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.
"I can not help her…" Semit had sung until her voice was raw, the sweet jumble of notes nearly painful to hear – Jay fought his panic back – he knelt to sit by Semit, by his sister who panted for breath.
Wheezing breaths rattled her lungs, and he wondered how she had gotten to be like this in so short an amount of time. Jay had always known Shinrai was weaker then him – but Semit had healed her, or so he thought – somehow, something was going wrong.
The Doctor had taken them back to the TARDIS, some might not have managed it – the people had been very instant on "helping" – somehow, Jay had a feeling that Semit's song had done something to the people – made them look away, made them think of something urgent they had to do.
"Is there nothing we can do, Doctor?" Rose demanded softly, her brown eyes pinned him down, demanded he have a answer.
"No, I tried scanning her with Time Lord technology – I tried the TARDIS, whatever this is – it isn't from this timeline – its from whatever dimensions they might have crossed in order to get to the TARDIS." The Doctor felt aching fear – and knew it was Semit's he looked to her, wondering. Wondering if the little girl had had not had this sickness all her life, and that Semit had kept it at bay. Now though, now that she wasn't being fed by Semit's powers – he wondered if because Semit was dying, the girl was as well.
"So, you are saying – this, this sickness, is my fault – or Semit's?" Jay hissed at him furious, the Doctor shook his head; the boy took everything so personally.
"No, I think it might have been something she's had all her life. You remember how people on your world avoided you – perhaps they avoided her, and you knew no better but to stay by her side." The Doctor replied his mind racing, Semit did not look as if this information surprised her – it was likely something she knew and thought that her power could overcome. Had likely believed it because the girl showed no signs of sickness in all the time she had spent in Semit's company.
"You let him into your memory?" Jay looked furious, looking to Semit, who nodded, but did not expect him to throw her hand off his shoulder, turning on her in anger.
"You know how that weakens you! He's probably the reason you can't sing Shinrai well!" Jay accused with a jerk of his head in the Doctor's direction. A slap echoed in the TARDIS. Jay looked wide-eyed at Rose, who glared at him, taking her hand off his reddened cheek. His hand covered where hers hand left, he looked shaken. No one had ever dared lay a hand on him – he had always been too fast, better – but now he knew he wasn't – something was happening to weaken him, and he didn't like it.
"Would you just listen for a moment to what the Doctor's saying instead of blaming everyone?" Rose hissed, holding her hand, it stung, but damned if she was going to show it after hitting him.
Time Lord and Traveler traded glances. Agreed.
"Jay, your sister has been dying for a long time on the inside. She isn't going to get better. She will likely live though, and live a life. If she doesn't overexert herself like she did today. Semit could never sing her healed – maybe delay it, but nothing will heal it – do you understand me?" The Doctor explained as best as he was able, but he knew all too well that a child who did not want to let someone go, would not see logic – they would see a slight against them.
Adults protected children, fixed the hurts, and made everything alright. That's how it usually was – but no adult had protected Jay or Shinrai – instead they had Semit, a being as impossible as the Doctor himself. Companions, they had found, kept them sane, but they eventually came to expect the imposable – and could never understand when the impossible things they knew could not keep death at bay.
"Semit...can nothing be done?" Jay asked, turning hurt eyes to her. For a moment the Doctor wondered if the boy meant about his sister – or about his own injuries.
"I am afraid not, dear-hearted-one…" Semit whispered, voice still rough – it was as if the voice on the outside mimicked the one inside – broken, ill-used. Jay likely did not expect a different answer, as he did not speak as he held his sisters hand.
Rose looked up, trying to hide the tears that threatened, the Doctor touched her shoulder- nodding towards the corridor that the TARDIS told him led to her room. Blinking, she nodded doe-brown eyes impossibly sad as she stood and fled.
Are you going to die, and not even tell them what is going to happen to you? The Doctor found himself demanding of Semit despite her frail state she replied with as much strength as she could summon up.
This is not the time to tell them, Shinrai suffers, and Jay would blame himself if he realized he was angry at me in my time of dying. Semit snapped, lashing her thoughts at him, and the Doctor narrowed his eyes at her.
You will not die. I will not let you. He told her, and though he knew she heard, sharp teeth glinted as she smiled in a way he knew meant she did not believe him. The Doctor recognized that he could do nothing here and went after Rose. Firmly, he was careful not to think about what he was doing as running away.
"Doctor, I know there is something wrong with Semit." Rose spoke, he had not expected her to, and found himself startled. She smiled as she sat across from him, the TARDIS, sensing his need for something comforting, she had created a living room. The walls were blue, and the carpet a plush black – the furniture white, but other then the abstract colors the TARDIS had done a splendid job.
"Do you now?" The Doctor asked in turn, Rose nodded and he waited for her to voice her suspicions. Rose was no fool – and that was why he loved her.
Loved her, she who had started out as "just another Companion", he was only supposed to protect her on these adventures, but no – he loved her. He hadn't known Time Lords like him could love.
"Yes. I think she's dying. Why else go to such lengths to get to you? Dragging those not-children all over the known universe, I saw your reaction when she used so much power in that song. Her heart isn't beating, I think somehow it uses her power to keep her alive, but she hasn't enough power – and I think that if it starts, she dies…please tell me the truth Doctor…" Rose was so very perspective, despite the direness, he smiled at her.
"Yes, that's it exactly Rose. Her heart will beats once a day, and there is a certain amount of power she has to have – just like you have to have blood and breath and whole host of other things; she and I are different, while one of my hearts beats for my body, the other is for power – it is the evolutionary separation between Traveler and Time Lord, her body produces power, and that power keeps her alive. But, she hasn't enough power – or just barely enough – to let her heart beat again. Torturous, isn't it? I imagine it's what ancient Time Lords felt seeing Travelers who were supposed to outlive them dying. There were two things Travelers could have done – one was to die for nothing, they never were for that sort of thing – or they could create TARDIS' and do as Semit has – pluck companions from different dimensions, halve their power, and die all but forgotten in there own little territories." The Doctor was bitter, and Rose sympathized, worried for him she asked a question that had been plaguing her.
"What exactly has Semit and the others like her done to these children?" The Doctor sighed, wondering if Rose would approve, or would be horrified. There was never any other way with a Companion.
"Travelers could skip across time and dimensions like a pebble across the lake. Time Lords, at that time, were in their infancy. For that time in the beginning, the two of us went along side – powerful, invincible. But sometimes, a Time Lord would return alone, claiming the Traveler had died. We thought – how could they die? They were like us, born of the same planet – the same ancestor, our twin races were as long lived. Or so we thought – the Travelers always believed the Time Lord or Lady – they mourned. They never told us why. Then they died faster and faster – some of them created machines to go through time with us – so they were never alone, so we weren't – the others, well, the others just disappeared. We grew as a people, and most of us forgot them – it was too painful to bare the thought that we were utterly alone, utterly alien to the rest of the universe without them. It was why Time Lords left the planet – to go in search of them. I'm the first to succeed, the first to see one sense they left us – though I think I found her mostly because she did not want to die alone." Rose was still, as the Doctor had not spoken about his past – it just wasn't mentioned, too raw and painful. But it was a door opened, and once opened – it flowed out of him, unstoppable.
"I think I know what the Travelers have been doing all this time, only they would know how many dimensions there are – how many territories, they called ten territories "Halla" – for they were connected, their fates linked. If one Halla fell, the Traveler whose power was linked to those "fated" times in places and dimensions, and if it fell the Traveler whose power it was linked to would die – it was impossible to keep that one Halla safe forever. So I suppose it's natural for those "fated" Halla's to die – to be placed further in the future at another turning point. I don't know how many Halla's there were in the beginning – must have been as many as the Travelers themselves, maybe more. The Travelers weren't dying naturally, something was – still is – killing them through their Halla. Something out there wants everything to turn out wrong. I just don't know what it is, Rose." The Doctor told her, smiling as she looked shocked, she shivered and it wasn't because of the cold.
"So, if – if we save her Halla – could, could we save her?" Rose begged to know, and the Doctor shook his head – he had already considered it and dismissed it.
"She spilt her power into twenty little rings, Rose. Sometimes I think "The Lord of the Rings" was a warning to us Time Lords, only we saw nothing in a petty rhyme to connect to Travelers. The fact is, she's done just that though, the rings can take her Companions – no, her children, into the different territories of her Halla, only ten of those can do that – the other ten rings are to keep the Chosen connected with their Companions. For each ring is a pair." The Doctor nodded, for his explanation sounded about right though Rose looked upset.
"Could we at least call the rest of her Children and their Chosen?" Rose asked softly, feeling pity for the Traveler.
"I think they know, as the rings connect them to her – I also think they are coming even as we speak."
Night had come, and Semit dozed, while his sister Shinrai slept fitfully and Jay watched over both with a wary eye. He knew Semit grew weaker – had been growing weaker – if he was honest he noticed the change when she had cried stone tears – when she had had the stone fastened into a metal band, and gave those rings to him and his sister.
It was then he heard the knock on the door, and when he got up to answer it – he found himself faced with nine others – all had drawn, worried faces, they looked nothing alike each other – not really, other then they were human, and had silver hair – just like his sister and him. They didn't look surprised to see him – not nearly as surprised as he was to see them, they patted him on the shoulder, looked past him to see Semit – and seemed to rush in all at once.
"Lady Traveler, are you well? We all sensed…something…from the rings…."
"Please, Lady Mother, tell us what we can do?"
"He thinks your dying, but, that's…imposable, right…?"
"Semit, you know I was joking when I said I'd feed myself to a quig when you died, right? I mean, you have to stick around just to make sure though…"
"I can not believe you would leave us, who would lead us if not you?"
"If we gave the rings back, could we save you?"
"I don't want to give the ring back."
"Hush, would you rather see her die?"
"What? No – and I don't think she's dying, she just called us here…is all…"
"Just called us here? Just called us? You felt the ring fade, dumb-ass."
"Shut-up, just because the rings fade doesn't mean she does –maybe she just needs to give them a bit more power or somethin'…"
"In the years sense she left us have you ever felt the rings fade – ever?"
"Well, no – that doesn't mean she's gonna die though. Can't mean that. It's…its impossible."
"Nothing is imposable."
"Lady, are you truly dying?"
Their voices mixed, danced, overwhelmed – calmed, worried, and were as if they were parts of the notes Semit often sang. Jay had a fear in the pit of his belly – these were Semit's children, all of them – and all of them had felt what he had, only – only they talked of dying, of fading power in the rings they wore.
"Silence." Snarled the Doctor, having come into the throng of fussing adults – all of them looked older then Jay, but they all had his silver hair. Could they truly be older? Or did you age normally once Semit left you?
"Shit-eating-flying-quigs, you feel just like our Semit!" Cursed one of them.
"She is not going to die – I am not going to let her die. I will not be alone." The Doctor spoke in hushed tones that thundered over them, rolled them, and demanded respect. Jay pushed in among them, going to Semit's side, curling against her. He was suddenly very afraid.
"My children, please calm yourselves – I will not ask for the rings, for what is freely given can not be returned. Yes – I am close to death, but I am not without resources – all things die, even I." Semit answered softly, and they murmured against her words, calming only when the Doctor spoke again.
"You are not going to die." The Doctor hissed, and Rose came up behind him, unnoticed, her eyes catching the controls of the TARDIS.
"….the Travelers always believed the Time Lord or Lady – they mourned. They never told us why. Then they died faster and faster – some of them created machines to go through time with us – so they were never alone, so we weren't – the others, well, the others just disappeared…"
"How do you suppose to stop me?" Semit challenged, eyes narrowed on him – the "children" watched, some in bemused sorrow, for it seemed an old fight between the two – a familiar argument.
Rose knew the heart of the TARDIS – and wondered if it did not want to see Semit die – wondered, wondered if what she suspected could be done. Semit had risked everything to be here, to be within the TARDIS, to be beside the Doctor.
"I'll…I'll think of something!" The Doctor retorted snippily recognizing he did not have a plan.
"What about the heart of the TARDIS – Semit has the same soul, could the TARDIS save her?" Rose asked, and the Doctor had turned to her when she spoke, frowned, looking between TARDIS and Semit.
"No, no I don't think that would work, because they would have to merge…" The Doctor stopped, and grinned.
"That's it Semit – you become a part of the TARDIS! Then you can't die, and you'll never be alone because you'll have me, and the TARDIS it's self!" The Doctor beamed, triumphant and Semit frowned, looking uncertainly to the TARDIS. Vaguely, the Doctor felt as TARDIS and Semit "spoke", and hoped both agreed.
"It's agreed." Semit said softly, smiling at the TARDIS fondly.
"Wait- wait, this bigger-on-the-inside ship has a soul of a Traveler like Semit?" One of them asked, and Jay found himself wondering the same thing.
"That's right, impressive, isn't it?" The Doctor patted the controls of the TARDIS fondly.
"Can we come visit her when we'd like?" One of them asked.
"Yes – well, yes if you can find us." The Doctor answered, seeming too pleased with the answer to the "not dying" problem, to pay mind to their questions – they were pleased as well, they had not wanted Semit to die.
"I will make sure you can call for my advice if you have need." Semit promised them, running her hand over Shinrai's hair. Then, they heard it – a jumble of sweet notes, and the thud of a heart – the notes got faster and faster, a light emitted from Semit's skin, before they could not look at her, they saw that she had placed her hand on her chest – pain. Then when the jumble of notes stopped, they saw golden-and-silver light throbbing in the air, hovering before them. It seemed the TARDIS reached out, and then the silver and gold light was gone, but not dead – for they still sensed Semit within the TARDIS.
"Who are you lot anyway?" The Doctor asked his silver haired guests.
Jay no more wanted to be around the Doctor then the Doctor wanted Shinrai and he on the TARDIS. Jay supposed it was because the Doctor feared somehow they would convince Semit to leave her joining with the TARDIS.
So, Jay watched the humans –travelers just like him, return to their territories and their "acolyte" – which is what they had called his sister – for he was the traveler.
For a time, he stayed with his sister, making sure of her health, then, one day he left to explore the other territories. Then, one day – he returned and found his sister crying. She had dreamed – dreamed of her death, of Halla falling the wrong way – of the need of "remaking it" because of Jay dying inside, dreamed of "Pendragon", who opposed him. His sister died in his arms, in her sleep, caught in her nightmare-dreams.
Jay thought Semit and the Doctor would come back – they never did. They, he thought as he looked on his sisters gave, must be dead too.
He stood on his sister's grave and vowed to change Halla – to make it into something she would have loved – to be able to have everyone able to travel between Halla's territories. That night, he remembered being called "demon" in his youth – remembered they called Semit a demon.
He knew he was a demon, when he killed another traveler, the first to oppose him.
One day, he remembered the bench his sister had nearly died on, dedicated to Saint Dane, and took the name as his own. Mockingly, he called himself it. Eventually – he met a Pendragon, and knew he had to keep his vow; he had not worked so had for these things to have it collapse. The travelers thought he wanted to bring about the ruin of Halla, he only wanted all of them to experience the wonder of it. He would rule it.
Note; Well this is what I think could have pushed Saint Dane over the edge – maybe not, but someone you love dying can change you – twist you, and I've always been sympathetic with the bad guys – as much as I adore the Doctor, I love the Master. I've always been one to wonder, why, Saint Dane is brilliant – but why do it all. I remember a passage, where Saint Dane claimed all he did was to keep a promise to change Halla. Who was that promise given to –why?
I don't know, but if the books never hold an answer, I have my own. This was never about anything other then turning a protective bright boy into Saint Dane. I am just that evil. Maybe I'll write something where the Doctor or Master comes to see what is happening, but that can happen after the books. Or not at all. So, please review…