So I’ve been writing a lot of S/D lately, but what I’m reading is what keeps me writing. Here are reviews of three S/D stories that I love as a reader and admire as a writer. These stories aren’t PWP [Porn Without Plot, for those of you just joining us], per say, but are relatively short and pretty fucking hot, if you know what I mean. You do? Good. Stay with me.
We’ve got “Binding” and “Kings and Queens and Jokers, Too” by astolat—both fantastic examples of the “ah, you don’t totally get what is happening here, but all will be explained” genre—and the more straightforward but mind-scorchingly hot “Ink” by norah.
Binding by astolat
So astolat is awesome, just on general principle. She’s prolific, talented as hell, and, as noted above, a master of the “ah hah!” genre. In fact, for that reason, this particular story is reminiscent for me of JackHawksmoor’s brilliant K/S fic, “Tired,” which past me reviewed here. [If you’re a K/S fan and you haven’t read this one, well. Do it.]
So yes, astolat’s fic is, in the general, great, but that knowledge can be really distracting. For example, while I was prepping for this post, I made the mistake of opening one of astolet’s short fics that I hadn’t read, and yeah. Wow. Go read “Seriously, Zombies.” I’ll wait right here.
Yeah. See what I mean? Damn.
Ok, back to “Binding.” It’s just after “Born Under A Bad Sign” in Season 2, and Bobby’s given the boys some talismans to keep the nasty at bay. Everything seems just fine until Sam and Dean find themselves, you know, having sex in the woods after a hunt with no idea why or how they suddenly can’t keep their hands off each other.
The plotting here curves nicely just at the right moment and all of the sex is hot, yeah? even if its origins are, at first, mysterious. Asolat plays really well here with the notion of the boys already being tightly intertwined, even before they start fucking each other. And damn, is there a lot of sex here. In the best possible way.
She also manages to monkey with the “oh my god, they’re brothers” factor so that the notion of Wincest feeds the story’s hotness [if that’s a word] in a very clever way. And it ain’t easy to write comedy, but damn, does astolat make it look so. This one is funny, incredibly hot (like backwards and forwards and halfway through), and sweet, when you come down to it. Sigh.
“Kings and Queens and Jokers, Too” by asolat
So we’re working in the same genre as “Binding,” but the emphasis in this story is more on humor than explicit sex. In fact, astolat arranges things so that our not-knowing and the boys’ utter cluelessness about what’s happening first establishes and then feeds back into the hilarity.
As the story begins, the boys have taken down the trickster at last and go out to celebrate. But everyone they encounter–hotel clerks, waiters, random people in a bar–all treat them as a couple. Like, way more than usual. And it’s not just that people suspect that they’re gay–they are definitively read and treated as a couple, which kinda pisses Dean off, but hey. Doesn’t seem to be anything wrong, not really. Heh.
Bobby makes a fine appearance here as a deux ex machina who solves the mystery but can’t quite save the day. He also gets one of the story’s best lines: “Dean, where’s your hand?” Hee!
There’s less explicit sex here than in “Binding,” more shading and suggestion but somehow, astolat makes it hot. This one is fun, sexy, and a bit tricky–as is only appropriate–and these two stories by astolat make a nice pair, if you dig.
So the “Sammy gets off on pain” thing gets me almost every time; for that reason alone, this one is kinda in my wheelhouse. What I dig about this story, though, is that, for once, Sam doesn’t have to be tortured, bitten, slapped, punched, stabbed, whatever to get the pain he needs. Nope. He just starts getting tattoos and, for some reason, decides not to tell Dean what he’s doing. That’s it, really, the whole set up–but damn, does norah spin it out into this lovely web of humor, sex, and takeout food. And there’s a lot of Sam–what does norah have Dean call it?–“polishing the pole” in this story, if you like that sort of thing. Which, yeah.
What I admire here is norah’s ability to craft a story that occurs totally outside of any hunt, or monster, or menace; instead, it’s tightly focused on Sam, his newly-discovered kink [and oh, how he hoards it], and on the question: how you can hide something from a guy you spend all day in the car with and who sleeps in the bed next to yours every night? For like, almost a year?
And yet it doesn’t feel like there’s something missing; in fact, I didn’t realize that there wasn’t a baddie here until I started writing about it. If anything, this story feels like a bit of a gift–time with the boys where you don’t have to worry about anyone’s safety, anybody’s emotional welfare, and can just enjoy some time inside of Sam’s head. Damn it, this story is fun. And that is fantastic.