[personal profile] locker_monster
Title: The Fox and the Doctor (1/1)
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,504
Characters: Eight
Timeline: Set after Doctor Who the TV movie
Summary: A publishing house tries to buy the rights to the Doctor's life story.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who has belonged to the BBC for 53 glorious years.
A/N: My contribution to [livejournal.com profile] who_at_50's 53rd anniversary fanwork-a-thon. Ever since [livejournal.com profile] jjpor posted that 2016 was the 20th anniversary of the TV movie, I had this ridiculous plot idea floating around my head. It's all in good fun, but maybe it has a smidgen of truth, too.

It was like a little slice of Eden. The green valley was completely unspoiled by any of the trappings of civilization. It was simply a fine example of nature at its best.

The Doctor took in a deep lungful of the fresh air, relishing in how pure it tasted. There was no pollution here, no cars, no industries. Just trees and plants neatly converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. After a traumatic regeneration and another trying encounter with the Master, it was the sort of simplicity he needed right now.

With a book under one arm and a deckchair under the other, he set off from the TARDIS, on the prowl for the perfect spot to while away the afternoon. As much as he enjoyed sitting in the TARDIS library or in the console room with a cup of tea at his elbow, he felt like trying something different today. He was a new Doctor, after all. Now was the time to discover, and re-discover, what he liked and didn't like.

It didn't take him long to find the ideal location. After walking for ten minutes, the Doctor came upon a large oak tree situated next to a sparkling silver lake. The leaves of the tree formed a natural umbrella, deflecting much of the sun's rays, but there were patches where the light still shined through and that was perfect for the Doctor. He set down the deckchair amongst the springy grass at the base of the tree. For a moment, he considered taking off his shoes and socks, to allow his toes to wriggle in the cool blades, but he quickly decided that he wasn't that casual in this incarnation.

In the end, he took off his frock coat as it was a warm afternoon, even in the shade. He placed his coat in the grass next to him and then he sat down in the deckchair with a content sigh.

The Time Machine was an old read, but he never got tired of reading it. He easily spotted elements of Herbert's adventure on Karfel with the Timelash and the thought that such a fantastical story had its roots in reality always amused him. With no effort at all, the Doctor lost himself in the words.

Unbeknownst to the Doctor, something made its way towards him through the tall grass. The only sign that something was there was the slight rustle of the blades. To the casual observer, it seemed like a light breeze had disturbed the meadow.

The Doctor had just reached the point in the novel where the time travelling protagonist arrives in the far flung future when the thing struck.

"Salutations, sir."

Upon hearing the polite voice, the Doctor looked up from his book. He glanced left and then right, but he saw no one. He finally lowered the book until it rested on his lap.

A rust coloured fox sat in the grass at the Doctor's feet. It was no bigger than your average house cat and its fluffy tail, tipped with white at the end, idly flicked back and forth. The creature stared at him with gleaming black eyes.

"Hello there," said the Doctor. It was slightly perplexing to be greeted by a talking fox, but it was no excuse to be impolite.

"Am I correct to presume that you are the Doctor, sir? Of the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous?"

His planet of origin was common knowledge, but the Doctor had to wonder how the creature knew who he was so soon after a regeneration. Perhaps the fox was from his future. "I'm the Doctor. Do you need some assistance?" It would have been wrong of him to assume that the fox was here to do him harm, but he still approached the conversation with some caution.

The fox leaped up and landed square on the open pages of The Time Machine. The Doctor felt the weight of the animal on his lap, but that still didn't rule out that this was a very detailed hallucination. "I represent Murdoch and Murdoch."

"Solicitors?"

The fox wagged its tail excitedly. "Murdoch and Murdoch are a publishing house. We'd like to buy the rights to your life story."

The Doctor allowed himself a smile. Being pestered by a publishing house was better than being hounded by lawyers, but it was still an intrusion upon his peaceful afternoon. "I'm flattered, but I'm not much of a writer."

"We employ some of the best ghost writers in the industry. You would not have to write a thing, sir."

"I assume you mean I would dictate and the ghost writer would record my words."

The fox's wet nose quivered. "Of course," it said, after a moment's hesitation.

On the surface, it seemed like such a harmless offer, but the Doctor knew the power of words. A thought became more concrete once it was written down and it could echo through eternity. His next logical move should have been to turn down the fox's offer.

"I'm intrigued. Could you elaborate further?"

Being logical made sense, but it was rarely fun.

The fox's floppy ears perked up. "It's a lucrative offer. We have distribution rights for ten galaxies with potential for a dozen more. You are also entitled to a certain percentage of all sales. Should your first novel do well, you will have the opportunity to do a series of books with our company."

"I see." It was indeed an enticing offer. Had the Doctor actually cared about profit and fame, he probably would have signed on the dotted line that instant. "But who would be interested in my adventures?"

"Why, everyone. Our writers can make you appealing to any audience."

It felt like the conversation grew more nonsensical the longer the fox talked. "Are you suggesting your ghost writers would take liberties with my history?"

The fox shook its head. "Creative embellishments," it insisted. "For example, in the Acteon Galaxy, youth is held in high regard. A more youthful depiction of yourself would increase your popularity."

"And in the Orias Cluster where they worship giants, you'd make me eight feet tall?"

"Why, of course, sir. A towering stature to befit an incredible man."

The Doctor got the feeling that he could offer up numerous, and ridiculous, suggestions and the fox could spin them all into reasonable, but flattering, ideas. As much as he wanted to while away the afternoon, spending that time arguing with a fox was not the most ideal use of the hours. It was time to end this.

"All right, you have me hooked. Why don't you run back to Murdoch and Murdoch and draw up a contract?"

The fox's ears perked up eagerly. "Thank you, sir, you are most gracious. I will return to my employers this instant." The creature jumped off his lap and landed nimbly in the grass at his feet.

"Oh, before you go..." The fox looked back at him, but before it could run off, the Doctor grabbed his discarded coat and flung it over the animal. It tried to escape but the weight of the heavy fabric kept it pinned to the ground.

It was a comical sight, watching his coat twist and twitch, but as intrusive as the fox was, the Doctor wasn't going to let it suffer. He fished out the sonic screwdriver from one of the pockets and then gathered up the ends of his coat, creating a makeshift bag. The fox struggled even more now, but the Doctor maintained his grip.

He soniced the bundle and the flailing instantly stopped. When he opened up his coat on his lap, he found the fox curled up in a ball, snoozing peacefully. As he had suspected, the fox was just a robot and he had easily triggered the sleep mode function.

"I could dismantle you, but that wouldn't be fair to you or to Murdoch and Murdoch." The Doctor absently stroked the fox's head as he thought. He wasn't about to hand over his life story but perhaps he could give them something else.

The Doctor picked up the fox and it was so relaxed in its slumber that it seemed like it had no bones. "I know you're still listening. This book here is the ultimate story about time travel. I'm sure an adaptation would thrill your readers."

He recovered his copy of The Time Machine and placed it down on the grass. "I hope Herbert won't mind. He's due for a revival in this century anyway."

He left the fox next to the book. Murdoch and Murdoch could come and retrieve their agent in their own time.

The Doctor slipped on his coat and then he picked up his deck chair. He folded it up and tucked it under his arm. Well, he had a somewhat peaceful afternoon. An hour of solitude was actually quite an achievement given the life he led.

A series about him. He chuckled softly at the thought as he headed back to the TARDIS.
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