Cloaked Level 6
Member No.: 53
Joined: 10-October 05
Title: Shades Of Life
Author: Asthenia182 (Tara)
East Wing Character: Mirrorverse-based. Remus- and Tara-heavy, 'cause that's how I roll.
Warnings: I think we all should have ass-kicking boots, honestly.
Summary: She can accept that there are worlds where they never find each other.
Notes: I wrote this... what, about July, I wanna say. My computer says July 4th, so we'll go with that. Anyways, I wrote this, early one morning, because I thought of it, and wanted to write it, so I did. Title comes from "Across The Universe" by The Beatles, which I think is strangely and awesomely appropriate.
She can accept that there are worlds where they never find each other. He gets married, and she gets married, and they never come in contact, because there’s never any reason to. No disasters, no curses, no Spookies to hunt down.
And she can accept that there are worlds where they find each other too late. He’s married, and she’s married, and they’re just friends. They are partners in crime – or, partners in fighting crime, as it were. At the end of the day, she goes home to her husband and two kids – enough for That Her, because she loves her husband, she really does, but when she started working again, home life got put on hold.
And he goes home to his wife and one child, and they play, but he’s tired, because he gets tired pretty easily, after that attack when he was a child. No werewolves, no magic in this world. Instead, he was playing outside, and he was attacked by a normal wolf, and had to stay in the hospital for a long time, just so they could make sure he didn’t have rabies.
The first time she met one of her Selves, they were with a team, trying to locate a pair of Spookies that had caused a bit of ruckus in Times Square on the Fourth of July. She knew exactly where they were, so it wasn’t that hard of a case. But most of them enjoy a hunt, and sometimes she gets to fire a paintball gun on these types of cases, which is always fun. Not tonight. So the team heads off, paintball guns – and one slingshot – while she watched the fireworks from Central Park.
He stays by her side for the night, because it’s New York City, and it’s almost dark, and people asking for clues can slow down her phone. And sometimes he gets hit by a pebble, and sometimes it’s an accident, but he doesn’t want to take his chances tonight.
After the fireworks, she’s still giving clues, and they’re both hungry. There’s a burger joint not far from the rendezvous point, so they opt for some cheeseburgers and milkshakes for dinner, instead of taking their chances in their own kitchen.
They’re sitting outside, talking about Broadway at a covered table, when two familiar figures rush past. New York Her and New York Him, arm in arm, laughing. It starts to rain, and the two duck under an awning. NY Him brushes soaking hair off Her face, and they laugh a little before they kiss.
The New York Selves rush off, in this world where there’s no Curse, but they’ve both got wands. Seconds later, both of their phones go off, and they find out that that slingshot reigns victorious once again.
Later on, she’s sitting in her office – pre-renovation, so it’s a blinding white, and her corkboard doesn’t zoom, but that’s okay – at her desk. Her field report is almost finished, even though it’s just paperwork for paperwork’s sake. One of the team had taken a camera, so they had video of the whole trek.
She signs off at the end, and sends it to the appropriate authorities. Her computer is off and she’s straightening her desk.
“How long were you planning on standing there?”
“However long it takes.”
He asks her to dinner – a real dinner, not just a shared meal – and they go to Costa’s the next free night they have. They kiss at the restaurant, and again under an awning, after it starts to rain – not by coincidence, because she has a strange sense of humor. They kiss again before they go into the mansion everyone lives in, and one last time when he leaves her at the door to her private quarters.
The second time, it was completely by accident. And they were lucky that time, too. A gnome-demon with schizophrenia and some daddy-issues – and textbook case, honestly – somehow made it to the backyard of a civilian, in a Normal World. They had to fix it, and so they had to ask to go into the yard and find it. It would take ten minutes, if they were lucky. Fifteen, if it was a biter.
What a surprise it was when the door opened, and standing there would be – well – her. And behind her, sitting on the couch, confused, would be him. Normal Her and Normal Him. They’re married, and they have four children – Suzanne, Madeline, Edmund, and Isaac – and they have two greyhounds – Ulric and Frida. They’re perfectly happy with their work – she as a columnist, he as a journalist. They both have novels in progress, and she is a marvelous cook.
They stayed for dinner, after finding and sending away the gnome. How could they not stay? Both sets would always wonder, and it wasn’t like they were going to have a classic mix-up, worst-case scenario. How could they, when Normal Her wasn’t even wearing ass-kicking boots, and certainly didn’t have a Starfleet pin on her sweater?
When they got home that night, it was bittersweet. The life they could’ve had, if there were no Red Curse, and no magic. But without the Curse, they wouldn’t have found each other here, and so they would be alone. There was no use thinking about it, because they were together now, and they were happy.
They’d stumbled upon the Other Selves pretty much on accident, too, because, really, how could you know where you were sometimes? Lonely Selves, Friendly Selves, Loving Selves, Circus Selves – he helps with the elephants, and she tells fortunes. Band Selves – that was fun. She sang, and he discovered that he had a natural talent for piano. There were so many.
There were some that blew her mind, like when they found out that their counterparts were both dogs, and it was a 101 Dalmatians kind of scenario, except they were both fixed, so even when their owners met, there were definitely not 101 greyhounds running around.
Some broke her heart. They’d seen the outcome of a lot of different stories. He dies in the War, with his wife at his side. She’s too young and too Muggle to know any different, but she knows constantly that something isn’t quite right, even when she’s getting married, or when she’s putting one of her two children to sleep.
Lily and James die saving Harry when he’s just a baby, and his life is one of loneliness and pain, as well as finding joy. They only see this from years later, after following another demon lead to his neighborhood, and see him playing with his children in the yard, Ginny looking on fondly.
Harry sees them, freaks out, tries to reconcile that one of his dad’s best friends is alive, and younger than him. He tells the whole story, and they can see that it’s been a hard road. He helps them find the Spooky – after all, that’s what he does – and they thank him and leave with a pie that Ginny made, and discover that she’s a fantastic baker.
True, they don’t always find Other Selves. There are too many worlds to find them all, and after seeing the Fates they’ve seen – World War Two, in particular – they decided to let whatever happens happen. The Blitz wasn’t exactly what they had in mind when they grabbed threads to escape a nasty curse.
They visit their Normal Selves on occasion, just to see how everyone is. Suzanne and Madeline are doing well in sixth form, studying for their A-levels. Edmund and Isaac are in their tenth year, causing trouble. All of them are involved with their local theatre group, and they’re actually quite good performers.
It’s always a little poignant when they get home after a visit. They’re married properly now – getting married to keep him from being deported doesn’t quite count to either of them – and sharing living quarters. Her office is a light shade of yellow, and her corkboard zooms now, and her desk wasn’t found in an alley and didn’t come with instructions and Allen wrenches. Everyone hates IKEA in their home.
It’s quiet all the way up the stairs. Usually, there are explosions and voices and people singing from various rooms. Even Sara’s desk is unoccupied. It’s only midnight, but the only sound is of their shoes against the marble floors.
Everyone scatters after one of their visits, now. One of the early visits resulted in shouting and tears. She knew it would happen, saw it coming, but it had to happen, because they both had to know it.
They hold hands up the stairs, The Subject left behind them. They could risk having children, but it wasn’t as safe as it was for the Other Selves. Gifts can be hard to deal with, and work would be stressful. This world was so much more complicated than the others. She had a hard time Seeing sometimes, because of all the Unknowns.
Their soles tap, and she opens the door to their quarters. They get ready for bed in silence. After the lights are out, he holds her, and they smile in the dark at each other.
“Greta was pretty excited for us.” She whispers.
“Ryan was, too.” He answers. They shift a little to get more comfortable. His hand rests on her stomach. “Eight more months.”
An explosion sounds from across the manor. The entire structure shakes, and music starts up from somewhere within the Library. A loud yelp and multiple pops resound in the Entry Hall.
“What happened?” He asks.
“Sirius shot another one of Sara’s vases. On accident, he says. She’ll tell him to stop bringing his slingshot on missions, but he’ll forget and do it again tomorrow. Then she’ll put him on kitchen duty for two weeks. We should probably start making reservations and notes to go out for dinner now.” Her voice is low and mellow, and a little groggy.
“Right. I’ll call a few places tomorrow. And I’ll send a notice to the manager at The World’s End in the morning.” He whispers lightly, and a post-it with a steady red scrawl appears on the door where he’s sure to see it.
“I’ll send Adi and Mel notes tomorrow morning.” Another post-it appears on her computer monitor, a few rooms over.
Silence descends, and their eyes shut.
“I’m so glad you found me.”
“I’m glad you found me, too.”
She can accept that there are many worlds left, where they don’t meet, or they meet too late. It’s hard to come to terms with. But she knows that for every sad Fate, there’s one that’s ten times happier, and that’s something they both have to smile about when they go to sleep at night.
And they both know that, of all the Happy Fates, this one is The Best.
I'd like to say that it just cracks me up that some of my favorite things to reference are, of all things, Starfleet and gnome-demons.
This is also the gnome-demons' first appearance, technically, because I wrote this fic before all the other ones where they show up.