A TARDIS of One's Own (Or, What Should Have Happened in Exile)

by nostalgia [Reviews - 3]

  • Teen
  • Swearing
  • Alternate Universe, General, Humor, Mixed, Romance, Slash, Standalone

The Doctor woke up on Earth. Again. She sighed and switched off her alarm-clock. She got out of bed, grudgingly and went to the wardrobe to choose today's velvet suit.

“Morning, Doctor,” said Liz, as the Doctor emerged from the TARDIS into her laboratory at UNIT HQ. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes,” said the Doctor, refusing to be cheered up by her assistant. “Is that a new pair of boots?” she asked, distracted from her misery by the follies of fashion.

Liz nodded. “Nice of you to notice.”

“I don't know how you can run in those,” said the Doctor, glancing down at her own sensibly-flat shoes. She glanced around and then added, “Do you know where I can get a decent sports bra?”

“Oh,” said Liz. “Yes, I suppose there's all sorts of things you'll need now that you didn't need before.”

“Like what?” asked the Doctor, still somewhat mystified by her own femininity.

“Well... for a start, do Time Lords menstruate?” Liz was quite matter-of-fact about these things, which the Doctor appreciated.

“Oh, that,” said the Doctor, waving a hand. “I'm fine with that. It's only blood, and it's my own blood as well. Is there anything else I should know about?”

“I don't suppose you're planning on being sexually-active?” asked Liz, a bit more embarrassed this time.

The Doctor stared at her in shock. “Certainly not!”

“Okay, then, nothing to worry about.”

The Doctor nodded, satisfied. Although, come to think of it, it would be quite interesting to experience the female orgasm with a sentient partner. “Anyway,” she said, changing the subject, “what are we doing today?”

“Probably,” said Liz, “working on your TARDIS in the vain hope that you can fix it and get off this planet.”

“We don't always do that,” the Doctor protested.

Liz gave her a significant look.

“Just most of the time,” the Time Lord conceded. The Doctor started suddenly and turned to see Mike Yates standing behind her with a saucy grin on his face.

“Did you just pinch my arse?” she asked, dangerously.

Yates winked and hit her arm gently with a clipboard. “No need to get upset about it, Doctor.”

“I,” she said, “am the Oncoming Storm. You don't wink at the Oncoming Storm. You certainly don't pinch the Oncoming Storm's arse.”

Yates shrugged. “I was only having a bit of fun.”

The Doctor snatched the clipboard from him and turned to back to Liz. “Is this what I have to put up with now? Sexual harassment in the workplace?”

Liz nodded the nod of sad solidarity.

“I'm not having it,” said the Doctor. “I don't care if it's... whatever decade it is. It's just not on.”

“Women's Lib, eh?” said Yates, lightly.

“I prefer to call it 'basic human decency',” said the Doctor.

Yates shrugged as though this was the least of his concerns and left the room. The Doctor glared after him, and if looks could have killed then it would have taken some time to clean up the mess.

The casual sexism didn't stop entirely, but it did diminish somewhat after a few sharp remarks and a practical demonstration of Venusian karate. The Doctor also managed to put about the rumour that Time Lords were asexual, just in case anyone got any ideas about asking her out.

She was getting used to her new height, voice, and breasts, and in all honesty her new body could have been a lot worse. At least it was old enough to buy fireworks without getting asked for identification. And she looked good in purple velvet, and she didn't look too stupid in a cape.

This exile thing wasn't going too badly, all things considered.

Then Liz left, and the Doctor had no one to listen to her jokes about quantum mechanics. Well, no one who would actually laugh at them. She tried going to rescue Liz, but it turned out that the accomplished physicist wanted more from her career than passing the Doctor test-tubes and telling her how clever she was. This confused the Doctor somewhat, as she had been pretty sure humans enjoyed telling her how all-round marvellous she was.

She sat in Bessie's driving-seat and stole a glance at her new assistant. Young, blonde, entirely under-qualified. The Brigadier had told the Doctor that she had to get rid of the girl on her own, which was like asking her to kick a puppy or club a baby seal to death. She sighed and started the engine.

“Shall I put on some music?” she asked, attempting to be friendly. She pointed to the glove compartment. “There should be something in there.”

Jo opened the compartment and pulled out a few CDs, staring at them with a confused expression. She opened one of the cases to examine the contents. “Why are these records so small and shiny?” she asked.

The Doctor smiled a bit guiltily. “I suppose you could call it contaminating the time-line, but I don't like driving without music.”

“Is it an alien thing?” asked Jo.

“Yes,” lied the Doctor, taking the path of least resistance, “I brought them with me from outer space.” She reached over and took one of the discs from Jo. “This may be slightly disconcerting,” she warned, “but drum and bass is a perfectly pleasant genre if you give it a chance.”

And then there was the Master.

“Don't say it,” said the Doctor.

The Master looked her up and down. He walked around her. He stroked his stupid beard.

“It's not as if I haven't noticed,” said the Doctor. “And there is literally nothing you can say that I haven't already heard, or thought, or -.”

“I don't like the ears,” said the Master, finally.

“Pardon?” said the Doctor.

“And it seems they don't entirely work either,” he said with an amused expression.

“What's wrong with my ears?” the Doctor demanded, pushing a strand of dark hair behind the left one.

“Nothing,” said the Master, in a tone that suggested he was lying outrageously.

The Doctor narrowed her eyes. “Are you trying to wind me up?”

The Master shrugged. “It's not exactly the worst body you've ever worn. I wouldn't have expected you of all people to mind something like this.”

“I don't mind,” the Doctor protested. “Other people mind, but I don't.” She pulled herself to her full height. “Have you ever heard of institutional sexism?”

“What's that?”

“It's only the worst thing ever!” cried the Doctor.

“Ah,” said the Master, “you're taking human reactions personally. Honestly, I don't know what you see in them.”

“Courage and compassion and-”

“Yes, yes, but aside from all of that.” The Master sat down on the edge of a nearby table and folded his arms across his chest. “You're quite attractive, you know.”

The Doctor looked at him with some surprise. “Really?”

The Master nodded. “You look a bit like your mother but not enough for it to be disturbing. Just sort of...”



“Oh.” The Doctor scratched her head. “Well, I'm not going to shag you, so don't even think about it. For one thing, you're evil and for another... I don't really need reasons that aren't the fact that you're evil, do I?”

“Evil is such a strong word,” said the Master.

He was, she had to admit, pretty damn sexy with those smouldering eyes and the... The Doctor shook her head to clear it. The last thing she needed right now was getting back into a relationship with her worst enemy.

“So,” she said, “What are you up to with these Autons?”

“Thanks, Benton,” she said the next time she passed the sergeant in a corridor.

“For what?” he asked, confused.

“For not sexually-harassing me. And I realise how appalling it is that I have to thank people for that.”

Benton shrugged. “I knew you when you were a short-arse with a Beatles haircut,” he said. “If I didn't fancy you then it would be wrong to fancy you now. It'd make me shallow.”

The Doctor agreed that this was quite logical. “Have you ever dated someone evil?” she asked, for want of anyone else to share her thoughts with at this exact moment.

He shook his head. “Not that I know of, Miss. I mean Doctor.”

“Would you think badly of someone who did?”

“I expect so,” he replied amiably.

“Hmm,” said the Doctor, and carried on walking to her lab.

The Doctor woke up from a quick nap on her workbench to find a child staring at her. She raised her head and saw the Brigadier standing behind the little girl.

“This is Kate,” he told her.

“I don't do babysitting,” said the Doctor quickly.

“I'm not asking you to babysit,” he said smoothly, “I just want you to show her around your laboratory, let her see what you've been working on.”

The Doctor narrowed her eyes. “How is that different from babysitting?” she asked.

“Are you an alien?” asked Kate.

“Yes,” said the Doctor. “Are you?”

The girl shook her head and giggled.

“She's my daughter,” said the Brigadier. “I thought it might be nice for Kate to have a sort of... well, a strong female role-model.”

“How did you get a daughter?” asked the Doctor, ignoring the part about being a role model for someone else's offspring. The Brigadier raised an eyebrow and the Doctor waved her hand at him. “I know how, obviously, I just wasn't aware that you had a partner.”

“A wife, actually,” said the Brigadier.

“When did that happen?”

“1968,” said the Brigadier.

“What year is it now?” asked the Doctor, who had made a point of not knowing exactly what decade she was stuck in.

“Have you got a spaceship?” asked the little girl.

“Yes,” said the Doctor. “No. Sort of. It doesn't work that well at the moment. Or at all, really. Long story, very boring.”

The Brigadier smiled in that way that made his moustache twitch as though it wasn't quite real. “I'll leave you to it, Doctor.”

“You can't just offload your progeny like this!” she cried.

“It's only for an afternoon,” he said reasonably. “I just want her to have some idea what we do around here.”

“Isn't that classified information?” asked the Doctor rather desperately.

“Since when did that bother you?”

“You're a brigadier! You always do what you're supposed to! You're like... Mr Rules!”

The Brigadier headed out of the laboratory. “Have fun, Kate,” he called over his shoulder as he left.

It would have been easier if the Master would occasionally leave the planet. As it was he hung around trying to attract the Doctor's attention and getting in the way.

“You could just send me flowers,” she complained as she defused another parcel-bomb.

Jo looked at her over the workbench. “Pardon?”

“The Master,” said the Doctor. “It's pretty obvious, don't you think? He's always had a thing for me.”

“But didn't you used to be... I mean... weren't you a man before I met you?”

“Yes,” said the Doctor, “and?”

“Was the Master a woman back then?”

The Doctor shook her head and cut the blue wire. “Oh, no, he's always been male.”

Jo frowned. “But that would mean you and the Master... oh! Oh, I see.”

“What?” asked the Doctor, trying to ease the green wire out of the detonator.

“Well, you know,” Jo tried to sound casual, “sodomy.”

“Yes?” said the Doctor, still not seeing what the problem was.

Jo flushed and tugged at the rings on her fingers. “There's nothing wrong with it,” she said hurriedly, “I just didn't realise that you were... that he was...”

“Jo,” said the Doctor, finishing her work, “what are you trying to say?”

“Gay,” said Jo. “I didn't realise you were gay.” She waved her hands about a bit. “I mean, it wouldn't be gay now, but it would have been then, and-”

“We didn't really have those categories on Gallifrey,” said the Doctor patiently. “It would be a bit awkward if we did, all things considered.”

“Well, yes,” agreed Jo.

“He's evil,” said the Doctor, getting to what was surely the important point. “I can't date someone evil.”

“Hmm,” said Jo, semi-verbally agreeing. “Do you think you could change him? With your love, I mean?”

The Doctor looked at Jo as though the girl were quite mad. “This isn't a romantic novel, you know. We're not fictional. You can't make someone not evil just because you fancy them,”

Jo grinned at her. “So you do like him!”

The Doctor nodded guiltily. “A bit.”

“He's certainly handsome,” said Jo, who had apparently thought about the Master quite a lot. “Very dashing. Suave, even.”

“I'm not going to sleep with an intergalactic super-villain!” cried the Doctor. “Not on a first date, anyway. Not unless he renounced evil and signed up to some sort of twelve-step programme.”

“Do they have those?” asked Jo.

“Probably not.”

The Doctor picked up the defused bomb and handed it to Jo. “Can you file this somewhere? Possibly under H for 'Oh Hell No'?”

“This isn't a date,” said the Doctor.

The Master raised an eyebrow but stayed silent.

“It isn't,” she repeated. “It's just... dinner for two in a posh restaurant, followed by a visit to the opera. That's not remotely like a date.”

The Master poured her another glass of wine.

“You want me to keep talking until I say something incriminating,” said the Doctor, realising that she was totally falling for it. “Which I'm not going to do.”

The Master leaned back and lit a cigar.

“Do they still let people smoke inside buildings?” asked the Doctor. “Anyway, it's really bad for you.” She snatched the cigar and put it out in the ashtray that sat between them.

Finally the Master spoke. “I was enjoying that,” he said.

“Ah! Got you to speak!” said the Doctor triumphantly. “I don't want you killing yourself, that's all.”

The Master shrugged. “I'd just regenerate.”

“Not the point,” she said, not entirely sure what the point was.

“It would be a shame to lose this body,” said the Master, looking at her with some interest. “It's quite handsome, don't you think?”

“No,” said the Doctor, “I'm not going to say that you're handsome, or good-looking, or impossibly sexy. I don't fancy you.”

The Master just looked at her.

“I used to,” she admitted, “but we were young and hormonal and you weren't evil.”

“I can look past your appalling addiction to morality,” said the Master, “I think it's only fair that you look past what you perceive as my failings.” He leaned across the table and took her hand. “Sometimes,” he said, “in the shower, I like to-”

The Doctor snatched her hand away. “Thanks for over-sharing, but you're not going to make me admit to any wild sexual fantasies that I don't have about you.”

“Whyever not?” asked the Master.

The Doctor put a hand on her chest. “I'm a good person,” she said. She moved her hand and pointed it at the Master. “You are not a good person. Good people and not-good people do not belong together.”

“I could take you away from all this,” he offered.

The Doctor's hearts jumped even as she told herself that he was probably lying. “I like it here,” she lied, “I've come to accept the terms of my exile and I plan to be a good girl from now on.”

The Master raised his eyebrows. “No more meddling?”

“None at all.”

“So if, say, I had arranged for our visit to the opera to end in a blood-bath..?”

The Doctor stared at him. “You didn't.”

He shrugged.

The Doctor stood up quickly. “You never change, do you? You just can't help yourself. Here I was, all ready to open up to you — emotionally and euphemistically — and then you... you...” she sat down again. “You haven't actually done anything, have you?”

The Master smiled.

“Bastard,” said the Doctor.

The Master nodded, taking that as the compliment it wasn't intended to be.

It was a very long opera. The Doctor was aware of this fact mostly because the Master kept whispering obscene suggestions in her ear and occasionally running his hand along the inside of her thigh.

Finally — finally! - the diva 'died' and the curtains closed. The Doctor stood up but the Master pulled her back down into her seat.

“There's no rush,” he said, calmly. “We may as well wait until the crowds die down a little.”

The Doctor nodded even though she knew he was just being... morally-different... again.

The Master put an arm around her shoulders. “Don't worry,” he said, quite loudly, “the wait will be worth it.”

The Doctor flushed. “I don't remember agreeing to have sex with you.”

“You mentioned it in the restaurant. Something about opening yourself euphemistically?”

“Oh,” she said, “that. I was just... lying,” she lied.

“Your TARDIS or mine?” he asked.

“Well, mine's at UNIT HQ, so I don't think it would be a good idea to... no, wait, I'm not going to have sex with you. At least not until you change your ways.”

The Master licked her earlobe. It was rather pleasant.

“I mean it,” she said, trying to sound firm. “I'm not rewarding evilness with sexual gymnastics.”

The Master said something quite obscene.

Jo Grant caught the bouquet as it flew overhead. Several people clapped, including a few who were only there to stop the Master killing anyone.

“Well,” said the Doctor, feeling that a stirring speech might be in order. “I'd like to thank you all for not judging me and for being so supportive during my exile. I can't promise that the Master is redeemed yet, but I'm confident that he can learn to love others as he loves me.” She glanced at her new husband. “Though possibly in less physical ways.”

The Brigadier looked like he was going to be sick.

The Doctor hiked up her skirts and pulled the Master towards Bessie. The Doctor climbed into the car rather awkwardly, having chosen a somewhat impractical dress for the ceremony.

“I'll drive,” said the Master.

“No, you'll try to run someone over, I know what you're like,” said the Doctor, settling into the driver's seat and taking off her veil.

The Master shrugged, unconcerned. “You won't manage it, you know. I'm not going to have a moral epiphany just because we're legally wed.”

The Doctor kissed his cheek. “We'll talk about it after the honeymoon.”