Characters: The TARDIS/Rose Tyler/Jack Harkness/The Ninth Doctor
Word Count: 703, per Google docs
Edited by: the more than splendid dr_whuh
Summary: With music and images, Rose and the TARDIS have a conversation about where the heart is.
Author's Notes: This was a 2011 fandom_stocking story for othermewriter. I admit it, I have a crush on the TARDIS, have had for years, and I know that those She carries hold even deeper feelings for her. It goes without saying that she more than returns the favor.
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play (and create the occasional original character) in their sandbox.
Jack and the Doctor were still asleep when Rose heard the singing.
It was a carol, she thought, rising out of her own sleep; like the ones on the scratchy records Jackie put on every Christmas, only clear and crystalline as some winter's night.
Taking care not to wake the others — even the Doctor was exhausted after two nights of festival, a third of imprisonment and two more of frantic running — she slipped from their bed and into the hall.
The TARDIS hummed beneath her feet and in the back of her mind, a familiar and comforting presence.
It was especially welcome tonight, after the harrowing escape they'd had. It had been five days when their senses and survival skills had been stretched in ways she hoped they would not soon be again. They'd been away from home for so much longer than they had ever expected to be. The relief those blue doors always promised had been sharper than ever when they'd tumbled through them just hours earlier.
To feel the TARDIS, to know She was all around them, was a balm that Rose knew would always assuage her hurts and weariness, and she hadn't realized how deep that comfort went until she'd been without it for too long. Jack felt that way, too; she'd seen it tonight in his eyes before they closed in sleep. The Doctor — well, it went without saying. The two, the Doctor and the TARDIS ... Rose knew the Doctor bled a little, somewhere inside him, every time the TARDIS suffered harm and she knew the TARDIS sometimes ached for him. She was more than home to him, closer to him than either of his lovers, neither of whom minded.
For a moment, she forgot what had awakened her, and stood in the dim green-blue hall just breathing in the scents of sandalwood and safety.
Something sang, stirring Rose from her reverie, luring her on to hunt its source. She padded down the hall, in the direction she thought she heard a whisper of melody.
Even as she tried to catch it, though, the music faded. Had it just been the tail end of some dream?
No. There it was again.
But it wasn't a carol. Or not just a carol, Rose realized.
It was ... trill of birdsong (emerald creatures flying from night and heralding a world's return to warmth somewhere under a dim red sun)
... clang of bells (clarion calls to worship and celebrate as peace comforts nine formerly warring nations under strange constellations)
... splash of brook water turning to thunderous waterfalls (wild weather crackles across purple heavens while, below, creatures swim in what was never water and rejoice in song at seeing the skies dance)
... harp and lute (soft laughter of mothers, giggles of children, safe from harm and illness in aeries where the un-winged never come)
... wind across rocks and through bare trees (unending brown moors surround a tiny blue box and the vast grey sky lowers above it)
Rose's indrawn breath was soft, her eyes wide. She put a hand to the corridor wall, palm just as wide and touch just as soft. "Is that you?"
The music faded. Rose blinked back the tears that started to her eyes. "I'm sorry we were so long away," she whispered to the air. "You know how sorry, don't you?" She closed her eyes and tried to open herself, to let Her know how much She meant to one London girl out in the universe, how much a home She was, and more.
The music returned, swelling and calling to her. She heard chimes, gay and distant horns and then —
... a voice that wove about her thoughts and sang unceasing love to her (The moor blossoms green and the skies clear, blue and beckoning. Loved ones open the door, coming home. Hearts, so many hearts, ease.)
Rose opened her eyes, wiped them, and smiled. "Thank you."
The walls pulsed gently.
Rose Tyler returned to bed, falling into sleep and dreams that the TARDIS wove for the ones she loved.
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