Putting Out the Lamp
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even the original concept for this story. DW and all recognizable references belong to BBC, BTVS and all recognizable references belong to The Wonderful Wizard of Joss, and the 'Star Screams' concept belongs to Tanydwr (along with the artwork). What you might not recognize (say, Hafrau, Gna Ptili) is mine. Please, ask before using.
- Set Post-Chosen (BTVS) and Post-Last of the Time Lords (DW).
- May include a second crossover later on.
- May need to up the rating as time goes on, but I’ll warn you beforehand.inspiration
: as always, love and kudos to Tanydwr
, whose brilliant artwork Star Screams
set this fic in the works. Please, leave tokens of donation at the altar on your way out.Star Screams
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come. --Rabindranath Tagore
1 - Putting Out the Lamp
The TARDIS shuddered. A pair of hazel eyes peeked over the counter, furrowed brow giving away their owner's irritation. Continued shuddering led to said owner throwing a tricked-out hammer into a tool tray covered with similar tricked-out tools and forcing himself upright. Hands clinging to the railing, the Doctor made his way to the control monitor.
What could possibly be trying to hijack them in the middle of the Vortex? "If Jack Harkness has managed to become a hood ornament again, I am going to blow his head off," he growled. "Both of them."
The Doctor had not been particularly happy for quite some time. One could say his unhappiness had been borne from his being hyper-aged and kept in captivity by the Master for a whole year. True, Martha had rescued him in the end, but thoughts of Martha led to thoughts of Martha leaving, which led to thoughts of Martha leaving him for Torchwood,
which led to thoughts of him being alone again, which somehow led to thoughts of chips, which led to thoughts about Rose. Thoughts about Rose were strictly forbidden, which of course was why he thought them, which inevitably led to his kicking some non-essential item across the TARDIS and throwing himself into removing any remnant of Saxon's Paradox Machine. And now some piece of Vortex space junk was calling him away from his isolation: didn't the universe understand that he just wanted to be left alone?
A particularly violent shudder flung him to the floor. His language foul enough to curl the fur of a Hafrau, he glared at the TARDIS. "Let it in, you daft cow!"
High-pitched squealing was his only reply. Shouting and clapping his hands to his ears, the Doctor was flung once again to the floor, this time hard enough to knock the air from his lungs. For a moment, there was no sound, then a sudden, painful cacophony of screaming rent the air. He gripped his head even tighter, digging his fingers into his scalp, the pain nothing to feeling his ear drums rupture. The screaming magnified tenfold within his mind, becoming an endless, relentless sense of painagonydeathpainpainpain and the impossible vision of stars streaking past him...A final shudder ripped its way through the TARDIS, the fabric of space rippling, pulling in on itself to form a small bump. It flashed a blinding, all-consuming green before suddenly extinguishing itself. Blinking hard to regain his vision, his mind blessedly silent, a solid thump drew his eyes to the floor.
There, arms tucked against her chest and legs drawn up to her belly, lay a shivering, naked woman. The Doctor blinked. Nope, she was still naked. He clapped his hands over his eyes, counted to ten in Gna Ptili (backwards) before peeking. Nope, she was still there. Fury roiled in his gut, working him into a rage as he suddenly lifted his head to the ceiling and gave a loud, incoherent cry of rage. It was too much: the Daleks, the Family of Blood, the Face of Boe, those damned Daleks again, his imprisonment at the hands of Saxon, the Toclafane, losing Martha, losing Ro...
He screamed again, kicking the nearest console. A long, warbling beep sounded; apparently the TARDIS was unappreciative of his efforts to communicate. Its core had even begun to emit a sullen glow. He mumbled to himself, waiting for the glow to dissipate. Only it did not dissipate: instead, the time-vortex pulsed a bright, incandescent swirl of gold, ribbons of energy oscillating along its shields. Awe transcendent upon his face, only a faint sense of panic managed to make itself heard from the back of his still-aching head. Movement caught his eye, and he stared as the woman hauled herself upright, her chest heaving in ragged, deep breaths. Looking into her eyes was like running fingers of terrible cold along his spine: only one other person had ever had eyes like hers, and it had been under the influence of the time-vortex itself. They radiated the same pulsing incandescence as the TARDIS time-vortex, save green instead of gold.
As he watched, trails of energy from the time-vortex somehow jumped the containment shields, snaking along the room toward the woman. I should be panicking, he thought dimly. This is certainly breaking laws of time and space.
She screamed, then, and his breath froze in his throat, nearly choking him: pulsing green light had begun to stream from her nose, eyes, and mouth toward him. Toward the time-vortex,
he corrected himself. Tendrils of gold met streaming green, and suddenly he was staring at a vision of another woman, her brown-blond hair curling around her head like a halo. The vision was stroking at the bundle in her arms, a blond-haired little girl rushing to her side. Suddenly the woman-vision looked up, her gaze piercing both his hearts; warmth, indescribable warmth, wrapped itself around him in a impenetrable cocoon of strength, protection, and awe-inspiring love. Her fathomless eyes switched from him to the woman kneeling on the floor before she vanished into the time-vortex.
The Doctor stared after her, his hearts aching. For what he had no idea. Bewildered, he stared at the woman, still naked, still feeding some strange energy into the TARDIS. The light left through her eyes last; his Gallifreyan sight barely registered them to be a natural hazel before they closed. Blond hair cascading around her slim shoulders, every muscle in her body hardened, held rigid in flexed position while visible tremors wracked her skin.
She suddenly lunged forward, bracing herself on her hands. A foul-smelling black sludge spewed from her mouth onto his tennis shoes, landing with a disgusting plop. The Doctor stepped away from her prone form, gingerly picking up his foot and shaking free some of the foul muck. Well, that was certainly impolite. Everyone knows throwing up on someone's tennies is for the third date, and what is that smell?
His eyes widened at the smoke curling up from his left shoe: the sludge was burning a hole in his tenny! Frantically undoing the laces and slipping it off, the Doctor had only just breathed a sigh of relief before a slight pain reached his right toes. A snarl fought free as he removed the second shoe and threw it across the lobby. The shoe struck a tie beam before falling into a corner, still smoking.
Whirling around, he was about to berate her, nakedness or no, when the woman collapsed onto her side, her eyes now open and fixed somewhere near his ankle. "Tordelm i, do lit rem, tro dem il, rei dolmt. Re dolmit, tordelm i. Tordelm i. Rod temil, id elm tor. Dol t'reim, tordelm i. Tordelm i."
He stood frozen, unable to move.
"Tordelm i," she said, eyes blank and her voice horribly raw. "The stars...I can hear the stars. They're screaming, screaming in agony." Suddenly she looked up at him. "Tell them to stop...please, make them stop!" Overcome by some inward pain, she curled in on herself, her hair falling in a silken gold wave upon the floor.
She lay unnaturally still. The Doctor hesitated for a moment before peeling off his black jacket, made of Tortallen leather and part of his previous regenerations wardrobe, settling it over her body. He stood over her for a moment, a perplexed look gracing his face. Reaching some internal decision, he bent down and picked her up, struggling awkwardly as he tried to shift her into a comfortable a position. Satisfied, he carried her through the halls of the TARDIS, using his shoulder to open one of its doors, and setting her on the bed inside.
"Nawd," she said, her voice breaking. "Tordelm i nawd."
The Doctor left the room for a few minutes, returning with a hypospray. Setting it to her neck, he pressed gently. Her eyes closed, lashes fluttering golden against her skin.
"Yffub, wwolli xadren, legis. Mom," she whispered, her breathing growing heavy. "Mom. Ahfti. Nawd; kepis nawd. Tordelm i. Tordelm i. Nawd, nawd, nawd."
He watched her toss and turn, restless even in sleep. Every so often he thought he caught a name, a word, though most of it was incomprehensible. He thought about using the TARDIS's translation capabilities, and then decided that it wasn't worth the trouble. She was oddly resilient for a human, her body healing itself at an extraordinary rate. If it weren't for the TARDIS scanning her vitals, he might think she was some other species, but he had spent enough time around humans to detect their vitals by sight. Time was irrelevant. She would wake soon enough.