I’m currently around ⅔ of the way through this next chapter, but I wanted to stop and talk about the fics that inspired me to create Messenger. So, without further ado, a list:
• Inter Nos, by ethnewinter. Inter Nos is a massive story: massive in the sweep of its plot, in the depth of its research and allusion, and in the complex and subtle world of its characters. It’s one of those stories that I am reluctant to classify as fanfiction: it’s a full-on, standalone work, so powerful and profound that you need no familiarity with Mai-Hime to appreciate its sheer emotional power. It’s long as hell, and (though this makes me a bad classicist!) I found my eyes glazing over a bit during its truly exhaustive overview of how the Roman military worked, but I still count it as truly essential reading. (And the scene with Shizuma and Natsuki in the snow—those who have read this will know what I’m talking about—breaks and warms my heart every time.) I hope that my AU, while not nearly as exhaustive as ethnewinter’s, can be at least somewhat as immersive as is Inter Nos.
• The Sorceress’s Heart, by Andwick. I’m not saying that I would sell a kidney to have the opportunity for this fic to be finished—but I would definitely give the opportunity some substantiative thought. It is incredibly, wonderfully adorable, beautifully researched in its historical aspects and extraordinarily creative in its magical/fanciful aspects. My goal in writing Angela/Fareeha’s interactions in Messenger was to create something that people would value half as much as I do the interactions between Yumi and Sachiko in TSH. The Marimite fandom is more or less dead, but oh my god if you like cute, beautifully-written fiction, read this at once, at once.
• The Stars our Destination, by @commander-roastedwolf. To me, this is the gold standard not just for Pharmercy fic, but for ancient-world AU’s in general: the setting, the characters, the dialogue all just leap off the page, and I squeal whenever a new chapter ends up in my inbox. The depth and breadth of @commander-roastedwolf‘s universe is awe-inspiring; I, for one, am glad I put Messenger in Ancient Greece, where there are facts to which I can cleave, as I doubt that any universe of mine could stand up to the one of TSoD.
• Equilibrium, by caesurae (EDIT: caesurae’s blog is @gravehelm, she is brilliant, follow her). Again, this is what an AU should be: just as a prism refracts light, this story uses the characters that we know (as well as Pacific Rim, which was amazing, please do not @ me if you disagree) to refract and create something new, something deep and meaningful. I literally started crying during the scene when Fareeha and Angela first spar.
• Loved the Stars too Fondly, by partingxshot (again, don’t know the Tumblr, please message me if you do). I have this fic saved on my phone. I read it whenever I am on a plane, or the subway, or anywhere without a data connection. It makes me smile every fucking time.
So, there are the tributes I feel I need to make. If I didn’t put you or your favorite fic in here, please don’t be mad! I love any transformative work. But these are the ones that directly sired what I’m working on, and I needed to pay homage somewhere. So I did it here.
Chapter 9 is coming! This week! But I have to cook dinner right now, so away I go.