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Title: Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
by Jesterlady
Rating: PG-13
Characters: The Ninth Doctor, Cordelia Chase, Logan Echolls
Fandom: Doctor Who, Angel, Veronica Mars Red Dwarf, Toy Story, Road to Avonlea, The Middleman, Step by Step, Family Matters, Roseanne, The West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation, All My Children, Happy Days with special appearances by X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean, Are You Being Served and a great deal of the cast of Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World
Summary: The Doctor is just minding his own business when Cordelia Chase and Logan Echolls pop into the Tardis, now they're off on a tv trope adventure to find out what's disrupting reality. If only fictional characters would stop dropping by.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these fandoms, especially DW, ATS or VM. I owe a great deal to www.tvtropes.com and all of the chapter titles are a play on tropes found there. Written for the [livejournal.com profile] scifibigbang 2011.
A/N: Many thanks to my beta, [livejournal.com profile] exmanhater and to [livejournal.com profile] rainyrocket for her artwork.





Chapter Three: Put on a Garage Sale Table


“I'm going to have a black eye,” Logan complained as the Doctor finished materializing the Tardis inside the ship they had followed and which appeared to be floating around a non-descript planet in the Beltoni system.

“Yeah, like fixing a link on a teleporting mutant with an angry tail is easy!” the
Doctor scoffed. “Quit your whinging and follow me quietly,” he added, exiting the ship.
“We're not sure what to expect.”

“Life typical on board the Tardis,” Cordelia said.

“Isn't it fun?” he flashed a quick grin at her.

“Being slugged by a lady pirate who's quite indisposed to her new surroundings?” Logan
queried sarcastically. The Doctor and Cordelia turned to look at him. “Okay, it is,” he said,
grinning, but gingerly touched his eye.

“The way you were drooling over her, I'm not surprised,” Cordelia said. “What about
this little Miss...Veronica you're supposed to be so in love with?”

“We could start talking about brooding vampires while we're at it,” the Doctor said, a
finger to his lips.

“As opposed to brooding aliens,” she retorted, but in a sensibly quiet voice. The
Doctor chose to ignore the statement, preferring to creep down the hallway.

“What are we looking for?” Logan asked.

“How do I know?”

“You know everything or so you like to think.”

“I know somebody's having some fun with telly tropes as it were. Tropes in general,
seeing the last two we met up with. I expect more of the same lines and hopefully, we can find
some real alive people who know what's going on.”

“When you say people...” Cordelia said.

“I mean aliens. Or people. You never know. Keep up.”

They walked quietly along the corridor of what the Doctor guessed was a Teranian ship
based upon the architecture. Though why the Teranians would have anything to do with this was
puzzling to him. Their technology was barely at space travel let alone reality ripping
devices. They came to what was basically a door though it was two sizes too small for them,
odd considering the hallways were big enough.

“Looks like some kind of holding cell,” the Doctor theorized. “Wonder if we can get it
open?”

“Duh, screwdriver,” Cordelia said.

“It's not infallible, little one,” the Doctor told her, “but it's always the first
option.”

“That will not be necessary,” a quiet voice said from behind them. They all spun
around and saw...nothing.

“Where are you?” the Doctor asked.

“I'm here,” said the voice, barely able to be heard, coming from down below. They
looked down and saw an extremely fragile looking china shepherdess standing just out of reach
from their big feet. Several sheep lurked behind her skirts and looked out from behind her
shepherd's crook.

“Speaking of little ones...” Logan remarked.

“Oh, beautiful, you are,” the Doctor said, leaning down. “Am I right in thinking you
are-”

“It's Bo Peep,” Cordelia said, bending over as well. “At last something I recognize.”

“How do you know me?” the tiny doll asked.

“We're big fans,” Logan said. “Great movie.”

“Movies,” the Doctor corrected.

“Oh yeah, there were two,” Logan said.

“Three.”

“There was not a third Toy Story movie,” Cordelia objected.

“After your time,” the Doctor said. “A real tearjerker, marred by the absence of our
little friend here and now I know why.”

“I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about,” Bo said. “I was just in my boy's
room.”

“Why is she even talking to us?” Logan whispered. “Don't the toys usually play dumb
around humans?”

“Ordinarily yes,” Bo answered, “but I find myself beyond simple rules like that right
now. I appear to have vanished into one of Buzz's stories and I'd rather somebody helped me
find my way home. The sheep are very frightened.”

“Do you mind?” the Doctor gestured and when she shook her head, he helped her walk onto
his hand while the sheep trotted along with her. He opened up his jacket pocket and stuck her
inside gently, her lower body disappearing with her upper body sticking out. The sheep
vanished entirely, apparently unconcerned with anything now that they felt safe and confined.

“Oh, that is much better,” Bo said. “I feel much less breakable now.”

“A bit hard to talk to you now,” the Doctor said softly, “but now I won't worry
either. I'm the Doctor, by the way.”

“Worried, is it?” Cordelia said teasingly.

“The old softie,” Logan said, tsking.

“None of that, you two,” the Doctor said, shaking his head. “Let's just get little Bo
here back to the Tardis, then I'll explain things to you.”

Before they had gotten very far, a gray skinned, vaguely human-ish alien rounded the
corner and spotted them.

“Not a Teranian,” the Doctor commented, mostly to himself. The far too
disproportionate alien started making high pitched wheezing sounds which when translated
sounded something like:

“Intruder alert! Sound alarms. Prisoner escaped.” The dialect was a bit off, but the
Doctor thought it sounded like a primitive version of Hurdgorese.

“That's done it,” he said and grabbed Cordelia's hand, pulling her along. Logan ran
beside them and they ran right at the astounded looking alien, who jumped aside at the last
second while they swept past, headed for the Tardis.

“Nothing like a nice game of chicken,” the Doctor triumphed, feeling little china hands
clenching his jacket tightly.

They were almost at the Tardis when more aliens came from the opposite direction and
weapons began to be pointed.

“We're here peacefully,” he shouted, putting his hands up, raising one of Cordelia's
with him.

“You are intruders!” one of the aliens said.

“We were just picking up a friend.” The Doctor stepped in front of his companions and
they picked up the hint, stepping slowly backwards towards the Tardis.

“This is a private ship; you are not authorized to be here.”

“And we'd be thrilled to leave,” Logan said.

“Over the moon,” Cordelia agreed.

“Like the poem,” the Doctor put in, which only confused everybody. “Cow jumped over
the moon?” he offered and everyone still looked confused.

“He's got cows on the brain,” Logan said, motioning with his head.

“No wonder,” Cordelia said, almost sympathetically.

They'd all but finished nudging along the last five feet or so to the Tardis while this
cow and moon conversation had been going on.

“Halt, you are diverting us,” the backmost alien said, catching on.

“Nobody ever said you weren't brilliant Hurdgi,” the Doctor said, pushing the door open
and shoving his companions inside, waving goodbye. “See ya!”

He closed the door to see Logan and Cordelia laughing their heads off again. Way too
prone to laughter, those two.

“I don't know what you're going on about,” the Doctor said. “We still didn't find out
anything.”

“But I'm eternally grateful to you,” Bo said from his jacket. “I had been...conversing
with Woody and then I found myself in that big room-”

“Little room,” Logan said in an aside to Cordelia.

“-and it was so big, we were able to get through the flap underneath the door but
before we could, those creatures came in and started speaking in the most nonsensical way. It
wasn't until you started speaking to them that they spoke English.”

“Tardis,” Logan and Cordelia each said in a sing-song voice, then glared at each other.

“Show offs,” the Doctor muttered, then turned back to his pocket and Bo. “It's okay,
go on.”

“Well, that's it, really,” Bo answered.

“Could you remember what it was they said before I got there?” the Doctor asked.

“It was all nonsense,” Bo answered.

“Just think about it very hard,” the Doctor asked, putting his thumb and forefinger
close enough to touch her temples. “Telepathic,” he murmured to the other two.

“With china?” Cordelia asked.

“She's obviously got brain patterns or she wouldn't be talking to us,” he said. “Now
shut up and let me concentrate.”

The Doctor reached into the strange, little mind and found an approximation of what he
was looking for. He retrieved it and left.

“Well?”

“We need to go down to the planet. Whoever they're working for was going to transport
Bo and her charges down there to a holding cell to be picked up. Hopefully, we can learn about where to go next.”

“Excuse me,” Bo said, “but is it necessary I go with you to this place? I'd really
rather not. Is there any way you can send me home? I don't want to know what's going on. I
just want to rejoin my family.”

“I'm afraid they've moved on without you, Bo,” the Doctor said gently. “While you were
gone, Andy grew up and the others have a new owner now.”

“What!” cried Logan. “That's horrible.”

“How could they leave Bo behind?” Cordelia asked.

“It wasn't really their fault,” the Doctor said, “whoever's pulling reality tricks
pulled her out and they had to go on.”

“Well, you're a ‘time lord,’ “ Cordelia said, using her air quotes fingers. “Send her
back so she goes with them.”

“It's an established event,” the Doctor said. “I saw the film in the cinema myself,
about seven hundred years ago.”

“I'm not even going to pretend to understand that,” Cordelia snapped, “but if you're
supposed to be this almighty alien, you shouldn't have a problem sending one toy back to its
home. You did it for those others.”

“I sent them back to their own timelines and realities,” the Doctor said back, his voice heating up. “Don't tell me about my own life! I've got to make these decisions, it's my responsibility and you don't know what you're talking about. There's no one but me and this is
what's right!”

Cordelia pressed her lips together hard, but kept quiet. Logan looked at him
curiously, but didn't say anything.

“Bo,” the Doctor began, then stopped. “I wonder,” he mused to himself, “well, it
shouldn't matter, after all, like I said, I am doing it on my own.”

He strode to the Tardis and dematerialized it, and the faint noises of aliens trying to
get in faded away. He sent them to the other side of the planet where they could hide for a
moment while he figured out what to do.

“Time was,” he announced while fiddling with the console, “my people could do almost
anything in time or space. Not that they bothered to, much too indolent for that. But I
bothered and got a lot of flack for it. Still, I was always proud of our capabilities. Time
is a very tricky thing, people think they know it but they don't. You watch films or read
research papers and it's mostly all rubbish because in trying to pin it down they're missing
the whole point. But it's something that comes naturally to me and you'll just have to trust
me when I say I know what I'm doing. I can feel when it's wrong and to try to rewrite
something like that would be disastrous. But with all that responsibility comes a little bit
of trickery and since Bo's already out of the picture, there's no reason I can't send her into
the end of it.” He flipped some switches. “You'll like Bonnie, Bo, a good kid and I'm sure
you and Woody have a lot of catching up to do.” He winked at her while gently extracting her
and her sheep from his pocket and putting them on the console.

“Goodbye, Doctor,” Bo said softly. “I hope you find what you're looking for.”

“Me too,” he said, pushing the final button and she faded from the Tardis along with
her sheep.

“Where'd you send her?” Logan asked.

“With all the rest of the toys. I just slipped her into the box after Andy'd already
paraded them out, had a good romp and left. Nobody at home will be any wiser, but she'll be
with her family in limbo, let's say, forever.”

“I'm sorry, Doctor,” Cordelia said, “I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. You obviously know what you're doing and I'm still just a little freaked out about this not being real thing. I'll try not to anymore.”

“Same here except I didn't,” Logan said, automatically stepping aside so he avoided her
fist.

“I still don't know what you are talking about,” Cordelia said. “I guess I'll have to
watch the movie. Maybe after you tell us more about yourself and that little story you hinted
at.”

“I'd much rather get you out of my hair for good,” the Doctor said, softening.
“Besides, don't you want to know what you are?”

“Actually, yeah,” she said. “But I haven't forgotten the other bit, Doctor. You will
tell us.”

He shook his head at her. Cordelia Chase and her blessed nosiness.

“You ever watch Happy Days?” he asked.

“Who didn't watch that?” Cordelia asked.

“Uh, me.” Logan raised his hand.

“Great show,” the Doctor said. “A little early for you. Anyway, boy name of Chuck
goes upstairs one season and never comes back down. Never explained what happened to him.
He's what's called a trope namer. Anytime that happened in a series after that people would
say the character had been 'brother Chucked.' “

“That didn't happen to us, right?” Logan asked.

“Not really you,” the Doctor conceded, “but Cordelia's a sub-trope of that popular
trope. Bo, Anamaria, Nightcrawler, all victims of some type of missing character trope.
Biggest of them all is Chuck Cunningham Syndome. Someone's causing them unnecessarily or maybe
this is the original cause. But, while it's an established thing, since you're flesh and blood
now, it's not good for reality in general.”

“If Chuck Cunningham's so all important, how come he hasn't popped up yet?” asked Logan.

“Maybe he's the grand finale,” the Doctor said with a wink. “But I wouldn't be
surprised if Chuckie boy didn't show up at some point. Still, let's go down to the planet and
prevent it from happening at all. You two up for it? You seem to have the handle for this
kind of life, I will admit.”

“And all on his own,” Logan crowed. “You're growing, Doctor.”

“Don't make me regret this,” the Doctor said and prepared to go planetside.

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