Author's Note: Tried something new, here. I'm putting in a little hint as to a slightly larger story idea I've been thinking about for a while now. Course, then Series Six had to set me up for failure, because apparently, Series Seven is going to have their own ideas about it all. But I still have a good idea. Haven't done this before, in the past, because sometimes I write stories I think are going to be good and they wind up lousy. But, what the hey! Might as well try.
I like the fact that someone finally talks down to the Doctor, though. Bout time!
Sorry about Aslan not being Jesus. But, well, I'm Jewish, so I just made him all Doctor-Who-y instead.
The events that followed are of much historical importance, and are explained at further length in the many chronicles of the Kingdom of Narnia. In short, the four humans—two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve, whose arrival in Narnia had been prophesied in the Deep Magic—met the Lion, Aslan, at the Stone Table and fulfilled their destiny. Together, they fought for Narnia, fought for the freedom of all who lived therein. And, just as was foretold in the Deep Magic, they won. The Long Winter ended, Spring arrived, and Narnia was free once more.
The two Daughters of Eve, Susan and Lucy Pevensie, had thought that Aslan had revived all of the stone and ice statues before the Battle of Beruna. Yet after the battle had ended, it quickly became clear to the two sisters that all was not right. Aslan was prowling through the countryside, sniffing the air as if hunting for something.
"Aslan, what are you looking for?" asked Lucy.
"Someone who helped me, without knowing who or what I was," said Aslan. "Someone who had the courage to release the mental stranglehold that kept me out of the lands of Narnia. And for his efforts, he was turned to stone."
"But surely, this person would have been back with all the others," said Susan. She didn't want to propose to Aslan that his friend might be dead, but she thought it was likely.
"The White Witch feared what would happen if he escaped," said Aslan. "He is everything that she could never be, and she knew it. She would have placed him somewhere she thought no one would find him." Aslan paused, his head tilted, as if he'd found a trace of something in the air. Then he began to run forwards, through the grass, past green trees and newly sprouted flowers. Lucy and Susan chased after him, trying to keep up.
And then, in a dark corner of an abandoned cave, they found a stone statue. Lucy squealed. "It's a man!" she said. "Just a normal, human man!"
Susan examined the statue carefully. It did appear to be an ordinary human man, a little beat up, but still sporting a determined look on his boyish face. He wore a pinstripe suit and a long trench coat, and was positioned as if lunging towards someone in the distance, pointing a small cylindrical object in the unknown person's location. "What is he carrying in his hand?" Susan asked.
Aslan didn't answer her. He put a paw on the man's shoulder. "My poor friend," he said. "You have suffered far too much in the darkness. It is time to come back to the light." And with only a breath, he brought the statue back to life.
The man in the pinstripe suit nearly fell over, but caught himself just in time. He leaned against Aslan's paw, trying to catch his breath. Then his gaze shifted to Aslan, and his eyes widened.
"Blimey," he said. "When they said talking lion, I thought they meant talking lion. I didn't think they meant you."
"You know me, then, Doctor?" asked Aslan.
"Oh, yeah, learned about all you big pan-dimensional types back in the nursery." He squeezed the bridge of his nose in thought. "Something with an A… Adam, no, Alron, no…" He suddenly snapped his fingers. "Aslan!" He beamed. "Oh, but that's brilliant! Aslan, one of the Universal Guardians, just like the White and Black Guardians back in my home universe. You were always my favorite, you know that? The renegade of the Universal Guardians! The Guardian who decided to stuff all the rivalry and formality, because he was going to make his own universe where everyone could just be nice to each other for a change."
"You told me that I could not judge you until I met you face to face," said Aslan, letting his paw fall. "I hope that you will now do me that same honor."
The Doctor did a double take, and he nearly toppled over again.
"That was you!" exclaimed the Doctor. "In the darkness! Oh, that is just — I really am clever, you know that? The only person I can rescue, and it winds up being the bloke who can fix this mess all up, lickety split. I'm a genius, a complete and utter genius. Certainly had that one planned out from the beginning, I can tell you that much."
"You had no idea, did you?" Susan asked.
"Well, not an idea as such… maybe just a feeling… or maybe a feeling about a feeling…" The Doctor scratched the back of his neck, then beamed at the two girls. "Hello! I'm the Doctor. You must be the humans who traversed the inter-dimensional gateway."
"I went through a wardrobe," said Lucy, shaking his hand.
"Brilliant!" said the Doctor. He noticed Aslan slinking away, and hastily made his apologies to the sisters before dashing to catch up with the Lion.
They were walking up a grassy hill, the Doctor and Aslan. The Doctor was breathing in the fresh air, the air he never thought he'd taste again. He admired the landscape surrounding them—all the flowers in bloom and the new leaves on the trees, the tweeting of birds in the forest and the soft grass beneath his feet. The gentle Narnian sun shone down upon him, purging him of the deeper traces of darkness that Jadis had implanted in his soul.
"It really is a gorgeous little pocket universe," said the Doctor. "Your work?"
"Very good. Very tasteful." He paused, and hesitated. "Jadis?"
"Dead," said Aslan.
"Ah," said the Doctor. He gave a long sigh which seemed to stifle a complex set of emotions. He ran a hand through his hair. "Should have known, really. Probably for the best. No second chances, and all that. Best just let the universe get on without her."
"You were never the same as her, Doctor," said Aslan. "I've seen into your soul. When Jadis killed her world, she felt only pride and power and spite. When you destroyed yours, you were plagued by remorse and guilt."
The Doctor shook his head. "But there's that little part of me that's just like her. A part of me feels that power, that spite, even now. It's so tempting, now that I'm alone again. I catch myself thinking, I'm the only one left; I can do anything I want, laws of time be damned. I could go back and get Rose before the battle of Canary Warf, horde her for myself and create a massive, universe-destroying paradox, and who could stop me?"
"And Jadis had a little part of herself that felt your same sense of remorse and guilt over what she had done," said Aslan. "But that does not make you identical, Doctor. That does not make you Jadis."
The Doctor did not seem convinced.
"If you could have given your life to save both Gallifrey and the universe, would you?" asked Aslan.
"If it stopped Rassilon and the Daleks, then yes," said the Doctor. "In a heartsbeat." He paused. "Jadis wouldn't have done that, would she?"
"She did the opposite. She destroyed Charn to preserve her own life." Aslan gave the Doctor a gentle smile. "You are not a monster, my friend. You should not be ashamed that you survived."
"Rose would have said that," said the Doctor. He stared into the distance, at the green forests and the camp just outside Beruna. "I'm never going to see her again. And I'm going to have to live with that, now."
"You were the one who said that it was loss that defined life as much as love," said Aslan.
"Ah, yes, with the Cybermen. I remember that."
"And do you feel the same way now?"
"Always," said the Doctor. He paused. "But that doesn't make it any easier."
"Perhaps you will see your Rose again," said Aslan. "Perhaps, some day, she will come back."
The Doctor gave him a sad look that showed how impossible he felt this was, then shifted his gaze back into the distance. For a while, they said nothing.
"So, trapped in the ice, huh?" said the Doctor, finally. "Didn't think that was even possible for a Guardian."
"Being trapped is only a state of mind," said Aslan.
The Doctor ran a hand through his hair. "Blimey, you lot really go all out on the enigmatic," he said. "A simple 'yes' or 'no' would suffice."
"What do you think, Doctor?" asked Aslan.
The Doctor gave it some thought. "Well, you're not really a Lion at all, I know that already. You Guardians, you're all higher dimensional beings. Not really that easy to trap, exactly — especially not in normal, four-dimensional space-time. Jadis could barely control the fourth dimension — that's why she wanted me. And she seemed to be pretty sure she hadn't seen you since she took over. All of which means that you couldn't have been trapped in the ice at all." The Doctor frowned. "Thing is, I remember that Song in the darkness. You were there. It's impossible, it's ludicrous, but it's true." He screwed up his face in concentration. "Did she trap your four-dimensional essence in some sort of causal anti-causal matter transference loop?"
Aslan gave a purr that sounded a little like a laugh. He let the wind rustle through his mane, as he considered his next words. "I suppose it's more accurate to say that she trapped a piece of my mind inside a magic web, locking me out of the Land of Narnia."
"That's your own nice way of telling me I've got no hope of ever understanding it?" asked the Doctor.
Aslan purred again, his mane ruffling with the vibrations of his laughter. "You finally understand how your human companions feel," he said.
The Doctor gave a sheepish grin. "Walked right into that one," he muttered. He thought for a moment. "So why didn't Jadis know that I was going to release you? She saw every other move I made a mile off."
Aslan considered. "I don't think that Jadis was ever aware that the magic web she had woven was based on the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time; a lock that only you could break. Once you freed me, I was able to enter this world once more. I was able to keep my promise."
The Doctor gave Aslan a sideways smile. "That you did," said the Doctor. "And quite spectacularly. Never thought I'd come back from the dead. Well, not back from petrification, at any rate." His smile dropped, and his brow creased. "That's not part of the Deep Magic, too, is it? No, wait, hold up." He started to carve symbols into the air, working out the math in his mind.
"The Deep Magic is from the dawn of time," said Aslan, "but there is also a Deeper Magic from before the dawn of time. I tricked Jadis into unlocking the Deeper Magic, and I used that to bring you back."
The Doctor's hand dropped back to his side. "Before the dawn of time," he mused. He shook his head. "There was nothing before the dawn of time."
"Is that your religion?" asked Aslan, interestedly.
The Doctor shivered in the warm air.
"I'm sorry, my friend," said Aslan. "I did not mean to bring up bad memories. I was simply curious about what you had worked out."
"About before the dawn of time?" asked the Doctor. "Not much. Apparently, it exists, despite the fact that its existence is impossible. Still, I suppose it's only natural that I wouldn't understand. After all, I'm just your run-of-the-mill four dimensional being. Can't work out all those complicated 'before the dawn of time' bits you lot are always going on about."
"There will come a time, Doctor, when you will need to know," said Aslan. "Until then, feel blessed that you live in ignorance."
The Doctor shot him a confused look, but if Aslan noticed, he decided not to acknowledge it. The two listened, as a blue bird began to chirp its tune into the air.
"I still need to bring you to Narnia," said Aslan.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were the one who brought me here in the first place."
"You of all people should know that not all events progress in a linear fashion," said Aslan.
The Doctor laughed. "You're sending the summons back in time, you mean," he said. He sobered, then. "I don't have to stay in this universe, do I?"
"No," said Aslan. "Mr. Tumnus is back at the camp, along with the items that Jadis confiscated from you during your captivity. He can show you the way to the lamppost. From there, you'll be able to find the gateway back to Earth."
The Doctor smiled into the sunlight, as it twinkled in his eyes. The wind ruffled through his hair, and the last remnants of darkness left his face, as he once more breathed in his freedom. He gave a small stretch. "Bout time I got going, then," he said. "Time and space to explore, and whatnot." He turned to Aslan. "I'm glad I met you, Aslan."
"And I you, Doctor," said Aslan.
The Doctor gave Aslan one final, friendly smile, and then set off down the hill, towards Mr. Tumnus and his Tardis. As Aslan watched him go, Lucy and Susan came to join the Lion. Lucy was peering off into the distance. "Who was that, Aslan?" she asked.
Aslan's eyes didn't leave the disappearing speck. "A good friend to Narnia," he said, "and a good friend of mine."