Thanks a lot to my new beta landiana24 on lj for betaing this chapter. :-)
chapter 13:AU Whoverse:
Ruby watched as Willow’s dripping clothes suddenly dried, her hair and the rest of her body doing the same. Then the witch started to look around.
“What about me?” Ruby asked frowning.
“Oh, sorry,” Willow muttered, turned to Ruby and with a flex of her hand Ruby turned from soaking wet to dry and comfortable.
“Now that that’s sorted… What the hell happened? Where are we? And more importantly, where are the others?” Ruby asked, looking to the witch for the answers she sought.
“Hello,” a voice suddenly said, startling the two women. Ruby and Willow turned and noticed for the first time that they weren’t alone. A man was standing a few feet away, a grin on his face as he waved at them. Behind him was another man, dressed in a roman outfit, and a police woman. Willow really hoped that the police outfit was just the costume it appeared to be. It was bad enough that they had witnesses to their crash and her using magic – why had she been careless enough to use magic in public without first looking around anyway? Right, the TARDIS had crashed and no one had been in the control room, that could rattle anyone! But all that happening with police around would be even worse.
“Do you need help? Is someone injured?” Rory asked, stepping forward and looking at the two women who were standing in front of a lying TARDIS that was emitting smoke. Yes, he was a little startled by the whole flying and drying thing… that so did look like magic to him! But he had seen a lot of crazy stuff in his life already and wasn’t going to let anything distract him from the more important things, like making sure everyone was alright.
“They look fine to me, unlike my garden shed. What is it with TARDIS’s crashing into my garden shed anyway?” Amy asked rolling her eyes while crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“Amy,” Rory butted in, giving her a reprehensive look.
“What? It can’t be that hard to crash a few feet over there, can it?” she asked gesturing to her left.
That so wasn’t the reaction Willow had expected… shock, fear, maybe even screaming, but not this.
“Who are you people?” Ruby asked, glaring slightly at them.
Willow shot a look at Ruby and was about to tell her that being nice wouldn’t hurt when the guy who had spoken first said:
“Oh sorry, just ignore them,” he gestured at the other two. “You seem to be in a bit of trouble and I’m guessing you need a Doctor. Well, you’re lucky… here I am.”
Willow turned to the guy and looked him up and down, a little startled.
“Actually we are looking for a Doctor, but a rather specific one, and some more of our friends. They were in the control room when - well, I have no idea what happened - but we crashed - sorry about the shed by the way,” Willow babbled, glancing at the other redhead. “Ruby and I were in the library and when we got to the control room it was empty.” She stopped, wondering why she was telling all that to the strangers. They probably had no idea what she was talking about; but on the other hand, the redhead had talked about TARDIS’s, as if she knew exactly what the ship was.
“Er… you didn’t see anyone else coming out of the TARDIS, did you?” she then asked, deciding to concentrate on what was most important for now.
“No,” the Doctor said. “You were the only ones. And I have no idea what happened either, but why don’t we go find out?” He strode forward purposefully, intending to check out the TARDIS.
“Woah, hold it right there,” Ruby objected. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Having a look at your TARDIS of course.”
“No, you’re not! We don’t even know who you are. You’re not touching… How do you even know what the TARDIS is?” Ruby asked raising an eyebrow.
“Got one of my own,” the Doctor said, gesturing at his TARDIS, which was standing a few feet away, slightly hidden behind a tree. “And I am the Doctor by the way. Yeah, I know, I look different…” These people obviously were travelling with a future version of himself, seeing as they hadn’t recognized him. “Have I told you about regeneration yet? Obviously not, judging by your blank looks. You see, Time Lords have this little trick…”
“He can change his face… or better, whole body,” Amy interrupted. If she left it to him to explain they would no doubt be standing here for hours, listening to his ramblings. “He’s the Doctor, trust me.”
“Why would we trust you?” Ruby asked at the same time as Willow said: “Change his looks? How… and why?”
“To cheat death… but that’s not what is important right now. The TARDIS looks bad from what I can tell. I should really….” He stopped as a loud gong came from inside the ship.
“No no no,” he muttered rushing past the two strangers. “Amy, Rory, stay here, I’ve got to…”
“Oh no, we’re coming. I’m not going to let you disappear for another twelve years!” Amy called, grabbed Rory’s arm and dragged him with her.
The Doctor sighed. “Fine… no time for arguing, the TARDIS is about to explode.”
“Hold it…” Ruby started, but Willow put a hand on her arm. “Let them go. We need help and maybe they can do that. They do know a lot. And what if he really is the Doctor?”
“I think it’s more likely that they are the reason we crashed,” Ruby replied.
Willow frowned. She hadn’t thought about it like that. “Then we’ll just have to keep an eye on them,” she decided and rushed after the strangers. The guy who claimed to be the Doctor was just climbing onto the TARDIS, ready to jump in.
“Alright, let’s do this. GERONIMOOOOO!” With that scream he jumped. The woman, Amy, was next. Her scream could soon be heard as well.
“I hate this pool,” Ruby muttered, surfacing in it for the second time. Willow smirked at her.
“Would you rather have ended up on solid ground?” the Doctor asked while climbing out of the pool.
“We could have floated in,” Ruby muttered. “The same way we got out of the ship.”
Willow ignored her as she climbed out of the pool as well. “How can we be standing normally?” she then asked. After the TARDIS crashed everything had been slightly off. The walls were the ground. And now they just jumped in and fell through the control room, a corridor, and all the way down into the library and the pool.
The Doctor held up the sonic screwdriver. “Fixed the gravity on my way in.”
Another gong was then heard.
“Hurry up Ponds, we’re on a tight schedule here,” the Doctor called. “And you two… what are your names anyway?”
“I’m Willow, and this is Ruby.”
“Nice to meet you, Willow, Ruby… run,” he called as he started running while the gong sounded a third time.
“So, it’s all fixed now?” Willow asked about half an hour later, as they all stood in the control room. The Doctor had taken them on a short trip to the future to stabilize the engines, then he started fixing things. In addition to that the TARDIS apparently fixed certain things herself as well. While they had been off somewhere in the ship the whole control room had changed. Willow looked around in amazement at the now reddish décor. She had loved the look of the control room before, but this was almost even more beautiful.
“Looks just like our TARDIS now,” Amy said.
“Except for all the seats,” Rory added. There were more seats scattered around this control room.
“More seats for more people,” the Doctor muttered silently. “The TARDIS knows what is needed.” Willow had said that they were looking for friends, and with all the new seats it looked like there were a lot of people travelling in this TARDIS.
“Yes, it’s all fixed and brand new,” the Doctor stated. “But there’s something I don’t get.”
Willow and Ruby both turned to him. “What?”
“The TARDIS… they way it looked. It looked like that before… well, actually right before I regenerated the last time.”
“So?” Ruby asked.
“The TARDIS never looks the same twice. Once it changes it doesn’t go back.” They all looked at him, apparently waiting for him to make a point. He turned to Amy.
“My TARDIS changed the day I met you, which means it couldn’t have changed in the same or a similar way now. Plus…” he twirled around, facing Willow and Ruby. “…if you travelled in the TARDIS, looking the way it did, that would mean you travel with a past regeneration of me, but I don’t recognize you.”
“What does that mean?” Rory asked.
“Something changed… right, Doctor? Time can be rewritten,” Amy stated. “And it was, wasn’t it?” She sounded a little scared. This didn’t sound good. Of course time had been rewritten before. In fact the Doctor had done it just a few hours ago to save them from dying on an alien ship on their honeymoon. But this time… this change would involve her personally. If the change involved her first meeting with the Doctor, what would that mean for her?
“Not necessarily,” Willow butted in. “We’re probably not from this reality. You see, we were kind of travelling between realities when this happened. We…” she gestured at Ruby and herself. “… came through a portal from another reality and the Doctor was trying to get us home. So we might not actually be travelling with you.”
The Doctor stared at her, frowning.
“Travelling through realities? But that’s not possible. It could destroy universes! I wouldn’t do that, no matter which version of me.”
“But you did, or he did. We’ve been to several realities already,” Ruby stated.
“And nothing happened,” Willow added. “Not until today anyway. Do you think that’s why we crashed, because we shouldn’t have travelled through realities?”
The Doctor frowned again and stepped to the console. “How about we find out.” None of this made much sense so far. It was time for him to figure out what actually happened to this TARDIS.
“So, find anything?” Amy asked after a while. She was sitting in one of the comfy new chairs close to the console, her head resting on Rory’s shoulder, as she waited for the Doctor to finish checking out this TARDIS and its readings.
“Fascinating…,” the Doctor muttered, then he turned to Amy.
“Yeah, a lot actually. This TARDIS really can travel through realities. Not that mine can’t of course, but this one can do it safely, without endangering universes.”
“But what caused the crash then?” Willow wanted to know.
“And why are we the only ones left? Where is everyone else?” Ruby asked. She was in this whole mess because she followed Sam. She had wanted to keep him safe and make sure that he returned home in one piece. He was her strongest ally, she couldn’t lose him now.
“Well,” the Doctor started, turning to Ruby. “I think they might have fallen out of the TARDIS.”
“… fell out of the TARDIS when it started to lose control, which by the way happened because it flew into a trap.”
“I’m afraid so, and whoever laid that trap knew exactly what he was doing. It’s quite brilliant actually…”
“I don’t care how brilliant it is. Who set the trap?” Ruby demanded to know.
“I have no idea,” the Doctor stated. “Is there someone brilliant after you? And I mean really brilliant.”
Ruby and Willow frowned, glanced at each other and shrugged. But then Ruby turned back to the Doctor.
“There was someone after Eric, a whole bunch of vampires. They almost killed him, Buffy and me.”
“Vampires?” Amy asked. “Not real vampires though, right? Just aliens pretending to be vampires, like we met… right, Doctor?”
“They were real vampires, trust me,… different from the ones back home, but still vampires,” Ruby stated.
“But they knew nothing about the TARDIS,” Willow said, ignoring Amy and Rory’s mutterings about vampires. “I mean, the ones who attacked you are dead and no one else even saw the TARDIS.”
“Right.” Ruby nodded. “What about that girl we picked up? The Doctor’s friend.”
“Rose? You think she could have set the trap?”
“Rose?” the Doctor asked, feeling a little startled. “She’s travelling with you?”
“We just picked her up in another reality.”
The Doctor stared at them, stunned. Then he pushed away his feelings. Now was not the time to contemplate that this TARDIS could fly through realities, that with it he could go and see his Rose again. Not that it mattered, Rose was with the other Doctor now. She didn’t need him anymore.
“Rose wouldn’t sabotage the TARDIS. She wouldn’t want to or know how.”
“What about the guy that attacked her? That Master, do you know him?” Willow asked.
The Doctor froze. “The Master? He’s alive?”
“Who’s the Master?” Amy and Rory both asked at the same time.
“A Time Lord. And this trap definitely looks like something the Master would do. You’re going to have to be careful, real careful.”
“Great, thanks for the warning, but we don’t even know how to fly this ship or find the others,” Ruby said.
“She’s right. We can’t worry about the Master right now. We need to find our friends,” Willow added, facing the Doctor. “Can you help us? They could be anywhere after all, even in another reality.” She could do a locator spell, but that wouldn’t do them any good if Buffy and the others fell out in another reality. They needed help, and the Doctor was the only person she could think of that might be able to help them.
“You should worry about the Master. He’s dangerous, and it looks like he has a plan. But we can figure that out later. For now we’re just going to fly back the way you came and see who we can pick up on the way,” he stated, a grin appearing on his face.
“So you’ll help us?” Willow said, a smile appearing on her face.
“Of course I will; can’t just let you be stranded here.” He then turned to Amy and Rory. “You better get home now. Keep an eye on my TARDIS while I’m gone.”
“Not a chance! You’re going to fly to other realities and face some dangerous master guy. I’m not leaving your side.”
“Neither will I,” Rory added. He looked a little less thrilled than Amy, but he definitely wouldn’t leave his wife and the Doctor while they travelled to another reality!
“Alright, now that that’s settled...” The Doctor pulled a handle and the TARDIS shook slightly. “…off we go.”
----- ----- ----- ----- -----TARDIS (back when it was spinning out of control):
Buffy watched in horror as people started to fall out of the TARDIS. First the Doctor and Rose, then Faith and Martha. Jack and Dean had tried to get to them, but were too late and then they too lost their grip and hurled out of the TARDIS. Buffy was trying to think of something to do while ignoring the screams and came to the conclusion that she needed to close the doors. She let go of the column she was hanging on to and threw herself over to the console. She had no idea how to close the doors - there were hundreds of buttons, handles and other things - but she had to try. Clinging to the console she started pressing buttons. Then Buffy saw that Dawn lost her grip. Sam grabbed her with one hand while holding onto a column with the other, but their combined weight was too much and he lost his grip as well. They hurled towards the door together.
“No!” Buffy screamed and in a reflex let go of the console, pushing herself away. She had to get to Dawn. She couldn’t lose her sister and there was nothing she could do for her from inside the ship. Maybe she could somehow grab Dawn and at least cushion her fall or something.
As Buffy got sucked out the door she saw Dawn and Sam a few feet away, falling. The next second they were gone. She was all alone in the air, falling, and she seemed a lot higher up than just seconds before. The lights of a city could be seen in the distance, far below her.
Buffy’s eyes widened as she realized that this was going to be it. She was going to die – again – but this time she wouldn’t be able to save anyone in the process. She jumped out of a spaceship for nothing.
A moment later arms wrapped around Buffy, pulling her close. She blinked and came face to face with Eric who was holding her.
“I’ve got you,” he said as their fall seemed to slow down.
“What the…?” Buffy mumbled, then they came to a halt in midair. That was when Buffy remembered that Eric could fly, which really did come in handy in that moment.
Eric then glanced around, probably looking for the others.
“They just disappeared,” Buffy said. “Or maybe we did.” Everything had changed. She had not been quick enough in falling out of the TARDIS. The ship had probably disappeared and reappeared somewhere else and taken Buffy with her just before she was completely out of the ship. It was the only explanation she had.
“Then we should get back to the ship,” Eric stated and started to fly towards the tumbling blue box in the distance. However, they didn’t make it. The TARDIS disappeared in front of their eyes, leaving only the dark night sky behind.
“Crap,” Buffy muttered and groaned. Of course that had to happen. It wasn’t like she could fly the TARDIS, but without the ship she had no clue how to find the others at all.
Buffy’s thoughts were spinning when they finally landed on a street. How was she going to find Dawn and the others? There had to be a way, she just needed to find it. Willow would know, but her friend wasn’t here.
“Willow,” she breathed. “She’s still in the TARDIS, and so is Ruby. They’ll figure this out.”
“They can get the ship back under control and fly it?” Eric asked, slightly sceptical. Until that point he had only seen the Doctor using the machine.
“Er…,” Buffy stammered. “Willow’s a witch. She will figure something out.” She just had to. It was their only chance. With the TARDIS they could get back to before the others fell out, couldn’t they? It was a time machine after all. They could catch them before they hit the ground.
Eric looked at Buffy and simply nodded. He had no idea if Willow would actually be able to do anything about the TARDIS, or if Buffy was just clinging to hope.
“We should try to find shelter while we’re here,” he then said. It was night right now, but he had no idea what time it was. He had to find a safe place before dawn.
Buffy glanced at him and then nodded. Eric was a vampire, he would eventually need a place to spend the day, in case the TARDIS wasn’t back in time. She then started to look around properly.
“Wait a second, I know this place.”
Eric turned to Buffy and stared at her. “You know where we are?”
“Cleveland. I think I’m home, or I might be at least.” This could be one of many realities after all. The odds that it was the right one were rather slim, but one could hope, right? If they were actually home Buffy knew where to get help; and if they were in an alternate reality, maybe she could still find help. Alternate versions of her friends might be here, maybe even a Willow.
“Come on, let’s go… This way.”
“So, you just jumped out of the TARDIS after me?” Buffy asked glancing up at Eric as they headed towards the Slayer School.
“Of course,” Eric simply stated. He wouldn’t let anything happen to Buffy. It was unthinkable.
Buffy stared at him for a moment, waiting for him to say something else, but he didn’t. She frowned slightly, not sure what to think. Eric was a bit of a mystery to her. She still wasn’t entirely sure why he had decided to come with her. And she knew so little about his kind of vampires. They did seem to have souls, but they weren’t like humans. The vampire war she had witnessed had shown that. On the other hand, humans did fight wars as well. Did that mean, that vampires like Eric weren’t that much different from humans? Was it possible that he genuinely cared about her? They only just met… but it had been a rather intense meeting. They had saved each others lives and fought together. Maybe that was enough for him to care about her.
“You could have died,” she then pointed out.
“So could you, and besides, I
“Yeah, but it could have been day.”
Eric stared at her. “It was night when we left and not much time has passed.”
“We’re travelling in a time machine, Eric. Or we were,” she reminded him. “It was morning for me when I stepped out of the TARDIS in your world, but it was night outside.”
Eric frowned at that. He hadn’t considered the implications of time travel. He would have to be careful when he stepped out of the TARDIS in the future, if there was a future that involved travelling in the TARDIS.
“So you had Tequila for breakfast?” he then asked with a smirk.
Buffy groaned. He just had to remember that.
“It was an annoying morning, all right?”
“None of your business.” She so wasn’t going to tell him that she hated the thought of her sister making out with Sam, or anyone for that matter. It was a little pathetic, wasn’t it? Dawn wasn’t a child anymore, even if it still felt like she was. And she wasn’t going to mention that she had still been pissed at the Spike-look alike from the bar the evening before. That he reminded her of Spike and how much she missed him wasn’t something Buffy wanted to talk about either.
“Alright, the TARDIS just disappeared on us without an explanation, and I was left behind with Ruby. She annoys the hell out of me on the best of days,” she then said when Eric still looked at her as if he expected an explanation.
“I thought she was your friend.”
Buffy snorted. “She’s a demon.”
“I don’t know about demons from your world, but where I’m from demons are NOT trustworthy.”
“Then why are you travelling with her?” Buffy’s thought processes appeared to baffle him
“That’s what I’d like to know. She just sort of came along… uninvited!”
Buffy then stopped. They had reached the Slayer School. The building loomed behind a familiar gate, looking just the way she remembered it. She never would have thought that she’d miss the place so much. It really had become her home, and with a bit of luck she was home now.
poster/book cover for this chapter: