The Man
(the Somebody’s Watching Me Remix)

by Dragon’s Phoenix

Fandom(s): Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Word Count: 4,131 words
Rating: PG (language)
Disclaimer: They aren’t mine, not yet, but they will be … once I’ve taken over the world. Bwah-ha-ha.
Original story:Critical Review”.



Note: The first section of this story is copied directly from “Critical Review”, the story I’m remixing, but I did add this sub-title: The True Chronicles of Alexander Lavelle Harris.
Note: Strongly influenced by Booster’s story, Ten Things That Never Happened in the BtVS Fandom
Note: Thanks to speakr2customrs, Gill O, and pickamix for giving me food for thought on Scara’s accent. It is totally not their fault that I decided to give Scara her own tongue on top of a bad London accent.
Note: This is my first remix. I can’t wait to read all the stories.

Note: Two other stories in this universe: Taming the Wild Carousel (what a teen fangirl’s blog would look like) and Dream a Little Dream of You (fanfic).


 
In brief, Twice Removed presents itself as the biography of Pryce’s great-grandfather, one Alexander Harris, with an exacting detail equally the match of that found in Blood Raven, but devoted to supporting the claim that this undistinguished man in fact played a pivotal role in any number of significant historical events. …

Despite its shortcomings, there is no doubt that this book will be widely received, and — even more to be regretted — that a cult following will immediately begin searching archives and seeking witnesses to further chronicle the newly created legend of Alexander Harris.

(from a review of F.W. Pryce’s Twice Removed: The True Chronicles of Alexander Lavelle Harris)


Jay, my boy. A silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I don’t know how you do it. Just between you and me, Twice Removed? Two words: snooze and fest. Your script though, that I can work with.

I’ve come up with a list of preliminary changes. First, the title. Xan the Man? Really? Anyone but you and I’d have dropped the script then and there. Not even a friggin’ clue what the movie’s about. Change it. Give it something of a Bondish flavor although maybe not given the massive flop that was the last Bond flick.

Moving on. What kind of a name is Xander? I get that the Pryce fans will kill us if we completely lose the name, but I think we can to better than Xander. I wanted to call him Alec but Sophie started in on the smark aleck jokes. I’m pretty sure she liked the book. So, something short and simple. How about this? Alex Harris.

I’ve got some issues with your overall structure but let’s start with points we aren’t going to argue over. Captain of the swim team? Who gives a flying fuck about swimming? Make it football and we’re go. Oh, and while we’re onto water, that chase scene with the boats is nice but make it a hovercraft. Only give ’em a cool name. Not floaters. What the hell was Georgie thinking, calling them floaters? No wonder his last flick failed. Floaters sounds like a corpse drifting out to sea. …

(v-mail from producer Sam “the Man” Melman to writer Jay Black)


The white marquee spelling out movie titles in black letters gives the Beverly Playhouse Theater that retro look it is so famous for. Panning down from one title, The Man, the vid frame settles on a woman whose zebra-striped Mohawk, purple bow-tie, and pink paisley suit are so iconic that the tag identifying her as Scara the Mouch is almost unnecessary. “Eve, my cheeky peeps,” she says in her trademark London accent. Anyone interested enough could click through her tag’s links to learn that Molly Anne Simpson and was born and raised in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. Molly’s mundane, at least to American eyes, New Jersey origin hasn’t lessened the appeal of her British persona. “The first vid view of The Man has just given up its ghost. Shall we promo a talksie and see what the peepers cog?”

As if drawn to the rat-tails of hair hanging down from otherwise shaved heads, Scara’s vid frame closes in on a crowd of young men. Tags, displaying hyper-text links, float above each head. The tag identifying Donnie Yates, Sophomore at UCLA, Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, GPA 2.32 doubles in size to include information about his family and birthplace as Scara picks him out of the crowd.

“Scara,” his buddies chant. “Kick his ass, Scara.”

“Eve, mate. The Man,” Scara says with a leer in her voice. “How was he?”

“He … it, uh.” Donnie raises his voice and shouts, “The movie kicked ass!”

Scara quickly moves on. The vid frame shifts and stops on a man wearing an anachronistic jacket, dark leather that falls almost to the ground. His hair, bleached white, is almost as pale as his skin. The tag to his right lists a name, William Blood, but unexpectedly displays no other data and no links.

 ’Ello, guvnor,” Scara says, “Did Alex Harris zap your p-zone?”

Blood glares at the camera. “One, pick a bloody accent. Two, Spike is nobody’s sidekick.” He grabs the microphone and crushes it with one hand.

~ + ~

Emily G.: FU-Wha? Liza Doolittle on acid?

Alfie M.: Local.

Phoebe M.: Let me guess. Speaking in tongues? *crosses fingers*

Alfie M.: She calls it LA street slang. It’s supposed to give her cred, but most everyone I know razes her for it.

Phoebe M.: Everyone you know is a linguist, bro.

Emily G.: If Evie picks up this nonsense, 5000 miles will not save you.

Eve G.: Mother. Please, I’ve told you, it’s Eve, and I’ve already heard her. In school. Hi, uncle Alfie.

Emily G.: So we’re studying gibberish now?

Eve G.: Mediaspeak.

Alfie M.: Hey kiddo, found a copy of Batman: The Shadow Crusader. Bringing it back with me at Christmas.

Eve G.: Original copy?

Alfie M.: Pristine.

Eve G.: Kickin’

Phoebe M.: Hey, this is creepy. That Blood guy has no links on his tag.

Emily G.: Are you watching that thing again?

(Verizon’s Friends ’n’ Fam Chat Room, Chat Title: LA is Hell, includes vid titled: Scara’s Opening Night Interviews for The Man)


Buffy: Jump?!?

Alex: Jump.

The camera pans, following Buffy’s PoV as she looks down over the edge of the hovercraft. They are 400 feet above the ground.

Buffy: And how are we supposed to not die?

Alex: Jetpacks.

Buffy takes a jetpack from Alex and looks at it dubiously as he puts his on.

Alex: If you love me …

Alex jumps over the side of the hovercraft.

Buffy puts on the jetpack and follows.

Buffy: Someday, Alexander Mann Harris, someday somebody’s gonna kick your ass.

(Faro’s Movie Transcripts website, Scene: Hovercraft Disembark)


The image — two sets of stairs rising up behind a stone fountain — isn’t stable. The vid frame shakes as if the recorder was held by an unsteady hand or by someone on unsteady ground. The tag identifies the stone stairs and the building behind them — Late Gothic Revival architecture — as the Cathedral of Learning — forty-two stories high — belonging to the University of Pittsburgh.

The vid frame shifts to the front of a vehicle. Based on their shaved heads, leaving only a tail of hair hanging down past their shoulders, these boys are in college. They are each wearing eye-patches although clicking through their tags would reveal they have normal eyesight. As a thumb wanders over the image, the driver’s tag suddenly blows up, taking over the entire screen.

Name: Brian Noah Davis
Family Tree:
• Father: Noah Edward Davis
• Mother: Rachel Anne Davis (née Black)
• Sibling(s): N/A
Birth: University of Rochester Medical Center
Education:
• Carnegie-Mellon, GPA: 2.87, School of …

“Shit, hold up, dudes. I hit the tag. Let me get rid of this.” Two fingers shrink the data down to a crumpled piece of paper and toss it off-screen. “Okay, we’re good.” A tag identifies the voice as belonging to John Piercy Teasdale.

Brian Davis takes the wheel. “Tower of Ignorance,” he shouts. “You’re going down.”

From the side seat, Gregg Jones adds, “Kick his ass. Kick his ass.”

As the vehicle moves closer to the fountain, the vid frame angles upward, not as if the cameraman were tilting it up but as if the vehicle were rising from the ground front-first. The tilting continues until the frame is topped by blue sky with the walls of the cathedral flowing below the vehicle like a road.

“Hovercraft! Hovercraft! Kick his ass!”

After rising for about ninety seconds, the hovercraft levels off at the top of the cathedral and continues to move forward.

“Whoo!”

The hovercraft floats to the far edge of the building and then down, down, down. Hurtling down, dropping like a rock. “Kick his ass. Kick his … ahhhhhhh!”

As it approaches the ground, the hovercraft levels off. “Shit, we made it.”

“Shit, man, that kicked his ass.”

“Let’s go again.”

There is a sound of sirens. The camera pans out toward flashing blue lights. “Uh, guys?”

“Pussy,” the driver shouts. “We’re in a fucking hovercraft. They can’t catch us. We can kick their ass.”

(youtube video: Larry, Curly, and Moe steal a hovercraft prototype from Carnegie-Mellon’s Fitzgerald Institute)


Scene: Dressing the Bride

The tasteful touches in the room imply an elegance that only money and a cultivated attention to detail can provide. The budding leaves pattern on the wallpaper hints at new life but the grayish tinge of the green suggests that this new life will not live up to expectations. Cordelia’s wedding gown is, of course, exquisite. The fabric that hugs her body, only spreading out below the knees, celebrates the figure that won Sandra Cassidy the coveted Miss Universe title.

The dais elevates Cordelia above the bridesmaids who are adorning her, bringing her gloves and jewelry, but it also isolates her. Cordelia’s attendants don’t even notice, much less understand, her pain. I know many viewers prefer the scene where Alex carries Cordelia through the flames and I can’t deny its drama, but Cordelia’s wedding is where Sandra Cassidy’s talent truly shines in convincing her bridesmaids that she’s thrilled to be a bride while allowing the viewer to see the regret underneath. When the phone rings, Cordelia’s face lights up with a hope that is dashed when she hears it is her mother running late as usual but for once calling ahead to let her daughter know. The maid-of-honor’s supposedly comforting line — Your mother will make the wedding — only enhances this lack of awareness.

When Buffy, who hasn’t been invited into the dressing room, barges in and kicks out the bridesmaids, the relief on Cordelia’s face is utterly revealing. For all of their past antagonisms, possibly because of their past antagonisms, only Buffy understands what Cordelia is going through. I almost jumped up and down in my seat when Buffy pulled out that flask, the one she and had Cordelia bonded over after the prom while Alex was being bandaged up from the vampire attack. I did cry — I’m not ashamed to admit it — when Cordelia refused the drink with, “I’m a bride. I’m supposed to be happy.”

Buffy, knowing what Cordelia needs, insists. “You will be. Happy that is.” And Cordelia does drink, closing the circle opened when she insisted that Buffy drink, from that same flask, after the attack on the prom.

Scene: The Wedding

The opening shot, straight up the aisle, gives us another look at the famous wedding dress before the processional music begins. Cordelia, so graceful she seems to be floating, glides down the aisle but almost stumbles when she sees Alex in the pews with the bride’s guests. Gracing Alex with a wistful smile, Cordelia continues down the aisle to join Ben Affleck — a legendary actor/director even then — before the priest.

The priest’s words echo in the open expanse of the church. If anyone knows why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. Cordelia, facing Ben, glances up the aisle to see Alex leaving. He touches his earbud to let her know it’s another mission — he wouldn’t have left for anything less — and Cordelia turns back to her groom. Ben’s eyes are on her. He’s waiting, leaving this decision open to her even now. Cordelia looks down and whispers so only she can hear, “Go on then, save the world.” When she looks up, she nods at Ben and they both smile.

Scene: Dressing Room

Back in the dressing room, Cordelia is alone, still in her wedding gown. Much as I adore the scene, you would think, having just been wed, that she’d be with her husband but whatever. Ignore all that common sense and the scene is just so touching. Cordelia, staring at a photo of Alex. She kisses the photo, leaving lipstick marks on the glass, before closing the frame and putting the photo away. Fade to black. It’s just a beautiful image.

~ + ~

Queen C: I want that gown.

JessieIsTruLove: OMG, that gown is so awesome. You know she couldn’t have an ounce of fat on her to pull that dress off.

JessieIsTruLove: I hear it’s being auctioned off for some kind of charity? I wonder if I could get in.

UnderTheC: You could never afford it. Besides why go for the gown when you could have the guy?

JessieIsTruLove: Doesn’t matter if I can’t afford it. I just want to see it. Maybe touch it?

XanMans4Evah: Which guy, Under? Alex or Antonio?

UnderTheC: If I can’t have Alex, I could settle for Antonio.

JessieIsTruLove: No, no, no, has to be Alex. When Cordelia almost stumbled, I was praying she’d fall into Alex’s arms. *swoon*

XanMans4Evah: I know. I so wanted that to happen.

… (Here Come the Brides website: “Wedding of the Century” summary and commentary)


… Buffy survives Angel’s terrible betrayal but at what cost? It seems that love for Buffy could have allowed Alex to overcome the great tragedy of Jessie’s — his first love’s — death and to claim Buffy as his one true love but soiled and defeated by the Vampyre, Buffy can never accept that she is good enough for Alex’s love. Nothing he says can convince her and so they each move on. Alone.

And so Alex has an even greater incentive to “kick his ass” as he hunts for Angel’s castle in the Carpathian mountains …

(It’s OK to be a Nerd website, review by Winifred Wells)


Khan Kicks Ass

Leno talks with Chandra Khan, the powerhouse director of the mega-hit move The Man about Alex and Angel, vampires and love.

Leno diGrassi: So, Angel.

Chandra Khan: Angel.

Leno diGrassi: What’s his deal? Explain it to us. He’s a vampire but he has a soul.

Chandra Khan: That’s it. When vampires are Turned — that’s the phrase we’re using for the creation of a vampire — the soul dies, allowing a demon to step into the body.

Leno diGrassi: Which means vampires don’t have souls or I should say most vampires don’t have souls.

Chandra Khan: Exactly.

Leno diGrassi: But Angel does.

Chandra Khan: When he killed the favorite daughter of a gypsy tribe, they cursed him by returning his soul.

Leno diGrassi: And here’s the tricky part. Angel is worse with his soul.

Chandra Khan: *laughs* That’s the twist. Angel with his soul is tormented, wracked with guilt. He’s in such agony over his past misdeeds that he’s driven to force others to feel the same pain.

Leno diGrassi: And so he kills Jessie.

Chandra Khan: And so Angel kills Jessie, Alex’s first girlfriend, and makes a mortal enemy. Jessie’s death is the catalyst. Everything that Alex becomes ties back to the knot of that loss, the loss of Alex’s first love. Jessie’s death drives Alex’s rise in the Demon Extermination Initiative and his global hunt for this one specific vampire. But the focus required to finally kill the demon turns Alex away from the world. Much like Doc Savage, after losing his first true love, Alex can never become that attached again. He is alone, isolated, but that sort of separation is necessary for a larger-than-life figure.

Leno diGrassi: But let’s go back to Angel. You said he’s “wracked with guilt.” Angel seems to be … well, he broods quite a bit.

Chandra Khan: He’s the archetypical Byronic … The usual phrase would be Byronic hero but of course Angel isn’t the hero. Using the traditional archetype, guilt drives him to overcome his past, to become the hero. Angel, rejecting his guilt, becomes an even bigger villain.

Leno diGrassi: Angel always makes me think of Batman. I’m not sure why.

Chandra Khan: Yes, it’s the same archetype: dark, gloomy, brooding.

Leno diGrassi: Romantic.

Chandra Khan: *laughs* He does work that bad boy persona.

Leno diGrassi: Which gets Buffy into trouble.

Chandra Khan: Which gets Buffy into all kinds of trouble.

Leno diGrassi: Some people say you took Buffy’s arc too far, too dark. How do you respond to that accusation?

Chandra Khan: For every one of these characters, there is a tragedy. They either become bogged down or they overcome it. Buffy … hers is one of the darkest arcs in the film, possibly even darker than Alex’s, but there’s a reason for that. The darker the tragedy, the greater the triumph when it is overcome. Remember, Buffy is based on Elizabeth Anne Summers, the greatest Olympian of all time. I’m not saying that Miss Summers’ life held the same kind of darkness that Buffy’s does, but that kind of strength and determination, it has to come from somewhere.

Leno diGrassi: If Buffy overcame her tragedy, then why did she and Alex never …

(The Illustrated Man Magazine interview, Khan Kicks Ass)


For the first time ever in our countdown, the same song appears in the top ten lists of both the romantic ballad and the anarch-rock categories. Yma Sumac, the Peruvian singer who played Empada, and anarch-rock legend The Bugtown Boys have created this most unlikely crossover hit. Yes kids, the number one hit in romantic ballads this week is “In Loving Memory” from the hit movie The Man. Rumor has it that the Bugtown Boys were lined up to appear as the original anarch-rock band, Devon and the Dingoes, but that Joe Savage backed out when he learned that the script included a scene where Alex Harris saved Devon’s life in a bar fight. After Savage’s vocal and vociferous rant about “shoddy historical research,” it was a surprise, even to insiders, when The Dingoes were approached to perform the lead single. Contrary to rumor, the scene were Alex’s guitar riff launched Empada to fame had nothing to do with the refusal of the band to appear in the movie. …

(Coast to Coast Countdown Podcast)


… Tags identify the two speakers as Tomás Rodríguez and Nancy Chen. Rodríguez’ dreadlocks create an incongruous effect against his tux while Chen’s dark bob is more of a stylish accent to her maroon ballgown. Behind them three life-sized Oscar statutes stand surrounded by flowers. Nancy is speaking. “And of course the big talk of the night is The Man.”

“That’s right, Nancy. The Man is the runaway action hit of the year. No, it’s more than that. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s the runaway hit of the decade.”

“Don’t get in over your head, Tomás.”

“Ha, ha, not me Nancy. This is a sure thing.”

Nancy smiles straight at the camera as she asks how many Oscars The Man has been nominated for.

“Eight,” Tomás replies, “and one of the most unusual of those eight is the soundtrack. While it’s not the first movie with an anarch-rock soundtrack — a number of Indie films have gone that route — The Man is the first film to be nominated for an Oscar for an anarch-rock soundtrack.”

“That was a bold move on the producer’s part, Tomás.”

“And it paid off. That one anarch-rock love ballad alone has been on the charts for over six months and running.” He starts singing the chorus, “In loving memory.”

“Okay, Tomás, let’s leave the singing to the experts. But the soundtrack isn’t the biggest Oscar surprise that The Man has for us.”

“No, it’s not, Nancy. The Man is the first movie to have not one but two actresses nominated as best female lead.”

“Well, Tomás, everyone knows that The Man does have two outstanding leading ladies.”

An image of the actress Sandra Cassidy appears in a small frame to the right of Rodríguez as he speaks. “That’s right. The divine Sandra Cassidy as Queen C, the famous, or infamous depending on your viewpoint, grande dame of society.”

As Chen speaks, Astrid Freberg’s face appears to her left so that the images of the two actresses are between the two announcers. “And in a surprise move the relatively unknown Astrid Freberg as Buffy Summers.”

“Not unknown anymore, Nancy.”

“Not after that performance, Tomás. But the question on everybody’s lips is which actress will be gracing the arm of Antonio Lopez, the mega-star who played the lead role of Alex Harris.” Antonio Lopez’ face appears in frame between the two actresses.

“That’s right, Nancy. Aeon pictures has announced that Lopez will be escorting a co-star to the Awards but which girl is the lucky winner has been kept very hush-hush. However I believe our patience is about to be rewarded. The buzz is that Lopez’ limo is pulling up now.”

The three frames with images of the actors fade out to be replaced by one frame of a limo pulling up to the red carpet.

“And the winner is …”

“Drumroll, please,” Rodríguez adds.

“Oh. My. God.” Rodríguez is shouting. “I don’t believe it. Both actresses. Lopez has arrived with both his co-stars.”

“Yes folks, don’t blink or you might miss it. Recreating the scene where Alex Harris took both Cordelia and Buffy to the prom, Lopez has arrived at the Oscars with both Sandra Cassidy and Astrid Freberg on his arms.”

(Oscars Red Carpet Live preceding the 185th Academy Awards)


“… and we are switching to our first live images of Jackson Barker as he is brought into the courthouse. Barker, accused of stalking and threatening the life of actor Gabriel de Rege, is believed to have confused the actor with a character he portrayed, Angel from the movie The Man. Statements from Barker’s family suggest that Barker believed that killing de Rege would protect the life of Jessie McNally, who was famously killed by the vampire in the movie. It is unclear if Barker also confused Emmeline Miller with the character she portrayed but it is known that Miller along with Sandra Cassidy and Astrid Freberg, who played Cordelia and Buffy respectively, were placed under protective custody until Barker was arrested.”

If he weren’t handcuffed and surrounded by police, Barker would fade into the background. His blond hair and pale skin are almost as drab and forgettable as his tan suit. Neither he nor the officers escorting him have identifying tags displayed on the video feed. Anyone involved in a criminal case is given this anonymity to protect their identity. The crowds, not protected by anonymity, are so heavy that their faces are completely covered by their identifying tags.

(Special Broadcast from Global News Network)


After twenty-five years, what is left to be said about the phenomenon that has come to be known, simply, as The Man? Fourteen actors, seventeen movies, and still going strong. With the export of Alex Harris out to the two colony worlds and sixteen space stations, The Man can truly be said to be a galactic phenomenon.

In retrospect, it’s difficult to remember that such a grand venture had a simple and modest beginning, but The Man started with one book, Twice Removed, Faith Willow Pryce’s homage to her great-grandfather, a man with a name no one needs to be reminded of: Alex Harris. What we know of Mr. Harris comes almost exclusively from that one text and so, with so little information about the actual man, what can we say about him, this man whose name is ranked alongside Batman, Ripley, and Booker T. as the gods of cinema?

He must have been modest, this man who never sought recognition, much less reward. What would he say to the legend that has been built in his name? What would he say to the children whose eyes shine with the desire to be heroes? What would he say to the fireman, policemen, and soldiers who put their lives on the line to help others? I think he’d be proud that his deeds stand as an example in the hearts of men. I say he’d be proud to be, finally and for all time, remembered as a legend.

(25-Year Retrospective of The Man)


“Vid off! Proud to be a legend, my ass.”

Subject William Blood moves from the living room to the kitchen.

Camera 3 engaged.

Camera 5 disengaged.

“Where’s my damned blood? Ah.”

Subject William Blood pours blood into a mug.

Subject William Blood puts the mug into the microwave.

“Heat. Thirty seconds.”

Subject William Blood lights a cigarette.

“Proud? Legend? If Xander had seen this shite coming down the pike, he’d have begged me to kill him the night Angel offered me his neck.”

Subject William Blood removes mug from microwave.

“And Alex? Just so you know, if you had to change his name, he’d have preferred Lex like that villain in Superman.”

Subject William Blood moving toward camera 3.

Calculate 92.7% likelihood subject William Blood will destroy camera 3 in the next 30 seconds.

Camera 18 (hidden) engaged.

Subject William Blood destroys camera 3.

(transcript from automatic surveillance of subject William Blood, aka William Pryce, Spike, William Lee, William Pratt)


End

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