Free Agent


Roxanne Lake looked up at the word 'Final' and scowled. "You have GOT to be kidding... our writer is crapping out on us?"

"Well, damn," Gwen de Veir scowled, the attractive blond shaking her head. "You just can't rely on writers anymore."

They and the rest of the usual suspects were in Strangefellows, getting drunk in celebration of the recent marriage of John Taylor and Shotgun Suzie. And boy was THAT a shock. Almost as insane as Taylor replacing Walker as the representative of the Authorities.

"They're ending the main Nightside books too," Roxanne shook her head mournfully as she said, "if you can't rely on Simon R. Green, who can you trust?"

"Damn right," Gwen sighed.

Dead Boy and his robot girlfriend were snuggling in one of the nearby booths, while several nuns from the Salvation Army Sisterhood tried to ignore it. Lesbian Naiads were sipping each other's water through straws and giggling, while fashion werewolves sneered at how badly everyone was dressed. In other words, it was a typical Nightside evening.

They headed up to the bar where Alex Morrisey was serving up drinks with his usual scowl. He dressed all in black because no one had yet found a darker color, and was arguably the grumpiest man in the Nightside. Well, usually... he did brighten up surprisingly when his girlfriend Cathy was around.

"Two beer," Roxanne ordered. As he was pouring she asked, "Now that the series is over what are you gonna do?"

"Eh, I'll keep busy," Alex shrugged uncomfortably, "I'm sure I'll get a cameo in one of Green's other books. Or a fan fiction series will pick me up."

"Yeah, probably," Gwen agreed reassuringly.

Both really figured he'd just fade away into minor character oblivion, but they didn't say anything. It would be needlessly cruel to a somewhat pitiful man. Instead they headed back to their booth, even as they listened to conversations.

"Did you hear about Miss Fate?" a voice asked another. Miss Fate was in fact the Nightside's very own transvestite superhero, sort of a pink garbed Batman.

"Got herself a sidekick," the other speaker nodded. "Boy or girl?"

"No one's quite sure..."

Roxanne snorted in amusement as they sat down. She took a sip of her drink, then put it down. "If the series is coming to a end, there's some things we should talk about," she said.

"Hit me," Gwen encouraged.

"The reincarnation of Lancelot that you were looking for," Roxanne took a nervous breath as she revealed, "it's me."

"I know," Gwen drank calmly.

"Huh?" Roxanne blinked.

Gwen gave her a look, "I'm not dumb, you know. While it's not exactly obvious, I can piut together two and two."

Roxanne flushed a bit, "So why didn't you say anything?"

"I was waiting for you to, I suppose," Gwen shrugged.

"Ah," Roxanne nodded. She sipped a bit of her beer, "I guess I've never been terribly comfortable about it... I mean, I don't want to JUST be a reborn hero."

"I can certainly agree with that," Gwen said wryly, even as Roxanne nodded.

"So," Roxanne mused as they drank, "What do we do now?"

"Well, we are being cancelled so...," Gwen drawled.

"You know what I mean," Roxanne said, "the Nightside has carried on after Green stopped writing it, I suspect we will too. So what do we do now?"

"This is a massive business opportunity, really," Gwen mused thoughtfully, "with Taylor becoming the new Walker, there's a opening for a new independant operator in the Nightside! We should seize the moment!"

Roxanne had meant what they should do personally, but that worked too. "Dead Boy might step into the gap too," she smiled. She liked to see this business-woman side to Gwen, anyway, she was cute when she got fired up.

"Pfft," Gwen waved that off, "Dead Boy is tough as hell, but he's too unreliable." She leaned forward, "And with the work we've done on your rep, this could be great!"

"Uh huh," Roxanne said skeptically. "No more crazy schemes like when you had me go kill that dragon, okay?"

"Hey, the dragon was suicidal and agreed to it all in advance," Gwen protested, pouting. "How was I supposed to know it would change it's mind and try to eat you?"

Roxanne snorted in amusement. "Dragons, by nature, are unethical and dangerous beasts," she pointed out reasonably.

"Yeah, yeah," Gwen sat back with a pout.

Roxanne chuckled as she sipped a bit more of her beer. Say what you would of Strangefellows, but the beer was good and deserved to be savoured. "Well, I'm glad it sounds like you're sticking around," she noted.

"Hmm?" Gwen asked.

"With everything ending, series wise, I was kind of worried you'd... uhm, move on..." Roxanne trailed off at the annoyed look on Gwen's face.

"You idiot," Gwen said flatly.

"Yes?" Roxanne answered weakly.

Gwen snorted with amusement at that, at least. "I am NOT hanging around you just because I'm your manager, damn it," she said intensely, "you know that, right?"

Roxanne blushed, looking away. "I did kind of hope," she admitted, the normal brash warrior looking shy.

"You're hopeless, you know that?" Gwen sighed. She abandoned her drink, then came around to the other side of the table where Roxanne was sitting.

Roxanne started, "What are you..."

Without a comment Gwen calmly plopped herself in Roxanne's lap. She smoothly wrapped her arms around her shoulders, smiled and kissed her lingeringly.

"Hmm." Roxanne sighed as they kissed, drawing the other woman closer reflexively.

Gwen pulled back, smirking at her. "Have I made my point?" she asked.

"Urgle," Roxanne managed incoherently.

"I think you broke her," a laughing older man commented.

Gwen laughed. "It takes more than that," she addressed the room.

Roxanne shook herself, "Wow." She stood wrapping her arms around Gwen as she squealed in surprise.

"Hey!" Gwen yelped.

"I think we need to take this somewhere private," Roxanne told Gwen as she headed for the stairs.

"Won't get any argument from me," Gwen murmured.

Over at the bar a older man finished his drink, smiling slightly. His companion, also a scruffy looking older man noted, "You shouldn't have spoke up, Kay. You nearly gave us away."

"Sorry, Arthur," Kay told his adopted brother with a smile, "I couldn't resist."

Arthur, once king of Briton, now wanderer and ally of the London Knights, chuckled a bit as he took a drink. He had come to the Nightside again, because he had heard rumours that his lost love was here. He had NOT expected to find her in the arms of his reincarnated best friend.

"You all right?" Kay asked perceptively.

Arthur put his drink down thoughtfully. "You know, I think I am," he admitted. While some part of him still loved Gwen, there was a lot of water under the bridge. Besides, she seemed happy with Lancelot, or 'Roxanne Lake' as they were calling her now.

"Well, let's go then," Kay suggested. "Places to go, worlds to save and all that."

"Yeah, way to ease the pressure on me, brother," Arthur laughed as they headed out into the Nightside too...


Notes: Yeah, this was not one of my well received writing attempts. With the end of the Nightside novels I felt it was as good a time as any to end this. And it was fun having the characters get kinda meta and break the fourth wall.

The last bit with Arthur was my trying to address the fact that he's alive in the Nightside and therefore might be looking for his former beloved...

Anyway, thanks for reading.