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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-12 10:45 am

The Royal Society (a crossover of DOOM)

Title: The Royal Society
Rating: PG (language)
Fandom: *deep breath* Torchwood/Discworld/Nero Wolfe/Lord Peter/Harry Potter/SGA/Jeeves&Wooster/Sherlock Holmes. EAT THAT.
Summary: It's just a quiet game of poker among colleagues.
Warnings: None.

Now a podfic, and translated into Russian!

Also available at AO3.

***

There is a gap in the multiverse.

It is only one gap, but because of quantum it shows up in several places across several universes at once. The Doctor or Jack could explain it, Ianto often thinks, and he's pretty sure McKay could too if you gave him a theodolite, a graphing calculator, and a fixed place to stand, except that every time McKay starts in on it Goodwin shuts him down. Which is just as well because otherwise McKay would never place his bloody bet.

Ianto always comes alone. He supposes he could bring Gwen along, she'd probably make it through, but he doesn't want to risk it; there's a little too much of the hero about her. Not that they're not all heroes in their own quiet way, but whenever anyone brings that up Vimes gets this look. A Look, really, and nobody wants to risk Vimes's Look.

Vimes and Goodwin come alone too, and Bunter. McKay sometimes brings Major Lorne and occasionally Remus brings Ron or Hermione, but only to make up the numbers if someone else can't make it. Five is about a good limit and any more and they have to find some other game to play and no game is really as good as poker, in Ianto's opinion. Certainly seven-man full-impact Scrabble has been banned after their last attempt.

Ianto and Bunter aren't proud and they're pretty good mixmasters so they trade-off tending bar. Ianto's fairly fond of Bunter; Bunter speaks the language of service, and as much as Goodwin bitches about being amanuensis and scapegoat he's really more of an action man, like Vimes. McKay can't mix a drink to save his life, anyway.

Stepping through the gap is really just like walking through a door (McKay says it's more like the Stargate) and into an old comfortable place. Ianto's door is in the Hub, just to the left of Myfanwy's roost. McKay actually gets a real door, apparently the Ancients were good at this kind of thing. Vimes and Goodwin don't talk about their doors. Bunter had a bit of difficulty when Lord Peter moved to his new flat with his wife but he managed to find a new one in the library. Remus doesn't need a door; he's got his magic stick, which made Vimes distrust him for a good long while. Vimes can't be having with magic.

The first time Ianto stepped through he was the New Guy (story of his life) and even McKay had been visiting longer than him, but Ianto knows his way around a deck of cards and when they saw him shuffle he became one of theirs. He and McKay are the only two under a strict no-card-counting ban, though everyone makes sure Goodwin's sleeves are rolled up when they play.

"Here's a question," he says one night, when luck's been running mostly his way. Remus, to his left, is rather disgusted at the state of things, but after all they're only playing with poker chips. "Who's been here longest?"

McKay lays down two cards, and Vimes deals him two more.

"For the longest time it was just Mr. Goodwin and myself, young master Ianto," Bunter says. "I'll stay," he adds, putting down no cards. Bunter's probably the best bluff among them, though Ianto wouldn't place bets either way in a face-off between him and Vimes.

"What'd you do for fun?" McKay asks, then groans at his cards.

"Pinochle," Goodwin answers absently, but Goodwin lies for the amusement of himself and others. Ianto takes three cards.

"We shared a drink now and again," Bunter adds. "When Sir Samuel showed up -- "

Vimes grunts warningly. Bunter inclines his head.

"My apologies, Commander Vimes."

"When Vimes showed up we figured we had enough for Blackjack," Goodwin finishes. "Then Lupin came along and we had enough for a real game."

"Were you before or after me?" McKay asks Lupin as the game continues.

"Before, I think."

"Cards down," Vimes says, chewing on his cigar. Goodwin once said Vimes reminded him of a cop he knew named Cramer, the biggest bastard in the New York police force. Vimes took it as a compliment.

"Ha!" McKay points at Bunter. "Knew you were bluffing."

Ianto looks down at his own cards. All he had was a pair of jacks but he was counting on Bunter bluffing and McKay not having as good a hand as he did.

Both jacks have a man on them Ianto knows well; it's oddly satisfying that all the jacks in the deck are Jack. Vimes says he knows who the King of Spades is, the redheaded guy, and Remus always smiles whenever the King of Clubs ends up in his hand. McKay and Lorne once sniggered over the fact that the queens are all some guy with crazy hair, but they didn't share the joke.

"Why do you reckon this place exists?" Ianto persists, as Remus gathers the cards up and begins dealing. "I mean, it's a bit hard to think the universe -- "

"Multiverse," Vimes corrects.

"Right, that, the multiverse, just put this up here for our amusement," Ianto finishes. "I mean that's the point, isn't it?"

"What?" McKay asks irritably. "God, are we going to talk philosophy?"

"No," Vimes and Goodwin chorus in unison.

"Gentlemen," Remus murmurs. It's weird; Vimes and Goodwin are both really tough guys, they should be heroes in their own right, but one word from Remus can settle them immediately. Remus says he used to be a teacher, that's probably why. Even Remus can't get McKay to shut up when he's on a roll, but McKay's the kind of guy who isn't afraid of anything intellectual and needs the obvious but unspoken threat of violence in order to be cowed.

"Well, everyone needs a bit of peace and quiet once in a while," says a new voice, and everyone looks up. Someone's standing in the doorway, leaning on a walking stick.

"New guy?" Goodwin asks Bunter.

"You're welcome at the table, sir, but we've just placed our bets," Bunter says, and Ianto and McKay scoot apart to make more room.

"Thank you," the man says, and steps forward. Older gentleman, walks with a limp, waistcoat and old-fashioned hat; Ianto puts him somewhere pre-Bunter, maybe late 19th-century. English; poor Goodwin and McKay are still outranked four to two by the English and Ianto despairs of any other Welshmen ever showing up. "I'll sit this round out. It's been a long time since I visited; good lord, there are a lot of you now."

"Who're you then?" Vimes demands. Ianto rolls his eyes, catches Bunter stifling the urge to do the same.

"Ianto Jones," he says, standing to offer the man his hand. "That's Dr. Rodney McKay, Mervyn Bunter, Archie Goodwin, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes -- "

" -- easy on the Sir, Jones -- "

"And Professor Remus Lupin."

The man smiles easily, shakes warmly, looks friendly enough.

"Dr. John Watson," he says, as he pulls up a chair. "Retired."

"Ph.D?" McKay asks interestedly.

"MD, actually."

"Astrophysics," McKay replies.

"I once got a medal for memorising the multiplication tables," Vimes says.

"Don't listen to him," Remus smiles at Vimes but his teeth bare just slightly and Ianto is reminded of why they never see Remus at the full moon. "Commander Vimes is a duke when he's at home."

"Least I'm not dead."

"What is it your corporal says? Being dead is no bar to having a bit of quiet fun?" Remus says.

"Wait, you're dead?" Goodwin asks.

"Aren't you?"

"Hell no!"

"Well, nobody's perfect. Ianto, lad, are you dead?"

"Not yet," Ianto answers, and everyone looks at him strangely except McKay.

"I don't believe I am, but sometimes it's hard to know," Dr. Watson says thoughtfully.

"Did you at least die saving the hero?" Goodwin asks Remus.

"Hm? No, he died before I did."

"Mine can't die," Ianto offers. Vimes blinks. "He's...weird."

"The infamous Captain Harkness," Bunter says knowingly.

"Yeah, well, mine's going to get himself killed soon enough," McKay mutters. "He's always trying."

"What a morbid thought," Dr. Watson says. "Is it inconvenient at all?" he asks Remus.

"Not really. What about yours?"

Watson smiles, and it's a smile they all know -- one part affection to two parts exasperation.

"Not for lack of trying."

They lay their cards down and Ianto's won again; he pulls the pot towards him and offers Watson a share.

"Thank you, Mr. Jones."

Bunter deals, but as he's getting to McKay a small alarm goes off on McKay's watch.

"Crap. That's Atlantis," McKay announces. "I have to -- "

Ianto's mobile rings.

"And that's Torchwood. Probably the same -- "

"ARCHIE!" a disembodied voice.

"Wolfe," Archie shoots out of his chair and runs for the door.

Vimes and Remus look at each other and sigh.

"Wizards," Vimes says, throwing down his cards.

"Bet you it's not," Remus replies. "Still, I'd better get back."

One by one they disappear; Ianto hesitates on the threshold, glancing back.

"Sorry to abandon you," he says, truthfully, because he was starting to like Dr. Watson. "You might want to check on Lord and Lady Peter, Mr. Bunter."

"Thank you, Ianto," Bunter says, and Ianto nods and heads back through the gateway to the Hub, where alarms are blaring and Jack and Gwen clearly need him.

***

Bunter is tapping a poker chip on the table; Dr. Watson has pulled the cards together and is putting them into the deck with precise care.

"They're quite young, some of them," he says, apropos of nothing.

"Good lads," Watson replies. "Stiff backs, strong minds. Though you're right -- Goodwin and that Jones boy are hardly grown."

"I suppose that -- " Bunter gestures to the darkness where the others have disappeared, " -- was your doing?"

Dr. Watson smiles. "I thought perhaps tonight we might have a...quieter game this evening."

"So sorry I'm late," interrupts another man, emerging and taking off his hat as he hangs up his coat. "I hope I haven't missed anything."

"Not at all, we were waiting for you," Dr. Watson says. "How is your charge?"

"Quite well, quite well. Ah, good evening, Mr. Bunter. Mr. Wooster sends his regards to Lord Peter."

"Evening, Mr. Jeeves; I'll be sure to pass the message along."

Settled into the chair, and casting Vimes's discarded cigar aside with a grimace, Jeeves accepts the deck of cards from Dr. Watson.

"Rummy?" he asks.

"Oh, indeed," Jeeves answers, and deals the cards.

"You should come play with the younger ones more often," Bunter says, when they're settled in. "They're a good lot."

"Mmh. A little too flash for me, some of them."

"That's part of the charm."

Jeeves frowns. "I hear Sir Samuel calls the gatherings the Second Best Club."

"Well, you know how gentlemen are," Bunter says. "They'll have their little jokes. Mr. Goodwin now, he suggested the Right Hand Men, but Hermione said it was sexist and he bowed to her opinion on the matter."

"Have I met Hermione?" Dr. Watson asks.

"Probably not; she doesn't always come round. She's extremely young, but immensely bright. She and Dr. McKay have the most amusing tiffs. She dominates Mr. Goodwin quite completely; I think he finds her enthralling."

"Young Ianto, I believe, had come up with a name, hadn't he?" Jeeves inquires.

"Only in jest; he said we ought to be dubbed the Royal Society for the Protection of Foolish But Dashing Heroics," Bunter replies, and all three men chuckle. "Vimes went livid. Anti-monarchist of the first water."

"Peculiar fellow."

"They're something to be proud of, though. It's rather a good tradition, all-told, and it's your fault at any rate," Bunter continues, addressing Dr. Watson. "So we have you to thank for the likes of Hermione and Ianto."

"Well, good," Dr. Watson decides. "Nice to see a new generation carrying on. And I have rummy, gentlemen."

There is a gap in the multiverse. It's mainly unremarked, and it's not very important, but then it serves its purpose. After all, the companions of great men and women must have somewhere to put their feet up as well, at the end of the day.

END

[identity profile] jay-m-l.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
LOVE. I imagine that Watson and Jeeves would get along rather well. And anything with Vimes and Remus in it is worth reading. :3

You've got to stop this, Sam. You're making me want to watch SGA.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
I think Jeeves and Bunter would get on better, because Watson's the sort who would have a valet if he was a little wealthier, but they've got used to each other over the years :D

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[identity profile] just-ruth.livejournal.com - 2009-05-03 23:14 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] kensieg.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely!

[identity profile] obfuscate3.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
*blinks*

Who knew the multiverse would set you up with coat hangers and poker chips?

I love the random between-fandom snippets that surface from you sometimes.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:50 am (UTC)(link)
Don't forget the cocktail bar and the bowl of snacks. :D
ext_52603: (Pockets)

[identity profile] msp-hacker.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
Dr. Watson is at fault for a great many lovely things. = )

[identity profile] attackfish.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
They should tell Hermione that it could be the Right Hand Person's club (where sides get their kicks) if that's alright with her.

I enjoyed this immensely, but for some reason that I'm not sure of, i found it vaguely discomforting. and I'm of the opinion that you should write some Nero Wolfe fanfiction.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
Hermione just likes sparring with Goodwin and McKay :D

I've written one Nero Wolfe fic but it was terribly sad...I'm not good at murder mysteries :D

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marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (TW - Eyeroll)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2008-07-13 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
*adores* I particularly like that they don't show up in historical order, necessarily (and that Bunter is bluffing about more than just his cards during that discussion). And I love Ianto's "Foolish But Dashing Heroics" - the natural disdain of the backup tempered by the fact that he sure has got it bad for Jack. I also like the way Vimes is both a "second best" and a gentleman, much as he'd like to deny it.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
They do show up in canonical order though -- in terms of, Bunter and Jeeves and Watson are the old guard, but the next to show up is Goodwin (Stout was the next author) and then Vimes, Lupin, McKay, and Ianto -- Discworld existed before Harry Potter existed before SGA existed before Torchwood. :D

Poor Vimes. He's not your typical sidekick, after all...

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[identity profile] beathen.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
Wow. This must've been fun to put together! I don't know half of the fandoms mentioned, but this line made me laugh out loud.

Certainly seven-man full-impact Scrabble has been banned after their last attempt.

AHAHA!! Brilliant!

[identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
I laughed out loud at that sentence too! Just lovely. Sam, I love your stories because they make me feel such joy when I read them.

[identity profile] gritsinmisery.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
Bunter had a bit of difficulty when Lord Peter moved to his new flat with his wife but he managed to find a new one in the library.

And what happens when the lot of them motor out to Tallboys?

Srsly tho, this was tonnes of fun. I've always known I'd make a better XO than hero, so I wouldn't mind hanging w/ this lot one bit.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:44 am (UTC)(link)
Well, when they go traveling he has time to let Dr. McKay know that Major Lorne would be a welcome addition for the next few weeks :D

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[identity profile] zanetun.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:40 am (UTC)(link)
Nothing is wrong with you, Sam! You have immense amounts of sheer genius tucked away in your mind, and we, the readers, love you for these little insights~

Loving Remus and Ianto so terribly much in this~<3
ext_1059: (Aubrey UFO by Katie8787)

[identity profile] shezan.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:42 am (UTC)(link)
SAM!!!!!! YOU SO RULE!!!! This is PERFECT!!!!!!!

[identity profile] splagxna.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:42 am (UTC)(link)
*love*

[identity profile] annemjw.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:44 am (UTC)(link)
Thank goodness I know how they all are, or I would be quite lost. Lovely to imagine though!

The sidekicks are always so cool.

[identity profile] liveavatar.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
That list did make me stare.

But if you're going this far, whya no Star Trek? Is it because nobody could outbluff a Vulcan? (said with arms akimbo)

Also, I'm waggling my hand on Vimes as a Right Hand Person, unless you're only counting the recent novels.

That said, I really enjoyed this.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:50 am (UTC)(link)
Well, I hit a good limit, and Star Trek didn't occur to me :D

Vimes is unique; he might be a heroic figure and the pov for some of the books, but Carrot's the Official Heroic Kingly Guy and Vimes is just too grubby :D

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[identity profile] forest-rose.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:50 am (UTC)(link)
Sam, Sam, this makes me inordinately happy. You are a wonderful person. I would say more insightful stuff about it, but it's almost 3am and I have been wrestling with a recalcitrant sewing machine all night, to which I seem to have sacrificed my brain.

Still. *snuggles*

[identity profile] dragynville.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
Amazingly well crafted, they intertwine so smoothly and with fabulous character voice! :D I like Ianto's suggestion the best, foolish but dashing indeed. ;D

[identity profile] lil-1337.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 01:54 am (UTC)(link)
Archie! Oh, Archie and Ianto! And Sam! I have no words just incoherence.
ext_13504: Kara Thrace, Starbuck, BSG (Default)

[identity profile] unicornvamp3z.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
what a nice idea!
it kinda reminds me of your Cafe :D
jo02: scared-kitty (Default)

[personal profile] jo02 2008-07-13 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
This was heart-warming and very delightful - thank you!
alassenya: Mallorn leaf with Alassenya in Tengwar (Default)

[personal profile] alassenya 2008-07-13 02:19 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for this - it's stunning! And strangely believable ...

[identity profile] insixeighttime.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:24 am (UTC)(link)
I love it. I also love how I read your crossover fics for the few fandoms I do know, and have begun recognizing characters. Now they are becoming not old friends, but casual acquaintances. It's fun.

Well writ.

[identity profile] adina-atl.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:34 am (UTC)(link)
Funny how things run: I was just thinking that Ianto was turning more into Archie than Bunter, or at least that's where I wanted to see him going. So nice coincidence!

[identity profile] wondersheep.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:47 am (UTC)(link)
Fantastic!

[identity profile] thaddeusfavour.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:48 am (UTC)(link)
Love, love, love this! So, I opened my flist and saw a story listing a BUNCH of fandoms in crossover, and was just beginning to sneer and say "what have they done now", when I saw your name. My sneer changed to a smile and I knew I had to read the story immediately. So wonderful! And, on top of what everyone else has liked, I have to add the cards.

Both jacks have a man on them Ianto knows well; it's oddly satisfying that all the jacks in the deck are Jack. Vimes says he knows who the King of Spades is, the redheaded guy, and Remus always smiles whenever the King of Clubs ends up in his hand. McKay and Lorne once sniggered over the fact that the queens are all some guy with crazy hair, but they didn't share the joke.

I think this was my favorite detail, perhaps my favorite detail ever. Thanks!

[identity profile] sanura.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:53 am (UTC)(link)
*shriek of immeasurable joy*

I don't know half of these fandoms, but the sung or unsung sidekicks' stories are always my favorite. Only throw was "tacit but unspoken" is a little weird, since those two mean the same thing. The rest of the time I was blinded by the gleaming awesome of the Royal Society for the Protection of Foolish But Dashing Heroics.

Speaking of Super-Ianto, your extremely helpful n00b's guide to Torchwood convinced my friend to spend two full days with me taking in all the relevant (sufficiently slashy) episodes. Thanks for that, again.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 11:48 am (UTC)(link)
You're right about tacit-but-unspoken; not sure what I was thinking there, but I've fixed it now :) Glad you enjoyed it anyway!

[identity profile] merucha.livejournal.com 2008-07-13 02:54 am (UTC)(link)
OHGODOHGGODOHGOD. Royal Society for the Protection of Foolish But Dashing Heroics" indeed!

I've often found that the sidekicks are so much more interesting than the heroes. My basic peeve with the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies is that they made Dr. Watson an idiot, which he most certainly was not (the Jeremy Brett series more than made up for it). So, yes, Bunter, Hermione, Ianto... those are MY heroes.

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