Something Real is my newest story for Stargate SG-1, which I just published a few hours ago on my homepage. It is different from what I usually do in more than one regard: narrative voice, literary devices and most of all general tone.
Now, what’s the purpose of this story? I am not a Sam/Pete shipper, obviously. I am a 100% Sam/Jack shipper. However, despite my Sam/Jack story-count, my friend and beta-reader Channach also pointed out that this story might alienate some of my Jack/Sam readership – so let me clarify something real quick:
I don’t hate Pete. I never quite understood Sam’s attraction to him (which is probably mainly because I don’t find him attractive really), and I personally never found him intriguing as a character or even a match for her. He always came over a bit creepy and controlling. However, stamping him as a bad person just because I’d rather see Sam with Jack is a bit too black/white for me.
I wanted to challenge myself with this story, asking myself: What would she see in him? Why would she start a relationship with him? What are her motifs, what are her feelings? What drives her to accept him as her partner?
That’s what I did here. And, honestly, I actually started to like Pete. (Don’t ya just hate it when that happens? Damn… getting so into Sam’s head and trying to find Pete attractive and sweet and suddenly he is…) However, I believe, that Sam’s relationship with Pete is a reaction to her near-death experience in Grace. Your perspective on certain things changes when you are faced with the possibility that you might die, and that the things that you put on hold, or waited for, or the dream that you strived for might never become reality.
That’s when you would re-ascertain your priorities, and you’d be willing to give things up.
And I think – no, I am sure – everybody in their life has had to face that decision of whether you are willing to compromise. Do you really want to wait, and risk not having anything at all in the end? Or are you going to settle for the things that you can have, and learn to be content with that?
Everybody has done that: be it with their dream job, their dream partner, their life goal, the person you always/never wanted to be, or whatever else. Admit it! You too have that childhood dream of what you wanted to be, that somehow along the way got corrupted by reality. It is part of life.
And sometimes we make the wrong choice – because those things that we believe we will be able to give up turn out to be actually achievable, and those things which our heart truly beats for. Everybody has only one or two things in life that are absolutely incorruptible; that you cannot give up even if it meant you were going to die trying to achieve it.
For Sam, it is her career, and Jack. But those two things are mutually exclusive – at least as things are after Grace.
That is what this story is about. Reminds me a bit of the Pocahontas song, actually: Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum? Should I marry Kocoum? Is all my dreaming at an end? Or do you still wait for me, dream giver? Just around the riverbend… (Lyrics from the song “Just Around the Riverbend”, Walt Disney’s Pocahontas)
When we are young, we are oh-so-willing to throw caution in the wind, passionately believing that, despite of the advice of the elders, our dreams will come true; we are determined not to compromise and hold out until we have all that we want. But once you turn past thirty, you start to see things differently. You begin to understand that your time is limited, that you are mortal. You realize that, by waiting, you might just wake up someday and find that all the good chances have passed you by, leaving you with nothing but shattered dreams – and you don’t want that.
So you start to compromise. You settle for the secure, well-paid job, or for the man who isn’t the guy you always dreamed about, but whom you love and who offers you a steady relationship. You learn to be happy with the situation.
In the end, this is maybe not a shippy story at all – neither Pete/Sam, nor Sam/Jack. Maybe it’s just a story about Sam trying to be happy like everybody else in this world does. I’m not sure. I wrote it… and I felt it was really strong when I re-read it.
And we all know it ends with Sam breaking up with Pete in the end because she realizes she can’t give up on him after all, so even if you’re a die-hard S/J shipper, you’ll get your happy ending – kinda.
I really hope you can enjoy the story, and this little insight made you understand my reasons a little better! (Is it kinda sad that this fandom is so bad, that I feel the honest need to justify myself for NOT hating Pete? Just wondering…)