Stalky & Co. is . . . kind of horrific in places, such as when Stalky and his homies beat the bully to a quivering pulp with the implicit approval of the school priest. They keep doing things like that; it's absolutely crazy. And the book's full of brutish, chauvinistic assholes, but -- but. It's completely fascinating. I love it to pieces; I've read it a billion times and I still don't understand all of it, partly because of Kipling's rather obscure, allusiveelusive style, and partly because Stalky & Co. speak this extremely peculiar dialect which makes no sense whatsoever and which I adore. Bizarre slang! omglove.

I would recommend Stalky & Co. to any slasher, though. Despite its pure strangeness, Kipling is a wonderful writer, and also Stalky and M'Turk are extremely sexy and Beetle is a total passive-aggressive manipulative bottom and you can just tell they're doing incredibly perverse things in Number Five ALL THE TIME.

Er, the story. Right. I wrote this for the contrelamontre interjections challenge, which was: write a story beginning and ending with an interjection. And I said to myself, Self, what is the one fandom in which people are always running around and making bizarre ejaculations (heh heh) without explanation? And the answer was, obviously, Stalky & Co., the fandom that isn't.

Also, Yonmei wanted me to write Stalky & Co. slash. I am pretty sure Yonmei is the daughter of a minor demon, but I do not like to tell her this because she would be altogether too pleased with herself.

* * *

More Close Than A Brother: Commentary
by afrai

You may have noticed that the title is from Kipling's poem The Thousandth Man. I love that poem, and the line, stuck onto a fic like this, makes marvellous if evilbadwrong sense. I like to think that its creepy understatement (or rather, not-quite-but-sort-of-statement) is the sort of thing Kipling would do.

* * *

"Con-found!" Stalky kicked the door shut behind him. "You giddy brutes! What if I'd been a master?"

Note the dash in "confound!". I don't even know why it's there, except that Kipling is always doing things like that and putting dashes where nobody but Emily Dickinson would. Hence, dash. (Or possibly hyphen.) I hope it makes things sound more Kipling-y.

May I just say that the dialogue made incredible fun writing, even as I tore my hair out trying to duplicate Kipling's inimitable prose? I love those Stalky & Co-ian apostrophes. "You giddy brutes!" That's not even an insult, man; what the hell does he mean? Eee.

"Couldn't be. Heard you dancin' down the corridor, yellin' war cries. Don't tell me that's how a master approaches." Beetle stretched and smiled, his mouth obscenely red.

"Oh, run along, Artie dear," said M'Turk. He was straddling Beetle, both boys half-dressed at best. Beetle lay quietly under M'Turk's not inconsiderable weight, his eyes half-closed. "Beetle and I've got business of our own. Go bait Heffy or bully a fag like the pure-souled youth you are."

It was surprisingly easy to write Kipling pr0n. The thing is, Stalky & Co. is so full of implied perversity that taking it to sodomy isn't much of a stretch at all. This could practically be a passage out of the book, seeing as how Stalky and M'Turk and Beetle are always taking baths together and falling over each other's naked bodies in manic laughter and so on and so forth.

"The deuce I will! Here, shift over, Turkey. 'Tain't fair you and Beetle should always be -- be larkin' without me."

Stalky is jealous! M'Turk and Beetle are always making out without him. Stalky, see, has the most power in the group, but M'Turk holds his own because he is Grimly Irish and a bit of a wild card. Beetle is just the poet, and always getting pushed around by the other two, so I like to think that he maintains balance by holding all the power in bed. 'Cos you know he totally does have sway once the clothes come off. Stalky and M'Turk might be the criminal masterminds, but Beetle gives the best blowjobs.

I'm very carefully not thinking about how Beetle is Kipling's semi-autobiographical representation of himself as a youth, yes.

"You're too jolly English, Stalky. Sentiment drippin' out of your ears. Beetle's more sensible than that, aren't you, Beetle?"

M'Turk mocks Stalky for his jealousy. It's all business for Beetle and M'Turk. Especially Beetle, the ho.

Beetle rippled impatiently under M'Turk's hand.

"Get on with it. Stalky, if you crease my Browning, I swear I'll scrag you."

Stalky leant back, scooping up the book from where it lay in a nest of blankets, and tossed it with abandon onto a nearby shelf.

Stalky is canonically not a fan of Browning. Beetle has, canonically, an awfully cavalier attitude towards his books, so he would totally leave it on his bed while he was having athletic sex with M'Turk. Look at all that canon stuffed into two sentences!

"Beastly careless habit of yours, leavin' your books around. You don't know how to look after your things, Beetle. Serves you right if we -- hypothecate them."

"My Hat! Is that what you did with my bags?" Beetle yowled as M'Turk shoved him down. "You scabs! I had to write home about them. My people were no end wrathy. That's the third pair this term."

There are two reasons why I included this bit:

a) I just wanted to say "wrathy". The only other chance you'd ever get to use this word is if you wrote Edith Nesbit fic, and even I am not so far gone as to want Denis/Noel slash. No, really. I swear! (Denis/Oswald would be more likely, really, but Noel and Denis are such adorable little poetry-making friends that I cannot resist.)

b) Stalky and M'Turk and Beetle apparently keep themselves in provisions by pawning each other's possessions. I find this bizarrely endearing, and hence chose to include this bit to show how very crazy their three-way relationship is. Stalky & Co. share everything. It'd only make sense for this to extend to their activities in bed as well.

"If you ever took heed to your possessions, we shouldn't have to do it for you. Stop dancing! We've got the ticket. You might be give it if you're good to your Uncle Stalky. Shut him up, Turkey!"

Stalky keeps wanting the others to call him Uncle Stalky in the book, in acknowledgement of his grateness. You know he'd totally demand that they do so when they're having sex too, if it weren't that Stalky don't get to demand anything in bed because Beetle calls all the shots.

I love my PushyBottom!Beetle.

M'Turk leant down and kissed the boy lazily, running his tongue over Beetle's teeth. Beetle went limp.

But not really. He's just fakin' it.

"You are beastly cads," he moaned. "Get off my leg, Stalky, it's goin' numb."

He's so practical! eee. He wouldn't make much money as a prostitute, would he; it's a good thing he's set up for life with M'Turk and Stalky.

I wish the boys used "bounder" as well, then I could have put that in. But that'll have to wait for Wodehouse fic, I suppose.

"He's horrid bossy, ain't he? Do shut up, Beetle de-ah." But Stalky moved, rearranging his legs in a complex motion. "Come to my arms, my beamish boy!"

"Take off your bags first," Beetle said practically. "I've got to finish Turkey first, anyway."

Bags are trousers, by the way.

Stalky opened his mouth to object, but M'Turk cut in before he could speak.

"Fair's fair -- Artie. Collar a fag if you can't wait. To recapitulate, my dearr -- "

That's the second time I use the word "fag". I am very easily amused, that is true.

I do not know why M'Turk pronounces "dear" with two r's. Kipling did it first; I just go with the flow, yo.

Beetle flung open his arms invitingly. M'Turk bent, burying his face in Beetle's neck. Beetle's head went back, his eyes soft.

"Sentimental piffle," Stalky muttered. "(Confound these bags!) You'll wake the floor with your warblin'."

You'd never've thought that Beetle would be noisy in bed, would you? That shows you!

"You're an abject burbler, Stalky," said Beetle, smiling up at M'Turk.

Stalky shed his trousers and clambered on the bed. He elbowed M'Turk in the side, kissing him roughly when he turned his head.

"You an' your sentiment," said Stalky. "Urh!"

He is pretending really. Stalky is the soppiest when it comes to their bouts of wild monkey sex, really, because he is English (unlike M'Turk) and not Beetle (unlike Beetle).

And there you are. I am being honest when I tell you that I did not need to be very perverse when imagining this sort of relationship between Stalky, M'Turk and Beetle -- read Stalky & Co. yourself, you'll see. It is full of bizarre subtext.

This commentary is probably easily twice the length of the fic itself. Oh, man.

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