Monday, April 11, 2011

Slash Brigade: Say Something Else by vampireisthenewblack


This Month's Slash Brigade Pick is... Say Something Else

Title: Say Something Else
Author: vampireisthenewblack
Chapters: 12 COMPLETE
Words: 30,454
Reviews: 600
Summary:When he suffers the worst kind of heartbreak, Edward returns home, resigning himself to a lifetime of loneliness. But he had not counted on old friendships and old crushes. Edward is torn between old love and new... Slash, AH, OOC. Mature content.

Liz - Above almost anything else, I love a story I can sink my teeth into, immerse myself in emotionally. Usually this comes in the form of intense drama, surprising plot progressions and devastating angst. vampireisthenewblack delivers on every front, from the opening sentences.

The voice on the other end of the phone was frantic, disjointed. "Jane? Slow down. I just woke up for god's sake."

I finally understood what she was trying to tell me.

My whole world collapsed.

Grief is such a personal thing. I’ve never lost a lover, or had to bury a partner and face the rest of my life without the one person I thought would be there forever. There is something very powerful in reading about Edward enduring this experience, not just because it’s our beloved Edward, but because of the way vampireisthenewblack puts us there at the moments when Edward is most vulnerable. You feel his anguish and desolation.

I backed up to the wall, slid down to the floor and wrapped my arms around my knees. I took deep breaths. He was gone. Really gone. I'd put him in the ground and I'd never hold him again, or kiss him, or tell him I loved him...

We are treated to glimpses of their life together, peppered throughout the story. You’ll find yourself knee deep in Edward’s longing, and conflict, as someone new begins to enter his world.

I felt as if I was betraying his memory by finding another man attractive. As much as I was comfortable and calm here with Seth, I couldn't make myself stay. I made my polite apologies and told him I had to go.

This story pulled at my heart and drew me to tears in all of the very best ways.

Jen - A few months ago the Pervs were discussing a new outtake vampireisthenewblack posted for her multi-chapter fic Say Something Else and we were amazed that SSE had not been recc’d on the Shack. I’m so glad to be a part of rectifying that. Say Something Else is one of my very favorite slash fics.

I’ve been trying to think of how to say this without being crude, but this is the Shack, and there’s no other way to put it: vampireisthenewblack is a balls out writer. She’s not afraid to rip your heart out. She’s not afraid of dark. She’s not afraid of pushing the edge. She’s not afraid of writing an unconventional hea, or no hea at all. SSE is of the rip your heart out variety, and it’s exquisitely done.

Say Something Else is the story of Edward working through his grief after the death of the love of his life, Alec. vampireisthenewblack makes Edward’s grief so very real. Even though the reader only sees snippets of Alec through Edward’s dreams and memories, he’s an interesting and completely lovable character. Even though I love Seth, I couldn’t help but find myself wishing that there was some way for Edward to be with Alec again, for it all to have been a mistake. You can see the reverent love that they have for one another; don’t be surprised to find yourself longing for a fic that gives us more of these two.

When Edward arrives back in Forks he’s just completely devastated by the loss of his love. He left London, where he lived with Alec, because he was overwhelmed by seeing Alec in everything. Though he was at his family home, he spent most of his time alone. He ran into Seth, a family friend he’d known as young teen before leaving Forks for college. Though Seth doesn’t know why Edward is back in Forks, he senses Edward’s grief. They run into each other again at the beach in La Push. In Seth, Edward finds someone who would simply be with him and his grief.

As they get to know each other again, Edward recognizes that he finds Seth attractive. He’s so confused about being able to feel this way about another person so soon after losing Alec. He’s astonished when Seth comes out to him, and later when Seth tells him he’s had a crush on him forever. Edward grapples with his grief, his attraction, and his desire to do right by Seth, an 18 year old with no prior sexual experience.

vampireisthenewblack weaves this story so realistically. She tells it in memories, dreams, and EPOV of what Edward experienced in the immediate wake of Alec’s death. It’s spare storytelling, but you don’t feel as if you need more information to understand what’s going on. Details about Edward and Alec meeting, Alec’s death, and their life in between are sprinkled throughout the story, including Edward’s perspective of their first sexy night together.

Don’t miss the one-shots from the SSE universe that vampireisthenewblack has in her profile-- five of them. They are an extra-special treat for anyone who’s fallen in love with Alec, Edward, and Seth, including one which is sort of an AU of her own story. My favorite is Little Alec, a o/s which recounts the night that Edward and Alec meant, from Alec’s perspective. Alec’s mind is a wonderful place to be as he spends his first night with Edward. He’s really taken with Edward, as Edward is with him; it makes for some mighty hot sexing.

Please, go read, and give vampireisthenewblack some love for giving us these wonderful characters in a beautiful story.

Teal - If you’re a crier, have your tissues ready because Say Something Else is definitely a tearjerker. In it’s own right, it’s also a gorgeous tale of mending one’s heart and finding love again after tragedy, without forgetting the one you’ve lost.

Vampireisthenewblack doesn’t waste time in this fic. At the start of the story we learn of Edward’s loss and see immediately how it impacts every aspect of his life, of his being. There are plenty of questions that come about regarding his relationship with Alec, but those details unfold gracefully, through Edward’s dreams and memories, as well as the stories he’s willing to recount to himself and others.

What I love about this story is how genuine it feels. The heartbreak, denial, and depression Edward experiences are palpable. For anyone who has lost someone they love, who has felt desperate to just have that person back, no matter what role they played in your life, it’s real. What makes it even more believable is how Edward slowly accepts Seth’s place in his life and the comfort he feels from his new-old friend. In a way, they grieve together, finding a place where Edward can feel as close to alive again as he has in so long, and though he doesn’t outwardly state it, it’s clear how Seth rehashes some of his of grief for his father as he befriends Edward.

The juxtaposition of Edward’s role in his relationship with Alec as compared to how things turn out with Seth is such a poignant statement of how Edward accepts moving on and learning to find love again.

Most of all, I love that this story is not about Edward “getting better” and moving on with someone new. It’s a beautifully written account of how both Edward and Seth (who never even knew Alec) grow to accept his death, as well as Edward’s never-ending love for the unfortunately departed young man. The final paragraph of the story, prior to the memory that wraps up the fic, truly resonated with me, pulling everything together and making this utterly perfect in my book.

There are delicious, steamy boylove moments throughout this story, as well as heartclenching developments, but it all pulls together in a must read for any slash lover. And once you’re done, dig into the additional outtakes/alternate POVs in vampireisthenewblack’s profile. They are wonderful!

Emmy - Well this is quite the story. At first glance, you might think that this is NOT the kind of story you want to read. Perhaps you read Slash for the sexy thrills it gives you. Perhaps you like the happy ending that most Slash writers like to give their poor troubled and experimenting boys. Or perhaps like me you are a slashy WussPerv. I beseech you now. You MUST read this. Proper Slash is so much more than a cheap (or expensive!) thrill. When two men have an amazing connection, that means something to them both - its just a WOW must read story. So what happens when a story is more than about two loves and lovers. I am not talking about a poly relationship here - although in some senses it could be.

This is one of the best written slash stories I have encountered. We get Edward’s pain and we also get his love. Most importantly we learn so much about his love for Alec, their love together and to be honest I think it teaches all of us something about love in general (but I will return to that later).

The other love we learn about is Seth’s love for Edward. How his love was initially puppy love (Yes, I DID go there), but how it always was more than that, how it flourished and bolstered in his chest until it couldn’t go anywhere else. How he had to share it with Edward. And how that love so selflessly given managed to help heal a soul.

I am not going to lie. At times this story is as sad as hell. Fuck. It hurts. It hurts because the writing is SO top-notch. The quality and integrity is so strong. Boy does vampireisthenewblack know what she doing and writing with these boys.

Bizarrely, as much as my heart goes out to Edward grieving for the love of his life ( and the loss of their life together in London and all its many facets), I feel so badly for Seth in this story. He gives himself over to Edward, heart and soul - but Edward is still trying to recover. Seth does everything he can to heal Edward, knowing that he might not ever get what he needs from him in return. Selfless and so giving, all he can do is hope that Edward can eventually accept it fully and everything it means for them both.

I think what the real beauty of this story is though, is that its not a story that shows that we need to fully close our heart up to memories and past love to live and love now and in the future. This story shows us that love never dies, but it does change shape and that our hearts have a tremendous capacity to love and be love, as long as we nurture and nourish that love. Seth never makes demands on Edward in terms of letting Alec go, he never issues ultimatums or feels threatened by the deep and lasting love that Alec and Edward shared. Instead he becomes part of that love and feels honoured that he can share in it and expand on it. Love is the answer to everything, god do these boys love. Thankfully love surrounds them and embraces them.

There are also brilliant extra’s and outtakes from this universe. Make sure you read them all. Sometimes you will be left feeling torn by them. Part of me longs for Alec to never have left. The other part of me is thankful for new starts. New loves. And
patient lovers who wait and understand. Gah.

Jess - It’s hard to write grief well unless you’ve experienced it. I don’t know if that is the case with vampireisthenewblack, but I could viscerally feel the pain and loss Edward suffered through as he tried to deal with Alec being gone. I think that is what struck me most about this beautiful and eloquent story. Every word, every emotion, every memory and action was embodied the great sense of loss one feels when a lover or spouse has been lost.

The story starts off with the devastating loss of Edward’s lover, Alec. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn who Alec was, what he meant to Edward, and how their relationship played out in the two years they were together. Their love is playful and passionate, rich, deep, and instant. The depths of their relationship are the perfect juxtaposition to Edward’s very palpable and crippling grief.

As he drifts through the months following Alec’s death, Seth, an old friend, makes his way into Edward’s life. We learn of the long-time crush he had on Edward, that he hasn’t openly come out to anyone until he meets Edward again, and how their friendship - slow and unpushy - turns into something more. Seth, having experienced a deep loss of his own, knows when to push and when to let things be. It’s this knowledge that allows them to fall into a comfortable and charged friendship.

But with that comfort and sexual attraction, comes Edward’s struggle to learn to love again, to recognize that in loving Seth he doesn’t lose Alec. One of my favorite parts of the story is a dream Edward has that demonstrates this push-pull perfectly.

I became aware that I was not alone in my bed. I was surrounded by warmth, skin on skin, and though it was dark, pitch black in my room, I knew that I held Alec in my arms. I could smell him, his uniquely sweet scent, could recognise the contours of his body that I knew better than my own as it pressed against me.

We were not alone. Large hands, strong arms held me, a hard chest pressed up against my back, but I wasn't surprised. It felt normal, and I was right where I was supposed to be between them, holding Alec in my arms as Seth held me in his.

I pressed my lips against the back of Alec's neck, his hair tickling my nose, and I felt an identical wet pressure at the same point at the back of my neck. It sent shivers through me as Alec shook in my arms. My lips moved down the curve of his neck to his shoulder, Seth's lips did the same on mine.

I pressed my erection against Alec's ass and he whimpered, and I moaned at the feeling of Seth hard behind me. The quiet of the room was filled with words and cries of pleasure as I both entered and was entered, filled and was filled, took and was taken. We moved together in unison, joined completely.

Their journey isn’t easy, and at the end, before the epilogue, I felt such a sense of despair for Seth... but time heals wounds, and together they find their way. This is a must for anyone who loves slash, and a great way to start if you’ve never tried it.


vampireisthenewblack said...

Oh.My.God. I'm blown away. Thank you so much, all of you, for such an amazing series of reviews. SSE is my baby and you've made my week. Thank you!