Somewhere Between Here And There

by Felina Archer

Summary:an incident between scenes near the end of Love And War
Keywords:New Adventures Love And War
Date:Wed, 9 Feb 94 23:06:07 GMT

        The Traveller is always leaving town
        He never has the time to turn around
        And if the road he's taking isn't leading anywhere
        He seems to be completely unaware
        The Traveller is always leaving home
        The only kind of life he's ever known
        When every moment seems to be a race against the time
        There's always one more mountain left to climb
        (The Traveller - Allan Parsons Project)

The tram jerked as it pulled away from the stop. It was one of those old bone-rattlers, preserved for sentimental and tourist reasons. A man sat down on the empty seat opposite her; a man in a straw hat with an umbrella. Something fell to the ground as he paid the conductor. Probably some change. She picked it up. It was a key on a chain. She touched his knee.

"Excuse me, you dropped this," she said, holding out the key.

His momentary scowl turned into a smile. "Thank you," he said with a soft Scottish accent, pocketing the key. "If you had not found it I might have been stranded." His voice was so carefully neutral in that last statement it was unclear as to whether that would have been a curse or a blessing to him.

"You're not from around here," she said, stating the obvious.

"Neither," he pointed out, "are you."

"What makes you think that?" she asked, feeling as if she had bornin_ the_USA_ tattooed across her forehead.

"Intution," he said. "Or logic. I forget which."

"What logical reason could you have for thinking I'm not? I live here!"

"Must be intution then," he smiled, unperturbed.

She raised a querying eyebrow. "Most people would just assume they were mistaken."

"But I'm not, am I?"

She nodded, admitting defeat. "Very powerful intution you have. Or whatever you want to call it."

"What other name would you call it by?"

"It has several. Hunch, gut feeling, spiritual awareness, perhaps even telepathy. The name is given depending on how much notice one wishes to take of it."

He sighed to himself and the cloud came back to his countenance. "How much notice..." He frowned. "If I'd taken more notice..." He lifted his head and stared her firmly in the eyes. "What would you say? Is it worth it to sacrifice one life for billions?" He said it as if the question was playing in a well-worn groove in his mind.

She thought of the most famous sacrifice that had occurred on her planet, and wondered, supressing her automatic "yes" and considering the question more carefully. "You'd have to ask the person."

"What person?"

"The person sacrificing their life."

"Too late for that."


"Because he's already dead."

"Ah." This was moving, it seemed, from the hypothetical to the actual.

"The billions don't know, the billions don't care... but she knows, and she cares. She was in love with him. She hates me."

"Because he died?"

"Because I used him. Because I used her. I knew They were using him so I used him against Them."

This was sounding more like a spy novel every minute. But his anguish was real. "So she didn't think it was worth it."

"All she feels is that she loved him and he's dead and it's my fault."

She suspected it was a bit more complicated than that. "Was it your fault?"

"He was dead either way. I should have told her that. I should have told her. But I just tried to stop her getting involved with him. I didn't want her to get hurt. But I hurt her anyway. For the sake of billions."

"And the billions won't thank you because they don't know."

"Why should they thank me? Why should I expect them to know? Fame is the last thing I want. People get the wrong ideas. Devilish awkward, fame is."

"And all the glory wouldn't make her hate you less."

He sighed. "Exactly."

Maybe he really was a spy. He didn't look like a spy. Then again, spies weren't supposed to. But still, a woollen vest dotted with question marks was a bit much. "If he was dead either way, why does she blame you?"

"Because I used them. Because..." he paused thoughtfully, "because I didn't trust her, didn't tell her my plans. Because I knew he was doomed and I didn't tell her."

"And maybe because you put nameless billions before her feelings."

"I had to!"

"That doesn't make it right."

"I couldn't let them die."

"I know," she said gently. "But the end never justifies the means."

"You're the second person to tell me that today."

"I'm not condemning you! Sometimes there is no right choice. But in a choice between evils, you have to deal with the evil you choose. Not run away from it."

"I tried that. She won't forgive me."

"Okay, so she won't forgive you. You can forgive yourself. And her."

"Her? What for?"

"For not forgiving you."

"Ah." He smiled. "How did someone so young get to be so wise?"

She smiled back at him. "I listen to my intuition."

---------> Felina Archer

Author's Note: This incident takes place in the gap between scenes on p232 of "Love and War" by Paul Cornell. I wrote it as a sort of catharsis because I was so upset about the falling-out between Ace and the Doctor that started in this book, and because nobody seemed to be resolving it.