Pairing: Missandei/Grey Worm, background Brienne/Jamie and Daenerys/Drogo
Rating/Warning(s): E, Warnings for mentions of past sexual abuse, frank discussions about sex trafficking and trauma and mental illness
Word Count/WIP?: 480,0007/Yes
Recced on LiveJournal By: super_tricie (LJ) | blackestglass (tumblr)
Why This Must Be Read: Oh man, this story. I've been sitting on this rec for a while, trying to figure out how I want to talk about it. Can I be real with you, fam? As a fan of color, anytime I spy a ship where both people are of color, it means A Lot to me. But after nearly two decades in fandom, I kind of know the score about those ships. They will get little to no fanfic written about them, and if they're tagged in a story, they're usually a background ship.
With season 7 underway and this ship in Full Bloom on the show, I decided to go back and check out what's been written for them on AO3 since the last time I checked about 2 years ago, and this story was at the top of the search results. At that point, it was at 428k words and 114 chapters.
It gave me pause. There's no way, I thought. There's no way someone has devoted these many words to this tiny ship. It's probably not very good and one of those stories that should have ended a long time ago but keeps on going. You know what I mean? But I was Thirsty so I gave it a shot.
I didn't go to bed until 10 AM the next morning. Then I took a nap and finished the rest of the story. Y'all, it's that good.
It's difficult to talk about why I love this story so much because I just...have so many emotions and thoughts about it. I love that it's unapologetically Black and ethnic. Fandom can be so very white sometimes, and to read such an authentic POC voice after so long was just...it made me sit straight up from the very beginning. When I read it, I knew a POC had written it. It was that obvious.
I love that the author doesn't write saints. Everyone in this story is flawed and messy and they're allowed to be. The author doesn't pull any punches, doesn't attempt to romanticize these characters or gloss over mistakes and fucked up behavior. They write with a brutal honesty that's real and genuinely beautiful. This isn't just a story about how two people fall in love. It doesn't end with the exchange of "I-love-you-s" or the wedding. It covers 10 years in the lives of these characters, from college to their 30s. It's about the compromise and the humility and the patience and the love you need to make your shit work with the person you've committed to. It's about the honest-to-god WORK you need to put in. It's about the community and the support system you build. It's about the pressure society puts on you to be a Real Adult, to get a Real Job, to get married and buy a house. It's about how to cope with living with a mental illness and at the same time, how to cope with loving someone who has a mental illness and trauma. It's about the curveballs life throws at you and how that can make or break a relationship.
I don't mean to make this sound like a joyless slog because that's very much not solely what it is. Most of all, this story is about Life, with all its attendant highs and lows. This is an incredibly romantic story about a kind of love I've never had the chance to experience, but is so beautiful and heartbreaking and hopeful to read about. The friendships in this story are a source of endless joy, especially Grey and Jaime's Epic Bromance. But most of all, this story makes me think because it gets into the realest shit. I kind of want it to never end because I'm invested in these characters now and I just want to know what happens to them next. Luckily, the author updates regularly. And I understand that the wordcount and the WIP status is daunting, but y'all...it's really worth it.