Disclaimer: Neither Doctor Who nor any characters, items or materials of any kind pertaining to Doctor Who or the Whoniverse belong to me. I'm just looking for a good time. Hee. Trying them out for a bit, see how they fit.
Plot Summary: The Doctor retrieves Rose Tyler from Bad Wolf Bay but not without consequences. The walls between worlds begin to fall, two different realities merging. And on the horizon a threat rises that threatens to destroy everything the Doctor holds dear.
Rating: Anywhere between a PG13 to an R. I doubt I would go further than that but I have before so I shouldn't exactly close the door on that.
Spoilers: Oh yes. Tons of spoilers. All over the place. Probably without even meaning to but that's what happens when you watch all the episodes like you're possessed. So…erm…sorry.
Timeline: AU after the end of Series 2. Spoilers up to, including and going past Series 4 though. I've seen all of Series 1 through 4, including the series 4 specials but am not very familiar with the Classic Who much. As such, if I happen to include anything that really touches upon Classic Who, other than it being unintentional, I'll be surprised out of my head. Really. You'll probably see a lot of familiar things in the fic that play into the series of DW. Bear with me, it all ties in together.
Author's Notes: I am not from the UK. I'm American. So trying to write someone with a British accent and vocabulary is hard as hell, LOL. And I do not know, at all, the layout of London nor the surrounding areas. So bear with me if you do live in/around London and if my description doesn't sound like home at all. Also, I basically state right off the bat how I view timelines and alternate realities. If you don't agree with it or want to flame me that it doesn't match the Whoniverse, be my guest. But it's not going to change my fic mostly because my fic is basically complete at this point. Thanks for playing though!
Echoes of Summer
Prologue - In The End:
She had known a girl once who had been deeply in love. In love with a man who had seemed almost alien. As if he hadn't belonged to the same existence she had. So much more extraordinary, so much more beautiful. And she had seen nothing when she'd been around this man. Nothing at all.
This is the last story I'll ever tell.
That was a lie. She lied to herself. That person was her. She had been in love. She had loved a man who had seemed almost alien. He had been an alien, in fact. Brilliant. And she had seen nothing else but him.
This is the story of how I died.
She had come because he had called for her. In her dreams. He had called for her, whispering. Needing her. His voice, silver moonlight whispering her name, echoed in the dark recesses of her mind and memory, shedding pale light there. His voice floated there comfortingly like a warm blanket that she pulled over her cold body when the night came. It warmed her as his arms had warmed her so many times in their travels.
She moved across the beach, her blond hair whipping about her face as she looked for him. She could hear that voice still, fluid and almost tangible in its whisper. Yearning. Summoning. She refused to believe it was her mind making up his voice. He had called for her. As if he had slept beside her, had awoken in the night and whispered her name against her ear. She had heard him as if he had been that close. She would not doubt that now. Trudging across hard packed sand she lifted her eyes, turning them from her family to look for him. He was here. She could feel him, could smell him on the salty breeze. The scent of Earth mixed with something else. It couldn't be her imagination. He was here.
Grimacing against the wind, she gazed straight ahead, out over the water. It was early morning. The sky was gray. Today would determine whether from then on she would hate or love gray mornings. This day would decide it. She inhaled, eyes closing for a moment to block away any vision. She needed to hear him. She needed to feel him. Forcing herself to see something that wasn't there would distract her from hearing something that could be there. Would distract her from feeling him close. And she needed to feel him and hear him because she wasn't sure she would be able to see him.
Feeling the shiver run down her spine she opened her eyes and turned her head to the left. And he was there. Transparent. So transparent. She frowned gently. She was the transparent one in their relationship. She was the one he didn't see no matter how much of herself she showed to him. He didn't deserve to be so indistinct, uncertain standing there. She felt herself turn to face him fully, the breeze feeling as if it melted away and it was just them. The two of them looking at each other over such an expanse. So far away. And her legs were moving once more, now of their own accord, carrying her across the sand to meet him.
"Where are you?" She felt her voice scrape out, faint. As if she hadn't used it in such a long time.
His dark eyes were hollow and she didn't understand. She had seen him like this before. But not as much as now. There had been moments in which he had shut himself down and away from her. But now, gazing at him, she could almost see an entire world, an entire generation of time floating there in his eyes alone. Lines across his pale skin. Jaw clenched as he returned the stare, as if he really couldn't believe deep down that she was before him. "Inside the TARDIS," he replied and his voice was the voice she had dreamt of. For a moment she couldn't remember what he sounded like when he laughed even though she could see images of him smiling and grinning in her mind. Only sound seemed far away then. "There's one tiny little gap in the universe left, just about to close. And it takes a lot of power to send this projection. I'm in orbit around a supernova." The last word caused a tightening in his eyes and to his jaw but then that was eclipsed by the flash of a faint smile, the gentleness of a carefree chuckle yet one that was strangely restrained. "I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye."
Such a pained laugh hidden in those haunted dark eyes, his moonlight paling weakly.
And then as his words sank in, she felt her heart tear slowly, painfully, unbearably. Goodbye. She would hate gray mornings. She would hate everything about this day. "You look like a ghost," she managed to say to him, shaking her head slowly.
He seemed to awaken for a moment at her words, resolve crossing his expression. One detail he could fix yet. "Hold on." And he lifted something into his hand, adjusting it almost critically before pointing it at something. The sonic screwdriver, directed at something that she couldn't see. And before her eyes, just as he lowered the screwdriver and lifted his eyes to gaze at her, he came into being. Wonderful brown suit, dark tie. Wounded hearts. His pale face solidified and he was staring at her as if he could reach across to her and touch her. As if he wanted to desperately.
And she would have allowed it. She would have done it first, opened her arms and flung herself at him, never to let go again. If only she'd been given the chance. If only. She came close, slowing before him and even as she was lifting her hand, as she was reaching out to his face reflexively, she realized that his hair did not blow in the winds the way hers did. Nothing surrounding them affected him and her sentence died halfway through. But she hadn't imagined his scent on the breeze earlier, the sound of his voice. Had she? And if that was the case, what else had she imagined? What else was her mind playing with? "Can I t-"
"I'm still just an image," he said quietly in his matter-of-fact way. "No touch."
Her hand fell away numbly, her stomach falling as well deep inside. But she needed it. She needed to touch him. She needed to smell him, to bury herself in his arms and press her cheek to his brown suit and inhale all of him. She required it desperately enough to feel the urge to curl into a ball if she couldn't. "Can't you come through properly?" she asked him, hearing the way the plea almost entered her tone.
His eyes understood. "The whole thing would fracture. If I do that both universes would collapse."
She stared at him, every piece of her seeming to vibrate with the longing to touch him. Buzzing. "So?" She felt the word escape her faintly, throwing everything to the wind with that word. Shrugging everything off. She would sacrifice everything, anything, then. Two universes, gladly. Just for that small moment in which to touch him. Just one moment.
But he laughed at that, a mirthless chuckle as his eyes seemed to stare searing holes in her. And she turned her eyes away for a moment, cursing so many things then. The earth for revolving. This reality for existing so far away from him. For separating them. The timelines for being different. Alternate universes. How lonely they were. She turned her gaze back to his face, feeling time as it ran from her. Feeling life as it escaped her. And he seemed to sense it with her as the silence turned painful between them once more.
He looked about, all business. Trying. "Where are we? Where did the gap come out?" His eyes narrowed as they swept the area, the gentle beach in curiosity. He would never change, she understood then. And she had understood before that this was what he was. A curious, brilliant cat. Always distracted, fixated on the diverse. Even in these last moments between them.
"We're in Norway," she replied.
He inhaled deeply, nodding at that. "Norway, right." As if he had known somehow. And then his expression faltered a little bit as if he really couldn't believe they were in Norway of all places. But at the same time as if he really could. As if he had known. Did he know? Perhaps he did know. He knew so much always. Still a tinge confused nonetheless and she loved him. For that and so much more.
"About fifty miles out of Bergen," she said and she breathed in the salt water air. "It's called Darlig Ulv Stranden."
His face darkened in confusion. "Dalek?" he echoed her, his brows drawing together. And in that small moment, that fleeting second, his expression and tone said everything. Had it been for nothing? The Void, pulling in enemies in a hurricane of metal? Had he sacrificed her for nothing? Did she continue to live in a world he had tried to prevent? The skin stretched across his cheekbones was pale, eyes hard, moonlight fracturing in that gaze.
"Darlig," she corrected, stressing it. "It's Norwegian for bad." She turned her eyes out to the water, feeling lost for a moment as she said quietly, "This translates into Bad Wolf Bay." And she felt a laugh, void of merriment, rise and break from her as he laughed with her in relief. That same laugh. A chuckle almost at how the world was. This was the world, no matter whether an alternate universe or not. This was reality. Cruel. Joking. A childish prankster.
I am the Bad Wolf.
Her expression strained as the words suddenly came to her in the midst of their pained laughter, as she felt them deep inside for such a small moment. And she found herself gazing aside for the tiniest second before her eyes flew back to him, to hover over his tie blindly, feeling pain inside as well as that strange light from within. Bad Wolf. When she raised her eyes to him, to speak to him, his eyes were narrowed once more, studying her intently.
She swallowed painfully, brushing aside that golden voice inside, the one that had been lost for the last year. "How long have we got?"
The expression floated away from his face, as if there was nothing he could do then for anything he may have felt from her. "About two minutes," he replied.
She felt her breath catch, feeling as if time was slipping from her. Two minutes. What could she do, what could she say, in two bloody minutes? She lifted a hand to her forehead weakly, feeling rushed and trampled at once, her chest heaving. There was suddenly nothing to say. She'd had pages and pages of things to say if he had ever found his way back to her, had rehearsed, had allowed her heart to speak to her, beautiful aching words to explain to him what she felt. How much she needed him. How much she needed everything he had ever shown her, all he had ever given her. How she needed more of it, always. And now, standing on this cold beach, with the very person before her waiting, she couldn't think of one single silver word to speak. She said in a laugh filled to the brim with sobs, "I can't think of what to say."
He laughed at that as well, his head bowing, and she gazed at him, tears blurring her vision momentarily. So beautiful in this incarnation, with his breathtaking smile and his wonderful brown suit. A full smile, all teeth and happiness. He had been beautiful in his ninth form. But in this one, youthful and jubilant, it broke her to see the hurt that flittered across his eyes as he lifted them once more to her. And he tore his gaze from her immediately after, as if seeing her pained him. As if he couldn't bear her face. It never should have been that way between them. His eyes swept to the side, to look behind her and she understood that he was looking at the three people who had accompanied her to this remote beach. Her family.
"You've still got Mr. Mickey then?" he said in an undertone with a small nod at the dark-skinned fellow who waited for her with her mother and father in the background.
Her head turned slightly in their direction, not all the way. "There's five of us now," she said, her eyes shifting off back to the water, hair floating about her face. "Mum, dad, Mickey…" and she hesitated, nodding gently, "and the baby."
Even as she slowly said it his eyes were widening, his gaze caught to her. Lips parting, he said quietly, "You're not…" And the expression on his face seemed one of confusion almost, as if he thought quickly as he waited for her answer.
In that small moment, the one that seemed to span an eternity between them, she took her time to smile at him as if she owned a secret. And she couldn't do that to him, couldn't bear that look on his face. Smiling gently she shook her head at him. "No," she replied and she felt a small laugh bubble inside at the expression on his face.
I would wait for you forever.
"It's mum," she revealed and he let out a breath of a laugh himself, almost seemingly relieved, as she brushed a lock of windblown hair from her face. "She's three months gone. More Tylers on the way."
His eyes fell away from her family far in the background, standing on the beach. And they hesitated on her, came to rest on her with a tender protectiveness. His expression seemed to speak to her.
Your family is happy. Are you?
"And what about you? Are you…" he began.
She gazed at him, nodding slightly. "Yeah," she cut him off, eyes straying to the water. "I'm…I'm back working in the shop."
His posture seemed to straighten and then fall heavily at her words. As if he resigned himself to them. "Oh," he said with a stiff nod. "Good for you."
She looked at him.
And I'm the ape.
"Shut up," she chided him gently and his eyes caught to hers quickly as he waited for her to explain. "No, I'm not. Torchwood on this Earth's open for business. Think I know a thing or two about aliens." And as she said it her voice broke painfully, as she looked at him. She knew a thing or two about aliens. Maybe not the one standing before her, so close she could envelop him in her arms. But just enough.
His face lightened as he laughed in pride, a wide grin full of perfect teeth, all his emotions laid bare there in his expression. "Rose Tyler. Defender of the Earth."
She gazed at him, feeling herself gasp in a breath as her emotion reared up once more, tears clogging her throat. She thought of Christmas, with Mickey and her mum, when his face had still been new.
It is defended.
He turned his eyes from her, as if he couldn't bear to continue to look at her, at the tears rising in her eyes at the very image of him. What did he see there, when he looked in her eyes? Echoes of a once brilliant summer, now dying perhaps. It was how she felt then. As if she lay dying before him. And as if to further prove it, his next words chilled her. "You're dead." He said it stonily with a hard swallow before continuing on in clarification. "Officially. Back home."
She nodded, her face frozen in a mask of pain and sorrow. And as he continued she couldn't look at him for a moment either, feeling she would break in two as he went on, firmly, his voice detached. She needed him to feel his words the way she did. To not speak of her as if she really was dead. And she suddenly needed to reach out to him, to stop him from leaving her. As if the very action would tether him to this world.
Don't go. Don't go, don't go, don't go.
"So many people died that day and you've gone missing," he was explaining, his face hard and matter of fact about the entire situation. As if it merited it. As if she merited it. "You're on the list of the dead."
Her shoulders hunched at his words, her head falling in agony. And even as he continued, his voice stronger, willing her to believe that it was better this way, she lifted a hand to her face, thumb trailing across her lip and nose as she wept.
"Yet here you are," he persisted, looking at her, pride shining there once more. "Living your life day after day." And a small shadow of yearning hovered in his tone as he bowed his head to gaze at her, the fragile cheer gently floating away. "The one adventure I can never have."
She stared at him, holding her breath. For fear. Fear that if she spoke then, at any moment, she would dissolve into nothing. He waited for her patiently as she tried to force the lump down, as she struggled to say something. Her eyes streaked away for a moment, lifting away to question. But there was no questioning anything. Only dwelling on what had brought them to this point. Then, pushing past the block, she asked, "Am I ever going to see you again?" And halfway through her sentence she broke into sobs, feeling her face redden in pain. She lifted her hand back to her head, brushing back locks of loose hair.
And he hesitated in his response.