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[personal profile] fic_of_fork
Word Count: 1746
Summary:  Chrono-tourism, a pair of alien con artists, and the US-USSR hockey game at the 1980 Olympics: just another day in the life of Margaret and Ada, as they race to correct a changed time line.
Warnings: None specific for this chapter
Rating:  Teen
Characters: Martha Jones, OCs (Margaret, Ada)
Genre:  AU, gen
Author's Note:  This story was written for the 2011 who_like_giants ficathon, and as such features two characters of mine, namely Margaret and Ada.  It takes place in an alternate universe, where the Time Lords weren't all wiped out.  Chronologically, it takes place after Season 3.  Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lindenharp , [livejournal.com profile] persiflage_1 , and [livejournal.com profile] zurcherart for the betas!
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, Torchwood, Bernice Summerfield, or any of its characters, and I'm receiving no profit from this beyond the joy of writing.


He was getting old.  He knew this in his bones, especially in the way it took longer to get out of bed in the mornings, and subtle and not-so-subtle twinges every time the weather changed.  The man looked across the busy street in Brooklyn toward the small complex of buildings:  an old brick house that was the mostly-empty priory, a squat Gothic church, and a more modern building behind it that was the parish hall.  Still stiff from the flight, he goaded himself into motion, walking closer and waiting for traffic to clear so he could cross the street.

Jogging across the street, he noticed that the priory was nearly dark, except for a light on in a far room upstairs.  As he crossed the road and approached the house, he felt his skin prickle.  Before he could ascend the stairs and ring the front doorbell, a shadow moved.  Cast from the moonlight and streetlights, it moved again as he realized there was a woman standing underneath a tree in the front yard.  She had a kind of unearthly grace about her as she glided toward him.  The woman wore elaborate silk robes and a gown that nearly covered her feet.  He wasn’t sure about the color, but they seemed to be a kind of purple in the glow from the streetlights.  But what drew his attention was the large, high-backed collar she wore.  A wisp of curly hair sprang from the tight braid she wore.  Seeing her closer, he saw that her robes were embroidered with a complicated web that sparkled in the dim light.  She wielded a presence, a kind of aura, of both ancient knowledge and raw power.  As she intercepted him, the back of his mind wanted to recognize her.  He had the most uncanny feeling that they had met before.  She grinned broadly at him.

“You’re early,” she said.

“I’m meeting someone,” he said. 

“I said to meet at eight.  You’re way early.”

“My flight got in early,” he confessed.

“No matter.  You came as promised.  I wasn’t sure you would.”

“There’s got to be some mistake,” he said.  “I’m meeting someone else.  Her name’s Maggie, Margaret Stackler.” 

The woman grinned at him.

“No way,” he said, laughing.  “You’ve changed.”

“Three times so far.  And you can talk,” Margaret said.

“Yeah, age has a way of creeping up on a person.”

She led him away from the priory and down an alley.  Finally she stopped before a door and pulled out a key that shone with its own silver light.  Unlocking the door, she pushed it open and stepped aside so he could go through.  He found himself in a gleaming white room that had large circular roundels lining the walls.  In the center of the room was a six-sided console with a glowing column in the center.  His eyes bulged in wonder.  What he’d seen thirty years ago wasn’t a dream.

“You’re…”

Margaret smiled.  “Yep.  I’m a Time Lord now,” she admitted.  “Well, the real term for it is gender-neutral.  It loses a bunch in translation.”

“Where are you taking me?”  Machines began to purr, and as Margaret flipped a few switches, the column began to move. 

“Some place more comfortable.  You know, where we can actually sit down, have a cup of something, and talk.  I promised I’d tell you the full story.”

They lapsed into an easy silence, and he took a few steps closer to the console.  Strange writing that looked like something between clock gears and cobwebs sprawled across displays.  He wondered if it were readouts from various instruments and other flight data. 

“I wanted you for the program I coach,” he said, breaking the silence.  Margaret perked up from her vigil beside one side of the console opposite him.  “I didn’t know if it would mess things up.  I mean, you and your friend went to all that work to make things right.”

“Good call,” Margaret said with a big smile. 

“Do you still play?”  he asked.

“When I’ve time.  I didn’t in the last regeneration, but in this body, I couldn’t wait to get back on the ice.”

“It never leaves you, does it?” he asked.

Something on the console pinged.  Margaret twirled around the console, flicking switches and flipping levers.  Finally, the doors opened once more.  Peeking outside, he saw hundreds of gray boxes lined up.  Margaret motioned for him to exit, and he stood in the vast space.  Row upon row of identical gray boxes were crammed into the room.  He wasn’t sure if it was a parking lot or a warehouse.  A door on her gray box slid closed, concealing the console from view.

“You’re going to need your coat,” she said as she walked along one lane of gray boxes.  “It’s winter here.”

She led him through the maze of space between parked boxes until they reached a large pair of doors that slid open at her approach.  The two guards—in red and gold enameled armor—snapped to attention as she passed. 

He followed Margaret out of the building and into the vast expanse of a city.  Standing on the steps of the building, he stood slack-jawed in wonder and a little bit of fear as he tried to take in the alien landscape around him.  Buildings that looked as if they were grown out of stone rose up all around him against a bright orange sky.  Twin suns reflected against the shattered remains of a great glass dome, and beyond the glass were the biggest snow-capped mountains he’d ever seen.  A twinkling noise distracted him.  Tearing his gaze away from the sky and buildings he realized the tinkling things in front of them were trees with silver leaves.  As the wind moved through them, the leaves clattered against each other and sparkled.  Combined with the thick blanket of snow that covered everything but the cleared paths, it felt as if he were suddenly transported into a fairy tale.

“Coming?”  Margaret yelled back to him, as she waited for him to catch up with her. 

He tore himself away from the landscape and jogged after her.  She turned a corner, led him through a few other side streets until they came to a wide courtyard before another complex of buildings.  He could hear familiar sounds of wood hitting against something hard and the whistle of skates against ice.  He perked up when he heard familiar sounds in such a strange environment. 

It was quite simply the worst hockey he had ever seen in his life.  The two teams—one in scarlet and orange jerseys, and the other in a purplish color that matched the robes Margaret wore—could barely skate, much less actually handle the puck and skate at the same time.  But somehow they managed to play, and their passion kept him from completely despairing over how they butchered the sport. 

“Offsides!”  a woman in white yelled at the referee.  “Are you blind?”

“No they weren’t,” Margaret said, as they came up to her.  “That was icing.”

“Well it was one of those things,” she said.  He recognized her as Margaret’s friend, Ada, who pulled him into a side hug.

“He showed up!  You used the phase shift, yeah?  For the gods’ sakes, tell me that you did.”

“Hell yeah.  You know what kind of chaos it would’ve unleashed, if the Doctor knew I was there. Or the others, for that matter.”

A commotion from the crowd interrupted them, as they turned their attention to the game.  The right winger in purple actually managed to get a pass from the center, and she valiantly tried to snap a quick wrist shot into the scarlet team’s goal before falling backwards, as she lost her balance in the aftershock of the shot.  The puck barely crossed into the crease, but the goalie moved to intercept it.  Instead of batting it away, he fell and scooted the puck past the line with his behind.  A cheer erupted from both the spectators in purple and from another group in green.  The other purple-clad players piled onto the right winger.  He didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was really the goalie of the opposing team who won the game for them.

“The Patrexeans were tied with the Prydonians,” Ada explained.

“Every year after the year I first made a rink on the coldest, darkest month of the year, the students turn the courtyard into a rink and play each other,” Margaret explained for his benefit.

“And we—the Patrexeans—have won every year since,” Ada bragged.

“Yeah, but…an own goal?”  he wondered.  He couldn’t help but be embarrassed for the Prydonian goalie.

“It’s not the first time the goalie’s won the game like that.  What about the 2008 Stanley Cup games?”  Margaret countered. 

Margaret and Ada led him across the courtyard and a few other gardens that seemed to be more chaos than order.  At first they appeared horribly overgrown underneath the blanket of snow, but then he realized that overgrown and tangled was the aesthetic.  Plants had deliberately been tended to grow and then die in seemingly random patterns, and once he realized it, he began to see bigger patterns emerge.  Finally they came upon a building that was almost lost in the tangle.  More guards in dress uniforms stood at attention as they passed.  Margaret led him around a big spiral path that diverged a few times and finally came out in front of an office.  The door slid open at Margaret’s approach, and he followed her and Ada inside.  Inside was crammed with hockey posters and other memorabilia, but what grabbed his attention was a red, white, and blue jersey hanging up on the wall. 

“You’ve still got Craig’s jersey?”  he asked.

Margaret motioned for him to sit.  “You kidding me?  If there were a fire, I’d grab that before my formal robes.  Although as hot as the collar can be, it’s not much of a choice.”

“Spare me,” Ada retorted.  “Do you have any idea how much the Sash of Rassilon weighs?”

“Speaking of which, Madame President,” Margaret said, “do you want to get the story started while I get this collar off?  The first part is your story, anyway.”

Date: 2011-08-03 07:59 pm (UTC)
ext_3965: (Gallifrey)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
Poor bloke! It's never easy when 'amateurs' practically ruin something you love...

Date: 2011-08-03 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garpu.livejournal.com
Yeah, but they're giving it 110% and having fun. That makes up for an own goal or two. :)

Date: 2011-08-04 05:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garpu.livejournal.com
I was reading "Boys of Winter" tonight (research), and there was an interview with the character...he said he likes coaching women, because they're playing for the same reasons they did--for a love of the game, not for money. So I think he'd be down with badly played hockey on alien worlds.

Date: 2011-08-04 05:29 am (UTC)
ext_3965: (Romana II as Four)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
That's good.

Date: 2011-08-05 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] papilio-luna.livejournal.com
Sorry I'm a bit behind in ficathon reading! Anyway, thanks so much for participating and being so conscientious about staying in communication vis-a-vis your posting date. I really appreciate that, as a mod.

I like your OCs, they're spunky! And I kind of adore the hockey (even though I'm not a fan myself, except, er, Go Penguins?). I think this is relevant to the interests of some of my Canadian fandom friends!

Date: 2011-08-05 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fic-of-fork.livejournal.com
Thanks! Maggie and Ada are fun to write, and they play off of each other well. And thanks for accommodating my weird schedule!

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