This entire collection was inspired by good old William Shakespeare, and now you all know what I read in my spare time. This just screamed ‘Doctor’ at me, but then, most things these days do:
Or do I dream? Or have I dream’d till now?
I do not sleep; I see, I hear, I speak;
I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things:
Upon my life, I am a Lord indeed.
-- ‘Christopher Sly’ from William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.
Part The First — Rose
The Doctor stands at his machine, flicking switches absently while his mind is lost on other things. He saunters wearily around, pulling at various levers as he passes. There is no animation in his actions. There has not been for a long time. He watches the central column distantly, watches as his ships sighs and listens to his commands. He sees it yet not quite sees it, leaving him with untidy pictures and colours that mean little to him. He feels the TARDIS pull into the time vortex, and as they move, a gentle hum fills the room, a comfort, quiet noise, like a note in a child’s song.
He lowers his hand slowly, and almost smiles; but it is a a smile without humour, without spirit, void of the happiness he once remembers having and knows he will never have again. His mind and thoughts are wandering, and though he wants to stop, he knows the emptiness left behind is sometimes worse than the thoughts themselves.
Why? Why is he the one who survived? Why couldn’t he have just died like the rest of them, put his race on the list of the extinct? He is the last, the only, the alone. He has survived. He has won.
It is a hollow victory, and he welcomes death.
It is why he keeps fighting, he knows. Despite the part of him that screams out to time, to history, the part of him that feels like he is being wrenched apart by tears he keeps locked away, he keeps fighting. He keeps surviving. Because he knows that one day it will kill him, really and truly, and there is nothing he wants more than that.
The Lord of Time...
He is a Lord without a Lady, without a kingdom, without servants, friends, subjects — he scoffs at the title. Perhaps not so much for its pompous nature and more for the fact of what it stands for. He would rather be dead than alone.
Wait, is that true? he asks himself. The man he is now would not take his own life — no man he ever was or will ever be would stoop to that level. The universe would become unbalanced and unravel, its master having walked away and abandoned it. Then again, it has abandoned him now, too. It abandoned him when the Daleks fought through the last of Gallfirey’s defences and started to bleed through all timelines in all worlds. It abandoned him when he, along with others, rushed to what little rescue there was, only to be shot down. It abandoned him, too, when his people died and he didn’t. He was saved. Damn it, he was saved.
He and his people had made a silent agreement to forfeit their lives and take the filth down with them. It worked. They all died. Everyone. Everyone except him. He lives, and he hates himself for it. Where others had death, he had regeneration. It is a fickle friend.
He had awoken on the floor of his TARDIS, the both of them battered and bruised; but somehow alive. He knows why. He wishes he didn’t, but he does, and he hates himself for it all the more, because when he looks down to his hands he sees the blood of his people running through the withered crevices of his palms.
He is human. He blames his mother for that, or perhaps his father for falling for her in the first place. He is more so human for running away and trying to live like them. His compassion, his emotions, his spirit — every difference that separates him from the other Time Lords, from other humans, comes from his past. He was alone before he started, he reflects idly. Even with the life of his people, he was always alone. Because no one else in the universe is quite like him. He sees more. He feels more. He loves more.
And so does his ship, which is why she rescued him. His link to his TARDIS, stronger than any of the other Time Lords, provides him with a safety net he does not want.
He wants to be dead. He wants to burn. He wants the emptiness in his mind to drown him and swallow him whole. But instead he lives and radiates and survives.
Eight regenerations down, he muses piteously, having stood in the same spot on his ship for so long his feet are hurting. She dims the lights slightly, and the hum lowers. He glares at the wall.
“Let it go,” he growls viciously. He is not sure who he’s talking to.
The hum disappears, nevertheless, and he sighs.
The Nestene Consciousness is the closest he has come, so far. It is not exactly like he hunts for death, but he sure as hell is willing to accept it when it happens. So there he had been, teetering on the brink, and the stupid ape had saved him. He told her to run, run for her life, told her to leave him because she would die if she stayed. He had wanted to protect her, because she would die because of him and he could not bear the thought of such a young, innocent life being taken before it had begun.
Even that snivelling boyfriend of hers had agreed.
Just leave him! There’s nothing you can do!
And she had proven them all wrong, without even giving it a second thought.
He can’t exactly be angry with her, then, can he? She has a good heart. So many of her race would have just let him die, would have turned and ran, would have listened to him. But she didn’t, and part of him is thankful for that because his faith is a little restored. Not much, not anything really, but she has reminded him there are still anomalies out there. Mind, he isn’t entirely surprised. He had tricked tricked her once beforehand into coming with him, and that thirst to wonder what he did would always be with her now. Or so he thought.
The Doctor smiles to himself. She had been useful, he’ll give her that. Useful for the day, and good company. She had made the mistake of asking who he was. He had answered in a way that made it impossible to forget about him, and he had done it on purpose. He blinks in surprise, then, as realisation takes him. He hasn’t been manipulative before, but already this incarnation seems to be making quite a habit of it. He wonders why that need to prove he is exceptional burns a little more — just a little — when he thinks of her.
He works well with the exceptional. Perhaps that is why he asked her to come with him. He thinks about it now and is a little relieved she said no, though it came as quite a shock. No one has said no to his request in a very long time. But death follows him, and if she had come, there would have been two ways out — she would leave, or she would die. He doesn’t mind being left, it has happened before. But even he cannot draw such an innocent creature into the life he lives, into the face of death, because he doesn’t have the strength to protect anyone else. And he has enough guilt on his shoulders without adding yet more to it.
He will continue alone, because that is what the universe intended.
Despite his thirst for adventure again, he feels it is time for something a little less vigorous. While he was in London, a place he has not been in a very long time, he remembers that he smelled chips. Chips, he has never had, but something about them in this regeneration makes his mouth water. He can have chips, if he wants.
“Right, old girl,” he says fondly to his ship, with a softer tone than the last time he spoke to her. He pats the controls warmly. “This is in your hands. Take me somewhere they do the best chips in town.”
They work together, and he soon feels the ship materialise. He braces and steps out of the doors. He doesn’t know when. He doesn’t know where. He just knows that he has asked and his ship has delivered.
Until he walks out and spots, not fifteen foot a way, a man staring at him with wide eyes and a face like terror. His face is pale, and the Doctor stops in his tracks, staring too. His TARDIS has never, ever, landed when there have been others about. He casts a quick gaze around where the are. A park — no, a cemetery — weeping willows lining the gates and gravestones dotted all around.
He tenses, with nervousness, with anger. Maybe if he turns now and heads back indoors, goes somewhere else, it will all be forgotten about. This is Earth, he knows, and by the looks of things, not an Earth that is ready for time travel, or aliens. The entire place is deserted, except for the man who has not taken his eyes off him, has not said a word, just stares like he is frozen in the air.
The Doctor’s eyes flick down and he sees, in the man’s hand, a half eaten bag of chips. Oh, very funny, he scolds his TARDIS inwardly. He will be having “words” with her when he gets back inside, and they will involve a very small hammer. Already he can feel her disdain in his mind. Good.
“Er, hello,” he begins a little uncertainly, letting an explanation fall from his lips that might amend what he’s doing here. “Routine check-up of disappearing and reappearing police boxes. Nothing to worry about, just a little paranormal that we’re all sorting out. No worries. Honestly, you haven’t seen me.”
The man blinks, his fingers still buried in the bag of chips. The Doctor smiles slightly, pleased that this bloke probably isn’t even believing his own eyes, anyway. Stupid apes, the lot of them.
Something pangs within him, then, and he suddenly feels hurt again.
“Um...” the man stutters, clearing his throat. He closes his mouth and nods, his shoulders dropping. “Yes. Right. Check-up, I see. Won’t say a word. Promise.”
He gives a wide grin that is the most pathetic attempt at lying the Doctor has ever seen. Mind, his eyes are red and, given where they are, he probably isn’t in the happiest of moods. So, if nothing but a little taken aback, he turns and heads back into his TARDIS.
But then the man speaks again, and his voice is a deep whispering growl, like it’s the wind who is speaking to him. “...Go back for her...”
The Doctor whirls around, his face wide with shock. “Excuse me?”
He is greeted by a calm face, only slightly wide eyes in shock. The look he sees is expectant. “Yes...?”
“Did you just — ” the Doctor starts, confused himself now. He frowns. “Did you just say something?”
“Well, I,” the other man stumbles, clearly just as disorientated, “I don’t know. I said I wouldn’t... say a word... but...”
“No, no, after that,” he snaps back impatiently.
The man cocks an eyebrow. “I didn’t... say anything...”
The Doctor blinks. “Right.” An awkward pause fills the air as they consider each other. The Doctor glances to the gravestone and gestures to it. “I’m sorry.”
The man nods. “You’re bound to be.”
The Doctor gives him an odd look, a frown that shows confusion and just a hint of contempt. He clears his throat. “Right, well. Er... Have a nice day. Cheerio.”
Without waiting another second, he turns and completes his journey into the TARDIS, closing the door forcefully behind him and rushing to the controls in frustrated anger.
“Well, you didn’t have to go and to that, did you?” he spits angrily, slamming a hand down on a button more forcefully than is generally needed. He darts around to the other side and cranks a lever. “I mean, honestly, of all the places to get chips, you pick a... a weirdo in the middle of some park? You made me look like an idiot. I’ll go find my own lunch, next time, shall I?”
The TARDIS lights flicker in protest, but it merely serves to fuel the Doctor’s anger.
“Oh, don’t give me that! Don’t tell me you were tryin’ to tell me something. That’s not on.”
He pauses for a moment and straightens, shaking his head in pity.
“You, of all things, should know that — ”
He cuts himself off suddenly, his head snapping up. He hears those words again, remembers the tone, the promise, and wonders about them. Go back for her.
“Go back for her,” the Doctor mumbles quietly. Then, more loudly, “But what does it mean? Go back for who?”
He thinks of the girl from the shop. He thinks of the girl who ran with him, fought with him, saved his life, and he doesn’t know why. He thinks of the girl who told him no. Then he thinks of her reluctance in her answer. Is that it, then? Is he supposed to go back to the first ‘her’ he can think of, because she’s the last ‘she’ he came across? Well, he won’t do it. Back a second time... pfft. He’s better than that.
The lights dim and the temperature drops. The Doctor shivers.
“No,” he says firmly, to his ship, to himself. “It’s not right. I get it, you don’t want me to be alone. But there’ll be others. I’ll find someone the next place I go to, all right?”
He will be the first to admit that it bothers him she said no. Why would she say no? Because of the lump who was dribbling around her feet? Because she wants to spend the rest of her live watching television and eating beans on toast? Because she thinks she shouldn’t? The Doctor ponders this. His life, it’s dangerous, it’s threatening, and it’s likely to get him, her, anyone else, killed. But she deserves more than wasting away into nothing, he can see it. He hates waste, he really does, and seeing such a fiery young girl with a heart that could change the world chained to a life that will kill her slowly... well, that is sacrilege in his eyes. He may hate the thought of being the death of her, or anyone else, but he hates the thought of wasted life even more.
She could be so much more. He can teach her so many things. He stops and looks up, face drawn into dismay. Why, then did she say no, unless she really didn’t want to be taught? What would make the offer of hurtling through space and time any more appeal—
The Doctor stops that train of thought with wide eyes. Because he didn’t. Did he? He didn’t say, “I’ve got a time a machine. We could go anywhere. Anywhen, back, forwards, side to side. Up to you,” did he? He... he hadn’t mentioned a time machine at all. First word of his TARDIS — Time. And he hadn’t even told her.
...This box isn't just a London hopper, you know, it goes anywhere in the universe free of charge...
She had almost looked tempted, he remembers. Almost.
...You could stay here and fill your life with work and food and sleep, or you could go, uh... anywhere...
Maybe... if he’d said... then she wouldn’t wouldn’t have answered like that. Wouldn’t have stared at him in a way that made him wonder if she’d truly made up her mind.
The Doctor lets out a frustrated sigh, angry with himself. Well, he has to go back now, hasn’t he? She doesn’t even know what he does. Humans, he knows, have no concept of outer space in her time. It would have been like handing her a wooden stick, pointing to the top and saying, “Here’s a lolly, but you’ll have to imagine it, I’m afraid, ‘cause I’m too daft to give you a real one”.
Oh, if his people could see him now.
Would it be so wrong? Quite apart from the fact that asking a second time is beneath him (asking a first is a stretch — he hasn’t asked anyone else before, not quite like that), can he really drag her into this sort of world?
He has been prepared to do so once. What’s out there to stop him doing so again?
I’ll tell you, a little voice says in the back of his mind. Nothing.
The Doctor grins, and he doesn’t care if no one is around to see. He could quite look forward to being a teacher again, he thinks. He has not realised that he’s already started to put in the coordinates to go back. He doesn’t care. About five seconds after he left, that should do it.
It doesn’t take him long and soon the TARDIS has arrived. He walks to the door without hesitation, opens it, pops his head out. Rose has already begun to walk away, that stupid lump in tow. Five second was right, it seems. She’s staring at him now, alerted to his presence, already realisation sweeping through her.
“By the way — ” he grins slightly, tipping his head to her “ — Did I mention, it also travels in time?”
He raises his eyebrows just slightly, casting her a meaningful look for the smallest of seconds, before turning and heading back inside to the controls. He leaves the door open to her, but he will not ask a second time. Right, Rose Tyler, he thinks. The decision is yours. He hopes she will never ask why he came back again. ‘Oh, um, I forgot. I was... er... trying to make a point,’ doesn’t really sound so good, he thinks with a slight grimace.
He blinks, then, with shock, because he is already thinking like he expects her to say yes. Like he expects she will come. Like she has already done so. She said no a first time, what’s to stop her saying —
There is a quick flurry of footsteps on the ground and the next thing he knows, she is standing in the doorway.
He grins. She shuts the door.
Rose Tyler, welcome to your life.
Doctor Who and its accoutrements are the property of the BBC, and we obviously don't have any right to them. Any and all crossover characters belong to their respective creators. Alas no one makes any money from this site, and it's all done out of love for a cheap-looking sci-fi show. All fics are property of their individual authors. Archival at this site should not be taken to constitute automatic archive rights elsewhere, and authors should be contacted individually to arrange further archiving. Despite occasional claims otherwise, The Blessed St Lalla Ward is not officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Yet. |
Script for this archive provided by eFiction. Contact our archivists at email@example.com. Please read our Terms of Service and Submission Guidelines.