So, I ain’t touching that shipping discourse with a ten foot pole because it is pointless and dramatic and y’all need to calm your tits, but I do think we need to discuss the differences between Yang and Sun as characters and how they relate to Blake, because I feel like there is some fundamental misunderstandings here that are vastly contributing to the problem.
First and foremost, neither Sun nor Yang should ever be labeled as abusive because they are not. Adam Taurus is abusive. Adam drove Blake to some very dark and scary places in her life because of his abusive behavior. He was obsessed with her in and unhealthy and possessive way and did not care about her well-being. Yang and Sun are both good people who would never hurt Blake on purpose and even when they do incorrect things in regards to how they treat her it always come from a place of concern for her.
Secondly, one of the big arguments I’m hearing lately in regards to the way they each interact with Blake is that if the characters positions were reversed then people would be having the opposite reactions. Like people saying that if Yang had followed Blake everyone would be praising it as romantic and if Sun had been the one to convince Blake to come out to the dance everyone would be calling him pushy or bad. Except here’s the thing that’s wrong with that line of discussion. It operates under the idea that Yang and Sun are the same kind of character personality wise. And they are not. At all.
See, Sun’s character is the kind of person that people think Yang’s character is, and Yang’s character is something else all together.
Sun is loud and friendly and a little clueless. He takes an interest in people and genuinely cares about them, but he looks at everything through his own world view without necessarily taking other people’s feelings into consideration and as a result he can come off as sort of obnoxious. He’s a big stupid sweetheart. Does he want to help? Absolutely. Does he know how best to do that? Absolutely not. This is what makes him a good foil for Blake, in that he absolutely doesn’t get her at all and it results in hilarious misunderstandings that are totally harmless but still drive her a little crazy. Certain people are taking that cluelessness as malicious in some way, and that’s how we’re getting this weird misconception that he is “abusive.” People think he is willfully ignoring Blake’s wishes, when what is actually happening here is that he legitimately doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that Blake might want to go on this personal mission home by herself because his life’s motto is that “You should always get friends involved.” He just sees his friend putting herself in a sad and scary situation alone and wants to support her. He doesn’t understand why she might not want his support because it clashes so much with his personal world-view. He always has Blake’s best interest at heart, but sometimes he goes about helping her in a way that just kind of irritates her.
Yang is a whole other story. Yang is loud and friendly too, but the key difference here is that she is keenly aware of other people’s feelings and behaves accordingly. She recognizes that Blake has limits when it comes to personal interactions and the like, and so she handles her more gently than she might with someone else. She still pushes her outside her comfort zone with things like bear hugs because she’s trying to help her grow, but she does it in little ways rather than pushing her all out at once because she sees that wouldn’t help. She wants to help Blake, but she wants to do it at Blake’s preferred pace. Which is good, and it allows the two of them to grow close gradually. But it’s also means that she can be a bit too cautious sometimes. Yang’s careful observation of other’s behavior does come from her desire to help people, but it also comes from her own fear of rejection. She waits and observes and reacts accordingly because she’s scared that if she pushes too hard people will leave her. Blake recognizes and appreciates that Yang gives her space and let’s her handle things at her own pace, but she doesn’t realize the other reason why she does it. She doesn’t realize that by running away she is hurting Yang, because she’s so wrapped up in her own fears that she can’t recognize Yang’s. And Yang does the same, viewing Blake’s running as a form of rejection due to her own issues, rather than recognizing it as part of Blake’s issues.They are both caring, considerate people who have deeply rooted emotional issues that they need to work through, and that’s why they play off of each other so well. They respect each other’s problems, but are so wrapped up in their own problems that they can’t always help each other.
So now, with all this in mind, let’s go back to the original hypotheticals I addressed there. We’ll go chronologically and start with the Burning the Candle scenes.
The idea here is that if Sun had tried to convince Blake to come out to the dance in the way Yang had, people would view his actions as pushy and inappropriate, instead of sweet and heartfelt as they were with Yang. The problem with that idea is that Sun wouldn’t have tried to help her the way Yang did. He didn’t understand why Blake was upset and thus he couldn’t have talked her through her issues the way Yang did. And if he somehow did understand, he wouldn’t have dealt with it the same way. He wouldn’t have shared a personal experience and tried to use that to help her understand how she was hurting herself. He would have told her that there was no point in worrying about stuff she can’t change and just joked around with her in an attempt to make her feel better. And as a result, it likely wouldn’t have worked.
Then there’s this idea that if Yang had followed Blake onto the boat against her wishes people would think it was sweet and romantic, instead of clueless and mildly irritating as it was with Sun. But again, the problem with this idea is that Yang wouldn’t do that. If Yang had seen Blake leave and had the opportunity to follow her, she wouldn’t have. And it wouldn’t be because she respects Blake’s choice, or because she wanted to give her space to deal with her own issues. She wouldn’t have followed because she would have viewed it as a rejection. Why is Blake leaving? Did I do something wrong? Why would she leave me without saying anything? I must have messed up, because why else would she be running? She wouldn’t have realized that Blake was running because she was scared, because she would have internalized the abandonment immediately and viewed herself as not good enough to be around Blake anymore.
Bottom line: The idea that the fandom would react differently if the roles were reversed is a fallacy, because the roles between Yang and Sun can’t be reversed in any situation. They are fundamentally different characters, and the idea that they would do the same things in the same situations is just nonsense. They serve different purposes in Blake’s life, different purposes in the story. You can’t just flip the script without changing the entire story.
It seems like half the issues from the two sides of this fandom hate seem to stem from the idea that these two characters are interchangeable in some way and that the only difference between them is their gender, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They are completely different people who serve completely different roles in Blake’s story. They are both there to help her grow, but in different ways. To think any differently is honestly disrespectful to all three of them and to the work that has been put into them as characters.
Stop treating Sun like a bad character, stop treating Yang like a bad character, and (to quote a completely different fairy tale) stop treating Blake like she’s a prize to be won in all of this.
prompt: Phil is a boarding school student, and he has pretty much everything. His dad owns the school, he’s pretty popular, has the best room, gets all the best treatment – he’s the King. Dan is a cleaner/phil’s personal maid there, and he isn’t as lucky. Some students are assholes to Dan, including Phil at first.
you all so so much for your consistent patience with this. College work (and a
hell of a lot of it) has unfortunately become my priority right now what with
university just around the corner and subsequently I haven’t updated it nearly
as regularly as I would have liked to, but you guys have been so supportive and
understanding and I really cannot thank you enough for that. I’ve missed this
and I’ve missed you. Here’s to more regular updates in the future <3
I’m sorry if this seems a lil wooden I haven’t written this in literal months
so it might take a while for me to adjust to the story and the prose again so
pls bear with me)
emo words over let’s fuckin DO this cue emo dan and a Lot of tension and also
dishonesty because phil’s a fucking idiot
warnings; mentions of violence, smoking
Phil’s been on edge all week.
He can’t remember the last time he relaxed.
Every day, every hour right
from the second his eyes flutter open to the sound of his morning alarm, is
spent with a thudding heart and searching eyes. Even when he’s sleeping he’s tense – his dreams have
spiralled into a whirlwind of almost nightmares,
technicolour episodes crashing into the other in colourful sparks and bursts
that end in cold sweats and aching muscles and whisperings from the boy only
centimetres away from him. And it’s stupid because Phil should be the one
comforting him after a bad night (and
he still tries his best nonetheless), but he can’t deny there’s nothing quite
like the feeling of Dan’s gentle lips on his forehead at four a.m., the sound
of his voice whispering reassurances with his arms draped over Phil’s waist
like a protective shield.
He hasn’t seen Liam since he
grabbed at any excuse and all but ran
out of Noah’s room upon his discovery that no, Phil doesn’t still have a tag,
and he’s scared. He’s so fucking scared.
And yeah, it was a very stupid
move to dodge the bullet in the way he did, to fling himself out of the
situation without even stopping to at least
try and explain himself, but he couldn’t help it. He doesn’t think he can
face sitting through another one of Liam’s explosions without crying or running
for cover, and he just can’t look that evil glint in the eye. Not since he saw
the very same one glittering menacingly when Liam looked at Dan, the daggering
stare boring into the other boy. The image is still printed deep in Phil’s
mind, resurfacing during the darkest part of the night.
That’s cowardly. Phil doesn’t
“Are you sure you-“
“Phil,” Dan sighs. “For the
final time, I’m fine.”
“Honestly,” he insists, brown
eyes shining. He’s trying, with one hand, to unwrap the chocolate bar Phil had
insisted upon him. “It was just a bump, that’s all. The paths were really icy
“Why didn’t you tell me
sooner?” Phil sighs, tapping Dan’s bandage patch delicately. It sits just under
i haven’t been able to stop thinking about this, so i’m gonna share it with all of you: you know that one au that’s like “your soulmate’s last words are tattooed on your body”?
so my brain took that and said, “okay, but what about that with immortal fake ah crew?”
because, god, i’m just imagining the sheer number of words? ray’s got them sprawling down his sides in neat columns in fine print. geoff has them circling his arms, from his shoulders down to his wrists like tat sleeves. gavin’s got them scattered all over, collarbones and hips and fingers and behind his ears.
some of the words are ridiculous. laughable. “you know what, i think i did forget to pack parachutes.” “fifty bucks says i can make that jump.” michael’s got “oh, fuck me” on his lower back like a tramp stamp and displays it proudly.
others hurt. “go! go, get out, i’ll hold them off.” “fuck, i’m sorry, i’m so sorry.” ryan finds “oh, god, don’t let him see my body like this” and something in his chest aches finely.
jack’s the one who finally makes them all chronicle them, dozens of pictures in a book they all pour over, grimacing and laughing in equal measures.
(“you know, i think most of these are gavin’s.”
“yeah, you could say fucking any of these in a british accent and i’d believe it. fucker dies like three times a day.”