What's a Sci Fi Fan to Do

Okay, depending on where I put this piece of work, you might have no clue about either show involved.  On the other hand, you might be one of the lucky (and probably very) few who know both programs.  Whatever, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.  If you've ever had an obsession that you couldn't really share with anyone else and that you had to keep secret or just never bothered telling anyone about it, read this.  Hopefully it'll ring true somehow (unless I really am the most unique person in the entire Universe…and somehow I don't think even I could be that arrogant).  The usual stuff:  I don't own the characters involved and I make no money off this story.  I'm just writing this to see what happens.  ;-)

What's a Sci-Fi Fan to Do?

            Eberts ducked his head around the corner, checking in both directions that no one was in the hallway.  Empty.  He slipped quickly down the corridor on silent feet and slammed the archives door shut behind him--if you can slam a door quietly, that is.

            He paused with his back against the door, tensed and listening.  He breathed a silent sigh of relief.  Nothing.

            He maneuvered through the dusty and chaotic rows of archives, heading directly for a particularly dark corner that no one ever bothered about (not that they bothered much with the rest of the archives anyway) in the back of the room.  It was one of his secret places scattered throughout the Agency building.

            Unable to stop taking one more quick, instinctive look around the room to check he was alone, Eberts dropped into a decrepit swivel chair, a relic from who-knew-when that he'd salvaged from a dumpster behind the Agency a few months ago.  It stood before a small, rickety card table that held only a TV and VCR.

            He shoved the videotape he'd been carrying into the VCR and turned on the telly.

            He kept the volume as low as he could while still loud enough to hear what was being said (both the tape and the television set were from before closed captioning had become widely available).  And he sat back to relax and enjoy his show.

            When the opening credits started, an irresistible grin settled itself onto his usually stolid face.  He couldn't help but keep time with the driving beat by tapping his foot silently against the floor; the eerie notes of the theme song were so dear, so familiar he couldn't help humming softly along.  He was a little kid again, sitting on the floor in front of the couch at home, ready to pounce on the set controls to turn the TV off instantly if his parents came into the room-- then he'd only get yelled at for being up so late, not also for having the TV on.  Or he was a teen again, still ready with the remote because he had to hide away his guilty pleasure from the ridicule he would receive otherwise.  He'd always had to keep the volume low those times, too.

            Ahh, one of his favorite stories.  It didn't matter if he had most of the dialogue memorized; Eberts was so engrossed in the tiny screen in front of him and the nostalgia it evoked that he didn't hear the archives door open, or a bored, curious Darien Fawkes come poking in.

            But Darien heard the TV as soon as he was in the room.  It wasn't loud enough to make out voices, individual words, but he could definitely hear something and decided to investigate.  It wasn't like he had anything better to do this afternoon.  When there wasn't a case for him to work on, the Agency building could be a really dull place.

            When he stumbled across Eberts sprawled in front of an old television, he at first thought the Official's sidekick was just watching another soap opera (CNN my ass Darien thought to himself).  And then he got a good look at the screen.

            "Oh hey!" he yelped in surprise.  "I know that episode!"

            Eberts almost fell out of his swivel chair.  He jerked around to stare up at the lanky agent, his eyes wide in--fear?  "Mr Fawkes?" Eberts asked slowly, trying not to shake.  He tensed, waiting for the derogatory remarks to start.  He really should be used to being made fun of by now, but this was something new.  Something else for the others to hold over him.

            "Yeah, yeah," Darien said, coming closer, not noticing Eberts' discomfiture.  "They're in Paris, right?  There's seven Mona Lisas, and they're all the real ones, yeah?"

            Darien grinned rather goofily at the TV screen in fond remembrance until he finally felt Eberts' gaze still resting on him.  He looked down.  "You okay, Eberts?" he asked in concern.

            "You--you?  You..."  He was staring at the agent in awe.  "You like Doctor Who?!"

            Darien shrugged, still puzzled by Eberts' amazed reaction.  "Well, yeah," he said.  "I used to watch it as a kid all the time.  Don't get to see it much lately, but I've got a few stories on tape.  But this," he added with a grin and a gesture to the screen, on which a tall curly-haired man and a woman with long blonde hair were sitting inside a French café, "this is classic stuff, man.  His best!"

            Eberts was grinning from ear to ear in ecstatic joy.  "It's one of my favorites, too," he answered.  "There's a chair back there--just drop the files on the floor, they'll be fine..."

            Darien grabbed the chair and pulled it over next to the renegade IRS accountant's, sitting down to watch the story.  Eberts kept shooting little side-glances at the other man.  "So who's your favorite Doctor?" he asked at last, trying not to smirk in happiness.

            "Oh, I don't know.  I think I like the next guy--Peter?"

            "Davison," Eberts confirmed with a gleeful little smile.

            "I think I like his--subtlety--more than Tom here's flamboyance."  Darien laughed.  "But my Aunt Celia did make my brother and me his scarf.  We kept fighting over who got to keep it in their room--I think I eventually got it, after Kevin kinda gave up sci-fi and got more into sci-fact."

            The two continued their conversation sporadically, most of their concentration on the show itself.  At some point, the Keeper entered the archives, clutching a bunch of folders and papers.

            "Albert?" she called.  "Eberts, are you down here?  I was hoping you could help me out..." she trailed off when she found Darien Fawkes and Albert Eberts sitting together in front of a TV.  She stared at the backs of their heads in bemusement.  "What are you two do--oh!  It's the Doctor!"  She paused in surprise, staring at the screen now.

            Darien and Eberts simultaneously swung around to face her and ask, "You know Doctor Who?"

            She shrugged, hugging her papers to her chest and taking a step closer.  "Of course I do.  I am from England after all.  I was rather sad when I heard they cancelled the show."  She smiled reminiscently.  "I always did like the Doctor.  He helped me get interested in science, a bit, I think.  I didn't realize someone is showing it here in reruns, though," she added in curiosity.

            "It's a tape," Darien and Eberts again spoke in unison.  They glanced at each other sheepishly.

            Claire was studying the screen again, a look of dawning recognition crossing her face.  "Oh, I remember this one!  Didn't Douglas Adams write it?"

            "Yep," Eberts beamed, making room for Claire to sit down with them.  He felt like he'd died and gone to a lonely sci-fi fan's version of heaven.

            For a while there was a happy almost-silence as the trio watched the episode, only occasionally commenting amongst themselves about something or laughing at a particular line or part of a scene.  Eberts was positively ecstatic to actually have people with which to talk about and with whom to watch one of his favorite TV shows--he'd always had to hide this hobby of his, as he'd had to hide so many others.  It was wonderful to be able to share it, at last, with like-minded people who could understand his appreciation for these characters.

            The archives door burst open.  "Fawkes!" Hobbes hollered.

            "Shhh!" he heard more than one voice hiss from the back of the room.

            Hobbes raised his eyebrows.  He hadn't really expected to find Fawkes in the archives, let alone anyone else.  This was curious indeed.  He followed the direction from which the voices had come, wondering what the hell was going on.

            "What the hell is going on?" he asked when he found the Keeper, Eberts and his partner sitting in front of a television set.  "Fawkes, the 'Fish is looking for us--"

            "Shh, this is a good bit," Darien waved a hand behind him, not even bothering to turn and look at his partner.

            Hobbes stepped closer to the others, a frown on his face, his own attention caught by the screen.  Something decidedly from the seventies, judging by clothes, music, and picture quality.  Everyone had funny accents, like the Keep's.  The blonde chick was kinda cute, but her friend in the scarf and coat definitely needed to take his meds (Hobbes would know).  Still, this was interesting.  Soon, Hobbes had found another chair and was as involved as the others in the story.

            As the credits began rolling on the final episode of the four-part story, all four members of the Agency sat back, laughing and talking (and asking questions in the case of Hobbes), not caring that they'd been cramped together in a dark, dusty corner of the archives for the past hour at least.  "What other stuff do you have on this tape?" Darien asked Eberts.

            "Oh, it's a miscellaneous tape--there's 'Castrovalva' and 'Happiness Patrol' as well."

            "I remember seeing 'Castrovalva' for the first time," the Keeper said dreamily.  "I always did like the fifth Doctor.  He was such a sweet young man."

            "So this guy travels through time and space in that box?" Hobbes was trying to straighten the details out in his mind.  He usually didn't go for science fiction--all that gobbledygook went right over his head and bored him to tears--but this was kinda interesting.  Didn't even need expensive special effects that only looked cool, either.

            Alex Monroe paused by the archives when she heard the babble of voices inside and, rolling her eyes, she entered the room.  "So there you all are," she said when she found them, placing her hands on her hips.  The others turned around to blink at her.  "I've been looking everywhere for you, Hobbes, Fawkes.  We're..." she trailed off, looking at the television behind them in confusion, which was still playing the tape and had moved onto the next story.  "What's going on?"

            "You've never seen Doctor Who?" Eberts asked, surprised.

            "Doctor who--what are you talking about?"

            "Oh come on, Agent Monroe," Hobbes scoffed.  "You must've heard of the Doctor."

            "You know, the Time Lord who travels through time and space," the Keeper added, grinning half in affection for the show, half in encouragement to the five-star agent.

            "Yeah," Darien put in his own contribution, "with the police box, and the sonic screwdriver--you know...the police box...?" he trailed off when Alex gave him a long, expressionless look.

            Alex stared at each of them for a moment.  "You're all crazy, you know that?  When you're done down here, the Official wants us in his office.  Okay?" She swept out of the archives without waiting for an answer.

            There was a pause.

            "Sad," Claire commented with a look of vague pity on her face.

            "How could she not know the Doctor?" Eberts asked blankly.

            "I feel sorry for her," Hobbes sighed.

            "Let's rewind and watch another ep," Darien suggested with a grin.

            They settled back into their seats again happily.

Okay, so yeah, having three people in America who all work together actually knowing the Doctor is about as likely as...I dunno, pigs flying, but who cares?  That's the beauty of fiction.  Allow me a little indulgence, all right?  The whole story is an indulgence...but a shameless one.  *evil grin*