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Doctor Who fic: Wayward Son, Chapter 2

Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 2:  A Life Domestic
Characters: Ten; TenII/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

In Chapter 2, TenII reflects on how he ended up on the Slow Path.  Feedback is a gift!  Please let me know what you think.  :)

Chapter 2:  A Life Domestic

The insistent, irritating buzz of a clock/radio filled the air of a large bedroom.  In the center against the wall, a queen-sized bed sat with a solid dark-blue duvet; a featureless lump marring its otherwise pristine Shaker looks.  An equally austere nightstand sat on the right of the bed; on its surface the clock continued its incessant howling.  Long thin fingers appeared from beneath the duvet, slapping at the clock but somehow managing to miss it each attempt.  A disheveled mop of dark brown hair, spikes pointing in all cardinal directions and in-between, slowly emerged from the top of the lump.  Finally silencing the clock with a well-placed fist, the Doctor gave out a deep sigh and a groan before sitting up.

There was no need to look at the clock.  He knew exactly what time it was.  His impeccably accurate time sense told him it was six hours, thirteen minutes, forty-seven seconds since he went to bed last night.  Unfortunately, it was only his own personal relative time that he knew with a startling degree of accuracy.  Ironically, he could tell perfect local time anywhere in the world… in another universe.  He would make an excellent stopwatch, but a lousy clock, he noted ruefully.  So he had taken to glancing at a clock periodically.  He’d then mark the time before adding the hours, minutes and seconds generated by his unerring Time Lord senses to keep up with the current time in this alternate universe.  There was no need to consult the clock in his bedroom, because it went off at the same time each day with dismaying regularity.  Stuck on the Slow Path; counting down the seconds to an inevitable… and far too short... end to 900 years of existence.

“Doctor!” came a shrill call from downstairs.  “I heard your clock goin’ off.  Get down ‘ere while breakfast is still warm!”

Jackie Tyler.  You could take the heiress out of the estates…

Standing and stretching, the Doctor stepped off the Oriental rug spread beneath the bed and immediately hissed as his bare feet hit the cold hardwood floor.  Hurrying to the en suite bathroom, he turned on the water to the shower to give it time to warm properly.  Not for the first time, he felt a pang of longing for his beautiful home and oldest friend, the TARDIS.  His beautiful home and oldest friend now, he reminded himself.  The full Time Lord had kept her, and he could no longer feel her or hear her crooning song through the sealed rupture between the universes.  Sometimes, on the border between sleep and wakefulness, he could almost swear he heard her faint song of love and support reaching out to him from across the vast distances.

“DOCTOR!”  The shriek was louder now, as if right outside the bedroom door.  Hurriedly stripping off his pajamas (thankfully, nothing like Howard’s old jimjams, but a nice brown with blue pinstripes), the Doctor jumped into the now ready shower as if it were sanctuary from harpies.  Which, of course, it somewhat was.

He berated himself sharply for his uncharitable thoughts as he showered.  Here he was, living in the Tyler mansion after coming to this world with nothing more than the shirt on his back… and hope.  One of life’s little ironies was that Pete and Jackie Tyler would become his benefactors.  Jackie would never hesitate to slap sense into him in the other world, and here she was no different.  But much to his surprise, Jackie became much more than just his benefactor.  Taking him under her wing, she never once questioned who he was, simply accepting him as the Doctor.  She morphed into a formidable and fierce protectress, watching over him and his interests ever as staunchly as she did for her daughter.  Not even Rose dared raise a hand or her voice to him in Jackie’s presence. 

A rivulet of pain shot through him as he reached to shut off the water.  Rose.

Three months now he’d lived at the Tyler mansion, and he’d barely had ten minutes alone with her.  She seemed determined to use her parents, her brother Tony, even servants as human body shields to avoid being alone with him.  He had held so much hope on the beach at Dårlig Ulv Stranden.  He had nothing else, really.  He knew the Time Lord would leave him here on Pete’s World.  He saw it in his eyes, and since he had all of his memories... was him, essentially, with one heart, one life and some assorted human genes… he knew what the one in the pinstripes would do in his place.  There was no discussion, no debate, no choice given.  He didn’t expect there to be one.

He had seen the blackness in the eyes of the other Doctor, the barely contained Oncoming Storm, after he had rid them of the Daleks.  In truth, he had given the Time Lord no choice, either.  He, part human though he was, was the Doctor, too, damn it!  He saw that there was no other possible outcome but to destroy the Daleks and the Crucible, and he took it.  If he had it all to do over again, he would make the same choice.  In the moments after the Time Lord angrily ushered them back into the ship, he understood that he had set his feet on a path that could only result in a collision course with the other Doctor.  In his first hours after his birth, he had established his independence and autonomy as a separate being, capable of making his own decisions.  It would not be without consequence.

The trip back to Earth had appeared jovial and full of camaraderie as the companions talked amongst themselves and taken shifts piloting at the TARDIS console.  Rose and the others had chatted amiably with him, seeming to accept that he was somehow another Doctor, something like an identical twin, while surreptitiously testing his memory of events they’d shared with him.  He caught Rose staring at him on multiple occasions in unveiled amazement, as if he were an exceedingly and exquisitely detailed painting.  He felt his face flush in self-conscious bashfulness, something he never did as a Time Lord. 

Later, he submitted to multiple medical scans in the infirmary with Donna, curious about the changes to his body and mind.  He wasn’t surprised to find that he would age, having established already that he had only one heart.  He was disappointed to find he probably wouldn’t regenerate with only one heart, and a bit too much human DNA.  Seventy years or so, ninety max, and it would be over.  His mind, thankfully, appeared to be intact with a full Time Lord consciousness and brain.  The portion of his psyche that he inherited from Donna did not appear to be particularly problematic, but he quickly set to compartmentalizing it to prevent embarrassing Donna-like outbursts during his interactions with his friends.  What did surprise him was to discover that he was now genetically-compatible enough to a human female to possibly create viable fetuses.  That information would seal his fate, he surmised, once the Time Lord found out.

There could be but one outcome, based on the results of the scans.  There would be but one Doctor in this universe… one Doctor in the TARDIS.  It wouldn’t be the Human-Time Lord Meta-Crisis, of that much he was sure.  Although it boggled his mind to imagine that the Time Lord would ever give her up, he calculated an 89.995% certainty that Rose Tyler would not be given a choice, either.  Armed with that knowledge and a sliver of hope, he held his peace.

It was not without trepidation that he stepped out onto the beach of Bad Wolf Bay.  His heart, his single human heart, beat rapidly as he carefully watched Rose’s puzzled reaction to that final stop.  Jackie stepped out boldly, obviously feeling right at home.  Her husband, the alternate Pete Tyler, and their son lived here.  For her, this was her home.  Rose, however, was clearly reluctant to leave the shelter of the TARDIS.  The news that the Doctor was leaving her on Pete’s World with a duplicate did not go well, as he had already guessed.  The Time Lord, as imperious as he’d ever been, gave her no choice.  Donna, showing her loyalty as best mate to both Doctors, asked the human Doctor to explain to Rose the results of the scans she’d done.  It made little difference.  Rose, who had spent years in the alternate world launching herself across dimensions trying to get back to her beloved Doctor, never had intentions of ever returning.

He winced, naturally, at the Time Lord’s words:  Genocide.  Too dangerous to be left on his own.  Born in battle.  Full of blood and anger and revenge.  

It stung, and he couldn’t help but whinge but a little.  But he knew that the harsh words fit the speaker like a glove, just as easily as it fit him.  He looked into the eyes of the other, and what he saw there reached across the bond… the tenuous telepathic bond he shared with the only other Time Lord in all of Creation.  The horrendous pain he saw there, and felt as the Time Lord temporarily dropped his mental shields, gave him pause.  He’s actually doing it.  He’s gifting me Rose Tyler, he thought in complete astonishment.  The man in the blue suit hadn’t dared to hope.  The subtle unspoken plea in the Time Lord’s eyes, the plea not to fight the situation, filled him with a sharp stab of empathy. 

Turning to the side and stuffing his hands into his pockets, he awaited Rose’s reaction.  She watched mutely as the Doctor in brown handed the Doctor in blue a sliver of TARDIS coral, which was quickly pocketed.  Thanks to Donna’s brilliance, he might actually grow a functional TARDIS within their lifetime.  Surely that would help to sway Rose to stay, if she knew she could still have a life of adventure.  If nothing else, perhaps it would save his sanity from being landlocked to one planet.

Then came the challenge.  Like the Oracles of old, Rose Tyler asked the question, and he knew the answer just as well as the Time Lord.  He watched, as the Time Lord in brown pinstripes deliberately muffed the answer.

“Does it need saying?” the one in brown answered lamely.

He knew, without question, what it had cost him to leave that vacuum.  He had once been him, after all, and he knew with absolute certainty that he had promised himself after Canary Wharf, solemnly promised, that he would answer the question truthfully and unequivocally when it came.

Rose turned to him expectantly, almost desperately.  “And you, Doctor?”

Without hesitation, he stepped into that vacuum in a leap of faith.  His new single heart in his throat, he leaned to whisper his answer into her ear, primarily to save the Time Lord the acute pain of actually hearing him say the words.

“Rose Tyler, I love you.”

His shock and disbelief almost threw him off balance as Rose hauled him to her by his lapels.  The deep kiss she pulled him into made him forget all of his fears, in one brief second, before he responded.  Wrapping his grateful long arms around her waist, he poured all of his love, hope and promises into the most meaningful kiss he had ever given anyone, ever.

And that’s when it all went straight to Hell.

A loud banging and a shriek at the bedroom door startled him out of his reverie.  “Dammit, Doctor!  Your bleedin’ breakfast has gotten cold.”

Sighing, the Doctor finished tying up his plimsolls and opened the door to an irate Jackie Tyler.  “I gotta heat your flippin’ breakfast up again, you wanker!  What is it you do in there all morning, anyway?” she asked as she peered around him.

Biting off a tart retort, he said mildly instead, “Just showering and getting dressed, Jackie.  Don’t want me showin’ up at the breakie table starkers, do ya?”

“Es’ not past you,” she said with a huff as she stalked back down the hallway.  The Doctor followed meekly.  It wouldn’t do to bite the hand that feeds one.

Chapter 1:  Ulv Stranden

He came here often to this lonely beach, just to stand and stare stoically at the waves crashing against the rocks and sand. His brown long coat flapped in the brisk wind as he stood tall and stock-still, seemingly waiting for something that never appeared. Often he felt a chill, but it wasn’t from the frigid wind or stinging salt spray. The cold he felt was within his hearts as he contemplated the decades, if not centuries, of losses that seemed to converge on this spot.

In truth, it wasn’t exactly on this spot that the painful losses had occurred. Only the most recent and devastating losses had happened here, and not really here. Across the Void between universes, on a beach very, very much like this one -- almost identical, in fact -- was a Beach in another Norway. Dårlig Ulv Stranden it was called in the other universe. Bad Wolf Bay. Here, it was known only as Ulv Stranden, and although nothing of any consequence had actually happened here in his personal timeline, it was as close as he could get to that other place. Here, he knew, the bubbles of the two universes rubbed closely together. Only a relatively thin layer, separated by the Void, existed here, allowing him the illusion that he was as close as he could get without bursting through the walls. That he could almost touch, almost feel, what was on the other side.

But to break through would destroy both universes, as well he knew. He had sealed a breach himself, not so very long ago, truncating a series of timelines that had personal significance to him. He was a Time Lord. He was the Last of the Time Lords. It was his responsibility to maintain timelines in an orderly fashion and protect the multiverse, even at the expense of his own interests. His own personal happiness, and that of others he cared deeply for, did not enter into the equation. He had done what needed to be done, and now he felt more alone than he ever thought he could be. His hearts seemed trapped there, calling plaintively to him, drawing him back to this deserted and desolate beach time and time again. Yet, he had no choice but to go on; he was the Last Time Lord, the only one remaining to ensure chaos did not reign across the multiverse. It was his fault that there were no others, he wordlessly admonished himself, so he deserved no less.

Thin, pin-striped legs felt as if they were stone pillars as he turned slowly back to a bold, blue police box set starkly on the sand. Crossing the space in long, weary strides, he reached the doors to the blue box and pushed the right panel open, taking one long last look before he disappeared into the interior.

A sound older than the universe itself, a wheezing, haunting song, drifted over the wind as the blue police box faded away. It left a small square imprint on the wet sand as the tide came in to lick at its borders, as it had so many times before.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Can everyone tell how much I *suck* at posting on LJ? LOL
Dec. 29th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Trust me, you're not the only one. Sometimes I mess up my ljcuts and then I end up spamming my flist with crazy long posts. :P

They have an FAQ page with all the different texts to link to previous journal entries and things like that. It's a god send! :)

BTW - I can't wait to read more. Love how precise and detail oriented your Ten II is. Very Doctor like, but also just a bit of Donna. Fantastic! :)
Dec. 29th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, now there's an idea. Consult the FAQ... or as we techies say, RTFM. One of the things I think I inherited from my Dad is a horrible habit of trying to build first, consult manual later when you get stumped. Need to work on that, it seems. Thanks for the reminder! I'll definitely read those more carefully before I post my next chapter.

I'm so glad you like my Ten II! He may well be the Doctor, but he's his own man, too. He also has that spark of Donna in him that he can only suppress for so long before she surfaces. I think a lot of writers sort of ignore Donna's influence in their Ten II's, and that's a shame. Donna made him better, just as Rose and Martha did in their own ways. I think Donna's essence is going to help Ten II bridge that gap between Time Lord and human as he struggles to live within an overwhelmingly human world. I don't think even he knows how it's going to change and help him.

Working on chapter 3, but not sure if I'll finish it today. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )