Yaz felt a bit better in what passed for the morning. She had managed to sleep in the end, and she’d woken up to find Omega had made her and the Doctor breakfast. He’d clearly found out about Earth food at some point during his imprisonment; he’d laid a table of slices of bread covered in all kinds of toppings. It all even tasted alright, if you didn’t stop to think about how it was made out of him.
The Doctor didn’t seem bothered that her food had been formed from pure willpower. She was gobbling up bread like she hadn’t eaten properly in years. And maybe she hadn’t, Yaz thought. You were never quite sure with her friend.
“This is a better reception than I was hoping for,” said the Doctor through crumbs of bread.
She nodded over to Omega.
“I knew I’d have to reason with you. I didn’t think you’d turn out to be so…”
“Reasonable?” said Omega with a smile.
“I meet a lot of ranting idiots in my line of work,” said the Doctor. “Sometimes I forget there are people inside.”
Yaz winced internally.
“That probably sounded harsher than she meant it to,” she said, but Omega shook his head in response.
“She’s right,” he said. “I went insane. And if it wasn’t for her, I still would be.”
“Oh,” said the Doctor. “Did I do something? I do a lot of things. Sometimes it’s hard to remember.”
“You saved them,” said Omega. “The Time Lords. I thought they were dead, at the end of the War. Finally annihilated for their crimes.”
“Your friend killed them,” he said to the Doctor. “Did he tell you how he felt once he’d done the deed?”
The Doctor sighed.
“He was ecstatic,” she said. “It made him really happy.”
Omega steepled his fingers, nodding slightly.
“I thought I would feel the same, to know them gone. But instead I just felt nothing.”
He shook his head.
“Their deaths were meant to be my vengeance,” he said. “For what they did to you, and then to me. An Empire founded upon twin crimes.”
“They did torture me quite a lot,” said the Doctor pointedly. “Not exactly the same as stealing your brilliant ideas.”
Yaz fiddled with her own food, wondering what she could add. This would happen sometimes with the Doctor– she’d meet some space person or other and Yaz would just sit there like a plum. Because what could you say in a situation like this? Oh, yeah, you were both tortured in ancient history? I worked so much overtime I hardly saw the sun for a month!
It was a different world, she knew. You couldn’t relate to it. Like adults talking over you when you were four.
Omega was still talking, and perhaps it didn’t matter that Yaz hadn’t said anything. He didn’t seem to have heard what the Doctor had said. He just kept carrying on with his story.
“A long time later, I came to know the truth!” he exclaimed. “That the Time Lords lived; that they had never died! In my prison I saw them saved, by a hailstorm of versions of you. And once again I felt”–
–“nothing. I only felt nothing at all.”
“I see where this is going,” said the Doctor gently. “You were away in your own little world. Literally making your own reality. But you never thought your rage could be under your control, just as much as everything else in this place.”
Slightly and slowly, Omega nodded once.
“I thought,” he said, “that when something happened, it would release me. And that was nonsense, of course; my anger was always in my mind. In one sense I was always my own prisoner. And I’d never have known, if you hadn’t saved them all.”
“Yeah,” said the Doctor. “Just not for long.”
Omega smiled, ignoring the Doctor’s comments once again.
“So you see,” he said, “it really was you who saved me. Which is ironic, of course, since you once tried to shoot me to death”–
Yaz looked over to the Doctor, horrified.
“You shot him?!” she said.
The Doctor couldn’t meet her gaze. “Not with a gun,” she said.
“It was with a gun!” said Omega.
“It was a space gun,” said the Doctor. “Look, Yaz, I was a different person then”–
“No guns is what you’re about!” Yaz said, much louder than she’d meant. “You’ve got all your rules and they don’t always make any sense, but not using guns, that’s always your number one”–
“That’s true,” said the Doctor, “but it wasn’t always”–
“You never said that it wasn’t always!” said Yaz. “What if you change your mind tomorrow, shoot me in the face?”
The Doctor looked at her, confused.
“You’re getting lippy, Yaz!” she said. “This isn’t like you.”
I needed you to be better, a voice shouted inside Yaz’s head.
“Yeah, well,” she said. “Maybe you don’t know my rules either. Not really.”
There was an awkward silence as none of them looked at each other.
“Go off and talk about your stupid bird,” muttered Yaz.
“An Ergon,” said the Doctor to Omega. “That’s why I came.”
“To me?” he said. “My Ergon was a joke.”
“Maybe,” said the Doctor. “But you’re all that’s left. And my one’s going to kill me, and Yaz. And everything. So maybe we need to take it seriously. What’d you reckon?”
“I suppose it would be nice to save you, at long last,” he said.
The Doctor looked over to Yaz, awkward sympathy in her eyes.
“We’ll sort this,” she said. “And… and there’s stuff I should probably say”–
She fumbled for the words.
“I don’t really know how to put it”–
“Go away,” said Yaz.
The Doctor sighed.
“I’ll see you around,” she said.
She left the room along with Omega, who was of course as legendary as her. Huge and mythical and full of stories, and definitely not assigned to paperwork during lockdown.
She’d yearned to be out of her room after the first few days. But now she was somewhere darker and colder. Still alone.
They were stuck in her mind, the Doctor and Omega. They’d created beings out of will and anger, and they thought they were good as God. But God wasn’t one to break the rules.
And when it came to the Doctor, Yaz was starting to wonder if she really had rules left at all.