LilacFree (lilacfree) wrote,

Chapter 16 Reflection

[Definitions courtesy of and a fragment of He Bids His Beloved Be At Peace by William Butler Yeats as well as the poem at the beginning. Dedicated to Lois McMasters Bujold.]

I would be ignorant as the dawn
That has looked down
On that old queen measuring a town
With the pin of a brooch,
Or on the withered men that saw
From their pedantic Babylon
The careless planets in their courses,
The stars fade out where the moon comes.
And took their tablets and did sums;
I would be ignorant as the dawn
That merely stood, rocking the glittering coach
Above the cloudy shoulders of the horses;
I would be—for no knowledge is worth a straw—
Ignorant and wanton as the dawn. – WBY, ‘The Dawn’

The Doctor carefully considered his current situation. Most of it was normal: he was on the run from the Time Lords in a less than optimally functioning Type 40 TARDIS, he had two young companions, and he had trouble with the Daleks in the offing. Personally, he was in the prime of his latest regeneration, he was in perfect health, and had a fresh stalk of celery in his lapel. Abnormal: he had had sex with one companion then mishandled the situation, and he was feeling greatly tempted to do something colorfully violent to his other companion. Even though he had engaged a high level of emotional detachment, his psychic barriers could not eliminate his awareness of the desirability of the female companion and the practice of his Time Lord disciplines seemed to feed into his anger with the male whom he perceived as a challenge to his authority. Calmly evaluated, the situation was worse than he’d thought. The diagnostic process he’d undergone revealed no foreign chemical or energetic influences in his body. His temperature tended to be high despite his best attempts at biochemical voluntary control. While the superficial reason for this failure was the influence of the female, he was certain there was a deeper cause.

The Doctor placed himself in a trance.

“Disgraceful, boy. With all my knowledge at your command, you should be able to manage an affair with one inexperienced woman.” The speaker wore black and had a mane of blond hair that Time had begun to frost. His eyes were piercingly blue. He was not especially tall but he carried himself with great dignity.

The fifth Doctor sighed and faced his first incarnation squarely. “Plainly, your knowledge is not at my command. Nor is my difficulty the relationship with the woman—“

“—it’s yourself you can’t manage. As I said, disgraceful.”

“Indeed. That given, I need to understand the source of this stress. I forced a mind link on my consort and I nearly attacked my other companion.”

“He’s a very irritating young man. As for your charming lady friend,” the first Doctor smiled, the expression warming his keen features, “I shall do what I can for you. I always handled my affairs like a gentleman.”

“She has a very powerful affect on me that I do not entirely understand.”

The first Doctor sniffed. “You obviously understand more than you have admitted to yourself. You’re the one who called her a witch. Where did that come from?”

“It’s not a very Gallifreyan concept.”

“Primitive Gallifrey was much like any other primitive world. We were superstitious and violent and we had the same set of problems with our genetic survival that other humanoids have. Think of the millennia that passed before Rassilon led Gallifreyan society into a new era where we managed our biology instead of being managed by it. We refined our bodies to the highest standard we could design until we could not conceive of more advances short of giving up bodily existence entirely. As those frippery Eternals did—you saw how badly they cope.”

“Have we done so much better?”

“Of course we have!” said the earlier incarnation in affronted tones, “We have wielded the power of Time without inflicting our dominion on other races. We are interested in the conquest of knowledge, not galaxies. Gallifrey could have ruled an empire. We could have been the greatest tyrants ever known.” The first Doctor’s tones softened. “Gallifrey may be moribund now, she may have her renegades, but she has safe-guarded Time. Not always perfectly or wisely, but it might have been much worse. We are a people of reason. We stopped believing in witches.”

The fifth Doctor crossed his arms over his shoulders as he listened, thought weighting his brow. “I called her a witch because she has a power over me that I don’t understand.”

“Just like some peasant of old confronting the mystery of the eternal feminine. Disg—“

“I know! That’s not helping. The power…”

The first Doctor looked at him wisely. “You desire her. That’s all it is. It’s not an artifact of reason. It simply is.” He smiled reminiscently, “It was a power I enjoyed confronting in my day.”

“Why did you give it up?”

“When emotions are not involved, it’s merely amusing exercise and quite lacking in dignity. When emotions are involved, you are—“

“--Breaking the laws of Gallifrey.” The second Doctor took the place of the first. His clownish face was sorrowful under the mop of dark hair. “When Gallifreyans started using genetic engineering to produce new citizens, sex became obsolete. Almost without exception, the women are uninterested. The men experiment with it in their physical prime. Even Rassilon couldn’t entirely tame the male libido. It is too closely linked with psychological drives that fuel the ability to expand the bounds of scientific knowledge. As it is, he may have gone too far. The Gallifreyans would rather contemplate a handful of dust than go to the stars. I am, of course, a significant exception. I spent my life exploring all time and space instead of engaging in pointless gymnastics with young women in their knickers.” He added contemplatively, "Not that she ever seems to wear knickers--that wasn't mine!" The incensed second Doctor shouted, "Keep your thoughts to your own persona, you libertine!"

The fifth Doctor passed a hand over his face. "Sorry."

The little man sagged. “I suppose it’s another kind of freedom. I loved it. I wanted to see it all, all there was of time and space. Then the Time Lords caught up with me. I had interfered in the time stream and they reserved that power to themselves. That’s how they are, our people. We did not become Lords of Time by giving up what was ours. You remember what they did,” his voice trembled over the words. “They killed me. They cut short my life—“

“—and gave it to me, exiling me to Earth. Why Earth, dear fellow? May I remind you that they left me in a historically volatile period of a planet that becomes a major influence in Mutter’s Spiral in later centuries? I wasn’t meant to merely sit and rot. It was an object lesson. Here are the short-lived. If you want to act like a human, live as one.”

The fifth Doctor stood with his arms folded across his chest and his head slightly bowed. “Is Jo Grant going to figure into this diatribe?”

The third Doctor sighed and shot his lace-trimmed cuffs. “I made a fool of myself. I hope you’re still ashamed of that petty attempt to come between her and her young man.”

“I am, but refresh my memory. Why?”

The tall, foppishly dressed third Doctor looked off into the distance of his memories. His distinctively craggy face bore a melancholy expression. “That dear, flighty girl. She was so full of youth and enthusiasm that she made me feel almost 90 again. Not enough to forget myself,” the third Doctor turned a reproachful look on his errant successor, “but still I did become attached. I wanted to keep her with me and I tried to interfere—rather clumsily too. She knew, dear Jo, and understood, and forgave me. Strange how love can suddenly give one maturity.” He fired up again and fixed his sharp gaze on the fifth Doctor, “Something I still seem to lack!”

hare n
Any of various mammals of the family Leporidae, especially of the genus Lepus, similar to rabbits but having longer ears and legs and giving birth to active, furred young.
intr.v. hared, har·ing, hares
To move hurriedly, as if hunting a swift quarry.

Tegan had raided the closet again. Clad in blue denim shorts and a pink tank top, she had returned to the library. She wanted to consult the huge dictionary for a couple of unfamiliar words the Doctor had used.

Now, ‘procuring’. Her finger traced down the page and she frowned. “Also means to obtain sexual partners for others.” She thought he hadn’t meant that in a good way. The implication was that she had demeaned him. Tegan glared unhappily at the dictionary despite its helpfulness. She closed it, then abruptly opened it again and paged to the back, to witch, then explored other odd words in that definition. Sorcery. Spell. A psychological state induced by (or as if induced by) a magical incantation. Tegan gaped. Maybe it was her fault. She had put a spell on him. He had said it himself: ‘Apparently not enough to protect me from your spell.’ What was this other word? Incantation: a ritual recitation of words or sounds believed to have a magical effect. “The poetry?” That book had power, but she thought it was power over her. Tegan raced back to her room.

The words were beautiful, but there were too many of them that she didn’t understand. And it seemed so unlikely that something she had read had affected the Doctor. She hadn’t read it in his presence. Still… that one poem…

She hoped Turlough didn’t come around while she was trying this stupid idea.

“Little Sarah Jane was quite the dish, now that I come to think of it.” The fourth Doctor, tall and broad and wild haired and wilder eyed sat with his booted feet up on a lab bench. “Then there was Leela, beautiful girl. Even when she was wearing that frilly Victorian union suit." He frowned suddenly. "That was you again! Really, if you can't keep to your own persona what's the point in all this?”

The fifth Doctor stared resentfully at those boots. There was going to be unpleasantness if he were offered a jelly-baby.

“This new Tegan is bit of Sarah and a bit of Leela, with the temper of the original thrown in. Frankly, I don’t think you’ll make it out of this one with a whole skin.” Teeth bared in a blinding smile. “Nothing to do with me, fortunately!”

“You are me now,” the fifth Doctor pointed out in his most desiccated tones.

“Yesss, but that’s your look out.”

“If that’s as helpful as you’re going to be, you might as well go.”

“What will you do then, whistle up the Master? At least he’ll get a good laugh out of it. No, no, wait. Just look at you. If you were any younger you’d have acne. You were tired of being in charge, weren’t you? Come now, admit it! ‘Doctor, what will we do? Doctor, the sky is falling! Doctor, the universe is broken, do you have the Paste Pot of Rassilon?’ Now when you say you don’t know what’s happening, everyone believes you because you look like you’d rather be playing cricket than addressing the latest crisis in Time and Space. I wish I’d thought of that.”

“Didn’t you?” Why had no one ever strangled him with that blasted scarf?

“Oh, yes. Well. Your age, really… turning up before I was even dead and hanging out with those young people as the Watcher. I think you caught it from them and serve you right!”

“Caught what?”


The fifth Doctor, deeply offended, looked down his nose at his predecessor. “I am by definition more mature than you.”

“I beg to differ! Your physically younger form contains an excess of youthful vigor, which is probably why you can't stop thinking about women's lingerie."

"Will you kindly cease going on and on about knickers?" complained the fifth Doctor.

"It's really your problem, now isn't it?" the fourth Doctor smiled his famous sparkling smile with the twinkling eyes. “As for Turlough, I would have squashed that boy with a few well chosen words. Of course, I would never be jealous of him either.”

“Jealous? Jealous of Turlough!” The fifth Doctor laughed scornfully and turned his back on his predecessor.

“You perceive he is building his own relationship with Tegan that might interfere with yours. His replicant was her first lover. He could share a whole life with her and not merely this vagabond existence that you lead.” The voice had changed. The Doctor turned back. “She listens to him. He’s coming between you and Tegan.” The fourth Doctor had been replaced by the fifth Doctor. He faced himself.

Tegan carried the book down the corridor that moved to the laboratory. She walked slowly, waiting for the chill to come on her. When it did, she stopped at the icy littoral and put out her hand. Going down on the shuttle to Delvessea she had seen white-crowned mountains. She imagined that going up one might feel like this: the cold and effort of going up increasing with every inch. Like a mountain, the presence of the Doctor loomed large in the landscape of her senses. Tegan opened her book. She read the words out loud:
“Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest.”
She waited. The cold did not diminish. It felt like a solid wall, not merely refusing her penetration but reflecting her presence back at her. Tegan looked at the poem again and read it in her mind. There the words were beautiful and strong as they had not come from her tongue. Why not, when they felt so real in her mouth that she almost thought that she could breathe them into life? Tegan closed the book. “I hope at least that doesn’t hurt anything, Doctor,” she sighed. It was all primitive human madness anyway (but the Doctor had called her a witch). There could be no such things (and a beautiful woman). She shook her head and carried the book back to the library.

“My life is NOT defined by my relationship with this Tegan or Tegan Jovanka or any other Tegan that might turn up!”

The other cricket player raised an eyebrow. “Do you know how foolish you look, arguing with yourself? It’s painfully apparent to me that only one of us has been paying attention. Let me try a new thought on you: how did she find you?”

“She followed Turlough—“

“Oh, yes, from the Dalek ship to Mertosa Station, to the Aleda, to Delvessea… do you see now? Why are you here, Doctor?”

“I chose Delvessea for Turlough’s vacation because it’s a politically insignificant planet but a travel and information hub for the Federation. I chose this era because I planned to find out more about the incident with Davros and his non-Dalek allies. I wanted to confirm Davros’ death.”

“And the information found you. Virtually flung itself at your feet.”

“You’re not suggesting some kind of conspiracy, are you?”

“No. Coincidences do happen. The laws of probability are not always blind. She came to your care as if she’d been led there. You could see the potential in her. A woman’s body, a child’s soul, an almost blank slate of a mind. You wanted to succeed with her where you failed with Tegan Jovanka. She left you in despair, because she had come to perceive your life as being inundated with violence and death. This Tegan could be shown more. She was willing to learn from you, to trust you, to accept your authority. She had a gift for living: to appreciate each moment with every fiber of her being. You wanted—“

“--to cultivate that gift. To teach her that life was more than survival.”


“No?!” The Doctor found himself alone. He had led himself, persona by persona, to an answer that now he would not face?

Tegan wandered into the cloister room. She had not been there since she had shared her anger with Turlough. The grass was still churned up from the rake of her fingers. She could see where some of the blades were turning brown. Dying. Tegan knelt down and tried to bury the root ends back in the earth. “I’m sorry. I know the TARDIS is alive. You’re alive.” She looked up into the bright nothingness above the cloisters. “Light. Soil. I think they need water.” Tegan stood up and dusted her hands. “I wonder if there are tools around to care for these plants or if you do it all yourself. All the ground is dry in here. Does it ever rain?” Raindrops. Cool wet blows against the skin, pure moisture on her tongue. “If you can make light, why not rain?”

Something cool struck her shoulder. One drop, then another, then myriads. They fell gently, evaporating almost immediately on touching her skin. Tegan laughed and held out her arms. “Thank you, thank you!” She stepped off the grass onto the stone walkway. The rain was diminished here, cutting off at the edge of the lawn. She could put her hand into the misty wetness. “Wonderful TARDIS.”

“From dialogue to soliloquy; bereft of even my own company. What did I want? What did I try to take? What did I lack that she had?”

he inhaled the heat of her breath and the scent of jasmine. The temperature was a shock to his system, an unaccustomed and voluptuous warmth

she looked like an exotic bird in the stark white control room, vivid life amidst sterility. Her feet were bare.
He wished he could dance like that in the rain. Tegan had no such inhibition; she was as wild as an animal and as free as a child. And beautiful, her face alive with laughter and her wet dress clinging to her woman’s body as she danced out of pure sensuality.

Her total captivity by sensation was equally captivating to watch.

He had wanted to feel that way. To share her gift. He had indulged himself thoroughly—all right. A measure of selfishness was necessary for good sex since the point was for both the parties involved to enjoy it. Then he had gone too far. He had wanted to possess her in every way possible for him. His arousal, his raised metabolism, the unleashed possessiveness of a Time Lord, all culminating in the atavistic claiming of his desire. He had linked her mind with his and sealed it with the bite. Pain, to stimulate her nervous system and burn the synapses with an adrenaline surge.
After that, he had attempted to restore his emotional detachment full force. Yet behind that barrier, his subconscious had still considered Tegan his claim and the Time Lord instinct to possess had made him intolerant of the least hint of challenge to that claim.

The trance ended. The Doctor slumped in his seat. “Worse than I thought,” he said ruefully. “Oh, Doctor, you were right. I might not get out of this with a whole skin. Tegan certainly deserves to tear a strip off me.”

Tegan had lain down on a stone bench. The soft rustling noise of the rain had been wonderfully soothing and had put her to sleep. Now she was waking up, with some sharp plant smell just under her nose. She felt warm and it seemed as if she hadn’t felt warm for a long time until now. She slit her eyes open. The Doctor’s celery was right there, attached to his coat that had been flung over her. Tegan knew that now was her chance. She nipped off a bit of it. Hmm. Not much flavor.

“I could have just given you your own celery stalk. No need to go biting off a fellow’s buttonhole.”

Tegan realized that the Doctor was sitting on the bench next to her head. “Doctor!” She started wriggling into a seated position. The Doctor helped her upright and kept his coat around her shoulders.

“Or maybe you could just grow your own, Lady Witch.”

The Doctor was not looking at her, but out into the quad. It had been transformed. The grass was thick and lush; the shrubbery all had sprouted fresh leaves. The vines had burst out with white flowers like vegetal stars.

“It wasn’t—I didn’t—it was the TARDIS. I asked for rain.”

“Why did you want rain?” He smiled at her encouragingly.

“I damaged the grass. The ground was so dry; I couldn’t make the roots stay in. I only want it to live. Doctor…” she looked at his calm profile, “You feel better now?”

“No, I feel worse, but I think I’ve reached the nadir. I’ve come to an understanding with myself. You, on the other hand, are a mystery.”
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