Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 3416 words
Summary: When the Doctor hits the wrong button while working on the TARDIS, past selves come for a brief visit.
Beta Readers: seandc and evilawyer_fic.
Notes: This was written for the OT3 Ficathon. The prompt I chose was “Lost in time: Jack and Rose get lost in time and learn about regeneration the confusing way, stumbling about at least one other version of their lover. Do not want: Any version of the Doctor after 9.” It was written for herk227, and since it’s the Ninth Doctor, it’s sometime during season 1—to be exact, it’s shortly before the incident on the Game Station.
It had begun just like any other day on the TARDIS--Jack was flirting with everything in the universe, Rose was ignoring him, and the Doctor was trying (and failing) to repair something not so vital to the TARDIS’ function. And then the one-upmanship began.
It was like an old movie Rose had once seen with Mickey, involving a showdown in the old west. Well, if the old west just so happened to have a Time Agent (who couldn’t ride a horse to save his life, but would wink and flirt at it until the sky fell) and a Time Lord (who might just turn out to be as bad at riding as he was at dancing, even if he wouldn’t deign to try it) in it, both of whom would much rather tell tall tales rather than shoot each other.
Then again, maybe it was more like Marty McFly, trying not to get hanged or shot. That seemed more their style when it came to danger. And no DeLorean around to fail on them--just a TARDIS.
Rose at least hoped they were tall tales. When it came to Captain Jack Harkness, nobody could be entirely sure. With the Doctor, well...there was still the old red bicycle when she was twelve comment to ponder. She was still trying to get the funny (if slightly disturbing) image of the TARDIS in a sleigh, complete with reindeer, while the Doctor laughed at the view.
She shook herself out of that thought and went back to listening.
“Yup. Surprised, Captain?”
Rose watched as Jack and the Doctor tried to impress each other with claims about which man had inspired (or bedded, in Jack’s case) the largest number of human authors. It was like a warped tennis match, each side shooting back a more fascinating conquest.
Somehow, the topic had turned to which of the two had saved the largest number of famous people from aliens. Rose assumed that the Doctor, being older, would be the winner by the end.
Jack cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. “Shakespeare?”
The Doctor snorted and crossed his arms. “Not yet, but I’ve been in a play or two. Not a word from you two about men dressing as women in those plays, either. Got it?” At their nods (and a muffled giggle from Rose) he muttered to himself, “We’ll see which of those academics were right someday. Hmph!”
“Oh…they all are. Trust me, Doc.” The smirk and the wink told the whole sordid story, but that wouldn’t deter the Doctor from learning it for himself in the future.
The Time Lord snorted, patting the TARDIS when she hummed in amusement. “Braggart. Sure ya didn’t just bed a chap with a frilly collar during a little bit of play? Wouldn’t put it past ya.”
When Jack didn’t answer, and just looked away, the Doctor threw his head back and laughed. A rare, truly pleased sound. “I knew it! You can’t fool me.” He reached over to pat the other man’s shoulder, while trying to keep a straight face. “Your secret is safe with me. Permission to continue your bragging, Captain.”
With a roll of his eyes and half-hearted, yet partly sarcastic, “Thanks,” Jack sat down in the nearby Captain’s seat. “Were you ever on stage with the Rolling Stones? I don’t see you trying an air guitar riff or swinging from any chandeliers.”
The Doctor’s only response was a muttered “Please,” as he looked up before whispering even more quietly, “Rassilon’s knickers, give me strength.” He was choosing to take the high road--of course, he also wasn’t about to admit that he had met the band. Those memories didn’t need to be discussed. Even if the band was so high that nobody commented on his choice of garment: That hideous coat from his sixth incarnation--the month where he briefly replaced the cat pin on his lapel with giant lips, before coming to his senses.
It was his only foray into being a Time Lord and rock band groupie…and it would remain firmly locked in his psyche, with the key thrown out for good measure.
Rose spoke up from where she was leaned against the wall. “If you ever did get fooled, Doctor, would you admit it? Or would you just blame us for being dumb apes.” From Jack’s direction, there was an amused chortle, and a mutter of, “I’ll put what money I have on apes.”
The Doctor pretended to think about that for a moment, before answering her question with his own. “What do you think, Rose?”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Apes it is, then.”
Jack couldn’t help but applaud her. “You’d win that bet and then some, sweetheart!”
Tapping his foot with no small amount of impatience, the Doctor smirked as he looked at his two favorite apes. “If we’re all done with trying to outdo one another?” It may have sounded harsh, but it was said with scarcely concealed affection, aimed mostly at Jack--who just responded with a salute. Rolling his eyes, the Doctor, continued, “And, of course, I’ve got nine hundred years on ya, Captain, despite your little stint as a Time Agent--I’ve got myself a few repairs to get done on the TARDIS. Feel free to get yourselves lost in the corridors, and have fun.”
He turned to go, then stopped and thought over what he had just said. Turning on his heel with surprising speed, he continued as though he had known exactly what he had been saying all along. He held up his hand to stop them from leaving. “But not too much fun, Jack! No taking Rose to the hidden bedrooms you’ve discovered. Oh, yes, Captain, the TARDIS let me know you knew about those. And she let me know that you briefly tried to create a brothel in yours.”
All that truly needed fixing was a few buttons, a few tightening of the nuts and bolts in crevices, and a recalibration of the dimensional stabilizer. If it weren’t fixed within an hour of TARDIS time, then his favorite mallet (stolen from a Whack A Mole during an alien invasion that happened to be in a Showbiz or Chuck E. Cheese) could easily sort things out.
“Right, Doc.” The lighting in the TARDIS needed correcting again, too--he knew for a fact the Captain wasn’t blushing. The Time Lord sent a mental note to the TARDIS to do that herself since it was her problem, not his. Her answering thrum seemed to threaten him with even dimmer lighting to assure that he would crash into the walls in due time.
Making a shooing motion toward Jack (who was smirking, and looking guilty) and Rose, (who was pointedly looking away, amused by his slight blunder) he snorted. “Go on then, off with ya. A trail of bread crumbs won’t help either of ya if you make the TARDIS mad.”
Moments later, as the Doctor was kneeling down to tighten some loose screws that connected to the frequently used randomizer, Jack and Rose were plotting on the best way to get around the Doctor’s orders.
Sneak into the Doctor’s bedroom--after managing to find it first, of course--and see what they could learn of the Time Lord’s secrets? After all, Jack mused, everyone had to have something humiliating in the back of the closet. Having said that to Rose as they wandered in circles, however, he was still having a difficult time convincing her of it.
“He’ll throw us into the vortex, you just know it. Or stick us on a deserted planet, and I don’t want to have to start all over on a new planet, ” Rose muttered, nervously biting her lip.
Before he could respond to that, however, the TARDIS gave an amused hum; two doors appeared moments later. In front of the second door was a box of lock picks.
Jack grinned, thoughtfully stroking the wall. “Thanks, beautiful. Which room first, Rose? The lovely lady we’re inside seems devoted to making us happy.” Rose slapped his arm at the not-so-veiled innuendo, rolling her eyes and going into the closest (and unlocked) door, as Jack rubbed his arm and laughed.
She glanced over at some large crates, and signs on the wall as Jack followed her in. “Nitro-9 room? Not his room, then...’specially goin’ by all the little signs saying caution or hazardous weapons.” She squinted in the shadows, to better read a sign which read ‘Always Remember To Reverse The Polarity Of The Neutron Flow.’ Unsure as to what that meant, she looked around some more.
As explosives weren’t really his forté--especially after the whole ‘nanogenes making zombies in gas masks’ incident--Jack guided them out, carefully sidestepping what he believed resembled nothing so much as a box filled entirely with those chameleon circuits the Doctor complained of so much. He made a mental note to go back later and grab a few, just to see if the Doctor could make the TARDIS look like a tree or a bush. He raised an eyebrow as he stepped over a sash on their way out, with the words ‘property of Rassilon’ written on it. Shaking his head with a grin at what naughty games must have been going on, if someone managed to lose their clothing, he closed the door. Kinky Time Lord.
Giving Rose a playful bow, Jack pointed to the bowl of lock picks. "Next stop, one big-eared Time Lord’s boudoir. What naughty things will we find within, do you think?”
Rose laughed. “If he’s got an alien version of Playboy hidden in there, I’ll eat my...my right glove!”
Rose shrugged. “Dunno. Smallest thing I own--don’t wanna eat my shoes. I need those.”
With one last amused look at Rose, Jack bent back down to resume trying to pick the Doctor’s lock.
Unbeknownst to them, while the Doctor was trying to repair the TARDIS he had accidentally hit a lever that shouldn’t be touched while simultaneously bumping a button that controlled the randomizer, causing the equivalent of a Time Scoop mated with a dimensional breach in certain places in the TARDIS...like the Doctor’s room. In time, the Doctor would notice something going on. Until then, however, Jack and Rose were on their own dealing with the aftereffects.
With a final jiggle, Jack got the door open and the TARDIS made an odd sound, like a cross between a cough and a sneeze. The Time Agent patted the wall absently as he walked in, and looked around the room. For just a moment, it had looked like the spartan furnishings the two of them had imagined it would--then, it changed into something beyond any expectations.
The right half of the Doctor’s room was filled with psychedelic wall patterns, mixed with what seemed to be an odd Gothic style…along with two small bats fluttering near the ceiling. A rug with elaborate circular patterns (which Rose recognized as being similar to the post-its in the console room) lay near the bed. Rose and Jack looked at each other in shock, before Jack’s eyes were drawn towards a nightstand, and his raised eyebrow climbed ever higher in disbelief.
Jack’s tone was awed as he looked around murmuring, "I'll say this for Doc's style--it's very eccentric. But...a lava lamp in the shape of a bat? Why?!” He was mostly confused because the lamp was on the gothic side of the room, while the psychedelic side was lit with candles. He seriously doubted that the Doctor would keep a stash of Playboys hidden under the candelabra.
Rose looked at Jack. “Next time the Doctor says not to snoop, we’ll listen, yeah?”
Slowly nodding, Jack whispered, “Yeah.” Spotting two people watching from where they had suddenly appeared, Jack shoved Rose behind him, ready to pull out a gun from parts unknown if there was a single threatening move. Rose gave him a defiant look as if to say ‘thank you, but don’t do that again.’
Rose stared right at the most colorful of the two intruders. "Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor," he started but was cut off by Jack.
The men looked at each other and sighed in unison. The one on the left wore a coat complete with every color of the rainbow. The one on the right had curly brown hair, and looked like he had stepped out of the Edwardian era. The left one merely rolled his eyes, and waved at the other to deal with the explanations, with a muttered, “You deal with it. You’re older, and I dealt with this kind of thing last week.”
A brief explanation of regeneration, time scoops, and the fact this was nothing new for them later, and Jack was practically pouting. He stared at the curly haired friend with a stranger’s face wearing velvet who claimed to be the eighth incarnation of the Doctor for a long moment. Then he looked back at the one in the multi-colored monstrosity that Jack could only keep thinking of as (and a mention of this later made Rose giggle, and the Doctor glower) a patchwork amalgam of colors and patterns that no quilter in their right mind would make, let alone wear. Finally, shrugging, he turned to Rose, and frowned dramatically. “Some people need botox to keep that fresh faced appearance, while others need tons of plastic surgery. But does the Doctor?” He dramatically shook his head, and waved his hands in the air. “Oh, no. He just glows with a bit of pyrotechnics, looks like a Roman candle, and changes himself entirely. By the way, I have to ask. How old are you?”
The older of the two incarnations--the one wearing velvet, who seemed ready and willing to play along--stepped forward with a playful grin and a bow. “Counting the hundred years I was stranded on Earth in the 19th century? A little over one thousand one hundred and twenty.”
Jack could have bounced in glee. “I knew it! I told you the Doctor lied about his age, Rose. He seemed the type, didn’t he? You’ll have to pay up now!”
“Later, Jack. Once we find our Doctor. For now, I got my camera phone, and I’m gettin’ as much blackmail material out of this as I possibly can! Mickey’ll want to see this, too. You two! Start posing!”
Jack’s eyebrows waggled a bit, and he smirked. “Can I be in a few naughty ones with them?”
Both incarnations and Rose shouted, “No!” and Jack just shrugged. “Hey, I had to try. I knew it couldn’t be as easy as that.” To the two previous incarnations, he added with a wink, “Ours wants to be bought a drink first.”
The sixth incarnation rolled his eyes in disgust at the drama that always ensued whenever he met another of his selves, muttering something about someone named Peri being saner before turning to stalk off in search of her, just in case any companions happened to have been dropped off.
The eighth incarnation gave a distracted grin in Jack’s direction, as the two bats that had been hovering around the room finally landed on his shoulders--they even allowed him to pet them. Glancing at Rose, and assuming that she wasn’t frightened if she were good companion material, he gestured with one hand at the bats. “Rose? Jack? I’d like you meet Jasper...and this tiny one here is Stewart. They’ve been great little guard bats.” Practically beaming, he carefully got Jasper to climb onto one hand.
“They don’t really attack intruders...they just watch them. And wait for them to go…not the best guards, then, are they? You can pet them if you like.”
As Rose reached out to stroke Jasper, both the bats as well as the Doctor became transparent. With one last mischievous comment of “Oh, dear. Looks like your Doctor got it all sorted. One last thing--Stewart says he thinks you’re very pretty, Jack,” the three were gone. As was, presumably, the sixth one. Jack knew that if he wasn’t, there would be some very interesting moments in the corridors later tonight.
Rose glanced at Jack with a thoughtful expression. “Even bats think you’re pretty.” From the tone of her voice, Jack knew she was trying to think of a way to mock him for it--luckily, his propensity to sleep with anything that moved helped foil that plan.
Once the two were safely ensconced in the console room with their own incarnation of the Doctor, it was time for explanations. How did the Doctor know about the time scoop? His own fourth self had appeared to him, and offered a bag of jelly babies. "So I said…not right now...but could you hold on to that thingamebob there...while I slap this button here? He did, and presto--gone, with a few more knocks to the console."
Wrinkling his nose in disgust, the Doctor added, “Shame that we won’t remember this in twenty-four hours--I would know not to hit stuff in just that order otherwise. Always the way with time scoops and meeting yourself, though.”
Rose couldn’t stop herself from asking a vital question in the midst of his narrative. “Doctor...that sixth you. What were you thinking?!”
“My enemies tended to laugh until they were blue in the face. One went blind. One fellow in particular just stared and made snarky remarks, while trying to come up with a way to create a paradox around that jacket. Finally, he simply went mad.” He paused to shrug, before adding with a slight grimace, “Bad taste in clothes, me.”
Jack had been wondering about something ever since Stewart said he was pretty, and finally gave in to his curiosity. “Whatever happened to those gorgeous bats of yours?”
The Doctor’s voice was grim, and filled with regret as he said, “Let ‘em go free right before the Time War, so that I wouldn’t have to watch ‘em die. Did the same with the butterflies in the Butterfly Room.”
The Doctor took Rose’s phone, looking at the stored photos with disdain before applying his sonic screwdriver. “Just going to erase these incriminating pictures of me--besides, once you forgot, you’d wonder why you wanted to look at a crazy man with bad taste.” He put one arm around Rose, halfway hugging her for a moment in an attempt to make her feel a little better about the whole memory loss thing. The Doctor threw another arm around Jack’s shoulder, and squeezed that, too. “So...before you lose all your memories of meetin’ my previous selves, how’s about I take you and Rose out for that drink?”
“But...I won’t remember it!” Was Jack whining? Yes, indeed he was. He was also incredibly close to wailing and gnashing his teeth, but he decided to keep at least a modicum of his dignity intact.
“So we won’t remember me drinking you under the table. Or you break dancing on a table, or some such nonsense--whatever it is you apes do so well when free of sobriety. What of it? ‘Sides, I’m a Time Lord--takes a lot to get ‘em drunk. Think you have what it takes?”
“Oh, you bet I do! I know of a few pleasure planets that could get you drunk, and keep even you tipsy for a month!”
The Doctor glared at him, before conceding. “Fine...a few ground rules for it, though. No ogling, eyeing, or groping any other species while we three are in the same room. Think you can handle that? Or is that one harder than my no wandering off rule? Not an easy date, me. Or Rose, even, are ya?”
Rose couldn’t resist making a comment, her tongue poking out from between her teeth as she grinned. “Okay, you’re doomed, Jack. Think you can have that much self-restraint and live? Would you be in physical pain?”
Jack was ready and willing to complain about the two of them together being worse than the worst of the Time Agency drill sergeants ever were, but saw the wink from his Doctor’s corner. Maybe if he kept his silence, there could be a bit of bedtime fun.
So instead, Jack eyed Rose, and (in what almost seemed rehearsed, as it was so well-timed) they both grabbed their Doctor’s bottom and gently squeezed. The Doctor’s distinctly un-Timelordly squeal--which quickly turned into an “Oi--you apes are incorrigible!” made it all worth it.