shuffled the papers on his desk. It wasn't that he had a problem with the result
of Jim and Blair's fanfic flu, but all those little touches and looks just
reminded him that he wasn't getting any.
"There's something hinky going
on at Conover."
"What? Again?" Blair squeaked, before he cleared his
throat and repeated, "Again?" in deeper tones. Jim smiled indulgently at this
and ruffled Blair's hair. Simon attempted not to glare, and then decided that he
had too few pleasures in his life as it was. He glared.
"As you know,"
and damn it, Mr Exposition Man was no life for a serious police captain,
"Conover takes in the dangerous and intractable psychiatric patients. But
increasingly, dangerous psychopaths are having to be put in prisons because
Conover's beds are being taken up by patients who should be dealt with in the
"And this is our issue, how?" Jim enquired, but only after
bestowing a quick caress on Blair's jaw, already whiskered at nine o'clock in
the morning. Simon shut his eyes in a 'give me strength' gesture. He was pretty
sure (he was Mr Exposition Man) that the time was
not yet ripe for the Major Crimes Outing. Frankly, the love in bloom thing was
making him wilt.
"Staff have attempted an internal investigation, but a
suspicious number of them have come down with the fanfic flu – and the severe
version. Weeks in bed." More people who were also getting some. Simon was
feeling distinctly bitter this morning. Not even the thought of a cigar could
improve his mood. Sometimes a cigar was just a cigar.
commented. But he sounded horribly smug.
"Yeah, nasty," Jim commented
before taking Blair's lips in a breath and soul stealing kiss. Simon eyed up the
blinds to his office, which he kept down all the time now, and impatiently
tapped his pen on the desk and counted. One thousand and one – through to one
thousand and ten. One thousand and fifteen. One thousand and
"I'm sure you gentlemen need to breathe some time," he said in
his very best 'I can kill you both with a smile on my face'
"Now that I have your attention.... Sandburg,
you're familiar with Conover, and you've already had the fanfic flu, you're a
logical person to go undercover, even though you are not a cop."
his usual token protest. "Simon, I don't know about this."
Jim," Blair protested. "It's not like I'll be mixing with dangerous patients
this time. Will I, Simon?" He turned enormous, puppy-dog eyes on to
"Mainly women, variety of ages, but a lot middle-aged; obsessive
compulsive disorders and mild delusions, generally."
"See," Blair said to
Jim with a soppy expression on his face.
"There's one common factor. They
all write fanfiction."
Blair's face lit up. "Hey, no probs. I did an
undergraduate paper on fans as a sub-culture when I was an
"Sandburg," Simon growled, "even I know that every social sciences undergrad writes a
paper about fans as a sub-culture."
Blair's habitual bounciness was
undeflated. "Plus Jim just discovered some Bonanza communities on the net. Our
research and background are practically done for us."
Jim winced. "And I
just want to tell you, Simon, that Ponderosacest is wrong."
Blair flapped his
hand dismissively, as Simon decided that this was another in the long, long list
of things that he didn't need to know about.
"Yeah, whatever. Adam/Little
Joe is hot. The thing is, this should be a breeze."
current supervisor at Ward 3 at Conover had a certain resemblance to Blair and
Jim's doctor. She was tall, slim and leggy, and red-headed.
said, "you don't have a relative working at Cascade Medical do you?"
sister. We have a strong medical tradition in our family. I'm just so worried
about the situation here. I hate administrative work, I'd much rather be doing
my research, but with the fanfic flu infecting so many staff
"Yeah," Jim said. "Kind of weird. Are your patients badly
"Not so much. Some diseases affect the young or the old, for
example, more than other groups. Fanfic flu is far more prevalent among good
"And Conover does have a good looking
staff, even if I say so myself," the doctor trilled merrily, but
"I guess I'd better go mingle with the natives, man."
Blair turned trusting, huge blue eyes up to Jim. "How about a kiss for
Jim was more than happy to oblige, although the tiny little
'squee' that escaped the doctor did sort of hurt his sentinel-sensitive ears.
And then Blair was gone, his gorgeous tush so round and attractive, yet so
vulnerable, in the scrubs which were issued to the patients at
Blair had to admit that while maybe a little weird,
most of the patients in Ward 3 were actually pretty nice.
He sat in one
therapy session, making conversation with the group before their counsellor
arrived. There was Bess, and Eileen and Ginny and Mary-Jane and Sal. They were
pleasant enough, and clearly no-one here was regarded as dangerous because
Eileen was doing some sort of embroidery and had needles and scissors and
"We were all diagnosed with SAD," Bess volunteered brightly.
"Serious Angst Disorder."
"But you, uh, all look pretty
"Oh, we're fine, but apparently we were all carriers for OTTA."
Blair shuddered. His own memories of Over The Top Angst syndrome were not
pleasant. "But we have regular cognitive therapy, and there are some new drugs
which are working wonders. Chocolate derived, apparently. All together, ladies.
What are our affirmations?"
"Dying in each other's arms after a shoot-out
is not romantic," Eileen recited, with a
meaningful look at Mary-Jane.
"The healing cock does not fix a lifetime
of sexual abuse," Mary-Jane shot back at Eileen. Blair became a little
uncomfortable. He was sensing undercurrents here.
"Always more hurt than
comfort," Bess recited, a dreamy look on her face.
"I think you've got
that the wrong way around, sweetie," Sal said tactfully.
Ginny smiled at him. "Would it be rude to ask why you're here? We don't see very
many men in Ward 3."
"Well, to be honest, I don't really belong here,"
Blair said. "It was my boyfriend – "
"You have a boyfriend?" Eileen
enquired. And in unison, all five of them recited, "Oh, that's so
"Um, yeah," Blair said. There was gleam in their eyes that made
him nervous. "Well anyway, he lost it. Picked up the phone and called Conover
shouting that microwave noodles for dinner five nights in a row was the last
straw. And the next thing I knew, here I was." He sighed. "Getting a little
twitchy without the internet, y'know?"
"Oh, I know that it's difficult."
Ginny patted his hand. "They do offer replacement therapy, but half an hour a
day on dial-up – well, to be honest, I'd rather go cold turkey."
absolutely," Blair said earnestly. "But I'm worried that I can't contact my
higher power without a broadband connection. She's promised me everything.
Reliable, prolific and crowd pleasing plot bunnies; oodles of feedback; maybe
even the title of official BNF. If I'm good."
An alarmed look ran over
the faces of Sal, Ginny and Bess, before Mary-Jane, her expression stony, asked,
"And what's your fandom anyway?" Eileen put her hand over her face and
"Bonanza," Blair replied.
"Slash or gen? Not that it
matters because it's a pretty small fandom anyway, I bet." Mary-Jane stood,
looking increasingly agitated. "How come this, this – guy- gets a higher power
in a woman's space? Huh? huh? I get solid plot bunnies, okay they're a little
weird, but do I get the feedback? Is anyone calling me a big name
Ginny gestured frantically to Bess and Eileen, who each took one of
Mary-Jane's arms and hustled her towards the door, which Sal had hastily
"Looks like our therapist is late. And I'm sure that Mary-Jane
could do with a nice, soothing cup of tea. Don't we think so, ladies?" Ginny
said meaningfully. With that, they were gone, although Mary-Jane's voice wailed
back through the door "It's a super-secret conspiracy to keep the little fan
Hmmm, Blair thought. Not just delusions – paranoid delusions.
to admit that his efforts to find out what was happening in Ward 3 weren't going
anywhere. He'd taken part in therapy sessions that had told him far more than
he'd ever wanted to know about women's fantasies – and he'd never thought that
he'd ever say that. He'd been quietly approached by half the ward asking about
the mechanics of gay sex. He was very happy to help out, but man, there were
only so many times he could explain that anything that stung the eyes was not going to make good lube. The oddest
thing was the number of times that these women had blood tests done, although
apparently that was because of the experimental, chocolate based drugs, to make
sure that there were no side effects. The drugs certainly appeared to have a
strong calming effect, and Blair wished that he wasn't always spitting his out
into the indoor plants. Man, he was missing Jim, and the nicknames, and the wild
monkey sex that was always carried out with appropriate lube except occasionally
when kitchen ingredients came into play.
Okay, Blair decided. Time to go
exploring after lights out. Although that was tricky to manage, as so many of
these women booted up their laptops because they claimed that the plot bunnies
gave them insomnia so they might as well write anyway.
Blair managed to sneak past all the rooms with their unearthly glows, and in
some ways he wasn't at all surprised to find, behind a door marked janitorial
supplies, a long dark tunnel. Blair, possessed of more than his fair share of
curiosity, couldn't resist wandering down, past the heavy doors which were
surprisingly unlocked. After a meandering course down the corridors, he emerged
into what looked like a brightly lit medical laboratory. The red-headed doctor
was there. She looked up at Blair with a look of startled horror, although that
was nothing compared to the expression that Blair knew must be on his face when
he saw who was with her.
"Good evening, Mr Sandburg. I wondered when your
insatiable curiosity would lead you here."
Oh god. It was Lee Brackett.
Although there were other issues which bothered Blair even more. "How the hell
did you get an electron microscope inside a forensic psychiatric institution?"
Blair demanded. "Smuggle it in under your sweater?" The red-headed doctor just
Jim had noticed the growing sacred bond that was
developing between him and his Guide, although he hadn't told anyone about it
yet, and indeed had hardly admitted it to himself. Lately, it had told Jim that
Blair was often bored, and occasionally very embarrassed, and really missing sex
(with appropriate lube), so it was a shock to Jim when he woke from a deep and
somewhat smothered sleep (what with all of Blair's dirty laundry in the bed the
better to surround himself with his absent guide's scent) knowing that his
trouble magnet of a lover was in trouble – and also the cause of run-on
Besides that deep but unutterable feeling of something amiss,
the wolf and the jaguar both sitting at the edge of the bed in front of a
paw-print smudged placard reading, "Yes, he's in dangeragain!" was also a
Jim wasted no time in dragging on his clothes and leaping
down the stairs of his apartment building to his truck. He drove like a demon
towards Conover, taking the shortest route even though this meant driving the
wrong way along three one-way street systems and crashing through two department
store plate windows so he could cut a corner.
Soon, but not soon enough,
Jim was pelting through the corridors of Conover (alone, never having thought to
call for backup, even though Simon had gone to the trouble of setting up a code
666.5 – 'Ellison and Sandburg are doing weird shit again'). His hearing reached
out, spiralling madly past raving or snoring patients to hear the dread torture
that Brackett, of all people was inflicting on his Guide – the
"You'll never get away with this, Brackett."
what you think, Mr Sandburg. My brilliant deduction that a chemical derived from
the blood of those crazy fanficcers would mutate the fanfic flu virus into a
powerful gay bomb is going to give me the power and influence I've always
dreamed of. Imagine SOG set loose on the macho battlefields of the world, but
controlled, short-term but very powerful, with all the side-effects mutated into
an enhanced and powerful form. Even if the soldiers are liberal enough to not
suffer a massive loss of morale at their sudden attraction to their comrades,
the need for all that sponging and whispering endearments and crap will play
merry hell with battle plans." Brackett smirked in a vaguely maniacal way, which
Jim was of course able to sense because of the power of piggy-backing his
senses. Which he'd learned from Blair, who was standing there undefended with a
rogue CIA agent and an evil red-headed woman . Jim ran faster. Luckily, no-one
ever seemed to lock doors in Conover.
"How could you do this?" Blair
appealed to the red-headed doctor.
"He threatened my
Brackett was scathing. "Oh, get real. I found your fanfiction on
the internet in about thirty seconds. Starship Troopers, Universal Soldier, Top
Gun and The Great Escape? Not to mention the subscription to Hotsoldierboys.com.
But now, Mr Sandburg," the ominous click of a gun cocking sounded, "I really
can't let you interfere with my ticket to glory."
At this point Jim burst
through the door, already winding his arm back for a mighty, justice-dealing
haymaker. "Sorry, Brackett. I think your ticket is about to get punched." And
with that, Brackett was laid out on the floor.
"Shit, man, don't do that
sort of thing." Blair was by his side, his wide blue eyes desperately worried.
"You know those moves are hell on your rotator cuff."
"I don't care as
long as you're safe, baby," Jim said, cradling his Guide in his
Jim's mad careen through the halls of Conover had not gone
unnoticed. A horde of people was crowding into the no longer secret lab, both
staff and patients.
"How did you find me in time?" Blair asked, wishing
that Jim would let go of him. He was getting a crick in his neck.
don't know. I just knew."
The doctor made a throat
clearing noise. "I think that – well – we had a little containment accident with
one of the mutated virus samples. I believe that Brackett's already carried it
out into the general populace."
Blair and Jim stared in horror. Some of
the spectators however, particularly the middle-aged women in hospital scrubs,
seemed to be holding their breaths in anticipation.
"You don't mean that
a mutated form of fanfic flu is out there already?"
"Oh no, this is a
completely new virus, leading to a new syndrome that I call DEMP." At everyone's
blank looks, the doctor explained, "Deus Ex Machina Presentation. It would
certainly explain why Brackett had no time to shoot you despite the banter and
the big lead up to punching him out."
The women in the corner sighed
disappointedly, until one of them excitedly pointed out, "Actually, this could
be a good thing. Think of the WIPs that are abandoned because the author wrote
themselves into a corner. A good dose of this, and a tidy ending is
Another woman looked thoughtful. "Not dead, just DEMP. That
could definitely work...."
Jim decided that it was time to wrap up this
situation, and his Guide. "Come on, Chief, let's go home. How does hot chocolate
with marshmallows, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and snuggling in a
fire-warmed afghan sound to you?"
"Sounds just great, Jim."
in front of that crowd of people, Jim just had to kiss his guppy. And then he
had to put his hands over his ears, because that 'squee' noise was even harder
on Sentinel ears when it issued from the throats of a whole room full of women.