Characters: Harmony, Penelope
MY X-Over Inspiration: Criminal Minds, Buffy the Vampire (T.V. Series, Movie)
Disclaimer: This is my standard disclaimer; I don't own anything in regards to the sources of MY X-OverInspiration. All publically recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
All the characters, worlds, base concepts or general ideas are just a bit food for the writing bug. This story is pure fiction and is in no way meant to copy or reflect real life, events or people, should this happen then obviously it is pure coincidence.
Author's Note: When I posted this challenge, I thought I couldn't write the story. I mean so many ideas were popping in my head with this challenge, that I figured I needed someone else's help to see the possibilities. Strangely, as I was typing up the challenge, a story came to and I had to write it. At least I followed my own requirements and this story contains, 1, 4, 5, & 6 of the elements I needed to create this story and it's a little over 3000 words, not including the blather before the start of the story or the info after the end.
Challenge: "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort – by Herm Albright".
Quoteable Quote is an interesting web site, and I stumbled across this one particular quote that hit me as being an ab-sol-utely perfect one to use for a Harmony-Centred story.
The Challenge, the story must contain, at least four of the following:
1) When did Harmony discover this fact? (i.e.: how old was she)
2) The quote has to be found somewhere in the story and affect her in some way.
3) How did she transform herself to fit her new perception? Did she do it?
4) How long did it take for this to happen?
5) Was it demon or Hellmouth influence, if yes then how?
6) Was she alone or was someone else affected too? If someone else was with her, did they die or move away?
Story Conditions, related to posting:
1) One shot, please
2) Ficlet or Story, acceptable
3) No chat language, please
4) Pairing, author's choice (give me someone new or unexpected and you win a Gold Star!). Basically if the pairing works for your story, use it. If there is no pairing, that works too.
5) Minimum length - 2000 words (I'd like more, but am reasonable.)
Summary: Answering Challenge – A Positive Attitude! – Penelope Garcia has just moved into her new apartment and is unpacking when she finds an envelope that opens the door to past memories. No pairings, this is just a ficlet, a flash moment in the lives of two people we may know.
A Positive Attitude! Mouseketeers...Salute!
Penelope Garcia was eighteen when she received the card. It was one that carried with her for a long time after she had received it.
"We regret to inform you that our daughter Harmony Kendall has passed away," the card said. "She died June 21st, 1999." It was a nice card and it had contained one of the last letters that Harmony had ever written to her, but Penelope refused to read because then it would make it real.
It was several years later when she found that card again, after unpacking in a cute apartment that was located near her new employment as a team member for the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the F.B.I. Memories flooded her mind as she thought back to those days.
It was a Mouseketeer Parade Camp.
Sometime in 1990 that Harmony Kendall attended that camp. A Mouseketeer Camp for kids that was dedicated and formatted in a similar manner to the old Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club" TV show.
It was popular back when there was a rush of reunion type programs and "best of" programs.
Disney had a huge following and anything that could give children happy new memories or give the parents a bit of nostalgia. Well they just had to cash in on it and so between 1987 – 1992 they had organized something called the Mouseketeer Parade Camp, which was to help promote the new T.V. shows that the Disney Channel had planned, including "MMC" which was a re-vamp of the old Mickey Mouse Club.
Each child had to meet the basic requirements to be able to attend the camp, like physical fitness, knowing how to swim, sing, dance and act. The schedule of the camp activities was in-depth, but supposedly all of which was for fun. While the child attended the camp they had the choice to enter smaller groups that specialized in just one or two areas or have an overall experience. Depending on how long the child was there, as the camp was set in one, two and three week intervals.
Little Harmony had bugged her parents to let her join that special summer camp back when she was about ten years old. She loved to sing and dance. She'd taken ballet and gymnastics just like all the other girls. Now she wanted to be a part of something else.
She didn't know too many people in her town because her family had just moved in only three months before the end of the school year. She hated sticking out and being the "new girl", so she pestered her parents to let her go to camp and make better friends than the losers that were at her school.
Her parents thought about it and then remembering that old Disney T.V. show they were hit with the nostalgia bug too. "All right dear," they told her. "Let us look into it first."
Harmony's eyes sparkled at that because she knew that her parents were seriously considering on letting her go. She would sometimes hum the theme song to that old show, but she never pushed it. Finally when her parents sat her down and asked how long she wanted to go, her immediate reply was, "Three weeks."
Her parents reviewed the schedule and paid for the sessions or grouping for their daughter.
Each child at the camp had to bring in four plain colour T-shirts in their choice of colour with their first name printed across their chests in bold white or black letters. The girls were encouraged to choose the pretty colours like pink, yellow, peach or baby green. Whereas the boys were encouraged to select bold or dark colours like red, blue, forest green or black.
Packing up to go to camp was fun for her mother and herself. Her father was busy making sure that there was enough gas in their Volkswagen with the wooden panels on the doors and that it could take the trip to the camp and back.
Harmony was singing on the way there and laughing with her folks. Once they arrived at a private camp located two hundred miles from the nearest town, they were no longer laughing.
They were in awe at everything that they were seeing. The sheer number of kids was overwhelming, but they were able to let their daughter go with a healthy conscience. They had looked into the place, the location, the people in charge of the camp. This particular camp had been running for a couple of years, it had good reviews from the parents that had sent their children there before.
Harmony walked over to the counsellor with her duffle and was guided to her pink and yellow mushroom domed cabin. It was cute and had four bunks for four girls. There were already two older girls in the cabin sharing one bunk and they greeted her with warm welcomes.
They were given their unpacking instructions while the last girl to their cabin arrived. "You're going to share with me," Harmony said to the girl who was only slightly plump and had the name Penelope on her bright pink shirt. "I hope you don't mind, but I took the top bunk."
"I like the bottom," Penelope said smiling shyly. She had black square glasses on her face, but a large smile that was contagious.
'I think that we're going to get along,' Harmony thought, while she helped the new girl to settle in.
"My name is Harmony Kendall," Harmony said holding out her hand.
"Penelope Gracia," Penelope said. "Nice to meet you," she said, taking the hand and shaking it.
Their first week was easy and once it was over half the camp left because they were the ones who only wanted to stay for a week. The camp was set up so that they only allowed kids to arrive only on scheduled days and those were only after their three week program was finished.
The people who ran the camp were just a touch on the lazy side and chose not to bring new kids every week. They waited for the camp to empty completely before receiving another influx of children. Besides with less kids there to monitor they were able to take smaller, more specialty groups and give one-on-two training.
Penelope and Harmony were fast friends at the camp and it turns out that they were in most of the same sessions or groups. Singing and acting. They didn't share the arts or swimming, but that at least gave each of them something to talk about.
They were glad when some of the kids had left because that meant that they could improve those areas that they wanted, like singing. Those that attended the camp for three weeks were given the responsibility to give a talent show to their parents on their last day of camp.
During the second week the older girls in their cabin had taken the girls under their wing and introduced them to make-up, nail polish and how to groom themselves properly. "Now don't worry if you're not ready for a lot of this stuff until you're older," Nina said. "It's just good practice to get a good habit going."
"That's right," Marta said. "We learned this from the older girls when we were your age and since this is our last summer here, we have to pass this down to you. They told us that it was a good habit to begin getting used to."
Nina shrugged and said with a slight smile, "I don't do it every day at home, but sometimes I just feel better when I do."
"Same with me," Marta said. "Now let's go over some things. Smiling is important," she began. "Always smile when you can. It doesn't have to be a grin or anything forced. Just think of something that makes you happy and you'll smile."
"There are degrees to a happy attitude," Nina said. "There are degrees to everything, so you have a choice. Happy to feel nice, honestly happy, happy positive, happy good mood, happy perky, happy laughter, there are so many." She showed them the differences and from there the lessons took off.
Harmony was looking over the notes she had decided to take about their lessons. Penelope was with her, jotting down a few things. They were discussing the talent show for the end of camp and were discussing a skit or something that the two of them could do.
"We have to sign up in two days, if we want to do something," Penelope said. "Do you have an idea?"
"Well," Harmony said thinking about it. "I like to sing and so do you. So how about a duet, a song that the both can sing together?"
"I like it," Penelope said. "So which song?"
"It's hard to make up a song and then get a tune," Harmony said knowing that she wasn't a tune writer.
"How about we use a tune that already exists?" Penelope said. "We only have to change the words to say what we want to say."
"Yes," Harmony said. "Which one, I know you already have an idea in mind."
Penelope blushed gently and smiled softly, saying, "Ebony and Ivory by Stevie Wonder."
"That's a perfect song," Harmony said getting excited. "We'll use the tune and change the words to fit us. It's a wonderful song. I like it."
They had fun changing the words and practicing 'Penelope & Harmony' during their third week. The counsellors were impressed at the thought and they all felt that the girls had embraced the concept of their camp.
Something had changed in the older girls from their cabin and a few of the others. It was something that gave Penelope the shivers and Harmony was curious, but she too was cautious about it. It was not something that they talked about together, but they exchanged looks.
Two nights before the talent show and their last day of camp they found out what it was.
Nina and Marta had awoken the girls and were taking them to a clearing in the woods. In the middle of the clearing there was a stack of towering stones and it was in the middle of a stone circle. There were paintings and words all over the towering stones, but it was not in a language that any of the girls knew.
There were thirteen girls there in total. There was a mix of the older and younger ones. "This is a secret," Nina said. "You have to promise that you'll never tell anyone about this."
Harmony nodded, so did Penelope. The took hold of each other's hand because they had a strange feeling of being watched, but they had decided early on not to let go of each other.
"It's time to pass on the wisdom of the one," Marta said calling together all of the others. "It is my honour to be spokeswoman at this assembly." She had a bowl in her hand. "You've all been taught the lessons and now is the time to test you."
She walked to the first girl and said, "Choose your future attitude."
The girl was nervous, but she took one of the white jelly beans from the bowl.
"Pretty, nice," the girl said.
"Wait until everyone has picked," Marta said, indicating that the girl was to hold onto the jelly bean. "Think about what that means to you."
She went up to the next one and asked the same question getting a different result. There were a variety of answers, but the most memorable ones were from Penelope and Harmony.
Penelope's was, "Nice, honest and smart."
Harmony's was, "Perky, up-beat, honest, and cute."
Everyone waited until the last ones thought about what they felt they meant when they made their choices.
"Everyone's ready," Nina said, judging the resolution on all of the faces of the girls present. "Once you get the rhythm, swallow the bean and then just hum along or use your throat to vocalize sound in time with what I'm singing. Do NOT use any words or else the secret will not work."
She began to chant in an unknown language. The tune was strange and haunting, but also very catchy and it wasn't hard for any of the girls to catch on to it.
It was difficult for Harmony to not sing the words, but she managed it because Penelope had taken her hand and was swinging it in time to the sounds from everyone in the circle. They had all chewed up and swallowed the strange tasting bean, but soon they were hopping up and down. They moved to the sounds and swayed in time to the song that Nina was singing.
The moon came out and shone on the pillar of stones. Whatever was supposed to happen seemed to be working. The girls were not scared and most had their eyes closed to the sight that was happening. The sounds called forth the entity that had been encased in the stones.
It was time for it to move along. Finally it was free. It had multiple tendrils that reached for each of the pebbles found in the girls. Connecting to them and then feeling their thoughts and ideas based on their simple interpretation of the spell that they had done. It transformed the predominate thoughts which were all similar into fact.
From that night on all of the girls that were in the clearing had changed. Thankfully the older girls that taught the younger were not bitter, misguided or vicious. These thirteen could wind up doing anything in relation to their skills, but they would be influenced largely by the entity that drifted away.
They returned to their cabins after they had finished the spell, not that any were aware that it had been a spell, with the exception of the Master of the Ceremony. The thirteen girls all had strange dreams that night that foreshadowed their future, but when they got up in the morning none of them remembered them.
The day of their talent show was when one of the girls noticed that no matter how she felt about her nervousness she wasn't showing it. She was only smiling nicely to everyone. Her smile was obviously a fake, but she couldn't stop it. She had selected, 'No visible emotions, nice, and strength.'
Throughout the morning the other girls had begun to notice the effects of that night. However they were ready to live with the consequences anyway. There was perhaps only a couple that realized that their choices were not so good, but later on in their lives they would learn to live with it. They had no choice.
Harmony was slightly perky that morning. It was like she was testing the 'degrees' to her attitude, like the girls taught her. That's when she found out that not everyone liked to be around someone perky. She could see it in their eyes.
'I'll think about that later,' she thought. 'If I remember...'
The girls were a hit. Their song was one of the better thought ones and at the end of their summer camp experience they promised to write to one another and keep in touch.
Letters were exchanged on such a regular basis ever since that summer camp, that they had their own 'Beaches' feel to their correspondence, until Harmony's graduation day.
Penelope looked at the card and then she saw the letter inside. She gulped and then sighed, barely holding back tears. The letter was in an envelope that had never been opened. Her name was written in pink ink with a little heart at the end and a scroll-like bar underlining it and her name.
"Harmony," she whispered. She took a deep breath and then decided to open the last letter she would ever receive from her best friend.
My Dear Penelope,
I hope that you are doing well.
Me, I'm fine.
School's nearly finished and I confess that I'm not quite ready to get into the work force, but whatever. I'll do my best, which always good enough for me and it works.
I don't know when you'll receive this, but I thought I would let you know that we learned something pretty freaky about our Mayor. It was strange to learn about it, but then again after looking up the history of this town, I wasn't that surprised and neither were any of the guys in my school.
Too many cemeteries, way too many graves and people disappearing or dying, we knew that something was up. Still we did what we had to do in order to live our lives and hope that we lived long enough to leave town.
Speaking of which, my parents are letting go on a road trip at after I graduate and I figure that I'll go through a couple of the summer modeling courses in a few of the major cities. I'm hoping that I'll get to see you, but I have the feeling that something is about to change.
Anyway, I don't have much else to say, but I'll write again as soon as I successfully graduate.
BFF, Lucky Penny!
Your best friend,
It was a typical Harmony letter. Short, cute and full of different bits of information about her life, but no details.
Penelope let a tear fall from her eyes. She remembered looking up what had happened at Harmony's graduation ceremony. It was reported as typical high-school shooting. Only this time it was during a ceremony when the kids, parents, teachers and city officials were there.
She had taken the newspaper clipping and slipped it inside the envelope. Looking over the article, she felt that something was wrong or missing, however it was too late for her to snoop any further, because that Harmony's town was no longer on the map. It had sunk about a year ago in some fluke sinkhole.
"Oh Harmony," Penelope said with a sigh. "I'm going to miss you."
She took the letter, card and clipping and pinned them to her cork board behind her home computer. She looked further into the box and found several pictures of the two of them back when they were ten. She added them to the board.
Penelope continued to unpack her belongings, humming along to a song that she recalled from her summer camp days.
"Mm-Eye-See, Kay-Eee-Why, Mm-Oh-You-Es-Sea!"
"Harmony," Angel said. "Do you have the name of my next appointment?"
"Right here, Boss-man," Harmony replied with a perky smile. "Have you seen Blondie-Bear today? I'm missing him."
"No," he grumped and lumbered away.
"Oh well, I guess it can wait," she said with a smile still on her face. By then no one was listening to her. As she organized work for the day, she hummed and whispered out a tune that always brought a smile to her face, along with better memories.
"Mm-Eye-See, Kay-Eee-Why, Mm-Oh-You-Es-Sea!"
"Mickey Mouse Club" Theme Song:
Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
You're as welcome as can be
Forever let us hold our banner high!
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree!
Mickey Mouse club
We'll have fun
We'll be new faces High!
We'll do things and
We'll go places
All around the world
We'll go marching
Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me
You're as welcome as can be
Forever let us hold our banner High!
Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree!