OK, for all of you who wanted to see me do a Christmas Fanfic with Nine, here it is, better late than never.
Disclaimer: No, I don’t own anything here except the character of Trace. I don’t get paid for this; I just do this for fun.
Rating: G (though some kids might not totally understand it)
Universe: The Whoniverse, possibly AU
Characters: The Doctor (9), Trace (original companion), Rose, Jack
Relative Chronology: Some time between the cannon “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town,” and also sometime after the rpgwho Skaro timeline with doctor_nyne, which partially inspired this. The rest of the inspiration (the bulk of it) was ecclestonfan and this year’s weird weather.
Spoilers: Unless you haven’t seen all of Series one, I really can’t think of any.
FYI: in case anyone is wondering, there is not that much of Rose or Jack in this mainly because I don’t feel I could really do either justice. *hoping like hell you'll like it anyway*
The TARDIS had landed on Earth, December 24, 2005, right in the middle of New York, New York, USA.
“It’s Christmas!” Rose exclaimed with glee.
“Yup,” the Doctor replied, beaming. He pulled back from the controls, folding his arms across his chest and smiled broadly.
“Cool!” Jack shouted, never one to be left out of any fun.
The only member of the TARDIS crew, who didn’t seem excited, was Trace. Trace had “Gothed out” since their last trip. She had found several articles of clothing in the TARDIS wardrobe in her size and most of these were Goth in style. At the moment, Trace looked like a bizarre cross between Velma Dinkley and Abbey Sciouto, complete with pigtails and glasses.
“Let’s go find a party to crash!” Jack ventured with much enthusiasm.
“Ooh, that sounds like fun!” Rose concurred.
The Doctor just quietly smiled to himself, as he, Rose and Jack, prepared to leave the TARDIS. The smile faded as the Doctor realized their quartet was now a trio. He glanced over at Trace and called, “Trace aren’t you commin’?” His brow furrowed a bit. He hadn’t expected this.
“Nah, you three go on ahead. I have some reading to do. I do have that cell you gave me, so you can ring me if you need me,” Trace replied then left the control room for her own room on board the TARDIS.
Jack and Rose had already gone outside during the exchange. The Doctor shrugged to himself, put his hands in the pockets of his leather coat, and went out to talk to Rose and Jack. Halfway there, his face gained an almost pensive expression. The look in his piercing blue eyes was concerned. When he got outside, the Doctor turned to his other two companions and said, “Listen, I think I need to check on our newest crew member. You two, go find some fun. I’ll catch up later, OK?”
Rose looked a bit worried, but Jack was thrilled at the chance to go show Rose a good time, “C’mon, Rosie! Let’s you and me take a bite outta the Big Apple!”
Back on board the TARDIS, Trace was laying on her bed with a large stack of books. She’d found a veritable treasure trove in the TARDIS library, and her current selected stack contained works by Dickens, Poe, and Lovecraft, just to name a few. Trace was in the middle of one of Lovecraft’s works, when she heard a knock at her door. Carefully, she set the book down, and called out, “C’mon in!”
It was the Doctor at her door. Even if Trace hadn’t been empathic, she could tell by the look in his blue eyes and the expression on his face, that the Doctor was concerned. “You all right?” he asked her, not bothering to conceal his worry. What was the point? She’d probably sense it.
Meeting the Doctor’s gaze, Trace replied, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
The Doctor ran a hand through his close-cropped light brown hair. His face gained a serious expression, his “I know something is going on,” expression. He walked into his companion’s room. “I couldn’t help but notice your unusual lack of enthusiasm. Is there somethin’ you wanna tell me?” the Doctor asked. This companion was an odd one, not at all easy to figure. Trace had been thrilled at the chance to join the Doctor. She’d had told him that she’d wanted to join him ever since she had first met the Doctor back when she was only 5. Now here they were, almost 30 years later- for Trace any way-, on the brink of a possible adventure, if not a bit of quiet fun, and Trace was sitting alone reading. This was odd, even for Trace. The Doctor raised an eyebrow, awaiting her answer.
Trace was quiet, deep in thought for a moment. Then she answered the Doctor, “I really don’t think you three want me around for this one.” She met the Doctor’s eyes, but her voice was soft, not her usual confident boom.
“Why wouldn’t we?” The Doctor was puzzled. His brow furrowed again, and then he asked, “What, you got somethin’ against Christmas?” He sat down on a chair and folded his arms across his chest, his leather jacket creaking as he did so, and almost completely covering his maroon jumper.
“Not as such,” she began, and then continued,” It’s just that it bugs me that for like 363-364 days a year people treat each other like garbage. Heck, half the time while they’re Christmas shopping they’re down right nasty. Then, for one day, they’re nice. But rather than stay that way, the next day they go right back to being rotten. I don’t mind Christmas as such, but it’s the fake stuff that gets to me. I just wish that people could be as nice all year round as they are at Christmas. Also, reservations aside, I really don’t feel like I’m really in the holiday spirit, for some reason. I really don’t want to drag you or any of the others down. I figured I’d just sit here and read unless you contacted me and said you had need of me.”
The Doctor was quiet and thoughtful during Trace’s response. He looked at the pile of books Trace has selected. He broke into a broad grin when he saw the books by Dickens.
Trace noticed the Doctor’s grin right away, and where in the stack he was looking. “Rose said you met him and that he was really nice. I figured I’d try reading some of his works that I wasn’t familiar with. I thought I might be able to enjoy them more without a teacher breathing down my neck and analyzing them to death.”
“Not a first choice then?” he asked, curious. He still hadn’t managed to work out what this companion’s major quirks were.
“That would be the Poe and Lovecraft.”
The grin faded. The Doctor almost looked sad, but then he brightened. He gave Trace a look loaded with irony and said, “I can’t imagine why you’d be reading those two!” He grinned a bit.
Trace had to smile.
The Doctor giggled, and then he was more serious. “You sure you don’t want to come with us?”
“I’m not big on parties. I feel totally out of place even when I’m not doing the Goth thing.”
“We don’t have to go to a party, y’know,” the Doctor offered. For some reason, he felt the need to get this companion outside, even for a bit.
“What else is going on that you’re interested in, Doctor?”
“If you’re up for it, it just so happens that there’s a live performance of A Christmas Carol on Broadway at the mo’.”
Trace looked interested, at first, then she looked worried, “How are you gonna get us in? Surely they’ll be sold out; especially tonight.”
“I have my ways,” the Doctor said and smiled. Then he gently took Trace’s hands and said, “C’mon. You can’t stay cooped up in ‘ere.”
Trace allowed the Doctor to lead her out of the room and back to the wardrobe. The Doctor left Trace there to pick an outfit and change, while he went to the control room and sent a text message to Jack, so that the ex-Time Agent and Rose wouldn’t worry. All tasks completed, the Doctor and Trace left for Broadway.
The theater was packed but there had been one box that was vacant. The Doctor had managed to secure this box for himself and Trace, and no doubt surprised his companion in the process. Between talking a good game and his psychic paper, the Doctor had managed to convince the theater staff that he was a major theater critic and that Trace was his “plus one” for the evening. They extended the Doctor and Trace every courtesy.
The Doctor smiled quietly to himself, then he said to Trace, “Let’s see if we can’t raise your spirits just a bit.”
Trace smiled back. She had de-Gothed a bit, but was still in black. She’d found a lovely velvet ensemble in the wardrobe. Her hair was no longer in pig tails, but pulled back in a bun held with an elaborate holder, also from the wardrobe. She’d 86’d her glasses and what little Goth jewelry she’d been wearing. The only jewelry she wore now was a long silvery chain around her neck, which held her TARDIS key. She kept it hidden under her blouse.
After the play had finished, the Doctor exclaimed “Fantastic!” as the whole theater gave a standing ovation. He and Trace left the theater. Although Trace was now smiling, the Doctor sensed something was still bothering her. So he asked, “What is it?”
“I dunno. Something just doesn’t feel right. I wish I could be more specific.” She shook her head trying to figure it out.
Now that he thought about it himself, the Doctor, too, sensed something a miss. “You’re right. Somethin’s definitely wrong.”
“Trouble?” Trace offered.
“Oh, yeah,” the Doctor replied and grinned.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, Rose and Jack were having a great time at a party in a club. Jack had managed to charm his and Rose’s way in. Neither was aware of the drama now playing out in the presence of their other two friends. Absentmindedly, Rose noticed a poster on the wall of the club with a large almost man-like wolf menacing a girl in red hooded cape. She was about to take a better look when Jack called her away to show her something else in the club. With all that was going on, Rose forgot about the poster.
The Doctor could have been meditating, and on a certain level he was. He could clearly sense the disturbance that he and Trace had noticed. Trace had been unable to pinpoint the source. The Doctor cleared his mind, attempting to do just that, but not before he thought I wonder what Trace would have made of our little adventure in 1941. I can’t help wondering if she would have noticed the feeling in room 802 His mind cleared, the Doctor now had a clear lock on the source. He opened his piercing blue eyes and was off like a shot. Trace had to run fast, just to keep up, but she did manage. Then the Doctor stopped, and Trace with him. Trace looked up to get her bearings and noticed that they were now in Times Square. “Ironic, that,” the Doctor commented, noticing their location at the same time as his companion.
“Yeah,” Trace agreed, smiling.
The Doctor walked confidently toward a building, Trace in tow. It was the building upon which, every year, the infamous “ball” is dropped on New Year’s Eve. Between his charm and psychic paper, the Doctor was able to convince the night watchmen at the building that he was there for a quick unannounced safety inspection, in preparation for next week’s New Year’s festivities, with his “assistant.” Once the watchmen let them in and left them alone for the “inspection,” the Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to get past any locked doors. It wasn’t until the pair had reached the top floor of the building, that the Doctor found what he was looking for.
It was a small, odd-looking sphere, about the size of a grapefruit. Trace could sense it, but had no idea what it was. ”What is that, Doctor?”
The Doctor’s face had an almost wistful expression as he regarded the object. “Something from home. It’s a bit out of a TARDIS, part of the temporal stabilizing system. Without the rest of the system to give it instruction and external sensors, or shielding, it can cause all kinds of temporal disturbances.”
“So that’s why it’s so unseasonably warm and doesn’t really feel like Christmas?”
“So what do we do with it now that we’ve found it?”
“Switch it off and take it back with us. It could come in handy, “the Doctor replied, thoughtfully. Then he added, “It’s not as if I can just pop in a ‘ardware store for spare parts y’know.” He almost looked a bit sad. He adjusted the setting on his sonic screwdriver, switched it on, and used that to switch the sphere off. It occurred to him as he did so, that, if he hadn’t been trying to get this companion out and about, he might not have found the disturbance and this tech from home as quickly. The Doctor also realized, that Trace hadn’t asked him how an inside bit of one of his people’s crafts could have wound up here. He wasn’t eager to broach that subject with anyone.
He needn’t have worried, Trace could sense the Doctor’s pain, and the fact he wasn’t ready to talk, so she walked over to a window, allowing him a quiet moment alone. When Trace looked out she saw it was snowing. She stood quietly staring at the lovely scene. Somewhere, a clock chimed midnight. Trace turned back to the Doctor. “Merry Christmas, Doctor,” she said and smiled.
The Doctor just had to smile back.