In the moments before Oswin Oswald dies, she sees the white room for what it truly is. Intensive intensive care, she thinks and she would smile, but she can't because lips aren't something that she has anymore. But, she closes her eyes and dives readily back into the illusion inside her mind. She deserves that much, she decides. She will die as she lived, in a world where there are soufflés with no eggs and daleks who were human all along.
She is still human, so human. She sits in her chair and taps her fingers reflexively on the keyboard in her lap. "Oswin Oswald." She says her name, still trying to accept truth instead of the delusion she has always known. "My name is Oswin Oswald."
She can't deny the metallic, dalek tones that she can now hear echoing under her words.
She left home when she was 19, determined to see the stars and be somebody. The Alaska needed an entertainment director and Oswin needed a lift off her planet. It was a perfect fit. She waved to her dad and hugged her mum. "I'll be back before you know it!"
Two weeks later, Mr and Mrs. Oswald received a phone call. The Alaska had dropped off the radar. There were no more transmissions and, it seemed, no survivors. Oswin Oswald's parents kept hope in their hearts for a very long time, but after a year it was mostly gone. On Oswin's 20th birthday, her mother made a soufflé. She cried when she pulled it, puffed and cooked to precision, from the oven.
A very long way away, Oswin made her own birthday soufflé. One cup milk, she measured with precision and poured it into a bowl. Two eggs, she cracked the shells, ignoring the feeling of wrongness in the deepest part of her mind. She knew the recipe by heart. She also knew, as she slid the dish into an oven heated to 350 degrees, that her soufflé would burn like it always did.
"Happy birthday to me." She sang and dug her fork into the charred soufflé balanced on her lap. The taste lingered in her mouth, charred and faintly metallic, almost like blood. "Happy birthday to me."
The world she has so meticulously crafted is shattering. The daleks, she thinks numbly. They must have fired. She thinks of the Doctor and she wants to hate the man for the reality he has so cruelly thrust upon her. She can't, though, because she recognizes a kindred spirit in the man. She hopes that he will get away along with Rory the nose and the girl with fiery hair.
They will have lives, all of them. They will live and be happy and go on adventures just like Oswin always wanted to. She screws up her face and tries not to cry. It isn't fair.
When the tears start to fall anyway, Oswin gives up. They aren't real. She is an unreal human wrapped in a cold metal hull. And even if she were still a girl, there is no one here to see her cry.
The two weeks on the Alaska fell far, far short of Oswin's initial expectations. The crew wasn't allowed out onto the main deck expect for tour-functions and there hadn't been any of those yet. The food was stale and freeze-dried. Oswin thought longingly of her mother's famous soufflés back at home.
She hadn't made any friends either. A few crew members seemed okay, but most were far older that 19-year-old Oswin and wanted nothing to do with her. She was lonely and missed days spent in her mother's kitchen, listening to Carmen and cooking those famous soufflés.
The only upside was the small window in the her room. Oswin would press her face up against it, fogging it with her breath as she stared, dizzy with wonder, hungry with want, at the limitless stars.
Oswin is lying on her back and the room is exploding around her.
"Hope the Doctor got out okay." She told the smoke and flames. She had pressed the master delete, made the daleks forget about the man they called the Predator. If he got out alive, he should be okay. She breathed a sigh of relief and of sadness. Tears were drying on her cheeks.
A shard of something, metal or glass she can't tell which, pierces the flesh of her upper arm. Oswin screams out of habit, but there is no pain as it sinks through her skin and into her bone. She is an unreal girl in a metal shell. Nothing hurts as chaos rains down from above.
When Oswin was very small, maybe four or five, she knew she wanted to see the stars.
"I'll do it!" She told her parents, hands on hip and nose in the air. "I'll get on a starship and see them up close!"
Her parents assured her that she would. Her father would chuckle, his eyes hidden behind the flat white glare of his glasses. Her mother would smile and say "Come help me in the kitchen, Oswin dear." Oswin would complain, but secretly be excited when her mum would let her measure out the milk and crack the eggs for her famous soufflé.
"One cup milk." Her throat is raw from the smoke. "Two eggs." A piece of metal was digging to the soft flesh of her stomach. "Heat the oven to 350 degrees." Blood is pooling around her head.
The smell of burning fills up her nose and she can hear strains of Carmen playing over the roar of fires and explosions. She is crying in fear, but not in pain. Blood, hot and viscous, wets her fingers and she is afraid to look at her body. "I hope you…remember me." She tells the Doctor, even though he is hopefully far, far away by now.
"I was human." The world is fading and she wonders what damage has been done to her dalek-body. "My name is Oswin Oswald and I was human."
Blood wets her lips and she tastes salt and burning. She thinks of home.
The world is fading, falling away into black and faint white lights.
Maybe now she can finally see the stars.
A/N:Quick note on the title...a revenant is a visible ghost/animated corpse that returns to terrorize the living. I look at it as human!Oswin sticking around to harass/keep control of dalek!Oswin. So..yeah.
And that was terribly depressing, wasn't it? God, that episode pretty much killed me. I felt so bad for Oswin and her sad/brave end. Anyway, review and all that. I'll just be here in this corner...mourning...
Disclaimer: Still nope.