1751: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Twenty, Part TwoPosted: May 3, 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
Hey guys! Welcome back to Heroes and Villains, the fic with more nothing in it than any other fic!
“Not to mention more pointless references!”
Yes, there is that. Last time?
“Four words, Taco: Compulsory Physical Fitness Program!”
Wasn’t there also something about Vampire the Masquerade?
“Crazy vampires have the best bling, and Mr. Red wants it.”
Right, how could I forgot. Onward to part two! And, as promised, it’s all about team Buffy.
“Talking to each other.”
But of course.
“Oof!” Spike grunted as he hit the ground. “Ah!… Well, you’re not too shabby, old man.” He picked himself up and regarded Marlowe with new interest. “How long you been fightin’ the baddies, eh?”
No. I’m sorry, but no. Spike is very good at combat. He’s killed two slayers, and has been fighting pretty much everything he can punch for the better part of a century-and-a-half. Jim is a seventy-year-old literature professor. He isn’t Yoda.
“Approximately 30 years,” Marlowe replied.
“Which is almost a quarter as long as Spike’s been fighting!”
The Stu is very strong with Jim, indeed.
“Although unlike you and Buffy, I’ve never gone beyond two or three at a time. I stick to small fish.”
“And yet you’ve just beat down one of the most powerful vampire champions that exist in Buffy canon.”
You forget, false modesty is Stu 101.
“Mm,” Spike nodded. “Good strategy.”
What, you mean the strategy of: ‘Don’t take on more than you can fight.’ Fair enough, but that’s one of those common sense strategies that typically doesn’t need to be voiced because it’s so basic.
He turned to Xander and pointed a finger at him. “You I know already.” He clapped his hand on Xander’s shoulder. “How’s the eye, mate?”
“That’s pretty mean.”
At least it’s in character; Spike’s an ass by trade. He even has a platinum level Designated Smirker card.
“It doesn’t count as protection money when you have a card. Especially when those cards have levels.”
I wouldn’t complain, buddy, most of your salary comes out of Designated Smirker premiums.
Coffee shop waivers still count as salary.
“Still gone,” Xander said bluntly. “But I decided to trade out my cool eyepatch for a glass eye so I don’t look like I came outta PirateCon.”
In any other fic this might be an interesting bit of character building, especially since he stays with the eyepatch in the comics, but there are so many better ways to provide this information than expository dialogue.
“Well, don’t worry, you still look just as unimposing as the day I died again,” Spike said with a dark smile.
I guess that means we’re done with that bit of exposition and ready to move on to the next bit of exposition.
“Spikes insults seem to lack the bite of his canon counterpart.”
Yeah, it’s actually hard to write somebody like Spike. You have to be just insulting enough, but not go so far that everything sounds forced and stupid. Sadly, Igor doesn’t know how to handle that last part. Sometimes he gets it, like when Spike asked about Xander’s eye, but the follow-up lacked Spike’s flair. I’d have gone with something like, ‘Looks good. You might want to replace the nose next, yeah?’ or something like that.
Then he turned to Olaf. “You are the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire existence.” He squatted down so he was level with the snowman. “What’s your deal?”
“Is that true?
Honestly, it’s a hard one to call, but a sentient CG snowman would definitely be up there. Still, I think Muppet Angel would trump Olaf as weirdest.
“Uh…” Olaf stared blankly for a moment, then jumped and said, “Oo! I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs!” He outstretched his arms as if in demonstration.
Olaf can use other greetings, Igor. Just because that’s the only one you remember from the movie doesn’t mean that’s the only one you can have him say. It’s cute to use it once, but beyond that actually use your own brain and come up with something.
Spike looked at Buffy incredulously. She shrugged. He looked back. “Can you fight any? Have you ever tried?”
“Olaf falls apart if he sneezes too hard.”
Can we weaponize that?
“I’ll can send bifocals a text.”
Don’t you dare.
“Yup!” Olaf said. “With a guy nearly 20 times my size and 100 times my strength!”
“It went pretty well!”
Almost had him.
“I got kicked off a cliff!” Olaf exclaimed gleefully.
“He could have sold that a bit better.”
True, but the honesty is refreshing.
Spike was at a loss for words for a few moments, then stood up. “Right. I dunno what to do with this popsicle,” he told Buffy.
Buffy sighed. “But the rest of us?”
Buffy’s already a slayer, Xander doesn’t need training, and Jim is too big of a Stu to be in any danger. Not even sure why they wanted Spike to come over.
“Dishes and dinner!”
Spike looked at Xander and Marlowe, then pointed at Marlowe. “I’m most worried ’bout ‘im. Xander-boy is weak, but he’s also only ’bout 35. He’s got a good amount of rebound left. But the professor ‘ere is pushing 75. I’m impressed he’s been doin’ it so long, but he’s older than Giles was.”
“Hey look, Spike found an accent!”
I’m sure it’ll stick around for three, maybe four lines of dialogue!
“I’ve made a point not to let my age be a limiting factor,” Marlowe said to him. “I’m as spry as I was when I started.”
Which is all well and good until you break a hip. Positive thinking doesn’t really prevent your bones from becoming more fragile as you age.
“Yeah? How’d you do that?” Spike asked.
Two possibilities: One, be Jack Lalanne; two, magic.
“Don’t forget number three: be a Gary Stu!”
It’s going to be three, isn’t it?
“I exercise every day,” Marlowe replied proudly. “Weight-lifting, running, healthy eating, the works. So far the worst I’ve had is mild arthritis in my hands, and I’m managing just as well as I had before.”
You’d be surprised at how much free time you have as a professor of California literature.
“Hmm,” Spike said, mildly impressed. “Still. You get my position?”
“What does religious proselytizing have to do with anything?”
“I do,” Marlowe nodded. “I suppose I ought to prove myself in order to earn your trust.”
More importantly, you need to prove your bone calcium levels.
“You could do that,” Spike nodded. “I also suppose the word of the Slayer carries a li’l weight.”
“I’m touched, Spike,” Buffy said, pursing her lips.
I wouldn’t be too flattered, it’s pretty likely that he still wants into your pants.
“I think Spike would look pretty good in Buffy’s pants.”
“So, if we’re all good on the punchy-punchy front,” Xander said, “where do we start looking?”
“Um, what are they looking for? Did we miss a scene?”
Possibly, though I think it more likely that Igor simply forgot to write the scene explaining what they’re trying to find.
Buffy thought a moment. “The most obvious thing to do is to look into Salix Tech’s background.
“Oh! They’re talking about the link between Salix and Willow.”
“Didn’t they already talk about this and come up with a plan of action?”
Sorta. They talked about it twice and came up with a really, really vague plan of: ‘Break into Salix and look for evidence.’
“So then why do they need to know where to look?”
Third time’s a charm, maybe?
See who’s on top on paper, where they’re based, what they do.
All of which Xander should already know since he’s a huge fanboy of the company.
“They already knew they needed those things from an earlier conversation.”
Look, it’s not like Willow cornered the market on doing nothing. There’s more than enough nothing to go around.
We should also look around town, see if anything extra-shiny is around that’ll catch Will’s eye.”
“So, to find out about Salix, they’re going to try to lure Willow into a box trap? Maybe they don’t know about the internet, it’s really handy for looking stuff up!”
“We should also watch out for them coming knocking,” Xander reminded her. “Because if Elsa knew Spike was comin’, they probably have eyes and ears all around.”
“Did she actually know Spike was coming?”
The fic was kinda vague on that point, but it seemed like more of a wild guess. Then again, even if it was a wild guess, there’s no way for Team Buffy to know that.
“Willow should invest in a magic eight ball! They take the guesswork out of making guesses!”
Buffy looked at Olaf expectantly, but oddly, he said nothing.
Why? Does he usually say something when people talk about eyes and ears? Was this part of the scene that Igor forgot to write?
“Then we should split our research parties into 3 and 2,” Marlowe suggested. “3 of us look into Salix Tech, and the other two look for items of interest.”
Again, why? Why would they think to do this? They don’t know that ‘items’ would be involved at this point.
“I think the plot gave Marlow a call and let him know that he should be looking for the artifacts that Willow just learned about.”
Ah yes, I always forget about the plot phone.
“I think the 3-team oughta be the scavengers,” Spike said.
Of course. Let’s dedicate the larger force to the sudden realization that they should be hunting for artifacts. Igor, play a few rounds of D&D and learn about character/player separation.
“Now that the Internet’s gotten so big, the 2-team could stay here and Google the damn company’s doin’s.”
“Doesn’t Xander already know all of this?”
The plot needs him to have forgotten that he knows everything about Salix.
“Doh, I forgot about the plot phone, too!”
I think it’s like a defense mechanism. The plot phone protects itself by making you constantly forget about it.
“I agree,” Buffy said. “So… Xander, Marlowe, Olaf, you go find out if there’s anything the Big Bads might wanna grab;
“Like a gem that turns everything into silver! Just throwing that out there in case it might happen!”
Seriously, I never want to be at the table with Igor. Dude just can’t keep his brain out of his characters.
Spike, you and me’ll stay here and look into their operation.
Because if anything is a good idea that will lead to optimal productivity, it’s leaving Spike and Buffy alone in the same room together.
If we need to, we can also go out, since we can both handle ourselves.”
“Just in case you need more people searching for the things that totally aren’t the artifacts that just suddenly became important!”
This is going to end up with them at an inn with a shady dude who happens to have a map and all the information they need, isn’t it?
“Alright,” Spike agreed.
“Sounds good,” Xander nodded.
“Let’s do this!”
“Shall we begin?” Marlowe asked.
“Let’s,” Buffy said.
Onward to glory! And definitely not artifacts!
Get crushed by a crU5h3r…
Destroy vital 4ppAra7us…
Find a way into Andr0id H3ll
Run too fast on a pool of PropUls1on G3l…
“What the heck is that?”
That’s Igor doubling down on his insipid leet speak song lyrics. This time, though, he’s stealing the lyrics from the Portal 2 version of Dumb Ways to Die.
“So how did you get into the whole vampire-slaying thing?” Xander asked Marlowe as they strolled into Sunnydale proper.
“As a card carrying Gary Stu for hire, he couldn’t possibly just be a normal person. There is a certain base level of improbable awesomeness he must maintain at all times.”
“Oh—my sister,” Marlowe said. “She wasn’t a Slayer herself, but she’d heard so much about them that she wanted to try her hand at it.”
And promptly got herself eaten because she was a squishy normal with delusions of grandeur.
“Was she good?” Xander asked, anticipating a wide range of possible answers.
“Depends on if the Stu powers Jimmy has are genetic. We might have a whole family of implausibly exceptional people!”
“Oh, yes,” Marlowe nodded.
Ah, so we’re going with Family Sue.
“Jimmy’s father wrestled demon alligators in pools of lava. And that was just to make dinner!”
His mother not only invented the first computer, but used it to wage and win a cyber-war against Skynet before it was even programmed!
“She talked me into it and we worked together. She was very fit, so it wasn’t a stretch to imagine her getting involved. It was more so for me, but I managed to fight off what little inertia there was at the beginning slowing me down. The hardest part for us was pacing ourselves.
“They also gave it the good ol’ college cry.”
The hard part is when you go for the glory, not getting too close to the sun.
“When the going got tough, they marinated longer.”
Never give up, never surf on Wednesday!
“It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved a vole.”
Every cake has it’s day.
Unlike your group, we were two normal folk in our 40s who had never dealt with such forces before.
Luckily they had their status as complete Sues to protect them from the swift death that would have claimed anyone else with the same qualifications trying to fight vampires.
We stuck to the small groups, nothing more than 6 at once.”
“You know, just the kinds of groups that Slayers often take on. No biggie.”
“How come we never ran into you?” Xander asked. “I mean, if you’ve been going since the 80s, we started about 15 years or so after you, so there was overlap.”
It’s the badfic Schroedinger paradox. OCs don’t exist until the author needs to impress or overshadow the canon characters.
“That’s not a paradox!”
The paradox comes in when the OCs don’t exist in the canon when it carries on beyond the point where the OCs are added in the badfic.
“It’s kinda sad. Forever stuck in a parallel universe, never to be recognized for their achievements. Whatever those might be.”
I think they stuck with it until it was done.
“We were in England,” Marlowe smiled. “We only moved here in 2004.”
“Where he spontaneously learned everything there was to know about California literature and got a PhD!”
You know, I’m starting to think that there are certain flaws with this fic.
“Ah,” Xander said. “That was a bit after we skipped town. It kinda imploded.”
“And then, evidently, it rose from the dead, like so many of its inhabitants,” Marlowe said.
One might say it was suspicious that it suddenly reappeared. Contrived, even.
Xander laughed. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“It’s okay, the readers don’t need an explanation. We’re fine!”
Honestly, with as long and stupid as the explanation would likely be, we’re better off without it anyway.
“So… what’re we looking for, exactly?” Olaf asked.
“Well, Olaf, that’s what we’re going to ask people who would know,” Xander said with overzealous cheer. “‘Cause we don’t really know.”
“Oh…” Olaf said, as if that was a perfectly reasonable explanation that he should’ve thought of himself.
Bad writing 101. If you can’t think of a reason for your characters for doing something, have them admit as much then have them do it anyway!
“There’s the Magic Box!” Xander exclaimed, pointing to the magic shop on the corner. “Wow! Sunnydale really did come back in full force.”
Authors, if you feel compelled to do something stupid, DON’T CONSTANTLY DRAW ATTENTION TO IT!
“Maybe we should go inside and see if anyone is there,” Marlowe said. “Maybe they could help us.”
“Is that how that works!?”
You need to stop hanging out with me.
“Sure, why not?” Xander agreed. “What could go wrong?”
“The town could suddenly revert to being a lifeless crater as soon as you open the door?”
I think it was hypothetical.
“There’s nothing hypothetical about that crater! It was huge!”
They entered the little shop. The familiar smell of old tomes and varnished wood filled their lungs (or carrot), and Xander sighed nostalgically. It was as if the shop hadn’t aged a day, and none of the hell that had ravaged it before had happened.
Igor, for fuck’s sake, stop drawing attention to the stupid thing you’ve done! It’s not a badge of honor!
There was even a person at the shelves behind the cash register, her back turned to them. They approached her. “Excuse me,” Xander said. “Would you happen to know what interesting supernatural items there are in Sunnydale outside of this fine establishment?”
“Especially ones guarded by Malkavians! We have an inexplicable feeling those are super important!”
The woman turned around, a small but bright smile on her face. Her nametag read Tara. “I would, actually! What are you looking for in particular?”
“Well, it’s kinda broad,” Xander said, “but we’re looking for, like, mildly big things, like, powerful enough to draw some nasties to it.”
Ones that are in a vampire cave north of L.A. would be optimal.
“Hmm,” Tara frowned thoughtfully. “There’s quite a few things like that in Sunnydale. Of course, that comes with a Hellmouth.” All of them laughed politely. “I think that if I were looking around for things like that, I’d look for stockpiles of them. It’s really easy to find powerful things around here, but it’s easier to find the big stuff that’s already been found.”
“Makes sense,” Xander nodded.
“Easier to find things that you already know the location of!? Brilliance!”
Seriously, I’m going to get a restraining order on your behalf if you keep that up.
“There’s a few places I can give you,” she said, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “There’s… the old Satanic Temple on Kingman’s Bluff, but that’ll require a lot of digging… There’s a lot hidden underneath Sunnydale High, but that’s very high risk with the Seal of Danzalthar… I guess the best place you could look would be the Cave of the Malkavians.”
This is where the audience gasps in surprise that the two groups would be sent to the same place literally two scenes apart from each other.
“But it wasn’t a surprise.”
I know! … That sarcasm thing comes and goes, doesn’t it.
“Swenia said it was fun to mess with you.”
Ahh, I see. Is it?
“The Cave of the Malkavians?” Xander repeated.
That sounds a lot like the place the plot phone told us to go look for. Hold on, let me send it a text real quick to make sure.
“Yes,” Tara nodded. “It’s a cave that’s supposedly filled with magical, powerful items, many of which have been previously documented, so you can look them up before and after you go, but the catch is that they’re guarded by a large group of vampires, thought to have been driven mad by their change, and so nobody’s really gathered the courage to go.”
Also, the fact that the cave didn’t exist until very, very recently prevented anyone from making an attempt to steal the treasure.
“Mad vampires,” Xander huffed. “Cool. I love me some crazy bloodsuckers.”
“Well, you won’t find a shortage there,” Tara smiled, tearing off the paper and giving it to him. “Does that help?”
“Yes, it does,” he smiled back. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Have a good evening!”
“You too,” he said, and they exited.
She’s oddly helpful. Does Tara work for the PCC?
“Yup! She’s in charge of sales for the Suddenly Pertinent Locations™ product line.”
As the door shut behind them, he realised that everything about the Magic Box had felt exactly right. Nothing was amiss. Even the woman fit right in.
She fit into it perfectly.
Then he should have recognised her.
I presume this is super subtle foreshadowing for this being Tara Maclay, Willow’s old girlfriend who was killed by Warren of The Trio.
“So I take it this is Igor realizing that Sunnydale still being around didn’t make any sense and jumping on the opportunity to turn the mistake into a plot point?”
Yup. You can tell because the existence of Sunnydale suddenly came up multiple times in one chapter without ever really being mentioned as odd in the previous nineteen chapters. It was easier than going back and rewriting things to make sense.
“And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true
but they’ll be real”
“A quote from A Thousand Mornings? Wow, Igor is all over the map, today!”
WE NEED MOAR REFERENCES!
“There’s someone coming!” one of them cried.
*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*
Oh for crap’s sake.
“Someone is coming to our home!”
“Nobody is coming!” another hissed in a thick French accent. “Zere is nobody who dares tread in our domain!”
“Zen how do you explain ze smell?” a German one asked. “Vhy is zere blood vhen zere should be smoke, eh?!”
A reminder to all authors, professional or amatuer who are considering writing an accent: Don’t. For those who realize that accents can be done well, have studied how to do it correctly, and have practiced a lot on how to do it so it actually looks okay, I remind you: Don’t.
“Zere is no-one ‘ere!” the French one repeated firmly. “Alicia ‘as seen to it!”
“Alicia ‘as seen to it, Alicia ‘as seen to it, oh!” the German one mocked. “Alicia cannot smell past ‘er snout of a nose!”
Alicia bolted upright. “I can smell just as well as you! Better, even!”
“Zere is ze possibility, zough!” the German one said. “You cannot deny zat! Vhen ve know, zen you can laugh at us!”
“Ugh, this is getting tiresome to read even for me.”
Which is why I reiterate. If you want to do an accent in your written work: Don’t. Honestly, I stopped caring what any of these vampires had to say after the first one started in with the accent. It’s so exhausting to read. Not to mention obnoxious.
“Someone is coming!” the first one moaned.
*Porno music intensifies*
I hope at least one of you gets there!
“Get where? They’re just sitting in the main office playing music over the intercom.”
“Oh, quiet your infernal howling!” the German snarled. “Zere is someone, ja, but not now! Not ‘ere!”
“Being crazy is all about making contradictory statements, right?”
Yup! As long as you don’t require any supporting evidence, that’s exactly what being crazy is all about.
“Zere will be no-one ‘ere eizer,” Alicia said soothingly. “We are safe ‘ere. Nobody will steal our precious… jewels.”
“I am not so sure,” the German shook their head. “Ve must be vigilant. Nobody must cross ze threshold.”
Is this scene over yet. I think I’d rather be at the dentist than keep reading this attempt at writing accents.
“And no-one will,” Alicia whispered. “And if zey do? We will suck zem dry… We will empty zeir arteries of zeir blood and feast…”
And it keeps going.
“At least he kept the French accent simple. Just do a find/replace of all ‘th’ with ‘z’. It’s not how a French accent works, but it’s much easier to read than the German.”
Stop looking on the bright side!
The German smiled. “I like ze sound of zat.”
Alicia grinned, bloodsoaked teeth glinting in the firelight.
“I knew you would.”
Wait, who said that last line!?
“The fourth vampire! I think he’s Dutch.”
And with that, we get to the en-
Happy New Year.
– Horrible’s Igor
That makes it two months since the last chapter. You can absolutely feel Igor’s interest in the fic dwindling. The plot is getting very basic, not to mention short sighted and even more contrived than usual. He’s losing the last of his fucks to give about the fic, and it shows through quite obviously. All that’s left is the big final burst of energy and he’ll finally have worn himself out on the whole thing. A few quickly released chapters and a sudden departure is in our future.
*Thanks to IndigoStars for letting me use Alicia in this story.
Our condolences to her, she obviously didn’t know what she was allowing.
If you like vampires and ASMR you should check out her YouTube channel.
“Hopefully she didn’t tell anyone she was letting Igor use her character. That would have cost her quite a few subscribers.”
This is Youtube. Any comment longer than two paragraphs is too difficult for the general Ilk there to bother reading. They’d never make it to the part where Alicia’s character was actually botched.
“Well, somebody, is feeling sardonic today.”
Probably crunchy. I’m just an ass who likes to make fun of Youtube commenters.
And, with that, chapter two finally comes to an end! Only two more left, people. Let’s ride this rapidly falling ship all the way to the bottom!
“Until next week patrons!”