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Mission I: avala black An American at Hogwarts
edward_wilder

I woke up, woken not by noise, but by silence. I knew immediately something was wrong. If I was in my response center, which I was, then by rights techno music should have been blasting my ears off. Then I realized that if techno had been blasting my ears off, I shouldn’t have been able to sleep. I remembered what had happened last night. I moaned, holding my head between my hands. I only had vague recollections of last night. I remembered going to the HQ Cafeteria, not the public section, the part that everybody knows about but nobody ever talks about. I don’t drink, as a rule, but I could fuzzily remember a whole lot of Bleepka (a potent combination of vodka, brain bleach, and aspirin) and this viscous pink fluid, but that was all.

A horrible thought entered my head. I tried to look under my bed, realized I had fallen asleep on a table, looked under the table, and didn’t find anybody under it. Thank God for small mercies.

But why had I let myself go so much last night? I tried my best to think, given how much my head hurt. Something bad had happened, I knew that much, so I had tried to forget it. That much had worked at least, I thought, chagrined. Something occurred to me. “Hey, Tai! What happened yester…” I began, and then I remembered.

  Tai, my partner through thick and thin, was dead. Eaten, to be more specific. By the Watcher in the Water, to dredge up excessively painful memories. It was a hazard of working in the PPC, AKA the Protectors of the Plot Continuum.

When fanfic writers create their stories, it slightly changes the plots of the work the fanfic is based on. This can be good or bad, depending on the quality of the fic. As a Protector of the Plot Continuum, my job is to keep the worst fanfics from causing too much damage. We try to lessen the damage of the fics by repairing plot holes, breaking up illogical romantic pairings, and killing Mary Sues, nigh-omnipotent pet characters the fanfic authors insert to warp canon to suit the authors whim.

I’m an agent of the Department of Mary Sues. My job is tracking down Sues, charging them with whatever they’ve done to warp the canon, killing them, and disposing of the body in the most imaginatively painful way possible. Well, maybe not the last one, but status quo dictates we do that anyway.

I had been part of the Freelance Division. Unlike other agents who only perform missions in one particular canon, the Freelance Division assassinates ‘Sues everywhere, indiscriminate of canon. Only the best agents go Freelance, as most aren’t able to handle constant canon shifting (or at least, the agents of the Freelance Division like to think that).

Tai had been killed on a mission to the LOTR canon. We had planned to get her right before the Fellowship entered the Mines of Moria and were busy fighting the Watcher in the Water. Unfortunately, we were the ones who got distracted fighting the Sue, and that thing had managed to grab Tai. I hadn't even seen it happen. One moment, my partner was there, the next, she was dead. I had killed the 'Sue, like a good little agent, but afterwards, I...taught that damn octopus the error of its decision.

Suffice to say, none my bosses had been particularly happy about it. The real kick in the head was when everyone seemed so much more concerned about the beast than my freakin’ partner. They had kicked me out of Freelance and told me I was going to do missions in the Harry Potter continuum for a while with my new partner. That very last fact was the reason I had been drinking so much. I don’t get over losing partners quickly.

As I was trapped in my nostalgia, my redundantly large computer flicked on, set on webcam. I saw the ambivalent visage of the Sunflower Official, my boss. Good morning, Mr. Riddick, he told me psychically, Your new partner will be down shortly, so I suggest you get some clothes on and shave before she comes. She’s being transferred from the DoI and this is her first assassination, so I’m going to give you something fairly standard for training. Lots of charges, probably little danger, you know the drill.

I nodded, trying to look as alert and attentive as I could.

That seems to be everything, then. He cut the transmission somehow.

The traditional uniform of the PPC is a black t-shirt and jeans, so I wore an oversized tie-dye. I had found that this is one of the easiest ways to get on the Flower’s nerves; they hate it when you break regulations, but the PPC is so understaffed there’s no way they can fire you for something as stupid as wearing the wrong kind of shirt.

I paused, and thought about it. They wouldn’t fire me for wearing the wrong shirt, and they couldn’t dock my pay because I didn’t get any pay, but I didn’t doubt the Marquis de Sod, the Daisy in charge of the Department of Personnel, could find all sorts of amusing ways to make my time in the PPC painful…I grabbed my black longcoat from the closet, and began thinking things along the lines of Oh, how very rebellious, nice job sticking it to the man, and other such unhelpful thoughts.

I shaved, because according to the universal laws of whatever pocket dimension HQ is located in, whenever you pull some sort of all-nighter you have to have a five o’ clock shadow, no exceptions.

I heard a knock on my response center door, and smirked slightly as the person who had knocked cried out when their knuckles hit the metal door. Tai had painted it with wood-stain ‘by accident’, and it still fooled some people into hurting themselves knocking on it. I opened it, and saw a teenage girl massaging her knuckles.

She was petite, had black hair cut chin-length, dark eyes, and delicate features. She was quite slim, but not particularly muscular either. I could tell she had spiffed herself up in an attempt to make a good impression. She was rather pretty, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to care much about that.

I, on the other hand, was more than six inches taller than her, with a three-inch scar above my left eyebrow, sharp, angular features, a curved knife stuck in my belt, and rectangular purple-tinted glasses that completely obscure my eyes. My long dark hair seemed to have reached psychotic levels of craziness. I too like making an impression.  

“H-hello?” she asked me nervously.

I stopped imagining a wig doing a Hannibal Lecter impression long enough to ask, “And you would be?” I tried not to growl and failed.

She managed to regain some of her composure. “Leila Asher. Department of Intelligence.” She held out her hand.

I ignored it. “Not anymore. Julius Riddick. Come inside, why don’t you?”

She stepped hesitantly into my response center, gaining confidence slightly once she saw how it wasn’t decorated with the heads of former DoI agents. “Ooh, you have a cat!” she exclaimed, running over to my tortoiseshell cat warming herself on the heater.

“Yes, I do. Her name is Hattie, short for Hatshepsut. Try not to break her.”

“How would I break a cat?”

“I was talking to her.”

She laughed. I almost smiled back before I thought of Tai.

She kept stroking my cat. “So…is there some kind of orientation?”

“In-field training. That’s odd…the SO said we would be getting...”

[BEEP!]

“…A mission soon,” I said, inordinately satisfied with myself. I walked over to the screen. “Hmm. You like Sirius Black at all?”

A fangirlish squeal replied far more articulately than she could.

“Well, this is not your mission,” I remarked with a bit more relish than was entirely kind. “The Sue’s claiming to be his daughter, and I’ll be damned if she isn't a nasty one. Her friggin’ character sheet takes up the whole first chapter. Someone needs to learn show-don’t-tell.” She hesitated. “Well, what are you waiting for? Weapons, disguises, grab one of those portal-maker thingies! I assume you know the deal?”

“What? Yeah! Of course! What weapons should I get?”

“It’s a Harry Potter continuum, you decide.”

“Umm…wands?” she asked tentatively.

“Are there wands in the weapons cabinet?” I asked, trying to be withering.

“Umm…no?”

“Of course there aren’t. Just get me my ax, and whatever weapon you’re taking. Don’t bother with the analysis devices, no technology works on school grounds anyway. When we portal out, it’ll have to be away from the school, unless we can find a convenient plothole.” There was a pause as she scurried to carry out my orders. “Oh, by the way, is Sirius Black in a relationship?”

Yes. With me.”

“Be serious!” I said angrily.

“Be Sirius? Really?” she asked excitedly.

I sent the best withering stare I could muster her way. I was trying not to laugh, so it wasn’t as potent as it might have otherwise been.

Leila was nonplussed, or maybe she just didn’t see me. “No, I don’t think so. Personally, I like to think he’s into guys. Like Remus…” she said dreamily, making puppy-dog eyes to the ceiling.

I sighed, and muttered something rude about yaoi fangirls as I poured some food into Hattie’s bowl. My new partner punched the appropriate information into the disguise generator, and we both transformed into Death Eaters.

I nodded approvingly. Nowhere near as easily traced as Dementors, and so much more likely to randomly kill a Hogwarts student. It fit quite neatly. I grabbed my weapon, a long-handled black battleaxe with a spike on the end. I noticed, with some disdain, that she hadn’t brought any weapons. It appeared that she expected me to be doing the dirty work on the mission. Of course, I was going to do the dirty work, and by my appearance it wasn’t really an unreasonable assumption, but I was in the mood to be disdainful.

She grabbed the remote activator and created a dot against the wall, which quickly expanded into a large blue hole. We stepped through the portal, into the metaphorical abyss.


There was nothing there, only the empty grayness that occurs when a fic writer doesn’t write any backgrounds into their story. “Brace yourself,” I told her.

“Brace for wha-?” she began, but then the author’s notes started.

In a Wordworld such as the one we were in, author’s notes take form as voices inside your head, thoughts that are being implanted straight into your brain without going through your ears first. It feels unnatural at the best of times and can easily make an inexperienced assassin sick, and these were particularly horrendous examples.

It was a rundown of everything you never wanted to know about Avala Black, the main character of the fic and incorrigible ‘Sue. I tried to listen, but gave up when the author misspelled ‘Grimmauld Place’. I saw Leila on the ground with her fingers in her ears, gasping for breath. I ran over to her when the monologue stopped.

I gave her a weak smile. “Don’t worry, the first time’s the hardest. Don’t cover your ears, author’s notes aren’t like speech and so that really doesn’t help. You okay?” I added, realizing I probably should have said that first.

She nodded, looking wan. “I…I think I missed some stuff for the charge list.”

 “It's fine, we can just read the Words.” Words are the underlying fabric all Wordworlds are made up of. Protectors can read them, which is handy in situations like this one.

She took out a pencil and a pad of paper as the world hazily blurred into something resembling a background. “Okay…first charge; having a Japanese nickname in Great Britain, and a cliché one at that. I doubt she even knows what it means.”

 “What does Tsuki mean?”

“It’s the Japanese word for either ‘Thrust’, ‘Month’, or ‘Moon’, depending on the pronunciation,” she told me brightly.

“And that, in a nutshell, is why I dislike the Japanese language.” I said, trying and failing to sound like I had some sort of experience with such matters.

She gave me an odd look. “You do? But I read your agent file, and it said you can speak Mandarin, and that’s even more complicated, isn't it?”

I glared at her. “Yes. Yes it is.”

Once again, she ignored it. At this point, the station had molded itself into a rather generic British railway station “Okaaay…Moving on. I think being the child of a completely non-canonical pairing counts as a charge. Do we have to call Bad Slash for that?”

“First sign of a Sue in denial, so yes, it is a charge. Also, since the slash was caused by the Sue, killing her will reverse it and we don’t need to call Bad Slash, thank God. They’re all either idiots or crazier than we are. Go on.”

“Harry and…Avala have the same mother, but are also the same age, since they’re in the same grade. Since Harry was born on July 31st, James would have to have conceived Harry impossibly soon after Lily had given birth. Spelling ‘Grimmauld Place' with a 'Grimuld'. Having hair of three different colors simultaneously. Using a simile to describe a facial feature, and the word is ‘lilies’, not ‘lilys’. Having a weight of ‘skinny’. Somehow managing to like Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, and Oreos even though she supposedly grew up in a pureblood household where she wouldn’t have any exposure to any of that. Knowing ‘wandless magic’ and controlling the elements without anything like that actually existing in the Potterverse. Thinking ‘electricity’ is a classical element and spelling it ‘electriacity’. Having an ‘oersonality’. Spoiling the entire romantic plotline even before the first chapter. Going out with her brother without an incest warning in the author’s notes. Spelling ‘Potter’ ‘Poater’. Making Grimmauld place exist in Ohio, making it a house instead of a street, and making Tonks live there with her. Having a character sheet in the first place. Oh, and can we charge her for using excessive capslock?”

She had assembled a sizeable charge list admirably quickly, and I was rather impressed, but I certainly wasn’t going to tell her that. “Spelling is only one charge, unless it’s a particularly noxious example, the same goes for ambiguity and bad descriptions, and if a woman has two uteruses, she can have two babies a couple of months apart, so we can't charge her for it. But I have no idea Lilly Potter managed to conceal a second birth from her own husband, so that is. But it's not bad for a beginner.”

She nodded. “Is it long enough to charge her?”

I stared stonily ahead at the steadily detailing scene. “For some agents.”

“You wouldn’t?”

“Was that what I said?” I asked in that disgustingly frustrating way I’ve perfected.

“So we can kill her now?” she asked me hopefully.

“Was that what I said?” Looking back on it, it was rather unfair too keep dodging her questions, but keep in mind the fact that my old partner had died just yesterday and I wasn’t in the mood for an inquisitive newbie at the moment. Of course, nobody’s ever in the mood for an inquisitive newbie, and I wasn’t really in a position to judge, having only been with the PPC for a few months at that point.

Finally, the scene had composed itself into a (still rather ambiguous) version of Platform 9 ¾. We saw our target Sue walking towards us, Nymphadora Tonks next to her.

The scene lurched gut-wrenchingly. Again, the scene had composed itself into Platform 9 ¾. We saw our target Sue walking towards us, Tonks by her side.

Leila blinked, looking ill. “Didn’t that just happen?”

I nodded grimly, looking at the words. “She repeated herself, and so the scene did too. ‘Nother one for the charge list…”

Im scared Tonks!!" she said. "Don'tt be scared, Avala!!" "OK!"

I looked at my partner, disgusted. “Who the hell thinks Tonks talks like this? Who thinks anybody in the Harry Potter continuum talks like this? For that matter, who thinks anybody on Earth talks like this? Someone needs to get some fresh air...”

She wrote it down. “That, or a bucket of ice to the head. Volunteers, anybody?”

“And look at her height,” I mentioned. Her height was fluctuating from six feet to about 5’4”, making it impossible to concentrate on her. “She says ‘5’8”, (avg.)’, meaning she can be any different height so long as it has an average of 5’8.”

“Adding bad grammar and improper heights?”

“Of course.”

They walked to the platform…

“Wait, I thought we were already on the platform?” Leila asked, confused again.

“It’s a Suefic, don’t worry too much about the details.”

Suddenly, Avala blurred. She shot past us, onto the platform and off it just as quick, and then onto the train. “What the hell just happened?”

I ran to catch up to her. “The plot’s moving too quickly! We’re going to have to kill her soon or we won’t be able to keep up!”

We ran onto the train, gasping, just in time to hear Harry and Ron practically at each others throats over a girl they had met ten seconds ago.

“No," said Harry, " She is going on a date with ME!!" "NO SHE IS GOING WITH ME!!" said RonN. "NO ME!!" screamed Harry. "Whoare you going with, Avala?" asked Ron. "Me?" Avala's emerald eyes sparkled with sadness, and filled with tears, black, glimmering tears. Droplets of oil seemed to run down the ‘Sues face. "Don't fight over me, guys!! I love you both!!" Her eyes sparkled with sadness, and the compartment started to rain. The roof of the train car began to dissolve and drizzle on those inside of it. " Sorry about that!!" Avala said, "I am an elemental and it rains when I am said.”

“I’m putting excessive exclamation points down and you can’t stop me, but does having dialogue from multiple characters in the same paragraph count as a charge?”

“Hell yes, and so does making Harry and Ron so OOC I can hardly tell who they are and making the train dissolve,” I remarked, extremely annoyed. In my book, a fic can be decent without getting every tiny piece of canon correctly, but there’s absolutely no excuse for bad science.

“I think the author intended that last one…” my partner told me hesitantly.

“Even worse. Come on, let’s go somewhere where we can’t overhear this literary abomination.” I paused. “What kind of music do you like?”

“Oh, really obscure nerd-rock stuff, mostly.”

“I’m a techno geek myself. Hey, I’ll bet my favorite band is obscurer than yours.”

“You’re on,” she said, smiling. “Ever heard of They Might Be Giants?”

“Oh, come on. That’s what everyone says. Even I like some of their stuff. Okay, have you ever heard of Atomic Inc?”

“I got no idea who or what you’re talking about, matey. What do they sound like?”

“Well then, allow me to show you…” I dug my iPod out of my pocket when suddenly the train ground to a halt.

We were thrown to the ground by the sudden stop. Students shot out of their boxes even faster than Avala had been at the platform. We got up to avoid being trampled by the stampede. The constant movement made out teeth chatter. “I-I-I h-h-ate t-this f-f-f-fic!” my partner screamed at me. I nodded agreement, afraid to talk in case movement would make my teeth...liquefy somehow.

We got off, badly shaken. “Let’s just look at the words this time, okay? I don’t want to get almost-crushed again,” I told her.

“Okay…Julius, right?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, my name Julius. So, what do we have for the list now?”

“Hmm…Harry seems to be perfectly fine with seeing thestrals for the first time, even though since this is only the beginning of the fifth book this should be a total shock to him, inventing a school for witches in Ohio, getting the Sorting Hat OOC, which I didn’t even think was possible, spelling Dumbledore ‘Dumbledoor’,” a large spider popped into existence, and scuttled off, “…yeah, I think that’s it. Ooh, and I’ve also found the perfect time to assassinate her. Most of the whole next chapter is just a bunch of song lyrics she probably got of the internet, if the notations saying ‘Chorus’ are anything to go by, and her making the other characters dance.”

“Really? What does she like?”

“Panic on the Disco, Fallout Boy, and this really sucky song she wrote herself professing her love to Harry. Oh, and she actually mentions she knows Harry is her brother? I thought she was just incredibly ignorant, not outright incestuous. And still no warning in the author’s notes!”

“Does she really? We ought to kill her before that happens. ”

“Aww, but listen to what they say right before that!”

“she was the most graceful girl he had ever seen, a born dancer. "You are a born dancer!" he said! Harrys greanm orbs met Avala's. "You are the best born dancer ever!You were born to dance!"

“Redundancy much?” I said dryly.

“That and stupidity. But listen…”

"thank you hrary!" aAvala noticed him standing there, looking at her, " my dad always said I was born to dance. He said I was a porn dancer." Avala laugehed and her eyes sparkled in happiness.”

“She actually says that?” I laughed as Leila cracked up. “That is too much…Are you 100% sure this isn't a parody? Because if it was, I would read this stuff religiously. ”

“Yeah, really. But it would probably be better to charge her before Harry and company arrives.”

“Okay, fine with me. Let’s do this.”


We strode dramatically in as soon as the first song started. I hefted my ax and smashed her ‘iopod touch’ lying on the table into bits. “Party’s over, babe.”

“Disregard of the ‘no electronics’ rule too, I see,” Leila muttered, seeming to be particularly miffed by this. She grabbed Ginny’s hair and stabbed her in the neck with a syringe, making Ginny sigh and pass out immediately. Hermione and the Sue stopped dancing and started squealing something about Death Eaters.

“Read her the charges,” I told Leila.

She cleared her throat. “Avala Black, you are charged with being a Mary Sue, having a cliché Japanese nickname in Britain that you never actually use in any case, causing an improbable romantic liaison between Sirius Black and Lily Potter, have you no shame, having a vauge and confusing childhood, countless counts of misspellings and grammar mistakes, having three hair colors, vague or just plain bad descriptions, somehow being a pureblood yet knowing more about Muggle food, music, and television than Hermione, using improper magic for this canon, causing an incestuous relationship between yourself and Harry Potter, living in two places at once, two or three counts of repeating yourself …”

We had to wait until she had finished reading the charges to go in for the kill, but Hermione and the Sue had no such qualms. Hermione flung a spell at my partner which missed by a mile, and Avala rushed in to attack me.

I swung my ax back-handed at the Sue, missed, whipped it back forehand, and hit her with the flat of the blade. She fell to her knees. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Leila trying to jab Hermione with a second needle, while simultaneously reading the charge list. “…degrading the characters of Tonks, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Dumbledore, and the Sorting Hat, god knows how you managed that…” I had to admit that impressed me somewhat, but I needed to focus.

Avala launched a fireball at me, and I dodged by a hair. The blast hit my ax, and to my great surprise, the black metal seemed to deflect the fireball in a shower of sparks. Every law of physics stated that the heat should be conducted down the handle and have burned my fingers off, but my digits persistently remained un-incinerated. I stared at it, with what I believe was a rather stupid look on my face.

“H-how did yii doe thatt?” the Sue demanded, her spelling worsening steadily as she got upset.

“I dunno…But it was pretty cool, wasn’t it?” I answered slowly, gazing at the ax.

“Julius, we have a job to do! Stop staring at your stupid ax!” Leila yelled at me, tumbling like an acrobat to avoid another blast of light from Hermione’s wand.

“Ah, yes.” I kicked the Sue in the jaw, sending her sprawling backwards. I stood with one foot on her chest and jammed the end of the ax under her chin. “The remaining charges, if you please?”

“One of the most amusing spelling mistakes I’ve seen,” Leila continued, then lunged out and stuck the syringe into Hermione’s neck. “And finally, for using electronics on Hogwarts grounds!”

I hefted the ax behind my head. “Any last words?”

“Haryy!! Help me!!1” she screamed.

I shook my head. “Wrong answer, precious,” I told her, and laid down the law.

My partner stood up slowly, glancing at the Sue’s head lying a few feet away from her body. “That’s it? That’s all there is to it?”

“Not quite,” I told her. I put down the ax and tossed first her head, then her body out the window into the lake. A pair of tentacles shot out of the water, caught her, and dragged her down to a watery grave. I shuddered, remembering what had happened to Tai, and supressed the urge to do something... regrettable to the creature.

Leila shivered. “I thought the school kraken wasn’t carnivorous?”

I paused. What I should have told her was that every animal in just about every continuum hates Sues with a passion, making disposal rather easy for agents. Instead, I said, "What did you think it ate?" and I still regret it to this day. “Quick,” I told my partner, “If she can use gadgets on school grounds, maybe we can too. Portal us out before canon reasserts itself.

“Aye aye, matey,” she said, and I rolled my eyes.


 “So,” she asked when we were back in my response center. She had taken the swivel chair, and I was lounging on the sofa were I napped whenever I got a chance between missions. The computer seemed to sense exactly the moment when it would be most awkward to give us a mission, so most agents have turned power-napping into a fine art. Hattie had curled up on my chest, and I was absentmindedly petting her. “What happens now?”

“Well, we’ve had a bite to eat, we’ve gotten fairly comfortable, we’ve tempted fate quite enough, so I really don’t know why it hasn’t-”

 [BEEP!]

I sighed, and shooed the cat off of me. “It always happens, I always know it's going to happen, sometimes when I’m really bored I make it happen and yet never fails to annoy me when it does happen. Someday, I am going to take an ax to that machine.”

“Not yet you won’t. We have Sues to kill...


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Not often that a PPC mission is told in first person. It works, though. Nice first mission. I have some comments, most of them are the typos you asked about.

When fanfic writers create their stories, it weakens the plots of the work the fanfic is based on. The effect of this can be good or bad, depending on the quality of the fic. As a Protector of the Plot Continuum, my job is to keep the worse fanfic writers from causing too much damage. Unfortunately, we can’t kill the writers themselves; all we can do is try to lessen the damage of the fics by repairing plot holes, breaking up illogical romantic pairings, and killing Mary Sues, nigh-omnipotent pet characters the fanfic authors insert to warp canon to suit the authors whim.

Uhm, no. I'll pass on commenting whether all fanfic weakens the plot of the original canon. I think the original canon is strong enough to withstand any attacks of fanfic. My problem is with "keep the worse fanfic writers from causing too much damage": the PPC does not busy themselves with the writers. The PPC busies themselves with bad plot elements, such as there are Mary Sues, Gary Stus and bad slash. It's those we take out of the stories. We leave the writers alone. Please don't imply that we'd rather kill the authors.

Suggestion for rewrite: my job is to lessen the damage of the fics by repairing plot holes, breaking up illogical romantic pairings, and killing Mary Sues, nigh-omnipotent characters that warp canon to suit their own whim.

the error of it's ways

its way. Also, in that paragraph I got confused about where everyone was. Who's the her referred to in the second sentence? Tai or the Sue? And the word distracted is used twice, which makes it stand out a bit.

I misses
missed

Its fine
It's

She took out ... it means.”
background; Britain

cause by
caused

Harry and…Avala have the same mother, but are also the same age, since they’re in the same grade. Since Harry was born on July 31st, James would have to have conceived Harry impossibly soon after Lily had given birth.

Unless Lily had two wombs. It's possible to have two wombs, and there are some reports of women having two babies a month or so apart.

I wasn’t really wasn’t in

vision of
version

know its going
it's

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