Title: Breakwater

Author: Aeshna

Disclaimer: Not mine, no matter how many DVDs and toys I buy! Everything here belongs to RTD and to Auntie Beeb, who already has my licence fee.

Notes: Watching WoM for the first time, I really wasn't sure which way things would go at the end - this is a look at how things might have gone. Thanks as always to Mimarie for looking this over for me - any remaining weirdnesses are all mine. Feedback of any variety is much appreciated but not compulsory - I'll post anyway! I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn....

Suddenly, everything was so very clear.

Captain Adelaide Brooke stopped as she reached the door, feeling the biting chill of the brass handle burn against her palm as she turned to meet the dark, impassive gaze of the man - the alien - who had dragged her from the jaws of death. So much had happened in the past hours, so much lost, too much saved... and now this creature, this Doctor, thought that she could simply trot meekly back into her life, to face the enquiries and inquisitions with a grateful heart? The fight had been doomed but at the end she had accepted her fate, had embraced her command and her responsibilities to the base and its people. She had been ready, her granddaughter's shining future a comfort against the dark, and then -

He turned away, the dismissal clear, and she felt her resolve suddenly harden. The night was dark and still, the gentle descent of snowflakes adding a serene beauty to the world, but all she could see was the chaos of Mars, the fear and the fury, the sick sense of inevitability as all choices were reduced to one. It wasn't how she had ever imagined dying, immolated in a boiling pillar of atomic flame, but after what she had seen done to her people it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

She would take fire over water any day.

Adrenaline still sang in her veins, its heat a shield against the creeping shock yet to come. Reaching down, she slid her gun from its holster, its weight heavy and familiar in her hand as she eased the door open, drawing in a deep breath as she turned back one last time.

He'd forgotten her already, striding back towards that freakish box with his long coat flapping at his heels. Off to descend uninvited into the lives of more of the 'little people', a god of his own twisted creation. If he had wanted to play saviour, why couldn't he have done it sooner? Andy and Maggie and Tarak might have been lost causes, but the others....

She remembered Steffi's terror, Roman's determination, Ed's sacrifice. Remembered Mia and Yuri's desperate faith in her. Remembered the tales of Susie's glorious future, a future that might not even come to pass now that her grandmother's Martian demise was no longer a mystery to inspire.

She owed them. She owed all of them. And the Doctor -

The Doctor had saved them from one monster, had brought them safely back to a place where water was merely a thing of chill and drifting elegance, but in so doing had, it seemed, unleashed another beast more dangerous by far. She didn't doubt his power for a moment, didn't doubt the fierceness of his gaze or the gleam of self-righteous madness in his eyes. He thought himself a god, the arbiter of time and fate, with carte blanche to do exactly as he pleased, to remake the universe as he saw fit. Mia had been right - they didn't know who the hell he was. And as for what he was capable of....

He had made his decision. And she... she had never needed a deity to show her the way forward. She sure as hell didn't need this one. No one did. The Time Lord Victorious?


She brought the gun up in a firm two-handed grip, feeling the same sudden calm that had descended upon her as she set Action Five into motion. Her single shot found its mark -

And she stood silent in the frozen doorway, with snowflakes swirling about her feet, and watched as a would-be god dropped to his knees and dissolved into a column of boiling flame.

~ fin ~