To Hell with Swords and Garters
by Maureen (with input from Ducki, Aricraze & Mad Cow)

Disclaimer: I don't own Alex, Jamie, Catie, Hank, Tyler or Val; Disney does. I don't own Ducki, Ari or Mad Cow. I'm not sure who does...I suppose their parents. I do know that I belong to me. No one is making money off of this (even Disney can't sell IaHB to syndication w/o more eps!). I do however reserve the rights to the pink tafetta dress.

May the ficcing continue!!


Maureen and Ducki sat on the floor, wondering what they should write about next. Between the two of them they had covered a lot of angst. Then it hit them.

Ducki rubbed her head, silently cursing the muses that caused ideas to hit so hard, "We should write a silly fic!"

Maureen pondered the idea. "Okay, Brain, if you think so. I was beginning to wonder if we were wallowing in angst anyway."

"We're always wallowing," Mad Cow pointed out from where she laid on the floor, "we should do something different, keeps the norms on their toes."

Ari nodded enthusiastically from where she perched on the side of the couch. The effect was marred by the bubble gum still clinging to her face from the bubble that had just popped. "Can it involve dancing penguins?" she asked hopefully.

The three other girls looked at each other for a minute before replying "No!"

Ari looked crestfallen but accepted the verdict of the older women. "Can it involve teddy bears?"

"No way, kid," Ducki said, "This is an In a Heartbeat fic. There are no bears in it."

"Not even cheap, slutty bears?" Maureen asked, playing with her teddy bear. It is very dangerous to let twenty-somethings into build-a-bear with a paycheck to blow. Maureen had blown it well. Her bear however did not have underwear.

There was no response to that, only slightly nauseated looks from the others.


The characters from In a Heartbeat sat crowded around the TV bank that showed what the authors known as the Extreme Bleacher Junkies were up to. It was rare to get so many EBJ's together, what with college and parents, but four out of six isn't terribly bad. It was unfortunate that Arcadia and Bea couldn't make it, but they had good reasons and everyone knew they were there in spirit.

"I can see Bea manipulating Maureen from Ireland. She's going to hurt me. I can tell by her evil dimples," Jamie said. "They always hurt me!"

"No, Jamie," Val replied logically, "They both like hurting you. No one is manipulating anyone. They're just evil, evil women."

Jamie glowered at her, "Well, Ducki is there! That means you're going to be swapping spit with Tyler!"

Both Tyler and Val blanched at that and Hank pulled Val closer to him. It wasn't that they weren't friends, but they were not interested in each other like that! Val was quite happy with Hank, thank you very much.

"I don't know what you are always complaining about! They at least show you kids having emotions and feelings and a life! I get to be 'Alex the hardass boss' all the time!" Alex said, trying to smooth out his pink taffeta dress. "I never get to be shown as 'Alex the Glam Queen with the hard ass!'"


Back at Maureen's virtual apartment, the evil foursome were consuming pizza and cinnistix.

"Mmmm, cheesy," Mad Cow said, looking at the computer screen where their fic was.

"No it isn't!" Ducki replied indignantly. "It is well written and concise!"

The Irate Bovine shook her head, "I mean the pizza, dork." She really needed to cut her hair, she thought as she pulled some errant strands out of her slice.

Ducki finished her typing with a flourish. "So what are you guys doing for Halloween?"

"I'm going to be a bandaid," Ari told her, now trying to use ice to get the gum out of her hair.

"Cool! We'll match!" Maureen exclaimed happily. It was easy to make Maureen happy. She was easily amused.

"What are you going to be then?" Ducki asked. She was going as a duck as always.

"An EMT," the curly haired one replied smugly.

"An EMT?" Mad Cow repeated, jealous. "I wanna be an EMT!"

"But I have the jumpsuit," Maureen pointed out, "and I am going to be one soon. Next summer I will get certified."

The other three girls sulked silently, wishing it was them.

It was at that point when Maureen's normal roommate stepped in and asked if she wanted to get some of those stick-on bra things for her new dress. Everyone stared at her oddly for a moment before remembering she was normal.

"I don't think they make them in my size," Maureen replied slowly, unsure where this was going.

"You could use bandaids," she said, helpfully before leaving to run errands.

Gales of laughter errupted as soon as the door shut.


"It's not so bad!" Brooke pointed out. She still had nightmares from Maureen's fic, Torn. No one else had been hurt that much with so little pain. "They're just having a girls night!"

"Right, a girl's night," Catie mocked, "and I'm the Cheshire Cat," she grinned demonically to prove her point. Catie was a prep and was always pissed whenever she was forced to leave her abercrombie shirts and gap khakis behind and wear fishnets and doc marten combat boots.

"Oh stop scaring the kid Catie," Jamie said, loving to fight with Catie. He wasn't madly in love with her, in fact, he was madly in love with Alex, but he liked to get her all riled up. It usually proved to be an entertaining spectacle. That and imagining Alex's hard ass underneath all that pink taffeta and tulle...

"Jamie, why are you grinning like that?" Tyler asked.

"Look, he's beginning to drool," Val pointed out to Hank. They never understood why Jamie would suddenly blank out with a silly grin on his face but they thought it had something to do with Catie.

Jamie quickly composed himself and turned back to the monitors, "Oh, shove it," he mumbled.


The quartet had since migrated outside to the grassy lawn where they could sit, annoy people trying to smoke and bother bus drivers. Plus the laptop could be plugged into the nearby wall.

"So...they're at the dance and..." Ducki was mumbling to herself. They had gotten the characters past the space aliens and the dragon by the moat (bribing her with cherries jubilee), but the dance was leaving them stumped.

"Why don't we make Kenny and Jamie get in a fight?" Maureen suggested.

"Done it," Mad Cow reminded her, "What about dressing Catie in electrical tape and Jamie as a skanky girl?"

"Did it," Ari told her, "We could have flashbacks of their childhood..."

"Shut up!" Ducki screamed, "You have all done that in other fics! We must be original!"

"Then why are they at a school dance?" Ari asked once Ducki had finished ranting.

Three blank stares met her innocent gaze. Ari looked around and wondered if she had something in her teeth.


Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. No more stupid dances where predictable, inane stuff could take place.

"Why don't I ever get to go to the dances?" Alex asked rhetorically doing an arabesque. No one bothered to answer. Alex was a flaming queen and ignoring him was usually for the better when he was pouting and being prissy.

"It looks like they are behaving themselves," Hank commented in awe. "I didn't think it was possible, but here it is."

They continued to stare in wonderment at the monitors, but secretly they knew it could not last.

Well, Hank thought it might last for him. He had always been underused and appreciated and although he hated that, he did like not getting hurt too often. Jamie spent more time in traction or in therapy than he did just hanging with everyone.


"So now explain to me again why Jamie is so cool," Ducki demanded. This was a fairly ongoing arguement that broke out frequently. She was an EBJ, but still a die-hard Val/Tyler fan. The others allowed this quirck, but did not understand it.

"Because he has spiky black hair!" Ari told her.

"And his eyes!" Mad Cow pitched in, practically swooning. "Hank is nice, too," she added quietly. In TV limbo, Hank swooned.

"He's a rebel in a jumpsuit," Maureen stated mater-of-factly.

Ari and Mad Cow looked at her oddly. Then backed her up, "Yeah!"

Ducki shook her head slowly and wondered if it was too late to run. She had the sneaking suspicion it was.

"Oops! I have to go now!" Ari exclaimed, pulling out her magic surf board. Living in California meant surf boards were a must, even if you used them to fly to ficcing parties instead of the waves.

"Yeah, I should too," said Mad Cow, rummaging around in her backpack for her blow up horse. Despite living in Texas, having a real horse was a pain. Blow up ones were still magical and much easier to travel with.

"Your cue too Ducks?" Maureen questions standing up.

"Nah...I've got plenty of time. Who needs to study?"

"Cool," Maureen sat back down and they opened up another fic file.


In TV Limbo, everyone breathed a sigh of relief until Catie debuted her newest outfit. Crop top halter with miniskirt and knee-high boots.

"Get that women some pants!" Hank yelled as he saw more of Catie than he wanted.

But that least those damn writers had stopped ficcing in groups. Now they only had to worry about Maureen and Ducki...oh shit.

End notes: anyone catch the Dealing with Dragons reference?