Disclaimer: I own none of this and I’m not being paid, I’m just having fun and trying to get these ideas out of my head…
Characters: the Ninth Doctor (Claude), Trace (Original Character), Tenth Doctor
Spoilers: DoctorWho: “Rose” thru “Runaway Bride,” Heroes: “Genesis” thru “Unexpected,” so if you haven’t seen these, you shouldn’t read this until you do (or at least not until you have some idea of the plots).
Rating: PG-PG13 for subject and language
Side note: I had toyed with the idea of tying this crossover fic (should that be crack fic?) with my Claude/Brenna storyline, but I decided instead to tie it with my AU Ninth Doctor fic.
Prequels by me: X-mas Fic, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, And Running Out of Time…
Time for a Change?
The Doctor, Claude, kept running. Given that Bennet had found him again, he couldn’t risk being captured. After wandering aimlessly and invisibly through the streets of
Trace was feeling rather dejected. She’d been feeling empty, even before her rather fantastic adventures with the Doctor, and now that she’d been returned to a mundane sort of life, she felt it even more so. She’d only been back a week, but it felt like another lifetime. She had been packing for a hiking excursion in Wolfeboro, when a freak time storm had grabbed her and dumped her unceremoniously on a planet called Skaro. She’d run into the Doctor there, and his two companions, Rose and Jack. She had already met the Doctor a long time ago, when she had been only 5, and had been searching for him ever since. She was elated to finally find him again. After a series of adventures, the Doctor had managed, through no small miracle, to return Trace to Earth, at the same moment and space she’d left it. She really hadn’t wanted to stay on Earth, but the Doctor had insisted. “You’re a good nurse, Trace, the world has need of you,” he’d told her. That had been a week ago, and now, yet again, Trace was packing to go hiking in Wolfeboro. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how one looked at it) there was no time storm to interrupt her, so she finished packing. It was almost like she was on autopilot. She hadn’t bothered going the previous weekend, because she’d still been in a state of shock. She missed Rose and Jack, but she missed the Doctor most of all. He’d been in her thoughts, now more than ever, as well as in her dreams. For some reason, he seemed to look a lot different in her dreams than she’d remembered, and in some he was invisible. These thoughts plagued Trace, as she drove to Wolfeboro in her car. Once there, she rented a cabin, then parked her car, and set off on the hiking trail. Everything was quiet, but Trace just couldn’t shake the feeling she was needed, or stop thinking about the Doctor and his strange appearance in her dreams, or the fact that he was invisible in some.
Claude found himself in a wooded area and figured he’d be safe, at least for a while. He was hungry and cold and realized that he needed to find some sort of shelter, because, despite the fact that the cold didn’t bother him that much, he knew that even he couldn’t last forever exposed to the elements, even allowing for how unseasonably warm October had been. Unbidden, he recalled how it was just this September past that he would have been leaving
He was so preoccupied with watching Trace, and pondering deeply, that Claude didn’t notice she was looking right at him. When he did notice, finally, he figured she was looking at something behind him because, after all, he was still invisible.
“Doctor?” she called out, questioningly, as she looked at him. Trace thought she’d recognized him, but this man looked more like the Doctor in her dreams than the man who’d taken her home a week ago.
Recognition crossed Claude’s face with a look of surprise, but than he frowned. He found himself repeating nearly the same words he’d said to Peter when they’d met, “You can see me? How can you see me?”
“Why shouldn’t I be able to see you, Doctor?” Trace was puzzled.
That’s right, Trace is psychic, he thought to himself. Claude moved as if to walk away, “That’s not who I am anymore.”
“What happened? It can’t have been good. Look, I know you don’t like to talk about your past, you never did, but you should talk to someone,” she began.
“I can’t trust anyone!” he fired back angrily. “It’s been 15 years since I last saw you. 15 years that I would rather forget! And you should forget me, too!” He moved like he was going to storm away, into the woods, but Trace kept up with him.
“I can’t forget you and I don’t even want to try! It may have only been a week for me but I still missed you!” Trace called after him, then stood waiting to see how he would react.
He turned back on her, “Forget me! The Doctor you knew is gone!”
“Then why did I dream about you again? And why did you look like this in my dreams? And why were you invisible in some of them?” She shouted back, unwilling to be intimidated by him. Somewhere deep inside, she knew that he needed help, specifically hers, but she was unprepared for his reaction.
Claude laughed, and it was not a healthy laugh. He’d started when she’d mentioned her dreams, and had laughed even harder when she’d said he’d been invisible in some of them. Despite this, he still felt the need to explain, “I’m Claude Raines the bloody invisible man. That’s who I am now.” Again, he tried to walk away.
“Claude,” she began, using the unfamiliar name he’d given himself, “that may be who you are, but tell me you don’t need help and I’ll go.”
He really wanted to walk away. Trace, on some level, was a painful reminder of all he had lost: his TARDIS, his companions, his planet, his people, his identity, and his very self; but he couldn’t just walk away. Deep down, he realized there had to be a reason he kept running into Trace, and he did have to admit she was right about him needing help, even if he hated to admit it. However, he also had a great deal of fear; it was both fear he’d drag her down and fear she would betray him as so many others had. “It’s dangerous,” he cautioned her.
“When isn’t it?” she countered.
He had to admit, she had a point there.
“What happened after you left me at home?”
“A lot. In September, this year, Rose, Jack, and I dealt with the last of the Slitheen, who was hiding in
“I read about that, two days after I got in.”
Claude smiled the continued, “After
“Does that hurt?” she asked.
“What?” he asked in reply, not totally understanding what she meant, and just a bit surprised.
“That scar, it looks painful, does it hurt?” she clarified.
“Not any more. It hurt when it was first done, 15 years ago. I’m not the only person they marked either, there were others,” he began, but his voice broke a final time and he just couldn’t continue. He gave Trace a wretched hollow look, and then, suddenly, stepped towards her, pulled her close to him in a bone crushing hug, and sobbed on her shoulder.
Trace just held him. She had known he had rather strong emotions, she’d sensed them before, but never, in all the time she had traveled with him, had she ever seen him cry. She’d often suspected he wanted to, and several times she’d sensed it, but he always had stopped himself. In the past he’d even tried to hide his feelings from Trace, despite the fact she was empathically sensitive, but Claude didn’t hide any of it now.
Somewhere, in the back of his mind, Claude thought, that if he let Trace see how broken he was, she might stop trying so hard to find him, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. As he let the grief and guilt pour out of him, he could sense Trace’s determination to stay with and help him grow even stronger. He let go of her and dried his eyes roughly on his sleeve. “I’m pathetic,” he spat in disgust. “I’m as pathetic as poodle-boy back in
“No you’re not. You’ve been through hell and you’re still here. You helped me once, a long time ago. Let me help you.”
He hadn’t told her that it was him who had saved her all those years ago and bailed her out of a really bad spot in her life, one she’d almost died in, but somehow she knew it that it had been him. No mater how he disguised himself, she always seemed to know. He had to smile at that. “I could do with some food and a place to stay, for starters.”
“C’mon, my car isn’t far and I rented a cabin nearby for the weekend.”
Claude took her hand and they walked off together.
Some time later, after a trip to a local diner and a country store, Claude and Trace returned to Trace’s cabin, with supplies. The cabin was medium sized with two bedrooms, a full bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. Trace was laughing as they walked in. “I think we scared that waitress. She thinks I ate all that food!”
“I couldn’t risk being seen,” Claude replied, as he helped Trace bring in the groceries. Then he stopped, quietly thinking and suddenly serious. “Trace, with your talents, I just can’t help thinking,” he began.
“What?” she asked, looking up form the kitchen cupboard she was rearranging.
“Have you ever gone missing and couldn’t remember where you’d been?”
“I know you get migraines. How long have you been getting those for?”
“Since like ’96. Why?’ Trace was puzzled at first then recalled what Claude had said earlier about his experiences with Bennet. “I don’t think Bennet or his organization knows about me, but you’re welcome to check me for any markings.” Trace put down the groceries and removed the sweatshirt she’d been wearing. She had a sports bra on under it, and with the sweatshirt off, both her shoulders were easily visible, save where the straps were.
Claude came over, into the kitchen, and noticed Trace’s “Anubis” tattoo, almost immediately. It was on her left upper chest, two inches below her collarbone and written in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs. He passed over that and noted a faint scar on her left shoulder, but it was nowhere near as prominent as the scars he bore. “Where’d this come from?”
“I got hit by a car back in ’91 or ’92. I used to be a cashier. One day, as I was leaving work this lady wasn’t paying attention and she sideswiped me with her SUV. I’m surprised I don’t still have road rash scars on my left arm or my left leg as well.”
Claude nodded to himself, and then he moved to check Trace’s right shoulder. When he saw her right shoulder blade, he stopped cold. She didn’t have the mark he feared she might have, but the tattoo she did have on her right shoulder blade surprised him, to say the least. It, too, was in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs, like her “Anubis” one, but this said something entirely different. “Pestch nut sunu,” he said softly, to himself, in disbelief, his voice barely above a whisper. He licked his lips and took a breath, and then asked, “Do you even know what this means, Trace?”
“Yes. I did the translating work myself.”
“Pestch nut sunu,” he said again, louder then translated, “Ninth Doctor. I never mentioned that to anyone, not even to Rose. That was me! How did you know?” He was amazed, and quietly awaited an explanation.
“I didn’t know. I guess I just wanted some sort of connection to you. . I had wondered what the glyphs for Doctor looked like, and as you know I’ve always been a bit of an Anubis nut. Anubis’ number is 9. So I was toying around one day with the glyphs for 9 and Ninth and that’s what I settled on. I just put those glyphs together and the combination just felt right, somehow.”
Claude, the Ninth Doctor, had to admit the combination of pictograms was rather fitting: 9 lines, a man, and two heart-like glyphs among the other symbols. At last he spoke, breaking the silence. “I keep finding you, and it can’t just be a coincidence. Do you know where you’re from?”
“Before Derry, as you know, I lived in
Wolfeboro, Claude thought, Wolf, Bad Wolf, still it follows me. His train of thought was interrupted by a sound he never thought he would hear again, and it was a sound that Trace knew too: the unmistakable sound of a Type 40 TARDIS materializing. Claude and Trace looked at each other; both puzzled, and ran to find the source of the all too familiar noise. Out into the woods they ran, and the duo quickly found the familiar sight of the blue police box slowly solidifying before them.
“What does it mean?” Trace asked.
“I don’t know,” Claude replied, helplessly.
Once the TARDIS had materialized, the doors opened, and an unfamiliar 30ish appearing man in a brown pinstripe suit with a trench coat over it stepped out. He had medium brown hair and deep brown eyes, and was reasonably attractive. He smiled warmly when he saw Trace and said, “Hello Trace! Good to see you again!” His voice had a just a bit of a Scottish accent.
Trace eyed him warily. “I’m sorry, I don’t know you.” She noticed he was ignoring Claude, and figured that Claude had stayed invisible, but she couldn’t help but notice the scowl that Claude was directing at the newcomer.
“What are you looking at?” the stranger asked, confirming that he couldn’t see Claude.
Trace just shook her head.
The stranger shrugged, “Look, I know it’s kind of awkward, but I’m the Doctor. A lot happened since you left.”
“You left me, or did you forget that?” Trace interrupted pointedly, sparing a glance at Claude to gauge his reaction. Claude was still scowling at the new Doctor.
“No, you’re right. I didn’t forget.” The new Doctor conceded. “Well since I seem to have found you again, I was wondering if, perhaps, you want to join me.”
“What?” Trace asked in stunned amazement. She also noticed Claude’s own look of shock at what this new Doctor had to say.
Claude, for his part, had seen enough. Angrily he de-cloaked and bellowed at his successor, “What?!? It’s bad enough you have my TARDIS and my life, now you wanna take my only remaining companion, too?!? Not if I have anything to say about it!”
The new Doctor regarded Claude with a look of shock, “How the hell?!? You shouldn’t be here! I regenerated!”
“Yeah, well, sorry to disappoint, mate, but I’m still here!” Claude shouted, glaring at his successor, but then a thought occurred to him, and he made a demand, “If you’re here, where is Rose?”
The Tenth Doctor could only quietly stare at Claude, a look of guilt on his face.
That was all the provocation Claude needed. He threw a right cross at the new Doctor, bellowing at him as he fell over, “What the hell did you do?!? Where is she?!?” He reached forward and wrapped his hands around the Tenth Doctor’s throat.
“Claude, let him go. He can’t tell us anything while you’re choking him!”
Trace’s voice cut through Claude’s blind rage, and he let go of the new Doctor, seeing her logic.
The Tenth Doctor got back up, rubbing his sore neck and his jaw where Claude had hit him. “She’s not dead, if that’s any consolation. She’s trapped in another dimension.” He paused, waiting to see if he’d be attacked again, but Claude just glared at him. “There was another breach. The Daleks at Satellite 5 weren’t the only ones who survived the Time War; there was another small group, from the Cult of Skaro who also survived. They got hold of one of our people’s prison capsules and it was full of more Daleks. They’d hidden in the void between worlds and eventually came here, weakening the barrier between this world and another. And Cybermen came through with them.” He noticed the blank look Trace was giving him as well as the simultaneously pained and puzzled look from Claude. “You don’t remember?”
Trace shook her head.
Claude just continued to stare at him quietly.
“And what about the Christmas Invasion of 2006?” he ventured. On some level he knew he wasn’t going to like the answer but he asked it anyway. He glanced at both Trace and Claude as he asked.
“Uh, Doctor, it’s November 1st, 2006,” Trace pointed out and Claude’s look of disapproval deepened.
“I knew I should have checked the date!” the new Doctor exclaimed. Absentmindedly, he asked Trace, “You’re not blood type A positive by any chance?”
“Never mind fouling up the time stream! What happened to Rose?” Claude demanded impatiently.
“There was only one way to get rid of the two armies. The humans had created devices in both worlds that bridged them,” he began, but Claude cut him off angrily.
“Bloody stupid apes! It’s a wonder both worlds haven’t imploded!” Claude spat.
“They almost did, as it is the other Earth now has severe global warming issues, worse than here. The only way to get rid of these two armies was to open a one-sided gate to the void and since they were full of void stuff, from crossing over, they’d all get sucked into it. Unfortunately, Rose and I got exposed to void stuff as well; we accidentally wound up in the other universe briefly. Pete Tyler, from the other world saved her at the last instant, before she could be sucked into the void. And now she’d stuck on the other Earth. I’m sorry.”
“Well that’s just brilliant! Just bloody fantastic! So now, what, you’re gonna take Trace away from me too? Over my dead body!” Claude advanced on the new Doctor.
“Claude, don’t do it. Besides, don’t I get a say in this?” Trace asked pointedly.
Claude stopped, his shoulders slumped in defeat, and he gave Trace a rather hurt look, like she’d just torn both his hearts out.
Trace swallowed hard and took a deep breath before she turned to the new Doctor. “Look, uh, Doctor, you seem like a nice fellow and I get the impression you could use a companion,” she began and she saw Claude start to scowl even as he fought back tears. “But I gotta tell you. I can’t go with you. I can’t and I won’t abandon Claude.” Quietly she walked over to the stunned and speechless Claude and took his hand firmly. “Regardless of what he calls himself, he’ll always be my Doctor. Besides, my intuition tells me that I’m not supposed to go with you. You’ll find a good companion. It just can’t be me. I’m sorry. Good luck to you.” Then she turned to Claude and said, “C’mon we still have groceries to put away.” She started to go, Claude with her, still holding her hand.
“Wait!” the new Doctor called after them, “Claude, I want a word with you, for just a moment, please?”
Trace glanced at the new Doctor, then at Claude, who reassured her, “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna rough him up anymore, though I gotta admit it felt weird. You go on ahead. I’ll catch up.” Trace went on ahead and Claude stayed behind to talk with the Tenth Doctor. “OK, what couldn’t you tell me in front of Trace?”
“Claude?” the new Doctor commented, “not as in Claude Raines? And since when could we turn invisible?”
“Since we regenerated or rather since you did; I wound up naked in a
“No wonder you’re so angry, and with me, especially,” the new Doctor said.
“That’s just for starters! What the hell have you done with me leather jacket?”
“That’ll wind up in Rose’s mom’s closet.” The tenth Doctor looked a bit sad.
“Oh, bloody fantastic! I loved that coat!” Claude was annoyed.
“I know you did. It just didn’t suit me.” The new Doctor was apologetic.
“Are you done with me, or are you gonna witter on all night?” Claude was tired and had had enough.
“I just wanna know what happened. I remember regenerating. I wound up looking like this in your clothes. So you wound up in
“It’s been hell. I had no ID, not even any psychic paper, and I couldn’t use any of our usual contacts or I’d have damaged the time stream, speaking of which, you didn’t seem too concerned about that!”
“I made a mistake,” the Tenth Doctor conceded.
“Oh, yeah? Well I’ve counted several!” Claude fired back.
“Since when did we get so careless?” Claude demanded.
“Since when did we get so jaded?” the new Doctor returned.
“Try living the hell I’ve been through and then ask me that!” Claude yelled back.
“At least you didn’t have to watch Rose nearly get consigned to the void and then be forced to tell her you’ll never see her again!” the Tenth Doctor yelled back.
“Show me!” Claude demanded.
“You show me!” the new Doctor challenged.
“All right, you asked for it,” Claude said as he reached forward, his fingertips touching his successor’s temple. The Tenth Doctor did likewise. As they linked up, telepathically, each saw all that had happened to the other since the regeneration, since they’d separated, up to the present moment.
“I’m sorry, mate, I really am. As much as I don’t like it, I can see why you went after me like that,” the Tenth Doctor said his eyes full of compassion.
“So am I. So now what?” Claude responded.
“I gotta go. I may not belong here, but you seem to. Look after Trace, and good luck, Claude. Blimey, we go 9 centuries without a name and that’s what we get?”
“Hey, if the shoe fits,” Claude said briefly going invisible the reappearing.
“Point taken. Good bye, Claude.”
“Good bye, Doctor, and good luck to you as well, and for god’s sake watch the bloody time stream! OK?”
“I will.” And the Tenth Doctor got back in the TARDIS and left.
Claude walked back to the cabin. Once inside he said simply, “He’s gone.”
Trace said, equally as simply, “I know.”
Claude feared he wouldn’t like the answer, but he had to ask Trace anyway, he just had to know. “Please tell me the truth. Did his offer tempt you?”
“What? Not even a little?” Claude was both shocked and a bit relived but also wary.
Trace clarified. “Don’t get me wrong; while I did enjoy traveling with you, the travel was always just the icing on the cake, for me. All I’d really wanted was to be with you. You didn’t really think I would abandon you for him, did you?”
“He’s better looking.” Claude frowned a bit.
“Not to me. Granted you’re a bit courser than I remember, but I happen to like the way you look.” Trace looked Claude directly in the eyes.
“You never said so, before.” Claude was surprised.
“I didn’t think it was my place to before now, besides, as I recall we were always too busy with other matters for me to even think of how to tell you let alone say anything.” Trace pulled a small case out of her backpack and opened it, pulling out her tarot deck. “Now, how’s about I see what I can see for you with these? The further ahead we can stay ahead of Bennet, the better.”
“You should know, Bennet and those he works for are dangerous. If they catch us they will probably mark you too. I very much doubt they’ll let either of us go.” Claude wanted Trace to be aware of what they were up against.
Trace gave him a determined look. “I’m willing to take that chance.”
“Just promise me you won’t take any unnecessary risks, OK?” Claude’s eyes pleaded silently.
“I promise, but what you should know, is that I’m willing to follow you anywhere; to hell and back if need be.”
Claude smiled broadly when he heard that, and he knew she meant it. For the first time in a long time, he felt some measure of peace.