disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to Joss Whedon and Russell T Davies.
warning: Spoilers for Doomsday and a mini spoiler for Runaway Bride.
shout: For Jinni.
AN: Never written Whofic before. Nervous. It'll be slow-going, but I actually have whole ideas for this to be a whole series, but I'll need to see more episodes from season 3 of Dr Who first. Possibly. Maybe.
He'd almost stepped on her.
Naked woman in his path when he'd opened the doors to the TARDIS. She was lying mostly on her belly, so he'd gotten and excellent view of her bum. Tall skinny gangly thing with brown hair. Kinda like him. Not from these parts. Kinda like him. He'd fed her and clothed her. That was the gentlemanly thing after all. Plus, she'd seemed a bit disoriented and frightened. He did not have it in either of his hearts to turn away someone like that. So lost. She brought this need in him to protect her a bit. Not much, just a bit. He'd learned later that she was perfectly capable of handling herself in a tense situation.
She wasn't from here. But not 'not from here' like he was 'not from here'. No. Another dimension, another version of this Earth, and she'd died there. When he found out for her that the man's name who'd been a whisper on her lips when he picked her rather cold and very nude body off of the ground that day was dead there as well, he thought she was going to fold in on herself. This man had been the love of her life, and a love she'd found late. They'd barely realized what they had, and then she had been gone. So many things left unsaid. The Doctor could relate to that.
"I have nothing." She'd said as she started to cry. "I have nowhere to go."
"You could come with me." He'd whispered, not knowing if he wanted her to say yes as Rose had or no as Donna had.
She looked at him with too-wise brown eyes. "I'll help you. I'll go where you go."
"It's not safe."
"I'm all right with that. Safe never suited me."
So they skipped all over everywhere after that.
Him and his Fred. Not his as Rose had been because no one could be as Rose was. Winifred Burkle was his friend. She was smart and funny. She was from Texas. Had a sweet little accent to go with that. She ate a lot. They skipped out to have tacos often. She was about tacos the way his Rose had been about chips. She understood the TARDIS in a way he'd always thought no human could. She was not reckless, but she did not always play it safe. So took a chance or two... like him. He rarely had to rescue her, and she thought the sonic screwdriver was brilliant. Fred mused that she'd like a sonic sledgehammer. He'd asked her what for, and she'd replied to knock down buildings with of course.
She rather affectionately call him Doc. He didn't dislike it from her, but he knew if anyone else referred to him as such, it would be bothersome.
Fred built things.
She found some old schematics for K-9. She built one of her own. They were now the proud owners of a K-9 2.0. She affectionately called the thing Spike and would not explain the name.
It was one afternoon when they just so happened to be in Cardiff when he'd mentioned Rose aloud in front of Fred. He trusted her by then. They'd faced plenty of things and threats and been to many a world by then. He trusted her a little more that day. She'd told him before of Wesley, so the Doctor told her about Rose.
"I'll get on it." Was Fred's only reply when he'd said everything he could say on the matter of Rose Tyler.
"If there's a way, I'll find it. I'm good at working the numbers, Doc. It's what I did before."
He knew she was good at the numbers. She'd proven that already.
"Fred, there's not a way. Time and space-"
"I'm here, ain't I? I'm not supposed to be. I'm not supposed to be anything now, but here I am with you... eating fries. 'Cept they call 'em chips here, and they call chips crisps. Sorry... yammering on. Anyhow, there's nothing but possibilities. If I can find it, I'll find it for ya."
"Want to. Ok?"
"You're the only thing I got in this world. You're my friend, Doc. I would always do anything for my friends. That hasn't changed about me even though I ain't in my world anymore. I've wasted a lot of time being scared because usually when I'd reach out for the new, I'd end up somewhere else than where I expected to end. I lost my family... twice. My friends have their fight without me, and Wesley is gone there. I need a good cause. I figure you're the best one around. You've lost things, and somehow I can't bear the thought of you having to have Rose stay lost."
"Shush." She reached up and pinched his lips closed with her fingers. "You picked a naked girl up off the ground and gave a her a place in a world that is not hers. Least I can do is find a way for you to finally get your words out to your Rose... if not get your Rose back altogether."
"Might like to hear that you love her. Might like to have you hold her and tell her that you ain't going anywhere and neither is she."
He didn't say anything. He just considered. It always surprised him of how much Fred was willing to give of herself. Then again, she had ultimately given her life for the work she believed in. He supposed as he had been lucky to come across Rose Tyler, he was equally as lucky to have come across Winifred Burkle.
"If I can make the numbers work for you there or her here, would you want it? I won't do it if it ain't what you want."
Would he want it? Rose again? Him there? Her here? Would he?
"I figured that'd be the way of it though." She grinned that sweet grin of hers at him.
He cleared his throat. "What about... Wesley?"
"He isn't here. There's no Wesley here. I checked already. He never existed here."
"He isn't there for me to take anymore." Her voice broke a little.
"Fred, I'm sorry." He scooted next to her until their shoulders touched.
She shrugged. "So it's good you and I are friends cos you keep me busy. Just promise me one thing."
"What's that then?"
"If I help get her back for you, don't forget me."
"Fred that's not possible."
"What do you mean why?"
"Why is it not possible?"
"Because you're quite brilliant, and I suspect we've gone and become good friends, that's why. You're very memorable, Fred."
"Good. Let's get some ice cream then."
"If anything I'd never be able to forget you for the sheer volume of food you consume."
She made an offended noise and playfully rammed her shoulder into his.
The Doctor smiled his toothily smile at her and took her hand. Fred swung their clasped hands between them. He still missed Rose. Everyday he missed her, but finding Fred had helped him a little, and perhaps it would help him a lot in the end.