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Dreamers Often Lie
by Camilla Sandman

I dream'd a dream to-night.
And so did I.
Well, what was yours?
That dreamers often lie.

~ Romeo and Mercutio, "Romeo and Juliet".


"There is no Doctor."

"There is no Doctor."

"There is no time travel."

"There is no time travel."

"I am Rose Tyler, and I'm not going to spread any more lies."

"I am... Rose..."

After all this, the mind still rebels. Little human mind, such a rebel in its simplicity. Perfectly willing to create its own delusions, listen to a thousand lies even knowing the truth, ignore all evidence of the world outside it in favour of the world within. And then, with one simple command, the little mind turns around and resists. No predicting the little mind.

Lignhjer the Dreamer has tried. But the little mind still foils him. She's resisting.

"I am Rose Tyler and I travel in time with the Doctor! It's not lies! He'll come for me! He'll come!"

"There is no Doctor," he says again, and even as she screams, defiance shines in her eyes.

It always saddens him when little minds resists. He hates breaking them.

"There is no time travel..."

"Doctor!"

"There is no Doctor..."


There is a Doctor. She remembers him; tall and dark and eyes like ice and winter, but never freezing her. A warm hand, lips curved in a smile, fantastic adventures in the sound of his voice. There is a Doctor, he is hers. And the TARDIS, the TARDIS he shares with her, and it does travel through time. It does. He's shown her the past and the future and what they are like in the present. He's shown her. She remembers.

She remembers coming here. They hadn't meant to. A dark, polluted planet and humans scattered all over it, living in their own polluted ways. They were going to leave again right away. Just one little peek - just one little satisfaction of curiosity.

Just one little Rose Tyler now alone.

There is a Doctor. Her Doctor. He'll come for her.

Won't he?


He sits in his chair and waits for the next batch of drugs to work. She's not screaming anymore, she merely sits, back against the wall, attention inwards. Possibly she still clings to her delusions, trying to strength them before his next attack. They always do. They always fail.

This is the first one he's had in here with tales of time travels and other planets, however. A week she claims to have been stranded here, waiting for the Doctor. Always the Doctor she calls for, always the Doctor in her mind.

Maybe that is the way in, he considers. No more Doctor, no more lies.

There are no other planets. There is only this. Rose Tyler will see the truth. They all do.

Lignhjer the Dreamer did.


'Rose!'

She runs and he calls and the TARDIS groans, but always, just like it happened, she's just the second too late and it fades from her, tossed into time by the storm. Just the second.

She remembers.

She had tried to wait. She had endured the gazes at her cleaner appearance and skin undamaged by pollution. She had worked to get food, she had stood every night by the spot the TARDIS disappeared and waited for the familiar groan of engines. She had tried to think it an adventure.

And then the guy had come by and asked her what she was doing and she had told the truth.

It is still the truth. It must be true.

Why?


"Why?" he asks again, and her gaze settles on him. "Why must the Doctor be real?"

"He makes the world better," she says slowly, words slurred.

"Can't we do that on our own?"

"You tell me, is this world better?"

Defiance still, attempt at logic. He fights a strange impulse to admire her. Her delusions wants a better world for others and tries to find a way. Almost like...

"Lies make nothing better," he says and nods. That is a truth.

"I'm not lying! Just calling it lying doesn't make it so."

"Just saying it is true doesn't make it so."

She looks down and for a moment, he thinks he has her there. But she looks up again, eyes filled with tears and fire. "What does it matter what I think? What are you afraid of? Why am I here?"

"For your own good."

"No way." She shakes her head. "You're afraid of me, aren't you? Of what I'm saying? What is it, afraid people will look for something better than this shithole of a planet?"

He pats her head sadly. In another situation, her mind might've been great, might've been helpful, full of ideas.

"This planet is the only in the Universe. There is no other. There is no better," he says, and his mind nods.


There is something better. He showed her. He took her hand and changed the world, changed everything while they stood still in the spin of it, watching and smiling.

There is a Doctor. There must be.


"There is no Doctor..."

He sinks the needle into her skin and she screams again, and strangely, it hurts.

"... he's only a fantasy."


'Doctor!' she screams into the darkness of her mind, memories slipping. 'Doctor!'

'Rose.'

He's there. He's there, he's there, a memory, a delusion, a ghost, she doesn't care. He's there and she reaches for him, throws herself into his embrace and he holds her so hard she almost wonder if he's afraid too.

'I'm here, Rose.'

She's imagined an embrace like this, a reunion where they're both overcome with emotion and she's looking beautiful, hair perfect and him, dark and brooding until she kisses him. She's imagined... She is imagining and she is kissing him.

'Rose, Rose, listen...'

'Doctor, Doctor,' she mutters and kisses him again, clinging to him. In here he's real. She never has to leave. If she just holds the image of him here, she's not a liar. This is real. This is... This is her imagination, his lips warm against hers, the taste of him alien and human and her Doctor, the air around them still, so still.

He grabs her wrists and holds her, drawing away slightly. 'Rose, I'm here.'

'Yes,' she whispers, meeting his dark gaze. 'Here. You look at me like this and in here, I think of... Everything.'

His kiss, his hands slowly undressing her, his fingers tracing her skin, his hips hard against her thighs as she straddles him, his eyes burning as he looks at her face and everything, everything is a fire. She thinks of it and it's here, he's here, sinking into her, sighing her name, just as she wants.

'Doctor,' she whispers, clutching at his shoulders as he moves within her, matching his rhythm with her breath. A thrust, an inhale, a withdrawal, an exhale, matching him beat for beat.

This is a fantasy, she thinks and clings on still, feeling his heartbeats in her skin.

She doesn't want a world where he isn't real.


"You're not the only one, you know," Lignhjer says conversationally, watching her glazed eyes. "There have been many speaking of aliens and other worlds, even claiming we come the stars ourselves. Fantasies take hold of our hopes and gives them a venue and we want them so much we want to believe them real. We make them real. You wanted a savior, someone to make your world better and for you to feel special. So you created the Doctor."

He pauses, watching the room. There are only them there, but sometimes other Dreamers will watch in and make sure all happens as it should. They're not supposed to reveal what he wants to say, but he decides to risk it anyway. Maybe it will help her.

"I lied once. It's how I got this job. The best Dreamers are those who have fought delusions themselves and won. We know how to break them. I believed... I believed there was another planet out there, a planet we came from. A blue planet, with great seas I wanted to sail across. A planet with a blue sky at day and a dark sky at night, not grey with pollution whatever time of day."

He smiles sadly at the memory of the delusion. The mind always clung on to the memories, even memories of the imagined. Fighting delusions required ever vigilance, ever Dreamers.

"Why are you called Dreamers?"

For a moment, he thinks it's someone else's voice speaking to him, but only Rose is in the room, and she's looking at him, eyes clear as ice.


'Good, Rose,' the Doctor whispers in her ear. 'Ask questions.'

She turns her head and beams at him. They're swinging in the swing she always wanted but her mum never got her, her back against his chest, the wind in her hair. She dreamed of a swing like this, dreamed of the speed of it being like flying.

She never got the swing. She got something better.

The TARDIS.

She swings and jumps into it and it flies, a thousand time more fun than a swing, taking her to alien planets, some so beautiful it hurt... Oh, Woman Wept.

She turns to the Doctor, the frozen sea all around them, trapped in the moment of storm. And she kisses him, as she wanted to then. He sighs a little into the kiss, but lets it last for a moment before pulling away.

'Rose, try to concentrate. Your mind is jumping all over the place and you're dragging me with. Just focus on me for a moment.'

The sea fades. The sky fades. The Doctor doesn't.

'That's more like it. Just you and me.'

'Like when Adam buggered off on us.'

'Yes,' the Doctor says hurriedly, 'but let's not remember him now. Just you and me. Now ask again.'


"Why are you called Dreamers?" she asks again, tilting her head. Her gaze is unnervingly steady despite all the drugs in her system and he feels a moment of doubt. Surely she can't... No. Maybe she's just trying to find the truth, finally seeing that he is right.

It tastes strangely of lies in his mind, he thinks.

"It is an ancient title for the helpers of liars," he replies, just as someone told him once.

"But why would someone helping people see the truth be called a Dreamer? Dreams aren't necessarily true."

"I..." he pauses, realising he has no answer he knows it's true but one. "I don't know."

"Did you never think about it?"

"No."

"Maybe you should."


'He hurt me,' she says as they both watch the world outside and Lignhjer's answers.

'I know,' he replies, pain in his voice, as if he has been hurt too. 'I'm sorry I left you. I thought you were right on my heels.'

'I tripped,' she says and feels silly. For a moment, she is running again, running right behind him, the mud so slippery and she falls, falls into his arms.

'Not this time,' he says, steadying her, taking her hand.

'You're here.'

'Yes. Came as soon as I could. Had a bit of trouble with the storm and the navigation system.'

She hardly listens, watching his face intently. 'You're really here, aren't you?'

'With a little help from the telepathic field of the TARDIS, brilliantly modified by yours truly, yes.'

'You're here,' she repeats, feeling herself grin like an idiot. 'You're really here.'


She smiles, a beautiful, breathtaking smile, directed at him and yet not quite for him.

"He's here," she says chillingly, closing her eyes. "The Doctor is here."

"No, Rose! Let go!"


'You know me,' he says softly. 'Can't help but save the day.'

'You haven't saved me yet,' she points out and he grins.

'Minor detail.'

'Minor detail!' she repeats. 'I'm locked up in some asylum for liars and you call that a minor detail?'

'I'm on my way,' he says softly, and puts a hand to her cheek. 'I am sorry, Rose.'

He is. She can feel it. Mirroring his caress, she can feel his mind, almost like a small tendril touching hers. She can feel... So much pain she can feel the edges of. All the dead he remembers and he remembers everything. Gallifrey burning, a bonfire in his mind, a little blink of light going out in the vastness of cold space. He is cold. She wants to warm him.

'Rose, no!'

She opens her mind and the cold comes.


He can't save her, he realises, and he wants to cry. He always wants to cry. It is almost enough to make him wish their fantasies were true. Almost enough to make him wish his was.

There should be something better. There shouldn't just be pain.


She is him. She is everything he remembers, everything he's seen and felt and been and had and said and done and knows and is and everything. Everything. Life. Death. Always death. So much death. Darkness. Cold. Despair. Human words, Gallifreyan loss. Too much. Too much.

'Rose, let go! I'll kill you if you don't let go!'

Rose... She can feel Rose there too, Rose Tyler in the Doctor's mind, bright and strong and warm, so warm against the cold. Rose Tyler, his Rose Tyler, beloved. This is her? This is...

Me?

'Rose, let go!'

She feels him shake her free and she falls back into her own mind, pain fading and memory remaining, glazing through her mind like a firestorm.

She is Rose.


Her eyes slam open and the brightness of her gaze nearly blinds him.

"I am strong," she says, and Lignhjer tries to tell his mind not to fear. She's just a girl. Nothing to fear. Nothing!

The mind doesn't listen.

"I am Rose Tyler," she goes on, and impossibly, she stands up. Drugged down, she stands up. "There is a Doctor. You lie."

"I..."

She smiles, and it's the most beautiful smile and it still fills him with fear. "He's real."

"Lies! This planet is the only in the Universe. There is no other. There is no better. You will not spread your lies! You will not..."

"Your planet was Earth," she says, and his blood turns to ice. His legs refuse to carry him and he slides down against the wall, staring up at her. "The planet was Earth. This is just an outpost. You all came from Earth."

"No..."

"It's my planet too. It's where I come from. It's real."

"There is no Earth. There is no Earth."

There is no Earth. There is no Earth.

"I'm sorry," she says, and for a moment, her hand is warm stroking his hair. "They've lied to you."

The door bursts open, but it's not other Dreamers coming to help. It's Rose's Doctor, he realises, as the two simply embrace without even looking at him. The Doctor is real. No lie. No...

"There is no Earth. There is no Earth."

Is there?


'Lignhjer?'

'Who are you?'

'The Doctor.'

'No. No.'

'You hurt Rose.'

'I wanted to help her! I wanted her to see the truth!'

'The truth? Here's the truth you forgot, Dreamer. Here's the truth of your little mind.'

He screams and the world changes, spinning around him madly.

There is...

Everything.


She doesn't quite remember how she got back to the TARDIS. Her mind deduces that the Doctor carried her, but all she remembers is waking inside of it, her system letting go of drugs and her body just letting go of her meals. Some tea and rest later, she feels well enough to go outside and wait for the Doctor to return.

She knows for certain he is coming this time. But it doesn't hurt to check.

She leans against the TARDIS, feeling it warm her back in the absence of the sun. A cold world, this, dirty and cold and miserable. And still, in a strange way, she thinks it could be wonderful. Maybe it was once. Maybe it will be again.

"They wanted something better," the Doctor says behind her, but she doesn't turn around. "The bravest of them dreamed of something better. It was an honorary title once, to be a Dreamer. Before..."

"It got dirty, like the planet," she says, turning slightly to see him nod.

"You know you humans, never clean on top of your closets. Leave a right mess."

She smiles slightly and tries not to think of her own mess, tangled emotions and silly daydreams.

"Did you clean it up?"

"I started," he admits. "I left a few files with enough truth for dreams. They can do the rest themselves."

"And Lignhjer?"

He doesn't quite answer, merely looks at the world around them. "He hurt you. We shouldn't have come here."

He sounds angry, and for a moment, she thinks maybe it's with her. But his gaze is warm holding hers, and she realises it's with himself.

"I couldn't help you," he says, and the voice is bitter. "I nearly killed you."

"You helped," she replies, closing the distance between them. "Rose Tyler would never have survived that. Rose, time-traveller extraordinaire and friend of the Doctor, she did."

"Rose," he says and cups her cheek, his thumb stroking her skin softly. "You always had all that."

She wants to protest it, explain the changes he's brought to her life and to her, show him what he means, but no words come. There are no words, because all the words she knows she's used before, in her previous life, and this, this is beyond it. If there is one word to capture what she feels, she's still hunting for it. And perhaps all of that is just an excuse and she really is coward. She's not sure, so she just smiles a little helplessly at him. And he smiles back, as if in a mirror, seeing her sentiment and reflecting it back at her.

"Rose Tyler," he says simply, and she thinks maybe it's the only two words he knows to capture how he feels.

"I'm sorry I telepathically shagged you," she rushes out before she loses her nerve and he grins.

"I'm just glad it wasn't a fantasy of a threesome with me and Mickey you were having."

She laughs a little, but even to her own ears it sounds awkward.

"Oh, Rose," he says with affection. "It's just a little human mind, full of fantasies. No harm in having them sometimes."

"No harm in acting them out sometimes," she replies, an unspoken invitation in her voice. "Don't Time Lords have fantasies in their fantastic minds?"

He looks at her for a long time with those eyes, the fire of a thousand suns dying and being born within, and all the cold of space too where everything dies. So much alien in those eyes, and they still fill her with the very human fantasy of kissing him until all of time runs out and never hurts him.

He isn't going to answer, she realises, but then he takes her hand, holding it reverently and she thinks maybe, just maybe, her answer is right there.


Lignhjer always dreams of a planet of seas, blue water raging free. Not filled with acid and darkened by pollution as the small seas remaining on his planet, no. Real seas, as his grandfather would speak of.

'Earth,' grandfather would say, and smile secretively. 'We came from a planet called Earth. Never forget that, Lignhjer. No matter what they tell you.'

Little human mind, such a rebel in its simplicity. Lignhjer never forgot. He just buried it for a while.

There is an Earth. There is something better.

Isn't there?

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