Fandoms: Dr. Who, Guardians of the Galaxy (MCU)
Characters: Clara Oswald, Ashildr/Lady Me, Groot, Rocket, Gamora, Starlord
Summary:Tree, rhizome ... that wasn't really the question, Clara thought. What she really wanted to know was why the raccoon was shooting at them.
Author's Note: Written for juniperphoenix for the 2017 fandom_stocking fun. Like me, she is interested in the ongoing adventures of Clara Oswald and the amazing woman known variously as Ashildr and Lady Me (or possibly Mie, if she likes to mix it up.) I hope that she likes this little story, written for the 2017 fandom_stocking fun, which sees Clara and Ashildr run into (and possibly afoul of) some unusual bounty hunters. I also hope that she forgives the slightly unusual crossover that provides the bounty hunters.
Edited by: No one. I did, however, obsessively read and re-read the story in an effort to ensure grammatical correctness. Any mistakes are purely my own, and will be corrected once pointed out. Note: Tante Rejsende is Google Danish for Aunt Traveler. I took the liberty of deciding that Clara and Ashildr would have decided on a name for their TARDIS fairly early on (especially since "TARDIS" was already taken), and since Ashildr was originally Norse - which could be Danish or Norwegian - the name gained a language. The pronunciation, again per Google, is "Tan-tuh, Riz-nyeh." I apologize to any Dane who knows how badly I've done on this.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are the sole property of the BBC, Marvel, and their respective creators. I plan no copyright infringements and take no coin.
*** *** *** *** ***
“Not a tree.”
“A tree.” Clara leaned against the door of the diner, trying to catch her breath. Arguing with her partner in crime wasn’t helping.
“Trees, intelligent trees, are who you find in The Forest of Cheem,” Ashildr said. She was a little winded as well.
“The what of what, now?”
“The Forest of Cheem. It’s quite a remarkable world,” Ashildr said as she kicked off her heels. “We should visit someday. You’ll see the difference immediately.” Then she winced and pulled one foot up to inspect its sole. “You were right; the heels were a mistake. I think I have a blister … yes, yes, I do. Damn.”
“We’ll need to take care of that,” Clara said, unlacing her trainers and pulling them off. She couldn’t blame Ashildr too much; the shoes had practically begged to be worn, and Clara had gladly paid the credits to get them for the other woman. But escaping bounty hunters in heels, even low heels, didn’t treat feet well. “Will you miss your Doc Martens?”
“She’ll be able to find me some new ones,” Ashildr said, waving her hand vaguely in the direction of the door at the end of the diner’s counter. “Let’s go inside and get some plasters for this. And some tea.”
*** *** ***
“So. Not a tree.”
Clara was curled up on one end of the sofa, bare feet tucked under her, a shot glass in hand. Her baby-blue and cloud bedecked pajamas were warm, a pleasure after the cold commercial asteroid where she and Ashildr had run into the bounty hunters. Tante Rejsende had started a lovely blaze in the study fireplace, which was making her sleepy, but she didn’t want to let the issue go.
Ashildr, resplendent in her Victorian dressing-gown, nodded from the barrel chair. “I think he was closer to an artificially-enhanced rhizome of sorts.”
Clara rolled her eyes. “That’s even sillier. Intelligent grass ?”
“If you will.” Ashildr smiled. “Although, to be honest, he appeared to have features common to both trees and grass. Perhaps he is related, distantly, to the life forms of Cheem. They propagate with something very like rhizomes … but I digress.” She reached over to pick up her tea cup.
“Are you sure you could even call him intelligent? He was pretty monosyllabic.”
“Oh, come on! He said one thing, over and over!”
Ashildr’s shrug was elegant. “I’ve had some time to learn a number of languages. I understood a little of what he said.”
“And what did he say?”
“He said he was sorry they had to take us in. He seemed quite sincere. A very gentle soul.”
Clara eyed her companion dubiously, then sighed. “It might have helped if we’d known why they were after us. I don’t think we’ve done anything illegal in this quadrant. Not lately, anyhow.”
“From what his friend —”
“The raccoon, or the green woman?” The raccoon had looked pretty cuddly, until he started waving a very nasty-looking gun in their general direction. The woman was good looking, but was obviously just as lethal at the raccoon. She never did get properly introduced to either of them, what with the sprinting away from both at all possible speed thing, she thought.
“The raccoon. From what he was saying to his friend while they were on our trail —”
“I’m not even going to ask you how you can remember what they were yelling to each other —”
“It’s a necessary talent to develop when you’re Me,” Ashildr said, somewhat orthogonally. “As I was saying, they were catching up with a backlog of bounties they hadn’t been able to get to. They’d been out-system, dealing with Ego —”
Clara shifted on the sofa. “Well, the little furball had more than enough of that.”
Ashildr shook her head. “No, actually that appeared to be the name of … a planet, or perhaps a planet’s representative? Not a good entity to get involved with, apparently, and their dust-up with whatever it was took them well out of their normal neighborhoods. They’d taken some contracts before getting embroiled in that, including the one on us, and had spent their advances, so they had to make good on the jobs once they got back in town, as it were.”
“Huh.” Clara wasn’t certain Ashildr wasn’t making all that up on the fly, but whatever ….
After a minute’s silence, the other woman looked a little rueful. “He was a little arse, wasn’t he?” she said to Clara. “I’m glad he was willing to listen to his woodsy partner.”
Clara looked incredulous. “What? What did Tree Guy say to him?”
“He convinced the raccoon to stop chasing us.”
Now Clara didn’t bother to hide her disbelief. “Pull the other one.”
“Well, if you think back, you may have noticed that after a while, they weren’t chasing us quite so single-mindedly.”
Clara thought about it, and she had to admit that the last minute or so of the chase, the two of them had been able to pull away from their pursuers. That oughtn’t to have been possible, especially with Ashildr’s by-then-significant limp. “Why d’you suppose —?”
Ashildr crossed, then re-crossed her legs. “Probably because I promised to pay back to the original customer the advance they took on our bounty, plus pay them twice the bounty to tell the original customer that we either died of the Thelerian blood virus back on Theler, or had plunged our ship into the fiery heart of a sun, in a tragic navigational mistake. I left it up to them to pick the most believable story.”
Clara frowned. “And how many of our hard-earned credits went into this?”
Ashildr raised one exquisite eyebrow. “Hard-earned?”
“Well, our accountants work hard laundering them,” Clara reasoned.
“You did see our last bank statement, did you not?”
“OK, fair point … And when did you tell them that?”
“After the raccoon’s gun jammed.”
“I thought you were just repeating what Tree Guy said.”
“Oh, no, not at all. I was saying something completely different.”
Clara shook her head, and uncurled herself, padding over to the bar and pouring herself one more shot of very good Japanese whiskey. “I swear, woman … well, it worked. But how did you convince them you were telling the truth?”
Ashildr’s smile slipped a bit. “You don’t lie to someone like the raccoon’s friend.”
Clara thought about it, and shook her head again. “Fine. Whatever. We got out of there with one blister, and a payment we could afford. But we’re not going back to that asteroid.”
The other woman nodded her agreement. “Cold, and the shoes really cost too much.”
Just then, Clara’s mobile chirped.
"I thought I’d turned that off,” she said, picking it up and checking the text.
She looked up from the screen, completely baffled. “Why are we getting copious thanks from someone named Starlord? And who the hell calls themselves Starlord, anyhow?”