John’s eyes close and he waits for the death blow, but instead there’s a buzzing noise on the other side of the door behind him, and the door falls open. John falls with it, sprawled on his back, and a woman stands above him – he can’t make out her features in the dark, but she’s definitely a woman – she grabs his hand and hauls him to his feet.
“Run!” she shouts.
It isn’t what Donna thinks, down in the bowels of the Thames barrier, the Doctor drowning an entire species before it crawls out of the center of the Earth and obliterates the human race. Donna must imagine her suicidal. Suicidal and lunatic and homicidal, to boot.
The Doctor is none of those things.
She’s lost hope.
She doesn’t blame Donna for turning her down, for admitting that the Doctor terrifies her. The Doctor has always fancied herself fantastic, remarkable, brilliant, impossible – but now, in the bleak days after John Smith is truly, finally gone, she is terrifying.
A Doctor without hope is not the Doctor.
AU meme ✓ The Doctor and John Smith
It isn’t until she catches a glimpse of herself out of the corner of her eye, a flash of her reflection, just enough to get an overall impression instead of focus on the details, that it dawns on her … this regeneration, it looks like something he would appreciate.
John has always had an eye for pretty girls, has had a certain type he prefers. Shorter and curvier, with soft features – Adele Mitchell and Jill Harkness both fit the bill.
And now, so does the Doctor. [X]
AU meme ✓ John trying to find his way back to the Doctor
“He told me to warn you. He said two words.”
“What two words? What were they? What did he say?”
Doctor Who AU in which Rose is the Doctor and John Smith is her human companion. Part One ~ Part Two ~ Part Three ~ Part Four ~ Part Five ~ Part Six ~ Part Seven. And now I’ve officially circled back around to the initial drabble and graphic, where this entire AU began — at the end.
It takes the Doctor twenty days to find the perfect sun. Just the right density, with the proper balance of transuranium elements. Iron to argon to vanadium to cobalt, all in perfect proportions. She establishes an elliptical orbit, begins siphoning particles to send a signal. Leans over the comm panel on the console, pushes a button, and says one word: “John.”
She repeats the process twelve hours later.
And again, the next day.
It will take a while, for the message to get through.
He’ll follow, though – her clever John, he’ll figure it out quickly enough. Trace the signal. Do whatever he must to follow her voice, to reach her.
She doesn’t sleep – hasn’t slept in nearly a month. It’s a long time, even for a Time Lord who doesn’t require rest like other species. But she can’t stand to go into her room, because her sheets still smell like him, human musk, his sweat and his body. She can’t change them, she can’t sleep on them, she spends her days in the console room. Curls up on the captain’s bench. Plaits her blond locks into elaborate braids, unplaits it, plaits it again. Opens the TARDIS doors, stares at the burning ball of gas outside, watches it grow smaller by minute increments as she siphons its elements away.
Finally, three days later, it’s time.
au meme - the doctor and john smith (doctor/rose swap inspired by allison’s fic eos in orbit)
happy birthday jamie!
John can’t stand still, he’s like a rubber ball bouncing around inside the confined space of the rocket as Danny cranks opens the door to the cargo hold. When he finally shoulders the large square slab of metal aside, there it is – magnificent and blue, the TARDIS, somehow here even though it had been lost in the center of an impossible planet.
But if course all of this is impossible – the Doctor, clever and resourceful as she is, she fell to the center of a ball of rock, found her ship, and rescued them from the gravitational pull of the black hole.
That’s his Doctor, distilled down to her most basic essence: impossible.
John’s long legs speed up, across the short space and to the doors; his fingers shake as he yanks the chain from around his neck, fits in key into the TARDIS door and flings it open.
She’s standing at the top of the ramp, still wearing the orange EVA suit from the Sanctuary base on Krop Tor, a grin brighter than a sun on her face. There are probably words in alien languages to describe the emotions John feels in this moment – relief and ecstatic joy and so many others, jumbled in the pit of his stomach and vibrating through his skin – the Doctor could probably tell him those words, if he asked.
He doesn’t bother, sprints up the ramp to meet her as she strides toward him and steps into his embrace. He hefts the solid length of her body against his own, lifting her up and swinging her into the air. Her feet kick and she makes a noise, a giggling sigh, into his hear.
It’s a sound of utter happiness.
The Sanctuary base quarters on Krop Tor aren’t spacious – tiny desk, bunk beds, and enough room to walk between the two. Scooti closes the door behind the Doctor and John, leaving them alone in the stark fluorescent light.
The Doctor immediately falls into step, pacing back and forth between the bed and the wall (it’s only long enough for her to get in two paces each direction, but if she doesn’t move she’s going to burst). She’s grabbed the ends of her braided hair and is absentmindedly yanking. She doesn’t know if she wants the pain to sharpen her thoughts or distract her. Distract her from the fact that she’s stranded herself and John here, on this planet above a black hole; here, on the slow path. Distract her from the steady, familiar connection she still feels to her TARDIS, even though it’s buried under thousands of feet of rock, just as stranded as they are.
The Doctor’s Time Lord brain has already gone through hundreds of permutations of the next few years. Has already settled on the most likely form those years will take: a house and a carpet and a mortgage with John, playing domestic until he gets bored and moves on. Then she’ll find a way — she’s clever, she’ll manage — some way to get back to this planet, to rescue her ship or die trying.
Because what is she, without her TARDIS?
A lost creature, the last of her kind, a Time Lord without the ability to traverse time.
What could possibly be more pathetic?
It’s been three days since they left Musgrove Hill, the Wire and the coronation, all of it behind them. The Doctor’s been in a mood – not angry, not anymore – certainly not at John. But she was furious, he knows; he’s learned to read the signs, like a seismologist gauging aftershocks in the wake of a big one.
Morose silence, broken by flashes of humor and strange, rambling lectures about whatever happened to be floating through her head. At breakfast, it had been a lengthy description of pastry dynasties on a planet in the Cygna arm of the Milky Way, on a planet called Glomb. Something about filling wars, and how things had gotten so desperate they’d resorted to chemical warfare, pudding powders and fruit compotes. All the while she was talking, she absently plaited her hair into the most elaborate braid John had ever seen, fingers moving surely and steadily. Another aftershock: her blond locks in new and intricate styles, so complicated human hands couldn’t possibly accomplish them.
John is yearning for a stop, to step outside the TARDIS doors and into a new adventure, but the Doctor doesn’t seem inclined to land them anytime soon. He needs some sort of distraction, something to help him forget being trapped inside the Wire. The sharp, stinging crackle of electricity across his consciousness, trapped in cold darkness, without corporeal form, screaming out for the Doctor with a mouth he no longer had.
There’s no distraction, though, because they’ve been idling in the vortex, and when John asked if they could visit Glomb and try the pastries, the Doctor shook her head sadly and told him the planet was uninhabitable; the people had turned the oceans to cream cheese filling, during one of the more intense chemical campaigns of the war.
It was necessary, the Doctor tells herself, tricking John into the TARDIS and sending him home by himself.
Really, she’s one of the most phenomenally intelligent creatures in the universe, and she should’ve expected the outcome of that plan. It surprises her anyway, John materializing in the midst of a division of Daleks. He’s a glowing god in human form, pulsing with vortex energy, burning from the inside out even as he saves her life and saves the Earth, too.
And when John is done with destruction and resurrection, when he finally turns his gaze to the Doctor, the shimmering swirl of the vortex in his eyes fades away, and they’re his normal, beautiful brown. He’s himself. Her John (is he? She doesn’t dare to hope, to presume, but oh if he were).
He can see everything, he says – all of time, and the Doctor realizes that he understands what it’s like, being inside of her head. Timelines and possible futures and everything else, running from the beginning of to the very end of the universe.
But it’s burning him alive.
It’s burning her, too – watching him go, seeing the pain on his face, the way his long fingers dig at his own wild hair, yank at it when the pain begins to verge on agony. The way he folds and bends and whimpers, “My head!”
Her foolish, fragile, wonderful John.