builtofsorrow: (dw | in amongst impossible things)
[personal profile] builtofsorrow
Posting this before I attempt to kick myself off the internet for the next 20 hours or so and get some sleep/actual work done. (Mostly because I've been working on this for far too long.)

title: Into a Starry Night
rating: G
word count: ~850
character(s): Wilfred Mott, Nancy.
summary: Wilf, during the Blitz.
notes: Meant to be set during 5x03: Victory of the Daleks (because let's face it: a cameo by bb!Wilf would've been brilliant), but there are actually no spoilers as such. There's a lot more to this story, somewhere, and it probably doesn't actually involve Wilf being an orphan, but I totally troped myself right through that, in part to preserve my sanity, because this wouldn't leave me alone in spite of exams. Most of my knowledge of the London Blitz is based on a vague remembrance of history courses, New!Who episodes, and Wikipedia, so… I did attempt to avoid going too in-depth, but if there's anything glaringly inaccurate , I blame Moffat, do feel free to point it out.

For [livejournal.com profile] such_heights & [livejournal.com profile] faeriemaiden, who are actually much less to blame for this than I am willing to admit. ♥

Title from A Song on the End of the World, by Czesław Miłosz.


London during the Blitz is horrible and terrifying and structured in a manner that often looks like chaos, and Wilfred Mott tries not to let on how much he absolutely loves it. It's not that he's happy for destruction, not that he's glad for the threat of the Germans, not that he'd ever even think of it as anything other than a tragedy that so many have lost nearly everything. It's just —

Wilf is eleven-years-old, and he lost everything a long time ago.

So he can't deny the benefits to himself, and he'd be a fool not to enjoy them. With everything on, he's free of the orphanage and all that went with it, free of the [probably] horrible family they tried to send him to in the countryside, and overall, living rough in London feels like an improvement. In the middle of the Blitz, everything feels sharper, more colourful, and the fear that causes some to cower and others to put on a brave face and carry on makes Wilf feel alive.

He doesn't know how to put it into those words, exactly, doesn't know anything but the electric spark in his blood and the buzzing in his ears that echoes the planes overhead. He's eleven, and even if he can't define the thrill that courses through him, he knows it's there all the same, knows because sometimes he feels very, very old, like his soul got mixed up with someone else's and put into the wrong body. In those moments, he thinks there must be something more than this, something outside of everything, and maybe after, after all this is over, people will remember what it meant to feel sharp and alive and outside of themselves, and they will look for it in places that are not so filled with hatred and destruction.

He'd never say that to anyone, not least 'cause there's not really anyone to tell, but if there were he isn't at all sure what they'd be looking for or really even where to look, and there are too many other things he should be doing right now that are more important than thinking about a future that is maybe entirely imaginary anyway. But every time the sirens go, Wilf's heartbeat quickens because — well, because it's terrifying, but mostly it's very, very dark, and up in the sky, up up up past the barrage balloons and the bombers, there is something more, something he notices in a newly-wakened awareness, something wonderful: the stars.


'Wilf. Wilf.'

He hears the demand for his attention, but he's too caught up to give a proper response, so he simply murmurs, 'Did you see that?', without turning his gaze from the sky.

'Wilfred Mott!'

He growls slightly in irritation, head still tilted back, trying to catch another sight of — whatever that was. 'What do you want?'

'Don't take that tone with me!'

Wilf huffs out a breath and bites back a retort. Nancy's not worth arguing with, and Wilf's smart enough to know that breaking rank is a bad idea anyway. Nancy's brilliant and lovely and wonderful, and even if the bossiness grates, he's well aware of how much the other children need her (and is sometimes even willing to lump himself in with them in that need). He knows too that all her seeming harshness is necessary to maintain some semblance of order, necessary for their survival. Still. 'Did you see that though?' He points this time, finger tracing an arc through the air.

She huffs out a breath of her own and asks, 'See what?'

'I don't know — it looked like — a blue box.'

'Oh lord,' Nancy says. 'I have enough mouths to feed without having to worry about you being off in the head.'

Wilf tilts his chin down, finally, and glares at her. 'I am not off in the head,' he snaps. 'There was a— a blue box, and it was flying through the air. Looked like it was headed toward the moon or something.'

'Lots of things fly through the air nowadays, Wilf,' she says, and he can tell she's trying to be gently mothering in that way she has. It's not usually nearly so condescending.

'It wasn't a bomb or a plane. I know it.'

'I can't say I care what it was,' she replies, sighing. 'As long as it's not killing one of us, then it doesn't really matter, does it.'

Wilf shrugs. 'I suppose.' It occurs to him after a moment that Nancy must have wanted something, so he asks, 'What did you need, anyway?'

Nancy looks at him, fond and a bit sad, and says, 'It's all right. Nothing that can't wait.' She slips away, and Wilf grimaces a bit to himself, feeling unsettled for reasons he's not certain of. He presses it from his mind and cranes his neck up toward the sky again, up toward the stars. There's got to be something.

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