?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
15 June 2010 @ 12:37 am
Les Miserables, the Nick/Urs Couple Faction  
I know that I said that I wouldn't do a "personal favorites" list from fkficfest, and would stick most sincerely with urging everyone to check out the masterlist and tags to find the stories that will inspire and enthrall your unique FK imagination.  The ficathon game was privileged to see loads of gen and N&N, some IB and Seducer, a dash of UF and Nanette, and more...

But may I make just one exception?  I would like to commend to your enjoyment the beautiful "Theory of Lost Things" (PG-13, 3000 words, Nick/Urs, flashback Janette) that [personal profile] leela_cat wrote to match my very own fkficfest prompt.  Her story is well-written, thoughtful, canon-aware and lovely, building a rare pairing with delicacy, grace and realism.  It also immensely satisfies me, personally, reconnecting me with a possibility that once shone in my love of FK, but which became tarnished through no fault of its own.  I don't expect that this pairing calls to many the way it calls to me.  I do think that the story makes its own striking case for a choice that could have broken free of third season just in time to earn all the characters a different chance at happier fates.  The story filled me with enthusiasm for what could have been.

Nominally, Nick/Urs is the "Les Miserables" couple faction.  I don't think anyone ever subscribed to the faction exclusively, or even secondarily.  Or tertiarily.  It was kind of a joke, I think.  The brief period in which Nick/Urs seemed a viable potential direction in canon was not yet stabilized from the earthshaking changes of the start of the season, and was swept away quickly by the graver concerns of the rest of the season.  When FKFic-L War 7 came in the summer of '96, almost all the factions had their hands full overtly bringing their characters back from the dead and covertly feuding over which character was most to blame for LK (warning: do not reopen those wounds), and poor Urs didn't even have a faction in the game.  No one played as an Urchin.  natmerc rounded up those of us she could into a motley band of multi-factioned "Friends of Urs" just to get Urs among the resurrected.  Nick/Urs was a pretty deflated concept.  Too much fannish work shoring up the story was needed urgently elsewhere.

But before?

I believe that possibilities for Nick and Urs growing together are inherent in "Hearts of Darkness," and I believe that I saw this from the first viewing, as I learned how much they might have in common -- in loneliness, in caring about what other vampires don't dare care about, in issues of trust, in music...  They have great differences as well as great commonalities, but I felt that the characters had a possibility for understanding that might grow differently and more deeply than the possibilities of other characters.  And then of course I read this impression back to "Black Buddha, Part 2," when Lacroix (deep in his "Lite" phase) pitches Urs to Nick like a salesman with a hot prospect ("innocent goddess" -- what was he thinking?), so obviously ("Lite") attempting to put new bait on vampirism's hook now that Janette has gone.  In early third season, Nick clearly does not consider himself romantically involved with Natalie and so does consider himself free to fall in love elsewhere (cf. "Blackwing").

Then of course the rest of third season happened, closing one possibility after another.  Separately, outside canon, the expectations and preferences of the fandom as a whole influenced individual interpretation.  Where it seems that half the population is N&N and half UF, springing Nick loose for an IB story may be a bit of an accomplishment, never mind Les Mis.

Curiously, Lacroix/Urs became a mainstay of secondary couple interpretations, on the strength of "Ashes to Ashes," while Nick/Urs remained among the rarest pairings of recurring characters.  This strikes me as sad, because, as I see it, Lacroix and Urs have little to offer each other besides the continuation of their respective pathologies, while Nick and Urs could perhaps offer each other growth and hope.

In first season, several other vampire characters -- Sofia, Alexandra, Erica -- explicitly share Nick's conviction that there are moral problems with vampirism.  In second season, it's down to Serena with explicit concerns and Feliks with an implied hint of concern.  Come third season, it's only Nick and Urs.

I've seen a few serious Nick/Urs stories, but few even of them that are thoroughly pro-Les Mis -- that is, not setting up the characters to fail in service of another interpretation, or in adherence to canon.  I tried my hand at a gen story starring Nick and Urs ("Kindred Spirits") many years ago, but I have no skill writing romance.  [personal profile] leela_cat gave me the opportunity to read something that I had wanted to read for so long that I had actually forgotten how the wanting felt.  Reading it and thinking on it have been a lot of fun.


Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable
 
 
 
Psychotic Writing Muses: Our pen is the pulse...hearts_blood on June 15th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this. I've been puzzling over the drabble prompt you gave me, wondering how to approach it and wondering where the potential for Nick/Urs sprang from in the first place. Now that I have a better understanding, hopefully that short piece can move forward. :)
Amy R.: Les Misbrightknightie on June 16th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)
"where the potential for Nick/Urs sprang from"
I'm sorry for leaving you stumped! I suppose that it's almost the definition of rare pairings that they are as invisible to most of the audience as they are obvious to their few subscribers. I'm so thoroughly canon and gen-oriented most of the time that I don't even quite know how to behave with 'ships. :-) It's a bit new to me to have one! Usually, I'm all: "Well, canon says Fleur wants Lacroix, so I suppose I'll give him to her, but..." ;-)

I think that Urs fits into the style of women for whom Nick falls. At first, we might think: but she isn't very smart, and the women for whom Nick falls are smart! Yet that's not consistently so -- how smart is Sylvaine? Alyssa? Amalia? No, what Nick most consistently falls for throughout the series, Urs has in her own way: courage and creativity. (And beauty, of course.) On her side, Urs has a bad past of depending on men who do not think much of her; unlike them, Nick would be fully willing to recognize all her good points and put her on a pedestal, believing in her fiercely, and while that's a dangerous thing in some ways, I think that it would be healthy for Nick and Urs in a way it could not be for some other characters -- Urs isn't human, so Nick can't overidealize her, and yet being a little idealized, in a deserved way, could boost her enormously, helping balance her self-image.

One of the differences between them is that Urs seems to live almost entirely within the vampire world, while Nick tries to live almost entirely within the human world. Do you suppose that it was living so much in the vampire world that held her back, kept her almost frozen at her level of development when Vachon turned her? Just a thought.

Thanks for playing with me. :-)
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on June 15th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
("innocent goddess" -- what was he thinking?)

Possibly some of the same things you were/are, with of course a far more ulterior motive. I turned over the phrase in my head a lot before deliberately quoting it in "Spring Break Slayer Style."

Clearly she's not -- and given the abuse implicit in what we know of her mortal background, likely never really was -- innocent in the conventional sense. But maybe because of that background, there seems to be a piece of the child she never really got to be that she's successfully insulated from the hurts of her mortal life and the violent realities of her vampire existence. There's a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt (or perhaps simply being resigned to it as inevitable), which most vampires either lack or bury deep, and which is strikingly evident in virtually all her limited canon dialogue and actions.

By verbally tagging that quality as "innocence" (even in that rather ironic tone), LaCroix -- who's had how many debates with Nick over that elusive concept? -- sets up an image of Urs as someone to protect and value before Nick ever exchanges a word with her.

Heck, we (and Nick) first see her on a literal pedestal! How many times has LaCroix used someone in that position to manipulate Nick? Now he's deliberately placing someone there who's conveniently already in his sphere of influence.
Amy R.: Les Misbrightknightie on June 16th, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
"a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt"
>"before deliberately quoting it in "Spring Break Slayer Style.""

I have a copy of your award-winning FK/BtVS story on my hard drive, but for others, when you have a chance -- after the vidding? -- might you please update the link on your archive to "Spring Break Slayer Style"? Or let me know where it's gone? AO3? (Or let me know if you'd like me to archive it for you? I'd be glad to.) I am vaguely aware that I should have been paying much closer attention to a number of relocations, and updated a number of story links... must get on that!

>"...that quality as "innocence" ...LaCroix -- who's had how many debates with Nick over that elusive concept? -- sets up an image of Urs as someone to protect and value before Nick ever exchanges a word with her. / Heck, we (and Nick) first see her on a literal pedestal! How many times has LaCroix used someone in that position to manipulate Nick? Now he's deliberately placing someone there who's conveniently already in his sphere of influence."

My apologies for the giant quotation, but: Yes, yes, yes! Precisely! Thank you. You are so right to recognize that and to put it so very clearly. This is exactly what's going on. Urs might or might not have gotten a job at the Raven in other circumstances, but in the circumstances canon gives, Lacroix clearly considers her part of his toolbox for retrieving Nick. She's one more tool, just like the Nightcrawler's show, and the agreement not to "invade" Nick's life with "mindless killing."

How satisfied Lacroix would be at first, if Urs and Nick got together, thinking that his plan was working. Urs would have no basis for consciously suspecting or understanding his manipulation; Nick would, and it would only make him want to defy Lacroix and protect Urs more. Lacroix's plan would be complicated, however, when instead of drawing Nick straight into the vampire world, Urs would begin being drawn into the human world, and when what they ultimately learn from each other -- in a happy story, anyway -- are new ways of surviving intact, not succumbing to Lacroix's dismemberment.

>"There's a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt (or perhaps simply being resigned to it as inevitable)"

Good points.

Except for Nick, few FK vampires dare to care about humans, and not usually more than once in a lifetime. But Urs does care, and not about a friend or lover, but just a person who happens to be in trouble. She isn't quick to understand, but she is quick to feel... and in first-season, Nick hates himself for not having those human feelings; that Urs has ready access to them makes her different, perhaps more human -- and certainly that much more appealing to Nick. She has things to teach him, and much as he her.

Relatedly, invulnerability is a big (if fake) concept for at least Lacroix and Janette, if not for most FK vampires other than Nick. That "I made you a god" stuff from Lacroix, plus his promise to Janette that no mortal would touch her without her permission. But Urs apparently has no such illusion of invulnerability, physical or emotional. Perhaps that's part of why she doesn't take killing as "lightly" as Vachon -- she still empathizes with those who die, and those left behind.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyannawiliqueen on June 16th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: "a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt"
might you please update the link on your archive

Drat! Thanks for the reminder. I'd forgotten that I never got round to putting it on my site proper, and neonhummingbird let the Sunnydale Slayers URL expire about a year ago.

The fanfic section of my site is high on the priority list to rework, so I've been rather neglecting its current form.

Until I get that fixed, I did get it up on AO3, here. SunS is now archived in a subdirectory of the main neon-hummingbird domain.

Lacroix clearly considers her part of his toolbox for retrieving Nick. She's one more tool, just like the Nightcrawler's show, and the agreement not to "invade" Nick's life with "mindless killing."

Which is something I had never considered before today, as such. (And which has just added a point to the gargantuan post comparing Nick and Mitchell that's slowly taking shape in my head, as it puts me in mind of how Herrick used Lauren, for all that there are also marked differences between the two women and their situations.) Hooray for new canon insights!

She isn't quick to understand, but she is quick to feel... and in first-season, Nick hates himself for not having those human feelings; that Urs has ready access to them makes her different

Very, very good point. They have much to learn from one another indeed!

Relatedly, invulnerability is a big (if fake) concept for at least Lacroix and Janette, if not for most FK vampires other than Nick.

Another very good point. All of this is, of course, making me that much more sorry TPTB never made much use of the storytelling potential they had in her.
Amy R.: Nickbrightknightie on June 17th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
Re: "a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt"
Thank you for the AO3 link; I've updated the '08 recommendation of your SBSS on my site. Thank you also for the reminder of neonhummingbird's relocation, of which she gave generous advance warning; I just pathetically failed to heed it. (Time flies!)

>"the gargantuan post comparing Nick and Mitchell that's slowly taking shape in my head"

I will look forward to that, and I definitely want to be all caught up on BH in time for it.

So far -- I've still only seen BH season one -- the universes are similar enough to really matter in the most key area for me: both are full of consequences for actions and prices for privileges. I love consequences in stories (and can't stand vampire stories without them). Personally, I tend to see Nick and George having more in common than Nick and Mitchell, bloodsucking aside -- Nick and George are the ones who most value and miss what they've lost by not being human, and who have relationships with religious faith, but it's Mitchell who is recapitulating Nick's life experience as the prodigal son of the demon father...

>"All of this is, of course, making me that much more sorry TPTB never made much use of the storytelling potential they had in her."

It interests me to reflect that of all the new characters that Mr. Parriot swiftly pushed onto the stage at the start of third season, Urs may well be the one who was best designed to fit FK as it already existed. More than Vachon, Tracy, Reese or Screed, Urs came to us already primed with the themes and concerns of the preceding seasons.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on June 17th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: "a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt"
(Time flies!)

Doesn't it just? I was planning to have my whole fanfic section overhauled by the time the SunS shift went into effect! And, well, that patently didn't happen.

Personally, I tend to see Nick and George having more in common

I agree that they do personally (and I know that you were employing the other sense of the word, but this one also applies). It's the less obvious comparison, but a very astute one. It's probably more accurate to say that I'll be comparing circumstances. Which also have some notable and interesting differences that combine with their differences as people to produce some quite different results, but also some similar ones. (Also including some more places on the Venn diagram where Annie overlaps and George doesn't, poor guy. Vampires have a definite social structure and the spirit world a prescribed process, but the show's gone out of its way to establish werewolves as isolated even from one another. The human side of his life is the only one where George can connect with anyone else. And that's just about enough hijacking this thread!)

I consciously didn't think in comparative terms on first viewing, because it's something I prefer to avoid in general until I've digested something on its own terms. But there are some pretty inescapable echoes that are proving fun to play with on further examination.
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on June 18th, 2010 07:13 am (UTC)
Re: "a capacity for empathy, and for risking being hurt"
>"And that's just about enough hijacking this thread!"

:-) I'll look forward to resuming this discussion in reply to a BH post on your journal. :-)
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 15th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
Have you read Lorelei Sieja's Dance series? It, especially in the beginning, is heavy Nick/Urs, and does a good job of unraveling the Nick/Nat aspect. The only problem with recommending this story to you is that it goes a little into the UF territory, not that Nick/Lacroix get together, but that they exchange blood and the claim is vampires think of sex as foreplay to "neck-biting," LOL, so there's not gay, straight, incest, etc., because blood is blood. And, I know that's not quite your cup of tea or ribena, LOL. But like I said, it's a LONG series and very heavily supports Nick/Urs, and it will pair up a lot of other characters on the way, as well. *shrugs*

Edited at 2010-06-15 01:02 pm (UTC)
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 16th, 2010 07:44 am (UTC)
"Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
>"Have you read Lorelei Sieja's Dance series?"

No, I haven't. I remember the series dropping on the email list for years, of course. For some reason, I didn't choose to read the first one, and so never read any of the sequels. I don't remember now why I originally chose not to read the first. ~shrug~ I will take a look; thank you.

I don't often read fanfiction series. There are some fond exceptions -- Susan's wonderful "Dorian the Archivist" stories leap to mind -- but not many.

>"because blood is blood"

I haven't read her story, of course, but naturally whether blood is just nutrition, or whether it's a metaphor for sex or drugs or something else, varies from author to author and story to story, hopefully with whatever makes the strongest version of a particular tale. The deuterocanonical statement, so to speak, would be Mr. Parriot's pronouncement in an interview that FK vampire sex is both acts, not either alone ... I think that the quotation is something like, "both at and below the neck" ... but he never quite defined that on screen, so it never quite became canon.

I usually -- of course depending on the author's intention -- regard blood sharing in the FK universe as a sexual metaphor. I don't read much NC-17; I don't know whether that's a common interpretation anymore.

Thank you for the warning.
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 16th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
Well, I can tell you the first two stories in this series will not bother you in terms of sexuality, though it is heavy on the father/son relationship, so I think you'll enjoy it and decide from there if you want to read further.

The great thing about the way she writes the series is that she warns you when there will be sexual content and you can skip over it. It's a really great series that brings in all kinds of characters and references to past episodes. She ignores specific things that happens in "Ashes to Ashes" and "Last Knight," but other than that, she's pretty accurate, for the most part.

Oh, and as for not reading NC-17, she has a PG version and a NC-17 version. On her website pj1228 provided, it'll give you the option which one you want to read when it does go into that territory. :)
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 17th, 2010 07:29 am (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
>"Well, I can tell you the first two stories in this series will not bother you in terms of sexuality"

Thank you.

I'm wondering whether I should clarify something for general reference, beyond this particular series? You and I don't know each other very well, and it isn't a conversation that comes up frequently, so I'm unsure whether it needs saying at all. Please don't mind me if it doesn't!

I have only respect for thoughtful interpretations of the characters, whether those thoughtful reflections cause one to interpret the characters as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Sexual orientation is not an issue.

I interpret Nick/Lacroix negatively because I interpret it as abusive. I cringe from just about all depictions of master/convert sexual relationships -- rationally because of the imbalance of power, and perhaps irrationally because the vocabulary of parent and child just plain creeps me out in that context.

Back in '96 -- I wonder whether she remembers? :-) -- wiliqueen and I had a chat about a story I then wanted to write, but still never have, in which Nick brought Natalie across in LK and then refused to start a sexual relationship with her, because the power he then had over her was too much, and he refused to do to her what Lacroix had done to him. Natalie would be furious, but Nick wouldn't back down; he really does know better than she does about this experience.

~shrug~ Anyway, that's about where I stand on that. Mileage varies! There's room in the fandom for every interpretation.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: natpackerwiliqueen on June 17th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
Back in '96 -- I wonder whether she remembers? :-) -- wiliqueen and I had a chat

I do now! Now that you've reminded me, of course... ;->
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 17th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
Oh, yeah, that didn't need clarifying. I wasn't thinking along those lines at all. As a matter of fact, I feel the same way you do on those lines when it comes to master/slave situations in the bedroom. I just know it's preference on reading material, not your thoughts in life. It's odd really in what I read because I usually don't read homosexual or bisexual fanfic either, but I accept it with FK fanfiction, because the authors usually do it tastefully or maybe it doesn't bother me because it's vampires--not that homosexuality bothers me, it doesn't, but I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say. Usually with TV, I don't see the homosexual underttones that others see, but with FK, I could see vampires sharing blood and having sex because of what and who they are, so I can read it, if that makes any sense. LOL

But yeah, in the "Dance" series--I don't want to give the story away if you do read it--but Lacroix acquires new relationships that he tolerates for Nick, but they end up teaching an old dog new tricks, and he starts approaching Nick in a different, less abusive way, and that's how they start getting along. I won't lie. There are some moments where he slips back to the abusive pattern, because you can't change him overnight, LOL.

Anyhoo, as for us not knowing each other well, I hope that changes, because I really like discussing FK and different points of view. :)

Edited at 2010-06-18 12:08 am (UTC)
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 18th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
>"I just know it's preference on reading material, not your thoughts in life."

I may have been unclear; my apologies! My reading preferences and my thoughts in life are closely related.

I'm happy to read stories with fictional characters of any sexual orientation, just as I'm happy to interact with real people of any sexual orientation. I avoid fiction that celebrates relationships I perceive as abusive, just as I abhor that misapprehension in real situations. My personal negative feelings about celebratory UF interpretations are about the abuse, not the sex of the characters.

James has a charming, sweet, funny, G-rated Nick/OMC story titled "Most Trunk Space in 30 Years." That's more my idea of a healthy, happy depiction of Nick in a homosexual relationship than any UF story I've yet seen. And of course Nick/Vachon is actually the "Heartbreakers" couple faction, with adherents and stories. Someday, someone will write a thoughtful take on Nick/Feliks -- it may even be me. :-)

>"Anyhoo, as for us not knowing each other well, I hope that changes, because I really like discussing FK and different points of view. :)"

We're off to an excellent start! Thank you for your patience.
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 18th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
LMAO! When I made this comment: "I just know it's preference on reading material, not your thoughts in life."

I meant that you are okay with people choosing whatever sexual experiences they want; you don't hold it against people, you just don't want to read about it, such as S&M. I know what you mean. It's just so hard to explain what we mean online with things that people might consider taboo, because you want to be PC about it and not just come out and say it, haha.

Anyway, I don't know. I've seen some really sweet Nick/Lacroix stories, but then again, I always judge from the familial side of things. But I realize some people might read that as Lacroix being out of character if they take it too far, so yeah, LOL.

Someday, someone will write a thoughtful take on Nick/Feliks -- it may even be me. :-)

Now, there's one that hasn't been done, and there is definitely potential of flushing that relationship out, since they get along so well from what little we saw of them onscreen, and Nick is so much more willing to hear his criticism and brush it off more easily than he does with Lacroix. It's a nice thought. If you ever do write it, I'll definitely check it out!!!
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on June 18th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
>"you don't hold it against people, you just don't want to read about it"

No, I'm sorry; that's not quite it. I'm communicating poorly, and I sincerely apologize. We're far afield here, and again, we just don't know each other at all yet. I would let the topic drop and just let us get to know one another on this subject comfortably, over time and through our fanfiction, but I'm concerned about other people perhaps reading this thread on my journal and getting an unfortunate impression.

I suspect that we have different subjects in mind.

When on this particular track of interpretation, I personally see the fictional Lacroix/Nick relationship as actually abusive. Abuse is not properly a matter of private choices behind closed doors! It harms the individual and the community. In real life, intervention is imperative. In fiction, abuse should be condemned, not celebrated.

When authors have Lacroix refer to Nick as his "son" while desiring him, what rises up in my mind is child abuse. For these interpretive purposes, I see present-day Nick as, metaphorically, an adult survivor of child abuse, and Lacroix as the abuser whom Nick quite reasonably wants out of his life, but to whom he remains tied in complex ways.

This is certainly not the only valid metaphor for the relationship! We need all the many metaphors layered over and entwined around each other to achieve the FK story. However, this is one metaphor that has come to resonate with me more and more over the years, and it influences what I do and do not like in fanfiction as it draws on real life. It is in real life where I hope I would never tolerate such behavior, and in fanfiction where I can let it go by just choosing not to read it and hoping it does no harm.
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 19th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
Okay, gotcha. It probably wasn't your explanation; it was probably my interpretation of what you were saying, but I see what you're saying now. LOL Sorry that took so long. We were having two different conversations!

Anyway, I definitely see what you're saying about child abuse. I know most people definitely wouldn't want to see what is happening in some of this fanfiction in real life. I can actually see why some would interpret their relationship in that way, especially combined with the element that it might not be really love on Lacroix's part but rather obsession.

I choose to read it a little differently because they are vampires, as I'm sure a lot do. I mean, yes, Nick is his son, and Lacroix is his father to me. I like that relationship, and yet, at the same time, if Lacroix desires him, it's kind of like the Cullens in Twilight, they call each other brothers and sisters, or father and son, or whatever it happens to be, and yet, they're together--they're not actually brother and sister--so it doesn't bother me. I don't think it's abusive for Esme and Carlisle to be together, etc. I bring in another frame of reference since Lacroix and Nick do have that abusive element (and sometimes it's hard to step away from that element) to represent my feelings on that one particular aspect of vampire relationships in general.

Now, do I believe Lacroix is an abuser? Yes, I agree with you. Does Nick have every right to desire to get out of it? Yes. But I also see Lacroix as someone who loves Nick and he doesn't know how to express it accurately. He lets his upbringing get the better of him, and he was very much a punisher in his human life, so maybe his being brought across augmented it. Lacroix and Nick's relationship has so many thing that go wrong with it, but there are elements that are really great, as well: Lacroix never gives up on his child no matter what he does, even when he tried to kill him, he still loves him; Lacroix always tries to protect him; when Nick asks for help, he's always there, even if it's just for information in the series for the most part (but hey, he took him to Vanderwal even though he didn't believe in devils), etc. So, I see the good and the bad, and I guess because they're vampires I accept it more in fiction. But you're right. I definitely wouldn't want anyone to go through such an obsessive and abusive relationship in real life. In any other case, I would feel exactly the same way as you do. I wouldn't want to read anything that glorified any type of abuse in any way, but with vampires, it can get into that whole "Is spanking really abuse?" catagory and since vampires heal quickly is it really that bad? (Of course, that's just looking at the "fighting" side of their relationship.) Of course, there's mental abuse, as well. We could go on and on, lol.

But seriously, despite the risky subject, I've enjoyed having this discussion and getting to think about it from that standpoint. :)

Edited at 2010-06-19 01:59 am (UTC)
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 17th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: "Lorelei Sieja's Dance series"
Oh, and I forgot to mention, in a handful of UF fiction, they address that imbalance of power and say that's part of the reason Nick runs. In some, Nick accepts it. In others, Lacroix learns that in order to get the companionship he seeks, he has to let them stand on equal footing at least in their romantic (if it is one in that fic) relationship or friendship. I think most people see it the way you do, and that's the problem with Lacroix--his tragic flaw, so to speak, LMAO!
PJ1228pj1228 on June 15th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
After reading this, I was about to point out Lorelei Sieja's Dance series to you, but I see that foxy11814 beat me to it.
It's among the first FKfan Fictions I've ever read, so the concept of Nick/Urs worked for me all along, although I've never applied it in my own stories (so far).

>Lacroix and Urs have little to offer each other besides the continuation of their respective pathologies<

I disagree. On the contrary, I think they have a lot to offer each other. Considering Vachon's lack of responsibility towards his offspring, there's probably a lot that Urs can learn from Lacroix. Lacroix in turn can take delight in teaching an eager student, although he might get bored after a while when he's not challenged by his pupil's resistance.

Amy R.: Ursbrightknightie on June 16th, 2010 08:13 am (UTC)
"On the contrary"
Thank you for the link to the "Dance" series. For some reason, I chose not to read the original installment, and so did not read any of the sequels. I'm not familiar with it, except as a long-running series dropping on fkfic-l.

>"there's probably a lot that Urs can learn from Lacroix. Lacroix in turn can take delight in teaching an eager student"

:-) And this is why you're a Cousin, and I'm a Knightie. The fandom needs both approaches! :-)

Yes, we disagree on the most probable outcome of a Lacroix/Urs relationship.

From my perspective, Urs learning from Lacroix would be, indeed, a continuation of their respective pathologies. Lacroix would oppress and abuse Urs, and Urs would let him. Lacroix would reinforce Urs's self-hatred, deprecate her human emotions, and reduce her, if not destroy her.

What I see in Urs, however, is that she would resist Lacroix. She would not be an eager student, but a survivor, waiting him out until she could regain some freedom. She is not clever, but she is brave and empathetic, and, by her word, she does not take killing as lightly as Vachon does -- how much less lightly than Lacroix!

Even in the most optimistic scenario, in which Lacroix did Urs no active harm, it would be a thoroughly unequal interaction, with all the power entirely on his side -- money, employment, age, vampire strength, plus the mentorship you recommend -- even aside from her unfortunate pattern of dependence. I find it hard to imagine them loving one another. That's not the healthiest relationship model.
PJ1228pj1228 on June 16th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: "On the contrary"
>I'm not familiar with it, except as a long-running series dropping on fkfic-l.<

I liked the first 5 or 6 installments, then it became too weird for my taste. The stories were turning into crossovers, which is not my cup of ribena. I like my FK world such as it is.
However, it's been years since I read the series, that I hardly remember much except for the Nick/Urs relationship. I'll have to read it again soon.

>:-) And this is why you're a Cousin, and I'm a Knightie. The fandom needs both approaches! :-)<

Indeed. :)

>Even in the most optimistic scenario, in which Lacroix did Urs no active harm, it would be a thoroughly unequal interaction, with all the power entirely on his side -- money, employment, age, vampire strength, plus the mentorship you recommend -- even aside from her unfortunate pattern of dependence. I find it hard to imagine them loving one another.<

I see that I will have to write you a Lacroix/Urs story that alters your opinion. :) What a challenge...
Foxy11814foxy11814 on June 17th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Re: "On the contrary"
I agree about the "Dance" series. The earlier stories were better and it did get a little weird when she started adding in other shows, but I still read it, because once I go that far in a series I want to finish it out. And actually, it wasn't that bad. I enjoyed it, but that might be because I actually liked the shows she crossovered with. I always find crossovers odd, though, so I can't give an opinion on how well it was done.

And as for Lacroix/Urs, (hope you don't mind me jumping in the conversation, lol) I don't really see him wanting a long relationship with her, but I could definitely see her being attracted to him. I see her as wanting someone to tell her what to do since she's so depressed with life, her existence, and feels uncared for with Vachon's lack of guidance. I agree with brightknightie, even though I prefer Nick with Natalie, I see he and Urs have a lot in common and it would make sense that they would at least entertain the idea of having something more. :)
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on June 17th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
Re: "On the contrary"
>"I like my FK world such as it is."

Me, too. I don't mind thoughtful crossovers, but I do like to stick close to the strong bones of canon -- after all, that's the whole point of fanfiction. I find independent original stories in my local library and bookshops. Fanfiction celebrates the story we share in common.

>"I see that I will have to write you a Lacroix/Urs story that alters your opinion. :) What a challenge..."

I would be most happy to read a new story by you! :-)

I'm willing to be convinced, but I must caution that this task may be pushing a rock uphill. I tend to feel that happy, healthy relationships should be very mutual and equal. That is, not that each partner should contribute the same things to the relationship, but rather that each partner should have an equal investment in the relationship -- that the relationship should be of the same value and impact to each -- and that each should wield equal power to affect the other's happiness.
PJ1228pj1228 on June 18th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Re: "On the contrary"
I think whether a relationship works out in fanfic depends on the point of view.

Considered from a neutral point of view, logic dictates that a relationship with Lacroix can never be healthy as you call it, for exactly the reasons you stated.

However, considered from the insider's point of view, in this case Urs, the perception could be totally different. As foxy11814 correctly pointed out, Urs would certainly be attracted to Lacroix (who wouldn't be?). Is it not possible that she would be perfectly content with the bliss she receives when that attraction is acted on, without perceiving the relationship as unequal at all?
Amy R.: Ursbrightknightie on June 18th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: "On the contrary"
>"Is it not possible that she would be perfectly content with the bliss she receives when that attraction is acted on, without perceiving the relationship as unequal at all?"

Of course! But I would likely find it sad reading, seeing Urs happy to be re-enacting, one more time, her consistent unfortunate pattern with men, instead of growing in self-knowledge and self-respect. She would remain stuck in the rut she has been in since before Vachon converted her, instead of growing in understanding from the events in "Hearts of Darkness."

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with Marcia T. many years ago, when I was a newbie to fanfiction. She posted a story to fkfic-l in which Nick gave up blood entirely in accord with Natalie's instructions and nearly starved to death; in the end, Nick gives up his quest for mortality and contact with Natalie, returning solidly to the vampire world. I emailed her, praising the story as a tragedy. She wrote back, polite but puzzled; she thought that the story was triumphant. So, yes, just as you say: beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and whether a story works does indeed depend on the interacting perspectives of the author, characters and reader!