scarlett_key: (DrWho: Burns at the center of time)
Title: Moments in Time: Redecoration
Author: [livejournal.com profile] scarlett_key
Character/Pairing: Ten (with glimpses of Eight and Nine), Rose briefly, Sarah Jane, TARDIS
Rating: G
Spoilers: Mainly "School Reunion"
Disclaimer: These characters and settings aren't mine, nor do I earn money from them.
Summary: Sarah Jane says one word and the Doctor takes a trip back in time.
Author's Notes: I've been thinking that I want to write glimpses into character heads that offer flashbacks that we'll probably never see on screen. To that end, I've written this piece. I suspect there will be others as part of a series called Moments In Time. I'm still new at this so I'm a little skittish, but comments are appreciated.


Redecoration

He offered her tea and opened the door to the TARDIS. He watched as she stepped through the door and slowed down to take in her surroundings. He still couldn't believe it: Sarah Jane Smith back on the TARDIS after all these years. Things had changed; yes, they had. But inside, the Sarah Jane he knew was still there, all her drive, all her curiosity. She had been an extraordinary girl. Now she was an extraordinary woman, no doubt.

The TARDIS knew; he felt a swell of emotion as she recognized Sarah Jane. He smiled.

"You've redecorated," Sarah Jane said.

Is that good? he wondered. "Do you like it?" He felt like a child, eager for her approval. He felt the TARDIS respond exactly the same way.

"Oh I do. Yeah. I preferred it as it was, but yeah; it'll do."

He walked around to the other side of the console partly, he admitted to himself, to hide his face. Sarah Jane, Rose: he was transparent to them both and he couldn't risk that insight right now.

She preferred it as it was. That TARDIS was from another time: hard edges, clean lines. Things seemed so much simpler in the Sarah Jane days somehow. The Time War had changed all that.

Afterwards, after the the conflagration, the firestorm that had consumed Gallifrey, turning the planet into a hunk of charcoal in space, the chain reaction explosions he had created in the Dalek fleet, he and the TARDIS had retreated . . . and limped just far enough away to watch it all. The ship had withstood the inferno, but not without a price: the console blasted, the walls scorched, and the heart of the TARDIS bleeding searing golden light. As for himself, he was broken, body and soul, barely able to move on the floor of the console room.

He closed his eyes for a moment against the memory of the TARDIS screaming. No song could ever be so horrifying, like a million voices in unimaginable pain. There was so little time, so much healing to be done so quickly or he'd lose the TARDIS forever. He'd lose himself--though losing himself was an attractive and perhaps just consequence. He crawled across the floor to the gaping wound in the console, pushed himself to his feet. Leaned on the console. Her light engulfed him. He stood before the onslaught of her pain and absorbed as much of her as he could, fed her out of his own energy, a feast of years that she could draw on to heal and grow again. He had joined with the TARDIS before, but this was different: she absorbed him with an all-consuming thirst and he let her drink.

He'd awakened to a new self and a new TARDIS. He was taller, differently shaped, hair cropped close to his head. He imagined himself looking like an aescetic; self-denial seemed the only course he could pursue now. The TARDIS had changed so dramatically that he barely recognized her: she was warmer, more organic, and somehow comforting. Every part of her, every wall, the floor, the very controls were sensitive to his touch. She was more present somehow, more psychically exposed. He could feel her inside him, soothing him as she might a child, honey sweet, soft and strong. As though he could hear an actual voice speaking rather than the symphony of emotion and sensation they usually shared, she told him this was her truer self, free from the constraints of Time Lord discipline, a revelation no TARDIS had ever shared with a Time Lord before. He'd given her a gift; this was hers in return.

At the time, of course, he didn't see it that way; he couldn't accept such bounty. Now, surrounded by a new sort of family, he understood it better.

Sarah Jane had called it a redecoration. It was so much more than that.

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Janna Silverstein

January 2012

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