elisi: (Seeker)
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Updates will be a lot slower from now on, but because it's a birthday fic... Chapter two comes early! <3

Chapter 1 and explanations here.

Summary: “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard (or: The Seeker takes some time out to travel and think things over)
Setting: Between A Good Day and The Death and Life of Rodageitmososa. (This is AU, but within New Who between Name of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor.
Spoilers: A Good Day. But can easily be read on its own.
Rating: PG-13.
Characters: This part: The Third Seeker, TenToo, Rose and a few others.
Beta: Um... That would be a no. All mistakes mine.
Dedication: [livejournal.com profile] luckweaver. Hope you like it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Feedback: Would be amazing. :)



Stepping Sideways: Pete's World

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith

2

Once inside the stranger’s TARDIS, Rose found that they were in a comfortingly familiar circular space, the same size as the control room she had known – except the look of the interior was very different.

Walls and floor were a gleaming white, the time rotor in the middle glowed golden and the controls were sleek and stylish and less… higgledy-piggledy.

Overall it would have looked very much like 'a proper spaceship’, except for how there were red-and-white sofas and cupboards lining the walls. Trying to categorise it, she settled on 'Proper spaceship crossed with upmarket IKEA'.

Looking down, she saw that beneath her feet there was a black mat with a red, circular Timelord-y pattern woven in.

“It says ‘welcome’,” the Doctor said absentmindedly, his eyes on their host who was leaning against the central control panel, watching them.

“Do you like it? I made it myself.”

“It’s a bit…” the Doctor hesitated, wiggling his fingers as if playing an invisible keytar.

“New?” the Seeker suggested, with a loaded smile, “Because that’s what I was going to say about you. You’re something new. If I put the kettle on, will you tell me your story?”

The Doctor watched him, and Rose could feel unsaid somethings weighing down the air.

(Why? Why why why? She knew this mask - it meant he was suspicious, but wanted to investigate.)

“Very well.”

They sat down on a sofa, and the Seeker started rummaging through cupboards, getting out a beautiful old teapot, cups and saucers along with tea - real tea, that he claimed he grew himself.

“Beautiful china,” the Doctor remarked, picking up a porcelain cup, and the Seeker smiled.

“It is, isn’t it? Family heirloom, believe it or not.”

The Doctor nodded, so casual that Rose began to feel genuinely worried. Something was terribly wrong, but he wasn’t going to say. And what did a teacup have to do with anything?

The Seeker, unconcerned, disappeared through a doorway which apparently led to a small kitchen as he emerged a little later with freshly brewed tea and various biscuits and buns.

A china teacup in his hands, looking as if it was perfectly normal for him to exist, the new Time Lord leaned back in the adjacent sofa, studying them.

“Go on - what are you?”

The Doctor readily enough launched into the tale, and the Seeker listened with great attentiveness to their story, never interrupting until the Doctor came to the part when he was ‘created’. At this point he suddenly sat up, eyes bright and excited and almost unnervingly focussed.

“Human-Time Lord meta-crisis? That’s... that’s genius! Why have I never thought of that?”

A beat, then he shook his head.

“Sorry, I’m interrupting. But damn, that’s brilliant. Of course it’d be much preferable if the conditions were properly controlled… I mean, please continue.”

The Doctor took up the story thread again, but the Seeker seemed a little preoccupied. Although as the story came to its end, with their abandonment on Pete’s World, he began to ask more questions, most of them so technical that Rose began to lose interest. He was certainly Time-brain-y enough…

But then, as she was trying to choose which biscuit to have next (hurrah for unorthodox breakfasts!), the Doctor suddenly grabbed her hand so hard that she almost cried out.

“Rose - don’t move,” he said, voice low and deadly serious, and, confused, she looked up to see four large metallic balls floating in the air above the Seeker’s head, having apparently popped out of thin air. The Doctor’s face was a mask, and Rose couldn’t begin to guess what was happening, except that something had suddenly gone wrong. (But how had he known?)

Then the spheres started talking, and their voices were happy and chatty and not at all metallic and cold like she’d thought they might be.

“Confirmed - this is Pete’s World.”

“It matches the data we took from the Doctor’s TARDIS.”

"We have updated our data banks and synced all information."

The Seeker smiled up at them. “Thank you darlings. But look - while you were gone I found some local guides...”

He turned back to face the two of them, but when his eyes met the Doctor’s he seemed to almost freeze.

There was a long silence, then the Seeker spoke, voice carefully neutral.

“I’m not him.”

The Doctor raised his eyebrows in mock-surprise, but despite the lightness of his voice his steely grasp of Rose’s hand never lessened.

“I don’t know how you brought yourself back, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that you are more him, than I am me.” His eyes narrowed, and his voice turned bitingly sarcastic. “You know, I did wonder - which Time Lord could possibly drop down into our laps like this? One that happened to survive the Time War, and knows my face, and knows that he should not interfere with timelines containing Rose Tyler…”

“Doctor-”

“No doubt you have some wonderfully diabolical plan,” the Doctor continued blithely, as Rose, with sinking heart, realised that the ‘Seeker’ was probably an old enemy. In whose TARDIS they were now stuck. Typical Doctor trick to walk right into the lion’s mouth...

“Nice new body, probably left your old universe behind in a right state and thought you’d just crash through to somewhere new… And really, good job on all fronts. I have no idea how you grew a TARDIS, although I must admit, I’m impressed. But the china, Master. Slipped up there I’m afraid. Lucy’s best china, oh I well remember how she’d get it out for special occasions. Not that I was invited to sit at the table of course, but it’s pretty distinctive. It was her grandmother’s I believe-”

“Doctor!”

The Doctor stopped, and the stranger glared at him, speaking very slowly:

“I. Am. Not. Him.”

The Doctor pulled his best overbearing face.

“Oh, of course not, trying to get by with a different name, at least it’s not an anagram of ‘Master’, or some stupid pun, I must agree that’s a new approach. And no rubbish beard either-”

“By Pythia’s curse, why can you never shut up? Listen to me! I’m not him!”

A beat, then he added: “I’m his son.”

The Doctor raised a single eyebrow, so dismissive Rose almost flinched.

“Nice try.”

The Seeker looked as if was only through sheer willpower that he was not banging his head against the table. (Rose knew that look - she wore it often enough herself. And despite the Doctor's clear hostility she thought that maybe the new Time Lord was telling the truth. The annoyance was far too pronounced to be an attempt at lying.)

“I’m not technically Gallifreyan, I was born during the Year That Never Was. Lucy was my mother. I inherited the china, as it belonged to my great-grandmother.”

Still skeptical, the Doctor glanced up at the spheres.

“And the flying monkeys?”

At this the Seeker suddenly smiled.

“You think I’m the Wicked Witch of the West? Go on my dears, tell our guests who you are.”

And the spheres started speaking again, one after the other, in a strange sing-song.

“We are the Toclafane-”

“We are the saviours of worlds-”

“We vanquished the Daleks in the Medusa Cascade-”

“Our songs will live forever.”

Still smiling, the Seeker held the Doctor’s eyes.

“You see Doctor, I’m a hero. In my world there was no meta-crisis, no Donna, no Rose or any of that… The day was saved by me and my Toclafane.”

The Doctor shook his head.

“I don’t believe you.”

Their host shrugged, demeanour turning frosty.

“Fine, suit yourself. Rose - it was nice meeting you.”

He held out his hand, and as if in a dream she shook it.

Then he got to his feet, walked to the door, opened it.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way.”

“You’re throwing us out?” the Doctor asked, and the Seeker watched him coldly.

“You called me a liar. I decided to go travelling to get away from arguments, not to start more. You go off and live your lives, I’ll hop across to the next universe along and find something else to divert me. So yes, please be so kind as to bugger off.”

“Doctor-” Rose spoke up, having watched in silence, but now studying his face very carefully. “Are you sure?”

(‘This is a chance that’ll never come again!’ she tried to communicate, ‘A chance at anything. He created a TARDIS. He can travel between dimensions… Oh Doctor, I love you, but please don’t be stupid, like you so often are...’)

The Doctor was looking from her to the Seeker to the spheres, indecisiveness writ large on his face.

“I’m happy to stay,” the Seeker continued. “But you’ll have to trust me.”

A long moment, as the Doctor seemed to struggle with himself. Then, torn, but unrepentant, he gave but a fraction of an inch: “I believe you’re his son.”

The Seeker didn’t smile, but his eyes seemed to glow.

“Well, I suppose it’s a start.”



Part 3
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