Jay Thorntree sat bolt upright. "Acy?!"
The PPC's two most famous Agents had gone their separate ways after retiring from the Protectors. They kept in touch, but Jay was still understandably surprised to find her former partner in her room at half past one in the morning.
"I've told you not to call me that," Acacia Byrd grumbled, sitting down on the foot of the bed. "Anyway, we've got a problem."
"Spontaneous teleportation?" Jay suggested, rubbing her eyes. Maybe it was all a bad dream...?
"I just got word from the SO," Acacia said, ignoring the sarcasm and thrusting a sheaf of paper into Jay's suddenly unresisting hands. "They're back."
Jay stopped reading for a moment to wince at the sheer tackiness of the name, and looked over at Acacia. "I have to read this?"
"You have to read this. You wouldn't believe it otherwise."
Jaycacia Thornbyrd was dead. No one knew how the 'Sue - for a 'Sue it must have been, only a creature so evil could ruin her glorious body in such a way - had gotten to her, but her remains had been found on the very doorstep of HQ, in a very advanced state of decay.
The funeral had been impressive, as befitted someone as universally loved as Jaycacia. The effect was rather marred by the fact that only two people were present - strangely, there'd been a massive influx of missions during it, and even most of the Flowers had gone out. Only three people had been left in the whole of HQ, and of those, Acacia Byrd had spat on her daughter's body before the funeral began, snarled, "I wish I could have killed you myself," and then marched off to kick some puppies. This was somewhat difficult, there not being any puppies in HQ, but she did a very good job of pretending. She wanted to kick puppies, and she wasn't going to let inconvenient facts of nature stop her.
Thus it was that a grand funeral fit for a king in one of the better class of fandoms went forth with only two people in attendence: Jay Thorntree and the Sunflower Official, two who had loved Jaycacia above even themselves.
It's very sad that no one else could make it, the SO commented, standing beside Jay as the body was rolled onto the bonfire while being mummified, prior to being buried in the ground, dug up again, displayed victoriously in the cafeteria so all could remember her beauty, and finally launched into space for some obscure reason. I thought it particularly distressing that Makes-Things was caught up in that terrible accident and lost the use of his appendix. A tragedy; I know he loved her so much.
Jay was too busy sobbing to even listen. "Oh and no one loves my little girl enough," she was saying, falling to her knees as the first of many fireworks went off. "Never protected her when she was alive and then she died, she died trying to protect them from the evil without, and they abandon her here on the cold hard earth, never a thought for what might be done with her, just leaving her body to the dogs. Oh how will I survive without my Jaycacia, she meant the world to me!"
And to me also, the SO replied, bending down and touching the woman on her shoulder with one leaf. Jay turned, used the leaf as a giant green handkerchief, and then stood up to lean against the Sunflower.
"It's all so horrible," she managed to say between sobs.
Shh, shh, the SO said comfortingly, wrapping his fronds around her. After a moment, he lowered his head, framed as it was by delicate yellow petals, and gently kissed-
Jay skipped a page.
-sobs now given over to moans of ecstasy as the Flower-
Another page was turned, Jay's fingers gripping it so hard that it tore.
"- so this is how you honour our daughter? Kicking at imaginary puppies?"
Acacia raised an eyebrow at Jay's uncharacteristic outburst. "If it's good enough for Joss Whedon, it's good enough for me," she said vaguely, and then scowled. "What do you mean, honour? I couldn't be more delighted than to find that stupid little girl out of my way at last. And what about you? Jumping into bed with her husband as soon as you got the chance!"
"Husband?" Jay looked completely confused. "But I don't... unless..." She turned to look at the SO, who nodded guiltily.
We kept it a secret, he said, because we feared none would accept our love. A Sunflower and the most beautiful girl ever? Why, it simply isn't done. Besides, he added as an afterthought, it bespoke a partiality unbecoming in a leader, or however that goes.
"I think it's wonderful!" Jay exclaimed, startling both the other two. "Now when I have your baby, I can pretend it's hers, too!"
The SO stared. You... is that even possible?
Jay nodded enthusiastically. "Don't ask me how I know - I can just feel it! I'm going to be a mother again!"
"Huh," said Acacia, "at least it's not mine this time. They leave such an awful aftertaste."
Jay turned and tried to glare, but a single raised eyebrow from Acacia turned her back into a quivering wreck. "If you didn't keep eating them," she managed to mumble, "they wouldn't taste at all."
Acacia snorted. "What would you suggest, then? Raise them all? Bring up a whole lot of little simpering wretches like you?"
"Jaycacia didn't simper," Jay pointed out, though by now she was curled up on the floor.
"Ha! And do you know why that was?" Acacia took a step forward and pressed her foot onto the back of Jay's neck. "That was because Jaycacia was not your child!"
"NOOOOOOOOOO- wait, what?" Jay tried to look up confusedly, but only succeeded in getting a stiletto heel in her neck. "But I gave birth to her."
"Yes, you would say that," Acacia sneered. "That's because you don't understand the power of... Black Magickckckc!"
There was a gasp from the audience, who had appeared out of nowhere. Then Lux of the Department of Bad Slash stepped forward. "Aye, 'tis true!" she intoned, grabbing a nearby audience member and idly ripping its clothes off (it didn't matter what gender it was) and having sex with it as she spoke. "I know, because 'twas I who taught her that magickckckc. Indeed, 'tis my child!"
"Lies!" A frantic struggle endued among the audience, and at the end Makes-Things burst out, waving an uber-techno-laser-spanner in the air. "She was my child! Acacia told me so herself!"
You all speak falsehoods, said a voice that sounded like John Cleese. Surely all can see that Jaycacia was my child, the child of the Lichen.
The audience seemed to pick up on the idea at this point, and all began yelling their claims on Jaycacia (all save one, who was busy informing his neighbours that he was Spartacus, and so was his wife). In the end, Acacia put a stop to it by the simply method of using her Black Magickckckc to create an evil-looking fireball and throw it at the nearest audience member. The screams were horrific, but shut everyone up very effectively.
"As a matter of fact," Acacia said calmly, "you're all wrong. The other parent of Jaycacia Thornbyrd was... PPC HQ!"
The silence was complete, other than the fireworks still going off at Jaycacia's funeral. Finally, the SO ventured to say, Acacia... you realise HQ is a building, yes?
"Of course I do," the Assassin sneered. "Nevertheless, it is alive, and one night it came to me."
"Nay, it cannot be," Lux said, poking her head out from a heap of at least five naked people she'd assembled. "In sooth, a building cannot procreate. I know," she added, reaching out to molest yet another audience member.
"Ah, but you don't know the secret," Acacia said, grinning widely (and need we say evilly?). "It came to me, I say, in the form of the one I most desire."
"That would be me, I suppose?" asked Boromir in an impossible cameo. Acacia laughed aloud.
"You? What use have I for mortal Men, who would become the bride of a God? No, my true lust object, in whose guise HQ appeared to me to conceive Jaycacia, is-"
The arrow hit her shoulder, spinning her around and knocking her to the ground. All eyes turned to Jay, who was staring at her hands as if she didn't know what she'd done. "Is... she dead?" the woman asked tentatively.
Boromir wandered over, fending off Lux's attempts to have sex with him or Acacia (or both), and looked down. "Nah, it'll take a lot more than that to kill her," he said in the tone of one who knows what he's talking about. Jay, of course, didn't listen.
"She's dead... at last I am free of her. But... what am I without her? Ah! I must slay myself as I have slain my lover!" With those words, she tried to turn the bow on herself. It really didn't work. Longbows really aren't designed to be fired backwards, although it's a 50:50 chance that Legolas could have pulled it off.
The audience watched in bemusement as the SO came over and gently removed the bow from Jay's shaking hands, snapping it in two as easily as a giant Sunflower would snap a bow. Come, Jay, he said gently, taking her by the shoulder and leading her out of the room, let us find a more suitable spot for your grief.
The audience was left staring blankly at Acacia Byrd, still lying on the floor for some reason, until they succumbed to the presence of Lux among them and descended into the inevitable orgy.
The real Acacia Byrd was sitting in her friend's kitchen with her third mug of coffee when a very irate Jay entered, gripping the story Acacia had given her so tightly that her hands shook. "No, no, no, no, and no," Jay said, dropping the printout onto the table and slumping down in a chair.
"My thoughts exactly," Acacia said. "The Sunflower suggested we go in and clear them out again, so-"
"Tell him to go fertilize himself," Jay snapped, shocking Acacia. Hadn't Jay been the one who liked the SO? "I'm not setting foot in that place again," the girl added, lowering her head onto her folded arms.
After all their time together, Acacia had gotten good at judging when Jay was serious, a skill that hadn't left her in the intervening years. "Okay," she said, "I'll let him know we're not coming. But first," she added as Jay started to stand, "I'm going to get you a coffee and we're going to have a nice long chat."
Jay stared at her as though she'd just spouted horns. Pink ones. "Acy, it's two in the morning," she said. "I should be in bed."
"We haven't seen each other in ages," Acacia pointed out, noting with some amusement that the old dynamic of one up, one down was still in place. "What's a little sleep between friends?"
"Bite your tongue, Acacia Byrd. Bite your tongue."
"I didn't mean literally. Oh, all right. Where's that coffee?"
A/N: So what do you think??? Surprised?? You should have been!
DISCLAIMER: The PPC isn't mine (except the SO!!!). Jaycacia is, tho! You can't have her!