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Since Olivia's parents aren't exactly around, she had implied at some point that she wanted to do the second dance with Jon or Stephen. When the chairs carrying her and Kristen are returned to earth, though, she barely glances in their direction. Suits Jon fine. He's content with Stephen glued to his side, and she looks more than ready to sit still for a while anyway.

A few songs later, Olivia accepts an invitation from Aasif, and the next thing Jon knows Kristen has snagged his hand. Her veil is shedding tiny white petals with every step, like a cherry tree in spring or an aggravated case of dandruff, as they fall into a waltz among the other dancers.

"I was disappointed you beat us to the chuppah," confesses Kristen. "I mean, I appreciate you not upstaging this thing, but you could've waited a little longer and had a party of your own, you know?"

"Last time I hesitated, I almost lost him," says Jon shortly. "I wasn't going to make that mistake again."

Kristen shrugs. "Can't blame you there."

They move in winding loops through the gathering. A water mage with cup in hand knocks into Jon, giggles an apology, and whisks the spilled wine off the bridal skirts.

"Hey, Jon?" says Kristen as the music crescendos around them. "Are you two getting along all right?"

Jon tenses. "Why do you ask?"

"You don't smile as much around each other lately." The racing violins weave in and around her voice. "Not that you look unhappy, exactly...and, well, I know my record at reading you is kind of in the can these days, but—"

"You're right," interrupts Jon, swinging her into an off-the-rhythm dip. "Your record's pretty much a clusterfuck."

He pulls her back upright and into a mechanical set of steps while she catches her breath. The color has drained from her face; her ice-pink lipstick stands out richly against pale skin.

"Stephen and I are working through something," he says shortly. "We'll sort it out on our own."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Stephen lets himself in the alley exit and finds a quiet corner of the theater's backstage halls to sit in.

The crew is bustling with last-minute preparations for the night's show, so nobody notices him at first. It doesn't hurt that he's wearing a hooded cloak. Familiar faces rush by on all sides: the triplet mole-manic stagehands, carrying a tall spotlight by its base, middle, and head; John Hodgman, arguing about crystal resonances; Elliot the all-purpose gofer, pushing a cart loaded with what appears to be a fiberglass giraffe; Jenna the script coordinator, talking with the man whose glasses and curly beard are on all the posters out front.

But there are new figures, too. The star of tonight's show (Al Madrigal, the posters boast) is an up-and-comer, playing to his first audience larger than a dingy crowded club; the last time Stephen was here, his name wasn't even on their radar. And the woman Hodgman's arguing with (a round-faced brunette he addresses as Sarah), though holding her own with a confidence that suggests she's been doing this for a while, certainly hasn't done it here before.

Al and Sarah. Tad and Amy.

Stephen can't think why the pair from the ship are suddenly on his mind. The strangers here don't look anything like them (except maybe for Al's soft brown curls, and the delicate lines of Sarah's hands), and Stephen hasn't even looked either one in the eye yet, let alone talked to them and laughed with them and felt the beginning of a spark, a connection, a friendship. As far as he knows, they might both be huge dicks.

And if they're not? If one of them is Tad or Amy all over again?

Jon would take care of him, of course. Jon would tell him how to push the budding romance away without hurting his would-be lover too badly, and then take him on the bed, or the floor, or up against the wall, to punish or pleasure him until he wondered at the folly of daring to love someone other than his owner.

Unless Jon decides he's too high-maintenance, letting something like this happen twice.

Not that Stephen's seriously afraid. Their link tells him better: even if they were back in Vulpis, where such transactions are made easy, Jon's possessiveness of him runs too deep to imagine giving Stephen up. Still, it would be hard on Jon, and on Stephen himself, and on whatever poor soul had the misfortune of trying to fall for him. Best to avoid the mess altogether.

He tugs tighter the laces on his cloak and sweeps back out into the guttered street. Nobody recognizes him before he leaves. Or if they did, none of them think enough of it to call him back in.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Tad and Amy usher Kristen, Olivia, and the squalling, sparking Sakura Joan out of the room. "Sorry to cut this short, you two," says Olivia. "Thanks for the bodyguarding."

"No trouble," says Tad, while Kristen takes the baby and soothes her as much as possible, limiting her cranky flush of powers with decades' worth of well-honed adult control. "Um, before you it just us, or are Jon and Stephen not here?"

Olivia and Kristen exchange a look. "They couldn't make it," says Olivia, in the same breath as Kristen explains, "They've been busy lately." The newborn's pungent aroma gives them a golden excuse not to explain further.

Back in their room, which was evidently furnished by some reverent but not-too-bright soul, they fumble through the steps described in the baby book on a gold-plated changing table. Freshly pinned up and powdered, Sakura calms down enough to be safely cradled in Olivia's arms, and Kristen allows herself a moment to bask in the minor miracle, the transcendent perfection of holy frak we made this.

Then, before she can lose her nerve, she blurts, "I don't want Jon babysitting."

"Fine by me," says Olivia without missing a beat.

Kristen gapes.

"This isn't just you being jealous again, right?" continues Olivia, settling Sakura into the waiting cradle (also gold-plated) and offering Kristen the back of her dress to unzip. "You've noticed it too. Something's wrong."

Any lingering fears that Kristen's jealousy had just found a cruelly tricky way to reassert itself melt away. "I tried to ask, but he blew me off. Hard," she says quietly. "Even if the details are none of our business, I don't want him around our daughter until he sorts it out. As for'd know better than me. Is he...?"

"Whatever Jon's deal is, he's mixed up in it." They're both out of their respective white gowns now, slipping into cool linen casual wear. "If we absolutely have to leave Sakura with someone, I'd say Stephen over Jon, but that's not a great recommendation right now."

"Honey, they're not the only babysitters in Central." Kristen tugs the palm-colored V-neck over her curls and shakes them out, then meets Olivia's green-gold eyes. "I'm sure Sam can recommend a dozen capable people right now."

A flush spreads behind her wife's freckles. "Oh, yeah."

"Thanks for being so cool about this," adds Kristen sheepishly. "I was afraid you'd tell me off because of how I overreacted before."

Olivia shakes her head. "Even if it turns out we're being unfair to them over nothing, it's worth it. Sakura comes first."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Jon's rooms are dark when he gets home, though he lights a lantern to find the table arranged with fabric swatches and egg salad. He assumes Stephen's on a last-minute errand, and nearly has a heart attack when he sees the man silhouetted in the bedroom window.

Stephen is staring up at the stars, unmoving, slow tears rolling down his cheeks.

"I gave you those stars, pet," says Jon without preamble from the doorway.

"I know," whispers Stephen. There's not a shred of duplicity in it. He loves Jon for this, loves him desperately, and that love is shot through with as much fear as he's ever felt.

Let the salad wilt on the table. Jon half guides, half shoves him to the bed, until Stephen's lying flat on his back with Jon straddling his torso and running nervous hands all over his face and neck. "My love, my only, my Stephen. I won't let anything hurt you. You're safe. Understand that you're safe with me."

"It's not your fault, sir," breathes Stephen. Those tears were slow indeed; he's not even sniffling. "I can be good. I promise I can. Give me an order."

Jon's thumbs meet across his windpipe.

The order goes unspoken. Jon angles his weight forward; Stephen swallows hard, throat spasming under his touch.

He shifts his grip to a single hand, thumb and fingers curving around Stephen's neck, the better to unlace his trousers with the other. "I'm not going to hurt you," he intones, though Stephen can feel full well that Jon would sooner fall on his own sword than let Stephen die by his hand. "You're safe with me, pet. Safe. No matter what."

Stephen gasps acquiescence.

His perennial issue with getting it up is in full remission tonight. His hand finds a slow, pumping rhythm just as Stephen begins to twitch, fighting without wanting to fight, body revolting against the brain's inexplicable decision not to defy whatever force is cutting off its air. Jon breathes heavily while Stephen thrashes beneath him.

The dizzy high of oxygen deprivation erupts through Stephen's brain. Jon yanks his hand away just in time not to come all over it.

Barely conscious of anything, let alone his fears, Stephen rocks with great wheezing gasps. Jon isn't thinking much either, though he has the sense to rise up on his knees, taking all the pressure off Stephen's abdomen. Semen inches down Stephen's cheeks and jaw; in one breath he manages to snort some of it up his nose, and then he's coughing and sneezing on top of everything else. Jon finds a safe place (his upper arm, now limp) and squeezes until he senses that Stephen can feel it.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

The Lady laughed, a silver sound....
"You give this gift with hopeful hand!
All burdens you would cease to bear.
In lieu of Lords of Darkness dire
A gilded Queen you would anoint.
And beauty I shall have, and pow'r:
As fair as Sea and Sun and Snow,
As dreadful as the cursèd Storm....
Beneath my will the world shall bow,
And all shall love me, and despair."

—The Ring Cycle, Book II (translated from the Gi Foarese)

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

When he recovers enough of himself not to lash out at anything near his airways, he becomes dimly conscious of his owner toweling off his face. Lips brush his temple; a voice whispers in his ear. He misses what it says. He thinks it's in Commedien, but with the way lights are flashing and pooling and running together throughout his senses, there's no way to be sure.

The next thing he has resembling a coherent thought is that nobody's put the food away, and with his owner now snoring softly, it's up to him.

He crawls out of bed. A good and dutiful pet, he isn't about to let a lightly swaying floor stand in his way. Besides, it stabilizes by the time he reaches the hall. Considerate of it, he thinks.

The table still has its meticulously laid-out plates, and the pile of fabric swatches for throw-pillow covers his owner might like, and a woman reading a book by a lantern nobody thought to blow out.

He blinks in place.

The woman looks up from her book. "It's now or never, Stephen," she says. "If you don't leave him now, there won't be enough left of you to try."

"I don't know how to live without him," whispers the pet. Stephen. His name is Stephen, and it hurts when he speaks.

"The first step is to walk out of that door," says Rebecca Drysdale, time mage. "You'll have to figure out the rest from there. From what I understand, though, you pulled it off once before."

"Feet are the thing to watch," he remembers dimly. "You only get as far as your feet. But that was different. It'll be harder now." He touches the bruises on his throat. A collar would be redundant.

"I don't see why," says Rebecca flatly. "You still have feet. You know exactly what path goes to En-by-the-Sea. And while it's a longer walk than the nearest border of Vulpis..." She bends under the table and produces his gift from the Elementals: a pair of dragonhide boots, technically Jon's along with everything else, but preternaturally cobbled to fit Stephen perfectly without ever blistering or wearing out. "...this time, you have the shoes for it."

With that, she vanishes. As time travelers do.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

A mostly-blank crossword sits in the center of the dinner table, weighted in place by a dark silver ring. Inked in a steady hand across a row of boxes too long for it is the word SORRY, crossed on the O and the Y with LOVE and YOU.

The cupboards are down a sack's worth of imperishables. A waterproof cloak is missing from the closet. The first fingers of sunrise claw their way over the treeline.

Stephen Freem gives his bootstraps one last tug, and starts walking.

[personal profile] w_thit 2011-12-24 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)



ladyjaderains: (Default)

[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-24 09:01 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure what to say. This was as beautifully written as anything else you've done for this AU. I'm glad you ended it the way you did. Both for this alternate ending and the original.
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-25 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
I really respectfully disagree with you that the canon ending is a happy ending. Bittersweet maybe, but not happy. I feel like I could write a dozen stanny letters to you about my feelings about season three, so I'll just leave it at that.

This is decidedly an un-happy ending, oh boy. Do you really think this is what would have happened if Stephen had stayed? I think the worst part is the fact that Sir Stewart is so cold to him now. It's like he really doesn't think of Stephen as worthy of his love anymore. And that he grts hard by hurting Stephen. ; ;

and the ending hurts. Esp. that he still loves Sir Stewart after everything.

You write really "good" dark!fic. Ouch. :-(
(And Merry Christmas.)
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-25 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry for typos, I'm on my phone.
politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-25 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
I feel like I could write a dozen stanny letters to you about my feelings about season three, so I'll just leave it at that.

+1 +1 +1

I have entirely too many feelings about this 'verse. So. Many. Feelings.
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-25 01:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Sure we can. :-)

For Jon to go through with this, he'd have to actively block out his sense of morality -- in little ways at first, since he could make excuses based on how content it seemed to make Stephen. Stephen, meanwhile, would definitely cut himself off from new friendships for fear of going through all this again, and the isolation would drive him closer to Jon even as it highlighted the benefits of freedom that he'd lost.

Yeah, I wonder if there is a part of Stephen that is genuinely submissive? And that's why he is able to take pleasure/comfort in being a sa by Sir Stewart here. (I refuse to use the word pet, because this is not how you treat a pet.)

I also wonder if Stephen's attraction to Al and Sarah is not just because he misses Tad and Amy but because he find being a "third" really attractive? Like, he is naturally poly.

I just don't think that Sir Stewart has this kind of violence in him naturally. I don't think I could do something like this, and I'm nowhere near as heroic.

(So another reason to call the real ending "happy" is because it's the only path that leaves room for them to have a truly happy, freely chosen, together-forever future somewhere down the line.)

Yeah, this is one thing that gives that ending hope. It's very difficult because half of me wants to yell at Sir Stewart "You need to start dating NOW! You'll end up alone! You deserve to be loved!" and the other half wants to shout "Wait for Stephen! He's the love of your life! Don't settle for anyone else!"
ladyjaderains: (Default)

[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-25 10:56 am (UTC)(link)
Commenting, again.

It's really epic all of the strong reactions to this fic! One of the main reasons that I love this fandom is how seriously most of the writers take boundaries in D/s relationships. It is sooooo much healthier than most of the D/s stories I read for years. As someone on the subby side of things, that can be pretty confusing.

It's not as if there are socially discussed standards for people who fall into this spectrum. Many stereotypical D/s fics have subs who would not only endure what Stephen goes through in this alternate ending but would be shown as not truly submissive if they didn't get off on it and come back for more.

I can see why this fic had to be handled with kid gloves as the premise was true slavery.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I wasn't or am not still hoping for them to get together or that parts of the fic weren't hard to deal with. It's just that I'm really grateful that the authors in our community err on the side of caution when it comes to free will. I'm also grateful that readers can feel free to have strong reactions and that everyone can work through it together. It's pretty awesome!

So, that was all I wanted to say. I hope everyone has a good holiday!
ladyjaderains: (Default)

[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-25 03:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Um, I didn't mean to make you worry but thanks for sharing the blog. I looked through it a little and it's pretty compelling. It's always good to learn more and there's a lot of ify stuff out there.

"Professionals" mostly seem to view it as a mental illness, so I ignored that and just read stories because they were fun ;) but not always the best example.

I have to say even in fantasy, most people here seem to value and not degrade sub characters and I am grateful for that. Which isn't to say that any of the authors are responsible the audience for healthy D/s fic but I've seen people get a little heated around here if they feel like it's being misrepresented/disrespected and that's cool.

Anyway, sorry to worry you.

*hugs you for caring*
politicette: (Default)

lol comment this is so incoherent (AND ABSURD)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-27 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
I HAVE SO MANY RIDICULOUS FEELINGS about this fic-as-a-fic and this-fic-as-an-argument and this 'verse in general but when I sit down to try and type them out it sort of comes out as wharglbargle. Here it goes anyways!

1) Damn that's creepy.

2) It took me a while, but I do actually see where you're coming from. At first it was def side-eyeing the premise because I don't think most people who (like me, trololo) were WEEPING that JON AND STEPHEN SHOULD BE ~2GETHER 4EVER~ etc wanted a turnaround during that scene in the brig! I certainly didn't no matter what I may have said on the kinkmeme.


I see (or at least, I think I do, might be wrong) that you chose that moment, clever, to accelerate a downward spiral that was starting to happen anyway, (see: that time Jon took advantage of learned behavior resulting from a lifetime of abuse in order to reassure Stephen.) So yes, I am def in agreement that they needed to break up, even though DAGGERS IN MY HEART, BLASTING ADELE, TEARS STREAMING DOWN MY FACE etc

I also really appreciate that it shows Tad's voice "cracking like a kid's" (that line is so. good.) and Amy being hurt when Stephen pulls away from her kiss. THEY DO LOVE HIM AFTER ALL! Or at least, they like him a lot.


4) Seeing the Olivia/Kristen wedding has me weeping on the inside a little bit that we will never see a Jon/Stephen hora, that would have been SO CUTE, rip otp etc etc

Olivia and Kristen are adorable on their little chairs though. I love that the culture of CC is based in real-world Judaism, it's great.

5) DAT CROSSWORD. It hurts in so many ways.

6) Part of me is just wriggling in glee over this whole affair because I love AU^2s, especially ones in which everything goes to shit.

7) I'm also loling a little over the fact that whenever you write c!Stephen topping, something has gone terribly wrong.

8) I have some thoughts about Olivia/Kristen and Tad/Amy and the ascension of mages, but they are mostly in the form of questions. Am I correct in thinking that either the mages are going to ascend and leave their partners all alone, or that the humans will age and die while the mages are still young, and leave their partners all alone? And, more importantly, will the ascended mages end up looking back on that lifelong romance as you or I might a silly kindergarten crush? DDD:

9) I think it's cool that you took something that was originally super idficy and went "NO SERIOUSLY," if that makes sense? IDK I just kind of love that you went there.

10) i can't believe that i actually typed all of this up, oh my god. please don't think any less of me for it.
politicette: (Default)

Re: lol comment this is so incoherent (AND ABSURD)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-27 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
4) We could still see a J/"S" hora in a canon-universe fic! California-era "Stephen" agreed to a ceremony with a rabbi, after all....

But but but it won't be *~*the same*~*

Although, ahhhhh you don't even understand how much I want this now in every universe. It's a little ridiculous. There's just not enough wedding!fic of these two tbh.
queenfanfiction: (Default)

Re: lol comment this is so incoherent (AND ABSURD)

[personal profile] queenfanfiction 2011-12-30 05:42 am (UTC)(link)

Oh good, so it wasn't just me who had that reaction then. *is blasting "I'll Be Waiting" on full*
queenfanfiction: Stephen, cartoon, caption "stephen is not amused" (LateNight SC not amused)

[personal profile] queenfanfiction 2011-12-30 05:41 am (UTC)(link)
WELL THAT WAS CHEERY. Is this the new fic I beta'ed the other day, only it shed its sheepskin of angsty romance somewhere between reading and posting?

I have to say, I agree with you that any chance of a happy J/S ending was lost about the time Stephen knocked over Tad's things in the marketplace of En-by-the-Sea, but wow. You've beat even me when it comes to the hoshit-angst factor. (I LEARNED FROM THE BEST, IF BY BEST I MEAN YOU, AND I DO.)

Also, I really really am amused by the fact that both of us seem to have a tendency to counter "I didn't like the way this story went" reaction with more fic. Usually including porn, too, LOL.