AN: I'm really sorry about the delay, you guys. :( I had this chapter almost entirely written out… and then I lost it, with no backup. Having to write it all out again was a little discouraging. To make up for it, this finale chapter is almost twice as long as all the other chapters!
So who do you think is going to win? Nobody out there in audienceland is pulling for Five, are they? Poor guy. I think he deserves a break…
Once order had been restored and hair had been smoothed back into its proper arrangement, the Fifth Doctor stepped forward.
"If we're going to continue this farce," he said, tugging at his lapels in a rearrangement of his disheveled clothing, "then I propose--" He stopped, and his hand flattened over the blank space on his left lapel. The Doctor looked down, astounded.
"She stole my celery!" He looked behind him to where his hair judge had skipped off. "When did she do that? I didn't feel her do anything!" He looked back down, as though checking if it was really gone, and then looked back behind him. "She stole my celery!"
The other two Doctors waited patiently while the Fifth recovered from the egregious theft. He composed himself, cleared his throat, and tugged once on his lapels again. "Yes. Well. As I was saying. If we're going to continue this farce, then I propose a competition a little more fair to the rest of us." He held up his chin in an air of advance victory. "An athletic competition!"
The Eighth Doctor politely covered his smirk with his hand. The Tenth, on the other hand, eschewed smirking in favor of drolly exaggerated solemnity.
"Really, now!" he said innocently. "And what sort of athleticism did you have in mind?"
"I happen to have here, "Five began importantly, reaching into his pocket. He stopped again, then started digging more ardently. He tried the other one. "Rasillon!" he swore. "She stole my cricket ball!" He looked around again, as though expecting to see the thieving fangirl still lurking about.
"The administration," cut in the voice, "has no opposition to an athletic competition, and can provide the equipment for a cricket game so long as the contestants can explain where the rest of the teammates will come from."
Five looked self-satisfied. "Obviously, 'the administration' has the ability to fetch me out of my own timeline, yes? But I'm wondering: why is it htat I always meet my other regenerations? Couldn't I cross the timeline of my current regeneration just as easily?"
The other two Doctors looked at each other warily. "Not entirely safe, is that?" ventured the Eighth.
"Poppycock," the Fifth Doctor said happily. "Just pluck a full complement from longer than a cricket game's length apart."
"Think that will work?" the Tenth said with some doubt.
"I know it will," Five answered, smiling smugly, "because I can remember playing on a mysterious cricket team with myself about an Earth month ago."
The Tenth shrugged gamely, but the Eight's brow furrowed.
"Then why don't I remember going through all this as you?" he said, frowning. The Tenth Doctor patted him consolingly on the back.
"Wibbly wobbly, timey--"
"That doesn't explain anything, you know."
"Don't question the plot holes," was Ten's only reply. "It'll just make this all take longer."
"Very well," said the voice. "The third and final stage of the competition shall be... a cricket game for the title!" There was a great flash of white light. When the light faded again, the Doctors found themselves on a great, grassy cricket field. It was silent and empty, with only one spectator box, holding three spectators: the judges, all holding TARDIS-blue pompoms. Fangirl A looked enthused out of her mind, while B and C were busy making eyes at the Eighth and Tenth Doctors--all of them. For not only were the three original contestants standing in the sunlight (two identifiable by their slightly rumpled state, and the third by his expression of satisfaction) but several copies of each were gathered according to their regenerations.
"Will all Doctors please enter the dressing rooms--um, one at a time--and don their equipment for the next stage of the competition," instructed the Voice. The small crowd of Fifth Doctors didn't need to be told twice. Apparently the prospect of a game was reason enough to accept the odd circumstances for the time being. The "original" Five delivered a minimal explanation as they all made their way to the dressing rooms.
The other two teams were having a bit more difficulty. The now-captain of the Eights managed to explain the situation roughly to his other selves, but once the explanation was delivered, they all seemed content to stand about admiring the weather, and each other, and the cricket field, and the set-up as a whole. The Tens, on the other hand, hadn't even gotten around to the explanation by the time the Fives were returning to the field in matching cricket gear. Rather, they were absorbed in figuring out how who related to who chronologically, and comparing moles. The moles were, of course, all exactly alike, which prompted more than one utterance of "Brilliant!"
Team Five assumed a directive role, ushering the other two over to their respective piles of equipment and prompting their preparations along with as much sternnness as could be mustered in the face of this cheerful (to the Fifth's mind) turn of events. Once all the philistines were reprimanded, coats and jackets shed, and pads strapped on, and places taken, the game got underway.
The three fangirls on the sidelines cheered--or, in the case of Fangirl A, produced an enormous foam finger from some unknown place and immediately started screaming blue murder. Her eyes bugged with the effort of the noise she was making, and her tonsils were clearly visible from halfway across the cricket field. The impressive sound surprised the other two fangirls into silence at first, so that for a few minutes the dominant sound ringing across the large field was her storm-siren call. Some of the Doctors found this a bit unnerving, but nothing could faze the Fifth Doctors in the pursuit of their favorite sport.
"Three balls to come!" advised the umpire and moved out of the path of the bowler. The batting Five relaxed his body, and gave alert concentration to the onslaught of the ball. It came hurtling in, on a good line and length, and the Doctor met it firmly in the middle of the bad in a classic forward defensive stroke.
Fangirls B and C cheered good-naturedly despite not knowing what a classic defensive stroke was, and shook their pompoms, while C continued screaming and swung her foam finger around in a markedly dangerous manner.
The spin bowler Eighth, out of countenance that a tail-end batsman should treat him with such disrespect, decided to tempt the Fifth away from the crease with a short googly. But the Five wasn't deceived by the cunningly concealed action. He saw how the ball left the bowler's hand, and knew that when it pitched on the wicket, it would turn unexpectedly the other way. Again, with impeccable footwork, he moved the spin, and pulled the ball to the midwicket boundary. The Fifth now faced five balls, from which he'd scored fifteen runs.
"Is this quite right?" called an Eighth to a Tenth.
The latter shrugged. "Honestly, it's been a while. I'm a little rusty."
As the Fifth Doctor did more amazing cricket-related things, Fangirl C paused in her slightly confused cheering to turn to Fangirl B. "Who's winning? I don't have any idea how this game is played."
"Oh, me neither," B answered cheerily. "I just think Eight looks fit in his shirtsleeves."
C looked over at A, who didn't seem to have taken a breath in a number of minutes. "How about her?" said Fangirl C. "Does she understand it?"
"Nah," said B. "She just likes to yell."
The new bowler was of medium pace, with a short run up. His first ball was straight and on a good length; the Fifth Doctor played it defensively, back down the wicket. The bowler fielded the ball, and made his way leisurely to his mark. The next ball was short, outside the off stump, and the Fifth drove it through cover for four. He was on ninety-five.
Mickey, carrying two large, plastic jugs of water, wandered over from who-knows-where and stood next to Fangirl C's end of the spectator box. He watched the Time Lords playing their game with some distaste.
"Who's winning?" he asked.
Fangirl C shook her indigo head. "Hoped you could tell us."
"More of a rugby man myself." He put down the jugs, and leaned casually on the edge of the spectator box. "So," he said to C. "After this fanfic, do you want to--"
She stopped him with an upheld hand, not taking her eyes off the cricket game. "I'm here for Ten, man."
Mickey subtly shifted the direction he was facing, pretending he had meant to direct the question at Fangirl B. "Because I know this place--"
"Forget about it, tin dog."
Mickey gave an uncertain glance at Fangirl A. Before he had decided whether to say anything, she stopped screaming, looked straight at him, and chucked one of her pompoms at his head. He ducked and A went back to her howl.
"It's always going to be about the Doctor, isn't it?" he whined. "It's never going to be about me!"
"Pretty much, yeah," said Fangirl B, rolling her eyes. "Why don't you get over it and hang out with a guy that's going to make you look good?" Mickey glared, pouted, and went away sulking. The fangirls went back to watching the cricket game, where the Fifth Doctor had just apparently performed a hat trick.
"What's a hat trick?" asked B.
"Beats me," said C.
The Fifth Doctor watched the bowler direct a fielder to come in closer to the bat, to the silly mid-on position, and smiled. He played the next ball with circumspection, bat together with the bad and acutely angled, to smother the spin, and keep the ball well out of the prehensile grip of the Tenth in the silly position. The fourth ball was a quicker one, and short on the leg slump. The Fifth hooked it for six.
"Wait, what's so silly about the mid-on position?" asked Fangirl C. "I don't get it. And how long has this round or whatever it is lasted? Does the author even know what's going on?"
"No clue," said the Voice. "I've just been transcribing the cricket passages from my Doctor Who audiobook. I think it's about time someone won though."
Then the Fifth Doctor took the bat and hit the ball, which were the only two words that made sense in this entire game, out of the park, or green, or field, or whichever you want to call it, and there was line and length and depth and width and height which were all equally good. He was making centuries! And performing hat tricks! And the others were making ducks! And the ducks were performing hat tricks, and the hat tricks were making ducks, and then all the centuries of ducks in hats sat down with the Doctors around the wickets and the stumps and had tea and crumpets and it was all very British.
"I don't think," said a very baffled Eighth Doctor to a Tenth over his teacup, "that this is how the game is played."
"I was thinking the same thing," replied the Tenth, picking a duck feather off of a crumpet. "I know I remember less molting."
The team of Fifth Doctors paraded, cheering, across the cricket field, their team captain riding triumphantly atop shoulders. "Three cheers for Five! Hip, hip, hurrah! Hip, hip, hurrah! Hip, hip, hurrah!"
The fangirls had climbed over the wall of the box and stormed the field. Fangirl A was gathering up squirming, flapping armfuls of ducks, while B and C were doling out the teams of Doctors between them.
"An Eight for me, a Ten for you," B was chanting gleefully. "An Eight for me, a Ten for you…"
"I am pleased to proclaim the clear winner—at least, clear to the Doctors—of the match," cried the Voice. The drumroll sounded, but seeming to sense that damage control was more of an issue now than suspense, hurriedly ended itself. "The Fifth Doctor!"
There were deafening cheers from an unseen audience, and, as they died again, a flash of white light just as before. The Doctors found themselves on the dim, spotlighted stage once again. The ducks, hats, tea and crumpets, cricket equipment, and extra Doctors had disappeared. From offstage came assorted noises of disappointment on the part of the fangirls.
"It's a tie, then!" the Voice announced, as victorious music played and colored spotlights swirled on the stage. "Each of our Doctors have won a round, proving themselves indeed prettyboys of the highest caliber! Fangirls?"
At the cue, B and C ran out from the wings—B carrying Eight's coat and a shiny golden loving cup, and C carrying two cups as well as the coats of both Ten and Five. C handed the Fifth his coat, and presented his loving cup, engraved 'Prettyboy Doctor Championship—Winner of the Cricket Game,' which he proudly accepted. She then marched over to the Tenth Doctor and delivered his, plus (as B was already doing to Eight) a reward of her own kind; Ten seemed somewhat more interested in that than the gold trophy.
"And, as promised, your TARDISes!" The curtain at the back of the stage rose, revealing three grand blue timeships all in a row. "We thank you very much for your kind participation. May all your adventures be gorgeous indeed!" The front curtain went slowly down, to thunderous applause and hearty cheers. When at last they died, the Doctors and the two fangirls were left on the stage between the curtain and their TARDISes.
Eight stood, with Fangirl B attatched lovingly to his arm, admiring his cup for a moment, with its engraving that pronounced him winner of the hair contest. "Well," said he. "That was fun."
"Quite," beamed the Fifth Doctor, admiring his own trophy. "Smashing game!"
"I feel a bit sorry for you, though," said the Tenth, with his arm around Fangirl C.
Five scoffed. "Whatever for?" he said. "You're the ones who lost the match."
Ten grinned. "That was quite the odd cricket game. But I mean… you know, the attention, the idolization…"
"The public displays of affection?" commented the Fifth Doctor dryly. Ten coughed, and he and Eight glanced at each other. The Fangirls also exchanged grins.
"Well, yes, there's that," Ten admitted. "But not just that."
"I agree," put in Eight a little sheepishly. "There's something to it, being admired—"
"Adored," corrected Fangirl B.
The Fifth brushed them off. "You can keep that. I had a magnificent game of cricket, and I'm quite ready to be on my way."
The Tenth Doctor shrugged. "Have it your own way. You'll have the attention soon enough, I suppose!" He smirked widely at the two other Doctors, and lifted a hand in farewell. "Look forward to you being me soon!" He took a deep breath. "Allons-y, then, madam!" he crowed to Fangirl C, and they strode off to his TARDIS.
"Likewise!" the Eighth called to his other two regenerations. "Come on," he chimed to the bright-eyed admirer on his arm, "Our carriage awaits!" He escorted her cheerily to the second blue box in the row.
Five pulled on his coat as the two timeships disappeared, engines growling. He took a step in the direction of his own TARDIS—and then stopped with a frown. His hand went up to his head, but he felt only his fluff of blond hair. "Confound it," he grumbled. "I must have left my hat on the field."
"Meep!" came a soft noise from behind him. The Doctor turned around. There was Fangirl A, wearing his hat and his celery, and holding out his cricket ball.
"I thought your cricket game was awesome!" she chirped. The Doctor put out his hand to take his hat, but hesitated, and then lowered it again.
"Thank you," he smiled. "It was, wasn't it?" Fangirl C nodded enthusiastically.
"I was about to be on my way," said the Doctor. A pause. Fangirl C's eyes glowed with hope. "Would you like to come with me?"
The girl squealed and threw her arms around his neck. "Yes! Oh em gee yes!!"
The Fifth Doctor laughed in spite of himself. "Let's go, then!"
The fangirl released him and ran ahead into the TARDIS, but then stuck her head out again as the Doctor approached and laid his hand on the door handle.
"Hey!" she peeped. "Do you think maybe I could have…?!" And the Fifth Doctor grinned.
"I'll see if I can scare up a sonic screwdriver for you." The fangirl squealed again, and popped back into the TARDIS. The Doctor followed her; a few moments later, with a happy roar of engines, the last police box vanished.
Mickey Smith came out, scowled at the empty stage, and flipped off the lights.
Me: Well! That was fun, wasn't it?
My brain: …
Me: Brain? Hello?
Me: Wait, Brain, come back! I think I need you!! T.T