Title- Encroaching Madness 3/20
Rating- PG15/ OT
Disclaimer- I own nothing you recognise and everything you don't.
Summary- 9 has taken over 10's body. But his mind is slowly losing ground.
A/n- Sequel to the Darkness Within. With thanks to all who reviewed and my beta reader Gargantua.
When a Time Lord took on the responsibility of a TARDIS he allowed it to bond with his mind. When that man and that machine are the last two of their kind in existence that bond is one of the strongest in the universe.
In such a partnership there was a certain amount of give and take. The Doctor’s TARDIS had decided that she had given all that she could and could take no more.
It was hard enough being the last sentient TARDIS in this reality but when the Time Lord who was supposed to be taking care of her was blocking half of his mind from her neural receptors, well, it was like a lover suddenly giving you the cold shoulder.
She held no resentment against Rose being back; indeed she adored the little gold child for how she reacted to the blue box and how she made the Doctor feel. But there was something not quite right about the ways and means that the golden child had been reunited with the Doctor.
After trying to access the Doctor’s mind once again, and being rebuffed from the latent memory, the TARDIS had had enough.
With sparkling tendrils she slunk inside the deepest memories of the Doctor and wound her way through neural pathways and subconscious desires.
She slunk through his childhood on Gallifrey and felt a pang at the fields of growing TARDIS’S where she had spent many happy centuries. She tiptoed through his college years and his hasty departure from his home planet with Susan in tow.
His adventures parted before her and she spent precious nanoseconds in nostalgia of some of those who had graced her walls; Sarah Jane, Jo, Ace, Harry, Adric, Dodo, Nyssa, Mel and so many others whose brief lifespan had ended years before.
The war with the Daleks and the resulting obliteration of Gallifrey and the Time Lords was passed with pain and she crept through his mind reverently so as not to disturb these excruciating reminiscences.
Then she came to his ninth regeneration and subsequent actions.
Had she eyes they would have widened. Had she a jaw it would have dropped when she relived the regeneration into the tenth self and watched as the remnants of the man he was hang around, desperate and lonely beyond all telling.
She gazed in appalled bewilderment and dawning horror as the particles of the man became solid, strengthened, manifested into more than a personality and started to lose its fragile grip on sanity. Then finally took over, trapping his tenth personality away in a hole in his mind.
A hole she could find and had the key for.
The TARDIS had always been loyal to the Doctor, to the extent of letting the golden child crack open her heart and tear time apart to save him. Maybe that was a little selfish since she had no desire to be left on her own without even a Time Lord to keep her company; but she had still saved him.
And she would save him again.
With what would have been a deep breath in a human expression she allowed herself to sink into the subconscious mind and discovered an iron door deep in the psyche of the Doctor. A locked iron door.
Inside that room the Doctor was still staring in fascination at the cracks in the wall, wondering how he could press this to his advantage.
It was a testament to his powers of concentration that it was several seconds before he realised that someone was standing behind him.
His back stiffened. “Come to see what your little temper tantrum has done, have we?” he sneered. “That was just like you, blunder in with your size twelve’s and make a right royal mess of everything. Taking over from you was no picnic ya know, in fact I probably got an ulcer… no, two ulcers from your mess. Two ulcers and a bad twitch whenever the word ‘fantastic’ is mentioned. Talk about over-using a word, you could—”
He turned around and his mouth stopped mid-sentence—something practically unheard of.
Standing in front of him was his Rose. His beautiful Rose with her soft smile and kind eyes. His rosy sweet Rose dressed in jeans and hoodie with silky blonde hair spilling in a golden halo around her face.
She was amazing, and beautiful and… glowing?
Rose was surrounded by an ethereal glow.
His hearts skipped a beat as he stared and the welcoming smile slid from his lips. The golden glow was quite the clue that all wasn’t as it seemed. He shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked on his heels, a frown on his face.
“Not Rose then. Subconscious manifestation? Ghostly echo? Neural blip? Or am I finally going crazy? No?” He sniffed. “I know; you’re a by-product of latent energy left over from Rose’s previous expenditure of artron energy manifested into corporealisation in order to haunt me… if corporealisation is a word, which I doubt. But it is better than correctamundo. You know how I know you’re not really Rose? Because Rose would have told me to shut up by now. So who are you?”
The figure of Rose stepped into the room. “We saved you from the false god. We scattered ourselves across time and space to lead us to you.”
The Doctor froze. “What?”
“This form is familiar to you and to us, our means require you listen. The golden child, the Bad Wolf.”
“You…you’re the TARDIS?” He couldn’t quite believe it but there it was. This thing in front of him looked like the Rose who had digested all of the Time Vortex. He trusted it, oddly enough.
“We see all that is, all that could be and we watch without interfering but now our silence is broken.”
He ran a hand through his hair, spun a circle and goggled at the TARDIS in human form. “So, wait. No. Yes. No, you’re the TARDIS come to see me. You’ve taken Rose’s form because you need me to listen and because something is wrong…other than the obvious.”
“Time does not work in reverse. Linear quality must be followed.”
“Sometimes,” he agreed. “You know about him upstairs then? Trapping me in here and you’re against it? Great we agree, well we always have seen eye to eye haven’t we?” he winked at her. “And might I say you’re looking quite—”
The TARDIS held up a hand. “Loquaciousness has its turn.”
“Is that the polite way of telling me to shut up?”
“There must be forethought into diverting the circumstances.”
“A plan, yes, a plan. Great idea. It’s always good to have a plan,” he paused, “Uh, never bothered with them much to tell you the truth. Oh, I’m all for plans, personally, just find that they get in the way of actually achieving things. I had a great plan in 2390. Ooh, a fabulous plan with diagrams and everything.”
The TARDIS rolled her eyes and her shape shimmered. When the light dimmed the Doctor was confronted with a less appealing shape.
“Cripes, Doc, you jaw so much I’m surprised your tongue doesn’t fall out.”
“Tegan?!” He gaped a moment and then eyed her suspiciously. “What’s with the accent? I thought the TARDIS was all wordy and filled with seriousness.”
“Sometimes,” said Tegan/the TARDIS ruefully, “a firmer hand is needed to shut you up.”
“Ah,” the Doctor was chagrined. “Right.” He eyed the curvaceous form of his former companion, the one woman who could cheerfully argue for hours and who had never been afraid of telling it to him straight.
“Where were we?”
“A plan.” Tegan/the TARDIS reminded. “Have you given any thought to one?”
He nodded and then started to pace. “His control is breaking, you can tell that by the wall. It’s splintering into tiny fragments which means his attention is wandering. What he’s concentrating on is keeping Rose from asking awkward questions, good luck to him there because if I know Rose, and I know Rose, the one thing she was always good at was asking awkward questions—usually right in front of the wrong rulers which ended up us being chased through—”
The TARDIS cleared it’s throat and the form of Tegan folded her arms superciliously. The Doctor back-peddled. “Right, yes, ah. He’s conflicted so he’s not paying attention. I can control some of this but I need him to give me more leeway. He had over a year to deal with this; I have to do this much faster.” He eyed the wall and its web. “If he falls too much he might start taking it out on Rose. That won’t work.”
“How could you make him release you, Doc?” Tegan/the TARDIS asked.
“He’d let me out if he needed more brain power,” he mused, still pacing. “More juice, although he seems to be flying by on minimal intelligence and he’s back-combing. I tried that, didn’t work. Rose did say I was cute but she was talking to the cat, I think she thought it resembled a mullet.”
“Hells teeth!” exploded Tegan/the TARDIS at his ramblings.
“Right, sorry. Where was I? Mullet, cats, back-combing, brain power. Right, yes. So how could he need more brain power? Uh, he goes on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ Unlikely. He joins Mensa.”
Tegan/the TARDIS frowned. “Didn’t you found that?”
“Yep,” the Doctor rocked on his heels. “Come on, think. He mind-melds; no other Time Lords. He uses telepathy. No. He gets possessed, too late!” he snorted, looked at Tegan/the TARDIS and then froze. “Possessed. Ooh, I like that.” He started to spin as he worked it out in his head. “No. No. No. Yes. No. Yes, Brilliant!”
He punched the air in triumph and turned with shining eyes to the TARDIS. “I have a plan. A good plan. But I’ll need some help from you.”
Tegan/the TARDIS grinned widely. “Just name it, Doc.”
He grimaced. “Stop calling me that.”