|Fic: Sea Shanties (Mel, Tegan, G, ~1,200 words)
||[Apr. 22nd, 2009|10:15 am]
Melanie Bush Fans
Title: Sea Shanties|
Characters: Mel, Tegan
Summary: Mel's life has never been linear.
Notes: for amaresu in the brilliant tardis_gen ficathon. Many thanks to wishfulaces, stunt_muppet, glinda_penguin, and nonelvis for beta services!
Once upon a time, there was a pretty young girl named Melanie (Mel, to her friends, of which she had a few). She lived in a little village named Pease Pottage, in England, on the planet Earth. She had wild red hair and an amazing memory and a bright, sunny smile.
One day, young Melanie (who was actually not so young as perhaps all that, a quarter of a century old, though certainly young compared to the trees and the rocks and the sun shining down) was walking through the quiet streets of Pease Pottage, enjoying that sun. All of a sudden, turning a familiar corner she'd turned so many times before, she came upon a strange sight. It was a blue box, tall but not too tall, wide but not too wide. "Police Public Call Box" read the inscription on the box, but Melanie, for all her learning, did not know why this old relic would be now sitting on that street corner.
As she leaned in for a closer look, the door swung open, and a tall man, who was dressed like a clown, fell out.
"Mel!" he exclaimed, taking her hand and shaking it vigorously. "How wonderful to see you again."
"I'm afraid I don't know who you are," Melanie said (Mel, to her friends, of which she apparently had one more than she'd known). She tried very hard to suppress a giggle, but it bubbled up her throat and out her mouth before she could stop it. The man was very silly-looking, and he'd fallen out of a blue box to boot.
"But you will, dear Mel, you will, and that's what's most important," the man said, taking her arm and ushering her inside the small doorway of the blue box. "There's a whole universe out there waiting for you to have adventures in." The door shut behind them, and with a funny sound and a sort of electricity that made Melanie's hair stand on end, the blue box disappeared into the sunlight.
"And that's the story of how the Doctor kidnapped me," Mel says. "Here, I'll fix your blanket, and it's time for you to sleep."
"I'm not a child," Tegan replies, fidgeting as Mel tucks the blanket tight around her.
"Hush, you've had a bad shock and that bump on your head is nothing to laugh at. Lucky for you I'm here to take care of you!"
"A bad shock! I'll say – I didn't expect slug-aliens to show up in my back garden. Nor you to come chasing in after them." Tegan's voice is warm, however, despite her fussing. Mel smiles.
"We met those slug-aliens first," she says. "Well, first that I experienced, linear time. The Doctor had fought them before, with me."
"My head already aches," Tegan jokes. "Doesn't yours?"
"These days," Mel says, turning off the light, "I just go straight through. Simpler, don't you think?"
Tegan sleeps for three days, on and off, and in between Mel spins stories while juggling doubloons.
"I met him after my aunt died," Tegan says, as she scrubs slug-slime off the back steps. "Seems such a long time ago. I was so young."
"I was too," Mel says. "Do you live alone, here, then? No one's come by."
Tegan scratches her neck, an awkward, embarrassed movement. "There was a man, but...I still have some friends. A few bits of family. It's hard, when you leave and come back."
Mel nods. "I never did come back. I got that spaceship and I was free. Barring the odd few distress signals I picked up, or a ping from one of my trackers, of course." She smiles, then, and Tegan can't help but smile back.
"Do you have anyone travelling with you?" Tegan asks, curious and trying to be polite, making conversation.
"Oh, here and there, from time to time," Mel says, waving her hand dismissively. "I started off with Glitz, but eventually we parted ways. The life of a space pirate's a lonely one, generally."
Tegan grins. "Space pirate, honestly. What do you do, run up the Jolly Roger and pillage and plunder?"
"Well, a little plundering," Mel says, a faint blush coming into her cheeks. "Mainly I just go where I want to go, do what I want to do. The whole universe calling out to me, and I hop and skip my way across it best I can. I did have an eye patch," she continues, leaning in to whisper confidentially in Tegan's ear, "but I lent it to a friend and they never gave it back."
"Not much of a friend, then," Tegan says.
Mel shakes her head. "Oh, I wouldn't say that."
Mel practices with her cutlass until she's broken four teacups and causes Tegan to ask for lessons, if only to slow down the damage.
"You're a natural," Mel calls out, as Tegan swashes and buckles across the living room, knocking over a vase as she goes.
"I don't know if my knees will hold out," Tegan calls back. Mel's eyes just twinkle.
"It's been two weeks," Tegan says one morning, as she places a cup of coffee in front of a half-awake Mel at the kitchen table.
"Has it been?" Mel asks, with a sort of studiously feigned surprise. "Dear me, I'm so sorry to have imposed on your hospitality for so long. I really should get going." She hops up, suddenly quite awake.
Tegan holds up a hand. "I didn't mean – I didn't mean you had to leave. I just sort of realized. Have you been waiting for something?"
"Oh, I can't manipulate time like the Doctor can," Mel says, grinning that impossible grin of hers, so full of sunshine. "Come on, would you like to see my ship before I go?"
Once upon a time, an old woman named Tegan (but not so old as all that, only in the mid-years of her life, tall and strong and not yet bowed) left behind her ordinary life for the second time. The craft, this time, was not bigger inside than out, but it was pleasingly-sized nonetheless, with rooms full of treasure and a shiny cutlass waiting for her to call her own.
A few days later, she found herself on a planet with purple grass and three suns, and walked through its fields, enjoying the light on her face. She came to a grove of trees and turned left, a turn she'd never made before, yet felt instinctively correct. Suddenly, she came face to face with herself, only the other her looked just a little bit older. And she was wearing an eye patch.
The other her smiled, one visible eye twinkling in a way Tegan was sure her eye(s) had never twinkled before. With a grin, the other her ran off into the distance. Tegan could just make out a spaceship, and a redhead standing by the doors.
Once upon a time, or so the story went, time did not flow in a straight line. Once upon a time, Melanie smiled, and had her first, preordained adventure / relived her past / caught up with her own timeline / drank grog while singing sea shanties / passed on the legacy she herself had inherited of showing friends that there was a whole universe out there, just waiting to be explored.