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18 August 2009 @ 10:42 pm
Fic: Gain  
Title: Gain
Author: lola_mccrary
Prompt: Crossover, Dr. Who and the Vorkosigans (G)
Word count: 1367
Summary: Cordelia settles into the Tardis with the 9th Doctor.
Disclaimer: The Doctor belongs to the BBC, and Cordelia belongs to Lois.

This is a sequel to the story I wrote last year, which you can read here. This story probably stands on its own, but if you want to know how Cordelia and the Doctor got together, take a look.

This story indulges my desire to explore what happens in the Tardis between adventures, and how a new companion might be welcomed.

Cordelia tucked her legs under her on the settee, and leaned on the armrest. The Doctor had his head back, eyes closed, and stocking feet up on the foot stool of the overstuffed leather chair. His black jacket was tossed on his desk. The door to what she assumed was his bedroom was closed. He still cupped the sifter of brandy, and she heard him sigh.

On the tour of the Tardis, when she had asked where this door led, he briefly replied, “My rooms.” She hadn’t pressed, and so was a little surprised to be sitting here now, a large mug of Irish coffee warming her hands. And wearing these clothes. She ran a hand over the slightly rough fabric covering her legs. After showing her to a bedroom, he had gone away. A while later as she closed the final dresser drawer on her unpacking, she heard his voice at the door behind her. “Have everything you need, Cordelia?” She turned around and he was leaning on the door frame, arms crossed. He had changed into a pair of rather tight trousers of a medium blue color. The snug fit of the pants was offset by the loose, blousy, bright red pullover of a thick cotton fabric. The front of it contained a brightly colored logo that read “TimeCon.” The sleeves were pushed up almost to the elbows. Cordelia looked down at her most informal skirt. “I seem to be slightly overdressed.”

“Easily fixed—come with me.” The Doctor led her a couple of doors down to a large room containing closets and chests. “People leave stuff,” he explained. He looked her up and down, walked over to a closet, and rummaged through the hangers. He pulled off a pair of pants similar to his, and an oversized short sleeved cotton shirt—deep green—with a logo that read, “ConFrancisco.” Tossing them to her he said, “there you go—Tardis-ware. Help yourself to anything else that strikes your fancy.”

There was a roaring fire in his sitting room. He had assured her it was a hologram, but it seemed so real that she could faintly smell wood smoke, enjoyed watching the flames, and felt their heat on her face. She had wandered around the room before settling. Over the fireplace was an oversized reproduction of an Escher print. Across from it was an oil painting of a mobius strip in garish green and orange. Given the interior reality of the Tardis, she was amused by them. The wall behind him was full of shelves of well worn and old looking books. Not a comconsole in sight. The wooden floor was covered with a Persian rug, and the small low table between them contained a large paper periodical with the title, “Life” and the headline, “Why Kennedy went to Texas.” A smaller black and white picture on its cover showed several smiling people in some kind of an open vehicle. Also on the table was a small cube, about three inches square, that was comprised of a mixture of different colored smaller squares. On one side of the cube all the squares were the same color.

Eyes still closed he said, “Fancy some music?”

“Sure.”

By feel he pushed a button on side of the arm of his chair, and male voices with guitars and backing drums filled the room. He glanced at her when he had a drink of his brandy. “About the same vintage as that magazine on the table,” he said, gesturing. “A famous old earth group called “The Beatles.” Not really after the insect, but there lies a story. Maybe we’ll go catch one of their live concerts sometime.”

The music changed...a stringed instrument...guitar? mandolin?...was being picked, then a violin came in with the bow drawn shortly down the strings to create some staccato notes, followed by some amazingly fast fiddle music with other instruments supporting the fiddler. The piece was optimistic and hopeful, with mournful undertones at times. Cordelia closed her eyes and listened. The fiddler was generous—often his work supported the other instruments taking the lead. Parts of it made her want to dance. Opening her eyes she noticed that the doctor’s foot was moving in time to the music. “Who is that?” she asked.

“American chap named Mark O’Connor—20th century, earth. Won international fiddle contests at the age of twelve. This is my favorite. It’s called “Jerusalem’s Ridge.”

“He’s amazing.” They listened some more, and soon a new track started. Some plucked guitar chords, a violin, and a clear female voice, shortly joined by another female backup singer providing lovely harmonies. Quiet, meditative, pretty. Until some of the words jumped out at her:
I was a little bit lost, I was a little bit found,
I was the daughter of joy and of sorrow.
I was the shadow a cloud throws on holy ground,
And I was running full-speed towards tomorrow.
And one day I came to the edge of the world that I’d always known,
Summer was fading like a ghost in the trees;
If I went any further, it would be on my own.
And I wished upon the summertime, before I let it go.
Did I get what I wished for? Only me and the ghosts of the summer need to know...*

A little shaken, Cordelia looked at the doctor. Without noticing her demeanor he said, “invited those two singers to come with me once.” The look on his face was...wry? bemused? embarrassed?

“Well I would think that they would be welcome for the music alone if this piece is any indication. Weren’t they willing to sing for their supper?”

The doctor gave a little laugh, and rubbed a hand over his head. “Well...bit of a problem. They wanted to bring everyone they loved. Including the animals. Said no one would be any trouble. Said they could all help. Pointed out that they both had on sensible shoes. Seemed to think that was important. They talked very fast and finished each other’s sentences. The fair-haired one said something about being a fairy princess with a chainsaw. They mentioned “seeing every episode,” whatever that meant. The ginger-haired one talked about someone called Fishy...”

“Fishy? Interesting name.”

“Her husband, I gathered.”

Cordelia was trying hard not to laugh. “And what did you do with these two would-be heroines?”

“I suggested I should meet their friends, motioned them out of the Tardis ahead of me and locked the door on them. As the Tardis left they were pounding and yelling.” He looked at Cordelia who was now in fact laughing at him. “Funk,” he said. “Pure funk. I occasionally know when I’m in over my head. I went and found a nice, quiet supernova to give me time to recover.”

“Maybe I should send them to Miles’ Dendarii fleet. Eli Quinn would find a way to keep them busy.”

When they stopped talking the play level of the music automatically went back up a little. Cordelia sipped her coffee and thought about the song lyrics...”daughter of joy and of sorrow..” Oh, yes. Was she running full speed towards tomorrow, or simply running? Probably not an answer she had at this moment. What now?

“Where are we?” she asked.

“We’re parked in a little corner of space I found where nothing ever happens. It’s not close to any stars that can blow up, any planets that can squawk for help, nor any space travel lanes, so no one will see us. I come here when I need a bit of a holiday...and any of my old companions would have rolled their eyes and commented that my saying that was sure to cause something to happen almost immediately...Rot that.” He closed his eyes, and relaxed again into his chair.

Cordelia considered. “Do you want to talk about what caused you to need a holiday?”

“Not quite yet, thanks. I simply want to do nothing for a bit. Bored, are you?”

“Not...yet.”

He looked at her. "I like your company Cordelia. Can we just be...companionable?”

Getting up she said, “I’ll get a book.”

Cordelia and the doctor shared the fire, the music, and the peace of not having to explain themselves.

*“Phantoms of Summer” written by Seanan McGuire (link plays the song). Used with permission. Thanks, Seanan.

 
 
Current Location: near Berkeley, CA
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Mark O'Connor
 
 
 
Marcus L. Rowlandffutures on August 19th, 2009 07:36 am (UTC)
Awwwww... nice.
Lolaidancewithlife on August 20th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Thanks!
shimotsuki: vorkosiganshimotsuki on August 19th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Heh. I'm probably the last person left who's never seen an episode of Who (although I do know what the Tardis is!). I like the descriptions of 20-century objects from Cordelia's perspective (smiling people in an open vehicle, ouch).

"I like your company Cordelia. Can we just be...companionable?”

Is he asking what I think he's asking? ;)

Also: Yay for "Jerusalem Ridge"!
Lolaidancewithlife on August 20th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Now, now. The story last year set it up as platonic--at least for now :-)

I adore Mark O'Connor.
shimotsukishimotsuki on August 20th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
No, no! ;) I just meant ... Cordelia as the official Companion. Now that would be interesting.

ETA: Aha! I just went and read the first story, and I see that this is exactly what you meant. Good!

Edited at 2009-08-20 01:12 am (UTC)
capplorcapplor on August 19th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
If he hadn't locked that door
that would have been a REAL TimeCon.
Lolaidancewithlife on August 20th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Re: If he hadn't locked that door
Who says it's locked? :-)
Professorprofessor on August 19th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
OMG that was Seanan and Vixy you were describing in the story! I KNEW IT.
Lolaidancewithlife on August 20th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Yup. Couldn't resist.
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on August 20th, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
...Ha! I wondered if it was her when you mentioned the chainsaw!
Lolaidancewithlife on August 21st, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
And Vixy, too!
filkferengifilkferengi on August 26th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Fun story! You have superlative taste in music.
Lolaidancewithlife on August 27th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
Thank you. I had to resist the impulse to add even more songs to his soundtrack.
filkferengifilkferengi on August 27th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
You could still put together a mixtape & post that.