I got an email from someone who spotted a story on Twisting the Hellmouth where the author said their story was "inspired" by Contrite Spirits.
Okay, fine and good. No problem with that. Actually gives me a warm fuzzy.
Except, my correspondent went on to say, this is the kind of Xander story that they know I dislike and that they were kind of surprised that I agreed to let someone write a "prequel" story that had those kinds of elements in it.
My morbidly curious self clicked on the link and I read it.
*headdesk headdesk headdesk*
Look, you can't copyright ideas. I know that. And it's flattering that someone is inspired by one of my fics for one of their own.
On reading this story, my jaw slowly opened and I was immitating idiot Jeb in all his slack-jawed yokelism.
Because, yo! Way to miss the whole frigging point of Contrite Spirits, dude!
Oh, let me count the ways of the wrongability of connecting this story to Contrite Spirits.
- Random flashbacks are thrown willy-nilly around story to the point where I can't tell what's happening when.
- Xander is tossed over by his meeeeean friends when they take Robin's side over his in an incident where Robin is clearly in the wrong. The author has forgotten canon, apparantly. Buffy can't possibly be Robin's biggest fan either, since Robin was involved in a plot to dust Spike. While I'm not Spike's biggest fan and would've cheered had Robin succeeded, Robin's interpersonal bullshit with Spike was the last thing Buffy needed on top of everything else she had to deal with. So, really, I can't see any way where Buffy would simply trade Xander for Robin now that the crisis is past. Nope. Sorry.
- Have I mentioned that in this incident Xander accidentally shoots Robin in the leg with a crossbow bolt because he was taken by surprise when he tripped over Robin cheating on Faith with another Slayer? So, of course, his meeeeeean friends are not even willing to listen to his explanation of what happened.
- Somehow, a year or two goes by (hard to tell with the flashbacks), and Faith doesn't even hear a whisper of what happened and all of Xander's meeeeeeaaaan friends don't discourage her from thinking that Xander's "attack" on Robin was unprovoked because he was "jealous" of Robin's standing among the Scoobs.
- Naturally Faith and Robin are broken up now because Faith had a fling while she was out of town and Robin refuses to forgive her. Thus our demonization of Robin is complete.
- Africa is, of course, seen as unimportant, which is why the Council lets Xander go there. Yeah, we'll send the "burned out" and "incompetent" guy to Africa with no oversight because we're hoping he'll run into some rebel group or he'll step on a landmine, which will take care of the problem for us and we won't have to fire him or anything.
- Xander manages to save VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE with MONEY and CONNECTIONS while he's in South Africa. These VERY IMPROTANT PEOPLE with oodles of POWER, the kind of POWER that made even the old Watcher's Council sit up, beg, roll over, and play dead, adopt ol' Xander like he's their own son.
- Xander, of course, becomes uber-competent Xander who always gets his Slayer and, in fact, has the highest Slayer recruitment rate of anyone in the world
The story seems to be a WiP and last we saw, Giles has decided to pair Xander and Faith up so they can do the more important recruiting effort in North America.
*headdesk headdesk headdesk*
This story has zero to do with Contrite Spirts, in either spirit, tone, concept, or characterization. Let's never mind that my WiP Discovering the Truth About the Wizard of Oz takes place only months after Contrite Spirits.
The simple fact is, this is a case where my hands are tied. There's no plagiarism and (I assume) there's no plans to fold my story into it. In truth, I'm completely unsure what to do about it or even if I can do anything about it.
It's simply annoying on an epic scale that a story I worked so hard on and am so proud of is being misrepresented in this way.
People who are fans of the kind of story that is on Twisting the Hellmouth are going to be mightily disappointed if they read Contrite Spirits. People who like Contrite Spirits (like the person who emailed me about this), are going to think that I have something to do with the story on Twisting the Hellmouth.
*stomps around like Stitch on a city made of playing cards*
This is something completely different than what othercat once proposed: that her fanon version of Xander and my fanon version of Xander meet face-to-face. Why? One, she told me about it; two, our Xanders are actually pretty close in tone, style, and characterization.
Heeee! With apologies to othercat:
OWS Xander: I'll have to talk to my boyfriend about this. He's a lawyer, well, ex-lawyer. Maybe he can figure out this contract you signed.
WHMD Xander: Wait! Whoa! Hold up! You...you're...dating...
OWS Xander (tense): Yes?
WHMD Xander: You're dating a LAWYER? Haven't you heard lawyers are evil?
OWS Xander: Oh. So you've met Lindsey, then?
WHMD Xander: I thought you said you were dating a guy.
OWS Xander (headdesks): Lindsey is his name.
WHMD Xander: That's kind of not a very manly-man name. What's wrong with Steve. Or Barry. Or...
OWS Xander (grumbles): Keep this up, I'm asking Linds to sic Hyena on you.
WHMD Xander (yelps): He's possessed by a hyena, too! You're dating hyena-possed lawyers? Have you lost your mind? Have we learned nothing about possession? Did we forget that we had to be de-wormed after eating that pig? There were pills! And medication!
OWS Xander: Speaking of medication, have you considered trying Prozac?
WHMD Xander: Have I mentioned that I'm having a very strange year?
Heeee. I think I cheered myself up. othercat can kill me now.