He nearly panicked when he heard the TARDIS emergency protocol hologram say, in his own cursed voice, "Safe Haven Protocol Thirteen initiating." The TARDIS must have been disappointed in his behavior, or perhaps what he was altogether.

However, with him being as stubborn as anyone in his situation, he merely responded by standing up and walking deeper into the corridors of his eternal-one, trying to escape the inevitable; when someone ignorant and faulty in reasoning, someone stupid enough to call him "friend" would end up finding him.

He wasn't quite sure how long it had been since the Sunlight Worlds and their Dalek crisis, by ever since he had promised to himself, and perhaps the rest of the universe, that he would stop his fantasy of heroism and mind his own business for once, he hadn't really done much of anything. There was nothing left to do.

He instead contented himself with just wandering around without any purpose or thought; he didn't wish to think. Thinking was rubbish.

Or he just sat around, still doing (and thinking of) nothing. Perhaps he had been ignoring important bodily functions, like eating, and drinking, but it wasn't a problem if he didn't feel off, was it?

There was nothing wrong with doing absolutely nothing, was there? The only person he was bothering was the TARDIS, and she could just pilot herself wherever she wanted. He put her on autopilot, just so she could still travel without being tethered by him and his unwillingness to do so. So she could be free from him. Perhaps, she was in reality flying to some deserted planet, and then fly off without him. Then she would be free of him forever, and she deserved not to have a useless thin living inside of her just to take up space.

However, she was a kind being, and she wouldn't do that to him unless it was a final resort. She was definitely going someplace where he had "friends" to take care of him. It was better for his "friends" of course, for him to not be around.

However, he could only hope that would work. The TARDIS, clever girl, had programmed all of the hallways to be on some sort of loop. After a while of walking, he quickly noticed that he had arrived almost back to the console room, and they were still mid-flight.

So he shook his head and muttered faint curses (not at that TARDIS, never at the TARDIS), and ran into the nearest room he could find.

Fittingly, it was the library. And most definitely not what he needed at the moment. He remembered bringing River to the Singing Towers like it was yesterday (while it was probably a few weeks), and guilt washed over him like he was its loving father.

So he ran out of the library, and tried to reason with himself.

Libraries had books, and books warranted reading, and reading required thinking. He didn't want to think, so he decided to avoid books.

He ran to the next nearest room, to find it empty. It was small too, with a soft gray carpet and dark walls. His breath quickened, and he started hyperventilating. The room was so small and he could see the dark walls closing in around him and consuming him and he couldn't take it. He ran out of the room, properly terrified.

"That isn't funny!" he yelled loudly. The TARDIS only met his protests with a mournful hum. They had landed by then, and he still had not hidden.

He then ran farther down the corridor, and tried a random room. He wondered if the TARDIS was putting undesirable rooms near him on purpose, trying to get him to stay in open sight.

So, in his mind, he begged her to let him have one normal room that wouldn't make him terrified or feel guilty. He didn't want to feel anything, no emotions, but fear was certainly worse than feeling other unwanted emotions.

So he opened the new door and saw a large room, full of something that looked similar to a musical ensemble. It was dark everywhere except where the instruments were (on a stage?). Thanking her, he decided to run to the closest corner and he slumped there, going into the fetal position.

The only thing he focused on was how to not think. He did realize, of course, that concentrating required thinking, but concentrating on a useless task would cause the trance to go on forever, wouldn't it?

So he focused on that and all the philosophy behind it, for an indeterminable amount of time. He was losing track of time a lot lately, which was not very typical for a Time Lord. After all, what was the point of being a Time Lord when his own biological clock was unwound?

Then he choked out a sob. He started remembering how his biological senses of time should have worked and that brought him to thinking of his people. The people who he murdered in a grotesque display of loyalty to a universe that didn't care.

Then he started sobbing. He could hear himself doing it, but he couldn't quite feel it. It was as if he was watching his own body from his eyes, but not quite there. He couldn't quite feel anything. It wasn't as if he couldn't feel the tears streaming down his face, but it was more like he was feeling it second-hand. It was too hot yet too far away to be really him experiencing it.

So he started sobbing, and the tears wouldn't stop flowing down his face. He could hear himself doing it, but he couldn't quite feel it. It was like he was watching his body from his eyes while feeling it by not really experiencing it. It was like the tears were second-hand: too hot yet too far away.

Eventually, he felt the tears stop, and dry on his face.

He felt (in that odd second-hand way) dirty and unclean, but couldn't will the energy to himself to pull himself up and take care of himself. It just seemed like too much effort. And what was wrong with just staying down in the corner anyway? If he never got up again, wouldn't it spare billions of people the danger of his existence?

Finding much more reason to stay down than to arise, he stayed curled up in his corner.

And then he felt a soft hand at his shoulder.

"Doctor? Is that you?" a kind, female, human voice asked. He didn't respond. He wasn't the Doctor anymore, so he wouldn't answer to that "name".

"That is him, Jenny," another female voice answered. That voice wasn't human though. He would be curious and look to see who they were if he was in his normal state (a fa├žade since Manhattan, and perhaps before), but at the moment, he currently hadn't a care for who exactly the TARDIS had picked out to help him.

"He isn't responding," the second voice said. There was something poking at his head. Was that what she was referring to?

"We should get him out of here, Vastra," the first voice, Jenny, decreed.

Suddenly, he felt something lifting his arms up, gently, and his arms being placed around something, lifting him to his feet (unsteady, unsteady).

He wasn't quite aware of what was happening, only that the room he was in was much, much brighter than he had remembered previously. He realized that the TARDIS probably turned the lights on, but only on a subconscious level.

On a conscious level (which seemed to be rather tunnel-minded, at the moment), he was aware that he was led outside the TARDIS, into a warm house, even as the warmth did not truly reach him, and simultaneously felt too hot on his skin. He was also aware that one of the people leading him away was green.

Then he was aware of being placed onto a couch, and then being examined by something brown (a potato?) with a loud voice.

"He is catatonic," the voice said.

"We know that Strax. What we want to know is his current health," the green woman (Vastra?) said.

"He hasn't eaten in many days, perhaps over a week. He is severely dehydrated as well, Madame."

"Madame", he had heard that before. It wasn't a name, he was certain, but a title. The green woman (Madame Vastra?) certainly had the air around her that warranted a title. He couldn't help but feel an odd recognition for the Madame. He knew they had met (for the TARDIS had chosen them), but he couldn't place them in his mind. He couldn't find the energy to care, though.

"Do we have any intravenous drips?" the Madame asked.

"No, but with mild difficulty, we might be able to procure them in this era," Strax answered.

"Let's try to get him to drink something," the Madame decided.

So then he was picked up and led to a table and sat down in a chair and a glass of water was placed before him. "Can you try to drink this?" the Madame asked kindly.

Then he saw a hand (was it his?) pick up the glass and bring it to his dry and thirsty mouth. He took a single sip before putting the glass down.

"Good, very good," she encouraged, "But you need to drink more than that."

So he (was it him?) picked up the glass once more and started drinking it, not stopping until it was all gone and into his body.

Then the glass was taken from him before he could even set it back to the table, and something sat down next to him.

"Jenny's preparing some food for you. Will you eat it?"

He didn't turn to look at her, even as he was starting to get a semblance of who it was (words like "ally" and "friend" and "demon" kept coming to his mind).

Then a gentle (but firm) hand turned him against his will (which he couldn't exert) towards the woman he had been identifying as "the Madame".

"Doctor?" she asked. "Will you eat?"

He didn't answer, and she sighed. Then Strax, who had watched the whole spectacle, said, "It seems to be a combination of stupor, autonomic responses, and perhaps withdrawal."

Then, "I recommend introducing him to the field of battle, where he will regain his sensib-"

"Strax, I fear that is not a commendable course of action. What if he doesn't and ends up getting killed?" the Madame argued.

"Then the problem will be solved," Strax claimed.

"How would the problem be solved?" asked the Madame in disbelief.

"He will no longer be catatonic, but dead," Strax reasoned.

"That is not a desirable result, Strax," she scolded. "He is our friend. We don't want to kill him."

Strax merely shrugged, and watched as Jenny brought out a plate of food. "He should eat all of it slowly," Strax advised.

"Thank you, Strax," the Madame admonished, "Go and check on the horses. Have you fed them recently?"

Strax froze for a second, and then started walking out of the room. The Madame them turned and said to Jenny, "I need to review the cases. Would you get him to eat?"

"Of course," she answered dutifully. Then the Madame left and he was left facing Jenny. She was looking at him, and pointed at the plate.

"Doctor," she attempted, "Try to eat your food now."

While he was disconnected to the name "Doctor", he knew saw his hand (once again moving without his permission) pick up a fork and start poking at some unidentifiable food.

"That's good, eat it all," Jenny murmured in approval.

And he continued to eat, without his consent. Then, before he was aware, he had finished and put down the fork.

Then the plate was taken and he was left focusing on the part of the table where it had been. Then he heard, "Stand up," from her. And his body stood (while his mind was screaming at him to stay down) and then he was told to turn around and he did that too.

Jenny then told him to follow her, and she led him to a room with exotic plants and told him to sit at a chair. So he sat and looked forward.

"What should we do with him?" Jenny asked.

"We should make sure he stays healthy until he's able to take care of himself."

For some reason, he didn't like the sound of that. Was there something wrong with it? He couldn't tell.

He was eating with them, on the third day after they had found him. It was late in the day, the sun was setting, and he still couldn't control his body consciously. It was unbelievably frustrating. One of them, normally Strax (a disgraced Sontaran nurse, if he remembered correctly), was always with him. He was starting to remember who the people were. The lizard was Silurian, whom he had met regenerations ago. The human was the Silurian's girlfriend, Jenny. They were in Victorian London. While the details were still fuzzy, he drew a comfort in knowing that he where he was.

They had set food in front of him and told him to eat it, while they themselves also ate. They had done that for almost every meal since he arrived, watching him, and scanning him often to see if he was lacking in any nutrients, in anything that would cause the reaction he seemed to be having.

He bit his tongue. It wasn't a hard bite, just a bite. Enough that if he was in his normal state he would curse.

Then everything became clear. He remembered exactly who the Madame and Jenny and Strax were, could concentrate on the case they were discussing, and then it was gone. It was like his system had been rebooted only to shut down again. For a moment, everything worked (colors brighter, sound on point, time sense restored), but then, nothing did.

He would have told them what happened, had he the ability.

The next day, he was with the Madame, walking around outside. They were probably hoping something would trigger him out of his apparent catatonia. It was in the mid morning, when there was still dew on the grass but and a slight chill, but after the sun was well up. The sun, however, was hard to see this day. It was raining, off and on, but they had shoved him in a thicker coat and they took an umbrella and went outside anyway.

"Hold this," the Madame said, giving him a scanner. He held onto it, keeping his hand up as he kept the pace of their walking. After around a minute of walking, the scanner beeped and the Madame gently took it from his hands.

"Clear for all forms of cerebral infection," she read aloud. He did nothing but lower his hand and keep walking. They turned back and it stopped raining, and they were almost inside, walking across the cobble street when suddenly the Madame tripped.

Instinctively, she grabbed onto the nearest thing: his arm.

Her claws accidentally dug into his flesh, which would normally make him flinch. She fell anyway.

Then, in a sudden moment of clarity (it was exactly 9:16 am and there was a single bird squawking and a squirrel running up a tree and the Madame on the ground which was an anomaly), he grabbed her arm and helped pull her up.

As she stood, she regarded him, staring at him for several seconds. "Doctor?" she tried. However, by the time she said that, his clarity was gone and the world was dull and second-hand again.

She rushed him inside, slamming the door behind her, and calling for Strax.

They examined him once again, and then Strax ended the examination with, "He's not catatonic."

"Not a coma, not catatonia," the Madame muttered. "What else is there?"

Strax was silent for a moment.

"His toxin screening was negative. He is the picture of health," Strax then said.

"So he's not taking drugs," the Madame dismissed. "Not that he would."

"That only leaves disassociation. However, that's a symptom of several psychiatric illnesses," Strax said.

"He's not a madman, Strax," the Madame denied, looking out of a window to a world refreshed from rain and spinning.

"The evidence is on the contrary."

He was alone this time, a rarity that usually only occurred at night. They had left him in the sitting room while dealing with a client, near the fire. It was quite calm, and the feeling in his head that was resounding was quiet, and he almost felt alright.

The log in the fire fell down and the logs beneath it gave out, sending white ash and embers into the air. A larger one ended up getting past the fireplace's boundary, and a draft sent it onto his hand. It burned, but not enough to truly hurt him. Then the clarity was back and he moved his hand, slightly, and the ember was choked. The clarity was gone.

Jenny came in a few minutes later.

"How have you been?" she asked politely, not expecting an answer. She didn't notice his hand was in a different position.

Two nights later was as normal as all of the other nights at this time. Right after they ate, before they all settled down in the sitting room enjoying conversation and books, they took him to the Madame's office and started questioning him. They sat down and forced him to look at odd objects and asked him if he could tell them what they were, or simply gave him a piece of paper and asked him what happened before they found him in that room on the TARDIS.

Two loud shots sounded from out of the house, but still close. Unable to move, he could feel the dim awareness that he should be reacting. Perhaps his survival instincts were stronger than whatever the hell was wrong with him, because the urge to run (always, always the urge to run) was gaining ground in his mind. He wasn't sure whether he was supposed to listen or not, until he heard, "Blood pressure and heartbeats rising."

It was a test; one he needed to pass. He was burdening them, taking their attention away from people and things that actually needed it, and if he could just control his own body they would be free. He was already reacting, but not enough to escape and never be seen again. He needed to harness that desire, that instinct to run, and use it to run from them.

He started trembling, as he tried to force his body to move with his mind. Whatever his willpower was, it wasn't enough. He needed to get away from them and end it all. Perhaps he could take the gun that Strax was probably shooting and turn it on himself and he would never bother anyone again. No, no, that would do no good. Suicide wasn't an option, that thought wasn't helping him gain control in any way. Perhaps he could just injure himself with it. He could shoot that annoying nerve cluster. It was mainly nerves and tough skin so he wouldn't die from it, and he would only bleed out a little while his nerves were forced to send his brain messages directly to the pain center and-

Then he stopped trembling, and his eyes refocused. It was exactly 8:17 pm, the Madame had a bandage on her hand, and there was a burned patch on the desk. Jenny was holding a medical scanner up at him, tapping the screen occasionally. He made eye contact with the Madame. The clarity was back.

"Doctor?" he heard Jenny ask, as she glanced up at him.

He forced himself to look at her. Her eyes reflected something in them, but he couldn't tell what it was.

"Can you understand us?" she asked. Hesitantly, he nodded.

The Madame turned on a device she held on her wrist, and he turned his head towards her sharply as she said into it, "Strax, you were right. He's alert now."

"Right about what?" he asked, his voice quiet.

"How to force you into lucidity. Introducing you to the field of battle worked," she murmured, while she peered over at Jenny's scanner.

They brought him into the drawing-room, with a quiet excitement that he couldn't tell what consisted of. Perhaps it was eagerness, perhaps deniability; in any case, something he needed to escape from lest he wanted to hurt them somehow. He would, he knew, hurt them eventually. He always did. His curse was definite and he could do nothing about it. He was too cowardly to just take off. He had to say goodbye somehow. So as they all just stared at him, not saying anything, he felt a sense of guilt pool into his gut.

"Do you remember anything from this past week?" the Madame asked slowly. He nodded, wringing his hands and resting his elbows on his knees.

"What's the first thing you remember?" she asked, as her telepathic field slowly reached his and she requested entry.

"You found me in the TARDIS," he said, his voice still quiet as he rejected her mind. He looked at her face, but there was no change in emotion. That disturbed him slightly. If she was offended and she didn't tell him, his leaving would be wrong, because he would owe her the debt of emotional suffering.

"Yes, we did," she agreed. "Then what?"

"You brought me out, and fed me."

"Cognitive and spatio-temporal abilities intact," Strax said, pouring over the scanner that Jenny was holding earlier.

"What about right now?" she asked. "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine," he said, knowing they wouldn't appreciate the answer but he didn't care. The Madame said nothing in response, merely biting her lip and sharing a glance with Jenny. Seeing a chance to ask his own questions, Strax jumped in and asked, "Why were you unable to communicate?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. "I remember you saying there was nothing physically wrong with me."

"So you're mad, then?" Jenny guessed.

"Always have been," he excused, breaking eye contact and looking around the room.

"ADHD doesn't count," the Madame tutted.

"Not what I have," he countered.

"What did you experience while disassociated," Strax asked, ignoring the other two.

He was silent. He didn't know how to describe it. There really was no clear difference between how he was now and how he was an hour ago. "My mind and body weren't cooperating," he attempted to explain.

"You were trying to communicate?" the Madame asked.

"Sometimes," he shrugged. "I was mainly focused on not doing you asked."

"What do you mean?" she asked, confused. He internally cursed. That was most definitely not what he mean to say.

"Whenever you told me to do something, I couldn't ignore you," he tried to explain, bending his fingers. How could he explain it? There were no words to describe the quiet desperation that had enveloped him while he was unable to control anything he did.

"When did you go into that corner on the TARDIS?" Strax asked, ever professionally.

"I don't know," he said redundantly. "A while before you found me?"

"Before or after you landed?" Jenny asked, but with a tone that suggested she thought she knew the answer.

"During the flight," he said. "A few minutes after she initiated the emergency protocol."

They all stayed silent, and all three of them shared a glance.

"What's wrong?" he asked, his voice clear and not revealing of any emotions.

"Well," the Madame said sheepishly, her eyes drifting towards the floor. "We weren't sure why the TARDIS landed here," she said, glancing at the sentient machine that was in the corner. "We didn't think to go in and look for you until three days later."

"Ah, really?" he asked. "That part was a bit of a blur, really. Hardly even noticed."

The three released a collective tenseness of their postures, to his bemusement. What would they be afraid of from him? Was he threatening in some way? What had he done wrong?

"I apologize for the last week or so," he said after a pause, looking down at the ground. "Thank you."

The Madame looked at him with curiosity. He hoped that she would ask no further questions, because he was at his mental end; the edges of his vision just didn't seem clear anymore. He just couldn't answer any more questions. However, even with his unwillingness to answer their questions about his health and past and words, he wasn't prepared for the next thing she said.

"You can't be thinking of leaving now," the Madame stated, as if it was one of the most ridiculous things she had been told.

"I've been imposing on you three enough," he shrugged, standing from the chair they had put him in and taking a step toward the TARDIS.

"That is inadvisable," Strax said. "You were unable to respond to normal stimuli for over 192 hours at least. You may regress again."

"You three weren't the only ones to figure out how to get me out of it. I'll be fine," he excused, taking another step forward. Strax quickly arose and stood in front of the TARDIS.

"You can't keep me here," he said, not even alarmed.

"You're sick. We can't let you leave," Jenny pointed out, standing and walking toward the TARDIS, not turning her back.

"One can never be too sure about one's own health," the Madame said, tilting her head, and somehow sneaking up on him and putting her hand on his shoulder. "Just allow us to watch you for a day or so. If you don't regress, you can leave."

He bit his lip. His escape routes were cut off completely and he was surrounded by people who knew him well enough to not be afraid to hurt him for his own good.

"Twenty-four hours," he scowled, fidgeting.

He was sitting with his back to the window, the moonlight passing through the window gently through the dreary and storming London night. Jenny had been kind enough to lay out night-clothes for him, but he never slept. Sleeping was something he never did. He instead pondered what had all happened.

Why was he unable to control his body? He knew why he had slipped into that corner-


His mind drew an immediate blank and his head shot up from the position he was in. There was no one else in the room with him, and the voice he had heard sounded suspiciously familiar. It wasn't his own, it wasn't one of his own, but it had that feeling to it that told him that he knew the owner of that sound.

What astounded him even more was the fact that the voice had said what he was afraid to think of, even though he knew it to be true. "I really have gone mad," he muttered. He was psychotic. If the Paternoster Gang found out, he could only imagine the disappointment and burden they would have because of him. They didn't deserve that.

So he brushed the thought off morbidly and tried to refocus his thoughts. He had been in control, connected to his own body before today, he knew he had. The clarity was perfect and right and he could make his own choices, but it didn't last long enough. He knew what had made him connect, because that's what made him connect that last time: that promise he had to himself. He had to get what he deserved somehow, right? Every other time he reconnected, he had been in some sort of pain. Perhaps that meant the pain was right. After all, if he disconnected, then they would let him leave and they would be happy because they wouldn't have to take care of him.

Then he disconnected.

It was like a computer virus, his body. He just shut off without warning, without regard for whatever else was happening around him. On top of that, his shutting off could cost a lot of people many things. He had to fix that, because he was a hero, right? Even if he did bad things, it saved others the burden.

So when he realized he was already past the threshold of the door, his firmness of belief overtook the noncooperation of his body. It was like he was playing a video game: watching the screen, controlling the character, but not feeling the movement. He took a first-aid kit from his pocket, and opened it slowly, taking out a pad of gauze as he sat at the kitchen table. Then he took out the medical scissors and opened them wide, before pushing his sleeve up.

He knew that this was wrong, the intentional harming of himself, but it would help the others; and he would be keeping the promise he made to himself. So as he put pressure on the scissor blade, he muttered to himself.

"No more meddling. No more."

This is Spirit of Gray, and I apologize for character OOC-ness in this series, but I feel that if the Doctor was sick, the characters would act more serious, and there would be less comic-relief from Strax. So Strax is a bit edited out in this.

The Sunlight Worlds I mentioned are canon. Look up "The Dalek Generation", and the last line is a direct quote from it.

This is a prequel for "Then Do Not Think".


The title is from "Cogito ergo sum" in Latin.