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A Doctor Who fanfic, 10/Rose. AU. NC-17 (for whole series.)

Twenty-second in the dystopian!verse series.

Before the Mockingbird Weeps
To kill a mockingbird is a sin; just another on their endless list.



When: Post-Ground Zero

She is here, at the train station again, and everything is white. This world is silent, quiet, in muted mourning. She stands under the platform board, staring out into the distance, into the empty station.

She walks. Her footfalls are noiseless; a gentle wind whispers against her skin. She frowns. There was a bench here before, gone now without a trace. She turns back to face the mounted clock. There are hands on the clock face this time.

She watches the clock for long minutes, for days, maybe. Time is of no importance here. Nothing is of importance here.

The clock does not move; stuck at perpetual twelve.

She turns back, continues walking. There seems to be no end to the station, and she cannot reach the platform edge. She stops.

This is when she begins to laugh, and this is when she begins to cry. She doesn’t know why. The laughter and tears are a violent onslaught, wrecking and racing through her slight frame with shudders and tremors and shaky breaths. She is frightened, she is exhilarated, she is terrified, she is thrilled.

A whole gamut of emotions run through her, and she stands on the deserted platform, alone and painfully aware.

Like the last time; like triumphant returns; like broken welcomes - she hears him before she sees him.

“Hi,” he says, and deja vu is a strong, potent friend.

Tears make her vision blurry, laughter clogs her throat. It takes her several attempts, but she is able to give voice to her words eventually.

“You,” she gasps out. “You’re always here, aren’t you? You’re everywhere.”

He sighs, looks at her the way a parent looks at a petulant child. “I thought we established this the last time you were here. I’m not real. Your mind made me up. So don’t blame me for being here.”

“Right, right,” she laughs-sobs. “You’re up there, wherever.” Her hands flutter about, gesturing aimlessly to the sprawling, sterile-white sky.

He sends her a pointed look, taking her hand and guiding her to a familiar bench. She caresses the roughened wood beneath her palms.

“This wasn’t here. It was the last time, I mean, but not - not when I got here earlier.”

He makes a noise at the back of his throat, a non-committal grunt. “Well,” he says, “things change.”

Silence drops over them, like a hovering blanket or a funeral shroud. She would call this quiet companionable, but all the silences she knows are like this, mottled-heavy-cloying-breathable, and so she will leave it nameless.

The clock chimes, but remains at its perennial twelve, both hands plangent atop each other, like lovers in tired repose. Neither of them speak. They keep silent vigil, like prison guards watching capital prisoners; like lost civilisations and descendants; like burnt trees in flourishing forests.

She breaks it. The peace and apathy of this place has been forfeit a long time ago, eons ago, a whole world ago. Thoughts and memories and fragments filter past so fast and slow that they leave her breathless.

Finding herself is a far more daunting task than toppling empires or governments, because who is this person-in-her-reflection? It is a question that has kept its answer just out of reach, and now that she can finally grasp it, she wonders if the mystery is as enthralling as she imagined it would be.

“They tell you to try again, and again until you succeed,” she begins. “But what if you never succeed? What then? When do you stop? When do you give up, and tell yourself that this is the end?”

She looks at him, eyes wide and open, heart bare and tattered. His answer is suddenly the most important thing in the world; more important than breath or life.

“It depends,” he tells her. “It depends on what it is you want. Some things,” he swallows, “some things you drop, and cut your losses before it drains too much from you.”

He reaches out across the gulf of the eighteen inches that separate them on the cold wooden bench, and trails a finger down the nape of her neck, along the curve of her jaw.

“Other things,” he continues, “you don’t give up on. But you have to learn that these things - you have to let go, and hope it doesn’t hurt too much.”

He curls a finger around a lock of her hair. “Giving up and letting go are not the same. Letting go takes courage.”

She turns into him, buries her face into his neck, into the hollow of his collarbone. “Does it hurt?” she asks, her voice muffled and tired. “Does it hurt a lot?”

He strokes her back, soft repetitive motions meant to comfort. “Yes,” he whispers. “Yes, it does.”

He presses a kiss to the side of her head. She closes her eyes, squeezes them shut, tries to ignore the gaping wound on her heart.

“I’m sorry,” he murmurs. She forces her eyes open.

Looking at the sky, she realises that it is so pale and white that it bleeds black.

X-X

The world shifts. It changes, and it whirls and bleeds and ebbs and flows a thousand different colours.

Britannia. She sees it in a second, in a minute, in an hour, in a month. The towering skyscrapers and ageing buildings of Queens and Kings long gone are juxtaposed in poetic disharmony, and she sees the flickering lights of the city before they sputter and die in the morning sun.

(Really, though. Britannia is a battlefield - you’ve seen it, haven’t you?)

The train station is gone, and she stands alone on a beach. The waves lap the shore in repetitive motions, breaking and resurging in an endless, tireless dance.

In the distance, she can see bold, jagged letters, carved into the wet sand. The words are big - bigger than her, stretching out for yards. She walks towards it, and the salty wind of the ocean caresses and bites her face.

BAD WOLF, it reads.

There is a niggling thought at the back of her mind; a persistent reminder that there is something she needs to remember, a place she needs to return to.

The words are written close to the water, and the greedy ocean gradually whittles the letters away. She watches with growing alarm - the letters are going, the words are vanishing, something is moving out of reach, why can’t she just remember?

This same alarm has her picking up a sea-swept branch, one of the flotsam and jetsam of the infinite blue. She frantically scratches the words back into the sand, tracing them over and over and over, digging the branch into the loamy dampness.

Like time, the sea continues down its unstoppable, inevitable path, and the words are eroded more quickly than she can save them.

(the fresh streams ran by her and murmured her moans; sing willow, willow, willow)

Abruptly, she stops. She tosses the branch away, and watches as it is carried out to sea, like the bodies of lost men. When she turns back to the shore, the words are gone.

She is fine with that, she surmises. The words have been washed and scrubbed and yanked away, but it is alright, because she tried to save them, even if she failed in the end. The sand is unblemished and smooth where the words once were, and she is reminded of the straight-level ground of freshly-filled graves, and of the flat-pressed uniforms of soldiers.

The beach extends endlessly ahead of her, and she walks.

There is somewhere she needs to be.

(her salt tears fell from her and softened the stones; sing willow, willow, willow)

She can hear gulls calling and shrieking overhead in the distance, and the infinite stretch of sand beckons her forward.

X-X

The pub is crowded. The rowdy, bawdy London night-crawlers flock to watering holes like these for hours of drowning, balming sessions.

She is sitting on a low-slung sofa, back against the wall, facing the entire room.

“The world for a Rose,” comes a voice next to her.

She turns her head, and finds Jack lounging in a leather armchair to her left. She startles, mouth agape. He chuckles a little at her surprise, and waves off the questions that lie on the tip of her tongue.

“No, no. I’m not real either. None of this is, don’t you see? It’s all a part of your imagination.” He swills his snifter of brandy, stares hard into the amber-coloured liquid fire.

He lifts his eyes abruptly to hers.

“Think, Rose. Are you alive?”

She frowns, unsure of his question. “I am,” she says. “Of course I am.”

He shakes his head slowly, eyes boring into hers. “Are you?” he asks. “Are you really?”

She leans forward towards him, straining to get his meaning. “What do you mean?”

His smile is slow, vaguely leonine and oh-so-secretive. “Look at this brandy, Rose. What colour is it?”

She studies it, watching the way the liquid dances and sways in its little glass prison. “It’s yellow. Amber. Gold.”

“Ah,” Jack tells her, and his secret-sly smile grows wider. “Gold. You know what they say about gold?”

She shakes her head.

“Six for gold,” he murmurs. “Five for silver, six for gold.”

She clenches her fist, bites back a groan of frustration. “I don’t understand,” she grits out, “I don’t know what all this is supposed to mean.”

Jack stands, and sets the snifter onto the mahogany table in front of them with a decisive click.

“You do, bubba. You do.”

He walks away, and she watches him weave and swerve through the crowd until his back disappears from sight.

X-X

The bench is hard against her back, and the white skies above her are glaring and searing and burning her eyes. She sits up.

The station clock begins to chime; a repetitive, guttural sound that resonates and ricochets of her brittle-tired-steel bones.

“I’m back,” she says to no one, looking around the deserted train platforms.

She tries to stand, and feels a solid weight in her pocket. When she pulls the object out, she finds that it is an intricately carved fob watch.

Prying open the cover, it reads five minutes to twelve. The station clock ahead is still locked in its eternal twelve, and she shuts the fob watch with a hasty-uncertain snap.

She stands, and begins running towards the station entrance.

She trips and stumbles and falls and teeters, gasping and straining to reach the gates for reasons she cannot fathom. It is almost visceral: run. The words repeats and echoes and resounds in her mind.

The fob watch rests unopened in her pocket, but she knows that it is eleven-fifty-seven, and her heart beats a drumming tattoo that screams and wails. Faster. Faster. Her legs are aching; her lungs are failing. The entrance is so very far away.

Eleven-fifty-eight. She can almost see him, can almost hear the timbre and cadence of his low voice whispering in her ear.

Eleven-fifty-nine. She throws herself beyond the gates, and is engulfed by the ghostly white. I am not afraid, she shouts, heart pounding in her chest. I am not frightened.

My name, she gasps out, is Rose Tyler.

Behind her, the station falls apart.

X-X

She jerks back to consciousness with a half-strangled breath, skin clammy and mind reeling. Mickey hovers over her, presses whirring buttons and taking beeping readings. His face is worried; eyebrows furrowed.

“Take it easy,” he says. “How do you feel?”

She swallows once, then twice. She clears her throat. She draws her gaze to the Doctor.

“Alive,” she replies. “I feel alive.

She gulps down the water Mickey shoves into her hand. Her eyes never leave the Doctor, silent and brooding in the far corner of the room.

Her face splits into a jagged smile.

“Theta. I’m back.”



Part Twenty-One - Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam; Part Twenty-Three - Simulacra

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Alexandra

who?

Alexandra. (Allie, for short.)
Asian-British. University Student.

This is ofalexandra's fic journal.

Adores: BBC Sherlock, Psych, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, The Sentinel, and Haruki Murakami.

Abhors: Lettuce. And Disney's Snow White.