Author's note: I've always thought that the Firefly and Doctor Who 'verses would fit perfectly together—like peanut butter and jelly, like Sherlock Holmes (original flavor) and his pipe, like the Doctor and Rose—if only it weren't for that pesky lack of aliens. Then an idea occurred to me, and my mind was promptly blown.

In the Firefly-verse, this takes place after the series but before the Big Damn Movie (Inara's left, but Book's still there). On the Doctor Who side, it's a sequel to my story A Twist in Time—I suppose you could read this story without reading the other first, but why would you want to? ;)

This one may end up being a long one, but I'll be updating a chapter a day.

Chapter 1: Prologue

Snow drifted down from the winter sky, settling softly on the slumped shoulders of the Doctor. Another failure, with the lost lives to show for it. Sometimes he almost hated them, the people who looked to him with hopeful eyes and a rapidly emptying hourglass. I've let so many people down. Astrid. Morvin. Foon. Bannakaffalatta. Francine. Clive. Tish. Jack. Martha. Rose.

Why did they turn to him? Why did they believe in him? Jack was faithful even though he'd been abandoned, even though he'd lived through a year of hell with the Master after waiting centuries just to see the Doctor again. Martha walked the Earth alone, preaching the gospel of the Doctor. His lips twisted in disgust at himself. She believed in him so strongly, and what had he ever done to earn that trust? He'd manipulated and belittled her time and time again instead of seeing the incredible woman she really was—not to mention what had happened to her family because of him.

And Rose. He turned back to the TARDIS, ignoring the melting snow that had collected in his collar as he stood there thinking. It still hurt too much to think about her.

The TARDIS was quiet, her consoling hum echoing through empty hallways. This was his life. This was what he could expect—what he deserved. A small ping sounded from the monitor, and the Doctor glanced at the monitor before frowning. "26th century Ariel? Bit of a mess there, really. You sure I should visit?" The ping sounded again, more forcefully this time, and he sighed. "Fine, I'll go." He moved mechanically around the console, pressing buttons and pulling levers as he began the dematerialization sequence. Soon nothing remained in the field but a rectangular patch that was rapidly filling with snow.

The winter stillness was interrupted by a crackling hiss as a fissure formed in the air, opening to release a petite blonde figure. Rose Tyler yelped as she stepped into the icy wind. "Oh, bugger. I need to get a better jacket. Maybe sometime in the 43rd century." Hands rubbing firmly at her upper arms, she blinked the lingering bits of gold out of her eyes and peered around the field, muttering under her breath. "Always with the middles of the fields. All of time and space, Rose Tyler, just don't expect me to land anywhere near where we're going. Also, don't expect me to know where we've landed, either." She scoffed and began to glow again. "Daft alien." Another golden tear formed in front of her and she stepped through, leaving nothing behind but her footprints.