katherine_b: (DW - Hurt Doctor)
posted by [personal profile] katherine_b at 07:15am on 17/11/2013 under , ,
Title: Redemption 45/50
Author: [livejournal.com profile] katherine_b
Rating: PG
Summary: When you have lost everything, what do you do to get it back?
Characters: The non-Doctor first glimpsed at the end of Name of the Doctor and a lot of old friends.

Part XLV

“Now this is interesting!” declares Oswin.

“I don’t remembering hearing the words ‘The End,’” the Vadlott responds. “What could be more interesting than you finishing reading that book aloud to me while I’m working?”

“No, but this is!” protests Oswin, clearly not put off by his gruffness. “The tardis is telling me that the Shakri have come to Earth.”

The Vadlott blinks. “I beg your pardon?”

“The Shakri,” she repeats. “On Earth.”

As she says the words, the Vadlott doubles up with laughter. “The Shakri?” he hoots. “Really? What, did you pull something out of the library at random from the section marked ‘fairy tales’ and hope I’d believe it? Honestly, Oswin!”

“What are the Shakri?”

“A myth,” he says firmly. “A story children are told at night to make them behave, all about men with big, scary mouths who will swallow you up out of time if you are wicked enough that they feel you don’t deserve to be there when the universe ends. They’re. Not. Real,” he adds in as definitive a tone as he can muster. “Now, I’m going down to find out what loose wire gave you that reading, and speaking of reading...”

“I know, I know!” Oswin grumbles. “I just thought you might want to be told, that’s all!”

“I will, if it’s something real that I should actually do something about,” he tells her as he gets out of his chair. “But then and only then. Got that?”

“Got it.”

* * *

The Vadlott closes the door of his blue box, having given Oswin explicit directions not to start the tardis up again before he returns, and moves to the gate of the cemetery, keeping an eye on the various statues within it, even though he has already checked that none of them are Angels. He tucks his hands into the pockets of his jacket, leans against a nearby tombstone and waits.

A moment later, with no warning, a man appears a short distance away, gasping for breath. The Vadlott bounds forward and grasps his upper arms, steadying him.

“All right, Rory Williams,” he says gently. “I’ve got you. You’re safe now.”

It takes a moment or two for Rory’s eyes to focus, but finally he is breathing more easily and he looks up at the Time Lord.

“The Vadlott,” he offers in halting tones. “That was what River called you, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right.” The Vadlott nods at a nearby bench. “Do you want to sit down?”

“Where am I? When am I?”

“If I’m going to tell you, you really need to sit down.”

Rory obediently sits, looking up for an answer to his questions.

“You’re still in New York,” the Vadlott reassures him.

“That’s good.”

“And it’s 1938. Again.”

For a moment Rory is silent. “And that’s bad, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” the Vadlott admits. “That’s very, very bad, because you died, remember? You died as an old man in 1938, and when you jumped off the Winter Quay to escape your death, you created a paradox. Which,” he adds lightly, “did have the benefit of destroying all of the Angels who were here in 1938.”

“But not in 2012,” interrupts Rory, understanding dawning on his face. “They were waiting for me in 2012.”

“Exactly. Just one,” the Vadlott adds, “not strong enough to do more than send you back here again. But one is all it takes.”

“I see.” Rory looks around. “And where’s Amy?”

“In 2012.” The Vadlott sits next to him. “Weren’t you listening?”

“No.” For a moment the Time Lord thinks that Rory is admitting to having ignored him, but realises the next moment that it is actually a denial when he adds, “No, because she wouldn’t leave me alone here. I know she wouldn’t. She’ll come if we wait long enough.”

“She might not be able to,” the Vadlott is forced to confess. “That Angel will have absorbed the energy from the life you never lived. It might be strong enough to send her somewhere else.”

“She’ll come,” he says firmly. “She always does.”

“And you always wait for her.” The Vadlott smiles somewhat sadly. “Rory the Roman and the Girl Who Waited: a beautiful relationship.”

“Well, you have River,” Rory suggests. “That’s a beautiful relationship, too. Not like her and the Doctor, but maybe even better in a lot of ways because it’s been there her for whole life. She told me about it, about you. How you’ve been like her father ever since she was a little girl.”

“Not her father,” the Vadlott scolds. “You’re her father.”

“Her grandfather then.” Rory smiles a little. “You taught her so much, my daughter. I think that means I should thank you.”

The Vadlott blinks fiercely, glad that the looming darkness of evening hides his face. “You’re welcome,” he says, his tones gruff.

“I never even held her, never got the chance to see her grow up. What was she like?” Rory asks almost desperately. “When she was little, what sort of person was she?”

“Beautiful.” The Vadlott smiles at the cascade of memories conjured up by this simple question. “Curious and full of life and laughter, and never scared of anything!”

He decides not to mention the one thing she was terrified of: the suit in which she was made to spend so much of her life and which she would wear when she shot the Doctor at Silencio.

“She brought so much joy into my life,” he admits. “The sound of her laughter, and her little feet running all over. And I would take her out sometimes to show her the world beyond that orphanage. I taught her all of the things nobody else would. That nobody else could! I taught her to be happy.”

“And then you brought her to Leadworth.” Rory frowns. “I remember, when I first met her, she used to be so angry about being left behind, about being stuck in one place like that. I never understood what she meant, but if she travelled with you before then, it makes sense.”

“She wanted to stay with me,” the Time Lord confesses, “and she made no secret about that, from the very beginning. But I knew, hateful as everything she had to go through in her life was because of the Silence and Madame Kovarian, that without it she would never be the person she was going to be. The person I met as River Song before I went to find Melody Pond.”

“How do you do that?” demands Rory incredulously. “Go through something like that and not change things to make them better? How can you bear it?”

“It’s the curse of being a Time Lord,” the Vadlott tells him. “You’ve seen for yourself what can go wrong with you try to interfere with time. You guarded the Pandorica for thousands of years when the Universe began to collapse in on itself. You fought in a fictional army of Autons to keep Silents trapped in a pyramid. All because people tried to change time. Living with it can be hell, but trying to change it is always worse.”

“Like now.” Rory sighs, sounding defeated. “Supposing she doesn’t come. Maybe you were right and Amy isn’t sent here. What would I do then?”

“You know what you would have to do,” the Vadlott tells him reassuringly.

The words are scarcely out of his mouth before they are no longer alone. Amy gapes at them for a moment and then sinks to her knees. Rory and the Vadlott are beside her at once, helping her to the bench, and Rory sits beside her, hugging her.

“You did it, Amy!” he exclaims joyfully. “You came! I knew you would!”

Amy’s eyes are full of tears, but she clings to her husband as if she can hardly believe he’s there. “Oh, Rory,” she sobs. “I knew that Angel would bring me to you.”

She strokes his face with her hands, perhaps because it is so dark in their corner of the cemetery that it is almost impossible for her to see him. The Vadlott turns toward the tardis, pointing to the light on top with his sonic screwdriver, and the bulb switches on, filling the area with a gentle glow. He turns back to find Amy staring at him, resentment all too clear on her face.

“How are you here?” she demands angrily. “River said the TARDIS couldn’t land here. That the Doctor couldn’t make it happen. She said even she couldn’t do it! And then we tried, and it was impossible, so,” she adds, pushing herself up off the bench and poking his chest with her finger to punctuate each word, “how is it that you’re here?”

“No, River couldn’t,” the Vadlott agrees, everything he learned about Amy at Two Streams making him able to understand and look past her fury now. “She’s a very clever girl, is River, but she can’t do the impossible and bring the Doctor’s TARDIS here. And you’re right; the Doctor can’t land his TARDIS here either, as you saw when he tried. But I’m not the Doctor, and this is my tardis, so I can.”

“So why can’t you take us back there?” she persists. “Back to 2012?”

He captures her hands in his. “Because,” he says gently, “you’ve seen your own future, or at least Rory’s, which, in the end, is the same thing. And the Doctor’s seen it, too. It’s like he told you when you were reading that book: once you know what happens, it always will. Any attempt to change that now, particularly considering the paradox that already exists here as a result of your earlier attempts, would rip both this time and 2012 apart. We would be torn to pieces. There would be no gentle landing for you, like there was then.”

“How do you know about that?” Rory asks, his voice full of curiosity as he comes to put his arm around Amy.

“I was watching.” The Vadlott nods at his tardis. “When the timelines were distorted, I came to keep an eye on you, and on River, and I saw it all. That’s how I knew to be here. I’m somewhere over there,” he waves roughly in the direction of the cemetery gates, “watching this right now. Or I was. I think I’ve left now. I’m a walking paradox all on my own,” he confesses almost proudly. “But I wanted to make sure I got this right.”

“So what are you doing here?” Amy wants to know, wiping the final tears from her cheeks. “If you can’t take us back to our own time, why come at all?”

“Ah.” The Vadlott fishes in his pocket. “I wanted to make certain that the two of you were as comfortably established in your new timeline as I could manage. May I show you?”

They walk with him out of the cemetery gates and down first one and then another street until the Time Lord stops in front of a house at the end of a row. His sonic screwdriver turns the lights on, and at the same moment he offers them a key with his other hand.

“There you are,” he says. “All yours. Oh, and something to live off.” He goes fishing deep in his pockets again, pulling out a very thick envelope, which he hands to Amy. “I’d take that to the bank first thing, unless you’d rather keep it under your mattress. Then again, what with everything you have ahead of you – World War II, McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, and so on – you might want to keep it close. You’ll like Disneyland, though. I went there four times! Oh, and the moon landing’s brilliant!”

“The Doctor did this, too,” Amy points out, even as Rory takes the proffered key. “Back when he tried to make us stop travelling with him the first time, after the Minotaur.”

The smile slides off the Vadlott’s face. “Some parallels I can’t escape,” he admits somewhat gloomily. “Not when they’re necessary, as this is. Now,” his voice becomes brisk, “make the best life you can for yourselves. I’d tell you to love one another, but there’s clearly no need. Oh, and always remember the Doctor. That’s very important, because he’ll always remember you.”

“But, if you’re not him,” Rory offers in a soft voice, “if you’re so different from him, Vadlott, does that mean we shouldn’t remember you?”

The Vadlott smiles again, sadly this time, and turns away without replying, heading into the darkness.

Next Part

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