Disclaimer: I don't own "Doctor Who" or "Twilight", and the essential details of the original concept of this fic came from a video posted on YouTube by heroesdwtw- which can be found on YouTube at .com/watch?v=VTuSUBk8fXk- and is used with their permission
Feedback: Much appreciated
AN: This is a sequel to "Try to Find My Place"; reading it is recommended, but the essential details are that the Tenth Doctor saved Bella when she nearly died while cliff-diving and invited her to travel with him
AN 2: Reference is made here to events of the Fifth Doctor audio drama "The Bride of Peladon"; I thought that what happened there would help the Doctor make his point to Bella about the potential wonders of the universe
The Rebirth of Peladon
From the moment I walked out of the TARDIS, I knew that we had moved from our original location; the vast cliffs before us now were a good indication of that even without the elaborate castle at the top of them.
"Oh my God..." I whispered, looking up at the sky above us, filled with stars in constellations that I was fairly sure I didn't recognise even with my limited knowledge of astronomy. "Where... where are we?"
"The planet Peladon," the Doctor replied, smiling over at me as he locked the TARDIS and walked over to stand beside me with a smile. "One of my favourite planets, really; I helped participate in the conferences that led to it becoming a member of the Galactic Federation, and I even made peace with the Ice Warriors for the first time while I was at it-"
"The Ice Warriors?" I asked, looking at him in confusion. "What, you mean... aliens made of ice?"
"No, they were just a reptilian race who'd evolved to cope with a temperature lower than what we're used to," the Doctor replied with a shrug. "It's the reason they left Mars, really; the temperature got too high for them after-"
"Sorry; did you say 'Mars'?" I repeated, holding up one hand to look at him incredulously. "You're talking about a different planet Mars, right?"
"No, the planet Mars you know," the Doctor replied with a nonchalant smile, as though it was an everyday thing for me to learn that Martians were real. "It was inhabited a few centuries before your time before... environmental anomalies forced them to leave, and they've been working on rebuilding to varying degrees ever since; a few rough patches, of course- tried to conquer Earth once or twice in your future-, but they got past that, and they've managed to establish themselves on New Mars a few centuries or so before the present fairly comfortably."
I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing; learning that vampires and aliens existed had been remarkable enough, but learning that life had actually evolved that close to Earth, to the extent that it was still alive this far in the future (However far we were in the future, anyway)...
"Anyway," the Doctor said with a nonchalant shrug, so casually moving on from his revelation about Mars being inhabited that I once again had to remind myself that I was looking at an alien rather than a human, "that's not why I brought you here; I wanted you to meet the children of an old friend of mine from this planet. If I got my coordinates right, this should be shortly after I left here the last time, and, if that's the case, who we're looking for should be right around..."
He pointed at a hole in the rock face a short walk away from us. "Well, that way, actually; it's a back route into the castle kennels I noticed when I was last here-"
"Kennels?" I repeated, looking at him in surprise. "We're going to see the royal dogs?"
"In a sense, yeah, but they're a bit more than that, really," he said, smiling at me as he walked into the tunnel, turning back to beckon me inwards. "Come on; you'll love 'em, I'm sure..."
For a moment I hesitated, but finally decided to just go with it and followed my strange new... 'friend' was the only term I could think of, even if I couldn't help but feel that something deeper was required here... deeper into the tunnels, winding around a bizarre system of corridors and passages that the Doctor navigated so effortlessly that I couldn't help but wonder if he had a vampire-like memory, given how he said that he hadn't been here for a while, before he paused as we entered a large cavern, his smile broadening as he took in the sight before us.
"Here we are!" he said, indicating the creatures in the cavern in front of us. "What do you think?"
I wasn't even able to voice my response to the Doctor's casual query; the sight of the massive creatures in front of me, roaming around the cavern and occasionally growling at each other, had taken up almost the entirety of my ability to respond, as I took in the sheer size and... alien-ness of the creatures before me.
The creatures before me looked like a bizarre combination of warthogs and bears with a touch of unicorn thrown in for good measure. They had thick brown fur all over their bodies, long claws on their bear-like hands and feet, and a long, pig-like face, with sharp teeth sticking out of their jaws, small eyes positioned on either side of a curved black horn in the middle of their foreheads, along with small ears on either side of their heads. However, the most obvious thing about them was the significant size difference; one of them was at least as large as Jake in wolf form- and I was willing to bet that it was actually almost taller than he was, even if its legs were a bit shorter than the wolves' legs were-, while the rest were significantly smaller, with their central horns being noticeably less developed than the large one to the point of being merely stubs.
"What... what are they?" I asked, staring at the creatures in shock as they turned to look at us, the mother growling in a manner that put me unnervingly in mind of Jacob in wolf form; even as a wolf, Jacob might have been large but he at least looked like he could be a normal animal- maybe an extremely well-fed animal that had possibly been given a few drugs, but still just an animal in the end-, but these things...
"Aggedors," the Doctor said in response to my question, smiling nonchalantly at me as though he didn't even realise that we should be panicking right now as he reached into his pocket, pulling out a small object that looked a bit like an opened pocket-watch. "They're Peladon's sacred beast; just give me a minute..."
With that last comment, his gaze still fixed on the 'Aggedors', he began to spin the object in his hand, crooning a strange song to almost the exact same tune as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
"Klokleda Partha Mennin Klatch, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon," the Doctor said, waving the object in front of the creatures, causing them to pause in their growling as they looked at the object, the growls fading as my strange new... I kept stopping myself from saying the word 'friend'; it was still too soon to consider him that... continued his strange song. "Klokleda Shina Tierra Natch, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon."
I suddenly noticed two things; firstly, that the Doctor had just taken my hand without my realising it, and secondly, that he was already leading us towards the still-faintly-growling Aggedors, the hand not holding mine stretched out in front of him as he continued to croon away at them, his voice trailing off as he advanced towards them. "Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon, Haroon..."
Finally, after a moment's uncertainty as the Doctor halted his walk forward near one of the smaller Aggedors, he smiled reassuringly at me before he released his grip on my arm, crouching down beside the small creature and reaching out to gently stroke the creature's nose, the creature softly growling as the Doctor stroked it.
"That's it..." the Doctor said, smiling at the creature as he stroked its nose, his voice possessing a slightly silly cadence that made me think of someone talking to a puppy. "Who's a nice little Aggedor, hmmm? Who's a lovely sacred beast of this planet, eh?"
Realising that he was alone in his appreciation of the creature, he turned around to look at me. "Bella, come on, they won't bite; they're friends."
"F... friends?" I repeated uncertainly, even as something in his voice made me obey his instruction and crouch down beside him.
"'Course they are," the Doctor replied with a casual smile, taking my hand and placing it against the creature's fur, a warmth surpassing even the warmth of Jake's fur instantly warming my hand and most of my arm despite the cool temperature of the cave. "Lovely creatures, Aggedors; they've been Peladon's sacred beast for centuries, regarded as a symbol of nobility and power and the protector of the king and the planet."
"Really?" I said, looking at the small creature before me even as one of its siblings came over to join its fellow; I'd reached over to start stroking it before I realised what I was doing, only for the creature to roll over and look at me like a dog wanting its belly scratched.
"Feel free to do that, by the way; Aggedors like that sort of thing," the Doctor said, indicating where my hand was hovering over the small Aggedor's stomach. For a moment I hesitated, still uncertain about the tameness of the creatures, but I finally leant over and allowed my fingers to rub the Aggedor's belly, the creature actually making an almost dog-like whimper as my fingers rubbed against it.
"Brilliant creatures, Aggedors; tricky to tame, but a friend for life once you've made it," the Doctor said, smiling over at me as he reached over to pet the largest- and presumably mother- Aggedor. "I first met one of them- the grandfather of these cubs, actually- around... well, a century ago from their perspective... and he still remembered me when I returned fifty years later; helped me expose some renegade members of the Peladonian court upstaging the current rulers..."
"Really?" I said, looking at the creatures before me with no slight astonishment; the idea of any animal living that long was a bit of a surprise. "So... where is he now?"
"Died on my second visit; got shot while helping me save Peladon's queen," the Doctor replied simply, a briefly saddened expression on his face as he looked at me before it brightened. "But then I came back a third time and found that, not only had he left the old girl here as his legacy, but, after she helped me and a few friends stop an ancient nightmare being brought back to life, she actually gave birth after over a century of pregnancy-"
"Hold on; a century?" I repeated incredulously.
"I know; amazing, isn't it?" the Doctor said, smiling at me, apparently unconcerned about my incredulity at the sheer length of the Aggedor gestation period. "That's the reason I came here now, really; with the people up in the castle a bit busy crowning their new queen and arranging the wedding between her and the current king to worry about us down here, I just thought..."
He shrugged slightly as he indicated the Aggedors with a smile. "Well, I thought you'd like to see these little ones."
Despite my confusion over his motives, I couldn't help but feel touched at that comment; the fact that he'd come all this way so that I could see these little Aggedors (They were rather cute, I couldn't help but think as one of them looked at me with an almost curious expression as I lightly stroked its horn) was...
"Why?" I asked at last, looking at him as confusion won out in my current emotional state.
"Because of what they represent," the Doctor replied simply.
"Which is...?" I asked, even as a part of me began to suspect where he was going with this.
"That even when you think there's no hope, life continues to thrive and find a way to come through," the Doctor said, smiling as he indicated the creatures before us. "I mean, look at these little fellows; their grandfather died over fifty years ago- helping to save me and the grandmother of the current king in the process, I might add-, nobody knew that their mother even existed, their entire species was thought to have become extinct... and yet, here we are, sitting with the new generation, a bunch of Aggedor babies celebrating their continued existences just because they exist in the first place..."
Put like that, I had to admit that I saw the Doctor's point; after what the Aggedors had been through, any of them being here was a marvel...
"Life always finds a way, Bella Swan," the Doctor said, turning to look at me with a solemn smile. "You just have to believe that you'll find it too."
For a moment, I felt like arguing with him that it wasn't the same- I'd had my world destroyed while I was left still breathing; all that had happened here was the death of the male of a species while its pregnant offspring survived-, but then I stopped myself as I thought over what the Doctor had told me.
From what he'd explained about the situation, nobody- or at least very few people- had actually known about the senior Aggedor's offspring when he'd been killed; as far as everyone out there was concerned, these incredible creatures would have been as extinct as the sabre-toothed tiger was to me, before they found the Aggedor that would become the mother now sitting over in the corner, watching us play with her cubs with what I could have considered a smile if the sheer quantity of teeth in her mouth didn't make me uncomfortable...
If the Aggedors could find a way to move on and survive even after everything that had happened to them... even when everyone else thought that hope was lost...
Maybe I could too?
I still wasn't sure about the point the Doctor had made, but I could see how he thought it would help me get past the state I'd been in when we met...
For the moment, however, thoughts of Edward and Earth were in the past; right now, all I wanted to do was continue stroking these small, soft baby Aggedors and listen to my strange, alien friend's tales of his previous visits to the planet Peladon.
AN 3: Hope you liked that; the next story features the moment when the Doctor tells Bella just what he lost in his life...