This is an AU from The Pandorica Opens which ignores The Big Bang (which I haven't seen yet, so no spoilers :P). Written for my own sadistic pleasure! Let me know if you were traumatised. If so I will count this fic a success! :3
They shut him in the box and all is dark.
The Doctor screams. "Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! LET ME OUT!" He jerks his wrists uselessly; they are securely restrained to the arms of his chair. He cannot move.
He continues to scream.
It occurs to him five minutes later that he is still screaming and his throat is not sore. Why is this? He comes to the brilliant conclusion that in this box is a contained antineural spatial time loop, which is also the reason why he has not ceased to exist. He could stay in here for twenty – no, one hundred – no, one thousand years...and not even have to regenerate. He will not grow thirsty or hungry. His sight will not be impaired by the darkness. He will not be tired, and his body will not let him sleep. He will be fine and dandy and energetic as when he got shut in here...one thousand years to this day.
Ouch. No, that's not a comforting thought. Go away, thought. Shoo.
One thousand years locked in this box, no sleep, conscious the entire time. And possibly not just one thousand years...a thousand trillion years, a million trillion years, all of time until the universe dies. No. Time loop, remember, and the universe is dead anyway so...trapped forever.
FOREVER. Never sleeping, never dying, never even needing to close his eyes to the black void, locked in a chair in a box for all eternity which is a damned long time. And it will never END.
No. No. No. Nonononono NO.
He starts screaming again. "LET ME OUT!" He knows that he will not be heard and still he screams for half an hour. And then he thinks because he is the Doctor and he will not give up. He will not give up.
Five hours later he has plumbed all possible escape routes, all fix-it routes. There is nothing that he can do. He does not know what is on the other side of the walls that are enclosing him. He does not know if someone has saved the day or not. What if the universe still exists on the other side of those walls? Amy. River. Rory. Will they guess that he is in here? They might. Maybe they will find their way through the security protocols, rescue him. Or maybe they're dead.
Ten hours after that.
The Doctor hates waiting so, so much. And here he is just sitting, waiting, waiting for NOTHING for SOMETHING he is sitting there and he is waiting and he is quite possibly the only thinking being to exist now anywhere everywhere all of time and space. Last of the Time Lords. Last thinking being. No. Not just last thinking being. Last thing. Last thing to exist. Him and the Pandorica. He gives a ragged, cracked laugh. The chair and the box, his only company. Oh, and his bow tie. They are cool, right?
Twenty hours spent working out a new mathematical theory which he'd never had time for before.
Five hours spent composing a piece of music in his head, entitled For Amy, and he regrets it will never be played.
Thirty hours disproving his own theory.
Six hours spent apologising to every companion he's ever had.
Four hours analysing War and Peace and figuring out complex character motives and developing offbeat theories that Amy would laugh at and then she tells him to shush, read Harry Potter instead, it's my favourite, but he's already read that, Amy, he read the seventh book before you did. Her face turns mock serious and she clings to his arm and makes him take her into the future to buy all the final releases in series of books that haven't been completed yet in 2010, and then he remembers that it is dark and he screams.
A day spent running through alien languages in his head.
A week, and he swears he is about to go stark raving mad.
A month and he stares blankly into space, thinking of nothing.
A year. A year of nothing but his own thoughts passes and he wonders absently when he's going to go mad. His mind has grown used to the unbearable impossible boredom and emptiness.
Two years and he is not sure that he is not mad.
Ten years and he no longer cares.
It continues without end, respite, relief, the emptiness and the darkness and the claustrophobia and the exhaustion. He has an exceptionally long and potent memory, so he does not forget anything, as such. It is just buried under the blank, grey emptiness of his mind, because he cannot think of anything worth remembering. Except there is red. There is red hair and a scarf and a twang to a language that he knows, possibly an Earth language, and a name. It is Amelia. Amelia Pond. Amy.
Fifty years and if he was coherent enough to think straight he would say to himself, yes, definitely insane now, it's absolutely certain. Sorry, you're off your rocker.
Seventy years and he realises how long and then he never screams again because why? Why? Why should he scream anyway?
One hundred years and he is practically gibbering inside his own head. The Doctor hates waiting.
Two hundred years and he can't remember why he is counting, how can he count anyway, but he just knows doesn't he, he's the Lord of Time! Time of Lords! Time Lord! And he knows the way that the tiny tiny tiny specks of time pass, every single one! Every single one for ALL OF ETERNITY -
Three hundred years and the Pandorica rocks and shudders and groans and he would feel like he was upside down if he was sane, jerking all around, around, around, around! And a part of him long dead comes back and says to him, hey, what if we're falling through a crack and into another universe? What if what if what if?
And twenty minutes but that sort of time is nothing to him now. He can wait for twenty minutes, Amy did...but he doesn't remember what for. But he does remember. But he doesn't really. It's complicated.
There is a crack of light. It sears down his vision like a knife and he leans towards it as best he can like a starved person towards a meal.
A final shudder, a jerk, and then the cuffs open and the collar rises and by Amy he is FREE
And he stands and he finds out that he can move his legs in a certain way that swings his body forward and he can move himself and it all happens very fluidly. Yes. But he hasn't enough room to really walk, really walk. He presses himself against the box, starved, starved, starved.
He hears voices.
"The Pandorica. I thought it was a fairytale." It is his own voice. He knows it because he has listened to his own voice sososososomuch for all this time.
"Obviously not," says the smug woman. A twinge of memory and suddenly his ears are straining for Amy.
"The Pandorica is opening," he says again in an awestruck voice. "I was sure it was a legend...a box from another universe, landing here in the early days, sitting here for millenia...and here we are, witnessing its opening..."
This isn't quite how it happened last time, is it? No, no, no, but in parallel universes anything can be different, right? He uses intellect long unused and deduces that this universe is almost exactly the same as his own world, just deviates at the Pandorica part. Oooh, look, we sounded so clever just then!
The crack opens wider. Not a jagged bad hungry crack, silly, it is a straight crack and the Pandorica is opening and this time he's on the other side, aha.
"You said that there was a genocidal trickster in there, right?" AND IT IS HER. He flings himself against the corner of the box, LET ME OUT! "You said 'soaked in the blood of millions'. And it's been trapped in there for ages, right? So, why are we opening it?"
"I'm sure we'll be able to reason with it," says the Doctor cheerfully.
River snorts. "He's not sure, Amy. Don't be fooled."
"Ahhh, I get it, Doctor. You just want to see what's inside!" He drinks in every word that she says.
"Yes – no – well, that's not the point, Pond. Steady on, we'll see what's inside in a moment..."
And the crack is wide enough AND HE IS THROUGH into the cool air and the grass under his boots and the sight! He blinks a couple of times, but he cannot get used to the bright, bright, bright things to see. He staggers foward and pants and pants and breathes in the sweet tasty air like it is that lovely drink they make in the Academy Dining Hall and he raises trembling fingers, hands, and steps forward and for a second of clarity he knows he is quite, quite insane and his eyes are showing it.
The Doctor takes a step back and he's got one of those classic NO looks on his face, absolutely classic! And the insane one laughs at him. And River gasps and raises her hands to her mouth. "Oh my God."
Amy shrieks, short and sharp and shocked. Shhhhhhh. Nice sound. SHHHHHH
But she screams again, and he stops. "There are – Doctor! There are two of you! You were –"
"I noticed, Amy," he says tersely. And the insane one snarls at him because he had not appropriately worshiped her name with his voice.
The Doctor whips out his sonic screwdriver and steps in front of her and he raises it and scans him, up and down. The insane one spreads his arms wide. "Go on then, scan me," he laughs. "I am the Doctor... and you are the Doctor! Believe it!" He tries a grin. River. Memories are coming back. River does not normally shrink back like that. She is brave and confident. He reaches out a shaking hand, it is not supposed to shake like that stop shaking and she glares at him.
"Stay calm!" the Doctor snaps at the other two. He is obviously distressed. "Now...what are you? You're some kind of shapeshifter, dangerous enough to be locked inside that box for centuries..."
"It could have been worse, I was contemplating infinity," says the insane Doctor. His legs are trembling. "Infinity in all its glory, is so DULL!" He shouts the last word and stamps his feet. Amy shivers.
"Who are you? What are your crimes, shape changer?" There he is, on the receiving end of his own Oncoming Storm glare. Ooh! A name!
"I am the Doctor, Theta Sigma, Last of the Time Lords, The Oncoming Storm," says the Doctor. "My crimes are uncountable. I have killed millions and committed genocide over and over and my hands are drenched with their blood. I have dropped out of the sky and upheaved the lives of so, so many. The Universe knows me and fears me. I am the destroyer of my own people and I was there on the day Gallifrey turned to ash."
Amy gives a little gasp and the Doctor has turned white. "Stop it!" he yells. "Stop it! Don't you dare – don't –please stop-" The screwdriver falls from his shaking fingers and the insane one giggles faintly. Amy looks faintly sick. River puts a comforting arm on the Doctor's shoulder but he shrugs it off.
"I ask you again," he says. "Who are you? How did you come to be locked in the Pandorica?"
"I am the Doctor, and they said I would destroy the universe," he says dreamily. "They locked me in there for so long. So long."
The Doctor shakes his head slowly like he cannot believe what he is hearing.
"Doctor," Amy says. Her voice and her hands are trembling. "Doctor, is that...actually you?"
"YES!" he snaps, whirling around to face her, and she clenches her fists and refuses to back down and she is trembling but standing up to him and the insane one takes another staggering step forwards, longing to be closer to Her.
"I think it is," he says in a kinder voice after a moment. "Sorry. I'm sorry, Amy –"
"Then you did all those things that it said."
"I am no it, Amy Pond," says the insane one, takes another step. "Oh, Amy. Amy Amy Amy." He lurches towards her. River picks up the screwdriver and trains it on him and he reluctantly halts in place, swaying slightly.
"So, you killed your own people. That's why they're dead." She is horrified.
"I KNOW THAT and it will haunt me for the rest of my life!" he roars. River restrains the insane one from lunging forward but she cannot stop him from speaking.
"Am I insane? Am I insane?" He laughs and Amy and the Doctor stare at him. "Yes. Yes. But so are you." He continues to laugh. Amy is disgusted and the Doctor is tight faced. She clutches his arm, and he doesn't shake her off.
"Forgiven me already?" he says wistfully. "I haven't."
And then he kicks River in the shin hard and she gasps and he whips around and punches her in the gut, twice, and she collapses. "Oh, sorry. No violence. Not meant to use violence. Swore off it, didn't I? Right. Sorry." He is getting better at walking. He walks towards Amy, his eyes locked on her, her beautiful copper-red hair.
"Yes," he whispers, and a memory stirs. "Yes."
She can see hunger and desperation and loneliness and utter insanity in his eyes, his face, his reaching hands, and she screams and drags the Doctor backwards with her, but he is rooted to the spot in absolute abject horror.
"Amy – remember this –" And he grins and he reaches and clutches her hair, her beautiful gorgeous hair, tangles it in his hands, and she screams in pain when the Doctor pulls her away.
"I am definitely a mad man with a box."