A Doctor Who One-Shot by Digitaldreamer
Oh goodness, this is intimidating.
Right, so uh, hullo. Digitaldreamer here and this is my first time attempting to write anything for Doctor Who. I got into the series recently thanks to a good friend of mine, followed by my father forcibly offering me all of the seasons of the new Who. When I first watched it I found myself loving it but told myself I wouldn't be writing anything, as the characters strike me as a bit beyond my reach and with all those many, many classic seasons and the expanded universe there's no way I'd ever be able to catch up to it all. Still, End of Time happened, and well... between that and having seen quite a bit of the latest season, somehow this popped into my head.
The differences between Doctors Ten and Eleven are a curious thing to me. I haven't seen the classic series, but from what I have seen I'm aware that no one else quite treated regeneration the way he did, nor did any of the other doctors get quite as emotional and attached to their companions. As far as Doctors go, Ten seems to have been the most human. By a stark contrast, from what I've seen of Eleven, he seems a bit more distant and alien, which almost seems like a reaction to Ten's super emotionalness and tendency to get a bit too attached. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me, keeping in mind that I'm mostly going off of TvTropes and a few other fics I've glossed over. But yeah, so there was that and then thoughts on Rose and 10.5 and well... this happened.
I'm not entirely sure how IC this will be, given that I've only seen most of the new Who and about half a season of Eleven. I'm also aware it's quite possible that someone else has already done this, and if they have my apologies. If you have any criticisms, please, please give them to me, though do try to be gentle and keep in mind I haven't quite seen everything yet.
Anyway, that's all I've got. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Don't own Doctor Who. Yup. Or Matt Smith and David Tennant's faces.
Sometimes when you dream you forget you're not him anymore.
It's strange in itself, because of course you're a Time Lord- it's not like you particularly need sleep or sleep all that often when you do. Things like a bed and exhaustion are human concepts, objects you can relate to and brush past on occasion but never properly use. You have that trance you go into and that's all you really need; but it's interesting to note that while sleep is foreign to you, dreams never have been.
It's not that you dream particularly often, and when you do it's ordinarily quite inconsequential. Usually they're just flashes of memory your mind hasn't quite sorted away yet, which seems perfectly natural after nine hundred years or so of experiences. You've had moments where you still feel the aches and pains of an old man, seconds where you forget that you no longer wear bohemian scarves, instances where you're running with Sarah Jane across alien landscapes and when it comes down to it you always assumed that was natural too.
The Time War was a different matter entirely and that had been reason enough to avoid resting for awhile. Every closing of your eyes seemed to bring back either the screams in your own head or the absence thereof, so for a long time you just fled. You ran from memories in a battered leather jacket and a face that seemed worn from battle, and it was only when you met her that you'd slowed down and let it all wash over and past you like waves on a beach.
How ironic- she was the one who'd fixed you and now she's the one tearing it all up again.
Though really, you can't blame her. They'd all had their part in pulling him together and destroying him again, and none of it was really their fault. It went along with all those absurdly dramatic titles, the idea of the Lonely God and something you no longer see yourself as. You'd come away from the Time War a ruined man, and then they'd gone and made him as close to human as possible. They'd made him, made you fall in love and form friendships and connections, taken you from that dead man with a sand-blasted face and made you too young and too alive for your own good.
They'd made you love humanity and drawn him as close to it as he could possibly get, but you couldn't be both human and Time Lord. He couldn't handle being that close and the weight of it all on top of that, couldn't cling that close to the thing you loved so much because it would inevitably be destroyed in the end. Humanity was a fleeting thing by nature whereas you were almost-but-not-quite eternal, and that had been the problem. He'd drawn too close and it had nearly destroyed him, so with that in mind it was important that you did not make the same mistake.
But he wouldn't let go and you think that's where the problem started.
You see them all in your dreams, far more frequently than you ever saw the rest. You see Jack laughing from across the room, hear Donna shouting with the sort of power that could make the Earth itself shake. You can feel Martha slipping her hand into yours, hoping, but of course it won't work because your hearts belong to the scent of spun gold as you wake with her in your arms. You can see them as if they're all still there and it's quite frankly ridiculous, but you can't seem to be rid of them. Whether it's some odd connection to the metacrisis in the other world or his simple refusal to leave, you find yourself chased with more ghosts than the norm and it's a tad frustrating.
So you're sitting there in the Tardis one night, just you and warm gold lighting with flickering shades of green for company. It's just you, that springy chair (which is forever at that fantastic spot between comfortably worn in and shredded to bits from old age) and a mirror that you've pulled down from the mess of nothing and everything that makes up the ceiling. Just you and that mirror as you gaze into it, trace your fingertips over a tall forehead and flick at bits of floppy hair as you try to remind yourself that no, you don't do the sideburns thing anymore.
And then abruptly the eyes you're staring in aren't yours, because they're a dark brown and too impossibly sad to be masked anymore.
"Oh, come on," You mutter, and there's annoyance in your tone that doesn't appear on that older face. "This is getting ridiculous. He's with her now, you're kind of still alive in a way so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. The rest didn't throw this much of a fuss, you know."
Somehow that seems to make him sadder, and you find yourself shaking your head. "You were broken, mate, you knew we couldn't keep on that. I made us better just like you made the bloke before us better. The leather jacket was so nineties, remember?"
Oh, but you do remember, you remember just like he does and you remember switching it for a coat that was far too big when Martha had to wear it. You remember limbs that were once too awkwardly long for hugging Donna Noble, remember everything and-
"Stop that," You mutter as you grip the edge of the mirror, pale fingers pressing against tanner, longer ones. "This is stupid. We've had companions before. They've moved on. They're happy, you know that and getting this attached is really, impossibly stupid. You couldn't stay with them, you never can, I never can. You need to let go."
Those eyes are gazing into yours and abruptly there's the sense of nostalgia and that tugging want, the memory of her laugh as the two of you posed before the mirror and made funny faces. There's the memory of her laugh and you're aware that these things fade with time because they always do, but oh it's hard and he's still the ghost in your mind. You can hear Martha teasing at him because you're caught in your memories again and can see Jack's eyes seeking out yours, can see Donna Noble just down the street and he knows she may as well be a million miles away like her fingers tracing along skin that's yours but not and it's just not-
"Stop!" You suddenly cry out, pushing the mirror away, and the sound echoes through the empty control room with the shrill squeak of that springy chair. You just sit there for a moment, breathing, taking in the sight of the chest that isn't yours anymore rising and falling as he looks back at you. Finally you shake your head and square your shoulders, face the mirror full on and swallow in a manner that seems both impossibly boyish and so very old.
"I'm sorry… I'm so sorry, but everything has its time," you murmur to your reflection, and there's an exhaustion in your tone that does not reflect your younger body. "You already had yours. Leave me alone."
"Doctor? Who're you talking to?"
There's the voice of Amy Pond, and to your credit you only jump slightly before spinning to face her. You stare at her and your tongue seems to tumble over itself as it struggles to find words, fights to dig through your little mental dictionary that suddenly seems far larger than it should b so all you end up with is terms like "lugubrious" which have absolutely nothing to do with the current situation. You struggle to find words and then you suddenly stop.
You stop and suddenly you're just staring, taking in this new companion. You're staring and taking in her confused smile and fiery hair, letting her raised eyebrow and the memory of fish custard chase away phantoms. "Doctor?" She repeats and that's enough to bring you back to the present at last.
So on comes the smile, calm and reassuring after years practicing on far too many companions before her. "Nothing to worry about Pond," you chirp as you turn to face the mirror again, adjust that bowtie that keeps you firmly grounded. You meet young eyes that seem impossibly old, but they're yours like the memories and the tie and you'll take it with a real smile for now.
"Just talking to myself, that's all."