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And in the Darkness Bind Them

Acacia had grabbed a fire lighter and can of gasoline before Jay grabbed her.

"Stop! Look at this!"

"It had better be really bad, for me to... oh. Oh, this is painful."

"Mute your Canon Analysis Device before we go... Legolas, and Elrond, and Gandalf are ALL out of character."

Acacia sighed. "I'm going to have to have Makes-Things just disconnect the sound on it if it goes on like this. Remind me to set fire to the Sunflower later, okay?"

Jay didn't comment. She tapped at the pad, and opened the portal.

"Link. Flipping 'Link'," muttered Acacia as she gathered her gear. "Someone's been playing too much Zelda."

Jay was running through it bemusedly. "Look at this! Legolas acts like a bratty teenager... and the author REALLY didn't like Elrond."

"Aaaawwww. Legolas broke her heart once. How sweet. Let's kill her."

Jay started to pack her gear methodically... knitting, music player, and several interesting sharp objects. "To market, to market." She jumped through the portal.

Acacia followed, hurriedly stashing her golden unicorn-horn in her backpack. This was another warrior-Sue and she didn't want another fiasco.

They arrived just outside of Rivendell... something seemed amiss. Everything seemed a little off—the sign of a really extreme break in the continuum.

"See, the woods beyond Rivendell..."

"Oh, gods. Gandalf's been turned into a tour guide," said Acacia, looking slightly ill.

Legolas wasn't paying attention to the wizard—not that Jay blamed him, at this point, but it was hardly the sort of respect that the elf should have been showing to the wizard.

"I'm in pain," Jay said.

Acacia shrugged. "Watch me blame you."

"When do we get her? She's almost destroyed canon as is."

Acacia's eyes unfocused; she was reading ahead. After a moment she snapped out of it. "How about when Legolas starts dying for no obvious reason?"

"Works for me."

"We'll have to deal with a lot of OOCness, though," she added, wincing. "And I mean extreme."

"I can tell." Jay stopped reading. "I... can't read this, Acy, I feel nauseous." She threw on her earphones, and tried to ignore the world. "'Only for you, I don't regret... that I was Thursday's child...'"

Acacia peered, shrugged, and began, "'For so long my life's been sewn up tight—'"

—only to be interrupted by Legolas' "Gandalf! Halt! Draw your weapons!"

Jay took off her earphones in interest.

Everyone got out their weapons, and nothing happened. Then an arrow came flying out of the woods to barely miss Frodo and Sam. Legolas fired randomly into the woods, and a hooded figure jumped into the road.

Jay listened with interest.

When Legolas told Aragorn not to "waste your time, words, or weariness on this creature," Acacia snorted derisively. "And who told everyone to get out their sharp objects?"

Jay rolled her eyes. Then... he started talking about the "dirty, pathetic Half-elf—"

"ELROND IS A HALF-ELF YOU GMMMMM MMF!"

"I realize this may sound a bit hypocritical of me," said Acacia, "but... shut up."

"Grrrmflmumble grrreff..." Jay snarled and jammed on her headphones.

Acacia waited a moment, then removed her hand.

Jay scuffed the dirt angrily. "I don't like her, none."

Within mere seconds, Acacia was prepared to concede that this one really was painful. Legolas was bragging about being immortal, obviously trying to make "Link" feel bad, and Acacia was seriously wishing for earplugs.

Jay glared, and turned up the volume so high that Acacia could hear David Bowie singing. Her partner could catch mumbled phrases like "Elrond wouldn't—" and "stupid hypocritical..."

Acacia sighed, plugging her ears with her fingers and trying to sing "Shackled" to drown out the rising argument.

Jay grabbed her arm, and dragged her into the trees, actually taking off her earphones. "This is really bad. Let's run ahead and wait for them."

"Fine by me," said Acacia gratefully. "It's in the mountains that Legolas starts dying of bad characterization."

Jay made a determined effort to frolic ahead, and they easily outdistanced the arguing party.

"Why can't SHE walk on snow? It's an elf thing. Even a—" Jay sneered— "half-elf. I can't believe she's using that as an excuse to be bitchy. Like Elrond's a pure elf, or something. Like the name HALF-ELVEN isn't a clue..."

"Since when are elf tears red?" demanded Acacia.

"Since when is Gandalf 'Mr. Dating Game'?"

"Can we stop asking rhetorical questions and just kill her when the time comes?" Acacia wondered. "'I know now what trouble can be... and why it follows me so easily...'"

Jay didn't even sing. She just walked, and kept going until they hit the mountains. (Normally, this was a journey of days, or weeks... thanks to the ubiquitous plotholes around a Mary Sue, they could make the distance in about a day—and the party wasn't far behind.)

**

"Yes, well Mr. I-can-run-on-top-of-snow-and-not-sink, the rest of us are not so gifted."

"Oh, gods. Aragorn sounds like a jealous kindergartener. Jay? Please just shoot me now."

Jay reached back, and pulled out her longbow.

"I didn't mean it! Do you have to be so literal?"

"Well, you don't like my metaphors. I decided to be literal for a change."

"When did I say I didn't like—oh, look, Legolas has ambushed our Sue."

"Hey, since it's only him, can we get her NOW?"

"Not yet... gods, I never thought I'd be telling you to wait."

Jay nodded, disconsolately. "When does he start dying? The sooner we get out—"

Acacia crept nearer to the snow-cavern into which Link had been dragged. Evidently Legolas had not taken acoustics into account when selecting it, because she could hear them clearly. "Stop screaming... biting my hand will not work, Linaael. Stop struggling, listen to me..."

"Do we have to?"

"It'll only be a minute before he starts spontaneously dying. I can put up with a few impassioned declarations of heartbreak in exchange for not having to explain away having killed her before a major break in canon."

"Owie." Jay sighed, and dropped to her haunches in the snow.

Acacia sat back and hummed, wincing occasionally at parts of Legolas' speech. "YOU ALMOST KILLED ME, Linaael..."

"Shut up, shut up, shut up, just start dying already so we can kill her."

As the elven woman marched away into the snow, Legolas curled up fetally, his face going pale. He was crying tears—red tears—

Dammit, the only guy who's allowed to cry red is the Corinthian. What the hell kind of policy is crying blood, anyway? Jay reflected. "Now, Acacia? Now now now?"

"Absolutely," said Acacia.

Gandalf had come to check on Legolas—the Fellowship was waiting a ways away.

"FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING!" Jay bellowed. "SHEATHE YOUR SWORDS AND LISTEN!" They stared at the orc they were suddenly able to see, and while not sheathing their swords, were certainly not attacking... for which Jay was most relievedly thankful.

Acacia, meanwhile, had headed Link off as she ran. "If you want Legolas to live," she said helpfully, "try going back there to find him." Link stabbed her, because she was an orc, but took her advice anyway. Acacia swore, but took out the golden horn and healed herself. Knew it would come in useful.

Link came running towards the Fellowship, and Jay—

"Another one!" Link yelled.

"Amazingly perceptive!" Jay got a smart nick on the arm for it, but managed to dodge around her and grab her. She held her at arms length.

"I hereby charge you in front of these witnesses, that you have altered canon—screwed with the characters of Legolas, Elrond, Gandalf, and the rest of the Fellowship to boot—that you have altered the physiochemistry of the Elves—that you have inserted yourself where you should not be, and done it badly—and that you piss me off." Jay glared at her. "Any last words?" The Fellowship was staring bemusedly, but standing in place for the time being. Someone who sounds that official is hard to argue with.

"No," said Link defiantly, raising her bow. "I don't intend to die just yet."

Jay pinned her arms to her side, making her drop it. "Try again."

The half-elf kicked and bit and made use of knees. Apparently she wanted her last words to be an incoherent scream of rage.

"Acacia, can you hit her from here?"

"Yep," said Acacia. "I'd rather you step back a bit, but that's clearly not going to happen." She dragged back her longbow's string, and fired. Link was thrashing about so much that, despite Acacia's confidence, any aim was unsure, but the arrow stuck in her throat. Jay dropped the body in deep disgust, and walked away, watching the rest of the Fellowship with half an eye.

Legolas was waking up, looking rather confused. The red stains on his cheeks vanished. Acacia unstrung her bow and grinned. Gandalf blinked. The Fellowship was milling around dazedly, but they'd soon be on their way.

"Come on. I don't feel good." Jay hit the remote activator and waited for her partner to come.

"Ah. Glad that's over," said Acacia, stepping through.

"I am not happy." Jay flung herself into a chair, still looking vaguely nauseous. "DAMN! We left her!" She slammed the console and threw herself back through the portal. Before Acacia could follow, she was back, the Sue slung over her shoulder.

"So what do we do with this one?" Acacia wondered.

"Watcher? Balrog? Orcs? Crebain? Start a pyre and cremate her?"

"We could give her to Lux and Sean," Acacia said, only half joking. "There's nothing those two can't have fun with."

"I do so like that idea," Jay said, her smile almost coming back.

Acacia smirked. "A fitting end, really."

**

Jay portaled them to Lux's command center. "They're not here..."

Acacia looked around. "Must be out on a mission. Hardly surprising. Well, we don't have to wait for them." She took a convenient piece of paper from Sean's desk, and wrote "This is a Mary Sue who we just killed. She's for you two, as long as you don't tell us what you use her for. We don't want to know. Signed, ACACIA," and taped it to Link's forehead.

Jay bounced out the door as soon as Acacia was done with the note. Then, she bounced back, and put her earphones on Acacia's head, turned up loud.

"GAH!" Acacia snatched them off her head. "You KNOW how I hate loud noises!"

Jay glared at her. "Keep them on. You can put your CD on."

Acacia turned the volume down quite a bit. "Okay. But why'd you have to turn them up so much?"

"You just put them on loud. I will explain later."

Acacia sighed. "Fine," she said, and started listening to Vertical Horizon. "But there'd better be a good explanation."

"Now, just follow me for a minute."

"What?" said Acacia, who couldn't hear Jay over the near-painfully loud strains of "You Say."

Jay smiled, and crooked her finger. She banged her head against the wall a few times—dragged Acacia out the door, not giving her a moment to orient—and they went down a short corridor, made a turn, and were back at their center.

"The hells?"

"We're back!" Jay grinned. "You can take them off, now."

Acacia simply turned the volume down to a more tolerable level. She wasn't halfway through the song, yet.

Jay shrugged, and bounced inside. "Silly Acacia."

"How'd you get us here so fast? Last time I tried to walk between here and the Department of Bad Slash, it took... well, longer than that."

"Yes. Because you NOTICED."

"Well, if you know, clearly you noticed, so what gives?"

"Proper preparation is key."

"You mean concussing yourself?"

Jay blinked at her. She inspected her reflection in a bit of metal, checking her pupils. "I'm not concussed."

Acacia gave her a lopsided look. "Whacking your head against the wall nearly hard enough to crack your skull is what I mean."

"Yes. Exactly. Why don't you do it? It would be much easier for you."

"I'm not that masochistic," Acacia sniffed. "And... wait... if it isn't long unless you notice, then there wouldn't be anything to notice. Right?"

"In the proper frame of mind, it becomes logical that the best way to get anywhere is simple path."

"What?"

"Why should there be a huge maze? Why should there be complicated halls and twists, and turns, and long halls?"

"Yes, but if there aren't unless you notice, why is there anything to notice?"

"It exists—you can find the way it was built if you follow the flamethrower marks."

Acacia considered this. "I give up. I hardly ever leave the response center anyway." She leaned back in her chair. "'And you say... what did I say... what did you say...'"

Jay smiled and leaned back. Silly Acacia...

It had been a good day.

And Acacia had completely forgotten to set fire to the Sunflower.

END


[Jay's A/N: Oh, this hurt. This hurt SO BADLY. And the next story is worse! Oh, it is pain. I will drown my pain looking at Hugo Weaving pictures... Oh, remember that the Sunflower Official told us to recruit, so—come on! Write your own! Let Jay and Acy have a little vacation time once in a while!]

[Acacia's A/N: This is the first one that I had trouble reading even to kill. This is highly rare for me. In the name of sarcasm, I can read nearly anything, but this, this hurt. I hope you appreciate it. Thank you to Joan who reported the fic, and to all the other reviewers for reviewing. Will go and listen to my soundclips now, perhaps that will soothe the pain. This was a BAD FIC.]

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