Fic: Old Friends Who’ve Just Met (SJA, gen)

Author’s note: Title comes from the song “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” by the Muppets. Set sometime after the SJA episode, “The Death of the Doctor.”

Written for: gemothy for fandom_stocking 2013.

Jo writes letters. Big, fat, enthusiastic, hand-scrawled letters as though e-mail had never been invented. Sarah Jane supposes that in many of the places where Jo spends her time, it may as well not have been. The stamps come from all over the world, many from places Sarah’s never even heard of, which is understandably impressive for someone who once traveled the universe herself.

She can’t write back. Jo and Cliff don’t stay in one place long enough for letters to reach them: usually by the time the post arrives at Bannerman Road, they’ve already long gone. Sarah Jane tried, once. She sent a letter to Santiago, asking him to forward it on, but he admitted sheepishly that half the time even the children and grandchildren don’t know where Jo and Cliff have got to: they give “keeping up with the Joneses” a whole new meaning. Jo finally did receive the letter some six months later when she came home for a protest, but only sent back a missive off her own padded with reassurances (darling) that Sarah needn’t worry about reciprocating–why, that would rather be like trying to pin down the Doctor, wouldn’t it? Jo simply loved having someone new to share her adventures with, even if only by correspondence.

They’re wonderful stories, those adventures. Stories that make Sarah understand why the Doctor adored Jo as he did, even more so than meeting her had. Jo talks of throwing herself in the path of bulldozers to save ancient trees, of saving obscure villages in remote corners of the world from being destroyed by greedy developers intent on damming and flooding fertile valleys, of watching the sunset from vantage points no Westerner has ever seen before.

In her own way, Jo’s carrying on the Doctor’s legacy every bit as much as Sarah Jane is, even if there are no aliens involved. And Sarah can’t help but admire her enthusiasm and energy, which seem undiminished with age. Or at least if they have diminished, then she’d like to have known Jo in her younger days. Sarah regrets sometimes that she never looked her up forty years ago, after the Doctor dropped her off. It would have been nice to have a female friend who understood, not just Harry and the lot at UNIT.

Sarah’s had enough of dwelling on regrets for one lifetime, though. She’s not going to do it again, no matter how much one particular regret likes to keep popping up in her life now she isn’t looking for him any longer. Instead, she treasures every letter, often reading them aloud to Luke or Sky or Rani and Clyde, sometimes even Maria in their weekly video chats. She looks forward to the next time something brings Jo home to England long enough for a visit. And she remembers how very lucky she is to have the life she’s led, and the wonderful people she’s been privileged to share it with: Jo Jones, nee Grant, being one of the most remarkable.

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Fic: Pattern Analysis (SJA/NCIS, gen)

Author’s note: Written for fandom_stocking 2013 for Gray Cardinal. He wrote a short fic in my Rebel Yell universe, so I returned the favor by writing a slightly-more-than-a-drabble based on that story. *g* It just took me a while to find a title. 😉

Initially it worried Alan a little that, for the second time in as many moves, Maria’s first real friend in their new city was an adult some years older than herself. That the NCIS agent in question dressed like a goth–even if she was the happiest goth he’d ever met–was no help either.

It did explain a great deal when Maria confessed that Abby Sciuto, like Sarah Jane Smith, was also a former associate of the Doctor’s. Although that was disconcerting in and of itself: he swore they never used to have such a knack for stumbling over former time-and-space travellers. Or at least, if they had, he’d been blissfully unaware of it.

Still, as yet neither Maria nor Abby had happened across any alien plots to take over the world–he’d made Maria promise quite solemnly to tell him if she had–so he supposed it couldn’t do too much harm. And Abby, for all her wardrobe might suggest otherwise, had an extremely level head on her shoulders. Perhaps it was the effect of all that space-time travel; Sarah Jane had been equally difficult to faze, a fact which had probably saved Maria’s life (it had definitely saved the world) on more than one occasion. Either way, Maria could do far worse.

Even so, Alan found himself fervently hoping they never had occasion to move again. He didn’t even want to imagine what or who Maria might find if they did.

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Fic: Hit and Run (DW, gen)

Written for: VampirePaladin for fandom_stocking 2013.

“Who was that?” Nyssa asked, looking after the rapidly disappearing figure of a petite brunette about her own height, who appeared to be in a great hurry to get wherever she was going. Nyssa herself hurried to the Doctor’s side.

“Hmm?” The Doctor paused in rubbing his tender skull long enough to glance in the same direction. “You know,” he admitted in a tone of surprise. “I didn’t think to ask.”

Nyssa raised an eyebrow. That wasn’t like him. “She saved your life.”

“Yes,” the Doctor agreed, frowning. “And I really ought to thank her for it. I suppose the blow to the head must have quite addled my wits.” He attempted to stand, probably intending to follow his mysterious rescuer, but his knees promptly buckled under him and he collapsed again. “Oh dear. I’ve no wish to seem rude or ungrateful, but pursuing my mysterious benefactress seems quite out of the question at the moment.”

“Strange,” Nyssa ruminated, thinking about how the girl had appeared out of nowhere just in time to knock the Doctor out of the path of a speeding vehicle, made a quip, and then simply run off. “She had the most impeccable timing.”

“Most extraordinary,” the Doctor agreed as he stood again, this time with Nyssa’s help. “Though doubtless merely a coincidence. Either way, it seems I shall simply have to hope we meet again.”

Nyssa glanced again towards where the girl had disappeared, a strange shiver tripping along her spine. “I’ve the oddest feeling you will.”

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Fic: Questions and Answers (DW, River/Clara)

Author’s note: Set during the telepathic conference in “The Name of the Doctor.”

Written for: fandom_stocking 2013 for credoimprobus.

So. This was the infamous Clara. Or the latest version, anyway. One that, it appeared, the Doctor had finally noticed. River studied her discreetly across the non-existent table, looking for any of the usual signs. Some were there–the girl as usual showed no sign of recognition–but others, more subtle ones, were absent. Curious.

It hadn’t taken River long to observe that the Doctor had a peculiar habit of being saved by identical petite brunette women throughout his long history, and even more peculiarly, never seemed to take note of this fact himself. Sometimes the girl died saving him, sometimes she survived and went on to live a full life that had nothing to do with the Doctor, but it was always the same girl, always with some variation on the same name.

Of course, River knew she wasn’t meant to be peering in on the Doctor’s earlier selves at all, but she’d never been very fond of rules so that hadn’t stopped her. And the mysteriously recurring Clara Oswald–or Clara Oswalds, rather–had piqued her curiosity. She’d taken to visiting the surviving ones, even seduced a few in pursuit of her goals (all right, purely for the fun of it in most cases), but had never found the answer to the question of how this young woman kept popping up in the Doctor’s life. Most of them simply felt they were in the right place at the right time and that was the end of it.

Perhaps this time might be different. She would have to visit this particular Clara once the latest business was done. Well…visit her in her dreams, perhaps. There were certain disadvantages to living out one’s final days in a computer.

(Of course, no sooner had she thought that than everything went merrily to hell. She got her answers before it was done, but without the fringe benefit of the seduction. Pity.)

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Fic: Behind the Curtain (Librarians, Cassandra/Lamia)

Written for: Merfilly, for Femslash Exchange 2015.

There was enough of the old Cassandra left to appreciate that her private quarters were divided from the rest of the compound by a curtain. She’d loved The Wizard of Oz as a little girl—both the books and the movie—as much because of her parents’ efforts to make her live in the real world as in spite of them. In fact, the one time she’d ever broken curfew before the brain tumor, she’d snuck out of the house to meet a friend at a local movie theater that was showing the movie on the big screen for one night only. And the moment which had always affected her the most was the moment when Toto pulled the curtain aside and revealed the Wizard for who he really was. She’d felt Dorothy’s disappointment as keenly as if it were her own, maybe because she’d felt it herself when her parents sat her down at three and told her Santa wasn’t real.

The best part about becoming the Librarian had been discovering that she didn’t have to wake up like Dorothy after all. That the world really was as magical and colorful as Oz.

Now…she was supposed to be Glinda, but more often than not, she felt like the man behind the curtain instead. Oh sure, her power was real, not illusion like the Wizard’s. It was a part of her now, so much so that it was easier to call a book into her hand than to cross the room to pull it off the shelf. But the great sorceress, the benevolent ruler, the savior of mankind from the dragons…she was no more that woman than she was the quirky girl she’d once been. But the mask only came off behind the curtain.

A flick of the hand closed the heavy draperies behind her. Only when they were drawn did Cassandra allow her shoulders to sag ever so slightly. Familiar hands that were not her own were already reaching to draw the cloak from her shoulders. She closed her eyes for a moment of blessed relief and smiled when those hands ghosted over the skin of her arms.

“Are you all right?” Lamia asked quietly as she folded the cloak over her arm. Outside, she would have added ‘my Liege’ to the end of that sentence, but that title was forbidden in here at Cassandra’s request.

Cassandra nodded wearily. “Just tired,” she answered.

Lamia frowned. She draped the cloak from its peg before turning back. Her fingers found Cassandra’s back again, but this time digging in firmly, kneading muscles that carried the world on them. “Keeping the dragons at bay seems to be taking a great deal more strength than it once did. I worry for you.”

Closing her eyes again, Cassandra leaned back into her Guardian’s ministrations. “I know. And I appreciate it. But who else is there?” Magic was loose in the world, but there were too few people left who knew how to wield it. Too few people left, period. Morgan le Fay had long since fled, and Cassandra didn’t blame her mentor.

Lamia’s grip tightened involuntarily. “If I could shoulder part of the burden for you, I would,” she vowed.

“You already do,” Cassandra told her, twisting out of her hands only so she could turn to look her in the eyes. Her smile was weak only because her strength was temporarily exhausted. She reached for Lamia’s hand and twined it with her own before leaning in to press a chaste but fervent kiss to the corner of her mouth. “I know I don’t tell you enough, but I couldn’t do this without you.”

Lamia smiled too, but uncertainly. “Even though if not for me, you wouldn’t have to do it at all?”

Cassandra sighed and drew back. “You know I don’t like it when you talk like that.”

“Why not?” Lamia retorted. She was surprisingly stubborn in her guilt when they were here, behind what passed for closed doors. Even though in public, she wore her role as Guardian proudly, as the badge of honor it was. “It’s the truth. I cost you the Library. I cost you your Guardian.”

“You are my Guardian,” Cassandra retorted firmly, her hand fastening around Lamia’s chin and forcing their eyes to meet. “Dulaque killed Eve. Judson and Charlene cut the Library loose to protect it from him, not you. You proved your loyalty when you killed Dulaque to save me.”

Lamia grimaced. She tugged her chin out of Cassandra’s grip and ducked her eyes. “I have heard some say it proves only that I am loyal to no one.”

Anger like lava surged upwards in Cassandra, a burst of power shaking the building. She knew there were those who envied Lamia’s closeness to her, the trust she placed in her. But that they would take it so far as this…as far as trying to discredit her Guardian. “Who said that?”

Lamia’s eyes widened in surprise. She reached for the bedpost with one hand to steady herself until the shaking subsided. It said a great deal about the trust between them that her voice didn’t waver, though. Even the most dramatic displays of Cassandra’s power weren’t enough to make her afraid, thank God. “It doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter,” Cassandra insisted. She grabbed Lamia’s arm, as if she could make her own urgency bleed through the skin between them; like a drug or a disease transmitted by touch. “I need you here with me, physically and mentally. Anyone who makes you doubt yourself puts us all in danger.”

It hadn’t always been that way. They’d danced around each other in uneasy circles for quite a while; Cassandra resentful, Lamia still coping with having her worldview turned upside down. But the Library had known, which was why it had chosen Lamia for her even when Cassandra hadn’t wanted a new Guardian.

Everything had changed when the dragons awoke.

Lamia’s hand covered hers. “I just…I suppose I just don’t understand. Why the Library chose me when I was your enemy. Why you forgave me.”

“Because you saw me,” Cassandra answered quietly. “Because you see me. Because you’re the only one who does anymore.”

Sometimes Cassandra missed the girl she had been, all those years ago before she’d found the spell to cure her tumor and transformed herself in the process. The overlapping feedback, the sheer chaos of sound and color and memory and taste all mixed up together. Eve had missed that too. Cassandra sometimes thought that she’d lost Eve long before Dulaque killed her. Her Guardian had died for her, but her lover had never stopped mourning that lost girl.

Lamia loved who she was now; magic, seriousness, and all. And there were days when that was all that kept Cassandra going. The others feared her. They remained loyal only because they feared the dragons more.

“I could make them see you,” Lamia’s eyes flashed defiance for a moment, her voice as fierce as it had been the day she’d accused Cassandra of trying to keep magic to herself. She might play meek more often than not these days, setting the example for the others so none of them got themselves killed by leaving the protective circle of Cassandra’s influence, but that didn’t mean the fire was gone. Only that she banked it.

Cassandra smiled warmly. Her heart ached with love for this loyal rebel she’d somehow won to her side. “No, you can’t. You could make them say they do, sure, but that’s it.” She let go of Lamia’s arm, but only to curl the same hand possessively around her neck. “But thank you.”

The coals surged back to life in Lamia’s eyes. “I would do anything for you,” she whispered fiercely. “My Librarian.”

Cassandra’s breath hitched in her throat. ‘My Liege’ might be forbidden here, but when Lamia said ‘My Librarian’ in that tone, it meant something entirely different. Something that was not only allowed but welcomed here, and only here. Not because it was something private, but because this Lamia was one Cassandra didn’t share with anyone. “I know,” she responded, her own eyes darkening as she leaned in for a kiss. “But show me anyway.”

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Fic: Who You Gonna Call? (DW, Martha/Mickey)

Written for: NancyBrown for Trick or Treat Exchange.

“This is all your fault, you know,” Mickey declared as he flounced (there really was no other word for it) into one of the chairs ringing the console.

The Doctor looked up, sputtering. “How exactly is this my fault?” Brown hair flopped into his eyes and the hum of the sonic in his hands died down to an embarrassed whinge, then to nothing.

Amy, on the other side of the console, was watching the whole scene with far more amusement than was strictly warranted. “Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps because if you hadn’t distracted her, she might not have tripped over this…whatever it is you’re working on to begin with?”

“Yeah, exactly,” Mickey agreed.

“Oh, lay off, the both of you.” Martha scolded. She tried to smack her husband in the arm, but her insubstantial hand passed right through him. “You think I care half so much about how this happened as fixing it?”

The Doctor shot her a grateful look and straightened his bow tie indignantly. “Thank you. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go back to fixing it.” True to his word, the Doctor promptly went back to fiddling with the device that had caused the trouble in the first place.

“I think I’ve got every right to be angry with the bloke that got my wife killed,” Mickey protested.

“Not when said wife is standing right beside you, you big lug,” Martha retorted. She folded her arms and glared at him, more in exasperation than actual anger. “Although, if you keep insisting otherwise, I suppose that lets me off the hook then, doesn’t it? With the whole ‘til death do us part’ bit, yeah?”

The implied threat worked. Mickey lapsed into a sullen silence.

“Sorry, he’s just worried.” Martha smiled ruefully at the Doctor and Amy. “And as far as that goes, he’s not the only one.” She looked down again at her transparent form. “This is more than a bit disconcerting.”

“Perfectly understandable,” the Doctor tossed over his shoulder. “But as it happens, you’re very much not dead. Just a bit out of phase at the moment. I’ve just got to find the appropriate control circuit and reverse the polarity and—aha!”

“Is that a good ‘aha’ or a bad ‘aha’?” Amy asked.

The Doctor popped up again, this time grinning, which was hopefully a good sign. “We’ll know soon enough! Martha, if you wouldn’t mind standing just there…” He indicated a spot directly in front of the device.

Martha did as directed. “You’re sure this’ll work?” she asked him dubiously.

“Have I ever let you down?” the Doctor quipped, then immediately grimaced as if in pain. “No, don’t answer that. The real question is…” he stood and looked Martha straight in her translucent-at-the-moment eyes. “Do you trust me, Martha Jones?” His voice was probably as serious as Amy’d ever heard it.

Martha’s mouth twisted into something resembling but not quite a smile. “Always,” she answered softly.

That little boy grin spread over the Doctor’s face again, making him look for a moment like a truly young man, not an old man trapped in a young man’s body. “In that case…” He bounced back to the device and hit a button.

A bright beam of light shot out from the device, nearly identical to the one that had rendered Martha insubstantial to begin with. For a moment, all of the people in the control room had to shield their eyes from the brightness. When they could see, Martha was still standing there, but she looked solid again.

“Oh, thank God,” Mickey exclaimed, leaping up from his seat and throwing his arms around her. Martha hugged him back just as tightly.

“There, you see? I told you she wasn’t dead,” the Doctor announced triumphantly. His expression gave away his own relief, though.

Martha pulled away from Mickey and turned to hug the Doctor in turn. “Thank you,” she murmured into his neck.

The Doctor turned a nice bright shade of red. “Yes, well…all things considered, it was rather the least I could do.”

“Will that device work to restore all the other ‘ghosts’ we saw in the house?” she asked.

“It should do,” he agreed. “I’ve deadlocked the switch so it can’t be set back the other way accidentally.” Going to the contraption, the Doctor picked it up and handed it to her carefully. His eyes picked up a bit of their usual twinkle. “Do be a bit more careful in the future, though? If you decide to do any more ghost hunting.”

Martha rolled her eyes at him. “Only if you promise to be more careful in the future too—and the past.” She glanced over at Amy. “Look after him, yeah? Don’t let him get into more trouble than he can safely get out of.”

“Always do,” Amy promised with an answering grin.

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Fic: Way Before Nirvana (SJA/BttF, gen)

Author’s note: It’s been a little while since I last watched SJA. Apologies in advance if I got any of the kids’ voices wrong.

“Your mum’s going to kill us,” Clyde bemoaned to Luke as they stumbled down the unfamiliar pavement in a strange town that they only knew must be somewhere in America: based on what side of the road the cars were on, the size and shape of the license plates, and the spelling on the signs they’d seen.

Behind them, Rani snorted. “Nice try. Don’t you think it’s more accurate to say Sarah Jane’s going to kill you, Clyde? You’re the one who went and touched the weird alien artifact after she specifically said not to until we knew what it was and what it did.”

“Hey, it was an accident!”

“Awfully convenient one, if you ask me.”

“Guys,” Luke interrupted. “Don’t you think figuring out where we are and how we get home is a bit more important than assigning blame right now?”

“Where and when,” Rani agreed reluctantly. She turned to stare at a woman who passed them. The woman glared back. “Because I don’t know about you, but the only place I’ve seen hair like that before is in Mum’s old pictures. We must’ve gone back in time.”

“Right.” Clyde spotted a boy about their own age, and—more importantly where he was concerned—about his own height. Which was a welcome change from being towered over by Luke and Rani both. Chasing after him, he caught at the sleeve of the boy’s jean jacket. “Hey, mate. Sorry to bother you, but any chance you could tell me what year it is?”

The other boy’s eyes widened. He glanced from Clyde, to Rani, to Luke, giving each of them a quick once-over that seemed to take in their clothes, shoes, and hairstyles and come to some conclusion. Then his shoulders sagged and he let out a sigh that was entirely too resigned for someone who couldn’t be older than eighteen. “Let me guess. You’re time travelers and you need help getting back to the future.”

Clyde’s mouth dropped open. He, Rani, and Luke looked at each other in shock. “Wait, how’d you—?”

The boy’s mouth twitched into a wry smile. “Been there, done that.” He stuck out a hand. “Name’s Marty, by the way. Marty McFly. Welcome to 1985.”

End note: This came from a number of places including a) marathoning Back to the Future on Wednesday 10/21/2015, b) my half-awake brain noticing the older-time-traveling-mentor-and-teenage-protege parallels between Doc & Marty and Sarah Jane & her kids, and c) on top of it all, discovering Daniel Anthony is the same height as Michael J. Fox. Title is from the song “1985” by Bowling for Soup.

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Fic: Hold You in Their Precious Keep (ds, F/V/K)

Ray Vecchio loved Christmas. In fact, he would even venture to say he loved it more than most people, in spite of the fact that it usually meant seeing some relatives he could generally do without. He also felt he had a fairly keen grasp on the idea that Christmas was a bigger deal when there were kids in the house. He’d lived through enough nieces and nephews to know that. But that didn’t change the fact that, in his opinion, Stanley Raymond Kowalski had gone off the deep end this year.

Between the two of them, Ray could swear Fraser and Kowalski had hauled every bit of green within twenty miles into the cabin and draped it over everything. The tree alone was so big it had taken all three of them to even get it through the door, and it was covered from tip to toe in an eclectic collection of every single Christmas ornament the three of them owned. Which meant it was one third bizarre and hand-made (Fraser), one third at least somewhat classy (him), and one third kitschy Hallmark crap (Kowalski). Not to mention there was mistletoe hanging from all the doors—Kowalski’s idea, although Ray wasn’t exactly complaining about that—a pile of presents under the tree that would be as tall as the tree if they were all stacked on top of each other, and the stocking that Kowalski was trying to place so precisely had been hand-knit by a woman in the village with Caroline’s name running down the length of it. Ray’d seen so much red and green, it was a wonder his eyes weren’t bleeding, and this was from somebody who’d spent past Christmases with Ma, Frannie, and Maria in charge of the decorating.

Still, it wasn’t until Kowalski repositioned the little silver wolf stocking hook for the fourth time that Ray decided he’d officially lost his mind. Turning the cabin into some sort of indoor winter wonderland was one thing. But Fraser was the one he expected to pull out a measuring tape and try to measure the exact center point of the mantel.

“Will you give it a rest, already?” Ray snapped. “She’s a year old, it’s not like she’s going to remember whether or not her stocking was hung exactly in the middle of the fireplace.”

Kowalski glared at him and flipped him the bird with one hand. “Fuck you, Vecchio. This is my daughter’s first Christmas and it is going to be perfect if I say it is.”

Ray snorted. “You call it perfect, I call it an allergy waiting to happen.”

Fraser came in just then holding little Caroline in his arms. He frowned at Kowalski. “Ray, kindly please refrain from employing that sort of language in front of the baby.”

“What, allergy?”

Fraser rolled his eyes expressively without twitching a muscle in the lower part of his face. “No, Ray. I was addressing Ray, not you.”

Kowalski smirked. “Yeah, well fuck you too, Fraser. In fact, fuck both of you.”

“Yeah, yeah, promises, promises,” Ray retorted, his grin turning into a leer as he leaned in to steal a kiss. Kowalski batted him away half-heartedly.

Fraser only frowned harder and cupped one hand over Caroline’s ears. Or tried to, anyway. “Ray!” he scolded, the name this time clearly directed at both of them.

Ray stopped even trying not to smile at this point. At least one of them was still acting like themselves. “Relax, Benny. As I was just pointing out to Mr.-Perfectionist-Out-of-Nowhere here, it’s not like she’s going to remember any of this.”

“That may be true, Ray. All the more reason to establish good habits before Caroline reaches a more impressionable age, don’t you think?”

Caroline let out an eager squeal, as if agreeing with him. Fraser shot them both a triumphant look. It was somewhat spoiled when she immediately tried to lunge out of his arms in the direction of the tree. Both Rays sprang towards Fraser to catch her if, by some miracle, she actually managed to escape his grip.

“Yeah, you like that, don’t you?” Kowalski cooed when he plucked her out of Fraser’s arms. He shot a look in Ray’s direction. “You wanna tell Babbo to stop ruining our Christmas?”

“Ruining your Christmas? Thanks a lot, Stanley. Just for that, you’re not getting any of Ma’s grispelle this year.” He leaned in to tickle Caroline’s chin. She giggled obligingly and leaned towards him. “What do you say, Cara Mia? You and me split Tata’s share?”

“Oh, see, now that’s just playing dirty. Fraser, help me out here,” Kowalski pleaded.

“Ray, Caroline has only begun to eat solid food,” Fraser scolded obligingly. “It hardly seems likely she could consume sufficient donuts, no matter the origin, to justify depriving anyone else.”

“Yeah, what he said.”

“That said,” Fraser continued. “It does seem a bit…excessive to spend so much time decorating the cabin when we are going to be departing in only a few days for Chicago to spend the holiday with your parents and Ray’s.” Of course, he promptly belied this by crossing to the mantelpiece and straightening the abandoned stocking hanger.

“Yeah, you’re a big help,” Ray groused, not quite managing to hide his smile. “My point is, a perfect Christmas isn’t about how much plant life you can haul indoors. A perfect Christmas is being surrounded by people that love you…” He gave Kowalski a pointed look when he added, “…even when you drive them crazy. And our Carolina’s gonna have that in spades, both here and in Chicago.”

Thank God for that. He hadn’t been sure, at first. Hell, it had taken him six months after they finally figured out this whole arrangement—never mind when it started—to even bring it up with Frannie, let alone Ma. He’d been terrified his family would never want to speak to him again. And yeah, okay, so there were a few aunts and uncles who had stopped coming to Christmas dinner when Ma refused to disinvite the three of them, but in Ray’s opinion it was no great loss. And Ma herself…it took her a little while to adjust to the idea, granted, but once she did, she started talking like God had given her two new sons to replace the one she lost, and everything was okay again.

Fraser smiled. Not his usual forced smile, but that spontaneous, gorgeous smile that still took Ray’s breath away, even after all these years. “He’s not wrong, Ray.”

Kowalski’s scowl faded into a wry smile of his own as he looked down at Caroline in his arms. She stared back up at him in owlish curiosity. “Yeah, I know.”

Jesus, just looking at the three of them made Ray’s heart hurt, in the best possible way. How the hell was this his life? It wasn’t that long ago he’d been on the outside looking in, fresh from Vegas and bitter as hell that he hadn’t realized the best thing in his life before he lost it. To have gotten Benny back, and with him what amounted to interest in the form of Kowalski and now Caroline? Five years ago, he wouldn’t have believed he could ever deserve that, let alone have it.

God, he was turning into a sap. But who could blame him?

Caroline yawned widely and dropped her head onto Kowalski’s shoulder, her eyes drifting towards closed, but still open just enough to return Ray’s scrutiny. Fraser smiled softly. “We should probably put her to bed. It’s getting late.”

“How can you tell?” Ray groused mildly. They hadn’t seen the sun in so long, he was beginning to think he forgot what it looked like. But that was okay too—he was getting used to the warm lamp-light that bathed the room and turned everything golden. Something else he never would’ve thought possible a few years ago.

“I got her,” Kowalski offered, jogging Caroline in his arms a little as he started to move towards the bedroom.

Ray watched them go for a moment before turning back to find Fraser studying him. “What?”

Fraser didn’t answer, just closed the distance between them and pulled him into a fervent but infinitely tender kiss. Whatever it was he hadn’t been able to say, his tongue communicated just as eloquently without words.

Kowalski poked his head out of the bedroom. “Hey, no fair starting without me!”

Ray laughed, his heart as light as the snowflakes almost certainly falling outside. “Who’s starting?” he shouted back, then winked at Fraser. “I’m just getting caught up.”

End note: I do not speak Italian or Polish, so sorry if “Babbo” and “Tata” are not the correct form of ‘father’ in this context. They seemed the most likely candidates from my research, but context is tricky. In my defense, I doubt Kowalski actually speaks enough Polish (if any) to know the right form either, and I think I have some wiggle room–language ability-wise–with Vecchio too.

Also, I apologize for the lack of Dief; I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t make an appearance. It’s possible his time has passed, or that he’s outside with the sled dogs, or just asleep by the fire. I like to think it’s one of the latter two.

Title is from the song “The Bells of Christmas” by Loreena McKennitt.

Posted in due South, Fraser/RayV/RayK, Slash | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fic: Equal and Opposite (ds/Eastwick, gen)

Author’s Note: Written for fandom_stocking two years ago for Seascribe, but it’s been rattling around in my brain probably since I watched due South again for the first time after seeing Eastwick. Potentially an excerpt from a longer crossover, but if I haven’t written it yet, I’m guessing it’s not going to happen. :-/ Also, I tagged the story “choose your own Ray” because I’m honestly not sure myself which one Fraser is talking to. It sounds alternately like both of them to me at points.

“So let me get this straight. You woke up this morning and suddenly remembered that you’re not Benton Fraser, you’re an angel.”

“Well…no, Ray, that’s not technically true. I am Benton Fraser, son of Robert and Caroline Fraser. It’s just that before I was born–that is to say, before Benton Fraser was born–I was a messenger of God.”

“So what’s your real name?”

“Benton Fraser is my real name, at least for this lifetime.”

“All right then: your ‘angelic’ name?”


“Your name is LUCILLE?”

“No, not Lucille; Lu-ci-el. The accent is on the third syllable. It means ‘light of God’.”

“Riiiiiight. And the reason you were sent down to Earth to become a human was…?”

“To find and retrieve my fallen twin brother.”

“Whose name is…?”

“Lucifer. Although, being that he would have also assumed human form, he has probably also received a new name. Likely several, since he seems to enjoy collecting them; Satan, Beelzebub, Sebastian–”

“Whoah, whoah, whoah. Fraser, are you seriously telling me that the Devil is your evil twin and God sent you here to arrest him?”

“Well, essentially…yes.”

“All right, so assuming I take all this at face value and don’t just decide you’ve finally gone all the way around the bend, how do we find him? You got some sort of built-in Devil detector?”

“Well, yes, of a sort. As twins, we share a special bond above and beyond that which exists between all of the malekh. I should be able to use that to discover his location within a few square miles.”

“And what then?”

“Well, even though our human forms do not share the same mortal mother, ultimately our true natures would out, giving us the same likeness regardless of any genetic differentiation.”


“He’ll look just like me.”

“Okay. Hell, why not? Let’s go.”

“Then you do believe me?”

“I don’t know. But it would certainly explain a lot about why you’re such a do-gooder. Are all Canadians angels?”

“No, not at all. Canadian was simply, shall we say, the simplest disguise for one such as I to assume without being forced to violate my essential nature.”

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Fic: A Change Would Do You Good (dS/DW, gen)

Author’s note: Inspired by this post on Tumblr:

Title is from the Sheryl Crow song. It may still be going around on Tumblr as “Raygeneration” though because I posted it in a hurry before I actually THOUGHT of a good title. *g*

Ma’d always told him he’d know the difference when it happened.

Ray hadn’t quite believed her. He’d had more than his fair share of brushes with death—most of them since he’d taken up with one Benton Fraser—and he’d been just as clueless every time whether this was it or not.

This was definitely it.

Maybe it was the way he could feel his heart slowing down even though it should be speeding up, as panicked as he was. Damn it, he wasn’t ready for this. Maybe he’d pushed his luck successfully one too many times and somehow had convinced himself it was never gonna happen.

Ray’s veins started to sing. Oh, this was definitely happening, all right.

Dimly he could hear Fraser shouting for an ambulance. He sounded terrified, frightened in a way that Fraser just didn’t get. Crap. Benny. He hadn’t warned Benny. Fumbling with a hand that was rapidly losing feeling, he nevertheless managed to get a grip on the sleeve of Fraser’s uniform.

“Benny, no. No ambulance. Not this time.” His voice sounded weirdly calm. Maybe to make up for how calm he really didn’t feel.

Fraser’s face swam into his view and the distress on it made him feel mildly ill. “Ray, you need to save your strength,” he insisted urgently.

“No. No, listen to me, Benny…” Damn it. It was gonna happen before he got a chance to explain if Fraser kept interrupting. “This is important.”

Fraser looked stricken, but nodded.

A little bit of the tension ebbed out of Ray’s body. “My family…my family’s not exactly from around here.”

Fraser frowned, bewildered by the apparent non sequitir. “Yes, I’m aware your grandparents were immigrants from Italy—”

“Not Italy,” Ray interrupted. Okay, so it was rude, but he could already feel an unfamiliar warmth starting to spread through him. He had to get this out first. “Little further away. Like a few billion miles further.”

“I don’t understand,” Fraser said helplessly. With his free hand, he was still trying to staunch the bleeding.

“You know how I joke that you’re from another planet?” He coughed, and tasted more than blood in his mouth. Shit, he was almost out of time. “Well, so am I.”

“Ray, I hardly think this is the time or place for a joke. You may be dying.”

He was definitely dying, but he didn’t have time to explain why that wasn’t a bad thing. Instead Ray just squeezed Fraser’s hand hard. “It’s okay, Benny. I’m gonna be okay. I’m just gonna be…different.”

“What do you mean, diff—?”

Ray didn’t get a chance to answer that. Suddenly every cell in his body was exploding and he was screaming. Jesus, that hurt. It hurt like a son of a bitch. Why hadn’t Ma warned him about that part? About bones shrinking and skin tightening and his skull rearranging itself. And not just his skull, but his brain too. He felt like he was being taken apart and reassembled from the inside out. Probably because he was.

Then, suddenly it was over and Fraser was staring at him like he was a stranger.

Ray sat up, suddenly. His hand flew to the hole in his dress shirt and he stuck his finger through it, marveling at the feel of unmarked skin. “Sweet!” he exclaimed. Energy buzzed through him like electricity. Was this seriously what he’d been so freaked out about? Right, because not dying was such a downer. He started patting himself all over, a thrill going through him all over again when he reached his head. “Better nose, that’s something.” He kept going, and just about crowed when he touched his scalp.

“Hey, I’ve got hair!” Grinning, Ray pivoted his head to grin at Fraser. “What color is it? Tell me it’s not brown again. Brown’s boring. And if you’re gonna shake things up, you gotta do it right, right?”

The look in Fraser’s eyes was all it took to kill his good mood. Ray’s stomach took a nose dive into his shoes. (And speaking of his shoes, what had he been thinking? What was he, some sort of style pig? The whole outfit was gonna have to go, and not just because of the bullet hole.)

“Who are you?” Fraser demanded in a voice that was at once confused, horrified, and worst of all, utterly lost.

Ray forced a smile onto his face. “What do you mean, who am I? I’m Ray. I told you things were gonna be a little different.”

Fraser sounded like he was choking on something. “All I know is that a moment ago, I was speaking to Ray Vecchio–who was very near to death, I might add. And then there was this burst of golden light and you appeared.”

Ray nodded. Fuck, he hadn’t considered that. What if Fraser didn’t like the new him? He didn’t think he could handle that. “Right. That’s what I meant by different. I regenerated. See, my folks were from this planet called Gallifrey, see? Only they did something, broke the law or something, and they got exiled here. To Earth.”

“Whoever you are, you’re not making any sense,” Fraser answered reproachfully.

“Yeah, well, I learned from the best.” Ray gave him a cheeky grin that was only a little bit fake. “Look, I’ll prove it to you. Take me back to the house.”

“I don’t think that would be wise, under the circumstances—”

Geez, Fraser was really not getting this. “Look, I’m not gonna hurt anybody. They’re my family.” On an impulse, he pulled his gun out of its holster and offered it to Fraser. “Take that, if it makes you feel better. But I guarantee you, you take me back to the house and they’ll tell you the same thing I’m telling you. That it’s me.”

Fraser still looked dubious, but nodded. He tucked Ray’s gun into the empty browning holster at the waist of his uniform, then looked down and held out a hand. “In that case, I’ll require Ray’s backup weapon as well.”

Ray shrugged and bent down to empty his ankle holster. “Satisfied?” he asked once the gun was in Fraser’s hands. He dug in his pocket for his keys and clambered to his feet, heading for the Riv. Funny how it didn’t look quite as appealing as it had an hour ago. Huh. “You coming?” he hollered over his shoulder to Fraser.


The first thing Frannie did when she answered the door was frown at him. “Can I help you?” she asked. She moved instinctively to block the door, folding her arms and casting a suspicious glance in Fraser’s direction.

Great, not her too. At least she’d be easier to convince. “C’mon, Frannie, it’s me. Ray.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh my God. You did it, didn’t you?” She smacked him on the arm, and Ray was pleasantly surprised to discover he felt no compulsion to whine about it. “Jeez, Ray, did you not listen to a word Ma said about trying to stay in one piece for at least the first century?”

Ray snorted. “I’m a cop. It’s a dangerous line of work. Especially with this guy around.” He jerked a thumb in Fraser’s direction.

“Excuse me, Francesca,” Fraser interjected, stepping up to Ray’s side. “Forgive me for interrupting, but are you saying that this man is, indeed, your brother, Ray Vecchio?”

Frannie shrugged. “Well, I suppose I could be wrong, but…” She gestured for Ray to come closer. He obeyed, and she laid her hand first on one side of his chest, then the other. “Yeah, it’s him,” she answered in a dry voice. “Unless there’s some other Gallifreyan running around impersonating him for God only knows what reason. Ma always said the second heart shows up with the first regeneration.”

Fraser made a startled movement with his head that was sort of the reverse of a pigeon: jerking it suddenly back instead of forward. “Second heart?” he echoed.

Frannie shoved Ray towards him. “Feel it for yourself.”

Fraser did as directed, only not with his palm. Instead, he placed his ear against Ray’s chest. When he straightened up, he didn’t look any less confused. “Ray, you have two hearts.”

Ray could feel his face light up like a Christmas tree. “Hey, you called me Ray!”

Fraser shook his head, still looking lost. “I don’t understand,” he confessed, and the strain in his voice showed just how much he meant that.

Frannie rolled her eyes. “What’d you do, just spring it on him?” She hit Ray again and he scowled back at her.

“Stop that!”

Frannie turned her attention fully back to Fraser. “Okay, so were you actually there for the change?”

“I…suppose I was,” Fraser answered helplessly.

“Then there you go,” she answered with satisfaction.

Fraser blinked.

Ray groaned. “Frannie, somehow I don’t think that’s very helpful.” He turned to Fraser. “Okay, look, here’s the deal. Like I started to say before, Ma and Pop were from this planet called Gallifrey, which is like, a bunch of light years away. Now, Gallifrey’s kind of super advanced, but they’re also kinda super uptight, you get me?”

Fraser frowned. Okay, so maybe uptight might not’ve been the best choice of words. “Not entirely, but go on.”

Ray grimaced. “Okay, so the folks in charge have a bunch of rules. And not like laws-rules, just rules for the heck of it. Ma and Pop broke a couple of those rules—” If Pop had been the ass on Gallifrey that he’d been on Earth, it was probably more than a couple. Thank God Pop had been on his last regeneration when he’d kicked it five years ago. “—so they got kicked out. And dumped here.”

“This still doesn’t explain how you…‘regenerated,’ as you described it,” Fraser objected.

“Yeah, it does,” Ray insisted. “Because it’s this trick, y’see. Way back a bunch of centuries ago, a bunch of Gallifreyans—”

“Time Lords,” Frannie corrected.

Ray glared at her. “Just ‘cause they call themselves that, don’t mean I gotta. Anyway, these guys decided that if they were ever gonna accomplish all the crazy stuff they wanted to do, they’d have to be immortal. Or damn near to it, anyway. So they genetically engineered this code or something and implanted it into their DNA. And what this code does, is every time a Gallifreyan gets real close to dying, it kinda, what’s the word for it? Reboots the system.”

Fraser looked pained. “Wouldn’t it have been simpler to create some sort of healing mechanism, such as when a lizard loses its tail?”

Ray shrugged. “Yeah, well, apparently they aren’t big on simple.”

“All right, let me see if I begin to understand.” The confusion was beginning to fade from Fraser’s face, but not the disappointment. “Your parents are from another planet, and thus you have alien DNA. This alien DNA was at some point in its history programmed so that, in the event you come close to death, it restores you by essentially transforming you into a whole new person.”

Ray nodded. “Basically, yeah. Only I got all the memories of the old me.”

Fraser hesitated a moment before asking the next question. “And there is no way to reverse the process.”

Ray flinched, stung. “No. You could kill me again, I guess, but it wouldn’t bring the old me back. You’d just wind up with another new one.”

Frannie sighed. “Y’know, it might be a little late to be thinking of this, but we probably shouldn’t be having this conversation on the front stoop.”

Ray flushed again and Fraser nodded, grimacing. “Yes, of course.”

Frannie shepherded them both into the house and into the living room with thankfully minimal incident. The closest they came to trouble was when Maria walked by and raised an eyebrow. “Who’s this?”

“Ray regenerated,” Frannie answered, resigned.

Maria rolled her eyes. “Figures. Always knew he’d never make it to his hundredth birthday.” Then, thankfully, she left them alone.

Pretty soon, Ray found himself perched on the edge of the sofa while Fraser stood awkwardly across from him, looking from him to Frannie as if hoping to wake up. It only took a few minutes before Ray couldn’t take it. “Look, just say it, okay? You want the old me back.”

“I didn’t say that,” Fraser disagreed with another grimace. “I simply…haven’t had time to become accustomed to the new you.”

Ray wondered if that sounded as fake to Fraser as it did to him.

Frannie threw her hands up. “Look, I’m gonna go tell Ma so she doesn’t freak out when she comes down and finds a blond Polish guy in her living room. You two work out…whatever it is you have to work out.”

“I look Polish?” Ray bounced up from his seat and almost ran to the mirror to stare at his new face for the first time. “Huh. Not bad. Kinda an improvement, if you ask me.”

Fraser made a noise that almost certainly wasn’t intentional.

Ray turned back to him. “Look, Frase, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t die back there, and I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you sooner what was gonna happen instead.”

This time Fraser’s voice was quietly horrified. “Please don’t ever apologize for not dying, Ray. I’m sorry if anything I said led you to believe I would feel otherwise. It’s merely…a lot to take in.”

“Yeah, well you should try it from my end, sometime,” he retorted. He was still mesmerized by the face in the mirror. Not just the face, either. He’d lost at least a couple of inches, based on where that face was hanging in the glass, and based on the way his pants were bunching up around his ankles. But he’d gained…bulk wasn’t quite the right word. He was still skinny, but he was more wiry now.

Fraser raised both eyebrows. “Fair enough,” he conceded. “What do you intend to do now?”

That finally dragged Ray’s attention away from his new reflection. “How do you mean?”

“Well, it seems logical to assume you would not wish to entrust your secret to the entirety of the 27th Division,” he pointed out. “I’m honored that you chose to trust me with it.” He didn’t point out that Ray hadn’t exactly had a whole lot of choice at the time. But hey, at least it’d happened in front of Fraser and not the entire 2-7.

Ray winced again. Yeah, that was a pretty logical assumption. It was a good thing Fraser’d thought of it, because he hadn’t. “Right.”

“So, do you intend to apply for employment elsewhere? Perhaps even leave Chicago?” At least Fraser didn’t sound thrilled by either prospect; that was something.

“I, uh, hadn’t really thought about it,” Ray admitted. “Couldn’t I just go back to work and pretend to be somebody else? I know a buncha guys who could work up a new ID for me.”

Fraser nodded slowly. “Very well. Only how do you intend to explain Ray Vecchio’s apparent absence?”

Ray shrugged. “We can, uh, I dunno, say I got reassigned to some hot shot undercover deal?”

Fraser pursed his lips and tapped them thoughtfully with one finger. “It just may work,” he admitted. “You’re confident in the ability of these ‘guys’ you know to create an impenetrable backstory for you?”

He nodded. “Yeah, these guys could make like I was the Queen of England and people would buy it. They’re that good.”

Fraser sighed and tugged at his ear. “Well. As much as I don’t find the idea of you utilizing less than legal means to create a new identity particularly appealing, I suppose it is preferable to the alternative.”

“You mean that?” Ray asked, trying not to sound too eager. “I mean…you wanna keep working with me?”

This time Fraser’s smile, though weak, seemed a lot more genuine. “Well, as I said; it may take some getting used to. But it appears that you are, in fact, still my partner. And my best friend. I would be a poor friend indeed if I allowed the circumstances, however bizarre, to alter that.”

Ray crossed the room to him in a few short steps, beaming. He pulled Fraser into a hug, then let go and slapped him on the back. “Great. So now we just gotta think of a new name for me. Frannie says I look Polish; know any Polish names?”

Fraser pursed his lips and clasped his hands behind his back. “Well, there is the rather infamous Stanley Kowalski, from the play, A Streetcar Named Desire…”

Ray grinned. “Awesome! I love Brando.” It looked like everything was gonna be okay after all.

End note: I may have played a little fast and loose with regeneration canon, but then so does Doctor Who, so I think I’m good. 😉 I got the “the second heart shows up after the first regeneration” thing from somewhere, but I don’t remember if it was canon or another fic. I used it because I figured otherwise Ray would’ve gotten found out one of the many times he wound up in the hospital in S1-2. 😉

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