Loz (lozenger8) wrote,
Loz
lozenger8

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[Fiction] Make Your Mark Eternal...

Title: Make Your Mark Eternal
Fandom: Doctor Who (Series 28)
Rating: G
Word Count: 1980 words.
Notes: This is part of the Tenth Doctor Ficathon. My recipient is misscam. Thank you to laylee for beta-reading this for me.
Prompt: Implied/explicit Ten/Rose, a lullaby being of importance, Ten delivering a threat he has to live up to, and doesn't want too much fluff.

You can download the lullaby that is in the story here. (It's an original piece, so there are no copyright issues.)



*

“Rose Tyler,” he says quietly, “I love you.”

When he says it, it isn’t like the other times he’s said it before, all crazy eyes and manic grin. He’s sitting next to her on a sofa with his arm around her shoulders. And his voice cracks just a little, between the l and the o. Three very simple words, with an extremely complex meaning.

Rose knows that when he says it, it’s not like another nineteen year old saying it to her, all hopeful dreams and false promises. It’s more than that. In a lot of ways, it’s less. But sometimes you have to reconcile those differences if you’re ever going to get what you want. He loves her.


***

Dark or light
Find the night
Find the nightwish calling
What you fear
Is not here
All the world is falling
Light or dark,
Make your mark
Make your mark eternal
What you wish
Is not this
Live the life infernal

***


Okay, so the truth is, things rarely go the way you expect them to. In fact, they invariably don’t. Because expectations? Well, they exist for the most part only in theory, and theories aren’t always all that applicable in everyday life, so neither are the items which one is theorising about.

In short, they were running, very fast, down a long, long corridor, and the Doctor may have had the sonic screwdriver in one hand and a banana in the other, but he certainly wasn’t feeling his usual confident self.

He turned to Rose to check that she was still breathing, because she’d stopped screaming “Doctor?” at him and he wasn’t entirely sure if this was normal behaviour. She glanced back at him, her arms still pumping by her sides, blonde hair whipping about her face. Yes, she seemed okay. She was still alive, at least, which was more than could be said for poor old Marek.

He’d done his best. Sometimes his best just wasn’t good enough. If his best wasn’t good enough, whose would be?

*

They continued running. They hadn’t heard the thumping footsteps of those chasing after them for a while now, but that wasn’t any reason to just stop and start parading about in a leisurely fashion.

The Doctor noticed a door to the side of the corridor and they crashed into it. The force sent them skidding along the small grey chamber, and Rose knocked her head on some big brown box lying just off centre. She was out like a light. The Doctor tried to wake her. He shook her, spoke to her quietly for several minutes, checked her heartbeat and other vital signs. He listened at the door for their pursuers, but couldn’t hear them. He went back and waited. He waited some more. He was getting sick of waiting, but he wouldn’t leave her there, and he wasn’t feeling strong enough to carry her. He was bored. Very, very bored. He ate his banana and started to speak between bites.

“There’s a song, don’t know if you know it. You might do, it’s played on the radio often enough. Been sung by lots of different people throughout the decades because it appeals to a wide audience. Not just decades, in fact. I think maybe even over a hundred years. I wonder if the family got all the royalties? Well, anyway, it begins with the line ‘one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do,’ which is lovely, you know, and awful at the same time. But the next line is the one which makes the most sense to me, and this is the line, Rose, that I don’t think you’ll ever understand.

“I wish there was some way I could tell you without, oh I don’t know, mortifying your young and enthusiastic heart. But I can’t, so I’ll take the opportunity of your unconsciousness to say what needs to be said. ‘Two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one.’ Not all that great with the rhyming, and nor does it have much of a poetic sound to it. The scansion’s all off. But it’s true, Rose. Two is just as lonely, is sometimes, very occasionally, lonelier than one. It reminds me of another song I know.”

Rose didn’t move, save for the fall and rise of her chest. The Doctor stared bleakly at the wall and then back at her.

“I had a family once. I had a child, who in turn had a child of their own. You wouldn’t like to hear that I’m a grandfather, but I am. Was. Now it’s just me, just the Doctor and his companions. In your case, Rose, companion. And I’m not, that’s the thing… I’m not even all that upset by it. I’ve come to accept it. Because if I get too close to someone, don’t you see? All I do is cause pain. You’re going to grow old and part of you will become cynical. And I never age. Oh, sure. On my next regeneration I may look like er, who’s someone old? Really, really old and crusty looking? Oh never mind. As old as I am, and as much as I have seen… I’m not human. I won’t just age with you, gracefully or disgracefully.

“I believe in you, Rose. I do. I just can’t let you believe in me. Not completely. Not the way you want to.”

He sighed. One of those long drawn out sighs which were sometimes so melodramatic you could hardly believe they were real. Except it was.

And the dark enveloped them in this small room on Teranitaria, far too far from the TARDIS and quite possibly about to meet their doom.

*

There was a song, softly sung, echoing throughout the halls of the Teranitarian combat arena. The grey majestic walls allowed the sound to rebound through a channel that was more than a pathway and less than salvation.

The Doctor had decided to make a move after all, and was now, with Rose on his shoulder, making his way down these halls, in the direction of what he hoped was freedom. He hadn’t seen Triplak or Zellenia, nor their captors, but he presumed they were around somewhere. Just not anywhere he was. Well, good. There was hope.

*


He dodged to the right. He dodged to the left. He checked that Rose was still okay, lying with her head slumped, off down by the side. The big bloke with the claws didn’t seem to like him much. Kept trying to grab a hold of his head and twist it off. The Doctor decided he rather liked his head and did things to dissuade him, like hurl the big orange rocks splayed about the arena and run backwards and forwards with speed.

He needed to get to his sonic screwdriver, which, for reasons completely divorced from his tendency to fall over, was lying behind Claw-man. He kicked around a bit and crawled on his hands and knees in the dust which was building up. Ahah! His hand was on the precious item. He turned around and sent a beam of light towards ol’Clawey, who had been about to do something thoroughly unpleasant to the Doctor’s perennially unconscious companion.

He fell, the Doctor rose, and Rose was still asleep. A sleeping beauty. Not even snoring, which was odd, for her. They set off again, out of the apparently barren landscape, which was actually more like a television studio, full of ridiculous props, off to find a door back to the corridors and hallways of the base orbiting an Earth-like planet.

*

“Are you sure, Doctor?” Triplak said, looking rather worried and lacking in confidence.

“Of course I’m sure. Never been surer of anything in my life,” the Doctor replied, gazing out of the shuttle window.

“I think he is of the making it all up,” Zellenia said, a bitter smirk marring her otherwise striking features.

The Doctor, not feeling quite himself, not really knowing who ‘himself’ was, felt tempted to tell them to stuff it.

Rose would encourage him to do so, he knew she would. She always encourages the worst in him. She also always encourages the best in him. But that’s neither here nor there.

*

Teranitaria exploded in a whirl of cosmic splendour. A holiday spot that was no more. Well, it served them right. Who built a sports arena where the sport was to pit person against person, innocent against innocent? The Romans, yes. A lot of cultures, actually, spanning thousands and thousands of years. But it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. Especially since escape was so difficult.

He had warned the people who had captured them and insisted on forcing them to fight. He had threatened that they would regret crossing him. And surely they now did, heading back to their planet below, homeless.

He’d had to navigate through, oh, at least seventeen different corridors and hallways, until he’d got to the one he’d wanted. Managed to get the TARDIS onto the shuttle. All the while, his shoulder getting sore, and thinking that Rose wasn’t really the world’s best fashion accessory.

And he’d made the mistake of saving Triplak and Zellenia, who appeared to do nothing but whinge.

Rose was still knocked out. That was the worst of it. He was very worried, now. What if there was permanent damage there?

A long, long time ago, he used to sing a lullaby. He wasn’t sure where he first heard it, or whether perhaps, he’d made it up himself. Those memories were clouded in a dense haze. All he knew was that this lullaby would send anyone off to sleep. It used to send her off to sleep. He wondered if it could wake people up too. He’d been singing it gently before, trying to jog Rose’s senses, but maybe he needed to do more than that. He held her hands, peered into her resting face, and sang quite steadily. Waiting.

*

Dark or light
Find the night
Find the nightwish calling
What you fear
Is not here
All the world is falling
Light or dark,
Make your mark
Make your mark eternal
What you wish
Is not this
Live the life infernal

*

She awoke after a minute, bringing a hand up to her head. There was a mild look of disgust hovering near the surface of her expression and she scrunched up her eyes again.

“Oh, the pain.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Pain, pain, so much pain.”

“Are you alright?”

“No. Aren’t you listening? I’m in pain.”

“You’ll be fine.”


*

“Doctor, where are we going next?” Rose asked, the look on her face full of curiosity and barely contained joy.

“Back home for a bit. I think we need a small rest before we embark on more adventure. Just for a short time, of course.”

“I suppose you know what’s best.”

“Always.”


*

When he says it, it isn’t like the other times he’s said it before, all crazy eyes and manic grin. He’s sitting next to her on a sofa with his arm around her shoulders. They’re watching the television, a news report which suggests they’re going to be off again – off to save the world. Off to save the universe. Off to save millions of pounds of government expense in building restoration.

And he says it because he told himself that even if all it did was create pain, increase the distance between them, make things even more difficult than they already were, he was going to tell Rose how he felt. Sincerely. He threatened himself with a continuing life of constant regrets, adding onto the regrets he already held. A life where meaning was just that slightly more hollow. A life where nightwishes were tantamount to false promises and foolish dreams. Where sleep was coxed by soft tones which were full of melancholy.

A life of lullabies.
Tags: dw, writing
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