The First Time
“I know!” The Doctor said to me. “We’ll go to a Renaissance Faire!”
“You have a time machine,” I pointed out. “Why don’t we just go to the Renaissance?”
“Don’t be boring,” he retorted, twirling around the console, pin-striped coat flapping behind him. “They’re completely different things. The actual Renaissance spanned hundreds of years and multiple countries and didn’t involve brightly coloured costumes or sword swallower at all. This will be much more fun.”
Before I could open my mouth to protest he pulled a big blue lever and we careened wildly into the vortex.
The Second Time
The Doctor was never forgetful. He could list every where he’d been, and when, with whom, and what they had done. It would take years to complete the list, but he could do it. The moment he opened the TARDIS doors and stepped out onto the broad grey-gravel square of Briarwood he knew he’d been here before, and that he was fated to come again. There was no way to fight it; and no reason too. The way he remembered it they all helped each other…
The Third Time
It was time. Somehow instinctively he knew, in his hearts, in his bones, that the moment was right and it was time to go back. It was time to save the world again, save himself, save them all… for a moment he wondered what the point was. Wondered if he just didn’t go; left himself behind there. Maybe it would be better that way. But even as he thought gloomy thoughts he was instinctively setting coordinates, travelling backwards to cross his own timeline for the third and final time.
The First Time
The Doctor was right; the faire was fun. I kept losing track of him in the crowds, but never for long. He was always easily found in the middle of the action, talking to anyone who crossed his path, and blissfully unaware how out of place he looked in the swirl of colors and costumes. Walking back from the circus I lost him again, and this time he didn’t reappear as easily as he had before. I soon caught a glimpse of him in the Tavern, and was surprised to see him standing behind the counter talking to some of the Faire Staff.
“Doctor!” I shouted, running towards him. I stopped as he turned towards me, skidded to a stop as he took a step back.
“You– you changed clothes,” I stammered, although that was clearly not the most important thing at hand.
“Mikaela,” he spoke my name. “Of course. I’m so sorry…”
He hadn’t expected to see her yet. He didn’t remember this. There was no script for him to follow. For a moment he stared incomprehensibly.
“What are you doing here?” she stammered. “Why are you looking at me this way?”
“It’s complicated,” he tried to explain. “I’m not who you think I am. Well, I am. I mean, I’m the Doctor. But not your Doctor. You should find him. Tell him to get out of here while he still can.”
“Why?” she asks. She’s confused, but not frightened. Brave girl.
“Tell him to beware of the Enchanter,” the Doctor says. “He’ll stop at nothing to destroy us all.”‘
The Third Time
He sits and waits. He tries to be inconspicuous, but everyone keeps glancing curiously at his tweed coat and bow-tie. He’s out of place in this flashy world of flowers, fairy wings, and ridiculous hats. He doesn’t remember feeling uncomfortable about his appearance before. Not in nine-hundred years of travelling. But today he wishes he could just be invisible. He doesn’t want to see them, but he knows he must. And so he keeps watch on the Enchanter’s tent.
The First Time
I find the Doctor again, this time wearing the same blue suit he had had on all day. All week, in fact. He was talking animatedly to a shop keeper, bouncing on his heels like a little boy in a toy shop.
“Doctor,” I exclaimed breathlessly. “We have to talk.”
“Mikaela,” he said, with a smile. “There you are. Enjoying yourself?”
“Yes,” I said instantly, for I was. “But there’s something weird going on.”
He pays attention to me instantly. We both know what weird can mean.
“Weird how?” he asks.
“I just saw you,” I explain. “There.” I point. “And you were wearing different clothes.”
He frowns. “Did I say anything?”
“Yes,” I tell him. “You told me to tell… you, to leave while you still can. And to look out for the Enchanter; he’ll stop at nothing to destroy us all.”
“The Enchanter?” he looks instantly worried. “We should go. Come on!”
“Why?” I asked breathlessly. “What’s going on? Doctor, what is it?”
“I don’t know,” the Doctor said. “But if there’s another version of me here, a future version…”
He stopped abruptly, and I ran straight into his back. “Ow,” I said, stepping back and rubbing my nose.
He didn’t respond; only stared at the empty field.
“What is it?” I asked again.
“The TARDIS,” he squeaked, pointing. “It’s gone!”
The Second Time
The warning wouldn’t do any good, of course. The Doctor ran out into the courtyard, knowing things would play out the second time in exactly the same way they had the first time. If he could get to his TARDIS maybe he could–
He came to an abrupt halt, staring at the wide stone yard. The TARDIS was gone.
No point avoiding it any more. He feels it in his bones just as he did before. Now is the time to stand up, stretch, and stand somewhere he’ll be visible when they–there. He sees himself running from one direction with Mikaela, and from the other alone. They all three meet in front of the Enchanter’s tent.
All Three Times Together
“You!” the first two doctors exclaim, staring at each other, fascinated.
“I know what you’re all wondering,” the third Doctor interjects, stepping between them. “Yes, I’m you. Yes, I’m you from the future. Your TARDISes have been taken by the Enchanter, who is currently ensconced in that tent over there. I suppose you’d like them back now?”
The first two doctors stop poking at each other and pay attention to their future incarnation.
“How do you know all this?” they exclaim at the same time.
“I’ve been here before,” the third one explains. “Twice, in fact.”
“Ah, right,” they say, at the same time. Again.
“This is too weird,” Mikaela says, covering her eyes in mock horror. “This is waaaay too weird.”
“So who is the Enchanter?” the first one asks.
“And how do we stop him?” the second one asks. “I don’t remember this part.”
The third Doctor straightens his bow-tie. “Let’s go ask him,” he suggests, and walks purposely towards the tent. His past selves follow.
The Enchanter cackles as he bends over his bubbling green pot. His hair is long and stringy, and grey with dirt, grime, and age. Surrounding him are the marks of his trade; bird’s claws and foul-smelling weeds. And hanging from his ceiling, shimmering in the firelight are three miniature TARDISes, barely over a foot in height. All his life he has waited for this moment; the moment that his enemy walks into his hands; three times over.
I watched the three versions of my Doctor walk away from me, and felt no urge to follow. Was it smart to walk right into the enemy’s camp like that? None of them seemed to notice me, which just made me more angry. Clearly the Doctor was more interested in himself than he was in me. Maybe it was high time to go home and get on with a real life instead of gallivanting around putting my life in danger just for the sake of high adventure. I started to walk away, changed my mind, and went back to the bench the strange man in a bow-tie had been sitting on. Was he really the Doctor as well? I wondered. How had he changed his appearance? I settled down to wait.
“Mwahahaha!” he exclaims, as his enemy walks through the tent door in triplicate. “Now I have you all right where I want you!”
The air is thick with herbs and magic. The second Doctor coughs, the third Doctor breaths in through his sleeve, and the first Doctor looks around anxiously for his companion.
“Where is Mikaela?” he exclaims.
The Doctor is only absent-minded, not careless. Within seconds he’s back, looking around anxiously.
“Mikaela!” He shouts. I’m more relieved then I thought I would be to hear his voice.
“Right here, Doctor,” I said, standing. “Would you kindly tell me what’s going on?”
“Do you want to know what’s going on with the missing TARDIS or with the other versions of me?” he asked worriedly.
“Both,” I said.
“Can I deal with the one first and explain the other later?” he pleads.
I toyed momentarily with the idea of tormenting him, but he’s so anxious that I gave in. “Fine,” I said. “As long as you make good on that promise.”
“I always keep my promises,” he retorted instantly. “Come on then!”
He holds out his hand, and I took it, knowing I could never give this up.
“What have you done with my TARDIS?” the two remaining Doctors shout simultaneously. The second turns to the third, confused. “Weren’t you expecting this?” he asked.
“Not as such, no,” the third admits. “I kind of thought my job was just to show up and repeat everything I remembered from the previous two times I was here. Apparently our Enchanter friend is messing with our history as well!”
The Enchanter chuckles and rubs his hands together. “I control your TARDIS,” he says. “In three different points in time. I can alter your timeline in any way I choose. In fact, I can control any part of time I wish! Using my magic arts I can change time without even leaving my tent! And the first act of villainy I will commit will be to wipe you out of existence, leaving me the sole master of the Vortex!”
“Stop him!” the second Doctor yells.
“I don’t know how to do that,” the third responds. “I always improvise!”
“Well, so do I,” says the second, “But nothing is coming to mind at this point!”
At that moment the back of the tent is torn open and the first Doctor bursts through, sonic screwdriver glowing. One of the TARDISes responds instantly, regrowing to full size and crushing the bubbling pot in the process.
“What have you done?” the Enchanter yells furiously.
“It was Mikaela’s idea,” the Doctor says with a grin.
“Watch out,” the second Doctor says. “He controls the time Vortex!”
“He can’t possibly,” the first Doctor scoffs. “Not unless he can get inside, and making the TARDIS small doesn’t help with that. He was bluffing.”
“But he said he changed the timelines,” the second Doctor insists. “This ridiculously dressed future version of ourselves didn’t remember any of this.”
The third Doctor coughed, and everyone turned to look at him.
“First of all,” he said indignantly, “I am not sadly dressed. Bow-ties are cool.”
No one responds. Everyone waits for the second thing.
“Secondly,” he says finally, “I remember all this just fine. I lied about the changing timeline.”
“Why?” the second Doctor asks, annoyed. “You could have saved us so much trouble.”
The third shrugs. “It’s what happened the last two times I was here,” he said. “What else was I supposed to do?”
He pulls his own sonic screw driver out of his pocket, and in a minute there are two full-sized TARDISes standing side by side. “Now that I’ve sorted all that out I should be going,” he says. “I was kind of in the middle of a crises when I came here. Saving the world and all that.”
“Tally-ho!” says the first Doctor, but the second one puts a hand on the third’s shoulder gently.
“Are you all right?” he asks himself. “I mean, you don’t look all that good.”
“You know I can’t talk about that,” the Doctor says quietly.
“But if you could?” he asks himself.
He shakes his head and steps inside. In a moment the TARDIS is gone, leaving room for second Doctor to enlarge his own.
“So where am I?” Mikaela demands. “How come you’re him but I’m not here too?”
“Sometimes people move on,” the second Doctor says with a shrug. “No one ever stays forever.”
“Is that true?” I demanded of the Doctor, my Doctor. “No one stays? Why?”
He gestured clumsily at the ruined tent and the howling Enchanter. “Have you never got tired of all this?” he asked. “The running and constantly being almost killed?”
“No,” I said instantly, but I lied. For a moment there was uncomfortable silence. Then:
“Well, where do you want to go next?” he asked brightly, and a shadow lifted from the room.
“Hmmm,” I pretended to think.
He laughed at me, already knowing what I was going to say.
“All right, all right,” he said. “We’ll go see the real Renaissance. It’s past time to pay Will Shakespeare another visit anyway. I wonder if he’s finished Hamlet yet?”
Yesterday I went to the KyRenFaire with four friends. We saw many things while we were there, including three versions of the Doctor from Doctor Who. I don’t usually post fiction on here, let alone fanfic, but I feel that this needs to be shared with the world as a Mostly Totally True Story. And it’s illustrated! And here’s us: standing outside the gate. Sadly we didn’t drag all three Doctors out to pose with us, and none of us bought a bird-house TARDIS.