VERY LONG DISCLAIMER: The PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia. This includes the CADs, the exorcisms, and pretty much everything. Les Misérables belongs to Victor Hugo and the people who wrote the musical. Gilbert and Sullivan is technically public domain, so it doesn’t legally belong to anyone anymore, but it still isn’t mine. The Lord of the Rings belongs to the Tolkien Estate. The Minis were first created by Miss Cam for OFUM. The Mini-Bricks belong Mesdemoiselles
Maria Falcone had not had a very good day. Her mp3 player had run out of batteries, so she’d been forced to wander the halls without any kind of distraction. As a result, it had taken her three hours to find her way to DoSAT and get her partner’s CAD analyzed. Crispin should have taken it himself, but an overdose of Bleepka had left him unable to stand up, and so Maria volunteered to take the device to DoSAT herself.
After finally getting there, Maria had waited for two more hours while Makes-Things examined the CAD. He finally announced that there was nothing unusual about it, and its habit of forming intelligent sentences was probably just a side effect of the self-preservation programming. Maria had resisted the urge to ask him how it had taken two hours to discover that.
Still without music, Maria had spent three more hours getting back to RC #24601. By the time she arrived at the response center, she was growling and muttering unpleasant Sindarin phrases under her breath. She walked in without looking inside first, and immediately tripped over her partner, who was lying on the floor. The ground rushed up to meet her.
“I thought you were in bed,” she grumbled as she got up. Crispin shrugged apologetically.
“I was, but then he showed up.” He gestured at a small person on the floor near him. Maria looked at it.
“Is that a Mini-Major General?”
“I think so,” said Crispin. “Someone knocked on the door, and he was there when I opened it. This note was tucked in his belt.” He passed her the note.
My name is Sir Rodric Murgatroyd. Give me space to run around and don’t let me have any alcohol. Thank you.
Maria smiled. This almost made up for her horrible day. “I’ve always wanted a Mini. And a Mini from Gilbert and Sullivan…that’s just too perfect for words.”
She started humming “My Eyes are Fully Open,” and Sir Rodric began singing along in a slightly tinny voice. They’d just gotten to the third verse when, in accordance with the Laws of Narrative Comedy, the console let out a very loud [BEEEP! BEEPBEEPBEEP!]
“They can’t send us on a mission now,” Crispin complained. “I can’t stand up!”
“They can if they want to. They can do whatever they want.” Maria scanned the Words. It was from the Les Misérables continuum, one of her favorites. “Wait a minute…this isn’t our department, there’s no OCs…oh. Are you kidding me? Is there not enough angst in the girl already? And…no. They didn’t. They wouldn’t dare.” Her happiness at getting a Mini faded and was replaced by her previous bad mood. “They’re gonna die.”
“Who’s gonna die?”
“This writer. Is gonna die. Will eviscerate. And defenestrate. And hurt. Must hurt them!” She shook an angry fist at the ceiling. “NO ONE MESSES WITH JAVERT!”
Maria walked out of the portal, ferociously muttering lines from “Stars” under her breath. “And so it must be, for it is written on the doorway to
“Maria? Where are you?” Maria turned around to look at Crispin as the portal closed behind him. He was leaning on a period-appropriate cane, as his legs still wouldn’t support him properly. He was looking right at her, but he didn’t seem to notice her. “Maria?”
“I’m right here.” Crispin stared at her. “What, am I invisible?”
“Maria? Is that you?”
“Of course it’s me!” Maria snapped. Her voice was still sounding strange…had the portal done something to her? “Who else would I be?”
“Erm, have you looked at yourself?”
Maria looked down. She was dressed in the uniform of a French police officer, which was the disguise she’d set, but…something was very wrong. She should’ve noticed sooner, but the adrenaline brought on by the fic’s Javert-bashing had clouded her judgment. “Merde,” she cursed, glaring at her newly flat chest. “I’m a boy.”
“Why?” Crispin asked. He was still staring. “Did something go wrong when we portalled?”
“I think the disguise is just being historically accurate. There wouldn’t have been women in the French police in the 1800s.” Maria sighed. “Well, it’s better than a whore. That’s what I was stuck as last time I was in this continuum.”
Crispin had turned away to avoid picturing Maria as a whore, and was now looking down the street in bewilderment. “What the hell is that?”
Maria turned to look. A large barricade loomed before them for a few seconds, then vanished. A few more seconds passed, then it was back again. Muttering curse words in several languages, she checked the Words. “The story mentions ‘the street near the barricades’ before the barricades were actually built. The barricade can’t decide whether it exists or not.” She grimaced. “And this is just the second sentence. Any minute now, Eponine is going to appear wearing a pretty dress and she’s going to get all pouty when Marius doesn’t instantly fall in love with her.”
“Eponine?” Crispin had only seen Les Mis once, several years before. “She’s the one who dresses up as a boy and gets shot, right?”
“That’s the one. She’s our Sue. As if she didn’t have enough problems.”
The two agents watched as Eponine, dressed in ambiguous ‘fine clothes,’ spoke with a black-haired Marius. Maria pointed her CAD at Marius. Thankfully, he wasn’t too far out of character yet, because ignoring Eponine was something he did all the time in canon.
But Marius only glanced at her once more. “You look very lovely,” he replied, but his answer did not sound completely sincere. “I’m sorry, Eponine, but I must hurry. I need to talk to Enjorlas before I find Cosette.”
A heavy, rectangular object scurried out from under a young woman’s skirt. Maria threw her CAD to Crispin and lunged for it, throwing herself to the cobblestones. She held on tightly as the object, which turned out to be a very thick book, struggled to free itself. Maria got a glance at the title on its cover: Enjorlas. “We’ve got a Mini-Brick!” she called to Crispin as she walked back to him.
“A Mini-Brick. It’s the Mini for this continuum. I wonder if UDÉM would let me keep him…he could keep Sir Rodric company while we’re on missions.” She stuck Enjorlas in her bag, despite the Mini’s protests.
Eponine and Marius were on the move. Crispin started to follow them, leaning heavily on his cane, but Maria grabbed his arm. “Don’t worry about them. We’re going somewhere else.” She opened a portal to the setting of the next paragraph, a nondescript ‘small apartment not very far away.’
Maria let a small, almost fangirl-ish sigh escape her lips when she saw Javert sitting at his desk, writing in a journal. Crispin gave her a disturbed look. “That’s kind of creepy.”
“You. Looking at him like that…ergh. I’m not good with slash. Nothing against slashers, but, er, I don’t really like it that much.”
“Slash?” Crispin looked pointedly at her chest. “Oh. Right, I’m a boy. Forgot. Sorry.” Maria filed ‘slash’ under the category of Things to Threaten Crispin With. You never knew when that sort of thing could come in handy.
At last, [Javert wrote] my long, frustratingly unending hunt for the famed ‘Jean Valjean’ may have finally met its end. All these years I have longed for the day when I might bring the law down upon him like a blow to the head, and now I will soon get to see it. -Javert paused to chuckle evilly here…
Maria growled. “Inspector Javert. Does not. Chuckle evilly. He doesn’t do anything EVILLY!” She snatched her CAD from Crispin and jabbed it in Javert’s direction.
[Inspector Javert (First name unknown). French male. Canon. OOC: 37.3% and rising]
The door swung open, and Eponine, still in her ‘nice clothes,’ entered. Maria gritted her teeth and pointed the CAD at her.
[Eponine Thénardier. French female. Canon/non-canon/kumquat. OOC: 1813% WARNING! CHARACTER POSSESSED! NEUTRON FLOW SEVERELY REVERSED! MR JELLY!]
The CAD let out a faintly pathetic hiss as smoke seeped out from behind the screen. Maria switched it off before it exploded. She shoved Crispin back against the wall; if Eponine was possessed, she might be able to see them. “Stay back and stay quiet.”
Eponine complained to Javert that Marius had still not noticed her, even with her new clothes, which Javert had apparently paid for. “Why is he doing this? How do they know each other? Why is he not arresting her?” Maria hissed, resisting the urge to run up and strangle Sue!Eponine. Javert responded to the young woman’s grief with ‘a voice dripping with cruel sarcasm.’
“Do they think he’s Snape or something?” Maria’s face was turning purple with rage. “Javert is not sarcastic, or cruel. Antagonistic is not the same thing as evil, people!”
Crispin reminded her that Eponine might hear them, but the possessed canon was too busy weeping uncontrollably on Javert’s bed—because apparently ‘small apartment’ meant ‘one room’—to notice the agents. In the process of bemoaning the loss of her beloved Marius, Eponine let slip the name ‘Cosette,’ and Javert finally stopped being sarcastic.
Javert suddenly perked up a bit at the mention of Cosette, whom was the ‘daughter’ of his only enemy. Where Cosette is, Jean Valjean would also be. “Cosette, you say?”
Maria let out a stream of curses in what might have been Klingon, or possibly the Black Speech. “Are you keeping a charge list?” she growled to Crispin.
“Well, a mental one…”
“Put these on there: One, misuse of whom. Two, giving Javert knowledge of canon that he should not possess. Three, mixing up verb tenses. And four, decades of police work and the man only has one enemy?”
“Is that last one a charge?”
“It is now.” Maria looked down at the Words. “Let’s get out of here; Javert’s about to ask Eponine out to dinner.”
“To find out where Cosette is, apparently. And he says ‘Gee,’ which is something I really don’t need to see. We’ve gotten the worst violations in this chapter, so let’s just go ahead to the actual dinner.”
In retrospect, they should have portalled through the dinner, too. Maria was nearly foaming at the mouth by the third time Javert was described as ‘evil’…and that was only a page into the chapter. She tried to calm herself by reciting the Song of Eärendil, but only succeeded in frustrating herself further when she forgot the sixth verse. And Crispin was not helping matters.
“I think that girl wants you to ask her to dance,” he said, pointing at an unnamed OC across the room. “She’s been batting her eyelashes at you for an hour.”
Maria shot him a venomous glance. “Why don’t you dance with her?”
Crispin waved his cane in answer. “Still can’t walk. Hey, look, they’re leaving.”
Eponine and Javert walked out of the building, which might have been a dance hall or some sort of restaurant but received absolutely no description in the narrative. They were joking with each other, an action that made Maria clench her fists. Seeing Javert act like a teenager with a crush was worse than seeing him be evil.
Eponine laughed and clapped her hands together in delight.
“Well, you were smiling! I made you smile, anyway. Soon as you knew it, though, it fell into that ugly turned-upside down frown.”
Javert arched an eyebrow. “Ugly? Do you dare to call me, Inspector Javert, ugly?”
Eponine shrugged. “Well, it really isn’t all that attractive.”
“Yes, it IS!” Maria shouted. Crispin grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into the nearest alley before the characters saw them.
“Control yourself,” he hissed.
“But…she called him…ugly…” she hissed back, her face contorted in rage. “I’m gonna kill her…”
“No killing canons,” Crispin reminded her. “Save it for the exorcism.” He dug around in his bag and pulled out a small bottle. “Have some Bleeprin, and calm down. It’s gonna be over soon.”
Maria downed five pills at once. The calming mix of bleach and aspirin flowed through her system. “Thanks. I feel a little better now.”
The Bleeprin certainly helped to keep her temper under control; Maria managed to resist the urge to throttle something when Javert and Eponine got into a tickle fight. “They’re…tickling…each other. Tickling. People in the nineteenth century, especially people who weren’t even in an official relationship, would not be tickling each other on a city street.”
Crispin, out of morbid curiosity, pointed his CAD at the uncanonically ticklish Javert.
[Inspector Javert. French male. Canon. OOC: 99.999999% DANGER! CHARACTER RUPTURE! Cause of OOC-ness: Eponine Thénardier, canon (possessed). Suggested remedy: Exorcism. Burn author-presence. Turn me off NOW, I’m going to explode soon.]
Crispin turned off the CAD. It was very useful, if slightly creepy, to have a CAD that warned you when it was going to blow up.
Maria looked back at the canons, still tickling. “I can’t watch this. Let’s go ahead to when they get to Eponine’s home. She has a big bout of angst, then we can exorcise. I can’t bear much more of this fic.”
…he took his hat off and bowed slightly. “Well, mademoiselle, its time I bid you goodnight.”
Eponine’s smile fell, and she glanced up at her house. She sighed, clearly worried about something, and Javert frowned in concern.
“Its what’s inside that place that frightens me,” she spoke quietly, “the cold floor...and the bruises that will surely turn up in the morning...”
“Do we have everything?”
Maria held up her unabridged Les Misérables and the original
Crispin thwacked his truncheon (which had come with the disguise) against the palm of his hand. It made a very satisfying sound. It wasn’t as good as fire, perhaps, but it fit better with the canon.
Eponine placed a hand on his arm and shook her head once, fear still flickering in her eyes.
“No. I can never be rid of them forever. They are a part of me. They are in my blood,” she spoke bitterly. “They will always find me, and if not my parents, then any other part of the gang.” She sighed, lowering her eyes. “They’re family and I’ll always be one of them. I’ll always be ‘Ponine Thenardier, wretched beggar and thief for the rest of my pitiful life...”
“Oh, just shut the cruk up.”
Inspector Javert turned in surprise as two young officers appeared out of nowhere. The one who had spoken, a tall young man with messy brown hair, brandished a truncheon menacingly. “Nobody move.”
“Sorry about this, Inspector,” apologized the second officer. There was a reverential look in his dark eyes. “I really am. Very, very sorry.”
He grabbed Eponine roughly by the shoulders and began beating her over the head with a very thick book. Outraged, Javert went to intervene, but the first policeman held him back. The young man was surprisingly strong.
“Get thee behind me, Sue!” Maria roared. Her new male voice proved very good for yelling at the top of her lungs. “The power of Hugo compels thee! Begone, thou spirit of gratuitous angst! Quit this shell, thou defiler of canon! The power of Hugo compels thee! Also the power of Boubil, Schönberg, and Kretzmer! Begone!”
She gave the possessed canon one more thwack over the head, and the Suethor’s presence glided out of Eponine. Maria lunged at the thing before it could attack. “Crispin! Charges, now!”
Crispin recited his list of charges as fast as he could. “Author-presence formerly possessing Eponine Thénardier, you are charged with describing the barricades before they canonically existed, creating the Mini-Brick Enjorlas, causing Javert to chuckle evilly, generally bashing the character of Inspector Javert, misusing the word ‘whom,’ giving characters uncanonical knowledge of canonical events, mixing up verb tenses, making Javert say ‘Gee,’ causing canon characters to engage in anachronistic behavior (namely, tickling), using gratuitous angst, making my partner very angry, and making Eponine into a Mary-Sue. For these crimes you are sentenced to death. Any last words?”
“But I just wanted them to be happy…” the author-presence whined. Maria pulled out her own truncheon and hit the thing over the head until it stopped moving. It slowly dissolved into a pool of glitter, then vanished altogether.
Crispin let Javert go. The inspector looked around in confusion. “What…what just happened?”
“Nothing to worry about, Monsieur,” Maria said, pulling out her neuralyzer. “Now, if you could just look into the light…merci.”
Crispin finally started getting some strength back in his legs by the time he opened the portal. He started to step through, then realized that Maria wasn’t behind him. “Maria? You coming?”
“Yeah.” She started coming towards him, but stopped abruptly. “Hey, um, do you think you could take Enjorlas back, and I’ll meet you later? I just…want to savor this a little. I don’t get to come to this continuum that often.”
“Er, all right.” He took the squirming book from her and started through the portal. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Hiding in the shadows, Maria watched Inspector Javert slowly walk down the street, presumably towards his home. By her estimation, the inspector had one or two days (it was hard to be sure, with the fic’s perversion of canon) before he committed suicide. She wished she could speak to him, warn him somehow that he should make the most of these last few days, but she couldn’t. She wasn’t a ‘Sue, she didn’t mess with canon. Even when she really wanted to.
Singing quietly, she turned to the portal. “And those who follow the path of the righteous shall have their reward, and if they fall as Lucifer fell, the flame, the sword…”
Maria’s A/N: I’m not always this angry. Really. It’s just…she called Javert ugly! Javert is not ugly. Yeah, he’s much older than the average fangirl, but that doesn’t make him ugly. I really hate Javert-bashing.
Crispin’s A/N: This was…awkward. Maria was very scary as a boy. Not that she isn’t scary all the time, but she was even scarier. Next time, we pick a different disguise. Not a whore, though, because that would be even more awkward. Hopefully, though, we won’t have to come to this continuum very often, because it’s a very small fandom.
Random Credits, not in Any Particular Order:
- “My Eyes are Fully Open” and Sir Roderic Murgatroyd are from Ruddigore, by Gilbert and Sullivan.
- “Stars” is from Les Misérables, the musical, by Boubil, Schönberg, and Kretzmer.
- I don’t know which Doctor Who spinoff author came up with ‘cruk,’ but one of them did.
- Any references to reversing the polarity of the neutron flow belong to Doctor Who—specifically the Third and Tenth Doctors—which belongs to the BBC.
- The Song of Eärendil is from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien.