Ghosts in the Machine

by Daystar Searcher [Reviews - 19]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Introspection

Author's Notes:
Doctor Who is the property of the BBC and I do not profit by this writing.

She knows they do not leave.

She has tried to find a way to tell him, her mad silly boy who’s always so lonely, has with patience and impatience and varying degrees of exasperation tried to communicate that he is not alone, not really.

No one ever leaves.

No one ever dies.

But he doesn’t listen, does he? He fills up his head-space with prattling rattling facts and figures and anecdotes and outright lies, and the churning turning noise of it all shuffles her words away from him. He registers the attempt and brushes away the tendrils of her thoughts like a comforting arm that he refuses to cry on. Stiff upper lip and all that, he’d say, and indeed does when she makes her irritation known to him. Odd expression, that, he sometimes adds. It’s the lower lip that wobbles, usually, in emotional distress. As I’ve noticed with other people and definitely not myself.

Sometimes she doesn’t understand a single word that boy says.

If he didn’t shy away from the broad outlines of her thoughts, if his brain would just hold still for one second, she could explain it to him. She could tell him.

They’re all still here.

Everyone who’s ever inside the TARDIS or even near it for an extended period of time has left imprints in her telepathic field, echoes and impressions that built up over time, shadows and reflections solidifying inside her. Everyone, at every point of their travels with him, and oh Doctor, they’re so happy. To be here with you. To never leave.

There’s bright-eyed Susan and brave Jamie, and poor Victoria no longer cries or screams. Sharp Liz who finally gets to travel with him, and the Brigadier sighing after but secretly glad. Jo doesn’t mourn the Amazon, and Rose isn’t trapped so far away, and Martha and Mickey don’t want anything but adventure. There are two Sarah Janes, the first young and lovely and carefree and bursting with righteousness, and the second older (but still so young, Doctor, compared to you, compared to me) and less carefree and with the memory of bitter lines around her mouth that makes her all the more beautiful. There are two Jacks as well, a thought that amuses Jack to no end. And the Master, so many different Masters, forever in those moments of glee when he believed he’d finally triumphed over the Doctor, finally proven himself. Moments when the drums almost faded away.

And Donna, brilliant Donna, brilliant marvelous metacrisis Donna who never has to forget a single second, who spins theories and ideas and all the wonders of the universe in her eyes.

They’re all there.

They’ve always all been there, sliding back and forth in abstract loops of their lives aboard her and the continuing life of the Doctor, but it wasn’t until the library and the dream-world of the moon above that she realized what she could do, that she grasped the strings and strands of dreaming shadows and twisted them together.

And so Romana’s first two regenerations sometimes meet for tea; Leela humors them and changes out of the leather and into a dress once in a while to join them. The Master and Jo bake cakes that Jack and Adric steal. Sarah Jane teaches a young Amelia Pond how to make a fake ID. Barbara and Ace compare methods of killing Daleks, and Donna and Liz argue over how to fix the chameleon circuit.

And all the yous that you mourn, all the selves you left behind or papered over, they’re all here. The long-shanked rascal, the teeth and curls, the amnesiac, the planner, the warrior with the wounded eyes. They live in you as well, but I know you miss the originals sometimes. You don’t have to. I’ve kept them safe.

No one has to leave their Doctor behind.

The companions and their Doctors wander the heart of the TARDIS, and he’s never been alone, oh, if her boy would just learn to listen, if he would just sit still and listen--

Oh Doctor, they’re so happy.

They never have to end.