Doctor Who: Panic Moon Rising Ch. 01byKurokami©
Author's Note: This series builds off of elements of the previous Panic Moon series. To get the full experience it is recommended, though not necessary, to read that one first.
Okay folks, this one's going to be a little different. This is a side series to Panic Moon, focused more on the canon characters than the original ones that populate the main storyline. The two are still connected, if tangentially, though. Anyway, Panic Moon itself isn't dead either, I'm still writing it. Take a look at my profile for details.
Anyway, thanks to my sub and beta reader LogicalDreamer, and to the loves of my life, Isabel and D. I hope you enjoy this, and please leave a comment or vote if you like. I'd appreciate it!
The central assumption that guides the scientific community with regards to the cracks in time is that they are merely a bridge between two points in time that otherwise would never have interacted. This is a fundamentally flawed assumption. It is far more accurate to visualize the cracks not as a simple bifurcation of time, but rather as a fracture, spreading additional cracks over the surface of causality. There are not just two points in time folded into one another, but rather many different points in history crowded together. Is it terribly outlandish to suggest that there might be rare occasions in which these newly connected timelines might intersect?
'Causal Fragmentation Theory: Possible Applications for Breaking from Linear Time' Song, R. Published: Luna University Scientific Journal, 5122-5123
'What is this place called again?' Gwen said flatly, staring out the window and watching as even the vague suggestions of civilization that had persisted this far out into the countryside slipped away, as if the evidence of human achievement had simply shook its head and given up. Even the road they were travelling on seemed to be holding together only out of sarcasm.
There was a sigh from the front passenger seat, and Jack twisted around, putting himself face to face with Gwen. In many ways, Jack's features were nicely reminiscent of the countryside they found themselves travelling through; pleasant to look at, in a kind of old fashioned way. He clucked his tongue.
'Leadworth,' He said, the single word sounding just as apathetic as Gwen felt. 'And yeah, it's in the middle of nowhere. But something out here is causing some bad vibes, and checking it out is kind of our job. Faster we get it done, faster we can all go home.'
'When has anything ever gone that smoothly for us?' Owen sighed, staring out at the road as it stretched straight ahead, a monotonous streak of faded bitumen shambling off into the horizon. 'Remember the last time we all went out to the country together?'
'Cannibals, yes,' Gwen winced. She remembered, all too well. She had gotten shot. It tended to make an impact. And though she hoped, fervently, that this mission wouldn't be a repeat of that one, the cynical voice at the back of her mind had been reminding her that historically, things got worse for the team, not better.
Realistically speaking, Leadworth would be a crapshoot, no matter how unassuming a place it looked to be.
'It's going to be fine,' Jack must have kept up staring at her even when she had become lost in thought. 'I've read the reports, the most threatening thing we're likely to find there is some temporal salvage. And a duck pond. Trust me, the town has been there for decades, and nothing strange has ever happened there. Seriously, most aliens just pass it by on the way to someplace more interesting. We'll pick up whatever's causing this and you'll be back home with Rhys by tomorrow.'
Before Gwen could argue, Jack turned back around in his seat, untwisting his seatbelt absently. His mouth twisted into a thin line, and he craned his neck to press his forehead against the window; beyond it lay only grassland edged with a few solitary trees.
And that was the problem, really.
Even before becoming a stable fact of the universe, Jack had been around the block more than a few times, and in his life he had delighted in having his eyes opened again and again, accumulating new experiences like most people did wrinkles. Fact was, the universe was bristling with life, and the things that passed over Earth, well... most of them didn't give a shit as to who or what they passed over, so long as they got what they came for. In the grand scheme of things, this little planet meant very little. So, a tiny English village that nobody even flew over?
That was a problem.
'I really hope we'll be okay...' Jack said, to himself. But of course, whatever event it was that had happened in Leadworth just two nights ago, it had made the rift tremble in sympathetic awe. It had been like a shudder through the skin of the universe.
No, coming out of this unscathed seemed a pretty distant prospect.
It was a pleasant day in Leadworth. But then, that was no surprise; they all were.
It was one of several things that one could depend on the little village for. The days would be nice, they would be long, and they would be quiet. One after the other, rolling back the days of one's life from cradle to grave. The streets would be empty, a near catatonic torpor seemed to fall over the public spaces of Leadworth from about eight in the morning until six o'clock at night. It only ever seemed to rain about once or twice a month... Even the weather must have given up on England's numb spot. Outside, only the lightest of breezes had managed to muster enough energy to blow through the main street; the barometric equivalent of rolling over and going back to sleep.
And in an unassuming psychiatrist's office at the northern end of the main road, Amelia Jessica Pond leaned back in her seat, crossed one long leg over the other, and stared down Dr. Ross as he leaned over his desk to regard her. Today, she found herself in no mood for this particular brand of needless idiocy.
She was hung over, for a start; ever since celebrating her eighteenth birthday a few months previously, she had been indulging in that most of her work nights. At her new job. As a kissogram. Just another thing about her that her aunt, and by extension Dr. Ross, didn't approve of.
It was okay for her to be hung over this morning- not many folk out to hire a kissogram on a Monday- but no matter her availability, the light hurt her eyes and the way the psychiatrist looked over the rim of his glasses at her was particularly offensive to her sensibilities today. It took all the energy she had to stop herself from scowling at him.
Of course it was clear he disapproved of her too, though she could hardly blame him for that; biting psychiatrists had ceased to be even a little acceptable once she had reached adolescence, so Amy had been forced to settle for simply stonewalling her third mental health professional. He could, possibly he had, tried every trick in his arsenal to get her to open up, but she hadn't given him anything in almost a year.
The Doctor was real. That was the simple truth.
Lately there had been that other thing that, much to Amy's chagrin her aunt had insisted Dr. Ross talk to her about... But she wasn't about to give him anything about that. No sir.
'Amy, we have to talk about something,' The psychiatrist's deep, smooth voice broke through the increasingly awkward silence, as he leaned his elbows on the desk, fingers in his dark hair.
'No, we don't,' Amy shook her head, toying idly with the end of her loose, messy ponytail. 'I'm eighteen now. The only reason I even came today is because this session was already paid for.'
She shot him a challenging look. Yes, she could walk out any time she liked; the only reason she didn't was to avoid making dear auntie angry with her... And because she would find herself at a complete loose end as to what to do the moment she walked out that door. What with Rory starting college, and Mels... Well, she couldn't remember what had happened to Mels last night...
'Your aunt tells me you had a bit of an eventful night last night, Amy,' Dr. Ross persisted, and this time Amy really did frown. She hated the way he always made sure to say her name in that dumbly reasonable tone with every sentence, but she hated even more the way her psychiatrists and her aunt always seemed to talk about her behind her back. They always seemed to know just a little bit too much about the Doctor, about her problems, or the things she was caught doing...
Amy felt her face flush with heat. No, bad memory. Repress that. And lock the door next time.
'Stumbling home at five in the morning, drunk and wearing one of those... costumes,' The man frowned too now, and Amy had a hard time deciding whether it was concern she saw there, or just strangely disguised disapproval. 'That's very concerning, Amy. Especially for a girl of your age.'
What did he want her to say? Yes, she had had a bit too much to drink and gotten home far too late. But Mels had been there, and god knows it was impossible to say no to Mels. Besides, she had already been slightly loosened up from work- the best part of the job- and looking a million bucks in that cheesy yet revealing-in-all-the-right-ways nurse's outfit... Turning heads had become a bit of a game to her. Assuming the heads turned with a smile, and not the looks of vague concern that talk of the Raggedy Doctor used to get her.
And yes, if she was being totally honest, she had blacked out for a few hours by the duck pond, and awoken minus one Mels but plus the kind of headache that could kill a moose. A headache that remained even now, she might add, though it had mercifully shifted to merely a dull pounding behind her eyes, pretty close to her normal hangover symptoms. Still...
'I think that's something worth talking about, Amy.'
Amy remembered Dr. Finnian, her second psychiatrist, and how she had climbed through the waiting room window to avoid sessions with her, if she could. She had only been little then, of course, and that extra time had always been spent with Rory, Mels and a certain pilfered bowtie, behind the tall hedges on the bike path. Every single one of those days had been worth the scolding she had gotten when they were over...
Very calmly, Amy placed the palms of her hands flat on Dr. Ross' desk, and looked him full in the eyes. She took a deep breath, slightly surprised to see him twitch a little at the sudden eye contact, and blush a little. It was almost enough to put a stop to her plans right there, but the rebellion in her blood was calling to her. The urge to bite him was maddening.
'I don't,' She said, Scottish accent twanging through the air, and for once she was proud of it; this time, marking her as different with every word she spoke was... right, somehow. She felt empowered by it, courage flooding her body, 'In fact, I think it's a pretty good reason not to be talking at all. Look, you already know I'm hungover, so why are we doing this? I know the session has already been paid for, but I think just this once we can reschedule while I take a nap, hmm? Or hey, how about we just cancel, and leave it at that? Goodbye, Dr. Ross.'
With that, she stood. She was eighteen now, capable of making her own decisions regardless of how much her aunt approved of them... but still, she expected Dr. Ross to at least attempt to keep her in his office, as she headed for the door with as much dignity as her slightly unsteady legs would allow her.
She froze, hand halfway to the doorknob, and tilted her head back to regard the shrink with furrowed eyebrows.
'Alright, you can go...' He mumbled, and Amy noticed his strange, uncalled-for blush had only deepened. Perhaps he was merely embarrassed to have failed with a client, especially one as long running as Amy.
'Um, cool. Alright, see you,' She pursed her lips, but decided not to press the point if she was going to get her way. She stepped out onto the cheap carpet of the stairs- a holdover from when this had been the offices of an accountant- and swept through the waiting room without even looking at the secretary, safe in the knowledge that the bill had already been settled. She only just managed to push her sunglasses over her eyes before the front door opened and the sunlight attacked her.
Finally free, Leadworth yawned open around her, three or four roads that all lead to nothingy destinations on all sides. There was nothing she needed to do, and nowhere she needed to be... which really just left her at a loose end. She didn't want to go home and face her aunt, Rory was indisposed and Mels was... Mels would turn up later.
Suddenly, those bushes seemed far more inviting than they otherwise might have. With the quiet nature of the village beating down on her, Amy shrugged her shoulders and made a little sound in her throat, more to hear a voice at all than for anything else. If Leadworth wanted to be quiet, then she would take advantage of that; time to take a nap.
Amy remembered this place being louder.
Of course, it didn't have Mels or, if she was being entirely honest, a younger version of herself to contribute to the noise, but even taking that into account, there should have been the sounds of nature, birds and the like. Without them, the calm was almost eerie.
She looked down at herself, and sighed; wrinkled shirt, just-a-little-too-short skirt, mussed hair, and sleeping outside? She must look like a hobo. But she couldn't even muster the energy to care; she had never cared what the people of Leadworth thought about her. Partly because she already knew they thought she was nice, if quite heavily unbalanced, and partly because... well, there were better things out there. Bigger things. Some of them travelled in big blue boxes.
As Amelia Pond had become Amy Pond, she had learned to make a few concessions, play a little nicer and talk about the Doctor as though he were a dream, to set the people around her at ease, but giving up was never on the cards. These folk were normal folk, simple folk, and she'd be damned if she would let them beat her down. No, the Doctor was out there, Amy had just had to internalise that belief, like a few other things. Like her parents, or the things she thought about when she was alone at night. Scottish pride, that was. Never let them get you down.
So she found it hard to really care what her neighbors thought of her. After all, they had been the ones who had made her childhood just that bit more miserable. Except Rory and Mels, of course; but even there she'd been hesitant to express her lingering belief in the Doctor. Her friends were brilliant, but Mels could talk, and sometimes Rory seemed to have no internal filter between his brain and his mouth. It would get out.
Her eyes drifted closed; that was too much to think about, with the kind of headache she was nursing. She had to give whatever it was that she'd been drinking last night credit, it had curdled into one persistent mass of pain. All morning she had tried to dislodge it, but all her usual tricks had had no effect, even though she felt quite sobered up now. She had even begun considering drinking just to stay ahead of the thing, as sleep began to overtake her again...
'Hey, excuse me?'
The voice was unfamiliar, certainly an out of towner, judging by the welsh accent. Still, Amy wasn't about to let anybody think they could rush her. Her eyes slid open slowly, squinting at the sudden intake of light in a manner that was decidedly uncool, before the dark haired woman who had spoken was revealed to her.
Certainly a newcomer, the woman carried all the hallmarks of one just passing through Leadworth. Her clothes were of a style and make that simply didn't exist for those that lived and worked in the surrounding area- that is to say, they looked as though they had a decent brand name attached to them. She looked thoroughly bored with the countryside around her- usually a main attraction to the kind of people who would actually visit Leadworth- and instead seemed content to simply absorb herself in her rather heavyweight mobile phone. At least, that's what Amy assumed she was holding.
'You're new,' She said, sitting up. As languid as she was, Amy wasn't at home with greeting a total stranger from a prone position. 'Just roll into town, did you? Got a little lost?'
If there was one thing Amy had learned in her life, it was that making assumptions was never a good thing, and she had seen in the past how personally some people took the intimation that they were anything other than perfectly sure of where they were going, but frankly she no longer cared. Anything to hurry this conversation along so she could wait out the day in peace again. When the older woman smiled, she knew she had at least not made any missteps.
'Um, yeah, pretty much,' The stranger's expression turned sheepish, but all the time her eyes were on that phone in the palm of her hand. She never lowered it, even when speaking, 'Sort of went for a walk and got turned around...'
It was then that Amy got her first proper eye contact with the stranger, and all at once the pain pounding at the back of her skull migrated to the front. It was such an abrupt and vivid experience that it couldn't have been a coincidence. She blinked, spots dancing behind her eyelids, and a sudden spell of dizziness spun the horizon before her. The sensation only lasted a moment, but when she opened her eyes, Amy saw that the stranger was blinking rather conspicuously too.
'Oh, sorry,' Amy grinned, rubbing her forehead. 'Where did you need to go?'
'Right,' She herself seemed flustered too. 'Can you tell me how to get back to the main road?'
Amy nodded, getting to her feet and beckoning the woman over. She approached the hedges lining the bike path on increasingly unsteady legs, hearing the crunching footsteps of the stranger through the grass as she followed. If she craned her neck, she could peer out at Leadworth; a marked improvement from having to clamber through the hedges to see, as she had when she was younger.
Back then, it had seemed like a completely different world, on this side of the line...
'Okay, look here,' Amy pointed, feeling the leaves press against her chest as she leaned in, giving herself the best possible angle on the path beyond. The stranger joined her, standing on the tips of her toes to achieve the same kind of height that Amy had effortlessly. For moments more, the throb in her head returned, only this time it wasn't painful, it was... different. Like the beating of her heart, a primal drum beat in her frontal lobes. Amy's skin felt electrified, and she thought she could hear the dark haired woman gasp. Was she actually feeling the same things?
She was beginning to think this wasn't any old hangover...
'So... so you just...' Amy found herself blinking an awful lot more than normal. The words weren't coming, they were gummed up behind... A number of other things. Clashing emotions, thoughts and sensations building up in her brain. It had all come on so suddenly, like a transformation. Most troubling was the strange, brewing and undirected sense of desire that had, in the course of a few seconds, gone from a single spark to a blanketing throb, taking up far too much of her attention. It wasn't something she was used to.
Or at least... She wasn't used to being unable to fight it down, anyway. It just kept rising, and she most assuredly didn't want it to...
She was biting her lip. Wow. It had never come on this fast before, nor this visibly. She was sure she was blushing, her cheeks sweltered almost as if she was in the grip of a fever. She wanted... She didn't know what she wanted.