Continuing with my efforts to keep things high-quality and varied, this week’s choice is a Stargate: Atlantis fic with a frustratingly rare degree of emotional depth:
Rosemary, for Remembrance by Mhalachai
This completed story starts out with a light, amusing “crisis of the episode” feel to it, then develops into a full-blown mystery, finally adding in a thread of romance with a bittersweet undertone to it, and then ends with, quite literally, “Something like a happy ending”… all in only 21,900-words and without allowing the new threads to push out the old ones. I only wish more fanfiction had this kind of ambition.
I forget how many times I’ve said this but, for anyone new to my blog: I’m quite picky. If I give something a high rating, give it a chance before you judge it on its keywords. (Most of the time, I find attempts at romance in fanfiction to be annoying distractions from the stuff that actually works… it works here. Normally, I find slashy stuff to be immersion-breaking masturbation fodder written by teen girls… the “sort of Sheppard/McKay” pairing works here.)
The summary does a pretty good job of explaining the starting situation, so I’ll just quote it.
And then there was the time John Sheppard turned into a girl and no one thought it was strange but Rodney McKay.
It sounds like the intro to so many of the cheaper, junkier entries which are sitting in the “once I implement filtering” queue for my gender-bending fiction index… but introductions can be deceiving. Just as the summary is overly simplistic, so too is McKay’s first impression of the situation.
As you might suspect, the first aspect introduced is the mystery: “What the heck is going on?”
However, this is another one of those stories where it’s hard to go into detail without spoiling how the mystery unfolds. Aside from what the mystery is, and who the romance is between, all I really feel safe revealing is the theme hinted at by the title itself:
What would you give to bring back a lost loved one?
Apart from the emotional nuance surrounding that, I love the witty interactions between McKay and Sheppard and the way Mhalachai makes good use of time-skips and well-chosen pacing to keep things fast moving without feeling rushed.
Relatively short but no less sweet for it, I’m very surprised to see that this fic never placed in the “non-Buffy fic” category for the Twisting the Hellmouth community awards. It’s a beautiful example of novella-length fanfiction better than some published works I’ve read.
This was my third time re-reading it and I give it a solid 5.0 out of 5. Even if you don’t watch Stargate: Atlantis, I still recommend giving this a read.