Monday, November 8, 2010

Slash Guest Author Rec - TheLadyInGrey

I read a healthy mix of slash and non-slash fics, so I'm going to take naelany's advice and recommend a healthy mix today as well.

First, Delayed Devotion by ahizelm is a slash one-shot about lost love and bad decisions and longing. It's told from Edward's point of view and takes place seven years after he and Jasper parted. They came together in a rush of teenager hormones and unarticulated feelings, and they fell apart when Jasper wanted more and Edward didn't know how to give it to him.

Years later, Edward is still haunted by the boy he pushed away, and it's that haunted feeling that really makes this story stick out to me. Just the opening lines had me shivering:

There are times I could swear that he's here. I can almost feel his breath on my skin, his hands on mine as he plays mindlessly with my fingers while I watch the Discovery Channel for hours on end. Even then, I watched it entirely too much, and we were seniors in high school.

I'm twenty-five now.

I think of him daily.

But I wasn't ready for him, not then.

Hopefully, I'm not spoiling anything to say they meet again, and when they do, their connection is clearly still there, even if it's entirely unclear whether or not that will be enough for them to overcome their history.

Physically and emotionally, ahizelm paints a lovely picture of two men who understand and need each other. Of course, it's especially fun when it becomes physical:

"Patience, Edward," he murmured. "You've only been thinking about this for a few weeks. I've been thinking about this for years." With that, he palmed my erection through my slacks and whispered, "Lay down, please."

I couldn't even form a coherent response to that. I actually whimpered, and Jasper chuckled as he directed me by the elbow to his bed. He unbuckled my belt and unbuttoned my slacks, and as they pooled around my ankles, he kissed me. "I want you, Edward," he said softly, next to my ear. "Can I have you?"

Their eventual reunion is handled elegantly, gracefully and realistically. Not everything is resolved in one night, but we can see the path these two are on, and for the reader, as well as for Edward and Jasper, that's enough.

The second story is also an Edward/Jasper oneshot. fngrcufs' Wool is also about longing, but instead of two lovers separated by their own fears, these two are kept apart by physical distance. Edward and Jasper have been together for two years, but school and other obligations have limited their relationship to the occasional weekend.

At the beginning at least, Edward's narrative is as touching as it is heartbreaking. We can feel how much he wants Jasper, but we can also feel how resigned he is to separation. While they keep in touch the best they can, Jasper floats in and out of his life as he can. They love each other, but Edward also loves Boston and Jasper also loves Texas, and it's easy to see how they could let those other loves pull them apart.

I should be inside, lounging on the sofa with the quilt my mom made and a cup of hot coffee. I could too, but I want to see Jasper as soon as he gets here, so I'm waiting on the curb in the falling snow, startling every time I see a cab and sagging when it passes by. I shove the sleeve of my grey wool coat up a little so I can see my watch. He's late. He's always late though. I smile as I imagine him hurrying through the airport at top speed, brushing by people because he left the house late or forgot his keys. I need him to get here because it's been months and I miss him and I want to wrap myself around him, get lost in his arms.

My pulse races when I see a taxi turn at the corner and my heart hammers in my chest when it eases to the side and pulls up in front of my building. I watch through the window as Jasper pays the driver and opens the door to climb out. He grabs his bag off the seat. It's small...he's not staying long this time.

The story takes place over a Christmas interlude in Boston, and fngrcufs' language wraps us up in the kind of warmth meant to keep away the cold. You can almost feel the whistling wind outside and the comfort of being inside under a warm wool blanket with the lover you can never get enough of and whom you will never ask for more.

We leave the wake of discarded clothes in the living room, turning up the heat on the way, then undressing quietly in the dark. Between the storm that is still raging outside and the fact that it's Christmas Eve, the typically city noise is muffled to almost quiet. I climb back under the pile of blankets and wait for warmth, not from the covers, not from the radiator...from Jasper. He is what warms me, he is what takes the chill out of the air for me. He slides in next to me and the combined body temperature is noticeable, heating me, and then he's touching me, heating me more. He's been here for twenty eight hours and I finally feel like he's here, like he's mine again. I let go and let him take me over completely.

And by the end, I felt all warm inside, too.

My last rec is a multi-chaptered fic, and I'll warn you right now that it is not slash. It's an Edward and Bella story, called There Fell a Stillness by HappyInLove, and it's one of the most interesting, compelling first person narratives I've read in a while

The story is told all from Edward's perspective. He lives inside his own mind completely. As a brilliant mathematician, his mind is always pulling him into calculations that no one else understands or wants to hear about. As a paraplegic, where else but into his mind is he going to go?

His caustic, bitter internal monologue pulled me in very quickly. While his thoughts are biting and his isolation intense, the seeming ease with which he pushes away the rest of the world is belied by occasional glimpses of hope and hurt.

I ran my hands through my hair and decided that was good enough. I felt stubble and I should have shaved, but if someone were to ask my how many fucks I gave about making a great impression, I would answer zero. I gave zero fucks. The bags under my eyes were discerning though and I smiled because of it. No one approaches the cripple to begin with, and no one approaches one that looks like he hasn't slept in weeks.

The story begins when Edward is forced out of his apartment and his head in order to fulfill his duties as Best Man at his brother's wedding. This brief window of openness presents just enough time for a soulful Bella to walk into his life and to touch it in a way no one has in a very long time.

"I'm sure there are lots of things you believe in. Like I said, I'm Catholic, sometimes."

"It doesn't make sense," I stated again. She was winning.

"What does?" she smiled again. Six times already.

"Convert me?" I asked as she realized we were just sitting and standing in my bedroom. It's a shame, when someone becomes aware of things like that. I offered a way out, a challenge she'd have to decline.

She turned towards me and searched my face. Her eyes moved thirty-three times in the course of twenty-four seconds. It wasn't until she threw her clutch on the bed that I realized I gave up counting after that instant. I also realized I was on the edge, and the fall didn't seem so bad.

Her brown eyes now seemed to lean more towards syrup, the thin kind, like almond flavored, and her eyebrows creased as her lips grew thinner in determination, so I started a new formula as I gazed between all of her features. She rubbed her hands together, almost massaging them. She held them up in front of my face before moving them to my temples. I flinched, and she faltered, but only for a second. I couldn't remember the last time someone touched me.

"You're touching me," I stated weakly.

"Shh," she hushed me.

At 13 chapters in, the story is a work in progress, as is Edward, and as is their relationship. We see Edward opening up to something other than misery, and we see him shutting down time and time again. We see Bella as someone who believes some things, some times -- someone who's willing to give the intriguing man in the chair her time, affection and support, but who is not ultimately willing to lose herself.

While Edward's monologue can occasionally become overwhelming (and the story could benefit from a good, hard beta-ing), it's well-written, the characters strong and the emotions raw. It's an easy story to get lost in, and this Edward's head is a fascinating place in which to become lost.

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