jesterladyfic: (Default)
[personal profile] jesterladyfic
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 Seven: Left Hanging With a Molecular Dissolver


The Doctor leapt into action with energy that surprised even himself. He was no hero, he was a survivor and he felt inclined to clean up his own messes, but that didn't mean he had to like it or any of the stupid people who seemed to surround him.

Logan's choppy explanation hadn't given him very much information, but they all rushed
off to save the day anyway. The Doctor brought his sonic-ed up jammer with him. It was crude,
but it would have to do. He was at his best in a rush anyway. Logan seemed to have forgotten
his feud with Cordelia and the Middleman was obviously anxious for Wendy's safety. That left
him to be the sensible one. Again. And he didn't care, no, he didn't.

They found the abandoned wheelbarrow with bits of rocksalt strewn everywhere. The
girls had obviously tried to defend themselves by every means necessary. Apparently, it hadn't
been enough, because they were gone and the Doctor could only hope they were alive. Rachini
wasn't known for taking hostages. He didn't monologue, he didn't go for the pain; he went for
the kill. He was smart and not given to normal villain foibles.

“What's the plan, Doctor?” Logan asked, practically jumping out of his skin.

“Give us a moment,” the Doctor said, thinking and scanning and doing everything his
enormous Timelord brain could think of.

“They might be hurt,” Logan insisted.

“Since when do you care what happens to her?” he snapped back, concentrating on his
screwdriver.

Logan's eyes narrowed in a frighteningly convincing Cordelia impression.

“Since your cold alien hearts both died. Now, do you know where they are?”

“I can trace the watch,” he said. “Let's go.”

They turned and made their way back toward the Tardis, the Middleman taking the
wheelbarrow along.

“I might sound like an old song here,” the Middleman said, seemingly having no trouble
with the heavy wheeling, “but don't you think you'd better put your differences aside? Lives
are at stake.”

“Oh, good, none of us were aware of that,” Logan said sarcastically.

“No need to get snippy,” the Middleman said. “I don't want to intrude, but it's my
firm belief that when people work as a team they have to be able to depend on each other. If I
have troubles, I bring them on you and vice versa. For the sake of those girls and yourselves,
I hope you'll come to realize that yourself.”

The Doctor ignored the two of them, even if he realized the Middleman's sage advice was
worth hearing. Didn't mean he was going to follow it. He had better things to do, like
finding out where Rachini was. The little humans could sort out their own problems, and
hopefully, by this time next week, he'd be all alone in the Tardis with no more fictional
realities, companions, or anything.

“Here's the plan,” he said, turning back to the others as they reached the Tardis,
interrupting a promising lecture on responsibility from the Middleman and a sarcasm tirade from
Logan. “Using the trace from my screwdriver, I'll pilot the Tardis there, then use the jammer
to keep his gun and watch from working. You're on distraction duty, Middleman - whatever you
can to keep him away from little Logan who'll be going after the girls. Are we clear?”

“Oh, crystal clear,” said Logan with mock enthusiasm. “Just one more thing. Where
does the precious rocksalt that the girls sacrificed themselves for come in?”

“Before we go,” the Doctor said, smiling, “you're going to have a bath.”

Logan's face defied description.


***


When the most terrifying thing she'd ever seen, and that included Angelus, had come at her, Cordelia had not blanched. She'd called Logan, while throwing rocksalt with her other hand. Her first shot had landed square on Rachini's nose, causing him to sneeze violently which let Wendy get off a couple of shots. Her gun was largely useless, but she got off one lucky hit on the wristwatch of doom, which had seemed to render it incapable of firing missiles at them. He still had other kinds of weapons, though, one of which made Wendy's cell phone bite the big one, making it incapable of ever making another call.

“Get behind me,” Wendy shouted. Cordelia obeyed, grabbing handfuls of rocksalt as she
went, and then as quickly as possible, rubbed it all over herself and sprinkled it down Wendy's
shirt and rubbed it on her arms.

“I'm not getting fresh or anything,” she said, trying to ignore the recovering super-
villain headed for them. “I just figure he shouldn't be able to physically touch us under any
conditions.”

“Oh, I'm so good with that,” Wendy agreed, firing. Rachini stopped, considered them
for a moment, and then smiled.

He disappeared, and Cordelia was about ready to heave a sigh of relief when she
realized she had disappeared too, as had Wendy.

“Where are we?” she hissed to her gadget-knowledgeable friend.

“Teleported to his evil lair's my guess,” came the answer.

“Perfect.”

“Hold on to this a second,” Wendy said, giving Cordelia her gun and fishing around in
her utility belt. Yes, she had a utility belt. Cordelia wondered if it was required Middleman
gear, and if so, made a mental note to never sign up for that particular job.

“What are you doing?” she asked, looking around for any signs of Rachini.

“Finding protection,” Wendy hissed, pulling out a little gray round thing of some kind.

“It's time to die,” a high, grating voice said from behind them. They whirled to find Rachini pointing his gun at them.

“What, no monologue?” Wendy asked. He fired and she hit a button on her gray thing.

The blast never reached them, instead seeming to be absorbed by a translucent shield
that shimmered around the two girls.

Cordelia made another mental note to at least think about getting some of those and
carrying them in her purse.

Rachini's eyes narrowed and he tried again, varying his shots and positions. Nothing
worked. He advanced toward them and Cordelia was about to get ready to stick out her tongue
when his hand reached through the shield and closed about her neck. Her throat constricted and
suddenly breathing didn't come naturally anymore.

He sneezed again and withdrew his hand and Cordelia fell back, rubbing her throat.

“Rock salt? Not a bad idea,” Wendy said, smearing herself more thoroughly.

“Oh yeah,” Cordelia agreed. Rachini said some foul things that the Tardis really
should have been more considerate about airing in her head and stomped out.

“Okay, let's get out of here,” Wendy said.

“I don't think he's just gonna let us,” Cordelia said, taking stock of their
surroundings – a natural cave formation, rocksalt free, and probably deep underground. They
had a wall to their backs and the only way out looked to be the one Rachini had taken.

“True, but most likely he's gone to find another way to kill us,” Wendy said. “This
shield will block all projectile weapons and the rocksalt should keep him from physically
slaughtering us, but he could always cut our throats with a knife.”

“After you,” Cordelia said. They cautiously made their way toward the exit. Rachini
was waiting for them. They backed up again and headed for the wall. Rachini watched them go,
a nasty look in his eyes.

“Was he?”

“Yeah.”

“Eating a-”

“Yup.”

“I think I'm gonna be sick.”

“Me too.”

They waited.

“How long does that thing last?”

“Not long.”

“The Doctor better get his big head over here soon,” Cordelia said.

“I'm sure they’re all on their way. Seriously, I know what you told me, but I don't
think you have any reason to worry about him rescuing you.”

“The man unnerves me,” Cordelia admitted. “Me, Cordelia Chase, unnerver of men
everywhere! The stupidest thing is that, well, he's amazing. He's like a kid sometimes and
he's exciting and I've seen some cool things since I've been with him and he knows so much,
but...I have this thing about the people I love not letting me help them.”

Wendy smiled at her and Cordelia grimaced.

“Crap, I just said I loved him, didn't I?”

“You sure did.”

“Well, forget it. It's not love love, it's just that the stupid idiot made me care
about him and won't return the favor.”

“Can't help you there. My boss is all about showing the caring. He's probably
recording a stupid Code 47 for me as we speak.”

“Stupid what?”

“I guess it's not stupid. There was a time when I recorded one too. A message for if
we die on a mission. And sappy as it is, it's nice knowing he cares.”

“Gee, thanks for making me feel better!”

“Sorry. Not my intent. I guess I'm just going to channel him for a second and say
that even if the Doctor has this emotional closeness issue, you can't give up on him because it
can get lonely saving the world or the universe as it may be and whatever trauma happened to
him, he obviously needs help getting over it.”

“How touching,” Rachini said, coming back in, aforementioned knives clutched in his
fists.

“Been nice knowing ya,” Wendy said, gripping her gun.

Cordelia moved into the fighting stance Angel had taught her and wished for a sword.

“You too.”

She heard a sound and there had never been a more blessed noise than the engines of the
Tardis


***


The Doctor tried to steady the Tardis as it materialized inside a cave. There was no smooth floor and they ended up on an incline and everything looked rather tilted, which could be fun later on.

Logan and the Middleman re-entered the room smelling heavily salted. The Doctor
suppressed a smile, never completely done amazing himself at making his companions do things
that he had no intention of doing. And as horrible as this situation was, he was glad to be
doing things again.

“You ready?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” the Middleman replied clearly.

Logan simply nodded and the Doctor opened the doors.

There was an explosion in their general direction and Logan barely made it back inside
before the flames engulfed him.

“Jammer!” Logan cried and the Doctor nodded impatiently.

“I've got it, now go!”

The Doctor pushed harder on the jammer controls and there was the sound of cursing from
outside and he smiled.

Logan and the Middleman slipped out and the Doctor sat down on the Tardis steps, as it
were, to keep the situation under control. From what he could see, Cordelia and Wendy were
fighting to keep from being knifed. They also were covered in rocksalt and he grinned. Clever
girl, that Cordelia.

The Middleman fired, his weapons more effective now that the Doctor was jamming the
wristwatch. Rachini fumbled with his buttons and it suddenly got a lot harder. Rachini turned
to face the Middleman allowing Cordelia and Wendy to slip around him and join Logan who was
slinking toward them in the back.

“Did you miss me?” he asked.

“Like a skin rash,” Cordelia replied and hugged him. Logan's face contorted weirdly,
but he seemed to get over it and beckoned them to follow him back to the Tardis.

“What about him?” Cordelia asked, gesturing at the Middleman who was bleeding from the
forehead.

Wendy shouted in anger and dropped her now useless shield gadget, shooting her gun with
reckless abandon.

“Atta girl, Dubbie,” the Middleman said, bringing his own gun into play.

“Well, I guess we're useless,” Cordelia said.

“Yeah,” Logan agreed. “You noticed that too, huh?”

“If I had a sword...” she said.

“If I had a gun...” he replied.

“Trust me, that guy eats guns for breakfast.”

“How indigestible of him.”

“He also eats other things.”

“Do I wanna know?”

“Not really, might do indigestible things to you.”

“Well, we can't have that.”

“Oh, no, we must protect your tender tummy.”

“I gotta be on the go to rescue Kendall lookalikes.”

“I thought you didn't even like this Kendall.”

“I don't, but it's hard not to think about her when it looks like she's standing right
in front of me.”

“I apologize for looking like your cradle-robbing girlfriend, but I doubt Veronica
would be happy to hear you talking like that.”

“Nope, but then she generally doesn't like anything I have to say.”

“Considering how many times she's taken you back, I doubt it.”

“When did you get quite so savvy?”

“Since being forced to face my own fictional mortality.”

“How nice for you.”

“Oh, it was just lovely, smothered in salt, nasty villains trying to kill me.”

“At least you didn't have to bathe in it.”

“You did what?”

“The Doctor's idea.”

“Oh, he's right back on top again, isn't he?”

“Seems to have snapped out of it.”

“Could you two quit gabbing and join the rest of us?” the Doctor finally called in
exasperation, glad they were back to bantering instead of fighting and not wanting to have to
deal with why he felt that way.

“Excuse me,” Logan said politely to Cordelia and headed back toward the Doctor's side.

Wendy and the Middleman were still fighting the good fight and Rachini was very
hampered by his lack of gadgetry. But the Doctor could see that wouldn't last very long.
Rachini never stayed down forever, even if he appeared to be having an allergy attack.

A blow from Rachini's steel gloves sent Wendy reeling and after knocking the Middleman
backwards, Rachini turned towards her and aimed the knife downwards.

“Hey!” Cordelia shouted and Rachini didn't even blink. The Middleman threw himself on
Rachini's leg, dragging him far enough away that the knife only grazed Wendy's thigh. Logan
rushed in and dragged her toward the safety of the Tardis.

“Hey, hey,” she said, staggering to her feet. “There are hands that go there but they
are not the hands of you.”

“Oh, I'll just leave you to it then,” he said, but he let go.

“Doctor, do something spectacular,” Cordelia said, watching the Middleman fighting for
his life and probably getting ready to help, sword or no sword.

“What makes you think I can do anything?” he asked slyly.

“Because you're the most wonderful man in the universe,” she said and obviously meant
it.

“Shall we leave you two alone?” Logan asked.

“Say, Logan?” the Doctor queried.

“Yes, Doctor?”

“Ever wonder what happened to the rest of the rocksalt?”

“Why yes, Doctor, it's been weighing heavily on my mind.”

“Rest easy then,” the Doctor replied, grinning and turned the jammer around.

“Rachini,” he said, standing up tall.

While the alien had ignored everything said to him since they'd met, he didn't ignore
the Doctor. As he turned, the Middleman kicked him heavily in the back and as the villain
stumbled forward, flipped out of the way.

“What do you want?”

“I want you to stop hurting people.”

“That's not possible.”

“Probably not, but you always get a choice and this is the one I'm offering you. I'll
put you back in your world if you surrender and you can do whatever fictional things they come
up with for you.”

“You can say what you like,” Rachini answered with a sneer, “but I don't negotiate. I
kill. That's my whole plan.”

“And it's...” prompted Wendy. Rachini didn't even look at her.

“It's not sheer elegance in its simplicity, Wendy,” the Doctor said. “It's just evil.
And this is what you do to evil.” He released the button he'd been holding down and the
rocksalt flew out of the end of the jammer and went straight past Rachini's shields and into
his skin, into his bloodstream and the villain faltered, choked, turned red and fell down,
dying as he hit the ground.

“That's the first time I've ever seen anyone killed by salt,” Cordelia commented.

“Watch Supernatural sometime,” Wendy answered.

“I wish those boys had had a better upbringing,” the Middleman said and sighed.

“What are you even talking about?” Logan asked. “Never mind, a show after my time,
right? Why is everything after my time?”

“You really should know about Buffy,” the Doctor said, “your family is in the
entertainment business after all.”

“Blame me for having a life,” Logan muttered and the Doctor could practically see him
resolving to watch every single one of the shows when he got back. He chuckled and felt better
than he had in awhile, even if he knew Logan's desires probably wouldn't get realized.

“Right, well, time to get going,” he said. “We've got to get somewhere and we've only
got a hundred years to do it in.”

“I daresay you'll make it,” the Middleman said, actually daring to clap the Doctor on
the back. “This is a fine team you've got here.”

“Come in, and try not to bleed on the carpet,” the Doctor said, resisting the urge to
roll his eyes.

Once they had all trooped into the Tardis and various medical concerns had been taken
care of and the Marvellians had been alerted that the danger was over, the Doctor did some
configuring with the Tardis and addressed his make-believe charges.

“Now, you guys know what's going to happen. You're going to get put into a comic
book. The show's over.”

“Stop being so melodramatic,” Wendy said. “We get it already. We're alive and well in
fandom and that's all I really care about. I don't want to live in reality if it means being
away from certain people.”

“Well said, Dubbie,” the Middleman said proudly. “Send us home, Doctor.”

“And heaven help home,” the Doctor said.

The Middleman shook hands with all of them as did Wendy and it was all really kind of
sad, but the Doctor in no way regretted sending them away. One set of irrational humans was
enough.

“Don't forget what I said about identities,” Cordelia told Wendy.

“Don't forget what I said,” Wendy replied. The Doctor bit his tongue. It was getting
harder for him not to make comments about that not being possible.

The Middleman clapped Logan on the shoulder this time, called him a fine young man, at
which Logan did roll his eyes, and then they were gone.

“Well, alone at last,” the Doctor said.

“Oh, the Doctor missed having it be just the three of us,” Logan said.

Cordelia nodded, grinning like a Chesire cat.

“And I've decided it doesn't even matter if he'll admit it or not.”

“You two are something so ridiculous I don't even have words for it,” the Doctor said.
“And that's saying something.”

“It is indeed,” said Logan. “So, Doc-” he ignored the vicious glare the Doctor sent
him- “where is Chuck Cunningham, huh? Why does he elude us so?”

“Probably to avoid you,” the Doctor said, and stalked out of the room.

“You really are the most wonderful man in the universe.” He could just barely hear
Cordelia say it under her breath and he almost went back inside to hug her, but he was stopped,
mostly by a snap in the air and the appearance of a huge crowd of people that he grew to
realize, with a sinking feeling, was practically the entire casts of both Boy Meets
World
and Saved by the Bell.

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