So, I didn't have especially strong feelings about Sara when I finished the show. She seemed a bit silly and weird, what with the semi-incestuous relationship with her brother, and emotionally volatile in a very stereotypically feminine way.
I started idly thinking about the possibilities of Mila/Sara on principle, and then came up with a cute idea for a Sara POV fic, and started writing it (it's currently in beta). And the more I wrote her the more I started feeling for her, and disliking Michele (not that I was ever his biggest fan).
Let's assume she used to be at least mostly ok with her relationship with Michele. It's not clear if her feelings about him were ever as incestuous as his for her. But they were definitely very wrapped up in each other, skating for each other in way that is paralled with the intense way Georgi and Yuuri skate for Anya and Victor respectively. Neither of them have ever dated, and Michele actively scares off any guys who show any interest in Sara. It seems like she approved of this in the past, but doesn't now. It's not clear if she ever did the reverse.
Even before Sara puts to an end to it, their relationship doesn't seem symettrical.
For a start, she and Michele both seem very invested in heteronormative gender roles, see for example her getting angry at Seung-Gil for "how he talked to a lady" and Michele's...everything. And heteronormative gender roles are pretty sucky for women.
Some things I only noticed on rewatching their scenes:
Michele really does seem to only care about Sara. He's theoretically friends with Emil, but isn't very friendly towards him. Michele is notable for not feeling happy for other skaters when they do well, not even Emil, and is often the only person not to cheer or clap. He does cry and clap in an understated way during Yuuri's free skate at the Grand Prix, though, at which point Emil has his arm around him.
Emil really likes Michele, but Michele seems to mainly be jealous of him.
Sara does care about other skaters. Unlike Michele she's not in direct competition with the men, but by the Grand Prix Michele's not competing either. She gets VERY EXCITED when people do well, and goes out of her way to encourage and congratulate Yuuri. Sara notices Yuuri and Victor's rings and is curious, Michele brings it back to wanting to have rings like that with Sara.
While I don't think we ever see Sara be explicitly nice to Mila we also never see any scenes of her being jealous of her (professionally or romantically) the way Michele is of Emil. And for all that their friendship is only vaguely implied, Mila does seem to care about Sara and doesn't seem the sort to put up with a friend who treated her badly.
She's also doing better at skating right now: the only competitive skater in the world able to do a particular combination (asides from Michele that one time), and the only one of the two of them to make it to the Grand Prix final this year. He seems not to be jealous about this, and is very invested in supporting her as a skater even after she asks for more space.
He also continues to be invested in "protecting" her from other men, even when she has explicitely told him not to. And it's worth noting that when he turns up, unannounced, at the Grand Prix final, he says he's there to "protect her from the hyenas" and not that he's there to support her skating.
So: we have an emotional, empathetic 22 year old woman with internalised sexism and a generous personality who has spent her whole life in a codependent relationship with her possessive, sexist, controlling brother. They both have irrational and fiery tempers, but she is usually much nicer to other people than he is. Michele picks fights with any guy she gets close to, regardless of her intentions or wishes. When she tries to change their relationship, motivated by concern for both of them, he gets self pitying and doesn't respect the boundaries she tries to set. She has never dated (unless she did it behind Michele's back), and while outgoing and friendly doesn't have much luck when she tries hitting on guys. She probably doesn't know what a healthy relationship even looks like.
I like to think that she can work towards a healthier relationship with Michele, but mainly because she'd want one and I want her to be happy.
And of course this is the lighter interpretation. What if she was never happy being so controlled by Michele, even if it might have taken her a while to realise it? And, well, I find incest squicky, and the show doesn't seem to be implying anything super awful, but you wouldn't have to step far past canon to get very dark.
So yeah. FEELS. And I want all the fic where she redefines herself and figures out how to express her own needs and love someone without being unhealthily wrapped up in them. Mila's the obvious choice, but right now I am poking at a fic with Phichit, who seems endearingly free of toxic masculinity. And of course she could find happiness without a relationship, but given that Michele is actively trying to prevent her from dating it's a nice thing for her to be able to do. Plus romance is fun :D Friends with benefits with, say, Chris, could also work, I have it as a past thing in my fic.
I added some pictures to the tumblr crosspost.
This entry was originally posted at http://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/63