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A Wicca (Willow) in a Different World: The Anita Blake Version
by alltherealice and claudia6913
For the most part, no matter how much I love them, Willow and crossover basically amount to one thing. Mischaracterization. Try as we might, and believe me we try, when Willow Rosenberg gets thrown into another dimension due to a vague reworking of the world, or the ever popular portal, things get out of character. Most stories would have you believe that Willow was a completely dominant, in control Wicca, who when being thrown through a portal forgets she was recently in a committed relationship with another female. But for the most part all of those things are just what the author would like you to believe so that we can have more and more chapters of Willow going all black eyed on Anita Blake and melting her guns.
If we look at that idea with a passing interest you say, "Hmmm. Willow's lover got shot with a gun. Anita Blake is a pushy hypocritical shoot 'em up type of gal. Why not see what happens when they mix?" Well the problem with that is, we already know. Typically, we assume Willow will mess with the gun with her "all powerful mojo", then Anita will freak. Thusly one of Anita's harems will fall for Willow, and they then will fall into bed where they mock Anita and have lots of the sex. This is not where you want to logically take a fic. While it may be the easiest route, it is not following with Willow’s character.
Actually, that doesn't sound half bad. In fact I'm sure I've left rave reviews for it in several instances and tried my own hand at figuring out a way to make it seem a little original so I could get my own reviews calling me genius. But this essay is not on overused plot clichés. This essay, in case I haven't been clear enough (and I probably haven't) is on keeping Willow in character in a crossover. I'm using Anita Blake as my crossover universe of choice because it is the one I'm most knowledgeable of.
Since we've looked at that plot, we'll call it Overused Plot Cliché Making Willow OOC Instance #1 or OPCMWOOCI#1, with a passing interest lets break it down logically.
OPCMWOOCI#1 aka The Usual Storyline
Willow looks over towards the small brunette woman and is startled to see a gun pointed at her. She immediately feels her roots start to darken as memories of her lost love's death washes over her. She knows her eyes have turned a startling shade of onyx when she hears the gasps of all the supernatural beasts around her.
"I don't like guns." She hears herself say in a bored tone, and waves a hand towards the gun so it flies into her own hand. She crushes it with as much interest as you would ball up a report with a big red F on the front.
As soon as the brunette's gun is dealt with Willow feels her hair start to bleed back to its natural shade. She's sure her eye's follow suit as she casually walks over to a chair to sit and watch the proceeding as the pale woman now without a gun proceeds to have a general freak out.
While the woman freaks out, Willow notices all the were animals around her are split in half. Split in half as in, half are glaring at her with hate and malice in their eyes, while the other half look at her with adoration in them. Willow smiles, walks over the hunkiest man who looks like he's in love with her and walks off to a conveniently placed room where she finds out his name. She tells him her name as well and spills out the entire story of her life; he nods sympathetically and hugs her in the right places as she proceeds to cry. Soon she's done though, and since we all know puffy and red faced is such a turn on, they have sex.
Okay now to break it down to an even further degree.
-Anita pulled a gun on someone.
Since Anita is known for pulling guns on people we'll let this pass. Especially since Willow has usually fallen out of the sky at this point, and I happen to believe that if someone falls out of the sky in front of you, you have the right to be cautious. Even paranoid.
-Willows hair goes black.
This could be considered in character. If Willow was evil. In most cases she's not, in most cases one chapter ago Willow was all racked with guilt and vowing never to do magic again. The being evil is contradicted when everyone is left alive. And the fact that Willow is *not* evil.
-Willow's eyes go black.
Really people aren't we all tired of this by now? On this time line (By time line I mean that most Willow centric crossover stories happen soon after she tried to destroy the world) we've seen Willow's eyes go black only a couple of times. When she's working big magic, when she's being given a fix be Rack, or when she is under extreme emotional duress usually synonymous with the working of the mojo. None of which is happening. Don't even try and say she's under extreme emotional duress either, because it seems to me she's adjusting just fine. Usually, if she is for some reason working big mojo, just her eyes go black, not her hair. Example: ‘Orpheus’ Season 4 of Angel: the Series.
-With a wave of her little hand the gun is dealt with and Willow is already bored.
If Willow were truly having a breakdown, which would explain the eyes, I don't think Willow would be acting bored two seconds later. Besides in OPCMWOOCI#1 Willow is, and as I stated before justly, being viewed and treated as a threat. I think that Willow, the smart, logical, and cautious one of the group would see this and raise her hands and say, "Hey I'm not trying to cause a ruckus." If Anita proceeded to pull the trigger, I'm sure Willow would be able to do *something* in order to survive. In fact just once I'd like to see Willow get shot, and survive. That would make all the Anita butt kicking's that usually follow this scene, all the more realistic.
We've only seen Willow say "bored now" twice. When she was a vampire and when she was killing Warren. If you are going to go the route where seeing a gun brings Willow back to Tara's death, she would not be saying "Bored now." It would likely have the effect of taking her back to when she killed a man. Also when have we ever seen Willow be able to do something like that?
Also, when keeping in character with Willow witchy ways, she usually needs a spell. Maybe not straight from a book, but some Latin word, or phrase is definitely called for. With Willow, unless she is evil, there is no waving of the hand and *poof* no more gun. It just doesn’t happen like that.
-Everything goes back to normal as Willow decides to bask in the marvelous ness that is herself as Anita makes a fool of herself.
That's just kind of mean. And self centered. Sounds like something I would do if I had uber Witch powers. And I've generally come to learn over the years of writing fanfiction, if it's something you yourself want to do, or something you could see yourself doing, the character you're writing about shouldn't be doing it. You know why? Because you are not the character you are writing about. That would be an original character, and if you’re original character is based on yourself, that's called a Mary Sue. But since it still walks like Willow and talks (sorta) like Willow, we refer to that as a Willow Sue.
Willow Sues are worse the Mary Sues because it is bastardization a character we know and love.
-The whole sex thing.
Please. I know Willow got a little freer with her bed buddies as the seasons passed, but Willow would not jump into bed with someone she just met. I realize that there is usually at least a paragraph or two between the threatening and the jumping into bed thing, but unless some form of intensive courtship fills up those two paragraphs complete with a time lapse of at least two or thee weeks, they're not going to sleep together that soon. Willow loves. Period. Guy, girl, doesn’t matter. But, there is courtship with Willow. Always, without exception. Willow is the type of person who needs to get to know someone before she even opens up for a relationship.
-Spilling out all her dark secrets and those belonging to her friends.
I don't really see that happening either. A) It's really none of the strangers business. B) I know keeping the secret identities secret has never been a big theme in BtVS, but I don't think any of the Scoobies would share to that degree at that time.
OPCMWOOCI#2 or... When Willow Met Asher.
Willow sighed dreamily as she sat in the sub levels of the Circus. She rested her head in the palm of her hand and stared unblinkingly into the distance. She was in love. She had just arrived in St. Louis a few hours earlier, smarting from a breakup with Kennedy. She was on official business from Angel, and in turn Wolfram and Hart. She'd been sent to the Master of St. Louis to build a relationship between the two cities. It had taken weeks for them to work out the details, since Jean Claude, the Master, was nervous about letting a witch of such power into his territory, but ultimately he had relented.
If she had known what awaited her she would have agreed to whatever blood letting ceremonies Jean Claude had tried to sneak in to the contracts. If she had been given a mere glimpse of the beauteous one that was Asher she would have agreed to becoming a stripper at his club Guilty Pleasures if need be. She had only caught a glimpse of him when they had welcomed her; unfortunately they had had to leave for something almost immediately.
He was so beautiful. And not just his unscarred half. All of him was beautiful. Willow with her fancy new aura seeing powers saw that his soul was gorgeous as well. Willow knew she would have a hard time convincing him that she truly loved him, all of him, because he had suffered such torment because of the scars, but one day soon, he would be hers. And she would be his.
END SCENE BECAUSE I WAS GETTING NAUSEOUS
And now to nitpick, because that is what I do.
-Jean Claude must agree to a witch's arrival
Okay, I know not really a Willow thing, but something that irks me so much I had to mention it in here. Jean Claude is the Master of St. Louis, true. But he is the Master of the Vampires in St. Louis. He is not ultimately in control of the town; he does not sit in on town meetings on the board of directors. He keeps control of the vampires in the territory. He would have no control over Willow even if she is there in lieu of Angel.
-Willow being instantly attracted to Asher
Now I know being shallow is wrong. And I know everyone has posters up of the 1000 pound man on their wall because he is just so much more appealing than Orlando Bloom on the inside, where it really counts, I also realize that Asher has a very appealing half, but Willow is not a saint. She's not even Catholic. So Willow would not be instantly attracted to Asher, not only is he physically deformed, he's also a vampire. Vampires, on occasion are jerks. Big ones. Who enjoy bloodbaths? Something Willow is against. She only warmed up to Angel and Spike after being convinced they were there to fight for the good guys, whether because of redemption or being paid, Willow knew what was going on with those vamps before she decided to trust them
I'm also not saying that Willow and Asher can't live happily ever after. They can, Asher and a green bean can have happily ever after if it's written right. I'm not saying you must have superior writing skills to pull this off, but at least put some effort into the actual story before you get to the loving'. Unless it's PWP, which is a completely different story.
-Willow has soul seeing powers
I've seen that one so often that I just had to put it in. I've seen it written plausibly in a total of 1 story. All the others it just shows up spontaneously. Not OOC per say, but for the most part... dumb. Besides in the BtVS universe Angel and Spike are the only vampires with souls. If you’re going to mention anything regarding souls and other vampires at any point in the story you need to remember that the vampires in the two universes are different. We've never been told directly in AB that those vampires have souls, you could make the argument that they are only leaving people alive out of a desire to stay alive themselves, since killing is illegal for them in that universe now.
OPCMWOOCI#3 which I like to call... As the Gender Preferences Turn
Willow plopped cheerfully down on the lap of a passing male.
"I thought your friend said you were gay?" The strangled question came out of the man she was using for a stool.
"I used to be. But after my first girlfriend died I decided I was bi. Never mind the vehement promises I made to her about always being in a lesbian love story with her. The warranty on those promises dried up right along with her corpse."
-Willow suddenly announcing (for what is on occasion the first talk of sexual preferences in a story past an in joke between two Scoobies on Willow's "friends") that she's now bi.
I like to read het!Willow as much as anyone. I also occasionally read Willow/Tara or Willow/Dru and once even Willow/Kennedy. I'm not saying that making Willow pant after guys again is a bad thing. Far from it. I'm also not saying that all het stories in crossovers are OOC. I'm saying that bringing it up in a story like that is OOC. At least give some forethought into Willow's trip back into buying Playgirls. Willow deciding in an opening paragraph that she bi, by the way, is not forethought. Your sexuality is not a coin that you can flip over day to day. If it was we'd have fewer suicides and more homicides.
-Willow plopping down on someone’s lap
Willow is not sexually aggressive like that. That would be Faith, and I love Faith, but Willow is not Faith with red hair and magic powers. Even if the guy has been making lusty eyes at Willow all day long, he didn't ask to be sat on. So therefore it is uninvited, and uninvited sexual acts count as Sexual Harassment which is a crime. Willow tries to end the world, and she hacks into things occasionally, but Willow does not sexually harass.
A lot of the stories I come across when reading Anita Blake crossovers seem to exist purely to bash the character of Anita at some point. Why? Because Anita Blake annoys us. All of us who have read the books have at some point said, "Oh what I wouldn't give for someone to go in there and put Anita in her place." Who better to do it than Willow or Buffy or even Cordelia? They're not confined to the rules set for the Anita Blake universe, and they triumph over evil on a weekly basis. Willow has killed and raised people from the dead. She can kill Bambi without flinching. She can beat down the Slayer with a smile on her face. So it's within reason that she can put an egotistical Animator in her place and steal her boyfriend in the same breath.
When writing Willow one must try to keep her in character for the most part. Willow is both the easiest and hardest character in Jossverse to write. She loves like no other, and loves unconditionally. On the other hand she will go to any lengths, up to and including killing, for those she loves. Every character is multi-dimensional and we must make use of that. We must delve deep into Willow, or else there is no point. No where in fiction is Willow’s diverse character tested more then in crossovers. Remember though, Willow is a nice person. She loves and trusts people very easily, unless she feels those people are trying to infringe upon her spot in the group, or if they're just mean. When she loses people she really loses them. She doesn't brush it off with a shrug, and she doesn't go about randomly killing and/or maiming people. So if you manage to avoid a few of the most common OOC moments that Willow gets put in when stuck in a cliché, at least know you'll have two guaranteed fans. I can't speak for everyone out there, but I'm sure more than two of them would appreciate it as well.