Title- Letter From a Ghost
Characters/Pairings- 11, Rory and Amy, past Doctor/Romana
Summary- The Doctor has mail, and for the first time in a long time, a little bit of hope. Based on the preview clips from The Doctor's Wife.
A/N- For awhile, I really thought they might go the Idris-is-a-humanoid-incarnation-of-the-TARDIS route. After seeing the trailer and the preview clips, though... I think my original assumption was correct. I, of course, immediately proceeded to punch the air and scream in triumph.
"A whisper knocking on,
Knocking on my door,
Moonlight dancing on the wall
Chasing memories inside my mind..."
"We are in deep space," Rory pointed out slowly, bewildered by the unlikely sound.
"Very, very deep," the Doctor concurred. The low-pitched rapping came again at the TARDIS doors. "And somebody's knocking." A series of two, then three, then two again, and the Doctor couldn't help but rap against the wood himself before pulling the doors open.
What he saw could not possibly be there... and yet... the white cube pinwheeling through space couldn't be anything else. That pearlescent shimmer it gave off was distinct and utterly memorable. "Come here you scrumptious little beauty," he murmured, holding out a hand to receive the message that could not possibly be real.
The cube zoomed straight past him and circled the TARDIS console, drawing startled cries from his companions, both of whom lurched backwards out of the cube's trajectory. It hurtled right back into him, smashing right into his chest and knocking him unexpectedly to his knees.
"Doctor... what is that?" Amy asked.
He jumped to his feet, clutching the little glowing box firmly between his two hands, his whole body humming with excitement. No matter what this cube contained, he could only be happy about it. Even if it had somehow been sent before... well, even in that case a little reminiscence might be good for him.
"I've got mail!" he exclaimed excitedly.
"What?" Rory asked.
The Doctor raced to the console. "Oh, I haven't seen one of these since the old days, when Gallifrey was still safe in the sky! Brilliant!" He busied himself scrambling about the console, trying to find where the receptor was. Everything had gotten so jumbled about when the TARDIS repaired herself after his right mess of a regeneration...! "Time-traveling message bundle, you see! Like pan-dimensional email! Much more efficient than your silly little mail carriers on Earth! Time Lord technology, this."
"Doctor... does that mean that some of your people might still be out there?" Amy asked.
Rory looked confused. "What? Your people...?"
Vaguely he realized he'd never explained the situation to Rory. He'd assumed Amy would have filled him in. "Long story, the Time Lords... they all died in the war, every last one of them. Well, except the Master, except sort of he did too and... oh, it's complicated. Amy knows enough to explain it to you later. But for right now-" He finally located the cable he was looking for and connected directly to the surface of the cube.
"Perfect!" he said, satisfied, as the cube gave a single blinding pulse and then settled down to a dim glow. Then he sighed. "Of course, it mightn't be from a Time Lord at all," he said. "Other races may have adapted the technology... that's happened, you know. Bits and pieces of Time Lord tech scattered throughout the universe, not enough to do anything proper like recreate the Eye of Harmony or anything big like that, but you come across things... the message bundles would be a likely candidate for that sort of thing."
The screen lit up as the message was relayed through the TARDIS circuits. An incredibly complex series of intricately interlocking circles appeared on the screen, and a row of characters ran across the bottom of the diagram.
"What is that?" Rory asked.
"Coordinates," the Doctor said tersely. "And the characters are-"
"High Gallifreyan," Amy said. "I recognize them."
The Doctor nodded. "Yes. The ancient language of the Time Lords."
"What does it say?" Rory inquired.
He hesitated for the longest moment. "Help," he said finally.
The screen cleared itself, and was replaced by an image of the Seal of Rassilon in place of an identification code. The Doctor felt both his hearts stutter in his chest. Time Lords! "It's them..." he breathed. Then he whirled to his companions. "Do you know what this means?" he exclaimed, elated. "There's a real, living Time Lord out there!"
"Well, that's brilliant!" Rory exclaimed, clapping him on the shoulder.
"What are we waiting for?" Amy cried.
The Doctor immediately input the coordinates into the TARDIS' primary navigational unit, racing around the console dragging on levers, pressing buttons, and flicking switches, feeling his magnificent ship humming delightedly beneath his fingers and in his head as he did so. He could feel her joy humming through him. Despite everything the Time Lords had done to the pair of them over the years... she missed them, too.
And one, in particular.
He tried not to think about it. It could be anyone. It could be Drax, or it could be Ushas (he couldn't think of her any other way right now), or maybe even that self-important cow, Narvin. It could be someone who was a virtual stranger. But despite his best efforts to remind himself of this, he couldn't help but cling to the hope that it might be her.
His Romana. Well, she wasn't his. She would not be owned or ruled by anyone, she'd made that clear within five seconds of their first meeting. She was, as she had put it, her own Romana. In a way they belonged to each other, though. When she had been stripped of her title as the Lady President, they had bound themselves together in a way that had become so rare on Gallifrey, a bond similar to what humans might call marriage, though it ran deeper than that. They might have been called rash for it at any other time, but during the war, what did it matter? They might all die any moment anyway.
Oh, he would have done it anyway, even without the threat of impending doom hovering over their heads, but that had simply been the circumstance. He had loved her, he supposed, in their own way. It wasn't the way humans would think of love. She didn't make his hearts beat faster or anything silly like that. But she was undeniably a piece of himself- or perhaps he was a piece of her, which was more likely- that had come loose somewhere along the way, and even when they'd despised each other at first they had fit together perfectly.
He hadn't been able to find her on that last, fatal day. Heaven knows he'd tried, in the tiny slice of time he'd had... but she had been simply gone, as if she'd never been. The hours he spent searching for her, trying to find her and save her had nearly doomed the universe, as his window of opportunity in which to deploy his ultimate weapon had been narrow. In the end, he'd had to abandon the search, sacrificing Romana to save reality.
He knew the odds of it being her on the other end of the message were miniscule. Odds were it was his idiot brother. He tried not to think about it.
But when the TARDIS informed him that the coordinates he'd fed her led directly into an open CVE that would take them through into a pocket universe... he couldn't help but remember E-Space and hope.