SHADES OF GRAY

A Doctor WHO story

by

TC

-------

All the usual disclaimers apply here. I don't own 'em and will put them back
neatly when I am done with them- no copyright infringement is intended and I'm
not making a dime from this.

---

This one is one that I wrote a LONG time ago - in fact it's one of the very
first stories I ever wrote, and I wrote it for a fanfiction publication during
my first college years.

I have modified it slightly, but the basic story hasn't changed much at all.
It's really not one of my best works, but it is STILL a favorite.

---

I was and am still very much a fan of the 5th and 7th Doctors (cheers to Peter
Davison and Sylvester McCoy, both terrific people and actors!); a fan of the
character Ace (Sophie Aldred was also a class act!), and a fan of Anthony
Ainley's Master ( I never really saw much of the performances of the original
actor who portrayed the character of the Master (Roger Delgado), so, I can't
judge his performance in any way.)

I'm dedicating this to these fine folks listed above, as well as all the diehard
Doctor WHO fans here in the States and all over the world...

---

The story takes place right after Survival, the very last normally produced
Doctor WHO episode broadcast on the BBC, that was played on PBS in the
States up until about 1996 in Houston, TX. As far as I know it was either
one of two or the very last stations ANYWHERE in the States that was
broadcasting the show on a regular, weekly basis.

-------

Heat consumed all that I was. All I could feel was rage and blood lust. I was
fighting for my life with my best enemy, and the animal part of me that I had
tried to deny for so long was taking over. We struggled together, almost as if
we were wrestling together like we had as children.

My hands encircled his throat for a blissful moment before he broke my grip and
raised a heavy rock high over his head. He paused for a moment before bringing
the rock crashing down to end my misery. He was pleading with me about
something that I couldn't understand in a voice not quite his own, and put the
rock away.

All I could hear were echoes of his voice in my head, coupled with the roaring
of the animal in my mind. "If we fight like animals, we'll die like animals!"
From somewhere far away I heard the animal in my mind answering the echo: "It's
too late for that, Doctor --I don't choose to live life as an animal..."

My hands closed around a hard object, and inside I wept as the animal inside
made me raise it high to kill my opponent. As I brought the bludgeon down, he
leapt and disappeared. With the last sanity left to me, I regained control of
my mind and jumped into space and time myself, just barely escaping the inferno
of the planet and the animal that almost destroyed all that I was.

I woke up, still heated, with someone trying to lower the temperature of my
feverish body`with cool, wet cloth. A low, female voice cautioned me "Stay
still, caro. You have been very ill. Don't try to move."

"Where am I? Who are you?"

"No questions now, caro. Rest, and I will return to feed you and tend to your
other wounds." I tried to sit up, but without success. I was surprised at
how weak I had become. The Master, "Conqueror of Galaxies" indeed -- I couldn't
even conquer the frailties of my own body. The woman gently pushed me back down
to rest on the bed, and I fell headlong into the void of exhaustion.

I drifted for days, delirious with pain and fever. I ate whatever was given to
me, begged for and drank a lot of water, and slept more often then I was awake.
Cool hands soothed me when the pain was too much to bear. The fever mastered me
for the longest time.

After the illness ran its course, I woke, feeling very weak and master of
nothing. The room was moonlit, but dark, and I couldn't discern more than a few
shapes in the gloom. I made the mistake of moving a little too much and too
quickly, and my whisper of pain brought smooth, quick footsteps to the bed.

"Are you awake now, caro?" The woman came to the bed and touched my forehead.
"You probably are still a little tired and weak. Do not worry, the weakness
will pass. Can you tell me who you are?"

My voice cracked like I hadn't spoken for three hundred years. "I'm a ... Time
Lord from the planet Gallifrey. I'm usually called the Master. Funny, I don't
feel like Master of much of anything right now..."

The young woman began to walk around the room, lighting candles in stands
situated across the room. "Time Lords. We have heard of a few of that race
before, and you are one of the first that our people have had the privilege of
meeting. I am Devinne apTeran, thane and laird of Clan Teranthe."

" I'm sorry, what was the meaning of the name you called me while I was ill?
Caro, I think it was... If it has a good meaning, please call me by that
name.""Why do you wish to be called Caro? It means "stranger."

"That is exactly why I wish to be called "Caro" -- because I wish to become a
stranger to all I once was. While I was the Master, I did many evil things,
committed many crimes and was universally hated. As Caro, I have a chance to
start again, and perhaps do better with the second opportunity. Please, my lady,
allow me to become Caro." I appealed to her, hoping she would allow this. I
could remember all that I had done in the past clearly, and was sickened by the
memories. I truly wanted the opportunity to begin again.

"Although this goes against all Clan precedent, I will allow you to do this. I
will also allow you to be adopted into Clan Teranthe, but you must choose a full
first name, and a use name. Under Clan custom, this must be done." She smiled
apologetically.

Racking my brain for a long moment, my hearts leapt as I remembered a good name
from long in my past. "I wish to be known as Caroneth for my first name, and
"Bran" for my use name. Bran means 'raven' in an old language known as Welsh on
a planet I used to visit known as Earth."

"If it is not impolite to ask... why did you choose the name Caroneth? It is
not a usual name..."

Devinne looked perplexed and surprised as she looked down upon me.

"Caroneth is the true name of my mentor in the ... in my school of Gallifreyan
education. He was one of the few individuals that I had any respect for in my
old life. It is also the true name of my "best enemy" from my old life. In his
case, it means "balance of good. I am beginning again, and wish to begin on the
side of good this time."

"Then, with the approval of the Clan, Caroneth apTeran will be your true name,
and Bran will be your use name. I will take your request to the Clan elders,
and the Clan will vote on your request. I believe you will become one of us."

She lit a pair of candles in sconces on either side of a door directly in front
of my bed, and I received my first glimpse of my rescuer. Devinne had pale
skin, tinged with rose, flowing and curly dark copper-red hair, and dark amber-
gold eyes. She wore a copper and blue-embroidered gold tabard, full-sleeved
medium blue tunic, and full dark blue trousers tucked into blue-black leather
boots. Her only concession to her rank was a moderately-sized gold and copper
brooch pin that buttoned the neck of her tunic. It was emblazoned with a clan
shield device, and edged in alternate Celtic spirals and knots of gold and
copper.

I was pleasantly surprised at her appearance. Helpless as I was, I couldn't
help reacting to the sight of her, and I was very glad that there were very
thick blankets over my body. I couldn't help thinking that I was going to enjoy
being sick if SHE was going to take care of me.

"I will return within a sectore to check on your condition and to inform you of
the Clan's decision." she said with a gentle smile as she prepared to leave.
"You need to eat even if you are not hungry, so there is soup, bread, cheese,
fruit and tea on a tray next to you on the dais. I expect to see all of the
food missing from the tray when I return." She smiled at me, then turned
quickly and walked out the door.

I sat there for a long moment, aching in more ways than one, and waited for the
sensations to pass. When I was a little more comfortable, I slowly turned to
the food. In a intricately patterned crockery bowl was a wonderful-smelling
meat and vegetable soup. On a large plate of the same design was a couple of
pieces of strange looking firm purple roundish fruit, two thick slices of
brownish, grainy bread, and a large chunk of light, pleasantly-fragrant yellow
cheese. Between the two dishes was a large mug of dark brown tea, and a little
pot of honey. The scents were just too much to resist, and I ate heartily. I
thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

Just as I was finishing the last crumbs, Devinne returned with a tall, handsome
young man, dressed similarly in a dark red tunic and trousers trimmed in gold
rope. .

"This is Rory, Herald of the Clan Elders. He has come with me to inform you of
the council's decision."

"Hello, Time Lord. We of the council know who you are, and of your reputation.
We debated at length and intensively about allowing you to remain here. We have
decided to allow you to remain, but on condition."

He paused and rubbed the back of his neck.
"If ever you show signs of returning to your old and evil ways, we will kill you
outright." He glared at me a moment, as if he'd be pleased to carry out the
sentence with his own hands, after stating this. "Should your Gallifreyan people
come to collect you, we will not prevent them from doing so. With these
conditions, we will accept you. Do you still wish to be one of us?"

I remembered how when I was fighting the Doctor for my survival, I had become
tired. All I really wanted now was to escape and create a new life and identity
for myself. With a pang of nostalgia for the old days,I then wearily put it all
behind me. I sighed and replied, "Yes. I wish to become one of you."

"Then," Devinne beamed at me, "Welcome to Clan Teranthe, Clansman Bran! Glad we
are to have you as one of us!" She hugged me, and stepped back to allow Rory to
greet me as a fellow clansman.

He had frowned again when Devinne hugged me, but his hug of greeting was
sincere. " I bid you welcome to our ranks, Clansman. May you always have the
LuckDragon smiling upon your shoulder." We clasped arms in a gesture similar to
the Earth Roman salute of men, and they left me for a moment.

Submerging myself in another identity might give me the opportunity to right
some of the grievous wrongs I had committed. The Master would not sink so low
as to do anything less than conquer the worlds; Caroneth apTeran only wanted a
home, a family, and a simple life. Ah, but then, Caroneth apTeran was not
insane. The food I had eaten earlier had settled in, and I felt much stronger
than I had upon waking. I saw a mirror over a basin on the left wall on my
room. I slowly stepped out of my bed, and carefully made my way to a mirror.
The face in the mirror was not the one I usually regenerated to.

This was a young face, pleasant enough in appearance, but not very unusual. I
looked like a combination of younger versions of the Doctor's fifth and seventh
regenerations. I had dark brown-blond wavy hair, large, dark emerald green
eyes, and the beginnings of the stubble of a young beard and mustache. I was a
little taller in this regeneration, but not as heavily muscled. I was really
pleased with this regeneration.

"What are you doing out of bed, Bran? You really should not be up yet."
Devinne took my arm and began to lead me back to the bed.

"It's okay. I wanted to see what I looked like. I like the new appearance." I
smiled down at her as we made it back to the bed. "I promise, I won't leave the
bed again until you say it's all right to do so."

"You'd better not," she said. "Now, I have something to discuss with you."

She settled me in bed, but with bolsters so that I could sit up if I chose.
After settling me back in bed, she pulled a small folding bench from behind a
curtain and sat down. "Rory and I will introduce you to the Assembled Clans at
the next Festival. Festival is about one fortnight from now. I will do my best
to have you healed by that time."

I caught her wrist as she began to move away from the bed. "Devinne, thank you
for what you've done for me. I will not forget."

She hesitated before pulling away, and blushed a becoming color of rose pink
before she finally spoke. "I did nothing more than any other healer would have
done for you. There is no need to thank me." She stepped quickly away from me
and out of the room.

---

Over the next fortnight I recovered my strength, and was allowed to choose my
home, a few weapons, and some clothing, mostly black and dark brown, but
including some in bright bold shades, like emerald and my Clan colors, blue and
gold. Rory had been hostile to me at first, but he slowly warmed and became an
acquaintance, especially after I moved out of Devinne's house. I gathered that
he thought as much of Devinne as I did and had resented my presence with his
chosen lady. We had a friendly competition for her affections in progress,
already.

Festival began, and all of the Clans assembled in our capital city of Wellingdon
for the Annual Assembly. Clan Teranthe was ruler of Toria in this generation,
and would be until the quarter-century, when Clan Arkhane would become ruling
Clan. It was the first Assembly of the Clans since the Rulership of Clan
Tiernan in the last quarter-century, and the Clans were anxious to meet the
newest ruling Clan leader. Devinne introduced me to the Assembly; there were
some objections, especially from Clan Sarendon and Clan Tiernan, but my adoption
to Clan Teranthe stood.

The Assembly was almost over when a visitor came to the planet in a blue,
police-box shaped TARDIS.

The visitor stepped out of the TARDIS with a companion. I knew them both. Both
had excellent cause to hate me and wish me destroyed. But, they didn't
recognize me as I now was. That might be an advantage.

I knelt to catch the attention of Devinne. "My lady Devinne, I announce the
arrival of the Gallifreyan President and Time Lord known as the Doctor, and his
companion Dorothee'. May I be granted a private audience with them before they
speak to you?"

"Yes, you may speak with them first, Bran." She whispered quickly. " Intercept
them before the Assembly sees them!"

After thanking Devinne, I quickly sprinted to where the Doctor and Ace were
having a little argument.

"But, Professor..."

"Ace, this is a Carnival on a very peaceful planet. You don't need to worry
here about any danger. I promise, you have nothing to worry about."

"Okay, Professor, I'll put the nitro-nine back in the TARDIS." Ace turned on
her heel and walked back into the TARDIS."

I decided now was a good time to get his attention. "Doctor." He turned, and
then looked a little surprised as he got a good look at me. "May I talk to you
for a moment?"

"Of course you can. Do I know you? You seem awfully familiar..."

"Let's take this somewhere quiet. What I need to say is very important." I
took him to my home, and pulled up a chair for him. "Yes, Doctor, you know me
very well. The last time we saw each other was on the Planet of the Cheetah
People." I waited for his reaction.

After the look of shock cleared away from his face, all that was left was anger.
"You! What do YOU want?"

"Only to talk to you. I want to inform you of something, and ..." He started to
break in, angrily, but I stopped him first. "Please, Doctor, don't interrupt.
Hear me out." I pulled a chair for myself and sat down. "As you see, I have
regenerated again. If I had meant you harm, I would have trapped you, and not
have told you who I was until it was too late. I didn't."

He looked surprised, then relaxed when he realized that I was telling the truth.

"I've ... healed, Doctor. When we fought for our survival on the planet, and I
almost died, I won a battle for my sanity. When I escaped, I landed here. I'd
been ill for many weeks, and when I recovered, I realized that I was tired.
Tired of fighting, and tired of revenge. If you wish to see that I am watched
as I live here by Gallifrey, then go ahead. I am exiling myself here, in a
place without advanced technology. I pledge you on the strength of the bond
between us that I WILL NOT LEAVE this planet for any hostile reason."

" Why should I believe you now? You've broken your word times beyond counting,
tried to kill me many times and lied, cheated, robbed, killed and stole! Give
me a good reason!"

"Doctor, I can't. All I can give you is the pledge. It's the best I can give
you. I have nothing else."

He sat there for a long time. When he spoke, I began to feel hopeful. "What are
you calling yourself here? Obviously, they accept you."

"I'm calling myself Caroneth apTeran. My use-name is Bran. They know who I am,
and if Gallifrey wants me back, they will release me to them if they come for
me. I pledged that I would not fight the decision."

He looked thoughtful, then smiled at me.

"Well, Caroneth... Bran. I think that we can arrange for you to stay here in
safety. Would you mind ... if I were to visit you?"

"As long as if when you bring young Ace, you make sure she isn't carrying any
nitro-nine with her. And, you tell her who I really am after Dematerialization.
She has a justified grudge against me."

"All right, you have a promise. I will keep mine if you keep yours." He smiled
again, tipping his hat, and then we each laughed as we walked out together.

Ace came running to us. "Professor, where did you disappear to? I was looking
all over for you..."

"It's okay, Ace. I was visiting with a best...friend. Ace, meet ...Caroneth
apTeran. Call him ...Bran."

"Hullo, Bran, it's nice to meet you. Will you take us around the
Carnival?"

"Ace, I'll be glad to. First, though, I need for you to meet the lady Devinne.
She is Thane of Clan Teranthe, and she's a friend. Care to meet her?"

"Yes." Ace spotted the swimming pond. " Professor, can I take a swim?" At his
nod, she grinned, "Ace!"

She ran off to join the other young ones playing in the water, and the Doctor
and I walked on to the Assembly. I stopped him for a moment before we went
inside.

"Doctor, once I heard an Earth person say that life never consisted of black and
white, only varying shades of gray. If I can prove to you and to Gallifrey that
I've changed, then maybe I will have proved that person correct. Thank you for
the second chance you've given me."

"Bran, if you truly have changed, then it really will have been worth it. Just
... don't make a liar of me on this, agreed? If you do, I'll do whatever I must
to see that you are a threat to no one, ever again..."

"Agreed." I ushered the Doctor into the assembly, and after the formalities
were over, we began to celebrate life - new and old, and ever changing.