|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2008-11-20 01:49 am UTC
|Entry tags:||story: tardis|
Series: The Colbert Report, Doctor Who
Spoilers: Anything DW/TW/SJA is fair game.
Summary: Ten, Jack, and young Stephen go on a spree of planet-saving. Four and Sarah Jane try (and fail) to coax adult Stephen out of his room.
Beta by the lovely stellar_dust. Table of contents, and footnotes, here.
The Eagle Has Landed
Han Wavel: 3004 AD.
The Doctor is in his fourth incarnation. Sarah Jane Smith is 29. Stephen Colbert is 44.
"How about this, then?" called the Doctor through Stephen's still-locked door "We've landed on one of the great wonders of the universe. A planet of luxury hotels and casinos, all formed entirely by natural erosion. Are you interested?"
"We're really going out this time!" he added. "You're going to be left behind if you don't come along!"
"Suit yourself," said the Doctor. "Come along, Sarah Jane." Together, they walked smartly back up to the console room.
"I can't understand it!" he continued as they stepped out of the TARDIS. "He wasn't tempted by the marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V. The particularly inspiring lichen of Golgafrincham didn't sway him. When I suggested we visit the ancient alabastrum quarries of Zentalquabula, he threw something at the door! I won't be surprised if it left a dent."
"I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to visit a quarry," muttered Sarah Jane.
"What was that?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
Han Wavel: 3005 AD.
The Doctor is in his tenth incarnation. Stephen Col-bert is 17. Jack Harkness is old enough to be your great-great-great-great-great-grandfathe
"What's taking him so long?" wondered the Doctor out loud, pacing from side to side in front of the console. "We've got a planet to explore! Food to sample! Other people's money to waste!"
"You told him to 'dress up,'" observed Jack. "Stephen takes dressing up very seriously. Why are you so insistent on him seeing this particular planet, anyway?"
The Doctor rocked back and forth on his heels. "We-ell, I sort of lost my temper with him the last time I was here. Left him in the TARDIS while Sarah Jane and I went exploring, and maybe nagged him a bit later on about how he didn't help us break up the syndicate of crooked lenders that was fleecing tourists. So it's only fair that he get to see the place at some point."
Jack couldn't help it. He grinned.
"Oi!" demanded the Doctor. "What are you smirking about?"
"You're being nice to him! And not freaking out about paradoxes!"
"Well, you've somehow mellowed him out enough that, after we restored the Crown Prince of Ciceronicus 12 to his rightful throne, Stephen let His Majesty snog him in front of the entire court. And the universe hasn't torn itself apart yet. What's a little niceness on my part?"
"What did I tell you?" asked Jack, still grinning.
Instead of replying, the Doctor paused and sniffed the air. A second later the smell hit Jack. Moments after that, Stephen entered the room.
"Hey there!" exclaimed Jack. "Went a little overboard with the cologne there, don't you think?"
"Did I?" asked the kid nervously. "It was in the back of one of my drawers, so I thought . . . but the bottle wasn't labeled or anything, so I wasn't sure how much to use . . ."
"Wash it off," interrupted the Doctor.
Jack looked sharply at him. "Come on, Doctor, it's not that bad."
"Oh, yes it is. Go on, then, wash it off! We'll wait until you're ready."
"Y-yes, sir," stammered Stephen. "I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize," said the Doctor shortly. "It's a timeline thing. Not your fault."
With a quick nod, Stephen bolted for the door.
Jack shot an exasperated look at the Doctor, who avoided it by fiddling with the console. "What was that really about?"
"Caught me off guard, that's all," came the terse reply. "Didn't think any more of that scent existed in the universe, and it turns out there's been a bottle stashed in Stephen's room for the past five centuries."
"Is it from—?"
"—Gallifrey? Yes." The Doctor pulled a lever and a blast of cool air ruffled Jack's clothing, replacing the ancient cologne with gusts of lemony freshness. "Which Stephen is not to be told about. Understood?"
Jack realized that this was not the time to argue. "Aye aye, sir."
Dangrabad Beta: 13,452 BC.
"So I've been thinking," remarked Jack, leaning against the bars of his cell. "Maybe you're right."
In the cell across from him Stephen looked quickly around, as if making sure he was still the only other prisoner Jack could be talking to. "I—I am? About what?"
They had walked out of the TARDIS into the middle of some kind of holy shrine, and the horrified natives had immediately locked them up. Well, except for the Doctor, whom the high priestess had apparently taken a liking to. Jack had spent a while poking around for loose stones or weak bars, but so far the jail had proved secure.
"What we were talking about the other day, on Another Da—I mean, Aglarond. I've gotta go back to Ianto and my team some day."
Stephen adjusted his position on the bare dirt floor. "Yeah."
"All the time I spend with the Doctor," continued Jack, "I'm just putting off the inevitable. And it's not like he's ever going to . . ."
He stopped himself, too late: Stephen was giving him an uncomfortably perceptive look.
"Not going to fix my little not-dying problem," he explained quickly. "Which is why I was looking for him in the first place. So I don't really have an excuse to be here."
"Of course you do!" protested Stephen. "How are you supposed to look out for me if you go back to 2009?"
"I haven't forgotten about you," insisted Jack. "But the Doctor wouldn't let anything happen to you, even if I weren't around. You know that, right?"
"It wouldn't be the same. He's only nice to me when you make him."
"Stephen . . . ."
"It's okay!" said Stephen quickly. "Timeline thing. I get it."
Jack decided not to force the issue. "Look, I promise I won't leave the TARDIS at least until you go home."
Stephen scuffed the toe of his shoe in the dust. "Couldn't I just—stay on the TARDIS until I'm grown up? Then you could drop me on Earth a few years from when I left, and I could start with the destiny thing from there."
"Doesn't work that way," said Jack. "Sorry. You've gotta go back."
"Easy for you to say. You've got a Yan-to waiting for you."
"You'll find someone too."
"Do you know that?" demanded Stephen. "Was it in one of those books about me? Have you seen me with someone? Or are you just guessing?"
The Stephen of the future occasionally referred to a wife and kids; but now that he thought about it, Jack hadn't ever seen them. "Just guessing," he admitted.
"Of course you were." The kid sighed. "How come you're thinking about this stuff now, anyway?"
"Just wondering whether Ianto would be upset if I got us out of here by seducing the guard."
Stephen made a face. "Why would you? She's all scaly."
"And she probably thinks I'm way too pink and squishy." Jack grinned. "Don't worry. I like a challenge."
Allosimanius Syneca: 9324 BC.
A rush of wind blew Stephen, Jack, the Doctor, and a fair heap of snow through the TARDIS doors, nearly knocking Stephen over in the process. They had managed to reach the top of the Ice Crystal Pyramids of Sastantua before the snowstorm hit, and he was still lightheaded from the mind-hurtling beauty of the view.
Even the Doctor was a little stunned with joy as he shrugged off his coat. "Come on, Stephen," he said distantly, waving him towards the console. "I need to show you something."
Stephen followed, nearly walking on air, hardly noticing his own coat even though the TARDIS was pleasantly warm. How could you be uncomfortable in a universe that had such wonderful sights?
"Half the time I just throw on the randomizer and go wherever she feels like going," the Doctor was saying, one hand unconsciously stroking a bit of the console. "But she has a couple of presets. If you enter one of those at this terminal, you go to a predetermined time and location—with adjustments to avoid paradox, of course."
"Of course," echoed Stephen. Then it hit him. "Hang on. Are you showing me how to fly your ship?"
"We-ell, just a little."
In spite of the fact that the feeling hadn't returned to his fingers yet, Stephen felt warm. Never in a million years (literally!) had he expected that the Doctor would teach him to drive. A glance at Jack's face confirmed that he was just as dumbstruck.
"Now pay attention, because you'll need to remember this," continued the Doctor. (A surge of hope crashed through Stephen's heart. Did that mean he would be staying? What else could it mean?) The screen lit up with rows of characters that Stephen didn't recognize; the Doctor tapped a sequence of them, and the console began to hum. "Now pull that lever all the way to the right, and hold it until we land."
Stephen pulled. The center column began to pump noisily up and down, the floor vibrating as they tumbled through space and time.
"What word did you type?" he shouted over the clatter. "Where are we going?"
"The word is 'peaches'!" replied the Doctor. "We're going to get the best peaches in the galaxy!"
No. I can't go back. I'm not ready. It's too soon. I need more warning. I need to see more, I need to do more, I don't want to go home, don't make me go home!
The numbness had receded from his fingers; he was gripping the lever so hard that they tingled.
The lever . . .
Without stopping to think, Stephen shoved the lever as far as it would go to the left.