Title: Prelude
Series: The Doctor Spencer Chronicles
Series Order: 1
Fandom: Criminal Minds/Doctor Who
Category: Slight Angst, Time Travel, Genderbend
Ratings: Teen
Pairings: The Doctor/Ian, The Doctor & Sarah Jane, The Doctor & Romana
Spoilers: Doctor Who Minor
Summary: The Doctor makes some life-changing decisions and visits old friends to make sure she is doing the right thing.
Words: 5528
Warnings: None
Beta: None. No non-consensual Beta


“Doctor,” Ian sighed as he languished in bed, the Doctor stretched out along his side. She knew she shouldn’t have gone down this path with the gorgeous young man, but the longer he stayed in the TARDIS, the longer she got to know him, the more she had wanted him.

Four years he had been with her and as usual, those four years had changed him, and her as well. She stretched out like a cat and rolled on top of him and kissed him.

“Yes, Ian darling?”

“Do you love me?” The Doctor started and sat up, straddling the young man’s waist.

“Ian…” She looked to the side and took a deep breath. She had vowed, a long time ago, after Rose, not to let herself fall in love. It was too painful to always let someone go. She searched her hearts and tried to understand her feelings. “I care for you, I do. I love you as a friend, companion, ally. But, I’m not in love with you.” The words hurt her more than she was willing to admit even to herself.

Ian smiled sadly as he laid his hands on her thighs, gently stroking.

“Why do you do this? Entice people, get them excited about all of the travel and the adventure, but you never warn about the danger.” Ian looked at her, not with derision, but with a kind of sadness and…pity. The Doctor hated pity. She abruptly stood and grabbed her robe, tying it around her waist, she glared.

“It isn’t like I always expect there to be danger wherever I go. We’ve had adventures where there was no danger involved. Should I just, fly around and travel alone? That’s a fate worse than death.” She spun around angry, at Ian, at herself and even at Clara, dear Clara. She didn’t want to think about her long-lost former companion. The memory block had been broken when she had regenerated this last time, and she often wondered what had happened to her, but she chose not to look, she didn’t want to see the young woman knowing that at any moment she could die. The life clock was still frozen, but it could be unfrozen and that would be her end. The Doctor shook her head not wanting the memories, and walked out, stomping off to her own room to change.

“You know, I should be used to you just running off by now. Never wanting to talk about this,” Ian gestured angrily between them.

“Because there isn’t anything to talk about.”

“So I’m just some sort of distraction? Fling? Boy Toy?” Ian gritted his teeth, his expression was cold and flat as he stared at The Doctor.

The Doctor spun around again and glared hard at her companion. She kept the pain of his words off her face because of course, she didn’t think that. But, she couldn’t afford the feelings.

“Maybe you are, so what? You knew what I was about after I saved your sorry ass from the Daleks on Sectus Six. Trying to be some stupid lone cowboy against an army.”

“You defeated them.”

“Because I know how,” she yelled.

“Oh, and what, I’m just a stupid human?” Ian yelled back.

“No. You’re impulsive, hot-headed, and stubborn. You rush into things before you think about them,” She yelled back.

“You mean like you.”

The Doctor stopped and it was like a slap in the face. This was almost the same conversation she had with River so long ago during the Battle of Demon’s Run. She didn’t say anything as she slammed her bedroom door in Ian’s face. Marching over to her own bed, she collapsed on the edge of it and sighed holding back tears she refused to shed.

She knew why her companion was asking, their last adventure didn’t go well. Ian almost died, and it would have been as a direct result of her own actions. She looked around her room and wondered how much longer she could actually keep going. Many people looked for the answer to a longer life, and she had proof that it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. She never stayed, never let a companion stay, the pain of watching them get old, and die wasn’t something she could deal with. People across the galaxy called her brave, she knew, in truth, she wasn’t. When it came to emotions, to love, to letting people in, she was a coward.

Standing she went to her closet and stood there a moment and looked at all the things she’d worn over her long lifetime. She smiled at the cricket outfit, her collection of scarves, especially the one Romana had given her, well him at the time, the frilly shirt that Jo often joked about, the leather he wore when he first met Rose. Each person had enriched her life in some way, and all she seemed to do was bring pain. Sighing she grabbed a pair of khaki’s, a fitted shirt, a jacket and, because she was feeling nostalgic, the red scarf from Romana. Putting everything on, she walked out to the console room.

“I’m sorry, Doctor.”

“No, Ian. You’re right. You are absolutely right. I don’t know how to connect anymore. I…I used you, because of my own loneliness.” She stretched out on the couch and laid her head back.

“Doctor, have you ever thought of just stopping? Just stop and let someone in, have a family again, have a real lover, someone that you can love as much as they love you back.”

“I’ve had a family Ian. I tried to go back once…” The Doctor let slip a tear, she didn’t know where these feelings were coming from. Did more than my outward appearance change? Did my mind and my heart change as well? Why do I feel so much more than I used to? All these questions ran through her mind as she thought about the family she had left behind so very long ago. When he ran from Gallifrey so long ago, he had no idea the path his, now her, life was going to take.

“What happened?” Ian asked as he took her hand and brushed her hair back behind her ear.

“Nothing I want to talk about.” She said with a finality that had Ian moving away. She chuckled softly and thought about her first ever companions, Ian and Barbara. She remembered about going to their wedding, standing on the sidelines, and knowing they were going to be happy together. It was a good memory, and one she didn’t know why it had come up. She wasn’t normally this nostalgic.

“You never talk about your past.”

The Doctor snorted and shook her head, “My past is long, winding and frankly, boring.”

Ian looked at her for a long time before standing and narrowing his eyes at her. The Doctor had the distinct impression that he was trying to work something out in his head.

“I think it’s best if we part ways Doctor. I think you should take me home.”

“Ian…” The Doctor stood and moved over towards the young man.

“No, I mean it, Doctor. You’re smart, beautiful, exciting. But you’re also dangerous and closed off. As much fun as I’ve had with you, there won’t ever be anything more between us, you’ve made that abundantly clear. So, to preserve my own heart and my health, I want you to take me home.”

The Doctor stood there and watched her companion, not wanting to beg him to stay, but a part of her did want to beg, but that would have gone against her very nature. Smiling sadly she didn’t say anything as she set the coordinates of the TARDIS to take Ian back home to Toronto, Canada where she had found him the first time.

She slumped on the couch and watched Ian leave the console room. Wiping a hand over her face she thought about her life, something that she had been doing all day. When Ian came back, he had his bag in his hand and set it down.

“I think you need your heart broken.” Ian sat next to her on the couch and took her hand. “I think you need to remember what you do to us, I think you need to lose Doctor because you think you are invincible. You aren’t. I see your vulnerability, though you choose to hide it. You need to lose to remember what it is to truly win.”

The Doctor frowned at her companion.

“I’ve lost Ian…”

“No. You walk away. You leave us like you did Joanna, or Timeran, or Joy, or Anthony, do I need to go on? When it gets complicated, you leave us because you don’t want to deal with real life. You want to stay in this box, and it doesn’t matter how big it is, it’s a kind of prison. You fly around, have your adventures, that almost always end up being dangerous. You pull us, your companions, in with no regards to our well being, emotionally, physically or mentally. Then, when it’s too much, you take us home or leave us wherever you see fit. This time, I’m the one choosing. I love you Doctor, but I can’t do this anymore.”

The TARDIS landed and Ian stood, grabbed his bag and walked towards the door as it opened up for him. The Doctor stood and ran to him. She took him in her arms and held him close.

“I’ll miss you.”

“But you won’t miss me enough.” Ian smiled sadly as he placed a kiss on her forehead and left.

As soon as the doors shut on the TARDIS, the Doctor sighed and let a few tears roll down her cheeks. She wondered for a time at Ian’s words. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, she did, always had, but it hurt too much when they left. She had become numb to the pain over her all too long life.

The Doctor closed her eyes and let her mind wander. There was a memory that tickled at the back of her mind, rumors mainly, of a Time Lord that unlocked the secret to de-age himself. The rumor was he became human and a child. He let himself experience life in a whole different way. The Doctor wondered…

She stood up and slowly circled the console as she set coordinates for…she didn’t even know. She thought back over all her companions and knew there was one or two that would still welcome her, and not condemn her. Smiling she set her TARDIS to go see Sarah Jane Smith. The one companion that always told her the truth, and yet still embraced adventure. She hadn’t royally screwed up Sarah Jane’s life and she, no matter her incarnation, was still welcomed. She wanted, no needed some advice and there were few in the whole galaxy that she trusted more.

Landing near Sarah Jane’s house, the Doctor left her TARDIS and walked the short distance to the small house that her former companion lived in with her adopted son. With her heart and mind in turmoil, she knocked. She stood there waiting for a few moments then the door was opening.

“Yes, can I help you?” Sarah’s smile lit up some of those dark places in The Doctors very soul.

“It is so good to see you old friend.” The smiled broadened and The Doctor knew she had made the right decision.

“Doctor, well this is a new look for you.” The Doctor let out a hearty laugh, one that even she hadn’t heard in so very long.

“It is indeed. May I come in? I think I have need of your very wise counsel when it comes to my total and complete assholery.”

Sarah Jane’s eyebrows shot so far past her bangs that it was almost comical.

“Well, you never did shy away from my opinion of you. Come in.” She held the door open and The Doctor walked in and was led to a spacious sitting room.


“That would be lovely.” The Doctor sat and knew no matter what, she would always be welcomed here, and Sarah Jane would always tell her the truth.

The Doctor moved through the market on Centaurus Three like she had a purpose. She did, of course. She was looking for someone. Someone she had not seen in ages. But, she needed to see them, to get direction, for if anyone would know, they would.

She thought about the dear boy Ian as he left him at his doorstep, actually getting the navigation right for once. She had brought her companion back home to precisely a few days after he was supposed to have left. There was a lot that the young man had gone through, but he claimed that he would never regret the years that he had spent with her. As she sat in the control room she looked around and thought about her future.

“Where to now old girl, huh? How much more do we have in us?” She had wandered through rooms from other companions, ones that had left of their own free will, ones that had died, those hurt the worst. She never forgot any of her companions and thought about going back to visit some of them, but she looked around and thought What’s the point?

She knew what this was, she had lived too long. Too many regenerations. She almost wished that Clara had let her go. She, or he at the time, had been ready. He was happy with the protection of Christmas, and he was willing to die for it. Christmas was supposed to be his death, but it wasn’t. That damn girl had to go and figure it out. The last crack in the Universe, for he had healed all of the other ones that could be found, just had to be the way to talk to his people. The Doctor cursed Clara at this moment wondering why she had lived so many more lifetimes. She was beginning to understand why a Time Lord only had one regeneration cycle. It wasn’t that they couldn’t deal with it physically, it was that it was hard to deal with emotionally.

Sighing, she looked down at the pocket watch and wondered. There had been a rumor on Gallifrey, when she was just a young boy, about a Time Lord that had wanted to experience life all over again from an infant. The Council called it blasphemous and banished him from the planet. They had thought about taking away his final regenerations, but instead, they took his TARDIS, disabled it, and stranded him on an unknown planet. Now she wondered if the rumors were true. If there was truth in what they had done, and if they had succeeded.

Making up her mind, she went on a quest. Her first stop was The Matrix on Gallifrey. She hadn’t tried to get inside since after she had saved Gallifrey. Technically, she still had Presidential power. Even though Presidents had come and gone, the Council had never officially taken away her powers of Presidency. And that meant access to The Matrix.

While there, after sneaking her way in, she found the information she was looking for. It was surprisingly easy to find, it wasn’t like anyone was hiding it, and she knew she probably could have asked, but where would the fun have been in that? That thought made her stop and think, “Good god, have I turned into River? Somehow I think she’d be proud.” The Doctor smiled as she thought about her wife. Though she only lived as a construct now, the affection was still there.

Shaking her head, she left the Matrix, armed with more knowledge than she had just a short time ago.

The Doctor was brought out of her musings as she sat at a table in the cafe where she was to meet Dorium at. Thinking of her old friend as she sipped tea from Andromeda and nibbled on biscuits from Segundus Five, she smiled thinking about the possible next steps in her new endeavor.

“My dear Doctor. It is so nice to see you again,” Dorium said as soon as his handler had opened his box.

“Dorium, it is so good to see you as well. How are you, my old friend?”

“Oh, you know just hanging about in a box,” the joke was old, but the Doctor still chuckled as she set her tea down on the table.

“I need your help. I want to know what you know of a man calling himself Arcturus Torrigan.”

“Well now. That is not a name I have heard in a very long time. If he is still there I can give you the coordinates of where I last heard of him.”

“And what do you want in return?”

Dorium smiled and tried to look coy, but The Doctor knew better. She knew how tricky the man could be. It didn’t matter that he was only a head, his appetites hadn’t been forgotten.

“Well, I know of a pretty boy who wasn’t repelled by my…lack of a body. Bring him to me and I will give you what you want.” The Doctor lifted a brow and tried not to think about what Dorium wanted with this boy. Of course, it wasn’t her place to judge, she never cared much what people did with their bodies as long as it was all consensual.

“You know, any other person would be quite put off by that request, but I’ll do it. Who am I to deny someone, especially you, pleasure. Tell me his name, where you met, and what he looks like and I’ll see what I can do. If, for some reason, I cannot get your…paramour, what else would you consider as payment?”

Dorium thought about it a moment.

“A Florian Crystal. I hear they are some of the most beautiful in the galaxy.”

The Doctor smiled softly as she remembered taking Seamus to the Crystal Fields of Floria. The young man was beyond delighted. And it didn’t hurt that he had found love with a young Florian girl. Seamus had been an orphan, no family to speak of, so it was no small wonder that he found a companion with a large family that loved him immediately. Last she heard they had six children, and were quite successful with their jewelry making business. The cut Florian Crystals were sought after the Galaxy over.

“I think I just may know how to acquire one. But, first I will see what I can do about your young man.”

In the end, The Doctor had found both. When she went to visit Seamus to ask after one of the famed crystals, the family had gifted her a beautiful set of rings.

“For when you find your own, Doctor. Save it for that special person.” She took the set of rings, both of them on the masculine side. She frowned as she looked at Seamus.

“Mother has seen into one of her crystals. She believes you will find someone. A man who will take your heart and love you like no other. She’s pretty good at this stuff. Make of it what you will.” Seamus smiled as he also gave her a small pouch with several of the uncut crystals and a teardrop necklace. The Doctor wondered if the Mother-in-Law was right, but she wasn’t going to hold her breath. After visiting Seamus, she went in search of Dorium’s young man and luckily found him. The young man had been searching for Dorium, it seemed. He had gotten separated from the man and was trying to find his way back to Centaurus Three. Laughing to herself, The Doctor took both paramour, and crystals, to Dorium, and in turn, she got the coordinates to Arcturus’s last known location.

The planet was unnamed, it was on the far reaches of the Universe. The Doctor was anxious, but she had long ago put aside her fears. It didn’t mean that she was stupidly brave, though those words had been applied to her in the past, she found that most fears were unfounded. However, stepping onto an unknown planet, in a precarious situation make her have a healthy dose of fear.

Grabbing her sonic screwdriver, a pouch she attached to her jeans, and a hat to keep out the sun as best as she could, she set out in search of the rogue Time Lord.

It didn’t take her long to find a lone house sitting on a precipice. Making her way carefully there, she stood before the door getting ready to knock, not knowing what to expect. Taking a deep breath and reigning in her fears she reached up and used the hanging knocker to knock on the door.

The Doctor stood on the small porch so long she didn’t think the person inside was going to answer. Finally, when she was about to knock again, the door opened, and she was staring into the very blue eyes of Arcturus Torrigan.

“Doctor. I wondered when you were going to come and visit me. Come in.” He moved aside to let her in. “I’m rather surprised to see that you’ve changed genders. Most don’t choose to, sticking with one or the other.”

“Of course Gender is not limited to our genitals, you should know this very well dear Arcturus…or should I say Romana.”

The deep rich laugh that came from the man warmed the Doctor’s soul. Her old friend, and one-time lover was there in front of her.

“How did you figure it out?”

“Dear friend, it’s your eyes, they may have changed color, but there is a bit of the old you in there. Now, tell me, why all the subterfuge?”

Arcturus sat down at the table and leaned back.

“It is very strange to see our roles reversed.” The smile set something in the Doctor’s heart.

“It very much is. You know I hated leaving you in E-Space like that, but then when I saw you years later as President, I knew you were okay.”

“My years in E-Space were some of the best years of my life. When the Lion People started to come back and heal, I knew I had done as much as I could for them. When I found my way back, I never expected, nor wanted the Presidency, but you, Doctor, were making waves as usual. I thought it in our mutual best interest to accept the position to help deflect eyes away from you.”

“Always trying to protect me, ey Romana?”

“Always Doctor.” The other Time Lord looked at his friend long a hard. “Why are you really here?”

“I’ve been told that you found a way to de-age yourself and have a life from infancy on. That you learned some kind of technology that would let you do this, and still retain all of your memories.”

Arcturus steepled his fingers together as he studied his friend even harder.

“You still looking for that ultimate adventure, aren’t you?”

“In a way. I think…I think I want to stop for a while. I want to remember what it’s like to be a child and to grow into something more. Do you know how old friend?” Arcturus took a few moments to study the Doctor.

“If I tell you how, you have to promise me to actually embrace it, enjoy it. Choose a family, be happy, and let yourself stay. I can promise you, Doctor, that if you do, you’ll find a great adventure, just not the way you think.”

The Doctor thought she knew what Arcturus meant, but looked hard and long at her friend and saw great sadness there.

“What happened? After Gallifrey came back?”

“It was chaos. The Daleks were defeated, the war ended as it should. We were so arrogant, and the war made us come face to face with our own arrogance. In trying to keep balance, we ignored the things you were trying to fix. If we had gotten involved sooner with the Daleks, it might not have gone that far.

“The council was trying to help, and we knew we could no longer be separate. Time Lords and the general population came back together, there was infighting, and I finally needed to leave. I traveled, like you.” Arcturus smiled as he reached across the table they were sitting at.

“I have been a terrible host. Would you like some tea?”

“That would be lovely, thank you. But why, Arcturus, why here?”

The Time Lord puttered in his small kitchen and the Doctor saw his shoulders sag. Patience was never the Doctor’s strong suit, and even more since her gender change, but seeing a sadness encompass her friend had her holding her tongue. After a short while, a tea set was being set in front of the Doctor, and her friend was sitting across from her.

“I mean it, Doctor. Be careful what you wish for, you may get more than you bargained in the end. Doing this thing, it can bring you great joy, but also great pain. I fell in love. He was a wonderful man, and we had children. It was a simpler life, away from Presidencies, rogue Time Lords, Daleks, Cybermen, I loved it and I loved him. When he died…” Arcturus looked towards his window and shook his head. “I regenerated, voluntarily, because I thought it would make the pain go away, but it didn’t. As much as I loved and care for you Doctor, it was nothing compared to Charles. I still love him, and I just wanted away from everything. So, here I am.

“I only travel in my TARDIS when I need supplies, and that’s it. There are still limiters on it set there by the Time Lords, and I’m okay with that.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“That’s what this path can lead you to, dear friend, Be sure.”

“I am. I am very sure. It’s been so long Arcturus since I had a real family.”

The Time Lord sighed and stood. He went to a locked cabinet and pulled out a small contraption. It wasn’t very large, but of course, it was the 72nd Century by Earth standard years, and technology was vast and strange. What could be done at the current time wasn’t possible in days past. Taking the contraption in her hand, the Doctor held it.

“Use this on the Cloister bell in your TARDIS. You must stand near, press this button and make sure you have something with you that you can store your memories in, and a second item you can store your Time Lord life force in. Make sure you have someone that you trust implicitly by your side, and once it’s done, they can carry out your wishes on where you want to go.”

“That simple?”

“With this it is. But, it wasn’t that easy to create this. Doctor, this is Time Lord technology. It was made by a rogue scientist…”

“They made it for you, didn’t they?”

Arcturus stood and looked out the window and sighed. His shoulders drooped a little as he took a deep breath.

“Yes, I commissioned it. It’s only been used twice. Do you want to know who the other Time Lord it was that used it?”

The Doctor got up and stood next to Arcturus, leaning into her friend she took a few moments to decide if she did want to know. Looking out on the desolate ocean outside her friends’ house, the Doctor wondered. There was one she knew who would probably want to start their life over again.

“The Master?”

“You could never be fooled. She found out what I was doing and demanded I change her first. Which, to be honest, I was happy to do. Test it out, and if it was on the Master…”

“You vicious thing.”

“You should know.”

“I didn’t do that, Arcturus.”

“Oh, Doctor. You still deny your effect on those you deem worthy to travel with you. You’ve seen it for yourself. Stop denying what you woke in every one of us. Your companions until the end.”

The Doctor couldn’t deny her friends words. She had seen for herself and sometimes hated even herself for how those that traveled with her were changed.

“You’re right, dear friend. And yet I can’t always stop myself.”

“That’s because you are both restless and lonely. Your loneliness causes you to seek out companions, your restlessness causes you to leave them. Or your recklessness, it doesn’t matter, you change people. Sometimes for the good…”

“And sometimes not. I know.” The Doctor took in a deep breath as she moved away from the window and went back to her tea and the contraption that Romana had made. She looked up and saw the sadness and despair surrounding her friend and wondered if it would be worth it.

“Tell me Arcturus, was it worth it?”

The man turned around and had a strange smile on his face.

“Even in my heartbreak, every single moment of my life with Charles was worth it. I can live with my decisions, my losses. I’m not going to stay here forever, just until the grief no longer grips me. Take a chance Doctor. Fall in love, have children, learn a new adventure and, yes there will be pain and sorrow, but god, there will be happiness and great joy.”

The Doctor pocketed the contraption and smiled. She stood and hugged her old friend.

“Do you want me to fix your TARDIS?”

Arcturus smiled and the Doctor knew, he already had. Shaking her head she left the house and made her way back to her own TARDIS. On the way she let her mind wander and thought about who she trusted most in the Universe to carry out whatever her wishes were. Smiling, she knew she was going to go back to Sara Jane.

Landing a few years in the past, Sarah Jane carried the baby in her arms and into the Las Vegas hospital. The Doctor and herself had done extensive research and found a family that felt right for the young boy. They had contacted the hospital before the Doctor used the…well Sarah Jane forgot what she called it, but it didn’t even matter, what mattered was the adoption.

“Miss Smith. How exactly did you hear about the situation with the Reid’s?”

“Doctor Chambers, I have a lot of friends, sometimes it seems like they are everywhere. And since I’m a reporter, some people will tell me things they won’t tell anyone else. When I heard about the plight of poor Mrs. Reid, I knew I had the solution. The boy is absolutely wonderful, and I think that he would be brought up in a loving home.”

“You know the full details of their circumstances?”

“Yes, but shouldn’t everyone have the chance to have a child? As I know it, Mrs. Reid is doing quite well once she went back on her medications?”

“Yes, we have been more than pleased with her progress. It is a shame that she had lost the baby, she was so hopeful.”

Sarah looked down at The Doctor, now a baby, cradled in her arms. She thought the whole plan was a little crazy, but of course, the Doctor was always a little crazy.

“Well, I hope the boy can help her heal.”

“We just have a few forms for you to sign, then you can introduce the boy to the Reid’s.”

Sarah Jane smiled, signed the forms she needed to, then was led to the room that the Reid’s were in.

“Diana, I’d like to introduce you to Miss Sarah Jane Smith. She is the one that contacted us about the baby. Do you want to meet him?”

“William?” Diana looked startled as she reached for her husband’s hand.

“It’s okay Diana.” He smiled and rubbed the back of her hand gently. Diana looked at the bundle in Sarah Jane’s arms and her eyes softened. She held her arms out, shaking just a little.

“What’s his name?” Diana asked as Sarah Jane laid the boy in her arms.

“He doesn’t have one yet. His birth mother didn’t want to name him.” Sarah Jane sat on the edge of the bed and pulled out a pocket watch and a Chinese puzzle box that the Doctor had loved. “The only thing the mother wanted to make sure he had was these two items. She made me take them to make sure they stayed with him. They are precious treasures of hers. She made me promise before she died.” Diana held her free hand out and let Sarah Jane place the items in her hand.

“I promise they will stay with him.”

Diana cradled the baby in her arms, then placed a kiss on his forehead. A moment later she smiled.

“Spencer. That’s what I will call you, Spencer, and we shall have all kinds of adventures together.”