Title: The Wooded World of Worlds
Author: Lady Yueh
Fandoms: Doctor Who, The Chronicles of Narnia
Disclaimer: Not my property and no infringement is intended.
Character(s): Nine. Aslan.
Timeline: Post-TimeWar Pre-Rose.
Author's Notes: A pinch-hit response for ladymoriel who requested a Narnia crossover with Nine in the 2007 Doctor Who Crossover Ficathon. I'm very pleased with it.
There exists a place where trees grow tall. Their trunks vary in shape, size, hue and texture. Some are old, a few are even ancient. Others are young; a number of them are so new to the world that they cannot be perceived by your eyesight or mine. The leaves of these trees obscure any sight of sky; instead, they are the sky. The firmament of this place is an ever present canopy of vibrant and differing shades of green.
And while the sight of the trees, which grow to such elevated heights in such quiet splendor, would be enough to recommend the beauty of this place, it is not all. The sunlight that filters through the green-leaf sky is not light as you or I know it. The golden sunshine that we are accustomed to is absent here. Instead, the bright illumination is a effervescent shade of viridian unknown to any but the blessed few who have had the providence to see it.
The earth is so rich, its fragrance so cool, that one would be hard pressed to not rid themselves of any artificial footwear to indulge in the sensation of such fertile soil.
Scattered about the forest floor are also pools of water. Not particularly large but their depths are unfathomable.
Each miniscule lake seems to be dominated by a tree. They stand as living protectors, strong and steady guardians.
One in particular is set apart from the others. It is tall and majestic but somehow removed, as if not completely present, a mere dream when compared to reality. It is still beautiful but somehow cast in shadow.
It is not only the tree which seems incongruous in this setting but what is under it.
Beneath the shade of the silent sentinel sits a man.
He is reclining against the tree's trunk, his long legs stretch out, almost reaching the edge of the rippling surface of water. The clothes he is wearing are ill-fitting, as if he had stripped them off of a dead man and donned them for lack of a better alternative. They are torn and singed; baggy in some places and bulging at the seams in others. His face is devoid of emotion, a vacant expression with half-lidded, azure eyes.
The atmosphere of the woods has worked its enchantment on him for he has fallen into a stupor of a sort.
He is in a trance. Existing in the moment between sleeping and waking, waking and sleeping; the instant where awareness is absent and one is held in a null state, a condition of absolute bliss produced by complete ignorance.
Presently, a queer sight occurs.
Approaching the drowsing man is a lion.
Not a lion like you or I, or indeed anyone, has every seen. The Lion is not a tame lion.
The Lion is majestic, radiant and more than a bit overwhelming.
"Hello!" The dozing man greets absently and without a hint of fear or apprehension. As if coming face to face with a lion was an everyday occurrence worthy of no particular note.
"Time Lord," The Great Lion rumbles his greeting in a low voice.
The man, or Time Lord as he has been titled, does not seem especially astonished to be addressed by a talking lion.
"Very peaceful here isn't it? Lovely place. Absolutely fantastic," he rambles without acknowledging his companion's greeting.
"You have languished here for far too long, Child of Time," The Lion growls.
The Time Lord pays no attention to the words that are spoken. No comprehension or thought fills his eyes.
The Lion projects an air of sad resolve as he shakes his head, opens his massive maw and issues a tremendous roar!
It fills the quiet silence of the woods, echoing for what seems like an eternity, makes the leaves quiver and the waters ripple with its power.
The Time Lord visibly starts at the clear and compelling sound. His eyes fill with knowledge, memory and recognition. His face contorts into an expression of anguished pain.
"No," his tortured denial is nothing more than a whisper but the emotion reverberates through the silent forest.
He turn eyes of ice and fire to The Lion.
"Why?" The harsh accusation is a discordant sound which seems to multiply and fill the air in waves.
"It is not your fate to waste away in this place," The Lion informs him steadily.
"Fate?" He questions harshly as he laughs without humor. "There is no such thing."
"You, more than any other, should not doubt that there are things that must happen. There are things that cannot be changed or undone." And though The Lion is regarding the broken figure with sympathy, it is a hard sort of compassion. Understanding of the current grief and knowledge that there is still more to bear.
"Gone," he whispers as streams of silver sorrow paint his cheeks. "All gone. Is that what your fate has decreed? That I should remain while they burned?! Is that my punishment? To be left behind? Alone. A remnant of a people that no longer-that never existed?"
"It is not gone and it does exist," The Lion refutes his grief-filled words.
The Time Lord raises a challenge with his gaze.
The Lion makes a motion to something behind The Time Lord who turns to see the tree which he had been resting against.
"That tree embodies all the possibilities of Gallifrey. It lives on as long as some part of Gallifrey exists. It lives because of you. You are Gallifrey now."
The Time Lord shuts his eyes at the name which pierces his heart more surely than any dagger ever could, but he cannot shut his ears and the words penetrate his mind.
"Call her," The Great Lion directs.
The Time Lord turns away. "She's gone," he confesses. "She screamed and burned and fell."
"Call her," The Great Lion demands.
Anger fills The Time Lord to the brim and he withdraws something from the depths of his tattered apparel.
A small key; cold and dull in the green light.
"She's dead," he asserts dully, emotion drains from him as he regards the proof in his hands.
"Set the key on the tree," The Lion instructs.
There is such calm certainty in his words that The Time Lord finds himself placing the metal instrument atop the living wood.
Immediately, there is a warm golden glow which emits from the key and grows to encompass the entire tree.
Then, there is that sound; that unmistakable song which calls to his very soul.
A shadow is materializing and becoming more real by the moment and soon, where there once stood a tree, there is now a blue box which somehow manages to fit into the surroundings as if it were meant to be there.
"How?" Awe, disbelief and just the smallest amount of hope colours his voice.
The Lion chuckles, a warm and heartening sound. "Now Gallifrey lives in Her."
The Time Lord approaches the box warily. He is afraid that it might simply be a delusion and that he has finally gone mad with grief.
His hand touches the warm wood and a hum greets him.
A true smile graces his face and the joy makes him beautiful.
The doors give way at his touch and he can see that a new room greets him. The green of this world lights the darkness and the tree now stands as support, the upper most branches reach up into the ceiling while the lower limbs disappear under the floors which conceal the trunk and roots. A constant reminder of life.
The Time Lord turns and says, with his voice full of gratitude, a heartfelt, "Thank you."
The Great Lion bows his head.
"Thank you, Doctor."
The Doctor turns to leave but pauses. "Why now? Why do this?"
"The Universe needs a Doctor. There are gardens to be tended and roses to be grown. A Captain must perform his duties. There are storms and wolves on the horizon."
The Doctor shakes his head. "All right. Be enigmatic if you like. Suppose there's a universe I have to tend to."