Ocelot did what any reasonable person faced with a mysterious red button in the middle of a weapons research lab would do. He pushed it.
Romance, Time Paradoxes, and small hostile catsStray
is a Metal Gear Solid Slash Fic
by Dahne that centers around a romantic relationship between Otacon and Major Ocelot (also called Hal and Adamska, respectively, within the story)
. Yes, that's the twenty year old Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid 3
. Not surprisingly, the story involves Time Travel
.Apart from its unusual pairing and premise, the story is notable for its length (71 chapters plus prologue and epilogue), its multiple plot arcs, its blend of serious character-driven drama and quirky humor, and writing a bit towards the lower-wavelength end of the visible spectrum.
And Otacon's adorable in it.
Tropes contained in Stray:
- Actor Allusion: "The cold, thousand-yard glare Snake would give anybody who spoke ill of the first two X-Men movies."
- Adaptation Expansion: Stray was originally a one-shot story, which covered major events from Hal and Adamska's first meeting through the beginning of the Shadow Moses arc in a series of vignettes. Then the author decided to do an expansion/rewrite, which included several new story arcs and more time for relationship development.
- Adorkable: Otacon. Even Raikov thinks he's cute! (It Makes Sense in Context.)
- Afraid of Needles: Variation - Adamska's not afraid of needles, he's afraid of what might be in the shot, on principle.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Esau's death scene. In true MGS antagonist fashion, he's very chatty about it.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Otacon's brain seems to work in a rather odd way, even apart from his undeniable eccentricity and Ditzy Genius tendencies. Metaphors aren't his strong point, and at one point the story mentions that he's not great at reading facial expressions.
- Raikov as well, in a way. Adamska's convinced he's insane, and Raikov is certainly disturbingly odd in some ways, but nobody proposes a diagnosis.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Philosophers.
- Anti-Hero: Adamska - he's done plenty of dubious things, but has enough in the way of personal standards that the prospect of developing into a creepy old torture fetishist with a ponytail still Squicks him.
- Arc Words: "What can change the nature of a man?" and variations.
- Author Appeal: The writer seems to be a big fan of Scandinavian mythology.
- Badass Gay: Adamska.
- Badass Longcoat: Big Boss wears one. Lampshaded when another character remarks that he must do so for the dramatic effect.
- Batman Gambit: The story has Ocelot (admittedly a younger and better-natured version) and an entire international conspiracy of Chessmasters. It's not exactly surprising that someone tries to pull one of these.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Bi the Way: Otacon.
- Broken Ace: Adamska. He's smart, he's talented, he's good looking and he manages to change history - but he's not exactly a paragon of personal stability.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Otacon. He's a massive Otaku, and Adamska is convinced in the early chapters that he's thoroughly - although harmlessly - insane, but the man managed to build a functioning time machine in his garage.
- Cats Are Mean: A running gag with Tanya, a scrawny little stray with violent Tsundere tendencies.
- The Chessmaster: The Patriots, although they're an international conspiracy, not a single person.
- Child Soldier: Adamska began his career quite young.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Major Raikov is a rather disturbing version of this.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Possible subversion, in that the atmospheric philosophical ramblings of the prologue (concerning the nature of time and free will) are in fact highly relevant to the themes of the story.
- Continuity Nod: Many, to the MGS games. Including some references to events which, in the story's particular universe, never took place.
- Cool Old Guy: Big Boss.
- Crack Pairing: Do Otacon and Ocelot ever even interact in the games?
- Dead Person Conversation: Adamska and the Sorrow, Big Boss and older!Ocelot.
- Determinator: Adamska. He pursues his goals despite the obstacles presented by time, space, causality, a globe-spanning conspiracy, and his own personal pathologies.
- Drinking Game: Hal and Adamska play one in an early chapter. It involves comparing the weirdness levels of various things they've encountered in their adventures. (It's also an in-character acknowledgement of just how weird the Metal Gear universe can get.)
- Emo Teen: Esau's more crazy than angsty, but has the style. "... he could have passed for a member of one of those bands who wore girls' jeans and talked about not being okay a lot."
- Enemy Within
- A Father to His Men: Big Boss. Literally, in the case of the Snake twins.
- Final Speech: Esau, Ocelot at Shadow Moses.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Adamska. From the 1960s to the early twenty-first century.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: In an Elseworld chapter. Hal is the caretaker and Adamska is the patient.
- For Science!: Why Otacon built the time machine in the first place, and according to the story, a strong component of his overall personality. This has its downsides. "Sometimes he was so fascinated with a problem that he forgot it was one better off not solved."
- Freudian Excuse: Discussed. It becomes particularly relevant when the issue of Adamska's Tykebomb upbringing is introduced.
- Future Me Scares Me: Adamska's reaction to Revolver Ocelot, although less fear than Squick.
- Genius Bruiser: Adamska and Vulcan Raven, in different ways. Adamska's more cunning, Raven's more liberal arts and mystically oriented.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Variation: Revolver Ocelot's ponytail of evil. Alternate Future Ocelot has short hair.
- Hannibal Lecture: Esau loves these. Adamska also winds up getting one from "himself".
- Heroic BSOD: Adamska at Shadow Moses, Otacon in Russia.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Adamska mercy kills older-Ocelot (who had been partially converted into his continuity's version of the Cyborg Ninja) at Shadow Moses at his older self's request. Hal does the same for a gut-shot Esau.
- I See Dead People: Ocelot can see ghosts. The Sorrow also makes an appearance, and has the same abilities he does in canon.
- Ikea Erotica: Strongly averted. It is possible to tell what's going on in the sex scenes, but they're much heavier on internal monologue than anatomy.
- Jossed: On a few issues. This was probably inevitable, since the story was started well before Guns of the Patriots came out and gave the official explanation for the series' Gambit Pileup.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind
- Kansas City Shuffle: It wasn't Adamska the Patriots wanted.
- Last Kiss: Big Boss and his timeline's Ocelot, whose spirit was being channeled by Adamska.
- Lemony Narrator: The prose style can get pretty chatty, and is the source of much of the story's odd humor.
- May/September Romance: Adamska's twenty, Otacon's in his thirties.
- If you consider birth date and not years spent living, it's a May/December romance the other way, since Adamska was born decades before Hal.
- Mind Screw: Most of the story is fairly straightforward, though unconventional, but "For What Was," "For What Might Be," "For What Is," "For What Can Change," and "For What?" up the story's average level of trippiness considerably. The later chapters' treatment of time travel and memory could also count.
- Morality Pet: Otacon for Adamska, in a way. "The only promise I can make is that I will never let anything hurt you. Including me." Overlaps with Morality Chain.
- The Nothing After Death: Mild example. The afterlife has no distinguishing physical features besides blankness, and the dead are left to entertain themselves. It's implied that they play cards.
- Opposites Attract: Apart from being smart and having troubled pasts, Otacon and Adamska are virtual opposites. Otacon is dorky and good-natured but tougher than he looks, Adamska is a ruthless badass who keeps his vulnerabilities well concealed.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: Eventually subverted. Otacon may be a Non-Action Nice Guy, but he's tougher than initial appearances would indicate.
- The Power of Love
- Psychic Powers: Ocelot, the Sorrow, and Psycho Mantis. Vulcan Raven's abilities may count as well.
- Psycho Psychologist: One of them played a part in Adamska's upbringing.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Both used straight and with some weird variations.
- Screw Destiny
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong
- Shadow Archetype: Adamska gets two - his older self, and Esau, another former Tykebomb agent of the Ancient Conspiracy.
- ShoutOuts: Lots of them, most notably to Neon Genesis Evangelion, Planescape: Torment, and Norse Mythology.
- Philip K. Dick gets a few references, too, in phrases like "I hope cyborgs dream of electric sheep, I really do" and "I saw him through glass, darkly."
- "I saw him through glass, darkly," as well as Dick's "A Scanner Darkly," is a Biblical reference (from Corinthians: "For now we see through a glass, darkly.").
- Shrouded in Myth: Big Boss, who is a Memetic Badass to his own troops.
- Sleep Cute
- Spy Catsuit: One of the later plot arcs gets Adamska into one of these. He's not impressed.
- Starfish Character: Adamska/Ocelot, after he changes the timeline.
- Suicide Is Painless
- Techno Wizard: Otacon. He built a time machine in his garage, out of parts scavenged from household appliances.
- Technobabble: A lot of this in the scenes with Otacon and Ocelot working on the time machine. To be fair, it's not like there's an accepted scientific vocabulary for this sort of thing. Lampshaded when Otacon admits that he made a lot of it up himself.
- Theme Naming: The Philosophers/Patriots do love their Biblical references.
- Otacon's anime-inspired names for the dogs would also count.
- The Theorem of Narrow Interests: An aversion. It may be the only story of its kind, and for what it is, it's well-done.
- Troubled, but Cute: Adamska, although he's slightly older than the stereotypical example and not a James Dean homage. He is, however, attractive, morally ambiguous and potentially dangerous but with a touch of hidden vulnerability and massive issues.
- Esau would be a villainous version.
- True Companions: FOXHOUND under Big Boss' leadership. They're explicitly compared to a family more than once.
- Tykebomb: Ocelot was brought up as one of these by the Philosophers, and the story goes into the psychological impact quite a bit.
- Esau was, as well, by the Patriots.
- Unholy Matrimony: Volgin and Raikov, in flashbacks. "The two of them complimented each other, he supposed. Like oil and fire. Or potassium and cyanide."
- Velvet Revolution: Referenced in a sex scene, of all places, as part of an elaborate extended metaphor.
From the towers where they hid in the most heavily fortified territory of Adamska's heart, overlooking the waterfall that fed into its own source, the last loyalists to the old aristocracy said to hell with it, threw down the torches, unbarred the doors, and ran outside to join the party.
- Warrior Poet: Vulcan Raven. He's a BFG-toting Inuit shaman who is well versed in Norse Mythology and quotes Beowulf.
- The Woobie: Otacon is a self-deprecating Shrinking Violet with a screwed up and fairly traumatizing romantic past - and the events of the story aren't entirely easy on him either.
- Adamska has moments of woobieness as well, due to some rather traumatic plot developments and his own personal issues.
- Yaoi Fanboy: Otacon, although it's only mentioned in passing via an Expospeak Gag. (The context is the brief and anti-climactic tale of How Snake Found Out Otacon Was Bi.)
Fortunately it didn't come up, except when, say, he happened to get careless and leave something around with text that could be most accurately described in a phrase that ended in "...imi nashii" and illustrations that were described by Dave as "what the hell...?"