The Protectors of the Plot Continuum: Chapter Three

Disclaimer: We own nothing but ourselves. We took many lyrics, quotes and references from other people. Spot them yourself.

Linguistic Note: “sarcasmed” -from verb “to sarcasm,” meaning pretty much “to say sarcastically.” Thanks to Saphie.
“ignoration” –“the state of being ignored.” Realized it wasn’t a word after I wrote it; thanks to Beky for noticing.
“epiloguial”-“having to do with epilogues”. Once again, didn’t realize it wasn’t a word until after I wrote it. Had to notice this one by myself, though.

The Protectors of the Plot Continuum:
The Department of Author Correspondence
by Godforsaken and Lantarmiel

A teenage girl sat listlessly at the console, long fingers twined absently in her long loose hair, brown with somewhat faded red and black dye; blue eyes behind blue hexagonal glasses dull in a pale face. One of her bare feet was up on the battered desk as she slouched in the faded armchair. Only her fingers moved as she clicked various links on the glowing screen in front of her; a small part of her brain rejoiced at the endless supply of adjectives that a writer could use for the still scene.

Suddenly, her entire demeanor changed.

“Bagenders update!” Agent Claudia announced, perking up considerably and taking her feet off the desk.

“Eeeee!” Ella yelped happily. She flew across the room to perch on the arm of Claudia’s chair, scattering paperwork and vowels. “How many new stories?”

An hour later, Claudia and Ella were pretending to work by finding various reasons why every single LotR fanfic archived on the Bagenders site should stay exactly where it was.

“...It’s definitely a y=-42, and nothing’s uncanon that’s not meant to be uncanon, so—”

“y=-42?” Ella questioned.

“Yes, parallel to but forty-two units below the plot continuum, if the continuum’s the x-axis—see, it doesn’t cross the line—honestly, it’s the only thing I remember from math freshman year; it’s not that difficult.”

“Why -42?”

Claudia stared at her colleague. “Forty-two is the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. So good parodies would be forty-two units below the plot continuum, but parallel to it.”

“Ohhhhh,” Ella replied. “You overthink things.”

“’Kay, so that one stays...” Claudia hit the Back button, and pouted when she saw that Hell Hath No Fury Like an Elf Scorned was the last fic in the M-Preg Ghetto. Resisting the urge to break out into a rendition of Vampire Club, she resignedly announced: “Damn. Back to work.”

Ella whimpered and began collecting the paperwork she’d scattered all over the floor. (The extra vowels were nowhere to be seen.) Claudia clicked and hit keys, talking as she did so.

“This is completely bizarre. Aren’t the agents supposed to be outside the filter system? I mean, everyone else does something useful, like train, until the alerts go off, so why are we stuck here sending alerts? We really ought to go talk to the Marquis about that; we might have to take on extra fandoms though... well, I wouldn’t really mind that; it’d be nice to get some variety around here.…”

“You sound like Sybil Fawlty,” Ella informed her colleague, dumping the paperwork on the spare armchair and picking up her copy of Rules and Regulations. “Including the British accent, if you hadn’t noticed.

“Thanks,” Claudia said dryly.

Ella flopped down on the couch, opening Rules & Regs. A feeling of peacefulness descended as she started reading, half-listening to the sounds of Claudia typing and humming, and the computer beeping at her. The feeling of peacefulness was shattered when Claudia started swearing like a guardsman, revealing exactly why the computer had been beeping at her.

Note to self: Apparently, Narrative Laws of Comedy do not like descending feelings of peacefulness, Ella thought. What she said was, “That had better not be more field work.”

“-muck-sucking son of— huh? Oh, um... sorry, but it is field work.”

“Damn.” Ella put down her book, using the arm of the couch as a bookmark, and went to have a look at the Words.

She winced. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Claudia was seething. “I get this one. I know I got the last one, but I get this one. I’ll give you chocolate to make up for it. Lots of chocolate.”

“‘So don’t get mad if it isn’t perfect’? What part of ‘Frodo never got married’ don’t these people understand?” Ella shook her head.

“What part of ‘Elves and Hobbits can’t breed together’ don’t they understand, is my question,” Claudia shuddered. “It’s not even labeled AU, or Alternate Ending, or anything. And it’s not like you can’t do anything with the ‘Frodo never got married’ ending. Granted, you can mostly do slashy stuff with the ‘Frodo never got married’ ending, but....” Claudia looked slightly less ticked off at the comforting thought of Hobbitslash.

“But slashy stuff is good,” Ella supplied, and she dutifully began packing, as it is generally accepted as polite for the less-traumatized member of the team to do.

“Very good,” Claudia agreed, nearly smiling. “Okay, so this takes place in Hobbiton, then a flashback in Rivendell, then some actual stuff in Rivendell. So, um....”


“Ah... Ella,” Claudia inquired, “Would an Elf in Hobbiton be more or less out of place than a Hobbit in Rivendell?”

Ella leaned over her partner’s shoulder, a half-full duffel bag in one hand, and peered at the Words. “Um...well, they both happen, and they’re both bad, but I’d say an Elf in Hobbiton’s more noticeable because it’s taller.”

“Good point,” Claudia said, fiddling with the disguise control. “Oh, and when we get back, remind me to run down to Makes-Things and the Marquis.”

“’Kay.” Ella zipped the duffel bag shut. “All done.”

“Even my seam ripper?”

“Yes, even your damn seam ripper.”

“You’re the best,” Claudia said absentmindedly, hitting the console. The portal opened up, and the two authors stepped through.

“How long was it since the last bloody mission, anyway?” inquired Ella, blinking against the glare of the bright, natural sunlight of the Shire.

“A day-ish, maybe?” Claudia, who was naturally averse to sunlight even when not stuck in an all-grey PPC building all the time, was massaging her eyes. “Ow, ow, ow. Hate sun. Reminds me of skin cancer and gym class and tanned field hockey players.”

Ella looked down at her Hobbity self, then at the Words, then down the path. “I think we should get off the road,” she quoted, and proceeded to drag herself and her partner out of view of the Sue.

‘Frodo looked up the path and caught his breathe. Coming down it was another Hobbit, a girl.’

Ella, lying comfortably on her back so as to get a better view of the Words, wrinkled her nose. “‘Caught his breathe’?”

Claudia merely dug out the clipboard, labeled it “Spelling and Grammar Mistakes,” and wrote:

1. Capitalizing “the” in “the Shire”
2. “spilt up”
3. “caught his breathe”

‘She looked lost, like she didn’t know where she was or where she belonged.

‘Frodo leaned forward, interested. The girl looked around, confused. He stood slowly up and leaned against a tree. The girl stopped, ran her hands through her hair, frustrated.’

“I feel like I’m doing an Intelligence Report,” Claudia grumbled, writing.

‘She looked around, her finger nail in her mouth as she thought. She then took it out and put her hands behind her back. Her brown eyes were questioning. Frodo had never seen such beautiful brown eyes. He was so used to seeing blue ones.’

“So does Frodo just look in the mirror all day, then?” Ella questioned rhetorically.

‘She had waist length, wavy brown hair. She looked up and noticed Frodo. Their eyes locked and she came closer.’

“Hold on. Is that all the description we get?” Claudia demanded.

Ella peered at the Words. “Yeah. Why?”

Claudia shook her head in disbelief. “But Sues always put in a positively stupid amount of description, even by my standards, and I like description. This is... odd.”

“That Be’léa person didn’t,” Ella pointed out.

“It was still half a chapter. And I don’t just mean physcial description, since they often just do ‘hair color, eye color, beautiful as the stars.’ I meant she didn’t write what she’s wearing.”

“Point.” Ella started laughing. “The bint’s got a name like Lily Proudfoot and she doesn’t know she’s a Hobbit?” She laughed harder. “She says her father’s an Elf... remind me to bring samples to the Star Trek Department....”

Claudia snickered. “You know, you really can’t pull off such physiologically evil-to-picture heritage outside of a D&D campaign. And you’d think she’d have noticed she wasn’t all Elf....”

“She seems to be completely Hobbit. Wouldn’t a half-Elf, half-Hobbit end up a fairly short human with pointy ears?”

“You mean like Sparticus the Maple Leaf Queen?”

Ella gave her partner an odd look. “Um...yeah. Like Sparticus the Maple Leaf Queen.”

Claudia sat up as Frodo and the Sue finished their introductions and ‘entered the cheerful village’ of Hobbiton. Folding the piece of paper and tucking it into her bodice, she announced, “There’re more stupid introductions coming up.”

“Yay,” Ella muttered, getting to her feet.

‘Lily’s eyes lit up as she saw people who looked like her and acted like her. “I knew it was strange the way I liked growing gardens.” She said.’ “What, like Elves don’t?” Ella growled. The agents set off down the road, following the Sue and her prey.

“You know, this fic could be used in a grammar textbook. ‘Incorrect: people who looked like her and acted like her. Correct: people who looked and acted like her.’” She wrinkled her nose as Frodo and the Sue ‘past many flower and vegetable gardens.’ “Not to mention the difference between ‘passed’ and ‘past’.”

‘Frodo laughed and said, “There are some friends of mine I want you to meet.” He led her over to Sam, Merry and Pippin.’ Claudia pulled the paper out and scribbled down mistakes.

‘ “Boys, this is Lily.” Frodo said smiling at her. “Lily, this is Sam, Merry and Pippin.” Lily shook each of their hands and smiled. “Hello.” She said. “Shall we continue the tour?” Frodo asked.’

Claudia put another tick mark on the piece of paper. “That’s the twenty-fifth punctuation mistake....”

Ella was aghast. “But we can’t be more than two pages in!”

“Well, it adds up quickly when the author can’t punctuate dialogue.”

‘Lily smiled at him and nodded. “That is my home, right over there.’

Claudia looked puzzled. “Dude. I thought she just got here.”

‘Frodo pointed to a Hobbit hole, settled at the top of a small hill, Bag End.’

Ella began ranting. “What? Hobbit hole! Hobbit HOLE! UNDER the hill! And why is the HILL called Bag End? Ow!” Ella rubbed her cheek. “You didn’t have to slap me, you know.”

Claudia shrugged and smiled placidly.

‘Lily smiled at everything.’

“Is she on some form of happy pills, or is she just simple?” Claudia wanted to know.

‘ “Mr. Frodo!” Sam called rushing towards them.’ (“From where?” Ella demanded.) ‘ “Sam? What is it?” Frodo asked concerned. Sam was grinning. “Come! You have to see this!” He said grabbing Frodo’s arm, pulling him, which made Frodo pull Lily.

‘ “Sam, what...?” Frodo began but stopped when he saw who was coming down the road.’

“Aw, shit,” Claudia groaned, peering up the road.

‘Coming down the path was none other than Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli.’

Ella blinked. “I’m not going to say anything, because if I did, she’d notice me.”

‘ “Legolas?” She asked when they got closer. “Lily!” Legolas jumped off his horse and hugged his friend. “You know each other?” Frodo asked. Lily smiled and nodded. “He was like a brother to me.” She said happily.’

Ella exploded. “HOW?” she demanded. “He lives in a different freaking kingdom! He doesn’t live anywhere near Rivendell! And he wouldn’t go about babying half-bred freaks like you even if he did! You’ve just decided to cozy up to all the canon characters to maximize your Sueish—mmmf.” Ella’s eyes went wide as a Cadbury Caramello was shoved unceremoniously into her mouth.

“Useful things to have around, Caramellos,” Claudia observed as she put the wrapper back in the duffel bag (which, by the way, Ella was still carrying). “And you’re lucky that Sue was too busy with her lame reunions and introductions to notice your little spaz attack.” She looked up at the Words and blanched. “Ella?”


“There’s a Temporal/Spatial Distortion coming up about... now.”

The two agents ducked as the scene shifted to that night, and ‘a party in celebration of the visitors’ sprang up around them.

“Wouldn’t it usually just wait out the hours in real-time until that night?” Ella asked irately, around a mouthful of caramel and chocolate.

“It’s the formatting. It just said ‘Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo hugged their friends and Frodo introduced Lily. That night there was a part in celebration of the visitors.’ So here we are.”

“I nearly choked,” Ella complained.

Claudia straightened up. “Oh, look! A lake just showed up!” she exclaimed.

Ella jumped to her feet, swallowing her Caramello. “Let’s go fishing!”

“Instacia above, why?”

“So we can slap the Sue in the face with a fish, of course,” said Ella, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Claudia’s eyes lit up, then went dark again. “We don’t have fishing stuff.”

Ella shrugged. “We can borrow. Hobbit’s don’t lock their doors, except in Buckland.”

Claudia raised an eyebrow. “Are you suggesting...?”

“That we go and lift fishing stuff from Bag End because there’s plenty of space there that the author forgot about, and it’ll give me somewhere to put this damned duffel bag,” Ella finished.

“ Yes. Good idea, then,” Claudia replied, peering at the Words to verify Ella’s statement. “But I warn you, I’m dreadful at fishing.”

“I got one!” Ella yelled, nearly an hour later.

“Varda be praised!” cried Claudia, relieved. She peered over Ella’s shoulder. “What kind of fish is it?”

“Uh... I dunno. For all intents and purposes, it’s just a fish.”

“It’ll be a haddock, then,” Claudia said decisively.

Ella stared. “Why?”

“’Cos all our intents and purposes is just smacking the Sue in the face with it, and smacking her in the face with a haddock sounds best, that’s why,” Claudia explained. “Oh, and feel free to rearrange that first bit into actual grammar.”

“I see.” Ella gave her partner a Look, the Look in question being Number Three, meaning: “I believe you have gone mental.”

They retreated from the lakeshore as the Sue came and sat down at the edge of the lake, looking content.

“Would you like to do the honors?” Claudia whispered in her partner’s ear.

“I’d love to,” Ella replied, grasping the fish.

She darted forward, and, with a balletic turn, smacked the Sue full across the face with the ‘haddock.’ She tossed it back in the lake and ran off, cackling.

Lily looked around in utter astonishment, but quickly pulled herself back together. “That,” she huffed, “was juvenile.”

“Of course it was, darling,” Claudia called, grasping hands with Ella as they spun back into the party. The Sue began drying off her face with her skirt.

‘Frodo thanked Sam and approached Lily. He sat down next to her in the grass.

‘She turned to him and smiled, but said nothing. Frodo took a long blade of grass and put it in his mouth.’

Claudia abruptly stopped spinning, making Ella fly backwards and topple over. “Didn’t he do that in the opening of Fellowship?” she demanded.

“So?” asked Ella crossly, rubbing her rear end.

“Frodo’s supposed to be a dynamic character. He’s very different at the end of the story than at the beginning. And this is supposed to take place during the Depressed Years,” Claudia replied, sounding like an irate teacher. “It’s... anti-symbolism.” She paused. “And now I have the opening theme stuck in my head.”

“Lovely, but the Character Analysis Device is at Bag End with the rest of our stuff. And you could warn me before you let go next time.” An irritable Ella staggered upright. “Aw, here they come.”

‘They rushed onto the dance floor and began dancing and laughing with everyone else. When the party ended’—which was extremely abruptly—‘everyone headed home.’

“Now that, I know, never happens,” Claudia objected as the crowd dispersed.

“Come on!” Claudia and Ella scooped up the fishing gear and followed Legolas, Aragorn, and Sam, who were all heading towards Sam’s house—i.e., Bag End, although the author seemed to have forgotten that.

“Well, that was a nice waste of time and story space,” Ella commented happily. “And the arrivals leave tomorrow morning. Apparently they just showed up so that they could have a party in their honor.”

“Do Merry and Pippin live together?” Claudia inquired as they approached Bag End.

“Don’t believe so. Why?”

Claudia silently pointed to ‘Gandalf and Gimli were staying with Merry and Pippin.’ Ella scanned the fic for an explanation, and her eyes widened. “Chapter Three. She thinks they’re brothers,” she explained, sounding strangled.

How the agents got into the guest room they’d decided to occupy, they shall never know. Suffice to say that the amount of plotholes involving five people moving into a space that the author doesn’t know is there left them feeling rather ill. Meanwhile, the Sue and her prey were in the kitchen, making sentimental and utterly pointless small talk. And, of all things, cleaning.

‘Lily began to tidy up as Frodo made tea. Soon the house was warm and spotless.’

“She just really doesn’t get how big this place is, does she?” Ella mumbled, flat on her back on the bed.

‘They sat at the table and talked as they drank their warm tea.’

“Most people like their tea hot,” observed Claudia, who actually wasn’t one of those people.

‘ “Most of the Hobbits have there name and the place they are from.” Frodo explained.’

“She’s getting this from the Barrowdowns,” Ella stated flatly.

‘ “You can be, Lily Proudfoot of Standelf!” Frodo said.’

“And people don’t usually just ‘say’ things ending in exclamation points,” Claudia observed.

‘ “I’m so tired!” Lily said yawning as she put down her empty cup.

‘ “Where will I sleep?” ’ Claudia yanked the pen and charge sheet from her bodice, and started scribbling again. ‘Frodo hadn’t thought of that. He couldn’t let her sleep on the floor or in a chair.’

“Couch or guest rooms?” Ella suggested.

‘He might have loved her (actually, for the time being he thought he loved her) but he didn’t want to give up his warm bed.

‘ “You’ll sleep with me, I guess.” ’

Claudia handed the paper and pen to Ella and curled up in the fetal position. “You write. I can’t stand this.” She quickly muttered some prayers to Mother Faye and Elbereth, got back up to get her CD player, and eventually fell asleep to, of all things, Gwar’s I Hate Love Songs.

Ella monitored the rest of the chapter and promptly went to sleep, dreaming of her days in Star Trek.

‘Faint’ sounds of cooking woke the agents up the next morning. Claudia rubbed her eyes and “mmf”-ed at the sunlight streaming through the window; Ella looked immediately at the Words and demanded, “When’d she have time to borrow clothes from anyone?”

Claudia dug around in the pack for food, and pulled out Ella’s mini-replicator. She raised her eyebrows at her partner.

“Well I know it’s not really canon but the fic spans at least two weeks,” Ella babbled apologetically.

Claudia shook her head and thrust the gadget at Ella. “Howzit work?”

“Oh,” Ella sighed, taking the mini-replicator. “Like this.”

“Fifty-five spelling and grammar errors, including seventeen cases of incorrect formatting; forty-six punctuation errors; overall bad style; a bunch of canon mistakes; senselessness and plotholes; and general Mary Sue-ness,” Claudia informed her partner (after downing a large café mocha).

“Hell of a charge list, already,” Ella remarked, finishing off her hot chocolate.

The continuum creaked as ‘Gimli, Sam, Merry and Pippin entered and went to the kitchen with no problem. Legolas, Aragorn and Gandalf had to duck.’ In fact, there was a bit of a problem—space had to twist around on itself to let Sam, Aragorn, and Legolas in the front door.

“More charges,” Ella groaned.

Claudia pulled the Character Analysis Device out of the duffel bag. “Let’s see what this infernal device says about making dynamic characters static.”

The agents crept along the hallway as quietly as possible, which was pretty quietly in a Hobbit body. They shrank against the doorway to the kitchen, keeping behind the Sue's back, and pointed the muted Device at her.

[Lily Proudfoot. Hobbit female. Non-canon. Mary Sue.]

For Frodo, they got a message asking to confirm the time period. Then they got a 76.52% Character Rupture. Ella bit her hand to prevent herself from swearing.

‘ “Morning Sam, today me and Lily are going to look for a free Hobbit hole for her, care to join us anyone?” Frodo asked drying his hands with a dish towel and putting it on the table.’

[Samwise Gamgee. Hobbit male. Canon. Out of Character 43.29%]

[Meriadoc Brandybuck. Hobbit male. Canon. Out of Character 46.73%]

[Peregrin Took. Hobbit male. Canon. Out of Character 56.88% CHARACTER RUPTURE!]

‘ “Well, of course we would.” Said Sam gesturing to Merry, Pippin and himself. “I’m afraid we must go.” Aragorn said. “Go? But you only just arrived!” Lily said putting her hands on her hips.’

“‘Bloody hard to quote the movie, innit?’” Ella remarked softly, quoting Spastic Pen herself.

[Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Human male. Canon. Out of Character 39.94%]

[Gandalf the White. Istar male. Canon. Out of Character 34.21%]

[Legolas Greenleaf. Elf male. Canon. Out of Character 49.99%]

“Close,” breathed Ella.

Gimli was intact through avid ignoration, as usual.

‘ “There are some things that need to be sorted out and they mustn’t be delayed any longer.” Gandalf said. “So we bid you all good day.” Legolas said. They hugged their Hobbit friends and left the house.’

Claudia and Ella slunk into the kitchen as the Hobbits and mutant ‘stood on the rode.’ (“Lovely spelling,” Claudia sarcasmed.) ‘Then they went looking for a Hobbit hole.’ The agents followed, keeping a ways behind.

“Wouldn’t there be some sort of real estate transaction?” Ella wanted to know. “I mean, these people do have an economy. We just don’t know what it is.”

‘ “This one’s been empty for as long as I can remember.” Frodo said as he and the rest stopped in front of a hole a little ways from the lake.’

“Don’t only rich hobbits have holes? I’m sure Crickhollow was a house... ooh, lovely, breaking and entering,” she added as Lily ‘reached her hand out, turned the door knob, opened the door and entered the house.’

Thrilling sequence of events,” Claudia sarcasmed, this time with a hint of a British accent.

“Frodo followed.’

“Wow. Deep.” Ella joined the makeshift MST session, then wandered to the window and peered in.

‘Lily wandered to the table and picked up a piece of paper. He eyes widen as she read it. “This was my mother’s house.” ’

“So she’s a guy now?” Ella pretended to be confused.

“Was that meant to be a plot point?” Claudia wanted to know.

‘Frodo picked up a picture off the table.

‘ “That’s her.” Lily said looking at it, smiling. She took it from him and starred at.’

“Starred at what?” Ella asked.

“I thought people starred in things. Like plays.” “But even if they starred at something, there’d have to be a something.”

“Good point.”

‘ “Can I stay with you instead?” She asked.’

“Oh, dear.” Claudia looked ticked off. “You know, I really didn’t think that Hobbits were that into ‘living in sin.’”

“She’s a Sue. She can’t sin,” Ella fumed.

“Yerright. And they’ll probably get married, and then she’ll be... oh dear....” Claudia started whimpering.

Ella, in a movement resembling “Hinge to Flat,” peered all the way at the opening notes and blanched. “The author.”

Claudia nodded, then pulled herself together. “She’ll notice us when she comes out, and she just simpers and spends the rest of the day in the garden, so we can be tourist-y until nightfall.”

“Good,” Ella sighed, and the two agents set off for a less Sue-ified bit of the Shire.

Night fell. The two agents, a bit lightheaded from not bothering to eat much all day, wandered up the hill. Ella was giggling at her partner and the stupid Words, overjoyed at finally having gotten a decent LotR location tour. Claudia was singing Vampire Club, as it had been stuck in her head lately.

“...When we hang out it’s always upside down, dressed in black....”

“Ah!” Ella grabbed Claudia’s hand and set off for Bag End at a dead run.

“...from toe to head...the hell are you doing?...singin’ ‘Bela Lugosi’s still undead!’....”

‘Sam went to his own home.’ This manifested as Sam walking out the front door and straight into a plothole that led to his room. Even at a sprint, the agents barely caught the plothole, and couldn't decelerate fast enough to avoid a collision.

In Sam’s bedroom, the canonical Hobbit whirled around and stared at the two Hobbit-lasses that had smacked into him.

“Ah. We were, ah, just leaving,” Ella faltered, pulling Claudia out the door. Sam blinked, then put it out of his mind.

“Do we need stuff for this flashback? I mean, besides the pen and charge list?” Ella asked.

“Food might be nice.”

They stopped at “their” room to pick up the mini-replicator, then crept into the kitchen.

‘Tears suddenly came to Lily’s eyes. “Lily? What’s wrong darling?” Frodo asked.

‘Lily put her fork down and looked at him. “Well Frodo, there’s something I need to tell you...” ’

“Dun dun dunnn...” the agents supplied under their collective breaths.

The scene shifted time, place, and person; dumping the two agents in a garden in Rivendell, Lily’s POV. They scrambled quickly out of sight.

‘I knelt in front of my garden. It was the prettiest garden in Rivendell.’

“Bonus points for ‘knelt,’ but Rivendell’s pretty garden-y,” Claudia remarked.

“Quiet!” Ella hissed. “And keep out of sight!”

‘ “Lily,” My father stood behind me, watching me tend to my garden.’

“The one time she uses a comma....” That was Ella, sounding resigned.

‘ “Atar?” I asked standing up. “The time has come my hiin.” ’

Claudia started cackling softly; Ella gaped. “That’s so stupid!” she protested. Claudia nodded in agreement, tears in her eyes. “And if I remember OFUM at all, it’s wrong.”

“Dead wrong,” Claudia gasped, trying to stay relatively quiet. “They’d probably be speaking in Sindarin... atar is Quenya. Sindarin it’s adar. And I think ‘my child’ in Quenya would be hírinya, and Sindarin would be hên nín, and I need food.”

The agents crept much farther away, and started putting the mini-replicator to good use, snickering at the Words.

‘ “Atar, what do you mean?” I asked confused. “Orcs Lily. Orcs are swarming closer to Rivendell.” My father said’.

“Orcs aren’t why the Elves faded,” Ella snerked, settling down in a comfortable spot out of easy earshot of the Sue.

‘ “You must go to your mother’s old mar.” Father said placing a hand on my shoulder.’

“House—Quenya: coa; Sindarin: adab. Ooh, thanks!” Claudia added as Ella handed her a Fluffernutter.

‘ “Atar, will I see you again?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes. My father pulled me into an embrace and tears trickled down my cheeks.’

Ella tried to indicate how sappy this was, but failed as her mouth was full at the moment.

‘He bent down, his face close to mine. “Be brave my little aarien for we will see each other again.” He said.’ Ella swallowed, and declared, “Arien was the name of the Maia who drove the sun around. Wendë-en-Anar is Quenya and Gwenn-en-Anor is Sindarin for ‘Maiden of the Sun.’” Claudia was impressed.

‘There suddenly was a screech in the air and Orcs began coming out of no where.’

“Always an Orc attack,” Claudia sighed, still focusing on her food.

“What’s the actual Elvish word for ‘hide’?” Ella wanted to know.

Claudia chewed meditatively for a moment, then replied, “Sindarin imperative for ‘conceal’ would be delio or doltha, and I’ve a feeling it’d take the object le for ‘conceal yourself,’ and my Quenya’s pretty bad so I’ve no idea.”

Orcs, apparently, crawled out of the woodwork, and Elrond and the Sue’s father fought them side by side in another display of hereditary Sueness. The agents ate and corrected the Elvish. The Sue’s father got shot, said a bunch of sentimental junk to Lily, and gave her ‘an Evenstar Pendant, like Arwen’s. Except this one had rubies and sapphires incrusted in it.’

“The Tolkien shops that sell replicas of people’s jewelry only exist outside of Middle-earth,” Ella informed the Words. “And Arwen had the Evenstar pendant ’cos she’s the Evenstar.”

Claudia simply cheered as the Sue got shot in the shoulder, but frowned when she killed the offending Orc anyhow. “Damn. Looks like gwenn-en-Anor dithen lín isn’t gonna die on her own.” She turned back to her bowl of popcorn, and refused to pay attention until they were dumped back in Frodo’s kitchen, as the only thing that happened was the Sue’s father dying.

Lily ‘dropped her tea cup, spilling tea all over the table.

‘She began to cry, as if she had held in her tears for decades.’

Claudia pulled Ella into the hallway so that she could safely say, “That was a damn cheesy simile.”

“And cliché,” Ella agreed. “And it just gets worse.”

“Eep. How much worse?”

“Fifty-whatever-year-old Frodo gets his very first kiss ever, ‘entwined’ is used so that it sounds incorrect even if it isn’t, they go to bed, and they have sex in the next chapter.”

Claudia cringed. “Um... let’s... go to sleep now.”

The front door opened and shut as Frodo ran outside, ‘to Sam’s house and knocked on the door.

‘Sam answered it. “Hello Mr. Frodo. Something the matter?” ’

Ella had just enough energy to mumble “Naw, I just felt like visiting myself” before her brain shut down in a desperate attempt to block out the cheesy Words: “Sam, I’m in love!”

The return to a world of twenty-four-hour days, combined with food for an entire day crammed in right before bedtime, threw the agents’ body clocks for a complete loop. The Words forced them awake some time that evening.

‘ “I’m going to cook a fancy dinner for her Sam.” Frodo said as he tried on his suit in front on the mirror.’

Ella buried her face in her pillow and screamed. Claudia made a grab for the mini-replicator and began fiddling with it.

‘ “Where is your lady now?” Sam asked as he pulled pots and pans out of the cupboards. “Outside, she’s expecting an old friend to drop by.” Frodo said putting the mirror back in the room.’

Claudia smiled as the replicator started working, and she handed Ella a large mug of tea.

‘ “How does she know if they are?” Sam asked mixing some things into a bowl. “Her Elf senses. She is part Elf you know.” ’

Ella started laughing; tea came out of her nose. Claudia stared as Ella gasped, none too calmly: “Elves don’t have extra senses; they have heightened ones!” She calmed down a bit and added: “Damn. My nose hurts.”

Claudia took a meditative sip of her own tea, looked at the words, and proclaimed: “Falling in love instantly is overrated, overdone, and stupid. Romeo and Juliet would have broken up if they’d lived more than four days.”

Ella opened the window and leaned out. “Oh dear....”

‘Arwen daughter of Elrond was riding down the path. Lily grinned and stood up quickly. “Arwen!” She jumped into the road and waved her arms.

‘Arwen smiled and slowed her horse down. Climbing off, she rushed to her friend. They hugged and hugged.’

Now it was Claudia’s turn to pour her tea out of her nose. “Elves aren’t huggy!” she cried, wiping her face. “It’s one of the most irritating things about them, and it’s why Haldir looked shocked in the Two Towers movieverse, and Arwen doesn’t deserve to be made to play Big-Sister-Figure to every damn Sue that comes along! She’s supposed to be married to Aragorn and be Queen of Gondor by now!”

“And Arnor.”

“Well, Arnor’s ‘the buy-one-get-one-free kingdom;’ didn’t you read ‘The Dream Fridge’?” Claudia snapped. “And you made me lose track of my rant.”

“Well, you’ll have something to rant about in a moment when the Sue brings out a one-shoulder dress. And maybe you could rant in the kitchen, ’cos I don’t think the continuum can take it.”

Claudia brightened up at the prospect of doing something, then carefully arranged her face in a scowl. “Bring the Remote Activator.” She strode off in the direction of the kitchen.

‘Frodo emerged, grinning and holding up a dress. “I bought this for her. I hope she likes it.” He said and handed it to Arwen. The dress was silver and silky, with one right shoulder strap that went across to the other side. The little trimmings on the strap were lilies. It was made, no doubt, by an Elf.’

“Made by an Elf? In Hobbiton? Are you daft?” Claudia demanded, entering the kitchen.

“At least the Elvish fabric didn’t make the dress, like in the next chapter,” Ella pointed out.

As Lily wasn’t there, they had to be dramatic to get the canonicals’ attention, and Claudia liked being dramatic. “Now, seriously,” she continued, “Commerce is a little different now, as is fashion. You oughtn’t to be getting dresses with one shoulder-strap.”

“What are you doing in my house?” Frodo asked, bewildered.

“Saving your life,” she replied amiably. “Now, Arwen, you’re a married woman, and you’re the Queen of Gondor and Arnor. Your husband is the über-special King Elessar Telcontar. Shouldn’t you be getting back home?”

Arwen blinked as canon began to awaken in her brain. “I believe I should....”

“Then come with us,” Ella said briskly, opening the portal. Claudia, looking worshipful, gently steered Arwen into Headquarters. Sam and Frodo began to protest as the portal snapped shut.

Arwen stared at the shabby and text-based decor as Ella fiddled with the console and opened a portal to Minas Tirith. Claudia removed the ridiculous dress from Arwen’s grasp and motioned for her to go through.

Canon being relatively intact in Gondor, Arwen turned around after she stepped through the portal. “I thank you for getting me out of that situation,” she said, a bit dazed and only half back in character.

“She’ll be dead soon, and you won’t remember a thing,” Ella replied cheerily, and snapped the portal shut.

Claudia peered at the screen. “I can’t take much more of this. We’re portalling into the first major continuum break.”

“That’d be the morning-after, ’cos I really don’t want to kill her when she’s not wearing anything. And it’s at Bag End, which is where all our stuff is.” She opened another portal, and they stepped into their room at Bag End.

The chatting canonicals didn’t notice the two agents walk through the kitchen and out the door, as they were preoccupied with uncanonically pervy breakfast conversation. In a supreme show of naïveté on the part of the author, breakfast included sausages.

‘ “Morning all!” Came Lily’s voice from the doorway as she entered the house.’ Kitchen, actually, as one couldn’t get from the bedroom to the kitchen by way of the front door. ‘ “Morning Lily!” The men said.’

“She could have used ‘enthused.’ Or ‘chorused.’ Or even ‘chirped;’ it’d be less freaking repetitive,” Claudia remarked.

‘Frodo stood up and hugged her. “Can we go outside for a minute?” He asked. Lily nodded. “Of course.” ’

The agents yanked one of the Lórien cloaks from the bag and threw it over themselves, crouching down so that it concealed them properly. They held very still as Frodo and the Sue exited the house, trying not to burst out laughing as they said such embarrassing things as “last night was fantastic.” The conversation degenerated into a makeout session.

Salvation came in the form of Sam clearing his throat and saying, “When you two are done, Lily, Arwen wanted me to give you this.” He handed her ‘a slip of paper. Lily opened it. Frodo watched as she read it.’ Claudia suppressed the urge to make sarcastic comments, as they were definitely within earshot. ‘Suddenly her eyes filled with tears.

‘ “I must go back to Rivendell, they are having a funeral for my father and I have to collect my belongings.” She said, the tears rolling down her cheeks.’

“Wouldn’t he smell a bit by now?” Claudia asked, standing up. Everyone stared.

“Forgive her. My friend has a penchant for the dramatic,” Ella quoted, stuffing the cloak back into the bag.

Claudia slowly approached the Sue. “I mean, you’ve been here a few days, and you seem to think it’s a ten-day journey between here and Rivendell, and that makes it nearly a month. When I was in reality, the way we did things, the dead were in the ground within a week,” she continued, twisting the ridiculous dress she’d pinched into a rope of sorts.

The Sue stared at it. “That’s my dress!” she cried, outraged.

“That it is, dear,” Claudia said, and looped it over the Sue’s head. “Ella, don’t let the canonicals do anything stupid,” she told her partner as she pinned Lily’s arms to her sides.

“Guys, don’t do anything stupid,” Ella informed the canonicals, who simply stared.

“Lily Baggins,” Claudia began, with relish, “it is my duty as an agent of the PPC to inform you in front of these witnesses that you are charged with absolutely mangling the English language; massacring the Elvish languages; not having read Return of the King before writing an epiloguial fic; sending everyone totally out of character and making dynamic characters static; cozying up to Arwen and Legolas; screwing with time, distance, and funeral logic; having inhabitants of Middle-Earth wear ties and dresses with only one shoulder-strap; compromising Hobbit morality; plotting to marry Frodo and have his child; plotting to do such stupid things as wear a dress made BY Elvish fabric, eat ‘Elf Bread,’ and carry a ruby ‘incrusted’ bow (which would be damn hard to bend, I’d imagine); having a completely illogical relationship progression and several non-events stuck randomly in the plot; having a really lame plot; annoying us; and being a Mary Sue. Any last words?”

The Sue looked irritated. “Who the hell is Mary Sue?” she demanded.

“You are. Ella, the portal.”

Ella opened the portal; Claudia frogmarched Lily through it. From Headquarters, they portalled to the Old Forest.

“Old Man Willow?” Claudia asked. “We brought you a present.” She thrust the shrieking Sue at the tree, tripping her so she’d fall on her face.

Ella darted forward and yanked out a lock of the Sue’s hair before she rolled into the space under Old Man Willow’s roots. “You didn’t remind me.”

“Nyah,” Claudia replied, opening the portal and stepping back into Headquarters. “’Kay... to Star Trek, to the Marquis, to Makes-Things, and to the store for Bleeprin. Lessgo.”



“I need your help.” Ella sounded sheepish.

“What? Ella, you need me to help you get to the department? Gods, you really need to figure out how to do these things yourself.”

“Oh, just hurry up!”

Claudia and Ella exited the room and started down the hall.

“Recite pi,” Claudia commanded.

“What?!” Ella yelped.

“Recite pi. You know, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Recite it as long as you can.”

“Okay... 3.14159...”

“Aww, Claudia, I don’t remember any m... Oh! We’re here.” Ella pointed to a door covered with colored symbols.

“What’s that scribbling?” Claudia asked, intrigued.

“Romulan. I’m a bit rusty, so I can’t tell you what it means. Let’s go. I think I know who was assigned in my place.”


“Agent Moody. Now, appearance-wise he’s a bit strange. I hope that just-below-shoulder-length wavy-curly hair doesn’t upset you,” Ella replied.

“Hon, I work in the Lord of the Rings continuum. Who’s your old partner?”

“His name’s Packy. He’s a few years older than us. And they’ll both greet you like this.” Ella held up her right hand, with her pointer finger and middle finger together, held apart from her other two fingers. “It’s Vulcan. Just make the gesture back to them. It means ‘live long, and prosper.’”

“Okay. Let’s go,” Claudia said, before pushing open the door.

Sitting at the computer was a... well, one really wasn’t sure from the back whether it was male or female. The other occupant of the room was playing the trombone. He jumped up when he saw Ella and returned the gesture she had shown Claudia.

“Ella! What, are you transferred again?” he asked. “Rain hasn’t said anything.”

“Actually, Packy, I need a favor. We just got back from rather brutally murdering a Mary Sue, and we have lock of her hair. She was apparently half-Elf and half-Hobbit. Although we’re unsure of the physiological accuracy of such a species, we would appreciate it if you’d run this,”—Ella held out the lock of hair— “through the genetic sequencing machine. And also, if you cou... hey! That’s my rug!” she screeched, pointing at a hooked rug with a picture of the sun on it.

The second agent turned to see who was making the high-pitched noise disturbing him. His glance followed Ella’s finger to the rug, sitting under a large pile of paperwork.

“Packy, this your old partner? Ella, hm? That’s your rug?” he inquired.

“Yeah! I was wondering where it went! Packy, I specifically asked you to give me anything that I left behind!” Ella cried.

Agent Moody walked up to Ella, way too close inside her personal bubble, and hissed in a low voice, “I don’t like the rug. Take it.”

“Eep!” Ella eeped, before taking her rug. “Umm... we’ll be going now... Packy, here’s the hair... just e-mail me the genetic code. And a picture of the gene would be nice.” She turned to Claudia. “We could tack it on the wall.”

“We could.” She nodded goodbye to the two Trekkie agents, then walked off down the hallway, talking to distract Ella. “That really is a rather ugly rug.”


“I’m sorry, but it is. And I’ve met Moody before; back when Author Correspondence was just a desk job, he had a desk job too. The desk job people all hang out and complain to each other in the cafeteria, Miss Mini-Replicator.”

Ella pouted.

“I used to actually have a social life here before you came along. Sing until we get to the Marquis’ office,” she ordered.

“Ella, you can shut up now!” Claudia snapped. Makes-Things was in their office at the moment, rewiring the console. The Marquis had granted them out of the filter system in exchange for taking on the Harry Potter and Tortall fandoms, and the two agents were poking around the company store—Claudia was on a quest for Bleeprin.

“...makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.... Fine. Be that way,” Ella pouted. She peered over her partner’s shoulder at the bottle she was holding. “What’s ‘Bleeprin’ anyway?”

“Bleach and aspirin. Meir Brin invented it,” Claudia replied. “It’s a less permanently damaging way of dealing with overexposure to badfic than gouging your eyes out with a spork.”

“Ah,” Ella said, for lack of a better response.

Claudia bought the Bleeprin and stalked out the door. “You can sing again, now. But when we get back to the room, you will shut up.”

She was the prom queen, he was the quarterback of the football team and it all looked so promising, nobody thought anything could ever happen like this....” [Claudia’s A/N: Dammit, this was a long one... and there was something I wanted to say about nearly every line of it... you should see my printed copy; it’s barely readable under snippy comments and corrections. I don’t think we captured the full effect of how idiotic the relationship progression was, though—I’m sorry, but the story would have been another hundred pages if I’d followed the whole thing and commented accordingly. Maybe we should’ve just MST-ed it. And the Elvish (both kinds) I used might still be wrong, but it’s less wrong than what the story had.

Pointless gripe: Modern clothing doesn’t have bodices you can keep things in, dammit. I want a dress that laces up the front. And beltpurses don’t exist anymore either, so if your pants pockets aren’t big enough then you have to carry a bloody annoying handbag all the time. Gah.]

[Ella’s A/N: Wow... that really was hideous. And by the way, Moody and Packy are real organisms (I hesitate to use the term ‘humans’) whom both Claudia and I know. So, NO STEALING! Erm... well. Thanks to everyone on the PPC board who joined my standardized testing rant! *showers said people with Bleeprin* Hope you enjoyed!]

[Joint A/N: Thanks to Sara, Nenya Culariel, Krystannya, Nenya Culariel again (thanks for the reminder), and Cimmoren (many thanks for the link! And no, Ella’s not a reformed Sue) for all the constructive crit (and praise, too. That was nice)! We love you all! *showers sweet reviewers in chocolate*]