Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down)

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Title: Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down)
Author(s): Spitandvinegar
Date(s): 2015-2016
Length: 107,076 words
Genre: m/m slash
Fandom: Marvel Universe
External Links:

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Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down) is a Marvel Steve/Bucky explicit fic by Spitandvinegar.

It has ten chapters (107,076 words). As of July 2019, it had 204,903 hits, 4,918 bookmarks, 9,522 kudos, and 2,574 comments on Archive of Our Own.

Academic Reaction

This fic was extensively quoted and discussed in an article in Transformative Works and Cultures v. 30 (September 2019) by Erica Lyn Massey called "Borderland literature, female pleasure, and the slash fic phenomenon."

Aside from witty dialogue and plain good writing, according to the comments posted on each chapter, readers find the story compelling because it represents two people dealing with trauma in every aspect of their life—including sex. Spitandvinegar documents the minutia of recovery, Steve and Bucky's progress, and setbacks. She follows her characters' struggles with love and lust, self-doubt, and repression. This is part of what makes the work so compelling for readership and subversive in construction. In taking two of the most hypermasculine figures in popular culture and writing not only about the deep and abiding love they have for each other but also their struggles to be intimate because of their environments and histories, Spitandvinegar addresses two topics that remain transgressive in widely produced narratives: homosexual intimacy between equally masculine partners and realistic portrayals of the struggle that queer individuals often have with issues of gender, religion, and trauma. In being a woman producing this narrative not as original content but as a transformative work of a genre that usually opposes such narratives, she introduces a third transgression—the one we've discussed at length—by the very means of the story's construction. Here, Spitandvinegar takes up the work of a threshold person, someone who, according to Anzaldúa, straddles the divide between a binary and creates within this divide a catalyst for representation or change (1987).

In Ain't No Grave, Spitandvinegar addresses trauma recovery on an entirely level playing field. Neither Steve nor Bucky hold primary power in their relationship. They both suffer from many of the common effects of PTSD: panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, disassociation, and substance abuse, while Bucky deals with ongoing complications from a TBI: memory problems, time loss, ticking, stuttering, and migraines. Spitandvinegar's handling of both the in-text depictions of trauma recovery and her conversations with readers about their reactions to and appreciation of the characters' struggles reflects Anzaldúa's assertions about the ability of borderlands storytellers to reconstruct trauma in new forms in order to help others and themselves grapple with trauma they personally have experienced. Anzaldúa asserts that these creators can locate themselves in a world between where they can be a healing voice to their listeners, or, in this case, readers (1987). Not only does Spitandvinegar provide an accurate and well-researched portrayal of PTSD and TBI recovery, where neither character is demonized nor turned into a caretaking martyr, she also incorporates sexual and gender exploration into the recovery narrative—something many readers praised in their comments.

Fan Comments