1743: Love & Bullets – Chapter Eight, Part OnePosted: April 25, 2017
Title: Love & Bullets
URL: Chapter 8
Critiqued by BatJamags (BadJamags and GoodJamags)
What do you need us for? count: 10
Dick is a dick count: 5
Bullet count: 0
Hello, once again, patrons! I’m your guest host, BadJamags…
GoodJamags: … And I’m your guest guest host, GoodJamags…
… And we’re back for more of Love & Bullets, the fic that never ceases to find new ways to disappoint us, while still refusing to stop being boring!
GoodJamags: In the last chapter, Damian Wayne got involved, and the story just wouldn’t shut up and move on.
As satisfying as it was to repeat that particular phrase, we’ll stop doing it here so that it doesn’t get too grating. Anyway, let’s skip the usual canned author’s note and get on to the fic!
“You’re being an idiot is what you’re being, Raya,” Conner Kent announced out of the blue.
GoodJamags: Well, it looks like we have a new favorite character.
Maybe. Barbara is still awesome. And dammit, we’ve got to do another character introduction.
GoodJamags: Maybe you do the introduction, and I’ll riff what you say?
How does that help?!
Anyway, Conner Kent is Superboy. At one point, Superman died, and a teenaged clone of him showed up, one of four impostors claiming to be the genuine article (Well, kind of – one of them was just trying to live up to his legacy in his absence, it’s a long story).
GoodJamags: One which no one cares about right now.
You’re the one who always brings this stuff up!
GoodJamags: Yeah, but I’m riffing!
The real Supes got back, got rid of the two evil impostors, shortened the good one’s name, and decided to call the clone Superboy, Kon-El, or Conner Kent.
Conner joined a team called Young Justice (the animated one is more based on the Teen Titans, for the record, but he was in that version too). I don’t know much about it (the comic version, anyway), but while on the team he befriended Tim Drake, the third Robin, which explains what he’s doing at Robin’s house and why he matters in a Batman story.
Well, OK, it doesn’t, but it’s the closest thing to an explanation we’re likely going to get. I swear, if this fic would spend less time explaining the stuff we get and more time explaining the stuff we don’t get, it would nearly approach being passably average.
They were crashed in Tim’s living room, companionably
*Thesaurus Protective Services agents rush in, realize there are no thesauruses here, and leave again*
Well, that was pointless.
watching Bloodsport on Netflix
Nope, still too bored to go look it up.
and eating the pizza she’d made from scratch (much to Tim’s sheer delight)
GoodJamags: How much do you want to bet that the author has no idea how to cook, but wishes she did?
Would you take that bet?
GoodJamags: Of course not.
Alright, so there is some hope for you.
GoodJamags: I mean, I never gamble. That would just be silly.
when he opted to make his observation. Much to the shock of the two across from him.
The Two Across From Him: You dare question the Sue’s logic?!
“Kon!” Tim admonished. He tossed his balled up napkin at his best friend. “Not the right time, man!”
Actually, the time when someone is being an idiot is the perfect time to tell them they’re being an idiot.
“One of us needed to finally say it,” Conner muttered as he folded his arms across his chest. “And since you weren’t,” he added with a pointed look at Tim, “I figured I would.”
GoodJamags: I’m digging the blunt approach, here. Kon’s at least one of my favorites already.
“Still,” Tim muttered as a flush crept up his neck. “Ya coulda said it more tactfully.”
Hey, at least he’s not fucking beating around the bush for half a chapter. I approve!
“It’s best to just toss it all out on the table, Tim.”
GoodJamags: Oh, come now. Even I know that’s not how you’re supposed to gamble! Now you’re being silly.
I hate you.
Raya cut a scathing look at the kryptonian superhero. “Oh, is that so, meathead?”
Why yes, it’s so.
Honeyed acid dripped from her tongue.
GoodJamags: You might want to get that checked out.
Shit, she’s a Xenomorph.
“Well, ya can just keep your damned opinions to yourself from now on, thank you very much.”
I’d really rather he didn’t. It makes things more fun! Let’s hear some more damned opinions, Kon!
Normally, that would be a pointed statement telling a man he should mind his manners.
GoodJamags: No, it would be a pointlessly combative statement telling a subject of either gender not to speak their mind.
However, Conner wasn’t an ordinary man.
What does that have to do with the statement?
On top of that he felt his friendship with Raya was close enough that he could call her out on the bullshit going on between her and Dick without it seriously affecting his standing with the petite female.
GoodJamags: Though, he was a bit worried that it might actually move the plot forward.
He’d endured seven days of her silent wrath.
Why was she being wrathy at him in particular?
How much worse could her verbal ire be? was his thought.
GoodJamags: That is not remotely how that’s supposed to be structured.
“You and Dick are being morons about this whole marriage proposal. And you,” he added even as she hissed out a breath, “are being the biggest moron of all, Raya.”
Ding ding! We have a winner!
GoodJamags: Raya Sue’s hissing. I’m telling you, man, she’s a freakin’ cat.
“I am not being a moron,” she said stiffly. “I am merely being prudent.”
GoodJamags: No… No, I’d say you’re being a moron.
Conner snorted and folded his arms across his chest. “Bull. You’re running scared.”
Damn, I mean… the fic still sucks, but at this rate, Conner’s going to point out most of our criticisms of the actual plot.
“Why are you dancing around saying yes, Raya? We know you love Dick. And,” he added, “we know you want to say yes. So why don’t you?”
GoodJamags: Contrived drama.
“It’s not that…”
“Is it that you doubt he loves you?”
Close. Actually, we’ll count that as contrived drama. Another gold star for Conner!
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that Dick loves me, Conner.” She tucked a flyaway strand of hair back behind her ear. “Nor am I questioning his desire to be with me. I know he wants to be with me. And I know he’s committed to making things work this time between us. It’s more that…” she trailed off into a frown.
GoodJamags: Maybe she’s having second thoughts about being a Sue. If we act quickly, we can pull her out of the fic and decontaminate her.
Kind of a longshot, don’t you think?
“Is it how he asked you to marry him?” Conner’s voice was relentless. A part of him felt like he was trying to get her to agree to marry him with how hard he was working here. “Is it about where he asked you? When? Those are all things he can fix if you’d just give him a chance, too, Raya.”
Hey, this reminds me: WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU TWO CLOWNS DOING IN CHICAGO?!
GoodJamags: The people have a right to know!
“A woman doesn’t need anything more than for her man to say he loves her, can’t imagine his life without her and ask if she’d do him the honor of becoming his wife.”
GoodJamags: Well, I mean, there’s also food, water, sleep, shelter…
I think the author means about marriage proposals.
“Wait, are you saying that this…” Tim sputtered, but Raya laid her fingers across his lips to silence him.
“This isn’t the first time that Dick has asked me to marry him, no,” she spoke the admission in a quietly subdued voice. “And I wanted to say yes when he asked me then, too.” Then a shadow passed over her face. “But I didn’t get a chance to tell him yes.”
GoodJamags: Hey, I wonder why?
Here’s a list of possibilities:
-Things that happened to her will somehow contaminate his memories (AKA: Contrived Drama).
-Perfectly-timed ironic interruption
-Barbara slapped some sense into her
-This story is allergic to the plot just fucking moving on
-The author wanted to shoehorn in another pointless flashback (see also, the last non-contrived drama entry)
-All of the above
“Why not?” Conner found himself asking at the same time that Tim asked, “When was this?”
And why are they this interested? Why can’t Raya Sue just say “I don’t want to marry him because X?”
GoodJamags: And if she doesn’t want to marry him, why doesn’t she say no?
And why did she act like the question was such a big surprise because they weren’t really boyfriend-and-girlfriend and all that crap if he was proposing the second time?
“It was the night of my twenty-sixth birthday,” she replied evasively.
GoodJamags: This is going to be boring, isn’t it?
“Wait,” Tim exclaimed. He angled his head up to look at her. “The night of your birthday was…”
“-when Bruce came home, yes,” she murmured even as she drifted back in time…
And now she’s got time travel superpowers.
GoodJamags: And line break-creating ones, too!
GoodJamags: Well, that’s incredibly specific.
Three years ago.
Three years before [?] happened sure was a busy time. It’s almost as if the author isn’t giving us any sense of a timeline!
It had been an exceptionally disappointing night.
Bow chicka bow-
GoodJamags: Seriously, man! That’s getting old!
She’d stopped no crimes, saved no innocents, and rousted none of the super criminals who were currently on the loose from their hidey holes.
GoodJamags: One might even say she sucks as a superhero, and is only there to have a drawn-out romance with Dick Grayson.
She had a hollowness in her chest from where the birthday wish she’d made that morning to do something productive to mark the event had gone unfulfilled.
Speaking of unproductivity, this fic is boring.
There was always something going on in Gotham City.
GoodJamags: Like that one time with the dance party and all the ducks. Good times.
Noodle incidents are my joke, asshole! Get your own!
Typically, there was more than one criminal requiring some type of specialized attention from a member of the Batfamily.
Yeah, some supervillains are kind of… special.
Yet on that night it was like all the criminals had taken a vote and decided to make her birthday as boring an affair as they could.
GoodJamags: And yet, it still sounds more interesting than this fic.
Jerks, she groused.
Ooh, she called them jerks. Next, she’ll say they’re meanie heads.
GoodJamags: … I call people jerks…
Yeah, but you’ve got the bullshit no-swearing thing going.
GoodJamags: You do realize that we don’t swear (much) in real life, right?
Can I have a line break please?
GoodJamags: Nah. We’re still stuck in this flashback.
With restlessness still dogging her, she returned to the bunker below the penthouse, showered in the locker room, pulled on her sports tank and cotton workout pants, and padded upstairs to her bedroom while towel drying her hair.
GoodJamags: Cotton pants? But cotton is itchy as heck.
She had the apartment all to herself since Alfred was away visiting family that week, and Dick and Damian were still out on patrol. She planned to enjoy this rare quiet time by snuggling up in bed and watching one of her all-time favorite movies (Arsenic and Old Lace) in celebration of her birthday.
I think that’s, like, literally the only Frank Capra movie I haven’t seen.
GoodJamags: The Sue isn’t good enough to like Frank Capra!
Raya Sue: WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! MY MEMORIES WILL POLLUTE YOUR MOVIES WAH!
She spotted the rose the moment she walked in the room. It was lying horizontally on her pillow, its petals nearly opalescent but for the trim of baby pink that kissed the bloom’s fragile lips.
GoodJamags: *Speaking into intercom* We’ve got a purple alert inbound. Raising filters now.
On her nightstand, a pretty frosted cupcake glittered under a lighted birthday candle. Also on the table were a small wrapped box and two champagne flutes filled with what she knew was sparkling apple cider.
Then wouldn’t they be sparkling apple cider flutes?
“Happy Birthday, babe,” a husky voice said from behind her.
GoodJamags: OH MY GOD I WANT TO SNUGGLE THEM ALL THEY’RE SO CUTE
Well, at least he’s not saying-
GoodJamags: Also, Dick is a dog confirmed.
Dammit. Wait, she keeps calling him Bird Boy.
GoodJamags: Maybe he’s some kind of freakish bird-dog.
Raya turned to look at the man slouched in the armchair by the small fireplace. The sweetness of his gesture definitely made up for it having caught her off guard. And considering how Dick had gone to great lengths in order to surprise her (knowing as he did about how much she hated surprises), had her smile blossoming—absolute and total delight.
GoodJamags: So, he went to a lot of trouble to do something she hates, and she’s smiling.
Messed up priorities.
“How did you manage to do this?” she lifted a brow as she picked up a flute. “I thought you were out on patrol with Damian?”
Clearly, he couldn’t have gotten the gifts earlier and just finished up his patrol.
“I got Tim to take over patrol for me.”
GoodJamags: See? Your explanation makes no sense at all. Instead, he just drafted his friend/adoptive brother into doing his work for him so he could screw off.
Dick is still a dick.
Dick is a dick count: 6
“Oh?” she cocked her head; smirked. “And how exactly did you get Tim and Damian to agree to play nicely with each other?”
SUPERCILIOUS THE SORCERER!: DID SOMEONE SAY-
Unfolding his body from the chair, Dick rose and strolled over to her. There was that look in his eyes, she saw. The one that always had her stomach curling into slippery little knots, and her pulse galloping like a herd of wild Mustangs.
GoodJamags: That’s one powerful look.
“I pulled rank.” He flashed a smug grin. “And told them I’d beat the snot out of them if they didn’t manage to get along just for tonight.”
GoodJamags: Ah, so he forced his friend/adoptive brother to do his work for him under threat of violence so he could screw off.
Dick is a huge dick.
Dick is a dick count: 7
Her lips twitched. “Now that wasn’t a very nice thing to do, Dick.”
Yeah, what the Sue said!
Yeah, I know. Whatever.
To decontaminate from agreeing with the Sue, we’re going to cut it off here. See you all next time!
What do you need us for? count: 10
Dick is a dick count: 7
Bullet count: 0