Story: Emissaries from A Charitable Earth
Word Count: 4,260
Author’s Summary: Stranded on Earth following a non-EDA-compliant version of the Time War, Fitz finds himself falling in love with a most unlikely woman.
Characters/Pairings: Fitz Kreiner/other characters
Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels were a bit of a mixed bag. The NAs that came before them had their high points and their low points, but I think on the whole they had a certain consistency, if not in quality then in general vision and (grim, dark ‘n’ edgy 90s) tone. The EDAs certainly went through phases and had arcs and so on, but I always thought they were a bit more pot luck. They certainly had their moments, for both good and ill. They’re a strand of Who’s not-really-canon I’d like to see addressed more in fic (along with all of the other strands in their seemingly infinite multitudes), but that’s just me.
One of the things that the EDAs really had going for them was the character of Fitzgerald Michael “Fitz” Kreiner, one of that select band of non-television companions from the various spinoff media who really could hold their own with the best of the televised lot. He was a complex character, Fitz, with some rather dodgy tendencies, but tended to overcome them as he travelled with the Doctor and on the whole his heart was in the right place. An exceedingly human companion, Fitz. Or rather, his biodata clone after a certain point, because…well, the EDAs were just like that sometimes, especially after Lawrence Miles got involved. In any case, I consider that Fitz (or his clone) really should be in more fic, so that’s another tick in favour of this fic in my opinion.
And this fic makes excellent use of the character, exploring his combination of cynicism and romanticism, the naivety of the long-distance time traveller and how his yearning for love crashes into bitter everyday reality and his own difficult baggage after years spent travelling with the Doctor. The author paints a convincing picture of a damaged individual, out of touch with the time and place he finds himself in, but desperate - painfully so - for something better. It is a very affecting portrayal, and made all the more so by the revelation of how the post-EDAs Fitz came to be the way he is. The portrayal of the Time War and the Doctor’s part in it given here is no longer strictly in line with what we know, or think we know, by this point in the post-2005 series, but such are the perils of fic. It is, however, convincingly horrible and horrifying. Even if the particulars were not like this, the general tone of the proceedings are probably not very far from the way it “really” was for the wartime Doctor.
And then there is the fic’s final revelation. I didn’t see it coming on my first read, although I think I can see a couple of clues on subsequent readings, but it is in any case a genuine “gasp of surprise” sort of moment and will stay in your memory long after reading.
On top of all that, we’re talking about another author who is never less than reliable. You know you’re going to get good fic reading one of her stories, usually with interesting character insights, great use of descriptive prose and a pleasing combination of high concept and realistic meditations on real life and the human condition. All of which you are getting if you go and read this fic. Please be sure to leave words of appreciation for the author.
Travel the universe and eventually you got jaded and immune to surprises, but get plonked down in the city you grew-up in fifty years after you left and the confusion and deja-vu and nostalgia got so bad sometimes it was almost painful. You’d go looking for your favourite old pub and find out it’d been boarded up for decades, then walk down another street and find some stinking hole of a place you’d always shunned still hustling away, selling the same food-poisoning waiting to happen it had when you were a kid. And you’d end up buying some just because it was familiar.
The queasy morning after was familiar too.
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Story: The Power of Cake
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,206
Author’s Summary: Two Time Lords chained to each other and covered in cake seek shelter in George Bulman’s shop. George is not impressed. A cakefic crossover with the UK television series ‘Bulman’ (1985-87).
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (3rd), The Doctor (7th), crossover characters
Warnings: None, unless naked Doctors really don’t agree with you.
Recced because: Once upon a time there was a small but plucky Doctor Who forum called Death by Aspirin (it’s still going if you want to search for it out of idle curiosity), and there, due to a slight misunderstanding one day, one of the regular posters accidentally invented a new fic meme which featured two Doctors (preferably Ten and Three, to begin with) chained to each other, one of them naked, both covered in cake. Oh, and it had to be all the Master’s doing. I’m sure we’ve all accidentally invented fic memes like that in our time. ;)
And lo, the members of the forum thought that the meme was good and they did adopt the meme and embroider the meme and try different combinations of Doctors and other characters and ever more baroque explanations for how the chains and the nakedness and the cake became involved. Eventually, the subgenre even got its own community right here on Livejournal: http://ift.tt/1vqmtV5
And then, the author of tonight’s fic rec decided to write a crossover mashing up the cakefic meme with a perhaps undeservedly obscure 80s British TV series Bulman. George Kitchener Bulman was a retired police detective turned clock repairman/private eye and probably the most eccentric character in a genre full of eccentric characters. His titular series was actually a spinoff of a spinoff, strangely enough, and he was played by acting legend Don Henderson a.k.a the raw-meat-chewing, rocking-chair-appreciating Gavrok out of Delta and the Bannermen a.k.a. that bloke sitting at the table in the original Star Wars who isn’t too impressed by the Death Star.
And a most amusing fic it is as well. You don’t even have to be as familiar with the crossover series as I am (which is to say, only a very little bit in my hazy memories of long-ago telly) to appreciate the off-the-wall world of Bulman and be tickled pink by the idea that two Time Lords covered in cake and chains stumbling into the shop isn’t the weirdest thing going on in that particular milieu. Also noteworthy is the way Three maintains his poise and essential Three-ness even in this unfortunate predicament while Seven is, of course, completely unfazed by the fact that he is not only covered in cake and handcuffs but also has somehow lost all of his clothing apart from his signature headgear. Go and read it, anyway, chuckle to yourselves and then tell the author how much you dig it and now want to watch Bulman. Worth it for the line about “despairing maniacal laughter” alone. :)
As the Doctors entered the shop, they found it full of junk masquerading as antiques. Safely out of sight of prying eyes, the taller Doctor turned to the naked one. “Couldn’t you have tried to cover yourself up? I see with your regeneration that some areas of your body are no longer the same colour as a human’s. Luminous green is rather eye catching.”
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Story: Where Lies The Honour?
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4,963
Author’s Summary: A lone Sontaran Commander begins to question the meaning of the Empire
Characters/Pairings: The Sontarans
Recced because: It’s the Sontarans, as you’ve never seen them before! Would be the tagline if this were a Hollywood movie as opposed to a Doctor Who fanfic. It would also be a particularly accurate tagline in this instance, where we are presented with tale of the Sontaran Commander Styne and his lonely quest to make sense of his own existence and that of his entire species.
It’s one of the things about Doctor Who, something I’ve increasingly found myself thinking about as a fan. The programme’ ideals and values as embodied in the Doctor are, broadly speaking, progressive and inclusive. And yet, you have at least a couple of alien species knocking around (Daleks and Cybermen, I’m looking at you) whose members are pretty much exclusively and irredeemably evil, and are viewed as such, by and large, by the Doctor. It’s something the people making the original series were at least aware of and played with, most noticeably with the Ice Warriors in the first Peladon story (although they had reverted to type in the second one), and the likes of the Silurians had a degree of ambiguity. The Sontarans, though, occupied a unique position to my mind. They never did anything, really, that wasn’t negative or, for lack of a better term, evil, but there was no indication they were inherently so inclined, the way the Daleks are. They’re stone cold militarists with a callous disregard for collateral damage in the course of their operations, but on the whole it’s a more down to earth sort of evil than that displayed by some of the threats the Doctor runs up against, more relatable.
And so we have the new series character Strax, who demonstrates that for all of being clones trained from birth as soldiers, individual Sontarans can and do break the mould and use their training for relative good. And this fic, written some seven years before Strax ever leapt from Steven Moffat’s computer to the television screen, covers similar ground, but arguably in a more thoughtful and interesting way.
If the idea of a fic where all of the characters are Sontaran OCs doesn’t appeal to you, I would urge you to give it a chance. It shows the potato-headed clone-soldiers in an interesting new light, and does so mostly through its portrayal of Commander Styne, who gradually comes to the realisation that something about his way of life and what he has been told by his superiors just doesn’t make sense. That he does so in a halting and confused, convincingly Sontaran, way is a clever bit of characterisation by the author, as is the portrayal of the other Sontaran characters Styne encounters. Also noteworthy is the amount of interesting worldbuilding this fic manages to pack into relatively few words, casting unexpected sidelights upon the Sontarans, their way of life and their culture, and also suggesting the inequalities and corruption creeping into their supposedly implacable military structure.
And if you want to win those super-fan bonus points, look out for the references to the Sontaran appearances in the 1990s video spinoffs Shakedown and Mindgame (with something of a downer sequel to the latter story also provided in passing).
All in all, a strikingly different and original piece of writing that I hope you will take the time to read as well as offering words of encouragement to the author.
He turned to face his Lieutenant. “Tell me, Varg. Why do we fight?”
It was a standard question with a standard answer. “For the might of the Sontaran Empire.”
“Yes,” Styne continued, “but apart from that, why do we fight?”
Varg remained silent, staring at his superior officer. “I do not understand,” he finally replied.
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Word Count: 1,391
Author’s Summary: Torchwood may like to think it’s a secret organisation, but there are people out there who know what they’re about. Though there’s got to be a reason so few do.
Characters/Pairings: Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness, Other Character(s)
Warnings: None, although the use of Retcon in interpersonal relationships is not to be condoned.
Recced because: I really like Torchwood, you know? As I may have mentioned during previous reccing runs, there was a time when I was a little leery of identifying myself as a Torchwood fan, because…well, it was a bit dodgy, wasn’t it? As the years have passed, however, I’ve managed to be true to myself and own up to it, even embrace it. And I’m not even talking the classy stuff like Children of Earth. I liked Miracle Day. Yeah, you read right. Especially the plane episode. And as for “classic” TW, i.e. S1-2, well, I can’t hold my hands up and claim every single episode is a work of genius…or even that good, in a lot of cases, but my fondness for the thing as a whole only increases as time goes by and it recedes into history, because I think at this point I would be very, very surprised if we ever got another telly series. That’s a sad thought, isn’t it?
So oldschool TW fics like this one, with mentions of Ianto and Tosh and the gang (even Owen!) appeal to my sense of nostalgia for the “classic” era. And this is a very likeable fic with an excellent narrative voice describing Team Torchwood and their activities from a wry informed outsider’s p.o.v. It’s also got a good handle on one of the central aspects of the “classic” TW setting, one which the show itself used to poke fun at with increasing regularity as time went on, namely the absurdity of trying to keep an organisation like theirs, with the situations it dealt with and the less-than-subtle people it employed, secret in a city of 300,000-odd people. Especially when the secret organisation’s name was written on the side of their SUV…
And the way this fic deals with that issue makes a lot of sense and remains true to the spirit of the series, because of course while Torchwood’s half-hearted attempts at secrecy were patently absurd, and the source of some good jokes, if the organisation wasn’t secret that was a big part of the setting fatally undermined. They had to keep it up somehow, and this fic suggests how. And no, it goes beyond the liberal use of memory-erasing drugs. The way this fic suggests that the team managed their business also fits Torchwood Three’s ethos as an organisation; they were always too cool for school, or certainly had a good go at trying to be.
In addition, this is a very strongly-written fic. As well as the wry viewpoint and voice mentioned above, it’s also witty, funny and affectionate and just a little bit saucy too. Oh, and if you can identify which New Who episode the character revealed as the narrator of this fic appeared in, and know of his meta-connection to Ianto, then you’re doing well. A super-fan, probably. ;)
By the way, this isn’t the last Torchwood fic I’ll be reccing over these two weeks. Not by a long shot.
One would assume that those working for a secret organisation would live their lives accordingly; living secret lives in secret underground locations, with no dealings to ‘normal people’. One would even be forgiven for thinking their wardrobe ranged in colour from charcoal to black. But the truth is; Torchwood isn’t like that. Well, apart from the clothes.
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Story: Ports of Call
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,192
Author’s Summary: They eventually discovered he’d lied about New York
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond/Rory Williams, River Song
Warnings: None as such, but does contain a good dose of grit and reality in its portrayal of Amy and Rory’s post-Doctor relationship.
Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that I was, and definitely remain, a huge fan of the Eleventh Doctor and his era. I even, gods help me, genuinely think that New Who would have been very much the poorer without Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner and that most (most!) of his judgments and instincts as writer and general head-honcho-type have been bang on the money. I recognise that as a whole the era had good stories and bad stories, as every Who era does, but I refuse to subscribe to arguments that it somehow declined in quality over the course of its run or that “it was time for a change”. I’m very much enjoying the Twelve era so far and think Peter Capaldi is nothing less than a demigod in human form, but I could have lived with another season or two of Eleven, no problem at all.
Having said all of that (just so you know where I’m coming from)…
I @#&%ing hate The Angels Take Manhattan. Or at least its ill-conceived ending which, imho, fails on so many levels I’d be listing them all night and clocking up more words than the fic I’m theoretically reccing. Your mileage, as they used to say, and as is the case with all things fan-related, may and probably does vary. I consider it a poor exit for the two companions I consider to be probably the best (certainly when considered as a pair) of the 2005 series.
So, having laid my cards so verbosely on the table, I probably wouldn’t classify this fic as a fix-it (which the author admits to being in two minds about) so much as a statement of the facts as they stood at the end of said story. One senses perhaps in reading the piece that the author was as nonplussed by that ending and as aware of its gaping plot-holes as I and, going from comments I read at the time, quite a lot of other people were. That’s really beside the point, though. I’m not reccing this fic because its author happens to come down on my side in a fanw*nky argument, but because it highlights two really important things about the Eleven era.
The first of these is that Eleven was a bit of a slippery customer, morally. I’m not really convinced by some of the PR efforts to paint Twelve as a particularly edgy and ruthless Doctor, although he’s certainly more up front about it, because it always seemed that Eleven got up to some dodgy stuff, more or less constantly and unapologetically (although he did tend to hide it behind his goof-ball exterior) and I think most of the time we the audience were supposed to notice that and think about it. I say most of the time, because some of the dodgiest stuff he did, though, particularly in his personal relationships, went more or less uncommented upon and indeed tacitly condoned “by the show”, for want of a better term. I think even as big a fan of Eleven and his era and Moffat’s work as I will admit to being, or indeed somebody really invested in the relationships between the characters, can see some of the morally problematic things that are going on there and wonder why “the show” seems unaware of them. It’s an important aspect of the era and one I see confronted in too few fanworks. This one takes it head on; this Doctor’s a liar, and not always for good reasons.
The other really important thing about the Eleven era this fic highlights and plays homage to, one of its central planks, is the relationship between Amy and Rory. These are two imperfect people (like all of us) and they have this very complicated, not always easy, bond but it ends up being one that they both draw strength from and one that neither of them can live without. This fic examines that complex relationship warts and all and the way Amy’s and Rory’s situation in Manhattan after parting from the Doctor might have affected it. It also confronts us with the incredible strength both of these characters have shown in adversity and the toll the sorts of adventures they have been involved in have taken upon them. I would say that that is the main selling point of this fic for me, apart from the fact that it is very well-written; it is unflinching in its consideration of how this situation might really play out. For a supposed “fix-it”, it pulls few punches, either in its portrayal of the characters, their relationship and their predicament, or in considering the off-screen Doctor and his actions. And it does so not out of a desire to bash but out of a deep concern and investment in the material and the characters. Good stuff, in other words.
Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. Now go and read the fic and tell the author how much you liked it. ;)
They escaped permanent madness, just barely. They had injured each other in the struggle to stay sane; something they’d thought themselves so good at doing as his companions – but that was a lie, too, without the anchors of him and of their parents and of the smell of their own time.
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Thank you, thank you, it’s good to be back and I hope all of you will enjoy the next fortnight’s reccing. I’d especially like to welcome all the members of Illinois’s law enforcement community who have chosen to join me here on calufrax at this time…
Anyway, on with the fic:
Story: The Music Snob of Sherwood
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 200
Author’s Summary: The Doctor does not have a very good bedside manner.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (12th), some “Merrie” Men
Recced because: Well, we’re five episodes in to Series 8 of New Who/the Twelve era/whatever you want to call it, and on the whole I’m enjoying it greatly so far. So I thought I’d definitely include at least one Twelve fic in this reccing run just to highlight the fact that a lot of people are already doing good work with the new Doctor and his era. I’m sure they’ll be doing even better work when S8 is over and Twelve is bedded in and we know more about him, but stuff like this is very nice to be going on with in the meantime, very nice indeed. And I don’t know about my fellow reccers on here, but I always get a certain satisfaction to securing the bragging rights of having recced hot-off-the-presses good fic like this before any of the rest of them got to it. ;)
I also thought this fic would be a good one to draw attention to at this point because it highlights one of the aspects of the new Doctor and his stories that I am especially enjoying, namely the Twelve’s brilliant cantankerous spikiness; he may or may not be a good man, he shows signs of being a kind man underneath it all, but he quite a lot of the time is far from being a nice man, at least not when he’s right in your face. Peter Capaldi plays this aspect of the Doctor (and let’s be honest, pretty much all of the other ones too) brilliantly, and you can almost hear him spitting the words out in this nicely done double drabble. It also builds on what has for me so far been possibly the most purely enjoyable S8 story, the amazingly silly (this is not a bad thing in Who, if you ask me) Robot of Sherwood, and more than does justice to the side of the Doctor displayed in that particular episode.
And on top of all that, let’s be honest; this is an author you know you’re in safe hands with. She does not disappoint. And that goes for this fic too. Go and read, enjoy, and offer appropriate words of appreciation over on Teaspoon.
But there was a certain indignity to being stabbed in the shoulder–the same shoulder!–twice in as many days, by an ally. He clapped his hand to the throbbing spot. “Ow! What is the matter with you, you long dark streak of misery? Are you half mosquito?”
"On my father’s side," the Doctor said, and rolled his eyes slightly.
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Story: Duct Tape
Author: Captain Chico
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 9297
Author’s Summary: Sarah Jane has an unexpected visitor.
Characters/Pairings: Clyde Langer, K-9, Mr. Smith, Other Character(s), Sarah Jane Smith
Recced because: I’m ending my recs with yet another new author, and an entertaining Sara Jane Adventures story that refers back to one of the most interesting canon characters we never quite met in Doctor Who (yes, I am being a little cryptic) and does so with immense style. Some familiar characters do appear, and it’s fun and fast-paced throughout.
Sarah Jane Smith often ended up a bit weepy after an evening with Jo Grant. Mostly, she told herself, it was down to the amount of rioja they tended to get outside of, but at least some of it was missing Luke. It seemed he’d hardly come into her life before he was gone, off to Oxford with her only other real friend, K-9. That none of the men she’d had relationships with measured up to her Doctor was unsurprising; that none of them could compete with a robot dog was just weird. If Han Solo had chanced to drop by, or Indy, well, that was a different matter. But they hadn’t, so she had to make do with her sessions with Jo, who was after all the only person she could talk to about the Doctor.
“We ought to try and find some of the Doctor’s other… friends, sometime,” said Jo one bright summer’s evening when Sarah Jane’s new daughter Sky was off having a sleepover with her friend Madison. They had just moved indoors from the garden, where the stars evoked too many memories for both of them, and opened another bottle.
“Why?” Sarah Jane asked, pulling a face. “I got more than just the cold shoulder when I met Rose.”
“Maybe. But the Brigadier was a sweetie.” They raised their glasses to the Brigadier. “Rest in peace, Sir Alastair.”
“Okay, fine, but you realize you could be talking about Doctors we don’t even know.”
Jo took a sip of wine. “The speccy one was wacky and cute, but waaay too soppy over Rose, and the new one’s nutty as a fruitcake. Do we even know how many times he’s regenerated since we met him?”
“That just makes my head hurt. Though Mr Smith could probably find out.”
They contemplated this for a moment, but it was just too comfy sitting there. “Don’t tell me you’ve never Googled him,” said Jo.
“Of course. Tell me you’ve had better luck than I did.”
“Nope. Fifteen million hits on ‘Doctor’– mostly Hugh Laurie or George Clooney, not that I’d kick either of them out of bed–” Sarah Jane raised her glass appreciatively– “nothing at all on ‘Gallifrey’, and it asks me if I mean ‘Travis’ when I try ‘Tardis’.”
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Story: Five Ways Ianto Jones Didn’t Travel In Time
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 4310
Author’s Summary: Does just what it says on the tin.
Characters/Pairings: Captain John Hart, Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Lisa Hallett, Myfanwy, Other Character(s), Other Character(s), Other Character(s), The Doctor (Author-Created), The TARDIS, The TARDIS
Recced because: Five Things stories are difficult to write with consistent quality, but this Torchwood story is a beauty, in which all five ficlets work really well. It’s by an author who hasn’t been recced here before, but has a good few stories on Teaspoon. I think we’ll probably be seeing more on Calufrax.
The first thing he noticed was the smell.
It was a bit musky and dirty and somewhat wooden, which made sense when he forced his eyes to open and saw the sloping beams and shattered windows of a derelict house. What didn’t make sense was the fact that the last thing he remembered was being in the middle of Cardiff chasing after the bloody pteranodon.
He pushed himself up into a kneeling position, wincing at the pain the movement caused. He was sore all over, and as he stood up he could hear several joints click back into place with a disturbingly mechanical sound.
He walked towards a window that was set in the far wall, trying to get his bearings. The sight of a smooth, shimmery structure that reminded him of a lighthouse greeted him. He blinked. As he watched, two pteranodon-shaped shadows threw themselves out of the building and began to soar through the night air.
He raised a hand to his earpiece. “Jack?” he said calmly. There was no reply other than the sound of static. Of course there wasn’t. He was- he double-checked the stars just to be sure- still on Earth, but not in his time, perhaps? He’d never seen the material that the lighthouse-thing had been built out of, and the only pteranodon that he knew of was-
“Myfanwy. You never forget your first pterodactyl,” said a familiar voice.
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Story: Game, Set and Match
Word Count: 2256
Author’s Summary: The Master finds himself resurrected by Servalan. She’s not amused. Crossover with Blake’s 7.
Characters/Pairings: The Master (Simm)
Recced because: There are plenty of examples of crossovers that plunge the Doctor or his companions into another fandom. It’s much rarer to find a story that puts together villains from two fandoms. When the author is the immensely talented Selena, one of the villains is the Master, and the other is the beautiful but deadly Servalan, sparks are sure to fly…
“Do you know who you are?” asked a woman’s voice, coolly imperious, with a nearly undetectable hint of urgency underneath. He sat up and saw her standing on the other side of the room, watching him. Short, black hair, an elegant gown of the type he loved Lucy to put on, and complete self-possession that reminded him of the way the Rani carried herself.
“I might,” he said, trying to decide whether or not it was worth accessing this body’s memories for more information. In the first stages of taking over someone else’s entire being, complete suppression was the best way to go, not giving the previous owner room to manoeuvre. Even so it had taken him a while to shut up Tremas completely. He preferred not to think of the American at all. That entire interlude was best forgotten. At least Tremas had been an intelligent man destined for rulership.
Something flickered in the woman’s eyes. “No, you don’t”, she said with absolute certainty. The corners of her mouth curved down in something like disappointment. Apparently his current body used to belong to someone who would have reacted to her presence in a very specific way. Favourably? Unfavourably? He gave her Harry Saxon’s smile for wooing voters, not knowing how it would play out on his new face.
“Come now,” he said, trying to draw her out a little. “If you were me, would you admit to it immediately?”
She looked unimpressed. “I knew there was a risk,” she said. “That’s why I didn’t put the ring on myself. Artefacts with supposed life-restoring powers simply must have a drawback.”
“Well, that ring would simply have clashed with your gown,” he said. “So I applaud your caution. But I assure you, there is no question of my identity.”
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Story: River Song, Coda da Capo
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 3961
Author’s Summary: The Twelfth Doctor, while still completing his regeneration, endeavors to rescue River Song from the Library’s computer, but he hasn’t quite thought things through.
Characters/Pairings: Clara Oswin Oswald, The Doctor (12th), River Song
Recced because: Although we’re only three episodes into the Twelfth Doctor’s career, there are already plenty of stories appearing; I decided to check them out. This one interested me because it seems to have the characterization dead right, including the Doctor’s confusion immediately after his regeneration, and gives us a neat plot that takes advantage of his mental and emotional state to give us a “fix-it” for River Song that doesn’t quite go as planned. As a bonus, it’s by an author who hasn’t been recced here before; currently he doesn’t have any other stories on the archive, but some reviews might encourage him to write more.
“Just one question,” the Doctor shouted. “Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?”
Clara’s eyes went even wider than they had gone when the new Doctor had first stood up a moment before. She was speechless, though from somewhere inside her came her voice, but which also was not her voice. “Yes,” she said and strode over to the console, “I do.”
The Doctor looked at her again, wild-eyed. “Good. Go on with it then.” He lurched around her, out of the control room and down a corridor where the TARDIS had kindly located his bedroom through the first door on the left. The bed was in its usual location and shape, the Doctor noted before stumbling onto it and passing out.
“When am I?” the Doctor thought. It was rare for the Doctor not to have a sense of the passage of time, even upon waking, and thus he approached his return to consciousness carefully. He counted his fingers and toes, arms and legs, and the various other bits and pieces before opening one eye. He was sprawled on his bed, still dressed in his predecessor’s tweed suit. His legs itched. He’d have to do something about that. At least all his parts were present and properly located. Even his kidneys had turned a more satisfactory color.
The Doctor opened his other eye, then stood a bit shakily. He wanted a good look at himself, so he stepped carefully over to the chair in front of the vanity River had used when she stayed in the TARDIS. Och, what a nose! What was it with his head? Ever since the Time War, ears, teeth, chin, now nose. He squeezed it, and a trickle of regeneration light spread out in the air before him. At least he’d stopped getting younger — the next step down that line would have been a spotty school boy, and seeing that might have made him regenerate on the spot, as it were.
Older. He was finally becoming his old self again. Or selves again. Or like his old selves again. A feeling of peace washed through him as he recalled that he’d not burned Gallifrey, that it still stood, and now, thanks to the Time Lords, he still stood — or at least sat, here in front of River’s vanity.
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