A/N: I told someone else to write this. I really did. But they didn't. So I did! And that's why you shouldn't kill me. This is based on a gifset highlighting the similarities between the beach used in 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' and 'Doomsday.' As usual nothing you recognize belongs to me! Enjoy!
The whole thing started out as an apology from the Doctor for the fiasco that was Amy and Rory's honeymoon. Said honeymoon had been fantastic (a cruise in a spaceship in the far future) until the engine malfunctioned and plummeted the ship into a tumultuous, cloud covered planet dominated by a cold hearted miser named Kazran, who was, in Amy's opinion, the spitting image of Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge. The Doctor managed to save the day, of course, with the help of a beautiful blonde woman with the voice of an angel, who turned out to be Kazran's doomed love—but their honeymoon was still well and truly ruined.
Rory wanted to go somewhere on Earth. Paris, maybe, or Thailand, but the Doctor insisted that he could find them the perfect place and that it was his gift to them, the boy and girl who waited. Two invasions, one earthquake, five uprisings, and one sexual revolution later and Amy was starting to wonder if her husband hadn't had the right idea after all. One last try, she told the Doctor, and if it didn't work he could drop them back at Leadworth for a month and pick them up when it was over. The Doctor, of course, could never resist a challenge, which was why she and Rory were strolling through the fanciest hotel on Calidrax Seven in the forty-fifth century. It was one of the finest pleasure planets in the entire galaxy, he'd informed them smugly, and the psychic paper got them free reign of the place and an unlimited credit line. The Doctor had disappeared after securing the honeymoon suite for them, and in the three days that she and Rory had been at the hotel nothing unexpected had happened—nothing at all.
Rory was thrilled. They slept until noon, ordered room service, and generally lazed about. Occasionally they took their meals at the hotel's exclusive restaurant and Amy had to admit that she adored shopping at the various boutiques that were within walking distance of the resort—but she was starting to get restless. She thrived on danger and adrenaline and the thrill of standing on alien ground, beneath alien skies and never staying in the same place twice.
So it was that, while Rory greeted the Doctor's spontaneous arrival on the fourth day of their perfect honeymoon with some minor irritation and a dash of trepidation, Amy was relieved and a bit excited.
"Hello Ponds!" the Doctor exclaimed brightly. He wrapped Rory in an enthusiastic bear hug and Amy stifled a giggle with her hand. Personal space wasn't something the Doctor understood—ever. He heard her, of course. Sensitive hearing was just one of the many quirks of his so-called superior Time Lord biology. It made keeping secrets quite difficult and having private conversations almost impossible when he was around. "Amelia!" he declared with his trademarked goofy grin and a sparkle in his green eyes that spoke of a great deal of mischief. "Are you laughing at me?" He swept her up into a hug and she smiled into the scratchy tweed of his jacket.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, after he put her back down.
The Doctor sniffed. "Can't I visit my friends without an having an ulterior motive?"
"On our honeymoon?" Rory asked. "No, no you can't, and especially considering it's you." He flopped down on the bed. "So, what is it—invasion, war, deadly shopping spree?"
"Quarantine?" Amy guessed. "Or maybe a worldwide banana shortage?"
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "Honestly, you two," he huffed. "You act like I go looking for trouble!"
"You do," Rory pointed out. Amy grinned.
"Anyway," the Doctor continued. He chose to ignore Rory. "There's somewhere I want to take you. Heard about it last time I was here, but we never got around to checking it out."
"We?" Amy asked. "Did you come here with River?"
Something flashed across his face, something dark and empty. "No," he answered shortly—but then the mask was back up and he bounded to the door with all the exuberance of a schoolboy on holiday. "Well?" he called back over his shoulder. "Come along, Ponds!"
"So," Amy began as the Doctor danced around the TARDIS console. "Where are we going?"
"The name's a bit tricky," the Doctor replied as he typed what appeared to be a string of gibberish on what appeared to be a typewriter hardwired into the console. "It doesn't have an exact equivalent in English; the closest you lot get is 'the Hall of Mirrors.'"
Rory blinked and then grabbed for the railing as the TARDIS pitched left and right and further right. "Are you taking us to a carnival?"
"Would I interrupt your honeymoon for that?" the Doctor shot back, looking wounded.
Rory refused to fall for it. "Yes," he answered without hesitation.
"Alright, yes, maybe I would," the Doctor conceded. "But I'm not." The TARDIS shuddered one last time and then it stilled. The Doctor flashed them a brilliant grin as he threw open the doors.
Rory and Amy stepped out into a room that looked to be made of mirrored glass. The walls were rounded and sloped into the domed ceiling. There were no seams or cracks to indicate where a door might be set into the wall. Their reflects bent and warped on the smooth surface; all in all it looked like a very large, very well done carnival attraction. Rory rolled his eyes and the Doctor frowned.
"This isn't right," the Time Lord muttered, and flicked out the sonic screwdriver. As soon as it began to buzz the walls shifted. Ripples spread outward like water in a pond and the bright, shining glass receded from view.
They were standing on a beach. They sky was a flat steel gray, broken only by scattered cirrus clouds. A stiff, chill breeze ghosted around them and brought with it the salt tang of the sea. Waves like molten lead rolled onto the damp sand and left behind shells and other detritus in their wake. Amy shivered and pulled her light jacket closer. Gulls cawed raucously as they circled above and the sun shone brightly down, but it lent no warmth to the scene.
"Oh," the Doctor said, like he'd been punched in the stomach. His face was completely blank as he took in the bleak scene in front of them.
Rory glanced around. "Where are we?" he asked. Always the practical one, her husband. It was one of the things Amy loved about him. She could get caught up in the wonder and insanity of life as a time traveler, but Rory always remained with both his feet firmly planted on the ground.
"Exactly where we were," the Doctor replied slowly. "We haven't moved."
"But where did the mirror go?" Amy demanded. She could deal with strange things, but the Doctor's sudden silence, his stillness set her on edge. He was always moving, bouncing around, babbling a mile a minute, doing ridiculous things and spouting gibberish. Seeing him still, almost wary-it was unnatural.
"It wasn't a mirror." He took a quick reading on the sonic and muttered something in a fluid, chiming language under his breath. "They can't have it deadlocked," he growled. "They shouldn't even know what a deadlock is!"
"Doctor!" Amy snapped. She was cold and irritated and this was not what she had been imagining when he said he was going to take them somewhere. "Explain!"
"It's a psychoactive virtual interface," he shot back.
"In English?" Rory suggested.
The Doctor sighed. "Do you know those crystal balls fake psychics use?" His eyes were scanning the beach, looking for, well, something.
"Yeah," they both answered.
"It's nothing like that. The mirror was just its resting state. It's a machine that picks up brain waves, forms a telepathic connection, and displays things: memories, fantasies, daydreams, and the like."
Amy shivered. "Well, this is definitely not one of my fantasies."
"And I've never been here before," Rory agreed.
Something caught the Doctor's eye and suddenly he looked old and so very, very tired. "I know," he admitted softly. "It's not one of your memories. It's one of mine."
Amy followed the line of his gaze and saw that the beach, which had been empty, was no longer. A black Jeep rolled onto the dunes about thirty meters away, and four people piled out onto the windswept sand: two men and two women, two older and two younger. The older couple, a ginger-haired bloke (though he was trending toward gray with what was left of his hair) and a bleached-blonde woman, huddled together against the wind. The young bloke, a dark skinned, black haired man with a rough beard hung back. He looked like he wanted to hold the young woman, but she strode out away from the others, seemingly oblivious to their obvious discomfort. The wind buffeted her blonde hair and her face, nearly bare of make-up except for heavy eyeliner and mascara, looked desperate as she searched the beach. Amy turned back to the Doctor. His eyes were closed and his face was so very still.
"We're in Norway," he said after a long moment of silence. "On what translates as 'Bad Wolf Bay.'"
"Rose." Amy jumped. The voice, soft and hesitant and definitely male, colored with the flat tones of London, seemed to come from everywhere.
The reply, however, came from the scene before them. "Doctor," the girl said in a choked voice. She was speaking to the image of a man. He was a few inches taller than Amy's Doctor, and he was wearing a pinstriped brown suit and a swirly brown and blue tie over a pale blue oxford. His hair was brown and wild but the wind didn't touch it, and his brown eyes were achingly sad and fixed on the girl in front of him. He was also mostly transparent. "You look like a ghost," she continued.
The man, the Doctor (but how could he be the Doctor?) pulled out a thin metal tube with a blue light at the end and pointed it off to the side. A high-pitched whine filled the air and the image suddenly solidified. If Amy hadn't seen him before she would have sworn that he was standing on the beach. And somehow he was the Doctor, because he had a sonic screwdriver. Something was nagging at her, something she should have noticed, something that was right in front of her face.
"Can't you come through properly?" the girl, Rose, implored.
"Two universes would shatter," the image of the Doctor replied.
Rose sniffed. "So?"
A pained smile curved his lips and for a moment Amy thought he might shatter. And then it hit her. She knew those clothes. She'd grabbed that tie, used it to pull her own raggedy Doctor along. She'd locked it in a car door and forced him to explain, to win back her trust. She'd seen that jacket hanging with a long, faun colored overcoat and a scarf that was longer than she was tall and a green velvet waistcoat and a jacket that looked like it had escaped from the circus and a sweater covered in question marks and an opera cape and an old-fashioned suit with a cravat and everything. The man, he was the Doctor—he was the Doctor before he regenerated into the man she knew, and once again Amy was reminded that she didn't really know him at all.
He was talking now, the other Doctor. He told the girl, Rose, that she was on the list of the dead and Rose told him that her mum was pregnant. Amy didn't miss the way his eyes lingered over her when he asked if she was the one expecting the child, didn't miss the way his gaze flickered towards the dark-skinned man (Mickey, Rose called him) with grief and jealousy and rage and hopelessness like the razor-sharp blade of a knife.
"I—I love you," Rose said and Amy felt her eyes burn with unshed tears as she watched the girl cry into her sleeve. She was so young, Amy thought, couldn't be more than twenty-one, twenty-two years old. And then she remembered how she had felt when Rory had died, when she had forgotten him. She remembered the aching emptiness she couldn't even name.
"Quite right too," the other Doctor replied. His voice trembled and broke, just a bit. "And—I suppose—if it's my last chance to say it—" he trailed off, and then took a deep breath, like he was steeling himself for an impossibly difficult task. "Rose Tyler," he began, his voice thick with pain and something that had to have been love—and then he vanished.
The air around them wavered like a mirage, and then the desolate beach dissolved into bright and shining glass. Amy realized with some surprise that she had Rory's hand in a death grip, and she released it with a murmured apology. Something wet landed in the vicinity of her collarbone and she raised a hand to her cheek. It came away damp. She was crying, and she hadn't even realized.
Rory stood beside her, looking shaken and disturbed. The Doctor was staring at something only he could see, his eyes unfocused and distant. He was still, completely and utterly. Amy didn't think he was breathing—but then it was like someone flipped a switch and he was back to being manic energy wrapped in a scratchy jacket and collared with a red bowtie.
"Well, that was an experience," he noted. "Back to the TARDIS, shall we?"
Rory and Amy, however, made no move to leave. They stared at him, wide eyed and incredulous. "Doctor," Rory began, "who was she? What happened to her?"
He waved the question away. "Oh, that's in the past. Boring place, the future's much better. Now if I remember correctly you've still got ten days left at that hotel, what do you say we,"
"Doctor," Amy cut him off.
Perhaps he recognized the stubbornness in her tone and realized that this wasn't something she was going to let lie. Perhaps he decided to humor her, the curious human who was always poking her nose where it didn't belong. Or perhaps he was tired of keeping secrets and carrying the weight of words unspoken. Whatever the reason—he stopped. For a moment he regarded her with ancient green eyes that spoke of the passing of years and decades and millennia.
"Her name was Rose," he said finally. "She was a very good friend of mine, and I lost her."
Amy folded her arms and gave him a searching look. "You loved her." It was a not a question.
"She was going to stay forever," he replied. "For the rest of her absurdly short human life." It was not an answer.
"What happened to her?" Rory asked quietly.
A small, sad smile curved the Doctor's lips. "She's happy. I'd say safe, too, but she never did safe well, not even without me. But she's happy, and that's what matters. Now come along, Ponds. This has been enough adventure for one day, I think."
Amy and Rory followed him back to the TARDIS, but before she closed the door behind her, Amy glanced back. She fancied that just for a second she could see the reflection of a blonde-haired girl in a blue leather jacket holding the hand of a wild-haired Doctor in a blue suit, standing on a desolate beach. And she hoped that the Doctor was happy and that Rose, wherever she was, was happy as well.