Disclaimer: I do not own anything even remotely related to the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. (Now excuse me while I go cry in a corner.)
Warning: This story is a parody of sorts. Do NOT take this seriously!
Joe was walking by Frank's open bedroom door when the sound of muffled snickering reached his ears. Boredom shifted to curiosity as to what was amusing his brother. He stepped into the room and plopped himself down at the foot of Frank's bed, making the frame creak loudly.
Frank immediately quit laughing and looked up, startled at Joe's abrupt entrance. "Please, make yourself comfortable."
"Always do, big brother. Whatcha laughing at?" Joe sipped his can of soda and leaned forward to get a look at the laptop balanced on his brother's knees as Frank rested against the headboard.
Frank turned his computer away quickly. "Uh… nothing?" His attempt to sound nonchalant failed spectacularly.
Joe didn't even bother replying to that. Instead, he just raised an eyebrow and stared. He would not be put off that easily. If Frank didn't want to share, it must be good!
The brothers stared at each other for a few seconds before Frank sighed and moved over to make room for his pesky little brother. Joe smirked in triumphant victory and settled down, stealing a pillow. Frank liked to play the exasperated older brother sometimes, but Joe knew his charm was irresistible and no one, including his dear brother, could deny him anything… except for Vanessa, sometimes… and Aunt Gertrude, most of the time… and, well, Callie, pretty much all the time…
He decided to abandon that discouraging train of thought and resume annoying his brother for lack of any other entertainment.
"So? What is it?"
Frank sighed again and nodded at the screen. "Okay, I was bored." He paused as Joe nodded sympathetically. "So I decided to look up some of those news articles about us, right? Well, I accidently came across this fan site dedicated to us and I - "
"We have a fan site?! Dude, that's awesome! Where is it? I wanna see!" Joe grabbed for the laptop impatiently, almost sloshing his drink all over Frank's newly washed and made bedcovers.
Frank jerked it out of his hands. He hated being interrupted. "In a minute! Now like I was saying, there were a lot of links to articles and news reports about us and our cases, a link to Dad's website, some pictures, and even some biographies. It was… scarily accurate. Anyway, I noticed there was this link to something called 'fanfiction' and I clicked on it and… well… this is what I found." He finally turned the screen toward Joe and waited. One… Two… Three… And-
"People write stories about us! Are you serious?! This is great! We have fans, bro!" Joe was practically vibrating with excitement as he stole the computer from Frank's hands and scrolled down the page, his eyes flying across the display as he scanned the list of story titles and summaries. After a few minutes he stopped and pointed to a particular summary on the screen. "Look at this! This author calls herself a 'Joette'. I have groupies! I knew it! This is so cool!"
Frank grimaced as Joe's finger left a print on his otherwise pristine computer screen. "Yeah… Well, I'm glad you think it's awesome, and I guess I have to admit that it is somewhat flattering. But honestly I also find it a little creepy." He nervously eyed Joe's forgotten soda and gently removed it from his brother's hand to set it on the nightstand. He didn't want to have to change his covers again.
Joe barely looked up from the story he was scanning. "Creepy? Why? Because everyone seems to know what a nerd you really are?" He snickered and nodded toward the laptop. "This person knows it anyway."
Frank glared, only mildly irritated. It was partly true, he had to admit. "Ha, ha. I'm glad you think it's so funny. Bet you wouldn't be laughing if you saw some of the other stories, though."
Joe frowned suspiciously. "Why's that?" He hit the back button and started scrolling through the stories again, only more slowly this time.
An evil smile stole across Frank's face as he recalled the reasons for his earlier amusement. "Well… I may be portrayed as a nerd or a stick-in-the-mud by some, but at least I'm not regularly used as the 'damsel-in-distress' character." Frank paused. "Make that the 'dude-in-distress' character. I don't think there are any of you as a girl – yet."
"What?!" Joe froze with a very affronted expression upon his face. He turned to his brother and when he saw the uncharacteristically superior glint in Frank's eyes – a look he didn't see often but still recognized as the universal Big-Brother-Puts-Little-Brother-in-His-Place look – his indignation morphed into horror. His eyes jumped back to the list of summaries and he started reading every one, looking for something to belie Frank's ridiculous claim. The Mighty Joe Hardy, a "damsel" in distress? Never! The very idea was unbelievable! Absurd! Positively laughable…
… and apparently a very popular theme in the world of "Hardy Boys" fanfiction.
Just one page of twenty-five stories held at least a dozen summaries that involved "Joe" being kidnapped, attacked, abused, or even killed. A few summaries hinted that this was a regular thing, like Joe got kidnapped or otherwise into trouble on a regular basis and always needed someone to "rescue" him.
But that wasn't even the worst part. After clicking on a few and quickly skimming through them, Joe's face dropped as he began to recognize a pattern in most of the stories. While occasionally "Fenton Hardy" or someone else was his fictional counterpart's "rescuer", a majority of the time his salvation came in the form of a certain older brother. The very same brother that was now grinning widely as he sat back with his arms crossed high on his chest, looking all too smugly entertained for Joe's liking.
Joe frantically began searching for summaries that advertised "Frank" being kidnapped and rescued or something similar, but he even after going back several pages, he only found a handful.
"NOOOO!!" Joe howled in disbelief.
"Something wrong, little brother?" Frank asked sweetly. Or at least, he tried to. He couldn't keep the smirk off his face long enough to pull it off convincingly.
"Why does everyone pick on me? I don't get into trouble that much!" At Frank's unconvinced look, Joe added, "Okay, yeah, so I do get into trouble a lot. But so do you! We almost always get kidnapped together – it's rare that I'm by myself or you're by yourself. And it's almost always because of our cases! Not to mention it's usually your fault!"
Frank arched a brow at that. "Excuse me? My fault? And how do you come to that conclusion?"
"Well, it's your so-called genius plans that put us into dangerous situations in the first place! And then I have to be the one to sweet-talk us out of trouble!" Joe insisted.
"Oh, really? Because I could swear that it's your smart mouth that usually gets you -and by extension, me - into trouble, not out of it." Frank countered lightly, punching Joe in the shoulder.
Joe rolled his eyes. This wasn't the first time they'd had this argument, and no one ever won. "Whatever. The point is that people are making me out to be some sort of trouble-magnet or something! It's not fair, Frank!" Joe pouted.
Frank tried to look sympathetic. No, really, he did. "Yeah, I know, Joe. But I'm sure most people don't really think about you that way. They probably only pick on you because you're younger. They seem to like the big brother/ little brother dynamic. I'm sure they think you're cute." He waited until Joe perked up a little at that thought, and then added, "But you have to admit, I make a pretty convincing knight in shining armor."
If looks could kill, Frank would have been one crispy-critter. He just smiled.
There were a few moments of companionable quiet as Joe returned to scrolling through the website while Frank took a sip of Joe's now lukewarm cola. He grimaced at the taste and set it back on the table. Distracted, he didn't notice that his brother's fingers had frozen over the keyboard and he that was staring intently at something on the screen, until Joe made a strange guffaw noise.
"What?" Frank leaned over to see what was so interesting, but leaned back again when Joe abruptly turned to give him a positively wicked grin. Frank frowned a little nervously. This couldn't be good for him.
Joe's smile only widened at his brother's evident unease. It was payback time. "Hey, Frank, here's a story you might like. I bet Callie would find it very interesting as well. It's centered on you and a famous red-headed girl detective having romantic interludes while working together on a case. Sound familiar? I know I can think of someone that seems to fit that description-"
"Let me see that!" Frank repossessed his laptop and quickly scanned the text on display. His confusion quickly turned to disbelief and then dismay as he skimmed parts of the fan-written story. "Who wrote this? Where did they possibly get this idea? Nancy and I are just friends! There's nothing like this between us!" Frank denied, feeling a little anxious. What if people he knew happened upon this site and saw this story? What if they actually believed it?
Joe snorted. "Right. Just friends. Are you telling me nothing like this has ever happened between the two of you? Honestly?"
Frank shifted uncomfortably. He hated it when Joe teased him about this. "Well, maybe we were a little more than just friends at one point, but we both agreed to put it behind us." Again. Maybe the second time's the charm?
"We really are just friends. And we definitely never did anything like that!" Frank indicated the script with a hint of dismay. He could feel his ears burning with mortification as he read the beginning of a one such romantic interlude between "himself" and "Nancy Drew" and he quickly returned to the main page. He was beginning to regret his initial curiosity. The Internet was a dangerous and scary place to be. He knew it had been a bad idea to show this site to Joe!
Joe patted Frank's shoulder consolingly. Or it would have been consoling if his face hadn't held the lingering traces of impish glee. He was suddenly starting to feel a little better about this whole "fanfiction" thing. He wondered what other potential blackmail content was archived online.
His eyes went to the top of the page at the ratings column. "Hey, what's in the 'mature' section?"
Frank was dragged out of his brooding by the inquiry, and in response he moved the cursor up to the link in question. Before he clicked on it, however, he paused. There was a moment of silence before the brothers looked at each other.
"I don't think we're ready for that."
Miles away from New York, in a little town outside of Chicago, a young woman lay on her stomach on her bed, laptop open in front of her. The only source of light came from the screen illuminating her features and reflecting off of her blonde hair. The only sounds were the rapid clicking of her fingers on the keys and the occasional giggle. She read over what she had typed one last time before saving it. She was excited; this was one of her best stories yet! Now it was ready to be posted. Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew were a popular pairing in the online world "real people fanfiction". Fellow fans were going to love her new story where Nancy teams up with Frank to flirt copiously while helping him search for his missing younger brother Joe, who was kidnapped by a ruthless man out for revenge against the trio of detectives!
Bess Marvin smiled in anticipation of the reviews she would receive. This was going to be epic!
Fic number two! Yay!
For the record - I happen to enjoy stories where Frank plays Big Brother to Joe in a large way. (Even though it is my personal opinion that Joe gets singled out far more in fanfic than he ever did in "canon".) I also have no objection whatsoever to the F/N pairing... Just so you know! I only wanted to write out how I pictured they would react if they could read about what we (the authors) would all like to make them go through.