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Sympathy for the Devil- Chapter Two 3/3

 

 

Danny had done his best. When Angel arrived at the double gates, just over two and a half hours later, a small but determined-looking group of people were there by the twine cordon to meet him. The bodies of Wheeler and Carter were gone, presumably taken as predicted by Mr. Palmer and his cart, but the gate and the grass and the frozen, packed dirt was still untouched, spattered with dark stains.

Constable Turner and his bike were both lounging against the hedgerow. A blond, shambling boy of about seventeen, who was holding an over-excited mutt of a dog on a leash, was muttering under his breath to another Constable, presumably Paver. Paver was short, and had glasses and a pointed, shrewy face. Two other men, farmhands who just happened to have been in the path of Danny’s recruitment drive by their clothes and vaguely confused expressions, stood to one side, lighting a collection of lanterns.

It was just beginning to snow.

Angel was panting when he finally pulled up to the collection of people in the middle of the dirt road, sweating hard from both running a mile and carrying two very awkward-looking things. He happened to be wearing one of them. To an outside observer, it’d look like he’d sandwiched cleanish sacking onto his uniform, and upon pulling even with the small militia, it turned out to be precisely what he’d done. Lumpy sacking stood out stiffly from his body, and down his back, and he tossed an identical piece of clothing to Danny. It clanked.

Your stab vest,” wheezed Nicholas.

Danny caught it, and turned it over, surprised. “S’not that heavy,” he said, dubiously, but shrugged it on over his tunic. At this point, he would probably have put on a giant donkey head if Angel had said it was a good idea.

He fumbled under the bulky vest, eventually extracting something small and metallic from a pocket and throwing it across to Angel. “I got a load of these out the store,” he said. “In case we need to send a signal.”

Angel sighed, fingering the silver object absently as he caught his breath. “A whistle.” What I wouldn’t give for a radio right now. “Not a bad idea, considering, PC Buttleman.”

He rounded on the other two police officers and the few villagers assembled. “Alright, gentlemen. I’m not sure how much experience any of you have concerning something of this magnitude, but we are going to be methodical, organized, and thinking clearly tonight, got that? No one is to go off without a partner, no one goes running into close-quarters places without me or PC Buttleman first clearing them for you, and we’re certainly not going to go setting barns on fire and trying to stab or shoot the suspect if we do find him, because we do things according to the law, and I will arrest any or all of you if you flout it. Is that understood?”

One of the farmhands raised his hand, uncertainly.

Yes, sir. The– the one with the mustache.”

Wha’ about giving ‘im the good ol’ one-two-punch?” said the man, with the air of one investigating an interesting loophole. He mimed an extremely dangerous if not life-threatening-looking action with his wooden cudgel, provoking some approving murmurs from behind him.

If you think you can knock him out,” said Angel doubtfully, suddenly reminded of Danny in class, asking him about human skull pyrotechnics. His chest hurt a little. “But no unnecessary and-or brutal actions, understand? Our goal is to disarm and apprehend, and your goal is to prevent escape by surrounding each building and being ready to grab him if he slips past us. I want him conscious enough to answer questions by the time we get back to the station.”

Wha’s ‘e say?” muttered someone at the back- possibly the boy with the dog, who Danny had pointed out as Seb Walker.

“‘e says y’can’t smash ‘is bonce in.”

Where d’you reckon we should start?” asked Danny, as the rest of the small search party started to fan out, climbing the stile and fences and heading into the surrounding fields. Snowflakes were starting to settle in the lane, a cold white scattering that crunched sharply underfoot.

Closest, working outwards, like– like spreading ripples, you see? The rest of them should work inwards, so he’ll be pressured to come towards us no matter what.” Angel shrugged the homemade stab vest into a more comfortable position. “And tomorrow morning we’re getting up at the crack of dawn to jog, and then we’re going to perfect these vests and possibly make even more of them. And possibly skip the pub,” he added.

Danny looked slightly dismayed. Evidently, Angel’s chosen combination of the phrases ‘getting up at the crack of dawn’, and ‘we’re’ didn’t exactly delight him. He got his own truncheon out of his belt and held it at the ready, more for something to do than out of any real expectation that anything was going to leap out of the hedge as they left the road. “What, in this weather?”

Angel muttered, “All right, after it stops snowing. It was June twenty-four hours ago for me."

Danny slowed as they started to navigate a ploughed field, striped with frozen grey furrows which were of an ideal height to turn the ankle of anyone trying to traverse them, looking thoughtfully back at the scanty lights of the village. “An’ you really lived– live here? I mean, in– in two-thousand-six. Seven.” He paused. “What’s it like?”

Nicholas stopped as well, more from being surprised that he was suddenly being believed than by any perceived threat to his ankles. “Well… yes. The… houses are bigger, more.. grouped together. Maybe… the best description would be to imagine a… a smaller London, like in your memories. Of course London looks completely different now– Anyway. Sandford’s got a fountain in the middle of it, and there’s running water, which means an end to the outhouses– people can have toilets, showers, baths, and sinks with faucets in their very own houses. Everyone has them. And A/C and heating– mechanical devices which can cool your house in the summer and keep it warm in the winter without firewood or ice.” Nicholas was talking faster and faster, as if getting the words out would create the village right in front of him. “And electricity powers televisions, which is like a box which shows you, I don’t know, whatever you want it to. Children’s cartoons, politicians arguing, dramas, documentaries, films, like I explained before…”

Like a magic lantern,” said Danny, eagerly. “Only with sounds.”

A– oh, yes, exactly! Only the pictures move, and they’ve figured out how to add color to film, so nowadays what you see on telly is practically what you’re seeing now. Except without the… frozen water pelting us in the face, and sitting comfortably at home on a… couch.” Angel coughed. “Well, that’s not even the half of it, really. The Americans made it to the moon, did you know? There’s an American flag on the moon, and their space program is currently checking their prospects on Mars. England’s gotten a lot smaller: we lost India, which by the way is a good thing, because Imperialism is a rotten lie and a lot of people suffer even today because of that– and all the little islands everywhere, so it’s just England, Wales, Scotland, and a tiny fragment of Ireland, which is all called the United Kingdom. We’ve survived two World Wars, which killed around a hundred and twenty-five million people everywhere, and developed weapons so dangerous that they can’t be used, by anyone, without potentially killing everything on the earth. But some things have gotten a lot better– medical services can easily cut people open, remove something like a kidney, put it in someone else’s body, and both of them can get up and be perfectly healthy after that. I’m an organ donor,” he added, a bit breathlessly, feeling dizzy.

Handy thing to know,” remarked a voice from behind them.

With his back to the high thorny hedgerow of the next field, Frank Butterman stood like a tall-shouldered, slightly swaying statue, snowflakes dappling his bloodstained clothes. “Pity nobody’s going to work out how to remove a person’s organs without killing them for at least another hundred years. Though I suppose it never hurts to try,” he added, thoughtfully, and his knuckles tightened around the hilt of the knife in his hand.

Although he was badly startled, something finally clicked in place in Nicholas’s brain, his body deftly scooting itself in front of Danny, taking a stance on the frozen uneven ground. “You– Why are you here, Frank? Why are we here?

Frank laughed. “That’s an uncharacteristically spiritual question, coming from you, isn’t it, Nicholas?” He took another limping step forwards and glanced at Danny, who’d been caught just as much by surprise as Angel and responded by grabbing hastily for his truncheon again. “You had it worked out last night, didn’t you? He’s not my boy.”

No, he’s PC Buttleman, sir,” snapped Angel, unappreciative at being found a source of humor, by this man in particular. “Why don’t you put the knife down? I think you’ve had enough of a body count today, don’t you?”

Oddly, that doesn’t strike me as such a good idea,” said Frank, wobbling a little on his feet. “I think I’d be more than a little foolish to pass up such an… opportunity…” He trailed off, frowned. “…body count?”

The two bastards carrying you off around six last evening. Know anything about that?” With this, Angel darted in, taking advantage of Frank’s hesitation to try and whip his ankles out from under him. They looked like they were hurting, anyway– and might seriously disable him if he could get around that massive knife.

The maneuver was textbook and worked exactly how it was intended to, but it was just unfortunate that Frank hadn’t quite stepped far enough away from the hedge to clear it as he fell. He hit the clustered, unyielding branches with his upper body, scattering snow, and shoved himself off in the direction of Angel, slamming into his ribs with the butt of the knife.

Ark!” screamed Angel, feeling something extremely unpleasant happen to his seventh rib. The vest had taken most of the blow, and had probably kept the rib from shattering to deadly little pieces, but something had definitely given. Nothing could hurt that bad and not have fractured. He coughed, eyes streaming, and tried to kick Frank in the face, and fell over.

Frank rolled, narrowly avoiding a kick that probably would have broken his nose, and caught it on the side of the head instead. He screamed hoarsely and dropped the knife, clutching his skull. Trying to stand, an instinctive move, sent a shocking bolt of raw fire lancing through both ankles, and he stumbled onto his knees and, taking the only option left open to him, went for Angel’s throat with his bare hands, his bloody fingers digging in like a vise.

Danny had frozen. It had all happened so fast. For the first few seconds all he did was watch, truncheon hanging uselessly in his hand, forgotten. But with Angel’s yell of pain something in his head came to life again, and he hurled himself into the fray and grabbed Frank’s arms, forcing them to his sides.

Angel choked, hands around his own throat now, trying to suck the air back into his lungs, and focusing on the bright little point of pain in his chest, expertly kneed Frank in the crotch. “Up,” he rasped. “up behind his back. You’ll feel his arms lock.”

Slightly louder, he managed, “Frank Butterman, you are under arrest for the double murder of wardens Carter and Wheeler. You have the right to remain silent. But it may harm your defense if…” he coughed, painfully, and the point flared, “...if you fail to mention anything that you will later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

From the initial, intensely-focused “gnggn!” noise and the continuing lack of response to anything else, including the formal charge, Frank was currently inhabiting that highly specialised otherworld of pain unimaginable to anyone not in possession of a Y chromosome.

Danny did as he was told, although his attention wandered a bit towards the end. He stared at Nicholas, blinking once or twice in bafflement.

What... was all that you just said?” he asked.

I read him his rights. Christ.” Nicholas crawled out from under the taller man, feeling tentatively under his stab vest. “He snapped my rib.”

We’ll get you back to Dr. Cleaver,” said Danny, anxiously, wishing he could help Angel up instead of kneeling there like an idiot holding Frank’s arms behind his back, especially as all the latter party seemed inclined to do for the moment anyway was curl up and groan. “Call the others back."

Right. I hope he’s got some sort of painkiller that doesn’t involve hitting my head against something, or drinking some hard liquor.” Nicholas took as deep a breath as he dared, feeling his chest creak warningly, and blew into his whistle.

Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! the air shrieked, for miles.

 

*

 

By the time they got back to the station, it was quite dark, and the small party had been reduced by half. The farmhands and the boy with the dog had left for their homes, and Tom Paver had been sent off along the way to bring Dr. Cleaver back to the station with him. The snow by now was two inches deep on the roads, and still falling. Danny walked slowly alongside Angel, still with an armlock on Frank, unwilling to trust Angel’s set of handcuffs the way he’d initially trusted his own.

Wait, wait a minute,” said Angel for the fifth time on their way home, stabilizing himself against the rough surface of the station wall, and taking about ten deep breaths. “Gaaah…” he breathed, balling both fists (even the stiff one). “I think– I think I’m going to have to postpone the jogging session, PC Buttleman.”

I hit him with the hilt, thought Frank, for about the hundredth time. He’d been dwelling silently and rather obsessively on this subject for most of the long walk. The HILT. The one and only non-lethal part of the wretched thing. I had one bloody chance, and I hit him with the HILT.

We’ll get you fixed up in no time,” said Danny, as cheerfully as he could. He was still feeling very guilty for freezing up and not doing anything to stop Angel getting hurt. “Dr. Cleaver’ll get you some laudanum or somefin’, bandage you up, you’ll be right as rain in a day or two.”

If he puts a leech on me,” said Angel, shaking with forced calm, “Or bleeds me for any reason other than to perform some surgery, you’re to kick him out immediately. That’s an order.”

Don’t like blood?” asked Danny, with some surprise.

No, I’m absolutely fine with blood. I’d just like to keep most of it in me,” snarked Nicholas. He felt terrible. “Bloodletting invariably only lowers your immune system, because it’s what’s in your blood that fights off disease. I’d like to heal up faster, if it’s all the same to you.”

Turner, walking just behind them, snorted in a rather sceptical manner. From the sound of it, he was still annoyed at having to let Tom Paver go off to the doctor’s on his bicycle, because he’d put his foot down a badger hole during the search and couldn’t pedal properly. “‘S everyone in London a qualified doctor these days, then?”

Constable Angel?” Emerging into the pool of light beneath the station’s lamp, an elderly man with a beard and a dark tweedy jacket wheeled Turner’s bike out of the alley alongside the building. He propped it against the wall and retrieved a Gladstone bag from the pannier, giving Frank an inquisitive, scathing glance. “Came as quick as I could. What can I do for you?

We know about white blood cells, thought Angel nastily, but decided that it’d probably be for the best to shut up about antibodies and platelets and tiny battles being fought in his bloodstream. He took the time to remove the sacking, gritting his teeth against every little movement.

Well, sir, you could patch up a broken rib on me, and…” He glanced at Frank. “Stop whatever’s happening to his feet. I don’t like having sick people in my custody. It makes me look bad.”

n’ I buggered my ankle,” muttered Turner, as the doctor ushered them through the doorway and into the police station’s small outer room. He was summarily ignored

This time, the desk in the corner was occupied by a young woman in a startlingly floral lavender-coloured blouse, who got up hurriedly as they came in, holding a leather-bound log-book up to her throat like a small shield.

Ah, hrrumph,” said Dr. Cleaver, spotting her and stopping suddenly in the act of carefully lifting Angel’s undershirt aside. “Miss Thatcher, ah, if you wouldn’t mind… run along and bring us a bowl of hot water, could you? And a clean cloth.”

Miss Thatcher scarpered off as quickly as her tiny leather shoes could take her.

Angel was trying very hard not to feel embarrassed at another man poking gently at his bare skin. He’d been to thousands of doctors before, especially for the reconstructive surgery on his hand, but the experience of Danny was like putting a smeary colored filter over what had previously been a straightforwardly shot piece of film. It changed everything, irrevocably, for better or worse. Mostly the former.

He hissed aloud when the rib was probed.

Danny winced. The injury site was already bruising with magnificent enthusiasm. To take his attention off it, he concentrated on helping Frank to a bench and clipping one loop of the handcuffs onto the wooden arm so he wouldn’t be able to get up again.

Nice clean break,” decided Dr. Cleaver, briskly, getting some bandages and a bottle out of his bag. He upended the bottle briefly onto a pad of gauze. “Pop your shirt off, Constable, and we’ll get you bound up.”

Nicholas took off the undershirt as delicately as he could, St. Christopher swinging from his neck. The fact that the silver medallion had come with him had surprised him the previous night, but he was glad it had, even if the maker’s mark had disappeared. Anything familiar was appreciated.

Policing held its risks, even in a new millennium, and Angel had been wounded for the service with multiple superficial etchings across his small hardened body. One in the bicep, from a graze in a shootout, another long one across his back, from where a gang pledge had tried to prove his toughness by jumping a police officer– and had just happened to pick the wrong sort of one. Numerous tiny ones peppered into his shins and elbows from being tossed from his bike by a speeding car into some gravel, and quite a few reminders of why it is a bad idea to tell larger children to stop swearing. And there, a small recent scar above his left nipple, where a police notebook had not quite been thick enough to keep a knife from scratching a bit of ketchup into his skin.

Well, we’ve been in the wars,” remarked Dr. Cleaver in a hearty sort of way, pressing the pad soaked in opiate tincture gently against the centre of the bruising and then starting to bandage Nicholas’s chest quite tightly. “How’s the breathing, does that feel all right?” he added, as he finished.

I’ll manage,” said Nicholas, stiffly. “I’d prefer if I could run again within a few days.”

Oh, I shouldn’t think you’ll have any problem, fit young chap like you,” said Dr. Cleaver, cheerfully. He rummaged in the bag again, fished out a thick glass bottle of what looked like water and another small eyedropper bottle filled with dark brown liquid, and dropped about a dozen generous drops from the latter into the former. “Drink a full glass of this, and have a good lie-down.”

He gave the bottle a good shake and then handed it to Angel. “You just mind you take the bandages off every now and again, get some air in your lungs. Oh, and stay out of this cold snap. Don’t want you catching something nasty, do we? Speaking of which,” he continued, turning on Frank, “let’s take a look at you.”

Danny took Angel to one side. “Are you going t’be all right gettin’ back now?” he asked, anxiously, over a background of clinks and gloonks and Dr. Cleaver telling Frank rather unsympathetically that if leg-irons had been designed for cross-country running they would have been made out of cheesecloth, and that he should count himself lucky he hadn’t done himself a real mischief getting them off. “You look done in. Miz’ Thatcher says Dad’s gone out on an urgent errand, so I’d better stay here till he gets back an’ sort out the cells an’ everything.

Gah,” said Angel, trying to resist spitting out a mouthful of bitter narcotics, his mind still on other things. “Sort out white blood cells?”

You what?” said Danny, worriedly. “No, the cells. Well, cell. We’ve just got the one cell, really, an’ Dad let the Temperance Society put twenty cases of nettle wine in it last summer. I think they’re still all down there.” He paused. “The cases, I mean, not the Temperance Society.”

Mmgh,” said Angel. Laudanum tasted absolutely terrible, he was discovering, without the application of six tablespoons of sugar. “I wouldn’t suppose there’s anywhere more comfortable to stay than the Crown? I’m absolutely sure that place is riddled with rats and bed bugs.”

Danny shrugged, looked thoughtful. “There’s a spare room upstairs,” he said. “Might be better than settin’ off tryin’ to walk back, actually– I’ve had that stuff before when I had the toothache, it knocks you flat on your a–” He shot a semi-mortified look in Miss Thatcher’s direction, and dropped his voice. “–on your bum.”

Angel stared with woolly eyes into his bottle of laudanum. “You know,” he said, carefully. “You shouldn’t drink much of this. It’s– it’s really addictive, an’ in two-thousand-seven there’s this superdrug based on this compound, only stronger, called heroin, and people that take it get really messed up.” He was relaxing already, he could feel it, muscles unknotting, the pain ebbing to blissful numbness, or at least to a place where it wasn’t bothering him.

Recognizing the signs, Danny carefully took the bottle out of his hand, guessing that perhaps the Constable wasn’t going to be able to maintain a proper grip on it for much longer. “Well, you jus’ worry about that in the morning,” he said, reassuringly. “C’mon, I’ll show you up.” He put the bottle on Miss Thatcher’s desk, and steered Angel towards the inner office, gingerly, so as not to put any pressure on his injured side.

Mmm,” said Nicholas, leaning into Danny’s form as they navigated up the stairs. “You really look like him, y’know.”

Danny, who hadn’t really gotten all this straight in his head yet, wasn’t quite sure which ‘him’ he was talking about for a moment or two. Then he realised that Nicholas meant the… other Daniel, the one who was a Sergeant in a place where that didn’t automatically mean you rode a horse into battle and shouted orders at people, the one who might either be from London, or, depending on how loony Nicholas really was, nearly two hundred years in the future. Which was impossible.

Well, it was impossible for as long as Angel wasn’t talking about it. When he was, it all sounded, well… real.

You must’ve been really good mates,” he said, helping Nicholas into the spare bedroom, all spotless linen and oak and prints of brown cows standing in brown fields under brown clouds

Oh, thank god,” moaned Nicholas, sinking into the bed. And then; “Of course. He was gonna move in to my flat in three weeks. He’s my partner.”

Feeling a little hurt in a way he couldn’t quite define by this last bit, Danny stepped back, shrugging. “S’like my Dad says, isn’it,” he said, with twenty-seven years of unspoken social protocol keeping him blissfully unaware of any subtext in what Angel had said whatsoever. “Can’t always choose where you end up, can you? You just got to make the best of it.”

Then he slapped the doorframe and grinned. “Never mind, ‘ey? You get some sleep. We got a lot done today, dint we?”

Hymm.” Nicholas rolled over on top of the sheets, grinning at the comforting morphine creeping in through his system, holding him around his back to his front. From somewhere in his brain, there was the distant-yet-now-extremely-intense memory of his mum taking him to the theater, sitting with him in the row as he basked in the glory on the screen. “Ha’ you bin half-sleep? An’ haf you… yawww heard voices? I hear ‘em calling my name~” he mumble-hummed to himself, thinking about his Danny and a larger-than-life frog that were already forming the first of a long line of confused dreams.

Danny left the room quietly, navigating the stairs and hallway in the semi-darkness with the echo of Angel’s voice trailing gently away behind him. He stepped back into the inner office, closing the door as carefully as he could. Half of his mind still upstairs, worrying about Angel, he was startled when he turned around and saw his dad standing by the fireplace, still in his snow-wet riding coat, warming his hands.

Constable Angel’s up in the guest room,” said Danny, anxious to show everything was all right, that he’d taken care of things. “He broke a rib, but–”

His father was nodding. “Yes, Danny, Horace filled me in,” he said, glancing towards the outer door.

Danny heard hushed, urgent voices on the other side, and looked at his dad’s expression, and suddenly he realised that everything was very, very far from all right.

continue...

 

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
random_nexus
Jun. 11th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Wow. I am loving this like pie a la mode.
EXCELLENT!
waffleguppies
Jun. 11th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad that you like it but I am also saddened by the degree to which I now want pie.

Because there is none to be had.

:(
random_nexus
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
*gasp!*
Why is there no pie????
waffleguppies
Jun. 12th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)
Because this house is a very, very sad place. It has no pie. It does not even have pudding. All it has is a pineapple, and at quarter past eleven at night I wasn't quite up to catching and skinning an entire pineapple. It is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Man, I got the right end of the stick here. Poor Kai has to answer the difficult questions about character motivation down there; I get to explain why there is no pie.
random_nexus
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
But no pie is a terrible tragedy and must wrack you up emotionally to relive in comment-form. Character motivation is easy compared to sharing the woe and ruin of a house with no pie and wildly unattainable pineapples.

;p
marshwiggledyke
Jun. 12th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Awww, but I like going all pendantic. Don't worry 'bout me, worry about the people gnawing off their own foot to get away from the pendanticizing. Which isn't a word.
waffleguppies
Jun. 12th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
I may just come through this with the support of my peers; I did get to eat cake today, which diminished the horror somewhat.

However, as much as it may try its very hardest, cake is not pie.
random_nexus
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Diminished horror for you, but what about the rest of the pie-less and cake-less world? We mourn for the sweet nibbly goodness that was not ours.

*sniffle*
o0
waffleguppies
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
I cannot please everyone all of the time.
If you wish for it hard enough, perhaps pie and/or cake will come.

(also, in case you have not noticed, updaaaaaaaaaaaaated :D)
random_nexus
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
*happy pants dance* Woot! Update! \o/

Well, true that you can't please everyone all the time, but you've pleased me pretty close to 100% of the time, so you can count that in the "win" column.

;D
random_nexus
Jun. 12th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
*grin*
'which isn't a word.'

It is now.
;D

EDIT: Because I suck at this stuff.

Edited at 2009-06-12 06:15 pm (UTC)
musegaarid
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
This is a well-written story with a fantastic premise, but there's one thing niggling at me. I just can't believe that Nicholas would react this way. I don't think he'd be that slow on the uptake and I don't think that he - when he finally realized what was going on - would tell everybody about the future. Not only does it make him look crazy, but it could alter time and I'm sure he'd be as careful about policing that as he would anything else. This is just my two cents, of course, but it is keeping me from fully buying into the story. Which, like I said, is beautifully written and fulfillingly long.
marshwiggledyke
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Yay! Critique! I love critique. Really. Honest to god, I am a freak.

:D

Okay, as the person who wrote Nicholas, I think I oughta be the one to field this one. Yeah, it might be something of a conceit, Nicholas spouting futurefacts to Danny Buttleman, and him being exceptionally slow on the mark when it came to realizing and accepting the impossible fact that he's in the past. As one who was in his head during the writing of it, I have to say that he's in some serious shock. He's never taken films to do with time travel seriously, and now he's faced with the prospect of being doomed to live out his life with what feels to him like a cheap copy of his Danny Butterman. He is exceptionally honest with his own Danny, and thus it comes naturally to be honest to Danny's doppelganger. Besides, he needs assurance after being so badly shaken and abandoned in this place where he doesn't belong, and it's in Danny Buttleman's nature to listen, if not believe him. He probably doesn't think Danny Buttleman would have that much power to make his future not happen, or hasn't even considered it.

To put something else in context, this is the first Hot Fuzz fanfiction I'd ever written, and maybe I didn't have the best lock on his character yet. Sorry for OOC-ness.

*quietly* Yaaaay critique!
musegaarid
Jun. 12th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you don't mind! I love critique, too, but never get it. Praise is lovely, but not very helpful.

Thanks for the explanation; it does help. One thing struck me, though. You said, "now he's faced with the prospect of being doomed to live out his life with what feels to him like a cheap copy of his Danny Butterman" but that hasn't been addressed in the fic at all. At least not as far as I've read yet. (I'm steeling myself for the epic third chapter. XD) It doesn't seem to have crossed his mind yet that he could be there forever. That's totally understandable - it wouldn't be the first thing I'd have thought either - but it does sort of shake the motivations you've put behind his actions.

Have you ever read Terry Pratchett's Night Watch? It has basically this same plot written by probably the best living author in the world and it's amazing how he spins out Sam Vimes' (the main character) actions both in the present and the past. I highly recommend it to anyone since I've learned loads from Pratchett's writing and it's wildly entertaining besides.

But yeah, I'm not going to just critique you all day. For a first time fic in a fandom, this is amazing. Please don't get me wrong! And don't worry about OOC-ness. Your Nicholas voice is already good and I expect it'll get even better. Cheers!
marshwiggledyke
Jun. 12th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Night Watch is my favorite Discworld book (I've read nearly all of them except the Granny Weatherwax ones, and the Rincewind ones) and is also among the shifting top ten favorite books ever. I freaking love that book. And yeah, I'm stealing from it liberally. Cops + Time Travel = Automatically best thing ever.

He's kind of beginning to register that he's not going to see Danny Butterman anytime soon, if at all- it's immediately frustrating to have to retrain him, or someone very much like him, and that's what's causing that to register. He also hasn't had much time to think clearly; the quiet period in Chapter Three is the start of that, and I think it'll be mentioned later, he just hasn't said it out loud yet. :) Nick can be a man of few words, when he isn't trying to reinforce his present with his former reality so he doesn't forget it or even consider that it wasn't real. Blah blah blah organ donor.

We've written other Nicholas fics after this (we started back in January, finished sometime in March or April, and started editing after that) and some on my own, so I've really got him down by now, but yeah, this was the very first time I'd touched this fandom. We wrote the Werewolf Fic after this fic, which is also long (not nearly this long) but a little better paced. A little less epic, more about Danny and Nick's relationship. I think we figured on this one, hell, it's our first time with Hot Fuzz, let's make it an epic.
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