Pairings Included in Manifesto: Rachel/Tobias, Rachel/Marco
Blurb: To quote TvTropes, "She looks like a teen fashion model, but is no ditz. Don't make the mistake of calling her one, either. She would love an excuse to send you flying through a wall "
Rachel is one of six teenagers in the Scholastic published Animorphs series that ran from 1996 until 2001. A myriad of contradictions, she's a Action Girl who flirts with being a Berserker / Blood Knight , a Fashionista who redefines just how Blondes Are Ruthless and the textbook perfect example of just why Everything's Worse With Bears. And oh man, does her end fate hit me hard even this many years later.
Fic Rec #1: JEZEBEL
Why This Must Be Read: This is the first- and possibly still some of the best- Animorphs adult fanfiction I ever read when I fell back into the fandom after having been gone for years. At heart, this pairing is about two kids being emotionally and mentally ripped apart in a warzone, and using each other to stay human to do it- but the fact that they love each other underneath all that is clearly evident, as well. Tobias's personal inadequacy issues feature front and center here, as well as the fact Rachel is much less inhibited.
You pick out the straws of hay in her hair, hopelessly snagged in her blond locks, and she smirks up at you. Her brave, fearless, terrifying smile, it haunts you in your dreams, and it makes your heart beat with love and terror, in quick tapping beats, from inside out, kissing the back of your ribcage to the front.
Fic Rec #2 This Heat
Pairing: (Not quite) Rachel/Marco
Rating/Warning(s): Teen/R rating for nineteen year old Marco being a playboy in some detail. Takes place after Rachel’s death, but before the end of series. Neither an AU or AE.
Why This Must Be Read: To quote:
He hadn't loved her the way Tobias had loved her. Or Cassie had. He probably loved her even less than Jake had loved her. Sure, there was probably a time when he had wanted her, the way any teenage boy would want someone as beautiful and intimidating as Rachel. She was sexy and thrilling and being next to her made his whole body feel wound up like a spring ready to explode. But he was scared of her too.
He was scared of what she could do.
The way she could probably slam him up against a wall and undo him.
But then she died.
This one-shot turned me onto this pairing in a way reading the books never had- in fact, I think I went back and started rereading the series and these two characters interacting differently based specifically on this fic.
Fic Rec #3: Splintered Halves
Rating/Warning(s): Teen for battle scenes and graphic descriptions
Why This Must Be Read: This fic, for me, best eximplifies not only Rachel's progressive emotional and mental seperation of the differing sides of herself- and just how much the two are completely tied together. Morphing is clearly showed as a release here; the more Rachel removes herself from the breakdown of her family, the more she acts out while in morph.
I was angry a lot of the time. I was mad because the love I had for my parents had been splintered a long time ago. And now that damaged love could only be reciprocated by another just as damaged. His heart could understand mine, and mine could understand his. So we stood for a while as the red disk dipped beneath the horizon, girl and boy, or hawk, or whatever, and kissed, knowing that it was impermanent, knowing that soon the kiss would have to break.
But for now, two splintered halves were whole.
Fic Rec #4: Pure Sunshine
Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4377672/1/ or http://thegreatcomma.livejournal.com/4088.html#cutid1
Rating/Warning(s): R, Alternate Ending
Why This Must Be Read: The LANGUAGE and the way the author gets into Tobias's head about Rachel are really something else. One of the great 'What Ifs' of this ship revolves around whether or not they could have lasted together had both lived through the end of the war, and this fic does a wonderful job of breaking down one possible option.
Every time he heard her voice, so familiar and warm, he felt exactly the way he'd felt when he was Tobias. Tobias. Boy Tobias, with Rachel. Even with the minimal education he'd had, he knew enough to know that what he felt when he saw her was nothing the average hawk went through. It was far beyond what the animal kingdom knew. Passion.
It was like taking the first sip of hot chocolate after spending hours in the cold – the way the warmth caused his whole body to shudder and shiver, and filled his lungs with something that felt remarkably close to sunshine. Pure sunshine. His heartbeats, dulled by the cold and shrunken into mute submission, sprang back to life. Blood flowed to his face, and his eyes sparkled. Tingles ran like a river from the very tip of his head to his toes.
It was not just his heart that was affected by Rachel.
She dominated every single vessel, tendon, and cell.
Fic Rec #5: Innocent Summer
Rating/Warning(s): G, none
Why This Must Be Read: This is so very little good pre-series kid fic, considering canon plays off of the fact that most of the main characters are either related or have been friends for years before the series begins, and the tone/voices in this story are incredibly believable. It's a shame this piece is a stand alone- I would love to see more in this vein. There's just something special about seeing parts of the five human Animorphs being very much who they will become at such a young age. Light hearted and full of in-joke foreshadowing.
"Guys, a spaceship will be way too hard," Cassie sighed. "And I hate space games."
But the boys had already started arranging sticks into a crude octagon. "Just use your imagination and pretend it's a real ship," Tobias said.
"And pretend we're saving space animals or something," Rachel added, just as eager to play space games. She'd found several large branches. Jake and Marco would want to use them to make the body of the ship but she knew their true purpose: awesome guns.
Fic Rec #6: Tether
Rating/Warning(s): K /PG
Why This Must Be Read: For one, Rachel's voice and character read off the screen very much as they do off the page of the books. For another, this ship is at most levels all kinds of dysfunctional and the author does not shy away from that at all.
It's not healthy.
Then again, not much about this whole thing is. In the grand scheme of things, a barely functional relationship is the least of our worries. We've already given up our childhoods, we've already witnessed more trauma than anyone should ever have to live through, we've already lied so much to everyone else that our families don't know who we are. Sometimes I don't think we know who we are. I know I don't always.
So comparatively, a relationship where two people legitimately love each other isn't that bad. And yes, people. Because I don't care what he says, I refuse to believe he's no longer a person. I don't care if it's what he thinks.
As a bonus by the same author, Pulled in with the Tide from Bad Jokes, Nightmares and Long Holidays and Study Group from are also wonderful snapshots of Rachel interacting with other members of the main six Animorphs, and one character I had never considered Rachel dealing with before.
Rachel shrugged. "Dante follows this girl into hell, witnesses terrible things, barely escapes horrible scenarios. Pretty standard stuff."
"So pretty much us any time you say 'let's do it'," Marco said dryly, pulling the book from off the beaten-up, warped coffee table they'd been using.
"You know what the weird thing is? I get the feeling that Dante's hell would be a lot more interesting if we were, you know, normal kids. But with the lives we live, getting chewed on by Cerberus is kind of small potatoes." Rachel carefully erased every trace of the offending sentence and neatly rewrote it.
Fic Rec #7: Looked
Pairing: passing mention of Rachel/Marco possibility
Rating/Warning(s): PG, post series
Why This Must Be Read: One of the things I love best about the Animorphs series is that the authors never really forget that these are average American kids growing up within families, as opposed to many other 'kids/teens save the world' verses in which the main character is either an orphan (see: Harry Potter) or not routinely connected with their families (see: almost any other teen super hero character). That said, I am a total sucker for family fic of any kind in this series. This paticular piece is told from the view point of Rachel's oldest younger sister, Jordan, and hits all my literary loves of continuing/retelling a story from the view point of someone close to/related to a main character.
In this case, post-war Jordan- who has survived high school unexpectedly in the spotlight as being the kid sister of a dead war hero- unsucessfully tries to move forward with her own life seperate from Rachel's celebrity only to find there is no real way for the living to truly compete with those who have gone on ahead from this life into the next.
"Of course it’s still there, that resemblance, if you know how to look, and Jordan knows how. But if she squeezes her eyes shut, she can’t look at all.
None of it helps. She didn’t bring a single photo of Rachel, nothing to remind her of her older sister, and yet Rachel is still everywhere. These are the college classes that Rachel never got to go to, the quad where she never got to sit, the Frisbee she never got to toss around with cute guys. And that’s just the beginning. The whole world loves Rachel now. The whole world misses her, even in Maine."
Fic Rec #8: The Crane Wife
Rating/Warning(s): PG. Hints of sexuality, implied past violence. AE.
Why This Must Be Read: Personal favorite for the way this story breaks down where Rachel knows without a doubt just how far she's come from the girl she was before the war started to the way she is now, and it's heartbreakingly honest.
It was possible, lying next to Tobias, to forget ripping apart a human-Controller that couldn’t have been older than fifteen with her bare teeth and claws the size of kitchen knives. Possible to forget ripping a Hork-Bajir’s eyes out with talons designed for gutting fish. Possible to forget her mantra in those final months of the war- I am human. I am. I am human.
There had been times where she’d wondered if it was a lie. Humans didn’t do the things she had done with the instinctive, brutal joy she took in doing them. Humans didn’t laugh like she did, harsh and abrasive when Marco pointed out for the six or seven billionth time how likely it was that they were about to die.
Fic Rec #9: Made Us Human
Author: kleenexcow of word_play_sam
Rating/Warning(s): R: non-explicit, consensual sex between minors
Why This Must Be Read: Wonderful example of why I have loved this ship so hard since the series first came out in 1996. Neither character is perfect, nor do they see each other as such; how Tobias in paticular changes over the series as being more in awe of Rachel than anything else into seeing her darkness and loving that part of her because it's part of the whole of who she is is just augh. All of this author's Animorph fic is definitely worth looking into here.
There were many reasons for which I loved Rachel, not the least being what she had been doing ten minutes before, but this one was one of my favorites. Before she even thought about stepping a foot outside, she would make sure that every strand of hair was perfectly in place amongst the rest. She didn’t let anyone else see her vulnerabilities, her inksplotches.
Perfect Rachel belonged to so many people: her family, her friends, her teachers, the other Animorphs. Perfect Rachel was a face that anyone could see.
She was a beautiful, vibrant warrior. But I saw her in moments like these, and I knew all her secrets and secret places. I knew what she looked like with tangled hair. It was a trust. Imperfect Rachel belonged to me, and I loved her for all of those things that made her human.
Fic Rec #10 -Drabble Recs: Clumsiness / Mirror / Light / Home
Pairing: Rachel/Marco, Rachel/Tobias
Link: (click below)
Rating/Warning(s): PG-R for Mirror
Why These Must Be Read: I adore all of these by this author, but as each of these pieces are decidedly drabbles I figured it would be best to rec them together instead of separately.
Light reads like it's set early in the series, before Rachel really starts changing. Lovely foreshadowing.
Arbitrarily, Rachel picked a spot with few trees and laid down in the night wet grass. Cassie followed suit and felt the wetness through her jeans and on her ears. Rachel's golden hair was spread out behind her, marking a bright yellow bolt through the clearing. She would sparkle if it were possible.
Mirror is definitely the darkest of these four, and hints at things the series itself got close to, but never actually touched- totally chilling.
Before Rachel used to spend hours in the bathroom presumably looking at her reflection but it was different now. Days when Jordan saw her sister at all were rare. The bathroom was almost always empty and Rachel was just a flash in the hallway as she ran out the door, claiming she was going to study with Cassie.
But today Rachel had stalked out of bed looking like death warmed over and locked herself in the bathroom and they hadn't seen her since.
Clumsiness is a delightful maybe-are-they-sorta-maybe Rachel/Marco drabble.
Marco liked pretty girls because they made his tongue thick and flat and stick to the top of his mouth, made his stomach drop to his toes, made him forgot all the jokes he ever made. If he had anything at all it was his personality, his ability to crack jokes at the drop of a hat and make even the saddest person smile, but pretty girls seemed to make him lose that ability. He could only smile like a fool and stumble over his words and, only at the worst times, trip over his feet.
Home wraps up with the last few minutes after Tobias's life ends.
His vision clears. He still can't see right because Rachel is standing in front of him. Standing. Jeans and a red t-shirt, unblemished, perfect even in death.