Archivist of Selay’uu’s Journal: The Dangers of Writing

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Every once in a while, I set aside time to just go have lunch with my characters. Sometimes it’s originals, like Gervaise, Alex, and Ben. Sometimes, it’s my fanfiction pals–the Doctor, John Watson, Horatio, Will Treaty. Just sitting down with them every once in a while helps me stay sane and keep up.

Today, which will make Rosalie happy, we were rehearsing a scene from “Attack of the Clones”–the AU version–and we were laughing in between takes, trying to figure out a less ridiculous title for it. Unfortunately, in that scene, Obi-Wan gets force-pushed against a wall, and we kept having to do takes, because Dooku was suspiciously absent and Casceny was doubling for him, in between hiding from the Doctor.

Casceny is a time traveler, but not a Time Lord. A brash, loud, boastful little goose with a heart of gold.

And she was hamming it up.

So here Obi-Wan was, still uncomfortable because of the wirework we were having to do (this AU is taking some severe hashing-out to get it to work, I can tell you now), still in harness in between every take. And after that, we go get lunch. I had cheddar grilled cheese, Obi-Wan (who tends to be um… sort of… adventurous I guess? That’s not the right word for it, but whatever) put swiss and asiago on his. Don’t ask me why. Of course he couldn’t do something normal with his grilled cheese.

He flinched as he sat down, and I (naturally) asked him what was wrong.

“The wires aren’t strung correctly,” Obi-Wan said. “I keep getting slammed into the wall. That’s why I’m flopping down after every take. It’s not poor acting. It’s me getting a little stunned after hitting the wall over and over and getting the breath knocked out of me. Kysherin really has taken a dislike to me these past few months.”

“She needs restraining,” I grumbled into my iced tea. “How does kryptonite sound?” Obi-Wan chuckled.

“Better and better all the time.”

“How do you feel about this AU?” I asked bluntly. With Obi-Wan it was no good beating about the bush. He’d take you at your word and answer you in kind. Obi-Wan looked pensive for a long moment.

“It’s frighteningly in character for me,” he said at last. “In that situation, that is exactly who I’d be and what I’d do. I don’t think I would be broken, mentally–I’d still have my wits if not my memory, but even with no voice to act as conscience, I’d still be horrified at what I’d done. Candidly, I’m a little bit frightened that I can be so naive and think better of people than they deserve and be so blind to evil, so inclined to mercy when I should be on my guard instead. On the other hand, if I was given the choice to change that? Never. I never would.”

“You didn’t like the Rako Hardeen fiasco,” I remarked, guessing at what he was getting at. He normally plays along willingly, no matter how dark the AU, remaining a strong refuge for the rest of us who get tired, irritable, frustrated or ready to throw the entire thing in the trash, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. Obi-Wan shook his head.

“I don’t like to play parts,” he said. “I start to lose myself in the role. It’s scary, for lack of a better word–yourself and this other character who is not quite you. Or, in the case of Hardeen–entirely not you, but you’re in his skin and you have to act the way he would.”

“There’s a spectrum,” I remark. “Your character is not entirely consistent even through the length of one story. You’re always learning, changing, evolving, and your traits exist on a spectrum. There’s a wide variety of ways I could write your character and it would still read as you. The tricky part is finding the sweet spot for what I’m trying to do.”

“Yes, that’s it exactly,” Obi-Wan replied. “I guess you could say I don’t like my own spectrum.” His eyes twinkled as he glanced down into his water glass.

“It wreaks havoc, though, with the way I’m having to write this AU. You’re changing constantly and it’s hard to keep that in line when I have to write it in blocs according to function.” Obi-Wan laughed.

“I suppose we’re writing all the parts with Dooku this week, then.”

“Are you ready to move forward with the story?” I asked. Obi-Wan gave me a droll look.

“Force no.”

We both laughed.

The Music Writing Challenge 3

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I’m so sorry. I meant to do this earlier, but then, life happened. My job and school are conspiring against me. Gah! *remembers with sorrow and nostalgia old Nanowrimos when I actually won and had lots of fun with friends in the meanwhile*

If you’ve forgotten (my fault) or if you’re new (welcome!), here are the rules of the Music Writing Challenge:

  1. If you’re not familiar with the piece of music, you may actively–no distractions–listen to it once through.
  2. Open a Word document and press play. Begin to write when the music starts, and when the music stops, if you must write on, please insert a line or page break for indication that the bit below it was written after the music was over.
  3. Have fun!

This week’s focusing piece is “Courageous” by Casting Crowns. (If you have not seen the movie Courageous for which the piece was written, GO SEE IT NOW. It’s got several awards from various indie film festivals and it’s sad and happy and awesome and just all-around amazing.)

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! :-D Thanks for reading, God bless, good luck and good writing!

Character Voice, Attempt Number Two

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Informal part one here.

I know that not all of my readers are into Doctor Who, but this minisode makes a great jumping-off point for a new discussion. If you don’t want to you don’t have to watch the whole thing (the important part starts at five minutes and thirty-three seconds in), but it makes more sense if you do.

Notice how the Doctor (yes, that was the Doctor, even if you didn’t recognize him–he’s probably the most obscure one) says “Cas… I apologize.” He says “I apologize” instead of “I’m sorry” like the Tenth Doctor. Not only is this appropriate to his accent, which seems to me (lifelong American and non-expert that I am) to be a little more upper-class and even slightly archaic compared to the Tenth Doctor’s, but it’s also because the connotation is different.

For instance, when the Tenth Doctor would say “I’m sorry,” he was generally apologizing for some harm he’d unintentionally caused, or else he was saying just how sorry he was that he couldn’t save someone. David Tennant, on the other hand, saying “Sorry” is not actually the saddest thing in the world. It’s just the most adorable thing.

On the other hand, here we have the Eighth Doctor deliberately saying “I apologize.” Notice that he’s apologizing for what he is about to do. However, he isn’t sorry. His voice sounds more rueful, like he’s mourning the passing of a dream. If he feels any sorrow, it’s because the Doctor is dead and he’s about to be forced into a role he never wanted to fill, but he isn’t sorry for what he’s about to do. He’s feeling sorrow that things turn out this way, but he’s not going to back down. This is one of the things that I like most about the Doctor, but it also makes me a little bit afraid of him–his resolve is terrifying at times. This scene broke my heart, by the way, because I remember how adorable Eight was in the movie–he was such a sweetie!–and now he’s broken down and given up and that just hurt. *pounds on Life in general for being Evil* The way it’s played out, this scene is just so marvelously powerful, not least because of the word choice.

Also, kudos to Eight for being the only Doctor to double over rather than arching back during his regeneration.

Before the first rehearsals, actors working on a movie will sit down and read through the script together with the writers, producers, directors, etc. Not only does this show up any remaining grammatical errors, it also allows for any last minute changes to the script that might be necessary to add more depth to the characters. Does one of the lines just not sound right? Think about the character and then re-write it. Voice is extremely important.

Word choice and connotation, pauses and beats, intonation, volume, accent, and even misused words are your tools. You should be able to white out or even mix up the character’s names on a script and still be able to tell who said what. If you give it a decent try, maybe you’ll even be able to hear what each character “sounds” like. For now, forget the movie metaphor and the full sensory sweep. Consider the character’s socioeconomic background, history, the company he or she keeps, and so forth. How do they talk? How do they sound? Are there any misused words?

Can you hear your characters yet?

The Button Song

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It’s been a while since I wrote poetry, but then the opening lines came into my head and I came up with this pseudo-Shakespearean offering. Enjoy!


 

The Button Song

Tell me the company you keep

And I will tell you what you are

The Charlatan said to the Troubadour:

The things that trouble your sweet sleep,

Your dreams of troubling a star.

Your fortune, sir, for a penny a look!

Do you dare to see what Fate’s writ in her book?

Dear sir, you think you know me well?

The Troubadour said with mild contempt.

You think I dance for the sake of my bells,

With face grotesque and look unkempt.

I play for the people I see every day:

Yet never I’ve played for the same people twice.

Some prefer beer, some Chardonnay:

And for some will a glass of milk suffice.

Can you label my friends as you’d label a jar?

Can you tell the potters apart in a bazaar?

Do you think you know each human heart

When their owners themselves their depths do not plumb

And each of them their fears, and their starts;

The torrent of speech and that strikes them dumb.

Men are not buttons, nor are they their works.

Women are not apronstrings, mere wives, or berserks.

I’ve seen dreams more original in your streets

Than many the dreams of kings;

And the orphan’s throat hums many a note

That peacocks cannot sing.

And a feather I wear in my cap, good sir,

And a song I bear in my heart,

A simple life for the Troubadour,

And a truer—forgive me if I seem tart.

But I love my simple life, dear sir,

And I would not change it again,

No matter the fortune you read for a fur,

No matter my own secret pain:

And for you, fortune-teller, I’ll leave my advice:

Make a study of the poor and the meek,

Ignore your dreams of avarice,

And finally, begin to seek.

And now, dear sir, I’ll wish you good day:

The road my friends walk now calls me away.

 

Why Twice, Rosey?

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…otherwise known as “Erin Does the Sunshine Blogger Award” again. :-P

Thank you, Rosey!

…so why do I need to post the button twice???

WHATEVER. picmonkey-collage

All right. Fourteen facts about me. Here we goooo!

1. I forgot what I was going to put in this space.

2. I play multiple instruments–guitar, piano, harmonica, pentatonic flute, recorder

3. I am very firmly on Cap’s side of the Civil War for various reasons.

4. Sometimes when two characters are played by the same actor my sanity does a backflip and tries to merge the two. Even when the two have practically nothing in common except for an eyebrow raise and occasionally identical elocution. Why this happens, I have no clue and I normally try to ignore it because it doesn’t help with anything at all ever.

sunglasses on a bush

THE ORIGINAL SONIC SUNGLASSES.

5. It is my firm belief that the Doctor ran into Lieutenant Bush at some point prior to his eighth incarnation and the “note to self” in this case was that a war was pretty much inevitable at this point… Oh no. That started out okay but I lost it halfway through. Sorry. I’ll shut up about Doctor Who now.

6. I completely misplaced all my other nominations for all other blog awards. If you’ve nominated me in the past please remind me… I should at least try to catch up.

7. I wish I could draw and play music better than I can. I’m already a perfect cook, designer, and seamstress.

8. Ongoing learning process… going on.

9. There comes a point in college when you’re done with  your general education classes and your university and college requirements. When that point arrives, they pretty much throw you in the deep end and walk away laughing. HAZING IS NOT DEAD. It survives at a bureaucratic level. Also, I am at that point in my life.

10. SWEET HEAVENS A GORGEOUS FEMALE CARDINAL JUST LANDED IN THE YEW OUTSIDE MY WINDOW!!! Who’s a lovely, gorgeous, incomparable bird? That’s right you are!

11. Fact #10 just made my day.

12. Don’t skip Nine. Falcon is one of my favorite superheroes. “I do everything he does, just slower”. But the thing is, he doesn’t just follow Cap’s lead. He takes the initiative. I wish they’d do a spin-off just about Sam Wilson and his time working with Riley. Does he have a girlfriend? What are his family reunions like? Does Cap just talk to random people in the park all the time?

14. One of these facts is actually a lie.

15. Who says that there has to be just fourteen facts?!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this. ;-) I hope I saved enough facts to do all the other awards accumulating in my attic…

twirl twirl WHOOPS

I really don’t. (This is still my favorite gif ever.)

I nominate… well, Iris, but she probably won’t do it, my other fellow superheroes Courtney, Sarah, and Rosalie (who also probably won’t do it), Bessie because she just started college and might understand the deep end thing, and the Professor, just because.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Angel With A Shotgun: A Doctor Who Song Fic

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My train of thought whenever I dislike a song tends to be “Wow, bad theology… stuff I don’t agree with… I hate this song… who is this applicable to? Hum. HEY, LET’S MAKE EVERYONE ELSE HATE THIS SONG TOO!”

So today I’m delivering you some feels with a song that is happy and upbeat but which has surprisingly dark lyrics. So… does this even need a trigger warning? Well, trigger warning for–um, self-hate and stuff I guess.

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

(No, I’m not. I’m just ferociously glad to have corrupted this song for you all. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.)

Angel with a Shotgun

I’m an angel with a shotgun, shotgun, shotgun,

An angel with a shotgun, shotgun, shotgun

“Charley, Lucy, C’rizz, Tamsin, Molly. Friends, companions all, I salute you.”

Get out your guns, battle’s begun.

Are you a saint or a sinner?

If love’s a fight then I shall die

With my heart on a trigger.

He could not turn back now. The sky was going dark as all the stars went out. Daleks and Time Lords alike—fighting each other—committed to the destruction of the galaxy. Their war raged through a separate time and through all of time and space, bitter, relentless, furious, leaving weeping scars in its wake and shattering reality into splinters. And when they were not fighting each other, they were planning worse.

He had been trying to help. But to help was no good any more. He had to fight in the war, to fight it to the bitter end—to the inevitable loss that waited there. Lose his own people or lose all of history? He hated to concede to a lesser evil, but innocents were his first concern.

They say before you start a war,

You better know what you’re fighting for.

Well, baby, you are all that I adore

If love is what you need, a soldier I will be

He did not look back as he stepped into his TARDIS—the ship damaged but still operational. He flew away from the carnage, into the heat of the storm.

He was the storm. And now was the time for the storm.

He did not look back, but he felt. Their hands over his, guiding. A tear squeezed from under one eyelid. He was shocked that he could cry any more, but he knew despite his hope that it would not save him now.

He was damned along with the rest of the universe. Sink or swim. Die… or kill.

The choice that would unmake the Doctor.

I’m an angel with a shotgun,

Fighting ‘til the war’s won,

I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back.

Sometimes, in awe of the distant might of the Time Lords, they would call him an angel. Perhaps they even saw him as one—descended from on high, a savior, a deliverer.

They could not be more wrong.

He was not particularly angelic, and death accompanied him everywhere. He could not save everyone. Every week, every month, a few more deaths around him would remind him, and Death would whisper in his ear that she was biding her time, waiting at the end of time, for him. She called him “beloved.” He did not know what that meant.

He used to joke, once, about being a Time Lord—having all the time in the world. But it was all a lie. He was just snatching them away from death for a few moments more in their short lives, the weight of all of Time rolling on ahead of them, their single hearts ticking down the days they had left and Death laughing in the corner with her hourglass.

Death had all the time in the world.

He was just a wanderer, doing what little he could, so little in the grand scheme of things—his hands stained with the memories he could not wash away.

I’ll throw away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe

Don’t you know you’re everything I have

And I wanna live, not just survive tonight

Still, there was no one else left to stand and fight now. And someone had to stand.

Sometimes to live meant to die. He’d accepted that long ago.

He was no longer innocent. He didn’t know what to believe in. But one thing he did knew—neither the Time Lords nor the Daleks could be allowed to succeed, or to fight on much longer.

He might die. He might lose faith. The concept—the legend—of the Doctor might be proven false.

But he would take the stand.

There was simply no one else left.

No. There were others. They’d gone home, they’d died, they’d forgotten him. Memento mori. Small, butterfly lives, here an instant and then gone in the wind. But he himself was not the stone of the mountain. Even oak trees fall when the rot gets into their hearts. And he was decaying. He was losing himself—no, not himself. Himself, he still had to live with.

He was losing the Doctor.

But he would fight for them. He would drag one last victory from the jaws of defeat, and then go willing to Death. For their sake.

Sometimes to win, you’ve got to sin

Don’t mean I’m not a believer

And Major Tom will sing along

Yeah, they still say I’m a dreamer

The combatants were still under the illusion of the Doctor—that comfortable, pleasant lie he’d told the universe for so long. They were still under his spell—deceived by the pretty lights and aery silks he’d drawn around himself. Underlying the Doctor, within, hidden by lights, within the shadows, there was the Storm. The Endless Storm, the Beginning—soon to be the Ending. The Relentless Storm. The Inexorable Storm. Irresistible, unstoppable.

The Daleks, perhaps, had seen it before anyone else. But that was their reward for their crimes—they saw the Storm, and they learned fear.

They called him the Oncoming Storm.

The only way to win this war was for all sides to lose. He could destroy them all. He knew he could. And he would, without hesitation, without mercy.

He left them one last warning—one last concession to the Doctor. No More. And Arcadia fell.

He came before the dawn and took the Moment from the vaults. None saw him to stop him—they only saw where he had passed.

Doctor No More.

He had to be. He would be their executioner.

They say before you start a war

You better know what you’re fighting for

Well, baby, you are all that I adore

If love is what you need, a soldier I will be

He allowed himself one last moment of hesitation, true to that pretty lie. To ask one last time if it was really worth it. The answer was always the same. No it’s not. I don’t have a choice. He would not allow himself to feel regret. Not until the deed was done.

He was doing it for the trillions of lives that would be saved—for the Gallifreyan might-have-been children, who now would never exist in this timeline—who now could not be ruined by the corruption in the hearts of their elders. All two point forty-seven billion of them.

If he was an angel, he was the Angel of Death—the angel that smites the wicked in merciless justice.

But he knew that he really was no angel.

He was only a man.

An angel might have saved them.

No… only God could save a soul. Angels didn’t have second thoughts.

I’m an angel with a shotgun,

Fighting ‘til the war’s won

I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back

I’ll throw away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe

Don’t you know you’re everything I have

And I wanna live, not just survive tonight

Oh, oh whoa whoa oh whoa

He knew already that he had doomed himself. Doctor no more. It was all too true, wasn’t it.

He was the Doctor no more. All that was left was the Storm.

And the universe would not have to contain the Storm for very much longer.

I’m an angel with a shotgun

Fighting ‘til the war’s won

I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back

Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.

Am I a good man?

Heaven was for the righteous. Heaven would never accept him.

Maybe he could accept that.

He would fall, happy, if once the war ended. To save all those lives seemed too much to hope.

I’m an angel with a shotgun

Fighting ‘til the war’s won

I don’t care if heaven won’t take me back

I’ll throw away my faith, babe, just to keep you safe

Don’t you know you’re everything I have?

I’m an angel with a shotgun

And I want to live, not just survive

Live, not just survive

And I’m gonna hide, hide, hide my wings tonight

He hacked off the long, loose curls that had framed his face before. It felt as if he was hacking off those imaginary wings humans had so often framed him with.

All that was left was the soldier. The Warrior.

He didn’t care if Gallifrey was lost, if Gallifrey would not accept him again. It didn’t matter any more.

They say before you start a war

You better know what you’re fighting for

Well, baby, you are all that I adore

If love is what you need, a soldier I will be

“Charley, Lucy, C’rizz, Tamsin, Molly. Friends, companions all, I salute you. And Cas… I apologize…”

Don’t forgive me for what I am about to do. I don’t deserve forgiveness. But I am sorry.

“Physician, heal thyself.”

The Doctor was dead.

Some More Artwork

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My last sketchbook was dominated largely by Star Wars and Avengers. This one is mostly Doctor Who–that is, the pages that haven’t been donated to my 5-year-old sister’s art sessions. Whyyyy.

Anyway, here’s a few samples of what I’ve been working on:

WIN_20151227_22_10_56_Pro

Rose and the Doctor, visiting the Smithsonian–a WIP.

Continue reading

Changelings & Sci-Fi

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Okay, so I was thinking about science fiction this morning (trying to decide what the best way to fix my doodle of the Doctor that looked nothing like the Doctor) and I got around to the topic of changelings.

Like this one:

CatoParasitti-DB

Cato Parasitti is a bounty hunter, a Clawdite from the Star Wars mythos. She appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Two. And this is her “real” appearance.

I don’t know about you, but I see a problem here.

If a shapeshifter doesn’t have any problem maintaining a disguise, who’s to say what their true form really is? If all forms feel alike to them, then what’s their “real” form?

On the other hand, some species of shapeshifter appear to be uncomfortable while outside of their “true” form, anything from a sort of out-of-body feeling to discomfort to actual pain. Maintaining their appearance when they’re outside their own forms is difficult for them, and thus they tend to revert whenever they can.

But what about the first type, the ones who have no problem maintaining any appearance and thus don’t actually have a default one?

“True” form is, in their case, probably a cultural thing.

For instance, you might have a society of shape-changers who maintain different forms to denote their status or caste (if they have equivalents.) Shapeshifters who have a certain preferred form, just as humans have favorite brands of clothing. Perhaps you don’t have actual clothing and certain forms are seen as similar to the nudity taboo and you don’t use those in public. Temporary shifts being part of everyday conversations and used to convey ideas and concepts which don’t have the words in English….

There is so much possibility there.

In other news, the fact that we like people like us is not the reason why the viewpoint characters in sci-fi are nearly always human.

It’s also because the viewpoint character HAS to be as clueless and ignorant as the audience, otherwise nothing would ever get explained and we’d miss out on all that awesome theory.

Another important thing about the viewpoint character… he or she must bring something to the table that no one else does. The team members must complement each other, and when the Doctor’s at a loss the companion often saves the day, by being an inventive and unique human being.

A quick equation: Kirk+Spock+(the rest of the Enterprise crew; optional)=balanced dynamic.

(Wow, it’s been so long since my last ramble-y post…)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Auld Lang Syne

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There was the happy one… now here is the tear-jerker.

Inspired heavily by what I’ve heard about the early Time War era and the audio dramas and also by the Tenth Doctor’s death…

I’m not even going to bother to apologize.

Auld Lang Syne

                It had one full year since she had rebooted her life.

Grace had never considered teaching as a possibility. Now, she was teaching a full class while also on the job, saving lives—in a hospital across town from Walker General. Occasionally, she also volunteered at a free clinic on San Francisco’s poor side.

When she’d first begun, Grace had wondered where she got the energy. She didn’t know whether it came from the burst of joy she found in her renewed life or from the mysterious man with whom she had spent her New Year’s Eve. All the same, she was grateful for it, and continually surprised by how it continued to perpetuate itself—an eternal fountain. True, she still had bad days and down days, but as a whole she was much better than she had been. It even seemed to be catching.

Of course there was a scandal when it became known that she had left Walker General. No one was quite certain exactly what had happened, but it was clear that a patient had died—albeit that the wildest rumors and conspiracy theories circulated concerning that patient. The hospital was under new leadership now, but its record as a whole had not advanced or degraded—if anything, it was simply more honest and transparent than before. As it should have been in the first place.

She had not seen or talked to Brian all year. It felt like a new start.

Grace sat thoughtfully in the window seat, sipping lightly at a glass of eggnog—left over from Christmas. She’d excused herself from the party early, knowing she needed the rest, but she didn’t want to go to bed just yet.

She started awake at the sound of someone rapping gently at the door. She hadn’t intended to fall asleep… Glancing at the clock, she saw that it was a few minutes before midnight. It was almost 2001. Grace got up and cracked the door open. Her jaw dropped.

“Doctor!” she said, surprised.

He stood uncertainly on her doorstep, looking more than a little bit lost—but that was all that he shared with the ditzy young man she remembered. The curls had been cut short, the jacket was gray, battered leather, and Brian’s old dress shoes had been replaced with scuffed military-style boots. It looked as if he was carrying the weight of worlds on his shoulders.

“Grace,” he said softly, somehow endowing that one word with oceans of feeling. Grace gasped. The power of his sheer presence certainly hadn’t changed.

“Won’t you come in?” she said politely. The man looked as if he was about to fall down.

He nodded. “Thank you.” He stepped inside, and she closed the door behind him.

“Are you all right?” she blurted out. He looked startled, as if he had been suddenly pulled from his own little world. Slowly, he shook his head.

“Just tired,” he said quietly. Subdued.

“How long has it been for you?” The Doctor shook his head again.

“I’ve lost track.” Grace was about to ask how that was possible if he was a Time Lord, but stopped herself just in time. He probably didn’t want to remember. She was still working on her bedside manner.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly alarmed. The last time he had turned up, trouble had not been far behind. In fact, it might be argued that trouble had been a little ahead of him then. The Doctor shook his head.

“It’s nothing.” He glanced at the clock. “New Year’s eve again? Happy new year!” The cheerfulness didn’t seem quite forced, but it seemed to be a little too abrupt of an about-face. However, Grace let it be.

“Happy New Year, Doctor,” she said.

“How has it gone? The previous year. For you, I mean. It was easy to find out all the big news stories, but that’s not what matters in the end… People forget about the small and precious things.”

Is that what you’ve come here looking for, Doctor?

“Well… Things are pretty normal.” Grace half-smiled. “I don’t know what the hell happened to Brian.” The Doctor laughed. “I haven’t set foot back in Walker General. I work at St. Peter’s now. But they’ve gotten a little less… what’s the British terminology? Shady?”

“Dodgy,” the Doctor said, laughing.

“Mm. Well, they’re not so dodgy over at Walker General. More transparent about patient deaths.”

“For anyone who didn’t regenerate in the morgue, that would absolutely be a good thing,” the Doctor said with a smile. Grace frowned.

“You’re not worried that someone might hear about that?” she asked. The Doctor shook his head.

“Life’s too short for worries or second thoughts. Besides, ninety percent of the human population won’t believe the stories and no one listens to the other ten percent anyway. If someone wants to track me down, they normally do it in an over-dramatic and theatrical way, by clipping a temporal tracer to the TARDIS or something like that. Not by looking into old hospital records and ghost stories.” The Doctor leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling. “They could just call.”

“You wouldn’t come,” Grace said, half-jokingly, half-accusingly. The Doctor laced his fingers behind his head and whistled.

“True, but they could,” he said. Grace couldn’t help but laugh.

“What about you? Where have you been?” she asked, hoping that the mood would last. There was barely a falter in the Doctor’s manner, but the warmth was gone from his words.

“Anywhere and everywhere,” he said, not looking at her. Grace inhaled slowly.

“It really has been years for you,” she said, staring. The Doctor nodded bleakly.

“I was running. It should have occurred to me to run back here sooner.” Grace swallowed. That wasn’t the tone of someone who was interested. It was the voice of someone who is being towed under.

“Did you find someone else to go with you?” she asked.

“Several someones… They all went home. Where they should be.”

“Would you like to tell me about them?” He looked surprised, as if he was trying to understand.

“Maybe… I don’t know…” Grace might not have been a psychologist, but it didn’t take one to realize that maybe, for this entire regeneration, the Doctor didn’t know what he really wanted or didn’t want, liked or disliked, as if he still didn’t really know himself. Like a lost child.

The grandfather clock in the hallway chimed.

“Why did you come here?” Grace asked, biting her lip. The Doctor glanced at her, eyes veiled, as if he was looking at her but not seeing her, looking far off into something else. It was more than just disconcerting. It was discomforting.

“They say that in the old days of Earth, the dignity of men was that they could know the time for their deaths… when death would come for them. When they should resist because they still had so much to live for, and when to accept it with grace.” Grace frowned slightly, not sure where this was going.

“Am I going to die soon?” The Doctor looked at her, surprised.

“No! No, of course not. It’s just that I have this feeling… if I didn’t say goodbye now, I never would. I don’t know if it’s a Time Lord thing or if it’s just me, but sometimes… I just know when I’m coming close.” Grace inhaled.

“You think you’re going to die?”

“No.” The Doctor’s face contorted. “And yes. I’ve never actually died so I can’t say, but a regeneration… If I had to say, I’d say that that’s what death feels like.”

“You think you’re going to die,” Grace repeated.

“It wasn’t my intent to be a wet blanket over your New Year,” the Doctor said, looking away. “I suppose I should know better now. Say goodbye and then run before I start spilling my hearts out.” From his expression, Grace would have said that right now the Doctor was very deliberately biting his tongue. “Something is coming. Any day now I’ll probably be called back along with all of Gallifrey’s prodigal sons and daughters. And there’s going to have to be a sacrifice before it’s all over. That’s the way it always is…” He fell silent. Grace exhaled.

“Well, good luck,” she said firmly. “Be safe—if you can.”

“I’ll try,” he said flatly. He stood up and moved toward the door.

“By the way… what happened to that coat?” Grace asked, suddenly. The Doctor paused.

“It lasted surprisingly long—after all, it was only a fancy-dress costume.”

A moment later, he was gone again. And Grace wondered at the back of her mind why she’d missed the opportunity to go with him.

Now Turns the Rolling of the Years

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Now Turns the Rolling of the Years

                New Year’s Day, the year of Our Lord 2000, San Francisco. Just after midnight.

As Chang Lee ran off, the Doctor gave Grace a slightly shy smile. “It’s a bit cold for California, isn’t it?” he asked apologetically. Grace couldn’t help laughing.

“It’s just after midnight, and it’s winter time,” she pointed out. The Doctor slid out of the borrowed frock coat and draped it over her shoulders. It fit her just about as well as it did him.

“Maybe… before I go… would you like to get some hot chocolate?” he asked, hopefully, absently tucking a lock of chestnut hair behind one ear. Grace couldn’t find the heart to deny that wide-eyed, innocent look.

“Where are we going to find hot chocolate in the small hours of the morning on New Year’s Day?” she replied, not wanting to dash his hopes. The Doctor shrugged. The cool air didn’t seem to bother him at all, in shirtsleeves and vest as he was.

“I don’t know yet,” he said with a laugh, and offered her his arm.


 

Small groups of people made their way through the streets, cheering and blowing on party horns. At one street corner, Grace awkwardly accepted a pointed party hat that proudly read “2000” from an older man who seemed to be determined to make sure that everyone was enjoying themselves. The Doctor looked in dismay at his own small plastic top hat. “I need bobby pins,” he announced to the whole street. Grace winced, but fortunately no one took any notice. She took the hat from him.

“Here, let me show you how it’s done…” She snapped the elastic under his chin, tipping the hat at a jaunty angle. Tugging on the elastic to keep it from biting into his skin, the Doctor gave her a look of pure horror.

“You can not be serious,” he pronounced solemnly. Grace had to swallow down a laugh. The Doctor took the hat off and handed it to a young woman who happened to be passing by. “Humans are so strange,” he said. This time, Grace couldn’t help but laugh.

The next street over, they met with a group of drunks who, while harmless enough, tried to take them along with them. They ran through the snowless streets, the Doctor laughing merrily and Grace struggling to keep up. It was too easy to evade their pursuers.

Around the next corner was a small shop, still open, though there was no one inside. They stepped inside to catch their breath, and the girl at the counter, who had been dozing, started awake to the jingle of the bell. “Are you alone sleeping in this city of wakeful revelers?” the Doctor asked her, in fine dramatic style. The girl blinked at him, as if she thought she was dreaming still.

“What can I get for you tonight?” she asked, yawning. “We’re all out of most things, but we might be able to rustle something up.”

“Do you have hot chocolate?” the Doctor asked. Grace blinked at him. She’d forgotten the reason for their expedition. The girl nodded.

“It’ll be a moment. I have to heat up the milk.”

“May we come into the kitchen?” the Doctor asked mildly. Grace poked him.

“That’s rude,” she said firmly. The Doctor gave her a startled look. The girl raised her hand placatingly, yawning.

“It’s too late—or too early—for manners,” she said. “It’s warmer back there anyway. Come on.”

The kitchen was clean, neat, and utterly unremarkable, but cosy—a home kitchen made over for commercial purposes. An old-fashioned cross-stitch circle hung on one wall, proclaiming “Remember to Smile!” in bright colors. The girl yawned again as she stepped into the industrial refrigerator, emerging with a gallon of reduced-fat milk. She produced dark chocolate powder and crushed peppermints from a pantry.

“Not much business for a late night,” the Doctor observed. The girl yawned, once more.

“There never is,” she said. “But tonight they’re all at the bars. Which is nice, but I’d still rather go home. I was planning to sleep rather than wait for the ball to drop—until I got called in to work, of course.” Grace mouthed ‘I told you so’ at the Doctor. He gave her a wide-eyed look that clearly said ‘I found us somewhere with hot chocolate, didn’t I?’

“What’s your name?” the Doctor asked. The girl blinked at him, her hand frozen with the measuring spoons halfway out of the chocolate box. She smiled.

“Kaitlyn. Though, you could have looked at the name tag,” she said.

“I had to wear one of those for half a day once, years ago, back home,” the Doctor said conversationally. “There’s nothing quite as hearts-stopping as being addressed by your own name by people you don’t know at all. In the end I switched it for one with a name I’d made up. It was less terrifying that way.” Grace blinked. Here she’d been pumping the Doctor for any meaningful scrap of information about himself ever since she’d started talking to him, and now he gave the cashier at a little shop more than he’d given her the entire time. Kaitlyn smiled. “I’m the Doctor, by the way,” the Doctor said gently. Not to be outdone, Grace smiled her brightest.

“And I’m Grace.”

“You’ve got good taste,” Kaitlyn said, smiling at both of them. “Best hot chocolate in San Francisco—though I might be biased.” The Doctor laughed.

“Make that three cups, please,” he said. “My treat.”

On New Year’s Eve, Grace had met the most remarkable man she would ever know and had a bewildering adventure that no one would ever believe. On New Year’s Day, she sat in the back room of a small café, drinking hot chocolate with two people who might have been total strangers before, but whom she now felt as if she’d known all her life.

It was the little things in life, Grace realized, that she’d been missing all along; her love of opera, discovered anew (Kaitlyn was partial to Wagner), new friends, a cup of the best hot chocolate in San Francisco. They laughed together, sharing small stories and big dreams well past three o’clock.

On the last day of 1999, Grace Holloway had the biggest adventure of her life. On the first day of 2000, she had the second biggest.

She would never forget either one.


Hopefully you enjoyed my little New Years’ special!

It was inspired by the fact that the 1996 movie takes place around 1999/NewYear’s 2000, and is slightly AU to the end of the film. Not all adventures are scary!

Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking with me throughout 2015, and may God bless you in 2016!

See you all in the new year! :-D

 

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