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(Fic) How the heroes die

5th May 2008 (21:58)

I've been feeling a bit uninspired lately writing-wise, and have lots of unfinished things sitting on my hard drive. But over on RPGnet someone suggested the prompt "how does your favourite genre hero die?", and it got me to write these three short ficlets.

Do I need to warn for character death? Didn't think so...  #1 and #3 are rated 12, #2 is rated 15 because of the swearing. 456 words in total.

How the Heroes Die


Buffy

It had been forty years or more since Buffy held the Scythe, but her fingers closed about it now as if it were part of her. Her eyes shone with their old fire, and for a moment the friends and family gathered around her bed half-expected her to leap up, rejuvenated and young again. But she just smiled faintly, and breathed a soft 'Thank you'. Then fixed her gaze on the earnest young woman who had passed her the weapon, and gestured for her to take it back. "It's yours now. Please do your best." Then she lay her head back and closed her eyes again. A grin played across her lips, and those who were closer heard her mutter "Third time lucky." They were still trying to work out what she meant when they realised she'd stopped breathing.


Faith

"You get the fuck out of here. Now!"

"They'll come after us! You saw what they did to--"

"I'll hold them back. Move it!"

They didn't need more telling. Faith watched them go, hefted her battleaxe and turned to face the oncoming army.

"Oh, crap."

There were a hell of a lot more of them than she'd expected. Bigger, too. For a moment following after the others didn't seem such a bad plan after all. She could probably run faster than them too, and what was that old joke about not having to outrun a lion as long as you could outrun the other victims? But she couldn't do it. Not anymore. Time to see if she could be a hero instead.

She smiled a wild smile and threw herself headlong into the demon horde.


Willow

Willow forced a brave smile as tears flowed heedless from her eyes, reaching out her finger to trace the outline of Kennedy's cheek, brush a stray wisp of grey hair from her eyes.

"I did it, sweetie. I kept my promise."

She looked around the room they'd shared for so many years. Nothing to keep her here now. All the arrangements were done long since. She'd said her goodbyes. Taking a deep breath, she set her face into her firmest expression of resolve. Began chanting the words, and the room filled with brilliant white light, dazzling her, reflecting highlights off her hair. Then she added the three syllables she'd never spoken before, and the world twisted and wrapped around her and split asunder, welcoming her into itself, and there was ecstasy and sorrow and beauty and pain and the promise of knowing, and she felt herself growing into it, and...

Back in the quiet, empty bedroom, the light faded.

Comments

Posted by: spuffyduds (spuffyduds)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:06 (UTC)

You made me sniffly.

*loves*

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:37 (UTC)

Mission accomplished. :-)

Thank you!

Posted by: woman_of_ (woman_of_)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:10 (UTC)

My eyes have filled up now! Especially with the Faith one! Thata way to go girl!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:39 (UTC)

Thanks! It just seemed right: Buffy dies at a ripe old age surrounded by family, Faith dies in battle - heroicly, and possibly also stupidly but that's okay because she realises it and does it anyway.

Posted by: chrislee (chrisleeoctaves)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:44 (UTC)
oz whoa

Each one of these has something specifically authentic about it.

In Buffy it's "Third time lucky." They were still trying to work out what she meant when they realised she'd stopped breathing.

In Faith it's She smiled a wild smile and threw herself headlong into the demon horde.

In Willow it's Taking a deep breath, she set her face into her firmest expression of resolve.

Nicely done.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:28 (UTC)

Buffy goes peacefully, in bed, quipping in the face of death; Faith dies gloriously in battle; and Willow... does ssomething different.

Thanks!

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:57 (UTC)

Ohhh...

I got all teary.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:28 (UTC)

*Passes you a tissue*

Thanks!

Posted by: petzipellepingo (petzipellepingo)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 21:59 (UTC)
btvs is love candy heart by buttersideup

Very nice and every one a little snapshot of the person.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:30 (UTC)

Thanks! I stuck to a 'less is more' approach rather than trying to explain all the backstory behind each picture, while still giving the impression that there was a lot more to say...

Posted by: counteragent (counteragent)
Posted at: 5th May 2008 22:23 (UTC)
Buffy counteragent

Awww. These are great!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:30 (UTC)

Thank you!

Posted by: alexfoster451 (alexfoster451)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 03:50 (UTC)
Xander

Very nice. I could almost hear “Let’s go to work” during Faith’s scene. :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:31 (UTC)

Hopefully she doesn't end up in Hell, though... (or at least if she does, she fights her way out again).

Thanks!

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 07:42 (UTC)
Reading 2

Lovely. I will go to work happily saddened - as opposed to just grumpily!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:31 (UTC)

'Happily saddened' ? :-)

Thanks!

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 07:50 (UTC)

Oh my god - you killed Kennedy! You bastard! ;-)

I definitely believe these - so much so that the only objection I could possibly have is that they make too much sense for the characters; the Jossverse being what it is, nobody really dies like they deserve. :-) But still, we can always hope, right? Great work, as ever.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 09:37 (UTC)

I didn't kill her. She died of old age, with Willow beside her. :-)

And yes, the idea behind this was more "What would be the perfect, in-character way for them to die?" rather than trying to be either realistic or in line with Jossverse conventions of irony. Under which, probably, Faith would die in bed surrounded by friends at the age of 94, Buffy would die in a traffic accident, and Kennedy would apotheosise after Willow's death...

Thanks!

Posted by: louise39 (louise39)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 13:18 (UTC)
sunlight through trees

Death came to these heroes the way they would want-
Buffy normal at last and with friends -
Faith fighting until the end -
Willow with a new magic -
Well done.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 19:00 (UTC)

Thanks! I was trying to think of the 'best possible' way to die for each of them, given that it's something that happens to everyone in the end.( And happens more than once if you're Buffy...)

Posted by: My Sanctuary (married_n_mich)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 13:23 (UTC)

Nicely done. You kept everyone in character and it worked out wonderful.

Thought about 'finishing' off the rest?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 19:01 (UTC)

Thanks!

Joss already wrote the perfect death scene for Spike and Angel at the end of 'Not Fade Away'. I didn't really want to start doing this for everyone, just the characters who inspired me most. But if anyone else wants to continue the idea themselves, that would be great.

Posted by: My Sanctuary (married_n_mich)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 19:07 (UTC)

I was thinking more along the line of the core group: Xander and Giles.

... if anyone else wants to continue the idea themselves, that would be great.

But you're the master!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 19:14 (UTC)

But you're the master!

I've got no hang-ups if you want to become the mistress.
;-)

Posted by: My Sanctuary (married_n_mich)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 19:19 (UTC)

*Giggles*

Food for thought, my dear!

Food for thought!

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 6th May 2008 20:44 (UTC)

I was feeling a little depressed before reading and now you've got me all snifly. Damn!

Each of these deaths feel very in character with the three heroines. Well done Stormwreath.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th May 2008 00:48 (UTC)

Sorry! I was trying for an uplifting sort of sorrow, not a depressing one, though...

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 7th June 2008 10:52 (UTC)

Hi,
LOVED all three, but in order I think 1) "Third time lucky." It's kind of sad that she's dying of course, but there is a great deal of humour in the idea that Buffy WOULD say this at such a time. Great stuff!

2) Agin characterised by a really great in-character line, "Oh, crap." Again great idea, excellently executed.

and 3) Oh god, but the imagery of this is astounding. Liked the idea that Willow and Kennedy managed to make it last that long, even though I'm a great Tara fan. I do have to point out though that I really didn't like the idea that Tara would forgive for abusing her in the way she did, and I never thought she should have forgiven her, or returned to her - at least as soon as she did. When she died the person I was most angry and upset at was not Joss, but Willow - so as I said I do like that Kennedy would stay with Willow right to the end. Didn't like her on the show, but fanfic has given me a whole new perspective on her.

Loved all three, but my favourite is the third despite,as I say, the subject matter.

Great work on all three,and thanks for putting them out there.

Ray (kerkevik@btinternet.com)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th January 2009 22:35 (UTC)

Thanks! ;-)

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