Why did it always come down to big red buttons? This question ran through the Doctor’s mind as she stood there. One would think that any device about to change the world, to irrevocably change the history of the Earth, if not the universe, would be a bit more complex than a simple button. Of course, that being said, she could remember when he had asked why there wasn’t a big red button for him to press. A single button to change everything. So maybe she can understand the appeal of having a big shiny red button. Screaming ‘danger only press as last case scenario’.
That of course was neither here nor there, just mild musings as she waited for her guest, well guest was probably the wrong term, the person who will choose whether or not to press the button. After all, as a protector of the world she could barely sit idly by while humanity made a stupid decision. It wasn’t her battle, but she would make sure her voice was heard.
The tell-tale click-clacks of heels approached her, as she awaited the company of the woman who held in her hands the ability to change everything. Lena Luthor. The woman who had Myriad. All installed and ready to be used by pressing a single big shiny red button. God, the Doctor hated shiny red buttons.
Big Shiny Red Buttons
When Lena entered the room where her controls sat, she wasn’t surprised to see someone waiting for her. Of course, she wasn’t this was to be her moment against Supergirl. The final battle of Luthor versus Super. She wouldn’t be surprised that Kara Danvers. No not Kara, Kara was a lie. Supergirl. She wouldn’t have been surprised that Supergirl would be standing there.
But, the person in front of her wasn’t Kara Danvers. Sure, it was a blonde woman, but that was where the similarities ended. The woman tossed a cylindrical tool up and down interest etched on her face as she looked around Lena’s control center. Finally, the woman looked up and smiled at Lena. Before Lena had a chance to ask who in the fuck was standing before her in the sanctum that would be defended against everything against Supergirl, the woman began to talk.
“How do you walk around in those shoes all day long? Mustn’t they become uncomfortable. Not that there is anything wrong with heels, but god, imagine running in those. And don’t get me started on the running. Anyway, hello!” The other woman waved cheerily. “Quick introduction, I’m the Doctor, and you have a big shiny red button. The sort that I’m supposed to convince you to not press. Now I could stop you from pressing the button, but unfortunately it isn’t really my place to just turn it off. Also, impressive anti-sonic technology you have. At least a hundred years ahead of its time. But yeah, I’m here to give you a choice. Don’t press that button.” The Doctor spoke quickly, as Lena barely had time to follow along. Despite her instinct to ask a million questions, now wasn’t the time. She didn’t have the time. Ka- Supergirl would be here soon.
“Did Supergirl set you up to this?” Lena spat out, her face twisted in anger and sorrow. Typical coward. Letting others fight her battle for her The Doctor laughed at that.
“Of course not. Kara’s an optimist, especially when it comes to you. No, she would be here to persuade you not to press the button yourself. Me? I’m a realist.” The Doctor knew who Supergirl was? Add that to the list of the people who knew the secret before Lena did. Her heart broke just a tiny bit more.
“So, you’d stop me yourself?” Lena asked
“Of course not. Not my decision. I serve at the pleasure of the human race. Did that sound good? No. It sounded better when I was a Scottish bloke. Attack eyebrows and all of that. Still, I think I get the point across.” Lena raised her eyebrows at that but chose not to pursue that line of conversation. It was quite clear this Doctor character was insane.
“If you are not going to stop me, then why are you here?” Lena pushed the question, as she was really on a timeline here. Everything had to be perfect for when Ka- Supergirl arrived.
“Because I’ve stood where you are before. I had to press a big shiny red button. Or I thought I had to. To save everyone. Everyone but my own people.” Lena wondered where this was going. Where she stood? What was this Doctor implying?
“What do you mean?” Lena inquired.
“I think you know what I mean. I had a choice. To save everyone or kill my entire race. And I pressed the button.” Lena frowned.
“Why are you telling me this story?” She pressed the Doctor, wondering where this was going.
“Because it was the single thing that I regretted doing most in my life.” The Doctor blunty said.
“I’m no saint, but saving everyone, isn’t that simple math? Even if it was your own people, you did it to save everyone, so you made the right decision.” Lena responded confused, wondering where this conversation was going.
“Just once I made that calculation, and I swore to myself that I would never do again.” The Doctor seemed to grow cold, as if her mind was somewhere else.
“Why not? You did what you had to do.” Lena countered. She knew that it was a moral question, weighing one life against all the others. But everyone minus one race? Wasn’t that just the right thing to do? Wasn’t it what she did when she released lead into the atmosphere to drive away the Daxamites?
“BECAUSE I WAS WRONG!” The Doctor suddenly shouted, pain and anger twisting her face. “I WAS WRONG! I saved everybody, the entire universe from my own people! I stopped the Daleks, for a while at least, I stopped Rassilon! I stopped my own people from destroying the universe! And the Daleks! But I was wrong! Because even when you think you don’t have a choice, there is always another path. I could never forgive myself for doing so! Because I was wrong. I have more blood and have made more bad decisions than anyone else in the universe! But I was wrong! And I swore to myself that I would never let anyone else make the same mistake I did.” Tears poured down the Doctor’s cheeks as she spoke, her voice breaking as she spoke. “So just listen. Please listen. And think. Is this what you really want?”
“If I say yes, would you stop me?” Lena asked, her voice cold and detached. However, emotions roiled underneath the surface, wanting to break free. The biggest of which was sorrow for this poor woman before her.
“No, but I suspect that it’s not what you truly want, is it?” The Doctor asked, as annoyance returned to Lena. Who was this to pass judgement on her?
“This is my chance to play my role. To become the Luthor that everyone damned me to already.” The Doctor’s face softened tremendously at that.
Big Shiny Red Buttons
It all clicked for the Doctor. Lena’s story came to the most basic story in the universe. Love. The most powerful force in the universe. The reason why the Doctor was wrong. Because life isn’t about numbers or calculations. It was all about love.
“You love her, don’t you?” The Doctor asked softly.
“I did. She was my best friend, all the while laughing at me behind my back! She pretended, for so long to care about me, but she never did!” Lena retorted angrily
“You’re wrong.” The Doctor wanted to shake Lena. Couldn’t she see? Was this the brilliant woman who was supposed to change the world, or a moron?
“What do you mean I’m wrong?” Lena asked dumbfounded.
“It isn’t just past tense, it’s present tense. Even if tenses confuse me. You still love her. Because if you didn’t you wouldn’t hurt so much. You wouldn’t resign yourself to play the antagonist to her protagonist if you didn’t. You love her so much that you could die by her hands as she stopped you and you wouldn’t complain. You’d burn in hell for her.” The Doctor quickly responded. If she could only get Lena to see.
“Of course not, don’t be ridiculous.” Lena snorted, though doubt began to play on her face.
“You want Kara to stop you.” The Doctor pressed on, trying to wring a confession out of Lena.
“Supergirl can certainly try.” Supergirl? But they weren’t talking about Supergirl, were they? The conversation was about someone else entirely.
“We’re not talking about Supergirl are we? We’re talking about Kara. Because Supergirl is an icon, a symbol of something bigger.” The Doctor knew the pain of being a symbol. Especially one who tried to be bigger. But she was just a silly old Time Lord (Lady? Neither sounded right, but that was something for another time) who stole a TARDIS and ran away. Kara actually tried to be Supergirl. But she was so much more than that. And Lena should know.
“Kara though?” The Doctor continued, “She is a just a woman, kind-hearted and pleasant to a fault. She’s real. But she’s also fallible. She makes mistakes. And she is so much more than Supergirl. Because if you try hard enough you could become Supergirl. I could become Supergirl, well not really because I’m already the Doctor, but you get my point. But Kara? Kara is special, she’s one of a kind. And she hurt you. So, you think if you press this Shiny Big Red Button, you’ll erase the pain. Because then you’ll just be like Lex. But you’re not Lex, are you?” The Doctor stated, striking Lena with her words. Because in that moment the Doctor knew she had won.
“I…. I…. I’m…” Lena collapsed on the ground crying. Ugly crying, the Doctor believed it was called. Which didn’t make much sense, because crying was a natural part of being organic, and no one was ever ugly while crying, thank you very much.
The Doctor smiled sadly, before walking up to the big shiny red button. “You know, you are extraordinary Lena Luthor. Your heart is so big, but it’s not enough. You need to heal. And I can help you with that to you.” The Doctor offered, leaving Lena her space to process everything.
“Would you?” Lena’s voice seemed to plead for the Doctor to take this pain away. If she could she would, but she could only offer her help.
“Of course. I can help you anyway you want.”
“I need Super- Kara. That’s all I need.” The Doctor grinned, clapping her hands together. Wasn’t it wonderful when love won?
“Well I think she’s on her way. And she’s probably as heart-broken as you are.” Lena let out a last few shuddering breaths before standing up. The Doctor wanted to bring the other woman into a massive hug, but that was someone else’s job.
“Tell me one thing, would you really have let me press the button.” Lena asked as she dusted off her skirt.
The Doctor’s grin faded, replaced by a sad smile. “Rule one, the Doctor lies.” She pressed the red button. Nothing happened.
“It had impressive anti-sonic tech, but you’d need to be about five centuries ahead to actually stop me. And even then, who knows.” The Doctor turned around. “By the way, don’t tell Kara about me. She hates it when I saunter in and save the day. Also, let her know that you love her. Before it truly is too late. Because even Luthor’s deserve love.”
“Before you go Doctor who are you?” Lena asked, and the Doctor let out a laugh at that. She was wondering when that would come up.
“I’m the Doctor. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.” The Doctor walked off, smiling, as the only sounds behind her were of Lena’s hiccupping laughs, before the swoosh of a certain caped superhero and soft voices talking. Well, the Doctor had a wedding to keep an eye out for. The wedding of Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor. She wondered if the fam would want to go. After all what was a wedding without a family?