Show/Ship- Doctor Who.
Prompt #22- Memory
Words- 4 ,499 (Okay, not so much mini-fic)
Disclaimer- I do not own Doctor Who. However the Memory room is my own creation. Mine.
Summary- There is more than one way to remember something and he wants to make sure that he never forgets anything important.
A/N- Happy!Who fic. Shamesless self-pimping, but I love this. Had a bitch of a time making it even marginally less angsty than it ended up being but i think i got it.
Rose had been looking for the Doctor for well over twenty minutes and with each step she was convinced that half these rooms hadn’t been there before.
It wasn’t like she couldn’t go more than an hour without seeing the Doctor, but it was way past their ‘celebrate near death with tea and cake’ time and she was getting worried.
She’d walked through the TARDIS wondering if maybe he’d just needed a little time to himself after his brush with the obsessed vengeance goblin who proclaimed that everything was the Doctor’s fault.
It had been during his little soliloquy on how the Doctor was responsible for ring pull cans and green recycling bags that Rose had finally been able to sneak up to the three foot high goblin and hit him over the head with a garden hoe.
Somehow their adventures had a tendency of getting a little surreal of late.
She eventually tired of walking around the myriad corridors of the TARDIS and leaned against the wall.
“So, any clue where he is? Might help?”
As she stared across the hall she realised that she was looking at a door that hadn’t been there seconds ago and she grinned her thanks to his marvellous machine.
Rose pushed the door open and walked in, stopping just inside the entrance as her eyes tried to adjust.
It was dark.
Not just dark. She felt like she’d just stepped into the void.
There was nothing, no dark, no light, no up, no down, just nothing. She brought her hand up and waved it in front of her face and she couldn’t even see it. There was just blackness and Rose’s heart pounded as she started to panic with a human inbuilt fear of the dark and what lay within.
The door closed behind her and her heart rate sped up to thunderous pace.
Rose took a step back to find the door but before she could do more than take a step, a sparkle in the air caught her attention.
She paused and looked up; there was another one.
Pretty soon Rose could see tiny speckles of shimmering light, like stars all around her, and she turned around again, walking further into the blackness that had begun to look more like space.
She was so taken by the glitter that she almost didn’t see the bright light shining down like a spotlight at a theatre. There, sitting cross-legged in the centre of the light was the Doctor.
She smiled to see him looking so still and quiet, so different to how he was usually; a bundle of pure energy, like a time bomb ready to explode at any moment.
She loved watching him when he was in his most manic phases but there was something so essentially serene about the way he just sat still, his hands in his lap like someone in deep meditation.
She let her gaze drift over every single one of the features that she loved so desperately and found herself with the odd longing to get a sketchpad and just draw him. This from a girl her design teacher had said couldn’t draw curtains!
As she watched him he let out one long breath and raised his hands and, for the first time, Rose realised that there was something in his hands, some sort of glass dome.
As he exhaled, it blazed a translucent blue and his eyes flickered open, his mouth curving into a real smile as he stared at it.
The warm blue glow seemed to throb and it illuminated the Doctor’s manic grin, giving him an ethereal shine.
Rose smiled. “What is that?”
Her voice echoed in the stillness and she felt a shudder weave its way down her spine, like icy fingers dancing across her vertebrae.
The Doctor jumped, his eyes squinting into the darkness and finding her.
To her surprise he looked almost embarrassed at her being there.
“How’d you get in here?” he asked.
“TARDIS,” she answered and walked towards him, intent on whatever it was he held in his hands. “I was looking for you, tea was getting cold.”
“Right!” he scratched the back of his head. “Tea, forgot about tea!”
Rose gave him an odd look. “You forgot about the tea? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal somewhere.”
“Or at least very rude.”
Rose smiled slightly but turned her attention back to the item he held in his hand. She peered closely.
“Is that a snow globe?”
“Strictly speaking it’s a pan-dimensional distortion eidetic reminiscence storage device.”
Rose blinked at him. “What?”
“It records and holds memories,” he explained, cupping the globe softly in his hands.
“Like a … Pensieve?” Rose asked with a grin.
“J.K. Rowling stole the idea,” he muttered with an irritated air. “I should ask for some of her royalties!”
“What would you do with the cash, Dumbledore?” She teased.
“Oi,” he poked her. “I’m not that old… well, I am but no beard.”
Rose shrugged. “So this thing holds memories? Why’s it look like a snow globe?”
The Doctor looked embarrassed and cleared his throat. “Because early childhood memories have some grounding in the reality of—”
“You thought it was cute, didn’t you?” Rose interrupted, knowing full well that the Doctor only started in with the long words when he was trying to avoid something. It was getting easier for her to read this new Doctor’s moods and peculiarities.
“Oh, all right, I’ve always had a thing for The Snowman,” He gave a nostalgic grin and tapped the snow globe in his hands. “It was just poetic.”
“So,” Rose looked intently at the snow globe, “inside there there’s a memory?”
“Can I see it?”
The Doctor was silent so long that she looked up at him. She was quick enough to catch an oddly intent expression which crossed his face as he stared at her.
He cleared his throat. “Okay, just hold it carefully. Memories are fragile; they can be altered so easily.”
Rose gently pulled the snow globe away from him and held it in her hands, the blue glow filling her hands with warmth that seemed to go deep down into her soul.
The Doctor stood behind her and showed her how to hold it properly, his arms cradling her.
She could feel his two hearts beating a strong rhythm against her back and she felt safe, cared for and protected.
He leaned his head in close and spoke softly into her ear. “Look deep into the globe, Rose, feel the light and pull it into yourself.”
Rose half shivered at the feel of his breath in her ear but tried to push it away, concentrating on the globe in her hand.
The blue glow throbbed in her palm, its warmth growing until it was just shy of comfortable and, as she stared into the glass dome, the pulsing blue light seemed to leave the globe in a swirling mist and formed shapes.
Shapes that looked familiar.
The planet was white; glacial white, sparkling white, perfect dentist’s white, Hollywood smile white.
There was nothing around for miles but deep blue sky and white fields, a wonderful blend of dark and light that appealed to his poetic side.
He stuck his hands deeper into his pockets and grinned as the puffs of white mist floated from his mouth upon his exhalation.
“C’mon, Rose. It’s beautiful!”
“It’s freezing!” came the call from inside the TARDIS. “When I said someplace relaxing, I didn’t mean somewhere I’d slip into a hypothermic coma!”
The Doctor just grinned and stomped his feet in the snow. The impact made a soft thud and he knelt down and picked up some snow, letting the cold crystals slide softly through his fingers.
Delicate yet deadly.
“It’s not that cold!” he called, loving the way his voice echoed around the ice world, knowing that they were the only living souls on the planet.
He turned towards the door as Rose came out and a large puff of white mist erupted with his laughter.
Rose stood in front of him with an impossibly thick white jacket, snow boots, long scarf and bobble hat.
“What’re ya laughing at?” she demanded, trying to get her hands on her hips, but the coat was far too puffy and she ended up waving them about ineffectually.
“You look like a snow man!” He guffawed and she poked out a tongue at him.
“At least I’m well wrapped!”
“I’ve seen Eskimos in fewer clothes,” he said, still amused.
“Yeah,” Rose agreed. “But…” She stopped, squinting over his shoulder. “I thought you said this planet was uninhabited?”
He spun around, searching the horizon quickly for what she had just seen but couldn’t make out anything against the glare of the snow.
“I don’t see—” He turned only to gasp as an icy white ball impacted on his face.
“That’s coz you have impaired vision!” Rose giggled as he swiped the snow out of his face. “Snowman my arse! I thought Time Lord’s were too sophisticated to fall for that ‘look over your shoulder’ crap?”
He glowered at her, far more amused than he was letting on. “Well, I wasn’t expecting an ambush from my bestest friend. I feel betrayed.”
He pouted and she laughed.
“And I feel cold.”
“I have a small feeling you’ll get colder.” He grinned as he bent to scoop some snow into his hand.
“No, no, no,” Rose backed away. “Don’t you dare!”
“But don’t you see, Rose, you’ve insulted my species’ prowess and more than that…”
“What?” she said, edging towards the TARDIS.
“You’ve awoken my fightin’ hand!”
It was the bad American accent that made her laugh so hard she couldn’t make it back to the safety of the TARDIS before she was attacked by a snowball.
She reached for more snow and had it impacted into a ball and hurtling over her shoulder into his chest before he could do more than crow that he had hit his target.
“Snow Queen, 2001!” she said proudly. “I was undefeated snowball champion of the school playground. No one messed with Rose Tyler in winter!”
“Be prepared to hand over that title, Rose Tyler,” he challenged as he ducked to grab ammunition.
“You wanna be Snow Queen?” She raised an eyebrow and darted behind the TARDIS as he let his snowball fly. “Explains all sorts of things, that does! All those frilly shirts. Big girl’s blouse.”
“Okay, now we’re at war!” He promised and the battle began.
Rose pulled herself back and smiled down at the globe. “That was the Ice planet. We had a snow fight and made a snowman.”
“Snow Time Lord,” he corrected remembering Rose running back to the TARDIS wardrobe to steal one of his old frilly shirts. His third regeneration wouldn’t have been so amused at that.
“And his Snow Companion,” she added, recalling her indignation as he fashioned a rather curvaceous companion to keep his Time Lord ‘amused’.
“Made snow angels and drank hot chocolate,” he finished. “It’s all in there. All day.”
Rose held the globe tenderly and turned it over in her hands. “Why in here, if you remember it in your head?”
“Like Dumbledore I have a lot of memories, Rose. Over 900 years of them. With age some of them… fade, maybe even deteriorate. I even forget. This room is full of things that I never want to forget. Every incarnation takes his important memories and puts them in here. Years later I can come back and revisit.”
Rose turned to look him in the eye, searching. “But you don’t look back. You said so with Sarah Jane.”
As she said the words one of the ‘stars’ flickered and tumbled down into the Doctor’s hands.
Rose glanced at the light. It wasn’t a snow globe. This one was a small notepad. An old one.
The Doctor looked wistfully at the note pad and offered it to her, taking the globe and blowing on it gently. The globe rose into the air, spinning slightly before taking its place in the glittering anthology of stars.
Rose swallowed and opened the pad, the blue mist flittering up before she’d even looked too deeply.
The room was stark and clinical, only a large table filled with technological gear was immediately apparent. To one side was a large yellow wall with two doors leading off into small rooms and there was an exit to the left.
A huge sigh filled the room and the field of vision showed an old man with glasses and a scatty air about him, as he wandered into view.
“Rubeish,” he said.
”I beg your pardon?” A second man asked. He was slightly older and, was wearing a frilly shirt, green velvet waistcoat and black trousers. His hair was silver and peppered with threads of grey and he had a genial but firm face. Like that of a friendly uncle.
The first man pushed his glasses further up his nose and shrugged.
”Joseph Rubeish.” He introduced himself again and the second man gave a short laugh.
“Oh, I see. I'm so sorry. Hello. How do you do?”
“It's disgraceful, of course, utterly disgraceful.”
“Shutting us all up. Like a lot of kids kept in after school. That Brigadier chap. Military idiot.” His short way of speaking had a ring of sweetness about him and he tucked his pockets into a white lab coat—a scientist.
“Yes, I know how you feel. Still, he means well, you know,” said the second man amiably.
“Haven't seen my wife and family for three days.”
The white haired man gave a look of sympathy. “I'm sorry to hear that.”
“Ah well, just shows. There's always a silver lining.”
The white haired man chuckled a little, as he was supposed to and Rubeish turned back to him.
“And your name?”
“Er, Smith,” he said quickly, like he wasn’t sure. “Dr John Smith.”
Dr John Smith. The Doctor.
“Oh,” said Rubeish, “seems to be a lot of 'em about today.”
“I'm sorry?” the Doctor blinked.
“Well, I was talking to a young woman just now. Also Smith.”
They both turned as a young woman entered. A familiar young woman. A very young Sarah-Jane Smith.
Rubeish smiled. “Ah, there she is. Miss Smith?”
Sarah smiled back at him, her brown eyes wide and sweet. “Yes, Professor?”
The Professor just beckoned her over and produced her to the Doctor. “Come and meet your namesake. Miss Lavinia Smith, Doctor, err...”
The Doctor merely offered his hand to the woman and she shook it. “Doctor John Smith. How do you do, Miss Smith?”
He stared at her intently for a moment and there was an air of bemusement and mistrust in the calculating glance he gave her.
The moment was broken as Rubeish exclaimed. “Doctor, I'm intrigued. What's that for?”
He pointed behind him where the TARDIS stood, tall proud and blue, in one corner.
“That?” The Doctor grinned to himself. “Oh, that er, that contains my equipment. Professor.”
“That's original,” Rubeish countered and wandered over to it.
The Doctor sat down at the table and regarded Sarah.
“You're the virologist, Miss Smith?”
“Yes,” Sarah gave an innocent smile. “Who told you?”
“I've read your paper on the teleological response of the virus. A most impressive piece of work.”
He clasped his hands together in front of him and made a triangle with two fingers.
“Particularly when I realize you must've written it when you were five years old.”
“Ah.” She got the universal ‘busted’ look on her face. “Er...yes, that is rather difficult to explain isn't it?”
The Doctor nodded. “But you're going to try, aren't you?” he said kindly.
“Well, um, my Aunt Lavinia is in America on a lecture tour, you see. She had an invitation to visit here. I took her place.”
The Doctor merely stared at her. “Why?”
“Well, I thought all this might give me a good story. I'm a journalist. Sarah Jane Smith.”
She looked the part with her brown tailored suit and heels.
“You realize this is a very dangerous place to be in?”
”Well, I can't help that. I'm stuck here now...and anyway, we've got all these soldiers looking after us. Are you going to give me away, Doctor?”
She had a cheeky charm which worked its magic on the Doctor. He beamed widely.
“I don't think so.”
She couldn’t believe her luck. “Why not?” Her grin was infectious.
“Well, you can make yourself useful. We need someone around here to make the coffee.”
Sarah shot off the table like she’d been fired from a gun, indignation and insult in every ounce of her being. “If you think I'm going to spend my time making cups of coffee for you, you're very...”
The Doctor ignored her, standing up and heading over to the TARDIS where Rubeish was scrawling on the side with a piece of chalk.
“Professor!” he protested. “Look, would you kindly desist? This is not a blackboard, you know?”
Rubeish stumbled back, as if he’d just realised what he was doing.
“Oh I do beg your pardon, Doctor. I was just trying to prove...” he began talking to himself and the Doctor shook his head, his hand going to his pocket to remove the TARDIS key. He reached out and opened the door, careful not to let them see inside it.
Sarah followed him, still smarting with female indignation. “What do you plan to do in there?”
He leaned forwards as if to impart some vital secret. “Make myself a cup of coffee. Good day to you.”
Rose smiled as she came back to herself and stroked the notepad.
“That was you meeting Sarah Jane?”
“Yeah.” He took the notepad with a smile of fondness and blew on it, sending it soaring back up into the air, the fusty pages lost amidst the velvet canvas.
“She didn’t look a day older. I hope I’m as lucky.”
“I’ve no doubt you would be,” he answered, shoving his hands into his pockets with an unusually sombre air.
Rose shuffled her feet, feeling awkward, but wanting to get it out. “Seriously though, I know why I’d want a room full of mini home movies but you always said you never looked back.”
He sighed and she knew he’d hoped she’d forgotten that he’d not answered her question.
“I can’t …” he paused and started again. “I have to be careful, Rose. Although 900 years gives a lot of good memories, there were an awful lot of bad times too.”
“Like the war?”
The Doctor swallowed and gave one word as his answer, but the shadows that filtered over his eyes were explanation enough. “Yeah.”
Rose reached out and took hold of his hand, offering comfort.
“Even without that. Times when companions left or died, times when I couldn’t save someone or someplace, times when things just went so very, very wrong.” He grew serious again. “There were times when I wandered in here and just wanted to stay forever. On Earth they tell you not to live in the past. Well, I could. Literally. For me, it would be so easy to stay here, to relive 900 years of good times over and over and over. I was tempted, tempted so many times to do just that.”
“What stopped you?”
He looked her full on, all the intensity that he could muster focussed on Rose.
“I met this human. Blonde thing, cleverer than she thought. She took my hand and dragged me, kicking and screaming into the present.”
Rose smiled softly, tears glistening in her eyes and he looked up at the stars.
“I have to be careful, even now. I can look back, but I have to be wary not to trip over my future. Imagine what would have happened if I’d decided to hell with the Nestene and I’d stayed in here reliving my adventures in Ancient Mesopotamia?”
“Earth would have been taken over by shop window dummies.”
“Yup, think how awful that would have been. Everyone the same size, no opposable thumb. Thumbs are very important, Rose, remember that.” He’d gotten his teasing air back and Rose was glad. She hated it when he was sad.
“Plus, I’d’ve never met you!” He exclaimed suddenly. “How …. Horrible! Catastrophic, heinous, tragic, monstrous!”
“Peaceful?” she teased back and he grinned.
“Goes without saying.”
“So how many of our adventures are up there?” She squeezed his hand.
“Oh, all of ‘em with me me,” he replied honestly, staring up at the glittering memories.
“And with the other you?” she pushed, wanting to know if the other version of him had thought their time together as important.
“He wasn’t big on this room,” the Doctor explained, knowing what she wanted to know. “Unfortunately my old self was a bit of a grumpy sod.”
“Didn’t notice,” Rose retorted loyally.
“He had a tendency to be a bit, shall we say, brooding? Sombre, introspective? Navel gazer?”
“That too,” he agreed readily. “Didn’t want to wallow in the good times so much.”
The truth was that his previous regeneration was still punishing himself for the War and his actions in it and felt like he didn’t deserve to remember any happy times. In fact, he’d only been in here twice in his previous incarnation to record things and never bothered to relive any of the memories.
“But don’t worry,” he said suddenly at her crestfallen expression. “I spent ages in here backing up the files as it were, every adventure you two had … us two had, we had … it’s in here.”
“Good.” Rose declared. “I’d hate to think that they were all gone … you know, for when I’m not around anymore.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Planning on going somewhere, Rose Tyler?”
“Only to make more tea,” she gave him a cheeky grin. “And this time, you’re drinking it with me.”
“Yes, ma’am!” he saluted and pushed her towards the door. “You go boil the kettle. I need to finish up here and I’ll be out. Put us some cakes out to, eh?”
“Yes, boss!” Rose rolled here eyes.
“Boss? Ooh I like that! Be out in two shakes of—something that only shakes twice.”
“A jelly in a thunderstorm?” she offered, heading for the door.
“A Slitheen on a diet.”
He was still smiling manically as the door closed behind her, but let it fade as soon as the room was empty again.
With a deep breath he looked up, far into the depths of the room and fought the craving to stay here, to pull all of the memories around him and nest in them, wallow in them. Live in them.
The only thing that stopped him from dragging those precious remembrances around him like a cloak was the human currently slicing Battenberg and noting that they needed more milk.
If it wasn’t for Rose, maybe he would live in here; spend the next 100 years watching Susan, Nyssa, Tegan, Jo and the rest enjoying the life they had led.
But she was waiting.
And when she was gone.
He held his hand up, like a Lord summoning a slave, and the brightest star, the one furthest away dropped down into his waiting palm.
No snow globe, this one, or note book or any ridiculously cliché form. It was a speck of dust. One gold sparkling dust particle.
He touched it and closed his eyes, the memory playing against the back of his lids.
The golden light flooded his vision, the heat of the heart of the TARDIS, the depths of time staring him in the face and for that moment, for that one glorious moment he was no longer alone.
Rose stood in front of him, tears tracing down her cheeks as she faced him. Not as a human. Not as a companion.
But as an equal.
An equal who knew all there was to know about him. An equal who wandered Time and Space and could see and feel all that he saw and felt.
For one moment she was his universe and he was hers.
Her love filled him and took away the dark places. It filled up the emptiness that had been his constant since Gallifrey burned.
“I can see everything.” She told him, heartbreak and wonder in her voice. “All that is... all that was... all that ever could be.”
He stood in front of her, hands held out in awe, in acceptance, in love. “That's what I see. All the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?”
That was the crux. It was driving her mad. She was doing all this for him, but it was killing her. She was dying for him and he needed her to live.
“My head...” she whimpered.
“... it's killing me ...”
He smiled slowly. “I think you need a Doctor.”
He pulled her into his arms and he gazed into her eyes, trying to fix in his memory the way that she looked; the way that love filled her deep brown eyes. The way that knowledge and wisdom beyond the stars and heavens encapsulated her essence and offered itself to him.
Offered her and all that she was.
He burned that look into his soul and bowed his head, brushing soft lips with his own. The searing pain as the vortex flowed into him was eclipsed by the sensation of kissing Rose.
He was being burned from the insides out and he didn’t care. He had Rose in his arms, the way he’d wanted her since the first time he’d taken her hand.
He loved her and he knew that she loved him.
And it was fantastic.
The Doctor opened his eyes, feeling phantom lips still touching his. When he closed his eyes he could still taste her tears, cheery lip gloss and the vortex swirling around his mouth.
Maybe that was why he was so orally fixated this regeneration, he was trying to find something that tasted as good as Rose.
He’d never succeed.
With a small smile he focussed on the speck of dust and imagined a soft bubble surrounding it, protecting it, keeping it forever safe.
This was one memory he never wanted to forget.
He blew gently and the memory drifted back to dance amongst the stars, brighter than all the rest, keeping him warm even from all the way up there.
He let out a deep breath.
He’d better not forget again or she’d never let him hear the end of it and she did make a good cuppa, bless her.
Besides he wanted to take her to that beach on Repsicul and he had to be sneaky if she wasn’t to catch onto the why.
What that place really needed, he decided as he closed the door behind him, was more memories of Rose in a bikini.