Characters/Pairings: Theta/Koschei (young Doctor/Master)
Warnings: Some classic series knowledge is assumed; Uses some fairly well known theories and quasi-canon material about Time Lord culture as well as some personal theories, all of which may be Moffed later.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to Stephen Moffat, Russel T. Davies, and the BBC
Summary: Two outcasts meet on Gallifrey and become friends, then lovers, then enemies. This is their story.
( Chapter One )
( Chapter Two )
( Chapter Three )
( Chapter Four )
( Chapter Five )
( Chapter Six )
( Chapter Seven )
( Chapter Eight )
Theta helped Koschei out of the TARDIS. He was still screaming. Sometimes words, sometimes just sound. He wasn’t making much sense. There was a crowd of officials waiting for them outside. Theta looked around. Of all the places he could have landed, he landed in the Panopticon.
“My TARDIS!” he heard Sestrin yell. He rushed forward. “I should have known it was you who took it!” he yelled at Theta.
“Nevermind your TARDIS,” said Theta, “What about your son?!”
“My son! He’s regenerated! You’ve regenerated my son! You little monster!”
Some councilmen came forward and took Koschei away.
“Theta!” he yelled “THETA! Don’t let them take me!”
“What you’ve done is very serious.”
Theta stood in the Castellan’s chambers awaiting judgment, but all he could think about was Koschei.
“I don’t have to tell you that,” continued the Castellan. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be talking to me. You were not directly responsible for your friend’s regeneration, so the charges basically come down to theft of a council member’s TARDIS. Councilman Sestrin is pushing for harsh punishment for you, but the president sees things differently. According to the TARDIS’s records, it was involuntarily pulled to the Medusa Cascade. In light of the fact that you and your friend sealed the rift all on your own--a more than impressive feat--all charges are being dropped. For piloting the TARDIS during this difficult event, you are being awarded your license. Congratulations, son. Graduation is tomorrow. I suggest you get some rest before the ceremony.”
“What’s going to happen to Koschei?” asked Theta, barely having heard the Castellan’s speech.
“He’s suffering from regeneration sickness right now, but I’m sure he will be fine before tomorrow. You will both graduate with honors for sealing the rift.”
Theta didn’t care about graduating. He just wanted Koschei to be okay.
“Have you ever dealt with someone with regeneration sickness before?” asked the nurse.
“No. How long does it last?”
“Up to twenty-four hours. He’s going to be disoriented. He might say things that don’t make a lot of sense to you, and his mood will be erratic.”
“I just want to see him,” said Theta. “I don’t care if he makes sense.”
Theta opened the door to Koschei’s room. He was sitting up in bed staring into empty space. “Kos?”
“Theta?” Koschei looked at him questioningly.
Theta smiled and came to sit beside him. “Hi. How are you feeling?”
“I died, Theta,” he whispered. “You killed me.”
It felt like a ten ton weight on Theta’s heart. “No…No, Kos. I tried. I tried to save you!”
“You killed me!”
“YOU KILLED ME!”
“GET OUT!!! GET OUT!!! I WILL DESTROY YOU!!! IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO I WILL DESTROY YOU!!!”
Koschei’s screams faded as Theta ran out of the room and out of the hospital. It felt just like the day he found his father. It felt worse, because this was someone he loved, someone he’d known all his life. He ran to the only person he knew who would understand.
K’anpo was sitting under the tree like he always was.
He looked up. “Young Theta? What has happened?”
“It’s Koschei. There was an accident. He regenerated and it’s my fault! He hates me now.”
Theta told his mentor the whole story and when he finished, K’anpo was silent for a moment.
“You say you healed the rift with only your name?”
“It is incredibly rare that a Time Lord’s name has that much power, and the power a Time Lord’s name has reflects the type of person he is. This shows that you are a great healer. A force for good in the universe.”
“But what about Koschei? What do I do?” Theta pleaded.
“Even a Time Lord cannot change the events in his life that have already occurred. You are a healer. All you can do is try to heal the wounds between you.”
“But he hates me now.”
“He loves you, my boy. He will always love you.”
“But he said he wants to destroy me.”
“The strongest hate can only be born of the strongest love. Even if he does hate you now, it is only because he loves you that it can endure.”
“There must be a way I can change that.”
“I have always believed that you two have been destined to take very different paths. You are so much alike, yet you have very different ideals.”
“Are you saying… Are you saying we’ll be enemies?”
“I cannot say. Whatever happens, you mustn’t give up on him. Only you can turn his hate back into love.”
“Can you help me?”
“I’m afraid I won’t be staying on Gallifrey much longer.”
“What?! But you’ve always been here. You have to stay!”
“Theta, when I met you, I had been planning to leave Gallifrey for some time, but you showed such promise! I had to stay and teach you. Now I’ve taught you all I can. It’s time for you to grow in your own way and it’s time for me to find a new planet with young minds willing to learn.”
Theta felt like his whole world was falling apart. His true love hated him and now his mentor was leaving. “But what do I do?”
“It’s time for you to be someone else’s mentor.”
“I don’t think I’d be very good at that.”
“I think you would be amazing. Changing one mind can change a universe and you have a lot of wisdom to impart.”
“I’m only ninety. I’m barely an adult.”
“Someday you will have the wisdom of years, but already you have wisdom of the heart.”
Theta took his mentor’s withered hand. “Thank you, K’anpo. You’ve changed my life in more ways than you know. I’ll feel good knowing you’re changing someone else’s.”
Theta adjusted his ceremonial robes in the mirror. These things looked so stupid. He eyed the headdress warily. People had been coming up to him all day, asking how he’d sealed the rift, congratulating him. They were calling him The Healer of the Rift. That word again: Healer. Suddenly the door to his dressing room opened and Koschei walked in. “Koschei!”
“I thought… I thought you didn’t want to see me anymore.”
“I was confused and sick yesterday,” he said. “I didn’t mean any of that.”
Theta beamed and rushed to hug him, but Koschei held him back. “Now none of that.”
“I’m sorry you regenerated. It was my fault. I should have saved you.”
“No, it was good that I regenerated.”
“It made me realize something. Theta, do you know what regeneration felt like?”
“I imagine it must’ve been traumatic.”
“It felt like fire, Theta. Burning away all my weakness, making me stronger. Each regeneration will be stronger than the last. We’re practically immortal.”
Koschei was starting to scare him. The look in his eyes was so intense.
“My regeneration made me realize our superiority to the rest of the universe more than ever. I want you to join me, Theta.”
“Join you in what?”
“I’m going to search for true immortality and take over this universe. We could rule it together! I want no one else by my side!”
Theta was horrified. “No! No, of course not! What are you saying, Kos?!”
“We’re better than the rest of them! Time Lords aren’t meant to simply watch time and space passively.”
“You’re right,” said Theta, ”But we’re not meant to rule it either! We’re meant to protect it. I want to change things, yes, but in a very different way than you do.”
“Well,” said Koschei calmly. “Then I guess that makes us adversaries.”
There was that weight in Theta’s heart again. “Is there nothing I can say to change your mind? Think about it, Koschei. We could travel time and space together, see the whole of history.”
“What’s the point in seeing something you can’t conquer?”
“This regeneration has changed you.”
“It’s not the regeneration! This is what I’ve always wanted! I just know I’m powerful enough to do it now.”
“This isn’t you. You’re my friend. You’re sweet. You know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
“If that’s what you think, then you never knew me at all.”
“Koschei…please.” Theta’s heart ached. He couldn’t believe this was really happening.
Koschei turned to leave the room. “I’ll see you at the ceremony.” He looked back before he left and added. “I’m eager to see what name you choose.”
“…and in the name of Rassilon, I present you with this diploma and proclaim you to be a full fledged Time Lord and graduate of Prydonian Academy. Do you wish to choose a new name?”
Theta thought. He looked over the audience and the rest of the graduates. He looked at Koschei in the crowd. Koschei smiled at him wickedly. Was that really the Koschei he knew and loved? Did he ever really know him at all? If he was going to protect this universe from him, he supposed he should pick an appropriate title. He thought about what everyone had been calling him. The Healer. But that couldn’t be his name, it sounded stupid. But this universe did need healing. Lives needed saving. “The Doctor,” he said to the Dean.
“Very well. I name you, the Doctor.” and he handed the Doctor his diploma.
Theta, no, the Doctor took his place among the graduates. Koschei was next. The Doctor thought, as he watched Koschei being ordained, that if the council knew what he had planned, they would never let him graduate.
“Do you wish to choose a new name?” asked the Dean.
“You may call me the Master.”