The End is the Beginning
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy
or Doctor Who
Author's Note: All right, I know what you're thinking. She's got how
many unfinished stories - including another Doctor Who crosover - and she's starting another. To this, I have no logical answer, except that the plot bunnies have officially taken over. I can no longer hold back this story. I have no clue when I can update, but I have
to try to write it.
Are you happy now?!? *screams to the sky shaking fist*
Every end is a new beginning - Proverb
She couldn’t see the landscape surrounding her, and that was probably for the best. The scorching sun that set high in the sky was enough to make the dozens of occupants of the beach squint their eyes in irritation, while simultaneously enjoying the rays that would no doubt provide them with dark, attractive tans; and probably a fair amount of sunburns. Children and teens were seen scattered throughout the area, some splashing in the cool waves that had broken down to the shore’s tide, or further out in the sea with a watchful parent eyeing their safety from a respectable distance. Others were playing in the sand, building sandcastles or burying each other beneath the grains, squishing their toes under the surface.
The location was very obviously overcrowded, both locals and probably hundreds of vacationers coming and going through the popular spot. But no matter how far your gaze might have strayed, you couldn’t be spared the sight of general joy throughout the individuals basking in the lovely day. Despite an aggravated look here, or a displeased expression there, there were masses of smiling faces, full of contentedness and seemingly without a care in the world.
If she actually had been able to work up the energy to notice these details, these little observations which would normally have taken barely a second for her keen eyes and mind to take in and process, she really probably would have been quite impressed by the irony of such an environment in contrast to her own demeanor.
She felt every bit the outsider that the myriads of passersby had - and no doubt would continue to - dub her as upon first glance. Though they would all be right in that respect, it took less than an ounce of inspection to the smaller details to be sure that she wasn’t exactly among the crowds of happy-go-lucky travelers that had found themselves at the location.
Her heavily clad form was the most obvious trait that made her stand out like a clichéd sore thumb. She was dressed from the shoulders down in nothing but black, including a worn out pair of combat boots, and a leather jacket she wore like armor, arms crossed tightly against herself as if it would somehow protect her. Compared to all the scantily clad individuals, she looked as if the forecast held an evening of chilling winds and bitter weather, instead of the heat that kept them all so lightly clothed.
But she didn’t feel the heat, not even a little bit. Not anymore than she felt the intrusive eyes at her back, no doubt silently questioning her sanity. She was far too busy questioning it herself. Yet, even that in itself was more of an afterthought, shoved to the side and locked away in a corner of her mind until her brain could even attempt to focus on anything at all. Anything except what was happening right in front of her, in the here in now.
Past the silent tears flowing down her cheeks that she had long foregone trying to control. Beyond the sea of people too busy with their own lives to fully recognize the entirety of her pain. Underneath the beginnings of a fairly distant pier, tucked away in the shadows and sitting in the cool sand. Barely even half-noticed by inquisitive eyes that came upon it. The only thing she could completely focus on or notice. And, oh
, did she notice. She was of no question that if she forgot everything else in the universe, she would never, ever forget that tall, blue, and completely magnificent box.
She knew, with an unflinching certainty that only her genetic makeup allowed her, that nothing save a miracle - and wouldn’t her people laugh at that notion - would bring that blue box back into her sight once more. Just as she knew that the reasons for its departure, and consequently that of the ridiculously brilliant man inside it, had no intentions of changing anytime soon. What some would call nothing but a gift, the complete certainty in which her people knew what could and absolutely could not be changed, she had never been able to view it as anything but a curse. Because even in the best of times, when that same sense told her that everything would turn out all right in the end, the universe seemed to have a way of balancing itself out. And even in those rare, but completely amazing instances when everyone lived for another day, it never seemed to fail that just around the corner was another catastrophe waiting to explode in their faces.
Not for the first time, but infinitely stronger than ever before, she wished for just one moment, that
moment, that she didn’t know how this was going to end. How it had
to end, no matter the consequences.
Her fists clenched at her sides, nails digging into her palms, and she had to physically force her feet to stay planted where they stood. If she didn’t, she was sure she would be running as fast as she could and hanging off the beloved ship as it disappeared into the vortex.
There was nothing she could do to stop the oncoming events. This she knew. But this
, she thought desperately. This couldn’t be her future. This couldn’t be the way it ended for her. And that was precisely how she saw it; an end. How in the cosmos was it right for her to be standing here, barely a thought away from screaming out in outrage and desperation at the utter wrongness of it all? Of her fate. No, this was the last place she should be. She should be fighting, tooth and nail to the inevitable bitter end. She should be with him, holding his hand and looking him in his familiar eyes, telling - no forcing
- him to know that she knew. She knew exactly what was going to happen, as he knew she did, and she accepted it. That she was not the fragile little girl he continued to insist she was. That there was something inside her that had to see how it would end.
But no. No, she was here. Here, standing amongst hundreds of people but still so alone, only a few spare years from the 21st century. Only able to sit and wait for her world to fall apart. Much too literally.
It wasn’t fair, not even close. And it was all because of him
She wanted to hate him. She wanted to curse him for what he was doing to her. To be indignant and righteous, completely shocked at his actions. She wanted to kick and scream and tell him that she could never forgive him for this, even when he was long gone.
But she couldn’t.
She couldn’t pretend she hated him, that what he’d done was so appalling and unexpected that he’d completely thrown her for a loop. But she couldn’t, because he hadn’t. Not really. No amount of self-righteousness could make her even begin to think she could spite him anymore that she’d been able to in the past. Because he was the Doctor, and if she knew absolutely anything about the Doctor, she knew that this was what he did. When it was a choice between the things he loved and what the rest of the universe needed, he would always put himself second. But the day he simply stood and let those that he loved so dearly get caught in the crossfire without one hell of a fight? That would be the day he would no longer be the Doctor.
She could say that she hadn’t a clue what he’d been planning as he pulled her into the ship and set the coordinates into the TARDIS, his movements swift and his expression carefully blank- a look even she could still never truly figure out when he wanted otherwise. She could say that when he’d walked purposefully out into the distance of their destination, forcibly not making eye contact with her until he stopped abruptly and slowly turned to face her, that she was just as confused as ever. But those would all be lies, and denial was the only thing that kept her from fully comprehending his intentions.
And undoubtedly, that was why she’d only been able to let the realization sweep over her when he’d finally looked her directly in the eyes, his own gaze so full of emotion that she knew that what she was seeing was only what he was allowing himself.
She shook then, her very body refusing to accept what she knew. Her eyes widened, full of pleading and the shock that was left over from her denial, and she knew that she wasn’t even capable of reigning in her emotions the way his years of experience had taught him.
“No,” she whispered, the only word that she could force through her trembling lips.
And he’d placed his hand upon her cheek, his eyes now full of their own pleading, pleading for her understanding. That she might know that this was all he could do. And she did know. As much as she wished otherwise, that she could play ignorant and not have to face reality.
He whispered back to her, his words flowing and rich, a beautiful, ancient language that only she would know. I’m sorry. I love you. Please understand. Please don’t hate me, though I know you will.
So many thoughts expressed in a way only the precise and fluent words of their people could convey. She knew his apologies were all for her benefit. He was
sorry - sorry that she would be alone, sorry that it had to end this way. But he would never once apologize for protecting her, and she wouldn’t have expected any different. It made her want to laugh and cry at the same time.
He held her close for longer than he could probably afford, and kissed her gently on the forehead. And with a conviction she couldn’t have put forward in that moment, he walked away.
And she watched him. She watched every step he took, back across the expanse they walked, up to that same blue box, the TARDIS, her very home. Her eyes stayed glued to him as he pressed that key into the door and turned the lock until it opened. As he stepped through the threshold, not quite allowing himself the weakness of looking back, but still pausing in his step. She knew for him, for that moment, it had to count as the same thing.
She couldn’t help thinking, just then, about their connection. Not just between she and the Doctor, but all who called Gallifrey home. Not just the mighty Time Lords, but even those who lived what to them would be called ordinary lives. They were always there, in the back of each other’s minds. Not exact thoughts or anything intrusive. Depending on their own level of experience, even the most well-trained usually required physical contact. But it was there. The feel of each other.
Like the TARDIS. A constant hum that reminded her that she wasn’t alone.
It would be gone. They
would be gone. Their precious TARDIS would be no more. In a final, definitive action, the Time Lords and all of Gallifrey would cease to exist. And all that would be left of their presence in her mind would be the cold, unbearable emptiness of being agonizingly alone.
If she could, if she didn’t know that there was an almost 100% chance that this was the last time she would ever see or feel him in her mind again, she thought she might have been able to hate him for that. But she still couldn't.
Even though she’d done everything she coud to be strong - to now let it show just how much this was breaking her - as she watched as the TARDIS dematerialized out of sight as if it had never been there, the sounds of Time and Space surrounding her senses, she finally reached her breaking point. Her legs finally give out beneath her, and she fell to her knees. Hands clenched in the hot sand, she was unable to stop her formally silent tears from becoming full on sobs that began to rock through her frame. With her right hand, still shaking uncontrollably like the rest of her body, she fingered the chain hanging around her neck and pulled on it until it was no longer tucked under her shirt. Her own TARDIS key, the glow it gained when the ship was near fading until it looked just like the cool metal of any other key.
She was alone, stranded on a bloody beach in California of all places. The TARDIS was gone, and it wouldn’t be long until her planet was no more. And the Doctor, her only family - her father
- was gone.
Frantically forcing every mental shield she knew up in her mind, she wondered if it would ever be enough to block the silence.
Yes, I have finally succomed to this idea! I better get some reviews for this... *grumbles, pouts*