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[personal profile] rc45
Title: Out in the Rain
Author: Egleriel

Original fic here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2269472/1/Out_in_the_Rain
PPCed by [livejournal.com profile] agenttrojie and [livejournal.com profile] tea_fiend


Deep within the bowels of the Department of Bad Slash, two Agents were having an argument. Again. However, this argument was taking place in unusually hushed tones, so as not to alert the Queen Anne’s Lace, or indeed any passing Agent.
‘The rules are very clear,’ Agent Paddlebrains protested, gesticulating wildly with her cigarette. ‘You don’t go into the Discworld continuum, and I get to keep my kneecaps.’
‘I don’t remember anything about your kneecaps in the Ban,’ Agent Trojanhorse said, her eyes flickering towards the latest Words she had found whilst hacking into other Agents’ response centres. Let the Flowers try to keep her out of the Discworld. She would find a way!
‘They were revised when I joined you. Presumably someone thinks I might actually be to exert some control over you.’
‘Hah!’
‘Hey, I’m sure I could if I put my mind to it.’
‘I’d like to see you try.’
‘Okay.’ Paddlebrains shrugged and transformed, then trotted over to Trojie’s Kurt Cobain shrine and cocked a leg.
‘It won’t work,’ Trojie announced, folding her arms and looking a trifle concerned as she eyed the large, black and smelly Potterverse dog, who whined in disagreement. ‘No, you’re female. You’d have to squat over it, and that guitar looks a bit too spiky even for your - hey!’
The next few moments consisted of a blur of movement, as both Trojie and her sniffer dog, Absinthe, leapt towards Paddlebrains. The former had grabbed a newspaper with which to defend her most holy of shrines, while the latter relied solely on her nose to distract Paddlebrains.
Once the metaphorical dust had settled, Trojie turned from her inspection of the shrine, which was mercifully intact and unsullied, to see Paddlebrains, once more in human form, perched atop the console and trying desperately to keep out of Absinthe’s reach.
‘That’s completely unfair tactics!’ Paddlebrains cried, clinging to the wall behind her for dear life.
‘And attempting to urinate on Kurt to keep me from going to the Discworld isn’t?’ Trojie asked, stroking the guitar next to her reverently.
‘It may be a little underhand, I’ll grant you, but it isn’t in the same league as letting that creature molest me!’
‘Well, if you’d just let us go kill this OOC atrocity, Absinthe won’t be able to follow us, and your dignity will be intact.’ Trojie opened the portal into the Discworld, and gestured invitingly.
‘But...’ Paddlebrains shuddered convulsively. ‘What if Gaspode’s there?’ Trojie mirrored the shudder. Female dog Animagus. Gaspode. Within ten metres of each other. Too much opportunity for bad, baaad things to occur.
‘He’s not. Thank all the Glods, he’s not. Please?’
‘No!’
‘Come on, there must be something I can bribe you with.’
‘Well, there is one thing you could do...’
‘Anything,’ Trojie said, shoving her hands behind her back and crossing her fingers.
‘Get that damned thing spayed!’ Paddlebrains pointed at Absinthe, who took this as her cue to leap up at the Agent once more. Drool flew everywhere, coating the console, the floor, and Agent Paddlebrains, who shrieked and fell backwards.
Trojie threw herself in front of the shrine, saving it from this desecration and receiving a liberal coating of saliva herself.
‘Bad Absinthe,’ Trojie said absentmindedly, standing up and wringing out her sleeves. The dog whined, and thumped her tail on the ground, before turning to stare intently at the still-open portal. ‘Pads?’
Agent Paddlebrains had disappeared.
‘Absinthe? Where did she go?’ Absinthe whined again, sniffing the portal. ‘Most peculiar.’ Abandoning her soggy jacket, Trojie eyed the purloined Words once more, and grinned.

***

‘Urrrrgh...’
Agent Trojie shook herself, and looked around. She had portalled into Ankh-Morpork’s Shades area, disguised as an Assassin, a discreet pair of plugs preventing her from instantly passing out from the smell.
Agent Paddlebrains had not been so lucky. Falling backwards into the Shades without any sort of protective gear, Trojie felt, was probably going to leave her nose traumatised for weeks. Still, it served her right for denying Trojie of her rightful place in the Discworld continuum. Trojie would be sure to tell her partner that, as soon as she found her. Hopefully she hadn’t already been mugged and left on top of the river.
‘Aaaaargh...’
That moaning sounded familiar. Trojie ducked back into deeper shadow, and eyed her surroundings warily. The frequently-missing cobbles in the narrow street at the end of the alley, coupled with the general old, creaky and badly-constructed demeanour of the buildings gently shifting in the rain suggested she was near the river, a fact complemented by the insidious smells that were even now creeping through Trojie’s noseplugs. There were also two figures silhouetted at the entrance to the alley, neither of whom appeared to have noticed Trojie’s arrival, as they were currently focusing on the Agent-shaped heap in front of them. Trojie crept closer to listen.
‘It’s a bit weird though,’ the skinnier of the two was saying.
‘What, women falling out of the sky? Pretty normal for round here,’ the bearded one said, poking the heap with the tip of his dagger. The heap yelped.
‘It’s definitely alive,’ the skinny one said. ‘What do we do with it?’
‘I’m thinking the standard maim-and-rob job,’ said Beard.
‘And chuck it in the river?’
‘Oh, Glods,’ moaned the heap.
‘Oh, bugger,’ came a hiss from around the corner. Beard looked up sharply.
‘What?’
‘It’s the Watch!’
‘Which?’
‘No, Watch!’ the third thief said, pointing along the street from his vantage point in a doorway. Skinny and Beard peered round the corner.
‘Hell,’ Beard exclaimed. ‘Run!’ The other two thieves looked at each other, confused at their usually-unflappable leader’s obvious distress. ‘It’s that bloody captain. Go!’
The three thieves dissolved into the night.
Trojie edged forward cautiously. ‘Pads? Is that you?’
‘I think my nose is bleeding,’ muttered the heap.
‘I’m not surprised. You jumped in before I could kit you out with the standard Ankh-Morpork survival gear.’
‘The what?’ Paddlebrains lifted her head from the muddy ground and peered about blearily. ‘Glods, what did I land in?’
Ignoring Paddlebrains’s expression of utter revulsion, Trojie grabbed her, and pulled her back into the shadows of the alleyway.
‘You can wash later. For now, it’s horror time!’ Trojie rubbed her hands together gleefully as Captain Carrot and Sergeant Angua stopped at the entrance to the alleyway. Beside her, Paddlebrains slid down the ancient and slightly sticky wall, twitching and muttering under her breath.
‘Oh, come on. You love the Discworld as much as I do.’
‘I don’t have sticky fingers, though. You keep those hands where I can see them.’
‘What would I take from here?’ asked Trojie innocently, pulling her hands out of the pockets that already contained a cobblestone lifted from a pile of debris, a crumpled takeaway bag and a pigeon skull filched from a gnoll she’d passed who was probably going to miss them, and several other small items of rubbish. ‘It’s a filthy alleyway.’
‘I don’t trust you. When I opened your locker the other day it was full of pigeon feathers and chip-wrappers. Couldn’t you filch something interesting?’
‘I’ve got the New Pie in a box,’ said Trojie proudly. ‘Don't tell Upstairs. I figure we can kill things with it sometime.’
‘The New Pie? But-‘
‘It never got explained what happened to it after the fire. That’s ‘cause I sort of disassembled the Sorting Engine, bent some of its cladding into a box and manhandled the New Pie into it. I figure if it didn’t destroy the Engine, then there must be some way of handling it that doesn’t kill you. We can throw Sues at it!’
‘It may have escaped your attention, but we’re in Bad Slash. We see maybe one Sue a year.’
‘We get Possession!Sues.’
‘I thought we’re meant to exorcise those, not twist them through multiple dimensions. Anyway, shouldn’t we be paying attention? Making a chargelist, maybe? Actually doing our jobs, perhaps?’ Pads waved in the direction of Carrot and Angua, still arguing in the mouth of the alley. The Agents watched them for a few moments before feeling bound to comment.
‘I can’t believe this author has the gall to make Angua girly. I’m still so angry about that.’
‘And how about making Carrot a murderer?’
‘Also angry about that.’
‘Even superhero girls are allowed to worry about their hair. I’m worried about mine.’ Paddlebrains indicated the unspecified detritus of the alley still clinging grimly to her hair.
‘Angua wouldn’t, though. Not like that.’
‘I’m practically a werewolf, you know,’ mused Pads. ‘And anyway, she’s a civilised werewolf. She likes to be clean.’
‘But she wouldn’t be more worried about the hair than other things. Like PLT. Which must be a bitch.’
‘Agreed.’
‘Why is Carrot grinning? Carrot’s not a grinner.’
‘Is grinner a word?’
‘Dunno. But he’s not one.’
‘Hang on, Colon is in the running for Captain? That’s definitely a charge.’ The two Agents shared a memory of the short-lived Guild of Watchmen, and sniggered. Paddlebrains pulled out her notebook and began scribbling incomprehensible notes.
‘Is it wrong that I snigger when Carrot pulls out a ‘little black book'?’ Trojie asked.
‘It’s wrong that he has to resort to a little black book to remember who’s in the Watch. He’s a people person, remember?’
‘This author is a character-wrecker.’
‘I know, I’ve got it,’ Paddlebrains said, waving the notebook. ‘What are they going to do next?’
‘You don’t want to know,’ Trojie sighed, pulling Paddlebrains forward as Angua began crying. They watched with interest.
‘Woobiefication of Angua, that’s definitely a charge,’ Pads said. ‘Did she just say she’s not been the Sam since she came back from Uberwald?’
‘Yep.’
‘Good thing too. I can’t see Vimes being happy about people impersonating him.’
‘So long as it wasn’t in some sort of kinky sex game.’
‘Implication that Carrot and Angua have really bizarre fetishes,’ Pads muttered, scribbling furiously. ‘Where’s she off to now?’ she asked, watching Angua turn and flounce off up the muddy street.
‘Uh-oh,’ Trojie said, looking worried as Carrot reached for Angua’s arm. ‘This is our cue.’
‘What, now? I don’t much fancy taking on a werewolf and Carrot, thanks.’
‘Wait for it,’ Trojie said, a restraining hand on Pads’s arm.
They waited in silence, watching the fight unfold before them.
‘Did he just beat her to death with a silver candlestick, and then dump her in the Ankh?’
‘...Yes. That’s definitely a charge.’
‘Quick!’
The two Agents waited for Carrot to turn away, then leapt to the banks of the Ankh and hauled the dripping, pitiful wolf-corpse to the edge. Trojie conjured a portal.
‘Come on, we have to get her to Medical.’
‘There’s silver in every bloody wound, you pillock. She’s dead.’
‘Medical can do miracles, I swear. They even have an Igor.’
‘But what about the rest of the fic? We can’t just leave it.’
‘We’ll come back to sort it out while Angua’s getting the kiss of life from Igor.’
‘Not so you can nick more stuff then?’ Paddlebrains peered suspiciously at Trojie’s bulging pockets.
‘Focus, woman! There are more important things to worry about,’ Trojie berated her partner, reaching for the deceased werewolf. Sighing, Pads assisted her, and both Agents and corpse disappeared through the portal.

***

They didn’t even need to knock. Dr. Fitzgerald opened the door to Medical and beamed down at the sweat-, blood- (lots of blood) and unknowable-Ankh-slime-covered Agents, who staggered past him and put the corpse of Delphine Angua von Uberwald down on his operating table.
‘What seems to be the trouble?’ he asked, rubbing his hands together and surveying the sad canine heap.
‘Killed by Carrot. Combination of a silver candlestick and the Ankh,’ said Pads, surreptitiously trying to wipe the slime off her hands onto a set of scrubs.
‘But the Ankh can’t kill werewolves. It’s water. Of a sort,’ said Fitzgerald, examining Angua critically now.
‘Yeah. But the Author thinks it can,’ said Trojie. ‘Can you fix her?’
‘I can fix her. Igor?’ called Fitzgerald, donning a pair of surgical gloves. ‘You two go on now,’ he said, not unkindly. ‘I know how much Agents dislike seeing their favourites in this kind of situation. I’ll page you when she’s all fixed up.’
Reluctantly, Trojie and Pads headed back to their RC, and to the fic.

***

They approached the Watch House warily. Trojie was worried about being seen; Paddlebrains was worried about being seen by Gaspode. The prospect still didn’t appeal.
‘How are we going to get in?’ Pads asked. ‘Can't compile the chargelist if they’re inside and we’re stuck out here.’
‘I have an idea. Follow me.’
Pads did so, grumbling. ‘Another alley? I still stink from the last one.’
‘Quit complaining, we’re not going far,’ Trojie said as they jostled their way through the crowds on the Pons Bridge and ducked down another alleyway by the Beggars’ Guild. When they reached Whalebone Lane, Trojie stopped, pulling Pads into yet another festering alley, and waited.
‘So what’s this master plan of yours? It better not involve petty larceny.’
Trojie looked sheepish and defensive at the same time.
‘It does, doesn’t it!’ Pads accused. She sighed. ‘I’m going to miss my kneecaps...’
‘It’ll be fine, no-one will know. We’re just going to... “borrow” someone’s clothes.’
‘Whose?’
‘There.’ Trojie pointed to their target.
‘WILLIAM DE WORDE?’ Trojie scrambled to cover Pads’ mouth.
‘Sssh, you utter muffin, they’ll hear us!’
Pads wrestled herself free. ‘You want us to mug William de Worde and Saccharissa Cripslock, steal their clothes, and then what? Is this some plot to pinch Saccharissa’s handbag? Because I’m not going along with that, it’s weird and possibly kinky.’
‘No, so that we can dress up in them and get into the Watch House.’
‘Can’t we just generate disguises?’
‘I left the Remote Activator behind,’ said Trojie, again crossing her fingers behind her back to excuse the lie.
‘You better promise me that we’ll return all their clothing when we’re done. And I’m keeping my own drawers, thank you very much.’
‘Yes, yes, come on. They’ll get away.’
Pads eyed the two canon characters. ‘We’re going to get into trouble for this. And you’re being Saccharissa. I want William’s boots.’
‘Now who’s a thief?’
‘They’re the Boots of Truth!’
‘I thought those were Vimes’s boots?’
‘No, those are the Boots of Justice. I’d like those too, if we get a chance.’
‘Oh, for Glod’s sake, come on. Let’s get them.’
The mugging went smoothly, apart from a brief period about halfway through when William attempted to interview them about their motives for the mugging, the desperate conditions of the lower classes in Ankh-Morpork (so poor they must resort to stealing the boots of honest journalists going about their lawful business) and the rise of unlicensed thievery in the city, but after not too long the two newspaper people were trussed up, Pads was adjusting her cravat, and Trojie was still wrestling with the bustle, and losing spectacularly.
‘No, you’re doing it all - come here!’ Pads ordered. Trojie dutifully backed up, presenting her lumpy posterior to her partner. Pads began rummaging in the region of the bustle.
‘Why do I feel like I’m a character in a badslash?’
‘Don’t think about it.’
‘Mind where you’re putting your fingers!’ Trojie yelped.
‘There you go. All sorted.’ Pads admired her handiwork.
‘Where did you learn the art of bustle-wearing?’
‘Trust me when I say you really don’t want to know. Shall we?’ Pads extended an arm. Trojie ignored it, and led the way.

***

Pads sailed into Pseudopolis Yard like a swan gliding serenely upon a lake. Trojie rather spoilt the picture by clumping into the yard a few seconds afterwards. The bustle was giving her gyp. The watchmen in the Yard gave her very strange looks until Pads stopped, looped her arm around Trojie’s and continued on her glide up to the main desk.
‘You have to look confident,’ hissed Pads. ‘That means not looking like a grumpy, constipated suffragette.’
‘You try looking happy and confident in this garment,’ Trojie hissed back. ‘At least you have trousers!’
‘You have trousers too,’ murmured Pads as they approached the duty officer’s desk. ‘The gloomy and purposeless trousers of Uncle Vanya. I found those in your locker as well.’
‘He seldom wore them!’ said Trojie defensively, just as Pads hauled her to the desk and announced that they were reporters from the Times and needed to speak with Commander Vimes urgently.
Fortunately for their purposes, the duty officer was none other than the endearingly incompetent Constable Ping, who was all too happy to lead them down to the cells.
Every watchman they passed looked anxious, but none so much as the small, scruffy and bloodstained dog waiting outside the door of the interrogation room.
‘The Commander’s in there with him now,’ Constable Ping said, radiating enthusiasm. ‘Would you like a cup of tea while you wait?’
‘That would be lovely,’ Trojie smiled at him. She turned to Pads, who had backed up against the wall and was trying to outstare and thus intimidate the dog. ‘Oh dear.’
‘You’re telling me,’ muttered Gaspode. ‘There I was minding me own business, poor little doggie out in the rain, and then he only goes and bloody kills her.’
‘You were there?’ Trojie asked.
‘Course I was. Got to keep an eye on ‘em, you know.’ Gaspode scratched idly at a flea. ‘They’d get themselves into no end of trouble if I didn’t.’
‘So you saw him kill her?’ Pads asked, forgetting the earlier fears and scribbling in de Worde’s notebook.
‘Yep. Blood everywhere. Then you two came and did your mystical juju, next thing I know, bloody Nobby Nobbs is bawling into my fur and dragging me down here. I don’t need any more skin diseases, y’know.’ He scratched again. ‘That didn’t feel like a flea...’
‘Shouldn’t he have brought Angua back?’
‘Yes, but we took her, remember, and the Words specifically say he brought a dog back.’
‘Narrative Causality truly is awe-inspiring.’
Both Agents forgot themselves enough to make the sign of the Holy Horns at this juncture.
‘You two want to watch yourselves, too.’ Gaspode eyed them knowingly. ‘I know what you are. Stuff goes all weird, someone new who smells all wrong turns up, whoops, here we go again, big people acting all wrong as well, and then somehow a pair of you types appears, out of thin air sometimes, and suddenly no-one but me remembers the stranger. Can’t fool ol’ Gaspode, you know. I got the Power, and none of you seems to know. And it don’t take much to tell what she is, either,’ and Gaspode nodded at Pads. ‘You got the Look. Werewolf?’
‘No,’ hissed Pads, just as Ping wandered back to them with a tea-tray. Trojie thanked him and sent him on his way with a peremptory wave of her hand. The bustle swung alarmingly behind her. Ignoring Gaspode for the time being, she crept closer to the door. Behind her, Pads spat noisily.
‘Good Glod, what is in this tea?’ she demanded.
‘With the water round here? Do you really want me to answer that? Come on. We have work to do.’
Pads joined Trojie by the door, opening it slightly so they could hear the interrogation within.
‘Why would I want to kill Angua?’ came Carrot’s voice through the door.
‘This is a very good question,’ Pads muttered.
‘I suspect it’s because the author wants my brain to explode,’ Trojie replied, clenching her fists.
‘Credit where it’s due, she nearly succeeded.’
‘Is this earwax, blood, or brain tissue coming out of my ears, do you think?’
‘I think it’s Ankh-slime, actually. Shhh.’
‘I swear I told you the truth!’ Carrot wailed from behind the door.
‘Come on, let’s get in there,’ said Pads.
‘Not yet,’ Trojie said, pulling Pads away and indicating a hiding place in one of the empty cells.
‘But we’ve got enough charges, and the less witnesses there are to the exorcism, the more chance I have of appropriating the Boots of Justice!’
‘You’ll get your moment. Be patient.’
Loud and slightly metallic footsteps on the stairs heralded the arrival of Corporal Littlebottom, her painted face downcast. The Agents watched from their hiding place as the dwarf entered the interrogation room. Moments later, she returned and went back up the stairs, followed by Commander Vimes and Carrot.
‘Is it time now?’
‘Yep.’ Trojie led the way up the stairs.
‘Is this the bit where you muck around with their memories and whatnot?’ Gaspode asked. ‘Count me in.’
Trojie listened carefully at the door, waiting for the opportune moment. Vimes’s voice floated through.
‘The story, Fred, is that the Ankh can kill a werewolf.’
‘Now!’ Trojie hissed, flinging open the door. ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!’ she cried as she leapt over the threshold.
‘You utter pillock,’ said Pads, smacking her over the back of the head, before turning to the startled Vimes and Colon. ‘Our apologies, gentlemen. This will only take but a minute of your time.’
Vimes squinted at her. ‘Isn’t that William de Worde’s coat?’
‘Of course not. Now,’ and Pads waved at Trojie. ‘Exorcism time?’
‘Definitely. This won’t hurt a bit,’ Trojie told the confused canon characters as she rummaged in her Bag for bell, book and candle.
The book she produced was a copy of the Fifth Elephant, but the large, heavy bell and candle she pulled out Pads recognised from elsewhere.
‘Souvenirs?’ she hissed in Trojie’s ear.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ said Trojie with dignity, handing the Fifth Elephant to Pads and grabbing a copy of Night Watch for herself from the apparently bottomless depths of the Bag.
‘Witchfinder CSM Horace ‘Get Them Afore They Get You’ Narker would turn in his grave, or graves,’ said Pads, brandishing the book in the direction of the two watchmen. But this conversation had taken the Agents’ attention away from Vimes, Carrot and Colon, and while Colon was perhaps content to sit there and let the situation play out, Vimes had other ideas. He reached for his sword, and, finding it not attached, he muttered a curse towards whichever sadist was responsible for his uniform, and launched himself at Trojie.
Trojie, with her lack of peripheral vision, didn’t notice the attack until he was half in the air. Reflexively she swung out - with the hand containing the eight pound reinforced brass bell of Horace Narker. It connected heavily and Vimes fell to the floor. Carrot was up in a flash, Colon a few hesitant steps behind him, but Pads had anticipated this move and went to dog immediately, clamping her jaws down on Carrot’s ankle. He shook her off, and tried to grab her. She led both him and the sergeant a merry chase around the room as Trojie began her usual chant.
‘Avaunt, spirit of badfic! The power of PRATCHETT compels you! You have no more power in this continuum! I banish thee from whence you came! Avaunt! Bloody avaunt!’
The characters stared at her in confusion. Pads gambolled about happily, and stopped by Vimes’s boots, which she sniffed with interest. Gaspode sidled up to her optimistically. Carrot’s mouth, meanwhile, had dropped open, and a look of horror was plastered across his face. The other characters were shuffling uncomfortably.
From the depths of Carrot’s mouth, a curious mist began to seep forth. He coughed, and dropped to his knees. The mist, swirling ominously, assumed the shape of the Author, who glared petulantly at Trojie.
‘It’s just fanfic!’ it whined. ‘You can’t kill me for writing fanfic!’
‘You killed Angua,’ said Trojie, planting her feet solidly and waving Night Watch at the wraith. ‘Get thee gone, foul shade.’
By now, the Author-Wraith had coalesced out of all three canons, and was at its strongest, and most dangerous. Being possessed by an Author-Wraith is an unpleasant experience, one that neither Trojie nor Pads were anxious to undergo.
‘Pads, keep ‘em occupied,’ said Trojie, and conjured a quick portal. She disappeared through it, calling, ‘I'll be back with Angua,’ and it sealed before the Wraith could follow her.
Portalling technology allows for a kind of time-travel, and so it was within thirty seconds that Trojie was back, followed by a fully-recovered and exceedingly angry Angua. Even though the time had been so short, the tableau in the cell was vastly altered. Vimes was still out, though minus his boots now, and Colon was trying to revive Carrot, who had apparently fainted. Pads was hanging on for dear life to Vimes’s Boots of Justice, which Gaspode was trying to wrestle off her. He barked something in a muffled voice through the shoe leather, and was promptly thrown off his feet by Pads yelping and transforming back to human form at an appreciable fraction of lightspeed. She spat out the boots, which Gaspode had been forced to relinquish, and shuddered. Angua caught her eye and nodded. An understanding seemed to pass between them, and they both glared at Gaspode.
‘Sorry, miss. Misses,’ he said. ‘Can’t blame a dog for tryin’, though.’
At the appearance of an alive and in fact wholly unkilled, canonical Angua, two things happened. Carrot, slumped by the wall, groaned and attempted to lurch to his feet. The Author-wraith, however, shrieked in pain. ‘But she died!’ it protested. ‘It was symbolic! There was a song and everything! Carrot’s love for the city-’
Carrot had got to his feet, supported by Colon and Angua. He was shaking, half with possession-shock and half with rage. ‘My love for the city,’ he gritted out, ‘is not enough to make me break its laws or to kill the woman I love. Guilt for the crime plainly lies with you, whatever you are. Therefore by the power vested in me by the City of Ankh-Morpork-’
Angua laid a gentle hand on his arm. ‘Carrot,’ she said. ‘It’s going.’
And indeed the Author-wraith was dissipating into shreds of fog. Vimes started to groan.
‘What hit me?’ he managed.
‘Uh, me,’ confessed Trojie.
‘Neuralyser?’ Pads suggested. ‘Preferably before we end up in the cells.’
‘In the Bag,’ Trojie replied. ‘You can stash those Boots while you’re at it.’
Vimes’s eyes narrowed. ‘Those are my boots!’
‘Were,’ Pads said, rummaging in the depths of the Bag. ‘Past tense. Very important. Aha!’ She straightened up, brandishing the neuralyser.
‘Generally,’ Trojie murmured to the Animagus agent, ‘we wait until they’re not looking before we pinch their boots. Just a tip.’
‘Noted for next time.’
Pads also grabbed sunglasses for her and Trojie. She tossed a pair to her partner, and then paused, and barked something. Gaspode left the room. Trojie raised an eyebrow at her and was rewarded with a mouthed ‘Tell you later.’ Angua just raised an eyebrow.
‘Now, if you could all just look at the little flashy light...’
Pads held up the neuralyser. The assorted canon characters glared suspiciously, but one by one they all turned to look at the light.
She pushed the button. There was a blinding flash of light, and suddenly the canon characters were blinking in the bright new dawn of the first day of the rest of their lives, to mangle a few metaphors. It was a fairly hefty thing they’d been made to forget; Carrot on a murderous rampage was the sort of thing that sticks in the mind rather, and so Trojie had used one of the neuralyser’s higher settings. This had the unfortunate side effect of causing severe confusion in some characters and a brief loss of consciousness in others; Pads took advantage of the opportunity to swipe another pair of boots from a hapless watchman.
‘So which Boots are they?’ Trojie asked. ‘The Boots of Freedom? Or the Boots of Reasonably Priced Love?’
‘The Boots of We Forgot To Neuralyse William.’
‘Bugger. Although what that has to do with boots is beyond me.’
‘You think he won’t notice his boots suddenly vanishing? We need to replace them.’
‘To Piss Harry’s!’
One brief portal and the expenditure of several goldish dollars later, and there were enough second-hand boots in the Watch House to equip a regiment.
‘Now, we need to find William and Saccharissa, give them their clothes back, finish this game of Musical Boots, and then-’
‘What about me?’
Trojie looked at Pads. ‘Did you say that?’
‘Down here, you daftie.’ They looked down at Gaspode. ‘You said go outside. And now they don’t remember anything and it’s the same as always. Which does me no good, being the wossname, the sole record of the events, so to speak.’
‘Well, what do you want?’
‘Pound of steak’d be favourite, but being able to stop the weirdies turning up would be close second.’
‘We ought to be able to arrange something,’ Pads said, sharing a look with Trojie. ‘Are we allowed to recruit field agents?’
‘Don't see why not.’
‘The Flowers won't mind?’
‘Who said anything about telling them? We’re not even supposed to be here, remember?’
‘Oh yeah...’ Pads shuffled her kneecaps awkwardly. ‘I sort of forgot, in the excitement.’
‘And in the adrenaline rush of Disc larceny.’
‘That too. We could give him a pager,’ Pads said, turning her attention back to Gaspode.
‘Not allowed. No contaminating the continuum, remember?’
‘How about a Dis-organiser, then? And if we take one too, then they can talk to each other or whatever it is that Dis-organisers do. They’re nano-imps, and imps and demons can cross between planes of existence... It’s authentic bullshit, I’m sure it’ll work.’
‘Good point. We should go and buy some Dis-organisers then. After we’ve neuralysed William and Saccharissa, of course. And what on earth are you smoking?’
‘Pantweed’s.’ Pads flicked the ash from the tip of her cigar. ‘Waste not, want not, and all that.’
The two bickering Agents and the dog wandered through the rats-nest of alleyways, back to where they’d left the reporters. Because there was no Author involved in this case, neuralysation was swift and painless, and William's boots were easily replaced in the confusion. They proceeded to the Unreal Estate, where they purchased Dis-organisers.
‘You’re sure you can work this?’ Trojie asked of Gaspode.
‘I can write, can’t I? An’ play the harmonica. No problem.’
‘In that case, we should head back before someone notices we’re gone, or someone else tries to get in here and fix the fic. Bye!’ Trojie patted Gaspode on the head, wiped her hand on her jeans, and opened a portal. She then nudged Pads. ‘Aren’t you going to say goodbye?’
‘Bye,’ said Pads, looking fixedly at the ground, and then bolting through the portal. Trojie followed her.
‘He hit on you, didn’t he?’ asked Trojie with a grin when they were back in their response centre.
‘No!’
‘Pads and Gaspode, sitting in a tree - Ack! Gerroff me, you mad woman!’
The long-standing scuffle between the two Agents was resumed. Life in RC #45 was back to normal. Barring anyone finding out about Trojie’s sidestepping of the Ban and Paddlebrains’s descent unto the Dark Side, of course. But what were the chances of that ever happening?

***

Author’s Note: This is actually, in the fullness of time, going to be the third mission Paddlebrains appears in and the second proper PPC mission she does. But this fic was so bad as to be really, really tempting. So we kind of got the inspiration for this one first. So here it is. Soon, we hope, we will be able to post ‘Land Before Time: Littlefoot x Cera’ and ‘To The Moon’, which are the two preceding missions.
This fic, ‘Out in the Rain’, was supposed to be a songfic. Unlike most songfics, however, it didn’t put large chunks of lyrics before chapters. Instead it used lines of the song as dialogue. It turns out that the song was ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ by the Killers. We didn’t spot this until the author pointed it out though, because neither of us is a Killers fan.
The Ban is just that: a total ban on Trojie going to the Discworld, the Good Omens-verse, the Neverwhere-verse, the American-Gods-verse, or any other -verse connected with either Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman, as she has a terrible habit of pinching everything that isn't nailed down. As with most kleptomaniacs, this is not limited to valuable or useful things; hence the locker full of pigeon feathers and chip wrappers. She can’t help herself. But she has managed to pick up some useful/interesting things over the years, including Band with Rocks In posters, the stuffed badger from Night Watch, and, as mentioned, most of the debris of the Sorting Engine, and most significantly the New Pie.
Sooner or later, Upstairs will no doubt find out that Trojie and Pads have been sneaking back into the Discworld, and then there will be Hell to pay.

Date: 2008-03-04 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dagor-hamster.livejournal.com
Sh-she couldn't have made Carrot kill Angua, right? This is just some...bizarre dream.

No, it isn't, is it? DIE! DIE! DIE!

*cough*

Agents Tia and Car'rok would like to express their sympathy and respect for Trojie and Paddlebrain for making it through that 'fic without destroying everything in sight.

Date: 2008-03-04 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
Trojie and Pads bow deeply to Tia and Car'rok in respect for their likewise sterling work in NOT destroying Middle Earth after their last mission. Having Galadriel turn you into a Hobbit is ... weird and anger-making. Stupid Sues.

Date: 2008-03-04 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] manx-n-shadow.livejournal.com
Ooh, this is good! ^_^

*friends you*

Date: 2008-03-04 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
why thankee :) will do likewise when am not at work and forced to post by email in a sneaky manner

Date: 2008-03-04 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] manx-n-shadow.livejournal.com
*promptly attempts to friend again after realizing has not friended yet due to computer problems*

Date: 2008-03-04 03:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oozaru-angel.livejournal.com
*glares* Bitch should've been owned by Carrot. How dare she mess with those two? Did she miss the part where Carrot tried to quit his job and leave Ankh-Morpork to run after Angua? Did she? Carrot loves Angua! Even more than he loves the city, even if she doesn't think he does! *kicks a wall because she can't kick the author* That's not even taking into account the fact that it was murder... Something Carrot wouldn't do no matter the circumstances... Plus, I'm pretty sure Angua could take Carrot if she had to.

Thanks for killing it. I sympathise with the klepto, I'd love the Vimes' Boots.

Date: 2008-03-04 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
Angua could so pwn Carrot ... not that she would, because of the aforementioned love ... *is an Angua fangirl*
Anyone who is assigned Disc missions, esp. those involving the City Watch had better keep a close eye on their consoles because Trojie Does Not Like having the Watch messed with. And Pads Does Not Like having the Disc messed with at all and is always looking out to increase her boot collection.

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January 2010

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