by Sangga

Someone stumbled to the bathroom with the horrors
Says lord give me time for I've jumped into space
I'm in outer space
On Your Own - Blur


Striding into the console room, a bit out of breath because she's had to open six doors and walk halfway across the moon to get there. He's wearing headphones, like giant earmuffs, plugged in to god knows where with a springy lead.

"What?" She's looking around in anticipation. "Is that the signal from on-planet?"

"No." Can hear her through the headphones, apparently. He detaches his eyes from the screen long enough to check the CD case he's picked up off the console. "It's, erm, Blur."

She glares.

"Have you been going through my stuff again?"

"Well, what do you think?"

"I think you're bloody rude, is what I think."

"Didn't imagine you'd get all bothered," and he's shrugging, and still not even looking in her direction.

"It's my stuff -- my personal stuff," she says. Thoughts of lace knickers, and her journal, the one with the little gold clasp that he could pick with his teeth, let alone a sonic screwthingummy.

"Ye-es, and you see my personal stuff all the time. All over the TARDIS. What's mine is yours, and so on."

The nonchalance of it all ticks her off. She folds her arms.

"I've only been here, what, a month?"

"A month. A week. A year. That's practically forever, y'know."

"And you're already going through my things."

"I'm confused," he says blithely.

"About invading my privacy..."

"The music." He holds up the pastel-squared crystal case, spares her a glance at last. "Bit morose, aren't they?"

She leans, examines the picture on the cover. Recognition and a whiff of nostalgia as she smiles.

"S'one of Mickey's old ones, that is."

His eyebrows rearing back, and that caustic-and-water look on his face is not her imagination at all.

"No Pink Floyd? No Gerri Halliwell?"

She ignores that last. Thinks for a moment with her eyes narrowed, then grins and recites.

"'I put my trousers on, 'ave a cuppa tea, and I fink about leavin' the 'ouse'."

"Come again?"

"Remind you of anyone?"

"Oh, yes." He rolls his eyes. "Now I remember why I brought you along."

In the interests of avoiding volcanic eruptions, or brewing storm clouds for days, she changes the subject quickly.

"What'd you call me for anyway? Thought it was some kind of emergency."

"Nope, no emergency," he says, easily distracted. "Want to show you something."

He unplugs the headphones and tosses them aside like so much rubbish. Slaps the console over-familiarly.


"Yeah. Thanks. I know."

He's unfazed.

"Going to show you how to run a few things."

"What d'you mean, run a few --"

"Not everything, mind. 'Cause you can't run everything, can you?"

"Well, no. Obviously. I meant, why are you showing me --"

"In case of emergencies."

"But --"

"No buts. case."

"But Doctor, you'll always be --"

"No, Rose."

He looks at her seriously. There's fine lines, she thought it was laughter but she might have been wrong, there, at the edges of his eyes.

"I won't always be," he says quietly. "You're going to have to get used to that."

And before the words have a chance to sink too deep, he turns and slaps his hand down on the console again.

"Now. The TARDIS."



She's always opening doors just to see what's inside.

She'll never figure out the maze of it all, not in a million years, she thinks. Not even if she had a little TARDIS within this one, to return and return again.

Some rooms have cabinets. Junk. Or other bedrooms. Some of them have belongings left behind by other occupants -- books, clothes, knick-knacks.

One room has a collection of multi-coloured scarves.

One room has a cricket bat standing in the corner.

She can't figure it all out.



"Time Lord," she says.

They're sitting by the swimming pool. It's like having a large expensive recreation centre all to yourself, humid and ghost-like.

He's got old-fashioned swimming trunks on, underneath a thick burgundy-coloured robe. Her bikini seems almost indecent by comparison, but she's losing her self-consciousness by degrees.

Part of it is the lack of mirrors. She hasn't looked at herself in ages, which is an odd relief. She asked him about it, the absence of mirrors, and he said he got rid of most of them because it got too confusing. She doesn't understand what he means.

Steam comes off the water. She breathes into it and says again:

"Time Lord."

"Yes," he says.

"It sounds very grand, doesn't it."

"I suppose it does."

She lifts her chin, like she's announcing his title to a roomful of admirers.

"Lord of Time. Captain of Destiny. Master of All He Surveys."

He dips a toe in the water, glances at her.

"That's the problem with nomenclature."


"It's just a name, Rose." He looks out over the water as it ripples outwards. "It's the illusion of control."



She's reading a book in the library. He comes in, and her eyes are arrested by colour -- royal purple, blue, yellow. He stands in front of her, dumps the black lambswool number on the table, spreads his hands.

"What do you think about the jumper?"


"Time for a change, d'you think?"

She frowns over the top of Carnivorous Plants of the Twelfth Sector.

"Don't know about the jumper, but that jacket of yours is probably due for a wash."

"Leave my jacket out of it," he growls.

She's about to return to her book, but his actions catch her eye. He straightens, rolls his shoulders. Glances over his arms, his legs. Touches his jaw, like he's checking for stubble. Looks at his hands, spreads the fingers experimentally.

"It's not bad, this form, is it?"

"What form?"

"Young. Fit. Good height. Ears and nose are a bit much, but you can't have everything, eh?"

"What are you --"

"It's pleasing enough, isn't it?"

She doesn't quite know what to say. It's all a bit confusing. Like the rooms.

In a smooth motion he strips the jumper over his head, tosses it in the corner. She sees his shoulders, a little gooseflesh rising briefly before he grabs up the original lambswool and pulls it on, straightening the hem.

"I think I like this one better," he says.

Goes out.



In the kitchen with a bowl of steamed veg. He wanders in, rummages for something in the cupboard, settles for plonking himself on the kitchen table, fiddling with the console part in his hands. Watches her eat, gives her his all-left-out face.

"What about me?"

"What about you?"

"Not even a cuppa tea?"

"Don't you ever cook?"


"Breakfasts? Lunches? Dinners?"

"Nope. Told you -- I don't do --"

"Domestic -- yeah, I remember. Don't you eat?"

"I eat. You've seen me eat."

"I've seen you eat chips."

"There you go then. I eat chips."


"Stuff. I'll eat that extra bit of toast, if you like."

"Go on then," she sighs.

He grins as he reaches for it, then chews contemplatively. There's console grease under his nails, his skin smelling of ozone, or xeon, or something -- she hasn't figured it out yet, probably something she can't spell or pronounce.

"So, I'm curious," he says.

"You certainly are."

"Ha. Serious -- why'd you come?"

"What -- with you, you mean?"

"Mm," he nods, nibbling a toast corner.

She makes a face, spears a bit of broccoli.

"Dunno." She looks at his blinking expression and grins slyly. "Liked the look of you, I s'pose."

"That's it? You liked the look of me?"


"And what if I'd had three heads, or green skin, or fur or something?"

"So that's what you really look like, is it?" she laughs.

"Well, what if I'd been an old bloke with grey hair?"

"Yeah, but you're not."

"What if I were?"

"Yeah, but you're not."

"Well, what if I'd been --"

"Is this going somewhere?"

He opens his mouth, closes it, opens it again, thinks better of it. Gets up and bumbles out with his remaining toast end. She eats a bean, closes her eyes, and watches stars dance behind her lids.



Watching him fix the TARDIS, and they're both underneath the console, in the crawlspace

She's holding the torch, listening to him swear in six alien languages, watching his hands. Big hands -- long-fingered, blunt nails, traces of callus, lines and short hairs.

She wonders if he has fingerprints. Wanders off, at one point while he's concentrating on something else, comes back with two mugs of tea. He calls her a jewel amongst women, and she retorts that he only means women of her species.

Fifteen minutes on and he's back at it, cursing, jamming the screwdriver into console-innards like a particularly malicious entrail divinator.

He cuts himself on a sharp metal edge, and she quickly slaps the dish towel on his hand, and tells him it's the TARDIS getting her revenge, and watches the red plume spread, and feels oddly reassured.



They're somewhere, somewhen, in Europe -- Florence, maybe -- ambling around the exhibits in the museum. It's night, during a moment guarranteed with no interruption by guards or night-watchmen, and the tempera colours of the paintings glow in the dim light. She knows the sheen of linseed oil too, now he's explained it.

Standing in rapt contemplation, she doesn't hear him step up beside her.

"You're an amazing race, d'you know that?"

"I thought we were primitive."

"You are. You're evolving"


"It's just nothing that I've come across in another species."


"Your obsession with ephemera. Soup cans, reality tv, pop culture..."

"Well, there's not much of that in here."

"Sure there is. Look." And he waves a hand carelessly at the painting. "'The Love Letter'. Basically, he's painted a picture of two women gossiping."

Having heard this argument many times over, she still can't resist teasing the point.

"You're saying that humankind is self-obsessed."

"Oh, yeah," he nods wholeheartedly. "It's pretty interesting, y'know. This thing you've all got -- this absorption in the here and now, the daily minutiae, the moment, the body..."

"The body?"

She thinks of the body as something solid, something real. A grounding, a structure of essence. She runs her fingers over her collarbone absently.

"Yeah," he says, and extends a hand to the painting, following the air above the brushstrokes with a thumb. "I mean, look -- here, the scumbles across the fleshtones, the lines and wrinkles..."

"It's what we're made of, isn't it?" she murmurs, surprising herself.

"All bodies are impermanent, Rose," he says, looking at her. "The blush in the cheeks. The bloom that ages, withers, dies."

She thinks of something then.

"You don't age."

"I age differently."

"And do you die?"

"I can die. But I don't know what that really means."

She thinks that she really doesn't know anything about him. She is his companion, but only to a point. Companionship can only extend so far.

"Another country."


Her lips firm.

"Another adventure, then. Dying. Some place else."

"I suppose so."

She wonders if they will all go to the same place, human and alien alike. She wonders if she will see him there when the time comes. She thinks about how she'd feel if it happened on her watch -- holding his hand, following him to the gate, letting him go. Last companionship, and then --

"And then you're on your own," she says.

He has to look away.

"I've been on my own for a long time, Rose. Think I'll cope."

A feeling overcomes her then. She moves closer to him, and completely forgets the masterpieces all around, and holds his hand.



She's nineteen, or she's twenty, or she's older. She doesn't know how old she is anymore.

They're sitting on a hillside, at night -- she thinks it looks like the White Horse cliffs, but she knows better now. She's being educated. This isn't Earth, and she knows this because the stars are different. But they're still stars, and she's enjoying them.

He's trying to explain.

"It's a simple process."

"It doesn't sound simple."

"I mean, it's a simple process in one sense."

"If you say so." She picks at the grass -- damp, and her bum is wet from sitting on it. "I guess it's not much more complicated than human ageing, when you think about it."

"Right." He sounds unsure.

"So there you go."

"Yes." He frowns. "You seem to be taking this all in your stride."

"I s'pose."

"You do understand what it means? It means I'll...change."

"Yeah, I know."

"It means I'll be a different person."

"I know. But you'll still be you though. You'll still be the Doctor."

"Ye-es, but --"

"But you'll still be you."

He's really got his forehead screwed up now.

"Are you sure you understand?"

"Will you remember me?" she asks suddenly.

"Yes, of course."

"Well there you are then."

"Rose," he says insistently. "I'll be different. You probably won't recognise --"

"Well, put it this way. One day -- if I live through all this -- I might be an old lady with a dodgy hip and dentures."

He stops and stares. His eyes go impossibly soft.

"But you'll still be Rose," he finishes for her.

"Well I ruddy well hope so."

There's a long pause before he speaks again.

"And will you have regrets?"

"I don't know." She shrugs, and turns to look at him. Feels brave. "Will you?"

He doesn't say anything. After a moment, he reaches up and tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear.



She is always on top.

And when he comes, it doesn't resemble a starburst, or a cosmic detonation, or anything at all except a man expanding, arching so prettily it makes her grit her teeth.

The water in the glass on the nightstand swirls into nucleic disorder. Time slows, stops, extends.

She slides a hand up his chest, and he gasps, and she hears a tiny ringing in her ears. She knows this is Brownian movement -- the sound of atomic particles rubbing together.

The Music of the Spheres.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix