The Doctor's Song
A Doctor Who Hurt/Comfort Fanfic
It doesn't take much for the Oods' Song to get to you – even if you're the Doctor.
Rated K+ for depressing content but not so much in the action department.
Disclaimer: The dialog in this fanfic belongs to the brilliant Keith Temple. Not me. Well, the last two lines are mine – and everything that's not italicized.
A/N: I haven't written a good semi-depressing (except for a ray of hope at the end) fanfic in a really long time. Honestly, FLW was the last one. And that was a full year ago! Mind you, it took me forever to think up a title and edit it enough to post it, but I still wrote it a year ago! Anyway, since it's June, I'm sucked back into my Doctor Who head, so I wrote something depressing for the Doctor.
The lines of dialog are italicized and stolen directly from the episode "The Planet of the Ood." The non-italicized paragraphs are windows into the Doctor's mind – and I thought up the last two lines of dialog because I needed a slightly more optimistic way out.
He knew – in some corner of his mind, he knew – it shouldn't've bothered him. They were just humans, after all. Humans, capable of so much but not this. No one could share his pain – it couldn't happen. Not anymore. He had friends scattered across the galaxies, but he was alone now. He was the last of the Time Lords, with a burden all his own to bear.
But it bothered him anyway.
"That's their song."
He heard it all the time these days – and not just since stepping onto the Ood Sphere. The lament of a captive race, forever imprinted upon his mind.
"I can't hear it."
"Do you want to?"
That was the problem with the stupid apes. That's just what they were – stupid, slow, backwards. This lot from the 21st Century was so clueless, so unaware. Even the special few that knew how insignificant they were had no way of understanding.
But he was opening their minds.
They were all testaments to it, all the companions he'd had. The openness of this new era being welcomed in by humans. That all-too-human willingness to believe. Donna herself was a testament to what they could find if they looked. She had done just that, and she had found him again. Throughout all of history, plain old Donna Noble had been able to find him again.
No one did that.
"It's the song of captivity."
"Let me hear it."
He always had to warn them.
Humans were among the thickest creatures he had met. In fact, they might have topped the list, were it not for those clockwork robots back in 18th Century France – and, of course, the possibility that there might be even denser creatures, yet to be discovered.
Still, no matter the occasion, no matter the choices, no matter if the chooser scoffed at his ideas, he had to present them the choice. He would never find himself blamed for not giving a fair warning. At any crossroads, he'd present the information as he saw it best, hoping for one decision but leaving the choice open.
They made their decisions themselves.
Donna didn't realize what a burden she was taking off him just by insisting. She was forcing him to give up a bit of the load he'd never admit to bearing.
She let him into her mind willingly, like she'd been unwilling to let him into her life. What she'd known had been set and fixed, but he'd called it into question. He'd already, in some rights, won passage into her mind. After that one accidental trip with her, what seemed like – and was, in many respects – ages ago, she had adopted a new mindset.
A changed woman, and all because of one small adventure with him.
Was this what he did to people?
"Open your mind; listen. Hear it, Donna? Hear the music?"
He opened their minds. Well, he let them open their minds. He gave them the slightest bit of knowledge. Just enough to get the job done – just enough to start them thinking. Humans were wonderful for that. Give them the slightest bit of knowledge and they'd run with it. They'd run past the edges of all reality on the smallest scrap of information.
And this was when they realized how insignificant, in the scheme of things, they were. They saw their world crash and burn, with no one left to watch it. They fought off certain death with something they knew well. They let the horrors they witnessed strengthen rather than weaken them.
And he learned from them all.
"Take it away."
"I can't bear it."
No one could last forever. If there was one thing he'd learned from the companions he'd picked up over all those years, that was it. For whatever reason, they all left in the end. By his choice, or their choice, or no choice at all, he was always, in the end, alone.
He couldn't bear it himself.
He was the one who always apologized. Not them. Not his companions. It wasn't their fault. They always saw themselves going on with him, stretching on forever. And to them it was forever. They wouldn't stand witness to the test of time. They were only human, with one life to live. One life that they filled with futile domestics, futile routines, futile simplicity. They couldn't know what he knew – they physically couldn't.
He had no choice but to bear his burden lone.
She'd no need to apologize to him.
"But you can still hear it."
Hear it? He could feel it. The Oods' song, resonating within the very core of his being. All the time he felt it, but especially now. Their song struck quite a few figurative chords in him these days. Their souls crying out at the pain of imprisonment, the injustice of a life of servitude.
And he knew exactly what they sang about.
"All the time."
Time was a fickle thing, even to him. One could argue more so to him than to any other. It meant nothing and everything to him. Time allowed him to exist, but only it knew when he wouldn't. He didn't obey time's order, but time more often messed with him than he with it. It could go any which way, or not at all, but the disorder wasn't troubling.
He was supposed to have control over time. Wasn't that what being Lord of it meant? Yet he couldn't bring back what time had taken from him. He was helpless, hopeless, and alone.
His name – no, his title. It was such a conundrum. Doctors made things better. Everything better. They undid whatever was wrong, fixed whatever was broken. But he couldn't even do that. He couldn't make his history any less bleak. He could only sit outside a cell, feeling his hearts sing with the Ood.
As soon as he said it, he knew he was. He wasn't alone, not really. He had the Ood to sing with when all he needed was a good lament. And anywhere – and anywhen – he went, he had friends. Sure, some had left him – some he had left. But he always had someone along on his adventures. Someone he could rely on.
Someone like Donna, who would do the unlikely and share his heavy burden.
So he could go on pretending, for a while, that he was normal.
A/N: Review, s'il vous plait. Yup, totally stole that from Google translator, btw. But my French-speaking (ish) friend has taken over my brain.