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Title: Ballycumber pt 1
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 3550
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... it's long enough that it has to go in two posts! I am, er, excited about this. Ahem. Also, Ballycumber, as defined by Douglas Adams, is 'one of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed'.
Part Two can be found HERE

 

            It was raining. It was, in fact, often raining. Rain is the natural result of living near a lake, and this town, like many others, was not exempt from the weather. It washed down the asphalt streets, hissed from trees and rang from gutters and the various discarded objects commonly found in suburban neighborhoods. Apart from a few unhappy-looking students splashing umbrella-less down the sidewalk, the streets were empty. No one was stirring, not even those who might - in the right circumstances, if it would go unnoticed - have no problem at all with the rain. Everything seemed frozen by the rain, transformed into a painting.

            It is generally recognized that such a circumstance generally indicates that life will soon become much more exciting.

In a white wooden faculty house approximately seven minutes’ walk from the university’s gate, Nita looked up from the computer as Kit started to remove his rain gear. She couldn’t see him yet, since that would require looking through both the door to her office and the kitchen wall, but the thud of boots falling to the floor and the creak of the closet door were sufficient indicators of his presence.

            “Still raining out there?” she called. The green curtains over the window in her office were very thick. She hadn’t looked outside since eating her peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich over the sink at lunch. The translation of Gallifrey One’s webpage into Gilrth was – well, going slowly was putting it mildly. She still wasn’t sure how one would go about translating the word ‘crossplay’ into the language of a society that lacked socially-recognized genders and certainly had no gender-identifying clothing. Also, thinking about Children of Earth still made her want to cry or kick someone, so she was avoiding working on that panel.

            “Buckets!” he yelled back cheerfully. “Hopefully the kids’ reports stayed dry.”

            “Like you would cry a river of tears over that.” Having to grade undergraduate papers was one of the many reasons Nita’d left the academic world after college – today was not one of the days she had to tell herself she didn’t actually want to spend her non-wizarding time arguing with her colleagues. She stood up and stretched, kicking her chair back under the desk. Enough for today. Opening the door and walking into the kitchen, she saw Kit standing by the sink, a glass of milk in his hand. “How was class today?”

            “Nobody got blown up or electrocuted while pretending to listen to me. Disappointing.” He grinned and gulped his milk. Nita, who knew for a fact that his lectures were the most attended in the Engineering department at Northwest, snorted. “What do you want for dinner?”

            “Hadn’t thought about it.”

            Kit eyed her.

            “Vegetables.” He decided. “You had a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for lunch today, didn’t you?”

            “I like them!” Nita protested. “I had a banana, too.”

            “Speaking of, did you hear from your sister today?” Kit rinsed out his glass and put it in the drainer, then rooted under the sink for the dog food. “

            “Yeah, she’s still trying to convince Roshaun to put in bananas on Wellakh. He seems to think that there’s no need for a whole plantation.” Nita opened the refrigerator and eyed the contents mournfully. Now that she’d finally stopped staring at the screen, her stomach had decided it was high time to remind her that it really was quite fond of food. The contents stubbornly failed to turn into a meal. She heard the rattle of dog food poured into the bowls. “What about working out something with a restaurant’s refrigerator?”

            “Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. And you like cooking, you know you do.” Kit wandered over and stood behind her shoulder, thoughtfully considering the depths of the refrigerator. “One of these days she’s going to convince him to watch Doctor Who, and then he’ll realize the innate goodness of bananas… how’s the translation coming?”

            “It’s coming along. Sort of. I’m thinking of it this way – it’s helping me work out my anger and unresolved issues over Children of Earth.” They watched the food do nothing for a little while longer. Gilly and Sanders sauntered in, presumably coming from their favorite spot in front of the heater, and mournfully began to crunch their food.

            “How about rice and, uh, baked fish?” Kit suggested. “With steamed broccoli.”

            “Sounds good. Might as well make miso soup, too.” Nita said. “It’s raining. You should have soup when it’s raining.”

            Kit pulled the broccoli out of the crisper and handed it to her with a flourish. She took it, and carried it off to the counter to dismember, setting her manual on the ledge to get it out of the way.

            “Did Ellie show up today?” she asked.

            “No, I think she’s still doing the research.” Kit said, pulling the miso out from under the sink. “Can’t believe they built a Chenoo into the seawall.”

            “They do look a lot like rocks in their dormant state… I wonder why this one was dormant for so long?”

            “Probably it woke up, saw it was underwater, and went back to sleep. They don’t like to make a fuss, generally speaking.” The water started to boil. “So it ought not be too difficult to talk it into helping repair the seawall when it leaves.”

            On the ledge, Nita’s manual began to glow. Kit’s, trapped inside his briefcase, started singing Viva la Vida. The soup spoon, dropped abruptly back into the soup at the sudden noise, splattered soup across the stove. Gilly bounced over and started licking at the floor in hope of some stray drops.

            “Damn.” Kit said grumpily, and went to shut it off. “Neets?”

            “You finish, I’ll handle it.” She grabbed her manual, flipped it open to the relevant page, and began to read.

 

            In their usual booth at Joan’s Place, Fraser and Ray were eating pancakes. Well. Fraser was eating pancakes. Ray was trying, with every fiber of his being, to not reach over and flip the pancakes down all that red serge. It wasn’t exactly that he was annoyed at Fraser – well, he was, but hey, everyone. Always annoyed at Fraser. Or wanting to jump him. Or both, usually. Now was definitely one of those usual times. So he wanted to push the pancakes onto Fraser because he was mad at him, and he wanted to strip off the syrup-soaked clothes and lick the remaining drops from – he was mad at Fraser. And it would be fun.

            Fortunately, before he gave into the impulse, he found himself distracted by the familiar, unpleasant sensation of being watched.

            “Fraser?” he asked. “Is it just me, or is there something funny going on?”

            “Well, Ray, I would hardly classify it as entertaining, but no, I do not believe that the sensation you are referring to is limited to your own person.”

            Really, it couldn’t be that hard to get syrup out of those weird pants.

            “Think it might be something we ought to, you know, check out? Like, now?” he asked. “Because if we don’t check it out, it might check us out. Whatever it is.”

            “I think you will find that ‘it’ is essentially harmless and, having noticed that we recognized ‘it’, is at this very moment approaching the table.” Ray could hear the little marks. Taunting him. He gave them the finger under the table, and dumped some more chocolate in his coffee. When he looked up, he saw a couple, average in everything except for the bit where they’d both been staring, coming towards them.

            Fraser rose to meet them. Ray remained seated. He was only scowling a little, but Fraser kicked him anyway. It only takes a moment, Ray. Fraser’d never gotten the hang of the good cop/bad cop thing.

            “Constable Benton Fraser, RCMP.” Fraser nodded at them politely. Before he could continue, Ray interrupted.

            “Detective Ray Kowalski. He – “ Ray jerked his thumb in Fraser’s direction, “- came to Chicago on the trail of his father’s killers and would love to tell you all about it, and also some Inuit stories if you have a lot of time, later. The wolf’s under the table. Who’re you?”

            “I’m Nita Callahan, and this is my partner, Kit Rodriguez. We’re - uh, Kit?” The woman – Ms. Callahan – looked at her partner for help. Ray got interested. People who weren’t sure how to explain what they were and yet were willing to talk to the police were – in general, very interesting. Or crazy. Or both.

            “Something that has to do with the – rather interesting – being sitting next to Constable Fraser.” Rodriguez said calmly. “Hello, sir.”

            Rodriguez was looking at the empty spot next to Fraser.

            “There’s no - .” Ray started to say, irritable. But Fraser was looking at the floor, with his ‘I know exactly what you are talking about and I would prefer to keep pretending that whatever it is does not exist’ face, which was the same face he made when Ray did the really rude gesture with his fist and his thumb. Or when Ray asked if those were really diaries he was reading. They were, as it turned out. Just not his father’s. And not, um, meant for other people to see. Probably. “There’s someone there and I can’t see him.”

            “Yes, essentially. Although I can do something about that. May we sit down?” Callahan asked. Fraser was still standing.

            “Yes, ma’am, of course. Don’t mind Diefenbaker – he will extract himself if he feels overly compressed.” He turned, and slid further into the booth, leaving about a foot and a half between himself and the window. The red vinyl squeaked as he moved across it. Rodriguez slid in after him. Ray reluctantly made room for Callahan beside him.

            Across the table, Rodriguez said, “Would you mind being a little less opaque, just for this gentleman here? Ah, I see. Well, it is his son’s friend – an exception, maybe? Thank you very much.” He drew a few things in the condensation rings on the table, queer shapes, like that Arabic writing he’d seen in the museum when Fraser dragged him there to look at some old paper.

            Ray wondered if Rodriguez was crazy like Fraser. Then an old Mountie appeared in the booth next to his partner, and Ray thought he might need to reevaluate Fraser’s level of insanity.

            “How – what?” he demanded.

            “Well, actually, I’d kind of like to know that myself,” said Rodriguez, dryly. “I’ve never heard of a personal gate to Timeheart before.” Ray gave him the look of ‘what the hell was that, bro?’ and Rodriguez added, “I really was talking to the air.”

            Which meant he had to pull out the ‘not helpful, dude’ face.

            “Although it’s not impossible, in theory. I mean, we go to Timeheart in our sleep often enough. The interesting thing is that it works, mm, corporeally as well. And both ways, too, for – is it just him, or anyone that can see you?” Callahan was leaning intently over the table, her hair tucked behind her ear.

            “Just him.” The old Mountie said. “It’s in the blood. By the way, Yank, I’m Bob Fraser, Benton’s father. And before you ask, I’ve been around for years.”

            Ray gulped. He’d suspected as much.

            “I thought he’d gone at the end of our trip to Canada,” Fraser said apologetically. “But then he came back.”

            “And weren’t you over the moon,” Bob retorted. “You’re okay, for a Yank. But you better not do that with Benton’s belt again. It’s hard to get neat’s-foot oil out of sheets, or so Caroline and I discovered.”

            Dad.”

            If he hadn’t been blushing so hard, it would’ve been a lot easier to appreciate the sight of Fraser acting like a sixteen-year-old girl. Ray moved the salt out of a puddle of syrup, and nearly caused a small avalanche of jam and creamers.

            “Anyway, I’m here because one of your Powers knocked up a fairly recent ancestress of ours.” Bob explained. “I hear tell you two know that Power pretty well. Went by the name of Peach for a while?”

            Rodriguez made a face. Callahan grinned, and pushed the hair sliding back into her face behind one ear.

            “We’ve had a few encounters with that one, yeah,” she said. “It liked to bite Kit’s ear.”

            “Wait – he’s a god?” Ray asked. That would explain a lot. Like the licking things. Gods were unpredictable like that. Or at least they’d all been in that book of Stella’s he’d borrowed once. He’d read the entire afternoon, and he hated reading. Weird shit.

            “No, just kin,” Bob said reassuringly. “Well, mostly.”

            “So, can you, like, throw lightning bolts?”

            “Not that I am aware of, no.” Fraser replied.

            “Um, and you don’t want to hang out of trees or pull your eye or anything?”

            “…Ray?”

            “Can you make fruit turn into wine? Because if you can, buddy, you’ve been holding out on me. Or levitate? Or fly? Dude, I so could’ve used knowing that when we were falling out of a plane. Would’ve helped to know we weren’t going to die horrible painful deaths.” Ray pointed accusingly at Fraser. “You can! I can see it!”

            “I regret to inform you, Ray, that you have seen the reach and extent of my abilities.” Fraser had that face on, the one that said ‘you are crazy and this is coming from someone who makes puffin faces at babies’.

            “Dude, you make puffin faces at babies.” Ray told him firmly. “Vecchio told me. So do not pull that face on me.”

            Fraser made the ‘I know exactly what you are talking about but I am not going to say so because I am embarrassed’ face. Possibly it was actually ‘you are ridiculous’ and not ‘I am embarrassed’ face, but Ray tried to think positive. It was good enough. Ray decided to let him off the hook. And then he remembered that they had visitors. And then he remembered that he was annoyed at Fraser. And then he remembered the thing about the pancakes. And the syrup. He scowled, and Fraser opened his mouth like he was going to start explaining exactly why Ray was wrong. Again.

            “So, what did you guys want?” he said, cutting Fraser off. Fraser twitched, and shut his mouth, glaring at Ray. Ha. Worked every time. “Because if it was just to show me Fraser’s dad, I so could’ve done without.”

            “To begin with, we’re wizards.” Rodriguez told him.

            Ray thought about it.

            “That would be why the sudden appearance of Fraser’s ghost dad,” he said, and then remembered that the ghost dad was, as it happened, still there. “Sir. And you just talk things into happening?”

            “It’s a little more complicated than that.” Callahan said. “For one, that wasn’t English you heard. You just thought it was.”

            “Hunh.” Sure sounded like English to him. Maybe with an accent, which he hadn’t noticed due to Rodriguez’ having this New York accent like a kick in the head in the first place.

            “And the other complicated thing is that the wizard thing takes place across this universe and in all the other ones too.” Rodriguez added. “Also we fight evil.”

            Kit, Ray decided, was cool. Probably Nita was too. “Evil fighting. Awesome. So, why’re you here?”

            Ray.” Fraser said, catching at the tiny little pause in conversation. “I’m sure they’ll tell us at the appropriate time.”

            It was fortunate that they were in company, because the pancakes thing. He was really, really getting into the pancake idea. And not because of the syrup, either.

            “Um, a planet got blown up by the Lone Power.” Nita told them, eyeing Ray a little warily. Possibly he was glaring a little too much. He toned it down to the level where only crazy super-sensing Mounties could see it. “And we’ve been given a caseload of refugees. We needed a local for them to talk to, someone without magic so they don’t get dependent.”

            “Who can help them if they fuck up,” Kit said shortly. “Or at least make sure that they know what fucking up is, and that they know what to do once they have.”

            Fraser started to speak, but Ray beat him to it. Of course Fraser would offer. But Ray could stick his neck out too, whatever the Mountie thought.

            “We’ll help. When do they get here?” he said, and raised an eyebrow at his partner. Fraser smiled at him, the really good smile, with the teeth and the eye-crinkles that made his eyes look way too blue for Chicago in the rain.

Ray smiled back, the best smile he had, and contemplated the mysteries of soft gray light gleaming off the shine of syrup on pale, pale skin.

 

The two men they’d met were as good as their word – a few days after that meeting in Chicago, Nita received a thick envelope from the postman. Inside was a stack of real estate listings and notebook paper, thoroughly marked over. She looked at the top brochure (crap neighborhood – Ray, there are many fine and – upstanding, yeah, I know, except when they’re down falling – that’s unnecessarily judgmental, Ray) and started laughing.

“Kit, come have a look at these!”

“Look at what?” His voice came out of the basement, and she frowned, momentarily distracted. Sanders whined beside her, looking up at the paper. Absently, she tilted the paper down so Sanders could see.

“Kit, are you trying to talk the walls into being mildew-repellant again? Remember what happened last time?” Last time, the walls and mildew had been convinced that Kit was trying to break them up, and had staged a sneak attack in the middle of the night, covering the entire house by morning. Fortunately the rest of the house was not as fond of mildew as the basement, and they’d been able to talk it into returning, but Kit had been sneezing for weeks.

“No!” Kit said, and came up. Looking good, Nita thought. Very, very good. “I was working on the generator, seeing if it wanted to try alternate sources of power.”

“What’s it think?” Kit was wearing his working-on-the-house clothes, the ones entropy had been hard at work on. Entropy, Nita thought, was occasionally in her favor. Not that she’d be telling the Lone Power that, and probably It hadn’t been thinking about that either when It invented entropy. Then again, she’d seen It look far too intrigued by Dairine’s ratty /(bb|[^b]{2})/ T-shirt, last time it had come around, and she wasn’t completely sure that it was just because it was trying to figure out the joke.

Kit tugged a sheet of notepaper out from under the brochures. Sanders vanished in the direction of the radiator.

“It says that it’s willing to consider it, and asked if we’d thought about green roofs.” He unfolded it, and started snickering. “They’re worse than Tom and Carl.”

“What, what?” She walked behind him and put her chin on his shoulder. “Wow. You’re right.”

The list on the left side of the paper was obviously Fraser’s, in black handwriting so neat it looked typed. It looked like the Visitor’s Guide To Chicago webpage, with helpful commentary, punctiliously indented. Museums, parks, more parks, useful telephone numbers, concert halls, parks, libraries, the city center. More parks. And then there was Ray’s side, which looked like the flowchart of the damned, growing out from the center in increasingly frenetic swirls of green. It consisted of takeout places, dance halls, bars, gyms, and sports stadiums. There was also a little section boxed off and labeled ‘Really Romantic Things To Do/Go To With Your Significant Other Who Is Not A Girl I Know Fraser But I Was Married’.

“He reminds me a lot of Dairine.” Kit said thoughtfully. “I wonder if they’re settling anyone on Wellakhit?”

“Yes, I think so, but Roshaun’s handling it – Dairine’s due in a couple of weeks, you know.” Nita leafed through the ads, thinking about her sister, her sister’s husband, nieces, nephew, and unknown. It seemed like there was a lot of empty housing in one of the older parts of town – Fraser indicated that the buildings were well-constructed, and Ray that the crime rate had been sky high, but that recent developments, also known as gang wars, had pretty much cleared the neighborhood out of both crime and citizens. Hunh. She wandered into the kitchen and started heating the water for tea.

            “It’s amazing that they got that many people off the planet before it imploded.” Kit wandered in behind her, thumped down into a chair. “That’s worse than our Ordeal by far – keeping the Lone Power busy long enough to evacuate a planet? When there’s no hope of actually stopping it?”

            “It was a nice planet, too. Not the mud and rock kind, no offense to mud and rock planets.” Nita said. “Their trees. I saw them burn.”

            Kit swung around and faced her. “You didn’t tell me that.”

            “You were at work!” Nita protested. “I took a nap. And that was all it was – the burning trees, under the sky.”

            “No laughter?”

            “Nope, this was more your Intergalactic Mental TiVo type dream, not precog.” Nita said dryly. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a warning or anything, just one of the perks of the lucid dreaming field.”

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