elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
Forgot to mention that I have this whole fic written & finished, which is nice. :)

On AO3 this is tagged with 'Aggressive Sarcasm' and 'Mutual Antagonism'. In other words: I had a lot of fun writing this.

Summary: How do you save people that don't want to be saved?

For info etc, please check out The Prologue.

Note: Gallifreyan will be indicated by the use of « and » rather than "". It seemed the simplest solution.


Chapter 1

Jack’s first kiss had imprinted on the Seeker, a moment seared onto his memories forever. The rough wall against his back, the sun in his eyes, a man like the one he had known his entire life stepping into his personal space, reaching out like a lover; the entire experience reminding him of something the Doctor had once told him about a crack in the universe…

‘Two parts of space and time that should never have touched, pressed together.’

But he was the Seeker… Once the crack was open, how could he not step through?

It hadn’t ended well, the crack closing behind him with the finality of the gun that had been aimed at his hearts, but it had been good while it lasted.

This moment was less shocking, but far more dangerous.

He could feel the edge of the blade against his throat, and was in no doubt as to how sharp it was.

Don’t struggle, that was the most important thing. He knew that look in her eyes… The Crucible, a revolver clasped in her hands and pointed at his father:

‘Master, I promised the Seeker I wouldn't kill you, but Rassilon dammit, I could.

In the end she hadn’t fired the gun, but it had been too close a call for any wrong move now.

«I’m not him,» he said, without thinking falling into Gallifreyan as he was wont to do with ‘his’ Roda when they were alone – she always seemed to appreciate it, and it felt… private.

He tried to catch this Roda’s eyes, but her response was somewhere between a sneer and a derisory laugh.

The knife still firmly in place, she reached into his inside pocket, pulling out two cigars and his laser screwdriver.

Raising a single, scornful eyebrow, she growled: «I’m not him?’ Pathetic. You could at least pretend to make up a clever lie.»

For the first time he regretted growing the beard.

It was undeniable that he was - for all intents and appearances - his father’s exact copy. Beard, suit, cigars, laser, Toclafane… Sadly, ‘I’m your best friend in another world’ wouldn’t work here.

No, it was a case of if he was lucky, he would not get his throat slit.

Turning over the laser in her free hand, the look on her face spoke volumes. He’d always known she hated his father, but he had always been a buffer… Without it, her naked anger was alarming.

«Isomorphic… Funny, I figure that if I hit it really hard with a rock, it’ll probably stop working for you too.»


The sudden panic in his voice was such that she noticed, the knife digging a fraction of a millimetre deeper as she shook her head, eyes flaring.

«You really care about this thing, don’t you? Does it hold such fond memories of all the people you’ve murdered

«Roda, please. Can we just talk? You can tie me up or whatever you want, but I need you to listen to me… I understand if you don’t believe me, but I’m not him.»

What had been an awkward moment when he had met the other Doctor and Rose, was now quite possibly a matter of life or death. And with a far less receptive audience.

«I’m his son. From another universe. And I have the laser because my father gave it to me a long, long time ago.»

«Well that’s slightly more original, I’ll give you that. So you’re keeping it for sentimental value, is that it?»

She really had a very aggressive line in sarcasm he realised, before her eyes narrowed.

«But go on, say that I believe you. Swear to me that you never killed anyone with it.»

The moment stretched, as he began realising in earnest what a monumental uphill struggle this would be. His outlook, his methods, the plans he had for this planet, the reason behind them… Everything, when viewed through a hostile lens, could easily be attributed to his father’s modus operandi.

«Of course I’ve killed people with it, it’s a weapon; are you saying the knife you are holding against my throat is just for decoration?»

«Always the same – make a joke out of it. Life’s just a laugh, isn’t it?»

The situation was rapidly becoming very annoying.

«Look, either just kill me, or listen to me. I think we can probably find a truce or some way of working together? Our aims are similar I should think…»

A beat, then she lowered the knife and he took a grateful breath, even as he took in the size of the knife. It was at least 20 centimeters long, and with a blade that looked like it could cut through bone if need be.

Unfortunately, the next thing he saw was her fist, which connected with his face much too forcefully.

When he could see through the pain, she was busy tying him up which – whilst uncomfortable – was an improvement over a knife to the throat.

Until his wrists began to sting.

«What is that?»

«Vines,» she replied, with a fair bit of relish. «Mildly toxic. You might get an unpleasant rash.»

«You know, I have handcuffs,» he countered. «I’ll even tell you where-»

«Yeah, because I’ll fall for that one,» she snorted. «Now, walk. I want to be far away when your little murderous puppets come back. By then, I should have gotten you a perception filter too, so I won’t get killed in my sleep by either Toclafane or the regular death squads.»

He wanted to say that the Toclafane wouldn’t do that, but thought better of it.

He’d have to pick and choose his fights, and this one was not important. However he noted that she had tucked his laser away into her bag, which was something.

As they walked he tried to find out more about her – judging by her face it was past The Year That Never Was for her, but this Roda was more suspicious and distrustful than he had imagined possible, cutting him off and refusing to talk about even Torchwood.

Changing tactics he began volunteering the Cliffs Notes of his own life – she might not believe him, but at least she’d be aware. He left out various details, like the fact that he had been her lover, and his war, as he thought it’d be best to wait until later. Neither piece of information would work to his advantage at the moment.

Despite his personal discomfort, he found himself admiring her forest walking abilities – of course he knew that she had spent time with Robin Hood and was happiest when outdoors, but he’d never really seen her in action.

Trying to compliment her fell flat however, as she merely snapped that flattery would get him nowhere.

A little later she complained that he was clearly trying to be as noisy as possible, to which he replied – voice somewhat strained – that he hadn’t dressed that morning for climbing through undergrowth, and that quite frankly the excursion was not doing wonders for his suit or his patent leather shoes. Did they have to climb around inbetween all these semi-poisonous ferns and unpleasantly slimy trees? He was sure his rash was getting worse.

«Drones,» she replied. «We need to stay hidden.»

He sighed, the wish to bang his head against a wall curbed by the pain he was already in.

«Look, would you try to explain how this world functions? That’s what I asked my Toclafane to discover, but since they might have a problem finding me…»

(Of course they were telepathically linked, but he wasn’t telling her that.)

«Oh like you aren’t running the show,» she countered, and he had to grit his teeth.

«I know nothing about this place. I simply asked my TARDIS to find a planet that needed help, somewhere that would challenge me, and this is what she gave me. So far I know that most of the plant life is bringing me out in hives and that apparently they have drones and death squads. And that they’re bad enough for you to be involved.»

Shooting him an irritable glance, she replied it’d be great if he’d drop the act already.

«It’s not an act you impossible woman! I realise my father has gone out of his way to wrong you more times than I can count, but stars above if I wanted to do the same I would think of something a hell of a lot smarter than our current situation! If, as you think, I’m secretly running this place, why would I be trudging along like this rather than alert those death squads to come to my aid?»

She’d stopped stock still as his voice rose, scanning the leafy cover above them, before her eyes snapped back to his face, furious.

«Oh you are a piece of work!»

Unsure which part of his tirade she’d taken offence at, he slowly became aware of a faint buzzing noise from above them.

«I didn’t mean to-» he began, as the small metallic object descended on them, but she merely laughed derisively.

«Oh screw you. You knew exactly what you were doing, and congratulations, you got me. You know-»

What else she was about to say he never heard, as he felt a sharp sting on his neck after which the world went blurry and then disappeared.

Chapter 2


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