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FIC: Regression (1/1)


Title: Regression
Rating: T
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: A member of the Shadow Proclamation tags along for the search for Earth, speaking on ensuring that the ultimate culprit is punished. It leads the TARDIS to take inspiration from her past to protect Handy and Donna.
Disclaimer: This would've been a possibility had I anything to do with Who.
Dedication: tardis_mole. Between asking for ideas for Story-a-Day and beta reading, I had plenty of fodder for May 2012. And got more for 2013. :D Posted in belated honor of alimoseby's birthday.
Author's Note: I had just finished the first draft of All I Have Left, and I needed to write a real fix-it. So since it took me under an hour to finish that one and I was still at the writer's group, I started on this one. This one came from beta reading “Redhead in the Bell Tower.”

About four months later, my muse created a plot bunny which I titled “The Shadow Proclamation vs Rose”. When I realized how close it was to this one, I combined them. I suspect some will find it very interesting.

Oh, and references to Boom Town. I'd say spoilers, but it's been on the air for almost eight years. It'd mean you've been somewhere without any electricity. :P And not exactly... friendly to Rose. FYI. So if that bothers you, please turn around now.



Regression

Started May 2, 2012
Finished May 30, 2013

The Doctor rushed back outside, half-expecting to find the Architect demanding that he lead them into battle. Of course, he'd pretend to be shocked.

But instead of the platoon of Jadoon he predicted, he only saw one standing near the Architect. Next to her was the servant who spoke with Donna earlier, giving her water. “What's going on?”

The Architect looked a bit displeased, but determined. “I was prepared to have you lead our forces into battle, but my servant Decima has foreseen that there is not enough time. You are the only one who can get through, but one of us must accompany you to ensure that the guilty is captured and punished – possibly by you, depending on the circumstances. Will you carry this out and return my servant – and the guilty if they survive – when the planets are returned?”

The change stunned him. “Um... well, that's something I can do. As long as she's prepared to possibly run.” He meant the returning of Decima.

Decima held her head high, even as her eyes betrayed a hint of nervousness. “I will do whatever it takes.”

“Then get in and let's not waste any more time!”

She bowed to the Architect, and then briskly walked to his side and past him.

The Architect met the Doctor's eyes. “The fate of the Universe and perhaps all of Creation depends on you, the human female, the sentient device, and my servant. Do not fail us.”

He hated it when people tried to put that much pressure on him. “See you soon enough. Alons-y!” He hurried inside, shutting the door behind him. He tossed his coat over the railing and went to the handbrake, which Donna and Decima were standing next to. He met Decima's eyes. “I have questions, but they'll wait until we've followed the signal.”

“I am sure I will have much to inform you, but you are right: this is not the time.”

Donna frowned, but shrugged. “Get to it, Spaceman!”

He found a smile, and released the handbrake, sending them hurtling after the signal.

/=/=/=/

The Doctor noticed that Decima had remained silent while they searched for the planets. She chose to not involve herself in the conversation over the Subwave Network, had only continued to hint that she could not speak when he was asking what she knew about what was happening and yet seemed to know more than Donna did about what happened when Donna met Rose.

Speaking of, Rose had not been keen to see another female in the TARDIS. Donna's defense of Decima had irritated Rose, like she would have been happy to not see Donna or Decima at all. Only Jack seemed to be okay to have around, and even that seemed limited. Which dampened the Doctor's feelings on seeing her again, made them seem shallow and like he was hiding behind something. Although Decima's narrowed eyes upon seeing Rose indicated she knew of at least one thing Rose had done that wasn't good.

She remained silent when he nearly died, only helping Jack hold Donna and Rose back. Still silent when they were captured, but she'd bent to touch his arm in support, just like Jabe had, and whispering too low to be overheard that things were not what they seemed. Small comfort when he couldn't hear the TARDIS and felt utterly hollow over losing Donna.

Rose had butted in, trying to be the comforter. If he hadn't been in such shock, he would've thrown Rose off him.

Decima refused to be taunted by Davros. Her silence angered him, and when he shocked her, she refused to even cry. It hurt, but she would not give the Dalek's creator the satisfaction of a reaction. Her only words came when Davros claimed to have exposed the heart of the Doctor:

“He is not responsible for the choices of his companions. His only fault was not preventing the creation of the Bad Wolf.”

That had stunned him, held his attention even as the other Children of Time were captured. But it gave Jackie's words about not letting Rose go alone a new dimension – that of a mother trying to stop her child from hurting someone else.

Although the appearance of the Duplicate and then Donna becoming the Doctor-Donna understandably distracted him from any of those concerns. Especially once his Duplicate destroyed the Daleks. Someone of his own flesh and blood had committed genocide, and a servant of the Architect of the Shadow Proclamation had witnessed it. He might have to exile him to protect him.

But it had confused him. Why did Decima remain so quiet about it? Why had she not tried to stop him?!

/=/=/=/

Decima remained apart from the celebrating. The Doctor and his companions needed this moment, so she would let them have it. She felt that Idris, the soul of the TARDIS, was also watching, but her focus was on one person entirely. The poor new child, the creation of Donna and the Doctor, had no idea what his father was thinking.

She waited until the Doctor started waving for quiet. Then she spoke.

“Doctor, it is time for the guilty to face punishment. It was been delayed for too many years.”

That silenced the room, but stilled the Doctor. He was expecting an injunction against his Duplicate, but the years part threw him. “Who are you talking about? The only crime I saw committed today was genocide.”

“Oi!” cried the Duplicate. “What else could've been done?! I stopped the Daleks after Donna saved all of Creation!”

“It's still genocide.”

Decima interrupted. “The Daleks are known to always seek the destruction of other life-forms, Doctor. The Shadow Proclamation recognizes the necessity of destroying Daleks when they appear. I do agree that the scale is perhaps something to be concerned about. What did you think you would be asked to do about this creation of yours and Donna's?”

The Doctor blinked. This was the first time she had outright referred to Donna by her name. “To protect his life, I... was prepared to send him to Pete's World.”

The Duplicate spluttered. “What?! How can you think of that?! Donna, how can he?!”

Donna, blinking through the weight of having the Doctor's mind in hers and feeling so unlike herself, grimaced. “He thinks he owes Rose because he has to return her to Pete's World.”

“What?!” screamed Rose. “You're wrong! I spent all that time looking for him! I'm not going back!”

Decima loudly interjected, “Leaving someone who is rightly a child with someone who hasn't changed at all in at least eleven years? Who is still mentally a child herself?”

Rose whirled on her. “You have no right!”

“I have every right. I speak for the Architect of the Shadow Proclamation, who is the enforcer of Galactic Law.”

The Doctor moved between the two, gently guiding Rose away. “Rose, you've spent a lot of time using that cannon. Because the Reality Bomb now never happened, you have to get back to let the Dimensional Retroclosure happen properly. Otherwise the walls will remain cracked and can't heal.”

“And yet you would punish your own child by dropping him into the care of one who didn't take care of you?” Decima pressed.

“I did take care of the Doctor! He needs me!” snapped Rose.

The Duplicate scowled. “You killed the previous Doctor, the one whose mind and emotions are still running through me. And it's like you forgot about him in the face of what Donna always called a skinny streak of nothing.”

“Oi!” the Doctor cried, pointing in warning. “Don't!”

“I will say whatever I want!” growled the Duplicate. “I was born today! If you want to be strict, I'm no more than two years, eight months, and three days old – if you count it from when I was separated from your arm! I'm a child! Immune to the Shadow Proclamation's punishment! Not like I would have to think about doing what I did again, but tell me what I did was truly the wrong thing! What else could we have done?!”

“I will say this,” Decima said, raising her hand to stop all further speech. It was helped that the Doctor held up his own hand to silence Rose. “The extent is concerning, and something must be done to discourage it – on principle.”

“No!” wailed the Duplicate, suddenly seeing her agree with the Doctor. He risked stepping closer, ignoring Donna's effort to get him to stay still. She was the only one who'd shown him kindness. He'd been at best despised by Rose, flirted with by Jack, ignored by the others, and given the cold shoulder by the Doctor. Enough was enough. “Not happening! I'm not going with Rose! How will I be safe on Pete's World? How can I be sure she'd even be willing to keep me safe? She's looked on me like I'm diseased! I'd rather get Blon's punishment!”

He was cut off as the TARDIS opened the same panel that Blon had stood before. He was looking before he could stop himself and was instantly unable to look away.

And so was Donna.

“No!” the Doctor cried, but it was too late. The golden energy had gone into both their eyes, overtaking them both. He watched in abject horror as his beloved companion and the Duplicate were engulfed in bright white light.

“Oh, my God!” cried Martha.

The others watched in fascinated shock, unable to look away and unable to move.

Seconds later, the energy left Donna and created a cushion of air that let her fall slowly to the grating. It gently deposited her, unconscious.

The energy engulfed the Duplicate to the point where he wasn't visible anymore. He felt his body changing, and his mind couldn't take it. He lost consciousness as he felt a burning suddenly rush forward.

The occupants of the room all stepped back as golden energy exploded in the TARDIS once again while the white energy flew back into the TARDIS, the panel slamming shut. It kept the Doctor still with fear, unable to check on Donna. The Duplicate was still too close, even though the energy wasn't touching her. Finally, the energy seemed to shrink as it faded. All that remained where the Duplicate had stood was a pile of clothing. An oddly shaped pile.

The Doctor flew to Donna's side. “TARDIS, what did you do?!” he cried, cradling his companion to his chest.

Martha rushed to the pile of clothing. She tugged at them, and froze. “Doctor?”

Donna groaned, waking up. The Doctor ignored Martha. “Donna, how do you feel?!”

“A bit... tired. Headache. Like there are echoes of your memories still there, but most of it... is gone.” She blinked, filled with a sudden emptiness. “I feel like a tiny, insignificant human again.”

“No, I've never thought of you that way! Might've said some really stupid and inconsiderate things, but you've never been an insignificant anything to me!” He heaved a sudden sigh of relief as the implications of what just happened hit him. “She removed it. The Meta-Crisis energy, the Old Girl removed it. She saved your life!” He couldn't help it. He kissed her on the mouth, shocking her.

“Doctor!”

The cry came from Martha and Rose, but the reasons couldn't have been more different. Rose was alarmed that her Doctor was kissing another woman. Martha was still staring at the clothing. Or rather, into the pile.

The Doctor broke the kiss, leaving Donna stunned and breathless, and looked Martha's way. “What?” he calmly wondered aloud, as if he went around kissing companions all the time. Which he did, come to think of it, but that wasn't the point. Except this kiss was infinitely more precious to him than any that had preceded it. And he ignored Jack's slight pout.

Flustered as she was, Donna noticed that the Duplicate was missing. “Where is he?! Where did he go?!” She pulled out of the Doctor's arms and grabbed the clothing – freezing when her hands touched something she wasn't expecting. She and Martha adjusted the shirt – revealing a small unconscious child.

Sarah Jane and Jackie gasped. “Oh, my God!” they said as one.

Decima nodded slowly. “The TARDIS interceded. She agreed that he should not be exiled, and so she protected him from any possible punishment that the Architect could consider against him. He is now physically the child that he was in truth, and thus pardoned of any crime. And it is questionable whether a crime was committed under the circumstances.”

The Doctor stared at her in shock for a moment before turning back when he heard Martha speak.

“He looks about two to three years old,” Martha commented, her medical training alert as she also felt and looked for injuries – looking under the shirt as need be. “A bit warmer than the Doctor, but cooler than a human. Just out for the moment.”

Donna gaped. “He's got a little ginger in his hair now!”

The instant those words left her mouth, the boy started moving. A number of people nearly held their breaths. How would he react to suddenly being a boy?

The Duplicate opened his eyes, blinking as he recovered control over his body. Which felt a lot smaller than before. He looked down, seeing the huge clothing around him. He also saw Donna kneeling next to him, and felt Martha right nearby. He looked to Donna to explain things.

She smiled at him, stroking his hair and cupping a cheek. “It's okay, little love. The TARDIS made you younger physically.”

“I a little boy?”

The tiny voice, filled with shock, drew a smile from Martha and Jack. Poor thing was struggling to take it all in, and still had the Doctor's mind in his.

Donna nodded. “Yes. You still look like the Doctor, just in a much smaller package. And a lot cuter, too.”

“Oi!” The Doctor couldn't help it. This him looked perfectly fine! Maybe he was skinny, but he was sure Donna had gotten used to it.

The boy looked to Donna, ignoring the squawking. “Am I ginger?”

That made everyone blink. “Yes,” Donna answered slowly, “you're a bit ginger.”

A huge grin suddenly popped out of nowhere. “Yay!” He bounced and waved his arms despite the constraints of the shirt.

Donna laughed. The boy was too adorable. “Aw, aren't you lovely?” She scooped him into her arms, standing as she braced him against her hip. “You're gonna grow up to be as much trouble as the Doctor, aren't you?”

The boy looked pensively at her.

Donna frowned slightly. “What? What's the matter?”

He struggled a moment to free his arms from the oversized shirt, and placed his tiny palms against her cheeks. “Be my mummy?”

The puppy-eyes and the innocent pleading melted practically every woman in the room. Jack, too. Even Mickey and the Doctor were gripped by the moment.

Especially the Doctor. If she was his mummy, then... what did that make him?

Donna's eyes teared. “Oh! Of course I'll be your mummy! I already am, aren't I? I helped make you.” She clutched him to her, thrilled when his little arms wrapped around her neck as he squealed with joy.

The Doctor felt the TARDIS's warning grumbles, and knew instantly what happened. “He never was my Duplicate,” he breathed, unaware that his voice carried to everyone's ears. “He's my son... and I didn't see it.”

“He's not your son!” cried Rose, alarmed over what she was hearing. “He's a clone who got turned into a kid!”

Jack whipped to face Rose. “You don't know what you're talking about!”

Seeing the Boe-Kind snap at a girl he'd readily flirted with before startled the room. The anger in his eyes baffled everyone – except the Doctor. He knew why Jack was upset, and felt sorry for him. If she'd snapped like that earlier, he told the TARDIS, I wouldn't have thought about leaving him with her.

The Old Girl merely hummed in warning. He cringed, also noting Martha looking like she was seeing red. Oh, yes, she would after what the Sontarans did to her, and knowing what Jack had been through over his life.

Rose's eyes flashed daggers at Jack. “What do you know?! He's not the Doctor's kid! That's a smelly street rat, a stray! And where's his clothes? Does he even have any parents or is he a bastard? Or did coming from that container mean he hatched out from an egg like an ugly duckling? Especially with that new ginger hair?! Ugh, he smells worse than my little brother after scrambled eggs! What a ghastly little bugger! I'd put him back if I were you. You don't know if he has fleas, or worse. I know you got yourself a worthless ginger, but I didn't know you replaced me with child porn.”

Jackie stepped in-between her daughter and the Doctor. “Enough, Rose! You're scaring the poor boy! And never mind where he came from, he has parents now! Don't get Donna angry or she'll come after you! Don't you know it's dangerous to get in-between a mother and her baby?!”

The Doctor rubbed his check, remembering Jackie's rightly furious reaction when he'd brought Rose home... twelve months too late. Only Donna slapped harder.

And not to mention the growing rage that boiled in his hearts for Rose's words against his son. The only reason Donna wasn't going after Rose was she wouldn't let go of the boy, and she wouldn't let Rose anywhere near him. Wise move.

“He is the Doctor's son with Donna Noble,” Decima primly announced. “The Time Lord must take responsibility for him, and accept that what is done is done. I saw the son indeed commit genocide, but I will report to the Architect that there was no other choice to protect the universe. Furthermore, his actions would not have been necessary – and he would not exist at this time – without your wilful violation of multiple laws of time and space, Rose Tyler.”

Rose scoffed, although her eyes were wide. From dawning horror or merely anger wasn't clear. “I did nothing wrong!”

“Actually, you did.” The Doctor's voice was quiet, his body clearly weighed down from the horror of his own realizations. “Decima spoke of it in the Crucible before my son was even born.”

“She spoke in riddles!”

Decima narrowed her eyes. “The ultimate perpetrator huffed and puffed and blew holes in the walls between the universes. That person is the Bad Wolf – you.”

Rose shook her head. “That was the Daleks, not me!”

“No, Rose.” The Doctor's voice turned deadly calm, a sign of the brewing Oncoming Storm. “The Daleks were in containment. You lied when you said the Cannon just started working. You were pounding away at the walls for years, and the cracks you created allowed Caan to rescue Davros. You caused today. You and you alone.”

“None of this could have happened, Doctor, had you not kept her with you as a companion,” announced Decima, sounding very like her ruler. “We do not have your ability to see the timelines, but we can tell that the events did not become fixed until certain moments happened, making them inevitable. She was under your care as she was an underage child – in truth or merely physically – at the time of the crimes in this universe that made this moment possible. Therefore, you must punish her, or surrender her to our custody.”

He got the message loud and clear. His priorities had been twisted by prophecies, which could have multiple meanings. He well remembered the stories from the Greek world about oracles, and how their meaning was ambiguous. He'd almost destroyed his own family's safety, on the mistaken belief that he could send Rose back without anything to show for her troubles except the safety of the multi-verses. And, despite what Decima had said, his son's birth would have happened today with or without Rose's intervention – it was a fixed point. The Dalek's actions... only became so because of Rose.

Another warning from the TARDIS reminded him that he would never know what all the Dimension Cannon did. More reason to handle Rose sooner rather than later.

Rose grabbed the Doctor's arms. “She can't enforce anything! I did nothing wrong! I just-”

He shook her off and shoved her into Jack's arms. “Restrain her!”

“Doctor!” Rose screamed.

“For once, you're going to do what I tell you to, Rose Tyler: shut up!”

She stared at him, eyes huge in disbelief and dismay.

“You are facing possible execution, which you could've avoided had you listened all those times I told you to do something or not to do something!! Reap what you've sown, Rose.”

“If you are thinking of turning her into a child, as your ship did for your son, I'm afraid the Architect will not be satisfied.”

The Doctor turned to face Decima. “What would you have me do? It's the only form of... death that I can tolerate for a companion. I don't want to force her mother to live without her child at all.”

“Her punishment must permit her to see that she is being punished. The Architect demands that, or the Judoon will be searching for you for all of time, Doctor.”

Groaning, he rubbed his neck. He really didn't need another enemy on his trail. “But we have to ensure that she can't cause any more trouble. If she doesn't remember at all, then that's assured.”

Decima thought a moment. “What about a mind wipe?”

“No!” the Doctor snapped, eyes flashing with pain. “I saw my own people do that to two of my companions, and I was fearing that I'd have no choice but to inflict that on Donna until my ship saved her. A mind wipe is not acceptable!”

Decima pursed her lips, an odd look given her origins. Slowly she nodded. “Very well, but a measure must be taken, else she must be turned over to us. Choose quickly, Doctor. How would you resolve this?”

He was glad that the room was silent in the face of the enormity of the situation. Donna was rubbing their son's back, calming the frightened boy toward sleep. Sarah Jane was holding Jackie's hand and hugging her, one mother supporting another. Mickey stood to the side, unable to tear his eyes away from the train wreck. Martha kept by Donna's side, trying to offer support and trying to focus on the boy rather than on the girl whose shadow she'd been taunted with.

Jackie went up to Decima, eyes wide and wet. “Please... don't take my daughter from me. I just want a chance to do things right. I know I made mistakes, but please let her live.”

The Doctor looked at Decima again. “Are you sure about that regression thing? Because that's my preferred punishment. It gives Jackie a second chance, and ensures that Rose will never know how to cause such trouble ever again. And I doubt the TARDIS will be as kind as she was with my son. Otherwise I'd have to do something like a genetic cascade wash. It'd hide the memories of what she did, but make it impossible for her to do or think of anything that would put her or others into harm's way. Trouble is it can cause unpredictable epileptic-like fits, and I consider that something I wouldn't wish on anyone.”

The room went utterly silent. One thing was clear. Whatever the decision was, someone would be hurting in the end.

THE END

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
alimoseby
May. 31st, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
This was epic. I love seeing Rose get the what for and the how to. Especially when all the companions are there to hear it. =D I always feel bad for Jackie though. =/

"Street rat" and "worthless ginger". Oh, that makes me want to introduce Rose to my knuckles.

Wonder what the punishment will be...

Loved it.

~Ali ♥
tkel_paris
May. 31st, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
That might've been part of why I couldn't select a punishment this time, what made my mind draw blanks. But it didn't stop me from forcing Rose to get what for. :P

Martha would've done it for you if Jackie hadn't intervened. :)

Thank you! Glad I not only had something to post for you, but I slightly cleared my WIPs list. :)
serenityslady
May. 31st, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
Time Family. Rose gets what-for. Shadow Proclamation demanding punishment. Wow! This had it all!

Rose really went right off the rails there, spewing at the Duplicate. The Bad Wolf warped her mind. She actually became mentally unstable, I believe.

Regression or fits? Hmmm. Ponderous choice.

Very well done, my dear.

tkel_paris
May. 31st, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :D

I think she was already warped. Bad Wolf made it worse, I will agree.

I decided to leave it up to the readers to imagine her fate. :)

Thank you! :D
serenityslady
Jun. 3rd, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
It kills me whenever I read people saying what a wonderful companion Rose was to the Doctor. When did she do anything constructive or selfless? Yes, she was already twisted before Bad Wolf. Being a teenager didn't help either!

Personally, I'd like Jackie to have the opportunity to help Rose rehabilitate. There are seizure drugs that could help with the fits. I agree with the Shadow Proclamation: Rose should have to know she is being punished.

:D
bas_math_girl
May. 31st, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
*places my punishment vote in the box* Phew! I am so relieved that the Duplicate was recognised as the Doctor and Donna's son, and that he wasn't allowed to be left on Pete's World.
tkel_paris
Jun. 1st, 2013 03:26 am (UTC)
Knew you'd like it. :DDDDDD
dm12
Jun. 6th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
I agree!

Not sure what punishment to vote for, but it is definitely warranted. With Rose, it was all about what the Universe could do for her. Donna, on the other hand, wanted to know what she could do to help the Doctor, share in his burden, and help the Universe become a better place for all. What a difference! But then, Donna is much more mature, not one of those kids the Doctor used to travel around with...
bas_math_girl
Jun. 6th, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
True! There are those who ask what the universe can for them, and those of us who ask what we can do for the universe; maturity isn't the only deciding personality factor. Not that I'm suggesting...okay, maybe I am! ;D
dm12
Jun. 6th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
Well, it is true that maturity isn't the only factor, but teenagers tend to be very self-centered. That said, Rose never fully developed a sense of compassion, while it seems that Donna may have always had it. Donna also didn't stand for nonsense, she stood up to the Doctor when he was getting too full of himself, but never for her own personal benefit.
bas_math_girl
Jun. 6th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
You are completely right about Donna making a fuss when it wasn't for her own benefit. Funnily enough I was checking through School Reunion this afternoon for someone; and I was reminded what a rude, possessive, selfish little brat Rose was in it (all the giggles later on between her and Sarah Jane doesn't hide that simple fact). I cannot imagine Donna ever behaving in such a way.
Carolyn Harrison
Apr. 1st, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
I love it when Rose gets punished by the Shadow Proclamation. I'm usually not a big fan of OC characters, but I love Decima. I'd really like to see her character again in another story. Since I have epilepsy myself I think the best punishment for Rose is a combination of what the Doctor and Decima both want. Regress her to between 3-5 years old, but let her know that she used to be older, letting her remember her time with the Doctor, but at the same time not allowing her to remember what he looked like, or what he was called. That way she could know that she was younger, not as a gift, but as a punishment. I'd block her memories of the TARDIS as well. Since Donna was in danger of her mind burning if she ever remembered the Doctor I think it only fair that Rose have a seizure if she ever tries to remember, or speak of her time with the Doctor, or if she tries to use alien technology.
tkel_paris
Apr. 3rd, 2015 04:38 am (UTC)
Decima coming back? Well, she's supposed to be that same andron who helped Donna in canon, so I suppose that's possible. Ooh! That's a thought: not total regression but partial. I like it! I may show that to another writer and see whether they want to tackle it as well. :D
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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