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"I love going to random places like this! You never know what'll happen!" the Doctor said. He looked around and realized he was talking to himself yet again. He sighed and ran a hand through his thick brown hair.
"I just saved the 'Titanic Number Two' from certain destruction, but I'm still too stupid to know I have to stop talking to myself." He sighed and leaned against the console of the TARDIS engine. "I wish Martha was here," he whispered out loud. The lonely Doctor... an image he hated with both of his hearts. It wasn't fair. He was still having trouble getting over how he lost Rose.
The TARDIS suddenly jerked to one side and the Doctor fell hard on the floor. He groaned and stood up. It jerked again, even more violently and he was thrown into one of the pillar structures. "Owww," he said, annoyed. Warm blood started flowing from his nose. He tipped his head back and carefully stood up.
"Why me? Ouch!" he said, closing his eyes. "Ice, I need ice. There better be some wherever I am right now." The Doctor walked slowly to the door, trying hard to keep his head tilted back. He eventually found the door and stepped out into the world where he had landed. After a small moment of catching his breath, he gently got his head up straight. There was a giant, smiling, purple dinosaur standing a few feet in front of him.
"Hello! What's your name?" the dinosaur asked. Its voice was cheerful and nasally.
"I'm the Doctor..." the Doctor said, a bit confused. He noticed two girls and a boy standing with the T-Rex, all beaming happily.
"If you're a doctor, where's your stethoscope?" one of the little girls asked. She had on a pale yellow shirt and pink shorts. Her white socks and white sneakers seemed unnaturally clean for a kid her age.
"And your white coat? My doctor that my dad takes me to always has a white coat," the boy said, smiling at the others and using unnecessary arm gestures. The girls both nodded in agreement along with the dinosaur. The Doctor took his long, light brown coat out of the TARDIS and shut the door. He pulled it on and forced a tiny grin at the strange group.
"I'm taking a break," he said. They all hugged him, including the weird T-Rex. Then they walked out further on the grass. The Doctor usually loved hugs, but he was too curious of the situation to take much notice. At this point, Rose would've starting asking questions. He missed how adventurous she was...
Martha would be playing along, using her head to work out the problem. She was good at that. The Doctor somehow couldn't say it out loud to her, but she was brilliant and amazing. "So this is me, getting out," Martha had said when she left. The words had finally opened the Doctor's eyes to how she felt. He only wished he had seen it sooner.
He wondered what Astrid would be doing. But he lost her as horribly as all the others. The Doctor had been so helpless. She died for him and there was nothing he could do to save her. He tried to get her back, but it was impossible. He was THE DOCTOR. It was his job to save her. That's what the last of the Time Lords was supposed to do. It was all he figured he was good for...
"Let's play pretend!" the dinosaur said, pulling the Doctor from his thoughts just as tears were starting to well up.
"What'll we play Barney?" the boy asked. The Doctor had just noticed how plain and perfectly dressed he was too. He had a red and green striped shirt, dark green shorts that looked a few sizes too big, and bright white socks with dark blue sneakers. The Doctor also noted the dinosaur's name was Barney.
"Hmmm... Let's let Shannon decide," Barney said excitedly. He jumped up and down with delight.
"OK!" the girl from earlier said with a huge smile. She twirled one of her long blond pigtails as she thought.
"Let's play airplane!" the boy said. "I'll be the pilot!" He pretended to put a hat on his neat black hair. Shannon looked down at the grass sadly. The Doctor looked down too for some reason. The grass was perfectly green and precisely cut. He was beginning to feel like he was in a little kid's TV show.
"Derek, that wasn't very nice," Barney said. Derek stopped and a confused look came over his face.
"Derek, it was Shannon's turn to pick the game," the other girl said. She had short red hair and was just as plain as the other two. Along with the same perfectly white socks, she had shiny black Mary Janes, a dark blue shirt with white polka dots, and slightly oversized denim shorts. The Doctor scratched the back of his head in his contemplative and sexy way. This place was weird, and completely perfect. Something definitely didn't click right in his brain.
"Carrie's right, Derek. It wasn't very nice to take Shannon's turn. You have to be PATIENT," Barney said. The Doctor raised his eyebrows. Barney hadn't blinked, even once, the whole time he had been there.
"What does 'patient' mean?" Derek asked. As Barney started explaining, the Doctor slipped off to the TARDIS. His nose was still throbbing with a sharp pain and he noticed a few little blood spots on the big curvy pillar where he had hit his face. He groaned as he attempted to wipe them off with the sleeve of his coat.
After a minute of sitting on the floor with his eyes shut, the Doctor decided to go back and see what was going on. The small group was hugging and singing. The Doctor hung back, not wanting to get caught in the cuddle.
"I love you, you love me. We're a..." Barney sang. The Doctor zoned out from the words a little until he heard a phrase that punched his hearts. "Won't you say you love me too?" He felt the sting of tears as his vision blurred. He tried to say he loved Rose, but he had waited too long. Then their time got cut short. He should've found a bigger supernova star. Martha loved him, but he was always too busy showing off and trying to forget Rose that he blocked her out. She had gone up against four creatures in 1913 by herself for him!
The Doctor was starting to hate himself. He ruined everyone he met and caused unthinkable destruction. His major question was looming over him like a black cloud... "What am I good for?" He was beginning to wonder if the last of the Time Lords should stop travelling. But he couldn't... could he? "No. You've made a few mistakes, but look at all the good you've done too. Remember Donna? You saved her and changed her life for the better. I miss Donna Noble... she was funny..." the Doctor said quietly to himself.
The kids waved and said goodbye over and over to Barney as they walked away. The Doctor watched them, wondering if he should shine his perfect smile, or frown worriedly. They were cute kids, but everything was so perfect that it seemed out of the ordinary. When the Doctor looked back at Barney, he only saw a stuffed animal on the ground by a tree.
"What the hell?" the Doctor said in shock. He ran over and picked up the tiny Barney. "No way!" he said, turning it over and over in his hands. He closely inspected it, but it was just a normal children's toy. The Doctor stared into its glossy plastic eyes. He glared at it in anger and frustration.
"What do you think you're looking at?" he asked, rage thick in his voice. The toy continued to look up at him, still smiling. "Who do you think I am? A stranger, an idiot, come on! Spill it you stupid thing!" The Doctor threw it to the ground. It landed softly on the flawless grass.
"No... No no no no no..." he said, picking it back up. "You aren't completely normal. No, there's something more. There has to be. Yeah, 'cause I wasn't completely human back in 1913. I was... I still had some part of the Time Lord in John Smith. So, some part of the, well, slightly larger and more alive version of you is in there somewhere. Barney... there's no such thing as an ordinary human. Dinosaurs fit into that rule. Why? Because I'm the Doctor, and I'm the last Time Lord, and I've already done this speech on the Titanic so I won't do it again! Ha!"
The Doctor took his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and dropped Barney. He smiled and pointed his sonic at the smiling, purple T-Rex. The screwdriver whirred like it always did and...
Nothing happened. The Doctor's smirk faded and he dropped his arm to his side. "Oh, well, that's..." the Doctor mumbled. He had honestly thought that was going to work. Barney lay perfectly still, staring up with his fake grin.
"Maybe it has to be closer," the Doctor said in realization. He lifted Barney from the ground and whirred the sonic directly on his furry forehead. The Doctor felt dizzy and leaned like he was going to fall backwards. He let go of Barney and shut his eyes forcefully. His head felt like it was getting hotter and he fell to his knees.
"No! No! Stop it!" the Doctor yelled. His hands gripped his hair, the pain getting sharper. "It's in my head! Why does it hurt like this? Stop! Please, just stop!" he groaned angrily. He slowly forced his eyes open. Tears streamed down his face as he fell to his side. His forehead got a quick stab of pain, and suddenly it was over.
The Doctor gasped for air as he shakily stood up. His hearts were beating frantically. He moaned felt like he was going to be sick. Pushing back the horrible pain, he looked at the full-size Barney. The Doctor wondered if the Master had ever experienced agonizing pain like that from his madness, the drums that only he could hear. But it didn't matter, because the Master was dead and his body had been burned. He was dead, and wouldn't come back, even to the end of time.
"Are you all right, Doctor?" Barney asked in his cheerful and annoying manner. The Doctor walked up to him, looking fiercely into his lifeless plastic eyes. Barney was tall, but then again, he was also a T-Rex... sort of.
"I'm not a child, far from it. Who are you?" the Doctor asked, irritated and furious. Barney took a few steps back. His mood was still carefree and bright.
"Well, how old are you?" Barney asked, using his typical overdramatic arm and head movements.
"Over 900, so I think it would be a good idea if you started talking. Who are you, and where are we?" The Doctor was growing incredibly impatient.
"You should go see Boss," Barney said a little nervously.
"Fine, where's he?" the Doctor asked, finally steadying himself.
"Can I hide in there, Doctor? Boss will be very angry and I don't want to be found. It's like hide and seek," Barney said, pointing to the TARDIS. His hand was like a mitten, all the fingers together and the thumb all by itself.
"NO," the Doctor snapped back.
"I'm sorry, I forgot to say 'please,'" Barney said with a small laugh.
"Shut up, you stupid thing!" the Doctor shouted through gritted teeth. He was beyond aggravated.
"That wasn't very nice!" Barney said, a little sad.
"To Hell with being nice! I've had enough of everything going wrong. I have to screw up every single thing I do. Now, you tell me where this 'Boss' is or I'll completely lose all the NICE I have!" the Doctor screamed angrily. Barney hesitated for a moment and muttered something about a hug. The Doctor moved closer, his face inches away from Barney's.
"Show me now, or I will kill you," the Doctor threatened darkly. Barney began walking to the school by the grass area. The Doctor followed and thought about the warning he made. He certainly had needed that moment to explode. Barney opened the door and the Doctor saw exactly what he had expected.
The hall was a perfectly clean yellow-tiled space. Sharply defined wood doors lined the sides. It was like a specific drawing of brand new building plans. Suddenly, one of the doors opened, and a little Triceratops creature bounced excitedly into the hall. It was half the size of Barney and carried a tiny yellow blanket. The happy-looking thing had green fuzz and the same dead, plastic eyes.
"Who's this Barney?" She had a somewhat strained, high voice. The Doctor started to wonder if he should just leave to escape the growing number of annoyances. He was beginning to get a migraine and was getting exhausted. Plus his nose still hurt a lot.
"Baby Bop, this is the Doctor," Barney said. Baby Bop? The Doctor was ready to tear his hair out. Wherever he was, he HATED it. It was like being stuck in Jackie's head...
"Barney, why is he here?" Baby Bop asked, still in her happy attitude. The Doctor wondered why they both spoke in such bright voices. He was way past that though, and wondered who the mysterious Boss was. Whatever world he was on, he certainly was never going to come back. Ever.
"Come on, we have to take him to Boss," Barney said, continuing down the hall. Baby Bop followed, still holding her little blanket. The Doctor raised an eyebrow, and then followed them. He was starting to feel smart around the overdramatic creatures. They turned to the left at the end of the hall and stopped at a metal door. It was bigger than the wooden doors, and had many "KEEP OUT!" warnings scratched into it.
"Well, go in, Doctor!" Baby Bop said happily. The Doctor opened the metal door, and he felt Barney's small hand push hard on his back. The Doctor fell down on his stomach and slid down a narrow, cold metal slide. He gave a small whoop of laughter as he quickly went down many twists and turns. At the end, he fell a few feet on to a torn, dusty mattress.
The Doctor coughed and tried to wave the large cloud of dust from his face. He stood up and wiped off his suit and jacket the best he could. When he finally looked up, he saw a man standing in front of him, arms crossed. The man was tall, muscular, and wore a slick tan suit.
"Hello," the Doctor said with a big smile.
"Follow!" the big mad boomed, and he began walking down the badly lit hallway the Doctor had fallen into. The only door was a big red one at the end. It opened with a creak and the man ushered the Doctor in.
There was a large, business-type chair in front of about 20 TV screens. They showed different spots around the place. The Doctor noticed his TARDIS in a few of them.
"I got him," the man said. He pushed the Doctor forward, almost knocking him over.
"Thank you, Hugo. You can go now," a soft voice said form the chair. Hugo smiled and left. He shut the door behind him, and the Doctor casually leaned against it with his arms crossed.
"You must be the 'Boss' then," he said.
"Yes, I must be," the voice said as the chair spun to face him. She was a girl with thin blond hair and was almost as skinny as a skeleton. A light blue dress, somewhat loose, hung to her ankles. Her shoes were faded denim stilettos that silently scraped the floor when she turned. The Doctor looked into her dark purple eyes and realized she must've only been in her twenties.
"I'm the Doctor, but, judging from your screens, you already know that," the Doctor said, his eyes shifting to her fingernails. There were long and pointed. The black nail polish was starting to chip off.
"Yes, I did. I mean, I do. What are you doing here, Doctor?" she asked. She said the last word darkly, as if she had an intention to kill him.
"The real question is, Boss, is what you're up to down here. Well, actually it wasn't really put into a question form, but you should still catch my pint." He wondered how her skin could be so tan if she was always in the small room.
"I'm only doing my job," she said, folding her hands on her lap.
"So, Boss has a boss, eh?"
"Yes, but don't let that take away from any feelings you have about me," she said with a smile. Her teeth were perfectly white.
"Not at all," the Doctor said, a tad emotionless.
"Why are you here? You sound Earth British. We have Earth United States of America here," she said, shifting in her chair a bit.
"I suppose I pick up the accent staying around there. There's a rift there, so a lot of alien activity happens around-"
"So there is a rift and it's all completely by possibility? Interesting..." Boss said. She seemed to think about the idea of another world put completely by random chance. It looked as if she had been living in schedules and screens her whole life.
"So, answer the question, where am I?" the Doctor asked. Boss giggled and gazed at her shoes.
"This place has no name," she said.
"Who are the dinosaur things, Barney and Baby Bop?"
"Oh, them. Ha, you haven't seen the yellow guy then?" she asked with a small laugh. The Doctor wondered how someone could smile that much. He was like that once... with Rose. It always seemed to be grins when they were together. He needed to laugh again.
"So, who are they, hm?" the Doctor asked, taking a step forward.
"Well, if you're going to get testy about it!"
"Tell me," he said coldly. She stopped smiling and slowly stood up.
"I teach children. I'm monitoring here, so I use the, what did you say? Oh yes, dinosaurs. They were designed off of some old Earth pattern. They teach them manners and basic learning. It's all quite boring and repetitive, but it is my job after all," Boss said as she unsteadily walked to the screens. The Doctor walked over to stand next to her. She was about a foot shorter than him and he was still saddened by how thin she was.
"So, how do they work?" he asked as he stared at his TARDIS on one screen. The color was off and everything seemed to have too much yellow. The TARDIS appeared GREEN.
"Simple programming, really. You say 'so' a lot,' Boss said, elbowing him in the side a little.
"How simple?" the Doctor asked with a quick smile.
"They have chips in their heads that transform them from simple little toys into large, teaching creatures. I control what they help the children learn every day and of course when they go off and on," she explained. Her eyes never left the screens.
"And I'm guessing when you force the change, they have a defense trigger or something," the Doctor said. He remembered to painful head trauma he went through.
"Sort of, I think. To be honest, nobody's ever tried to hack into one of them before. It's probably so nobody can get in and change what they learn. God knows it someone programmed them to kill. You should go, Doctor. The Barney Project is difficult enough without you here. Hugo will show you the way back to the box," Boss said sadly. She pressed a button under one of the monitors and the red door opened.
"Thank you," the Doctor said, walking to the door.
"For what?" Boss asked, spinning around. The Doctor stopped in the doorway and turned back with a smile.
"I love you, you love me," he sang as he started walking down the hallway. He hummed the whole way to the end of the slide. The Doctor was truly happy he had come to the strange place with no name. A place where dinosaurs were teachers, everything was easy, plain, and simple, and sadness was pushed away with a smile. It was remarkable. It was simply...
"Brilliant," the Doctor said out loud. Hugo was sitting on the mattress, writing in a notebook with a red crayon. He noticed the Doctor and stood up. He dropped the notebook to the floor after carefully putting the crayon into the metal spiral.
"Leaving us?" Hugo asked, stretching his arms.
"Yeah," the Doctor said, shoving his hands in his pockets. Hugo nodded and gestured to where he had been sitting.
"Stand and you'll go," he said. The Doctor stepped onto the old, lumpy mattress. He bounced on it a little and it creaked.
"Poor old thing," the Doctor mumbled.
"Bye," Hugo said. The big guy clapped his hands three times and the Doctor felt a cold rush of air surround him. His body started to feel like it was being pulled by a large string around his waist. The room started spinning a little, and then a bright flash made him cover his eyes with his arm.
When he let his arm fall slowly to his side, he was standing on the grass in front of the TARDIS. Thunder rumbled in the distance. A slight breeze blew a newspaper to his feet. The Doctor picked it up and looked at the headline
ADIPOSE INDUSTRY TO LAUNCH WEIGHT LOSS PILL IN UK THIS WEEK
"'Adipose' doesn't sound very Earth-like. Anyway, better go check it out," he said with a small sigh. He opened the TARDIS and walked inside after picking his sonic screwdriver up from where he dropped it trying to release Barney. He set the paper carelessly on the floor and took off his coat. Instinctively, he threw it on a fork in one of the big pillars.
"I have a coat hanger," he thought aloud, glancing back at the black pole with hooks that stood close to the door. Martha had randomly pointed it out once, but he sort of ignored it. He always ignored her. Poor Martha Jones...
"I still bet Agatha Christie's brilliant. Maybe I'll give her a visit after this Adipose business," he said. He froze on his way to the controls.
"I'm talking to myself again. Even at this very second, I'm speaking to no one. Yeah..." The Doctor flipped a switch and pressed a few buttons.
"Here goes nothing!" he yelled in excitement as the TARDIS took off.