En Garde

by Val Evenstar... and perhaps Elspeth.Davidson

Author's Note: Merry Christmas, ED. You want your real presents, you'll have to wait... but in the meantime (Internet permitting) take this. Evil grin. Really, really, really evil grin. As in supervillian-ish evil grin.

Prologue: A Small Insertion

"Val – I can't believe this."

"Why not? You were the one who thought of it, Els."

"Yes, but - " Elspeth dramatically dropped her face into her hands and emitted a practiced agonised groan.

Val smirked.

"A self-insertion fic?" Elspeth could hardly bring herself to say the words.

Val nodded, still grinning in a rather infuriating manner.

"I can't believe this. You didn't even want to do this in the first place."

Val waved it off with a smooth hand gesture. "Feigned disinterest for purely political reasons, my dear sister. You must admit – now I'm the one on the high ground."

Elspeth groaned – real, true despair, not the exaggerated kind. "You ... can't... be ... serious..." she ground out between clenched teeth.

Val spun in the computer chair and started typing. "So," she said, and Elspeth could just hear the smirk in her voice. "You and Viggo Morteson, huh?"

Elspeth screamed.

Val knew she would pay dearly for that comment... but just watching her sister's attempts to scratch the words from the computer screen were worth it.

She kept typing. After she died laughing, of course...

Chapter One: Relativity

Elspeth Davidson was tired. You've got to understand – she'd just written a novel and had to go through the annoyance of defending it to a nitpicking little sister, and she was still regularly posting in her blog. So it shouldn't have been such a big deal that she'd given fanfiction a break for a while. Little did she know that that seemingly trivial failure would soon emerge to haunt her...

Blatant visions of doom aside, there were still some semi-logical reasons for this almost unthinkable occurrence. In RL she'd just moved halfway across the world only to have her wisdom teeth yanked out and her sore and sorry self dropped back into the cold academic pond. Which seemed to have frozen over during the break.

So it was after much grumbling, whining, and procrastinating that she hauled herself into the horrid hallways of the hermeneutics department – where such things as overabundant alliteration could be interpreted in an infinite integer number of ways. And what exactly was she doing here? She was an engineer, not a Mdiv!

No, like most wonderful things in her life, she was here because of her sister. Shaking off the last lingering effects of jet lag, Elspeth banged on the appointed door. "Val! Open up!"

The door swung open to reveal her gorgeous little sister, long dark hair flowing over the shoulders of what had once been a white lab coat, and now was some dingy tan/grey.

"Shhhh," Val whispered, pulling Elspeth inside urgently, partly in a real attempt at secrecy but mostly in the hope that Els would forget the last line.

"What now," Elspeth asked, her half-awake mind obviously not up to the task of shattering her sister's delusions of grandeur.

"Shush," Val said again, turning to lead her stumbling sister down the steep staircase.

"Where are we going?"

"Physics labs, of course," Val answered, turning on the lights.

"But... we're in hermeneutics."

"Yeah, right. That was a coded message – you think I would compromise my RL identity by giving the name of the building?"

"Oh" was all Elspeth could say as realisation dawned. "Oh, no" she amended after a minute.

"Oh, yes," Val responded.

"You didn't ..."

Val keyed in the combination and opened the door.

"You... did." It was a flat statement, accompanied with not a little awe.

"Wardrobe 2.0 is ready to go," Val announced. "That is, as soon as you build it."

"I'm an engineer, not a carpenter!" Elspeth scowled. Then she sighed. Val's grins could sure get annoying.

"Why am I doing this?" Elspeth looked up from under the machine, fishing for another grime-covered bolt from the box her sister held.

"Because I told you to," Val said cheerfully, then dodged the small steel projectile that came sailing her way.

"Since when did I take orders from you?" Els retorted.

"You always did, dear. You just never realised it..."

Elspeth had to laugh. "Politicians!"

"Oh, come on now. Could a politician have designed this?" Val indicated the contraption.

"Yeah," Els shot back. "A standing disaster, that's what this is."

Val threw her a hurt look, and burst into tears.

"Hmm." Elspeth studied the situation with casual disinterest. "This what they teach you in POLI 101? Crocodile tears?"

"Only partly," Val replied, in a perfectly normal tone as the tears immediately evaporated. "I'm also way OOC for this thing, so go figure."

"Yeah. Acting about as Sue-ish as your pen name..."

"Ouch!" Val exclaimed. "Not funny... but at least I didn't put part of my real name into it."

"Touché – you just stole from someone else."

Val snorted in a decidedly un-Sue-ish noise. "You must know that my Arwen aspirations are about as high as your IQ."

"Okay..." Els paused for a moment. "That could be taken two ways, you know."

Val arched an eyebrow at her, something decidedly impossible for her RL counterpart. Which do you think I meant?

"And since you're the author here," Elspeth continued dryly, "I shall have to surrender to your rather... low... strike."

That outrageous smirk was back again. "You bet."

Elspeth was unwilling to let the point go, however. "You could, at least, have the decency to adopt my last name... or are you ashamed to admit the relation?"

Again the impossible eyebrow and unspoken message.

"But," Val said after a moment, "I'm not above letting you borrow mine."

Elspeth Evenstar? The older girl thought in her mind, not without some distaste. Sounds almost worse than Val Davidson.

"Then again, maybe not," Val said. "Then you'd be an M.S. EE."

Elspeth groaned and then decided it might perhaps be best to cut the inside jokes for a while and get back to what storyline there was. After all, someone had to be the adult here... but that wouldn't stop her from getting in the last word.

"Just remember," she said, with a not-so-friendly glint in her eye. "The next chapter is mine."

Val quickly cleared her throat and changed the subject. "SO. The main point of all this mindless banter... Wardrobe 2.0. In short – by using Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and the time parameters given us in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia – the goings and comings between England and Narnia – I was able to calculate the precise space/time location of Narnia. Because, as you know, the relative velocity of a mass as well as the gravitational forces it is subjected to can affect the amount of time it experiences. This machine will be able to alter our masses and acceleration sufficiently for us to transfer to the exact location of Narnia."

Elspeth blinked. After a moment, she spoke. "You know," she said slowly. "That's really bad physics."

"Well, no one ever said I had to like the stuff," Val grumbled.

"As long as it sounds good?" Els said sarcastically.

Val grinned, pounded in one more nail and flipped on the power switch. "We'll make a diplomat out of you yet," she said.

Wardrobe 2.0 blinked and whirred. Then, with the dramatic release of dried ice, the doors popped open.

"Unless of course," Val said to her sister, "You prefer High Queen."

No one had ever escaped as quickly through the Wardrobe as Val did then, and no one ever followed with such murderous thoughts as did Elspeth.

But all wrongs were instantly forgotten when they blinked their eyes in the light of the other side.

"Impossible," the two sisters breathed in the same instant.

Impossible, yes.

And also very, very bad.

Author's Note: bows to ED Take the reins, darling sister. The next chappie is yours. I can't wait to see what you come up with... on second thought, though, maybe not. Don't kill me too quickly :)