Title: A Two Companion Gap (1/2)
Fandom: Doctor Who; side bits of Doctor/Rose and Amy/Rory
Length: 3600 words
Rating: egads a swear word
Notes: Started off as something completely different, became a sequel to this
Summary: post!Big Bang; in which the Doctor swears, the TARDIS is sick, and there's only one person who can help
The word echoed through the corridors of the TARDIS, its sound waves bouncing back and forth all the way into the library where Amy and Rory were cuddled up together on one of the large couches. As it reached them Amy’s head jerked up, the back of her skull colliding into Rory’s chin.
“Sorry,” she said, wincing slightly. She turned towards her husband who had his eyes closed and was rubbing the spot where she had hit him. “Did you hear that though?”
Rory opened his eyes and gave a few experimental jaw wiggles. “Hear what?” he asked.
“The Doctor. I think he just swore.”
Rory stared at her. “The Doctor never swears,” he eventually said.
“I’m telling you, he just did.”
They both stared at each other pointedly for several seconds before Rory bowed his head and swept out his arms in the direction of the door. “After you then.”
Amy gave him an approving smirk.
The Doctor was underneath the glass portion of the console room, his sonic screwdriver in his mouth, fiddling with some sort of circuit panel. It must have been important, Amy thought. Important enough that he didn’t notice the two of them approaching from above. Important enough that he would swear.
Amy kneeled down and rapped her knuckles on the glass flooring. “Oi!” she called out. “Doctor!”
The Doctor looked up at the two of them and mumbled something, screwdriver still in mouth. His eyebrows wrinkled; he spit out his screwdriver into his hands and tried again. “Oh hello, Amy. Rory.”
“Everything alright, Doctor?” Amy asked.
“Course it is,” the Doctor said, a little too quickly for Amy’s liking. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Amy said she heard you swearing.”
“Oh, well that was just one word. One slip up,” he said. “That’s all.”
The Doctor grinned at the two of them, his eyes traveling back and forth between the two of them as if asking them to just forget it. Amy frowned straight back at him and crossed her arms; perhaps he had forgotten exactly who he was traveling with.
“Just a minor part needs fixing. Won’t take long at all. Just a short, boring trip to a small, boring planet. Asteroid actually,” the Doctor said, his eyes avoiding Amy’s. “So boring, in fact, that you’ll probably want to just spend the next few hours in the library and not even leave the TARDIS.”
Amy’s frown didn’t fade in the slightest as one of her eyebrows slowly rose. Rather, it deepened into a stern glower.
“Or… not,” the Doctor said as he looked back down at the circuit panel.
He wiped his sonic screwdriver off on the sleeve of his jacket before pointing it at the panel, causing it to give off several sparks. Amy saw him flinch slightly as he took a step back. Her expression softened only to harden again as the Doctor looked back up at the two of them.
“Though…” the Doctor said, trailing off as he continued to look at them. He pointed at Rory with his free hand. “I’m starting to remember your face… or at least someone who might have looked like you. It was a large bazaar.”
Amy turned her head from the Doctor to Rory. He looked just as confused as she was.
“I’ve never been to any bazaars with you,” he told the Doctor.
“No, but you will be.”
The Doctor slipped his screwdriver into his pocket and climbed up to stand next to them by the control console.
“Doctor,” Amy said warningly. “What’s going on?”
“It will all make sense in time, Amy Pond,” the Doctor said. “But before I explain anything…” The Doctor leaned in, grabbing Amy and Rory’s shoulders, and pulled them into a close huddle. “Can I trust the two of you to obey every single one of my instructions, and I mean every single instruction. And no ‘I didn’t think it was that important’ nonsense, because this, and I mean, this –as hard as it may be for the human mind to grasp – could very well cause a rupture in the whole of time and space, ultimately destroying our entire universe… for starters.”
Amy and Rory looked at each other briefly before looking back at the Doctor.
“You can trust us,” she said.
“Fantastic,” the Doctor said, clapping his hands together as he stepped backwards and broke the huddle. “Or brilliant, rather. ‘Brilliant’ was the word I used back then.”
“Now can you tell us what’s going on?” Rory asked.
“Ah, great of you to ask, Rory!” the Doctor said as he started flipping various levers on the console. Amy rolled her eyes. If the Doctor noticed, he didn’t show it. “Well, as the two of you know, the TARDIS is alive. It's a living organism just as much as you or me.”
“And as you’ve probably noticed in your career as a nurse, everything gets sick now and again.”
“The TARDIS is sick?” Amy asked.
“Unfortunately, yes. And unfortunately,” the Doctor said as he reached out to push a button Amy had never noticed before. “The only way to cure this particular illness is to patch in a piece of coral – sort of like a stem cell in human biology terms – from a completely separate, healthy TARDIS.”
“Whoa… hold on a second,” Rory said, his handing coming up. “I thought you said that you were the last of your people, that this was the last TARDIS in the universe.”
“We are,” the Doctor admitted.
The Doctor’s fingers hovered over another button that had begun to glow. The muscles around his mouth twitched as if he couldn’t decide whether to smile or frown. His fingers curled into a fist as he looked up at the two of them.
“We’re going on a little visit to myself.”
His fist slammed down on the button before Amy could even open her mouth.
“So introductory crash course. First things first…” the Doctor stopped pacing as he trailed off. Amy and Rory watched him from the couch. They had all gone back into the library as the Doctor said that they had required a “mission debriefing.”
The Doctor opened his mouth, turned towards them, and then closed it again. He turned back away as he resumed his pacing. “Okay, lots of first things. This might be a bit trickier than I thought. Regeneration. Have we gone over regeneration yet?”
“What’s ‘regeneration’?” Rory asked.
“Definitely trickier then,” he said. He stopped pacing again. “The version of myself that we’re going to visit is going to look a bit… different.”
“You mean, like, younger?” Amy asked.
“No, not younger.”
“Older?” Rory asked.
“Wait a minute, do Time Lords age backwards? They age backwards, don’t they?” Amy turned to Rory. “That’s why River always talking about how young the Doctor is.”
“But she knows that Doctor from the future,” Rory said. “If the Doctor aged backwards, wouldn’t she be talking about how old he looks now?”
“May I have a word… please,” the Doctor said, cutting off his companions’ miniature conversation. He paused before continuing as if to make sure they wouldn’t accidentally start up again. “Thank you. Now, I don’t age backwards.”
“Ha!” Rory said with a grin. Amy glared at him and his triumphant expression faded.
“Like I said, ‘Thank you.’ Now while Time Lords do eventually grow old, in the meantime we have this way of tricking death. Any time when we’re… well, just me now… Anyways, when I’m about to die, I regenerate. It’s like… like a forced cellular repair job, and it fixes everything marvelously. More than marvelously, it literally rejuvenates them in most instances. But it also does this at the expense of destroying every cell during the process.”
“Destroying every cell,” Rory said. “Wouldn’t that kill you?”
“Yes and no,” the Doctor said. “Though I guess since you are a nurse, you'd be able to understand a slightly more complex explanation. Well, you see…”
As the two talked, something triggered in the back of Amy’s head. Something about the odd, completely out-of-nowhere conversation she had shared with the Doctor just the other day. Or other night rather. It got really hard to keep track of the two when they were traveling. Something familiar…
Regeneration destroyed every cell of a Time Lord’s body… every cell was stripped away…
“You regenerated right before you crashed into my shed, didn’t you?”
The Doctor stopped talking and turned from Rory to stare at her, his hands paused in mid-explanation.
“You mentioned, the other day… night, whatever. You mentioned something about every cell of yours being stripped away. And then you crashed into my shed. Am I right?”
The Doctor kept silent.
“Yes,” he eventually said. “Exactly. Exactly right, Pond. And the thing about regeneration is that our bodies change as well.”
“You mean you used to be a girl?” Rory asked.
“No! No... No, not that sort of change,” the Doctor said. “Just a normal change from body to body. For example, a long time I could have looked like Rory, well maybe not Rory… Shakespeare! Yes, Shakespeare is good. Now imagine that I used to look like Shakespeare. Then one day I’m about to die and BAM!”
Amy and Rory jumped a bit back in their seats as the Doctor slammed his hands together.
“Huge explosion. Energy particles all over the place,” the Doctor said. “A little bit messy to tell you the truth, but it usually cleans up pretty well. And by the end of it I go from looking like Shakespeare to say… I don’t know, Tony Blair.”
Amy looked at Rory, who was still staring at the Doctor. “If that’s a normal change, I don’t think I want to know about an abnormal one,” she half-whispered.
Rory pointed at the Doctor. “You mean you used to wear a giant collar?”
“No. Well… no! That’s not the point.”
“Alright, I think we get it. Shakespeare to Blair… though if you do base your appearance on other people’s, I have to say... you made a much better decision this time around,” Amy said with a smirk. “So this means…”
“It means that the version of myself that we’re about to visit is going to look a bit different than the way I do now.”
“How different is ‘a bit’?” Rory asked.
“I don’t know,” the Doctor said. “Look. A bit is a bit. And I’ll be the one doing all the talking and interacting, so you two will be free to wander off and stay out of trouble.”
“Can’t we stick with you?” Amy asked. “Meeting another Doctor, another you… I mean that doesn’t happen everyday.”
“You can’t. Oh and don’t look at me like that, Pond, because that – of all “that”s – is final,” the Doctor said. “Moving on, other basics... Yes, this is going to be a closed time loop.”
“Closed time loop?” Amy repeated.
“You know how sometimes we go back in time and we can change things… fix things, save people.”
“Well, that's an open time loop, a point in flux if you will. But sometimes there are fixed points, closed loops. What happened happened, and if you try to change it… well, like I said, the universe will implode for starters.”
“But wait a minute,” Rory said. “We haven’t gone back there yet. This isn’t like World War II or the Titanic. We don’t know what will happen.”
“Hang on. Hang on,” Amy said, her brain working furiously to try and keep up with all of the new information. “You said that we’re going to visit a past version of yourself… so that means that you…”
“Have memories of the meeting from my past version’s side?” the Doctor offered. “Yes.”
“So what you’re saying is that you have memories of you visiting you at a certain time and place to fix the TARDIS and now that you are you, you need to go back and visit yourself because you already have.”
“Well done, Amy Pond,” the Doctor said, a small grin rising on his face. Amy could feel a grin of her own coming up to match his.
“What?” Rory said.
“It is a bit complicated though,” Amy said. “You know, from an overall standpoint.”
“Yes, well, as my former self would say, wibbly-wobbly timey-”
The TARDIS groaned and started to shake, the tremors knocking the Doctor to the ground. The lights in the library flickered once, twice, and then shut off. After several seconds the tremors stopped and the groaning softened to a loud hum, but the lights stayed off.
No one spoke for a while, the three just staring back and forth between each other.
“I think,” the Doctor eventually said. “That’s enough basics for now.”
Amy stepped out of the TARDIS and had to immediately shield her eyes from the bright sun. As her eyes slowly adjusted to the light, she noticed that it had a purple sheen to it.
“Welcome, Amy, Rory, to the East Market of the Grand Bazaar of Asteroid P3J1C-Apple,” the Doctor said, without his usual gusto. Amy noticed that he looked completely detached, no interest in his voice, a monotone even. But that couldn’t be right; the Doctor would never speak in a monotone.
She frowned. Was the TARDIS in that bad of a shape that he didn’t even have the energy to be excited?
As if the Doctor noticed Amy’s thoughts, he immediately brightened up again. “Now, you two, go over the rules one last time.”
“No talking to the Doctor from the past,” Rory said. Amy stayed silent, just watching the Doctor. She wished she could know what he was thinking.
“Because you said that you don’t remember him, well you, seeing us.”
“And? What else?”
“No telling people here that we travel with the Doctor,” Rory said. As the Doctor opened his mouth to say something, he quickly added, “Because as far as everyone knows, there’s only one Doctor wandering around and you want to keep it that way.”
"Very good. Now..."
Amy started to tune out and glance around the market. It was very crowded; booths and tents were crammed onto the sides of every street that stretched and stretched as far as her eyes could see. Very shiny too… in a cheap way. Every other booth seemed to be stocked up to the ceiling with gold and silver trinkets, the kind of gold and silver that was only painted on so that people could pretend that they were buying something worthwhile.
Looking up she saw some kind of a barrier, like a transparent dome but rippling every so often with purple energy. The Doctor had said that this was an asteroid; perhaps the barrier was there as a replacement for an atmosphere. Whatever it was, it explained the purple sheen.
And behind her was…
“Doctor,” Amy said. “Where’s the TARDIS?”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s right, Doctor,” Rory said, his eyes widening. “The TARDIS… it’s gone.”
“No she’s not,” he said. He walked up to an old, wooden door in the side of the building behind them and softly patted it. “She’s right here.”
“But that’s a door,” Rory said. “The TARDIS is a blue box. A big… blue… box. Isn’t that right, Amy?”
“He has a point, Doctor.”
“Oh, no. That's just one shape, the best shape of course, but still one shape. Had to fix the Chameleon Circuit temporarily since I don’t want any TARDIS mix-ups happening while I’m here. Of course I’ll change it back once we’re done, but for now I rerouted the wiring through the central…”
The Doctor trailed off as he apparently realized that his companions would not understand the technical explanation.
“Look, I’ll explain it once we get back,” he said. “But for now this door is the TARDIS, got it?”
“Got it,” Amy said.
“You have your mobile,” the Doctor said. “I’ll call you once the repairs are complete.”
“Can we follow you, Doctor? Please? At least let us watch from behind a corner or something,” Amy said. She pouted her lips and tried to put on her best begging face. The Doctor was not moved.
“I said ‘no,’ Pond. Now just spend time with your husband. Go shop,” he said. “And if you really want something to do, I don’t know, buy me something interesting. Here’s some money. Interestingly enough they still use the British pound. All digital though.”
Amy raised an eyebrow as the Doctor passed her a brightly colored stick.
“Don’t I get one too?” Rory asked.
The Doctor leaned back and looked Rory up and down. “Alright,” he finally said. “If you must. Now leave, the two of you. I’m not going any where until you’re gone first.”
“Oh, come on, Rory,” Amy said. She wrapped her arms around her husband’s left arm and started dragging him away. “You heard the grouchy, grumpy Time Lord.”
“I heard that,” the Doctor called out as she continued to walk away. “And whatever you do, stay out of trouble!”
“Oh please, Doctor,” Amy yelled back from over her shoulder. “It’s a bazaar, a marketplace. It’s not like we’re going to be attacked by some big bad wolf.”
If she had waited an extra split second before turning her head back around, she would have seen the instant change of expression on the Doctor’s face.
“So, let me get this straight, the whole planet is one giant marketplace?”
“Well, asteroid really.”
“Asteroid, fine. But I mean, what you’re saying, is that it’s a whole world of shopping?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“That's so... so..."
"Yeah, brilliant. Bit out of the way though.”
“Well, if the whole asteroid is made out of shops, then the customers have to fly in, right? Would that be a bit inconvenient?”
“Ah, but you’re forgetting. This is the future, Rose. The future! The second bountiful human empire is rising, the forty-seventh industrial revolution is in full swing, and solar range teleporters are only nine thousand quid a piece.”
“Only nine thousand.”
“Well, there have been over a thousand years of inflation. So in early 21st century prices it’d be… what, five quid?”
“Five quid for a teleporter? Not bad. Hey… you still owe me ten quid from that bet of ours.”
“We are not amused.”
“Oh, right. Well here’s ten quid; go and have a ball.”
“Oi! Thousands of years of inflation, right?”
“Alright! Alright, ten thousand quid then. Don’t spend it all in one go.”
“And keep your phone on! Just in case of an emergency.”
“I will! Bye!”
“And stay out of troub… Oh, who am I kidding, of course she won’t.”
“Ahem. Excuse me.”
The Doctor kept a calm face as his old self turned to look at him. Down the street, he could see a head of blonde hair already disappearing into the crowds of the marketplace.
“Hello,” the man in the brown trench coat said. He grinned, his face alight with the unguarded cheerfulness he had back then. “I’m the Doctor. And this is Rose.”
His old self turned to his right out of habit and paused a bit before remembering that he had just let her go wandering off. “Well, was Rose. Well, still is Rose but you just missed her. Anyways… And you are?”
The Doctor looked at the Doctor. He could feel the unease building up in the mind of his past self… and then…
“Oh!” the one in the brown trenchcoat said. The grin was gone now, his eyes wide. He started circling around his future self. “No! No… It can’t be… It is!” He stopped in front and stared the current Doctor in the eyes. “Well, this a bit… different.”
“Why’d you ask for your own credit stick?”
“It’s a marketplace, right? Well, I wanted to get you a surprise.”
“Oh, Rory Williams, I could marry you again,” Amy said with a laugh. “Though we should be a bit careful as to not get split up. You go on that street, I stay on this street?”
“Right, meet up here in half an hour.”
They waved good-bye and Amy started wandering on her own. After passing by several booths of interesting but ultimately not-her-thing junk, Amy wandered over by one of the gold and silver filled booths. It was filled with small metal contraptions of various sizes and shapes that looked like they could fit in well at Epcot. That’d be an interesting trip, the Doctor at Epcot. Perhaps she’d mention it to him when they all got back to the TARDIS.
A customer was already talking the blue-skinned saleswoman, so Amy decided to just browse, picking up and putting down one item at a time.
“Of course they don’t work as well here,” the saleswoman was saying. “Seeing as how we have a synthetic atmosphere. But just hop on over to one of them terrestrial planets and you’ll never know how you got by without one. And before you go thinking it’s a fraud, I’ll let you know that all of our products have a warranty of ten days, so if you’re not satisfied you can teleport back for a full refund.”
“Well, maybe…” the customer said. Her words caught Amy’s attention, a London accent. “See I’m trying to get something for my mum, but she’s from... a backwater planet, and I don’t want to get her something that will scare her and…”
She trailed off as the saleswoman started to stare at her in confusion. “You know what? Never mind, just forget I said anything.” She sighed and turned to leave the booth.
“Are you from Earth?” Amy suddenly asked. The customer paused. “It’s just that you sound British. Though… it seems like everyone sounds British these days.”
The customer turned around, pushing a strand of blonde hair out of her face and behind her ear as a smile slowly grew on her face.
“Scottish?” she asked.
“That’s me,” Amy said with a grin. She held out her hand for the blonde girl to shake. “Amy. Amy Pond.”
The blonde girl took it.
“Rose,” she said. “Rose Tyler.”
- A Two Companion Gap (1/2)