Title - Home (1/1)
The gorgeous icon was created byswankkatfor me, commissioned byjlrpuckfor my birthday.
“Tell me about one,” said Kate, and Brem looked over at her in surprise.
They were sprawled on Harvard Yard, on a picnic blanket that they had spread during the heat of a gorgeous fall afternoon in Boston. It was deep twilight now, and the few stars that braved the light pollution were starting to wink above them.
Brem looked from her to the stars and back again. “One what?” he said. It was unlike her to ask him about interplanetary travel. Kate was interested in him, of course, in every odd, alien thing she thought he did. But she did not usually ask him to tell travel stories.
“One of those stars. Have you been to any of those?”
Brem frowned at the stars. “None of these are very interesting,” he confessed, finally. “And most of them are genuine stars.” When there was a pause, he added, “You know, balls of fire that we couldn’t really land on.”
“Ah,” said Kate. There was a moment of silence. “What’s your favorite one?”
“My favorite planet? That’s impossible, Kate. I could never pick just one.”
“So then, just tell me about a particularly good one.”
Brem thought. “There’s one called Woman Wept. My mother’s very fond of it, so my father takes her there a lot. It’s got this frozen ocean, and the waves were frozen just as they were. These huge, frothy waves, forever frozen in the act of breaking on the shore.”
“Sounds beautiful,” said Kate.
Brem turned his head to look over at her. “It is.”
“You love it up there.”
“Well,” he said, and looked back at the sky. And then he admitted, “It’s home.”
They laid together for a moment in companionable silence, and then he ventured, “Did you want to see one?”
“See one what?”
“A planet.” He looked at her. “Did you want to go on a trip?”
“Your father would let me?”
Brem snorted. “Are you kidding? Dad loves to show off. He’ll be delighted.”
When Kate was silent, Brem continued, “You don’t have to go. I wouldn’t…I don’t care whether or not you go. It’s just that you’ve never asked about the stars before. So I thought maybe you wanted to…We don’t have to. Forget I said—“
“Brem,” she said, and cut him off with a kiss. “Let me think about it.”
She thought about it for so long that Brem had almost forgotten he’d asked. The school year had tipped into winter, and the Christmas break was looming, and Kate was studying while Brem played video games in her room, and she said, abruptly, “You could do it so I wouldn’t lose any time?”
“Do what?” asked Brem, biting his tongue in concentration as he executed a particularly skillful leap.
“Take me to another planet.”
Brem turned to look at her abruptly. “What?”
“I need a break. I want a break. Can you do it so I wouldn’t lose any time?”
“I…” Brem gaped at her. “Well, yes. Of course. But…you’re sure?”
“Yes. Now. Let’s go now.” She stood up. “What should I wear?”
Brem continued to stare at her. “You want to go to another planet right now?”
“Yes. Is that problematic?”
“It’s…Welllllll, I’m trying to win this level.”
“You’ve died,” Kate pointed out, and nodded toward the television.
“Oh,” said Brem, noticing that he had indeed died. “I suppose I may as well call Dad, then,” he remarked, mildly.
“You’re making me nervous,” said Brem, clinging to her hand as they waited in an out-of-the-way corner of the Yard for his spaceship to appear. “I hope you’re not doing this for me. You don’t have to do this for me.”
Kate thought this was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. Of course she was doing this for him. Of course she had to do this for him. Truthfully, Kate had been thinking. Long and hard sort of thinking. You tended to think that way when you’d watched your boyfriend foil a plan to destroy the planet and then discover his mother was immortal. That kind of experience made you wonder if maybe you’d been telling yourself the fact he was an alien didn’t matter when it was clearly the most important thing about him, the way your humanness was the most important thing about you. It’s home, Brem had said of the sky the night she had first broached the topic, and that was what terrified her. Home for him was out there, in this vast, unimaginable place. Home was a spaceship that seemed to be everywhere and nowhere all at once.
Kate’s home was a pretty Cape Cod-style house in central Connecticut.
But what was she going to tell Brem? That she loved him so much it terrified her? Terrified her to think that she might just, at this point, be incapable of ever leaving him? And that meant she would have to live in the sky, on a spaceship, didn’t it?
Did she want that? She had no clue. She wouldn’t know until she’d tried it.
So she smiled at him. “Brem. I think it’s going to be fun. Isn’t that what you say all the time? That it’s fun?”
Brem nodded, and then grinned. “It is fun. You’ll see. We’ll pick a good place.”
The noise of the TARDIS sounded, and the wind flapped around them, and Kate took a step closer to Brem and tried not to be nervous about this whole thing. Safest form of travel, he’d assured her. She reminded herself of that, as the door opened and Brem’s father said, jovially, stepping aside to let them through, “Welcome aboard.”
Brem’s entire family had turned out for this first trip. Kate smiled at all of them, trying not to feel too overwhelmed by this whole experience. Then Brem’s mother moved forward and gave her a warm hug.
“It’s lovely to see you again, Kate,” she said. “How are you?”
And Kate felt immediately more at ease. Brem’s mother really did have a lovely, welcoming manner about her. “I’m fine.”
“Kate’s in need of a study break,” Brem added, leaning down to kiss his mother’s cheek in greeting. “It’s finals time.”
“A study break,” enthused Brem’s father. “This is the best study break in the universe.” He leaned against the TARDIS console, crossing his arms, and grinned at her. “Where would you like to go?”
“Oh,” Kate pointed out. “You know much more about where we should go than I do.” She glanced at Brem. “Maybe the one you told me about?”
Brem thought for a second, then remembered. “Woman Wept,” he told his father.
“A favorite of Rose’s,” remarked the Doctor, approvingly, and then added, “D’you want to fly? Show off, I suppose?”
“We’ll fly together,” suggested Brem, grinning.
“Want to help?” the Doctor asked Brem’s sisters, and before she knew it, all four Time Lords were positioned around the console, speaking in a language that was still English but filled with words she didn’t understand, laughing over each other.
“Do you fly it?” Kate asked Brem’s mother.
She shook her head. “No. I suppose I could learn, I just never have. They’ve got this carefully choreographed dance.” On cue, Brem and his father switched places, with an almost identical twirling step. “I think they talk to each other in their heads as they do it.” Rose looked at Kate. “It may be a while, before we get to Woman Wept. We’ve been so many times, they have to be careful not to cross a timeline. Takes them longer than usual. Let’s have a cuppa.”
Settling in with a cup of tea in the TARDIS kitchen, Kate could almost convince herself that a visit to Brem’s family’s entailed no more than a simple visit to an attractive house with a large chef’s kitchen. The ship rocked a little bit, but, overall, it was a remarkably smooth trip.
“They’re very good flyers,” Kate remarked. “Or is it always this smooth?”
“I actually don’t know,” Rose admitted. “The Doctor is the only pilot I’ve ever known, and he taught the kids. I don’t know if they’re particularly good, or if this is just how it’s meant to be. I do know the travels have gotten better as we’ve gotten more Time Lords to help out. The landings he used to make when it was just the two of us…It was not at all unusual for us to end up being thrown to the grating.”
“What was your first trip?” asked Kate, with interest, wrapping her hands around her mug.
Rose smiled, looking off into the middle distance. “The end of the world. Can you imagine?”
Kate blinked in alarm. “Like…how?”
Rose shook herself out of the recollection. “Hmm?”
“How did it end? Was it…a nuclear war? Or a meteor?”
“Oh. No, nothing like that. Believe it or not, the Earth survives and survives. Until the sun dies. When the sun dies, it kind of…explodes. Incinerates the planet. We were able to watch it all from Platform One, this…ship they had orbiting the planet.”
“Not this ship?”
“No, a bigger ship. Well. That doesn’t make sense, I suppose. But another ship. All the rich people had paid to watch the planet die. It was…sad. Dramatic, but so sad. I’m still not sure why he did it. I suppose he thought it would be…romantic? Impressive? But for a first date…The end of the world…” Rose shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. I was completely in love with him by the time he took me home, anyway.”
“It was your first date?” said Kate, and she tried to determine if she was surprised. So Brem’s mother had known, all along, what she had been getting into when she had fallen in love with his father. Had, indeed, fallen in love with him while off on a spaceship watching the Earth blow up. Somehow, that made the fact that she had ended up in this life so much more understandable.
“Yes. Well, in a manner of speaking. Not that we called it a date. Not until later. He spent a lot of time pretending we were just friends. Well, I guess we both did, to be fair. It’s a big step to admit you’re in love with an alien.” Rose looked at Kate. “And it was easier for me than you. I knew exactly what he was when I fell in love with him. I didn’t have to learn how to fit myself into his life, I’d already done it by the time I realized I was too far gone to leave.”
Kate opened her mouth, although she wasn’t sure what she was going to say, when the entire kitchen jerked and she and Rose both were flung out of their chairs.
Rose sighed, completely unconcerned, as she picked herself back up. “And just when we were praising their flying, too.”
Brem came rushing into the kitchen, offering a hand to help her up off the floor. “Sorry,” he said, a bit breathlessly. “We may have been a bit exuberant. Anyway, we’re there. Come see.”
“You have the honor of being the first one out,” the Doctor informed her when they entered the control room, and gestured to the door.
“Did you check to make sure we’re on the right planet?” Rose asked him, mildly.
“Oh,” said the Doctor, looking sheepish.
“Our coordinates are perfect,” Brem protested.
“Nevertheless, check,” commanded Rose.
Athena walked over to the door, opened it a crack, and peeked out. “Yup,” she announced, closing it behind her. “Right planet.” She grinned at Kate. “Come and see.”
Kate stepped forward, feeling every eye on her, and opened the door cautiously.
They were in the middle of the ocean, an ocean of crystalline waves, suspended in their ebbs and flows, looming around her, glittering like diamonds in the moonlight of the planet. Three moons’ light, Kate realized, stepping out and turning around in a huge circle, completely speechless. It was cold, and she wrapped her arms around herself and stared around her. And suddenly understood why Brem loved traveling.
She was startled by his voice in her ear. “Welcome to Woman Wept,” he murmured.
She looked at him, and wiped at tears she hadn’t realized she’d been crying.
“Ah,” he said. “And now you know why it’s called that.”
A world that was so achingly beautiful it made you cry. Kate had never imagined such a thing. It was astonishing. She would have sat on the ice of Woman Wept and stared around her forever. Except that it was freezing, and eventually Brem’s father insisted she was going to get frostbite if he let her stay out there much longer, and he was the chaperone on the trip and was not going to get scolded by her parents if her fingers and toes had to be cut off, and Brem’s mother told him to stop being melodramatic but did agree that it was time to go, and Kate reluctantly let herself be led inside.
“Have her take a shower,” his father told her. “Warm her up.”
Brem nodded. “This way,” he said to her. “You’ll get to see my room.” He looked delighted at the prospect. He led her down a hallway, to the same doorway that had led to the kitchen before and that now opened onto his bedroom.
“But…” she said, confused.
“Yeah, the rooms move around,” he said.
Kate had not spent much time exploring the TARDIS the first time she had been on it. She hadn’t really realized this feature. She stepped into Brem’s room, which was extremely large and very bright and filled to the brim with tools and gadgets.
“It looks like a repair shop,” she told him.
“Well, yeah,” he said, as if she were stating the most obvious fact in the world.
She looked at the windows. “How…?”
“Oh, it’s all artificial. And that’s for you, to make you feel more at home. Normally, this room doesn’t have windows.”
Brem shrugged. “We’re used to that. It doesn’t bother us the way it does humans.”
“So the windows just…come and go.”
“That’s a minor detail,” said Brem. “Here’s something that should amuse you.” He took her hand and led her to an adjoining room.
Lamps flickered on as they walked in. It was a cozy room, filled with bookshelves. “What is it?” she asked, perplexed.
“My library. Those are my journals.”
Kate stared at them, shelf after shelf of them. “What, all of them?”
She turned her stare to him. “How many are there?”
“I don’t keep track. I’m sure my father does, though.” He retreated back into his bedroom. She followed. “The bathroom is through there,” he said, pointing back toward his bedroom. “The TARDIS should supply it perfectly for you. And she’ll help you find the control room again when you’re done, too.”
TARDISes, she decided, were the best invention ever, and every human should have one. After a shower with the most perfect water temperature she’d ever experienced, Kate easily re-located the control room to find that they’d landed again, this time on a lovely, warm planet with empty beaches of bright pink sand and deep violet oceans, and Kate somehow found herself enjoying what Brem told her was the universe’s best ice cream with only his father for company because everyone else seemed to have wandered off.
“It happens a lot, wandering off,” remarked the Doctor. “It’s an epidemic.”
Kate smiled a bit.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” he asked, earnestly, as if concerned he might be failing her.
“I’m having a lovely time,” she assured him.
“Good.” He looked pleased.
“Rose was telling me about the first trip you took her on.”
“The end of the world?”
“Not as wise a choice as Woman Wept, possibly. Brem is much smarter than me in some ways. Don’t tell him I said that.”
Kate laughed. “I promise. And, anyway, it turned out okay for you.”
“Oh,” said the Doctor, looking off toward the violet sea. “That’s only because Rose is…Rose.” He seemed to shake himself out of his reverie. “And she must love traveling. She’s never really complained about it, ever, in all these years.”
Kate suspected that there were many things Rose loved about her life, not the least of which was the man she was currently sitting beside. And, under such a stunning plaid sky, with the universe’s best ice cream, Kate could see why you’d choose a life like this.
She was not thinking that mere hours later, on the next planet, when something happened, so quickly she didn’t really understand it, and she found Brem’s hand suddenly hers and he was tugging her, at a ridiculous pace, away from the scene of some crime of some sort.
“What--?” She couldn’t really articulate the question, dashing after him.
They tumbled through a door together. Brem turned in an almost automatic gesture, slamming the door shut and waving his sonic screwdriver over it. The rest of the family was squabbling over something.
“I couldn’t let them kill him,” Fortuna was shouting, looking close to tears about something and clutching a small furry creature that looked like a cross between a monkey and a cat. “Kill him? For scratching his ear in front of the king?”
“But a little warning, Fortuna, before you abscond with a high-security prisoner would be greatly appreciated, hmm?” responded her father, and Fortuna frowned a bit but cuddled the cat-monkey.
There was a great deal of loud confusion on the other side of the door. The Doctor, leaning through the window, pulled back.
“We’re making a jump for it,” he said.
“Then it’s a good thing I brought this, isn’t it?” Athena reached into the pocket of the pink hoodie she was wearing and pulled out a length of rope.
Her father laughed with obvious delight. “Oh, Theenie,” he said, pleased, accepting the rope and beginning to tie it around the heavy wall sconce by the window.
“Always prepared, that’s me,” she said.
“That’s because you were a Girl Scout,” remarked Rose.
“Brem?” said the Doctor, sonicking his knot. “You’re the first one down, so you can get Kate.”
Brem squeezed her hand in what she supposed he imagined was encouragement, then disappeared through the window.
“Okay, Kate,” the Doctor told her. “Now you.”
And she found herself wriggling down a rope. Brem helped her to the ground, and then occupied himself with catching the cat-monkey, and helping his sisters, and then everyone had wriggled down the rope and they were running again, Fortuna clutching the cat-monkey, and there was a moment when they were being very closely pursued until Rose managed to be clever enough to spill the contents of a cart as they passed.
“I could kiss you for that,” the Doctor called to her.
“When we’re safe at home, thanks,” she panted back, and then they finally tumbled into the TARDIS.
Fortuna placed the cat-monkey down just outside the TARDIS’s door, admonishing it to be careful, and it thanked her before hopping off. The Doctor and the kids moved to grimly move the TARDIS away from the planet, and then, when they were safely away, they stepped away from the controls.
“Tea?” Rose asked.
“I’d murder a biscuit,” remarked the Doctor. “And I still owe you a snog.”
“Please not in front of us,” said Athena, with a grin, as her parents departed. “But I’d love tea!” she called after them.
Brem, chuckling, took Kate’s hand. “What do you say?” he asked. “Tea?”
Kate stared at him. They’d just had what she would consider a very narrow escape, and they were going to…make tea.
She wished, sometimes, that Brem would sleep. Because he didn’t, the only time she could get away from him was to actually get away from him, and so she spent some time hiding in the Law School library, where he probably wouldn’t think to look for her, staring out the window and thinking very hard about traveling through time and space, about fleeing from an oncoming police force and then making tea as if nothing had happened.
As if nothing had happened. Because to them, nothing had. Just another day.
Kate Bonneville looked out the window at her slice of the planet Earth and thought of home.
Oooh... I really liked this. The Doctor is right. Rose is Rose and people like her don't come around very often. You have to love the lifestyle, the good and the bad. I think Kate did the right thing in testing herself to see if she could do it.