Fanfic Asylum

Simon 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 community."

"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.

"Nasty," Blair 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 thirty...

"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' tones.

"Sorry, sir."

"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."

Jim made his usual token protest. "Simon, I don't know about this."

"Come on, 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 Simon.

"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 undergrad."

"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."

***

The 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.

"Hey," Blair said, "you don't have a relative working at Cascade Medical do you?"

"My 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 here...

"Yeah," Jim said. "Kind of weird. Are your patients badly affected?"

"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 looking people."

"Ah, okay."

"And Conover does have a good looking staff, even if I say so myself," the doctor trilled merrily, but self-deprecatorily.

"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 luck?"

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 Conover.

***

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 everything.

"We were all diagnosed with SAD," Bess volunteered brightly. "Serious Angst Disorder."

"But you, uh, all look pretty happy."

"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.

"So, Blair." 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 sweet."

"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."

"Oh, 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 sighed.

"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 fan?"

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 opened.

"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 doooowwwwwnnnn....."

Hmmm, Blair thought. Not just delusions paranoid delusions.

***

Blair had 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.

Finally, however, 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 blushed.

***

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 sentences.

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 dead giveaway.

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 monologue.

"You'll never get away with this, Brackett."

"That's 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 family!"

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 arms.

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.

"I 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 guaranteed."

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."

Even 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.