There are reasons I've never gone back, but most of them sound like excuses. One reason is the time commitment, the time I could be writing my own fiction instead. This is not to slam fanfic in any way; fanfic is important, transformative works are important, and more than that fanfic has been good to me. It made an otherwise unremarkable young man into a writer. My skill at storytelling didn't bolt out of nowhere; I spent eight years writing fanfic before I wrote my first novel and fifteen before I wrote a good one. My work in fandom since this journal was started in 2003 is the result of years of practice (and occasional failure) before I came to LJ.

If you want to write fanfic and you're good at it or even if you just plain have fun, god bless you, do your thing and be ye unashamed. Fanfic is awesome. I never planned for it to be a training ground for my original fiction. It just worked out that way.

For BtvS it was Giles, dry and educated and surrounded by people who most of the time didn't care. Welcome to my high school years. In Discworld it was Sam Vimes, because he was a cynical bastard who still tried to do what was right, and that was very much me in undergrad. In Harry Potter I came to the canon as a staggering lonely, underpaid teacher, so I felt a strong resonance with Lupin, who tried to be kind and to educate and still survive. I only really became involved in Torchwood when Ianto took a more central place in the second season, because I was the office-boy with a secret life, and he said all the smartass shit I never have the immediate wit to say.

(The fact that all of these men are also deeply repressed and damaged, usually by a traumatic event in their youth, is another essay for another time.)

I never wanted to be the boss. I wanted to be the terrier, the teacher, the butler. I've always wanted to be the sidekick. Unfortunately, the sidekick usually dies, and never gets as much airtime, because, you know...he's the sidekick.

Perhaps it is fortunate -- because I wouldn't have realised this otherwise -- that my last two conduits, Lupin and Ianto, are dead. I've tried to shrug them both off but they are painful, in part because I'm not sure they actually did serve the story in the way their authors intended, in part because that's me who didn't get a death scene, that's me who died because of a stupid stunt. That's me, and it hurts, and I can't help that. However alive they might be in stories and in my head, they're dead in the canon and that can't mean nothing.

I feel stupid that I'm hurt by deaths that were chosen by their creators for a reason, deaths that are incidentally fictional. But I am. I don't want this to happen again, because maybe they did have a good and legitimate reason for dying and I just can't see it since that's me.