19. Torment

“NO!” Acacia snapped. “They’ve just given us ten errands to run, they can NOT send us out on another mission! Damn them!”

Jay looked at the screen. “No, they can’t.”

“Haven’t gotten ANY sleep for—what?” She stopped as her partner’s words caught up with her.

“They’re not sending US anywhere. They’re sending me.”



“Mm... I’m sleeping, you blasted thing...”


“Oh, shut up!” Agent Dead snapped angrily, and lifted her head from the “comfort” of her desk. “Never a moment’s rest in this bloody department.”

If Agent Heal had been there, she would probably have agreed. As it were, she was out on special assignment. Of course, all assignments in the Department of Emergencies were special.

“What have they sent me now... The hell?!” she exclaimed and narrowed her eyes.

Gecko the Gecko looked up, keen lizard eyes regarding the door as it opened silently.

An assassin slipped in, moving carefully and slowly, as one would around a large, angry animal. Perhaps Agent Dead’s reputation preceded her.

“I’m supposed to partner with you for special assignment?” the stranger asked cautiously.

Agent Dead whirled around, for a moment looking ready to kill.

“Damnit. I’m getting old. Never sneak up on me. The last one who did that was the half dragon, half unicorn Sue and she ended up with a mountain through her head. You must be Jay.”

“I am that,” the agent said solemnly, taking her statement in stride. “I’ve never been out on Special before. Why did they pull me, and not Acacia?”

“Boromir. I guess they feared she might react... unprofessionally. You lucked out. Elrond’s not in it.” Dead sighed. “Take a look at the Words. I’m getting my weapons. All of them.”

“Why didn’t they bring in the Department of Bad Slash?”

Dead shrugged as she headed for the locked cabinet towering at the end of the room. “Who knows? Think of it as a learning experience. Maybe they want to transfer you or have you consult on cases of both Sues and slash in one. They make the worst cases.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me. They have bounced us around like balls. We haven’t even gotten a new insignia.” Jay pointed to the cactus on her shoulder.

“You can borrow Heal’s for this mission. She’s undercover and left it,” Dead replied, and thrust the door to the cabinet open. “What’s your pleasure? Bows, swords, whips, lightsabers, unicorn horns, axes, guns, portable nuclear weapons?”

“If I remember slash training...” the girl closed her eyes. “Just about anything, in the case of total possession. Only, we’ve got to have something to bind it.” She shrugged, and her pack slid off her shoulder. She rummaged in it and pulled out a length of iron chain. “Had some left over.” She thought a moment. “Will you be doing the killing?”

“I suppose.” Dead grabbed a whip and something that looked like a giant dragon’s tooth and closed the cabinet. “Had enough killings in the Sue Department?”

“Depends on the Sue.” Jay shrugged. “This one, I’m more worried about Legolas.”

“Poor Legolas. The abuse he goes through... if it isn’t a Sue, it’s bad, bad, bad slash.” Dead let out a sigh. “And only because he is so pretty to the authors. Poor baby. He deserves a hug.”

“Many characters do,” said Jay solemnly. “Now. You’re... armed, I see. Don’t let Acacia see you with those, or she’ll be in here with a crowbar. Do we use default Lord of the Rings disguises?”

“She could try,” Dead replied with a smirk. “I had a rookie break into the cabinet once. The Box Jellyfish had a fabulous lunch that day. Now, disguises... you’re the expert on Middle-earth; what do you suggest?”

“Orcs are convenient. No lack of them in Middle-earth.”

“Orcs... I always feel like going to the dentist’s after having been an orc. Right then. Oh, and you did go through emergency training, didn’t you?”

“Halfway through. Then there was a flamethrower drill, and it never quite got back together.”

Dead tsked. “Oh well. You’ll learn or perish. These special missions are called special for a reason. Something always goes wrong. Always.”

“Wunderbar.” Jay flourished her remote activator (she’d never let it leave her person since an unfortunate bout of “improvement” by Agent Sean had left her stranded in Powerpuffverse). “Out into the wilds?”

“Lead the way,” Dead replied, then muttered under her breath, “We’ll see how wunderbar it is when the slash couple tries to abduct her and make a threesome or thinks she is an orc that can be made an elf again. Oh yes. Wunderbar.”

Lost, sarcasm on, Jay noted mentally. She set the portal—and damn the vague descriptions, the bastard—and stepped through.

“Ugh, the stars are shining black,” Dead muttered behind her. “Damn authors and their ‘inventive’ descriptions.”

The clearing they were in lighted as Jay flashed a picture. “One for the oddities box. Let’s see, they’re over—oh NO.”

“Did I not say something always went wrong?” Dead rubbed her eyes from the bright flash and groaned. “Is Aragorn turned bad already?”

“We’re much too late! It’s happening NOW!” The young woman cursed teutonically and sprinted away.

“Bloody hell,” Dead muttered and followed. She had no breath to groan at the horrid “Ole English” dialogue she heard from somewhere among the trees, but her jaw set angrily.

‘Thou have no right to do this to me, Aragorn.’

Bloody right he hasn’t, she thought and sprinted on.

‘Says who?’ Aragorn countered.

‘I do.’

Gasps and moans followed, and then incredibly, the sound of several blows as Aragorn pounced upon his Elven friend.

“Damn, damn, DAMN! And Verdammen!” Jay got into the clearing first, lungs heaving like bellows.

“Steady on,” gasped Dead, almost stumbling into the clearing behind her. “Get... Aragorn...”

The Ranger looked up, clearly confused. “Did thee... did you... um.”

Jay grabbed his shoulder, and ripped him away from the elf.

“If it’s any consolation, I’m quite sorry for this,” she said as she bound him tightly in iron.

Legolas had not wasted a moment, going for his knives (why he had not while Aragorn was assaulting him, only a true canon-ignorer would know).

“I’m sorry, Legolas,” Dead said, for a moment looking like she truly was. Then in one movement, the whip was out and encircling him.

“That was a bit too easy,” the agent muttered, and glanced at Jay.

Jay was muttering something. Aragorn was twitching.

“Get ready to kill.”

“Duck,” Dead advised solemnly, and threw her dragon’s tooth.

“NOT YET!” The exorcism was only half done, a faint female figure coalescing. Jay forcefully separated her from Aragorn by throwing herself full-length on him and knocking him over. “Get thee out, the power of Tolkien compels thee!” she finished.

Dead muttered something about “slow youngster” and picked up her weapon from the ground. This time, the aim was spot on.

Legolas whimpered even as canon snapped back into place.

“Shit,” Dead cursed.

“He’s trying to die!” Jay snapped, half annoyed and half frightened. “Damn drama queen! And he’s all over with bruises, we’ve got to get him to Medical.”

“And we have company,” Dead added, as loud calls could be heard. “Probably the Fellowship, reacting as they should to two of their number missing. Come on, Legolas.”

The elf merely fell to the ground as the whip released him, staring wide-eyed at the sky, body convulsing.

Dead leaped over to him, lifting his face forcefully. “Legolas... look at me. You know me. We met when I chased the wizard-Sue. You offered me some wine before canon came back. I got drunk and Heal had to carry me back. I know you remember when you want to. Your body is reacting to something that never happened. Just breathe...”

“Come ON, Legolas,” Jay muttered. “Remember Laurel? This isn’t half so bad as that.”

Legolas shuddered violently.

“Don’t remind him!” Dead snapped slightly. “Shit, here comes the Fellowship...”

“No time.” Jay opened the portal. “Straight to Medical, lessgo.”

“Ow,” Dead complained as she hauled Legolas over her back and leaped through as gracefully as anyone can with a carried elf in spasms. “Elves are heavier than they look...”

Fitzgerald jumped as they appeared in the medical room. “DEAR GOD! Is that a CANON character?”

“Oh, bite me,” Dead snapped as Legolas managed to kick her in the shin. “I remember the time you—”

“Um, yes...” Fitzgerald quickly interrupted. “What’s wrong with him?”

“Been raped. Nasty little canonical rule says he’s supposed to die,” Jay explained.

“Let me look.”

Dead eased the struggling elf onto the nearest table, stroking his forehead gently.

“So sorry it wasn’t a Sue I could kill,” she said gently. “Poor, sweet, wonderful elf that you are.”

“You’re drooling,” Jay said without malice as she helped Fitzgerald collect the various tools of his trade. “Where’s the dermal regenerator?”

“So would you if you’d worked weeks in the Disney universe. Not a desirable character in sight. I like to work with a view,” Dead replied, but did edge away with one last mournful “sweet elf.”

“Some of the men could be decent,” Jay said. “Working in Star Trek, though...” She shook her head. “No-one attractive in TNG.”

“Like your men to have hair, but not beard, eh?” Dead smirked as Fitzgerald leaned down over Legolas, who seemed to be cold-sweating and gasping.

“Aragorn... no...”

“Beards are all right. Emasculated twerps aren’t.” Jay moved quickly to Legolas’s side. “Sunglasses on, EVERYONE. Now, look at the birdy...”

“Twitter, twitter,” Dead offered helpfully as she donned her own sunglasses and patted Legolas’s hand.

Jay opened the neuralyzer, and carefully set it. “Three days... about...” It flashed. Legolas stilled, and his face relaxed into the slack-jawed look of the recently neuralyzed.

Dead patted his hand again. “I’ve seen better looks on him. All right, let’s get him back, fix it, and get the merry Quest back on track without the blindingly out-of-character Aragorn. Honestly... what is the fun of slash if the characters are beyond recognition?”

“Just a minute.” Jay put her mouth close to the elf’s ear. “You weren’t raped. You’re in good hands.” He blinked for a minute, and then slept.

“Much better look,” Dead commented happily. “Thanks, Fitz. You had a wonderful lunch and we were never here with a canon character.”

Fitzgerald gave her a sour look.

Jay opened the portal. “To dispel author influence, we need both of us running the exorcism at once. This should be fun.”

Dead sighed. “I hate exorcisms. The first time I did one, I had the two characters literally bumping each other by my feet. I never recovered...”

“How unpleasant.” Jay shook her head. “A few minutes ago was my first...”

“At least you managed to remember the correct creator of the Universe. I managed to invoke George Lucas’s name in the Sailor Moon universe. It was... ugly.” Dead grimaced.

“Oh, dear. That MUST have been frightening.” She pondered. “I don’t even know the creator of the Sailor Moon universe.”

“Neither did I. I’d done four assignments in a row and was slightly dazed. The ensuing transformation of one of the characters to half Ewok, half Jedi woke me, though. Ah, here we are...”

The Fellowship was in an ungodly state of tension. Aragorn had been found, bound and shaking; Legolas was gone...

“What a mess,” Jay understated.

“But no ungodly Sue to twitter about and cloud their minds,” Dead said brightly. “Aw, look at the worrying hobbits... Right. Exorcism.”

“At least they’re sitting still,” Jay said as she scuffed a circle with her foot.

“And not speaking in ‘thees’ and ‘thous’. How far along are they on the quest, anyway? Damn unspecific timelines...”

“I don’t know. The only time I remember them specifically being near a river was Lothlórien.”

“Galadriel would never stand for such a foul deed done by her future grandson-in-law near her forest,” Dead opinionated. “Ready?”

“Yep.” Jay connected the circle, and consulted a piece of paper. “We invoke the sacred names of the Valar... in fire, wind, and earth, call Manwë, Ulmo, and—you know, this is REALLY cheesy...”

“Yeah,” Dead agreed. “Hey, Fellowship! You’re all being fuzzy because you’re possessed. Stop it at once and act as Tolkien would have you. You too, Legolas.”

“Get thee behind us, the power of Tolkien compels you! HEAL!”

Things dispelled. Canon reasserted itself forcefully, in a cinema-worthy explosion of light.

The Fellowship blinked and looked at each other. Legolas rose, regarding Aragorn for a moment with a look of befuddlement, then looked unto the sky with his usual watchful eyes.

“That went easier than I thought,” Dead commented. “Hardly an emergency. Still, little bit of panic there a while. Good.”

“My head hurts,” Jay commented, having been thrown backwards some distance. “I want to go home, and NOT do that again.”

“Oh, you will,” Dead sighed. “There’s always another author who wants to see two pretty characters together just because. Say, feel like lunch? I’m starved.”

“Absolutely.” Jay shook her head. “It’s not MUCH worse than M-Sing.”

“Ah, but just you wait till you get a Sue and slash in one...” Dead smiled. “I think it’s dragonmeat-day at the Department of Emergencies cantina. Ever tried it? You get the weirdest dreams of flying afterwards...”

“Dragon meat? Whose dragons? I’ve had Yolen’s dragons, they’re a bit bland...”


[Jay’s A/N: Being a slash fan, I’m rarely tempted to venture into the world of “bad slash.” In fact, NC-17 is a place I like to stay out of.

But, as always seems to be the case, someone directed me towards this little gem.

It had to be PPCed. Bad slash is sadly neglected—being as how we never quite figured out how to do it. Obviously, this problem was overcome: we hope you’ve enjoyed your exorcism.]

[Cam’s A/N: Hello! Some of you may already know my alter-ego Miss Cam, who has appeared in the PPC universe before. But since she can’t live out her secret fantasy of being a kick-ass PPC agent, Agent Dead will.

Agent Dead and Agent Heal’s grand adventure into the possible worst Sue ever will eventually be up on my webpage.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of pain. Honestly, where is the fun in mutilating your characters so much they might as well be renamed Dumb and Dumber?]