|Doctor Who is owned by the BBC. This is amateur fiction for entertainment purposes only, and I make no money from this story.|
Something Close to Silence
It was the same fear he'd felt when the war came for him (oh, finally), and he ran so far away that he ran right out of himself. It was that old, cold fear of the old, cold universe. Of the abyss. And of the noises in his head.
"I think," he says to Lucy, "that we should play Doctors and Nurses."
She giggles. Her throat is pale and blank, and pulses strongly under his hand. Lucy will do anything he suggests, of course, because she is so very, very faithful, and so very, very broken.
"On second thoughts," he says, "let's not bother with the nurses."
"And who will I be?" she asks. Her pale blue eyes are full of darkness.
"You'll be the Doctor," he says, "and as for me... well, I'll be Prime Minister, won't I?"
"Oh, yes," she assures him. "Yes, you will!"
"But you can call me Master." He smiles. He leans very close, and whispers in her lovely, shell-like ear.
"I'm going to close down all your hospitals," he tells her.
Her breath catches in her throat -- he can feel it under his thumb -- and it makes him laugh and laugh, and the blood rushes quickly in his veins.
When he realised where the TARDIS had taken him, he could hardly believe his luck. It was just so funny! He wished there were someone around with whom to share the glorious joke -- an old friend, an old enemy -- but there was nobody. Only humans.
He walked and walked until he found himself in a park with a duck-pond. He stood still on the path, looking down at his reflection, and he let the delicious laughter bubble through him. He hugged himself, delighted.
"Yeah," he said to the ducks. "You get it. Oh, I know you get it." The ducks smiled back at him. Nearby, a small child and its mother were throwing bits of bread into the water. The woman frowned and held out a protective hand to her offspring, edging them bother further away from him, the strange man.
"Come on, sweetheart," she said to the child. "The ducks are all full up now. Let's go and play on the swings."
He smiled at them, and sighed. You will love me, he told their retreating backs. You will love me, and then... well, then you will probably die.
He stopped smiling, and walked away.
There are only two people left in the universe whose existence is of any consequence at all.
All of these other creatures are nothing but flies, to be brushed away, or not, as he chooses. The only real living things are himself and the Doctor. And perhaps that was always the case, even before.
He knew they were gone straight away. He could feel it -- it was like waking up in an empty house, cold and silent. All the rest of them gone... except for one. He wonders how the Doctor did it, and what it felt like. He must remember to ask about that, the next time they meet. Always so sentimental, the Doctor. That was his trouble. If he'd told him once, he'd told him a thousand times. "They'll be your downfall," he said. "These silly attachments of yours."
So, he supposed it must have hurt rather a lot, doing that. Whatever it was he did. It must have twisted him all up. Turned him inside out. Made the old Doctor into something brand new, and ever so slightly deformed...
The thought makes him smile, and shiver a little, and want to drink another of those fiery drinks they're so good at here. Lucy will bring him one, if he asks her. Lucy loves him.
Oh, this planet! He watches them on cameras, from the comfort of his office at the MoD, and feels his lips curling around his teeth as he smiles. All the little people with their little obsessions: their iPods and their ringtones, their supermarket ready-meals and their TV Top One Hundreds. They have absolutely no idea, yet, that they all belong to him. But they will.
The idea that any of this stuff could be of the slightest significance offends him deeply, and always has. The idea that the Doctor could feel something for this place, these pathetic and ridiculous things -- could imbue them with a weight, even, an importance... It's disgusting, really.
And yet, the Doctor will always drag him back here, in the end.
He can feel him, the Doctor. He can feel him existing, across the vast expanses of time and space. They are like bright points in the dark, moving together, now closer, now further apart. It's as though they're bound to one another by fine, strong threads, fishing wire spun from stars and energy, and the heavy, prickling stuff of time. Sometimes he wants to cut the line, shrug the Doctor off for good, and then he wants to reel it in as fast as ever he can.
The only other meaningful thing.
He taps his fingers absently on the desk, spins in his chair until he's facing away from the monitors. With a flourish, he retrieves his mobile phone from his inside pocket and presses the key that automatically dials Lucy's number.
"Darling!" he murmurs. "I've been missing you. I'm all alone and I want a drink."
It's hard, now, to remember Gallifrey. It slides off the broken places in his mind like oil, slick and impossible, burning. Only disjointed images remain, and he cannot easily place them. He remembers screaming, darkness, the fragile beating of his hearts. He remembers walking in the mountains, the way the snow lay on the dark branches of the trees. The colour of the sky...
He remembers himself trying, before the other things took over, trying to find something close to silence. Oh, he tried so hard! It makes him laugh to think of it now. He never stood a chance.
He thought once that he remembered somebody brushing leaves from his hair. That they floated, whirling silver, to the ground, and that the winter sky was cold in his throat. But this is probably a fabrication. Most things are.
The voices of his friends, how did they sound? The drums blotted them out with their huge loud darkness, their world-killingness. The drums are fun, you can dance to them. He wishes only that they would stop.
He wants the Doctor back. He wants to run away again. He wants to put trillions more years and light-years between them. He wants to see the Doctor and to break him into bits and have him back again and have the whole mean old universe, the way it used to be. It's no fun any more. It's better than it's ever been. He wants the music and he wants silence and he is afraid. There comes a stabbing pain in his hearts, over and over, a terrible, familiar rhythm.
He will hide now upon the face of the Earth, with his faithful companion by his side. He will shroud himself inside friendly technology, and he will whisper to his dear servants, and he will wait.
He snaps the phone shut. He smiles.