I don't generally read fanfic. And typically, slash fanfic based on the Colbert Report would be the last thing I'd be fascinated by. But when my friend Sumana tells me to read something, I read it -- and Silent by SailorPtah set off a little aching echo because it was good.
The premise: the friendship of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart in an alternate reality where Jon is deaf and Stephen in the closet. It's incredibly tame slash that's barely even slash -- not that I have much basis for comparison, but even I could read it. If you don't want to see the kiss at the end (that's about it, really) just read the first 3 chapters, skip the 4th, and you'll have a buddy story.
Things that resonated for me:
- How important it is to be able to communicate with the people you're close to in a way you're both fluent in -- no interpreters between you -- and how much you don't want to rely on them as interpreters for the rest of the world.
- The intertwining of a friendship that's also about a shared pursuit of excellence in work.
- Wondering what the world would have looked like if you could hear. The friendships you have and treasure -- what would they look like? Would you still have them?
- The intricate difficulties of lipreading and pronunciation and tracking speakers in a group dialogue and only getting aural jokes on a delay, and the role text communications can take when you struggle to rely on sound (here, they become another medium of fluent communication between friends).
The author did an amazing job of creating a world, stepping into it, delving deep into the implications (and not just going for the obvious "this is what happens with deaf people" moments), and mining brilliant jokes from their alternate universe. I think I'm unable to step back from the story in some ways because moments from that alternate universe match up too well with things I've actually lived in this one. The note-writing after an argument; the hug in the hospital, Jon's glimpse of our universe.
I wanted to give a silent nod and acknowledge that these things and this story did touch me and stay with me. That is all. And now I return to my regularly scheduled data analysis. (Yay, end-of-semester workloads.)