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Doctor Who fic: Wayward Son, Chapter 5

The Doctor’s mind and heart were in turmoil. In a daze, he walked away from the library, his voice, His words, ringing repeatedly in his head.

Full of blood and anger and revenge.

Expressionless, he found himself leaning against the side of his little blue hybrid, holding the keys in his hands. He had no memory of how he got here. No idea where he was going.

“Rose,” he whispered.

How could he? How could he have put his hands on Rose in anger?

Rose, the woman he loved more than life itself. He had slammed her against the wall like a discarded broken toy. He had physically and emotionally hurt her. His Rose!

He had been a broken and empty vessel of a soldier, and she had picked up the shattered pieces and filled his scarred old hearts with things he’d never thought he’d feel again: Happiness, joy, hope, purpose… and yes, love. His pink and yellow Princess, who he’d sworn to protect against harm at all cost, and he’d hurt her.

The image of his previous face, with big ears, strong aquiline nose and piercing blue eyes, seemed to stare back at him from behind his eyelids. A look of fury and utter disgust marred his rough features. He had given up his life without a second thought, willingly died to protect his Rose. There was no doubt that, could his ninth incarnation take physical form right now before him, He would choke the very last breath from his miserable carcass.

Opening the garage door with his key fob, the Doctor fell into his car and pulled out into the driveway. There was no destination; no place to go. No place to run. But run he must. He had to get away, to leave the scene of the crime, even if only for a few moments. He started to drive, barely noting anything but cars and pedestrians, on an aimless course on the Road to Nowhere.

########

Jackie stepped into the foyer, Pete close behind her. She immediately kicked off her strappy shoes, rubbing her feet with a grimace. She took note of how all the lights were on, as if no one had gone to bed. It was ‘nigh 1:00 am in the morning.

“Oh, Pete,” she said with a smile, “I think they stayed up talkin’! Was so hopin’ they would. Them two got a lot of things they need to clear the air on. But I wonder where His Nibs went. His car isn’t here.”

Pete nodded. “I’m going to bed, Jacks. It’s been a long day and I need to be fresh tomorrow. Gotta presentation to do.”

“Ok, sweetheart. I’ll be up in a mo’. Jus’ wanna check on the kids,” she said with a kiss to his cheek.

“You just want to be nosey,” he grinned as he headed up the stairs.

Jackie checked the family room and kitchen first, turning out lights as she left. Seeing the library door open with bright light streaming into the hallway, she headed there next. Her eyes widened as soon as she walked through the door.

Rose was sitting on the floor, back to the wall. Her eyes were swollen, red, and almost swollen shut from crying. Dried tears tracked her face and her mascara had gone everywhere. She looked up at Jackie and let out a choked, “Mum,” before her face crumpled into fresh tears.

“Rose!” Jackie exclaimed, dropping down to embrace her daughter. “What happened! Where’s the Doctor?”

“I… I dunno.” She looked around as if searching for him. “He…he left, I think.”

“Rose, sweetheart… what happened? Why are you on the floor crying? What did he do to you?”

“Oh, Mum,” she sobbed quietly. “He was so… angry!”

Jackie’s eyes hardened. “Did he hurt you? What the hell happened, Rose?”

“Oh, Mum… I’ve never seen him like that. Not with m..mm..me. He was so, so furious! He… he slammed me into the wall and pinned me there and wouldn’t let me leave.”

“WHAT??” Jackie shrieked. “He what?”

“Oh, Mum!” Rose said, as she collapsed into her mother’s arms.

“I’m gonna kill ‘im,” Jackie spat. “How dare he touch my baby?”

“No, no, Mum. I think it was my fault. I said some…things. Some h-harsh words.”

“I don’ care, Rose. Nobody treats my daughter like that. I don’t care what you did. He ain’t got no right to do that. His car is gone, so I know he ran like the coward he is.”

Rose started. “He’s… gone? He left?”

“Yeah,” Jackie nodded. “Or I’d slap ‘im into the middle of next week. He won’t need no time machine when I get to ‘im. So what was he on ‘bout, Rose. What set ‘im off?”

“Well, it..it started like he wanted to talk ‘bout getting’ a job, yeah? Then he told me he was gonna work for Torchwood. That Dad offered him a job right at Torchwood One.”

Jackie nodded. “Yeah, he did. Pete told me he was gonna. Said he would be good at it, if he’d get off ‘is high horse. Said he’s even overqualified.”

“I told him it wouldn’t be a good idea,” Rose said simply.

“Oh, sweetheart. Why’d you go and do that? We’ve been tryin’ to get up his self-confidence so he’d actually get out and try a proper job. He’s so scared of ‘is own shadow that he hardly leaves the house! We think he’s been waitin’ on you, Rose. He don’t wanna start a life without you.”

Rose looked away, not wanting to meet her mother’s gaze. “He accused me of not wantin’ him to work there. And that’s when it started spinnin’ out of control. Kept goin’ on ‘bout how he was jus’ as qualified as the Doctor. That he was the Doctor, in every way.”

“And what did you say?”

“I said he wasn’t,” Rose said in a low voice, still looking away into nothing. “I said he was human, an’ how he was jus’ gonna wither and die like the rest of us humans. How he didn’t have a TARDIS, or two hearts, an’ how he couldn’t be the Doctor because the Doctor still exists in the other universe. It’s not like he’s dead or somethin’.”

Slumping with a sigh, her eyes sad, Jackie stared at Rose waiting for her to look up.

“Rose, I’m not believin’ you said all of that to him. Why would you say that to him? Were you tryin’ to hurt him? It ain’t his fault the other left you here. Why take it out on him?”

“No, Mum!” Rose cried in frustration. “That’s not why I said it! He’s not the Doctor. He’s…he’s like a… a clone or something. The proper Doctor, the one I was looking for, is in the other universe. This one thinks that if he grows a TARDIS, somehow he’ll be the Doctor. It don’t work that way! Then he started screamin’ at me about how I kissed him on the beach. I mean, you’d think I took some kind of vow to marry him or somethin’.”

“Rose Marian Tyler,” her mother intoned. “That man loves you more than he loves his own life. He’s as much the Doctor as that other one, an’ the other one told you that, plain and simple. I know you haven’t spent hardly any time with ‘im, but I have. He is absolutely the same as the other, only a little easier to talk to. A lit’l less weird and alien. He may not understand all the time, but he tries, Rose. He’s got one thing over the other; and that is, he’s not afraid to commit. He wants a life with you, Rose, an’ I don’t think you were ever gonna get that out of the other. The other one left you here. He stayed.”

Rose laughed. “Oh, come on, Mum! He left me at every opportunity. Even when he was the big Northern bloke. He dropped me off home and told me to have a good life! Then he jus’ went an’ changed his face on me, no explanation or nothin’. He left me and Mickey to fend for ourselves when he ran off with that French tart, Reinette! He didn’t even think that he could get back, Mum. An’ then he ran off an’ left me here after I spent three long years lookin’ for ‘im! He abandoned Sarah Jane, Mum! She told me so. That’s what he does, Mum. He can’t be trusted. An’ look what he did last night!! He’s run off again. He can’t be trusted, Mum!”

Jackie’s blue eyes danced and sparkled in victory. “So,” she said. “You’re admittin’, then, that he is the same man. He’s the same Doctor, then.”

“What?” Rose asked, staring at her Mum in confusion.

“You just lumped him in with the other one. Said all those things he did, as if he had done them. If you really think he did all those things as the Doctor, then he’s the same man.”

Rose closed her eyes and put her face in her hands. “I’m so confused, Mum.”

“Yes, that you are, love,” said Jackie gently. “But you can’t let your confusion be his problem. You can’t keep snatchin’ his identity away like that. He can’t help who he is, or what he is. An’ it ain’t like you, Rose. It ain’t like you not to have compassion for people. That’s not you, not like my Rose. You’re better than that.”

She stood up, offering a hand to help Rose to her feet. “Let’s go wash your face, love. We can talk about it in the morning. I can’t stop you from makin’ your own decisions ‘bout things. If you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, I can’t stop you. So be it. But I want you to know, he’s a good man. He don’t deserve to be mistreated an’ disrespected, an’ I consider him a part of this family. You ain’t got to marry him or nothin’, but please give him some respect an’ let him keep his dignity, ok?”

“What if he doesn’t come back, Mum?”

“He’ll be back. I know he will. We’re all he’s got left.”

Rose nodded, subdued, as she followed Jackie from the room.

##########

He drove through the deserted streets quite aimlessly; eyes almost sightless, only registering subconsciously any obstacles in his path. Were he thinking rationally, he wouldn’t operate a vehicle at all in his emotional state.

His brilliant Time Lord brain was processing hundreds of threads of thought simultaneously, but most of them were occupied with the events of the last few hours. They looped and nested, swirled, died and reformed, inside his head like a swarm of angry Africanized bees.

One particular set of words would come to the foreground and repeat itself in a Mobius loop of analysis and then emotion, subside for a few minutes, and then get replaced with another.

He’s still in the other universe, so there can’t possibly be two of you. You don’t have a TARDIS, you got but one heart, you’re half bloody human and you’re gonna wither and die just like any other human!”

Oh, the irony, to have those words thrown back into his face: Wither and die. Wither and die. He said them out loud, feeling the bitterness, like ashes, in his mouth. That was when he had snapped. The sting of the Truth was more than he could bear.

Stupid, stupid, arrogant Time Lord. Never thought you’d ever have those words applied to you, did you? Such poetic justice that Rose would remember and hoist me by my own petard.

But was he still a Time Lord? Is that what made him who he was? The other Doctor lost only a hand. He’d lost a binary circulatory system, the ability to regenerate, and part of his genome. He looked the same and still had many of his Time Lord senses, thanks to the dominance of the Time Lord triple helix. They were a bit diminished with the introduction of human genes and by being in this alternate universe. But is a Time Lord defined by biology? Does he stop being a Time Lord because he wasn’t a genetically pure Gallifreyan? There were (used to be, anyway) Gallifreyans who weren’t Time Lords, so it can’t be genetics alone.

He still remembered being a Time Lord, being him. He had all the same knowledge, the same memories. Was he the sum of his memories and experiences? If so, he was still a Time Lord and still the Doctor.

But now, his experiences and the resulting memories were diverging. He had no problem with this at all when he regenerated. He knew he was the same man after regeneration, although it felt like dying to the previous incarnation. The old him died, and the new bloke went running off to new adventures with a whole new personality and all of the previous memories. Why was this so different?

Instantaneous Biological Meta-crisis

He was unique. One of a kind. There was never one like him, ever. It was like his psyche had been cloned, but not the body. It was almost the inverse of identical twins, which were essentially biological clones, but with totally separate psyches and memories. Identical twins had separate identities. No one argued about their identities. If he was truly unique, did that mean he wasn’t the Doctor now, but had been prior to the meta-crisis?

The metaphysical, ontological implications of his existence made even his considerable intelligence reel. His state of being, never questioned before, suddenly defied analysis. There was no empirical evidence to help him. He could test out not one of his many theories. Every intellectual avenue he pursued led back to the philosophical.

His driver’s license, no longer a piece of psychic paper he could bend to his will, stated he was one John Noble Smith, age 32. His memories told him he was the Doctor, Last Time Lord of Gallifrey. His body indicated he was an Instantaneous Biological Meta-crisis, a unique individual who fit no other pattern. The woman he loved defined him as a negative, a non-entity: Not the Doctor.

He was in crisis. He wasn’t quite sure who he was. He certainly didn’t know where he was. What was certain was that he wouldn’t resolve the question tonight. It was after 4:00 am in the morning, according to the clock on his dash.

It was time to face the music.

He punched the buttons on the navigation unit in his car. He had to laugh sardonically as he hit the “Home” button. He’d been driving all night, and he was a mere 45 minutes from the Tyler mansion.

Strangely enough, the gate guards didn’t stop him when he arrived. He drove up the driveway and used the remote garage door opener. No police cars anywhere to be seen.

He wasn’t surprised to see Jackie standing in the garage awaiting him, still wearing a cocktail dress with sequins, in bare feet. He steeled himself for the inevitable.

Parking the car, he got out and walked over to Jackie, head slightly lowered. She said nothing, of course. He looked up into her blue-grey eyes and couldn’t help but compare them to satellite photos of hurricanes, complete with flashes of lightning.

Taking in a shaky breath, he simply greeted her with a “Jackie.”

She cracked him, hard, across his left cheek. He didn’t flinch, but he could barely see for the stars in his eyes. Then she slapped him just as hard across the right cheek. This time he almost went down, but not before Jackie grabbed him by his upper arms and hauled him upright. Or as upright as she could for such a gangly man.

She waited until his eyes could focus on her before she launched into her tirade.

“How dare you slam my daughter into the wall…,” she hissed.

He didn’t know what to say, he could only stare at her with eyes as contrite as a cowering puppy.

“If you ever raise your hand in anger to her again,” she continued in a dangerously low voice, “you’ll be able to wear trousers a size smaller, ‘cause I’ll rip out your bits and bobs with me own hands. You got that, mister?”

This time he did flinch a little, a tiny look of fear creeping in his eyes.

“Nobody, but nobody does that to my Rose. Not even me. What have you got to say for yourself?”

He dropped his head in genuine shame. “I’m truly, truly so, so sorry, Jackie. You have no idea how sorry I am.”

“Good,” she said, a little of the fury having dissipated. “I expect you to apologize to Rose, too, the first opportunity you get.”

He nodded again, but remained silent.

“Have you been drinkin’?” she demanded.

“Oh, no… no, Jackie. All I’ve had is a cup of tea. I’ll get my things and leave.”

“Oh no,” she said, surprisingly. “You’re not going anywhere but upstairs and into bed.”

“How can I possibly stay now?” he asked, not wanting to believe her words.

“You’re not goin’ anywhere, Doctor!” she said, finally raising her voice. “This is your home. This is where you belong, and you’re going straight upstairs. We’ll talk later. Now, go.”

He nodded again and walked obediently to the door. He paused and turned back slightly.

“Thank you, Jackie,” he said sincerely.

“Go!!” she shouted, stomping her foot at him.

He fled upstairs, not looking back.


Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 5: Lightning's Hand
Jackie finds Rose and discovers that she and the Doctor have been fighting. The Doctor takes a little trip on the Road to Nowhere, but returns to encounter a force of Nature: Hurricane Jackie.
Characters: Jackie Tyler; Ten II/Rose
Genre: Alternate Universe; Angst; Character Study; Het; Romance
Author's Description: Set mostly in the AU of Pete's World; TenII hits a big snag in his efforts to forge a new life with Rose and finds himself facing an unexpected identify crisis.
Length: WIP
Rating: Teen for slight swearing

Happy New Years, everyone!


Hope I don't bore anyone with the metaphysical debate, but I think it's something Ten II might go through if his assumptions of his identity get challenged.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
country_who
Jan. 1st, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
Hmm, Hurricane Jackie? I think Cloen might feel a bit safer over here on Georgia coast between August and September.

But, seriously, this was a brilliant chapter (I'm hopeless when it comes to reading introspection-ish stories.) The Doctor's got a lot of explaining to do.
biteymadlady58
Jan. 1st, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, J!

And I think you may be right. He got cranked pretty good, although I think he was both expecting it and feeling he deserved it.

But let's give Jacks a little credit. She *did* marry Alt!Pete and probably had to go through quite a bit to get it straight in both their minds as to who they were really marrying. Alt!Pete may have looked like her old Pete, but he wasn't him. She may have looked like his old Jackie, but of course she wasn't. Those two probably understand the situation far better than Rose and Ten II give them credit for.
wphorseluver
Jan. 2nd, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
Aw Doctor - wincing again! At least Jackie took a two sided approach to the whole thing. Poor guy, he's got a lot of growing to do mentally, I think. Good chapter as usual! :) Can't wait for the next!
biteymadlady58
Jan. 2nd, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Well, not sure the poor guy ever had a Mum on Gallifrey, but he sure has one now! Hah! He's been a bit of a Peter Pan all of this time with the TARDIS taking care of him. Growing up wasn't really necessary. But not to worry... there's Jackie. ;-)

Thanks so much for the kind words. The story is starting to flow for me with a bit of a life of its own.

I've started on Chapter 6, and he's going to get a bit of a shock, I think. Jackie's gonna challenge some assumptions on both the Doctor's and Rose's sides.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )