Prompt: #16 - Red
Spoilers: Possibly obliquely for "The Sound of Drums" (During which it's set. Which is a hint.)
Notes: Written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.)
Shutting her out is almost more than he can bear: but there is a sickening throb, a beat like her heart running backwards and forwards together and he cannot let himself hear it. He cannot even tell her trust me, ask her to wait.
Don’t, he tells them. Don’t touch it.
No, touch me, she screams out silently to him, hardly embarrassed at how easy it has become to beg. Touch me please. It tears at her, blurs her edges: the pain and power and both are too terribly welcome.
I am afraid, she screams. I am becoming like him.
- Current Location:the studio
- Current Mood: energetic
Prompt: #27 - Children
Rating: U / G
Notes: This happened as I was idly wondering, Hey, how did the Doctor and the TARDIS actually, you know, meet? Though I did try to stick with canon there are obviously embellishments, and despite my stern fact-checking it's bound to conflict with something somewhere (likely in the novels); and if so, well, apologies.
• Thanks to Kimchi the betagoddess (even though she's no damn help with titles).
• Written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.) and x-posted to dwfiction.
"It's trustworthy and watertight and she's my oldest friend in the world." - 8th Doctor, 'The Stones of Venice'
He has been dreaming lately: of silver-bright trees and a burnt-orange sky, of sighing red grasses and a copper moon shining over mountains of snow. Asleep and awake he travels the roads from the Citadel, sees endless in the distance the Continent of Wild Endeavour; and quietly he mourns.
You know, she tells him one day - gently: she has considered these words for so long - I didn't like it all that much.
He is roused from a recollection of spires of golden stone. He blinks. "What?"
Oh it was beautiful, of course, but - he feels her shrug gently, a soft pull in his mind - I never really liked it there.
"Are you - what, you're happy it's gone?" His sudden anger is like electricity; it warms them both and she cradles it carefully.
No. Never. She sees the silver trees as he does then, a forest of fire in the morning light. Says softly, yes ...
Shrugs again, shows him cold glass and still water. The nurseries were dark. I was lonely.
"It's your home."
It was never my home.
"You were born there!"
That can't be helped.
He stalks and paces, his anger prickling at her. Unbidden, it rises too in her, to meet him: anger, then sorrow and finally fear. Everything that he's lost, she could lose still and she wonders if he realises. It's a thing she's never looked for and even now thinks she doesn't want to know.
He is deliberately mute, shut to her. She waits. He paces. She calls him by an old, old name. He stills. Then:
"Explain it to me."
"Tell me. Show me. I don't ... I don't understand."
Beneath the anger he is dark and tired and he reaches for her. She tells him, Remember when we met. It is not a question but a request. He nods, slips from his bed in the Academy and creeps to the great silent building on the edge of the Citadel:
He could feel them in there - had been told, taught, shown what they were going to be but wanted to know what is in there now, what they are now. It was hardly difficult for the boy to slip inside, to stand quiet and wondering at the great masses of them silent like waiting, like sleeping, growing in separate caverns of cold glass and still water. As far as he could tell they were nothing, yet, and he was disappointed to find them so quiet and closed. The boy turned to go.
And he heard, felt someone-something, small and awake among the great sleeping masses, ask him: Wait.
"Where are you?"
"Who are you?"
Who are you?
("Why were you awake?" So many years later it occurs to him to ask. Again she shrugs, a gentle pull. I was always awake.)
He went back. Again and again the boy went back and they sat and waited together, awake, as they learned slowly enough how they would speak to each other. He showed her the burning skies and the silver-bright trees. He showed her what they had shown him, had made him see - what she had been made in order to see. It pushed at them, and it pulled against them both.
The boy grew.
Until the pull and the push and the boy came to her now a young man, a young Time Lord with a new name; and when she asked he answered: "Yes, it's time to go." And they ran.
"You were waiting for me." She nods, the barest pressure against him. He considers this. "Why?"
Could it have been different? She sighs. Doctor: tell me about Gallifrey. It comes to her at once so fast and only by ten lifetimes of this can she understand it:
thought heart light terrible family hurt love duty home life
Now shall I tell you? He nods.
quiet empty wait
He feels then also Thought. Heart. Light. terrible and is about to say it, "Aha, you see - " family hurt love duty "But -" home life
The two are silent then, breathing in space, together. A warm breeze plays across the red-grass plains and falls still. He says, so quietly: "Yes."
"Yes. It's time to go."
- Current Location:the flat
- Current Mood: sleepy
- Current Music:Bowie
Prompt: #28 - Mind
Rating: 15 / PG-13
Notes: A little AU drabble set after "Last of the Time Lords" and written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.)
There were a lot more fights.
There was more desperate begging, more shouting, more whispers that turned into screams. There was a lot more noise in general.
She didn’t mind the noise.
There was a lot more pain: pleaded-for, impossibly perfect pain that left behind exhaustion and desire and scars in flesh and metal alike.
She didn’t mind the scars, either.
There was more blood, more heat, more couplings, more triplings, more mind more thought more moments without thought -
There was a lot more.
And she didn’t mind any of it.
Two Time Lords were so much more than one.
- Current Location:the scotsman's sofa
- Current Mood: happy
Pairings: One/Master, Ten/Master
Rating: 15 / pg-13
Spoilers: A bit for The Dalek Invasion of Earth (classic S2), a bit for The Last of the Time Lords.
Summary: Family happens despite itself.
•Also (phew): The first line is a quote, although I cannot remember by whom. I've scoured my bookshelves, pored over all my old notebooks, and trolled the internet hunting it down, but I've come up empty-handed. Anyone?
And what about the children who do not want to be loved?
Some are inspired. Some run away. Some are driven mad.
And which one wins?
I should know him.
But he is dazzling, blinding. He is hiding from me and all I see is this brilliance, this human, no one I know.
The man walks the halls of my stolen ship, one finger trailing delicately along the wall. I follow, a young man (so young); perhaps I am talking, describing, explaining, and perhaps he listens: indulgently, silently, smiling.
I have come so far, already, I think. I have been - I think - so alone.
I ask him, Who are you? Where on Earth do you come from?
But he doesn't know this planet much better than I do, not yet. He casts about for a name, a place, manages something. He pauses, not knowing how to ask - says finally, simply, What are you called?
Shyly, I tell him. The name is still new on my lips, intoxicating: I taste it as I offer it to him, savouring it. He accepts it, somehow unsurprised, and I don't notice that he offers nothing yet but a laughing echo in return: Doctor. He has come further already than I; yet here I am now, impossibly, and perhaps, he thinks, he can find again that small quiet space between us. He reaches for me.
The sudden contact makes me dizzy, makes my breath come fast. The ship waits expectant around us as I let myself be pulled to my knees, close my eyes as he touches me: lips, hands, mind, closer and somehow closer still. My hearts race, the double-beat of blood fast in my ears one-two-one-two, one-two-one-two and he - I can almost hear it as well, can feel now from the inside his blood pounding, the beat a mirror of my own, a mirror of itself one-two-one-two, one-two-one-two and dimly I realise that I might not know much about humans yet but surely three hearts between us shouldn't sound like this, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four and he pulls me closer, thinking, make it stop, just for an instant, please and, finally, achingly, just for an instant, it does.
For an instant, silence. But then.
The tide of blood within me subsides. Thought returns and with it certainty, familiarity. I blink at him. I recognise.
He knows my mind, too well already.
No. He pushes me away. He is blinding. He cannot let me touch him again and I - a young man - the Doctor - I sit, dazzled, as he runs away.
"Let us compromise," they say. "Let us come to an agreement. You will be allowed to keep this ship, if" - one of them thrusts a small bundle into my arms and takes a step backwards as if relieved to be rid of it - "if you will also keep this."
I glance down at this - a mewling pile of white blankets, curled fists, tremendous blue eyes - and glare uncomprehendingly at the three figures before me. Delivered of the infant, the Time Lords gaze serenely at me, arms folded into silver robes, beatific smiles plastered infuriatingly across their smug faces.
"I fail to see why I - "
The nearest figure speaks. "You are the child's only living relative." Behind her, the others glance at each other uncertainly. "The only suitable living relative," she amends. "Her other grandparent has been deemed ... unacceptable."
"Grandparent?" I splutter. "But I have no children! I left Gallifrey as a young man, I have no children ... " I trail off, gazing at the child in my arms. Brilliant blue eyes blink quietly up at me. "I left Gallifrey ... " I murmur. The Time Lords turn away.
"She is the child of your child. You will care for her."
"But - but I cannot!" I rouse myself to call after the silver-clad figures. "I am an old man, I cannot care for a - a neonate! It is best left to the schools of Gallifrey, is it not?" The figures continue their retreat. "Wait!"
They pause, turn. "You will care for the child," they say simply. Helpless, I shift the bundle in my arms.
"What am I to do with it?" I demand.
"'It' is called Susan."
"Well, then. But - "
"Care for it."
I let her go.
You locked her out. You chased her away.
I let her go. It was for her own good -
You didn't give her a choice. Not everyone runs, Doctor. She would have stayed.
You can't know -
[He tosses something onto the floor before me; I struggle to see it with my old, old eyes. A key: small, dull, impotent. Dead.]
It was hers.
It was hers. I found it, just where she left it - where you left her, in the wreckage of a ruined world. I found it and I found her - terrified and abandoned in a dead time, surrounded by weakness and stupidity, suffocated by so many tiny human lives.
They rebuilt it! They rebuilt - she must have helped them, led them -
They wore her down. They tore her apart until she was no better than them, no more than them. You should have seen her: fat, insipid, with a beast of a man, surrounded by howling infants. Certainly they rebuilt, Doctor, and they wore themselves down doing it.
You saw her? Then you were there ... and you could have saved her -
Saved what? There was nothing left to save after you cast her away. Think what she could have been - our granddaughter! She would have been a god, Doctor. We could have raised a god -
[I laugh. The sound is ghastly, dry and hollow and painful to my own ears. He whirls on me and I am glad that I can barely see, that I can not be blinded by him any more than I already have been.]
We? Could have raised her? What, together -
A little more than kin, Doctor ...
[He comes closer. He whispers to me.]
... and a little less than kind.
[I close my eyes and I know how close he is, how close he can get, and though I can hardly laugh any more, I can still cry.]
We could have done anything together.
[I can still cry.]
And what about the children who have to love?
Some are alone. Some are alone. And some are left alone.
And not one ever wins.
- Current Location:the studio
- Current Mood: anxious
Prompt: #72 - Fixed
Notes: Written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.)
Rustier than the Tin Woodsman after monsoon season, I am, but I'm determined to get back at it; so pass me the damned oil can and get the hell out of my way ...
“We cannot begin to offer you thanks enough, Doctor.”
“No worries there. Happy to help."
“It is but a small service we give you in return, this minor repair to your vessel in exchange for the salvation of our people.”
“Really, don’t mention it, I – sorry?” He paused halfway across the threshold and peered at the tall orange creature rapidly dissolving into mist before him. “And ... what repair would that be?”
The creature cast its eyestalks modestly downward. "Our skills are slight," it cooed, "and our debt to you is great. Please think nothing of it. Our eternal gratitude to you, Doctor." It raised a hand in farewell and disappeared.
"Wait!" the Doctor called into the suddenly empty morning light. "What have you done to my ship?"
Three frantic hours later he managed to track it down.
Jacketless and dishevelled, the Doctor regarded a blue button pulsing gently on the control panel. "Now that's impressive," he murmured, glancing under the console where a single silver wire gleamed newly. "Never was able to fix it myself."
Tentatively he reached out and traced a finger around the button. He looked up into the warm darkness of the ship above him. "What do you think, then? Nice to have it working properly again ... useful, anyway." He raked a hand thoughtfully through his hair. "I mean, let's face it, a blue police box is not often terribly nonchalant, is it?"
Hand still hovering over the button, the Doctor considered.
"Well then. I suppose ... I suppose we ought to try it out."
The TARDIS hummed ruminatively about him.
"Hmm? Well, no, they aren't a particularly technologically advanced species - not compared to some, anyway. Why?"
The Doctor listened to his ship.
"Ah. Well. Now that it comes to it, I suppose we can't be entirely certain that they didn't cock something up - oh, no, never on purpose, of course." He reached down and plucked the silver wire from beneath the console. "Still and all - " the blue button flashed once and lapsed into darkness " - you're quite right. Always better to be safe than sorry."
- Current Location:the scotsman's sofa
- Current Mood: determined
Prompt: #31 - Death
Notes: Been away for ages, and easing back into it gradually with a rather maudlin drabble, written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.)
It is curious, this going away slowly and by stages. The quiet slipping off. So much to do, he thinks, but stops with them to witness the small warm single heart slow, cool and still. Almost he envies them the silence and mourning: in his so many lifetimes the pounding of the blood has never ceased, slowed but not to stopping. There is surprise, but rarely tears; rarely they are his own.
Amidst this farewell he says only goodbye, smiles, stops smiling, leaves and leaving, wonders:
At the end, if there is one, who will tell anyone that he's gone?
- Current Location:parked at the desk
- Current Mood: anxious
- Current Music:The Pogues
But the brain is itching a bit, and I'm feeling the bite of being out of practice with the writing. (Is there anything worse than a flabby writer?) Just checking in with myself, really, and petting a few of the plotbunnies on the head. Perhaps I shall let one or two out of the pen and let them scamper about for a bit just now.
Also must find a name for knitting plotbunnies ... "woolbunnies"? Because there are more than a few of them dashing about as well.
- Current Location:london
- Current Mood: guilty
- Current Music:bbc 7
Prompt: #64 - Fall
Spoilers: A bit for Impossible Planet / Satan Pit
Notes: Set during Impossible Planet / Satan Pit, and written for the doctorwho_100 challenge (Prompts are here.)
The ground opens up and she feels herself, inert, tumbling away from him.
Direction suddenly becomes relevant, distance relative only to him, on the surface. On the surface it always has been but now, an impossible distance traps her, strands him. Separates them.
Time is relative. Direction is peculiar and never before has it been this precise, this palpable. This business of up-and-down, of falling - wasn't she, weren't they both born to fall, to tumble, to roll and slip sideways through time? to keep moving directionless in their beautiful complex mathematical web where she is vectorial and he spirals and small linear beings only interrupt from time to (time
She wakes, is aware of having slept. It is still and dark and still dark, and something mindless waits nearby. Something is down here with her.
Down she waits every moment feeling him pulled away from her. He will leave if he has to and she will wait down here and in the next place and if necessary the place after that - there is always another place, more space and if it's not time after it's time before because they are the same thing - but even she cannot know where that will be or when.
Up there, he cannot know either; and she suspects that even if he could, he would already have shut that part of himself down, not to see without her. It has happened before and it will happen again and again already she is rewriting the equations that will let her wait, while he redraws the present and imagines a future a house a garden that he will have to get used to in (time
Now something wakes her: mindless rage that for a moment overwhelms her so that she thinks it is her own.
Something is down here with her. Something that doesn't fit, that has no place in the complex play of thought and numbers, shapes and spirals. Something that negates, unwrites, voids. She wishes that just for a moment again she could see with his eyes - she might know but he understands, and together they are a match for (time
the rage ebbs and flows but nothing passes
This is time, then. This is her place in it down here and waiting as the numbers corrode and she is parenthetical, inert and, finally, so very empty that there is nothing but space to be filled with something, rage, something that
she waits does wait becomes waiting)
For now, she is.
- Current Location:home sweet flat
- Current Mood: groggy
- Current Music:Chick Webb