The Ends of the Earth by vegetables
The other Doctor leapt at her future self, knocking the ray gun so it pointed into the air. Their bodies hit each other and they both fell to the ground, struggling with each other as the weapon flailed in the Doctor’s hands.
They fought for a while, rolling over and over. One moment the Doctor felt the cold dirt of the ground on her face; the next she saw Daleks roaring in the sky.
“Killing your earlier self creates a paradox,” the Doctor’s other self was shouting. “Do you know what’s going to happen if you do that?”
“I know what’s going to happen if I don’t!” the Doctor shouted back.
Her other self grabbed for the ray gun; the Doctor swiped it away. They scrambled at each other, scuffing the grass from the dirt.
“Then you don’t understand,” the other Doctor said as they fought. “No idea what you’re dealing with, once again.”
“You’re always talking about what I don’t understand,” said the Doctor. “You’re one to talk. Never living in a world, never really dying. You’ve no right to rule over those who do!”
“But you have a right to control it?” the other Doctor said. “To choose which of those little people count?”
In the palm of her hand was a soft and crackling glow.
“What that man in the submarine did doesn’t have to matter,” the other Doctor said. “There are other decisions being made; other choices. So many who can send this world to its fate. Really, I only have to show them the way.”
“I’ll open my mind to them now,” she said. “Maybe give a little speech. You might remember you used to be good at that.”
The Doctor gave a hollow and bitter laugh.
“You think you’ve got me all figured out, don’t you?” she said. “Like everything I can do you’ve already done, but better. And if you really think I’m just you with stuff taken away”—
The gun was cold and heavy in her hand.
—“Then I’ve got a question for you,” she said.
“What’s my name?” she said. “What’s my real name?”
The other Doctor frowned.
“They never gave me one,” she said. “The Doctor’s all I am.”
“No,” said the Doctor. “They’ve just not given it to you yet. So you don’t know… what that name really means. What a person with it might have done.”
“EXTERMINATE!” the Daleks roared in the sky above them. “EXTERMINATE!”
(She was running, the orange sky smearing with fire. One granddaughter safe, the others all already lost.)
“I had a family once,” said the Doctor. “I’ll never know what they knew about you. But I know this: whatever else they were, my family gave me that name. And they gave me a choice.”
“They weren’t really your family,” her other self said. “They weren’t even really your species.”
(Your family or the universe, she’d been told, and it had been true. That was always the first of the questions, and always the last. It was the only question that really mattered, if you thought you could ever do good.)
The Doctor shook her head.
“No,” she said. “Family’s not about where you’re from. It’s about what you know you’ll choose above everything else. If you find out there’s no other way.”
She pointed her ray gun right at the other Doctor, her hands shaking furiously no matter how firm their grip. The other Doctor grappled with it, trying to push it away. But the Doctor could tell that she wasn’t quite going to succeed.
(There was love, and there was justice. There was treating everyone equally; there was saving the people you saw. There was the story that you could serve both. And there was an ending.)
“You didn’t get it when I said that love always wins,” she said. “I was telling you to run.”
Another desperate grab at the gun, from the other Doctor. Another time that it was snatched, then wrestled away.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” her other self now said. “We both know that you won’t ever shoot me.”
(It had been hard to believe in good, the day that she’d lost her real name.)
“That’s the trick, isn’t it?” the Doctor said. “Some choices weren’t ever yours to make. All you can do is find out about the ones that were already made.”
(Unless you could stand with a different name. Unless there was another way.)
The Doctor hesitated, but only for a moment.
“That’s when,” she said—
She turned the gun around, the barrel right against her own chest.
—“You finally find out the consequences…”
The other Doctor’s eyes widened as she motioned to respond—
—and before she could, the Doctor pulled the trigger.
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