The Dream Lady - Part Four

The Doctor smiled at the pictures set up on the mantel of their sitting room. The gentle flicker of firelight from the fireplace cast warm glows around the darkened room, the flickering of the light on the wall reflecting on the pictures. There they were, his children, his family.

To the left, on the very end was his Natia, his daughter, his little girl, his first little girl. The girl smiling up at him had thick golden hair, just like the Professor had, but with his brown eyes. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail at the top of her head, her eyes were shining as she squinted, smiling out. She was 305 now, had passed her TARDIS exams with flying colors, had so far passed all her exams beautifully as a matter of fact, she was so brilliant. She was his self appointed assistant on adventures, so responsible, truly feeling responsible for her younger siblings, being their role model, looking out for them wherever they went, always there for them when they needed her. She was his little treasure.

Then there was Eta, their first boy, his little clone as the Professor loved to say. Eta was exactly like he had been as a child, exactly the same. The gob that wouldn't stop, the curiosity that could never be sated, the flair for the dramatic, the uncanny ability to find trouble wherever he went. It was ironic that the Professor called Eta his clone as the had his mother's looks, her golden hair as well as her gray eyes. He looked so much like her but acted so much like him it was almost funny. He'd even begun trying his hand at upgrading his sonic screwdriver, adding dampeners and other odds and ends to it. He had just turned 200 last month and was excited to be able to return home more often and go over some of his inventions with his father.

The center picture was of the six of them, their little family all gathered together for Sigma's birth, all of them smiling, all of them so happy to meet their new little brother, it touched his hearts.

He moved on to the next picture, Kya, the kindest little girl in the world. She was as like him in appearance as Eta was of the Professor, with brown hair that fell in soft curls around her and warm brown eyes. It was hard to believe she was only 97, just three years away from her first triple digit. Kya was far more quiet a person than all her siblings, comfortable in curling up with a little book, silently observing those around her. She was so like her mother in that regard, not speaking much at first but when she did it was important…until she really got to know someone and then she opened up much more. But she was just always the first to help someone else, so kind and considerate and trying to do what she could to make others feel better. His little sweetheart.

And then there was Sigma, their youngest boy, eight years old, with his brown hair but the Professor's gray eyes. He was their little ball of energy, full of excitement and wonder, constantly trying to learn more, so eager to learn more, and then use what he'd learned. He could not wait to get to the Academy and learn. He was just like the Professor, he had aspirations of becoming an Academic like his mother as wll. He smiled as he looked into the eager eyes of Sigma's photo, hoping that his son was having a good time, that he was happy at the Academy.

He shook his head when he noticed something, the girls had his eyes and the boys had hers. It wasn't odd that their children looked so much like they did. Typically the children of Time Lords could end up with any combination of traits from their parents previous incarnations, but since they were both still on their first, there were only so many traits to go on. He wondered what their newest child would look like.

"Your hair, my eyes," the Professor murmured, catching his thoughts, coming up beside him as he moved to look at the center picture again, "A girl."

He smiled, looking over at her, "Why can't it be a boy with your hair and my eyes?"

She laughed, "Either one is fine with me so long as they're healthy and happy."

"I agree," he added softly, leaning in to give her a kiss. He pulled away after a few moments and smiled at her, "Now, my beautiful Bonded, that the children are all sorted…what say we make use of our time alone?"

She laughed, pulling away a bit, "Says the man who'd rather waste time than anything else."

"Oi!" he grinned, watching her walk towards the side of the room, "I only waste time when it comes to you," she paused and turned around to look at him, an eyebrow raised, and he winced at how that came out, "I mean…I…um…I love you?"

She laughed and walked over to him, giving him a peck, "I know what you meant."

He smiled, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear, she always knew what he was trying to say even when he flubbed his words or didn't know himself what it was he was trying to express, "I love that about you," he whispered, kissing her quickly before she pulled back again.

"I love you as well," she told him, walking back to the side of the room as she had been doing before.

He watched her curiously, not entirely sure what she was about to do as she hid her thoughts from him, but couldn't help but be secretly thrilled, even now, after having known her nearly 900 years and having a direct connection to her mind, she still managed to surprise him.

A moment later, soft music started to play, a small track that he knew to be one of her originals. His smile grew as he recognized the tune, one, she'd told him, she'd made especially for him, what she claimed she heard when she thought of him. It was a beautiful melody, soft and soothing at times, powerful and important in others…just...so him

She smiled and walked back over to him, draping her arms around his neck as they started to sway gently to the music. Even after nearly 900 years of her trying to teach him to dance more than a waltz, he was still rubbish at it. But luckily for him, she didn't mind so much, as long as she could just be close to him, have this intimacy, these little moments that they could share together.

He smiled, pulling her closer to him as she rested her head on his chest, burying his face in her hair as they swayed, the music surrounding them, just being as close as they could be. He nuzzled the side of her head, humming the song in her ear, feeling her smile into his neck before she started trailing her own kisses along his neck as he had done to her that morning.

He could barely contain the excited shiver that had gone down his spine, this was the perfect moment…one that he knew would only get better as the night went on. There was always only one place they ended up whenever they danced like this…

The bedroom.

~8~

Amy shivered as she wandered down a hallway, hugging herself. She'd somehow managed to give that Hexa woman the slip but she was still on edge, hearing noises behind her, before her, thinking the woman had caught up to her or somehow managed to get ahead of her, and she still wasn't any nearer to finding Rory it seemed.

She rubbed her head, wishing the Doctor was there. He'd be able to help her, he'd have found Rory by then. He probably would have figured out who the woman was and explained it to her, he'd have stopped all this.

"Your faith in the Doctor is admirable," the woman's voice called.

Amy jumped and turned around to see a monitor behind her had flicked on, the woman there again, "I trust him," Amy said, moving back a few feet to stand before the monitor, it was as simple as that, "He'll find me, and he'll help me."

The woman smirked, "You trust him, sweet. Do you think he returns the sentiment?"

Amy's eyes narrowed, "Of course he does. He's told me things," she added, her nose lifting slightly, "About his people, about what he did, about the war and what happened."

The woman gave a small laugh, "So then, if you're this awe-inspiring person that he trusts above anyone else, what's his name?" Amy swallowed hard and looked away, "You don't know do you?" she actually started to laugh at Amy.

"Stop it!" Amy glared, "Just shut up! You don't know anything!"

"Don't I?" the woman shook her head, "You need to understand something Amelia Pond, you are miniscule. You mean as much to him as any of his other Companions and there have been so many before you. There is no one in this Universe that he will ever love besides the Professor," she eyed Amy, seeing her aware of the truth in the statement, but not exactly accepting or happy with it, "I can see you'll require some more proof then," she sighed, "Would you like to see where your beloved Doctor is? Hmm? What he's doing right now?"

Amy looked up at that, her expression saying enough.

The image suddenly cut off and Amy's mouth dropped open, her heart breaking at the sight, the Doctor and Professor, the man and woman she'd travelled with, were lying in bed together, the Professor's head on his chest, his arm around her, clearly sans clothing, most certainly having just finishing up a rather intimate moment…

~8~

The Doctor was breathing a bit heavily, lying on his back in bed, his arm automatically winding around the Professor's waist as she turned on her side, resting her head on his chest with a very happy look on her face. His other hand reached out and took her hand that was resting on his stomach, playing with her fingers absently, "I love you," he whispered to her after he'd caught his breath, "So much," he looked down at her as she looked up at him, "You have no idea."

She gave him a soft smile, "I think I have a fairly good one actually," she pushed herself up to give him a peck but he let go of her hand to put his on her cheek, holding her there as he deepened the kiss.

"No," he whispered, pulling away to look into her eyes intently, "You…" he swallowed hard, looking at her, "You mean so much to me, so much," he shook his head, "You…you are my everything. From the moment I met you…my hearts, my soul, my entire being were yours. You are my life. If I ever lost you…"

"You never will," she promised, reaching up to cup his cheek, seeing him being so open, so sincere, so vulnerable and exposed.

"I never want to," he looked at her, a promise in his eyes, "If I ever did…nothing would stop me from finding you…" he kissed the palm of her hand, "Nothing would stop me from following you."

She gasped lightly before blinking and nodding slightly, she could feel his emotions, they were the same as her own, they were both too possessive for their own good. They knew nothing would happen now, not with their family so strong, all their regenerations ahead of them, but to hear that their feelings were the same...she rested her hand on his right heart a moment before pulling it away to drop a kiss to his chest, "Me either," she reached out and stroked the side of his face, "I love you."

He reached out and lifted her face to his, kissing her for all he was worth.

~8~

The woman was back, the image cutting off, smirking at the tears in Amy's eyes, "Now you've seen the truth for yourself…"

"That wasn't him," Amy breathed, her voice breaking.

"I control the worlds," the woman shook her head, "Not what you do in them."

Amy shut her eyes closed tightly, tears falling from them as she breathed heavily at what she'd heard the Doctor say to the Professor, the emotion behind them, the promise. She had been foolish in believing she ever had a chance with him. She'd told the Professor in Venice that she was sorry for trying to kiss the Doctor, she wasn't. She was sorry it had led to such tensions among their group, but she wasn't sorry for trying…as she had said, he was the Doctor. She'd promised to keep her distance, more of a sense of shame as he was married and she was about to be married, than a true desire to keep away. But now…seeing that…

"You ran away with the handsome hero," the Dream Lady continued as Amy opened her eyes, "And you left your loyal fiancé behind. Such a pity for him…"

And the image cut again.

Amy screamed.

Rory was locked in a small room, on his back, his body arching off the ground as he screamed in pain, twisting and turning, jolting and tensing as pain coursed through him. She couldn't see anything in the room that could hurt him, but something was and, from the look of it, had been for a while.

"Rory!" she shouted, running to the image just as Rory collapsed back to the ground and stopped moving, but, like before, it cut back to the Dream Lady, "Where is he? What are you doing to him? Tell me!"

"Oh, so NOW you want Rory," the woman remarked.

"Shut up!" Amy snapped, angry, "Tell me where he is! Now!"

"The end of the line," she replied and the monitor shut off.

Amy glared and smacked it, before she noticed a door at the end of the hall, an end and a door that hadn't been there before. She quickly ran for it, grabbing the knob and rushing into the room, only to stop short, her mouth falling open, her eyes widening at the sight before her.

Rory was lying on the ground, unmoving.

"Rory!" she ran to his side, dropping to her knees as she tried to shake him awake, praying he was only alseep, knocked out from the pain or strain of what he'd been through, "Rory wake up! Please…" she reached out and pressed her fingers to his neck…he was warm, but there was no pulse, "No…" she breathed, realizing she'd been too late, by mere moments it seemed, "Rory…" tears filled her eyes as she felt her heart constrict, "Rory…" she moved around him, pulling him into her arms, stroking his face, but he didn't move.

He was gone.

She buried her face into his chest, crying.

"How sad," someone said. Her head snapped up to see the woman standing across the small room from her, actually and physically there. She was leaning against the wall, her arms crossed, watching them, her eyes on Rory, "He was strong, surprisingly so, but the Core was too much for him in the end, it's too much for any human really. Did you know, he stayed true, remained loyal? We wanted information about you, about your weaknesses, your fears, they would have made an excellent addition to the maze," she sighed, "But he wouldn't budge. So, so loyal...to you," she moved her gaze to Amy, "Can you say the same?"

Amy swallowed hard and looked down, ashamed, no she couldn't.

"The physical torture grew boring after a while," the woman sighed, "The screaming grew old," she laughed a bit, "Oh but the emotional torture, the psychological torture, now that was interesting," Amy glared at her but she continued, "The look on his face when I brought up that kiss you tried to give the Doctor…well…" she smirked, "You tried to give him more than that didn't you?"

Amy winced.

"Can you truly say you'd be loyal to him after you'd wed?" the woman wondered, tilting her head as she eyed Amy as though evaluating her worth and finding her lacking, "The flirt? The kiss-o-gram? Who would run off with the Doctor, and turn her back on her fiancé, if he'd shown her even the slightest hint of returned affection?" she shook her head, "Rory deserves better than you. He deserves someone who would love him."

"I do love him," Amy whispered, crying softly.

And she did, she could feel it now, she knew it. It was true, she did love Rory. She loved him so much…and she never said. She never told him…

Suddenly the door was kicked open and Hexa stormed in, her gun raised and aimed at Amy who looked up, scared, "You tried to take him from me!" the angry woman shouted and Amy just knew she was NOT talking about Rory, "You thought you could escape me? There is nowhere you could run that I wouldn't find you!"

Amy's eyes widened at the familiar words and she looked between the two women in the room, realizing what had happened. The Dream Lady…this was a dream…and if the Dream Lady represented the Time Lady…and that woman, Hexa, she recognized her now, from the Atraxi hologram, she was a past incarnation of the Professor…

Hexa lifted her gun higher and aimed it at Amy's head. Amy could only close her eyes, even if this wasn't a dream, this was her only chance of being with Rory again.

Hexa fired…

~8~

Amy and Rory shot up with a gasp, finding themselves lying on the glass floor of the TARDIS console. Amy's hand immediately went to her forehead while Rory placed a hand on his heart, looking around, shaking, before he noticed Amy, alive and well and beside him, and pulled her into a tight hug as tears filled his eyes. He felt relief course through him as she hugged him back just as tightly when…

"Professor," the Doctor whispered having woken slower than they had, having only fallen asleep in his world to wake up in reality once more. They looked over, watching warily as he rolled to his side, moving to his knees to gently shake the Professor awake. Both took an involuntary swallow as she slowly woke up.

She blinked, pushing herself to a sitting position, staring at nothing in particular for a moment before she closed her eyes tightly, regret and anguish on her face. She took a breath and pushed herself to her feet, half storming over to the console, trying to ignore the flinch of Amy and Rory at her sudden move. She opened a panel just by the rotor and reached in, feeling around before she found what she was looking for and held it in the palm of her hand, staring at it with a dark look.

The Doctor cautiously made his way over to her, looking down at the small specks in her hand. He opened his mouth to say something when she turned and put the specks on the floor, ignoring another flinch from Amy and Rory as she pulled out her blaster and shot the specks, destroying them, before turning and heading for the steps to the halls without so much as a word.

'Kata,' the Doctor called.

She paused, only a moment, at the top of the steps, 'Don't Theta,' she whispered back before continuing on.

"Doctor?" Amy asked softly, as soon as she was sure the Professor had left, Rory helping her to her feet as the Doctor moved to lean on the console, checking the monitor to scan the rotor, see if everything was fine, "What was that?"

He sighed, "Specks of psychic pollen from the candle meadows of Karass don Slava," he looked at the rotor, "Must have been hanging around for ages. Fell in the time rotor, heated up, and induced a dream state for all of us."

Amy felt a bit of relief at that, "So…the Dream Lady then…she was just those little specks?"

Rory tightened his grip around her at the mention of the woman.

"No," he closed his eyes tightly, he knew the dreams Amy and Rory had been left in, he'd seen it in the Professor's mind for only a moment when she'd just woken before she'd hidden her thoughts away, but it had been enough, "The Dream Lady was the Professor," he rubbed his face, "And Hexa...she was the Professor from the war, the soldier the Time Lords turned her into."

Rory shook his head, it didn't make sense, he didn't know who this Hexa woman was, but the other woman, the Dream Lady, she was NOTHING like the Professor, "How?"

"Psychic pollen, it's a mind parasite," he turned to them, grim, "It feeds on everything dark in you. Gives it a voice, turns it against you. The Professor is 905 and…" he swallowed hard, feeling so terrible for her, for what she must be feeling now, "With the war…with what happened to her before, during, and after…" he shook his head, "It had a lot to go on."

"But why didn't it feed on us, too?" Amy frowned, feeling cross between being frightened of the Professor and sorry for her. To create a world like that, to try and hurt her, to harm Rory like that…she couldn't imagine the hell the Professor must have gone through to be able to create such a world.

"Darkness in you pair?" he gave a little laugh, though one they could tell was forced as he kept glancing at the steps, wanting to check on the Professor, "It would've starved to death in an instant. The Professor and I, we choose our friends with great care."

Rory swallowed a moment, shifting from foot to foot, "So…it was a dream then? All of it?"

The Doctor's gaze grew distant, recalling the world he'd been in, "Yes," he sighed, his hearts breaking just a bit at that fact, "All of it," before he turned and went to look for the Professor. She shouldn't be alone right now, he knew where her mind would take her, what she would be thinking. She needed him.

~8~

The Doctor smiled softly as he stood in the doorway of the music room he'd had the TARDIS make for the Professor. She was sitting on the other end of the room, at her piano-like instrument, her back to the door, silent. He knew he should have checked there first for her.

He stepped into the room and went to sit beside her on the bench.

"Don't say it," she said after a moment of silence.

"Say what?" he looked at her, but she kept her gaze focused, unseeing, at the keys.

"That it wasn't my fault what happened in the dreams," she said, "That I'm not a monster for putting you all through that…"

"You are NOT a monst…"

"I said don't say it."

"It needs to be said."

She shook her head, "It won't change anything. It won't make it any more true if you do," he looked over, hearing her voice crack, to see tears in her eyes, "God, the things I did to them…" she bowed her head, her shoulders starting to shake. He turned and put his arms around her, pulling her into an embrace, holding her as she cried, "I left Amy alone with all those enemies, when I said I'd protect her. I…I tortured Rory…I killed him. I'm so sorry Theta," she whispered, moving to put her arms around him as well, clinging to him, "I hurt you the worst."

He pulled back just a bit to cup her face, "How on Earth did you hurt me?" he looked at her, slightly confused, the dream she'd placed him in…placed them both in...it had been glorious. Yes, it hurt to know those children weren't there, to recall their planet was destroyed, the Daleks were still roaming, it did hurt...but...to have that moment of peace, of life and happiness back…even for just that moment, even in a dream...to have just that one day of 'what if' and feel like it was real, to believe it...he couldn't regret that.

"I gave you everything you wanted," she closed her eyes tightly, "Gallifrey, our people, the Daleks destroyed, us, a family…and now it's been taken away…it was never real..."

She started to cry harder and he pulled her closer, whispering in her ear, trying his best to soothe her, "I'm so sorry," she whimpered, repeating it over and over.

He stroked her hair, "It's alright Kata," he kissed her head, pulling back again to look her in the eye, his hearts breaking at how broken she looked, "You are NOT a monster," he told her firmly, "A monster wouldn't feel guilt, a monster wouldn't feel sorrow, a monster wouldn't care," he told her, cupping her head in both his hands, "You are the farthest thing from a monster there is," he wiped a few falling tears with his thumbs, "The psychic pollen is meant to latch onto the darkness inside us, to magnify it, you had NO control over what happened in those worlds after they were created."

The most she had done was control who went where. A part of her would never have allowed him to come to any harm, and so he'd been sent to a beautiful version of reality, a world she herself had dreamed of at times, where she hadn't let Mayra take him away, where she'd stood up and fought for him. A dream where she'd never become a soldier, the Daleks had been destroyed thus avoiding war, where she could still have him while being an Academic. A part of her was still angry with Amy for what she'd tried to do, had taken her away to a world of their enemies, of dangers, where she'd have to face them alone as a method of making her realize the Doctor wasn't hers, he wouldn't be there at her side forever. That he might one day be torn away from Amy but he'd never let himself be torn away from the Professor. A part of her empathized with Rory, connected to him, associated with him. It brought him to a world where he would be able to relate to her on a different level, where he'd experience much of the same tortures, beatings, doubts that she had during her life.

The psychic pollen just took those feelings and created the worlds to fit to them. She had no control over what was actually happening. It wasn't her fault.

"It's not your fault," he whispered, out loud, to her.

"He's right," Amy's voice said from behind them. They looked over to see Amy and Rory standing in the doorway, Rory's arm around Amy's shoulders as she stood with her arms crossed, "It wasn't your fault."

"We don't blame you," Rory added as they walked in, the two of them having had time to reflect on what teh Doctor had said and what had happened to them, "It was the pollen, and it was every hurt you'd ever felt that it pulled to the surface."

The Professor smiled just a bit at their words, it was one thing to hear it from the Doctor, he always forgave her, but it was another thing to hear it from the others she'd harmed, "I'm still so sorry," she breathed.

The humans just reached out and hugged her tightly, "There's nothing to be sorry for," Rory told her.

Amy nodded, but she knew what the Professor needed to hear, "But we forgive you."

The Professor let out a little sob at that, hugging them closer as the Doctor joined in, their little group staying strong and pulling together more than ever, for her.

A/N: I seriously felt like the Professor had a bit of split-personality here, so kind to the Doctor, so terrible to Amy and Rory...but that's her in a nutshell I suppose. Loves the Doctor, will hunt you down if you do anything to him.

I also hope it came across that pretty much every interaction between the Dream Lady and Rory were based on the Professor's past.
Scene 1 = the rooms of the training facility with Rory being alone like the Professor was the last Academic left.
Scene 2 = electrocuting Rory for answers like with the Krillitanes.
Scene 3 = her training, learning to defend herself to better protect the Time Lords, moreso the Doctor.
Scene 4 = her own feelings about being second best to Mayra or even Rose, chained up like the Master had her.
Scene 5 = I mentioned once that the Academics were worn out to allow their training and conditioning to set in, I imagine a device like this might have been used (we'll actually see that as a flashback somewhere in the AU story).
Scene 6 = basically just representing all the pain she endured as a child, in training, during the war, in her life. (the agiel was the Legend of the Seeker item)
Scene 7 = well...the Core, speaks for itself.

I feel like it's also a bit more terrifying and chilling that the Professor's Dream Lady has been torturing Rory for Amy's worst fear to add to the maze when Amy was actually already experiencing her worst fear. Based on the God Complex, I took Amy's fear to be waiting and the Doctor not appearing again, leaving her alone. Here, Amy's been waiting for him to come save her and he never shows up.

And...drum roll please...the AU 9th Doctor/Professor story will be posted tomorrow, to be titled Rewritten. We all know that time can be rewritten and the 9th Doctor finding her would certainly rewrite their stories :) Also, the spin-off series, Recollections, will be posted after that, so if you've got any requests let me know!

So, the Dream Lady 'episode' is complete! What do you all think now that you've read everything? Really let me know, like I said in the first chapter, I get ridiculously nervous about original chapters...