Author: Beer Good
Title: And Ever Three Parts Coward
Timeline: Missing scene from "The Gift".
Length: 800 words, give or take.
Summary: With mere hours to go before the apocalypse, Ben is unable to make up his mind about what to do. He decides to have a cold one while he thinks it over. Willy makes a perfectly reasonable suggestion and bad Shakespearean dialogue follows.
Disclaimer: Joss owns the characters. William Shakespeare (AKA Bardmaster S) wrote some of the dialogue (the good bits) but he's been dead for 390 years so I don't think he'll mind. Also, there's a reference to Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead". Whatever is left is my fault, and if it's any consolation, I make no money off it. (As if I could.)
And Ever Three Parts Coward
Ben, a surgeon.
Glory, his sister, a Hellgod.
Willy, a barkeep of ill repute.
Clem, a daemon of noble repute.
SCENE: A Bar in Sunnydale, California, The Americas. CLEM is seated at the bar, drinking "Coca-Cola". WILLY is behind the bar, cleaning a glass. Various DAEMONS mill about.
Evening. What can I get you?
A pint of your finest ale, barkeep, and right quick ere my sister comes. (Sits.)
Comin' right up, buddy. (Serves him.)
(Drinks and sighs deeply.)
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them...
Hey, you OK?
Forgive me, Sir, I do not wish to be rude;
But a malady, nay, a dilemma most heavily weighs
Upon these my shoulders. To either take innocent life
Or have my own, and many others, taken from me.
So please leave me to contemplate alone.
Look, drinking alone when you're in trouble really isn't a good idea. Especially if you're planning to bring about an apocalypse, 'cause that never ends well.
'Tis not me; 'tis my sister who would open
The doors of hell and end existence itself.
No blame upon these hands, I pray; I merely do as told.
Riiight. But hey, don't you worry. I'm sure the Slayer will stop your sister in good time before anything bad happens. She always does, somehow.
The Slayer... Ah, if but I only dared believe
That shining beacon of pure goodness could
Withhold my sister from her ghastly deed!
But I fear her powers are as those of a mere gnat
Compared to dark Glorificus, who – o heavy burthen!
I hear her coming: best withdraw, my gents – (CHANGES into GLORY.)
Oh, God, what is this place? I mean... ewww. BEER?!? Honestly, I'd kill everyone in here if I could just think of a way to do it without getting my divine hands dirty. I am so out of here. Ben, don't forget to sacrifice Dawn. (CHANGES into BEN.)
And so thine own eye doth see, my sister's evil
Is too great for me to withstand or bestruggle.
Even with these mine hands, vowed to protect and heal
To follow in the steps of wise Hippocrates – Alas! Alas!
As long as breath enters my body, I cannae but comply.
And sacrifice fair Dawn, though forsooth I don't hate her.
To spill innocent blood and world's end bring...
O...kay. Uh, later. (Gets up and moves to ANOTHER CHAIR, further down the BAR.)
Look, don't take this the wrong way, but... you've never considered, you know, taking the problem into your own hands?
How say you?
Well, I was just thinking out loud... Uh, I'm sure you're a nice guy and everything. But I mean, if you really want to stop her, and you don't think the Slayer will, and you can't actually NOT sacrifice this Dawn girl, wouldn't you save everyone a lot of trouble, not to mention apocalypse, if you just jumped in front of the train or something? Sure, sucks for you, but that's what heroes do, right? Imagine it, you'd be praised by people all over the world, having given your life to save billions... Wouldn't that be cool?
Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! (CHANGES into GLORY.)
Yes? What is it now, you whiny little brat? Damn right I've fixed my cannon! We've been over this; you're too much of a coward to kill yourself. Drink up and go home, we've got sacrificing to do. (CHANGES into BEN.)
You see, my will, it matters not. I must hence forth.
Come on, you can't just chicken out like that?!? (Picks up a GOLD COIN.) Tell you what, I'll flip you for it. Heads, you drink for free and then kill yourself so the world doesn't end. Tails, you pay up and do what you want, just give me enough time to get out of town, deal? (FLIPS coin.) Tails. Huh. I wasn't expecting that.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. (Puts his WALLET on the counter.)
Goodnight, sweet prince of darkness who will hopefully remember me as a nice guy after you ascend! (Aside.) "Open a bar in Sunnydale", they said. "Weird clientele but great tips", they said. (Checks wallet.) Oh well, this should get me to LA. (To DAEMONS.) Last call!
(CURTAIN. The rest is SILENT until the SCREAMING starts.)