Five Moments of (Nonsexual) Intimacy
Many people think that "intimacy" implies sex, but that's only one form of intimacy between two people; my FMNI series showcases five forms of intimacy that exist outside of, or adjacent to, sexual intimacy:
- Physical Intimacy
- Help with grooming or first aid, massage or cuddling, these sorts of things can be a form of physical intimacy. The tie between physical/sensual intimacy and sexual intimacy is so ingrained in the modern American culture that men are afraid to touch each other in normal ways, lest they be thought gay. It's ridiculous.
- Emotional Intimacy
- Shared emotions (shared grief, shared joy, shared fear, shared outrage, etc.), or one character comforting another, is emotional intimacy.
- Experiential Intimacy
- Letting down your hair together, being at ease in each other's company, going through the same experience together (think about the connection between Frodo and Samwise after their journey -- an awareness that none of their friends could ever share).
- Secret Sharing
- When you share some detail about yourself that you wouldn't want the world to know, that's a form of intimacy. This can be anything from personal preferences about media ("I may be 28 but I still like Dora the Explorer") to sexual orientation ("I'm asexual") to past traumas ("my uncle molested me"), anything that might feel like a sort of confession.
- When you open yourself up to someone in a way that leaves you vulnerable -- where that person could hurt you (physically or emotionally) if they choose to -- that's also a form of intimacy. Letting someone help you with medical care, or trusting them to be near you while you sleep, or even sharing some artistic endeavor with them (inviting possible criticism), that's this category. So is letting them know some weakness of yours ("I'm allergic to sunflower seeds").
Anyway, I've written a lot of FMNI fics (and I'm still not sure if FMNI or FMI will become the standard way of referring to this kind of fic), and I'm still working my way through various permutations, showcasing the different types of intimacy that can exist. Two of my fellow authors have taken the form in hand: one in Person of Interest, and one in Lost.
Person of Interest
Five pagefics, each demonstrating one moment of intimacy between two characters. Elias & Fusco and Harold & Zoe are both preexisting positive relationships; John & Root is an antagonistic relationship (at the time the scene is set), while Carter & Leon Tao and Shaw & Marconi are incidental relationships, just little moments of intimacy between characters who don't often interact (in fact, I don't think they ever interact in canon).
- Reese & Root: Vulnerability
- Reese takes narcotics and falls asleep in Root's presence, despite not trusting her.
- Elias & Fusco: Shared Experiences
- They both enjoy variants of Solitaire.
- Harold & Zoe: Shared Emotions
- Both reminisce on losing their father's affection, in different ways.
- Carter & Tao: Grooming (Physical Intimacy)
- Carter helps Tao get glass shards out of his hair.
- Shaw & Marconi: Secret Sharing
- They share a secret about their dads dying: Shaw not feeling anything, and Marconi feeling triumph.
I think the most interesting thing about this piece is how well Shaw and Marconi get on, when they're working a case. Would like to see more of this pairing.
Five Drabble chapters, with far more positive portrayals than my norm.
- Harold & Shaw (Shared Experience)
- Harold gets Shaw's help in making a little corner for John in the Library.
- Harold & John (Vulnerability)
- They take an art class together.
- Harold & Shaw & Root (Emotion: Laughter)
- Stuck in a safe house for a little too long, they let off steam with a pillow fight.
- John & Harold (Physical Intimacy)
- John lets Harold rest against him after a long day.
- Harold & Root (Secret Sharing)
- Root shares a dream she used to have.
The early-series cast (John, Harold, Carter, Fusco, and Zoe) recalls moments of their past related to intimacy.
John, Harold, Fusco, Shaw, and Root each get their moment with Bear. This was a sort of apology for doing bad things to Bear in Unseen Things.
A fan art collection: Harold spends time with his friends (and recalls one good friend now gone). Also includes recommended fics for exploring the types of intimacy.
I've always liked that cocky little punk in the first episode, Anton O'Mara. This is an exploration of ways in which he's not currently able to connect with his father or friends on anything but the most superficial level.
Short Shorts: Five 6-word ficlets, still demonstrating the forms.
Of the major seven characters (Team Machine, plus the detectives and Zoe Morgan), each gets a scene with one of the other seven.
- John (with Fusco)
- Shaw (with Reese)
- Harold (with Shaw)
- Carter (with Harold)
- Zoe (with Carter)
- Root (with Zoe)
- Fusco (with Root)
There's an event in Central Park to help the homeless, and Team Machine is doing various things adjacent to this event.
An Elias-centered fic where the gang holes up in a safe house after a trying case, and try to use alcohol to feel better. Secrets come out. Elias's relationship with Anthony is explored even though Anthony's not with them at the time.
Welcome to Night Vale
Five ways in which StrexCorp robbed Kevin of his ability to be intimate with other people.