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Title: Mary Stu Got Harried
chapter 4 of 14
Author: ozma914
Crossover With: Star Wars, the Oz books, My Chemical Romance. Kind of. In a way.

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 Four: Ghost of a Chance

(In Which our hero learns Dracula lives, the Force is with him, and he’s not in Kansas anymore.)



Giving up on sleep, Richard climbed out of bed and turned on the main light in his little apartment. For a moment he felt claustrophobic, even though the closet he’d stayed in until the renovations were finished had been much smaller. Now he had a kitchenette, a bed alcove with a privacy curtain, a living area big enough for two chairs and a table, and his very own bathroom.

Once, a lifetime ago in Indiana, he’d owned a house with three bedrooms, two baths, a study and a big back yard, where he’d taught Kara to play catch and ride a bike. Now -- well, it was still there and still his; he supposed it would make a nice vacation home, if he ever got around to taking a vacation.

Life will throw curve balls. With an ironic smile, Richard tossed his briefcase on the table and opened it, revealing the work he’d brought from his office fifty feet away. If he wasn’t going to sleep, he might as well check out the rest of the stories his creative writing class had produced.

And sleep was out of the question, with a mystical rock band inside watcher’s headquarters. He felt like a fool for not putting them up in a hotel, where they wouldn’t be too close to the slayers if something went wrong. Suzy and Teagan had proven themselves able warriors, but he didn’t know how well they might handle more subtle attacks -- and besides, they’d be relieved later that night by less experienced girls.

Sighing, he opened a leather bound manuscript entitled “Star Wars: Revenge of Andrew”.

Good to know some things were predictable.

Although full of purple prose, Andrew’s tale was surprisingly readable. He’d kept the story moving quickly, just as the movies did -- hardly surprising, considering how many times the younger watcher had viewed them. The tale had Andrew as a Jedi -- of course -- rescuing Padme from a time traveling Darth Vader.

Okay, wait. Hadn’t Darth Vader been in love with Padme? Reading on, Richard discovered an interesting twist in the story when it was revealed Vader had traveled in time to prevent Padme’s death, but Andrew the Jedi assumed the worst about the black clad Sith Lord. In the end Vader and Andrew forged an uneasy alliance and saved Padme, whereupon their partnership ended and they dueled to the death. Vader’s death, of course, leaving a living Padme with her savior, Andrew.

Shaking his head, Richard took a few notes in preparation for a second reading, later. The writing needed to be toned down -- a lot -- and if it had been anyone but Andrew, he’d have assumed the purple prose was part of the fun. Padme as written was a bit too silly and americanized, even saying “wowzers” when she first saw Vader. But otherwise, it was a solid and entertaining tale.

So was the next one, although Richard knew he’d have to tread carefully, since it was by his own daughter. Worse, she’d written about one of his favorite fictional universes, the Land of Oz. Her story had Kara being hit by a bolt of black magic -- no problem figuring out where she got that from -- which blasted her to Oz, where she got involved in a brewing war between that magical land and the mischief making Nome King.

He chuckled, both at how he could tease Kara for sucking up to the teacher and at remembering his first crush: on Dorothy Gale, back when he was barely old enough to read. Kara’s story was more straightforward, without the plot twists of Andrew’s, but she did a good job of capturing Baum’s whimsical writing style and outlandish characters.

He was so absorbed with the story that he almost didn’t hear the knocking. An instant later his senses went on full alert and he vaulted for the door, at the last moment remembering to look through the peephole. Tara stood there, in the same outfit she’d worn that day, and she gave a start when he yanked the door open. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing! I just couldn’t sleep --”

“You sleep?” he blurted out, before he could stop himself.

“Bottie says I even snore.”

So the ghost needed sleep -- but sometimes couldn’t sleep. Well, he knew that feeling. Throwing the door open, he gestured her inside. “I could use the company; in fact, I could use your help reading all these stories.”

Stepping in, Tara glanced around, then looked Richard up and down. “So, I didn’t
wake you?”

He followed her gaze, and realized he was still wearing the red plaid pajamas Kara gave him for Christmas. “Um, no.” Richard, you are so damn suave. “I tried to, but ...” He waved her to a chair, then retreated into the bedroom alcove to don black sweats and running shoes. “Check out Bottie’s story, why don’t you? It’s next on the stack.”

He heard nothing but the rustle of paper, and when he stepped out again she was gazing down at the pages with a whimsical smile. “Interesting?” he inquired.

“Have you ever seen the daytime drama ‘Passions’?” He shook his head. “How about the movie ‘I, Robot’?”

“The book was better.”

“Well, in this story the robots from the movie try to take over the town from the soap opera. The townspeople call on Buffy the Slayer to protect them, and accidentally get Buffybot instead.”

He stared at her, trying to digest that. “You read that far in the time it took me to change?”

“Her writing style is very spare; she put all that in the first six pages.”

“Maybe,” he mused as he sat at the table beside her, “If we average Andrew and Bottie, we’d get the perfect story.”

Tara went back to reading. Richard picked up Dana’s story, which began with her and Buffybot sneaking out of watcher’s headquarters in the dead of night. But it was hand written -- badly hand written -- and after only a page his eyes began to ache. It didn’t help that the scent of lilac, which after a moment he realized came from Tara, kept distracting him.

He decided to put Dana off and go to another story, then hesitated when he saw the next manuscript -- Tara’s. But he picked it up, reasoning everyone must be treated fairly, and was soon immersed in events that had actually happened in the real world. At first he thought it didn’t meet his requirements, until he realized Tara was writing about someone who both really existed and was a fictional character: Vlad Dracula.

He knew the story from one of his many marathon sessions reading watcher’s journals -- Rupert Giles’ journal, in this case. Dracula, attracted to Buffy Summers’ growing, almost legendary reputation, came to Sunnydale, met Buffy, and ended up on the wrong end of a stake. That was the short version, of course.

He’d seen no mention of Tara in Giles’ account of the incident, but in this over the top version Tara was the central character: Finding Dracula’s lair, battling his henchmen, and eventually using magic to make Dracula’s mansion vanish, exposing all the characters to the morning sun and vanquishing the famous vampire forever. Tara’s matter-of-fact, tongue in cheek writing style had Richard chuckling out loud by the end of the tale.

That’s when he looked up and saw Tara staring at the last page of Bottie’s story, her face red. She’d noticed what he was reading, then, and ... the ghost was blushing. “You did great, Tara. Having Giles almost seduced by the three female vamps was a stroke of genius.”

Now the young ghost looked up at him with a wide smile. “Oh -- Giles left that out of his official reports?”

“You mean --”

“Yep. I can’t take credit for that part; Willow told me it happened just the way I wrote it.” Reaching out, she casually brushed a strand of Richard’s dark hair away from his forehead.

His breath caught, and he stared at her. Suddenly realizing what she’d done, Tara jerked back and busied herself with arranging the manuscripts, while he touched the spot where her hand had been a moment before. Her hand, a ghost hand.

A warm hand.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
Hmm - so now we find ourselves wondering what Richard's story would have been, maybe?
Jan. 9th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Richard would have been torn between writing an Oz fic and writing a Star Trek fic. He'd never admit it to Andrew, but as a teen he was a hopeless Trekkie. :-)
Jan. 9th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
“Good to know some things were predictable.” I was thinking Andrew would write something like that. I’ve found all the fan fiction the characters have written to be interesting choices.

I’m also enjoying you’re original characters, which doesn’t always happen in fan fiction - it’s a hard thing to do well in an established fictional world.

Jan. 10th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
the OC
Agreed ... it's really difficult to create an original character who can keep up with the regulars, without overwhelming them in Mary Sue fashion. I chose to make my new characters very "normal" people, which allows me to bounce them off the power and personality of the originals. That's why I think Kara works so well in my "Four Friends" stories: She's a slayer, but still just a teenage girl, teaming up with a robot, ghost witch and the half-crazy Dana.
Jan. 9th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Hey... I am gonna make you fan of the podcast this next episode... how do I pronounce your LJ name?

btw... I couldn't get to read your Christmas fic in time.. do you have another one you particularly like?
Jan. 9th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
Well, you already know how to pronounce Oz, of course -- just like the Wizard of, or the Buffy character. :-) I pronounce my entire name "Oz muh nine-fourteen". Ozma, if you didn't know, is actually the name of a female character (my daughter chose it for my first e-mail address). I've been pronouncing it that way since I was a little kid, but I think that's also how it was pronounced when she appeared near the end of "Return to Oz".

Let me think over my fics a bit. Some of the ones that are my favorites are probably too long for a podcast, so I'll take a look at the whole bunch and get back to you.
Jan. 10th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
fics for podcast
I've been looking at my fics, and I was right -- the ones I like the best are mostly too long for a reasonable podcast reading. Maybe books on tape! My first choice would probably have been "A Somewhat Less Than Forever Love", not only because it got good reviews and I love farce, but also because it didn't get as much attention on fanfic.net as I'd hoped for.

However, it weights in at a hefty 3,450 words. Instead, I'd recommend "Faith's Lesson":
Which is more manageable 1,090 words, got some great reviews and award nominations, as well as an award (Best Gen Fic at Happy Endings Awards). If that goes over well, maybe you could even someday throw out its kinda/sorta sequel, "Xander's Morning", which is also only 1,000 words or so.

(In truth, you should probably poll my flist -- I'm a little too close to really judge what my best work is!)
Jan. 10th, 2007 04:56 am (UTC)
Re: fics for podcast
Can I read the beginning of your first choice?
Jan. 10th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
first choice
Sure, that would be great -- *if* you decide the back and forth flashback format isn't too confusing for reading on the air:


I'm with whatever you decide, because hey -- your podcast. :-)
Jan. 10th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
Oh my god! Are Darth Vader and Dracula going to team up on Dorothy? Oh wait, lemme guess, she uses the Magic Belt to send everyone back to their own universes.
Jan. 10th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
I wish ...
No way would I make it that easy ... or at least, not that easy to guess. I think I've found a simple way to neutralize the Magic Belt ...
Jan. 10th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
Re: I wish ...
Actually, I come up with some really strange story ideas. So I didn't think that using the Magic Belt to send everyone home was that obvious. I'm guessing it's neutralized because the Belt can't work outside of the fairy continent?
Jan. 11th, 2007 10:33 am (UTC)
belted with magic
I considered that, but since the Buffyverse is full of magic, I thought that wasn't consistant. Instead, I've thought of something that I could actually integrate into the plot and, of course, that's all I'm going to say. :-)
Now I have to escape all these mandatory meetings and find time to actually post the story ...
Jan. 10th, 2007 07:47 am (UTC)
Just caught up with this amusing story. I love the insights into each character as you delve into each of their stories.

Hmmm, "purple prose". That's a new idiom to me...I don't suppose it's related in any way to the yellow rose of Texas? (I now have this littel tune going in my head about the Purple Prose of Pittsburg).

Richard and Tara? I may have my timeline messed up, but she would be in her mid- to upper twenties had she not died. And the quiet, bookish type seems like they would appeal to Richard...

Who else has stories to be read? Did Xander, Giles and/or Faith write anything? Those could be verra interestn'!
Jan. 10th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
Purple Prose
No relation to the yellow rose! Purple prose is writing that's so "overly extravagant, ornate or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself." I stole that from Wikkepedia, but it's a pretty good description of how I'd imagine Andrew would write, considering the way he talks when telling stories. Now it's time for some writer to come up with a song called Purple Prose of Pittsburg!

I place Tara in her mid twenties. She is the type to appeal to Richard, but the age difference is hardly their biggest problem: Those ghost/living relationships never seem to end well. :-0 Of course, all is not as it seems, but at the same time I'm not sure readers would be happy with a canon character ending up in a relationship with a Mary Sue character.

Agreed, Xander, Giles and Faith would probably come up with interesting stories -- Faith's would probably send this right into NC-17 territory. But in trying to figure out an excuse for canon characters to write fanfiction, I came up with them taking a creative writing class. Let's face it, Faith and Xander aren't going to sign up for one of those, so it would be unrealistic. Giles might have, but he's been awfully busy setting up and running the new organization; besides, I have other plans for him. *evil laugh*
Jan. 10th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
Hmm ghost Tara is intreguing me a lot. Also the potential of all of those stories coming to life is quite an amusing one. I like what you've done with the characters we're familar with, Andrew's story in particular was just spot on!
Jan. 10th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Andrew was easy. Dana, now she was difficult ...

I haven't mentioned this until now, but clues to what's going on with Tara lie in past stories I've written. Don't worry about researching, though -- all will be revealed in future chapters.
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:48 am (UTC)
Tara and Richard are quite sweet together, and I liked Tara's version of the Dracula tale.
Jan. 11th, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)
Thanks! I had more of a response, but I'm still in the jumping up and down, trying not to give away plotlines by being a loud mouth phase. :-)
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
You've managed to make fit in so seemlessly that I find myself rooting for something to come out the Richard/Tara interaction. My biggest fear--I was going to ask if Richard might have written his own Mary Sue fic--but I'll wait and see.
Jan. 15th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Ease your fears. :-) He was grading, not writing.

After the story is over, I'm thinking about doing a poll on the subject of Richard and Tara. But I don't want Mary Sue haters and canon purists to tear me apart!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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