Title: Five Ex-Companions OR The Revelations Of Five People Who, In Their Respective Pasts, Travelled With The Doctor
Rating: PG - a little language
Disclaimer: Not mine
Fandoms: Doctor Who crossing over with Stargate SG-1, Due South, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, House and Ivor The Engine.
Summary: Like the title says.
Notes: This is partly nostalgia's fault, because we were discussing this on swings. But, uh. It's mostly me. As is the utter lack of plot in all but one of these.
Notes For Fandom Knowledge, Just In Case:
Jack is nonchalantly surveying the crowd as Daniel makes the introductions, and has just spotted the man and girl in anachronistic-looking outfits (yes, Jack knows long words, he just doesn't say them because they don't fit the image) when Daniel says, "And this is Colonel O'Neill."
There are the usual smiles and nods and suchlike, and then the man that Jack picked out barges forward and cries, "It's never little Jonathan!"
Jack winces. His team looks at him quizzically, then turns the combined force of their gaze on the man, who doesn't seem to notice.
"Hey, Doctor," he says, because even though the man is shorter and blonder and (though scarfless) even more colorfully dressed than Jack remembers him, there's really no mistaking him. Also, he's the only person that ever dared call Jack... that.
"You've grown!" the Doctor exclaims, and starts to look at him from various angles.
Jack sighs, and smiles a little at the girl, who probably isn't younger than he was, but makes it look a whole lot dodgier through the use of revealing clothing. "Hi. I'm Jack."
"Peri," she says, in a distinctly American accent. "Nice to meet you."
The Doctor jumps between them. "I knew you wouldn't stay on Earth! Didn't I say so?"
That piques Carter's interest, and then Daniel frowns and Teal'c is doing the eyebrow thing and Peri is tapping the Doctor on the shoulder and it all gets kind of confused for a while.
Later, after their tangential involvement in the deposition of an unsuspected (by the SGC) fascist regime, and the not-quite-unobserved exit of the Doctor-plus-companion (because Jack remembers wandering out the back way, the side way, or the top way, while everyone was looking elsewhere) Jack's team corners him.
"So," he says, "I ran away from home when I was fifteen and I wound up touring time and space with that guy, except he was kinda not. That guy, I mean."
The expressions on their faces tell Jack two things: first, that his idea of an explanation sucks; and second, that he isn't going to get away without giving them something more along the lines of full and detailed reports on every single thing done and place visited in the Doctor's company.
Jack sighs, and wonders where to start.
Benton has a lot of stories, but most of them are the sort that never get told. However, on this adventure, he has spent an unprecedented amount of time in the company of one person, and they have told each other many stories by the light of the aurora borealis, and Benton finds that Ray Kowalski's stories shame him with their open honesty. He considers, for many days, the possibility of telling Ray something true.
Then Ray, be it down to deduction or instinct or sheer blind luck, asks the right question. "You really spent months tracking some guy through this?"
It would be easy for Benton to be evasive, to discuss the differences in terrain or the vagaries of weather. But he doesn't. "That is a matter of record," he says instead.
Ray squints at him, a small suspicious smile forming on his face. "That wasn't a yes."
"The record is, ah, technically inaccurate." Benton looks at his friend with that particular innocent glance which they both know means nothing of the kind.
Ray laughs so hard he almost falls off his skis, and the discussion is set aside until they settle for the night. Then, Benton stares into the fire, and lets himself remember.
"The first week of tracking, and the time spent bringing the fugitive to justice; those happened entirely as I reported. However, on the eighth day, I met a... person, who introduced himself as The Doctor." The man had been entirely unsuitably dressed for the climate, and physically unsuitable as well; an older man, with a twinkling expression like that of a trickster uncle bearing noise-making gifts. "I subsequently spent some time travelling... a variety of places... in his company."
Benton can feel Ray's confusion like a crick in his neck that won't crack out, and he has to bite his lip for several long seconds before he can force himself to continue. "I learned many things during that year. And I wouldn't understand Diefenbaker nearly as well as I do if not for the lingering effects of that time."
"Year?" Ray asks quietly.
"Subjectively, yes. Only a few weeks passed here, of course; his, ah, spaceship, you see, could also travel through time, and... Ray, are you quite all right?" It's a reasonable question, because Ray's eyes are wide, his face is pale, and he doesn't appear to be breathing. Still, Ray chuckles, and then he reaches out to put his hand on Benton's shoulder.
"Are you telling me you got abducted by an alien?"
"Oh no, Ray, I went perfectly willingly."
Ray positively cackles, and Dief raises his head to contribute an amused chuff of his own.
"All right," says Ray. "All right. So tell me more. He had a spaceship?"
It's entirely possible that Ray doesn't actually believe him; Benton can't bring himself to care.
"The most extraordinary thing... well, no. The first extraordinary thing was that it appeared to be a large old telephone box; it was dark blue..."
It's not something she'll ever say out loud, but Faith always envied Buffy. Even though she was a stupid little self-righteous blonde cow.
Faith isn't bitter. Really. She's had plenty of time to think about it, and she accepts responsibility for her own mistakes, and all that shit, and anyway these days she and Buffy are pretty much equals. Some days more equal than others.
But the point here - and Faith glances at the gravestone beside her, giving it the look she would give the man to make sure he was paying attention - is nothing to do with Buffy, and is not even to do with Slaying, apart from how that was the only connection any of them had, and is also the reason she finds it so very odd to be in a cemetery during the daytime.
She envied B her friends and her caring mother and her sweet sister and her clean little suburban existence and too many things to mention, but most especially, her mentor. Faith had that, before. And Faith lost that.
And death was one thing, something she could forgive the lady for because nobody wanted to die that way; but just being left on the street like trash... well, that was another. He hadn't even bothered to check what year it was. But that was getting ahead of the story.
"You remember that confusion over my records? How they couldn't find my mom? Well..." Faith stops. She flips to her feet and paces for a while. "It's not an excuse," she calls to him from twenty feet away. Then she turns back.
"It doesn't even matter," she says, and knows that it's mostly true. She folds herself into a lotus and leans against his stone.
"I thought he was creepy. Or crazy. Something. But he offered me a hot meal and I was hungry and he was old so I figured I could outrun him if he tried anything. He was English. First voice like that I ever heard. Then came the Watchers. Joy."
She shifts, glares up at the cloudless blue sky. "Not the point, again. It was... He had this... He called it a TARDIS. It looked small, but then you stepped inside and it was endless. And he fed me, and gave me a room of my own, and took me to see dinosaurs. He asked me so many questions. And he watched me. Once he called me the wrong name. I thought... I thought I was a replacement, but I didn't mind, because I was so important to him. And he was everything to me."
Faith stops talking for a long time. She doesn't move, either, just sits and thinks.
"Then he said, 'I think I might be prepared, now.' He patted me on the head and thanked me for my assistance and then he was gone. A few months later, I got my powers, and, well... You know the rest of the story. I just..."
Faith pushes herself off the ground, and smiles ruefully at the grave. "You were a sucky-ass Watcher, Wes. But you weren't really the one I wanted to hurt. Sorry about... all that."
She leaves a half-bottle of whisky there for the next bum that passes by, and doesn't look back.
He does, actually, have a first name.
He does, actually, have outstanding grades and recommendations from excellent schools.
He could, actually, have picked and chosen from any number of jobs; have worked in far more congenial company; have earned quite a bit more money; have started building a reputation; or even have taken a Gap Year to add to the one already on his file.
There is still a surprising amount of the Earth that he hasn't seen. He's been places in the US, Canada, Mexico, and a little of Europe at the start of his abortive Gap. Then - and he still wasn't entirely sure how, which was annoying - he'd left a little pub in London and wound up halfway across the galaxy with a hangover and a stick of celery. The latter had promptly been claimed by a man in beige (the whitest man Eric had ever met, in most senses of the word), but the hangover stuck with Eric through the explanations of temporal displacement and rips in the multi-dimensional-continuum.
It's a combination of yet another hangover, the good coffee (that Chase buys and only pulls out once in a long while and will not let anybody else make) and (though he'd never admit it, since he does have a reputation to uphold, and everything) sheer giddiness at having been right and managing to pull off yet another miracle cure (and this time he was more than just a sounding-board-and-or-flunky, this time it was his experience that made the difference) that finally loosens his tongue. "Just like that time on New Paisley," he says contemplatively. "Except there were more moons."
It's not, actually, unusual for the room to be quiet, and it's not that unusual for the others to be looking at him. In combination, though...
Foreman winces. Chase flinches a little in sympathy, Cameron looks wide-eyed, and House has an eyebrow raised in an expression which he's probably mentally labelled as "inquisitive, sardonic, slightly surprised." Foreman wants to wince again, but doesn't. Brazen it out, Eric, he tells himself, in a voice that he hasn't heard for years.
"New Paisley. Crappy little place with pretensions of planethood. Cheap beer, though." It's not really worth hoping that the others will assume it's some ghetto slang they've never heard before, but he can't help it.
House's eyes sharpen, and he might be the most intense(ly irritating) human that Eric's ever met. "I see," says House. "And when, exactly, did you find the time to go gallivanting around the galaxy?"
Foreman glares back. "I knew a guy with a time machine."
Cameron giggles, and that's that.
Ivor The Engine
Not very long ago, in the top left-hand corner of Wales, there was a railway. It wasn't a very long railway and it wasn't a very important railway but it was called The Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited, and it was all there was.
And in a shed, in a siding at the end of the railway, lived the Locomotive of the Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited, which was a long name for a little engine so his friends just called him Ivor.
At the end of a long day of work, Ivor's driver Jones the Steam puts Ivor to bed in the shed and goes home for his tea. And Ivor sleeps. And sometimes, Ivor dreams.
Tonight, Ivor is dreaming about something that really happened to him, before he ever came to Llaniog.
The man is short, with a voice that sometimes rolls, but not the same way as the men at Pontypool where Ivor was made. He has a hat that isn't like the one Jones the Steam wears, and isn't like Mrs Ponty's, and isn't like one Ivor's ever seen. And the shed that he placed on the line looked far too small for Ivor to fit, but it wasn't, and there were lots of other things inside.
There was a girl inside, too. At least, Ivor thought she was a girl, even though she didn't wear a dress.
"Professor?" she said. "Didn't you say fossil fuels were evil?"
"A necessary evil," the man said. "And it's not Ivor's fault that he was built to take coal."
PEEP! Ivor agreed.
Ivor liked sitting in this strange shed, and watching the people come and go, but after a while, he got bored. He wanted to do things, and help people, because Ivor was a very useful little engine. The man told him that there weren't many places that had railway lines, and not many people would listen to an engine.
Ivor was quite upset.
Then the man took him to Llaniog, and they met Jones the Steam, and Ivor thought he could be happy there.
In Ivor's dream, the man is waving to him from the door of his strange little blue shed. "Small acts of kindness," he says. "It all adds up."
Ivor wakes up early the next morning.
PERP PORPLY POOP he sings. He is very quiet, so he doesn't wake anyone up. But he is happy.
Who will Ivor help today?