syllic: ([merlin] facepalm)
[personal profile] syllic
This Hide-and-Seek Makes Me an Addict: A Most Excellent Tale in Four Parts

About 3,600 words, Arthur/Merlin and uh, we'll call them "Bedevere" and / "Tristan", written for [ profile] worldwouldend on occasion of her birth and an upcoming period of happy, cheering-up times.

Have an understatement: This is not what one would call a serious creation. It was written in two hours, and, uh, I think "FUCK" would be a fair assessment.

Uh, points to person who realises earliest in the story what is going on in my very questionable brain?

[ profile] worldwouldend: a day late, but I hope you enjoy it. I usually bring 90s nostalgia to the table of our relationship, as you know, and I'm afraid this is... no different.

May this year be wonderful.

(This story is also available at Archive of Our Own.)

This Hide-and-Seek Makes Me an Addict: A Most Excellent Tale in Four Parts


By the time he had teamed up with the one that looked like a very young Tristan, and the one that looked like Bedevere, if Bedevere had been a changeling, or, at least, vaguely fey, he still had not found Merlin.

It turned out young Tristan and fey Bedevere knew a man who looked disturbingly like a friendlier Bors, and before Arthur knew it the four of them had decided they would work together, even though he still had not found Merlin.

All his usual twentieth-century tactics failed him. The personals in the major national newspapers (HIS MOST EXCELLENT EXCELLENCY SEEKS IDIOT FOR FAILING SPECTACULARLY AT EVERY TASK), which he had to use his food money for (he detested being born without excess capital), yielded nothing. Even the news-camera trick, in which whoever turned up first found some signalling mechanism (a t-shirt emblazoned with Excalibur Lives!, in this case) and hung around news crews, craning his or her neck to get into the shot and therefore on television, had no effect. No late-night phone call, no scruffy individual dragging her or himself onto Arthur’s porch, saying, “God, people who pick up hitchhikers, I tell you,” and shuddering.

Arthur would admit—only to Merlin—to a certain degree of confusion regarding the purpose of this particular run of his life, but though he was uncertain what it was he was supposed to be doing, he was fairly clear on the point that he was not supposed to do it without Merlin. So when the fat man in charge showed up with a fifth man in tow—this one looked nothing like anyone Arthur had ever known—and declared the search over with, Arthur only pretended to go along with it. In secret, however, he terrorised the new guy with tales of disgrace and loss of dignity, and when friendly Bors, fey Bedevere and young Tristan wondered what had made New Guy leave, Arthur shrugged sadly, reassuring them that he’d find them a replacement.

The fat man in charge had just begun scouting for another of his clearly misinformed choices when Arthur got a letter. He had begun to consider that Merlin might have been born in a different country, an extremely rare but not impossible occurrence, when it arrived, forwarded by one of the newspapers that had printed his ads. Underage in fucking Mississippi, it said, and so Arthur took action immediately, paying a man who knew a woman to pretend that they knew Merlin. The man said something to Bors, who said something to Tristan, who rang his mother, who rang the woman, and before Arthur knew it, Merlin was there, looking ridiculous and sheltered behind a woman with a soft bob haircut, but there.

“You really turned out funny-looking this time,” said Arthur, while Merlin’s mother introduced herself to Tristan’s mother. He snickered as Merlin shot him a dark look and put half of a donut in his mouth, probably to stop himself from calling Arthur something colourful, because he was supposed to be a young man of good background.

“Arthur,” he said evenly, in a voice that sounded like it should in no way be coming from his small, pink mouth. “The thing is, this body does eventually grow out of this. I know this for a fact. You, however,” he said, jabbing a finger towards Arthur’s midsection and spraying sugar everywhere, “Well, let’s just say that I have seen things in your future that would make a grown man cry.”

Arthur opened his mouth to protest, but at that moment they heard,

“Come on, y’all, we’re going to try doing it together!” from the living room, and Arthur looked heavenward.

“God, I really hope Tristan is going to grow out of that nasally voice.”

“His name isn’t Tristan,” said Merlin, evenly, “and no, he’s not. But it’ll kind of grow on you.”

Arthur hummed disbelievingly, but did not say, No it won’t, because Merlin was almost always right about this kind of thing.


“Will you ever cease to behave like someone who was born with three mutant left legs, and had one haphazardly chopped off at birth?” Arthur screeched.

He had found that his ability to screech had really improved since being reborn into this body.

“Hey, man, lay off him already,” said Bors, raising a placating hand and standing protectively between Arthur and Merlin.

Arthur ceased to advance threateningly towards the other end of the room, but almost started up again when Merlin grinned cheekily behind Bors’ back.

“It’s just that this is important,” said Arthur, at a slightly lower-registry screech. “He knows that. You all know that. One misstep on the field is enough to lose a knight his life,” he finished soberly, almost as if his mouth were disconnected from his brain.

Merlin snorted.

Bors quirked an eyebrow at him, and Bedevere gave a kittenish sort of giggle, raising his fingers to his mouth. Tristan said,

“Dude, get a grip, yo. I know all that Escape from the Planet of Robot Monsters has made you feel like someone’s going to shank you on the street, but nothing’s gonna happen if he falls over in practice. He’s getting better anyway, dawg.”

“Oh, shut up,” said Arthur, because Tristan was so young that there was no way he would have known what an Atari was if Arthur hadn’t shown him, and he resented his own cultural teaching (now with extra dawg) being thrown back in his face.

“From the top!” said the man at the front of the room, and Merlin—whose weird-arse eyes and pointy teeth and soft cheeks showed no sign of the receding funny-lookness that Merlin kept prophesying would take place—shuffled his feet and looked at the ground and blushed and said,

“I’m sorry. I’ll try harder.”

Fey Bedevere looked at Arthur as if he’d just murdered a herd of baby unicorns, and Arthur sighed, resigned. Merlin, the little bastard, shot him a wink while no-one else was looking, and Arthur promised to find a way to inflict incredible pain on him without any of the other three being the wiser, preferably soon.

Merlin really did try harder, though, and two weeks later it looked as if he might not be responsible for everyone else’s deaths when it mattered. The man who had been training them proclaimed them ready, and Tristan went out and bought some overalls in celebration. He wore them with wifebeaters and looked like a disturbing cross between an underage construction worker and a rentboy when he did, but Arthur, just as Merlin had predicted, had developed a soft spot for him, and so he bought him some white sweatbands to complete the outfit.

“Hey, thanks, man,” said Tristan softly, squeezing Arthur’s shoulder, and Arthur laughed and said,

“Yeah, whatever, kid.”

Merlin, who was having his hair dyed by his mother in the sink, shot him a fond look that somehow managed to say, You loser. Arthur drew up to his full height—remarkably unimpressive, he’d admit—and said to Merlin’s mother,

“I’ll finish up, if you like.”

She smiled at him gratefully and went to wash her hands, and Arthur upped the peroxide content of the mixture and worked it quickly through Merlin’s hair, announcing, gleefully,

“Hey, I’m done,” when he was.

The look on Merlin’s face when he looked in the mirror was one of the greatest pleasures of Arthur’s many lives. Arthur had managed to give him hair that was almost white, and paired with his light eyes and his soft features, it made Merlin look as much like an alien as before, except weirder: an albino alien, even.

“Grown. Men. Cry. Arthur,” he gritted out between clenched teeth as he towelled his hair dry.

Arthur only laughed, but three months later, when the woman came to do his hair and gave him braids, Arthur felt supremely uneasy.

When they piled the braids on top of his hair and gave him braces, Arthur smiled tightly. When they handed him the purple goggles and perched them on his head, he went to the room he shared with Bors, locked himself in the bathroom, and allowed himself to give a little horrified sob. No tears escaped, however.

Merlin, to his credit, simply turned up, looking as much like an albino alien as ever, and said,

“Hey—I’m fairly sure we’re going to get a chance to make more of our own decisions in future.”

He held Arthur close, one arm wrapped around his shoulders, and they both sat against the sink until Tristan’s mother came to get them for dinner. Merlin pressed a soft kiss against Arthur’s temple, then a softer one against his lips, and said,

“Let’s go.”

“Hey, Merlin,” said Arthur, stopping him as they were on their way out the door. “This life— I mean, do you think that—”

“I’m pretty sure this is one of the ones with no express moral purpose, Arthur,” he said in his strangely deep voice.

“God, I’m going to go cra—”

They heard the sound of Bors and Tristan and Bedevere trampling down the hall, and Tristan hooted,

“Come on, already, you two, what are you doing in there?” and Bors pounded on the thin wall of the corridor as Bedevere laughed his odd, high-pitched laugh.

Arthur felt an intense rush of affection for the three of them, so young and so alive, and Merlin gave a little shrug, as if to say, It’s not all bad, is it?

Arthur thought of Merlin saying, You can act as much like a fool as you want this time, Arthur, and of how he had made the most of that opportunity since.

“No,” Arthur answered out loud, and they stepped out in the hall.


Years of battles—in Camelot, yes, but in hundreds of locations since then, in the middle of great wars and petty bar brawls alike—could have never prepared Arthur for this life.

He became used to the sound of small explosions behind and to the left of him, to the bright flares of light and fire every night, and slowly but surely overcame the impulse to throw himself to the ground when he saw or heard them. The screaming—the wailing, the crying—took him much longer to acclimate to, but he was fairly certain Merlin was working some form of dampening magic on it, because after a while he almost began to think it was normal.

The alternative was that he was going prematurely deaf, which he did not like to think about. His knees already hurt enough for seven lifetimes of being older than everyone around him.

They were always on the move—at first with Tristan and Merlin’s mothers, and then just Tristan’s. They spent a lot of time huddled in inappropriate housing and too many nights in cold rooms, but Bors and Arthur did their best to huddle the other three together, sharing blankets. The look in their eyes—in Tristan and Bedevere’s, with their wide blue eyes and their secret, curving smiles that betrayed how happy they were at their successes, no matter how many cold nights they might have to put up with—was enough to make Merlin and Arthur pretend to be just as happy.

Neither of them said it, but the others’ wonder made them both feel young again.

Two years in Arthur got a talking-to about despoiling Merlin from Bors, and he tried to laugh it off with a little off-beat humour, but Bors grabbed him by his garish shirt and said,

“He’s only nineteen. And from Mississippi, man. And if you hurt him…”

He looked fierce, as proud in bearing as the actual Bors ever had, and Arthur patted him on the arm. He did not say, He’s seen a million deaths and as many births, or Never give up your integrity, Bors. He just said,

“Hey—he started it.”

Bors’ eyes flashed, and Arthur continued, hurriedly,

“And I would never hurt him. Never. I— I love him.”

Bors’ face softened, all at once, and Bedevere, who had been pretending not to overhear from where he was curled up in an armchair, jumped up and hugged Arthur, jumping up and down a little with his arms around Arthur’s waist.

Bors laughed, a deep sound that you might expect to hear emanating from a giant stuffed toy, and Arthur laughed with him. The three of them stood there, arms around each other, looking out of the window at the stars.

When Tristan and Merlin showed up, Tristan ducked his head into Bedevere’s lap, and Bedevere stroked his soft curls back from his face. Merlin’s eyes went almost liquid at the sight of them, and he wormed his way between Arthur and Bors, holding Arthur’s hand and smiling up at Bors.

“I really love you guys, you know?” said Bedevere, and though no-one answered him, though no-one said, Me too, Arthur hummed an assent and the others answered by falling deeper into each other, curling together like stray puppies in a small box.


The purpose of this entire ridiculous life—the windsuits, and the lime-green satin, and the piled-up braids—all became clear around the time that Tristan decided he was in love with Bedevere.

Tristan began coming to Arthur’s room at awful times in the night to deliver long treatises on the precise blue of Bedevere’s eyes, or on the softness of his hair or the cut of his jaw, and Arthur would close his eyes and wish (by crunk, how he would wish) he hadn’t lost the gift of sleeping with his eyes open sometime between the 1754 birth and the one in 1818.

In the dark, Tristan insisted plaintively that it would have to snow in March before his love for Bedevere faded—or something akin to this, anyway; Arthur didn’t always succeed in registering exactly what was being said—but in daylight he only got brasher, louder. He wore stupid(er) t-shirts and baggier jeans and took to hounding Bedevere incessantly. Arthur would admit to some concern at freaky-deaky working its way into Bedevere’s vocabulary, and he would agree that some teasing was certainly necessary, but he felt much greater concern at Tristan’s courting tactics, which were making Bedevere shy and withdrawn.

“I just don’t know what to do,” Tristan would say, curled against Arthur’s side while Merlin slept on, oblivious, next to them. Merlin and Arthur, Tristan insisted, “like, met when he came to Orlando, and then in like, Germany, you guys like, realised you were totally in love, and that’s amazing, but it was easy for you guys, because everything was so new and exciting between you, right?”

On the other hand, he and Bedevere, he whined, “have known each other like, forever, like, four freakin’ lifetimes, and how are we supposed to leave like, Joey and Wayne DiSalvo behind, you know?”

Arthur sighed and scratched his stomach.

“Kid,” he said, “You’ve just gotta trust me when I say that four freaking lifetimes is nothing.”

Tristan was oddly reassured by the strangest things, and he looked at Arthur intently and said,


“Really,” murmured Merlin sleepily from where he was snuffling against Arthur’s shoulder. “Now get out, Justin.”

“Sheesh, okay already, Lance. You don’t have to be such a jerk about it, yo.”

Arthur blamed the sleeplessness, and Merlin’s delighted response to Arthur’s insistence that twenty-nine lifetimes had passed like nothing—they really hadn’t, but Arthur knew when to shut up and take happy, intense sex like a man—for the fact that he and Merlin didn’t cotton on to what was wrong at first. It wasn’t until Arthur tried to start monthly payments on a Ferrari (in secret, having snuck away from Merlin while the rest of them were recording; he had a reputation for being incredibly, if understandably, tight with his money, not just in public but with the rest of them, and he couldn’t have it crumble) that he realised anything was wrong. When his card was declined, he began to reason that they really weren’t being paid enough for this shit—the wet-alley videos, and the leather pants, and Merlin’s white sleeveless shirt with the bedazzled star—and then, suddenly, he realised that they really weren’t being paid enough for this shit.

“Merlin,” he shouted as he burst into Bedevere’s crappy apartment, and then, when everyone turned to look at him, “was a great wizard of his time, if a weird-looking one, what with the beard and shit, am I right?”

He took particular pleasure in describing him as a wizard, which Merlin really hated, for some reason.

Tristan grinned at him, and Bors smiled, and Bedevere gave a tiny quirk of his lips from where he seemed to be cowering to prevent further shouting overtures from Tristan.

“Merlin,” he said, much more quietly, when Bors was ordering pizza and Bedevere and Tristan were watching TV, “that fat fuck is robbing them blind.”

Not us, because if they really needed it they had material wealth put away all over the shop, and flexible documents with which to retrieve it, and not us because it was the other three—the three gawky, carefree, other three, laughing stupidly from the other room in Bedevere’s tiny apartment—that they were clearly there to protect. While wearing purple goggles, even.

Arthur summarised his sneaky trip to the Ferrari dealership when he was supposed to have been taking Merlin’s pet ferret to the vet (“God, I hate you sometimes, Arthur”) and then what he had found (“I hope the dealer laughed in your face when you couldn’t afford it”) and then what he thought that meant (“We are taking this fucker down, Arthur, if it’s the last thing we do”). Then Merlin looked into it, or hired someone to look into it, because he was pretty shit with numbers, despite this life’s appearances. After that it was only a matter of thinking about how to break it to the others (and about how to avoid running over to that fat fuckface’s house and murdering him in cold blood, because Bedevere actually cried when he heard).

The downside was that Merlin had to pretend to fall off a stage while faint, which made Bedevere cry again, but the upside was that this made Tristan stiff-faced and angry, seemed to make him grow up in two days flat, and as Arthur sat by Merlin’s bedside, pretending to be sick with worry, he heard Tristan say, in a soft, quiet voice,

“Hey, have you eaten yet? I’ll take you to dinner, okay?”

(The other upside was that Arthur could break into a house unnoticed, and that Merlin could be stealthier yet, and that once the trial was over, and they had wrenched young Tristan and friendly Bors and fey Bedevere from Lou’s fat, stinky, wretched grasp, no-one would know who had left four dead goats dressed in lingerie in Lou’s bedroom, and Lou would never know why, for the rest of his life, it felt as if he suffered from terrible haemorrhoids, though the doctors insisted this was not the case, and recommended psychological treatment instead.)

Arthur bought his mother a house, and then, because he could, he bought her another house still. Then he hired Martha Steward to outfit a cabin in Minnesota in flannels, so that Merlin could run around setting things on fire in dragon-shapes to his heart’s content.

Bors had a child who laughed like Morgana once had, when she thought no-one was looking: cackling and unrestrained. Merlin bought her every toy she wanted and every toy she didn’t, and Arthur pretended he wasn’t the one scouting the internet for yet more things to buy and leaving the print-outs for Merlin to find.

Best of all, Arthur stopped having late-night visits from Tristan, whose muscles had begun to look like something Arthur would not have been half-ashamed of in any knight. (By contrast, Arthur continued to cultivate a soft underbelly, but Merlin merely rested a warm hand on it when they slept, and didn’t tease him about it overmuch.) He wrapped around Bedevere like a shield, like a sword-arm, and Bedevere looked happy enough to burst, and certainly happy enough to break out a mad song about, as far as the rest of them could ascertain, orgasms lit by the unearthly glow of computer screens.

Bedevere insisted it was about friendship and self-discovery, which was roughly the same thing, Arthur supposed.

They wouldn’t live and travel in cramped quarters forever—this Merlin had already prepared Arthur for, knowing how displeased he tended to be by change; he had already begun speaking about some hare-brained scheme for afterwards, “because space is the last great frontier, Arthur,” waggling his eyebrows and evidently trying to distract him. Arthur let himself be kissed, and did not care that Merlin’s attempts at diversion were obvious.

They would not stay like this forever, but neither would he ever have to give any of them up: not friendly Bors with his laugh and his warm heart, not fey Bedevere with his kindness of spirit or his flyaway hair, not innocent-faced Tristan, with his talent or his loyalty or his ability to make Arthur remember what youth meant again. Merlin hadn’t had to assure him—this one thing, Arthur had known—that this knotted thing between them would last forever.

Arthur could have done without the colour-coordinated pork-pie hats, but he doesn’t think he would have traded this for the world.

“CLEVELAND! PLEASE WELCOME…” he heard blared from the speakers on stage, and he jogged a little in place, trying to remember what the first note was. In the shadows behind him Tristan pulled Bedevere in for a short kiss, love and reassurance. Bors grinned, and Merlin rolled his eyes—his lovely eyes, which he had finally, truly grown into, just as promised, with the alien nowhere to be found—at Arthur, mouthed, “Ready, sire?”

Arthur gave him a rueful little laugh, patted the four of them as they got ready to run out.

They smiled at him.

“… *NSYNC!”


Birthdays presents open up a bit of a moratorium on sanity, okay?

This was supposed to be a... distillation of all the clichéd goodness that made this band and fiction about this band great, with Arthur and Merlin on the side, because those two are always relevant, am I right?

ETA: Dear [ profile] syllic, the fandom that stole your innocence may well have died while you were not looking, taking its yellow suede jackets with it. It is therefore possible that no-one will get your bizarro references. Yours Sincerely, The World.

Joey and Wayne DiSalvo
. (No, I had not seen this skit before 12pm today. I Googled it. Seriously, guys!)

Puppies are common property, not my own.

The cabin belongs to Rhys.

Title from HAHAHAHA this HAHAHAHA.)
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(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 01:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I will not be able to stop laughing all day. Not at all. Holy crap.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sometimes terrible things happen to good people, [ profile] faynia. You have just suffered such an occurrence by being the first to read this, and I can't apologise enough. :)

Uh, [ profile] worldwouldend and I sort of have a bizarro NSync Random Exchange in operation (by which I mean I bombard her with nostalgic recollections that come to me in the shower: "Holy shit, do you remember that one where they were like, mob assassins?"), and it was bound to end badly--it now has.

I hope you're not too scarred, and am thrilled it made you laugh.
Edited Date: 2009-10-08 06:22 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 01:39 pm (UTC)
ext_9141: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
At first I was like but Bill and Ted's excellent adventures were more like the 80s, right? and then I realized you were going for a band. At one point I thought maybe it was the Spice Girls (NO JUDGING OKAY) but I didn't even think of NSYNC because I WAS A "TAKE THAT" GIRL AND ALSO THE BACKSTREET BOYS YEAH?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is, indeed, most excellent, dude, and I had not realised my unintentional allusion to it in the title.

Dude, my brother loved the Spice Girls, okay? I remember one holiday he and a family friend's daughter made us watch Spice World on repeat. I would like to say I hated it, but that wouldn't really be accurate at all.

I swear, being our age, I think you can be totally excused for uh, THE BACKSTREET BOYS, YEAH? I was having a conversation with my very staid housemate the other day--she's a perfectly serious professional, you understand--and she knew what Nick Carter's favourite food was.

I DO NOT JUDGE. And on that note, have this icon.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
AHAHAHAHA! *SOBS* OH DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE. LMAO Clearly, you have the good stuff...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Yes. I am, indeed, getting dealt the very good stuff. The thing is, [ profile] worldwouldend and I have a very long history of ludicrous exchanges ("exchanges" means mostly "random comments left by [ profile] syllic" in this context) about the Days In Which We Really Loved NSync, and it was inevitable that this was going to be born one day.

I figured it would go one of two ways: i) those reading would laugh or ii) have an outraged heart attack at the horror of it. Glad you hit a good midway point.

Love your icon!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
~Falls out of her chair giggling hysterically~

Yes! Hilarious! Hahahaha~!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha--I'm so glad it made you laugh!

Did you fully enjoy the amazingness that were the late 90s? I feel like a bit of an insult to life because I read so much good popslash in my day, and now, all because [ profile] worldwouldend and I exchanged some awful NSync anecdotes the other day, I've betrayed the truth and beauty of that time. :)

Thanks for leaving feedback on something so ludicrous--I'm really thrilled it made you laugh.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
omg lol

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Er, your comment says everything about my life, really. I do not know what happens when things like this come to pass, but I blame late-night conversations about The Days of Popslash and, uh, well, my madness. :)

I'm really happy it made you laugh!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my God, you've ruined my childhood forever. The best part is that I wasn't entirely sure about what was going on, and then I was and OMG, what the fuck?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dude, I am clearly a childhood ruiner. I've written two pieces of birthday fiction, both bizarro fusions (the last one was freaking Baby Sitters' Club, which I do not know if you ever read), and really scared myself (and, clearly, others), both times.

I really think your summary of the story (I wasn't entirely sure about what was going on, and then I was and OMG, what the fuck?) is far superior to mine. :)

I blame a popslash renaissance and too many conversations with [ profile] worldwouldend. I hope it made you laugh and that your scars will not be permanent. On this cheerful note, I leave you with a thoroughly scarring icon.
Edited Date: 2009-10-08 10:53 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Can't review. Dying of laughter.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so glad it made you laugh! I swear, all the popslash I read in the late 90s kind of filtered into my very veins, and I can't escape the million distinctive clichés that came with it. I mostly harass [ profile] worldwouldend with my musings on this, but I think on her birthday, it merited sharing with a wider audience. She needs a break, I think. :)

Oh god, [ profile] quiet000001, what is happening in my life?

Thank you for leaving a comment on something so utterly ridiculous!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 02:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

As someone who grew up with *NSync and was a mad, mad fangirl but managed to miss out on the whole popslash thing, THIS FIC SPEAKS TO MY CHILDHOOD, YO. I'll admit I picked up on the 'boyband' thing pretty quickly but I was COMPLETELY BLINDSIDED WITH AWESOME when I got to the bit about "LANCE" and "JUSTIN." OMFG! And then I had to stop and facepalm a bit because OMG YOU MADE ARTHUR CHRIS. AHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!! (Things that will make grown men weep, indeed!) AND FEY BEDIVERE. AND FRIENDLY BORS. OMG.

NOW I HAVE TO GO BACK AND REREAD THIS AGAIN, BECAUSE I'M PRETTY SURE I'LL DIE LAUGHING NOW THAT I KNOW WHO EACH "KNIGHT" IS! ....and I will NEVER be able to listen to *NSync the same way again! *goes to dig out my complete collection of every album they ever made*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-08 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Okay, Ras.

First of all, uh, HI. Dude, I have like--you know what? I'm not sure I want to write it down. Suffice it to say that I LOVED NSYNC LIKE BURNING, and IT SPEAKS TO MY TEENAGERHOOD HARD.

Unlike your lovely self, I actually got into it because of the popslash (oh, self, the way with so many things is this...), and I lived for like, the instant when Lance appeared to be abortively reaching for JC's hand on MTV, or something. I mean, I saw myself with a healthy dose of irony even then, but OMFG, is all I will say.

I think the dearth of popslash in your life (oh my god, there are so many things you should read, m'dear) probably slowed the process of recognition down in this. I have to say I'm fairly shocked to find that some people didn't realise until the end, but then I forget that, uh, unlike myself and [ profile] worldwouldend, not everyone is up on kitten!JC, dawg!Justin, Protective of Lance!Joey and other amazing fandom clichés. On the heels of this thought, I realised that this fandom is a decade old, and that many Merlin fans might have been like, seven when it was thriving.

Kill me.

In retrospect, I don't think Arthur is really much of a Chris, but I like to think that he could take this reincarnation opportunity to act extremely hyperactively while secretly fantasising about battle strategy. Something was going on behind those sharp dark eyes on the face of the man who loved the colour purple, y/y?

Dude, I found Celebrity the other day, and I swear to you it made me raze through all my old fic favourites, and then I began like, bopping along in the tube and trying to hear the acoustics of I Thought She Knew in my bathroom, WHILE IN THE BATHTUB, SINGING.

I like to think that being 16 in 2000 excuses me from any accusations of madness related to this topic, and I'm happy to extend this line of defence to you, if you so wish.

Also, I made this icon in three minutes only because I saw this comment. I thought you should know.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-09 03:15 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-10 01:51 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

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Date: 2009-10-08 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ria, take me as I am, okay?

"As I am" means "insane" in this case, I realise, but I trust our friendship can stand the strain of it.

I need to start reminiscing about popslash clichés less, would you agree?

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-08 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I know very little of *nsync (except that my yen for southern boys TOTALLY extends to Justin, and I am in fact listening to Justified) but I love this in all its cracked out glory.

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dude! Southern boys are amazing creatures indeed. Do you draw from state areas other than Tennessee and Texas, Penny?

I don't own Justified, or, in fact, any Justin albums, but I did love him very dearly in the days on which he strode out to beatbox on stage while wearing a blue satin cape affair. He also owned like, an all-white kind of... leatherette suit. I don't know. Vintage!Justin (the outfit described here, with the dungarees and the wifebeater, very much exists) is very satisfying indeed.

Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback on this RIDICULOUSNESS OF RIDICULOUS, which is an extremely self-indulgent thing born of even more self-indulgent conversation with [ profile] worldwouldend.

My life is worrying, Penny.

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-09 06:17 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 05:50 pm (UTC)
ext_3167: Happiness is a dragon in formaldehyde  (Arthur/Merlin = SQUEEE!)
From: [identity profile]

My first thought: ninja turtle. Then I was like, Wayne's world? Then there was the brief and shining moment where I thought they were POWER RANGERS (and that Arthur was a girl) but this line:

“Now get out, Justin.”

“Sheesh, okay already, Lance. You don’t have to be such a jerk about it, yo.”

made it all clear. LOOK IT TOOK AWHILE. I was really holding on to that Power Rangers theory.

The crack is strong in you.

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
DUDE! Wayne's World! There needs to be reincarnation Garthur right the eff now, [ profile] puckling, and you need to take this task upon your young shoulders.

I think your theorising about this story is the most amazing by far. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The freaking Power Rangers, with the woman and the cackling and the, uh, Mars-type surface, or whatever it was. I had really gotten a tiny bit too old for kids' shows by that point, but my brother watched it, and if I was in the room at the same time, WHAT OF IT?

Young Padawan, I know you are a faithful student of the crack, and I know we have yet to see great things from you, having already seen many instances of much promise.

I need to stop having stupid popslash renaissances where I think about how JC was always described as looking like a kitten, man. And I need to stop trading stories about Cowboy!Lance with [ profile] worldwouldend. And I need to be. more. normal.

I hope you enjoy this icon, which I dedicate to you and [ profile] ras_elased.

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-09 09:06 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh. Oh girl. We need to have a talk about how simultaneously awesome and yet horrifying this is. I started to suspect with the braids and then I was like NO LANCE NO WHAT and could only collapse into helpless giggles.

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had a CAT scan at an early age, [ profile] franticsga, and it was really just white text on a black background, reading "...yet horrifying". Your keen eye reveals itself, as always.

I think I spent way too much time reading popslash (from the Nifty story where Lance and JC got rescued by a dolphin, no joke, to the epic plotty things that [ profile] silviakundera describes as "distant, apathetic son fiction", or "wacky narrator fic, where they are poorly socialized due to living in the glass jar of the entertainment industry and know each other too well to hide what freaks they are": YES), and finding Celebrity tucked away in a book three weeks ago DID NOT HELP MY SANITY, I say.

It's been painful to discover that popslash is actually kaput as a fandom, and that the young whippersnappers of today don't recognise cat!JC, ebonics!Justin, or other Universal World Truths when they see them, I say.

NO LANCE NO WHAT is a very good summary for this story, and also, I'm sorry.

[ profile] syllic

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-08 11:33 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-08 11:49 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 07:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am so slow it to took me to the VERY LAST line to get it!

OH geez.

This is fabulous.

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dude, in no way are you slow. This is like, a terrible monster hybrid story--half popslash reminiscence, half documentation of the severe deterioration of my brain. I am thrilled to discover you were not attuned to this. :)

I think the identifying clichés at the heart of this are very much obscured unless you had deep involvement with, uh, Porn!Mogul!Lance and other great fictional representations of the early 2000s. I am thrilled it made you laugh, however, and want to say thank you for taking the time to leave a comment for someone who has clearly gone at least partway around the bend.

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Date: 2009-10-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

My version of this laughter is tinged with, uh, hysteria at the madness that is clearly waiting for me as soon as I turn left into life's next alley, but yes.

I am DELIGHTED this made you laugh. I've been having a popslash renaissance, thinking of such classics as Man Who Inflated JC's Lung With A Condom Before They Fell In Love!, and uh, I think that probably shows, y/y/?

Thank you for being unconditional with your acceptance, [ profile] staraflur. It means more than I can say, so giddy up because I promise you some digital getdown.

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-10 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OK, I didn't get it until, "Justin" and "Lance" and then I went WTF? and went to Wikipedia. This is awesome!

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I think you are probably fortunate to have had to Wikipedia this, [ profile] mithrel. I don't think any of us who were truly in popslash fandom came away unscathed: by the end of it, you kind of had this rock-solid image of Accountant!Lance and uh, Dawg-Speaking!Justin in your head.

I'm really glad this made you laugh--even if it was at me; I very much deserve it--and I want to thank you for leaving feedback when it's clear that I'm going slowly but surely mad. :) If ever I can point you in the direction of further Adventures With NSync, please do say; I am at your service.

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Date: 2009-10-08 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
:D :D :D

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
HA! Your icon is so appropriate for my entire existence, [ profile] hollyxu. I'm thrilled this made you smile; thank you for leaving feedback on this Treatise of Ridiculousness--Arthur Kirkpatrick and I thank you.

I don't know if popslash ever took you 'round the bend as it did a lot of people, but if not, I apologise very emphatically for making you see this first. :)

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-08 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-08 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

About the time you mentioned Merlin nearly killing himself at 'practice', I thought, "Self, is she writing about a boy band?...Nah"

And then with the braids and the goggles, "Wha? That sounds like Chris from *N SYNC"


(I am only slightly ashamed that I even knew these things...oh self, who grew up in the era of BSB).

I needed that laugh today. Thank you!

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Self, is she writing about a boy band?...Nah"

[ profile] skyebanshee, trust your instincts. Remember the Great Truths:

1) Nickolas Gene Carter's favourite colour is green.
2) B-Rok Littrell is close to God and his mother Jackie
3) In popslash, there is always a kitten or puppy reference at some point, unless you're taking Advanced Popslash 401, in which we began to think about how a life of fame had made them distant and disaffected.

Dude, I wish I were ashamed of knowing Justin Timberlake's birthday. I do (er--for the record, I actually had to Google the first two facts above. Some dignity remains... in my left toe, or something). But the fact of the matter is that I was young and vulnerable, and Lou Pearlman might have not succeeded had it not been for an army of fangirls who told me never to stop looking out for JC and Lance's Secret Kiss. I was lost, then, and clearly--though I thought I was recovered--I have not been found again.

I am really, really happy this made you laugh; I take crack requests whenever laughter is necessary, m'dear. I hope you're doing well, and that uh, you continue laughing about this (or me) for a long time to come if you need to.

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Date: 2009-10-08 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I spent long enough in popslash that I had this figured out as soon as Tristan's nasally voice was mentioned. And the Trickyfish love!!!

This is a triumph of the human spirit and I adore you.

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Date: 2009-10-09 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dude. Dude dude dude.

Clearly I am thrilled that many have come to (deservedly) laugh in my face upon discovering this story, but please allow me to take a moment to say that I could hope for no better person to laugh in my face than yourself.

My entire love of NSync was born of popslash--honestly, I think in the great BSB/NSync Battle of Hips I was won over to the NSync side solely because the Spacey!JC fiction was superior in quality--and lately I have been having what one might call a small fandom renaissance. I have been discussing it (read: leaving incredibly random comments in her journal) with [ profile] worldwouldend, because she is the only person I know who knows what it's like to begin listening to Tim McGraw because of that story WHERE JC WAS A CITY BOY FROM CHICAGO AND JUSTIN WORE CARHARTT CLOTHING, OKAY???

Er. I see that I'm not really selling myself as a potential partner for future conversations, here, but what I'm trying to say is that I dropped the nasally voice and the kittenish giggles in with a very large wink and nudge to myself ("Pshyeah, 'cause you're so smooth"), and then I realised that this fandom has been dormant for over five years, and so no-one knew what I was talking about when I mentioned Lance's bedazzled t-shirt. But then... you knew. I tip my hat to you, and any time you want to come over for a wine tasting with a side of abstract painting with my mom, who's people, we can discuss the Trickyfish love in detail, okay?

God. Do you think transformative works about boybands (can you transform a real-life individual's selective persona? I do not know) scar you more deeply than actually liking said boybands? Because I very much do.

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback, and for that icon. I see your icon awesomeness and I match it with a humble offering of my own.

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-09 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-09 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

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Date: 2009-10-09 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

N'SYNC. I shall never think of the one concert by them I went to in the Azteca in the same way :D


Date: 2009-10-09 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]



“I really love you guys, you know?”

I feel that this sums up all of popslash ever. I love YOU.

By contrast, Arthur continued to cultivate a soft underbelly, but Merlin merely rested a warm hand on it when they slept, and didn’t tease him about it overmuch.

This fills me with all sorts of indescribable feelings of -- I don't know! INSANE JOY. THIS AND ALSO THE BRAIDS. HAHA. HAHAHAHAHA.

Oh my goodness, I am sorry I am so not coherent. You are wonderful, you truly are! I love this to pieces, the more so because it's for me, perfectly and wonderfully so, which is so thoughtful and unexpected and I've lost all functional speech ability. ♥

For the record. Because my brain is apparently as scary as yours. You had me at "fey Bedevere."

"does the car come with a tape player?"

Date: 2009-10-09 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just watched the Wayne DiSalvo skit. I HAD NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. Oh JC, oh Justin, oh Britney, the lives you did not see coming!


From: [identity profile] - Date: 2009-10-09 02:22 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-10-09 02:42 am (UTC)
ext_1584: (Default)
From: [identity profile]

In 10+ years of fandom, no one had ever managed to make me do a literal double take before.

Untill now that is.

You, win the UNIVERSE!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-09 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It took me SO LONG to figure out who they were this time. So friggin' funny. Thank you - you've totally brightened my day.

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Date: 2009-10-09 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I... I'm not a very consistent commenter (I'm terrible about it, really), but this-- I just.

Halfway through, when I figured out what the fucking fuck was going on, I screamed "Ohmygodholyfuckshitwhat?! AAHHH" so loudly, my housemate came bursting into the room demanding to know what was going on. That said, you, you my friend, are fantastic. This is hysterical. I died. I apparently cannot form a coherent review because my brain is still shrieking "AHHH NYSNC MERLIN ARTHUR NOOOO(BUTSOMEHOWYESSS)." Bravo.

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Date: 2009-10-09 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
you know, if someone had asked me if i'd read an n'sync/merlin crossover (fusion?) i would have looked at them as if they were v. v. strange. and yet, i thoroughly enjoyed that :D
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