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Title: The Place You Are (formerly In Their Quilted Coats) chp. 5
Author: Pippin
Pairing: None yet, but yes, it will be Richard/Pip eventually.
Warning: Umm, AU, obvs. Richard's wife and family don't exist, because I refuse to break up a home. :D He did, however, have his accident in this universe. Also, I should probably warn for Jeremy Clarkson in general.

A/N: There has been a title change to better reflect the story. And yes, it's from a Peter Gabriel song as well. :D

A massive thank you to tigertale7 and _breathtaken for the betas, encouragement, and general enabling.

Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4

On Thursday morning, Pip arrived at the aerodrome early. She was tired thanks to the late night at the pub after filming the day before, but was determined to accomplish the serious cleaning she had planned for the portakabin.

Once inside, she shed her jacket and began unloading the supplies she'd brought. The past three days had given her enough time to look around and catalogue the disaster areas, and the night before she'd gotten permission from Jeremy (grudgingly), who hated change, and James (gladly), who detested dirt, to tackle the portakabin and beat it into shape. Richard didn't care either way, and only insisted she not throw out any of their bits of paper, claiming there might well be a bit of television genius scribbled on one of them.

Pip began in the makeup and wardrobe room--the smallest room and therefore the easiest to tackle. In the far corner was the makeup table, the surface littered with the boys' empty cups and Red Bull cans. She cleared the room of all the rubbish, hung all the jackets scattered about, and marked everything that had to go to the dry cleaner's. Pushing the wardrobe rack to the corner of the room, she folded up the ironing board and fetched the vacuum from the storage room to give the worn carpet a good going-over. She had spotted a small shelf lying on the floor in the store room, and having found the tool kit kept in the portakabin (for the purpose of heaven only knew what since everything in the place appeared to be broken), she hung the shelf near the makeup table and filled it with all the bits and pieces cluttering the room. With all that cleared away, the chargers for the walkie-talkies sat on the worktop, and the small table that was in the corner to hold them was removed entirely, creating more space in the room. With the ironing board set up again, the windows cleaned, and a quick spray of Febreze, she happily closed the door.

The green room got the same treatment. The vast majority of the mess was dirty dishes and mugs, and it didn't take Pip long to relocate those to the tiny kitchen in the main office. She gave the room a thorough dusting, including all the picture frames of the previous guests on the wall. With a lengthy vacuuming, a good tidy, and more of the Febreze, that room too was deemed acceptable.

Unlike their old portakabin, this one did not house the production team and their expensive computer equipment, which had been relocated to a large interior stock room inside the warehouse for security reasons. Instead, there was one long room with the conference table, a number of tables set up along one wall to hold a decrepit fax machine, one ageing computer, a printer, and a jumbled assortment of props and keepsakes from various episodes. At the short end of the room was the tiny and very basic kitchen--a bar fridge, sink, cupboards, coffeemaker and microwave.

This room--the 'office'--was the next to be tackled. Pip stood in the doorway surveying it for a moment, feeling slightly less optimistic. Housework was decidedly not her favourite way to spend time, and while it was always nicer to clean up someone else's space for them, she was starting to run out of steam. A glance at the clock told her she likely had less than fifteen minutes before someone showed up, and there was no way she'd get the large room clean and tidy before they did. She decided to have a go at the dishes first, as they were the most noticeable mess in the room.

When Richard walked in a little while later, Pip was up to her elbows in dishwater, not even halfway through the pile of dirty plates, cutlery, and mugs.

Richard gazed around the room as he set his bag down on a chair. "It looks good in here, Pip."

She stared at him over her shoulder. "Is that your poker face, or are you serious?"

"Erm--which one is the right answer?" he hedged.

"I haven't even started in here yet!"

"Oh. Well, it...er, it looks comfortable. And familiar."

She chuckled. "Of course it looks familiar. It's the same mess you guys have been looking at for the past who knows how long."

"Years," he said wryly. "You'll find it's a bloody futile task, trying to keep us neat."

"I'll find a way to convince you," she promised with a smile. Turning back to the sink, she asked, "So what happens around here on Thursdays? No one's really said yet."

Richard poured himself a cup of tea from the pot Pip had left on the table. "Depends. Sometimes we'll shoot segments for the following week, sometimes we're off each doing our own thing, but often we're down at White City. Today Jez and I are on-track filming an Audi versus Porsche thing, and James...well, I'm not entirely sure what he's coming for, actually." He strolled over, took a tea towel from the drawer under the microwave, and began drying the mugs that Pip was washing.

"You don't have to do that," she protested.

He shrugged. "I'm sure some of them are mine, it's only fair I help. I can't do much until Clarkson shows up, anyway."

"Well...all right, thank you. I appreciate it." She put more plates from the stack into the sink. "Don't forget we need to sit down sometime soon and go over your schedule. I should start getting organised with that."

"It's only your first week," he reminded her. "Of course we can go through it, but you don't have to learn everything all at once."

She smiled at him. "I know. I'm just looking forward to playing a bit more of an active part. There's a good energy around here, and it makes a newbie like me want to be part of it."

"Don't worry," he said solemnly, "that wears off after a while."

Pip laughed. "That's not what Andy says. He says this is, and I quote, 'the best fucking team in the whole of the BBC'."

"Did he?" Richard looked surprised yet pleased. "He's not usually so effusive." He finished drying the mugs and put them in the cupboard before starting on the plates.

"Well, at the time you three were falling down laughing, so I suspect he was trying to convince me that actual professional work does occasionally go on around here."

"It's true. For a whole ten minutes a day, we are the most professional presenters you've ever seen."

"I bet," she snorted. She put the last of the dishes in the water and began to wash them. "This is going much faster with you helping out."

The door flew open and Jeremy strode in. "Good morning, fellow petrolheads. And Flip. Is the Audi here yet?"

"'Morning, Jez," Richard replied. "Yes, it's in the warehouse getting its final vetting."

"Vetting?" Pip queried, then added, "Hi, Jeremy."

"A thorough check," Richard answered her. "Make sure everything's in order before sending it screaming 'round the track."

"You're the only thing that's going to be screaming on that track, Hammond, as the Audi thrashes your Porsche."

"Dream on, old man," Richard said mock-scornfully. "I spent all last weekend tuning it up, just to embarrass you on film. Again."

Pip looked surprised. "You're using your own car?"

"I am. It's just a short segment, so it wasn't worth trying to get one from Porsche. Much easier to just drive my own," he explained, stacking the plates on the shelf above the mugs.

"Better for the budget, too, if the bloody thing explodes," Jeremy added. "Unlike Porsche, you we can just buy off."

"Think again, Clarkson. Remember, I know how much you make."

"And you can have all fifty quid. Are you fucking done being Anthea Turner? The lads are setting up the cameras."

Richard looked at him with one eyebrow raised. "Sod off. Don't you have to do your review of the Audi first?"

"I thought we decided to do the drag race first?" Jeremy demanded.

"Yes, and then you decided you didn't want to know which car would win before doing your review," Richard said slowly, as if to a child. "They say the mind is the first thing to go," he told Pip with apparent regret.

Jeremy scratched his head. "Fuck, did I? Right. Well then, I have a car to drive!" He turned to leave, then suddenly stopped and rummaged through his jacket pockets. "Flip, I have a copy of my schedule for you; Francie sent it along. If you have any questions about it, you might as bloody well just call her." He tossed a folded lump of paper on the table and stomped out of the portakabin.

Pip looked at the door. "His wife kept his schedule? I hope I'm not stepping on any toes."

"No," Richard assured her. "If I know Francie, she'll be glad to be rid of the chore. Leaves more time for her cars and her rallying."

"Rallying?" Her eyebrows rose. "As in driving around dirt corners sideways for a day and a half and trying not to die?"

He laughed. "Said like someone who's never been rallying."

"No, I've never been, but I've seen it on TV," she protested, finishing the last dish and letting the water drain out of the sink. "It's not big in Ontario, I don't think, but it's huge in Quebec. That big winter rally--I forget what it's called--"

"Oh, winter rallying is a different beast entirely," Richard said, hanging up the tea towel to dry. "I'd love to try that, but I haven't made it up to Finland at the right time yet. No, Pip, there's an enormous difference between doing a rally--or even seeing one in person--and watching it on TV."

"I'll take your word for it," she said wryly, drying her hands with a piece of paper towel. "So if you're not filming right now, do you have time to go through your schedule with me?"

He glanced at his watch. "Yes, it shouldn't take too long." He crossed to the table and began rooting through his bag, finally pulling out a battered daytimer, fat with sheets of paper stuffed in haphazardly.

Pip looked at it in dismay. "Shouldn't take too long, eh? I have my doubts about that."

"It's an organised mess, honestly," he protested. "I know where everything--" He stopped, and frowned down at a piece of yellow foolscap he'd pulled out of the midst of it all. "Bugger. I forgot about that."

Squeezing her eyes shut, Pip sighed. "Oh dear."

"No, no, it's all right. It wasn't important," he said, sitting down at the table. "Not very, anyway."

Pip sat beside him with her BlackBerry, her notebook, a calendar, and a pen in front of her. "Okay, then. Start at the beginning."

Richard looked down at the mess of papers and dog-eared daytimer pages in front of him. "The beginning. Right. Ehm...exactly what would you consider the beginning?"

James motioned Pip to follow him out of the warehouse, a finger to his lips. Curious, she glanced over her shoulder at Jeremy and Richard, who were arguing with Andy over the footage they'd shot that morning. Neither of them so much as looked over.

Shrugging, she trailed along behind James, out across the asphalt and over to the car park closest to the portakabin. "What are we doing?" she finally asked as he came to a stop and waited for her to catch up.

James opened door of his Porsche for her. "It's 'Make Pip Go Fast' day, if you recall. In you get. We'll just have time for a doddle around the track before Richard and Jeremy figure out where we are and come barging in."

"Oh, no, it's all right, you don't have to--"

"Yes, I do," he said firmly. "We'll start sedately enough and take our time bringing you up to speed."

Suddenly a little nervous, Pip hesitated, fumbling about for a delaying tactic. "Have you checked the air pressure in your tires recently? What about your engine oil? Or your transmission fluid? Maybe we should--"

"Oh, do get in," James said, rolling his eyes. "You're speaking to the man who does pre-flight checks on a tractor, for God's sake. Trust me when I say everything is at optimum level."

"Oh. Well...umm. All right, then." She gingerly climbed in, making sure her elbow was out of the way as he closed the door for her. As she waited for James to round the car and get in, she looked around the interior. "You know," she said as soon as he was seated and beginning to do up his seat belt, "I've only been here a few days, and I've already been in a Morgan and a Porsche. My dad is going to be so proud of his little girl."

James chuckled. "Your dad's a petrolhead, is he?" He waited for her to belt in, then started the car.

"Well, not to the extent that you guys are. I think I'd class him as more of an enthusiast. Right now he's restoring his 1966 Triumph TR4, it's his baby. I sometimes think he purposely never taught me to drive standard just so that I wouldn't be able to drive the Triumph, although he denies it."

While she was nervously chattering, James had pulled away from the line quite decorously, slowly gathering speed as he rounded Crooner. "Who taught you, then?"

"This car is fantastic," Pip said, looking over her shoulder at the basic rear seats. "Sorry, who taught me what?"

"How to drive a standard transmission."

"No one. I've never learned."

James turned his head to stare at her, only returning his eyes to the track when she squeaked, "Watch out for the corner!" He shifted gear, slowing down. "Are you bloody serious?" he demanded, surprised. "You've only ever driven an automatic?"

"Yes, why? I think that's a lot more common at home than it is here." Her forehead wrinkled. "Does it matter?"

"Yes. Clarkson's going to be apoplectic when he finds out."

Taken aback, Pip started to worry at her lip. "I'm sorry, James, I didn't--I mean, nobody ever asked me. I didn't know--"

He glanced over again, and his mouth twitched. "Don't be an idiot," he said gruffly. "It doesn't matter as far as working for us is concerned. Jez will just be livid that any decent human being could reach the ripe old age of whatever you are without having gone fast or known the joys of manual shifting."

"Oh." She relaxed a bit in relief. "I can survive Jeremy being livid. I think. How about I tell him that when I buy a car, if it's standard I'll take some lessons before I drive it?"

James began to smile again. "I rather think it won't wait that long."

"What do you mean?" she asked, and then her face brightened as she looked at the track in front of them. "Hey, this is Gambon!"

"I mean that I suspect you'll be doing lessons sooner rather than later. Tomorrow, if those two have a say in it." He nodded in the direction of the warehouse, where Jeremy and Richard were just walking out into the weak sunshine.

Rather than stopping after they crossed the finish line, James kept on going for another lap. Pip couldn't help but notice that they were going at a much faster clip. "The only problem with that is that I just moved halfway around the world. I don't have any money for driving lessons."

"You misunderstand me," James grinned. "You won't be taking lessons, you'll be given them."

"By who?" she asked, suspicion dawning. They took Chicago faster than she was expecting, and she grabbed the handle on the door.

"Well, that's the interesting question, isn't it? I can't see Jeremy lasting more than three minutes before shouting at you; he has the patience of a gnat with ADD."

"James, how fast are we going?"

He ignored her question, the corner of his mouth quirking up. "Then there's Richard, who is much more patient than Jez, but gets bored easily. He won't shout at you, but it's a toss-up whether he'd last five minutes or an hour before demanding to take over and do it himself." He stopped speaking for a moment to concentrate on judging the Follow-through, then continued. "As for me, I can be very patient indeed, but I would also insist you learn the nuts and bolts, as it were, of the gears and transmission. I find it much easier to teach when the student understands the principles involved. However, perhaps you don't have the patience for that." He flung the car into the second last corner, then Gambon, braking to a quick halt just past the chequered line. "Well." He looked over at Pip. "How was that?"

"Fast," she said a bit breathlessly, but with a grin. "But fun."

James looked satisfied. "Good. You're not afraid of a bit of speed, then, you're just not used to it."

There was a rap on the glass, making Pip jump. She turned to see Richard and Jeremy leaning over to peer in the window. Finding the button on the door, she lowered the glass.

"Now that you've been around with Slow," Jeremy said, "are you ready to take the training wheels off?"

Richard laughed. "What, with you?"

"Of course with me!"

"There's no 'of course' about it!" Richard exclaimed, straightening up to confront Jeremy. "Why the hell would she want to go with you when I'm obviously the quickest here?"

Jeremy snorted. "Quickest my fucking Aunt Fanny. Quickest at coming, maybe."

"Well, at least some of us can still get it up without pharmaceutical aid."

"At least when some of us get it up, we can keep it up for longer than thirty seconds without shooting all over the sheets--"

"Ha!" Richard laughed. "That's not what your wife says."

Pip looked beseechingly at James. "Help?"

James leaned forward to glare past Pip. "Oi. It's not going to be either of you," he said loudly, stopping Richard and Jeremy cold. "The pissing match you two are in, you'd destroy my tyres."

Jeremy looked at Richard. "Hm. He does have a point."

"He does rather, doesn't he?" Richard said, before brightening and eagerly asking, "Didn't we have a scrubby set of Pirelli R16's in the garage?"

Jeremy's eyebrows lifted, and his eyes gleamed. "I believe we did, yes. James," he barked, "take it over to the garage. We'll save your precious fucking tyres. I'll do the straightline, get some heat into them, and then Hammond, you do the track."

"Right," Richard nodded, and the two of them marched off toward the garage, in accord once more.

Pip stared after them. "Do I even get a say in this?"

James sighed and started the engine. "No. Strewth, I hope my insurance is paid up."

Richard looked over at Pip in the passenger seat and grinned. "So, did you enjoy your introduction to speed, or have we traumatised you for life?"

Pip snorted, waving at the security guard as they left the aerodrome for the pub. "The speed was a lot less traumatising than you and Jeremy discussing your erectile dysfunctions."

"Hey!" he protested hotly. "I have no problems in that area, thank you very much! I'll have you know that--"

"No, no, no," Pip said loudly, cutting him off, one palm held toward him as if to ward him off. "You will not have me know. I've been here four days, you are not telling me about your sex life. That is information I do not need to know about my employers."

Richard chuckled. "All right, fair enough. Let's just not use the words 'erectile dysfunction' again, okay? You'll find blokes can be a bit touchy about that."

"I am more than happy never to mention it again," she said fervently.

"And so we will return to our original subject, which was did you, or did you not, enjoy your quick trips out on the track today?"

"I did. More than I thought I would," she admitted sheepishly. "But it's a bit nerve-wracking being a passenger with no control over it, you know?"

Richard nodded. "When you're driving you have the input from the steering wheel, you can gauge how the car is going to behave. A passenger doesn't have that information, so it feels closer to the edge than it really is."

"Which I suppose means that after a few months, someone's going to expect me to try driving fast, aren't they?"

"A few months?" Richard raised an eyebrow. "Bollocks to that. You can start next week. You're going to have to learn to understand and love speed rather quickly if you want to be able to translate us into proper English for everyone else," he grinned, reminding her of Andy's words.

"Um. Yes, well. There might be a slight glitch in that plan." She studied her fingernails.

"What's that?"

"Well... What would I drive? I don't have a car, remember."

Richard waved off that objection. "It's not like we don't have cars around here all the time, Pip. You can use the Lacetti, or one of the loaners if we're quiet about it, or even James' Panda. Start small, and work your way up."

"And, um, are any of those an automatic transmission?"

"No, of course not, who in their right mind would--" He stopped and looked over at her, aghast. "No. Are you telling me you don't know how to drive a manual?"

Pip cringed and nodded.

"How can you possibly not know how to drive a manual?" Richard questioned, returning his eyes to the road. A moment later a dimple appeared and he loudly yelped, "What kind of backwards, cockheaded, downright demonic sort of country is Canada, anyway?"

"Hey," she protested. "it's not our fault! It's those stupid Americans, putting auto transmissions in everything. The only car we ever had that was manual was my dad's Triumph TR4A, and it's not like he was about to teach me on that!"

"Well, no," Richard said as if it were blindingly obvious. "You can strip a clutch in one of those faster than Jez can mortally offend someone."

She snickered, unable to stop herself. "That fast, eh?"

He chuckled, then sighed, then lifted one hand to scrub it across his face. "Right. Well, first things first, clearly. We'll get you started on learning how to drive a manual..."

Pip dropped her head into her hands with a groan as the argument raged on around her.

"Don't be stupid, Jeremy," Richard said with great scorn. "You can't teach her. You couldn't teach a dog how to take a piss if your life depended on it, because all you ever do is shout, and then when it doesn't go well, you just shout louder."

"For once, I'm in complete agreement with Hammond," James said, leaning forward. "This isn't the time for your idiotic version of 'encouragement'."

"Utter bullshit," Jeremy declared, slouched back in his chair, gin and tonic in hand. "I make an excellent teacher, because unlike you two twat-faced imbeciles, I know how to explain something properly."

"Since when?" Richard demanded, as James snorted derisively and opened his mouth to chime in.

"What about the Stig?" Pip asked desperately.

The three men looked at her blankly.

"What about him?" James asked instead of whatever he'd been going to say.

"Could he teach me?"

Richard raised one eyebrow. "Instead of one of us, you mean?"

"Well--yes." She cringed, afraid she was going to insult them terribly. "It's just...I mean, that's what he does, isn't it? Teach people? And then I wouldn't be taking up your valuable time."

James, Jeremy and Richard looked at each other, and by virtue of a bit of head cocking, eyebrow motion, and a nod or two, came to a silent agreement. "Works for me," Jeremy said, draining the last of his gin and tonic. "Then I don't have to listen to you turn the gearbox into a bucket of scrap metal."

"Such faith, Jezza," James said sardonically, then addressed Pip. "Of course, it depends on his schedule these days, but I think it's slowed down this month."

"We'll talk to him next week," Richard promised. "He loves teaching people to go fast, so I can't see him minding starting back a few steps further."

Pip sighed in relief, relaxing back in her chair and picking up her drink. "Right. One last weekend of ignorance, and then we'll start everything for serious next week, eh? Speaking of which, James, Andy suggested I meet you at White City tomorrow for your voiceovers. Would you mind if I tagged along to learn that end of it? And perhaps we could go over your schedule when you're finished?"

James nodded. "I don't see why not. You said something about giving us copies of our schedules, right?"

"Yes," she assured them all. "I'll have them ready for you on Monday."

"Right, I have your schedules for the week, as promised," Pip said briskly on Monday morning, pulling out three separate sheaves of papers. She handed the first to Richard. "Richard, you wanted a weekly overview and a daily summary, correct? The first page is the week at a glance--just what you've got on and when. The daily summary shows you what and when, but also gives the location, who precisely you'll be meeting, and what in general it's in regard to."

She gave the next thin sheaf of papers to Jeremy. "You wanted a two-week overview only. Let me know if that really is all you need, because I suspect a daily summary like Richard's would be more useful. However, it's all about what works for you. James, you wanted the full package, right?" She handed a slightly thicker packet of papers to him. "You'll see I've broken each day down into a grid with the full details of each appointment, as well as contact numbers for whoever's organised it. Where applicable, I've included dress code--simply formal or non--the the street address and post code for your sat-nav, as well as written directions in case your sat-nav thinks it's in Munich, or something. If you're anywhere other than here, White City, or Hammersmith, I've included a selection of restaurants of varying quality and price where you could get lunch or supper. I'm assuming all three of you have pub radar built in and don't need help with that, but if I'm wrong, I can include those as well. If you think of any other information you'd like to have, just let me know. Also, I've emailed the file to each of you, you can install it on your laptop if you like, and I've also sent your overview schedule to each of your phones. Any questions?"

Richard, James and Jeremy stared at her.

"And that, gentlemen," she said, pleased with their silence, "is what I'm here for."


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 7th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
:-DDD! I am so excited to see a new chapter of this up! Love the new title, btw.

The last paragraph is so awesome! I love Pip in this--she's very real.
Jun. 9th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
hehehehehehehehehe. I'll bet Pip's now at the point where she wants to find three ball gags in case of what passes for everyday conversation on the TG set emergencies. ;)
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Bahahaha, GO PIP. Both of you. XD I love the slow getting-to-know-you style of this, much more realistic than most OC-centric stuff. I just wish there was mooooore!! This fic is just simply fun.

Just so you know, there's no link to this from Chapter 4, had to go to the tags to find it. In case that matters to you. :)
Feb. 1st, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
It does matter, so thank you! I have fixed that now. :D

Thanks again for reading, and I'm so very pleased you enjoyed it! Your comments inspired me to read it over again, which reminded me how much I love Richard & Pip. I think I shall have to give writing a bash. :D
Feb. 1st, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
Am glad to have been helpful, then! That kinda thing is easy to miss. A month ago I wrote a prequel to my first TGS fic and I remembered to put a link to the original in the prequel post, but it took me nearly a week to think of going back and putting a link to the prequel in the original post. LOL /o\

I really did, thank YOU for linking me to it! :D It's a nice little world to visit. Oooooo, YES WRITING. That would be fantabulous!

Also, I'm from Buffalo, NY, so I was just like LOL CANADIAN JOKES. *giggles* I love Toronto, I wanted to move there forever but you know, changing citizenship is a bit too lofty for my resources. LOL
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )