Lurky McLurklurk (ionlylurkhere) wrote in femslash09,
Lurky McLurklurk

Fic: Days Like Crazy Paving (Doctor Who, Mel/Ace. PG)

Title: Days Like Crazy Paving
Author: ionlylurkhere
Recipient: glinda_penguin
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Mel/Ace
Rating: PG
Word count: 1250
Disclaimer: The people who came up with this stuff in the first place were being paid by the BBC at the time.
Summary: How many pasts can two people have?
Notes: Thanks to biichan, peeeeeeet and livii for encouraging beta-ing.

The motorcycle charges down the road, engine revving noisily.

The sedate village of Pease Pottage is not used to such raucousness, certainly not so early in the morning. More than one net curtain twitches as the motorcycle streaks past. Its driver guns the engine and for the briefest moment, the radio in number 23 picks up nothing but static; Mr Harris pauses, toast midway between plate and mouth. He finds himself remembering a rumour his colleague once told him, that a failure to pick up the Today programme for three days in a row was the signal to the Trident submarines to launch their second strike.

What a silly thing to think. The wall has come down, the war -- in as much as it could be called a war, for hadn't it really been a conflict of ideas that had occasionally spilt over into unfortunate incidents in far away places with strange names -- is over. Don't they say that it's the end of history?

The motorcycle screeches into the driveway of the second-to-last house on the street.

* * *

Naturally enough, Mel hears the motorcycle crashing down onto the paving stones of her driveway, so she's at the door even before the bell rings.

The figure standing before her seems familiar; it's dressed in leathers, but there's something about the jacket ...

The rider takes off her helmet, ponytail swinging free, and says two words. "Hello, Doughnut."

"I ... Ace?"

"You weren't expecting me, then?"

"Should I have been?"

"I don't know," Ace says. "That's why I came."

Mel looks up and down at Ace then glances sideways at the doors opening further down the street. She knows what they'll think -- mad, bad and dangerous to know. But that's not how she wants to think of Ace. "I think you'd better come inside."

* * *

Five minutes later, Ace is wolfing down a full English breakfast that Mel doesn't remember making, but which was waiting on the side when they arrived in the kitchen.

Ace talks with her mouth full. "There was a war. Or a series of wars. Or an ongoing giant universal crisis, certain elements of which may have looked warlike from certain angles."

"And you ... fought in this war?"

"I think so." She puts down her fork for a moment, looks straight into Mel's eyes. "What do you remember about me?"

"I remember meeting you on Iceworld. I remember ... saying goodbye to the Doctor, and telling him you didn't have anywhere to go." Mel pauses. "But ... I also think I met you after Glitz dumped me on Avalone. Except you'd turned into a soldier and the Doctor was ... well, not who I remembered. There are other memories too -- the Doctor really not being himself, becoming the Valeyard and me having to fight him ..." She grabs big bunches of frizzy hair on either side of her head, a pantomime gesture of confusion. "I don't understand, Ace, those things can't all have happened. Can they?"

Ace shrugs. "Maybe."

Mel sighs with frustration, slumps into the chair opposite Ace. "Well, what do you remember about me?"

Ace begins eating again as she answers. "I remember what you said -- Iceworld and me going off with the Doctor. And other things, too, like seeing your grave, on Heritage."

"I died?"

"Sort of," Ace says. "For a bit. I think I might have died too." She stabs at a grilled tomato. "But I wouldn't remember that, would I?"

Mel bites her lip. "I remember other things as well. Not leaving the Doctor on Iceworld, but you coming along with us as well. Or the Doctor leaving with Glitz, and us running Iceworld together."

Ace looks up from her food with a big grin on her face. "Do you remember, we had to pretend to be space pirates to scare off those Llichan raiders?"

Mel smiles, even as her brow furrows in confusion. "Ace, were we ...? Do you remember--"

Ace nods vigorously. "I think that's why I'm here." She starts building another forkful of breakfast, a meticulously constructed tower of food that gives her a little taste of every flavour on the plate. "Though, to be honest, I can't quite recall my motivation any more."

"But that's not right, surely? That you can't even remember why you came here less than half an hour ago. What does it mean, if we can't remember ... No, it's not that we can't remember, is it? It's that we remember too much, all these mutually contradictory possibilities ..."

"Consistency is overrated," Ace says determinedly. "I'm much happier not being dead."

"But what's it all about, Ace?" Mel asks. "Is is something to do with this war of yours?"

"I think so," Ace says. "Or maybe the wars were just another symptom of whatever happened to the universe. Whichever way round, things are different now. Those of us who were around before -- in a very non-linear sense of the word 'before'--"

"You're starting to sound like the Doctor," Mel says. Ace pulls a face in response.

"We're special now, is the thing," Ace says after a while. "The universe hasn't made up its mind about us, maybe can't make up its mind."

"Here's what I really don't understand, though," Mel says. "If there was a war, or a ... crisis, or whatever, why don't I remember anything about it? Why wouldn't I have been involved?"

"Why do you think?" Ace asks her.

Mel speaks slowly at first, feeling out the ideas. "The Doctor ... he'd have tried to protect me. He'd have kept me out of it, even if I could have helped him." She stops, frowning as she puts her thoughts in order. "But I'd have insisted, if I'd known, and surely something so big couldn't have escaped my attention completely." She closes her eyes. Ace carries on eating wordlessly. Eventually, Mel continues. "I joined the Strategical Directorate, helping them to analyse the fluxes of cause and effect as the war impacted on reality. But I must have got out before the final battle. The Doctor -- he sent you to get me to safety. Or maybe he sent you to get me to safety as an excuse to get you out of harm's way; he knew that whatever was coming wasn't survivable, at least not by us humans. Do you remember that happening?"

"I do now," Ace says. She scoops up the last of the baked beans from the plate and shoves them into her mouth. "That's the thing, our pasts and our futures are equally malleable. Wherever, however we're remembered, that's what we are."

"That's horrifying," Mel says. "Our pasts being constantly rewritten, nothing fixed ... It's terrible."

Ace drains her glass of orange juice, wipes her lips with the back of her hand. "The best magic always is."

"But what do we do?"

"I think ... we help each other, remember each other. If that's what you want, of course."

Ace looks away with an unexpected shyness, and Mel reaches out to touch her sleeve. Even through layers of leather and cloth, she can feel the warmth of Ace's skin. "And after that?" Mel says.

Ace turns around, smiles at her again. "I think we can do whatever we want."

* * *

Some time later, the motorcycle leaves again, this time with a passenger clinging tight to the waist of the cyclist.

It speeds to the end of the road, and up the hill into mythology.
Tags: by: ionlylurkhere, doctor who, for: glinda_penguin

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