Character/Pairing: Ten II/Rose (JE compliant)
Summary: It’s one of the fundamental rights of being human, the right to a name. And he chose his long ago.
Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Author's Notes: Really, this is just a way for me to work my head around some post-Journey's End issues that keep cropping up in my head. Progress will resume on your regularly scheduled non-JE compliant reunion fic soon (most likely after this weekend - parents are coming up to see the new apartment, which means no time for writing, alas). Thanks for reading. :)
He’s got many aliases in this new world (new world, new body – an imperfect body, neither wholly Time Lord nor wholly human. Something new). There’s a name for many of the different situations he finds himself in.
* * *
When they arrive back at Pete’s mansion after the long haul back from Norway, Jackie takes charge of the lot of them and packs them off to various showers and gets the tea set up. Tea, the cure for everything, he thinks ironically as he hunches over on Rose’s bed and nurses his mug. What tea can’t cure is the current yawning chasm between him and Rose right now. Even though she’s sitting barely feet from him on the bed, it feels like she’s miles away. Something inside him, maybe that glimmer of human intuition granted from Donna, tells him to be patient and to let Rose sleep first. Sleep helps to revive the mind and give clarity when there isn’t often some. Then he could set about explaining to her that, while he’s got this new body that even he doesn’t quite understand yet, in his memories, experiences, feelings, personality he is the Doctor. There’s no question in his head about that; he just needs to show her. To his surprise he ends up falling asleep first, slumping over into the pillows. When he awakes he finds that Rose is there fast asleep next to him, with his hand grasped tightly in hers. From somewhere behind him he can hear Jackie muttering something about a ‘little lost alien’. He closes his eyes again and holds onto Rose’s hand even tighter.
* * *
When he assists Torchwood with those wayward aliens that suddenly find themselves on this planet (just like him – he’s got a unique perspective on their situation that a rare few others could claim to have) he goes by one name. It’s emblazoned on his ID cards, his business cards, and it’s how the security staff signs him in to headquarters. It’s a very human name, and so he insists that the word ‘Doctor’ is tacked in front of it, his hard earned title. Eventually his Torchwood colleagues end up calling him Doctor instead of the full title (he always insisted, just call him ‘Doctor’, and finally it seems to have stuck) and it feels good. The only time Rose calls him by the full name is when she wants to get on his nerves and knows just which button to push. She always says it with a grin though, tongue poking out from the corner of her lips just like he remembers. He can never stay mad at her when she does that.
* * *
Then there’s the time when, by some fluke of a chance, a few short stories of his, thinly veiled versions of some of his wide and varied adventures over the centuries scrawled down for preservation and a form of therapy, are published in a well known science magazine as ‘Featured Fiction of the Month’. He only has two requests: one, that they don’t publish the one about the Daleks and two: that they’re published under a pen name. They grant him that, publishing the stories under another unassuming human name.
To his utter surprise, the short tales about ‘The Storyteller’ become wildly popular. It’s a bit uncomfortable to see all his years reduced to mere fantasy tales, but at the urging of the well meaning but rather pushy crew he considers family (Jackie most certainly takes the prize for the pushiest, while Pete stays in the background pretending not to know what’s going on and knowing full well how to avoid Jackie’s wrath. Tony, at seven years old, just giggles at the look on the Doctor’s face) he turns the stories into a more cohesive book. Rose is by his side as he signs one of his names to the contract authorizing the printing, wearing her own alias of Vitex Heiress, holding his hand and smiling proudly. Every time he looks at her though it’s far too easy to see the real Rose peeking through, the defender of the Earth who fights long and hard for those she loves. He feels honored to be included in that exclusive group, and now, finally, he can return the sentiment. The passage of time feels different on his skin now, and he is determined to make the most of it.
* * *
But of all those names, none of them are him. They are covers, cloaks he covers himself with it fit into this strange, new world. They make it far easier to blend into this earthly life, but they’re something that can be easily shucked and left behind when he gets home. Because when he’s there, with Rose, he knows exactly who he is and who he’s meant to be.
As they make love in the small backyard of their rented cottage, with the stars sparkling high in the sky where they belong and their baby (but growing stronger every day) TARDIS casting bluey-grey shadows on the grass and on their skin, Rose whispers his name in his ear.
“Doctor,” she breathes against his skin, a damp rush of breath from her human lungs.
She knows all of his names, all of the aliases he uses in this new life, the ones he used to hide in the old universe, even the mystery of his real name that he hid away from the universes so long ago. Always, and especially in times like this, she uses the name he chose to call himself, the name that defines him, the name that followed this new, half human body into this upside-down universe. She knows him, knows that while they are two separate bodies now travelling along two separate timelines, the hearts, the hearts that they share and that he was lucky enough to take with him, are and have always been the same.
He is the Doctor.