Disclaimer: Don't own, all hail the BBC and RTD… However, in service of my craft and my passion for the Whoniverse, I'm gonna take 'em for a spin.
A/N: Missing scene for Midnight. What happened between the rescue and the arrival at the leisure palace? Thanks to SilverWolf7, for helping to put a finger on exactly why this episode made my skin crawl with her own work, "Help!" (Which I recommend highly, it's not crackfic and it looks through a wider lens. Actually, I recommend all of her Whovian works. Oh, just go find 'em.) Shame on writers for traumatising characters and leaving the effects unresolved. Um…yeah- SPOILERS.
"It's gone. It's gone, it's gone, it's gone, it's gone, it's gone…"
Numb, he's numb, and afraid to speak. After he'd been released, when the hostess had forced Skye out of the airlock, those words had spilled out of him in relief. When he'd asked after the woman's name, the hostess who had likely saved all of them, he'd almost choked. Silence, pure unadulterated silence fills the cabin of the rescue vessel, and he's grateful. He can't stand the idea of any of their voices, and when he thinks of speaking, it is with terror. That voice, copying him, sync-ing with him, stealing him…it overwhelms him, even now.
The rest of the passengers kept their distance from him, when they'd left the shuttle. Dee Dee was huddled in a corner, away from the Professor, and Jethro had retreated from his parents. At least they weren't trying to cover up their shame the way the older passengers did, pretending that nothing had happened. He had retreated to a row of seats near the loo, where it wasn't as bright, and he could be alone. Alone…now that was a thought that held appeal. When the Canes and the Professor had passed him, they'd glanced at him, and seeing his expression, had looked away quickly. They were afraid of him, of what he might tell the authorities when they returned. Let them bear the guilt of their complicity in the deaths of Skye and the Hostess and his near-murder, on their own. There would be no absolution from him. He was glad that he didn't carry weapons, because the things he was tempted to do in retribution…well, best not to think on what he was tempted to do. He took a deep breath, curling his arms round his knees, and leaned back. Thoughts were all he had left and even those were like quicksand.
He'd been paralysed. Hearing all of them turn into a mob capable of throwing him out into the killing galvanic radiation of the planet's surface. He'd been unable to stop parroting her words as she goaded them on. He'd known that every syllable was whipping them into a bloodlust that meant the end of him. With the tendrils of that ravenous intelligence invading every part of his mind, he'd trembled; there was nothing but malice, and hunger in it. He'd been probed and prodded, and turned into a puppet, for reasons he didn't understand. He could have helped it, and he would have helped it, if it hadn't been intent on simply devouring him, he could have helped it to communicate… he shook his head, dismissing the thought. If…if only he hadn't been the cleverest mind in the room. If he hadn't been his usual boisterous self, sonic-ing the entertainment systems, talking to all of them, getting into the crew compartment to have a look. If he hadn't been just a little too flash and obvious, and interested in the prospect of a completely new life-form and if he hadn't tried to keep the situation under control when they'd first voiced the idea of throwing her out… If, there was no end of if's for him now.
He should have known better, he should have hidden what he was better, and he shouldn't have gone without Donna in the first place. They shouldn't have come here at all. What had made the TARDIS stop here? Why had he been so stupid? It was new, it was something completely new. He could have helped it, he could have taught it, learned from it, given it a way to express itself. Why wouldn't it let him? Why did it have to take? Why did it have to steal from them, instead of asking for what it wanted? Now it was gone, and no one would ever know what it was, or what it really wanted, or why it had been the cause of so much terror and death! He felt himself starting to shake again, hastily entered the lavatory, and regurgitated his juice pack and peanuts.
Sliding down the wall to the floor, he felt all of the little aches and bruises. They were dragging him towards the door, and his foot had caught the base of one of the seats. He rotates his ankle, wincing, and reaches to tie the laces on his trainers. The one that had caught was broken, and the sight of the two ends in his fingers, left him undone. The tears were scalding and silent and burned rather than cleansed. He heard the driver's voice reverberate through the intercom, announcing that they would arrive at the leisure palace in 30 minutes. Leaning his head back, feeling the cold of the smooth metal through his suit, he closes his eyes.
It was cold, that unnamed intelligence that had swept everything he was away, like a tidal wave on a beach. It was as cold, as the surface of Midnight was hot with Xtonic radiation. It had frozen him in an icy black hell, with no way out. HOW could they not have seen that he was being stolen, that he was being violated as surely as Skye had been? He remembers their hands, pulling him up, pulling him towards the door, their voices, jubilant with the prospect of ending their own nightmare with his death. What if the hostess hadn't twigged to it? He isn't quite sure what tipped her off. He could hear, but mostly what he'd heard had been his own voice, manipulated by that brutal, sinuous intelligence in Skye's voice.
The fear won't leave him, and he wonders if he'll ever speak again without feeling like this. How we think, what we think- determines who we are, and we think in language. It can be words, concepts, images, sounds; every species has a language. All of his quirks and behaviours are the product of the thoughts and experience and knowledge stored in his consciousness. What he thinks and who he is stem from all that he has learned. He can choose to change those things, but it's all in his head. His voice is the purest articulation of his identity and without it -he was nothing.
The intercom speaks again, telling the passengers they'll be arriving in 15 minutes. He pulls himself off the floor of the loo, and looks in the mirror. It's him, but it doesn't feel like it. He's lost something important. His eyes look dead and hollowed like a skull, and he wonders if he's lost the ability to be the Doctor. He's known that human beings carry the duality of light and dark, and sometimes they surprise him with unimaginable courage and grace. Sometimes, they surprise him with their capacity for raw, bloodthirsty cruelty. Why does he always try to save them? The Mayans sacrificed human beings to their gods, was this any different? The random stream of thoughts has become a flood in his consciousness, and he can't focus, or he focuses too much on things that he wishes he could forget. How many enemies has he faced? How many times has death or oblivion come calling for him?
He stumbles out to his seat, and makes his face a mask again. He won't let them have even the smallest thing from him, now.
As they disembark the vessel, he sees Donna, waving at him. He tries to smile, but he can see in the sudden look of horror on her face, that he's failed. He heads toward her, thinking that this time, maybe he won't tell her that he's all right, because this time, he really isn't. He isn't sure if he ever will be.
It's changed him, Midnight has. It's put a shard of that diamond-hard blackness into him.
He reaches Donna, and lets her comfort him, lets her enfold him and knows that if he tells her he's all right, she'll understand completely. Donna understands the secret Time Lord codes now.
"I can't imagine you without a voice…Molto bene…" "…No. Don't do that. Don't…"