Prima facie

by Goddess [Reviews - 2]

Printer
  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure

Author's Notes:
Many thanks to my fantastic beta Mahala who is clearly amazing. Thanks hunni!!

Prologue

Since before they crawled out of the primordial muck, it had been there. Since before they first stood on two legs, it had been there. Their legends were built around it, focussed on it. Their futures and pasts, hopes and dreams, lives and deaths were decided and experienced in its shadow. It was older than the forests they hunted in, older than the stones they built upon. No one could remember a time when it had not stood, the last monolithic reminder of a dead civilisation, the last echo of a world that had been dead since long before they had evolved.

It stood alone, on a hilltop overlooking their city. They had never really even considered building close to it. Instead, they constructed their civilisation in its image, hoping that in so doing they would come to understand its purpose. They often journeyed to it, spending the day searching for an answer, an explanation, or even a purpose. Individuals had made life’s work out of studying every nuance of its architecture; others had devoted themselves to the materials in its construction or the designs on its walls. It had become the focal point for an entire civilisation, a puzzle unsolved throughout the whole of their history. He who could uncover its secrets would be responsible for removing the only constant in their lives, the focus for thousands of generations, yet every one of them longed to be that man.

Stories sprung up, debated back and forth for decades. Wars were begun over it; peace was made because of it. Every clan had a theory, every elder a story.

All of them were wrong.



Far, far away and long ago, a man and a woman walked in the dying embers of the day, their footprints tracing aimless patterns on the sand of the beach. They watched the last rays of the twin suns hit the side of the blue box parked just above the tideline, turning it into a flickering tower of flame before the suns slipped below the horizon and night descended.

With the onset of night, the two turned to the box standing so incongruously at the edge of the ocean, and stepped inside. The door shut behind them, closing off forever the sight of a world taking its last breaths before being wiped out of all time.

Rose was uncharacteristically silent as the Doctor set the time rotor in motion, before turning back to her. He shoved his hands in his pockets and raised both eyebrows at her.

“So…where to now then?”

She brought her eyes to rest on his face, incredulity in her features as she replied, “What? We’ve just walked on a planet, seconds before it died forever, and you just ask me where next? How can you not care? It was so beautiful, and now it’s gone and…we should have done something. Protected it like Earth was protected, with those satellite things, or…”

Her rant faded into silence as he gripped her fists. “Rose! We’ve been through this, and I’m sorry, I truly am. But you did ask to see something no-one would ever see, something no-one could hurt. Unfortunately, more often than not, the only time that happens is when something dies. Even something beautiful. We can’t always change things to the way we want.” His voice dropped as if he was talking only to himself.

“We can’t keep everything safe”

She didn’t hear his last words. Her mind was remembering why she had asked him to show her that dying world. She had had it in mind ever since he had regenerated, since the incident on Earth with the Sycorax. She wanted to see a world no-one would ever hurt; a world no-one could touch or scar the way Earth had been scarred. And he had taken her to the most beautiful planet she could have imagined. He had walked with her below the branches of an emerald forest, inhaling the soft perfume of the air.

Then he had told her that the planet was about to die.

She remembered the deep regret in his eyes, the sorrow that she knew had been mirrored in her own. She had fought, argued that they had to do something to save the tranquil beauty of that world. She had even brought up his previous self in an effort to convince him that they had to do something, although that was something that she deeply regretted. None of it had worked; he would only say that it had to happen. She had been devastated. So he had walked with her in silence the two of them taking in the poignant beauty around them, until the sun had set.

“Rose?”

She gave herself a mental shake, raising her eyes to meet his concerned brown ones.

“Go to bed Rose. Get some sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll take you to see a world being born!” His face lit with enthusiasm as he pushed towards the bedrooms.

She moved down the corridor, disappearing at the end into her own room. The enthusiasm disappeared from his face and he slumped in a heap to the floor of the control room. His brain was in a whirl, conscience battling against his actions, trying to find an explanation for his behaviour.

“You stupid git, you honestly thought that not telling her BEFORE you got there would make it less painful?” Oddly, in this regeneration his conscience sounded worrying like his previous self. But he had thought he’d been acting for the best, hadn’t he?

“You’ve done this before, you moron. Remember the end of the world? The little “lesson” you thought you’d teach her because you couldn’t stand being the only one in the universe who had lived through his planet’s destruction? Why do you do this? Make her feel what you feel? You can’t make her be like you, no matter how much you show her. She’s always going to see things the way she wants to, needs to, to survive in your life.”

“Why are you trying to change her?” It was a question he couldn’t answer.


Aeons away, locked in the darkness of its own perpetual night, something stirred, testing and tasting the time currents, searching for the beacon that had distracted it.


Rose undressed in her room, and got into bed. Tears were trickling in slow rivulets down her cheeks, but she did nothing to stop them. In silence, she turned off the light and closed her eyes.


Later, the Doctor would thank the TARDIS for rearranging the corridors so that Rose’s bedroom was closer to the control room.

It made it easier for him to hear her scream.