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11 May 2009 @ 07:38 pm
Doctor Who - Ten/Rose, Eight/Charley - Twist of Fate (PG, 6/20)  
Title: Twist of Fate (6/20)
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: 1450 (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.

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

“So, Charley Pollard,” the Doctor said, smiling at her across the console. “One trip. Where would you like to go?”

Charley thought for a moment. She was reasonably certain that she would be able to convince this new version of the Doctor to let her stay for more than one trip, but just in case she wasn’t, she wanted to make it good. Then again, it wasn’t as if she had a wish list of exotic planets to visit – she only knew about the ones which she’d already seen. “Oh, I don’t know,” she finally said. “Somewhere lovely. And fun,” she added as an afterthought. “Lovely and fun.”

“Lovely and fun,” the Doctor muttered, fiddling with some controls and watching Gallifreyan text speed past on the screen. Charley took the opportunity to watch him while he wasn’t watching her. Concentrating on choosing a destination, his face was less guarded, and somehow it made him look even sadder than he had previously. She had accepted that this man was the Doctor, but she was still struck by the incredible difference between him and the man she’d once known him to be.

Where once he had been of a medium build and had an aristocratic air, now he was almost painfully skinny and she thought that even if he had been wearing a flawless tuxedo or suit she wouldn’t have termed him aristocratic. Where once he had been, for the most part, an open book, now he was far more closed, far more drawn into himself. Yes, he’d hugged her and smiled at her with an almost manic edge to the enthusiasm, but emotionally he was further away from her than she’d ever felt he’d been.

She watched his face, so she saw the moment he decided to turn to her, because the subtlest of changes went across his features. A slight shuttering of the eyes, slight setting of the jaw. As if he were steeling himself to make contact. Then he turned to her, a small smile at the ready. “Brace yourself,” he said, winking – something else he hadn’t done before, at least not with any regularity. “We’re arriving.”

He’d barely finished speaking when the TARDIS jerked sharply and Charley stumbled into the bench she’d sat on before. She clutched the seat in an attempt to keep her balance and thought longingly of her Doctor’s armchair.

Nearly as quickly as the jerking had started, it ended. Charley blew out a relieved breath and got to her feet.

“Here we are!” the Doctor said brightly. Charley managed a haughty stare.

“Why ever did you get rid of the armchair?”

To her surprise, after a brief moment of being nonplussed by the question, the Doctor stiffened and his face became stony again. “I didn’t want to be comfortable,” he said darkly.

“Okay,” Charley said softly, deciding not press. She summoned a bright smile. “Where are we, then?”

“Carpaxia Seven,” he responded, his stony look once again given way to a veneer of enthusiasm and happiness. “Sunsets like you wouldn’t believe.”

“I do like a good sunset,” Charley murmured. The Doctor gestured to the door.

“You can go first.”

Charley smiled, bemused. “Wouldn’t you rather change first?”

“Nah,” he said confidently, “the weather on Carpaxia Seven is mild this time of year. I’ll be fine.”

Charley laughed. “No, I mean, wouldn’t you rather put on something that looks a little less like you’ve been in the middle of a bomb blast?”

The Doctor looked down at his tattered tuxedo. “Oh,” he said, as if he’d completely forgotten he’d been wearing it, or that it looked as bad as it did. “I suppose I could put on something a little more presentable. Don’t think we’ll run into anyone,” he added, raising an eyebrow. But he shrugged. “Still, can’t hurt. This tux is unlucky anyway.”

Charley prudently decided not to press for more details about that statement. “Well, go on then,” she said. “Don’t want to miss the sunset.”

“Time machine, Charley,” the Doctor said as he strode towards a door into one of the TARDIS’ innumerable hallways. “Time machine.”

“How could I forget?” she replied dryly towards his retreating back. She watched him until he veered out of sight and then took a deep breath. “Okay, Charley,” she muttered. “You wanted the Doctor and the TARDIS. You got the Doctor and the TARDIS.” She ran her fingers lightly along the edge of the console and walked a slow circle. “Maybe not how you were expecting them, of course.”

The time rotor pulsed sympathetically, or so it seemed to Charley. “I don’t know what’s changed more,” she said, “the Doctor or the TARDIS.” She wandered over to one of the twisting columns and ran her hand lightly over it. It even felt like coral, she realized. It was oddly beautiful, with the light from the time rotor casting bluish shadows against the earthy colors of the coral columns and walls.

She continued pacing in a slow circle around the console. She knew she wanted to stay here, on the TARDIS with the Doctor, even if he wasn’t her Doctor. For one thing, where else would she go? And even not considering that, she was certain that life on the TARDIS couldn’t have changed too much, even if the scenery had, and she loved that life more than anything. But how could she convince him that he should let her stay? If he were still her Doctor she was certain she would know how to get round him, but this man was entirely different. Entirely the same, somehow, but entirely different, and Charley had no idea how effective her old ways of handling him would be.

Her musings were interrupted by the pounding of the Doctor’s footsteps as he jogged back to the console room from wherever he’d gone, presumably his room. Charley had never seen it, though she’d assumed he had one. When he’d shown her to her own room, so long ago, he’d commented on her bed in comparison to his own. Of course, he hardly ever slept anyway and when she’d been traveling with him, if he slept at all it was usually a catnap in his armchair in the console room. Still, one had to assume he at least had a place to keep his regular clothes outside of the massive and usually chaotic wardrobe room. As the Doctor’s footsteps drew closer, Charley wondered if her room was still where she’d left it, if her things had been moved. So much had changed, why not that?

“Better?” the Doctor asked upon reentering the console room.

Charley scanned his brown suit – she liked the blue pinstripes, she decided – and took in the slightly dirty white trainers with amusement. “Is this how you usually dress now?” she asked.

“Of course,” the Doctor replied. “Why? Don’t you like it?”

Charley nodded. “You look fine, yes. Just… different.”

“I am different,” he said simply. “I don’t think velvet would suit me anymore.”

Charley laughed. “I’m not sure it suited you before,” she mumbled under her breath.

The Doctor narrowed his eyes slightly but he seemed to choose not to have heard her. He gestured toward the door. “Shall we then? Sunset’s waiting.”

“A sunset on, what was it?” She held up a hand to keep the Doctor from supplying the name of the planet before she had a chance to recall what it was. “Carpaxia Six – no, Seven. Right?”

The Doctor smiled proudly. “Yep.” He popped the ‘p’ sound and Charley added that to her list of differences between her Doctor and this new Doctor.

The Doctor held his elbow away from his body and smiled invitingly. “Let’s go.”

Charley slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow, enjoying the texture of his suit jacket under her fingers, and let him lead her down the ramp towards the TARDIS doors. The Doctor had just put his hand on the door handle and was about to pull it open when all of the sudden the TARDIS lurched violently to one side and then to the other, tossing the Doctor and Charley off their feet.

“What?” the Doctor exclaimed, fighting his way to his feet and weaving up to the console, somehow managing to keep his feet under him until he reached it, despite the pitching of the ship.

“Doctor!” Charley yelled. “What’s happening?”

“I don’t know!” he yelled back. He swung the console screen around and read the display. “The TARDIS is taking us away,” he said incredulously. “No, not taking us. Being taken.”

“Being taken?” Charley repeated. “By what?”

The Doctor, clinging to the console for balance, stared at Charley with wide eyes. “I don’t know.”
wiggiemomsi: 8-Rosewiggiemomsi on May 12th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
OhBoyOhBoyOhBoy, a new (rather short!) chapter to read!!

Who could be taking the TARDIS away? The now-evil inhabitants of the planet?

I'm really looking forward to the dynamics of Eight/Rose in upcoming chapters!!

Beka: DW: Kicking it at the TARDIS consoleautumnjoy on May 12th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Simplistic to say, I realize, but I love hearing Charley's voice in a fic. So much. :)
mitamitashade on May 12th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Too short! *cries*

This is going to be so good. :D
faiencefaience on May 12th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
The world clearly needs more Charley/Ten fic. Loving it!
Not meant to be taken seriously.: lost time lordmaypanic on May 13th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Your Charley voice is so perfect! It's delightful.