Some Names are Better Left Unsaid by Alexannah
The Doctor looked up from the TARDIS console. Somehow he'd ended up in this circular conversation again. This time it was thanks to Mickey's presence, who now was part of the 'frequent flyers' package, had demanded to know the name of the captain. He had been pretty surprised to find that even Rose still didn't know.
"I'd figured he'd told you at some point," Mickey said. "Travelling the universe with an alien whose name you don't know, that's just weird."
"As opposed to travelling the universe with an alien whose name you do know, that's perfectly normal I suppose," the Doctor muttered.
Rose elbowed him, but smiled. "He's got a point, Doctor. Why don't you tell us your real name? We wouldn't actually use it if you don't want us to. Don't you trust us?"
The Doctor heard the layer of uncertainty in the question, and hurried to assure her. "It's not that."
"Do you actually know?" Mickey suggested. The Doctor stared at him. "Well, it's a fair question. Have you been calling yourself 'Doctor' so long you don't remember your real name?"
The Doctor sighed. "I remember it. Can't forget it."
"So why—" Mickey paused, a grin suddenly lighting up his face. "Oh Rose, I bet I know. It's a really embarrassing name, isn't it Doc?"
"Can't we just drop the subject?" the Doctor tried.
"I knew it! So, come on, spill the beans. We won't laugh. Much."
It would probably have been easier if he had said he had forgotten it. The Doctor's eyes flickered from Rose to Mickey and back again. Mickey didn't look interested in dropping the subject any time soon, and while Rose wasn't exactly egging him on, she was still watching the Doctor in interested anticipation for his answer.
Well ... the conversation would have had to have happened sooner or later. He knew he couldn't expect humans to spend all their time with him without some sort of explanation.
The Doctor wondered if he would regret this later. He was almost sure he would.
"All right, all right." The Doctor paused. "It's a girl's name. Happy?"
Mickey roared with laughter and Rose looked like she was struggling to contain her own.
"S-sorry," she spluttered at his glare. "I-I'm sure it's a really ... manly girl's name."
"Yeah, right," Mickey said. "So what is it, Doctor? Annabel? Daisy? Mary Sue? Something really cringey, I bet ..."
"Don't be ridiculous, Mickey," Rose said. "It's a Gallifreyan name. Right, Doctor?"
I am really going to regret this later. "Actually," the Doctor mumbled, "it's used in English too."
"Okay, so what is it?" Mickey asked.
The Doctor looked from one determined human to another and took a deep breath. "Priscilla."
During the stunned silence, he felt his cheeks burn and looked away quickly as his friends collapsed into giggles.
"Sorry, Doctor," Rose eventually gasped. "We promise not to call you—er, that. Ever."
"What about Prissy?" Mickey asked, still shaking with laughter.
"No," the Doctor said very firmly.
"Shut up, Rickey!"
"Ok, you two, that's enough. Mickey, seriously, stop laughing." The Doctor would have appreciated Rose's stepping in more if it weren't for the fact that she was still smirking.
He went back to fiddling with the console, pretending to ignore Rose escorting a hysterical Mickey from the room. He could feel he was still blushing, and sighed. This would not be easy to deal with. Mickey would never let him live it down. Probably take the opportunity to pay him back for all the Rickeys and Idiots. Well ... it was still better than the alternative.
Rose would be realising any moment now, once she'd calmed down and thought about it. She was usually pretty good at figuring out when he lied to her.
Priscilla. Seriously. He chuckled. Humans could be so gullible.
Someone cleared their throat in the doorway, and he looked up. Rose was back, thankfully without Mickey. She was staring at him with one eyebrow raised.
That hadn't taken long.
"Priscilla, huh?" she said.
"Rose, please don't call me that."
"Exactly how stupid do you think I am, Doctor?"
The Doctor hesitated, wondering how he could answer the question without suffering the infamous Tyler slap. "Erm ... I don't think you're stupid?"
"That'll be a first. No, seriously, Doctor, do you really expect me to believe your real name is—"
"I think we've already established that, you don't have to keep saying it," he huffed.
"I don't believe you," Rose said. "Only thing is ... why would anyone sane tell a lie that humiliating?"
The Doctor dropped his eyes, going back to the TARDIS controls. "I was making a point."
"A point? What point? You do realise Mickey will never let you forget that."
"Yeah, well, the point wasn't aimed at him."
The Doctor didn't answer. He could feel Rose's eye on him, could almost hear the cogs in her tiny ape brain working it out. "Oh."
She took a deep breath. "So what was that point, that your real name is so—I don't know, embarrassing? Awful?—that you were willing to let us think it was Priscilla to stop us from asking. Right?"
"It's not embarrassing," the Doctor muttered. "Well, not that kind of embarrassing."
"But you're not going to tell me."
"No," he replied.
He hesitated. "I doubt it." He took a deep breath and looked her in the eye again. "Don't take it personally Rose, I've never told anyone. Not since I was a child. And that turned out to be a bad idea."
She nodded, clearly not really understanding, but showing her acceptance. "Okay. We'll stop asking. I'll stop asking." Rose stepped over and, to his great surprise, kissed him on the cheek. "Prissy."
The Doctor glared at her grin, and put his head in his hands.
AN: The Doctor's name is actually something I've been exploring a bit, and I have a (serious) take on it in the works. Look out for the one-shot 'Reflection of His Soul'.
Thanks to Faith-Chan for beta'ing!