Character/Pairing: Ten/Rose, OCs.
Summary: This was how Charlie and she had bonded, after all, over a shared love for Verity Newman’s ‘A Journal of Impossible Things’. Very AU. Sequel to Salva Nos, prior knowledge of that story is very necessary, which you can find here. Part two and the follow up Five Nights can be found by clicking the 'dw fic' tag on my LJ.
Disclaimer: In my dreams...
Author's Notes: Okay, I'll be honest - I don't have much of an idea of where this is going. I've got ideas for what I want to do and where I want to take the story, but the plot itself is still nebulous and could change at any time. But I've been desperate to do a sequel to 'Salva Nos' for years, and I think I've finally found a good idea that I can have some fun with, even if the idea has generally been done before (you'll see what I mean). Comments and criticism are more than welcome, as this is currently rougher than rough. :)
The Sleeping Gods (1/?)
Charles Foreman sat at his desk. The sun had just barely started to rise, creeping over the buildings and parks and roads that made up the greater London area. Charlie poked at the keys on his laptop, trying get the words from his brain onto the page. He was determined not to sleep until he finished this part of his story. His mum didn’t need to know that it had been a few days since he’d last laid his head down for a few winks.
A ‘ding!’ came from somewhere on his computer, and Charlie pulled up the instant messenger screen.
StrataKitten: Hi Charlie
Telstar63: what the hell are you doing awake now?
StrataKitten: Mum’s got another one of her friends over.
Telstar63: shit, that’s no fun.
StrataKitten: and the futon in the shed I think there’s mice living in there.
Telstar63: I told you, if your mum’s got company to come over here. Our guest room’s a lot more comfortable than a busted up shed.
StrataKitten: …… I know.
StrataKitten: just wanted to get out fast. Why are you up?
Telstar63: you know me, I don’t sleep.
StrataKitten: the great writer and his creative fits, yes. It is only just fanfic, you realize that.
Charlie glanced over at the clock. Hmm. It was Sunday; there would definitely be a few diners and the like open at six a.m.
Telstar63: wanna get breakfast?
StrataKitten: OMG yes get me outta here.
Telstar63: Vickie’s in fifteen mins then?
StrataKitten: C u then. Bring your story. ;)
Charlie shut down the instant messenger, saved the computer file, and grabbed his papers. As much as she made fun of his writing proclivities, she still devoured more of those stories than he’d ever read in his sixteen years of life. He shouldered his rucksack and left.
He poked his head into his mother’s room and saw her still asleep, curled up in bed so that only her blonde hair was visible over the sheets. His dad wasn’t there, but Charlie wasn’t exactly surprised by that – he’d heard his distinctive ringtone go off a few hours ago, followed by a scrambling around and the sound of his car roaring away. The perils of not working a nine-to-five schedule, he supposed. Grabbing a post-it from his bag, he quickly scribbled: ‘Gone to meet Lyssie for breakfast, have cell on me. See you later!’
Fifteen minutes later he was locking his bike up to a lamppost outside of Vickie’s. He could see Lyssie through the window, and he made for the booth she had claimed. She was one of the prettiest girls in his year, he thought, and sometimes Charlie mentally kicked himself for not taking the opportunity to ask her out. Instead they’d become friends in the eight months since he and his parents had moved to Ealing, and he’d become her shoulder to cry on whenever the relationship with her boy of the week inevitably went sour. This happened fairly often.
The thud of him throwing his rucksack pulled Lyssie out of the magazine she was reading. She smiled at him as he sat down and pushed some vibrant ginger hair behind her ears. “What’re you reading?” Charlie asked, pulling his hat off and chucking it down on the table.
“The latest interview with Verity Newman – still no word if she’s going to do a sequel or not to Journal.”
This was Lyssie’s ‘great’ secret. She liked to portray to the crowds in school that she ran with that she was the girl who was always with it, who was so mature for her age but still managed to retain her popular standing in class. But beneath all of that she was in love with a novel and devoured everything she could find, both in bookstores and online, about the tale. This was how they had bonded, after all, over a shared love for Verity Newman’s ‘A Journal of Impossible Things’. Lyssie adored the heartbreaking romance, while Charlie rather gravitated to the character of The Doctor, the secret truth behind the mild-mannered teacher. There was something about a person who traveled through time and space that grabbed him somewhere deep inside and just clung on for dear life. Of course, Charlie had to hide his love of the story as well. It was bad enough being the new kid in school, but for them to discover that he really was a raving mad fanboy? Yeah, that would go over about as well as a lead zeppelin.
Charlie wrinkled his brow. “I don’t see how she could do a sequel. She wrote the story as if the narrator was reading the journal her great-grandmother had passed down, and it’s apparent that John – or the Doctor for that matter – never came back, so a sequel wouldn’t make sense.”
Lyssie rolled her eyes and slouched back against the bench seat. “But don’t you want the story to have a happier ending? It might be impossibility, but there’s something about the power of true love, you know?”
“Did you watch ‘The Princess Bride’ again last night?”
“Oh, shut up.” She stuck her tongue out at him and then sipped at her tea.
He just grinned back. “The thing is, Joan ended up finding someone else and had a long and happy life with him. And the Doctor took back off for outer space. Both characters really got what they wanted in the end, so how is that an unhappy ending?”
Lyssie just shook her head and sighed. “You are such a boy.”
The waitress came around and they placed their orders, toast and marmalade for Lyssie, and banana pancakes and a cup of coffee for Charlie. When she had left, she turned back to Charlie. “So, which adventures of the Doctor do you have to share today?”
That was Charlie’s grand epic that he was working on – trying to write down the history of the character of the Doctor before the story, and a little bit after the story ended. It was a bit difficult to get 900 years worth of tales onto paper, but the people out there on the internet seemed to like what he was putting out there, so he kept writing them. Really, he couldn’t stop them coming. There was a compulsion somewhere inside him that he had to write these stories down. They were all floating around out there in the skies, and if he closed his eyes he could just about see them unfolding in his mind, so he had to put them down onto paper. Someone had to remember the stories, after all. It might as well be him.
He pulled a packet of papers out of his rucksack and handed them over. “Today we have the return of the nurse-cat-nuns…sort of. Only now the world’s collapsed and everyone’s stuck on an endless motorway without realizing it. And, of course, the Doctor and his faithful companion are the only ones who can get New Earth out of this mess.”
Lyssie greedily swiped the pages out of his hands and grinned widely. “Thank you.” She flipped through the pages, skimming here and there and nodding with satisfaction.
Charlie pulled another notebook out. “Before you get sucked in, though, I want to run another idea past you.”
She looked up at him, saw the intent and rather serious look on his face, and put the printed pages off to one side. “Another Doctor story?” she asked.
He opened his mouth as if starting to say something, but then closed it and waved his hand in the air. “Sort of. It’s connected, at least.” He handed the notebook over, and she began to read through Charlie’s scrawled handwriting. She was still reading when breakfast arrived, and he watched her as he tucked into his pancakes.
Finally, Lyssie glanced up at him with a wary look on her face. “You do realize the fandom probably won’t like this story?” she eventually said.
Charlie shrugged. “I know.”
“I mean, you’re basically saying here is that John Smith’s true love isn’t Joan but this other character Rose who gets really just a brief mention in the whole damn thing – “
“Now be fair, I did give the character a back story and a history.”
“But you didn’t write anything to imply they shagged. Because I can’t see any other way for her to have been pregnant with his child when she got stuck in the parallel universe before the story started.”
Charlie just smiled slightly. “Call it divine inspiration.”
“I say you’re lucky fandom’s anonymous otherwise you’re going to have a bunch of mad obsessive shippers coming after you.” Lyssie shook her head and took a bite out of her toast. Somewhere a door swung open and shut, people came tromping in with a clatter, but neither noticed this.
“I look at it this way,” Charlie said, sipping at his coffee, “Joan is John Smith’s love, yes. But John Smith and the Doctor don’t share the same feelings, because they really are two different men. Newman is quite clear about that. The Doctor’s love, then, is Rose. Why else would she be the only companion out of nine-hundred years of history to make her way through the amnesia fog to be written down in the notebook? If she wasn’t important, Newman wouldn’t have put her in there.”
“Well, I can’t quite say I agree with you, but if that’s what you have to write then so be it.” Lyssie cast him a sideway look then. “I noticed that you couldn’t help but name the child in question after yourself. And that part of this takes place in Italy, where I distinctly remember you saying you spent time as a child.”
He smirked then. “Write what you know, as they say. And the name seemed to fit. Like you said, it’s anonymous out there; no one’ll connect it.”
Lyssie leaned forward on the table, as if to share a secret. “Is this you saying that you secretly wish you were the son of some great adventurer and out there travelling the stars?”
Charlie laughed at that one. “You’ve met my parents, and they are boringly normal. Dad’s a DI; mum’s a full time student. You know this. Seriously, the name just worked so I put it in.” He neglected to mention the feelings that came over him as he was putting this story onto paper, that he was just an observer writing this story down as if he were watching a movie, or rewinding a memory. But that would make her think he was even stranger than he already was. “Let’s just say this – I’d rather write story that could possibly have a happy ending rather than one that’s pretty much all about a doomed relationship.”
Lyssie glanced down at the notebook again and bit her lip. “Oh my,” she sighed. “It’ll be either a massive failure or a total triumph.”
He grinned widely and ran a hand through his messy brown hair. His mum had been after him to cut his hair for a while, but when he cut it short he ended up looking too much like his dad for comfort. Charlie glanced around the diner as he ate a little more. However, he nearly choked on his pancakes as his eyes landed on one of the crowd that was perched at the bar. “Oh, shit,” he muttered through a mouthful of food. He swallowed quickly, then said, “I’ll be back in a second, Lys.”
The man in question was shrouded in a dark trench coat, and hunched over what appeared to be a banana milkshake. “Bad night?” Charlie asked when he was close enough to place a hand on the man’s shoulder. The man jolted at the sudden voice, knocking some of his milkshake onto the countertop. He looked over at Charlie with bleary and puffy eyes. Charlie winced. “Sorry, Dad.”
DI John Foreman shook his head. “It’s all right. But yeah, a bad, messy, nasty night. Not what you want when you’re dragged out of bed at three in the morning.”
Charlie shrugged. “Mum’s still asleep, so if you head home now she’ll never know you were gone.”
The voice of John’s DCI rang out loud and strident across the diner as he hollered for yet another cuppa, making John sigh and lay his head down on his arms again. “Call woke her up too; she knows I went to work.”
“Yeah.” John raised his head again, and arched an eyebrow at his son. “And what exactly are you doing out here at this hour of the morning?”
Charlie flushed, just slightly, but it was enough to make his dad send a smirk in his direction. “Lyssie wanted breakfast,” he eventually shrugged. “She ended up in the shed again last night.”
“Stop it, Dad,” Charlie hissed, blushing again.
“I didn’t say anything.” Still, a wide smile spread across John’s face. Luckily, the intrusion of Lyssie stopped any further harassment about Charlie’s love life, or lack thereof. “Hello, Lyssie,” John nodded.
“Hi, Mr. Foreman,” she said, than shook her head. “God, it’s creepy how much alike you two look.”
Charlie traded a look with his dad, who just sighed and grinned. It was true, that they did look startlingly alike. Both were tall (Charlie did have a few inches to go before he caught up to his dad’s height, however) and skinny, perpetually looking like they were in need of a good meal aside from the fact that they could both pack food away like it was nobody’s business. They had the same brown hair, though Charlie kept his longer out of sheer stubbornness, and they shared the smattering of freckles across their face. Charlie’s eyes were a lighter brown and his lips a smidge fuller, things he had inherited from his Mum, but these weren’t immediately noticed in light of the sheer similarities between father and son.
“Oi, Foreman!” John winced again at the sound of his DCI.
“Just let me finish up here, Guv, then I’ll get back to the office,” John promised.
“The only place those bodies are going is to the morgue; I think they’ll be there after you get a full night’s sleep.” The DCI slapped a large hand on the counter and leaned over towards John, making Charlie and Lyssie get out of the way quick. “Go home, get eight hours of sleep, then come back and we’ll start cracking on this nightmare.”
John yawned widely. “Fine with me.” He glanced over at the two teenagers. “You want a ride back?” he asked them.
“I can ride, so don’t worry. Besides, mum’ll flip if she finds tread marks on the backseat of the car again.”
“Nonsense. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Charlie glanced over at Lyssie. “What do you think? Want to hide out at mine for the day?”
She nodded. “It’s the weekend, so chances are that tosser won’t be going back to his anytime soon if he’s not got work.”
So with that John loaded the bicycle and two teens into the car and headed back to the house with the large yard. Charlie stared out the window as they drove, one hand keeping the bike from sliding onto him and the other on his backpack. He thought about the stories in process, contained within those notebooks in there. As much as he would have liked for the stories to be real, he had to accept the reality that real life was a lot more boring than what he pulled out of his head. Still, it wasn’t a bad life. It’d do for now.
It hadn’t occurred to Charlie that the line between fiction and reality could be a blurry one. Sometimes it was so blurry that a person could have trouble telling which was which. And that the reality of things could be so much stranger than fiction that it would be beyond his wildest imaginings.
a/n 2: So yes, if it's not obvious there's definitely shades of Human Nature in there, along with a couple of other things that probably only my fangirl heart gets a little kick out of...thoughts or suggestions? Let me know. Thanks for reading!