There’s something of Henry Higgins about him. And if I told him that, he’d just spend a bloody hour educating me all about Henry Higgins, because I couldn’t possibly know, not being nine-hundred years old. It’s my planet, sunshine, and don’t you forget it.
I was lost in the wardrobes when he came looking for me this time. I’d found this weird skimpy cavewoman thing. And then an old school uniform with a straw hat and everything. The label said ‘Romana’, handwritten like a grown-up pretending to be a kid. Cavewomen and children, that’s who he likes. He can tell them what to do, and they’ll think he’s so brilliant and masterful. Blech. No thank you.
“Take that off.” He looked at me wolfishly.
“Don’t you like it?”
“It belonged to someone else. And it was a different me.”
“So why keep it?”
“Because it’s all that’s left when they leave. Can we get on?” He glared, then stalked away again.
“What will be left of me?” I shouted. His footsteps stopped for a moment, which felt like a small victory. I took the uniform off and followed him back to the control room.
“Is this about your father again?” He didn’t even turn around.
“No. Maybe.” He was right about some things. “I want to find him.” It wasn’t the only reason I’d come, but, well.
“He’s in the past, Rose. You know where he is.” Not unkindly, but spoken like someone who’s lost more than a silly Earth-girl could.
“This isn’t the past.” He took the page I offered. “Don’t hurt me, Doctor. A little girl got that five years ago and it fucked her up.”
He read it. I’d shown Mickey the headers back then and he’d wondered what I was asking. It was obviously just some junk. IP address was way too long for a start, like everywhere in the universe had its own. And the year hacked to 3061 so that it would appear right at the top of any listing.
It wasn’t long. It didn’t need to be. Here was the word ‘wayward’, and there was the word ‘drifting’, and down below the crease were the words ‘belong’, and ‘disciplined’, and ‘sometimes punished’, then lower it said ‘a good girl’, and the last two words were just: ‘Your dad’.
“We can find him.”
He sighed. “Rose, listen. We have — ” he looked back at some dial — “three hours to stop the destruction of time itself. This did not come from your dad.”
“Yes it did. My dad sent it. There’s nobody knows me as well as my dad.”
“There’s one person, Rose.”
I can never tell him how much I wanted him to say: “Me, Rose. It’s me.” But he didn’t. He played with the controls the way he does, like music, and then he told me it was sent.
“It’s gone, Rose. I sent it. You sent it. Now, can we get on?”
What will be left of me, Doctor?