Control IssuesAuthor: LitGal Fandom:
Sentinels are Known (and it's treated like a disorder)Pairing:
Jim/OMC, Jim/Blair, Jim/Incacha/Incacha's wifeLength:
186,028 (Very Long words)Warnings:
Rape, systemic abuse (including sexual abuse), intense feelings of helplessness in the face of systemic abuseAuthor's Summary:
In a world that knows, loves, respects, but doesn't trust its Sentinels, Jim is determined to hide his abilities. He won't submit to a guardian ad litem having custody of him in a legal system that ranks him on the same level as a child. He will not give up his control, not to anyone.Review:
My feelings about this story are complicated and that's left this review kind of rambling and waffling between praise and generalized anger and I have to apologize for how confusing it ended up being. But I read this and decided to rec it because I think it's important. As much as I really, really love Sentinel/Guide fandom, I've always found it strange how the whole thing is framed, in fanon especially - with Sentinels as these respected protectors recognized as being highly capable, as some throwback that was vital in the Iron Age and therefore still deserving of uncomplicated prestige in this very different (and much more cacophonous) world. Because people with real life sensory sensitivities know no one's looking at you like a super soldier - it's much more likely to end up framed as "you're the freak who needs to learn to hold it together and act like normal if you're to be trusted around real people." Been there, done that. And this fic comes at the Sentinel issue from that direction which I really needed to see, as unpleasant as it ends up being.
I certainly wouldn't want to read a million stories like this because I read for escapism and this kind of dystopia is really depressing, but I feel like it needs to be out there at least once and this fic did a great job of showing it. But what I really, really liked about this fic was the ways that it deconstructs how it treats Sentinels and how alternate perspectives operate within and outside that system too, even as it sets the system up as a logical outcome of this way of thinking. I like how complex all the various viewpoints on Sentinels are and I liked how Blair suddenly has to face a moment of real empathy when it looks like something might be happening to him to put him on the other side of that system he had previously thought of purely in terms of "flawed but well-intentioned".
There are some really great characters in this, but be warned that there are also some triggers to watch out for - scenes of violence including rape, scenes of systemic sexual abuse presented with "clinical" detachment, and some pretty intense feelings of helplessness as Jim is forced into the system which uses some pretty clearly abusive practices against him (and leaves Jim very angry and really nasty towards some other characters, including Blair... the level of nastiness itself may also put some readers off and whether its entirely justified or taken too far may be up for debate).Control Issues (on AO3)