A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor
Essences and Power by samfeasor [Reviews - 2] Printer
Author's Notes:
The title is from "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson: "Naming is a difficult and time consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights, who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name." It's a much more dramatic quote than is strictly necessary for this story, but I've always liked it.


Jenny was standing in line. She was standing in line at the Trinidy Visitor Registration Centre, which consisted mainly of a large desk, a man (the Registrar, or Sub-Registrar, or Registrar-in-Training, depending on the time of day) and a very long line.

Jenny had been in line for almost an hour. It wasn't that each visitor took so long, it's that there were so many of them. She imagined that must mean Trinidy had a lot of very interesting things to see, and had spent the last thirty minutes rocking back on her heels, peeking around the people in front of her, and otherwise trying to get a glimpse of some of the exciting Trinidian landscape.

She'd had no luck. But, finally, it was her turn at the Registration Centre. The Registrar (he always oversaw peak hours) pulled some papers from a slot at the side of his desk and looked up at Jenny with a pleasant, though tired, smile on his face. "Hello."

"Hello!"

"Welcome to Trinidy. This is the Registration Centre and I am the Registrar. Could I have your name please?"

Jenny frowned. She hadn't expected that there would be a price to get in. "Oh no, I'm sorry. I think it's mine." She thought about it for a second. "It is mine, I mean. Can't you get your own?"

The Registrar stared at her for a moment, before shaking his head. He'd heard stranger things, though not recently. "No, I mean: what's your name?"

Oh! That made much more sense to Jenny. She smiled proudly. "Jenny!"

"Jenny what?"

"Jenny what what?" This was terribly confusing.

"What's your surname?"

"My..."

"Family name."

"Oh." Jenny wished the Registrar would just be clear about what he was talking about. She wasn't daft, after all, she just hadn't known the term. "I haven't got one."

"No second name at all?"

"No."

He peered at her. "Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure!" Jenny put her hands on her hips and looked down at him as if he'd sprouted a fifth arm (Trinidians had four, which was why they were such excellent beauracrats). "Why do I need a second name?"

"So we know you from the other Jennys."

Jenny brightened. "Oh. There are other Jennys?!? That's brilliant! Do we all look alike?"

The Registrar was staring again. Jenny noticed that his left eyelid twitched almost imperceptably when she said something he didn't understand. "What? No..."

Jenny leaned forward. "Then why do we need to differentiate?"

"For our records."

"Oh. And I have to register to come onto your planet?"

"Yes."

"And I can't register without a second name?"

"No, I'm afraid not."

"In all the universe, you've never met anyone ever with only one name?"

The Registrar looked mildly offended, but his eyelid was twitching again. "Once or twice, I suppose, in my own travels. But certainly not anyone who tried to register."

"Oh." Jenny thought about it for a moment. Her dad had only one name and no one gave him any trouble about it. Then again, he just went by one name. She'd never bothered to asked if he had any more. And maybe they did give him trouble. She'd given him trouble, hadn't she? Doctor Who? Jenny added those questions to her ever-growing list of Things to Ask Dad.

The Registrar cleared his throat expectantly, but Jenny ignored him while she considered how to answer. Jenny Anomaly sounded silly, even though technically she was Generated Anomaly and Jenny was short for that. Jenny Doctor sounded equally odd, even though she had a distinct feeling that her full name should, somehow, relate to her dad. Just not that way.

Her last idea was one she'd toyed with a few times. Jenny Noble, after Donna. But she wasn't ready for it, not yet. She didn't feel properly noble yet, and she certainly wasn't going to jump the gun only so she could get onto a planet that might not even have anything interesting to see (though it might have many very interesting things... she just didn't know!).

"Excuse me." The person behind Jenny in line tapped her on her shoulder.

She turned to look at her. "Hm?"

"Are you going to register? Some of us are waiting."

"Oh. Alright, yes, sorry!" Jenny turned back to the Registrar and said the first thing that came to mind (it seemed oddly familiar, but maybe she'd just heard it somewhere sometime): "Jenny Smith."

"Right. Jenny Smith." The Registrar filled out a few lines of the paper, placed his thumb over the lower left corner, and then smiled up at Jenny (eyelid twitch included). "Welcome to Trinidy. Please enjoy your visit."

"I'm sure I will!"

Trinidy, it turned out, was a very interesting place and well worth the wait.

In a souvenir shop near the space port she bought three postcards (one of a very interesting Trinidian historical site, one of a theatre in the capitol city, and one with a view of the entire planet from space). When she left, she filled each one out differently and signed each one the same way.

Jenny Smith.
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