Author’s Note: Written for the OC/Genderbender ficathon, for Amy (Dragonsinger). Jane Carmichael was a character created jointly by me and Medie for a Harry Potter/Angel crossover that we ultimately never finished. When I got stuck on this ficathon story, Medie generously gave me permission to use her solo. Thanks also to Christina, for sparking this idea in the first place, being my cheerleader and helping me place Carson, and nostalgia for swallowing her pride and checking my Britishisms even though this isn’t her kind of fic.
“So this is where you’ve been hiding yourself of late,” an extremely amused, extremely familiar voice came out of nowhere, breaking the dead silence so unexpectedly that Carson jumped almost a foot into the air and nearly knocked the microscope he’d been staring into to the floor.
“Bloody hell!” He pivoted, staring in disbelief at the red-haired woman who had spoken, who was now wandering cheerfully around his infirmary, peering at and into everything that struck her fancy. “Jane? What in the Merlin’s name are you doin’ here? Nevermind that, how on Earth did you get here?”
Jane Carmichael, Auror, witch and general troublemaker grinned impishly at him, her eyes twinkling. “Simple locator spell and apparation, you ought to know that. Although I will confess the locator spell took a good deal longer than usual.”
“Aye, well there’s a damned good reason for that,” Carson shot back, exasperated. “And since when is it possible to apparate to another galaxy?”
“Oh is that where we are?” she replied casually, although the wandering immediately resumed with more genuine curiosity this time instead of just idle curiosity. “That would explain the architecture, not to mention why the locator made such a fuss when I asked it to find you.”
“You’re not supposed to be here,” he fretted, moving to herd her away from the more delicate equipment. The only problem was, he wasn’t sure where to herd her to, since the door was out of the question. “And I’ll have a bloody difficult time explainin’ if someone catches you here–”
“There you go, getting your knickers all up in a twist again,” she scolded him playfully, giving him a big hug and a sound kiss on the cheek. “I just wanted to see what you’ve been up to of late. Though when I imagined you playing muggle doctor, I confess this isn’t quite what I had in mind. Nor what the Ministry did either, I imagine.”
“You’re not plannin’ to tell them, I hope?” he pulled out of her embrace, holding her out at arm’s length with a pleading, panicked look in his eyes.
Hers twinkled right back at him. “You know, I ought to hold it over your head. Promise not to breathe a word to the ministry if you tell me what you’re doing in another galaxy, not to mention how and why. Else I reveal all with nary a compunction.”
Carson sighed heavily, knowing there was no way he was going to get out of this one even if she didn’t make her cooperation conditional upon it. “Bloody Gryffindors,” he muttered, giving her a pointed glare. “Always rushin’ in where angels fear to tread.”
“Says the Ravenclaw who’s practicing muggle medicine in the Andromeda Galaxy,” she shot back, her amusement at his expense not waning in the slightest. “It’s enough to make a girl wonder if the Sorting Hat made a mistake.”
“Pegasus Galaxy,” he corrected automatically, then took her shoulders in both his hands. “And how I ended up here is a long story, which I do mean to tell you eventually, just…not here and not now. I’ll contact you…though I’m not sure how, seein’ as how an owl could hardly make the trip even if I had one to send.”
She nodded briskly, her face sober for the first time since she’d appeared. Eyes that had been sparkling a moment ago were suddenly sad. “I truly didn’t mean to cause you any trouble, love. I just…you left without saying goodbye.”
Carson hung his head, letting it come to rest against hers. “I know, Janie, and I’m sorry. I just…couldn’t figure out what to say. How to tell you I might never be comin’ back, or that I was goin’ in the first place because they needed me and I couldn’t say no.” His fingers wandered up to trace her jaw, his thumb rubbing the corner of her mouth.
Jane smiled ruefully into his touch. “And top secret international muggle projects like this one probably haven’t much use for an ordinary old English bobbie.”
“Sadly, no. Especially when they don’t know just how ‘ordinary’ you aren’t.” He smiled in return, just as regretfully. “I don’t regret you found me, no matter what I might’ve said when you popped in here…”
“But I’d be hard to explain, just as when you were in Antarctica,” she agreed with a sigh. Laying both hands flat on his ribcage, she leaned in to give him a soft but intimate kiss. The twinkle returned to her eyes as she pulled back. “I’ll be on my way, then. But I intend to hold you to that explanation. Confidentiality agreements or no, I say it’s the least you owe me.”
He smiled. “If that’s all I owe you, love, you’ve let me off easy. Give Mum and Dad my love?”
“I will,” she agreed, grinning now. “And I promise, no more surprise visits.”
“At least not during the day,” he gave in with a modest shrug. “If you were to come at night, after the others have all gone to bed…I might be able to show you around Atlantis.”
Jane gasped, her eyes widening and her hand flying to her mouth. “Atlantis? Is that what this place is?”
His lips twitched into a victorious smile–now that had to be one of the first time in their entire acquaintance that he’d managed to surprise her. “Aye.”
“I understand now why you couldn’t say no,” she breathed, face shining with wonder.
They embraced once more, then Jane clasped his hand for one moment before stepping backwards…and vanishing. Carson let out a deep sigh, staring at the empty spot where she’d been. He missed her already, he just hadn’t realized how dearly until she’d come and gone.
Still…it was nice to know home might not be so far away after all.
“Dr. Beckett? Sorry to interrupt, but…” Lieutenant Ford’s voice trailed off as he stepped into the room and realized it was empty except for the doctor. “Oh…I thought I heard voices. Guess it was just my imagination.”
With a rueful smile, he deliberately turned to face the young man. “I suppose so. Now, what can I do for you, Lieutenant?”