rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: riku, blindfolded and smiling slightly. (we'll be the darkness)
Riona ([personal profile] rionaleonhart) wrote2017-06-30 12:12 pm

You Never Really Get Out Of Silent Hill.

A worrying thought: how many of my favourite character types can be traced back to James Sunderland of Silent Hill 2? I love characters who make terrible mistakes and are overcome by self-loathing, characters trying to atone for things that can't ever be undone, characters who undergo horrible experiences they'll never recover from or be believed about, characters who can't trust their own perception of reality. And I follow all those threads back, wondering when I first developed these preferences, and they all take me to James Sunderland, all-time champion of the World's Worst Husband competition.

Mike Munroe of Until Dawn falls into three of these four character types (all four in a couple of fics where I kick in his perception of reality: Alone Together, Wrong Road Home) and, moreover, wears a James Sunderland-esque heavy green jacket for most of the game. It's no wonder I like him so much. If it's any consolation, Mike, you are at least a slightly better person.

Here is a small handful of Until Dawn ficlets, most written anonymously for drabble challenges on [community profile] fail_fandomanon, all focusing on Mike and Sam.

Until Dawn, 100 words, prompt: comfort bathing

“I’m going to have a bath.”

Mike nods. “Guess I’ll make my way home, then.”

“Wait,” Sam says. “Can you...” Is she going to ask this? “Can you watch me?”

There’s a pause. Mike cocks his head. “Can I watch you bathe?

“Or just be in the room,” she says. “You know, last time I had a bath, it... didn’t go so well.”

Mike winces. “You’re not back there, you know? You’re safe.”

“You don’t have to be there. I just thought I’d ask.”

“No, I want to,” he says, too quickly, and then, “Uh. I mean, I don’t mind.”

Until Dawn, 100 words, prompt: long-distance

Clattering. Mike’s dropped the phone. “Sam?


“I thought...”

He thought she was dead. She’d have thought the same. Everyone seems so fragile after you lose six friends in one night.

“Sorry,” Sam says. “I had to get away.” From everything: concern, media, therapy. Mike, and the memories he brings up. It seems cruel to say that.

She doesn’t know why she’s calling.

“Jesus,” Mike mutters. “Thought I was the only one left.”

“Are you going to ask me to come back?”

Mike’s quiet for a moment. “I get why you went. I just wish you’d taken me with you.”

Until Dawn/Animorphs, 100 words, prompt: fusionfic

“We can starve it out! We don’t have to kill her!”

“Emily can morph, Sam,” Mike says. “Which means the Yeerk can morph. It’ll escape. And it knows who we are. It gets away from us, we’re finished. All of us.”

“Mike,” Sam says. “It’s Emily.”

Mike flinches. “Look, we’re Earth’s only line of defence. Right? There are hard decisions—”


“—there are things we have to do to keep everyone safe—”


Mike looks at Sam for a moment, and then he lowers the gun.

“I’m so fucking glad you’re here, Sam,” he says, fervently.

Until Dawn, 300 words, prompt: Sam/Hannah

“Look, Mike, I get why you feel guilty, okay?” Sam says. (From Mike’s flinch, she suspects he’s taken that as ‘you have plenty to feel guilty about’.) “But you couldn’t have known this would happen.”

“She—” Mike gestures at Hannah’s diary. “She had to eat her sister. And now Jess is dead. Because of me. Fuck, I should just let her kill me.”

“The prank was Jess’s idea,” Sam says. “Do you think she deserved what happened to her?”

“Don’t say that. That’s not what I mean.”

“We can’t just stand around blaming ourselves. What matters is what’s happening now.”

“Easy for you to say,” Mike mutters. “You didn’t have anything to do with the prank.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t feel responsible,” Sam says. “I could have stopped it.”

Mike shrugs. “At least you tried.”

“And...” She hesitates. “I still keep thinking, maybe she’d never have ended up with that weird fixation on you if I’d never broken up with her.”

Mike stares at her for a moment. “What?”

She shakes her head. “Never mind.”

“No, what?

“You can ask me about it if we get out of this alive.”


She’s forgotten she’d told him about it by the time he asks, a couple of months after they get off the mountain.

“Was it true, what you said?” he asks. “About you and Hannah?”

Her name is still painful. “What, that we went out? Yeah.”


A moment’s silence.

“So does that mean you’re a lesbian?”

“Hmm,” Sam says. “Let me just consider for a moment whether that’s any of your business.”

Mike clears his throat. “Well, it might be my business. In... certain specific circumstances.”

“In the very unlikely event that any of those arise,” Sam says, “I promise I’ll tell you.”

(The last one came about because a friend challenged me to write some Sam/Hannah. Their response was 'Damn it, you managed to make my ship about your ship,' which is, I'll admit, a fair accusation. It's the only thing I can write!)

(Anonymous) 2017-06-30 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, man, don't diss the James Sunderland. Your five million fics about James Sunderland phase is what brought me over here! "Aha!" I thought. "Here is somebody with the same appreciation for misery, mental illness, unreliable narrators and trauma!" (Also, "Aha! She is doing fanfic100 for this character. 100 fics about James? SOLD.") And here we are, still thinking those themes are deeply fascinating! (...Disturbingly, when I think back, pretty much all of my creative writing pieces for uni were studies of mental illness: unreliable narrations from them, or outsider POVs exploring the subject. HMM.)

I was thinking of your character archetype description and realised that if you ever happened to watch 60s American supernatural soap operas (cuz, yknow, there's loads of those :P) you'd love Willie Loomis in Dark Shadows. (Confession: Willie is my favourite character. I seem to have the same hangups as you!). He is pretty much in all of those categories. There are also scenes where he was beaten up, which I believe also factors in your "desirable things to see happen to my favourite fictional characters" list.

Maybe the real reason I was fairly lukewarm on the Dark Shadows Johnny Depp film is that they had no depth to Willie's character. HOW COULD YOU, WILLIE WAS GREAT.

I was going to try and show you clips but can't find suitable ones, so have two music videos instead that capture two aspects of the character! This is introductory Willie, before his defining story arc. This is his defining story arc, which even through clips is a very interesting transition from the character you see in that first video to an occasionally gibbering wreck who somehow has almost become a good guy while being a bad guy. (Although it does miss the beginning of this arc, where this cocksure guy suddenly reappears completely changed and everyone is baffled and thinks he's pulling a con, which were some very good episodes.)


Other random thoughts: Been rereading my favourite book recently. I feel like I've memorised lots of quotes from that book, but whenever I reread something new sticks. This time, it's "When people die, they become murderers of the living." Also sort of apt for James, huh?

On choices in gaming: I've been playing The Witcher 3 lately, which is always purported to have choice based gaming and potentially different endings. Still not finished, so not sure how true it is, but it certainly does affect independent story arcs. I've finished quests in this game and gone "...I think I could've done that better, that was terrible". I may have doomed at least one settlement. I got confused on where to go in one quest and looked it up and it was all "If you did x method, do this, if it's y, do this" etc. There's quite a lot of choice involved, sometimes fairly major and sometimes minor. It's quite interesting actually. Two occasions come to mind in particular (not including the aforementioned doomed settlement). I was trying to be nice and follow a plan to find the location of somebody. My companion and I decided that they would play decoy while I tried to get some information. We lied our way in, then it became clear my companion would be tortured. She'd told me to play along and had basically known this, so I didn't loudly object. I did try and use my persuasive mind skills to change their mind, but alas, the other guards noticed I'd manipulated his mind and we ended up slaughtering the entire building and having to hunt for information and find a (confusing to find!) escape. Hmm, I thought, this probably could have gone better. (Although apparently I was saved from having to have an interrogation conversation with my companions screams in the background, so that's always nice.)

At a later point, I was given specific instructions and a code on how to sneak into a place. I went to follow them, to be all sleuthy. "I recognise you!" said the guy on the gate. "You attacked our men!" And then I had to kill them and find an alternate route inside. WHOOPS. I didn't even know who I'd killed that offended them! GEEZ, GUYS. You can also refuse rewards for some contracts etc to be altruistic, and choose which optional contracts you take on. It's certainly interesting, although who knows how different the endings are, if much at all. Certainly the minutae seems to change a fair bit, though.


(Anonymous) 2017-07-01 09:08 am (UTC)(link)

Dark Shadows loved its manhandling. One actor in particular was always doing it. Willie always ended up on the wrong end of being beaten up, too.

Although I'm unlikely to get into something that has over a thousand episodes, goodness me.)


It's a shame I couldn't find a decent video with the beginning of the Barnabas arc, where nobody knows why he's changed so much and he's hurt and haunted for a fair bit. Always good TV! Although I did find a line that's very similar to one from Harry Potter ("If you want to kill Harry, you'll have to kill us too!") originally said by Ron, then stolen by Hermione in the film because god forbid Ron have some dialogue that wasn't comic relief.

Couldn't find an individual clip, but did find the moment in the episode: (Er, I wouldn't wear headphones for the beginning of that clip. Just watch until the scene ends - it's about a minute and a half long. Don't worry, I don't intend to send lots of clips, the Harry Potter comparison just makes me smile!)

Haha, games sure have come a long way!

It occurred to me while writing about the James Sunderland origins yesterday that I've been reading your journal for OVER TEN YEARS. Geez! Where'd that time go? Probably one of my longest running friendships although I've only ever spoke to you through your journal, haha. Even more disturbingly, the Pokemon steel cage battle where I drew terrible fanart was SIX YEARS AGO. How the hell was that six years ago?

(Anonymous) 2017-07-01 09:14 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, properly last clip now! (SERIOUSLY, I'M STOPPING LOOKING ON YOUTUBE NOW.) Someone made a fan trailer for the arc that briefly bridges the 2 I showed up in the clips, which I'm showing because it's basically THIS CHARACTER IS SUFFERING and I know we both like that. xD The sound mixing is a bit off - the music louder than the included dialogue - but you can hear it.