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Fic: 'No More Heroes' - Torchwood/Life On Mars - Alice Carter/Sam Tyler - PG13 
5th-Sep-2010 02:04 pm
Title: No More Heroes
Fandom: Torchwood/Life On Mars
Pairing: Alice Carter/Sam Tyler
Rating: PG13
Wordcount: 1,663
Timeline/Spoilers: TW, after Children of Earth. LOM, S1
Warnings: Angst
Notes: Unbeta'd. All comments, nitpicks & crit weclome
Disclaimer: Not mine. No profit, no foul.
Summary: Alice walks into a blue box with a stranger.

ETA: If you like this story, please check out the prequel written by edzel2 here -- it's the story of how Alice met the Doctor, and it is completely gorgeous.

Don't you just love how fandom can make these wonderful spirals of creativity? *snuggles fandom*

Alice walks into a blue box with a stranger because he has eyes that speak to her of loss, and because he says he'll take her somewhere far away. Somewhere that will have none of those constant reminders of Steven that have so very nearly broken her. Somewhere full of people who have no idea who she is, or what happened to her. To the world.

'They won't know me,' she says. 'They won't care.'

'No,' he agrees. 'They won't.'

It sounds wonderful. Insane, obviously, but wonderful. The stranger tells her that he knows her father, but she's sold on the idea now so she decides not to hold that against him.

Alice walks out of the blue box into the year 1973. It wasn't what she'd expected -- to the extent that she'd expected anything -- but it meets the promised criteria so she doesn't complain.

Behind her, the stranger and his box disappear. That, she had expected.

'Goodbye,' she says, anyway, to the empty air.


Alice builds herself a life in this place. It vaguely surprises her; that fact, but not enough to do anything about it. She'd thought about death enough, but suicide isn't in her. If she examined it closely enough she knows she'd find it's all about Jack -- savouring the promise of death because it's the one thing he can never have -- but she really doesn't need to. It's always been about Jack.

She works at a shelter for battered women, and is given advancement even though she doesn't seek it. The staff like her because she gets on with the job without protest or fuss. The girls like her because she doesn't pry or judge. She guesses her eyes probably speak to them about loss, too.

'My name is Alice Carter,' she tells them, 'and you're safe now.'

It's a lie, but she makes it convincing and she thinks they don't always know.


There are a lot of criminals but not many convictions. She doesn't blame anyone for that; the world is neither easy nor fair. She doesn't blame the women who go back, or the ones who don't leave. She ran, herself, (like father like daughter) but that doesn't suit everyone. And it's harder, for these girls. The expectation of equality is almost forty years away from being as ingrained for them as it is for her. She doesn't try to push them faster than they can cope with. She tries to work out what they need, and do her best to provide it. Optimism, understanding, hope, commiseration, the comforting hand of someone who knows how it is to be fucked over.

Sometimes she tells them it's okay to go to the police, sometimes that it's okay not to. She tries to do what's right for the individual, for that particular woman, and fuck the rest. Society will just have to look out for itself, and not demand sacrifices from anyone.

'It's your choice,' she says. 'You don't have to do anything other than look after yourself. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.'

(It's not about Jack, it's just about her and her girls, about using this time that she stubbornly refuses to give up to do something worthwhile. Fuck Jack, this is her thing. Hers.)


(And yes, she knows that's bullshit.)


Manchester CID get involved on the big ones, the ones that go into meltdown and end in blood. The one in charge is a good man once you scrape out the environmental chauvinism from under his nails. She likes him instinctively, and backs away for the same reason. He can love, this Gene, it's clear to see, but there's steel in him, that cold core of leadership and responsibility that makes a person capable of doing what needs to be done.

Scrape away the good man and you'll find the soul of a cowboy, a wild west lawman who lives by the gun. A hero.

She's had enough of those.

(And really, the number of her girls who run away from home just to wind up in the arms of daddy all over again, it's beyond ridiculous. She's Jack's creation, yes, she's given up on changing that, but she won't be his lover. She can refuse that, at least.)


They have trouble, every now and then. The shelter is supposed to be both secret and secure, but information can always be bought if you know the right price. There's a particular girl, Abby, twenty-two but she looks like a child, a broken doll. She was released to them from the hospital with her ribs taped and her face black, and it's still not over. She's practically still bleeding and he comes for her anyway.

Alice wakes up blearily and reaches for a mobile phone that no longer exists (yet) but CID were tipped off and there's been a Ford Cortina parked across the street all night. There's a scuffle, and to Alice's twenty-first century eyes, use of excessive force.

'Me, DCI Hunt,' Abby's boyfriend is advised. 'You, bad guy. This, my fist.'

It's an unorthodox interpretation of his rights, but Alice offers no objection.

She thinks she might also offer no objection if DCI Hunt demanded to fuck her, but he doesn't. On balance, she thinks that's probably a good thing.


The other one, the second-in-command, is quieter. Less forceful, less brash, although just as committed. There's a distance about him, a reserve, that also appeals. He treats her with respect, acts like he knows she has a brain as well as a set of tits. It's as refreshing as it is welcome.

She likes him too, this Sam, but he doesn't scare her as much. There's something off, something fundamentally wrong, about him, and that gives her a sense of familiarity, of comfort. Sam Tyler isn't going to be interested in saving her, in fixing her. He has enough issues of his own to worry about. She likes that.


She allows herself coffee, a quick drink. Nothing in it, not like that, just two professionals networking. She says something along those lines and he agrees with a ready smile. It's the first time she realises exactly what it is that's wrong about Sam Tyler, why he doesn't seem to fit.

'Was it a man in a blue box?' she asks, but he seems genuinely confused by the question.

'Did you vote for Tony Blair?' she tries, and he makes a good job of repeating the puzzlement. But not quite good enough.

'Did you believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction?' she goes on. 'Do you remember where you were when the Twin Towers went down? When you heard that Princess Diana was dead? Did you buy the Band Aid single?'

She starts singing 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' until his hand clamps over her mouth. His palm is hot and smells of the packet of peanuts they'd shared. She licks it, tasting salt, and he quickly moves it away.

'I'm sorry,' they both say in unison.

'Who are you?' he asks.

She shrugs. 'Alice Carter. You?'

'Sam Tyler.' He blinks at her, and then they both laugh in unison, too.


He doesn't think she's real.

She doesn't take it personally; he doesn't think anything's real.

He was in a road accident in 2006, and then he woke up here. No blue boxes, no choices. No tragedy, other than the obvious. He believes he's in a coma in reality, and dreaming this entire world.

Of course, it's entirely possible that he's right.

They share decades of information and cultural references that nobody else does, but what does that necessarily mean? If he's dreaming her, doesn't it follow that she would know what he knows? And although she has another three years of Barack Obama and banking collapses and Megan Fox, how does she know these aren't all his inventions too?

Maybe she really is nothing but a projection of his subconscious, just a representation of some of his own personal issues. His anima, her university course in Jungian psychology suggests.

Maybe her world, her life -- Steven, Jack, the 456 - was just a chapter in his dream. Maybe none of it was ever real.

'I'm sorry,' he keeps saying, but she waves his apologies away.

She really quite likes the idea.


DCI Hunt is abusive to both of them, when they formally become a couple. Alice briefly wonders what it would make Gene if this is her dream rather than Sam's, but then decides she'd rather not know.

He takes her out on the pretext of vetting her for official Police Girlfriend status, and tells her that Sam doesn't love her.

'He's a decent enough bloke, don't get me wrong,' he says. 'And a bloody good copper, although you'd have to drag me by the balls over hot coals to make me admit that I said it. But he's not all there, love. Not right in the head, if you know what I'm saying. He won't look out for you, not like he should. There's too much other shit rattling around in his brain.'

She smiles, and nods, and squeezes his hand in thanks.

And tells him to fuck off, because if she doesn't need a hero, then she needs a father figure even less.


Sam doesn't love her, no. He's too damaged. Too much emotional scarring, too many long shadows, too many daddy issues.

Alice doesn't see why that should be a problem. Isn't it supposed to be a good thing, to have a lot in common with your partner?

'Haven't you ever tried to get home?' he asks her, one night in the dark. 'Isn't there anything... anyone... you still think about? That you miss?'

'No,' she says, and rests her head on his chest.

It might be a relationship -- maybe even a world -- founded on lies, but Alice can live with that. It's what she knows best, after all.
5th-Sep-2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
I really like the way you have woven these worlds and characters together and the way that Alice sees /describes Sam and Gene is great. Thank you.
6th-Sep-2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I do like a bit of outsider POV, and Alice struck me as having a lot of insight to bring. So glad you liked!
5th-Sep-2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing something so different so well. I love rare pairings, especially when they give new insights into characters we know well. This is really refreshing. :)
6th-Sep-2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I adore rare pairings too, and these two just struck me as having so much in common. So glad you liked!
5th-Sep-2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I'm not sure I've seen a fic from you since Schrödinger's Cat! And such a good one, too!

I've only watched CoE once so far - must do it again soon - and I wasn't sure who Alice was. Is she Jack's daughter, mother of the little boy at the end?

Anyway, I really like the way Alice is so clear-eyed about it all; how she recognises that Sam is too damaged to play a normal full part in a relationship but she recognises that they have such a lot in common. This is a lovely story, and the characterisation is wonderful - Sam and Gene are totally in character and Alice is exactly as one might expect after the events of CoE. I find it sad that she's so bitter about Jack, but obviously she could never be expected to take the same view of things.

Fantastic story, thank you!
6th-Sep-2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
Whee, thank you! Yes, you're right about Alice -- she's Jack's daughter, and it was her son that he sacrificed to stop the 456. I absolutely adored her. I think she loves Jack and understands that he had to do it, but equally I think she'll never forgive him for it. But like Vince is for Sam, Jack is *part* of her, and it struck me that she & Sam would have an awful lot in common, both in character and situation. I think they'd make the most workable dysfunctional relationship ever *g*
5th-Sep-2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
This has /needed/ to be writen for so long, and I LOVE you for writing it so well.

I really can't begin to descripe how much love I have for this fic - it sums up everything I feel about my LoM heroes vs Captain Jack/torchwood.

Thankyou! thankyou! thankyou so much for writing this *gets down on floor to grovel in your awesomness*
6th-Sep-2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Squee, thank you so much! It just struck me that the crossover, and the pairing, would work so well -- they'd make the most workable dysfunctional relationship ever *g*
6th-Sep-2010 06:07 am (UTC)
This is fantastic. I barely know LOM, but it doesn't matter. Your Alice is amazing. Just one example... If I quoted every segment that I loved it would be half the fic.

She smiles, and nods, and squeezes his hand in thanks.

And tells him to fuck off, because if she doesn't need a hero, then she needs a father figure even less.

Um... yeah... I can definitely see this after COE. And the last line nails it.
6th-Sep-2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I fell for Alice SO HARD in COE, and the LOM world seemed like a perfect place for her to hide out & lick her wounds for a while. She's such a survivor, you know she would just *deal* with it all -- including poor crazy Sam :-)

thanks for reading!
6th-Sep-2010 06:23 am (UTC)
Ah, this is just great. I love the bit when she realises what's "wrong" with Sam. Professional networking!

Genius pairing and crossover. \O/
6th-Sep-2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! You just know Sam misses networking *g*

Thanks for reading!
7th-Sep-2010 01:03 am (UTC)
Brilliant idea for a crossover. Very original, I would never have imagined this pairing, but they fit well together. Severe daddy issues there... Great work on speaking from Alice's point of view, how she sees Gene and Sam, and how and why she is content with Sam.
7th-Sep-2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! They did strike me as so damaged in such similar ways, they *had* to go well together!

Thanks for reading!
7th-Sep-2010 01:21 am (UTC)
Oh god this was utterly fabulous. There are so many intelligent, stunning details here, a real sense of humanity
7th-Sep-2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Squee, thank you so much! ::bounces::
7th-Sep-2010 01:38 am (UTC)
This is a fantastic idea, and perfectly executed. I love how you made the overlap of their damage a starting point.
7th-Sep-2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you so much! They really are so broken in such similar ways, bless them :-)
18th-Sep-2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
this was recced at Torchwood_house

just amazing
26th-Sep-2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Whee, thank you so much! ::beams::
2nd-Oct-2010 10:48 am (UTC)
Great look at these characters and I imagine it would be very liberating for Sam to be able to discuss all the things from the future with Alice.
4th-Oct-2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! They're just a fascinating couple, aren't they?

Thanks for reading!
23rd-Feb-2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
I really thought I'd commented on this, but I was very pleased to be reminded of it this evening. I have mixed feelings about what Jack did, but I totally accept that Alice wouldn't, and the idea of pairing her with Sam is just awesome.

Too much emotional scarring, too many long shadows, too many daddy issues.

Alice doesn't see why that should be a problem. Isn't it supposed to be a good thing, to have a lot in common with your partner?

Just awesome. I really like this.
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