elisi: (Seeker)
[personal profile] elisi
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.
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


About an hour later Allison was back in her office, having called every member of her family to reassure them that she was fine, and everything was fine, and the world was safe.

She should probably go somewhere, or do something, or see one of the trauma specialists that Torchwood had far too many of, but she didn’t want to move. Decisions seemed… like too much work.

The aliens had all gone off to the Medusa Cascade (something about a rift in the space-time fabric, and Alexander-the-Time-Lord helping them to go where they wanted), and normally she’d have been unable to keep away from something that fascinating, but today…

She stared at the screen, ignoring the countless messages that kept popping up.

Ideally she wanted to go to sleep. Maybe for a month. Yes, she was probably in shock she decided. (She could still remember the smell of the cyber factories, burning… Oh god, what was the world? How did any of it make sense?)

Then, as if sent by providence to save her from her thoughts, there was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” she said, half-hoping it might be Rose. She wanted someone who would say that this had been nothing, and honestly - compared to that time with the Daleks...

Instead the door opened to reveal Alexander, who stepped through quietly, and then closed the door behind him.

She stared at him, wondering what on Earth he could be doing in her office. He seemed unreal. Handsome, cool, and completely… other. Like something from a fairytale. A very stylish out-of-this-world sci-fi fairytale. (The Doctor had been complaining at great length about how Alexander had apparently copied everything from his father, but Allison didn’t care that he looked like a villain. He’d saved the Earth, that was the important thing.)

“Are you lost?” she asked, and he thought for a moment, tilting his head and studying her with those unusual green eyes.

“Yes. In a manner of speaking, I am definitely lost… Sorry, no, that’s a terrible opening.” He paused.

“What I came to ask is… Would you like to maybe... I don’t know... Go grab a cup of coffee or something? Not this instant, but at some point? It’s a very selfish request, and a very personal one, but you… You could help me be… not quite as lost.”

She looked at him mutely, remembering his words from earlier. She was the girl? She, Allison Whitwell?

(Doctor Whitwell, a small voice corrected in her head, still pleased with her achievements.)

“Why me?” she eventually asked, unable to wrap her mind around his words.

He smiled sadly, looking very human, and very vulnerable.

“Because you were the love of my life.”

She should probably be flattered, or touched, or something like that. Instead she could only stare, stupefied.

“I… what?”

He shook his head.

“I’m sorry, I’m terrible at this. Always have been. You’d have thought three hundred years’ distance would help, but no.” A deep breath. “What I mean is that the Allison from my world was the love of my life. And I lost her. I… thought you might be able to help me make peace with that. Which, like I said, is terribly selfish. So if you want to tell me to get lost, I will. I have no right to interfere in your life.”

This was… unreal. This man - no, alien - who had dismissed twenty thousand warships with a flick of his wrist, was standing in her office, laying his heart in her hands.

(‘All of time and space’, Rose was whispering in her mind, ‘And a man who adores you. How could anyone turn that down?’)

She opened her mouth, but he held up his hand.

“Wait. Don’t reply yet. I am not the Doctor and you are not Rose. My Allison and I did not frolick about the universe having madcap adventures, and I did not lose her because she did something stupendously brave to save the world.”

He paused, as she tried to take this on board.

“I am not a hero, nor do I have the slightest desire to be one. I would have destroyed those ships if necessary – all twenty thousand of them – and not lost any sleep. Don’t get me wrong – I do not enjoy killing, and I am happy we found another way. But I’ll do what needs doing in order to make the world a safer place, and not worry overmuch about the methods. And I’m only passing through, like I said – I’m not going to stay, and I’m not interested in a relationship. I just want to… talk. Because you’re Allison. And I know you’ll be honest with me.”

Reaching into an inside pocket, he pulled out a small card.

“Like I said, you don’t have to make up your mind right now. Think about it. If you… would be so kind as to do me this favour, give me a call – or just send me a text. Otherwise, just ignore me.”

He stepped back, opened the door, then hesitated.

“Just tell me one thing – is your brother Toby dating an Irish imp called Troy?” he asked, and she blinked at the complete unexpectedness, before eventually nodding. He’d said he knew her very well indeed…

He smiled.

“Good. I worry about that lad. I hope you’re nice to him, he needs the love.”

And with that he left.

Allison didn’t move for the longest time. This was not a fairytale – far from it. That still left the question what exactly it was; and what she was going to do…

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