Crossover: Life on Mars, Buffyverse, Torchwood, Doctor Who. Sam Tyler and Rhys Williams have some unexpected encounters and lots of people learn more than they ever wanted to know about the nature...
Fandom: Buffyverse/Life On Mars/Torchwood/Doctor Who
Genre: Comedy drama, with a side order of crackfic :-)
Characters: Ethan Rayne, Rupert Giles, Sam Tyler, Rhys Williams, Jack Harkness, Tenth Doctor (so far)
Pairings: None (yet)
Summary: Sam and Rhys have some unexpected encounters and lots of people learn more than they ever wanted to know about the nature of reality...
You are tiny. I can see the whole of time and space - every single atom of your existence, and I divide them.
The host commands, and the power obeys. The dalek race no longer exists. It has never existed.
Everything must come to dust... all things. Everything dies.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another. The sum of all energy in a system is constant.
I bring life...
The host commands, and the power obeys. But it is not enough. One life cannot restore the balance. Where there has been destruction, there must be creation: a new world, a new history, to replace that which has been erased.
I can see everything. All that is... all that was... all that ever could be.
But the host is fading, and cannot communicate the vision. The power must create, so it searches for itself. There are no more commands, but there are blueprints. A new world. The power flares, and a new history now exists. It has always existed.
Bilis Manger looks up from the accounting spreadsheet he's been working on. Nothing seems amiss in the little office, but he isn't fooled; appearances mean very little. He turns his attention back to the computer and flicks to another spreadsheet; this one listing the dates of prophecies, festivals, scheduled reincarnations and known interdimensional confluences. Today's date is conspicuously blank.
'Interesting,' he says, and turns his attention outward. He closes his eyes, spreads his fingers out wide and goes searching.
What he finds is a surprise, and it's been a very, very long time since Bilis has experienced that particular sensation.
He'll need to do some research to master the fine details, but he has enough background to be going on with. The extrapolation is so creative, so perfectly aligned, that he claps his hands with the sheer beauty of it.
He finds what he's looking for, because he always does. 'Hello', he says, 'would you like some assistance?'
There is shock, and joy, and a flaring of hope. Who are you? Is that--is that Janus?
'That's as good a name as any. What is it you want?' He listens, and nods. 'That can be done, and I can tell you how.'
The jubilation fades. I don't have that kind of power.
'No. But I know a suitable source. Trust me. I will show you where to look.'
Bilis smiles. This is going to be so much fun.
Monday morning is never good to start with. First shift on Monday morning is shitty. First shift on Monday morning on guard duty is really shitty. First shift on Monday morning on guard duty outside cell #687-b is as shitty as it gets. When he signed up with the Initiative, Josh expected missions: cool and interesting and maybe a little dangerous. He expected to have some fun. What he didn't expect was to be stuck outside these goddamn glass boxes for hours on end, counting his own nose hairs to stop going mad through boredom. How come he always gets this old freak, anyhow? The guys on the demon rows sometimes have to step in and enforce a little calm, and the guys with vampires at least get to have arguments. But Mr #687-b doesn't fight, he doesn't talk, he's never even so much as curled his lip in Josh's direction. All he does, day and night, is sit on the bed with his legs crossed and his eyes closed. He doesn't even levitate or anything. He's boring.
Josh walks up to the cell, his feet dragging ever slower the closer he gets, to where Pete Wricken is waiting to hand over. Old Pete is about three weeks from retiring and four from croaking, and he only gets light duties. He saw some action in his day, though, so he don't mind taking it easy. He's one of the lucky ones. The only action Josh has seen so far was on his training video. He gives Pete a half-hearted nod and steps up. 'Hey, Pete. Anything go down that I should know about?'
Pete shakes his head. 'Naw. He's been quiet as a lamb, as always.'
Josh frowns. There's codes they really ought to be using, environment green or somesuch, but it changes every few days and there really don't seem to be much point. It's not like anyone's listening.
He looks at the occupant of the cell. Maybe he is listening after all. Maybe it's all a big act, to put them off the scent while he hatches some evil master plan.
Yeah, right. Josh waves Pete off and taps on the glass. 'Hey, you,' he says. 'Ethan Rayne. You still alive in there? You up to no good?'
He doesn't expect a response, and it shocks him more than he'll ever later admit when Rayne's head turns to face him. He gives Josh a slow, beatific smile and then his eyes roll up in his head and his body flops backwards on the cot like all the bones got taken out of him. Josh gapes for a second, blinking fast, but when the scene before him stays real he gropes for the emergency alarm.
It seemed like Rayne had said something right before he collapsed--his lips had moved, definitely--but the CCTV sound isn't that sensitive and when they run the tape they can't make it out. Josh didn't hear it properly either, but the bigwigs say they want his best guess and so he tries to give them just that. He doesn't go with what he actually first thought it was, because that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He finally decides it must have been 'set me free'. They don't know what happened, but Rayne's in a coma that the docs don't hold much hope of him coming out of, and that sounds a lot more fitting for somebody's official last words. It must have been right, anyway--Rayne hadn't spoken a single word for three years or so, why the hell would he break that silence to say 'seventy three'? There's no sense in that at all.
Sam thumps his fist into the dashboard, but it doesn't help. It hurts, but not enough. Maya's face still overlays everything in front of his eyes, like a half-seen ghost.
Bad word choice.
Looks like he can't get anything right lately, doesn't it? Can't satisfy her, can't inspire her, can't save her.
Can't save anybody. Maybe not even himself. Maybe especially not himself.
Sam stops the car. He can't see properly, and that makes him a danger on the road. He needs to stop, take a few minutes and get himself together. He's no good to anybody like this.
He takes a deep breath and gets out, leaning against the side window. There's a roaring sound that he doesn't quite have time to identify as another car, and then nothing.
Except a voice, so faint and wee, that says something like this is going to be fun.
First it was not. Now it is, and always has been.
It is sentient, but not sane.
It thinks that is how it should be.
It is white. Clean, untouched. A blank slate. It could travel, it could rule. Or it could play. It decides for itself, now.
A cat becomes a child again. An empty room gains a television, and a floppy clown doll.
All the better to have fun with.
When he kisses her, he feels it. As she changes from goddess back to just his sweet, brave Rose, he realises what's happened. The time vortex slides and he sees it, in all its vast unimaginable glory. He's torn between horror--because really, some of that stuff was a seriously bad idea--and awe, because as jaded as he is you can't be a witness to Creation and not be just the tiniest bit impressed. In the end he laughs, because it's Rose, and only she could do something like this. He holds her close, because for now that's all he wants--just to feel her in his arms and be thankful that however crazy it was, it worked--although he knows he'll have to deal with it at some point.
But then he dies, and that kind of takes his mind off it for a while.
The car smells of smoke, stale beer and greasy burgers. Sam winds down the window on the pretence of getting a better look outside. 'So who are these guys we're watching, Guv?'
'Londoners,' Gene says, and the word might just as well have been /lepers. /'Poofters at that--and don't, Sammy boy, be giving me any more of that homophobia guff. I call it like I see it, and what I see here is a bunch of poofters.'
'You can't just make snap judgements on the basis of what someone looks like.'
Gene lifts his hand, slaps it against Sam's shoulder and points out the window towards the group walking down the street. 'See him, there, in front? Unless I am very much mistaken, that is a feather boa he's wearing. A pink one. And do I see eyeliner? I think I do. Ergo, poofters. That's not a snap judgement, it's a lesson in the art of visual observation.'
Chris leans forward from the back seat. 'One of 'em's a woman, Guv.'
Gene turns round and glares at him. 'Bunch of poofters and a skirt, then. Satisfied?'
Chris nods happily. 'Due care and attention has been paid to the facts of the situation. Yes, Guv.'
Gene rolls his eyes and Sam rubs his chin in order to hide his smile.
'You,' Gene says, 'are a bad influence on my officers.'
'Right, Guv. Because we don't want little things like facts getting in our way now, do we?'
'And you're a smartarse. Anybody ever tell you that, DI Tyler?'
Sam shrugs. 'It might have been mentioned in passing.'
Gene straightens up. 'And speaking of passing, so are our boys. And bird,' he adds over his shoulder to Chris. 'So I think it's about time we went and had a nice little chat about exactly what kind of commerce has just been transacted in Catweazle Clarke's front room. Shall we, ladies?'
He opens the car door without waiting for a reply and strides across the road, leaving Chris and Sam to scurry after him.
The group they've targeted isn't paying them any attention. 'I can't believe you made us come all the way down to this godforsaken hole,' one of the men is saying in a voice that sounds like it would be cultured if it hadn't been roughened with cigarettes and an East London accent that seems like it's being tried on for size. 'I could have got all of that from Kieran and it would've cost less than we've just spent on petrol.'
'Godforsaken hole,' Gene says, turning back towards Sam. 'Did you hear that? Bloody tourists, they've got no respect.'
The suspects slow down, eyeing the three of them warily. Five men and a woman, all barely out of their teens by the look of it.
'Oh, I don't know,' says the one with the feather boa. 'I find the place rather quaint.' He's thin--no, lean would be a better word--and holds himself with a dancer's poise. He stops, flips the boa over his shoulder and lights a cigarette, eyeing Sam, Gene and Chris with blatant amusement.
'Ethan Rayne,' he says, holding out a hand. Sam notices that the nails are manicured and the sleeve of his shirt is rolled up to show a weird looking tattoo on his inner forearm. 'And to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?'
Gene's eyes narrow and he ignores the hand. 'You might come to reconsider whether it's a pleasure, sonny Jim, but you are addressing Gene Hunt. DCI Gene Hunt, which effectively makes me the Sheriff of this particular godforsaken hole.'
'The police,' Ethan murmurs. 'How exciting. Tell me, Sheriff Hunt--are they true, all these delicious rumours I hear about police brutality?'
Gene gives him a ferocious grin and takes a step forward. 'Play your cards right, and you might just find out. Chris, get on the radio, get the van out here. I think we'll be treating Mr Rayne and his pals to a tour of the station. We can demonstrate our hospitality with a nice cup of tea and a few Garibaldis - and you can demonstrate yours with whatever illicit substances you picked up from our dear friend Catweazle. Deal?'
The others trade nervous glances, but Ethan just smiles and holds out his hands, wrists together. 'Better get extra restraints, Chris. I might not be able to control myself under the influence of all this testosterone.'
Chris flushes, runs back to the car and busies himself with the radio. Ethan drops his hands back to his sides and continues to smile. 'I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Our friend Mr Clake isn't quite in the same league as his namesake. You know Catweazle was a wizard, Sheriff? And a time traveller. Rather a fascinating story.'
'I'm sure. Be a good lad and save it 'til bedtime. Chris! Where's that bloody van?'
'On its way, Guv.'
The one who'd made the 'godforsaken hole' crack steps forward. He's darker haired, about the same height as Ethan but more solid-looking. More physical. There's something about him that seems vaguely familiar, but Sam can't place it. 'What exactly are we under arrest for?' he asks.
Gene looks him up and down. 'Wearing make-up in a built-up area. That do you to be going on with? I'm sure we can add to it if we need to.'
'Yeah, well, that's where you're going wrong, son. Try less thinking and a bit more shutting up and doing what you're told.'
Ethan gives a blissful sigh. 'The alpha dom in its natural habitat. It's an honour to watch you work, Sheriff.'
Gene points a finger in his face. 'And /you/ are starting to get on my last nerve. You'll have the honour of watching my fist do some work if you don't pack it in.'
Ethan mimes pulling a zip across his lips, and lounges back against the wall. His eyes meet Sam's, and a thoughtful look comes over his face. He straightens up again, then leans forward a little and breathes in deeply.
'Well,' he says. 'What do we have here, hmm? I smell interference, I smell dislocation, I smell the hand of chaos. I smell /magic.'/
Gene snorts. 'Nah, I think you'll find that's just stale Brut and yesterday's chips.'
Sam gives Gene a baleful look. 'Yeah, well,' he mutters under his breath. 'You can't exactly get Calvin Klein around here.'
Ethan's gaze intensifies and he purses his lips. After a minute or so he turns to the others lined up along the wall with him. 'You know,' he says conversationally, 'it occurs to me that there are three of them and six of us.'
Gene turns back to face them and folds his arms. 'Oh, so you fancy your chances, do you?'
Ethan grins. 'With you, Sheriff? Always.' He looks at the others. 'Run!'
There's a moment of confusion and then they all take off, leaving Sam, Gene and Chris looking at each other. Gene shakes his head. 'Kids these days. 'No respect for the law. Well, what are you waiting for? Get after them!'
Sam runs, finding himself on Ethan's heels in a matter of seconds. Immediately, Ethan turns and puts his hands in the air. 'Oh dear, looks like you got me.' He grins, lowers his hands and brushes a non-existent speck off the shoulder of his velvet jacket. 'I never run anywhere if I can help it. Sweat is so unattractive unless you're naked.'
Sam coughs. 'Er, yeah. Right.'
'Ethan! For heaven's sake, come on!'
They both look up to see the dark-haired man hovering a few yards away, while the others are already disappearing into the distance. Chris doubles back, obviously having given up on catching them. 'It's all right, Sam,' he yells. 'I've got him.'
Ethan sighs, pulls the feather boa from around his neck and flicks it out towards Chris. It tangles around his legs and he trips, ending up sprawled in a heap on the pavement.
'Go on then,' Ethan says. 'Get out of here.'
The other man hesitates, looking from Ethan to Sam. 'Ah, Ripper,' Ethan says. 'Loyalty always was your weak point, hmm? Go on now, /go./'
Sam starts to move forward, and finally he turns and hares off. Sam shrugs, grabs Ethan, spins him around and snaps on the cuffs.
'Don't worry,' Ethan says. 'I'll come quietly.'
Sam raises his eyebrows. 'Why do I have trouble believing that?'
Ethan grins. 'Obviously because we've already bonded. You really are such a sweet boy.'
Sam tugs him along, back towards a pissed-off-looking Gene. 'I don't think you get to call me any kind of boy, mate. I've got at least fifteen years on you.'
Ethan gives a low chuckle. 'Don't be so sure. I look good for my age. Very, very good. Even if I do say so myself.' He slows his pace as they got nearer to Gene. 'How old do you think I am, Sam?'
'It's DI Tyler. And I don't really care. You're over eighteen, and that's all that matters.'
'Is it? I wonder. I think maybe you're a lot more interested in age, and time, than perhaps you let on.'
'What's that supposed to mean?'
'I think you know exactly what it means. Come now, don't be coy.'
Ethan drags his feet even more, but Sam doesn't hurry him up. Instead he stops walking and steps up close. 'What are you talking about?'
'How old are you, Sam? I don't mean physically,'-- he looks Sam up and down--'anyone can see you're a man in his prime--but you. How old is what's inside?'
'All right, I've had enough of this. If you've got something sensible to say then get on with it. Otherwise you can shut the fuck up until we're ready to take your statement.'
Ethan looks unruffled. 'What would you say if I told you my body was 21 but my mind was 55?'
Sam laughs. 'I'd tell you to stop smoking whatever you were buying from Catweazle Clarke. Just say no, mate. Trust me.'
Sam tries to start dragging Ethan forward again, but he resists. He's putting some actual effort into it this time.
'Look, get moving. This'll go better for you if--'
'Just say no,' Ethan says in a musing tone. 'What wonderful advice. That would make an excellent anti-drug advertising campaign, don't you think? I can see posters, TV ads, storylines in children's programmes, maybe even--yes, I think a pop song. Did you come up with such a catchy little slogan all on your own, Sam? I'm not sure you did. I think maybe you had help, hmm?' His eyes search Sam's. 'Dear old Grange Hill. They don't make them like that any more, do they?'
Sam stops pulling, but keeps hold of Ethan's arm. He grips it tighter. 'I've asked you this before and I want a proper answer this time. What are you talking about?'
Ethan looks down at Sam's hand until he releases the pressure a little, then smiles. 'I think you know exactly what I'm talking about, Mr I-wish-I-could-get-Calvin-Klein-aftershave. But, okay, you want a proper answer. I can do that. I'm talking about the manipulation of temporal energy to facilitate the transference of consciousness. Or, to use less formal terms, time travel.'
Sam just stares, his breath solidifying in his throat.
'Tyler! Are you bringing that suspect in, or cuddling with him?'
Sam shakes himself. 'Uh, yeah, sorry, Guv.'
'Get a move on, then. The van's here, get him inside. I'm not having this one get away.'
'It's quite all right,' Ethan says, still looking at Sam. 'I'm not intending to go anywhere. Things are just getting interesting.'
Gene looks disgusted--even more so than the time he sat on Chris's half-eaten prawn sandwich. 'Are you taking the piss? Herbs? Herbs? That's it, that's all we got? No drugs? Not even a fucking couple of aspirin?'
Ray shrugs. 'Sorry, Guv.'
'Jesus. And there's no outstanding warrants? He's not wanted for, you know, mass murder or anything?'
'No, Guv. He's as clean as a nun's knickers.'
'Fuck it. All right, turf the little bastard out, then. Him and his feather boa. Get him out of my nick.'
Sam waits a discreet five minutes after Ray leaves before following. He finds Phyllis handing Ethan back his possessions, including the offending boa, while Ray leans against the wall and watches with his arms folded. Ethan looks up as Sam appears. 'DI Tyler. What a pleasant surprise. Come to wave me goodbye, have you?'
Sam scratches his ear. 'Where are you staying?' He sneaks a look at Ray, but succeeds in not quite making eye contact. 'In case we need you for, uh, further questioning..'
Ethan wraps the boa around his neck and smoothes it down. 'Well, I had originally been planning to return to London tonight but since you chased away my associates I'm not sure that's going to be an option now. Do you perhaps know of somewhere I could stay the night, Inspector? If so, we could continue our previous fascinating conversation. I'll even allow you to buy me a drink.'
Sam shifts his weight from foot to foot. 'If you're really stuck... I have a--a couch...you could...' he trails off and glances at Ray, whose responding look of disgust is good, if not quite up to Gene's level.
'Christ. You got a real thing about picking up the lowlife waifs and strays, haven't you, Tyler?' He pushes off from the wall and turns his back on both of them. 'Just try not to let this one handcuff you to the bed, eh?'
'Yeah. Funny.' Sam points at Ethan, who's raised his eyebrows so far they're almost in his hairline. 'You. Not a word. Come on.'
He can't face explaining Ethan to Nelson so in the end they just end up hitting an off licence on the way back to his flat. When they get inside, Ethan looks around with an expression that beats both Ray and Gene combined. 'Nice digs.'
Sam cracks open the Scotch and pours a generous measure into two of the least chipped mugs in his collection. 'Yeah, well, I didn't exactly get to pick out of a brochure, you know?'
Ethan settles himself cross-legged on the bed and holds out a hand to take the mug Sam offers. 'Why not? It seemed to me that the selection process was quite precise.'
Sam perches on the edge of the armchair and takes a long swallow from his own mug. 'What do you mean?'
'Are you going to play dumb again? I thought we'd moved past that.'
'Humour me, okay? Pretend I am dumb. Pretend I need all this explained to me in words of one syllable.'
One corner of Ethan's mouth quirks up. 'Tough assignment, but I'll try my best.' He sips his Scotch. 'Can we start with the stipulation that neither of us are native to this time, or do we have to dance around it some more?'
Sam takes a deep breath and nods. 'We can start there. So--if you're not native, as you put it, then where are you from?.'
'Let's just say that I was in a rather... restrictive establishment. To remove myself physically had proved to be rather a problem, so I was forced to look for other methods of liberation.'
'You were in prison?'
'It lacks a certain poetry when you put like that, but yes, that's essentially correct.'
'Geographically, somewhere in Nevada. Chronologically, 2006.'
'And so you time travelled to the past. To here.'
'My consciousness did. My body is still back there, but--' he shrugs, and runs a hand down the front of his chest. 'I can make much better use of this one. This was a good time for me. Much more fun. And who hasn't thought about what they'd do if they could life their life over? Although there are some things--' he breaks off and grins, raising the mug to Sam. 'Some /people /I fully intend to do all over again, there are also some experiences that, with the benefit of instant hindsight, don't seem such a good idea.' He rubs at the tattoo on his forearm, then leans back on one elbow. 'And now it's your turn, Detective Inspector Tyler. Why are you here? And how? I'd rather like to compare notes on that.'
Sam gives a brief snort of laughter. 'I'd like nothing better, but I haven't got a clue. It was 2006 for me, too. I had a car accident, and I woke up here. I think my body is--well, I think I'm in hospital, in a coma. I hear things sometimes, things from back then. I don't know how, or why. I wish I did.'
Ethan sits up again. 'You mean--this wasn't deliberate? You didn't perform a ritual, invoke any gods?'
'No, I didn't. Definitely not.'
'And you didn't make any wishes to any solicitous young ladies with unusual pendant necklaces?'
'What? No. I didn't do anything. I just got hit by a car.'
Ethan purses his lips. 'So rather than being a dark mage bent on causing havoc to the timeline, you're just an innocent bystander?'
Sam nods slowly. 'Yes, I suppose I am.'
'How very disappointing.' Ethan drains his mug and holds it out for more. Sam eyes it for a few seconds, then shrugs and refills them both. As he leans over the bed, he grabs Ethan's shoulder and squeezes it hard. It earns him another of those raised-eyebrow looks.
'Sorry. I just--I wanted to make sure you were real. That I'm not imagining this. I thought--for a long time, I wondered if I wasn't just going crazy.'
'Poor lamb. No, I can assure you it's all quite real. This and many other things besides.'
Sam let's out a long, slow breath. 'You don't know how long I've waited to hear someone say that. Okay, so how do I get back?'
'To 2006. How do you reverse it? The--invocation, or whatever?'
Ethan gives him a look that seems to hold genuine sympathy. 'Sorry, dear boy, but this was a one-way ticket only. There's no going back.'
Sam shakes his head. 'No. No, I can't believe that. I can't accept that. There has to be a way. Anything that can be done, can be undone.'
'In my experience, I'm afraid that's not often the case at all. I'm sorry, Sam, but you're stuck here. We both are.' He puts the mug down on the floor and lies back flat on the bed, his hands tucked behind his head. 'So we might as well start making the most of it, wouldn't you say?'