eloriekam: (Doctor (Ten) Ood by jordansavas)
[personal profile] eloriekam
Title: Whispers from a Black Hole: Wishful
Author: [personal profile] eloriekam/[livejournal.com profile] eloriekam
Rating: All Ages
Disclaimer: 'Tis not mine!
Word Count: ~1500
Summary: He wants it to be true, it'd be brilliant if it were true, but all those pieces, they don't add up, and in the end he curses himself for wishing and hoping.
Author's Notes: Yeah, so... I was thinking about this episode, and then I decided to rewatch it up to the stethoscope scene. I watched the light go out of DT's eyes, and bam, another idea. Sorry? (Maybe I should shake my fist at RTD for taunting the Doctor so much? ;) ) Dialogue you recognize is from 'The Next Doctor'. I know the whole concept behind this series has been thoroughly Jossed (or Moffated), but whatever... it gives me an excuse to write angsty Doctor. This one got finished and then sat around for over two years--whoops.

He didn't remember himself.

He was the Doctor, but merely on the eccentric end of proper for this era on Earth.

This older, slightly confused Doctor knew about the sonic screwdriver, about having someone as his companion, about protecting the people of the Earth against monsters (and those Cyber constructs were a bit of a new one, he has to admit).

And oooh, he even knows about the TARDIS. He knows he's a Time Lord, and that he likes to say 'Allons-y!'

So why doesn't he remember himself?

The Doctor, the one who remembers the nine faces before him and is really hoping he didn't trip over a brick (though that'd probably still be less embarrassing than getting shot down, knocking his head on the console, and regenerating in front of the Rani), ponders this as he follows the other Time Lord and Rosita to the Reverend's house and watches as they argue a little about splitting up.

He wonders if Rosita knows about the 'Don't wander off' rule. He suspects that if she does, she pays no more attention to it than anyone else.

He really is very good with doors. And he has the real sonic. That wood and metal... thing is an interesting tool, but the fact it makes sound when hit against the door does not make it sonic. Well, it does, but it can't resonate concrete or take care of locks or do scans or any of the other things for which he whips out the sonic on a regular basis.

Hmmm. When had he started using it so much? It was definitely after the cricketer, the one he ran into a little while back. That him had really not been interested in the sonic at all. Perhaps after that unfortunate incident in San Francisco that resulted in an unnecessary regeneration?

If he gets any taller than this future version of him, he won't pass so well for human, anymore. Or he'll have to find different humans to blend in with. He's taller than this body, maybe taller than all the other ones, except perhaps the lightbulb dandy or the curly madman.

Anyway, he's whistling and most definitely not using the sonic and there are infostamps, so a few pieces of the puzzle are floating around in his mind, but...

He can't remember himself, but he knows he's a Time Lord. It makes no sense. Is it a consequence of a failed use of the Chameleon Arch?

Speaking of... he's wearing a fob watch, this other him. He's seen more than his usual share of those, this body. More than his usual share of the universe taunting him with possibility, only to yank it back in a twist of cruelty. A fob watch he's not seen himself look at or otherwise use, as though it's just there and he doesn't know why.

"Legend has it..." he tells the other Doctor, intensely, and this seems to be something the other Doctor doesn't know, and he wants to know what happened, will happen, and doesn't think about whether or not it's a good idea to release his own neural energy in front of himself, but flicks the watch open and feels absurd. Well, at least he doesn't have to worry about the neural energy.

He should realize that something else is going on, but everyone has someone else and he just... could he even stand traveling with himself, actually? He would always be trying to pilot the TARDIS better than himself and showing off and... otherwise being annoying.

The Doctor really is very good with doors. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite prepared for the need to make a strategic retreat, and loses one exit to the extra moment spent thinking about this odd future version of himself, then struggles with an umbrella as the Cybermen approach the staircase. Finally, there's no choice but to cover the other Doctor's retreat, as he's pretty sure the future him regenerating here would make for a worse paradox than this body regenerating. Hmm, what if that's how he becomes this future Doctor? Except then there would be two versions of one body at the same time, and would the future him really know when to come to London and how to act so eccentric about the screwdriver and himself and the TARDIS?

He should probably try to avoid either of him regenerating right here, then. Not that he was ever any good at avoiding it or doing it. Except, well... is that really him, and the Cybermen are really very much coming, now, and they're rather a bit stronger than he is, and this is a bit of a pickle.

Blue-white energy streams over his head and hits one Cyberman in the face, then the other.

That is brilliant, and very him, and now neither of him is going to regenerate right now, but.... he doesn't remember himself, and the fob watch isn't a fob watch twice over, and nothing's seeping through, and it ought to be, just that little bit, and....

The other Doctor is leaning against the wall, breathing a little hard, not very happy even after he tells him how brilliant that was. Being the Doctor is all the identity he has left, and he doesn't even feel complete in that.

"Let me just check," he says soothingly, quietly, pulling his stethoscope out of a pocket.

"You told them you were the Doctor," the other says, angry and uncertain and broken. "Why did you do that?"

"Oh," he answers, trying not to think about standing on another world far into the future with this same stethoscope, "I was just protecting you." He listens, and he knows what to listen for, exactly what to listen for because this should be him.

Just one heart. Coming from where the human heart should be, where it is, perfectly where it should be. He's got a nice, healthy heart, this man. A human's drumbeat, a little fast with exertion but still steady and oh, so very lonely.

Just that one. No echo, no glimpse, no hint. He's pretending to steady the taller man with one hand on his upper arm, but he's searching and there is nothing of Time inside that tall, brave frame. Nothing of Gallifrey... he should be able to smell it, taste it, feel it, sense it down to his very core, so close, and it's not there.

One heart.

Never has the thrum of life in his ears left such a taste of ashes in his mouth.

He tells the other man they'll figure it out, and he just about has figured it out, and he's glad the human is too distraught to notice his expression. He'd been confused, almost glowing with hope, and now... and now... he's certain he's back to silence again, less than nothing to hear should he uncap the void scraping away at him from the inside.

The Doctor can solve this without looking further that dangerous and insane direction. He can help this man, exposed to his lives, move on and rebuild and be brilliantly human and humanly brilliant.

He had hoped, though... and so his shoulders sag and his eyes are awash in pain and a bit of despair and he concentrates so his expression is close to normal, but his lips pinch and he swallows hard, and he can't, quite, steady his voice.

When everything is done and Jackson Lake is happy with his partially restored, partially new life and the Doctor is back in his TARDIS and looks in a mirror, he realizes his eyes look older than they did before he landed there.

Older, and more hopeless.

Had he lost sight of the brilliance of the universe, how much he enjoyed it?

Maybe a friend or two brought along would have helped, hugged him or reminded him there was some level on which he wasn't alone, but.... no. Not anymore.

Was it better to avoid Earth? But there had been Messaline, so perhaps not.

Should he just stay in the TARDIS for a while? She was a large ship, and held so many memories, but he wouldn't run into someone who claimed to be him and really wasn't and took some time for even his brain to figure out and in the process unknowingly and unintentionally ripped open so many invisible wounds.

Those wounds would have been more visible than a physical scar, on Gallifrey.

Was it better to not hope, or wish, at all, than to hope and wish and lose it, watch it slip away?

He'd been told before, he wasn't good on his own, but he couldn't... he just couldn't. Those little sparks of bright human hope had turned dark, and he couldn't.

Was it better not to see the best potential, so his eyes wouldn't fade and age ever more each time he stepped out of the TARDIS?

His hearts twinged a little. Not on the physical plane, they just... slivers of pain.

After a long time looking into his eyes, staring at the abyss behind them and wondering if he dared go back and ask someone, the Doctor went to the console room and set the TARDIS to materialize somewhere outside any significant gravitational influence.

Then he headed deep inside his ship, and did mindless absurdities as she hummed and stroked and sang, until he curled into one of her alcoves and cried.
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