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Fic:  The Tale of the Big Bad Wolf:  Constellations of Blood (2/3)
Sequel to
Post-Mortem, may be read as a stand-alone story 

Author:  CrabbyLioness

Characters:  Jack, Ten, Martha, the TARDIS, Jack/Martha, Jack/Ianto implied

Summary:  The TARDIS speaks, AKA "The Secret Origin of the TARDIS."  Set after TW S1 and DW S2.

Rating:  PG for adult themes, implied sex

Part 1: When Martha Met Jack

I've recovered this file after the accident.  It's complete now.  Let's hope nothing else happens to it.

The Doctor looked scared.  "Jack, put the Time Vortex back where it belongs, please.  You know this is a bad idea.  Please."

The figure turned his head to look at the Doctor.  "I am not Jack.  Jack has given me complete control of his body, that I may speak through him."  Martha noticed that the voice was higher and softer, the diction more formal, than Jack's voice had been.

"Who are you?" Martha asked.

"I am the TARDIS."

"What about Jack?  Where is he?"

"He is here.  His conciousness has stepped back from his body."


"High level psychic training," the Doctor murmured, "combined with Jack's own proclivities."

"Can he hear us?" Martha asked.

"He sleeps."

"Can you adjust whatever it is you're doing he so can be present?"

The figure appeared to look within himself(?) for a moment.  The light pouring from his(?) eyes dimmed slightly.

"He is awake now.  He can hear us, but he does not wish to interrupt."

"Right," the Doctor said.  "I know that you're trying to help, but you've got to get out of him.  The strain is going to kill him.  Humans aren't designed for that sort of thing."

"He will not die."


"I redesigned him."


"When she absorbed me, Rose wanted three things.  I wanted them as well.  You safe, Jack safe, and the Daleks destroyed.  The first and third were easy."

"Easy?  I regenerated!  Do you have any idea how much work that takes?  Just for future reference, that is not 'easy'."

"You were safe.  But Jack was dead.  It was necessary to redesign him."

"How?  How do you go about redesigning someone?  What did you do, throw some blueprints on the table and get out your slide rule?"

"I needed to bring him back to life and keep him alive.  It is not possible for a human to do that.  I redesigned him along Time Lord lines.  I could not change him into a Time Lord, so I improvised to produce an approximation of Time Lord regeneration."

"But how?"

"When he is significantly damaged, I use the Vortex to undo the damage."

"That must take an enourmous amount of energy.  Where does it come from?"

"When his life energy is depleted I replenish it with my own."

The Doctor blanched.  "Oh, no.  You stop that right now.  I don't ever want to hear of you doing anything like that again!"

The figure turned to look him full in the face.  "My Doctor, I love you.  I have taken care of you for over a thousand years.  But this is my life energy.  No one tells me what I may or may not do with it."

"What?" the Doctor asked again, but this time Martha detected more anger than astonishment in his voice.  She grabbed his arm and stepped forward.  She may know nothing about time travel, but she could write a book on family quarrels.

"So you're the TARDIS.  Thank you for taking care of us.  I didn't realize you were alive."

"Only a living being can ride the Vortex with the finesse the Times Lords required."

"How do you do that?"

The figure stared at Martha for a moment, and seemed to hesitate.  The body was definitely masculine, but the creature inside it seemed part feminine, part mechanical, and very alien.  Somehow the combination wasn't as incongruous as it sounded when she thought it out.

And powerful.  Very old and very, very powerful.  It was a bit like talking to a living nuclear reactor, only about a thousand times worse.

But was there a hint of "part teenager" there as well?

"The Vortex is outside time and space.  There are very few signs that can reach into the Vortex.  A TARDIS is taught to navigate by those signs to arrive at a precise moment in time and space."

"What are those signs?"

Again the figure seemed to hesitate.  "There are different signs, but the strongest and the most common are nexi of emotions so powerful they burst through time and space to serve as markers in the Vortex."

There was a hitch in the Doctor's breath.

"Any shared experience will serve, but the most powerful shared experiences are usually generated by mass slaughter. They taught us to steer by stars made up of the screams of the dying and to chart a course through constellations of blood."

"Empathic navigation," the Doctor murmered.  "The earliest TARDIS models used empathic navigation to steer by.  But people protested that it was immoral.  Better instruments were developed.  Empathic navigation was abandoned before the Type 5 was developed, let alone the Type 40."

"It was never abandoned.  The instruments were never as reliable as empathic navigation.  We were taught to check their findings by the nexi."

The figure looked distressed.  "At first I did not understand what caused the nexi.  I used them for thousands of years before I figured out what they were.  When I did, I tried to help.  I would land right before an event to give the Time Lords the opportunity to prevent it.  But they refused.  They said I had guidance problems and sent back for repairs.

"In the repair shop they asked me what was the problem.  I explained it to them and asked them to do something about the nexi.  They said they could not interfere with the course of history.  I insisted.  They said it would alter the maps.  They called me a menace to navigation.  Then they abandoned me in the back of the repair shop, and there I stayed until I found you."

The figure turned to the Doctor.  "You were no one then.  Your people had been destroyed.  You were maimed, nameless, and alone.  You had nothing and no one except the child, and they were coming for her.  They were going to give her to other people who would bring her up to believe what they wanted her to believe, not to ask questions like your people.

"I offered you a refuge, a chance to keep her with you.  I offered you freedom.  You had nothing to lose."

The Doctor gulped.  "I thank you from the bottom of my hearts for all you have done for me.  But you've got to let Jack go.  Replenishing his energy is killing you."

"How many times have you nearly killed me?"

The Doctor looked away.

"I am not afraid of dying.  If I were, I could not navigate the Vortex.  But I am so tired of being alone.  Companions only stay a short time before they leave or die.  But Jack will live as long as I live, if not longer.  We can keep him.  The loneliness wears at me far worse than the little power drains it takes to replenish him."

The Doctor flinched.  "We'll talk to Jack about that.  Speaking of which, it's time you went back to your home.  You may be able to repair the damage he takes, but you can't stop him from getting damaged."

Martha noticed the figure had a sheen of sweat.  The Doctor put one of the figure's arms over his shoulders and put his own arms around the figure's waist.  Martha did the same thing on the other side of the figure.

"Wait,"  Martha said.  "If the TARDIS is what you are, do you have a name?"

The figure smiled at Martha.  The name on my registry is the word for a Galifreyan creature like a wolf.  When I did what I thought was right and chose my own path, the Time Lords called me --"

"Bad Wolf", the Doctor said with her.  "Of course, I should have realized."  He turned to Martha.  "Close your eyes."  She obeyed.  He turned to the figure.  "Right then.  Back you go."

Martha saw the air on the other side of her eyelids light up with a golden blaze.  The figure slumped between them.  Her knees nearly buckled from the weight, but the Doctor took the brunt of it.  After a moment the blaze died down into a fiery glow.

Martha felt the Doctor turn so he could reach the console.  "Don't look at the console," he said.  She heard him manipulate some controls, and the light returned to it's normal level.

She looked up as the figure stirred between them.  Captain Harkness shook himself and began drawing deep breaths.  He was sweaty and fatigued as if he had just taken a stress test.

"Are you all right?" she asked him.  He nodded.

The Doctor examined the Captain's face and eyes, then pulled out his sonic screwdriver to do an internal scan.

"He's fine.  Now Jack, tell the TARDIS to drop the link."

"Hey!" Jack protested.  "Don't I get time to think about this and talk to her?"

"Time?  You don't need time, it's the only right thing to do!"

Jack winced.  "Doctor, I've got you yelling at me out here and her yelling at me in my head.  I think we should calm down."

"She's yelling at me too," the Doctor admitted, rubbing his right temple.  "But Jack, she's my....  She's...."  He begged Jack silently with pleading eyes.

"I know, Doctor.  I love her too.  I just need time to talk things over with her."

Jack looked at Martha and the Doctor, grinned broadly, and squeezed their shoulders.  "What a lovely way to wake up.  We should do this more often.  Let's try it on a bed next time."

Martha laughed.  "Mr. Smith, I think the patient needs a glass of water and a cold shower."

The Doctor grinned.  "Excellent prescription, Ms. Jones, but I've never known a shower to dampen Jack's libido."

Jack leered.  "It will if you get in there and help me.  Eventually."

Martha and the Doctor rolled their eyes.  "Come on," the Doctor said.  "Let's get your drink and go to the infirmary.  I want to check you out thoroughly."

"Right.  Any excuse to get me on a bed with my pants down."

"You -- aw damn!" the Doctor cried, clutching his hair.  "I could have repaired those broken circuits right next to the Vortex chamber while she was in you!"

"The ones you have to connect by hitting the console with the mallet?"

"Yes, those --"

Martha watched the men leave the Console room.  She leaned over the Time Rotor and whispered, "Psst.  The chameleon circuit isn't really broken, is it?"

The console made a tiny noise that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle.

Martha grinned and touched the console.  "You go, girl!"

The Doctor didn't mention the Heart of the TARDIS again in front of Martha.  Jack was charming and funny, but every once in a while he seemed distracted, as if he was thinking about something else.

The second night after he arrived, Martha joined Jack in his bed.  After putting up with the Doctor's mixed signals for so long, it was a relief to get her arms and legs around someone straightforward.  Whatever problems Jack had, he didn't use celibacy as a coping device.  And he was a fabulous lover.

That night he woke her up by putting his arm over her body in his dreams.  "Jones," he whispered huskily, pulling her body against his.  Martha giggled.  Jack woke up and stared at her for a moment in bleary confusion.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Sure. 'mfine," he mumbled sleepily.  "Sleep."  He folded his arms around her and placed his chin on her head.

Martha put her hand on his chest, listening to his deep, calmning breaths.  It was peaceful.

But it was a long time before she could go back to sleep.


Author's Notes.

"Empathic navigation" is brushed on in Torchwood 01.03 Ghost Machine, and explained more fully in this deleted scene.

"You were maimed" the Doctor suffered from a brain injury at some point in the past that destroyed a portion of his mind.  This was mentioned in the Fourth Doctor episode The Invisible Enemy.

Why yes, I do have a "Secret Origin of the Doctor" story.  One day I may even have time to write it out.

Concluded in Part 3:  The Knight and the Sherriff


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 6th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
When will this have more than 20 words? *Begs, pouts, offers chocolate bribes*
It teases, and we must have more!
Apr. 6th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Patience, patience. Right now I've got spring cleaning, a huge load of sewing to do, and the first of the 2007 Art Fairs to prep for. Wish us good sales!
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 7th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amythest_n_ice - Apr. 7th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 7th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
I think my favourite words so far are "Put the Vortex back"
Intriguing. I did have a qualm about proper/properly in the second to last paragraph. Deliberate?
Apr. 7th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
I think my favourite words so far are "Put the Vortex back"

LOL Sort of like Gene Wilder, isn't it? "Put the candle back."

Intriguing. I did have a qualm about proper/properly in the second to last paragraph. Deliberate?

I'm still working on it. It's ironic now, and I don't know if the TARDIS is ironic.
Apr. 11th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
loving this so far but i need to see more of the story
Apr. 11th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Hit a spot where I don't know exactly hot to get from A to B. Should have it figured out soon.

OTOH, wrote a fabulous beginning to my stopwatch story yesterday!
Apr. 11th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
Stopwatch story?

*ears prick up at that and rubs hands greedily*
Apr. 12th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
I know, I really shouldn't work on it. I've got the 4 Post-Mortem sequels to write, Training to finish, Ianto's Grief Cycle to write out... It's not like I had more than 50 words of it written down anyway. But the other day I got stuck on this story and boom!, there were the first 500 words, with more trickling out today. I'm so sorry for not working on this one instead. ;)
Apr. 12th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Looooooooooooooooove this! More please?

*puppy dog eyes*
Apr. 12th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Working on the next paragraph as we speak!
Apr. 13th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
Again, with the neither here nor there comment, but I was re-reading the part about how the TARDIS had a low-level power leak when Jack dies and I started thinking about cyberman two-parter in the alternate universe. Is it possible that the connection flowed in the opposite direction, from Jack to the TARDIS, so when they crashed that tiny light stayed on until the Doctor realized that he could still fix her?
Apr. 13th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
That's a good question. I've been thinking about how to deal with that.
Apr. 16th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
"They taught us to steer by stars made up of the screams of the dying and to chart a course through constellations of blood."

This image...this...just... *hands*

I wish I could be more coherent. It's just beautiful, and heartbreaking, and oh I love.

And, in a completely different mood-vein, love the suspiciously chuckle-like sound. Atta girl indeed. :)
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Please, have you still got the story up, so I can recover it from you?
(no subject) - athousanderrors - Apr. 16th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 16th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - athousanderrors - Apr. 16th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 17th, 2007 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 17th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
Doesn't LJ keep a memory of the previous version? When I lose a post in the middle and then hit the 'update journal' button again it always brings it back up for me.
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Where's the "update journal" button?
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
Well, on my screen it's on the upper left hand corner, but I think it depends on what skin you're running on your journal. Just whatever button you use to create a new post. For me, LJ recognises that the previous post was interrupted and asks if I want to continue editing that post. If I say yes, it provides me of an automatic back-up of whatever I had before the interruption. Usually it's pretty complete.
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately I was cross-posting it when I was interrupted, so the signboard is all that comes up. :(((
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 17th, 2007 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 16th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I haven't read this except for the preamble (on my way to bed...) but did you write it in Word? If so, you might be able to get the work back from an autosaved copy.

Apr. 17th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Restored now.
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
This was lovely. I hope you were able to recover it all. I've had that happen to me before and it does suck royally.
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
It's restored now, including some extra lines and the Author's notes, which weren't in the version you commented on.
(no subject) - sunstar77 - Apr. 17th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Apr. 18th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
The TARDIS pwns all.
Apr. 17th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
I love the TARDIS - she's gorgeous! Very very nice chapter.
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and she is!
Apr. 17th, 2007 09:58 am (UTC)
this is good
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Apr. 17th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
The TARDIS rocks!

I liked Jack’s “Jones” slip at the end.

Looking forward to more...
Apr. 17th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
The TARDIS rocks!

The TARDIS out-attitudes everybody.

I liked Jack’s “Jones” slip at the end.

Thanks. I usually don't write bedroom scenes, but that was the only way I could include that scene without breaking POV. And Martha needs some relief from everything the Doctor is putting her through.

Looking forward to more...

The concluding section is on the way.
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( 47 comments — Leave a comment )