Love Never Dies
Allison was dead to the world. The last mission had been quite exhausting and she was gone as soon as she hit the sofa. In the distance she heard a beeping noise. Her hand made a half-hearted movement that might have hit an alarm clock had there been one.
"Tasmin'll get it," she muttered as she turned around.
The noise, however, continued and it did not seem that Tasmin was 'getting it'. Allison wondered why. She yawned and opened an eye. With it she glared in the direction of the loud beep, at the console. She opened another eye to make her glare more impressive and tried to stare the offending machine into silence. When that failed, she nestled herself back on the sofa, muttering, "Whatever." She decided to go back to sleep.
To her surprise, if not her relief, the noise stopped. Allison sniggered quietly. The console had learned who was boss.
"Get up! We have a mission."
And the boss was Tasmin. Allison grumbled as she clambered off the sofa. "This better not be a Sue that is in any way familiar."
"She's Face's fiancée," Tasmin said.
Allison shrugged. "I never figured him for using that particular scam on old ladies."
"And Murdock's sister."
Allison blinked, rubbed her ears, cocked her head and looked up at her partner. "I thought the one thing we knew about his family life was that he's an only child."
"No, the one thing we know about him is that his mother died when he was five and he was raised by his grandparents. Whether or not there were any siblings was never mentioned."
"Are there any other family relations with any of the Team? Did Hannibal adopt her? Is she on BA's 'Big Brother Little Brother' Project?"
"I don't know, but Hannibal was going to give her away at her wedding."
"Was? That actually sounds sort of promising."
"Well, that's what she thought shortly after the Team's court martial. But we should get into this fic and start writing charges."
The portal brought the agents to a luxurious apartment, large and tastefully decorated.
"Face's doing?" Allison asked, looking around. She wandered through the living room and picked up a picture frame from a side table. "He never left personal items around, did he?" She looked at the people in the picture. "Hey, the face of that girl is changing. She's starting to look like me." Allison felt a force pulling her backwards. She dropped the picture frame and tried to grab hold of the sofa. "TASMIN? What is happening?"
Allison lost grip of the sofa and was flung into the bedroom.
I ran into the plush bedroom and flopped on my bed, burying my face in the pillows.
Tasmin gave a furtive glance around the door frame. "Sorry. This is a first person fic. It means that it turns the reader -- us -- into a Sue."
"I don't see you lying on this bed." Allison fought to get her head far enough from the pillow to talk to her partner.
"One Sue's enough for the story."
"Because you already have Sue experience." Tasmin shrugged.
Allison grabbed the picture frame that was on the bedside table and tried to throw it at Tasmin. Instead, the fic controlled her movement and brought the picture to her face.
The scene changed and both agents were deposited on a beach. Allison was still holding the picture frame. A few yards away from them, on the deck of a beach cabin, stood Face and a woman in a lavender dress.
"What? That's the exact dress I was in in this picture." Allison held up the frame to show her partner. "Except that I'm no longer in this picture, but she is." Allison gave her partner a puzzled look. "How come I'm no longer the Sue?"
"I don't know. The Words just said 'flashback'."
The agents watched as the woman told Face that she saw the real Face even though he was hiding himself, and that she liked him for who he was.
I guess what I’m trying to say is Temp, you don’t have to worry about being lonely, scared or however you feel anymore.
Then the woman and Face professed their love for each other and kissed.
The agents were returned to the bedroom and Allison smashed the picture frame against the wall. She looked at it in shock. "Why am I the Sue again?"
"I think it has something to do with the flashback being in third person."
"Are there any more flashbacks?" Allison asked. Her legs stretched and her body was made to stand up. Like a puppet on a string she marched out of the room, out of the apartment, down the street to the VA. There she collapsed into the arms of Amy Allen.
I hadn’t seen her since she left for Jakarta. If anyone knew anything, it would be her.
It appeared, though, that Amy knew very little because Allison had to bring her up to speed on everything that had happened at the courts martial. Amy said she'd been to see Murdock, but he wasn't in.
Oh GOD Amy. What if he REALLY went off the deep end this time?
The two women returned to the apartment and Amy tucked Allison into bed.
"Sleeping nicely?" Tasmin flopped down on the bed.
Allison curled up with the pillow. "Go away. You have no idea how exhausting it is to have to shout every other word."
"You have to write that down as a charge."
"Can't. I'm the Sue. Can't write up charges for myself." Something occurred to her and she sat bolt upright. "You are not going to shoot me," she said to her partner, pointing a finger.
"Course not. Hadn't even occurred to me." Tasmin almost managed to keep a straight face. "We'll have to figure something else when that time comes."
Murdock came into the room and sat down on the bed.
HM! OH GOD! HM!” I threw myself onto him and started crying.
Tasmin bent low so she could look Allison, who -- as the fic dictated -- was lying on top of Murdock, in the eyes. "If you enjoy any part of this, I am still going to shoot you."
Allison glared at her partner through her tears.
Murdock gently rocked her from side to side and sang to her.
"I am not a three-month-old baby," Allison growled.
"You're my baby sister."
Murdock pulled away from her to give her a good look. "Well, I know you from somewhere."
The fic kicked in and forced Allison to punch Murdock in the arm and demanded that he'd tell her where he'd been. Murdock dodged the question, and asked her how she'd been. Allison lamented that she'd never wake up next to Face again.
Ryn, love never dies.”
"That's not going to keep me warm at night," Allison wanted to shout. In stead, some profanities came out and she jumped out of bed. She started to pick up the pieces of the broken picture frame. She cut her hand and started to cry again.
Murdock put his arms around her and pulled her close. He told her he was found sane and would be relocating to Washington, D.C. He asked her if she wanted to come along, live with him and be protected by him.
Allison accepted and asked how he had managed this on such short notice, with the guys and everything on his mind. Murdock dodged the question again. This time by reverting his attention to the cut in her hand.
I stared at the door after HM left. He knew something. And he wasn’t going to share it with me.
Allison stared at her bandaged hand. "At least he learned first aid at the VA, but can I kick him for not telling Face's love of a lifetime that he is still alive? I mean, that's just plain cruel."
Tasmin nodded. "I agree. With the cruelty bit, not the part about kicking canon."
The agents were displaced to a beach again. It was night and there was a full moon in a cloudless sky. Closer to the shoreline where two more people: Face and the lavender clad female from the earlier flashback. Face was down on one knee.
"Perhaps we could stay in this flashback. I'm sure it's safer than inside the fic proper." Allison showed her injured hand.
Tasmin bobbed her head, weighing the options. "I guess you're right." She opened her duffel bag to search for the FLF, but before she had found it, the agents were returned to the bedroom.
"Thanks for that. I knew I could count on you." Allison scowled.
"Sorry. We'll catch the next one. I promise."
Murdock came back into the bedroom and asked Allison what she was doing. She said she was remembering the night Face proposed. He remembered with her, how proud Hannibal was she'd asked him to give her away.
Hannibal was like a father to me HM. I know at first he wasn’t happy that I tagged along with the team.
Allison rolled her eyes. "Keep this up, Sue, and I might actually shoot myself."
"Did you say something?" Murdock looked at her.
"Just that I'm keep shooting up with tears. I should start packing."
Amy walked in. Allison explained to her that she was going to D.C. with Murdock because there were too many memories of Face here.
Where will you go Amy? Are you going to try and get your job back at the Courier?
Amy said she was going to live at the apartment. As if that was some kind of job.
Amy and Murdock left the room so that Allison could pack.
She spun around to her partner. "Did you hear that? This Sue even got Amy fired form the Courier."
"I'm hearing it and I'm writing it down. How's your hand?"
Allison looked at it. "I would have thought it would be more painful, but I don't feel a thing."
"Like I thought, neglecting injuries as soon as they're bandaged."
Murdock and Allison flew to Washington where they moved into his apartment. Tasmin joined them through portal. Allison had a nightmare about Face and the firing squad.
A time rift fast-forwarded the fic six months.
"Ow." Tasmin was knocked against the wall and hurt her head.
Allison chuckled. "Because I'm a character in this story, time rifts don't bother me."
Tasmin glared at her.
Allison was about to say something else when the telephone rang. She turned around to pick it up, but the caller hung up. A moment later the phone rang again. This time the caller spoke. He said he was a friend of Murdock's and wanted to speak to him.
There was something familiar about the voice on the other end.
Murdock answered the phone in his room. Rather than listening in on the living room extension, Allison was forced to press her ear against Murdock's bedroom door. She could only make out a few words. When Murdock hung up she hurried to the kitchen. Murdock came out of the room and asked her to get some snacks.
Allison grabbed her coat and walked to the door. When she put a foot across the threshold she felt a pulling sensation. She struggled against it. From behind her a warm sensation washed over her. "She's gone." She spun around and faced her partner. "The Sue. She just walked out of me."
Tasmin glanced at the Words. "Fic just changed from first person narrative to third person. Write her up for that." Tasmin lobbed the notepad to her partner.
"You haven't been exactly scribble happy," Allison noted as she flicked through the pages her partner had filled.
"Shut up, or I won't fix the FLF so we can stay here."
"Fine, fine. Changing to third person without warning. And, by the way, what a bint. She didn't even recognise Face's voice over the telephone. She only hasn't spoken to him for about six or seven months."
"Perhaps he used a funny accent to throw her off?"
Allison shook her head.
Murdock rushed into the living room and pulled open the front door. Face nearly tumbled in.
You know damn well what’s its about Facey. If Hannibal or Stockwell gets down wind of this…”
"Ow." Allison covered her head. "I never realised, but to characters in the story the bad grammar is actually less painful."
Face said he loved the Sue, and that they should be on their honeymoon drinking Mai Tais.
You really DO love her don’t ya?”
"Sounds more like he loves his Mai Tai," Tasmin said.
"We should have a reverse Bechdel Test."
"A film passes the Bechdel Test if it has at least two women. These two women have a conversation, and that conversation is not about a man. A Suefic passes the Reverse Bechdel Test if it has at least two men. These men have at least one conversation, and each conversation is about a woman, more particularly, the Sue."
"What does it mean if a Suefic passes this test?"
Allison shrugged. "Another charge on the list."
Tasmin shrugged her agreement.
Face argued with Murdock that he would ask Stockwell if the Sue could stay with them. He even went as far as to suggest giving Stockwell an ultimatum.
Listen Murdock, if Stockwell doesn’t approve of this even after I push him into it, I PROMISE you I’ll let her go.”
Though Murdock didn't like that this meant that Stockwell could use the Sue as leverage, he agreed to Face's proposition. Face told him that BA and Hannibal both missed the Sue terribly. They both had a memento of her they kept close. They ended their conversation when they heard someone at the door.
Allison was jolted from her place in the middle of the room. An invisible hand dragged her to the living room door. "Tasmin, you promised."
"I know, I know." Tasmin looked almost apologetic. "But you know that FLFs don't work if you stay in the same location."
"I hate you, and I hate this location, and most of all I hate PPC equipment."
I kept thinking about the conversation HM was having on the phone. His job seems to be stressing him out. I hope he doesn’t over do it. I walked through the door.
"Scratch that. Most of all I hate Sues who can't keep their tenses straight and walk through solid matter." Allison rubbed her head, but then remembered that she could not feel pain if the narrator didn't mention there was pain to be felt. She dropped the grocery bag that had popped into her hands and stared at Face.
Face turned around, walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her. They hugged and Face and Murdock explained how Face, Hannibal and BA were still alive and now working for Stockwell. Allison said that this was too much for her to take in at once. Murdock said he was going to take a nap and left Face and Allison alone in the living room.
Face led her to the sofa and started kissing her. After some initial pleading looks at Tasmin, Allison gave into his passionate kisses.
"You better not be enjoying this either," Tasmin said.
Allison flipped her partner two fingers. Face's touch gave her a shock and she pulled away from him. She asked why he hadn't let her know he was still alive. He said he couldn't, because if the military found out there'd be a shoot to kill bounty on their heads.
"Ding," Allison said.
"Ding?" Tasmin puzzled for a moment. "Do you mean to say your bullshit-o-meter just went off?"
Allison managed a nod.
Face said he wanted to take her to Stockwell, and if he didn't approve they would go on the run.
I remember what it was like for the guys to be on the run. Couldn’t stay in one place for too long in fear of Lynch, Decker or the local authorities catching up to them.
"Ding," Allison said again. To Face she said that she couldn't. She didn't want him to lose his chance for a pardon, and she also wanted to spend time with her brother. "Ding ding."
Face said that if Stockwell disapproved he would wait for her until he got his pardon. Murdock came out his room and Allison told him about Face's plan.
No No! I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Face, do ya even realize that you could put Rynnie in danger? Or Stockwell may hold her over our heads?
"You already said that," Tasmin pointed out. "And you'd already accepted Face would do this. Why'd you change your mind?"
Murdock ignored her.
Face said he had to get back before they noticed he was gone. Allison said she would go with him. Murdock changed his mind again and decided to come with them.
The living room setting changed into the front lawn of the Langley house. Allison looked around to see where the time rift had deposited her partner. To her surprise a portal opened and her partner stepped through. She glared at Tasmin.
"FLF works when the scene changes."
Allison glared some more.
Murdock, Face and Allison went into the house. Hannibal and BA came into the billiards room when Frankie called out to them to come and have a look. Allison gave hugs to all of them. To Hannibal and BA because she had missed them, to Frankie because she felt sorry for him.
Stockwell arrived and Face appealed to him to let Allison, and Murdock, stay at the Langley house. Stockwell was easily swayed, on the condition that the Team would do more missions for him. Face argued their stay should be a reward for the Team for a job well done.
"Nice reward for Murdock," Tasmin muttered. "There's a good pilot, now come and live in this luxury prison."
Stockwell wanted to hear what Allison had to say on the matter. Though Allison agreed with Tasmin, the fic forced her to say something completely different.
[I]f you need something more than just my word, I’ll give or do anything it takes.
This seemed to sway Stockwell, though he mentioned that even he didn't know what put him in that mood. After commenting to the Team that he was surprised to see them back alive, he left.
Face asked if he could talk to Allison outside. Allison was about to follow when Tasmin pulled her on her arm.
"It's time for the charges."
"Well, you're not going to charge me." Allison folded her arms and glared at her partner.
Tasmin glared right back at her.
"Isn't there some place we can intercept this Sue? I think there were about three scenes from a third person point of view."
"It would require going back into the fic."
Allison rolled her eyes. "Like we've never done that before. Give me that portal activator. I'll take us there." She tried to grab Tasmin's bag, but Tasmin twisted out of her grasp.
"Technically, you're a character in this story. You shouldn't handle the PPC equipment."
Allison calmly reached for the cue that had been left on the billiards table after play.
"I'll take us there."
"Good." Allison still picked up the cue though.
The agents intercepted the Sue when she stepped out of Murdock's apartment. She was wearing a windbreaker over a lavender dress.
"Yes?" she said, when sidestepping the women that blocked the stairs had failed.
"Maryn Murdock, also known as Ryn and Rynnie?"
The Sue nodded and looked at the two women. One was pointing a gun at her, the other was brandishing a billiard cue.
"We are Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We are here to charge you with crimes against fanfiction in general and A-Team fiction in particular."
"We charge you with being a Mary Sue," Allison said. "We charge you with making me go through all that. Including, but not limited to, getting my hand cut and Face's electrifying touch."
"We charge you with being Murdock's uncanonical sister and Face's fiancée. That's with two E's, by the way. Fiancé refers to a man." Tasmin glanced at the notepad. "We charge you with everybody being devastated that they are never going to see you again. We charge you with Hannibal and BA keeping mementos of you. We charge you with having been on missions with the Team."
"I would have loved to hear what BA had to say about taking the crazy man's sister with them," Allison said. She chuckled. "I doubt it would have been just Hannibal who wouldn't have been happy with the arrangement at first."
Tasmin rolled her eyes. "Stick to the point, will you?"
"I am sticking to the point." Allison turned to the Sue. "We charge you with Murdock being cruel by not telling you Face is still alive."
"Face is still alive?"
"Uh, yeah. That was him on the phone." Allison realised the Sue hadn't 'officially' found out yet that Face was still alive. "We charge you with not recognising Face's voice on the phone. It hasn't been that long since you two last spoke."
"Why didn't he tell me he was still alive?"
"Some bogus reason about if the military found out they'd escaped execution there'd be a prize on their heads."
"That makes sense." The Sue nodded.
"No, it doesn't," Tasmin said. "You're Murdock's sister and Face's fiancée and they don't trust you with this little bit of information. While they do tell their names to some football players, and pretty much everyone else they meet on their Stockwell missions?"
The Sue was taken aback.
"We charge you with getting Amy fired from the Courier, or otherwise giving up her job there."
"But she went to Jakarta."
"As a foreign correspondent. Didn't you hear Tawnia claim that Amy got the Jakarta job because it became impossible for her to deny she knew more about the A-Team? Weren't you tagging along with the Team then?"
Tasmin held up her hand. "We don't really care. We charge you with Face asking Stockwell if Murdock can stay at the Langley House without discussing this with Murdock first. Although, that might be revenge for being called Facey, to his face, repeatedly. We charge you with announcing a flashback by putting up a note saying 'flashback'. We charge you with not using enough dialogue tags in scenes with three people present, so it wasn't always clear who said what. Finally, we charge you with bad punctuation, bad grammar, and having everyone shout part of their dialogue. You have been charged. Your punishment for these crimes is death."
The Sue tried to push past Allison, but Allison tripped her and the Sue fell down the stairs. She lay motionless on the landing, some blood pooling around her head.
"You think she's dead?" Allison asked.
Tasmin aimed her gun and pulled the trigger. "Now she's dead."
The agents returned to their response centre. Allison noticed there was a parcel on the console that had not been there before they left.
"What's that?" She pointed. "More post?"
"Oh, good. It has arrived."
"What has?" Allison looked on in curiosity as her partner started to peal away the plain brown wrapping paper of the parcel.
"The crash dummy. It's for use in first or second person fic. So the agents don't get Sued." Tasmin pulled the cord on the package to show how the dummy self-inflated.
Allison blinked. "There is equipment to prevent agents from getting Sued?" She tried to keep her voice level. "You had pre-ordered this equipment? Yet you decided to go into the fic before your order arrived? What the bloody hell were you thinking?!" Allison grabbed the dummy by the arm and stalked out of the response centre. She slammed the door behind her.
"Sorry?" Tasmin tried.