Not mine, no money, no sue.
Very nervous about this one! Combining two of my favourite things, arrgh, no pressure.
One day, while he was at school, his medical records at the prison were abruptly updated. With everything.
He hadn't even known all that about his body. The scientists who'd studied him as a toddler hadn't even guessed. Minion hadn't had the foggiest idea.
It was the first clue.
Ten year old Mo sobbed into his hands and ignored the voice outside his cell. Minion had stopped trying to get the boy to stop, and now simply pressed his glass globe against the thin little body, offering such comfort as he could.
"Want to talk about it?"
The new guard had an accent. Mo rolled over on his cot, his hands pressing against his ears, sobbing harder to drown it out. Stupid man. Talking didn't help. Nothing helped. He couldn't be dyed a different colour and his head couldn't be shrunk. What did he think talking would achieve?
There was a peculiar buzzing sound, and the sound of the cell door unlocking. A weight on the end of the cot made Mo jerk his head around to face the guard, tell him to go away.
It wasn't a guard. At least, there was no uniform. The man sitting nonchalantly at the end of his bed had a close-cropped head, a fierce patrician's nose and prominent ears. His face was stern, forbidding and somehow dangerous – craggy and closed. A black leather jacket covered a simple green sweater and black trousers.
"Who're you?" Mo asked suspiciously, sniffing.
"Me? Just a friend." The man smiled, and it transformed his whole face. Suddenly he seemed young as a child. "Do you like bananas? Got a whole bunch here, can't eat 'em all."
"What do you want?" Mo struggled to sit up, wiping his eyes roughly with the back of his hand.
"Thought I'd come introduce myself, seein' as I was in the neighbourhood. Sure you don't want a banana?"
"You don't have any," Mo pointed out, and Minion rolled closer curiously, his jaw clamped shut in front of the stranger.
"Oh really?" The man positively grinned. It was a touch manic.
"Your hands are empty and you wouldn't be able to fit a whole bunch in that coat," Mo folded his arms, and sniffed again.
"You need a hanky, it's rude to keep sniffin' like that," the man said in a gentler tone.
"S'pose you've got one of them too?" said Mo scornfully, and then flushed as he saw the man draw a large red handkerchief from an inside pocket.
"Keep it," the man dropped it into Mo's lap and leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees.
"Thank you," Mo mumbled, and blew his nose noisily.
"Why were you cryin', then?" the man asked in a straightforward manner. Mo sensed that he wouldn't be put off for long, and sighed, bowing to the inevitable.
"I don't want to go back to shool," he confessed stormily. "I hate it, an' they make fun of me, an' I'm always in trouble."
The corner of the man's mouth quirked up. "I was like that in school too."
"I'm just… I'm just so diff'rent. I don't want to be diff'rent! I want to be like the others an' then Painy Wayne wouldn't throw things at me, an' Miss Phelps would like me, an' I wouldn't always be left out!"
"Don't like bein' smart, then?"
Mo blinked, taken aback. He knew he was smart – probably the smartest person in the whole of the L'il Gifted Shool, in the whole prison, maybe even the city. It was a nice feeling; he did like being smart. He was proud of his inventions, even the ones that got him sent to the corner. He had generally assumed it had something to do with his outsized head – but then, everyone else acted as though his head was a kind of defect. So he'd learned to be slightly ashamed as well. Drawing too much attention to his differences was dangerous.
"I guess," he said hesitantly.
"Nope, you know." The man looked at him sidelong, and raised his eyebrows. "Got to be annoying, bein' surrounded by a bunch of stupid apes who can't understand you."
Stupid apes – Mo liked that. "S'pose," he said shyly.
"Everyone's so slow, aren't they? They never keep up," the man lifted his chin slightly as though waiting for something.
"Yeah!" Mo agreed with building enthusiasm.
"An' it's nice to be special for something, right?"
"After all, if you were like all the others, you'd be just another stupid ape on a planet full of 'em. You wouldn't be cleverer than anyone on this rock – except me, o'course, I'm brilliant, I'm a genius, but I'm not always around. Now you can keep wishin' for something that can't ever happen, or you can stand up and be proud of yourself an' what you can do." The man stood suddenly and paged through some of the drawings tacked three-deep on Mo's wall.
The boy jerked back as if struck. It wasn't right, it wasn't fair that he should have to hear this, not from someone just like everyone else. "What do you want?" Mo pushed Minion aside and stood, his small fists clenched.
"This'll explode if you build it to these specs, an' maybe boil your friend there," the man said absently, tapping at Mo's design for a robot body for Minion. "Use another power source. Still got anythin' left of your pod?"
The man's non-sequitur confused Mo, and he shook his head. "N-no, it got taken away by the scientists…"
The man scowled. "Bet I know where it is. Was hoping not to have to go back there again, thought they'd learned their lesson last time. I hate repeating myself. Human beings, never satisfied."
A strange suspicion began to dawn on Mo.
"Anyway, there should be ionic thrusters, navcomp an' a life support running off a haendric drive. Bit crude, considerin'," the man pulled a face, "but clever. An' there wasn't enough time to build anythin' more elegant, I'm guessin'."
"What… who are you?" Mo asked in shock, his eyes widening.
"Oh, didn't I say? I'm the Doctor, hello!" he waved a hand absently, still leafing through Mo's designs.
"I'm Mo," Mo said, "what sort of Doctor?"
"Oh, everythin'. Anythin'. Except medicine, an' you wouldn't believe how many times that mistake has been made." He dropped the design of the dodgeball helmet, and turned to face the boy. "I know your fish can speak, by the way."
"Wha…" Mo span to face Minion, who looked defensive.
"Don't look at me, Sir, I didn't let on!"
Mo whipped back to face this doctor. "How did you know?"
"Got my ways, me."
Mo clicked his fingers in realisation. "You must have heard the guards."
"Guards?" The Doctor looked blank. "Oh right, prison. Kid, when you've been thrown into as many cells as I have, you just start to ignore 'em."
"You didn't…?" This strange man had to be lying.
"I came here to talk to you, not guards," the Doctor snorted.
"Because you're important." He reached a hand into his jacket, and brought out a thin silver tube, like a pen. Pressing a button, he pointed it at Minion briefly, and then checked the side of the thing. "Hmm."
"What did you do!" Mo shrieked, and snatched up his friend, holding him to his chest protectively. "What is that thing?"
"Calm down," the Doctor said irritably. "Just wanted to see what that translation doohickey was made of. Very nice work, by the way. Yours?"
Mo just glared at him, his skinny chest heaving.
The Doctor sighed. "Sorry. Sorry, should've asked."
"It… it was my parents," Mo said, still glaring. "Before they sent me away."
"Sonic screwdriver," was all the Doctor said.
Mo's eyes narrowed. "What?"
The Doctor held up the tube. "Sonic screwdriver. That's what it is."
"Oh…" Mo slowly sat back down, his anger dissipating. "What's a son-eeck screwdriver?"
"No, it's sonic… oh, that'll be that higher soft palette of yours." The Doctor chuckled and leaned back against Mo's tiny steel desk. "It's… well, it's a tool, I guess. Does all sorts. Very handy."
"Like what?" Mo leaned forward over Minion's globe slightly, craning. He loved new tools.
"Like open cell doors," the Doctor said pointedly, nodding at the bars.
Mo looked at them, and then back at the Doctor. "That's not possible."
The Doctor smirked.
"It's like a key, then?"
"No!" the Doctor said crossly. "Like I said, it's a tool. Opens things, closes things, resonates things, does lots of things to other things. An' that's enough of an answer."
"Son-eeck…" Mo mused. "Like soundwaves. So pitch an' frequency an' that, specific levels to achieve certain things. That'sawesome."
The Doctor grimaced. "An' that's technology this planet isn't supposed to have for another four hundred years, an' I should really learn to keep my mouth shut."
There it was again.
"You…" Mo began, and a lump in his throat forced his voice to stop.
The Doctor just looked at him steadily. "Yeah. Not human."
"Gave you enough clues, a smart lad like you." The Doctor's diamond-drill blue eyes were ancient - powerful and angry and lonely. Mo could barely look at them. How had he first assumed that this man was human?
The boy was trembling as he carefully set Minion down on the cot, and stood. His legs felt like jelly as he moved closer to the tall, forbidding man, studying him with a touch of fear. "What are you?" he asked in a whisper.
"Time Lord. Oh, stop, I don't bite."
"Time Lord?" Mo raised an eyebrow. "That's a pretty silly name…"
The Doctor glanced down at him, and then threw his head back and laughed. The laughter was touched with pain and anger. "Guess it is."
"And you… know stuff, about me?"
"Clue's in the silly name. Time Lord. Sort of my business, time. An' space. Yeah, I know where you're from. I know why you came here. I know who you become. An' I know why your planet's gone."
Mo couldn't breathe, and for the first time in his life, couldn't even think.
"Before I say anythin'," the Doctor said quietly, "I'll ask your forgiveness."
Mo's breath jolted back into his body so quickly it was painful.
There was a long silence. The Doctor's frightening eyes fixed onto the far wall of the cell, pits of black memory. He took a deep breath as though he needed to centre himself, and then began to speak in a low tone.
"There was a war," he said, curiously inflection-free. "My people an' another race. The Time War. The universes heaved an' groaned, causality took on no meaning, an' planet after planet was roasted or frozen an' forced to hang suspended in that moment until the end of time. The walls of reality fell, and nightmares stalked the stars.
"There was a small system, a yellow sun with one of the universe's only pair of twin planets orbiting it. It was the one of the marvels of that galaxy. Both were occupied by intelligent, sapient life. The peoples were very different, but after maybe six hundred years of interplanetary war, they settled their differences an' lived side by side for hundreds of thousands of years. They even decided to call the twin planets by the same name. It… it was called Arcadia."
"Arcadia…" Mo breathed. Minion gave a soft gasp of recognition.
"That… species that my people were fighting wanted to take over the whole of Time an' Space," the Doctor's voice was full of hatred and acid, and Mo wanted to clap his hands over his ears again, just to make it stop. But he couldn't move at all, and his breath was still dragging painfully into his body. The blood was screaming in his ears; the thud of his heart and the voice of the Time Lord was all he could hear. "They set a time-trap on Arcadia's sun."
The Doctor laughed hollowly. "We had the choice between collapsing the sun an' losing one of the wonders of that galaxy an' over nineteen billion lives, or allowing the trap to activate an' igniting whole star clusters. Quadrillions upon quadrillions of lives."
His shorn head dropped. "I… I was the one they decorated for the fall of Arcadia. It was a glorious victory against the Daleks. They called me a hero. An' I could think of nothin' but nineteen billion lives. Gone, dead at my hands."
Mo began to shake.
The Doctor didn't seem to notice, wrapped in his bitterness. "An' now it's all over, they're dead, my people dead, the Daleks dead, everyone dead. Except me."
The blue eyes flicked up to pierce the boy. "An' you."
The shaking was going to rattle his bones loose. He was going to pass out. Spots danced in front of his eyes.
"You're a Parnit Arcadian. Your planet was Panitas, in the Blaupunkt Quadrant. The other was Plurit, in the Glaupunkt. Your friend there is a Jarretfish. Your people were musicians and scholars and scientists. They built beautiful buildings an' loved to sing an' dance an' swim. They were famous for their oceans an' for the tiny little sweet cakes they made, an' the brilliance of their glowing cities. They planted the cralla vine everywhere, an' the air was fresh with it. They were tolerant an' peaceful, an' they loved to learn. They were… they were fantastic."
Mo's tears were blinding him. This wasn't fair, this couldn't be fair. He'd wanted to know so badly, and now he wished he'd never found out. This Doctor was evil, this Doctor was cruel, how could he walk into Mo's life and tell him this?
"You…" Mo managed.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor said simply, and hung his head again. The blue eyes slid closed.
"You…!" Mo screamed, and he flew at the man. His skinny fists beat furiously against the leather, bare feet kicking at the Doctor's shins. "You… killed them! You killed them! You… it's because of you! It's because of you I don't have a mum or dad! It's because of you! You… you…!"
The Doctor let the boy beat at him, his shoulders hunched into his jacket like a turtle retreating into its shell. Mo tried to reach the man's face to claw at his eyes, but couldn't reach. Eventually he slid to the floor, sobbing hysterically.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor said again.
"You killed my mum and dad," Mo wept bitterly.
Mo took a huge breath, and then kicked the Doctor's legs as hard as he could. "I hate you!"
"You should," the Doctor said grimly.
"Sir…? Sir! Sir…!" Minion's calls penetrated through Mo's misery, and the boy choked on another sob before hurling himself towards his friend and curling himself around the globe on the cot. His thin body heaved with sobs.
"I'm so sorry," the Doctor said again. His accented voice was dark with sorrow.
Mo cried and cried. It felt like he cried forever, his chest rattling and his eyes burning.
Eventually, his tears ran dry and he was hiccuping and panting in the aftermath. He felt wrung out by some giant hand, empty and discarded. His eyes were scratchy and they stung.
A gentle hand on the boy's back made his shuddering breath halt, and then he curled tighter around Minion's ball, squeezing his eyes shut. He didn't want to see the Doctor, didn't want to know what he had to say.
"Might want to use that hanky again," came the gentle suggestion, and Mo snorted.
"What do you care!" he spat furiously. The hand on his back stiffened, and then relaxed.
"I care," the Doctor said softly. "If I didn't, then I wouldn't be here."
"I don't need you to care!"
"Everyone needs someone to care. Especially if they're the last one left," the Doctor said distantly.
"I'm the last one left," Mo gasped aloud, his heart thudding against the glass of Minion's dome. "Minion's the last Jarretfish…"
"An' I'm the last of the Time Lords," the Doctor said quietly.
"We should have badges," whispered Minion, and Mo laughed shakily at the stupid joke, the stupid joke that was his survival. He had no tears left, but he wanted to cry again.
"An' I've done my last duty to Panitas Arcadia," the Doctor sighed, patting Mo's back and standing. "I'll get goin', let you grieve in private. Pretty sure you don't want to see my daft old face right now."
Mo's eyes snapped open. "I'm not the only one," he said suddenly. His head was swirling.
"What?" The Doctor span back to the boy.
"There's another one, Wayne… Wayne Scott, he's from the other planet, uh, Plurit. I saw him when we left in our pods," Mo said in a rush, and the Doctor's mouth opened slightly in understanding, before he nodded.
"Oh right, Metr… oops, timelines. Yeah, I know about him, I'm seein' him next. Might go for a spin in the vortex first though, give me a chance to calm down. You get as old as me, you need a breather."
"Vortex…?" Mo said suspiciously. The man couldn't be more than forty-five.
The Doctor regarded him for a moment thoughtfully. "Want to see?"
The man grinned that wide manic grin, and Mo was instantly suspicious of the about-turn of emotion. "My spaceship."
"Your spaceship," scoffed Mo, his breath starting to hitch again. "Yeah right. Leave me alone. I never want to see you again."
"Think I owe it to you," the Doctor said after a brief pause, and Mo's brow furrowed.
"You owe me a lot more than that," he hissed, and flopped back down on the bed. Minion rolled over to his charge, his gold-brown eyes sympathetic and worried.
There was a sigh, and a clank as the door of the cell was shut, and that weird buzzing sound.
When Mo lifted his head, the Doctor was gone. A lone banana was sitting innocently on his little desk.
Though he'd wanted the man – the murderer - to leave, now that he'd actually left, Mo felt slightly bereft. The strangeness of him had been compelling, his quicksilver changes of mood jarring and fascinating. He'd understood Mo's inventions and known his planet. His craggy face had been quite ordinary, but Mo had a feeling it concealed something even more alien than him, something both wonderful and terrifying.
"I'm sorry, Sir," Minion murmured, his globe pressed against the boy's orange-suited arm. "I'd forgotten. But he was right, the minute he said 'Arcadia', I knew he was right."
"I wish he'd never told me," he clutched at Minion, his eyes beginning to sting again. It would be a miracle if he had any tears in him left to shed. "I wish I didn't know!"
There were strange reports from Europe over the next four years.
Mo followed them avidly, even as he was expelled, invented a new name and found a purpose.
At fifteen, he hacked into UNIT's files, looking for more information on all these UFO sightings and disturbances.
He closed them immediately. He wasn't curious about Europe anymore.
"You were right," said a light tenor voice outside his cell.
Megamind's eyes snapped up from his drafting board. "I usually am. Who are you?"
The man in the long brown trenchcoat snorted. "Now-ah! Haven't you gotten bold in five years!"
A black eyebrow raised. "Five years? Did I meet you at shool?"
"Weeeell, you were in school… but nope, I met you here. I really don't think you're likely to have forgotten it."
"I've never met you before in my life," Megamind said shortly, and turned back to his drafting board. Just some idiot visitor who had to go prod at the alien resident. Best to ignore him.
"I see it finally happened," the man said sadly, and leaned his forehead against the bars. "You made the decision."
Megamind blew out a breath gustily. This irritating person needed to go away, he was like an itch in the corner of his eye. How could he concentrate when this stranger kept babbling at him? "I'm about to make another one. Go away."
"I won't let you use that, by the way," the man said in a pleasant voice.
"Use what?" Megamind snorted.
"That poisonous smoke generator. Can't have that. You use that, you'll have to deal with me."
Megamind glanced at the man, who hadn't moved from his place in front of the bars. His young-ish face was still open and genial, under a spiky quiff of brown hair. His hands were thrust deep into the pockets of a brown pinstriped suit, and he rocked back on the heels of a pair of converse trainers idly.
"You don't look like you'd present much of a threat," Megamind said scornfully.
"And there you'd be wrong," the man tipped his head, and one hand emerged to tug at his ear. "There isn't a higher authority in the universe than me."
Oh great, a lunatic. "Do tell," Megamind rolled his eyes.
"You were such a nice kid, Mo," the man said then, a little sadly. "Was what happened to you so bad that you have to resort to killing?"
The man knew his name. Megamind balled his fists, pushing back from his drafting board. "It's Megamind," he spat, spinning around to face him, and was rocked backwards at the sight of those eyes.
The last time he'd seen eyes like that, they were blue. These were brown, and full of loneliness. And guilt.
"Call yourself what you want - I do," said the man, scrunching his face. "Doesn't change the fact that you're still Mo."
"Are you… you can't be…"
"Hello!" the man waved a hand in a very familiar fashion, and Megamind's breath caught again.
"You…! What the hell are you doing here! Get out, get out! I never wanted to see you again! I never want to see you again! Get out!" he raged, his body taut with fury.
"No can do, Mega-Mo. Had to come back – you were right. Naturally I had to do something about it."
Megamind stopped short, his raging derailed. "What do you mean? Right about what?"
"That I owed you more than that," the Doctor said (but the Doctor had been dark and bitter and Northern, how, how was this the same man…?). His converse-clad foot reached back deftly, and rolled a battered sphere towards the bars. "Had to pull in a favour or two, and Jack is going to kill me when he finds out, but there it is. Your pod."
Megamind reeled. "That's… my pod? That's really it!"
"It really is," the Doctor confirmed, slipping a hand inside his jacket and bringing out that sonic screwdriver. "Hang on a mo – get it? Hang on a… ah, no-one appreciates good humour anymore. Anyway, let's get this over to you. Move back a bit there kiddo, and I'll just open this door…"
Shuffling backwards, Megamind kept his eyes locked on the grey ball he had arrived in. The end of the little device glowed a brilliant blue, and the cell door clicked open. The Doctor lifted the little spaceship awkwardly, and tottered under its weight to the cot, where he deposited it.
"There," he said with satisfaction, before turning back to the gobsmacked Megamind. "Well, go on then!"
Megamind felt an involuntary smile cross his face, before he fell upon the battered pod, his hands tracing the lines and soaking up the warmth of it. Opening the cracked glass hatch, he closed his eyes and stuck his head in, taking a deep breath.
Fresh with it, the Doctor had said. The air in the pod still smelled fresh, like ozone, but sweet too. It tugged strangely at him, and he blinked back the threat of tears.
"Cralla vine," the Doctor said softly.
Megamind bit his lip and turned back to the Doctor slowly. "You… you look…"
"Improvement, isn't it?" The Doctor grinned, that same mad maniacal grin, and twirled on the spot, coat-vents flaring. "Never much fun to go through, though. First you've got to die, and I've never been any good at controlling the process. Always wanted to be ginger, never been ginger. Ah well, maybe next time."
"Totally different," Megamind said in fascination, moving closer to the – to the other alien.
"Not totally," the Doctor's jaw fixed, and his eyes met Megamind's grimly.
Megamind's breath caught. "Something's happened."
"Doesn't concern you, don't you worry your giant blue head about it," the Time Lord waved it off, but paused when he saw the frown crossing Megamind's lips. "All right. All right. I owe you that too – the truth, I mean."
He sighed massively, and sat down at Megamind's drafting chair, resting his elbows on his knees. "Well. The Time Lords, they had rules and laws and strictures to follow regarding interference with other species and with affecting the flow of history. Not that it stopped them if they felt it was necessary, I mean, the sheer cheek of it, sending me off with a Time Ring with a pat on the head! The arrogance of it… but that was at least five hundred years ago, and I'm getting off track, aren't I?"
Megamind nodded dumbly. Five hundred years…?
"So, now they're gone. Just me, Guardian of Time, alone to hold the rules and regs. Now, I've never been all that good at following rules and regs. And I'm pants at responsibility…"
The Doctor's eyes unfocused. "There was a woman. A brilliant woman, changed the course of Earth's history. Problem is, to do that, she had to die. And I tried to change her timeline, tried to save her. I... I became the Time Lord Victorious, something wrong, something so wrong the whole universe would have risen up against me. I would have become more dangerous than the Daleks ever were – no rules, no limitations, just my whims and wishes, controlling the flow of Time forevermore."
The Doctor swallowed. "She stopped me. She took it… into her own hands."
Megamind's breath hitched. "She…"
He nodded, face hard as a hatchet. "Oh yes."
"Oh," Megamind sat back down next to his pod with a thump.
There was a deep silence.
"Now, let's talk about this… thing you're designing, hmm?" The Doctor whipped out a pair of rectangular glasses and perched them on his nose, peering at the draftboard. "Weather manipulator, acid droplets, cloud seeder, poisonous fumes. Very clever. Very dangerous. What do you think you're doing?"
Megamind scowled. "It's a weather-manipulator with droplets of corrosive…"
"It's a weapon," the Doctor said bluntly. "Don't you dare."
"You can talk," Megamind accused furiously, and the Doctor sighed, running a hand through his wild hair.
"I can understand why you'd feel that way. But listen to me: Life is always precious. You shouldn't do this, no matter what you've been through. We're not talking saving a star cluster here; this is all about revenge, and don't deny it. Don't you dare. Don't hurt anyone, don't kill anyone, don't ever even try. Or I'll have to stop you."
"You've killed! You've hurt! You destroyed nineteen billion people! You couldn't even stop that woman from dying!" Megamind spat, standing. The Doctor's eyes grew cold as diamond.
"And look, just look where it got me," he growled. "I am alone, Mo, my people destroyed and my friends are in parallel dimensions, won't talk to me, or can't even remember me. I have my ship, that's it."
Megamind looked back at where his pod sat, looking very small on the cot.
"Yeah," the Doctor smiled sardonically. "Thought you'd understand."
"You don't understand!" the teen blurted. "I have to, it's my destiny! I have to be bad!"
"Not that bad," the Doctor said sternly. "Give 'em a show. They like that. I had a sword-fight on a spaceship over London a few years ago, that was a doozy. But destined?" the Time Lord laughed shortly. "Mo, remember who's talking here. Lord of Time. One thing I can promise you is in nine hundred years of travelling the stars, I've never come across this Destiny thing."
Megamind sat back down shakily. "Then… what about that timeline thing you mentioned? With that woman?"
The Doctor beamed. "Aw, brilliant, you are brilliant, you!" Then his expression grew a trifle rueful, and he scratched at the back of his neck. "Aaaaaaand this is why the clever ones give me a headache. Look, time isn't linear. It's a big old mess of timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly crazy paving rolled into a ball and chewed. The universes press against each other, thin as paper, and it never takes all that much to break the walls down. Some things are fixed – can't be changed. Some are fluid. Either way, what happens, happens because of people, because their actions flow out of who they are. Fate, Destiny… that's just an idea thrown around by people wanting to take over the world, or sell you something."
Megamind's hand fidgeted over his pod. "I… I'm not destined to be a supervillain?"
"You're destined to be Megamind," said the Doctor evenly. "What Megamind is, is up to you."
Megamind sat stock-still for a moment, mind racing. It was too big, too huge to think about right now, so he latched onto that impossible statement the Doctor had said earlier.
"Are you really nine hundred years old…? And you died?"
The Doctor's mouth quirked up. "Brilliant."
Megamind preened a little. "I know. Are you really?"
"Give or take a century," the Doctor shrugged a little. "You lose track out in the Vortex. Besides, I've been lying about my age since I was six hundred… anything above a thousand just sounds so… middle-aged."
The teen blinked.
"And yes, I died. I've died nine times. This is my tenth body." The Doctor looked down at his hands. "Not long now."
"Not long…?" Megamind was fascinated, his interest winning out over the slow, simmering pain bubbling in the pit of his stomach.
The Doctor sighed. "I've been getting… clues, I guess. I'm not going to be wearing this face for much longer. I don't want to go, but if I have to, I hope it's for something worthwhile. And that I'm ginger next time."
"You don't want to go? But aren't you the same person?" Megamind scooted to the very edge of the cot. The Doctor's eyebrows raised.
"Yes, I'll still be me, but a certain viewpoint, a certain way of experiencing the worlds - that'll die with this face. The new face will still be me, but not entirely. Am I the exact same man you met in this cell when you were ten? Are you the same person you were at ten?"
Megamind thought about it. "No… but…"
"Right. All the lines get redrawn." The Doctor stood, a long thin blur of tan. "And now I think you should take me up on my offer to go for a quick trip in the TARDIS."
"Nonononono, TARDIS, she's my ship, she…."
"No, it's – aw, forget it."
Megamind looked back at the sleeping Minion, and then at the Doctor. "The guards…" he mumbled.
"It's a time machine," the Doctor said testily. "They won't even know."
Megamind brightened. "Oh, well, in that case…"
The Doctor poked his head out of the cell door, slipping silently on rubber-soled feet into the grey corridor. "Allons-y," he said, a giant grin covering his face. Megamind picked his sleeping friend's globe out of the robot-suit protoype, and crept on bare feet after him.
"Aaaaaand there she is!" the Doctor said proudly, gesturing.
"That's it?" Megamind said incredulously.
"Oy! Best ship in the universe!" the Doctor said defensively, towering over the diminutive boy.
It was just a blue box, maybe six feet high and three by three around the base. Panels declaring its' purpose as a 'POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX' lined the top, and there was another sign set into its' door. A fairly dinky-looking light surmounted the whole.
"Whatever you say," Megamind said doubtfully.
The Doctor flexed his hands pointedly, before giving the teen a smug little smirk. "Oh, I say," he said cheerfully, and clicked his fingers.
The doors swung in.
Megamind almost dropped Minion.
It was… it was huge inside, an echoing cathedral of space twisted into strange organic shapes and coral-like struts. The Doctor breezily pushed past the Arcadian, taking off his long coat and throwing it over one of the undersea shapes casually as he loped up a steep metal ramp to a mushroom-like console with a pillar of violent light set into it. There was movement in that pillar, and voices, Megamind could have sworn it.
"Now, what's your reaction going to be," the Doctor said in a calculated way, leaning back on a railing and eyeing the stumbling Megamind with amusement. "I do like the reactions, you know."
Megamind tested the ramp under his feet. It was real. It was all really real, and he hadn't been the victim of a pair of madmen, and there really had been an interstellar war, and his planet really had been destroyed by the alien in front of him, and he really could change his whole body when he died, and he really was nine hundred years old, give or take a century.
And he really could travel in time.
"Not going to say anything? Nothing? Nothing at all?" the Doctor sounded a mite disappointed.
Megamind trailed a hand along the railing, and then looked back out through the blue open doors. Then he looked back at the Doctor, a wicked smile hovering around his lips.
"Like the colour," he told him.
The Doctor laughed delightedly. "Brilliant!" He started bounding around the console madly, his long limbs seemingly even longer without the long tan coat. "Now, what shall we do, where shall we go?"
"I want to see…" Megamind walked up to the console and squinted at it. "Is that a time measure? Like a chronometer? And that's a brake, and that'd be a stabiliser, and that's a…"
"And you stop right there," the Doctor shuffled the boy back to the soft-looking lounge seat against one of the railings. "No introducing technology they're not ready to handle."
"But…!" Megamind looked at the console with longing.
"Ah-ah!" The Doctor held up a warning finger. "Blimey, your mind's dangerous. Pick up on the things I don't mean to say, figure out half the temporal controls before I turn around…"
"Is that the power source?" Megamind pointed to the blinding column curiously. "How much power does it take to enter this state of partial relativity and fold space?"
"It's called dimensional transcendentalism, and I said stop it!" The Doctor folded his arms.
"Can it move between the skins of the universes like you said…"
"Oy!" The Doctor pointed a finger directly into Megamind's face, and he crossed his bright green eyes to focus on it. "I said, STOP-ah!"
"Okay," Megamind squeaked.
The shout had woken Minion, who blinked sleepily. "Mmmm, Sir…?" he said blurrily, before his eyes went huge. "Sir, where are we? Who's that? What's that? Where's my body? Oh, Sir, what's going on!"
"Quiet, Minion," Megamind hissed, bringing his friend up to face-level. "That's the Doctor. This is his ship."
Minion swam around in a circle to peer suspiciously at the skinny man, eye pressing against the glass. Then he circled back to whisper to his charge, "Sir, maybe we'd better get your eyes checked…"
"Oh, hush, Minion, he changes form. It's the Doctor," Megamind asserted hotly.
The Doctor held out his hands. "It's me, Jarretfish. Promise."
Minion looked doubtful, but he swam back to face the Doctor anyway. "Well, you're looking… well. I like the makeover, was it expensive?"
The Doctor lifted his sharp chin. "Very."
"Oooh," Megamind winced. "Minion, let me do the talking, all right? Me. I do the talking. Who does the talking?"
Minion didn't answer.
"You, Sir," Minion sighed, rolling his eyes.
"That's right." Megamind gently patted the side of Minion's sphere, and looked apologetically back to the Doctor, who was watching them in bemusement.
"O-kay," he said slowly. "So, we can't go to your planet, Mo- er, Megamind, not in your personal timeline, I'm sorry. Your timeline needs to be preserved. But we can go there earlier, before the Time War? Say, five hundred years or so?"
"We can…?" Megamind sat bolt upright. "Wow. Can we?"
"Just you watch! Allons-y!"
A year later, Megamind launched himself into his supervillain career.
He did a lot of posing, and put on a show, and made a lot of people very annoyed. But he never hurt a soul.
There were more rumblings in Europe. Megamind hacked into Torchwood's mainframe and watched it all avidly.
"Amy, Rory, keep up!"
The shout startled Megamind out of his daze. He had been blissfully relaxed in the warm weather, his fingers loosely clasping Roxanne's, his eyes slitted in the sun. His head lifted briefly looking for the irritant. Couldn't they find another park to shout in? This one was special.
"Aha, there you are! For being the only Parnit Arcadian on this planet, you can be hard to find, you know."
Megamind's eyes slammed fully open. Roxanne mumbled in protest at the sudden tenseness of her boyfriend.
"Hello," said the Doctor.
"You're not ginger," Megamind said, smiling.
"Told you it was hard to control," he shrugged.
"Ah, Doctor…?" said the young red-haired woman who came up beside him, eyeing the blue alien warily. The young man who bent over puffing next to her, waved a hand perfunctorily in greeting.
"You both need leashes," he groaned.
"Oh, stop complaining, Rory, this is the friend I wanted you to meet!" The Doctor clapped long, knobbly hands together in satisfaction. "So! You're the hero now, then?"
"Megamind?" Roxanne shifted in annoyance, opening her eyes. "Can't you get your fans to take a day off?"
"Roxanne," Megamind pressed his lips against her head. "This is the Doctor. An old… friend."
"Really?" she sat up, squinting in the bright sunlight. "Hi."
"And you must be Roxanne Ritchi! Lovely, charmed, wonderful to meet you!" The Doctor grabbed her hand and shook it warmly. Roxanne watched her hand strenuously being made friends with, and smiled uncertainly back at the Doctor.
"Ah, you too. I didn't know you had English friends," she hissed back at Megamind. He looked uncomfortable.
"He's not exactly English," he said.
"Gallifreyan," the Doctor interjected.
"Is that Irish?" Roxanne wondered, and Rory snorted.
"Yeah, bit further than that," he said sarcastically, and flopped down onto the grass.
Megamind studied the Doctor's new face. Young, very young, with a huge sweep of floppy dark brown hair and greenish eyes. A striped tweed coat covered a textured pinkish shirt, with red braces and, was that really a bow-tie? Black pants and heavy black boots completed the ensemble.
"You lost all your fashion sense this time," he said, smirking, and the Doctor scowled.
"Hey, bow-ties are cool," he said defensively, fingering it fondly. "Besides, I've seen what you go around wearing. All anyone would need is a big enough magnet and they'd defeat you."
"Don't say that too loud," Megamind hissed, as Roxanne broke into giggles.
"So," said the redhead, nudging the Doctor, "introduce us, then."
"Oh, right! Amy and Rory Pond, this is Megamind and Roxanne Ritchi. Megamind's the last one of his kind, like me. I made a stop here twenty years ago to… to say hi."
"Last one of his…?" Roxanne's eyes narrowed. "Are you one of Wayne's people then?"
The Doctor snorted. "Those gymnastics-fixated athletes, not hardly. He's a Panitas Arcadian."
"Did you ever talk to him?" Megamind asked quietly.
The Doctor paused, and then nodded. "Skipped back a year, spoke to him around his ninth birthday. I think you'll find it was just afterwards that you broke your arm."
Megamind's eyes went round as the implications hit him. "Oh. Oh."
The Doctor's eyes were still ancient, still frightening and full of burning sorrow. "I'm sorry, Mo."
Megamind sighed. "He took it out on me, didn't he."
The Doctor sat down on the picnic blanket, his legs crossing like a child's. "Well, he couldn't take it out on me, I don't stick around."
"That's the bloody truth," Amy grunted.
"Now, Pond, none of that… I'm glad it worked out for you in the end, Mo." The Doctor gave Megamind a small smile, and he fought past the lump in his throat to smile back.
"It has." He glanced down at Roxanne, who was following the conversation avidly. "It has."
"Why do you call him Mo?" Roxanne interjected.
"Ah, well, that was my name," Megamind said, slightly embarrassed. "But I didn't like it."
"I always meant to ask, was it short for something?" the Doctor reached into his coat and pulled out a slightly-larger sonic screwdriver, fiddling with the toggles.
"Moses," said Megamind reluctantly. "You know, the baby in the bulrushes, sent out to be saved from catass-trophy. The whole awful thing was Moses Allen Doe. Allen was someone's idea of a joke, you know – allen, alien…"
"Mo Doe?" Rory said, biting the inside of his cheek, and Megamind winced.
"Please. Don't," he grated.
"So are you aliens too?" Roxanne asked the pair of young people, who shook their heads.
"Nope, one hundred percent human," Amy grinned, linking her fingers with Rory.
"She's at least ninety percent crazy," Rory added, and she dug him in the ribs.
"And you two are…" Amy raised her eyebrows at Roxanne, who blushed.
"Well, it's early days, but we are, yes," she said, grabbing Megamind's hand in return. Amy looked fascinated.
"Wow. Okay, Doctor, the excuses you keep giving River are starting to sound a little stupid now."
"You," the Doctor said with aspersion, "are not going to tell that woman a thing. Or you!" he pointed firmly at Rory, who looked nonplussed.
"Wha… Me? What would I say?"
Megamind laughed. "Are you being chased, Doctor?"
"More like hunted through Time and Space," the Doctor grumbled.
"She's so Mrs Doctor for the future," Amy said sotto-voce to Roxanne, who snickered at the alien's obvious disgruntlement.
"So, why are you bothering me on our date?" Megamind said with a grin to take the sting from the words.
"The Doctor said it was time to see a win," Amy said, looking back at the Time Lord, who looked pained.
"We just… well, there was a boy, called Kazran," the Doctor said slowly. "He was left out and left behind and all those things that you and I both know. And well, his love story, his happy ending…" the greenish eyes flicked to Roxanne and back, "it didn't work out."
"I'm sorry," Megamind said sincerely.
"He reminded me a bit of you, especially as a teenager. So I thought, well, I know how this story ends, but it'd be nice to see you. And Amy and Rory hadn't met you."
The Doctor paused, his fingers fiddling nervously at the screwdriver. "Do you… are you still angry with me?"
Megamind bit his lip. "Well…"
"Because I am sorry, so sorry," the Doctor blurted. This new body didn't have the walls of the other two, seemingly, and Megamind was startled at how much of his vast sorrow actually showed on his face. "Sorry from the very bottom of my hearts."
"Hearts?" Roxanne mouthed in wonder.
"Two," Rory said nonchalantly.
"Doctor," Megamind said quietly, and sat up to clasp the other man's shoulders. The tweed was scratchy under his palms. "It was nineteen billion, or quadrillion upon quadrillion. I've read the Torchwood files. I've read the UNIT directives. I know what you were facing."
He took a deep breath. "I forgive you."
"You do?" the Doctor gaped a little, then his arms came up to clasp Megamind's shoulders in return. "Oh, you do! He does! Amy, Rory… he…"
His square-jawed face ran a gamut of emotions, before he pulled Megamind into a hug. The Doctor smelled strange, and his heartbeat was even weirder than Megamind's. His arms stiffened for a moment, before slowly clasping the tweed-clad man in return. It felt like clasping a thunderbolt, a mad, dangerous force of nature. It felt like hugging a friend.
"Wow, this isn't awkward to be around at all," said Amy with heavy sarcasm, and Roxanne shushed her, watching her boyfriend's blue face. He'd screwed his eyes closed, but there was a tiny, sad smile tugging the corner of that agile mouth.
"Thank you," the Doctor whispered, and Megamind chuckled soundlessly.
"Did you ever get that Chameleon circuit working?" he murmured, and the Doctor pulled back in surprise.
"You have been doing some research, haven't you? No, still a Police Box. Just gone through a fairly big renovation – well, I guess we both did – and besides, I thought you liked the blue?"
Megamind grinned. "I could take a look at it for you…"
"Ah, now I see your game!" The Doctor waved an admonishing finger. "No. I'm the only genius allowed to tinker in the TARDIS. If you had a look at her, who knows what I'd come back to next time I visited Earth. Dinosaurs in the streets of New York and matter transporters in the Dark Ages and all sorts. No, you've got enough to do, protecting this city."
Megamind held out his hands in defeat, still grinning. "Worth a try!"
"You and Winston, between the pair of you," the Doctor grumbled.
"I'm going to get a good look at that Tor-dis one day, Doctor," said Megamind warningly. "But I promise I won't do anything with the knowledge. It's just…it drives me crazy not knowing!"
The Doctor shook his head. "Not now. Maybe not ever. I'll think about it."
"I'll give you my dehydration gun," begged Megamind, and the Time Lord laughed.
"How's Minion?" The Doctor tipped his head back, the heavy fringe sliding back past a razor-sharp cheekbone.
"Oh, fine. He's teaching Advanced Sewing techniques at the adult education centre at the moment."
The Doctor's eyes snapped to Megamind. "Are you kidding me? He's kidding me. Roxanne, he's kidding me, right?"
"He's serious," Roxanne said solemnly.
"A Jarretfish teaching sewing at an adult education centre. Amy, did I hit my head at any time today?"
"Hello? Nurse here. I would have noticed," Rory said testily. "Then again, it is you, so maybe I wouldn't have, who knows."
"You're fine, Doctor," Amy rolled her eyes.
"Oh good, then it's just the world that's crazy," the Doctor beamed. "Ice can burn, sofas can read, fish can sew, the universe is getting more interesting all the time!"
"Can you stay?" Megamind asked quietly.
The Doctor looked at him for a moment, and then shook his head. "Mo, you weren't running, you were hiding. I've never stopped running, and I don't hide. You've got eighty years in which to keep your happy ending. I'll go on forever, and all I'll ever keep is the TARDIS. Everything has its time," he added softly.
"Stay," Megamind said softly, touching the man's shoulder again. It had been clad in leather, in pinstripes and now in tweed, but the soul of the man had been the same. Everything was rewritten, true, but everything stayed the same.
"Can't," the Doctor smiled, and stood. "But you'll see me once more. I won't know you, but you'll know it's me. Come along, Ponds."
"How?" Megamind called as the Doctor walked away, his gait jaunty and slightly bow-legged. The human couple shook Roxanne's hand, glancing at the preoccupied Megamind, before scurrying after the Time Lord.
"I'm the man with two hearts!" the Doctor called back, and saluted.
Thirty years later, on holiday in Sussex, Megamind and Roxanne almost ran over a man with mad, curly brown hair and a scarf seventeen feet long.
After trying to perform CPR on the stunned and babbling fellow, Megamind had started laughing, turned off his hologram-watch and dropped the startled Doctor back at UNIT base.
After stealing his screwdriver and TARDIS key, of course.