Fandoms: Doctor Who, Roswell
Summary: Absolution can only come from one who understands the sins.
Challenge: Fireplace Challenge #5, to create a credible crossover between two separate fandoms.
Disclaimer: I ain't owning it.
Notes: Yes, I know you aren't supposed to post until Thursday of next week, but I got inspired.
"You know, Tess, out of all the aliens I've met, you're the only one who has no soul."
Tess looked around, panting, and then continued to run for her life. Wearing only a hospital gown, her feet bare, she ran through the dark forests surrounding Roswell, New Mexico. She could hear yells of soldiers and barks of guard dogs, the loud chopping hum of a helicopter above. The lights they kept shining through the forest momentarily blinded her, but by using what strength she had left to create a mind warp, they never found her.
Through the pain of her bare feet hitting the rocky ground and the cold she felt blow against her cut legs and raw face, a single question continued to run through her mind—where will I go?
The last time she had tried to escape to the only other aliens like her on this planet, they completely rejected her. Most were willing to turn her over to the authorities. And by now she had learned that they had every right to. She was a murderer and a freak, one who could not be trusted. And she happily agreed to go, even though they spared her in the end. She thought it would give her absolution for her crimes.
But what the scientists and FBI did to her once they discovered her—that was too much of a price. They stuck her with needles, opened her head and made her relive every murder she committed, every lie she told. She felt the pain of a thousand deaths and by the end of the second year in the facility, she was ready to die. It was a miracle she hadn't gone insane—but then again, she was already technically a sociopath.
The worst part was how incredibly weak she felt. She was running on pure adrenaline and some innate power within her, and she knew it was going to run out soon. It took all of her to keep the mind warp going, and she felt a pit grow in her stomach from the fear of getting captured.
And yet, that question still lingered in her mind. Where will I go? She missed her son, she missed Max, and yet, there was no way she could go back to them. She couldn't simply move somewhere else—the FBI would find her again. There's no point, she thought, in the back of her mind. No point in trying. Maybe she should just do the world a favor and die. But the thing was, she didn't want to. She liked life, and that's what kept her running.
Until she stumbled on a rock and fell to the ground, her face in the dirt and her knees scraped. She opened her eyes and realized that her mind warp was no longer working.
Trying to get up, she felt a searing pain in her ankle and fell back down. Her throat started to itch and her eyes began to burn as she pounded the ground in frustration. She didn't want to die, not now, and especially not here.
"We've got you! Put your hands up and surrender!" she heard from a speaker on the helicopter. She refused to move, unsure of what to do next, thoroughly frightened and frustrated. The tears began to pour down her cheeks, and she gripped at the ground as if it could somehow anchor her there.
She saw another bright light and started to cry harder, thinking that they were going to take her back and run more experiments.
But the light felt unnatural—it reminded her of Antar, and that calmed her. She looked up and saw a bright, green tinted light in the shape of a door and a figure coming from the luminous entryway. A hand reached out toward her.
"Come with me."
Tess woke up, head blurry, limbs aching. She was warm though, and comfortable, for the first time in years. She finally opened her eyes and saw the green light now mixing with a warm yellow one, coming through a doorway. Looking around, she realized that she was in a bedroom of sorts, and that all the lights were shut off.
Throwing the covers off and swinging her legs to the side of the bed, she attempted to stand up. She first felt a sharp pain in her left ankle, but realized she could still walk. Looking down, she saw in the light from the hall that there was a splint on her ankle.
She also realized that she was no longer wearing her muddy hospital gown. Instead she was in pajamas with clouds on them, and the pants were a little too long for her. Rubbing her hands through her hair, she started to walk out of the room.
The halls, to her, seemed endless. She'd turn a corner and it would seem that she was right back at where she started. It was frustrating, and after ten different turns and ten long hallways she shouted, "Can I just get somewhere?"
As if someone was listening to her, the next turn she made led her into a large control room, filled with green and blue and yellow light. In the middle there was a translucent column which was emanating the blue light and producing a soft hum. It reminded her of the Granolith, her own alien spaceship, and something occurred to her.
"Max?" she asked. "Is that you? Did you come for me?" She could feel the tears coming to her eyes as she realized it was too good to be true, but she hoped for it anyway.
Tess turned around quickly, feeling her ankle hurt as she did so. Behind her was a skinny, tall man, much taller than her, wearing a brown pinstripe suit. He had a large grin on his distinctive features and his hair seemed intentionally messy.
"Who…who are you? Did Kivar send you? Did…did Zan send you?" she asked, knowing that the answer to that last question would be a solid "no." She also knew that the FBI had nothing to do with this--this technology surrounding her was definitely alien.
The man went over to the control panels surrounding the column in the center of the room and started flicking switches. He looked back to her. "Did you get a good rest?"
Tess ran her hands through her hair again and inhaled deeply. "Listen, I'm happy you saved me and everything and I'm totally grateful but please…just tell me what's going on."
The smile disappeared from the man's face and was replaced by an inquisitive smirk. "Well…I'm just like you. Well, not just like you, not even the same species, but still…"
She raised her eyebrows. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, while I was fixing you up," he said, pointing to her ankle, "I took the liberty of running some scans. I see you're not quite as you seem."
She folded her arms, feeling some of her previous vigor come back to her. "Well, I doubt you are what you seem either. So just tell me," she insisted.
He smiled, looking back down at the switches. "I'm alien, just like you."
Her mouth gaped open. "So you're from Antar?" she asked. "Was I right? Did Kivar send you to kill me?"
"Oh, no," he drawled, looking back up at her. "Unless dressing you in cloud pajamas is some kind of punishment. Well, I quite fancy those pajamas, actually, they looked very nice on…" he trailed off. "Rose," he said, and then regained composure. "They looked nice on my friend Rose and they look very nice on you."
Tess sighed, smiling slightly, for the first time in years, at his affable tone. "You can stop babbling now," she said, and he quickly shut his mouth.
"Yes, right. Of course." He nodded. There was a pause. "Well, continue your interrogation," he said.
"So you're an alien? Are you from…where I'm from? Or are you from the other planets in that star system?" she asked, and his smile dropped.
"No, no, I'm not from anywhere near there. You know, there are other species out there besides you. I always have slight trouble convincing humans of that. Thick ones, that lot."
Tess giggled. "I totally agree," she said, and he smiled back at her. She looked up at him, walking a little bit closer. "So…if you're an alien," she started, "Why do you sound like you're from England?"
"Because," he said, looking at her. "Why do you sound American?"
"Because," she replied. "I grew up there," she offered as an explanation.
"Oh," he said. "That actually makes a lot of sense. The scans said your bone structure…everything but your actual cells…it was all human."
"Yeah, it was this thing…with this war…" she trailed off. "You know, I don't really want to talk about it."
He gave her a quick smile. "I understand," he told her, and she got the sense that he really did understand.
"So…we've established that you're an alien." He nodded, and she continued. "But…who are you?"
"Well, I'm the Doctor," he told her, very matter-of-factly.
"Yeah…Doctor who?" she asked, and he rubbed his forehead.
"I'm really getting tired of that one…" he mumbled. "I'm just the Doctor," he explained, his voice normal again. "That's my name."
Tess shrugged. "Okay." She looked down at the controls that he was tweaking with. After a few seconds she could feel the Doctor's gaze, and she looked up at him. "What?" she asked.
"And you are…" he trailed off, waiting for her answer.
"Oh," she said, feeling slightly embarrassed. "I'm Tess."
He grinned widely at her, just like she had seen him at first. "Hello, Tess. Nice to meet you."
She smiled back at him, unsure. "Nice…to meet you too?"
"Yes, yes it is," he said, and then looked back at her, mouth opening and shutting, as if he wanted to say something.
"Yeah…?" she asked, wondering what he wanted to ask her next.
"Well," he started, "I found you in the middle of the woods in Roswell, New Mexico, which, by the way, is quite ironic. There were people chasing you. Why exactly were you there?" he asked, and Tess looked away.
"I don't want to talk about it."
He shrugged. "Okay, then, where should I drop you off?"
Tess immediately turned back to him, eyes wide. "What? You're going to…going to leave me somewhere?"
He shrugged again, this time less nonchalantly. "No, I'm going to drop you off where you want to go, not just somewhere."
"But…" she kept staring up at him. "I don't have anywhere to go."
"I figured," he said, looking down at her as intently as she was looking at him. "But if you can't tell me who you are then you can't stay with me."
Tess scoffed, partially as a gut reaction to her overwhelming fear. "That's not fair," she told him. "I don't know anything about you, not even your name."
He raised an eyebrow. "You know my name—the Doctor."
"Like that's a name," she mumbled, and looked away.
He leaned down so that they weren't that far apart and spoke to her, softly. "Why are you so frightened of telling me?"
She could feel the scorching tears coming back, up through her throat and hot cheeks and into her eyes. It took all her willpower to look at him, to stare him directly in the eyes, because when she did she felt that those dark brown eyes could see directly into her soul. The minute she did, the tears started to fall, and she hugged the loose pajama top closely to her, as if she were freezing.
The Doctor's brow furrowed and he was looking intently at her. She was certain he was reading her mind, and there was nothing she could do to stop him. It seemed she was unable to put up her mental barriers that Nasedo taught her, that the FBI managed to break down.
"Oh, Tess…" he whispered, and she knew that he understood.
"I'm awful," she started to cry. "I don't have anywhere to go."
He moved closer to her and hugged her in his arms. "I understand," he told her, his voice sincere.
She pressed his ear against his chest and heard the beating of two hearts, something that strangely comforted her. "I've hurt people," she mumbled against his chest, her voice cracking as she did so. "I've killed people."
"I know. I understand," he told her, stroking her hair comfortingly, hugging her tighter. She wrapped her arms around his chest, burrowing into his jacket.
She paused, simply crying, and then quietly said, turning her head to feel the cool air on her face, "I meant to."
There was silence and it felt as if her guts were spilling out from inside her. She thought he really did understand, but she knew that any second he would take his arms away from her and send her back to Roswell, New Mexico.
She could hear his hearts starting to beat faster and strangely his grip grew tighter on her. He leaned down, so that his mouth was right near her ear, and he whispered to her.
Her eyes widened, but then she let herself be enveloped by his absolving embrace. She could feel everything he felt—guilt, pain, and the unbearable need to be forgiven.
"I have no soul," she whispered back, and she truly believed it. He said nothing, but held her as tight as she thought was possible, and she did the same in turn.
It seemed like forever before the two parted, and she refused to look at him again, for fear that she'd start to feel that strange nothingness again. She sniffed and rubbed her eyes, looking down at the grated floor.
But as she felt his gaze on her, she was compelled to look up. And when she did so, she no longer felt that strange nothingness, but a sense that she had been blessed by an angel. She saw his deep brown eyes, and noticed both the pain and forgiveness in them.
He stuck his hands in his pockets and turned around. She heard his voice call out to her, but the words didn't register with her. She was feeling too many emotions at once—the feeling was overwhelming her.
She snapped out of and looked at him, slightly wondering if she had been dreaming before. "Yeah?"
The sinking feeling returned. So he hadn't understood her after all.
"You're…you're going to drop me off?" she asked, trying to not let her voice betray the disappointment that filled her.
His eyes widened and he turned around. "What?"
"You're going to drop me off," she repeated, this time as a statement. She no longer felt weak—she felt like her old self again. She was Tess Harding again, diagnosed sociopath, betrayer of friends and alien freak.
But when his eyes widened even more than possible, a curious feeling overtook her.
"No," he said, "I meant where I we going to go next?"
"You're taking me?" she asked, disbelieving.
"Well," he smiled again, a smile that Tess realized she could definitely get used to. "I thought that you might fancy going with me." He folded his arms and raised his eyebrows, waiting for a response.
No words came to her. Finally, "You mean it?"
He shrugged, the smile fading. "Well, only if you want--"
"Yes," she said, cutting him off. "Yes, I want to."
He paused, and then grinned again and bounced as if he had eaten too much sugar. "Great! So, where to?" he repeated, and she laughed. "What?" he asked, a confused look replacing the one of joy.
"Maybe I could get out of your friends cloud pajamas first?"
"Oh!" he exclaimed, "Of course! Right, the wardrobe is…well, the TARDIS will guide you there."
"The what?" Tess asked.
"Oh, the TARDIS. My ship," he patted the controls, which sparked underneath his hand. He snatched his hand away and blew on it. "She's a good girl…sometimes." He glared at the control panel.
Tess laughed, and he looked at her, a cocky smile on his features. "So, yeah," he continued. "The wardrobe room. Just go down the hall…the TARDIS will guide you. There should be a lot of women's clothes," he commented, and Tess knew he was remembering.
"Okay," she said, and then started to walk toward him.
He raised an eyebrow. "Wait, it's that way," he pointed toward the door she originally came through.
"I know," she said, nodding. "But I just wanted to say, Doctor…thank you." She tried to make it sound like she meant it, because this was probably the only thing she had ever really meant in her entire life.
His smiled disappeared into that look she had seen in his eyes before. "I understand," he told her. "I get it."
She nodded quickly, feeling slightly awkward and slightly too familiar with the entire situation. "I know," she said. "But still, thanks."
He nodded the same way she was nodding, and then abruptly stopped, looking up at her, the manic grin once again on his face. "Welcome aboard, Tess," he said, and she laughed.
She'd finally found a place to go, with someone who'd want her there, regardless. And as she walked toward the wardrobe room so inaccurately explained, she could still feel the weight of guilt on her shoulders, but noticed that it felt a tiny bit lighter.