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Sanctuary Ficlet - 'Flu Season
declan
dbalthasar
A ficlet for penknife, who started the idea.  Gen, PG13 for drug use.  Set pre-series, shortly after Declan McRae has come to work at the London Sanctuary.



Declan closed the door on a hacking cough and a profound smell of camphor and made his way down to the Sanctuary’s main office in a pensive frame of mind. He hadn’t been working here all that long, and he certainly wasn’t the Great Detective, but he was reasonably sure he recognized impaired judgement when he heard it — not to mention that the syringe and vials lined up neatly on the bedside table tended to point in that direction. However, he had been in the Sanctuary just long enough to recognize that that such assumptions could prove dangerous.

He paused at the door to the outer office, mentally tidying himself, and pushed open the door. The sphinx looked up sharply from her keyboard, reflexively baring a set of slightly elongated canines, and Declan gave her a placating smile.

“Sorry to disturb you, but I have what I hope is a hypothetical question.”

“I profoundly hope so,” she answered.  “With Dr. Watson unwell —“

“Yes, well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

The sphinx drew herself up to her full height, resting her paws on the edge of her desk. Declan knew that she was perched on a wooden platform topped with a fleece-lined cushion that he strongly suspected was a heated bed intended for elderly dogs, but that didn’t make her any less intimidating.  “Oh?”

“If there were some sort of invisible — something — loose in the Sanctuary, is there any way we could determine that?”

She blinked twice, then tipped her head to one side as she considered.  “Yes,” she said, after a moment.  “There’s Mr. Griffin’s Off-Patent Scrutinizer.  It can be set to search for a variety of optical deflections as well as for scanning in other wavelengths.”

Declan couldn’t suppress a groan.  He’d experienced the Off-Patent Scrutinizer the week after he’d joined the Sanctuary, when they’d had to root out a nest of rogue rattus sicus from under a bank in Islington — and what the little buggers had been planning to do with the money he still didn’t want to know — and he had to admit the device was effective. It was also solid brass, weighed about 40 kilos, and came with a variety of attachments that mostly looked like Victorian ear trumpets.  With the carrying frame strapping it to his back, he’d felt like some sort of 19th-century Ghostbuster, though it had been fairly easy to keep from bursting into song under Watson’s minatory stare.  The thing was still sitting in the library because no one wanted to haul it back down to its proper storage space in the cellars.

“What did Dr. Watson say?” the sphinx asked, sounding slightly less annoyed.

“He said —“  Declan stopped to consider how best to phrase this, other than saying outright I think he’s stoned out of his mind, or at least high enough that he doesn’t have to notice he has the ‘flu, which, by the by, cannot be good for a man who needs mechanical aids to keep his heart beating. “He said he’d been talking to one of the ghost spiders that had gotten loose from Belowstairs.”

And the problem was that they did in fact have several Tibetan Ghost Spiders living in one of the environments below the Sanctuary, and that if one of them was loose, it was a problem of potentially catastrophic dimensions.  They were nearly transparent when they weren’t actively working at being invisible, and their bite was capable of incapacitating prey up to seventy kilos in weight.  Humans weren’t their preferred prey, but they would certainly bite if threatened, and the city of London was a remarkably threatening environment for a spider the size of a sheltie….

To his surprise, the sphinx relaxed slightly.  “Ah. Did it have a name?”

“What?”

“The spider.”

“Oh.”  Declan considered.  “Yes.  Well, he called it Cholmondely.”

“Good.  We’re all right, then.”  The sphinx turned her attention back to her screen.

I thought he was pretty high.  Declan swallowed the words as ill-advised, and said, “So there’s no need for Mr. Griffin’s device.”

“No, Mr. McRae, I wouldn’t think so.”

“Oh.  Well.  In that case….”

“Our residents are Bert, Percy, and Helen,” she said primly. “We’ve never had a Cholmondely.”

Declan opened his mouth and closed it again.  “Thank you,” he said, and beat a hasty retreat. Apparently this was going to be one of those days that he chalked up to "learning the new job" and tried not to think to much about.



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Oh, Declan! It's a learning experience? At least it's certainly educational about something. (Also I kind of love the Off-Patent Scrutinizer. When you need your scrutinizing to be just a bit more steampunk!)

Declan needs a T-shirt that says "You don't have to be mad to work here No, you really, really do."

"Educational" is generally an elastic term, and never more so than at the Sanctuary. (and I'm glad you like the Scrutinizer! Shameless Fallen London rip-off, but I couldn't resist. :-)

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Rattus sicus is a f*cking menace, Declan mutters, not for the last time. Currently he's trying to figure out what to do about the nest that has been buying up lapsed domain names and holding them for ransom. This wouldn't be a problem worthy of the Sanctuary, except they grabbed "electricbuccaneer.com" during the whole Hollow Earth thing and Tesla is annoyed.

And thanks! I love Declan a lot. :-)

I like James' method for dealing with flu! Can you send some over? That, and Declan to run about for me?

Oh I love the Sphinx and her heated dog bed!

James would be delighted to prescribe something suitable, I'm sure! But Declan stays. ;-)

It gets chilly in the office in the winter, and her hips aren't what they used to be.

James could knock me out until Monday. That would do.

Poor dear. Of course they aren't! But she is more than two hundred years old, having originally come for the Prince Regent's pavilion at Brighton!

I'm sure James has many suitable options, including Helen's excellent brandy....

Declan has no idea how old she is at this point! He knows there was a sphinx cub in the Sanctuary during WWII, but he doesn't realize that this is a different person. I think he becomes extremely fond of her, though, and she of him.

Declan could tenderly care for me. That would help.

That's lovely with Declan and the Sphinx!

I would send him if I could!

(Declan found out about the sphinx cub when he was cleaning up old records and found that James and the Sanctuary had been cited in 1946 for buying black market meat. The prosecution was dropped once James explained the circumstances to the right people, and Declan was curious enough to go tracking things down in the Sanctuary archives.)

Oh, man, this makes me miss the show so, so much. Trust James to hallucinate an actual Abnormal species. Called Cholmondely. And off-patent devices with ear-trumpets. Poor, poor Declan.

I love the Sphinx on her heating pad!

The learning curve at the Sanctuary is pretty steep, yeah. Luckily Declan is a flexible sort!

And thank you!

Oh, Declan! Learning to roll with the strangenesses.

I love this so much.

And there's so very much strangeness to roll with....

I miss the show, dang it!

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