Untitled crossover

by RedStarRobot

(Original post here.)

For kerravonsen, B7/DW with no real 9th spoilers (although an implication of something stated in Rose/End of the World). An AU spinning off of B7 S4 and pre-"Rose". Long. Sleep-deprived.

The Tardis, it's said, is telepathic. It creeps into your brain and whispers the words you hear, shapes the words you say. Even after centuries visiting that green and pleasant land, even after eating chips and playing cricket and riding the tube, the Doctor's English isn't fluent. It couldn't be, really, when a week with Churchill is followed, months later, by a week with Chaucer... well, even geniuses have their limits, and he was always more of a tinkerer, anyway. It doesn't matter. Time and tide is all the same to the Tardis. Somehow, the Doctor always feels more at home when he doesn't speak the language. When the thoughts and words wend through his head silently, he doesn't just speak the language; he's Draconian, he's Venusian, he's fucking Cool Britannia itself. The one place he never felt he fit in was the place where he didn't need the Tardis, where he spoke his own language.

The Tardis, it's also said (although generally in more exasperated tones), is a time machine with a terrible sense of timing. Nine times out of ten, it materializes just before things get blown to hell. That tenth time, it either materializes exactly in the middle of things being blown to hell, or misses altogether and lands in a lazy, sunny day. Today was that tenth time, and by the showers of concrete and the smell of smoke and recycled air, the Doctor was guessing maybe it wasn't the holiday.

In that collapsing building, a woman felt her way along the wall as her eyes watered and her lungs burned. The Doctor's hand closed around hers, and he said one word as he pulled at her: "Run."

The Tardis doors closed behind them as pieces of concrete and steel rebar came raining down. The Doctor checked the console readings, brushed dust off his leather jacket, and grinned. "I'm the Doctor, by the way. What's your name?"

The woman straightened up. "Cally. Cally of Auron."

"Nice to meet you, Cally of Auron. Welcome to the Tardis. So, can I drop you off home, then?" The Doctor moved to set the coordinates.

"No," she said. "My home no longer exists, and my people are dead." The Doctor's hand fell away from the console, and the cheery smile faded.

"Oh," he said. She looked at him silently, almost unnervingly. He smiled again, although the cheer came harder. "Well, no worries, then. You can come with me."

"I should return to my friends," she said, and started for the door.

The Doctor opened the doors on the underground bunker, shuddering with a few last aftershocks, and she picked a few careful steps out onto the debris. "Cally," he called, and she turned. "What do they give you worth living for?"

"They gave me something worth dying for," Cally said. "Once."

He gestures at the gray, smoky bunker. "Look around you. This is Terminal. End of the line. Time to get off this train; venture out, somewhere new. You want danger, I've got it. Something to fight for, yeah, got that, too. There's so much to set right. And out there, deep in space, there's a nebula glowing in the dark of space where you can land the Tardis right in the center, just right, and ride the currents while it churns. The stuff stars are made of, all around you, creating something beautiful in the middle of the blackness. There's something, Cally, when it's all gone... you and me, yeah? We'll run a thousand miles an hour, raging against the dying of the light. We'll blow things up. We might well die in the process. It'll be a whole lot of fun. And then we'll go watch something begin. After so many endings."

Her eyes lost the empty look they'd had, and she walked towards the Tardis. "Any chance on a necklace made of teeth?" she asked, quite sweetly, in passing.

As she disappeared inside the blue box, Vila ducked back around the corner, clutching Orac, and headed back to the surface. "It'll never work," he muttered. "He's gay, and she's an alien." A loud wheezing sound came from behind him, and he turned back to where Cally used to be. "Bye, then, Cally. See you around. Maybe."

The Tardis, it is said, is telepathic. It creeps into your mind softly, sometimes with words, but sometimes with images of its own, and with the soft feel of metal and electricity and the sound of time, the hum and the siren call; what it is to be old and infinite, wafting into your dreams at night just before you sleep; the curiosity of a machine that has just found out what it is to have a thought sent to wend silently through it.