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And Straight On 'Til Morning

by Jayne Leitch

[Story Headers]

Wendy was grown up. You need not be sorry for her.

Janey liked for her gran to tell her stories of when she'd been young, going on adventures and generally having a very exciting time. She told them at Janey's bedtime, after climbing in beside her and pulling the covers over their heads; she whispered them, as if sharing great secrets. Janey always listened with grave attention, and soon knew every bit by heart:

"You'd gone to the basement to turn in the lottery money, but Wilson wouldn't answer."

"That's right. And then I heard a noise--"

"Like someone muttering, but it didn't sound like English and you couldn't make out the words."

"Who's telling this story?"

"Sorry, Gran."

And Janey would settle in to listen to the adventures unfold, each more entrancing than the last. Granny Rose had ever so many wonderful stories to tell.

And then one night came the tragedy.

It was winter, and Christmastime was nearly upon the world. Janey's parents had left early that evening, wrapped in finery fit for dining with the Prime Minister--which was exactly what they had gone to do. Rose, left to tend to the child, had settled Janey into bed with a tale of pilotfish and severed hands, as that was the tradition in this household if not in any other; now she sat in the rocking chair by the fire, peeling a satsuma in the flickering light.

When she heard the echo of a once-familiar sound, her fingers paused in their work. When the sound died away and nighttime's quiet was restored, she pulled free the last bit of peel, tossed it into the flame, and began eating her fruit.

It seemed no time at all before the door opened, and the Doctor walked into the nursery. He was exactly the same as ever, even though Rose saw at once that he had all new teeth.

"Peter," she said, faltering, "are you expecting me to fly away with you?"

Things had turned quite different since their parting, he told her after greetings had been exchanged. He had travelled for a time with another doctor--a human one, of the professional sort--and then with a pair of orphans from seventeenth-century Belfast, and then with Captain Jack again, although even he hadn't been the same. There had been four regenerations; he'd even been a girl once, for the equivalent of one full year, before the Daleks put an end to that.

The Daleks, he told her, never changed.

As for the TARDIS, it had been rewired, reconfigured, added to and experimented on such that she would hardly know it. So much time had passed, even for the Doctor, that he'd stopped trying to find ways to jump dimensions without undue risk; nevertheless, he was an endless tinkerer--"A magpie mind," he smiled, rueful--and whenever a bit of technology caught his eye he'd adopt it, rather like he did his companions. And one day he'd found a particular trinket, and wired it in, and found himself presented with coordinates he'd thought impossible.

"And now here you are," Rose said.

"I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up long ago."

Things had been quite different for Rose as well. She told him of Mickey, who had proved himself a hero countless times; he'd always known he was much better-suited to staying on one world than to visiting many, and he had lived and worked and been happy until he died saving humanity one last time. She told him of her baby sister, Ivy, who Rose had watched grow up and marry and move to Spain where she still lived a quiet, pleasant life. Rose told him of Torchwood, where she'd spent a great deal of time and seen many very strange things--although none half so marvellous as the things she'd seen with the Doctor so long ago. And finally, she told him of a man named Henry who had died too soon, and a boy named Will who was now a very fine man indeed, and a little girl named Janey who slept on, with a child's oblivious peace, just across the room.

"And now here you are," the Doctor said, and he looked at once so proud and so sad that all she could do was offer him her last slice of satsuma.

"He does so need a mother," Jane said.

"Yes, I know." Wendy admitted rather forlornly; "no one knows it so well as I."

That is to say: the first thing she could think to do was offer him her last slice of satsuma. After he took it, and popped it into his mouth, and rubbed his hands together for something to do, she reached out just the way she remembered he had once, many years ago, when things hadn't really changed as much as they might've appeared to.

"I remember a time," she mused, "when you wouldn't be caught dead travelling with someone's mother." She wiggled her fingers.

He swallowed without finishing chewing and, wide-eyed, gave a little cough.

When he took her hand in his, which was coarser than it had been and had fingers that were thick and blunt, his grip was warm and firm and just a little sticky with satsuma juice.

It felt exactly the same as Rose remembered.

And thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.


Quotes/excerpts from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

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Fandom:  Other (Doctor Who)
Title:  And Straight On 'Til Morning
Author:  Jayne Leitch   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  G  |  gen  |  5k  |  01/01/07
Characters:  Rose, Doctor
Summary:  "I came back for my mother," he explained, "to take her to the Neverland."
Notes:  Spoilers: from 'Rose' right on through 'Doomsday'.
Disclaimer/Other:  Disclaimer: everything belongs to the Brits, namely Russell T. Davies (the Doctor and Rose) and J.M. Barrie (their Victorian/Edwardian predecessors).
Notes: many thanks to MaryKate for performing beta duties on a holiday.

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