The Doctor was not usually one to indulge in heart-to-heart talks, but found they could not be avoided with Jason around. No matter how hard he tried, the Alterran could not get away from the fact that he was emotional by nature. He had never been able to achieve the coolness of his own people, nor could he come close to the total de tachment of the Time Lords. His long association with the Doctor had helped to steady him in many ways, but he still longed for more, feeling like a total failure whenever his volatile temper erupted like a volcano.
"Jason, you can't change who you are inside," the Time Lord told him as they walked along the beach one last time. "And, quite frankly, I don't know why you'd want to. What's wrong with staying the way you are?"
"So I can embarrass myself in my own court every time I lose my temper?"
"No. So you can feel the pain of others and put an end to it, like the Healer you are," the Doctor countered. "Your emotions aren't always negative. You just don't look for the positive ones. You should do. They're a true asset that have you marked for greatness."
The Alterran laughed. "Doctor, I'm trying to be serious."
"So am I," came the startling reply. "I foresee a great leader in you, Jason, but you're the one who's going to have to find him."
"Jason the Great? No, I don't think so." The Prince stopped, turning his gaze to the setting sun. "I can't even rule myself. How am I going to rule a planet? I'm just a rebellious Healer in fancy dress."
The Time Lord laughed. "I thought you were a Healer with a pedigree," he remarked, recalling one of the Alterran's previous descriptions of himself. The Prince gave him a wry smile.
Tapping the young man's temple, the Doctor said, "I suggest that you learn. I'm sure you still have some room left up there. And, I dare say, you're reasonably intelligent. It shouldn't take too long for you to get the hang of it."
Looking his old friend in the eye, Jason exploded, "Do you want the truth? All right, here's the truth. I don't want it! I never did. Oh, I know you used to think I was power mad. A danger to all creation or something, but the very thought—"
"Terrifies you," the Doctor completed, unfazed by the sudden outburst. "More than the Master?" he asked mildly.
Jason paused, only to shake his head. "Well, no, I suppose not. I don't think anything could terrify me more than—" He broke off when he saw a grin spread across the Time Lord's face. "Doctor, that's not fair!"
The Doctor's smile broadened. He turned toward the Palace—and his TARDIS—a chuckle escaping his lips.
"You always could read me better than I could myself, couldn't you?"
"Not always. You did give me a nasty turn when you suddenly bolted behind the TARDIS. I had the distinct impression you weren't coming back."
"Really?" Jason appeared delighted by the news.
The Time Lord gave him a quizzical look. "It pleases you that you nearly frightened the life out of me?"
"No," came the amused reply. "It does seem appropriate compensation, though."
The Doctor was now completely baffled. "Compensation?"
"For forgetting to come back for me the way you promised originally. A month after the Master escaped, I knew you weren't coming back. I thought it was because I'd made such a nuisance of myself just before you left."
"Actually, I guessed. Now I know. It was odd to me that you should leave alone with the promise of simply jumping forward in time, and then reappear a full year later with Leela and K9." With a mischievous grin, Jason added, "And, of course, your scan didn't match up."
The Doctor cleared his throat, clearly embarrassed by this disclosure. He had always thought his friend never suspected a thing. "Yes, well…" he stammered, "there is an explanation for that, you know."
"I'm sure there is, Doctor, and I should dearly love to hear it—someday. Unfortunately…" Jason nodded in the direction of the TARDIS where Tegan and Turlough stood waiting.
Relieved he would not have to elaborate on his previous lapse of memory, the Doctor completed the journey to the TARDIS in silence. Lady Tostine appeared at that moment bearing a message from King Aaron stating that the Doctor would always be welcome in the Royal Court of Tel-Shye. The message was accompanied by a gold seal that impressed the Time Lord's companions more than him, as he already had a similar seal from the Imperial Court in his possession. He suspected the message and seal were merely a thank-you for his not having taken Jason away with him.
After a round of good-byes, the Doctor said, "Alright, you two, in you go!" and Tegan and Turlough suddenly found themselves being hurriedly ushered into the TARDIS.
"Will I ever see you again, Doctor?" Jason inquired just as the Time Lord turned to follow his companions inside.
"Who can say?" the Doctor quipped. "Perhaps I'll pop back in a couple hundred years and see how you two are getting on." A broad smile spread across his face and, in spite of his downcast spirits, Jason found the smile infections, recalling their last parting ending with just such a smile.
"No regrets?" the Doctor asked suddenly.
"No, not this time," the Prince said without hesitation. "Farewell, my friend. I hope we shall meet again." Pausing, he added, "And do try to come back with the same face, Doctor!"
"I'll try," the Time Lord grinned as he closed the door. A minute later, it dematerialized.
Jason and Shadra watched silently as the TARDIS slowly faded out of their lives, taking with it three good friends and leaving behind many memories. The Prince wondered if he truly would see the enigmatic Time Lord again, knowing how unpredictable both he and the TARDIS could be. "Good-bye, Doctor," he whispered as the blue shape disappeared.
After a long pause, Jason drew in a deep breath and sighed heavily, turning to Shadra with a watery smile on his face. This had turned out to be more difficult than he imagined. The first of many difficult decisions, he thought as he gazed at his future bride.
Putting an arm around her fiancé, Shadra whispered, "You could always have the Time Lords hijack the TARDIS for you."
Jason could just imagine the Doctor's reaction to this and laughed out loud. "Maybe I will, someday. When I'm King," he replied, only half-joking. "Jason the Great!"
Shadra giggled and Jason put his arm around her, holding her very close. I won't lose you again, he thought, not ever. Turning, he looked back at the Palace that would one day be his and walked slowly towards it.
Time to begin a new life…
Tegan and Turlough had watched the parting on the viewer, the Doctor disappearing from the screen only to come striding exuberantly into the console room a moment later. "Right! Where shall we go next?" he cried, rubbing his hands together, trying to sound more cheerful than he felt. Looking up, he asked, "Any suggestions?"
"Will they be alright, Doctor?" Tegan had wondered, nodding to the image of Jason and Shadra on the viewer.
"Oh, I shouldn't worry too much," he replied airily. "Shadra will look after him." The Doctor began setting the coordinates for parts unknown. Tegan smiled weakly when he switched off the scanner. "I think I'm going to miss having him around."
"I know I am," Turlough said sulkily from across the room.
The Doctor remained silent, apparently too busy to take any notice of them. He hit the dematerialization switch and the time rotor lit up, rising and falling as the TARDIS took flight. His companions left the console room and he straightened, throwing a glance at the blank view screen. One day it might get easier to say good-bye, he thought. One day. In the future. Time would tell, as it always did.
"Yes, my friend," the Doctor said softly, "until we meet again."
The story that follow this one chronologically is a Doctor Who-From Eroica With Love Crossover "Terror Behind The Iron Curtain." It was written specifically for publication in the Iron and Silk Fanzine published in 2006.
The next entry in my Whoniverse of fan fiction is a four part "epic" The Transmutation of Time and brings old friends and new enemies into the lives of the Doctor and his companions; crossing time streams, overlapping timelines and looking into the future as well as the past.
If you have would like to know when I begin posting a new story, just set up an author alert and you will be emailed as chapters are added. To do this, go to the Alerts section on your main user page, click on Author Alerts at the top and enter Margaret Price or my user ID 827930.
Who Is My Enemy? © 2003 by Margaret Price is an original work written for the enjoyment of Doctor Who fans everywhere. No copyright infringement is intended.
Original series broadcast on the BBC. Format © BBC 1963
Doctor Who and Tardis are trademarks of the BBC.
The story and all other original characters are © Margaret Price