Not Your Average Doctor
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So this was it, he was gone. Rose was never going to see him again. All their adventures together were only going to become more and more distant until eventually she would forget that it was even real. Renewed tears swelled up into her eyes as her thoughts reduced her to a sobbing mess. She couldn't even begin to think how to restart her life, the world was so big and yet so small. He helped her realize that. She rose one of her hands to her mouth, trying to cover her trembling lips before she turned and darted for her mother. There was no need to stay here on this depressing beach, she hoped never to see it again and in an instant, she didn't. Her head collided with something tall and soft, everything went black for a moment.
His senses woke abruptly, brown eyes flashing wide open. Where was he? How'd he get here? And why was Rose faceplanting into his chest? The strong scent of the ocean prickled his nose. Oh, wait that's right! "Hello again, Rose," he said with utmost certainty.
Rose blinked up at him, tears streaking her face. "You came back! You found a way to come back for me!"
The Doctor cupped her shoulders with the palms of his hands and he guided her back a step. "No, no, no, no, no! Hm, how to explain me, uh, I," he patted the his chest for emphasis which earned a confused look from the blonde. "I...no, that's too complicated. Here, look at my SIDRAT," he motioned with a hand toward the police box behind him.
A sound came from Rose that betrayed shock and confusion as she gazed at what he indicated. "SIDRAT...it's orange?! Your ship is orange!"
The Doctor couldn't help a smile at her indignant face. The expression resembled the face a child makes when they learn their parents have names besides 'Mom' and 'Dad'. He loved human reaction, it was so refreshing. "I'm not your regular Doctor, Rose. I am this dimension's Doctor if you can wrap your mind around it. This is my SIDRAT and it's orange because this is a parallel dimension. Follow?"
Her tears were drying, giving way to wonder and curiosity. "Is that why the name is backwards?"
"Name?" The Doctor turned to look at the police box reflectively. "I just like SIDRAT better, TARDIS is so self-explanatory and boring. SIDRAT is like me; charming, noble, nice dresser, and really close to ginger."
"Still on the ginger bit?" she mocked, finally smiling.
"I have my reasons," he defended.
"Okay, then my name. How do you know my name?"
The Doctor scratched the back on his head nervously. "Well, I...may have had overexposure to the time vortex once or twice." He looked thoughtful, "Five times? Side effects include peeking into other dimensions, I guess."
"This is unbelievable. You're the Doctor but," she shook her head defeatedly, "you're not my Doctor."
"I can be, that is to say, I'm here to give you another swing at this time-traveling thing. If you so chose," he stood on his tiptoes to see over the other. "Or you can stay with your family...and Mickey, and live happily ever after." He was positively certain she'd choose him, there was so much mystery and adventuring ahead of them. What could possibly hold her back? It wasn't like they wouldn't visit from time to time.
Rose stared back at him suddenly looking steadfast and it made his hearts skip a beat or two . "I was already given a second chance at life. I don't know that I can throw away everything you- ...he did for me."
He wanted to kick his parallel self for being so irritating to himself. "I can give you a tour, if you like. I promise, it's bigger on the inside."
"No, Doctor. I want to stay."
"I even have a butler you should mee- hwa, stay? Here? Forever?" It didn't add up. He had everything that Doctor had; the looks, the police box, the nice hair, the crazy shoes. Maybe he wasn't rude enough. He dug into his coat's chest pocket and produced the sonic screwdriver. "Are you feeling ill? Maybe there's some residual void matter messing with your head," he flashed the device at her, checking for anything unusual. "No void matter traces but looks like the time vortex might be causing interference, I'll have to check it on board. Come! You are now my patient!" He ignored her stubborn cries as he pulled her into the bright orange police box much to her parents' and Mickey's confusion and dismay.
"I told you, I'm staying with my parents!" she protested as the door of the SIDRAT closed behind her. "You are just so infuriating sometimes! Let me back out!" Then she was sitting on a table with some sort of blue light shining in her eyes. The light was so intense that it took a while for her to notice it came from a black nozzle that belonged to some sort of gold metallic being. Her eyes widened in fear. "Dalek!" she shrilled in its face. "Let me go! What have you done with the Doctor!? Doctor!?"
"RELAX," the dalek commanded in a familiar monotone.
She kicked at the armored alien and was rewarded with a deep clanging sound from its headpiece when her foot connected. "Show me the Doctor now!" She hoped her tone was rough enough, that the dalek would feel some inch of fear, that it would stop shining that stupid light in her eyes.
"CONTROL THE ROSE TYLER PATIENT!"
The Doctor entered her sights again as he emerged from behind the SIDRAT's many consoles. He had some odd looking goggles on now, they completely covered his eyes and effectively made him look like a humanoid bug. She'd laugh if there wasn't a dalek two feet from her. "Doctor, a dalek!"
The time lord looked from her to the dalek and back at her, completely unperturbed. In fact it was the dalek that responded to her first, "EPSILON."
Rose paused recalling her schooling, "'Five'? What does that mean?" she asked with dread. Maybe these other dimension daleks had a code they used for some sort of self-destruct program. She was prepared to jump off this table and run if she needed to.
"I AM UNIT EPSILON, FIELD ENGINEER FOR THE DALEKS."
"And how do you know my name?" Everyone seemed to know her name in the dimension, it was unsettling.
The dalek swiveled it's head toward the Doctor. "DOCTOR TOLD ME OF ROSE TYLER WHEN THE VORTEX BEGAN LEAKING. SOME THINGS I CANNOT MAKE SENSE OF..."
"That's enough explaining I think," the Doctor interjected, as he stepped closer to the table. "Now lets have a look at this anomaly." His hands grabbed at the air by Rose's head, looking more crazy than anything. His mouth shaped into a very thoughtful 'O'.
Rose shook her head disbelieving. "So daleks are good here, that's just wrong."
"DALEKS ARE NOT PROGRAMMED WITH HUMAN CONCEPTS OF GOOD AND EVIL," Epsilon corrected, its lens turning back to her. "I AM NOT LIKE ALL DALEK. ENGINEER UNITS DO NOT KILL, THEY FIX. EPSILON FIXES." Slots that Rose was sure couldn't move on daleks she encountered, did and tiny robotic arms emerged from them, too small and fragile looking to be dangerous. She noticed this dalek lacked a death ray, the compartment was closed off by a tiny double door and was that a tiny bow on its chest? A dalek with semblance of fashion, she quietly wondered if that was an oxymoron.
She pieced together what the dalek said, "So...dalek are still dangerous but you are a field worker?"
"AFFIRMATIVE," the dalek nodded with its single eye in a fashion that reminded her vaguely of K9. She never in her wildest dreams thought she'd be able compare the two. "CALL ME EPSILON." Epsilon withdrew its small mechanical arms as if it understood the extra appendages made it appear threatening.
The Doctor supplied his own helpful commentary, "I found Epsilon on a refuse planet some years back. He was wandering aimlessly and rebuilding bits and pieces of himself. Won't tell me too much about what happened though."
"WHAT HAPPENED IS IRRELEVANT. THE DOCTOR GAVE ME ORDERS AND I FOLLOWED THEM," the dalek remarked hollowly.
"I keep his hands full now. He works as my butler, maid, cook, engineer, everything really," the Doctor added, responding to questions that weren't even asked. "Am I getting lazy?"
"Wait, but the Time War! That still happened, right? Doesn't that make you hate the dalek?" Rose knew it was a difficult topic but wasn't expecting Epsilon's lens to change color, from a clear blue into a heated red. She quickly regretted saying anything on the subject.
"We will speak of this on a different day, Rose," the Doctor deflected. "Suffice to say, the Time War left scars on both the dalek and the Time Lords."
Epsilon's eye slowly shifted back to blue. Rose became instantly curious on if different colors represented different feelings in the dalek. Was this common in other dalek of this dimension?
"Okay, I think I can deal with this," she said more to herself than the others in the room. "So um, can I ask what you are doing, Doctor?" His hands treading the air near her head was becoming more and more unsettling.
"Nothing much to be concerned about," the Doctor reassured, his mouth was fixed in a concentrated line. "Just trying to dispel these traces of the time vortex. They are slippery little buggers though. My guess is that they feel they need to fulfill something."
"Like what?" she asked. She had her fill of Bad Wolf the first time, there was no need to revisit the feelings the vortex poured into her. It forced her to feel powerful, loving, detached and so lonely, like she had no equal. Even the Doctor seemed insignificant to her and that's what scared her the most. The Doctor was her closest friend and companion, yet she as Bad Wolf felt nothing when he warned her of the dangers.
The Doctor shook his head. "I'm not sure. Space and time just kind of sporadically do things to keep everything running smoothly. What ever it needs now involves you, that's for sure."
"And you expect me to not be concerned about it? That's laughable." More than anything Rose wanted off this table and back to her family. "Not to be rude but how long are you going to keep me here? I have a life to get back to, you know."
The Doctor sighed. He moved the goggles to his forehead, where they made his hair spike up more than usual, "You aren't a very good patient, are you? Fine, I will let you go back to your life, like you want, but me and Epsilon will be keeping an eye on you until the particles wear off, all right? Incognito, of course."
"I AM OPPOSED TO THIS IDEA. HER CURRENT STATUS MAKES HER DANGEROUS TO THE POPULACE." The dalek backed away from the table, placing itself between her and the exit. "I WILL FIX THE PROBLEM WITH TIME. GRANT ME PERMISSION AND I CAN HELP ROSE TYLER."
"Now don't be stubborn," the Doctor reasoned. "Rose made it plain that she doesn't want to be here. I'm not going to hold her against her will."
"DALEK DO NOT POSSESS SUCH INFERIOR SENTIMENTS! I WILL FIX WHAT'S BROKEN!"
"DALEKS OBEY ORDERS!" the Doctor snapped, his eyes wide with sudden fury. A silence fell between the three of them. The Doctor's tone lowered almost apologetically, "Let her go."
"I OBEY." The dalek scooted away from the doorway slowly as if it was truly torn between following orders and its own feelings.