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Title: Bent But Never Broken
Author: Neevebrody
Wordcount: 400 or so
Rating: G - Art is worksafe
Characters: John Sheppard
Beta: Thanks to melagan for looking this over for me.
Notes: This art/word is for the lovely esteefee who mentioned something about Sheppard and James Dean and leather, though this is probably not what she had in mind. The ficlet is a fractal impression of Sheppard pre-Atlantis that came from somewhere inside the art.
Disclaimer: Not mine, I wish. The base for the manip is actually a cheesy '70s porn promo shot that I judiciously cropped for use here.
Summary: He couldn't deny this was crazy, stupid on so many levels, but it felt good.

Bent But Never Broken

Jesus, he'd once thought of the Air Force and thumbing his nose at the family business as rebellious. He chuckled at the word and how ridiculously out of place it sounded to him now. This was taking a hell of a chance, but what he had on the CO seemed like insurance enough. He wasn't the only one – just one face in the collection, and that's where they all had it wrong. Sheppard wasn't collectible and he wasn't about to be anyone's bitch. He belonged to himself and that was the way he liked it. If you did your job… did the right thing… what did it matter?

Being a rebel meant resisting or rising against some authority, control or tradition. People had tried to control him his whole life, make him bow to tradition. In most cases, it was easier to let them think they had succeeded. In others, unfortunately, somebody almost always got hurt. After a point, it had become merely who he was. Not a total disregard for authority… authority was good; it was necessary. He only bucked when it became like barbed wire across his ass. He chose his concessions wisely but never handed over the control. The Air Force may have been one of those choices, but it was a box as well. A great big box full of authority and tradition and he walked right into it, eyes open, but with that one errant spark in his heart. One he didn't mind keeping to himself as long as his reward was the sky – the liberating and limitless open range that made his heart race, his blood sing, and gave him his purpose.

So, where exactly did he fit in? Was there a place where the socially defective met for drinks, exchanged business cards, networked? Did anyone even care anymore? Did they even notice? He did his job… he'd done the right things.

He tossed the photos on the bed – they weren't half bad. He couldn't deny this was crazy, stupid on so many levels, but it felt good. It felt free. Smiling, he watched them disappear inside the crisp uniform pocket. Sure, the ante might be raised at some point, but for now, and for the price of a shy little game of footsie, he got to strip, play dress-up, and embrace every glorious facet of his dysfunction.

And if there was fallout… Well, hell, he was sure there was some ass-end, far-flung refuge with his name on it somewhere.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 26th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC)
Sheppard in leather and tags
Did I say the body language works for me too???..........

I love your story and can relate so well to the following:

"If you did your job… did the right thing… what did it matter?"
"He only bucked when it became like barbed wire across his ass."

It can be quite dangerous, but at least you recognize the person starring back at you in the mirror.

Aug. 27th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
The tags I had to add in but I really think they make the look. I thought the body language was just Sheppard all over, and I think it would be very important for John to recognize that face looking back at him. Very nicely put.
(no subject) - black_raven135 - Aug. 27th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 26th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)

If only those pics...well I have a new dream tonight.

"This was taking a hell of a chance, but what he had on the CO seemed like insurance enough."

This quote makes me wonder if you have served in the military or worked for them in some way, because this happens far more often than people realize or want to admit. Bravo for calling it out. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Aug. 27th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

No, I've neither served in nor worked for the military - this was just a gut feeling and something I've always felt about the way I see Sheppard. Looking at the artwork and making the final tweaks, the words just kind of appeared.
Aug. 26th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
Wow! Gorgeous! Love the soft colors! And the story is also an accurate snapshot of John. Well done!
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie. Glad you liked it. I was very pleased with how the color worked out.
Aug. 26th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
...hell, he was sure there was some ass-end, far-flung refuge with his name on it somewhere.
Indeed! :D

This is fab! I love the art, all of the leather & his thumb hooked in the waist of his... chaps? *g* Rarz. Well done.
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Thank you!! Oh yes, those are chaps. The original pic is just chaps and dangly bits. And, yes, I did! ;)

Edited at 2011-08-27 01:31 am (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2011 06:04 am (UTC)
oh WOW. the image is gorgeous and hot and just about perfectly what I imagined, and yet even more so...I love the filtering (aging) treatment, god, so very much, and the choice of images, and just, cripes. DESKTOP.

and the story is just cynical and self-deprecating and savvy and brilliant. oh, *John*.

eta: eep! it's for moi! thank you!!1!!!

Edited at 2011-08-26 06:06 am (UTC)
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
Yes, for you!! Thank you, hon. I'm really glad you like both pieces and your comments are almost too kind. The art was so much fun to make. I did the "Polaroid" templates myself and enjoyed working with the textures and gradients. And the snippet came right out of the art itself. I wish it was always that easy. ;)
Aug. 26th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
I'm going to stare at this picture some more while I have my morning coffee and just mention again - I love that last line. :)
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
I appreciate your help - more than you know. Glad you liked this - Thanks.
Aug. 26th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, loved this. I've had James Dean and Sheppard fermenting in my mind this week.
"What are you rebelling against?"
"What've you got?"
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!!

"What've you got?" Perfect!
Aug. 26th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
That last throwaway line is pure John Sheppard at the start of Rising - giving Sumner his best shit-eating grin.

Loved the art. The colours are wonderful, and you executed a flawless match of tone and scale in the photowork.
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon. You comment means a lot to me as I was a little unsure of my characterization at first. But I think you've got it spot on!
Aug. 26th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
oh wow, that is absolutely gorgeous! love the fic, the art, everything! ♥
Aug. 27th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie!! So glad you enjoyed it.
Aug. 27th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
OH MY GOODNESS. I was dreaming and hoping someone would put someone in a leather jacket, but I confess this goes beyond my meager imaginings. SO DROOLWORTHY. And also, so completely Sheppard. How is the look on his face so perfectly aligned with the curve of that back. That is incredible.

The story is a great accompaniment too, and I especially love the last line. INDEED, John Sheppard, INDEED.
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! When esteefee mentioned "leather" and "James Dean" my mind went straight to John and a manip I had started but abandoned. Rebel was the perfect opportunity to complete it. I was really lucky with the choice of head shot of JF. The snippet just evolved from that. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.
Aug. 27th, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
Uh....nice....very nice....

I almost forgot to read the words.

Very well done, I love this look at Sheppard...I like his attitude! There are some really amazing lines in this. Really enjoyed.

And the pics...oh...my...goodness...

Aug. 27th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
*points at comment* What she said!!
(no subject) - neevebrody - Aug. 28th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neevebrody - Aug. 28th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 27th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Very nice. Loving both the fic and art. John looks very lickable there, mmm
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I agree, very lickable...
Aug. 27th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Late to the party as usual, but what a party it is. Wow, that's some image there, and you captured the brooding 'screw you' tone of the picture very nicely in the fic that goes with it. That's just... damn, woman! :-)
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Better late than never, right?

Thank you!! The 'screw you' was right from the image itself, it was like audibly hearing John's internal monologue before he tosses the photos on the bed. Doesn't happen often, but ya gotta love it when it does.
Aug. 27th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
This is amazing *__________*
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Eeee! Thank you, dear!
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. Read this earlier and just realized I didn't comment! How embarrassing. I love this little piece though. That last line is the perfect seque into the series, too. The bit I loved most was Sheppard wasn't collectible and he wasn't about to be anyone's bitch. SO SHEPPARD. Love you for this.
Aug. 28th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
Eeee! Thank you so much - glad you enjoyed it! Yep, the last line is like from Sheppard's mouth to my ear. ;)
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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