A/N: Jelly Babies? Bananas? Mutant Plot Bunnies? :-D This leads into – End of the World (Doctor Who/Rose), or will do. Post Mal's cold feet and the Doctor's stressing means it's time to take a spin away from the source... Doctor Who and the Great Eclipse and Doctor Who and the Ties that Bind are the first two parts to this tale. If you've not read the other two stories then this one might not make sense to you. Go read them first, Ok?
This is not the end... there is more to come. I want to thank all the new readers in the meantime and those who review. You guys rock.
Summary: The Doctor, the last surviving Time Lord, stumbled into a situation he could not ignore when his TARDIS landed him inside a ship that was clearly in trouble. But everything is not as cut and dry as he might like. His people may be gone, but the stamp he's made on the universe is still there, and he finds himself caught in a web spun of the choices he's made… And there's more than his personal existence at stake. Who set him up to survive and why do the Elementals now control the Time Web?
He must confront the ghosts of his past and gather what remains of his family if he is to have a future. The ship Serenity becomes his home when he's forced into the long path. But even now forces move against him, working through a critical point of history. Humanity exists in political groups, divided between the Allies of Gallifrey and the Allies of Skaro. Four of these Colonies fought in battles of the Time War (dubbed the Wailing Wars by those who remember). Could the Dalek invasion of Earth in 2164 be responsible for this divide within the human colonies? What impact does his leaving his granddaughter Susan behind on Earth at what proves to be a turning point in history have? The single Colony not involved in the War holds secrets vital to the Doctor's and the Universe's survival. He discovers that Susan's descendants retain a surprising level of Gallifreyan genes, even after eleven generations… And what about his actions that created the Tesh and Sevateem?
A Doctor Who / Firefly / Riddick crossover.Features Doctor 9, companion Rose Tyler; The cast of Firefly; 'Jack B. Badd' and Richard B. Riddick…
The Doctor found himself hovering near the ceiling of Inara's shuttle, intensely aware of the extreme speed at which the ship was moving and carrying him along with it. He was also positive that being out of body like this was as close to death as he'd come yet, aside from the creation in previous regenerations of the Watcher. The scene below him, his family and tyro holding to one another in deceptively peaceful fashion, belayed the great danger that they all were in at the moment. To protect them all he would have to stop this, and yet the universe depended on the child he carried, in more ways then one. Without the coming babe his rage at the unjust nature of the universe would have exploded more then one time over the last few months.
In order to give his tyro a chance to kill the parasite he needed to slip away from them further and balance the elements here. Just because Mal had chosen to leave did not mean he could not go to Mal. The Time Lord quirked an eyebrow at the notion noting the complete lack of emotion with it. He had promised the Captain that he would not leave him, mentally, at least. That did not seem to be the root of the man's panic however. Perhaps it was time to take more of a look-see at what Malcolm was really dealing with?
The thought was enough to cause him to float into the mess area, through the bulkheads and ignoring the stairs. He paused for a moment wondering how and why he was in this room, as opposed to having gone straight across to where the Captain was. He glanced toward the cockpit where Zoe and Wash were, noting that Wash had his attention on the controls while the dark skinned woman was staring down the hall back toward where he was standing. No. Not at him, at all. Rather she was fixated on a hatch. He let himself drift toward it.
Malcolm Reynold's hatch. The Captain then must be in his bunk. Now the problem was - did he intrude? – The pale Time Lord brushed aside the very faint worry and dropped through the floor into the compact room that Mal called his own. Really quite a strange sensation being out of body. He was, after all, little more then a ghost like this even with the extremely thin connection that existed to his barely suspended flesh and blood form. His vision here took in less detail about surroundings and more about people, so he did not really see much about the room itself. But Mal's deep, rich void-like aura created a speckled field much like deep space in the small enclosure that seemed to fill it. The Doctor's own aura, much smaller then the storm that existed because of his joining to his ship guided him closer to the figure that was standing by the ladder with his hand on the rail, seemingly frozen.
Waves of regret washed off Mal like water pouring down a cliff-face. It clearly was not that the man was rejecting the concept completely. More like he was having trouble coping with the overall implications of the connection. The Time Lord glided closer, daring to brush against the aura – expecting to be repelled from it, but finding instead that he was pulled in by it. Once there it made little sense to fight it to pull away. Like to like, channeling the power away, but would it be enough to kill the parasite?
The captain slowly let go of the rail and turned to his bed, his mind filled with unvoiced doubts and unwanted pain that whispered into the the awareness of the other mind that was there though the cracks that existed. The tingle across skin was not even noticed. The Doctor hoped that the other man would let his walls down soon so he could help him heal because no one should be holding onto such deep agony. For now though, the balance, slight as it might be, would have to be enough.
Mal Reynolds had retreated to his bunk feeling the intense stare of the Doctor's unforgiving, intense deep blue eyes burning into his back. The fears that drove him away from authority all these years was more deeply rooted then he dared to admit. He was not sure himself how much an impact that his father's leaving had left on him, although in his waking moments it was his mother's influence that drove his actions. Jon Smyth was something huge to Mal, but what that something was he dared not define too closely. His fear of falling short on what was required of him was more like a terror he could not rationalize with. So even now. with the door closed and locked, he could feel those intense eyes, imagined with deep disappointment in their depths, burning into him like a brand. He knew the sensation was all in his head, and yet he could not put aside his own fears that the Doctor would leave if the parasite was destroyed. What did he have to offer a man like that anyway? Surely Serenity was not fit for carrying someone with such a major role in the 'Verse.
And yet, the Doctor was here, wasn't he? Maybe he should go back there and try? No... not with everyone else there. It was just too huge a thing yet for him, simple as he was, to grasp fully under those conditions. Mal let his gaze dart around the small space before he closed his eyes, still feeling the fabric in his hands and the chill of the man's body where they had been in contact nearly overriding the reality he knew was there. Yes, his refusal had made the Doctor mad, although Mal's impression was not one of enraged fury. Instead it was a sensation of haunting sorrow and extreme pain.
Letting go of the ladder rail to the upper deck, he slowly turned to his narrow bed. Two short steps was all it took to reach it. He was not sure if he could breath here, the space seemed both too small and too large. It was coming...
He took a couple of gulps of air through his mouth before his legs gave way, although his bed was there to catch him as his butt moved toward the floor. He put up a minor fight against it this time, but not with nearly enough anger to actually block it. He could almost hear the roar of the turmoil as it approached him. Like – a herd of horses galloping across Shadow before the rain hit. His eyes closed with a nearly slow motion finality. His skin tingled as though he had electricity dancing over his body.
Mal felt the emotion hit him like a weight of bricks, the very thing that he had been running from, the loss of Shadow, his family, the entire planet wiped from all that was habitable. He'd avoided dealing with that pain, and yet it had not faded a wit. Mal put his hands over his face and rocked, unable to release the agony in tears. He was unaware of the tingle that flowed over his skin as being anything amiss, and unable to correlate the pain he was feeling with that of another's who had found some measure of a way begin a tentative connection with him, one shattered soul to another, that could just be enough to save them both.
He could feel when they stopped, simply because the connection to his body that was fueled by his regenerative power surged in strength when his tyro stopped draining the power away from him. The pull was stronger then the hold that the captain's aura had on him, and since Mal had not wanted him there to begin with the Doctor did not fight the pull. He could only hope that Malcolm Reynolds would open his eyes, and do it soon, before his stubborn nature doomed them all. They would be sorely tested, the Doctor knew this. He also knew that whatever clarity he had now would fade once he hit his own mind, because the physical condition he was in tended to play havoc with his abilities in the best of times and these were not those times.
If what he saw now was going to come to pass he would need all the help he could get to prevent the universe from splintering. Like it or not, he would need Mal's sense of justice to pull him though. Now however was he going to get the man to trust him? The Doctor blanked as his soul slid back into the nearly dead flesh just in time to prevent the regenerative power from forcing him back into it. He sank into a deep black moment of forever unaware that Simeon and Inara were watching him closely to see if he would breath or not and both of them letting out a huge sigh and then hugging when he finally did.
Rose Tyler had been a simple shop girl. At one time, before the Doctor took her hand and told her to run. She'd ran, and she supposed that simple split instant trust that had sprung up in the moment of danger was something that forever marked her. In the days and weeks and months that followed she had seen amazing things, lived on a spaceship, helped out other humans far into her future, experienced encounters that she would not change for anything. It was safe to say that she was no longer simple. Indeed she was no longer a shop girl. If asked to fit back into that limited life again, Rose doubted she could do it.
She had been lifted up, altered – and now she looked at the future, glimpsed through the connection that existed there between her and the Doctor and the TARDIS, the threads and tapestry spread out before her in glittering strands. There was something beautiful and frightening about it. Something mysterious and alien. It was far too much information to take in all at once, if she looked at detail. The strands were not steady, shifting in an unseen and unfelt wind, connecting, parting, moving almost on their own. Rose knew she should not try to hard here. She did not understand it, nor did she try to. It was not going to make a difference if she understood it totally or not, what needed to be done by her was to just accept it. Showing the amazing flexibility of the human mind, Rose did just that- she accepted the vision without attempting to make full sense of it, talking what Verity could explain to her as truth and believing totally in the rest of it making sense in time.
Her glittering aura of gold was strengthened by the connection that formed between her and Verity, one that was cemented in sweat and passion and emotional ties. If such a thing was strange, or had been unthinkable at one time, Rose had moved past those limits. Times like this one, inside the Doctor's mind, made it clear to her that Verity was much more then just a ship, that she was a being in her own right, alien yes, but just as alive and just as passionate as any other living thing. And Rose found the instinct that Verity possessed to protect, nurture, and love the Doctor to be something she totally and fully supported.
She could agree on several levels, being that she was attracted to the Doctor and to Rich in their own right. Being offered the chance to take that attraction into new territory was dazzling and there was little else she wanted more. Then there was also the element of faith that played into things. Rose was learning that certain forces she thought were impersonal were far from it, that indeed those beings behind the forces were all too real. The one that balanced the universe and made it just for everyone was right here in front of her. This was both totally unreal and completely believable. It helped her that Inara and she had talked about elements and balance, shifting her views of faith from the mere man made constructs to a more universal understanding. It helped too that she liked feeling as though her actions made a difference.
In the aftermath of the latest struggle to destroy the parasite, Rose was more then a little unwilling to simply shift back into her body an count the entire thing done. She knew now more how River felt, the need to connect with her own element. It was something that had been an underlying faint craving for Rose before, one that existed without her being fully aware of it, but having the Doctor's TARDIS fully shift her energy into her had left her feeling lost and alone once it was gone. She'd known, of course, what the risks were before she agreed to do it, but knowing and experiencing were two different things. Now she was left with trying to cope with this new sensation, aware that it would only get worse in the long run. There was no turning back from this. She was changed and would have to come to terms with it.
Simeon and Inara had already slipped out of the Doctor's mind. River and Richard were over with the semi-aware figure that the Doctor was appearing as, more concerned about him then themselves. Verity stood near Rose, one hand extended toward her. It was clear that the very alien female figure intended on bringing Rose back into the smaller circle remained. Rose took a deep breath and put her hand in the faintly metallic skinned woman's, feeling the jolt of energy that connected them surge through her. For the moment Rose was whole again, and she knew that if she was to remain that way that she had to make a choice to follow through with the offer extended to her.
River glanced up at the pair as they moved closer, soundlessly standing and waiting for them to come within arm's reach. There was an unspoken understanding that whatever happened now, the younger woman would only experience from a distance. Even though all of them knew this, it was clear that she did not wish to go. Rose hugged her tight and tipped her face up to look her in the eye, Mei-mei, hon, you won't be far. I won't be far. River nodded, understanding what it was Rose was trying to tell her. She impulsively, quickly, stole a fast peck of a kiss before morphing into rain and slipping out of the Doctor's mind. Rose's cheeks flamed pink from the light contact.
The smooth deep chuckle that reached her ears was the first real sound that she had heard in the moments after the struggle. Her cheeks darkened in their blush at the sound. Rose closed her eyes and turned her face away with a slight smirk on her lips, trying to get the reaction under some control. Richard's voice following that chuckle did not help her at all, "Come down here, Rose." When she failed to actually move, it was Verity's hands on her shoulders that guided he closer and kept her from just melting when those bronzed fingers curled around her own. "You're not having doubts are you?"
"Oh, hell no!" Rose responded, her heart racing suddenly on some impulse she was not overly sure she wanted to look it in case it was fear. "I half expected us to talk about it, you know? But there is no way I would ever doubt this." She wove her fingers in his, just in case he was going to let go of her hand. His fingers tightened on hers, like he too needed the assurance she was not going to pull away. She wondered how hard this was for him, to have to share like this, to share his heart with so many others that might not always feel the same way he did or even respect him for what he was doing.
"Fine, we can talk," he tugged her to her knees, next to him and the Doctor. Rose creased her forehead with a moment of concern, her attention suddenly riveted to the pale form. Her hand reached out to stroke his smooth scalp with its baby-fine hair, cupping his head in her palm as she caressed his cool skin. The Doctor's eyes fluttered but did not open. The ex-ranger said softly, "He knows you are here, he's aware of everything."
Rose nodded, "He's incredibly handsome, isn't he? Do you often have to stop and make sure you're not dreaming this, Richard?" she caught his nod out of the corner of her eye. Leaving her hand on the side of Jon's face she turned her head to look at the darker skinned man, "I know he wants me here. I know Verity wants me here. Do you want me here?"
His expression was rarely open like it was right now, and he did not hide his struggle. This much Rose could see in his face. He did not need to actually express anything in words, but he did anyway, "Part of me wants to horde Jon all to myself and not let anyone else near. I know though I can't do that. He needs me, not to act as a wall between him and everyone else, but as a support and a ground. That won't change, no matter what. I know that he'll need me more with you in the mix, not less. I suppose that scares me. What if I can't handle it? Do I want you -? Yea, Rose... I've been aware of you being there, with Verity. And it's something I've been teasing at. On purpose. Trying to see how much you could take before you demanded to be let in."
"You are horrible!" she grinned and smacked Riddick on the arm, "So you mean to tell me you have been doing all those slow buildups because you knew I would get the feedback?" his response was another chuckle, and under her hand the Doctor turned his head and placed a light kiss on her wrist. "Oi, both of you?" Jon just smiled slightly at the words. It was clear that he had been just as aware of it.
Jon Smyth slowly opened his eyes, blinking them to adjust his vision. He had been called back rather abruptly, allthough he was allowed to adjust again in his mind before this. Rose and Richard had been the last to leave, and he assumed they had gone off to settle some of the underlying – tension – that had been coloring things between them for several months now. His senses beyond the sensation of every inch of his body aching and protesting was enough to tell him he was still in Inara's shuttle and that she was there, waiting with extreme patience for him to "wake up". Of them all, Inara understood more in-depth, consciously, what he had offered to them. It was then only natural that she would be the one waiting to talk to him now.
He turned his attention back to his physical form, mentally checking his condition, assessing the unborn's mental and physical state, and cataloging how his body had reacted to the strain placed on it. Not having the normal regenerative power flowing through him had allowed some of the underlying radiation damage to migrate through his muscles, joints, and bone. He felt like the experience aged him, shaving years off his physical wellbeing. He was stiff, sore, perhaps not a much as it had when he'd regenerated but enough to make his movements slow and careful. He felt just a little over-baked. This sensation was not from a fever, indeed it felt nothing like a fever. Instead it was a combination of radiation poisoning and the battle that took place in his brain even if he lacked memory of it.
Curly hair moved into his line of vision as the fire elemental registered his return to awareness. She moved a cool damp cloth off his forehead, and his ears caught the sound of water trickling into a metallic bowl as she squeezed it out. He tried to clear his throat and that made the Companion turn back to him, a glass of cool water in one hand. She helped prop him up and held the glass close enough that he could drink from it if he was too weak to hold him himself. The Doctor flashed her a slight smile as he accepted it, slowly getting an elbow under himself to prop up on. A few sips made all the difference.
For her part, the Companion did not turn away until it was clear he could hold the water steady. She then went back to the cloth, dipping it again as if she needed something to do. He kept half an eye on her as she fidgeted, wondering what was the problem. He sure hoped she was not going to pull out now. After a few moments she sighed, "We could not kill it."
The faint fear popped and fizzled in the back of his mind. Somehow he kept the oh-was-that-all-? look off his face long enough to ensure that she was focused still on the cloth. Then he smirked slightly. "Knew you wouldn't be able to," he assured her, "It's better then it was though, I can't feel it feeding on me anymore."
Inara looked at him, noted his happiness at the situation, and shrugged off the sense of gloom, although her words belayed it, "We turned you into a carrier instead of a target. Not much improvement, I'm afraid."
"It buys me time, which might be enough to get Mal up to a second shot at this, before the babe is due. It's all I could have asked for." He smiled again, "Besides I got some promises to keep."
Inara quirked an eyebrow and placed a firm hand on his shoulder, "Jon, we nearly killed you, and although it was extremely intense for us, none of us were harmed by it. What ever the underlying condition you have that keeps you in such a hairless state was allowed to advance in intensity, and your appearance is somewhat worrisome. Simon told me that you needed to rest, to sleep even if possible."
"I'm fine. Really- Inara – I - I need to get away from here for a while. Get some real sun, is all. And maybe some real food. What we have here is fine for the most part, but I really do need something you can't get in space." He looked at Inara's blank expression, "Want to come for a spin? A joyride of sorts? I swear, it'll be totally safe now."
The blank morphed into a frown, "You're leaving?"
"No – no," he shook his head. "Not leaving, just maybe taking Rose back to see her mum is all. I owe Rose that before I completely change her. I want to make sure she is with this one hundred percent."
Inara gave him a raised eyebrow. Rose had been very open about the fact that she was from the past. The Doctor then was asking her to go with him to see Earth-that-Was. She blushed and looked away, the thought of seeing Earth-that-Was was extremely inciting. She was very tempted to tell the Doctor yes, that she would go. Maybe the time away from Mal would do both of them good. Sometimes temptation was good to fall into. The Companion smiled to the Red Guardian, "I would be honored to go. Who else would you invite?"
"Well, it's going to be a fast thing, local time- should leave and come back within seconds- no one need know we've even gone. Of course Rose. I would very much like Amadak to, and I am positive that unless Jacob is sleeping it would be impossible to not take him with us. Of course, Saritha would be doing the steering- I promised Verity that much. "
Inara smiled. She was going to get to see something she'd only dreamed of.