Or not puzzle, about the quality, just, why do they decide it's essence of those assholes?
I mean I've read really good fic on the theme of It's You And Me, focusing on the thirty year partnership, the finishing each other's sentences, the one guy they go to first and make an exception. You can see why people like that.
But what we actually have in canon are two guys who don't hesitate to pull a gun on each other, knock each other out, settle arguments with fists, beat crap out of each other, walk around with the marks the other left on them even when tech makes fixing bruises trivially easy. Like, okay, they've got each other's backs, but both obviously and in symbolism and subtext they're the single biggest danger in each other's lives too. He'll be the death of him, says every symbol like when Fire and Ice burns. It just worked out more heroic than expected.
So when fic has either of them be like 'he'd never hurt me', I just, like, want to pull up the hospital bills? Maybe highlight some scars?
Like, the dynamic we actually have with Mick and Len is that everyone else in their lives bullies, denigrates, emotionally abuses them, or emotionally and physically when it's Len's dad. But they've found their partner, the one who only hits them, and very seldom implies they're stupid or crazy. Like, you can see why they end up together, and it's because they think if these are the choices, they'll take some honest violence from someone who unquestionably has their back.
They're messed up, but in ways that make sense to each other, and they can be better together than apart.
If you want to go from that to them actually never hurting each other? They have to see there's another way to be, learn some new ways to cope and communicate, and put in a hell of a lot of work.
Otherwise there's all this bitter punching and jealous sneering and hella possessive knocking out so he can't leave.
Which, you know, fic for many tastes, but not the dynamic I keep reading.
The distance between the partnership they could have and the one they have right now is where the angsty drama tension lives, because what they want is thirty years of watching each other's back, and what they've got is thirty years of watching their back around each other. And wishing.
That's where the story lives, where they keep choosing each other and hurting each other, try as they might. And where we can hope for them to do better.
But reading the happily ever after as a given is sweet too.
xposted from Dreamwidth here. comments. Reply there