[Note: I wrote this up at the beginning of 2012 but didn't post it then. It felt too... self-indulgent, and way too TMI. I felt too raw to put this out there. Now, 8 months later, I'm feeling a lot better about the state of my life, so it doesn't feel so difficult, or like such an enormous mistake.]
There are times when I’m in an emotional funk, when it feels like the wheels are spinning but I’m going nowhere. At those times I look to fic as an escape. Sometimes I want something darker to read, something with some bite to it. Something to kick me out of my funk - or maybe to heighten it, it’s hard to tell. Either way, the fluff and romance and rainbows just isn’t cutting it when I’m in that mood. That’s when I look for Hurt/Comfort, or heavy angst. Sometimes I look for comfort, or at least angst that's heavy on the comfort part, but most of my comfort fics have already been recced elsewhere in my journal, so I won’t re-rec them. So that means this list is heavy on the hurt and angst.
I’m starting each section out with the fics that pack the biggest emotional punch for me, which mostly means the really hurty ones, and ending with more comfort. There is comfort in most of these (especially those towards the end of the list), but a hell of a lot of hurt, too. There's also probably TMI for my general emotional state over the last year or so, but I tried to keep it from being too bad.
( The Hurt )My Father Before Me
, McKay/Sheppard, R, major character death (in the past), kid!ficSummary
: Even after twenty years, Rodney still has no idea how to raise children. Futurefic.Author's notes
: In all the kidfic I have ever read, Rodney and John are the perfect parents. At some point in February, I got bored with the concept and decided to put my own spin on it.
This has the distinction of being top of the list of fics that absolutely wrecked me. It’s future kid!fic in which everything has gone wrong for Rodney. It’s raw and hurtful, and I sobbed after reading it - I literally cried myself to sleep. It’s like telleer took my most persistent fears about raising children and wrapped them up with my OTP and delivered them to me with a bow on top. This one is pretty much for those times I just need to cry.In For Repairs
): Star Trek: AOS
, Kirk/McCoy, NC-17 (sex, violence, and filthy mouths)Warning(s): MAY BE TRIGGERY, please read warnings carefully!
Some violent and bloody scenes, including assault and self-harm. Short descriptions of outright rape, other gradations of dubious consent. Discussions of child abuse. Cutting and scarification. Unhealthy pain play, evolving toward something better. (Masochism in a trusting BDSM context is a lovely thing. Pathological self-destructiveness isn't. This hurt/comfort story hits various parts of the continuum in between, but we don't mean to imply that they're the same thing.) Explicit sex. Oh, and lots and lots of profanity.
Young Jim Kirk is unstable and self-destructive, Leonard McCoy is withdrawn and wary, and the obstacles to surviving their first term at Starfleet Academy are not easy to overcome. A dark and brutal tale of the tangled borders between healing and hurting, where hard choices between emotions and ethics have far-reaching consequences; dealing with abuse and alcoholism, affection and neglect, piercings and bar fights, hot and cold sex, complicated questions of consent, and loyalty and love between people who aren't comfortable with either. A whole new spin on "I want my pain, I need my pain."
I wasn't prepared for the way this fic knocked me on my ass when I read it. I don't self harm, but I know exactly what it's like to feel trapped inside your head by whirling emotions (I think of it as an emotional storm), and needing desperately a diversion to get away from yourself. As it happened, Jim was going through something similar in this fic, though taken to an extreme I've never gone to. Nevertheless, I identified with him. Jim's journey through the fic was deeply emotional and it was cathartic for me to read. It's a sledgehammer of a fic, and yet I think the relationship and trust between Jim and Bones was developed carefully and beautifully. I was very moved by the end of the fic at the lengths Bones went to help Jim heal. Plus, this takes my desire to whump Jim to a whole new level.
The Harder They Fall
and For All the Right Reasons
(also on AO3
): Star Trek: AOS
Intense, hardcore, and potentially triggery. Mind-fuck. If you want spoilers to decide if it's something you can read, feel free to ping me with questions. Summary:
Jim is having trouble coping with his first failure of the Kobayashi Maru
. His bigger problem might lie in the fact that he wants to try it again.
The Harder They Fall was another fic that completely knocked me out of my head by putting the characters into extreme physical conditions. It was somehow cathartic for me to read, despite never having been in any similar situation myself. It contains graphic and intense violence, and it seriously is a mind fuck.
For All The Right Reasons is written as an explanation for Fall. Mijan actually does a good job of fitting such an extreme story into the larger story arc she's telling. If you want to lessen the impact of Fall a little bit, read it first. Both are part of Mijan's Academy Series (which is epic and outstanding), and familiarity with that will probably help you understand For all the Right Reasons a little better.The Price That Life Exacts
McKay/Sheppard, NC-17, Kid!fic, angst
When John disappears without a trace during a routine mission, people in a beleaguered Atlantis eventually have to try to move on. Rodney never completely gives up hope of finding John, and though he soldiers on to help Atlantis, a year later he still lives every day with his grief. The story opens with a shocking discovery that may help Rodney come to terms with some truths about himself and his relationship with John, and will have consequences beyond what anyone might predict. Warnings: I've placed warnings for this story in the Notes at the bottom, as they are somewhat spoilery for the fic. Please scroll down and read the warnings if there are things you need to avoid reading about.
Another kid!fic, but this one has a lot more going on than the kid. The angst, for one thing - so much angst. Mildly spoilery bit: John is so, so damaged in this, and the way Rodney brings him back is very touching.
Also, there is music that is used in an amazing way.Losing Touch
: Star Trek:AOS
, McCoy/Jocelyn, Spock, KirkSummary:
McCoy wakes up one day, on earth, still married to his wife, who thinks he's insane, when he starts talking about star ships and someone named Jim Kirk.
The life Bones might have had. This one is beautifully written, and heartbreaking. I was all "Oh god I need a hug!" by the end of it.The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me
: Star Trek: AOS RPF
, Karl/Chris, RSummary:
Chris' birthday sucks. Until it doesn't anymore.
A simple little fic in which Chris despairs of making anything of his life. I love the way Thalia writes emotion into the smallest thing. Also, I love Karl in this. It's like balm for the soul <3
( The Comfort )
As expected, it's short, but many of the fics and podfics I've already recced
here in my journal are also comfort fics for me.The Horshoe Nails Series
, River/Jayne is the primary romance but it's really an ensemble series, Teen, some violence, discussions of mental and emotional trauma, and romance
on FF.net.Summary for Two Gorram Days (part 1)
: Jayne is left all alone with a bad leg and a crazy girl for two days. It doesn't go as badly as it could.
Dyce does an amazing job of developing the whole crew, but especially River and Jayne, into sympathetic and whole characters. She takes the small amount of info about the Academy we are given in cannon and really delves into its impact on River's mind and life, and then guides River out of the darkness and into a real life with the crew. She takes Jayne, a character commonly portrayed as dumb, uncouth and self-serving in cannon, and makes him into a surprisingly sensitive and loyal partner for River, all in a way that feels very organic and IC to me. Her portrayal of Simon is also fantastic. There is romance, humor, fighting for one's life, and an ending to the Big Damn Movie that is more satisfying than the movie itself. It seems that Part 5 is not actually finished, which is a crying shame. It hasn't been updated since 2008 so I don't know how much hope there is for it. However, I think the whole thing is worth reading anyway.
This has been my number one comfort fic (series, whatever) over the last year or so. I can't even tell you how many times I've read it. There were days where I finished the last story and started right back over again with the first story. It's also my favorite Firefly fic of all time, River/Jayne or otherwise. River's journey through the series is very inspiring to me. Like Jayne says in one of the parts, I respect her fight, and reading along with it never gets old to me.Found Your Writing On My Wall
: Star Trek: AOS RPF
, Karl/Chris, NC-17, Mary Sue fic!Summary
: He shouldn't call her. He knows he shouldn't. It goes against his upbringing and his personal morals to call a girl just because her accent makes him miss a possession that was never really his. He picks up his phone anyway.
There is a lot of angst in this one, but it's overwhelmingly a comfort fic for me. The snark, the longing, the dialog, and my boys - it's a perfect Urbine. Plus, it has the best Mary Sue in a fic you'll ever read.
ETA: OMG, I totally forgot that Thalia recorded this as a podfic here
. It's a fantastic
read, I really enjoyed it.