Doctor Who: Many Names
by: domina tempore (formerly "jewel of athos")
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all of its characters and locations etc. belong to their respective owners. I'm just borrowing. No copyright infringement intended!
Summary: Only one name rings true for him; he has tried them all, and there is only one.
Author's Note: This story came about because of a complaint that I saw once about people writing the Ten!double changing his name in the alternate universe; the person who wrote the comment hated the thought. And, granted, there *are* a lot of other names for him out there. Now, I don't necessarily hate it, but the whole idea sparked a plot!dalek to life in me, and 738 words later, here we are. Enjoy? (:
He has been through so many names since Bad Wolf Bay.
At first, he was still just the Doctor, or the Blue Doctor to some. He likes that one quite a bit. It distinguishes him from his double in the other reality, and gives him an identity of his own while still linking him to his roots. But the title of Doctor is not recognized in the same way in this reality; and it seems to make Rose sad. And so, for her sake, he changes it.
Smith, he tries next. Doctor John Smith. The other one, he had used that and it always seemed to work for him. That was how Martha had first known him. But the name doesn't ring true with him now; it's too plain and ordinary. He blends nearly into obscurity as John Smith. Not the proper name at all for a product of the two most remarkable beings in time and space. Rose, too, seems glad to leave it behind. For her, it's nothing more than a reminder of Mickey.
Doctor John Noble. That one he likes; a testament to both of his creators, it is enough to gain attention and yet not to overwhelm him. But at the same time, he doesn't feel quite comfortable using it. He is still connected to Donna in some small way, across realities and through the ages, and he can feel what she has lost. She is a shadow of her former self, the woman that he once knew, and it feels somehow wrong of him to take her name. It feels like stealing just a bit more of that already fractured soul, and he can't do that to her. It is with great sadness that he leaves the name behind.
There are so many other names that he tries. He is John Wolfe at the time that he finishes building a new ship for him and Rose, in honor of the Bad Wolf; and many planets come to know them by those names. Doctor John and the Bad Wolf become a legend on many of the worlds that they visit. But he never feels right in that name; too gaudy, too vulgar. The balance has shifted too far into the spotlight for his liking. And that aside, it is very much Rose's name; it doesn't apply to him. For that reason he soon abandons, it, and John Tyler after it. He cannot steal her names any more than he can Donna's.
The one name that he never tries to use is Song, though he does think about it on several occasions. But it is just too wrong on far too many levels for him to attempt it. He shudders just to think of what River's reaction might be if he ever ran into her here. Instead, he tries David MacDonald, realizing that the name John just does not fit; but that doesn't work either. He tries James McCrimmon, Doctor Roman, and Doctor Sparrow. He even tries Doctor Mott when he runs out of other names; but nothing fits. None of these names describe who he is properly; and the Donna in him is stubborn and won't settle for anything less. A name must be perfect.
Finally, when he has used his last option, he returns to the beginning, and is just the Doctor once again.
He knows it is said that there can only be one Doctor in the universe, but he knows just as well that this is not true. There may only be one original, but for one shining, beautiful moment in that other reality, there were three Doctors. The Doctor, the Doctor's Duplicate, and the Doctor Donna. This is why he chooses this in the end; it is his legacy. He is a Doctor, he is part of something brilliant. The people of this reality do not yet know him, but that means very little. They will know him. He has a ship, and his companion at his side, and one heart with a longing to travel and to fix things. He no longer has limitless years, but he has the mind of a Doctor and the soul of Donna, and that only drives him harder to explore and push his way out into the galaxy. For in this one lifetime he has been granted, he has a legacy to fulfill; and he will.
He is the Doctor.