chapter 2 of 14
Crossover With: Star Wars, the Oz books, My Chemical Romance. Kind of. In a way.
Special thanks to redwolf, who pointed me to a site that reveals the origin of the term “Mary Sue”:
Warning: Extreme Mary Suism.
Disclaimer: All characters who belong to Joss and co, belong to Joss and co.
Summary: post-Chosen: A group of watchers and slayers taking a creative writing class are assigned a simple lesson in author intrusion. But nothing’s ever simple when magic is -- literally -- in the air.
Mary Stu Got Harried, Chapter Two: Famous Last Words
(In which Xander, Tara and our hero learn watchers don’t get quiet evenings at home)
Richard finished the last line of Teagan’s story and sat back in office chair, staring into the distance for a long moment before he murmured, “Who the heck is My Chemical Romance?”
Even without setting a completion date for the new writing project, Richard had started hearing back from class members within days. Specifically, the five slayers and two watchers who’d been hit by the black magic blast made quick progress, because they’d been taken out of mission rotation until Willow could double check to make sure there were no long term effects.
Unfortunately, Willow was with Giles, leading a team trying to clear a particularly nasty poltergeist from an isolated English mansion. The Watcher’s Council had discussed having Tara look into the Missouri incident, but since Tara was one of the victims, they had to consider the possibility that she’d been compromised. As a result, the idled members of her team had turned in their first drafts within a week.
Teagan’s was the first fanfiction story turned in, and he was still debating whether, strictly speaking, it met the criteria. Yes, Teagan was in the story, and yes, she’d saved the day by taking over as road manager for a rock group, then getting them a new record deal and a multimillion dollar contract; and yes, the group’s leader, a somewhat strange character named Gerard, had fallen in love with her.
However, Teagan’s notes indicated this was a real band. Therefore, she hadn’t inserted herself into a fictional world: She’d merely elevated herself in the real world.
Richard turned to his laptop, which was almost invisible among the piles of papers and books on his cherry wood desk. His office was tiny: there was room only for the desk, two chairs, a filing cabinet, and an overflowing bookcase. The single window looked not outside, but over the classroom. Still, the only reason he got an office at all was because he’d agreed to take responsibility for the school -- Giles was the only other watcher with a private office in the building. Thank goodness Xander’s work crew had finished converting the floor above, because if they were still occupying only the fourteenth floor of the Chicago
high rise he’d probably be sharing his living quarters with Xander ... or worse yet, Andrew.
An internet search quickly turned up hundreds of links to My Chemical Romance. So, they were, indeed, a group. He brought up iTunes and, wincing at the use of a company credit card, downloaded several songs. If Kara found out, after he’d refused to let her spend her allowance on more music CD’s ...
Although unsure why he was bothering, Richard listened to the first song, head bowed in concentration. It was punk music, he guessed; he wasn’t much up on the genres these days. Personally, he preferred what he thought of as classic rock -- Boston, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Beatles ...
While he listened, he took the time to finally check out Suzy’s extra credit story, which he’d forgotten in the rush of the previous week’s testing. Also set in real life, it involved a watcher and slayer falling in love.
Gee, that wasn’t a touchy subject.
Shifting in his seat, Richard read the story while My Chemical Romance played in the background. The watcher, whose age wasn’t revealed but who acted and apparently looked middle aged, was a wise and talented Englishman named James Raleigh. But as the story progressed he fell madly for the teenaged slayer, and followed her around rather like an overeager puppy dog as they slayed various bad guys and lived a life James Bond would envy.
Richard chuckled as the pair ended up in yet another luxury hotel room, cuddling together but chivalrously avoiding intimate contact. The last time he’d gone out on assignment -- had it been over three months ago? -- he’d flown coach and stayed in a Motel 6.
“Hey, Rich?” He looked up to see Xander standing at the door to Richard’s office, looking uncomfortable. Xander, for all he’d faced in his young life, still hated anything remotely connected to the idea of schools. “Um, we’ve got a situation.”
The older watcher sat up straight. “Something you couldn’t handle?” Richard couldn’t imagine anything Xander couldn’t handle, except maybe Dana.
“Well, it involves your students, kind of, and since you’re the headmaster, or principal, or whatever ...”
“I’m not really the principal.” Richard frowned, trying to figure out why being called that bothered him so much. “Or, to put it another way, school’s out.”
“Yeah, but ...” Xander shrugged. “I’m not all that much on the disciplinarian thing. I figured, with you being an old guy --”
Richard’s frown deepened.
“-- I mean, you know, older guy, cause you’re not old, really, just mature. In a good way, that’s not young.”
Richard folded his arms.
“Hey, you’re listening to the same music they are! How could you be old? Shutting up, now.”
Finally Richard decided to let him off the hook. “You’re a punk, Xander. Now -- wait a minute. Who’s listening to the same music?”
“In the gym. It’s loud, too loud; people are complaining.”
Glancing up at his Maltese cross clock, a souvenir of his volunteer firefighting days, Richard realized it was almost 10 p.m. “Seriously, everybody likes you, Xander. If you’d asked, they’d turn it down.”
“Oh, no.” Xander waved his arms in front of him. “It’s not the noise that’s the problem. See, there’s a band in the gym.”
“A live band. Playing MCR songs.”
Richard blinked again.
“I rousted Andrew out of bed to check the security monitors, and no one has come in since Clem got back from his supply run almost four hours ago.”
“Huh.” Richard felt a little chill, and was out of his seat before he’d realized it. There were so many possible dangers in this scenario: magic, demons, groupies, hearing damage ... “Giles is still in England?” He led the way through the door, and they strode past the rows of wooden desks in the classroom.
“Yeah, and Willow’s with him. Buffy and Dawn are in Japan, Faith and Robin are in Australia, and Rona’s team just got to Cleveland to relieve Vi and Jason. You’re in charge, buddy.”
Although he’d just shoved open the outer classroom door, Richard stopped short, turning toward Xander. He barely felt the door come back to hit his shoulder. “What?”
“Um, it’s a term of endearment. You know, buddy -- bud. I could call you something else. Mr. Philips?”
But Richard shook his head. “Not that. I’m not in charge, Xander, you are.”
“No I’m not.”
“The rules place the senior watcher who’s present in charge of the headquarters. That’s you.”
“But you’re the principal.” Xander looked honestly confused.
“I’m not --” Richard stopped short, suddenly realizing why being called principal bothered him so much. He’d given up teaching after ten years, when his books started selling enough to make the house payments. But he didn’t quit teaching because of the book sales -- he quit because he’d gotten tired of the public school system, where nothing could be done about the lack of respect, where no one seemed to care, where acts of violence resulted in nothing but helpless hand wringing.
Okay, so now he had disciplined, usually respectful students who weren’t just wandering pointlessly through life. But he didn’t sign on to run a school, damn it -- he signed on to be a watcher. Why wasn’t Robin Wood doing this? After all, Robin had been an actual principal. Could the fact that Robin defied the odds by continuing to date Faith be getting him better duties?
Richard firmly told himself such thoughts were sour grapes. Still, no wonder he’d been feeling a growing sense of discontentment.
He shook his head, getting back to the matter at hand. “We go in together, and play to our strengths. You’re closer to their age, and you’re the head watcher in-house. If they don’t respond to your personality, I’ll break out the discipline.”
“Good cop/bad cop?”
“Way to simplify, Xander.”
Tara stood at the door to the gym, wincing in time to the music. Although she couldn’t have heard them approaching, she turned to greet them. “I prefer my music more ... mellow.”
Cocking his head, Xander considered this. “What do lesbian witch ghosts listen to?”
Hands on hips, Tara glared at him.
“Shutting up now, again.”
They shoved through the door, reeling back a bit as the music hit full force -- Richard had forgotten that the gym was supposed to be soundproofed. On one end of the large room, about two dozen slayers sat on the floor, entranced, their bodies swaying in time to the music. On the other end, five young men had a rock band set up, complete with huge speakers, and were playing their hearts out.
All wore a type of black outfit that looked very much like a stylized band uniform. Generally, they looked pretty normal, for a band. The lead singer’s hair was apparently bleached, reminding Richard uncomfortably of that vampire the Scoobies spoke of with varying degrees of venom, Spike.
They weren’t just playing MCR songs, Richard realized, when he recognized them from his internet search. They were MCR. “They’re actually pretty good,” he admitted.
“What?” Xander yelled.
“I said, we have to shut them down!”
Stepping to the middle of the room, Xander waved his hands. When he had the attention of the lead vocalist, he slashed a hand across his throat.
The vocalist -- Gerard -- stopped singing, causing the others to stutter to a confused
stop. In the ensuing silence, a wave of disappointed “Ahhhhh’s” drifted from the slayers.
“Are you the guy in charge?” Gerard asked Xander.
Glancing back at Richard, Xander shrugged. “Um, yeah, and I’m a little curious about how you guys got here.”
“Oh.” Gerard looked back at the other band members, who also shrugged. “We were going to ask you that.”