AH Vignette - A Price to Pay?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by AndyC, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. AndyC Shadow Secretary of State for Infrastructure Donor

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    8th May 2015

    “I can’t believe it. I still just can’t believe it. But, then - you’ve always had the strokes of luck just when you needed them, haven’t you?”

    Cameron smiled at Hague’s words over the phone. But his smile was, unaccountably, just a touch worried.

    “It’s like Boris. If I’d had a fraction of your luck - either of yours… well, I didn’t. And anyway - some people say you make your own luck.”

    It was probably a good thing that Hague wasn’t present, otherwise he’d probably have wanted to know exactly why Cameron was looking sick.

    ***​

    4th April 1987

    “Seriously, Cammers. You’re worrying about nothing. We cleaned it up afterwards, didn’t we? I mean, we even did all the scrubbing ourselves! It’s nothing but piffle piled on piffle.”

    Boris was hugely unconcerned. Or at least, that’s how he looked to a casual observer. Cameron knew him better, though. The tightness at the corners of his eyes betrayed a real tension.

    Still - they’d been up for more than thirty hours straight. Anyone could be forgiven for imagining things under those circumstances. He put it out of his mind.

    ***

    4th April 2000

    “Now that, mate, was what I call a stroke of luck! If that bastard Woodward hadn’t defected, you’d still be looking, like me.”

    Cameron hadn’t seen much of Johnson since leaving Oxford, so running into him at the after-selection party was a bit of a shock.

    “Uh, yeah,” he said. “Um, but I thought I heard that you’d made the shortlist at Henley?”

    Boris grinned. “Yup. Got a good feeling about it, after all. It’s been thirteen years now, hasn’t it.”

    His grin faded as he saw Cameron’s forced smile. “Oh, seriously, man. You’re not still giving that collection of tripe any credence?”

    Cameron managed to make himself laugh. “Of course not. Don’t be silly.”

    ***​

    15th October 2001

    “Hey!”

    Cameron sighed. It was Boris bloody Johnson again.

    “Did you hear? I’m on a standing committee now. Some crap about the Proceeds of Crime Bill, but it gets me on the next run up already.”

    Cameron gave him a nod. Maybe if he said nothing, he'd would leave.
    “Not quite as good as yours, though. Straight onto the Home Affairs Select Committee. Brand new in Parliament and a plum job like that. Nice work, Dave.”

    Johnson knew he didn’t like being called ‘Dave’.

    “Yeah,” he said in a tight voice.

    ***​

    7th November 2002

    Osborne grinned. “We’re on the way up, David. Less than a year and a half in Parliament and we’re coaching the Leader! “

    “But what a Leader, though,” said Cameron.

    “I get the impression you’re distinctly unimpressed by Ian or Duncan,” joked Osborne. “Doesn’t matter - it’s a real stroke of luck. Our visibility’s gone right up.”

    Cameron nodded. He still didn’t like that ‘L’ word, though.


    ***​

    6 December 2005

    Cameron raised both hands as they applauded. At age 39, he was the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. He’d risen meteorically, every choice in the campaign breaking in his favour. So why was there that worm of worry inside?


    ***​
    11 May 2010

    “Honey, I’m so proud of you.” Samantha was beaming.

    “I couldn’t have done it without you,” he said automatically. A moment’s irritation at himself. It was true; he couldn’t have. Sam deserved much more of his attention. A silly game more than twenty years ago shouldn’t be distracting him right now. He’d become Prime Minister, in just one election. Everyone had been willing to grant him two when he started and he’d done it in one. Sure, he had to deal with the sandal-wearers, but still - Brown was out, he was in. It was his lucky day.

    Damn it. Why did he have to think of that word.

    ***

    6 May 2011

    “It’s done,” said Osborne, looking at his mobile phone. “I think it’s mathematically impossible to lose now. Hell, we’ve crushed them.”

    Cameron let out a sigh. He’d still been worried, even after the polls had turned around. After he’d turned the polls around.

    “Like old Boney said: give me a lucky general. You, my friend, are a lucky general.”

    For once, the phrase got past him without causing consternation.

    ***

    19th September 2014

    “I wasn’t worried,” claimed Osborne.

    A ruffle of laughter declared him a liar.

    “No, seriously! When have you ever known our lucky general lose a major battle? It always goes right for David. Ladies and gentlemen - I give you the Prime Minister of the continuing United Kingdom!”

    Cameron took the plaudits with a smile. He'd not let them see how he felt inside.

    ***

    8 May 2015

    He came back to the present with a jolt.

    Hague had continued. “And I’m not remotely concerned about the EU Referendum. The way things are going in Greece, you’re going to get everything you ask for and storm to victory. Again!”

    The thing was - he knew that himself. He was going to win. Whenever anything in his career was needed, he’d always get lucky.

    Oh, it didn’t exactly happen in his private life. He’d had his share of grief and loss - more than most. So his contentment with Sam was his own for sure; he owed that to no-one and nothing.

    But … that day in ’87. It still haunted him. At his greatest triumphs, the question over whether they were truly his. Or whether they were owed to…
    No. It was silly. Ridiculous. Boris had been right.

    Oh, yes. Because it’s not like Boris has ever had ridiculous events break in his favour. Surviving scandals that would destroy anyone else, Mayor of London as a Tory; retaining the Mayoralty despite an unpopular Tory-led government, all but anointed by the public and press as heir presumptive - no matter what anyone could do…

    Damn it. Damn it.

    They’d been up for thirty bloody hours. That stupid book Boris had found in that old bookstore in Oxford. And what were the odds that anyone who was willing to look at it could translate it. Anyone but Boris, of course.

    That acrid smell. He’d been sure Boris had farted. But the blond idiot usually ‘called’ them. “Hey, this one’s ultra-eggy, chaps!”

    And it had certainly been rotten-eggy. But Boris had insisted he didn’t smell it.
    The pentacle. The dead cockerel. The words that Boris had intoned. The words that he’d had to say himself, carefully memorised. The line of blood in symbols, his own blood. His and Boris.

    The request. Carefully couched, of course. Translated into Latin by Boris, of course, but his own Latin was good enough to check that he’d not been tricked.

    That worrying thought at the back of his mind. That whenever you got something, there was always a price to pay. And yes, it was just a joke, but weren’t they going a bit far? He didn’t really believe he had anything like a ‘soul’; that was just crap. Wasn’t it? Sunday School stuff.

    The smell could have been a Boris-fart. Not sulphur.

    The ominous presence he’d felt - that was just his imagination running wild, of course. Anyone would have felt like that. Probably coupled with a genuine fatigue.

    But - no matter how certain Boris had been, no matter how many times he’d told himself the same story - that had just been a thrum from old pipework underground, magnified by a trick of acoustics. No matter how often he ran it through his memory, he still heard the same thing.

    A deep, deep voice. Almost more animal than human. Saying one word. “Done!”
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  2. Octosteel Disciple of Ye

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    Oh man, that was just phenomenal. I always loved the interaction between Boris and Cameron because they're such different personalities but with the same goals. They are the two giants in the Conservative Party, and the fact that they interacted when they were younger always fascinated me. I'm sure even Cameron questions his extraordinary luck and having a satanic ritual from the early years be a constant source of questioning is just genius. A fantastic use of the vignette format by being concise and showing everything that the readers needs to know.
     
  3. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

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    Luck of the Devil indeed. I certainly wouldn't call it a bit crap, it's good. :)
     
  4. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Oh that's a nice twist on the Zonen 'one tiny change with no long-term consequences' idea.
     
  5. Octosteel Disciple of Ye

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    Also I'll be happy for 2020 because we'll get more Boris timelines then. He is always fun to listen, and I'm sure he was fun to write.
     
  6. Geordie NAME OF OWNER Donor

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    Very interesting stuff, Andy.

    I'd recently come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, David Cameron has been considered lucky so many times that he's actually a rather more skilled operator than either the left or right give him credit for. Your reasoning is far more malevolent, but in my slightly less reasoned moments, I could almost buy it.

    I think it's very well written. The constant refrain of 'they'd been up over thirty hours' is very clever, almost as an internal justification for what they got up to. Nicely done.
     
  7. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

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    Oh, that's dark. Seriously dark. I love it. Suddenly, OTL makes sense! Also explains the Boris/Dave relationship we have in OTL. He knows.

    He knows.

    The implied epilogue - David Cameron, recently deceased second-most-successful post-war Tory leader, awaking somewhere very unpleasant indeed - is darker still. Excellent stuff, Andy, you're good at entwining fantasy elements into AH in ways that aren't just creepy or confusing.

    Why in 2020?
     
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  8. Octosteel Disciple of Ye

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    Because he's almost certain to for leadership before then and whether he wins or not, there will be timelines made then that feature him. It might take a while after 2020 like it did for the 2010 election timelines to come about, but they will come nonetheless and they can't just ignore Boris.
     
  9. Thande a special man who knows these things Donor

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    I managed to miss this one the first time ariound--never really thought of Cameron as being as consistently lucky as Boris but then there is the recent election result...

    Now imagine a crossover where it's this Cameron in the Lecternverse (the version with the ASB ending) :p
     
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  10. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

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    Okay, I guess. I've already done a Boris TL, you can find it under my posted threads. It's called I Am A Legend.
     
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  11. Octosteel Disciple of Ye

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    Oh no, I have read yours and loved it. I've expressed before how fantastic and well-written it is before on the Politibrits thread. I just think he is a fascinating person so I want to see more works with him.
     
  12. Octosteel Disciple of Ye

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    But it seems if their luck competes, Cameron's wins out since Boris would have been in a better position to be leader if Cameron lost. If I remember correctly, there were news sources saying that Tory MPs wanted a really short leadership election to more or less sweep Boris into power in case of a Miliband victory.