Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty

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Fanfiction
Title: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty
Author(s): Sahiya
Date(s): 28 July 2007
Length: ~4000 words
Genre: non-explicit het, Five Things AU
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga
External Links: @bujold_fic; @AO3

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Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty is a Five Things AU in the Vorkosigan fandom by Sahiya, written in 2007 for the Bujold Ficathon. As the title suggests, it elaborates five short AU possibilities for how a young Ekaterin Vorvayne might have met Miles Vorkosigan before she married Tien Vorsoisson. Some end with the hope that Ekaterin & Miles might get together, others end implying she will marry Tien. It is inspired by a passage in A Civil Campaign, which forms the author's summary:

Regret . . . And what if she and Miles had met at twenty, instead of she and Tien? It had been possible; she'd been a student at the Vorbarra District University, he'd been a newly minted officer in and out of the capital. If their paths had crossed, might she have won a less bitter life?

The story is in the third person, with Ekaterin as the point-of-view character. Other characters appearing include Tien and Ekaterin's aunt, Helen Vorthys. The story is rated G.

Sahiya writes in the comments to the original post, I love the "Five Things" format. It's so flexible and you can say a lot in a little bit of space. She also states that she deliberately structured the vignette series to alternate happy & sad endings, framing the piece with two happy vignettes. When reposting the work to Archive of Our Own, she describes the story as one of her personal favourites.

Recs & Reviews

The story was well received. As of June 2016, it is the fifth most popular story for the Ekaterin/Miles pairing at AO3 by number of kudos, and the second by number of bookmarks. It has been recommended at Crack Van,[1] Fancake[2] and The Rec Room,[3] and by Aliaspiral,[4] Perri Smith,[5] Philomytha,[6] Snakeling[7] and tani_recs.[8] Reviewers often praised the insightful use of the Five Things framework and the believable characterisations, particularly of the young Ekaterin, who shows somewhat different levels of maturity in the five scenarios when meeting the disabled son of the prime minister.

"Because Ekaterin is awesome" is true but probably not enough of a reason. sahiya is one of the best authors in fandom, and this fic is a prime example of the strengths of a Five Things fic. We don't meet Ekaterin in canon until she is thirty, with ten years of heartbreaking and soul-crushing marriage to an abusive man. That she has survived as well as she has, and learns to stop being afraid and claim her own strength and agency afterwards, show just what kind of strength she learned in those ten years, buried deep where her husband couldn't touch it. These five things explore what she might have been like, at twenty, without the pain and heartache, but also without the wisdom and maturity she learned with such cost. All of these ways are very plausible, and very true to the characters as we know them, and all of them tug on your heart, either wishing that things could have happened like that or glad that they didn't. (Beatrice Otter at Crack Van)[1]
Wow. This is completely brilliant: in two of the ways it's a punch to the gut, and in the others, utter delight. I'd Blue Ribbon this, but it won't make a lick of sense if you haven't read canon. Highly recommended. (cupidsbow at The Rec Room)[3]
What it says on the tin. Very clever characterisation of them both. (Philomytha)[6]
Isn't this an awesome idea? Seriously, I was thrilled with this one, and since it's Sahiya, of course it's well done. I think that my favorite was the last one, but all these are just really great. Sure, I wouldn't trade Ekaterin and Miles's real relationship for the world, but it's still a lot of fun to think of what might have happened if only they had met sooner. (tani_recs)[8]
Five perfectly plausible scenarios alternating between giddy and heartbreaking. (Perri Smith)[5]
I love this. It runs the ranges of Ekaterin and Miles encountering each other on blind dates, as students, as random encounters, and my favorite, as a florist and Miles who desperately needs expensive flowers to get himself out of Alys bad graces. I really want to know about that duck, too. The fourth one, though, hurts. (aliaspiral at minionsficrecs)[4]
A slightly bittersweet look at what could have happened. We get the full range of Ekaterin’s characterisation: from an Ekaterin who’s entirely taken with physical attributes to an Ekaterin who can look past the physical to Miles’ brains and sense of humour. (snakeling)[7]
Beautiful look at what might have happened. Sadly #4 was entirely conceivable. So many people just don't know how to deal with disability or unsual physical appearances. Hopefully the Ekaterin in that one will grow up with time and experience. Loved all of the others, though the Tien ones had me cringing for Ekaterin. Great work! (deaka)[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 crack-van: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty by Sahiya (accessed 23 June 2016)
  2. fancake: Vorkosigan series: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty by Sahiya (accessed 23 June 2016)
  3. 3.0 3.1 rec-room: VOR Del.ici.ous links for rec_room: 29-Jul-2007 (accessed 25 June 2016)
  4. 4.0 4.1 minionsficrecs: Vorkosigan (accessed 23 June 2016)
  5. 5.0 5.1 seanachais: Fanfic Links: Vorkosigan Saga (accessed 23 June 2016)
  6. 6.0 6.1 philomytha: Favourite Vorkosigan fics (accessed 23 June 2016)
  7. 7.0 7.1 snakelingsrecs: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty, by Sahiya (accessed 25 June 2016)
  8. 8.0 8.1 tani-recs: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty by Sahiya (Ekaterin/Miles | G) (accessed 23 June 2016)
  9. In comments to bujold-fic: FIC: Five Ways Ekaterin Never Met Miles at Twenty (accessed 23 June 2016)