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facing tempests of dust (i’ll fight ‘till the end)

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“Izuku!”

 

Excitement radiated from the boy in question as he heard his mother’s call. Grinning wide, he turned away from his daring exploration of the living room and sprinted into the hallway. Quick on his feet and light in spirit, the green-haired boy rounded the corner and ran into the new kitchen as fast as he possibly could.

 

This movement ended up being a pretty bad idea, as he slammed headfirst into his mother’s form, sending them both tumbling against the counter.

 

“Izuku!” Mum chastised, staring down after catching him, one arm braced on the counter top behind her. “That was dangerous!”

 

“Sorry, mum!” Izuku chirped, his chipper tone and wide smile betraying that he didn’t actually feel very sorry at all. Seeing this, Mum huffed, but ruffled his curly hair nonetheless.

 

“You can go get sorted in your new room, alright? There are a couple boxes with your action figures in them. Put them up on the shelves?”

 

 

There was a box in his new room.

 

Well, there were many boxes in his new room - but this one was different! He’d never seen it before, and it didn’t have anything that belonged to him in it, either.

 

He sniffed it, and crinkled his nose. It smelled old .

 

Furrowing his eyebrows in concentration, Izuku picked up a small necklace resting at the top of the box and flipped the pendant open. There was an old man in the photo. Was it a box of h...hirloms? heirlooms? It looked old enough to be. His mum talked about them before.

 

As Izuku gazed at the picture in the pendant with wonder, a shiny glint caught the corner of his eye. He could’ve sworn he saw something beautiful, but couldn’t tell what it was.

 

Curiosity took the best of him, and Izuku couldn’t help but reach through the pile and grab at the object of his attention.

 

The watch was golden, but kind of dulled around the edges. It was carved carefully with weird circular patterns that Izuku found himself tracing gently with the pads of his thumbs. As he held it in both hands, he couldn’t help but notice that it hummed in low bursts of four beats, as if it were a living being, breathing being, calling to him out of loneliness.

 

It was a strange feeling. To feel that an old watch was lonely. It almost felt like it was beckoning him closer, somehow, asking him for company.

 

Open me,” it chanted through his mind, “open me!”

 

Not one to disobey, Izuku’s hand trembled as he placed an index finger over the latch. He breathed. He pressed it open.

 

Click .

 

A long silence ensued his action, as he stared down at the old hands of the clock, waiting for something, anything to happen. Disappointment weighed down on his mind, as each moment passed him by. A heavy pout formed on his face.

 

It was when he was just about to place the watch back down that the most brilliant golden light he’d ever encountered flashed through his eyes.

 

It was overwhelming, insane, intense, unexpected, too much too much too much not enough information. He could feel stars exploding and see rainbow galaxies expanding through the corners of his eyes, the universe pulling on everything and extending outwards and outwards infinitely large and shining and glittering, spots of spilt milk dotted forever across the horizon. He could feel the passages of time, nonlinear and winding through the nooks and crannies of the walls and the floorboards of his new home, tying them tighttighttight to the end of everything and the beginning of matter, a string so delicate but a rope so tough. He could feel golden light replace the blood in his veins, rushing and pounding as his heartbeat morphed into two and his memories shattered into atomic pieces before rebuilding themselves brick by brick, overloading his senses with the sharp tang of alien fruit on his tongue and the green yellow skies of far away planets and the horrid scent of choking black tar smoke on Arcadia and the calming thrum of a TARDIS console under his fingers and and and and and -

 

The room settled once more, the golden hues disappearing in a flash of bright light, as quickly as they came. In the centre of the room kneeled a not-so-little boy.

 

‘Izuku Midoriya’ disappeared from the face of the earth when he was seven years, nine months, and three days old.

 

‘The Doctor’ - Theta, The Oncoming Storm, John Smith, Renegade Timelord, Traitor, War Hero, The Destroyer of Worlds - returned to the universe after a long, long silence of two hundred years, five months, and six days.

 

The boy - and that would be so jarring , now, that he should look so young despite his age - continued to sit, a faraway look in his viridian eyes as the dredges of his mind picked themselves up and patched themselves together. Slowly, so slowly.

 

His title... his title was The Doctor. He was two thousand and three hundred pushing 4, no, 4.5 billion years old. He, previously, inhabited his 13th regeneration. He was Scottish, and grey-haired, and definitely remembers being grumpier than he is now.   Or... perhaps he was a woman, blonde and jovial, with a favourite coat - such a personality seemed to match this body more, somehow.

 

He didn’t know where his friends were. He didn’t know if he had any friends left. He didn’t remember any of their names. He didn’t know what he was doing before the fob watch, or why he turned himself human in the very first place, why did he do it why would he-

 

A splitting headache met him when he tried to access those memories, a sledgehammer of pure nerve pain and horrible emotion slamming itself into his temples again and again and again. A muffled cry left his lips, as his hands flew up to grip his face tightly, catching on his hair.

 

Green hair, curly, soft - not so bad , his mind whispered through the pain. He could get used to this appearance. How did he know he had green hair? Who was he, right now?

 

Thankfully, the pain didn’t last long enough to become completely unbearable. He still felt it fizzing though, hot and angry, somewhere inside his body.

 

He’d figure out his past more later. Once his mind finished downloading his ability to read Ng’arïan Túsh and Olde English, his penchant for playing the Ryorkan system’s cultural instrument, and his odd knowledge of ancient Kravantes stone carving, and oh. There’s a whole list of things still missing so, so terribly from his consciousness - over 50%, he’d say. Who is Rose Tyler? Who is Clara Oswald?

 

He didn’t quite have time to finish the conscious mental processes, as suddenly there was a green-haired woman knocking at the threshold of the door and his brain was screaming at him to remember her.

 

She was short, he noted as he observed her, and plump in a way that spoke of stressful nights worrying and perfect, comfortable hugs. A flash of odd pyjamas and encouraging words, favourite snacks and videos and care.

 

There was a word floating in the back of his mind, a title the boy he had once been called her, and he could almost reach out and grasp it - it was there, on the tip of his... of his...?

 

“On the tip of your tongue, dear?” The woman chuckled, and he grew painfully aware that he had spoken some of his thoughts aloud. At least he didn’t seem to have spoken enough to weird her out majorly. Also, Japanese! Good language.

 

Despite his inner embarrassment, a solid grin spread across his face as if by instinct or muscle memory. “Thanks mum,” he said absently, before his brain slammed on the breaks of its metaphorical car and he froze behind the steering wheel.

 

Mother , his mind whispered, mum . It had been well over four billion years since he’d seen her last, and yet he’d seen her just now and moments ago when she left him in the room to fiddle with heirlooms and-

 

Oh. Oohhhh .

 

He didn’t replace whatever  body he was in, he was merging with  it.

 

No wonder he had such a bad headache when accessing recent or major memories. The divide between where he ended and Midoriya Izuku started was still being figured out inside his head. Any he’d try to read within the next hour or so wouldn’t be readily accessible. At least he had an idea of who he was.

 

His eyes focused once more on the green-haired figure - other mum? - and he let his teeth dig gently into his bottom lip. It was strange, to have such overwhelming instincts to protect and love someone you didn’t quite remember.

 

Sorting through these feelings would be a horrid mess. Not to mention the emotional toll that would probably hit him after he did.

 

“-Zuku? Izuku, are you okay?”

 

Crap , okay, how would a young seven year old behave?

 

Steeling himself to answer her, he opened his mouth with a determined gaze. He was good at acting. He’d done it hundreds of times before. No problem. He could do this.

 

“Nnyuhhei,” he said, instead.

 

Right. New tongue. Never gets easier to deal with.

 

A red flush crawled up his neck as the woman - his mother now, he should really call her mum - giggled over his mistake. His hand moved to rub the back of his head, as she approached to sit next to him, cross-legged, on the floor. He wasn’t sure he was liking how easily flustered this new body got.

 

The fob watch was pried gently from his grip, and he watched as his not-quite-mum lifted it up to inspect it properly against the light from the window. The intricate patterns caught light and tossed it unceremoniously into his eyes. “Is this what you’ve been staring at for the last couple of hours?” She asked.

 

A frown marred its way onto his face. “...Two hours?”

 

The woman blinked, gazing at him with surprised emerald eyes. “Yes...” she trailed, “You’ve been pretty quiet for two hours, I was wondering what you were doing but didn’t know if I should interrupt.”

 

The Doctor - or was it Izuku? - opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Had he really been sitting for two hours? It had felt like moments, although he supposed that’s what happens when thousands of years of information are forced into your brain with billions more on the way. It was probably a good thing, actually, that it should take so much time - if it had gone any faster it might have killed the body he was now in. Completely disintegrated the neural networks of the fragile human brain before it could switch back to Time Lord.

 

How long , a dreading part of him whispered, would it take for his worst memories to return?

 

“Izuku, are you really alright?” Not-mum placed the cool back of her hand against his forehead, and he involuntarily found himself leaning into the touch. “You’re not sick, are you? You feel a little hot.”

 

“I’m fine,” he mumbled, allowing the coolness to spread from her hand to his head. He struggled not to let his eyes close from the contact. Why did this gesture feel so comforting?

 

Her eyes softened as he leaned into her. “You’ve been spacing out a lot, just let me know if you feel sick or anything? Please?”

 

“Really, I’m fine,” he assured, although he didn’t move from where he was. “It’s just...”

 

Well yikes, what excuses could he actually use in  this situation? ‘ Hi, yeah, I’m actually an alien being who has suddenly possessed/merged with your son. It’s giving me a right headache but I’ll probably be better in a few hours. Sorry.

 

“I’m just tired,” he finished, lamely, and as soon as the words left his mouth he suddenly realised that they were true. There was a weariness tugging down on his bones, and his eyes felt like closing. It was weird, that he didn’t notice this before - must have been the pain that distracted him. How long was he actually in pain for?

 

“Do you want to take a nap?” A disembodied voice came from somewhere above him. His movements were slow, dragging across time, as he found himself wrapping his arms around something subconsciously. He might have nodded his head yes, but the next thing he knew his eyes were closed and he was being carried off into some unknown.

 

 

It was exactly 82 minutes after he fell asleep that he started screaming.

 

82 minutes to rest, only 82 minutes, any longer and it would catch him the buzzing would catch him he’d die before he could find Clara and kill whoever hurt her and why did his knuckles sting so bad what does bird mean help me help me help me-

 

He grappled against the hands that had grabbed him rough and tight, pulling him somewhere he didn’t know. The screaming was so loud and his ears hurt but he couldn’t stop, he could only do his best fight off the intruder in his room - where was he? who was this? what did they want??

 

“Izuku, calm down!”

 

The voice cut through his panic like a searing hot knife through butter, grounding his consciousness into the present with a snap. His eyes were wild and took a moment to focus.

 

Through the blur of his eyes, which he assumed was made by tears, he could he his mom, staring down at him with wide, worried green eyes. She was speaking, but the ringing in his ears was too loud for him to fathom.

 

It was when she turned away that he registered the word ‘hospital’, and immediately gripped her shirt as tight as he could.

 

“I think,” his voice cracked as she stared back at him, “I owe you a long, long explanation.”

 

—-

 

Three cups of tea later, and not-son and not-mom were sitting uncomfortably in the living room at an odd hour of night. Midoriya Inko - mother - was staring into space with an expression that bordered from contemplative into traumatised. Her knees were drawn up to her chest, and her arms wrapped around them - almost protectively.

 

He understood. It had been a... difficult explanation  into his history, after all.

 

He hadn’t wanted to talk about any of this at first, but as more of his childhood - Izuku’s childhood - returned, the stronger the urge to tell her everything was. He couldn’t just... keep it  from her. Not with how much she meant to him, now. He couldn’t ever put someone he loved through such a lie.

 

liar! his mind whispered . you’ve told bigger lies to those you’ve loved, before

 

No. He shook his head lightly. He wouldn’t do that. Not to her.

 

Which was why it hurt so , so much, to see the distrust in her eyes. I’m still your son! He wanted to scream, to plead, I’m still your son!

 

But he wasn’t. Not anymore. Not since the fob watch was opened. He was older than her by billions of years. He’d outlive her for billions more. She raised him, but at the same time he was raised a lonely childhood of the academy on Gallifrey. To accept only one upbringing would be a complete betrayal of the other.

 

“What... what was your name?” The voice, timid, quiet, asked, and for a moment he didn’t know how to respond.

 

A sharp intake of breath, and he offered, “You can still call me Izuku, but... I guess I’m known more as The Doctor.”

 

The Doctor’  he saw his mum mouth, looking incredulous whilst at the same time struggling hard to speak. She pursed her lips, then tried again, “The Doctor... and... and you said you were alien?”

 

The Doctor’s eyes softened. “Yes...” he murmured, “I am.”

 

“You travel through time. You have two hearts.”

 

“I do.”

 

“Can... Can I?”

 

The Doctor looked at her, from her spot on the couch, where she had her arm outstretched to his. Biting his lip, he offered his wrist for her to press her fingers against.

 

It took a couple seconds, but he knew she had found his pulse the moment she choked a sob and drew her arm back like it had been burnt. Pain stung through his hearts at the expression of pure anguish on her face.

 

His heartbeats were a confirmation to her. Izuku, her son, no longer existed.

 

“...I’m sorry,” he whispered, reaching his arm out as if to pull her into a hug. At her flinch, he sighed and drew it back, clasping his hands together tightly with his fingers interlaced. His elbows rested against his knees, as he pressed his forehead into his knuckles.

 

“You know,” he started, with more weight behind his voice than a seven-year-old body should be able to muster. “I know it might not feel this way but... I still am your son. I mean... a part of me is still Izuku, in a sense. Just because we merged doesn’t mean he’s gone. He’s still in here. And he loves you very, very much.

 

“And... if you really don’t want me here, anymore, just say the word. I can find my TARDIS, and disappear, and give you all the space you might need to... to process everything. I won’t judge you for any decision you make. Just... let me know. Please.”

 

Silence ensued after his answer, and The Doctor noticed that the tea had gone very, very cold. He was going to stand, to vanish into the kitchen and make a new cup for her, when she finally spoke.

 

“Stay,” she whispered, and the Doctor let go of the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding. He nodded, and without a word, they sat together for the rest of the night.

 

It would be difficult. She might change her mind. But things would be okay.