Bedtime Story by LN29 [Reviews - 6] |
So, I took a hiatus to work on my other series, and I think I'm going to keep working on that one, since I'm nearing the end. However, I didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about John and Rose, so here's a story about bedtime stories, human Doctor style.
Some of you may remember from the first human Doctor story that I wrote that John and Rose will ultimately have five children: Donna Martha, Jack Mickey, Susan Jacqueline, Alonso (Alan) Peter, and Adeola (Addy) Jane. This, obviously, is early on in their parenting days.
I got this idea because I talk to babies as though they were regular people. In Sunday School, I was in charge of walking this one baby around, because it was the only way to keep her from crying. A half hour later, I'd discover that I'd just carried on a full one-sided conversation about everything from college life, to current events, to the questionable species of the horse/zebra picture on the wall. So I figured John would do the same.
Enough of my rambling! On with the story...
“Once upon a time, there was an alien,” John started.
His a little over three week old daughter, Donna Martha Noble, watched him closely, listening to every word.
“A Time Lord, called the Doctor. He was born in a different universe, over nine hundred years ago, on a planet called Gallifrey. He grew up on that planet, but he never quite fit in. He was different. He wasn’t content to just watch things happen. He wanted to experience them, to live them.”
John and Rose had a deal. Since he didn’t require as much sleep as humans, he handled most of the nighttime incidents with the baby, such as feeding, or changing, or just walking with her. Rose had told John that if he ever had any trouble, he was free to wake her up, but he was determined to let her sleep, if at all possible. She ran herself ragged during the day.
It was a good thing babies were cute, he reflected. Because otherwise, they’d be a real bother.
Baby Donna was often not content unless he was talking to her, hence, the bedtime story.
“So finally, he stole a time machine and ran away. He was always running, you see? Now,” he added quickly, “I’m not advocating stealing, let me make that clear. You are not to steal anything, much less a time machine.” Donna gripped his finger tightly. “But the Doctor did. He stole the machine, called the TARDIS, and he began to travel through time. He could go into the past, or the future, or anywhere in the universe.
“He had countless adventures, on all kinds of worlds. He saw the most amazing things. He saw creatures you could never imagine, worlds I could never even hope to describe. He saved whole worlds, fought injustice whenever he could, and was, to be perfectly honest, a pretty big hero.” Donna looked unimpressed by this, and John stifled a laugh, and continued his story.
“But all of that would be meaningless, without someone to share it with, so the Doctor travelled with friends. All different species, but usually humans. The Doctor developed a soft spot for humans, you see. He saw their ingenuity, their tenacity, their courage, and their limitless potential, and it fascinated him. He admired humans, though at first he’d never admit it.
“So, he travelled with these friends, and together, they accomplished great things. But eventually, they would leave him. Sometimes they would fall in love with someone else. Sometimes they would be forced to leave. Sometimes,” he paused, thinking of friends long since gone, “they would even die. And the Doctor would be left alone again. He didn’t like to be alone. So he’d find someone else.
“For many, many centuries, the Doctor lived like this. But then,” he took a deep breath. This wasn’t exactly the kind of material normally used for a bedtime story. However, the story wouldn’t make sense without it, “there was a war. A very, very big war. The kind that makes the World Wars on Earth look like small skirmishes. This was a galactic war, two species fighting for the sake of the entire universe. The Time Lords, and the Daleks. The Daleks were terrible creatures who hated anything that wasn’t a Dalek, and they wanted to destroy the universe. The Doctor went back home to help his people fight. Because even though he’d run away, they were still his people. Still family. And family is one of the most important things in the whole universe.”
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead, feeling a wave of love so strong that it almost frightened him.
“Remember that, young lady.”
“The war ended badly,” he continued. Very badly. The Doctor ended up having to destroy his entire planet, his entire species, along with the Daleks. To save the universe, both species had to be sacrificed. In a single moment, the Doctor became the last of his kind.
“He was so sad, and so lonely. For a long time, he didn’t travel with any more human friends. He just wanted to forget everything.”
Donna’s eyes were wide and fixed on his, and he smiled gently at her.
“Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. Anyway, he travelled on his own for a while. Then he met a human girl. Her name was Rose. You, Donna Martha Noble,” (It was still hard for him to call her just “Donna Noble,” as it stirred up memories of the other Donna, and what he knew must have happened to her. But it was slowly getting easier.) “would know this girl as ‘Mummy.’” Donna squirmed, and he shifted her into a more comfortable position. “You know, that beautiful woman in the other room who we are going to try very hard to not wake up? Her.”
“She was just a human girl, but she came into the Doctor’s life at just the right time, and was so full of light and life that she made him want to live again. Made him want to have adventures. This young girl from Earth managed to teach a nine hundred year old alien how to live again, how to feel again. She’s a very special person, your Mummy.
“They travelled together for a good long while, and had lots of adventures. They ran into ghosts, zombies, werewolves, you name it. They spent a lot of their time running for their lives, but they loved every minute of it.”
He grinned at some of the memories that surfaced.
“One notable adventure was on Christmas Day, when the Doctor had to swordfight a big alien while in pajamas, for the whole planet Earth. He got his hand cut off…you’re going to want to remember that bit, all right?” he added. “But he regrew his hand and won the fight, saving the planet.
“Over time, the Doctor and Rose fell in love. But the Doctor could never bring himself to say anything to her. He was too afraid. Afraid of letting himself care too much about her, and then losing her, just like he lost everyone else. He didn’t live like humans did, he wouldn’t grow old and die. He’d have to watch her grow old, and he didn’t want that, for her or for him. He was too scared, so he never told her.”
“Word of advice,” he added. “If you love someone, Donna, make sure you tell them. I mean, if you really, honestly love someone, tell them before it’s too late.” She seemed to be listening. “The Doctor waited too long, and he lost Rose. She got pulled into a parallel world, and travel between parallel worlds became impossible. There was no way to get to her.
“I promise, there really is a happy ending. Rose never stopped trying to get back to the Doctor, and he never stopped thinking about her. And finally, they found each other again. But when they reunited, the Doctor got shot by a Dalek. Remember them?” he asked. Donna didn’t reply.
“Whenever the Doctor was about to die, he would change bodies instead.”
Donna wrinkled her nose in an expression that he could imagine was confusion at this statement, though she likely just had an itch or something.
“It's a Time Lord thing. But Rose didn’t want him to be a different person. She liked him, and he liked that body too. So, when the Dalek shot him, he managed to keep from changing, by pouring all the energy into his hand. Remember the hand? I told you it’d be important.”
“But now the hand had all that energy inside it, the energy usually used to grow the Doctor a new body. So when another friend of the Doctor’s, Donna,” he grinned at his daughter, “your namesake, by the way. Donna Noble, just like you. She touched the hand, and her DNA was just what it needed to start growing. I’ll explain DNA some other time,” he promised.
“What grew out of that hand was a perfect copy of the Doctor, in every way. It had all of his memories, it looked exactly like him, for all intents and purposes, it was him, except that this clone Doctor was part human. He would grow old, like a normal human. That clone was me.”
Donna whimpered, and he rocked her gently, trying to calm her again.
“I know, it’s weird. Believe me, try living it. But that’s what happened.
“So, the Doctor, Rose, Donna, and I, along with a lot of our other friends, managed to save the day, and when that was over, the Doctor took everyone back home. But then he took Rose back to the other universe. She’d fought so hard to get back into his universe, and he brought her right back into the other one, knowing that the walls were going to soon seal off the parallels forever.”
He shook his head. He and Rose had long since gotten over any anger at the Doctor, but the memories of that day on Bad Wolf Bay were not pleasant ones. He didn’t want to go into detail now. There was time enough for that another night.
“I suppose you can guess what the Doctor thought. I had a normal human lifespan. I could grow old at the same time as Rose. I was him, so I thought like him. I loved her just as much as he did, but being part human gave me the courage to admit it, the way he never could allow himself to. He left us in the parallel universe. This universe. He took his TARDIS and left us behind, to make a life for ourselves.”
He settled Donna into a different position, giving his cramped arm a respite. She let out a yawn.
“Am I boring you?” he asked with a smile. “Well, don’t worry, the story is nearly over.
“That brings us to today. I took a new name, since being known as “the Doctor” wouldn’t really work for a human life. It was all right for an alien who just happened to drop by on Earth sometimes, but not for someone who had to live on it. So I took the name John Noble, which is how you’ll hear people refer to me now. Rose and I fell in love all over again, and we got married about two years ago. And then we had you.”
He grinned down at her, his beautiful, perfect daughter. His and Rose’s. This miracle which they had created together.
“Donna Martha Noble. Named after two of the finest friends I’ve ever had. You’ll hear all about them some day, I’m sure.
“So, there you have it,” he said. “The story of your parents. Bit more convoluted than most, and not exactly the kind of story you can go repeating to your friends, once you’re in school. But that’s how it happened.
“And do you want to know something?”
Donna didn’t object.
“When you compare the two of us, the Doctor and me, it’s rather misleading. After all, he’s the all powerful Time Lord who doesn’t die, who travels through time and space, saving the universe over and over, and I’m the part human clone who lives on Earth, who will have fifty more years of life, if I’m fortunate. You’d think that he’d be the luckier one, wouldn’t you?” He gazed towards the window.
“But he’s not. I am.
“He travels the universe, but he doesn’t have a home. He has friends, but no family. He will never allow himself to have the kind of love that your mum and I have. He has to sacrifice his happiness for the good of the universe, because he honestly feels that that is his responsibility as the last of the Time Lords. He’ll always be alone.”
He sighed. With Donna's birth, he’d been thinking a lot about the Doctor lately, out there in the other universe somewhere.
“He’ll never have Rose, and he’ll never have you.” He kissed the baby’s clenched fist. “And for that, I feel truly sorry for him.”
And he did. He hadn’t even mentioned this to Rose, but in his time at Torchwood, he’d kept tabs on the walls of the universe, keeping an eye out for any cracks. He wasn’t even sure what he was looking for. A way back? A way for the Doctor to get through? Even a way to send a message, like the time he had burned up a sun to say goodbye to Rose, honestly believing he would never see her again? His Time Lord instincts told him that the walls of the universe must stay closed forever, but his newer, human instincts reminded him that the walls of the universe had already opened at least three times, just in the time he’d known Rose. Nothing was certain, and nothing was absolute.
Any resentment he had once felt towards the Doctor had long since faded away. Now he just felt an overwhelming desire for the Doctor to be as happy as he was. To know the kind of love he experienced from Rose and Donna. He wished that he could share this feeling with the Doctor. To let him know that he’d done the right thing, even though it had been for the wrong reasons. But the walls of the universe never opened again, not even a crack.
“I wish there was some way for him to come through again,” John confessed. “I wish you could meet him, because he really is wonderful. I ought to know.” He smiled sadly. “We may have started out the same man, but now we’re no doubt very different, and I wish you could know him. And I wish he could know you. He would be so proud, and so happy.
"He’s your godfather, you know. Mummy and I both agreed immediately on that. It’s a bit unusual, naming someone as a godfather when they’ve never even seen or heard of the child, but then again,” he smiled, “your mum and I have never been ones to do things exactly normally.”
Donna squirmed again, drooling on his shirt.
“Oh, that’s lovely, Donna, really,” he exclaimed. “Very attractive.”
She looked almost pleased with herself.
“Now, I’m not going to say that I don’t miss the travelling,” John added. “Seeing the universe was absolutely amazing, and both Mummy and I loved it. So we’re growing our own TARDIS. The Doctor gave us a piece of his before he left us, to grow our own. She’ll be finished growing in a few more years, and then we can explore this universe. What do you think of that?”
Donna didn’t look too interested. In fact, she looked sleepy.
“Of course, we’ll be sticking close to home for quite a while,” he added. He had to admit that while the thought of travelling again was alluring, the thought of taking his young family into most of the situations he’d gone through as the Doctor was a terrifying one. No, there’d be no more life or death adventures in outer space, not for quite some time.
“So,” he concluded, “there you have it. Our family’s story. I think the Doctor wanted this for us,” he added thoughtfully. “I think he’d want us to have a life together, to make a family, and to be happy. We’ll live our own adventures right here, and maybe someday, we’ll have adventures out there,” he nodded to the starry sky out the window. “I think that’s the best way we can honor him.”
For a long minute, he sat in silence, rocking Donna back and forth. Then soft footsteps came up behind him.
“That was a good story,” Rose whispered.
He turned in surprise.
“I thought you were sleeping,” he said.
She shook her head, moving around the chair so that she was in front of him.
“Nope. Woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. And things sounded interesting out here, so I decided to listen in.”
“Were you there the whole time?”
Rose nodded, smiling. He glimpsed tears in her eyes. She glanced down at Donna.
“Finally,” she sighed, with a loving smile. John looked down, and saw that Donna had drifted off to sleep at last. “This little girl inherited your sleeping habits.” John nodded ruefully.
Rose sat on the arm of the chair, leaning towards him. He looked from her, his beautiful wife, to their now sleeping daughter, and felt such love for both of them. His family.
“Like I said,” Rose murmured, “that was a very good story.” She gazed at him, and he saw his own love for her mirrored in her eyes. “How does it end?”
“Don’t know yet,” John replied, closing the distance between them in a kiss. “It’s still being written.”