[Disclaimer: Middle Earth belongs to Tolkien, He Who Rules; the PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia; Honesah belongs to . . . Honesah, of all people; Threnody and Harmony belong to me (Akedhi); and Jaster belongs to himself. When I let him.]
"It's time get up," said a small voice beside Jaster's ear. He moaned and rolled over, as sleep was all too rare a commodity among PPC agents. The voice, however, was attached to a very small but very determined body, which deposited itself firmly on his chest and proceeded to bounce up and down. "It's time get up! It's morning."
Jaster cracked one eye open, which turned out to be a mistake. "You're awake! Get up!" He closed the eye again, which was a bigger mistake. The bouncing evolved into jumping and small hands started smacking his face. He rolled over again and landed on the floor. Wrapped in his jacket, he slid it over his head to keep the light from hitting his eyes. Mumbling incoherently to no one in particular, he did his best to go back to sleep. Unfortunately for him the unnaturally hyperactive being did a dive bomb from the couch onto his chest. The impact of the contact not only created several popping noises Jaster was not familiar with having, but also pushed the air from his lungs.
Painfully sucking in breath the agent shouted, "OKAY!!" Pulling the jacket off of his tired-looking face he glared at the human alarm that menaced him awake, he realized that he had just shouted at a rather small girl--a child, even. Her eyes that were once filled with excitement now were filled with swelling tears and she began to sniffle. Jaster realized that he had just frightened the girl. Oh no…he thought to himself.
If he had thought that her shouts were loud before, the high pitched scream that emitted from her miniscule mouth made them seem like whispers. Covering his ears and letting out a very deep sigh, he waited for a smack from his partner.
"Interesting," Threnody informed him, "Does not necessarily mean frightening." She turned to the little girl and held out her arms. "C'mere, Harmony." The little girl took a flying leap and landed in the psycho's lap. Threnody grunted, but smiled. She turned a less pleasant expression on Jaster, in which there was a clear message that he had better not frighten the little girl again. "Meet Harmony, my cousin. Be nice."
His groggy eyes stared at the two, one psycho atop another. "Cousin…," he said slowly, "You failed to mention that your cousin was a child."
Threnody looked nonplussed. "Your point being…?"
"My point being that I could have at least prepared for this morning's torture…," he paused, still taken aback by the insane duo before him. He did his best to wrench a smile onto his face, "And how long will our little guest be staying, hmm?"
Threnody shrugged. "Um… Forever?" she offered.
There was a long pause as Jaster's now horrified features sank into a passive state. No emotion slipped into his voice as he spoke, "Forever, is it? My, my…how much funwe are going to have." He slowly stood, still wrapped in his jacket, and made his way toward the door.
"Where are you going?" asked Threnody.
"To see if there's anything left of my pride." With that he shut the door behind him.
Threnody looked at Harmony. "Stay here." She opened the door and took a quick glance to either side. She spotted Jaster's rapidly retreating back and started after him. "Jaster!"
Fortunately, Threnody had not bothered to close the door, and both agents could hear the noise. Threnody swore. "Come on, Jaster. We have a Sue to slay…"
At the sound of the alarm, Jaster stopped his escape and remained still, head hunched into his chest. He could hear Threnody's shouts, but made no move to answer them. A moment passed and the alarm sounded again. He looked up at the ceiling and prayed silently to keep whatever sanity he had left. Then, with a long and drawn out sigh, he turned toward his partner with a broad smile on his face, "Yes, let's kill."
They entered the response center just in time to see Harmony entering a portal. "Oh, NO!" Without thinking, Threnody dove through the narrowing portal, landing on the other side with a grunt. She sat up—or rather, attempted to. There was something wrong with her body. It wasn't working like it was supposed to. Then a large wolf appeared out of thin air, holding two packs in his heavy jaws.
Threnody looked around, and spotted a tiny wolf-pup gnawing at a stick. This was worse than the spiders had been, for at least those could speak Westron. Surely wolves could communicate somehow, but Threnody had no idea how. And she had no idea where in the story they were, where in Middle-Earth they were, or even when they were. They could be in the Silmarillion, for all they knew. The pup wagged its tail. Threnody would have groaned, but that is no something for which the vocal cords of a wolf were designed.
The other large wolf looked at Threnody, then down at itself. Its ears perked in surprise and its tail stiffened. Then, with a deep rumble from its chest, the wolf let out a heavy sigh. It was confirmed that this was indeed Jaster.
'Play now?' No one actually spoke the words, but they were somehow clearly understood. It was as clear that Harmony was the one to speak. The wolf that was Threnody shook her head, a surprisingly human gesture from so large a canine.
'Play?' growled Jaster, 'You want us to play?' Had his boiling blood been any hotter, it surely would have made him spontaneously combust. The fur on his back stood on end and he did his best not to turn his snarl at the pup into a bite. 'Don't you even realize what you've done?'
'No, we can't play,' Threnody added, shooting a murderous glare at Jaster. 'We have to find a…' She checked the Words, and continued, 'A Pegacorn. With gold and sapphire hair. Jaster, get the packs. I'll take my cousin.' The transformation in her was astonishing. Normally, she would be foaming at the mouth at this point (A Pegacorn. Honestly.) and Jaster would have to hold her back, but now, she had a small cousin to deal with. And this cousin took priority.
'Awww…and just as Harmony and I were about to become good friends…' Jaster was about to continue his frothing rant but was cut short by a whap from Threnody's tail.
'Not funny. It was one thing to be a spider, when I knew where I was going, but I want to get out of this form as soon as possible. Jaster, can you manage the CAD?'
He gave her a very annoyed stare, 'It depends…can I manage your oh-so-lovable cousin?'
'Remind me to kill you when this mission is over…' Threnody shook her head and pawed, literally, at the packs, trying to figure out just what it was that dogs and other four-legged creatures did when they managed to open luggage.
'Play!' squealed Harmony, jumping onto the pack and tussling with it. It opened, though not precisely in the manner Threnody had intended, tearing at one of the seams. That would do well enough, decided Threnody as she nosed among the oddments that had fallen out. 'A spare crossbow, right, like we're going to need that…'
'Oh! Oh! I know! Let's be sure to hold onto the crossbow for later on. I'm sure Harmony would love to play with that. I'll even help load it for her…as long as it's facing the right way,' muttered Jaster, indicating with his nose toward the pup, who was still nosing around in the pack. Threnody shot him a Look, but didn't say anything.
With a bark of triumph, she pulled out the CAD, trying not to leave any teeth marks on it. That would probably be a new one for Makes-Things, to have to fix a CAD because it had been used as a chew-toy by a Warg… She managed to push the right buttons, by poking at it with her nose.
'So, we're in Mirkwood. Again. Why don't the Sues ever get tired of this place?' Threnody did not expect to be given an answer, not then and not ever. It was one of those questions that would remain a mystery throughout the ages, she supposed, like "Why does mercury flow uphill?" or "Why did the chicken cross the road?" or "Why does cookie dough taste so good before it's baked?" or "What is the Ultimate Question?"
Threnody glanced at the Words again, and wished she hadn't. The grammar was physically painful, and, she discovered, with the keen nose of a Warg, there was actually a distinct scent to such things as improper grammar and punctuation. As if she wasn't already nauseous…
'What the Mordor is a Memory Leaf?' Threnody managed to radiate indignation and near-hysteric rage without doing anything but raising her hackles and lifting a lip. It was amazing how a wolf's body could be so much more expressive than a human's, rendering unnecessary all the arm-waving and pacing Threnody usually indulged in.
'And what in blazes is a HOOnonee?' Jaster asked with a gasp. He looked to his paws, squinting in thought. Then, with a mild expression of surprise, he looked back up to Threnody, 'Hoononee? As in…Hoononee Num Nums ™?'
'How come she's neckless, Threndy?' asked a small voice.
'Because she's a Mary Sue, Harmony. They're born like that.'
'Oh. Dumb Mar-Soo.'
Threnody smiled at Harmony's innocence, wondering if she will be able to corrupt her into her likeness. She then looked over to Jaster, who was pacing and staring off into space, repeatedly muttering to himself 'Num Nums?'
'Jaster, see what you can do with the portal thingy. I don't think we need to sit through the "Kingdom healer" dosing Honesah with something that looks like squashed green olives complete with pimentos. Nor do we want to sit through the angst-fest. Portal ahead to chapter three.'
'Yes ma'am.' They shot ahead to chapter three, all the while Jaster wished for the delectable taste of a Num Num, for they were sweet with suvian flavor and full of wholesome goodness.
'And we missed the author's notes. Which repeat four times that the Sue is not a Sue. Dumb chit. You'd think that she'd take a hint after so many people tried to explain that she was. Oi. And half of them weren't even too mean about it. Granted, the other half were ridiculously nasty, but still.' It is almost as strange a sight to see a Warg shrug as it is to see a giant spider shrug, but not quite. And Jaster was still muttering about Num Nums and not paying any attention anyway.
The agents watched as the Prince of Mirkwood went searching for his missing Pegacorn friend, highly confused as to why he bothered. She was supposed to get well and go home, yes? Well, apparently there was some unresolved issues that needed taking care of. For instance, there was the fact that there was some sort of hitherto undisclosed history. It seemed that Honesah had lived among the Elves, teased and tormented because she had a tail. Legolas, gentleman prince that he was, had been her defender. Even Threnody had to admit that such protection was in his character, though the tormenting was something that most Elves surely would not have indulged in.
'How did Legolas not recognize her?' wondered Threnody. 'It's not as if that blue and gold hair would be easily forgettable…'
'Blue? Blue filling in Num Nums…'
'Shut up, Jaster.'
Then something strange happened. The two, Elf and … thing … began confessing their undying love for each other. Or perhaps it was not so undying, since Honesah, upon declaring that she had loved Legolas for many years, fell down and almost saved the agents the trouble of killing her. As if this was not implausible enough, Legolas used a lock of Honesah's hair and some random rock that Gimli had apparently given him to talk to Gimli as if with a webcam. The Dwarf then proceeded to lecture his Elven friend about the physiological properties of Pegacorns. It was also revealed that by some mysterious process, Honesah was pregnant. 'Baring' a child, as it was phrased.
'What!? How in Arda did that happen?'
Jaster, looking off into his own world for quite some time, was finally listening to the goings-on of the story, 'Beats the Num Nums outta me…'
'Shut up, Jaster.' A whap with her tail. Mighty useful things, tails… Threnody shook her head, bringing herself back to the present. 'They didn't even hug each other until about two minutes ago. What is she, the Virgin Mary or something?'
Then something even stranger happened. Honesah was not only pregnant, but in labor. Only it was apparently painless, quiet, and clean labor. Which, to Threnody's mind, was not at all fair to the rest of women who were not lucky enough to be Sues…
'It's a girl. A Sue Elven/Pegasus (not that that's a species anyway)/Unicorn crossbreed. Eru help us all…'
'It looks funny,' commented Harmony curiously. 'It's got a horsey head an' a horsey tail an' ears like that pretty man. An' I think it's ugly, 'cause horseys and people aren't supposed to do that. Also it has a spike on its head. That's silly.'
'Out of the mouths of babes… Jaster, let's kill the Sue and her annoying child before the—' she checked the Words '—Crimps show up. What the heck is a Crimp? It sounds like some kind of weird doughnut…'
As much as the palace of Mirkwood had been altered, the sight of three wolves walking through its halls was not remarked upon by anyone other than Galion, who muttered something about "Too much wine again…"
'Honesah Hoononee—' Threnody paused as Jaster went off staring into space again. She rolled her eyes, and continued. 'Anyway, whatever you want to call yourself, you are charged with –'
'NUM NUMS!' Jaster cried after a long delay.
'Shut UP, Jaster! You are charged with being a Mary Sue, being a creature that did not and could not exist in ANY mythology (Pegasus was the name of a single creature, not a species), having ridiculous powers, including telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, shapeshifting, and apparently the ability to be pregnant, carry to term, and deliver a child mature enough to eat an apple, all within thirty seconds. Also, making Legolas and Gimli out of character—'
She was interrupted again, this time by Harmony. 'Being UGLY!'
'Whatever. Creating a new species of dragons called Crimps (If only we hadn't fed the last Sue to Ancalagon), giving Dwarves abilities that were never theirs (that long-distance communication thing is so a rip-off of the Palantiri), annoying the crap out of me—'
'Oh yes, and, according to my deranged partner here, having a really funky middle name. We thank you for your time and intend to kill you now. I'm not interested in your last words, since they would probably be really melodramatic and sentimental mush. Have a nice last few seconds of life.' She turned to Jaster. 'Quick, Jaster, she has Num Nums!'
'Blue filling!?' With that, the agent/wolf leapt upon the stunned Pegacorn, and tore her to pieces. He looked at Threnody with a pout. 'No Num Nums…'
'I'll figure something out,' promised Threnody. 'A trip to the Department of Fictional Psychology should do the trick…'
She turned to deal with the infant, but Harmony had beaten her to it. Even a magical, Elf/Pegasus/Unicorn crossbreed infant is not immune to falling off of a bed, being rolled around by a rambunctious wolf-pup, slamming into several walls, and tumbling down a stone staircase… The remains were not very pretty, in which they matched the remains of her mother very well.
The bodies, or what was left of them anyway, made wonderful fertilizer for the forest. As spider droppings. Eugh. Let's not go any farther in that direction.
The agents portalled back to the response center, where four-year-old Harmony promptly claimed the corner, curling up like a cat and going to sleep, and Threnody put in a discreet call to Dr. Freedenberg. After receiving assurances that he would be fine if he rested a bit (as if that would ever happen, but what can you do?), she climbed back up to the top of the speaker, being careful not to get too comfortable, and began rereading her copy of the Lays of Beleriand.
"Do you have any Num Nums, Thrennie?"
She threw the book at him.
[Threnody's A/N: All right, it's implausible for a four-year-old to end up in PPC Headquarters, but my little sister made me promise to put her in here somehow. Harmony is the result of that promise, and she is going to be playing with the disguises quite often, methinks. And yes, said sister does act like that.
Jaster's A/N: Num Nums…
Threnody's OTHER A/N: Oh, brother…]