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by vegetables [Reviews - 0]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, General, Horror, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Introspection, Mixed, Series

It was oddly warm in the TARDIS, heat beating down from a cloudless and unreal sky. Chris sat on an edge of the console, reading the Doctor’s fanfiction to pass the time.

She’d expected the Doctor’s writing to be strange. She hadn’t thought that it would be this disturbing.

“I don’t think Harry Potter would do any of these things,” she said.

Her mother read a bit over her shoulder and very quickly stopped again.

“Good Lord,” she said. “I don’t think he would, either. And he definitely wouldn’t use language like that.”

Chris was looking past her mother as she was speaking. What she saw made her instantly forget about fanfiction.

“There’s a tree looking at me,” she said.

“Don’t be silly, love,” said her mother. “Trees can’t look at people.”

She paused, remembering where she was.

“Unless they do that in here, of course. In an alien way.”

“The trees don’t look at people here,” said Chris. “But that one’s looking at us anyway.”

She pointed, and her mother’s eyes followed her hand.

“Oh, yes,” said her mother. “I suppose it is. Sorry, Chrissy. You probably should be silly, while we’re trapped in a place like this.”

A tree wasn’t quite what it was, Chris saw. It was squat and wooden in the way that a tree should be, and leaves dripped from its branches in a half-hearted way. But there were scraps of blue paint on its squarish trunk, and its eyes were not entirely unlike windows.

If it was meant to look like the TARDIS, then it was a very bad disguise– but then a bad disguise was exactly what the TARDIS had always been.

“Are you looking at us?” said Chris to the tree. “It’s very rude.”

“I’ve always been looking at you,” said the tree.

“That’s even more than rude,” said her mother, “that’s invasive!

“You’re inside a part of me,” said the tree. “There’s nothing more invasive than that.”

Chris could tell her mother was wondering if she could wrestle the tree to the ground.

“You’re going to have to be clear what you mean by that,” said her mother very coldly.

“I’m the Fleurlis,” said the tree. “In a way I’m every TARDIS, and this wood. Like how the Earth is Paris and Nigeria, and you as well. And I’ve been watching the Doctor for all her lives, hidden away inside the trees.”

“Everything you’re saying is making you sound even more creepy,” said Chris’s mother.

“You can’t have been watching that long,” said Chris with a frown. “The Doctor said the forest only got here when she first turned into her. There weren’t any trees when she was… whoever she was before that.”

“That’s what she thinks,” said the Fleuris.” But that doesn’t mean it’s true. “She’s always telling you lot how stupid you are, isn’t she?”

“My mother,” said Chris. “She’s nicer to me.”

“She’s bad with adults,” said the Fleurlis. “She thinks they’re all small minded. But everyone’s mind is small in its own way. There are things that even a Time Lord doesn’t know.”

“Like how to tell Harry Potter stories,” said Chris. “Hers aren’t very good at all.”

“No,” said the Fleuris. “I was meaning something more metaphysical.”

He frowned, and his brow made a creaking noise. “It wasn’t about them being good, anyway,” he added in an oddly defensive way.

“But Harry is nothing like the person she’s written. It’s all wrong.

“Of course it is,” said the Fleurlis. “What would be the point in writing a story that’s right? Those already exist. Hers doesn’t.”

He looked up to the trees that he said had always been there.

“In a way that’s why I’m here,” he said. “What she’s writing and why she’s doing it. She’s told a great many stories over the years. I’ve watched them all myself! In a tasteful way,” he added when he saw Chris’s mother’s expression.

“But,” he went on. “What’s coming. It means”–

He paused, thinking carefully about his words.

“What if there were stories that could never be told?” he said in the end. “Because they were hard, or sad. Not the best way for stories to be. So people hid them away, and that put them all in danger– because the longer they went unspoken, the closer they got to being real?”

“Then you’d tell them, I guess,” said Chris. “But I don’t see”–

“That’s what she’s looking for. The wrong sort of story. To tell it or to be it; I don’t know which. But it doesn’t matter, as she won’t be able to find it. There’s too much she isn’t able to see.”

“Like you?” said Chris’s mother. “The pervy tree?”

“Like you,” said the Fleurlis. “I came to you both, not to her. I broke my cover, because I know what you already know.

There was a long pause.

“Which is?” said her mother eventually.

“He wants you to tell him,” said Chris, who’d met her share of irritating aliens.

“Oh,” said her mother. “Then I’d say”–

She paused to think, and loosened very slightly. When she next spoke, it was in a softer voice.

“That she’s in danger,” she said. “More than she even realises. She’s walking into a trap because a part of her thinks she’ll just beat it; but she won’t. It’s what people like her always do. They see so much that other people don’t that they don’t see… what a lot of us would be able to tell them–

She gulped.

“She understands how she’s doomed,” she said. “But she still doesn’t know that she’ll lose.”