melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2013-03-01 03:14 pm

Five Les Mis Fusions I don't Know Canon Well Enough To Write More Of (Thankfully) (3/5)

In which I for once make a good life decision:

By choosing to re-read Pratchett's "Night Watch" instead of picking up the Brick.

But I can't write a fusion with this because it's just too easy. I mean, to start with, Night Watch basically is a Les Miserables fusion already. I'd been wondering at what point I became aware that Les Mis has had a small-but-active fandom all these years, because I've talked to a few other people who I thought would know and find them completely shocked, and now I'm suddenly thinking that I'm pretty sure I read this book back when it came out, then went and read all the Vimes/Vetinari, and when that ran out [far too quickly], I went and looked for Javert/Valjean.

Not that the ships are at all the same, but -- well. Vimes on the barricade has Grantaire's alcoholic cynicism and Enjolras's obsessive love of country and charismatic leadership and Javert's copper's ethic and tarnished but unshakeable faith in the primacy of Law and uncontrolled urge to sass authority and perfect dramatic timing and Valjean's sullen anger and paternal benevolence and socially awkward class mobility and expansive compassion and Bahorel's boiling violence and Marius's loving wife and happy ending and etc, all mixed up together into everything that is fandom catnip for me and kicking ass with competence. And frankly that explains so much of how I've been reacting to Les Mis fandom. And I got a bunch more of the direct references this time and I kind of want to read the Brick just to find out how many more there are.

Anyway, the problem here is that there are too many possibilities and I can't pick just one. (I know, I had the same problem with Highlander and just went with all of them, but I can't do that every time.)

There's the one I played with first, with minimal direct crossover elements, where Elderly!Steampunk!Combeferre is playing with a time machine and accidentally sends one of his old friends back to a few days before the night of the barricades (perhaps badass grown-up Gavroche?) And he gets adopted by Musichetta-the-seamstress-who-is-actually-a-seamstress and Joly and Bossuet, and sort of half-accidentally fixes the timeline so NOBODY HAS TO DIE. And there needs to be more steampunk!Combeferre in general, yes there does, and also happy-ending AUs with lots of worldbuilding where everybody is old and distinguished and has changed the world.

But then it is also SO TEMPTING to just write Les Amis as one of the groups manning the barricades of the Republic of Treacle Mine Road. (Would they be students at Unseen University in this version? Why does that image simultaneously terrify and enthrall me?) Bahorel would get his eggs! :D So much other amazing possibility! Although I think want I most want out of this version is Enjolras and bb!Vetinari being VERY INTENSE at each other about politics in Snapcase's Ankh-Morpork, and then not having any sex at all. Ever. (I actually have had all sorts of THOUGHTS about the political philosophies underlying much of Discworld for a long time, it kind of needs an Enjolras to be intensely republican about it, so much.) Meanwhile, wizzard!Grantaire tries to pick up Young Vimes at a tavern, but ends up just getting him very drunk while listening to him rant about his love for his bitch of a City, and begins to suspect he has a Type.1

But of course there's also the swirly portal type of crossover, and hey, this book comes with a swirly portal built in! Sure, in canon it's through time and space rather than between universes, but it's also in the Library of Unseen University, which is connected by L-space to all other libraries everywhere in the multiverse, so it's not entirely impossible that the Librarian might have picked up a certain brick-like tome and attempted to use it to stabilize something and accidentally made a connection?

Maybe Vimes fell through to the Paris insurrection instead of the Ankh-Morpork one! And pointed out to the barricade boys that they were DOING IT WRONG. And then made everything better. And then Combeferre gets to do steampunk mad science to send him back.

Or maybe Javert jumped into the Seine but landed on the Ankh! And bounced, of course. Although I think in this version I'd want him to fall into modern-era Ankh Morporkh instead of barricades-era, because I want him to end up annoying Vimes so much that he gets put on Moist von Lipwig's security detail, because that would be hilarifying and full of sass. And gets adopted by Lady Sybil, which he would handle both much better and far, far worse than Vimes did. (Or hell you could do this one without the swirly portals and just write Vimes as Javert's superior in the Paris Police, which would be equally hilarious really.)

There, I have written almost as much in bunnies for this as I did in actual fic for the others. :P Now why hasn't any of this been written yet? *sighs*

1This is probably The One I Am Most Likely To Actually Turn Into Something I Could Post To AO3, but we're back to actually needing to learn about Enjolras's political philosophy. And figuring out how the city government of Ankh-Morpork actually works.2

2 Screw it. Fine:

May 25th, in the second year of the patricianship of Lord Snapcase:

It was well past curfew in Ankh-Morpork, and two young men emerged from one of the small, private back rooms of the Bunch of Grapes tavern. One wore the skin-tight black uniform of a student at the School of Assassins, designed to fade right into the shadows, and he moved with the ruthless self-control of one trained in that profession, although his head of tousled curls, sun-golden even in the grimy light of the tavern, were rather the opposite of inconspicuous.

His companion might, also, have been a student of the school, given the same sleek and deliberate way he moved, but rather than the skintight blacks of the school uniform he was wearing an utterly nondescript suit of clothes. It was neither very loose nor very fitted, and could have belonged to a slightly shabby nobleman or a slightly prosperous peasant, had anyone been willing to pay attention to it long enough to wonder; and it was in several shades of mossy, rusty, brownish and grayish black that, unlike pure black, actually did blur into the shadows. In fact, the only thing about his dress that was in any way noticeable was the sprig of blooming lilac that was pinned to the collar of his jacket.

Despite their flushed faces and general appearance of two people who have been engaging in intense, passionate exercise, they had not been doing what the small back rooms of the Bunch of Grapes were usually used for. They had, rather, been arguing politics, a discussion that was winding down without agreement as they closed the cubicle behind them.

"I still maintain that none of what you are proposing is right," said the one with the blond curls.

"You're still convinced that my plan won't work? You think I'm wrong?"

"I don't think you're wrong, I believe you're wrong, which is all the difference-" he began, and then fell silent, noticing for the first time that the main saloon in the Bunch of Grapes was not yet empty, despite the early hour of the morning: there were two more young men sharing a table in one corner, both rather the worse for drink.

The man wearing the lilac sighed, and said, "You handle yours, and I'll handle mine?"

One of the men at the table might have at some point been a student at Unseen University, as he was wearing what had once been academic robes and a sequined conical hat, although at this point in its lifespan the hat was mostly shapeless, and though it might have once said "WIZARD" on it in gold, the W, I, Z, A, and D had long ago fallen off, leaving only the capital R.

The other man was, judging by the dented helmet that had rolled under a nearby table, an officer in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. He seemed to have been crossed in love, because as he sagged lower over the table, he was slurring something about a lovely but cruel lady. "She raises you up, and she makes you feel like you're the - the most important thing in the world, but then she - pointy things, women have them two of them--" he made a descriptive gesture with unsteady hands-- "Heel! She grinds you down with the pointy heel of her cap - crapri - she can't make up her damn mind -"

"She'll never love you back, you know," said the wizard with the R, wrapping a hand moodily around a mostly-empty bottle of Bearhugger's Finest. "Ones like that - they can't - they're too -" he thought about this a second, then finished off the bottle. "I should know!" he added triumphantly, and then folded slowly over with his face landing flat on the table (luckily, it was the sort of face that was unlikely to be made any worse by such treatment.)

"Right, Corporal," said the student with the lilac, pulling the watchman upright by his shoulders. "I think it's time we get you back to your nice little room above the candlemaker's, don't you?"

The Watchman looked blearily up into his face. "She does love me, though," he said resolutely. "I know. I can feel it. In my boots."

"I shan't be so foolish as to argue," said the student. "Do you think you can get those boots under you, or will I be carrying you tonight?"

The corporal managed to sway his way to something resembling an upright position, with a lot of extra support from his companion, and they went slowly out of the tavern, the watchman leaning heavily on the other as he wove his way into the street. Just before they were out of earshot, one might have heard the watchman saying, in some confusion, "Have we met? I think I've seen you--" and his companion answering, dryly, "I can't imagine where."

Left alone in the dark tavern, the man with the blond curls turned to his friend and said, "I didn't know you were such a good friend of the police."

R sat up and snorted. Despite his earlier performance, he seemed far less impaired than his drinking companion had been - but then, his friend thought with some asperity, he'd had more practice.

"I looked for the one person in the room who seemed, by appearances, to have the least possible in common with you, and bought him a drink," R said. "I ended up with a crypto-republican who's obsessively, near-sexually fixated on the city and suffering from post-revolutionary depression."

Neither of them commented on the fact that the policeman had also worn the lilac. They hadn't been there, and so they didn't speak of it.††

The student assassin considered this for a minute, and then said, "Has anyone ever told you that you have deeply tragic taste in men?"

R turned to him with a half-smile. "And how was your date?"

He sighed. "He wants to make this city function. He's going to make everything run so smoothly that there will be no one left who cares enough to fight for justice."

"Yes," said R, "but how was your date?"

He smiled, at that, and it was a smile that could light even the back room of an Ankh-Morpork tavern. "Lovely," he said. "He's going to bring a Thud! set next week."

"Ankh-morpork variant‡‡?" R asked.

"Of course," said his friend. "What else is worth playing?"

† He was also sometimes known to wear, over his Assassin blacks, a vest of a peculiarly distinctive screaming red. But then, the black catsuits weren't particularly well-designed for camouflage anyway. And his idea of a proper inhumation was less likely to involve knives in the dark than cheering crowds and people being strung from lamp-posts. His instructors rather despaired of him, even if he did usually succeed in his assignments, as long as he was allowed to choose his targets himself.

‡ Cpl. Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch woke up in his own bed the next afternoon with a terrible hangover and absolutely no idea how, or when, he'd got there. It was one of the first times he'd had this experience, but it was going to be far from the last. As he always woke alone, the door was always latched from the inside, and the only other egress from his room was a tiny garret window, he eventually decided, through a haze of alcoholism, that it must be the city watching out for him, the same way he watched out for her. Nobody ever corrected him on this point.

††In fact on the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May last year they had been guarding a bridge halfway across the Republic of Treacle Mine Road, on the other side of the Shades, and been unaware of the battle of the lilacs until it was quite over. Well, the assassin had been. The wizard had been passed-out drunk under a table in the Broken Drum, at least until someone hauled the table away to add to a barricade, after which he was just plain passed-out drunk.

‡‡ Ankh-morpork Thud!, from oldest tradition, called the two sets of pieces the Monarchists and the Angry Mob rather than Trolls and Dwarves. Among other rule alterations, the players only switched sides for the second round if the Angry Mob had won the first one. There also tended to be rather more use of fire, as was traditional in Ankh-Morporkian politics (for this reason sets were usually made of the cheapest possible pasteboard.)

(..also can I just note for those of you trying to figure out Javert's timeline that Vimes' timeline is impossible? The Ankh-Morpork novels contradict each other incessantly, and that's even without the parts that involve time travel.)

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