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Guest Red Ranger 1

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Well, hopefully there are a few people out there who read the original.Either way, I promised to write this and so here it is.

Story Title: Crossover

Type of story: Short/Medium length fic

Main Characters: Matilda, Ric plus versions of Kim, Kit, Beth and others

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Parallel universe

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Violence:Mild.Sexual content:Mild references.Language:None.

Summary: It's been two weeks since a mysterious glowing pyramid sent Ric to a parallel universe and back and the most sensible thing to do would be for no-one to go near it again.Unfortunately, they're not feeling particularly sensible.


Ric kept stealing a glance over at the door, the one he was hoping he’d never have to go through again. He’d hoped to avoid duty at the warehouse altogether but he’d been rostered on and had been unable to come up with a credible reason for avoiding it.He had plenty of incredible ones, of course, but he had a feeling they wouldn’t have been met with a very sympathetic audience.He was just relieved that the job didn’t require him to actually go into the main part of the warehouse.All that was demanded of him was to sit in the entrance area, make sure no-one got in and occasionally stand in the doorway to make sure the only object kept there was still where it was supposed to be.And wasn’t glowing.

He started at the sound of the exterior door opening, instinctively reaching for the gun he’d been issued with.His alarm was replaced with mild annoyance as he saw Matilda standing there.He glared at her. “Mattie, I could have shot you!”

“Sorry, I was just coming to drop off your lunch.”She held up a box of the type used to carry sandwiches and similar food.

Ric nodded towards the almost identical box sat on the floor.“I already got some.”

“Oh.Well, you can never have too much of a good thing.”

Ric sighed.“What are you really doing here, Mattie?”

Matilda looked sheepish.“Well, I had to come and have a look for myself, didn’t I?Where it all happened. Your great trip into the unknown.”

“Mattie, I really don’t think…”

“Is it through here?”she asked.And headed through the door.

Every instinct telling him to keep his distance, Ric followed her through.“Matilda, it is actually my job to keep people out of here.”

Matilda only seemed to be half listening.Her attention was focused on the pyramid in the centre of the room, metal, around five feet high.The one that Ric was there to protect, the one that was a lot more valuable and a lot more dangerous than it looked.“So this is it then?The famous pyramid?The one that sent you catapulting into another universe?”

“Yes, that’s the one and I really think we should keep our distance from it.”

“Come on, Ric, you told me it can only transport people when it’s glowing.”

“Yes, true, but it’s best not to tempt fate.”

“And it’s not glowing at the moment, is it?So it’s safe.I can reach out my hand and touch it and nothing would happen.”As if to prove her point, Matilda placed a hand on the pyramid.

And it started glowing.

Ric took a step forward but before he could intervene there was a blinding flash, of the type he’d hoped never to see again.And when his sight cleared, Matilda was gone.

He looked at the empty space next to the now dormant pyramid and sighed in frustration.“Not again.”

Matilda opened her eyes, aware that she was lying on a hard floor.She glanced at her watch and was relieved to see that no more than a few minutes had passed since she last looked at it.From what Ric had told her, when this had happened to him he’d lost several hours.

She suddenly realised what she was thinking and sat bolt upright.She was still in the warehouse or at least a building very like it.But there was no sign of Ric.And, perhaps even more worryingly in the circumstances, there was no sign of the pyramid.Instead, it seemed to be being used to store flat pack furniture.

She looked at the unfamiliar place she’d found herself in and drew the obvious conclusion.“You have got to be kidding me…”

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Wow, thanks for the comments.Hope you like this.


Ric hastily thumbed the number into his phone and listened to the ringing tone on the other end, hoping someone would pick up soon.He was rewarded with the sound of the reassuring voice.“Hello, Summer Bay caravan park?”

“Grandad!”Ric blurted out,“Is Matilda there?”

“No, mate, she went out to see you.”

“Yeah, yeah, she came here but then she sort of…disappeared.”Ric winced slightly, looking at the spot where Matilda had been standing the last time he’d seen her.“Look, can you and Miles go out and look for her?I can’t really leave this place.”

“Ric, is something wrong?”

“Look, just find Matilda and get her to come home with you and then keep her there until I get back.”

“Okay, mate.If you’re sure.”

Relieved, Ric went to hang up but then something else occurred to him.“Grandad!She might not know who you are.”

“What in the blue blazes are you talking about?”

“Just…she might be a bit confused, that’s all.Just tell her that you’re her friend and you’re there to help her and I’ll be along to explain later.”

“Righto, mate.Any other cryptic instructions?”

“No, that’ll do.Talk to you later.”

Ric ended the call, relieved that he had at least one problem taken care of.If things went the same way they had last time, then Matilda had swapped places with her counterpart in the other universe.Which meant there was another Matilda wandering around somewhere and he wanted to make sure he knew where she was.Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a position to do anything to help his Matilda.Wherever she was.

Matilda had made her way back to the caravan park as fast as she could, telling herself that it was going to be all right, that it was all a mistake.She’d bumped her head and somehow she’d ended up in another warehouse without Ric and the fact that it had looked exactly like the other warehouse from the outside and been in exactly the same place was just a coincidence.Once she got back home, everything would be the same as always.

She walked into the house with the confidence of someone who did it every day.She could hear a giggling noise coming from the kitchen.That was unusual.As she rounded the corner, her eyes widened slightly as she saw Rachel standing at the table, making herself some sort of snack, while Miles stood behind her, his arm around her waist, lightly kissing the side of her neck.She tried to think of a calm and rational way to react to this.Unfortunately, all she could come up with was “What are you doing?!”

Miles and Rachel stopped and stared at her in silence for a moment.“Sorry, were you expecting an answer?”Miles asked at last.

“Was there something you wanted, Mattie?”Rachel asked, polite but a little confused.

Matilda was still trying to get past her automatic hysteria.“You two?!”

Miles and Rachel exchanged a confused look.“Well, yeah,”Miles confirmed.

“But…but…what about Tony?”

“What about Tony?”Rachel asked.

“You’re supposed to be engaged to him.”

Rachel blinked.“You think I’m engaged to your stepfather?”

“Well, yeah, you should…”Matilda paused.“Wait.Did…did you say stepfather?”She paused for only a moment before running out of the house.

Matilda ran into her old home, all attempts at looking as though she belonged out the window.She stopped in the centre of the living room and looked about her, searching for anything different, anything that would confirm what she’d started to suspect.She remembered what Ric had told her about the universe he’d been to, the one detail that had stuck out for her.Could it be possible?Was it really true?

She heard the footsteps behind her and recognised them instantly, knowing who it was even before she heard that so familiar voice.“Matilda?What are you doing here, honey?”

Matilda turned and threw herself into her arms, giving sob after sob of joy.“Mum,”she gasped,“Oh, Mum.”

Beth hugged her gently, her face a picture of confusion.“Matilda, love, whatever’s the matter?”

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Thanks for your comments, folks, a few answers in here.


Matilda wiped a sleeve across her face to get rid of the last of the tears.She looked back at Beth, staring at her with a mixture of surprise and concern.What must her mother be thinking, getting a reaction like that from someone she’d probably only seen a few hours before.“I’m sorry, Mum,”she told her,“I wasn’t expecting to see you.”

The explanation didn’t seem to dispel much of Beth’s surprise although it did lessen her concern slightly. “Well, I do live here,”she pointed out.

Matilda glanced over at the mantelpiece, remembering what Ric had told her about the wedding photos he’d seen there.The familiar one of Robbie and Tasha was in its place but there was no sign of the other ones he’d mentioned, Scott’s and Kit’s.And she’d seen Miles at the caravan park, yet Ric had told her Miles wasn’t in the Summer Bay he’d been to.All of which meant this must be another universe, different from that one.All the same…

“Mum, am I meant to be in jail?”she asked, remembering what Ric had told her about the other Matilda he’d met.

However much she’d managed to reassure Beth, the comment seemed to undo her work.“Not as far as I know, sweetheart,”she replied, almost as though humouring her,“Look perhaps you should go next door and lie down.”

The comment didn’t seem to make any sense to Matilda.“Next door?”

“Yes, honey.Where you live.”

Matilda was still trying to make sense of this, trying to come up with some reason why she’d be living in the next house, the one where Tony and Lucas used to live and where Jack still did, at least in the Summer Bay she came from.But before she could ask any questions, Kim suddenly appeared in the doorway.“Beth, hi, I was just wondering if I could borrow…”He noticed Matilda.“Hey, Mattie, didn’t know you were here.”And then, to her shock, he put his arm round her shoulder and kissed her on the lips.

Matilda stared at him, eyes widened.Surely not…“Are we an item?”

Kim raised an eyebrow in amusement.“Well, we’ve been living together for the past year so…”

“We live together?”Matilda could feel hysteria mounting inside her, manifesting itself as petulance.“Of course we do.What other news have you got for me?Geoff and Annie are devil worshippers?Aden Jefferies is mayor?Johnny Cooper won the Nobel peace prize?”

Kim looked at Beth as though expecting an explanation.“I think Mattie’s a bit confused,”she told him, “Maybe you should take her home.”

Kim put a concerned hand on Matilda’s shoulder.“You okay with that, Mattie?”

Unable to think of anything else to do, Matilda nodded.

As soon as his shift had finished, Ric had dashed to his car.He’d called Alf and Miles but neither of them had seen anything of Matilda-of any Matilda-since she’d vanished from the warehouse.He’d been planning to drive around town looking for her but in fact he caught sight of her almost straightaway, walking along one of the roads leading into town.He brought his car skidding to a halt.“Mattie!”he called out.

The differences were subtle.Anyone who didn’t know her as well as he did probably wouldn’t have noticed anything.But they were there, the slightly different way she arranged her hair, the way her clothes weren’t quite what his Mattie would have worn, the way she looked at him, glad to see him but with none of their usual intimacy.“Ric, thank goodness,”she breathed,“The day I’ve had, I’m just glad to see a familiar face.I didn’t even know you were back.”

“Back?”Ric asked, confused.

“Yeah, you know, you and Cassie went travelling?”

“Oh, right.”If there was any doubt remaining in his mind, that dispelled it.“So where have you been?”

“I was at uni.I went to my lecture and the professor said he didn’t know me, that I wasn’t on his list.There was no record of me at the office and I couldn’t even drive home, my car had been stolen.I tried to call Mum and Kim but suddenly my phone’s out of credit and when I tried a pay phone it came up number not recognised.I had to walk all the way here.”

Ric only half understood the litany of disasters but he understood the confusion that resulted from finding yourself suddenly in another world.“Maybe you should come home with me.”

“No, it’s all right, if you just drop me off at home…”

“No, Matilda, really…you need to trust me on this one.Can you do that?”

Matilda seemed surprised at the comment.“Well, yeah, Ric, of course I trust you.”

“Good.”As she got into the car, he added under his breath,“I only hope you still do once you’ve heard what I’ve got to tell you…”

Matilda had asked Kim to make her a drink after they’d taken the short walk next door, more to gather her thoughts than because she really needed one.Her mum being alive, even Miles being with Rachel, she could handle but her and Kim?She knew she’d had a bit of a crush on him when she was younger but how had that happened?

Kim came back with a mug of tea.“Your head a bit clearer now?”

“No.”She sighed, wishing it was someone she knew better looking after her.At least he seemed to know her.“Kim, I’m still really confused.How can we be together?”

Kim looked at her with deep concern.“There really is something wrong with you, isn’t there?”

“No but…this isn’t how it’s meant to be.What about Kit and the baby?”

Kim reacted as if she’d punched him.“Mattie, that’s not fair.You know how much Kit and I wanted that baby.”

Matilda felt her stomach twist at the comment.Anything but that…“She lost it?But where is she?Is she all right?”She saw Kim look away.“Kim?”

“Mattie, if you really don’t know this then…”

“Kim, please.”

“In the city, drinking herself to death last we heard.”

“What?Because of the baby?”

Kim shrugged.“That was the final straw, I suppose.I’m not sure she ever really got over what happened to Noah and then losing the baby straight after Scott dying…”

Matilda looked at him in horror.“Scott’s dead?”It was too much, the news about Kit and Archie and now Scott.She collapsed into Kim’s arms, letting him comfort her, as for the second time in a short while her world dissolved into tears.

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Thanks for your comments, people, hope the wait hasn't been too long.


Matilda dried her eyes again, aware of Kim looking at her, with that same concerned look in his eyes that Beth had had earlier.I must be freaking them out, she thought, reacting like this to stuff that should be old news.“What happened?”she asked.It probably wasn’t the best question in the circumstances and it didn’t seem to improve Kim’s mood.“Please.”

“Scott had moved to Paris with Hayley and baby Noah.One morning, he took Noah out for a walk.A driver lost control of his vehicle, mounted the kerb, hit him doing about 50.Killed him instantly.”


“He was fine.Not a scratch on him.Just lay screaming in his pram till someone found him.When we got the call and Kit found out, it sent her into premature labour.She was only five months gone, the baby didn’t stand a chance.”He looked at her in that same concerned way.“You really don’t remember any of this?”

“No,”she confirmed.There was no point lying.

“Matilda, I’m really worried about you.This memory loss…maybe we should get you to a doctor.”

“It’s not memory loss.”She looked at him, trying to work out how to handle this.If it was Ric or Lucas or Robbie, she’d have trusted them straightaway.But although she’d always got on well with Kim and he’d lived with them for a while, she didn’t know him well enough to know how he’d react.And this wasn’t even her Kim, it was another one.All the same, he was apparently her boyfriend here.“Kim, do you love me?”

He reacted to the question with surprise.“Of course I do.”

“Do you trust me?Because what I’m about to tell you is going to sound crazy and I need you to hear me out.”

“Okay.I’m listening.”

“It’s not memory loss.I don’t remember those things happening because they didn’t happen to me.I wasn’t here then.”

“Mattie, I know you were here…”

“That wasn’t me.That was another Matilda.I’m a different Matilda from…from somewhere else.From where your Matilda is now.”

A universe away, that other Matilda was leafing through a collection of photos, pictures of her and Ric together.She looked at Ric in bewilderment.“This…this isn’t possible.”

“What, you think the photos are fakes?”

“They must be, we were never together like this.”

“Well, it’s like I told you…things are different here.”

“And we’re together?”

Ric felt slightly insulted.“What, that’s so difficult to believe now?”

“Yes, frankly.You’ve always been like a brother to me, it was always Cassie for you.”

“Well…things change.I mean, you and Kim, that never happened here.He married Rachel and then he left her for Kit.”

Matilda shook her head.“No, Kim never married Rachel.He was going to but he broke it off when he found out he couldn’t have children.”

Ric remembered how close Kim and Rachel had come to splitting up over that.At least it gave some indication of what the differences between the two universes were.“Well, that’s not how it happened here.”

“Look, Ric, I don’t know what this is all about but it’s obviously crazy.Let me call Kim or Mum.They’ll sort it out.”

Ric gently put a hand on her arm as she reached for the phone.“You can call Kim in the city if you want but it’s just going to freak him out.And…your mum isn’t there.”

“What do you mean, she isn’t there?Ric, for pity’s sake…”

“Matilda…you said I’m your friend, that I’m like a brother to you.So you know I’d never lie to you about anything important, right?”


“Beth died.Over a year ago, in a car crash when she was coming back from visiting Scott and Hayley in Paris.”

Matilda shook her head.“Ric, you’ve got it the wrong way round.It was Scott that died in the car crash. Mum was talking about going to see him but she didn’t get the chance.”

Ric had no idea if what he was about to do was the right thing.But it was a way to finally give her proof. He picked up the phone receiver and dialled the number.“Promise me you won’t freak out,”he said.She nodded and he handed her the phone.

“What is it?”she asked as she listened to the ringing tone.


He saw the shock on her face as she heard the voice at the other end.“Scott?”she gasped.She seemed to look at Ric with new understanding, as though she finally grasped what he was trying to tell her.“It…it’s Mattie…No, nothing’s wrong.I was just calling to see how you are…”

“Parallel universes?”Kim looked at her incredulously.

“I know it’s a lot to take in,”Matilda admitted.

“Yeah, you got that right.”

“And there’s nothing I can say to make you believe me.Can you please just trust me?”

Kim sighed.“Okay, okay, let’s pretend for a moment that I believe you.How exactly did you get here?”

They were interrupted by two people appearing in the doorway.Matilda instantly recognised Lucas, of course, and it only took her a fraction of a second longer to recognise Lisa, their old classmate.She quickly noticed the way they were holding hands and couldn’t help smiling.It seemed they’d been given the opportunity here that they’d never had in her world.

“Your mum said you were in a bit of a state,”Lucas explained,“We thought we’d come here and check you were all right.”

“Matilda was just telling me she’s from a parallel universe,”Kim explained.

“What?”Lisa asked, confused.

Matilda looked daggers at Kim.She could have done with keeping a lid on that one.She looked back at Lucas and Lisa.“It’s true.”

“She was just telling me how she came to be here,”Kim added.

“Okay, if I say mysterious glowing pyramid, you’re just going to think I’m nuts, aren’t you?”A thought suddenly occurred to Matilda.“Oh my god, the pyramid.”

“What about it?”Lucas asked.

“It wasn’t there when I got here, it wasn’t in the warehouse.It must be kept somewhere else on this world.”

“What are you talking about?”Lisa wondered.

“Ric said the only way for me to get home is to touch the pyramid in this universe.If I can’t find out where it is, I’m stuck here.”

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Matilda had persuaded Lucas to get out his laptop and try to find out any information he could.She was grouped around him with Kim and Lisa but so far his efforts had yet to yield any fruit.“There must be something,”she protested.

“Well, I’m doing my best,”Lucas told her,“But a search for ‘mysterious glowing pyramid’ just seems to be bringing up links to old sci-fi show websites.”

“It’s not even glowing most of the time.”

“You want me to do a search for ‘mysterious pyramid’?That’s going to bring up even more results.”

Matilda thought hard.What else could she tell them?“Mandalone.”

“What?”Lisa asked, confused.

“Ric told me that the guy that was keeping an eye on the pyramid in the universe he went to was called Mandalone.Maybe he’s keeping an eye on it here as well.Take a look.”

“So now you want me to look up Mandalone?”Lucas asked.

“Mandalone and pyramid.”

“Not mysterious pyramid?”

“Start with just pyramid.”

Lucas did as instructed and reacted with surprise.“Woah, here’s something.”

Lisa peered over his shoulder.“It says here he owns a museum just out of town.It contains various unusual objects, including a mysterious pyramid.”

“What better place to hide it,”Matilda observed,“Okay, thanks, guys.”

She made for the door but Kim caught hold of her.“Woah, where do you think you’re going?”

“To this museum.”

“Matilda, it’s gone five o’clock, the museum’s going to be shut.”

“Well, I’ll…I’ll…”Matilda trailed off, defeated.

“You’ll what?Break in?”

“That’s not really a good idea,”Lisa told her.

“Okay, well what am I going to do?I mean, where am I going to stay tonight?It’s not like I’ve got any money to hire out a motel room or something.”

“Well, stay here,”Kim suggested,“It’s where you live.”

“It’s where the other me lives.”Matilda shook her head.“No, seriously, it wouldn’t feel right, being here with you.”

“If it makes you feel more comfortable, I can sleep in Jack’s old room.”

Matilda was aware that he must be finding the situation difficult.She wasn’t even sure if he believed her story about parallel universes, which made the fact that he was going along with it all the more surprising. She could deal with the compromise.“Okay.I’ll stay here tonight.”

Ric and Matilda, the other Matilda, were standing just inside the bedroom door.He’d convinced her to keep quiet about where she’d come from when Alf and Miles had come home.Given that they’d never fully believed his own story, springing another tale of travel between universes on them hadn’t seemed wise. He’d managed to come up with a convincing sounding explanation for his earlier panic so there hadn’t been too many questions.

He noticed that Matilda was looking at their double bed with something approaching panic.“I can go and sleep in Jai’s room if you want,”he suggested.

“And how’s that going to look?”

“Well, I could tell him we’ve had an argument.”

Matilda took a deep breath.“No, we’re adults.We can handle this.Pillow wall?”

“Yeah, sure, whatever you’re comfortable with.”

“You’d better not snore.”

Kim was surprised to find Matilda already up and in the kitchen when he came through the next morning. “You must have made an early start.”

Matilda glanced round from where she seemed to be in the middle of making herself an omelette.“That museum opens at nine o’clock.I want to be there as soon as possible.”

“You’re still thinking of going?”

“Of course I am.Look, Kim, if that pyramid is the one I’m after, then it’s my only way of getting home. And no offence, but I don’t want to have to stay here for the rest of my life.”

“Oh, none taken.”He sighed.“All right, give me half an hour.”

“What for?”

“Because if you are determined to go through with this craziness, you’re going to need someone to keep an eye on you.”

To her surprise, Matilda found herself glad of his company.“Thanks, Kim.”

Ric tried his best to hide his smile as Matilda came downstairs wearing the school uniform he’d fished out of the wardrobe for her.It wasn’t the uniform that amused him, more the look of extreme discomfort on her face.“Hey, a perfect fit.”

“Yeah, I had actually hoped I wouldn’t be wearing one of these anymore.”

“Well, sorry, but in this universe you repeated a year and if you don’t turn up to school it’s going to look suspicious.”

“I wonder if your Matilda’s as conscientious about keeping my college attendances up?Thank god I haven’t got any important lectures over the next few days.”She glanced down at herself and grimaced. “How exactly did she manage to flunk Year 12?”

“It was a stressful year for her.Her mum dying and everything.”

“I had to cope with my brother dying and I still managed to pass.”Matilda sighed.“I still don’t get it, why things happened differently in our two universes.I mean, I get that Mum never went to Paris because Scott was dead and that’s why the car crash didn’t happen where I came from.But how come Scott didn’t die here?”

Ric shrugged.“I don’t know.Maybe he got a phone call and that stopped him going out or made him go out later.Or maybe he got one in your universe and here he went out earlier.All it would take was for him to not be in that spot at that moment.”

“Guess you’re right.Gosh, it just needs to be something small, doesn’t it?”

“Shame you haven’t got any philosophy classes today.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

Matilda and Kim had made their way into the museum with the other visitors.Matilda had purchased a guidebook and found her way to the right gallery.“Now if I’m reading this right, the pyramid should be in here.”

They headed through the entrance way and instantly caught sight of it, in a cordoned off area in the middle of the gallery, a security guard on what seemed to be permanent duty.“There it is,”Matilda breathed, “That’s the one.”

“And if you touch it, you’ll get sent home?”Kim looked around cautiously.“You think you can do that without anyone seeing you?Including the guy with the gun?”

Matilda barely heard him.“When it’s glowing…”She looked at Kim.“Ric said it could only send me back if it was glowing.”

“It’s not glowing.”

“No.”Matilda thought again.“And he said it didn’t glow for him until he’d done what he was there to do.”

“So now we have to solve a riddle?”

“He said it sent him to that universe so he could do something that the other Ric couldn’t do.Something that needed to be sorted out there.But what’s wrong here?I mean, you and I are happy, aren’t we?”She caught his look.“Yeah, course, sorry.And things seem to have worked out for Lucas and Lisa, Mum’s alive, it’s a bit late to do anything about Scott…”She stopped.“Kit.”


“You said she was back on the booze, that she was drinking herself to death.”

“Yeah, after we lost the baby.We’ve all tried to talk to her, you, me, your mum…”

“Well, I think I need to have another try.Maybe it’s because I’ve been through something you haven’t. You said she was in the city?Have you got an address?”

“There’s one at home…”

“Then that’s where I need to go.”

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Matilda looked at the door, wondering what she’d find on the other side.Kim had offered to come with her but, arrogant as it might seem, something told her that she was meant to accomplish this task on her own, without any help from locals.She knocked on the door and waited.When a minute had gone by, she pushed on the door and it fell open.

Matilda cautiously made her way into the flat.She noticed with discomfort the line of empty bottles piled up by the sink.The place seemed surprisingly well kept.She’d expected it to be a mess but instead things were basically tidy.It was only its occupant that seemed to be a mess.Kit was sat on the sofa with her back to her, head bowed, looking as though she was nursing a permanent hangover.

“Kit?”she asked cautiously as she got closer.

Kit looked round, her expression almost vacant, her body seemingly lacking in energy.“Mattie.You came to the party.Did you bring a bottle?”

Matilda noticed Kit already had a bottle, half empty, clutched to her chest.She took hold of it and tried to pull it away but Kit hung onto it as though her life depended on it.Perhaps in her mind it did.In the end, Matilda gave up.She just stood there, looking down at her sister.She’d never really seen her like this before. In her own universe she’d been away at boarding school when Kit’s problems were at their worst.“Kit, you

shouldn’t be living like this.”

“Then how should I be living, Mattie?With a husband and three kids?I’ve tried that and what happened?I fell in love with two guys.One chose Hayley and then died, the other chose you and our kid died.So maybe this is pretty good, huh?Not going to get any disappointments.”

“What about the rest of us, Kit?What about Mum?She’s already lost one child.”

“I know,”Kit snapped,“He was my brother.”

“And mine.How do you think I feel?”

“I don’t know, Mattie.I’ve never known how perfect Princess Matilda feels.”

Matilda was stung by the comment.She tried to remind herself that this wasn’t her Kit, that it was another one, shaped by different experiences.But she couldn’t help wondering if her Kit had ever had similar thoughts.“Kit, I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not a princess.”

“You know everyone gave up on me, Mattie.I’m not clever and I’m not pretty.Only good enough for staying at home and looking after the farm.And it turns out”-she seemed to be trying to fight back the tears but then she surrendered to them-“I can’t even be a mum.”

Ric waved Matilda over to the table where he was waiting.She gave a quick look around before taking her seat.“At least the Diner looks the same.”

“Yeah, wouldn’t be Summer Bay without a Diner.”

“And Irene and Leah own it?”

“Irene and Roman,”Ric corrected,“And possibly Leah.I’m having a hard time keeping track.”He noticed her nonplussed expression.“You’ve no idea who Roman is, have you?”

“Guess I never met him.”Matilda tried a different tack.“And that was Aden Jefferies in the kitchen?And Belle?Didn’t Belle go off to uni with Drew?”

“No, Drew’s in the city, Belle’s still here, Aden lives with Roman now, that’s why he works here.”

“And he and Belle are together?”

Ric looked at her in surprise.“No, why’d you think that?”

“I just thought I saw…Never mind.”Matilda sighed.“God, I think I’m going to have to carry a chart around.I bumped into Geoff at school, asked him how Elle was and he looked at me like he didn’t know who I was talking about.Kind of like how you’re looking at me now.”

“Look, just busk it, okay?I’ll give you a master class in my own particular Summer Bay tonight.”

Matilda looked at him with increasing frustration.“I just think I should be doing something, you know? Trying to get home.”

“Trust me, it’ll be all right.My Matilda’s going to be on the case and she’ll have it sorted in no time.”

If Matilda could have heard Ric’s claim, she would probably have told him not to get his hopes up.She had placed a consoling hand on Kit’s back but it had done nothing to stop her sobbing.She’d never felt so helpless in all her life.“Kit, it…it’s all right,”she attempted, the words sounding pathetic even to herself.

“What’s going on here?”asked a male voice from the doorway.Matilda spun round to see a young man a few years older than herself standing there, looking at her with undisguised aggression.

“Denni, this is my little sister Matilda,”Kit explained, his presence seeming to snap her out of her depression,“Matilda, this is my boyfriend Denni.”

“We were talking and then she got upset,”Matilda added, somehow feeling as though she needed to justify her actions to the newcomer.

Denni nodded, accepting this but not seeming any more pleased to see her there.“Well, thanks for your help, little sister Matilda, but I can look after Kit from now on.”

Matilda felt herself losing her temper, even though she had a feeling it wasn’t the wisest thing to do.“Are you for real?Does she look like she’s being looked after?”

“Matilda, it’s all right,”Kit insisted,“I’ll be all right now Denni’s here.”

Matilda had an overwhelming feeling of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.In the end, all she could do was nod and head out the door Denni was holding open for her.

Denni let the door slam shut then made his way over to the couch, putting his arm round Kit in a way that seemed to be more for his own benefit than hers.“Hard day, babe,”he commented,“How about you help me relax, eh?”He started kissing her, beginning to unzip her top with his free hand.

Kit pulled away.“Denni, please, I’m not in the mood.”

Denni kept his arm around her, preventing her from getting up.He stroked her hair in a way that managed to be gentle yet entirely devoid of affection.“Oh, babe, you’re forgetting the rules.If you stop being nice to me, I’ll stop being nice to you.And you don’t want that, do you?”

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Matilda had poured out the story of what happened to Kim when she got home…or rather to her temporary home, the one she was borrowing from her other self.He hadn’t interrupted her, except when there was something he didn’t understand, he’d just sat there, his arm round her shoulder, as she’d related just how disastrous her visit to Kit had been.“I shouldn’t have gone round there,”she said at last.

Kim just shrugged.“You were just doing what you thought was best.”

“But I should have known.You’d tried talking to her, Mum had tried, the other me had tried.Why exactly did I think I could manage in one meeting what you hadn’t?”

“She’s your sister, you wanted to help her.”

Matilda shook her head.“I didn’t expect it to be that bad.She’s a wreck, Kim, she’s living in a mess with some creep of a guy.And I’ve got to help her, for her sake and for mine.”

“You still think that’s the only way for you to get home?”

“I don’t know.When I first heard about it, it seemed obvious.I mean, I know Kit, I thought I knew how to deal with her.But I didn’t have a clue.”She sighed.“It’s just so unfair, the way things have turned out here.I know what a good parent she would have been, you both would have been.”She realised she’d overstepped the mark.“I’m sorry, I just meant…”

“It’s okay,”Kim assured her,“I accepted it a long time ago, that I’m not going to get to be a dad.It’s harder on you, I mean, you’re still young and beautiful, you could still find someone that could give you children…”He noticed the uncomfortable look on her face and sighed.“I’m using the wrong pronoun again, aren’t I?It’s just you’re so like her, I sometimes forget you’re not.”

“Don’t worry, it’s confusing for me too, seeing all of you and trying to remember you’re not the people I know.And I’m meant to be here to help you somehow.Whatever cosmic force is behind all this, it really lucked out with me.”

Kim stroked her face gently.“Hey, look, I meant what I said.You’re a lot like my Matilda and I know that she wouldn’t give up and wouldn’t rest until she’d sorted this thing out and that’s exactly what you’re going to do.”Their heads were close now.It didn’t take much of a movement for him to kiss her.For a moment, she was shocked then she started to kiss him back.He pulled away suddenly, his face apologetic. “Sorry, I guess I forgot again.”

A hundred appropriate responses came to mind for Matilda, such as telling him that it was all right and it didn’t matter, they just had to remember not to do it again.But instead she went for the less appropriate response.She kissed him again.

Denni had left Kit at the flat as soon as it had got dark.He had no idea what she was up to, drinking herself into another stupour probably.He didn’t really mind.He was making enough money to keep her in booze for a while and it meant she was usually too out of it to give him grief.So long as she managed to rouse herself when he had need of her, she could stay for the moment.

The guy he was meant to be meeting, Gus, was waiting at the end of the alley, out of the glare of the street lights.He waited until Denni had joined him before asking,“You got the stuff?”

Denni shook his head.“Hell, no.I’m holding onto that until we’ve fixed a price.”

Gus gave him a dangerous look.“If you’re thinking of cheating me…”

“What, you think I’m going to rely on a gentleman’s agreement?I’m no gentleman, Gus, and neither are you.Nothing’s going to change hands until we agree a price.”

“Fine.A hundred.”

Denni laughed.“Gus, man, we are talking about refined heroin here.I’m not going to leave the flat for less than five hundred.And you know you’ll be able to charge a lot more than that.”

Gus nodded.“Okay.Five hundred.We’ll meet back here half past nine tomorrow.”

“Here?Don’t know how you normally do business, pal, but this place is way too exposed to use in daylight.Multi storey car park in the centre.Third floor.”

“Fine.Then I’ll meet you there.”

“Pleasure doing business with you, Gus.”

“It had better be.”

Matilda had got out of bed as early as possible and headed into the kitchen.It had been a night of surprises and she needed a chance to process them.Chief among them, the fact that Kim hadn’t slept in Jack’s room that night.Did it still count as cheating if you were in another universe at the time?

Her thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of Kim from the bedroom.“You in a hurry to go somewhere?”

“No, no,”she replied.A little too quickly.

Kim lent on the kitchen surface, looking at her awkwardly.“Why does it feel like that was our first time?”

“It was for me.”She found herself unable to hold his gaze, turning her attention back to her half-made breakfast.“I need to go and see Kit again.I need to work out what I’m going to do.”

“Plan hasn’t changed then?Help her and get back to wherever it is you’re supposed to come from?”

She looked at him, feeling a sea of conflicting emotions.“I think I’d better.”

Any further conversation was curtailed by the appearance of Lucas and Lisa in the doorway.“Hey, you’re up early,”Lucas noted.

Kim glanced at them ironically.“Not as early as you.”

“Actually, we haven’t been home yet,”Lisa explained,“Lucas thought we needed to see the sun rise.”

“Hey, new experiences,”Lucas protested,“You should always try them.”

“Well, that’s what I’m always telling you.”

Matilda smiled slightly as she saw how easy they were around each other.It was good to see.One of her biggest regrets was that both she and Belle had liked Lisa a lot more after she died.She wished she’d had a chance to get to know her Lisa, if she hadn’t been killed in that car accident caused by…“Oh my god,”she gasped suddenly.

“What?”Kim asked.

“Kit’s boyfriend, I know him!Denni Maitland, Lisa’s boyfriend.”

Lucas held up a hand.“Um, Lisa’s boyfriend standing right here.”He looked at Lisa uncertainly.“Right?” She nodded.

“No, I mean, my Lisa’s…Look, trust me, he’s bad news.I’ve got to get round there.”She dashed towards the door.

“Woah, hold up!”Kim called out.

Matilda stopped and looked at him in annoyance.“What for?”

“Well, for a start, neither of us is dressed yet.”

Matilda looked down at herself, realising she was still wearing the clothes she’d slept in.“Oh yeah.”

“Let’s get some clothes on and then I’ll drive you.”

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Matilda hurried up to the door of the flat, Kim just behind her, and pounded on the door.“She won’t answer,”Kim told her.

Matilda pushed the door open.“She doesn’t have to.”

Kit was in her usual position hunched up on the couch.She glanced round at their entrance but there didn’t seem to be any real interest in her reaction.“Oh, just go away, will you?”

“You need to come with us,”Matilda told her firmly.

Kit shook her head.“I need to stay here.”

“What’s here for you, Kit?Denni?We’re your family, Kit, you need to be with us.And you need to get away from Denni.”

“Denni looks after me.”

“How does he look after you?Keep you in booze?He doesn’t care about you, Kit, he’ll be out of here as soon as he gets bored.”

“Listen to her, Kit,”Kim put in gently,“She wants what’s best for you.”

Kit looked at him with a venom that Matilda found surprising.“And you know all about that, do you?I lost our baby, Kim.Our baby.And where were you?”

There was a regretful look on Kim’s face.“I tried to be there for you, you know I did.But you pushed me away, you pushed all of us away.”

“So you moved onto my sister and forgot about me.At least Denni’s there when I need him.”

“He’s not interested in helping you, Kit,”Matilda protested,“If he was, you wouldn’t be in this state.”

“He’s there for me when I need him.”

“Oh?Where is he now then?”

Kit shrugged.“He said he had business to attend to.”

Denni looked cautiously around him and then crossed the car park to where Gus was waiting.“You got the money?”

Gus nodded.“You got the stuff?”

Denni took a bag full of familiar white powder out of his pocket.“All here.”

“Right.Now how about you hand it over?”

Denni shook his head.“Let me see the money first.”

Gus fished a brown envelope out of his pocket, opening it slightly to reveal the notes inside.“So have we got a deal?”

“We’ve got a deal,”Denni agreed, holding the bag out.

“Freeze!”The two men looked round at the shout and realised they were surrounded.Four armed police officers, who had been concealed behind parked cars.The woman in charge looked from one to the other of them.“Put the drugs and the money on the floor and put your hands above your heads.”

Denni looked at her in shock.“Wh-who are you?”

“Inspector Terri Gardner, city police.We’ve been watching you for a while, Maitland, and I’d say we’ve just got the evidence we need.”

Gus glared at Denni.“You idiot!I thought you were a professional.”

“Put the drugs down, Maitland,”Terri snapped.

Denni spun round, opening up the bag as he did so and hurled the contents into the face of the nearest officer.The man went down, clutching his face, and Denni ran through the sudden gap.Gus made to follow but two of the officers grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground.Terri fired three shots after the retreating Denni but he was soon out of sight.

She spoke urgently in her radio.“All units, all units, suspect loose and running.”

“Look, just go away, will you?”Kit insisted.

“Not without you,”Matilda replied equally insistently.

“Well, I’m not going.”

Matilda folded her arms, standing in the middle of the flat.“Well, neither am I.”

Kit looked away dismissively.“Fine.Take it up with Denni when he comes back.”

As if on cue, Denni came bursting through the door.He stood looking at Matilda and Kim in anger.“What are they doing here?”

“I don’t know, they just turned up and wouldn’t go.”

“Yeah?Well, I am.If you want to come, you’d better start packing.”

Matilda looked at him in surprise.“Hang on, what’s going on here?”

“Best not worry your little head about it.”Denni began looking around the room.“We’ll take anything that we can sell.”

Kit put a hand to her head.“Denni, I really don’t feel up to going anywhere.”

Denni looked at her dismissively.“Stay or go, doesn’t really make any difference to me.Especially if you’re not gonna be useful.”

“You really don’t care about her at all, do you?”Matilda asked scornfully.

Denni grabbed hold of her arm, examining the bracelet around her wrist.“That looks like it could be worth a bit.I’ll have it, if you don’t mind.”

Kim stepped forward, pushing Denni away from her.“I think you need to back off, mate.”

Before anyone could stop him, Denni had grabbed a vase from the shelf and slammed it against the side of Kim’s head.He crumbled to the floor in a heap.“Oh my god, Kim,”gasped Matilda as she knelt by him.

Kit was on her feet, in front of Denni, probably the most active she’d been in a long time.“What are you doing?”

Denni groped in a cupboard and pulled out some rope.“Tie them up.”Kit looked at him dumbfounded. “Your sister and her boyfriend.Tie them up.”

“What?Denni, I’m not gonna do that…”

The knife was in Denni’s hand suddenly, poking against Kit’s throat.“Tie them up.And then I’ll tie you up.”He noticed the shocked look in her eyes.“I’m not gonna ask again.”

“I’ll do it,”Matilda put in hurriedly.She took the rope from him and began binding up Kim’s unconscious form.

Denni grinned.“Looks like she got the brains in your family.And when I’ve made sure no-one’s going to do anything silly, there’s a few people I need to get in touch with.”

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Matilda kept shooting worried looks across at Kim.He still hadn’t regained consciousness and the gash on his head gave her a pretty good idea why.He’d been tied up, like her and Kit, and left dumped on a chair. She was surprised just how worried about him she was.After living this other Matilda’s life for nearly three days, the lines between them were becoming increasingly blurred.

Next to her, Kit was babbling,“Mattie, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise he would do this, I’m so sorry.”

“Kit, shut up,”Matilda snapped, more harshly than she’d intended.Despite her nerves, the experience seemed to have made Kit sober up quickly.They glanced over at Denni, who was speaking to someone on the phone.

“I haven’t got your money, the police have got it…I haven’t got the drugs either…Look, what do you expect me to do about it?No, wait, listen…”He stopped abruptly, looking at the phone, the caller apparently having disconnected at the other end.

“Who was that?”Matilda asked.

“Someone you don’t want to meet.”He fixed his gaze on the two girls suddenly.“Your mum.She’s got money, right?You said she was a businesswoman?”

“She’s part owner of a local bar,”Kit confirmed, sounding as though she wasn’t sure why she was being asked.

“Her number.”The two sisters looked at each other in bewilderment, which just made him angrier.“Give me her number!”

Beth picked up the phone at the third ring.“Hello?”

“Mrs.Hunter?”The man on the other end seemed to talk to someone in the room with him for a moment before continuing.“Sorry, Mrs.Holden?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“I’ve got your two girls here.”

Beth couldn’t quite believe what she’d just heard.“I’m sorry?”

“Your two girls.Catherine and Matilda.And some idiot of a boyfriend.What’s his name?”Again he seemed to wait for someone in the room to answer before talking to her again.“Kim.They’re all here and they’re going to get hurt real bad if you don’t do as I say.”

Beth had a worrying suspicion what was going on.“Is…is this Denni?”

“That’s right, Mrs.Holden.I want five hundred dollars…no, make that a thousand dollars in cash delivered to my address within one hour or I am going to start getting real angry.”Before she could say anything more, he hung up.

Tony had been listening to Beth’s side of the conversation in confusion, which only intensified when she started dialling a number.“Who are you calling?”

“The police.”

“You…you wouldn’t actually hurt us, would you?”Kit asked.

Denni looked at her contemptuously.“And why wouldn’t I?”

“I thought you were looking after me.”

He laughed.“Dream on, girl, you’re nothing special.Just one in a long line.”

Matilda glanced past him to where the door was being eased open.She caught a glimpse of a face through the gap and a surge of hope went through her.Lucas.She gave Kit a quick glance, hoping she’d seen it too. Keep him talking she hoped her look managed to communicate.

“But what are you going to do with the money?”Kit asked.

“Get out of here.Bung some to the people that are after me then get on the first boat that comes along.”

“Well, I could go with you.I mean, you must still have some uses for me.”

“Yeah, funds are a bit tight now, sweetheart.Can’t afford to have you raiding the minibar.”

At which point Lucas picked up a vase from the same shelf as the one that had left Kim out for the count and brought it crashing down on Denni’s head.

“How did you know we were in trouble?”Matilda asked as Lucas and Lisa stepped over Denni’s prone form and began untying them.

“Well, you didn’t come back so we figured there was a chance,”Lucas explained.

“Thank goodness you did.”The bonds around her sufficiently loosened, Matilda shrugged free of them and went to free Kim.She tapped his face desperately.“Kim, come on, wake up, we need to get out of here.”

“Lucas!”Lisa suddenly gasped in alarm.

Matilda and Lucas turned round and saw what she had seen:Denni on his feet, not as unconscious as they’d hoped, Kit in a painful looking armlock with a knife to her throat.“Now everyone’s going to stay exactly where they are until the nice lady gets here with my money.”

Kit suddenly lashed out with her free arm, catching him in the stomach with her elbow.It was enough to make him double up in pain but unfortunately not enough to make him loosen his grip.Instead, he flung her in the direction of the wall.Her head connected with it hard and suddenly she was a dead weight in his arms.The knife was back at her throat before Lucas and Matilda could take more than one step towards him.

“She could be hurt,”Matilda told him,“They both could.You need to let us take them to a hospital.”

“After I get my money.”

“Lucas,”Lisa interrupted again,“there’s a police car outside.”

That shocked Denni.“What?You’re lying.”Then he heard the sound of a siren and realised she wasn’t. “What are they doing here?”

“Good old Mum,”Matilda sighed, not sure whether Beth had done them a favour or not.

“Yeah?Well she just got you killed.”

“You think the police’ll go easy on you if you kill us?”Lucas asked.

Denni stopped in his tracks, thinking this through.“Fine.Then you’re hostages.You can help me get out.”

“And what are you going to do then?”Matilda asked.

“Well, I…”

“You said it yourself.You’ve got no money and no drugs.Police custody might be the safest place for you right now.”

Denni looked undecided for a moment.Then he dropped both the knife and Kit.

Matilda was at her sister’s side, desperately trying to see if she was all right.“Lucas, tell the police we’re coming out.And tell them we need an ambulance!”

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It’s a shame this story doesn’t have a larger audience but the reality is that Ric and Matilda are yesterday’s news. Things might have been different had you wrote this fic about a year ago.

Well, as long as there's a few people still reading it, I'll finish it.Heck, I'd finish it if no-one was reading it.It's been a bit neglected while I've been finishing off Love in Motion but I'm determined to get it finished in the next week or so.


“There you are.All done,”Rachel proclaimed as she put the last stitch into Kim’s head.

Matilda found herself marvelling yet again at the sight of the two of them together, completely relaxed but with none of their former intimacy.Whatever confluence of events had caused them to split up here, it had obviously been a lot more amicable than in her universe.“Thanks, Rach,”Kim replied.

“How’s Kit?”Matilda asked.

“The bump on her head was pretty superficial,”Rachel noted,“She came round pretty much straightaway. It’s taking her a while to detox though.Her blood alcohol level was almost off the scale.”

“Is she up to visitors?”

“Well, your mum and Tony are in there with her already.I can show you to her room if you want.”


Kit’s voice was audible out in the corridor.“God, Mum, I’m so sorry, I nearly got Mattie killed and poor Kim, I really didn’t know he was like that…”

“It’s all right, sweetheart,”came Beth’s soothing voice,“You just concentrate on getting better.”

“I will, Mum, I promise I will, soon as I get out of here, I’ll go straight into a clinic, I’ll get rid of the booze once and for all.”

Matilda silently moved into view of the doorway, where Beth could see her but Kit couldn’t, and made a gesture to the effect she wanted to talk.Beth nodded her understanding.“Tony, could you sit with Kit for a while?I just want to check on Mattie and Kim.”

Tony had seen Matilda as well and quickly cottoned on.“Yeah, of course.”

Beth kissed Kit on the forehead.“I’ll see you in a bit, love.”She headed out into the corridor, closing the door behind her.She put her arms round Matilda and hugged her.“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what to do when I got that call.I’m just so glad you’re all right.”

“It’s okay, Mum.”Part of Matilda wanted to stay where she was, in her mother’s arms.But memories of the world and the people that she’d left behind caused her to press on with what she’d wanted.“Do you think she’ll do it?Get better?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”Beth caught Matilda’s look, asking for honesty, and sighed.“She’ll go to the clinic.She’ll get better, get sober.And then she’ll come out and her problems will still be here.And she still won’t know any other way to cope with them.I just wish I could help her find a way.”

An idea was stirring in Matilda’s mind.It seemed crazy but maybe…“Mum, go back to her.Sit with her. I’m going to try something.”

Beth looked for a moment as though she was going to argue or ask questions but then she nodded.“Okay. Good luck, love.”

Matilda waited until Beth had closed the door behind her before turning to Kim.“Kim, I need a baby.”

“Okay, aside from fertility issues and the nine month gestation period…”

“I don’t mean ours, Kim, I mean…Do you know anyone who’s got a baby?Family or friends?”

“Robbie and Tasha…”

Matilda shook her head.“Too old and too far away.Anyone closer?”

“Jack and Sam?”

Matilda looked at him bewildered.“They’re still..?So what happened to Martha, did she marry Michael or Roman or..?”


Matilda sighed.“Okay, just another bit of weirdness.So Jack and Sam are still together and they’ve got a baby and they’re where?”

“Jack got a transfer to the city.They’ve got a little boy.Tom.”

“Perfect.Now, I need some help with the explaining…”

“Kit?”Matilda asked gently.

The room was empty bar the two of them…or rather the three of them.Tony and Beth had vacated the area at Matilda’s insistence.Kit looked round at the voice and saw Tom, cradled in Matilda’s arms.She tensed up, seeming suddenly nervous.“What…what’s that?”

“This is Tom, Jack’s son.I thought he might like to see his auntie.”

Kit was shaking her head, tension coursing through her body.“Well, he’s seen me, so you can take him out of here.”

“Don’t you want a hold?”

Kit shook her head even more violently but Matilda pressed forward, placing Tom gently but firmly in her arms.“No, Mattie, please, don’t,”Kit was murmuring and Matilda wondered for a moment if she’d made a mistake.But it was too late now.

“There you are, see?He likes it there.”

Slowly, almost reluctantly, Kit stroked the baby’s face.“Hello there,”she whispered,“I’m…I’m…”

And then the floodgates opened.Not the tears of guilt that she’d shed before but the tears of grief that she’d been holding in for so long.Matilda breathed a sigh of relief as she wrapped her arms around her sister, marvelling that their nephew was managing to sleep through it all.

“I never even held him, Mattie,”she sobbed,“He was my baby.Oh god, I wanted him so much.I lost everything.”

Matilda angled Kit’s head towards her.“I don’t know how to convince you,”she told her,“But believe me, I know you would have been a good mother.And you still can be.You can’t let this…destroy you, Kit.You can’t let the only result of your son’s life be to ruin his mother’s.”

Kit nodded, her gaze flicking from Matilda to Tom.“I…I won’t.I promise.I promise both of you.”

And seeing that look in her eyes, Matilda believed her.

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