luxken27: (Kids Inc - OTP)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2015-05-15 07:28 pm

Kids Inc | Oneshot: Tell It to My Heart

Title: Tell It to My Heart
Fandom: Kids Incorporated
Universe: Canon
Genre: Angst, Romance
Rating: T
Warnings: Innuendo
Word Count: 7,012
Summary: Season 5. He couldn’t deny it any longer, to himself or to anyone else: he was desperately, achingly, heart-wrenchingly in love with Stacy, and now the only question was…what could he do about it?

Links: DW | | AO3

MAN does it feel good to write for this fandom again! ♥ This is a birthday giftfic for my oldest & dearest KI fandom friend, KeB, and let me tell you internets about how hard it was to keep this thing under wraps for two weeks!!

This fic came out of nowhere, but had definite inspiration - a lot, in fact.

This journey started a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for new episodes to cap for [community profile] kidsincdaily. I'd needed to do this pretty badly, but just kept putting it off and putting it off...and was pleasantly surprised when I finally jumped into my files and found that certain episodes were of surprisingly good quality. More or less at random, I chose episode 5x12 "Richie in Love" because its one of the few eps of Magical Season 5 that I hadn't yet memorized :P

This is a well-regarded episode from this season because of its strong musical performances, and I definitely kept coming back to them, over and over again - it's a beautifully thematic package all about love and loss, excitement and heartbreak. Something kept tugging at me, at it turned out to be the opening number (and namesake of this fic):

As I mentioned on Tumblr, I could feel that there was a story lurking somewhere in this performance...and the muse latched on to that in a big way :D

I went back to this song's appearance in Stacy in Bloom (Chapter 3) and inspiration struck. For all that I've written about my OTP of OTPs, I have very rarely ever looked at things from Ryan's perspective, mostly because I can really, really relate to Stacy's. I've dabbled a little, but this is the first time I feel like I've really captured his POV in a canon-set piece. When I decided that he was going to be my perspective character, the story's structure started to fall into place, and it was actually a fairly easy fic to write. It was also a lot of fun, because it contains a lot of references, LOL!!

The trickiest part was writing Stacy's part with enough ambiguity to make it believable that he'd have no idea of her reciprocal feelings for him, and that was right from the very first scene. I wanted to bring back the first scene of the opening episode of Season 4, when the Kids are discussing life after Gloria. Stacy's reaction is very solemn and sad, much in the same vein as how she reacted to Mickey leaving in the Season 2 opener. It's obvious how attached she is to her friends, but this is more than that: it's her sister, and her best friend, both of whom she's never been separated from. So that moment between Ryan and Stacy, when he sees her for the first time post-farewell, was very important to get right, to strike the right balance of concern and hint at her feelings for him just as much as his feelings for her. He is concerned about her, because he remembers Gloria's departure well (he wasn't there for Mickey's, of course), and because he get a cryptic message from the Kid to watch after her in their absence.

His feelings for her really start to change pretty much the very next day, when she blows everyone away with her performance of "So Emotional":

There is no hesitation or lack of confidence in that performance, no hint as to the seriousness and somber attitude from their meeting the day before. He starts to take notice of her through the events of the opening episode of the season, when Kenny and Devyn are added to the group.

The second scene was a lot of fun to write, because though I consider my comedic skills to be fairly weak, it fits perfectly with the sort of cheesy humor KI is known for =) I've conjured a scene of pre-concert mania for their annual NYE performance, complete with those hideous color tuxes LOL. Stacy manages to calm all the younger kids down enough to do their makeup - including applying translucent powder to the boys. I chose my personal favorite face powder for this job, albeit not by name. I have gone through pans of this stuff because it really IS that amazing ♥ The Kids manage to corner Ryan into the powder routine as well, and while he's standing there letting Stacy apply it to his face (and trying to ignore all sorts of disconcerting feelings his emotions and hormones are conjuring up), he notices the color of her lipstick - a classic Revlon shade, Snow Peach, which I think would match quite nicely to her magenta tuxedo =)

He's already aware of his growing attraction for her, but it suddenly starts to boil over in her presence. This only gets worse as the year progresses and tons of other guys start pursuing her, as mentioned in the third section of the fic. There is a reference to episode 5x10 and Stacy's birthday party, complete with the medieval theme and a mention of the closing number - Taylor Dayne's "Prove Your Love," another very popular Stacy performance:

It was a lot of fun exploring Ryan's jealousy over Stacy's hordes of admirers. I don't think he'd do anything petty or mean-spirited; I do think he'd suffer through it and continue to be her friend precisely because he does care about her so much. It's one of the beauties of basing romantic attraction on such a solid foundation of friendship - there is something there besides physical lust, something that anchors him firmly to the ground so that he doesn't get carried away with it. I can't see him performing any sort of Grand Romantic Gesture. Plus - Ryan is such a confident and self-assured character that it was intriguing to poke at his inner confidence a bit. The downside to developing a romantic affection for a friend is that there is a heightened sense of rejection - not only the potential to lose a romantic partner, but also a friend if things become terminally awkward. He has been given no indication (that he's aware of) that Stacy returns his feelings in any way, so he's determined not to even go there.

But, the brain can only restrain the heart (and hormones) for so long, LOL.

Ryan's dream sequence grew from the entire basis of this story in the first place - the original video for "Tell It to My Heart":

Sometimes the KI covers of songs are better than the originals, but they were pretty faithful to the original here, and Stacy really does do it justice. I watched this video several times because it occurs to me that the real Stacy, aka Fergie, kinda grew up to be Taylor Dayne. The parallels between their looks (especially during the Dutchess years) can't be questioned IMO. Fergie accentuates her eyes and her lips in a lot of her looks, and of course she's done a million things with her the idea of KI Stacy morphing into Taylor Dayne suddenly didn't seem so far-fetched.

I looked up Taylor Dayne and found, among other things, the description of her style as "aggressively sexy,", which fit perfectly here. Fantasies typically are exaggerated caricatures, and this video is exactly that to me - it's almost gross because its so over-the-top. The "too much" line is a variation on a great Suzanne Sugerbaker zinger (unfortunately, Taylor Dayne doesn't have big boobs, LOL), but again, it fit perfectly. Ryan is so obsessed with this song because of Stacy's reaction to it, and its enough to pervade his dreams and pretty much dash any hope he has of denying his feelings for her, even to himself.

It's a tamely written scene, but it's still pretty heavy for my KI fic. I tend not to go there, but felt a certain freedom writing from a seventeen-year-old boy's perspective, LOL. Hormones certainly can rule the roost at that age, and just make everything more complicated than it needs to be.

He manages to salvage some semblence of control over himself until he eventually seeks her out and confronts her. His jealousy over "whoever-he-is" that she's so obviously in love with eventually does get the better of him, and he more or less goes through the entire litany of raw emotions that sort of conversation evokes.

I am really, really pleased with how this final scene turned out. Again, there is ambiguous dialogue; he takes it to mean something other than what she intends, but it never devolves into a Big Misunderstanding. Instead, it leads to a very heady moment with a very sensual, open, honest kiss, and he basically lays it all on the line. He's aware of this, aware that he's shown his hand when she has given him no overt reason to, and feels appropriately selfish about it, but can't bring himself to regret it. He needed that moment, and I think that comes through the text very nicely.

Of course, anybody who knows me knows exactly who Stacy has been in love with all this time =) but it was still a sweet, surprising reveal for my hero ~ nothing less than what he deserved. I think I managed to craft her confession in such a way that you can go back and re-read their interactions and see her crush shining through her words the entire time. I don't often feel this way about what I write, especially when its been so long since I've written a particular couple, but falling back into these two and their dynamic just felt like coming home to an old familiar place.

I really enjoyed writing this, and I think KeB really enjoyed receiving it! Whenever life starts to suck more than usual, I retreat to my happy place, and this show/universe will always be my happy place. It never fails to make me smile, and make me want to work on ALL the KI projects, LOL. I am hoping to jump back into Stacy in Bloom, as well as do an overhaul of the OTP manifesto now that all of the episodes it covers are available. I've discovered new cute moments between these two that simply have to be documented, and have had several sweet people send me other things (mentions of the real-life romance between the actors) that need to be included as well.

I always have my eye on finishing WIPs, of course, and hopefully my Summer Mini Challenge will help on several of these fronts. Frankly, I'm just so happy to be writing again, and I hope I can keep it up!! The SMC is certainly coming at the right time of year for me, for a change :P