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andrastewhite organized the Multiverse Challenge (multiverse5000). I was assigned to not jenny, who requested the Ninth Doctor in the Firefly universe.

Title: Tangle and Sprawl
Author: voleuse
Fandoms: Doctor Who/Firefly
Characters: Nine, Zoe, Mal
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Sometimes it's loss I want.
Notes: Pre-series (both)




It isn't really the end of the world. It just looks like it.

The TARDIS hums in the bay of a cargo ship, and it's just him and a herd of cattle, staring at the Earth as it's consumed by fire.

Centuries will pass, long enough for the planet to heal, to renew. To become legend.

He presses his hand against the window, a thick circle of glass, and thinks of many things.

Earth, the Doctor tells himself. This is Earth.

A calf lows at his elbow, and he grins.

"It's only a bit of a holiday," he reassures it, striding back to the TARDIS. "Your great-great-greats will be back."

*


Fast forward a few hundred years.

Or approximately seven and a half minutes.

And several million miles.

*


The planet's name is Hera. The valley's name is Serenity.

He stands on the edge of the valley.

It's beautiful. Desolate. Pristine. Verdant.

There's a girl walking below. Her hair is dark, tied back with a ribbon.

She's singing.

He closes his eyes, turns away.

She'll be dead by the end of the month.

*


In the corner of his mind, he knows he should take a break. Find some sunny, vibrant planet that isn't on the brink of a galactic war.

He can't help picking at scabs, though, so he steps into the TARDIS and accelerates through a month and a half.

*


When he steps out again, it's into chaos and blood, lightning and screams.

Something scuffles behind him, something crashes overhead, and he turns just in time to see shrapnel tear a man to pieces.

Faintly, he can hear someone shouting orders, and another shouting for help.

He can hear someone weeping.

He spins on his heel, slams the door of the TARDIS shut behind him.

*


He presses his forehead against the wall.

Breathe.

The metal is faintly warm against his skin.

Breathe.

He thinks he smells of death.

*


He makes his way to the console, punches forward in time, a few weeks.

The door swings open, and everyone is dead.

Somehow, he finds it calming.

Almost normal.

He shuts the door again.

*


Shortly more than a year later, not in his time but in theirs, he finds a bar at the edge of the then-known universe.

The bar is dusty, just like the town, just like the planet. Dry and dull and poor.

There aren't many who fought for the Alliance, not here.

It's Unification Day, and he sits in a crowd of men and women who fought against it.

He appreciates the sense of kinship in the room.

They've all lost.

He chokes down a few pints of what passes for ale, then finds another bar.

*


The next bar is a little less dusty. It also seems to contain all the planet's Alliance veterans, as well as a few off-duty Alliance soldiers.

He finds a table near the entrance, watches the celebratory toasts without expression.

They're quiet at first, simply raised glasses in honor of the day.

As the afternoon wears on, however, they become louder and more verbose, and increasingly insulting towards the losing side.

Finally, a man in the back, in a brown coat, stands up. He makes his way to the front of the bar, turns to face the room with a bit of a stagger. Raises his glass to make a toast, waits for the rest of the room to do the same.

And lets out a string of profanities in two different languages, blistering and heartfelt.

The Doctor sits up. When the fight starts, he stands.

It's a short fight, even after he joins it.

*


Afterwards, the Doctor props the man up on his shoulder and walks them both out of the bar.

A woman is walking towards them even as they exit, and upon sighting them, her gaze darkens and her stride quickens.

"Sir?" She draws alongside the man, shoulders his other arm.

"He'll live," the Doctor tells her. "Just had a bit of a brawl."

"Unification Day," she states.

The man groans.

"Which way is your ship?" the Doctor asks. "I'll help you get there."

She hesitates, eyes him carefully.

The Doctor thinks he should smile, but he doesn't.

Finally she nods. "It's this way."

*


The ship isn't much, barely larger than a shuttle.

He helps carry the man to a bunk, and stretches once the man is settled.

He turns to the woman. "It's a pleasure to meet you--"

"Zoe," she says, after a beat.

"Pleasure to meet you, Zoe," he repeats. "I'm the Doctor."

She raises an eyebrow, but doesn't ask. Instead, she stoops, rummages under the bunk, and emerges with a medkit.

"You fought in the war, I take it?"

"Yes." In a few brisk movements, she cleans a few cuts on the man's face. He twitches but doesn't wake.

"I lost a war, too." The Doctor stares down at his knuckles. They're bruised. "What do you do afterward?"

"Don't dwell on it," she clips out, shoving the medkit back under the bunk. "The captain and I, we'll be moving on soon."

"What if he doesn't know how?"

She doesn't look at the Doctor as she replies. "Then he'll have someone around to help him."

The Doctor stares at her steadily, and after a minute, she turns to meet his eyes, return the favor.

He blinks first. "Your friend is very lucky to have you."

She smiles at the compliment. "Thanks for lending a hand."

"Thank you for accepting it." He tilts his head. "I didn't expect you would."

"Neither did I." The man stirs, groans again. She clears her throat. "No offense, but he's not likely to want to see anyone when he wakes."

"Not even you?"

"He doesn't have a choice." She doesn't smile again, but offers him her hand.

He takes it, bows, and doesn't say goodbye.

*


He sits in the TARDIS, starts to enter coordinates for--

No.

He presses his hands against the console, listens to his hearts beat.

Not yet.

He can't face that, yet.

He spins the wheel back a few centuries, instead.

He's in the mood for chips.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Lance Larsen's Walking Around. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Archived here. Originally linked here.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
gabby_silang
Sep. 13th, 2005 03:40 am (UTC)
Jeez. Ain't that just a punch in the gut. The look at Mal and Zoe, post-Serenity valley, pre-Serenity is just as I'd imagine them. Bitter, directionless, but hanging onto each other like the last thread.

This bit, while creepy, is eerily Doctor-like:

The door swings open, and everyone is dead.
Somehow, he finds it calming.
Almost normal.


You've put him into the Jossverse seamlessly, with perfect normality, and it works very, very well. It's a crossover I hope to see more of. *nudge*
voleuse
Sep. 20th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And, really, I don't know what else I would do with this bit. The Doctor in other parts of the FF-verse, however, is an intriguing idea.

Hm....
peri_peteia
Sep. 13th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for writing this, I feel like I've been waiting so long for an awesome DW/Firefly crossover and this just delivers. It's gorgeous and extremely affecting and perfectly in character.

Lovely.
voleuse
Sep. 20th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
elvinborn
Sep. 13th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
oh.
now that's a really good crossover.

I have nothing useful to say other than that I quite enjoyed this.
voleuse
Sep. 20th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks!
arysani
Apr. 23rd, 2006 09:50 am (UTC)
i really like that. well done. bravo.
moodfic
May. 12th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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