katherine_b: (DW - Hurt Doctor)
posted by [personal profile] katherine_b at 07:18am on 23/11/2013 under , ,
Title: Redemption Prologue
Author: [livejournal.com profile] katherine_b
Rating: PG
Summary: When you have lost everything, what do you do to get it back?
Characters: The non-Doctor first glimpsed at the end of Name of the Doctor and a lot of old friends.
A/N: This was prompted by the short film entitled Night of the Doctor that showed, among other things, the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor into the War Doctor. It prompted a reassessment of how this story all began...
A/N 2: This is clearly a Prologue to the ENTIRE Redemption series and thus will feel rather strange to read at the end of it instead, but unfortunately it is unavoidable given the circumstances. Still, perhaps it will be a good reminder of just how far our hero has come.

Prologue

It’s time.

He is tired, angry and sick of fighting. It is a long time since he was the Doctor, since he was a good man who helped others. Instead he became the Warrior, the soldier who fought others.

And he has secretly hated himself for it ever since that moment.

He has been filled with bitterness and anger and rage ever since Karn. Since the loss of the woman who would not let him save her. Since the intervention of the Sisters. Since his agonising regeneration from the Doctor who had experienced such wonderful things to the man he was forced to become.

He does not even know what he looks like, what face he has worn since that first agonising change. He has no idea how well this body, the body of the Warrior, has weathered the storm of the War. Time has moved on since his regeneration, hundreds if not thousands of years, none of which he either wants to remember or to consider as part of his life, of the Doctor’s life.

Because, now that it finally is over, that is where he is turning again. He longs for that peace, that stability, that certainty that came with being the Doctor. Life may not have been serene, but at least he knew which side he was fighting on.

It was only when he was faced with the Moment that he finally understood what he should always have known, the focus he had lost during the chaos. Perhaps he can blame the young girl who rejected his help and sent him into the chaotic spiral of the war. Funny, after all this time, he can’t even remember her name anymore.

Then again, he can scarcely remember his own.

But now he has found himself confronted with possibly the only thing that can resurrect that side of him: an old, tired, battered blue box, standing unnoticed and ignored, covered with dust and filth.

The sight of it takes his breath away.

She hums when he touches her, just as she had always done. He can make out nothing of her interior through the small windows, but he knows she was badly damaged in the crash that indirectly killed the Doctor’s eighth self. He left her when other priorities became more pressing, and is almost ashamed of how little he has thought of her, his oldest and most faithful companion, during the intervening time.

Then again, she belongs to the Doctor, not to the Warrior.

And that former precious title is all he wants the right to use at this moment.

With sudden, frantic energy, he begins pawing at the ragged clothing that has been his since he was the eighth Doctor, turning every corner and pocket of his outfit inside out.

The key is missing.

He cannot even begin to imagine when and where he might have lost it. He has done so much, been through so much, during the course of the War. His clothes have fallen apart, even his transdimensional pockets, and something the size of a key could have slipped through a crack or a ripped seam without him even noticing.

For a moment he wonders, if he had noticed, whether he would have bothered to pick it up again. Or would he have decided that it was part of his past, of his life as the Doctor, and left it where it lay?

But now his whole being is fixated on that small object and everything that its absence means to him.

In desperation he looks at the TARDIS, knowing he has no chance of breaking in. The fact that his ship has not been destroyed or commandeered for the War when every other available TARDIS was, regardless of their state of repair, shows that her shields are as strong as ever.

But that’s when he sees it.

The glint of metal, reflecting the two suns in the sky above this shattered planet, sparkles on the door, and especially brightly on the key that is protruding from the Yale lock.

He lunges for it, wrapping his gnarled, battle-scarred fingers around the main body of the key, and holds his breath as he slowly, painstakingly, turns it, applying just the right amount of pressure with his shoulder.

The door opens with its familiar, beautiful, wonderful creak, and he is able to step inside, into what feels like a sanctuary in the purest sense of the word. Here he is safe, at home, at peace. He makes his way towards the console, ensuring that the TARDIS key is safe in the inside pocket of his long, worn coat. When he reaches it, the light is so murky that it is impossible to make out any details of the controls. Filth and dust lies thick over everything. And he knows that worse is to come for his poor ship, in what he has no doubt will be a violent and fiery process, but at least she has let him through the doors.

She has not rejected him.

He has been alone for so long, but at least he does not have to go through this alone.

At last he can surrender to the many injuries, mental and physical, that this war has inflicted on him.

At last he can shed this form and once more embrace the mantle of the Doctor in a world that he hopes will no longer fear him because of the people from whom he came.

At last he can look to the future instead of the past.

At last he can regenerate.

He’s ready.

Next Part

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