Summary- Regeneration takes the pieces of you and turns them into something else. But what if a part of you didn't want to leave. What if your old self didn't agree with what you were doing? What if the animal within got out?
The Darkness Within Prologue (PG13)
The Darkness Within 1 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 2 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 3 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 4 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 5 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 6 (PG13)
The Darkness Within 7 (PG 13)
The Darkness Within 8 (PG 13)
The Darkness Within 9 (PG 13)
The Doctor walked Rose to her parents’ house with barely concealed impatience and inner insults to the ‘domesticated’ man he’d become.
Had he known that his internal prisoner was deriving no little torment from this, he’d have been far more eager to reacquaint himself with the
“Let me out!” he screamed, tearing at his chains until blood ran in slick rivulets onto the dark sheets. He slammed his head back against the mattress in aggravation and felt tears of pure frustration slide down his face.
Bad enough to have been taken over by a previous version of himself.
Worse when that version was certifiably insane.
Bad enough to have met an abandoned companion.
Worse when that man turned out to be immortal.
Bad enough when the crazy version berated him for not trying hard enough to get the woman he loved back.
Worse because he was right…even worse because he had achieved it.
Bad enough that the crazy part of himself reunited with a beautiful Rose.
Worse when he hugged her—and the Doctor couldn’t. Even worse when he kissed her—and the Doctor couldn’t. Even worse when he was off to see her family—his—family and doesn’t even realise what a precious gift he was being given.
The Doctor kicked his heels against the bed-frame like a fractious child and let out another scream.
“Let me go!”
But it was fruitless. He was being held by himself—only a version of himself with better mental training and a proficiency for sadistic mind games. He couldn’t break these bonds by pulling and yanking; physical force had no place here.
It had to be a mental strength.
He gritted his teeth and willed his body to relax, dragging his brain back to the training received on Gallifrey of how to strengthen your mind. He had to do this; there was no way he could lay here and watch as his former self threw away everything that he had worked so hard for.
He was going to fight himself—and win.
Meanwhile on the outside the Doctor was wondering whether this trip had been worth the enthusiastic, and somewhat damp, reception that Jackie Tyler had given him.
One glance at him on her doorstep had led to a piercing scream, wailing sobs and an embrace that could choke a Sontaran.
Then Pete clapped him on the back, little Shaun spat up over his trousers and demanded to be held, and Mickey the Idiot arrived. This seemed to be the precursor of a
Rose was amused; he contemplated suicide.
The plain fact was that the Doctor was more than slightly uncomfortable with the gushing way he was welcomed back into the
It wasn’t him they were so pleased to see.
The first time he had seen Jackie Tyler she’d hit on him, the next time she’d called the police to take him away. She’d slapped him and called him all the names under the sun. Jackie Tyler had made no secret about the fact that she hated him.
It wasn’t him she had held as he fell to the ground. It wasn’t him who she had nursed back to health or cooked Christmas dinner for. It wasn’t him who had hugged her or made sure Rose called her regularly.
It wasn’t him who brought Rose back to see her and stayed the night, or held her hand as she cried drunkenly over Pete or danced with her at Mo’s third wedding.
The same with Pete Tyler and Mickey.
He’d sent Pete to his death with that Reaper hanging over his head. Mickey had been held on murder charges because of him. He’d called the Doctor a ‘thing’ and mocked his ears, mocked his ship, mocked him.
The memories of working with Pete Tyler weren’t his. Memories of camaraderie with Mickey the Idiot did not belong to him. Memories of travelling with Mickey, laughing with Mickey, teasing him over future football matches and watching with pride as he took on the Cybermen—none of those belonged to him.
They belonged to his future. They preferred the man he had become and would be horrified if they knew who it was that they were embracing and congratulating and holding so tight.
He felt sick down to his stomach and only managed to maintain the fake smile plastered to his face due to the very alive Rose sitting so close to him, refusing to let go of his hand.
Owen did his best to dispel any awkward moments, even if he didn’t realise that that it what they were. He asked about the differences between this world and the first Earth from people who had been in both, and got into an argument with Pete about the merits of proper football verses the American style which was prevalent in Pete’s World.
“It’s like sport for ponces,” Owen said in disgust. “Who straps on about a hundred pounds of gear to play rugby?”
Realising that there was about to be a battle of the hooligans, the Doctor decided to make a quick retreat to regroup.
The Doctor finished his tea and took the opportunity to escape the madness to take the mug back into the kitchen.
He leaned against the sink breathing hard and stared into his reflection in the window above the draining board. He could see his face staring back at him.
No. Not his face. Not the face with sticky-out ears and big nose, not the face full of character and hard lines and memories and life; but a pretty boy face with charm and ridiculous hair.
This face was what those people in there loved. This face and this body had held Rose through some dark nights and made her face light up. It was this face, this body, this man who had stolen their hearts.
He’d stolen the life that was supposed to be his . This version had taken what was rightfully his and let it slip through his fingers like water.
“I hate you,” he whispered to his reflection. “I hate you so much.”
And he did. Rassilon, didn’t this man know what he had held in his hands?
Pure gold, that’s what. He’d had a family here, for Gallifrey’s sake and he’d allowed it to be sucked through into another universe and had done nothing to save it. The man he had been was a fool and the man he was now would not allow that to be taken away.
He’d regenerate before he’d let the pretty boy come back.
He stared into brown eyes that glinted blue with his hatred. “I’ll kill you,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Try to come back and I’ll kill you.”
“What was that?”
He jumped and stared the reflection of a bemused blonde. He’d been so wrapped up in his internal musings that he hadn’t noticed Rose coming up behind him.
Rose, for her part, had been watching the Doctor carefully since his miraculous reappearance. No longer the naive teenager who’d stumbled aboard the TARDIS so long ago, she wouldn’t be put off by the Doctor’s casual “I’ll tell you later” anymore than she believed his sweet but illogical reason for his return to the previous accent and wardrobe choice.
Rose had known both Doctor’s and was picking up vibes and nuances that she thought had died in a flash of golden light. The tightening of knuckles on a cup made with two sugars instead of one; the aggressive folding of the arms or flash of manic grin; the sudden flare of pain in haunted eyes.
No. Something was wrong; it was almost as if he was regressing, going back a regeneration. But that was impossible, right?
He’d told her, on one uncharacteristically sharing night, that the huge surge of time vortex energy had killed every cell in his body causing it to change.
Could another energy surge cause a reversal? Say a hole in the universe; the rift?
Had the Doctor done the impossible, destroying himself in the process? Rose felt sick at the very thought.
She followed him into the kitchen to confront him, but seeing him there by the sink just rekindled feelings that she’d tried so hard to suppress.
Damn, but she’d missed him.
The Doctor interrupted her thoughts with a genuine smile and she softened.
He watched Rose smile back in such a way that he knew, just knew, that he could turn and hold out his arms and she’d fall into them with a soft sigh.
But he couldn’t do it. Not just yet, no matter how much he longed for it—for her—because he couldn’t stand feeling the wrong arms hold his girl just yet.
“Doctor?” Rose stepped up and stared at him in the window. “What’s wrong? You did the impossible, yeah, you made it back. We…You should be happy but you look like the TARDIS just died.”
The Doctor sighed and dug his hands into his leather jacket, turning to face her. “Yeah. S’pose.”
“So why aren’t you?” Rose bit her lip. “Do you regret coming back?”
“No!” It all but exploded out of his mouth. “Never, Rose.” He reached up to cup her cheek like he done all those years ago in the church. “Don’t regret you, my daft little ape.”
Rose gave him an odd look, fearful of what he would say. “So what is it?”
“It’s this place, Rose, Pete’s world. It feels…odd.” He shrugged. “Remember when I told you that I could feel the turn of the Earth?”
“You said,” Rose looked up at the ceiling, “that the ground beneath our feet was spinning at a thousand miles an hour, and the entire planet was hurtling around the sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour. And you could feel it. You said we were falling through space. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go...”
She trailed off and smiled softly.
He raised his eyebrows at her verbatim recitation. “Impressive.”
She inclined her head and gave him a teasing look. “Well, you did make an impression. Tell a girl that and walk away. Forget you? I don’t think so.”
“Glad to know I was memorable,” he said somewhat morosely and then straightened again. “The thing is that this world is wrong. It’s not where we belong, not where I belong. And I can feel it. The turn of the Earth is wrong, the constellations are wrong and it…hurts.”
Rose looked alarmed, her suspicions confirmed. “What, it actually hurts you?”
He nodded, feeling only slightly guilty at his misleading statement. Okay, the turn of this universe made him feel slightly giddy. But that could have been Rose’s hand in his.
What made him hurt was the way this world had forgotten him.
“I get that,” Rose’s words were sudden and made him start.
“When I first got here it was like the world was spinning too much,” Rose bit her lip. “Spent ages feeling dizzy. I used to lie on my bed and feel like I could feel the Earth turning and time going too fast.” She shrugged, suddenly embarrassed. “Mum said I was imagining it because I missed you. She said she didn’t feel anything and Mickey didn’t either.”
The Doctor beamed at her with pride. “Rose Tyler, my little time-detector. You’re right. You did feel it. Spending any time in the TARDIS gives humans a kind of seventh sense… actually it’d be your tenth sense because humans do actually have more than six senses you know, I think in the twentieth century you’ve discovered about nine.”
“Nine?” Rose blinked and then grinned. “That was always my favourite number.”
The Doctor felt warm. “Mine too. You know the usual five and then there’s Thermoception, Equilibrioception, Nociception, Proprioception.”
Rose pointed to her head. “Blonde.”
He grinned widely. “Heat, balance, pain and unconscious knowledge.”
“Like ‘this is wrong’, ‘murder is bad’, ‘ice-cream cures all evils’, that kind of thing.”
Rose ducked her head as her heart gave a sudden pang. He sounded so much like his old self, like the
man who she’d first met that for a moment she missed her old Doctor fiercely.
He noticed her reaction and poked her. “What?”
“You sound more like the old you now.” She reached over to touch his leather jacket in sweet nostalgia that had his pulses tripping.
“That okay?” He swallowed.
“Yeah,” Rose nodded and his hearts swelled as he opened his mouth to reply, to tell her the truth.
“Is what okay?” Mickey interrupted as he walked into the room.
The Doctor felt that wave of unease as the boy nodded friendlily to him before putting his mug in the sink.
“All right, Doctor?”
“Yep, Ri—uh, Mickey.”
Mickey rolled his eyes. “Yeah, the Rickey/Mickey thing…not so funny after a couple of years, mate.”
Mickey leaned against the table, age and some kind of wisdom showing in his brown eyes. “So, what’s with the nurfy chav in the other room?”
“Nurfy chav?” A bark of laughter left the Doctor’s lips. “Not heard that one.”
“Nurf here is a mix of nerd and freak, I think,” Rose frowned and shook her head. “Fashion and a new dad wasn’t the only thing to get used to here. You know Top Shop is actually more expensive than Gucci here? Blew my mind, I tell ya!”
They all turned towards the call from the other room and Rose groaned. “Back in a minute.”
As soon as Rose left the Doctor searched for something to say to the boy who’d disparaged him and been ignored in return.
Mickey smiled. “You didn’t answer my question. What’s with Owen?”
“You don’t like Ewan?” The Doctor regarded Mickey curiously.
Mickey shrugged. “He’s okay. But I thought you only took girls along with you. Sort of like the TARDIS was a flying love shack. Except Captain Flash, of course.”
The Doctor wrinkled his nose. “What gave you that idea?”
“Rose, Sarah Jane, she told me about some girl called Peri or was it Pepi?”
“I think that was a skunk.”
“Right,” Mickey sniffed. “Just figured it was an all girl’s show.”
The Doctor smirked. “Don’t worry Mickey, you’re still my favourite idiot.”
For some reason that made Mickey duck his head and blush. The Doctor rolled his eyes before walking by.
“Yeah, still got it.”
In later years the Doctor would sit down and think of all of the worst experiences of his life and, whilst watching Rose say good bye to her family wasn’t going to be top of the list, it was up there with the regrowth of his third and sixth heads on his eleventh shoulders and the odd occasion when the TARDIS turned pink and played the Nutcracker suite when they landed.
It wasn’t the heartbreaking looks or the tender yet somehow corny words of goodbye. Nor was it the overenthusiastic hugs and promises to ‘never forget’. It wasn’t the tears or even the pleading to come back if they could.
It was the sheer domesticity of it all. The mother hugging her daughter and kissing the Doctor on the cheek in a parody of congratulations of engagement. It was the manly handshake of the father-in-law and the giggled snorts of children.
He made his teeth ache with the simplicity and yet domesticity of it all.
It was family boiled down to its lowest levels and something that he would never have—either by choice or design and it made him dizzy and eager to get away.
The second Rose stopped crying and they drove away in Pete’s jeep to get to the Zeppelin Station he heaved a huge sigh of relief, his muscles popping as he stretched.
Rose turned to him. “So out with it.”
He blinked, panicked. “What?”
She rolled her eyes and held her hands up. “All this? Come on, how did you do it? Last I heard it was impossible to come through and yet here you are. So, c’mon, Doctor, brag a bit.”
He beamed. “Oh yeah, didn’t I tell you, brilliant me?”
Owen snorted. “Yeah brilliant. Mind like a genius, dresses like an extra from the village people.”
“Ignore the ‘B’ team,” the Doctor said over Rose’s giggle. “It was simple really. We reconfigured the monitoring coordinates to synchronise with the temporal displacements and energy displacements of the breaches from your world through to ours. The transfer signatures aligned with the time space coordinates for this part of reality so all we had to do was reverse the energy signatures, relay the readings and retrace the temporal alignment and feed the figures into the rift monitor. Then using the residual TARDIS energy to open a small hole in the fabric of space and time using a very complicated yet easily stolen piece of space junk from the four-hundredth century we ripped open reality and poured through. Bob’s your uncle, Pete’s your dad here we are. Like I said; genius.”
There was a moments silence and Rose turned to Owen who rolled his eyes and sighed heavily.
“Toshiko found some numbers which told us where your universe was. She punched ‘em in to Jack’s computer after we got the missing pieces from a guy in
“Ohh!” Rose’s eyes widened, enlightened. “Right.”
“That’s what I said!” the Doctor huffed. “Honestly, you people don’t listen.”
“I listen plenty,” Rose grinned. “You just like making me feel daft.”
“Sort of, yeah.”
Rose frowned at him for a second and then licked her lips. “So, when you said—” she froze. “Hold up. Jack’s machine? Jack Jack. Jack as in our Jack?”
The Doctor waggled his eyebrows and nodded.
Rose jumped in her seat. “Jack’s alive? What, seriously?”
“Yep. Alive as in very not dead.”
And more than a little annoyed at not being able to die. But that part of the conversation could wait. As long as she didn’t ask the rather embarrassing question of how Jack managed to appear in the twentieth century after being left in space.
“How did that happen?” Rose leaned forward in interest. “Did you go back and get him?”