So yes. He was, in fact, a complete and utter idiot. And not the kind that is cute and adorable and a bit daft. No, he was an idiot of the worst kind. He was the smart idiot, the noble one, the one who did all of it for your own good. Not his. Never his.
So after Dårlig Ulv Stranden — which actually meant “Poorly or Unwell Wolf Beach" — the second time, he’d wandered the universe for a bit. Who could tell how long because time is relative. Or something like that. Was that just something he used to tell companions to get them to stop complaining about sleep deprivation? All of them seemed to do it at some point, even Jack. Now Jack was more stable than him, both physically and emotionally. And from all his travels the Doctor could tell you that a rolling stone does, in fact, gather moss. His metaphorical moss came in the shape of memories he couldn’t forget and feelings he couldn’t remember.
It had taken its toll after all. He was becoming a bit angsty this time around and it kind of bothered him. Not that he really did anything about it. Shouting seemed to help as did pouting a lot (though he’d never admit to it) but really, he might as well start plastering his hair to his forehead and over his eyes. Because that’s how petulant he was being these days. If he looked like one of those silly rockers then maybe the more sensible ones would give him some space. He was tired of sensible companions. Too much baggage.
The wandering involved a lot of planet-saving, dictator-overthrowing and even some damsel in distress rescuing but it was never the right damsel. After her it never could be. He dreaded the day he’d meet River because he didn’t know how he could stand it. After losing everyone so quickly, and of his own stupid volition, he probably couldn’t bear it. Come to think of it, how would she react? She’d probably going running and screaming for the hills with him acting like a moody teenager.
Of course he met several — actually, probably hundreds — of potential companions but he just didn’t have the heart. It was like that old man from the Titanic — what was his name? The Doctor frowned, trying to remember. Well, what’s-his-name hadn’t been right at all. You could call the Doctor sexist, but he didn’t need to worry about an old man tagging along. What if the poor guy had a heart attack whilst running for his life? No, that wouldn’t do. And the man was simply too nice. Too much like someone he would have traveled with in the past. He was just — well, he just wasn’t right, let’s leave it at that.
Speaking of the Titanic, he now knew that Astrid probably wouldn’t have been right either. She’d have been too much like — well, he probably didn’t have to explain that one at all. Blonde, common (to put it bluntly), wide-eyed and curious? Nope.
So back to square one. He was in fact simply behaving like a spoilt child who didn't get his way but, well, he deserved it, didn't he? After all the times he'd saved the universe, didn't he get a personal day or two or 500? After a few dozen — or hundred — or maybe, no, how many was it now? He’d lost track around 585th planet he’d saved. Dalzor, and a right miserable place too. But it deserved to survive and was doing better, he thought. Hmmm. Perhaps he should check on that. Earth sure was a pain when he fixed it only to have to come back a hundred years later and commit suicide saving it again.
And, back to Rose. God, did he have a one-track mind. He winced slightly as he thought her name; he normally didn’t do that; he’d trained himself not to.
Martha was right, she had been a rebound. And Donna was just a pal. Sarah Jane was like the den mother and Mickey was…well, he was still the Idiot but in an endearing and slightly intimidating way now. Jack — well, Jack was Jack after all and there was no changing that. Until he became a big head in a jar. Seriously, he’d seen Futurama, right? Oh, no they’d copied off of — wait, what? Hmm, no that couldn’t be right…parallel universes and all that. And anyway, how did his head get so big? The Doctor cringed again when he realized how Jack would probably respond to that.
So no. No companions for now and none for the foreseeable future. It was better that way, right? Better with…one?
What in the name of all things righteous and holy and evil and deviant and pure and sanctified and…well, you get the point. Why was this happening?
Again with the aphorisms being so completely wrong. Time heals all wounds? Not bloody likely. Wasn’t this gaping hole in his right left ventricle supposed to be gone by now? Sorry, that’s the heart on the left’s right ventricle. Or no — switch that. A binary cardiovascular system could get a bit confusing but he should be used to it by now. After all, he was pushing 1200 (900 was the Time Lord 39).
But of course he wasn’t running on all cylinders. He slept only when he was falling over or passed out and he ate only when hunger was the only thing he could think about. He shaved maybe once a week if he thought about it. Last time he’d had to break out the scissors it had gotten so long. He kept his hair somewhat trimmed but used a minimum of gel. He never felt like running out to restock so he used it sparingly.
The larder was looking rather bare. Ro — she always looked after it, as did Martha and Donna after her. Must be a female thing. But if there weren’t any companions, the TARDIS should be stocking it. He sighed.
She was trying to send him a message, apparently. She was used to these funks; they happened periodically. The post-Time War one had been the worst but he’d seen his share of tough times. But she must be particularly worried if she would make him go out and get his own food.
“Then I’m going on a hunger strike. Superior physiology, I can go for months without food.”
Even he didn’t believe himself that time.
In the end, the TARDIS dropped him off at Sarah Jane’s. That was bloody typical.
Damn. Nine did like to force his way out from time to time.
Sarah Jane had been horrified, of course. Her mom gene kicked in and she mothered him like he was younger than Luke, who was now 19. In Gallifreyan terms that would make him an infant. Well, such is life.
It was nice actually for someone to look after him for a change. He couldn't even remember his own mother and, though he didn't put Sarah Jane in her place, he did appreciate her somewhat annoying habit of following him from room to room and hovering about.
She’d pressed him to talk about what he’d been doing since he last saved the earth but he wasn’t exactly forthcoming. He couldn’t be. She’d be worried and probably ashamed of him and she might even call him a coward. All true but that didn’t mean he wanted to hear it.
But Sarah being Sarah, she’d gleaned a lot from the little bits a pieces he let drop and the rest from his attitude.
“I don’t know what Time Lords do, but humans usually go to counseling at times like these. Or at least take anti-depressants. Is there anything like that for you?” she said one morning.
He snorted. “The Gallifreyan brain is so complex that medication couldn’t even begin to cover it. You humans use, what, 10% of your brain. We use 95%. How do you think your Zoloft would handle that?”
“Right. Sorry I asked.”
He’d been doing that a lot lately and he inwardly winced each time. Sarah Jane had that mom thing where she could say something casual but still convey just how hurt she was by his foul temper. And like a mom, she never said anything about it but let you know in body language and through worried looks exactly how she felt.
He honestly didn’t mean to, he was just angry all the time. At himself, at the universe, at Rose and the human him, even Sarah Jane when she was being too pushy. She kept on wanting him to do things, to go out, to get involved. She suggested that since he seemed keen on staying Earthbound, why not contact UNIT? After his last interaction with them, he really didn’t think he had to explain why that was a bad idea.
But staying with her was good. Luke visited from time to time and brought friends if he felt like it. The Doctor usually retreated to his room when these impromptu parties started but Luke was a tricky one and good at keeping him in the mix. The boy was too smart for his own good, that was for sure.
Luke was fun to pal around with, though. He was brilliant and reminded the Doctor of a younger him, albeit much, much younger. They got along well, after the boy’s initial suspicions that the Doctor was just there to take advantage of his mum. Once that was resolved, they got along like white on rice. And he supposed that was nice but a bit annoying too. But life had to go on and it seemed, despite all his best intentions, even a Time Lord can't go outside of time.
After all, he hardly thought of her at all anymore.
So this is how it ends? Seriously. Well, bollocks to being a pretty boy. Still, a rough exterior is just perfect for my frame of mind. Let the mayhem begin. Let the adventures spread out before me. Oh, and…I don't know, would you...like to come with me?