October 2017



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Fic: Slipping Through the Cracks

Title: Slipping Through the Cracks
Fandoms: Legend of the Seeker/Doctor Who
Characters/Pairing: Gen, Zedd, Cara, Richard, Kahlan; the Doctor, Amy, Rory
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,900

Author's Notes: Written for the Legendland crossover challenge. Silly crack for which I don't apologise at all.

Summary: Sometimes there are cracks between universes, and sometimes things slip through.

As a Wizard of the First Order, Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander had seen his share of magical events, but even he had to admit that whoever was behind this latest spell was exceptionally gifted.

If the large blue box had simply appeared, it would have been less impressive – Zedd had seen his share of cloaking spells, and they weren't actually that difficult to master if you had the talent and if that talent had been honed. But this box didn't simply appear as if by magic. It arrived, groaning and wavering in place, slowly taking shape.

He thought that the grass flattening underneath it as it flickered in and out of existence was a really nice touch.

All in all, he was impressed, and it took a lot to impress a wizard of his experience.

It was a pity then that the odd young man who appeared out of the box was slightly less impressive as these things went. He wasn't even wearing robes, just some strange outfit with breeches that ended an inch above his shoes, oddly matched socks, a jacket that didn't seem worth the effort given how few pockets it seemed to have and a bow around his neck.

It was the last that had Zedd raising one eyebrow. What kind of man wore a bow around his neck?

"Oh, hello," the stranger said, jerking to a stop as though he'd only just seen them. His arms flailed for a moment as he spun in place, presumably checking that his companions were right behind him, before he spun back around to face Zedd, as ungainly as a new born Shadrin. "I wonder if you can help us. We seem to be a bit… misplaced."

"Lost, Doctor," said the flame-haired girl who had followed him out of the box – and it must have been cramped to fit three of them in there. "The word you're looking for is 'lost'."

"Yes, yes." Doctor flapped his hands dismissively, not even looking back at his companion, not when his eyes were so busy darting over Zedd and his companions curiously. "I think that's overstating the case a little bit, Pond."

Pond huffed out an impatient sigh, one that sounded strangely familiar; Zedd studiously avoided looking in Cara's direction.

"But all the same," Doctor continued, "I wouldn't mind some pointers…?"

He was looking hopefully at Zedd as his voice rose at the end of his sentence and Zedd swallowed down a sigh of his own. May the Creator spare him from the young and unskilled.

"You're about two leagues from Hartsville," he offered.

"Ah." Doctor looked a little plaintive. "I was hoping for something a little bit more… general. Could we start with 'country' perhaps?"

Richard and Kahlan shared a look before Richard glanced over at Zedd, raising his own eyebrow. Zedd waggled his back, hoping that Richard got the message. Strange wizards with magical boxes were not to be trusted.

"You're in the Midlands."

Apparently Richard hadn't got the message.

"Ah hah!" Doctor spun on his heels again, flashing a triumphant expression at his companions. "Told you I'd get you there."

"This doesn't look anything like Birmingham to me," the sandy haired man, who had been silent until now, said, darting a glance towards Pond. "Does it?"

Pond scowled back at him, and it was truly an impressive look, one that rivalled Cara's for heart-stopping power.

"No," she snapped. "This is definitely not the Midlands, not unless we've slipped back a few hundred years. Have we?"

The last question was snapped towards Doctor, who took a moment to look Zedd and his companions up and down and then said, slightly sheepishly, "Ah."

"I take it that's a no, then."

"Well, to be fair. A lot of plants have a Midlands. A bit like a lot of them having a North, really."

Pond folded her arms and looked Zedd up and down, her expression just as curious as Doctor's had been. There was an air of challenge in it, though, something that had been missing from Doctor's, and beside Zedd, Cara shifted position, one hand coming to rest on the handle of her agiel.

"I don't remember them wearing that much leather in the Middle Ages."

"Well, you know," Doctor said vaguely. "Natural materials and all that." He gave Cara a shrewd look, one that seemed considerably more assessing than Zedd would have expected given his buffoonish behaviour to date. "Perhaps introductions are in order. I'm the Doctor, and these are the Ponds, Amelia and Rory. Amelia's the one who looks like she could eat you for breakfast if she was hungry enough."

"Amy," said the redhead pointedly.

"Rory Williams," said the sandy-haired man. "Amy's my… wife."

"Hence Ponds," the Doctor announced. Rory opened his mouth, looking for a second as though he was going to interrupt, and then shut it again with a snap, his expression resigned.

Zedd opened his mouth, about to return the favour, when Cara spoke first. "Are you a wizard?" she demanded, taking a step forward, her stance edging towards aggressive, which was usual for Cara. For a second, Zedd almost expected these strange folk to be intimidated – people usually were on encountering a Mord-Sith, let alone one as fierce as Cara – but Amy merely rolled her eyes and the Doctor looked intrigued.

Rory, Zedd noted, was eyeing Richard's sword with a slightly concerned look.

"Am I a wizard?" the Doctor mused, his eyes bright and his tone distracted. "I suppose so. Magic Man in a box, that's me."

"Mad man, more like," Amy muttered, but the look she cast towards the Doctor was affectionate rather than condemning. "But you haven't told us who you are."

She gave Zedd a look that was as shrewd as the Doctor's had been, with a thick layer of shrewish on top of it.

Zedd drew himself up to his – admittedly impressive – height and announced, "I am Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander, Wizard of the First Order. And these are my companions, Cara Mason, the Mother Confessor Kahlan Amnell and – last but certainly not least – my grandson, Richard Rahl. The Seeker," he added when the Doctor failed to be suitably impressed.

Rory, on the other hand, had gone as white as a sheet. He reached over and tugged at the edge of the Doctor's jacket, his eyes never leaving Richard.

"Doctor," he whispered, his voice carrying clearly in spite of that. "That's Richard Cypher. And that's the Sword of Truth."

"Really? How very nice, Rory. Does that mean you know where we are?"

"Apparently we're in the middle of Terry Goodkind's fantasy series."

The Doctor blinked, for the first time looking as if he were out of his depth. "Ah," he said and blinked again, his hands waving vague circles in the air. He looked at Rory, who nodded vehemently, and then he looked at Zedd, who drew himself back up to his full height.

"Ah," the Doctor said again, the look in his eyes growing distant, as though his mind was whirring behind them. He didn't look like the foppish young man who had leapt out of his box like a puppet, all gangly strings and no common sense. The look in his eyes no was old, experienced, and for the first time Zedd started to believe that this could be a wizard, not just some poor fool who had been magicked here by someone else.

"That would explain the bump then," he said.

"What bump?" Rory asked, his brow crinkling in confusion. Judging by the furrows there when his face cleared again, Zedd was beginning to think that frowning in befuddlement might be his normal expression.

"Oh, nothing to worry about," the Doctor said breezily, although Zedd didn't miss the way he was edging back to his box. "Just a rip opening up in the fabric of space and time. Between universes, as a matter of fact, unless I'm very much mistaken."

"You're saying… we're in another universe now. Not just on another planet?"

"Yes, yes," the Doctor flapped, his movements growing more agitated.

"A fictional universe?"

"Wait, what?" Amy grabbed hold of the Doctor with one hand, wrapping the fingers of her other hand around Rory's upper arm. Zedd wasn't really surprised when both men flinched, and he stole a sidelong look at Cara.

She caught his look and glared at him.

"Well, they're… books…" Rory trailed off, staring at Richard, open-mouthed. "The Sword of Truth books."

"That big pile of books you have in the bathroom that you've never got around to reading?"

"I've read some of them," Rory protested, giving his wife a mildly offended look before his attention was drawn back to Richard. Oh, they were definitely married.

"Not actually the point," the Doctor interrupted, stopping Amy's next little marital rejoinder in its tracks. "The point is that sometimes universes collide and create little cracks. And things have a habit of slipping through cracks, like loose change or your last biro. Ideas, for example. Stories. What's real in one universe becomes fictional in another. So…"

"Does this mean that there's really a universe out there where Alice follows the rabbit?"

Kahlan and Richard were watching the exchange with matching expressions of confusion. Cara – as always – was shifting impatiently, her fingers tapping against her folded arms. Any second now she'd be rolling her eyes and then it would be all downhill from there.

"Can we talk about this later, please, Amy? Like when we're safely back in the Tardis?" The Doctor gestured towards his blue box, his expression growing more frantic.

"What's the rush?"

"Cracks have a habit of closing, Pond, and I'd rather we were on the right side of it when it does. Especially since they only tend to last a matter of minutes. Right." He clapped his hands together, rubbing his palms against each other as he shot Zedd and his companions a keen look. Zedd didn't think he missed much, this Doctor, this mad man in a box.

And something was tickling at Zedd's memory, some stories of his own.

"Zeddicus, Cara, Kahlan, Richard. Very nice meeting you all, but we have to be going now. Have fun storming the castle, or whatever it is that you're doing.

"Come along, Ponds."

With that the mad or magic man disappeared into his box, his companions trailing in his wake. Rory paused long enough on the threshold to raise one hand in a tentative wave goodbye and then he, too, was gone, swallowed by its depths.

The depths that a box that small shouldn't have.

"What," asked Cara explosively, "was that?"

The box started to wheeze and groan again, the blue light on its top flashing. And then it gradually faded from sight, leaving nothing but a square of flattened grass behind.

Something clicked in Zedd's memory, something read in a book so long ago, when the book was even older, pages worn and fragile under his youthful fingertips.

A wizard who travelled through time and space, battling evil wherever he found it. A mad man in a blue box. A wanderer who his enemies called The Oncoming Storm.

"Stories slip through the cracks," Zedd mused, barely registering Cara's question. And then he gave himself a mental little shake, smiling at her disgruntled expression. "Stories slip through the cracks both ways, my dear, and I think that might have been one of them."

The end