'Of Courtyards and Lyrical Reinterpretations'
Disclaimer: Harmony, Buffy, and all other Buffy-ish characters are the property of Joss Whedon (or whoever he's leased them to at the moment), Amora and any other character or concept from the Marvel Comics 'verse are the property of Marvel Comics.
Author's Note: Greetings, children, it's nice to see you again. Now, firstly and foremost...ly... I must apologize. You see, the chapter before is not really a chapter at all. What it IS is more of a gift to you, on this Halloween night; a little peek at Harmony and friends at some point in the near future (from their perspective), my way of letting you know I've not forgotten about our Goddess and her adventure of discovery. Now, chapter-wise, I'm still stuck where I've been stuck for an embarrassingly long span of time, back in that thrice-damned nightclub scene. Although I HAVE had certain insights and revelations, recently, that might help me with that....
But anyway, for now, for this moment and tonight, I give you this. It's short, it's trivial, it's me dusting off the characters and remembering how much I like them, and how much there is for them to DO.
I hope you enjoy it (Please be kind, I wrote it all in one sitting, just now, so it's not been proofed or edited by anyone but me, and that sometimes shows pretty badly.)
Author's Note #2: Oh, and yes, I know the song presented here is showing up roughly ten years early; sorry, I just couldn't resist seeing Harm's take on it. Besides, for beings such as her, Time's Arrow flies differently than for us mere mortals. ^_^
Author's Note #3: Happy Halloween!
The headphones Trent had given her were much
nicer than her old ones, and Harmony nodded along to the music as she turned the page. Most of her attention was on what she was reading, of course, but one advantage of the recent intelligence boost was being able to effectively multi-task, and so she sang soft accompaniment to her favorite new song.
(Sung to ‘You belong with me’ by Taylor Swift) But I wear short skirts
She wears tee-shirts
I’m cheer captain
And she’s on the bleachers
She just has to deal
You’ve made up your mind
Nothin’ that you’re lookin’ for
‘Cause you’ll always be mine
Can’t she see that I’m the one who’ll always have you
I can do so many things she could never do
She’ll never be meeeeeeeee
She will never be Me.…
“Ah... which song are you listening to, exactly?”
Harmony blinked, and looked up from the book to see Cody regarding her curiously. She smiled at him, pleased that he felt comfortable enough to raise the question. The dark-haired boy was bright, and studious, and serious, and--when it came to social situations--very, very shy. She’d been working on him all week, trying to get him to relax around her, and those efforts finally seemed to be taking hold.
“What, this?” She tapped the earpiece on the left side with one finger, her long nail clicking against the plastic. “You know which one it is, silly; you gave me the CD!”
And truthfully she’d been fairly sure she would hate it, since it was by some girl singing ‘country’ music, which she had always found to be incredibly annoying--not so much the music itself, but the nasally way most country stars sang... not to mention how nearly all the songs seemed to be about beer and pickup trucks. This one, however, had been a pleasant surprise, with a wonderful singer and lyrics that really spoke to her.
Especially after she tweaked
them just a teeny bit.
The CD walkman was on the table beside her, alongside a stack of books, as she sat in the outdoor courtyard area of Sunnydale High with her friends. She wasn’t completely sure that all of them actually had
a free period that matched up with hers, and it was pretty wonderful to think that they were rearranging their day just to be able to spend more time hanging out with her. She smiled at Cody, and across the table at Trent, who was grinning at her in that roguish way he had. Fawn was sitting on the ground behind her, happily running a brush over and over through Harmony’s hair; the dense, silken mane long enough to pool slightly in the girl’s lap as she sat perched on three of her thickest textbooks.
The day was sunny and warm, there was only one more class after this one before she was free for the day, and Harmony Kendall was feeling happy and loved. When the song playing in her ears came back around to the chorus, she sang along in a soft, clear voice. I wear high heels
She wears sneakers
I’m cheer captain
And she’s on the bleachers
She just has to deal
You’re not stupid or blind
Why would you ever be hers
When you are already mine
Cody gave her another look of confusion, but this time Trent broke out laughing, his eyes dancing with amusement and affection.
“No, you’re not hearing her wrong,” he said, glancing at Cody before looking back at her. “It’s just that our lady here is changing things around to better suit her, like always.” His voice took on a tone that was profound in it’s earnestness. “I mean, that girl has only sold, what, five or ten million albums? So how dare
she write a song where the hot, popular girl isn’t the one who ends up being victorious at the end? What does she
know about it?”
Harmony gave him a look
, and nearly stuck out her tongue too, but decided against doing something so unladylike.
So she threw a cookie at him instead, taking one from the little bag of them that Fawn had brought in as a present for her. It missed his head by a foot or two--a Ninja she was most emphatically not.
“It is not my fault that she wrote a song that didn’t make any sense!” Harmony told him sternly, taking just a moment to daintily nibble her way through another cookie, since her hand was already there by the bag and everything. Not only were they very tasty, but her Asgardian metabolism was.... ...Basically just a really good excuse
, she thought to herself, even as she took a second cookie and made quick work of that one too. To be honest, I just
love being able to eat whatever I want. That spell to magic fat away had better work, or else I am going to be the fattest blonde in Sunnydale, super-metabolism or not.
Fawn, taking advantage of her pause, spoke up from behind her.
“I like your version better,” she said, even as the gentle tugging at Harmony’s hair slowed, and took on a different quality. The goddess knew, even without turning to look, that the girl had set the brush aside and was now combing her fingers through the gloriously golden tresses.
Harmony’s eyes closed for a moment in response to the sensation... and because of the emotions she picked up as a result of the physical contact. She is crushing on me
so hard now,
she mused, feeling more than a touch of guilt at the thought. And her feelings are so strong, and
so pure.... Ahhh! Bad Harmony, bad, bad, Bad!
“That song makes no sense at all,” She said out loud, picking up her earlier thought as she opened her eyes. “She’s basically wondering why the guy is with the other girl instead of her, and then she goes on and lists like, ten reasons why he would
be with other one!”
Cody had lapsed back into ‘quiet-guy’ mode, and said nothing, but Trent hit her with a double raised-eyebrow, still smiling.
“I could be wrong, but I think it’s supposed to be a thing where the point-of-view girl is sweeter, and more lovable and down to earth than the hot girl.” His grin grew wider, because he knew her well enough by now to know that his next words would provoke a response. “Some people even have this crazy notion that a person’s personality is what’s important, and that looks don’t matter at all.”
That was really cruel of him, because Harmony was nibbling at yet another cookie when he said that, and the gasp of indignation nearly made her choke on the crumbly bits of chocolate-chip goodness.
is total nonsense, and you know it!” She exclaimed. “Looks do not ever ‘not matter’!” Just saying the words made her itch to open her purse and take out a mirror so she could check her face, but she suppressed the urge. She knew she was gorgeous, as always, and it wouldn’t do to give Trent something else to snark about just then. “And besides, the whole thing is a logical fallacy; who says that the one girl doesn’t have looks and
a great personality, too?” As hard as she tried to not do it, the mountain-sized ego she’d inherited simply would not let the obvious example go unsaid. “I mean, look at me! I’m totally sweet and lovable; you do not get
anyone more lovable than I am. And as for hotness, I dare
you to find someone prettier than me anywhere in the entire... school.”
She had been about to say ‘world’, and that really would have been going too far. Not that she wasn’t the most beautiful girl anywhere, of course--she absolutely was--but such a wild boast, made with total seriousness, might have made her merely human friends wonder about her sanity. Especially since her illusion spells were still toning down her appearance quite a bit, leaving her beautiful, but still within the range possible for mortals.
Cody looked at her in that silent, level way he had, though she was certain he was amused. Trent just laughed at her, though it was a kinder and gentler laugh than the ones he directed at anyone else in the school.
“Oh, and don’t forget the ‘down-to-earth’ part,” he managed a moment later. “You are so very humble and modest and timid, on top of all the rest of it.”
Harmony gave him an exaggeratedly haughty look, very much aware of her mind-boggling narcissism even as she lived it from the inside.
“Yuck! Being down-to-earth only gets you all grubby and dirty; who needs that
? And what do I have to be humble or modest about
He wisely conceded the point, but, being Trent, he just had to smirk and do a ‘we’re not worthy’ sort of gesture, bowing from the waist with his hands raised, three times in succession.
This time she did stick her tongue out at him, and threw the last cookie for good measure (they were sooooo
yummy; she needed to work out that spell soon
Predictably she missed him again, the tasty projectile whipping past his head and flying straight at the dark figure who had been sitting there the entire time, watching them silently from several yards away. Harmony barely had time to open her mouth, and no time at all to call out a warning... not that one was needed.
The girl’s hand snapped up and the cookie smacked into her palm, inches away from her face. She regarded it impassively for a moment, then set it down on the wide stone lip of the planter where she was sitting, cross legged, and took another drag off her cigarette.
Harmony smiled at her; she
might not be a Ninja, but Angela sort of was
... after a fashion. True, the tall girl might only have a couple years’ worth of half-forgotten martial arts classes to work with, plus an admittedly superior degree of natural athleticism, but the goddess-girl was already working on improving things there. There were spells that could be done; charms to improve strength, and speed, and endurance. It was difficult to meld multiple boosting spells together on a single person, and even more difficult to make those spells last for longer than a few minutes at a time, but it was
possible. She knew that for a fact, because she remembered Amora doing such things for mortals, more than once. At the moment Angela was only slightly more than she had been a week earlier, but Harmony was confident that she could better that by quite a bit, given a little time to experiment.
Angela looked back at her, dark eyes gleaming, half-seen, through her long, wildly-uneven bangs. The gothy girl was so quiet and shy that she made Cody seem outgoing, and it might have been Harmony’s imagination that made her think she caught just the slightest trace of a smile in return. An instant later, however, any such thoughts were forgotten when Angela came to her feet, the movement smooth, flowing and fast
. She threw her cigarette to one side even as she strode forward, her soot-black, waist-length hair swirling behind her, the various shiny chains looped about her tripp pants jingling.
Harmony’s eyes widened in alarm, and she turned in her chair to follow Angela as the girl stepped past, then took up a position between her and the rest of the courtyard. Peering past her tall, forbidding guardian, her eyes found what had provoked that reaction--Xander Harris.
He definitely looked worse for wear; his face had finished turning purple and black around both eyes, the bruises both large and distinct. He was still wearing the little white splinty-thing on his nose, too, to help keep it straight while the break healed. The stitches were hard to make out at this distance, but she knew there were several little groups of them scattered across his chin, cheek and forehead.
Harmony watched as he stood there, frozen in place, looking back at her with darkly sullen eyes. He looked like he had been on his way over to where she and the others sat, probably to deliver yet another rant on how she wasn’t as pretty or intelligent or wonderful as she thought she was. He did succeed right then in proving that he wasn’t a total
idiot, however, because he looked at Angela, standing there watching him with icy intensity, and decided to go elsewhere instead. The gothy girl watched him go, not looking away until he vanished through the entrance to the school. When he was gone she dug her cigarettes out of the depths of a pants pocket, lit up a fresh one, and inhaled deeply.
She headed back to her earlier spot, at some remove from the others, but Harmony held out one hand in a silent command. The girl, her eyes downcast and nearly lost behind her hair, nevertheless veered in her course and came to Harmony’s side, kneeling there beside Fawn to keep from looming over her seated mistress.
Angela, as of that moment, was the only one among them who knew exactly what Harmony was, and she took great pains to always show the proper respect and obedience. That left the blonde girl with an increasingly familiar emotional dissonance, with half of her wishing her bodyguard would treat her like a friend instead of a goddess, and half of her gloating, smugly, immensely pleased with herself for having claimed such a lovely and useful servant. I’ll find a fair balance in there somewhere,
she told herself, not for the first time. She reached out and stroked the girl’s hair with possessive affection. Even if she
is my servant, and is happy with it being that way, there’s no reason she can’t be my friend too. And it has been such a relief to be able to talk to somebody about all of this stuff that’s been happening... she really is my treasure.
She glanced to where Xander had gone, and grinned happily to herself. My very violent, very
“Thank you, Angela,” she murmured to the girl, caressing her cheek lightly. “I really don’t want him anywhere near me... not after what happened the last time.”
Angela looked up at her, dark eyes huge, and silently nodded. On the other side of the table, Trent burst out laughing.
“I’d be shocked if he found the intestinal fortitude to come anywhere near you, after what happened the last time!” He looked at Angela and gave her a respectful nod. “Not that I blame him.”
Fawn giggled, the faint unease she felt whenever the girl was nearby overcome by her scorn for Xander.
Cody looked thoughtful.
“I heard twenty-seven. And also a moderate concussion.”
Fawn giggled again, and, greatly daring, reached out to gently pat the girl on the arm in approval.
The tiny smile on the Goth-girl’s face was unmistakable this time, and Harmony felt a little flush of warmth suffuse her. Angela had been so very lonely, though she would never, ever admit it. It was good for her to be accepted into a group of friends. Granted, they all thought she was a little strange... mostly because she was
a little strange... and it didn’t matter. She was part of the Court Harmony was creating, part of the... family she was trying to build.
Of all the things she would do as a goddess, of all the things she could
do... that really did seem like a good place to start.
Just then the bell rang, signaling the end of the period, and Angela rose smoothly to her feet. Harmony gathered up her purse and held out her hand, unsurprised to find Angela’s already there, ready to assist her to her feet while pulling the chair back out of her way. Fawn grabbed up her own schoolbooks and Harmony’s both, always eager to please. Cody and Trent both made moves toward the pair of heavy spellbooks, (which were cloaked in carefully-constructed illusions that hid their true nature from all eyes except her own), but Cody got there first, and tucked them under his arm with a smug look.
Harmony watched all this with amusement, and satisfaction, and more than a little quiet joy. Her former mentor, Cordelia, had badgered and bullied her minions, keeping them in a state of anxiety and desperate, low-level terror. Harmony’s followers, on the other hand, did what they did out of genuine affection for her. Affection and, even if they didn’t quite realize it just yet, love.
The only thing that worried her, the thing that jabbed at her like a tiny, sharp sliver of uncertainty, was what they would do when they found out the truth about her. She was almost
sure it would be okay... but only almost.
Shaking her head just so to feel her heavy fall of hair sway back and forth behind her, she put those thoughts aside. There was so much to do before any of that would be a concern. So much to discover.
Now she just had to suffer through one more useless school class before she could get back to doing her real
learning. Surrounded by her friends, the Goddess headed back into Sunnydale High.
* * * * *