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Wibbly-Wobbly

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Summary: YAHF. Xander wears pinstripes.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Dr. Who/Torchwood > Xander-CenteredficliciousFR15819,8112017838,0419 Aug 124 Dec 12No

The Eyghon Crisis: Part One

Genre: Dramady, YAHF.
Word Count: ~2750
Warnings: None
Timelines: Buffy Season 2, “Halloween.” Doctor Who: Series 2x09/10 (“The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit”). Series 5 just after ep08/09 (“The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood”). Torchwood, general first season.
Disclaimer: I do not own Scooby, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood, Doctor Who, or David Tennant, though I’d very much like to own David Tennant. I am not profiting financially from this bit of silliness.
Author’s Note: I don't know how happy I am with this, but I've held onto it long enough.



The Eyghon Crisis: Part One

Somewhere

The TARDIS shuddered and Rose held on for dear life. It wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be, because despite the copious handholds available, she was trying to stay out of the Doctor’s way. And the way he was jumping around, almost teleporting from one side of the TARDIS console to the other, he was impossible to predict.

“It’s a bit… bumpy,” she said.

“Can’t be helped.” The Doctor’s tongue stuck between his teeth and his face was a mask of utter concentration. Rose had never seen him looking so intent, or intense. She felt a stir somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach, but that might have been the lurching TARDIS at work. “We’re riding the intertemporal frequencies of the beacon. The signal is ridiculously weak. The splines mustn’t be properly aligned. Or something’s wrong with the flanging scransoms. And it looks like we’re picking up some ancron interference across the spacio-spacial barrier.”

Rose tried very hard to look like she was following what the Doctor was describing, but got tangled up somewhere around intertemporal frequencies. It felt like plane turbulence to her, but who was she to argue with a 945-year-old Time Lord?

The TARDIS hit a bad patch that nearly sent her flying across the room. The Doctor continued to babble about Time Rotors and gremlins in the gumworks, but Rose tuned him out, hugging the rail tightly with both arms and squeezing her eyes shut. She didn’t want to open them again until the TARDIS landed safely, or it blew up.

Either way, the ride from hell would be over. There was being adventurous, there was being courageous, and then there was this.

This was bloody ridiculous.

oOoOoOo

Warehouse District
6:20pm



Xander followed the nagging tug in his head until he was outside a very stout-looking metal door, and then the sensation of being pulled along by his nose vanished. He stared at the door, scratching his head. Time was stagnant, fixed around the bunker. He examined the Gordian knot of time, lifting the sonic screwdriver to scan it more closely.

Time hummed a warning.

Xander blinked, but put up the sonic. “You have got to be kidding me. I can’t even examine you? Temperamental, touchy, prissy time knot.” He squinted at it, just barely able to make out the floating digits of 6:27 inside the threads before time got huffy again and faded out of his sight. “Oh, come on!” he said. “That’s the way you want to play it? I am a Time Lord! Sort of! I have gazed into the Untempered Schism! Sort of! And you want to play this game with me? Do you know who I am? I’m the bloody Doctor! Well, okay, I’m not really the Doctor, I’m more of the…” His brain froze and his tongue tripped up as he realized he didn’t actually have a title. He would have to remedy that in due course.

For right now, he had to figure out why this one particular moment was so important, because it really didn’t seem to be.

“Well, never mind who I am,” he muttered, sweeping the buzzing sonic screwdriver in the general vicinity of the fixed point. He still had a couple of minutes to go until whatever happened happened, so he would learn what he could. Moments like this, he bitterly missed the TARDIS with its on-board detection and analytical systems.

“Hello, darling.”

Xander jumped a mile, yelping and bringing the sonic to bear on the figure that had crept up on him from behind. Though the woman didn’t look threatening, Xander had lived on the Hellmouth as a normal sort of human long enough to know that appearances could be very deceiving.

The woman strode out of the shadows, and Xander got the niggling feeling he should know who she was. He frowned, but didn’t lower the sonic. “Have we met?”

The woman beamed. “Just now for the very first time. But it won’t be the last. Not by a long shot.”

“You’re from the future?”

Her smile widened, and she mimed turning a key over her lips. “Spoilers, darling. I’m only here to pass on a message.”

Xander relaxed, but only marginally. That niggling feeling that told him to trust her wasn’t solid enough for him to drop his guard too much. “What message?”

Her smile turned playful. “Ooh, so suspicious. You haven’t changed much. Or, you won’t change much, from your point of view.” She stepped forward and Xander let her put her hands on his shoulders. Her expression softened, misted over, and she searched his face like she was seeing an old friend after a long absence. “My name is Doctor River Song, and I’ve come here to tell you that your journey is only beginning. You have a long, hard road ahead of you, and there will be times you doubt yourself, but in the end, it will be so worth it.” She stepped back, and withdrew a small box from the pocket of her overcoat, studied for a minute, then held it out.

Xander cautiously took it from her, rolling it in his hand. It was plain, wooden and sealed with a clasp. He thumbed the hook experimentally, but it refused to budge. He arched an eyebrow, but Dr. Song just smiled.

“It’s got a temporal seal,” she said. “It will open when it needs to open.”

“Okay,” he said, shoving the box into his own pocket and finally lowering the sonic. If she was going to attack him, now would be the moment. His shoulders tensed but, when the moment passed without assault, he allowed himself to relax. “I don’t usually take strange boxes from strange women who claim to know me, but I’ll try anything once. Who gave you this message?”

Dr. Song shook her head. “I can’t tell you too much without breaking a lot of those laws of time you and the Doctor hold so dear, darling. Suffice to say that she is known as the Gatekeeper, and you’ll meet her sooner or later. She needs you to hold onto that box until it’s time.” She took a step back, watching him with a bemused, wistful smile. “Oh, I wish we had more time, darling. So much to catch up on. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go.”

Xander heard a sound that made both his hearts skip a couple of beats.

The thrumming whoosh of the TARDIS manifesting in the present.

His head jerked back and he scanned around, but there was no familiar blue box in sight. He glanced to where Dr. Song had been standing, and was remarkably unsurprised to discover that she was gone.

He wished he wasn’t used to people just vanishing like that, but sadly, he was.

“Track the stranger, TARDIS, TARDIS, track the stranger.” Rassilon, this was a harder choice than it had to be. On the one hand, he knew this was an important moment, important enough that the vortex itself didn’t want it messed with even if he, for the life of him, could not fathom why. On the other hand, TARDIS.

He waffled a moment longer, then checked his watch. Xander blinked. 6:29. The important, solid moment had come and gone. Had the woman, Doctor Song, been it? Or had he missed it entirely?

The TARDIS thrummed again, somewhere off in the distance, sounding closer to materialization. His questions would have to wait. “Alright, Other Me,” he said, rubbing his hands together briskly and starting off in the direction of the sound. “Put the kettle on. It’s time we had a chat.”

oOoOoOo

Sunnydale High School roof
6:27pm



The TARDIS set down with a jarring crash that would have sent Rose flying if she hadn’t had such a death grip on the jump seat. The last few minutes of the journey had been full of turbulence that had made the previous bumpiness seem like a hay ride on an October afternoon.

The Doctor, seemingly unaffected, rap-a-tap-tapped a long string of commands into the TARDIS console, studying the readout. “Well, that’s a piece of luck,” he said, far too cheerfully for Rose’s comfort. “We’ve landed on a rift of some sorts. It’s a bit gunged up, the energy, but the old girl will sort all that out as she refuels.” He patted the TARDIS fondly, then took off his glasses and put them into the inner breast pocket of his jacket. “Now,” he said, shrugging into his overcoat. “There’s a Time Lord about here somewhere, Rose Tyler. Which is absolutely impossible, but there you have it.” He scratched his chin as he meandered to the exit. “Wonder who it is. Didn’t recognize the signature, but that’s not uncommon. Could be the Arbiter, he was always a bit of an odd duck. Liked to tinker about. The Oracle, maybe. Never heard one of her beacons before. She was odd, too. Liked to stare into the Schism for weeks on end. She went a bit cuckoo.” The Doctor blinked. “Oh, the Cuckoo! Haven’t seen him in ages. That wasn’t his official title, of course, but it’s what everyone called him.”

Rose had tried desperately to pry her fingers from the metal rung of the TARDIS jump seat, but her body refused to believe the journey from hell was over and remained stubbornly clinging to safety. “You go ahead,” she said, wincing as she finally managed to unclench her hands. They protested as circulation started up again, and she flexed them stiffly. “I’ll just be a minute.”

The Doctor drummed his fingers on the door. “Are you sure?”

Rose smiled, but knew it was a shaky one. She crunched her fingers again, but they were still stiff. “Yeah,” she said. “I’ve got these pins and needles. Don’t want to try and walk yet.”

“I can wait,” the Doctor said, but Rose knew he was just champing at the bit to get out there and find whoever had set off that beacon.

“No, you go,” she said. “I’ll just be a minute.”

“If you’re sure…”

“Go on!” She made a shooing motion, and immediately regretted it as the pins in her fingers and wrist flared. “Ten minutes. I’ll find you. And if I can’t, I’ve got my phone, yeah?” Not that she could fish it out of her jumper at the moment, but he didn’t need to know that.

The Doctor flashed her one of those gorgeous grins and disappeared out the door with an excited, “Brilliant.”

Rose breathed a sigh of relief as he left, then bonelessly collapsed back in the jump seat. She stared up at the TARDIS console while she waited for her blood to start circulating again. Was it just her imagination, or did the various lights and monitors look a bit weary?

Her ten minutes were just about up when the feeling finally returned to her fingers and her legs had stopped shaking. She leaned back in the jump seat for another moment, blowing out a breath that made her bangs dance briefly. Most of the time, she was perfectly happy to swan around the galaxy with the Doctor. More than perfectly happy. Delirious, even. But there were moments, brief and rare but there nonetheless, when she had to examine her own head and wonder exactly what the bloody hell she thought she was doing. This was one of those moments. And now that she’d had it, she could put off the next one for six months or so.

“Okay,” she said, and forced herself to stand up. “Let’s go see this rift then, shall we?”

oOoOoOo

Moments Later

She didn’t know how she got into these sorts of situations. One moment, she was walking along the street, the next she was accosted by two blokes with facial deformities and intimidatingly large and pointy teeth. She ducked down an alley to escape them, but came up against a fence. She scanned frantically around for an exit, any exit, but there were none to be seen.

A hand came out of the darkness and seized her. “Run.” She got a flash of black hair and dark eyes before she was jerked through a door into shadow and safety.

Rose shrieked and slapped at the hand, more out of reflex than anything else. “Ow! Hey! Why do I always get the slap-happy ones?” her accoster grumbled, and Rose was startled to hear a hint of Estuary English in his voice. There was a pause, and then he seized her by the shoulders. “Rose?”

She slapped at his hands again. Sure, the guy had just saved her life and all, but he was getting a bit too friendly for her tastes. She eyed him warily as the exuberant smile spread across his face and he fairly danced in place. Something to put her to mind of the Doctor, the manic smile, the spastic gleam in his eyes. She frowned in confusion. “I’m sorry, have we met?”

“Rose Tyler,” he said with great relish, and grabbed her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Rose Tyler. Run for your life!”

Her mind went blank as shock washed through her. No. He hadn’t regenerated. He couldn’t have regenerated. Had he? “…Doctor?”

oOoOoOo

Sunnydale High School

His name was Xander, as it turned out, and he talked all the way back to the high school. Rose had heard some whopping stories in her travels with the Doctor. She’d even lived through a few of them. Xander’s story was still hard to believe, but he knew so much, down to the mole on his – the other his – shoulder blade. He wasn’t the Doctor, but he had been the Doctor… It was absolutely insane. The possession she could believe, having been through it once or twice herself. (Twice, but it was both times Cassandra, that nasty trampoline-y bitch, so did it count as only once?) But magic spells? Pinstripe suits turning him into a Time Lord?

That stretched credulity just a tad.

Still, she had to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was far too crazy not to be true.

“He does love you, you know.”

Abruptly jolted out of her thoughts, Rose, startled, glanced up at Xander. He was staring at her with inscrutable eyes, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Well, course he does. We’re mates, ain’t we?”

Xander smiled and looked away. “Yeah. Best mates. But it’s more than that, Rose. You know it is.”

Rose fiddled with the hem of her jacket. “It isn’t that easy, Doctor.” It slipped out before she was aware she said it, and she blinked. “There I go again, calling you the Doctor.”

“It’s easy to get confused. Tell you something, I’m a little confused too. See, on the one hand, I’m just this sixteen year old kid who got the bad end of a black magic spell and wound up with two hearts and a head full of weird memories. Wonderful, some of them. But not of the good, others. And on the other hand, I’m a nine-hundred-some-odd year old Time Lord who actually lived all those memories out.” He paused a moment. “Nine kissed you.”

Rose blinked again, this time more rapidly. “What? No, he didn’t. I think I’d remember that.”

Xander shrugged. “On Satellite 5, yes he did. You won’t remember. You had just looked into the Time Vortex, so you weren’t in your right mind.”

“He kissed me?”

“Oh yes. Right on the lips and everything. Don’t worry. There wasn’t any tongue.”

Flustered, Rose wondered whether she should hit Xander or just crawl away and die under a rock. “He wouldn’t have. He’d have told me.”

Xander shrugged. “There wasn’t time. He did it not because he had romantic feelings for you, but because he didn’t want you to die. He really liked you, you know. And maybe, in those last few moments, he realized he did have intentions towards you, because Nine became Ten. And Ten is somewhat tailor-made for you, Rose. You have noticed that, haven’t you?”

“But that can’t be, can it?” Rose frowned. “The Doctor said he couldn’t control it. That he never knew what kind of man he was right away.”

“Rule one: The Doctor lies.”

“He got skinny and sort of brown and cheerful, what, because I’d approve?”

“Basically.” Xander blew out a breath. “He hasn’t told you yet, has he? That he loves you?”

“Don’t be daft. It’s not like that.”

Xander chuckled. “Oh, it’s exactly like that,” he said. “See, thing is, he’s terrified.”

“Of what?”

“Of you. Of Douglas Adams.”

“What’s Douglas Adams got to do with it?”

He grinned. “You know. Life. The universe. Everything.”

Rose couldn’t help but laugh just a little. “So the Doctor is scared of me? A shop girl from London. Little old me?”

“Yes, Rose Tyler. Little old you.” He bumped her shoulder with his. “So you’re going to have to make the first move, you know. You’ll have to fight him tooth and nail to get what you want. But it’ll be worth it, in the end. Because the Doctor is just as mad for you as you are for him.”

Rose stared at Xander, so long and intensely he began to fidget. She really wanted it to be true, but there was the little voice inside that was trying to convince her Xander was just winding her up.

“Yes, really. Rose Tyler, put the both of you out of your mutual misery, and just do something with him. He’ll only do something incredibly stupid if you don’t, like get you lost in a parallel world or do the noble, self-sacrificing thing and decide that you’re better off without him. He’s dumb like that, you know.”

“But how… how do you know all this?”

In response, Xander just tapped his temple with a knowing smirk. “It helps when you’ve had a good look,” he said.

The door behind them opened, and both turned to see who had come to the roof. The Doctor stepped out, regarding Xander suspiciously. “What’s all this then?”

Rose clambered to her feet and went to the Doctor’s side. “We were just talking.”

The Doctor eyed Xander, who shrugged expansively. “Talking.”

“Yeah, talking.” Xander got to his feet a little less guiltily than Rose had, and dusted off the bottom of his coat. “It’s what happens when you open your mouth and words come out. Another person hears them, opens their mouth and words come out of there too.”

Xander was nowhere feeling the casualness he infused into his words. “So,” he said. “Guess we should talk.”

The Doctor nodded slowly. “I suppose we should,” he said, eyes unreadable.

Rose looked between the two Time Lords, the one who was born and the one who was made. Was it just her, or had the tension ratcheted up in the last few seconds. “I’m gonna…” She trailed off, gesturing with her thumb at the door. She disappeared through the door, leaving the Doctor and Xander up on the roof, staring at each other.

oOoOoOo

Endnote
: Yes, I skipped Ford. Originally, that was the fixed point in time. I couldn't make it work the way it was in my head, though, so I introduced another element I hadn't planned on quite yet. Next chapter will have Willow, Buffy and Giles' conversation regarding Ford, what the Doctor was doing while Rose was being accosted by vampires, and the Eyghon incident. Also, the Untempered Schism. Tune in!
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