The Strange Medium Guy with a Bad Haircut
Aka Pearson Mui
A Doctor Who/Puella Magi Madoka Magica Crossover
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I do not own any characters in this story. Doctor Who and all associated characters is copyright the BBC. Madoka and associated characters are copyright Aniplex, Nitroplus, Gen Urobuchi and many others. This story is only intended for entertainment purposes and not profit.
Additionally, this takes place between "Midnight" and "Turn Left" in the 4th series of Doctor Who.
The blue box hurtled through a vortex, seemingly at random. It spun, nearly careening off the inside of said vortex. A light on the top pulsed almost like a heartbeat. At first glance, one would never think that there was anything or anyone inside. Even if the idea had been suggested, an observer might think that any occupants would have suffered from vertigo.
Inside the box were two occupants. Both were humanoid, but only one was actually Human. The pilot was a fairly tall man with medium brown hair and sideburns. He wore a blue suit with red training shoes, and a brown overcoat was carelessly tossed on a couch next to a central, hexagonal control pillar. He circled said pillar and idly flicked a few switches.
The other occupant was somewhat shorter, with long, fiery red hair that complemented her fearsome temper. She wore a red coat over a light-colored turtleneck sweater and dark pants. She was wearing boots that were a compromise between stylish and practical.
Donna Noble was worried as she listened to the TARDIS's thrumming and wheezing. Ever since their little trip to the planet Midnight, the Doctor had been quiet. Whenever he was quiet, bad things had happened—or were about to happen. She much preferred him when he was being loud.
She was about to ask him a question when a strange device started to light up. It looked like it had once been a double-reel tape recorder, but the Doctor had modified it extensively. Strange sounds that reminded her of a badly-played tape filled the room.
"What?" the Doctor exclaimed. He circled the central pillar and grabbed the device. He fiddled with the controls and gave it a good shake, which elicited a burbling sound from the device. "What's wrong with you, eh?"
"What is that?" Donna asked. Anything that got the Doctor worried was cause for her to get worried as well. Almost unconsciously, she edged towards the central pillar. The Doctor never had weapons, but she wasn't sure if anything he built ever exploded.
"It's my timey-wimey detector," he replied. "It detects a lot of things like time fluctuations, alien technology, and exotic radiation. Oh, and it can fry an egg at thirty paces." He fiddled with it further, then took out his sonic screwdriver. As the device buzzed, the Doctor frowned. "Donna, I think that we're going to have to make a very quick stopover."
"Why? Are we going to hit a speed bump in the Time Vortex or something?" Donna joked, but then noted the grave expression on the Doctor's face.
"No, we have to stop because time has just been punctured and sewn up badly. You know how you do a patch job on your favorite jacket but there are still holes where you worked?" he asked as he put down the device. With practiced urgency, he started manipulating the TARDIS controls.
"Yeah?" Donna asked, not liking where this was leading.
The Doctor shrugged. "Well…it's exactly nothing like that, but it's a very good analogy. Hang on!"
The final night had come and she had failed. The girl stood in the darkness, cursing the onus that she bore. Once again she would have to witness the destruction of everything.
She was attractive, in her early teens. Her long, dark hair whipped around wildly as forces beyond mortal comprehension stirred. Violet eyes flinched, but she would not let the tears come. She had to be strong.
"Madoka…" she whispered as a girl in white and pink made her stand. The monstrosity before her thrashed and howled. Everything in its path was destroyed, and only one girl stood in its way.
Homura Akemi knew what would happen. She had seen dozens of variations of this theme, and they ended in two horrible ways. The girl that she admired would either die, or become a monster herself. No matter what she did, it was inevitable.
It was almost time for the hourglass on her shield. By turning it, she could go back in time to when things started. It was either that, or accept the end of the world.
What she did not expect was the odd wheezing sound that suddenly filled the air. Moving her hand away from her shield, she gaped as a blue box materialized right next to her, a signal beacon at the top glowing in time to the sound. It looked like an oversized cabinet or one of those old phone booths she'd heard about—but what was a "police box" anyway?
The door opened, and two people almost burst out. Smoke was pouring from inside the box, and the occupants were waving the smoke away.
"Blimey!" the Doctor exclaimed. "That was a rough re-entry!"
"Nice landing, space man!" Donna complained sarcastically. "Where are we, anyway?"
"I'm not entirely sure," the Doctor admitted. "We're definitely on Earth but the sky's all wrong." He noticed Homura and flashed her a smile. "Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is Donna. Would you mind telling me roundabouts where we are?"
"You can see me," Homura said with subdued shock. "How can you see me? And how can you be here?"
"Wait, what's with that outfit?" Donna asked as she looked at Homura. "What's with the sky? And what's going on—"
"I don't have time for this," Homura said coldly. "I have to…" She trailed off as she saw Madoka gathering her power. The pink-haired girl drew forth a bow and prepared to fire an arrow at the dark mass before her. "No…" Homura whispered, and everyone could hear the despair in her voice.
The Doctor followed her gaze and put on a pair of dark-rimmed glasses. His friendly smile faded, replaced by a scowl. He saw a small, white creature beside the pink-haired girl, its red eyes never blinking. Donna, however, saw nothing.
"Incubator," he muttered, but there was an undertone that unsettled Donna. It was the same tone that he used when he had officially had Enough. She'd heard it before, when an alien spider queen had threatened the Earth with her swarming offspring. What had happened next still gave her a shiver. It should have been carved in stone somewhere: "When the Doctor offers you a chance, TAKE IT."
Madoka released her arrow and it struck home. For one eternal moment, everything seemed bathed in light. When it faded, the dark mass was gone. Her strength drained, Madoka fell off the building.
Homura moved faster than either the Doctor or Donna thought possible. She caught Madoka and eased her to the ground. They couldn't hear the conversation, but the pink-haired girl was offering something to Homura. The dark-haired girl took it solemnly and did something that was just out of sight. Then she touched her shield and rotated it 180 degrees. She vanished in moments, just as a dark mass started to form around Madoka.
"I think we should go back to the TARDIS. NOW."
She didn't argue. She just dashed into the box mere moments after he did, closing the door behind her. The one thing she noted about her travels with the Doctor was that she had gotten in shape very, very quickly. Running from various aliens, explosions and other threats saw to that.
The Doctor frowned as he frantically circled the control pillar. He was muttering under his breath, his expression grim. "Come on, come on, come on…" he said. "Don't act all cross with me now!"
"What was that?!" Donna demanded. "We've got girls who don't look any older than fourteen fighting monsters! Are you sure that this is Earth?"
"Positive," the Doctor replied. "Unfortunately, the TARDIS has just decided to act like she's got a concussion." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "If I can hotwire the Helmic Regulator, I can cut down the recovery time to—"
He was interrupted by a bone-jarring CRACK as something slammed against the TARDIS. Donna held onto the couch while the Doctor gripped the control panel. The aftershocks weren't too bad, all things considered.
All was silent, except for the occasional cough from Donna. The Doctor made a mental note to perhaps put some extractor fans for the next time things got smoky.
"Did we make it?" she asked.
The Doctor tapped at the central pillar, which was quiet. He looked around and his frown deepened. It was as if he'd seen something beyond the confines of the TARDIS.
"That's a very good question," he said. Punching up a display, he checked the readings. "It's safe to go out now," he declared. "We've gone back in time about a month."
"How'd you manage that?" Donna came to expect certain things of the TARDIS. For one thing, there was the ever-present wheezing noise it made whenever they were traveling. This time, the central pillar was dark and quiet.
"I didn't," he said. "After a landing like that, she'd need another 30 minutes to recover—10 minutes if I hotwired her, and even then she wouldn't be fit to travel for another 2 hours when we landed."
"So, something pulled us along?"
The Doctor flicked a few controls and checked a display. "It's more likely that we slipped through a hole that someone else made. That girl did it and she probably doesn't even realize it."
Something stuck in Donna's head. "Back there, you looked at that other girl and said `Incubator.' What do eggs have to do with anything?"
"You couldn't see it?" the Doctor asked. "You couldn't see the little white creature, red eyes, two pairs of ears—one like a cat and the other like a rabbit?"
Donna shook her head. "I just saw the girl with pink hair. She had a bow, and she fired it into this big mass of dark…stuff."
The Doctor seemed tired. He trudged to the couch and plopped himself on it. Donna sat beside him, wondering what could provoke such a reaction.
"I last saw something like that creature in a children's book, `Every Gallifreyan Child's Pop-Up Book of Nasty Creatures from Other Dimensions.' They're emotionless, with a sort of hive-mind. In fact, they think that emotions are a kind of mental disorder. They're clever and focused, absolutely determined to do something when they've made a decision—no matter the cost."
"So, why hasn't Earth been invaded by these…`Incubators'?"
"Invasions usually aren't clever. They're not much for weapons, but they don't have to be. They're master manipulators, experts in omitting information. They'll almost never outright lie, but they'll steer you to what you think you want to hear."
"And it's involved with fourteen year-old girls," Donna said heavily. "What could it possibly want from them?"
The Doctor closed his eyes. He took a few deep breaths and looked like he was going to meditate. Then, his eyes snapped open and he almost bounded out of the couch. With a burst of manic energy, he circled around the central pillar and grabbed his timey-wimey detector. With a grin, he took out his sonic screwdriver and started to make some adjustments.
"I don't have the answers," he admitted, "but let's see if our Mystery Girl does."
Homura didn't even sigh as she exited the hospital. Every time she ended a loop, it was the same. There were subtle differences, true, but for all intents and purposes she had a clean slate.
She was alone. There was nobody she could really talk to about her unique damnation, and one that was self-imposed. Everyone's memories were reset. All she had to do was find some way, some other approach that would save Madoka. If she kept at it, maybe she would succeed.
A persistent "ding" got her attention. The sound started to get closer, the source of the noise still unseen. Was it some kind of odd cell phone ringtone or something, she wondered.
She fingered her ring and wondered if this situation justified using magic. Rewinding time had put her in a dangerous place, power-wise. One last Grief Seed remained in her possession, and that been painful to take. She decided to conserve her energy so that Madoka's sacrifice wouldn't have been in vain.
The "ding" sound came closer. She guessed that the source was right around the corner. It was still light out and the area around the hospital was full of people. Besides, it wasn't as if she was helpless.
Homura had seen many things that could be considered impossible. She tended to approach that with a sort of disaffected nonchalance. After so many repetitions, there was a sense of just going through the motions of surprise. What she had not expected were the pair that almost plowed into her.
"Oh, there you are!" the Doctor exclaimed as he stopped. He waved the timey-wimey detector over Homura just to confirm its findings. "Can we try that again? Our last meeting was a bit hectic."
The dark-haired teen blinked. Who were these strange people? How did they find her? And most importantly, why did it seem like they remembered her?!
"Who are you?" she asked.
The Doctor grinned. "As I was saying before, I'm the Doctor and this is Donna. Now, could you please tell me roundabout where we are? We've had a bit of a rough tumble with our transportation."
"You call yourself the Doctor?" Homura asked.
"That's right," he confirmed.
"Just…the Doctor," he said evasively. "And—"
"And what was with that mess back there?" Donna interrupted. "Why were you and that other girl dressed up like that? And what was that thing you were facing?"
Homura blinked once again. "You remember?"
Donna arched an eyebrow. "Well, it's not something I'm likely to forget. And what's with that look on your face?"
"What look?" Homura was starting to feel out of her depth. This never happened before. She wasn't sure how to deal with it. Part of her wanted to run away, but another part of her was curious.
"You look like you're panicked and confused, and you're trying to hide it by going all stone-faced. I've known plenty of co-workers who use that as a defense mechanism. It never really works," Donna said.
"Donna," the Doctor gestured to her and the redhead backed off. She didn't look happy about it, though. "The thing is, you've been looping through time, haven't you?" He softened his voice. "I look at you, and I see that you've spent a long time trying to fix something. How many times has it been?"
Homura's instincts were now screaming at her to run, to transform and stop time so that these strangers couldn't find her. Nobody could possibly understand her burden—and yet, this strange man seemed like he might. For the first time in a long time, she felt the slightest glimmer of hope.
"I lost count after fifty loops," she admitted softly.
"Fifty loops," he repeated. "And there's an Incubator involved, isn't there?"
She resisted the urge to laugh sarcastically. "That thing is very involved," she said.
"Tell me," he urged her.
Homura shook her head. "There's too much—what are you doing?" She backed off slightly as he got closer.
"He's just going to go all Spock on you," Donna said.
"Oi," the Doctor protested, "I had this before the whole Spock thing." He turned to Homura. "Just think of it and I'll understand. Will you let me help?"
Homura hesitated, then nodded. What could it hurt? It wasn't as if she had any better plans. She closed her eyes and felt the gentle touch of his fingers on her face. She almost heard her thoughts as she related them mentally to him. It was like changing to random channels on the TV.
"My name is Madoka."
"Make a contract with me and become a magical girl."
"Don't fall for its honeyed words."
"Stop me from becoming a magical girl."
"Why does it matter where you keep your soul?"
"I have to be stronger."
As she heard her thoughts, Homura felt very young. The man who was doing this was old, much older than he looked. Occasionally, there was some feedback, some fragments that came from him.
"I'm not just a Time Lord. I'm the last of the Time Lords."
"I'm the Doctor, and I cured them!"
"You will be deleted."
"For the glory of Sontar!"
"Doesn't it just burn when you face me?"
"Wibbly wobbly timey-wimey."
"No, you look Time Lord. We came first."
"Every waking second I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not."
With remarkable gentleness, the connection was broken. Homura found that she was shaking slightly, and that her face was wet. That was impossible because she could not have been crying. She was no longer that frail little girl. She had to be strong to save Madoka.
Nevertheless, she didn't resist when Donna gently wiped the impossible tears from her face. She did nothing as the Doctor gently laid a hand on her shoulder, his old brown eyes full of compassion.
"I am so sorry," he said softly. "No one should have to endure that."
Homura sniffled. "She's worth it."
The Doctor nodded. "Let me help you. Let me make this the last loop. You are not alone."
There was something about his demeanor that Homura trusted. He had gone through more than his fair share of tragedy. All the Doctor ever really wanted was to see the wonders of the universe. He never asked to be a hero, but he simply could not tolerate the suffering of others. It was his nature, no matter how many times he changed.
Besides, going at it alone hadn't done anything except make her miserable. She thought she could shoulder the burden so that nobody else would have to endure the pain. In the end, all that ever did was to make her even more miserable; she had nobody else to blame.
"We have two days before everything starts," Homura told them. "The Incubator, Kyubey, will try to force Madoka to make a contract with it. We have to prevent that, no matter what."
"Then we need a plan," Donna pointed out. "What do we do, sneak around and foul things up from the sidelines?"
"I'd kill Kyubey," Homura pointed out darkly, "but it doesn't do any good. That thing keeps coming back in a new body."
"That would be spontaneous formation of an alternate body using energy/matter conversion. Think of it as body-hopping with a lot of backups. As long as there's enough energy in the immediate vicinity, the Incubator can't be permanently killed, just inconvenienced." The Doctor frowned and put on his glasses. "However, I don't have to hurt it to stop it."
"So, what's the plan?" Donna asked.
The Doctor grinned. "You're going to love this, Donna. We're going back to school!"
Donna gaped at him. "WHAT?!"
Homura looked puzzled as well. "What?"
The Doctor shrugged. "What? I've got a brilliant plan." He turned towards Homura. "Now, then, tell me a little bit about the school."