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Title: Mary Stu Got Harried
chapter 14 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.

Many thanks to everyone who read, reviewed, and (hopefully not too often!) pointed out mistakes. Most of these Buffyverse characters will return later in a time travel story set in the same universe ... and who knows? If enough people like the way this tale went, Richard might be back in the sequel, “Mary Stu and the Love Story of Doom”. :-)

Mary Stu Got Harried, Chapter Fourteen: Worst Ending Ever

(In which our hero tries to make it all a dream.)


Chapter Fourteen:
(In which our hero tries to make it all a dream.)
Worst Ending Ever

Richard opened the door to the cafeteria and took a hesitant step inside. Despite going from room to room the night before, he held his breath until he'd again accounted for everyone, this time making sure they were awake and talking. More or less.

“I had the weirdest dream last night.” Teagan limped as she carried her tray to one of the breakfast tables, and raised her voice to be heard over the babble of other slayers.

“I assume it was about My Chemical Romance,” Suzy teased, taking a seat beside her. “But does it have anything to do with why you’re limping?”

“That’s the strange part! I dreamed I got hurt in a fight, and when I woke up, I was sore in the same place where I got hurt. Is that weird, or what?”

The other girls at the table generally agreed it was weird. One suggested she mention it to Giles. At the sound of the Head Watcher’s name, Suzy turned beet red and looked around guiltily; but in the end she shook her head and let it go.

Richard watched them for another moment, while mechanically taking a tray. He gave Clem a nod of thanks and moved away from the serving line, wandering aimlessly among the tables. Everything seemed so ... normal.

Andrew and Xander sat together: While Xander kept up a one sided conversation about some reality show he’d seen the previous night, Andrew shoveled his food in mechanically, not looking at Xander or anyone else. Richard wondered if he should talk to him, but he was pretty sure Andrew was simply reconstructing the previous night’s weird nightmare in his head, and didn’t need to know anyone else had experienced the same dream.

The door to the hallway burst open and Willow swept through, taking the room in with one sweeping gaze. Several people called out greetings, but her wide-eyed, rather panicked look kept anyone from approaching. Only Richard moved her way.

When she saw him, Willow hurried to his side. “Are you okay?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, you dissap --” She examined him critically. “Um, did you have any -- strange dreams, last night?”

Resisting the urge to burst into hysterical laughter, Richard nodded. “It was a restless night in the building. I thought you were in England?”

“Oh, um, we’re done. Once we were clear of the poltergeist I picked up some weird mojo coming from here in the building, really powerful stuff.”

From the mission in Missouri. Tara picked it up to, but I don’t think she remembers talking about it. Things got kind of surreal last night.”

“I’ll say.” Willow looked past him, toward where he knew Tara was sitting with Kara, Dana and Bottie. “Looks like we got a do over," she murmured, obviously talking to herself. "Too bad that doesn't happen more often."

Not trusting himself to speak, Richard shrugged.

"Well ... I guess the magic in the air just messed with everyone's subconscious. I’ll have it cleared up by lunch --”

“You’ll want to talk to a gentleman named Ethan Rayne.”

Willow gave him a sharp look. “I thought the government had him locked up?”

With an ironic smile, Richard shook his head. “Some people from the ACLU got him released, because the government couldn’t come up with any official reasons for holding him for so long; apparently they did a poor job of doctoring their legal documents.” He’d spent the rest of the night, after waking up covered in sweat in his own bed, doing research.

“I’ll have that cleared up by lunch, too.” Willow’s tone was determined. “So, um ... everyone’s all right, then?” She was looking past him again.

“She’s real, Willow.”

That jerked the witch’s attention back to him. “The Camelot spell. I don't remember much, but I remember that. What happened after you vanished?”

“It was all a dream. That's what everyone thinks, anyway. Cliché, I know, but it's the best way for some stories to end.”

She held his gaze for another moment, then nodded. “Guess I’ve got some work to do.”

Richard looked down at his tray, wondering again why he’d bothered to get breakfast, then cleared his throat. “Willow, one more thing. Giles has a sometimes girlfriend in England -- what’s she like?”

“Oh, Olivia? She’s really nice, and level headed -- she and Giles had some problems when she visited Sunnydale, but she handled finding out what he did for a living a lot better than most people would. She even helped us out with the poltergeist thing.”

“Did you know she has a teaching license?” He’d done a lot of research the previous night.

“No ...”

“If you would, check with Giles. See if she might be interested in coming here, to help with the younger slayers. I’d like to do some more field work.”

“Sure. I’ll ask.” Looking bemused, Willow waved and turned toward the exit. Richard glimpsed a puzzled looking Kennedy in the hallway, just before the door closed. “Be happy together,” he murmured.

He turned, intent on dumping the tray in the trash, only to find himself facing a young slayer, her long dark hair uncombed, who looked like she’d just dragged herself out of bed. “You’re not hungry.” Dana carried a glass of orange juice.

“No.” He held out the tray. She took it, and handed him the juice.

“Thanks for ending the story.”

“It ... was a very clichéd ending.”

Dana smiled, something he rarely saw. “I like to pretend bad things were just dreams. Then I can concentrate on the good things.”

“You’re acting particularly sane today, Dana.”

“Come on.” Holding the tray with one hand, she took Richard by the arm and led him to the table where Kara, Tara and Bottie sat. He wanted to resist -- he didn’t want to face anyone, right now -- but could think of no good reason not to take a seat with them.

“You look like hell,” Kara said the moment she spotted her father. She clamped a hand over her mouth, eyes wide.

“I didn’t sleep well,” he told her, letting the curse go. After all, she was alive -- what was a four letter word or two?

“I didn’t either,” Kara said. “I had the weirdest dream last night. Dorothy Gale was in it.” To the others she added, “Dad had a crush on her when he was a kid.”

“She’d be over a hundred now,” Richard mused. Then he locked eyes with Tara.

“Did you have any dreams last night?” she asked quietly.

He took a drink of orange juice, buying time.

“Some say,” Dana intoned, “Dreams are a window to another reality.” Without another word, she started eating Richard’s meal.

“I had a dream,” Buffybot announced. “Spike and I were on Passions -- the vampire Spike, not the Passions Spike. And we were fighting robots.”

“Isn’t that what your fanfiction was about?” Richard asked her, while mentally reminding himself not to read the stories again until Willow was done cleansing the building.

Tara frowned, as if trying to remember something.

“Yes, it was!” Bottie cried. “Have you read it already?”

“Not all of it. But that’s probably what caused the dream -- that, and maybe some of that black magic you all got blasted with last week. Who knows what a combination of magic
and imagination could do?”

“True ...” Tara mused. “It could even affect people who weren’t hit directly.” Then, as if deciding to change the subject, she gave a wave of her hand. “Richard, have you ever written a Mary Stu?”

“Oh, yes, when I was very young. It’s nice to be able to write a story in which you take charge of your own destiny.”

“Well,” the witch spirit said, with a teasing grin, “Did you beat the bad guys, and get the girl?”

“I beat the bad guys.” He remembered sending Dorothy Gale back to Oz, and returning to his own home in Indiana, a ten year old hero. “But sometimes ...”

He looked away. “Sometimes you don’t get the girl.”



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
Ah - the Dallas Defense.....

Good stuff though.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
The Dallas Defense
I was seriously sitting here thinking, "What does football have to do with this?" :-)

I'd forgotten about Dallas! Vilajunkie jumped me about using the same ending as The Wizard of Oz movie, but I wasn't thinking about that, either ... I was thinking in terms of Mary Suism, and what a Mary Sue writer might do if she painted herself into a corner. Truth is, chapter 13 was WAY darker than I'd originally planned it. I wanted to end things as a Mary Sue writer would -- with the good guys winning and all alive, even if she had to use Deux Ex Machina to do it.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Re: The Dallas Defense
"What does football have to do with this?"
I thought you'd probably think that, as I wrote it - and then I thought - what the heck - let him puzzle!!

It is a perfect Mary-Sue ending though.
Feb. 4th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
"let him puzzle"
Why not? I was doing my best to make *you* puzzle!
Feb. 2nd, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Ooh, how dare you take the ending from "the movie"! Yeah, I know Dallas used it too, but Richard's not an autistic ten-year-old. I like the last line, about not getting to be with Dorothy.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
There's no place like Watcher's Headquarters
Taking the ending from the movie would fit in perfectly not only with the concept of Mary Suism, but with the Oz connection. So I'm a little ashamed to report I wasn't thinking about the movie -- at least, not consciously. The idea was to make the ending a Mary Sue moment: to make it an ending the writer would pull out of her hat, just to keep her characters alive and get a happy ending, even if it didn't fit with what had been going on before. Ancient playwrights called it Deux Ex Machina, I believe -- "God from a machine".

I'd totally forgotten about Dallas, and it took me a second to remember what you meant by an autistic ten-year-old, too! But the whole point of the ending was exactly that is *was* a cliche, so it fits in with the rest of them.

Oh, and Richard wasn't just talking about Dorothy in that last line: He was also thinking of Tara.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: There's no place like Watcher's Headquarters
I thought that he was thinking of Tara. Of course if it is all a dream, she still has got a body....
Feb. 4th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
Tara still has a body
That's true. I've been thinking of running my first poll, asking whether people think the Mary Sue character should get the canon girl. They'll still be encountering each other in my universe regardless, but there would be interesting complications if a watcher started dating one of his daughter's best friends -- who also happens to be *her* watcher. And complications make stories, of course.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
“I like to pretend bad things were just dreams. Then I can concentrate on the good things.” Good way to end it.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! Dana does have her moments of clarity ... and considering her past, that attitude might be the only way she can handle memories.

I thought I might get a lot of grief for making the incident be a dream -- well, kind of a dream. But I thought I'd foreshadowed that by the very nature of the story, as I was playing with Mary Sue cliches from the beginning.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
I like the closing conversation with Richard and Tara. Also like how you've wangled Olivia into the universe. Yay!
Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
In a way, that last conversation told the whole story of Mary Sue vs. real life. Maybe even the last line did, which is what I was going for.

I always loved Olivia -- I don't know why I didn't find a way to get her into my universe before this! Rest assured, you'll be seeing more of her.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 01:36 am (UTC)
I thought the ending worked because it suited Dana's character. If anyone else had ended it that way, it wouldn't have. It was exactly the king of common sense/yet naive thing she would choose.

...Buffy cried. “Have you read it already?”

Isn't that the Buffybot?
Feb. 3rd, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Hm ... twenty people have read it already -- I've read it a dozen times -- and nobody noticed the "bot" was missing from the "Buffy"?

To me the ending hinged on Dana and Richard working together. Richard needed an ending *fast*. I tried to foreshadow the ending by making Richard aware of all of the facets of fanfiction and Mary Sue stories, including the bad facets. That way, when he had only seconds and came up with "It was all a dream" for Dana to write, it would seem to fit in with the overall story.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
It did fit--and really the dream wasn't the solution, Richard's decision to have Dana write it was.

Most satisfactory. We are amused.
Feb. 5th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
Richard's decision
I like the way you put that! And it makes Richard the hero, which also fits right into the Mary Sue theme.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
“Oh, yes, when I was very young. It’s nice to be able to write a story in which you taked charge of your own destiny.”

Shouldn't that be either "take" or "took"?
Feb. 5th, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
Boy, is my face red
Eek. Or "ook".
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Yay! I finally got to catch up with this and finish it. I think you did a great job; there was dramatic tension as well as appropriately-used humor, and I think the deus ex machina worked well in these circumstances. (Using a fanfic cliche to fix Dana's fanfic.) And I can't help wishing that Richard will get the girl somewhere down the road. Though why is Tara interested in guys now? I'll buy any plausible explanation!
Mar. 9th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
I'm glad you got the reason for my using a cliche at the end! I think it shocked some people, but in my mind it made perfect sense -- the entire story was about a cliche, after all.

My theory with Tara is that she was never a lesbian, per se. I feel that she's simply a very open minded person who has the ability to fall in love with anyone based on her connection to them, regardless of their sex, age, or social status. All else being equal, she'd be the Scooby most likely to fall for a souled vampire or a demon, as long as there's a deep connection between them.

But I might be wrong.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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