||[Apr. 15th, 2009|10:19 am]
Characters: Tardis, The Doctor (Tenth), mention or brief cameos of others
Word Count: 856
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers thru Doctor Who S4, vague spoiler for "Planet of the Dead", and Torchwood Season Two
Disclaimer: Not mine, sadly.
Summary: The most faithful companion is one who gives him what he needs, not what he wants.
She swam, weaving the fluid strands of time around her as she moved, her presence creating ripples that had always been there. The vortex called to her and she answered in her native speech. Single words comprised concepts no ephemeral being could begin to understand. Sentences encompassed universes. The vortex understood her, and so she moved through what he would call time and space, though that was an oversimplification – an arbitrary division devised by simple minds to help them visualize concepts only dimly understood. The Time Lords, for all their brilliance and understanding, looked upon the vortex and saw only shadows of reality.
Even this one, with his unusual mastery of time, was a mere child stumbling through the vortex – he needed her to guide him safely. His understanding was a learned trait; hers was innate.
She felt his thoughts now: dark, brooding, and solemn as they often were of late. He was setting a course for Florana. Ah yes, he desired the serenity and solitude of the planet’s vast beaches. She sighed inwardly. More solitude was not what he needed, but his pain was great and the fear greater.
They had traveled together for centuries. Like most relationships between male and female, theirs had seen turbulence as they both struggled for dominance. They could not communicate in words – the rhythms of his consciousness were too fast and hers too slow, his linear, hers recursive and holistic. Still, there was a mental link between Time Lord and Tardis, and a successful partnership led to mutual trust and a harmonious merging of wills. In the beginning, she had been as rebellious as he was, refusing to take him where he wanted to go. He refused to listen to her, and so she would not listen to him.
Then, she had to admit, there had been jealousy on her part. He brought others with him, the fleeting ones. He would focus on them rather than on his bond with her. He would choose destinations to please or impress them. She wanted to take him where he needed to go, or where he was needed – not that there was a difference.
Eventually, she had come to understand that they were necessary, these fleeting ones. He needed more than his bond with her. He needed a reason to keep going. Once she understood that, she learned that even these seemingly insignificant beings had their own purpose, their own destinies. She stopped fighting him and learned to work with him, even as he learned how to work with her. They were partners.
Then there had been that surprising moment when one of the lesser beings, a young human, had managed to contact her directly in an attempt to help him. She had recognized, in the child’s simple thoughts, concerns and desires remarkably similar to her own. She had transferred a small portion of her own awareness into the child’s mind to allow the human, temporarily, to carry the energy of the vortex. Their merged consciousness had destroyed the beings who threatened the universe and the man they both loved.
She understood him now in ways she hadn’t before touching the human’s mind. She saw, more clearly than he did, that his companions were essential to his well-being. When that girl had been lost, she even tried to play matchmaker – pulling a strong-willed, conveniently Huon-soaked human female straight into her control room.
Still, he brooded. He missed his own kind. She waited patiently – patience comes easily when time has no real meaning – until she saw her opportunity and whisked him and his companions to the time-place where his offspring would come into being. The offspring would not join them yet, but the seed had been planted, though he did not yet know it.
Now those latest companions had left him as well, and he was determined to go on alone. Centuries earlier in his timeline, she would have been delighted to have him all to herself, his attention focused only on her and their journey together. Now, though, she knew that it could not be. He would lose his will to live, and they would both die. He wanted solitude, but he needed friendship.
She knew what she had to do.
The Doctor stepped out of the Tardis and into the night. He stretched and breathed deeply, taking in the cool sea air. It tasted of salt…and other things.
He listened, suddenly alert.
Since when is Florana this…noisy?
He stepped around the Tardis and caught sight of a large, familiar bronze building with giant lettering.
Roald Dahl Plass? How did I get this far off-course?
As he turned to go back inside and check his instruments, he heard running footsteps. He glanced back to find three familiar figures: a dark-haired woman, a young man in a suit, and, in front, another man with a long, World War Two-era greatcoat flapping behind him. In one hand, he carried what looked suspiciously like a standard-issue Judoon scanner.
“Doctor! Am I glad to see you – got time to help us out?"
Visions of solitary beach strolls evaporated, and the Doctor grinned broadly.