sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 10:03 am
Entry tags:


Title: Bar TARDIS
Rating: G
Summary: When Rose starts feeling a little too much kinship for the banana tree in the kitchen, the Doctor takes her for a quiet drink. A really quiet drink.
Warnings: None.

First posted 4.7.07

Also available at AO3.

There is a cyborg banana tree in the TARDIS kitchen.

Banana trees don't grow well in most climates, the TARDIS interior included, so sometime in the distant past the Doctor rigged up some implants that feed it properly and make sure it's extracting enough sunlight from the out of doors, whenever they're on a planet. Banana plants also move -- Rose thought this was bollocks, but it turns out they really do walk around, just a little. So if the banana plant is unhappy where it is, the implants help it get to where it wants to go. Rose sort of knows how it feels. She lives in the TARDIS too, but she needs sunlight and space to move around in.

She's never had as much space as she does now, after the Doctor picked her up. Like a banana tree. Not that she's not grateful, and she's sure he likes her more than the banana tree (well, pretty sure), but once in a while she looks at the tree, carrying little implants it was never meant to have, and she thinks, "Yeah. Me too."

One night the Doctor catches her talking to the banana tree and gives her a one-eyebrow look that means he's wondering why she's acting....well, so much like him.

"What you need," he says, "is a drink and a bit of quiet."

"That's not likely to happen, is it?" she asks.

"How d'you mean?"

"Well," she says, "trouble sort of follows us, doesn't it?"

Then he cocks the other eyebrow. "I can think of somewhere it won't."

He changes course mid-travel, which means riding the mix manually, the Doctor and the TARDIS working together, all the way to their new destination. When they step outside it's night on some new planet that --

Well, most planets smell like something. Grass or smog or something. This one has no smell, and the air is sterile. And there's only one building, and it is a pub.

"This is Bar TARDIS," he says.

"The planet?"

"No, the pub. Come on."

The pub is bigger on the inside than the outside. Rose senses something very strange is going on.

"This is the one place in the universe where nothing changes," he says, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking so pleased with himself. "Nothing happens. Nobody dies. Nobody really lives, either, mind, but some prefer it that way."


She sees it then; the familiarity of the place. The circular console in the middle is a bar with a shaggy-haired man behind it, serving drinks, standing where a column ought to be. Instead of the detritus the Doctor's picked up on his journeys, there are dim booths and tables filling the control room.

"It's a TARDIS," she says. "Another TARDIS."

"Yup," the Doctor skips down the steps and walks to the bar. "Two please. Whatever's on tap. Oh, and I brought this." He offers the barman a wine bottle filled with glowing amber liquid. "It's not credits but it ought to cover the tab."

The barman stares in disbelief. "Too right. Where'd you get this? You could buy a planet for this. A really nice one, I mean, not some crappy little moon or something."

"I pick things up," the Doctor answers.

"You want some chips?" the barman asks, taken aback by the Doctor's barter.

"Just the beers, thanks."

"What is it?" Rose asks, as the barman pours. "And where did you get it?"

"Wine. Finest vintage in the world. Grew it myself."

"You never did."

"Sure I did. You know the poky little stairs behind the broom cupboard?"

"The one in the kitchen or the one near the jukebox?"

"We have a jukebox?" he asks, looking excited. Once in a while, Rose feels a bit like a chaperone for a particularly bright ten-year-old. "No, I'm thinking of the one by the big...stuffed thing."

"It's a woolly mammoth, and you said you were getting rid of that."

"I like Charlie. Where were we?" The beers are up; he sips his happily.

"Broom closet."

"Right." He grins. She loves that grin. "The stairs behind it. If you go up and make a left on the landing, second door on your right."

"Wine cellar?"

"Nah. Vineyard!"

"We have a vineyard?" she asks.


"On the TARDIS."

"You're always so surprised by these things. Why are you so surprised by these things?"

It's a good question. She rubs her forehead. "I really couldn't tell you."

"Aa-nyway. The grapes are only good every few decades, and the last pressing mostly got broken when we made that dodgy landing on Gh'Zhalkenu. Only a few bottles left, but I don't even like wine very much, so it's no use to me. Still, drives the values up."

"So that's..." she purses her lips. "TARDIS wine?"

"Doctor's Specialty. Sounds like some kind of fake cure for baldness, doesn't it? Drinks well, though."

She looks around, uncertain how to answer that. There are other people drinking here, mostly alone or in pairs. Nobody's talking to anyone, not the way you usually do in a pub. The Doctor leans over her shoulder.

"Nothing ever happens here," he says, voice low in her ear. "See that bloke over there? He'd like to chat you up. He'll think about it -- but he won't. Or he might find someone who wants to be chatted up, and then he would, if he liked the look of them. Nothing ever happens here unless it does."

"Sort of Zen."

"Not really, but I'm not in the mood for comparative religion. This is the place between time," he says, gently. "A long time ago, this TARDIS died. Someone -- probably one of my people -- found it drifting, or perhaps it was theirs. They brought it down gently. Inside, time doesn't pass. That's what it means, when a TARDIS dies, but usually they're destroyed."

"But we're still moving and talking."

"Time isn't moving round us, though. Oi," he adds, to the bartender. "How long've you been here?"

"Dunno," the man answers. "You lose track after the first few centuries."

"Don't you get bored?" Rose asks.

"Nah. M'writin' a novel."

The Doctor nods and turns away from him with a grin, spreading his hands as if to say, You see?

"Isn't it sort of...morbid? Drinkin' inside the dead?" Rose asks.

"Can't think of a better afterlife, myself," he says. "It's -- sad, but not terrible. It's a memory of another..." he laughs a little, "...another time. Someone must have loved you," he adds, touching the bar affectionately. "Someone must have loved you very much. Couldn't bear to wreck you."

"Sort of like those old historical places they turn into parks or museums or things."

"A bit, yeah." His mouth twitches unhappily.

"How do they build" she asks.

"They don't. If they did any old person could have one. You've got to earn a TARDIS."

"I thought all your people had 'em."

"No. Oh no. I mean, a lot did, I suppose. But a TARDIS isn't just a tool. It's a decision. You get your little seedling and it grows..."

"You grow a TARDIS?"

He's lost now in some other world, but she doesn't want to pull him back. He's quieter than usual. Maybe it's that time isn't passing.

"You grow it, and you learn what it thinks and feels, and after a while you can start carving. That's the hard part. Have you ever met Michaelangelo?"

She actually has to stop and think about this.


"He says he doesn't sculpt things. He just frees them from the marble. It's like that. Then, one day..." he smiles. "It starts telling you what it needs. Everything else just becomes...background noise. You work yourself right into exhaustion, helping it become what it was meant to be. But when you're done..."

"Freedom," she murmurs.

He looks at her, surprised. "Yes. Freedom."

"Nother beer?" the barman asks. "Or some peanuts or something?"

The Doctor passes his glass across. Rose has hardly touched her own.

"Have you ever been here before?" she asks.

"Yeah, well. Not for a while. It makes me think. The other kind of thinking. You know what I mean." He pauses. "I wonder who grew it."

Rose slips her hand in his, briefly, squeezes and is rewarded with a smile. They drink and don't talk much, and it's good, really. He was right; he usually is.

When they return to the TARDIS, their TARDIS, the banana plant has decided it likes the hot bit near the sonic frigidaire better than the little empty spot next to the sink. Rose pets it as she passes.

"Where to now?" the Doctor asks. "It's your pick."

"Can we stay here for a bit?" she replies.

"Course, I suppose, but there's not much to see out there."

"I wasn't thinking about out there," she says. He gives her a mild, questioning look. "I want to see the vineyards."


[identity profile] 2008-11-13 01:48 am (UTC)(link)
Nicely bizarre. Slightly meloncholy, but in a good way.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:43 am (UTC)(link)
I love the quiet love of this space.

And I adore Rose stopping to consider whether she has met Michelangelo

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
I can see that you're younger in this.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 03:43 am (UTC)(link)

it's so quiet and pensive and lovely. It makes me want to write whofic but my fear of not getting a good Doctor down is overriding it.

also I like hearing about growing TARDISes.

[identity profile] 2008-12-12 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
you would write wonderful who-fic. you're a nice cross between melancholy and gleeful, like the doctor.
ext_17079: ([dw] had a hat and it sunk)

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 03:58 am (UTC)(link)
This feels so wonderfully calm.

(Anonymous) 2008-11-13 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
You know, they actually do make sonic refrigerators. Acoustic cooling, I think they call it. Saw it on Discovery or TLC or National Geographic; some show about green technologies. Truth--it really is stranger than fiction. :)


(no subject)

(Anonymous) - 2008-11-14 05:20 (UTC) - Expand
ext_24631: editrix with a martini (DW grammar)

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
Best. First. Line. Ever.

I didn't get to read this when it was first posted, and I'm so glad I got to now. I stopped after a few paragraphs and insisted on reading it aloud to my husband who said, "He has a lovely way with words." And, being a fellow editor, he doesn't say that easily. :) Thanks, Sam. Wonderful story.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww, tell him thank you :) And thank you to you, too! I'm glad you both enjoyed it.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 06:13 am (UTC)(link)
"Nah. M'writin' a novel."

Heh. Nice.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 06:47 am (UTC)(link)
Have you ever met Michaelangelo?"

She actually has to stop and think about this.

Best part EVER.

By the way, do you have certain coding on this journal? Even when I view it in my style, the text is always HUGE and not teenytiny, like I like it. It makes me feel that everyone can read what I'm reading with the large text. :( I've tried everything to make it go away. Does this make sense? Should I take screencaps?

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Try ?style=light, perhaps?

If you have it in ?style=mine, it should display just as yours would; there's no special coding on the font. Sorry about that!
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Default)

[personal profile] contrarywise 2008-11-13 06:59 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely. Although I confess I started hearing the Talking Heads singing "Heaven" as I was reading.

*pets cyborg banana tree fondly*

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know that I even know that song. Lyrics?

(no subject)

[personal profile] contrarywise - 2008-11-13 14:38 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] contrarywise - 2008-11-13 14:50 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 07:33 am (UTC)(link)
See, I think sometimes people forget just how odd a life with the Doctor has the potential to be.

Love it!

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 08:08 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe its been retconned out, but it was my understanding that the Doctor stole his TARDIS when he and Susan fled Gallifrey. He just had the bad luck to pick the one that was in for repairs.

On the other hand, this fic does explain the symbiosis between a Time Lord and their TARDIS

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
It's never been retconned out, but not really been confirmed either, if that makes sense, it's just the Doctor's word we have. And one could always say that he'd carved one of his own, lost it, and then stolen another.

It is quasi-canon that you grow a TARDIS -- Jack's got one growing on his desk at Torchwood :D

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2008-11-14 08:24 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 11:30 am (UTC)(link)
I want to meet Charlie the Mammoth now!

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 02:32 pm (UTC)(link)
He won't make very good conversation -- he is stuffed, after all :D

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2008-11-13 15:00 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 01:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I swear, Sam, it's like you channel the Doctor or something. You write him so well. I can just hear David's voice, too. Nice.
ext_77335: (love is all puppy)

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 03:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I have to say, I love your former-TARDIS stories. Both this one, and your Glenn Miller story where the Hub is a TARDIS whose Time Lord is dead both have this gentle, quiet quality about them that I love.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I find the TARDIS oddly fascinating. I blame that TNG episode with the living spaceship. :D

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2008-11-13 15:17 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2008-11-13 15:22 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 05:06 pm (UTC)(link)
This was a bit sad and a bit funny and entirely beautiful. I love stories that talk about the nature of TARDISes, and this one felt so very true. Thanks!
jadelennox: Doctor Who's Rose: "It's also alien" (doctor who: rose)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2008-11-13 06:21 pm (UTC)(link)
that was really lovely, a gorgeous mood piece without being too angsty.

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 07:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't think I saw this! I'm so glad you put it up. Rose petting the banana plant at the end filled me with awwwww!

[identity profile] 2008-11-13 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
remids me of hitchiker's guide to the galaxy and the restaurant at the end of the universe. very good - has to be if i'm comparing it to douglas adams!

[identity profile] 2008-11-14 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
aw, this surpasses cuteness. And it's very thoughtful too, a lovely piece.

[identity profile] 2008-11-14 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
Wonderful work - a nice blend of different moods.

[identity profile] 2008-11-14 04:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Very sweet. Reminds me of Milliways. ;)

[identity profile] 2008-11-15 12:46 am (UTC)(link)
Fascinating story, lovely storytelling.

[identity profile] 2008-11-15 04:21 pm (UTC)(link)
This was beautiful and slightly haunting. When you write in this style your tone becomes almost detached, which really adds to the overall feeling of the piece - is it intentional? Also, are the other people in the bar 'normal' space travellers or people like the Doctor, possibly from different universes?

Sorry for all the questions - this is distracting me from the fact that the sky outside my window has turned a funny purple-pink colour, which I'm sure can't be normal...

[identity profile] 2008-11-17 02:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't usually detach consciously, but I have noticed that when I write for a series for the first few times, I'm often a bit detached -- I think it comes of analysing for ICness.

As for the rest of the bar -- well, a mixture of space travelers, time travelers, and waitbeings, I would think....

[identity profile] 2008-11-15 11:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is lovely. Such a great mix of wistful and whimsical. :)

Page 1 of 2

<< [1] [2] >>