Disclaimer: it's not mine, it will 'never ever' be mine. (There, lets see if that works)
A/N: It's been years since I have posted anything, but this fandom grabbed hold of me and won't let me sleep. This is just a little one shot that was running around in my head. Please let me know what you think of it.
Willow laughed as she reached the familiar beaten old police box. A unfamiliar tingling sensation at the back of her mind made her pause for only a moment, before she turned and smiled sunnily at the guards that were hot on her heels, her auburn hair waving around her, "Ta Ta!" She grinned as she slipped the warmer of two keys on a chain around her neck into the lock and slipped inside.
She laughed as she started flipping switches, and spinning globes, bringing her and the TARDIS into the vortex. After a moment, as the exhilaration dimmed, she remember the strange tingling sensation, that was much stronger now. The familiar light of the TARDIS were flickering brighter and a feeling of excitement and fulfillment filled her.
The hair on the back of her neck were tingling strangely as she turned and looked at the man standing in the doorway, his mouth hanging open in shock.
"Hello...?" She managed weakly. "Wrong TARDIS then...umm, I can explain... Maybe."
The man blinked at her. "What?" He squeaked.
She smiled at the aching familiarity of it.
She wanted to run to him, but barely managed to hold herself back.
"I'm sorry, I seem to have managed to cross some time lines, I'll bring us back and slip on out" she said quickly, her hands flying across the controls, her breathing ragged.
Then a thought came to her, she never heard about this. This strange woman showing up on the TARDIS. She spun around quickly, panic almost overwhelming her,
"This is very very important, you must never mention this to your wife. Just, forget I was ever here. It's very important that you just forget."
She steeled her resolve and flipped the switches necessary to bring then back to the point of time they just left, one street over, to hopefully avoid the guardsmen out for her head.
"My what?" The blinking man managed to get out
She sighed in exasperation "your wife, you know, bottle blonde, cheeky grin, goes by the name Rose"
The man continued to blink at her for a few moments, before shaking his head, and biting out angrily. "Listen, I don't know who the hell you are, or why you would ever think that would be funny, but get the hell out of my TARDIS, NOW!"
She couldn't help the drop in her stomach, he had never looked at her like that before. Even when he had worn a different face and she had almost destroyed the universe, he hadn't looked at her with hate swirling in his eyes. She took a step back. The Oncoming Storm indeed.
"Listen" she cried desperately, holding back the tears swimming in her eyes.
It had been over 400 years since she had last seen him, and her hearts felt like they were breaking all over again.
"I'm sorry, I was running from some guards, I forgot that waving on this planet amounts to a death threat, and I was saying goodbye, and the queen was such a nice lady that it just...slipped out, so I was running from the palace guards and I must have stumbled into the wrong TARDIS. Which is odd, because normally she is pretty good at avoiding this sort of thing, I wasn't trying to... I didn't mean... I just don't remem- well, I never heard about this, I mean I didn't know...it would be a good idea not to mention it, just in case. Okay?"
"How did you even get on board." The man ground out, still glaring hatefully at her.
She felt like curling into a ball and crying. 'Not like this, not like this,' she cried out in her mind. She didn't want her last memories of him to be like this, staring at her with hate in his eyes.
"Key?" She replied weakly, holding up the chain on her neck with two small silver keys attached.
"Two?" He asked, unable to contain his curiosity.
She smiled slightly, "it's...Rose's... Her key to the original TARDIS"
She saw the flash of burning anger in his eyes as he stepped forward and quickly interjected as she stepped back "She gave it to me... Please understand that I am from far into the future, you both died a long, long, long time ago. And it's been so long since I've seen you-" her voice broke and she could no longer hold back the tears, as they ran silently down her face. "John, please"
Through the tears she watched the anger, rage and hate in his eyes fade away to grief and disbelief as he stepped back.
"Are there Zeppelins in London?" John asked, an odd expression on his face.
Willow couldn't help but laugh. "Oh course there are you ninny, unlikely that you of all people could forget th-" she broke off, her eyes wide, filled with shock, fear and just a glint of hope.
John just nodded and started jumping around flipping switches, she felt the TARDIS shake and John made a familiar sweeping motion toward the door that made her hearts clench. "London, 2010"
Willow just shook her head at him in disbelief and went for the door. She smiled slightly as the sunshine bathed her face, glinting off her hair. And as she looked up to the sky, her blood froze.
The Doctor stood at the door to the TARDIS, watching the strange woman, her hair like flame in the sunlight, as his thoughts jumped around. 'John, Rose, wife, TARDIS keys, Zeppelins, dead' who was this woman?
The woman in question turned her large green eyes onto the man she had thought was John and, with a lump in her throat managed to choke out, "Doctor?"
"Yes?" He raised an eyebrow at her
"Walls of reality? Imminent collapse of the multi-verse?" She asked weakly
"Not a problem!" He grinned at her.
She felt a little weak in her knees, she had almost forgotten the effect his mega watt smile could have on her.
"You see, about two days ago, there was a small hole between realities, happens naturally over time, no telling where or when they pop out though. I have my TARDIS continuously scanning for them!" He paused and muttered more quietly "just in case" then continued in his normal voice "anyway, this one that popped up was several centuries ahead of the time frame I have her looking for... Can't jump time in an alternate universe, vortex can't function that way, long and complicated explanation for that, but we will just leave it at you can't. So away, if you are from where I think you are from, then since your TARDIS is essentially part of my TARDIS, I would suggest that your TARDIS was pulled... Weelll, Or ran... Through the hole in order to get home. Anyway, since it wasn't any use to me, and can cause complications if just left there..." he paused and swallowed tightly. "I closed it. The hole that is... Which means..." He trailed off. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, but I've stranded you here."
They just stared at each other for several long moments, before the doctor bounced on his heels "But!" He interjected enthusiastically, manic grin back "when another hole pops up, since your TARDIS is part of both universes, she can jump time, so you can get back..." His face falls slightly "Eventually."
Willow stared at him, her mind turning furiously.
"You wanna...?" He gestures back to the TARDIS
She nods numbly and follows him in, sitting on the jump seat and pulling her legs up under her.
"You look a little shell-shocked" he says quietly.
"So do you" she retorts.
They smile at each other and he sends them back into the vortex before hopping up onto the rail facing her, his legs dangling, elbows on his thighs, hands knitted together, unto which he rests his chin.
"When are you from?" She managed to get out, keeping her voice as level as possible.
"Good a starting place as any" he replies and goes silent for a moment before continuing. "It's been 3 years, 4 months, 12 days, 5 hours, 37 minutes and 18.7 seconds since I left them in Norway."
"Precise" she quips.
"Time lord" he sings half heartily with a half smile.
They just look at each other searchingly for several moments before he looks away, pulling on an ear.
"You knew him, my...double?" He stared at a spot on the wall above her shoulder, unwilling to make eye contact.
"You said... Wife."
He closed his eyes, and she was surprised to see a tear fall from him eye, which he didn't seem to notice
"Was ... Was she...were they..." His voice broke "were they happy?"
She smiled at him "oh yes. Deliriously so."
He meet her eyes at that, as if searching for something in her eyes, when he found it he smiled so brilliantly that she couldn't help but grin back, her tongue flicking up to her teeth.
He flinched violently as the smile fell from his face as if slapped away.
"So how about you? Who are you? How did you end up with her TARDIS?"
She opened and closed her mouth, unsure of how to answer a very very loaded question.
"My name is...Willow...and I...inherited... The TARDIS after Rose and John died"
His eyes burrowed into hers, "how?" He asked quietly.
She knew what he was asking, and smiled softly. "In each others arms, when she was 104"
He closed his eyes, grief and happiness warring within him. Willow seemed to understand this, as she stood and walked over to placed a hand on his shoulder
"You gave them a wonderful life together, Doctor. They talked about you often, hoping that you were getting along, that you found some semblance of happiness. They worried for you, and that was, perhaps, their only real worry during all their years together."
"How did you meet them? Did they ever have any...are you?" He trailed off, uncomfortable.
"Children? No, they never had any. They loved traveling to much to give it up, and knew they would have to if they ever had kids."
The Doctor nodded, understanding that. Then he smiled at her again. "You avoided the first question"
"Noticed that did you?" She retorted dryly
He chuckled, "I'm very clever"
"...I remember" she whispered so quietly he couldn't quite catch it
"What?" He blinked at her.
"Never mind" She shook her head and tried to remember to focus, but, watching him there, smiling at her... She wasn't able to think of any words from any of the hundreds of languages she knew that could describe it.
He laughed again. "Okay then, Willow what? Are you human?"
She looked over at him through the corner of her eye and grinned slyly.
"Just Willow" she quipped
He deflated slightly at that "figures."
She grinned and added in "and I'm not sure what I am."
His eyebrows shot up at that "what do you mean?"
"I was born on earth, to perfectly human parents. But..." She waited a moment, for effect, "I'm 468 years old."
He blinked at her again, she was certainly an enigma. "Your kidding?"
"Nope" she replied, popping the 'p' out of long standing habit.
"John never figured it out?"
"By the time I realized it, he was gone" she said softly
"I"m sorry. You've been alone a very long time then" His hearts hurt for this stranger who didn't feel strange. Even the TARDIS was projecting a wave of comfort at her.
She just nodded, tears slipping down her cheeks silently as she accepted the comfort of the Mother TARDIS.
"Any idea why you've lived so long? You've had enough time to research it."
"I know why" she whispered.
They both felt the TARDIS send wave after wave of sorrow and comfort
The doctor looked up in confusion, then glanced over at the redhead.
"What did you say your name was?"
"That's not the name you were born with is it?"
"No, it's not" she replied curtly, the blood pounding through her had never before seemed so loud.
"What was it before?" He asked softly, trying to ignore the pounding in his own hearts.
She smiled crookedly at him. "Actually, 'Willow' was a mistake, I was introduced at a function in the Kallium galaxy wrong, and it sorta stuck... I thought it was appropriate anyway" she paused, looking though far far away. "the Weeping Willow... Bending, never breaking... No matter how much she wants to sometimes... You see, before then, I was simply known as The Widow." She looked over at The Doctor, who was staring at her with an interesting mix horror and that little glimmer of hope again.
She smiled reassuringly at him.
"My husband and I had an incredible life together Doctor, with our baby TARDIS we took baby steps out into the universe we found ourselves in. We loved every single minute of growing old together."
The Doctor just stared, his eyes wide, feeling as though his heart was going to leap from his chest.
When we were both tired, we took our TARDIS and took her to the vortex, where we laid in bed curled up with each other and let go of life."
"That should have been the end of it, it should have been the end of my story, but instead I woke up in a different body" her eyes grew cold, and she continued, keeping her voice as calm as she could as she told him her story. A story he needed and probably wanted to hear, but also one she knew would rip him apart. "with a cold and dead husband. I killed myself twice, just healed right up. Traveled again after a few years, got careless, went through quite a few regenerations during that phase. Finally I made as much peace with it as I could, and just lived as much as I could, always looking for a way back here, didn't really thinking would ever find one though. This is my 8th body... When I first looked in the mirror, was the first time I felt at peace with it..." She smiled slightly, warmth flooding her eyes as she stared into his. "I knew he... You... Would equally love and hate the hair"
He just stared.
"Doctor, it's okay."
He shook his head, tears streaming down his face "Rose" he choked out
She moved in front of him, placing a hand on his cheek, wiping at a trail of tears.
"Oh you silly man... It's not your fault." And she pulled him into a hug.