katherine_b: (DW - Hurt Doctor)
katherine_b ([personal profile] katherine_b) wrote2013-11-22 06:28 am
Entry tags:

DW Fic - Redemption 50/50

Title: Redemption 50/50
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 L

“Where are we?” Oswin asks as they come in to land.

“Trenzalore. And yes,” he adds, “before you ask, I’m not the Doctor so I can come here.”

Oswin apparently ignores the bitter undertones his (admittedly uncalled-for) outburst. “But what are we doing here?”

“I got a call.” The Vadlott flashes the psychic paper at Oswin before striding to the doors and flinging them open. “Come on!”

He steps out – and finds himself in front of the grave he dug for River, with her gravestone still standing at its head. His heart sinks within him and he lowers himself to his knees so that he can run his fingertip across the engraved letters.

His mind had been so fixed on the call to come here that he had all but forgotten his last visit to this place. Or at least he had tried to.

For once Oswin has the tact to be silent while he mourns, wishing for and yet at the same time dreading the thought of possibly having to see River again in his future. He knows that it might happen, and he remembers how hard it was not to mention the Library every previous time he saw her, but now that life has come full circle for him, bringing him back here again, the thought is agony.

But there is another reason for him to be here, and after a few moments he wipes the traces of tears from his face and gets to his feet, turning away.

“Where are we going?” asks Oswin.

“There.” The Vadlott nods at the massive TARDIS, so much larger than when he was last here, which towers over everything. “That’s where they are. Inside the Doctor’s tomb.”

“And how do we get in?”

The Vadlott rolls his eyes. “By the door, of course.”

He leads the way through the half-destroyed cemetery, seeing that Oswin’s eyes are wide. “What happened here?” she wants to know.

“Other people have found out about this place,” the Vadlott tells her grimly. “And they know how important it is. There are legends about the fall of the Eleventh, but they fade into insignificance when compared to the moment the Doctor dies.”

“Is he dead?” Oswin demands anxiously.

“Not yet,” he replies, forging onwards.

The massive front wall of the memorial tardis looms ahead of them, and the Vadlott frowns as he sees that the doors are already standing open.

“Someone’s in there?” Oswin hisses, apparently forgetting that nobody else can see her.

“It would seem so.”

He inhales deeply before moving into the doorway, unsure of what awaits him. But the sight of three familiar figures, and the absence of the Doctor, allows him to relax a little.

“Vastra,” he says as he enters the one-time console room, “Jenny. Strax. I got your message.”

“Oh, Vadlott!” Vastra’s expression is one of relief as she turns to him. “The Doctor – he’s gone in there. To get Clara.”

She waves a hand at the white, crackling energy that the Vadlott is keeping as far away from as he can without it being obvious, but at these words, he stares and takes a step towards it.

“Is he mad?” he demands incredulously. “Into his own timestream?”

“He said he might not come back,” Jenny admits, and he can hear the fear in her voice. “He said, if he didn’t, we should go into his TARDIS and it would take us home.”

“Oh, yes, the grand sacrificial gesture,” the Vadlott mutters under his breath. “Typical! Well,” he adds aloud, “there’s no need for that. I’ll take you home. We’ll leave his TARDIS here in case he needs it.”

“Can’t you go in there and get him?” Vastra wants to know. “You were the Doctor, once upon a time.”

“And now I’m not,” the Vadlott reminds her. “Going into that would probably kill me. It might not, but I’m not about to take the risk and find out. Come with me, all three of you, and we’ll get out of here.”

“But – the Doctor!” Jenny protests.

“...is here,” another voice interrupts, and the timestream sparks and crackles, splintering itself apart as the Doctor forces his way out, a clearly unconscious young woman in his arms.

He stumbles over rubble on the floor and the Vadlott dives forward, catching the girl before she can hit the ground.

“All right, Oswin,” he says without thinking. “I’ve got you.”

“What?!” the Doctor demands, straightening himself to his full height. “What did you call her?”

“Clara,” the Vadlott corrects himself, seeing as Oswin pulls an uneasy expression, her eyes fixed anxiously on the Doctor’s face.

“What do you know about Oswin?” demands the Doctor, stepping closer and leaving the Vadlott in little doubt that, were it not for Clara in his arms, he would be facing a physical attack from his fellow Time Lord.

The Vadlott shifts Clara to one arm and fishes beneath his shirt, pulling out the chain.

“Sorry if this hurts,” he apologises to Oswin before pressing the blue gem to his temple, which he knows will enhance its power. A dull headache begins behind his eyes at the pressure on his link with the tardis, but he ignores it.

There is a gasp from the Paternoster gang, and the Doctor’s eyes widen as Oswin obviously becomes visible to all of them. She has clearly understood what the Vadlott had planned because her expression of concern has been replaced by a cheeky grin.

“Strax, you talked to Oswin on my tardis,” says the Vadlott. “This is what she looks like. Vastra, Jenny, my current companion, Oswin Oswald. Doctor,” his voice becomes icy, “no need for introductions, clearly.

Oswin nods a greeting at all of them, but fixes her attention longest on the Doctor. “Hello, Chin Boy!” she says cheekily. Then, “You see, Vadlott,” she adds, turning to him. “Didn’t I say?”

“You did,” that man admits, but his words are drowned out by the Doctor’s response.

“What is going on?” he demands, reaching out to touch her, but his fingers pass right through. “What happened to you, Oswin? You should be dead! Where are you?!”

“She – the Dalek version of Oswin – is in my tardis,” the Vadlott tells him. “This is a psychic projection of her human form. She’s been there,” he adds smugly, “ever since I managed to snatch her out of danger at the last minute. Ever since I saved her life.”

He rounds on the Doctor, who gapes at him, still clearly shocked by the sight of Oswin. The Vadlott presses home his advantage.

“Just like I did with other people,” he goes on. “Like the people who were uploaded by the Great Intelligence. Like the Silurians who were thrown out of their ship on the way to Siluria with their load of dinosaurs. Like Strax,” he gestures to the Sontaran, “who died at Demon’s Run until I provided the technology to bring him back.”

“Did I really?” asks Strax, looking delighted. “Excellent!”

“I saved Dorabella from death for Bracewell,” the Vadlott goes on, barely hearing this. “I saved the starwhale carrying the UK on its back from dying as a result of the infection you never cured. I saved all the people the Daleks experimented on with their Reality Bomb, back when you were a different man. Remember that day, Doctor? Because I certainly do. And so, incidentally, does Luke Rattigan, who was with me at the time. I saved him as well. He was even there with me on Shan Shen when you dismissed me as being so unimportant. All of that, ever since you tried to warn me away from your life.”

The Doctor opens his mouth, clearly about to retort, but the Vadlott, with such a long time of pent-up frustration and jealousy and anger that he can finally let out, has no intention of letting him speak.

“And that’s not even counting all the times I saved you,” he barrels on bitterly, “which is what I actually thought I was doing when I brought Luke into my tardis. But I was the one who rescued your TARDIS when you and Amy and Rory were being dragged into a dying star after you forgot to rid your ship of psychic pollen,” he adds. “And the Cyberman who knocked you out was just too weak, was he? Or did I step in to save your life – again? Well?” he demands as the Doctor stares blankly at him. “It’s not like you to be silent for so long. Or are you actually going to acknowledge that I’m not the villain here?”

The Doctor’s lips are still parted, but not in readiness to speak. His jaw hangs slackly, and although the Vadlott would like to think that the Doctor is stunned by the force of his opponent’s argument, the lack of colour on the Time Lord’s face would suggest otherwise.

And then his eyes roll back in his head and his legs give as he crumples to the ground, as unconscious as Clara, who is still cradled in the Vadlott’s arms.

For a moment there is silence before Oswin looks at the Vadlott. “And you didn’t enjoy that at all,” she says sarcastically.

This wakes the Time Lord out of his shock and he gently passes Clara to Strax before sinking to his knees so he can check on the Doctor. In the process, he drops the medallion back down his shirtfront, seeing out of the corner of his eye as Vastra looks around, presumably for Oswin, who will have vanished from her sight, even if the Vadlott can still see and hear her.

“He’s not – dead?” asks Jenny breathlessly.

“No.” His response is curt as he feels both of the Doctor’s hearts beating beneath his hands. “He’s not dead. Just exhausted. Or it’s the stress of going into his own timestream. A bit of both, most likely.”

His anger dissipates and he gets to his feet again, trying to swallow his annoyance that, in all probability, everything that has been said or done in the past few minutes will be forgotten by the Doctor when he regains consciousness. The Vadlott remembers that he still has a vial of ammonium carbonate in one of his pockets and considers making use of it to bring the other man around, but decides against it. Given everything the Doctor has undergone, he probably doesn’t need the additional stress. Sleep will be better for him.

Feeling rather virtuous, or at least particularly generous, the Vadlott leans down again, sliding his hands beneath the Doctor’s neck and knees, lifting him into his arms and then turning to the others.

“The TARDIS,” he orders. “The Doctor’s, not mine.”

“Which was only parked a few feet away from yours in any case,” Oswin adds helpfully as they leave the tomb. He nods at her, knowing that he alone can hear her now.

“Can we shut the doors?” asks Vastra, hesitating as soon everyone is outside. “Nobody else should be able to go in there.”

“Get the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver out of his pocket,” the Vadlott orders, leaning down so that she can reach more easily since his own sonic is crushed against his chest by the pressure of the Doctor’s body and thus impossible to get at. “Inside left, I should think, since I believe this incarnation is right-handed.”

She retrieves it and slides it between his waiting fingers. He turns, still cradling the Doctor, and points the sonic at the doors, activating it and watching as the massive doors slide together with a crash that raises clouds of dust around them and sets the others coughing.

“Let’s go,” the Vadlott says, nodding at everyone to go ahead of him.

In silence they make their way through the graveyard, and perhaps the Doctor’s TARDIS is aware of what is needed because the doors swing open as they approach.

The Vadlott enters, but stops in the doorway to look back at the others. “Wait here,” he tells them. “I won’t be long. Strax, bring Os–Clara.”

He moves into the ship, noticing the changes from the last time he was inside it, when the room looked like a coral reef. The change, he feels, is fitting for the man in his arms, who he carries up the stairs – typical that that additional challenge would exist – and into the medical bay, which is fortunately close at hand.

Placing the Doctor on one of the beds, he returns that man’s sonic screwdriver to his pocket and then gestures at the other bed when Strax enters with the Doctor’s companion.

“Put her there,” he says, fetching blankets from one of the cupboards.

“What now, sir?” asks the Sontaran once he has gently laid Clara’s head against the pillow with a gesture that speaks well of his medical training.

“Go back to the others.” The Vadlott nods in the direction of the door. “Guard them, Strax. I don’t know if there is any danger still out there, but there might be.”

“And you will be following shortly?” Strax prompts him.

“I need to send the Doctor’s TARDIS somewhere safe,” the Vadlott tells him. “Then I will transmat myself back to my tardis. In fact,” he fishes in his pocket for his key, which he hands over, “take Vastra and Jenny in there, and shut the doors. Ask Oswin to send you into the vortex. I’ll transfer myself from this TARDIS to mine as soon as I can.”

“Yes, sir!”

True to his Sontaran nature, Strax asks no questions of the man he clearly accepts as being his superior officer. Taking the key, he marches out of the room, the door sliding closed behind him. The Vadlott inhales a deep breath, and only now realises that Oswin is not with him. Clearly this TARDIS has interfered with the signal from his own ship, stranding her outside with the others.

Returning to the Doctor’s bedside, he shakes out a blanket, laying it over the Time Lord. Colour is slowly starting to creep back into that man’s face, but he shows no sign of rousing. The young girl on the other bed, however, is looking much more like herself, and even as he drapes a blanket over her, he sees her lashes flutter and then lift.

“It’s all right, Clara,” the Vadlott says quietly, making sure he uses her name and not that of his look-alike companion. “You’re safe now.”

Her lips move soundlessly and then she swallows hard as if trying to clear her throat. Cups of water are already standing on the bedside tables and the Vadlott slips in a drinking straw so that she can drink without having to sit up. Once she is finished, he puts the cup down and waits for her to speak.

“Who are you?” she asks faintly, confusion obvious in her eyes.

Irritation fills the Vadlott at the realisation that, yet again, he has been forgotten. He has no doubt that, while Clara was in the Doctor’s timestream, she would have been told something about the Vadlott. The fact that she cannot identify him suggests that any knowledge she picked up there has been erased from her memory.

“Are you,” she goes on drowsily, “a Doctor? The Doctor?”

Her heavy eyelids suggest she won’t remember this meeting either, at least as anything more than just a dream, so he smooths her hair and pulls the blankets up to cover her.

“Yes,” he says, lightly stroking her cheek. “Just go to sleep, Clara. You’ll feel better when you wake up again.”

Her hand slowly eases its way out of the covers and he wraps his fingers around it, giving a reassuring squeeze. The half-hearted one she attempts in return fades away as her eyes close. Her lips part with a soft sigh as sleep claims her.

He smiles as he gently frees himself, resettling the covers to keep out any draughts. This is one thing he has missed by having Oswin as a companion – the touch of another living person.

Thinking about Oswin reminds him of the people waiting for him in his tardis. He stops by the Doctor’s bed to check on him, but that man has not moved and shows no signs of waking. All his life-signs are strong enough to show that he is in no danger, so the Vadlott does not linger, instead returning to the console room.

The console itself is vastly different from his, but he is able to find his way around it without much difficulty. He dematerialises the ship from the surface of Trenzalore, sending it to a safe corner of space and activating its shields, where it can drift, quiet and unseen, out of danger, until its pilot is ready and able to take charge again.

As he connects the transmat and programs it to find his tardis, he is reminded of his words to Melody about the similarity of all such ships when he was teaching her to pilot the semi-sentient blue box. Pushing that thought and the emotions associated with it aside, he pulls out his sonic screwdriver and moves to the location where the transmat will collect him.

No sooner has he pressed the button on his sonic than the geometric patterns of the Doctor’s TARDIS melt into the hexagonal design of his own, allowing him to appreciate the symmetry of the cream, gold and black in the brief instant before he finds himself under siege.

“Vadlott!” The cry comes from all sides as Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Oswin converge on him, and he laughingly extricates himself from their embraces.

“All right, let me breathe!” he scolds lightly. “Yes, I’m back and everything’s fine.”

“The Doctor?” Vastra asks anxiously. “Clara?”

“They are sleeping themselves well again,” he assures them. “They’re in no danger and will recover in their own time. Now,” he turns to his familiar controls, “home?”

“Yes, please,” begs Jenny and he sends the tardis on its way.

“What about the Great Intelligence?” asks Vastra. “He stepped into the Doctor’s timestream. That was what sent Clara in there, and then the Doctor.”

“If the Great Intelligence has done that, he is probably fulfilling his own destiny,” the Vadlott admits. “While it will have torn him apart and scattered him through the Doctor’s life, it also explains the meetings the Doctor had with him in the past.”

“And the grave?” Strax wants to know. “If people like him can find out where it is...”

“That is always a danger,” the Vadlott admits. “And there’s not really anything anyone can do about it. Still, the only way in is knowledge of the Doctor’s name, so if that’s still a secret...”

“It is,” Vastra assures him. “None of us heard what it was.”

“There you are then.” He presses the button that materialises the tardis. “Paternoster Row! All change!”

* * *

The timelines are drawing together.

He has felt this before, of course, during other meetings with his past selves, from the very first meeting between his first three selves through the many that have taken place since. A relentless, irresistible pull that draws his selves out of time.

No, not his selves. The Doctor. The Doctors.

But now his past is catching up to him in the most vicious way possible, and he can feel himself being pulled into this inevitable clash of two or more Doctors. Since he has no memory of what is ahead, has never met a man with his face in his own memory as one of the Doctor's first eight selves, this confrontation must be made up of one or more Doctors who have only come into existence since the creation of himself and the Ninth. Angry men who hate and reject his very existence.

He’s frightened.

Not of coming face-to-face with someone (or perhaps more than one man) who will know who he is and what he represents and the things he is accused of doing, but of what this meeting and his apparently compulsory attendance at it might mean for his attempts at separating himself from ‘the Doctor.’

Has all of the work he has done to create a new identity for himself – and to try and make up for everything that happened during the Last Great Time War – been for nothing? Is this where he has to give all that up and resume the mantle of the Doctor, however unwillingly?

Look at all he has achieved as the Vadlott: the lives he has saved, the friends he has made, the people whose lives are better because he was a part of them, even for such a short time. Most important of all, look at the wonderful people who have travelled with him and been part of his life, changing him from what he was then into the man he is now.

Does being the Doctor again mean losing all that?

What really terrifies him, though, is the strength behind this coming change. He has never felt time more in flux than it is now, as if he is being pulled in a million different directions at once. As if he is being torn out of time itself.

Then again, ever since that regeneration that split into the ninth Doctor and himself, he had known he was an anomaly. It was like he told Luke when they were facing the Time Lords on Earth: he should not exist.

Perhaps this is the point where he no longer does.

He can feel the drag of time on himself and on his ship, pulling them across time to where this meeting will take place. The dials recording his location are going crazy, as is the tardis herself, bucking and rearing, fighting against the summons, and her movements are so violent that his carefully built rig holding the Metebellis III crystal crashes to the floor.

Oswin vanishes from his sight.

“Vadlott!”

Her voice is full of panic. Perhaps she has picked up from the tardis just what is happening to them. Or maybe she is afraid of what this might mean for her.

Even as the world around him, the familiar cream and black and gold of his beloved tardis, begins to fade away, he wonders whether the laws of time will mean that she will still be there when he comes back.

If he ever does.

He’s not ready.

[identity profile] time-converges.livejournal.com 2013-11-22 12:53 am (UTC)(link)
*applause* :D

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-11-22 02:33 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! *bows*

[identity profile] p-m-cryan.livejournal.com 2013-11-22 01:11 am (UTC)(link)
Look at all he has achieved as the Vadlott: the lives he has saved, the friends he has made, the people whose lives are better because he was a part of them, even for such a short time. Most important of all, look at the wonderful people who have travelled with him and been part of his life, changing him from what he was then into the man he is now.

::::lipwobble:::

It's all any of us are... the sum of our parts. Good and bad, every experience necessary, if drattedly uncomfortable at times.

You made him so REAL!!!!

Thank you for such a wonderful story.

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-11-22 02:33 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I'm delighted you enjoyed it, and there is still a tiny bit to come so hopefully that helps to add to the overall impression.
juliet316: Made for me by < lj user= alizarin-skies> as a result of bidding on her for the Support Stacie auction.  Not shareable (DW: TARDIS aflame)

[personal profile] juliet316 2013-11-22 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
Wonderful job. Simply amazing.

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-11-22 07:28 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much!

[identity profile] priarani560.livejournal.com 2013-11-23 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
This story has been an incredible journey and I've loved every word <3

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-11-23 06:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm so very glad you did!
snowflakie06: (Default)

[personal profile] snowflakie06 2013-12-11 07:43 am (UTC)(link)
“Did I really?” asks Strax, looking delighted. “Excellent!”

BWAHAHAHAHA XD

Brilliant, seriously brilliant, the whole part.

Now onto the Epilogue, and then all the way back to the Prologue because I skipped that.....

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-12-11 10:24 am (UTC)(link)
Hee, glad that amused you! (Clearly I need a Strax icon.)

And I'm thrilled you enjoyed it so much!
snowflakie06: (eleven amy hug doctor who)

[personal profile] snowflakie06 2013-12-11 03:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Dude, commenting on this fic, and trying not to use the same DW icons over and over when i wasn't too lazy to choose one, has made me realize how behind I am on making icons for DW. I don't have any of Clara!!!!

OMG seriously, I love it! I mean, I loved what Moffat did with War Doctor, but this fic... ohmygod, blows me away, the care and attention to detail and the fact you wrote so much of this for NaNo?!?!?!?! Moffat could do with taking lessons from you!

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-12-11 08:42 pm (UTC)(link)
*lol* That is definitely a problem! (And yes, I keep finding the same thing.)

Yes, the War Doctor as shown by Moff is my new favourite Doctor (sorry, Ten) but a huge part of that is because of my fictional background, which I feel still ties in with it (and very carefully so) as we don't see the end of his regeneration.

The biggest lesson I would teach Moffat is that nobody - particularly not him - is perfect! *lol*
snowflakie06: (ten sands of time doctor who)

[personal profile] snowflakie06 2013-12-12 12:00 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, I was thinking the same thing when watching the 50th, that I really liked him all the more for knowing about the Vadlott - so if we're talking fanon/canon mix, he's my favorite, but canon-only is still Ten but with War Doctor coming in a very close second. Though if we're talking Classic Series only, then it's Three. So complicated! XD

LOL That should be his computer's desktop background :P

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-12-12 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
See, I adored War's snark, even with the Vadlott's background, and now that I'm starting to write War and Donna with Ten and Eleven, that's fun, too. (So. Much. Snark. *is smothered*)

And Three is my favourite Classic Doctor, too! I have a half-written fic with Donna and a whole bunch of Doctors that leaves her with Three. Must write more of that soon!

Oh, yes, it really, really should!
snowflakie06: (donna awesome doctor who)

[personal profile] snowflakie06 2013-12-12 12:15 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, LOVED IT! Oh, man, him berating them for their posing with the sonic especially... I wanted to hug him right then and there :D

YAY DONNA AND WAR DOCTOR! I can hear them both teaming up against Ten and Eleven already.... hehe

OMG DONNA AND THREE?!?! I WANT!!!!!

[identity profile] katherine-b.livejournal.com 2013-12-12 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, me too! He was wonderful!

*lol* Anything's possible, you know...

And yes, I know, I just have to get it written!