Hold It All At Bay by psocoptera (NC-17)

  • Oct. 18th, 2015 at 12:03 AM
Title: Hold It All At Bay
Fandom: Check Please!
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Psychic abilities, Soul Bond, Drama, Romance, Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Epic (49957 words)
Warnings: Consent issues by way of emotional projection

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] psocoptera
Author Website: psocoptera

Summary:

The theory of extrapolative synchronization of the mirror neurons was debunked back when he was still in his teens, so Jack is reluctant to mention that he can smell Bitty's pies baking from across campus.

Review:

As odd as it may sound, I really enjoy a little realism in my fantasy. Not realism in terms of how the fantasy world's people behave, but realism in the scientific sense. If a fantasy setting has magic, then there should be rules that the magic follows. If there are mermaids, then it would only make sense for them to have gills. And et cetera.

psocoptera takes the soul bond trope and dissects it through two differing perspectives: the scientific and the spiritual. Jack, who is extremely empathic, takes a controversial medication to dull his receptiveness to others' emotions. Bitty was taught as a child to redirect his attention in order to control his emotions, as they tended to reach out and influence others'. The contrast of their respective regimens alone is, for me, the most fascinating aspect of a story with a vast but lightly explored backstory.

Contrast in general is the name of the game in Hold It All At Bay. Not only do Bitty and Jack's upbringings contrast, but their reactions to their respective feelings differ in the extreme. They even contrast with their canonical and fanonical characterizations. Though Jack is canonically prone to anxiety, Bitty calms and centers him in psocoptera's story, and Jack accepts what he feels for Bitty with considerably more ease than Bitty does. A pivotal portion of the romantic plot is actually focused on Bitty's anxiety regarding Jack and the possibility that Bitty's forceful ability has accidentally forced an emotional attachment that Jack believed to be genuine.

The alternating POVs provide vast insight into Bitty and Jack's respective thoughts, but I found the outside POVs to be especially charming. They're well written with distinctive voices that give a strong sense of the personality behind them. The original characters that are introduced have flavor and depth, and while I personally disagree with psocoptera's decision to make Shitty not believe in ESMN, him and the other canon characters read so remarkably true to Ngoizi's vision.

Hold It All At Bay


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