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This fic, a prequel to "As Its to Time", was written as a birthday gift for Vallora. First time posting on FFnet. The request was for a Gallifreyan Bonding Ceremony.

Part of the "Tomorrow is Yesterday" 'Verse. Please don't ask me why it insists on being bold, I have no idea and no control over FFnet anymore.

Being to Timelessness

Part 1

Six candles burn in seven sconces, representing the Six Found Colleges.

Rose doesn't understand that. The Doctor says it's all rubbish, anyway, because they're all lost now, even Prydon Academy, as one surviving ne'er-do-well does not a College make. Rose wants to know how you can lose an entire College and the Doctor admits that the Time Lords were forever losing things and claiming mystical reasons, or worse, deliberately not making things in the first place and calling them lost.

Jack is just now finishing up losing the rest of his awe of the legendary society.

Rose still wants to know how a College can be lost and the Doctor swears St. Cedd's, Cambridge, once lost an entire department because the insouciant Regius Professor of the same ran off with it. Rose says that's not quite the same thing, so the Doctor offers to take her to Harvard and let her try to find anything, and she admits that maybe he's got a point.

Jack thinks they're both mad and says so, and they move on.

A bouquet of roses and eucalyptus intertwined with ivy lays in the center of an open book placed on a plinth in the front of the room.

The Doctor admits that neither roses nor ivy are quite right, really, but they'll have to do as he hasn't seen tryteria in centuries, but the ivy very much resembles it. At least the roses are white, he says, and he's not uprooting any of his highly endangered rosettalyr even for such an important occasion as this.

Jack comments idly on the similarity of the names of the rare Gallifreyan wild flower and the rather startled looking girl.

The Doctor blames linguistics, Douglas Adams, and someone called Djakarknuss. Rose giggles at this and asks what the roses are for. Upon being told they're meant to represent purity, she blushes and shuts up. Upon being asked what the ivy is for, the Doctor himself blushes and also shuts up.

Jack is left to contemplate the silvery-looking Australian leaves in silence, decides to shut up before anyone blushes - or cries - and they move on again.

There is a device painstakingly carved into the front of the plinth, an ornate infinity symbol with more depth than it is possible to see in three dimensions.

Rose admits that the figure eight in very pretty and that the Doctor's done a good job on it, and she gets a rather scathing look for her pains. Her giggles finally give away that she's being deliberately obtuse and the Doctor sticks his tongue out at her. They end up tussling on the floor in a manner that is completely undignified for the Last of the Time Lords - or the Next to the Last, as Rose refers to herself.

Jack asks if he can join them and they finally quit playing around.

The symbol, Rose explains, is called an Omniscate. This particular one is meant to show the combining of her House with the Doctor's. However, she's got no House and he was Houseless long before he was homeless, so they've designed this one for them alone. It has their names in it. Somewhere.

Jack points out that he can also find "Waldo" in all the complicated trans-temporal banding going on in the fourth dimension around the thing, and they give up and move on.

There is an exquisite arrangement of earth flowers on one side of the room, meant to represent the members of Rose's family who have gone before her.

No one comments on the display of an entire constellation on the other side of the room.

Lying across the book on the plinth, just above the bouquet, are two cords. One is blue, the other red. A third cord of gold and silver hangs impossibly in midair above the plinth.

Rose claims to have seen a real hand-fasting on the alternate Earth, because that's what's usually done there. The Doctor claims that hand-fasting is one of the more common marriage practices across the whole, vast cosmos. Then, he goes on to prove it by rattling of eighty-eight different species in fifty-six different galaxies that use some variety of hand-fasting. The fact that it takes him only forty-five seconds to do this means Jack learns nothing and Rose learns next to nothing, even if she is better at keeping up with him.

Jack demands to know why he wasn't told this much of the Universe was into bondage.

Indignantly, the Doctor explains that the concept has nothing to do with bondage and everything to do with symbolic union. In this case there are three cords, whereas most traditions only have one. They represent the past (the blue cord, also meaning death), the present (the red cord, also meaning life), and all possible futures (the woven gold and silver cord, also meaning eternity). The silver and gold cord is apparently quite ethereal and doesn't actually physically manifest itself except in rare cases.

Jack points out that Time Lords are not only into bondage, they're into weird, four-dimensional bondage that ordinary beings can't pull off, and Rose giggles again while the Doctor blushes and sputters for them to move along.

There are thirteen chairs scattered about the room, each decorated in a representative manner, each set in a perfect place to fulfill a specific purpose.

Rose asks if Time Lords invented witchcraft. The Doctor disavows any knowledge of how this could be even remotely possible, and he does so with such fervor and such tugging at his ear that Rose and Jack both know he's lying through his teeth. What he will cop to, however, is that such things as the general so-called "humanoid" shape, the concepts of important numbers like thirteen or five and, for some reason, the Greek alphabet all indicate Time Lord intervention or at least resonance.

Jack tries to move the fluffy silver bow off of his chair and gets a smack from Rose for his pains.

The Doctor goes on to explain that the thirteen chairs would have been filled by specific Time Lords back in the ancient days when this was a common practice. The silver chair is Jack's because he's acting as Witness-Officiant for this ceremony. Rose and the Doctor have the white chairs that are side by side in the middle of the room. There are eight for specific guests, divided evenly on each side of the room, and the last two are on either side and a bit behind the couple's chairs. They're meant for the closest relative for each of them, which was a bit of a problem, because neither of them have a single family member left in this Universe.

Jack wonders why they even gave him a chair since he's already been warned he'll have to stand through the entire ceremony and the Doctor tells him it's just the done thing and to shut up and move on.

They leave the room.

Jack places a seal on the outside of the library door, which is to be broken by certain people when the ceremony starts, and it's time. They are about to indulge in an ancient Gallifreyan Bonding Ceremony, uniting the last two Time Lords in the Universe.

Jack hopes they'll have cute babies. Lots of them.