If you have a rare pair ship, raise your hand. Good. This is now a support group for rare pair shippers. Welcome, we have donuts and coffee and pillows to scream into.
I think we're all going to have different ideas of what really makes a rare pair, so let me first define what I would consider a rare pair. I would say a pair that has anywhere around 1,000 fics would be rare, around 500 would be extra rare, and around 100 would be ultra rare.
Some of you may be thinking, "Come on, Zoë, 1,000 fics for a pairing? That's so many. My rare pair has 7 fics."
To which I would respond with complete sincerity and absolutely no sarcasm (weird for me, I know), "Oh no, my poor, sweet reader. This is a travesty of immense proportions, but I have absolutely no way to fix that, so I'm going to just awkwardly pat you on the back through the computer and try to sympathize as much as I can."
But, to me, 1,000 fics really isn't a lot. The first three pairings I read for (Larry, Gallavich, Sterek) were the most popular ships in their fandoms, so I never knew the plight of actually running out of fics to read for a pairing. If you don't believe me (which I'm not sure why you wouldn't, I'm very trustworthy), on AO3, Larry has more than 30k works, Gallavich has more than 10k, and Sterek has more than 55k. Now, I'm a fast reader, but even I can't get through all those fics at the rate they're being posted.
Once I started reading fanfiction for basically every piece of media content that I liked, I realized that not every pair shipper could be as lucky as I had been with never-ending fics. Now, I've got a bunch of rare pairs, too many extra rare pairs, and even a couple ultra rare pairs
My rarest pair is Alex/Tommy from "Dunkirk," which I haven't read fics for since a few weeks after the movie came out, but still consider a ship of mine because have you seen the chemistry between Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead?? No, just me? Okay. But that pair only has about 75 fics on AO3, and if that's not ultra rare, I don't know what is.
It was really surprising to me when I got into reading "Game of Thrones" and "A Song of Ice and Fire" fics that there really weren't that many for the whole fandom. I've mentioned before that there are less total "ASOIAF" fics than ones just about Sterek, which is surprising to me since "ASOIAF" is decades older than "Teen Wolf," but I guess it's down to audience and all that. So while my main "GoT" ships wouldn't be considered rare under the specifications that I set above (SanSan and Gendrya are both around 3k–4k), my non-main pairings fall more into the extra rare and ultra rare range.
The "GoT" pairing that I talked about in a post last week (which I will not name again for reasons relating to my own waning self-respect) has less than 150 fics, which honestly makes sense, but I'm allowed to lament.
I really wish there was some solution I could give my fellow rare pair shippers to this issue, but there really isn't anything to say other than, "Wait."
Or I guess you could concoct a master plan to trick more people into joining your fandom and then hope they find themselves shipping your rare pair too, creating a larger demand for fics of that pairing and opening it up to a larger pool of writers who will hopefully decide to fill the demand themselves, giving you more fics to read. But yeah, unless you want to turn into a fanfic supervillain mastermind and dedicate the necessary time to the plan, all you can do is wait and maybe give another pairing a shot.
What are your rare pairs? Does yours have less fics than my ultra rare ones? Do you think you have the coveted Rarest Pair™?