Standard disclaimers, Kates Master and Chef Erica have been wunderbar, oodles of noodles, thank you, ladies. Hopefully Em will see this before she goes on vacation. Check your mail real early, will ya? And thanks again for uh, finding the sentences where I just kind of up and went to the next thing And to Erica… thanks for being quick on the second half. It helps with the postitus.
Devourer of Souls
The energy from the time vortex was acting as an electro magnet for just the type of non-matter that made up the soul. The vortex energy already containing the mass was being drawn into then through the medallion then back towards the Doctor. It tore back through him as the soul of the creature followed it, right into the medallion.
Passing into the small piece of Time Lord technology, the minds of the creature bounced around, thoughts and memories resonating through the Doctor. They were also burning him, threatening to tear him apart. Between the contact with the thing's mind and intentions, and the vortex pushing into him from both ends and barely managing to travel out of him and into the floor, he was almost afraid he'd burst into flames if this continued.
He saw what the girl must have seen, coming into contact with it—the destruction of an entire generation of womb-born Time Lord children—their souls had been especially succulent, for some reason. No wonder his people had switched to…alternate means of propagating the species.
No wonder this thing had been so delighted at the prospect of devouring the Doctor and a small girl of such 'natural' origins. And no wonder the girl was so happy with the prospect of this creature's demise. It would not stop until it was stopped; it would feed on the souls of the keepers of time, and it would use that power to instigate trouble throughout the universes from now until the end of time.
All this seemed to happen very slowly—time being relative and all. It could have been weeks or months or years of this thing's deeds throbbing against the inside of his head, the vortex amplifying the burning sensation resonating from the walls of the medallion and the vortex itself, crushing in on both of his hearts.
The system that had formed was now gone, the air cleared of both the shadowy ghost and the golden force of the vortex, but it was still crushing him.
Violet's hand hurt from pounding on the door. The ship was going on about 'patience' and things she really didn't want to hear about. Finally, she stopped pounding. Didn't the ship know what was going on? Didn't she know he was being squished together on both sides, and that the Filivand were all burning him, frying his insides and his brains?
Nose dribbling, the girl wiped it on the sleeve of the jacket. She wouldn't cry again—she refused to. "I don't want ta be here all by myself," she pleaded with the ship. "Even if you think I can't help. I don't want ta be here by myself. You don't either."
The ship made an apologetic knock.
Pressing her cheek against the cool inside of the metal door, Violet sighed, trying not to feel alone. But no matter how much she told herself that everything was going to work out, and it'd be just fine, the more she had terrible visions of herself sitting alone in this strange living ship, all by herself until the end of time. What if she never, ever found her way back home? She'd told Uncle Mickey that she'd come back—that's what she'd been promised by the other ship. But what if it wasn't so? What if she'd been sent away like Moses in a basket, but with no one to stop it from floating all the way down the river and into the sea?
She'd put up with a million dinners of asparagus and a thousand stories about work just to have her family back. Or just to know that this Doctor was returning, and that he wasn't completely evil or something.
Leaning her back against the door, she looked up at the rafters, realizing the real root of the current problem. "I don't like doing nothing."
The tiny door of the medallion finally slid closed, forming a blue, angular flower. Power still coursed through the Doctor, but the invading mental presence was gone. As it's influence lifted like a dirty fog, the Doctor could see the reduced edges of the universe. They were bruised and scarred and stretched out of shape, but they were stable.
He could still feel the tendril leading back to the child's place of origin, which should have collapsed and disappeared when she arrived, or at the very least, once the creature was distracted or imprisoned. Following it across the now-greater divide, he found another miniature vortex, also still caught in a burning, insanity-driving holding pattern. And at the center…
"You could have told me," he told her gently. No anger… and at least for the moment… no regret. He just wanted her to know. She could have told him.
Her voice was so much more mature, earthier—wiser. "I almost did. Then I saw the panic in your eyes, that last time we spoke. I did not want you to worry or lament about something that could not be changed."
He didn't agree-but he understood. "I just need to know one thing, Rose," his mind spoke out to the other vortex, so far across the universes.
The medallion was growing heavy in his hand, but the energy was still being forced through him in two directions at once. "How much of an ass did I act like, that night?" She'd never told him, but it was virtually impossible to not have behaved completely badly, when one wakes up with one's own pants upon one's head.
There was a strange laugh in his head. It was a cross between Rose's own laugh, and the hollow echoings of Bad Wolf. "A perfect gentleman. Excluding the serenade from the Best of Sonny and Cher, and the 'crown of pants.'"
The voice may have resonated with the Bad Wolf, but there was something else he felt there, across the thin thread—her exhaustion. The vortex that coursed through both of them had been finite, so he did not have to worry about her being consumed, but due to its limited nature, it was taking all of her own power to control it.
She was holding on to talk to him. He had to make this quick. "Rose, I'll take care of her. But please let go. The intelligence and organizing consciousness are contained. I'll sever the connection on my end, but you must let go."
"Let her know…" there was a hesitant, yet fatigued pause. "I loved both of you."
The Doctor closed his eyes, wishing he could touch her across this great divide. He wanted to put a hand on her cheek to let her know everything would be all right. But only if she let go.
"The tapestry created by the Time Lords is gone, but she's become this single thread." There wasn't enough of the tapestry left to send the girl home; it'd be like trying to send a house along a radio wave. But ones and zeros… "Rose… don't you want to see how it all turns out?"
She hadn't taken in enough of the vortex to truly become Bad Wolf again, with the infinite backwards and forwards knowledge that she'd had before. Which was why she couldn't see past the moment. It was also why she faltered so heavily that he could feel it across the divide. "I'm going to let go. You have to let go when I do. The remainder of the entity will pass into nothingness. You're done, you've protected her. But if you hold on to the vortex, it's going to kill you. And you'll never see how she turns out." The Doctor paused, letting it sink in. "It's just a thread, but it might grow as she does; the thread was never even there before today. Till then…" he smiled, both in reality and in his mind. "Check your email, Rose."
He could at least feel her willingness to sever the connection. "You're the other half of me," she said desperately, almost talking herself out of letting go.
The desire to just touch her was overwhelming, but he couldn't. No more than she could touch the hologram image he'd projected through the rift the last time they'd had this conversation. "And you're the other part of me."
And with that—he let go.
Suddenly, the golden light swirling around Rose stopped its spiral. The particles stopped in mid-air, hovering momentarily.
Mickey looked at Pete, and both of them rushed closer to Rose. Sternly, Pete gestured for the security forces to lower their weapons, which had been trained on Rose.
The moment their guns were lowered, the yellow energy exploded outward in all directions, away from Rose. it passed through every object and everything, dissipating into the ceiling and walls and floor.
It left instantly, the room dropping from the intense golden glow to the artificial blue of the florescent lights.
Rose seemed suspended there for just a moment, as if she were at the top of a roller coaster, waiting for free-fall to drag her downward. Mickey seemed to get it, closing the rest of the distance between them. When the last bit of charge from the Time Vortex dissipated, he grabbed her as she dropped like a sack of bricks.
No one made even a bit of noise, save Jackie, who yelped once, then caught up with the remainder of her family. She helped Mickey lower her daughter to the ground but was butted out of the way suddenly as building personnel began checking her vital signs. Pete put an arm around her. "Rose is alive," he whispered, by way of comfort."
Hand pressed to her mouth, Jackie shook her head. "But where's Violet?" Deep down, Jackie knew. She just needed someone else to say it.
Pete drew in a deep breath as he watched Mickey direct the emergency technicians. "She's with the Doctor." He didn't know how he knew—he just knew. "They stopped it, he and Rose. They both stopped it, and Violet's ok."
Jackie sniffed, barely holding back her emotions. "She's just a little girl, Pete."
Shaking his head, Pete frowned. He'd only just recently figured this out himself. He didn't know how Jackie would take it. "She was never ours to keep, Jacks. She belongs to the whole universe. All of them. And they all belong to her."
Jackie shook her head, not really accepting his answer.
He knew Jackie was thinking about her last day of primary school, her first kiss, every birthday they'd not share with the girl, and it killed her. Pete knew it would keep killing her, every day. It was to Jackie's credit, to a degree. Her own feelings for the Doctor aside, she'd adored Violet. She'd never seen the child as anything other than a normal girl who needed loved and played with and the occasional trip to the corner for a time-out. Unfortunately, it also made her entirely unwilling to acknowledge that the universe had other plans for Violet—things much grander than graduations and first kisses.
He was certain those would be there too, but if his own life was any indication, it'd be taking place in those brief moments or long lulls between the chaos. Pete had stepped into that role, on some small level, when he'd become Gemini and began feeding information about the Cyberus robots to the underground. He'd made that choice. Jackie would see it as the universe choosing for Violet—he knew Rose would see it as the girl being called.
Pete knew, ultimately, he'd regret missing all of those things he'd not be able to do with the girl. But Violet was part of something much larger, and they just needed to give her the room to "be." Even if it meant "being" some place else with someone who could guide her more fully into what she was to become.
He silently wished the Doctor well. Knowing Violet… he'd need it.
Arms wrapped around her legs, Violet rocked herself gently as she sat with her back pressed to one door. She rested her head on her knees, not knowing what would come next. There was silence in her head and everything seemed to be calm and asleep in the universe. She couldn't feel the Bad Wolf any more, and that frightened her as much as anything, making her feel alone in the world. She'd cry, if she'd have been capable of tears any more. Something seemed to have drained them out of her; it didn't feel like she'd be able to cry and have that sort of release ever again.
Finally, the door next to her opened, and the Doctor walked through, dragging a battered, dirty green lawn chair.
His face was a little dirty and his hair was standing on-end, looking frazzled and fried, like Violet's did, when they forgot to use the spray-on conditioner. One sleeve was singed and the smell of ozone seemed to be radiating off of him. He looked tired, like he could sleep for a week and then still take another nap besides, but he was there and whole, and his brain hadn't been cooked or anything.
Looking around, he caught sight of Violet, just as she scrambled to her feet, throwing her arms around both of his legs, holding on for dear life.
Leaning the folded chair up against the door, the Doctor put a hand on her head. "Hey, now. You didn't think I'd let that thing get me, did you?"
Violet looked up at him with sad eyes, not willing to admit that she'd doubted him. He did not seem to be a man that garnered doubt.
Crouching down beside her, he looked into her eyes. His own were brown, like hers, but they seemed to have whole galaxies swirling behind them. "I will always, ALWAYS come back for you," he promised. "And I will ALWAYS escape and succeed." The last was said as if he had realized it was his most solemn duty to do so.
Not knowing what else to do, he hugged her, holding on for dear life.
She'd been as brave as she was capable of being for the day—she'd let go of her mum and let Bad Wolf send her away. The girl hugged him back, somewhat afraid that if she let go, he'd fade like a dream. "Promise?"
The Doctor grinned. "Always, always and ALWAYS."
Violet sighed in relief, relaxing against his shoulder, a smile slipping through. "Good. Cuz someone needs ta feed me." It had to be well past breakfast time by now. Her stomach seemed to be saying so, now that all the knots and tension had gone.
The Doctor picked her up, spinning them both in a circle once. "To feed you? I think we can manage that." He walked over to the center of the control room. "Give me half a mo', will ya?"
Messing with a knob or two, he looked the control console up and down. "Well, what happens next is up to you, old girl. He's flying blind and half his time circuits were shot just maintaining his trajectory through the same bit of space and time on two different plains, so he might need a bit of a tow, and like most fellahs he's a bit of a fixer-upper, but he's all yours."
An air hose let out a quick rush.
Smiling, the Doctor inched the girl up higher in his arms. "I figured you'd say that. I have some business to attend to, so he's all yours."
Walking out of the central room, the Doctor left his ship to it. "How do you feel about hotdogs," the Doctor asked.
Violet made a face. "I don't eat processed meat."
His face twisted in shock. "You don't know what you're missing. What about chips?"
The girl shook her head. "I don't eat fried foods."
He was running out of food choices here. "Cheese and macaroni?"
A small, mischievous smile pulled back on the girl's lips. "I'm allergic to milk. And I don't eat enriched pasta, trans-fats or complex carbs."
Carrying her to the kitchen, the Doctor frowned. "Now you're just giving me a hard time. Has anyone ever told you that you're petulant?"
The girl grinned as he sat her on the counter. "Hotdogs it is, then."
The Doctor nodded once, looking her square in the eye. Not many grownups bothered to do that. "Well, then. Now that that's settled. Cheese in the middle? Or are you too ALLERGIC?"
This was going to be fun. "Oh, cheese in the middle. But only as long as you have the mustard and relish that're already mixed…"
The End…And The Beginning.
Thanks so much to everyone who stuck through this Everybody has been so kind and welcoming over in this section. You folks're awesome, and it's certainly encouraging to take another whackadoodle at Doctor Who fanfic.