First written and posted on pretendfic in September 1999. This one requires some explanation to anyone who wasn't on the list at the time. A person (I'm ashamed to admit I don't remember who) had written a short fun piece wherein the Pretender characters caught on to the fanfiction writers, and the writers became characters in the story, controlling the characters through writing the fanfiction, much to the characters' annoyance. Another person sequelled it, and a series of connecting sequels by different writers ensued. The titles all had something to do with 'light'. This was my contribution. This was the last piece I posted before leaving the list for a few months. By the way, if you haven't seen the 1983(?) movie version of Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline as the Pirate King, you haven't lived.

Note and Disclaimer: I think it should be painfully obvious by now that I have no claim to the characters, etc., associated with The Pretender, as they all belong to NBC and whoever else. If you really want to sue me, I suppose I can't stop you, but it won't be worth the legal bills.

WARNING: This story is very silly, and leans very heavily on Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance", which I believe is in the public domain. If you haven't seen it, I beseech you to go do so. The film version with Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt and Angela Lansbury will always be (IMHO) the best movie ever made, and is easily rentable, to the best of my knowledge. :) My apologies to Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan, and forgive me if I mess up a few lyrics here and there - I'm going from memory, here.

The "Light"er Side

by Deichtine

The characters stood there in shock, not quite knowing how to respond to Jarod's outburst, and the writers gazed on in fascination, waiting impatiently for the next person to pick up the thread. Suddenly a young woman with messy brown hair and glasses sliding down her nose appeared abruptly in the midst of them.

"Sorry," Susan said to her fellow writers, "I'm running a little late." Then she turned to the characters and studied them each in turn for a moment. "Okay, you guys.

"This is my last chance for a long time to have you under my control, and there's something I've been wanting to do for a long, long time."

The characters looked uneasily at each other. "Is it just me," Miss Parker murmured to Sydney, "Or was that just a little ominous-sounding?" Sydney didn't reply, but looked very uncomfortable.

Susan snapped her fingers, and a small computer appeared before her, and, grinning with undisguised glee, she began to type.

Suddenly, sweepers began to enter the small room from every side, all moving in step, with a somewhat dance-like quality. As the last one arrived, the assembled characters and writers were surprised as a loud musical fanfare sounded, seemingly from everywhere at once, making a terrible clatter.

Then, the sweepers began to sing.

"With cat-like tread,
Upon our way we steal,
In silence dread,
Our cautious way we feel.
No sound at all, we never speak a word
A fly's footfall would be distinctly heard!"

Mr. Parker cut them off with a sharp yell. "What's going on? Stop that immed-" suddenly, a strange expression came over his face, and he jumped on top of a nearby chair, and declaimed in a surprisingly deep bass,

"Oh, better far to live and die,
Under the brave black flag I fly
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart!"

He turned to Jarod, who crouched down to look avidly up at him.

"Away to the cheating world go you," Mr. Parker continued,
"Where Pirates all are well to do,
But I'll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King!
For...I... Am a Pirate King!"

He raised a fist into the air as the rest of the characters, looking astonished but unable to help themselves, capered joyously about him. "Hurrah for the Pirate King," they chorused back.

"And it is it is a glorious thing to be a Pirate King!" Parker cried.

"It is!" the sweepers responded, "Hurrah for the Pirate King!"

"Enough" Jarod cried, shaking himself out of the dance number. "What the heck is going -"

Then, as Mr. Parker before him, he trailed off. He turned to Miss Parker, Brigitte, and the assembled writers, his eyes growing soft and his arms outstretched.

"Oh is there not one maiden here,
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Has caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man's affection?
Who would not give up willingly
All matrimonial ambition
To rescue such a one as I
From his unfortunate position
From his position?
Oh is there not one maiden breast
Who does not feel the moral beauty
Of making worldly interest
Subordinate to sense of duty?
To such a one,
If such there be,
I swear by heavens up above you -
If you will cast your eyes on me
However plain you be, I'll love you! However plain you be!"

Miss Parker simply raised an eyebrow at him and said, "Really, Jarod, I know you're lonely, but I didn't realize you were that desperate." She was about to go on with another scathing remark when suddenly she too found herself at the mercy of Susan's keyboard. She took Jarod's outstretched hand, and in an astonishingly clear soprano that caused Brigitte to sulk enviously, began,

"Poor Wand'ring one!
Though thou hast surely strayed
Take heart of grace, thy steps retrace!
Poor Wand'ring one!
Poor Wand'ring one,
If such poor love as mine
Can help thee find
True peace of mind, why
Take it, it is thine!"

Susan, sitting at her computer, was by now consumed by gales of laughter, and Sydney decided to take the opportunity to try to talk some sense into her. "Susan," he began, "isn't that enough? It's hilarious, really, but think what this could do to their emotional-" Susan hit the enter key and he too began to join the fun. He straightened up to military posture and saluted. Then, his strong accent thickening the words as he belted them out, he sang,

"I am the very model of a modern major-general,
I've information vegetable, animal and mineral
I know the Kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical -"

Suddenly, Sydney stopped singing and looked at Susan with surprise. "Sorry, Syd," she explained. "You're just not working out." He looked rather crestfallen, and she just shrugged and began to type again, only to find the screen grey and flashing the unforgiving message, "This program has performed an illegal error and will be shut down..."

"Drat!" she cried, as Lyle and Broots ran to her and hauled her away from the keyboard.

"Finally!" Jarod sighed, and Miss Parker nodded her agreement.

"Well, it was fun while it lasted. See you in a few months..." Susan said as she slowly faded away.

She just had time as she vanished to hear Broots complain, "Why didn't I get a part?"

I'm sorry, but I did warn you. I've always thought the Pretender could use a good song and dance number now and again to lighten things up. I suppose this story would be a lot funnier once you've heard the music and can imagine the characters all dancing around, singing! Believe me, it's hilarious in my head!