1744: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Twenty, Part OnePosted: April 26, 2017
Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza
“Hi, people! We’re back with more!”
“Still counts as more!”
I’m not really sure it does. Want to handle the recap?
“Willow asked Elsa to go threaten Spike so he wouldn’t become involved. After that, Elsa went and threatened Spike so he wouldn’t get involved.”
“So Elsa,” Willow said as she opened the doors to the gymnasium, “how many languages do you speak?”
“Yay! Another chapter free of the shackles of relevance!”
“Well… let’s see,” Elsa said. “Er… Swedish is my mother language; Norwegian and Danish came second and third, but all three are fairly similar, so it wasn’t too hard; English was fourth; then German; then French. I’m starting to learn Spanish, but that’s in tandem with learning all the new words added to all the others, so it’s going slowly.”
Scandinavians and their languages, amirite?
“So, instead of doing work, she’s studying language?”
Well, it explains why she never seems to get anything done.
“Interesting,” Willow said with an impressed nod. “What about you, Doc?”
“I know English, Russian, and German,” he said bluntly.
I wished I could hope this scene had a point that it was sneaking up on, but I know better.
“Hmm,” Willow said, impressed. “Me, I stuck with German. I haven’t gotten around to any others.”
“Well,” Doc said, raising his eyebrows briefly. “How fitting that we all know the language of the main country involved in the World Wars.”
Ah, so this is all so we can swing back around to Germany. This better not be about WWI, or I’m giving this fic a spanking.
“I learned it because I liked the sound of it,” Willow said.
“Why did you learn it, Taco?”
For the lulz.
“I learned it before there was a Germany,” Elsa said, a tad angrily.
“Elsa, honey, the German Confederation still counts as Germany.”
Well, I learned it because I also liked the sound,” he said, raising his hands up in mock defense. “I don’t learn things because of any association with the countries.”
I like how he’s implying that being associated with modern Germany is somehow morally wrong. Keep digging that hole deeper, buddy.
“And besides, it’s good that we all know another language after English,” Willow said.
“Otherwise Igor wouldn’t be able to dedicate an entire scene to it!”
Yeah, and think where we’d be if that were the case!
“Anyway—this is the resident gym. Since nobody here gets by on just brains, we decided it was prudent to have somewhere to work on physical strength as well.
“So why were we talking about languages again?”
Helps to warm you up before leg day.
With that in mind, that means that everybody is expected to get regular, regular exercise in here, so that in the event of any… altercations, nobody will end up dead.
“As opposed to irregular, regular exercise.”
I much prefer regular, irregular exercise, myself.
That ‘everybody’ now includes you.”
Our everybody used to be a lot less inclusive, but then we looked up the definition.
“Adding it to the list!”
Both of their faces grew a little bit pale when they heard that.
Physical exertion!? THE END IS NEIGH!
“So you’re saying that we need to go here, like, every week or so, and—work out?” Doc said, his lip curling at the thought.
Sorry, dude, ‘every week or so’ is the regular, irregular schedule that I follow.
“You probably shouldn’t tell people that.”
“Yes,” Willow nodded. “And not just every week—more like every day.”
And we jump right from one bad extreme to another. Rest days between workouts are important, Willow. You’re gonna get your lackeys injured.
“Which would be the first truly evil thing she’s done.”
So, thus far, the most villainous thing about Willow is that she subjects her employees to an immoral physical fitness regimen.
What colour was left in their faces rapidly emptied.
“Like telling a gamer that they should go outside.”
The sun! It hurts us!
“But, you really should.”
Just five more minutes, gotta get to this shrine so I can save.
“I’m aware that neither of you ever has really exercised in this sense before in your lives,” Willow acknowledged, “but that’s all the more reason to get started.”
“To help with getting in shape, we’ve hired you both some personal trainers!”
“Убей меня,” Doc muttered. “Merde,” Elsa said at the same time.
“See! By making Willow ask the question about languages out of nowhere, it supports this line!”
A scene that’s put in to support a single line within the scene. That’s a new one for me.
This earned them a look from Willow. The eyepatch made it a bit more devastating than she intended, but it brought them to full atten-tion.
HOW DARE YOU NOT LIKE EXERCISE!
“How dare she not know that attention doesn’t require a hyphen.”
“It will mean the difference between life and death one day, and I want you both to be fit and ready to fight when it’s time.
Because arming them with weapons that don’t require being in shape or giving them body guards is a much worse plan than a lengthly physical training program that cuts into the time they should be spending being productive.
“They’re being productive!?”
I did say should.
I can stall, but not forever, ‘kay? I’m gonna be here with you too, so you don’t have to suffer alone.”
“She may not be able to stall forever, but she’s certainly going to try!”
Gotta have goals.
“Despite the fact that you once juiced yourself enough to flip a 100-pound table with 50 pounds of books, one-handed?” Doc pointed out.
“Willow is taking drugs!?”
That certainly would explain why she’s had this huge personality change.
“That was magicks,” Willow said.
Which they can’t use to augment their physical abilities instead of daily work outs because plot.
“It can help to be naturally strong in case magic isn’t an option.”
“Provided that whatever is disabling your magic isn’t also weakening you physically.”
Look, Igor needs a training montage. It doesn’t need to make sense!
Doc couldn’t argue with that. Neither could Elsa.
It’s important to leave your brain in your locker when you go to work out.
Boss entered the room. “Heya, guys,” he greeted them. “I see we’ve unearthed the gym today.”
“‘Unearthed’?” Doc repeated, giving Willow a look of his own.
“They forgot to tell doc that words have no consistent meaning in this universe. They only mean the thing that context needs them to mean.”
“—It’s a new leaf for us all,” she said with a tight smile, and a masked glare at Boss.
“An icy stare.”
The mood is suddenly very frosty.
Undeterred, he came forward. “Also, uh, we’ve got a visitor in Mr. Reddington today.
“Why is Boss putting the visitors into Mr. Reddington!?”
Dude, have you ever sat on his liver? Super comfy.
He says he wants to meet the newcomers while you talk.”
I guess he knows that Willow is unlikely to have anything of substance to say, so he may as well do something else while she talks.
Willow sighed. “Wonderful! Send him up to the lounge and tell him I’ll be right—we’ll be right with him, actually.”
“Gotcha, Chief,” Boss saluted.
“No workout! Saved by the random person!”
“Who’s Mr. Reddington?” Elsa asked as the door shut behind him.
“He’s a regular of sorts,” Willow said.
He comes in all the time to have us do… whatever it is we do.
“Give him loans?”
Probably. He must have access to a lot of Tesla cars or something.
“He sorta straddles the line with his jobs in terms of legality, so he comes up every so often to get some aid from us.
Salix Tech: We don’t do a lot. But when you do the things, we’ll be there to help.
He’s a bit odd, but he’s helpful, so it works in our favour. C’mon, let’s meet him.”
“So he’s helping them?”
He helps them help him. Reddington doesn’t believe in self-help, avoids it at all cost.
“Raymond, you old rapscallion!” Willow crowed as they entered the lounge.
“You rambunctious, rascally, rowdy rapscallion, you!”
Wait, this is Raymond Reddington? I guess that means Igor is reaching out to ruin yet another canon with this trainwreck.
Mr. Reddington grinned brightly and sat up from his cushy red seat. “Ah, Ms. Rosenberg, it’s always a pleasure to see you here!” They embrace quickly, until he jerks back and looks at her face. “What happened to your eye?”
Shhh! Don’t talk about the eye! Last time somebody mentioned the eye, we had to sit through like five-hundred words worth of angst.
Willow grimaced. “Got into a brawl a couple weeks back. Didn’t make it out in one piece, but—it happens.”
“Has it only been two weeks!?”
*Taco shrugs* I could probably go back and figure out what the timeline is supposed to be, but, honestly, my apathy is palpable. I’m sure I could find evidence that it’s been a lot longer, but wanting to invest that level of research into the fic would require it to inspire something other than boredom.
“It certainly does,” he said. “Well! These two must be your new partners in crime, so to speak!”
Go ahead and add ‘so to speak’ to the list.
“Yes!” Willow beamed. “This is William Harris, and Elsa—”
“Oh, my goodness, of course!” Mr. Reddington exclaimed jovially, coming up to them and shaking Doc’s hand. “William Harris! I’ve heard so much about you! That NSA debacle? Oh! Masterful! I loved it!”
Igor, stop. We get it, you think that mildly inconveniencing the NSA for a day is impressive. It isn’t and never was. Get over it and move on, please.
“Thanks…?” Doc said, very confused.
“See! Even Dr. Horrible realizes that it isn’t something even worth mentioning.”
“And you must be Elsa!” Mr. Reddington said, taking Elsa’s hand and shaking it. “I must say, you’re looking quite intimidating these days! Did you do something with your makeup?”
*Stares off into the void* Her makeup is different?
“Of course it is! Rudolf just said so!”
“Red, Red,” Willow said admonishingly. “You’re gonna scare them.”
“More importantly, you’re going to start to annoy the audience if you don’t calm down.”
“My apologies, Ms. Rosenberg,” he smiled, then turned back to Elsa and said, “It’s a delight to meet you.” He broke the handshake and stepped back, forming a circle with them. “I like them.”
“He can tell because of how they look!”
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you can definitely judge a person based solely on appearance.
“That’s good to hear,” she said. “How’ve things been with you?”
“They’ve been good!” he nodded. “I’ve been told I need to visit Mount Diablo sometime soon, see the fire damage before it’s all green again, would you agree?”
Seeing as Willow hasn’t been to Mount Diablo, I have no idea why you’re asking if she agrees that you should see it.
“I haven’t, but it sounds great!” Willow said.
“So they like when the planet is ruined, except when they don’t?”
Yup. Just in the way they’re evil and okay with killing people, except when they aren’t.
“So, what can we do for you today, Red?”
I bet it has to do with exposition.
“Well, as it happens, I’ve got some plans in motion that could use your magic touch,” he said, “and given your newly acquired partners, I have no doubt that you can do this for me.” He sat down again, and motioned for them all to join him.
“I need you all to go into a board room and talk about being evil. But, here’s the catch, without actually doing anything evil.”
Man, did you come to the right place, Red!
They did so, Elsa and Doc looking at him perplexedly. “I have gotten my hands on some high-quality artefacts, or rather, I’ve located some high-quality artefacts in the upper Los Angeles area, but unfortunately, I have pressing matters in Washington D.C. that I must be present for, so I can’t get them. As I understand it, though, you are well-equipped to do so.”
“So, is the ‘artefact’ like a thing, or more in the stuff category?”
I bet it’s an ancient thing that depicts even more ancient stuff.
“What’s the catch?” Doc asked him.
It’s made entirely of dried cat vomit.
Mr. Reddington looked at him with a wry smile. “You are as smart as they say.
“He’s smart enough to ask the most basic question about a criminal job?”
Well, Red didn’t say that ‘they’ said he was smart. Just that Horrible was as smart as ‘they’ said he was.
The catch is that it’s not an easy place to get to. Have you heard of the Cave of the Malkavians?”
Fucking hell. Now, on top of everything else, Igor’s going to ruin While Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade? How many canons must you soil before you are sated, Igor?
“No,” Willow said.
That one’s fair. Unless you just happen to be a VtM player.
“Like Taco is.”
*Taco coughs into his fist* Uh, anyway, unless you’re a VtM player, you wouldn’t recognize the name Malkavian. For reference, it’s a clan of vampires cursed with insanity. The Cave of the Malkavians is actually a location Igor made up, but presumably it’s a Malkavian hive. Which is strange, since that’s the wrong kind of vampire for Buffy. Like, significantly wrong kind of vampire. You’d have to go to Sparklepires to get further away.
“It’s a cave on the outskirts of north L.A., not far from Sunnydale,” Mr. Reddington told them.
And if L.A. is known for anything, it’s the caves!
At this point, Big Red goes into a big ol’ wiki regurgitation of what the Malkavians are. We’re going to skip it since I already linked the Wiki.
Also, no attempt is made to blend the Masquerade-style vampires with the much different Buffy ones. Which is a shame because it would actually be pretty easy to blend the two with some tweaks to the Buffy side of things.
They’ve got a small collection of artefacts holed up down there, some of which I am very interested in.
“Really? You’re interested in the artefacts that you’re asking them to acquire!?”
I’m such a bad influence.
What I propose is this: you and your team go down there and retrieve the artefacts, and then we’ll meet again and split the bounty, sound good to you three?”
So, Red is proposing, to an evil organization, that they do all the work, then split the profits with him. I’m not sure he understands how criminals work.
“Is it really crime if you’re stealing from vampires?”
From Buffy vampires? No. From Masquerade vampires? Debatable.
Willow mulled it over. “It sounds alright to me. What about you guys?”
She doesn’t even ask what their cut of the ‘bounty’ is, just says it sounds good. Doesn’t even get a scope of the job beyond ‘hey, there are vampires there!’ I know I keep saying it, but holy crap is this version of Willow is powerfully stupid.
“I have no objections,” Doc said.
I almost forgot, this Dr. Horrible is also extremely stupid.
Elsa thought for a moment, then asked Mr. Reddington, “On whose authority do you have that the artefacts are there?”
“Hey! Elsa asked a question, and it’s actually a good one!”
She better follow that up with the other good questions, because Red has given them almost nothing to make a decision on.
Mr. Reddington looked at her. “Have you ever been to Havana?
I try to avoid Georgia as a rule.
“He probably means the other Havana.”
It’s lovely this time of year. The last time I visited, I went to this amazing restaurant that served the most de-lect-able crab melts.
You sure he’s not talking about Georgia?
“Less sure, now.”
*Taco reads down* Sweet crap that man can ramble on about nothing. We’re skipping it. Cliffnotes version: he went to Havana and did stuff, then ran afoul of the law. He then says:
I can’t divulge every detail, of course, but I can assure you that the artefacts are in the Cave of the Malkavians, and if you can bring them back here, we will split the earnings 50-50. Sound fair?”
So, after all that, his answer is ‘just trust me, my source is unimportant.’ Also, I’ll split the undetermined amount of money this job is worth in half with you.
“This is around the time you refuse the job.”
Sorry, Eliza, that would require the people in the room to be competent.
Elsa frowned, but eventually said, “Yes, it does.”
Days later they discover that half of a buck-twenty-five isn’t that much.
“Excellent!” Mr. Reddington grinned. “How long would you say you need?”
Infiltrating an unknown location containing an unknown number of vampires to fetch an unknown number of unknown artifacts that each weigh an unknown number of pounds? Three, maybe four hours. Tops.
“No more than a week,” Willow said, a smile curling her lips. “Do you happen to know anything about what kind of stuff is holed up there?”
“If he is sending you to find it, I would hope he would know what it is.”
Don’t dare to hope.
“Nothing concrete, but I’ve heard whispers that the Malkavians got their bloody hands on a nifty little gem that can turn stone to silver,” Mr. Reddington said.
“And the reason you would tell an EVIL organization that they might have a gem that does that?”
Are you looking for an answer that doesn’t involve him being even stupider than they are?
“A girl can hope.”
“I was somewhat hoping to nab it for myself, but if you have better use for it, I’m willing to let it slide over to your 50%.”
There’s a thing that can make infinite money, but I’m willing to let you have it.
“I can’t tell if he’s very unintelligent, or if this is supposed to be some kind of foreshadowing.”
Either way, that should set off several kinds of alarm bell for the people thinking of doing this job.
“I think that we could make it worth your while if you do,” Willow said, laughing softly.
The hell does that mean? You’re doing the job for him, he just said it would be part of your cut.
“Should I just add this entire scene to the list?”
Might as well, most of what’s going on here doesn’t make any sense.
“Well, then,” he smiled back. “That all sounds good. I suppose I’ll be hearing from you in a week or so.”
“‘Worth my while?’ That sounds wonderful! I love exceptionally vague business promises!”
Why is everyone in this scene stupider than my toilet?
“You certainly will.” They all stood up, and Mr. Reddington came up to each of them. “Thank you again, Ms. Rosenberg,” he said to Willow, kissing her on the cheek. “A pleasure to meet you, Dr. Harris,” he said to Doc, shaking his hand firmly. “And wonderful to make your acquaintance, Your Majesty,” he said to Elsa, kissing her hand. “I’ll be in touch!”
That isn’t a colloquialism. His nickname is Mr. Gropey. Hopefully that’s fine with you all.
With that, he strode out of the room, taking his hat off the hanger and smoothly donning it.
“Why did he just put the hanger on his head?”
It’s all the rage in L.A. right now.
“Okay, that was really weird,” Doc said, pointing at Mr. Reddington’s shrinking form.
Dude, some people like to wear hangers. Don’t be so judgmental.
“What was that?” Elsa asked, rubbing the hand he had kissed.
“Nothing. Just Judgy McJudgerton there getting down on poor Red for his choice in accentuating hangers.”
“Reddington’s an… eccentric man,” Willow admitted. “But he’s also a valuable partner, so we give him a lot of room with that.”
Not to mention his flatulence problem. We don’t say anything, but giving the guy extra room is just a good policy.
“Eccentric is putting it mildly,” Elsa said, her upper lip curling. “I would use the term unsettling.”
I’d have gone with obnoxious.
“I prefer insufferable.”
“But he’s given us a good lead on materials,” Doc allowed. “Although it sounds risky.”
If by materials, you mean a pile of artefacts, only one of which you have information of.
“Maybe he plans to turn a bunch of useless ancient artefacts into some brand new modern art!”
“Malkavians…” Willow muttered. “I’ve never heard of Malkavians before. Most vamps tend to be on the loner side. I’ve never met an organised clan of them.”
“You know, other than the times where you fought against organized clans of vampires. Such as the Master and the Order of Aurelius, Spike and Drusila, Judas Cradle, and Viki.”
And at this part we get a scene break. The next half of the chapter is all with the Buffy Gang, so this feels like the perfect place to break for the week. Until next week patrons!
“So, you wanna go try on some hangers?”
You know what, sure.