Chapter: 16/19 & 17/19
AUTHOR: Laura H fried_flamingo
FANDOM: Doctor Who
CATEGORY: Angst, Romance, Ten/Rose
SPOILERS: Season 1, TCI, CiN special and kinda sorta Doomsday
Sitting at the console, listening to the exchange between his colleague and the Doctor, The Administrator mused that it had probably started with the spectacles. Then, of course, came the tie but he supposed if he were to pin it down he could say he’d first noticed things were changing when he saw the mug. It had been sitting, quite innocuously, on the desk at which he now sat. It had a pencil in it.
He’d turned to sneak a look at his colleague, who’d been looking through one of the filing cabinets, oblivious to this ceramic incongruity, before picking up the mug and examining it. There was a caption on the front. It said “You don’t have to be a non-organic, interdimensionial entity, created from dark matter and existing outside space-time to work here… but it helps.”
Yes, he’d thought, something is definitely changing.
It was true that his involvement with this project could not be measured in hours or minutes; his own existence could be described as both eternal, yet instantaneous, but each moment he had been granted consciousness had been occupied with watching the multiverse and its myriad inhabitants. Monitoring, regulating, observing. Learning.
And what he had learned, above all, was this. People were not easily controlled.
Questions had then arisen. This in itself was an anomaly. He was an Administrator. He did not question. His function was to finely tune the Continuum. Erase any singularities that threatened it’s existence. Ensure the columns balanced. His job was in the detail.
Of course as Administrators it was sometimes necessary to meddle – it was hard to do the job without meddling. This involved such things as removing car keys that had been placed on hall tables or ensuring the train left the station 30 seconds earlier than it was supposed to. But the one law from which they could not deviate referred to free will. Never, ever meddle with free will.
He’d discovered that if you make one change then, be it consciously or unconsciously, most sentient life forms would try and change it back. So you have to make another change then another then another until pretty soon you’re no longer administrating, you’re trying to control the timeline. And again one fact is established. People are not easily controlled.
Slowly but surely the Administrator had come to a surprising conclusion. He liked people. He liked all people, no matter what race or species, but especially he liked humans. Humans were the multiverse’s biggest contradiction. Selfish to a fault and yet capable of sacrificing everything for the sake of another. Given to experiencing emotions that could cause them the most exquisite pain but actively seeking out encounters that would engender such emotions. They could be mind-numbingly stupid while producing some of the most startlingly, intelligent thought he had ever witnessed. Human Beings were an incongruity. With them the columns most definitely did not balance. He liked them a lot.
He understood why the Doctor did too. This girl, this Rose. At first the Administrator, along with his colleague, had pondered on why was it so important that he get her back? All things considered she was a dust mote floating through the sunbeam of space-time; tiny, transitory, insignificant. His colleague had repeatedly made the same point, albeit without the flowery metaphor and had somehow managed to convince him that what they were doing was simply their job, nothing more.
But throughout this project the line in the sand had been moved repeatedly and the Administrator had to acknowledge that perspective had been lost a long time ago. Cats don’t bark and dogs don’t miaow. That was their job. Nothing more. It was hard to deny that their current activities definitely exceeded their remit. This was bigger than moving car keys.
Then as he sat staring at his console, pondering the current situation, the Doctor’s impassioned entreaties ringing in his ears, something caught his eye. The mug was back. He knew that he’d already removed it, taking careful steps to hide from his colleague the change that was occurring. Yet here it was again. The pencil was still there too, only this time it had turned into a jumbo sized one with a novelty eraser on the end.
The mug’s determination to exist was a message, he knew. And the message was this. What they were doing was very, very wrong.
The Administrator decided resolutely that something had to be done and surreptitiously began to type at his console.
That was when the shouting started and the key board was wrenched from his hands by his half-crazed colleague. The Doctor yelled as the data vanished from the screen but as the last zero was deleted something else happened. Something that gave new meaning to this dimension’s more dramatic of nicknames. It was in the next few moments that the Administrator finally realised what fools they were to think they’d ever been in control in the first place.
Fire, light and heat. For what seemed like forever that was all that existed. The black vacuum of the Void was gone in a surge of unchecked energy and the Doctor crouched, his arms flung over his head in a useless attempt to shield himself from the white-hot storm that was raging around him. What the hell was happening?
“What have you done, Doctor!? What have you done?!”
He could hear the Administrator screaming above the torrent of noise, but the heat had dried the saliva in his mouth and the back of his throat so even if he’d had an answer to give he doubted that he would’ve been able to speak.
Hands grabbed at him suddenly, wrenching his arms away and shaking him and he fell backwards in an attempt to fend off his assailant. Water ran from his eyes, evaporating as soon as it touched his cheeks, leaving his skin tight and sore and he squinted at the Administrator who was savagely clawing at his flesh. In his peripheral vision he could see rows and rows of drawers bursting open from the darkness, spewing forth silvery discs like a Vegas slot machine.
“What have you done, Timelord?!” the being screamed frantically and as the Doctor tried to speak he realised that the entity’s formerly pristine appearance was coming apart. The starched white shirt and immaculate suit were no more. Not just dishevelled like a sales rep after one too many slammed doors but actually disintegrating, falling to pieces and changing into… something else. Where previously had existed a semblance of human form, there was now a blackness suspended in the air, a ghost of a collar and tie hanging where its neck used to be. The blackness dripped at the bottom, like tar, fusing invisibly into the barren Void, whose murky vacuum was still visible through the surge of heat and flame that raged all around.
And as the Doctor stared at this being merging back into the stuff from which it was created, at last he found his voice.
“I’ve done nothing, you jumped up office boy,” he croaked, struggling to make his voice audible. “Bad Wolf is here and you’ve been caught fiddling the books.” He closed his eyes. summoning up the last reserve of strength he possessed and grabbed the remnants of what used to be the Administrators shirt. “Now why don’t you… GO TO HELL!!!”
Putting all of his strength into his legs, the Doctor pushed himself up from the floor, propelling both he and the entity towards the gush of flame that billowed in every direction.
I’m going to die, he thought. 900 years and this is how it ends; swallowed by the Void.
And for one blissful second a feeling of total calm washed through his entire body.
Then he felt his hands burn, the flesh bubbling and melting and he screamed long and loud overwhelmed by a pain like no other he had ever experienced before. He opened his eyes and, amidst the flames, he watched with sick fascination at the remains of the being that had once been the Administrator as it seeped over the now bare bones of his hands. When he could bear no more he collapsed backwards, with no strength left and no more with which to fight . And in the last moments before nothingness claimed him he was witness to a sight that told him he’d finally lost his mind. A feral wolf, vast as infinity, ferociously roaring through the blaze of flame and fire, taking back that which it had created in the first place. Then he saw no more.