A/N: I know it sounds like it should have another chapter, but it really is just a oneshot. Maybe he gets fixed, maybe he doesn't, maybe he runs into the Ponds-Williamses or Rose or whomever. I dunno; this is all the plot bunny gave me. Hope you like it anyway!
Title from W.B. Yeats' "the Man and the Echo".
But Hush, For I Have Lost the Theme
Akhetan had eaten more than his fill, heavy with the Doctors memories and Clara's very sentimental curio. The old god imploded back into the shell of his starry disguise, leaving Clara and the Doctor alone on the foyer of the temple. Clara was crying quietly.
"That was a nice thing you did. Giving up your leaf," said the Doctor to the weeping young woman next to him. She smiled sadly, wiping her tears and sniffling. He patted her shoulder reassuringly. "What's your name, then?"
Clara stopped, her small smile vanishing. "Clara. Clara Oswald?" She made it a question, unsure why he would be asking her who she was.
"Hello, Clara Clara Oswald? Nice to meet you!" He liked her. Felt comfortable around her, even if they were in a strange temple and he had no idea what was going on.
"Meet me? Doctor, we've met! You—You know me… right?" Clara was now fully alarmed.
"Oh, am I a doctor?" He was cheery. He felt oddly light. "Doctor who?"
"I don't know!" Clara wailed. She wanted to cry again. "You never told me!"
"Ah, well, then," he stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at his feet. "Guess we'll just have to find out, eh?" His face lit up. "It'll be an adventure!" Clara stared dubiously at him, and he bounced on his heels. "Where should we start?" He grinned expectantly at her.
"Um, well, I guess… the TARDIS?" It seemed like as good a place to start as any.
"Right-o! Time and Relative Dimension in Space! Why do we have one?"
She didn't answer, leading him back to the moped. They climbed on and she revved it, steering back to the planetoid on which the TARDIS was parked. Her hands were shaking and she felt numb.
"The Rings of Akhetan!" The Doctor called in her ear as she drove. "A group of planetoids that orbit around the star Akhetan, and the sun-singers engage in a perpetual song to keep the old god they worship, whom they call Grandfather, asleep." She didn't have the heart to tell him that he had already told her all this. "But he seems to be gone now so I don't know what they'll do…" he mused.
She held his hand as they wound through the marketplace. He kept trying to dodge this way and that, explaining the different kinds of aliens to her. The TARDIS doors opened of their own accord as the two travelers approached. "Oh, now you open," muttered Clara sullenly. An interested expression took over the Doctor's face as the blue doors closed behind them.
"Is she mine?" he asked. "She feels like mine, in my head."
"Who?" said Clara, confused. Brilliant. Now he was just spouting gibberish. The Doctor strolled to the console and patted it. He could feel her presence in him, a warm and friendly feeling.
"Hello, TARDIS," he murmured to the console. "What's your name?"
Clara watched as he tilted his head, listening to something only he could hear. He blushed suddenly. "Well, hello Sexy. Nice to meet you!" He glared at Clara. "Not like that!"
"Doctor?" she said, cautiously. "What do you remember?"
He straightened up and began reciting a litany. "Gallifrey was the home of the Time Lords and it had two suns and red grass, Oods hold their brains in their hands, the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, Earth's sun's temperature is 5778 Kelvin, igneous rocks are formed from the cooling and solidification and cooling of magma—"
"Alright!" Clara held up a hand, stopping him. She rubbed her temples with her hands. "Okay. It sounds like you remember facts. What do you remember about you?"
He put his chin on his hands thoughtfully. "I… ah… Oh! Oh!—wait, no. Got nothing. Not a speck of knowledge about me rattling around in there." He wiggled his fingers at his head. "What do you know about me?"
Clara took a deep breath. What had told her? "You're an alien. You have two hearts and you're a thousand years old and you can't fly a plane."
He put his hands on his chest, feeling the beating of his dual hearts. "Two hearts, humanoid, very fast metabolism, senses include sight, sound, smell—" He flicked his tongue out briefly "—taste, temporal, spatial. Very low internal temperature, about sixteen Celsius. I appear to be Gallifreyan. And I have a TARDIS so… Time Lord? Yes, that seems right. I'm a Time Lord! Hello." He grasped the lapels of his coat, pulling them straight and looking proudly at Clara.
"Okay. That's a start. How about… What's the last thing you remember? I know you went to face Akhetan and then… what?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Dunno. Last thing I remember was being on the floor of the temple before Akhetan imploded."
She looked around the main room. She hadn't seen much of the time and space machine yet, but there had to be more rooms. Maybe they contained clues to who the Doctor was. "We could investigate the TARDIS. Might find something to help you remember," she suggested hopefully.
They picked a random hallway and walked down it. The first room they came to was a bedroom. A luxurious bed dominated the room. There was a wardrobe filled with dresses and ladies' pants; a pair of heels were tipped on their sides near the bed. On the nightstand there was a book, worn and cracked with a blue cover. The Doctor sat on the bed, picked up the book and began to leaf through it. Clara sat next to him and looked round the room. After some time he closed the book and sat looking at it in his hands. His face was unreadable.
"Doctor? Are you alright?"
"I think," he began, "I think I was married? Or am married. Not entirely sure 'cause I guess we got married in an alternate dimension. Anyway, apparently I haven't seen her in a while." He looked back down at the book. Clara didn't know what to say, so she opted for saying nothing. Finally he set the book back on the nightstand and stood up, wandering out of the room. Clara followed.
They found a racquetball court, a pool, and a library. The library was huge. The stacks towered, stretching ambitiously toward the distant ceiling. Tall ladders were attached to the shelves. The Doctor examined the nearest shelf. The books were stacked haphazardly and many were in languages Clara didn't know. The Doctor browsed the books, running his fingers over the titles. Eventually he spoke. "It appears I'm fluent in Gallifreyan, Judoon, Ancient North Martian, and Trillic."
They left the library and found a string of rooms with closed doors. The TARDIS informed the Doctor that they were bedrooms and told him who each of the rooms belonged to. "Jamie," he told Clara, tapping the closest door. "Victoria," he continued, pointing at the next one. "Zoe. Adric." The closed rooms were dusty, obviously having been abandoned long ago. Merely opening the doors felt like an act of desecration. They didn't find much in these rooms, only old preserved garments and shoes, and, in one room, and set of bagpipes clogged with dust.
The next room they came upon was a roomful of hats. A number of green and brown floppy felt hats, cowboy hats, fezzes, panama hats, various types of helmets, fedoras, top hats, boaters, and various headgear that Clara didn't know how to begin to describe were stacked around the room. He fingered the hats wonderingly then shook his head. "Nothing here," he said, and they left.
They sat on the edge of the console, their legs dangling over the edge. "Want to keep looking?" asked Clara. He shook his head.
"I think… if I'm a Time Lord then there should be other Time Lords who know me, yeah? Maybe we can find them and they can tell me who I am." He leapt up and ran to the console. "Sexy, take us to Gallifrey!" He pushed buttons and pulled a series of levers, but they didn't hear the vworp of the TARDIS engines. "Come on! You can do it!" He pressed the buttons again and wiggled the levers slightly. The TARDIS balked. "Why won't you work?" he cried.
Clara couldn't hear what the TARDIS told him, but his expression darkened and his hands gripped the edge of the console.
"We can't go to Gallifrey. It's in a Time Lock, apparently. You know, like it's in its own little bubble of time, and no one can get to it. Dunno why, she wouldn't tell me." He wouldn't look at her.
"There must be some way we can get to it—"
"Clara." He sounded defeated.
"You can't just give up! I don't much about you but I do know that you never give up, you never walk away!"
He glared at her, his jaw set and his eyes angry. "I'm not giving up, I'm just… I don't know if going to Gallifrey is the best idea. If the TARDIS won't go it's probably for a very good reason. And Time Locks are almost impossible to break though…" He sighed and looked down at the console, tracing the outer edges of some of the buttons. "I don't think we'd find anything good…"
Clara hesitated. "Why would there be a Time Lock?"
"Oh, many reasons, mostly having to do with very very bad things like wars and apocalypses and the destruction of the universe as we know it. Not a good idea to unlock one, rather like making a Sontaran angry." He made an exaggerated angry face and pointed an imaginary gun at her to demonstrate.
"What do you think we should do, then?"
The Doctor looked about the control room. He thought that if he was really a thousand years old there were probably gazillions of memories he had lost… and yet he felt little desire to track them down. He didn't know why but he felt content, like something that had been weighing him down was gone. Suddenly finding out about himself didn't seem like a grand adventure; it seemed like a bad idea. There was a vague feeling that he wouldn't find much happiness through finding out about his past— a feeling reinforced by the presence of all those abandoned, locked-up rooms tucked away in the corridors of the TARDIS.
The real adventure would be moving forward, making new memories to go with Clara and with this new self whom he hadn't yet figured out. He whirled back to the console and once again began pressing and flicking the various apparatuses.
"Okay, Sexy. Take us… somewhere awesome!"
The TARDIS vworped to life.