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18 May 2009 @ 06:20 pm
Doctor Who - Ten/Rose, Eight/Charley - Twist of Fate (PG, 8/20)  
Title: Twist of Fate (8/20)
Author: Liz/surrexi
Fandom/Pairings: Doctor Who (new series + Big Finish Audios) | Ten/Rose, Eight/Charley
Rating: PG
Spoilers/Timeline: New series: set after Voyage of the Damned; Big Finish Audios: set after The Girl Who Never Was
Word Count: 1838 (this chapter)
Summary: The Eighth Doctor unexpectedly lands in a parallel world and a blonde unlocks his front door; the Tenth Doctor answers a distress call and finds an old friend on a deserted beach. When an old enemy brings the four of them together, can they save the universe in time to sort out their own timelines?
Notes/Disclaimer: This fic would have been impossible without the encouragement and input of my invaluable beta, unbrokensky. I own nothing, everyone belongs to the BBC and/or Big Finish. Also, a readability note: from here on out, a lot of the chapters will overlap slightly as I switch back and forth between Charley's and Rose's POVs. Don't be surprised if we pick up slightly prior to wherever we left off ;)

chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | chapter four | chapter five | chapter six | chapter seven | chapter eight | chapter nine | chapter ten | chapter eleven

After a few terrifying moments of violent shaking and loud noises, the TARDIS fell silent and still. Charley got slowly to her knees, pushing away slightly from the wall where she’d braced herself during their wild trip.

“What on earth was that?” she asked, staring at the Doctor in shock.

His brown eyes wide, he shook his head. “I don’t know.” He staggered to his feet and began to inspect the console in earnest.

Charley got to her feet and walked tentatively up the ramp, fingers trailing along the handrail, ready to grab tightly to it at the slightest hint of turbulence. “You said we were being taken away. Do you know where?” she ventured.

The Doctor pulled out a device that looked similar to the sonic screwdriver Charley dimly remembered her version of the Doctor using on rare occasions – more often than not he would simply mention it in a litany of the contents of his pockets. As this Doctor aimed it at various points on the console, Charley mused that he’d probably updated it during the however-many-years they had been separated. “Doctor?” she said, trying to get his attention.

“Hmm?” he said, distracted by whatever nuances he heard in the low hum of the sonic.

“Where are we?” she reiterated. “And/or when are we?” she added as an afterthought.

“Oh, yes,” he muttered. “I’m trying to figure out how someone or something managed to override the controls.” He pulled the monitor around and muttered something the TARDIS did not choose to translate for Charley. “But how,” he continued, still sounding extremely frustrated. “That should be impossible.” He ran his fingers through his already-messy hair and looked from the screen to Charley. “I think we’re in the Vortex. Can’t tell for certain at the moment, because something has gone wonky with the controls.”

He pulled a pair of spectacles with thick black frames out of the pocket of his suit coat and pushed them onto his nose. Then the sonic screwdriver was humming away again, and the Doctor’s tongue poked out from behind his teeth as he concentrated on one particular panel.

“I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do to help?”

The Doctor straightened and blinked at her through his lenses. “Oh, well…” he glanced around the room as if he hoped the answer would be written on the walls or in the dust floating in the air. “Yes!” he exclaimed suddenly. He lunged down to his knees and pulled open a door in the grate floor. Beneath it was a storage bin jumbled full of odds and ends, some of which Charley recognized from her stay with the Doctor. In a quick but clear rush of words, he described a device to her that he said would help him diagnose the problem with the TARDIS and asked her to look for it while he continued poking at things with his sonic.

“You hardly ever used to use that thing,” she called up to him when she was reaching down into the storage bin, rummaging through the various items it contained. Even with her head down in the bin she could hear the screwdriver whirring away.

“I did used to go more hands-free, didn’t I?” he replied, sounding faintly reminiscent. “But last regeneration, I…” he trailed off for a moment, long enough that Charley stopped rooting around in the storage bin and looked up at him curiously. “Had some time on my hands,” he finally finished. “Lots of it, actually.” His voice took on the dark tone she had begun to notice in it before, and once again she wondered what had happened to him after she’d left him, and what she could possibly do to help him feel better. “Anyway,” he continued, “I pulled out my sonic and started working on it. It’s got thousands of settings now.” He flipped it up and neatly caught it. “Even resonates concrete.” He smiled then, but Charley thought it looked like a smile meant for someone who wasn’t there to see it. She dove back into the storage bin and the Doctor returned his concentration to the console once more.

A few minutes later, Charley jumped to her feet with a victorious shout. “I’ve got it!” She held out the device to the Doctor. “At least I think I have.”

The Doctor, who had made his meandering way to the other side of the console, came back around and took the device from her.

“Excellent work, Charley! Haven’t had to use this in ages, I’m sure it was pretty far down…”

Charley stretched a kink out of her neck. “Quite,” she said dryly.

The Doctor fixed the device over one of the navigation panels as Charley sat down on the bench behind him, watching curiously. She had always enjoyed watching the Doctor operate the TARDIS. She found the whole process fascinating, though she understood far less of it than she wished she did. Besides, sometimes it got rather amusing to watch the Doctor fly the ship. Earlier, this Doctor had seemed different only in that he put more of a flourish on his leaps and bounds around the console.

Now, however, he was far less kinetic, staying in front of the panel to which he’d attached his diagnostic device or hopping a foot or so to his right to check something or another on the monitor. He kept up a constant stream of babble, most of which flew over Charley’s head. Something about the Time Vortex and parallel timelines or tangential timelines and time shielding and she began to wonder if he was even making sense to himself.

Suddenly, he straightened and looked back at her, a tight smile on his face. “I think I can get us back on our feet,” he said.

Charley tilted her head slightly. “Then why do you still look worried?”

The Doctor shrugged with a halfway-decent attempt at nonchalance. “I’m not worried. I just still don’t know how we got into this in the first place.” He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter, I can get us out.”

He turned back to the console and pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose. “I just have to find the right Vortex resonance pattern, lock on to a point outside the Vortex, preferably the first one that I can find just to make sure we get out, and then it’s just a matter of using the materialization override circuit to reverse the polarity and get us out.”

Charley rolled her eyes at the Doctor’s back. “Of course,” she muttered. “Reverse the polarity, why didn’t I think of that?”

“Brace yourself,” the Doctor called over his shoulder. Charley gripped the bench tightly, and was proud of herself when, after a few sharp jerks left and right, she was still safely seated when the TARDIS came to a stop once more.

Her relief was short-lived, however. Just a few seconds after the jerking stopped, nearly all the lights went out, and the pulsing of the time rotor slowed to a near stop.

“No!” the Doctor exclaimed. “No, no, no, what are you doing?” He ran around the console poking at things and pulling on others. Charley could see his expression by the dim light of the time rotor and the TARDIS’ emergency lighting system, and she thought she hadn’t seen the Doctor looking quite so at a loss for ideas about what to do since they’d first found themselves in the timeless parallel universe.

“Now what’s happened?” she asked carefully.

“It was too easy, I should have seen,” the Doctor muttered. “It was some kind of trick, someone wanted me to do that. We’re stuck in some sort of loop.” He was across the console from her now, and as she watched his face in the dim light, she could tell they had a real problem on their hands. “Time loop?” he said, pulling the monitor around and reading it quickly. “There’s Vortex energy looping out of my TARDIS and into…” He punched a series of buttons, said something else the TARDIS wouldn’t translate – Charley wondered if he did more of that now than he used to or if it was just a reaction to the extreme situation – and punched more buttons.

Then his jaw dropped. “That’s impossible,” he breathed, taking off his glasses and tucking them back into his suit jacket.

“What?” Charley got to her feet and strode around to stand at the Doctor’s side, although whatever the Doctor was reading was displayed in the symbols she remembered as being the written form of Gallifreyan. She touched his arm softly. “What’s happened?”

“It… looks like…” he said slowly, “there’s Vortex energy being looped from my TARDIS through to two other TARDISes.”

Charley shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s impossible,” he repeated. “One, because it looks like one of them might be my TARDIS, except different. Earlier, or later. Not this one, not like she is now.”

“You told me once that you’ve met yourself before. So surely you’ve had your TARDIS bump into herself before.”

“It’s not just that,” he insisted, eyes wide, staring at the monitor without actually appearing to read it anymore.

“Then what is it?” Charley asked, stepping closer. She reached up and gently cupped his cheek before dropping her hand to his sleeve. “Doctor, tell me what’s wrong.”

He opened his mouth as if he were going to reply, but then his hand slipped, pushed the button that enabled the video feed of what was outside the TARDIS. Charley gasped, and under her hand, the Doctor’s arm went completely stiff.

The monitor showed a room that was a curious mix of utilitarian metal, warm wooden paneling, and plush antiquarian décor. A richly upholstered armchair sat near the relatively futuristic console, and in the background there were large open rooms leading to further corridors instead of doors leading to hallways. And in the center of the screen stood two figures, one a man in aristocratic velvet and ruffles, the other a woman in simple jeans and t-shirt.

“It’s you!” exclaimed Charley. “My you!” She bounced slightly on the balls of her feet, her joy at seeing her Doctor eclipsing her worry over the situation. “Doctor, isn’t it…” she trailed off when she realized that the Doctor she was with hadn’t budged an inch since her Doctor and the woman he was with had appeared on the screen. “Doctor?”

“It can’t be,” he whispered. Charley squeezed his arm where she still held it just above the elbow, but he seemed to have completely forgotten that she was there. “Rose,” he breathed, almost too quietly for Charley to hear. She peered up at him in the dim light, trying to decipher the frozen expression on his face. She couldn’t decide if it was horror or joy.

She still hadn’t made up her mind when he raced down the ramp, leaving her gaping at him as he flung open the door and stopped once more, still as a stone, just outside.
mitamitashade on May 18th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
GAH you can't leave it THERE!!


Pretty please?
faiencefaience on May 19th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)

Can't wait for the next installment. :D
juliet316: DW: EightRosejuliet316 on May 19th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
Wha? Hey!
Nikki: dw» tenrose» this is awesome! ikr?!unbrokensky on May 19th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
This chapter-ending still leaves me a little breathless, lol.
Beka: DW: She smilesautumnjoy on May 19th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
*balances precariously on the edge of seat*

PLUS I want to know why there are two other TARDISes out there.
And yay for concrete resonating!!
jellybean728: Last Line of Doomjellybean728 on May 19th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
No don't stop there!

I just read this story all the way through, and oh no! You can't just leave it there!!!
Christina: Rose and Sarah Jsunlitdays on May 19th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
Meep! So cruel to end there! Love the development of the last few chapters.
Twillingvangor: addictfalconsoko on May 19th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
BAHH!!!! more!!11 so excited!!!!!!!
Twillingvangorfalconsoko on May 19th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
also, 8/20 chapters!! just noticed that and YAY!!!
avantgardenismavantgardenism on May 19th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
You know like in a cartoon when a character is about to fall a cliff and they hang, suspended in air, toes just touching the precipice with their arms windmilling. That's how I feel right now. And is your fault. Hot damn.

Liek wowah.

sunnytyler001sunnytyler001 on May 19th, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
Sqquuueee!!! I can't wait for more!!!
Carrie the Madtastc_queen on May 19th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
More soon? :D Please?