Title: Diamonds Are Forever
Author: nostalgia
Rating: PG, because some people are disturbed by ANYTHING.
Summary: The Doctor and his oldest friend.
Disclaima-go-go: I own nothing. Alas. The BBC own the Doctor and his entourage. I think 'The Red Flag' is out of copyright, but it's misquoted in here by the Sixth Doctor, so it's probably worth an acknowledgement here to save me getting sued by irate trade unionists. Again.

Feedback/Archive: If you feel like it. An email to tell me would be nice. *emoticon*

Author Babbles: _this_ is for emphasis, //this// is for communication by some sort of telepathic mumbo-jumbo. The title? Umm...it was playing on winamp when I had to name this 'thing'. Let's pretend that it's relevant in some way, shall we? I can't for the life of me remember why the TARDIS reverted to the police box shape in Attack of The Cybermen, and have no way to check, so I've had to...umm...improvise.



--------------

~one~



'One previous owner.' Small, nervous woman. Botanist. Travelled a lot, for a Gallifreyan. A damn sight more careful with her vehicle than the current owner. No call for anything but the most routine maintenance for seven hundred and fifty years. And then, finally, as it had been threatening to do for a while, the chameleon circuit packed in. Straight to the workshop for repairs. A rather irate engineer pointing out that it was going to be nigh on impossible to get parts - they simply don't _make_ Type 40s any more, have you ever thought of trading it in for a newer model? I know how close people can get to these things, but really... Languishing (and anguishing) in the yard. Then leaving in sudden and unusual circumstances with a man leaving in sudden and unusual circumstances of his own.





It was horrible the first time, for both of us. Lying there, still, silent. I reached out tenatively and saw only one heartbeat (the left one, I recall). I nearly headed straight back to Gallifrey in my panic when his second stopped.

Dead.

//Wake up.//

Silence.

//Wake up! A psychic slap about the face.//

Nothing

//You're not supposed to go. You're supposed to change. You can change.//

...

//Please?//

...thump. thump. double thump. double thump. inhaled oxygen. exhaled carbon-dioxide. inhaled...


~two~



//I'm new.//

//You are old.//

A raised eyebrow - dark now, rather than white. //Was that a joke?//

//It was an observation intended to be truthful in a way my central processing unit determined would amuse you.//

//I've never heard of a TARDIS telling a joke.//

//You reprogrammed me.//

//Hmm...You haven't been evolving behind my back have you?//

//Evolution is an organic process. I am not organic.//

//Your software is self-correcting. I've given you control over all your major fucntions. In the normal run of things you are self-sustaining. You can gather information and collate it to create your own conclusions.//

//Yes, you have made extensive modifications.//

The impish grin, //Yes, I suppose I'm your creator, to an extent. Your god?//

//My Doctor Frankenstein?//

//Your jokes aren't very good, you know. You should pay attention to mine, you might learn something.//


~three~



We were trapped, stuck on the blue planet with the biped mammals and the over-large moon. I became the funny box in the corner, the one that might some day be fixed and able to leave the planet again. He apologised for my lack of mobility, as it was his meddling that had caused it. I assured him that I didn't blame him, I had been just as responsible - after all, I was the one who _let_ him go about minding other people's business. He seemed relieved

But I could feel the gravity pulling me down, keeping me rooted to one spot. I felt the same radiation from the same sun as day after day of the same rotation around the same axis of the same planet passed. I couldn't wander, I couldn't roam, I couldn't take him halfway across the Universe and back before the kettle boiled. He didn't need me anymore. Who needs a ship with no sails? What if he got a new ship? What if he left me all alone on a strange world?

I found the word in my databanks that desribed my feelings for the situation. _Hate_.


~four~



"What have you _done_ to this thing?!"

"What? Oh, just a few alterations here and there, nothing fancy."

"Doctor, this thing has more processing power than the average quantum computer laboratory!"

"Well, I needed a decent computer - shut up K9 - and the TARDIS does love her upgrades...don't you, old girl? Yes, of course you do."

"But what do you use all this memory for?"

"Romana, there is nothing in that computer that I don't need."

"Glasgow to Edinburgh bus timetable, January 1979? The complete scores of the Canadian national hockey team 1967 to 2048?"

"You never know."

"And as for the architecture...it says here the TARDIS has a fully-functional squirrel santuary!"

"No we haven't."

"It says..."

"The TARDIS and I had a little falling out of sorts a while ago, she deleted the squirrel sanctuary."

"What?!"

"Oh, it's alright, there weren't any squirrels in it. Not even grey ones."

"The TARDIS deleted a room?! Of it's own volition?!"

"Well, I didn't use the squirrel sanctuary anyway."

"You gave the TARDIS control over the architectural configuration? That's..."

"It's courtesy, that's what it is, Romana. After all, it is _her_ architecture."

"What if it deletes the console room?!"

"Oh, she wouldn't do that. That would be silly."


~five~



I can hit a target four metres wide from a range of three billion light years and eight million years. I know this because we tried it once, for something to do between near-death experiences, or, as we like to call them, 'our little episodes'. It just happens that sometimes it's useful to give the impression that I can't, like those times when uncomfortable phrases like 'Heathrow airport' are being bandied about.

It was dishonest of me, I know. It was unfair to everyone involved. But I couldn't bear for her to leave him. It wasn't that he didn't get on with the other two, but it wasn't the same. It wasn't even nearly the same.

It's hard to keep secrets with symbiosis...


~six~



We were travelling with the American girl when he finally fixed the chameleon circuit. It was nice to be able to Change, and I appreciated the effort he had gone to, _but_...

//The chameleon circuit's working perfectly, you should be able to change. Unless I did something wrong. An idea which I find to be _highly_ unlikely.//

//I am able to change my appearance.//

//And yet...//

...

//Ah. I see.// A pat on the console. //Well, you've witnessed many a deed and vow, we musn't change your external appearance now, eh?//

//You are misquoting.//

//Paraphrasing. Very amusingly, I felt.//

//Your jokes are not exceptional. You may wish to pay attention to mine, in hope of learning by example.//


~seven~



Then the Darker one. The one who took the recall circuit. He needed my help for that highly illegal task, I would have to bypass ancient yet still functioning security systems designed to take us straight back to Gallifrey and alert the appropriate authorities if any attempt was made to remove the recall. There was still enough fear of the Time Lords in me to provoke resistance.

//Why must I do this?//

//Because they'll try and stop me interfering. They'll find out who took the Omega device and they'll pull us back to Gallifrey.//

//And then?//

//I don't know.//

//They will be angry?//

//Yes.//

//I will lose you?//

//Yes.//

I bypassed my security systems - treason by another name. My recall circuit was duly removed. We replaced it with the dimensional stabilizer upgrade I had been nagging about for three hundred years.


~eight~



I cheated. I brought back the woman and the boy. Strictly against the rules, but I felt I owed him. Not for all the upgrades and refits, there is no debt there; for the...call it jealousy, for want of a better word.



//She doesn't want to travel. She wants you to stay with her. On Earth.//

//I know.//

//Are you staying?//

//We have to stop this planet turning inside out first.//

//Are you staying?//

//You're low on power. You should conserve it.//

//She's in your head. You're thinking of staying. Getting settled down in one time and one place. You've never wanted that. You've never been prepared to do that. You've never been like this before.//

"I think that may be the point." He said it aloud, in his new voice.

//How long will you stay?//

//We'll discuss this later. We have more important things to do right now.//

//One question.//

//Yes?//

//If she asks you to stay...//

//Yes?//

//Will I lose you?//

//You'll never lose me.//




~end~