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Shadows

By JalendaviLady

Rating: PG-13 for general darkness.

Characters: Ten, Rose, mentionings of various Time Lords

Summary: Even Time Lords have to stop and think sometimes. Ten’s thoughts about his people.

Spoilers up to “Tooth and Claw” (episode 2 of the 2006 season)

Author’s Note: I’ve only watched the first 7 episodes of the 2005 season and the 2005 Children in Need special. The rest of the canon used here was gleaned from episode summaries and fellow fans’ reactions, so if I have misrepresented an event, please let me know.

I am following the looming origin story in this and the Romana as president bit; the rest should adhere to show canon.

...

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Doctor Who at all.

...

At night the shadows come out.

He is fine most of the time now, or so he tells himself. But when they are between times, TARDIS bobbing in the Vortex and Rose sleeping the rest of the blissfully exhausted, his body slows down and his mind speeds up.

Even Time Lords need to connect what they are experiencing with what they have experienced.

People one by one turning to face the wolf so the women and their queen would have some hope of getting away...

The remaining population of Gallifrey clustered around the Houses, for if the looms were lost they all were lost...

Romana, last president of Gallifrey, standing firm. Familiar faces around her: the three Time Lords who had caught him so long ago, the old councilors who had voted against him, the technicians responsible for that regeneration (after which not one had gone right) and the partial wiping of his companion’s minds...

Van Statten’s empire and Adam’s fears, the horror that had happened to all those people...

Jack and his missing years...

Wondering if what he had seen on the screen so long ago was real. Time Lords hardly ever admitted mistakes, and a truly enraged Doctor within custody on Gallifrey, even if only for a few moments before a forced regeneration, would have been something no one was prepared for. His people didn’t care much for or about the lesser species of the universe; the Doctor had seen that much himself.

The thought of Jamie, damaged beyond what even the Doctor had been shown, dumped in Middlesbrough, Margate, Mintlaw... and that was if the Time Lords dumping him had any clue what a ‘country’ was...

Even if he wasn’t mindless on the streets of Melton, Minehead, Moffat, Jamie would still only remember him as the alien who had abducted him in a phone box for a very short while. The adventures, the friendship... Gone... Had they even returned him to the right clan?

Peri... Sarah Jane... Rose... every companion who had dealt with him through yet another broken regeneration...

The loss of his name and the memories of it...

The Queen’s face as she lauded him and destroyed him, all in one audience... ‘Sir Doctor of TARDIS’, son of a civilization that had made black holes, reduced to being a time bum in the ultimate mobile home...

Being called the Doctor even in his Presidency, not being given his name back even as they gave him the Sash, the Rod, the Key, the Matrix...

Romana, telling him just before the election during the last great party--if anything Gallifrey had to offer could be called a proper party, wine laid down in the days of Rassilon or not--of her campaign just how much she wished someone would misspeak, say his name in her presence, so she could be the one to give him that gift which should never have been taken away... He seriously suspected that the spiked punch of the after-election party was one last great and entirely failed attempt at getting one of the older councilors drunk enough to talk. Time Lords didn’t get drunk unless they wanted to, but she wasn’t above trying anyway.

Romana, after her presidential pompous ceremony that even she hadn’t been able to negotiate into something halfway sane, offering the name Fred to him “since I have two names, thanks to you, and you don’t even have one”...

Watching out of the window of his TARDIS, waiting until the smoke rose from Romana’s House, for only if she was dead, finally and fatally dead, would the Daleks have been able to reach the building...

He would not let his hands be stained with her blood.

The cold of the weapon against his hands as he triggered it...

Only now does he realize he did not wait for the same smoke at the other Houses, even his own.

The youngest of the Gallifreyans had been the first attacked when the Daleks landed, futures gone with four monospaced syllables.

Romanadvoratrelundar was heroically dead trying to save the future of her entire race.

The rest of the Time Lords, cold, calculating, and so uninterfering as to be downright cruel, could burn with the Daleks.

The familiar heave inside, the warmth of the bathroom floor as he stumbles in and kneels.

The taste of bile, and this close to regeneration even something so unappealing holds its own pleasure that only makes his stomach churn even more.

They were all dead anyway, once the Daleks got past the defenses. Within two days most were either in regeneration aftermath or helping the others through it. We just kept cycling the front lines back as the defenders fell. It was a matter of days, if not hours, until the Daleks could simply stand and exterminate the regenerating as the process was completed.

This was the kinder end.


Tears on his face.

They were already dead.

Footsteps outside, the familiar socked plod of Rose when she knows they aren’t going outside the TARDIS anytime soon. “Doctor, I couldn’t sleep. Are you all right?” she asks through the door. She knows his bedroom is a no-companion area; he needs someplace to be himself, and he gives her the same consideration unless she invites him into her private space.

“Little bit ill. I’ll be fine before morning.” Somehow he manages to keep distress out of his voice enough that her human ears shouldn’t pick it up.

Romana would have been all over him in a moment though, and that thought nearly sends him back to reliving dinner again.

“Do you need us to take a break, Doctor? Doesn’t matter to the TARDIS whether we go see Mum tomorrow or in three days, right?”

“I’m fine.” He would hit himself if he wasn’t supporting his weight with both arms; he spoke fast enough even she should have sensed something off. “I’ll be fine in the morning. Don’t worry about me. Go back to bed; if you’re falling asleep in the middle of your mum’s flat the second you walk in, she’ll slap me again.” That’s one of the few reasons they aren’t already there; one more night’s peace isn’t worth straggling into Jackie’s flat after dark and an unrested Rose will simply make Jackie worry.

“If you’re sure...”

“I’m sure.”

“Good night, Doctor.”

“Good night, Rose.”

He gets up and washes his face. The noises of Jackie’s neighbors, as much as the humans rail about them, should give him enough of a distraction to make up for the lack of sleep, even for a Time Lord, that he’s been having lately; a lack of silence may keep the pondering and the nightmares at bay for a little while at least. Even that won’t work forever. Sooner or later, he’ll slow down just enough for Rose to realize he’s not being normal even for a non-human.

Just please not yet.
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