Doctor Who and the Traveler
By: Abby Ebon
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. PS I don't own any of the Pendragon books by D. J. MacHale either.
In the end the Doctor resolved to give his companions the choice of gifts. Including Rose…and if she and they refused, well, at least now he knew that he wasn't alone for Travelers lived just as long as Time Lords. Even if Time Lords 'regenerated' and Travelers simply didn't age past 'young adulthood' for millenniums.
Or if they were on a 'quest' (which the texts hinted could be anything that the Traveler deemed more important then themselves, and were willing to die to achieve) and they were reborn, and just knew at birth just whom they had been.
Even with those odds Semit hadn't found her people, and yet the Doctor knew she was far older then him.
Her warning echoed in his head, and the Doctor found himself walking the halls of the TARDIS, perhaps it was his TARDIS that put him in Rose's path, perhaps it was chance…nah, the Doctor had a sneaking suspicion it was his ship.
"Ah, Doctor! I was wondering…what do you think of them? What are they up to?" Rose asked softly, and the Doctor took her by the arm and led her out of the maze of halls the TARDIS had become.
"I think they are just who they say they are, Rose. For once, just once, I have hope that this is exactly as it appears – a Traveler looking for a cousin." He gestured to himself, and Rose nodded, biting her lip.
"What of her companions?" Rose asked worriedly, although she liked Shinrai, Jay might become a problem – he was so hostilely protective.
"They are an odd bunch, but no worse then those I have traveled with over the years." The Doctor assured her with a grin.
"So, my dear Rose, where in time are we off to now?" the Doctor asked with a mischievous smile, this time she couldn't help but answer it.
"I think…the future – between when we met aliens and we had advanced technology – know what sort of time I mean?" Rose asked, the Doctor nodded, his eyes far away, as if remembering something.
"Indeed, I think I do Rose." The Doctor assured, awakening the TARDIS by fiddling with bits of her components – asking to go to a certain time mentally as well as by indicating it on her controls. TARDIS lurched to life, blaring a warning – an automatic call – that went unheard as she obeyed.
Rose peeked out of the TARDIS and found herself in the middle of a field, empty but for small sheds along a gravel path. On the surface, there was only land – clear skies, and nature surrounded them. Confused, she looked back to the Doctor, who grinned at her open confusion.
"This is the future on Earth? What happened to all of the buildings – all the technology?" Rose asked, for she had seen far into the future – those things did not just…disappear.
"Large skyscrapers you are used to are restricted to the biggest cities, the rest of humanity lives happily underground, under the ocean – in space stations even." The Doctor answered, aware he had never told Rose this before – though it had never come up, this was only a moment in human history, a peaceful moment where people had realized that pollution was killing them as well as their planet – where people had globally joined together and saved themselves.
Jay and Shinrai chose that moment to appear, silver strands swayed to a stop on top of dark hair. Semit followed calmly a moment later; her silver hair brushed her shoulders – her pointed ears hid, and mouth closed so her fangs would not give her away. Save for the silver hair, she looked almost human. The Doctor grinned at the thought – she wasn't though, he took Semit's arm in his (which earned him a glare form Jay and small giggle from Shinrai) and then Rose's and led them out into the open, clean, air.
For some reason Rose did not quite understand, the Doctor led them to the shed, and once they were all inside, it slid downwards – and came to a gentle stop. When they exited, Rose's eyes widened at the sights around her – it was like a huge underground mall.
"How long does all this go on for?" Rose found herself asking, the Doctor shrugged looking to Semit.
"I don't really know – this is too boring a time for me, Semit likely knows the answer though." The Doctor hinted, grinning a bit – he hoped Rose would get over her unease about Semit. If the Traveler suspected, she said nothing, but answered Rose's question.
"It is as big as a city – or town, or as big as the people have need for it to be." Semit answered easily, Shinrai bounced on the balls of her feet, eyes going every which way – clearly, she wanted to explore.
"Well, off you three go, have fun – explore, spend money wisely, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" The Doctor told them, Shinrai grasped Rose's hand and ran off to a shop that seemed to see clothing made to look like jewels but with the sheer clearness of plastic. Almost sneering, Jay followed, and with the glance over his shoulder, the Doctor knew he'd be watched.
"This is…wise?" Semit asked softly from beside him, the Doctor shrugged his shoulders an easy smile on his lips.
"What's life without a little fun?" He asked in turn, and though Semit did not answer, he led her to a table that looked over the spiraling staircase that went ever downward. It would be a nasty drop if someone fell, but the rails kept that from happening, created to be stronger then concrete and stable fro both children, adult, and elder.
"So, did I guess right? Is one of your children here?" The Doctor asked, hurt flashed in her eyes. She had guessed his intent by coming here, but did not dare accuse until he spoke.
"Yes." She choked, and he patted her hand comfortingly.
"Can you tell where?" He asked then, it would be simple if she did, but she only shook her head.
"No. I do not care to find them." His frame tensed, and he glanced away. He wanted them found, wanted to strip them of her power – and piece her back together. If he told Jay, her most protective child – that Semit was dyeing because of the power she had lost- and might not survive because the power she had put into finding him, the Doctor knew he would gain his help, at least.
"Your power…" The Doctor spoke brokenly.
"Is in the rings; I will die, Time Lord, not even you can stop that – not even collecting the rings will stop that. When I die – I want someone who can at least watch over the Halla they were born into – who can protect the ten territories of their universe. Do not undo my work merely to save me – we are not immortal, and when we die – they will have to step into our shoes." Then he knew – this was no quest, this was at the end of one. She would not be reborn into another body, as she had done what she had to protect what all Travelers had wanted to see protected before her. She had sacrificed her power – her life-force, to see it all protected.
"How many rings?" He asked then, looking to her children – he last children.
"Twenty." He could have laughed then, as the poem of the "Lord of the Rings" rung in his mind. There had been twenty rings in that, though most people only remembered the "One Ring". He wondered which ring she would pass on would have the most power.
"Why so many – there are only ten territories." He knew she did not have enough power to leave this Halla – not even after the first ring.
"I have only taken a pair of companions – the one which is stronger in my power searches other Territories for me, the other stays to collect the knowledge gained, to leave a documentation of what has happened." It was a brilliant plot; even the Doctor had to admit that. Everyone who had to do something nearly impossible – no matter the species – needed a partner – a Companion.
"Are they the last?" He asked then, wondering if he had a right to know. How much time did she have left?
"Yes." It nearly crushed him, he had searched for so long for another like him – and here he found a cousin, and would lose her…
"How long to you have?" He asked then, and she looked to him, a bitter sort of look in her eyes – no regret, merely bitter that he had asked.
"Less then a week, more likely a day..." His two hearts pounded – he had wondered why she had no heartbeat….not dead, no – she was alive only because of her innate power. How long had she not started her heart? Long enough for the boy – Jay – to know that if her heart beat, she might die.
His hands clenched.
"I'm not going to let you die." He declared then, surprising her, she seemed amused, even though she saw he was determined to keep his word.
One minute, Shinrai was alright, in the next, Jay watched in horror as she fell, Rose getting there before he could, cradling her small frame in her arms.
"Get the Doctor – and Semit!" Rose shirked at him as a crowd gathered, he did not need to be told twice – he'd shoved though the gathering people and ran full out to where the Doctor sat with Semit, he skidded to a reckless halt, his eyes met Semit's and he knew she knew – for her hand clutched at her chest.
She stood and came to him without a word between them, and the Doctor followed worriedly after her. To Jay, it looked as if she was in a trance. He followed her as Semit knelt by his sister's side, placed a hand on her chest and though the Doctor's face was pale, Semit sang, and power fulled the air, pulled at his senses – surely his sister would respond to it. Surely. But…she didn't.
Jay noticed then, his half-sister had collapsed in front of a church – he did not know the name of it, he only saw the bench Rose had gotten her onto was dedicated by a "Saint Dane".
Jay watched, helpless, and hated that.