She let him in and got him to wait while she finished up tidying the storeroom. He took the time to look around the shop a bit more at ease.He found himself being drawn to a book called ‘Summer Falls’, curiously he opened the first page, there was a dedication.
To Dearest Clara, hope this book gives you as much joy as it gave me.
Crystal walked out of the storeroom and spotted him looking at one of the books on the table.
“Wait until you get to Chapter eleven, really heart wrenching” she spoke out.
The Doctor jumped on the spot but quickly recovered.
“What’s your name?” He asked her gruffly, embarrassed and a bit annoyed at being caught out by her.
“My name is is Crystal” she told him.
“I’m..” He started before Crystal interrupted him.
“The Doctor. Yes, I know.” She replied.
“I’m sorry, but have we met before?” He asked her.
“We might have” she replied cryptically.
“Where did you get this?” He asked her curiously, shifting his concentration to the book that had caught his attention.
“Oh, it was donated by a family who lost a daughter. Her father told me that she was found dead in an alleyway. It was a terrible thing to happen, it shouldn’t have happened. If you could only see how distraught it made her Dad. He told me she was an only child. The only living memory he had of his wife, she passed away from cancer.” She told him.
“And now he has no one” The Doctor finished.
“Not quite, his mother, Clara’s gran was there for him at the start. But she was affected also by the death of her grandchild. You see that pile of books over there” Crystal replied pointing at a pile of books nearby.
“Yeah” the Doctor replied.
“That’s what he took from his mother’s when she died broken hearted. Two lives shattered in an instant.” Crystal told him.
“Was his daughter killed violently?” The Doctor asked her.
“No, It was strange though. It was like her heart just have up. Well that’s what he told me at least.” Crystal told him.
“That seems quite unlike her.” The Doctor replied.
“How do you know?” She replied curiously.
“I..no it doesn’t matter.” The Doctor replied.
“Please tell me” she replied.
“I used to travel with a Clara I think. I’m not that sure, I can’t remember for definite. Like the full memory of her is being blocked by something.” he told her.
“Well that’s a bit rubbish.” Crystal told him.
“Tell me about it. There had to be a different way to do whatever I wanted to do but my memory won’t tell me fully. I think it is linked to her” He told her.
“Well maybe there is. But it might take some time.” Crystal told him.
“And done by someone or something, dare I say it. A bit more clever than whatever is currently pulling the strings of the universe.” He replied.
“Do you mean to tell me that you don’t have faith in the powers that be, whoever or whatever that is” she said with a chuckle.
“I did once” he replied adding “Now, I’m not so sure.”
“Don’t worry Theta. Things will get better. I’m sure of it.” She told him.
The familiarity he felt for her agitated him at that moment and he stood up to leave.
“I should go” shaking his head.
“Why?” She replied standing up alarmed.
“Because I shouldn’t have said that” he admitted adding “But I can’t seem to be able to stop. Like I know and trust you. But I’ve never seen you before today and then there’s this”
He told her, pointing to the piece of paper that he found.
“How do you know about that?” He asked her.
“Ah, that is a long story. One that I don’t think you are ready to remember just yet” Crystal told him.
“Try me” he replied.
“I wish I could tell you it straight out, but the power to do so has been taken out of my hands.” She told him.
“By the Time Lords I bet” he replied with a growing anger.
“No actually. By your TARDIS” she replied.
“What?” He replied In disbelief.
“Oh you do look all owlish when you’re confused now, how adorable.” She replied with a chuckle.
“I do not” he replied going into a huff.
“Ooh, have I ruffled a few feathers” she replied before bursting out laughing.
“I am not going to banter with you. I’m totally against the bantering” he told her shouting angrily at her.
She suddenly stopped, her smile dropped and she looked away.
“I’m sorry” she replied quietly.
Sensing that he had overstepped some imaginary line he backed down a bit.
“No,I’m sorry. I lost my temper. It seems to be a trait with this regeneration” he replied with a resigned sigh.
“Don’t worry about it.” She replied with a cautious smile.
“I better be going.” He told her.
“Wait, would you like a coffee or something. You look as if you need some company” she asked him.
“I’d like that” he replied with a small smile.
“Great, well I’ll be a few minutes more here, why don’t you meet me over in the cafe across the road. They stay open late, it’s my favourite spot.” She told him.
The Doctor made his way over to the cafe and waited for her there.
When Crystal was sure that he had gone inside, she quickly looked on the shelf for a particular book to bring with her that she had planned to give to him.
She went over to him in the cafe a few moments later and handed him it.
“Here, take this” she told him.
He took it and open the inside page where there was a dedication written in his own hand.
“Whenever you feel lonely read what I told you to read. I’ll find my way back to you. Your friend always, the Doctor”
He inspected the book and noticed that it was particularly worn in the middle.
He opened the book to a poem called Love’s Loneliness.
“Old fathers, great-grandfathers,
Rise as kindred should.
If ever lover's loneliness
Came where you stood,
Pray that Heaven protect us
That protect your blood.” He read before looking up at her perplexed.
“That book really did help me. Now I think it might help you” Crystal told him.
“Why do you think that I need help?” The Doctor asked her.
“Because I know that look, I wear it every day when people aren't around.” She told him.
“What look?” He asked her.
“The look of loneliness. The look of someone who has lost someone recently.” She told him.
“I haven’t had that look for a while now. Not since Amy and Rory” he told her.
“And Clara” Crystal ventured.
“How Do you know about Clara?” He asked her rather agitated. He didn’t know why, but the sound of her name caused a long dormant protective streak to rise up inside him.
“So you do remember her then.” She told him.
“No, but I would like to know how you know her?” The Doctor queried.
“Well, I tend to look in to see how you’re doing from time to time.” She told him.
“Who are you?” he asked her.
“I told you.” She replied.
“Well then what are you?” He asked her.
She flicked her finger, at that moment time froze.
The Doctor looked at her in disbelief.
“I’m complicated.” She told him.
“How are you doing that?” He asked her.
“Oh that, well that’s easy when you’re the host to the Phoenix.” She told him.
“The Phoenix is a Gallifreyan myth and nothing more.” He scoffed.
“And yet, here I am. In the middle of my favourite cafe after freezing time. she said to him.
“Ah well yes, you have me there.” He replied.
She looked at him curiously.
“You’re not afraid this time” she told him.
“THIS time. You mean to tell me that this has happened before!” He replied in disbelief.
“A couple of times yes. But only because it had to.” She told him.
“I would have never agreed to that” he told her.
“That was true of the last time, but the other times when I told you that something was coming you agreed yourself.” she told him.
“What happened the last time?” he asked her.
“You asked me to do something that even I couldn’t do. Not without something bad happening to Phoenix.” she told him.
“You don’t value your life.” he asked her.
“Why do you say that?” She asked.
“Because you mentioned Phoenix on her own. Like you care for it more than yourself” the Doctor queried.
“Ah well I suppose you're right. I don’t don’t value my life, not really.” She told him.
“Why?” He asked her in disbelief.
“My life will be over in the blink of an eye, I will be absorbed into Phoenix. My memories will be passed on. I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But as I am the host for now. I know my worth as of this moment in time.” she told him.
“And that doesn’t bother you.” he asked her.
“No, does it bother you?” she countered.
“What?” he replied.
“You’re a Time Lord. You regenerate. What is it your tenth face said at the end you die and another man swaggers off in your place.” she told him.
“You don’t have to remind me, I know what I said.” He spat.
“Of course” she replied.
“Can you help me get my memory of her back then?” He asked her.
“I don't think you're ready yet.” she replied shaking her head apologetically.
“Then what is the point of you.” He replied with a sneer.
“You know, you said that to me before. And it’s still not OK to say that to me.” She told him looking up at him angrily. At that moment he swore that her eyes flashed Amber.
“Sorry” he replied backing down.
“I can't give you the memory of her because you need to remember something you ignored which caused you to lose her in the first place.” she explained
“And what something is that.” He replied Irritatedly.
“That yes, time can be rewritten. But with great precision.” she told him.
“I did say that didn't I. Well at least I think I did.” He replied with a resigned sigh.
“You did. You just don’t know for certain because she was there when you said it and that memory is all jumbled up now.” she told him.
“So you’re not going to help me.” He replied sadly.
“I never said that. What I meant when I said that to you was that yes I will help you eventually. But you’re going to have to trust me entirely with this, no butting in again, otherwise I can’t help.” She told him.
“What are you planning?” He asked her suspiciously.
“I’m going to give your memories back of her but only when I am sure I have everything is in the proper place and won’t affect the timeline too much.” She told him.
“Why would you do this?” He asked her in disbelief.
“Well your fifth self summed up that quite well when he said that a man is the sum of his memories y’know. A Time Lord even more so. You have information in your head that is important for what danger is to come and the neuro block isn’t helping matters, rather hindering.” She told him.
“So you’re trying to help me.” He replied cautiously.
“And why shouldn’t I? Just because I can’t give you your memories of me back doesn’t mean I still don’t care for my friends.” She told him.
“So we’re friends then.” He replied.
“Yes. But that’s all I’m saying.” She told him.
He smiled softly at her.
“I understand.” he replied.
He looked around the cafe and remembered that time was still frozen.
“Ah Crystal, I think you should unfreeze time now.” He told her.
“Oh right” she replied.
With a flick of her finger time restarted, the Doctor looked on bemused.
The Doctor and Crystal walked out of the cafe, Crystal’s eyes wandered over to the TARDIS and she smiled wistfully.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“It’s time for you to leave me again, I can sense it” she told him.
“Well I was thinking about it, I admit. But it can wait.” he replied.
At that moment Crystal stopped dead as she inhaled in. The happy look on her face was replaced by one of pure horror.
“No, it can’t.” She told him.
“Why?” He asked her.
Three military clad men appeared from out of the shadows. Crystal preceded to open the doors of the TARDIS with a wave of her hand.
“Wait, who are they?” The Doctor asked her.
“They are here to kill you and kidnap me.” She told him.
“Why?” He asked her.
“Because of what I am and who you are. You go in the TARDIS now. And if you ever remember me. You know where to find me.” She told him.
Something inside him made him feel protective of her at that moment.
“Come with me.” He asked her.
“I wish I could. But these are my responsibility.” She told him.
“Why?” He asked in disbelief.
“Because technically I’m their mother.” she told him.
He gawped at her.
“How?” He replied shaking his head in disbelief.
“No time to explain, just go. I’ll be ok.” she told him.
He got inside, a few moments later she heard the TARDIS engines start and watched as she dematerialised.
She turned to face the assembled men and felt her claws grow.
“Ah good. I thought you had got soft on us” She heard one of them say.
“No, just a little bit wiser” She replied.
With a wave of one of her now clawed hands they all collapsed.
At that moment the TARDIS materialised around her.
“No,no no!” She exclaimed running towards the door.
She tried to open the doors but this time they just wouldn’t budge. Then looked around for the Doctor but he was nowhere to be seen. She walked up rather irritated to the central column.
“Sexy, please let me out. I was in the middle of something important” she pleaded.
The TARDIS growled.
“What do you mean you won’t? What has happened? Is he ok?” She asked.
The TARDIS stayed silent.
“Were you going to kill them?” She heard the Doctor say.
She spun around to find him looking at her intensely.
“Sorry?” She asked him.
“You have claws showing. Were you going to kill them?” He asked her again.
“No, of course not. I haven’t killed any of them since...Ah, it doesn't matter.” She replied.
“Since when?” He pressed.
“What does it matter. You don’t remember me.” She told him sighing and turning hunched over the console.
Then something caught her eyes. A clear glass ball she recognised as being the one that stored his memories.
She turned and looked at him in disbelief and hope.
The intense look on his face changed into a look that was more kinder than before. It was a look she had recognised that he had when he was with Clara.
<<Hello again, Sasha Turnpike>> She heard him say in her head.