NealGirl4Lyf on Chapter 5
As much as I enjoyed this fic, I feel obligated to point out that if Neal only uses two fingers for foreplay, Allen is going to be in a lot of pain. I wouldn't normally say anything, but I don't want anyone reading it and trying that IRL.
AngelofThursday on Chapter 5
As it happens, I am an actual, real live gay cis male. Please do not try to explain how anal sex does or does not work to me. I assure you, it is not absolutely essential to every man (or woman—let's go with every person with an anus) that three fingers are used in the anus before a penis is inserted during every single sexual encounter. I realize that you have probably gotten your entire education about anal sex from fanfiction, where 99% of the time this is what happens, but if that is the case you may not want to lecture others without sources to back you up. My sources, for citation purposes: Several dicks that have been in my ass, along with several asses my dick has been in.
The comment catches Dean's eye. He's well aware that the vast majority of fanfiction writers are women—even those writing sex between two men, which he still doesn't really get, but whatever. It hadn't occurred to him for one moment that AngelofThursday, one of his favorite fic writers out there, might be a dude. A queer dude. (Well, okay, if he's a cis dude and writing slash fic, the odds of him not being into guys at all is about zero, but still.) Lord knows plenty of people have assumed Dean's a chick. He only bothers to correct them about half the time anymore, because does it really matter? Besides, easier to keep his IRL ID far away from his fandom ID if people don't even know his gender.
He wonders if it would be weird to send the guy an ask on Tumblr saying something like "Hey, that's cool that you're a dude, me too." Hm. He'd probably have to find something to say beyond that.
The thing is, Dean knows AngelofThursday reads his fics, too—he's left kudos on almost every one of Dean's stories, and comments on many of them. He comments regularly on the new chapters of Dean's current WIP, just as Dean does for his. It wouldn't be totally crazy to try to turn the mutual admiration society into a friendship… would it?
Dean sees people talk about all the great friends they've made through fandom, but he hasn't really had that experience. He has a lot of acquaintances, mutual followers on Tumblr whom he occasionally has sort-of conversations with in the comments of their reblogs. But he's never made any friends closer than that. He knows it's mostly because he keeps actual details about himself so close to the vest. He doesn't let even his real first name be associated with his fandom activities; he never says anything about where he lives or what he does for a living. He occasionally gives the vaguest possible details, such as the fact that he has a brother who's a lawyer, if it's directly relevant to a discussion. He doesn't even go to Devil Boys cons, for fear of some photo of him winding up on the internet and somebody somewhere recognizing him.
It's hard enough to be a gay man in Wichita, Kansas. It's hard enough to be a male children's librarian. He's kind of amazed he's managed to keep up the combination for three years now, honestly, and it's getting exhausting. He's pretty sure that having a gay-porn-writing hobby would probably spell the end of his career and cause him to be run out of his neighborhood. Hell, even coming out at work would likely get him fired now that Kansas's anti-discrimination law has been rescinded. His branch manager, Ellen, has known him his whole life and wouldn't care, but anyone higher up probably would. Before, he stayed in the closet to avoid brouhahas with the parents, but now it's become even more important.
It's probably stupid for him to even continue to indulge in the hobby, given what it could cost him. But jesus, it's not like he gets to date. He only gets laid at all when he's out of town. He needs to just get up the balls to move out of Wichita, but until then he's gotta have one damn outlet for his sexual (and, let's be honest, romantic) frustration.
But in a lot of ways it's become one more way of being in the closet. The one fact about himself that he doesn't hide online is that he's queer, regardless of what people think his gender is. The only people who know in real life are his brother and his best friend Charlie, neither of whom still lives in Wichita. Online, at least, under the name RambleOn instead of Dean Winchester, he doesn't have to lie about that.
But since he's hiding literally every other detail of himself, it's only a half-relief at best. And lying about his main hobby while also lying about his love life to everyone else adds up to enough lying that he's pretty sure he's going to slip up eventually.
Charlie, at least, gets both the gay stuff and the fandom stuff. They've become even closer in the few years since he finally admitted to himself that straight guys don't imagine male celebrities when they're having sex with their girlfriends (and bi guys probably only do it sometimes, rather than every time). She was the first person he came out to, and declared herself his "gay Yoda." She also writes fic and cosplays and goes to cons, so she totally gets that stuff, too. Unfortunately, she is not into Devil Boys, which is the only fandom he's active in in terms of fanworks, so he can only talk about it so much with her. He gives her feedback on her Harry Potter fic (he's gotta hand it to her, it takes commitment to still be writing Drarry in 2015), but it doesn't really go the other way.
It would be really great to have just one person he could talk to about fic and about his life. It would take a while for him to trust anyone he meets online with any details that could clearly be used to identify him, but he'd like to at least have the kind of conversations with someone that could lead to that level of trust.
So, after going back and forth about it for a day or two, he finally goes to AngelofThursday's Tumblr and clicks the button to write a fan mail. He's still too nervous to write an ask that could easily be made public—a fan mail could too, of course, but he's guessing the guy won't be committed enough to outing him to take a screencap. So he'll deal with the obnoxiously-large fonts.
It takes him an hour to write something he's happy with, or at least not completely embarrassed to send:
Hey - If this is weird, feel free to ignore it. But I'm a big fan of your fics, and I just noticed in a comment that you said you're a gay guy. There aren't many of us around here (here being ficland, or at least Neallen land), so I just wanted to say… hi? other… dude? Damn, this is coming out even worse than in my head and it was pretty weak there to start with. Anyhow, to be totally honest I don't really know how the fuck people normally make friends around here, but I always enjoy your comments on my fics so I figured since we've got something else in common it wouldn't hurt to say hi and ask if you wanted to… uh… whatever the virtual equivalent of hanging out is? God, I swear I am not this socially inept IRL.
Awkward, but hopefully humorously self-deprecating enough to make up for it. Hell, worst that happens is the guy unfollows him and stops reading his fic, right?
Castiel is having a damn good Monday. This morning was his first day volunteering at the local library, and the guy who gave him the tour and explained what he'll be doing was possibly the most gorgeous man he's ever laid eyes on. Of course, there's about a 99% likelihood, minimum, of Dean being straight, but it's nice to know he'll have a little eye candy while he's there. Not just eyes, either—Dean's voice is a little less rough than his own, but nearly as deep, and Cas can only imagine what it would feel like vibrating against him.
Christ, he thinks to himself, if I'm this crazy over a straight guy I really need to get laid.
But to be fair, it's a really hot straight guy.
He's got work to do, a deadline approaching for an article on colony collapse, but when he sits down at his computer he opens up Tumblr first. Just for a quick look, he tells himself.
Then he's honest with himself and sets his browser to block it after twenty minutes.
There is a one above the mail icon on his dashboard, and it makes him nervous. He's never received anon hate before, but he was kind of harsh in a comment on his most recent Devil Boys WIP chapter and wouldn't be too shocked if the person he snapped at, or one of their friends, showed up to berate him.
When he opens it and sees the fanmail, the first thing that hits him is that it's from RambleOn. Cas loves RambleOn's fics; the worldbuilding in their AUs is fantastic and they manage to slip in some of the funniest bits he's read in fanfiction, even (sometimes especially) into their more somber plots.
Cas only wishes he could come up with that sort of thing—when it comes to fiction, fan or original, his skills fall squarely into formulaic-but-satisfying romance plots and really hot sex. Which is translating into a decent string of published erotica and romance, but makes him feel limited sometimes. With his current WIP, his first attempt at a casefic, he's hoping to stretch his plot-developing muscles a little. It'd be cool to publish a piece of fiction he doesn't have to hide behind a pen name someday, after all.
He definitely hopes RambleOn, of all people, hasn't come to berate him for his comment. It'd suck to lose all respect for one of his favorite authors.
By the time he gets to the end of the fanmail, though, he's smiling. It is, actually, about the comment, but not in the way he was expecting. He reads it again and laughs. It's absolutely fucking adorable. He suddenly wonders if RambleOn is hot, because if he's even halfway decent-looking, Castiel would hit that in a second. Of course, there's the fact that RambleOn probably lives several states away, minimum. And may well be a decade younger or older than thirty-year-old Cas. And doesn't even claim to be single or interested in anything like that. Just looking for a fandom friend.
Cas has to admit, he doesn't really understand how people seem to make such good friends through fandom, either. He was on LiveJournal back in the day, but he wasn't into fic then. It must have been a lot easier through LJ than Tumblr. He has LJ friends he still talks to on Facebook. He knows no one on Tumblr that he'd trust enough to give his real name to, let alone add on Facebook.
He's always hidden behind a pseudonym to write his erotica, and he's always been a little nervous about people beyond his closest friends finding out about it. But while that stuff is downloadable on Amazon, C.J. Milton doesn't have nearly the internet footprint that AngelofThursday has developed, so he's even more paranoid about keeping his fandom name away from his real name or related social media. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but it's hard enough being a gay man in Wichita, Kansas. He's almost saved up enough to move out of this hellhole, but he's probably still got a good six months to a year here.
So he considers his options. Going back and forth over Tumblr's limited (and frankly terrible) direct messaging options sounds like an awful idea. It would be nice to have some way of communicating in realtime, but he's not about to give his phone number to a virtual stranger for texting. Do people use IM anymore? Will he get laughed at for asking that question? It doesn't exactly look like RambleOn is any more clueful in this department than Cas, so he decides to just go with sending his AngelofThursday email and they can work out anything else later.
He cannot deal with the awful fanmail fonts, so he fires off an ask.
I'm a big fan of your fics, too, so add that to the list of things we've got in common, I suppose. I have no idea how people make friends around here either, but I'm guessing it's not through Tumblr's shitty-ass askbox. My email is angelofthursday at gmail if you'd like to switch to a longer format. :)
Thanks for not thinking I'm a total creep, or at least pretending not to for long enough to give me your email. I didn't exactly think the process through this far, so I don't even know what to talk about. I guess it would make sense to tell you about myself?
Actually, I hope you don't mind if I keep a lot of details private for now. My job involves working with kids, and I live in a really conservative area, so I'm not out at work and there's a good chance I'd get fired if anyone outed me. If they found out I write slash, I'd definitely be out of a job and possibly blackballed throughout the area. So I try not to let any identifying details be associated with my fandom name. Not that I think you'd do anything, but… I just don't know you very well yet, y'know? And I really can't afford to take chances. I hope you're not offended.
But there's plenty of stuff I can tell you. Let's see. I've been reading and writing fanfic for about a decade now. A friend of mine got me into Harry Potter fic back in college, and I moved from Harry Potter to MCU and Star Trek, then to Devil Boys, although I still read MCU. I was not originally into slash, though. Probably because I was so far in the closet I thought it was my bedroom. Even though my best friend (the one who got me into HP in the first place) is a lesbian, it took me until I was almost 25 to even figure out that I'm gay. I know, I know. Actually, Spock/Kirk kinda helped me work that out. But that's a whole other story.
I never actually wrote any slash til I got into Devil Boys like 2-3 years ago. That's when I got a Tumblr, too. I feel so old on there sometimes - man, I hope you're not like eighteen or something. No offense if you are, I would just find it really awkward to discuss our mutual porn-writing hobby with anyone that young.
Okay, this is getting long enough and I've managed to say things that might offend you at least twice now (that I know of), so I should probably end it. Your turn to tell me your fandom history?
First off: judging from the fact that you were in college about a decade ago, it sounds like we're roughly the same age, so don't worry about that. I'll admit, I had the same thought. I probably could not continue to correspond with you if you were younger than, say, 22. But it sounds like that is not an issue.
Second, I completely understand if you don't want to give me private details. I, too, live in a conservative city, and have no desire for anyone I know to find out about my porn writing. I'm generally out (though I am quite cautious about revealing my sexuality to new acquaintances), but I am lucky in that I am actually a writer by trade, so I don't have to worry about being fired. I am sorry that the same is not true for you. Rest assured that I will never press for more details than you are comfortable sharing.
I am fairly new to the world of fandom, compared to you, at least. I actually started out writing erotica professionally before picking up slash fiction as a hobby. I publish under a pen name, of course. Maybe someday I will tell you what it is. ;) How I wound up writing fanfiction is a bit of a story.
I got out of this conservative shithole for college, went to a school in the most liberal town in the state. I came out then, and had planned to stay far away from my hometown because of it. But four years ago or so, my father fell ill and my mother needed help caring for him. My older brothers are dickbags and wouldn't contribute enough even though they still lived in town, and my sister had just had a baby, so against my better judgment I moved back to help out for a while. A few months later, my father died, and while I was still dealing with that I broke my foot. Long story short, I wound up addicted to painkillers. I'm luckier than a lot of other people in that it was relatively short-lived. About a year and a half in, I started dating a man with whom I'd hoped to have a future, but after a few months the addiction got to be too much for him and he left, and that convinced me to go into rehab. Anyhow, that whole fiasco pretty much cleared out my savings so I'm still stuck in this town (hell, in my mom's house) til I can save up to move.
I started watching Devil Boys a couple months before rehab. I'd heard of slash, because I used to be on LiveJournal and even if you're not into fandom, you kind of just run into it there. Like I said, I was already writing erotica professionally, so it wasn't exactly a huge leap. Fanfiction provided an escape that I really needed at the time. I was having trouble writing the stuff my publisher wanted, but in fic I could be so much more flexible than in my professional writing. I could write things for fun instead of because I knew it would sell. I love the way that fic readers actually want you to abuse the same tropes over and over again; it doesn't matter if they've read ten pretend boyfriend fics today, if you can come up with even the slightest new twist people are ecstatic. So it kind of got me through, kept me writing something til I was in a decent enough headspace to write what I needed to to earn a living.
Well, this is now even longer than your email, and while I (hopefully) haven't said much to offend, I've almost certainly managed to depress the hell out of you. I'd love to hear the story of how Spirk helped you come to terms with your sexuality, by the way, if you're willing to tell. But again, please don't feel the need to share anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Image: Split picture of Dean and Cas sitting at their laptops, both thinking "I gotta get out of Wichita".