1539: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Seven, Part One

Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
Genre: Supernatural/Drama
URL: Heroes and Villains
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

Unngggh.  Hey, patrons.

“You look almost as bad as I feel.”

I’m not even sure how a birthday party for a two-year-old gets out-of-hand like that.  I’ve been to frat parties where I didn’t get near as drunk as I did last- *looks at the calendar* -week.

“Well, it was fine until Syl invited everyone to go drinking after Jiwe was put to bed.”

I should have just stuck with a plate of leftover cake and that bag of party favors.  Syl is oddly persuasive when she wants to be.

“Still, the memories will be there.  Mostly.  Things get a bit hazy after the Lysol shots.  Though I don’t think anyone will forget Markus and Glasses getting smashed and singing karaoke all night.”

No we won’t, much as we might try.  Anyway, let’s take a quick look at what happened last week.

“As usual, there wasn’t much of substance.  Buffy, Jimmy, and Olaf show up at Elsa’s palace, Buffy and Jimmy invite themselves in for dinner, Elsa serves them a PCC turkey that she was making, they have some light conversation about plot points that we were already well aware of, and then Elsa has a brief phone conversation with Willow wherein it’s revealed that Elsa plans to drug Taco with dessert.”

I’m still waiting for that dessert, by the way.  Unfortunately, this week we start chapter seven, which is about as long as the last two chapters combined.  Suffice to say that we’re going to be in for some longer riffs here.

So lets jump into this thing!

This is Forever

“This?”

The thing.

He watched as the sun set in the west, sinking into the ocean.

“He?”

Mr. GuyMan.

“I suppose with GirlWoman being in this fic, it was only a matter of time before he showed up.”

He wondered idly what would happen if the sun actually was submerged in the sea until daybreak, when it would rise up again in the east and evaporate the water that cascaded off its surface, creating the water vapor necessary to have a sunrise worthy of being captured on film.

GAH!

*Falls onto the floor clutching his eyes*

So purple and stupid all at the same time!  How do you even type something like that without your computer melting?

But it wasn’t possible, he decided, because all that water would boil before the sun got within a million miles of the surface. The Earth would burn up in mere hours.

Dude, don’t kid yourself, the planet would be instantaneously vaporized if the sun tried to set into the ocean.

“Mr. Guyman isn’t very bright, is  he?”

Doesn’t appear to be, no.

“Hey,” he heard someone say from behind him. He looked up, a smile stretching across his face as he saw who it was.

“Hey there,” he replied as the woman sat down next to him. “What’s up?”

“Oh look, it’s GirlWoman!”

It’s good to see that these two have apparently settled their differences.

“It’s almost Christmas,” she smiled. “What should I get you this year?”

He thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I’ve already got you.”

“I’ve got the Darkwraiths making the rounds with insulin shots for anyone who needs one.”

I’ll take a double, please.

She smacked his shoulder playfully. “Come on, be serious. What do you want for Christmas?”

“Ask for a pony!”

Not everyone wants a pony.

“An ice pick,” he responded jokingly. “And a club sandwich.”

“Is this maybe supposed to be Kristof and Anna?”

*Stares intently into the swirling void*  Maybe?

“Do I have to force it out of you?” the woman teased.

He laughed. “Hmm… surprise me,” he eventually decided.

“Okay then,” the woman replied. “One extra-special Christmas surprise it is.”

Step one: Cut a hole in the box.

“What good would that do?  Why do you need a hole in the box?”

Never mind.

“Sounds good.” he smiled. “…Stay with me and watch the movie?”

Wait, what movie?  Wasn’t he watching a sunset?

“Sure,” she agreed, wrapping an arm around his shoulders as the crowd a little ways down grew larger on the sandy beach, the inflatable movie screen rising up, and the last of the sun disappeared beneath the waves.

Oooooh.  See, having even a little setting can really clear things up.

“So this probably isn’t Anna and Kristof then.  They were up in Canada.”

There are still beaches in Canada.  Not sure you’d want to hang out at one and watch a movie if it’s almost Christmas, but the fic doesn’t really give us anything to go on.  They might be all bundled up and stuff.  We may never know, since the scene ends there and we cut back over to Elsa.

As dinner finished, Elsa considered the best way to subdue the Slayer and her friend.

“Shouldn’t she be working on your poisoned dessert?”

If she’s going to be a while, I can just munch on this can of toxic Pringles?

She looked through the cabinets, knowing Willow would have left her something, and struck gold: sleep syrup.

“Wait, the PCC wouldn’t hire a canon character, would they?”

Naw, their hiring policy strictly prohibits it.  Sell to, sure, but not hire.

She opened the little bottle and breathed in the aroma, trying to decide where it would fit in. It was very sweet, almost cloyingly so.

If only there was some kind of dish you could serve after a meal that could mask that sweet taste.

“If only.”

In that case, cake was the way to go-

Not what I’d go with, personally, but if you made a cake that could take an extremely sweet frosting, it could work.

“Wasn’t she trying to throw together a quick dessert so that she wouldn’t keep her guests waiting very long?”

Hmm, true.  If she’s going to make a cake, she’ll need several hours.  All the more reason to pick something else.  Personally, I’d have gone with some kind of sugar-glazed fruit.  You can toss that together in fifteen minutes and you could easily combine the poison with the sugar glaze.

and it was obvious what kind to make: chocolate.

Yeah, no.  Chocolate is NOT what you go with here.  The super-sweet taste of the potion is going to clash with the more rich chocolate flavor.  You might be able to make it work as part of a chocolate frosting, but you’re hampering your efforts with chocolate as a whole.   If you want to mask something that is overly sweet, you need to stick to fruits or things with glazes or jelly fillings, like pastry.

Within 45 minutes, she brought it out, and then some drinks to go with it.

Bahahahahahahahaha!  Okay, Igor, I can see you did some minimal research here, but you didn’t quite go far enough.  You should actually have baked yourself a cake to get a real idea of how it goes.  Yes, you can crack-open Betty Crocker and it’ll list a prep time of like 45 minutes or so.  However, that doesn’t give you a very good idea of the actual time you’ll need to prepare a cake; especially not one that you’re planning to hide a cloyingly sweet taste in.

First, there are indeed cakes you can serve warm.  These typically fit into two categories, pudding cakes and bread cakes.  However, there are some problems here: a pudding cake takes a LOT more prep time than 45 minutes since they almost always require a significant chilling time before baking.  A bread cake is also a poor choice because most bread cakes are more rich in flavor and not overly sweet. But, more problematic, both of the cakes would pretty much require you to bake the potion into them.  Since Elsa doesn’t know anything about the potion, cooking it into something would be a terrible idea because she wouldn’t know if heating the potion up would render it inert or not.  There are a subset of bread cakes that you can put topping or glazes on after they come out of the oven, but again, these toppings would not be able to easily mask an extremely sweet taste as they tend to not be overly sweet.

Second, the better choice for a cake would be some kind of frosted, layer, or jam cake; that way you could fold the potion into the already sweet frosting or filling and not risk the potion’s integrity by heating it.  Unfortunately, all of these are served either at room temperature or chilled, and a cake takes several hours to cool.   There’s no way you’d be able to do a cake like this in under three or four hours.

The Cliffnotes version here is that you can’t just throw-together a cake in this situation; not in 45 minutes.  The options that you could throw together would either not fit the taste or potentially compromise the potion, and the options that do work would take far too much preparation.

The whole situation is more stupid because the obvious choice here is fruit sorbet.  You’re the freaking ICE QUEEN, Elsa!

“I really want cake now.”

We should send some Darkwraiths to raid the fridge and see if any of Jiwe’s birthday cake is left.

*A Darkwraith slowly drags itself into the room, hands Eliza a note, and drags itself out.*

“Swenia says that she doesn’t appreciate us trying to steal her son’s leftover cake.”

While it wasn’t a bad idea on its own, it would also lower their guard, maybe enough that they would pass out before they realized what had happened.

Dude, you don’t have to sell us on why you included drinks.  Drinks with dessert are a normal thing.

As the alcohol began to kick in, the conversation shifted to an inflammatory topic: politics.

Oh… good.  This can only end well.

“Everyone brace for author tract!”

For fifteen minutes Marlowe had to explain how the government in the U.S. worked so Elsa could understand what he was getting so riled up about.

Well, at least Igor didn’t gloss over the fact that trying to talk politics with somebody from another dimension is pretty stupid.  Granted, there are people who would still try, but they would still be stupid for trying.

“Like Jimmy!”

Yup, like Jimmy.

Then things would get interesting.

They would?

“Yeah!  In some other fic, of course, but things are going to get interesting there!”

Good to know something interesting is going to happen somewhere.

“…and so the votes are recorded,” Marlowe said, wrapping up, “and whichever candidate has the most votes gains that many electoral votes, usually, of which he or she needs 270 to win.”

“I really wish we were reading that interesting fic.”

“That sounds exhausting,” Elsa responded, taking a sip of her red wine. “Especially for a country with hundreds of millions of people!”

How does she know how many people are in the US?  Was that part of the exposition that we mercifully skipped?

“It’s super handy that the author doesn’t actually write his exposition!  That means he can retroactively have included anything he wants in it!”

Yaaaay.

“It’s a democracy,” Marlowe sighed. “It’s also complicated. Monarchy is easier in that respect.”

“But it’s quite tiring for that monarch,” Elsa countered. “He or she serves for life- a U.S. president serves only 8 years at most!”

Um, author, do … do you actually think this is what ‘talking politics’ is?  Because it’s not.  Not anywhere close.

“Would you rather actually get the political author tract?”

You know what, keep discussing the mechanics of government.  I’m suddenly fine with that.

Marlowe took a large sip of his wine. “In my opinion, this country’s political system is crumbling- there’s too much corporate power and the bipartisan system’s become dangerously polarized.

Well fuck me, we’re going to get the author tract anyway.

For instance, put a conservative and a liberal in a room together, mention taxes offhandedly, and they start fighting immediately!”

Uh, no.  That’s not how it works.  Taxes are not a hot-button topic.  Not in itself, anyway.

“Better than a rebellion because of one person’s decisions,” Elsa disagreed.

“A situation with which Elsa has had absolutely no experience.  She ruled over an an idyllic kingdom for a few years then abdicated before anything bad could actually happen.”

Don’t paraphrase the fic, it makes it look even stupider.

“Better one moron than 500,” Marlowe spat.

“It’s kind of adorable watching a kid try to write about politics.  Especially when he doesn’t appear to be a very good student of history.”

Yeah, monarchies are rarely, if ever, about a single person, but about a much wider aristocracy.  And, as history teaches, monarchies can get very, very, VERY bad.  Keep in mind, though, that the failures of the monastic system do not by themselves give credence to republican governments.  Rather the point is that monarchies do not deserve to be idealized in the fashion Jim here is doing.

“No system is perfect, though” Elsa reminded him. “Human nature.”

“America is one of the worse ones,” he replied sourly, “Rockefeller and Gould would be proud, the snakes.”

“And, to prove that the current system is broken, he cites figures from about a hundred years ago.”

And offers nothing else to back up his claims.  This guy is taking the appeal to emotion fallacy to a really weird extreme.

What did they do?” Elsa asked.

“Rockefeller had a virtual monopoly on the oil industry at the turn of the century- made millions. Gould got a railroad monopoly around the same time,” Marlowe explained.

Swing and a miss.  Rockefeller did indeed have a monopoly on the oil industry, but Gould was nowhere close to a monopoly at any point in his career.  At the height of his wealth, he had 15% of the market railroad.  Gould did do some pretty shady things, but owning a rail monopoly was not one of them.

It’s also interesting in this case that when the government stepped in and broke up Rockefeller’s monopoly, it actually ended up making him even more wealthy than he otherwise would have been.

“Interesting,” Elsa said.

“She must be reading that other fic.”

“And they both went to their graves ill-gotten millionaires,” he continued, “corrupt to the core. At least Carnegie had some consideration for his workers in the steel industry.”

That’s actually pretty debatable.  While Rockefeller and his company were involved in some pretty shady dealings, Rockefeller was a very well known philanthropist who gave hundreds of millions to charities throughout his lifetime.  Historians are somewhat on the fence with how ‘evil’ Rockefeller himself actually was vs. simply incompetent in running a company as large as he owned.

Similarly, Gould’s reputation was somewhat unmerited as well.  Not that he wasn’t an oily businessman, but rather his success over the years was overstated due to a couple of high-visibility swindles he did that ultimately didn’t earn him all that much money but did earn him the reputation as a sleaze-bag.  Most of his money came from his late-life acquisition and management of Union Pacific.

And it’s ironic that you’d even mention Carnegie, since he was brutally opposed to the British monarchy.  He even went so far as to purchase several English newspapers and have them run stories advocating the abolition of the monarchy in favor of establishing a republic similar to that in the US.

“None of which have any actual bearing in a discussion of the failings of modern government.”

Pretty much.

“So adorable!”

What are the worst political issues now?” Elsa inquired, tempted to laugh at how absurdly convoluted the subject was.

See, even Elsa recognizes how insane Jim’s line of reasoning is.

“Making drugs legal for recreational use,” Marlowe began listing, ticking them off on his fingers, “giving homosexuals the right to marry… fixing our debt…” He sighed. “The list is half a mile long, and I wouldn’t touch it with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole.”

So why did you even bring it up!?  You want to bitch about how bad things are, but then don’t want to talk about why or how!?

“Maybe Igor was trying to write Jimmy as being a grumpy old man who just likes to complain.”

If that was his aim, he nailed it.

Buffy smirked. “You’re a mean one, Mis-ter Grinch,” she sang softly.

*GONG*

*A Darkwraith goes sailing through the riffing chamber*

At least Cerbs isn’t trying his luck with the slayer this week.

“You really are a heel,” Marlowe continued.

“You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mis-ter Gri-inch.” Buffy finished.

“Did Jimmy just join in on a song that’s mocking him?”

Well, he deserves it. Maybe he had a sudden burst of self-awareness.

“And that is how I feel about this world,” Marlowe summed up.

muppets_montageclip_hd

I don’t think the author realized that Sam Eagle was satire.

“Things will get better,” Elsa replied, cutting another slice of cake for herself, careful to take it from the half facing her. “They always do.”

“Isn’t she supposed to be the evil one, here?”

Whatever she is, she’s making me want to root for the empire.

“So they say,” Marlowe responded cynically, picking up his fork again.

“It better not, otherwise Jimmy won’t have anything to complain about!”

Don’t worry about Jim, he’ll find a way to complain no matter what happens.

Buffy grabbed his plate from him. “I think you’ve had enough sugar, Professor,” she said, taking his fork.

“I was still eating that!” he exclaimed.

“And now you’re not,” Buffy said, finishing the slice. “My blood pressure’s in less danger than yours is.

“I do believe we just witnessed a successful YOINK!”

“You just had to, didn’t you?” Marlowe laughed.

“Yup-” Buffy replied, not missing a beat. “It’s my job- be the annoying kid who doesn’t know nuthin’ and has it easy.”

That annoying 33 year-old kid who’s working a job and putting herself through night school.

“I guess Igor forgot that this isn’t supposed to be season-one Buffy.”

“That wasn’t acting, then?” Marlowe asked, making Elsa laugh.

The hell is Jim talking about?  What wasn’t acting?  Buffy stealing his cake?  He watched her eat it!

“Acting’s not my thing,” Buffy shook her head. As she put down the plate, a wave of exhaustion suddenly hit. “Man- that cake is giving me food coma.”

Fucking finally!  I’ve been waiting for this scene to end since before it started!

“I must agree on that front…” Marlowe replied, his brow beginning to furrow, “but I don’t recall ever getting this drowsy because of it.”

“Shouldn’t the drug be affecting Jimmy more than Buffy at this point?”

Mmm, depends.  The show had a few instances where it showed that slayers do take longer to succumb to the effects of drugs, but if this sleeping potion is magical, then Buffy would have no special resistance to it.

“Same…” Buffy responded, beginning to think, “What’s up with that? Something in one of the ingre-”

The penny dropped.

“YOINK!”

This is why you have to be careful not to drop change around Eliza.

“It’s so shiny!”

I thought that tasted a little too sweet…

Why would you associate overly-sweet tasting food with being drugged?  In fact, most drugs used in this manner are actually designed to have little to no taste at all so that they are easily masked.

“You sly bitch-” she said, shooting daggers at Elsa. “You drugged it, didn’t you?”

“Obviously not very well if you’re still so articulate.”

“It wasn’t anything special,” the woman replied pleasantly, like she hadn’t just duped them. “This world has some very potent concoctions.”

“If the world has some very potent concoctions, why did you use the barely effective one that let Jimmy ramble on about how bad he thinks everything is before it started to make him slightly drowsy?”

She may as well have just slipped Nyquil into the cake.

“Why?” Buffy asked.

Well, to be fair to Elsa, it was pretty rude of you to just invite yourself in for dinner.

“I probably should’ve told you sooner- I’m collaborating with Willow,” Elsa revealed, a smile forming on her face. “She wants me to bring you to base for a little chat, and I can’t have you kicking and screaming all the way there.”

“Because you’re a coward,” Buffy spat.

“Or Elsa was worried that Jimmy might try to talk to her about religion next.”

Honestly, after Jimmy’s ‘politics’ tirade and the following banter between him and Buffy, drugging these two is the smartest thing Elsa has done in the fic.  Probably the smartest thing in this fic period.

“No,” Elsa disagreed, “I just know when I’m outmatched. I’m not quite at full strength yet; I don’t want to take any risks, and neither does she.”

“Outmatched?  You could just freeze the two of them solid if you needed to.  That’s on the lower end of your capabilities, hon.”

Marlowe shot her a disappointed glare. “You’re a very foolish woman, Elsa,” he said, then sank back into his chair, fast asleep. Buffy was out in only another few seconds.

And, even at the end of all things, Jim still refuses to support his claims with substantive facts.  That’s dedication!

“No…” Elsa said to Marlowe as she pulled out her phone, “you’re the foolish ones.”

“No, dear, don’t lower yourself to his level.  The high road is to back your assertions.”

Actually, I think Elsa does have a basis here.  The two of them invited themselves over to dinner with somebody who is a complete stranger then proceeded to eat everything they were served without question.  That’s pretty foolish.  I think she was just taking the fact that they were so easily subdued as self-evident.

Ring… Ring… Ri-

Oof.  I can’t stand people who have Skeeter’s ringtone.

“Hello? Elsa?”

“Yes, it’s me,” Elsa answered. “They’re ready.”

“Awesome. The car’ll be in the village by the time you get there.”

“Okay. I’ll be there in a few hours.”

Wait, are you making her walk all the way to Yosemite village carrying two bodies?

“Willow is supposed to be evil, after all.”

Dude, I hope Elsa at least makes herself another Marshmallow to help out.

“Now we get a line break and head over to Olaf!”

Olaf was very proud of himself. He had successfully followed Elsa down to the village unsighted, managed to hang onto the bottom of the super-fancy car she got in for five whole hours (okay, so he technically would be able to do that without getting tired, but still-), and was currently hiding behind a shrub near the entrance of a huge castle.

I hate everything.

“You okay over there?”

Yeah, it’s just the fic.  It’s getting stupider and less plausible as it goes on.  And that’s not even touching on the mid-sentence author’s note.  I just… can’t.  The only explanation to why the author keeps paraphrasing large portions of this fic, like we see here, is that he realizes how stupidly implausible the plot is and doesn’t want us to focus too much on how shit it all is.  I’m too hung-over to deal with that right now.

“Maybe you need a drink.”

Funny.

“Let me take a stab at it!  First, how did Olaf manage to sneak onto the bottom of the car?  Even if it were snowy around, he’s not difficult to miss as the lone sentient CG snowman.

Second, how would he even fit under the car?  He’s pretty wide, and even a skinny human would have difficulty fitting on the underside of a Tesla, even if it was a limousine.  One little bump and he’s going to be missing several inches of snow off his back.

Third, Olaf is constantly falling apart into his various pieces.  The only thing that really keeps him together is staying vertical.  How would he manage to keep his legs with him if he were hanging onto the bottom of a car?

Finally, why didn’t anyone in the village do anything when Elsa came waltzing into town dragging two bodies!?

That about cover it?”

Yes, thank you.

Elsa must’ve decided to move here- he could see an ice palace connected to the big black one, but it looked different than her other ones, more panel-y and sharp as opposed to walls that almost seemed to blend together into one structure.

I’m still waiting for the explanation as to why she isn’t living in this new castle.  Especially with as much disdain as she viewed the other one earlier.

“Silly, if she wasn’t living in the other one, Olaf wouldn’t have been able to bring Buffy and Jimmy over to visit!”

I hate everything.

It wasn’t quite so welcoming. But one detail stuck out more than the others as he watched Elsa climb up the stairs:

And that is…

“Wowie mama. This place is big,” he muttered to himself, moving from behind the bush and bolting up the stairs, momentarily using Elsa as cover before finding a nice corner to look on from.

That’s it?  The place is big?

“Wasn’t the other castle big?”

Elsa Castle

Very.

His new friends were lying still on two floating blocks of ice flanking Elsa, but as far as he could tell they weren’t dead.

“The ice blocks?”

Well, Elsa does make a fair amount of sentient snow.  Was only a matter of time before she made sentient ice.

Elsa knocked at the door, the sound echoing in the cold air.

Why is she knocking on the door to her own castle?

“Maybe she’s just very polite.  She did serve two complete, and rude, strangers dinner.”

A few moments later, the door silently opened, revealing another woman about Elsa’s height, but nowhere near as pretty.  She was pale, which really clashed with her hair, which was black as night, and what was up with her eye?! It looked like somebody had sliced right through it!

Hey look, some more grudgingly given character description!

“Too bad most of it we’ve seen before.”

Hey, we’ve now got a hair color and a complexion.  That’s like ten times as much as we had before.

Olaf got a bad vibe from her.

But what about her mojo!?

“Her mojo is bad vibing like a midtown square, man.”

Don’t ever do that again.

The woman stepped out and checked the sleeping girl’s pulse. “Shame, really,” he heard her say, “I’d hoped Marlowe would stay out of it… But, I guess his heroic tendencies got the better of him.”

Could also be his nature as a nosy old man.  He seems to have lots of those old man tendencies from what we’ve seen of him.

Olaf began to shuffle towards the door. Maybe he could sneak in…

Unless Olaf has been secretly training with the Butter Clan, I can’t imagine this going well.

“How do you know him?” Elsa asked.

“He taught my Noir California class in 2003,” the black-haired girl replied. “I liked him. He was a good teacher… And apparently a good fighter- he sent my vamp scurrying after getting my letter.”

“Well, you do have lots of free time to workout when all you do is teach a course on California literature.  Did he ever mention that he’s also the top street fighter of New Jersey?”

He was in!

“Remind me to have a stern talk with Shinobi about the clan’s ‘all snowmen allowed’ training policy.”

And then there’s Buffy,” said Elsa.

“And then there’s Buffy,” the other girl repeated sourly, “the best Slayer there ever was, which is good for the world, and a pain in the ass for you and me, ’cause we’re her enemies now.

Dialogue is hard.  Which is a shame since like 90% of this fic is dialogue.

Luckily, I know her well enough to… dissuade her from getting too nosy.”

You know the best way to have done that?  Not letting her know you were alive with the letter.

“And not having Elsa bring them to you.”

Yeah, I’m not sure Willow really knows how to keep people out of her business.  Which is weird, since she usually delights so much in doing nothing.

Elsa smirked, and her eyes were so chilly it made Olaf shiver. “So what do we do now?”

BAAAAAAA!

Not the Snow-

*GONG*

-Queen.

*Seconds later the Darkwraiths drag a twenty-ton block of frozen sheep out of the riffing chamber*

“I didn’t know that you could freeze a demon sheep, let alone one that’s usually wreathed in a modest amount of flame.”

It’s one of the perks of having undefined powers.

“We throw them in a cell, of course,” the other one said, as if it were obvious. “It’s what villains do.”

What stupid villains do, anyway.  The smart ones kill their opponents when they have the chance.

“Or host them in lavish rooms with room service and a personal masseuse so that the Heroes lose interesting in fighting.”

You’ve been hanging out with Crunchy too much.

What? Villains?!

*Shrug* When we see some, we’ll let you know, narrator.

They entered the castle, not noticing Olaf standing just in the corner behind the door.

“A very stern talk with Shinobi.”

“Elsa… what happened?” he said, his eyes wide with disbelief. He scurried after them, careful not to be too loud.

She succumbed to a horrible case of plot.

“It can happen to the best of us.”

At this point we cut to a scene of extreme mustache twirling.  I was gonna save it for next week, but I’m a sucker for a good evil twirling session.

Ah. They were waking up.

They?

“Mr. GuyMan and GirlWoman have joined forces!?”

Elsa had come in about an hour ago now, and true to her word, Willow had the duo locked in a cell. It was on par with Clearance-Level-5-room – that is, it was simple, clean, and moonlit.

*SLAM*

Like X, except Y: 8

Not quite the exact wording, but that description was definitely in the same spirit.

 Thankfully, this one wasn’t guarded with the most foreboding chills of fear any poor soul who entered would ever experience.

It’s also not guarded by a grumpy Sith-raptor with a hangover.  What’s your point, narrator?

No, this was just a simple holding cell. No need to ward off anyone.

“Not even, like, would-be rescuers?”

Nope.  Nobody.

“Not Xander or Dawn or-”

NOBODY!

“Not even somebody with some knowledge of magic at their disposal like Angel of Illyria?”

NO. BODY.  This cell does not need to be guarded.  Period.

Buffy slowly sat up, a sharp frown crossing her features as she did so. For a moment she was still, and then she turned towards Willow. The minute she saw the raven-haired girl, Buffy’s grimace became one of the most frightening death glares Willow had ever seen, but she kept her face smooth.

Buffy glared without moving her face!?  Is that one of those lesser-known slayer powers?

Buffy couldn’t do anything behind titanium bars. Probably.

I’m not sure I would trust that.  Probably should have used some kind of magical barrier.

“You mean like a ward?”

NO!  Entirely different!

“You,” the Slayer growled, her voice menacingly low.

“Jeez, you drug a person once and suddenly they turn all hostile.”

Seriously, stop hanging out with Crunchy.  Hang out with …  um.  … Is there anyone around here who isn’t a bad influence?

“Markus?”

Okay, fine, hang out with Crunchy.

*Marcus leans into the room and gives Taco the finger.*

Love you too, buddy.

“Me,” Willow confirmed with false easiness.

Hey!  That’s our joke!

“How you feelin’?”

“Like stabbing you,” Buffy replied angrily.

Well_that_escalated_quickly_966

“Thought so,” Willow responded, turning to the professor, who was just now rising. “What about you, Professor? How are you feeling today?”

“Rather betrayed,” he answered surprisingly honestly.

Technically you should have felt betrayed when you got the letter saying that she was evil and would try to kill you if you got involved.  Right now you should be feeling a little sheepish that you didn’t believe the letter.

“Why?” Willow asked, tilting her head curiously.

See, even Willow agrees that it doesn’t make sense!

“Elsa,” he said bluntly.

“Oh.”

“I can give him that one.  She did set up a pretty convincing facade of being friendly.”

Yeah, you win this round, Jim.

“So…” Buffy said after a short pause, her glare unceasing,

Yeah…

“There it is…”

Evil…

“Yup…”

 “Big Bad out on the prowl again- comin’ to kick my ass again- and to top it all off, you’ve got a movie character working for you.”

Little hint, author, if it sounds stupid when your character summarizes the plot, you probably aren’t doing so hot.

“No, no- working with me,” Willow corrected. “It’s a group thing.

Dammi-

*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*

You saw how well a hierarchy worked out for the geeks.”

She did?

“Sure.  You know, off page.  When she was doing the thing.”

“You didn’t seem to care about that when you almost killed Jonathan and Andrew,” Buffy shot back maliciously.

So, wait, Willow is seriously using ‘The Trio‘ as the shining example of why hierarchies fail?  Even ignoring their gross incompetence and mostly laughable attempts at villainy, there were only three of them.  That doesn’t make much of a hierarchy!

“And what does Willow’s attempted murder of Jonathan and Andrew have to do with her disregard of a hierarchy?”

“They should’ve stopped him before he could start,” Willow dodged. Touchy touchy, Buffy…

This conversation is so logically wonky that I can’t figure out if Willow has a point there or not.  Technically they shouldn’t have formed The Trio in the first place because Warran was a sociopath, but again that doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the premise that hierarchies are bad.

“Because Short Round and Comic Boy would’ve turned down Mr. Smooth-Talker,” Buffy responded sarcastically.

So now we’re just going to devolve into name-calling.  Against people who are either dead or not here.  Sure, you know what, if you’re gonna be nonsensical, you might as well go the whole way and just start having them babble random references to the show.

“They could’ve…” Willow replied.

For a moment they were silent, when Buffy suddenly smiled. “Nice accessory,” she quipped, indicating Willow’s fresh scar. “Does it come in pairs?”

So close, author.  It was actually the second half of the insult that was the quip, the first part was the set-up.

“Want one?” Willow threatened.

“Technically also a quip!”

Kinda lacks the punch of a proper quip, though.  She should have followed up with something to the effect of: ‘it would really bring out the color of your eye.’

“Why do you have us here?” Buffy asked suddenly.

“Oh, right, the plot.”

Such that there is.

Willow stood. “Because I’m trying to make a point, and you two just don’t seem to get it: I’m trying to do something big, and you’re getting in my way. I’m telling you to stay out of it.”

“That didn’t work the first time, dear.  Nor is it likely to.  Buffy is a hero and you’re a self-proclaimed villain; it’s like Blofeld asking Bond to switch sides; even if Bond agreed, he could never be trusted as sincere.”

Well, we have established that this version of Dark Willow isn’t that bright.

Wait. Since when do you know about James Bond?

Swenia has been bringing them to our Raid Taco’s Movie Collection night.

I have been wondering why she keeps ‘sneaking’ into my DVD library.

“I’m afraid we can’t do that,” Marlowe shook his head.

“And why’s that?” Willow asked with mock sweetness.

“Morality,” he replied. “Something you have none of.”

“I have morals,” she denied, “they just don’t apply to you.”

Next Jim is going to whip out the devastating ‘I know you are, but what am I’ bomb.

“And I’m sure your parents are very proud of you,” Buffy snarked.

“Buffy, your mother died when you and Willow were in college, and her death absolutely devastated you.  You may not want to draw the parents card in a fight against somebody who claims to be evil.”

Willow turned her head to the girl. “C-could you stand up for a second?” she asked patronizingly, receiving another scowl. “Just- just stand up for a sec?” Buffy stood up silently. “C’mere.” Reluctantly, Buffy stepped forward. “Bring your face a little closer?” Buffy brought her face forward, until it touched the bars. Willow pulled out a knife from her belt, the blade deadly sharp, and very shiny. “You’re right,” Willow said, tracing Buffy’s jawline with the knife, “this-” she pointed at her blinded eye- “isn’t very pretty. Ironically, it was also eye-opening, as well as closing. It taught me something- it pays to be proud. It’ll end up with you getting hurt. You haven’t understood that yet… So I think it’s time you learned.”

“What is Willow going on about here?  It’s a good thing to be proud because it’ll get you hurt?  Not only is that insane, but Buffy learned that lesson a few times in the series.  She already knows the price of pride!”

Hey, this Buffy is stupid enough to bring her face right up to the bars and then stand there while Willow is waving a knife in her face, she probably already forgot all her life lessons from the show.

Before Buffy could react, Willow suddenly slashed down the side of her face, cutting a line from the far corner of her left eyebrow down to her lip, just missing the girl’s eye. Buffy cried out, staggering back against the wall. Marlowe stood very still, looking on with wide eyes.

Wow.  I did not see that coming.  Nope.  No sir.  Not at all.  Not with Willow waving around the knife and the narrative making a big deal about how close Buffy got.  Super shocker.  Much surprise.

“Are you being s-”

YES!

“Willow-” he managed, his voice slightly trembling, “This isn’t the way.”

“You’re right, I should’ve gone for her eye,” Willow replied, almost like she was critiquing her choice of paint job.

“You mean the beige?  I’ll admit it’s a little understated, but at least you didn’t go with purple.”

“No-” Marlowe shook his head. “You’re still good, at least part of you, somewhere. You can stop this before it starts.”

Blah, blah, find the good in you, it’s still there, blah, blah.  Bored now.

“You make a better Dark Willow than Dark Willow here does.”

Thank you?

“Yes and no,” Willow allowed. “Yes, I can stop it; no, there isn’t any good left that’d go for it. I’ve had a rough time- I’m trying my damnedest to beat back the bad stuff goin’ on, and you aren’t helping any.”

“But that’s what we’re trying to do,” Marlowe replied. “We’re trying to help you beat it back. This isn’t the way.”

Author, stop trying to have it both ways.  Either Willow is a person doing what they think is the only way to stop a greater evil, or she’s a self-proclaimed villain.  She can’t be both!  I know, Dr. Horrible did it.  You seem to have this weird blind-spot with the fact that it was parodying superhero shows.

And yes, from within Buffy canon The Trio were self-declared villains.  The difference there was that they, in their way, actually owned up to the fact that they were attempting to be evil.  Two of them didn’t fully realize what they were getting themselves into, but they weren’t pretending to fight for the greater good.

You can’t smash Dr. Horrible’s tongue-in-cheek humor into the Buffyverse wholesale and expect it to stick.  Especially not when trying to milk a scene like this for tension, and especially not in a fic that you labeled as a supernatural drama.

“But I don’t need you!” Willow snapped, her composure slipping slightly. “I’ve got it covered. Just stay out- of- my- way.”

“Fine,” Buffy growled from the corner of the cell. “Will you let us go now?”

“Haha, nope.”

Actually, now we get to play the who’s dumber game!  Is Buffy stupid for asking, or is Willow stupid enough to let them out?

“Why would I do that?” Willow asked rhetorically.

“It was the first one!”

We honestly shouldn’t be surprised, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that Willow was going to say no.

“You won’t stay out of this on your own, so I’ll keep you out of the way. I’ll come back to check on you in a few hours or so. ‘Til then-” The door opened, and Elsa walked in, a smug smile on her face, “Elsa’ll make sure you guys don’t get any ideas.”  With that, Willow and Elsa swapped spots, and the door gently closed behind the witch, leaving them alone.

“Oh c’mon!  You had the perfect opportunity to make a ‘she’s gonna put you on ice’ pun!”

Really, that’s your problem with this scene?

“SHE MISSED A PERFECT PUN OPPORTUNITY!”

Okay, then.  Anyway, that’s where we’re going to stop it this week.  Please insert your own farewell here while I go in search of some ibuprofen.

“It took you longer to type that than to just say goodbye, you know.”

Shush.

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43 Comments on “1539: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Seven, Part One”

  1. Syl says:

    Still, the memories will be there. Mostly. Things get a bit hazy after the Lysol shots.

    Don’t worry, I have all the pictures up on Instagram under the hashtag “#RaptorsGoneWild” if you need a refresher.

    • Cain: Thankfully, I managed to destroy the first twenty-seven cameras. I’m glad you decided to use stolen film cameras, because it gave me a way to make the Riffleet look not-entirely unprofessional.

      • Syl says:

        The first twenty-seven that you know of. Honestly, did you really think that anyone besides hipsters use film cameras anymore?

      • Cain: Honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if you were a hipster. Besides, I’m a military leader. Of course I had contingencies. The Agents hacked your account, and all your cloud accounts of any type, and are currently stealing your phones. It’s justified, too because some of those fall under Unauthorized Nude Photos. Sure, Instagram probskoy won’t allow those ones, but there are alternatives.

      • Syl says:

        You’re so cute when you think you’re being devious. Thanks to a nifty little macro I had the boys whip up, all of your agents are now following me on several social media platforms, including Tumblr and Instagram. Ooh, and I just became a top shop on Etsy! You will all be getting your human skin wallets in six to eight weeks.

        Thanks ever so much for hacking my accounts, it made it so much easier to introduce my little gift into your systems. Oh, and tell Gertie he really should think about defragmenting his drives more often.

      • Cain: Ah, but that’s where you went wrong. The program was initially created by Monitor, and distributed through the black market under an alias. It should take effect… Now.

        Dakota: Just ignore them. They go on like this for hours and one never ends up outmaneuvering the other.

      • Syl says:

        You call it maneuvering, I call it foreplay.

  2. GhostCat says:

    “Ask for a pony!”

    Not everyone wants a pony.

    LIES!

  3. I should have just stuck with a plate of leftover cake and that bag of party favors. Syl is oddly persuasive when she wants to be.

    Cain: The fact that Dakota, Agents [REDACTED] and [CLASSIFIED], and I had to be the designated sober friends to over three hundred Riffleet members is a testament to that.

  4. Hang out with … um. … Is there anyone around here who isn’t a bad influence?

    Cain: Sem (mostly), Dakota, myself, most of the Agents (most meaning “any of them except [INEXPLICABLE]”), Lyle(?), and mainly other Riffleet members.

  5. BatJamags says:

    Though I don’t think anyone will forget Markus and Glasses getting smashed and singing karaoke all night.”

    No we won’t, much as we might try.

    Let’s be fair, here: they did do a pretty mean rendition of “Daydream Believer.” Well, other than the fact that it somehow turned into “Highway to Hell” halfway through.

  6. BatJamags says:

    “As usual, there wasn’t much of substance.

    Unlike at the birthday party, where there were a lot of substances.

  7. BatJamags says:

    So purple and stupid all at the same time! How do you even type something like that without your computer melting?

    Well, let’s see…

    That explains why the moon is dimmer than the sun: it used to be a sun, but was submerged too many time andAHTGJTHNSGVJGHAKLFM

    Well, my computer didn’t melt. It burst into flames.

  8. BatJamags says:

    Not everyone wants a pony.

    I suppose that’s true. Some people have a pony. Those people want another pony.

  9. BatJamags says:

    She looked through the cabinets, knowing Willow would have left her something, and struck gold: sleep syrup.

    Didn’t Elsa just build this castle? When did Willow have the chance to get the sleep syrup in there? Why did she put the sleep syrup there? Did she think Elsa was suffering from insomnia? Did she know Elsa would have a guest that she needed to subdue? What the hell is going on?

  10. BatJamags says:

    Within 45 minutes, she brought it out, and then some drinks to go with it.

    The all-new INSTANT CAKE, brought to you by the PLOT CONTRIVANCE CORPORATION! Are you tired of spending four hours to prepare a cake to poison Taco? Sick of not being able to mask a sweet taste with chocolate? Then we’ve got the solution for you!

  11. BatJamags says:

    OH GOD POLITICS!

    *Hides*

    Wait…

    Why is this all politics from a hundred years ago?

    • BatJamags says:

      “Making drugs legal for recreational use,” Marlowe began listing, ticking them off on his fingers, “giving homosexuals the right to marry… fixing our debt…” He sighed. “The list is half a mile long, and I wouldn’t touch it with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole.”

      Oh, there we are.

      *Hides more*

      • GhostCat says:

        It’s cruel of the fic to taunt the audience with a list of topics that are far more interesting than what the characters are actually talking about.

  12. BatJamags says:

    Buffy smirked. “You’re a mean one, Mis-ter Grinch,” she sang softly.

    Why are you dragging the Grinch into this?

    And what does this have to do with- Oh, forget it.

  13. BatJamags says:

    “No…” Elsa said to Marlowe as she pulled out her phone, “you’re the foolish ones.”

    SUPERCILIOUS THE SORCERER!: YOU FOOOOOOOOLS! HER FOOLISH FOOLISHNESS FOOLED THE FOOLS INTO EATING UNTIL THEY WERE FULL!

    GJ, why don’t you tranquilize him for a change?

    GoodJamags: Because it’s funnier this way. But I will post a video clip:

  14. BatJamags says:

    Elsa must’ve decided to move here- he could see an ice palace connected to the big black one, but it looked different than her other ones, more panel-y and sharp as opposed to walls that almost seemed to blend together into one structure.

    Wait, so they weren’t in the new castle? The hell?

  15. BatJamags says:

    What? Villains?!

    *Shrug* When we see some, we’ll let you know, narrator.

    I think the narrator needs to lay off the…

    Whatever it was Syl spiked the punch with at the party.

  16. "Lyle" says:

    She opened the little bottle and breathed in the aroma

    And promptly knocked herself out because you don’t sniff concoctions in case the effective ingredient can become airborne.


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