cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

DVD sign-up, Stranger Danger, and WiP Meme

DVD Commentary Time
seperis is once again co-ordinating the DVD commentary thang; I'm happy for people to write commentaries of my fics. In fact? I'd be thrilled. But there are heaps of other authors too.

You can find the rules here; the commentator sign-up post here; the author sign-up post here; and my story listing here.

Stranger Danger
There's been an update posted on strangefandom: we are allowed to post about our synopsis in our own LJs if we want to, but people should keep them anonymous on the comm itself and in the comments over there. So I'm re-posting mine here to give you a taste of the crack you can find over there. My fandom was Azumanga Daioh, but the other fandoms are turning out funny as well, and the songvids are great.

If you go to the community, just remember: shhhhh, it's a sekret who wrote wot!

Stranger 3

All I knew about this fandom was:

Not a damn thing, although I guessed it was anime from the title when I signed up.

Here's what this fandom is really about:

This is the story of a cyborg girl, who I'm calling Chi (for "Chihuahua," the refrain of the song used). She was created as part of a secret project along with several other identical cyborgs clones. However, Chi is a little different from the rest of the Chi-clones; she just doesn't fit in with her cohort, always flying when they are walking, or falling over when they are bowing. So, for some reason not covered in the songvid, she is sent to a girls' boarding school to see if she can pass as/learn to be human.

The results are rather mixed. Some of the girls pick on her, using such classic teen ploys as: hitting her with volleyballs, pretending they are about to throw her off a cliff, trying to put a fire-cracker under her during a picnic, and so on. Chi is upset by this, and has many noisy tantrums. When this happens, her teacher, who is actually an undercover agent looking out for Chi, pulls on her pigtails. This is a warning, as Chi's pigtails are both flying-rotors, and part of her emergency power-down system. If they are removed without warning, she freezes and collapses.

So this is Chi's rather miserable life at boarding school. However, as she is made of plucky stuff she decides to try and win the other girls over. She tries various different things: being the class clown, wearing a silly penguin costume, giving people rather hazardous rides on her bike; she even briefly gives religion a go. She tries so hard, but it's all to no avail; she's always out of step, unhappy, picked on and left behind. Poor, poor cyborg Chi.

But then! Everything changes when Chi discovers her true nature. No, not her cyborg nature, which she already knows about; but rather the true love of her inner heart! She starts to commune with local animals: cats, dogs, more cats, more dogs, anything with fur basically. At first just being around animals is enough, but all too soon Chi needs more! So she gets rid of her penguin costume, and instead finds a furry animal costume. I'm sure you can see where this is going...

Yes. Chi is a furry!

This moment of realization is the turning point in her story. Chi is clearly so happy in her furry costume (albeit after a bit of a rocky start, due to the heaviness of the head) that the other girls are finally won over. It doesn't happen all at once; at first they are rather taken aback--they stare, they freak out, they boggle. Then comes the day Chi does something particularly amazing--she tames a wild dog enough to be able to ride it! And that is such an awesome furry feat that one of the staring girls makes victory arms: \o/

Everything gets better after that. Chi's happiness is so infectious that all the other girls stop picking on her and start finding their own secret passions: diving, karaoke, dancing, and some of them even try the furry thing too! Soon Chi is part of a happy group of girls who love and accept her for the furry cyborg non-conformist she is.

The end.

The WiP Meme
I have soooooo many works in progress, it's not even funny, and I don't want to post bits of ones I'm actively working on, as that may kill them dead. However, this one has been on the backburner for ages...

Title: The Appearance of Things
Author: cupidsbow
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: This bit, PG-13
Note: This draft is even more AU now than when I started it waaaaay back in season 2.


It began so subtly that it took a while for John to cotton on to what was happening, although in hindsight, the first appearance of it had been two weeks before the law had even changed, when Elizabeth had asked him how it was going to affect things. He should have realised that something was screwy when she asked him privately, in her office, rather than during the weekly Heads-of-Department meeting, but at the time he'd just thought she'd been genuinely worried it was going to be a problem. So he'd said:

"It's not going to be a big deal, Elizabeth. Sumner screened the military personnel for bigotry back at the start. He didn't want homophobic troops getting trigger happy and accidentally starting a war when we came into first contact with the Gay-Alien planet." John had smiled reassuringly at that point. "The day the law is actually repealed there'll be a big party, which you and I should both show our faces at, and maybe a wedding, if I'm reading the whole Stanislov-Perch thing right, and some late-night sneaking around I'm going to turn a blind eye to, and that should be pretty much it."

He'd sat back in his chair feeling proud to be the commander of such a decent bunch, and when she'd asked, in a thoughtful way, if there was anything else he wanted to say and had given him a look, he'd grinned at her, thinking she was just relieved there wasn't going to be a problem and showing it by getting into the spirit of things. So, playing along, he'd winked, and said, "Ask me again in two weeks," and then he'd promptly forgotten about the whole thing, because he and Rodney had had to save the universe again.

* * *

Two weeks later, stage three of the Atlantis-colony legalwork was completed. US military regulations, including Don't Ask, Don't Tell, were officially replaced by the Atlantis Colony Combined Military Charter, which recognised pretty much every kind of consensual marriage contract legal either on Earth or in the Pegasus galaxy, including gay marriage and menage a trois and probably some other stuff John didn't really want to know about.

At the celebratory party, which had turned out to be the Stanislov-Perch wedding, John had danced with both grooms, Ronon, Elizabeth, Teyla, Zelenka, Miko, Cadman, the pretty blonde archeologist whose name he could never remember (Ziva? Zinda?) who had been pursuing him for months, and, by popular demand, twice with Rodney.

At the time, John had figured the enthusiastic way the crowd reacted when he'd dipped Rodney during the tango had just been due to high spirits and the zeitgeist. It had been impressive though: his eardrums were still ringing with the after-effects of all those wolf-whistles when he'd finally fallen into bed just as dawn was blushing the sky.

That illusion was quickly shattered. After two solid days of every single fucking person in Atlantis looking at him, as though expecting him to make some grand announcement at any minute, John reluctantly abandonned the high spirits and zeitgeist theory. And, yeah, he'd been a bit slow to pick up on it at first, but by the time the chaplain, LeBlanc, had made a point of assuring John that he was always happy to officiate at weddings, anytime, John had gotten it.

For the rest of the day he found himself staring at his own reflection whenever he was near shiny surfaces, wondering, with a strange, disconnected feeling, what it was about him that made everyone think he was gay. Had they always thought he was gay? Was it something he did? Something he didn't do? Did the higher-ups think it? Because, actually, that might explain a few things. And what the hell was up with the whole Rodney situation? If there had to be someone, a man, people though he was fucking, why on earth was it Rodney? They were teammates for fuck's sake. It would be totally inappropriate.

It was all very puzzling, but he'd thought he was mostly cool with it, even if Miko sighing every time he clapped Rodney on the shoulder and dragged him out of the lab for meals did get on his last nerve. But he was damned if he was going to change the way he acted around Rodney just because people thought he was gay. That way lay madness! He didn't need to be double-thinking his every action when he was sitting down to eat lunch and shoot the shit with his team; his nightmares about bad command decisions were bad enough without inviting more worry into his life.

He continued to think he was cool with it, right up until he bumped into Elizabeth late one night in the mess, both of them driven there by unacknowledged insomnia and a need for human contact. They were sitting companionably, looking out over the restless dark of the ocean, sipping on coffee and working through a plate of cookies, when Elizabeth asked:

"So. How are things working out with the new regulations?"

And John replied:

"I'm not gay! I never have been gay! And I'm not goddamn well fucking Rodney! So stop fucking looking at me like that!"

After a long, pregnant silence, in which John frantically sorted through a dozen apologies, none of which really cut it, he managed, "Sorry. That was... sorry, Elizabeth. I don't even know where that came from."

Her head was turned towards him, but he couldn't make out much of her expression in the dim light. She set her coffee cup down on the table, but said nothing.

He knew she was trying to psych him into saying more, but that didn't make it any less effective. John ran a hand through his hair. "People keep looking at me," he said, and it sounded kind of pathetic as soon as it hit the air, "me and Rodney. And I just don't get it, but it's driving me bugfuck insane!"

"Well," said Elizabeth in that reasonable way she had that always made the hairs on the back on John's neck stand up, because it never meant anything good, "have you considered getting away from things for a while?" Her eyes gleamed in the dim light. "You have quite a lot of leave accrued, and it would be good for morale to have someone prominent lead the way with the new Earth-side R&R agreement."

John's fingers were cramping where they were clutching at the arms of his chair. "Elizabeth," he said, and it came out as a whine.

"I'm sure Heightmeyer would agree with me," said Elizabeth, and John shivered, even though the night was warm. He'd been ducking vacation time for too long, and he'd be lucky if he escaped from Heighmeyer's clutches without an enforced leave of absence entered into his record, and he and Elizabeth both knew it. Which did nothing to lighten the blow; he was used to Elizabeth playing dirty with other people, but not with him.

"Fine," he said reluctantly, and valiantly bit back the curse you to hell, because, really, it was all his own goddamn fault for not keeping his big mouth shut. And who knew he'd miss a stupid reg like Don't Ask, Don't Tell so fucking much anyway?

* * *

Which was how John ended up standing in the Daedelus loading bay two weeks later, duffle bag hitched over one shoulder, waiting for the boarding call. In fact, he was almost resigned to the whole idea, especially as the looking issue hadn't abated significantly. It would be nice to get away from it for a while, and maybe Elizabeth was right, and the whole gay thing would have faded from people's minds by the time he got back.

His newfound tranquility was brutally shattered a moment later, when he spotted Rodney trotting across the hangar bay towards him, towing a huge, red travel bag on wheels. Rodney had two laptop bags criss-crossed over his chest like ammo-belts and he was scowling in a way that had the marines busy with lading pallets, and the handful of other passengers, scrambling out of his way.

He stopped in front of John, crossed his arms as well as he could over the straps of the laptops, and glared. "I'm blaming you for this!" he said. "You gave Elizabeth all sorts of stupid ideas when you applied to use up your leave. What were you thinking?"

John narrowed his eyes. "You think I agreed to this voluntarily?"

"Oh," said Rodney, deflating. He blinked a bit, and then said in a tone that was almost conciliating, for Rodney, "Well. We could probably sneak in a bit of strategic planning during the trip. What she doesn't know can't get us into trouble, right?"

John would probably have agreed if he hadn't noticed the way Seargent Olins was staring at the two of them standing together with their luggage. Even though it wasn't Rodney's fault, John found himself snapping, "What part of 'vacation' do you not understand, Rodney?"

Rodney's mouth dropped open and he looked genuinely shocked. It just stoked John's rage.

"And don't think you're inviting yourself along when we get to Earth, either," John said. "This is a solo mission! You're not fucking invited." Then he turned and stalked off to pester one of the stewards into letting him board early, feeling like the biggest dickwad in the galaxy.

* * *

John hadn't exactly forgotten that Rodney had a vindictive streak so wide it could be used as a freeway; it's just that John was usually smart enough not to press Rodney's buttons.

It was a damned good policy, and he wished he'd remembered that sooner, because it turned out that not having anyone to hang out with on a twenty-day space cruise was pretty boring. In an oh-my-god-make-it-stop kind of way.

In an effort to make the time go faster, John jogged. He lifted weights. He solved for Pi in his head. He finished reading Anna Karenina.

He missed Ronon and Teyla.

He did those evil Athosian stretching exercises Teyla was always trying to get him to do.

Then came the day he started counting the rivets in the walls as he jogged around and around the same seven decks of the Daedelus, and he knew he was officialy losing it.

* * *

John pushed his bowl of uneaten pudding around his tray, trying to ignore the fact that he was lonely and bored. The marines he was sitting with were debating the relative merits of the latest Playboy bunnies. Apparently September had bigger tits, but April was perkier. John had never been less interested in breasts.

On the other side of the mess, Rodney was waving his hands wildly as he loudly abused one of the Daedelus engineers for something to do with flux capacitors. John was pretty sure it was a deliberate insult of particularly fiendish Rodney-esque proportions. He could fill in most of the parts he couldn't hear from memory, and it was making his stomach twist as though feral animals were doing the lambada inside his large intestine. John wasn't even bothering to pretend to himself that he wasn't jealous. The Back to the Future argument was one of their trademark things, and Rodney shouldn't be doing it indiscriminantly with other people, especially not geeks. No matter how insulting John had been, this was going too far. It just wasn't right.

John morosely ate a spoonful of the pudding. It was chocolate: Rodney's favourite.

A burst of laughter came from Rodney's table. He looked happy and his cheeks were flushed pink with excitement.

With a sigh, John got up, dumped the remains of the pudding in the trash, and went off to count the rivets in the ceilings.

* * *

As John started his nth set of weights for the day (where n was a scary big number) he found himself seriously comparing his own nipples to those of Ms April (whose picture was prominently displayed on the gym wall, right next to a seriously ripped Mr October, it being an equal opportunity workplace) and deciding that, yes, his nipples really were perkier.

And also, clearly, he was going insane and something drastic had to be done.

* * *

Which is how he ended up outside Rodney's quarters a few hours later, in the quiet depths of the ship's night shift. Using a trick Rodney had shown him once on P4R-J88, he managed to spring the door on the second try, even though his hands were sweaty with fear that someone would come by and catch him at it. The door sighed open and John quickly checked the cabin's tiny patch of floor for typical geek detritus, before stepping inside and closing the door behind him.

Five steps later and he was by Rodney's bunk, watching him snore in the slightly greenish light of the little Ancient device stuck to the wall near Rodney's pillow. John decided right then and there, as he stared down at Rodney's deceptively tranquil face, that in the interests of his own continued survival he would never, ever mention, even in jest, that Rodney was using a nightlight.

John took a deep breath for courage and then reached down and shook Rodney's shoulder. "Rodney," he said, "wakey, wakey."

Rodney snuffled loudly for a moment, and then sat bolt upright, desperately trying to blink himself awake. "What? What? Are we under attack? Where..."

Not giving Rodney time to pull himself together, John started on his speech. He figured he had about thirty seconds before Rodney regained the ability to kill John with his brain.

"I'm sorry," John said, fervently. "I was an asshole, and I shouldn't have said that stuff, and I'm so, so sorry. And I should have apologised days ago, and I deserve you not speaking to me. I do. But God, Rodney, please! I'm about to start shooting people for shits and giggles, I'm so fucking bored. Can't you hold off on the hideous revenge until we're back in Atlantis? We can do whatever you want. Chess. Prime, not prime. Anything! Seriously, I'm so fucking sorry I was such a dick."

John knew it wasn't enough. He knew he'd have to woo Rodney for at least a few days before he was forgiven, but he tried on his most hopeful smile anyway.

And after blinking at him for a moment Rodney said:

"Oh thank God! Everyone on this fucking ship is a moron! I was starting to have fantasties about flushing myself out of the airlocks. Let's play chess. There's coffee over there," and he pointed imperiously at the tangle of clothes and bits of electronic equipment and food wrappers spilling out of the red wheelie-suitcase.

John obediently went over and tried to find something that looked like coffee, while Rodney vigorously rubbed his face with both hands.

After a jaw-cracking yawn, Rodney flicked on the wall-mounted reading light and reached over into the bedside drawer for his travelling chess set. By the time John was holding out a little tetra-box of long-life coffee, Rodney was sitting cross-legged at the head of the bed, setting up the chess pieces. He took the tetra-box from John, shook it, popped the straw through the little foil-covered, fresh-seal hole and slurped noisily.

"Have you been fleecing the Aussies again?" said John, who had long since learned that beverages Australians couldn't somehow put into tetra-packs weren't worth drinking.

"It's not my fault they're all too stupid not to play games with me." Rodney looked up at John, and he already seemed more awake. He pointed at the other end of the bed. "Sit!"

John sat.

"Try not to play too moronically," said Rodney. "It makes me tetchy."

And because John was in a really, really good mood, he didn't hold back at all, and seriously tried his best to win the game.

* * *

Rodney was glaring at him, a look of firey death glittering in his eyes. "You've been holding out on me, Colonel," he said, poking a finger at John accusingly.

"General," said John, mildly, still kind of in shock at having won the game.

"Whatever," said Rodney. "Tomorrow! We're going to do this properly. A tournament." He rubbed his hands together. "I want to see the looks on all those morons' faces when you beat them! It's going to be priceless."

"Hey," John protested. "My strategic planning skills are a military secret. I'm not going to blow my cover just to satisfy your sudden bizarre desire for vicarious triumph. Besides, maybe I wouldn't win. Maybe you're just off your game tonight. Did you consider that, genius?"

"Oh, please," said Rodney. "As though I'd be friends with you if you were as dumb as you look."

John stared at Rodney for a long moment, wondering if he really was losing his mind. "Did you just imply that I was pretty?"

"What?" said Rodney, "No!" but it was so fast and so defensive that it sounded totally false. "No! I just implied that you were smart!" Then he kind of gaped at John as though wanting to take it back, but not knowing how to without circling right back to the pretty option.

With an effort, John remembered the horrible, empty stretch of the last seven days, and somehow managed to swallow the impulse to repeat his performance in the loading bay back on Atlantis. It was getting old. Not to mention he was kind of sick of himself for even having this streak of insane homophobia when he'd always thought of himself as an easy going, open minded guy. Besides, it wasn't like Rodney meant anything by it; he was just being Rodney.

The silence was in danger of turning into something that Rodney would feel compelled to babble into, which was always dangerous, so John forced himself to back down, lazing across the foot of the bed in a boneless sprawl that gave Rodney the height advantage.

"Really?" John said, in an easy tone. "You think I'm..." He paused and raised an eyebow; gratifyingly, Rodney blushed. " Wow, Rodney. I don't know what to say. I'm all choked up here."

"Shut up," Rodney muttered, looking anywhere but at John.

"No, really," said John, earnestly. "I think it's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me."

"Why did I forgive you, again?" Rodney snapped, clearly goaded beyond mortification and right into attack mode. "Oh, wait. I didn't! I just agreed to delay my hideous revenge until we got back home." He picked up a rook and waved it in a vaguely menacing way. "I could always change my mind about that. Do you want to be my enemy, General? Just say the word."

With glee, John replied, "Only an idiot would want that, Rodney. Do I look stupid to you?"

The expression on Rodney's face made it totally worth it.

* * *

The next morning, John walked right past the military table and slid into the seat opposite Rodney without even thinking about it. He grinned at Rodney and tucked into his breakfast, feeling really hungry for the first time in days.

"What are you doing?" Rodney hissed.

John's forkful of eggs jerked to a halt mid-air as he took in Rodney's irritable expression. "Eating breakfast. It's something I like to do in the mornings."

"That coffee last night must have been spiked!" Rodney said. "It's the only explanation for how I could have been so, so wrong! Or are you deliberately trying to be even dumber than you look? We'll never get people to bet against you in the chess tournament if they see you eating with me. We have to maintain a plausible distance, or they'll know something's up. Go away!"

John slid the forkful of eggs into his mouth and chewed while he thought about that. "How long is this tournament meant to run for?"

"A week," said Rodney, craning his head around to see if they'd been spotted by anyone other than the openly staring contigent at the military table. "Go and tell your goons you had to ask me something about Atlantis. They'll probably even believe it if you do that," he waved a hand in a way that managed to be both condescending and slightly obscene, "thing you do."

"A week. I see," said John, ignoring the implied insult, because he saw, alright. He saw a week of sneaking around if he wanted to spend any time with Rodney, and after the week he'd just endured that was seriously not going to happen.

"Quick," said Rodney, ducking his head. "That's Stillson."

A dorky-looking engineer was just walking into the mess. He was the same guy Rodney had been doing the Back to the Future thing with the day before.

"Seriously, if you're not going, then I am." Rodney put his coffee cup down onto his tray and then slid himself and the tray along towards the end of the table, clearly about to make good on his threat to move.

With the hand he wasn't using to scoop up his breakfast, John reached out and grabbed Rodney's wrist. "I'll buy you a whole crate of those coffee tetra-packs if we don't have to do the tournament."

Rodney tugged, trying to get free. "What are you--"

"Two crates, plus I'll pay the Daedelus cargo fees. They'll be waiting for you by the time we get back."

"General!" Rodney said, but it was already too late. Stillson was standing beside them, staring down at John's hand on Rodney's wrist.

John slowly released his hold, smiling up at Stillson with a lot of teeth. "Hi there."

"Um," said Stillson, in a high, squeaky voice, his head swivelling back and forth between John and Rodney, a really familiar look on his face.

For once, John didn't even care.

* * *

Rodney just rolled his eyes at John once Stillson had gone away, and said, "Four crates."

John figured it was cheap at twice the price. It wasn't like he had anything else to spend all that backpay on, even now that Atlantis had its own offical currency and exchange rate.

It was only later that day--when he'd talked Rodney into a run, and every single person they passed did a double-take--that it occurred to John that the price might be higher than he'd calculated, even taking into account an unfavourable exchange rate.

* * *

By lunchtime the next day, he and Rodney couldn't go anywhere without getting the look. At first John congratulated himself that he was over it, because he and Rodney were getting on better than ever; but by the time they walked into the mess for dinner, he was twitchier than his twitchiest day on Atlantis, having slowly realised that the Daedelus look wasn't quite the same as the one he'd become so familiar with. The Daedelus version was a denser, less agreeable cousin, with an edge of threat to it that made John slightly paranoid whenever Rodney was out of his sight.

Even Rodney, who was usually oblivious to social pressure, obviously felt it, getting louder and more obnoxious with every hour that passed. In counterpoint, John sprawled more and more bonelessly on the ungiving Daedelus chairs, and said less and less.

* * *

Two days after that, while John was lifting weights in the gym, a marine sidled up and point-blank asked him if he and Rodney were interested in a threeway.

John didn't hit him, but that was more due to shock than restraint.

Fortunately, the marine took one look at John's face and pulled off a seriously impressive vanishing act.

* * *

By the time they hit Earth orbit, John was monosyllabic, and every single Daedelus crewmember hated Rodney with a firey passion.

* * *

I actually have the whole story written out in IM transcript. It's a freaking novella!

And now it is party time! *goes off to be sociable*
Tags: fandom, fiction, sga, slash, songvids
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