TWO SIDES TO THIS WALL
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is trademarked by the BBC.
Note: This takes place during “For Tonight We Might Die”, the opening episode of the DW spin-off CLASS, shortly after the character Ram has been dealt a personal blow by The Shadow-Kin.
Ram was unable to comprehend it at this moment in time.
He felt there there was this wall where he used to be. Of which there was two sides.
The physical one, and the mental one. Both fused together. Both sides couldn’t be climbed over.
The loss of so much this night had been overwhelming.
He looked around him, taking in the immense width of the room he was in. He hoped it would take one side of the wall, the one chained to his mind, off of dealing with the immense pain.
“So much” he whispered, hoping he wouldn’t be heard.
The Doctor caught what he said.
“So much pain?” The Doctor asked.
“So much…bigger” Ram said, raising his voice a little higher.
“Yes, you don’t know how many times I’ve tried to shorten the length. I once had Santa himself complain to me about it, all those children of the universe writing letters back saying their toys were never quite as accurate in relative dimensions as this”
“What, you know Santa?” Ram asked
“Doesn’t everybody?” the man replied.
“Yeah, but he’s…a story” Ram said
“Everything’s a story, a character, a play, I’ve never preferred the one-man shows though, imagine a whole room where there’s no speaking parts but you and an audience that you have to inject with all of your ego-massaging. The sound of your own voice will never be the sound of drums, I’ve tried telling an old friend that a few times. She never listens.”
“What happened…back there…in the halls, in the dark, it’s just…I can’t face it again” Ram said, his mind already racing back to the fragile final seconds of the life he’d lived before. A life with Rachel and an intact leg.
“What is it with you teenagers wanting to disconnect from the world, especially without realizing what you can do with it?” The Doctor asked, refusing to settle for the pessimism.
“We wanted to be happy, to challenge the world in ways that don’t…punish us you know? We wanted to scale the walls, not be pushed off a building” Ram said.
“Oh who are we fooling?” The Doctor countered, scanning the frightened teen with his sonic screwdriver, “The human race does nothing but climb, they ascend to the highest mountains, they plant the seeds for generations to grow taller. If someone comes and finds it so easy to cut you down, it doesn’t stop you inspiring others to push harder so it’s much more difficult to do so again. Don’t just climb over the wall, break through it. Do I have your promise of that?”
Ram nodded. He didn’t really buy the speech given to him, he just wanted the procedure over with so he could walk out of this strange blue box and back into the uninviting world. It may not be the world he desired, but he had to see where he now stood in it, and make up his mind later whether he should stand his ground there.
Rachel would have wanted that much for him at least.
“Careful now” said The Doctor as he grafted the artificial leg to the gaping hole that was once connected to Ram’s original one, now severed from his body by the nefarious Shadow-Kin.
Ram felt a nerve-wrenching jolt as the leg snapped into place, but he held in the urge to yell, for his soul had deafened heaven and hell enough for one evening.
And something about this place felt calm, soothing. The elderly man working on him had done much to keep him and a band of other misfit sorts from further hall this cold and unkindly night.
As he walked back out of the blue box, he sat down and took in what the old man had to say. That there were tears in time and space, that Coal Hill Academy would serve as a beacon for all manner of alien terrors, things that would ensure things would never resemble a normal quality of life for any of them.
He said time had looked upon all of them, and then it would not forget.
And then he stopped.
And he stared.
He stared intently at something on the wall, a mural with names listed on them. Two names stood out to The Doctor.
He was immersed, interested, but distant.
Ram could sense something. Something all too familiar.
He couldn’t tell how, he just knew, instinctively.
Part of him felt he should have sensed it earlier when he looked the old man straight in the eyes, for they were well-worn eyes, eyes that had seen billions of years of physical taxation and emotional heartache. His fancy speeches were all he could do to camouflage years of loss, years of struggle, internally and outwardly.
He should have seen it.
The Doctor was facing a wall. Of which there were two sides to it. Physical and mental.
And he couldn’t breach either one of them.