Pairings/Characters: Maurice Moss, Roy Trenneman, Olivia Dunham, Astrid, Walter
Disclaimer: I do not own nor make any claim in any respect regarding the TV shows The IT Crowd or Fringe or any aspect or character thereof.
Summary: Moss and Roy take a trip to Fringe Universe. Roy's motive is totty-based.
Spoilers: Reynholm Denholm spoiler for Season 2, careful if you love him passionately as I do.
Warnings: IT Crowd/Fringe crossover. Reynholm Denholm spoiler for Season 2, careful if you love him passionately as I do. Slight reference to The Adjustment Bureau.
Posted to oonaseckar
‘I told you this wasn’t a good idea, Roy. Just because you discover a wormhole between one universe and another, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. Like my mum always says, when your Auntie Sheila gives you a handknitted balaclava for Christmas, smile, say thank you and put it with the others! It doesn't mean you have to wear it. Unless you're planning a bank-raid.'
'Are you planning a bank-raid, Moss?' The Irishman sounded patient, an excellent impression borne of long practice.
'No. Why would you ask me that?'
'”Unless you're planning a bank raid.”?'
'That's what my mum says. What are you talking about?'
'Never mind. Let's get on with exploring...'
'A parallel world, Roy! Exploring a parallel world! We're about to unbalance multiple dimensions! We're playing Buckaroo with the fabric of the universe and the horseshoes are about to go flying!'
'I know that perfectly well, Moss. And as soon as I find away to be a benefactor to mankind via my amazing new discovery, I'll be straight on it. In the meantime, I just want to see if alternate universe women find an Irish accent exotic and sexually irresistible.' This was said with Roy's usual portion of what he imagined to be rakish Celtic charm.
'Do you also want to find out if they have three breasts and carnivorous armpits? You could be getting yourself into very hot water there, Roy. Boiling hot. Hot like lava. Hotter than a bath my mum would run you and dunk you in if she knew about your jazz mags and impure thoughts. As hot as – flaming Sambuca, Roy!'
Roy continued walking. He eyed the doe-eyed leather-clad lovely swaying towards him with a squint. This was his best attempt at sizing up whether she had a third boob nestling somewhere between the regulation pair.
A minute later he was still walking, head jiggling nodding-dog fashion as he cheerfully ignored Moss's deep thoughts. Then he was alerted by the expectant silence.
'Oh, you said something? I was busy thinking about three-boobed alternate universe ladies. You know, Moss, there's something to be said for having a spare for emergencies. Be prepared, my old mum always says. Well actually she doesn't: ever since you got it on with her she says, 'And how is that lovely Moss fella? If you see Moss, tell him-'
Moss raised a commanding palm. 'I said flaming Sambuca, Roy!' He pointed at the sky, forefinger quivering a little. 'The letters, Roy! The letters!'
Three hours later Moss had finally stopped quivering whenever they reached a new landmark or significant historical building. He was still announcing, 'THE LETTERS!'. But at least he wasn't quivering. He'd wrecked his parting, though, running his fingers through his 'fro. Roy didn't alert him to this fact. The fella was close enough to a breakdown as it was.
There were certainly a few peculiarities to this alternate reality, and they didn't involve spare boobies. At least not that Roy knew about. Yet. The letters were the least of it. They'd made their way over a few city blocks, aimlessly exploring, and already they'd spotted a fella apparently bleeding mercury after falling off his skateboard and loudly demanding a band-aid from his girlfriend. Then there was the lassie who came over and started tugging at her front false teeth, grappling Moss to the ground. She'd been a bit of a looker and personally he wouldn't have struggled quite as much as all that, but Moss seemed quite keen to be off, up and outta there, so they dodged her into the Museum of Science, and hid behind one of the computing exhibits while she chased through the place. She wasn't all that hot without the teeth. A bit melty round the edges to tell the truth.
Then they'd had to bugger off out of the exhibit when the bald guy in the hat started whispering.. very portentously... at ... them. Roy did manage to catch something about psoriasis and the guy's auntie's house in Hoboken and its rotten foundations, and that was enough. There's only so long you can be expected to facsimile a polite interest before pointing in the opposite direction, uttering a strangled cry and scooting off for the nearest exit. After failing to alert your nerdy companion of your intentions.
Moss did catch up with him eventually outside the museum, pork-pie hat wedged down on his head. 'You nicked his hat!' Roy exclaimed admiringly.
'No, it was a gift,' Moss explained. 'He said it'd help me find my way out of the dark and into the light of truth.'
'Well, I still got lost on the way out of the museum and trapped in a broom cupboard. That's why I've been twenty minutes.'
Roy just looked at Moss with a slightly hopeless expression. He was saved having to actually come up with a response to this, due to the black SUV screeching to a halt beside them. A comely blonde complete with stuffed gun holster jumped out, along with a couple of male appendages. Roy swiftly licked his palm, ran a hand through his hair and assumed his standard 'equipped and ready for action' posture.
Five seconds later he was face down on the ground and gently whimpering, 'Don't hurt me! Just don't hurt me!'
Blondie turned to Moss, her face imbecilically baffled. 'Your friend. What the hell's he doing?'
Moss nodded wisely. 'He does this a lot. Based on an extensive knowledge of his psychological inadequacies, I'd say it was wishful thinking. I see from your I.D. there that you're Federal Bureau of Investigations agents: how can we visitors from over the pond assist your good selves?'
Roy hovered a moment more, quivering in the receiver position so as not to miss any possible attentions. As four sets of feet passed him, Moss ushered politely into the back of the vehicle, he gave in, brushed himself off and shuffled after them.
Unfortunately they had so much equipment in there, there were no seats left, and he had to sit on Moss's knee, or try to. 'Get off, Roy! If I'm not letting you do it in a dress calling yourself Trudy, you're not blooming doing it in dusty corduroys!' He wound up sitting on one of the male subordinates' laps. The guy nodded at him politely. 'Charlie.'
'Ung, Royston. Royston Tenneman'. The guy patted his knee absently. Maybe he should've packed the dress.
'Let me explain why we require a word with you gentlemen,' the blonde said in brusque and manly tones. 'You may not be aware of it yourselves, but you're emitting a gentle glow to those capable of perceiving it. This means that you are of significant interest to a particular government department-'
'Roy!' Moss squealed indignantly. 'You've been trying to home-irradiate the fruit bowl again haven't you? I keep telling you, if you're too blimmin' idle to go out to Sainsbury's Metro in your lunchbreak, then say so, I'll ruddy well go myself. It's got to beat a permanent ReadyBrek kid glow!'
Roy hung his head guiltily. He had been trying to irradiate some elderly bananas and a Golden Delicious that was on the turn.
He'd rather assumed they'd wind up in an interrogation room with one-way glass, trying to guess which was the nasty cop and which was the one that was going to make Moss cry. But instead the uniformed blonde lovely escorted them to Harvard University.
'Roy! It's Harvard University!' Moss hissed.
'Yes. I saw THE LETTERS too, Moss.'
'I nearly did my undergraduate degree here! But Mum and I couldn't come to an agreement for a rota for sending my washing home and posting it back. After the third spreadsheet stalled I said, “Damn it all!” and just did the Imperial College thing like Tony.'
'Tony the Tesco Metro manager?'
'He has an Erdos number, Roy. You don't need to get snooty. What's your Erdos number, Roy?'
'Ask me that again and I'll bitch-slap you like a passive-aggressive little – oh, hello!' Everyone else had stopped in the middle of the lab. They just about managed not to keep walking into the FBI agents and the lab inhabitants.
Blondie introduced them, and Moss and Roy shook hands agreeably with – Walter? Beaming genial old white-coated guy, muffin in right hand, shook with left – and apparent lab skivvy Astrid – pretty, face like a triangular question mark, a look in her eyes that said 'I was destined for better things than this!' and 'I hear that story one more time I hate you I kill you!'
'Cup of tea wouldn't go amiss, love,' he hinted broadly. He was parched.
Moss gave him a sideways look and nudged him.
'Stop nudging me. What's with the nudging? Respect my personal space dammit!'
Moss sighed. 'I don't think she's a tea-lady, Roy. She's probably better – well, realistically, she might be almost as highly qualified as me. But certainly smarter than you. This is Harvard: even the lab techs could teach first-year undergraduate maths back home at UMIST, if provided with riot gear.'
'So? I need a cuppa! It's an emergency!'
'Roy, when I'm giving you tips on appropriate social interactions, it's probably time to think about an Asperger's diagnosis,' Moss hissed, in his best local newsreader voice.
Roy could give good hiss too. 'Just because she's probably got a doctorate in bioinformatics doesn't mean she's too good to make a cuppa when she starts off on the lowest rung. I did it, you did it – hang on a minute, you never did make my tea, even though you started off after me, you bugger, did you?'
'That kettle was unhygienic, Roy. Especially considering what you used it for. Considering my OCD, if I'd made tea I'd have lost the rest of the morning to hand-washing. The world needs my intellectual contribution more than my infusions of camellia sinensis-'
'How exciting, gentlemen!' Walter beamed, through crumbs. Everyone else was just watching them warily. 'So far, we've had very little but inanimate objects to work on from any alternate universe. Olivia, my dear, thank you so much! Experimental subjects are hard to come by, and I hardly like to ask Peter to volunteer, I'm sure you understand... He left the marshmallows out of my cocoa the last time I asked.'
The dimmest comprehension began to form in Roy's mind, unfortunately just as Charlie began to ease him over to a huge sodding chair with strap-'em-down type straps.
Moss was already being settled agreeably into his chair. He was adjusting his bloody straps, helping out the other FBI guy. Roy tried to struggle a little bit and Charlie's grip tightened.
'No no! This is all wrong! I'm pretty sure this isn't standard procedure! Aren't you supposed to miranda me or something?'
Moss raised a patient eyebrow. He did love to correct stuff. 'I think you'll find that's mirandize, Roy. Although,' he said, turning to his pleasantly nodding agent as the guy tightened the straps, 'perhaps you have a different acronym for it here?'
The guy nodded. 'I guess you mean aquamarinize. I've never heard of-'
Moss wasn't listening. He was too busy reliving his Countdown glory days. 'Aquamarinize? Let me guess, will that be-'
'We're not on bloody Countdown now, Moss!' Roy thundered. 'Hey, gerroff! I said, gerroff! There's been a misunderstanding, we have to leave now – hey, did you just pat my arse?' He gazed at Charlie incredulously as he was finally eased into place. Being strapped down for brutal and invasive medical experiments was one thing. Homoerotic arse-patting entirely another.
'Did you see that?' he said, staring incredulously at Blondie and her slightly sniggering other companion. 'Your chum just sexually harassed me! How unprofessional can you get!'
'At least he didn't kiss your arse, Roy,' Moss murmured, in the meaningful tones of one about to tell tales out of school.
'Can we get on with the painful and brutal experiments now, please?' Roy said hurriedly.
The experiments weren't actually all that bad, and Moss was even rather insistent on keeping the headgear, since it reminded him of his old special school before he was mainstreamed. Once their origin, powers (nil) and significance (less) was established, they were offered an escort back to their own world with no further assault to their persons or their liberty.
As soon as the FBI could fit them in. It seemed they were not a very high priority. Roy did some reading up, meantime, on Walter's studies into the phenomenon of alternate worlds and realities. As he did so he began flipping the pages of Walter's notebooks over faster and faster.
'Making a flippin' flip book, Roy?' Moss asked innocently, as he worked on his Lego model of alternate universes on the opposite workbench.
'No, Moss. I'm reading about how us being in this universe is going to destroy all worlds! Come on! I'll grab Walter, you bring the notebooks: we've got to talk to Blondie!'
'She has a name, Roy.'
'She'll always be Blondie to me, Moss! What is her name, again?'
'Is this true, Walter?' Blondie actually looked mildly concerned as she doodled 'Mrs Peter Bishop' on her FBI-stationery notebook.
'That's Mrs Peter Digby Roderick Bishop', Moss advised her for the sake of completeness.
She nodded, uh-hummed again. 'I might have to re-think this. Anyway, Walter...'
'Ah-hm? Oh! Ah, right, yes. Of course, it's quite true that in most cases, arrival of an object or living organism from another dimension could have disastrous, oh my word yes disastrous consequences.' He patted his belly portentously, and lunged at the lemon pastry he was consuming once again. Roy grabbed it and held it away from him.
'Answer the point at hand, Prof.! No answers, and the pastry gets it!' He held it threateningly over the waste paper bin.
'That won't stop him, Roy,' Moss pointed out. 'He's like a dog, he'll just retrieve it and eat it anyway.'
Roy held it over Blondie's microwaved lean cuisine readymeal to the side of her desk. 'I'll squish it in with this!'
Walter looked panicked.
'However in this case there's no need to worry. Our experimental procedures proved conclusively that these two individuals are of no significance to the order of this or any other universe and can move freely between dimensions without risk to our world or any other,' he gabbled at something approaching lightspeed, before grabbing his pastry and stuffing it down his pants for safekeeping.
Moss looked highly relieved. 'So we pose no threat to the order of the cosmos? Well, I must say that's a humdinger of a weight off my mind. Thanks, Walter, we owe you bigstyle!'
Roy should have been happier than he looked. He felt himself that he should have felt happier than he felt. 'So... we're no threat.'
'None whatsoever!' Walter agreed, through crumbs.
''At's right! Precisely!'
Moss could foresee this carrying on for some time. He dangled the raspberry turnover in front of Walter's nose, grabbed the notebooks, kicked Roy. They made their excuses to Blondie and left.
It wasn't so bad, being a non-urgent case of non-entities waiting for a ride home, now their so-useful door between the worlds had had a huge metaphorical doorstop wedged in it. Astrid let them make themselves useful around the lab. Actually she let them in much the same way that Jen let them do things, which involved a bit of shouting and a lot of buggering off to a liquid lunch with 'the girls'.
The lab actually reminded Roy in lots of ways of the basement of Denholm Industries. Okay, so Richmond wasn't going to come reeling out, batlike, from a broom cupboard anytime soon. (Unless he'd discovered another wormhole. With Richmond it was always anyone's guess.) Instead they had monsters (usually dead ones praise be), mystic objects, urgent calls regarding paranormal happenings. And yet he still found it entirely viable to set up a reel answering Walter's shouted queries from his little cubbyhole.
'Is there any mercury.....(pause)......okay, have you checked for something odd with the front teeth..... (pause)... please don't talk with your mouth full..... (pause)... does it look like a porcupine....
He got nearly as much dating site registration and gaming done as back at his old job.
It was lucky that the idea occurred to them before they got re-patriated back to their home universe, really. Or before they got too institutionalised to have the gumption to try it out.
He had to give Moss full credit. The Moss-ster came and sat on his desk that morning, and leaned over him in a confidential manner.
'Moss. You're sitting on my desk.'
'Oh yes. I was giving it a bit of R. Denholm. Thought you might be missing him.'
'I'm not. At all.'
Moss backed off, but maintained his confidential air. 'You know, Roy... we're in an alternate universe.'
Roy mimed a gaping, amazed face. 'NO SHIT! STOP THE PRESSES!'
'Hold off with the sardonic wit, Roy. I believe you're missing something.'
'We have jolly old alternate selves! And we haven't even looked them up for a chat and challenged them to a bit of role-playing and nerd-pool at the local mock-Brit pub!'
'Added safety cover for the baize, nerd-centric general knowledge quiz section, extra points for bringing a female not currently related, married or dead.'
The night out with the lads – themselves – didn't go all that brilliantly well. At least not at first. When alt-Roy and alt-Moss turned out to be, respectively, a tech billionaire and a male model with an acting agent, the whooping and the high-fiving between original Moss and original Roy knew no bounds and no dignity. Moss was excited enough to do his robot dance and Roy went so far as to do a victory lap around the lab. Not a good idea when the big jelly egg Walter's lad had brought in seemed to get excited by the motion and proceeded to unwind itself and chase him round a lot fucking faster than he'd intended.
Still. Pretty damn cool. Especially when Astrid twatted the gungy spooky monster thing with a shotgun.
Unroy and UnMoss twatting them at pool, not so cool. Not just the cool-hand-lukey bits, but also the general knowledge. Including male modelly Moss, who turned out to have an extra doctorate beyond Moss's two, and a slim volume of poetry published by a major university.
UR and UM not only being unfazed by the initial phone call, and then the appearance of two alterna selves from another plane. But having already done a tour of other universes themselves, and referring to their 'besties' in Universe Eight. Who were apparently the coolest Moss and Roy. Even cooler than these fuckers.
And seeming a bit frigging underwhelmed by the versions in front of them.
Still, it warmed up a bit when the conversation got around to the subject of Denholm Industries and their former boss. 'Oh my gosh. Seriously? Reynholm Denholm's a captain of industry?' UM asked. His 'fro was parted on the mirror-image side, and he had three inches on Moss and was taller too. It didn't stop him spluttering on his White Russian. Some things never change.
Moss's response was cool. 'You know a version of him here?'
'He's my postal postie. I hide in the bathroom when he comes around.'
'You're scared of him?'
'Yeah!' UM shivered. 'I had to make a compost heap with all the card...'
UR explained. 'He has a passionate crush on Moss. He delivered seventy-two pounds of Valentine's Day cards. Sixty-two pounds of them from him.'
It was a pity their Denholm was dead. Just knowing this would have made working with him so much easier...
And the evening warmed up still more when their alternate selves girlfriends turned up. The whole gang. The harem... Half of them apparently quite up for the idea of an inebriated, confusing erotic evening's entertainment playing strip... well, Roy didn't care strip what. The stripping was the thing. 'Ladies, ladies, ladies,' Roy murmured, clicking his fingers, swaying his hips, giving first one the old swivelly eye and then another. It seemed to go down quite well. This was definitely an alternate universe.
They were clicking. They were really clicking. The ladies were up for it. UR and UM were down with it.
Blondie, her two FBI pals and Walter's mobile, bunting-festooned instant-wormhole machine were all up in it. They wheeled it through the Brit-theme pub like a manky novelty TARDIS through a town centre pedestrian precinct sci-fi themed street party.
'The bastards,' Roy breathed. 'We're not going. Do you hear me? It's taken this long, it can take a while longer! We're not urgent! You couldn't be bothered till now!'
'Never take me alive, copper!' Moss roared, leaping on Walter from the height of a rickety barstool. That did for them. Walter deflected him with one hand – nice moves, grandad, someone shouted – and pointed what looked like a microphone at them. (At first sight, Roy had worried about mobile karaoke machines. Visions of Walter doing 'Wild Thing' in leather pants gave him instant panic sweats).
But noooo. A huge pink wave – presumably of the timey-wimey variety – encased them in some slimey time-waving type jelly. His last alternate act was a muffled cry of 'Oh nice! Was the sliming really necessary? It's not kids' telly you know!'
They were still slimey as they fell to the floor of the basement IT room of Denholm Industries. Jen was just finishing whatever she'd been yelling about shoes when they'd had enough and buggered off in search of an alterna-Jen, with a volume control.
Still, on thinking about the risks of Walter combined with leather pants and karaoke... versus hot totty donated by an alternate self... Roy didn't know whether to be sorry or glad to be home again.
Until the speaker-phone rang, and someone on Four asked if the goldfish on their screensaver needed feeding while they went on holiday, muffled laughter in the background.