Title- Encroaching Madness 8/20
Rating- PG15/ OT
Disclaimer- I own nothing you recognise and everything you don't.
Summary- 9 has taken over 10's body and sent them to Deva Loka. The Mara are waiting their vengeance on the Doctor. (This story takes facets from Snakedance- a 5th Doctor adventure)
A/n- Sequel to the Darkness Within. With thanks to all who reviewed and my beta reader Gargantua.
( Chapter 6 )
( Chapter 7 )
The Doctor thrust Rose away from him and his gaze caught on her arm. The lovely bare soft pink skin from this morning was marred by a hideous snake tattoo; one he had seen before.
“The Mara,” he spat.
“I knew we’d meet again,” smirked the Mara with Rose’s face, the sneer jolting in its unnaturalness. “This side of madness or the other.”
The Doctor shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket and tried to resist the urge to grab at the body of his best friend and…what? He wanted to hold her and make everything okay again. But he also wanted to take hold of the thing possessing her and wring every last breath out of it.
His hands weren’t sure whether to reach for her hands or her throat and they shook with the effort of holding back.
“Get out of her,” he demanded and was rewarded by the Rose throwing her back and laughing.
It wasn’t the usual full-bellied delight that Rose typically released in melodic abandon. This laugh didn’t coax his own lips into a smile. No, this laugh was grating, harsh and mocking and curled into his stomach, twisting it into knots.
This laughing creature before him wasn’t Rose. It wasn’t his Rose, his sweet angel who made every day worth waking up and greeting the sun.
This was wrong.
“Oh, but I’m having so. Much. Fun.” The thick voice of the Mara slid over him like syrup and the creature that wasn’t Rose grinned evilly. “This body has so much potential.”
She ran her hands over her own shoulders down over her breast and circled her own hips. “Lush, isn’t it?”
He swallowed. “What do you want?”
The Mara reached out her hand and touched the chimes that hung from the tree branch next to her. The motion made the harmonics ring and the tinkling sound set his teeth on edge.
“What do you want?” he repeated through gritted teeth.
“What any being wants,” the Mara mocked. “Life. Existence beyond the mental plane and the dark places of the mind, where I was trapped for so long.” Her head snapped around to his. “Where you trapped me.”
The Doctor nodded. “I did. And I will again.”
“How?” the Mara scoffed. “Mirror’s and jesters? Men with no voices? I’ll not fall for such tricks again. Doctor.”
“How did you know it was me?” he asked, his brain trying to come up with another way to destroy this creature. “Last time we met I looked different.”
And he had. The last time he had tangled with the Mara he was encumbered by a small boy, a tempestuous Australian and a stick of celery strapped to his lapel. The Mara had possessed Tegan and then slid into one of the natives and was eventually vanquished with the liberal use of mirrors; evil not being able to face itself, it scuttled back to wherever it had come from in the first place.
Except there was that time on Manussa as well.
It had re-possessed Tegan, if it had ever let go of her in the first place, and he’d had to use a focussing crystal and seek out the stillness within.
A spot of peace within himself.
Dawning awareness crept over him.
That sneaky, weasely, whey-faced, pinstriped, pansy-assed,
That had been his plan all along. With the TARDIS refusing to dematerialise, his tenth self knew that he’d eventually go stir crazy and venture onto the planet. He’d hoped to lure the Doctor and Rose out here and have the Mara attack the Doctor. He’d have known the Mara held a grudge against the Doctor; he did destroy it not once, but twice, and the Mara would be only too happy to have a second chance to ensnare the object of its downfall. It would delve into his mind, forcing him to lower his internal shields to allow the Mara to be ousted and, at the same time, allow his older, far more annoying self to leave the confines he found himself in.
His tenth self hadn’t banked on the TARDIS not telling them where she had landed and him allowing Rose out unsupervised and alone.
He hadn’t planned on Rose being the one possessed by the Mara.
He hadn’t planned bloody well at all!
The Doctor growled and wished he had time to venture into himself and kick the hell out of his alter ego but he hadn’t time for such luxuries right now.
Rose was in danger and he was the only one who could help her. But how?
“She knows you,” purred the Mara dragging him away from fantasies of mutilation and revenge back to the present.
“What?” He suddenly remembered that he had asked it how it had known him. He frowned. “Rose, of course she knows me but she didn’t know me then.”
“You change your face but not your hearts. This one loves a man with two faces but one soul. A man who was and then was not, but is and who crawls out of the pit and through dimensions to save her. She reminds me of another who held her own life as cheap compared to his. She reminds me of flesh that trusted. You always bring me the juiciest morsels to devour, Doctor.”
His hands tightened into fists and he stalked over to the Mara until he stood toe to toe with it.
It stared up at him through Rose’s eyes.
“I’ve defeated you before,” he growled, “and I will again. Nobody wins against me. Nobody. I’m the coming storm; I’m the creature under the bed that the monsters fear; I’m the raging fire and the heart of the tornado. You don’t want to mess with me because I will. Take. You. To. Pieces.”
The Mara cringed away from the pure unadulterated hatred that seared through those eyes. Eyes that burned and trekked fingers of fear over its essence. But it recovered quickly.
It was old, older than this trifling little Time Lord. It had the universe as its playground and no matter the past it was here to stay.
The Mara stepped back and took a deep breath. “Your words mean nothing.”
“My track record speaks for itself,” the Doctor spat, his arms suddenly folding as he regarded the creature. He had scared it and that went miles towards making him feel better.
“But the Kinda fled this planet many moons ago taking their knowledge with them. This planet is uninhabited. Save for me. The last remaining Mara in this section of the galaxy. I will not easily be uprooted, Doctor.”
He smirked. “We’ll see.”
For the lack of anything better to do he followed the Mara, keeping well away from the reach of the snake tattoo and tried to come up with ways of disposing of the Mara without harming Rose. There had to be some way of separating the two of them and forcing the Mara back into the dark places. There had to be some way of taking it away from the one he loved and allowing her to go free.
But his mind was blank.
He watched as the creature that inhabited Rose wandered through the lush forest letting its fingers trail over the leaves and inhaled the fresh air. Every now and again it would shoot him a sultry look over its shoulder, almost daring him to do something, do anything that could hurt Rose.
The rub was that every plan he concocted would end up hurting her either mentally or physically and that was the last thing he wanted to do.
And the Mara knew that. It knew that staying inside this girl was the best way for it to continue its existence. The girl was strong and was fighting back with everything that she had and it was a struggle just to keep the Doctor from being aware of how weak it truly was.
For millennia it had been trapped in the dark spaces having to watch as beings whose lives were so fleeting took advantage of being able to touch, to taste, to feel and knowing that it was only a matter of time before they turned to the dust.
Once the Mara had commanded armies with many voices; it had taken the Sumaran Empire across the universe conquering all that lay in its path. It held court in some of the finest palaces and had galaxies at its disposal.
It had been a real threat, a challenge worthy of warriors and a mighty ruler incomparable to all before it and now it was reduced to possessing a small child so that it could breathe.
The sheer audacity of lesser beings and their incomprehensible ability to depose the Mara stuck like a claw and it wanted revenge. It wanted revenge so badly it could taste it even in the oxygen rich air that permeated this pathetic rock.
It wanted to devour, to conquer, to rise up and tear this world apart. It wanted to see its enemies as they lay at its feet. It wanted to taste their fear, their desperation and their defeat. It wanted to feel the flesh of adversaries as they were torn asunder.
It wanted the universe to quake and bend at the knee to welcome its true master.
But it couldn’t.
These child-like hands were too small to command that power. This human brain was too tiny to cope with such ambition and drive and this body was infinitesimal in comparison to the hordes that could be led.
It could do nothing with this child. Nothing.
But a Time Lord. Now that was a true prize.
A body that could command time and bend it to their pleasure. A mind that dealt in eight dimensions and who could calculate and break the Skasis Paradigm by breakfast.
Regenerations at its fingertips and even better, the body of its destroyer under it’s compete control.
How delicious a victory is vengeance realised.
But not yet.
Being trapped in a state of non-being for so long had weakened it. Oh, it still held power and could crack the mind, knowing the weaknesses of its enemies and being able to play them like a child would a toy. But without a physical body it had dwindled, unable to harness the energy that it once could. A shadow of itself.
The Mara smiled at that. A shadow of darkness; how…poetic.
So it had to play on weaknesses instead of taking by force and what else was the Doctor’s weakness but this child who…was singing rather loudly in the back of its skull. The Mara shook its head and tried to dislodge the echo, but it was no good. The child had decided to focus her energy on annoying it. Rather pointless but no less irritating.
“What’s wrong?” the Doctor asked with a little concern noticing how the Mara had tilted her head to the side and was shaking it like a dog trying to get rid of fleas.
“The child is singing.”
The Doctor blinked. “What?”
The Mara tapped the side of its borrowed cranium. “The small child is singing inside my head.”
The Mara looked at him with some frustration. “I’m used to pleas for mercy, screams of the scared and abandoned…I do not…”
“What song?” the Doctor’s lips curved and he leaned against the nearest tree with his legs crossed over each other; a very casual pose for someone whose mind was working so hard at trying to find a way to destroy the Mara.
“She is singing “This is the song that never ends.” I feel she means it.”
The Doctor grinned; evidently Rose graduated from the Doctor school of annoyance. “And how does that go?”
The Mara scowled. “Pitiful life forms and your pathetic attempts to defy me. Well, we shall see.”
The Mara closed her eyes and a wicked grin crossed her face.
The Doctor lurched away from the tree. “What are you doing?”
“Teaching the child a lesson in who is dust. I will not be felled by insolence. I shall take her into myself. We shall become one and then we shall see who never ends.”
“No!” the Doctor screamed but it was too late.
The body of Rose slumped to the ground and the Doctor only managed to catch her before she hit her head on the hard earth.
He lowered her body to the grass covered forest floor and stroked her forehead.
“Rose?” he whispered.
Her eyes flew open. Scared eyes, eyes that searched for him.
“Doctor? Doctor please help me!”
He grabbed her shoulders. “You’ve got to fight it, Rose. Fight the Mara.”
“It’s strong. I’m trying!” Rose cried and threw her head back in pain.
She slammed her eyes shut and bit down so hard on her lip that it started to bleed.
The Doctor felt helpless and he held onto her and rocked backwards and forwards trying to soothe the girl who held his hearts in her hands.
The Mara had taken on the form of Jackie Tyler in Rose’s mind and stood toe to toe with her, a smirk colouring Jackie’s usually cheerful features.
“Aw sweetheart,” it said in Jackie’s voice. “You shouldn’t fight this, you know. Just give in.”
Rose glared hard at the creature that wore her mother’s face and shook her head. “I don’t think so. You don’t know Jackie. You’ve got her face from my memories but I know my mum.”
“Like you knew the Doctor?” the Mara grinned and altered form to one that Rose knew almost as well as her own. The Doctor’s hair stuck up in all directions and his brown pin-striped suit was immaculate.
“Help me, Rose!” the Mara said with his voice and the pain in it was enough to turn Rose’s stomach even though she knew it wasn’t him.
It wasn’t him, it had never been him. Rose took a deep breath and steeled herself against the attack that the Mara was going to try.
She sniffed and flicked her gaze over the suit. “He doesn’t wear that one so much any more.” She folded her arms across her chest. “And I’m not falling for it again. So you can pack it in before I smack you.”
The Mara seemed half amused and half insulted and inched closer to Rose. “I was devouring planets and civilisations before yours even crawled out of the primordial slime.”
“It would explain the hips,” Rose said with a faux sympathetic smile. “Honestly all that ozone’s gotta have calories, yeah?”
The Mara hissed and the face of the Doctor contorted into fury. “Foolish child, you can’t even begin to imagine my power, I have—”
“One thing,” Rose interrupted, “that I found in my travels with the Doctor is that those with the power don’t need to brag about it and those without never shut up.”
She eyed the form across from her disparagingly. “No need to say which you are, is there?
With an inarticulate cry of rage the Mara slapped Rose hard across the face.
The explosion of pain in her cheek knocked Rose to the floor and she brought the back of her hand to her stinging lip and noted the spots of red flecked on her skin.
“Temper,” Rose said with a dark edge.
The Mara sneered. “These years trapped in the dark places have softened my skin. Time was I never would have argued with my food. That is all you are and soon you will be no more.”
Rose swallowed as the Mara reached out and grabbed her, hauling her back to her feet and bring their faces in close. “This ends with your surrender.”
Tendrils of pulsating energy ripped their way through the suit the Mara wore and wrapped themselves around Rose’s upper body. The Mara dropped all pretence of being human and the flesh on the face she wore peeled away with a sickening slurp.
Rose couldn’t help the scream of horror that was ripped from her lips as the serpentine eyes were revealed and the skin slipped from the elongated body to slap in wet sticky waves around Rose’s own body.
She was pinned in place like a bug on a slide and had a close up view as the raw, new skin shined with slick redness and the Mara shed the rest of its fake persona.
Thin red rims grew on top of the head in a ridge, gaining serrated edges and a green tinge before elongating with a crack that went right down to the bones.
Rose had a front row seat as the creature that once was the Doctor suddenly became a snake with eyes that burned with hate and breath that could peel paint.
She kicked and struggled but those tendrils held her fast and tightened with delight at her gasps of pain.
The slick tentacles reached up to Rose’s forehead and with a leer the snake pushed in to Rose’s subconscious. Rose had time for one scream of pure agony as her brain was violated before it overwhelmed her and she passed out.