by TemporalPhoenix [Reviews - 4]Chapter or Story
The Doctor sat on the jump seat with a heavy sigh, slouching back and scrubbing his hands over his face. He didn’t want to do this. He really, really didn’t, and he knew his feline metacrisis didn’t want to either. That was the problem. Mentally speaking, they both knew exactly what the other thought, most of the time. The other problem (of which there were many) was that the Doctor’s metacrisis was a cat for life. An extremely intelligent, half-Time Lord, half-human, telepathic cat, but a cat nonetheless. That meant all of those Time-Lordy thoughts and human emotions had to filter through the brain of a cat, too. And that meant—
The Doctor groaned, running his hands through his hair and tugging on it in frustration when the uncomfortable cycle of metacrisis-related thoughts didn’t cease, or make anymore sense. He’d run all of that information through his mind a thousand times over, and doing so again wouldn’t help. He’d seen so many things in his many centuries, but this…this was certainly something new.
A blur of blue moved in his peripheral vision, and then, with a soft ‘thump’, the source of all his current distress hopped onto the seat beside him. The Doctor did his best to ignore him. When he continued to be ignored, the blue cat moved out of view. Despite the Doctor’s many misgivings about what that could possibly lead to, he merely slumped lower in his seat and kept his eyes trained on the console monitor.
Of course the TARDIS would take Rose’s side about this. Apparently, the fact that the Doctor and his TARDIS were all that remained of their ancient home planet wasn’t enough for the old time ship to side with him on this one thing. It would also seem that the fact they had traveled together for the good part of a millennium wasn’t good enough either. (So much for sentient time ships that were supposed to listen to their Time Lords.)
The TARDIS sent a sharp reprimand flashing across their bond the moment he thought that, making the Doctor wince.
‘Haven’t you done enough? I know you guided Rose right into creating the metacrisis, don’t deny it! I don’t know how, or why, but I know you had a part in that.’ He telepathically hurled his words back at TARDIS, all of his pent up frustration seeking an outlet, any outlet, that he would never let it have under normal circumstances. ‘This could have all been avoided. It wasn’t the most likely timeline. We both know that.’
The TARDIS hummed stubbornly in the back of his mind, with an apologetic murmur thrown in. She was certain that this was for the best, no matter what he thought.
The Doctor clenched his jaw. ‘Yeah.’
Out of nowhere, a white paw whacked his left cheek, claws extended just enough to give him a painfully reminder that they were all in working order.
“Ow!” He jerked away on reflex, bolting to his feet and spinning around in a fury. The fluffy blue cat sitting on the back of the jump seat merely gave him a passive look, calmly licking his left front paw.
“What was that for?” the Doctor demanded, wiping at his cheek. He wasn’t bleeding, but being hit in the face by a version of himself was still a bit of a shock.
The cat meowed back nonchalantly, “Someone had to.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes with a scoff, letting his hand fall back to his side. It was a little odd to hear his current body’s voice filtering back across his (their) bond with the TARDIS, especially since he could still hear and see the meows coming from the mouth of his cat self.
At least they could communicate more easily than the last time the Doctor had been a cat. The only reason Handy could “speak” via the TARDIS (for now, until he learned to speak out loud like every other cat with Gallifreyan heritage could) was because, being partially the same Time Lord, they both had a bond with the ship. Rose had a similar connection as well, but she had yet to find out about the full extent of the metacrisis' abilities. Plus, Handy had to want to project his words across his bond with the TARDIS to be heard, but he liked to pretend that he was more helpless and innocent than he actually was whenever Rose was around.
Thinking of Rose reminded the Doctor of his current predicament. “Did you just slap me?” He asked. If Handy had inherited the genetic material from Rose that was responsible for the infamous Tyler Slap...
Had the metacrisis become the bipedal half-Time Lord he was supposed to be, he might have shrugged. “Had to.”
“You were being rude.”
“Ohhhhhhh,” the Doctor drew the word out in scathing disbelief, “you’re one to talk. If I’m rude, then so are you!”
Handy snorted. “Yeah, so? If you weren’t rude and not ginger first, then I wouldn’t be like this.”
The Doctor glared at him. “You take that back!” He said, jabbing a finger at the cat.
“It’s true. You said it yourself.”
The cat and Time Lord stared at each other in silence, each refusing to give in. The feline metacrisis narrowed his bright golden eyes, daring the bipedal Doctor to blink or look away. The Doctor mirrored him, crossing his arms and lifting his chin a little in an unspoken challenge.
He only won their staring contest because the cat finally looked away, distracted by something under the grating. “Ha! I win!" The Doctor threw his hands up and crowed his victory to the room.
The metacrisis’ attention instantly snapped back to him, and he protested with a yowl. When the bipedal Doctor didn’t relent, the cat hissed in annoyance, his tail lashing back and forth as he darted across the console room and disappeared through the open section of floor grating.
“Don’t even think about it!” The Doctor shouted, scrambling after the cat in an attempt to stop him. He wasn’t quite fast enough, and could only get onto his hands and knees and peer into the hole. “Come back here right now!"
He saw blue fur slip under a series of tubes and wires as the cat ignored him and made his way deeper into the bowels of the time ship.
“Stop! Get up here, or I swear I'll come after you!" The Doctor threatened.
“You'll have to catch me first!" The feline retorted. The top of his head popped out from behind a panel, golden eyes staring defiantly up at his bipedal self in the warm half-light of the space below the console.
The metacrisis gave an angry rumble in response. “That’s still not my name. I’m the Doctor.”
“No, I'm the Doctor,” the bipedal Doctor corrected sternly, "the only, original, fully Time Lord one. You are a cat.”
Said cat hissed and swiped at the air in the Time Lord’s direction with his claws out.
The Doctor pulled back. “Really? That’s how you want to do this? Fine! You're a part Time Lord cat, which makes you just about the most intelligent feline in this universe. Is that better?” He asked.
Golden eyes blinked suspiciously up at him.
The Doctor sighed and looked away. They could go on like this for a long, long time and never make any progress. Something had to change, and as much as it pained him to acknowledge it, he suspected that it might have to be him. He sat down on the grating beside the hole and leaned back against the base of the console. Crossing his legs, he stared down at his hands where they rested in his lap in contemplative silence.
“I don't know what else you want me to say," he said finally. "You know you're always going to be like this. Nothing can change that, not that I know of, and I'm sorry, so, so sorry. I remember being a cat on Jyotaris, how frustrating it was to not be able to act the way I knew I should be able to...I wouldn't want to be you, I’ll admit that. You'll live a very long life like this too, barring accidents, because you're part me."
His metacrisis gave a disappointed huff.
“I know,” the Doctor said, glancing down at Handy through the grating. “Neither of us wanted this, but...you did help defeat Davros quite brilliantly.”
A quiet meow came from below him.
The barest hint of a smile crossed the Doctor’s face. “Who knew Daleks could be so easily distracted by one cat, eh? Oh, and of course Rose was absolutely brilliant too. My brave, brilliant Wolf—our Wolf—making the impossible possible once again. And you, well, you managed to distract Davros and the Daleks long enough for us to send almost all of the stolen planets back. That’s quite a feat.”
The blue feline regarded him carefully.
The Time Lord paused, swallowing what remained of his stubborn pride. Then he added, “And as much as I wish things were different, you’re here now, and you will be for a long time. And if we both wish to continue to exist as we are, without incurring any more slaps from Jackie Tyler, then I suppose I have to learn to accept you. Because even if you're half cat, Rose cares about both of us. Loves us, though we don't deserve it. I mean, other than earlier today, she already adores you. Just think, you’re going to be the most spoiled feline this side of—"
The metacrisis’ ears twitched suddenly, and he interrupted the bipedal Doctor with an inquisitive meow. “I can stay?”
The Doctor’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Of course you can stay! Where else would you go? You’d never blend in on most of the planets with cats like you, not with fur like that. All blue and everything." He was somewhat disconcerted that this sort of question had ever arisen. (It was clearly his fault. Although, for all his complaining about the metacrisis' existence, the Doctor had never actually considered abandoning his feline counterpart anywhere. Besides, Rose never would've allowed it.)
The cat looked away.
The Doctor quickly backtracked. “Not that blue fur's a bad thing! No, not at all, absolutely nothing wrong with blue. It’s a very nice color. You match the TARDIS quite well.”
When this failed to provoke any sort of response from the feline below him, the Time Lord resorted to staring down at his metacrisis in resignation. “Will you just come out from under there? I promise to not tell you off for touching the console again," he pleaded.
Handy chittered back in a way that almost sounded like a hollow laugh. Then he hopped out of the maintenance hatch and sat beside the bipedal Doctor, carefully arranging his paws and tail just the way he liked them. He gazed straight ahead, refusing to meet the Doctor’s gaze.
In spite of that, the Doctor cheered. “There we go! Now, before we can finally leave the console room and find Rose before she discovers our oldest archival storage rooms, or the, well, you know. You're me, you know all the embarrassing things we would rather Rose not find out about yet…”
The cat grumbled and flicked his tail in acknowledgment of said embarrassing things.
“Anyway!” The Doctor clapped his hands together, studying the feline beside him intently. “Names! We need a name for you that isn't Handy or the Doctor.”
His metacrisis glanced at him and cocked his head to one side, thinking about it.
The Doctor considered a few possibilities. “Rose was right, you don't look like a ‘John’ anymore. Hmmmm…..What about Meta?”
The cat immediately shook his head.
The Doctor frowned. “Not Meta? Okay, what about Ten? You know, because— No? Not that one either? Fine. What do you want to be called then?”
After a moment, his metacrisis meowed thoughtfully, and a new name filtered into the Doctor’s mind over the bond they shared with the TARDIS. It made him arch a skeptical eyebrow. “That's...interesting. Bit presumptuous though, don't you think?”
The cat shook his head. “No, I like it. That is the name I want, since you refuse to let me use ‘Doctor’.”
The bipedal Doctor ran his hands through his hair, still unsure. He silently tested out the name in his mind a few times. "Alright,” he said finally, “I suppose it’s not such a bad choice.”