We Shall Be With All The World
by Noelle - naushika@periapsis.net

Universes: Doctor Who, Stargate Atlantis
Rating: PG
Genre: drama, alternate universe, crossover
Pairings: hints of The Doctor/Elizabeth
Spoilers: For Atlantis, up through Before I Sleep. None for Doctor Who. Just assumes you've seen the 2005+ series at all.
Summary: The first thing Elizabeth could really tell about the Doctor was that he knew how to put on a show.
AN: This fic was started for the lj community hetfic's Claim A Prompt ficathon absolutely forever ago. My prompt comes from the lovely Azar, who requested "missing scene(s) from "Before I Sleep"--the Doctor drops by Atlantis to visit his old friends, the Ancients, arrives a little late, and gives the AU version of Weir a respite from her "long journey home."" I definately took that idea and ran with it. Azar had also requested the Doctor be either Five, Nine, or Ten. It's definately not Five, I'll say that, but I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's Nine or Ten. Sort of a "pick your own" thing. :) Thanks muchly to Geonn for the beta and title help.

***

The air was cool in the less frequently used corridors of the TARDIS. The temperature hardly went noticed, however, as the lone occupant strode along, peeking his head in doors every now and again, absorbed in looking for something.

"Come on, old girl," the Doctor mumbled into his quiet surroundings. "Where have you hidden it?" After several more minutes of searching, he found what he was hunting. Emitting a triumphant a-ha!, the Doctor patted a TARDIS wall as he stepped into the spare parts room.

Crouching down and rooting through a pile of electronic bits heaped in a box, the Doctor would have appeared slightly crazed to an outsider as he spoke to the emptiness that surrounded him. "There's nothing to worry about," he said, examining each item in the box before tossing it off to the side in a pile. "It's just a simple upgrade. Nothing I haven't done a thousand times before."

Almost in response, a slight shudder swept through the ship. The Doctor lifted his head, surprised that his ship was apparently talking back to him. A second later a sharp jolt rocked the TARDIS to the side, sending the Doctor's pile of parts sliding across the floor. Realization dawning, he sprinted out and back towards the console room. Twisting dials and throwing levers, the Doctor struggled against the increasingly violent shocks moving through the ship.

"Hold on!" the Doctor shouted to no one in particular, as the TARDIS seemed to momentarily spin out of control before stopping. The Doctor, who had fallen to the floor, peered over the edge of the console. When the TARDIS continued to stay silent, he popped up with a grin.

"You know, if you didn't want the upgrade, you just had to ask," the Doctor said nonchalantly, as he brought up the outside monitor. "Now, where have you brought us?" He eyed the screen, noting the orientation of the stars as the TARDIS computer triangulated their position. It only took a second before the name flashed across the screen.

"Pegasus Galaxy!" the Doctor laughed. "Why, I haven't been here in ages. Well, except for that little visit to the dinosaur planet." Punching a few keys on the keyboard, he brought up an image of a mostly blue planet with a slight smudge of green. Watching the small pre-recorded image of the planet slowly spin, the Doctor was reminded of another planet with people not so different. He ignored the unintentional comparison.

"I should see what my old friends have been up to."

***

Every step she took echoed through the empty hallways, each click of her heels as the echo bounced off the walls, was a reminder of just how alone she was. Elizabeth glanced out of the windows she passed, eyes passing over the dark green sea that shone back at her and watching her reflection as she proceeded on her own death march. She told herself, as she had a hundred times since she and Janus had orchestrated this plan, that this was necessary, to ensure the future of the people under her command. Elizabeth drew strength from the knowledge that her sacrifice would allow hundreds of people to regain their lives, but couldn't help the sadness that she felt from knowing her first real action as leader of the Atlantis expedition would also be her last.

Her reflection slipped from window to window, and Elizabeth could see none of her inner fear on her face. Contemplating how good she had become at hiding her emotions thanks to her diplomatic experience, she nearly missed the faraway sound that floated through the hallways. Stopping suddenly, her last step echoed away and revealed a low, repeating mechanical sound. The strange noise seemed to be coming from all directions as it bounced off the walls, and Elizabeth whipped frantically around, trying to place its origin. No sooner had she chosen a direction and started running did the noise cease. Wondering if there were still Ancients in the city, or if it was something else entirely, she ran to the control room, the one place she knew she could find answers.

***

The Doctor popped out of the TARDIS, grinning. The control room of Atlantis would be bustling with activity, filled with people going about their duties. Anticipating a greeting upon his emergence from his ship, the Doctor's grin slowly faded as he took in the emptiness that surrounded him. Quirking an eyebrow, he shouted a hello to the cavernous room.

"Hmm," the Doctor muttered to himself when nobody replied, finding it unusual - though certainly not unheard of - that a city of millions should suddenly be abandoned. Spying the windows, he ran up the large staircase in the middle of the room. He was greeted with the deep green that went on forever, and his own reflection. Taking a moment to straighten his jacket, he nearly missed the slight movement behind him.

"Who are you?" asked a voice. The Doctor turned around, looking over the owner of the voice before answering.

"I'm the Doctor," he replied simply, smiling at the woman, who was staring at him with a stern look. "Who are you?"

"I'm Elizabeth Weir," she answered.

"Well, Elizabeth Weir," the Doctor began, gesturing behind him. "I don't know if you noticed, but we seem to be underwater."

Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder at the blue box standing next to the stargate, ignoring his statement. "You have a police box. In the Pegasus Galaxy?"

The Doctor nodded, more to himself than to answer her question. "That's my ship. You're not a Lantean."

"If you mean an Ancient, no," Elizabeth replied. "They left."

"Well that was rather inconsiderate of them!" the Doctor said jovially, crossing to the control room, taking in the covered control panels and dimmed screens. "Why are you here all by yourself, Elizabeth Weir?"

The Doctor's face was open and comforting to Elizabeth, and she was struck with the feeling that she could tell him anything at all and he would believe her. After all, the man claimed to have a police box for a spaceship. She was almost ready to believe that herself, after everything she'd experienced in the past few weeks. Nothing seemed outrageous anymore.

"You can just call me Elizabeth," she replied. Sitting on the top step of the staircase, watching the Doctor walk around and observing the various panels as she talked, she told her story. Her brain was on automatic as she retold it, having had to tell it to the Ancients a dozen time. Travelling to a new galaxy, and the death that awaited them there; the words all came through her mouth without her really thinking about them. The only new part was how the Ancients left to go to Earth, and she stayed behind to save her people.

"Well that sounds boring!" exclaimed the Doctor. "That's all you're going to do, just spend the rest of your life in a stasis machine?"

"Were you listening? What other choice do I have?"

"Well, I do have my ship. It can go anywhere in the universe. Wouldn't you like to see a few sights first?" The Doctor stuffed his hands into his pockets and raised his eyebrows expectantly as he wandered back over to her.

"Anywhere in the universe?" she asked unbelievingly. "Like, Earth, or PC7-33Y, or Mars?"

"Well, Mars has a rather dry climate so I tend to avoid it, but yes, anywhere."

Elizabeth considered the blue box in front of her. It seemed out of this world, but no more so than an Ancient time travelling puddle jumper bringing her ten thousand years in to the past. She might have even refused the Doctor if his ship had been anything else, anything more alien. But the plain English - an Earth language - written on the side of the box, made her trust in the Doctor.

"Okay," she said, and confidently stood up. She reasoned that if it were nonsense, it would soon reveal itself as such. And even if it were, well, she had a duty to investigate it. "Let's go, then. It's just, I do need to-"

"Did I mention it's a time machine, also? You'll be back in plenty of time. You'll save your people, Elizabeth. I promise."

Smiling, he held out his hand. Elizabeth regarded it for a moment, thinking it was fate that this strange man should appear out of nowhere moments before committing herself to her dire future and offer her something more amazing than she'd ever have bargained on. She reached out and grabbed his hand tightly. They descended the staircase, steps in tune, like a sort of processional. Elizabeth grinned, almost giddy with the prospect of one more adventure before she laid down her life, even if some small part of her suspected all of this was a figment of her imagination.

***

The first thing Elizabeth could really tell about the Doctor was that he knew how to put on a show. He alternated between hopping and grinning like a madman as he flicked, tugged, and turned various controls on the console in the center of the room. Elizabeth let her eyes wander from her strange companion to her even stranger surroundings. The interior of the TARDIS, as the Doctor had called it, was dark and organic looking, and was quite larger on the inside than it was on the outside. Her first instinct had been to retreat back to the bright, orderly, physics-obeying surroundings of Atlantis the second she realized what she'd stepped into, but she pushed the fear aside in favor of curiosity.

Elizabeth's incredible adventure had been over before it had even begun, but here was one more chance. The Doctor was going to show her the universe; she was going to know more about existence than any human before her. Even if she only got to see one planet - hell, one moon or asteroid or tiny patch of space - in a far-off galaxy, something beyond the Milky Way and Pegasus that nobody back home could ever hope to know about, she felt it was worth it.

Approaching the console opposite the Doctor, her fingers skimmed the alien controls. She marvelled at the chaos spread before her, and the way the Doctor seemed completely at home among it.

"Would you like to push the button?" he asked.

Looking down at the controls, she was about to ask which button? when she noticed a very large, very red button, that practically screamed out to be pushed. Common sense dictated she determine which was the correct button first, but the backwards nature of everything else told her to throw common sense to the wind. "Okay," she replied, and pressed the large, red button. The ship lurched to one side, and a rush of noise filled the air. The Doctor whooped loudly, and Elizabeth laughed, both at this man's odd mannerisms, and to expel her nervous excitement.

"One last adventure?" Elizabeth asked, not entirely sure who she was aiming the question at.

The Doctor replied anyway. "The adventure of a lifetime." The ship lurched again slightly, then quieted. "Are you ready, Elizabeth Weir?"

Before she could answer, the Doctor crossed the large room and opened the doors for her. Elizabeth walked towards them, and before she could even see outside, she could hear the sounds of birds singing. They were outside somewhere, above the water. Before crossing the threshold and seeing her first alien sky, the last thought that popped into Elizabeth's mind was the Doctor's for real.

"Where are we?" Elizabeth asked. They had landed in a field on a bluff overlooking a large, sprawled-out city. The buildings shone and glittered in the sun, and though they were too far away to hear the sounds of the city, Elizabeth thought she could feel the hum of machinery and life.

"Altair Seven," the Doctor replied. "They have an amazing dish here, called eng tail. Delicious. A bit similar to oxtail in texture, but it tastes sort of like beans. It's fantastic, you'll love it."

"Well, I'm starving," Elizabeth shrugged, grinning. "Let's go."

***

The Doctor went from eng tail, to watching the ancient Egyptians place the last block in the great pyramid of Giza, to being next to a sun as it exploded in a supernova. Every human was different, though they all showed a similar appreciation for the wonder of the universe. The Doctor found he enjoyed the half-smile and wide-eyed look Elizabeth displayed on these occasions, as if by observing these things she was becoming a part of them, and the universe was becoming a part of her.

The Doctor also enjoyed her inquisitive nature. Elizabeth pelted him with questions about everywhere they went, everything she saw, and everything about him. Sometimes he thought he told her too much, particularly about Gallifrey and the time lords, but then he thought what he was going to be bringing her back to someday. She didn't have a normal life to go back to; she was going to sit in a stasis unit and rot. Who was she going to tell?

In some ways, the Doctor thought he took advantage of this. Telling someone his life story was a privilege he had never really had before. He knew he was using her, but he decided it didn't much matter, since what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her.

"So why were you in Atlantis, that day?" Elizabeth asked him. They had landed on a planet with a sky tinged with green at the horizon and purpleish plants, and were strolling through a recently used path in the woods.

"I'm not sure," the Doctor mused. "The TARDIS brought me there."

"She does that occasionally, I've noticed," Elizabeth remarked.

"Sometimes the old girl can sniff out trouble. I was just too late this time," the Doctor glanced over to his companion, whose face had grown softer since they'd been travelling. Less hardened with resolve, and hard truths. "Or I could have been just in the nick of time. Whichever way you want to see it."

Elizabeth looked up, and seeing that the Doctor was looking at her, felt warmth course through her. "Tell me, Doctor. Why is the sky green here?"

"Copper vapor in the upper atmosphere," he said as he took a big sniff of the air. "Quite harmless, but it makes for a beautiful sunset."

Elizabeth grabbed his hand at that, and the Doctor looked towards her again, seeing a huge smile. It touched her entire face, and made him feel as if he was the only one who'd ever seen her smile like that. It was one she rarely wore, but that he especially enjoyed seeing.

"What's that for?" he couldn't stop himself from asking. He asked almost every time she smiled at him that way.

"It's for beautiful copper sunsets, and the Doctor who is going to show one to me."

***

Elizabeth leaned on a railing while the Doctor paced next to the console. They were arguing.

"It's a horrible idea," the Doctor huffed.

"Please, don't hold back! Tell me how you really feel." Elizabeth shouted.

"I will!" he shouted back, louder than she had.

Not to be outdone, Elizabeth yelled even louder. "Okay then!"

"Good!"

"Great!"

"Look, I know what you're feeling. I know." The Doctor turned away and leaned against the console, staring at the far wall, as Elizabeth's eyes bored into his back. "But you can't go back. You can't ever change things."

"But that doesn't make sense. We change things all the time! Remember when we stopped that civil war? Or when we accidently exploded that moon? How is this different?"

"Because we were never a part of that civil war, or had ever been to that moon. We can't change our own histories. They're part of us, make us who we are." The Doctor paused, and Elizabeth didn't say anything. He turned around, facing her. The pained look on his face startled her. She didn't see it when they weren't in the middle of some dire situation, trying to save someone or deal with an evil alien warlord.

"Did you try? With Gallifrey?" she asked softly.

"Yes," he replied flatly. "Very bad things happened. I tried to save my people, and instead I had to watch them die all over again. And the second time, I had to destroy them myself, to right what I'd done." The Doctor sat on the floor, turning away from the horrified look on Elizabeth's face. "You can't save your people. It won't work."

The Doctor lay on the floor and closed his eyes, his hearts beating a fast rhythm in his ears. He listened to Elizabeth's footsteps as she came towards him. She sat next to him, observing. The muscles in his forehead were twitching as he furrowed his brow. She could never guess what thoughts were going through his head at any given time, but she suspected he was figuring out a way to squash down the feelings this conversation had brought up. The Doctor preferred happiness above all other emotions, almost to the point of manicness. He was right, he did know how she felt, only a hundred times worse. Unsure of what to do, Elizabeth did the only thing she could think of. She reached out and placed a hand on the Doctor's forehead, trying to comfort him, to still the ever-moving brain within.

Her hand on his forehead prompted the Doctor to open his eyes, and the compassion and helplessness he found written on Elizabeth's face were too much for him to take. He put his head in her lap, wrapped his arms around her waist as tightly as he could, and cried. He cried for his lost people, and Elizabeth's; he cried for all the people he could never save. His grief was something he never let go of - it was as much a part of his own history now as the pieces of time and space he had occupied throughout his life - but for a few brief moments, the Doctor let it out. The sound of his own pain coming from within himself was a release; he shared it with Elizabeth, and for that short time, he was no longer alone.

It didn't take long for the Doctor to compose himself. He sat up, untangling his arms from around Elizabeth. He stood and faced away from her, and by the time he had turned back, he looked as if nothing had happened.

"I've got an idea that will cheer us up," the Doctor said with one of his characteristic grins. He gave her a hand up off the floor, and whistled as he started prodding the console.

Behind him, Elizabeth smiled sadly.

***

The Doctor's idea more than cheered her up. It left her speechless. He had brought them back to Atlantis, to a time when the city was above water. They had landed on a balcony, and upon walking out the TARDIS door, Elizabeth was struck by how huge Atlantis was. It had towers reaching for the sky, and arms spread out to skim the surface of the ocean. During her brief time in the city before, she had viewed some schematics, but the technical drawings were nothing compared to the view the Doctor had given her. The city was beautiful.

"When is this?" she asked.

"The past," he replied. "Fifteen thousand years before your team comes here."

Elizabeth looked across the horizon, hands gripped the cool metal of the railing. Elizabeth knew she had to end this soon. A large part of her battled against that common sense, telling her that she had had everything taken from her, and she deserved to live the rest of her life travelling with the Doctor, seeing the universe. She'd hardly seen it all, yet. Why shouldn't she see the rest?

The thought scared her more than anything. She still had a job to do, and she couldn't let temptation get in the way of it. She'd traded one fantastic exploit for another, for another. Adventure of a lifetime had almost come to lose its meaning. Elizabeth thought that there could be no one in the universe who'd experienced as much as she had, except for the Doctor himself. But the longer she stayed with him, the more her resolve would melt away. The previous night, she had her first night of sleep free of any dreams of her people in Atlantis. She was moving on, and she couldn't allow herself to do that.

They stood quietly on the balcony together, as Elizabeth took in the view. The Doctor seemed oblivious to her internal battle, watching the sky as fluffy clouds breezed overhead, the sun warm against their skin. There was a slight salty scent to the air, and Elizabeth breathed it in shakily. She thought to herself that she wouldn't mind living here. And she would live here, if she succeeded. Maybe not her, exactly, but some small part of herself.

"Elizabeth," the Doctor looked at her sadly. "You don't have to go."

She blinked, surprised. Sometimes it seemed as if he could read her mind.

"You're not making this easy, Doctor," she replied. The metal railing under her hands had become warm and slightly slippery with her sweat.

"I know." He didn't look sorry.

Elizabeth didn't know how to respond. The Doctor had a pull she couldn't explain, and after everything they'd been through, she didn't know if she could leave him. She took in his dark eyes, his slight frame that disguised the power within him, and the magical box behind him. She wanted to stay with him, and was teetering on the brink of accepting, when unbidden, the memories of her first trip through the Stargate popped into her head. Beyond that glittering blue pool had been uncertainty, and nothing had felt more unnerving in her life. She had been scared then, as she was now, but knew it was the right choice to go. Spending the rest of her years in stasis, alone, without the Doctor, scared her. But it was the right choice.

"I'm ready to go back, now," Elizabeth said resolutely.

***

When the quiet emptiness of the submerged Atlantis surrounded her again, Elizabeth instantly felt as if she'd never left. And in a way, she hadn't. The Doctor had come back just moments after they had first left, just as he had promised.

The stargate's presence was as commanding as ever. It had been years, she figured, since she'd last seen one, and the sight filled her with a renewed awe. Elizabeth regarded it for a moment, before slowly turning in a circle and taking in the city.

The Doctor watched her from the doorstep of the TARDIS. He could see the sense of purpose assert itself on her face as she remembered the kind of woman she was. A leader, the savior of her people. Where a human in the Doctor's position might have felt jealousy - he had only ever failed his own people - instead he felt only pride.

Their goodbye was short.

"You'll be okay, Doctor," Elizabeth smiled at him, the smile she knew he particularly loved to see. He didn't ask this time why she smiled that way.

He knew he would never be okay, but if he had learned one thing about humans, it was that they hated to be wrong. So he nodded, and maintained the illusion, for Elizabeth's sake. "The universe awaits," he said, intending to turn away.

"One more thing before you go, Doctor." Elizabeth went to him and enveloped him in a tight hug. He gripped her back just as tightly. Brushing her lips across his ear, she whispered thank you. She stepped back, watching as the Doctor simply smiled, and entered the TARDIS, softly closing the door without a backwards look.

Elizabeth watched the TARDIS melt away into the air, and as soon as it was gone she wondered if any of it had happened, or if she had just had some intensely vivid hallucination. She might have believed it, if it hadn't been for the ease with which she recalled the grip of the Doctor's hand in hers, or the way he could make any random alien be completely confused in a matter of seconds just by talking, or how he grinned when he judged her to have said something especially brilliant.

No, she decided, it had been real, all of it. And though her adventure was coming to a close, she had never felt happier. So much so, she almost regretted what she had to do.

***

The instructions Janus had told Elizabeth were simple enough to remember, even after all that time. She performed the tasks diligently, waking at the right times, switching out the ZPMs. It had all worked, and she had risen the final time to a city full of happy, healthy Earthlings floating peacefully above the water. Elizabeth told these alternate people the story of everything that had happened. Nearly everything; the beginning and ending parts, at least. She elected to omit the part in the middle.

Laying in a hospital bed, feeling old and tired, Elizabeth regarded the alternate people. They were the same faces she remembered, the same personalities. They were older, though - more experienced. She observed the way they seemed to fit right into the city, a place she didn't feel she belonged despite having lived there for ten thousand years. But this was their home, and she had given it to them. Given them the second chance the Doctor had given her.

Elizabeth felt as if she could rest now. Her last memories of her people wouldn't be that of frightened shouts or terrified faces. Instead, it would be of life, moving on in another galaxy, in a fantastic floating city.

***

Fin. Feedback?

back