Title: Mysterious Ways (part 2 of ?)
Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose, plus Martha, Donna, Jack's decided to pop his head in also, and a whole bunch of OCs
Rating: PG for right now, but could possibly go up at some point...
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: I'll spare everyone a lame summary and just get to the meat of it: the Sonnetsverse reunion. 'Nuff said.
Two: “Johnny take a dive
with your sister in the rain
let her talk about the things
you can't explain…”
- U2, 'Mysterious Ways'
She lets her other senses feel things out before she opens her eyes. There are twigs and pine needles beneath her bare feet. A light fabric – a nightgown? A bed sheet? – wraps itself around and through her legs, pulled every which way by the gales that are swirling about her. Her hair’s being tugged as well, and possibly there’s leaves getting stuck in the strands. The air is warm but rough and a shiver goes down her spine, but it’s not because of the wind. Rose doesn’t quite know why she shivers, but she knows it’s not the weather making her do so. It’s time now to open her eyes.
Without hesitating she snaps her eyes wide, taking in the scene – or what little she can see of it. It’s dark, dark and dense and cloudy. There’s not a star shining in the sky, but she probably wouldn’t be able to see them anyway, the smudgy shapes above her imply a thick canopy of tree leaves and branches. If she turns her head to the sides slightly she can just about make out tree trunks, and she knows that she’s standing in the middle of a forest. She can’t tell if it’s a forest on Earth or some other planet or universe, but she gets the feeling it doesn’t matter. Brushing against her toes just slightly, like a feather gliding along her skin, is the edge of a body of water. Each wave tickles her feet, as if it’s urging her to come in.
Off in the distance, somewhere in the body of water, Rose can just make out a small light. It’s not candle light or lamp light or anything familiar, but it’s rather a green-blue electric sort of light, and Rose knows that somehow she has to get out there, even if she has to swim for it. It’s funny, she doesn’t even question it, but just accepts that the light is where she needs to go and where she needs to be.
The sound of thunder echoes across the sky above her, filtering in through the tree branches. And then the rain starts to fall, a warm and sudden curtain that slicks over her skin. Rose glances up at the sky once, and then nods to herself. The sheet falls to the ground, leaving her in only her sleep shorts and vest top. A toe reaches out to test the water, and then she takes a breath and dives in head first, plunging in beneath the waves.
The water is far deeper than it looks, and Rose blearily looks around at the dark, underwater world. It’s quiet down here, and she can see the rain droplets impacting the surface above. Her legs kick out and she propels herself forward. Not being lucky enough to possess a respiratory bypass system, she pops her head above the surface to breathe and finds herself being slammed by the downpour. She blinks roughly, and wipes the water from her eyes, but it doesn’t help. There’s so much splashing she can hardly see, and that green-blue light doesn’t even look to be any nearer. She’ll not let herself be defeated, and even though she’s not the strongest swimmer, she kicks her legs, pumps her arms, and keeps going.
At some point in her swim (she couldn’t tell you when – she’s lost track of time in this in-between world) she feels something swim below her. It brushes against her thigh, making her pause and then drop below the water, trying to catch what’s down there. Whatever it is down there pauses and twists, and Rose can imagine that it’s looking at her. If this…creature looks this blurry and vague to her, a dark mass of limbs and shadow and not much else, she has to wonder what she looks like to it. There’s no feeling of malevolence about the creature though, just the feeling of something being as lost as she is. And if they’re both lost, then they should both be trying to get towards that little pinprick of light in the distance. She swims forward a few feet and reaches out, fingers scrabbling for purchase. Eventually they wrap around what could be a limb, and she begins to pull the creature forward. The creature isn’t helpless though, and Rose finds that it can keep up easily with her.
They swim together for a while, a mess of tangled arms and legs. It’s a stumbling, staccato sort of swim, but it always moves forward. It’s a fight for them to keep a hold of each other, sometimes her hand will slip off, and she’ll move around in a panic until she finds something that resembles a kicking foot and grabs onto that. Likewise, the creature (who she is starting to suspect is humanoid, the limbs feel more like legs and arms than anything else) also keeps losing its grip on her but always manages to reach out and grasp on again wherever it can, whether it be her leg, the waistband of her shorts, or in one memorable incident, her hair, making her gasp with pain. Eventually their hands find each other through the murky water, and they grab hold and don’t let go, determined to make it.
When Rose pops her head up out of the water again she can see that the light is nearer. It looks more like a column now, shooting up towards the sky and reflecting off of the leafy ceiling. There’s something so oddly familiar about that green-blue light, but for the life of her she can’t place it right now. Her mind’s so occupied with surviving and making it there that nothing else can slip through. She squeezes her companion’s hand, silently telling the creature that they’re getting closer, and plunges beneath the water again. They both find it easier to swim below the waves, when they can’t see where they’re going it’s easier to go forward. She feels the creature’s other hand, the one that isn’t grasping hers, push at her back, propelling them both forward.
Finally, her bare foot scrapes against sand and rocks, and she stumbles, letting go of the creature’s hand and collapsing onto the bank of the island. She coughs and splutters, her lungs not built to handle such strenuous activity. Her whole body heaves as she coughs, practically curling into a foetal position on the sand. God, there’s not a part of her body that doesn’t hurt. The storm is still raging as well, the warm rain and winds pelting her skin. But there’s an internal part of her that distinctly points out that it was worth it. Somewhere behind her she hears the creature having a similar reaction, rough coughs and gasps as it chokes up water from inside its lungs.
When she feels like she can move without doing any more damage to herself, Rose tries to turn over to see how the creature is doing. But she gets very distracted in the process when her eyes lock onto the source of the green-blue light. She pushes herself to her feet awkwardly, doing an odd sort of shuffle as she tries to regain her balance. She gets her legs back under her quickly though, and takes her first good look.
About fifty yards away is a tall glowing column. That’s all, really, simple, sleek curves going impossibly high up into the sky. She can’t tell what it’s made of, because the entire length of it is emanating with that intense green-blue light that makes her want to hide her eyes and run away. But she knows she can’t, because she needs to go there. That’s the goal. And so she begins to run towards it.
Rose’s legs still aren’t sure, and every so often her hands scrape against the sand as she falls more than runs forward. It could be the rain making the sand slippery, it could be her weak legs, but it doesn’t matter. She can hear her companion’s soft footfalls in the sand behind her, and is happy that it’s following her lead. She knows the way now, and has no intention of diverting from it anytime soon.
It’s the longest fifty yards of her life, and she’s run for longer times and further distances. But finally she reaches the glowing column, her outstretched hand smacking into it. She can feel cool and smooth crystal beneath her fingers, a nice contrast to the summer storm raging around them. The water, the storm, the forest and the light, they’re the key parts of this, aren’t they? There’s such a symbolic significance there, just beyond her fingertips. But why can’t she quite reach it?
The creature slams into her back, a warm and wet weight, and she sees a very human-looking hand smack onto the crystal above hers. Before she can twist around to see her companion the light expands and there’s a sudden rushing feeling that draws them both deep inside to the heart of the glowing column.
With a sharp gasp Rose slams into wakefulness, sitting bolt upright. Her hands rub roughly at her eyes, not quite knowing why she’s woken up crying. Her chest heaves, breathing still not quite normal, and she wonders if that’s sweat that she feels on the back of her neck or the remnants of the water and the storm she had just been through. It had to have been a dream, she knows, but dreams rarely, if ever feel like that, even in her wide experience with so many things.
“Rose? You all right?” a quiet and sleepy voice asks from next to her, and her sense of place snaps back with an unpleasant jolt. She stares around the sedately decorated room, sees the watery early morning light filtering in through the sheer curtains. Right, Christmas Eve. Louise’s parents had been kind enough to invite the wayward girls down to New York to spend the Christmas holiday with them, and she could hardly say no to the eager look in Gemma’s eye when she mentioned it. The two girls are sharing a guest room (they didn’t have to, but after Gemma had snuck into Rose’s bed the first two nights they were there it didn’t make sense to keep her in her own room when it could have been used by one of the many guests who were there for the holiday) and Gemma’s currently sitting up to stare worriedly into her sister’s face.
“Yeah, just a bad dream,” Rose says, dropping her hands down and rubbing her sweaty palms against the down comforter. She doesn’t notice Gemma’s eyes widen as she looks at her, scrambling around on the sheets to kneel between her legs.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” she asks again, making Rose lift her head and give her a puzzled look.
There’s a knock on the door and Louise pokes her head in. “Everything okay in here?” she asks. “Thought I heard something going on.”
“We’re fine,” Gemma says in a rush, moving herself so that she’s blocking Rose’s view of the door. “Just a nightmare,” she continues, not giving Rose a chance to speak.
“Okay,” Louise says with a nod. “It’s still early yet, no one else is really up, but I’ve got a pot of coffee going downstairs so if you want any just come on down.”
“All right, thanks Lou,” Rose says quietly, still glaring at her sister’s back. The door closes again and she turns Gemma towards her. “What the hell was that about?” she asks. “I could handle myself, you know.”
Gemma shakes her head. “I don’t know if you’re okay. Look in the mirror.” The little girl waves at the large mirror opposite the bed, and Rose follows her gaze. And then it hits her why Gemma was acting so funny. She scrambles towards the end of the bed, trying to get a better look at just what’s going on with her eyes.
It isn’t an obvious difference, but there seems to be a thin film across her eyes, making the whites shine softly with the same green-blue light from her dream. The irises are an even brighter green-blue, but as she blinks the colours fade back to her usual hazel. Her mouth drops open, and she shares an incredulous look with Gemma in the mirror. “Oh boy,” the two girls mutter in unison.
* * *
The Doctor stares up at the glowing rotor, arms crossed over his chest and a stern look on his face. If he were so inclined, he’d be tapping his foot in an impatient fashion as well. “What. Was. That?” he asks the rotor slowly. Whatever that vision was that he had just experienced, it came directly from his frankly magnificent, but also temperamental and extremely puzzling ship. He knows it wasn’t a dream, Time Lords don’t dream like that, but whatever it was he’d never felt anything like it before. He could feel the sand beneath his toes, the warm rain sluicing over his skin, and the wind pulling him in all directions. He felt the impact of his body with the water as he plunged right into it, and felt the other body in the water moving against his. It wasn’t clear who the figure was, but he recalls very easily the push and pull of the two of them moving as one towards the light in the centre, which was obviously the TARDIS’s very symbolic representation of herself. And as he raced towards the TARDIS, watching the other person run ahead of him, he could have sworn that it was Rose, but that would be far too much to hope for.
The TARDIS doesn’t respond to his question, just hums and whirs her rotor up and down a few times. “No, seriously, I’d like an explanation for whatever it was you just did,” he demands again. It isn’t at all unusual for the TARDIS to communicate with him through their bond, but in all the years she’s had him she’s never made him see something like that and so intensely. He’d swear that his feet were still wet and he had sticky sand in his toes. It’d gunk up the inside of his shoes, that’s for sure. And none of that does anything to help him figure out the meaning of the vision, which is still a total mystery.
The only feeling he can get from his ship is one of smug satisfaction, and he resists the urge to grab for the mallet. It’d only serve to make her even madder at him.
“Doctor!” Donna’s voice echoes down the corridor, making him twist to see what’s happening. “The dishwasher’s on fire again!”
He groans just a bit and pinches the bridge of his nose. Bloody thing had been misbehaving all week. Turning back to the rotor, he waggles a finger at it. “Don’t think I’m done with you,” he says before dashing down the corridor, being sure to grab a fire extinguisher on the way.
* * *
“It’s a good thing you were covered up by the blankets,” Gemma comments as Rose watches the green-blue film fade from her eyes, “your marks have all come out again.”
Rose looks down to see the swirling handwriting standing out sharply on the pale skin of her forearms. She can tell that it’s not just in that spot, but all of the words on her body are out in the open. She takes a deep breath and sits back on her haunches, taking a few seconds to make sure everything blends back into skin again. If they were at home she’d just leave them out, but here in this guest room anyone could come waltzing in, and how to explain to them why she suddenly looks like the tattooed lady?
“You feeling better now?” Gemma asks, curling up against her sister’s side.
“Yeah,” Rose says, stroking the back of her left hand nervously. Her fingers pause as her brow wrinkles in deep thought. “Actually, I feel fine, physically at least. Except for the glowy eye thing. But that’s faded now.” She begins to chew on her thumbnail, a nervous twitch left over from ages back. “The weirdest thing was the dream,” she continues, mumbling around her finger.
“Was it a nightmare?” Gemma says, scrunching up her nose. “I don’t like getting nightmares at all.”
Rose shakes her head. “No, not quite. Dunno how to describe it really.”
“D’you know what it meant? One of the girls in my class says that everything that happens in a dream is because of something else that going on in your head.”
“No idea,” Rose sighs. Then she gets an idea, gets a determined look in her eyes, and kicks the blankets off of her legs. “But knowing Lou, she’s got one of those dream books stashed somewhere, you know, like the meaning of dreams or some crap like that. She’s into all of that weird stuff.” She slides off the bed and jams her feet into some slippers. “I’ll be right back.”
Even after only being at Louise’s grand family home for a couple of days, she’s found that the whole lot of them are extremely friendly and didn’t often stand on propriety, so it’s more than acceptable for her to go downstairs in her pyjamas. It’s a bit cold moving around in just a vest top and flannel shorts, so she moves quickly and follows the scent of coffee all the way to the kitchen.
Louise is hunched over a marble countertop in the centre of the room, coffee clutched in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Her grandmother’s opposite her, coffee ignored as she pounds a dough-like mass into submission. “Oh, hey,” Louise says, looking up as Rose walks into the room. “Help yourself.”
“Don’t mind if I do.” As she prepares her drink she begins to talk. “Lou, by any chance you don’t have any dream analysis books or things like that?”
Louise frowns, tapping her fingernails on the black marble. “No, can’t say that I do.”
“Drat,” Rose mutters. “I was hoping it’d help me shake that nightmare off.”
“Sorry, but I got rid of all of those books when I left for college.” Suddenly Louise straightens up and drops her paper. “Ooh, but I’ve got an even better idea.” She runs over to a distinctive pile in the corner of the kitchen, a mix of shopping bags and suitcases.
Her grandmother shoots her a look over the top of her glasses. “You need to take those upstairs today,” she says (for the fifth time – the bags have been sitting there since Louise walked in the door and dropped them in favour of giving Rose and Gemma the dime tour of the place).
“I will, Gram,” she says, bending to rummage through a backpack buried under the unwashed laundry. “Ah, here we go!” She holds up a slim book and shoves it into Rose’s surprised hands.
“Symbols encyclopaedia?” she reads from the cover, wondering why this has been foisted on her.
“Textbook from an old college class of mine. Far better way to figure out what your dreams mean than some brainless dream book,” Louise says. “You know, a dream book will tell you that a boat means journeys over water are coming or crap like that. What this will tell you is all the different ways boats have been used to symbolize certain things over time. So to speak.”
Rose winces a bit, hefting the book in her hand. “Sounds like an awful lot of work just for a nightmare.”
“Oh, come on. What do you want, deep and meaningful or cheap and easy?”
“Cheap and easy.”
Louise rolls her eyes and sits back down. “Just give it a shot.”
Rose looks down at the book again. Even though she says it’s just a nightmare, the bigger part of her is saying that it’s not just an everyday dream. So maybe a little more in-depth analysis won’t hurt. “What the hell,” she shrugs. “Thanks, Lou.”
“Not a problem.” Rose begins to walk off, but Louise’s yelp stops her and makes her turn around.
“I want that book back, Mari,” she says, waggling a finger at Rose. “That thing’s my bible.”
This time her grandmother throws a clump of dough at her along with a dirty look. “Don’t blaspheme, Louise,” she chides her.
Louise just groans and Rose laughs as she walks back upstairs.
A half an hour later the girls are still lying on the bed, though the frustration level in the room has risen noticeably. Rose is punching a pillow repeatedly and Gemma’s lying back with the book covering her face. “This is not helping,” Rose sighs, resisting the urge to whack herself in the head with the pillow. “There’s too many interpretations for each thing.”
Gemma lifts the book off her face and flips through a few pages. “Well, it looks like the thunder you heard could mean the ‘union of the sky god and earth mother’, whatever that means,” she mutters.
Rose grabs the book from her and finds the entry she was reading. “Yeah, but it also says here that thunder could symbolize divine anger, and I know the dream didn’t feel like that.” She tosses the book onto a different pillow and runs a hand through her hair, wincing when it gets caught on a few tangles. “Some of the stuff we read about the water may apply, that whole thing about diving into the waters is to search for the secrets of the ultimate mystery, blah, blah, blah…” she continues, attempting to work out the knot with her fingers.
“Yeah, but it also means death,” Gemma says, “which can’t be good.”
“Not what I’d have chosen to dream about, no.”
Rose falls back on the mattress, her head hanging off of the foot of it. “There was something so strange about that dream,” she sighs, ignoring the blood rushing into her face. “It felt too real to be a dream. It’s almost like…”
(Much to other alien species’ chagrin, the human brain is one of the most complicated and brilliant computers ever invented. Aside from having many other functions, it also remembers events and occurrences, stores them in the memory banks like a paper tossed into a file cabinet, and pulls them out when necessary or when it sees something that strikes it as important and can connect it to an event in the past that may have been brushed off as negligible at the time, but in hindsight is absolutely, fantastically, important.)
“Almost like what?” Gemma asks, shifting positions to lay next to Rose and hang her head off of the bed as well.
Rose sighs and chews on a ragged thumbnail, a sign of deep thought for her. “Remember when we went to that planet Artagon? S’where we got the gate key to get back here.”
“I had a dream while I was there, such a vivid and real dream that it didn’t seem like a dream. The Doctor was there, but it wasn’t him. He was using his alias and pretending to be a human, which was odd, because even when he’s going undercover for something he’s absolutely awful at acting like a normal human. This dream that woke me up felt a lot like that one, now that I think about it,” Rose says, twisting her head to look at Gemma whose tangled curls are a weird nimbus around her head now as she hangs off the bed, suspended in space.
“Was the Doctor in this dream too?”
She shakes her head. “No. At least, I don’t think he was. There was another creature there, one that felt like a humanoid, but I couldn’t tell you if it was him or not…” her voice trails off as the computer in her head makes an important connection, leaping back and forth in time and piecing together little bits of information. “Oh. Wait a minute.”
“What is it?” her sister asks, obviously concerned.
Suddenly Rose smiles, one of those smiles that only those close to her can figure out what it means. This one tells Gemma that her big sister has latched onto something very important that is surprisingly good. “It just hit me. That big light I was trying to get to in the dream, the column on the island – the same colour that my eyes ended up flashing when I woke up – it just hit me. The colour is the exact same colour as the rotor in the TARDIS, the one in the console room that was able to take us all across the universe.”
Gemma bites her lip, not sure how to interpret this one. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
“I’m not sure,” Rose shakes her head, but smiles again. It’s a softer smile this time, but it still transforms her face, suffusing it with indescribable feelings. “But the TARDIS has always helped me in the past. Sometimes I had to convince her, sometimes with a bit of force, but she always did because whatever we did was meant to help the Doctor, and neither one of us had a problem with that. If she or something that symbolizes her is popping up in my dream, I don’t think that’s bad at all.”
* * *
The TARDIS just chuckles to herself again and basks in the feeling of a job well done. Truth be told she had been smacking herself in the head for a couple of days now, ever since she had finally realized something very, very important that she should have caught onto positively ages ago. She shouldn’t have been surprised at all that the feeling she had been keeping an eye on for over a year now was coming from none other than Rose Tyler, who had somehow managed to unlock the back door to the universe and slip in quietly. She still has no idea how Rose accomplished this though, which is a true credit to her, being able to surprise and mystify a TARDIS like that.
The TARDIS also doesn’t quite understand why Rose is still so deeply connected to her. Every person who takes a trip inside her is affected in some way or another, but she’s never seen a reaction like this. Usually it’s an excess of artron energy, or a souped up immune system, things along those lines. But for a human to be able to psychically link to a TARDIS, and over such a great distance? Practically unheard of. The only theory she has is still a rough one, and she needs to meditate on it some more before she decides if it has worth or not.
And she has no bloody clue as to how the three of them were able to link up like that and share that vision, but she has to admit that it was one of the better ideas of hers. Even though her dear Doctor didn’t quite believe what he was seeing, that doesn’t mean that the seed hasn’t been planted. The TARDIS decides to give them a few days to get ready (even though they won’t know what they’re getting ready for) and then she’ll take over the navigation. One good thing about that shared vision is that she now knows exactly where Rose is going to be. And it’s going to be one hell of an interesting time.
* * *
a/n: I should have mentioned this in the first part, but the chapter titles there come from songs as well. The prologue is a line from 'I Will Follow', by U2, and chapter one is from 'Thimble Island', by Rasputina. More parts will be coming, I can assure you. It just may take me a while as real life is rearing its head with a vengeance right now. Thanks again for reading!