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Wayward Son, chapter 6: Paradox

A gentle knock on his bedroom door woke him. Bright sunlight was streaming through the window, making his sleep-induced blurry vision much worse than normal. He struggled to make out the digital readout on the clock/radio. As he moved closer to the edge of his bed, the drag against his body made him look down.

He was fully clothed on top of the duvet, and it was 12:00 pm. He’d slept for over six hours!

“Doctor!” he heard coming from the other side of the door.

Jackie. He fought the covers to get upright, feeling distinctly disoriented and quite tired, in spite of six hours of sleep. His face felt like fire, reminding him of the events of last night and early morning. Not that he needed a reminder.

Opening the door, he encountered a concerned-looking Jackie, no trace of the fire and ice he’d seen last on her face.

“Did you sleep in your clothes, love?” she asked, looking him up and down.

“Suppose I did,” he said. “You did send me straight to my room and told me to go to bed,” he added with a boyish smile.

Jackie noted that the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Well, I’ve got your lunch ready. You must be starving by now, with your metabolism,” she said. “Come on down and have something to eat. You can change later. You’d probably pass out in the shower, otherwise.”

The Doctor hesitated for just a second, wondering who was downstairs. It was Saturday, and he wasn’t sure if Rose was still at the mansion, or whether Pete was sitting at the table with murderous intent.

Jackie must have picked up on the reason for his hesitancy, because she reassuringly added, “It’s ok. It’s just me, Pete and Tony. Rose went back to her flat. Everything’s ok.”

He nodded. “Be right there,” he said before heading for the en suite. Splashing cold water on his face, he wondered why he felt so dehydrated and washed out, as if he were hung over. Standing up to take a better look at himself, he noticed there were two, rather livid, handprints on his face about the hue of mild sunburn. Neither of them could truly be mistaken for anything but slap marks.

“Oh, wizard,” he muttered under his breath as he went downstairs.

Walking slowly down the stairs to the dining room, the Doctor couldn’t resist wondering how Pete would greet him. Or not…

Strolling into the dining room with hands in pockets and hair a bit wilder and spikier than normal, he looked amusingly more like a little boy than Tony, who sat at the table in a booster seat to Jackie’s left. Pete, as usual, was sitting at the head of the table.

Pete looked up with a smile, and then froze for only the briefest of seconds, eyes clearly focused on the two red marks on the Doctor’s cheeks. He recovered admirably, however, and amiably patted the table at his right to indicate the Doctor should take his customary position.

“Good afternoon, Doctor,” he greeted in his typical gravelly manner. He gave no indication that anything had changed, so the Doctor sat down after returning the greeting. Tony, of course, being four, was not quite so adept at social artifice.

“Doctor,” he cried at typical stentorian playground volume. “What happened to your face?”

Jackie reached for the serving platter of turkey wraps, as if she’d heard nothing.

“Uhm… uh… I… I got sunburned, Tony!” the Doctor finally stuttered out, rather pleased with his clever inpromptu answer.

The four year-old’s face crinkled in puzzlement as he stared openly at the red marks. He cocked his head side to side as he concentrated.

“At night? In London?” he challenged him, a look of incredulity marked his tiny features.

Ah yes, bright little lad. As brilliant as his sister, the Doctor thought with pride as he started loading up his plate. Nice try, but he’s not buying it.

“Ever hear of the Midnight Sun, Tony?”

“DOCTOR! TONY! Eat your lunch!” shot Jackie, obviously unimpressed with the lunch table topic. A twinkle in her eye belied her tone, so the Doctor relaxed a bit. At the moment, the dining room appeared safe from histrionics.

Delay of execution, he thought wryly. Flaying, drawing and quartering to be announced.

The enigma called Jackie Tyler remained a mystery to him. She was all at once like a patroness, friend, mother-in-law and step-mother; emphasis on the step. She was so unpredictable and volatile in many respects, but never when it came to her protectiveness towards her family. One could never fault her for her allegiance to family. That she hadn’t put him out of his misery, or bodily thrown him from the mansion early this morning, left him gob smacked. Literally and figuratively, it seems. He couldn’t deny that, at times, she terrified him in a way none of his enemies ever would.

How can I possibly understand who I truly am, when I can’t even figure out Jackie Tyler, a member of a lower species descended from apes??

Donna’s internal voice kicked in. Oi, Dumbo! Count yourself amongst us stupid apes. Not so much the high an’ mighty Lord of Time now, are ya? More like a monkey’s uncle, ya are!

Since he wasn’t really in a straight line of descent from either Gallifreyan or Homo Sapiens species, perhaps he was indeed a monkey’s uncle. He was not quite the direct result of evolution on either planet, but derived partially from a disjointed hand and a human’s touch.

Quickly finishing lunch, he excused himself to go upstairs and shower. He was almost dizzy from the vortex of thoughts that swirled through his head. Something was nagging him… A stray thought fragment kept eluding him, slipping through his fingers like wispy curls of water vapor.

After showering and dressing, barely registering any of the activities, he found himself sitting quietly in his desk chair, staring out of his bedroom window. He could discern no pattern to his thoughts, other than a recurring mental image of his old hand bubbling in its container beneath the TARDIS console. What was it with the hand? Why was it so important? There was the obvious, of course: He derived from the hand. What was he missing???

“Think, think, think…,” he muttered to himself. “What am I missing; what am I failing to see?”

I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. The disembodied voice of the Bad Wolf coming from Rose seemed to spring unbidden to his consciousness.

Did I create myself? Am I an ontological paradox? Did I create myself like the Bad Wolf? How?

He thought back through the chain of events leading to his creation.

Regeneration. Regeneration sickness. Dueling with the Sycorax leader. Right hand cut off in the battle. (Love the hand!) Regrew hand. Old Hand found and preserved by Jack Harkness (by now immortal).

He shook his head vigorously and pinched the bridge of his nose. At no point could he, the current Doctor in Pete’s World, have influence any of those events that he could think of. How could he have had a hand (pun intended, he laughed softly to himself) in his own creation? That can’t be it. Whatever did Bad Wolf have to do with this?

His too-long hair, devoid of any hair products since he’d forgotten to put any on, kept falling into his eyes, obscuring his vision. He brushed it away in irritation, then stood up and started pacing.

Bad Wolf: An entity that created itself within Rose when she took in the Time Vortex from the Heart of the TARDIS. It was as plain an example of an ontological paradox as ever there were. In drawing the power of the Vortex out of Rose and sending it back to the Heart of the TARDIS, he’d ended his ninth life. But not before Bad Wolf brought Jack back to life and re-created him as a fixed point in time, an aberration he could barely stand to look at. The hard light of his singularity, the unnatural pinpoint of convergence in the time lines, set his Time Lord senses on edge. But it was that aberration that had found the severed hand that eventually became the Instantaneous Biological Meta-crisis; that unique individual he called himself… the Doctor in Pete’s World.

Trembling slightly, he stopped pacing. Fragments of thoughts were starting to congeal and precipitate, forming larger chains of thought. Hundreds of thought processes were clamoring for his attention, threatening to overwhelm him.

One single thought came to the forefront: Bad Wolf and immortal Jack Harkness are children of the TARDIS. They were born of the Vortex that came out of the Heart of the TARDIS. The TARDIS created them, using the raw power within her.

“Ooooh!!! Oh, oh, oh!,” he cried suddenly and forcefully, grabbing huge tuffs of his hair and yanking them as if he could pull the thoughts from his head. “Oh, I am so THICK! Old, and stupid and thick!!! Mister Thickety-Thick-Thick-from Thicksville, Thickania!!! I should never have called poor Mickey Smith by that name, because it’s ME!!!”

The bedroom door slammed open and into the wall as Pete and Jackie burst in, eyes wild with alarm. Jackie was wielding a huge butcher knife from the kitchen and striking an aggressive pose.

“What is it? What’s going on?” she shrieked. “Is there someone in here? WHERE IS HE???” She waved the knife menacingly, clearly ready to defend her home against invaders.

The Doctor gulped and backed away with his hands up in a defensive posture, wondering if this is where Jackie finished the job from this morning.

“No, no, no, Jackie! There’s no one up here, I swear! It’s just me! Please put the knife down, please…”

She lowered the knife a bit, apparently not quite convinced of the security of her home. “Well, why the bleedin’ ‘ell were you screamin’ like a godforsaken banshee, then?” she demanded. The Doctor noted, ever observant, that Pete, Head of the mighty Torchwood One, made sure he was behind his wife and well out of the range of her knife arc. “You scared us both spitless, you idiot!”

“Oh, I’m so, so sorry, Jackie. I didn’t mean to scare you. It’s just that… that… can you put the knife down first?” he asked, more calmly.

Jackie dropped the knife hand down, then stared expectantly at the Doctor. He grinned.

“Oh, Jackie… Pete… I think I’ve figured it out. I think I know who I am now. I think I know why I’m really here!”

“What the deuces are you on about now, Doctor,” she asked with hand, including knife, on hip.

“I’m the child of the TARDIS, Jackie. She created me. For Rose!”

“The TARDIS created you,” she scoffed.

The Doctor nodded his head excitedly, making his loose hair flop about until it landed into his eyes and hid them like a sheepdog.

“Oh, think about it, Jackie,” he began manically. “She’s been in control all of this time, and I never saw it.”

Finally laying the knife on the dresser, she let the Doctor lead her and Pete to sit on his bed.

“I lost my hand in the battle with the Sycorax Leader, and I didn’t know what happened to it until Jack jumped onto the TARDIS and the TARDIS fled with him on the outside to the end of the universe, to a place called Utopia. Long story, but that’s when I got the hand back from Jack. And we, oh, traipsed around it in the TARDIS for a while, didn’t really think about it. Sort of a novelty, it was. Then when Rose returned to our universe… the old universe, I mean… I got winged by a Dalek death ray and… BAMM.. started to regenerate. I didn’t want to change again, because I knew Rose liked me the way I was, so I used enough of the regenerative energy to heal myself and then I directed the rest of the energy into my old hand.” He waved his right hand, wriggling the fingers to illustrate. “Love the hand! But anyway, didn’t think much of it again.” He gulped in a deep breath after his long winded diatribe.

“The hand sat there with all that regeneration energy in it until the time was right, when we were on the Dalek Crucible. Remember being on the Crucible, Jackie? Donna got locked into the TARDIS and they were dropped into the Z-neutrino core of the ship. All this time, I didn’t understand how Donna got locked into the TARDIS, because the Supreme Dalek denied having anything to do with it.

It was the TARDIS herself who locked Donna inside her, Jackie! Isn’t that brilliant? The TARDIS locked Donna inside the TARDIS so she could telepathically influence Donna to touch the hand to give her a Time Lord psyche, so that Donna could become the Doctor-Donna and save all of Creation.”

“And I,” he chortled, “I became little ‘ol me! A human-Time Lord with both Donna’s human DNA and Donna’s consciousness. The TARDIS sparked the two-way Instantaneous Biological Meta-crisis herself, using the regenerative energy stored in the hand. She, the TARDIS that is… she simultaneously created the Doctor-Donna, and a separate but identical version of the Doctor’s consciousness from the hand, but with enough human DNA to engender a living… uhm… er… well, a part human Time Lord compatible with a… a… uhm, human woman,” he trailed off. He grimaced and rubbed his neck self-consciously, half expecting another slap.

Jackie’s open-mouth stare of confusion indicated he was safe for the moment.

“Doctor, I didn’t understand two words of what you just said,” whinged Jackie.

“That’s ok, Jacks,” interrupted Pete. “I’ll explain it to you later, sweetheart.” From Pete’s expression, he wasn’t exactly in a hurry to explain the Doctor’s verbal diarrhea.

“But whaddya mean that you were created just for Rose?” she asked.

“Weeelll, Jackie. You remember when I was the big Northern bloke with the ears, and you helped Rose open the TARDIS console?”

“Yeah, I remember,” she nodded. “Borrowed me friend’s tow truck for that. Rose took off in the TARDIS, an’ the next thing I know, you show up in his place.”

“Well, Rose took in the Vortex energy from the Heart of the TARDIS, the energy that’s at the center of the console. I had to take it out of her, because it was too strong. And then the old me died and regenerated,” he said somberly.

“Rose always had a special connection to the TARDIS after that,” he went on. “I think the TARDIS always loved Rose, and she wanted her to have her own Doctor. A part-human Doctor, all of her own. A Doctor who could be with her his entire life, and go on the adventure the other Doctor never could.”

Jackie stared at the Doctor for a long time, and then looked back at Pete. Looking back at the Doctor, she said, “I don’t care whether the TARDIS is your Mum or not. I coulda told you a long time ago that you and Rose belonged together. Ya didn’t have to scare me half to death to tell me that!”

Getting up to retrieve the knife, Jackie left one parting shot before walking out the door, Pete in tow.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten. We have a little talk yet to be had, you and me. As soon as Tony’s in bed after dinner, we’re meetin’ in the library, capice?”

Pete turned to the Doctor and gave him a crooked smile. “Good luck with that, mate!”

The Doctor watched them leave the bedroom, still glowing from his epiphany.

I was meant to be here! I wasn’t abandoned. I’m not a reject. I was meant to be here! For Rose, with Rose.

He smiled. He had a lot of work, and damage control, ahead of him, it seems.

Ten II gets a temporary reprieve from execution and continues to wrestle with his identity. He finally reaches an epiphany.

Ten II's epiphany is a theory I've developed after watching three seasons of the Ten era over and over looking for clues. Any mangling of the canon is my own.

Title: Wayward Son - Chapter 6: Paradox
Characters: Jackie Tyler; Ten II; Pete Tyler; Tony Tyler
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


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2012 05:29 am (UTC)
Excellent as usual! I wish I updated as quick as you do. And what a twist! I'd never thought about the Doctor being specifically created by the TARDIS for Rose. The Children of Time takes on a new meaning.

Can't wait until chapter 7!
Jan. 3rd, 2012 05:41 am (UTC)
Hah! Thanks, but getting these chapters out are at the expense of sleep and being able to pay attention at work after only a couple of hours. :D

Yeah, that theory solidified when I noticed on third veiwing that the TARDIS herself locked the doors on Donna just prior to the meta-crisis. 10 thought it was the Daleks and demanded that they let her out, but the Dalek Emperor insisted that it wasn't them, but "Time Lord treachery."

And Donna was obviously compelled to touch the hand. She heard heartbeats and seemed unable to stop herself. The closest thing to her was the TARDIS console. Then it all started to fall into place for me.

Could *totally* be wrong about that, but that's my interpretation of the creation of 10.5. I wanna believe it's because he's for Rose because of Rose's special relationship with the TARDIS stemming from Bad Wolf.
Jan. 3rd, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
Ooopsy. Sorry, I just realized a few minutes ago that I pasted the unproof-read version of the story to LJ.


Fixed now. As you were. ;)

Edited at 2012-01-03 05:49 am (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
Fantastic revelation and I so agree with you! Loved the Doctor trying to explain the red marks on his face to Tony. I can't wait for Jackie's little chat with him. Oh, and I am so curious as to what his "win over Rose" strategy is.
Jan. 3rd, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks, K! It's good to know I'm not *totally* delusional. ;-) Well, not yet, anyway. It ain't over yet.

Glad you liked the part where the Doctor is explaining away the slap marks, hoping a 4 y/o will accept his outlandish response. Naturally, far be it to tell the truth, that Jackie jacked him up.

I'm not sure if the Doctor has a firm strategy yet. Whatever it is, you can figure on it being Doctorish and uhm...clueless.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )