Changing Me

DOCTOR WHO.

Rating may be at a precautionary high, but better safe than sorry.

"Doesn't it get lonely?" He paused for a moment, fingers ghosting over the controls. "From time to time," he replied evenly, his tone barely changing. My frown cleared as I joined him near the controls, leaning backwards against the cool metal console. He glanced over, blue eyes unreadable. "It always seems so much better through someone else's eyes." Eventual Doctor/OC.

Story is complete, and part of a never-ending series.

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18. Tell Me Who I Am

Eighteen: Tell Me Who I Am

The Doctor’s expression was drawn and tired, as though he really didn’t want to tell me but felt he had no choice. He honestly didn’t, truth be known. I’d berate the truth- the whole truth, and nothing but- out of him.

“Listen carefully, and don’t interrupt. I’m not saying this twice. That watch is more than just an ordinary watch. In the future, roughly three thousand years in yours, there is a piece of machinery known as a Chameleon Arch. It was invented by a race of very advanced… individuals and while these people were destroyed by war, their technology didn’t die. It’s similar to the Chameleon Circuit that disguises a time-travelling ship to match the destination period to avoid easy detection-“

“I’m guessing yours is a little wonky?” I quipped, earning a glare that had little to no effect on me. Probably because the malice I’d seen before was gone, replaced by an exasperated glint that only had me grinning.

“What did I say about interruptions?” the Doctor shook his head and I mimed buttoning my lips. He waited until my hands were concealed beneath the blanket once again before he continued, a faraway look entering his eyes as he spoke. “The Arch can be used to physically alter DNA. For example, a Time Lord can become a human being... but their original identity must be kept somewhere, ready to be restored when the object of containment is broken. In this case, if you open the watch. Being a species predominantly associated with time, our carriage of choice is a fob watch.”

I fished out the watch, for the first time taking notice of the swirling patterns engraved over both sides. My thumb rested on the catch and I hesitated to press it, a feeling of dread curling in my stomach. “Are you sure this is one?” I asked quietly, unable to quite wrap my head around the fact that the pendant I’d been wearing all my life was from another planet. “Mum never said where she got it, just that I had to have it...”

“Are you sure you were born on Earth?” the Doctor countered, eyebrows raised. “The Arch does have the ability to invent entire life stories for those who use it, to allow easy integration into another society. They are very strictly controlled, usually unable to be used unless the pilot of the ship is in severe danger or has approval from the Shadow Proclamation.”

Giving him an incredulous look, I struggled to think of anything that could confirm my place of birth was the planet Earth. I struggled with the thought, to be honest, wrestled with sheer disbelief and mounting horror to finally admit that I had no proof. I had a birth certificate, but they could be forged. “You think this watch,” I started, leaving the thoughts of my own cloudy origins for a slightly safer, less brain-bending topic, “contains a Time Lord... entity. Is there any way of telling for real without opening it?”

The Doctor didn’t seem phased, or even surprised, by my sudden change of topic. He pulled an identical watch out of his pocket and tossed it across to me; I studied the patterns, which were completely the same. Not a single deviation whatsoever. “That is a seal of protection written in Old High Gallifreyan- my language. To the changed one, the containment unit becomes a vital part of their life. They cannot bare to be without it.”

“Like me,” I murmured. He nodded and I dropped the two watches onto my lap, the chain of the real one- Mum’s one- wrapped around my fist. I still feared losing it, now more than ever, even though my perception of it was completely altered. “Sorry. Go on, Doctor.”

He nodded and continued, me determined to let him finish now. “There was a war, Kia. A war spanning throughout time and space, tearing the fabric of creation itself. My people fought an evil greater than any evil ever seen before... and they died, taking the evil and the war with them. They disappeared from time and space to become nothing but a myth, a story whispered among the stars. I was the only one... I thought I was the only one. And then I met you, and you reminded me so much of someone I used to know, and you had that watch. You insist it isn’t yours... but how do you know?”

“Because of my mother,” I responded in a whisper, tearful now at trying to imagine his pain and feeling stabs of guilt for having reacted the way I did. This talk, I rationalised, would have been handy in the beginning instead of after things had gone so far. “She’s the one with the strange memories, the one who appeared out of nowhere. She arrived in the middle of the night, wearing nothing but a tattered red robe, this old watch and heavily pregnant with me.”

The Doctor stared at me, and I closed my eyes, the information slowly coming together. My mother was an alien. She hadn’t come from England at all; but from another planet. She must have run away from the war, with her baby- me. She was the girl from the story she always told me, and the city in the bubble... had I been dreaming of the Doctor’s homeland- my homeland- all my life and not known it? Mum fled the war, used the Arch and became a human. She had me... “You shouldn’t be alive, Kia,” the Doctor murmured gently, just as I made the same conclusion.

“Altering her DNA should have killed me, shouldn’t it?” I whispered. The thought chilled me, but I pushed it aside as roughly as I could. I had much, much bigger issues to worry about. What were the chances, and tell me honestly, of having an alien mother and yet being completely human? Then, to top it all off, another alien- who just happened to be the only other of the – my- species still alive- drops out of nowhere. My life, the last few weeks, was an utter mess. If I had to be frank, I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would.

“I’m sorry.”

Shaking my head, I looked at the stillness of the water and tried to gather myself. All my strength, my courage, was coming into play. It had to, because I couldn’t break down and cry. That wasn’t going to change the fact that the watch I’d worn as a simple memoir was actually a prison for my real mother. “Am I a Time Lord too, then?” I asked suddenly, the silence shattering as the question rose.

Looking uncomfortable, the Doctor just shrugged. “You never were,” he replied, sounding a little unsure even as he said it. “You took your first breath as a human. Technically, you’ve never been anything else.” We shared an unspoken look then, his tinged with a certain sad disappointment and mine with a lost confusion. My mother was non-human. I was technically human. “The watch is your mother’s,” the Doctor surmised quietly, as I nodded in agreement. “And your mother...” I bowed my head, the sentence going unfinished and sounding loud in the silence of the library. “Whoever is trapped inside has nowhere to go; she will perish.”

“So she just has to stay locked up forever?” I mumbled, shaking my head. That didn’t seem fair to me, not in the slightest. Mum- whoever she really was, was a stranger, but I refused to call her anything but mum- had already locked her real self away for twenty-three years, my entire lifespan and then some. It didn’t seem fair that I got to be free, seeing the stars and the most amazing things as I was, while she had to stay in a tiny little watch and simply tag along for the ride. Some small part of me hoped that somehow, I might be able to get my mother back in some small way. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

The Doctor didn’t answer for the longest time. I began to grow nervous at the dark and serious expression on his face, the same one he’d worn just before realising how we would defeat the Cybermen. I had a feeling that whatever his answer would be, I would have trouble swallowing it. “There is a slim chance that, with a bit of hokery-pokery, that the two of you could... fuse.”

I frowned, a tension headache blossoming. I seemed to be spending most of my time lately frowning in disapproval; I had a feeling that things wouldn’t be getting any better any time soon. “If I... became whoever’s in the watch... wouldn’t I be becoming my own mother? Mucho paradoxo.” He snickered slightly at my poor Spanish, but I’d never pretended to have any linguistic skills whatsoever. Sure I could swear a bit in Welsh and French, thanks to high school, but other than that I was hopeless.

Sobering quickly, the Doctor’s serious attitude was infectious and despite how confused and lost I still felt, I was eager to pretend I could keep up and understand what was going on. So far, the most I’d managed to swallow was the fact that Mum was an alien trapped inside a watch I wore around my neck. Anything after that... still a tiny bit stuck. “No, not necessarily. Your mother was, technically, a human when she had you. That watch contains whoever she was before having you. You would become a mix of whoever she was, plus your own identity, technically a whole new person.” The explanation meant nothing to me, as I could only think of one thing. If I was technically going to become a ‘whole new person’...

“So,” I croaked, trying very, very hard to force a smile on my face even though all I wanted to do was curl up and desperately sort myself out before even thinking of trying to help someone else. “What happens to this me, Doctor?”

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