A batch of answers from the fic commentary meme! The formatting is wonky because I had to cut and paste from multiple documents and Microsoft Word is eeeeeevil.
Here’s an excerpt from “what dreams may come,” requested by eve11. This is actually not one of my favorite stories—I was never entirely satisfied with how I executed it, although I did like the dialogue at the beginning. If I remember correctly, the story was sort of inspired by etherati's fic Eclipse, which is of course lovely.
The planet is covered in stormclouds, angry, black, final. Two suns burn low and dangerous. He wires the bomb wrong and it goes off too soon. He never makes it to the TARDIS, dies smothered in burning vermillion grass, nails digging under his native soil. Another body falls on his, and he thinks he knows whose it is. He never knows if this is the worst dream or the best one.
Well, this is obviously Time War stuff, although since my knowledge of Classic Who comes mainly from fandom osmosis and Wikipedia, I am not sure how well it slots in with canon. I am not sure why, but in my head Gallifrey always got blown up, even though it seems not to have been if it’s still around to be time locked. I don’t know.
Susan lives on Earth and he can never find her again. Romana’s dead. He loses Rose, then watches himself kiss her. Donna starts to forget and all he wants is to pull his hands away. Martha marries someone else. Rory’s cut out of time and space. The cracks, the cracks, they cut into his mind like metal biting into his hands, and he doesn’t even know who he’s lost anymore.
Romana is my go-to for past companions, since I’ve seen “City of Death” and have a basic grasp of the E-Space thing. It would just be bad to have left out his granddaughter. Possibly I should have put in something about the Master, but whatever.
In his dreams, she can touch him, but he doesn’t respond.
His face is mashed into the console, and warning lights and bells and whistles are going off all around him. He wakes up choking, and Amy’s crying, and the TARDIS is ready to fall into the sea (which sea?). He flips a lever, spins a red crank, pokes a button he’s never seen before and suddenly all’s quiet.
The ever-exciting shiny console buttons. The Doctor only *mostly* knows how to drive. Apparently there is an actual method to how Matt Smith “launches” the TARDIS, but I sure don’t know what it is.
Amy sobs at his ear and suddenly he’s lost his balance. He reels, finds himself on his knees on the floor, gasping and retching on a rush of cold air. His lungs seize up and for an awful moment, the bypass won’t kick in. Then Amy is by his side again, taking his head in her hands and letting him catch his breath. He can smell her tears.
This is the kind of thing I always seem to end up writing.
Neither of them sleep for days. When they both nod off in the library, the TARDIS dims the lights and keeps it warm. A teapot materializes on the table near the swimming pool, flanked by two narrow mugs. It’ll be a long time before they sleep easy, longer for him than for her, but this time, the old girl will be prepared.
The TARDIS taking care of everyone is always a fluffy way to end things. You’ve gotta love a space ship that looks after its friends. And tea. Tea is the best.
This appears to be about half of “Nor Any Drop to Drink,” with commentary requested by honeynoir. It’s one of the first fics I wrote when I started watching the show, and one of the ones I’m still most proud of.
She dreams she meets him at the seaside. She’s in a rowboat and he won’t come aboard, rather keep floundering in the undertow of his coat.
The door seems off, smells different. Instinctively, he licks it. Spends the next hour pulling splinters from his tongue. Never finds out what was wrong.
This doesn’t fit as well with the water theme, I think. I’m guessing it came from the whole licking-the-library-door thing in “Tooth and Claw,” which was the first episode of Doctor Who I watched on purpose. (I had previously watched “Fear Her” by osmosis when my first roommate decided to watch it when I was in the room, and had been terrified by it.)
He told Martha he had business to take care of. Told her to go off and see the sights. Finished early, and now he’s huddling outside the TARDIS in one of those Cardiff downpours. Miserable, drenched. He can’t think how he could have lost his key, and the old girl isn’t any more ready to forgive him than he is to forgive himself. He can make a duplicate, but that’s not the point. Martha shows up oblivious and late, gushing on about shopping or whatever tourist trap she’s been in. She catches his eye and stops mid-sentence. He blinks the rain out of his eyes and the moment is gone.
I don’t think Martha would be one to gush obliviously about shopping in tourist traps, but like I said, I wrote this right when I started watching the show.
Martha makes him tea. An hour later, she finds it spilled across the control room floor.
She finds him hunched on the floor next to the console. Lays a hand at the base of his neck and sinks to kneel beside him. Pulls him in toward her.
“How many years ago today?” she whispers along the crown of his head.
“All of them–”
This is meant to refer to the anniversary of the Time War, although I don’t know if that’s a thing or whether that was clear or not.
He presses in to the curve of her neck. He doesn’t cry at first, only heaves great dry sobs against her collarbone, gulping in air like a man nearly drowned. When the tears start to slick his face, Martha cards a hand through his hair reassuringly.
He knows she loves him. Realizes then that she’s going to leave, soon. Holds on to her collar and pulls himself back to here, to now.
Takes his first deep breath in weeks.
Once again, I always write these scenes….
This is from the beginning of “entropy,” requested by giallarhorn. It is my most recently posted fic, but it had been in progress for a long time. I think I started it sometime around when S5 aired, but it got neglected, and I finally dug it out of my backup files and finished it this summer.
The screw falls from his hand, and he realizes that he’s shaking. In the bright console room, he’s alone, working in what Amy would call the middle of the night. His people counted time differently; he’s never been able to shake the revolutions of Gallifrey from his nights and days and so he works on.
I guess I think a lot about the whole question of when the Doctor sleeps, or what it is he does if he’s not sleeping.
There’s ash in the console, trapped in the crevices and cracks. When he was young he loved the tang of grass set on fire. His planet had a fall, had leaves that smelled of incense when they burned. Now it’s that smell that hangs heavy in his breath, that haunts him in his dreams, that teases him on the long nights he spends here alone. The TARDIS could repair herself a hundred times and the scent would still linger. He unscrews another panel, his hand trembling so violently that he cuts his thumb on the edge. Without thinking, he puts his finger in his mouth and he tastes the blood mixed up with ash. It sticks in his throat, acrid and metallic and sickeningly sweet.
I also seem to have a big of a Time War angst fixation for someone who has only ever seen two Classic Who serials. (They were the aforementioned “City of Death” and then “Pyramids of Mars,” if you’re interested.)
Gallifrey. All that red grass, and the smell of it as it burned. He retches. When the moment passes, he pulls himself up to the console, chest still heaving. He presses his forehead against the cool metal of the rail.
A hand brushes his shoulder. He turns too fast, and his head swims.
“You’re sick,” Amy says.
He doesn’t meet her eyes. “I’m all right, now.”
Seriously, do I have this scene in every story? All of them?
“You’re not, though. Look at you.” She sticks out her hand, and it’s not so much an invitation as a demand. “You’re coming with me.”
She drags him to the kitchen, nudges him into a chair. The tea she makes him is far too sweet, but he takes cautious little sips of it to please her.
I am a big fan of tough-love Amy.
Sitting across the table, she watches him raise the mug to his lips. The room is warm and dim. For a moment, he can forget himself, imagine a little girl, fish fingers with custard, and a time that’s already very far away.
“Are you feeling any better?” Her voice is too loud, and it shakes him from his reverie.
I miss Season 5. I think part of the fun of finishing this was that a lot of it was written back then, and so it had a different spirit. Like, I think even some of the angst people were writing then was a bit lighter, and the friendship between Amy and the Doctor had more possibility and less sadness. We were just starting to feel the magic, you know?
“Much. I told you, Amy, I’m really not ill.”
“And I told you, hurling all over the TARDIS isn’t something you normally do. And I would know.”
A small, rueful smile plays on his lips. Oh, Amelia Pond, the things you don’t know. Suddenly he realizes she is waiting for a reply.
“Right. Amy, the TARDIS was—is—dirty, and I was cleaning out her panels. Some of the dust—the smell of it made me queasy is all. I’m fine now.” He reaches to tap her on the nose, and she grabs his wrist.
“Your hand. It’s shaking.”
His smile fades.
I like the balance of power things, too. Who really has a better idea of what’s going on? That was a S5 thing, too, wasn’t it? Amy always stealing the spotlight, because she had so many good ideas.