πŸ§β€β™€οΈ

🌊

Drawing the Line

This is an X-Files badfic with a very subtle but insidious character-mangling. She didn't make the characters sex it up, but she made fools out of them in order to make her case for fans doing so.

I found it, chipped in, and you get to see who wrote what by emoji indications.

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😑Wombat: My fluff-rated response to a censorship spat that arose on ATXC sometime last year.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ*Rolling eyes*

😑Drawing the Line

by Wombat

πŸ§β€β™€οΈAdditions by Ocean Elf

😑It was a beautiful morning, and the X-files fanfic archivist cheerfully surveyed his little empire. Fanfics of every description were stacked as far as the eye could see in a warehouse that made the Smoking Man's Pentagon storage facility look minuscule by comparison. He smiled widely as he saw his first two visitors of the day approach his little counter, already piled high with manuscripts prepared for filing.

'Good morning, sir, madam!' he beamed. 'And welcome to the Emporium O'Fanfic! What can I do for you this morning? We've lots of MSR just in, fresh this morning. A nice bit of Mulder/Krycek if that's your cup of tea, we've got a delivery of Discipline!Skinner coming in later today if your tastes run that way...'

His voice trailed off. Both the man in the expensive suit and the woman with the red hair who faced him were holding up identification cards.

'We're the canon police. This is a raid.'

The archivist buried his head in his hands. His worse nightmare had just come true...

***

'I didn't realise there was quite so much of it in here,' the expensively dressed man said wonderingly.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Are you kidding me?" a third person who fell in behind the others, muttered.

😑'It's going to be a long day,' the red haired woman said with a sigh.

'Excuse me,' the archivist asked, 'But aren't you...'

'Oh we're definitely not them,' the man with the Armani suit said quickly, as he scanned the tightly packed shelves that stretched to the ceiling high above.

'We look like them, but we're not them,' the red haired woman added. 'Do you have an inventory anywhere?'

'All in my head,' the archivist said proudly. 'We're not very structured here, I'm afraid...'

'Then let's start with the easy ones,' the woman said, producing a list from her briefcase. 'Do you have any alternative universes?'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"There is only one universe..." The third person spoke up.

"Who said that?" the man in the suit turned sharply to get a glance. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"I'm Ocean. Don't mind me."

The man in the suit smirked. "Nice to make your acquaintance." Turning back to the archivist, he said, "So, do you have alternate universes?"

"There is only one universe."

The man turned toward Ocean with an annoyed glance. "Do you mind?"

She responded with "Not at all. Don't mind me."

😑The archivist's face split into a wide smile. 'Oh, you'll love our alternative universes. We've got all sorts here. We've got the Mulder and Scully getting married ones, we've got Mulder and Scully getting divorced ones, we've got Victorian ones, we've got Jane Austen ones, we've got ones set in the twenty-fifth century... we've even got Mulder and Scully live apart on different continents and have never met ones.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Bleah...!" said Ocean.

😑'Well you can't have any of them,' the redhead said, as she ticked something off a list. 'Alternative universes aren't canon by definition. Sorry. We'll have to take them all away.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"And they're overkill." said Ocean.

😑'What do you mean, take them away?' the archivist spluttered.

'It's very simple,' the man in the suit said. 'We're the canon police.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"You already said that."

"Miss," the man in the suit said. "Please..."

"No problem." she replied.

Turning back to the archivist, he continued.

😑'We've had some complaints about fanfic being written that's not true to canon so we're here to confiscate it. That's all there is to it.'

'How about crossovers?' the archivist asked plaintively. 'We've got some lovely crossovers in today. We've got your X-Files/Highlander, we've got your X-files/Sentinel, we've got your X-files/Sentinel/Highlander, we got your crossovers with Inspector Morse, NYPD Blue, Homicide, Scooby Doo, Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, Independence day, Titanic...'

The man in the expensive suit said nothing. He just shook his head.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"As long as the characters don't get torn up for shipping purposes, crossovers can be - "

😑'They're not canon either,' the redhead said. 'They're all going to have to go.'

'Great,' the archivist muttered. He seemed to deflate a little. 'But there's some great stuff in there. We've got authors taking the characters in new directions, developing relationships and storylines...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"But I just said - "

😑The man in the expensive suit sighed. 'Read my lips, sir. If it's not canon, it's not staying. They've all got to go, except the Millennium ones with Jose Chung in them. We might let you have some of other X-files/Millennium fics back. It all depends what happens in season three, assuming anybody's still left alive in there.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Wow, apparently I've been time-travelled backward." Ocean commented.

😑'And you can keep the Homicide crossovers provided they're set in 1989 and have Detective Munch in them,' the woman with the red hair who wasn't Scully added.

'So Mulder... and Tim Bayliss...?' the archivist asked plaintively.

The man in the expensive suit shook his head reprovingly. 'Is there one thing in canon that says those two slept together?'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Eww! That's why fanfiction generally sucks." said Ocean.

😑'Well no... But there isn't one thing in canon that says that Mulder and Scully slept together either!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Exactly. Shipping...It makes fanfic suck." said Ocean, a look of slight disgust on her face.

😑We'll take the Homicide stuff with the rest when we leave,' the woman said. 'And we'll be dealing with the MSR later. Now, do you have any other slash?'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"That crap probably makes up 50 percent of this stuff." Ocean mumbled.

😑'Well, there may be a few bits and pieces laying around the place,' the archivist hedged.

'All the slash goes,' the woman said.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Yeah! Right down the crapper!" Ocean exulted with a broad grin.

"The problem with that is there isn't a big enough crapper to flush it." the red-headed woman replied with a bemused smile.

😑Her companion nodded. 'Except the ones that describe Krycek's as yet unrequited love with Mulder. Krycek is allowed to give Mulder a peck on the cheek, and Mulder is allowed to stare at him as if he's just been clubbed with a five iron. And you're allowed the ones where Mulder and Krycek flee through the Russian forests together, being whipped by men on horseback, and the ones where a half-naked Skinner manhandles Krycek and handcuffs him to the fixtures and fittings and the ones where Krycek and Mulder get to share a cell together and the ones... Scul... I mean red-haired woman, are you all right?'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Eww! What happened to 'they all go'?" Ocean scowled at the man in the suit.

😑The woman was looking a little flushed. 'Fine, expensive suit man. Excuse me. It's quite hot in here.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈNot to mention stinky." Ocean added.

The red-headed woman looked at Ocean for a moment and turned to the man in the suit. "I don't think she's a typical fangirl."

He nodded.

"I'm not a fangirl, period." said Ocean.

😑'So what do we get to keep?' the archivist interrupted.

The man in the expensive suit turned back to him. 'Well for a start you can lose the shipper stuff. All that MSR is going to have to go.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈGlad to see you've come back to your senses." said Ocean.

😑The archivist paled and clutched his counter for support. 'No! Not the MSR! Please! It makes up most of my stock! Mulder and Scully love each other! Chris Carter said so! It's only a matter of time before they get it together!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean shook her head. "Oh, wow, how can anybody get so attached to that tripe?"

😑The man in the suit shook his head. 'I'm sorry sir, but you're going to have to face the possibility that Mr Carter may well be messing with your heads on this one.'

'But in the movie!' the archivist protested. 'They kissed! Almost! They definitely would have done, if it hadn't been for that darn bee!'

The man shook his head. 'I think, in this case, *almost* is the operative word. And when that kiss *actually happens*, you get to have all those stories back. Same with the marriage, the babies, the first time scenes, the hurt/comfort scenarios, the romantic evenings at the FBI costume ball, the Vegas weddings, the smooching in the basement office, the comical romantic misunderstandings, the relationship angst, the amusing novelty condoms and the mother-in-law problems. It's not canon yet, so you can't have it.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean grimaced. "Let's hope that never happens.

😑The archivist buried his face in his hands. 'Ok,' he said in a muffled voice. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a heavy, jangling key chain. 'Here are the keys to the 'shipper warehouses. All of them.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Haha! Annihilate 'em!" Ocean cried, throwing her hands up in the air.

😑'We're going to want all your Scully/Skinner and your Skinner/Mrs Scully too,' the woman added.

'Great,' the archivist muttered. 'Take it. Just take it. Who cares anyway? That leaves us with Marita/Krycek and Mulder/Fowley. Who's going to want any of that stuff?'

'We might let you have some Fowley/Spender,' the man in the expensive suit allowed. 'Depends how the next season goes.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"There you go, losing your mind again." said Ocean.

😑'Well *that's* going to keep the MSR lot happy,' the archivist moaned. 'Not! What are you trying to do to me! What's going to happen when the hoards of screaming fans break down the doors only to discover that all I've got for them is Fowley/Spender and UST?'

'That's your problem,' the man in the suit said dispassionately. 'Right, what's left?'

'There's the UST, some Muldertorture and quite a few straight x-files,' the archivist said defeatedly.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Torture?" Ocean frowned. "There's no quicker way to make me hate a character."

😑The man in the suit rubbed his hands together. 'Right, we're in the home stretch. All the remains to be done if for us to weed out the inconsistencies and we can leave you to carry on, secure in the knowledge that all the fanfic you supply is true to canon.'

'Inconsistencies?' the archivist asked in a small voice.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Um...Even canon has inconsistencies. Even shows I grew up with and still really like, had them." said Ocean.

😑'Do you have the list?' the man in the suit asked his companion.

The redhead gave a grim little smile, and pulled another, much thicker computer printout out of her briefcase.

'Right here. Let's start with Scully. We're taking anything that says her hair smells of strawberries, anything that implies she wears anything other than sensible underwear, anything that mentions old boyfriends, anything that has her sleep with anyone other than slightly-unbalanced-tattoo-man, anything where she giggles, anything that has her wearing heels higher then an inch, anything that implies that she has a life outside work and anything that involves cats, baby-sitting, or cookery lessons.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Oh, please! Ocean retorted. "Who cares about the minutia? Having a cat or a 'life' isn't going against canon."

But the archivist and suited-up twosome were too intent on one another to pay her any mind.

😑'So what *can* we have?' the archivist asked miserably.

'I'm just getting to that. Scully *may* say 'I'm fine, Mulder', conduct autopsies with a distinct lack of enthusiasm, debunk Mulder's weird theories and suggest sensible ones of her own, point out Mulder's personality problems to him at great length, nag him about his eating habits, get sick and spend time in a hospital bed looking pale and interesting, be woken by Mulder calling her in the middle of the night and get rescued by Mulder slightly more often than she comes to the rescue herself.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Word of unwanted advice," Ocean piped up again, "don't try writing out movie synopses."

😑'What about Mulder?'

The redhead nodded. 'On to Mulder. We're going to take: anything that implies that Mulder has a healthy, normal relationship with anyone other than his fish, anything in which Mulder wears any clothing other than the Armani, the red speedos or a sweaty tracksuit, anything that has him sleep with anyone apart from the vampire girl from season two, anything that implies that he has any kind of a life at all, of any kind, anything where he watches any TV that isn't either porn or bad science fiction...' 'Can he get beaten up?' the archivist interrupted.

The man in the expensive suit nodded. 'The way Chris Carter's going, it's practically a requirement.'

'Well thank goodness for small mercies,' the archivist muttered.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Wow, talk about irony. A beating becomes mercy?" Ocean squinted. "I gotta get out of here before my mind melts."

😑'But he's not allowed to enjoy it,' red haired woman interjected.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Eww!" Ocean grimaced.

😑'Darn,' the archivist muttered. 'The BDSM brigade are *not* going to be pleased.'

'Again, sir, not my problem,' the man said.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Too bad, so sad for them." Ocean sneered.

😑'But you don't understand,' the archivist said nervously. 'They scare me...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Okay, that is something I really do understand." said Ocean.

"Okay, - Brooke," the red-head said, with a questioning look at Ocean, "I'm curious. You're not a fangirl, but you're not a reporter, so What are you doing here?"

"I discovered this scene during my reconstruction of a site about Mary Sue characters. And it's Ocean, not Brooke." she replied with a smile.

😑'What else do you have here?,' the red haired woman asked.

'There are a few parodies...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Including my Lady Une urban legendary experiences among them." Ocean said, grinning.

"Is that an X-files fanfic?" asked the man in the suit.

"No," replied Ocean.

"Then you have nothing to worry about." said the woman.

"Actually, from the title, it sounds like it might be rather interesting." said the man.

Ocean smiled.

😑'They've got to go unless they deal with classic black and white movies or amusing novelty shapechangers,' the woman said, making another tick on her list. 'What else?'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"X-files wasn't around during black and white movies." said Ocean. I thought X-files was the only stuff you're concerned about...?"

😑'I think there are some Mary Sues in there too.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Again, this isn't X-files, but there's a massive Mary Sue parody. Her name is Nahid Leila Shirin - and whatevertjhe heck the rest of her name is." said Ocean.

😑'Mary Sues being...' the man with the suit asked.

'Where an author puts a thinly disguised version of herself in a story, or uses characters to put forward her own political or personal viewpoint...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Such as you with this pro ship/slash thing." said Ocean. "And you forgot a couple - the most important, actually...To get with some characters she has a crush on, and/or to be a made-up relative to some character she likes."

😑The man sighed. 'You see of any of those authors anywhere on the TV? Hanging around in the basement office, perhaps? Do Mulder and Scully ever pause in the middle of their cases to explain to the public at large that they don't like a particular kind of fanfic?'

'Well no...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Maybe they should." said Ocean.

😑'Guess I really do have to spell it out. If it's not on the TV series, it doesn't go in. That's what canon means.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"But that doesn't mean the daily routine stuff and other minutia the show doesn't cover that wouldn't turn the characters into sad parodies of themselves if included in fanfiction. Do I really have to spell *that* out to you people?" Ocean countered irritably.

😑'So what if one of these authors wrote a story where Mulder and Scully came forward to present the author's point of view which was that only stuff that was actually canon should appear in fanfic?'

'Oh come on. That would just be silly.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Not really, if the author was not into shipping characters every which way but canon." said Ocean.

😑The archivist nodded morosely. 'Right. Just wanted to check.'

'We're here to help, sir. Now, all we need is anything that has non-1013 approved dialogue and storylines in it, and we're done.'

'Wait a minute - you're actually taking everything that hasn't actually been on the show? There won't be anything left at all!'

'Well we didn't used to be this strict, but I'm afraid we're having to crack down. We can't have people just inventing their own dialogue. We... I mean, Mulder and Scully, aren't their characters at all...'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean gasped, her eyes going wide.

😑There was a crash from a nearby shelf, as the red haired woman, who had been conducting a search of the stacks, was almost buried under a teetering pile of badfic.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Holy crap! Ocean exclaimed with a shudder.

😑'Sc... I mean redhead woman, are you all right over there?'

'I'm fine, Mul... I mean, expensive suit man,' the shaken woman said.

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Wait, You're actually - " Ocean's sentence was cut off.

😑'I'm sorry. I just started reading, and there was one where you... I mean *Mulder* took me... I mean *Scully* to the FBI costume ball and they were dressed as Donny and Marie Osmond and it turned out that they'd actually known each other at school and they both thought the other one had dumped them at the school prom years and years before, and Krycek was there, and Marita was there too, and there was something about the Lone Gunmen and a poodle, and it was so bad it was hypnotic, Mulder... I mean expensive suit-man. I just couldn't stop reading it!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈArgh! Not only was that criminally bad, but they dragged poor Donny and Marie down into this - excuse me. I feel a seizure coming on." Ocean shuddered and put her face in her hands.

😑'There are some sick minds out there,' the man in the suit said, shaking his head. 'That sounds almost as bad as the script of the 1982 version of 'I was a Zombie for the FBI', directed by Marius Penczner!'

'Wait a minute...' the archivist said suspiciously. 'You *are* Mulder and Scully, aren't you!'

'No,' the man in the expensive suit said, looking around a little desperately. 'I told you, we just look like them!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean shook her head. "You both let it slip when that stack of fanfic tried to kill her."

😑'No! It is you! You called her Scully and she said she was fine. Scully always says that! And only a Z-movie fan with an eidetic memory would know about the film you mentioned!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Busted." said Ocean. "What's happened to you two?"

😑'All right,' Mulder said wearily. 'There's no point in denying it any more. Yes, I admit it, we're Mulder and Scully.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈDon't you see? You're getting diced right now, this archivist is making you go overboard the other way!""

😑'But you said you were the canon police,' the archivist cried. 'This isn't canon! You shouldn't be here!'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Shut up!" Ocean said sharply, glaring at the archivist. "Jig's up, I'm on to your game."

😑Mulder sighed. 'You're right, of course. By our very presence here, we're breaking the rules we came to enforce. The premise of this whole piece was pretty shaky to begin with. Now it's turned into a full blown paradox. It's not nearly as good as the one where you get to go back in time and shoot your own grandmother, but it's still a paradox. Scully and I will just have to arrest each other for breach of canon.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Oh, for the love!" Ocean cried, hands clenching tightly. "Don't let that archivist con you like this!"

😑'This is so humiliating, Mulder,' Scully said in disgust. 'I told you this would happen.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean glowered at the archivist. "Happy now?"

😑'We could arrest Wombat instead,' Mulder suggested hopefully. 'It's her story.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈ"Ugh. I remember a character with that name, only it was a guy."

😑'It's tempting,' Scully admitted, 'But she's not the only one writing this stuff. It would just take too much time to track them all down one by one.'

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOcean heaved a frustrated sigh. "Oh, fine, just keep on ignoring me."

😑'All right, We're going away to think about this,' Mulder told the archivist.

'But believe me, we'll be back.' Scully added in dire tones.

To be continued? Please, no...

πŸ§β€β™€οΈOh, yes!

"Okay, I've had enough of this garbage." Ocean snapped. Let's get out of here and clear our heads." She pointed at the archivist with a scowl. "Not you! You can stay in here and rot with your precious rubbish!" She moved past Mulder and Scully, who still seemed to be in somewhat of a daze. "Mr. Mulder, Ms. Scully," she commended, "Come with me!"

"I suppose we should go see what she wants." Scully suggested."

"Couldn't be much more trouble than this was." Mulder replied.

"Come on, hop to it!"

They exchanged slight smiles as they watched Ocean exit the building in an angry huff, then eventually followed her out.

Ocean waited for them, and her expression became less angry when they caught up with her. She sighed. "About time. I thought you were goners in there. I almost didn't make it out alive."

"What just happened in there?" asked Scully.

"Some paranormal mind-controlling being." Mulder suggested. What was all that about the 'canon police?"

"I don't understand how we just lost our heads in there. That was so ridiculous."

"It was a fangirl and some original character of hers, trying to get you to be cool with every kind of sick fan fiction people write you into. That's why they manipulated you so much in there and made you go overkill with the what is and isn't canon." Ocean explained. "It was like shipping, without shipping."

"Why didn't you let us know earlier?" Scully asked pointedly."

"Because I didn't know you were anything but the so-called 'canon police' before that bale of badfic tried to brain you. I only caught on when you gave yourselves away. Besides, nobody was listening to me in there and I couldn't get a word in edgewise."

"But the archivist knew who we were right away." Mulder said.

Ocean nodded.

"So why didn't you?" asked Mulder.

Ocean looked sheepish. "Because, um.... I haven't watched your show."

They looked at her in surprise.

Ocean added quickly, "That doesn't mean I wouldn't check it out if it's on some station and I had the time to spare. I discover new things by chance more often than anything else, and am not usually into the same things as everyone else."

"So, you found us in here by chance, and we just got hammered by a badfic with an agenda." Scully speculated.

Ocean nodded. "Your premise isn't shaky, you can like or dislike any fanfic about you, without getting slapped with the stupid 'canon police' label and being made to declare all sorts of little trivial things as 'not canon'. Seriously, who cares if you like dogs or cats? Who cares what brand of shampoo you use? Some of that comes out in shows, sure, but the rest can be filled in with fanfic, without warping you into something unrecognizable. That archiver in there, is fighting for the ruination of you by all kinds of pairings and shipping fanfics, and he was using the little trivial stuff to trip you up, then basically suggesting that if you didn't ship, you didn't have a life." She rolled her eyes.

"I don't know what's worse, initially falling for that and feeling humiliated in there, or realizing we got played this badly." said Scully."

"I'm sorry, I'm not trying to make you feel worse." Ocean said ruefully."

"Don't be sorry, you're not the one who brought us here." said Mulder.

Scully nodded. "You're right, Mulder, everyone has their own preferences for drawing the line, and this meant to obliterate the line altogether."

"We better leave before he comes out and tries to mess with us again." said Mulder.

Good idea." said Scully. "It was nice to meet you, Ocean."

Nice meeting you too." she replied.

They said their goodbyes, and Scully and Mulder left.

Ocean stood for a moment, watching them go. Then she made a nauseated face at the building they had just vacated, then turned and walked away, in the other direction.

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Mary Sue Page

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