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22 June 2007 @ 07:52 pm
DW/Firefly Fic - Shift (1/1)  
Title: Shift
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Firefly certainly don't belong to me.
Characters/Pairing: Inara and Ten, allusions to Mal/Inara, Doctor/Rose.
Summary: The Doctor teams up with Inara to solve a series of strange disappearances, resulting in much angst, confusion, banter, exploding things, and, oh, a mind-meld.
Spoilers: Post-"Doomsday" for DW, Post-series and Pre-BDM for Firefly. Specific shout-outs to DW 2x04, "The Girl in the Fireplace," and Torchwood 1x02, "Day One."
Prompt: Ten does his mind-meld thing. (Hey, it worked on Madame de Pompadour.)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 7, 422
Author's Note: Written for the absolutely brilliant sonic_tea ficathon of awesome, a Firefly/Doctor Who crossover challenge featuring Inara and Ten. I've had some crazy times writing this (there's even a plot with made up words (well, one word, anyway)).

Big, big, huge thanks to ponderous77 for the extremely awesome beta-ing. Basically, the best beta-ing in the history of time. And to hollywoodgrrl for the fun made up (sort of!) word. My roomies have awesome ideas, and this fic owes much to them. And to sake. And the House of Brews.



The disappearances started months ago. A girl on one planet, a trainee on another. Then another. And another. Blind eyes were turned. News bulletins on the Cortex were few and far between, and those Inara did see dismissed each case as if they were random. Mere coincidence. At first it would have been easy to think so. Once or twice, on separate planets. But eight? In as many weeks?

Inara furrowed her brow as the latest, and so far most egregious, report flashed onto the screen she usually kept concealed by a sheath of fabric in her room at the Training House. These fresh faced reporters, flashing blinding white grins as they spoke, had seemed promising at first, but Inara’s piqued interest came crashing down as the anchors became dismissive, their voices dripping with sarcasm as they joked about an impossible outbreak of ‘airborne’ erotomania.

Inara closed her eyes as the segment ended and a cloying Blue Sun Cola jingle began to play.

“That’s disgusting,” Inara huffed, slamming the Cortex off, practically breaking it in the process.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that.”

Startled, Inara turned towards the stone steps and the vast horizon beyond, midday sunlight filtering through strips of gauzy curtains. A man stood on the topmost step, staring at her.

“All those fizzy little bubbles. Who doesn’t love fizzy bubbles? And the lychee cola. Oh, best I ever tasted.”

The first thing her eyes registered was the long brown jacket. But it was in looking down that her stare caught on a pair of - she squinted to make out the color - burgundy shoes, and there was no mistaking that she had glimpsed them before.

“You were in the market yesterday.”

“How did--”

She pointed down at his feet. “Those are pretty distinctive on a planet like this.”

“Ah. In fact, I was at the market. Love a good market. All the people hawking their wares, all the noise and the smells. And border markets! You never know what you’re going to find on a border market. I once saw a boy trade a priceless Ming Dynasty vase for a pack of Londinium football cards.”

Though still riled up from the Cortex bulletin, Inara smiled, noting that she shouldn’t be. That perhaps she should feel threatened, especially at a time like this. Strange men never appeared on her steps without ample notice.

“And the things you overhear. Take, for example, an argument between a well-respected Companion and local authorities regarding a slew of recent disappearances, let’s say.”

“You heard that?”

“Couldn’t help but. You sounded like John Wayne in Rio Bravo.”

Inara stood tall, slipped on a pair of sandals next to her chair, and straightened out her skirt as she spoke. “You’ll have to forgive my presumptuousness, but as you’ve already invited yourself into my room, I thought I might as well ask. Who are you?”

“I’m the Doctor,” he said, waving at her with his fingertips.

Inara put on her best, most expectant face, and waited for more. The Doctor took a step towards her. He opened his mouth. Closed it. Flashed her a smile and made his way further into the room, letting his eyes dart about indiscriminately. She gave him a once over and, with a squint of her eyes, dismissed him as a threat. She was more charmed by his beanpole stature and his floppy suit than anything, and was easily won over by his accent. Though she hadn’t admitted it to anyone, not even to gossipy girls during her first years in training, Inara was one to go weak in the knees over a man with an accent.

“I’m…”

“Inara Serra. Lovely Buddha, by the by,” he said.

“Thank you?”

“So.” He turned to face her. “About these…disappearances.”

“Yes.”

“When did they start?”

Inara sighed. “About two months ago, give or take. Mostly all on border planets. I was suspicious at first, but now, whatever’s happening has started up here and nobody seems to want to connect the dots.” She paused. “And what are you doing in my room?”

“Listening. Do continue.”

The Doctor walked about the room, and Inara found herself spilling out all the facts for him as if she had never been given the time of day before in her life. How girls on several planets had abandoned their training for their very first clients, claiming they had fallen madly in love, sacrificing years of schooling in the process. Leaving the Guild was not, in and of itself, out of the ordinary, but –

“Eight women, running off into the sunset with the man of their dreams only to be reported missing soon after is without precedent, I take it,” the Doctor said, not looking at Inara but eying her things with fascination.

“If it has, it was well shoved under the rug before my time. Naomi…she was one of my best students…the other day she just quit. She’s been in training for three years. She had so much ambition, so much focus. Then she just takes off?”

“Did she say she had fallen in love?”

“It’s what she claimed, yes. Though, our House Priestess says her behavior seemed…off.”

“How so?”

“I believe her exact word was ‘zombie.’”

“No way that’s actually the case? That she was in love, I mean, not that she was a zombie.”

“No one’s heard from her since yesterday. In fact, nobody even saw her leave. The client she supposedly took off with, nobody can find a thing on him. Not one record. And it’s the same for all of them. I’ve checked myself, as far as I could manage. There’s just…nothing.”

“Hmm,” The Doctor muttered to himself, “makes them fall in love. It’s love, not sex. Then it can’t possibly be about pheromones. Or orgasmic energy, for that matter.”

His fingers brushed over odd trinkets on a small, practically hidden side table. Perfume jars, candles, a small jade elephant, tokens of appreciation from clients, a mish-mash of the expected and unexpected. The most unexpected being a small monkey wrench and an upside down capture. The Doctor lifted the capture by its edges and watched as a brown-haired man in suspenders flared his nostrils for the camera.

“Good looking fellow. Favorite client of yours?”

“Hardly. Could you put that down, please?” Being mad enough as it was, and having a stranger muttering about orgasmic energy while rifling uninvited through her possessions, Inara couldn’t quite take the unnecessary intrusion of Malcolm Reynolds into her already teetering-on-the-edge-of-explosion brain.

The Doctor put the capture down and picked up the wrench. “And what…is this for?”

“It’s nothing. Just a memento.”

“A wrench?”

“Yes.”

The Doctor placed it back down gently and shoved his hands into his pockets. Inara considered herself a patient person, but this man was really testing her limits. He seemed to know much more than he was letting on, and she found that her strangely automatic trust was dissipating and her long absent nerves were beginning to kick in. She shook it off, thinking that the man before her was much too preposterous to be a danger himself. If he was going to help her, it was time to get to the bottom of the matter.

“Do you know something? About the disappearances?” Inara asked, impatience and hope lingering in the air between them.

“I believe I do.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Inara stood inside the trainee quarters that had just yesterday belonged to her now AWOL student. She had to sneak the Doctor through various hallways of the Training House just to get there undetected.

“He must be Alliance. Someone with enough clearance to set up false Cortex profiles. Or a skilled hacker, though that doesn’t seem likely.”

A distracted “Mmm” wafted out from a walk-in closet.

“From the research I’ve done, he doesn’t change his profile too radically,” Inara continued. “Pictures, names are different. But the messages sound exactly the same. It’s frightening.”

“How’d you dig those up? They weren’t restricted?”

“I waved a friend. He knows someone who’s an expert with computers. And also of accessing restricted material, apparently.”

“Ah.”

Inara moved over to an ornate dresser, continuing to spin theories. “He must threaten them. Tell them to quit the Guild first so that it doesn’t seem like a kidnapping. He could be drugging them. Lots of drugs simulate euphoria. But then, I don’t see how he convinces them to leave afterwards. Short of hypnotizing them, which is ridiculous.” By this point, Inara was talking to herself. She gave herself a little shake and looked back towards the Doctor. “What are we supposed to be looking for again?”

“Dunno,” the Doctor’s voice called out from within the closet’s depths. “Letters, gifts, half-eaten box of chocolates, perhaps. Anything having to do with love.”

Inara opened the dresser drawer, found it full of abandoned stationary and perfumes, dug around, and pulled out a locked, leather-bound journal. “Love has nothing to do with this,” she said, sitting down on the edge of the bed with the journal in her lap. “Some of these girls are as young as twelve-years-old. They wouldn’t know what real love was if it was served to them on a silver tray.”

The Doctor stuck his head out of the closet door, his expression blank. Inara was taken aback by the look in his eye, now absent of the friendly twinkle he had greeted her with. “And I suppose you’re quite familiar with it, then? I’d think, you doing what you do, falling in love isn’t quite at the top of the ‘to-do’ list. I would think it’d even be forbidden for Companions to fall in love. Hazardous to the job,” he said.

Inara noted the subtle change in the Doctor’s tone as he spoke, a sudden and almost inexplicable frostiness.

“It’s not forbidden, exactly. It’s…complicated. The Guild has strict rules against…it’s complicated. Let’s just…leave it at that.”

She started fiddling around with the journal lock and looked up to ask, “What were you muttering about back there, anyway? What does ‘orgasmic energy’ even mean?”

“I was just eliminating potential adversaries.” He stepped out of the closet and shut the door behind him. “No skeletons in there. What are you just sitting around for?”

“I’m waiting.”

“For?”

“You to make sense.”

“Your friend. All the other Companions. They’ve been…taken.”

“That’s very astute, Doctor,” Inara replied wryly.

“I have a theory as to what they’ve been taken by.”

What they’ve been taken by?”

“Well, who. Anyway, you wouldn’t believe me. You lot don’t believe in life on other planets. Think your tiny little ‘verse is all that’s out there in that infinite black,” he said, sliding a pair of black specs up the bridge of his nose.

And I thought Mal was infuriating, Inara thought.

The Doctor starting digging around in his pockets, exclaiming when he finally pulled out a thin metal tube. There was no functional purpose that Inara could see; it looked more like a useless toy for a Core child than anything.

Inara raised an eyebrow. “What is that?”

“Sonic screwdriver.”

“Never heard of it. Is it Alliance tech of some kind?”

“Absolutely not,” said the Doctor, looking rather offended.

The sonic screwdriver lit up, buzzed, and the journal lock flew open.

“How did--”

“Never mind that.”

Inara snapped her stare away from the sonic screwdriver. She flipped open the journal, thumbed through to the last entry, and read.

“What’s it say?” asked the Doctor, curiosity ripe in his tone.

“Nothing. It’s about how nervous she was last week, with exams approaching. She says she wants to do better than all the other trainees…Does that sound like someone who would just drop everything and leave?”

He turned to Inara, crouched down. “Well. People pick up and leave places all the time. Looks like you’ve done, too, with those chests and knick-knacks scattered everywhere.”

“I fail to see how this has anything to do with me,” Inara said, staring at the Doctor with increasing perplexity, as he was now on his hands and knees, peering under the bed.

“Never said it was.”

He brushed his hand on the floor next to Inara’s sandaled foot.

“What are you doing?”

His fingers ran through a small pile of ash, the rest of which was collected just to the right of Inara’s feet. He brought his hand up, inspecting, then sniffing, the sandy bits that stuck to his fingers. His look was serious.

Inara looked down, tempted to toe her sandals in the ash.

“What is that?”

“Trust me, you don’t want to know. And…you might not want to step in it.”

Inara stood, gingerly stepping around the dusty pile. The Doctor moved towards her with an urgent spring in his step, pulling off his specs as he approached.

“We might be able to track him down, if he is what I think he is. There’s a way I can find out for sure. Might not work, though. In fact, it’s a long shot, but…on the off chance…”

The Doctor moved his hands upward, reaching for Inara’s temples. She stepped back.

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to hurt you. And I'm sorry if this dredges up unwanted memories, but, it's our best option at the moment.”

“I don’t…what do you mean?” she asked, trying to keep calm.

“It’s hard to explain, but, anyway, just so we’re clear, there’ll be no running around inside my head. This is a one-way trip, understood?”

Inara barely had time to flinch before the Doctor’s fingers touched her temples.

* * * * * * * * * *

It felt as if her head was suddenly composed of water, and a stranger was waving his hands through, slowly pulling up objects, her memories, from the murky bottom.

“Rén cí de fó zu! You’re…you’re inside my mind.”

She could sense the Doctor there, gently treading, creating ripples across the years. She saw every single memory he touched float before her eyes, like a mirage, lingering at the surface for just a moment before disappearing. And with each new memory, every unwanted emotion came bubbling up with it.

“I know…knew…a girl who can read…but not like this. This is…”

His voice seemed at once intimately close and very far away. “I know it’s odd. Just try to be calm. And if there’s anything in there that you don’t want me to see, just imagine the memories as if they were doors. And close them. That’s the best metaphor I’ve managed to work out.”

Inara gasped at the slightest movement of the Doctor’s hands. He was diving deeper into her mind, and she began to panic. Her eyes flew open. Her breath quickened. She felt as though she were drowning, struggling against a rip current to break free.

“And don’t…”

Inara swallowed. The Doctor opened his eyes to chastise her.

“…well, now, don’t slam all the doors! We won’t make any progress if you keep everything all shut up in there.”

She cleared her throat. “I--”

“Shh. There’s a lot of men, oh and ladies, in here, and we have things to do.”

Inara took a deep breath, pulling herself together.

“Oh. Wow. Now that’s…I’ve never seen anything like that before...” Inara chanced a glance at the Doctor’s face and was surprised – and amused – to see him blushing. “…and I’ve seen a lot, trust me. Last time I did this, well, really did this, was in pre-Revolutionary France. And you know what the French are like.”

Pre-Revolutionary France. The words echoed in her ears, and she felt it. She still saw her own memories, but for a fraction of a second she was almost certain she had really been there. She closed her eyes again, trying to pursue the feeling, but it was like ramming up against a dam. When she focused on it, she could feel the Doctor’s strength, his sheer force of will shutting her out of his own mind.

There was a new memory before her and she flinched, her chest constricting. Mal. The expression on his face before she turned her back to him, before she walked away. Simultaneously, she felt the Doctor’s fingers twitch, and something cracked. The dam collapsed. And she saw…her.

There was a girl, standing right before her eyes, crying, wind sweeping through her hair as she stood alone on desolate sand. The image slowly faded until Inara was looking at the interior of a strange ship, and a wave of fresh grief washed over her, a desperate, clawing need to get back to that windswept beach.

“What--” The Doctor moved his hands, panicked. In that instant, Inara knew with certainty that she had passed through the wall he had been holding up. One-way trip. That was what he had said. But he had slipped. As she felt him struggle to regain his control, more and more of his own memories poured into her.

There were flashes of fire and rain.
Planets exploding.
Creatures she had only ever conjured up as a small child in nightmares.
A world with red grass, silver leaves, and orange skies. She felt disdain, hatred, love, sadness.
Landmarks from Earth That Was destroyed amid chaos and commotion, though not at all in the way she had learned from schoolbooks.
A big blue box.
Words and phrases she had never heard before. Time Lord. Time War.
The Doctor himself, gazing into mirrors, inspecting his own face. So many different faces.
And girls. So many girls.
A dark-haired, quick witted one, younger and older, with a robot dog.
A small, mousey one with long, straight blonde hair and a wide-brimmed hat, running through the streets of Paris. She heard echoes of the Doctor’s laughter.
And then there was
her. On the beach. With eyes glowing gold. Wrapped up in his arms. Sprawled on the grass. Jumping up and down. Scared, curious, smiling, dancing, laughing, crying, sobbing.

They were just flashes. Instantaneous images and feelings. It was no more than a few seconds, but once they past before her, they burned into her mind as if they were her own.

The memories came to a grinding halt. She opened her eyes and found the Doctor staring at her.

“I’m sorry. That won’t happen again,” he said, closing his eyes.

Inara saw the Doctor’s face contort as he tried to collect himself. She knew that face, saw that the steel in it was just a front. Under any other circumstances, Inara would have reached out to him, asked him what was wrong. For a moment, she contemplated asking about that girl, but she left the instinct alone. It was as if she already knew, and the feeling of having experienced the Doctor’s most intimate moments had left her shaken, embarrassed.

The Doctor concentrated harder. “Wait. Just there. Excellent. You have seen him before. And it’s exactly as I suspected. Amourite. That is most definitely our man. He’s not bad, comparatively speaking. Oh, and he gave you that little jade elephant on your dresser. How nice.”

Inara saw the memory, remembered the client. He had been young, handsome, and extremely polite. Almost too polite. He had been irresistible in his message, then slightly nervous when she had taken him into her shuttle. He had just wanted to kiss her, nothing more. She remembered he had seemed confused afterwards, almost disappointed. But he smiled, gave her a gift, and thanked her for her time.

Inara broke their connection and pulled herself away, the images in her own mind and the Doctor’s memories becoming too much for her to process. “Enough. Please. Just…I don’t understand any of this. What’s a Time Lord? Who are you?”

The Doctor put his hand on Inara’s shoulder in an attempt to get her to calm down and focus.

“Inara, there are things in this world that you never thought possible. Whatever you just saw, it’s all real. And that’s all you need to know.”

He spun away from her, thinking aloud. “Now. Client. You saw him, but you’re still alive. Why? How is it possible that you’re immune when others aren’t? Why couldn’t he feed on you?” he gestured with his arms for emphasis. Though he had changed the subject, Inara saw that he had a faraway look in his eye. He trailed off for a moment, and she suspected that whatever was going on in his head was upsetting him to the point of distraction.

“Doctor?” she urged him on.

The Doctor once again began digging in his pockets, and pulled out a small, round and yellow device.

“Doesn’t matter. Now that we know you’ve seen him before, which, lucky us, and I mean, why wouldn’t he try to get you, right, we can track him down.” No longer shaking, his voice had become intense, words flying out at the speed of light. The Doctor took the scanner and pointed it at Inara’s head, waving it back and forth.

“How is that going to help, exactly?” Inara asked, trying to block out any inflections of annoyance from her tone.

Taking readings from the scanner, the Doctor finally managed to snap back into focus. “Residual energy traces. The Amourite, that’s it's species, would have left traces of itself inside you while it attempted to feed. That’s why I did what I just did. I had to awaken the memory, stimulate it, in order to get a reading. It’s - well, there you are then. It’s done. We don’t have to do that ever again.”

“Good. I don’t want to do that again. And also…species? Feed?”

The Doctor ignored her queries. “I can match the traces from your memory to its location on the planet with this,” he shook the device for emphasis, “just give me one…”

The Doctor looked up, alarmed.

“What is it?”

“The signal’s coming from right under our noses. And it’s weak.”

“Meaning?”

“It’s in the building. And it needs to feed on someone tonight. Or it’ll die.”

The Doctor ran out the door, heedless of the several curious onlookers in the hall. Inara followed suit, shrugging at the disapproving and misinterpreting eyes she past by in her effort to run after the Doctor. She thought she vaguely heard someone whisper, “Do you think that’s the pirate?” “Doesn’t look very pirate-y,” as she rounded a corner. It’s going to be fun explaining this, she thought as she quickened her pace to catch up.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Doctor was intent on following an increasingly loud and consistent beeping noise up and down the halls of the Training House. Inara stared at him as she trailed behind, trying to pull her focus together. No easy feat when the words, alien, he’s an alien, there were aliens, kept running through her mind, as if keeping time with the beeps.

They were stopped once, by another instructor, and it was all Inara could do to explain away the Doctor’s presence. She barely had time to finish her sentence when the Doctor pulled out an ID badge, confirming her lies. The instructor continued on her way.

“What else do you have hiding in there?”

The Doctor grinned, but turned when his device began emitting a high-pitched and steady wail. He skidded to a stop in front of a door, causing Inara to crash straight into his back.

“Ooof.”

He turned, lifted his finger to his lips, and they both leaned against the wall next to the door. The Doctor swung around towards the door, and Inara followed suit.

She crashed into him again. “Ooof,” she mumbled, “I thought you were being manly and impulsive.”

“Sorry?” he whispered.

“I thought you were going to kick the door down.”

“No sense ruining such a pretty door.”

He nudged the handle gently. Locked. The sonic screwdriver appeared in his hand, and in an instant the lock clicked open.

“Now we can do the bursting in.”

And the Doctor swung the door open.

* * * * * * * * * *

On the other side of the door, two girls lay strewn on a bed, one just about to press her lips against the other when the door swung open so fast it hit the wall with a bang. The girl on top jerked up abruptly, and an older instructor, silently watching the proceedings, jumped up in surprise and anger.

The Doctor panicked, closing his eyes. “Oh, God. Sorry. Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt. Just, wrong room. Very sorry.”

The Doctor pulled the door shut and leaned back up against the wall.

He gestured down to the end of the hall with a tip of his head. “Think it’s the next room over,” he said, and proceeded to head straight for it.

Inara arched an eyebrow. “How do you know that’s not the right-”

“I said it doesn’t want sex. If it did, it’d be emitting pheromones all over the place. There are certain species that do that, but the Amourites aren’t interested. They’re a loving species, quite polite in fact.”

“Right. I’m sure they apologize profusely while they kill you.”

“They might. It’s just that they so happen to subsist off of the same chemicals your bodies produce when you’re deeply in love. You humans. Your great capacity for love is known throughout the universe,” he said dryly. “You love with every fiber of your being, obsessively, blindly, unconditionally, no matter how great the obstacles. Of course it’d come seek you out.”

Inara stopped mid-step.

“I was hoping maybe you could clarify something for me, before we continue.”

“What is it?” he asked, turning around.

“Have you escaped from an institution of some kind? Did you drug me? Is that was this is?”

“’Fraid, not. Why? Problems?”

Inara paused. “No. This is kind of exciting, actually.” Ignoring for a moment the danger, Inara admitted to herself that she hadn’t had this much ‘fun’ since leaving Serenity. The Doctor gave Inara a contemplative once over, and they continued talking in whispers as they approached the next door.

“So. I’m still a little fuzzy on the whole feeding, chemicals, love thing,” Inara said.

“Endorphins, norepinephrine, vasopressin, falling in love with someone is just a biochemical process," he replied, his tone revealing a hint of bitterness. "And those chemicals are like food for an Amourite. So, it stimulates them in your brain, turns them towards itself, making it feel as though you’ve just fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with it. It's makes you into a...a...big ol' Christmas turkey full of love stuffing..."

Inara turned her head to the side, trying to stifle her urge to laugh at the Doctor's ridiculous description.

"...and then it's happy feeding time. It bleeds you dry, sucks the chemicals right out until there’s nothing left. And it has to live in a constant state of bliss. If its natural state becomes imbalanced, if it ‘falls out of love,’ then it just experiences increasingly intense pain until it withers and dies.”

Inara let out a sarcastic chuckle. “I think the Amourites have it backwards.”

The Doctor gave her a solemn glare; Inara thought it might be his odd way of expressing agreement.

Inara’s smile faded as she processed the Doctor’s information. “It bleeds their victims dry until there’s nothing left?” she repeated.

“Yes.”

“Elaborate.”

“The kiss of death. It feeds off of you via a kiss, Then you just...sort of...” he waved his hands about as illustration.

Inara's pace slowed, her new reality firmly sinking in. “In the room, back there, you said not to step in that…”

“I’m sorry,” he said, voice monotone.

“Gāi sǐ. Nèi gè huài dàn.” Inara stopped, grabbed hold of the Doctor, and spun him around to face her.

“I just want to understand. If that’s what happens, and I’ve seen him before, then how come I’m still alive? Why didn’t I recognize him in a single one of those waves?”

“Because it’s a shape shifter," he said, matter-of-factly. "If it’s fed and happy it can use surplus energy to transform its body into anything it wants. It’s temporary and it’s draining, but it keeps it hidden in different environments, allowing it to continue on to the next feeding.” The Doctor thought for a moment. "He must be going through tons of forms here, one for every girl at least."

He tested the second door, aimed the screwdriver, and unlocked it. He turned to Inara, putting his hand to the door. “And I don’t know why you’re immune. But let’s find out, shall we?”

“And what are we supposed to do, exactly? Fight the ‘alien’ with your glowy stick thing?”

“Precisely. Well, more or less. Ready?”

Inara nodded, inhaling air.

They burst through the door.

* * * * * * * * *

Inara quickly took in the scene. In any other place, under any other circumstance, she would have smiled at the seemingly sweet vision of romance displayed before her.

The young man was well-dressed in a dashing suit, or would have been, if his shirt wasn’t sloppily unbuttoned. He was tall, with dark, slicked back hair, and piercing green eyes. A perfectly normal young man, in love with a perfectly lovely young girl. If it weren’t for the fact that those piercing green eyes were beginning to glow, his face was wan, and everything about his expression was dripping with desperation.

“Emily,” Inara said, her voice calm but forceful, “get away from him. Now.”

Emily sprang up from the edge of the bed, and the young man stood slowly. “No, you don’t understand, he’s the love of my life, he’s…” Emily looked at the man next to her, and her face betrayed her sudden confusion. “I thought…He…He was trying to get me to quit,” she gulped. “He, um, was that a test?” she asked, flabbergasted. “I don’t even remember how he got in here.”

“It’s doesn’t matter. Just go.”

Emily was too scared to respond, she merely ran, her footfalls pounding down the hall.

The young man glared, his eyes fixed on the sonic screwdriver.

“You won’t be feeding tonight,” said the Doctor, lowering his arm.

The young man drew his arm across his chest, clutching at his shoulder as if he were having a heart attack.

“Please, sir,” he spoke in the articulate and polite tones of an upper echelon Core family, “I just need one more. The pain, sir. Please. I need to eat. Now.”

Inara stepped to the side, folding her arms across her chest as she listened to the alien’s pleas. “Why did you come here?” she spat out angrily. Alien or no, this was without a doubt the man she had been trying to track down for weeks.

“Because I have been able to have such a feast on your planets. I can eat constantly without fail. So many humans are pure, miss. Uncontaminated.”

“What do you mean, uncontaminated?” the Doctor asked.

“There is so much loneliness. So many of you, all alone, even when surrounded by others, there is hardly any true love.” He bent down, doubling over in pain. It was becoming a chore for him to even speak, and he struggled to continue, “Sad for you, but superb for me. It takes too much effort for me to eat when the love is so deeply rooted.”

The Doctor narrowed his eyes, figuring it out. “You can’t feed on a person if they’re truly in love already, can you? If they’re in love with someone else you can’t change that. The chemicals are too strong to manipulate.”

“No. I can’t eat it. I can’t make it mine.” he moaned, almost falling to his knees. “Please. Please, I just need to find one more that is pure. Then I’ll go, sir. I’ll leave. Just one more and I can live.”

“No. Nobody else is going to die.”

“Uh, except for him, right?” Inara interjected.

The Amourite turned to Inara. “When I discovered your kind, I could have rejoiced. Companions, the lot of you, keeping yourselves at a distance. So lovely, like dining every day from the menus of your most extravagant restaurants. But you. You were the first anomaly. Already contaminated. So in love, but ignoring it all the same.” He managed a tsk-tsk noise with his tongue. “It’s a shame. You’d have been delicious.”

Inara bristled, annoyed by the sudden intrusion of her own feelings into yet another conversation. “I can assure you, I’m not in love with anyone.”

The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “Not so sure about that.”

The alien looked back and forth between them.

“Please. You’re one to talk,” she said to the Doctor.

The Doctor glared right back at her.

The alien doubled over again, letting out a loud wail. The Doctor took a step towards him as Inara backed away.

“You only have what? A few minutes left? Three? Tops?”

All the color left in the alien’s facade drained away. In his panic, he began losing control of his body, his form shifting in and out of various guises. He was struggling. Desperate.

Suddenly, the shifting slowed, and he looked at the Doctor as if all hope rested on him.

It only took moments for the transformation to complete. His short black hair turned a shade of dirty blonde, grew longer and longer, and stopped at his shoulders. His tall, masculine shape grew shorter. His hips curved out. Lips grew fuller, his eyebrows thicker. The suit became a tight leather jacket. Black pants. Sneakers. Shirt cuffs pulled halfway up his hands became a knitted purple sweater.

Inara had seen this girl before. In the Doctor’s mind. From all the memories she had experienced, this was the girl that had stood out. Rose, she heard the name echo. Again she felt the memories and the fresh pain that had stung her like salt water on an open wound.

“Sir…” Rose said, fumbling, “…Doctor, please,” she said, a South Londinian accent heavy on her tongue.

Her cheeks were stained with tears. “Doctor, you can’t. You can’t kill me. Not with that glorified lock pick, anyway,” she laughed, jokingly. Smiling through her tears.

The Doctor stood firm, shaking his head, anger roiling beneath his steely surface. “Stop it!” he hissed, “Stop it right now!”

“Doctor…”

His voice rose to a shout. “Stop! Just stop! Change back.”

“I just need one more, and I’ll stay like this. With you.” Rose looked at him, eyes resolute, determined. “Forever.” She reached out her hand. “Like I promised, yeah?”

The Doctor’s fingers twitched. It was just a moment, but Inara saw the hesitation. “Stop. Stop, please, just stop,” his voice had grown quiet, pleading. Inara watched the Doctor as his resolve crumbled, as if he were falling for it. As if stopping was the last thing he wanted.

“Tell me you love me.” Rose approached the Doctor, getting too close for his, and Inara’s, comfort. Tears flowed readily down Rose’s face. She held her head up expectantly. “I am her. I can be. Just say it, Doctor. Please. You never said it. Then we can be together. We just have to find one more, and I can stay.” She brought her hand up to his cheek. “I can give that to you. Just say it, please…”

The Doctor turned away, looked to Inara. “I can’t,” he said, and Inara wasn’t certain whether he was speaking to the creature or to her.

Rose suddenly growled and shoved the Doctor away angrily. He stumbled backwards into the wall and stood there, motionless. With a flash in its eyes and a desperate scream, the creature who looked like Rose ran towards Inara.

It shoved Inara against the wall, pinning her shoulders down. Inara held her hands behind her back as the alien bore into her, searching. It shifted again. It became taller. Its muscles grew. Blonde hair became short and shaggy brown. Lips curved into a smirk. Purple sweater replaced by a maroon button down shirt. Suspenders. Inara would have sworn up and down that it even smelled like him.

“Just find me one more, darlin.’ Don’t have much time here. Please,” his hot breath was on her cheek, and he whispered softly, desperately into her ear, “I love you.”

She furrowed her eyebrows and twitched her lips sideways. “Oh, please.”

Inara brought one arm up. Mal’s eyes crossed in confusion as the blow stuck. He tipped over sideways and was on the ground before he even knew what hit him.

“A little more nuance would not have gone amiss,” she said to the lump on the ground. She gazed down at her hand, tossed the wrench in the air, and caught it. “Thank you, Kaylee.”

She looked at the Doctor, still standing speechless in the corner.

“I’ve always wanted to do that,” she smiled at him.

The Doctor shook his head, collecting himself. “Good show. And, may I ask, where on Earth were you hiding that?”

She only winked in response.

They both moved to stand over the collapsed form of the Amourite, which, unconscious and out of energy, had reverted back to its default form.

“What’s going to happen to it?” Inara asked, not sure if she really wanted to know.

The Doctor sighed. “It hasn’t fed. Pressure’s been building up inside all this time. Soon it’ll be too much, and it’ll, well, explode. Literally.”

“Doctor, didn’t you say it only had a few minutes left?”

“I believe so.”

“Wasn’t that…a few minutes ago?”

The both looked back down at the alien. It twitched. Inara and the Doctor looked at each other.

They dove behind the bed, pulling the cover down over them.

The alien’s body exploded with a loud and sickening splat.

Two seconds later, Inara and the Doctor popped their heads up, staring in disgust at the carnage.

“Ugh,” Inara held her hand up to her mouth to keep from vomiting, as she tried not to stare at the bloody mess on the floor.

“I really don’t know how I’m going to explain this.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“TARDIS,” said Inara, “that…doesn’t sound like a real word.”

“Stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space,” the Doctor called out from inside.

“I see,” said Inara, leaning back against a pillar, cup of tea in hand. She sipped it slowly, finally letting herself relax. As much as she could, anyway.

As the Doctor exited the TARDIS, she caught a glimpse of the interior of the ship. The cup in her hand rattled dangerously but she held on. She had received too many surprises for the day to be freaked out by a little thing like a blue box that was bigger on the inside.

After their encounter with the Amourite, the Doctor had gone back to the TARDIS to collect some things he thought might be handy in getting themselves out of trouble. He had left it parked in front of Inara’s terrace, and after two hours of interrogation by Alliance officials, and what was more frightening, Inara’s House Priestess, they had both finally found themselves back in the comforts of her room. She walked over to where she had left an empty cup, and poured some tea for the Doctor. She extended it to him, and he took it gladly.

“Tea. Solution to all life’s problems,” he said, in a voice too solemn for his words.

“If only,” Inara sighed. She stared at the TARDIS, illuminated against the backdrop of the mountains in the distance. The night was clear and quiet, but clouds had rolled in, blocking out the stars. Inara and the Doctor stood silently for a moment, sipping their hot tea and listening to the distant roar of a waterfall.

She finally broke the silence. “If you can go anywhere, be anywhere, why did you come here?”

The Doctor took in a breath, throwing his shoulders and head back slightly. “I didn’t. The TARDIS did.”

“How so?”

“I didn’t have a destination, so, I let her choose for me.”

“Well, I guess, lucky for me then. That you ended up here. That thing would have kept on killing if you hadn’t wandered by.”

“Trouble does seem to find me wherever I go.”

Inara laughed. “I know more than a few people with the same problem.”

“I saw,” the Doctor replied. “You left them.”

Inara stopped laughing.

“You didn’t have to,” he continued.

Inara put her cup down and turned away. “Back there…I can’t believe I’m saying this…that…alien…it…it turned into someone.”

“Your hardly a favorite client, flarey nostrils, space pirate, whose picture you’ve cried over more than once?”

Inara tried not to become enraged by the comment. She had almost forgotten that the Doctor had been inside her head, that he knew things about her no one else could possibly know. Mentioning Mal was one thing, but this man, a stranger, seeing her cry over him, seeing her vulnerable, made her furious. She pushed it back. No sense in being angry after everything she had seen today, and especially after everything she had seen inside the Doctor’s mind.

“Why did it do that?” she asked, ignoring the Doctor, “turn into him, I mean.”

The Doctor shrugged. “I suppose it was trying to appeal to our compassion. It was cornered, dying. Trying to find an escape. But you…you were incredible back there, really. Quite admirable.”

She moved closer to him, and they both stared out over the horizon. Minutes passed. Inara turned to see the Doctor gazing at the dark night clouds above with a pained expression.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“I’m--”

“You don’t need to lie, you know. I’ve been inside your head, too.”

“Right. Well. There you are then. You don’t need to ask.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What for?”

“Rose. She seems lovely, from what I saw. I suppose it’s more of a feeling than anything,” she paused, visibly contemplating, “…the real Rose, I mean, not the rather hostile and manipulative alien version.”

The Doctor laughed, but held his head up to the sky.

“She is. Oh, she is. You have no idea.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“Same as always. Me, the TARDIS, the universe.”

Inara watched the Doctor shuffle back inside the Training House to return his cup to her room. Inara moved closer to the TARDIS and reached out her hand to touch it, as if trying to suss out if it was real or not. Real it certainly was, but how it could possibly be a spaceship boggled her. It was made of wood for one thing, and giving it a good looking over, she noticed that its paint job was chipping. She heard the Doctor’s footsteps approaching behind her.

“This really is your ship?” she asked, the words sounding more like an incredulous statement of fact than a question.

“Yup,” he said. “She’s a bit temperamental sometimes, but mine nonetheless.”

“I love temperamental ships. They have personality.”

“That they do.”

The Doctor opened the TARDIS door all the way and perched himself on the threshold, silently considering her.

“I can’t quite say it’s been a pleasure, Doctor. You’ve changed my world more than a little,” Inara forced a smile, even though nothing inside her felt like smiling.

“Aw, c’mon. You had a bit of fun today, admit it.”

“Someone exploded on me. People are dead.”

“But you’re not.”

“No. And neither are you.”

“Quite right.”

“Do you have a destination this time?”

“Thought I’d let the TARDIS pick again.”

Inara nodded.

“And what about you?” he asked, “Going to stick around here? Wander about the halls for the rest of your life?”

“You make that sound like a bad thing. I know it’s nowhere near as exciting as the life you lead, but…”

“You could go back to them. To him. At least you still can.”

Inara only shook her head sadly. The Doctor’s expression was blank as he stared at her, contemplating.

“Or…you could come with me.”

“You should see the view here when there aren’t any clouds,” she said, sidestepping the question. “It’s spectacular.”

The Doctor reached inside the TARDIS, flicked a button. A ball of light shot up into the night sky, exploding like a blinding white firework. The clouds cleared, and the stars twinkled high above the mountainous vista below.

Inara’s mouth dropped open, but she closed it quickly. She gazed up into the black.

“I can take you there. And further. You’ve seen it.”

She felt her skin tingle again. “I…I can’t. I have responsibilities here, and…” she turned back to her room. Saw the candles burning down, the light dimming. She thought of the Doctor’s memories and bit down on her lip. When she turned back, she found the Doctor standing there with one foot inside the TARDIS, the other out on the stone terrace.

“Come with me.”

He held out his hand to her.

 
 
mood: crazycrazy
tunes: rosie thomas - the one i love
 
 
 
Frances: Crossover icon - Tea so GOOD...goldy_dollar on June 23rd, 2007 03:49 am (UTC)
Wow. Just wow. This was SO worth waiting for. There is so much here I like. So I'm just going to copy and paste a bunch of things back to you, if that's alright. :D

Your Ten is fantastic. All confusing and alien and gorgeous and a mystery and psychotic. He's SUCH a good compliment to Inara, truly. You have such fantastic dialogue between them at the beginning:

“Never heard of it. Is it Alliance tech of some kind?”

“Absolutely not,” said the Doctor, looking rather offended.


I laughed SO hard.

And then the mind-meld? Wow. Oh, wow again. Wow, bloody WOW. Somehow completely intimate and invasive at once. Loved his "one way trip" muttering. LOVE that he couldn't keep it.

There was a girl, standing right before her eyes, crying, wind sweeping through her hair as she stood alone on desolate sand. The image slowly faded until Inara was looking at the interior of a strange ship, and a wave of fresh grief washed over her, a desperate, clawing need to get back to that windswept beach.

And... I want to cry. Anything Doomsday related still makes me so wibbly. As does all the other glimpses into his mind that Inara got. Poor emo Time Lord! *flail*

Oh, and he gave you that little jade elephant on your dresser. How nice.

Ha! I seriously love your Ten voice. You do SUCH a great job of mixing humour with the sad bits.

Inara paused. “No. This is kind of exciting, actually.” Ignoring for a moment the danger, Inara admitted to herself that she hadn’t had this much ‘fun’ since leaving Serenity.

LOVE SO MUCH. Can we have her as the Doctor's next companion? No, but. Really? Can we?

“And what are we supposed to do, exactly? Fight the ‘alien’ with your glowy stick thing?”

GLOWY. STICK. THING. Win. :D

“Just find me one more, darlin.’ Don’t have much time here. Please,” his hot breath was on her cheek, and he whispered softly, desperately into her ear, “I love you.”

She furrowed her eyebrows and twitched her lips sideways. “Oh, please.”


I THINK I KIND OF LOVE YOU. THAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST THING I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE.

FANTASTIC contrast there. The Doctor was the one who seemed all in control at the beginning and of course he went to pieces at the thought of Rose. And Inara, despite being completely confused, kept it together. IT'S SO PERFECT. *glee*

As the Doctor exited the TARDIS, she caught a glimpse of the interior of the ship. The cup in her hand rattled dangerously but she held on

Giggle! Best reaction to the TARDIS ever. Gah. I have such a key picture of Inara's eyes widening slightly before she pulled herself back together.

In conclusion: You are pretty much awesome. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to hug them both. *has been so killed*
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // kissesohvienna on June 25th, 2007 12:24 am (UTC)
Your Ten is fantastic. All confusing and alien and gorgeous and a mystery and psychotic.

*runs around in happy circles* You have no clue how happy that makes me, honestly. I found Ten to be freakishly intimidating to even think about writing. Even when I did that little ficlet before. I was just...eeeeep! So thank you for saying, because it makes me most relieved. *G*

And then the mind-meld? Wow. Oh, wow again. Wow, bloody WOW. Somehow completely intimate and invasive at once.

Right after I claimed that as a prompt, I was like, oh crap. How do I explain a mind-meld?? And a mind-meld between these two brains?? In my first draft, my roommate gave me a note that was just "describe the Doctor's brains more." o_0 Man, this scene! I'm sooo glad it turned out okay.

Anything Doomsday related still makes me so wibbly.

Am right there with you. Actually, just watched the end again with a friend who didn't remember some of the dialogue. I just...*bawls*

Can we have her as the Doctor's next companion? No, but. Really? Can we?

Really really. RTD and Co. could like...go buy the rights to her character! Then they can get Morena off of Heartland and onto a good show and Ten and Inara can work through their issues together while gallivanting throughout time and space and all will be well with the world. *nods*

I THINK I KIND OF LOVE YOU. THAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST THING I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE.

Bwahaha! At first, it was just a "bad guy" and there was no shape-shifting. Once the Mal thing came into play, I was almost way too excited about it. Hee!

In conclusion: You are pretty much awesome. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to hug them both. *has been so killed*

*ridiculously dorky and giant smile* THANK YOU SO MUCH! *tacklehugs* Seriously, am pretty much dead from how completely awesome this comment is. I'm so happy you enjoyed the fic! *G*
Jen: dw ten k-9 good dog!jazzfic on June 23rd, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
Ooh, that was great! I really liked how you had Inara and Ten sleuthing together. There's room for so much exploration in their relationship. Ten had some wonderful lines--you have his voice to a tee :)

The kiss of death.

*grins* Ah, that old chestnut.

Thanks for posting this.
chug-a-lug, donna: DW // tooth and clawohvienna on June 25th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
There's room for so much exploration in their relationship. Ten had some wonderful lines--you have his voice to a tee :)

I am really digging this xover pairing. It's too much fun. I feel like there really is so much about them that is complimentary and interesting to read about in fic (not to mention teh hotness, of course). Hope there's still more on their relationship and adventures after the ficathon. *G*

And thanks for saying, about the Ten voice. I was quite intimidated by him, so I'm glad that he sounds alright!

*grins* Ah, that old chestnut.

;) He has to make everything as overly dramatic as possible, of course.

Thanks so much for the great comment! *G*
Kessa/Debra: Hello - Dr. Whokessadebra on June 23rd, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
Brilliant! The Doctor's voice is spot on; made me laugh out loud as well as tear up over his thoughts of Rose....Thank you!
chug-a-lug, donna: ten/rose // close up specsohvienna on June 25th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
Oh, awesome! Thanks so much for the great comment! I'm so glad the Doctor sounded like himself (he was a bit scary to tackle in writing, IMO).

tear up over his thoughts of Rose

I feel so bad for the guy. I was almost upset putting him through all that myself. Doctor/Rose emo is of the profoundly depressing variety.

Thanks for reading! I'm so glad you enjoyed! *G*
kaioa on June 23rd, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
Good fic. Was a bit unsure about this Ten/Inara "hoohaa" but definitely convinced it's a good thing now.
chug-a-lug, donna: M/I // thievesohvienna on June 25th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Was a bit unsure about this Ten/Inara "hoohaa" but definitely convinced it's a good thing now.

Heh! Welcome to the fold! My first brief thought when I discovered Ten/Inara was actually like, hrmmm? But then it just made sense and I thought it was a really fun xover pairing. Helps that these are two of my favorite characters currently. *G*

Thanks for the comment! It makes me gleeful that you enjoyed the read and that it convinced you of the goodness of Ten/Inara. *G*
cortexiphan juice box: Firefly - space whorehollywoodgrrl on June 23rd, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
Yayz! I finished reading! And it's brilliiiiaaaannnnttt!!!!!!!!

No for reelz. It's very well thought out and awesome. There was schmoop and such. Mind frakking, etc. But those are not my favorite parts. What I thought you did excellently was the Amourite. (Because the Amourite's my absolute favorite and I totally ship Ten/Amourite forever and everz! OTP! OTP! ... Ok, total j/k.) I have some favorite parts. One being the guy it was before Rose. I loved how he said "sir" and "miss" all polite like. And then how absolutely VISUAL the transformation was. *thud* And I could just hear Rose, her voice so soft it almost cracks, you know? Anyway then she became awesome!scary and totally wall-checked Inara! Alien!Rose ftw!!! And I totally LOVE the Mal transformation. Again, very visual and hot! And of course her response...I knew exactly the face she made right before the smackdown on alien!Mal. ;)

Ok, if you were paying any attention to ambient noise in the past half hour or so you would have heard me LOL. That was not pertaining to the DW clips I'm currently capturing. No. It was me reacting to this here line -->
It was made of wood for one thing, and giving it a good looking over, she noticed that its paint job was chipping.
Is this the first inkling of Inara's budding ship painting skillz? BWAHAHAHA!

Anyway excellent, wonderful, Mal, Inara, Rose, Ten, glowy stick thingies, wrenches, tea, little jade elephants, Amourites, ships in need of painting...yeah. Sweetie, you done good. ;)

chug-a-lug, donna: adria // super cape of extreme hottnessohvienna on June 25th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
What I thought you did excellently was the Amourite. (Because the Amourite's my absolute favorite and I totally ship Ten/Amourite forever and everz! OTP! OTP! ... Ok, total j/k.)

You be so ridiculous and silly. :P Mwahahaha. But I'm glad you liked the alienz, especially since you christened it with it's perfect name, teehee. Oh, House of Brews. Good times!!!!

I knew exactly the face she made right before the smackdown on alien!Mal. ;)

Squee. It's a very specific face, and she rules the world at making that face. *squishles you and Morena*

Ok, if you were paying any attention to ambient noise in the past half hour or so you would have heard me LOL. That was not pertaining to the DW clips I'm currently capturing. No. It was me reacting to this here line -->
It was made of wood for one thing, and giving it a good looking over, she noticed that its paint job was chipping.
Is this the first inkling of Inara's budding ship painting skillz? BWAHAHAHA!


ACK! OMFG! Will you write me the crack!fic where Inara creates a logo for the TARDIS and paints in on the side? Pretty please? With sugar on top?! Sugar! (And Inara does not do paint jobs, she's not a house painter, man. She is an artist with her painting skillz! Hee.)

Anyway excellent, wonderful, Mal, Inara, Rose, Ten, glowy stick thingies, wrenches, tea, little jade elephants, Amourites, ships in need of painting...yeah. Sweetie, you done good. ;)

I LOVE YOU!!! AND YOUR RIDICULOUSLY SUPER SUPER HOT ICON!
Pervy Nine Fancier: rosesky--maplesthonorh on June 23rd, 2007 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh, man. The Doctor and Inara would make such a killer combination. I threw her together with Nine a while back and she did a remarkable job of butt-kicking, but this with Ten? Priceless! You work the emotions both struggle with beautifully, Ten with his experience breaking down at the sight of Rose's doppelganger, and Inara, no experience with this kind of thing, but knowing Mal when she sees him--and this ain't it. Aside from which, I have little doubt she really has wanted to whack him over the head with a wrench a time or two. You work with the two of them beautifully, and by the end, I really want Inara to become the Doctor's (so to speak) companion. I'd happily read any further adventures you might have for the two of them.
chug-a-lug, donna: nine and rose // skyohvienna on June 25th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
The Doctor and Inara would make such a killer combination. I threw her together with Nine a while back and she did a remarkable job of butt-kicking

They so do. I think she makes such a great contrast to him, and would also challenge him as his companion. They are an awesome xover duo, I think. One of the more sensical ones I've ever come across, too. They just...fit together. And that sounds so great, your fic with Nine and Inara. I love Nine. Must seek this out. :)

Aside from which, I have little doubt she really has wanted to whack him over the head with a wrench a time or two.

Heh! I know, right? I was a little bit too excited to write that scene. I kept cracking up at the image.

You work with the two of them beautifully, and by the end, I really want Inara to become the Doctor's (so to speak) companion. I'd happily read any further adventures you might have for the two of them.

Thank you so much! I truly appreciate the fantastic comment. It makes me so pleased to know that it had such an effect. I'd like to write more sometime. We shall see. Thanks again for reading! :D

Also...*points to your icon* That...is awesome.
themolesmotherthemolesmother on June 23rd, 2007 09:05 am (UTC)
I loved this. I think Inara would make a great companion for the Doctor. She's beautiful, intelligent and doesn't take any shit. Just right.

Great story! More, please!!!

MM
chug-a-lug, donna: david tennantohvienna on June 25th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
I think Inara would make a great companion for the Doctor. She's beautiful, intelligent and doesn't take any shit. Just right.

I adore that description. :) I love the idea of them as a xover pair -- I think they really would compliment each other and Inara would certainly fit with the Doctor, especially post-Rose.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I'm happy you enjoyed! :)
She went that-a-way...: DW romana scarfjinxed_wood on June 23rd, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
A lovely story, thank you for sharing :-)
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // croppedohvienna on June 25th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Oh, no worries! I had a blast writing it, so I'm glad you enjoyed! Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
But, I don't want to be a pie,: specsidontlikegravy on June 23rd, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
WOW!
Tears, laughter and a shape-shifting emotional vampire, what more can a girl ask for? :)
Well I can ask for more! I love the idea of the Companion companion so I hope she says yes and I hope you write more. :)
chug-a-lug, donna: ten/rose // close up specsohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
I love the idea of the Companion companion

Haha, I love that -- It's part of the whole Doctor/Inara charm, I think, that play on words. It was a lot of fun writing this fic, so I'm beyond happy that you enjoyed reading. They do make a great pair, don't they? I hope to perhaps write more...so maybe she does go with him. ;) Thanks for the fantastic comment! *G*
Purpleyin/Hans: Chancemissyvortexdv on June 23rd, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Ooodles of fun. Who fits right in there so easily. I adore this and lvoe you Inara writing too. :D
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // kissesohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
I love DW/Firefly xovers; they just...work, in a way that doesn't seem too forced, I suppose. They're so much fun.

And thanks for saying, about the Inara writing. As she's (perhaps a bit too obviously ;)) one of my favorite characters, I definitely get intimidated by writing her. Comments like that really make my day. :)

Thanks muchly for giving it a read and I'm glad you enjoyed! :D
Paul Gadzikowskiscarfman on June 23rd, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)

I like that the Doctor lost his cool to the alien's ploy but Inara didn't.

chug-a-lug, donna: morena  // HIMYMohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
I think that might have been one of my favorite ideas for this -- having Inara save the day. Thank you for reading and commenting. :D
Chaosorder_of_chaos on June 24th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Fantastic!
chug-a-lug, donna: ten/rose // b&wohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the read. :D
Alice: serenitybeerbad on June 24th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
Aw, I love this. What a story! You're quite good. :) And the Doctor and Inara make a cute pair!
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // kissesohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
*does an embarrassing happy dance* Thank you, sweetie! I'm all giddy that you took the time to read (and also enjoyed, too).

And the Doctor and Inara make a cute pair!

It's too true - they really are adorable. I kinda love the idea of them together. I think DW/Firefly crossovers are just a lot of fun; the two worlds smush together nicely. *G*
locker_monster: Different Kind of Companionlocker_monster on June 24th, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're mean. :-D More please?

I just love it when the aliens on Doctor Who works as a metaphor as well. And it just fits so perfectly with where Inara and the Doctor are in their lives. The scene where the Amourite changes into Rose... *wibble* They so need to do that on the show.

I just love how it's Inara who doesn't respond at the end when the Doctor asks her to join him. They're so suited for each other that way. I bet they could dance around a topic forever. ;-D

I would read more if you wrote more, because this was just awesome.
chug-a-lug, donna: DW // that's a spaceship?ohvienna on June 25th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh, you're mean. :-D More please?

*cackles evilly* You know, I really had a lot of fun writing this, so perhaps there will be some more at some point. *shrugs* They are just such a fun pair!

I just love it when the aliens on Doctor Who works as a metaphor as well. And it just fits so perfectly with where Inara and the Doctor are in their lives. The scene where the Amourite changes into Rose... *wibble* They so need to do that on the show.

I do, too. And with silly overtly matching names, as well. ;) Thanks for commenting on that aspect, it was fun to come up with, but depressing to keep think about those two and their relationship woes. Oh, man, I think if something similar ever happened to the Doctor it would destroy me. I can just imagine DT in that scene...*bawls in advance*

Thanks so much for the fantastic comment! I truly appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed. Ten/Inara just rules, no? I think I shall just stare at your awesome icon for a while now. *G*
a lanky brunette with a wicked jaw: ten/inaraintrikate88 on June 25th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
I adore how she identifies him by his shoes. Also Sherlock Holmes!Doctor is adorable as well.

She thought she vaguely heard someone whisper, “Do you think that’s the pirate?” “Doesn’t look very pirate-y,” as she rounded a corner. It’s going to be fun explaining this, she thought as she quickened her pace to catch up.

AHAHAHAHAHA. Brilliant, I love.

Oh, OUCH. Turning into Rose, my goodness. That's rough. Although, Inara clubbing fake!Mal for not being nuanced enough was rather amusing.

Ooh, lovely ending. So open and promising. Your characterisation of the two of them really came together tightly throughout this fic and I think you did a magnificent job.
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // b&w smileohvienna on June 26th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Oh, OUCH. Turning into Rose, my goodness. That's rough.

As if the man didn't have enough emo, already no?

Ooh, lovely ending. So open and promising. Your characterisation of the two of them really came together tightly throughout this fic and I think you did a magnificent job.

*toes the ground and blushes* Thanks so much! I loved loved loved writing for this ficathon. This pairing is just beyond way too much fun. :D

Nina: imagine the impossible:  ten and inaraninamazing on June 26th, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
“Couldn’t help but. You sounded like John Wayne in Rio Bravo.”

LOVE IT. They can overdo it sometimes, but in small doses, the Doctor's out-of-whack cultural references are just MADE OF WIN.

“Good looking fellow. Favorite client of yours?”

HAHAHAHAHA! And you even worked in a Nathan's-big-nose joke! WHY ARE YOU SUCH A GENIUS??!!

And sidenote: I love the way you've got a plot and mystery that's all about love and sexual attraction and shippiness. It's great for bringing Issues up. :D

AND I LOVE THEIR CONVERSATION ABOUT FALLING IN LOVE. OMG, DOCTOR. OMG. Inara is all "Nobody can really understand love so I will never fall prey to it!" and the Doctor is all "I'M IN LOVE WITH A NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL." :DDDD In my head. It's brilliant. Thank you.

Gah, I am obsessed with that whole scene.

DUDE, I LOVE THE MIND-MELD. I AM SO GLAD SOMEONE DID THIS PROMPT, AND I AM SO GLAD THAT SOMEONE WAS YOU.

Anyone who puts Rose and Romana II in a fic is going to have my infinite squee. :DDDDDD

I love the Doctor. If someone came up to me and said "there are things in this world you never thought possible" and showed me a bunch of them, I would be freaking the hell out, but Ten, of course, can't be bothered to explain things to anybody. Oh, Doctor. <3

AHAHAHA REFERENCE TO THE INARA/MAL PIRATE STORIES. :D :D :D :D That was the best deleted scene ever.

Oh, and Ten going on about love? Wow -- amazing, incredible work. I am so in love with you for that one. I just ... I can HEAR David Tennant saying it, and it's so VERY Doctor Who, and it's touching and heartbreaking and perfect. :)

I want you to know that I gasped when the shapeshifter started changing. THIS IS SO GENIUS.

AND THE WRENCH IS FROM KAYLEE. OMG, I JUST ADORE YOU.

I'm so excited that Ten didn't immediately take off after all the hullabaloo. He's usually like, "Oh, I have to grab a few things!" and runs into the TARDIS and then is all "OH JUST KIDDING BYE NOW." It's the power of Ten/Inara. It has to be. :DDDD (It's frankly ridiculous that a person can ship Ten/Rose and Mal/Inara AND Ten/Inara, BUT IT WORKS SO WELL, DOESN'T IT??!! Especially in your fic. Bless you.)

Oh -- SO BEAUTIFUL. An unexpected ending and PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. I AM OBSESSED WITH YOU.

She can't go back to Mal. And Ten can't go back to Rose. BUT THEY HAVE EACH OTHER.

*isdead*
chug-a-lug, donna: DW // tooth and clawohvienna on June 27th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
And you even worked in a Nathan's-big-nose joke! WHY ARE YOU SUCH A GENIUS??!!

It is Nathan's nose that is the real genius here. For it is so awesome that I must reference it and it's flaring always. I think in my M/I fic, every other sentence was, "and then Mal flared his nostrils."

I love the way you've got a plot and mystery that's all about love and sexual attraction and shippiness. It's great for bringing Issues up. :D

Yay, thanks for bringing that up. I really wanted to have a plot where they could have the Issues brought to the fore in a (sort of) organic way.

DUDE, I LOVE THE MIND-MELD. I AM SO GLAD SOMEONE DID THIS PROMPT, AND I AM SO GLAD THAT SOMEONE WAS YOU.

WOO THANKS!! I was pulling my hair out for a while after claiming this prompt, seriously. I was all, "mind-meld. Okay....OMG. How in the hell am I going to do that?" :D

Anyone who puts Rose and Romana II in a fic is going to have my infinite squee. :DDDDDD

I just started watching classic Who! And of course I started with Tom Baker. I just love Romana II. She's so adorable!

AHAHAHA REFERENCE TO THE INARA/MAL PIRATE STORIES. :D :D :D :D That was the best deleted scene ever.

I know!!! GAH! Why, oh why, couldn't all those deleted scenes be in the movie?? (I mean, okay, I know why they weren't in the movie, but still.). Woe.

I want you to know that I gasped when the shapeshifter started changing. THIS IS SO GENIUS.

That was why I was past the deadline! It sort of came to me and my roommates on the subway as we were discussing the bad guy alien. First it was just a random alien/person, and then that idea came up and we were just like..."ooooooh." And it made the whole wrench thing even better, since she got to whack Mal over the head. I was too excited about that. And about the whole wrench thing. I think I almost wrote a separate fic about Inara and Kaylee and how it came to be in her possession before realizing it really didn't matter.

I'm so excited that Ten didn't immediately take off after all the hullabaloo. He's usually like, "Oh, I have to grab a few things!" and runs into the TARDIS and then is all "OH JUST KIDDING BYE NOW." It's the power of Ten/Inara. It has to be.

Agreed!! Ten/Inara rules all. ;) Ha, I wanted him to get Inara out of trouble. It would have been so horrible had he just left her to fend for herself on that one, and also, of course, he wanted to come back and ask her to bi his companion, because she is made of much win and he obviously would. *nods*

*isdead*

Then my job is done. :D

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE AMAZING COMMENT! Really, you have no idea how much glee comments like these make me have. And I should be thanking you all really, for hosting the ficathon. Without that I would never have written it, so thanks!
dancink on June 26th, 2007 10:21 am (UTC)
Fantastic. Mind if I worship you for a little bit?
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // grinohvienna on June 27th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! And, no, I don't mind worshiping at all. I accept any and all offerings (just don't sacrifice anything...I'll be sad).

And if you don't mind, I think I'll just bow down before your awesome comment for a while! Thanks again! I'm really glad you enjoyed the read!
Robinrobin_redbreast on June 26th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
!!!!

What a great read! This is a fun, tight story. Characterization was great and I really like how the Doctor and Inara interacted. Nicely done.
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // grinohvienna on June 27th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
It's always the best thing to hear when someone thinks that characterization in a fic was done well. I really appreciate that! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and I'm all giddy that you enjoyed it! :D
Padawanpooh: Firefly Kayleepadawanpooh on June 26th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
A brilliant pairing! You write both Inara & Ten beautifully. Add to that a cracking plot and some telepathy and I'm a very happy bunny.

Excellent job *runs off to rec to Firefly/Who fans*
chug-a-lug, donna: kaylee // mine's the nicestohvienna on June 27th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
*toes the ground* Wow, thank you so much for reccing! That seriously made my day.

A brilliant pairing!

They are though, aren't they? Ten and Inara just seem to work quite nicely together. :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting - I'm very glad you enjoyed it! :D
Flurblewig: docrose2flurblewig on June 26th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's just completely wonderful! Superb characterisation and a thoroughly entertaining plot. Great job!
chug-a-lug, donnaohvienna on June 27th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Wow, now I'm all gleeful. Thanks so much for commenting and I'm so glad you enjoyed the read! :D
Ith: Art - Heat: Red Shoes & Martiniithildyn on June 27th, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
I read this over the weekend, and absolutely adored it!
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // grinohvienna on June 27th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by again and commenting, I really appreciate that! :D
firefly_ca: bookfirefly_ca on June 27th, 2007 05:23 am (UTC)
Oh, this was delightful. As soon as the alien shifted into Mal, I got excited because you KNOW something awesome is about to happen. Ten goes looking for excuses to make the Woobie Face about Rose, but Inara? Dude, if Mal ever delibratly tried to play the "Pity Me" card, she WOULD hit him in the head with a wrench, and that's the REAL Mal. SUCH a great way to contrast the two different characters, and also the way they act in their respective UST relationships. Great job!
chug-a-lug, donna: inara // b&w smileohvienna on June 28th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Ten goes looking for excuses to make the Woobie Face about Rose

Woobie Face! Poor emo Time Lord. :( As if he wasn't depressed enough already, I have to go throw Rose-shaped aliens at him.

but Inara? Dude, if Mal ever delibratly tried to play the "Pity Me" card, she WOULD hit him in the head with a wrench, and that's the REAL Mal

Haha, too true! :D Honestly, you have no idea how excited I was to have Inara hit Mal over the head. I almost wish it was the Real Mal. ;)

I think Ten and Inara make a really interesting xover duo, especially in terms of how they compare/contrast to each other (in terms of their relationship issues, etc.), so I'm happy that came through in the fic. Thank you so much for the fantastic comment! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you enjoyed reading. :D
Sunshiny Mesunstar77 on June 28th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
That was great! Your Ten was so good, I could really see DT as I read. Great characterizations.
chug-a-lug, donna: DW // that's a spaceship?ohvienna on June 29th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Ten was really a daunting character to try and write; that you could actually picture DT while you read makes me all kinds of happy. Thanks so much for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed! :D
magicamethyst80magicamethyst80 on June 29th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
Oh, you are the one for linking this comm, to my comm dw_crossover. Once again, while I love the idea of The Doctor meeting Inara, I would rather see a plot, and personal interaction than simple smut in this crossover pairing, which you are doing an excellent job pulling off. I love the way you initially handle these two characters, Ten doing things in Inara's personal space to make her feel uncomfortable, and not quite in control. Inara's initial feelings about The Doctor, with his unfamiliar tech, making her uncomfortable, are very in character, from her perspective, those with high tech gadgets represent the Alliance.

Good job introducing extraterrestrial life in the Firefly'verse, having The Doctor prefacing things by telling her that she won't believe him.

The scene with The Doctor reading Inara's mind is well done, Nice to see you having Inara instantly thinking of River. However, River's mind reading abilities were very different from The Doctor's, honorh does a good job touching upon this in Out of Joint. Also like the idea of what happens when Inara gets to see The Doctor's memories. It is nice how you touch upon Classic Who, and memories of previous companions, although it would have been interesting if you had slipped in something about Susan.

The antics between Inara and the Doctor are well done, love the way the Doctor is searching through the "Companion Training Center," accidentally stumbling upon all sorts of things he should not stumble upon, very Ten

Finally we have a good Who'esque villain, the "Amourites," very "New Who," to have a creature like this, and nice that you were able to create your own villain.

It is also nice to see Inara enjoying this adventure a bit. We knew that despite her not being officially part of the Serenity crew, she enjoyed the adventures, and the ride!

Like the way you explain that in the Firefly version of the future, particularly in a companion training school, there is "no love," although if you are bringing Classic Who into this, is Rose the Doctor's true love? He was "a dad once," who was the mother? How did he become a grandfather at the start of the series?

Like the hat tip to Kayley, always having a wrench handy!

Also love the way you end this on a mysterious note. The Doctor has made a connection with Inara, and Inara is considering becoming "his companion." In addition, hats off to not turning this into an Inara/Ten/Jack smuttfest.
chug-a-lug, donna: ten/rose // b&wohvienna on June 29th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
There is nothing better for a fic writer than waking up to a comment like this. Just, thank you so much. :)

The scene with The Doctor reading Inara's mind is well done, Nice to see you having Inara instantly thinking of River. However, River's mind reading abilities were very different from The Doctor's, honorh does a good job touching upon this in Out of Joint. Also like the idea of what happens when Inara gets to see The Doctor's memories. It is nice how you touch upon Classic Who, and memories of previous companions, although it would have been interesting if you had slipped in something about Susan.

Thank you! I'm glad you thought this was done well. Having a mind-meld in the story was the prompt I took for the Sonic Tea Ficathon, and it caused some hair pulling, let me tell you. I thought that Inara's first thoughts would go to River, as the closest thing she could think of to make sense of it, but of course it's not the same at all. I had her sort of stuttering about that for a second. I will have to go check out "Out of Joint," that sounds like a really interesting fic!

Here is where I have to reveal my scant knowledge of Classic Who. :) I've only just started dipping my toes in the Classic Who waters, in terms of watching. Most of my knowledge is strictly New Who, and then bits and pieces from his previous incarnations. The mind-meld was crazy because it could have been a even more revelatory, especially on Inara's part, too (her leaving the Training House before Firefly, info about her past, etc.), but I wanted to keep focused on the task at hand. I knew that the Doctor had a granddaughter -- I just had to go run and double check to see who Susan actually was. *is shamed*

Finally we have a good Who'esque villain, the "Amourites," very "New Who," to have a creature like this, and nice that you were able to create your own villain.

Ha, that was really fun. I wanted it to have that New Who vibe, and also to have it overtly relate to everything, name and all. :)

It is also nice to see Inara enjoying this adventure a bit. We knew that despite her not being officially part of the Serenity crew, she enjoyed the adventures, and the ride!

Absolutely! I think that on occasion in fic folks forget this wonderful aspect of her, as well as how biting and sarcastic and funny she is. So, thanks for saying!

although if you are bringing Classic Who into this, is Rose the Doctor's true love? He was "a dad once," who was the mother? How did he become a grandfather at the start of the series?

I need to watch more Classic Who. :) I knew that he was a dad once, that he at least was at his own wedding (and therefore probably married), etc. Of course, that doesn't mean he was for certain in love with whoever the mother was, though he very well probably was (I love that he said he was rubbish at his own wedding!). I think the Doctor has probably loved quite a bit in his life, but for this story's purposes, and especially since it's set right after "Doomsday," Rose is currently "the one" (however many "ones" there were). I don't mean to limit him to only having "one true love," but Rose is who he's grieving over now, it's what Inara would have felt strongest and what the alien would have been able to latch onto easiest.

Also love the way you end this on a mysterious note. The Doctor has made a connection with Inara, and Inara is considering becoming "his companion." In addition, hats off to not turning this into an Inara/Ten/Jack smuttfest.

That image was in my head for a while, of him offering and then cutting it off before we get an answer from her. I do think that at this point in her life it makes it much more hazy; now more than ever she might actually say yes.

Inara/Ten/Jack smuttfest! Gah. Smut isn't my thing, either, so you can rest assured I won't be writing any. Probably ever. :) (Although, that threesome sounds fairly hot. ;))

THANK YOU SO MUCH again for the incredible comment. I means a lot that you really took the time to think about everything and then leave such great feedback. It's truly appreciated. :D

apsik: kawasaki dollapsik on July 3rd, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
Awsome. Adventure, nostalgy, good characterization, interesting plot... I loved it :D

hee! Inara as the Doctor's new companion... rocks :D
chug-a-lug, donna: billie and david // adorableohvienna on July 3rd, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
hee! Inara as the Doctor's new companion... rocks :D

Bwah! Doesn't it just? ;) (As far as xover pairings go, this one just works).

Thanks so much for the fantastic comment! I'm glad you enjoyed reading! *G*