She finds it ironic that she has never tried running and he has never tried anything else.
The wood beneath her fingertips is warmer than it should be, and when she steps inside she thinks nothing could be more different.
It takes him a grand total of thirty-two seconds to blurt out “I’m sorry, hello, I’m the Doctor, but you have the strangest temporal signature, like you’re much older than you are” and make her look at him like she’s going to slap him.
“I’m the only one left,” he says, and she places her hand over his. Me too, she almost says, but instead she sits in silence with him.
“It’s a lovely place, especially in winter, and – Susan?” He stops chattering and looks at her as she stands by the TARDIS door, face white as she stares at a wintry forest, and then she snaps out of it and smiles at him as if nothing had happened.
“Ironically enough, they used to call me the Gentle,” she says, lowering the gun, and the look on her face is so terrifying and heartbroken he can’t even give her his usual rant on guns, just take it gently from her and hold her tight.
She knows the shape of loneliness, and if she was telling the truth she would say that that was why she took his hand when he offered it (she isn’t, so she just says she has no idea what she was doing and besides that’s personal business, thank you very much and looks regal as no one but Susan Pevensie can).
“Do you know how many moons Karsa has?” he says enthusiastically, holding onto a rattling console. “Hundreds! More!’
“He wasn’t much of a king,” she says, “first off, even an idiot knows you always keep an eye on your advisor no matter how much you trust him, and it’s only common sense to-” she pauses, and then sighs. “Long time ago now,” she says wistfully, and takes the hand he offers as they step into the TARDIS.
It doesn’t take long to find out that reversing the polarity fixes almost everything - what takes longer is finding the things it doesn’t.
Things at the edge of her vision go dim and fuzzy, but she can still hear him screaming.
“Don’t you ever stop?” she asks him one day, not really meaning it, and he doesn’t answer, instead turning another wheel. Beneath their feet the TARDIS shakes.
Susan is used to a different kind of magic, but she applies her to understand this kind, a type of magic made of wires and numbers and settings on a blue screwdriver.
Once in a while he drops the façade of slightly nutty bloke and she can see in him the same majesty and power that Peter had once held.
She had sworn that after Narnia no one thing would ever gain such control of her heart, but then she had met the Doctor and touched the stars with him, and now she clings tightly to him because the thought of losing this too is unbearable.
can’t breathe can’t breathe hurts it just hurts oh god Peter Doctor I’m sorry I’m so sorry didn’t mean it to end like this
Traveling in the TARDIS, she can pretend that any one of the planets she is about to step onto is Narnia, and that the idea is not as terrifying as it is thrilling.
“The only way I can get something into your brain is by saying it in five seconds flat!” she says, and he blinks in surprise, turning to her with an expression that tries it’s best to be an innocent ‘what?’
“A lot blacker than you might imagine,” she says, “And not nearly as innocent as I’m sure you think.”
She wants to remember Cair Paravel by the sea, wants to fix it to her heart and never let it go, but these days when she tries to remember it the castle looks suspiciously like the Grand Philazeer’s palace on Lestagerna, or the temple that took up half the city of Des on Kal 21.
“You are acting like an idiot,” she says in her most regal tones, and he just laughs.
“Next you’ll say I’m a madman,” he says, as if he has heard this approximately three thousand times before and proven it wrong every time. “Well you are,” she says anyway, in the most reasonable tones she can muster.
“You think they’re adorable too,” she says with a grin, and he does the little head motion that she knows means ‘wellll.’
The first time she kisses him they’re within thirty minutes of being executed for high treason (she has horrible taste in men) and all she can think is I should have done this at least five planets ago.
dark it’s too dark she can’t see it’s going to be okay it has to be okay going to die no I won’t let you
“Don’t you ever even try,” she warns him. “Don’t you ever. Don’t you dare.”
“Please tell me these things can see about as well as they can hear,” she whispers, crushed behind a sofa with him.
“You’re my good luck penny,” he says, and she laughs with him and leans her head on his shoulder.
“I know you won’t,” she says, so much trust and love in her eyes he can practically feel Time rushing away from them.
She finds them on her second day in the TARDIS, words that lay open the hearts of all who have gone before her in instruction and prayer – ‘DON’T LET HIM TOUCH THE ORANGE JUICE, HE’LL BE DRUNK FOR DAYS’ someone had scrawled, and nearby in smaller, neater letters ‘ditto for the olive oil’ and at the top someone had written ‘we keep our Doctor safe’ and beneath that in a different script ‘and he saves us’ and underneath that in a third script ‘it’s not a fair trade, but he never complains’. She smiles and reads them all.
“You can be so completely oblivious sometimes!” she says, as stern and exasperated as she can manage when he’s looking like a kicked puppy.
“Why do they keep staring at me?” she says. “And don’t say they think I look funny, either.”
“At least they weren’t alone,” she says. “They had each other.”
Sometimes she dreams of big ears and leather coats, and a blonde-haired girl aglow with all of Time and Space.
“I can’t be here,” she insists, almost panicking as she backs away. “I can’t be here, not now, we have to go.”
“Next stop: everywhere!” she says, and his face shutters off for a moment before he smiles back.
He presses his hands to her temples and she can feel the spin of the Earth, it’s movement through space and time, sun and moon and day and night, and then he takes them away and it’s gone.
“I knew I couldn’t trust any machine of yours,” she says, flinging down a load of very, very pink clothes.
“There’s nothing for me there,” she says with a smile. “Where to next?”
“All of time and space, and you want to see King Arthur’s court,” he says. “Bonkers, that’s what you are.”
can’t stop this I can stop anything not this don’t be stupid I can do anything! love you too
“You do realize that all this is your fault?” she says, and he nods a bit absent-mindedly, the screwdriver whirring as he runs it along the edges of the window.
“Haven’t gone to church in years,” he says as they step into the cathedral. “Me neither,” she says, tightening her grip on his hand.
“I really, really hate firing squads.”
She wakes up with his arms still around her, and tucks her head against his chest and goes back to sleep.
“Don’t fall to pieces when I die,” she says. “Don’t even think about that!” he snaps, and she places her hand over his and smiles up at him. “It’ll be all right for me,” she says. “It’s you I’m worried about.”
rage death despair fire alone so alone always burning
“It’s called the most beautiful gem in the world,” he says, and she takes it with reverent fingers.
“It’s like… blue slop,” she says critically, staring at it in slight disgust.
“You saved me,” she manages to gasp, and holds onto his hand as she closes her eyes. When she opens them, there is sand between her toes and the sun is shining on a beach she remembers well.