Everyone’s excited about the new game that’s coming out, but I’m in the middle of Ocarina of Time. It’s my first Zelda game and I’m going in completely blind. I don’t know anything about LoZ! The plot just went from weird to WEIRD and it’s fun so far.
I really appreciate the fact that Jane the Virgin and Gilmore Girls are like the exact same show except that Jane’s boyfriends are all beautiful and gentle souls while Rory’s boyfriends are trash men she found in the Dumpster (and not the fun Dumpster where all the sexy Marvel men live)
1.) Nazi cultists are going to fill all my plot holes for my WW2 adventure novel/ honors thesis project
2.) Does anyone want to beta this priest kink filth I’ve been writing? I’m almost done with the first chapter. It’s mostly setup (I’m working on four chapters at once right now, and the fun stuff won’t come until around chapter 5, so be prepared for that. I blame the plot fairy for coming to me and giving me ideas when this was supposed to be a quick and dirty one shot.) PM me with your email if you’re interested!
In which I try to hash out exactly why it is that darkfic is so important to me. To cut a few people off at the pass, this is not going to be an essay about my own trauma and mental illness and the various ways I’ve suffered in life. Absolutely my personal relationship with abuse has impacted the way I interact with fiction, but it’s neither the full story nor the root cause of my preoccupation with all things dark and miserable.
The simple truth is, I have a ghoulish streak the size of the Nile and it’s been with me since early childhood. My mum can recall, with an exhausted smile, her first efforts to train me in the dangers of interacting with strange men. My sister was perfectly happy with mum’s age appropriate explanation of “Some men are bad and might try to take you away and hurt you”; but I wasn’t happy. I wanted details. I wanted to know exactly who these bad men were and what it was they were going to do to me, and why. When I met a brick wall with my mother, I turned to my inner world for an explanation. My “rape fantasies”, as I now know that they’re called, started very young indeed.
They were also wildly unrealistic, because I didn’t actually know what sex was - I was a very sheltered and well-protected child who’d never once been left within reach of my mum’s fabled ‘bad men’. I wasn’t using my fantasies to process any actual childhood trauma. I just didn’t like the ambiguity of it all, the profound vulnerability I felt knowing that bad things existed out there in the world and I didn’t even know what they were. I hated - I still hate - the idea of being caught unawares. If bad shit is coming, I at least want to know about it in advance.
My worldview has matured a lot since my first introduction to the concept of ‘bad men’ at age five, but my obsession with the dark side of the human experience has never left me. By late childhood it was expressing itself through furtive forays into my parents’ ‘forbidden’ bookshelves, never mind the horrible nightmares some of those books gave me. In high school I threw myself headlong into the goth/emo subculture, decked out from head to toe in memento mori, hosting horror movie nights with my similarly spooky friends and plugging my ears with an endless soundtrack of doom and gloom. As an adult my interests have turned outward and become more political - there’s a whole world out there and too many people in it are suffering horribly. I spend a lot of time studying and reading and thinking about the various ways that human evil has manifested throughout history. I want to understand the ugly, rotten thing in human nature that allows all these abuses and atrocities to keep echoing and repeating across the centuries. I don’t want to turn a blind eye. I want to know.
A lot of it isn’t personal; some of it is. I live a very lucky life for a lot of reasons, and the chances that I’m going to (for instance) be caught up in a gruesome war or thrown into a concentration camp anytime soon are negligible. But the thing about suffering is that there’s more than enough of it to go around. I’m a woman, living in a society where rape and gender violence are epidemic and where I never feel safe walking after dark. I live 24/7 with my own mental health issues, aware in the back of my mind that at any time my own brain could go funny and start trying to kill me again. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a happy, reasonably stable person, I enjoy my life, I get on well with other people and I don’t spend all my time wandering around in a fog of anguish over the ~immensity of human evil~ or whatever.
But there’s no point denying that I have a morbid streak. It’s just always been part of who I am. And no, it’s not always healthy. Sometimes the obsession verges on self-destructive. Sometimes I read feel-good fiction about people leading happy lives and being good to each other and I feel viscerally disgusted, because these rose-tinted stories are so different from the landscape in my head. Sometimes fiction is the safest place I can turn to process the knowledge that we live in a world where happiness marches in lockstep with profound suffering and misery.
And sometimes, I like to take control of that. I can’t abolish suffering, but I can defang it. I can take the things that scare me most, the things that make me feel most vulnerable and shaken, and I can treat them like clay and mould them into a shape where, instead of causing me pain, they bring me and other people pleasure. Instead of having to suppress my ghoulish streak, I can let it run wild within the safe and pre-negotiated sphere of fandom. I can look the most horrible scenarios right in the eye and smile at them, because they’re fake and harmless and only exist if I let them. I can quite literally make pain my bitch.
That’s why I go hard for creative freedom in fandom. Not everyone has the same reasons as me for wanting to read darkfic; there are people who are here for touching reasons of personal trauma recovery, and there are people a lot less navel-gazey than me who don’t give a fuck and just want to get off. There’s room for all of us and it doesn’t make a difference to me what any one person’s motive is. What I do believe is that censorship is worthless and that sometimes, people need to break taboos. The world is chock full of nasty shit, and telling us that we’re not allowed to acknowledge it (or that we’re only allowed to acknowledge it under These Strict Moral Parameters) is an exercise in futility.
There are so, so many horrible things in the world. Many of them of them I’ve deliberately or accidentally exposed myself to in life-changing, soul-crushing detail. But in all my time combing through the muck, “bad” fanfiction has just never featured as one of the great violations of anyone’s human rights. What it has done is given people like me a space where we can air out the darkest corners of our minds and wring some value out of the ugliness we’ve all had to live with.
Jason was never shirtless. Even on the beach, he’d worn one. When Roy asked, he mumbled something about burning. Roy thought it was bullshit.
“Sunscreen exists, y’know. I’m pale as you and I’m fine.”
“Maybe I don’t want to steal your title as the king of freckles.”
“You can’t get on my level,” Roy said. And then the conversation moved on, and he put it out of his mind.
Until now, when Jay’s lips are against his. Roy didn’t picture it like this, figured when they finally got together it’d be all bruising kisses and fingernails and too much tequila. But Jason was sitting on the hotel bed, cleaning his guns, and Roy had flopped down on the bed beside him.
He always liked to watch Jay clean his guns, liked to watch his long fingers going through movements they’d done a million times. Jason didn’t even look at them half the time. So Roy sat up and rested his chin on Jay’s shoulder.
“Handsy,” Jason muttered, focusing on the gun in his hands.
“Mmhmm. It’s part of my charm.”
“You’ve got about as much charm as a sewer rat. No, that’s an insult to rats everywhere.”
Jason turned his head to look at Roy, and suddenly their lips were only inches apart. Looking back, Roy’s not sure who kissed whom. It’s enough to know that it happened.
And it led to now, with Jay’s hands up under his shirt and running all over his back. It’s almost funny how simple it is, how natural it feels to be kissing the stupid smirk off his stupid lips. Jason pulls Roy’s shirt over his head and kisses down his neck. Roy has just enough presence of mind left to realize that nudity should be reciprocal, so he reaches for the hem of Jason’s shirt.
And that’s when everything falls apart. Jason pulls back so quickly Roy doesn’t register it until he’s halfway across the room, hands yanking his shirt back down.
“The shirt stays on,” Jason says. He’s not shaking, but he’s not not.
“Whoa. Dude, I’m not gonna do anything while you’re like this.” Roy doesn’t move. He’s walked Jason through panic attacks before. This isn’t the worst he’s seen by far. It’s probably not full-blown yet, probably not too late to head off, but sudden movements are generally a bad idea. He raises his hands to show Jay that there’s nothing in them.
“I’m keeping my shirt on,” Jason repeats.
“Hey. Okay. It’s your prerogative. It’s just me, dude. Just Roy.”
Jason’s face relaxes a little.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” Roy says.
“No.” Jason chews his lip, then balls his hands in the hem of his shirt.
“I’m not gonna think anything of whatever it is. I’m scarred up to hell, you know.”
“Not like this you’re not.”
And then Roy gets it.
“Oh shit. You’ve got autopsy scars, don’t you?”
Jason won’t meet his eyes, but he nods. His balled-up fists have moved to his sides now.
“You don’t have to let me see anything you don’t want to, but I’m not going to judge you.” He moves slowly over to Jason’s side, making sure Jay sees everything he’s doing. He slowly puts an arm around Jay’s shoulders, giving him plenty of time to say no or flinch away. “You’re still hot as hell regardless.”
“It’s what they mean, y’know?”
“What? That you’re a badass?” The comment falls flat, and Roy wishes he could take it back.
“That I DIED, Roy. I went through hell, and then they cut me open to figure out which particular part of hell had killed me.”
“Don’t fucking apologize. Just…don’t say anything.” Jason pulls him into a hug, and they sit that way until his breathing steadies. He pulls back and stands, and Roy’s stomach sinks, wondering what he’s done wrong.
“Here. You wanna see? This is it.” Jason slowly pulls his shirt over his head. He throws it to the ground almost defiantly. “Dead boy walking right here.” A long Y-shaped scar branches over his torso.
Roy’s not sure what to do, but he follows his gut. He and Jason had never followed the rules anyway, and there’s no guidebook for “My Sorta-Boyfriend’s a Zombie Vigilante.” Well, there probably is, but as a rule he’s not into paranormal romance.
He skims his fingers over the scar, tracing the V first and then down the tail of the Y. He shoots a look up, and Jason’s just standing there, breath caught in his throat.
“You know what this means?” He presses a gentle kiss to the tip of the Y, then down to the juncture, then back up the other side. Jason’s breath hitches as he reaches the top, and Roy stretches up to kiss his lips. “It means you came back to me.”