“Pen names have long been a means for writers to inhabit another identity—to attain privacy, assume the acceptably literate gender, or play with the freedom of a psychic unburdening. But at what point does a pseudonym become obfuscation, transgression?”
i have a document saved on my desktop titled “check please! pokemon teams” that’s pushing four pages long, so. please feel free to yell about this au with me so i can justify the ridiculous amount of time i’ve spent thinking about who would have which pokemon and why
People like to hate on Man of Steel. I am not one of those people.
I am not some pleeb that just watches comic book movies, I LIVE comics. One comic that I would always try to read, but never enjoy, was Superman. I have a handful of Superman books that I enjoy. Birthright (Mark Waid, Leinil Yu), Red Son (Mark Millar, Dave Johnson), Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo), and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (Alan Moore, Curt Swan) are the only ones that really come to mind.
From childhood superman annoyed me. I remember watching the 1st Superman movie, and saying to my parents “If he can fly around the world that fast [during the time reversal scene], why wasn’t he fast enough to rescue Lois Lane in the first place?” And as I got older, the reasons became more and more clear. The reason I love those books listed above, and the Man of Steel film, is because they correct all of the things that bother me about the character and all of the other material available.
The first complaint that Superman fans bring up is the sheer amount of destruction (or “destruction porn” as Mark Waid puts it). My answer to everyone is this: WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN WHEN GOD PUNCHES GOD IN THE FACE?
If you follow the supposedly accepted power set of Superman (and by extension, ZOD), you are talking about the most powerful beings in all of “creation.” Superman has actually moved planets…PLANETS! Think about that level of strength for one second, and now multiply that by 2. If you really think about it, EVERY time Superman punches Zod in the face, a nuclear explosion should wipe out the landscape. Which means the only way to validate a complaint about the amount of destruction, is by saying there isn’t nearly enough.
Then the complaint about Superman killing Zod. Again, reiterating that I always hated Superman as a character. This movie is the movie that made me love him. I was never able to emotionally connect with Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman as a person. Between Smallville (early seasons with Pa Kent), and this film, they finally figured out a way to make me understand how he became the man he was. The thing that made everyone so mad, was the part that finally cemented my connection with him. I have work friends who are those casual comic people, who just know about the characters from movies. They could not understand why he starts crying after he murders Zod. That is because they are all jock minded, death penalty loving rednecks. That scene brings me to the verge of tears (only in company, alone I actually cry) every time I watch it. Because Superman does not want to kill, he does not want to be alone, but if he does not, then he is signing the death warrant for over 7 billion people.
This is not the comics, where he has 75 years worth of ridiculously silly science fiction toys like a “mega anti kryptonator” (I just made that up, but it sounds like a legit golden/silver age Superman weapon). There is no Star Labs, or Super Prison. There is only the moral dilemma, which breaks him just as it saves the rest of the world. Which is why I loved him in this film. He bears all of that emotional pain and suffering for all of us, and that is what makes him a Super man.
So for all of you comic book fans who actually loved Man of Steel, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Hey @gadelingsofthegalaxy this, in all it’s weird, ridiculous, cracky shipping glory, is for you. Thanks for writing little AU stories in messages with me and for being pretty rad and for listening to me whine and for letting me drag you down the rarepair rabbit hole. (And thanks for just telling me YES when I mentioned that I wanted to write this. I appreciate you.)
Kent doesn’t know what to think about the goalie they drafted out of the NCAA.. Sure, he knows that John Johnson played with Jack at Samwell, was a pretty decent guy between the pipes, but honestly, other than that he had very little information. As the captain of the Aces he always tried to get to know a bit about the back-stories of his new team-mates, so he can ask a veteran who’ll get along with the new guy to keep an eye out.
But other than finding out that Johnson has a bachelors degree in some kind of science and seems to have been born in New York, Kent really doesn’t learn much. He shrugs it off and decides that he’ll take the rookie on.
He hopes John Johnson likes cats.
The first time he meets Johnson, Kent shakes his hand and is immediately two parts confused, one part intrigued and then there’s that one part of him that’s like This guy is weird. I like him.
You can’t really blame Kent for this conclusion, the first thing that John ever said to him was “Wow, can’t believe my narrative is getting me NHL ice time. Honestly I was resigned to being in the background, you know? It’s kind of exciting every time I get my own story.” to which Kent replied, wittily of course, “Same, bro?” and laughed before slinging an arm around the rookie’s shoulders and dragging him into the locker room to get him set up in his stall.
Honestly Kent thinks that having Johnson on the team is pretty fun. The dude is weird as shit, often talking about how ‘outside the narrative’ their lives are, and about how the stats ‘only matter in relation to the bigger picture’ and to be clear, Kent doesn’t understand it all.
But he laughs and grabs John by the arm and drags him back onto the ice for more practice anyways.
It’s like 11:45 on a Tuesday night in the middle of Vegas where instead of hitting up one of the nice bars on the strip, Kent and John drove about an hour to a little hole in the wall sports bar that has the best burgers they’ve ever tasted. How Johnson knew about this place after only being in Vegas for a handful of months? Kent never asked.
John would probably say it was all relative to whoever was writing their story.
Instead, they sit and watch the Islanders play the Schooners on the tv behind the bar and nurse local beers, and after a couple of drink he lets himself lean on Johnson’s arm.
It’s nice to have a friend.
They don’t make it to the playoffs that season, which is like a punch to the gut for Kent. They’ve made it every year since he started playing in the desert, and a bad string of injuries (Including himself twisting his knee, knocking him out for almost three weeks) threw them out of the running.
He mopes for a couple days, but when John shows up at the door to his condo with two large baja blasts and a bag of Taco Bell, he lets him in.
Around two in the morning (it’s been silent for the past hour and a half or so as they watch Say Yes To The Dress reruns) John nudges Kent with his foot. Blue eyes meet hazel and Johnson says, “It wasn’t in the plot for this year, Kent. Next year though? I think we’re gonna do better.”
Kent tosses him the other end of the blanket he keeps on the couch and tucks his head back onto the pillow.
Sometimes he wonders if… Nah, people can’t actually see the future.
The next season they make it into the division finals, and they’re tied at 2 with two minutes left in the third. Coach M calls for their time out and tells Kent and Swoops to get out there with Jordy, sliding Dales and Gerds onto defense behind them.
Time out is over.
Kent turns to Johnson and taps the top of his bucket with his gloved hand, knocking their helmets together for a second.
“You’re gonna do great, Kenny.” “So’re you, J.”
Swoops gets him the puck, he wheels, fakes a pass back to Gerds at the blue line, gets around the forward who has been dogging him this shift and shoots.
Low, glove side, by the post..
it goes in before the goalie can drop himself onto the ice and block it.
They win and Kent is the first person off the bench as the buzzer sounds, and he slams into John, both of them shouting at the top of their lungs with joy.
As the rest of the team piles onto them in celebration, hazel eyes meet blue.
“I knew it was gonna go in.” Johnson says, almost too soft for Kent to hear, “It was in the plot of your story, Kenny. You’re meant to be one of the great ones.”
Kent doesn’t know what to say to that, so he just knocks their helmets together one last time and withdraws from the dog-pile and gets into place in the line-up to shake hands.
It echoes in his mind, You’re meant to be one of the great ones.
They end up going against the Falcs for the cup. Jack’s a rookie, and Kent has played with a handful of the guys on that team over the years. Snowy played in the WHL and went to Worlds with him, Marty was picked up in the Falcs expansion draft after being picked up from Boston when the Aces expanded. Kent and Tater played against each other in the last Olympics, Thirdy too.
It goes to game seven, of course. And the night before find him and Johnson side by side at the same little dingy sports bar from the year before.
“How d’you think this game is gonna go, J?” Kent asks, nursing a glass of water. No drinking, no going off diet, but this place is nice to just… Unwind.
John starts and turns on his stool, knocking their knees together. Kent doesn’t think he’s seen this look on John’s face before.. He looks.. Confused? A little afraid?
“I’m not really sure, Kenny.” Kent smiles and leans against John’s shoulder. The next comment is another classically odd Johnson phrase, “Is this what it’s like to be the main character of a story?”
Kent looks at him questioningly.
“I’m not sure what the future holds anymore.” John says softly. “I normally have at least an idea of where the plot, where the characters in the story are going.”
Kent smiles at him, bumps their shoulders together. “Yeah, I think this is what it’s like.”
The Falcs win, which John later says he should have seen coming. Apparently it was in Jack and Bitty’s story line. Kent just shrugs and hides a smile, tossing an arm around his goalie.
It was a good run and the Falcs played hard. So did the Aces. There’s no shame in going down fighting.
It’s close to sunrise in the middle of July on a beach in California a couple years later when Kent nudges John with his knee from where they’re sharing a blanket and a cup of coffee and a muffin.
They’ve shared a lot more than that, these past few years. A cup win, laughter, comments that almost break the fourth wall, friendships.. And… Love.
They’ve shared a lot of love.
“Hey. Remember when you said you weren’t sure what the future was gonna hold for you?” he asks, leaning back on his hands, digging his fingers into the cool sand as the sky starts to shift from deep blue to bright, vibrant hues.
John nods from where he leans comfortably against Kent’s shoulder, coffee warming his fingers.
“What if it held me? Us? I like our story, I like our plot. And I’d like another chapter to start. I don’t know where the story will be taking us, J, but I’d rather find out the plot line with you. When my story ends, J, I want you to have been starring in it with me.”
Kent later swears that the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen was the smile that spread across John’s face at that very moment. And Kent has hoisted three Stanley cups, held his baby niece and watched Jack and Bitty marry.
“Our very own story.” John replies, slinging an arm around Kent’s waist, as Kent slides his arm around John’s shoulders. “With me and you as the main characters… Yeah, I think I’d like that AU, Kenny. I think I’d like that a lot.”
The day Jack was born, three people visited Alicia at the hospital.
The first one was a dark skinned woman, who called herself George.
“He will know glory,” she said with a smile, placing a hand on the child’s head.
The second was a small woman with kind eyes, named Suzanne.
“He will know love, so much love,” she said with tear in her eyes, kissing the child’s brow.
The third one was a blond young man with clear eyes and a cocky attitude. He approached the hospital bed, hands in his pockets. He presented himself as Kent. When he looked at the child, it was with love and regret in equal measure.
“He will know pain,” he muttered, giving the infant a tiny fist bump.
Alicia recoiled from this third visitor. He left, adjusting his snap-back.
But a last one, a man without a face, placed a hand on Alicia’s shoulder.
“Trust the narrative. The author promised a happy ending.”
I have been led to understand that there’s a powerful tradition of alternate universes in this fandom that I have fallen into, mostly because of the morning I spent giggling over all of @itsybittle‘s beautiful AUs. Let’s unleash this unholy fury of my own AU idea upon the world.
The Check Please! cast as music majors rather than hockey nerds, performing in orchestra and solo settings while learning all about musical theory and history. I deeply apologise to anyone who’s already thought of this. But:
Bitty plays the flute, duh. That’s one of those no-brainer choices. And he’s godly at ensemble playing, since Coach eventually just gave up on trying to get him away from music and signed him up for a community orchestra. He’s been first flute in that orchestra for years, and it just seemed natural to go into music because it’s what he’s good at, and what he knows. So he got himself a tutor to prepare for the uni audition.
And then discovered that he has stage fright. Like, really bad stage fright. Like, piss your pants and fall over in a faint in front of the audience stage fright. And it’s only when he has a solo. As long as he has backup on stage with him, he’s fine. But solos are impossible, which he never realised because he’s only done ensemble playing. He gets through the uni audition on sheer nerve, and he’s a nervous wreck for a week afterwards. That’s when his family decides that he should see a psychologist before this does murder to him and his potential career.
Anyway, he gets in to his University’s school of music. Here comes the slew of characters.
I feel like kent parson is the kind of guy who is equally as likely to turn up beaten to a pulp saying ‘ha yeah well you should see the other guy’
or to turn up covered in kiss marks saying 'ha yeah well you should see the other guy’