Oneiroi

By TwinEnigma

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor any of the characters therein, and I do this for no profit.

Spoilers for: The Ultimate Foe, Parting of the Ways, Journey's End, End of Time

Timing: Set after Waters of Mars, but before the End of Time.



The Doctor ran like his life depended on it – which, when the Daleks were involved, it did. Briefly, he wondered how soon it was before they were wiped out of existence and whether or not it was the first, second or third time. Really, they were like bad pennies, always turning up when you least expected it and always when you needed exact change.

With a sigh of relief, he threw open the door of the TARDIS and launched himself inside. Locking the door behind him and tossing his coat on the rack, he headed up to the console. Good, now he could do something about those pesky pepperpots.

A strange noise stopped him mid-thought.

Curiously, he listened and it came again: a suspiciously human, breathy moan of the hot and heavy variety. It appeared to be coming from the other side of the console, where a strange golden glow was shining. In the distance, he thought he could also hear the march of Cybermen, echoing in the corridors.

That couldn't be good, he concluded, and trusty sonic screwdriver in hand, the Doctor slowly rounded the console. The sight he beheld stopped him in his tracks, horror and bewilderment and all kinds of this-is-not-right thoughts bursting into his head like an explosion.

Rose Tyler, glowing gold and shimmering with the Time Vortex, was none-too-subtly studying human mating rituals with – oh no, he recognized those black robes and that stupid black hat and he didn't even want to contemplate it. Rose – no, the Bad Wolf Rose gave a particularly aggressive and possessive kiss, tearing the hat off and revealing far more hair than he remembered the Valeyard ever having. She then looked up at him with liquid, burning gold eyes, as if he were a very uninteresting thing, and the Valeyard turned his head too, revealing the Doctor's current face, a face he not ought to have.

Unless... No. It couldn't be. He couldn't have... He'd have known if his clone was... And Rose, oh no Rose, she should not be like this at all. He'd thought he made sure it was gone from her completely. But, a traitorous part of his mind insisted, he'd been wrong before.

"Do you mind?" the Valeyard wearing his face asked, indicating the very, very wrong glowing Bad Wolf Rose.

"How? Why? What?" the Doctor demanded.

"Micro-dimensional parallelistic synergy recursion," Bad Wolf Rose leered, draping herself over the dark-robed version of himself. She licked her lips hungrily.

"Negative energy cracks in the harmonic folds," the Valeyard added, his breath hitching as she ran her teeth down his neck. "Energy expansion in the parallel sub-universal vortexes reversed the polarity of the neutron flow. Alignment retrograde reactivity, culminating in time shifts and void compression. The Accordion Limitation is in effect."

It was utter nonsense and the Doctor knew it: "You're just making that up!"

They both looked at him, their heads shifting to one side in a strange sort of harmony. "Aren't you?" the Valeyard with his face asked, perfectly calm.

The Doctor was momentarily taken aback.

Metal scraped on metal and a pair of Cybus Cybermen entered the room from the depths of the TARDIS. One reached up and took off its head, revealing Jackie Tyler's unmarred face underneath. "Look at you, all skin and bones. No one's been taking care of you!" she said, clucking her tongue, and moved towards him. "You look like you've got a fever. Well, that's what happens when you've got no one to look after you. You like chips, don't you? I'll put on some tea and we'll get you some nice chips. They even have banana ones now."

The Doctor took a step away from her. He'd failed to save her twice now. "Oh, Jackie, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."

"We'll fix you up, you'll see," Jackie said, smiling in disturbing contrast to the Cyberman body. "Upgrade you to one of the family. You can even call me mum! Isn't that right, Pete?"

And then she and the other Cyberman – poor Pete, poor, poor Pete – were falling, the piercing buzz of the sonic screwdriver filling the air.

The Valeyard with his face lowered his sonic screwdriver, smiling smugly. "I can't stand meddling parents. They're always holding me back from doing fun things."

The Doctor stared at his doppelganger, horrified.

"I always did like bad boys," Bad Wolf Rose giggled, raking her fingers down his doppleganger's chest. "Together, we'll make our enemies burn to atoms."

"You taste like ash and genocide," the Valeyard with his face told her, a sharp cruel smile on his lips as he kissed her throat. "I love it. It's very me."

The Doctor shook his head, stepping backwards. "No, that's not right. That's not you. That's not me!"

"See? That's the trouble with him: he's never very honest," the Bad Wolf Rose said, caressing the doppelganger's face. "He likes to lie to himself about the bad things, to forget the things that don't fit. He locks them up and throws away the key. Wolves have teeth and claws and are oh so hungry."

"But I don't," the Valeyard announced cruelly, pulling her closer. "And I remember patterns, things that repeat, round and round like recursion, like the drumbeats of a binary vascular system."

The Doctor heard the Daleks outside the door, growing louder.

"They always come back," the Valeyard said pointedly. "Always. Even Churchill knew that."

"Are you my mummy?" Bad Wolf Rose giggled, her burning gold gaze turning to the TARDIS console.

"He'll see her soon enough, when the race is mastered," the Valeyard says, as if conveying a private joke.

"The sky is full of diamonds," she agreed. "Like burning stars. Like laughter. Can you hear them in the darkness? I can."

"This doesn't make any sense! Neither of you make any sense," the Doctor hissed, running a hand through his hair. He pointed at the Valeyard in anger. "And you! You shouldn't even have that face!"

"You made me," the Valeyard with his face told him, matter-of-factly.

The Doctor immediately recoiled, remembering the words of his clone, and hastily stepped back. His foot slipped and he went crashing to the floor, landing hard and stayed there, numb with shock. It couldn't be. Maybe he was referring to something else, that he was made of the worst bits of him – yes, that seemed better...

He was suddenly aware of movement in front of him.

This was the part where the evil villain always gloated over his fallen prey and, true to villainous form, the Valeyard with his face did not disappoint. He stalked over purposefully, robes swirling about him, and knelt, glaring right into the Doctor's face with a condescending smile.

"Mahacaxoputt tea and chips," he said in absolute seriousness. "Banana chips."

The Doctor blinked in surprise, taken aback. "What?"

"A chemical reaction between substances occurred in the gastric system, resulting in a soporific state, eventual unconsciousness, and increased synaptic activity," the Valeyard explained, as if delivering his most condescending victory-of-evil-over-good speech. "Increased presence of neurotransmitters and elevated pulse rate. Failure to activate motor neurons. Rapid eye movement."

The realization hit the Doctor like a thunderbolt: "I'm dreaming."

"Subconscious fears and regrets given symbolic form," the Valeyard with his face agreed. "Jumbled up bits of memories recycling through the synapses, overlaid with echoes of the timelines past and present."

"And future," Bad Wolf Rose added. She was falling apart, melting into stars and flying away like leaves scattering on the wind. "Beyond the approaching eleventh hour."

The Valeyard with his face started to scatter too and he felt himself waking up but struggled to listen to his doppelganger's last words: "Invest in a cactus. Ponds are nice, too."

The Doctor woke with a start, the TARDIS humming in relief. Nearby, he saw the incriminating empty takeaway box and teacup that once held a fragrant, soothing tea from another world. He groaned, rubbing his face with his hands, and vowed he'd never make the mistake of mixing those two again.

"Well, might as well see where I've stopped," he murmured, getting to his feet. He threw open the doors and nearly fell back in shock as he stared straight into the face of a young noblewoman. From the air, he'd say somewhere mid-sixteenth century London, Earth, in someone's rather nice gardens.

"Who, pray tell, are you, sir?" the woman demanded, her eyes sliding around to peer past him and into the interior of the TARDIS. "And what sorcery is this?"

"I'm the Doctor – ah, Doctor James Bowman," he told her, smiling in what he hoped was an assuring manner, "And this is the TARDIS, my ship. Who might you be?"

The woman straightened up with clear pride, but regarded him cautiously, as if he might grow two heads at any moment. "You do not appear as a doctor. Indeed, the manner of your dress is most unusual, sir. I should think you a sorcerer."

"Oh goodness no, hardly! I am a scientist," the Doctor said.

"Then what of your ship, if you can call a wardrobe such? How else to explain the disparity between what is within and what is without? Surely, you do not take me for a fool, good sir," she said, pointedly.

"The TARDIS is a special ship, like none other," he told her. "It travels in time and space, not water. I could show you if you'd like."

"You say the most unusual things, sir," she replied, but he could see the idea had intrigued her.

"I could return you right to this moment and it would be like you'd never left," he said. "I could show you the second moon of Ororous, I could show you the dawn of civilization – one trip to anywhere, any when."

"And you might return me here, to this very instant?" she asked, raising an eyebrow in curiosity. "Then I should like to see London as it will be, at the end of the millennium."

"Just that?" he asked. "Really, that's very simple."

"Just the same, I should very much like to see it," she said, hiking up her skirts to step forward.

He offered her a hand, helping her over the threshold. "I didn't get your name, miss?"

"You may call me Bess," she said guardedly and looked about the room in awe. "Such a strange thing, this ship of yours. How does it sail?"

Bess, Bess... where had he heard that name before? Oh well, he'd figure it out later.

Time for another adventure.


End Notes: I couldn't help myself.

The fears shown are: the return of the Daleks, that he failed to completely extract the Vortex from Rose, that his clone was more damaged mentally than he thought, that he himself actually is much darker than he gives himself credit for as hinted by the Valeyard having his face and being unashamedly wicked, and, represented by the Cybermen versions of Jackie being all motherly, the fear of becoming like everyone else and being attached to a family again. Two of these are intended as nods to certain Rose Returns type fanfictions, where Rose is all Bad Wolf super powers activate and the clone is crazy or evil (or both).

Several things that both Bad Wolf Rose and Valeyard with his face make mention of hint to the events of the End of Time and, also, hint to the upcoming new season with the 11th Doctor.

Fried banana chips do exist.

And then Elizabeth I appears. Hilarity ensues.