rosa_acicularis: (Default)
rosa_acicularis ([personal profile] rosa_acicularis) wrote2011-11-13 09:16 pm
Entry tags:

speaking of werewolves...

So, this happened.

Title: Long Night's Moon

Characters: Rose Tyler, The Doctor, Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, Jimmy Stone

Rating: Teen

Notes: Unfinished fic fragment and werewolf AU. Because why not?

++

Not many of her kind live in cities.
 
Her dad had been odd that way, her mum tells her. “He never really fit in with the rest of his sort,” Jackie Tyler says, easing a long-toothed comb through the tangles in her daughter’s fine, honey-yellow hair. “Thought they were old-fashioned. Backwards. That’s why he came to London.”
 
“To be with us,” Rose says, jumping ahead in the story. Each snag of the comb makes her eyes sting, and through the open windows of their estate flat she watches the slow descent of the summer sun – the evening flush fading to twilight. She wriggles in her chair, impatient. “Mum, the moon—”
 
Jackie taps her lightly on the head with the comb. “Sit. You’ve fifteen minutes, at least.”
 
Rose can’t tell time yet – not by a clock – but she knows the rise and fall of the moon like she knows the weight of her own bones. The roar of her blood in her ears. “Mum.”
 
“Oh, all right,” Jackie sighs. She drops the comb onto the table. “Get in your room. I’ll be along in a minute to lock the door.”
 
Rose jumps up onto the seat of her chair, suddenly tall enough to kiss her mother’s cheek. She does, and pulls away with a sweet smacking sound. “You smell funny. Like strawberries.”
 
Jackie tucks her nose beneath her daughter’s chin and gives a loud sniff; Rose leaps away, laughing. “You smell like a wild thing,” Jackie says with a grin. “Like a wet dog on a sunny day.”
 
“I do not,” Rose shouts, still laughing, and runs into her bedroom. “Bet you can’t catch me!”
 
Sound travels far in the thick August air; Jackie closes the windows before she locks the bedroom door, throwing the bolt. Rose knows better than to leave the flat, but she’s only a child. Pete Tyler never left these things to chance, and neither does his widow.
 
Bet you can’t catch me, Rose says, always running to be chased. Bet you can’t even come close.
 
“Bet you I already have,” Jackie says, and watches as the full moon rises fat in the sky.   
 
++
 
Rose likes the way Jimmy’s long fingers curl around a cigarette as he takes a drag. Likes the shape of his mouth as he exhales.
 
“It’s pheromones,” he tells her, leaning loose-limbed against a brick stairwell wall. “We’d be stupid to fight it. It’s in our blood. In our bloody DNA.”
 
Her mum never mentioned anything about pheromones, but then there are a lot of things her mum’s never told her. A lot of things her mum doesn’t know. She frowns up at him, the concrete stairs cold through her jeans and the thin cotton of her top. “I’m not in heat,” she says, rolling her eyes. “I just fancy you, all right? It’s nothing to do with pheromones or blood or what might or might not be in our DNA.”
 
“It’s always about blood,” Jimmy says. He drops down beside her on the stair and offers her his cigarette. She takes it and rubs it out on the toe of her shoe.
 
“You make it sound mysterious and romantic,” she says. “Like last month you didn’t come back from the country sick with indigestion and scratching fleas.”
 
Jimmy lights another cigarette, filter pressed tight between his lips. Inhales and sighs a mouthful of smoke. “Yeah,” he says, “but at least I don’t let my mum shut me up in her flat like a dog.”
 
The moon’s waxing, three-quarters full behind the late afternoon haze, and her mind offers her a clear, detail-perfect picture of Jimmy’s throat tearing away under teeth. Pheromones, she thinks, and lets the image fade. The taste lingers bittersweet at the back of her throat.  
 
She stands, tucking her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “You’re wasting your time. I’m not going to run with you.”
 
“Because dear Mummy’s leash won’t stretch that far?”
 
“Because I’ve got a boyfriend, and I lie to him enough without adding an intimate moonlit hunting trip for two to the list.”
 
Jimmy grins, cigarette between his fingers, lips stretched across his teeth. “It frightens you, doesn’t it? How much you want to?”
 
Rose has spent every full moon of her life behind the bolted door of her bedroom, and she’d be lying if she said she didn’t dream of it, sometimes. A night spent out of her cage, in the moonlight.
 
Jimmy watches her with narrow, laughing eyes, and anger burns white at the edge of her vision. Clouding her view. She lifts her chin and says, “There’s nothing about you, Jimmy Stone, that could possibly scare me.”
 
“We’ll see about that,” he says, and this time when he offers the cigarette, she takes it.
 
++
 
If it had been drugs, things would’ve been different.
 
If she and Jimmy had been arrested, if it had been shoplifting or fraud, if he had hit her or forced her into debt, her mum would have taken her back. Oh, Jackie would’ve shouted about it first, pitched her voice to terrify the neighbors and scolded ‘til her round face turned red with fury, but then there would’ve been a fresh cuppa on the table and her mum’s shoulder soft and familiar beneath her cheek, smelling of the chemicals in her strawberry shampoo.
 
But it wasn’t drugs, and it wasn’t debt. It was a hunter’s moon and a man murdered in a caravan park in Dorset, his throat ripped out and his stomach spilled steaming on the neat-cut grass. The authorities called it an animal attack and spent two weeks hunting for a pack of feral dogs that didn’t exist. Jimmy would’ve laughed himself sick at that, if Rose hadn’t snapped his neck as she fought to save a dead man’s life.
 
They never found the dog pack, but no one doubted its existence. There was no other rational explanation.
 
There are no wolves in England.
 
++
 
She rings Mickey once, from a payphone at a bus depot. 
 
“Rose, I don’t understand,” he says, his mouth too close to the receiver. She can hear the machine sounds of the shop behind him. Men’s voices and the hiss of the radio. “What could you possibly do that Jackie wouldn’t forgive?”
 
“This isn’t something you can fix, Mickey,” she says. “I don’t want you to try.”
 
“Why’d you phone me, then?” he asks, his voice bitter enough to taste.
 
She twists the phone cord around her thumb. Because I want to come home, she thinks. Because I can’t.
 
“Rose?” Mickey says. “Are you still there?”
 
The phone cord leaves rings of dirt around her fingers; she tugs them free and wipes them on the front of her hoodie. “I’ll phone again soon,” she says, and drops the receiver hard into its cradle.
 
It’s years before she speaks to him again.
 
++
 
She’s hunting in a forest in Wendover when she smells a man’s blood.
 
The late winter Lenten Moon has reached its peak overhead, hidden behind clouds and the bare-limbed tangle of the trees. Rose has little need of its light; she lifts her head and scents the air again, smelling smoke and blood and something else, something sharp and alive and unnamable. It’s like nothing she’s ever known.
 
She lowers her head and runs.
 
The source of the foul, metal-bitter smoke is an unnatural shadow, a long box on its side between two splintered trees. The door to the box lies open, half-shattered, and she can smell the man inside, bleeding and about to burn. She braces herself against the heat and crawls through the door on her belly. The man is unconscious, slumped against a twisted column of metal and glass at the centre of a cavernous room. The column erupts in a shower of sparks, and Rose closes her teeth on the man’s collar and drags him away, out the shattered door and onto the cold dirt outside. The box groans, and when another wave of heat hits the door she hears a long scream of metal on metal. It sounds like a woman’s voice.
 
She drags the man farther, to safer, softer ground. It’s hard to read human faces during the moon; she sees that he is male and white and neither very old nor very young, but anything beyond that will be alien and untranslatable until moonset. She steps closer, peering down at his bruised face. His hair is dark, matted by blood and curling almost to his shoulders. He smells like a man about to die.
 
His eyes open, clouded by pain. “Oh,” he says, posh beneath the broken waste of his voice. “Grandmother. What big teeth you have.”
 
Wolves cannot comfort. They cannot hold your hand or call for help or make wordless, soothing sounds. They cannot say, Don’t be afraid. It’ll be all right. They cannot lie.     
   
Rose curls at the man’s side and rests her head on his shoulder. She sighs a breath against his skin, and the man’s eyes close.
 
“Warm,” he says. It’s hard to read human faces during the moon, but she thinks he might be smiling. “Thank you.”
 
You’re welcome, she thinks, and sleeps that night beside a dying man, warm beneath the thin winter light of the Lenten Moon.
 
++
 
Rose wakes at sunrise, two-legged and naked and cold. The man’s heartbeat thunders under her cheek, unnaturally loud and alive. She lifts her head and sees a strange man lying beside her. She stares at him and his long, expressive stranger’s face and short-cropped hair. His ears are ridiculous.
 
The stranger looks back at her, unsmiling. His eyes are blue, and colder than the earth beneath them. She wants to look away, but she doesn’t.
 
“Hello,” she says. “You’ve changed your face.” 
 
The stranger’s eyes flick down her naked body, then up again. There’s nothing like interest in his gaze. “You’ve changed your species,” he says in a stranger’s voice. “If anyone should be curious, it’s me.” 
 
It’s a fair enough point, and Rose is about to say as much when the man pushes himself to his feet and walks back to the box. It’s blue in the daylight, and still belching clouds of smoke through the shattered door. The man drops to his knees and crawls inside. 
 
POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX, says the white lettering above the wooden door. Rose remembers the echoing size of the room beyond, and the column of metal and flame. A broken box with a burning palace inside, and a dying man who doesn’t die, but becomes someone else entirely. Impossibility after impossibility.
 
She looks up at the grey morning sky. If her bearings are right, her bag is buried not far from here, along with her clothes and the little food and money she’s managed to steal and save. She was going to move on today; there’s nothing for her here without the moon.
 
There’s nothing for her anywhere, really. If she’s going to be honest about it.
 
She follows him through the broken door, crawling over splintered wood on her hands and knees.
 
++

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