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so clearly I fail at knowing the definition of "drabble".

title: excerpts from sweetheart vs. spitfire, et al.
fandom: Temeraire, with new added tennis RPS flavor! (Temeraire tennis au)
pairing: mostly gen, hints of Tharkay/Granby(/Laurence) if you like to read between the lines
rating: pg
word count: 3500 (<-- DEAR GOD WHY)
summary: Kazilovic d. Eyre, 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4
contextual notes: oh, so many things to apologize for. this is the first of the drabbles I offered my flist (still a few slots open, if anyone's interested, and I promise I am getting to them! just, you know, slowly, and not in order), and obviously I know not the meaning of restraint. in my defense, aramley did technically ask for this insanity. I'm fairly certain she wanted tennis players with dragons rather than dragons playing tennis, but hey, you don't specify, you take your chances. sorry this travesty has your name on it, bb! (of all the things I have to apologize for in this fic, honestly the one that really bothers me is that Temeraire is a girl. this makes no sense, since I love pretty much all Temeraire genderswitch. oh, the lines we draw in the sand...)

I owe approximately 97 bazillion thanks to t_lyrical, who not only did not defriend me in revulsion, but also talked me off the ledge when I went flailing to her in despair over the ending, patiently pointed out my mistakes, helpfully suggested ways to tie everything together and then, because she is a goddess, drew Tammy and Iskierka for me! if you read all the way to the bottom you can have it as a prize. make sure to tell her how awesome she is! (but, uh, do not blame her my crazy. BLAME ONLY ME.)

Sweetheart vs. Spitfire is sort of loosely based on a real book called Strokes of Genius by Jon Wertheim, about the 2008 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Forty Deuce is a real tennis blog which is especially notable for its use of obscure nicknames for players, although obviously the entry in the fic is fake, and I apologize to C Note for borrowing it without permission!



"For the love of God, would you please stop that infernal noise!" he snapped, shaken out of an almost-trance by the uncompromising pounding on his door. "I am this close to finished! Leave me alone!"

"You are not missing the Roland Garros final because of that bloody book," came the unsympathetic reply. "Shut down your computer and get in the car."

He muttered something under his breath about pushy coaches who thought they were entitled to tell the whole world what to do instead of just their proteges, and then obeyed, because as little as he liked it, the source of the irritating interruption was completely right: putting the finishing touches on last year's history could wait. Watching this year's history would not.

~*~

Many people would ask John Granby, in the following year, whether he had any idea at the time what he was doing, that he was changing history. He would laugh, almost incredulously, and say, "History? For god's sake, it was a tennis match." But the fact remains: he knew perfectly well what he was doing.

Tharkay, Z. Sweetheart vs. Spitfire: Tam Eyre, Iskierka Kazilovic and the Changing of the Guard. New York: Random House, 2010.


~*~

Second set of the Wimbledon final for women's singles, nine points into the tiebreak. The first seed and reigning champion was leading one set to love, up three points in the tiebreaker, and her opponent was drooping after spitting fire and serving aces all tournament long. Granby eyed Iskierka's stiff back as she chose her balls, and then grinned and cupped his hands around his mouth. "Come on Tim!" he yelled.

"She's not a man," pointed out the man sitting to his left, a journalist who had been (grudgingly) granted permission to shadow Iskierka's team for the Wimbledon fortnight. He was foreign, Granby remembered, noting the faint accent once again; he looked more confused by John's mad English behavior than irritated. "She's not even British."

Granby grinned at him toothily. "Oh, I know, but I'm not cheering for Iskierka. I'm cheering for Tammy. COME ON TIM! GO TAMMY!"

Iskierka's head whipped around as if he'd yanked a string attached to her braid, her face going dangerously bright red. Granby waved with an almost demented smile, nearly clipping the ear of Eyre's coach, who was seated on his other side, and her expression darkened even further. She turned back to the court, her movements sharp and quick for the first time all set, and served two impossible, beautiful aces. Across the net, Eyre's eyes (dark, long-lashed, and perpetually praised as "Oriental" in interviews with Vogue, Elle and Sports Illustrated) widened. Iskierka took the next three points, and the set.

During the changeover, Iskierka stormed straight up to the player's box, ignoring Tammy, the referee, and any threats of penalties. "You are my coach!" she screamed upwards, unaware that her tantrum (along with seven other, somewhat milder versions from matches and practice sessions earlier in the tournament) would be uploaded to YouTube within the hour. "You cheer for ME!"

Granby sat back with an extremely self-satisfied expression to watch the final set, as Iskierka bludgeoned Tam Eyre, No. 1 in the world for two years running and three time Wimbledon champion, straight into the grass in a fit of righteous fury.

~*~

The rivalry between Eyre and Kazilovic is one of the most thrilling in women's tennis today, but off-court it is astounding how little they seem to regard each other as enemies. Kazilovic's coach, John Granby, was Eyre's assistant coach and hitting partner for nearly two years before leaving her for his Serbian protege; Granby and Will Laurence, Eyre's long-time coach, remain close friends. "She's like my family," Eyre has said on numerous occasions, when asked to define her relationship to her younger opponent. "Like my little sister." A somewhat bratty one, perhaps, given that Kazilovic has always been prone to outbursts of temper on-court and off, and jealously guards her claim to Granby's attention. But the two tennis stars are in each other's company more often than not: during tournaments, they eat together, hit together, often live only doors away in the same hotel. Last year, on their laughably brief off-season, Eyre and entourage visited Serbia with Kazilovic; the year before, Kazilovic had gone to China with Eyre.

The circumstances surrounding Eyre's official nationality are somewhat obscure, and it is only very recently that she has been able to visit the land of her birth, having refused - on pain of heavy fines - to even play tournaments in Shanghai or Beijing after the People's Republic of China laid accusations of kidnapping against her coach. China's interest in reclaiming an Olympic-level athlete is understandable, but the claim that an orphaned, eight-year-old Tam Eyre, whom the Republic refers to by her birth name of Lung Tien Xiang, was wrongfully abducted by her devoted coach received short shrift and succeeded only in alienating Eyre. Although she acknowledges her Chinese heritage, she is a proud British national and has represented her chosen homeland in both the Fed Cup and Olympics. "England is my home, and Will is my family," Eyre said in an interview with Vanity Fair shortly after China first expressed concern that her adoption by William Laurence had not gone through appropriate channels. "China can ask me to come home until they're blue in the face for all I care. I am home."

Tharkay, Z. Sweetheart vs. Spitfire: Tam Eyre, Iskierka Kazilovic and the Changing of the Guard. New York: Random House, 2010.


~*~

Match point arrived too quickly, and Granby sat forward in his seat, abandoning his low-voiced conversation with Laurence as the other man mirrored his movement. The sports journalist, who had been clearly torn between watching the match and listening to them talk, glanced quickly at them and then focused on the women on court.

Tammy was tired, Granby thought, watching her bounce on her toes a few times before choosing a ball. She was moving slower, and her serve was losing accuracy. She wasn't giving up, though. He'd never once seen Tammy give up.

Iskierka, on the other hand... well, he'd seen her give up, of course. He'd seen her give up almost once a day when he'd started coaching her, and her threat to quit was usually accompanied by a racquet flying at his head. But she hadn't thrown any racquets recently - he'd told her he would quit if she did, and that was the one threat she did take seriously - and at the moment she was too pissed to even think about surrender. He watched her toss her braid over her shoulder and crouch down, waiting for Tammy's serve, and nodded to himself.

Tammy's first serve went into the net. Iskierka barely shifted, waiting for the ball with narrowed eyes. The second serve was good, and she sent it back, pinpointing the corner of the court, making Tammy run for it. It was the right strategy. Tammy got one return, two, three, and on the fourth she stumbled as the ball flew inches past her racquet.

The crowd erupted, Tammy let her shoulders sag the tiniest amount, and Iskierka stood stock-still at the baseline, seemingly waiting for the next serve. She straightened slowly as the umpire gave the score and mangled her name for the final time, still processing the fact that she'd won Wimbledon. Granby could see the exact moment it sank in, because she dropped her racquet on the ground and nearly bolted across the court, vaulted the net and flung herself straight at her opponent.

Tammy looked up just in time to brace for impact. Iskierka barreled into her, threw her arms around her waist and spun her around, actually lifting her completely off the grass. "Tammy, Tammy, I did it, I won!" she shrieked.

There was the briefest moment when Tammy paused - too brief for Iskierka to notice, but not Laurence or Granby. Losing Wimbledon thankfully hadn't made her any less Tammy, so the instant passed almost immediately. She laughed and hung on for dear life, feet and racquet dangling uselessly. "I knew you could," she said.

~*~

So, who called Kazilovic shaking off three match points to take down Princess Tammy in three, and can I have your lottery numbers, too? Because JESUS, nobody saw that one coming. She's eighteen, in her first Grand Slam final, and she claws the Wimbledon trophy away from Eyre? Those are some serious balls she's got there.

I can't decide whether that hissy fit Little Miss Spitfire threw at her coach in the changeover before the third set was infuriating or endearing, honestly. I mean, yeah, it was maybe a little out of line if he really was cheering for Princess Tammy. But she started screaming at him on court in the middle of the final. At Wimbledon. Is this the face of the new guard? Because I miss Tammy's gracious reign already.

Then again, this is the Serbian Spitfire we're talking about. I probably would have been disappointed if she hadn't thrown a tantrum. It's practically her thing. And props where props are due: she played an absolutely unbelievable tiebreaker, and a mind-blowing third set. Tammy looked ready to fall over and die by the time Iskierka was done running the legs off her, and Kaz wasn't even winded. I'm really looking forward to a revenge match-up soon. Bets on the US Open, anyone?

(Okay, I'll admit it: I sobbed like a little bitch during Kaz's speech. God, I want to hate her so bad for taking this from Tammy, and I can't. Dammit Miss Spitfire! Stop trying to express your love in adorably terrible English and go back to being hateful so I can loathe you in peace!)

I can't even face the thought of going through this wringer with the men tomorrow. The things you do to me, tennis...

Forty Deuce. 2009. http://www.cowbell.typepad.com


~*~

Kazilovic took home the trophy from her first Grand Slam meeting with Eyre. Watching the two of them on the winners' platform, however, you might have thought the opposite was true. Kazilovic, who had displayed nerves of pure steel in the match, staring down three match points without blinking, was obviously anxious during the trophy presentation and stuck to Eyre's side like a burr. It made for an almost laughable picture, since the Serbian is nearly half a foot taller than her petite Asian colleague: she was a St. Bernard trying to hide behind a housecat.

Tammy Eyre has always endeared herself to the public for her graciousness in victory; that day she proved her graciousness in defeat, accepting the plate instead of the cup with a speech full of kindness to her younger rival. Separated from Eyre during the ceremony, Kazilovic visibly screwed up her courage and launched into her speech.

In the middle of a clearly scripted address thanking the fans, the sponsors, the ballkids and of course her coach - despite her having lived in England for nearly three years at that point, Kazilovic's discomfort with formal English was plain, and she usually preferred to speak through a translator - she abruptly stopped, scowled fiercely, and began again, this time with words that were less than perfect but were clearly hers.

"Also I want very much to say the thank you to my family, my sister, because she is always being for me the person I want to see when I win, and today I am being so much happy, because of I win and she is here. Always she is believing for me and saying I can win, even when I am crying in hotel bathtub and saying I can only lose. Tammy, you play beautiful today, always you are playing so beautiful, and always you are being most wonderful sister in the whole world, and making me always so very much proud for you."

By the time she had finished, Kazilovic's face was blotchy red from either embarrassment or pent-up tears. Eyre shoved her plate into the hands of one of the sponsors and ran across the stage to throw her arms around the girl who had displaced her, unrelated by blood but undeniably her sister.

Tharkay, Z. Sweetheart vs. Spitfire: Tam Eyre, Iskierka Kazilovic and the Changing of the Guard. New York: Random House, 2010.


~*~

"So," Granby said to the journalist as the audience slowly filtered out of the seats, "what are you up to tomorrow night?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Tomorrow night," Granby repeated. Laurence had started to get up, on his other side; Granby reached back and yanked him down into his seat without looking. "Do you have plans?"

"I will be attending the Champions Ball," the reporter said, confused. "As will you."

"Oh," Granby said, and wrinkled his nose. "Will and I are just going to drop the girls off and go find a proper pub, actually. Tammy can look after Iskierka for the night, and the food is always terrible. To say nothing of the beer."

"I... see," said the journalist, who did not. "Why are you telling me this, please?"

"I'm inviting you to join us," Granby explained patiently. "You should come along, Tharkay - it's Tharkay, right? You've been around 24/7 for the past two weeks and I don't even know your first name. We should hang out."

Tharkay blinked, and obligingly provided a Malay word with approximately nine times as many consonants as vowels. "Bless you," Granby said.

"That was my name."

"Oh." Laurence kicked Granby in the shin; Tharkay saw him wince.

"Tharkay is fine," he said magnanimously. He didn't particularly enjoy hearing his given name mispronounced, anyway. "I do not understand. Why should we 'hang out'?"

"You're the least obnoxious reporter I've ever met," Granby told him, completely sincere. "Iskierka even likes you. Well. She doesn't hate you. We need to hang onto you."

"I am so sorry," Laurence interrupted, clamping a hand over Granby's mouth. "He's always like this. Too many tennis balls to the head as a child."

"I've been following him around for two weeks, Mr. Laurence; I am hardly surprised. Mr. Granby, I am afraid I have not grasped your point. How do Miss Kazilovic's feelings toward me enter into the matter?"

Granby threw a friendly arm around Tharkay's shoulders, much to his bemusement. "You think that little shitfit she threw earlier was bad? That was nothing. You've never seen her when some reporter gets up in her face. You never did that. You were polite, you stayed out of the way, you didn't ask her a bunch of intrusive questions or try and get at Tammy. So we're hoping you'll stick around. Interviews, exclusives, whatever you want."

"Within reason," Laurence added. Tharkay looked at him, surprised to realize that Tammy's reserved coach was apparently in on Granby's madcap scheme. Laurence smiled suddenly, and said, "We do like you rather a great deal, Mr. Tharkay. But you need not commit to anything more than dinner. Though perhaps you will oblige us by making use of our Christian names."

"Will, you are a disaster," Granby said affectionately. "I shudder to think what Tammy's childhood would have been like if I hadn't happened along. Come on, let's go check on the girls. They must be out of the showers by now."

Tharkay trailed bewilderedly in their wake down to the women's locker room. Iskierka and Tammy were finishing getting dressed - Tammy in a comfortable tracksuit, Iskierka in a frankly ridiculous sequined top and skin-tight jeans. It was utterly garish and utterly like her, and Tharkay could not help but smile as Granby kissed her forehead and called her a darling, tasteless girl. "Fasten my necklace," she demanded, not bothering to refute the accusation. "Also I am wanting my hoop earrings back. I know you stealed them."

Granby sighed. "I only do these things to protect you, you know. They won't match your outfit."

"I want them," she said, her voice rising perilously. "They're mine, I buyed them, I want to wear them, and you cheered for Tammy!"

"And then you won," he pointed out. When this failed to soothe her impending tantrum, he sighed again and pulled a jewelry box out of his pocket. Iskierka was immediately all smiles once more, bad temper forgotten.

Tammy slipped around them to stand by Tharkay and Laurence, putting her hand in her guardian's in an instinctive gesture that clearly calmed her exasperation. "So will you be staying with us, Mr. Tharkay?" she asked with a smile. Iskierka looked over.

"Oh, yes, you are going to be our reporter person and not annoying like other reporters persons!" she said, beaming. "I very like you. You no ask the stupid questions."

"Ah... thank you?" Tharkay hazarded. Granby shushed Iskierka with the deft skill of long practice and sent her off to put in her earrings, before she could stick her foot even further in her mouth.

One of the uniformed tournament lackeys poked a head into the locker room and announced, "They're ready when you are, Miss Eyre." Tammy sighed and nodded.

Tharkay had turned to speak to Granby, but out of the corner of his eye he could see Laurence put an arm around her shoulders and kiss her temple. "You played well," he murmured, barely loud enough to be overheard. "Go on, now." Tammy straightened her shoulders and went.

Tharkay hesitated, then said, "I should be at her presser."

Laurence nodded politely; Granby clapped him on the shoulder, hard enough to rock him back on his heels. "We won't keep you."

"I'll see you back at the hotel," Tharkay blurted, wishing belatedly that he'd bitten his tongue as a flush burned his dark cheeks. Granby was looking at him quizzically. "And. At dinner tomorrow. John."

A startled, delighted expression moved across Granby's face. Tharkay beat a hasty retreat, praying his face would cool before he had to sit with his colleagues and interrogate Tam Eyre about her unexpected loss. It was the right thing to do, however, he consoled himself; if Iskierka Kazilovic could stand on a stage while the whole world watched and, in a language so very obviously not her own, tell a woman she had just knocked off her throne she loved her, he would be ashamed not to have the courage to take the hand that John Granby had extended to him. It was a day to be brave.

~*~

History has not yet determined who will win the rivalry between Eyre and Kazilovic, if either of them ever will. Anyone could tell you, after that first Wimbledon final, that their names would go down in history together.

Tharkay, Z. Sweetheart vs. Spitfire: Tam Eyre, Iskierka Kazilovic and the Changing of the Guard. New York: Random House, 2010.


~*~

Tharkay sat back and watched the cursor blink at the bottom of the page. "I think I'm done," he said.

"Really?" Tammy asked, looking up from the card game she was playing with Iskierka and Granby on the bed.

"I want to read!" Iskierka said. "You say I am prettiest, yes? And best player. And have all the nice clothes." Tammy poked her in the side, but gently. Iskierka still took losing badly. She'd only cried for half an hour after the final, though, and when she came out of the locker room her face was blotchy and tear-stained but her favorite, tacky hoop earrings were flashing in her ears, signaling defiance to the world. Her presser had been phenomenally gracious, if you considered that normally after a loss she either sulked and only answered in Serbian, or threw things at reporters she thought were asking stupid questions. Maturity came slowly, maybe, but it was coming.

"It's in English, dearest," Granby said mildly. "You wouldn't get very far."

"I said you were very pretty," Tharkay interrupted. "I even wrote about the dress you wore to the Champions' Ball. With the glitter, and the sequins." Though it had made his soul die a little bit inside just to think of it again.

"Oh, good," Iskierka said, cheered. "I buy new dress for this year! Tammy, we go shopping in London."

Tammy hit Iskierka over the head with a pillow. In the ensuing chaos, Granby slipped away from the girls and came to sit with Tharkay in his corner by the electrical outlet. "I'm proud of you," he said, directing his remark to the light fixture a foot or so to the left of Tharkay's head.

"Thank you, John," Tharkay said gravely.

"So, what project will you be working on next, do you suppose?" Granby's attempt at feigning nonchalance was largely unsuccessful.

"Well, there is always more tennis to write about," Tharkay mused. "I think I may ask the Times to let me switch to the men's tour, at least for a while."

"Oh."

Tharkay barely glimpsed the hurt on Granby's face before he looked away. "Well, it's important in journalism, not to lose perspective," he heard himself saying, as if from very far away. "I could hardly be objective, you know, about women's tennis."

"Why is that?" Granby asked softly, still watching the girls make a mess of the hotel bed rather than meeting Tharkay's eye.

"Don't be obtuse, it doesn't suit you," Laurence said impatiently from the other side of the room as he frowned mild disapproval at his daughter and her sister. "How could he be objective about his family?"

Photobucket
Tam Eyre and Iskierka Kazilovic celebrate after Wimbledon

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Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
t_lyrical
Jun. 16th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Okay, so know that I am completely in love with this AU setting along with the Iskierka-Tammy love-hate relationship. It’s also worth repeating that journalist!Tharkay, Coach Granby, and Coach Laurence makes me FLAIL and SQUEAL with pure, shameless glee. The back history provided by Tharkay’s book was so cleverly done, and makes me wish I had a copy or something.

There was the briefest moment when Tammy paused - too brief for Iskierka to notice, but not Laurence or Granby. Losing Wimbledon thankfully hadn't made her any less Tammy, so the instant passed almost immediately. She laughed and hung on for dear life, feet and racquet dangling uselessly.

Ffffffffffffffffff-SO CUTE. How is it that I don’t ship them as dragons, but I’m all up for some tennis femslash? OH, YOU. And fashion disaster Iskierka wins my girly heart.

Thanks again for letting me have a look! You are AWESOME. ♥ ;o;
meretricula
Jun. 16th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
~hugs forever~ man, I cannot help my crazed passion for AUs. I want to write outtakes where, like, Iskierka secretly hates that her whole family is British and she's not but she's really proud of her heritage so she won't change citizenship even though she lives in England and Tharkay learns Serbian so he can help her with press conferences and then Tammy makes him teach her how to say "I love you" and "your shirt clashes with every color on the visible spectrum" and... ~headdesk~ I want a Vanity Fair article about the five of them five years later! when Tharkay has finally given up this futile pretension that he has a life outside of the girls and become their PR agent and they have a house out in the country with tennis courts on the lawn and I want Emily Roland to write it, oh god someone needs to stop me for my own good.

no, YOU are awesome! &hearts &hearts &hearts!
(no subject) - t_lyrical - Jun. 16th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
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pellucere
Jun. 16th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
Linked here from t_lyrical! This is amazing and hilarious and really incredibly in character, for, you know, a tennis AU. Iskierka's speech was really sweet! It seemed very heartfelt. Tharkay's role was interesting, and I loved the excerpts from his book! And the one blog post, hah.
meretricula
Jun. 16th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
thank you very much! I was totally grooving with Iskierka for once, which is weird since she's one of my least favorite characters, but all the others were being obstinate, so I'm glad you thought they were reasonably IC. o_O;; (I had so much fun with that blog post. you have no idea.)
mardia
Jun. 16th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
Okay, this is unbelievably awesome and adorable and just PERFECT, I can't believe how well you pulled this off. Bravo, seriously!
meretricula
Jun. 16th, 2009 10:14 am (UTC)
thank you so much! yours was the first Temeraire fic I ever read, so it means a lot to me that you like this. =)
applegnat
Jun. 16th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
* jaw drops * You didn't. You did? YOU DID. OMG. And it's brilliant. Lookit your Iskierka! Your Granby! YOUR THARKAY? And it all works so neatly, and that you did it at all, much less that you did it as excellently as this, puts me in serious amounts of awe. Wow. Oh, the darlings.

Are you linking this on temeraire_fans/temeraire_fic? You really should.
meretricula
Jun. 16th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
haha, yeah, I went there! thank you very much! it was such a lunatic idea, I was afraid people were going to hate it. and me. ~sweatdrop~

I was thinking about it, honestly. I'm not sure how much of a background in tennis is necessary to read it - Tanya seems to like it, and she's not all that into tennis rps, but she likes all my lunatic ideas, god bless her, so. you think someone who'd never watched a tennis match could read this?
(no subject) - applegnat - Jun. 17th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC) - Expand
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anazri
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
Eeee, YES. Tennisplayer!Iskierka is PERFECT. I love Granby's cheerfully unscrupulous methods of getting her to play well, and then calling her a darling, tasteless girl and hiding her earrings. *GLEE* Oh Granby, you may try to overcome her love for sparkly things, but you will never ever succeed.

Also, Tharkay's book, omg. And just - THARKAY, the perfect observer even while he doesn't realise he's being observed by them. He would be the perfect journalist. Granby and Laurence's reactions to his name made me laugh quite a bit (though you just know that when his first name really is revealed in canon it's going to frustrate the whole fandom by being horrifically mundane) and then coo over their interaction, and yes. Love! <3
meretricula
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I really really wish Granby would be cheerfully unscrupulous in canon - lord knows he's not having much success otherwise. although he's such a cutie that I love him anyway.

the lengths to which fandom goes to avoid giving him a name that will inevitably get Jossed are kind of ridiculous, frankly. I hope his name is horrifically mundane, just for the lulz. I totally stole the reason nobody uses it from [Bad username: t-lyrical&quot;], though. =D
(no subject) - anazri - Jun. 17th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
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appending_doom
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Goodness, this is quite a bit of crack, but wonderful crack, as it were. I'm impressed that you've managed to transpose the them-ness of the characters, even across centuries and genders and species, as necessary.

I liked this quite a bit, so thanks for letting us see it.
meretricula
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
thank you! I banged my head against the prompt for quite a while before I could come up with anything that worked at all, so I'm really glad it seems okay to people who don't get automatic cross-over glee, you know? (I am absolutely blinded by cross-over glee. I have no objectivity whatsoever. there are DRAGONS and they play TENNIS and it's like the most awesome thing ever! but then I realize that not everybody feels that way about tennis.)
gun_smoke_blue
Jun. 17th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
....GUH.

The whole idea of tennis player!dragons is just adorable. I love what you've done with it. Beautifully written. I love Coach Granby and Coach Laurence and Tharkay. ooooo, pretty Tharkay.

However, one minor quibble I had was the timeskip from when Granby invites Tharkay over to the hotel. It seems to me that Tharkay doesn't know Laurence and Granby well at that point. However, the next thing I read is that Tharkay is suddenly counted as one of the family. I had to go read over it a few times before I realized that 'Oh! There's a timeskip and now Tharkay is one of the family!'

Besides that, though, no grammar errors and your word choice and placement are beautiful. Everyone's IC, and Iskierka is so adorable. ;__; I wish she was real.

Peace!
Ash
meretricula
Jun. 17th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
everybody loves Tharkay! he is Temeraire fandom's little black dress. XD

oh, huh. should I have put dates maybe? the thing is that the outside scenes take place at Roland Garros, while the inside scenes are at Wimbledon (there's almost a year in between the tournaments), which is maybe a kind of small detail to hang important plot information on. hmm. actually place/date headers probably couldn't hurt.
aramley
Jun. 17th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
You know, this is the first Temeraire fic I've ever read and now I'm just never going to want to read any other because this is so unbelievably good. I can't believe you've made it work so well! The characters are all so perfectly themselves and it's all just so - perfect! ♥

Ah ha ha, I am so proud to have been the prompter for this piece of awesomeness, even though it's about a bajillion times better than anything I was thinking of! :D
meretricula
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
oh, wow, really? oh god. okay, didn't know that, probably should not have gone the OT3 route, oops? (there are REASONS why I am so tinhatted about Granby/Tharkay/Laurence! you don't know them! oh god, I feel kind of awful now.) REALLY you've never read mardia's All True-Hearted Souls? because that is what everyone's introduction to Temeraire fic should be. ~frets~

ok, we can fix this! here, have some recs. sorry, I know I'm kind of overenthusiastic, it's just, I did Temeraire for Yuletide and I got so into it, and the people in the fandom are so lovely, and oh, I want you to love it too!

ps: I meant what I said earlier: I'm going to try and do this prompt again later, when I've fulfilled my other obligations. I had some ideas halfway through with this that could be... well, interesting.

pps: sorry my little psychotic break took over this comment! thank you for your lovely compliments!
novembersmith
Jun. 20th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
I DON'T HAVE WORDS. How did you take something so cracky and make it so utterly plausible and utterly sweet! I loved it to tiny tiny pieces. And I have to second t_lyrical on the femmeslash. (Although, uh, I also ship them as dragons. What can I say.)

I loved the format, and the little snippets of history--Tammy's relationship with China and Granby's with Laurence and Tammy ("Will, you are a disaster," Granby said affectionately is SO PERFECTLY GRANBY OMG). And really, everything about Iskierka, especially. Bratty and brilliant and possessive. When John started cheering for Tammy, I started laughing uncontrollably.

In conclusion: THIS WAS SO FUN! <3
meretricula
Jun. 20th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
thank you! that's so nice of you! by the time the fic was over I was totally on board with the femmeslash, too - what I get for writing the girls in homage to the tennis One True Pairing, I suppose. =)

"outside sources" is one of my favorite stylistic sources - so much limited perspective! my thing about third-person limited is a little distressingly geeky, but oh well. but I was really worried that only someone who was familiar with tennis would be able to read this, so I'm so glad you liked it! &hearts!
kthxrawr
Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
*flaily hands* oh my god. [my flail is to the degree that I saw this, and instantly rand down to tell my flatmate my life was now made.]
everyone is so perfect, and they play tennis, and Granby cheering for Tam. aso, forty deuce, squee.

sorry for being so random, but I am tired and this fic is awesome and perfect. \o/
meretricula
Jun. 23rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! when aramley asked for Temeraire and tennis I was like, CHOCOLATE IN MY PEANUT BUTTER! I am so glad you liked it too. =D
meteordust
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
I never would have imagined this in a million years, but I am so glad you did because it is absolutely brilliant. You have captured the Temeraire characters perfectly - especially Iskierka! - and fit them so cleverly into the tennis world. (I love the illustration too, like some kind of unguarded snapshot.) Anyway, this story made me laugh out loud and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, so thank you!
meretricula
Jun. 27th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I'm very glad you liked it - I had a fantastic time writing it, in between fits of oh god I'm a lunatic what am I doing??!! (isn't the picture FABULOUS? t_lyrical is so amazing and I love her to bit!)
issen4
Jun. 26th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
This is an amazing fic! Reading it, I could see it happening. Love your characterisation of Iskierka. And Granby. Brilliant.
meretricula
Jun. 27th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
aww, thank you! Granby is my favorite, and I had a blast with Iskierka.
just_ann_now
Aug. 1st, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
*wandering by from the "Yuletide" link to your journal* Oh, this was just hysterically funny and very warm all at the same time. Awesome!
meretricula
Aug. 1st, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
thank you, I'm glad you liked it!
reticent_lass
Oct. 8th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Fantastic
To be honest, I hate tennis. Like, utterly, viscerally, would-rather-eat-a-racket-than-play-or-watch loathe tennis.

But this is so perfectly right I think I'd read Sweetheart vs. Spitfire just based on these bits. It's just that well written. I love this. All of it, the fierce love between these mismatched girls and the arguments of family between them and their guardians and the sheer themness of their tennis-playing style, Tam never giving up and Iskierka just being as vicious as she can. And of course Iskierka has no taste, but if she ever acquired any she wouldn't be Iskierka any more. The only problem with it is that I now can't help but attempt to picture Maximus-the-tennis-player and since I tend to picture human-Max as one of those hairy biker fellows who give off the impression of being nine feet tall... it's a bit disconcerting.
meretricula
Oct. 9th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Re: Fantastic
oh, wow, thank you so much for such a thoughtful review! I was really worried that someone who didn't like tennis wouldn't like this fic; I'm glad it worked for you anyway!

...though now you have made me conceive of Lily Harcourt and her older sister/coach Catherine, and their heartwarming tale of how they proved that women really can be coaches of top-ranked players and battled against discrimination and were generally BAMFs. XD
Re: Fantastic - reticent_lass - Oct. 16th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Fantastic - meretricula - Oct. 16th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC) - Expand
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