Our Sole Defense Against the Season

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Fanfiction
Title: Our Sole Defense Against the Season
Author(s): Penknife
Date(s): 25 December 2005
Length: 2434 words
Genre: backstory
Fandom: Mary Renault
External Links: archived on Yuletide

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"Our Sole Defense Against the Season" is a short story by Penknife based on Mary Renault's 1953 novel The Charioteer. It is set some years prior to the main events of the novel, during the period when Ralph Lanyon and Alec Deacon were living together.

The story is essentially a character piece, showing both the liking the two men have for one another and the stresses that will eventually pull them apart. It ends in bed.

Penknife wrote the story for Argyle in the Yuletide 2005 Challenge. It was very well received, with many comments, including the following:

  • "Utterly gorgeous. Their relationship is so very intriguing in the book, and you've fleshed out what little details we have and produced a deliciously subtle story. Alec's voice here is wonderful, and the style greatly reminiscent of Renault's." — comment by wildestranger
  • "Oh, this was fantastic. The Charioteer is an old favorite, and this captured the Renault feel perfectly." — comment by Puma
  • "Oh God, this is just too good. Full of intelligent points of characterisation: I can see Alec and Ralph in this short story. I love The Charioteer, and this is an excellent piece of fanfic for it." — comment by Yonmei
  • "I'd never been particularly interested in Alec, but this story has gone a long way towards changing that. [...]" — comment by Jain
  • "Oh, this is lovely. Your Alec feels spot-on, and I like the slightly different perspective on Ralph. The relationship between them is interesting and believeable, too. And I love your language; it feels very right for Renault." — comment by wychwood

Penknife wrote a DVD-style commentary reflecting the writing process for shezan in August 2006.