Hey Folkses! How are you all? School’s been keeping me busy, but I found some time to write you all another chappie! WHOO HOO! A million thanks go out to the best Beta ever RealJena (FF)! She’s fantastic. In fact, take some time and go check out her stories!
By the way Allons-y means Let’s go in French. Just so’s you know.
Hope y’all are having a fabulous fall day.
Secret Nerd Princess
The Best Laid Plans
The door to the TARDIS clicked closed behind me and I let the weight of everything I had experienced in the last two days settle. I shuffled up the ramp to the main console where the Doctor stood, head hung down, and appearing deep in thought.
Quiet as the comparative silence that was contained behind those closed doors, I spoke, “I want to go home Doctor.”
I hadn’t thought things through, and if I was being honest, I rarely did. There was no consideration of how this might have affected the whole of Eric’s long life. It was selfish of me to travel through time creating ripples that wouldn’t be resolved for him for a thousand years. Was it wonderful to get to know him in varying time periods? Absolutely. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I loved learning so much that he kept hidden under his vampire persona. But I’d also be lying if I didn’t confess that I might never have seen how much there was to love in him. Had it been worth it? Only Eric could answer that question and I was anxious to get back to him.
The Doctor looked at me and I could see that he agreed. “Yes, yes,” he responded, his voice unable to hide the sadness behind his usual bluster. “I think it’d be better if I traveled alone from now on. It seems I can’t choose a companion who doesn’t attract trouble.” He picked invisible lint off of his pinstriped arm and I laid my hand over his to still the movement.
“What happened with Rose?” He shook off my touch and moved around to the other side of the console. “Doctor?” I asked, following him. “I realize you might not want to talk about it, and I will absolutely respect that, but it seems that you miss her so much. I wonder if it might help you to get it out instead of bottling it up inside you.” Pot meet kettle, I added to myself, vowing to speak to Eric the instant we touched down on good old fashioned Louisiana soil.
He hesitated and then, looking at me directly, began his story. “There was an epic battle and the Earth was about to be overrun with my two greatest enemies.” He didn’t explain that further and I didn’t ask, knowing that it was probably very complicated. Besides it was the losing of Rose that was important. “A rip had been made in the fabric in time space between two parallel universes and to rid both of these enemies that tear needed to be mended. Though I had sent her family and friends to the other universe where they would be safe, Rose refused to stay there even though it meant being separated from her family for the rest of her life. She chose me. Chose to stay and fight…” his voice wandered off overcome with emotion. He gathered himself together and continued. “She was stubborn and, in truth, I didn’t want to lose her, so I didn’t force the issue. But the universe had other ideas and she was sucked into the parallel world anyway.”
“But can’t you just go and get her? Wouldn’t she want you to?” I asked him, wondering what was stopping him from retrieving the woman he obviously loved.
“No. To do that I would have to rip open the wound in time space again and both universes would cease to exist. I would have to condemn two worlds and billions of people to extinction all for the love of one blonde. The only things I have left of her are my memories and that jean jacket that she left behind.”
I saw the jacket that had fallen to the floor when we returned to the TARDIS from ancient Sweden. “Oh Doctor,” I said, walking over to wrap my arms around his waist and laying my head against his back.
“I used the power of a supernova to keep the rift open long enough to say goodbye to her, but it burned out before I could tell her,” his voice choked up. He took a deep breath. “Before I could tell her that I loved her. Like your vampire I will and have lived an extremely long life, and even though I knew that she would someday grow old and die, I didn’t want to let her go. I didn’t care about any of that and neither did she. It was enough for us to travel together, having adventures and saving the universe. Who cares about wrinkles when you’ve met the love of your very long life?” He turned around, facing me with one tear rolling down his cheek.
Who indeed, I thought guiltily. “She knows, Doctor.” I felt certain of it. Just like I knew that Eric had fallen in love with me during his amnesia and that some part of that remained behind. It’s why I seemed to be telling him I loved him now, traveling through his history, despite the fact that he might not understand what made me speak the words only after seeming to have just met him. It hit me right then that I could lose Eric no matter the fact of his immortality. Vampires died. Granted it took a heck of a lot more for them to die than it did a plain old human, but he might get staked or beheaded in one of his battles. I wanted every moment with him that I could get. He seemed so strong and invincible, but he wasn’t. I’d come very close to dying myself, not only on this trip, but in my own timeline as well.
He gave himself a visible shake and I stepped away from him as he started messing around with the controls. “So it’s best that you head back home now Sookie. I can’t risk any more casualties.”
“But won’t you be lonely? You have all of time and space ahead of you; you should have someone to share your adventures.”
“Me? Lonely? Never. I’ve got the TARDIS don’t I? It’ll be just the two of us traipsing across galaxies, defeating evil, saving the poor, the downtrodden, and the weak, why would I need anyone else?” His voice bubbled with enthusiasm, but he wouldn’t meet my eyes and I knew he was lying.
“You’ll find someone again. I know it. You found me didn’t you? And with me you got to meet a thousand year old Viking vampire. Perhaps you just need a bit of time and the right person will pop up when you least expect it.”
His frantic movements stilled. “You may be right. The TARDIS does have a habit of taking me where I need to go when I need to go there. Half the time I don’t even think she pays attention to the coordinates I program. Alas! We should get you home with a quickness. No telling what might have happened in the two days you’ve been gone. Allons y!”
I fingered the soft rose-colored fabric of the dress Eric had given me, missing him and wondering if he’d even noticed I was gone. “Well I didn’t have to work for a couple days, so chances are, nothing’s happened in my absence.” Once I’d said it though a shudder of unease rippled through me and I searched for a something to knock on. “Doctor, do you have any wood around this place?” I wasn’t normally one for superstition, but with my life? I had to be careful what I said for fear that a new big bad hadn’t opened a portal in my backyard while I was gallivanting around the universe. Glancing around I noticed the doors to the TARDIS and jogged over to them, knocking three times in quick succession, and decided, for good measure, to also cross my fingers that I hadn’t jinxed myself.
While the Doctor spun he wild circles around me, he called out, “Well, if you’re heading home you really should go gather your things that you left upstairs. By the time you come back down, I’ll have us landed back where we started.” He whipped out his sonic screwdriver whirling it about the flashing, blinking lights and muttering to himself. “You do remember where you’re going right?”
Not really I wanted to say, but I figured he ought to concentrate on getting me home and I didn’t want to distract him. “No problemo. I’ll find my way.” I wound my way through the hallways trying to remember if it was two rights and a left, or three lefts and two rights? I knew there was a spiral staircase involved and that I had passed a swimming pool. I found myself in a library before I realized I was hopelessly lost. I was about to just turn around to try and find my way back to the main console room until I looked up. And up. And up. Levels built upon levels twisted and turned like some mad Escher painting. It was dizzying and I had no idea how the books stayed in place, but as my eyes reached the apex I saw a glass ceiling through which the universe whizzed by like a drunken wormhole. I stood mesmerized. I had never seen anything like it, which shouldn’t have surprised me after everything I’d been through, but it did. When I finally brought my eyes back down, it occurred to me that I could spend months, maybe even years, studying the books in his library.
A gigantic spiral staircase stood in the middle of the vast room with branches of cat walks jutting off in every direction. I started up the stairs before I realized what I was doing. I perused the books pulling some off the shelves and flipping through the pages despite the fact that most of them were written in languages I couldn’t even begin to place. Some books were so old that the lettering on the spines had faded to nothing and looked as if they would disintegrate if touched. Wandering the crooked aisles I found a collection of Shakespeare and with a gentle hand took them down to read as I sat cross-legged on the floor. I should have been trying to find my way back, but didn’t they say that if you were lost in the woods you should stay put and wait for someone to find you? Well that’s what I would do. Stay put and wait for the Doctor to find me. It wouldn’t take long for him to realize I hadn’t returned. Cocking my head to the side, I considered that thought. It was the Doctor after all, so there wasn’t actually a guarantee that he would realize I was missing. I laughed to myself and continued sorting through the stack of books at one side until I found the one I was looking for.
Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…
I sighed, leaning back into the bookcase, and read on. Still dressed as I was, I discovered it was easy to imagine that I was in a candlelit theater, seeing the play performed live in the time period when it was written. Eric would have my hand clasped in his and he wouldn’t even mind when I sobbed at the ending. By the time the Doctor found me, I was lying on my side, book propped open beside me, lost in the magic of the poetry written there.
“Sookie,” his voice frantic seemed to be coming from far away.I looked down, only to see the stars, and switched to gaze upwards, realizing that I was upside down and crooked.
“I’m here,” I waved up at him. “Sorry! I got lost and then found your library.”
“So I see. Come down. I’ll help you find your clothes and then I’ll take you home. I pressed pause mid-flight until you were back with me thinking you might like one last bumpy ride.”
“Oh. Most definitely, though if this were an airplane or a car I would prefer it to be much smoother, I’ve come to enjoy the quirks of your TARDIS.” I replaced the books in their living spaces and began winding my way back to the main floor.
“Shhhh, she’ll hear you, and she can be a might bit touchy sometimes,” he replied, holding up his hand for me to clasp.
My laugh was unrestrained. “You know, if I hadn’t almost been burned alive, I think I would really like to travel with you indefinitely. I can see why Rose didn’t want to leave.”
His smile was grateful and real. “I suppose you’re right. It’s not every day that a madman with a box comes and whisks you away.” He sighed, “I do wish you could stay. There are so many places I could show you. The planet Arexetula Five in the Bellerophon galaxy where there are three suns blazing across the endless deserts made of crystalline rainbows. I could take you to the beginning of everything where the bits of cosmic debris swirl around a pulsing quasar. Or to the world of the Brazen Wordsmiths who only speak in Shakespearean rhyme. Imagine a place where every waiter asks ‘to be or not to be’ for confirmation of your order. Glorious!”
We were halfway back to the console room before I realized I hadn’t gathered my clothes, but it didn’t matter. One day another of his companions might need them.
“It sounds amazing, really it does.” And it did, in fact I might use the ‘to be or not to be’ line at Merlotte’s sometime, though I highly doubted anyone would really understand. “Believe it or not, Doctor, I’m going to miss you. You could drop back in anytime you like, you know.”
“I might just do that. I haven’t explored your world where the supernatural roams the streets and owns bars. It really does sound absolutely fascinating.”
The blue police box doors came into view as we stepped into the main room, and the Doctor wandered over to the console, grabbing onto a lever and pulling back. I had just enough time to grab onto the railing behind me before I landed in a heap on the glowing glass panels of raised flooring.
“A little warning might have been nice,” I said without any real anger and more than a hint of amusement on my face.
“Oh yes, yes, I seem to forget that not everyone is used to my random stops and starts.” Finally the TARDIS settled down and he grabbed the monitor swiveling it around so that he could read the gobbledygook that was written there. “Ummmm, well now. That is certainly unexpected.” He shot off to the doors, opening one, and poking his head out. He pulled it back in quickly, holding the doors closed behind him and his gaze looking everywhere but directly at me.
“What is it Doctor?” I asked as I made my way towards him.
“Stop.” He whipped out his sonic screwdriver and opened the door. “You stay here. I won’t be but a moment,” he called out as he jumped out and pulled the door closed behind him.
I totally didn’t listen to him and about had my hand on the door when popped back in and slammed into me, something cold brushing against my face as he did so. It was immediately forgotten when I did indeed end up in a pile on the floor this time, rubbing my forehead and more confused than ever.
“What the heck is going on?” I asked, my question muffled by my fingers.
“Nothing. Nothing at all. Just a bit off course. I just need to recheck the coordinates and I’ll have you home in a jiffy.”
Just then the TARDIS went silent. Every time I’d be inside there was always the sound of what I’d come to think of as her heartbeat.
“No worries Sookie, happens all the time.” But his voice waivered and I could hear the uncertainty in his reply. He fiddled with the buttons, knobs, and handles and nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not a rumble, or a purr, or the scraping of a snow shovel. By this time I had recovered and made my way over to him.
“Why are you lying to me?” There was no response. He just stood there, a scrunched up look on his face. “Doctor? You need to tell me what’s happening.”
Wide eyes and two raised eyebrows sent shivers down my spine. “It seems the TARDIS isn’t ready for you to go home just yet.”
“Very funny,” I said as I made my way to the door.
“I did mention that sometimes she has a mind of her own.” He replied, his voice all apologies.
“Well yes, but I thought we were agreed that it was time for me to go back to Louisiana?” I asked, my fingers slipping around the tiny door handle and turning it. I pulled inward and a brush of freezing air blew across my face followed by the flurry of something that felt like wet, cold, kisses. I whipped my head around and stared out the door at a landscape that was most definitely NOT Louisiana. As far as I knew, Louisiana had never had several inches of snow in its recorded history. This time it was my turn to slam the door shut. My back pressed into wood door and I could feel the frigid wind battering at it.
“It appears the TARDIS has decided we still have one stop left to make.” He shook his head and took tentative steps forward.
“Pardon my French, but where in the nine levels of hell are we?” Terror seeped into my voice despite my best efforts to stay calm.
“Tsarskoye Selo, about thirty miles outside Petrograd, Russia. Well, St. Petersburg as you know it. February 24th, 1917.” He tried and failed to hide his shudder, which only succeeded in scaring me more. I waved my hand in a tiny circle indicating that I knew he was withholding information. He took a deep breath. “It seems that we have stumbled into the days before the end of the Russian Empire.”
“Are you telling me that we’ve just landed in the middle of a revolution?” I asked, dragging a history lesson from the recesses of my addled brain. It really was amazing the things you remembered at the oddest times.
“Well, not the middle of it, just before it. It seems that Eric is here and the TARDIS wants you to find him. Outside those doors is Alexander Palace and within it is the Romanov family.”
I gulped and then straightened my shoulders, bracing myself for whatever awaited us. “Well, should we go figure out what we’re doing here then? I doubt the TARDIS would have brought us to the precipice of insanity without good reason.” I stepped away from the door, holding my hand out to the Doctor as he had done for me on several occasions.
He wrapped his bony fingers around mine. “I knew I liked you for a reason.”