Friday, March 13, 2009

ColumnistFicRec: Pastiche's Favorite Fic

Pastiche Pen's

Endless Daylight and it's sequel, Red Sky at Morning comprise my favorite story in the fandom. In my opinion, it is the funniest story in the fandom (I still went into hysterics on the second read). It is a Leah story, but before you roll your eyes and stomp off to Edward-Bella-human mainstreamia, let me tell you that this fic is better than any Edward-Bella fiction that I’ve ever read. Endless Daylight is the story of a how a bitter, snarky, and lonely Leah Clearwater finds her way to Jacob and into the Cullen family.

This is not some slapdash “werewolves don’t stink now!” drivel. Bella and Leah do not dress in pink, bond over Austen, and become step-sisters extraordinaire. There is no Jake-Nessie-Leah threesome to be found. Au contraire, every aspect of canon is maintained in this post-BD fic, and aspects of Leah I’d never considered before come into play: her isolation from her “human” girlfriends, her grief over her father’s death, and her status as the sole female shapeshifter in existence. The amount of thought that the author has put into Leah’s character (and all of the characters for that matter), whether regarding her past, her ethnicity, or her supernatural crises, is rare and admirable. Her misanthropic tendencies toward skewering all things male, cute, and vampire is just endearing—and laugh-my-hiney-off funny.

One of the first anecdotes in the story occurs when Leah decides to purchase a set of high heels, and the sales girl is just a tedious, little twit:

“Are you guys brother and sister? Do you play basketball?” [overly enthusiastic sales girl asks.]

“No, and no.” I say. I try to say it happily, to smile as I speak so my voice sounds pleasant. I am actually pleased about the shoes. Anyway, the shoe girl is female, so my especial hatred isn’t directed toward her anyway.

“Ooooh. but you’re both so tall! I’m sooo jealous!” she giggles, latching the last buckle into place.

God, I hate her. First of all, her stupid oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing reminds me of Bella, whom I cannot stand, the dumb skank, and secondly, this girl is all of about 5’2. Making her nearly a foot shorter than I am. I really, actually, truly cannot stand short girls.

Leah’s story begins the where it left off in Breaking Dawn: Leah HATES vampires. The dynamic shifts, however, when Leah consents to hanging out with Alice and Rosalie. Lo and behold, an unlikely friendship forms between Rosalie and Leah, and I want to kiss the author, because Rosalie is no less vain or bitchy than she is in the original fic—and yet we see her totally differently through the eyes of an equally strong female.

Needless to say, Leah’s impression of Bella as a weak female, totally dependent on Edward, is hilariously portrayed. The following is a scene with Leah’s reaction to an Alice-Rosalie make-over:

“Leah, you aren’t struggling,” [Bella] says. “Did they sedate you? They were always threatening to sedate me.”

“No, but hey, if you guys wanna dope me up before the wedding, I think you should.” I tell them. And they both laugh. Huh. Did not know Bella had a sense of humor. I think about telling her that and decide not to. Hell, if things keep going the way they are with Mom and Charlie, Bella could be my stepsister.

Oh, God.

Or, if Jacob and Nessie get married, and I am out of town or something and am not able to commit double-homicide via cliff, and I do imprint on their baby, then Bella could be my grandmother.

Or both could happen.

Then, there’s Leah’s relationship with Jake—as her alpha. The alpha aspect is… HOT—not sure there’s ever been a hotter Jacob Black. There isn’t any smut in the first part Endless Daylight (rated T), but in the second, Red Sky at Morning (rated M), it’s in just about every other chapter. It’s so well done. Second, the competition between Sam and Jake as alphas comes into play, with Leah caught in the middle. Jake’s ability to throw Leah in Sam’s face, and Sam’s resulting sense of inadequacy is nothing short of brilliant. Eventually, the La Push elders decide there can only be one Alpha in La Push. To put it mildly, the final showdown is badass.

Also, the stories reexamine what it means to be an imprint—how it affects Jacob, Nessie, and the pack. While the reader will naturally be focused on the humor flowing through the story, the larger themes of fate, free will, and true love give the story a level of depth rare in fan fiction. Moreover, the author accomplishes the redefining of the “imprint” without hatin’ on any character. Though the author clearly had problems with Breaking Dawn, Nessie is not demonized but has her own story, which feeds into Leah’s.

Finally, the story just completed—and yes, everyone gets a happily ever after, even if it comes boxed and packaged in a way that no one would expect.

Smart. Beautiful. Fucking funny.

Go read it.

Pastiche is hilarious as hell and quite possibly the Second Coming. You know this by now. Find her here.

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