It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.

With his symbolic helmet on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged bodies died on the porch and lawn of the house. The mass of perfection went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.

Echizen Ryoma grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame.

His job done, he returned to the firehouse where he would meet those plagued by the Virtues, the Beauties, the Graces of the hurried mangled craziness of the Prince of Tennis fandom and the cosmic universe where writers in fear and longing destroy their minds in the fight to secure certain stories, while readers hungering for good stories flame everything that gives the fandom a certain pleasure.

Echizen never looked back on his twin sister, charred black, blacker than coal. She was good as dead, and perhaps worse, for she had no soul to depart her previous life. She had no humanity, no soul, no shred of credibility, and that was the way Ryoma preferred it. Her identical clones lay stranded, happily dead and no longer able to harass any of his friends.


The problem with their existence, well, more like presence, anyway, was the fact that they seemed to pop up everywhere. It had rendered a power that was quite unassailable to even the stoic Tezuka, who was prone to giggling in bits if he couldn't help it. He was the first one to ask everyone for a solution, and no one could think of one until Ryoma quite bluntly stated, "Flaming."

At this some had protested, but one could see the logic in this as Echizen was tired of being a girl, or being overprotective of his twin sister, which he was most certainly not, and other sorts of situations that did not appeal to him. If he was a girl, then he would have already played on the girl's team. There is a perfectly good reason why men's tennis is a different sport than women's tennis. He was also tired of having a different twin sister every day. It was irksome to introduce her to the regulars every day.

Fuji and Tezuka themselves were not amused by the onslaught of Mary Sues that came their way. They themselves were considering as a last resort to claim that they were gay for each other (Tezuka preferred the term "Fujisexual") to fend off the attention. Oishi and Eiji said the same.

Tezuka, Sanada, and Atobe both were also tired of being stereotyped as a workaholic. Even if they are people who do not date because of work, it does not make their character boring or naive. Incidentally Tezuka also added that some yaoi stories were at fault as well.

Amazingly, some minor characters were being affected as well. Yukimura had reported about three cases in which he was manipulated by a vicious Mary Sue.

Ann Tachibana, who was the least traumatized of all of them had suggested that they were hypocrites. Weren't they Gary Stus?

"Yes," Fuji Yuuta said meekly, for he was quite normal comparatively, "but they're canon, remember?"

"Oh," she said, and sat back down.

"Anyways," continued Echizen. "I think we'd ought to give them a flame."

"It wouldn't change anything," said Kawamura. "They'll still come back."

"Still. I'm tired of Rika or Ryoko or whatever her name is," Ryoma said, deadpanned. "I'm on the freaking Seigaku team. There is only so much you can change until you completely butcher the whole concept of Prince of Tennis. If you want them to play the violin or whatever, at least you should retain their inner personality."

"Amen," agreed the Seigaku team, who had all been victims to OOC.

"And another thing," Atobe hastened to add. "Ore-sama is perfect. No wretch will bestow that mighty title on herself."


The land had been paved and the corpses decimated to ash. All was well in the fandom, until---

"Hi there! My name is Echizen so-and-so, and I just came from America!"

Ryoma put his pillow on his head and groaned.

Not again!

Author's Note: Whoever catches the references to certain PoT authors and fics gets a cookie. The first few paragraphs were ripped from Ray Bradbury. ;P

Flame away.