Duncan gets falsely accused of a crime during rehearsal. The band doesn’t let that slide easily. Set two years before the current blog timeline.
“Left, left, left, left! Other left, Owen! Left, left, left!”
As the song dragged on, Duncan spared a moment to wonder how the band was supposed to hear the snares when Mr. McLean was yelling over everything.
In the end, he guessed it didn’t matter that much, to him at least. He could hear the snares, so he would be in time. It was still annoying to hear the band be behind, though.
If you asked Duncan three months ago what he thought about band kids, he would’ve spouted insult after insult, name after name. But, with the principal’s meddling, he wasn’t just a snarky observer of losers -- no, he was a loser himself. His school days were followed by percussion lessons and late night marching rehearsals.
Even worse? He liked it.
He didn’t damage the drums because they were fun to hit. He didn’t tear up the flags because he had a crush on one of the cologuard members. He didn’t even egg the principal’s house like he planned just because he didn’t want to risk being barred from football games.
It was like he was a completely different person. And in many respects, he was. Which is why he stopped in his tracks the second he saw the red and blue flash of police cars.
Police cars. Here. When he’d done nothing.
Duncan only vaguely registered that Mr. McLean stopped the band. His mind replaced the noise with panicked thoughts. What could they possibly blame him for? As much as he wanted to tell them that marching band was just another failed attempt to keep him in line, he couldn’t. He’d spent every second he could in the band room or on the field, notably not committing crimes. That's what they wanted, right?
Even as he got lost in his own head, he knew everyone had turned to him, the dumbass frozen in the middle of the field. Their eyes on him, the outsider… it burned.
Usually he would run. He was good at running, escaping. But this was different. Maybe it was the fact that he knew he was innocent that kept him planted on the turf.
The police officers didn’t even approach the directors first. They went straight onto the field, straight to Duncan, handcuffs at the ready. Duncan glared at them, though he probably wasn’t as menacing as he wanted to be with a bass drum strapped to his chest.
The first policeman, who Duncan knew well as Officer Binns, audibly sighed. “Duncan Sarno, you are under arrest for theft and breaking and entering.”
“I didn’t do squat,” Duncan spat.
The other officer -- Officer Johnson -- haughtily slung the handcuffs around his finger. “With your record?” He laughed. “Likely story, kid. Get that drum off and let’s go.”
“Uhm, hello?” Mr. McLean called into his microphone. His irritation echoed throughout the field. “We’re kind of in the middle of a rehearsal here!”
“Don’t worry sir, you will be able to resume your rehearsal shortly,” Officer Binns called.
“Uhhh, I don’t think so. Because it looks like you're arresting one of my students.” Mr. McLean tutted. “Kinda hard to have a rehearsal without the first bass drum.”
“Sir, please do not discuss this over your speakers.”
“Is that illegal? I don’t think so.” Some of the upperclassmen chuckled at their director’s nonchalance, but it was very obvious that his patience was wearing thin. “Listen, buddy, I know this kid’s schedule inside and out. He didn’t do anything.”
“We’ll still need to take him to the school office for questioning.”
“Not during my rehearsal, you don’t!”
“Sir, this is a routine questioning. Please stop talking about it over the microphone.”
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I literally spend all my time here, whether I like it or not. Ask my parole officer,” Duncan interjected.
“You’re in no position to be making demands, kid. Now get that drum off,” Officer Johnson snapped.
Duncan huffed. So much for finding something he actually liked. He grabbed the drum carrier from his shoulder and set it down gently behind him. As he turned around to get handcuffed yet again, he saw a barrier between him and Officer Johnson. A body. His crush’s body.
“Do you have a warrant?” Courtney the colorguardian asked stiffly, one arm shielding Duncan and the other firming holding her flag.
“Miss, step aside,” Officer Binns demanded. Courtney stayed put, Duncan noticed. He also noticed that none of the directors did anything to stop her.
“You need a warrant to arrest someone,” Courtney said indignantly.
“Aye, no warrant, no cuffs, man!” Geoff the trumpet player exclaimed.
Officer Johnson narrowed his eyes. “We don’t need a warrant if we have probable cause,” he said.
“You don’t got probable cause, ‘cause he’s been here the whole time!” Leshawna shouted from two yard lines away.
Even further away, a flute player named DJ shouted, “Officers, we can all vouch that he's been here!” Murmurs of agreement broke out across the field.
“Also, if your only evidence is his record, then that’s thin at best, violating his rights at worst,” Gwen, another sophomore percussionist, noted, setting her mallets on her tenor drums.
“No warrant, no cuffs!” Geoff shouted again. “No warrant, no cuffs!”
DJ joined in the chant. So did Gwen and Leshawna and DJ. Loud personalities like Owen, quiet types like Bridgette, upperclassmen who hated his guts all joined in on those four words. Even Courtney, as much as she kissed up to authority, raised her flag in the air and let the words escape her lips,
“No warrant, no cuffs! No warrant, no cuffs! No warrant, no cuffs!”
It was a strange feeling, he thought, having someone fight for him instead of his record, fight for the person instead of the number. As the chants grew louder, his chest tightened, but in a good way. He never felt that before.
From the home bleachers, he saw Mr. McLean give a smirk as he joined in over the microphone. For once, Ms. Andrews-O’Halleron and Mr. Hatchet didn’t seem annoyed by his antics. In fact, this time, they seemed to encourage it.
The band cheered as the officers left the field. Duncan was equal parts ecstatic and dumbfounded. A group of people -- majority of whom he’d never talked to -- all stood up to a pair of policemen for him, authority, when a large part of marching band was just doing what you're told. Yeah, he was glad the fuzz was off his back, but this was just... new.
Next thing he knew, Mr. McLean called everyone to attention and asked them to start from the beginning of the movement. Rehearsal just continued like nothing happened. Honestly, Duncan kind of preferred it that way. He slipped back into habitual concentration, turning his mind from arrests to note rests.
He would never admit it, but on that stupid football field with those stupid mallets and stupid people, he finally felt free.
I’ve watched so much Total Drama that every time I watch a show I think of an au for Total Drama, so in no particular order-
Total Drama Glee, main ships would be Nowen, Gwourtney or any ship because Glee’s cast has too many canon ships to keep up with so that would be replicated.
Total Drama Community, so far I’ve thought of Courtney losing her scholarship because of a raging over a lost lawsuit against her high school, Duncan’s parents forcing him to be there, and Geoff tagged along because he had nothing else to do. Noah skipped grades 6, 7, and 8, graduated when he was 15-16 and became a lawyer at 20-21. I know this is unrealistic as hell but he’s Noah and smart and that’s my shitty excuse. Anyways, he was a lawyer for 2 years until one of the people who was accusing a client he had planted drugs in his apartment and Noah got arrested, got bailed out, and then went to Community College until he sorted things through with the legal department or whatever it’s called. He knows that someone framed him for the drugs but obviously no one else does so he still got arrested. Based on how long I’ve talked about him, you can probably guess who my favorite character is.
Total Drama Brooklyn 9-9, all of the characters are aged up to 30-35. Duncan’s parents forced him to become a police officer because even though he doesn’t really put effort into anything he makes really good guesses because of his history with criminals. DJ would be the Terri of the au, soft and sweet but tough when it comes to his friends. Bridgette and Courtney were high school friends and became police officers at the same time, Bridge is a total Duncney shipper. Gwen also came in at the same time as Bridge and Court but she wasn’t their friend because she thought they were too preppy but through working together, they all become really good friends. Leshawna joined a little before Gwen and was the best officer in the precinct, she loved working cases with Gwen and they became quick friends (maybe even girlfriends). Owen and Noah joined together because they were best friends in high school and the definitely become an unstoppable gay force together. I feel like Chris would be the captain and he would be captain for the exact reasons CJ became captain in the actual show.
I also thought of Scrubs and Parks and Rec but I’ll probably come o=up with more ideas for those when I finish the shows.
For the First Time in Over a Year, I Present to You: Oneshot Friday!
#6: The Delinquent, Part One
How did Duncan become a part of the marching band, anyways? Set two years before the current blog timeline. Thanks to @elskamo for the idea!
Duncan knew he was trouble. He caused problems on purpose, whether it be breaking school rules, petty vandalism, illegal driving… His list of offenses seemed endless. It wasn’t important that everything he did was clearly a thinly veiled cry for attention from his parents -- people hardly paid attention to that part.
His parents tried to force him in every sport imaginable to keep him busy, but nothing clicked. He got in too many fights with the football players, popped too many soccer balls, cheated too many basketball games, antagonized too many track and fielders. Even with a parole officer enforcing Duncan’s attendance, Duncan still managed to sneak off and do all the troublesome things he wanted. For his parents, the school, the local police department, and the local juvie, it was a nightmare of an enigma.
And that enigma may or may not be why he was sitting in the principal’s office.
“Mr. Sarno,” the principal said with great exasperation, “we’re enrolling you in the band program next year.”
“What!?” Duncan shouted, jumping from his seat. “No way! You can’t make me do that!”
“Yes, I can. Sit down,” the principal replied evenly. Duncan begrudgingly obeyed. “Your parents support the decision completely. It is by far one of our more time-consuming extracurriculars, and it will do well to teach you discipline. There’s no sidelines or benches in the marching band, Mr. Sarno. I’ve already talked to the head band director, and he is letting you play percussion.”
“Oh, wow. I’m so glad he’s ‘letting’ me play percussion. I don’t even get a choice in what instrument I play. What a great honor,” Duncan grumbled, sarcasm dripping from his voice.
“Furthermore,” the principal continued as if Duncan hadn’t spoken, “you will have lessons every day after school until Mr. McLean deems it appropriate to stop them.”
“Mr. Sarno, the majority of your offenses occur directly after school hours. We are trying to steer your energy towards something productive; you are in no position to negotiate this. Your parole officer will have more travel details.”
And so sophomore year came, and with that came the first day of summer band, which was basically a way to eat up even more of his free time. Perfect. Just what he wanted: to spend more time with the band dweebs.
He made his way into the band room, deliberately choosing to stand in the back. No one approached him, which was just as well, because he didn’t plan on talking to anyone anyways. He had his “scary face” on for a reason. All he wanted was to get in and out of here as fast as possible.
The band director gave a grand monologue like he was some reality TV show host, talking about the upcoming halftime show and the schedule and other nonsense that Duncan didn’t care to listen to. Suddenly, all the band nerds started to file out the door, and Duncan was sure he could make a break for it, until --
“Duncan Sarno.” He turned to see the head band director standing directly in front of him. “Mr. McLean. Pleasure to meet you, buddy.”
“Don’t call me ‘buddy’,” Duncan cut in.
“Got it,” Mr. McLean responded with the same tone of voice, no sharpness or anything. Hm. Duncan would have to work that out of him -- find a way to get kicked out as soon as possible.
“Anyways, you’ll meet the rest of the band in a second. I just want to show you some basic percussion stuff so you’re not totally lost when we start teaching percussion drumline audition music tomorrow.”
“I have to audition for shit?”
“Well, technically, anyways. I promised the principal you’d be as involved as possible, marching and all. So, you get a free ticket onto the drumline.”
“Lucky me,” Duncan mumbled coldly.
But Mr. McLean ignored that and proceeded to set up some sort of drum, propping it up on a stand meant to hold it. Absentmindedly, Duncan kicked the stand just as Mr. McLean went to put the drum on it. Duncan smirked, hoping to make a few thousand dollars worth of damage to the drum, but Mr. McLean grabbed it by the bottom before it hit the floor, catching the falling stand with his foot.
Without a word about Duncan’s behavior, Mr. McLean finished setting up the instrument. “This is a bass drum,” he said casually, “and these are mallets.” He gave Ducan two sticks with balls at the end of them. “You hold one in each hand, and use them to hit one side of the drum. Usually, you’ll never hit the same side twice in a row, you always alternate. Go ahead, give it a try.”
Turns out he could hit it pretty hard without it breaking -- nice to know. He hit it a little harder, and the sound echoed off various instruments in the room. Hm.
He raised his arms about a foot away from the heads of the drum, ready to strike with deadly force, but before he could, Mr. McLean swiped the mallets from his hands. Oddly enough, he was not met with a scowl or a scold, but a smile.
“It’s gonna take a lot to make me kick you out of this band, you know,” Mr. McLean said smugly.
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll just break stuff while we’re not practicing, and you’ll want me out before the first game.”
“You won’t have time.”
Duncan raised his brow. “Then I just won’t do anything.”
Chris shrugged. “You’ll get run over by a sousaphone.”
“I’ll put in the minimum effort.”
“Half the band does that anyway, so it’s not really rebellious.”
“I’ll do things wrong on purpose to mess up the show!”
“We can put you on front ensemble and give you no parts, and stick you next to a section leader to boot.”
“Thought you promised the principal I had to march?”
“Look,” Mr. McLean’s voice grew serious, “if you want this to be a big waste of time, then that’s up to you. I’m not opposed to making you stand in front of an instrument table where the section leader will smack you every time you reach for something. But I want this to be a good experience for you, okay? Not just to keep you out of juvie, but to give you something that you want to do. A good pastime. I don’t care how many times you’ve almost been expelled or how many fights you’ve gotten into, with my students even -- I am not giving up on you. Got it?”
Duncan stared at Chris with narrowed eyes. That was most definitely a lie he’d heard from teachers time and time again. “Yeah, whatever,” Duncan muttered, and Mr. McLean simply continued going over sheet music and drums like there was no bite in Duncan’s voice.
True to his word, though, Mr. McLean proved time and time again that he’d never give up on Duncan.
Maybe Duncan let optimism get to him. Maybe he stopped trying to get attention by petty delinquency. Maybe he let the band room feel like home, and maybe he made a few friends here and there -- it wasn’t important. He’d do something to get out of this, just like he did with everything else. He’d find out what Mr. McLean’s limit was and skyrocket past it, earning him a one way ticket out of the Wawanakwa High School band program.
But maybe that was it. Maybe he didn’t want to figure out what the limit was this time. Maybe he didn’t want to leave.
Unfortunately, life wouldn’t let Duncan enjoy something for long.
don’t swim too far down, lest you get stuck and drown.
(a/n): Just a Chris McLean-centric piece I decided to write, because I have no self control. Also, constructive criticism is always appreciated! I haven’t written for these characters before, so let me know if any of them feel OOC at all.
Word Count: 1,365
Summary: It was only for a moment, but in that moment, he was at a loss.
The boat creaked, rocking gently with the flow of the waves. Chris leaned back in his chair, feet propped up on the railing of the small sailboat, flipping idly through a choose your own adventure novel he had brought along with him.
It was quiet, save for the occasional seagull flying by, and the faint chatter coming from below deck.
He sighed, barely processing the words written out on the page, a restless air surrounding him. He didn't want to go out today, but three phone calls from Blaineley pressuring him to go on a boat ride was enough to force him to leave the solitude of his house. Really, he had been half tempted to bring work with him, but decided against it, knowing full well his weeks and weeks of notes would be tossed in the ocean by her.
“Don’t look so depressed,” Blaineley’s voice sounded from beside him, “You’ll get even more wrinkles.”
Chris tilted his head back to look up at her, eyebrow raised at her sudden remark. One hand rested on her hip, while the other held a cocktail. Instead of her usual red dress, she wore more casual attire; a bright yellow tank top and jean shorts.
“Did you just call me old?” he glared at her, but there was no bite to his words.
She smiled teasingly, taking a sip of her drink, “Hm… did I?”
The TV host scoffed, marking the page of his book before closing it and setting it off to the side, attention focusing out to the very distant city. His thoughts wandered back to his house, back to all the notes littering his bedroom floor in a semi organized manner. He should be working.
“You know, Chris,” Blaineley spoke up, almost absentmindedly, “It’s okay to take a break every once in a while.”
“Says the woman, who does all her work at the very last minute,” Don shot back as he approached the two, a grin on his face. Like Blaineley, he wore casual attire; a short-sleeved, mint green shirt and cargo shorts.
“Hey, not all the time!” Blaineley argued, plopping down in the vacant chair beside Chris.
“Oh, sorry,” Don corrected, leaning back against the railing, grinning cheekily, “Most of the time.”
She huffed, sticking her tongue out as a retaliation.
Chris rolled his eyes at the two, a faint smile on his face, “Anyways,” he cut in, turning his focus to Don, “How was your little show? What was the name of it again?” he feigned ignorance, squinting and staring off into the distance as if he was trying to remember it, “Started with an R… or was it an I…?”
Don crossed his arms, glaring at his friend, “The Ridonculous Race,” he began, “Went absolutely outstanding.”
“Oh my god,” Blaineley sighed, “Can we talk about that final? What the hell even was that?”
Don and Chris exchanged a quick glance before turning their focus to the blond.
“Are you really that upset Geoff and Brody didn’t win?” Don asked, eyebrow raised.
“It wasn’t even about Geoff and his surfer buddy,” she explained, sitting back in her chair and rubbing her temple to fend off an oncoming headache, “It was those damn ice dancers!”
“Oh, don’t even get me started on those two!” Don groaned in annoyance, “They were the absolute worst!”
Blaineley swirled the liquid in her glass absentmindedly, “They were even worse than Heather and Alejandro combined!”
“I don’t know about that, dude,” Chris replied, a smug grin on his face, “Those two were pretty brutal during the competition,” he couldn’t help but laugh at the memories, “Man, watching those two tear up the other contestants was amazing.”
His face fell into a tight frown at the reminder of his show. He should be working, his thoughts bitterly reminded him. He should be back at his house working on ideas, scheduling meetings with the producers, reviewing the various tapes that contestants submitted. He shouldn’t be wasting time on a boat with the two people he hated the least in the world.
“Christopher,” Blaineley snapped, giving him a somewhat gentle nudge in the leg to gain his attention, “You could at least pretend you enjoy our company, you know,” her tone was light, almost playful.
Chris grimaced at the use of his full name, “It’s hard to enjoy anything when I have work I need to do,” he replied bitterly.
Blaineley squinted at him, a confused look crossing her face, “Since when have you ever cared about work this much?”
“Since—” Chris felt his throat tighten at the reminder, and for a second, just one short second that filled the dead air around them, he felt a very familiar hint of fear take hold.
“Chris…?” Don’s voice was so full of concern, it made Chris wonder why they were friends.
Carefully, the TV host stood from his seat, “Look,” he sighed, starting to pace around the boat in an attempt to keep his emotions in check, “I don’t expect either of you to get it,” he couldn’t help sounding resentful, even just for a moment, “But my—my career is on the line, here,” he combed a hand through his hair, unable to mask the exhausted tilt to his voice, “I started paying more attention to the views my show was getting and they—” he made various gestures with his hands as he spoke, as if to emphasize his point, “God, they were dropping. Like, comparing Total Drama Island with Pahkitew Island, it was—it was insane just how big of a difference there was!”
Blaineley and Don watched him carefully, waiting for Chris to finish his rant, silently wondering what they could say that might ease his worries, even just a little bit. Then again, perhaps they shouldn’t say anything at all and let the host wallow in his fears.
“I finally get picked up for two more seasons after seven years,” he turned to look at Blaineley and Don, eyes desperate for something he couldn’t quite name, “I can’t mess this up again. I need to get the views back, or else my life, everything I’ve worked so hard to build, is going to be gone,” his voice suddenly grew a little distant as his gaze fell onto the city, so far away, he couldn't even touch it, “I’ll be… gone…”
There was a long silence as the words hung in the air, deafening. Finally, after a moment, Blaineley was the first one to speak.
“God, you’re stupid,” she sighed, finishing off the rest of her drink.
Chris finally slowed his pacing, glaring at her in annoyance. Don found himself laughing at the sudden statement.
“Chris, even if you lose all your views and the show does end up being cancelled,” she stood from her chair, walking over to her friend and draping an arm over his shoulder, “You’re still Chris McLean, the Host with the Most, the guy everyone wants and wants to be,” she grinned, “So…” she flicked him in the nose, earning a sharp wince, “Stop worrying, would ya?”
He absentmindedly rubbed his sore nose, staring at Blaineley in some surprise. Chris hadn’t expected her to try and comfort him or to even bother listening to his mild tangent, and yet…
There was a distinct weight being added on his shoulder. He turned, meeting Don’s wide grin.
“She’s right, ya know,” he added, giving a light shrug, “And besides, it’s not like we don’t have sources for you to use whenever your show does get canceled.”
Chris scoffed, a faint smile on his face, “Not sure how I feel about that confidence.”
“I bet it gets trashed before season seven,” Blaineley chimed in, a smirk playing on her face.
“Oh, wow,” Chris crossed his arms, shaking his head in fake hurt, “Here I thought you were supposed to be my friends!”
And in that moment, the three began to laugh and a calm understanding settled over them. Chris still had work to do, he still had challenges to work on and video tapes to review, but it could wait. He still had tomorrow, after all.
For now, he would enjoy himself and take a much needed break.