The Eye and the Eye
The Eye and the Eye is a story written by Ogiwara Saki. It ran in Issue 40 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/232934.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/the-eye-and-the-eye/.
From the Slash Pile: "Wang Dao Chen is a Chinese immigrant living in the poorest part of London, the Limehouse Basin. He is an innocent. Not in mind or in body, but in the way that he can see the good in everything and everyone around him. And in the way that he can see spirits. When great evil strikes Limehouse Dao Chen eyes are opened more than he ever wanted them to be."
From http://pierrot-dreams.livejournal.com/27813.html: "Kindhearted dockworker Dao Chen is one of many Chinese immigrants making a hardscrabble living in Victorian London's Limehouse Basin. He's secretly in love with his friend Jiang, a bitter, beautiful prostitute living in exile. Oh, and Dao Chen can see spirits."
From fail-fandomanon.dreamwidth.org: "In 1860s London, Dao Chen is a cheerful dock worker who can see spirits, while Jiang is a haughty courtier in exile turned prostitute. Dao Chen maintains his optimism and hope, even in the face of all the troubles thrown in their lives and those of their friends, like the mischievous fox spirit Hong Hong and a young neighbor called Robbie. Contains hurt/comfort, violence, drug addiction, in-context racism/orientalism, one dub-con-ish scene, and so on."
From pinboard.in: "Wherein Dao Chen can see the spirits world and Chinese folklore in Victorian England. | Content notes: violence, including sexual violence, child abuse, prostitution, drug addiction, and attempted suicide."
As an early New Year's resolution, I promised myself I would be more active in this community, starting with this rec. I'll try not to give anything away, because I think it's more enjoyable to be a little blindsided in stories, but you could read the tags if you really want to get a feel for it. This is an excellent story, not because of it's beginning, which was perfectly fine, but what happens after that. Going in, I was more than ready to write this one off as a typical happy, light hearted kind of story that you find in the issues of S2B2. Wow, I was so wrong. It isn't a dark story, but the more I read, the more I started to think, "This is going to end horribly. But it can't! But it is! Oh God, the rats!!" Yeah, I got a little hysterical. At around part three or four, my eyes were definitely starting to sting.
I really started to feel for Dao Chen, even though I didn't really think much of him at the beginning. I think the author did an outstanding job blending in what the readers wanted to happen with the reality of the situation. At one point, I didn't know whether I was happy for Dao Chen or I should be sobbing for him and that feeling basically continued throughout the story. I also like this story because it left you feeling satisfied in a real world kind of way, if that makes since? It isn't, "And they lived happily ever after." More like, "And they lived... it was messy and hard, but they lived anyway."
It's got fantasy! Victorian England! Chinese characters! It's long! Read it and come back and let's talk about it. I mean it. Read it. (You can thank me later.)
dub-con, prostitution, violence, ANGST, racism, oh my god I love this fic so much it would probably be my one-book-on-a-desert-island pick
Beautiful story, beautifully written. By the end I was sitting there in tears, and they were as much of joy as they were sadness and awe. I really can't rec this enough. Chinese mythology, angst, exile, historical (Victorian), prostitution, period 'appropriate' racism and homophobia. Elements of dub-con in places. Opium addiction. Which all makes it sound so much darker than it is. Maybe it should also be tagged for hope, love, grace and perseverance in the face of adversity. Go, read, enjoy.