I have never actually used this community but I would like to more, and I probably will if I ever get around to finish some of the longer stories I have going on. But for now, let's talk about my last contribution to the Castle fandom which was actually well received on the whole ... (something I was not expecting since on my part it was inspired by the deluge of fandom happy feelings going into the season finale and my own dissatisfaction with the show so. You know, troll!fic.)
Anyway. Let's talk about If I didn't know better. (Cross-posted to ff.net and AO3.)
I did receive some mixed reviews though, mostly from the fanfiction.net crowd, bless their gentle souls - I was quite deservedly called a downer (though I was slightly sad when I was accused of ruining them hah...) All of you here were very complimentary despite having your hearts ripped out so thank you for that.
The fact of it is that I did actually want this to happen in the finale. As much as I was excited and enjoyed Always on a first viewing, I will always think the latter half of season four was disappointing and a bit of a slight to the characters and the fans. (Reasons, rather mockingly, detailed here. I did feel as though the show had a bit of an identity crisis this season - the curse of season four! - but the ending ... sigh. I am obviously happy that my otp finally got together. I am glad Beckett finally realised that the past isn't worth sacrificing the present. However, I do feel like they had so many issues going into the finale, going into the ending of the episode, that it felt a bit off to me. I am definitely worried that now that they've embarked on this sexual relationship, they'll use that as a band-aid and never have to address a lot of underlying issues.
Which brings me to why I wrote this. Realistically, despite shipping them like nothing else, Castle and Beckett are very different people. In lots of ways, the end of the season convinced me they shouldn't be together. I wrote this because I wanted to explore the theme of two people who want completely opposite things in their lives but want to be together. I do think that ultimately, for Beckett, finding her mother's killer(s), bringing them to justice has always been something she felt was important. I know people change. I know people's priorities change. But I don't think, that in the face of a conspiracy that has a body count, she would be able to stand by and let a killer, or a syndicate of killers, someone with political reach, go free. Dial M For Murder says that, to me.
And Castle? Castle is scared to lose her. In their own ways, both of them have a strong fear of being left, or of losing people they love. Two ex-wives does not a particularly secure man make, and I've said before, to me, Castle goes big in everything he does. He doesn't love by halves. It's hard, when that kind of love isn't returned or breaks down. I think for him, losing Beckett would be devastating. And I think he'd go to almost any lengths to protect her from herself and prevent that from happening. I also think that he hides all that messed up-ness behind the persona, behind the sense of humour. That's not to say I think he has pathological issues or anything, but we're all messed up in one way or another when it comes to relationships.
So. To me, ultimately, Beckett wants to or will have to pursue a case that could endanger her life. I'm not saying that she's going to tackle it head on like she has until now. But I do think she won't be able to reconcile it with herself, letting what they know go without investigating it further. She just has that ingrained sense of justice, of setting things right, of not letting murderers go free (or at least she did... her moral compass seems a bit out of whack recently, another flaw I felt was glaring in the latter half of the season, but that's an aside). And Castle can't let her do it because he's afraid of losing her, in a raw, visceral way that isn't particularly logical or amenable to reason.
How do they go on from that and how does that impact on their sexual relationship?
That is what this story was all about.
(Well, okay, it didn't explore the aftermath, but in part those were the themes I was trying to allude to. And I would continue this story, but I actually have quite a lot of material already written on the topic, that will eventually be a part of We Want To Live Like Trees, so. I don't want to repeat myself.)
Plus, in terms of the sex being less than amazing: we romanticise when we write about our otps doing it for the first time. Of course we do! Fanfiction by it's very nature is wish fulfilment. But the truth is, sex can be awkward and sex can be less-than-amazing and chances are the first time you do it with a new partner will not be the best time. And I think that in times of emotional turmoil (which this was, in the story and in canon) that inner monologue can detract from the experience. (Maybe not for everyone, but I call it like I see it because for me writing about sex is about being honest.) Disillusioned smut is almost non-existent - in this fandom and in many fandoms. Not all sex is good sex and we shouldn't write about it like that, just like we shouldn't write it in a way that perpetuates unhealthy attitudes surrounding consent.
And I wrote this because I am so very guilty of writing about perfect sex most of the time. I wrote it so I wasn't a hypocrite. I wrote it because I believe in writing about sex and I believe about doing it to be progressive (ugh I may never achieve that but that is the goal in part, please bear with me while I struggle to improve myself) ... so. That's that.
I also wrote this because it was, very much, the untold story when the promo came out. Everyone was writing about the happy fluffy sex Castle and Beckett were going to have and for me, they were not in a place where the sex was going to be happy and/or fluffy. I'm sorry. Like I said, they have big issues. They were both questioning their commitment to the relationship! They have doubts (normal). And I think it's going to be a struggle: a very interesting struggle but a struggle nonetheless. Plus, I like to think about The Other Story. So basically what I'm saying is I wrote this to be contrary. I am a contrary person. This is why I don't adore Florence + The Machine and Shakespeare as much as I'm meant to.
I've gone on for much longer than I should. If you're still reading, I am much obliged.
little bits of mad.
explaining the scribbles of a curious mind.
- [castle] a dissection of "if I didn't know better".