bit_impossible: (Doctor-Brainy specs)
[personal profile] bit_impossible
Post-Crucible fic. It's also a sorta companion piece to what Mecchan wrote for Oliver, well, in the vaguest sense in the word anyway. >.>;;


-----
The Doctor collapsed back into his chair and instantly jumped back up again. "Whoa! Steady there, old girl!" he shouted, clinging to the central console as the TARDIS bucked all about. His hands quickly flicked at switches and dials for any and all stabilisers he could reach for and settled her down after a few minutes, but knew that wasn't quite enough. Soon, he decided to simply pull her out from the course he had set and left her drifting in the Time Vortex for now. He bowed his head, leaning against the console, and listened to the pleasant hums coming from her as he breathed a sigh of relief.

Her humming...the feel of her hand in his, their lips brushing together...

Suddenly, his head snapped up, eyes going wide. He'd set those coordinates more than a year ago, or did he? In fact, he couldn't remember where he was going but he'd run into trouble on his way there--no, it was Bigilis Minor. Of course, Bigilis Minor! How could he have forgotten? But he remembered standing there in the console room mere seconds before, not a year, and fighting with the TARDIS because she just didn't want to land where he'd wanted--and perhaps she was right to fight him. They had several arguments about her being right and she won just about all of them, much to his annoyance. And she'd smile and with that same mouth proclaim so long as he was safe, she didn't care what happened to his friends or anybody else aboard that ship...

The IASC Crucible.

He shook his head, blinking and running a hand through his hair--why did that name pop into his head just then?--and checked the coordinates he'd set before. Sure enough, there were his entries for Bigilis Minor--but something wasn't right. "No, no, no, these are right. How come you gave me such trouble going there? It's a tropical planet and I wasn't going to land you in a lake. You told me enough times how you didn't like the water, even if I taught you how to fl--." The words had spouted out of his mouth before he was even aware of them.

Frowning, his eyebrows furrowed in an expression of deep concentration, he slipped his glasses on. His eyes scanned the coordinates again, reading them slowly this time. By the time he'd read it over for the second time, he'd determined that the TARDIS was merely being difficult and he should just try to go there some other time. With a sigh, he settled back against the edge of the yellow seat and closed his eyes.

Then he saw them, the faces of all the people he'd met and befriended during yet another year that wasn't in an alternate universe--a sun goddess; a young man with silver hair who was far too obsessed with note taking; twins--one who was doomed to die and the other meant to replace him years later and struggled with his own self-identity; young ninja who grew up far too quickly and saw so much death; a prosecuting rock star; a cyborg with the most wonderful circuitry of its kind he'd seen in a long time; extraordinary young women who wielded a giant axe, kept up with him with his technological jargon, explored exotic locales, who could save her world with her prayer, was a brilliant mechanic, and was the last of her kind though her mother seemed to have knowledge of the same abilities as her daughter; and so many more. And he'd met her again, the best mate he was forced to kill in a sense or her mind would burn. He got to have a few more adventures with her and gave her the proper good-bye he would've eventually given her had that not happened to her because, after all, everybody leaves him in the end.

Then there was his TARDIS in a different body--a beautiful, dainty one--and he finally had his adventures with her and her alone. He leaned forward as he remembered their explorations of the planet Eos and the flower crown she'd made for him, amongst other things they'd done together. Gently, his fingers stroked over different parts of the console, fondly remembering what it had been like to touch her skin, and hold her close. He never did learn whether she'd chosen to remember their time there or not, and he still stood by his decision. No doubt what he said moments ago would let her know--or not--that she'd finally caught up with him.

"Well, old girl, how about we stay adrift for a while, just you and me?" he asked out loud. "Said I would, you know. I promised I'd spend time with you."

And so he did. For hours he'd sit at his chair or wander around the console room, just talking and telling her tales of the places he'd gone to recently. About adventures he'd had and never found the time to tell her about in the past. He rarely left her, and when he did, it was to make another pot of tea or to grab another book or two he hadn't read in a while. Occasionally, he'd itch to set off to another place--something told him he had someplace he needed to be--but he soon found something to distract him, like a repair job he'd meant to get to years before but put off for one reason or another. And he gave her a systems overhaul she'd been in need of for a while.

The days soon turned into weeks, and into months, but he had a feeling he was forgetting something. It niggled in the back of his mind stronger than before now, but he still couldn't quite place what it had been. And it bothered the hell out of him. He didn't like having his mind tampered with, and he'd set up several precautions and barriers before leaving that ship so nothing would happen to him. That's what he had told...told... Who had he told? He'd had several memories from his time on the Crucible where he was talking to somebody, joking and arguing fiercely with that person. There'd been so many visits in hospital as well for reasons that angered and upset him because it was so foolish of that person to have gotten in trouble in the first place.

Suddenly, he had a flash of a memory--of being attacked, of furniture flying as a large man tried to flee and he tried to, but couldn't before he had something covering his mouth and nose--but as soon as he remembered that, he instinctually knew that partial memory wasn't his. Nothing about it added up with the rest of his memories, and he was certain he'd remember somebody named Mikaeja, especially one who looked like that man. And why did he smell citrus?

"Sorry, old girl," he said as he quickly strode out of the console room. "Something isn't right. There's somebody I'm not remembering and I think it has to do with that orange scent I keep smelling. I know there's no possible way I could be smelling the orange groves in your gardens, so it's something else. The person in this memory was knocked out by it, but I can't remember what chemical solution that might be."

He was certain the person had been a human male just from the single heart beat that had throbbed in his ears and how he hadn't been that easy to take out. There was a hint of familiarity in the look of that flat he'd been in. The disjointed and incongruous choice of the furniture--and the style of furniture itself was a big clue. Hybrid materials like plasteel and glasteel were commonly used in the construction of such objects for several centuries, but had been phased out by the 31st century.

For hours he pored over countless texts, searching for that chemical. He narrowed down all the pleasant smelling ones used for such futuristic versions of chloroform--which many considered much safer for the environment than its primitive predecessor formed from chlorine and methane--but none of them struck him as completely hazardous as the one used, and he reasoned it to be a type of citroloform, a type of chloroform produced from a certain type of citrus fruit most resembling an orange from the early 21st century. It was only a small amount that man had been exposed to; just a regular dose any ill-intentioned person would use to knock somebody out, but it had knocked the man out for an inordinate amount of time and even forced him to forget that incident even occurred! He remembered now going into that person's mind and seeing that fight, but at the time, he wasn't concerned about the orange-scented solution. He had been worried about even remembering the events that had transpired on the ship and retrieving his friend...

"Oh, stupid Doctor, how could you overlook something so blatantly obvious!" he chided, suddenly slamming shut the book he had been reading. Jumping up and knocking several thick tomes off his lap in the process, he ran out of the TARDIS library and headed back to the console room. "How could you forget Oliver Day?" he muttered to himself as he sprinted around the central console, setting the coordinates for Gondovan in the year 2618, inputting the specific day he needed in order to reach his friend in time.

"All right, I'm counting on you, TARDIS," he said, his hand hovering over the last lever he needed to pull. "Let's not be too late."

~*~

It had been several centuries since he'd last been to Gondovan. Sure, he'd been in the general area surrounding the planet for several various reasons over the years, but never to the Gondovan itself, and never to this specific time, not again. As he closed the door to the TARDIS, a quick glance around told him that little seemed to have changed. Then again, only a year had passed since his last visit there.

The sun was still high in the pink sky as he strode towards the Gondolla Spaceport, his eyes on the lookout for any sign of Oliver, but so far, he didn't see him. A frown appeared on his face as he neared his destination. Had he somehow arrived too late or too early? Anything was possible with the TARDIS, but she'd known how important it was for him to get there on time. Besides, he hadn't put all that time in overhauling her systems for nothing.

Finally, just as he was about to ask for some help from a shabbily-dressed man, he spotted Oliver in the distance, heading his way. Oliver wore the same clothing he had been in that memory, a familiar stack of folders tucked under his arm. He knew well enough that he couldn't greet his old companion in the manner he wished to, not yet, so he pretended not to see him and instead busied himself in studying a pamphlet about the proposed housing expansion projects in the outskirts of Gondolla. Interesting read too--if they gathered enough funds, the housing complexes would be able to handle the influx of refugees it would see in the next five to ten years. Once Oliver had passed, he waited a moment before glancing up and spotting his friend disappearing down a side-street. Casually, he stuffed the pamphlet into his pocket and made his way over to the same side-street, remaining as discreet inconspicuous as possible.

It concerned him that he hadn't seen any sign of the people who would later attack Oliver and Mikaeja, he thought as he trailed after Oliver. He thought for certain he'd see them by now, but then again he had no idea what they looked like, nor why they went through all that trouble in the first place. Part of him wondered if it had to do with the sixty-seven refugees from Katsovania II, and perhaps it did, but then again, there was also that mining of natural mineral resources to consider as well.

From the slightly new look of the building that loomed ahead of him--oddly enough, it reminded him of some cheap motel he'd made the mistake of staying in once, especially with the outer staircases, hallways, and numbers on the doors--he reckoned this was the new government housing building Oliver had mentioned. "New" barely seemed an ample descriptor, but in an arid desert society, things rarely stayed clean and pristine for long. From across the street, he watched Oliver climb the outer staircase until he reached the next level and knocked on the Mikaeja's door. Quickly he removed that pamphlet again began wandering away a bit as though he was lost. Moments later, he heard a booming, robust voice proclaim Oliver's name and a door slammed shut soon after. He couldn't help laughing at the warm reception his friend had received as he wandered over to that building.

The plan was to find an unoccupied flat and wait until he heard the commotion of the fight cease, then he'd head in and intercept the attackers before they did Oliver any harm. Admittedly, it was a risk doing that. He knew better than to meddle in the affairs of an established timeline, but he was banking on the chance that since Oliver wasn't handled too badly--at least not in comparison to some of the ambushes he'd been involved in before--the attackers themselves weren't going to do much to him. Oliver Day wasn't the intended target of their aggression. Unfortunately, he soon found after a couple quick scans with his sonic screwdriver, there didn't seem to be an unoccupied flat on that floor like he had hoped. He grumbled to himself and debated for a moment or two while he stood near Mikaeja's door whether or not he'd pose as an inspector and visit one of the man's neighbours, but sound on the staircase along the way drew his attention and he abandoned that silly plan.

Coming toward him was the shabbily-dressed man he'd almost spoken to before and the other man wasn't dressed any better. He realised both men were well-built, or used to be at some point in the past. Something wasn't quite right with them, like they hadn't slept in days or lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time, but there was no mistaking the desperate look in their eyes.

So naturally, he grinned at the two men, stepping toward them and pulling out his psychic paper. "Good afternoon, gentlemen!" he said brightly, though keeping his voice at a reasonable volume. He had no idea how thin the walls were in the building. "I'm Chief Gondollan Inspector John Smith. Can I help you with anything?"

The men just glared at him in return.

He sighed, rolling his eyes as he stowed the psychic paper and sonic screwdriver away in his pocket. "I see manners haven't changed any here. It is so too much to ask for a 'No thanks, don't need your help right now' response? Maybe even a simple 'no'? You know--short, sweet, and to the point?" he complained, frowning at them. Even as he spoke, he couldn't help noticing one man playing with something in his hand and the other's eyes were darting around the dingy landing. What were they up to?

He suddenly didn't want to find out. There was no doubt in his mind that these two were the attackers and the longer he lingered there, the more of a chance he had of truly interfering with Oliver's timeline, so he shrugged and added, "Ah well, must not need my help. I'll just be going--oi!" He'd tried to go past the two men, but both of them put out a hand to stop him. "Let me pass! I have to--!"

But what he had to do, he couldn't say. Before he knew it, he'd been smashed over the head with something from behind and was out before he collapsed to the ground. He never heard the third man approaching. His prattling often did get him in trouble.

~*~

He groaned loudly, reaching back to touch the back of his head and winced when he felt the lovely goose egg-sized bump. "Blimey, they didn't have to do that, did they?" he mumbled as he slowly climbed to his feet, his head throbbing. A fierce headache was already setting in and the bright Gondovan sun wasn't helping it any. Then he noticed the nearest door ajar and he remembered why he was there. Forgetting all the pain he felt right then, he yelled out Oliver's name and stumbled toward the door, pushing it back and slamming it into the wall within the flat. Furniture had been overturned, papers scattered everywhere--the sure signs a large scuffle had taken place there.

"Oliver?" he called again, slowly making his way into the flat. Finally, he spotted a pair of feet sticking out from behind the table and immediately bounded over there, crunching immigration papers underfoot. He knelt down besides Oliver, checking his vitals--his heartbeat was still nice and steady, but a bit weaker than he'd expected. The skin around Oliver's nose and mouth had a slight orange tinge to it, and upon running a finger around his friend's mouth and licking said finger, he ascertained that it definitely was the citroloform he remembered smelling in the memory. By all rights, Oliver should have woken up by then--had he been from this century. He didn't have the same sort of chemical balances and defences as the people in the Earth Empire had now. It was only his stay in the TARDIS and expose to all sorts of different environments that had steeled his primitive body from most of the harmful things he would've encountered otherwise.

He had to wonder though, as he slowly pulled Oliver up onto the sofa, if the Puppeteer's ravaging on Oliver's mind had in any way affected how the citroloform had reacted and if that was the real cause of the severe memory loss Oliver went through initially when he first arrived on the Crucible and why it had been so difficult to help him before. No, he didn't like that thought at all and quickly pushed it out of his mind and instead concentrated on somehow getting his friend to the hospital. There was no conceivable way to carry him all the way there. He sighed, wrapping his arms underneath Oliver's armpits and dragged him out and got as far as the stairs before he stopped, holding his friend's body to him as tight as he could with one arm, and started banging on the nearest door.

The feeling of deja vu wasn't pleasant. Not one bit. This time though, he knew he wasn't going to see his friend's grandfather there and the shattered look on the man's face once he'd explained what truly happened. No, there was no need for such explanations this time.

"Please, can you help me? My friend and I were ambushed and I need to get him some help," he said pleadingly, struggling to keep Oliver from sliding down to the ground. His expression suddenly flickered with surprise as he recognised the frightened woman peeking at him from behind her door. Her dark hair partially covered her blind eye, though he noticed the jagged edges of the scar tissue from around it, and there was no mistaking the long scar running down her cheek. He was than glad that Oliver as Olivia had shown him that one memory in the holo-suites.

"Who's at the door?" called a gravely male voice from within the flat.

"Miss Alvarenson, please, I don't have much time," he continued desperately, the woman's eyes going wide when he said her last name.

Tentatively she nodded and opened the door more as he shifted Oliver in his arms. She must've seen his friend's face because she gasped and hurried forward, touching Oliver's shoulder. "Mr. Day?! Is he all right?"

He nodded, wishing the headache would go away. "Yes, but go call the emergency services. I can't get him there on my own." Yet another trip to hospital, he thought dejectedly as she ran back into the flat. He soon sank to the floor, awkwardly cradling Oliver in his lap. The floor seemed comfortable enough right then.

"Who would do that to such a kind soul?" Tomas Alvarenson asked as he ambled over, his knees audibly cracking as he walked. "Are you a friend of his, sir? A colleague? I don't recognise you from around here."

"A friend yes, from a long time ago. I'm from out of town," he said softly, letting his head fall back against the door frame and instantly regretted doing so. The bump throbbed, sending out another lovely wave of pain that made him see stars for a brief second. He clutched the back of his head, hissing through gritted teeth, and when he removed his hand, there was a small amount of blood on his palm.

Tomas must've seen it--or perhaps he'd left a bloodied mark on the door frame--because he shuffled quickly over to the kitchen and removed a small box with a red cross on it from one of the cabinets. He'd half expected to see a green crescent moon, but was mildly amused to see the antiquated symbol still used in this era. "You don't have to do that," he said, watching Tomas rummage around the first-aid kit.

"Don't be stupid, young man--"

"Young man?!" he protested, scowling at that assessment.

"Yes, I mean you," Tomas continued as he returned with a small towel and white bag clutched in his arthritic hand. "Don't give me any guff. These supplies are meant to be used, and if I can help out young Mr. Day here and his friend, then I'm going to. It's the least I can do after he gave my Elena back to me." The old man gazed lovingly over at his daughter as she spoke to somebody over the communications network linked to the television terminal before returning his attentions to activating the ice pack. It instantly changed from white to a bright blue, the air condensing around it as plumes of white fog drifted away before being wrapped in the towel

"Thank you." His lips quirked into a small smile as he took the ice pack and placed it on his tender head. "Ollie had told me about you once," he continued, wincing slightly as he pressed, hoping to staunch the blood flow.

"The emergency services should be here any moment now sir, Papa," Elena said as she came back over. "What happened to you two?"

The old man turned to her and shook his head. "Now, now, that's none of our business, sweetheart," he interrupted, taking her hand and patting it. The Doctor was struck with a sudden urge to ask if Tomas owned a telescope and sat in a back garden at night stargazing, but he decided he'd had enough with coincidences for one day.

"Just know that Oliver would be grateful to you for helping. And he'd say so if he were awake right now. Oh, that reminds me, our friend Annajin should be told what happened," he said, removing the ice pack for a moment.

"Oh, don't you know? The hospital would alert her the moment he's checked in. Standard procedure for anybody living in the same family unit," Tomas explained.

He sighed, relieved, and smiled. "Good." He was already imaging what it'd be like to meet Annajin again, and when he heard the ambulance's siren sound, he knew he wouldn't have much longer before he'd find out. "Thank you, both of you," he said, holding out a hand to Tomas, who shook it with a surprising amount of strength for someone his age and condition, and then to Elena. "I'll make sure he contacts you when he's in better shape."

Down on the level below, he listened as the ambulance pulled up to the housing complex and two paramedics ran up the staircase, their boots clanging loudly on the steps. He briefly explained what happened--leaving out the part about how he posed as an inspector, of course--while Oliver was strapped to gurney and taken away. Before he left, he thanked Tomas and Elena again, then followed after the paramedics as they loaded Oliver into the ambulance.

~*~

"Ow ow ow," he complained for the hundredth time in the past ten minutes.

The nurse attending to him sighed loudly and he could practically hear her prop a hand on her hip as she spoke. "Listen Mr. Smith--"

"Doctor Smith, actually," he interrupted, correcting her.

"Well, you're the one, Doctor Smith, who didn't want a local anaesthetic. These are tiny stitches and the less you whine about it, the quicker I can finish," she grumbled as she stuck the needle back in. He winced, gritting his teeth again, but did his best to keep quiet. He'd been wary of any anaesthesia ever since his last visit to San Francisco.

Finally, she spoke again just as he heard a pair of scissors snip the thread being used. "There, you're all done. Now you may go and see about your friend," she said, a forced smile on her face. He muttered his thanks and caught sight of Annajin rushing past in her work uniform and up to the nurse's station, and decided to intercept her there.

"Yes, Oliver Day, that's right. He should've been admitted about fifteen-twenty minutes ago," Annajin said to the nurse sitting at a computer terminal, her voice calm but slightly shaky. She hadn't changed much since he last saw her. Perhaps her hair was a little shorter than before, but she was still the Annajin he'd met centuries ago.

He stepped up beside her, almost putting a hand on her shoulder but withdrew it before he touched her, and said, "Pardon me, but I'm heading over to see him right now. I can take you there if you'd like."

She started, her eyes going wide for a moment but she quickly composed herself. "Sorry, but who're you? Are you the man who was with Oliver?" she asked, her expression surprisingly severe, accusing as though he was the one who had attacked his friend.

"I am," he said, returning the look. "I...have to explain something to you on the way." He confirmed the room number Oliver was in, and led her over to the stairwell.

"You still haven't answered my first question, " she said, the door slamming shut behind them.

He put on a warm smile, but didn't speak right away. Once they'd made their way to the second floor landing, and after she'd repeated her question--this time with an unveiled annoyance and suspicion in her voice--he finally said, "It's been a while, Annajin. I look a little different than how I did when we first met, but ohhh, you haven't changed one bit. Well, at least not on the outside. I suspect this attitude you're having right now is a result of your job, but I'm sure you're still the same, kind Annajin I'd left with Oliver the last time I was here."

He saw her freeze out of the corner of his eye. "What--what are you talking about? That was some other man, a tall curly-haired man with a long scarf and loud, deep voice! You're not even close!" she exclaimed, her voice echoing.

"Anna, Anna, Anna," he said quickly, taking hold of her shoulders. "It's me! If you just listened, you might've heard me say that I look different than before? Didn't Oliver tell you anything about me and how I can change? No, no that's right, he didn't say much at all... Well, never mind. It's me, hello!"

But he could tell from the expression on her face that she still wasn't quite believing him. "There's no way. You're so...young," she mumbled. "You can't be the Doctor."

"Ohhh, but I am, Annajin," he said softly, releasing his hold on her. "D'you remember what I told you before I left? I said, 'He's a good man. Take care of him.' And need I remind you of how angry I was after you'd ground the brain parasite into the carpet?" He continued to stare into her eyes as the information sank in.

She soon gasped, covering her mouth. "Oh my--!" she whispered, her words muffled. "You really are..."

He grinned brightly and waved, "Hello again! Now that we have that out of the way, let's see Oliver, hmm?" Grabbing her hand, he started bounding up the stairs, dragging her behind him the rest of the way to the third floor. He didn't bother to tell her anything about why he was there, though surely she was wondering that exact thing.

Once he'd burst out on to the third floor, he led Annajin over to the nurse's station, and then down the hall to the room Oliver was being kept in. He had to hand it to this facility. Had this happened on Earth in his friend's true time, he'd still be in the emergency room, but not here. An older gentleman emerged from Oliver's room wearing a crumpled white coat and nodded when he saw them approaching.

"You're the members of his family unit, I gather?" the doctor asked. From his name badge, he saw the man was named Dr. Chebu.

"I am, yes," Annajin said. She glanced up at him, then back at the doctor, adding, "And he's just a family friend, but whatever you have to tell me, you can say in front of him."

Dr. Chebu shook his head. "Sorry, hospital policy. If you can come with me..."

He watched them head down the hall a ways and tried to read the man's lips as he explained to her what was wrong with Oliver, but he frowned. Either Dr. Chebu had no idea how to properly move his lips, or he was getting rusty with his lip reading skills. Thankfully he had Annajin's continued surprise reactions to clue him in. He caught the words 'can't remember' and that was all he needed to know to confirm his suspicions about the citroloform's affect on his body.

"He's a little groggy, but you can go in and see him," Dr. Chebu explained as Annajin and him wandered back over. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask...?"

"Doctor Smith," he supplied, recognising the prompt.

"Yes, I'm afraid you've got a little while before I can allow you to go in," the doctor continued, his expression neutral and not at all apologetic. "You understand."

He put on a false smile and nodded. "I understand," he said kindly, plopping down into a little bench set outside the room. "I'll just wait out here then."

"Thank you, Dr. Chebu," Annajin said, clutching her arms around her as the doctor left. Her knees gave out beneath her and she collapsed next to him. "I...I can't believe this is happening to him."

"Oh? You can't? I certainly can. This isn't the first time Ollie boy's lost his memory--and don't look so surprised I know. You would've gone in already had it been anything else," he said, giving her a look. "How about you go get yourself some tea to calm your nerves first and then go in, eh? I saw a food machine on this floor the last time we were here. It was down past the nurses station and to the right past the second set of doors. You can't miss it."

She smiled gratefully to him, taking his hand for a moment before she stood. "Thank you, Doctor. I'll be back soon," she said and headed down the hallway.

Of course...he might've given her directions to the lavatory instead of the food machine, which was on the left and past the third door near the chapel, but she was a smart girl. She'd notice the error soon enough. But while she was off doing that, he casually stood, stretching, and reached behind him for the door knob leading into Oliver's room, and slipped inside, quietly shutting the door behind him.


[What happens next is explored over here~]
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The Doctor

November 2011

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