jjpor (jjpor) wrote in calufrax,

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Rec: The Glade

It's good to be back, fellow Whofic enthusiasts. As I sit here, barricades erected against the roaming trick-or-treaters, it seems like only yesterday that I was apologising (to myself!) for managing to go a whole week reccing without including any Seven 'n' Ace stories, so this time we kick off with a fine example of the genre. And it's more than that; it's a crossover, as well as providing a nicely chilly little ghost story for this All Hallows Eve...

Story: The Glade
Author: wiccagirl24
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 5,807
Author's Summary: Sapphire and Steel are assigned to investigate a snow covered glade where something has gone wrong with time. The Doctor and Ace are drawn to the same place but for them it's spring and the flowers are in bloom. An angry man, a sobbing woman, a mystery.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (7th), Ace, Sapphire and Steel
Warnings: None, but it does have some nicely spooky moments.

Recced because: I genuinely thought this one had already been recced, but it seems it hasn't (I checked the tags twice!), so I thought I'd remedy that oversight forthwith. Plus I thought a ghost story for Hallowe'en was a good way to start the week. Mainly, though, I wanted to rec this because I think it's a very good story indeed and I think other people ought to read it.

I'm not overly familiar with Sapphire & Steel, in spite of my associate lost_spook's LJ posts about it which make me think I really ought to check it out at some point. For those of you even less familiar with it than I, it's a British sf-fantasy series that ran sporadically between 1979 and 1982, starring Joanna Lumley and David McCallum as the titular pair of interdimensional operatives. Sapphire and Steel almost certainly aren't human, although they do a reasonably good job of pretending to be, and their business is time, specifically investigating and fixing problems with it, which from the point of view of us mere humans take the form of all sorts of paranormal and ghostly phenomena. The series is famed for its eerie atmosphere and unsettling storylines, often avoiding giving the audience too  many straight answers, and this story certainly captures something of that, as well as painting an impressively subtle picture of the two characters and their very different yet complimentary personalities (with more than a hint., it has to be said, of the old UST, even if they are aliens/angels/whatevers). I honestly don't think lack of exposure to Sapphire & Steel seriously diminishes one's enjoyment of this story, although I'm sure somebody who was a fan would find even more things to enjoy about the way the characters are portrayed here.

The other half of the story, of course, belongs to Seven and Ace, and it does not disappoint on those grounds either. They're my favourite Doctor-and-companion team, with an impressively nuanced and complicated relationship that can sometimes be hard to capture in fic. This story does very well indeed on that score. This is Seven and Ace in Ghost Light or Curse of Fenric mode, where the Doctor is simultaneously educating and testing his companion while, one suspects, using her as part of his solution to a problem he's pretending to have run across by coincidence. At the same time, their closeness and trust and reliance on each other are more than obvious. Yes, Ace comes out with all of her catchphrases and there's the obligatory Nitro-9 scene, but there's something truer and more delicate shining through here, too. Parts of the Doctor-Ace dialogue here make me smile, and others give me a shiver; it's clear the author has a very fine handle on both these characters.

All this and a nasty, tragic little ghost story too. Read it, I urge you, and express your appreciation in the usual place.

“Sapphire, I suggest we run.” Steel grabbed his partner’s hand and they raced through the trees just behind Ace and the Doctor. When the ground rumbled and shook they were far enough away that only a little ash fell on them. Steel flicked it away, whereas Sapphire simply made it disappear. The Doctor and Ace didn’t even seem to notice the powdery residue that clung to their clothing. “Quite the explosion. Nitroglycerin base?”

Ace laughed, and leaned forward. Someone who recognised nitro when they saw it was someone worth talking to. “Yeah. My own recipe, extracted from gelignite. I call it nitro nine.”

“But how do you...”

“Shouldn’t we see if the explosion worked?” Sapphire suggested. {You’re not going to start carrying around explosives.}

{It would expedite some of our assignments.}

{So would going back in time and halting evolution, but you’re not doing that either.}

Tags: author: wiccagirl24, companion: ace, doctor: 7, rating: all ages, reccer: jjpor, type: crossover, type: gen

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