1519: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Five, Part TwoPosted: August 31, 2016
Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
URL: Heroes and Villains
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza
Welcome back, patrons!
You doing okay over there?
“No, I don’t think I am. Why is it time to read this fic again, didn’t we just do that?”
Well, our schedule is weekly and it’s been a week.
“Oh. I seem to have missed a few days since last time. Like all of them.”
I keep telling you not to let the girls bait you into drinking with them.
“But it was so pink and fizzy!”
Look, Syl is completely immune to poison and thus alcohol, Swenia is heavily resistant to poison and thus alcohol, and Shades is … well Shades. They don’t understand safe limits!
“But it was Glasses who wanted to do drinks!”
Don’t make me send Markus as a chaperon.
Anyway, last time we got to learn a bit more about Jim. As it turns out he is probably not a watcher. However, he still is a demon or vampire hunter of some kind. Illogically so since he’s also a professor of California literature. I’m not saying he can’t be both, but without any kind of backstory or establishment, I’m not buying it. After a short fight with a vampire, he learns that Willow is back and evil, so he heads over to Buffy’s place. They discuss Willow a bit, then eventually they agree that they should start researching the situation. And that was pretty much it.
This week we start off back at Willow’s lair.
Elsa and Willow sat in the master bedroom, Elsa looking on as Willow meditated.
*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*
“That didn’t take long.”
That’s what she said.
“Really? Must have just been a quick meditation then.”
She had approached Elsa while she’d been building her palace, saying that if she wanted, she could actually get in touch with Anna, and the sisters could talk again.
ARRRGGH! The pronouns!
At first she’d been reluctant to agree, fearing the worst from the redhead, but Willow had eventually talked her into it. Love and all that. If she was honest, though, Elsa was hopeful. She wasn’t lying that she was majorly ticked off with Anna, but a small part of her held on to the idea that they could make amends. It was worth a shot, anyway.
Is Elsa really naive enough to trust that the leader of an organization of self-declared super villains would be willing to help with this reunion?
“It’s hard to say. She lived a very sheltered life, so it’s possible.”
I dunno. Between Elsa and Anna, Elsa seemed to be the one more grounded in reality. Sure, that’s not saying much, but Elsa did have the good sense to object to Anna getting married to a guy she just met.
They sat in silence. Willow had told her that to be able to talk with her sister, Willow would first need to ask the gods a favor in order to do so.
“I might just be a suspicious raptor-”
“Rude. Anyway, I might just be overly suspicious, but why doesn’t Willow just send a minion to get Anna’s phone number? Or even just deliver a Tracphone or something? This whole ‘Skype session with the gods” thing seems over-complicated enough to be an orchestration.”
Wow, you’re a lot more pessimistic with a hangover.
“I’ll be fine once the roughage kicks in.”
This particular god was- what was it, Iris? Yes, Iris- goddess of the rainbow, she’d been told. She felt like the name rang a bell, but couldn’t put her finger on it. Perhaps something she’d read?…
So gods… singular?
“Iris is a Greek goddess. Probably why she feels familiar.”
I’d call this ripping off, but Buffy canon has established that many of the Grecian and Roman gods are based on real entities, so it’s fine here.
Willow opened her eyes and turned to Elsa, smiling. “Just a sec. It should appear any-”
Suddenly, a flat circle appeared in front of Elsa, the air around the edges rippling as the thing hovered- and she could see Anna. The back of her head and her shoulders were visible, and Elsa could make out the faint sounds of a city around her sister. There seemed to be snow falling.
“I guess Iris wasn’t able to put the viewing circle in front of Anna because reasons?”
Iris was probably just grumpy for getting interrupted during dinner.
“As if on cue!” Willow laughed. “Alright, just talk and she’ll hear you.”
Well, this is supposed to be a screen-play.
Elsa swallowed, took a deep breath, and then called out, “Anna?”
Anna jumped, whipping around to face the voice. When she saw Elsa, her eyes widened with surprise. “Elsa, hi!” she exclaimed. “How are you doing that?”
“Actually, couldn’t Elsa just do this herself with her poorly defined magical ice powers?”
Even if she can’t do it, Anna should be familiar enough with Elsa’s magic not to wonder how she’s doing something that seems magical.
Elsa’s heart skipped a beat.
Oh sure, when you need Crunchy to shock somebody’s heart, he’s nowhere to be seen.
Anna was happy to see her. She hadn’t responded with the vile hate they’d been fighting with before her departure- no quite the opposite, she sounded genuinely happy to see Elsa. So far, so good. One crippling fear gone.
“Which really shouldn’t surprise Elsa at all. Anna is impulsive and quick to follow emotion. She seems the type to burn very hot but for short periods of time.”
“I- I met someone yesterday who set me up with a magic spell,” she replied.
Someone set us up the spell!
“Poodle must spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at you.”
You have no idea.
A part of her chastised her for not even bothering to say hello first- but she was almost tongue-tied talking with her sister again. She was amazed she had been able to answer at all instead of staring dumbly at her while she tried to think of what to say.
*Taco falls out of his chair and writhes on the ground* ACK! THE PRONOUNS!
“Whoa, really?!” Anna laughed. “You mean like troll magic?”
Really? You have a sister who is dripping with ice magic, and the first thing you think of is the trolls?
“Sort of…” Elsa allowed. “She’s a witch- kind of like me, only she can do a lot more than ice and snow… How are you?”
Anna thought for a moment. “We’re… okay, I suppose,” she eventually answered, nodding her head slowly as if to affirm her answer to herself. “We’re stopped up in a place called, uh… I think it was called something like “Toronto”? Anyway, it’s nice and cold up here. You’d like it.” She paused, then asked, “How are you? You look like you’re starving.”
So many problems here. First of which, how the hell would Anna and Kristoff gotten to Toronto!? It’s in Canada and in 2011 you would need a passport to get there, something that there’s no way in hell they could have gotten without some kind of proof that they’re US citizens, which they’re not.
“Speaking of which, how did they get their hands on plane tickets without any kind of identification? A few chapters ago they were in Nevada waiting to catch a flight.”
Also, why the hell would Anna go anywhere that would constantly remind her of her sister, especially if they parted on bad terms? If anything she should be in Florida or something.
You need to proofread your stuff, Igor. Not just for spelling and grammar, which you need to do as well, but for content and logic.
Ay- this would be a fun one to explain. Elsa began wringing her hands a little, averting her eyes a little. “I didn’t exactly get out of the castle much after you left…”
Anna’s eyes widened with shock. “You mean you actually are starving? Are you nuts?”
“That’s not very sensitive.”
Well, they are from a while ago. Sensitivity to mental illness is a pretty recent thing.
“I”m better! I’m better!” Elsa backtracked, putting her hands up, “I’m getting better. I’m staying with this friend on a mountain in California right now called Mount Lassen. It’s snowing a blizzard right now.”
*They look out the window*
Well, it is white outside, I’ll give her that.
“Sounds like your kind of spot,” Anna smiled. But slowly, Elsa could see that smile sour. Oh god, she thought, here we go. “Kind of reminds you of home, huh?” Anna remarked snidely.
“This version of Anna is not really all that close to the movie.”
Look, there wouldn’t have been any fake tension if Igor had brought in the real Anna.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Elsa asked.
“Oh, you know,” Anna replied with exaggerated airiness, “Just that you left Arendelle, the land of snow-capped mountains and ice, and set up shop in a place exactly like it.”
I have no idea if that’s a fair argument or if it’s just Anna being a bitch. The prose has been untrustworthy to the extreme so far, so I can’t really draw any conclusions about ‘the event’ that made Elsa flee from Arindelle. See, this is the problem with being overly vague and secretive with your audience; it completely undermines your position as a storyteller.
Elsa scowled. “That wasn’t my choice, Anna! I’d have loved to stay at home, but we couldn’t!”
“Yes, we could have!” Anna argued, “You were just too afraid to stay!”
“I was not afraid!” Elsa insisted. “The kingdom wouldn’t last under my reign, so I left!”
If possible, the tension suddenly started to feel even flimsier and less convincing than it did before. Is this really going to be what you’re going with? Elsa lacked confidence to rule?
“You could have stepped down, you know!” Anna countered. “That’s a thing! Queen steps down, Princess takes her place! Cake!”
Dude, there’s gonna be cake!
And suddenly that slow burn flared up again, and before she could stop herself, she shot back, “Oh, like you would have made a good Queen!”
Guys, quit bickering like ten-year-olds.
“Yeah, or you won’t get cake!”
For a moment nobody spoke. Willow was dead still, watching the sisters with a sort of wary awe as the spectacle unfolded.
“She’s awed that two adults who should know better can act like petty pre-teens.”
Clearly Willow has never worked in customer service.
Elsa realized what she’d just said, and her expression shifted from angry to horrified. She couldn’t believe it. She had just single-handedly ruined any chance of reconciliation.
By telling Anna the truth? I mean, watch the movie, Anna would make a pretty shit queen. Almost as bad as somebody else I know.
“I HEARD THAT!”
You know damn well that you were garbage on the throne!
It was an unspoken rule of the sisters that no matter what, they would never, ever, ever insult the other’s ability to rule.
“Because they are fragile little princesses.”
Well, at least one of them is.
They could shout from dusk ’til dawn about poor relationship choices or argue some more about the three-year period where Elsa and Anna were alone and still Elsa never reached out, but never would they question each other’s queenly abilities.
Say what you will about my shitty choice in men, but don’t ever question my ability to queen!
“Is there actually even a pretense at tension at this point, or is the fic trying to be outlandish and silly?”
Honestly, I have no idea.
Elsa might have had more training, yes, but as heir following Elsa, Anna had to learn some about the throne as well in the event of Elsa’s death or abdication. They were royalty, fit for the total sovereignty of the crown above all others- to say one of them was not worthy would be worse than a hundred more years of silence between them. t was an unforgivable slight, and Elsa had just thrown caution to the wind and spat the worst venom she was capable of at her own sister. Even at Yosemite she hadn’t dared say that, she had known what it would mean- and now she had simply let the thought escape, and she could never take it back. But worst of all, she had meant it. She had finally been pushed too far, and she had said it without a second thought.
“So say what you will about them as people, but don’t dare question how they do their job!”
You’re a psycho bitch who doesn’t deserve to be happy! Humanity would only be elevated by your inability to have children, not that it’s a problem since nobody could stomach the sight of you long enough to have sex! But you’re doing okay on the throne.
“Everything is fine!”
Look, Igor, if you’re gonna just make up a reason for the two of them to be pissed at each other, at least try to make it something not completely and utterly stupid. Was this honestly the best you could come up with? I’m not gonna lie, this is pretty pathetic motivation even by Library standards. The fact that you had to write all that up there just to give your plot validation speaks volumes at how totally manufactured and illogical this is. My seven-year-old can do better than this.
Okay, that last bit was hyperbole. Tron thinks a good plot is that the friendly zombie is being chased by the bad-guy dragon because the dragon wants to steal the zombie’s diaper.
“Are you sure it was hyperbole?”
After the coldest silence she had ever endured, Elsa finally heard Anna respond. “You’re right,” the girl said, her voice dangerously level and devoid of emotion, “It was a good idea to leave. That way, we could finally get away from each other.”
At this point they devolve into yelling at each other. It doesn’t really add much because it’s just beating the dead horse that the author already informed us of in the first place. It’s even more pointless because, honestly, Elsa has a point. Neither Elsa nor Anna seems to have qualities that would make them very capable leaders. They’re both young and could probably figure it out given some more time, but they wouldn’t be good at the job right away.
“So this whole argument boils down to that the two of them can’t handle the-”
No. Bad raptor. We do not sully Jack Nicholson with this fic.
Anyway, the conversation ends, and then the prose gets all purple up in our face.
Everything seemed too quiet. Her breathing sounded muffled to her ears, which were ringing from Anna’s parting words. That fire in her chest wasn’t so fueling anymore- she could feel the chill of it burning her now, cold flames freezing her heart and shattering it into a thousand pieces, leaving an empty space and the worst pain she’d ever felt before in its place. She had lost her sister forever.
We get it! Elsa is all tortured and emo and stuff! Sweet crap, man, give it a rest!
“Anna…” she breathed. “Come back, Anna…”
Willow was stunned. She knew that it couldn’t have ended well anyway, but she hadn’t expected it to go just so wrong. “God… I’m sorry, Elsa.”
The fuck she didn’t! The whole purpose of this endeavor was to drive a wedge between the sisters. That plan went swimmingly, even if the whole setup for the break was painfully contrived.
“She was all I had,” Elsa said, her breath hitching in her throat a little. She could hear the voice in her head saying conceal, don’t feel, conceal, don’t feel, conceal, don’t feel, but she was very mildly surprised to see no ice appearing on the walls, and the blizzard wasn’t getting any worse.
“Those things didn’t happen because the plot needs them not to.”
Or maybe the plot is as dubious as we are of this development.
Honestly, though, she didn’t give a damn right now. Bit busy dealing with the worst emotional trauma of her life. “And now she’s gone,” she continued, a hint of bitterness lacing the words, “left me on my own.”
If you break into a round of “All By Myself,” I’m going to just end the riff now and delete the backup.
“Even the strongest of bonds can break,” Willow replied quietly.
For the stupidest of reasons.
“Words to live by.”
“Yes,” Elsa nodded mournfully, her gaze still fixed on the spot where the portal had been. “And it hurts so much when they do.”
“I can relate,” Willow said.
“Did you have a sister?” Elsa asked.
“More like my best friend,” Willow answered. “We used to be close, but we got mad at each other. I screwed up one thing, she screwed up another. It was partially my fault, but we never spoke again.”
“I’m getting the impression that our author is quite young.”
You’d be right. Based on everything I’ve looked at, he started this when he was around fourteen or fifteen. Not quite enough life experience to understand how adult relationships work.
Elsa turned her head to her. “Does it hurt?” she asked, fearing her answer a little.
“Sometimes,” Willow admitted, her gaze growing distant. “If I focus on the memories, yes.”
“That sounds painful,” Elsa replied.
“It is… I just remind myself that she always has the opportunity,” Willow responded, “I won’t come crawling to her for forgiveness when she won’t talk back. It’s an odd coping mechanism, but it works.”
Woof. That’s about the most passive-aggressive thing I’ve read in a fic.
“The fic seems to have real issues with painting its characters as petty.”
I think it comes back to that ‘young writer’ thing. Lots of petty little problems and arguments seem so important when you’re young. Some people grow out of it and realize how idiotic it is. Some.
Elsa returned her stare to the empty space before her. “I was just trying to help her,” she repeated morosely.
“I will say that she could have phrased it a little more diplomatically.”
Well, Elsa admitted she was a crap queen. I guess diplomacy was one of the things she sucked at.
“If you were only helping, then you shouldn’t beat yourself up over this,” Willow answered, “If you’re in the right, then she’s the one responsible here- not you.”
Yeah, dude, if you don’t like the look of somebody’s face, it’s perfectly fine to tell them how ugly they are. It isn’t your fault, you’re just telling it like it is. They should cover the face up and then thank you for the help.
“Do people actually think that way!?”
There are a lot of idiots out there.
“I don’t like to think that way,” Elsa shook her head.
Holy crap! Elsa said something intelligent!
“No-one does,” Willow admitted, “The reason why is because they know it’s true. We feel guilty because we take pleasure in knowing we’re the ones who were right, but it’s still true.”
“Self analysis to make sure that we actually are right is irrelevant, of course.”
It’s better to stew in your own feelings of righteousness. Thinking is for chumps.
“You’re making me glad I don’t leave the Library much.”
You have no idea.
Elsa sat on the bed, looking pensive. “I guess…” she allowed, mulling it over half-heartedly. After a few seconds, though, the burning sensation began to heat up again, and the sentiment began to sound better to her.
I think she needs some kind of cortisone cream or something.
“Or maybe tone the salsa down to a medium at lunch.”
On the plus side, the author used ‘pensive’ correctly.
It even sounded right. “I mean, it’s horrible to say, but it kind of is. All I wanted was to keep us safe and happy, and she couldn’t see it for what is was.” And now that doubt was wavering- was she really being selfish in stating the fact of the matter?
Sweet crap, woman! Decide how you feel about it, already! Watching you waffle on about every issue for six paragraphs is not interesting to read about!
Family was family- they stuck together, not split up!
“All evidence to the contrary.”
She had been all for staying with her family! “Instead she just left me, not even considering working it out- and right now, too!” she realized. “We could’ve fixed over that problem, but she’s keeping the bridge burnt out of sheer stubbornness and anger!”
That one is kinda fair. While Anna is being bent way out of character to make this split happen, this !Anna does bear a good share of the blame for how that whole conversation went down.
“Some see it as though they’re being wronged,” Willow replied. Devil’s advocate, she thought, play devil’s advocate…
The lack of personal awareness is staggering, here. I really hope the author was doing it on purpose, but I have some serious doubts.
“But she’s not!” Elsa exclaimed. She was angry about it now, too, she was getting mad again and that rage was returning slowly but surely and and stronger than ever. “I was helping, and she threw it all away because it meant leaving home. She won’t see the big picture!”
So what do you think they would have called this show had it actually aired?
“Flimsy Self-Justifications: The Musical.”
“People grow attached sometimes,” Willow reminded her. The deadly game of stoking the flame was in play now- she had to be careful now…
And now we’re back to misusing words. This lukewarm mind-game is hardly deadly, author.
“Look at me!” Elsa cried indignantly, “Did I care when I ran away from Arendelle after I… slipped up? No! I knew it wasn’t safe! This is selfishness! She left me without a second thought for how I felt!”
Beat that dead-horse, author! Beat it with all your might!
“Does it keep going on like this?”
Pretty much, yeah. We can skip a lot of it because it’s really just boils down to Willow goading Elsa into self-indulgent whining and rationalization. It’s about as interesting as watching two kids argue about whose turn it is to play with the ball.
Eventually Elsa gets riled up enough to make a blizzard. At which point.
“Elsa!” Willow shouted. “Calm down.”
“Why?!” Elsa yelled.
“Your blizzard is about to bust my windows!” Willow exclaimed, pointing at the whiteout outside.
Very, very white.
When Elsa saw the out-of-control storm, she suddenly felt the rage recede a little, and the storm quieted back to its previous snowstorm levels.
“It’s like when a hurricane calms down to just tropical storm levels.”
The burning was still there, though, and it was still white-hot.
A Zantac, maybe?
“Tough actin’ Tinactin?”
Elsa had never felt so angry in her life. Everything she’d worked to keep had just been smashed at her feet- and those thoughts that had smoldered in her head in the village returned. It no longer seemed merely unfair that her sacrifices be in vain while others were rewarded- no, it was wrong.
I wonder what Elsa’s super villain name will be.
“The Queen of Complaint?”
I was thinking more along the line of ‘The Burn Metaphor Avenger.’
“I don’t think we’re very good at naming super villains.”
That’s okay, Igor isn’t very good at writing them.
She had nothing left now, and the world had everything- she wouldn’t say no to setting it ablaze now.
“Though ‘Burn Metaphor Avenger’ is surprisingly accurate.”
“I’ll never forgive her,” she repeated firmly, “Never.”
The follow up to Let it Go is Stew on It.
“She still loves you, though,” Willow replied softly.
Willow, stop undermining the plot. It does that well enough on its own.
“That where you’re wrong,” Elsa snorted, “Loved ones come back. She won’t.” She turned, heading out the door. “I’m going to finish building my castle.
The door slammed shut.
“Why did she say the door slammed shut?”
I think Elsa just broke through the prose and is now narrating. Anyway, we get a line break and then:
For a second, Willow simply stared.
“Which is different than what she usually does.”
Right, normally she stares for several minutes to several hours.
One voice said everything went perfectly, another said it had gone terribly wrong.
Can we go at least one chapter without people talking to the voices in their head, please?
She was happy, but she was also incredibly angry and sad. A perfect passage came to mind. “What a piece of work is man…” she began, “How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty… In form and moving, how express and admirable… In action, how like an angel… In apprehension, how like a god…” But it wasn’t quite enough for her taste right now.
“Sorry, Igor, Shakespeare isn’t going to save this mess. At best, you’re going to drag Hamlet down with you.”
Nah, Hamlet can stand up to a lot of abuse. Remember Crunchy’s unironic interpretation of Polonius?
“I cringe just thinking about it.”
Hamlet was tip-toeing around the truth here, so she would just go ahead and finish it with honesty: “In creation, how like… a muse… In destruction, how like a surgeon, yet an unforgiving grinding stone- crafting its tools through pain and suffering.”
Wow, author, you completely missed the point of Hamlet’s soliloquy, didn’t you? I mean, wow, you weren’t even in the same ballpark. Protip for all authors: Before you bring something up in your fic, make sure you understand it first. Having actually read the whole thing (while paying attention to it, not just being forced to in class) helps, too. I mean crap, Igor, you just outed yourself as having absolutely no clue here. Willow, the canon Willow, would not have made such an egregious misread.
I don’t know that I’ve seen such an obvious ploy to look smart backfire so completely before.
“I think it’s because Igor may not have known that little quote comes near the end of a much larger speech. The parts before and after give it the context that has been totally lost by Willow here.”
And for right now, she had had enough of the whole heart-breaking game she had to play right now. It was only fun when you weren’t hurting a friend. “Oh, Elsa…” she sighed, “I am so sorry.”
“This version of Dark Willow isn’t very good at being Dark Willow.”
I think Igor watched Dr. Horrible a few too many times before writing this and got his wires crossed.
She lied down staring at the peaked ceiling.
“There we go! Back to doing nothing just like normal.”
“Good night, sweet princess… the Snow Queen has taken your throne now… and left you wondering what could’ve happened… And I’m wondering how I could let it happen… Such is the price of evil- you hurt everyone you love as well as everyone you hate- better hope you have less friends than foes.
“I think the real price of evil is pretentious dialogue.”
I guess the lack of closing quotes means Willow is taking the narrative back from Elsa. We’ll have to wait until next week to see how that pans out, though, since this is the end of the chapter!
“Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be cake?”
Hey, you’re right! What gives, author!?