Monday, June 27, 2011

Insert an Appropriate Title for EPIC FINALE Here

Alexa May Wells was not the sort of girl you would expect to find at a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For a start, she'd grown up firmly believing that, like her mother, she was a complete squib. Not that this worried her, after all, she'd gone to a muggle school and lived in a muggle town – there was something nice about blending in with her friends.

The letter had come as something of a shock, but a nice one. Her grandparents had always hoped she'd turn out to be a witch – a late developer, so to speak and they were thrilled with Hogwarts' decision. So thrilled, in fact that they'd bought her the crup puppy that she had lovingly named Archibald.

Her parents had seen her off that day from Platform 9 ¾ and she was missing them already. Eleven years old and away from home for the first time, it was certainly a daunting prospect. Alexa hugged her knees to her chest and sighed, wondering if anyone would come and join her in her lonely compartment.

"Erm… hi?" A skinny, dark-haired boy with glasses was peering around the door. "Can I sit here?"

"Sure." Alexa nodded. "Don't know anybody either?"

The boy shrugged, "Ron and Hermione are up in the prefect's carriage. I'm Harry by the way, Harry Potter." He held out his hand and Alexa shook it.

"Nice to meet you, Harry Potter."

# # # # # # #

Meanwhile, in the library, Tash and a collection of other agents were kicking back and relaxing after a long, hard day reading fanfiction – always on the hunt for dangerous Mary Sues. In fact, all was well, until…

The library fell into an awed hush as the shadow of their rarely-seen president loomed across the room in an ominous fashion.

"Surprised to see me?" Harriet asked, emerging in the shadows with a swish of her cape (worn purely for dramatic effect)

"Not really," Tash replied, "we could hear your string quartet playing your ominous entrance music from the lift."

Four violinists and a cellist scurried out from behind a now disgruntled looking Hati, only to be fixed with her newly acquired death-glare of doom, a trick the society members had been perfecting in their fight against Mary Sues.

"At least they weren't playing 'if you're happy and you know it' this time," Tash added in an attempt to placate her friend. "And I didn't know string quartets were covered by the society budget."

"Oh, I sold a sack of Oreos I found behind that bookshelf over there. I'm sure they won't be missed." The president said idly. The others looked around, hoping Adrian was not in earshot. "Anyway, you know why I'm here, don't you?"

The girls nodded. Today, the eagerly awaited arrival of the Canon Cannon version two was finally upon them! With a click of her fingers Harriet summoned four attractive and scantily clad young men, wheeling the Napoleonic metalwork between them. Tash raised an eyebrow.

"Harriet, are attractive male slaves covered by the budg-"

"Never you mind what is covered by the budget," snapped her comrade, going decidedly pink in the face. "Ever since the treasurer took all our money and ran off to the Canaries it's been hard work juggling both jobs."

"How is Lauren?" enquired Miri helpfully.

"Fine, she sends postcards every now and then, promises to be on the look out for any Mary Sues lurking in the pool side bar. It's a known hotspot for cliché activity."

"Says her." Tash grumbled. "Anyway, is the Canon Cannon ready?"

A quick nod to the string quartet caused atmospheric music to fill the air.

"The Canon Cannon," their leader declared, "was born ready."

"How are cannons born?" Michael asked, not looking up from his DS.

At that moment a thunderous boom stunned the society into silence. "Sorry!" Marcus yelled sheepishly, "just testing the sound effects button."

The others rolled their eyes.

"OK." Tash cried, "Are we ready?

"Don't be ridiculous!" Harriet scolded her. "Where is your beret?"


"Yes, beret, Tash, you can't fire an antique Napoleonic cannon without proper ceremony. Now put on your beret."

Grumbling, the other society members pulled their berets onto their heads and starting eating Camembert in an attempt to be suitably French.

"Champagne?" Harriet offered.

"Harriet, I am teetotal."

"Merlot then?"

"Why do we have to do all this French stuff?" Camille asked, sniffing her camembert as if it may have risen up and bitten her at any given moment. Hari sniffed the air in what she thought was a suitably disapproving manner and attempting a withering look which only succeeded in making her look as if her nose was suffering a troublesome itch.

"For reasons you could never possibly understand, my dear underling." with a flourish, Hari produced a smiley-faced cigarette lighter and flicked it randomly at the fuse. "These things take a certain… canonical-ness."

Everyone exchanged bemused looks. Harriet sighed. "It's a canon cannon. It needs its own… canon."

"And it's from France!" Miri punched the air in triumph. "I get it now!"

Hati pulled a sheet of gold stars from her bag and gave one to the young agent as a reward.

Eagerly, the present society members gathered around to witness the maiden blast of the new-and-improved canon cannon mark 2.4b. There hadn't been a 2.4a or even a 2.3 for that matter, but Hati was insistent it sounded more impressive. The leader flicked the lighter a few more times, scowling in frustration. "Anybody here smoke?"

The society members shook their heads. A few frustrated clicks later the lighter actually managed a small flame which set the fuse hissing and burning.

"Get down!" someone yelled, the society members pulled their berets down over their ears for protection as a loud bang sent several bookcases flying.

Coughing and brushing aside bits of ash, the agents exchanged pleased glances that quickly soured when they realised what they had done to the library.

"Well…" the two society founders exchanged worried glances and began edging towards the door. "You guys can clean this up before Adrian gets back – right?"

"Why?" Miri asked, "Where are you guys going?"

"New recruits to train." Hati replied, grabbing Tash's arm and making a hasty retreat.

"Got to go!"

# # #

It wasn't a complete lie. There were new recruits to train that day and both Hati and Tash were eager to see them as only Drake had overseen recruitment that week – everyone else having been otherwise occupied. Having gained a safe distance from the main library, the two founders summoned the fifteen or so new recruits to them in order to see what they'd got to work with.

On the whole, the recruits were much the ordinary sort, grumbling writers, disgruntled readers and nervous fans all shuffling their feet and wondering what on earth had possessed them to throw themselves at the mercy of the society founders. Hati strode around, attempting to look important as the new recruits exchanged confused looks.

"So, these are the wee newbies, eh?" she prodded one experimentally. "They look fine to me. Who picked them?"

Tash shrugged, rifling through the exam papers they were about to hand out, making sure the large red stamp declaring them "TOP SECRET AND REALLY REALLY REALLY DIFFICULT" was terrifying enough. "Drake, I'm sure they're fine."

Hati gave a shrug and turned to address the new recruits.

"Friends. Romans. Countrymen."

The recruits exchanged bewildered glances, wondering if they ought to be speaking Latin.

"You have chosen to embark on a perilous journey. Some of you may die…" there was a squeak from the crowd as one of the new recruits fainted in terror.

"Er… Tashy? Medical wing, please."

Tash whistled for the medics who came and carried the unconscious girl away. Hati scratched her head. "Why does that always happen when I'm trying to give a speech?"

Tash shrugged "Search me."

One of the recruits, an attractive, auburn-haired boy with deep violet eyes raised his hand. "Excuse me, may I make a suggestion?" he said in a melodic yet suitably masculine and generally beautiful voice which called to mind choirs of angels singing in perfect harmony.

"No." Hati replied, busying herself with the exam papers. "No you may not. And minus ten points for interrupting."

Tash positioned the giant, ominous ticking clock so that it cast an intimidating shadow over the new recruits.
"You have sixty minutes for this exam, your time starts now."

The new recruits exchanged terrified glances. "But… but… what about desks and chairs and pens and stuff?" one of them asked. The founders exchanged glances.

"Honestly. Do you expect us to do everything for you? You have to show some initiative. In fact, finding yourself those things is task one."

The new recruits scrambled for supplies, the auburn-haired boy at the front, helping the less able and ensuring that fairness prevailed and the evils of pencil-hogging were avoided. With a flick of his gorgeous, shiny auburn hair he lowered his long, graceful legs over the chair he had found and settled down to filling in his exam paper with elegant yet stylish handwriting.

The hour passed quickly, too quickly for many of the recruits to manage to complete their papers. The auburn-haired boy, however, finished with minutes to spare and was first to offer his paper when Hati came to collect them.

"You may go now." The leader told the roomful of hopefuls, "We shall contact you in the cafeteria to tell you your results." The hopefuls trudged slowly out of the room as the girls settled down to the arduous task of marking the exam papers.

Twenty minutes later they were beginning to despair at the seeming lack of sense any of the new recruits possessed.

"Fail, fail, double fail, close fail, epic fail, fail." Tash put her papers down and sighed. "How about you?"

"Fail, fail, faily mcfail (must be Scottish) fail, fail, this person didn't even get question one right and… fail."

Both girls glanced down at the one remaining exam paper, neither displaying much optimism. It seemed unlikely after the previous performances that this one would be much better.

"Tick… tick… tick… full marks." Tash scratched her head, "that's strange, this is the boy you deducted ten marks from and yet… his paper is still perfect."

"What's the name?" Hati asked, curious.

"Will, Will Aurelius Bob Fox. Does that sound familiar to you?"

"Hmmm… vaguely, but I don't think I know any guys called Will."

"No," Hati agreed, "me neither. Oh well, I suppose we'd better tell him he's passed and memory wipe the others."

# # # # # # #

Later that day, qualified agent Will Fox had positioned himself behind a desk in the library, allowing his messy, auburn locks to fall in a poetic way across his perfect features as he read, leaving a trail of swooning agents in his wake.

Behind the nearest bookcase a small group of appreciative girls were gathering, giggling about their cute new colleague.

Beth, Emma and Kate had positioned themselves behind a nearby bookcase in order to spy, the new boy exuding a strange aura of irresistibility and also the feeling that everything he did was incredibly perfect and interesting. Will Fox turned the pages of his book with long, slender fingers, apparently unaware of the attention he was attracting. The peace was not to last, however, for at that moment the Mary-Sue-Sensors began flashing pink and green – the sign for a very dangerous situation.

Hati and Tash sprinted into the room in record time, causing several people to look around suddenly in alarm.

"Agents! We need a team together, by those readings there's a hugely powerful Mary Sue in the Harry Potter fandom." Hati shrieked, gathering up plot devices, prohibitors and whatever else she could reach. Tash pointed to various agents.

"Emma, Beth, Kate. We need you here, communications, everyone else, with us."

Everyone else, unfortunately, consisted solely of Adrian and Will, the other agents all having skived off to the canteen for an early lunch. They were both quick to respond, gathering up their equipment and reaching the two leaders in time to scramble through the plot hole and into the Harry Potter fandom.

# # # #

It was a crisp and clear winter's day and Hogwarts was covered with a blanket of white. The only ones about to see this, however, were the few remaining students who had not returned home for the Christmas holidays. The Gryffindor common room was almost empty, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Alexa the only ones to have chosen the warmth of the fire over a Christmas trip to Hogsmeade.

The emptiness of the common room, however, had its advantages. The four of them had the Marauders' Map open on a table and were deep in discussion, not needing to worry about being overheard. Not one of the inquisitorial squad had access to the Gryffindor common room, in fact, no one could get in right then…

"Hold it right there – SUE!"

The four friends looked up in shock as four people they had never seen before scrambled through what appeared to be a hole in mid-air. After exchanging looks with the others, Harry asked tentatively: "What's a 'Sue'?"

He didn't get a response, instead the dark haired girl called the others around to observe a strange-looking instrument. "It's not her." She stated, looking hugely puzzled. "She's a non-Sue, just a self-insert. She's perfectly safe."

Adrian and Tash exchanged puzzled glances. "Then… who set off the reading?"

"Excuse me." Alexa asked, "Who on earth are you?"

"The reading's still strong." Tash said. "Really strong, in fact the only Sue to give off these kinds of readings is… Willowe."

Somewhere, in the back of the agents' respective brains, something clicked into place.

"Where did Will go?" Asked Adrian, glancing around. "Come to that… where's the plot hole back to the library?"

It was no use, both were missing.

# # #

The residents of the library all started in surprise as Hati, Tash and Adrian burst through a plot hole and back into the library, all brandishing wands 'borrowed' from their latest fandom.

"We've come to rescue you." Tash told the bemused girls, who were happily munching on Krispy Kremes whilst playing Pokémon. They just blinked at her in response.

"Um… did that Sue do a number on you guys?" Beth asked. Hati shook her head.

"There was no Sue, just a regular self-insert. It was a diversion."

"For what?"

"We assumed, to take you three hostage. Where on earth is Willowe?"

Emma looked up in concern, realising that there were only three of them. "Oh no, where's Will? Is he hurt?"
At her words the two leaders and the librarian fixed her with a look. "Maybe I should rephrase my last question." Hati sighed. "Where on earth is Will?"

A chorus of shocked cries went up from the library. Will was Willowe? But he was so perfect, such flowing auburn locks, flawless skin, such likability and… come to think of it, how on earth hadn't they guessed?
"We just have to think." Tash told everyone. "If you were Willowe, where would you be?"

Hati rubbed her temples, "Think like Willowe… I'm so perfect everyone should worship me…"

"My hair is so amazing it merits four paragraphs of description every time I move…" Tash joined in.
"Spots are for people who aren't as great as I am…"

"Cake is for people who don't have the world's most perfect figure…"

"And I'm breaking into the library to…" Hati scratched her head. "My office! She's got to be in there."

The five girls and Adrian sprinted towards the office, the three who had stayed behind exchanging confused glances. Hati reached the door first, letting everyone know her prediction had been correct with a cry of "YOU PUT THAT DOWN NOW!"

She blanched as she saw precisely what Will was holding. "Oh no…. oh no. Someone get that disc!"

Adrian eyed the green floppy disc clasped in Will's elegant hand. "What's so important about-"

"Secret files." Hati said at once, "very, very important."

With an evil laugh, Will spun on the spot, his hair lengthening and his body becoming perfectly feminine as Willowe took her true form back on.

"Why so coy?" she asked in a sweet, honeyed voice. Hati snarled.

"Give me that disc."

Willowe rolled her eyes, "Threaten a sweet, seventeen year old girl?"

Hati snorted. "You're 23, you big faker." The other society members blinked,

"How did you know that?" someone asked. Hati turned pink.

"Because she's two years older than… someone I know."

Willowe laughed, flicking her flowing auburn-

"WE KNOW WHAT HER HAIR LOOKS LIKE." Shouted everyone except Adrian who yelled back,

"DON'T BREAK THE FOURTH WALL IN THE LIBRARY" as the walls began to shake.

Willowe giggled in a sweet, girlish way. "You don't seem pleased to see me."

"Last time we met you tried to kill me." Huffed Hari, mightily unimpressed.

"Everyone suffers PMS…" Willowe smiled sweetly. "Even you… mummy."

A stunned hush fell over the library, the agents exchanging shocked looks.

"Hati…" Adrian asked, "You wrote her?"

Hati blushed bright red, "Oh like you've never done it! I was… I was naïve! I was 13 and in love with Orlando Bloom, ok? But I deleted that fic… I destroyed all copies except…" She looked over at the green floppy disc. "except that one."

Willowe smirked at the dissention in the ranks and with a flourish she turned to grab her portal gun. With a silent eenie, meenie, minie, mo she pointed it at each of them in turn, settling finally on Tash.

"But before I go, haven't you always wondered what would happen if you fired a portal gun at a human being?" when she received no answer she broke into an evil smile, "well you're about to find out."

She'd picked on the wrong agent. With a yowl, Adrian tackled Willowe to the floor, sending the disc flying through the air. As Hati ran to catch it, Tash pounced upon the gun, eager to keep it away from Willowe whilst Adrian was in her grasp. A flurry of punches echoed across the library as the librarian and the Sue battled across the desk but Willowe's Sue powers proved too much and within moments she had Adrian by the ears, eliciting a loud mewl of pain.

"Adrian!" Tash dived into the fray, reaping the rewards of her height by kicking Willowe on the side of the head. "Get off my man, bitch!"

The disc safely in her trademark pink shoulder-bag, Hati grabbed Tash's arm and hauled her away to the computer room, leaving the others to deal with Willowe.

"Keep her down!" Hati yelled, racing for the nearest PC and shoving the floppy disc inside. From inside the office they heard a cry of "Librarian Secret Art: Boot to the Head!" SCHWOOSH-FWUMP!"

"Hati?" Tash asked, "is that really what you said?" Hati gritted her teeth.

"I thought I'd destroyed every copy, I'd forgotten this one. Willowe must be able to sense it."

Tash nodded, "We could just destroy it – that might destroy her."

"It might," Hati conceded, "or it might destroy all her limitations, making her super-powerful and completely unstoppable."

"Ah." Tash bit her lip. "So… we're going to do what?"

"Edit it. Maybe we can take away her powers if we destroy the roots of them."

The Word document flashed up on screen, 'The lost girl of Middle Earth' with a quick exchanged glance the two leaders got down to work.

"The beautiful Willowe Aurelia Dewdrop Honeysuckle Arwenia Ravenclaw Bob Foxblade swishes her glossy auburn hair…" Tash read out. Quickly, Hati deleted Willowe's middle names from the fic, as each one vanished a pained screamed went up from behind the office door.

"It's working!" Tash cried, "What else?"

A few taps of the keys later, Willowe's hair was reduced to "brown and average with no hint of any interesting colour whatsoever" as Willowe screamed from behind the office door.

"Her powers are fading!" cried Beth from inside the office.

"It's working!" Tash grabbed the keyboard and started deleting all references to Willowe's good looks and talents, "she's fading!"

The office door flew open and Adrian ran out, "Prohibitors! While she's down!"

Popping the floppy disk out of the PC and walking over to the safe to seal it inside, Hari caught a glimpse of the plain, unremarkable girl sprawled on the floor where Willowe had been, four prohibitors being fastened to her wrists and ankles.

"What shall we do with her now?" Emma asked, holding one of Willowe's arms down.

"Put her in the Twilight fandom." Tash said, "So many Sues in there, her followers will never find her."

"Just one thing first." Hati said, pacing up and down. "Blast her with the canon cannon."

"Why?" Adrian asked, "What will that do."

Hati paused for a minute before replying "It'll hurt like hell."

# # # # # # #

A few hours later, the party in the library was in full swing, the cake declaring "Willowe is gone" and the music blasting out a variety of transatlantic hits as the agents deservedly danced the night away.

Curled up on the sofa, Tash stroked Adrian's kitty ears, sore from where Willowe had grabbed them.

"You know…" the librarian said, "you could do with some time off."

"Yeah, I suppose," Tash tickled under his chin, "But where?"

"I hear…" Adrian began to purr "That the Canaries are a known Sue hotspot… I've booked two tickets."

"Overtime." Tash grinned. "Sounds perfect."

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