Fandom(s): Doctor Who (modern)
Characters: David Tennant, Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Pairing(s): None (well, Amy and Rory)
Rating: PG, maybe PG-13
Warnings: Character death
Genre: Sci-fi, adventure
Summary: While filming his final specials for Doctor Who, David Tennant finds himself in the TARDIS, face-to-face with a future incarnation of the character he portrays, his childhood hero. When he discovers that he can't return to his own world, he must determine his place in this strange yet familiar universe.
Word count (chapter): 2001
Master post link: Master post
David got himself back under control, and tried to concentrate on the path to the room, as he knew the TARDIS’s metallic spaceship-like corridors would be confusing. Luckily, the room the Doctor described was not far from the console room, and he was sure he knew how to get back, if the corridors themselves didn’t change. Rory opened the door and let David walk in first.
The chamber was comforting, with wood panel walls of deep umber and a vaulted ceiling that looked like open space with billions of stars (and knowing the TARDIS, David wondered if it really was open to space). A low light suffused the room, but its source was not visible. A bed with a midnight blue squashy down comforter occupied one corner, and a large desk, clean but piled with supplies on shelves, stood in another. Built-in shelving along one wall was half-filled with stacks of books. In another corner stood a very large wardrobe of the same umber-colored wood as the walls. A closed door stood between the wardrobe and the bookshelves.
Rory followed David in and looked all around. “Never been in here before. Nice. Very comfortable.”
David headed directly for the bed and threw himself down on it, face down; he was not in the mood to be reminded of the fact that they were in deep space. "Thanks, Rory. I appreciate your help."
"You're welcome. Get some rest. Let me know if you need anything.” He twiddled his fingers nervously. “Even a shoulder. This place is pretty weird, and, well, I'll just say Amy still is my shoulder."
David rolled onto his side and propped his head up on his fist. "So, Amy's his companion?" He realised immediately what that sounded like and hastened to clarify. "What I mean is, she's travelling with him, and you're here with her?"
Rory looked disheartened. "Why, does he do that a lot on your show?"
"Yeah, well, my Doctor..." He faltered. "That's really weird, to say that when there really is a Doctor. Anyway, my Doctor always had a primary friend, a companion, and sometimes picked up other friends who weren't as..." He almost said important. "...uh, weren't as primary. It wasn't always like that. In very old episodes, he had as many as three companions at a time, and none were more important than the others. Though, he's usually preferred female companions."
"Old episodes? Just how long has this programme been going on?"
"Over forty years. Few more years and it'll be fifty. It's got books and audios and comic books, too."
Rory shook his head. "That's hard to believe, that people in your universe are writing shows and books that are our lives in this universe. I'd say impossible, except that in this place" - he gestured at the TARDIS around them - "the impossible happens all the time." A new idea came to him and he paused, gazing off to the side. "Wait. Does that mean someone is writing what I'm saying as I speak? I feel like a puppet!"
"Suppose so. Though your Doctor is farther along in his timeline than my show was. Maybe they’re just writing what’s already happened. Except that maybe the TARDIS went back in time when it entered my universe. Argh!" David flopped on his stomach and gave his head a violent shake with both hands. "This place makes me think in circles."
"Yeah, it can do that. I try not to think about it."
David rolled over onto his back, this time staring up at the stars. “What am I going to do?”
“Honestly? Get some rest. Want something to eat? We’ve got a great kitchen. But let yourself get used to it. Amy won’t let the Doctor kick you out, not until you’re ready to leave. So take your time. You’ve got a lot to get used to.”
“Thanks, Rory.” The nurse slipped out of the room and closed the door behind him.
David glanced around the room for a light switch, and when he failed to find one, he murmured to himself, "Oh, no." He cleared his throat, then, with a sheepish grimace, called out, "Dim the lights, please." Immediately, the light in the room lowered to a level tolerable for sleeping, but not so dark that he felt he was floating in space beneath all those stars.
It didn't surprise him at all that he couldn't sleep. Part of his mind was still hoping he would wake up from this nightmare. The rest of it was still trying to convince himself that everything he had seen and heard was real. He wasn’t sure which part was more unbelievable: that he was actually in the TARDIS with the Doctor, or that he would never be able to return to his real life. His erratic thoughts jumped back and forth between the two concepts: images of the strange man in the tweed jacket, the beautiful TARDIS console, and the three-dimensional hologram of a Doctor looking like himself jumbled with thoughts of his family, his friends, his home in London, the BBC studios in Wales... He kept his eyes tightly shut, because if he opened them, the panorama of the universe above dazzled him.
He had to deal with it. He had to convince himself to accept what was happening to him and come to terms with it. Isn’t this what he always wanted as a child, to travel with the Doctor, to see the universe? But he wasn’t a child, and as an adult, who had watched and read and listened to the Doctor’s adventures all his life, he knew one thing: the Doctor’s universe was terrifying. The Doctor’s travels were never safe. There were murderous monsters and sadistic humans outside the TARDIS doors every time. Watching the Doctor and his companion face down the Daleks had been entertaining, but he couldn’t even fathom being that companion, expected to stand bravely in front of the children of Skaro.
Idly, he wondered if the Daleks even existed anymore. The last his Doctor had seen of them, Davros’s newest creations had been destroyed by the Doctor born of the Doctor-Donna biological metacrisis, and before that, the Cult of Skaro had fallen. The thought of the metacrisis made his stomach flip again: it meant that there was another Doctor with his face somewhere. Even though that Doctor was supposedly trapped in a different universe, it was still another doppelganger. Though the room was comfortably warm, he shivered.
"Lights, please," he called, and the room brightened. He leapt up from the bed and paced around the room, knowing full well that he wouldn't be able to sleep. He wanted to do something. The closed door caught his eye, and strode over to it. He hesitated a moment, knowing that strange things lurked in the TARDIS, then steeled himself and pushed open the door, only to find the en suite. He snorted at his trepidation and stepped back into the bedroom.
David strolled over to the bookshelves to take a look at the selection. Most of them were plays, hardbound in leather, including the Hamlet that he had been looking forward to performing, and a good selection of novels. Taking down a book whose title he didn’t recognise, he opened to the copyright page and saw a date of 3645, and he smiled to himself. Replacing it back on the shelf, he wandered to the desk, and poked through the writing supplies and other doodads on it.
Next, he turned his attention to the wardrobe. It reminded him that he needed to get his bag back from the console room, though it held only a couple of changes of clothing. He expected that when he wanted more, the TARDIS' clothing room would provide. Thus, he yanked open the wardrobe expecting it to be empty. It wasn't, and what he saw caused him to choke and cough.
Three-quarters of it was empty, but the last quarter was occupied with very familiar clothing. The jacket and trousers of a pin-stripe suit, blue with red stripes, hung on hangers, along with dress shirts of different colors: white, maroon, light and dark blue. Next to them, in a clear garment bag, was a black tuxedo. On the door hung a variety of ties, and on the bottom panel, two pairs of high-top trainers, red and black, were arranged neatly.
David stepped back, his mouth hanging open as he sputtered with disbelief. He couldn't possibly be expected to wear these! Did the Doctor put him up in his own room? That didn't make any sense, but neither did the thought that the Doctor had this room prepared like this in the short time since he had been brought on board. Of course there was the theory that the sentient TARDIS could manipulate its rooms and contents at will, but he found it hard to believe that it would give him these outfits simply because he looked like an old version of the Doctor or that it would play such a cruel prank on him.
A thought occurred to him, and he stepped back to the wardrobe and pulled the jacket from its hanger. He patted its lower pockets and they seemed empty, then plunged a hand into the right one. Sure enough, the pocket was bigger on the inside and full of objects. Over the next quarter-minute, he pulled out a fluorescent green water gun, a plastic toy frog, a small ball of twine, and thingamajig that looked like plastic and metal with three buttons on it. He declined to press any of them, and though there was lots more in the pocket, he decided it was probably wiser just to put all of it back.
Replacing the jacket in the wardrobe, David realised something was missing. He checked behind the hanging clothes, then in the drawers at the bottom (which held nothing but some underclothes and a few t-shirts), but the long brown overcoat was nowhere to be found. Had it gotten destroyed in some adventure? Perhaps the Doctor had discarded it after regeneration; he certainly was not the type that would wear such a thing. Nah, he thought, however he might like to hide it, the Doctor is sentimental. He likes his trophies and mementos. He closed the wardrobe and cast a look around the room, spotting the coat hanging from a hook on the inside of the door. He hadn't seen it before because the door had been open when Rory was still in the room. He smiled. He loved that coat.
The realization that he was starting to accept this reality hit him hard, and, pressing the palms of both hands to his temples, he screwed his eyes shut. “I’m not cracking up, am I?” he asked the empty room. “Making up this fantasy about the Doctor and the TARDIS just so I don’t have to face up to all the pressures.” He straightened and strolled around the room, glaring at it all with contempt. “I can’t even go crazy properly! I’m supposed to make myself the Doctor, the hero of my own story, not some stray that they pick up. This can’t all be real, can it? How can I tell? If I’m asking if I’m crazy, that means I’m not crazy, right? If I were crazy, I wouldn’t ask that question, right? Ha!” He snorted at himself in disgust. “I’m monologuing! Ever the actor!”
He plopped down heavily onto the bed, but almost immediately jumped back up again. “I can’t just sit here. I need to do something.” He strode out of the room, slamming the door behind him.