For me, it started innocently enough. The second season of the BBC's Sherlock had come to an end, and I was obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch. I'd heard about this thing, "fan fiction," and thought, Let's check it out. I was a Ben-Addict (Cumberb****), and I needed a fix.
Thanks to sites like FanFiction.net, I could easily search for my most yearned-for matchup: Sherlock and Irene Adler. I read all the fan-written stories about them having adventures together — for instance, Sherlock finally getting laid. When I ran out of Sherlock and Irene stories, I was distraught. How would I survive the hiatus?
Then, it happened: I found Johnlock. Johnlock is romantic fiction about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and the resource pool is endless. Like rabid animals, fans go into a frenzy at the idea of these two men together. And when I say "together," I mean rated M for mature. And let's face it, Cumberbatch's Sherlock is awfully pretty.
It's known as "slash fiction," and it portrays sexual relationships between characters of the same sex. You may be thinking, Yeah, but Sherlock and John? That one's obvious. Sam and Frodo? Yeah, them too.
How about Harry Potter and the dreaded Draco Malfoy? I read one about these boys the other day where they attend the Yule Ball — as a couple. Back to Lord of the Rings: Legolas and Aragorn have a drinking contest and end up naked in bed. Head over to the Twilight series, and Jacob is imprinting on Edward.
Before you even ask, gay dudes aren't the only ones writing these stories. Heterosexual and gay women make up most of the authorship. Now, there is some talk about the upswing of homosexual romance novels. As of late, women like reading about man on man. Why?
Well, guys have been using the excuse since the first caveman learned to speak. Pretty women are good. Two pretty women are better. Two pretty women kissing is the best. It's like compound interest: the hotness factor continually adds up.
For us, then, one hot guy is great, especially when it's a hot guy we've been fantasizing about for three, four, five books. Add another hot guy, then make them cuddly and confessing their love for each other, and we're hooked. Compound interest.
Generally, fan fiction is about taking your favorite characters and putting them in circumstances that are just too melodramatic for real life. I'm guilty: I write Sherlock fan fiction, because I really want Irene Adler to screw Sherlock Holmes. For me, it's a form of catharsis. It's also a form of entertainment — a little nibble between seasons or books or films.
Fan fiction is an excellent distraction and can become heavily addicting. Slash fiction is hotter than ever, and I don't see that trend slowing anytime soon. As we get more comfortable portraying homosexuality in the media, slash will continue to thrive. We will continue to fantasize, together, as a fan collective.
I know I wasn't the only person watching the BBC who thought Sherlock didn't deserve a punch after his return from the dead in Season 3. He deserved a big, sloppy kiss from Dr. John Watson.
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