A Jericho Fan Fiction Archive
Oh, Penny Lane.
Is it crazy to say that I am in love with this story??
Who would have thought that my attempt to construct an alternate D/S -- Darcy/Stanley instead of Dale/Skylar -- would lead to this. Really, it was a completely off-hand idea that led me to suggest this pairing to you and I am so, so, so glad I did.
Seriously, this is my favoritest alternate pairing EVER. Any fandom.
I of course think you are the standard bearer when it comes to writing Stanley, but you also do such a nice job giving voice to Darcy, a slightly more minor character. At least on the show, we see her mainly in terms of Hawkins and her children. We know that putting her kids in danger, "forcing" her daughter to become a murderer, is her breaking point. That's a pretty extreme breaking point.
Now we know much more about her inner life, her hopes for Sam and Allison... her hope for mini-Mimi, who she's always kept track of because she feels protective of the poor, motherless baby (see, I had to go bck and read Saturday Routine, too!). And, at least to me, it makes perfect sense that she could fall for Stanley. His kindness, his attention -- both to her and he children -- the way he gives so easily, loves even though he's had so much loss. That he shows her it is possible to have a life in Jericho. All so well done.
He had more than a few of Stanley's old sweaters, and it always seemed easy for Stanley to part with things. “Well, I have a lot,” he would usually say. “Compared to some people.”
True, she supposed. She had often felt just the opposite, secretly terrified at how few things she could count as theirs as she put on a steely face and held onto Allison and Sam's hands. You never really knew how it really was to have something until you didn't.
“Maybe,” said Darcy. “But Stanley doesn't really think like that. He'd want everyone to be at their best.”
“Hmm,” Stanley said, pretending to think deeply, scratching his head. He could make her laugh, but not only that, he seemed to delight in it. He didn't usually take things too seriously, but he understood when things really were.
Spotting the cons was always pretty easy. The little ones at least. His stubbornness. His remarkable ability to jump to conclusions. His love of country music. These weren't big problems.
There were others. The darkness that sometimes took him over. The silences he sometimes couldn't overcome. But they didn't seem like things she couldn't overcome.
Okay, so I went a little quote crazy there. But there was so much good stuff as Darcy thought through her decision that I couldn't stop myself. Beautifully written. I am left in awe.
And on a final note, the Jake/Mary stuff was pretty beautifully done itself. The scene of them negotiating endearments in the kitchen -- followed by deciding that they weren't yet ready to go public -- was wonderful and heartbreaking and it took so few words! Just amazing. The allusions to Entwined were also perfect, and I am so glad you put them in. That's another story I am going to have to read again very soon!
Thank you for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you for the review and your very kind comments!
This alternate D/S was one of the original surprises of the Absurd World and I was nervous but also excited to try to go back to their story. I'm really glad it worked for you and you liked them as a favourite alternate pair – you can't really get a better compliment than that!
I really like writing each of them as characters, and there's a neat sort of rethinking, or looking at them from a different angle, that I get to do in this setting, somewhat removed from their usual family/friends circles (though some aspects of course stay the same, especially with Darcy and her kids). Because it was Darcy thinking over the decision, in a sense it had to be a bit more from her point of view and about her understanding of Stanley, but I hoped to explore both their characters and their journeys but also the qualities that stay constant in them. So if this worked, I am glad.
I'm glad the glimpses I got to provide of the other featured players of Absurd World also worked. Absurd Jake and Mary seem to require few words, but I really liked revisiting them and seeing them in this larger circle of important people in their lives. Entwined ended up being one of my favourites of the series so it was neat to also touch upon Bonnie's lasting influence in Allison's life, and slightly older and wiser Allison's continuing navigating the weird social circle in which she finds herself.
Thanks again and hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!
Oh, Penny, this installment of Romance of the Absurd has left me in such a muddle. I am so sad for Bill, but I'm also sad for Maggie -- when I am not contemplating shaking her, trying to make her come to her senses.
I knew of course from the beginning that they didn't work out, but all the way through as I was erading, I kept hoping (much in the way I always hope Rolf won't betray the Von Trapps in the Sound of Music) that someting could change and they could make a go of it. I am a wishful thinker. :-)
You really fleshed Maggie out -- Bill too, as he's often treated very two dimensionally, a writing crime I am as guilty of as anyone. I appreciated getting to know them both as whole people, with emotions, worries, joys, longings, strenghts and weaknesses. I literally ached for them both, even as I revelled in the beautiful and compelling way you presented their story to us.
There were so many lines and paragraphs that I really loved, but I will limit myself to pointing out one.
She was friendly, laughing at his efforts to joke and even teasing him, but she was expertly oblivious to the way he'd stare at her, to the unspoken words behind his good nights and good mornings and inquiries into her next move.
Poor Maggie, she tried to not give in, and then she tried to make it work and couldn't. And poor Bill, for convincing himself that he would be happy with whatever she could give.
I know the title of this story is The Seagull and the Hawk, but I must tell you that it reminded me of one of my favorite lines in the movie, Ever After: A bird may love a fish, Signior, but where would they live?
PennyLane, you are so good at showing the inner workings of characters. I particularly enjoyed your insight into the contrast between perception and reality where Maggie was concerned. I feel for Bill--for losing the woman he loves, for losing their child, for that empty part of his life that Maggie's presence filled. I feel for Maggie, as well, as she strives to find her place in a world that has never been particularly kind but is even less so now.
I can say so many good things about your stories, but one of the qualities that I like best is that they always make me think.
Thank you for sharing this with us!
Nice job, PennyLane! I enjoyed the symbolism and getting more insight into two characters whose lives outside the plots they serve are rarely delved into.
I find Bill and Maggie to be very interesting characters, from what we did see of them, so it was interesting to think about them and explore them here.
Thanks for reading and commenting~
Oh, this is wonderful, just wonderful stuff. So poignant.
I was glad to read in your resposne to Sandra that this pairing wasn't my idea. I am a little biased about Gail, and all jokes about Gray being after her aside, I can only picture her with Johnston, so I'd been wracking my brain, trying to remember how the heck I came up with this pairing. It's a fantastic idea, but also a relief to know that I'm not quite that forgetful.
This was a great exploration of what it could be like to be the town recluse, cut off from everyone who lives around you by an overwhelming fear of crowds or interaction or something....but also wishing you could interact, at least with some of the people. I also think you show what it is about Jericho that makes it not a New Bern or a Black Jack. Oliver is not ridiculed (at least not to his face) by these people. Sure, only a few go out of their way to actually include him, try to get to know him, but he is still accepted as he is, and cared for as best they can manage after the bombs.
And of course as a sucker for any story about Gail and Johnston, I loved the glimpses into their relationship you gave us. (And the chance to see a young Jake out in the world. :-) )
Such a sweet, makes-me-sigh kind of story. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I think you're right that Jericho, after the bombs at least, was a place where outsiders like this character were more accepted or tolerated, compared to some places. Well, Oliver had a lot of experiences I didn't cover here, but I did cover his distanced kind of relationship with one of the people he did occasionally reach out to, so I guess you got a view of the best of Jericho, in his experience. And she's not actually a native townsperson, but someone who becomes part of the town, much more than he is ever able to, so it's kind of strange. The thing I enjoy about writing this series is how it challenges me and gives me opportunities to look at situations or times in characters' lives I normally wouldn't think of or consider, so in this case, I really enjoyed looking at Gail when she was younger, a glimpse at her relationship with Johnston, and the early days of Jake. Thanks for reading and commenting!
I think you're right that Jericho, after the bombs at least, was a place where outsiders like this character were more accepted or tolerated, compared to some places. Well, Oliver had a lot of experiences I didn't cover here, but I did cover his distanced kind of relationship with one of the people he did occasionally reach out to, so I guess you got a view of the best of Jericho, in his experience. And she's not actually a native townsperson, but someone who becomes part of the town, much more than he is ever able to, so it's kind of strange.
The thing I enjoy about writing this series is how it challenges me and gives me opportunities to look at situations or times in characters' lives I normally wouldn't think of or consider, so in this case, I really enjoyed looking at Gail when she was younger, a glimpse at her relationship with Johnston, and the early days of Jake.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Oh wow! This was fabulous, Penny Lane! I am always eager to see which characters are paired in your Romance of the Absurd series, and I have to say that I wasn't expecting these two. Of course, that is the point. LOL. But you really made it work, this one-sided romance, born on the fleeting moments of the past. The wistfulness from Oliver jumps off the page, but so does the image--his image--of a young Gail.
I thought you stayed so true in your characterizations. Oliver, the recluse, longs to interact with the vibrant red-head but can never entirely overcome his insecurities, the insecurities that overtake him as his life continues.
I also enjoyed the glimpses into Gail and Johnston's courtship, the allusion to his mother's disapproval, and the images of Gail as a young mother.
What a bittersweet and beautiful vignette!
This unique pairing was actually suggested by Skyrose, and it, of course, surprised me at first, but it inspired me too. I enjoyed delving into Oliver`s mind and life experience, and it was also fun to take a different look at Gail and her life than I ever had before.
As always, thanks for the feedback and the compliments. You made my day!
First off, I must apologize for benig the person who came up with this particular pairing, and really without giving it the thought it truly deserved. This wasn't really a fair challenge. How could anyone write Mitch/Skylar after all? It makes no sense.
But, oh, what you came up with, the seriousness with which you took this challenge, it all blows me away. This was a powerful piece.
To start, I love the way you start the new scenelets with language that sounds like it's from an anthropological field report. It really works, giving us just that little bit of distance we need as we watch this train wreck of a relationship unfold.
There's no redeeming Mitch of course, and I'm glad you didn't try. Concentrating on the rise and fall of Skylar was the way to go. I found the following, especially coupled together to be especially effective:
The people of Jericho soon learned to speak their names with fear. Later, many would have cause to speak the same names with anger, terror, and wrenching regret.
Skylar Stevens' life of crime ended as abruptly as it had begun. Once again, the difference was made by one object. This time, it was a baby doll with a dirty face.
This one makes my head swim every time I read it. You did an amazing job.
No need to apologize, I must thank you again for giving me an interesting prompt that I would never have thought of. I really enjoyed opening my mind to possibilities and stretching my own boundaries in this one.
I don`t think I would try to redeem Mitch, you`re right, it wouldn`t work, and I don`t really think that`s what interests me anyway. Skylar is a more dynamic character, and that`s what I liked exploring here.
Thanks again, for the prompt, and for the feedback!
You have really outdone yourself! What a superb installment to your Romance of the Absurd series!
I was taken by how seemingly insignificant objects--the necklace and the baby doll--played such important roles in Skylar's turning points. I was fascinated how the blood on the necklace signified the change in course of Skylar's life to one of a life of violence and crime. Alternately, the baby doll represented a return to innocence, or some facsimile. It's strange how objects can cast a spotlight on actions, but it happens in real life, too.
Speaking of actions, I was fascinated to see the choices that Skylar had made. From the Dale/Heather story earlier in your RotA series, I wondered what had become of Skylar, so I was excited to get the opportunity to find out.
Thank you for sharing this story with us!
I enjoyed writing this different kind of piece, a departure in a way, at least from how I have written Skylar before.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Penny Lane, what a nice installment! I have to admit for a second there with Stanley calling Mimi to come downstairs, I envisioned the grown up Mimi. Nice job on with that! Of course, when you then described Mimi as giggling, running, and holding out her arms for Stanley to pick her up, I knew differently . I really liked your description of how she did those chlid-like things, like patting each post on the porch and the little game they were playing about who Mimi loved. It struck a chord within me because it reminded me so much of when I was a child.
So Stanley and Darcy? Yes, that would be complicated! I've always liked both characters very much. I can see the appeal on both their parts. They're both inherently good people with a strong sense of family. Both possess mettle in abundance and are in a similar situation as single-parents, albeit for different reasons. Even though Darcy turned down his dinner invitation, one could never argue that Stanley is out of the picture entirely with her idea of stopping by Bailey's and hanging out with him.
And I really liked the way you ended it. Though their lives weren't what they'd imagined and had been filled with tragedy, Stanley still had things he looked forward to.
Little Mimi sprung into my mind when I first thought of how I would write this one, almost fully formed. I guess she is a little bit of a reminder of Mimi's one time presence in this universe (you can probably guess how sad I was to let Mimi die) but also a reminder of how things are different, and how characters are adapting to the world they live in. I'm glad her actions worked here. Her games and behaviour are inspired by a few of the children I know, and memories from my own childhood too.
I think you've summarized Stanley and Darcy's similarities perfectly. You're right that Darcy has not entirely put the possibility out of her mind, and Stanley may just be right to hold out hope.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Ah, Penny, you have no idea how glad I am that I suggested this pairing. Of course it seems a little odd at first glance (and I really only did it because it's an alternate D/S) but you have given us such a lovely, hopeful and bittersweet friendship between Stanley and Darcy.
I positively ache for them and just want to shout at Darcy to take the chance. I really think they would be good for one another.... and then she could look after little Mimi and Stanley could have man-to-man talks with Sam, and they could all ressurect some goodness in this little world you have created.
I have hope for Darcy and Stanley though. They both seem to have a steady, quiet longing in them, and they have a very real, very deep friendship. It just jumps off the page. I think Darcy might just get daring enough to jump at some point. I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.
I did enjoy writing this pairing. I know I say this a lot, but the relationship that came up was a pleasant surprise. I agree with you, they would be good for one another, and could really find some hope in this so often tragic world they find themselves inhabiting. And you're right, there may be some hope still, that given more time, Darcy may just take that chance. It's a friendship that means a lot to her, and she is nervous of messing that up, but there is something else there too, and she may very well decide to find out just what it is one day.
Thanks again, for reading and commenting!
Nice job, Penny! I know that this was a tough one for you (but remember -- Emily/Mimi would have been the hardest E/M pairing to write). You did an absolutely lovely job. This is a great friendship fic, excellently executed.
I can totally see Mimi wondering what the heck it is about Eric that attracts Mary. She definitely didn't expect that relationship to ever work out and seemed to enjoy badmouthing Eric during those first few days in Jericho. It's good that she now sees at least some of his skills (crowd control, anti-smoking crusader, attorney) as useful. I'm glad that they both came out of their experience with a better understanding of one another.
This was my favorite exchange. It's both funny and really rings true. I can see Mimi and Eric (even though he grew up in Jericho) as the city-fied fishes out of water a lot of the time.
"We can...we know paperwork, systems," she said. "We know out lattes from our cappuccinos." She raised her eyebrows at him.
He nodded, smiling. "We can use chopsticks. That's a skill to take to the bank."
Mimi giggled. "You can use them? I thought I was the only one who ate sushi in this place."
He shook his head. "Picked up a thing or two at the place near campus. But you're right, the Chinese food place in Fielding has forks."
She laughed again. "That must be the place Stanley tells me he used to get 'Moo Goo Guy in a pan.'"
Eric nodded. "Must be the one."
"I don't think he can use chopsticks, but he'd say why would you need them, if you have a fork anyway," Mimi continued. "Can Mary use them?"
"Mary thinks she can use chopsticks," shrugged Eric. At Mimi's questioning look, he shrugged again. "She drops half of what she picks up."
"Stanley's never seen a mango."
"Mary's never been on a subway." They both chuckled.
Nice job! Thanks for taking this challenge and doing such interesting, wonderful (and I must admit, unexpected) things with it. :-)
You're very right, though I found this one hard to write, it actually turned out to be a very interesting pairing, and a much better dynamic then might develop between other absurd pairings of E's and M's.
Definitely Mimi has a change in perspective about Eric in this one, and he also views her in another light. As you know, this story underwent a lot of development and change, and was really my biggest challenge yet, but in the end, I really enjoyed getting into these characters and their experiences trapped in the tunnel, so I will thank you for this suggestion.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
I just reread this...for probably the fourth time. I think each time I read it, I find a new nuance or a detail I'd not noticed the previous time through. Just wonderful! I love this installment in the Romance of the Absurd series. You hit just the right tone with the characters as they ran the gamut of emotions during their time trapped in the tunnels, forging a tenuous bond while waiting to be reunited with their loved ones.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Penny!
This one was my toughest challenge to date. I really wanted to get the characters just right, and explore what kind of connection might develop between them. I'm glad it worked for you.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Oh, Penny! I just really enjoyed this one, even as it broke my heart. We know what is coming for April, and now for Kenchy as he will have to bear their secret and pretend that it doesn't matter as much as it really does when he watches her die sometime in (I would guess) in the next few days.
This was just sweet and melancholy all at once. I like how they both took a risk and made a connection. The romance was definitely there in the glass of water, the shoulder offered, the first and last kiss. I'm glad that Kenchy got to see the flash of April's red hair. I'm glad that someone made her feel valued and cared for, if just for a moment, again. I'm glad that Kenchy could come to understand that there was still a spark of humanity left in him.
Nice job. I am so intrigued by this universe! (And I know how many of them you have to do, and I can't wait. :-D )
Knowing you're a big April fan, I'm glad you enjoyed this one, despite the heartbreaking end notes. I think I got to play with the hope/despair contrast in this one, since the circumstances seem sort of bleak, but it's a unique, hopeful moment in the lives of both these characters, though it is brief.
Thanks for the pairing and the review!
Penny Lane, I really enjoyed your latest foray into the Romance of the Absurd. I liked how you really got into the mindset of both characters, capturing both strength and vulnerability in each. It was as though they were whispering in my ear as I read it.
For some reason, I have to admit that I don't find the idea of April and Kenchy all that strange. Actually, I figured that this was the direction that the show would be going in--if not for that cop out storyline with April and Tracy dying. From a storytelling standpoint, I think Kenchy and April make sense. They have the commonality of being doctors, but Kenchy is reluctant, whereas April is driven. So there's that built-in tension. Plus, April is a redhead. Kenchy prefers redheads over blondes and brunettes. Okay, my argument is weak, but I guess what I'm trying to get across is that this is a pairing that I can really get behind.
This was one of my first times really getting into April's mind, and Kenchy's, and my first time really trying first person perspective in a story, so it was an interesting experiment. I'll have to admit I would never have thought of pairing these two together, but I do agree with your reasoning. And I'll admit that the red hair was one of my jumping off points, remembering Kenchy's pool side American dream. Then, of course, I did get into the deeper aspects of the dynamic, and some of the things you mentioned. The fact they are both doctors, coming from such different perspectives and motivations, offers an interesting contrast, I think. And they both have such different energies, it was fun to play with that.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!
As you know (since I had a sneak peek at this one) that I am happily fascinated by this story. It's one I've read over and over just because, like the Heather and Dale whom you describe, happy with one another, this story gives me a contented feeling. This was a definite surprise. I threw the pairing out almost as a joke, but you ran with it -- in directions I could never have imagined -- and convinced me that this could happen.
I also enjoy the hints at the wider world you give us. The Romance of the Absurd universe in some ways is a sadder place than the canon Jericho universe, but if events had taken that small turn for the worse, I can see how this chain of events could occur. Our intrepid trading party was unable to run fast enough, and they were caught. Two escaped. Survived. Rebuilt. And they're happy. :-)
As always, thank you for sharing!
As you know, this pairing was one that I found quite humorous at the time, and expected to be a big challenge, but it ended up not being that hard to write, once I suspended my disbelief and committed to the circumstances. You're right about the Romance of the Absurd universe being darker than the regular canon Jericho, but I think this prompts me write on the theme of hope and rebuilding from time to time, as in this story, so it's an interesting dynamic to work with.
Thanks for the prompt, and for reading and reviewing!
There's no doubt in my mind, Penny Lane; you are such a talented writer that I would probably find your shopping list to be masterful entertainment. You have a way with words, and this latest installment was certainly no exception!
"Just Two" was an interesting addition to your Romance of the Absurd series. I must admit that I find the prospect of a Mary/Jake pairing far less troublesome than a Heather/Dale pairing. That's probably due to my own imagination limitations. I know this Dale is older and definitely grown up, but I keep seeing that scrawny kid.
With that said, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that Heather and Dale would eventually feel more for each other, particularly with the way you've laid out the story. With the two of them getting separated from Jake and Johnston after Black Jack, having to rely on each other for survival, and forging a bond that would carry them for years, it does make sense. The commonalities they share (that they are both essentially orphaned, they've survived togethe),as well as their differences they have (he's a shrewd businessman, she can fix nearly anything) complement each other.
I liked the parallelisms within the story:
- Heather at the beginning being in good spirits/Dale at the end being in a good mood
- their perceptions of the other and how they've changed
- their perceptions of themselves and how that ties into this relationship they've forged with each other that they don't entirely define, it just is
I did find it curious that in all their time away they didn't try to make it back to Jericho. I can only assume that with the state of unrest around them, going back would have been too difficult, or they have a sense that by going back, they would lose what they have now, which isn't something either is willing to do.
As always, I am eager to see what you have in store for us next!
Thanks for the wonderful compliment, Sandra!
You're definitely not the only one to find this pairing troublesome, so thank you for considering the details and giving the story a chance anyway.
At this point in the Absurd universe, they haven't tried to make it back to Jericho. They don't feel that there is a lot to go back to, as they've built a home and life for themselves, of sorts, and it would be so dangerous, they don't really consider it. We may visit them at a later date, so we'll have to wait and see what's in store for them in the long term.
Thanks again for reading and commenting!
As you know, I love how you did this story, from the choice to tell it in present tense to purposely avoiding naming names. Definitely great devices that made me sit up and take notice from the first time I read it back when.
I may have suggested the pairing, but you're the one that convinced me of its plausibility. This is a story I can't quite get out of my head, and which I find myself complelled to read again and again. And you said so much in 1500 words too! (I will confess to being a litte jealous of THAT!)
Wonderful job. :-)
Of course I have you to thank for suggesting this pairing and getting my imagination working on it. I was surprised by it, and being surprised has been one of my favourite parts of writing this series.
Thanks so much for your kind words!
I never would have thought to put these two together, but the way you write lends credibility to this pairing. I would never buy them as a grand love affair, but relying on one another for comfort and security? You bet.
I liked the parallelism you used with the points-of-view. It was interesting to see how each character perceived the same action/event. I also liked how you never did use the characters' names, rather letting us use context clues to figure out the identities. In a way, I think having them remain nameless worked out better than if you had used the names. By doing this, you remove the knee jerk reactions that reader may have upon seeing the names associated with each other.
I'm curious to see what else you have in store for us in this series. :)
I really did enjoy writing this story, and surprised myself with it. It worked in a way I didn't expect it to, and I think you're right about the names. I didn't want to hit anyone over the head to begin with, so it had to be a gradual reveal, of who these characters were and what their relationship is.
Thanks for reading, and reviewing!