I could swear I posted this story before to the blog, but for the life of me I can’t find it now. So here it is again, the only fan fic I ever wrote, Torch This! I’m posting this in conjunction with my post on Oh Get A Grip tomorrow, about sequels, prequels, and fan fiction. Enjoy the tale!
I am not a fan-fic writer, nor am I the creator of any of the characters who appear or are mentioned in this story. Not even Mary Sue. Any resemblance between this story and actual fan-fiction is purely coincidental and highly unlikely. I’ve got nothing but love for fan-fic writers — only a very dedicated and talented group of writers could create some of the tales I’ve read — but I’ve also got an evil, twisted imagination and I cannot resist a joke.
To paraphrase Senator Mon Mothma from ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’:
“Many plot bunnies died to bring us this tale.”
by Helen E. H. Madden
It was a dark and stormy night…
Thunder crashed as Mary Sue typed the words into her laptop. Though a real storm raged and bellowed outside her living room window, she paid it no heed. Wrapped up as she was in her favorite terry cloth bathrobe and fuzzy bunny slippers, she was perfectly cozy and content. What’s more, she was in the zone.
The fan-fic writing zone, that is.
Tippy tap, tippy tap, her fingers danced over the keyboard, bringing her favorite characters to life. Lured by the sound of a writer hard at work, plot bunnies scurried out from under the couch to array themselves at Mary Sue’s feet. They looked more like little bits of fluff than actual bunnies, but they were very cute and enticing. One jumped onto Mary Sue’s lap.
“Oooh! You look like fun!” She scratched the plot bunny’s fluffy little chin. “You know, those big blue eyes of yours remind me of… Frodo Baggins! Oh, and Samwise Gamgee!”
At that very moment, a crackle of electricity shot out of the laptop’s screen and coiled around the plot bunny. As it pulled the squealing creature into the computer, Mary Sue gave a wicked smile.
“Oooooooooooh,” the other plot bunnies murmured, and they huddled closer to each other.
“I think Frodo and Sam deserve a very special story tonight, don’t you?” Mary Sue said to the bunnies, and she began to type even faster, her eyes alight with glee.
It was a dark and stormy night. Frodo and Sam huddled together for warmth in a cave outside Minas Morgul. They desperately wished they could be back at Bag End in Hobbiton, curled up beneath a mountain of blankets before a warm and toasty fire.
“Mr. Frodo, do you think we’ll ever see home again?” Sam whispered in the gloom of the cave.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever see it again for real, Sam. But when you hold me, I feel like I am home.” Frodo shivered. “I’m so cold. Don’t let go of me, Sam.”
Sam squeezed his fellow hobbit tighter. He opened his shirt and pressed Frodo’s hands against his bare chest to warm them. “I promise, I won’t ever let g–“
“This is Torchwood! Open up!”
At that very moment, the front door to Mary Sue’s condo burst open. The writer looked up, blinking in surprise. The plot bunnies dove for cover as a tall, dark-haired stud of a man in a long RAF greatcoat strode through the splintered remains of the door. He was followed by scrumptious-looking younger fellow with puppy-dog eyes, dressed a dapper three-piece suit.
The tall man in the great coat drew out a very large revolver and pointed it at Mary Sue. “Mary Sue Smith, you’re under arrest for possession of alien technology and infringement of copyright laws. Put the laptop down and step away from the plot bunnies. Now!”
“Oh… my… gawd!” Mary Sue squealed and clapped her hands. “You’re Captain Jack Harkness! And that’s Ianto Jones! I was just thinking about you guys. But wait, where’s the rest of your team?” Before either man could answer her, another plot bunny jumped into her lap and was promptly devoured by the computer. Mary Sue giggled. “Hold on a sec. I’ve got to get this down!”
Captain Jack drew back the hammer on his gun. “Lady, I told you to step away from that laptop–”
“Jack, wait!” Gwen Cooper, Torchwood 3’s sultry second-in-command, rushed into the room, followed by teammates Toshiko Sato and Dr. Owen Harper. Toshiko and Owen were holding hands.
“You can’t shoot Mary Sue!” Gwen exclaimed. Her thick Welsh accent held a hysterical edge. “If you hurt her or damage that computer, it could blow the temporal rift in Cardiff wide open!”
“That’s right!” Toshiko said, squeezing Owen’s hand. “I’ve run the calculations. One wrong move and we could destroy the whole world. Again.”
Jack and Ianto stared gape-mouthed at the trio. Mary Sue pecked away happily at her computer. Another plot bunny jumped into her lap to be zapped into the screen.
“Wait a second!” Jack pushed past Gwen to scrutinize Tosh and Owen. “I’m not surprised to see Gwen here, even though she’s supposed to be on honeymoon with Rhys who’s only just escaped from the clutches of the Daleks and is in bad need of some comfort, but aren’t you two supposed to be dead? And why are you holding hands like a couple of love-sick teenagers? You guys never managed to get your romantic relationship off the ground!”
“It’s okay,” Mary Sue piped up. “They’re from an alternate universe. In their world, they lived, but you and Gwen died fighting a gang of weevils over a radioactive can of spam. That tragedy brought Tosh and Owen closer together and they finally admitted their love. I wrote that as a three-part story last week for a fan-fic challenge. So they’re boyfriend and girlfriend now.”
“Actually, it’s more like we’re a Dominatrix and her adoring submissive,” the slender Asian woman said with a sly smile.
Jack gawped. “What?”
“Tosh!” Owen said. “You said you wouldn’t tell!”
Ianto raised his hand. “Um, what happened to me in that story?” he asked.
Mary Sue sighed. “Oh, it was sad really. You became a Dalek love slave.”
But Jack cut Mary Sue off before she could say anymore.
“Enough of this! This woman has somehow acquired a piece of alien technology that fell through the time-space rift, and she’s using it right now to manipulate our minds and violate international copyright laws by perverting other people’s intellectual property!” He stalked over to Mary Sue, scattering plot bunnies in his wake. “I know what you’re doing,” he growled. “You think you can take over the world by transforming people into mindless sex-addicts with your so-called slash fiction. Well it’s going to stop now!”
Mary Sue rolled her eyes. “Oh come on. This–” she held up her computer, “–is nothing but a laptop. I bought it from Bob’s Techno-Mart down at the mall. And as for the whole copyright law thing, get real. All I’m doing writing a bit of harmless fan-fic. I’m not hurting anybody.”
“Oh really?” Jack scowled. “Spread out,” he told his team. “Search the entire condo. Pull out every drawer, go through every closet. Turn this place inside out. If she’s got any other alien tech hidden away in this place, I want it found and destroyed.”
“Oh no you don’t! Hold on a second…” Mary Sue began to type furiously. The sound of her clacking keys lured another plot bunny into her lap, where it was then promptly zapped into the computer. The moment it disappeared, a strange seductive sigh came from the next room. Ianto Jones perked up his ears.
“Did you hear that?” he asked. “It sounded like…” The sound came again. “Yes, it was! A strange, seductive moan of pleasure. I think I’ll go check it out.”
“Ianto wait!” Jack called out. “It could be a trap!”
But the younger man was already through the doorway and gone.
Jack turned back to the rest of the team just in time to see Owen pulling Tosh toward the stairs.
“And where do you think you’re going?” the captain demanded.
“Well, you told us to check the place out,” Owen replied. “And since Ianto seems to have that room covered, I thought, um, perhaps Tosh and I could search the bedroom.”
“Like hell you will!” Gwen shoved the slim man aside. “I haven’t had a good spank since Tosh died last season. She’s searching the bedroom with me!”
Gwen grabbed Tosh by the arm and dragged her up the stairs. Owen and Jack stared after them. A moment later, Gwen’s blouse came flying back down the steps, then her jeans… her bra… her panties. Strangely, her belt did not come down the stairs, but sounds of squealing and the slap of leather on a plump bare bottom quickly followed Gwen’s clothes.
Jack spun around and thrust an accusing finger at Mary Sue. “Did you do that? Did you write something to turn Gwen and Tosh into sexual deviants?”
Mary Sue scoffed. “What makes you think they weren’t sexual deviants to begin with?”
“Because I know Gwen and Tosh, and unfortunately that kind of behavior is completely out of character for them!”
“Yes, completely out of character!” Owen declared. “Gwen and Tosh are obviously under the influence of one of your kinky, perverted stories.” He waved a hand at Mary Sue’s laptop. “So I think I had better go up there right now and observe what they’re doing. Strictly for medical purposes, of course,” he added.
He darted up the stairs before Jack could stop him.
“Damn it!” The handsome captain scowled. “Why do we always split up like this in a moment of danger?”
“What can I say?” Mary Sue shrugged. “It’s a convenient plot device. The rest of the team goes off to do whatever, leaving poor Captain Jack all alone and in danger yet again. It’s a situation which leads this writer to ask, ‘What am I going to do with you now, you naughty boy?'”
No sooner had she spoken the question than a dozen plot bunnies jumped into Mary Sue’s lap to be zapped en masse into the laptop.
Jack glowered and stalked toward the couch until he towered above her. “What you’re going to do,” he said in a low, dangerous voice, “is stop typing and return my team back to normal.”
Mary Sue gave a chuckle. “Oh sweetie, you still don’t get it do you?”
She waggled her eyebrows at him. “I’m the writer. You’re a fictional character!”
“I am not!”
Jack straightened up so fast he almost gave himself whiplash.
“Oh yes you are,” Mary Sue sang. “I watch you and the rest of Torchwood 3 on BBC America every Friday night! I do so love British sci-fi. It’s so much kinkier than American television.”
“I am not a character on TV!”
“Uh, Jack?” Ianto appeared at the doorway to the living room. His face appeared strangely flushed. His belt and the fly of his trousers were undone. “I’ve… found something… in the dining room…”
“What is it?”
“Two small men with large hairy feet named Frodo and Sam,” Ianto said. “At least those are the names they’re calling each other.”
“You didn’t ask them yourself?” Jack asked.
“Well, they seem rather busy right now. And besides, they’re rather… naked.”
Jack’s eyebrows climbed up to his hair line. “Frodo and Sam?” he shouted at Mary Sue. “You wrote hobbit porn?!”
Ianto gazed back into the dining room, obviously entranced. His hands strayed toward his open fly. “Jack, do you remember what you told me about big feet?”
“Ianto, don’t! Stop touching yourself and come away from the door!! There are things no man should ever see!”
“I know, but feet aren’t the only things large and hairy on a hobbit, Jack…”
“They’re fictional characters, Ianto! They’re not real! J. R. R. Tolkien is dead and spinning in his grave right now, so for the love of Elrond get away from that door!”
“I want to, I really do!” Ianto cried out. “But I can’t!” He began tearing off his clothing at an astonishing rate of speed. “They’re hobbits and they’re all hot and sweaty and supple and Frodo has both ankles behind his ears, and Sam… Oh my god, Sam! I’m being sucked in, Jack. It’s hypnotic. It’s addictive. It’s… it’s…”
“Hobbit forming?” Mary Sue suggested.
With a wail, Ianto stepped back through the doorway to the dining room and vanished in a flash of light. Jack pointed his revolver at her again. “I ought to shoot you just for that line alone,” he growled.
But at that moment, Owen came stumbling downstairs. His face was pale and he was shaking. “Jack, help me!”
“Owen, what’s wrong?”
“I was up in the bathroom watching Gwen give Tosh a long, lingering tongue bath, when I discovered something that will completely destroy the fan-fic universe as we know it!” He held up a copy of Entertainment magazine. “Harry Potter’s all grown up, and he’s developed a strange fascination with horses!”
“Oh please god, no!” Jack snatched the magazine from Owen’s hands and stared at the image on the cover. “How the hell did that poor, scrawny kid get so buff and furry?” he asked, his brow furrowing in confusion.
“I don’t know Jack,” Owen replied. “Modern medical science can’t explain it. I… I think I need a lie down.”
He walked toward the dining room, oblivious to the pile of Ianto’s discarded clothing. Jack lunged after him.
“No, wait! Don’t go in there–”
But he was too late. Owen stepped through the same door through which Ianto had disappeared. “Oh my god, it’s HOBBIT PORN!” he screamed. And then he too was gone.
Mary Sue clapped her hands and cackled wildly. Jack spun around, brandishing the magazine. “First my team, and now hobbits and Harry Potter! Is there no limit to your depravity?”
“Actually, the Harry Potter thing is real,” she said, wiping a tear of mirth from her eye. “The actor who plays him is on Broadway right now, doing nude scenes in ‘Equus.'”
“Really?” Jack straightened up and flipped through the magazine. “Does the article say where I could get tickets?” Then he slapped himself. “No, wait! What am I doing?” He dropped the magazine and aimed his revolver yet again at Mary Sue. “You’re evil,” he declared. “And it’s my job to put a stop evil. You’re going down, bitch!!”
But then an astonishingly large plot bunny, about the size of a VW bug, jumped onto Mary Sue’s lap, completely blocking Jack’s shot.
“No, I think you’re the one who’s going down, Jack. I just need to decide who you’re going down on…” Somehow the writer managed to get her arms around the oversized bit of fluff in her lap and keep typing. “Let’s see, who can I pair you with today?”
“No,” Jack said, gritting his perfect white teeth. “You got the others, but you’re not getting me. Hand over that laptop or I swear I’ll shoot.”
Several bolts of electricity snaked out of Mary Sue’s laptop to ensnare the jumbo-sized plot bunny and drag it kicking and screaming into the screen. “Too late, Sweet Cheeks,” she said. “I’ve just written your fate.”
Jack dropped to his knees and howled. “What have you done to me? I… I feel so strange.” He pulled off his great coat and tossed it aside. “Man, is it hot in here, or is it just me? No, it’s you, isn’t it?” he demanded as he shrugged out of his suspenders. His shirt tore away from his muscular chest with a loud ripping sound. As he fumbled with his fly, he screamed. “Why are you doing this to me?!”
“Well…” Mary Sue ticked off the reasons on her fingers. “For starters, you’re damned sexy and you look good paired with other men. Second, you’re an immortal who’s pretty much slept his way across the universe, which leads to all sorts of interesting story possibilities. I swear I get more plot bunnies for you alone than for all the other characters I write about combined. Third, in spite of all your lusty adventures on TV, it’s my personal belief that you’ve never truly acted out your wildest, kinkiest desire.”
“And what would that be?” Jack said, on his knees and trembling with fear.
Mary Sue folded her hands and smirked. “You, my dear Captain Jack, suffer from an unresolved daddy fetish.”
This time, the plot bunnies didn’t even have to go anywhere near Mary Sue’s lap. The lightning just leapt out of the laptop’s screen and zapped a couple dozen of them in rapid succession.
“Oh, my theory makes perfect sense to a fan-fic writer,” she explained. “You’re always hung up over the fact that your father died when you were young, and everyone knows that the real reason why you’re such a bad boy is because you never had a male role model to look up to is. You did have the Doctor for a while, but he hasn’t really looked the part of the sexy older man since John Pertwee played the role, and besides he seems more into buxom blonde pop stars these days, which is why I wrote that Doctor Who/Britney Spears piece last month…”
“I’m not listening!” Jack shouted, clapping his hands over his ears.
But Mary Sue plowed on. “Plus once you became immortal, you couldn’t bear to watch anyone you cared about age and die. So you’ve always stuck to younger lovers, leaving them before you got too attached. Thus you’ve never allowed yourself the opportunity to satisfy your need for a stronger, older man to take you by the hand and put you over his knee. I, however, have devised a solution to your problem.”
Jack groaned. “I’m afraid to ask…”
“It’s Gandalf,” Mary Sue declared.
“Huh?” Jack looked up, perplexed.
“As in the wizard from ‘Lord of the Rings?'”
“That’s the one.”
“This isn’t more hobbit porn, is it?” Jack pleaded.
“No, it’s just a straight up gay ‘Lord of the Rings’/’Torchwood’ crossover. You see, Gandalf is really a Time Lord just like the Doctor, only his favorite planet to protect is Middle Earth. When you accidentally fall through a time-space rift one day, you meet up with him at the ruins of Isengard–”
Jack held up a hand. “Wait, Gandalf is a Time Lord?”
“Well, he’s come back from the dead at least once that we know of,” Mary Sue explained. “That could have been a Time Lord regeneration. And I’d be willing to bet that staff of his is really an over-sized sonic screw-driver.”
“Aw man, I’ve seen that thing!” Jack groaned. “I hope Gandalf’s not overcompensating for something.”
“Now would I do that to you?” Mary Sue pouted. “Trust me. Gandalf is properly equipped for any adventures the two of you are going to have. Anyway, you guys team up to defeat the love child of Grima Wormtongue and Mr. Spock–”
Mary Sue shook her head. “Long story, I’ll explain it later. But after you defeat the bad guy, you get to go back to Rivendale for an extended session of Elvish spanking games.”
Jack cocked his head at her. “How did you know I liked to be…”
“Spanked? I wrote about it last month. It was a Captain Jack/Captain John pairing, called ‘Spanks for the Mammories.’ When you were temporarily transformed into a woman by an alien virus, you turned to your former Time Agent partner for comfort and luuuuuv.” She gave a lecherous grin as she dragged out the last word.
“Oh my god, you know about that?” Jack’s eyes went wide. “But how? I dosed John with enough Retcon that night to wipe out the memory of an elephant. And he was the only one who knew what we did. So there’s no way you could have known, unless…” A very visible light bulb suddenly went on over his head. “Oh my god, you really are a writer!”
“And you really are a character,” Mary Sue added.
Jack sat up. “If that’s true, then…” Confusion, understanding and then overwhelming joy cycled across his rugged face. He broke out in a wide, toothy grin. “Then I don’t have to worry about what’s happened to Gwen or Ianto or the rest of the team, because they’re not real. Hell, I don’t even have to worry about the personal consequences of my own actions.” He threw up his arms and shouted for joy. “I’m a fictional character, baby!”
“Yes, Jack. Even when I write real-person-slash about John Barrowman, the actor who plays you on TV, you’re still a fictional character.”
“Oh man! That’s great!” Jack jumped to his feet and immediately stripped off the rest of his clothing, giving Mary Sue a delightful view of his tall, hunky, naked frame. “I can do anything! I can be anyone! I can do anyone!”
“And who do you want to do right now, Jack?” Mary Sue sat with her fingers poised over the laptop’s keyboard.
“How about someone older, wiser, and who knows how to handle his staff,” the naked captain said with a salicious leer. “You know who, Mary Sue.”
“Yes, I do.” She banged wildly at the keyboard. Lightning, flames and sparks shot out of the screen. Hundreds, nay, thousands of plot bunnies would be sacrificed for this tale. Awash in the vivid glow of a slash story well-written, Mary Sue gave Jack the thumbs-up.
“Okay, you’re all set! There’s a rift opening up right now at the backdoor. Gandalf is eagerly waiting for you on the other side!”
Jack looked around. “Do I need to take anything?”
“Just your gun, ’cause a naked man with a gun is just too damned sexy.”
“Got it!” He snatched up his revolver from his abandoned clothing and bounded naked toward the back door. Before he stepped through it, he hesitated. “You’re certain that I’m a fictional character?”
“And this really is just a story?”
“And that laptop? It’s not a piece of alien technology powered by the life essences of plot bunnies that lets you screw with people’s minds and make them act out your perverted will?”
“Jaaaack! Would you get going? Gandalf isn’t going to wait forever!”
He held up his hands. “Okay, okay! I’m just checking. I’m off to see the wizard!”
He sang as he skipped through the door. There was a brilliant flash, and he was gone.
Mary Sue leaned back on the couch and rolled her eyes. “Geez Louise. I’m glad that’s over with. ‘You’re perverting other people’s intellectual property,'” she said, mimicking the now departed Captain Jack. She snorted. “Please! I’ll pervert him even more than he already is. Just as soon as I finish off this Frodo/Samwise story. Oh, make that a Frodo/Samwise/Ianto/Owen story. Gotta love that cross-over foursome thing.” She began typing. “I better finish this thing before Jack comes back. He is going to be so pissed when he figures out he’s not really a fictional character…”
Lightning flashed outside her window. The plot bunnies at her feet quivered.
“Oh don’t worry,” she reassured the little bits of fluff. “I’m sure with your help and the alien technology installed in my trusty laptop, I’ll figure out a way to distract that bad boy again. And he really is such a bad boy. Hmmm… Maybe he needs some quality discipline from another strong male character. Albus Dumbledore, perhaps? Yes, I think a private session with the headmaster of Hogwarts would do Jack a world of good…”
The plot bunnies nodded, sighed, and lined up to wait patiently for the inevitable.