Title- A Ramshackle Bus
Characters/Pairings- Many and various
Summary- They're an odd company on their ramshackle bus. Personalities conflict, and sometimes things happen that are just downright strange. But in the end, they're all they've got anymore.
A/N- A series of short, semi-connected oneshots revolving around what Lady Christina did with that busted-up flying bus of hers after she bid farewell to the Doctor, and all the people she's picked up along the way.
One: Power Struggle
They're an odd company, on this ramshackle bus. In a way, they're a family. Those people who find their lives changed irrevocably by the Doctor, that magic man in his extraordinary blue box, but never get the chance to step inside and fly away to the stars... well, what are they left with? A memory of a few fantastic, horrifying, beautiful days and then what? Just the rest of their life stretching ahead, blank and ordinary. Anyone who can't deal with that comes to the bus eventually. The Doctor's Army, they call themselves, and they fly around the world searching for adventure the way they can't search the stars. They've even done some pretty good deeds here and there.
It is made very clear from the moment one sets foot on this magic bus that Lady Christina de Souza- aristocrat, cat burglar extraordinaire and, most importantly, the designated driver- is unequivocally in charge. Those who disagree don't end up staying long.
But this very clear balance of power is viciously upset the day Sally Sparrow comes on board.
Sally doesn't talk much about her past. She knows the Doctor, though, and that's good enough for the rest of the Army. Elton Pope is the one who eventually gets the story out of her, but she told him in confidence, so he's not talking. It's generally known, however, that she has suffered great losses.
From day one, Sally and Christina clash; they're both such powerful, conflicting personalities. Sally, with her quiet strength and eyes that have seen too much for how young she is, and the brash, rules-are-for-the-breaking Christina... it's unsurprising that from the very minute Sally appears, they can't get along.
Christina happily defies laws and, Pied Piper-like, leads them all through a series of insane daredevil stunts just for the fun of it.
And one day, after Christina drives the bus off the edge of the Grand Canyon just to see if the gravity clamps will catch them before they hit the ground, Sally apparently has enough.
"That is enough!" she shrieks at Christina. "You might be an adrenaline junkie, but that doesn't mean the rest of us enjoy it! Some of these people are here because they have nowhere else to go and no one else who will ever understand what they've been through and you want to turn it all into one big thrill ride! Well, I'm not standing for it! You practically dissolved poor Astrid with the air resistance coming down! This. Behavior. Stops. Now."
Christina just smirks. "What are you going to do, throw me out of the bus? Sorry sweetheart, but I own the bus."
"Oh, and isn't that just like the aristocracy?" Sally sneers. "Thinkin' your title makes you lord and master of all you survey. I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but last time I checked, this was a city bus. Meaning public. Meaning owned by everyone. Meaning we all get a say in whether your insane stunts continue, and I'm saying no."
It seems she's touched a nerve, because Christina's eyes flash. "You want to make something of this?" she says, standing up to her full height, towering a good three inches above Sally.
But the blonde isn't intimidated. In a low, deadly voice, she says, "I have stood inside the Doctor's ship. I have singlehandedly fought four of the oldest and most dangerous creatures in the universe. I have lost everyone and everything that ever mattered to me and I. Am not. Afraid. Of you."
Even Christina feels the truth in the smaller woman's words. The whole bus can see the strength in Sally Sparrow's soul, and there's a shift in alliances palpable in the air.
And so Christina does what any modern playgirl would. She kisses Sally passionately, then relinquishes the stunned bibliophile and smirks at her. "Come on then, Sparrow," she says with a huge grin on her face. "Let's see how you drive!"