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I’m having a shut-in New Year’s (on purpose, shh) so if anyone else is, here’s another chapter of the SG:A holiday fic. 

“Cheers,” John said, and clinked his mostly-empty wineglass against Dave’s full highball glass. “Oh, be careful, Vala’s been mixing these things all afternoon that don’t taste all that strong but… What did you call them again?”

Dave took a sip, and Vala waited until he lowered the glass. “The bartender who taught them to me referred to them as face-fuckers,” she said, “but I don’t usually tell people the name, because it’s much better for it to be a surprise.”

Dave’s expression was priceless to the extent that John laughed until he fell over and had to be helped back up by both Sam and Vala. “Oh god,” he said, “oh, oh God, Vala, don’t do that.”

“Well,” Vala said, “it’s not the drink that fucks your face, it’s just that you’re so drunk that you’ll kind of let anybody—“

“Vala!” Cam said. “Oh my God, it’s not the story about the bartender on P9X-428 again, is it?”

Sam cleared her throat loudly. “We’d probably better adjourn to the living room,” she said.

“Well,” Vala said, “he didn’t fuck my face.”
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Back when I was still in the feverish depths of my addiction to Stargate: Atlantis, specifically reading and writing McShep slash, I wrote a 15k+ word chunk of story about John buying a house and having everyone over for Christmas, while Atlantis was stuck on earth after Enemy at the Gate. 

I have been telling myself for over a year now that I’ll get back to those stories and keep on posting, at least in Two-Body Problem, when things get hectic or when I finish other things, and what with one thing and another it just hasn’t happened. I’ve had a lot of guilt over it, believe me. But I had told myself, if nothing else, I should post that bit with the house at next Christmas. 

And then Christmas came and went, and I had no time to look at it. But today I did, I’m fighting off the last dregs of a wretched cold and I thought, this is it, this is the time.

So, I’ve posted it, and I have a couple more short chapters, and then I’ll have run out of that part of the story. There’s another big chunk, though, that I wrote and didn’t plan on using. I don’t think it’s possible for me to explain quite how much additional material I really honestly do have for Two-Body Problem; I ran out of gas not because I was out of story, but because I got bogged down in the middle. 

Anyway, we’ll see if this jumpstarts me to finishing that story; perhaps, but then I’d have so much guilt about the MCU stuff that’d fall by the wayside. But thinking of banging out an original novel is making me want to lay more of my ducks in a row. And I had promised myself– if nothing else, I can post this at Christmas. So I am.

A House A Home, on AO3.
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I was tagged by @salamanderinspace​ to post the first line of 10 of my fics!

Which pleases me, as I’m not the sort of person who ever gets tagged in anything.

Thing is, my writing style? I don’t do whammy first lines. I used to try, but they mostly didn’t work, and I outgrew the attempts. I try super hard to just drop you right into the scene; it’s almost always Protagonist, Action Verb, Setting, and then the next line is usually dialogue or a situation developing. I don’t want my first line memorable because I don’t want you to trip over it; I want you to walk right in to find out where the heck they’re headed.

I saw @galadhir, I think (or was it @heartofoshun?) do this meme as the first paragraph of five of your fics, and I liked that a great deal, because it gives you a lot more insight into the less-flashy writers. My first reaction on considering this meme was actually to feel really bad about my writing, but I just got a couple of comments on a recent thing from readers pointing out that my style tends to be both invisible and dense, and I was really pleased to hear that it comes across that way. Because that’s what I’m going for. 

So– look at the first line, and then look at the paragraph, and you’ll see why I did it this way. My first paragraphs tend to be short too! I don’t want to drown anybody. My first lines are nothing, they really are. And I felt sort of bad about that, but there are as many ways to tell stories as there are storytellers, so this is for all the rest of you who felt your opening lines to be lackluster even though they were stories you’d always loved. And if this style works for you, then maybe you’ll like the rest of my stories. :)

* Meduseld’s roof gleamed in the early spring sunlight, but to Éomer it looked more forbidding than friendly. He regarded it with trepidation as Edoras came fully into view ahead, and Éothain noticed his expression. 

The Clasp Undone, LOTR fandom, written in 2004 for HASA, now on AO3. An early example– setting, reaction, motivation and secondary characters in two sentences. I think I was trying for a whammy opener a little bit, or at least poetic imagery. I also had excerpted an obscure poem preface but I figure that doesn’t count for this meme. (For a while I thought the poetry was required before each chapter…)

* There was a caravan on the road, Khat deduced, from the actions of the pirates. He was not foolish enough to get anywhere near the action, knowing both sides would be perfectly eager to kill him, but he settled on a promontory and watched, waiting for the pirates to come back with prisoners to their camp. 

The Kenniliar-Charisat Road, gapfiller for Martha Wells’ City of Bones, written in 2009ish but unpublished until 2013 on AO3. I think you can tell I wrote this entirely for myself, never really intending to publish it– there’s little concern for reeling the reader in. It’s more just my personal heartbreak that the author was not going to write a sequel, and I wanted to spend more time with the characters. So this one is probably most interesting as an example of how I’d write if nobody was reading. Because, well, nobody was, and nobody is; it’s not a popular fandom. It’s only as poetic as it needs to be for the setting to be established; it’s mostly pragmatic in choreography, and then I take my sweet time with dialogue because that’s what I like. A challenge, though: one of the characters refuses to admit that he can speak the other’s tongue for almost the entirety of the story. No worries; Sagai can make up the difference.

* “You’re fulla shit, McKay,” John said happily, taking a bite of the almost-apple in his hand and chewing noisily because he knew it was annoying. Rodney reacted predictably, setting off on a great, somewhat-shrill, rapid-fire rant about the merits of the continuously-variable transmission in an automobile over a standard transmission. John didn’t give a fuck, but he’d wound Rodney up enough that he could enjoy the show, so he waited a moment, said, “But the Batmobile’s totally a stick shift,” and watched Rodney spin off into near-incoherence.

Bones Reds, SGA (gen), 2013, on AO3. This one, you can tell I’d been reading a lot of other fic. The McShep fic community (especially @theletteraesc, my forever fave) tended to favor fast-paced rapid-fire stuff, and banter especially, and I totally got sucked in. This is the closest I come to a whammy. (Another of my early examples starts off with “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me”, straight from John’s mouth; same idea.) 

The downside is that I think I kinda shot my wad in this paragraph and the rest of the fic is just okay. Eh! It was quite early in my AO3 days. 

* There was the sharp crack of rifle fire from behind a tree, and Peggy nodded to herself in satisfaction; it had to be Barnes. Good, she wasn’t totally separated from the others. She waited until he fired again, and someone screamed distantly as the bullet found its mark; she used that hushed moment to fall back, darting from her flimsy cover behind a bush to a more solid cover behind a tree trunk. 

Guts, a gen Peggy & Bucky MCU/Captain America fic, published in 2015 on AO3. Yo look at all those semicolons. I think I’m trying to channel 1930s English Schoolgirl here but it might just be that I used to be real into semicolons after a misspent Tolkien-obsessed youth and I’m bad at not using them for everything. 

* Steve was on top of Natasha, missionary-style, fucking her hard and steady. Bucky wandered in just as she was coming, and stood in dumbfounded shock watching as she shuddered and gasped.

Put On Earth With That Sole Purpose, Steve/Natasha/Bucky, 2015 on AO3, a shining example of my favorite genre, which is a pure-smut character study. That is what I love. It’s not just PWP, it’s a character study. I can’t help doing this and I’m hopelessly addicted to it. But as you can see, there’s no gradual introduction to the action here; we start with, quite literally, a climax. When it comes to fucking around, I don’t fuck around. 

I’m also going to cop-out, I think, and say I tag anyone who wants to do it, because the nature of Tumblr discourse is such that it’s super hard to figure out who of the writers I follow actually follow me back and would be interested. But if you, like me, are the sad sort who easily feels excluded, and nobody has tagged you, I am sorry to hear that and wish I were clever enough to have noticed to tag you. Consider yourself tagged. Maybe holler at me in the post and I will in future try to remember to tag you. If I ever get tagged in a thing again. Because I rarely do and often when I am don’t really know how to do it. Awkward peeps unite!! I’m here in this corner with you, and I have beer. 
via http://ift.tt/1K7MP88:popkin16 replied to your post “Hairdryer Wind”

I think it speaks to how much I love your work that I’m willing to read dark SGA fic :) Poor John. I can see why you’d struggle to do another 4 of these. I like to think that things do get better for him - he ends up with Rodney and is happy!

<3 

It was meant to be in my TBP-verse.

I was going through that stuff just now and it’s so disorganized but I have a whole bunch of stuff written that I badly want to publish. It’s just so disorganized, and I couldn’t find the one really long bit I so badly wanted to reread. 

It involved John buying a house, and a great Christmas party, and I just can’t think where I stashed it. 
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This is an old SGA ficlet I wrote a long time ago, put up on my near-empty LJ, and never put on AO3 or here. I think of it occasionally, and I had intended to have it be part of a Five Things dealie, but I couldn’t make five of these. So here it is, too short to stand alone, too dark to go with anything else. And too glaringly-obviously one of my abortive experiments in present tense. I don’t know how all y’all BNFs can do present tense, it’s torture for me.

847 words, tw: suicidal ideation

John Sheppard, Afghanistan, 2003

The wind’s like a hairdryer tonight. John’s out on the roof, looking out over the darkening landscape. There’s a windbreak, an old bit of canvas they staked up to keep the dirt off the battered metal table they’ve dragged up there. It’s the smoking lounge, but nobody’s around to smoke anymore; all the guys that smoked are either rotated out or dead, by now. Last one died today, in Landstuhl, where he’d lingered for about a week with a brain injury and almost all his limbs blown off.

John flew that evac. It was a crazy bit of flying, coming in under fire and balancing one fucking wheel on a goddamn boulder and hovering low enough that they could haul the wounded and dead into the bird. He sort of wished he hadn’t pulled it off, though; it had been that one poor maimed bastard who lingered, plus four dead guys in component pieces, and if he’d taken his sweet time instead, Ruel wouldn’t have had to fucking suffer so long in the hospital. It wasn’t like he’d ever really regained consciousness, even. There had been no point to it.

John doesn’t smoke, but he has a lit cigarette between his lips anyway, in Ruel’s memory. There’s no booze here, so they all poured out Gatorade for him earlier. John’s a little dizzy from the nicotine, a little nauseated, but he’s going to finish this fucking cigarette anyway. It’s about the third he’s smoked in his life, and is definitely the last.

He’s cleaning his pistol to have something to do with his hands. It’s pitch-dark up here but he doesn’t need to see to do it— just getting the grit out, putting a fresh coat of oil in it. He reassembles it, packs away the cleaning kit, loads the magazine, and while he does he works pretty hard not to think about the divorce papers he’d just signed and put back in the mail today. He hadn’t said anything to anybody, there was nothing anybody could do and he doesn’t need the sympathy.

Sympathy doesn’t do a damn bit of good. She’s gone, and her last note was a mean one bitching him out for dragging his feet on those papers. For God’s sake, John, de Nile is in Egypt, not Afghanistan.

Ha ha. Cute. He deserved that, though.

He wrote her a postcard, you were the best thing that ever happened to me, but he’s just burned it in the ashtray. No fucking point to sending it. What would it do, besides maybe making her feel even shittier? He’s caused her plenty of that, no need to pile it on.

He slots the magazine into its place and racks a bullet. The cigarette’s almost gone. He takes one more pull, lets the sickening rush hit, and stubs it out in the ashtray with the finely-flaked postcard remains. All that’s left now is the pistol, a solid and familiar, reassuring weight in his hands. He holds it for a long moment, turns it over. Thumbs back the hammer, slides the safety off. So much power in there. He knows precisely what one of those bullets will do to a human body, to a human skull; he’s shot people in the head with it before.

So easy. Nothin’ to it.

Wouldn’t feel a thing.

It’s tempting.

Shit, it’s tempting.

Fuck.

The barrel’s between his teeth before he’s really thought it out, and it’s thick, and the angle’s awkward, but there’s no doubt it would be pretty fucking effective like this, blow the whole back of his head right off instantly, no more fuss, no lingering on life support once the brainstem’s fucking obliterated.

Jesus Christ, he wants to do it.

But he hasn’t taken her off the paperwork yet, and she’s still listed as his next of kin. She’d get the call, and then she’d get the signed divorce papers with today’s postmark, and fucking Christ, John, could you be any more of a fucking piece of shit? What the fuck is wrong with you?

He pulls the gun carefully out of his mouth, slides the safety back on, thumbs the hammer back down to uncocked, puts the pistol down on the table. Yeah, real fucking nice, John. Just spit in her fucking face on your way out, because you didn’t do enough damage to her in all the years she put up with you.

Slow breath in, shaky breath out, elbows on knees, face in hands. Yeah, no, John, not like that. Not now. At least let the divorce go through, take her off the paperwork. It’s not her fault. Don’t make it her fault.

His gut untwists slowly, and he stands up, shoves the pistol back into the holster, picks up the ashtray and dumps the ashes out downwind. Fuck. He puts the ashtray back on the table and heads back to the rickety ladder, back down into the building where the others are playing cards.

He leaves her on the paperwork, because it stops him two more times before the tour’s over.

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