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[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 Nine: Multiple Trips to Mandyville


“And what's your name?” Cordelia asked.

“Judy Winslow, what's yours?” The girl seemed like she would be a little firecracker.
Perfect, just what they didn't need, thought Logan.

“I'm Cordelia and this is Logan. We're...friends.”

“I highly doubt it. I've never seen you before. And I don't know what your game is,
but I want to go home right now.”

“Maybe we should let her,” Logan said, nudging Cordelia. He was anxious to hear what
she wanted to tell him. And the more interruptions, the slower they'd get to Marvello.

“I'm getting the Doctor,” Cordelia said and left Logan alone with the teenage girl who
looked about ready to kick his ass.

“Who are you?” she asked him, keeping her distance.

“I'm just a guy,” Logan said, putting his hands up. “Don't be scared.”

“Of you?” she scoffed. “Don't be silly.”

Logan had to smile at her bravado. He liked it. The lights flickered and he frowned.
That had never happened before.

“What's going on?” Judy demanded.

The Doctor and Cordelia appeared at the end of the corridor.

“What's with the lights, Doc?” Logan asked, concerned.

“Reality's crumbling, as per usual,” the Doctor said, sounding tired. “I'm going to
send her home now. You and Cordelia go and get ready to land. I'm getting us to Marvello now!”

Logan and Cordelia exchanged a glance and did what he said. The last thing Logan heard
was Judy's defiant voice.

“You touch me and I'll have my dad put you in jail so fast your head will spin, mister!”

“Tell me,” Logan said.

The lights flickered again and Cordelia looked worried.

“I was afraid of this. The more characters keep punching holes into reality, the more
unstable it gets. We have to stop these aliens. We can't keep stopping to send individuals
home. I don't want to tell the Doctor that, but I'm sure he knows.”

“Probably,” Logan agreed. “But tell me about us. What did you want to say?”

“We're, well, we're real now, but we don't really exist. We might seem all personality-
imbued and real on tv, but we're not. We're following a script laid out for us. If I ever get
my hands on a certain Joss Whedon, he'll be singing a different tune, I can tell you.”

“What does that matter? We already knew that.”

“So, everything that's happening to us now, that's real. What becomes of that when we
go back to La La land? Are we some sort of mutant hybrid? I don't think so. I don't think
there's any point to you trying to remember new shows to watch or the Doctor telling us
anything about his past, because we won't remember it!”

Logan blinked and tried to process the information.

“Then why bother to keep us?”

“Well, I don't think he did know where to send us at first. Now we're all he has and
he doesn't want to let us go and frankly, we kinda don't want to go, but if he doesn't, the
universe will collapse! He's making too many concessions and that's partly on us.”

Logan shook his head, but the whole Tardis shook before he could answer and a blonde
girl popped up in front of them.


***

The Doctor massaged his aching shoulder where Judy Winslow had used whatever moves Carl had taught her and bruised him. He had to laugh at her antics though he could understand her fear and applauded her sense. Anyway, she was gone now and he didn't have any more time for niceties. He could feel all of space quivering and crumbling and it was all his fault, even if he hadn't started it. Logan and Cordelia came back in the console room leading Becky Connor.

“Number one, I presume,” he said.

“She's a bit confused,” Cordelia said.

“And I don't blame her, but it's time to get unconfused. She, at least, has a future.”

The Doctor threw some switches and she appeared, but another girl popped up in her
place. Logan and Cordelia jumped even though they had to be used to such things happening.

“Becky number two,” the Doctor said, waggling his fingers. “Goodbye.” She disappeared
and girl number one appeared.

“What is this?” Logan asked. The girl raised an eyebrow.

“Who are you all?”

“She doesn't remember us,” Cordelia said, a too-knowing tone in her voice. The Doctor
didn't have time to think about that. More switch throwing and she was gone, but number two
was back and he'd expected that, so he made her go too. Then they both appeared together and
the Tardis started shaking and they all fell to the ground.

The Doctor sent both Beckys back to where they came from and then hastily set a course
to Marvello.

“We've got to solve this now,” he said. “Go, go and search the ship. Find any more
characters, because we need to make sure the Tardis can get where it needs to go. I don't have
time to explain, but there are too many rips in reality and we've got to send you all back.”

Logan and Cordelia didn't argue, just went and did what he'd asked them to. He'd never
appreciated them more. There were more alarms going off and Mandy, Founder of Mandyville,
formerly of Washington DC, popped into the Tardis. The Doctor smiled, because what else could he do?

“Fantastic to meet you.”

***

Cordelia and Logan were searching every nook and cranny of the Tardis that they knew. Cordelia knew it couldn't be everything because that ship was more packed full of secrets than anything she'd ever seen.

“So, tell me more,” Logan urged.

“This may sound stupid-” Cordelia began.

“Never stopped you before,” Logan said, grinning, but seemingly more from habit than
anything else.

“-but, I think the Doctor's afraid to let us go. I mean, he wants to be alone and have
his privacy back, but whatever happened to him - that war, his people being gone, it's made him
terrified of being alone. So, he should have sent us home a long time ago, but our continued
presence here has helped cause these cracks to rupture too far. That and whoever's doing this
being maniacally and trope-crazy.”

“The Doctor already blames himself too much,” Logan said, ducking under a doorway.

“You don't have to tell me that,” Cordelia snorted. “The man's a one man brooding
machine. Why couldn't I have gotten a break from that?” she asked the air.

“But back to how we get back. About what he's not telling us. Are you saying we're
going to die?”

“I don't know for sure. But that seems likely, doesn't it? Let's take it all in
point, okay? The Cowhead was real, not fictional, so he just needed to send it home. Okay,
that's fine. Rimmer left his show and kept coming back for more episodes. The Doctor did
cheat a bit because there was supposed to be a version of Rimmer in between where he sent him,
but that's really okay for that show, believe me. It's ridiculous. The point is that there
was more for Rimmer to do. But Bo...she wasn't supposed to be anywhere. She didn't exist
anymore. If she'd just suddenly shown up in the box at the end of the movie, that would change
things, but the Doctor did it so that even though she was in the box, nobody saw her in the
movie. But, she was physically there, so even though Toy Story has ended, she was there
when it went into fandom limbo or whatever.”

“I don't get it,” Logan said, frustrated. “I should've done trope studying too.”

“No, you just got to watch a lot of tv,” she said.

“It was hard...” he said quietly.

“I imagine so,” she said without spite and then kept on with her trope list. “Okay,
so, after Bo came the Imp. I'm not quite sure what the Doctor did, but the Imp had literally
no place to be sent back to. He was kaput from his show. If the Doctor had sent him back, he
wouldn't have existed. That seems like death to me. I think the Imp knew that, didn't he keep
saying things like that? So, he had the Doctor cheat. The Doctor made him real somehow, like
some weird Pinocchio science, and sealed up his hole. But it was a cheat, because there's one
more thing in this universe that isn't supposed to be here. The universe likes to keep track.”

“Remind me not to piss off the universe,” Logan said, as they turned to make their way
back to the console room.

“So, after the Imp comes Cecily and we know how that turned out. She was supposed to
die and the Doctor basically just let her say what she wanted even though it was going to
happen anyway.”

“You know how torn up he was about that.”

“I know.” Cordelia punched the wall as they walked. “That doesn't make it any easier.”

“Okay, go on.”

“After Cecily came the Middleman and Wendy and you remember how he kept telling them
that they had to know they weren't going back to their show?”

“Which is weird if they're really going back to be in comic books.”

“Still, they had a place to go back to.”

“Yeah, but they won't be like themselves now. They don't even exist in the first
place,” Cordelia answered, frustrated both by her inability to explain and her inability to
understand.

“Hey, don't short out on me, Chase. Keep going.”

“Okay, and Rachini died and that didn't matter to his timeline because no one knows
what happened to him anyway. Good riddance there. And then there's Cody, but he had another
appearance on the show to make, so the Doctor sent him to that.”

“So, basically I'm going to die,” Logan said. “I have no show to go back to. We're
canceled. I don't have any comic books.”

“Just a whole lot of fanfiction,” Cordelia said. “And I think the Doctor knows that
and he's keeping you here, but the more you stay here, the more real you get and the more
you'll have to lose when you go back. I don't really know. But I just think we need to be
ready to do the self-sacrificing thing for the sake of the universe.”

“How thrilling,” Logan said, but he gave her a short, tight nod and she knew he agreed
with her.

There had been many times in her life when Cordelia Chase had been prepared to die and
she thought that now seemed as good a time as any. From having seen what happened to her on
Angel, she wasn't sure she wanted to go back. If only to be with her friends again -
yes, she did. But, as far as she knew, she was lying in a coma. Or to coin a trope phrase -
Put On A Long Bus Trip.

The Tardis shook again and they stumbled on their way into the console room.

***

The Doctor looked up as his companions reeled into the room looking like they'd had a night on the town.

“Welcome back,” he said, grinning. “Don't you look lovely?”

“Flattery, Doc,” Logan said wryly. There was a flash and a redhead in a blue spandex
suit appeared. Logan's mouth opened wide and the Doctor shook his head.

“Sorry, Beverly,” he said, “we don't have time to talk to you right now. I'd love to,
really. You were fantastic, but the universe is crumbling.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but the Doctor flipped switches and she went.

Beverly Crusher went and Kate Pulaski came and the Doctor sighed again. He'd love to
speak with her too. She'd made the second season of Next Generation a positive delight,
but he didn't have the time.

She'd just started to speak when he sent her away.

“Doctor, I know you know this, but we can't afford these kinds of setbacks,” Cordelia
began, almost apologetically. “Every time we get a new person the Tardis has to stop and we're
that much closer to never getting there.”

“I told the Tardis to stop accepting them,” the Doctor said wearily, energetically
pushing switches and levers and pulling knobs and hitting buttons. “But the resistance is
kinda thin with her just trying to keep her place in reality. She's doing her best. Those
Trikini must be doing a mass pullout.”

There was a long silence where the Tardis whirred and shook and the column went up and
down and his companions didn't speak, for which the Doctor was thankful. They were very close
to their target and he wanted to land in one piece and, hopefully, the right time. It was
embarrassing how much he'd let his own personal feelings interfere with his duty to the
universe at large. Still, he wasn't going to think about that.

Simultaneously, there was a large whump sound and a flash. They'd landed on Marvello
and there was a skeleton wearing a ski cap and skis sitting on the console.

“Do I even want to know?” Cordelia asked, wrinkling her nose.

“Soap operas,” the Doctor sighed and sent poor Bobby back to the attic. “Are you two
ready to meet your maker, so to speak?”

“Very funny,” Cordelia said, walking past him.

“If I don't meet Chuck Cunningham, then I'll be disappointed,” Logan said, following
her.

He was going to miss them, and gloating wasn't refined, thank you very much.

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