Not only are they a veteran team, but this is also the oldest material in my Archives. The story, I'm told, was reported to the PPC several times, and the ludicrousness repeatedly commented on. Only now, however, does the brave (or suicidal) PPCing come to light, in this report which actually has nothing to do with DOGA other than that one of the Agent was later teamed with Agent Dafydd. But that's the way it goes. ~Terri Ryan, Department of Personnel
by Unknown Author
Constance sat up abruptly, and hit a large red button that turned off the alarm. [Alarm Deactivated], read the computer screen.
"I hate you," she muttered in the general direction of the computer. "I don't know why I went into this line of work; I could have been a nurse. An astrophysicist. A writer. A singer. An extra in movies. But noooo... Daddy says, 'Go into Mary Sue Assassination!' Of course! Only to me, people, only to me." This probably would have escalated to a rant about her positively freaky telephone, which she was required to keep on her desk, but she scrolled down the page and nearly fell out of her chair. She coughed violently. "Ooh... And that was just the disclaimer. I'm quitting. Someone tell that to... oh, crud. I can't just let her disrupt canon like this. There's this uneasy sense of obligation to these characters..."
She hit the button on her watch, which called up the portal, and snagged her pack. "Hm. Character Analysis Device... the Lord of the Rings books... Power Bars™, vanilla flavoured... pink lemonade... paper and pen for writing and signing the charges... I'm all set."
She stepped through the portal, and came out as a teenaged Woman, in other words, herself, who could pass for slightly crazy, and who insisted on shooting usually random things with an arrow.
'Oh, crud." She reached into her backpack, pulled out her Canon Analysis Device. She hit the 'mute' button frantically, and for whatever reason motioned the thing to be quiet.
It flashed through several screens:
[Thranduil, King of Mirkwood. Elf Male. Canon. Out Of Character 82.7%]
[Frodo Baggins. Hobbit Male. Canon. Out Of Character 31.6%]
[Samwise Gamgee. Hobbit Male. Canon. Out Of Character 31.6%]
[Peregrin Took. Hobbit Male. Canon. Out Of Character 31.6%]
[Meriadoc Brandybuck. Hobbit Male. Canon. Out Of Character 31.6%]
[Gimli, Son of Glóin. Dwarf Male. Canon. Out Of Character 31.6%]
[Boromir, Honorary Steward of Gondor. Human Male. Canon. Out Of Character 49.3%]
[Aragorn, Heir of Isildur. Human Male. Canon. Out Of Character 64.2%]
[Gandalf the Grey. Maia Male. Canon. Out Of Character 74.0%]
[Legolas Thranduillion. Elf Male. Canon. Out Of Character 83.8%-Dangerously Near Rupture!]
She pulled out her Character Analysis Device, and pointed it at the 'Sue.
[Marie Slowpoke. Human Female. Non-Canon. Mary Sue. Danger Level 89.3% See Words for details]
[Eindir, Elf of Mirkwood. Elf Male. Non-Canon. Bit Character]
Then, despite the mute, her CAD began to screech, just a bit louder than might have been needed to wake Lazarus from the dead.
She hit the off button, reflexively. But before the screen went dark, she caught sight of the words:
[Legolas Thranduillion. Elf Male. Canon. CHARACTER RUPTURED!]
She was speechless. This was her first Character Rupture in a long time (they're really not as common as you might think), and all the training she'd had was suddenly going out of her head. "Oh, shoot. Oh, darn. Oh, crud. Oh, dang. Oh, heck. Oh, flip. Oh, scrud." (There are only so many non-swear-swear words) She didn't remember anything from "Ruptures 101" that said to test the limits of your non-swear-swear-word vocabulary, but then again, she couldn't remember anything else, either.
She disbelievingly read the Words, and fought the urge to drop her pack on the ground and wipe her hands vigorously on her pants. "Ooh... the tenses... the commas-or-lack-thereof... the grammar... the spelling... oh, ouch, this is causing physical pain..." (Note to readers who may aspire to be Mary Sue Assassins: Extreme stoicism is required. Constance discovered that too late)
Constance began muttering things that, if I had any intention of printing, would up the rating quite a bit... but that's incidental, since I don't intend to print them. Works out well, don't it?
She started toward the sound of several voices, still in the process of discovering that she knew more swear words than she'd thought. She waved the CAD in the direction of the three people she found, and then remembered she'd turned it off.
She hit the "On/Off," button and waved it again.
[Legolas Thranduillion. Elf Male. Canon. CHARACTER RUPTURE!]
[Marie Slowpoke. Human Female. Non-Canon. Mary Sue. Danger Level 89.3% See Words for details]
[Eindir, Elf of Mirkwood. Elf Male. Non-Canon. Bit Character]
"Aha. Legolas. That speaks volumes." She squatted behind a tree, hoping desperately that Eindir wouldn't notice her. She wasn't worried about Marie, as the tree to which Marie was pinned was the one she was using as a makeshift shield.
"She wasn't wearing a dress a moment ago, was she?" Constance muttered.
"It must be the work of Smeagol! Have you seen him? Whither did he go?" Eindir exclaimed.
Constance clamped her hands over her ears, finding out first-hand just how bad archaic English sounded when it wasn't written right. This called for drastic measures, and she decided that Shakespeare was just the thing.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more..."
She was on her sixth time round, ("But thy eternal summer shall not fade. Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st...") when apparently it had been decided that Marie was trustable, and she was taken to see the King.
With yet another curse, Constance sprang to her feet and let loose with the arrow she'd had notched in her bow 'just in case'. It hit Eindir squarely in the head, and Constance darted forward and grabbed what had been a surely honourable Elf, if rather odd. She lifted the Elvin body easily, and activated the portal.
"Sorry, Eindir," she said, as she dropped him right onto the Balrog's front porch, so to speak. "Non-spoken-for characters should never take up with fanfiction writers."
She portalled herself back to Marie, coming out (to her dismay) at the same time the first major Marie/Legolas flirting happened.
"Come, perhaps the Tree of Many Wisdom can help." Legolas said, taking her hand and guiding her deeper in the woods.
"You'll see. It might give you peace at least, however transient. Beautiful creatures like you must not be plagued by evil thoughts."
"Many wisdom? MANY wisdom?! Oh, please, can't I just kill her now? This mission will be the death of me!" Constance took deep breaths, and studiously did not shoot Marie.
She followed, and watched with crossed arms and narrowed eyes as Legolas lifted Marie up onto a tree... the Tree of Many Wisdom, according to the Words.
"Attempting to seduce Legolas," Constance mumbled, and went to hide somewhere until it was safe to come out.
Constance watched in agitation as Marie mistook a Hobbit - probably Frodo, because he sure-as-heck don' talk like Pippin, which with canon in its current state of havoc isn't saying anything - for a Dwarf. She watched with increasing anger as Marie felt Mary Sue-ish-ly guilty for causing Gimli and Legolas to fight, apparently not picking up on the fact that Dwarves and Elves hate each other. She watched with fury that threatened to make a boiling kettle out of her when Marie was summoned to The Council - you all know which one I mean, the one at which there were NO TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY BEAUTIES? That one?! Gah.
When Marie's story had been told, it was (barely) legally determinable that she had screwed up canon enough that she must die, if for no reason other than that the SO liked to keep his Assassins non-suicidal. Constance stomped forward, notching an arrow to her bow. She stepped into full view of the various beings, and cleared her throat loudly so that the canon characters would notice her. She shot several pillars and a few bushes to help enforce her "crazy" image.
"Marie, if you or anyone else has any reason why you should be allowed to mess up canon and characters this way, please speak up now, and I'll laugh, and shoot you anyway."
Needless to say, a very insane-looking young woman wielding a bow and speaking these words would not cause anything other than panic.
Constance whipped out her notepad and pen, and began scribbling the charges frantically. She shouted, "Marie Slowpoke, step forward. Men, Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves, keep yourselves six paces away at all times, or I may be forced to injure you. Marie, it is my duty to inform you have been charged with:
"Abusing the English language, by sloppily changing tense at every turn. Abusing the common comma. Abusing simple grammar. Trying to write Tolkieneese without the skill necessary. Having the arrogance to assume that you can write your own Elvish. Making dresses appear out of nowhere. Carelessly attempting to mix the twenty-first century with Middle-Earth. Inserting non-canon Bit Characters. Causing characters, both bit, and main, canon and non-canon, to refer to Gollum - GOLLUM, to pretty much everyone but Frodo - as Sméagol, without even having the grace to put the accent there. Causing all persons in the Fellowship of the Ring to be Out of Character. Causing the character of Legolas Thranduillion to rupture. Causing several other canon characters, namely Thranduil and Elrond, to act hopelessly Out of Character. Attending the Secret—that being the key word here—Council of Elrond, at which there were no twenty-first-century natives. Wanting to make out with an Elf (give it up honey, it won't happen). Angsting, in the hopes that the characters will feel sorry for you. Being disgustingly beautiful. Taking liberties with the general plot that our dear Tolkien managed to write so beautifully, most commonly known as "Altering Canon". Existing. And, last but most absolutely not least, being a Mary Sue." She signed it with a flourish. "Confirmed by me, and that's a good confirmation."
"She must have been sent by Mr. Eyeder," whispered the Mary Sue as Legolas moved in front of her. Constance walked up to him and nudged him a little bit - read, with enough force to send a baseball flying for the length of several miles. Then she stepped back in order to get a good shot.
"I was sent by the forces that keep canon the way it should be. And since that reason wasn't even a reason, I'm going to shoot you now." She paused, and thought a bit. "Which I would have done anyway. Bye-bye." Constance released the string and watched in disturbing satisfaction as an arrow buried itself right in Marie's, erm, 'lovely' throat.
"Now, Legolas and everyone else should be returning to normal very soon. I think I have a lunch to go eat. TTFN."
Constance took a quick trip to Moria, and dropped the body distastefully into the Balrog's chasm.
Activating the portal, Constance stepped back into her sort-of-homelike room (proving once again that her skill with adjectives can best be described as 'interesting'). She was halfway to the bathroom when there came a knock on her door. "It ain't locked; come in," she said resignedly.
The door opened, and a male of about sixteen stepped through. "Lord of the Rings Mary Sue Assassination Department? Are you Constance Sims?" he ventured, staring around at the astronomy charts that dotted the walls, and the pictures of random things (mostly fish) that were mixed among them. His eyes particularly lingered on a framed cross-stitched piece that read I run like a girl, I hit like a girl, and I'm gonna KNOCK YOU OUT IN THE FIRST ROUND like a girl. He raised an eyebrow when his gaze reached a section of the wall covered in tally marks. "And what on earth are those for?"
"You got it, but don't tell the computer. And I've been keeping track of the days." She paused, looking confused. "I think I have, anyway. You know the way time gets distorted when you leave reality. Why are you - Oh." For his red sweatshirt bore a potted cactus, the unlikely but oddly emblematic symbol of Mary Sue Assassins.
"Steve Dimond. Got recruited, oh, years back, but my old partner's recently gone, well, strange." He fell silent, gauging her reaction. He had been told to go find his new partner; he hadn't been told whether she had actually gone through the, as it was fondly referred to around HQ, "Hell, shrink-wrapped and handed to you on a silver platter - ahahaha, I mean training".
She smiled wistfully, her eyes going dreamy and soft. Nostalgia didn't suit her. "Oh. I remember back then; the movies weren't out yet, and most of the fandoms were still tiny. It was a time of peace and quiet and occasional naps. And better food, sorta."
He nodded, wondering vaguely whether she'd actually been there as long as him, and if so, whether she'd somehow managed to miss all the trouble a couple of years after he'd joined up. "I've been working with the Harry Potter team for a while, but they just had a bunch of newbies come in. I had experience, so I got sent here."
"A lot of experience, I hope," Constance said, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I was on the emergency crew."
She shot to her feet. "There's an emergency crew for Harry Potter?! And they left me without a partner?! I'LL SUE!"
"Calmly... calmly... remember, there are quite a few other teams working Lord of the Rings..."
"I. Will. Sue," Constance vowed. Steve shuddered, and made a mental note that his new partner was even more unbalanced than the average Assassin.
"Look, I'm sure we can straighten this all out tomorrow. Meanwhile-"
[BEEP!] said the computer. The room shook, and one of Constance's perilously hung astronomy charts fell to the ground.
The two looked at each other, and sprinted to the computer. Constance read the frantically typed note by the person who'd kindly reported this Mary-Sue and turned pale. Slowly, she scrolled down. The chapter was short, but horrifying.
"Movie-verse. I'll bet a lot it's written in movie-verse," she hissed (she had been spending too much time reading about Gollum).
"What?" Steve asked, a little irritated.
"Oh. Right. You've been working HP. It's probably written by someone who never read the books."
Steve had resourcefully clicked to the last chapter. "But she knows that Rosie married Sam."
"Yeah... but couldn't she have picked that up from other 'fics?"
"I guess. Of course, it's debatable whether she can read."
"She sure as heck can't spell."
"Or live, when I – we - are through with her."
As this stimulating conversation had been happening, Constance had been shuffling through her basic - very basic - food stash.
"You like root beer or lemonade?"
"I don't have any Mountain Dew. We aren't allowed caffeine on missions."
"I need Mountain Dew. I do not function without Mountain Dew."
"I haven't got any danged Mountain Dew."
"Geesh. Fine. Don't tell Mylissa I have it." Steve winced at the name; Mylissa had originally worked in the short-lived Department of Clichéd Humour, but had (of course) gone insane. She'd refused to leave, however, and now wandered the halls demanding caffeine. Constance pulled out a can of Mountain Dew.
"I save this for after missions. If I run out because of you, I swear I'll deck you."
"You said you didn't have any," Steve complained, stashing the can in his backpack.
"So I lied. Vanilla or peanut butter, and this time that really is all I have."
"Vanilla or peanut butter what?"
"You don't have anything else?"
"Well..." Constance looked through another drawer, but this one locked with a key she wore around her neck. "Saltines."
"Good grief. Do you think it would be any good to request a different partner?"
"Look, you can buy your own food. And Mountain Dew. And anything else you might want. But if you want anything to eat on this mission, you'll have to choose from the stuff I have."
"Peanut butter. And do you by any chance have a bottle of water?"
"Argh! Yes. Here. Catch." Constance tossed the bottle of water at him. "I'll carry the notebook, you get the books."
"I don't like the sound of that."
"They're paper-back. What else would we do but read Lord of the Rings while preserving canon? Let's go. And... wait. You did take "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bows and Arrows, Plus a Few Disturbing Details You Reee-eeeally Didn't Want to Know", didn't you?"
"Yeah." A long time ago.
"You have a CAD, right?"
Steve held up his machine dubiously. Constance grabbed it and squinted at it - she made a mental note to find her glasses. "This is set for HP. Here..." she pressed several buttons and a bright light flashed. As the afterimages faded, Constance shoved the chrome square back at Steve. "I took a few classes in programming. 'Course, I flunked..."
Steve swallowed and resolved to 'lose' the CAD first opportunity he got.
"Then let's... hold on."
With a sheepish look, Constance slipped into the bathroom.
Stepping back out into the Response Centre proper, Constance almost immediately tripped over a large carton and went sprawling. She stood up, and opened the box. "What's this...?" Many urple-y wilver-y bottles stared back at her. "Bleeprin... Bleepto-Dismal... Pink Stuff... ooh, Purple Stuff! Is this yours? I'm so jealous!" Steve smiled, and started loading the aforesaid lifesavers into his backpack. Constance joined him eagerly. Both backpacks shortly became heavy, but neither really cared. No Assassin turned down the opportunity to carry Bleeprin. Of course, the console decided that they had forgotten their mission.
Constance swung around and glowered at the screen, still running on the adrenaline from the last mission. Within a few seconds, she turned again and yanked Steve to his feet. "Come on," she growled.
Steve jumped through the portal she opened, shaking violently. He came through as an elf, rather to his surprise. Constance was of like species, and the murderously malevolent expression on her face looked direly out of place.
"She starts out in Lothlórien," she explained briefly.
Steve nodded. He tried to read the Words, but his eyes stubbornly refused to go unfocused. Assassins are insane, but they do have some sense of self-preservation. This kicks in at the most inconvenient times. He concentrated, and made himself stare right at the horror that was this version of Middle-earth. His eyes started watering, and he had to bring his gaze back to nearer things. He rubbed his eyes, muttering.
As he brought his attention back to his surroundings, he saw that Constance was hitting herself upside the head with her notebook. The pages were starting to tear off of the wire binding, so he carefully pried it out of her hands. Then she started hitting her head on a tree. Oh well, the tree wasn't likely to suffer any damage. He looked back at the Words again, briefly, and joined Constance at the tree.
"Okay," Constance said, some time later, a lovely bruise blossoming on her Elvish forehead. "I know I'm not Silmarillion-versed. But if Tolkien'd made a provision for male elves to get pregnant, I would have heard it, wouldn't I? 'Cause that's, like, the second fic about male pregnancy that I've seen in a week. Was there some huge scientific discovery that I was not told about?"
Steve didn't answer, just patted her on the shoulder soothingly. They had been wandering around aimlessly, looking for the unspecified place that Evelyn/Alatariel was meeting her "father, Lord Celeborn and his wife, Lady Galadriel".
Constance changed the subject, abruptly. "So Celeborn and Elrond-" she choked violently "-have a kid, and Galadriel is okay with this? She raises and feeds the brat? I'm thinking, no."
Steve sighed and scanned the forest for a few random elves standing around discussing Elrond's SECRET COUNCIL in LOUD VOICES that the WHOLE OF THE GOLDEN WOOD COULD HEAR. He saw them – not surprisingly - and dragged Constance, still ranting, toward them.
He fumbled the CAD out of his backpack, glanced at the elves, and placed it carefully on the ground. He backed up to a respectful distance, and poked the 'on' button with a conveniently appearing stick, brought to you by Plotholes Incorporated (Do You Know Where We Came From?).
Constance stopped screaming long enough to duck. The fireworks were spectacular, and the CAD's last words were, "CELEBORN! CANON! ELF! NINETY! NINE! POINT! SEVEN! PERCENT! OUT! OF! CHARACTER! RUPTURED! GALADRIEL! CANON! ELF! EIGHTY! FIVE! POINT! FOUR! PERCENT! OUT! OF! CHARACTER! RUPTURED! EVELYN! ALATARIEL! MICHAEL! JORDON! PINCUSHION! THE! GREEN! JELL-O! GALAXY! BOOOOOOM!!!!!"
The excessive punctuation shook the forest. Both Assassins winced, certain that Evelyn would raise the alarm and bring archers running.
Steve and Constance were silent as they stared wide-eyed at each other. Then Constance cleared her throat, and gingerly stepped toward the remains of the CAD. She pulled her sweatshirt down to cover her hand, and warily picked up the smoking mess of springs and plastic. "It was a good Canon Analysis Device. We will miss it." She shoved it in her backpack, as the consequences for leaving technology in LotR were dire.
Steve was still in shock. "Those things weren't wired for audio, were they?"
Constance shrugged. "They had the beep-alarm things."
"Yeah, but... " Steve gave it up. Even on a few hours acquaintance, he realised that trying to explain or discuss electronics to or with Constance was like talking to a fangirl about spellcheck. Programming, yes, but the hardware, no.
Meanwhile, they tiptoed in the direction of the three elves, and got there just in time to hear, "You are to take this to him and go to the council meeting."
Constance's hands clenched.
"Are you telling me to go to a secret council meeting with Lord Elrond?" asked the 'Sue with eerie cheerfulness.
Constance sat down quietly; she pulled a chrome square out of her backpack. "What's that?" Steve asked, sitting down beside her.
"It's the portable version of DragonFlame. I made Makes-Things give me the beta version, and just never got around to picking up the finished one. That one's supposed to be voice activated."
"DragonFlame's that one program that's really a Sindarin dictionary, isn't it?"
"Yeah. I'm trying to see what her name translates to in Sindarin." A few moments later, Constance laughed maniacally. "The closest matches are alea for the ala, which means behold, and tarias for the tariel, which means toughness or difficulty. 'Behold, difficulty'! How perfect. I don't have a Quenya translator, and it might mean something logical in that, but I don't care."
Steve edged away quietly. Constance had far too much colour in her cheeks, and she was hitting the buttons too enthusiastically. He hadn't known her long, but these were ominous signs. You scarcely even had to look to see the barely-concealed hysteria in her eyes. This was not good. This was definitely not good.
The world twisted.
Steve scowled at the Words. "She covered the entire journey to Rivendell in one sentence?"
Constance looked. "Two one-half sentences."
"She skipped the journey, actually. She set off, and then she was there. She never mentioned travelling."
"No, the author. Idiot."
". . . You meant me that time, didn't you?"
Steve and Constance portalled to the library.
"Alatariel, what are you doing here?" Aragorn asked.
"I'm here as a messenger. And here for the 'secret' council meeting."
Steve bit the inside of his cheek and managed to keep silent. Constance had less self-control.
"What's with the apostrophes, girl? The meeting is secret, or it was until you started blabbing! You don't put quotes around..."
"I'm sorry," Steve apologized, grabbing the back of Constance's sweatshirt and cutting off her wind. Aragorn and Evelyn were staring. "She's sick. Very sick. So sick, in fact, that she can only say..." he paused, counting. "-two and a half sentences at a time. Or else." He smiled sweetly and reassuringly at his partner. Constance stared back sulkily, rubbing her throat, and nodded.
They left the library, Steve more or less of his own free will, Constance with a friendly arm around her throat. There was a shudder as the fanfic author's canon rejected the two elves in sweatshirts and jeans. The memory was erased from Aragorn and Evelyn's minds. Steve looked back in surprise. That wasn't normal; it only happened when an author had completely and totally reshaped Tolkien's universe to her whims. The devastation was evidently more extensive than they'd noted.
No, he corrected himself. Obviously, Constance had seen the damage - she was a speed-reader, after all. This would explain why she was acting the way she was. Steve stared around him, shaken. There was no way they could make him read the Words. No way.
This didn't mean, however, that he didn't have to watch as truly horrendous dialogue took place. He had given Constance the portable DragonFlame, and she was having a wonderful time, judging by the way she kept standing up and dancing around.
"Don't play stupid with me, your trying to break up Estel and Arwen," Legolas accused.
"I don't know what you're talking about Legolas." The 'Sue gave Legolas her best wide-eyed innocent look.
"Then why did Arwen tell me that?"
"I don't know."
Steve gritted his teeth. "Duly noted, 'Sue. "Break up" does not fit into the syntax of Middle-Earth."
Constance looked around, and saw the 'Sue. Her blank gaze slid over to Legolas, and she snapped to attention. She stalked toward Steve, and shoved DragonFlame into her open backpack. "Too right it doesn't."
Steve looked up, startled. "Does this mean you're back to normal?"
Constance considered this. "I make no guarantees about 'normal', but I'm back to my typical temperament, if that's what you mean."
Steve patted her arm. "That's what I mean."
"Oh. Good. Do we really have to watch all the scary stuff?"
Steve shuddered. "What scary stuff?"
Constance's mouth moved wordlessly. Finally, she sighed. "I can't say it. It's too horrible. Look at the Words."
He shook his head emphatically. "Not a chance. I saw what it did to you."
Constance laughed. "Oh, I don't think you have to worry. It only happened to me because of the sugar I ate last mission. Intensified my normal reaction." She scratched her head. "I think. Something like that, anyhoo."
Steve was doubtful, but he decided he had to take the chance. He knew the risks when he took the job. He took a deep breath, and stared into nothingness, until words began to appear superimposed over, ahaha, 'reality'.
"Sorry." Legolas walked over to me after I closer the door and gave me a quick kiss. "Elrond and Arwen are planning to make Estel get married."
"And what does that have to do with me?" I asked.
"You remember the letter that you brought here from your father?" he asked.
"That was the letter giving Elrond permission to make you marry Estel."
"That's why they made me come here?"
"But my father knows it's you I want, not Estel."
"Yeah, I thought that too until I read the letter." Legolas takes the letter out of his pocket and hands it to me.
I read the letter it says:
"Dear Lord Elrond,
I have given Alatariel permission to marry although I did not specify who I meant. I hope you remember the conversation we had before I left to come back to Lothlórien. If you don't, I give Alatariel permission to Marry, Estel.
Sincerely, Lord Celeborn Lord of Lothlórien."
He dissolved them and collapsed against Constance. She patted his shoulder sympathetically. "You see? Not so bad." He didn't answer, just unzipped his backpack. He found a small plastic bottle of something, with no label and no definite colour. "Bleepto-Dismal," Constance realized.
Constance blinked. "Russian?"
Steve looked up from his careful measuring. "Well, it's the same thing in Russian, but actually I was speaking Romanian."
"Ooookay." Constance gave Steve a weird look.
"Hey, you're learning Gaelic. Did I ever criticize you for that?" Even brief, in-mission conversations can turn up surprising trivia about your partner.
"Forget it. Forget I said anything at all."
Steve downed the Bleepto-Dismal, and made a face. Constance looked at the Words. "Now let's go watch them go to sleep in her bedroom."
"What?!" Steve looked at the Bleepto-Dismal, suddenly aware of its mildness.
Constance smirked. "Wee-eell, supposedly nothing actually happens, but you know... we don't believe that." Steve groaned, and took the cap off his bottle of Bleepto-Dismal. He had a feeling he'd be drinking it like pop.
Constance opened a portal to the 'Sue's bedroom. They hid behind some curtains, and watched the unfolding... erm... drama.
"Maybe you should get some rest," Legolas suggested, in the monotone that all canon characters were using. His eyes were blank.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay with me tonight?" asked the 'Sue, attempting to employ the technique known as 'subtlety'.
Constance gasped quietly. She snatched the Remote Activator and programmed the two Assassins a door out of the 'Sue's room.
Steve jumped through gratefully. He turned as Constance came through. "I thought you were more stoic than that."
Constance shook her head. "I thought I could handle it. I really thought I could handle it. Remind me to take my medication when I get home. Also to stop overestimating myself." She pulled her knees up to her chest, shaking. "... I really thought I could handle it... " she mumbled.
Constance was still sleeping when Steve woke up. He scowled at the ceiling. He had the vague thought that if only this ceiling would cooperate, and drop a ton of building materials on the 'Sue, all would be well.
Constance woke up, and groaned. She removed DragonFlame from the place where it'd been digging into her side. Her face bore the marks of her backpack, which she'd used as a pillow. Steve nodded his greeting, and looked at the Words. "We have to go see this. Come on." He took the RA and programmed a space-time into it.
Constance looked up, and her expression changed. "Oh, no. Not this. Dear Eru. Darling Nienna. Beloved Ulmo. Dearest Manwë. Cherished Aulë. Treasured Varda. Prized Yavanna. Sweetheart Oromë. Wonderful Mandos." Having recited this impressive list of profanities, for which she owed many thanks to Microsoft Word's synonym list, Constance took a huge breath and cried, "Why is it always us?"
They hopped through the portal, and looked carefully at the shower. Yes, a shower. Yes, in Rivendell. They quickly took note of the white towels and the skimpy plastic shower curtain. "Ooh!" Constance said, picking up a little plastic tube. "Hotel shampoo!" She stuck it in her backpack, and Steve rolled his eyes.
"How the freak did she manage to get a shower into Rivendell?" he asked, exasperated. "Is Port-a-Potty expanding to include Haul-a-Half-Bath? What does this mean for the wives of construction workers? Will Port-a-Potty soon come out with washers for rent?"
Constance listened calmly to this tirade, then frowned, and started to activate a portal forward in time. Steve heard a noise behind him, and was turning around to look when Constance tackled him and sent him through the portal. "What the flip did you do that for?" he demanded, shoving Constance off him and sitting up.
Constance brushed her hair out of her eyes, looking shaken. "The 'Sue was coming into the bathroom. And she... wasn't... wearing... anything!"
Steve shuddered. The Aura of Smooth was strong enough with clothes hiding most of a 'Sue's flawless skin. Without clothes, male Assassins had been known to keel over from the sheer horror and females had gone blind (nothing permanent, but it made it difficult to aim a crossbow properly).
"Gah. That was a bad experience. Just nasty and bad and wrong. Gah. Gah."
Steve smiled at her complacently. "Well, better you than me."
Constance whacked him. "Just for that, you have to watch the medical exam."
"I kid you not. An exam with a tongue depressor, no less. I'm just surprised there weren't any stethoscopes."
Steve stared blankly ahead.
"Steve, stop it, or I'm taking your Pink Stuff and Purple Stuff."
"Oh, good grief."
Constance skimmed the Words, decided against watching Evelyn boldly decide to marry Legolas, despite her father, one of, telling her she had to marry Aragorn. She needed something to bring Steve back to normal.
"This is a dangerous story," she reflected. She opened a portal. "Maybe the hair-doing session will help."
Galadriel pulled her [Evelyn's] hair into a tight bun with hairs hanging down in the back and tendrils on either side of her face.
Steve stayed in the zombie-state through the hour between hair-doing and wedding. He was silent through the revelation that Evelyn was pregnant.
No one noticed the two elves in sweatshirts as they slipped into the back of the 'chapel'. The whole world was overcome by such complete improbability that no one noticed two jean-wearing Elves.
Constance winced at the horrendous, "Arwen, I have one question, why are you not marrying Aragorn?"
"A simple answer for a simple question, there is no love between us anymore." Arwen replied.
"Oh, Arwen," Steve said sadly. Constance gave him a surprised look. Then understanding dawned. Arwen was his lust object, she remembered, vaguely (see, those conversations work both ways). Okay then.
They followed the rest of the guests to the 'reception'. She grinned as she saw the tables of Elvish food. She glanced up just in time to see Elrond adding hitherto-unmentioned 'Claire', who had just wed Aragorn, to the Fellowship.
"If I weren't in shock," Constance commented to Steve, "I would probably be bawling by now."
"Mmmph-tmmmf," Steve agreed, around his mouthful of food.
Constance sighed. She activated a portal, and the two now-Orcish Assassins stepped through.
Steve did take care to swallow his food before starting to yell at Constance. "You might have at least warned me!"
"About what?" Constance asked, looking genuinely puzzled.
"About the snow!"
Steve looked at the Words, and suddenly said, "Constance. Cover your eyes."
"What? Why?" Constance looked around.
"Can you just imagine her taking her anger out on the Orcs and Goblins during this pregnancy?" asked Boromir.
"If you don't shut your mouth, I'll take my anger out on you," said the 'Sue, in what she probably thought was a scary tone of voice.
"Alatariel, be nice," said Legolas.
"Oh but I am being nice sweetheart," she said sweetly.
"It doesn't look that way," said Boromir.
The 'Sue picked up a sword and went behind Boromir, using perhaps unnecessary stealth.
"If you say one more thing I will slit your throat."
"You DON'T THREATEN BOROMIR, YOU-"
Steve put a hand over Constance's mouth. "Please don't."
Constance kicked him in the shin. He didn't let go. "'E 'n'n'd B'm'r!"
"Yes, I know she insulted Boromir. We at least have to wait until she miscarries, without any symptoms of miscarriage. Mucking with physiology is a serious offence."
Constance relaxed. Steve let her go, warily. "Okay. Okay," she said, in tones of defeat. "But I want to kill her slowly, and painfully."
"But of course."
"Like, we could maybe pour gasoline on her and light a match.
Steve rolled his eyes. "And did you perchance think to bring gasoline?" Constance froze, looking sheepish. "I thought not."
"Actually, I was going to say..." Steve raised his eyebrows, and Constance reached into her backpack and brought out a gasoline can. "Be prepared, right?"
Steve stared at Constance, and Constance looked more and more ashamed, until Steve finally began to laugh. Looking very much relieved, Constance put the gasoline away.
"Incineration it is, then."
He was still laughing when Merry tried to ask where babies came from, at which point he stopped chuckling abruptly. He snarled and pulled out his Character Analysis Device, and pointed it at Merry.
[Meriadoc Brandybuck. Hobbit Male. Canon. Out-of-Character 83.7% CHARACTER RUPTURE]
He swore and dropped his CAD, and stuck his burnt fingers into his mouth. Constance smacked her forehead. "That's two CADs blown on one mission. Makes-things is gonna skin us alive."
Steve glared at his partner; she might have at least tried to act concerned about his fingers.
Constance ignored his Glare of Death™, and programmed something into the Remote Activator. They came out later that night, just in time to see Evelyn kiss Frodo on the cheek.
"Whoa! Is she cheating on Legolas?" Constance asked, looking traumatized. Slaughtering one character for the sake of hormonal fulfilment was a death sentence; two, and Assassins oft-times decided to give the Mary Sue to the Exquisitor. Which was also a death sentence. It was just... carried out slower.
Steve squinted at the Words. "I don't think so. Or, maybe not. Maybe she is. I can't really... tell."
"Where's your sting?" Evelyn asked Frodo. Constance twisted her features into a truly horrible grimace as Frodo temporarily appeared to be a bumblebee.
Something happened, something else happened, and suddenly Legolas screamed. The Assassins winced theatrically. Legolas ran, slow motion, to Evelyn's side. Soft, sappy music began to play in the background. "Legolas, I lost the baby," Evelyn said, and passed out.
Constance glanced at the words, and started punching buttons on her portal activator. "You know, you're going to wear that thing out," Steve offered helpfully.
"Shut up," Constance said between clenched teeth.
They came out soon after the 'Sue had awoken from her coma, outside of Moria. "Legolas what happened to the arrow that killed the baby?" Evelyn asked, batting her eyelashes.
"I took it out and destroyed it," Legolas answered.
Steve rubbed his forefinger and thumb together. "This is the world's smallest fiddle playing 'My Heart Bleeds for You.' You know what angst is? Well, this isn't it."
Constance waited until Steve stopped raving toward the non-present author. Then she gestured impatiently, and he handed her a copy of Fellowship.
"Evelyn Alatariel No-last-name-given! Please stand. It is our duty and pleasure to charge you with:
"Causing character ruptures in: Meriadoc Brandybuck, Boromir of Gondor, Legolas of Mirkwood, Celeborn of Lothlórien, and Elrond Halfelven. Causing a baby to be conceived without the physical process necessary for such an event to eventuate. Making Galadriel do your hair. Mucking with male Elvish physiology by writing a male-pregnancy fic. Creating a chapel in Imladris. Making Boromir an insensitive prick. Creating a shower in Imladris. Giving Elves tongue depressors. Making Haldir a rapist, and actually those last two haven't happened yet, have they? Having a useless friend named 'Clare' who marries Aragorn in place of Arwen. Making Merry not know about sex. Making Sam not know about sex. They are adults, hon, and judging by the number of children Sam has, I'd say he knows very well what sex is. Cheating on Legolas with Frodo. Making Frodo a bumblebee. Really, really pissing me off. Shorting out two of our CADs. Being a Mary Sue. For these crimes, the punishment is death. You have no rights. There are no higher courts to appeal to. Resistance is futile. The punishment shall be carried out immediately." Constance hit Evelyn on the head with her book, and the 'Sue collapsed. Steve swung the unconscious elf over his shoulder, patted a dazed-looking Legolas on the back, and stepped merrily through a portal.
They came out in a large stone room, and Steve dropped the unconscious Elf on the floor. "Where are we?" he asked, looking around.
"Dunno," Constance answered, busily dousing the 'Sue with gasoline. "Some stone room." Steve opened his mouth to say something about unspecified portal coordinates, but Constance lit a match.
Fire is pretty. We are saying no more and no less.
Steve looked up from the former Elf to see a white-robed wizard lifting a staff. "CONSTANCE! We're in Isengard, idiot!"
Constance looked up, mouth hanging open. She fumbled with the portal activator, and both Assassins jumped through the resulting portal.
Constance flopped down on the floor, (only barely missing a tomato-shaped cushion) and groaned. The computer beeped. Constance groaned again, more emphatically. Steve, being much more dutiful than Constance, actually glanced at the computer from his spot on the ground. Then he beamed cheerfully, and scrambled unsteadily to his feet.
"Elberath!" he said joyfully. (Yes, this does make sense. No, you didn't see that conversation. Aren't Agents allowed any privacy around you lot?)
Constance shot to her feet. "No! Really?!" She stared at the computer. "Yes!" She punched the air, and grabbed Steve's arm. "Let's go get her."
Steve followed. "Do you think she has Vala-powers?" he wondered uneasily.
Constance put down the box, grinning.
"... what I don't understand," complained Steve, who was a few feet behind her, "is why you carry hot pads around in your pockets."
Constance gave him a disdainful look. "I usually don't - only when I'm expecting mini-Balrogs."
The side of the box incinerated. Constance and Steve backed up to a respectful distance. The fire-glow of the mini-Balrog lit the room, complimenting the tomato décor beautifully. Constance squealed and jumped up and down, effectively spoiling the mystic mood. "Welcome home, Elberath."