THE MOMENT REINTERPRETED
The chant in his head was the same as he walked for miles and miles and miles. The burden on his back was light compared to the burden on his soul.
No more, he said to himself. This ends today.
As he kneeled down and uncovered the box, the Warrior could hear the inside cogs turn. The machinery was working smoothly and perfectly. He caressed the outer layout. A beautiful brass work in the form of a clockwork box, with details in wood and transcriptions of warnings labelled around it. How could something as delicate as that box be the most powerful weapon of mass destruction in the whole Universe?
Sometimes he questioned his people's sanity. That whole war was just the last piece to fall in a long line of dominoes. Time Lords spent far too many years buried in bureaucracy and science and weaponry design, mixed with long aeons of making foes. All that was bound to blow up, sooner or later.
His old eyelids were tired, and he could already feel the burden heaving on them. The mere idea of doing it... The mere fact that he was standing there, touching that box... That simple, delicate touch was already burdening him.
Nonetheless, it was the only way.
The inside cogs kept turning. The Warrior cocked his head to one side, puzzled. "How do you work?" he asked, turning the box around and, frustrated, he added: "Why is there never a big red button?"
He heard a soft scuffling noise, and perked up. That planet was deserted. He had made sure of that, and he had parked the TARDIS far away, to avoid her gaze of judgement that only him could feel. He got up and opened the barn's door.
The Warrior looked outside, to the desert around him. "Hello?" he yelled, just out of habit. He knew, in his rational mind, that he was alone. And yet, he wishes he wasn't. "Somebody there?" he insisted.
And to his utter surprise, a voice behind him answered: "It's nothing". The Warrior turned, caught off guard. A ginger woman, wearing a white dress in shreds, looked back at him, sitting cross-legged on top of The Moment's box. "It's just the wind". She looked like a bride that had gone through a war in her wedding dress.
An urge of outrage eclipsed his surprise. "Don't sit on that!", he scolded, grabbing her arm and pulling her off from the box.
"Oi! Excuse me!" she protested, and the Warrior softened his grip on her. "Why not?" she asked, clueless, as he escorted her, more politely, in the direction of the door.
"Well, because it's not a chair! It's the most dangerous weapon in the universe!"
Hurriedly, he pulled her through the barn door and closed it behind him. He lowered his head, still grasping the door's lock, and sighed. Man, were his readings of the planet's surface wrong.
The Warrior turned back to the Moment's box, only to be taken aback by the image of the same ginger woman dressed in white sitting on top of it. She looked at him, nonchalant. "Well, who says it can't be both? You?"
He took a step forward in her direction. Something was up. She kept talking: "Anyway, Mister Bossy. Why did you park so far away?" she asked, and she squinted her eyes at him. She leaned in and gave him a knowing smile. "Oh... Didn't you want her to see it?", she whispered, as if to make sure no one else would hear her. As if there was anyone else.
He stared at her deeply. "Want who to see?" he asked, cautiously. He still wasn't sure what was happening here. Who was this ginger raggedy bride?
"The TARDIS, you airhead" the ginger woman replied, rolling her eyes. She got up and walked around in the barn. "Come on now, Mister Bossy. You walked for miles, and miles, and miles, and even more miles..."
"I was thinking-"
"I heard you" she interrupted him midsentence, now with a grave, serious voice.
"You heard me?" he replied, sceptical.
"Loud and clear. No... More" she chanted with a hoarse voice, in an attempt of sounding like him. "No more" she repeated, not holding back a mocking smile now.
No more, he thought, as his burden sunk deeper into him.
"Yes, you kept thinking it" she agreed. "Over and over and over... Quite tiring, if you ask me. But you kept going: no more, no more, no more, no..."
The ginger woman raised an eyebrow at him. "No more?", she asked.
The Warrior squinted his eyes at the sassy raggedy bride, trying to grasp the meaning of her. "Who are you?"
The clockwork box stirred, attracting the Warrior's attention. "It's activating" he says, as he kneels beside it. "Get out of here, now" he commands once again.
The ginger woman crossed her arms. "'Get out of here?'", she quoted him, clearly dismayed. She wasn't budging.
"Ow!" he shouted out in pain. He had tried to take hold of the box and it just... burned him. He was completely puzzled.
"What's wrong?" she asked, standing behind him.
"The interface... is hot", he replied, still puzzled.
"Well, you deserved it, Mister Bossy", she replied, nonchalant.
"Stop calling me that..." he mumbled, still with his back turned to her. He was staring down at the Moment's box, trying to make sense of it. "There's a power source inside..." And then he just stopped. Could it be...? He turned to the ginger woman, who was now leaning against a wooden container. She was smiling at him. "You're the interface?" he asked, taken aback.
"What, did no one tell you?" as he just kept staring at her, she rolled her eyes. "Oh, really?" he just looked at her, blankly. The ginger woman shook her head, disappointed. "The Moment has a conscience. And that'd be me. Hello!" and she waved at him, a bright smile on her face. "Oh dear... And you, always stuck between a girl and a box, eh, Doctor? And quite a knack for brides".
He found himself unable to move. "You know me?"
"I heard you, Doctor" she emphasised, as if he was thick enough to not understand her. "All of you... Just jangling and prattling around in that airhead of yours, so full of yourselves, so very sure and rightful.", and she smiled. "I chose this face and form especially for you, you know. And I don't usually do that... You should be grateful for once, Spaceman", she added with a bright smile. She was clearly enjoying herself.
As he just stared at her, clueless, she wheezed and shook her head. "Come on. This face is from your past..." and then she seemed just a bit unsure of herself. "Or possibly your future... Sorry, I always get those two mixed up. Anyway, it's supposed order to have an impact in all that righteousness of yours".
But he was having none of that. "I don't have a future". She was just trying to mess with his head.
The ginger woman closed her eyes, as if she was trying to remember something. "I think... Yes, yes. I think I'm called Donna. Donna Noble. No. Wait. Yes" she was having an internal debate with herself, and the Warrior was just watching her. "No, no, sorry, no. In this form, I'm called DoctorDonna. The DoctorDonna..." she turned her gaze at him once again, but she wasn't smiling anymore. " And I came to be through you... But I'm just a shadow of a memory now... Or rather, not even a memory at all, Doctor". She stared at him, and he could feel that she was judging him. "Why is that? Why can I be and yet have no history, Doctor?"
"Stop calling me Doctor", said the Warrior, bitterly.
"Can't help it. That's the name in your head, you know".
"Well, it shouldn't be. I've been fighting this war for a long time now... I've lost the right to be the Doctor".
The Moment narrowed her blue eyes, sceptically. "Says who?"
"Oh, I forgot. Mister Bossy, of course... And now you're the one to save us all".
"Yes, I am".
"Oh dear" she sighed, shaking her head in disappointment. "Someone has been alone for way too long now... She was right, you know. You do need someone".
All the while the Warrior was kneeled beside the Moment's box, but at that, he got up and and took a few steps towards her.
"If you have been inside my head, then you know what I've seen", he said and added, whispering: "The suffering. Every moment in time and space is burning. It must end, and I intend to end it the only way I can."
The Moment held his gaze. "By killing them all".
The Warrior turned away from her. He couldn't possibly look anyone in the eye as they said that.
"And you're going to use me to end it by killing them all, Daleks and Time Lords alike", she added, matter-of-factly, watching him sitting down on a wooden box. "I could, you know. I really could, Doctor. But there will be consequences for you".
"I have no desire to survive this..." he mumbles to himself, and he looks to his side, only to find that the Moment, dressing in the form of the DoctorDonna, whoever that is, has materialised from standing in front of him to sitting beside him.
"Don't you see?" the Moment asked, with sorrow in her clear blue eyes. "That's your punishment, Doctor. If you do this..." she sighed, her brow furrowing with concern, "if you kill them all, then that's your consequence. You... live. Gallifrey. You're going to burn it, and all those Daleks with it, but all those children too" she added, even as he averted her gaze. "Tell me, Doctor. How many children live on Gallifrey right now?"
He slumped down. "I don't know".
"One day you'll count them..." she whispered to him. "One terrible night. This one will be there..." she looked down at herself, then looked up at him once again, and the Warrior forced himself to look at her as well. "Do you want to see it?"
He frowned at her. "See what?"
"See what today, what this decision, will turn you into?" as he frowned, unsure, she insisted with a light bump on his shoulder. "Come on, Spaceman! Aren't you even a teensy bit curious about your future?"
"I can't cross my own..."
"...timeline, yeah, I know that, Mister Bossy!" she rolled her eyes and then looked up, giving shape to a whirling portal of pure time vortex above them. The Warrior looked up, impressed. She really was powerful. "I'm opening windows on your future. A tangle in time through the days to come... to man today will make of you". She turned and winked at him. "Time Boy, you just sit back and be amazed..." she murmured, very proud of herself... until a fez dropped through the portal.
They both frowned. "Okay..." she paused, intrigued. "I wasn't expecting that".
A/N: It's good to remember that despite being the form of the DoctorDonna, it's still the same conscience behind it - The Moment's conscience, hence the similarity in the dialogues. But I believe the Moment would borrow some resemblance to the character she's impersonating (with all that glimmering eyes and speaking in codes of the Bad Wolf, not Rose's). There are two more chapters on this. Stay tuned! Also, if you like Donna Noble, check out my story "Donna Who?", the prequel is here on FF and there's also the video prequel, featuring the eleventh Doctor, that you can watch on YT. The link can be found at my website, mymistrust dot net.