15 April 2007

Oxford Ostinato - Epilogue

In the end Saskia went to the library and picked up the poetry book she'd been reading a couple of days ago. But she couldn't concentrate on the words properly and she found herself wishing, momentarily, that she was at home in her apartment where she could put on some soothing music. She knew that she could go to the Control Room and listen to music via the console, but she hesitated. What she really wanted was to be on her own for a bit.

The TARDIS hummed at her so she reached out to touch the wall and found herself looking at a room she'd never seen before, a room that held a music centre and a home cinema system. Oh thank you, she said to the TARDIS. She took the book with her and went to her room to collect one of the few music recordings that she had brought from home. She made her way to the room the TARDIS directed her to, and went inside. It only took her a few minutes to figure out how to use the music system and she slipped the disc into the player, picked up the remote control, then settled herself with her book on the large leather sofa that was set against the back wall of the room.

The Doctor spent nearly an hour checking the TARDIS' systems before going to find Saskia. He assumed he'd find her in the library or her room, but she was in neither. Then the TARDIS hummed at him. In the cinema, is she? I suppose you told her where to find it? He knew he'd never mentioned its existence to Saskia, though he and Rose had used it a few times. He headed down the corridors, wondering if Saskia had found a good film to watch. He opened the door quietly, not wanting to disturb her if she was engrossed, and realised that she was listening to some music instead. He put his head around the door and spotted Saskia lying full length on the sofa, her head on a cushion and her feet up on one of its arms.
She didn't stir, so he walked softly across the room and looked down at her sleeping face and the poetry book lying open beside her. The Doctor hesitated for a moment, then perched on the other arm of the sofa and picked up the book to see what she had been reading. He found it was open at a poem called 'Burnt Norton' and began to read:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.

Interesting ideas, thought the Doctor as he put the book aside again. Then he closed his eyes and concentrated on the music, wondering what the piece was called, but feeling too comfortable to get up and look. He was drifting towards sleep himself when Saskia suddenly cried out in her sleep. His eyes snapped open and he looked down at her, guessing that she was having a nightmare. She cried out again and began to shake. He slipped off the arm of the sofa onto the seat beside her and touched her shoulder. "Saskia." He called her name softly, not wanting to startle her awake. She mumbled something indistinct and he brushed his right hand across her forehead. Saskia. Her eyes fluttered open then closed again. Saskia.
The third time he called her name, her eyes opened properly and she looked up to see the Doctor looking down at her, concern in his deep brown eyes. She frowned, momentarily puzzled about where she was.
"Hello," he said gently.
"Hello." She pulled herself upright and swung her legs round so that she was sitting up again.
"Are you OK?" the Doctor asked, still looking concerned.
She nodded.
"Nightmare?" he asked.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Saskia shook her head. "I was dreaming about Jackson, that's all." She picked up the cushion beside her and hugged it absent-mindedly. The Doctor shifted across the sofa to sit beside her and put his arm round her shoulders. She put the cushion aside, then turned and put her head on his shoulder, glad of his comforting presence.

"What's the music?" the Doctor asked after a few minutes.
"It's the Elgar Cello Concerto," Saskia said.
"It's lovely. I can see why you like it so much." He paused thoughtfully. "You know we could try again to get to a live performance.”
“That would be nice," Saskia answered.
"Do you know of any that you'd have liked to have attended?"
"There are two – but one wasn't open to the public and I doubt that even your psychic paper could get us into that one."
"Oh?" The Doctor looked intrigued.
"It was a live recording by Jacqueline du Pre – that's the one that's playing now. It's the most celebrated recording of the 20th century. It features a full orchestra, the conductor and the soloist all in one recording session."
The Doctor frowned. "You may be right about that one – I don't think I could get us in. What's the other one?"
"In the early 21st century Julian Lloyd Webber did two live performances on the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth. One was at Worcester Cathedral, and the other at the Royal Albert Hall in London," Saskia said.
"Two live performances on the same day?" asked the Doctor.
Saskia nodded. "He was flown from Worcester to London."
"Wow!" The Doctor rubbed the back of his head, thinking. "So which one do you want to go to?"
"The evening one in London." She smiled suddenly. "We'll have to put on our glad rags again," she said.
The Doctor smiled back. "Let's go for it then. I'll meet you in the Control Room shortly."
Saskia found herself talking to the TARDIS as she changed. I'd really like to go this concert, she said. Please can we get to London on June 2, 2007? The TARDIS hummed back at her and she smiled. Thanks.


Helen said...

Great stuff Michele,
You have to publish these!
(I know you wont but, said it anyway!)

Michele said...

Thanks Helen...

It may have escaped your notice, but I am publishing the stories - that's what this Blog's for ! Not going to post them in print though - no one would be interested in publishing an Alternate Whoniverse series.

Anonymous said...

I love this story. The link between the Doctor and Saskia is getting stronger. Also interesting how you have woven threads from the previous stories into the current one, it keeps the whole series alive.


Michele said...

Thanks Lesley. Yes, I'm trying to keep everything tied together - though that gets harder, the more stories I write - thank goodness for the timeline I have on paper...

Andrea said...

Another interesting story, I like the developing relationship between Saskia and the Doctor.

Michele said...

Thanks Andrea...

Kirstie said...

Fantastic! Very good story, you're so talented!

Michele said...

Thanks Iona - I'm blushing !