The Marvels We Have Seen, from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, was a Treat for [ profile] boosette, who wrote the lovely Menolly-centric Lend Song a Sweeter Grace last year.

A fire lizard mating flight brings Mirrim and Menolly closer together in more ways than one. Rated R for moderately explicit sex.

If you want to read this but are unfamiliar with the books, click on the cut tag at the bottom of the post for background info. Note that this is only the info you need for this story, and the notes on my other story have more extensive info that's necessary for the other one.

This is the first time I've ever written two stories in the same fandom for Yuletide. After failing to snag [ profile] boosette's appealing pinch hit request, I wrote it anyway as a Treat.

This story got all the sex and politics I didn't think my other recipient would like. It could be a prequel to my other Pern story, assuming that the political changes mentioned at the end would take more than a year to materialize. The title is from one of the songs quoted in Dragonsinger.

Sex scenes are difficult, as if you're writing totally vanilla sex there are only a limited number of physical actions which can be performed, and with any sex the physical sensations of arousal and orgasm are hard to describe and not terribly interesting to read. This is why I prefer writing kink (for the positive/neutral meaning of the word), or by having the sex be the means of important plot or character developments. (Other authors go in the direction of "the penis goes into the vagina... on a forklift! In a train! Underwater!")

Neither Mirrim nor Menolly struck me as particularly likely to be kinky, nor was there any real plot going on. And while there was certainly character development involved, it was the more subtle territory of exploring the boundaries of an existing relationship. So to make the scene less "the tongue goes into the vagina... on a beach!" I tried to liven it up by means of dialogue and focusing on the "first time with a woman" aspect.

What I wanted to do in this story, other than write Mirrim/Menolly porn, was explore some aspects of Pern sexual politics that I have trouble with in the books. Actually, the porn covers one of my main issues, which is that women never have sex with women.

There's also tons of lip service about how the Weyrs are sexually liberated, but we don't actually see much sexual liberation. There's implied male homo- and bi-sexuality, but none of the major male character ever seem to have gay sex. The one woman who has non-monogamous relationships is evil. There's a lot of romanticized rape, which I dislike very much. And then there's the whole thing about which gender can Impress which dragons, which I have issues with without even getting into McCaffrey's fruitbat sexual orientation theories.

In this story, I wanted to both explore the gap between the Weyr's theory and practice, but also assume that it really is sexually free in the ways that McCaffrey stated but didn't show. Hence Mirrim has both a boyfriend and a fuckbuddy - and that clearly isn't unusual. (For the purposes of the story I'm assuming she's about nineteen, G'sel is about twenty-two, and T'gellan's about twenty-five, just to make myself feel better. Seriously, McCaffrey's character ages are so inconsistent, for all I know that's actually canonical. Somewhere.)

It must be a very specialized kink to want to have sex with someone in a mating frenzy when you're not in one. I bet no one uses stand-ins unless they either have that kink, or their partner really, really only wants to have sex with them, or, as in Menolly's case, there's a lack of mating flight participants. I doubt that preferred sexual orientation comes into it at all.

My ideas about Menolly's attitudes about sex came from Dragondrums, which has probably the most consensual mating flight scene in the entire series. Sebell bores me but I did get the impression that whatever Menolly wanted was fine with him, which is a very nice quality in a boyfriend.

On the planet called Pern, corrosive Threads fall from the sky. People ride telepathic, teleporting, fire-breathing dragons, who burn the Threads before they land. The bond between human and dragon, called "Impression," is made at the dragon's birth and can be broken only by death. Teleporting is called "going between."

Fire lizards are miniature dragons, empathic but not telepathic.

Mirrim and Menolly are both about nineteen at the time of the story. Menolly is the only woman Harper (musician/teacher, and in her case, spy) and Mirrim is the only woman to ride a green (fighting) dragon. Women normally ride golden queen (breeding) dragons.

A Weyr is where all the dragons and their riders live; a weyr is a cave where a single rider and dragon live. Mirrim is a rider from Benden Weyr.

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