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): 2515
Master post link: Master post
David sat in the canteen, picking at his lunch and studying the script. These long monologues of mile-a-minute technobabble were always the hardest to learn, and though he'd worked on it for two hours last night, he still couldn't get this one to flow well. As he mouthed it through another time, someone ran up and threw her arms around him, almost knocking him out of his chair.
“I’ve found you! Finally found you!”
He looked up into the face of a blond woman, whose adoring smile shone through the tears in her eyes. "Billie! I didn't know you were in Cardiff! What’s wrong?"
"'Billie'? I’m Rose! Doctor, I’ve come back to you, across the Void." She stared into his unbelieving eyes.
"What?" David shot out of his seat, knocking his tray to the floor. Rose let go of him to avoid being dragged along. "I'm not the Doctor! I'm David!"
Rose was horrified, and new tears streamed down her cheeks. "What’s happened to you? Don’t you remember me? You’ve got to remember me! I’ve blasted across the dimensions to find you, and I’m never gonna leave you!”
He backed against the wall, shielding his face with his hands. "I'm not the Doctor! You've got to believe me, I'm not!"
David awoke in a cold sweat, tangled in the comforter. Rose's voice rang in his ears, but the terror gripping his heart had nothing to do with the dream: he knew he wasn't alone in the room. He could feel the presence of someone or something. He called out, "Lights!" and jumped out of the bed, comforter still wrapped around him as he blinked against the brightness, but there was no one there. He couldn't shake the feeling, and, dropping the blanket, he ran around checking the wardrobe, under the bed, and in the en suite, but came up empty, and the feeling subsided as he became fully awake. Sitting down on the bed again, he held his head in his hands.
The dream... the dream had slipped away from him as he gained a tighter grasp on his sanity. Something had upset him, but he had no idea what. He realised that he was feeling better for having slept, and though there was no way to tell how long he had been out, he knew that he didn't want to sleep anymore.
He stumbled into the en suite and, stripping off his sweats, stepped into the shower and turned it on as hot as he could stand it. As he scrubbed away the last bit of his universe that might be still on him, he began planning what he might do to create a life for himself here.
Travel with the Doctor? Yeah, do that for a bit. Who am I kidding? I can't pass that up. Other thoughts intruded - Maybe he can find a way for me to go home! - but he forced them out of his mind; no use dwelling on it. After that, find a theatre group that'll take me. Late to be starting at thirty-seven, but I can do that. Get a job to eat and pay rent. Wait, how do I get a job? Don't got ID or anything. Wonder if the Doctor could get UNIT to help me? He should still be working with them...
He faltered, letting the hot water stream through his hair and cascade down his body. He was starting all over again, so much so that someone would have to create an identity for him. He didn't know a single person in this universe, and he had to rely on someone else for everything. These thoughts were becoming even more terrifying than Daleks and Cybermen, and he clenched his fists, fighting his rising panic.
Okay, David, he told himself, take it one day at a time. Stay with the Doctor and Amy and Rory until you can handle it. Do it at your own pace. You're new in this universe, but you don't have to be a part of it until you're ready.
He took the luxury of a very long shower, then, towelling off, pulled on his jeans. Combing his hair, he resolved to ask Amy to trim the front for him. He wore it long so that it could be gelled up into that gravity-defying pouf his Doctor wore on-screen, but now it just fell into his eyes. Checking the cabinet, he found a canister of gel and smirked; he could style it up, but no. Taking a bit of it on two fingers, he worked it into the front of his hair and used it to sweep the bangs back out of his face.
Next, it was time to clean up his stubble. There was a can of shaving cream in the cabinet, but no razor, so he checked the drawers of the sink cabinets and found an electric shaver and a straight razor. He grabbed the shaver and brought it to his chin, then stared in the mirror at his sideburns - the Doctor’s sideburns, a style he wouldn’t choose for himself.
Dumping the shaver on the counter, he snatched the can of shaving cream out of the cabinet and slapped the foam on both sideburns. Not accustomed to using a straight razor, he brought it carefully to his right cheek, and hesitated, his hand shaking. Shaving them off would really mean he’d lost hope of ever going home. He could grow them back later, of course, but somehow this step felt irreversible, like he’d given up.
“Ahhh!” he roared and threw the razor across the room, where it crashed and tinkled against the tile, then dunked his face to wash the cream away. He cleared off his stubble with the shaver and stomped back into his bedroom. Grabbing a t-shirt from his bag, he slipped it on and headed for the console room.
David had not expected to find the console room empty. He smacked himself in the head. The TARDIS is bloody huge! The only reason everyone stays in the console room is because the show only shows what they do when they’re travelling! So now what? He’d come here hoping someone could direct him to the wardrobe room to find some reasonable clothes to wear. He didn’t relish getting lost in the TARDIS’ maze of corridors.
He hopped up the steps to the console and, at a loss of what to do, walked around it, inspecting the controls. It was completely incomprehensible to him: there were no labels on anything, and none were in the same positions as the few controls he ever named when working his console. Not that he had any clue what they did. What was a gravitic anomaliser anyway? This console, with its hodge-podge of mechanica serving as its controls, did seem to match the Doctor’s mercurial personality, though.
“Oi, David! Good to see you up and about!” Amy called as she strolled into the console room. "Feeling a bit more comfortable here?"
"A bit. I'm getting more used to this place. A hot shower helped." He gestured at his wet hair. "D'you think you could direct me to the wardrobe? I don't have much by way of clothing that's fit to be seen."
Amy gave him an appraising once-over. "That's the truth. Come on." She beckoned with a finger and as he drew abreast of her, she turned and led him down the hallway. "We'll find you something, though I don't know if it'll have anything that'll fit you." She reached over and poked him in the stomach. "Where do you keep your organs, 'cause there's no space for 'em in there."
The redhead escorted him to the wardrobe, pointing out other locations in the TARDIS along the way, including the kitchen, the sickbay, the room she shared with Rory, and library. "You don't need to memorise how to get everywhere. I think the TARDIS guides you to where you want to go. Unless you're not sure what that is. Then you can get lost."
They spent quite a bit of time rifling through the enormous wardrobe. At first, David had succeeded in concentrating on searching only for reasonable clothing, but Amy kept finding costume bits for them to try on, and it became a game of matching together the most ridiculous bits of clothing from every planet and era, past and future. David even found a full Sontaran suit of armor, though he couldn't put it on as its shoulders only came up to his ribs.
He eventually settled on an assortment of jumpers and dress shirts, sport jackets, and black and dark blue jeans. He threw on a maroon shirt and a charcoal gray jacket, and gathered up the rest of his choices.
“You’ve got better taste in clothes than most men I know,” Amy commented as they walked to his room.
“Thanks. So, what’s happening today?”
“Whatever the Doctor decides. Usually we go somewhere, but some days he works on the TARDIS. Sometimes, he just disappears and comes back a couple of days later. He’ll go off somewhere while we’re sleeping, too. Haven’t figured out where.”
“Right. He doesn’t need to sleep much, so I bet he gets bored.”
“He’d get bored if he stood still for thirty seconds.” Arriving at David’s room, Amy pushed the door open for him and followed him in. “Oh, nice place. Very homey.” She wandered around, inspecting the desk and bookshelves as David stored his shirts and hung up his jackets. She came up beside him and, noticing the clothes that were already in the wardrobe, fingered the blue suit. “What’s this, then?”
Embarrassed, David affected an unconcerned voice as he answered, “I think it’s the suit he wore during his last life.”
Amy cocked her head at him. “When he looked like you.”
“And he gave these to you?” She held the sleeve of the jacket up.
“They were here when I got here.”
She stared at the jacket, then dropped the sleeve. “He must really think -”
“I’m not going to wear them.”
“Of course not. Nice tux, though. Bet you’d look great in it.” She wandered off and flopped down on the bed. “David, I was -” She stopped, clearly reluctant to go on.
“What?” he asked as he hung the last of the jackets in the wardrobe.
“Well, you know a lot about the Doctor, right?”
He knew where this was going. “Right…”
"How is it that he could look like you and now look like him? I've asked him, and he's never really answered."
David crossed his arms and propped his chin in his hand. "I'm not sure if I should say. He obviously doesn't want to tell you."
"I don't know. Sometimes I think he thinks he's explained something when he's just said some words." She shrugged.
David laughed. "Yes. He does, I'll grant you that. Okay, I'll tell you. How to explain?" He thought for a moment. "When a Time Lord dies, his body changes to save his life. It's completely rewritten: new face, new personality, could switch gender, could even not look human. Or Time Lord. Whatever. The process is called 'regeneration.' The old Doctor no longer exists, and the new one can remember all of his old lives, but he's a completely new person."
She nodded absently, trying to digest the information. "So, when he looked like you, he died and became him?"
"I assume so. I didn't get to finish filming my episodes, so I don't know exactly how it happened. You never know when the writers will make up something new." He grimaced as a thought occurred to him. "That's so weird. Do you think things happen here and cause the writers there to write, or do the writers there create what happens here?"
Amy, intent on her own interests, completely ignored the question. "So, he really can't die, then. He just changes."
"Not exactly. He can only do it twelve times. And it's possible he could die for good before the regeneration happens."
"Oh. How many times has he done it?"
"Ten times. No, wait." He negated the statement with a wave of his hand. "There was one regeneration where he didn't change, so he's regenerated eleven times. Eleven men."
"And they were all different?" David noticed that while Amy was curious, she accepted each strange concept without batting an eye.
"Outwardly, yes. Deep down, he's always the Doctor."
"What does that mean?"
"Well, he's always travelling, helps people in trouble, very brave, never carries a weapon. Very clever, very stubborn, horrible fashion sense." Amy grinned at that. "Everything else is changeable. He's been a man of action, a sort of a clown, an arrogant bastard. Well, he never really stops being an arrogant bastard."
Amy licked her lips before gazing at him coyly. "What was he like when he was you?"
David stiffened. "No. He was never me. I'm not him." He turned away from her, pretending to straighten the clothes in the wardrobe.
"I mean, what was he like when he looked like you. You played him, right? You could play his character now." She leaned forward, eager to catch a glimpse of the Doctor's former persona.
David turned and wagged his finger at her. "Oh, no. I'm not doing that."
"Oh please?" Amy clasped her hands together like a child asking for a treat. "I want to see what he was like. Just a line, any line."
He bowed his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. "No! I am not going to pretend I'm him."
"Don't pretend. You’re an actor. Just play your character. Please? Just for me?"
"No." David slammed the wardrobe closed and strode out of the room. Amy trotted up next to him.
"I'm sorry. I crossed a line there, didn't I?"
He stopped in his tracks and whirled on her. Startled by the cold fury in his eyes, she backed against the corridor wall. "Yes, you did,” he stated in a low growl. “I'm not the Doctor. I never was. I'm not even me anymore. You want to know about him? Fine, I'll tell you. Whatever you want to know.” He advanced on her until the tip of his nose almost touched hers. “But I will never pretend to be him, ever again. Got it?"
"Yes. Of course. I'm sorry, David. I should have realised..."
"Yes, you should have." He strode off again, and she followed him to the console room in silence.