The Doctor, the Pop Star, and the Starman
Author's note: Only Griff, Daisy, and Dev are mine. This is a silly little crossover fic that I attempted as a thank you to all of my amazing readers. Hope you enjoy!! **This takes place after the Alien Pop Star series and does include some spoilers**
This isn't the first time that my alien husband has decided to look for David Bowie. In fact, it's not even the second time.
“This time we know exactly where to find him,” Griffin insists, holding his vinyl copy of Heroes against his chest like it will protect him from bullets. “It'll only take a few hours, Daisy, come on.”
It's not that I have a problem with us popping around the universe all willy-nilly. In fact, when you marry an alien prince who is masquerading on Earth as a pop star, you get used to space travel pretty fast. Sure, it's disorienting when you teleport from the bustle of New York City to the gassy, purple skied landscape of an alien mining planet, but there's something to be said for human adaptability.
No, the problem isn't the space travel, specifically. It's that Griffin is going to be directing our travel there, and he is just about the worst possible person to do so.
“Dev said you should never travel without him,” I say, still unsure if I should leave the loving embrace of the heavenly king size bed in our New York City hotel room.
“Rubbish! He's only saying that because of the time that I almost traveled us into that volcano.” Griffin rolls his eyes and waves a dismissive hand around in the air. “That was soooo long ago. And we didn't actually end up in the volcano, anyway.”
This is not the kind of logic that makes me feel any more confident in Griffin's traveling skills.
“I'll just find the coordinates, punch them in, and whoosh! We're off! Wham, bam, thank you, Ma'am,” Griffin says, and offers me a devilish grin. “That was a David Bowie reference.”
After about five full minutes of intense pesting and nagging, Griffin finally convinces me that he can bring us to David Bowie without anyone falling into volcanoes, hitting a stray asteroid, or getting lost in space. Eventually, the excitement about seeing Bowie again outweighs my fear of death, and I let Griffin whisk us away.
Griffin's people travel via a sort of teleportation system, stepping through time and space with the help of their ultra-fancy interstellar GPS. The trip is almost instant, and before I know what's happening, we're not in our New York City hotel room anymore.
As usual, Griffin throws up as soon as we appear at our new destination. He's got a weak stomach for traveling, and it always seems to be especially weak when I'm the only one around who can comfort him. I give him a quick pat on the shoulder, trying to show support, but then inch away from the barf zone as quickly as I can. The last thing I want to do is start throwing up too.
“Are you sure this is the right planet?” I ask, hoping to distract both of us from the unpleasant things happening in Griffin's stomach.
“Yeah, yeah, 'course it's the right planet!” Griffin huffs, regaining his composure. He retrieves a pack of mints from his bag and shoves several of them in his mouth. “I put in the same address I did last time.”
After our wedding, Griffin had brought me to a mysterious, beautiful planet where David Bowie had taken up new residence. We'd only had a few seconds with the Starman, and Griffin spoke often about wanting to return. He still needed to get his record signed, after all. But nothing looks quite the way I remember it.
“You're absolutely sure...?” I ask, moving closer to Griffin as something bright whizzes across the sky over us. Before I can inquire further, though, the flying object changes course and heads right for us, letting off a horrible screeching sound as it comes closer.
“Run!” Griffin shouts, grabbing my hand and tugging me along behind him. In movies, couples can run together like this and it looks very graceful and cool. Not so with Griff and me. We manage to keep pace with each other for about five seconds, and then Griffin trips and I go down with him.
I hit the ground hard, losing my breath on impact. Griffin rolls over on top of me, trying to be a protective shield against the falling UFO. It's sweet of him, but makes it even harder for me to recover my breath, so I wiggle and try to push him off. “We need- to- run-” I try to say, looking up at what appears to be a huge blue box, which is about to crush us into oblivion.
Just as I close my eyes and brace for impact, though, the screeching blue box vanishes entirely. It takes me a few seconds to process what happened, and when I look at Griffin, he seems similarly confused.
“What was that?” I whisper, and Griffin splutters.
“No bloody idea, but whoever's flying that thing is a madman!” Griffin clambers back to his feet, dusting himself off while muttering. “My record could have been broken, before I even get Bowie to sign it!”
With a bit less gusto, I stand up too, testing my body for signs of damage from the fall. Aside from a scraped knee and some bruising, I should be fine. Still, something about that blue box feels familiar to me, and I can't quite put my finger on why.
I'm about to ask Griffin again if we're in the right place, but I'm interrupted once more by the blue box. This time, though, it appears on the ground right in front of us, flickering in and out of view a few times before it seems to settle on being a real, physical object. Looking at it closer, I realize it's a blue police box, and that triggers another shadowy memory. Where have I seen this thing before? Why does it look so familiar...?
The door of the box flings open so hard that I think it will break off its hinges, and a lanky man bustles out, dressed in a brown suit and blue bowtie. “Yes, yes, hello, sorry I'm late,” he says in a rush, as if he's just been running. “Bit of a bumpy ride, wasn't it?” He adjusts his bowtie, which just makes it more crooked than it was before, and passes a hand over his well coiffed hair. “Do I look alright? I've never met him before, somehow. Met loads of his mates, but keep missing him. Hard to believe, isn't it? Me! Of all people, never meeting him.”
“Who...?” I ask, because Griffin seems to be completely frozen at my side, and offering no help whatsoever in figuring out what's going on.
“Oh, right. Sorry about that, my manners seem to have been misplaced. I'm the Doctor. And you are...?”
The Doctor. Why does that sound familiar too? Have I met this man on Griffin's planet? At one of the intergalactic music ceremonies I've been to? Was he a musician at the alien music festival I helped Griffin organize?
I look to Griffin, but he seems to still be in shock. I give him a little nudge. “I'm Daisy,” I say, and point at my husband. “This is Griffin.”
The Doctor rubs his hands together with enough enthusiasm to power a city. “Ah, and are you two fans? Here to see him as well?”
“Who?” This time it's Griffin who asks, his voice higher than normal.
“Yes, I've told you already. The Doctor. You're Griffin, I'm the Doctor.”
This finally snaps Griffin out of his stupor. “No, I mean who are you here to see?”
“Oh. Bowie, of course.” The man offers us a devilish smile, straightening to his full height. “Suppose we should be off to find him then, shouldn't we? I do love bringing people with me. Friends. Best if you don't stay with me too long, really, but one day can't hurt, right? Right then, come on.”
The man takes off, and Griffin and I exchange a brief glance before falling into step behind him. We haven't made it very far when Griffin suddenly lets out a loud gasp. “Wait! I know who you are!”
“Well yes, I just told you. I'm the Doctor, and you're Griffin and Daisy. Must we go over this again? Are you suffering short term memory loss?” The Doctor wheels around so that he's looking at us, but he doesn't stop moving. He seems to be every bit as efficient at walking backwards as forwards. “I can maybe help you with that. Possibly. But first we should find Bowie, because it's quite important, you see. Something just happened, something big, and it impacts time and space and the rest of human civilization, and all that sort of thing.” He waves a floppy hand in the air and offers a shrug. “But I'll help with the memory loss thing after, alright? Just remind me. Or... don't, if you can't remember.”
“I've not got memory loss!” Griffin bursts. “You're Doctor Who! Like that show the people on Earth watch, you're him!”
The lightbulb finally comes on. Doctor Who, yes, that beloved scifi classic the BBC has been providing families with for decades. How could I have just forgotten the show existed? And why didn't I immediately connect that blue box as the TARDIS? Why didn't I realize this floppy, strange man in front of us was the Doctor?
Just as it all makes sense to me, though, it begins to slip away.
Why does this man look familiar?
“Ah... yes. Er. About that.” The Doctor turns right way around again, both hands now dancing in the air to emphasize the chaotic cadence of his words. “It's just easier if people think they remember me from that show, d'y'know what I mean? It's one thing when you see a monster on some program, but it's quite another when you have to reconcile it eating your neighbor once. It's all quite fun and colorful on the show, and far less stressful for everyone.”
My mind has officially been blown, and I'm not even sure that I properly remember why.
“Anyway, moving on from that...” the Doctor continues, hopping easily over a puddle of purple liquid. “It's this whole thing with the history of humanity. Time broke off, things went pear shaped, everything fell apart. I've studied it for hours and hours and hours, asked questions, listened to whispers, sat in on some juicy gossip, and no one could explain it to me! Why does the entire timeline of humanity just veer off into soundbites of scary orange men yelling into microphones?”
“Look, if you can figure it out, I'm sure all of us would love to know too,” I say, finally regaining my voice. “My friend Kammie always says that when David Bowie died, everything fell apart. Sometimes I think she's-”
The Doctor spins around, pointing a finger in my face. “Yes, that's exactly it! That's what everything points to, everything! But why? Why does David Bowie's departure from your planet cause a break in the timeline?”
“He's still alive,” Griffin pipes up, moving closer to me and slipping a protective arm around my back. He's holding me almost as carefully as the record he has clutched against his chest. Almost. “That's why we're here. We've come to see him again.”
The Doctor points his finger in Griffin's face. “Again? You've seen him before?”
“Y-yes.” Griffin frowns. “He didn't die, though, he just left Earth.”
At this, the Doctor straightens to his full height and laughs. “Well, of course he didn't die. We wouldn't all be here right now if he'd died, would we?” With a few almost imperceptible moves, the Doctor somehow manages to wedge himself between Griff and me, slinging his arms around our shoulders. “Now, we might as well walk up to the Emerald City together, right? That's how Dorothy and her friends did it! Yellow brick road. The best of friends! I'll be the brains, and you two can be the other stuff, how 'bout that?” The Doctor starts moving, which forces us along with him. It feels a bit like walking with a giraffe, which is every bit as awkward as it sounds. “They got the Wizard all wrong, though. Don't believe a word they wrote about him, it's all a complete fabrication.”
I have about a million follow up questions to everything the Doctor has just said, but I'm too busy trying not to step on his feet or trip over anything. The ground is uneven, and there are a lot of rocks in various shades of pastel pink and purple.
Griffin, however, manages to keep his wits about him enough to ask the hard hitting questions. “For stars' sake, what are you talking about? There's no Emerald City here!”
Now, I've helped Griffin understand Earth references many times, of course. Usually I show him a video, make him listen to a song, or have him watch a movie. Easy enough, right? But when you're dealing with more than one alien, everything gets a bit more difficult.
“It's just a Wizard of Oz reference, Griff,” I say, as we continue trotting along much too fast. “It's a book and a movie. It's not real.”
The Doctor mutters something to himself, but I don't catch it.
“Are you sure this is the right planet?” I ask, my question directed at both of them. “I don't remember it looking like this.”
“If I'm here, it's most definitely the right place. I never get lost,” the Doctor declares. “Er. Well, not often. Almost never. Maybe a bit. Maybe regularly. But I'm here to investigate this mysterious split in time, so we must have got it right! I mean, what are the chances that we all ended up in the wrong place, looking for Bowie?”
I let out a heavy sigh. Honestly, it's like I've just acquired a second, taller Griffin. They'll either become fast best friends, or they'll kill each other. I can't think of any other possible outcomes from this encounter. “It's way prettier, and more... calm looking than it was last time, I think.”
The Doctor offers a sage nod. “Perhaps that's because Bowie's here. He seems to have this effect on whatever planet he visits. Once we find him, we can ask him. I do hope I look okay. Thought the Aladdin Sane makeup would be a bit too much for a first encounter. And anyway, Mick Jagger was no help with putting together a look.”
Griffin lets out a little squeak. “You've met Mick Jagger? I want to meet him!”
Looks like maybe Griffin and the Doctor will be best friends after all.
The landscape around us is so dreamy that I almost lose track of how far we walk. In the distance, the pale purple sky melts into an amethyst horizon, dotted with the outline of sparkling cities, and a cotton-candy-pink mountain range. We're in what appears to be a desert, but certainly the most aesthetic one I've ever seen.
“Ah, there he is!” the Doctor announces suddenly, shrugging away from Griff and me. “Right up there, look!”
I follow his pointed finger, spotting a lone figure in the distance. We're too far away to catch any distinguishing traits, though, and certainly too far to be sure that it's Bowie.
“C'mon, let's go talk to him!” the Doctor says, his face lighting up with pure delight. “We'll ask about the timeline business, of course, but... First I need to find out why he made that music video with Mick! Y'know the one.” The Doctor offers a spastic rendition of what is probably supposed to be a dance move, but it looks more like he's shaking ants off his body. “What does it mean? I have to know.”
At that, the Doctor sets off in a long-legged sprint, leaving Griffin and me to follow. Griffin, not one to be outdone, attempts to sprint after him. The emphasis here is on 'attempts.' He makes it about twenty triumphant strides before he's forced to stop for a wheezy, whiny break.
Eventually, though, we all reach the Starman.
Time, distance, and a new planet have given Bowie a softer new form. He seems tinted with silver now, touched by stardust, and ethereal, but I'd still know him anywhere.
Beside me, Griffin is trembling with excitement, his Heroes record clutched to his chest. A stray shower of yellow and white sparks erupt around his head, signaling his happiness. I reach for his hand, and he gives it a tight squeeze.
“Right, well now that all that's sorted...” the Doctor says to Bowie, as if they've been talking for hours. “See, there's something important I must ask you. When you left Earth, it was as if a huge rift was created. Things are a bit of a mess there, getting stranger every day, and I've pinpointed the change to the day you left.”
“Could you come back?” Griffin interjects, squeezing my hand again. “Come back to Earth, they need you!”
The Starman looks between all of us, his energy warm and reassuring. I can't quite focus on him, no matter how hard I try, but the elusive quality of his presence is comforting anyway. “But the people of Earth don't need me anymore,” he says. “I held things together for a time, but only to assist a vulnerable yet strong people.” He looks at me then, just me, and smiles. “Your people may be struggling a bit to find themselves, but I know they will. They'll remember that their kindness is their greatest strength.”
Tears fill my eyes at these words, and at this unexpected faith in the very world that I frequently think is falling apart. “But how?” I whisper, shaking my head. “There's so much bad news every day, so much hate, so much sorrow. Sometimes it feels like nothing good will ever happen again.”
“But there's good in every corner and every shadow of your world,” the Starman says, beginning to fade from sight. “You just have to believe in that good again. And you will. You always will.”
I sniffle, not trusting myself to speak again without turning into a blubbering mess. The Doctor is still composed and unflappable, though, just standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets.
“That's why I'll always love the people of that planet,” he says softly. “They're stronger than they'll ever know, and more clever too. Even in their darkest moments, even when all hope is lost, they can find that spark again in the innocent laughter of a baby, or the glorious song of their whales.” He lets out a heavy sigh, and I catch a glimpse of something old and tired in his eyes. “So they'll have to sort it out on their own, this new timeline.”
The Starman is almost gone now, barely a ghost. “I believe they will. And you can help them.”
“Of course.” The Doctor smiles, but it's a sad smile. “Always.”
We're all quiet for a few moments, four alien pillars on a foreign world, and then the Starman addresses us one last time. “I must leave you now. When you return home, Daisy Kirkwood, be brave, and be kind. And remember, you already have everything you need to be a hero.”
With that, he's gone, and Griffin lets out a loud gasp. “Wait, he didn't sign my record!” he says. “Oh nooooooooooooooo.”
Something about this outburst breaks through my tears, and I can't help a little laugh. “Guess we'll have to find him on whatever planet he goes to next,” I say, wiping at my eyes with my sleeve.
“Quite right!” the Doctor interjects, clapping his hands together. “I can come pick you up sometime and we can go on an adventure or two, visit the Starman, y'know. Oooh, or maybe I'll take you to the real Emerald City! That sounds fun, right? Wonder if they've finished construction on that one tower...”
I move closer to Griffin, who looks absolutely crushed, and give him a hug. “Adventures sound fun, but right now I think we should get poor, disappointed Griff home.”
Griffin mumbles something about being rich, not poor, since he's a prince, and I laugh again.
“Well... Would you two like a lift? I reckon I can have you home in no time.”
Griffin grumbles and pouts, but lets me talk him into taking the Doctor up on his offer. The last thing I want is for Griffin to try to travel us home while he's distracted and upset. Knowing him, he'll accidentally send us into the heart of a sun or something.
When Griffin and I step into the Doctor's blue box, I get the distinct feeling that I've seen it somewhere before. I open my mouth to ask about it, but the Doctor seems to have read my mind.
“Yes, yes, it's just like on the show, yes. But never mind that, this is the real thing. And the real thing is much cooler!”
Once again, my mind seems too overwhelmed to accept this information, and it just slips away.
As it turns out, traveling in the Doctor's blue box is a considerably bumpier ride than traveling with Griffin's communicator. We get thrown around quite a lot, and the landing feels more like a crash, but at least he safely returns us to Kalesstria.
We say our goodbyes to the Doctor in the doorway of the blue box. He hugs each of us in turn and then gives us a big, goofy smile. “Well, Daisy, you've got your assignment straight from the Starman himself, don't you? Go home and help sort things out with the timeline. Don't give up, don't despair. And don't forget to call me if you need! I don't have a phone, really, but I'll know if you call. Probably. Maybe. Almost for sure.”
Griffin has mostly recovered from his pouting, thanks to the excitement of traveling in a blue box that's much bigger on the inside. He'd asked several times if he could explore, but was given strict instructions not to wander off. Nothing like a little curiosity about an alien spacecraft to cheer someone up, right?
“Lovely to meet you both,” the Doctor says, and waves to us. He closes the door, but then reopens it only seconds later, popping his head out. “Oh! Have a look at that record, Griffin, will you?”
Griffin frowns, blinking in confusion. “What?”
“Have a look, go on!”
Still confused, Griffin slowly turns his record over to look at the back. There, in a scrawled script, are the words, “For Griffin Anterysli, from Starman.”
The Doctor lets out a delighted snicker and disappears back into his box just in time to miss Griffin's piercing shriek of excitement.
Mission accomplished, finally. We've found Bowie, Griffin's gotten his record signed, and we know how to fix Earth's timeline. It won't be easy, of course, but if the Starman believes we can be heroes, then so do I.
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