CHALLENGE: There isn't one, it's a new category....the fluff epic (it had to happen eventually....)....this is part 1, or introduction.
PAIRINGS/FANDOMS: Ah, can I get back to you on that? Suffice to say, I think there are 10 so far (if you count SVU as different to mothership....)...so, if you like femslash, give it a go...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm hitting new heights of randomness....this is in the same non-universe/big knot in the space-time continuum that allowed me to write 'Scissor Sisters' the other week....just leave your disbelief at the coat check please? Oh, and it's inspired by the opening scene of Mr & Mrs Smith...if you've seen the film, you'll know what I'm talking about....
SUMMARY: Even femslash couples need to see the shrink sometime....
"Can I help you?" If it wasn't for the warm inviting voice, it would be easy to think that the older lady of indeterminate age dressed in the classic doctor's waiting room receptionist uniform of sensible knit sweater, discrete jewelry and reading-spectacles hanging from a gold chain was also that receptionist cliché - a gorgon. Fortunately for all concerned, she wasn't.
"I, uh...am I in the right place?" asked the nervous brunette, dressed immaculately in Marine Green Uniform, with every crease razor sharp and every ribbon pressed, holding out a flyer for the receptionist to read.
"Yes dear..." The brunette's rank may have read Lieutenant Colonel, but it was clear to the kind hearted woman that she needed some gentle motherly confidence boosting encouragement, even if her arrival unaccompanied was a bit unusual for this particular clinic... "...just have a seat..."
"Thank you..." As the Colonel moved towards the selection of uniformly uncomfortable plastic chairs, unavoidable even here, the receptionist couldn't help herself.
"Should I put down your name now for the doctor or are you waiting for someone?" Despite the kind tone, the question obviously touched a nerve, because the already ramrod straight back stiffened even more.
"Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie...and no, I'm not waiting for anyone..." she explained almost sadly, before smiling tightly at the well meaning receptionist and heading towards the corner where, with her back to the wall, she could see all of the waiting room and any arrivals, as well as the door through to the doctor's consulting room. Recognising the conversation was over, the receptionist, Mary, made a note on the list before being distracted by the next arrival.
"Umm, Major Doctors Carter and Fraiser..." muttered the tall blonde, looking around at the waiting room nervously before relaxing slightly when she spotted the Marine Colonel in the corner who looked just as unrelaxed as Sam felt. Still, Janet had ensured her that this was important...and psychobabble was nearer her profession than Sam's.
"Air Force?" guessed Mary, noting Sam's completely anonymous green BDUs and black t shirt but seeing the pale blue shirt and collar tab in the neck of Janet's white lab coat.
"Yes..." confirmed Janet, arching an eyebrow as she strained to read Mary's neat handwriting upside down, relieved to see that the only annotations were their name, rank and that they were both USAF.
"Have a seat..." smiled Mary, inclining her head in the direction of the chairs, not missing the frown of disappointment as Sam first noticed the very uncomfortable chairs and then the lack of any scientific literature for her to read.
"Thank you..." Any complaint from Sam was cut off by Janet's bright smile and polite thanks...at least until they were out of earshot.
"Why do your waiting rooms always have uncomfortable chairs?" she asked, settling her long frame into a chair which, like Colonel MacKenzie's, afforded an excellent tactical view of the entire offices.
"Standard issue, with the illegable handwriting and cold stethescope and fingers..." retorted Janet smartly, settling down next to Sam and finding a more comfortable position very quickly, by using Sam as the chair...
"It's not your fingers so much as your feet I find cold..." grumbled Sam good naturedly, immediately shuffling slightly to accommodate her lover in her lap a little better.
"Why you..." teased Janet, glad that her lover was more relaxed now...there really was nothing to be nervous or afraid about.
"I really don't see why we're here..." came the loud objection from the entrance as small blonde woman encouraged a taller, leather clad dark haired woman to proceed to the reception desk.
"I saw the scroll at the information temple and it seemed appropriate..." explained Gabrielle for what felt like the twentieth time.
"But it's talking Gab..."
"I don't do talking..." Exasperated at Xena, but mature enough not to ask 'so what are you doing right now, Spartan mime?'. Gabrielle merely replied,
"How do you think we're ever going to get action unless we talk to them about it?"
"But it's feelings!" protested Xena, feeling rather out of sorts, and context now she was standing in this brightly illuminated room with no weapons and a strangely soft floor covering that, if it was an animal hide, certainly explained why it was now a floor covering - she'd never seen a red and blue speckled animal successfully conceal itself before and, judging by the size of it, it had to be huge.
"Have a seat dear..." encouraged Mary, interrupting at what seemed like a timely moment.
"Do you need our names?"
"Not if you're Gabrielle and Xena?"
"How do you know who we are?" The already edgy Xena was immediately suspicious.
"That scroll in the information temple wasn't entirely random - this is an invitation only drop in clinic..." explained Mary, making another quick note before gesturing towards the chairs, "...have a seat, the doctor won't be too long..." she encouraged, conscious that if she wasn't careful, there'd be a queue of tense butches at her desk.....not a good plan, especially if they had traveled separately from their girlfriends....
"Thank you...Xena?" prompted Gabrielle, before heading to the chairs, smiling at the three women already seated.
"Helen Stewart and Nikki Wade...."
"I'm sorry?" Mary, not concentrating entirely, hadn't caught anything of what the shorter woman now standing in front of her desk had said, prompting a restating, along with some temper, from the taller brunette.
"Bloody Americans, can't you understand anyone who doesn't speak American? She said, Helen Stewart and Nikki Wade..."
"Of course, my apologies Ms Stewart, you have a...."
"Lovely accent? Thank you..." smiling at Mary whilst catching hold of Nikki's hand in an attempt to soothe her lover's well meaning but ultimately misplaced annoyance, Helen cut off the receptionist's complimentary yet rather unoriginal observation. Why did everyone always react like they'd never heard a Scots accent before?
"Have you visited with us before?"
"Not this session, but we did participate in the Main Text Focus Group a few years back..."
"Ah, that's fine. If you'd like to have a seat? There's tea and coffee in the corner...help yourself...." suggested Mary, deciding, given the cathedral like silence the waiting women were descending into, that maybe the whistle of the kettle as it boiled might break the tension....
"Thanks..." Smiling once more at Mary, Helen led her considerably calmer girlfriend towards the chairs. A cup of coffee sounded exactly what the already fidgeting Nikki didn't need....
"Can I help you?"
"Is this primitive written notice referring to the event occurring here?"
"You got our notice, excellent..." Mary had been very nervous when she'd seen that she had to print off a flyer for Seven of Nine, last known of in the Delta Quadrant in the 24th century, but the mail room boys were excellent and had obviously found a way of getting their 'primitive written notice' to her.
"It is intriguing..." confirmed the ex Borg, surveying the other occupants in the room, detecting the high levels of tension and finding comfort in the fact that she was not the only one uncomfortable in her surroundings.
"And your partner?" asked Mary, wondering if the beautiful had brought a companion.
"Is 'parking the car'..." explained Seven, unsure why this was the phrase she was instructed to quote, since landing their shuttle on the roof of a nearby suitable building and transporting to the waiting room was quite different, but, judging by this woman's satisfactory reaction, it was obviously some sort of linguistic idiom which had a sub meaning that Seven hadn't comprehended. She would seek an explanation on their return trip to Voyager.
"Please, have a seat if you wish..."
"I would prefer to stand...."
"Then find yourself a spot with a nice view..." prompted Mary, jotting down one final note before gesturing towards the clutch of women gathered around the coffee making facilities, the ice obviously broken a little.
"Am I late?"
"Not at all Ms Summers, traffic?" speculated Mary, wondering what had happened to make the young slayer think she was running late for a drop in clinic.
"No, vampires...oh, and Willow's spell overran..."
"Is everything alright?" asked Mary, concerned. Neither of those two events sounded like they should be dismissed as lightly as Buffy was doing.
"Oh fine...here's Willow..."
"Am I late? Did we miss it?"
"No, the Doctor hasn't started with anyone yet....have a seat...." encouraged Mary, silently marvelling at the vibrancy of youth and invincibility. It was amazing what could be dismissed as normal when you lived in a surreal world that started with 'in every generation there is a chosen one' and you knew you were that chosen one...
"Thank you..." Smiling, Buffy and Willow headed over to the rapidly filling chairs which, following the first brewing of the coffee machine, now was less icy, with the couples at least talking to themselves, if not each other.
"Can I help you?"
"Is this the couple's counseling drop in clinic?" asked Jean Grey, pushing her glasses more firmly on her nose as she carefully closed the door to keep out the sudden swirling breeze which had developed in the car park.
"Yes...and you are?"
"Ah yes, is everything....?" Mary trailed off as, despite her many years experience, she still didn't quite know how to ask a superhuman if they were likely to hurt their neighbours accidentally with a sneeze or some other suitably innocuous action.
"A little breezy, Storm's a bit nervous, but she'll be in when she's calmed. She insisted I came and registered..."
"Thank you..." Ever efficient, Mary made a note, "...would you like to wait with her outside or in here. I can call you when it's time..."
"Thank you..." and, smiling in thanks, Jean turned and headed back outside, instinctively pulling her jacket a little tighter - breezy was perhaps an understatement....
"Autumn's rushing in..." observed Mary lightly as Jean Grey was passed in the doorway by four women, led by a short haired brunette who could only be described as having been 'poured' into her jeans, much to the obvious appreciation of two of the women arriving with her.
"Yes....." Uncertain quite what else to say, Olivia Benson busied herself with scrubbing out the leaves and twigs which had been inexplicably caught in her hair, inadvertently affording the gathered women a delightful view of her figure and shield, the gun and handcuffs having been left at home, as per the instructions. Whilst the detective was oblivious to the sighs of appreciation that came from some of the waiting women, their girlfriends and Alex Cabot were particularly aware of them, with Alex's conversation with Mary having to be conducted in a slightly louder voice in order to be heard over all the remonstrating between various lovers.
"...We're here for the couples sessions."
"Are you all together?" asked Mary, proud of her open mindedness, but really, all four of them? If it wasn't a bit odd, surely it was a waste of something or someone?
"Yes..." began Olivia, only to be near shouted down by Alex's "No!".
"We came in a taxi together..." began Olivia, enlightening a grateful Mary who was busy making little notes.
"...Alex Cabot and Olivia Benson, NYPD Special Victims Unit..." explained Olivia, gesturing between her and Alex, "we're the couple..."
"And you are?" asked Mary, smiling in thanks to Olivia before looking over her glasses to the other two.
"Abbie Carmichael, no longer of the Special Victims Unit...and not sure quite why I'm here...."
"You'll soon find out dear..." reassured Mary, looking to the still unidentified blonde.
"Serena Southerlyn, no longer an ADA....can I just ask, am I here because I'm a lesbian?"
"Yes dear...now, maybe you both could go and sit near Colonel MacKenzie? Poor woman's in a male dominated fandom with no eligible main female characters..."
"What about sub characters or guest stars?" asked Abbie, not sure she was interested in a military officer.
"She's a JAG lawyer....it's either trial attorneys or criminals...." explained Mary, glad that Alex and Olivia had headed over to the chairs and settled themselves down. She really didn't like having too many tall women standing around her desk, gave her an awful neck ache.
"Poor woman, I know exactly how she feels..." agreed Serena, immediately heading for Mac, a bemused Abbie Carmichael following her. What was wrong with trial attorneys?
Smiling in relief at once more having a tidy waiting room, with everyone and everything in its proper place, Mary couldn't resist a quick look at the clock discretely displayed in the corner of the room. The first couple should hopefully be called in a few minutes which would be a good tension diffuser but first....
"Eh, excuse me?"
"Is this this?" asked the dark haired woman, holding out a sheet of paper with some words in Spanish and English.
"Yes...you must be Esther?"
"Yes...You are expecting us?"
"But of course, just because you're main text doesn't mean you're not important..." explained Mary, pushing herself to her feet ready to head into the doctor's office once this final couple were settled.
"Ah, ok..." Grinning in relief, Esther looked about nervously as she saw all the other women who, as she knew happened from working in the hospital, had all turned to look at who the new arrival to the waiting room was. Suddenly feeling a little like a fresh piece of meat at the butcher's, Esther was relieved when her lover, Maca, appeared, immediately drawing the attention of their scrutinising audience.
"This the clinic?"
"Yes, Dr Wilson?" checked Mary, glad to have a near 'full house' of attendances.
"Yes, but I prefer Fernandez..." corrected Maca kindly yet firmly, slipping a reassuring arm around her lover's waist.
"My apologies Dr. Fernandez....if you'd like to have a seat, the sessions will be starting soon..." corrected Mary smoothly, gesturing towards the now rather crowded chairs.
"Thank you..." breaking into a breath-taking smile that was matched by her lover's own now relaxed grin, Maca led Esther through the crowds of inspecting women to some empty seats in the furthest corner.
"They're admiring..." corrected Maca gently, tickling Esther's waist ever so lightly to prompt a shy giggle.
"Us...remember what that woman said? We have main text..."
"This is a good thing?" asked Esther, not recognising the strange phrase.
"But of course...it means today can only be fun..." declared Maca, before settling down with a glossy magazine that they proceeded to flick through together, sharing quiet jokes and gentle teasing, oblivious to anyone else.
Heading into the doctor's office, Mary placed her notes on the desk.
"Doctor? I think everyone's here..."
"Probably....it's hard to tell who will turn up when you're meeting with the sub-text couples..." observed Mary wisely, preparing to head back out to her desk.
"But so much more enlightening..." observed the doctor, getting up from the desk and heading to the more informal chairs.
"I think so...it's going to be a busy day..."
"Well, the powers that be never really get it right, do they?" sympathised Mary, reaching for the door knob.
"There'd be many fanfic writers out of hobbies if they suddenly started..."
"How true...I'll bring you a coffee after you've seen the first couple, any preference?"
"Only that you send in Storm before we're snow bound but after the threat of an indoor typhoon has passed...otherwise, surprise me..."
"Yes Doctor..." And, heading back out into the waiting room, Mary called the first couple - the open counseling session for Femslash couples from any fandom (drop in by invitation only, no appointment necessary) seeking to resolve TPTB issues had started...