This was the first of the treats I decided to write - once I read the phrase "Kids in the Hall fic" I couldn't believe it had never occurred to me before. The show created such rich, bizarre characters that they were just ripe for the ficcing. kouredios had requested Simon and Hecubus, who were of course favorites of mine, so I wrote this. Yuletide magic introduced me to the wonderful inevitablewebreathe, who kindly betaed this excursion into evil. (You'll probably need to have seen the "Hecubus Is Fired" sketch for this to make any sense, or you can take a gander at the transcript, which should take you a grand total of about thirty seconds to read.)
Simon Milligan entered his shabby bedsit – the way the lead paint peeled was definitely proof of evil – and found Manservant Hecubus sitting in his one decent armchair, feet propped up on the coffee table right where Simon usually put the food he was eating (evil! unhygienic and evil!), and watching the black-and-white squiggly lines of static. Simon saw that Hecubus had altered the bunny slippers Simon had given him for the anniversary of the day the little imp rose from his hellish plane to serve in the Pit of Ultimate Darkness; they now had fangs drawn on in marker and blood crusted around the mouths. That was real blood, and Simon, impressed, breathed, "Evil," as he dropped his keys in the dish by the door.
Hecubus looked up, pleased, and smiled cheerily. "Hello, Master. I have a key, but I broke in anyway."
Simon nodded fatalistically as he sank, further than he'd meant to, into the depths of the lumpy chesterfield. Despite the expected level of evil and the jauntiness of the greeting, something was off about Hecubus. Not in an evil way, just in a . . . sort of malaise-y way. And ah! inspiring others to speak French was indubitably evil! "Why have you come here, Manservant Hecubus?"
Hecubus didn't answer with words. He just pushed a button on the remote, and the VHS tape whirred slowly to life, banishing the static, which Simon had rather been enjoying. Simon tensed a little, not knowing what to expect.
It was, of all things, a tape of their show, and for a few seconds Simon didn't recognise which episode it was. He was sitting at his desk, smouldering debonairly, smoking jacket nicely setting off the white streak in his hair that did not make him look like a cut-price Elsa Lanchester, no matter what anyone said. Even as he saw himself talking about the Pit of Penultimate Darkness, it didn't click for him just which tape Hecubus had obtained, but then he felt that splintery knot low in his belly – the kind that wouldn't go away even if your mom tucked you up in bed with peanut butter crackers and an extra kiss on the cheek when you were just sick enough to enjoy missing school but not so sick that you actually felt like you were at death's door. He hated that kind of knot, maybe because it wasn't evil and fun, but rather like a misplaced conscience. That knot was there, he recognised, because this was the episode where Hecubus had been lost and angry and hurt, and he'd been able to do . . . nothing. The knot in his tummy went arctic, making it hard for him to bound up out of the grip of that thrice-damned chesterfield, but he managed; he would have prided himself on his lissomness had he not needed to get the words out before Hecubus could turn accusing eyes, ringed as always with grim purple, on him.
"Ha ha, spoiler alert, Manservant Hecubus comes back, the end!" he said brightly. "Three cheers for Manservant Hecubus! Hip, hip –"
Hecubus did the merciful thing and turned the tape off. No, he'd just hit pause, and Simon stared, hypnotised, at the image of himself that was on the screen, vibrating as the tape stayed in place. Was that really what he looked like with his mouth half-open? At least his fly was done up. Well, the worst was surely over.
Hecubus smiled then, a small, toothless thing, and Simon lacked all the necessary brain power to make sense of that gesture. Before Simon could summon up the courage to ask, Hecubus had hit play again.
"I'm, of course, MC Simon Milligan, Master of Funk and Evil." He heard the words and remembered how carefree he'd felt that day. There had been a thunderstorm the night before and he'd thought of it as inspiration for the show, a crafts episode maybe, about the evil kids could do right at home on a rainy day. He'd had no inkling that Hecubus had been drowning his sorrows in a bottle. Several bottles, actually, haphazardly lined up because Hecubus was unencumbered by shame. Simon looked up then and saw himself doing a little dance, and oh, Beelzebub, but the lawyers were going to be crawling all over him for that. Why hadn't he realised he'd been doing an inept, soft-shoe-shuffle version of Ed Grimley's famous moves? He'd been so young then, so insouciant, and by forcing him to watch his own foolish gambolling, Hecubus had completely killed his rather good mood; "Evil," he said wearily, sighing and sinking back down into the morass of the chesterfield. Hecubus must have a fantastic work ethic, going out of his way to spread doom and gloom like this.
Sunk low in his own thoughts, it took him a few moments to realise that the apartment was silent but for the grinding noise the VCR made as the tape inside it was on pause once again. Hecubus was smiling at him again, rather kindly this time, face brightening so that even the rings around his eyes appeared to have lightened to a rakish plum rather than their customary mournful violet. "What – what is it, Manservant Hecubus?" Simon finally unknotted his throat to ask.
"I was thinking, Master," Hecubus said, not quite looking at either actual-him or TV-him, "that you looked very pleased on this day. Were you plotting some particularly diabolical plan?"
"No." Oh, he was the worst, if all it took for him to be exuberant was a few bolts of lightning and the roar of some thunder; he'd taken an introductory meteorology course before deciding on his program of study, so he couldn't even find refuge in the concept of the pathetic fallacy, which he'd learnt about during the same semester. "You know I only brainstorm evil with you."
"But your dance was spontaneous."
"Yes," he admitted cautiously, waiting to see where that gambit led.
"Perhaps we should do that more often." Hecubus looked shiningly pleased with himself now. "These tights aren't just slimming; they're made for modern dance." A toothy grin was threatening to take over his entire face, the bunnies on his slippers seemed to leer more eerily, and a roll of thunder sounded like distant applause. Simon felt himself smile back, fiendishly, and put some unearthly music on the turntable. Hecubus nodded solemnly and started to move, lithe and uncanny, a solo until Simon joined in, a flash of joy streaking through his heart; evil came in many forms, but only the most outrageous came with jazz-hands.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.