Disclaimer: Doctor Who is not mine. Enjoy!
I was face to face with myself again, and this time, I held the gun.
The me who was not me stared at my face, not the weapon. In a way, I was proud of this. At least I knew that when it was my turn to stare down the barrel of a gun, I wouldn't show fear.
"I knew you'd track me down," Other Me said. "I did the same thing when I was your age."
"How does it end, then?" I asked. My hands were shaking. I really didn't want to shoot myself. I wanted the whole thing to be over, to get back to my own time and my own place and my own life.
Other Me shrugged. "You don't really want to know the future," she asked. "Trust me. Besides, it can change."
The hope in the eyes of my older self almost made me falter. "The Doctor isn't here," I said. "It's just you and me this time, and we have to settle this. We can't mess up the world again. I can't. And I can't see any way to resolve this paradox."
"Then shoot," said Other Me, raising her chin.
December 24, 2015
There were only twenty people at the party, but the level of excitement was so high that there might as well have been two hundred. Chairs had been set up around the room so that our magnificent machine was the centerpiece, and all of the people in lab coats held glasses of champagne instead of clipboards. In ten years, the underground lab had never seen such cheer.
My boss, Dr. Reynolds, stood up and raised his glass. "A toast," he declared, "to the hardworking men and women of the PITT. For the first time in history, on this night, a human being will successfully attempt time travel!"
The room exploded in cheers and everyone drank to the toast. I smiled, but kept my eyes on the computer in front of me, checking my calculations again and again.
"For so many years," Dr. Reynolds continued, "man has wondered if he could indeed cross the mists of time to see what lies beyond–or what lies behind. Tonight, Mr. James Riddler will make the journey into our own future!" There was more applause, and my friend Riv stood up, looking a little embarrassed but smirking all the same. "I'd like to thank my esteemed colleagues for their assistance in this project, especially Dr. Myers, Dr. Patterson, and Dr. Mason. Also, none of this would be possible without the excellent work of our chief engineer, Ms. Micky Summers!"
I looked around at my name to see the entire room standing and cheering for me. Well, that was nice of them. "The time machine is ready when you are, Dr. Reynolds," I said.
Everyone gasped. Dr. Reynolds nodded. "Let us begin," he said.
Riv came up to me while I retyped the equations into our master computer and spoke almost in my ear. "Hey," he said. "Don't look so worried. I'm only going forward an hour."
"I do not look worried," I told him. "And it's actually only fifty minutes. You'll be back in time for Christmas Day."
"I won't be 'back' anywhere," he countered. "You're the ones who are catching up to me."
"Get in the machine," I said. "And good luck."
He blew me a kiss before he walked over to the time machine and used the straps to bind himself to the cylindrical engine. It had such a powerful cooling system that the engine shouldn't get very warm at all…at least, that was what the tests had indicated. The supercomputer wired to the power source would be able to make small jumps, but my computer would be the one to send him into the future or the past. I was holding the life of my friend in my hands and I was about to send him out to be a human guinea pig.
He looked over at me and winked.
Well, he seemed fine with it.
The other engineers helped me with the preparations, and finally, all I had to do was push the button. Large red buttons by themselves shouldn't be threatening, but this one was almost laughing at me. Push me, it said, and let's see what happens. Never let it be said that I let a button intimidate me.
Before I could hit the button, however, someone yelled, "STOP THE TEST!"
It was me.
I was older, with faint wrinkles around my mouth and on my forehead, but my eyes were still bright and my hair was still dark and I looked pretty good, all things considering. It was small consolation compared to the fact that the universe was about to explode.
Every physicist in the room held their breath and looked up at the sky, waiting for the apocalypse. After a few seconds, in which all of reality absolutely failed to collapse, they let out a collective sigh of relief. Then, their eyes turned either to the me standing beside the time machine or me myself, standing in front of the computer.
Other Me had managed to appear out of thin air, stop the test, and ruin many of the theories of the scientists in the room, all in about ten seconds.
Dr. Reynolds stepped forward. "Micky Summers?" he asked.
"That's me," Other Me said with a quick toss of her hair. "Hello everyone. Hi, Riv," she said, turning to him and waving. Then she turned around and looked me in the eye. "Sorry," she said.
Then, she pulled a small spherical white something out of the overcoat she wore and held it up in the air. Staring straight at Dr. Reynolds, she said, "I see you."
She pressed a button, threw the sphere, and part of the lab was suddenly in flames.
Scientists scrambled everywhichway, some to save their skins, some to save their equipment. Riv loosened his straps as fast as he could, and Dr. Reynolds just stood there, staring at Other Me with a strange curl to his lip.
I barely saw all of that as I ran at the Other Me as fast as my legs could take me. This was my–OUR–work going up in flames. "What the hell are you doing?" I yelled.
She pulled something else out of those pockets: a handgun. She hit me on the collarbone with the butt end as hard as she could, and I dropped like a stone. My vision went black.
In case anyone has never broken a collarbone, it hurts. A lot.
And when I woke up in the hospital a day later with my arm strapped to my body, so as to immobilize my collarbone, the first words out of my mouth were, "I hit me!"
The male nurse checking my blood pressure fumbled and nearly dropped my unbound arm. "I'm sorry?" he asked.
I was in an off-white hospital room with one bed and a small area with two chairs for visitors. The nurse's nametag read 'Rory Williams, RN.'
"I hit me!" I insisted. Stupid, yes, because no one else would have a clue what I meant–PITT was very, very, very secret about our time travelling project, so much so that the government itself had only the slightest inkling of what we did. However, I was a little shaken. "Why would I do that? Why would I hit me?"
"Um, I dunno," the nurse said. "Why would you do that?"
"I have no clue!" I took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I'm delirious. What's happened?"
"You've been here a few hours," he explained, looking at the monitors I was hooked up to. "They didn't say much when you were brought in, just that there'd been an accident. Some government thing, wasn't it? You were the only one brought in. They called me to come in late last night."
So I go back in time to stop a test, blow up part of the lab, and only injure myself. Well done, Other Me.
"What exactly happened?" he asked. He had soft light eyes and the kind of face that wasn't intimidating, the kind that made you want to talk.
He wouldn't believe me anyway, so I said breezily, "I traveled backward through time just so I could break my own collarbone."
He froze. "Really?" he asked.
Didn't expect him to believe me. "Well, no. Yes. No," I said. "Joking, just joking."
He paused for a moment, and sat down beside my bed in one of the almost-comfortable hospital chairs. "Do you, by any chance," he began, "know the Doctor?"
"Sorry?" I asked. "Doctor who?"
He hesitated for a moment. Then, with perfect timing, Dr. Reynolds walking into the room, closely followed by another man in a white coat who I assumed was the doctor seeing to me.
"All right, Rory, if the patient is normal you may leave," my doctor said. Rory looked up at him, and back at me.
"I'll be back later with your food," he said. "Happy Christmas." And left.
When the doctor left, Dr. Reynolds told me that they'd been able to save most of the equipment, and they had moved it to a safe place. "No more sabotages," he said, with a smile that missed his eyes by about a mile.
"I have no clue why I did that," I told him. "Honestly. I don't know why I would try to get rid of my own work."
"Well, you haven't done it yet," he said. "Perhaps you won't. In fact, we'll just make sure that you'll decide not to."
And perhaps I was just imagining things, but the way he said that made my blood run cold.
A/N: So, time paradoxes and far too many guns. And Rory Williams on Christmas Day. There will be more canon characters next chapter. I hoped you liked it. If you'd like, leave a review! It makes my day.