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[personal profile] outflewtheweb
Title: Ballycumber pt 2
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 3824
Warnings:
Crossover
Disclaimer: Do not own.
Fandom: Young Wizards/Due South
Prompt: I'd very much like a story about Kit and Nita from the Young Wizards as adults. I've always imagined them together as partners in all ways as adults but a story with them as friends works fine too. I really don't have anything more specific but I wouldn't mind a crossover with Due South or Stargate Atlantis.
Notes: [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti fic for [livejournal.com profile] greeniron. This is the fic that just kept going. I haven't written something this long since the bad fantasy novel stage...

 

            The last time she’d had a simple recording of an event play through her sleeping mind, it had signaled a change in her abilities. Reruns before the new season, Dairine had called it. It hadn’t been terrifying at all, just a salutation to the New Year’s sun on Demisiv. After that, she’d started dreaming the dreams of everyone she’d touched during the day. It had been… confusing, at first. Nita was starting to wonder if the Powers were directing her into a more people-oriented field.

            “Think you’re going to develop something else?” Kit asked. Sometimes, Nita wondered if he had a graphing device in his head, with tabs for her life and alerts for similar occurrences. He never seemed to forget anything about her, which was normally quite sweet; sometimes it was annoying that he knew when she was going to get a headache before she did.

            “Probably.” She sat down at the table in the corner, and rested her head in her hands. The refugees were coming in two days, and she had to arrange for lodging, apartment-hunting, urban-living tutorials (okay, that wasn’t so hard – mostly it was just American currency and the use of common Earth machines, since the cities of their planet were fairly similar), and individual contacts for each family. So far, she’d gotten a list of wizards not currently on errantry drawn up, contacted half of them, snagged a powerpoint off the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services website, and translated the rest of the convention website.

            The teakettle hissed. A few moments later, Kit set her favorite mug in front of her, the one with a picture of the Milky Way galaxy on it overlaid by a blueprint of the Crossings. She sniffed. Oh, Powers. Mint and honey. Gilly stumbled in and laid her head on Nita’s knee.

            “You know, I love this job,” she said conversationally. “But sometimes, I’m really, really glad that Seniors are expected to delegate.”

            “Yes,” Kit said feelingly. “The computer hacks alone... I’ve had to ask Dairine to give a couple of the kids a quick tutorial in hacking government databases.”

            Nita laughed and looked up, cradling the hot mug in her hands.

            “She had the most unholy look of glee I have ever seen on her face,” Kit complained. “And then she told me I was doing it wrong, and grabbed Stephen and Allie and hauled them off to go convince the government’s computers to create fake IDs.”

            “As long as they can’t trace their new desktops back to us, I’m good,” she told him seriously before she was laughing too hard to speak. Dairine had, on several occasions, said that the United States government would be much the better off if it were continually reminded of the consequences of turning to the dark side.

            “I can just see the President’s face when he comes into the office in the morning, boots up his computer, and comes face-to-face with a Darth Maul thinking ‘if only I hadn’t turned to the dark side! I could’ve had hair!’” Kit scrunched up his nose thoughtfully. “Premature balding – the curse of the dark side of the Force.”

            “Maybe Darth Vader, with the caption ‘The Dark Side: Free Prosthetics For All Applicants!” Nita offered. “How’re the structural reinforcement spells coming?”

            “Not bad – I’ve got them tied into worry stones, and keyed to the names of each family. Right now, I’m working on an atmosphere-clearing spell.” He looked down at the stack of brochures. Kowalski’s comments were pretty bleak, Nita had to admit. But cheap housing in Chicago, well, it wouldn’t be easy. And as usual, the galactic charities were short on funds. Each family was getting a stipend, but the sooner they became self-sufficient, the better. “I think they’re going to need it.”

            “Yeah – although Fraser seems to think that Ray’s exaggerating.” Nita gulped her tea, and, at her insistence, tugged at Gilly’s ear. “Did you know that Stell is Ray’s ex?”

            “No – how’d you find that out?”

            “Well, we were talking about going to the new show at the planetarium when this clears up in a couple weeks – it’s a brand-new show. And I told her I’d just met up with a policeman with the same last name as her, who was partnered with a Mountie, and she started laughing.” They’d met over a case a few years ago, when Nita had been called in to translate for a prisoner from Western Europe who spoke about five words of English. She’d thought Stella looked lonely, so it seemed like a good idea to talk about the case over coffee, since you couldn’t really share all the nuances of translating in an official recording. They’d run into each other at the planetarium a few weeks later. “Seems like they had a hard time breaking up – they’d been friends since they were kids, and neither could really figure out how to work without the other.”

            “She’s good with Fraser?” Kit asked. Nita grinned. Kit had given up years ago on pretending he wasn’t interested in the lives of their friends and acquaintances. It was practically an affront to the Art, she thought, to turn a blind eye to the lives of others.

            “They didn’t hit it off at first, but she’s married to his best friend, and once his Ray – Stell apparently marries Rays – and Stell stopped dancing around each other, they got along okay.” Nita said. “You know, someday it might be worth it to tell her – I think she’d handle it well.”

            One of the more difficult parts of the Senior package was the ongoing public awareness project. As kids, they’d thought it was inconvenient, really, that no one knew about wizards – as Seniors, they’d realized that far more people knew than they’d thought. Like the psychologist at her high school, Millman, a lot of people had friends or relatives who were wizards and chose to share it. There was an organization of planets like Rirhath, where everyone knew about wizardry, and Earth’s Seniors had been working on having Earth join the alliance for the last hundred years.

            Kit nodded thoughtfully. “This might be a good opportunity, actually – let her know she’s likely to come up against some odd cases.”

            Nita looked at the stack of brochures and leaflets, now tilting haphazardly across the table. It looked back. She sighed. Under the table, Gilly whined and bumped her head against Nita’s knee.

Well, at least it would be entertaining.

 

            Two days later, a ragtag bunch of tired, irritable former Kantha straggled out from under the oak tree and congregated on the back lawn. Nita quietly handed out drinks and snacks, talking with the refugees. Gilly and Sanders trotted sedately among the newcomers, nosing hands and dispensing licks where they felt licks were most needed.

Most of them were young families, whose children were still small enough to absorb the culture of their new home completely. There were a few older people – among others, a lawyer specializing in galactic law, a research chemist, a librarian, a well-known Kantha artist, and an engineer Kit immediately dragged off to the corner.

            Their escort, a tired, rumpled woman with the perfect hair of someone clinging to the remains of her sanity by her fingernails, came over to where Nita was telling the parents where the puptents were.

            “Are you okay here?” she asked, running her fingers distractedly along the chain around her neck. “Only I have to get back and ferry another three groups out.”

            “We’ll be fine, I think.” Nita told her. The woman looked like she had raided an emergency bin for fresh clothes – a worn Wellakhit tunic, Earth jeans, and the foam sandals commonly seen in dollar bins at the end of summer. Without the shadowed eyes and dull skin, she would have looked like a college student making a fashion statement. “Is there anything I can get you before you leave?”

            The woman handed her a stack of folders, marked over with notes, and Nita was suddenly flooded with cold. She shivered.

            “A long hot shower and a night’s sleep would be nice,” the woman said tiredly. “But failing that, a jacket? It’s a little chilly.”

            “Be right out.” Nita hurried into the house, and grabbed a down coat out of the closet, the one with all of the power bars and dried fruit in the pockets. “Here you go. Give it to someone else when you’re done with it, okay?”

            The woman stared at her for a moment, smiled.

            “Will do. Good luck!”

            “Good luck yourself!” Nita called after her as the woman stepped into a gate and vanished from the garden. She sighed, and wrapped her arms around herself, the phantom cold still running in her bones. “Geez, what was that?”

 

            Fraser was pacing. Ray was drawing smiley faces in the crumbs on the table. He’d decided to let Fraser be the nervous one for now. They worked like that one-two punch, one always back when the other was forward.

            “Your dad here?” he asked Fraser eventually, when the rhythmic thud became a little too soothing.

            “No, he said something about doing a little repair work on the cabin, I didn’t ask,” Fraser replied distractedly. Ray watched with interest as he ran a hand through his hair. As usual, it didn’t behave quite like normal hair; it rucked up for a moment, and then settled down again.

            “Hunh. How does a cabin in Perfectville get messed up?” Ray liked messing Fraser’s hair up. Liked messing it up so Fraser had to shower before it’d do that thing again. Like it was doing now. Dief gave him a look, the one that said ‘you are as bad as I am and you don’t even have the excuse of being a dog’. He gave Dief a look right back. He was allowed to think about that if he wanted to! Although possibly Dief was right. It was like Dief and that spaniel down the road – Fraser was just too beautiful to resist.

            “I suspect my father’s conception of perfection may be slightly at odds with that of the majority of the population.” Although Fraser was working it hard enough he might just get it in that state himself, like when he wore his hat and did guard duty in the red suit in summer. And then Ray would spend the whole time they were helping people get moved in all hot and bothered. Which might be fun, really.

Although, he was looking forward to meeting aliens again – ha, take that, all the doubters – and that would be distracting. So it might do to settle Fraser down. There were a few ways to do that. One of them was the hair-messing-up way. That was a good way, the best way. Another was getting all worked up himself, which wasn’t so good, because they had to pass each other on the way and that could get out of hand fast. So. Not such a good way. Besides, they were still sort of getting over that argument of a couple days ago.

There was also the telling a story way. That way worked pretty well. Or the saving-kitteny-gang-members way, which he was trying to break Fraser of, thank you very kindly. Because with Fraser, ‘saving’ meant ‘stepping in front of their gun which Ray swore was loaded and actually sometimes was’. So he said,

“This happen a lot in those Northwest Areas?” And then Fraser was sitting down, with a ‘well, actually, Ray’ and the little crinkle around his eyes that meant Ray was awesome (well, it said cute, but Fraser totally meant awesome, only his words didn’t go like that or something) and he was grateful for the intervention. Ray slurped his coffee and nodded at appropriate times, listening not too carefully but enough that he knew what was going on – it was one of the bad stories, with the freezing and the ice and the cannibalism.

“I guess you haven’t done something like this before, Frase,” he interjected eventually. “Because it’s not so bad, it’s a good thing, not like – not like other stuff, okay?”

Fraser sighed, and pulled on his cuffs. “It’s not that I am, ah, uneasy about the nature of our project.”

“You just don’t know the methodology, right?” Ray grinned at him. Perfectionist. “Frase, if you can arrange a party for the Ice Queen, you’ll have everyone dancing in time in five minutes. Bet you.”

And that was a good look. He knew just what Fraser was thinking.

“What will you bet me?”

Ray leaned back, pretended to think. Rocked the chair onto its back legs. Duh. It wasn’t even a good game, lame-o, rigged pins. But they could play it like it was. Fine by him.

“Well, it could be the dishes. I’m kind of tired of dishes.” Liar, liar. “But I was thinking air. I like air. It’s traditional. Can never have too much of it. Stores easy.”

And then the doorbell rang, and that was the end of the moment, except that Fraser ran a finger along Ray’s mouth as he went to answer the door and oh yeah, bet was on.

Kit and Nita were planning to pick them up, Scotty them (Ray wasn’t entirely sure what this entailed, but he suspected it would be fun, different, and not the sort of thing his colleagues usually got to do) to their house in Evanston, and then have them guide the first group of refugees to the appropriate apartment building by train so the poor bastards could start working out the evils of America’s public transportation. It had to be better on a different planet. Unless it was one of those constants. Death, public transportation, and taxes.

“Ah, hello. Do come in.” Fraser said, holding the door open for the two wizards. “We’ll be just a moment.”

“Have a sit while he gets his boots on, okay?” Ray said, and gestured towards the couch and the chairs at the kitchen table. “I’ll wipe up the crumbs and we’ll be good to go.”

“Sure thing, man.” Kit said, and sat. Nita hovered for a moment – it was kind of weird, like she was trying to pick a spot only there was something else going on in her head besides looking for crumbs. Ray didn’t think she was the type to look too carefully for crumbs, not unless she was wearing real fancy clothes and the jeans she had on looked more familiar with the paintbrush than the makeup brush.

“I took the liberty of going over the contracts with the landlord yesterday – he seemed to have made a few errors in the placement of the commas which changed the meaning quite unconscionably,” Fraser said. He was manfully trying not to gasp as he laced up his boot, which was a tricky thing, because even if you were in good shape – and boy Fraser was in good shape – having your knee in your chest made breathing not the easiest thing in the world. The boots were a major pain.

“You mean he was trying to cheat,” Ray confirmed, industriously clearing the table of crumbs. “Good-naturedly. Just to see.”

He looked at their guests. Kit was grinning, and Nita was – blushing? Hunh. He looked around carefully to see if he’d left anything incriminating out. Nope. Thought about their conversation. Nope. He didn’t think it was them living together, not with what they’d said about their Seniors when they were kids. Maybe the Scotty thing was a workout? Well, the table was clean now. He dumped the rag in the sink and jammed his feet in his shoes. Fraser finished tying his special knots in his laces.

“Shall we? Thank you very much, by the way, for coming to collect us,” he said, standing. “Ah – is there something we should do?”

“Not really, your father kindly filled out both your forms.” Nit said. “I hate forms. So I thought you might appreciate not filling them out.”

“And then we checked to make sure the answers made sense.” Kit grinned. “You can look them over, if you like – it’s a good idea. Wizardry and all.”

“When everyone’s settled, would you mind explaining wizardry in a little more depth?” Fraser inquired. “I would appreciate a greater understanding of the subject.”

Ray read over his form. It seemed good, although he was a little worried about where Bob got some of the answers. “This says who we’re are?”

“In a very specific way, yes.” Nita said, and grinned evilly. “Stats sheet. If we were doing something more complex, your form would weigh a few pounds and take a good few hours to work out.”

Ray shuddered. Like paperwork day at the office. Which Fraser was in charge of, since they were pretending Ray’s handwriting was illegible and his spelling impossible, and okay, it was sort of true, but not completely and he’d survived sterner bosses than Walsh before Fraser and his whiteout came along.

            “Looks fine,” he said. “Fraser?”

            “Everything seems to be in order.” He grabbed Fraser’s hand, and yanked him over for a quick hug. “Ray!”

            “Shut up, you can get the nonexistent dirt out of the carpet later. Let’s go!”

            With a rush of air, they all popped out of existence. At least in that space.

 

            Not that many miles away, Nita watched as Ray, spiky hair abristle with excitement, launched himself in Fraser’s direction and proceeded to poke his arm enthusiastically.

            “Did you see, Fraser, did you see, just whoosh and we were over here, that is so awesome!” Fraser ran a hand over Ray’s hair, and smiled. Nita took a deep breath, and tried not to think about what she’d seen when she touched the table. This new gift was deeply unnerving.

            “It was – a very pleasant experience, Ray.” Nita suspected she was staring, but also suspected that any human being within sight was staring. Fraser’s smile was mesmerizing. Kit tapped her shoulder, and when she turned around to look at him, raised an eyebrow. She wrinkled her nose at him. Gilly and Sanders catapulted themselves out the door in a blur of gold and shadow onto the lawn, making a mad dash for Fraser and Ray.

            “Hey, Cela, Rantelly! Rast, you still packing?” she called into the house. “These girls are Fiddler’s Green and John Constantine, known as Gilly and Sanders.”

            Ray got down in the grass, yanked on Gilly’s ears and rubbed Sanders’ side. She wasn’t surprised that he knew exactly where to pet them; he moved like her mother had, a dancer, used to reading the movements of those around him.

            “They’re lovely,” Fraser said admiringly. “Do you think they’d like Dief? He keeps telling me he’s fine with the company he’s found in the city, but I do wonder sometimes if he longs for the companionship of others of, shall we say, equal familiarity with the peculiarities of humankind.”

            “Probably,” Kit replied, cheerful. “I’ve never met a dog Gilly didn’t like, and from what I saw of Diefenbaker, Sanders would probably be all over him. Okay… are you guys good with the program for the moving? I briefed them on how to use their stones, that shouldn’t be a problem, and you’ve got our number.”

            “I think we’ve got it, dude.” He pretended to duck Fraser’s glare. Kit snickered. Nita shook her head slowly as she thwacked him. Before it could degenerate into a game to see how many different ways they could change the intonation of ‘dude’, the door slammed, and she heard the slide and tiny tear of shoes on grass.

            “We’re just about ready to go – Rast’s daughter wet her diaper a minute ago, so…” Rantelly was the librarian. She was going to go live in the same building as Rast and Cela and their families. Her own daughters were long grown and gone, to other planets and other lives; from what Nita had seen, Cela and Rast had filled their places to some extent.

            “Rantelly, Constable Benton Fraser and his partner, Detective Ray Kowalski.” Kit said, introducing them. “They’re going to take you guys down to your new apartments.”

            “It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am,” Fraser said, shaking her hand and smiling at her. Even among wizards, it was rare to see such sincerity. Rantelly was obviously charmed. “If you have any difficulties with your life in Chicago, please, don’t hesitate to call us.”

            “Yeah, me an’ Frase, we heard what happened. We’ll get you set up alright, okay? Okay.” Ray grinned at Rantelly, and she grinned right back at him. Nita was only slightly jealous – one thing had become clear over the last day and a half, and that was that Rantelly was a brilliant baker no matter where in the universe she might find herself.

            Cela and Rast came out the door, carrying infants, trailed by their partners, who were loaded down with children and toys. Cela’s partner Eari grimaced, and Nita hurried forward to grab his daughter, who was, from her perch on his shoulder, yanking in an apparently painful way on his hair. Nissa, Rast’s partner, smiled brightly at her. It had only been a few weeks since their planet’s death, but they were all obviously tired of living out of suitcases in other people’s homes.

            “May I?” Fraser asked, and she handed him the child. He made a I Am Being Very Serious Yes I Am face down at the girl. “Ah, thank you.”

            The child giggled. Ray, a few yards away, stared in apparent fascination as Fraser proceeded to make one of the silliest faces Nita had ever seen, much to the little girl’s pleasure. Sanders, sitting by Ray’s side, stared right along with him.

            “Her name’s Alyr,” Eari told him. “Thanks.”

            Nita looked at Ray, and then at Kit. Kit nodded, and between the two of them they managed to herd everyone out the door in the direction of the train station before anyone did anything inappropriate in front of impressionable children.

            Some hours later, they stood watching the last of the refugees trail Ray and Fraser to the station. Miraculously, the two looked almost as fresh as they had been that morning – slightly dirtier, but still energetic and cheerful. It was amazing. She was wrecked, and they’d only had to help everyone get out of the house, and fetch Ray and Fraser back when they were done with each group. Her skin felt grimy with the city’s dirt, and a minor headache was quickly building itself into a full-blown one. Kit wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and dropped a kiss on her ear.

            “Now you have to answer that email about translating the other con,” he whispered, laughing evilly. She stung her tongue out at him, cackled right back, and walked into their blessedly empty house to make a cup of tea. Being a senior was work.

Then again, it was also pretty rewarding.
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