AUTHOR: Laura H fried_flamingo
FANDOM: Doctor Who
CATEGORY: Angst, Romance, Ten/Rose
SPOILERS: Season 1, TCI, CiN special and kinda sorta Doomsday
The Doctor stared, unblinking, at the screen until his eyes stung. ‘This is Rose,’ he thought. ‘This is Rose’ and the idea was so ludicrous that laughter bubbled up in his throat. Letting it out though would be a bad idea because it threatened to spill over into hysteria.
He could feel the Administrators eyes on him but didn’t want to look back because he knew it would confirm that, yes it was true. The life force that was Rose Tyler was scrolling past him on this tiny screen that was broader than the universe itself.
“No,” he said and it was almost a whisper.
“Perhaps you still don’t understand, Doctor. Your companion is contained. She has been reduced to a baser form. Still alive to all intents and purposes, but no longer… a danger. Surely this is an acceptable solution to our current impasse?”
“You… you expect me to concede to this? To be happy about it? What are you?”
“We are the Administrators. We are simply doing our job.”
“No! No, you’re not!” The Doctor grasped the back of his head, hair threading through his fingers and refused to succumb to the panic that was rising in him. He had to think. There was a way out of this. He had to find it. But why was he hearing the hiss of that insidious little voice that told him he was all out of options?
“You can’t reduce it to this? Do you understand that? You can’t reduce a human being to data on a computer screen!” The Administrator look nonplussed, his colourless eyes stared at the Doctor, giving no clue to what he was thinking.
“This!” said the Doctor, walking over and gesturing at the screen. “This is not Rose Tyler!” He waved his hand at a random line of numbers. “That there, that’s not her smile.”
“And that,” he said pointing out another binary string, “is not how she picks at her sleeve if she‘s nervous. Or that line right there. Do you think that tells me how she sings Take That songs when she’s feeling homesick? A human being is not a computer programme! And that,” he hissed, inches from the Administrators pallid face, “is not Rose Tyler.”
“And yet she lives, Doctor. As do you. This human does not facilitate your respiration. You do not live because of her. I fail to see your insistence that she be returned to her previous form.”
The Doctor was weary now. Things were slipping out of his control and he shook his head to clear the thought that he was going to lose her. Again.
Still though, he clung to the hope that he could fix this. He was the Doctor. That was what he did.
“Why can’t you see it?” he asked quietly. “No one lives simply by breathing in and out. We need pain and love and laughing and acting like fools. And humans, beautiful flawed humans. They’re the best at all of it. The universe’s experts at how to royally screw things up and yet still survive. These stunning, noble savages. They live by a code of reliance on each other no matter how much they try and deny it. How dare you try to govern that! How dare you try to preside over it and cast judgement! Your existence should be directed by their order, not the other way round!”
The Doctors plea was impassioned, all anger gone. Only reason would alter the intentions of these compassionless creatures. Yet still the Administrator shook his head.
“You talk in the language of dead philosophers, Timelord. The universe does not survive on the whimsy of fanciful romantics. It survives on order from chaos, on discipline. You are the Timelord and yet you don’t acknowledge the necessity for checks and balances.”
“No, no I don’t and I want you to understand why, please…” The Doctor paused and took a breath. Desperation had started to work its way into his voice and he fought to suppress it. He had nothing left to bargain with.
Then one last idea struck him.
“I don’t understand.”
“The hoody in the TARDIS. And the graffiti. And the tale that Pallo told me. Who put those things there? Where did they come from? Something you missed perhaps in your clean up? A mistake?”
“We make no mistakes.”
“Then where did they come from?”
The Administrator stared back and for a second, just a second the Doctor thought he saw his seated associate swallow and close his eyes.
“That’s it isn’t it! Something you can’t control. It’s Bad wolf.”
“Bad Wolf is merely a virus. An errant energy signature from your companions misguided exploits.”
“No, it’s not.” For a moment the Doctor allowed himself to smile, hope glowing, almost turning into a flame. “This is much more powerful than that. Bad Wolf is out and it’s not Rose who’s controlling it.” The Administrator flinched and the Doctor let the smile spread into a fully fledged grin. “And you know what? I think it actually scares you.”
“No! You are incorrect, Timelord!” The thin, reedy voice had gone suddenly and the Doctor started at the Administrators outburst “You may have your theories and conjecture, but we have given you the only option open to you. And you have refused!!” The entity’s voice was rising now, building up to a yell. “It’s clear that you will continue to meddle as long as Rose Tyler exists in any form. This cannot be allowed! The columns must balance! The columns must balance!”
The Administrator whirled around and lunged for the console. In the split second that it took the Doctor to realise what his intention was, he had pulled the keyboard from his colleague, his finger stabbing at the delete key.
The Doctor flung himself forward trying grab the keyboard away but he was too late and his dive fell much too short. He landed heavily on the black, cold floor and could only watch as the lines of data vanished from the screen, erasing completely what used to be his friend.