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Dear Chocolate Box Author,
fractal
island_of_reil
Happy new year! Thanks for offering to write for me, and for reading this letter. As I prefer to err on the side of too much than not enough detail, I will provide as much as I can. Let me start with the fandoms I’m requesting, and then I’ll move on to general preferences.

(Note: The SnK/AoT section contains spoilers for recent chapters.)

SnK/AoT | The Goblin Emperor | Maiden Rose | Original Work | General Preferences

Fandoms

Shingeki no Kyojin / Attack on Titan

Ships:
  • Armin Arlert/Annie Leonhardt. One of my favorite fucked-up ships. Annie is a mass murderer who strives for aloofness in training and in the MP because she desperately does not want to develop feelings for the people she has been ordered to kill … but she spares Armin, and she is vulnerable to his manipulations. Armin is on the side of “good,” and he has very good reasons for betraying Annie, but he grows more morally ambiguous as the canon goes on, even though it costs him psychologically. The anime’s director has said he could see Armin growing up into a dictator. I would like any shipfic that addresses the complexities of these two characters, either in the canon era to date or in futurefic.


  • Jean Kirschtein/Armin Arlert. I’d love a fic exploring the time gap between the Uprising and Return to Shiganshina arcs. Armin has by then saved Jean’s life three times, the third time in particular having strengthened the bond between them. There was also the excruciating incident of Armin being groped and Jean helpless to stop it, though he did relieve Armin of having to deal with the molester afterward and tried to comfort him back in the cabin.
         We see them hanging out together post-timeskip. Do they talk much about the traumas they went through, including the psychic burden of having blood on their hands? Since I ship them, I wouldn’t mind any such conversations occurring after sex. If you want to write something lighter, maybe Armin’s the one who encouraged Jean to grow his hair out because he thinks it looks pretty. Or maybe Historia yelled at them to get back to work because they have a habit of “disappearing” for a quickie in some hidden spot at the orphanage, and she needs them to get work done/doesn’t want to have to explain sex on the spot to some nosy orphan.


  • Uri Reiss/Kenny Ackerman. I like what little we’ve seen of Uri in canon flashbacks: very self-possessed, completely comfortable in his role as king, utterly unafraid of Kenny. Kenny, for his part, was undyingly loyal to Uri from the moment they met. How did their differences in class and personality play out in their relationship? What sort of resentment might Kenny have met from the rest of the Reisses? We know there was no love lost between Kenny and Rod; what about Frieda? Alternatively, how might Kenny have protected Uri with his Ackerman powers, when Uri was unable for whatever reason to shift into a titan?


  • Rod Reiss/Alma. Rod was horny, Alma was ambitious, thus Historia was born … or was it that simple? Alma was supposedly a servant, but she spent her days reading, not working. What was her backstory? Did Rod gravitate to her not only out of lust but because there was some other connection there? What made her so bitter toward her daughter — was it only that Rod would never make her the new Lady Reiss, or were there other reasons?


  • Ymir/Historia Reiss. For these two, I’d really love fic whose theme is Ymir’s credo of “Live for yourself.” It can be set at any time during or post-canon.


  • Farlan Church/Levi Ackerman. How did they meet? What drew them to one another? Is it a romantic relationship, or are they friends and business partners with a FWB agreement? I prefer the manga version of their history, in which it looks like Levi had already adopted Isabel before he met Farlan. Alternative idea: Levi remembering their relationship while he mourns both Farlan and Isabel after his first Survey Corps mission.


  • Eren Jaeger/Annie Leonhardt. Again, Annie was less able to remain aloof from “humanity” than she would have liked. Despite their winding up enemies, she taught Eren how to fight, and she was the first person who opened his eyes to the world’s many shades of grey. Were they sexually involved during training — hence (part of) Mikasa’s hostility toward her, and Eren’s refusal at first to accept that Annie is the Female Titan? Was that only UST, either one-sided (on either of their parts) or mutual? Was there UST going on when the Rogue/Vanguard Titan and the Female Titan fought in the Forest of Giant Trees? How about in Stohess? If Annie emerges or is taken from her crystal, how do she and Eren interact, whether or not their UST was ever resolved?
Gen pairings:
  • Hanji Zoë & Levi Ackerman. You’d think that Hanji’s manic persona and lack of hygiene would drive Levi up the wall, and sometimes they do, which is why I don’t ship them. But there’s a very solid soldier-in-arms bond there, and Levi seems to respect Hanji’s research as well. I’d love fic about them after Erwin’s death, especially, with Hanji now outranking Levi and the two of them trying to fill the gap he’s left. But fic set earlier is fine too. (Note: I headcanon Hanji as cis female and would prefer her written that way. I like that she is both a groundbreaking scientist who is a woman, and the first commander of any military legion in their world who is a woman.)


  • Eren Jaeger & Historia Reiss. These two are deeply bound by their experiences in the Reiss cavern. Beyond that, they have many similarities: parental and especially father issues, being used by the Survey Corps to advance its agenda, their society pinning its hopes and dreams on them despite their own self-doubts and, at times, self-loathing. While both of them are compassionate people, and Eren is perceptive, I don’t see either of them as especially attuned to his or her own emotions or able — or willing — to talk much about them. They’re doers, not talkers. Any fic that explores their friendship from these angles would be welcome.

The Goblin Emperor

Ships:
  • Thara Celehar/Evru Dalar. Thara is deeply spiritual and moral. Evru was a cheater and a wife-killer. We don’t know whether Oseian abused him, or if that’s just the lie he fed Thara; whether he was always a manipulative bastard, or whether he was driven over the edge by domestic abuse and societal homophobia. Pretty much anything about their relationship, or its tragic end, would be great, but I would especially love emotionally intense and angsty smut.


  • Thara Celehar/Aina Shulivar. Pious, loyal, and emotionally vulnerable celibate cleric meets brilliant, murderous revolutionary with a Rasputin-like charm. Okay, sure, they met only once in canon and Thara saw right through Shulivar, whose zeal blinded him to everything. But suppose Shulivar became a leader of the Curneisei because he was able to pick up on little things … such as something not quite right with this new zhornu who just sat there quietly and listened. Maybe Thara found him hot if disturbing, which he obviously would not have written to Maia about. Maybe Shulivar picked up on that… or maybe he found Thara attractive without caring whether it was reciprocal. Would he have propositioned Thara, who is oh, so lonely and vulnerable? Or, perhaps, under the guise of confiding even greater secrets in Thara, would Shulivar have led him to one of the Stone Tree’s smallest inner rooms, one that was set aside for trysts, and proceeded to noncon/dubcon him? Would he have threatened Thara with further public shame, physical danger, or danger to those he serves in order to keep him quiet? Does Thara stay in Amalo and keep coming back to Shulivar for more of that sweet, sweet extremist dick, while lying to Maia that he’s still looking for answers? (And, if you feel ambitious, how does that affect the greater scheme of things?)

Hyakujitsu no Bara / Maiden Rose

My ship for this fandom is The Murakumo Trio: Date/Moriya/Azusa. Anything would be welcome, but I’d especially like fic that emphasizes how all three of them are equal parts of the whole trio.

Original Work

Ships:
  • Court Mage/Royal Bodyguard. M/M for this one, please. Do they work together to protect their sovereign? Or are they rivals for power? What’s the tension between their talents? The bodyguard would be strong and capable in a fight, but perhaps the mage is not so physically impressive? Yet he can make his physically powerful colleague/lover/rival levitate above the floor or ground.


  • Incubus/Male Human. I don’t have any strong ideas about what I want here, even who tops or bottoms, but I don’t really see the point of this pairing without smut. :)
Gen pairing: Necromancer & Demon Summoner. Here’s another one that I have no idea about, but it sounds interesting. Anything is good, the darker the better. Any gender combination is fine with me here.

General Preferences

What I like/would be fine with

  • Fanfiction.

  • Explicit sex in any of the ships I’ve listed.

  • Either party topping or bottoming in anal sex. I am not averse to penetration being written as dominance (in either the BDSM sense or the general sense), but you don’t have to write it that way at all.

  • One or more participants being underage, so long as they’re past puberty.

  • Canon divergence, especially for SnK.

  • Loyalty. Yeeeeeessssss, please. Oaths of fealty, blood oaths, standing by one’s friend or loved one when everyone else has turned against them, fighting back to back, returning to the scene of battle to save the other, knowingly sacrificing one’s life for the other.

  • Good leadership. Reciprocating the loyalty of one’s subordinate(s), in ways described in the previous bullet point. Trusting their judgment and encouraging them to trust their own. Making sure they have what they need in order to get their jobs done. Treating them not as equals in rank, but as equals in humanity (substitute whatever species here works for you). Holding them accountable when they fuck up, fairly but not too leniently, because the leader doesn’t want it to happen again.

  • “Competence porn” — not in a Mary Sue-ish way (e.g., Ayla in the Clan of the Cave Bear books), but in a natural and realistic kind of way.

  • Moral greyness/ambiguity in situations and characters. My favorite characters are morally ambiguous but sympathetic overall. I also like basically good characters with rough or snarky exteriors. I’m not so much into cartoonish villains who are into being bad for the sake of being bad, or “hard men making hard choices.” I’d rather read about evil done out of apathy, self-interest, emotional dysfunction, revenge, desperation, despair, and other all-too-human things. At the other extreme, I’m not into flawless goody-two-shoes types. Characters are like diamonds in that flaws are what make them interesting.

  • Darkfic. “Grimdark" in the George R.R. Martin sense is too much. But I am fine with injury, death, and damnation where appropriate to the canon; exploration of harrowing issues so long as it's done tastefully; or even noncanonical death of a canon character if it is not gratuitous and is handled well.

  • Endings that are happy, sad, or ambiguous, so long as they’re fitting for the story.

  • Atmospherics. I love rich descriptions of anything, especially of nature, but also of towns and cities, clothing, food, etc. Small details are always welcome.

  • Research. If you’ve got knowledge of historical details, language, etc. that’s relevant to any of these prompts, and you can work it into the fic without it feeling superfluous, please feel free to. Again, small details are always welcome. If you genuinely love doing research, do so to your heart’s content, but please do not feel obligated to bury yourself in it in order to write a story. Especially not for this exchange.

  • Intricate plottiness, the machinery of politics, and political intrigue — if they fit the canon and, again, if you feel up to it.

  • Character study.

  • Love/hate relationships.

  • Pining and UST.

  • Tattoos, especially magical or spiritual ones.

  • A little purpleness in the prose. “Purple” tends to be in the mind of the beholder anyway. If your style is stripped-down and tight, that’s fine too, but I don’t want writers to worry about using “too many” adjectives or adverbs.

What I would not like

  • Fanart. Love fanart in general, but I’m looking for fic in this exchange.

  • Character bashing or slut-shaming by the author.

  • Rigid gender roles — especially for het ships. If the male char and female char have a tense relationship in canon, I’d like to see it explored. I don’t want them flattened into a cliché of champagne, roses, wedding gowns, and babies. If she’s powerful in canon, please don’t reduce her to a damsel in distress who needs rescuing.

  • Silly misunderstandings that the characters could clear up with a little communication, but don’t.

  • Tropes and kinks that I like in some fics but do not want for this exchange:
    • Genderbent/Rule 63 characters
    • AUs other than canon divergence
    • Crack
    • Crossovers/fusions
    • Feminization of men
    • A/B/O
    • Other mpreg
    • Tentacles
    • Humiliation/embarrassment
    • Incest
    • Slavefic
    • Bestiality

  • Tropes and kinks that are hard nopes for me:
    • Time loops/“Groundhog Day”
    • Curtainfic
    • Kidfic
    • Asexuality
    • Hardcore gore, torture, or mutilation. Floggings are about my limit, and even then I don’t want the character whipped to death or nearly to death.
    • Infantilism
    • Watersports, scat, or vomit play
    • Eroticized pedophilia (shota/loli)

  • Heavy use of epithets, such as “The taller man then leaned down and kissed the blond soldier.” Names and pronouns are usually enough.

  • A great deal of exposition (that is, telling rather than showing). I realize it’s very YMMV, and sometimes you do have to tell rather than show, but I prefer fics that err on the side of showing.

  • Second-person narration.

What is context-dependent

  • Overall I prefer third-person narration, but first-person in original work is fine.

  • Noncon/dubcon. For Armin/Annie, Celehar/Shulivar, or the Original Work ship prompts, it’s fine. For the other ship prompts, please no.

  • Consensual BDSM. For Jean/Armin, Uri/Kenny, or Court Mage/Royal Bodyguard, it’s fine (and either party can dom or sub in any of those cases). For other ship prompts, please no.

  • Hurt/comfort. I prefer the male characters to be the ones who suffer. I’m not all that big on pure whump, but OTOH I don’t want a character to be fussed over for getting a paper cut, especially if they’re tough and stoic in canon.

  • Angst, so long as it’s age- and situation-appropriate. Conflict-related angst, existential angst, depression, and even manpain are all fine, but adults acting like emo teenagers, not so much.

  • Fluff. In general, a little bit goes a looooong way for me. I’d be okay with fluffy Jean/Armin, but that’s not what I’m looking for in my other prompts.

  • Trans or nonbinary characters. For the Necromancer & Demon Summoner prompt, it’s fine. For the other prompts, please no.

  • Xenophilia. For Incubus/Male Human, it’s fine. For the other prompts, please no.

  • Infidelity. I don’t have a particular thing for it, but a lot of people list it as a squick. I thought I would specify that I’m okay with it, so long as the cheater realizes that it’s unethical and deals with guilt. I don’t like love being used as a justification for it. The exception is if you write Thara Celehar/Evru Dalar. Infidelity would necessarily be a huge part of the fic, and I’m fine with Evru having no regrets about cheating on his wife.

  • Discussion of social issues. They’re inherent in any world with human or humanoid characters, and I like it when fic addresses them in a natural way that serves both characters and plot. But I can’t read preachy issuefic — especially if it’s wildly anachronistic (e.g., use of words like “heteronormative" in a historical or quasi-historical canon). Character X stopping the action to lecture Character Y on Issue ABC is just not my bag, sorry.

  • Witty banter. In general, I like the old-fashioned sort you see in Shakespeare’s comedies or comic-relief scenes, or in the work of Oscar Wilde. I am not fond of the Joss Whedon/modern-sitcom kind.

  • Humor in general. I like it just fine, and a little in an otherwise serious fic is okay, but I am not seeking a story that can be classified on the whole as “comic.” The exception would be Jean/Armin, if you wanted to write it light.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your fic! :)

My AO3 handle is Island_of_Reil.

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