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"Eye of the Beholder" - Nicholas/Danny - PG13/R [Dec. 9th, 2008|12:13 am]
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Title: Eye of the Beholder
Fandom: Hot Fuzz
Pairing: Nicholas/Danny
Rating: PG-13/Rish
Notes: I was talking to goddessdster last week, and one of the topics that came up was the tendency for some people in fandom to slight characters like Danny on account of their size. A couple of days later, I taught a seminar session on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, the theme of which, this being a literature course, was the concept of the narrative gaze. Later on, I got to thinking about Danny and Nicholas in context as viewed objects: while Danny occasionally catches flak in the form of size-ist insults from Wainwright and Cartwright, Nicholas is the one most constantly viewed as some kind of freak. It's as if Danny is on the whole accepted for who and how he is by his community, whereas it takes a skinny health-nut like Nicholas to actually raise eyebrows. Danny's the only one to accept him as he is. It's no big thing that Nicholas is not into eating the cake and ice cream every single time it's offered, etc. This is what I've been scribbling in bed when I'm coherent. I'm considering a counterpoint piece from Nicholas's point of view, because who knows how long this flu will last.
Summary: Nobody seems to look at Nicholas as the sum of his parts.


What bothers Danny most is that nobody seems to look at Nicholas as the sum of his parts. They're always isolating some abstract feature, usually a negative one, and subjecting it to brutal, unflattering scrutiny. As for his physical features, that's another matter. They're always isolating something and subjecting it to merciless leering. And while Nicholas is a generally attractive bloke, sure, it burns Danny up to seem him taken for granted, because those twats don't even grasp the half of why.

Take his arse, for example, so profanely harped upon by those NWA hags with walkie-talkies. Does anybody as eyes it in passing (and that's a lot of middle-aged biddies, not just homicidal psychopathic ones) really have any idea of its worth beyond the visual manifestation of being nicely shaped? Danny should hope not, for that would mean they'd found a means of ascertaining its three-dimensional virtues, and for him, those transcend mere visuals. There's the permanent indentation it's left on his couch, for one: that particular cushion wouldn't be the same if his arse had remained the only one beating it into comfy submission. There's also the way it fits his grasp perfectly, but that's another story, and this is an invective against objectification.

While he's in the neighborhood, it's probably worth pointing out Nicholas's thighs, too. Those go on show every bloody morning when the weather's warm, heaven knows, and although the biddies don't dare whisper about that – what makes them slightly risqué to members of their age bracket, Danny is sure he can guess – they form another pretty picture with value beyond ogling. They're good for jumping fences, chasing swans, supporting clipboards, balancing plates, and keeping Danny's own legs warm when they happen to be all tangled together on cold nights, thank you very much. There's also the fact that having them wrapped around his hips makes him feel like a complete and utter sex god, but that's not the point, either.

What about Nicholas's hands? They're fascinatingly precise, and wouldn't ladies of a certain age find some kind of prudish, Victorian thrill in tittering about that? Danny is amazed at how difficult it is to make out the knife-scar, which has led to the formulation of his theory that Nicholas has mutant healing abilities. What's more, they become curiously arresting when taken out of context. It's one thing to see them obliterating paperwork or working a steering wheel with white-knuckled intensity, and quite another to watch them watering a peace lily, mister poised just so, fingertips skimming over delicate leaves with frightening care. And they can do the washing-up like nobody's business: why resort to steel wool when the force one can put behind a dishrag is more than sufficient to cut through grease? Nicholas's hands are thorough, in no case more exemplary than when they stroke through Danny's hair or work a knot out of his back. He can think of other tasks in which they're thorough, too, but this is, after all, about the prudish, Victorian thrill of implication.

It's fortunate that no one gossips about Nicholas's arms, Danny supposes, as he feels particularly possessive of them. Although they spent a goodly amount of time pushing him away at the outset, he'd eventually proved to them that he was something around which they ought to consider wrapping. And Nicholas, when taken as the sum of his parts and given a proper chance, was no fool - and saw to it that they finally did.


- Continue: Staring Right Back -
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sarahsan
2008-12-09 01:02 am (UTC)

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Oh, this was really lovely. Poor Danny; I'd keep getting distracted by the particulars, too.

I'd be very interested to see one of these from Nicholas' side because I am curious about what conclusions you came to about Danny being slighted for being a big guy. I love the way you've dissected their perspectives, and yet the characters still feel true and whole. Wonderful fic. I feel like I should be drinking some hot chocolate, it's just that comforting.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:16 am (UTC)

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You know I'll do a follow-up. It's kind of a no-brainer ;)

Hands are one of the first things I notice about people. Hands or eyes, although eyes are just obvious. There's also something about a person's gait that will catch my eye, too. It's thrilling to recognize someone from a great distance not because you cant make out their features, but because you know the way they move.

(I wish I had some hot chocolate. Bleh. Thank you <3)
[User Picture]From: alpha_orionis_v
2008-12-09 01:22 am (UTC)

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Personally, I've always found myself very fascinated by a man's hands. Clean, slightly stained, manicured nails, battered finger tips, smooth, rough, steady, frantic...


And, I've noticed, a bit of an insecurity for some blokes. By bizarre coincidence, my neighbour and I work together, and there was a period of time for about two weeks when he was my immediate supervisor. Because we also know one another outside of work, talk and jokes can get quite sexual (especially on occasions when drink is involved), but one day when he took my computer mouse from me to show me a shortcut, our hands grazed one another, and I told him quite simply that he has very soft hands, and for some reason, that simple statement seemed to make him more embarrassed than anything else ever said or done between us.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:29 am (UTC)

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I had an early fascination with my father's hands, because they're very like mine. He's the delicate one between my parents, and I've even got his slender ankles and small feet. He never did seem sensitive about those things, though; he's one of those people who gives very little thought to those parts of the body that are most functional. My hands are quick, good for typing and miniscule detail-work and slipping into tight spaces to retrieve lost things, but they're not very strong. Neither are my father's. Detail-work all the way: he's a dentist. My husband has fairly small hands, too, although once again there's no anxiety involved. I suppose I know a lot of people who are either happy with their hands or just don't give them much thought!
[User Picture]From: aithine
2008-12-09 02:06 am (UTC)

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Oh yes, that was lovely and just right. (Heee, mutant healing abilities.) Yay, Danny!

[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:29 am (UTC)

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Thank you :) Danny's my new favorite POV for writing in, I think.
[User Picture]From: hsavinien
2008-12-09 03:02 am (UTC)

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I like your writing. It's terribly lovely and evocative.

Very sweet. ^_^
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:31 am (UTC)

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This piece was a lot more cheeky than I'd been planning on it being - you know, all thoughtful reflective serious business and oh, hi, then the "complete and utter sex god" line showed up and I was like, whatever, fine. Ham it up, why don't you.

Hee, thanks :)
[User Picture]From: hsavinien
2008-12-09 08:06 pm (UTC)

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Yes, but it just fits... They wouldn't be themselves if it was all serious introspection and no cheekiness.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 08:06 pm (UTC)

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True enough. Especially Danny!
[User Picture]From: mikes_grrl
2008-12-09 03:04 am (UTC)

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I like this, Danny putting all the parts together. Lovely and sweet and insightful! Thanks for this, it is wonderful!

[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:33 am (UTC)

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I do hope for a follow-up, as leaving something like this without counterpoint would seem pointless. It's not precisely what the conversation was on, but near enough, I suppose. I can't expect to be teaching a course and not have it meddle in my fannish business; that would be too much to ask :-P

Thank you!
[User Picture]From: bakaknight
2008-12-09 04:18 am (UTC)

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Damn. I kinda honed in on the 'mutant healing abilities' aspect.

But everything up to that point? Wonderful. Simply gorgeous.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 11:36 am (UTC)

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Sadly, no: this is not Nicholas Angel as Claire Bennet ;)

Sorry to wreck the overall effect with the touches of humor; as I said to somebody above, the cheekiness crept in and the original tone of it kind of flew out the window. I'm going to cut down my Sudafed dosage, for sure...

And thanks!
[User Picture]From: bakaknight
2008-12-09 02:28 pm (UTC)

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Huh?? No, I loved that part. The humour was fine. After that line though, all I could think of was Danny forcing Nicholas to sit down and watch all the X-Men movies...
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 02:31 pm (UTC)

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Hee! Oh dear. He's probably done just that. He's probably also shown him all the Heroes episodes currently at his disposal, too...
[User Picture]From: bakaknight
2008-12-09 02:39 pm (UTC)

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-nods- See?
[User Picture]From: miss_morland
2008-12-09 01:08 pm (UTC)

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There's also the fact that having them wrapped around his hips makes him feel like a complete and utter sex god, but that's not the point, either.

*flails*

Nicholas has mutant healing abilities.

Hee!

And the last paragraph is just soooo cute.

Lovely, as always. There's something really comforting about the way you write these two.:-)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 01:20 pm (UTC)

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They comfort me. I've been so much with heartache in some of my other fandoms that I had almost forgotten what it was like to have this. It's why I'm ravenous, I think. Can't stop now.

I'm glad you got a laugh out of this. It wasn't originally supposed to be humorous, not necessarily, but I do think it's better for the mild silliness in the end :)
[User Picture]From: hollycomb
2008-12-09 05:10 pm (UTC)

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Aww, I love this so much! The balance of humor and genuine sweetness was just right. I love the bit about mutant healing abilities, because it really drives home what I love about their relationship, the way Danny sees Nicholas. He's just completely in awe of him, and I don't always like that in a pairing but it works so well here.

I love this pairing -- I'll be searching through your journal for more now. :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 06:17 pm (UTC)

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Just click on the hot fuzz tag. There are...let me think, seven other stories besides this one? I've been busy since I discovered the film back in September! I'm quite besotted.

It's not an unwarranted awe, is the thing - and it's balanced by Nicholas's complete and utter adoration of Danny once he's gotten past being annoyed/perplexed/frustrated with him :)
[User Picture]From: random_nexus
2008-12-09 08:26 pm (UTC)

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Delightful!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 09:58 pm (UTC)

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Why, thank you! I think I'm working through your feedback backwards...
[User Picture]From: big_twinkie
2008-12-09 09:55 pm (UTC)

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"for that would mean they'd found a means of ascertaining its three-dimensional virtues"

whoa, what? you just made my mind go straight to the gutter. :D

i love rear window, incidentally. it's one of those perfectly made movies. notice that grace kelley literally becomes a part of james stuart's fantasy when she breaks into the suspect's house?

i think nicholas, too, is some sort of living embodiment of danny's fantasy world. he's a supercop and all, and asks danny to shoot up the town with him.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-09 09:57 pm (UTC)

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Yes - there really is that! I found myself wishing I could've used Hot Fuzz as the point for discussion with my students. Which probably would've got me a lot of funny looks ;) But yes, Rear Window is astonishingly well done. I'd never seen it before last week; I had to watch it in order to teach it as part of the syllabus. It was at least enjoyable. And I found myself wondering what Danny would think of it, film-nut that he is.

Hey, if a phrase like that results in guttermind? I don't mind. Thanks once again for reading!
[User Picture]From: big_twinkie
2008-12-09 11:08 pm (UTC)

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hot fuzz is a hodge podge of genres, mostly borrowing from the cozy and the american action film, with dashes of the police procedural and the horror genre. it's a very postmodernist film about other films. :) that said, i don't know that it is the best film to drive your point across. in terms of underlining themes, it's all over the place.

"vertigo" is another hitchcock film about blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. i would say it is rear window's darker half. "stranger than fiction" with will farrell also does it, but it seems to be a story device, rather than the film's theme.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-10 11:57 am (UTC)

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I suppose the most coherent theme in HF is Danny and Nicholas as a pair. In whatever light you choose to examine it, of course - they are the one constant through-line. It doesn't flinch away from the bond at all.

I haven't seen Vertigo - I'll have to check it out!
[User Picture]From: big_twinkie
2008-12-12 04:11 am (UTC)

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hf is a bromance that plays with the sexual ambigousness of its characters. pegg has admitted as much. and considering how many times nick frost has "died" in pegg's scripts, i wonder if there isn't a certain amount of anxiety about his well being. :)

(i am about to get into a long winded analysis. sorry. i cant HELP IT!)

both shaun and hf have a protagonist that needs to change in order to live a more rounded and happy life. nicholas is completely shut off emotionally. shaun lacks ambition and tunes out the everything, including his girl-friend. they both have psychological hurdles to jump over in order to accomplish their goal.

over the course of the film nicholas becomes more human, thanks in part to danny. and because he allows himself to be emotionally open he gains not just a friend, but the means to accomplish his goal. nicholas would have certainly died if he continued to spurn danny's offer of friendship. if you want to go into archetypes, then i propose that nicholas angel is "the lover". by learning how to share intimacy (of any kind, *cough*), he finds passion and selfless devotion to another person.

but all that is, of course, just one of things going on in hot fuzz. it's like an onion, you just keep peeling away layers. someday, i will write serious analysis of this film. :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-12 04:13 pm (UTC)

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Oh, don't I know it - I've seen and read the interviews. It's such a godsend. It's not often you get something that close to being canon to work with!
[User Picture]From: bewize
2008-12-10 03:52 am (UTC)

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I've been trying to leave FB for three days on this. Grrr.

Anyway, I really liked it! You've completely enamored me with this couple.

*grins* Do it again!

Also, I hope you're feeling better1
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-12-10 03:53 am (UTC)

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And that's me, for the record.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-10 11:46 am (UTC)

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Totally kosher :) And thank you so much <3 I'm having such a blast with these two.
[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2008-12-10 05:20 am (UTC)

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"one of the topics that came up was the tendency for some people in fandom to slight characters like Danny on account of their size."

Hunh. I had never noticed that before. Coming at it from within a subsubculture where a decent fraction of the populace is and/or is attracted to heftiness, it just never occurred to me that some parts of the fandom might be spurning Danny for that. Verrrrry interesting.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-10 11:51 am (UTC)

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D says that it's occasionally a thing in HF; I myself have seen it happen in LOTR fandom (most notably to Samwise Gamgee). I know what you mean - my dad's side of the family is Northern Italian, and when it was clear from an early age that I was going to be this skinny little thing with a freakishly high metabolism, oh my God. All I ever hear is, "Adrienne, you're too thin. You need to eat more!" Me: "But...you know how much I eat. I eat like a horse!" Grandpa: "Yes, well - there's still not enough meat on you. I worry." And so it goes. All of the rest of them are quite happily round-ish, and very lovely, too. I tend to find rounder/more solid people attractive as a result, I'm sure! The one I ended up marrying, however, is an absolute exception to my previous dating-tendencies (he's about the same size as I am, so now they get on his case about being too skinny, too...)
[User Picture]From: beccavox
2008-12-28 06:25 am (UTC)

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It's a cold winter night, and this fic was perfect with my cup of tea (and of course, I'm heading straight to the companion piece).

But I love Danny's observations here and the way he sees the strength and the tenderness in Nicholas (especially in Angel's hands).

I'm also mulling over some of the comments made after this post--I love the idea of Nicolas/Danny as the sexually ambiguous and logical end to all American buddy cop movies. Hmmm...
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-12-28 07:19 am (UTC)

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I'm glad you had tea as acccompaniment with this - I'm beginning to think that's how Hot Fuzz fic is properly done, whether in the reading or the writing ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed this; I found it particularly enjoyable to write! Thank you for your kind comments.
[User Picture]From: teithiwr
2009-04-02 08:16 pm (UTC)

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Oh, this is lovely. Now that I've finally seen HF, I can actually start going through your fics for it, hooray!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2009-04-03 08:27 am (UTC)

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It really bowled me over *g* I'm getting to that I've-lost-count point with my fics here, so you know that's a sign you're starting to settle.