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Title: This particular incarnation of the Doctor greatly amused the TARDIS
Rating: G
Summary: The TARDIS is looking back on her tenth Doctor.
Spoilers: Season 2-4 of Doctor Who.


This particular incarnation of the Doctor greatly amused the TARDIS. He was the tenth one she had seen since he became her pilot, and one of the most exuberant by far. He almost literally danced around her control panels, one man doing the work of six, and he did it well (with a little help from her, but only a little). He hadn't found all of her secrets, not yet. She felt that he might, sooner or later, or that the people he brought with him might.

The Doctor was not her original pilot. Her original pilot and his five co-pilots, back on Gallifrey, had taken her in for repairs. There wasn't much that needed fixing, she thought, but Time Lords will be Time Lords and they want the best of everything, and they want that best of everything to work the way they think it should. But she was happy where she was, now, with her Doctor and his companions.

Rose, dear Rose. The TARDIS worried about Rose, missed her terribly. She kept Rose's room (third door on the left down the second corridor) exactly the way Rose had left it. Rose had loved the TARDIS, and both of her Doctors, so the room was left untouched. The photographs of her and Mickey and Jackie still hung on her walls. Oh, her Doctor had been so sad when Rose disappeared. Rose liked to explore and ask questions. When she discovered the swimming pool in the main library, she called for the Doctor. The TARDIS watched in amusement as the Doctor tried to find Rose, who hid behind the door, and when he got to the library, she pushed him into the pool and jumped in after him.

"I've been looking for this! How long has it been here?" he asked, floating on his back. His jacket and tie were in a wet heap with the sonic screwdriver next to them on the carpet.

"I have no idea," Rose replied. "Why is it in the library?"

"Why not? Good place for a pool, a library."

"But you'll get the books wet."

"Nah. Didn't say you should read in the pool. Of course, there is an entire race of people that lives under water that has books. They made a fortune when they sold their technology."

Martha hadn't spent long enough to really establish herself the way Rose had, and Martha definitely hadn't left as abruptly. Martha had chosen to leave, even though she came back. Martha hadn't had the time Rose had to explore the inside of the TARDIS, so she didn't learn as many of the secrets of the TARDIS as Rose. But she appreciated the parts of the TARDIS that she knew.

"What's this bit here?" Martha asked, her hand hovering over a knob that looked like it came off of a stove. It even had degree markers on it.

"What?" the Doctor asked, popping up from a hole in the floor. He had two cables hung around his neck. The lights had gone out in the control room, and the only illumination came from the control panel itself.

"This," Martha said, pointing. "Shouldn't it be on?"

"That? Maybe." The Doctor hoisted himself out of the hole and peered at the console. "Oh, yes!" He turned the switch and the lights came on. "There! That should do it!" He dropped the cables back into the hole in the floor and kicked the piece of floor back over it. He smiled at Martha, the smile she loved and couldn't help smiling back. "Allons-y!"

Donna had been on the TARDIS twice. The TARDIS loved the way that Donna would take the Doctor down a peg when he was off on one of his (many) tangents. She was brilliant, she was funny, but most of her temper was a facade, one built to hide her insecurity. The TARDIS loved to watch these two children argue. But the Doctor told her she was brilliant. To the TARDIS, Donna was a jewel.

"Doctor, what's all this?" Donna called.

"What's all what?" the Doctor asked, trying to find Donna by the sound of her voice.

"This," she replied, and he turned a corner. "All these clothes."

"Ah," the Doctor said, shoving his hands in the pockets of his trousers and leaning on the doorway. "Wardrobe room. There're clothes in here from all over time and space. You want 79th century London fashion, it's here. Anything from any time. Anything you want, you just have to ask her." He patted the wall with one hand.

"Neris would have a fit," Donna said, but it wasn't said maliciously, like her tone had been the first time she was on board. It was just a matter of fact. The Doctor smiled.

"I'll call you when tea's ready," he said, and wandered off.

And Jack Harkness, cheeky Jack, clever Jack, Jack who could not die, had often gone wandering through her corridors when he couldn't sleep. He knew one or two things the Doctor didn't, like where the smaller library was, and a bathroom that looked like it came straight out of the 1950s. The way Jack moved around in her made her wonder if he'd been in a TARDIS before, especially the second time he came on board (not the time he rode on her outside. She didn't know that was him, and if she had, she wouldn't have tried so hard to throw him off). Not one exactly like her, but one similar, maybe. She liked the way he would trail his fingers along her walls as he wandered, murmuring to either himself or to her. He told her of his children, of the ones he loved. He mentioned Gwen, and Owen, and Toshiko, and Ianto, but Ianto most of all. The TARDIS wanted to meet this Ianto, the man who had managed to find his way into Jack's heart so thoroughly.

"Don't you ever sleep?" The Doctor asked as Jack walked, quietly, into the control room.

"Does anything ever sneak up on you?" Jack replied, leaning his elbows on the railing, watching the Doctor pilot. They were the only two awake, as it should be. Towing the Earth back was a long journey.

"I can feel you Jack, here," the Doctor said, rubbing the back of his head. "You're-"

"-wrong, I know, you've told me," Jack interrupts, steel in his voice. "I don't sleep much anymore. After three hundred or so years, sleep just kind of..." he trails off, making a flying motion with is hand.

"I'm sorry, Jack, I'm so sorry," the Doctor said, turning to look Jack in the eye for the first time since he walked in the room. "If there was something I could do, I would. But I can't."

"I have my people now," Jack replied. "Gwen and Ianto in Torchwood. The twenty-first century, Doctor. It's mine. Its people are mine, and they're going to need me."

The Doctor nodded. "I'm happy for you, Jack."

But, one by one, all of them left. Martha, Jack, Rose, and Donna. The Doctor continued on, traveling even more, never staying in one place longer than it took to put out the fire there, or to start one. He drifted across the universe, across time, like he had before he met Rose.

One day, the Doctor just...stopped. He let the TARDIS drift around a star as he wandered aimlessly through the corridors.

"I'm supposed to go see the Ood," he said to the empty air, sinking to the ground in the corridor. He rubbed his hand over his face, through his hair, and took a deep breath. "It's never good news when I have to go see the Ood."

At the central tower control panel, he keyed in his destination.

The TARDIS thought of them as her children. The Doctor first and foremost, yes, but all of his companions, from Susan and Barbara and Ian to Rose and Jack and Martha and Donna--they were hers, and there have been so many.

And now her Doctor had a new face, and she was crashing, and she wasn't sure who she would be when she recovered. Because, like her Doctor, she changed every time.

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kallaneeboi

May 2012

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