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The Tenth Impact

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The Doctor just stood there, apparently getting used to his new body. It was kinda freaky, realizing I had been doing this my whole life and now I was seeing it in person. Did I always look that insane?

“6pm...Tuesday...October...5006...On the way to Barcelona!” He listed, almost too loudly. He straightened himself up, and grinned at Rose. He was hopelessly in love with her, and he forget to explain what would happen when he died. Idiot. “Now then...what do I look like?”

“Like an idiot.” I smirked. “I knew it.”

The Doctor turned to me, giving me a look of mock anger. “Oh, you can hush.”

“Make me.” I challenged.

The Doctor shook his head. “Well, if neither of you will say.” He started looking over himself. It was super weird seeing him in Nine’s clothes. “Let’s see...two legs, two arms, two hands...” He flicked his wrist. “Slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle.” He reached for his hair, something every fangirl dreams of but I found extremely creepy. “Hair! I’m not bald!”

“Darn it. I liked making fun of your baldness.” I commented. The Doctor ignored me.

“Oh, Oh! Big hair!” His brown eyes widened once he found the sideburns. “Sideburns, I’ve got sideburns! Or really bad skin. Little bit thinner...” The Doctor slapped his stomach. “That’s weird. Give me time, I’ll get used to it.” Then, he had a look of complete concentration. “I...have got...a mole. I can feel it.”

“Seriously?” I asked, starting to laugh.

“Between my shoulder blades, there’s a mole.” He explained, looking up at me. He grinned. “That’s all right. Love the mole.”

“Moles are nothing. I have a birthmark shaped like a star on my stomach.” I commented, my hand going towards it. “Birthmarks beat moles. Simple rules.”

“They do not!” The Doctor argued. “And stars are just like circles, so they aren’t impressive.”

“It’s one of those five point stars, dummy.” The Doctor gave me a challenging look. “You’re just jealous of my superior birthmark.” I smirked, walking up to him in a challenge. This guy was fun. Nine was better, in my opinion, but Ten was alright.

The Doctor was grinning, like mad. He turned to Rose, as if wanting to get her in on the fun. “Go on then, tell me.” He stood up straighter, like a peacock ruffling his feathers. “What do you think?”

Her voice was almost a whisper. “Who are you?”

Being a profiler, I noticed the profound effect it had on him. It was like a boy being told Santa wasn’t real. Rose didn’t believe it was still him. The Doctor’s crush didn’t know who he was. It crushes a person inside to have someone you love look at you like they don’t know you. River Song taught me that. “I’m the Doctor.”

The blonde just shook her head. “No...where is he? Where’s the Doctor?” She got louder, glaring her brown eyes at his. “What have you done to him?”

“You saw me, I, I changed...” The Doctor pointed to where he regenerated. “...right in front of you.”

“I can confirm this was indeed what was witnessed.” I held up my hand. “Darn it. Your ears are normal. Does that mean I can’t call you Dumbo?”

He was still reeling over the Rose thing, I guess.

“I saw him sort of explode, and then you replaced him, like a...a teleport or a transmat or a body swap or something.” Rose explained, as if in shock. She came forward, poking the Doctor’s chest. “You’re not fooling me.”

“On one hand, this is really sad.” I commented. “On the other, it’s good that she cares.” The Doctor was still stunned silent. He rocked gently.

“I’ve seen all sorts of things. Nanogenes...Gelth...Slitheen...” Rose’s eyes widened.

“Let it be known to the court, that I don’t like the look in her eyes.” I commented.

“Oh, my God, are you a Slitheen?” Rose asked.

The Doctor finally got his voice back. He still looked heartbroken, deep in his eyes. There was a deep sadness there, like a cut open wound. “I’m not a Slitheen.” He sounded heartbroken at the mere suggestion.

She started shouting. “Send him back. I’m warning you; send the Doctor back right now!”

“Rose, it’s me.” He pleaded. “Honestly, it’s me.” She didn’t believe, but I could see that she was slowly believing. Maybe she remembered him from New Year’s Eve and he was dying? “I was dying. To save my own life I changed my body. Every single cell, but... it’s still me.

“You can’t be.” Okay. My theory might not be that far off.

“Then how could I remember this?” The Doctor walked closer to her. Rose looked almost afraid. “Very first word I ever said to you. Trapped in that cellar. Surrounded by shop window dummies...oh...” He reached out, trying to grab her hand. In her shock she let him. “...such a long time ago. I took your hand...I said one word... just one word, I said... ‘run’.”

Rose was in near tears. “Doctor.” She whispered. It almost sounded like a good-bye, and a hello. An Aloha.

The Doctor grinned. He thought Rose could see it now. That it’s all gonna be okay. “Hello.” He says gently. Rose sighed, almost tiredly. The Doctor runs to the console, pulling random levers and switches. “And we never stopped, did we? All across the universe. Running, running, running...” He laughed. “One time we had to hop. Do you remember? The three of us hopping for our lives.”

He started hopping. I laughed. That was a fun one, I remembered it.

“Yeah? All that hopping? Remember hopping for your life? Yeah?! Hop? With the...” His  voice dropped. “No?”

Rose still looked shell shocked. Yes, she believed it was the Doctor, but that does not mean it was her Doctor. I believed it was him. Not just because I had seen it on Netflix. When I was watching it I believed it was the same guy.

Only the Doctor would be this stupid.

She turned to me. “Can you change him back?”

I frowned. She was supposed to ask him that. Why did she turn to me when asking it? A part of her probably didn’t want to be rude to him, but I guarantee you he heard it. I gulped. “Do you want him to? I mean, really want him to?”

“Yeah.” Rose answered. She wouldn’t look at the Doctor.

“Oh.” I slowly nodded my head, a little disappointed in her. One look at the DOctor told me he was far more saddened than I.

A pause. “Can you?”

“No.” The Doctor replied in my place. He frowned. He looked down to the floor. “Do you want to leave?

Rose turned herself towards the Doctor. I leaned against the railings, watching it play out. “Do you want me to leave?”

The Doctor realized his mistake. He loved Rose, and never wanted her to leave. “No! But...your choice...if you want to go home…” Oh. that just made Rose sadder. He went up to the console to take Rose home. “Cancel Barcelona. Change to...London...the Powell Estate...ah… let’s say the 24th of December.” The Doctor smirked at Rose. “Consider it a Christmas present.” Rose slowly came up to the console. I did too. “There.”

He stepped back, folding his arms over his chest. It was the same way I had been doing it all these months. There was a shudder in the TARDIS as she changed directions. It would be kinda nice to see Mickey again. He was cool.

“I’m going home?” Rose asked, sounding disappointed. Well, everyone is just getting their heart broken today, aren’t they?

“Up to you.” The Doctor offered, giving all the power to Rose. “Back to your mum...it’s all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast...no, Christmas! Turkey! Although… having met your mother...nut loaf would be more appropriate.”

I chuckled, almost loudly. Rose tried to hide her’s.

“Was that a smile?” The Doctor asked.

“No.” Rose lied.

“That was a smile...” The Doctor stated, smirking.

“I saw a smile.” I teased, grinning at Rose.

“No it wasn’t.” Rose lied.

“You smiled...” He teased.

“No I didn’t.” Rose snapped.

The Doctor frowned. “Oh, come on, all I did was change, I didn’t...” He gagged. The TARDIS shuddered again.

I ran to his side, holding out my hands protectively. His regeneration had gone wrong.

“What?” Rose asked, concerned.

“I said I didn’t...” The Doctor tried again, but the same thing happened. “Uh oh.”

“Er... is he all right?” Rose asked me. The Doctor coughed out the golden energy. “What’s that?”

“Oh... the change is going a bit wrong and all.” He gagged again. He fell to his knees.

“Dude, that’s a serious problem!” I snapped at him. Grabbing his arm, I carefully made myself support for him. His face was contorted in pain. “You need to get some sleep.”

“Look... maybe we should go back.” Rose suggested. “Let’s go and find Captain Jack, he’d know what to do.”

“He’s busy.” I snapped, not looking away from the Doctor. He was my friend, he was hurt, I knew what to do, but I couldn’t say anything. “He’s got plenty to do, rebuilding the Earth!”

The Doctor looked up, the lever catching his eye. “I haven’t used this one in years.”

“Probably a good reason for that.” I snapped. He yanked out of my grasp, pulling the lever hard. There was a violent shudder, and we all fell to the floor.

“What’re you doing?!” Rose yelped.

“Yeah, what Carolina Rose said!” I barked at him.

The Doctor just let out crazy laughs. “Putting on a bit of speed! That’s it!” He pulled more levers and knobs. I tried to grab onto the console, but the TARDIS kept shaking. “My beautiful ship! Come on, faster! That’s a girl!”

I looked over at Rose. She looked at me. We were both panicking, and the Doctor couldn’t see it. His regeneration was kinda making him a bit too excited. It was making all his insanity come to forefront. Made it hard for him to remember the danger. “Faster! Wanna to break the time limit?!”

“There’s a time limit?” I asked, sounding calmer than I felt. “Why is this the first I’ve heard of it?”

“Stop it!” Rose snapped at us both.

“Right, yeah. Bad thing.” I excused, as a sort of apology.

“Ah, don’t be so dull... let’s have a bit of fun! Let’s rip through that vortex!” The Doctor looked into Rose’s eyes. It seemed to break the spell over him. He looked at her, and tried to explain the danger. “The regeneration’s going wrong. I can’t stop myself.” He grimaced. I wanted to go up to him and make him feel better, but knew it was useless. “Ah, my head...”

“Doctor?” I asked him, legit worried.

He popped back up like a whack-a-mole. He looked even more crazy than before. “Faster! Let’s open those engines!” The Time Lord began pulling more knobs.

There was a bell ringing. “What’s that?”

“That’s the warning bell!” I growled, glaring at the Doctor.

“We’re gonna crash land!” He started laughing like it was the best thing on Earth.

The bell was getting louder. “Ya know, sunshine, that could get us killed!” I yelled.

Rose glared at the Doctor. “Yeah, do something about it!”

“Too late! Out of control!” He ran around the console, pulling random knobs. “Oh, I love it! Hot dawg!” He jumped up like a bunny on crack.

“That is not gonna be your thing!” I snapped. “Hot dawg is not a thing!”

Rose was still panicking. “You’re gonna kill us!”

“That much was obvious!” I almost yelled at Rose.

“Hold on tight, here we go!” The Doctor gripped onto the console. Rose did too.

Out of nowhere, I felt a hand grab onto mine. Looking up, I saw the Doctor holding my arm. There was a serious look on his face, as if he didn’t want me to get hurt. He pulled me up off the ground, and he gave me a once over with his eyes. Once he was sure I was okay, he turned over to look at Rose. She looked terrified.

“Christmas Eve!”

Chapter Text

The TARDIS landed, and we were all alive. I was panting. Yeah, I knew we would be fine, but it was still scary to think about.

The Doctor was the first up. He ran to the doors, immediately throwing them open. He walked out, proud of himself.

“Here we are then, London. Earth. The Solar System. We did it.” The Doctor reported with a wide grin.

I pushed myself up off the ground, stumbling towards the door. My body was aching from the bumps I’d gotten on the flight.

“Jackie. Mickey. Blimey!” The Doctor cheered. “No, no, no, no, hold on. Wait there.”

It was at that point I was out of the TARDIS. Jackie and Mickey were holding the Doctor up.  

“I’ve got something to say. There was something I had to tell you, something important. What was it? No, hold on, hold on. Hold on, shush, shush, shush, shush.” The Doctor draped his arms over Jackie and Mickey’s shoulders.

I rolled my eyes. How was it he was ten minutes old and already getting on my nerves? Maybe it was just the shaky flight. My head hurt...it hurt like when you wanted to sneeze but couldn’t.

“Oh, I know!” The Doctor smiled brightly. “Merry Christmas!”

He collapsed, and Rose joined me.

“What happened? Is he all right?” Rose asked.

Mickey turned to us. He had a worried, confused frown on his face. “I don’t know, he just keeled over. But who is he? Where’s the Doctor?”

Rose motioned with her head at him. “That’s him, right in front of you. That’s the Doctor.”

“What do you mean, that’s the Doctor?” Jackie asked, looking between Rose and I. “Doctor who?”

 

==TTI==

 

Jackie walked into the room, a stethoscope in her hand.

Mickey and I had dragged the Doctor up here, then came the fun thing of changing him into the pajamas Jackie brought out. ( You didn’t hear this from me, but the Doctor wears question mark underpants.) It took me about a minute to keep myself from laughing, and Rose’s glare stopped it from being five.

His leather jacket had been tucked away into my Infinity Bag, the rest of his clothes had been put into a pile nearby. I mean, if he asked for it once he woke up I would end up giving it to him, until then I would keep it.

Two was sentimental, apparently. She had some photos of her old family, some of Aunt Mel’s shirts tucked away and sometimes worn under my hoodie, the video of Rose and the Doctor dancing in World War Two. Then there was the ID tag I gave to my pig, I had been saving that one for a while. Then there were random pictures of Nine, Rose, Mickey, Jack, and Jackie.

Jackie handed the stethoscope to Rose. My friend put it on, reaching to check the Doctor’s hearts.

“Here we go.” Jackie sat down beside us. “Tina the cleaner’s got this lodger, a medical student, and she was fast asleep, so I just took it. Though I still say we should take him to hospital.”

“We can’t.” Rose argued. “They’d lock him up.”

“They’d dissect him, then try for me .” I added. “One bottle of our blood could change the future of the human race.”

Jackie tried to argue for the hospital.

“No!” Rose stopped her before Jackie could speak. “Shush!”

I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. In my head, I heard the faint buzzing of the Doctor. He was still alive, just unconscious. The buzzing was white noise essentially, but it came as a great comfort.

“Both working.” Rose reassured herself, cutting me out of my concentration.

I opened my eyes, feeling like I woke up from a nap. I sighed, looking at the sleeping Doctor. He was alive, physically and mentally. The regeneration had just been messed up by the Time Vortex. He would be fine soon.

Rose stood up, making her way out of the room. I picked up my bag, following behind her. The Doctor needed to sleep for now, he could wake up later.

“What do you mean, both?” Jackie asked.

“We’ve got two hearts.” I informed her, keeping my voice quiet so it wouldn’t wake him up.

“Oh, don’t be stupid.” Jackie scolded.

“He has!” Rose argued, stomping off. Wow. Love a Tyler family reunion.

“Anything else he’s got two of?” Jackie commented.

Rose snapped around to flaw at her mother. “Leave him alone.”

Jackie looked at us innocently, getting up to leave him be.

 

==TTI==

 

Their couch was actually much more relaxing than I remembered. I sank down onto it, pulling out my photo album from the Bag.

The photos of Nine had all been put inside. There was one of him piloting the TARDIS, of the three of us watching movies in the media room, my favorite of him with Rose. That one made me smile fondly. There was one of him with baby Rose, before I took over that moment.

I knew the Doctor as still alive, but I also knew I would never see Nine again. Ten would be a great friend. It might take a bit of time, though.

“How can he go changing his face?” Jackie asked from the kitchen. “Is that a different face or is he a different person?”

“How should I know?” Rose snapped angrily.

I snorted. My album was put back into the bag, and I walked over to the door to the kitchen. “Really trying not to be insulted here.”

Rose paused. “Sorry.” My friend sucked in a pained breath. “It’s just a lot, you know?”

I leaned against the doorframe watching her with apologetic eyes. My arms crossed, defensively.

“The thing is I thought I knew him, Mum. I thought me and him were.” Rose’s brown eyes started to shine with tears. “And then he goes and does this. I keep forgetting he’s not human.”

Jackie glanced at me, which made me smile reassuringly. I wasn’t human either. I was just as much an alien as the Doctor. Rose wasn’t talking about me in her speech because she was thinking about the Doctor, mourning him not me.

It ticked me off a little. ‘ Goes and does this’? She said it like it was some mistake.  Regeneration wasn’t a mistake, it was biology! Ten wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t a mistake. Story, Rose, get your act together.

“The big question is.” Rose took a deep sniffle, pushing away that pain. “Where’d you get a pair of men’s pyjamas from?”

Jackie shrugged off the question. I smirked at her. “Howard’s been staying over.” She replied airily.

“What, Howard from the market?” Rose asked. “How long’s that been going on?”

“A month or so.” Jackie replied easily. “First of all, he starts delivering to the door and I thought, that’s an odd. Next thing you know, it’s a bag of oranges-”

“Is that Harriet Jones?” Rose interrupted. She walked off to the living room.

Jackie scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Oh, never mind me.”

I gave her a reassuring smile. “I’m sure it was an interesting story.”

“Did you want to hear it?” Jackie asked, hopeful.

Without missing a beat, I replied “I would rather have a tea party with a shark.” Then I left the kitchen. Jackie was behind me, though she went to the living room for Rose.

“Why’s she on the telly?” Rose asked.

“She’s Prime Minister now. I’m eighteen quid a week better off.” Jackie praised. Sensing my presence wasn’t needed here, I went off to the door. “They’re calling it Britain’s Golden Age. I keep on saying my Rose has met her.”

“Did more than that. Stopped World War Three with her. Harriet Jones.” Rose remarked with fondness.

I turned at the door to the Doctor’s room. He was peaceful in bed, in the pajamas of one of Jackie Tyler’s paramours.

I smiled at him, hoisting my Bag higher up on my shoulder. “Be right back, Mago-” I cut myself off. “Doctor.” My voice didn’t wobble. That’s absurd. Your voice was wobbling. “Don’t die again. I can’t handle Rose when she’s this emotional.”

With my peace made I left the apartment. No one called out to me. Whether or not that was a good thing was undecided.

I made my way away from the Powell Estates. Something about the place was unsettling me, more than just The Doctor’s regeneration.

So, once I was sure I was alone, I Jumped Home.

 

==TTI==

Home

 

My eyes opened slowly, like I was waking up from a nap. My chest felt chest tight I got used to the one heart, and the missing ribs. There were other Time Lord things missing, I was too tired to take note. There was probably a second liver but my head was foggy.

My room on my Earth was small, with baby pink walls and white wicker furniture. It was a mess, with clothes and stuffed animals strewn about. Stuck at random points in the room were various colored sticky notes, each with an important fact about my life.

I plucked a blue one from the headboard behind me. Blue was events, pink was personal, yellow was homework, purple was ‘familiar faces’, and green was the type of media it was. It made it easier to get back on track after a long trip to another dimension.

The note said today was September 27th, 2012. I was a fifteen year old human. My hand ran through my raven black hair, only to find it bunched up in a ponytail. I was in a blue tank top with pajamas shorts, different to anything Terra Two would wear.

There was some snickering to the side. I glanced towards it, seeing my computer screen open to the Doctor Who episode list for Season One.

Leaning against the wall was Darcy, though she wasn’t dressed as an alien whore. Darcy was wearing black leggings, and a lime green top with long sleeves, except the sleeves looked all cut up like someone tried to make it fringe but it didn’t work. That damn lime shirt...

Darcy smirked at me, white teeth framed by blood red lips. Her purple eyes didn’t have kohl around them, just plain mascara. Her black hair was still straight, and shaded like ink. She was toying with a knife, probably filing her nails.

Then I remembered my future self’s warning. ‘Be wary when you Wake Up. Darcy was left on her own.’

“What did you do?” I asked, climbing out of bed to check my mirror. It was a full body mirror, but I had hidden it behind one of my dressers. This was a compromise with Mom.

Darcy snorted. “Nothing.” She lied.

Instead of giving her a look, I checked the mirror. She had stuck a fake mustache on my head, making it look like I had a unibrow. “I hate you.” I grumbled, barely wincing when I pulled it off.

My sister laughed, coming up to my side. She wrapped her arms around my shoulders, looking at me in the mirror. “Come on, sis. You think this is hilarious.” Darcy chided. “You love me.”

I rolled my eyes, smiling. “Smug witch.”

“Snooty bitch.” Darcy countered, shoving my arm and getting up from our hug. “So, what’d you do? Make-out with Rose Tyler yet? You’ve been a lot of places, and have a thing for blondes.”

“Shut up. I have not .” I scolded, lightly. “She’s the Doctor’s.”

“Have a threesome with them. Problem solved.” Darcy decided. “He’s your type too. Dark haired, smart and clever, looks drool worthy in glasses-”

“Cutting you off now. I only travel with the Doctor and Rose. No sordid love triangle, you nympho.”

“Really? You’re not even at Jack yet? He’d have gotten all of you to have sex with each other. He’s my fav.” Darcy complained, lying on my bed. “A man after my own heart.”

It had been barely an hour since I had failed to save him. Wasn’t that a scary thought? He’d been sentenced to hell an hour ago for me, for him it’d been two hundred years. A painful, agonizing two hundred years. This was a so fresh wound to tell my sister.

“I failed, Darcy.”

My sister sat back up. Her head must be spinning- sitting straight up after lying down makes your head go woozy. “You what .”

“Failed. I failed him. He died.” I explained. I pushed the blue sticky notes around the board. This kept my mind focused on other things besides what we’re talking about.

“Morgue.” Darcy had walked up behind me. Her hand reached up to my shoulder, turning me around. I didn’t let her move me. She let out a quick annoyed huff. “How’d he die? Was it before the finale? Has Nine died yet?”

“Him too.” I explained. “Nine changed to Ten. Jack...he died by...by Dalek. They were talking about Harriet Jones when I left.”

Something in my tone signalled to Darcy what I needed. She stopped trying to assure me, stopped being a traditional sister with a heart. I needed her to be normal. This needed to be normal. If she was going to be nice, then that meant she thought she had to because she thought I would do something stupid.

She turned back to the bed, plopping down on it.

“That’s bad for my bedspring.” I remarked, dryly. I’d never let her know how thankful I was for that.

“Damn. Nine was my favorite doctor.” Darcy remarked, lifting up my laptop. She started typing on it. Though, what exactly I didn’t question. “He was the only one we saw shirtless.”

“Seriously? That’s why you like Nine?” I asked, going back to the board.

“No, that’s the top reason.” Darcy stated. “I liked his sass.” She winked at me. “And his leather covered as-”

“I get it!” I interrupted, holding a hand out to her. She smirked. “Pervert.”

“Prude.” She teased, hopping off my bed to grab her go bag.

“Whore.”

“Bitch.”

“Proudly. Now what are you doing on my laptop?!”

“Reading fanfic.” Darcy admitted. “Hobbit.”

“Which one?” I asked. Crawling on my bed, I peaked over her shoulder. I immediately rolled off my bed in horror. “You’re reading porn?! ” I gawked. “And it’s Smaugbo?! How does that even work?”

“Read the tags. He’s Smaug!lock in these. Bilbo’s not being ‘taken’ by a dragon. Though, I have heard of some that have that.” Darcy explained, talking down to me. She loved it when she was the smart one. “Better than OakenBaggins...or whatever the fuck that ship is called.” Darcy waved away the ship name.

“BagginShield.” I answered without missing a beat

“Yeah that fucking-” Darcy paused. She smirked at me. “Wait how do you know- why am I asking? You ship everything .”

“I do not !”

“A mechanical pencil and a regular pencil?” Darcy challenged.

I gasped, swooning. “They’d have a forbidden love .”

“Purquoise?”

“Have you not seen the art for that?”

“See?! I bet you’ve read more smut than I have!” Darcy challenged.

“Shut up.” She giggled at my reply. She thought she was right. “We need to get back. You’re in there.” I delightfully informed, pointing at my laptop. She groaned, her head rolling back in typical teenager fashion. “I saw you, texted you, called you. You exist, mother effer.”

“No!” She whined. She pounded her fists on the bed. I’m surprised she didn’t hit my laptop by accident. “I wanted to be free of stupid time travel logic.” She started fake sobbing.

I snorted.

*knock* *knock*

Our heads snapped to the door. All action stopped. Back Home, it wasn’t good when someone knocked on my door. I always had it locked, the key staying with me so no one could come inside.

Bracing myself I got to my feet. Darcy sat up, leaning on her elbow.

“Morgan? Can we talk?” The voice of Mr. Spencer came from the other side. He sounded impatient, resigned too.

“Just a second!” I called out. “22.” I hissed  in a low voice to Darcy.

My sister nodded, all business. She rolled off the bed (silent as death) to hide on the other side. It was a rule that Darcy never be seen at Home.

Staying braced, I went to the door. When I opened it I knew it was a mistake.

Mr Spencer was a big guy. Not in a scary way, more like a big teddy bear kinda way. He was a teacher, the one everyone talked to when things were tough, that was part of his job. I’d never seen him not have an assuring word for his students, even when scolding them (except for me). He had a receding hairline. The thin hair left was black, bite of gray scattered around. His eyes were round, sepia brown. His skin was a leathery bronze, worn in age and the natural color.

“Morgan, where is your math homework?” Mr. Spencer asked, already looking angry.

Terra Two could handle confrontation, or at least not feel scared shitless. Morgan Spencer, she felt lucky to look her father in the eyes right now.

I darted away from the door, rushing to find the math notebook. This was one of the flaws of having your parents be your teachers: you never miss an assignment. I checked one of my calendars (where today’s date was shown), and it was a Thursday.

Why was Mr. Spencer bothering me on a Thursday? The math was due tomorrow. Except the lesson from today, and all the ones I haven’t turned in yet. That I didn’t finish until an hour before leaving to Who . Right, that explains Mr. Spencer’s presence.

Head bowed down, I replied “Let me get it.” Without a word from him I went to my bed. The notebook should be in my backpack.

Glancing over the bed as I flipped through the backpack, I saw Darcy look at me sorrowfully. Oh no...what had she done?

With growing horror, I remembered the math book wasn’t from this year. It was from another high school Jump. I had taken my Home math book with me into Who. It was in my room in the TARDIS. I did three weeks worth of math, so that something like this wouldn’t happen.

I’m so dead.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I went back to the door. Terra Two would know how to stand, how to make it seem like she was taller than Mr. Spencer. I never could. It was why I loved Pops so much, he never made me feel weaker. Mr. Spencer on the other hand, I still have some nightmares about him shouting at my siblings and I (mostly me) when we were kids.

The shouting was never done out of hate, never. It was for stupid kid stuff, like climbing a tree branch or leaning just a little too far out a window (I still think I was perfectly safe, only in danger until Mr. Spencer started screaming at me), or the ever famous ‘not paying attention’ .

This was going to be another one of those times.

Mr. Spencer was glaring at me from the small crack in the doorway. He tapped the door, opening it wide enough so he could see why I was stalling.

“I...I forgot it at school.” I lied, holding tightly to the other math notebook. Story, how could I have been so stupid?

‘You forgot it’ ? Do you know how many times I’ve heard that?” Mr. Spencer almost snapped. I winced, though it went unnoticed by Mr. Spencer. “Normally, Morgan, I wouldn’t be so angry with you, but this is the third time this month! It’s September and you’re already behind in all your classes.”

I winced again. It was never on purpose. Most of my school work was covered up by all the Planning stuff. Somewhere in all these colored notes I had homework assignments written down. I had the work done. I had to dumb it down, so I wouldn’t be accused of cheating. If I could get my human life together for long enough, I’d have turned them in.

“Your English teacher says you don’t talk in class, your History teacher says you never pay attention, and your Spanish teacher told me you’ve only done 5% on the online course when you’re supposed to be at 18.”

My eyes had lowered to my shoes as he talked. I’ve fought monsters and the worst of humanity, but I never felt smaller than when around Mr. Spencer. Even though I couldn’t see her, I felt Darcy’s angered gaze burn through my mattress and into my father. The man didn’t notice. If he did I’d be in a bigger shitstorm than before.

“You need to stop forgetting these things.” Mr. Spencer half barked. I briefly wondered where Mrs Spencer was, then remembered she had to be at her other job of tutoring.

“I’m sorry, Dad.” I replied in a small voice. “I’ll try-”

“No more trying.” Mr. Spencer snapped coldly.  My back went ramrod straight. “You’re fifteen, a sophomore now. These grades go on your permanent record. You can’t afford to be this lazy anymore. College is so close . They’ll read about your late work, you won’t be accepted! No more trying, no more zoning out in class, no more forgetting. Got that?”

“Y-yes sir.” I half whimpered.

I don’t know when Mr. Spencer left after that, or how long I stood there just letting his rant sink in.

My mind was playing back all the people that had died because I had forgotten them, or forgotten this gun or that poisoned dart. Me.  Forgetting. The first few months of Terra, finding out I’d forgotten an entire past. According to the Doctor I forgot someone important .

Mr. Spencer was right, I had to stop forgetting things. People died when I forgot things.

Sometime later, I turned back to the bed. Darcy was leaning against the headboard. Her arms were crossed over her chest. She was glaring at me, petulant.

“M-My nam-me is T-Terra Jo-Johnson here.” I whimpered, walking over to my laptop. I clicked on iTunes, then series 2 of Who .

“Morgan-” Darcy tried. Her head tilted in warning. She wasn’t going to let it go.

“We need to go. I can’t forget to go back. I told Jackie I’d be right back. The Doctor said I forgot someone ...someone important . How could I forget a person ?” I cut myself off, trying to hold back tears. Climbing on my bed, I held my hand out to Darcy. My eyes never left the laptop screen. “R-Ready?”

My sister sighed. She grabbed my hand, and I emotionally felt her disapproving stare.

“You gotta tell them the truth sometime, ya know.” Darcy reminded.

I said nothing.

“You can’t hide this forever.” Darcy pestered. “You can’t hide me forever. I’m not a dirty little secret. We’re family .”

‘I don’t want you around this.’ I thought. ‘I don’t want you to be like me. I’m not ashamed of you. I could never be. I’m ashamed of me . Please don’t be like me.’

Darcy huffed, thinking I was avoiding her question (and I was). Pressing play, I brought us into Who .

 

==TTI==

Whoniverse

 

Darcy and I appeared on the roof of Powell Estates.

“Blegh.” I sighed, shaking the tiredness from my bones. That, and the feeling of two hearts beating in my chest. It was more rushed. My ears were ringing. Oh I felt like running. Doing a lot of running. That spinning Earth feeling came back with it.

My sister looked much different than the other times I’d seen her. Her hair had the same black I was used to, straight as a blade, and falling to her shoulders. Her eyes that same normal dark purple. Her clothes were different though. She wore a red and black striped sweater, not unlike Freddy Krueger. Her leggings went good with it, a metal chain attached around the hips. She had on big clunky black boots to complete it.

Darcy was looking out at the city, curling her arms around her chest to fight the cold. “Fucking London air. I can taste the tea and sadness. Disgusting British things.” She turned to me, blinking in surprise. “Whoa.”

“Huh?” I asked, trying to shake off this weird feeling in my ears.

“You’re...brunette.” Darcy scrunched her face up in disgust. “Ew.”

I snickered. “New face. Deal with her.”

“And she’s sassy .” Darcy clapped in praise. “About damn time.”

“Shut the hell up. I’ve got a command for you.”

“Don’t care.” Darcy grunted, putting a hand on her hip. “When can I get out?”

“You’re gonna care. This is an important thing.”

“Cause I always listen when you have an important thing to say.” Darcy spoke with a mocking sarcastic voice. We both knew she was lying.

Don’t interfere with us.” I instructed.

She reeled back. “You brought me here so I could do nothing ?”

“We’ll be traveling all over time and space. You’re gonna end up making some friends-” I defended.

“I have friends ?” Darcy asked. “Are you sure they weren’t fuck buddies?”

“Yeah. Freaked me out too. Future You never clarified.” Darcy shuddered. She didn’t like the idea of anything other than fuck buddies, apparently. “Anyway, you can’t come jump into the Doctor and I’s adventures. It’s not in my Plan.”

“Pfft. You and your Plans...” Darcy scoffed. She slid her hands in her pockets, bracing against the cold.

“Laugh all you like, Anderson. My Plans save your ass.” She rolled her eyes, moving one hand from her pocket to push back her hair. The London air didn’t agree with it. “Look, just don’t come here unless I ask. It’s important.”

“Aye aye, Captain.” She saluted me. Her expression teasing.

A wave of rage ran through me. I narrowed my eyes, bared my teeth. “Don’t say that. That is his word.” I snapped, furious.

Darcy reeled back. “ Whoa -k. I’ll stop.”

“I mean it ! If you show up, and I didn’t Plan it, and something happens to you -” I was spiraling.

“Okay. Okay!” Darcy slapped a hand over my mouth. “Storyline, I forgot what you’re like when you’re anxious.”

I mumbled begins her hand.

“Yeah yeah, you’re always anxious. This is post-death anxiety. On you it’s different.” Darcy explained. I  gave her a raised eyebrow. “Shut up. You know I’m right.”

Against her hand, I groaned.

Darcy laughed...until she looked up.

“You left around the Harriet Jones conference, right?”

I mumbled an affirmative.

Darcy used the hand over my mouth to move my face towards the sky.

The Sycorax ship was in the sky, the night sky.

“We didn’t come back to that.”

 

==TTI==

 

I was running back to the Powell Estates. Darcy trailed behind after me.

“Stay back there!” I warned her.

“You never told me where my non-duck buddies were!” Darcy called out.

“Just wait around! They’ll find you!” I shouted over my shoulder. “Now stay away !”

She groaned, agitated. “ Fine! You better text me later!”

“Duh!”

With my sister handled, I ran over to the Estates.

I crossed paths with Rose and Mickey. The blonde companion was a ball of rage.

“Where the hell have you been?” Rose snapped while running up to me. Mickey looked at us in confusion.

‘Oh so now I’m noticed.’ “Out. Story, can’t I just take a walk?” She groaned out in frustration. She grabbed my hand, pulling me along. “Ow! Let my arm go!”

She didn’t respond. Or care. It was infuriating.

I twisted my arm away. Rose didn’t care. She was running, dragging Mickey with her.

A quick glance back for my sister, I prayed to the Storyline that she would be okay. Then I ran after the humans.

I climbed the stairs faster than them. It was easy to forget how much faster I was when I Jumped someplace.

When I made it to the Tyler’s flat, I pushed the door open. Jackie hadn’t locked it.

“Get off the phone!” Rose screamed.

“It’s only Bev. She says hello.” Jackie dismissed.

“Bev?” Rose held the phone up to her ear. I went to check on the Doctor. “Yeah. Look, it’ll have to wait. Right, it’s not safe. We’ve got to get out. Where can we go?”

The Time Lord was in a blissful sleep. I guess he looked better than he did earlier. In the hall, I could hear the humans muttering about. I walked up to the Doctor. He didn’t react.

“You sleep like a log.” I mused, more to myself than them. “You better not make a habit of this.”

He slept on. A part of me liked to think he was smiling on the inside.

My phone sang in my pocket- Darcy’s ringtone. I quickly pulled it out. I turned myself away from the Doctor, whispering.

“What do you want, Purple?”

“Can I get confirmation for terminating the pilot fish?”

“No, your aim is terrible and I told you to leave town.”

“How do you know I’m not my future self, sent back here to keep you alive?”

“Because you’re a sentimental idiot.”

“How fucking dare you accuse me of emotions .”

“I know it’s true. Leave town, Dar-” The song Jingle bells began to play, from out in the hall. “Idiots.” I cursed. Clapping my phone shut, I stuffed in in my jean pockets.

Rushing to the door, I could see the green tree had lit itself up.

“Oh, you’re kidding me.” Rose grumbled, as she and the others began backing away.

The tree spun around. It was clearly done with homicidal intent.

As the tree moved closed, I was shocked that none of the humans moved.

“Hey!” I prompted them. They all jumped back, screaming. “Get moving!”

They realized I had a point. Jackie ran to the door. Mickey held up a table at it.

“Quit being a hero, Mickey, run!” I shouted at him. Mickey ignored me.

Rose came to me, looking in the room at the Doctor.

“We’ve got to save the Doctor.” She told the others.

I marched to the bed, figuring how to lift him up.

“What’re you doing?” Jackie asked us.

“We can’t just leave him.” Rose argued.

“Mickey!” Jackie looked to him for help. He was still fighting off the tree. “Leave it! Get out! Get out!”

I ran out of the room, grabbing Mickey by the hood of his coat. He looked back at me in confusion. I didn’t care, instead dragging him back to the Doctor’s room.

“No, leave him. Just leave him!” Jackie pleaded, while looking back to the Christmas tree.

“Shut up and help!” I ordered her.

Jackie whined as she ran inside. She and Mickey slammed the door shut, working to barricade it.

“Doctor, wake up!” Rose pleaded with him.

I was torn between helping barricade the door, and slapping the Doctor awake. So instead I went for the sonic.

“Terra what are you doing? Help him!” Rose demanded.

“I am!” I argued. Walking up to the barricade, I held up the sonic. ‘Point and think. Point and think. Point and think.’ “Jackie, Mickey, move!”

They jumped back. The Christmas tree broke down the door. I aimed the sonic at the tree.

“Point and think. Point and think.” I mumbled to myself. I braced myself to push the button.

Or I would have, if Rose hadn’t grabbed my arm to pull me back. “Terra don’t!”

“What the hell, Tyler?!” I snapped.

‘I can save people too, Rose. I’m good for something. Please let me save people.’

While I was shouting she took the sonic from my hand to give to the Doctor. It didn’t do anything to stop me from being pissed off. If anything it made me angrier. Then again there was a helicopter death tree was behind me. A lot of things were making me angry.

“I’m going to get killed by a Christmas tree!” Jackie screeched to the side.

From behind me, I heard Rose whisper “Help me.”

The tree sped up. I stayed in front of the humans for defense.

“Terra look out!” Rose shouted from the bed.

‘My eyes are literally looking right at it. What do I have to look out for?!’

The tree wasn’t in front of me that much longer. It exploded in a lovely display of flying pine needles and ornaments.

I whirled to the bed, seeing the Doctor sitting up while glaring at the remains of the tree. My fist punched his arm.

“Ow! What was that for?” He asked me, rubbing the wounded area.

“For you being an overdramatic... thing !” I replied, aggravated.

The Doctor gave me a big grin. It didn’t calm me down. He dropped the smile too quick. He moved his focus to the imploded Christmas Tree.

“Remote control. But who’s controlling it?” The Doctor climbed out of the bed.

No done scolding him yet, I followed after him.

The Doctor walked outside. He made confident assured steps to the walkway, glaring down at the Santas standing in the middle of the alley. I looked up at the buildings. There was no sign of Darcy on any buildings. My sister had been trained by me to hide, so not seeing her didn’t mean she wasn’t there.

The humans trailed behind us. They looked out on the street, seeing the Santas.

“That’s them. What are they?” Mickey asked. Rose hushed him.

The Doctor raised his screwdriver. The Santas backed off, retreating into a circle formation before beaming up.

“They’ve just gone.” Mickey breathed out in relief. “What kind of rubbish were they? I mean, no offence, but they’re not much cop if a sonic screwdriver’s going to scare them off.”

“Pilot fish.” The Doctor commented.

“What?” Rose asked.

“They were just pilot fish.” The Doctor clarified. He started to swallow. I pulled him away from the edge, forcing him to sit down. He let out a noise of pain, falling hard against the wall. I wrapped my arm around his back, supporting him.

“What’s wrong?” Rose asked, concerned.

“He needs to sleep .” I snapped. The Doctor continued to hiss. “You shouldn’t have woken him up. He’s not done yet. The energy from the Vortex is still running through him. See?”

To prove it, the Doctor exhaled a burst of gold gas. It flowed over the humans, dissolving harmlessly in the air.

The Doctor took over the explanation. “The pilot fish could smell it a million miles away.” He was panting in pain. “So they eliminate the defence, that’s you lot, and they carry me off. They could run their batteries on me for a couple of ow !”

He jumped out of my arms. He moved to the railings, grabbing hard to them while pushing his back against them. I held Rose back, before she could get too close.

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Jackie gasped.

“My head!” The Doctor groaned. “I’m having a neuron implosion. I need-”

“What do you need?” Jackie asked.

“I need-” The Doctor hissed.

“Say it. Tell me, tell me, tell me.” Jackie insisted.

“I need-” The Doctor hissed.

“Painkillers?”

“I need-”

“Do you need aspirin?”

“I need-”

“I need you to shut up.” The Doctor snapped.

Jackie huffed, rolling her eyes heavenward. “Not changed much has he?”

The Doctor yelled out in pain. He jumped away from railings, nearly bumping my head. I wrapped my arms around him, forcing him to a single position.

“If your head wasn’t so messed up, I’d smack it.” I remarked.

The Doctor laughed between hisses of pain. “You would.” He laughed. He hissed again. He snapped his focus to Rose and I. “We haven’t got much time. If there’s pilot fish, then-” He cut himself off. “-why’s there an apple in my dressing gown?” He asked, cool as you like.

“Oh, that’s Howard. Sorry.” Jackie admitted.

“He keeps apples in his dressing gown?” The Doctor asked, incredulous.

“That’s a new apple. I saw the bag in the kitchen.” I recalled. I turned to Jackie. “You buy him the apples he keeps in his dressing gown?”

Jackie shrugged. “He gets hungry.”

“What, he gets hungry in his sleep ?” The Doctor asked.

“Sometimes.”

The Doctor and I stared at her for a short moment in confusion.

“Argh! Brain collapsing.” He flinched into the wall. I grumbled under my breath at the stupidity of Time Lords. The Doctor turned back to Rose and I. “The pilot fish. The pilot fish mean that something, something-” The Doctor took four deep shuddering breaths. “- something is coming...”

His eyes rolled back. He collapsed with little fanfare.

 

==TTI==

 

Rose and I moved him back into bed. She had gotten a washcloth, cleaning the cold sweat from the Doctor’s head. I was checking the mental link for any sign of real danger. It was a lot like looking through a window into someone’s house. Or at least that’s how it felt right now.

There wasn’t much beyond what I had been expecting. His brain was a wreck. A slowly being cleaned wreck, but still a wreck.

The door opened and closed. My eyes were shut, not caring about the goings on of the humans. There was more important stuff to do.

Like the fact that my dumbass sister was calling me again.

“Status?” I asked Rose.

She sniffled. “He’s worse, Terra. One heart beating.”

There was a small pause. “Go get some tea. I can smell Jackie cooking from here. I’ll watch him.”

“No I can do it-”

“Rose my eyes are closed but I know your hands are shaking.” She didn’t argue. “Go get some tea. Calm down. I’ll watch him.” I repeated.

Rose must have realized I was right. She finished her tending to the Doctor before she went out into the hall. I could hear the news report being turned up. I pulled out the phone, leaning against the wall by the door. Holding the phone up to my ear, I went to work cleaning up all the bits of wood.

“Whore I told you to stop calling.”

“Can’t help it. You’re just so interesting to talk to.” Darcy teased.

I snorted. “No, you’re just being a brat.”

“It’s Christmas! Family is supposed to be close on Christmas.”

“If you are in, on, or next to this building, I swear to the Author-”

“You told me to ditch. I ditched.” Darcy admitted. “Miss Claus is going on a shopping spree.”

I let out a breath of relief. The room was getting cleaner. The trash in here was getting full of shredded wood. “Stealing from the poor to give to yourself?”

“No. You get a thing too. This you likes purple shit right?”

“I mean yeah, I guess. You always get me really weird Christmas presents. Don’t you know what I really want? A purple shirt, thanks but no thanks. I don’t need any of that stuff, you know what I’m sayin’?”

“Pfft. You love that song too much.”

“Don’t need no cellphone to call from this home, don’t buy me clothes I have the TARDIS closet!” I sang into the phone, giggling.

Darcy groaned. “Oh fuck me. You’re making a parody based off a comedy song that is definitely based on something else. Please stop .”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Nothin’ to fancy. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. One thing I like if you really wanna know.” I continued to sing, laughing as I gathered up wood shards. “I can make it easy for ya: all I want for Christmas is - cash! Cash money, money. Money, money, money, money. Money, money, money, money. Christmas cash!”

“You’re a douchebag.”

“The word is ‘bitch’ get it right.” I taunted. “And just like that, we’ve hit the next verse. Don’t give me boardgames, I’ll beat you any day. Don’t need a screwdriver, not enough noise. No marshmallow ice cream, or any jewelry things. No I don’t need that, Purple, I’ve got enough stuff-”

The phone shut off with a click.

I snorted, gathering up my trash in a plastic bag. When I had it well and handled I turned to the Doctor. He was resting peacefully in bed.

“Score.” I told him, proud of my victory in getting my sister to leave me alone.

The Doctor didn’t reply.

“Sour sport.” With that, I walked out of the room.

The news report was talking about the Guinevere probe. My lip curled down as I thought about the Sycorax Slaughter. I dropped the bag off wood in the hall so I could watch the screen.

“Funny sort of rocks.” Jackie mused.

“It’s because they’re not rocks.” I stated.

Rose and Jackie jumped. Mickey didn’t even flinch. They turned to see me glaring at the TV screen. The static image focused to reveal a Sycorax.

The moment the image was clear the Sycorax roared.

The humans jumped back in surprise.

I continued to glare.

 

==TTI==

 

When the humans calmed down some time later, they got to work on other things. It took so long that Jackie decided to get a little rest. Rose was staring at the TV screen, waiting for an answer. Mickey was hacking the military. I was still cleaning.

What? We all grieved in bizarre ways. Mine happened to be cleaning up other people’s messes.

“Rose, Terra. Take a look.” Mickey called out. I dropped another bag of trash. Rose and I ran up to stand behind him. Mickey showed us his laptop, showing off the radar screen. He focused on the Sycorax ship. “I’ve got access to the military. They’re tracking a spaceship. It’s big, it’s fast, and it’s coming this way.”

“Coming for what, though? The Doctor?” Rose asked.

Mickey shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s coming for all of us.”

“Let’s assume both for now.” I decided. “You don’t send a ship that fast for one man unless he was your own kind.”

Mickey agreed with me.

A clear image appeared of the Sycorax.

“Have you seen them before?” Mickey asked us.

“No.” rose answered.

I shook my head.

The Sycorax growled on the screen. They growled in such a way that you knew they were trying to speak in their language.

“I don’t understand what they’re saying.” Rose realized with horror. “The TARDIS translates alien languages inside my head, all the time, wherever I am.”

“So, why isn’t it doing it now?” Mickey asked.

“I don’t know. Must be the Doctor. Like he’s part of the circuit, and he’s-” Rose’s voice dropped in a sad realization. “-he’s broken.”

With that I stormed off. I grabbed the filled trash bags before walking to the door/

“Terra?” Rose called out. “Where are you goin’?”

“Taking out the broken stuff.”

Though whether I was talking about the wood or myself I didn’t want the answer.

 

==TTI==

 

The trash bag slammed into the bin with a loud knocking noise. I didn’t care. The loud noise of the impact plus the added release of anger was doing loads for me mentally.

The TARDIS was beside me as I did this. She was quiet in my mind.

The next one I threw like a shot put. The bag broke open, spilling it’s contents over the trash bin and some onto the ground beside. That set me off.

“The damn thing broke !” I raged to the TARDIS. “It broke. Why the fuck did it break? It’s plastic. Plastic doesn’t break. Plastic gets ripped apart .” I picked up one of the pieces of trash that fell out of the trash bin, tossing it at the wall as if it had killed my mother.

The TARDIS was silent. Not one hum for or against it.

Though I knew what she would’ve said. ‘ You’re not plastic, Terra.’

“You’re right. I’m not plastic.” Another piece of trash- crumpled up newspaper-ended up in my hand. I crushed it. “According to Rose, I’m something broken .”

The TARDIS said nothing. Yet I knew her reply. It would be along the lines of ‘why would you think that?’

“She thinks regeneration are a mistake, an error .” I threw the paper at the bin. It didn’t hit with the force I wanted it to, so I grabbed a third trash bag. “That the tenth Doctor is something broken . If regenerations means something is an error, then I must be an error-” I heaved the trash bag over my head . “-and I’m not a mistake!”

The bag was thrown. It hit the side of the trash bin, spilling out wooden shavings all over the place.

“I’m not .” I whispered, feeling empty inside.

The TARDIS said nothing.

Upstairs, shuddering beside Jackie Tyler on a borrowed bed, the Doctor did. Not that I ever heard it.

‘No, Terra, you’re definitely not.’

 

==TTI==

 

Come morning, I felt better.

I’d slept beside the TARDIS. In my two centuries there had been worse beds.

After waking up, I decided to read to kill time. This seemed a great a time as any to read Order of the Phoenix again.

My reading was interrupted an hour later. The humans were shouting from the building. They were following the others as they walked up the stairs to the roof. More of them were walking around me, going inside the building and up.

I put the book away. As I got up to my feet, I noticed Rose and Mickey on the walkway. Rose was waving me over.

Begrudgingly I followed the crowd of people to the roof.

By the time I got there, the people were lining up to jump. More were still coming.

“What do we do?” Mickey asked Rose as I walked up.

“Nothing. There’s no one to save us. Not anymore.” Rose remarked.

I stopped, offended at her dismissal of me before I’d even showed up. So I walked back down the stairs to the Tyler residence.

 

==TTI==

 

By the time Rose and Mickey came down, I had Harriet’s message playing. Jackie was beside me, a concerned look on her face.

Rose looked the most surprised I was there. Plus the most offended. “Where the hell did you go?”

Without looking at her I turned up the volume.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I may take a moment during this terrible time. It’s hardly the Queen’s speech, I’m afraid that’s been cancelled. Did we ask about the Royal Family? Oh. They’re on the roof.” On screen, Harriet put on her brave face before turning back to the camera. “But, ladies and gentlemen, this crisis is unique, and I’m afraid to say, it might get much worse. I would ask you all to remain calm. But I have one request. Doctor, Terra-”

My complete attention was on Harriet now.

“-if you’re out there, we need you. I don’t know what to do. If you can hear me, Doctor, Terra. If anyone knows the Doctor or Terra, if anyone can find them, the situation has never been more desperate. Help us. Please, Doctor, Terra. Help us. God help us.”

Behind me, Rose ran out of the room to cry.

I didn’t hear what she was saying. My focus was on the fact that Harriet Jones remembered me enough to beg me for help.

‘At least one human believes in me.

Like Jack did.’

 

==TTI==

 

The glass shattered.

Rose and Mickey ran out to see what all the noise was about. I was leaning against the wall inside the Doctor’s room.

I waited.

The Doctor was silent.

While I waited, I Planned. There was a lot to think about for the next twenty-four hours.

The humans raced in while I was lost in thought.

“Mickey, we’re going to carry him. Mum, get your stuff, and, Terra, get some food. We’re going.” Rose ordered.

“Where to?” Mickey asked.

“The TARDIS. It’s the only safe place on Earth.” Rose answered.

“What’re we going to do in there?” Jackie asked.

“Hide.” Rose answered.

“You’re running away. That’s your big solution?” I asked her, having been brought out of my thoughts by her panicked ranting.

Rose huffed. “Well while you were hiding in here, Terra, ignoring humanity begging yout to help-”

“Oh you did not -”

“-we actually went outside. You missed seeing the great, big, alien invasion and I don’t know what to do, all right?” Rose argued.

I snorted, dismissively.

“We’ve travelled with him, and we’ve seen all that stuff, but when I’m stuck at home, I’m useless.” My anger softened just slightly, thinking about my own trip back Home and how useless I felt. “Now, all we can do is run and hide, and I’m sorry. Now, move!”

Then I moved. I left the apartment to march off to the TARDIS. Now I wished I had more trash bags to throw at the wall. Or maybe Rose’s head.

 

==TTI==

 

I stormed into the TARDIS, kicking at the railings. By the time Rose and Mickey came around, my foot ached.

Did I care?

According to Rose, apparently not.

“Mum, will you just leave that stuff and give us a hand?” Rose snapped.

“It’s food! You said we need food.” Jackie argued.

“Just leave it!” She turned to me. “Terra, can you give us a hand?”

I started giving her a slow clap. She groaned. “Oh I’m sorry . I wasn’t aware I could help.”

Rose grumbled. “Nevermind. We’ll do it.”

She and Mickey brought the Doctor in the rest of the way. They lowered him to the ground.

“No chance you could fly this thing?” Mickey asked me.

“Not anymore, no.” Rose replied.

“I was asking Terra.” Mickey corrected. Rose gawked at him. “She’s like the Doctor. I don’t know, maybe she knows how to do it.”

I smiled at him. The first honest smile I’d ever given to Mickey Smith.

“Wow. Thank ya kindly.” I began. “Appreciate the sentiment but it’s misplaced. I can’t fly the TARDIS anymore than Rose could. The Doctor showed Rose and I a few tricks, except I never had the time to learn Gallifreyan. Even if I could fly her completely, I don’t know where we’d end up. It could be somewhere better or someplace worse.”

“Can’t you do what Rose did?” Mickey asked.

“If I did what Rose did, I would be where the Doctor is. Maybe worse. The last thing we need is two ‘ dead’ Time Lords.” I shot a glare to Rose at that. Rose flinched. Teach her to call the Doctor dead because his face changed.

“Ah, better not, then.” Mickey stated.

“Maybe not.” Rose agreed, still flinched at the remark.

Mickey “So, what do we do? Just sit here?” Mickey asked the both of us.

“Looks like it.” I shrugged, sliding my hands in my pockets.

“Right, here we go.” Jackie murmured to herself. “Nice cup of tea.” She held up the flask for us all to see.

“Mmm, the solution to everything.” Rose grumbled.

“Now, stop your moaning.” Jackie scolded. She handed the flask to me. I accepted it with a grateful smile. “I’ll get the rest of the food.” She ran out for it.

“Tea.” Mickey snorted as he came up to my side. “Like we’re having a picnic while the world comes to an end. Very British.”

“The most British thing to ever British.” I remarked, toasting the idea.

Mickey and I laughed. Whenever I looked back, that would be the moment I said Mickey was no longer an Idiot.

He walked away from me, myself assuming that he was going to try a similar tactic with Rose. She was staring down at the Doctor, though, so nothing would get through.

“Let me try something.” I mused, walking over to the computer.

Mickey came up beside me. “Oh I get it! The Doctor said it picked up the telly, yeah? Maybe we could see what’s going on out there. Maybe we’ve surrendered.” He looked down at my fingers, which were hovering over the keyboard. “What do you do to it?”

“Good idea, Mickey, it’s a shame that’s not what I’m trying to do.” I pushed a button on the side. It made a loud beeping noise.

“A distress signal?” Mickey asked.

I snorted. “Close.” ‘He got the signal part right.’

“A fat lot of good that’s going to do.” Rose snorted.

“About as much good as sitting on my butt all mopey faced.” I countered, hitting the button again.

“Shut up.” Rose snapped.

“Oh alright.” I hopped down from the pilot seat.

“Where you going?” Mickey asked.

“Outside.”

Rose suddenly sat up. “Why’re you doing that for? It might start raining missiles out there.”

“Then I’ll die and you won’t have to deal with me anymore.” I replied. Grabbing the door handle, I turned back to Mickey and Rose with a wide sarcastic smile. “Everybody wins.”

I opened the door before they could reply. My arms flew out, throwing the tea flask I was still holding back towards the Doctor.

“HELLO SYCORAX!” I shouted.

“Terra!” Rose and Mickey screamed.

A Sycorax grabbed my arms. I let him, smiling like an idiot. He dragged me off towards Harriet and Alex. Rose and Mickey were off behind me, screaming like mad as they were captured too.

The Sycorax threw us at the humans. Harriet immediately pulled Rose in for a hug. I side-stepped to avoid it.

“Terra. Rose. Terra! Rose! I’ve got you. My Lord. Oh, my precious thing.” Harriet assured. She lowered her voice. “The Doctor, is he with you?”

“No. We’re on our own.” Rose told her.

“Don’t worry, Prime Minister.” I lightly punched her arm. She turned to me, looking confused. “You called, I answered. I’m Terra Johnson, and I’m here to help.”

Harriet smiled, relieved. She let go of Rose to pull me in for a hug. I tensed.

“No- no. Don’t hug me. It’s a thing with me. Just stop.”

The Sycorax leader broke up this anti-hug fest. He spoke in his language, growling for added benefit.

Alex translated. “The brown girl. She has the clever blue box.” “Therefore, she speaks for your planet.”

“But she can’t.” Harriet argued.

I snorted. “I’m Terra Johnson, I speak for the humans.” I joked. No one laughed. “Seriously? Not one of you read The Lorax?”

“Don’t you dare.” Mickey warned me.

“I’ll do what I like.” I countered, hands on my hips.

“Someone’s got to be the Doctor.” Rose argued. “It can’t be you. Let one of us do it.”

“Oh shut up.” I snapped.

“Terra why are you doing this?!” Rose asked.

“Because you called him a mistake, and an error, and that meant you were calling me one too.” I admitted. Rose reeled back in shock. “Yeah. You said his regeneration was a mistake. Guess what, Carolina Rose, I regenerated once too. It made this me- the Terra you see. I am not a mistake. If being the ambassador for humanity is what it’ll take for you to see that, then I know what I have to do.”

“Terra, I wasn’t talking about you -”

“Then you were talking about him, and that makes it worse.” I countered. “Cause I would’ve let you talk that way about me all damn day. You don’t get to give my insults to others. No. Not without me putting up a fight for them.”

Rose’s face fell, as if she was realizing just how terrible she had been today and what it was going to cost her.

“They’ll kill you.” Harriet pleaded.

“Well then might as well make a good show of it.” I argued before stepping forward. Raising one of my arms, I waved at him.

The Sycorax collectively growled down at me.

“Hello there, Mister Sycorax Leader Person.” I smirked at him. “You know, you’re lucky. Christmas Day is my busiest day of the year. There was just one slot left, which I saved to read Order of the Phoenix for the thirtieth time. Always gets me emotional, that book. I put that on hold for you . Use this time wisely.”

The Sycorax growled again. It wasn’t his language, just growling.

“I come on behalf of Article Fifteen of the Shadow Proclamation. In conjecture with the Council (who made a decision but it was a dumbass decision so I’m doing what I want) , the Ministry of Magic, and...the Lollipop Guild.” Oh wow this was fun. Did Rose have this much fun doing it on the show? Didn’t matter, this was getting exciting. “Y’all are lucky. They have decided to give you a chance. Leave this planet without hostile action. We swear we will not attack. I’d take them on it. The humans, the tend to bite while they bark. Don’t make us like the legendary Han Solo- who without a doubt shot first - be like...anyone else and leave.”

The Sycorax collectively laughed.

I laughed too. “Wow. If you loved the setup this much, I can’t wait to see how much you’ll love the punchline.”

The Sycorax leader pointed a bony finger at me.

“You are very, very funny.” Alex translated. “And now you’re going to die.”

“Leave her alone!” Harriet shouted.

“Don’t touch her!” Mickey yelled.

“Terra no!” Rose screamed with them.

“Leave her alone.” Harriet demanded.

“Did you think you were clever with your stolen words?” The Sycorax Leader asked me, no translating from Alex required. I grinned proudly. “We are the Sycorax, we stride the darkness. Next to us you are but a wailing child. If you are the best your planet can offer as a champion then your world will be gutted and your people enslaved.”

I whirled over to the humans. “Okay are you guys being stupid on purpose? None of you are gonna say anything?”

“Hold on, that’s English.” Alex pointed out.

“Thank you guy-whose-name-I-don’t-know.”

“Alex.” He introduced himself.

“Thank you, Alex.”

“He’s talking English.” Harriet realized.

“You’re talking English.” Rose too.

“I would never dirty my tongue with your primitive bile.” The Sycorax leader spat. He was offended at the mere idea .

“I’m still hearing English, right y’all?” I asked the humans behind me.

“Yeah, that’s English.” Mickey agreed, nodding his head rapidly.

Alex nodded too. “Definitely English.”

“I speak only Sycoraxic!”

“I should correct you, for something you got wrong earlier.” I began, wanting to be dramatic. “You said it was my blue box. That’s not true. The proper owner of that box? Yeah. He likes this planet. A lot. He’s not gonna like hearing you’re trying to enslave his favorite planet. I’ve been stalling for him, because I don’t know much about this new one but I know this-”

I turned to the TARDIS, just as the doors opened.

“He knows how to make an entrance.”

The Doctor grinned at us as the doors opened wide.

“Did you miss me?”

 

==TTI==

 

“About time you got your sorry behind outta bed.” I teased. “I was running out of stuff to say.”

The Doctor snorted, walking up. “I don’t know. That bit about the Ministry of Magic was good.”

“Really? Not too over the top?”

“Nah.”

The Sycorax cracked the whip. I ducked down to avoid the blast. The Doctor yanked it out of his hands.

“You could’ve had Terra’s eye out with that.” The Doctor scolded lightly.

“How dare!” The Sycorax Leader bellowed.

The Doctor then took away the giant club, breaking it across his knee.

“You just can’t get the staff.” I snorted at the pun. The Doctor helped me up to my feet. “Now, you, just wait. I’m busy.”

The Doctor and I walked over to the humans.

“Mickey, hello!” Ten gave him a wide beam for a smile. “And Harriet Jones MP for Flydale North. Blimey, it’s like This Is Your Life .” The Doctor mused. He snapped his fingers to Rose. “Tea! That’s all I needed, a good cup of tea! Superheated infusion of free radicals and tannin. Just the thing for healing the synapses. Now, first thing’s first.” The Doctor walked up to Rose. “Be honest, how do I look?”

“Not gonna ask me?” I asked, snickering.

“I’ll know what I’ll get if I ask you.”

“Like the truth about your rat face?”

“Ignore her. How do I look?” The Doctor asked Rose.

“Er, different.” Rose answered.

“Good different or bad different?” The Doctor asked.

“Just different.” Rose shrugged.

“Am I...ginger?” The Doctor asked in a low voice.

“No, you’re just sort of brown.” Rose gestured to the hair as if that would explain the color.

The Doctor whined. “I wanted to be ginger. I’ve never been ginger.” I laughed. He pointed a finger at me. “You. Terra Johnson, never sing that song again. It was complete rubbish. And you, Rose Tyler, fat lot of good you were. You gave up on me. Oh, that’s rude. That’s the sort of man I am now, am I? Rude. Rude and not ginger.”

“I’m sorry. Who is this?” Harriet asked me.

“I’m the Doctor.” The Doctor answered.

“He’s the Doctor.” I repeated.

“He’s the Doctor.” Rose repeated.

Harriet “But what happened to my Doctor? Or is it a title that’s just passed on?”

“I’m him. I’m literally him. Same man, new face. Well, new everything.” The Doctor clarified.

“But you can’t be.” Harriet breathed out.

The Doctor looked at her with intense eyes. “Harriet Jones, we were trapped in Downing Street and the one thing that scared you wasn’t the aliens, it wasn’t the war, it was the thought of your mother being on her own.”

“Oh, my God.” Harriet gasped.

“Did you win the election?” The Doctor asked.

Harriet beamed. “Landslide majority.”

“If I might interrupt.” The Sycorax Leader asked.

“Yes, sorry. Hello, big fellow.” The Doctor greeted.

“Who exactly are you?” The Sycorax asked in a much nicer way than Harriet did.

“Well, that’s the question.” The Doctor joked.

“I demand to know who you are!” The Sycorax Leader roared in his face.

“I don’t know!” The Doctor roared back. “See, there’s the thing. I’m the Doctor, but beyond that, I just don’t know. I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested. Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy?” He winked at us (more specifically Rose).

All could think about were question marks . It was hilarious. I could barely hold back a snort.

“Right old misery? Life and soul? Right handed? Left handed? A gambler? A fighter? A coward? A traitor? A liar? A nervous wreck? I mean, judging by the evidence, I’ve certainly got a gob.” The Doctor walked towards Guinevere One. “And how am I going to react when I see this, a great big threatening button . A great big threatening button which must not be pressed under any circumstances, am I right? Let me guess. It’s some sort of control matrix, hmm? Hold on, what’s feeding it?”

The Doctor opened the side panel. He dipped his finger inside. It pulled away red. “And what’ve we got here? Blood?”

He put the finger in his mouth.

Oh yeah. I totally just threw up a little in my mouth.

“Yeah, definitely blood. Human blood. A Positive, with just a dash of iron.” He grimaced, flicking away the blood on his finger. “Ah, but that means blood control. Blood control! Oh, I haven’t seen blood control for years.” The Doctor cheered. “You’re controlling all the A Positives.”

“He’s got them all standing on roofs across the globe, prepared to jump.” I informed him.

The Doctor laughed. He looked to the Sycorax Leader with a smile on his face. “See that? That leaves us with a great big stinking problem. Because I really don’t know who I am. I don’t know when to stop. So if I see a great big threatening button which should never, ever, ever be pressed, then I just want to do this.”

He smashed on it.

I cheered loudly. “Woohoo!”

“No!” Rose and Harriet screamed.

“You killed them!” Alex gasped.

“What do you think, big fellow? Are they dead?” The Doctor asked him.

“We allow them to live.” Sycorax Leader excused.

The Doctor and I laughed.

“Allow? You’ve no choice. I mean, that’s all blood control is. A cheap bit of voodoo. Scares the pants off you, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s like hypnosis.” The Doctor began to walk as he talked, a trend he would never stop. “You can hypnotize someone to walk like a chicken or sing like Elvis. You can’t hypnotize them to death. Survival instinct’s too strong.” The Doctor explained.

“Blood control was just one form of conquest. I can summon the armada and take this world by force.” The Sycorax Leader decreed.

“Well, yeah, you could, yeah, you could do that, of course you could. But why? Look at these people. These human beings. Consider their potential.” The Doctor educated them. “From the day they arrive on the planet and blinking step into the sun, there is more to see than can ever be seen. More to do than. No, hold on. Sorry, that’s The Lion King.”

“Doc Brown, does this have a point?”

Doc Brown?” The Doctor asked, grinning at me.

I shrugged. “Make a constructive argument against the nickname, and I’ll consider changing it.”

The Doctor paused.

“The point still stands.” The fact that he couldn’t argue against it made me laugh. “Leave them alone!”

“Or what?” The Sycorax leader challenged.

“Or.” The Doctor stole a sword and ran to the TARDIS. “I challenge you.”

The Sycorax laughed at him.

“They really do like the punchline.” I remarked, to the annoyance of the humans.

“Oh, that struck a chord. Am I right that the sanctified rules of combat still apply?” The Doctor asked.

“You stand as this world’s champion.” The Sycorax leader decreed.

“Thank you. I’ve no idea who I am, but you just summed me up.” The Doctor tossed the dressing gown to us.

I hissed away from it. “The fruit part hit me!” I shouted at him.

“Not sorry.” The Doctor called back. “So, you accept my challenge? Or are you just a cranak pel casacree salvak ?” The Doctor asked, to the disgust of the leader.

“For the planet?” The leader asked.

“For the planet.” The Doctor agreed.

They began to fight.

I held Rose back.

“Look out!” She warned.

“Oh, yeah, that helps. Wouldn’t have thought of that otherwise, thanks.” The Doctor snarked.

After a while, it was clear that the Sycorax was winning the fight. The Doctor ran off down a tunnel.

“Bit of fresh air?” He opened the door the outside.

He ran out. The Sycorax leader followed him. I lead the humans out, standing in front of them to keep away any stragglers.

At one particular swipe, the Doctor got closer to the edge than for comfort.

I held Rose back. “We can’t.”

“Terra he’s-”

“If we step in, then the challenge is forfeit and they win.” I explained.

Rose paled. She stepped back next to Mickey.

“Thank ya.”

They exchanged more blows. I kept my place before the humans.

It was hard to hold Rose back when the Doctor’s hand was chopped off.

“You cut my hand off.” The Doctor remarked.

“Ja! Sycorax!” The Sycorax leader cheered loudly to his people.

“And now I know what sort of man I am.” The Doctor got up to his feet. “I’m lucky. Because quite by chance I’m still within the first fifteen hours of my regeneration cycle, which means I’ve got just enough residual cellular energy to do this .” His hand grew back in a flash of regeneration energy. The Doctor turned over to me. “Make a note of that, Terra!”

“You’re right, there’s a chance I might forget I can re-grow my hand! ” I shouted at him.

The Doctor laughed.

“Witchcraft.” The Sycorax leader accused.

“Time Lord.” The Doctor countered.

Rose took a sword from a nearby aide. She threw it towards the Doctor. “Doctor!” She called out.

The Doctor caught it with his new hand. “Oh, so I’m still the Doctor, then?” He teased.

“No arguments from me!” Rose cheered.

“Want to know the best bit?” The Doctor asked the Sycorax leader. “This new hand? It’s a fighting hand!”

The fight resumed. I watched with delight as the Doctor became the eventual victor.

“I win.” The Doctor stated.

“Then kill me.” The Sycorax leader stated.

“I’ll spare your life if you’ll take this Champion’s command. Leave this planet, and never return.” The Doctor offered. “What do you say?”

“...yes.”

“Swear on the blood of your species.” The Doctor demanded.

The Sycorax leader grimaced in disgust. “I swear.”

True to the Doctor spirit, he did a complete 180. “There we are, then.” The Doctor pulled his sword away from the leader’s throat. “Thanks for that. Cheers, big fellow.”

“Bravo!” Harriet cheered.

“That says it all. Bravo!” Rose cheered. She ran to the Doctor, helping him put on the dressing gown.

I walked up to them.

“Ah, not bad for a man in his jim-jams.” The Doctor mused to himself. “Very Arthur Dent. Now, there was a nice man. Hold on, what have I got in here?” The Doctor reached in the pocket. “A satsuma.”

“That’s what hit me!” I complained.

“Ah, that friend of your mothers. He does like his snacks doesn’t he?” The Doctor remarked. I snorted. Rose giggled. “But doesn’t that just sum up Christmas? You go through all those presents and right at the end, tucked away at the bottom, there’s always one stupid old satsuma. Who wants a satsuma?”

“That’s a tangerine.” I countered/

“Bloody American culture. They’re ruined you.” The Doctor remarked.

“Hey. I ruined me, keep America out of it.” I joked. Behind us, the leader got up to this feet to charge at us.

The Doctor laughed.

Then he threw the tangerine at the wall. It hit another round orb. It collapsed the part of the ship was the Sycorax was.

“No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.” The Doctor finished.

We walked inside. The Doctor stood before the TARDIS, speaking to the congregation.

“By the ancient rites of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when go you back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of it’s riches, it’s people, it’s potential. When you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this.” The Doctor announced. “It. Is. Defended.”

 

==TTI==

 

They beamed us back down to Earth, before blasting away.

“Where are we?” Rose asked.

“We’re just off Bloxom Road. We’re just round the corner, we did it!” Mickey cheered.

The Doctor “Wait a minute, wait a minute.”

(The spaceship flies away.)

“Go on, my son! Oh, yeah!” Mickey hollered in joy.

“Yeah! Don’t come back!” Rose joined in.

“It is defended!” Mickey laughed. He hugged Rose. She hugged him. Rose then moved to hug Alex.

I made a face of disgust. The Doctor thought it was funny, deciding to chuckle at me. I punched his arm.

“My Doctor.” Harriet beamed.

“Prime Minister.” The Doctor chuckled.

“Time Lady.”

“Excuse me?” Harriet asked.

“Oh I’m not human. Turns out I was an alien.” I explained.

“Well then.” Harriet beamed at me. “Terra.”

She offered a hug. The Doctor dragged me along with it. I let him with only minimal complaining.

“Absolutely the same man.” Harriet looked up to the ship. “Are there many more out there?”

“Oh, not just Sycorax. Hundreds of species. Thousands of them. And the human race is drawing attention to itself. Every day you’re sending out probes and messages and signals.” The Doctor explained. “This planet’s so noisy. You’re getting noticed more and more. You’d better get used to it.”

“Rose!” Jackie screamed as she came running down the road.

“Mum!” Rose cheered.

“Oh, talking of trouble.” The Doctor remarked. I grinned.

“Oh, my God! You did it, Rose! Oh!” Jackie hugged her daughter.

“You did it too! It was the tea. Fixed his head.” Rose explained to her mum.

“That was all I needed, cup of tea.” The Doctor cheered.

“I said so.” Jackie boasted.

“That’s right, Jackie. You can hold this over his head forever . You were right .” I informed her.

“Stop it.” The Doctor scolded in his ‘Jack stop saying hello ’ way.

“Is it him, though? Is it really the Doctor?” Jackie asked. Before anyone could answer she said “Oh, my God, it’s the bleeding Prime Minister!”

“Come here, you.” The Doctor opened his arms wide. He used one to grab me.

“Oh no you don’t!” I tried to wriggle my way out.

It was no use. They all jumped on me, putting me in the center of this hellscape.

“Are you better?” Jackie asked, ever the concerned mother.

“I am, yeah.” The Doctor assured.

“You left me.”

“Just a bit. Actually, we completely abandoned you.” I grinned.

The Doctor looked back to Harriet. I did too, seeing her upset look.

A lot of things became clear to me very suddenly. Jack said in Utopia that he found the hand today. Could he have been the one holding back the use of the beams? Was it only being fired now because he was going after the hand?

Well if it was because of him then I had to pick up his slack.

‘It’s what he would’ve wanted.’

I walked over to her. “Whatever you’re about to do, don’t do it.”

Harriet winced. “Terra, it’s really-”

“Don’t. Do it.” I insisted.

Harriet didn’t argue. “Tell them to fire.”

“Belay that order, Alex.” I ordered.

“Terra, what’s going on?” The Doctor asked, walking up beside me.

“Alex. Don’t you dare!” I warned him.

But he’d already done it.

Behind me, I heard the laser go off on the Sycorax ship.

“You monster .” I snapped at her.

“What is that? What’s happening?” Rose asked us, looking up at the explosion.

The Doctor took hold of my arm, keeping me away from the Prime Minister. “That was murder.” He stated.

“That was defence.” Harriet countered. “It’s adapted from alien technology. A ship that fell to Earth ten years ago.”

“But they were leaving.” The Doctor argued.

“You said yourself, Doctor, they’d go back to the stars and tell others about the Earth. I’m sorry, Doctor, Terra, but you’re not here all the time. You come and go. It happened today. Mister Llewellyn and the Major, they were murdered. They died right in front of me while you were sleeping. In which case we have to defend ourselves.”

“He wasn’t sleeping, he was in a coma!” I shouted.

“Britain’s Golden Age.” The Doctor spat.

“It comes with a price.” Harriet answered.

“I gave them the wrong warning. I should’ve told them to run as fast as they can, run and hide because the monsters are coming. The human race.” The Doctor scolded.

“Those are the people I represent. I did it on their behalf.” Harriet insisted.

“Then I should have stopped you.” The Doctor warned.

“What does that make you, Doctor? And Terra as well? Another alien threat?” Harriet challenged.

“Don’t challenge us, Harriet Jones, because I’m a completely new man.” The Doctor warned. “I could bring down your Government with a single word.”

“You’re the most remarkable man I’ve ever met, but I don’t think you’re quite capable of that.” Harriet shook her head at him.

“No, you’re right. Not a single word, just six.” The Doctor decided.

“I don’t think so.” Harriet argued.

“Six words.” The Doctor stated.

“Stop it!” Harriet ordered.

“Six.” He whispered them to Alex. The Doctor walked away. I followed by his side.

“What did he say?” Harriet demanded

“Oh, well, nothing, really.” Alex assured.

“What did he say?” Harriet demanded.

“Nothing. I don’t know.” Alex admitted.

“Doctor! Doctor, what did you? What was that?” Harriet was going off like a mad woman. “What did he say? What did you say, Doctor? Doctor! I’m sorry.”

“We recognize you have made an apology!” I called out over my shoulder. “But because it’s a stupid ass apology, we’ve elected to ignore it!”

Rose, Mickey, and Jackie followed after us not long after. I stayed in step with the Doctor.

It was Christmas. I was allowed to have some fun.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was in the TARDIS closet getting changed. I was in the console room, sitting upside down in the pilot’s seat.

He stepped out after three hours- yes you heard me three goddamn hours- to reveal his usual brown pinstripes.

“You want to be Doc Brown, don’t you?”

The Time Lord grinned, walking up beside me. “It’s got a certain ring to it.” He showed off how the coat could swirl. “Be honest. What do you think?”

“Honest?”

“Yeah changed my mind.” The Doctor replied. “I look great.”

I laughed. For a long time.

When I made it back to the apartment, the Doctor and Rose were making flirty eyes. I let them have their fun.

 

==TTI==

 

The five of us were having a Christmas dinner. I’d helped Jackie cook, mainly because I liked cooking. Jackie didn’t mind, if anything she enjoyed it.

Of course, by being the only American there, I sat in a chair while the Doctor explained what Christmas crackers. He showed me how to pop one.

I hit him on the head with one and he shut up. My crown was blue.

He and Rose later popped a cracker.

“Oh, that’s yours.” The Doctor conceded.

Rose laughed as she pulled the paper crown out. “It’s pink! Mum, it should be yours. Look, it’s Harriet Jones.”

“Prime Minister, is it true you are no longer fit to be in position?” A reporter asked.

“No. Now, can we talk about other things?” Harriet argued.

“Is it true you’re unfit for office?” A reporter asked.

The Doctor put on his glasses. I merely adjusted the paper crown on my head. It wasn’t agreeing with my headband.

“Look, there is nothing wrong with my health. I don’t know where these stories are coming from. And a vote of no confidence is completely unjustified.” Harriet snapped.

“Are you going to resign?” A reporter asked. Behind me, the phone rang.

“On today of all days, I’m fine. Look at me, I’m fine. I look fine, I feel fine.” Harriet snapped at them.

“It’s Beth. She says go and look outside.” Jackie reported.

“Why?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know, just go outside and look. Come on, shift!” Jackie ordered.

We rushed outside, all the way to the TARDIS. I saw the ash falling.

“Oh, it’s beautiful.” Rose breathed out. She walked up to the Doctor’s side. I leaned against the TARDIS. “What are they, meteors?”

“It’s the spaceship breaking up in the atmosphere. This isn’t snow, it’s ash.” The Doctor corrected us.

“Okay, not so beautiful.” Rose winced.

“This is a brand new planet Earth. No denying the existence of aliens now.” The Doctor went on. “Everyone saw it. Everything’s new.”

“And what about you? What are you going to do next?” Rose asked while awkwardly wiping away ash from her jacket.

“Well, back to the TARDIS. Same old life.” He looked back at me. I smiled softly at him, watching him try and fail with human courting.

“On your own?” Rose asked.

“Why, don’t you want to come?” The Doctor asked back.

“Well, yeah.” Rose answered.

“Do you, though?” The Doctor double-checked.

“Yeah!” Rose laughed.

“And you?” The Doctor asked me.

“Don’t be stupid, you’d be dead in a week without me.” I chided him.

“I just thought, because I changed.” The Doctor told us.

“Yeah, I thought, because you changed you might not want me anymore.” Rose admitted.

The Doctor smiled at her. “Oh, I’d love you to come.”

Rose smiled back. “Okay.”

I let my head hit the TARDIS. ‘These two are adorable and sad at the same time’

In my mind, the TARDIS laughed.

“Well, I reckon you’re mad, the lot of you. It’s like you go looking for trouble.” Jackie scolded us.

“Trouble’s just the bits in-between. It’s all waiting out there, Jackie, and it’s brand new to me.” The Doctor explained to her. “All those planets, and creatures and horizons. I haven’t seen them yet! Not with these eyes. And it is going to be fantastic.”

“That hand of yours still gives me the creeps.” Rose remarked before taking it. “So, where’re we going to go first?”

“Er, that way. No, hold on. That way.” The Doctor used their joined hand to point up.

“Look at that. Regenerating didn’t mess up his sense of direction.” I teased.

“I know exactly where I’m pointing.”

“Yeah. Up. Not much any beyond that, huh?”

“That way?” Rose joined in, on his side, which made me gasp in mock-offense.

“Hmm?” The Doctor turned to her, clearly not having heard her.

It made her giggle. “Terra’s right. You’re a mess.”

The Doctor rolled his eyes at both of us. “Bloody hell...there’s just no pleasing either of you.”

Rose and I laughed.

 

==TTI==

 

Hours later, the Tyler Christmas party had long since been over. I wouldn’t know. I was upstairs, hiding away.

More accurately on the roof.

Looking out on the London city, the nightlife was beautiful. The ash had stopped falling, leaving the world this shade of off white. No one else was outside. They were with loved ones, avoiding any roofs. The world was mine .

For now, I was outside without worrying about the people inside.

My phone rang with Darcy’s ringtone. I answered.

“Zup witch.”

“Hi bitch. How’s Time Lady life?”

“Sucks. They gave me a stupid second emotional heart. How’s human life?”

“Relaxed. They took out my heart, gave it to some bitch. It’s a real load off.”

The two of us laughed.

“Hey did you get the pictures I sent?” I asked her.

Darcy snorted-loudly. “Question marks? Seriously? I mean...what’s the thought process with that?”

“I wanna know if the TARDIS made them or if he bought them in a store.” I countered. I moved back on the roof, taking a seat on the uncomfortable ground.

Darcy made a noise of disgust. “You ask the dumbest questions.”

“Says the girl who ships Smaugbo.”

“Says the girl who knows it’s Smaugbo.”

“Go to hell .”

“I’ll save you a seat.”

“The throne?”

“Bitch we agreed that’s mine.”

“Whore.”

The two of us laughed again.

“Did you find those guys I told you about?” I asked her, when we stopped giggling.

“Yeah I did. They have stupid belts.”

“Seriously that’s what you have to say?” I asked. Off to the side, I heard someone coming up from the fire escape.

“They are! What kind of belt has a book for a buckle?”

“Hey Purple. Gotta go. Got a Ten on my three.”

“Mother of the Author, I hate when you go military lingo on me.” Darcy complained. “Did you even hear what I said?”

“Buckles are stupid. True that. Bye-bye.” I clapped my phone shut.

The Doctor climbed up the fire escape. He smiled at me, waving. I waved my phone hand. He hopped up to the roof while I slipped my phone in my pocket.

The Doctor walked up to my side, shuffling to lie down on the gravelly floor. “What are you doing up here?”

I looked up at the night sky, a thoughtful look on my face. “Couldn’t sleep. Too much on my mind.”

The Doctor clasped his hands over his chest. “Time Lords don’t need to sleep as often, unless they put themselves into a healing coma. The Time Tots, on the other hand, they tended to sleep as often as humans. You aren’t a Time Tot, a few decades beyond that.”

The speech made me start to laugh. It was a total Ten thing to do, go off on a speech about something small. This should be a really interesting friendship.

“What’s got you all giggly?” He asked, a smile in his voice. That only made me want to laugh harder.

It took a minute for me to calm down. “Just.” I took a deep breath, holding back more laughter. “Sorry. Just...they call them Time Tots?

The Doctor snorted. “Oh, when you say it out loud, it is a bit silly innit?”

Course, I wasn’t laughing just at that. It was a relief laughter. Sure, I’d lost my companion while he turned into an immortal man, the Ninth Doctor was dead, and Mr. Spencer shouted at me for not finishing my math homework, but Time Tots . How could you not smile happily when thinking about that ?

“Doctor, I will never take you seriously again after that. Time Tots, and question mark underpants. Why are aliens so scared of you?” Oh Praise Be the Storyline, I could feel his cheeks heat up. “That’s right. Jackie didn’t change you into that robe, and Rose would still be blushing if she did. I saw the whole thing.

“Gods no.” The Doctor groaned.

I snickered at his discomfort. “Took a picture. Showed it to Carl.”

“No you didn’t. Tell me you didn’t-”

“She wanted to know what the question was. Wasn’t too hard to figure out.”

‘Did I really just say that?

“Did you really just say that?” The Doctor agreed.

“Only because she asked about Rose too. And Jackie asked if you had two- ” I excused on the fly. It only made me laugh harder. “So I- I told her about the kiss-”

“That wasn’t a kiss!” The Doctor defended himself. “It was- I was saving her life!”

I laughed again.

When I stopped laughing, I remembered I math to do.

‘Can’t forget. Can’t ever forget. Shouldn’t forget.’

Thinking about the math work made me sit up from the much more comfortable position. I pulled up my Bag, grabbing my math notebook.

“What are you doing?” The Doctor asked.

I went to work on my homework. “Geometry.”

“I can see that .” The Doctor joined me where I was. “Why are you doing maths?”

Multitasking between talking to him and my math homework was easier than I had expected. I didn’t even look up at him.

“In some counties, I’m considered a high school student. Means I have homework.” I explained. “Stopping an alien invasion never seems to get me out of doing homework. I’m nearly done with the semester, it’s not a big deal.”

The Doctor looked over my shoulder at my homework. “I meant, why are you still going to high school?”

Not that had me confused. “Huh?”

“You’re a Time Lady. You could’ve finished with those things ages ago.” The Doctor reasoned.

He made a good point. Storyline he made a good point. The Doctor was barely brushing the surface of how much I wanted to be done with it. How I wanted to be done with the Spencer’s, to be myself around them. I wanted Mr. Spencer to look at me as a worthy child, his eldest, instead of the black sheep.

I wanted to tell my mother of what I’ve accomplished. The legendary acts, some of which meant I had to use some cheerleading moves. She’d always wanted that of me, to be a cheerleader and a good one. Mrs. Spencer wanted me to be queen of the world, so I’ve worked my ass off to be the extraordinary daughter she’d always hoped for. I wanted her to see the me that I was.

It was all for nothing, though. They already think I’m slow. If I stop holding back, they’ll say I cheated. I hate when people think I cheat academically. I’m smart , but I can’t ever show it. It’s horrible, and it hurts, but I don’t know how to change their minds now. They’d never accept what I was, what I had been. They’d think I was some product of the devil.

“It’s normal.” I admitted in a small voice. “I don’t remember much about my past as a Time Tot, but I just know they wanted me to be normal.”

The Doctor looked at me sadly. “You are normal, Terra.”

This was too much emotion for me to deal with. Especially today , on what had started out as a perfect day helping Blon to a shitty one with a dead companion.

My nose pushed itself back into the math book. “Say such slander again, and you’ll be hearing from my lawyers. Then again, I run pro se legal, so my lawyer already knows.”

The Doctor didn’t reply to that.

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. While we had a mental connection as Time Lords, I didn’t need it to know he was struggling with this quiet.

“Saw Carl today.” I mused, struggling with this quadratic equation.

The Doctor perked up. “Really?” He beamed at me, smiling that stupid thankful smile at me.

“Yeah. She knew I’d never miss a Christmas with her.” It seemed like a good answer.

“How’d that go?” The Doctor asked.

“Good. It was good.” I lied. “She’s good.” Course, before that, Mr. Spencer yelled at me for not doing this math, so not good.

“Shame I missed her. Any chance she’s still in town?” The Doctor not so subtly asked. He looked around the roof as if Darcy was hiding here.

“No...chance.” I replied. ‘Not if she’s got any sense...she might still be in town.’

“Drat.” The Doctor let out a long breath. He looked over at me, caution in his eyes. “Am I ever going to see her again?”

“Hopefully not. Last companion that met you died.” I remarked, not moving from my homework.

There was some hurt silence beside me. “Terra. You know why I had to leave him-”

“Don’t.” The word boomed on the silent London roof. The Doctor silenced beside me. I couldn’t see it in me to feel bad. “Just...don’t.”

He didn’t. He went back to the hurt silence.

“I gotta finish the rest of my homework.” I told him, politely asking him to leave. “Mr- The teacher will kill me if I don’t have it back to him.”

The Doctor tensed at my statement.

Still, he got the message, then made to leave.

“Doctor?” I called out when he reached the fire escape. He turned to me. The words I was going to say lodged in my throat. When I finally pulled them out, it felt like I’d taken pieces of my soul with it. “This is why I don’t have friends ...they leave when I get close. My...Jack... friend died, today. Then you died, came back. I know you’re still you but I lost Nine today.” I looked down at my notebook, rather than at him. “There’s a lot going on. I’m just stressed, so I’m taking it out on you. It’s not fair to you. I’m sorry.”

The Doctor let out a relieved breath. “It’s alright. I understand.”

“Okay.” I took a shaking breath in and out. “Okay. Just...go downstairs. I’ll come down later.”

“Are you sure?” The Doctor asked.

I nodded. “Need time.” Was my excuse. “City’s nice at night.”

The Doctor understood. “Then I’ll just...head down.” He made to walk to the fire escape. He turned to me. “Don’t know why you want to see London right now. It looks like a battle zone.”

“My life is a battle zone.” I countered. The Doctor looked over his shoulder at me, eyes sad. “Sometimes I feel less crazy when I see it’s the same for everybody else.”

The ancient Time Lord, who had just survived the Dalek Attack and the last member of his species, understood.

He left me to my mournings. I did not come down until the sun came up over the horizon.

 

Chapter Text

The TARDIS was darker when I walked into it. The Doctor was fiddling with the controls on the console, seemingly trying to get back into the swing of it.

I nervously crossed my arms. My outfit had changed, to the one I tended to wear if we went into the future. My nails had been painted black, if only to go along with my mood.

Walking up behind him, I leaned against the railings. It was strange, these past few days with Ten. You would see bits and pieces of Nine in there, like the occasional rude comment about humans. Then, he would get this goofy smile on his face and talk about something completely different. He certainly still had a big ego, as well as some weird knowledge on the future and stuff.

There were a lot of times when Ten talked about regeneration. He said it was like dying, except a new man would walk off with all of his memories. That was a strange way of seeing it. I mean, it makes sense don’t get me wrong. You technically are dead, but you come as a man with a different personality. Nine was angry, and dark, like there was a big storm but it cleared away to reveal a moonless sky. Ten was the sun finally rising, seeing the world with a new hope but with a cloud or two to keep you aware the rain might come at any second.

Eleven was...a strange one. He was like the clouds floated away, but could come back any time as a hurricane. His emotions were more subdued, held back. That was why he got so angry at Demon’s Run, because all of that anger he held back for Story knows how long finally erupted.

No. Focus on Ten.

Ten was a slight narcissist. He had an almost laughable case of extreme survivor’s guilt, which was mixed with his feelings towards Rose. He was more human, I think is the word. He cared more for the people, and was sorta of better at explanations.

I had seen all of that these past few days. Ten was very much his own person, but he was still the Doctor. The pinstripe wearing Doctor, with a blue screwdriver, and his hearts set on Rose Marion Tyler, the Bad Wolf.

That’s what regeneration was. It was a second chance. A chance to do things right.

“So, how does it feel for you?” I asked him.

The Doctor gave me a curious look. “How does what feel?”

“Regeneration.” I clarified. “I feel like I’m a continuation, a surprise sequel when you thought the Story was over. What about you?”

The Doctor stopped, a thoughtful look on his face. He shrugged after a moment. “It feels...good. New face, new man.”

“Does it really feel like that though?” I asked, thinking hard on this. “I mean, I don’t think I’m much different from the first one.”

“Well.” The Doctor was going to go on a rant. He paused on setting up the TARDIS. “Regeneration is a difficult process for some to understand. Some of your previous selves likes and dislikes stick, while others don’t.”

“Like how you still have a huge crush on Rose, but now you just feel more courageous in it?” I genuinely asked.

The Doctor stopped, looking a bit surprised. He spluttered. I grinned.

“Doctor, come on. You were in a medical coma, and woke up because she asked you to! I’m a Profiler, it’s my job to notice that stuff.” I acted nonchalant, looking down at my nails. “ And I know everything, so.”

The Doctor scoffed, chuckling a bit. “Was your first self this much of an egotist?”

“No idea, probably.” I admitted. “And don’t change the subject. You know I’m right.”

The Time Lord was about to argue further, but then the psychic paper started to buzz . He reached inside his new jacket pockets to pull it out.

“Oh, biscuits.” I grumbled, walking over towards him to try and read it. “What’s it say?”

The Doctor showed me the paper. “I think we’re being summoned.”

I smirked. “I’ll tell Rose.” I ran towards the door, giving him a mischievous smile. “That you have a crush on her!”

“What? Wait no!” The Doctor shouted, but I was already running for Rose.

And, ya know, laughing.

 

==TTI==

 

Rose ran into the TARDIS, all packed and ready to go. She walked up to the Doctor, who was nervously pulling at the console.

“So where are we going?” Rose asked. “Terra didn’t say.”

I smirked at the Doctor. He had sounded scared before I went to get Rose. But hey, all was fair in love and war. The almighty Oncoming Storm, sent into a tizzy over his crush.

Oh, I felt like an evil super villain, dangling it over Rose on a thin string. I wanted ever so badly for them to at the very least admit their feelings for each over before this was all said and done.

The Doctor grinned. He was relieved I hadn’t told Rose. “Further than we’ve ever gone before.”

The three of us dematerialized, flying through the Vortex. Once we landed, the Doctor guided us out.

Wow, it was amazing. It was a far more futuristic version of the New York skyline. The sea side breeze blew on my face, my headband helping keep my hair from going crazy. Large flying cars like in Gridlock flew above our heads, buzzing by in some imaginary line I couldn’t see.

There was the rich scent of apple grass filling my nose. It was strangely soothing, like the scent the TARDIS put in my room. I could feel the new dirt beneath my feet, under my shoes.

New Earth. Perfect place for a new Doctor.

The Doctor closed the TARDIS doors, coming up in the middle of Rose and I. “It’s the year five billion and twenty three. We’re in the galaxy M87, and this?” He smiled at the Utopian looking planet. “This is New Earth.”

I knew what I had to do for today. Cassandra was about to spot us on her creepy spider camera, spotting Rose and I. She has a bigger bone to pick with Rose, the so called last human.

It would be simple enough, today. The only biggie would be looking at all of the sick humans. Just thinking about them made a pit grow in my stomach.

Rose gaped at the city. “That’s just. That’s just-” She started laughing. I joined in.

“Not bad.” The Doctor chuckled in appreciation. “Not bad at all.”

“That’s terrific.” I added in my two cents.

The Doctor turned to me. “Terrific, yes. Good word.”

“It’s mine, patent pending.” I flashed him a warning glare that faded into a grin. The two of us laughed.

“That’s amazing.” Rose was still looking out at the city. “I’ll never get used to this. Never. Different ground beneath my feet, different sky.” She started bouncing on the ground, a smile on her face. “What’s that smell?”

The Doctor leaned down, picking up a blade. “Apple grass.” He cheered.

“Apple grass.” Rose cheered.

“Apple grass!” I laughed.

The Doctor nodded. “Yeah, yeah.”

“It’s beautiful.” Rose smiled at the Doctor. “Oh, I love this. Can I just say, travelling with the two of you, I love it.” She wrapped her arm around his, gripping onto it.

“I second that.” I linked my arm through his, beaming at him.

The Doctor smiled on. “Me three.” He started dragging us off in another direction. Rose and I started laughing at his sudden motion. “Come on.”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor took off his coat, laying it down on the apple grass. The three of us lied down on it like it was a picnic blanket.

Rose was up on her elbows, looking over the city. The Doctor and I were flat on our backs. Well, I was tested my head on my right hand. No doubt the Time Lord beside me was

“So, the year five billion, the sun expands, the Earth gets roasted.” The Doctor began.

“That was our first date.” Rose reminded him.

The Doctor grinned like an idiot. “We had chips.”

I whacked his arm. “You made her pay.”

Rose laughed, and the Doctor joined in. “Oi! You did too!”

I rolled my eyes. Lovebirds always gang up on me. Rose laughed at her small victory.

“So anyway.” The Doctor went back to lecture mode. “Planet gone, all rocks and dust, but the human race lives on, spread out across the stars. Soon as the Earth burns up, oh yeah, they get all nostalgic, big revival movement, but then find this place. Same size as the Earth, same air, same orbit. Lovely. Call goes out, the humans move in.”

“What’s the city called?” I asked, sitting up.

“New New York.” The Doctor answered.

“Oh, come on.” Rose scoffed.

The Doctor got up onto his elbows. “It is! It’s the city of New New York.” He defended. He thought it over. “Strictly speaking, it’s the fifteenth New York since the original, so that makes it New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York.” That was when he noticed the look Rose was giving him. “What?”

Rose just kept smiling. “You’re so different.”

The Time Lord beamed up at her. “New New Doctor.”

“Not much different. You’re annoying.” I commented.

The Doctor shoved me playfully. I rolled off his jacket onto the apple grass. Rose laughed at us. “You two are ridiculous!”

“Thank you!” I hopped up from the grass. “I worked extra hard to be ridiculous today.” I admitted.

Rose climbed up off his jacket, glancing between the two of us. “Can we go and visit New New York, so good they named it twice?”

“Well, I thought we might go there first.” The Doctor motioned towards the hospital as he put on his coat.

“Why, what is it?” Rose asked, trying to keep her hair out of her face.

“Some sort of hospital. Green moon on the side. That’s the universal symbol for hospitals.” The Doctor explained, pulling out the psychic paper. “I got this. A message on the psychic paper.”

In a sort of loop, there was messy handwriting. ‘Ward 26, Please Come.’

My hearts sped up.

“Someone wants to see me.” The Doctor cheered.

“Hmm. And I thought we were just sightseeing.” Rose commented.

“When have we ever gone just sightseeing, Rose?” I asked. “Name one time, and I will give you all the money in my wallet.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “That’ll be the ten quid you took off me last week, with that bet of your’s.”

“Never make a bet with me, Carolina Rose. I will beat you.” I advised. “That is a universal fact.”

Rose playfully groaned. She popped her arm into the Doctor’s. “Come on, then. Let’s go and buy some grapes.”

The three of us practically skipped all the way to the hospital.

 

==TTI==

 

“Bit rich coming from you.”

“I can’t help it. I don’t like hospitals. They give me the creeps.”

“I concur.”

My eyes scanned the entryway, taking notice of all the cat nuns walking about. A few visitors walking out of the building, or chatting with a nun.

“Very smart.” Rose commented. “Not exactly NHS.”

“No shop. I like the little shop.” He complained.

It made sense, not having a little shop. Most of the shops were there to help ease the minds of the sick, of those there way to long. Since the cats heal anything in a day or so, there’s no need.

Still. A little gift shop never did wrong. No one ever got murdered in one, to my knowledge. No crazy diseases in one. My dad would take us down to one, let us buy candy when my brother was born. He said it was better than the normal hospital food. I liked looking at the toys, seeing if there was one I wanted so I could beg Mr. Spencer for it.

“I thought this far in the future, they’d have cured everything.” Rose pointed out.

“The human race moves on, but so do the viruses. It’s an ongoing war.” The Doctor explained, sounding a bit bored.

“They’re cats.” My friend gaped, pointing at one of the nuns. Honestly, she sounded like a five year doing that.

“And you’re an ape, you’re point?” I countered.

The Doctor walked up to us both, giving us the look. “She’s right. Look at you, all pink and yellow.” He realized Rose was glaring at him, probably wondering if she should slap him. He pointed at the doors to try and find an escape route. “That’s where I’d put the shop. Right there.”

Rose took the bait. I followed the Doctor to the elevator, joining him inside.

“Ward 26, thanks!” The Doctor ordered.

I, on the other hand, was beaming. This was gonna be kinda fun. I was looking forward to seeing the Face of Boe again, to apologizing for what had happened. He needed to know what happened, from my mouth.

“Hold on! Hold on!” Rose called out.

The doors shut before we could stop them. “Oh, too late. We’re going up.” The Doctor called back.

“It’s all right, there’s another lift.” Rose assured us.

“Remember Ward 26!” I reminded her.

“And watch out for the disinfectant.” He added.

“Watch out for what?”

“The disinfectant!”

“The what?”

“The disin- Oh, you’ll find out.”

I fought to keep from laughing. “Rude and not ginger, my man, rude and not ginger.”

The Doctor gave me a rebellious grin.

The elevator started going up.

“Commence stage one disinfection.” The computer spoke. Some lighters flared, and then beeped.

I kept my mouth shut, squeezing my eyes tight. Nothing was worse than getting sanitizer water in your eye.

The sprinklers above us turned on. The second I got hit with a jet I started laughing. I ran a hand thru my damp hair, taking off my headband so I could do it right.

The Doctor stood beside me, washing his hair. I couldn’t help but laugh at that. My fingers brushed in my hair, to get as much of the water in as possible.

The water stopped, and instead we were hit with what I guessed was a dust cloud. I laughed again at that.

‘You look like a child at a water park.’ The Doctor thought through the mental link.

I chuckled. ‘So I’m having fun. I’ve had a stressful week. Calm down.’

That was when the hair dryer setting clicked on.

The Doctor lifted up his coat, making sure everything got dry.

‘You look majestic as-’

‘I’m gonna stop you right there.’ The Doctor gave me a warning look, that changed to a grin. ‘You swear like a sailor.’

‘You stop my swearing like a grandma!’ I teased him, putting my headband back in place. ‘Can I call ya Granny?’

‘Don’t you dare.’ Except he was smiling, so I might do it anyway.

The doors opened, and we walked into Ward 26.

 

==TTI==

 

A cat nurse was guiding us towards the patient area for Ward 26. I was looking around, from mixture of worry for Rose and general boredom. Hospitals were never really my best place of work. Put me in a precinct and I could catch a killer, put me in a hospital I could give someone the plague.

Wow. I have a really dark outlook on life. I should do something about that.

“Nice place. No shop, downstairs.” The Doctor complained to the nurse. I laughed at his rude comment. “I’d have a shop. Not a big one. Just a shop, so people can shop.”

The nurse removed her veil, revealing the one I think was named Jatt. She looked at us like we offended her cat ancestors. “The hospital is a place of healing.”

“Shops are good.” I defended the shops.

“A shop does some people the world of good.” The Doctor paused in his argument, staring at the floating red man. “Not me. Other people.”

“The Sisters of Plenitude take a lifelong vow to help, and to mend.” Jatt argued.

“People can mend in a shop. Get a card for the family, a last minute gift. Maybe even flowers!” I brought up the good points, counting them on my fingers.

“Yes! Exactly why you need a shop!” The Doctor beamed at me with pride.

“Excuse me!” A voice snapped.

The Doctor and I paused, turning to see who had snapped. My smile fell when I saw the sick man inside.

An older woman glared at us from behind her black oval glasses. “Members of the public may only gaze upon the Duke of Manhattan with written permission from the Senate of New New York.” She almost growled.

I flinched back. ‘Somebody didn’t get hugs from Mommy and Daddy.’ I thought.

The Doctor smirked at me, before turning to the Duke of Manhattan. “That’s Petrifold Regression, right?”

“That disease that turns you into a statue?” I asked for clarification.

“I’m dying, sir, miss.” The Duke groaned, like this was all an annoyance to him. “A lifetime of charity and abstinence, and it ends like this.”

“Any statements made by the Duke of Manhattan may not be made public without official clearance.” The lady hissed.

The Duke jerked forward. “Frau Clovis! I’m so weak.”

Frau Clovis glared at the cat. “Sister Jatt. A little privacy, please.”

I was right! She was Nurse Jatt!

Jatt guided us away. “He’ll be up and about in no time.” She assured us.

“I doubt it. Petrifold Regression? He’s turning to stone. There won’t be a cure for oh, a thousand years?” The Doctor pointed out to Jatt. “He might be up and about, but only as a statue.”

“Have faith in the Sisterhood.” Was all Jatt said on the matter. “But is there no one here you recognise? It’s rather unusual to visit without knowing the patient.”

Oh Storyline, she had a bit of a lisp. That’s hilarious! Never met a cat with a lisp before!

I turned my head to the left, seeing the Face of Boe and nearly screamed in excitement. My face settled to a cheek hurting smile.

The Doctor apparently noticed. “No, I think we’ve found him.”

Jatt guided us to the nun watching over the Face of Boe. “Novice Hame, if I can leave this gentleman in your care?”

Before Hame could answer, the Doctor spoke up. “Oh, I think our friend got lost. Rose Tyler. Could you ask at reception?”

Jatt accepted the request, giving a brief glance to Hame before walking away.

I knelt down to the big head’s side, placing a hand on the glass.

He was quiet, on the other side. After spending so much time with Jack I could really see the pieces of him here. The lines on his face, the no doubt put there by Owen and other Torchwood employees.

“I’m afraid the Face of Boe’s asleep.” Hame explained. “That’s all he tends to do these days. Are you a friend, or?”

“We met just the once on Platform One.” The Doctor explained, when I said nothing.

“What’s wrong with him?" I asked, my voice quiet.

The Face of Boe moved a bit in his jar. It was like he knew we were in here. He had to be, I was here. He had to notice me!

“I’m so sorry. I thought you knew.” I looked up at the nurse, worried for my friend. “The Face of Boe is dying.”

I tried to hide the ache in my hearts at her words. Jack couldn’t be dying, he was Jack . The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. He was my friend, a close friend at that. Jack was guy I turned to when Rose and the Doctor were being especially lovey dovey. He was the one I told about my powers, about the future . He can’t die before I’d apologized!

I know he’s died already. You know what kind of death I’m talking about!

Jack was like a brother to me. He couldn’t be dying.

I reined in my emotions. Not a time to get all sad. He was still alive, here and now. We had those days with Jack coming up, all of those wild and crazy days.

“Of what?” The Doctor asked, sounding as surprised as I felt.

“Old age. The one thing we can’t cure.” Hame explained. “He’s thousands of years old. Some people say millions, although that’s impossible.” She laughed sadly at the idea.

“Oh, I don’t know. I like impossible.” He walked up to the Face of Boe. He knelt by my side. “I’m here. I look a bit different, but it’s me. It’s the Doctor.”

He put his hand by mine.

My voice was shaking. “Please wake up.” I pleaded. “I need... Please.

The Face of Boe lost that worried look in his features. He let out a relieved sigh, falling into a deeper sleep.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor had left just a moment ago to get some water. I stayed with Jack, sitting by his side and staring at his aged face.

“Look at you.” I breathed with reverence. My companion was alive..ish. “You’re not that dashing young Time Agent anymore, are ya, Buttface?”

“I’m sorry, did you say something?” Hame spoke up.

I looked up at her, nervous and embarrassed. “No. I was talking to him.” I jerked my head to the Face.

The Doctor returned, handing Hame the cup of water. The cat accepted it, but wouldn’t drink it.

“That’s very kind. There’s no need.” Hame assured, bashful.

The Doctor walked over to the window, looking out at New New York. “You’re the one working.” He pointed out.

“There’s not much to do, just maintain his smoke.” Hame explained. “And I suppose I’m company. I can hear him singing, sometimes, in my mind. Such ancient songs.”

“Am we the only visitors?” The Doctor asked.

“No.” I looked over at her. I was always curious when they went Off-Script. “A woman comes by every now and again, along with her husband. Sometimes they bring their children.” Hame smiled, seemingly fondly.

I smirked at the Face of Boe. Of course I would come back here, I was probably singing some of those ancient songs with him. That was gonna be a blast and a half.

“The Face of Boe truly loves them coming around, but.” She lost her smile. “The rest of Boe-kind became extinct long ago. He’s the only one left. Legend says that the Face of Boe has watched the universe grow old.” Hame explained to us. “There’s all sorts of superstitions around him. One story says that just before his death, the Face of Boe will impart his great secrets, that he will speak those words only those two like himself.”

“What does that mean?” The Doctor asked from behind me.

“It’s just a story.” The young nun excused.

“Tell us the rest.” The Doctor requested.

Hame gave in. How can you not when he asks like that? “It’s said he’ll talk to two wanderers. To the man and the woman without a home. The Lonely God, and the Queen of Travelers.”

My eyes blinked in slight surprise. That was Jack for ya, always giving that one last kick to the face.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was worried now. That prophecy had put him on his toes. He looked all around at the other patients, and then Boe with a worried expression.

‘Penny for your thoughts?’ I asked him through the telepathic bond.

The Doctor nervously looked back to the door. ‘Rose still hasn’t shown up. It took us a few minutes to get here, and she’s been nearly twenty.’ He turned back to me, and I could see the concern on his face.

I agreed with him on that. Rose, the jeopardy friendly pink and yellow human. ‘And the Face of Boe’s prophecy’s got you pretty worked up.’ I pointed out. It was much better for this him if you were direct.

The Doctor sighed. I had got it in one. He kneeled down, closer to me. He gave off a warning look. ‘Of course it has, but it’s only a legend. Faint whispers, idle gossip. You can’t believe everything you hear from a cat.’

‘I’m not saying I believe it. I’m just saying we need to take everything with a grain of salt.’ I explained. ‘What really worries you about that prophecy? Don’t make me profile you.’ To prove that I would, I gave him a pointed look.

The Time Lord got back to his feet, feeling under the spotlight. He ran his hand in his hair, making it even more ruffled than usual. He knew I could do it, having proved it countless times before. I wasn’t afraid to do it. He had to tell me in his own words.

‘It said he would tell them to the Lonely God and the Traveler Queen.’ The Doctor explained. ‘The man and woman without a home.’

I nodded, giving him a bit of space to help him explain.

‘That’s obviously us.’ The Doctor thought. ‘But, do I really act like a god?’

I gave him a teasing look. ‘An honest answer, or a sarcastic one?’

The Doctor rolled his eyes in exasperation. ‘Shut up. You know what I mean. And your’s wasn’t exactly flattering either.’

‘He called me a Queen. What girl doesn’t want to be called that?’ I pointed out. ‘A traveler queen. That implies I am the best at what I do. Going around, traveling from place to...place.’

Now I was a bit nervous too. Could that have been some play on words as towards my abilities? I mean, of course the Face of Boe would know about them. Oh course I was best at it, I was the only one. Darcy only half counted, since she had stunted aging but couldn’t go places on her own. It would take maybe two hours to make a way for her to, but it was best not.

‘Like we do.’ I went back to my explanation. ‘Two wanderers, that’s u-’ It hit me, and I frowned at him. ‘Two, not three.’

The Doctor’s frown deepened.

He was worried about Rose, as he had always been. That was what really unnerved him. If he really was the Lonely God, then that meant Rose wasn’t there. It meant she had left him, or worse.

That was why he had been so insistent on the show for the Face of Boe to tell him the prophecy. He had no way of knowing how long it would be before he saw the Face of Boe again. He needed to know Rose would still be with him now, but she might not be later.

Ten was always worried about Rose, even when it was obvious she could handle herself. No wonder he was always screaming at all of those people thoroughly Season Two. He couldn’t lose Rose, not so soon after getting her back. Nine had a crush on her, and it turned into love when he became Ten.

This prophecy, it might be proof that Rose would leave. It was proof that even in the end his companions left.

“I’m gonna call Rose.” I decided, speaking out loud for the first time in our conversation. Getting up off the floor, I went over to weird looking phone.

The Doctor followed behind. “Good idea.”

I took ahold of the phone, dialing Rose’s number. Now he was making me nervous for her. My emotions had become easily changed by the ones of others. Damn empathy. Rose was scared, I ended up scared. Doctor was mad, I ended up mad. You get the picture.

I held the phone up, listening to it ring. It picked up soon after. “Rose, where are you?”

That was when I remembered. This wasn’t Rose, it was Cassandra the bitchy trampoline. She had trapped Rose inside of her own body, walking her around like some meat suit.

The Doctor snatched the phone out of my hands. “Where’ve you been?” The Doctor asked. “How long does it take to get to Ward 26?”

“Help me Rose.” I pleaded, trying to get my voice back in. “He’s driving me insane! I need the human distraction back!”

“I’m on my way, governor. I shall proceed up the apples and pears.” Cassandra mumbled into the phone.

The Doctor was too excited to notice it wasn’t really Rose. “You’ll never guess. I’m with the Face of Boe. Remember him?”

I rolled my eyes, leaning against the back wall. “He was at your first date. Set the whole thing up.”

The Doctor gave me a brief glance, meant to be a warning but he was grinning. Smug little imp.

“Of course I do. ” Cassandra grunted, sounding like it was through clenched teeth. “ That big old...boat race.”

Then, there was a lot of laughter coming from the Duke’s little area. Too joyous for a man about to die.

The Doctor and I exchanged looks. He had started to figure out why the Face of Boe wanted us here. “I’d better go. See you in a minute.”

He didn’t wait for a response. The Doctor practically stormed over to the Duke of Manhattan, watching the man with confusion.

The Duke held two glasses of champagne in his hands, smiling at up at his assistant. “Didn’t think I was going to make it.” Then, he noticed the Doctor and I.

The Doctor hid his curiosity behind a nervous smile. I didn’t bother, instead focusing on the colorful bags hanging above the Duke’s head.

“It’s those two again! They’re my good luck charms. Come in. Don’t be shy.” He invited.

Clovis turned to us. She smiled, brightly. “Any friendship expressed by the Duke of Manhattan does not constitute a form of legal contract.” She explained, almost forcefully.

The Duke leaned towards his assistant. “Winch me up. Up!” Clovis pressed a button on a small remote, allowing the Duke to be lifted up by a metal sort of crane.

Dear Storyline, humanity ended up as Wall-E predicted.

“Look at me. No sign of infection.” The Duke boasted, showing off his now human skin.

His waiter came up to my side. “Champagne, sir, madam?”

The Doctor brushed him off. “No, thanks. You had Petrifold Regression, right?”

I turned to the waiter. “Thanks for the offer, though.” I shrugged. The waiter bowed, and walked off.

Once he did, I was able to see the Face of Boe. Good ole Jackass. The man who could never die. I hadn’t seen him in a few days, but they already felt like years. The guy was like my little brother, especially because he reminded me a lot about Darcy. I mean, that girl makes rabbits look like prudes!

Here he was, thousands of years later, near dead. He had lost so much, and so many. He had seen a lot of things, probably a few I don’t know about yet.

That prophecy thing made me curious. Queen of the Travelers? That was pretty cool, if I thought about it.

The Duke gave us a knowing grin. “That being the operative word. Past tense.” He cheered. “Completely cured.”

The hairs on my neck stood up as I felt Matron Caps walk up behind me. Gah, I don’t like cat nuns.

“But that’s impossible.” The Doctor struggled with this. If it couldn’t be explained, he had problems with it.

“Primitive species would accuse us of magic.” The Doctor and I turned towards Matron Casp.

She had a calm look on her face. Yet her eyes, I had seen it before dozens of times in the eyes of serial killers. They simply didn’t care how many people fell to get them what they wanted. It made my stomach flip each time, to know that some people had the capacity for such hatred in their fellow man.

“But it’s merely the tender application of science.” The cat nun smiled at the Duke, politely.

No. To them it was justified. As long as the universe was healed, millions upon millions of human would have to die.

Back when I worked in the FBI, I saw a very bad place. A man was taking people off the streets; the homeless, the addicts, the prostitutes. He took them up to his brother’s pig farm in Canada. There, he would sever their spine from their skull. If the person couldn’t be brought back, they were deemed a failure and fed to the pigs. It was all just a big science experiment for his brother, a paraplegic from the neck down. He wanted to cure himself.

Over a hundred people were dead, all in the name of science.

People like that? Makes me sick just thinking back to that.

“How on Earth did you cure him?” The Doctor asked Matron Casp, a serious look in his eyes.

“How on New Earth, you might say.” Casp corrected. Clever diversion tactic.

The Doctor was giving Casp a curious look. He nodded at the blue and orange liquids hanging over the Duke. “What’s in that solution?”

“A simple remedy.” Casp brushed off the Doctor’s questioning.

The Doctor gave her a look. “Then tell me what it is.”

“I’m sorry. Patient confidentiality.” Casp gave an easy excuse. She gave us appraising look. “I don’t believe we’ve met. My name is Matron Casp.”

“I’m the Doctor.” He replied instantly. He gave her a smile.

Casp’s face was flat, humorless. “I think you’ll find that we’re the doctors here.” She forced out.

“I’m Terra.” I greeted, feeling a bit in the middle of Casp and the Doctor. Well, that was because I actually was in the middle of them. I almost held my hand out to the cat, before remembering all the bad shit she did, then pulled my hand back to my side.

“Matron Casp, you’re needed in Intensive Care.” Another cat spoke, having walked up behind us at some point.

Casp gave us a patronizing smile. “If you would excuse me.”

The Doctor and I watched as she walked on, now realizing why the Face of Boe had sent for us.

‘Rose needs to get up here, now.’ I informed him.

There was a bit of anxiety on his part, but he quickly hide it. ‘This hospital is up to something, and I don’t like it. Why need to hide a simple remedy? It doesn’t make sense.’

I looked towards the cat watching over the Face of Boe. ‘And Casp, the look in her eyes. I swear I’ve seen that look before. It’s not a safe look, Doctor.’ To clarify just how unsafe the look was, I sent a wave of trepidation and unease at him.

‘That bad?’ The Doctor asked.

‘I’ve seen it a dozen times, in a dozen people.’ I thought. ‘It’s a look that I can’t get out of my head.’

The Doctor gave me a worried, yet held back look. ‘What kind of look?’

‘The look of a cold hearted killer, who believes what they’re doing is right.’ I responded.

His eyes widened, but he suppressed them before anyone could notice. ‘I’m going to take a look at the other patients. Petrifold Regression isn’t the only serious illness in this hall. They all might have cures.’

‘I’ll wait for Rose by the door. We can tell her what we know and hope she’s found something too.’ I almost let out a sad chuckle. ‘Knowing her, she’s got more intel than us.’

‘Don’t say that. It’ll jinx it.’ The Doctor admitted, walking over towards another patient.

‘Good point.’

Yes, this was a dark place. That didn’t mean I couldn’t try to keep my spirits up until then.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor had begun investigating. You could tell because he brought out the ‘I don’t need these, but Rose thinks I look hot with them on’ glasses. He had checked out nearly every patient in the hallway, looking more and more unnerved as he went. The Doctor had kept checking his screwdriver, as if it was broken or something.

I kept looking towards the patients. Some had looked like they were standing on Death’s doorstep, now they were looking like Death had seen them and kicked them off his property. My eyes glanced towards the entrance every few seconds or so, waiting for Cassandra to come in.

Rose was being suppressed in there. I was already feeling guilty over it. What was I thinking? I had been like that for half a century, I know what kind of pain it is to have everything about you stuffed away while something else takes the reins. At least Rose couldn’t see what Cassandra was seeing, I hoped that really. Rose might be able to see all of those people, sick and dying.

No. Rose wasn’t seeing them. That was a pro of Cassandra taking her over. Rose wouldn’t have to see them, really see them. It was all I could do. Rose shouldn’t have to see this, no human being should. This much death in one place...it leaves scars.

“Ambient temperature stands at fourteen degrees. This temperature is designed to promote healing and well-being.” The voice spoke from the speakers.

I turned to the entrance, seeing Cassandra grinning and waving. She had unbuttoned the first two buttons on Rose’s shirt. Her hair was a bit messier, like she had just gotten out of bed and only had time to smother it down. She didn’t have that spark in Rose’s eyes, the spark that made a Dalek feel and the Bad Wolf bring life.

She was not my Carolina Rose.

I walked up to the blonde, dragging her to where the Doctor was waiting for us.

The Doctor was shaking his head in disbelief. Cassandra stood on his right, I took his left. “There you are. Come and look at this patient.” It was a man, a red humanoid just floating in mid-air. “Marconi’s Disease.” The Doctor whispered to us. He took of the glasses, putting them in his pockets. “Should take years to recover. Two days. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve invented a cell washing cascade. It’s amazing.” He looked around the hall for cats, his voice dropping. “Their medical science is way advanced. And this one.”

The next patient was completely white, almost blending into the walls. The only thing making him spottable was the red tubings coming out from his chest and the pupils of his eyes. Talk about pale as a sheet.

“Pallidome Pancrosis. Kills you in ten minutes, and he’s fine.” The Doctor and I waved at the man. “I need to find a terminal. I’ve got to see how they do this.”

Without any other warning, he started shoving us out of Ward 26. The three of us walked along the hallway outside, searching for this terminal.

“Because if they’ve got the best medicine in the world, then why is it such a secret?” The Doctor explained to Rose.

Cassandra gave a sort of held back look of annoyance. “I can’t Adam and Eve it.”

The Doctor stopped in his steps. I stared at Cassandra, in a mixture of curiosity and disgust. What the heck does that even mean, adam and eve it ? Who says that? Was the TARDIS unable to translate her poor English?

“What’s, what’s. What’s with the voice?” The Doctor asked.

Cassandra shrugged, letting it linger a bit. “Oh, I don’t know. Just larking about. New Earth, new me.” She excused.

The Doctor bought it. He gave her a teasing smile. “Well, I can talk. New New Doctor.” His smile was giddy.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that.

“Mmm, aren’t you just.” Cassandra purred.

My jaw dropped at her next action, with a smile thrown in. Thankfully, I was able to whip my phone out and get a picture before it ended.

Cassandra had grabbed the back of his head, pulling him down for a kiss before the Doctor could even register he had been grabbed. The Time Lord had been startled at first. Then once he realized what was going on he got into it. That was the moment the picture was taken. Oh, Jack is gonna love this.

No. No Jack. Knowing him, he’ll probably make a poster of it to hang in Rose’s room. Or, on the door of the TARDIS.

Cassandra finally stopped the kiss. I was looking down at the nice picture on my phone. No, it wasn’t really Rose and Ten, but a shipper takes what she can get.

I had to hold in my laughs when I saw the Doctor’s face. He had been thoroughly snogged by his crush, and it looked hilarious. He seemed to be asking himself ‘did that really just happen?’

“Terminal’s this way.” Cassandra brushed down her hair again, licking her lips. She started walking towards the terminal. She rubbed her neck with her hand. “Phew.”

The Doctor still looked stunned, staring at Cassandra as she walked on. “Yep, still got it.” The Time Lord started walking towards her, running a hand over his brown hair.

I burst out laughing at that. “Dude. The look on your face.”

This was almost as good as Jen singing Katy Perry. Almost. Nothing is better than drunk blonde singing a werewolf version of ET, in a bed sheet, in front of her crush. Did I mention the crush was a werewolf? Or, that werewolves are very possessive and Sally and I thank our lucky stars they weren’t actually dating yet?

The Doctor turned to me, as if nothing had happened. “Come on. Terminal.”

 

==TTI==

 

The terminal was showing just a bunch of weird looking animations. There was one block of words, and I was able to piece together some of the words. It looked like nothing was strange, no usual words I would find strange.

‘You think they’re killing people?’ The Doctor asked

‘I know the look I saw in Matron Casp.’ I explained. ‘People don’t just come across that look by thinking that way, like a doctor who gave up on patients. It’s the look of a person who has realized nothing else matters but their own gain. I trust my profile.’

‘I’m not saying I don’t.’ The Doctor remarked. ‘It hasn’t been wrong before. But if you’re right, then we might be dealing with a much bigger problem.’

‘Cause if her patients are healed, who’s dying?’

‘Exactly.’ The Doctor let out a confused grunt. He had gone back to focusing on the terminal. “Nope, nothing odd. Surgery, post-op, nano-dentistry. No sign of a shop. They should have a shop.”

“No, it’s missing something else.” Cassandra stated, nearly shoving me aside so she could get a better look at the screen. “When I was downstairs, those Nurse Cat Nuns were talking about Intensive Care. Where is it?” She was searching the screen, focused. Rose would’ve turned to the Doctor, because she loves looking at him when he starts explaining things. It’s one of those little things that make it obvious Cassandra’s incharge.

“You’re right. Well done.” The Doctor complimented.

“Couldn’t have done better myself.” I mumbled, kinda half lying.

“Why would they hide a whole department? It’s got to be there somewhere. Search the sub-frame.”

‘That’s not Rose.’ I thought to the Doctor immediately. ‘Rose doesn’t know that much about computer’s.’

‘Terra, this is serious. Are you sure?’ The Doctor thought.

‘Go on. Test her. If that’s Rose, really Rose, then we’ll know.’ I suggested.

“What if the sub-frame’s locked?” The Doctor asked Rose, giving her a curious look.

“Try the installation protocol.” Cassandra commanded, slowly, as if the Doctor was an idiot for not knowing.

The Doctor held up the screwdriver to the terminal. “Yeah. Of course. Sorry. Hold on.”

‘Oh, hell no. That’s it. These cats are going down. First the murder thing, now this . What did they do to my Carolina Rose?!’ I nearly screamed.

‘Terra, calm down.’ The Doctor instructed.

‘Calm down?! I can sense it, you’re just as angry as me! How are you so much better at hiding it! You’re more emotional than the last one!’

‘We need to be calm. Whatever they did, getting angry at Rose might make it worse.’ The Doctor stressed.

Even though I wanted to smack Cassandra in her stupid stolen face, I held back. He could be right. I didn’t know much about psychografting. Who knows what making Cassandra angry would do? She might trap Rose farther inside her own body. It could keep Rose from us for good.

That thought was able to keep me from lashing out. Rose was in pain, but probably just felt like she was asleep. To keep her safe, we had to wait. Then I would have my chance at her...

The wall started letting out loud whooshes. It lowered down into the ground, revealing a dark tunnel. The three of us stepped back, surprised at tunnel.

The worst part? Cassandra looked so stinkin’ smug about it.

The blonde marched off into the hall, not even bothering to talk to us.

“Intensive Care. Certainly looks intensive.” The Doctor muttered, looking suspiciously after Cassandra.

 

==TTI==

 

Okay. Okay. Breathe, Terra, breathe. you’ve seen cults and BDSM gone wrong and countless other horrors. This can’t be that bad, right?

At least, that was what I was telling myself as we walked through Intensive Care. There was a lot of stairs, more than you would think.

It was gonna be fine in the end. Everything would be fine. Humans would be cured, and set free to live normal lives. It just hurt knowing that their were millions of humans stuck here.

The three of us ended up on one of the levels, giving a long look to the other green pods here. You could see some dark shadow in some of them, like a silhouette. It looked like there was nine to a row, but without knowing how tall this room was I couldn’t get an accurate number.

The Doctor opened the first lit up door, and I was completely unprepared.

I was able to see him through the fog.  It was a man. He had black scraggly hair, which I guess was from no one cutting it. They had the decency to give him clothes: a dirty gray hospital gown. His face was covered in boils, rashes, and his vines were nearly black. His knuckles were crusted, as if some of his cuts burst open and were barely healing.

He was sickly pale, not like I expected anything else. He was giving us a drowsy look, as if opening the door took him off his medication. That was probably what the fog was.

I didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t want to. With apprehension, I reached in his mind.

He was alone. He was scared, tired, and felt unloved. The people who were basically their caregivers hated them, killed them when they showed any sign of growth. He wanted to be loved. He wanted someone to show they, at the very least, cared for him.

“That’s disgusting.” Cassandra sneered, under her breath. “What’s wrong with him?” She asked the two of us.

The Doctor just stared at the man. His brown eyes were wide, as he was starting to figure out what was wrong with this place.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The Doctor whispered.

“I...” I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? What could I say that this poor man would accept, and know someone cared? That we cared? “I’m sorry.” I managed.

The man was finally a bit more aware. His brown eyes giving us a shocked look. For the first time in his life, I think he understood what it meant to have someone care.

The Doctor closed the door, using his sonic to lock it. I tried to swallow the emotions coming up in me, locking up my throat. All of these pods were filled with people sick as him. They didn’t even have names , or birthdays. They only knew the green walls of their pods, and that life meant pain.

The three of us moved on to the next one. I nearly let out a tear at the sight.

It was a woman. She was of Indian descent, or genes I don’t know their process. Deep mahogany skin, ruined by blisters and cuts and rashes. Her deep brown hair hung limply on her head, and I was surprised it didn’t fall off. She had the drowsy look, and I could see her asking ‘is it my time?’ in her eyes.

My hand stayed at my side, nearly shaking. The Cats had done that to her. They made her scared, and sick. Why? Just to help some of the others? The ends do not justify the means!

“What disease is that?” Cassandra asked.

“All of them. Every single disease in the galaxy.” The Doctor’s voice was calm, almost too calm. The woman turned towards his voice, a plea in her eyes. “They’ve been infected with everything.”

Cassandra’s eyes widened. She turned to the Doctor and I. “What about us? Are we safe?”

“The air’s sterile. Just don’t touch them.” The Doctor warned, shutting the door.

The Doctor walked to the railing leaning over it. I stood beside him, thinking about all the other people inside those pods. How many were nearly dead? How many were born today? How many were born since we had been here?

“How many patients are there?” Cassandra asked.

“They’re not patients.” I growled, not bothering to keep my voice quiet like they had been. “They never were.”

“But they’re sick.” Cassandra snapped. Her tone implied I was stupid.

“They were born sick. They’re meant to be sick. They exist to be sick.” The Doctor ranted, starting to sound as angry as I was. “ Lab rats. ” He spat.

“This was how those cats can cure everything!” I growled. “The ultimate laboratory. A human farm!”

I had seen a lot of human farms in my time. Vampires keeping humans for stock, unsubs keeping humans to hunt for sport, men keeping woman for breeding, men keeping children for the slave trade.

But keeping humans for medicine? I was totally disgusted.

‘Sometimes I hate being right.’ I admitted to the Doctor.

The Time Lord held back his anger. ‘Cold blooded killers, just like you said.’

‘Am I allowed to skin a cat now?’ I asked, only partly joking.

‘Once they tell us what they did to Rose.’ The Doctor began. ‘And it was something harmful, than we’re skinning all of these cats.’

Even though I knew he was just playing with my threat, I still felt chills run up my spine.

The Doctor stuffed his hands in his pockets. I wrapped mine in front of me. The two of us marched off, not caring if Cassandra followed.

No wonder he was so pissed off. Rose would care. Rose would be screaming at him to fix these people, to save them, to stop anymore of them from suffering. Hell, she might even decide to just sit in here until he did.

Cassandra apparently felt the need to talk. “Why don’t they just die?”

The Doctor stopped at a pod, staring at it with rage in his eyes. “Plague carriers. The last to go.” The Doctor snapped.

“It’s for the greater cause.” A voice spoke.

I snapped my head towards it, seeing the silhouette of Novice Hame. She was watching over Jack, my friend. She actually seemed like one of the Cats that was against it.

“Novice Hame, when you took your vows, did you agree to this?” The Doctor fumed, slowly walking towards her. His voice was still low, as if he didn’t want to wake the sick humans up.

Hame just gave us a pleading look. “The Sisterhood has sworn to help.”

“This isn’t helping!” I shouted. “This is murder!”

Hame shook her head. “But they’re not real people. They’re specially grown. They have no proper existence.” She explained, as if her words meant anything at this point.

“How can you say that?” I asked, disgusted. “These people don’t matter?”

“What’s the turnover, hmm?” The Doctor asked, walking closer to her. His tone was starting to get to scary level. Ten got dangerous when angry. “Thousand a day? Thousand the next? Thousand the next? How many thousands? For how many years? How many!” He shouted.

“Mankind needed us.” Hame explained. She sounded like she was repeating a mantra. Telling us things she had been told. She hated this process has much as we did, but saw it as a means to an end. “They came to this planet with so many illnesses. We couldn’t cope. We did try. We tried everything. We tried using clone-meat and bio-cattle, but the results were too slow, so the Sisterhood grew its own flesh. That’s all they are. Flesh.”

“These people are alive !” I argued. “What kind of nurse are you? These are real living breathing humans, in pain!”

Hame kept on trying to explain this, diffuse it. “But think of those Humans out there, healthy and happy, because of us .”

“If they live because of this , then life is worthless .” The Doctor spat.

“But who are you to decide that?” She challenged.

Oh. Bad idea. “I’m the Doctor.” He walked closer to her again. “And if you don’t like it, if you want to take it to a higher authority, then there isn’t one. It stops with me.”

“And I’m Terra.” I nearly growled. “And I’m going to stop this, all of this, today . No one should have to live like this. And don’t think you can stop it. Only one person is in charge of me, and it’s me!”

The Doctor and I glared at the cat, daring her to challenge us. Oh, I was just aching for a chance to work on my fighting skills.

Then, she had to talk.

“Just to confirm.” Cassandra spoke. I rolled my eyes. Maybe I could just punch her, she would shut up? I would say sorry to Rose later. Asking forgiveness is better than asking permission. “None of the humans in the city actually know about this?”

Hame seemed a bit confused, then saddened. “We thought it best not.”

The Doctor had enough of this. I was this close to punching Cassandra’s stolen face. Hopefully I wouldn’t break her nose. “Hold on. I can understand the bodies. I can understand your vows. One thing I can’t understand. What have you done to Rose?”

Hame was genuinely confused. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“And we’re being very, very calm. You want to be aware of that. Very, very calm .” He stressed. “And the only reason we’re being so very, very calm is that the brain is a delicate thing. Whatever you’ve done to Rose’s head, I want it reversed.”

“We haven’t done anything.” The cat answered.

“I’m perfectly fine.” Cassandra assued. Well, she was fine. Rose on the other hand...

“These people are dying, and Rose would care .” The Doctor explained.

I turned to Cassandra. “You aren’t Rose. Are you?” I looked at her stolen eyes. “I saw your eyes. I know her eyes. You aren’t Rose.”

Cassandra rolled her stolen eyes. Jig was up. “Oh, all right, clever clogs.” The Doctor turned to her. The last human reached up to the Doctor’s tie. “Smarty pants.” She muttered, her voice low. This made me the slightest bit sick, more so than seeing the humans as lab rats. “Lady-killers.” She purred, fixing his tie.

The Doctor ignored her taunts. “Who are you?” He asked, nay, demanded.

Cassandra went on, as if he hadn’t spoken. “I knew something was going on in this hospital, but I needed this body and your mind to find it out.” She explained.

“Who are you?” He repeated, harsher.

Cassandra picked herself up, leaning into his ear. “The last human.”

The Doctor twisted his face in disgust. Or confusion, that was less funny. “Cassandra?”

Cassandra started to grin “Wake up and smell the perfume.”

I ducked, narrowly avoiding the perfume but managing to catch the Doctor. My eyes went up to Cassandra, glaring.

“Let Rose go.” I ordered, putting the Doctor on the ground. “Now. Take mine if you have to.”

“Why would I want your’s?” Cassandra asked, almost mockingly. She aimed the perfume at me.

“I’m almost two hundred, and don’t look a day over sixteen.” I pointed out. Cassandra considered this. “See him? I can do that too. I have about eleven more of those, so you can last for hundreds, thousands of years.”

Cassandra started to smile. It wasn’t Rose’s tongue-on-tooth smile. I hated Cassandra’s. No one should have to go through this. I should’ve taken Rose’s place from the start.

“Alright. Deal.” Cassandra cheered.

Pink most came out from Rose’s mouth. I lowered most of my mental defenses to allow her in. It floated right towards me, and I felt the darkness take over.

 

==TTI==

 

It was like I was awake, but completely asleep. I couldn’t move my body on my will, but I could see and hear what was going on. I could see the Doctor hooked up to the machine, with Rose tucked in by his feet. She wasn’t going to be happy when she woke up.

Cassandra was smiling. I could feel it. She was nearly breaking my cheek with it. From what little I could feel she had taken off my lucky vest, leaving me in just my black tank top.

The Doctor finally woke up. I could feel him reaching out for our telepathic link, but that was it. Cassandra was a thick brick wall, separating us.

He seemed to notice Rose at his feet. He stared through the green glass, right at me. “Terra, let me out! Let me out!” He ordered.

Cassandra just takes. “Aren’t you lucky there was a spare?” She taunted with my voice. Oh, I sounded weird. It was, kinda halfway between British and English. “Standing room only.”

The Doctor was difficult to see through the foggy green door. I could feel him pounding on the brick wall in my mind, but it wouldn’t budge. “Taking Rose wasn’t enough for you? You’ve stolen Terra’s body!” He snarled.

Cassandra ignored him. “Over the years, I’ve thought of a thousand ways to kill you, Doctor. And now, that’s exactly what I’ve got. One thousand diseases. They pump the patients with a top-up every ten minutes.” She looked at my digital watch. “You and chavtastic down have got about three minutes left. Enjoy.”

The Doctor tried hitting the brick wall again. It was useless. “Just let Terra go, Cassandra.” He ordered.

“I don’t think I will.” Cassandra replied. “She gave herself up for the chav, saying she could change herself almost a dozen times and live for centuries. And two hearts beating in her chest? Oh now that threw me. Never aging, never dying. Who could pass that up? Now hushabye. It’s showtime.”

There was another knock on the brick wall. More nothing, sorry Doctor.

“Anything we can do to help?” A voice spoke.

The Doctor kept pounding at my mind mentally. I don’t know how Cassandra wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was because I was only giving her limited access.

Cassandra turned us to the cat nurses. “Straight to the point, Whiskers. I want money.” She explained.

Casp treated Cassandra calmly. What else did you expect? She’s killed thousands upon thousands upon thousands of humans. What would she do when she found out I wasn’t? “The Sisterhood is a charity. We don’t give money. We only accept.”

Gah. I always hated negotiations. “The humans across the water pay you a fortune, and that’s exactly what I need. A one-off payment, that’s all I want.” Cassandra explained. “Oh, and perhaps a yacht. In return for which, I shall tell the city nothing of your institutional murder. Is that a deal?”

“I’m afraid not.” Casp denied.

“Wait...where’s she gone?” Rose woke up! Shit!

“I’d really advise you to think about this.” Cassandra warned.

“Terra? What’s she doing?”

“That’s not Terra.” The Doctor explained.

“Oh, there’s no need. I have to decline.” Casp explained.

I couldn’t hear what the Doctor or Rose were saying next.

“I’ll tell them, and you’ve no way of stopping me. You’re not exactly Nuns with Guns. You’re not even armed!” Cassandra pointed out.

Neither am I dumbass! You won’t be able to open my Bag!

Casp lifted her paws up. “Who needs arms when we have claws?” She hissed, her claws breaking through her gloves.

“Well, nice try.” Cassandra turned to the man. “Chip? Plan B.”

Chip nodded. I felt sorry for him, I really did. He just loved Cassandra, so much. I’m sure Cassandra picked out that model because it reminded her of the last time someone called her beautiful.

No one ever called me that before. Cute, sometimes. Adorable, more than I could count. Nice, as much as sand on the beach. Beautiful? Never. Gorgeous? Not even once. Pretty? As a joke.

If someone complimented me, first or last, I would never forget their face. And poor Chip was just brushed aside, even though he actually was the person who called Cassandra beautiful.

The man pulled a nearby lever. An alarm went off, and the doors started opening.

The Doctor ran out of his, pulling Rose up to her feet. Cassandra just marched past them. “What’ve you done?

Cassandra gave him a harsh glare. The Doctor was giving one back, just a bit more horrified. Rose even more so. This was her first time seeing these people, it must be horrifying. “Gave the system a shot of adrenaline, just to wake them up. See you!” She taunted, running off.

The Doctor’s voice carried into the hall. “Don’t touch them! Whatever you do, don’t touch!”

We managed to get to a sort of scaffolding before all the doors began to open. I watched in a sort of relief as all the humans were free. They were all free .

They weren’t trapped in those pods anymore. They would never have to go back. No more threat of incineration, no cold hard walls, they could walk and run and just be ! They could blossom into their own person.

“Oh, my God.” Cassandra sneered.

Right. They weren’t cured. One touch and you die. Cassandra wanted to get a taste of regeneration, I just hope she doesn’t get a real chance.

“What the hell have you done?” The Doctor asked.

“It wasn’t me!” She snapped like a five year old.

“One touch and you get every disease in the world, and I want that body safe, Cassandra.” The Doctor snapped.

“Doctor! They’re coming!” Rose yelled.

“We’ve got to go down.” The Doctor reasoned.

“But there’s thousands of them!” Cassandra whined.

“Move it!” Rose snapped, running down the stairs.

The Doctor waited until we all were in the stairway. “Run! Down! Down! Go down!” He ordered.

The entire time, I felt him try to get inside my mind.

 

==TTI==

 

Soon enough, we managed to get to the floor was Cassandra used to...well, exist.

Cassandra tried to call the elevators. “No, the lifts have closed down. That’s the quarantine. Nothing’s moving.” The Doctor explained.

The woman just ran passed him, towards her old suite. “This way!”

Yet, as we ran, I tried to find a way to help. I wanted to help Chip. I didn’t want him to feel abandoned. No one ever should.

“Doctor!” Rose yelled.

Cassandra turned us back, showing me Chip being blocked off by the Flesh. She grabbed the Doctor’s arm.

The Doctor glared. “Someone will touch him!”

“Leave him!” She barked. “He’s just a clone thing. He’s only got a half life. Come on!” Cassandra ran to her lair.

“But he’s still a person!” Rose called out.

“Mistress!” Chip pleaded.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell Chip we would find him. I wanted to tell him so much, but above all, I wanted to tell him to run away.

Yet it was all for nothing, since we were separated anyway.

 

==TTI==

 

The doors were all locked shut. Cassandra tried running through one, but the Flesh was on the other side.

“We’re trapped!” Storyline, she was such a giant baby. Calm the hell down! “What am I going to do?”

The Doctor marched up to her. “Well, for starters, you’re going to leave that body. That psychograft is banned on every civilized planet. You’re compressing Terra to death.”

Cassandra marched us to her old body’s remains. “But I’ve got nowhere to go. My original skin’s dead.” She pointed out.

The Doctor gave her a bored look. “Not my problem. You can float as atoms in the air. Now, get out.” He ordered. He raised his screwdriver, giving Cassandra a death glare. I wanted to look away, but it just wasn’t working. “Give her back to me.”

“You asked for it.” She blew out, and a pink mist began to float out.

NO!

“Ahh!” Cassandra hissed.

I pulled Cassandra back inside my body, locking her in place. She wasn’t going to hurt my friends! I wouldn’t let her!

“Cassandra, give her back!” The Doctor ordered, keeping his sonic aimed at us.

“I’m trying !” She yelled. She tried pushing herself out again, but I just squeezed her tighter to me. “She’s not letting me!”

“Let her go!” The Doctor ordered.

“Give her back Cassandra!” Rose yelled.

“I am trying! The stupid brat’s not letting go!” Cassandra yelled.

I shoved Cassandra back, gasping as if I hadn’t taken a breath in ten minutes. Cassandra fought in my mind, trying to get back in the driver’s seat.

The Doctor suddenly looked relieved. “Ter-”

I let out a gasp of pain, grabbing my forehead. “I can’t talk long!” I warned. “I can’t let her go!” I hissed in effort.

“Terra, she’s killing you!” Rose reminded.

I huffed. Cassandra was shoving at my mind, trying to force herself back to forefront. “ Yes! As long as she’s in me, she’s not in you!”

Rose was taken aback.

“Terra, she will kill you! You need to get her out!” The Doctor yelled.

I wanted to tell him more, but I couldn’t fight Cassandra anymore.

Cassandra scoffed. “What do you care?” She walked around the room, still in my body. “I took a look at her memories while she was in control. You see her as nothing but a liability. A responsibility . Oh, how she hates that word.”

She smirked smugly at the Doctor. He glared angrily. “You hate her. She saw inside your head, Doctor, and she doesn’t like what she saw. Poor dear has such a low self esteem. Being suppressed might actually be a blessing.”

Shut up trampoline!

The Doctor almost growled. “Bring her back.”

Rose spoke up. “She’s just a little girl, Cassandra.”

“She’s over a hundred and eighty years old.” Cassandra scoffed. Stop looking in my mind! “She’s spent it all alone. No one cares about her, and no one ever will.” Cassandra forced my lips into a puppy dog pout. “It’s tragic, really.”

*BANG*

Cassandra jumped in fright. The three of us looked towards the door, seeing the Flesh start to walk in. “What do we do? Doctor, what the hell do we do?”

Hehe. She said the theme song.

“We take the ladder.” The Doctor decided.

Cassandra shoved Rose towards the Flesh “Out of the way, blondie!”

NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!

“Please, help us. Help.” The Flesh pleaded.

I am going to help you. I am going to help all of you. I swear.

 

==TTI==

 

“You need to let her go.” The Doctor ordered.

Cassandra rolled her eyes. “I told you, she won’t let me out.”

The Doctor glared up at her.  He had been pounding at my mind again. This time, the wall started to shake. “Cassandra, you are compressing Terra’s mind. She’ll die soon, and she knows it. She would be pushing you out, not keeping you in.”

“Look, I tried to get out but she wouldn’t let me. Maybe she likes it.” The heiress taunted.

The mental wall was pounded on again and again. He was getting better at it.

“Well, as a person who shared mental space with ya, I can say no one in their right mind would like it.” Rose spat.

I tried to focus. It was hard keeping Cassandra locked in my head with him pounding away at it. Just one little thought, and he would stop.

‘Doctor. Stop. Please.’ I asked.

‘She’s killing you.’ The Doctor explained.

‘And she’s not killing you or Rose.’ I stressed.

‘Terra!’ The Doctor shouted. ‘This is serious! Cassandra will kill you if you don’t let her out!’

‘I won’t let her take one of you!’ I screamed at him.

‘Gah! Teenagers. Always so stubborn.’ The Doctor grumbled. ‘Terra, I will get her out.’

I wanted to roll my eyes. ‘Not a chance.’

‘Too late.’

It was then I realized what he had done. He was talking to me, but all the while he had been trying to get access to my mental walks to get Cassandra out.

NO!

I gasped again, gripping tightly to the ladder. “Bastard!” I panted.

“Terra?!” Rose shouted below me. “You alright?”

“Fine, which is more than the Doctor will be!”

“What are you-”

“Oh. I’m a man.” Cassandra spoke, over in the Doctor’s body. “So many parts...and hardly used.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Great. Now she has the Doctor.”

“Don’t blame me!” I argued. “He pulled her in!”

“He’s slim.” Cassandra went on. “And foxy.”

I grumbled, climbing up the ladder. This was all so screwed up.

“You’ve been looking.” Cassandra teased. I guess she decided to talk to Rose. “You like it.”

“If you get out of the Doctor’s body, he can think of something.” Rose remarked, apparently to ignore Cassandra’s last comment.

“Yap, yap, yap. God, it was tedious inside your heads. Hormone city.” Cassandra grumbled.

“We’re going to die if-” Rose began before Cassandra yelped. About damn time she showed up!

“Get off!” Cassandra yelled in alarm. Well, she was at the bottom. Casp would have to grab the Doctor’s ankle.

“All our good work. All that healing.” Casp hissed. “The good name of the Sisterhood. You have destroyed everything.”

The heiress rolled her stolen eyes. “Go and play with a ball of string.”

“Everywhere, disease. This is the human world. Sickness!”

“Bye bye Kitty!” I taunted, climbing up the ladder. The door was just a few bars up.

I didn’t look down as Casp fell. She lost my respect when she treated humans as expendables.

“Now, can we please stop bickering and move!” I barked at them.

Raising myself up, I finally found myself at the door I had been looking for. I knocked on the door, sighing when it wouldn’t open.

“Now what do we do?” Cassandra asked. ‘Will you quit talking for five minutes?’

“Use the sonic screwdriver.” I instructed, angrily.

Cassandra pulled it out from his coat pocket. “You mean this thing?”

“Yes, she means that thing .” Rose snapped.

Dear Storyline, can those two blondes just shut up and do what they’re told?! “Just hurry up and use it!” I snapped at them.

Cassandra made a pout face. “Well, I don’t know how. That Doctor’s hidden away all his thoughts.”

I tried to talk first. “Cas-”

“Cassandra, go back into me. The Doctor can open it.” Rose insisted.

“Don’t you dare!” I commanded.

“Do it!” Rose shouted.

“Don’t you dare!” I screamed.

Cassandra shrugged. “Hold on tight.”

The pink mist flew into me.

“Open it!” Cassandra pleaded at the Doctor.

The Doctor looked pissed off. He growled. “Not till you get out of her.”

“We need the Doctor.” Cassandra explained.

“I order you to leave her!” The Doctor shouted.

I watched the mist fly back into Rose. “No matter how difficult the situation, there is no need to shout.” She told the Doctor.

“Cassandra, get out of her!” I screamed.

Cassandra gave me a ‘what am I supposed to do’ look. “But I can’t go into you, he simply refuses. He’s so rude.”

“He does that!” I snapped. “So get back in here!”

“Stay out of them both Cassandra!” The Doctor ordered.

Cassandra groaned. “Oh, I am so going to regret this.”

I watched, the slightest bit curious, as the heiress floated down towards the Flesh.

“Oh, sweet Lord.”

The Doctor, even from his low perch, aimed his sonic at the door. Soon, there was the mechanical whoosh as it opened. I jumped in, holding my arm out for Rose. She immediately hugged me. I locked up, hugs made me uncomfortable. This just made Rose hold me tighter.

“I look disgusting.” Cassandra whined.

The Doctor climbed up, leaping out onto the metal floor.  He smiled at me, a real proper smile. I was able to see it by looking over Rose’s shoulder. “Nice to have you back.” He greeted. “We’re going to have a talk about what you did.”

I rolled my eyes. Hypocrite. He basically pulled the same stunt on me! I was only trying to keep Cassandra from hurting them. I could handle it, I did handle it. I’m clearly fine, and can clearly handle more. Cassandra was basically a five year old when it came to mental takeovers. I’ve fought worse. She was worse.

If I could survive five decades against her , I could survive a few hours with Cassandra.

The Doctor went to the lock. Rose finally let me go, and I gave her a curt nod. Hugs just felt awkward in this body. Granted, hugs were never a strong suit for me.

“No, you don’t.” Cassandra grumbled.

She came back into my mind. I took the moment of weakness and used it to my advantage.

‘Do you see it now?’ I asked Cassandra.

Her thoughts were blank.

‘They’re alone, and I want to help them.’ I told her. ‘I need to. I need to save them.’

‘They’re just so alone...’ She suddenly  sobbed.

‘They’ve never been touched. How would you feel if you had never been touched? They just want someone to hold them. Someone to care.’ I explained. ‘From someone who spent her life alone, I can understand their pain.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘Feel my pain.’ I instructed. ‘How does it feel to be alone?’

Cassandra gasped, feeling my emotions pour into her.

The Doctor growled, shutting the door. “That was your last warning, Cassandra!

“They are so alone.” Cassandra breathed.

“What?” The Doctor asked.

“Terra can feel it.” The heiress breathed. “She can see it in their eyes, understand them. They’re so alone. They keep reaching out, just to hold us. All their lives and they’ve never been touched.”

“How do you know that?” Rose asked.

“Because Terra feels the same way.” Cassandra whispered. “She...she knows them.”

Oi! I shared my personal feelings, do not go telling everybody!

The Doctor held out his hand. Cassandra gave it a wary glance, before taking ahold of it.

There was a bang on the door. The Flesh was still trying to get in, to reach out.

 

==TTI==

 

Once the blondes caught their breath, the three bodies ran to the hospital room with the Face of Boe. It was probably one of the safest rooms here now. Novice Hame stood near the giant head, and I wished I could scream at her. The Face of Boe was one of my friends, and there was no way I was going to let anyone hurt him! Future Nursemaid be damned!

The Doctor had paused in his outreach on my mind. I wasn’t letting him in, not until today was done. Cassandra was starting to realize what it meant to actually be a human, so that was nice. I wanted to help her as best I could. Yes, she was vain and a terrible person. She was actually willing to change now...just a bit...maybe not at all...she was getting there!

The assistant suddenly let out a primal scream, aiming a metal stool at us.

The Doctor raised his hand, trying to placate her. Cassandra locked up, holding up her hands. Rose did the same. “We’re safe! We’re safe! We’re safe! We’re clean! We’re clean! Look, look.”

“Show me your skin.” She ordered.

The Doctor held up his arms. “Look, clean.”

Rose held her’s up. “We’re not like them!” She added.

The assistant was unsure.

“Look, if we’d been touched, we’d be dead.” The Doctor explained. “So how’s it going up here? What’s the status?”

The assistant put down the stool, giving us the cold truth. “There’s nothing but silence from the other wards. I think we’re the only ones left. And I’ve been trying to override the quarantine.” The assistant walked up to us, showing us her phone. She then walked right past us, looked out and the window, and gave the Doctor a pleading expression of hope. “If I can trip a signal over to New New York, they can send a private executive squad.”

The Doctor argued against it. “You can’t do that. If they forced entry, they’d break quarantine.”

“I am not dying in here.” The assistant growled.

“We can’t let a single particle of disease get out.” The Doctor stressed. “There’s ten million people in that city. They’d all be at risk. Now, turn that off!” He pointed at her cellphone.

“Not if it gets me out.” The assistant scoffed.

The Doctor rolled his eyes. “All right, fine. So I have to stop you lot as well. Suits me. Rose, Terra, Novice Hame, everyone!” He ran towards one of the cures. “Excuse me, your Grace.” He told the Duke of Manhattan. “Get me intravenous solutions for every single disease. Move it!” He ordered.

Cassandra walked us over to some of the brightly colored bags. I was getting a bit excited. We were gonna save the Flesh! They could finally be free, really free! We were gonna save them! I could hear the faint whir of the sonic screwdriver, but I was too happy with the thought of the Flesh being cured.

The Doctor wrapped rope around himself. Cassandra and Rose came up to him, attaching the chemicals to the rope.

“How’s that?” The Doctor asked Cassandra. “Will that do?”

She gave him a curious look. “Will it do for what?”

The Doctor ignored the question, apparently taking it as a yes. He ran towards the elevator. Rose and Cassandra followed.

“The lifts aren’t working.” Cassandra reminded the Doctor, just as the elevator doors opened.

The Doctor gave the elevator shaft a brief look. “Not moving. Different thing.” He backed off towards the back wall. “Here we go.” He put the screwdriver in his mouth, clenching it with his teeth. He made a mad dash for the elevator.

“But you’re not going to-” She began.

“Doctor!” Rose yelled.

The two of them ran, seeing the Doctor grab onto the metal cable.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Rose nearly shouted at him.

The Doctor pulled the sonic out from his teeth. “I’m going down! Come on!” He requested.

Rose shook her head, like most did when the Doctor was at his wildest. She moved to the back wall.

“Hold on, you can’t be serious!” Cassandra squealed. Gah, she was squealing in my voice! I would never hear the end of it if Darcy found out. Rose gave her a challenging look. “You’re as mad as he is!”

Rose just shrugged. “Possibly.” She ran to the elevator. She ended up on the Doctor’s back. Rose turned to us. She was laughing. “Come on!”

Cassandra scoffed, like Rose had offended her. “Not in a million years.”

“I need another pair of hands. What do you think?” The Doctor asked, giving us an almost angry look. “If you’re so desperate to stay alive, why don’t you live a little?” He taunted.

I had to jump. Not a chance in hell I was gonna let that taunt slide. I could totally make that jump, and I would do it better than he did! Oh. That competitive spirit was back. I liked it!

“Seal the door!” The assistant ordered. Oh. I forgot she was there.

“No!” Cassandra whined. Shut up, crybaby! She let out a worried whine, running at the cable.

She jumped. The Doctor had accidentally spun the cable a bit, so we ended up facing him instead of being on his back. That was fun. Can I do it again?! “You’re completely mad!” Cassandra yelled. She looked at Rose. “I can see why she likes the lot of you.”

“Going down!” The Doctor immediately shouted. I’m willing to bet he was thinking about that kiss...

Down the rabbit hole we fall!

 

==TTI==

 

Rose and Cassandra ended up screaming, like when you go down the rollercoaster. I was laughing, hysterically. This was really fun! I tried to get a look at the Doctor, and it was then I felt him trying to get inside my mind again. That was getting annoying.

Before I could think more on it, we reached the elevator at the bottom. Rose jumped off the Doctor’s back, brushing the creases out of her shirt. Cassandra jumped too, fixing my outfit that she had ruined. I loved that vest! The Doctor leapt off, immediately getting to work.

“Well, that’s one way to lose weight.” Cassandra muttered.

The Doctor again ignored her. “Now, listen. When I say so, take hold of that lever.” He pointed at the lever.

“But Doctor.” The Doctor turned to Rose. “There’s still a quarantine down there, we can’t-”

“Hold that lever!” The Doctor barked. The two women flinched. The Doctor began taking off the chemical bags, pouring them into the disinfectant bin. “I’m cooking up a cocktail. I know a bit about medicine myself.”

Haha. He thinks he’s an actual Doctor. Poor Doctor and his delusions.

“Now, that lever’s going to resist.” The Doctor explained. “But keep it in position. Hold onto it with everything you’ve got.” He ran to the elevator ceiling hatch, pushing it open. He climbed into it.

“What about you?” Cassandra asked.

The Doctor just began to grin. “I’ve got an appointment. The Doctor is in.” He leapt down.

Cassandra rolled my eyes, keeping a firm grip on the lever. Rose alongside her. The screwdriver buzzed, and I heard the doors open.

“I’m in here! Come on!” The Doctor encouraged.

It was gonna work. He was gonna save them! With the very things they helped create! YesyesyesyesYES!

“Don’t tell them!” Cassandra scoffed.

“I could just smack him sometimes.” Rose shook her head.

“Pull that lever!” The Doctor ordered. The two woman did as ordered, pulling the lever down. “Come and get me. Come on!  I’m in here! Come on!”

“Commence stage one disinfection.”

Rose suddenly got it. “The disinfectant.”

“What?” Cassandra asked, keeping a firm grip. Dangit he was right, the lever was fighting back!

“He’s put that stuff in the disinfectant. He’s gonna get soaked with it.” Rose began. “It’s all the cures. The cures to every disease they have!” Terrific job, Carolina Rose, terrific! Rose smiled at Cassandra.

“And how’s that gonna help us?” Cassandra nearly shouted.

“Hurry up! Come on!” The Doctor yelled, as the disinfectant began pouring over him. “Come on, come on.” The cure began pouring over the Flesh, and they looked ever so confused. They didn’t know they were being saved!

“All they want to do is pass it on. Pass it on!” The Doctor cheered. Rose began to laugh, happily. I joined in, beaming inside my own head. They were being cured! They were saved!

“Pass on what?” Cassandra asked the Doctor. She turned to Rose. “Pass on what?”

“Pass it on!” The Doctor and Rose answered.

It got quiet for a minute, and all I could hear was the faint hissing of the cure being spread. I began to laugh again, excitedly bouncing about my own brain. They were all hugging and helping and getting better! They were going far beyond what they were intended for, and deciding their own fates! Terrific!

“Blimey. She’s laughing like crazy in here.” Cassandra mumbled.

Rose climbed down, the Doctor helping her. The two of them were smiling giddily.

Cassandra was still confused. “What did they pass on?” Cassandra asked them, in a near whisper. “Did you kill them? All of them?”

“No. That’s your way of doing things.” The Doctor cheered, walking out into the reception hall. “I’m the Doctor, and I cured them.”

I could see them now. The humans were free of their blisters, their veins so filled with sickness they turned black. They no longer had cold, dead eyes. They just seemed like frightened young toddlers, stumbling about on their legs with insecurity.

A young woman came up to us. She hugged Cassandra. She was startled, and that gave me a chance.

“Hello.” I beamed. I started to laugh, feeling relieved at seeing them happy. The woman seemed surprised, her sepia brown eyes filled with hope. She held onto me so tightly. I patted her damp hair. “That’s right. Oh, that actually feels really good.”

I looked at the woman, giving her a reassuring smile. “There you are, dearie.”

The shock of the hug had faded, and I was trapped once again in my mind.

The Doctor took it over. He guided the woman towards another cured human. “Go to him. Go on, that’s it. That’s it.” He smiled at all of them.

Cassandra just looked over them all, with worry and the tiniest bit of hope.

“It’s a new sub-species, Rose, Cassandra. A brand new form of life. New humans! Look at them. Look!” The Doctor  went to a man, grabbing his shoulder. “Grown by cats.” He turned to the woman beside him, looking her in her blue eyes. “Kept in the dark, fed by tubes, but completely, completely alive!” He cheered.

His joy was infectious. I was cheering again.

“You can’t deny them, because you helped create them.” The Doctor pointed at Cassandra. He turned to them all, rising up on a table. “The human race just keeps on going, keeps on changing. Life will out! Ha!”

Watching the human race smile, watching them hug each other, watching them have hope, it made today worth it.

My Plan worked.

 

==TTI==

 

“This is the NNYPD. Please step away from the shuttles.”

Cassandra was leaning against a hospital bed, watching all the cats be guided away. The loudspeaker was talking, but she wasn’t really listening. Neither was I.

They were alive. Today, wa a good day.

“The Face of Boe!” The Doctor suddenly yelled.

The three of us dashed off to see if he was still there. He was just sitting there, looking very tired. He was far from death, but still so weak.

It hurt, seeing Jack like that. The guy who was so upbeat, and confident, practically on his deathbed. Yet, at the same time, he was very much alive.

God, I hated myself for not saving him.

“The Face of Boe!” Rose cheered upon seeing him.

The Doctor smiled at her. “Remember him?”

“How could I forget our first date?” Rose asked, starting to give a special Rose Tyler hope filled laugh.

The Doctor turned to the giant head.  How could he not notice? They had the same butt chin! “You were supposed to be dying.”

Face of Boe sighed. “There are better things to do today. Dying can wait.” His voice spoke in my head.

Cassandra groaned. “Oh, I hate telepathy.” She shook my head. “Just what I need, a head full of big face.”

The Doctor and Rose turned to her. “Shh!”

Face of Boe ignored their childishness. “I have grown tired with the universe, Doctor, but you and Terra have taught me to look at it anew.”

The Doctor walked closer to him, kneeling down to his level. “There are legends, you know, saying that you’re millions of years old.”

Face of Boe scoffed. “There are?” Oh, Jackass, I missed your sarcastic slash flirting ways. “That would be impossible.”

The Doctor laughed. “Wouldn’t it just.”  He went back to serious. “I got the impression there was something you wanted to tell me.” He gave me a brief glance. “Tell us.”

“A great secret.” The Face of Boe remembered the prophecy.

“So the legend says.”

Face of Boe would have shrugged. “It can wait.”

I couldn’t stop it. I started to go into hysterics, laughing loudly. The Doctor was so disappointed. He hated waiting! This was, like, the best thing ever! Jack, you are my favorite companion. Amy, with regret, you are fired. Goodbye!

“Oh, does it have to?” He whined.

Face of Boe gave him a tired look. “We shall meet again, Doctor, Terra, for the third time, for the last time, and the truth shall be told. Until that day.”

The Face of Boe beamed away. I laughed again, impressed at him for just vanishing like that.

“That is enigmatic. That, that is, that is textbook enigmatic.” The Doctor got up to his full height. He glared at Cassandra. “And now for you.”

Cassandra was that close to stomping her foot, I could feel it. “But everything’s happy. Everything’s fine. Can’t you just leave me?” Storyline, my voice sounded so weird. Was she still trying to flirt with him? Ewww. Mind bleach please!

The Doctor gave her a cold look. “You’ve lived long enough. Leave that body and end it, Cassandra.”

Rose came over. “We could get you a new one. A body of your own, like Chip yeah? You just need to let Terra go.”

“No. Cassandra, this has to stop. You need to end it. Now.” The Doctor ordered.

Cassandra burst into tears. Bit by trampoline. “I don’t want to die.” She fake cried.

“No one does.” The Doctor replied coldly.

“Help me.” She pleaded.

“I can’t.” The Doctor stressed, impatiently.

“Mistress!” Chip cried out.

Her fake tears vanished. She turned to the created man. I could feel the grimace she put on my face. She had hoped he died. “Oh, you’re alive.”

Chip smiled, happy. “I kept myself safe for you, Mistress.” He explained.

Cassandra had her horrible idea. My lips curled in an almost evil smile. “A body.” She purred. “And not just that, a volunteer.”

“Don’t you dare!” The Doctor barked. “He’s got a life of his own!”

“But I worship the mistress.” Chip argued. Cassandra gave the Doctor a wink. “I welcome her.”

“You can’t, Cassandra, you-”

I gasped, reaching out for a hand to hold so I wouldn’t fall. A pair of arms wrapped around me, just under my arms. I grabbed onto them, my legs feeling like jelly. Dude...I felt like I had been woken up from a nap.

“Oh! You alright?” The Doctor asked.

I tried to stand out my own legs, but they wobbled. I nearly fell.

“Whoa! Okay?” The Doctor asked, keeping a tighter grip on me.

“Terrific.” I grumbled, rolling my eyes. I grinned at him. “Aloha.” I turned to Rose. “Aloha, Carolina Rose.”

The blonde smiled happily. She let out a squeal, hugging me. I locked up again. Hugging a girl who was a basic newborn? Okay. Hugging adults? No thank you.

The Doctor smiled, relieved. “Hello. Welcome back.” He greeted.

The three of us laughed.

“Oh, sweet Lord.” Cassandra gasped. “I’m a walking doodle.”

The Doctor glared. I stood on my own, the occasional shake of my knees. Stupid body, stay tough! This was nothing! Stop fighting!

“You can’t stay in there. I’m sorry, Cassandra, but that’s not fair.” The Doctor argued. “I can take you to the city. They can build you a skin tank and you can stand trial for what you’ve done.”

Cassandra gave a mocking smile. “Well, that would be rather dramatic. Possibly my finest hour, and certainly my finest hat, but I’m afraid we don’t have time.”

Rose laughed. I looked at Cassandra angrily, having it up to here with her her-ness.

“Poor little Chip is only a half-life, and he’s been through so much.” Cassandra actually looked a bit nervous. “His heart is racing so.” Her brown eyes lit up in worry and understanding. “He’s failing.” She admitted. “I don’t think he’s going to last.”

I reached out to catch her. The Doctor joining in. Carefully, I placed her on her knees. “Are you okay?” I asked, already knowing she wasn’t.

“I’m fine.” She assured. “I’m dying, but that’s fine.”

I frowned. The Cassandra from earlier would have said that with radiating sarcasm. A nasty bite in her tone. This Cassandra, she accepted it. She knew it was her time. That feeling always made me sad. The tone in a person’s voice when they knew it was their time, and they embraced it.

It made me feel helpless. I wanted to help them, maybe stop it, but I knew I couldn’t. Not this time. Not ever.

Cassandra smiled at me, understanding in her eyes. She was okay with it. She was finally okay with dying. She had been fighting it for so long, it was probably exhausting her.

“I can take you to the city.” The Doctor offered.

“No, you won’t.” Cassandra shook her head, firmly. “Everything’s new on this planet. There’s no place for Chip and me any more. You’re right, Doctor. It’s time to die.”

The Doctor and Rose looked down, almost in shame. I didn’t. I looked Cassandra in her now brown eyes, trying to let her know I understood.

“And that’s good.” Cassandra decided.

I helped her to her feet, holding her arm tightly. “Come on. There’s one last thing we can do.”

 

==TTI==

 

Soon enough, we landed at the dinner party. I smiled, watching Rose cover Cassandra up in a black robe. Cassandra stood there, a grateful smile on her face. It was Chip’s face, but I could see it in her eyes. She was finally happy, she was at peace with it all.

The Doctor opened the TARDIS door, party music drafting into the console room. Rose helped Cassandra out the door. I would never be seeing her again, but at least she would die giving an old woman a last bit of joy.

I stayed in the pilot seat. My eyelids felt heavy, nearly dropping.

I crawled out of the seat, looking up to my favorite spot. The spot where I first met Rose Tyler. The spot where I felt confident, and protective, watching over the Doctor and Rose. With heavy steps, I marched towards it.

Maybe a quick nap would help. Nothing too big. I lied down on the spot, using my arms as a makeshift pillow. My eyes started to drop again. Just...a quick nap...couldn’t hurt...

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor and Rose walked back into the TARDIS. The Doctor looked around the console room, searching for Terra.

“Terra?” He called out.

There was a whine noise coming from up in the TARDIS. The Doctor looked over, to where he had first discovered Terra in his TARDIS.

She was asleep. Curled into a ball, drool on her cheek. Some of her hair at come out from her headband, letting it fall across her face. She seemed at ease, a blessing after today.

Rose came up beside him, a teasing smile on her lips. “Oh my God. She fell asleep. That’s adorable!”

“Careful.” The Doctor lightly chided. He was all for this, seeing Terra be embarrassed. He just didn’t want to wake her up. “She’s close to the edge. Might get startled and fall.”

Rose smacked his arm. He turned to her, rubbing the sore part of his arm. She pointed up at the young Time Lady. Her jaw was dropped in horror, brown eyes filled with worry.

“Oi!” The Doctor gave her a confused look, about the hit.

“Then get her down!” The blonde woman hissed under her breath. “Adorable or not, I’m not going to let Terra hurt herself.”

“Well, how do I get her down without waking her up?” The Doctor countered.

Rose rolled her eyes, grinning her tongue on tooth smile. “Climb up there, and bring her down. ‘S not that hard.”

After some difficulty, the Doctor managed to get her down. He carried her off towards her room. Rose followed behind.

Terra’s room was always deadlocked. She didn’t want anyone but herself going in or out. The only time it was unlocked was when she wasn’t in it. She’d opened it to Jack, they both knew. She liked her secrets.

Rose opened the door to her room, letting them both into the secret lair.

“She’s got stars on the ceiling.” Rose commented, a smile on her face.

He looked up, and saw she was right. Dozens of constellations covered the ceiling. It was midnight blue, covered with small white lights as if it was an actual starry night. The Doctor could name each one. Big Dipper, Orion, Cassiopeia, Virgo, and Gemini. The Bear, the Hunter, the Queen, the Maiden, and the Twin. He would think about that later. For now, he had to put Terra in bed before she woke up and killed him.

She had a bunk bed.

Rose pulled the sheet back, revealing dark purple bedsheets. She grinned at that.

The Doctor lied her down in the bottom bunk, carefully covering her in the sheet. Terra had to have been somewhat awake, because she grabbed the sheet and snuggled deeper into the bed.

“Bloody hell, I wanna take a picture a this.” Rose commented as they walked out of the room.

The Doctor laughed. “Knowing her? She probably has an embarrassing photo of you as leverage.”

Rose gasped. “Oh my God. She does, doesn’t she? Do you think she has one of you?”

“In this body? Haven’t had much chance.”

 

Chapter Text

The next day we were set to visit 1979. Or that’s what the Doctor said when I was getting myself breakfast.

“Any reason why?” I asked him, pulling out the box of fruity oatmeal. The water I was heating up had just begin to squeal.

The Doctor rubbed the skin of his neck. He watched me move the kettle off the stovetop to a counter. “Not really, no. Just thought you’d both like it.”

“Sure.” I poured out a pack of blueberry oatmeal in a bowl. “Right. Not because Rose said she liked that year.”

“Exactly.” The Doctor replied, tightly, hinting that he didn’t want me to say more about this.

I added cinnamon sugar to my bowl, stirring while grinning at the Doctor. “Or because she mentioned liking the Muppet Movie.”

“Yes, yes, you get it. Finish your breakfast so we can go.”

“Or that she likes the music of that era.”

“You’ve made your point.”

“Hmm...don’t think I have.” Pleased as punch, I settled in a chair to have my breakfast. The TARDIS kitchen gave me a lovely booth chair to eat in. She was the best. “What was that thing you said last night again? About...about how romantic 1979 was?”

“I meant as a time traveling destination!” The Doctor defended.

In between laughs, I had spoonfuls of my oatmeal. After a quick swallow I paused to make another crack at him. “Right, right. Yeah totally! I’d do that too. You know, if I was trying to impress someone with my time machine and get them to like my new body-”

“Ooh bloody hell I knew this was a mistake.”

“Yeah it was. You interrupted my breakfast for your weird not-hidden crush date thing with your concubine! I don’t wanna hear about that! Not when I’m eating!”

Besides that, I was reviewing my Plan for the next episode. I had known Queen Victoria when I was a girl (though that depends on if you considered ‘68’ young enough to be called ‘girl’) .

I had stayed with her a few summers before she’d become Queen. Her mother was very strict on letting other children around Victoria, so I’d been cautious with my visits. Victoria considered the two of us friends, all the same. I’d called her ‘Alex’ when others asked me where’d I’d been, to her annoyance and understanding. When we were together it was Toria all the way.

Though I don’t enjoy Jumping into history, I did so for a time of four years. I took it seriously. I learned after the first try that when I Jumped into history, what I did became History (I’m never gonna stop apologizing for that cherry tree story. Like ever).

Meeting Victoria had been a shining moment for me. She was a tough nut to crack, I’ll give the history books that. She kept me always at arms length, which didn’t stop me from being kind to her and telling her ghost stories. I would’ve thought I was annoying her if she didn’t keep coming back for more.

Leaving had been painful, if not wanted. It had been time for me to move on regardless. Her mother had found out about our odd friendship (which was a strong word in of itself). She’d ordered me moved to another house, far away from Victoria. The Queen-to-be had been heartbroken at the idea.

I missed her, though, as I jumped around History. She’d been my first actual princess! Like, real princess. Not princess of an alien land, or a princess from a movie or cartoon. This was an honest, for real, princess, that had existed on this green earth.

So...I’d have to hide that when I saw her today.

The Doctor winced. “Alright! Just...finish up. We’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

I snorted, having another spoonful. “Knowing you it’ll be two hundred years off...and the wrong planet.”

The Doctor scoffed.

“Wanna bet?” I offered, sitting back against the booth. “Five that it’s wrong.”

The Doctor shook his head. “I won’t stoop to those methods.”

“Ten.”

“Deal.”

‘And thus the Doctor would learn the most important lesson: never make a bet with Terra. She fights dirty.’

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor flipped a switch on the console. I sat in the console seat, watching him talk vibrantly to Rose.

“What do you think of this? Will it do?” Rose asked, meaning her outfit.

“Who cares?” Was my response, mostly aimed at the TARDIS.

The blue box had no answer.

“In the late 1970s? You’d be better off in a bin bag.” The Doctor told her, ever eager to please. He glanced at me. “You’re not gonna change?”

I shook my head. My purple hoodie, jeans, and black shoes were enough for me. “Unlike some people, I don’t play dress-up.”

The Doctor dropped his jaw. “You fiend.” He walked over to the console. “You just listen to this and tell me you don’t want to dress up.” He turned on the CD. “Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Number One in 1979.”

“Oooh. Aaah.” I replied dryly.

“You’re a punk.” Rose giggled at the Doctor.

He took it in pride. “It’s good to be a lunatic.” He sang.

“That’s what you are. A big old punk with a bit of rockabillly thrown in.” That made me laugh.

The Doctor didn’t seem to like being mock by the both of us. “Would you like to see him?” He asked Rose.

“How’d you mean? In concert?” Rose asked, confused.

“Think he means the real thing.” I offered.

“What else is a TARDIS for?” The Doctor agreed. “I can take you to the Battle of Trafalgar, the first anti-gravity Olympics, Caesar crossing the Rubicon or Ian Dury at the Top Rank, Sheffield, England, Earth, 21st November, 1979.” The Doctor set in the coordinates. He glanced at me, grinning in defiance. He thought he was gonna win the Bet. Poor sucker. “What do you think?”

“Sheffield it is.” Rose cheered.

I threw my hands up. “Why not?” With my hands up, I used them to hold onto the railings behind me.

The Doctor beamed at us. “Hold on tight.” He cautioned a second before sending us off.

He started banging the beat to the song with a hammer. He smashed it along the console, on various bits and bobbles.

“Landing!” He shouted just before the TARDIS screeched to a hard stop. It threw them to the floor, and me out of the pilot chair.

We all hit the metal with loud grunts of pain. The pain was quickly taken over by mad laughter.

“1979. Hell of a year.” The Doctor cheered as he climbed to his feet. He took hold of Rose’s hand. I pushed myself to my feet, straightening myself out before following them. “China invades Vietnam. The Muppet Movie. Love that film. Margaret Thatcher. Urgh. Skylab falls to Earth, with a little help from me. Nearly took off my thumb. And I like my thumb. I need my thumb. I’m very attached to-”

Guns locked.

“-my thumb.” The Doctor finished lamely.

“1879. Same difference.” I slapped his arm. “Ow! What was that for?”

“That’s One.” I answered, cryptic.

The Doctor barely had time to raise an eyebrow at my comment before Reynolds started talking. “You will explain your presence. And the nakedness of these girls.”

“Believe we’re in Scotland, me Lord.” I informed our friends, in my (personal opinion) spot on Scottish accent.

‘How’re you doing that?’ The Doctor asked.

‘Watched a lot of Scrooge McDuck.’ I answered. ‘You should meet him sometime. I’d bet you’d get along great.’

The Doctor rolled his eyes, though grinned playfully. ‘I know about Ducktales, Terra. I’m not completely stupid.’

‘But you admit you’re at least somewhat stupid?’

‘Yes. I mean...no. I mean...shut up.’ “Are we in Scotland?”

“How can you be ignorant of that?” Captain Reynolds asked.

“Oh, I’m, I’m dazed and confused.” The Doctor lied on the spot. “I’ve been chasing these, these wee naked children over hill and over dale. Isn’t that right, ya timorous beasties?”

“Och, aye! I’ve been oot and aboot.” Rose tried.

The Doctor and I turned to her.

“No, don’t do that.”

“Just shut up.”

“Hoots mon.” Rose tried again.

“We said stop.”

“No, really don’t. Really.” The Doctor pleaded.

Rose winced.

“Will you identify yourself, sir?” Reynolds questioned.

“I’m Doctor James McCrimmon, from the township of Balamory. I have my credentials, if I may.” He pulled the psychic paper from his pocket. “As you can see, a Doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. I trained under Doctor Bell himself.”

“Let them approach.” Came a voice that, though it’d been a long time, struck me to my core.

“I don’t think that’s wise, Ma’am.” Reynolds cautioned.

Oh she’s not gonna like that.

“Let them approach.” She repeated. It made me smile fondly.

“You will approach the carriage, and show all due deference.” Her captain of guard ordered us.

We walked up to Victoria’s carriage.

The footman held the door open for us to view Victoria. Though I didn’t think I would, I had to hold back my watering eyes. I couldn’t hold back my sniffles, wiping my escaped tears on my sleeve.

‘Terra?’ The Doctor asked out of concern.

“Me Lord, timorous beastie, might I introduce-” I braced myself and my Scottish accent. “-her Majesty Queen Victoria. Empress of India and Defender of the Faith.”

Victoria gave me a curious look. Moreso when I curtsied to her.

“Rose Tyler, Ma’am. And my apologies for our being so naked.” Rose apologized.

“I’ve had five daughters. It’s nothing to me.” Victoria assured. “And you, child?” She asked me.

“Terra.” I answered, hesitant. I’d wanted to use the name I used in her time. Something stopped me at the last second. “Terra Johnson, Ma’am.” I curtsied again.

Victoria bowed her head. “But you, Doctor. Show me these credentials.”

The Doctor handed her the psychic paper with no hesitation.

“Why didn’t you say so immediately?” Victoria asked. “It states clearly here that you have been appointed by the Lord Provost as my Protector.”

“Does it? Yes, it does. Good. Good.” I had to fight my snort at his lying. “Then let me ask- why is Your Majesty travelling by road when there’s a train all the way to Aberdeen?”

Victoria smiled too thinly to be true. ‘She’s gotten better at that grin. Makes me want to laugh. She always hated when I smiled like that.’ “A tree on the line.”

“An accident?” The Doctor cautioned.

“I am the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Everything around me tends to be planned.” Victoria reminded him, explaining it the same way one would explain why 2+2 equals 4.

“An assassination attempt?” The Doctor realized.

“What, seriously? There’s people out to kill you?” Rose gawked.

“I’m quite used to staring down the barrel of a gun.” Victoria cautioned her.

That time I couldn’t hold back my snort. She’d reminded me of a story of when I was a kid, trying out the rifles the guards around us used. I’d been scolded until the head of the house was blue in the face. It was bad enough that I was bothering the royal family...to play with the very weapons that kept us safe and blah-blah-blahblah. When the matron left me alone, Toria came out from the shadows. I’d accidentally aimed it on her face just before the matron came in. Toria and I had laughed about it for ages.

That’s when I saw I had the attention of Toria, fully grown as the new Queen.

“Sorry, Ma’am.” I replied, keeping up the Scottish accent. “Just...I once did that to a friend, as a joke...accident...thing. You reminded me of...her...Ma’am.”

Victoria raised her eyebrow, in a perfect arch. I had to suck my lips in to keep from laughing.

“Sir Robert MacLeish lives but ten miles hence. We’ve sent word ahead. He’ll shelter us for tonight, then we can reach Balmoral tomorrow.” Reynolds reported.

“This Doctor and his timorous beasties will come with us.” Victoria decided.

I gave her a thankful smile. And teasing.

“Yes, Ma’am. We’d better get moving - it’s almost nightfall.” Reynolds cautioned.

“Indeed. And there are stories of wolves in these parts. Fanciful tales intended to scare the children. But good for the blood, I think.” Victoria turned to her driver. “Drive on!” She instructed.

The carrigemen followed her orders with no delay.

The Doctor, Rose, and myself followed behind them.

“It’s funny. When you hear ‘assination’ you just think of Kennedy and stuff. Not her.” Rose mused.

“Oh yeah. Throw my country under the bus.” I complained. “What? You’re gonna talk about Lincoln next? Garfield? Don’t you dare say McKinley, or I won’t be reasonable for what happens next.”

Rose snorted. She shoved my arm with her’s. “Shut up. You know what I meant.” She glanced to the Doctor. “Were those people assassinated too?”

“Yes.” He looked over Rose’s head to me. “How did you know that?”

“They were Carl’s favorite history lesson.”

“Ah.” The Doctor understood. “What were you saying Rose?”

“She was asking about Queen Victoria.” I supplied, walking around behind Rose so I stood at the Doctor’s side.

“Right. 1879? She’s had, oh, six attempts on her life?” The Doctor guessed.  My internally self panicked at the remark. Another side effect of meeting people in history before they were historic: you had to hear what went wrong when you left.

“Seven.” I corrected.

“Seven?” The Doctor asked.

I nodded, not saying another thing.

“And I’ll tell you something else. We just met Queen Victoria!”

“I know!” Rose cheered (though it sounded more of a squeak)

“What a laugh!” The Doctor laughed.

“She was just sitting there.” Rose went on.

“Like a stamp.” The Doctor agreed.

They were so fucking British. I can’t...I just can’t.

“I want her to say we are not amused. I bet you five quid I can make her say it.” Rose offered.

The Doctor puffed up his chest. “Well, if I gambled on that, it'd be an abuse of my privileges of traveller in time.”

“Ten quid?” Rose countered.

“Done.”

I Slapped his arm. “Two.”

“Ow! You hit me again!” The Doctor whined.

I stared at him, surprised. “You lost our Bet.”

“What’d you bet?” Rose asked.

“That we’d land in the right year.” I answered. Rose laughed. “Yeah. The prize was ten Slaps.”

“Hold on. We didn’t agree they were slaps!” The Doctor argued.

“You’re lucky I didn’t make it slaps to the face.” Was my reply.

The Time Lord’s face fell when he realized I was serious.

It was at this point he knew, he’d fucked up.

 

==TTI==

 

The walk wasn’t so bad, the rest of the way. Lucky for me England weather has always been awful.

Rose was still giggling about the whole Slap Bet. She was upset at first that she couldn’t change her bet with the Doctor. I’d convinced her that being related to Jackie Tyler was like living a Slap Bet already.

The Doctor was upset all together. The more we talked about slapping and Jackie and things in general the more strumpy he got.

By the time we made it to Torchwood Manor, Rose and I were suppressing full body shudders.

Sir Robert walked outside. Angelo came out behind him, glaring at the back of Robert’s head the way someone glares at their child to give out a proper apology.

Victoria stepped out of her carriage. Seeing her again brought a fond smile to my face. Dear Author, I sound like a lovesick teen when I say it like that.

“Your Majesty.” Robert bowed.

“Sir Robert.” Victoria prompted him to rise back up. “My apologies for the emergency. And how is Lady Isobel?”

“She’s...indisposed, I’m afraid. She’s gone to...Edinburgh for the season...and she’s taken the cook with her. The kitchens are barely stocked.” Robert lied. Ever so convincing, he was. “I wouldn’t blame Your Majesty if you wanted to ride on.”

Beside Rose, the Doctor was watching the exchange in suspicion.

“Oh, not at all. I’ve had quite enough carriage exercise. And this is charming, if rustic. It’s my first visit to this house. My late husband spoke of it often. The Torchwood Estate. Now, shall we go inside?” Victoria encouraged. Robert was only more uncomfortable by her request. Except who could deny Toria anything? “And please excuse the naked girls.”

“Sorry.” Rose blushed.

“They’re feral children. I bought them for sixpence in old London Town.” The Doctor lied. “It’s was them or the Elephant Man, so-”

“He forgot to give us clothes.” I commented. Rose failed to cover a snort, while the Doctor was indignant.

“You little-”

“Thinks he’s funny but I’m so not amused.” Rose cut him off. “What do you think, Ma’am?”

Victoria, as usual, missed the teasing tone in Rose’s voice. “It hardly matters. Shall we proceed?” She answered in full seriousness.

‘Ah good ole Alex. Always good for a laugh.’

Rose clicked her tongue. “So close.”

The Doctor was giving her a smug grin. I was focused more on the Monks. They had their eyes focused on Victoria as she walked inside.

“Makerson and Ramsey, you will escort the property. Hurry up.” Reynolds ordered. His soldiers quickly followed that order.

They pulled the Diamond’s case out from the carriage. They followed after Victoria, being careful of the case’s contents.

“So what’s in there, then?” The Doctor asked rather loudly in his Scottish accent.

“Property of the Crown. You will dismiss any further thoughts, sir.” Reynolds replied sternly. The Doctor made a face for Rose and me. It made her giggle and me smirk. “The rest of you go to the rear of the house. Assume your designated positions.”

The soldiers all moved to Reynold’s command. My elbow jabbed the Doctor’s side, prompting him to move.

 

==TTI==

 

Victoria followed behind Robert. He was bringing us to the giant telescope room (at Victoria’s insistence).

It was easier than I thought to trail in behind Victoria’s steps. Back when we were kids, this was all I did. I’d hide behind various bits of furniture, giving Victoria silent assurance that I had her back (Which came in handy this one time I stopped another assassination).

This time it helped because I was the last person between everyone and the Monks. It made the vicious part of me happy to know I would be the first thing they could fight if they decided to make one in the hallway.

So we were walking into the room.

“This, I take it, is the famous Endeavour.” Victoria cheered.

“All my father’s work. Built by hand in his final years.” Robert explained. “Became something of an obsession. He spent his money on this rather than caring for the house or himself.”

“I wish I’d met him. I like him. That thing’s beautiful.” The Doctor was beaming. He took a step towards the telescope, pausing to turn to Robert. “Can I?”

“Help yourself.” Robert offered.

The Doctor went up to the telescope. Rose and I walked with him. She made a beeline towards the gears, I walked further along the telescope. My hand ran along the copper casing. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept my attention on Victoria.

“What did he model it on?” The Doctor asked.

“I know nothing about it. To be honest, most of us thought him a little, shall we say, eccentric.” Robert admitted. His voice lowered with remorse. “I wish now I’d spent more time with him and listened to his stories.”

“It’s a bit rubbish.” The Doctor commented as he looked through the telescope. Rose grinned her usual tongue-on-tooth.

When he walked away, I gave the telescope a go. It actually was stupid. I would’ve continued to think so if I didn’t remember this was meant to be a werewolf killer, not an actually telescope. In that sense it was perfect.

“How many prisms has it got? Way too many. The magnification’s gone right over the top. That’s stupid kind of-” The Doctor leaned over to me. “Am I being rude again?”

I wasn’t paying attention to him. Rose had me covered though. “Yep.” She giggled.

The Doctor whirled back around to face Victoria and Robert. “But it’s pretty. It’s very pretty.” Rose patted his arm for a job well done. A part of me wanted to pull out gold stickers and put one on his jacket.

“And the imagination of it should be applauded.” Victoria threw in some praise.

‘Excellent sense of tact, Alex.’

“Mmm. Thought you might disapprove, Your Majesty. Stargazing. Isn’t that a bit fanciful?” Rose asked.

I loudly snorted. Hiding my face by looking further in the telescope, I ignored the curious looks of the others in the room.

‘He made a telescope that didn’t work.’ I projected to the Doctor.

‘That he did.’ The Doctor replied. He sounded unimpressed.

‘This telescope is rubbish. I can’t see through it. Like...it’s not letting me look out.’

“You could easily not be amused, or something? No?” Rose floundered.

“This device surveys the infinite work of God. What could be finer?” Victoria countered.

Rose glanced to the Doctor, who was trying to hide his chuckles. I was doing a poorer job.

‘It’s just funny to me. Alex always loved starry nights. Sometimes we’d sneak out on the roof from her balcony and just look at stars. I told her all the constellations I could see, adding their myths as I could.’

“Sir Robert’s father was an example to us all.” Victoria praised. “A polymath, steeped in astronomy and sciences, yet equally well versed in folklore and fairytales.”

Now I was blushing. “Sounds like a man of good worth.” I got up to my feet, giving a quick bow of the head to Robert. “It is a shame I couldn’t meet him myself. I always love speaking about the folklore of the stars.”

Victoria’s face did a funny thing when I said that. Normally I might be having an anxiety attack about giving away such a big fact. Right now I just wanted Victoria to remember me, like when the Doctor told Sarah Jane who he was in School Reunion .

“Oh, my late husband enjoyed his company.” Victoria explained. She took a step closer to me. “Prince Albert himself was acquainted with many rural superstitions, coming as he did from Saxe Coburg.”

“That’s Bavaria.” The Doctor told Rose.

“When Albert was told about your local wolf, he was transported.” Victoria praised Robert.

“So, what’s this wolf, then?” The Doctor asked.

“Wolves?” I made a show of having my curiosity peaked. Werewolves were always my favorite mythological creature.

Robert waved the remark away. “It’s just a story.”

The Doctor was giving Robert a look. I spoke before he could. “Oh then please, Sir, share.” I requested.

Now, with the Doctor asking Robert had been made uncomfortable. A small half-naked child? Robert had less concerns. He was still ever aware of the Monks behind him, Angelo in particular.

“It’s said that-” He began.

“Excuse me, sir.” Angelo cut him off. “Perhaps her Majesty’s party could repair to their rooms. It’s almost dark.

‘Ugh. That just reminded me of Mr Spencer interrupting my talk about the latest Greek myth. Christian parents don’t generally like it when their children dabble in the gods.’

Though to Robert, the warning sounded like his wife’s screams. “Of course. Yes, of course.”

“And then supper.” Victoria stated. “And could we find some clothes for Miss Tyler and Miss Johnson? I’m tired of nakedness.”

“It’s not amusing, is it?” Rose tried again.

Victoria didn’t bother to respond. The Doctor and Rose began whispering to themselves. I focused on what Victoria was saying.

“Sir Robert, your wife must have left some clothes. See to it.” She instructed Robert. “We shall dine at seven, and talk some more of this wolf. After all, there is a full moon tonight.”

“So there is, Ma’am.” Robert bowed, staying that way as Victoria walked past him.

‘And that terrifies him, Alex, as you’ll come to learn.

 

==TTI==

 

They brought us to Lady Isabel’s room. The second the doors closed, Rose made a beeline for the wardrobe. I walked over towards the one with Flora in it.

“Terra, dresses are ‘ere.” Rose reminded.

“Divide and conquer, Rose.” I threw the door open, not flinching at seeing Flora. Though for appearances sake I stared at Flora. “...okay...there are dresses in here. But also something else.

“Uh-huh.” Rose pulled out a long green dress that was too formal.

“Something weird . And should be cause for concern .”

She stuffed the dress back in the wardrobe. Apparently my deadpan was so powerful Rose didn’t believe me.

“Not an alien, is it? Cause I don’t think I can get the Queen to be ‘unamused’ if aliens attack.” Rose remarked as she grabbed the white dress.

I raised an eyebrow to Rose, turning back to the very confused and terrified Flora. “You’re not an alien, are you?”

Flora glanced to the door of the room. Sure the Monks weren’t there, she shook her head.

“Good, good. I thought so. Most aliens don’t dress up as French Maids.” ‘Not unless Jack got to them...or the Ponds had a really bad go at dressing up.’

“Hold on is that a person ?” Rose ran up to my side. She saw Flora and opened her mouth to scream.

My hand clapped over her mouth. Rose screamed beneath my hand. She was still kinda loud but not enough to be heard through the heavy wooden doors or walls. She gawked at me with wide eyes.

“Whoever put her in here doesn’t want her to be found.” I explained to Rose. My voice was kept level and calm. ‘Not my first time finding someone in the closest...and thank the Author Darcy didn’t hear that, or she’d never let me live it down.’ “Screaming won’t help.”

Rose understood. I lowered my hand. Once I was sure Rose wouldn’t make a noise, I knelt down to Flora.

“Hello there.” I held my hand out to her. “Let’s get you out of that.”

Hesitant, Flora took my hand. I helped her to her feet. After that, Rose motioned us to  the bed. Flora’s breath was coming in more panicked intakes. It was the makings of a panic attack.

“They came through the house. In the excitement they took the Steward and the Master, and my Lady.” She explained in a rush.

Rose took Flora’s shaking hand in her own. “Listen. We’ve got a friend. He’s called the Doctor. He’ll know what to do. You’ve got to come with us.”

“Oh, but I can’t, Miss-”

Rose opened her mouth to assure her, but I had a feeling it

So I took her other hand. “What’s your name?” I asked.

“Flora.”

“Flora, listen to me.” I adjusted myself on the bed, sitting on my leg. What I said next, I made sure to say with as much assurance as I could muster. The words weren’t a false assurance, they were a statement of fact. There could be no lying. Not to Flora or to Rose. “ Everything will work out. I promise.”

Flora sniffled. She accepted that.

Rose got up to her feet. I moved to get off mine, only to find Flora had attached herself to my arm.

“Ah-” I winced. She glanced up at me, concerned. “Sorry. I’m just- not a fan of- of-” I motioned with my free arm to what she was doing with my arm. “-of that. Rose is though. Go do- that thing with Rose.”

“Terra it’s just a hug .”

Though it was a weak argument, I tried “She’s hugging the arm with my Bag .” I emphasized. “What if I need it?”

“What could you need out of that?” Rose asked.

‘I don’t know, Rose Tyler, maybe GUNS?’ Was what I wanted to say. Rose’s look told me that statement wouldn’t go over well, with her OR the Doctor. “I could hit someone with it.”

“You could?” Rose asked, skeptical.

“It’s heavier than it looks.” I reminded her. “I’m carrying the equivalent weight of three tanks.” Rose dropped her jaw. “Time Lord tetris, remember? Will you just let Flora hug you?”

The message I was getting through to Rose came through. She offered her arm to Flora. The maid was unsure of her fellow human. After a quick shake of my arm, Flora consented. She moved over to hold Rose’s arm.

I gave my arm a quick shake before marching to the door. Rose and Flora came behind me. Opening the door, I checked to make sure no Monks were around.

Walking down the hallway, there was a spot of red from the soldier’s uniform. Rose saw it too. She ran up to it, Flora ran behind her.

“Oh, Misses. I did warn you.” Flora remarked.

Something in the air tensed. My hands grabbed the strap of my Bag, keeping it on my shoulder but ready to be thrown off at a moment’s notice.

“He’s not dead.”

There was a small creak in the floorboards behind me. My thumbs lifted up the strap.

‘Prepare to launch.’

“I don’t think-”

‘3’

“-he must be drugged-”

‘2’

“-or something.”

‘1’

I swung around, making the Bag swing with me. The Monk- surprisingly it wasn’t Angelo- that had been doing a crappy job of creeping up on me was slammed into the wall. He hit with a force so hard the wall dented.

Flora yelped loudly behind me. Rose made a loud noise of surprise.

“Told you. Heavier than it looks.” I told Rose as I put the Bag back. “Look out!”

Angelo had come up behind Rose. He grabbed her by the mouth, using his other hand to grab her waist.

I lowered the Bag, preparing it to fire. “Let her go, or I swing!”

Angelo only smirked at me as Rose screamed.

As I later figured out, the Monk I whacked hadn’t been knocked unconscious. He had grabbed the soldier’s gun to bash me on the back of the head.

 

==TTI==

 

I woke up in the cellar.

There was already a dark presence in here. My time as a fairy had made me more sensitive to dark magics.

‘Also being Queen of the Underworld helps sense when someone wants to kill you.’

They had put me inbetween the hostages and the werewolf cage. The Monks hadn’t liked my use of the Bag it seemed. Guess that was a good reason to keep using it. I’d have to take it back from whichever one of them stole it.

I sat up to stare at the wolf, assessing him.

“Terra!” Rose called out, barely above a whisper. “You alright? I saw ya go down-”

“Just a headache, Caroline.” I assured, focusing more on the wolf. My head was aching from where I’d been hit. It was a familiar ache, like the butt of a rifle. Being hit like this happened a couple times when I was a cop. The best thing to do was sit down until the room spinning stopped. “More interested in the new guy.”

The wolf’s eyes opened to reveal black pits.

“Yeah. You.” I lifted one hand to wave, using the other to keep myself balanced. “Nice to meet ya. Lovely cage, did you make it yourself?”

The wolf didn’t grin at me. His expression was blank as blank could be.

“Don’t enrage him.” One of the hostages warned me.

“Where are you from?” Rose asked, coming up behind me. “You’re not from Earth. What planet are you from?”

“Oh, intelligence.” The wolf purred.

“Where did you get your flesh cage?” I repeated my earlier question.

“More intelligence.” The wolf praised. His black eyes had no iris, but I knew he was focused on me. “This body? Ten miles away. A weakling, heartsick boy, stolen away at night by the brethren for my cultivation. I carved out his soul and sat in his heart.”

My inner hackles came up. “So is the boy dead?” I asked, struggling to keep myself from growling.

“His body no longer lives.” The wolf answered.

“The mind can live will the body is dead and used.” I snapped. “I’ve seen it before.” ‘I LIVED it before.’ The wolf raised a curious eyebrow at me. “So I’ll ask again. Is the boy dead?”

The wolf grinned to show off his teeth.

I copied him.

Rose was confused by entire line of questioning. “All right, so the body’s human. But what about you, the thing inside?”

“So far from home.” The wolf answered.

“If you want to get back home, we can help.” Rose

“Why would I leave this place? A world of industry, of workforce and warfare. I could turn it to such purpose.”

“I like this Earth.” She complimented as she twirled in front of a mirror. “The humans die and no one fights to save them. That would’ve made you cry, wouldn’t it? Now it’s my greatest strength.”

“How would you do that?” Rose asked.

“Victoria.” I answered with a growl.

The wolf chuckled- it sounded more like he exhaled repeatedly-.

“What? What does he want with Queen Victoria?” Rose asked me. She focused back on the wolf. “What do you want with her?”

“With one bite, I would pass into her blood, and then it begins. The Empire of the Wolf.” The wolf answered.

“You don’t get it, do you? It’s so fun to make another vampire! Don’t you remember his face when I made him kill his fiancee? Good times.” She beamed at the mirror to show off teeth.

He lunged at his cage. The hostages all jumped back. Rose too. I stayed where I was. My head was aching less which was good. It would be bad to push it right now.

“Many questions.” He mused. “Look. Inside your eyes.” He spoke directly to Rose. “You’ve seen it too.”

“Seen what?” Rose asked.

“Ignore him.” I told Rose.

“The Wolf. There is something of the Wolf about you.” The wolf ranted.

“I don't know what you mean.” Rose insisted.

“You burnt like the sun, but all I require is the moon.” The wolf taunted.

Protectiveness rising up in me, I sat up. The Doctor wouldn’t be happy if Rose had been hurt, not while I was conscious or could stop it. My vision went fuzzy when I got up too fast.

The doors to the cellar were thrown open. The moonlight came inside. The hostages and Rose jumped back towards the wall.

The wolf pressed his face against the side of the cage facing the light. “Moonlight.” He purred in rapture. He began taking off his jacket.

“Don’t you see it, little girl? The moon shines. When the moon shines, the bats gets to play.” She danced in front of the window, enjoying it’s highly reflective surface.

“Terra.” Rose called out. “Terra get back from it!”

Needlessly to say, I ignored her. “Pull on the chain. Get the humans free!” I ordered her. My attention stayed on the wolf.

“And I LOVE playing with my food.” She tapped the window pane lightly. It shook with a greater force, as if the mirror itself was recoiling from her touch.

‘TERRA!’ The Doctor shouted in my mind. It rang loudly. ‘TERRA! Where are you?! Answer!’

‘About time you called, Doc Brown.’ I chided. ‘Things are getting hairy down here.’

I showed him the image of the wolf, which was becoming more and more lupine the longer he sat in moonlight.

The Doctor’s mind sent waves of horror. ‘ Rose. Is Rose alright?’

‘She’s behind me.’

‘Why are you CLOSER to it?!’

‘Merciful Author! Will you stop shouting?! One of the Monks got me on the head, and it’s smarting.’

‘For God’s sake! Where are you?!’

‘Cellar.’ I answered.

The Doctor’s mind didn’t leave mine, it just took a step away. Clearly he wanted me to know he was coming. Right now it was more of a distraction.

The humans were shouting to pull off the chain. My vision was spinning less so I pushed myself to my feet.

The wolf was beginning to outgrow his metal cage.

“Rose!” I warned her.

“Almost got it!” She shouted back.

The wolf growled loudly.

The Doctor kicked the door open.

“Where the hell have you been?” Rose snapped at him.

The Doctor ran up to me, where I stood guard in front of the humans. He wrapped his arm around mine. “Oh, that’s beautiful.” He praised.

I was staring at the wolf. The moonlight caught something beyond the cage. With a start I realized it was a button on my Bag.

“My Bag!” I exclaimed.

“Come on, go. Get out!” Robert commanded to the hostages.

Unwrapping my arm from the Doctor’s I made a quick run for my Bag.

“Terra no!” The Doctor ran up to meet me.

Just when I had the Bag on my shoulder, the Wolf burst out from his cage. He howled loudly.

“Out!” The Doctor shouted. He rushed me towards the door, pushing me into the line of escaping humans. “Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out! Out!”

Once he thought I was out, the Doctor turned to gawk at the wolf some more.

“Doctor look-” Grunting in irritation, I ran to his side. Ducking between the humans was easier than one thought. I pushed him to the side, just before the top of the wolf’s cage came down.

‘Yeah. Fine. Fuck my mental health, right?’

 

==TTI==

 

‘The correct form of address is YOUR MAJESTY!

BANG

When the world was no longer black, a gunshot had just gone off.

(Or it sounded like a gunshot. It was actually the wolf breaking down his door.)

“Alex!” I cried out, jumping to my feet.

Rose caught me. “Terra- Terra! It’s alright. You’re alright.”

“Where’s Alex?” I demanded. My head was pounding something awful. “What’ve you done to her? If you’ve hurt her, I swear to the Author I’ll kill ya.”

“Terra, what’s gotten into you? Who’s Alex?” Rose asked, concerned.

It clicked to me. I’d used the wrong name. Alex had made me promise never to use that name in public. ‘My bad...’ “I meant Queen Victoria! I heard her shouting and then there was a gunshot-”

The Doctor ran in. He grabbed my arm, and Rose’s. He dragged us further into the room. I followed silently. The steward was preparing his men in fire-squad formation.

“Fire! Fire!” The steward ordered.

They started firing at the wolf. It recoiled in pain.

“No. NO!” I whined. “Bullets don’t stop werewolves, everyone knows that!” I scolded them.

The wolf ran off. They may not be able to kill, but enough to wound.

I pouted, coughing out some of the smoke that filled the room. “Poor thing.”

The Doctor turned to me. “Are you sympathizing with something that just tried to kill you?”

I shrugged, wincing as a sudden sharp pain shot up my skull.

The Doctor went into proper-doctor mode. He raised the screwdriver to my head, scanning me quickly.

“Men!” The Doctor called out to them as he finished scanning my head. “We should retreat upstairs. Come with me.”

I wanted to know what the sonic was telling him. Talking to him right now wasn’t great so I started up a mental message. More pain came lit up my skull.

“I’ll not retreat. The battle’s done.” The steward countered. “There’s no creature on God’s Earth that could survive such an assault.”

“I’m telling you, come upstairs!” The Doctor ordered.

“And I’m telling you, sir, I will sleep well tonight with that thing’s hide upon my wall.” He marched over to the door where the werewolf had been.

I pulled myself out of the Doctor’s grasp, yanking one of the guns away from the other men.

“It must have crawled away to di-”

When the wolf’s arms appeared, I shot them. The wolf howled in pain. It landed on the steward.

I winced- this time at my own stupidity.

“There’s nothing we can do!” The Doctor yelled. He grabbed my arm and Rose’s, dragging us away from the room.

The steward’s men all screamed in pain as we ran off.

 

==TTI==

 

We were checking the exits.

The Doctor grunted in annoyance when the front door wouldn’t budge.

“Doctor, Terra’s hurt.” Rose told him.

“I know Rose!” The Doctor snapped in irritation.

“I was hit on the head, I’m fine now!” I argued. Though the shouting made my head hurt.

The Doctor turned to give me a look. He began walking me down a hall. Rose hurried to follow us. “According to the sonic, you’ve got TWO wounds on your head. One of them was bleeding , it’s made your headband all clumpy. Not even Time Lord biology can heal you this fast. Not when it comes to your head.”

I frowned in annoyance. Did my hair look bad? Can the headband be saved?

“Your head is going to hurt for awhile.” The Doctor instructed. He focused on the top of my head, as if he could see my brain through it. We were still walking. “You won’t be able to communicate with the mental link just yet. Your mind needs rest.”

There was a loud howl that echoed in the house.

“She’s not gonna get any rest with this thing running about.” Rose remarked.

“We need to get to the TARDIS.” The Doctor told Rose. “Once we’re in the medbay, I’ll find something to fix your headache.”

“We need to find Victoria first.” I stressed.

“Well that was-”

“I’m not leaving without her!” Throwing my arm out of the Doctor’s hold, I ran off down the hall.

“Terra!” The Doctor and Rose called out.

I made it to Victoria before they did. She was talking to Robert.

“Good evenin’, Your Majesty.” I did a curtsy, being mindful with my head.

Apologies for the pun

I made sure to get my voice to the Scottish accent. “The front door’s busted. We’ll have to find alternative means of escape.” Not our first time doing that, though, eh?

Victoria accepted this.

The Doctor came up behind me. He glared down at me, while I smiled innocently.

“Sir Doctor, have you found another method of escape?” I made my Scottish accent stronger to remind the Doctor to use his.

He didn’t get the message. “We’ll have to leg it out the window.” He stated. He gestured with an arm down the hallway we’d just ran down.

So the five of us went down the hall. The Doctor showed them the window. I stood by the door, keeping the path clear for our escape.

“Excuse my manners, Ma’am, but I shall go first, the better to assist Her Majesty’s egress.”

“A noble sentiment, my Sir Walter Raleigh.”

“Yeah, any chance you could hurry up?” The Doctor prompted them.

I rolled my eyes. It was fun to listen to them open the window and be fired upon.

“I reckon the monkey boys want us to stay inside.” The Doctor stated the obvious.

“Do they know who I am?” Victoria asked, scandalized.

“It’s why they’re firing at us, Ma’am.” I interjected over my shoulder with the Scottish accent. “See, werewolves transmit their mutation through biting. The Monks have got it in their heads that you’re next for the bite.”

“Stop this talk. There can’t be an actual wolf .” Victoria chided me.

The wolf howled.

I grinned, boasting.

Something in Victoria’s face shook at my smirk.

“What do we do?” Rose panted.

The Doctor shrugged, staring down in the direction of the wolf’s howl. “We run.”

“Is that it? ” Rose asked

“You got any silver bullets?” The Doctor countered.

“Not on me, no.” Rose replied.

“In my Bag.” I answered, serious. “It’ll take too long to load.”

“I was being sarcastic! No more guns!” The Doctor shouted at me. He turned back to the rest of our party. “Your Majesty, as a Doctor, I recommend a vigorous jog. Good for the health. Come on!”

Then we were back to the running.

We ran up the stairs. The wolf was gaining on us. Despite myself running up the stairs faster, the Doctor kept me on pace with himself and Queen Victoria. The closer we got to the rendezvous point with Reynolds, the closer the wolf was to us.

Still. The point remained that we got their first.

For a total of two seconds I was happy about that.

BANG

The gunshot went off nearer to my head than should be allowed. I made a loud cry at the noise.

The Doctor came to my side. He put his fingers tips on my temple. I pushed his hands away. My own hands held my head. “Terra, are you alright?”

Victoria came up to my side. “Child, what ails you?”

“Alex my head hurts.” I whimpered in pain. The Doctor made a face of sympathy.

Victoria’s expression dropped to stoic shock. “What did you call me?”

I winced again. “Sorry- sorry. Meant to say Toria. Head hurts. Couldn’t remember. Sorry Alex.”

“It’s not possible.” Victoria breathed softly.

“I’ll take this position and hold it.” Reynolds stated as he reloaded his weapon. “You keep moving, for God’s sake! Your Majesty, I went to look for the property and it was taken. The chest was empty.”

The Queen was still in shock over what I had said, what conclusion she must’ve drawn. “I- I have it. It’s safe.”

“Then remove yourself, Ma’am.” Reynolds Doctor, you stand as Her Majesty’s Protector. And you, Sir Robert, you’re a traitor to the crown.” Reynolds locked his pistol.

“Bullets can’t stop it!” The Doctor hissed.

“They’ll buy you time. Now run!” Reynolds ordered, and I winced at his shout.

The Doctor huffed in annoyance. He wrapped his arms around me, Rose doing the same. They ran with me to the library.

 

==TTI==

 

The first thing the Doctor did was sit me down on the couch. Rose sat beside me. She put a hand on my forehead. I pushed her away, pushing myself against the back of the couch. The Doctor was clearly fighting the instinct to help Robert barricade the doors or help me.

As nice as their attention was, it was overwhelming. All the hugging and touching and the harsh memories of my past were too much to handle.

Sensing another pair of eyes on me, I looked to Victoria. She was staring at me like she would stare at the Doctor. She didn’t understand the information she had been given today. Yet I hoped she knew it was me. That I was Camilla. That I was really Camilla.

“Wait a minute. Shush, shush, wait a minute.” The Doctor held a finger to his lips. The humans paused with bated breath.

The wolf let out a sad howl.

A deep part of me wanted to howl back, thinking about the human the wolf had taken over for this whole thing. My two hearts ached with a pain almost physical that I couldn’t help him.

That might’ve just been the howl had made my headache worse.

The Doctor pressed his ear close to the door. “It’s stopped.” He informed us. There was a long pause. “It’s gone.”

“No.” I stated, sitting up on the couch.

“No, Terra, stay down.” Rose insisted.

“Other door.” I pointed my arm towards the second door.

The Doctor and Robert ran to it. They began barricading it. The wolf snarled in fury.

I grinned, slouching back against the couch.

Victoria was still focused on me.

“I don’t understand.” Rose mumbled. “What’s stopping it?” She asked the Doctor.

“Something inside this room.” The Doctor theorized. “What is it? Why can’t it get in?”

“Hey guys.” I stage whispered.

The Doctor and Rose turned to me.

“What?” They asked.

“Werewolf.” I breathed out in excitement.

The three of us giggled. The Doctor pulled Rose in for a relieved hug.

Mine came out as a bit more mad. “That’s not even the weirdest thing this week!”

‘It was seeing Victoria again’

“I know. You all right?” The Doctor asked Rose.

Rose flustered at his attention. ‘Would those two just kiss already? They’re making my headache worse.’ “I’m okay, yeah.”

“Good.” He moved to me on the couch. He pulled out the sonic. “Now, Terra, let’s have a talk about you.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “My feet still work.”

“That’s not why I helped you.”

“That’s not why I’m bringing it up.”

The Doctor winced. He moved his lower half away from kicking range.

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. It’s all my fault.” Robert spoke up. Victoria snapped over to him, breaking away from her laser focus on me. “I should have sent you away. I tried to suggest something was wrong. I thought you might notice. Did you think there was nothing strange about my household staff?

“Well, they were bald, athletic.” The Doctor remarked. “Your wife’s away, I just thought you were happy.”

“I’ll tell you what though, Ma’am, I bet you’re not amused now.”

I groaned. “Sorry about them, Toria. They’re idiots. Can’t take them anywhere, can I?”

“Why are you calling me by that title?” Victoria snapped.

My head turned to face her. Victoria didn’t cow at my intense focus. “You know why. You don’t believe it, but you know .”

She stood straighter. “What you say is not possible.”

“Toria, a werewolf just killed all the men in this house.” I countered. “Stop playing stupid. It’s never suited you.”

“The men?” The Doctor asked.

‘Shit. Didn’t mean to say that part.’ “Well I didn’t hear any women screaming, did you?”

The Doctor conceded that fact.

“It’s not a werewolf.” Victoria insisted. “What, exactly, I pray tell me, someone else , please. What exactly is that creature?”

“You’d call it a werewolf, but technically it’s a more of a lupine wavelength haemovariform.” The Doctor answered.

“And should I trust you, sir? You who change your voice so easily?” The Doctor winced. “What happened to your accents?”

“Oh right, sorry, that’s-” The Doctor floundered.

“Toria would you just listen to me for once in your life-”

“I’ll not have it. No, sir.” She glared at me. “Not you , not that thing, none of it. This is not my world.”

Then she turned away from me.

And that hurt worse than the headache.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was still scanning my head with the sonic.

I pushed his arm away. The Doctor let me.

“You said we needed the medbay. Scanning me with the sonic won’t do anything.” I reminded him, my voice low.

The Doctor sat himself on the other side of the couch. Rose was sitting beside him.

“You know Queen Victoria?” Rose finally brought up the elephant in the room.

“Once.” I admitted after a pause.

“You never said!”

“Yeah, because I had a different face .” I reminded her, my voice angrier than I meant it to be.

Rose wilted. “Right.”

“Yeah.” I pushed myself deeper against the couch cushions.

The Doctor tried to put a hand on my arm. I pulled it away.

Victoria was glaring coldly at us from her lounge chair.

It stung.

While the Doctor was trying to figure out how to get through to me, he looked above my head. The mistletoe caught his eye. It was a relief when he got off the couch.

“Mistletoe. Sir Robert, did you father put that there?” The Doctor asked him.

Robert made of disinterested hum. “I don’t know. I suppose.”

“On the other door, too. No, a carving wouldn’t be enough. I wonder.” He climbed the barricade, licking the door.

Rose made a face.

“Viscum album, the oil of the mistletoe. It’s been worked into the wood like a varnish.” The Doctor realized. He beamed at Robert. “How clever was your dad? I love him. Powerful stuff, mistletoe. Bursting with lectins and viscotoxins.”

“And the wolf’s allergic to it?” Rose asked.

“I’d say it was conditioning.” I remarked. Rose turned to me. “Carolina, they put him in a cage. You saw him, he busted out in five minutes. They made him believe that the cage could contain him until moonrise. They must’ve made him believe other things affected him too.”

“Exactly right.” The Doctor praised me.

“Nevertheless, that creature won’t give up, Doctor, and we still don’t possess an actual weapon.” Robert countered. Ever the Debbie Downer he was.

“Oh, your father got all the brains, didn’t he?” The Doctor grimaced.

I snorted, ignoring the slight pain.

‘Now you’ve taken snorting away from me? Monster.’

You’re talking about your own brain.

‘Well that’s nothing new.’

“Being rude again.” Rose chided him.

“Good. I meant that one.” The Doctor You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books! Best weapons in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have.” He pulled a book off the shelf and tossed it to Rose. “Arm yourself.”

“I’ll take one-”

“No you won’t.” The Doctor tossed a book into his own hands. “Way your head is? I’m not risking anything.”

“It’s just a book .” I countered.

The Doctor gave me a look.

“You’re not even a proper doctor.” I argued, knowing that he was going to be stubborn about this.

The Doctor wasn’t cowed.

I rolled my eyes, turning on the couch so I wasn’t facing him. Of course that left me open to seeing Victoria staring at me with a neutral face.

 

==TTI==

 

It was a few minutes later when Victoria decided to get her own answers. The others were all nose deep in books, but I knew they were listening.

“You do not make any sense.” Victoria commented.

“I never did, Alex.” My voice was tired but I would go to my grave being a smartass. “It’s taken you a hundred and twelve years, but you’ve finally got there. You understand.”

Victoria didn’t soften.

Dammit, she was always so good at breaking me. “I’m a time traveler.” I admitted. “You remember that I told you that I came from a house you could never see?”

Victoria kept quiet, though I could see her confirmation in her eyes.

“That’s because the house was in 200...7? I’m pretty sure it was 2007.” From then on, it was just a info-dump free for all. “I’d just wanted to meet you. There was a book about you, the great Queen Victoria. As an American, hearing about British royalty was kinda lame. It was just...you were more interesting. So I...found a way to you. Didn’t matter that I had to hide as a servant, or that I could never really talk to you except to look up at the stars. It was enough.”

“Listen here, you Miss Johnson, you are not Camilla-” Victoria spoke sternly.

“I told you Orion has a belt because he wanted an hourglass figure.” I cut her off. My statement came from the depths of my shattered hearts, mourning a friendship that had been so pure and full of childlike innocence before my early parting and her harsh words tainted it.

Victoria tensed. It was different than the other times today. This time it was actual shock.

She was starting to believe.

“I told you the myths of every religion I knew, because we kept hearing things in the bushes and I wanted to play a guessing game of what creature it was. You kept guessing tree nymph even though I told you that’s not how tree nymphs work then you got annoyed because I kept guessing-”

“Werewolf.” Victoria recalled. “Yes. Those were Camil-” She paused.

I paused with her.

The other humans weren’t even pretending to read the books anymore.

Victoria was stuck on the word she had been saying.

I waited for her to decide.

...are ...your favorite.”

And my hearts fucking burst .

“Yeah. Yeah they are.” The beaming smile on my face wasn’t stopped by any headache or person. It couldn’t. “Funny that it was the thing that brought me back. Or maybe I’m just lucky.”

Victoria smiled, though she was obviously shaken by what she had just learned. Even more so by her barely accepting it. “You said ‘ one hundred and twelve years’ .”

“Time traveler.” I reminded.

“Your face...it was so different.”

“... alien time traveler...who can change her face.” Was my dragged out answer.

Victoria hummed.

“Yeah. Always did say I was weirder than you could handle, Alex.”

“You were never one to do things by halves.” Victoria teased.

Teased . Honest to the Storyline teased !

I couldn’t help it. I laughed. She did too.

As I was laughing, my eyes landed on the people with books. They were all obviously trying to hide the fact that they’d been listening.

“Biology, zoology. There might be something on wolves in here-”

“Hold on, what about this? A book on mistletoe.”

“A book on magic.”

“Some form of explosive.”

“Hmm, that’s the sort of thing.”

“Wolf’s bane, what about that?”

The Doctor, though, actually found something. He hopped down from the ladder he was on. He showed off the journal. “Look what your old dad found. Something fell to Earth.”

“A spaceship?” Rose asked.

“A shooting star.” Robert corrected. He read off the passage. “ In the year of our Lord 1540, under the reign of King James the Fifth, an almighty fire did burn in the pit. That’s the Glen of Saint Catherine just by the monastery.”

“But that’s over three hundred years ago. What’s it been waiting for?” Rose asked.

“Maybe just a single cell survived.” The Doctor mused. “Adapting slowly down the generations, it survived through the humans, host after host after host.”

“But why does it want the throne?” Robert asked.

“That’s what it wants. It said so.” Rose explained. “The, the Empire of the Wolf.”

“Imagine it. The Victorian Age accelerated.” The Doctor pondered. “Starships and missiles fueled by coal and driven by steam, leaving history devastated in its wake-”

“Sir Robert. If I am to die he-” Victoria began.

“Toria don’t joke-” I warned her.

“I would destroy myself rather than let that creature infect me.” Victoria chided me. “But that’s no matter. I ask only that you find some place of safekeeping for something far older and more precious than myself.”

“Hardly the time to worry about your valuables.” The Doctor remarked.

“Thank you for your opinion, but there is nothing more valuable than this.” Victoria countered. She raised up the diamond for them to see.

“Is that the Koh-I-Noor?” Rose gawked.

“Oh, yes. The greatest diamond in the world.” The Doctor answered.

The two of them walked up to it. I walked up to Victoria’s side.

“Given to me as the spoils of war. Perhaps its legend is now coming true. It is said that whoever owns it must surely die.” Victoria mused.

“Toria, this thing is not killing you as long as I’m on this earth.” I promised her. With hesitation, my hand rested on her wrist.

“Well, that’s true of anything if you own it long enough. Can I?” The Doctor reached for the diamond. Victoria let him have it. I let go of her wrist. “That is so beautiful.”

“How much is that worth?” Rose asked, wide eyed staring at it.

“They say the wages of the entire planet for a whole week.” The Doctor answered.

I shrugged.

“Good job my mum’s not here.” Rose snorted. Lucky, she can snort and not hurt her head. “She’d be fighting the wolf off with her bare hands for that thing.”

“And she’d win.” The Doctor agreed. “Terra, you’ve been quiet.”

“It’s just...eh.”

The Doctor and Rose dropped their jaws at me.

“Did you just say ‘eh’ to the most valuable jewel on Earth?” The Doctor asked.

I shrugged. “I’ve seen bigger.” ‘Pretty much the one good thing to come from the Diamond Castle.’

The Doctor and Rose looked offended on behalf of the human race. Victoria was rolling her eyes in fond amusement.

“You never did have a taste for jewels.” Victoria recalled. “What was it you called them? Glorified rocks?”

“Glorified skipping stones.” I corrected her, nodding my head to tell her my opinion hadn’t changed.

“Where is the wolf? I don’t trust this silence.” Robert remarked.

“Dancing on the ceiling.” I sang, suddenly. Then I blinked. “Why did I just do that?”

“Why do you travel with it?” The Doctor asked Victoria.

“My annual pilgrimage. I’m taking it to Helier and Carew, the Royal Jewellers at Hazelhead. The stone needs recutting.” Victoria answered.

“Oh, but it’s perfect.” Rose remarked.

“My late husband never thought so.” Victoria explained.

“Now, there’s a fact. Prince Albert kept on having the Koh-I-Noor cut down. It used to be forty percent bigger than this.” The Doctor recounted to Rose and I. “But he was never happy. Kept on cutting and cutting.”

“He always said the shine was not quite right. But he died with it still unfinished.” Victoria stared down at the diamond in her hands.

Taking that as an idea, I elbowed the Doctor. He made a noise of protest.

“Don’t elbow me when I’m hold the Koh-I-Noor.”

“Doctor, a telescope that doesn’t go out .” I reminded him.

The Doctor’s eyes lit up. “Unfinished. Oh, yes.” He tossed the diamond to Victoria, who deftly caught it. “There’s a lot of unfinished business in this house. His father’s research, and your husband, Ma’am, he came here and he sought the perfect diamond.” He ran his hands through his hair, ruffling it. I reached hand up to my own head, wincing when I touched my definitely ruined headband. “All these separate things, they’re not separate at all, they’re connected. Oh, Terra you bloody genius . What if this house-” He turned to Victoria. “It’s a trap for you. Is that right, Ma’am?”

“Obviously.” Victoria scoffed. She no doubt thought the Doctor was mad.

“At least, that’s what the wolf intended.” The Doctor was starting to beam. “But, what if there’s a trap inside the trap?”

Victoria huffed. She turned to me. “Camilla, your friend has gone mad.”

Ah I love being right.

“Doc Brown. The punchline?” I prompted.

“What if his father and your husband weren’t just telling each other stories. They dared to imagine all this was true, and they planned against it, laying the real trap not for you but for the wolf.” The Doctor guessed.

The glass above our heads creaked.

“You mean that wolf, right?”

“That wolf there, yeah.”

Crack

“Back to running?”

“Never get anything past you, Terra!”

We’d barely made it down the second hallway before the wolf was upon us.

Isobel appeared, tossing the bowl of liquid mistletoe at the wolf. It had been about to kill Rose so we were grateful.

“Told ya the girls were okay!” I boasted.

“Good shot.” The Doctor praised them.

“It was mistletoe.” Flora answered.

“Isobel!” Robert kissed his wife.

I grimaced, which made Victoria smile. “Still not one for romance?”

“They’re kissing right next to my ear. I’m allowed to feel weird about that.” I excused.

They eventually stopped for air. “Now, get back downstairs.” Robert instructed.

“Keep yourself safe.” Isobel instructed right back.

Robert nodded his head. Great, now I gotta help this idiot keep his promise to his wife. “Now go.”

“Girls, come with me. Down the back stairs, back to the kitchens. Quickly!” Isobel commanded her team.

“Come on!” The Doctor commanded the rest.

“The observatory’s this way.” Robert told him.

‘This way’ included a fuck ton of stairs.

 

==TTI==

 

Somehow we outran the wolf again.

“No mistletoe in these doors because your father wanted the wolf to get inside.” The Doctor explained in panicked excitement. “I just need time. Is there any way of barricading this?”

“Just do your work and I’ll defend it.” Robert told us.

“If we could bind them shut with rope or something.” The Doctor tried again.

“I said I’d find you time, Sir. Now get inside.” Robert requested.

“Oh my Author, you’re an idiot.” I walked past Robert.

In rapid movements, I grabbed the large candelabra. Tilting it I put out all the flames. Tilting further made all the candles fall out. With that done I used the stick of it to knock off the window curtains. I pushed Robert inside the observatory.

The curtain was shoved in Robert’s hands. The candelabra I used to jam the door. It was best to jam it under the door hinges. Victorian London didn’t have a lot of the usual hinges but I made do.

“Wrap it around the handles.” I instructed him. Robert was frozen. “Anytime you’d like. Not like there’s a rush or anything.”

Robert got the message. He moved to work the curtain around the handles of the door.

The Doctor was beaming at me when I turned back to him.

“What?” I asked, feeling my paranoia come back at the look on his face.

The Doctor was just grinning at me like I’d cured all the diseases (again). “Clever girl.”

“I’m not clever, y’all’re just stupid.” I chided.

The Doctor didn’t put away his beaming smile. It just enhanced itself to a laughing one.

“Your Majesty, the diamond.” The Doctor prompted.

“For what purpose?” Victoria asked him

“The purpose it was designed for.” The Doctor answered.

She glanced at me. I nodded at her. “He’s insane but so was I.”

That was all the assurance she needed (apparently).

The Doctor ran over to the turbine.

“Rose, Robert!” The Doctor called them over.

They rushed to it. I moved Victoria to the front of the telescope, holding her arm to pull her away.

The wolf snarled loudly. It was on our floor.

“Lift it. Come on.” The Doctor told the humans.

“Is this the right time for stargazing?” Rose snarked.

“Yes it is.” The Doctor stated.

Victoria raised her cross.

“Still into crosses, I see.” I remarked to lift her spirits.

“Still praying to your Storyline.” Victoria countered. “Why do you call it that?”

“To be honest, I don’t really know.” I shrugged. “Heard somewhere that when you die, you have to repeat everything you ever said when you were alive. I always imagined my words were all written by God in this big book, like a giant story all about me.” I grinned at Victoria. “Bet my story’s just a big old mess right now.”

The wolf pounded on the door.

Victoria and I jumped.

“You said this thing doesn’t work.” Robert reminded the Doctor.

“It doesn’t work as a telescope because that’s not what it is.” The Doctor explained. “Terra was right. The telescope doesn’t let anyone see out, which means it was built let things in, like light. It’s a light chamber. It magnifies the light rays like a weapon. We’ve just got to power it up.”

“It won’t work. There’s no electricity.” Rose argued just as the telescope began to do it’s true work. I could feel the higher powered moonlight on my back. “Moonlight. But the wolf needs moonlight. It’s made by moonlight.”

“You’re seventy percent water but you can still drown.” The Doctor replied. “Come on! Come on!”

The door, which hadn’t been barricaded to keep him out for long, busted open. The wolf wasn’t amused by our attempts at holding it off.

The wolf prepared to lunge.

It would have too, if the Doctor hadn’t thrown the diamond on the floor in the path of the light.

The wolf was flung back by the light.

“Don’t do it!” I shouted at the wolf. “Stop him!”

The wolf paused in his rampage. It turned it’s attention to me. The eyes were still black, though I saw some gray at the dges.

“I know you’re in there!” I called out the boy the wolf had stolen. “They didn’t see but I do! Hold him back!”

The Doctor activated the telescope. The light shined down on the wolf. He howled in pain.

“Hold him!” I repeated.

“Terra, I’m doing my best-” The Doctor snapped.

“Not you, you half wit!” I growled at him. “I’m talking to him !” My arm waved to the wolf, which was twitching in the heavy moonlight. “I see you. I don’t know your name but I see you fighting him. Just a little longer, please! You’ve got to hold him back only a little longer!”

The wolf lifted up into the air. As soon as it reached it’s peak, it shifted back to human.

His eyes had the whites. The iris and pupil were all black.

I beamed at him.

The human looked relieved now.

“Make it brighter.” He begged me. “Let me go.”

I gave him his last request.

The light shined brighter. He changed back to the wolf, screaming it’s pain to the heavens while the human’s relieved laugh came aside it. The wolf

“Terra.” The Doctor put a hand on my shoulder. “How did-How did you know he could hold it back?”

“I saw the signs.” Was my reply. Not letting him say more, I went over to Victoria. “Alex, are you alright?”

Victoria “No, it’s, it’s a cut, that’s all.”

I raised my brow, showing her I didn’t believe her. She was a shite liar. “If you say.”

“It was a splinter of wood when the door came apart. It’s nothing.” Victoria assured.

“I didn’t say anything.” I pointed out to her.

“It is nothing.” She insisted.

 

==TTI==

 

When dawn broke, the soldiers woke up to find things had gone very wrong while they napped.

Victoria told us to come into a parlor room before we were to leave. She was talking to the others about them.

“I have heard much of my long thought lost friend.” Victoria nodded her head to me. “I would hear of her traveling companions.”

Rose and I grinned at her term.

“Doctor. Where do you reside?” Victoria asked him.

“The TARDIS.” The Doctor answered. Victoria made a face of confusion. “It’s a- forget it.”

“And you, Miss Tyler?”

“Umm. Powell Estates?” Rose answered hesitantly.

Victoria turned to me. “And you, Camilla Johnson? Where have you called home?”

“Kaua’i.” The word came out without hesitation. The three gave me confused looks. “Uh. It’s...it’s one of the islands in Hawai’i. I...I stayed there, before you. It’s the longest I’ve stayed anywhere. That’s...that’s the only home I know. And it’s Terra Johnson now, Toria. I stopped being Camilla ages ago.”

“You changed your face and your name?” Victoria remarked.

“I change my name a lot. The face thing is...less common.” I admitted.

Victoria bowed her head. “Understood.” She glanced to the Doctor and Rose. “Would you give me a moment alone with Miss Johnson?”

The two stepped far enough away.

“Is this goodbye?” Victoria asked.

“If you want it to be.” I replied, hoping she wouldn’t.

“You’re leaving.”

“For now. I could come back, anytime.” The time pun was an accident, don’t judge me.

Victoria pursed her lips. “Will your face have changed again?”

“Maybe. I can’t predict the future, Victoria, I just work there.” I answered. “I may not even go by ‘Terra’ when I see you again.”

Despite how much she didn’t like that answer, Victoria accepted it. “You work in mysterious ways, Terra Johnson. I will not question them. An old friend once told me belief means asking questions, while being open to the answers. Especially if the answers are not to your liking.”

I grinned, leaning over to call over to the Doctor and Rose. “You guys I gave Queen Victoria a life philosophy. Beat that .”

They laughed.

“One little thing, before we start.” I glanced over at those two, making sure they couldn’t hear. “You remember I always used to make bets?”

“Yes. It was a pastime I long hoped you grew out of.” Victoria chided though her eyes sparkled.

“Not a chance. See, they made a bet that Rose could get you to say you ‘weren’t amused’ . Some British thing, I don’t completely understand it.” I explained quickly.

“And if I do?” Victoria asked.

“Then I’ll be so happy I’ll have to come back and tell you about it.” I offered.

“I accept your terms.” She held out her hand.

I shook it.

Another reason Victoria was great: she didn’t give me a hug whenever I left her for the night.

She called the Doctor and Rose back over. She told the three of us to lower ourselves to our knees.

“By the power invested in me by the Church and the State, I dub thee Sir Doctor of TARDIS.” Victoria announced. The Doctor beamed. “By the power invested in me by the Church and the State, I dub thee Dame Rose of the Powell Estate.” Rose was grinning so wide I thought her face would break. “By the power invested in me by the Church and the State.” Alex smirked. “I dub thee Lady Terra, of Kaua’i.”

It warmed my heart to hear my old home being honored.

“You may stand.” Victoria requested.

“Many thanks, Ma’am.” The Doctor replied.

“Thanks. They’re never going to believe this back home.” Rose cheered to us.

“If they heard what she just said, I think Carl would keel over.” I chuckled, already thinking about the text I would send Darcy about this.

“Your Majesty, you said last night about receiving no message from the great beyond. I think your husband cut that diamond to save your life.” The Doctor explained. “He’s protecting you even now, Ma’am, from beyond the grave.”

“Indeed. It seems many ghosts have come back to me last night.” Victoria remarked. Her eyes hardened. “Then you may think on this also. That I am not amused.”

“Yes!” Rose cheered.

I clapped my hands, happy for her.

The Doctor was groaning to the ceiling.

“Not remotely amused. And henceforth I banish you.” Victoria went on, ignoring our conversation.

“I’m sorry?” The Doctor blinked.

“I rewarded you, Sir Doctor, and now you are exiled from this empire, never to return.” Victoria clarified. The Queen turned to me. “And you, I trust your judgement, Lady Terra, I always have. You are one of my oldest friends, and I will always treasure your friendship.”

“Does that mean I’m banished too, because I would rather not be.” I told her.

Victoria nostrils flared, it that way I remembered her doing when we were friends. “No. You are not banished. It would be hard for you to return here.” Victoria looked back to the Doctor. “I don’t know what you are, the three of you, or where you’re from, but I know that you consort with stars and magic and think it fun. But your world is steeped in terror and blasphemy and death, and I will not allow it. You will leave this shores and you will reflect, I hope, on how you came to stray so far from all that is good, and how much longer you will survive this terrible life. I hope Camilla will be the one to teach that to you. Now leave my world, and never return.”

 

==TTI==

 

“Can we go to the Boston Harbor?” I asked the Doctor.

He insisted I walked with him as we approached the TARDIS. Apparently he didn’t trust me to walk on the grass with my as-of-yet unhealed head injuries.

“Why would you want to do that?” The Doctor asked.

“Wouldn’t it be cathartic? I mean, the Queen of England banished you. Let’s go to the Boston Harbor and push tea in the ocean.”

Rose laughed out loud. “I’m all for it! It’s Terra’s turn to pick anyhow.”

“Yeah! Tea rebellion!” I threw my hand to the sky, proud.

The Doctor rolled his eyes in amusement at our antics. “We’ll see about that when we get you checked out.”

I groaned in annoyance.

“No, but the funny thing is, Queen Victoria did actually suffer a mutation of the blood.” The Doctor remarked. “It’s historical record. She was haemophiliac. They used to call it the Royal Disease. But it’s always been a mystery because she didn’t inherit it. Her mum didn’t have it, her dad didn’t have it. It came from nowhere.”

“What, and you’re saying that’s a wolf bite?” Rose asked.

“Nu-uh. No way. Shut up.” I warned him.

“Well, maybe haemophilia is just a Victorian euphemism.” The Doctor teased me.

“For werewolf?” Rose asked, skeptical.

The Doctor “Could be.” The Doctor shrugged.

“Don’t say it.”

“Queen Victoria’s a werewolf?” Rose asked

“Could be. And her children had the Royal Disease. Maybe she gave them a quick nip.” The Doctor teased further.

“So, the Royal Family are werewolves?” Rose asked.

“As the American, I think I’m the only one that can make these jokes!” I told the Doctor who only laughed. “And I won’t! That’s why I’m not the one banished.”

“You’re not gonna let that go, are you?” The Doctor asked. “As for the werewolf thing, well, maybe not yet. I mean, a single wolf cell could take a hundred years to mature. Might be ready by, oh, early 21st century?”

“Nah, that’s just ridiculous!” Rose laughed. “Mind you, Princess Anne.”

“Who?” I asked.

The British people laughed at me

“I’ll say no more.” The Doctor rose his nose at me.

“You’re not playing fair!”

“And if you think about it, they’re very private. They plan everything in advance. They could schedule themselves around the moon. We’d never know.” Rose theorized. “And they like hunting!”

We approached the TARDIS. I pulled myself away from the Doctor so I could use my key to open the doors.

“They love blood sports. Oh my God, they’re werewolves!”

“Oh that is not fair !” Victoria got to be a werewolf before I did.

I suppose that would be her greatest vengeance for mine leaving and having extraordinary powers.

 

Chapter Text

Today had been the worst school day for Nina Cameron.

She’d come to school feeling off. The nuns hadn’t believed Nina when she’d said she was sick. They sent her to school anyway.

They ran her temperature (it was good), they checked her tummy (again, she was good), and when she complained about her head the nuns tsked at her. So what if Nina had faked being sick two weeks ago? She was actually sick now!

Her English teacher had noticed Nina holding her head. He knew she was sick. He was one of the new teachers. Nina liked the new teachers better than the older ones. Those teachers were old and the other English teacher- Mrs Brisa- didn’t like kids.

He’d sent Nina to the nurse. Nina knew she was a new nurse. The nurses Nina didn’t really like. They had old faces and were grouchy. The nurse had smelled Nina’s head, checked her file, then sent her to the Principal.

Did the nurse think Nina as faking too? Why did the English teacher notice she was sick and not the nurse?

Nina had a lot of questions in her head as she sat by the door to the principal’s office. If anything, the questions made her head hurt more .

The principal walked up to his office. Nina shuffled in her seat, nervous.

“What do you want?” The principal asked sternly.

Nina worried her lip under her teeth before answering. “The nurse sent me, sir. I was in English and I got a headache.” Nina answered.

It was the truth. Just with bits missing. Like how she was really sick this time. Her head was aching worse as she thought.

“Then don’t bother me, go home.” The principal scolded. He went to unlock his door.

Nina wilted. “I can’t.”

The principal paused, his key in the lock. “Why, is your mother at work?”

“I live in Ambrose Hall. The children’s home.” Nina answered, feeling smaller than ever.

The principal slowly moved to stand up straight.

“No parents. No one to miss you.” The principal mused. Nina looked away from him, not wanting him to see her fighting back tears. He didn’t need to remind her she had nobody. “I see why the nurse sent you. You poor child. Poor thin , child. Come inside.”

He opened the door to his office.

Nina got up from her chair. She wasn’t looking at the principal, so she wasn’t seeing his too wide grin.

“It’s nearly time for-”

“Nina!” A young woman shouted from down the hall. The principal turned to it, recognizing it as a human adult. Nina was curious to why someone would be calling for her. “Nina!”

Nina looked to the woman calling her. She was tall, with long black hair, a fancy looking leather outfit, and Nina’s backpack over her shoulder.

The black haired woman relaxed at the sight of her. “Oh there you are, sweetpea . It’s time to go home now.”

“Who are you?” The principal asked, sternly.

“Nina’s aunt.” The woman answered. Her voice was American. Nina didn’t know anyone from the America’s. “Her mum adopted her this morning, see?” She pulled a flap of paper out of her back pocket. She held it up for the principal.

‘Adopted ?’ Nina thought with hope. ‘ I’ve been adopted?’

He grabbed it out of the strange woman’s hand. Nina was still wondering how the woman had her backpack.

“See? Adopted. Properly adopted.” The woman stated. “I’ve come to take her home now.”

The principal was glaring at the paper. Nina reached up for the paper to see it. The principal moved it away. He stopped glaring at the paper, deciding to focus on the woman.

“Why have you come instead of her mother?”

The woman paused just long enough for you to think she didn’t know. “Because her new mom is busy with the paperwork, and getting Nina’s stuff from...Amb...rose Hall.” She named the home as if she only barely remembered it. “She sent me to get Nina.”

The principal didn’t look convinced. Nina snatched the paper from his hand, looking at the paper.

This is to certify that Nina Cameron, it read in the super official font that Nina had seen in disciplinary form all her life. Has been formally adopted by Guardian(s): T. S. Stardust & D. S. Changeling on this day of our Lord.

Signed by: TS Stardust & DS Changeling

The proof was staring Nina right in the face. She still couldn’t believe it.

She’d been adopted.

Adopted .

“So I’ll be taking Nina home.” The woman took the paper back from Nina. “She’s moving to a new school. Go get her records, would ya?”

The principal was still glaring at the woman (who Nina realized in a rush of joy was her aunt now) while going back to his office.

Her new aunt sighed in relief only when the door closed. “ Author , I love psychic paper.” The woman tucked the paper back in her back pocket. “Sorry kid. Your new mom wouldn’t let me bring the actual form here. She had it laminated and framed, the weirdo.”

“My new mum?” Nina repeated her. “I’ve got a new mum?”

The woman scoffed. “ Duh .” She tossed Nina her backpack. She waited for Nina to throw it on before grabbing the handle. The woman dragged Nina away from the office.

Nina looked at her new aunt in concern. “What’s going on? Where are you taking me?”

“Kid, the less you know right now, the better.” Her aunt instructed. “We’re going to Leadworth. Where else would you live?”

“But why am I moving there?” Nina asked. While London wasn’t her favorite city, it was the only home Nina’s ever known.

“You’re really being adopted, kid. Quit complaining!”

Nina didn’t ask any more questions.

 

==TTI==



It had been three days since we landed in this time period. Already, I was thinking that the Krillitane could have this rubbish universe.

“Rose, I’m gonna kill your boyfriend.” I growled.

“Why are ya gonna do that, exactly?” Rose asked, condescendingly.

“He put me in this stupid school. I hated school the first time around.” I explained while stabbing my food with a fork. “I feel like a little kid.”

“You are a kid.” The Doctor snarked.

“Say that again, and you’ll die with her boyfriend.” I growled.

He gave me a look that said ‘try it’ . “You are a little kid.”

“That’s it. I’m gonna kill you, then I’ll kill every regeneration you have left.” I decreed. ‘That’s, what, two more? Easily done. I can easily kill them both. I won’t be happy otherwise.’

I grabbed my fork, making a jab for his hand. He laughed when he pulled it away in time. “Ha! Too fast for you-”

But he forgot I had two hands. The other hand held an uncapped pen. The pen jabbed his leg. He let out a girlish squeak. It got a laugh from Rose. The Doctor checked his thigh, seeing the pen next to it, he looked at me with shock. I raised my chin at him, proudly puffing out my chest.

I picked the pen back up, sliding it in my pocket. “Don’t call me a kid.”

It’s been a terrible few days. I was too old to be one of the students (the only saving grace). What I was the perfect age for was someone serving community service by cleaning off the graffiti outside. This meant I worked outside. Without air conditioning .

The Doctor is a monster . He needs to be stopped.

Rose was laughing at the look on the Doctor’s face. He scrunched up his face in annoyance at us both, making us both laugh.

The Doctor got some vengeance though. “Sorry, could you just? There’s a bit of gravy. No, no, just, just there.” He prompted Rose. “Oh, is that paint on your cheek?” He teased me.

“Is that a handprint on your’s?” I warned. My slapping hand raised up. The Doctor’s eyes widened when he saw it. “It’s not Jackie’s, but it’ll do for a pinch. I’m owed nine .”

The Doctor grimaced again. “I think it should be void. You didn’t say we were betting slaps .”

“Never said we were betting money. Not my fault you didn’t ask.” Was my counter.

“Two days, we’ve been here.” Rose complained to him.

“And a whole twenty-one hours before coming to this building, where you could’ve made any kind of backstory for me besides this one.

“Blame her boyfriend.” The Doctor defended. “He’s the one who put us onto this. And he was right. Boy in class this morning, got a knowledge way beyond planet Earth.”

“You eating those chips?” Rose asked. She sat down near him. I moved away from them in my seat so I could ignore the heart(s) eyes.

“Yeah, they’re a bit different.” The Doctor remarked.

“Yeah. Can’t describe it.” I answered honestly.

“I think they’re gorgeous. Wish I had school dinners like this.” Rose remarked. She popped a fry in her mouth.

“I think I went to a school that served fries.” Middleton had the weird lunches, right? Or was that my high school in Lilo & Stitch ? Honestly they were so close together I can’t remember.

“Ugh. You utter heathen.” The Doctor complained. “They’re called chips . Not fries.”

I let out a dry snort. “Hey, might as well go all the way on the ‘ heathen’ train.”

“At least the kids are more behaved than you.” The Doctor remarked in delight. I kicked his shin. “Ow!”

Rose laughed again.

“I thought the kids would be more like her .” The Doctor pointed a thumb at me. “Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs.” The Doctor spoke rapidly now, to get a laugh out of Rose. My hand was warming up. “Happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs and ringtones. Huh? Huh? Oh, yeah. Don’t tell me I don’t fit in.”

‘You fit in about as much as I do.’

The Head dinner lady, Jackson, came up. Or I think her name was Jackson. I’ll have to go over my notes later to double check. “You are not permitted to leave your station during a sitting.” The dinner lady scolded Rose.

Rose got up from her seat. “I was just talking to this teacher and delinquent.” She pointed at us.

“Hello.”

“Aloha.”

“They don’t like the chips.” Rose whispered to the dinner lady whose name I’ve forgotten.

Said dinner lady narrowed her eyes at the Doctor and myself. “The menu has been specifically designed by the headmaster to improve concentration and performance .” She informed. The same way you informed a neighbor why their dog should stop pooping on your lawn.  “Now, get back to work.” She told Rose.

With a huff, Rose did. “See? This is me. Dinner lady.”

“I’ll have the crumble.” The Doctor requested.

“I’m so going to kill you.”

“I’ll help.” I volunteered. “My vote is murder by... a happy slapping hoodie .”

The Doctor made a choked noise.

“Or death by French fry . I’m not picky.”

He gasped, laughing now.

“Doc Brown, are you actually about to die?”

He kept laughing.

“I’m done with you.” I deadpanned.

So I got my stuff together. As I walked over to dump my tray, I saw one of the Krillitane teachers. He was staring over at the children’s table.

Let’s just say, when I saw that smile as an FBI agent? The teacher would be dead before he hit the ground.

I braced myself. Just one day, and they’d all be dead and the children would be safe.

 

==TTI==

 

Nina has been saved.

It was a note I found on the side of the school.

The building was surprisingly clean for a school. Not much graffiti to clean, if I had an actual team. It was just me cleaning. The Doctor’s gonna regret doing this to me.

The note was low to the ground. Who sent it was obvious, as it was painted in a familiar shade of purple. A huge weight that I didn’t know was there lifted off my shoulders.

I was scrubbing it off. The paint was new, easy to scrub off. The paint underneath was being more bothersome. With a huff, I added more paint remover to the washcloth they’d given me. That’s right. A washcloth. Finch was an asshole .

Giving up, I pulled my phone out. My first thought was to call Darcy, get word on Nina and Darcy’s new group. Except...my fingers brought me to Captain Jack’s contact ID.

As my thumb hovered over the call button, I heard someone coming up behind me.

“Hey, aren’t you a little old to be at this school?” An unfamiliar voice asked.

Looking over my shoulder, I spotted a middle-aged woman standing behind me. She was wearing a gray button-up, black vest, black pants, and a tan overcoat. Her face was hard to place. She had caramel blonde hair, light brown eyes, and

“Yes. Yes I am. So are you.” I defended.

The woman smiled. Though it was more like a knowing smirk. “Yeah. Kinda past the age limit. Still doesn’t explain why a teenager’s clearing paint off a wall instead of in school?”

“Was suspended for tagging. They gave me community service here.” Was my answer.

“An American?” The woman added as a surprise. Which I took as insulting, since she was American too.

“Exchange student.” I answered. “What about you? You’re kinda making it hard to be lazy.” I asked, eager to get rid of this woman. My cover as a delinquent needed more time.

The woman’s smile turned tense. She fiddled with her purse strap. “An old friend and I are doing a special report on this school.”

“Oh?” That sounded a lot like what Sarah Jane was doing. Except...Sarah Jane wasn’t working with anyone.

She was making it different.

She was doing what I did .

What the fuck?

What the fuck?!

As I had my silent freakout, I realized she was still staring at me. More interested in my cover as a teen, then my cover as a Time Lady, I said the first thing that came to mind. “Uh...tell them the walls are ugly, and they should get more people to clean them.”

The woman laughed. “Can I quote you on that?”

“Yeah.”

“What was the name, so I don’t forget?”

“Terra Johnson.” I answered. “What name do I look for in the by-line?”

“Elle.” She introduced. “Elle Patterson.”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was standing in the teachers lounge. There was a break for a majority of them for this period, a lot of their students were at lunch block or recess.

He’d struck up a conversation with a maths teacher.

“Yesterday, I had a twelve year old girl give me the exact height of the Walls of Troy in cubits .” Patrons explained.

The Doctor hummed at that. That kind of math was beyond the humans of this time. The humans of Jack’s time came the closest.

Thinking of Jack had him thinking about Terra. He’d been keeping his mental connection with her minimal. Her mind had gone through the ringer ever since he regenerated. Having her memories wiped, Cassandra’s psychografting, the near concussion with Queen Victoria, Terra’s mind needed rest.

“And, it’s ever since the new headmaster arrived?” He asked Parsons, remembering why he had started this dull conversation.

“Finch arrived three months ago.” Parsons confirmed. “Next day, half the staff got flu. Finch replaced them with that lot, except for the teacher you replaced, and that was just plain weird, her winning the lottery like that.”

“How’s that weird?” The Doctor asked, knowing full well what the answer was.

“She never played. Said the ticket was posted through her door at midnight.”

‘Yeah Terra said that was a rubbish idea.’ The Doctor thought  He hummed while popping another biscuit in his mouth. “Hmm. The world is very strange.”

Finch came inside the lounge. The Doctor stood up straighter. He was on alert around the headmaster now.

And then two women walked in behind Finch. The Doctor couldn’t believe his eyes. Or his luck. It was his Sarah and his Elle.

“Excuse me, colleagues. A moment of your time. May I introduce Miss Sarah Jane Smith, and Miss Delilah Patterson.” Finch introduced. The Doctor wasn’t paying much attention to his words. He was remembering the old days. “Miss Smith and Miss Patterson are journalists who are writing a profile about me for the Sunday Times. I thought it might be useful for them to get a view from the trenches, so to speak. Don’t spare my blushes.” So he left.

All the while, the Doctor just stared at two of his old companions.

He was so in shock he barely noticed Sarah come up to him.

“Hello.” She greeted.

The Doctor was brought back to the present. “Oh, I should think so.” He replied with awe. He glanced over to Elle, seeing her talking to Parsons.

“And, you are?”

“Hm?” The Doctor hummed, reminded that his Sarah was standing right there . “Er, Smith. John Smith.”

Sarah’s eyes lit up with an idea. The Doctor could have avoided her for a hundred generations, and he’d still recognize that look. “John Smith. I used to have a friend who sometimes went by that name.”

The Doctor beamed. That was his Sarah. He’d be solving a mystery with them by the end of this, he just knew it. “Well, it’s a very common name.”

“He was a very uncommon man.” Sarah remarked. The Doctor’s hearts warmed in his chest. “Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you. Yes, very nice. More than nice. Brilliant.” The Doctor replied. He knew if Terra saw him right now, she’d be laughing at the look on his face.

“Er, so, er, have you worked here long?” Sarah asked.

“No. Er, it’s only my second day.” The Doctor answered.

“Oh, you’re new, then. So, what do you think of the school?” Sarah asked. “I mean, this new curriculum? So many children getting ill. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?”

The Doctor beamed. That was just like Sarah. “You don’t sound like someone just doing a profile.”

“Well, no harm in a little investigation while I’m here.” Sarah excused.

“No. Good for you.” ‘You never changed.’

Sarah walked back towards the door. Elle, finished with Parsons, joined her. The two went off to the side to speak with each other. Sarah Jane gave the Doctor a curious look over her shoulder.

“Good for you.” The Doctor praised. “Oh, good for you, Sarah Jane Smith and Delilah Patterson.”

 

==TTI==

 

Late that night, Sarah Jane and Elle were climbing up a window.

“I’m telling you, Sarah Jane. This girl was different .” Elle explained as she straightened herself out. She reached her arm through the window to help Sarah Jane inside. “She was too old to be here. She gave me an excuse about community service, but if that were true then why wasn’t she under supervision? Isn’t an officer supposed to be watching her in case she decides to skip out?”

“Maybe her officer stopped off for a coffee.” Sarah Jane brushed off. Her friend had been oddly paranoid about that girl since meeting her, more so than Sarah Jane thought was warranted. “Or went to the loo. Elle we have more pressing matters.”

Elle put her lips in a line as her friend walked off. She just knew something was off with that girl...Elle was going to find out one way or another.

 

==TTI==

 

“Am I the only one worried how fast she got in?” Mickey asked the group as we walked along the corridor.

“Easy? It took two minutes!” I defended myself. “That’s slow. The sonic’s making me lazy.”

The Doctor clicked his tongue. “Still think we could’ve used the sonic.”

“The door was wood. Does the sonic suddenly work on wood?” I argued.

“Well no.” The Doctor admitted. “But there were other doors-”

“-with more high tech security, chances for cameras or guards.” I stated plainly. “The wooden door was our best bet. Nobody even knows it’s here.”

The Doctor groaned. “Terra that can’t be right-”

“Who spent the past two days staring at nothing but these doors?” I interrupted. “Who knows which doors actually get used and which ones nobody knows about except for in an emergency? Who has broken into schools before?”

Rose burst out laughing. “Oh god. Can you two stop fighting for five minutes?” She shoved the Doctor’s shoulder. “Oh, it’s weird seeing school at night. It just feels wrong. When I was a kid, I used to think all the teachers slept in school.”

“All right, team.” The Doctor began. He grimaced. “Oh, I hate people who say team. Er, gang.” Mickey and I exchanged a grin at the Doctor’s expense. “Er, comrades.” He gave up. “Anyway, Rose, go to the kitchen. Get a sample of that oil. Terra, Mickey, the new staff are all Maths teachers. Go and check out the Maths department. I’m going to look in Finch’s office. Terra, Be back here in ten minutes.”

The Doctor climbed off up the stairs. made to leave.

I walked off. When I realized Mickey was behind me, I hid behind a support beam.

“You going to be alright?” Rose asked Mickey.

“Me? Please. Infiltration and investigation? I’m an expert at this.” He walked off the wrong direction. He came back to Rose, who was waiting patiently for him to get lost. “Which way did Terra go?”

“This way, Mickey!” I called out.

Mickey jumped.

“Come on, Mickey, we’re losing moonlight!”

“Why am I the only one that got a babysitter?”

“I’ve got an answer.” I volunteered.

“I know your answer. I don’t like your answer.” Mickey stated as he walked up to me.

I walked beside him, leading him to the math department. “I don’t like your question. See? We make a great team already! Go team!” I shouted, loud enough that I hope the Doctor heard.

 

==TTI==

 

Elle was still thinking about that Terra girl.

“You’re sure it was him?” Elle asked.

“No but-” Sarah Jane paused. She didn’t move the lockpicks around too much, not wanting to risk losing her progress. “He called himself John Smith. With these teachers being aliens...it reminds me of him, is all.”

‘Could the girl have been his new assistant?’ Elle asked herself. ‘She was young for it but...I of all people know how someone can be youthful on the outside and old on the inside. Look at me. I’m 1,519!’

There was a loud screeching noise down the hall. Elle and Sarah Jane ran off.

They ended up in a storeroom. Elle let out a relieved sigh when the door shut. As much as she missed the adventures, she didn’t miss the exhaustive running.

She looked up. Her eyes widened.

“Sarah...” Elle gawked.

Her friend saw it too. She dropped the lock pick tools.

The TARDIS. Standing there, bluer than Elle remembered. Bluer than anything should be allowed. The letters of the TARDIS were a balm on her heart.

They backed out of the room, stunned.

Elle couldn’t believe it. When Sarah Jane had first called her here, she could barely believe it. Aliens? At Earth? Near where Sarah Jane lived? That was too much. They had both hoped- like so many others times- that the Doctor would be there. It was a shock to see proof.

Hold on...if the TARDIS was here, the Doctor wasn’t far behind.

Elle turned around, in time with Sarah Jane.

She saw the man standing the the corridor, one of the emergency lights shining down on him. He was staring at them with big brown eyes, face set in a hard clarity. She remembered him from the teacher’s lounge, he’d spoken with Sarah Jane.

“Hello, Sarah Jane, Elle.” He spoke plainly. Then he got this stupid fond grin on his face.

Elle gasped, hand flying to her mouth.

“It’s you.” Sarah Jane breathed out. “Oh, Doctor Oh, my God, it’s you, isn’t it.”

“Sarah Jane was right . You...you’re really here. And you-” Elle stared at his long coat, and the ridiculous suit underneath. “-you changed again.”

“Yeah. Half a dozen times since we last met.” He admitted, smirking in that way their Doctor always did. His ‘I can’t believe how amazing humans are’ smile.

“You look incredible.” Sarah Jane praised. Elle laughed.

“So do you.” Elle laughed again. “ Both of you.”

Elle waved her hand. “Ah shut up.” She moved to rest a hand on her hip. “Know for a fact I’ve got

“Huh. We got old. What are you doing here?”

“You couldn’t resist, could you?” Elle teased.

The Doctor continued to smirk. “Well, UFO sighting, school gets record results. No I couldn not resist. What about the two of you?”

“The same.” Sarah Jane admitted.

“She dragged me all the way from Tulsa.” Elle elbowed her friend on the side. Sarah Jane didn’t smile or roll her eyes, she stared at the Doctor. “I say no? She wouldn’t hear it. You know.”

“Oh yes. How could I forget Sarah’s stubborn streak?” The Doctor asked.

“I thought you’d died.” Sarah Jane began, going off in a fit of hysterics. “I waited for you and you didn’t come back, and I thought you must have died .”

The Doctor became sober. “I lived. Everyone else died.”

Elle’s own joy sobered. “What do you mean?”

“Everyone died, Elle, Sarah. Except one.” The Doctor explained, cryptically.

“I can’t believe it’s you.” Sarah sighed.

Elle opened her mouth for the Doctor to explain more when someone screamed.

A man’s shrill scream came from the hallway.

“Okay, now I can!” Sarah Jane laughed.

Immediately, a blonde woman ran inside. “Did you hear that?” The woman asked the Doctor. Her attention focused on Elle and Sarah Jane. “Who’re they?”

“Rose, Sarah Jane and Elle. Sarah Jane, Elle, Rose.” The Doctor introduced in a rush.

Sarah Jane held her hand out to the woman. “Hi. Nice to meet you.”

Elle did the same. “Glad to meet you, Rose.”

The woman’s eyes bugged. “An American?”

“You can tell you’re getting older. Your assistants are getting younger.” Sarah Jane told the Doctor.

Elle hid a smirk. Sarah Jane had a penchant for causing trouble.

“I’m not his assistant.” Rose argued.

“No?” She winked at the Doctor. “Get you, tiger.”

“Rose.” The Doctor suddenly asked. “Terra was Mickey!”

He pushed past the women, running down the hallway.

 

==TTI==

 

They found me on the floor of the science lab.

I can understand, later, how they thought I was dying. My laughter sounded like I was choking. It was more of a wheezing than a choking. I think.

Still, they stormed in. The Doctor found me curled up on the floor.

“Terra!” The Doctor cried out. He rushed to my side. “Are you-”

“Don’t look at me!” I wheezed through laughs, wiping my watering eyes. “I can’t- I really can’t!”

The Doctor scrunched up his face. He turned to look at Rose, for some kind of understanding. She’d walked off to Mickey.

“Sorry! Sorry, it was only me.” Mickey confessed. He was kicking the mice away from his feet. “Terra told me to investigate these cupboards, so I started looking through and all of these fell on me.”

“You screamed !” I laughed.

That was when I noticed Elle, standing beside Sarah Jane. My laughing slowed slightly.

“Oh, my God, they’re rats.” Rose gawked. “Dozens of rats. Vacuum packed rats.”

“And you decided to scream. ” The Doctor mused.

“It took me by surprise.” Mickey defended.

“Like a little girl?” The Doctor asked.

“You should’ve seen his face! Every time I think it, I laugh harder.” I admitted, pushing myself to my feet.

“It was dark! I was covered in rats!” Mickey excused.

“Ah. Good times.”

“Nine, maybe ten years old.” The Doctor carried on. “I’m seeing pigtails, frilly skirt.”

“I’m seeing the Scream painting!” I added.

The Doctor clicked his fingers. “The Scream painting, in pigtails, with a frilly skirt.”

That got us both laughing.

“Hello, can we focus?” Rose asked. The Doctor and I shut up. “Does anyone notice anything strange about this? Rats in school?”

“Well, obviously they use them in Biology lessons. They dissect them.” Sarah Jane explained. She gave Rose a stink eye. “Or maybe you haven’t reached that bit yet. How old are you?”

“Excuse me, no one dissects rats in school anymore. They haven’t done that for years. Where are you from, the dark ages?” Rose taunted.

“Nah, that’s not true.” I voiced. “I dissected a rat in seventh grade.”

“You did what?” Rose gawked.

“Dissected a rat.” I repeated. “Wait no. My classmate dissected a rat, I dissected a pig.”

“A what ?” Mickey gawked. “A bloody pig?”

“No they cleaned the blood out first.” I assured. “It was awful. Wished I’d dissected the frog.”

“Anyway, moving on. Everything started when Mister Finch arrived.” The Doctor tossed the rat-bag in his hand to Mickey, who promptly dropped it. “We should go and check his office.”

 

==TTI==

 

We were walking the dark halls. The Doctor led the way, followed by Rose and Sarah Jane, myself and Elle, and Mickey holding the end.

Ro stepped ahead, Sarah Jane walking faster to stay beside her. “I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but who exactly are the two of you?”

“Sarah Jane Smith.” Sarah Jane began.

“And I’m Elle Patterson.” Elle waved from over the Doctor’s shoulder to Rose.

“We used to travel with the Doctor.” Sarah Jane finished.

“Oh. Well, he’s never mentioned either of you.” Rose was smiling only to show teeth.

“Oh, I must’ve done. Sarah Jane. Elle. Mention them all the time.” The Doctor argued weakly.

“Hold on.” Rose pondered. “Sorry. Never.”

“What, not even once?” Sarah Jane gawked. “He didn’t mention us even once?”

Mickey clapped the Doctor on the shoulder. “Ho, ho, mate. The missus and the ex. Welcome to every man’s worst nightmare.”

“It’s only fair. I’ve never mentioned him either.” Elle remarked. I snorted. “Oh, and what about you? He’s traveling with a girl barely out of high school.”

“Nah. I’m older than I look.” I replied, still wary about this new woman. Who wasn’t on the show. Who I didn’t know. Who nobody warned me about. (Hint, hint, Darcy. Run ‘cause I’m gonna kill you.) “Terra Johnson, Time Lady. Pleasure to meet cha.”

Elle’s jaw dropped. “ You’re a Time Lady?”

Not offended, I smiled at her. My hands slipped inside the pockets of my hoodie. “Somehow, yes.”

“Terra are you being nice ?” The Doctor asked from up ahead.

“Yeah. Why not?” I asked. “I may not know my mother, but I know like any proper Southerner that if I’m not polite, my mother will kill me with her eyes.”

“You don’t know your mother?” Elle asked.

“No. Had all memories of home wiped from my head.” I explained.

“Then how do you know you’re a ‘proper Southerner’ ?” Elle countered.

“Because I’m terrified of my mother finding out I was rude to somebody.” I admitted.

“You’re rude to me all the time!” Mickey voiced.

“You deserved it!”

“Yeah. Your mom would kill you.” Elle chuckled.

“Thank ya kindly!” It took me a second to realize she meant she’d kill me for being rude to Mickey. “Oh whatever.”

So I walked further ahead, Elle trailing behind me.

 

==TTI==

 

We made it to Finch’s office. The Doctor brough the sonic out, not even giving me the chance to pick the locks.

“Maybe those rats were food.” The Doctor mused.

“Food for what?” Rose asked.

“For the pig I dissected.” I joked. Rose punched my arm for the trouble.

The Doctor pushed the door open. I snuck beside him, barley flinching at the giant bats hanging from the ceiling.

“Rose, you know you used to think all the teachers slept in the school?” When Rose didn’t answer, the Doctor opened the door wider for the others. “Well, they do.”

Rose stepped in. She stared up at the bats, and froze. The other three humans followed and did the same.

Then Mickey went ‘nope’.

For a first, I came last in the group in our escape.

Elle- who had noticed- was racing beside me. I lagged behind. My mind on a hundred other things.

It was when she reached for my hand that it happened.

You know that awful feeling when your elbow hits a hard surface, and your whole arm falls asleep in a second? This felt exactly like that. Except multiplied by ten.

Elle grabbed my wrist. The sensation was such a shock that I gasped out, pulling my arm away. Elle has gasped herself. She was staring down at her hand in shock. She looked up at me without changing her expression.

“What are you?” We asked each other.

Because the answer? It was too good to believe.

‘Just a memory within a memory...’

 

==TTI==

 

Mickey and Rose were standing at the front of the school in panicked positions. The Doctor and Sarah Jane caught up with them.

Elle was standing by the door, watching me walk up. We’d both barely remembered to catch up to the others after our... shock . Even now I was slow because my leg was aching.

“I am not going back in there. No way.” Mickey shook his head fiercely.

“Not even for twenty bucks?” I offered.

“What happened to not being rude?” Elle asked.

“He’s Mickey. We’re always like this.” I excused.

“Those were teachers.” Rose reminded us. Or herself. Probably both.

“When Finch arrived, he brought with him seven new teachers, four dinner ladies and a nurse.” The Doctor counted. “Thirteen. Thirteen big bat people. Come on.”

He and I started running back.

“Come on? You’ve got to be kidding!” Mickey called out to him.

“I need the TARDIS.” The Doctor explained. “I’ve got to analyse that oil from the kitchen.”

“Sarah Jane’s got a thing for that!” Elle voiced.

Sarah Jane beamed at the reminder. ”She’s right. Come on Doctor, I’ve got something to show you.”

 

==TTI==

 

“K9!” The Doctor cheered loudly after he moved the blanket off the dog. “Rose Tyler, Terra Johnson, Mickey Smith, allow me to introduce K9. well, K9 Mark Three to be precise.”

“Why does he look so disco?” Rose asked.

“Watch your tongue! He’s a good boy!” I scolded her. My hand reached out to pet K9. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you K9? Yes you are.”

Thank you, Terra! I’ll have you know, Rose, in the year five thousand, this was cutting edge.” The Doctor defended. I was still petting K9’s neck. “What’s happened to him?” He asked the two older women.

“Oh, one day, he just, nothing.” Sarah Jane answered.

“Well, didn’t you try and get him repaired?” The Doctor asked, offended she would let K9 stay like this.

“He’s right. Sarah Jane, why don’t we get him repaired?” Elle asked, smartly.

“It’s not like getting parts for a Mini Metro,” Sarah Jane argued. The Doctor winced at the logic. “Beside, the technology inside him could rewrite human science. I couldn’t show him to anyone.”

The Doctor was cooing over K9. “Ooh, what’s the nasty ladies done to you, eh?”

“I’ll tell you what this lady is gonna do in five seconds if you don’t get your hands of my dog.” Elle warned.

“Oi! He was mine first!” The Doctor whined.

“I had him longer!” Elle argued back.

“Excuse me, but I’m the only one petting this heavenly dog so I think owning rights go to me .” I pointed out.

“Look, no offence, but could any of you just stop petting for a minute?” Rose asked as she stormed off to the car seat. “Never mind the tin dog. We’re busy.”

“He’s not made of tin!” Elle argued. “It’s an alloy made in the year 5,000!”

With heavy hearts, I let them close the trunk. The Doctor elbowed me. “Nah. Don’t you worry. We’ll have him up and running fast enough.”

I bit my lip, meeting Elle’s eyes over the car.

 

==TTI==

 

After driving to a fish-and-chip shop, the Doctor set K9 down on a table. He got to work with an old fashioned screwdriver and pliers. Mickey and Rose went off to get food. Myself and Elle went off to the restrooms.

“Who are you?” I asked when the door lock clicked. “I don’t know who you are. Despite what Rose said, I would’ve heard about you before tonight.”

Elle sighed. She leaned against the door. “I’m more concerned about what happened when I touched your hand.”

“I’ll worry about that when you tell me who you are!” I insisted. My voice was barely kept below a shout to keep the others from being concerned.

“You first.” Elle ordered.

“I’m a Time Lady. Rules state I can’t tell you my real name. You first.” I argued.

Elle grit her teeth, glaring at me. “Elle Patterson. I’m not lying, Terra . Or was being a delinquent not really a cover?”

“Really? That’s what you’re upset about? The Doctor lied about being a teacher! If people found out, it’d be like School of Rock without the rock music!” I snapped. “But yeah. Be mad at the Time Lady cleaning paint off a wall.”

Elle’s face twisted up in confusion for a second. “Just admit it to me. How did you get inside?”

“We made covers with Mickey’s hacking-”

“Not- forget it.” Elle huffed. “You’ve got no answers. You said it yourself you don’t-” Elle’s face fell flat. “You forgot Home .”

“Yeah. So what? I know the important bits.” I argued. “Like that my hand buzzed when it touched your’s. Are you human? It’s optional with the Doctor, and I know a lot of alien species that look human but aren’t.”

But the more I spoke the more Elle’s face dropped.

“Come on, lady, listen to me! I’m not going to stop asking because you’re getting vacant eyed.”

Elle sighed. “You’re not ready.”

“If you say any variant of ‘you can’t handle the truth’, I’ll punch you in the stomach. The Doctor would notice the face.” I conceded the face.

“I’m not human, you were right.” Elle began after a pause. “My species- sometimes we...slip in our restraint when stressed. When I saw you falling behind, I became...stressed. What you felt was just how my species feel stress.”

“That wasn’t stress.” I argued.

Elle made a soft curious face, like she wouldn’t like the answer but was wondering what I would say regardless. “You think you know my biology better than I do?”

“I know stress. What happened- that feeling- was more like...like...”

...coming Home.

Except that didn’t make sense. So I must’ve gotten it wrong.

“It wasn’t stress.” I emphasized.

Elle went tight lip. She sighed after a thought. “It’s just...different. Okay? We’re different. I doubt even a Time Lady as young as you would know about us.”

“I am one hundred and eighty !” I snapped, knowing I was being childish at snapping like that. “And you being secretive is only making me feel-feel worse .”

Like my Home is leaving me. Like that feeling will never come back. Don’t take it from me. I can’t...can’t lose...

“Just forget it!” Elle snapped at me.

Can’t forget...need to stop forgetting these things...no more forgetting...

The whirling emotions inside were too much. I stormed past Elle, walking out of the bathroom. I schooled my expression before coming up to the Doctor’s table.

He was sitting across from Sarah Jane, talking over K9 to speak to Sarah. Another change. At least this one was more welcome.

“You lot took your time.” The Doctor remarked.

I dropped my Bag down on the back of the chair next to him. “Time Lady. Time is my domain. You wish you had this time-taking skill.”

Elle came up to the table after that. She sat beside Sarah Jane.

“It wasn’t Croydon.” Sarah Jane recalled. Sad and fond and setting off Elle’s matching expression. “Where you dropped me off, that wasn’t Croydon.”

Elle snorted.

The Doctor braced himself. He didn’t even look at me before asking “Where was it?”

“Aberdeen.” Elle answered.

The Doctor paused. Then put his screwdriver down on the table. “Go ahead.”

I was fighting laughter. Sarah Jane looked at him in confusion. “Doctor, I’m not angry-”

“No, not you Sarah, her.” He crossed his arms, shaking his head. “Go ahead, hit me.”

“You sure?” I managed to say, my shoulders shaking from holding back.

The Doctor nodded. He had accepted the hands of fate.

My hand reacted, Slapping him in the face.

I allowed myself the laughter. It started off as quiet, growing to full body laughter. Maybe holding back on the laughs made it stronger, and all of the other funny stuff to happen to him today.

The Doctor’s small smile slipped past me. The same for that look that could only be described as proud. Sarah Jane and Elle noticed them, though.

“That’s two, I take it.” The Doctor rubbed his sore cheek.

“Aberdeen’s not even next to Croydon!” I laughed, clutching my stomach.

“Bloody hell, she’s lost it again.” The Doctor sighed before K9 kicked back on. “Oh, hey. Now we’re in business.”

“Master.” K9 greeted in the most adorable robotic voice I had immediately fallen in love with the first time I saw this episode.

“He recognizes me.” The Doctor cheered.

“Affirmative.” K9 answered.

“Rose, give us the oil.” The Doctor instructed, holding his hand out for her.

Rose came up to the table. She held out the Krillitane oil for the Doctor. “I wouldn’t touch it, though. That dinner lady got all scorched.”

“I’m no dinner lady.” The Doctor retorted. He gave me a look. “And no, I don’t often say that.” He scooped out some of the oil, serving it on K9’s nose.

“If you lick it-” I warned him.

Rose snorted. The Doctor has the nerve to look offended.

“That’s disgusting. Why would I lick it?”

“Isn’t that what we thought about the wall?” Rose asked. The Doctor crossed his arms over his chest, turning his nose up at us.

“Oil. Ex- ex- ex- extract. Ana- ana- analysing.” K9 reported.

“Listen to him, man. That’s a voice.” Mickey laughed.

“Careful. That’s my dog.” Sarah Jane snapped.

“Confirmation of analysis. Substance is-” K9 paused for just long enough that you knew it was for dramatic reasons (aka, being a pet of the Doctor at any incarnation). “Krillitane Oil.”

“They’re Krillitanes.” The Doctor’s face lit up in dismayed understanding.

“Is that bad?” Rose asked.

“Very. Think of how bad things could possibly be, and add another suitcase full of bad.” The Doctor answered.

“And what are...Krillitanes?” Sarah Jane asked.

“They’re a composite race.” The Doctor looked at the humans, passing over Elle I realized. As she wasn’t human, apparently. Just another kind of alien I didn’t know. Just great . “Just like your culture is a mixture of traditions from all sorts of countries, people you’ve invaded or have been invaded by. You’ve got bits of Viking, bits of France, bits of whatever. The Krillitanes are the same. An amalgam of the races they’ve conquered. But they take physical aspects as well. They cherry pick the best bits from the people they destroy. That’s why I didn’t recognize them. The last time I saw Krillitanes, they looked just like us except they had really long necks.”

“Great history lesson. What does this mean, Doctor?” I asked him.

The Doctor clenched his teeth. “It’s the children. They’re doing something to the children.”

I clenched mine with him.

Beside Sarah Jane, Elle watched me in concern.

 

==TTI==

 

Everyone moved back to the car. Elle joined Sarah Jane in bringing K9 back to the car. Myself? Oh I decided to enjoy some self- torture in the form on a Ten/Rose fight.

“How many of us have there been travelling with you?” Rose asked, marching after the Doctor.

“Does it matter?” The Doctor asked.

“Yeah, it does, if I’m just the latest in a long line.” Rose snapped.

“As opposed to what?” The Doctor asked.

It made Rose pause.

“I thought you and me were... I obviously got it wrong. I’ve been to the year five billion, right, but this?” Rose huffed. “Now this is really seeing the future. You just leave us behind. Is that what you’re going to do to me? To us?”

“No. Not to you.” The Doctor replied immediately. “Or to Terra.”

“But Sarah Jane and Elle? You were that close to them once, and now you never even mention them. Why not?” Rose asked.

I bit my lip, looking away. Not at the car or at them or the Krillitanes on the roof. Just away.

“Terra never talks about her past either, Rose. Carl? She never calls her by her real name. Terra and me, we don’t age. We regenerate.” The Doctor explained. “But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone who you l-”

Rose, who I had honestly expected to be more upset about my name being mentioned, brushed it off. She was staring into the Doctor’s eyes with all the bravery of what made her the Bad Wolf. “What, Doctor?”

The Doctor paused to compose himself. “You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone.” Okay now I was getting offended at not being mentioned. “That’s the curse of the Time Lords.”

The Krillitane screeched.

It swooped down towards us. As it got close enough, I swung the Bag to whack it on the wing. It’s escape flight was more wobbly than on the show.

“Was that a Krillitane?” Sarah Jane asked.

“It looked like one of those bats from the school.” Elle pointed out.

I was checking my Bag. There wasn’t any teasing from where it had hit his wing.

“But it didn’t even touch us.” Rose commented. “It just flew off. What did it do that for?” She asked.

The Doctor had no answer. He glared up at the sky instead, following the bat.

I looked up to where Finch had been.

 

==TTI==

 

When school started up we walked in like army generals.

I dressed up, slightly. The hoodie was tied around my waist, the black tank top was upgraded to a black long sleeved shirt.

“Rose, Sarah, Elle, you go to the Maths room. Crack open those computers, I need to see the hardware inside. Here, you might need this.” The Doctor instructed. Rose held out her hand, but the sonic went to Sarah Jane. “Mickey, surveillance. I want you outside.”

“Just stand outside?” Mickey asked.

Sarah Jane gave him the car keys. “Here, take these you can keep K9 company.”

“And I think there are snacks in there.” Elle supplied. “Like granola or something.”

“Don’t forget to leave the window open a crack.” The Doctor advised.

“But he’s metal!” Mickey reminded us.

“I didn’t mean for him.” The Doctor clarified.

“I noticed that I wasn’t given a task.” I remarked.

The Doctor squared his shoulders back.

“It’s time we had a word with Mister Finch.”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor and I gave Finch a warning glare, once we saw him in the school. He understood, walking off to the gym.

I took a quick breath to brave myself. “So, Doc Brown, what’s the-”

“No.” The Doctor held up a hand. “I said, no mental communication.”

“My head is fine . We need the advantage.” I replied.

The Doctor shook his head. “Not yet.”

In reply, I huffed. ‘Idiot.’

He walked into the pool area, myself behind him.

Finch was standing on the other side of the pool. He wasn’t afraid of us. He had this air like he was gracing us with this conversation. Which given how this episode ended, wasn’t surprising.

“Who are you?” The Doctor asked him.

“My name is Brother Lassa.” He answered. “And the two of you?”

“The Doctor.”

“Terra.” I answered.

“Since when did Krillitanes have wings?” The Doctor asked.

“It’s been our form for nearly ten generations now. Our ancestors invaded Bessan. The people there had some rather lovely wings.” Finch answered. Full disclosure...good tactic. “They made a million widows in one day. Just imagine.”

“You look human to me.” I remarked. ‘These guys are the extreme ‘you are what you eat’. And I don’t like it.’

Finch brushed off the importance. “A personal favourite, that’s all.”

“And the others?” The Doctor asked.

“My brothers remain bat form. What you see is a simple morphic illusion. Scratch the surface and the true Krillitane lies beneath.” Finch explained. We began walking along the pool to meet Finch. “And what of the Time Lords? I always thought of you as such a pompous race. Ancient, dusty senators, so frightened of change and chaos. And of course, they’re all but extinct. Only you both. The last two.”

“This plan of yours. What is it?” The Doctor demanded.

“You don’t know.”

“That’s why I’m asking.”

“Well, show me how clever you are. Work it out.” Finch countered.

“How about we find out by breaking your kneecaps?” I asked. “Because I already don’t like this plan. I could stop it without breaking your kneecaps, but I want to break them.”

Finch smiled at that.

“Fascinating. Your people were peaceful to the point of indolence.” Finch remarked. “You seem to be something new. Would you declare war on us, Terra, Doctor?”

“I’m so old now. I used to have so much mercy. You get one warning.” He bobbed his head to me. “That was it.”

On that note, we walked to the door.

“But we’re not even enemies.” Finch called out to us. “Soon the two of you will embrace us. The next time we meet, both of you will join with me. I promise you.”

 

==TTI==

 

We made it back to the math department to find the humans and Elle laughing hysterically.

“How’s it going?” The Doctor asked, before noticing they were all lost to humor.

“What’s wrong? What’s so funny?” I asked, knowing full well what was so funny.

“What? Listen, I need to find out what’s programmed inside these.” The Doctor told them.

They laughed harder. Even I had to hid some chuckles.

“What? Stop it!” The Doctor demanded.

They didn’t.

Well, if you can’t beat ‘em.

“Terra? Terra stop it!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was working on the CPU’s.

“I can’t shift it.” He complained loudly, various bits of cord over his shoulders.

Sarah Jane “I thought the sonic screwdriver could open anything!” Sarah Jane gasped.

“Anything except a deadlock seal.”

“Seriously? It took this long to find the weakness for that?” Elle complained.

“It doesn’t work on wood either.” I remarked.

Elle laughed. “Oh of course it doesn’t. Screwdriver that doesn’t work on wood .”

“There’s got to be something inside here.” The Doctor remarked. He made his voice loud enough to get our attention back. “What’re they teaching those kids?”

Since it was clear the sonic would get us nowhere, we all tried a more hacker approach. I was typing away at one of the computers (though I wanted to sneak away from the search to play on paint or Oregon Trail (which was a lot more fun than the actual Oregon Trail).

Before I could succumb to the temptation, the screens all lit up in green.

“You wanted the programme? There it is.” Sarah Jane spoke.

“Some sort of code.” The Doctor remarked. He walked closer to the projected screen. After a minute of thought his expression gave way to horror. “No. No, that can’t be.”

“Doc Brown, feel like sharing with the class?” I asked.

“The Skasis Paradigm. They’re trying to crack the Skasis Paradigm.” The Doctor realized, more to himself than to us.

“The Skasis what?” Sarah Jane asked.

“Don’t make me use the ‘share with the class’ line again.” Elle warned.

“The God maker. The universal theory.” The Doctor explained. “Crack that equation and you’ve got control of the building blocks of the universe. Time and space and matter, yours to control.”

“What, and the kids are like a giant computer?” Rose asked.

“Yes. And their learning power is being accelerated by the oil.” The Doctor explained in a rush. “That oil from the kitchens, it works as a, as a conducting agent. Makes the kids cleverer.

“But that oil’s on the chips. I’ve been eating them.” Rose realized.

The Doctor tensed. “What’s fifty nine times thirty five?” The Doctor asked.

“Two thousand and sixty five.” Rose’s jaw dropped. “Oh, my God.”

“Aren’t adults the better choice?” Elle asked. “I mean, adults are tougher than children. They’d last longer.”

“No, it’s got to be children. The God maker needs imagination to crack it.” The Doctor explained. He glared up at the projection. “They’re not just using the children’s brains to break the code, they’re using their souls.”

Finch walked in. I grabbed the handle to my Bag, ready to throw at his head in a moments notice.

“Let the lesson begin. Think of it, Doctor, Terra.” Finch implored. “With the Paradigm solved, reality becomes clay in our hands. We can shape the universe and improve it.”

“Oh yeah? The whole of creation with the face of Mister Finch?” The Doctor spat. “Call me old fashioned, but I like things as they are.”

“Yeah. Why use the equation to get rid of you when I can do just fine with this Bag and my fists?” I asked Finch.

Finch laughed. “You act like such radicals, and yet all you want to do is preserve the old order?” Finch asked, not buying it. “Think of the changes that could be made if this power was used for good.”

“What, by someone like you?” The Doctor scoffed.

“No, someone like you .” Finch explained. “The Paradigm gives us power, but the last two Time Lords could give us wisdom. Become gods at my side. Imagine what you both could do. Think of the civilizations you could save. Perganon, Assinta.” Finch promised. “Your own people, Doctor, Terra, standing tall. The Time Lords reborn.”

“Doctor, don’t listen to him.” Sarah Jane pleaded.

“It’s too good to be true. You know that.” Elle added.

“And you could be with him throughout eternity.” Finch told Sarah Jane and Elle. “Young, fresh, never wither, never age, never die.” He turned back to us. “Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor, Terra. Join us.”

“I could save everyone.” The Doctor mused.

“Yes.” Finch’s eyes were lit up in greed.

“I could stop the war.” The Doctor realized.

‘I could, oh I very well could.’ I thought to myself, since apparently the Doctor didn’t want to hear my thoughts. ‘Except...I’m okay. Yes Darcy will get old and die, but she ages as I do. She’d never forgive me if I had control over reality and didn’t share.’

“No.” Sarah Jane interjected. “The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love.” She and Doctor locked eyes. She was getting through to him. “Whether it’s a world, or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends.”

‘Everything...ends.’

The Doctor, in a rage, threw a chair. I used my Bag to whack Finch on the head. He stumbled back onto the floor.

“Out!” The Doctor and I shouted.

The humans and Elle listened.

 

==TTI==

 

As we were running, we ran into Mickey and Kenny. The alarms had been going of for awhile.

“What is going on?” Mickey asked.

“Keep running!” I shouted at him.

Mickey and Kenny were confused until they saw the giant bats behind us. They gawked as they started to run.

We ran into the kitchen, making for the Krillitane oil. There was barely a ten second gap before Finch threw the doors open. The bats flew up behind him.

“Are they my teachers?” Kenny asked.

“Yeah. Sorry.” The Doctor spoke without meaning it.

“We need the Doctor or Terra alive.” Finch told the Krillitanes. “As for the others? You can feast.”

The Krillitanes attacked. One flew towards me. I swing the Bag at him. He roared at me. That’s when I saw the bump on the side of its head.

“You’re the one I hit last night.” I remarked. He roared again. “Yeah. That sounds right.”

The Krillitane roared at me again. Before it could attack, a laser beam hit it right in the snout.

Finch roared.

“K9!” Sarah Jane and Elle cried out.

“Suggest you engage running mode, mistresses.” K9 reported.

“Come on!” The Doctor shouted at us. “K9, hold them back!”

“Affirmative, master.” K9 reported before attacking the other Krillitanes. “Maximum defence mode.”

We’d run to a supply room to hide. The Krillitanes not trapped in the cafeteria were hot on our trail.

“What about the oil?” I asked the Doctor.

“What?” He asked.

“Weren’t we running to the kitchens for the oil?”

“Why would we do that-” The Doctor’s expression. “Oh Terra you absolute genius! It’s the oil. Krillitane life forms can’t handle the oil. They’ve changed their physiology so often, even their own oil is toxic to them!” The Doctor gave me a quick hug. He turned to Rose. “How much was there in the kitchens?”

“Barrels of it.” Rose answered.

The Krillitanes started beating down the door.

“Okay, we need to get to the kitchens. Mickey.” The Doctor began.

“What now, hold the coats?” Mickey sneered.

“Get all the children unplugged and out of the school.” The Doctor instructed. Mickey was surprised he was getting something of actual use. “Now then, bats, bats, bats. How do we fight bats?”

Kenny elbowed the fire alarm.

“Man you’re a smart kid.” I held my fist up to Kenny. He bumped it.

While the alarm raged, our large group walked straight past the screaming Krillitanes. Kenny followed behind me.

K9 bumped into us not far away from the kitchens. “Master.”

“Come on, boy. Good boy.” The Doctor rubbed his dog on the neck. I scratched a metal ear.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was trying to sonic the barrels open. “They’ve been deadlock sealed. Finch must’ve done that. I can’t open them.” He told us.

K9 “The vats would not withstand a direct hit from my laser, but my batteries are failing.”

“Right. Everyone out the back door. K9, stay with me.” The Doctor ordered.

“Doctor I could-”

“Terra I know what you’re thinking and there’s no time. Go .” The Doctor pushed me towards Elle.

She grabbed my arm. That strange feeling from last night zapped my arm again. The two of us held the other up as we followed after Rose and Sarah Jane.

Once we made it to safety, Elle pushed me off. I was panting. A brief touch last night was nothing compared to holding her arm for thirty seconds. Her removing her arm took the air out of my lungs, or was near enough to it (could’ve been the running too).

“Terra...” Elle began.

“I know.” I huffed. “But...there’s no time.”

Elle thinned her lips, then nodded her head.

The Doctor ran out of the doors, slamming them shut behind himself.

“Where’s K9?” Sarah Jane demanded.

“We need to run.” The Doctor sonicked the locks shut.

I elbowed Elle, who was looking just as distraught. She turned to me. I bobbed my head towards Sarah Jane. Elle understood.

“Where is he?” Sarah Jane asked, turning to the still locked doors. Elle took her friend’s arm, dragging her away from the door. “What have you done! Elle let me go!”

I ran to the front of the school just in time to see the explosion. The crowd of students cheered as it rained paper down on them.

“Kenny blew up the school!” One of the girls shouted. Which is all it took for the other students to start chanting the boy’s name.

I chuckled. “Ah. Blowing up a school, good times.”

“So you are a delinquent.” Elle teased.

“Obviously.” I grinned. “It’s what made the cover so great.”

The children “Yay! Kenny! Kenny! Kenny! Kenny!”

“I’m sorry.” The Doctor apologized to Sarah Jane and Elle.

“It’s all right. He was just a daft metal dog. It’s fine, really.” Sarah Jane dabbed at her eye.

The Doctor pulled her in for a side hug. Elle included herself on it.

Rose and I looked away in discomfort at being so close to this personal moment.

 

==TTI==

 

Later that day, the Doctor told Sarah Jane and Elle to meet him where he’d moved the TARDIS. We had to move it to escape UNIT investigators. The Doctor liked them and all, but he’d rather just avoid them for awhile longer.

Sarah Jane arrived, walking up the path according to the monitor. The Doctor said Elle was just behind her.

I stayed above, happy in my little balcony. They could look around but I was happy not speaking at all to the mystery that was Elle Patterson. She’d given me a headache.

As soon as I had made it back to the TARDIS, I’d called Darcy to ask what was going on. My sister didn’t answer. I had called a few more times before leaving a message, and then just texting her a dozen times.

Elle Patterson was different. A different person that didn’t exist. Was she like Oswin? Did I cause this somehow? Or was this just some elaborate prank by Darcy (because I wouldn’t put it past Darcy to do something like this) done solely to stress me out as revenge for not letting her join the TARDIS? Could Elle Patterson really just be a random alien that traveled with the Doctor, and didn’t on the show but something I had (or will change in the future) made her say yes?

I don’t know.

I hate not knowing.

“You’ve redecorated.” Sarah Jane’s voice brought me back to the TARDIS.

Elle came in behind her. I tensed in my seat, sitting up against the coral that was my seat.

“Do you like it?” The Doctor asked them both.

“It’s different.” Elle remarked.

“Good different or bad different?”

“...not sure.” Elle answered. She followed one of the coral to see me. She didn’t react to seeing me, so I kept a cool expression.

“Yeah. I preferred it as it was, but er, yeah. It’ll do.” Sarah Jane admitted.

“I love it.” Rose interjected.

“Hey, you what’s forty seven times three hundred and sixty nine?” Sarah Jane asked with a teasing grin.

“No idea. It’s gone now. The oil’s faded.” Rose replied.

“About time. She was solving math equations for an hour .” I complained. Normally I wouldn’t complain about it, except Rose was solving them outloud and that was annoying. Solving things out loud was the Doctor’s job, we don’t need two of him.

“But you’re still clever, the both of you. More than a match for him.” Sarah Jane nodded her head towards the Doctor.

“All of us are.” Rose countered. She paused, for the Doctor to speak. He forgot. “Doctor?” Rose prompted.

The Doctor was still focused on the console. Deciding he needed more assistance, I threw my phone at his head. “Ow! Terra what was that for-” I nodded my head towards Sarah Jane and Elle. “Er, we’re about to head off, but you could come with us.” The Doctor offered.

“No. I can’t do this anymore. Besides, I’ve got a much bigger adventure ahead.” Sarah Jane declined with all the grace I’d heard about. “Time I stopped waiting for you and found a life of my own.”

The Doctor wasn’t pleased by that, but he accepted it. “Elle?”

Elle bit her lip. “I...would, Doc, you know I would. It’s just.” She glanced over at me. “I think there’s something else I have to do. Something that means staying on Earth for just a while longer.”

“Can I come?”

“No.” Elle immediately answered.

“No, not with you.” Mickey turned to the Doctor. “I mean with you. Because I’m not the tin dog, and I want to see what’s out there.”

The Doctor winced.

“Oh, go on, Doctor. Sarah Jane Smith, a Mickey Smith. You need a Smith on board.” Sarah Jane prompted.

“Oh yes please! I vote yes!” I cheered from above.

“Wait no I take it back.” Mickey grinned. “I don’t want to travel with her.”

“Too late, Mickey Smith.” The Doctor pat Mickey on the shoulder. Mickey groaned, letting his head loll back. “You’re stuck here. Boss’ orders. Oh man I’m in for a laugh.”

“Hear that, Rose, I’m staying. Is that okay?” Mickey asked.

“No, great. Why not?” Rose replied, shortly.

“Well, we’d better go.” Elle remarked, making her way back to the door.

Sarah Jane pulled Rose off to the side. Elle glanced up at me as she walked to the door.

I pointedly looked away. “Hey Mickey. Hand me the phone I threw at Doc Brown.”

Mickey snorted. “Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean I-” I cleared my throat. “-alright I’m gettin’ it! I’m gettin’ it!”

 

==TTI==

 

Outside the TARDIS, Elle was kicking at stones. Her mind was hundreds of realities away from this one.

“It’s daft, but I haven’t ever thanked you for that time. And like I said, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Sarah Jane said to the Doctor.

“Me too.” Elle added, distantly.

“Something to tell the grandkids.” The Doctor cheered.

Sarah Jane shook her head. “Oh, I think it’ll be someone else’s grandkids now.”

Elle wanted to say the same, except she was fairly young for her species. She had quite a while to go. There was still time to have a kid or three.

“Right. Yes, sorry. I didn’t get a chance to ask.” The Doctor began, awkwardly. “You haven’t? There hasn’t been anyone? You know.”

“Well, there was this one guy.” Sarah Jane recalled. It was making Elle blush, to listen again to Sarah Jane dance around the Doctor. “I travelled with him for a while, but he was a tough act to follow.” She laughed, the Doctor did too.

“What about you, Elle?” The Doctor asked.

Elle moved her hands to her hips. “No such luck for me, Doctor.”

“Really? No one? Ever?” The Doctor asked.

Elle shook her head, smiling fondly. “No. There was this one fella, back Home. He and me...we didn’t work out.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Nah don’t be. My best friend finally got up the nerve to ask him out.” Elle beamed. “It’s about time. Felicity’s been head over heels since...since ages.”

The Doctor grinned. He’d missed hearing Elle talk about her hometown, to hear about the lives of the people going on there even if she was centuries away. They loved talking to her about it.

“Goodbye, Doctor.” Sarah Jane

“Oh, it’s not goodbye.” The Doctor tried to say.

“Do say it.” Sarah Jane begged. “Please. This time. Say it.”

The Doctor beamed at her. “Goodbye, my Sarah Jane.” He grinned at Elle. “My Delilah.”

Elle rolled her eyes. She hated her proper name. ‘Only you, Doctor, can make my name less annoying.’ She smiled as the TARDIS faded away. ‘Now I need to get back to the Centre and find out who the hell let someone inside my Travel to Doctor Who without permission! I swear, if it was Dominic-’

“K9!” Sarah Jane cheered loudly.

Chapter Text

The peaceful air of France was disrupted by the screams of the French, and the mechanical marching of the beats attacking.

King Louis searched the corridors for his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. She had wandered off earlier in the night, supposedly to gather her thoughts. Louis was worried when her voice had not begun echoing in the halls.

When he finally found his beloved mistress, she was the picture of calm. She stood before a mantle, staring at the clock on the mantle.

“We are under attack!” Louis stressed to her. “There are creatures I don’t even think they’re human. We can’t stop them.”

Madame de Pompadour stared at the clock. Her voice barely shook as she spoke, as if unaffected by the screaming outside their very door. “The clock is broken. They’re coming.”

Louis went up to her side, worried for her safety and sanity. “Did you hear what I said?”

Reinette turned to him, staring into his eyes. Louis saw her usual determination. “Listen to me.” She began, her tone implying urgency. “There is a woman, and a man coming to Versailles. They have watched over me my whole life and they will not desert me tonight.”

“What are you talking about? What man?” Louis asked.

Of course. That was the thing that stuck out in her speech.

If Reinette took offense, she didn’t show it. “The woman is a sister to me, whom I trust with everything.” She swore. “And the man is the only man, save you, I have ever loved.” Her King was surprised by this news. “No, don’t look like that, there’s no time.” Reinette half scolded. “You have your duties. I am your mistress. Go to your queen.”

Louis hesitated, but realized she was right. The King ran to his Queen, as his Mistress knelt by the fireplace.

“Are you there?” Reinette called out, trying not to sound as terrified as she was becoming. “Can you hear me? I need you now. You promised. The clock on the mantle is broken. It is time. Terra! Doctor! Terra! Doctor!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor landed the TARDIS. We walked out onto the the large spaceship, making me frown.

Girl in the Fireplace was a good episode, don’t get me wrong. It had killer lines, as well as a good plot and characters. I always loved the part where the Doctor pretended to be drunk.

It was kinda sad that this episode pushed Rose and the Doctor away. I feel like this would have been an event where they realized their feelings and attacked. Ya know, if they both weren’t still reeling from their argument at the diner.

The Doctor walked out first, followed by me, Mickey, and Rose who closed the door. The ship looked abandoned, and parts had been scattered all over the place.

The scent hit me hard, first step onto the ship. Superior biology, screw you. My face recoiled in disgust. Burning human flesh, a scent I could never forget. This was a part of the episode I wish I could forget.

They didn’t have the parts.

Mickey was delighted. He had never been anywhere other than planet Earth. “It’s a spaceship. Brilliant! I got a spaceship on my first go.”

“It looks kind of abandoned.” Rose commented, looking about the dark spaceship. “Anyone on board?”

The Doctor stuffed his hands in his coat pocket. “Nah, nothing here. Well, nothing dangerous.”

I snorted, trying hard to focus on the smell.

“Well, not that dangerous.”

I snorted twice.

“You know what, I’ll just have a quick scan, in case there’s anything dangerous.” He walked up to a computer board.

I walked up to the Doctor’s side. “While you’re at it, where and when are we?”

“About three thousand years into their future, give or take.” The Doctor flipped a switch on the computer.

The lights started turning on, giving us a better view of our new landings. The roof above us opened to reveal a window to the stars.

I grinned. My favorite part was the new stars we would see. All those new constellations, or galaxies or nebulas. Sometimes, the TARDIS put new constellations up on my bedroom ceiling along with a book explaining the various myths and legends around it, based on other alien planets. That was a great birthday present...

“Fifty first century.” The Doctor smirked. “Diagmar Cluster, you’re a long way from home, Mickey. Two and a half galaxies.”

“Mickey Smith, meet the universe. See anything you like?” Rose offered.

“It’s so realistic!” Mickey remarked loudly.

I chuckled at his remark. Mickey noticed.

“Shut up.” Mickey told me, defensive.

That just made me snort louder.

“Dear me, had some cowboys in here.” The Doctor remarked. I walked up to the table, hesitant to touch the cords dangling from the ceiling. “Got a ton of repair work going on. Now that’s odd. Look at that. All the warp engines are going. Full capacity.” The Doctor turned to me, glancing to the computer screens as he spoke. “There’s enough power running through this ship to punch a hole in the universe, but we’re not moving. So where’s all that power going?” He asked.

“We could ask the crew...wherever they are.” I supplied.

“Good point.” The Doctor typed on the keyboard. “No life readings on board.”

“Ugh. Hate when that happens.” I complained.

“Well, we’re in deep space.” Rose reminded us. “They didn’t just nip out for a quick fag.”

“No, I’ve checked all the smoking pods.” The Doctor replied in full seriousness. “Can you smell that?”

I grimaced, turning away from them.

“Yeah, someone’s cooking.”

“Sunday roast, definitely.”

The Doctor flipped a switch, opening the wall behind me.

The humans jumped in surprise.

“Huh.” I walked inside the new room, the Doctor behind me.

“Well, there’s something you don’t see in your average spaceship.” The Doctor began, meaning the fireplace. He brought out the sonic to scan it. The humans followed. “Eighteenth century. French. Nice mantle. Not a hologram. It’s not even a reproduction. This actually is an eighteenth century French fireplace. ”

“Doc Brown, this fireplace comes with a room.” I pointed behind the flames in Reinette’s room.

The Doctor knelt beside me. As soon as he did, Reinette say in front of her fireplace.

“There can’t be. That’s the outer hull of the ship. Look.” Rose argued.

“Hello.”

“Howdy.”

Reinette was staring at us in confusion. Such an adorable look on a child. “Hello.”

“What’s your name?” The Doctor asked.

“Reinette.”

“Reinette, that’s a lovely name.” The Doctor replied. Rose was kneeling by the fireplace, peeking around the edge to see Reinette. “Can you tell me where you are at the moment, Reinette?”

“In my bedroom.”

I chuckled. “Oh you’re a smart one. Where do you live, Reinette?”

“Paris, of course.” Reinstate answered.

“Paris, right!”

Duh . Don’t we look foolish .”

“Monsieur, Madame, what are you doing in my fireplace?” Reinette asked.

“Oh, it’s just a routine fire check.” The Doctor answered. “Can you tell me what year it is?” He asked.

“Of course I can. Seventeen hundred and twenty seven.” Reinette answered, this time suspecting that we were simple for not knowing, and proud of herself for being so knowledgeable.

“Right, lovely. One of my favorites.” The Doctor praised. “August is rubbish though. Stay indoors. Also maybe-”

“And with that we’re done.” I shushed the Doctor, putting my hand over his mouth. Turning to Reinette, I smiled kindly. “Thank ya kindly for the help. Hope you enjoy the rest of the fire. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight Madame, Monsieur.” Reinette bobbed her head politely at us. She walked away.

At that moment, the Doctor licked my hand.

“Eww!” I Slapped him away with the hand he’d just licked. The Doctor laughed. “That’s 3. Two in twenty-four hours. You deserved it.”

He grinned on.

“You said this was the fifty first century.” Mickey reminded him.

“I also said this ship was generating enough power to punch a hole in the universe.” The Doctor turned to the fireplace. “I think we just found the hole. Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink.”

“What’s that?” Mickey asked.

“He was scared to say ‘magic door’.” I answered.

“Not a bit.” The Doctor agreed. “Made it up. Was it good?”

“You missed the chance to call it Guardian of Forever, so you get nothing .” I replied.

The Doctor scoffed, clicking his tongue. “That was a magic door.”

“It was never defined as that!”

“Both of you, shut it!” Rose demanded. The Doctor and I clapped our lips shut. “Will one of you just tell me how on the other side of the ma- the door is France in 1727?”

“Well, she was speaking French.” The Doctor replied. “Right period French, too.” He remarked.

“She was speaking English, I heard her.” Mickey corrected him.

The Doctor wasn’t listening. He threw his coat on a makeshift rack. I tossed off my hoodie, tying it around my waist. I hopped in beside the fireplace, working my foot around the bottom.

“That’s the TARDIS. Translates for you.” Rose answered. Completely skipping over the problem that she had with it: the TARDIS in your brain.

“Even French?” Mickey asked.

I stood on the pedal.

“Yeah.”

The Doctor hopped on beside me, holding the mantle of the fireplace.

“Found it!” I cheered, stomping my foot.

“Alright!” The Doctor laughed.

“Doctor! Terra!” Rose gasped as fireplace rotated.

 

==TTI==

 

I held onto the fireplace as we entered Reinette’s childhood bedroom.

The Doctor explored the view. My focus was doing that thing where you try not to notice Dumbo’s giant ears, except it’s Dumbo’s ears so your eyes just go around the baby elephant hoping the elephant doesn’t notice.

Spoiler alert: Dumbo’s rat noticed me.

She curled further into her covers, inhaling deeply.

“Shhh. Dearie it’s alright. It’s just us.” I assured, taking steps towards her slowly. My arms were raised up, one pointing to the Doctor. “Fireplace people.” Waving by hand, I tried to get the Doctor’s attention toward the candle.

The Doctor understood. “See? Look.” He held up the sonic, pointing it towards the candle. It lit up, lighting up our faces for Reinette to see.

Reinette watched the flames in understanding. She looked over at us with confusion now in place of fear.

“We were talking just a moment ago. We were in your fireplace.” The Doctor reminded her.

Reinette’s expression crunches up. “Monsieur, Madame, that was weeks ago. That was months.”

“Really?” The Doctor scratched the hair behind his head. “Oh. Must be a loose connection. Need to get a man in.”

“It’s not your fault, but I still wanna hit you.” I whispered to him.

“Who are you two? And what are you both doing here?”

“Fireplace woman. Come take a look at this.” The Doctor invited, in a too calm voice.

I walked closer, just enough to see the not-moving clock. “Yeah, that’s a problem.” I sighed.

“No, that’s scary.” The Doctor corrected me.

“You’re scared of a broken clock?” Reinette asked.

“He’s got a good reason.” I supplied, backing up in my steps so I was closer to the bed. “Because, Reinette, I want you to listen really closely .”

Reinette sat up in her bed.

“Are you listening?” I asked, crouching at her bedside.

“Yes Madame.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, hoping on the bed beside her.

Yes .” Reinette scrunched her legs up to make room for me.

“Really, really sure?” I asked, grinning a bit at how ridiculous I sounded.

Reinette smiled back, giggling softly. It eased the tension. “Yes!”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes I am!”

“Then you would hear the ticking.” I pointed out in a whisper.

Reinette’s smile slowly dropped from her face.

“Because, you see, that’s not a clock. You can tell by the resonance.” The Doctor remarked from the fireplace. “Too big. Six feet, I’d say. The size of a man.”

“What is it?” Reinette asked, her eyes moving to us both.

“Now, let’s think. If you were a thing that ticked and you were hiding in someone’s bedroom, first thing you do, break the clock.” The Doctor made slow steps towards us. “No one notices the sound of one clock ticking, but two? You might start to wonder if you’re really alone.”

I held Reinette in a side hug. The girl buried her face in my side.

“Terra. Keep her exactly there. Do not move. Don’t put your hands or feet over the edge.” The Doctor instructed.

I nodded.

The Doctor knelt on the floor so he could scan under the bed. The screwdriver activated.

The Doctor was flung back as the clockwork droid pushed him.

Reinette jumped. She curled tighter against my side. The Doctor got back to his knees quickly, eyes locked back behind us.

“Reinette. Don’t look round.” The Doctor instructed. “You, stay exactly where you are.”

I put my hand on the side of Reinette’s Head, keeping her from seeing by accident.

The Doctor looked between the clockwork man and Reinette.

“Hold still, let me look. Terra, move your hand.”

I did.

The Doctor put his hands on the side of Reinette’s face. He stared into her eyes. Reinette stayed brave as he did so, only light shaking.

“You’ve been scanning her brain.” The Doctor snapped, incredulous. He glared at the  machine.

“They did what ?” I growled.

“What, you’ve crossed two galaxies and thousands of years just to scan a child’s brain?” The Doctor interrogated. “What could there be in a little girl’s mind worth blowing a hole in the universe?”

“Better be a good answer. I’ve broken clocks twice your size with my foot .”

“I don’t understand. It wants me?” She turned around in her bed, not jumping back in fear at the sight of the clockwork droid. “You want me?”

“Not yet.” It replied. “You are incomplete.”

“Incomplete? What’s that mean, incomplete?” The droid was silent. “You can answer her, you can answer me. What do you mean, incomplete?”

The Doctor held up his sonic to the droid.

The droid copied him, holding up it’s blade.

“Monsieur, be careful.” Reinette begged.

“Just a nightmare, Reinette, don’t worry about it.” The Doctor assured. “Everyone has nightmares.”

The droid slashed the sword. The Doctor dodged. He moved the fireplace.

“He’s gonna get himself killed.” I growled. Detaching myself from Reinette, I moved climbed off the bed. “Reinette, stay here.”

“Even monsters from under the bed have nightmares, don’t you, monster?” The Doctor taunted as he held onto the mantle.

The droid swung it’s blade. It got stuck.

“What do monsters have nightmares about?” Reinette asked, concerned.

I kicked the pedal again, moving the fireplace back towards the ship.

“Me!” The Doctor and I shouted.

 

==TTI==

 

“Doctor! Terra!” Rose cried out.

I kicked the droid in the back. It arched, distracted. The blade dig deeper into the mantlepiece.

The Doctor had more time to grab the extinguisher. He fired it at the droid. The droid’s ticking soon stopped. The gears, made frozen.

Rose and Mickey stared.

I kicked it’s back again.

“Oi, alright. Don’t wear yourself out. It’s stopped.” The Doctor assured.

“It was in a little girl’s bedroom-” kick “-under her bed-” kick “-scanning her brain-” kick “-Is gonna keep kicking-“ kick “-unless you want me to kick you ?”

The Doctor paused. “You’re fine. Just didn’t want to loosen it free.” He held up the extinguisher. “Doesn’t have a second blast.”

I paused before my next kick. Instead I punched its head.

“That’s better!” The Doctor cheered.

Mickey walked up towards us. He took a step back with Rose when he realized he’d be close to my fists. “Excellent. Ice gun.”

“Fire extinguisher.” The Doctor tossed it back to Rose.

Rose moved the extinguisher around in her arms until she was holding it up. I was hitting the back of the droid’s head. “Where did that thing come from?”

“The ship.” I answered, hitting it again. This time I felt the mask move under my knuckles.

“So why is it dressed like that?” Mickey asked

“Field trip to France.” The Doctor explained. “Some kind of basic camouflage protocol.”

“Doc Brown, I think I broke it’s face.” Grabbing it by the hair, I pulled off the mask. “My anger is satisfied now.”

Actually it was temporarily sated. Once I crushed the rest of the ship, it’d be satisfied.

The Doctor dropped his jaw. “Oh, you are beautiful!” He praised. “No, really, you are. You’re gorgeous! Look at that. Space age clockwork, I love it. I’ve got chills!” He pulled out his sonic again. “Listen, seriously, I mean this from the heart, and, by the way, count those, it would be a crime, it would be an act of vandalism to disassemble you. But that won’t stop me.”

He pointed the sonic, just in time for it to beam off.

“Short range teleport. Can’t have got far. Could still be on board.” The Doctor instructed.

“What is it?” Rose asked.

“Don’t go looking for it!” The Doctor ordered while climbing aboard the rotating fireplace.

I hopped beside him.

“Where’re you two going?” Rose demanded.

“Out.” I answered the exact moment the Doctor stepped on the pedal to move it.

 

==TTI==

 

This time, the sun was shining bright.

The summer heat was up. I pulled the hoodie back on, activating the AC bots woven in.

“Sunshine.” I mused. My hand tapped down on the mantle. “This thing is worse with time than you.”

The Doctor puffed out his chest. “Well...let’s not be quick. It could be the morning after.”

I stuck my tongue out at him, tasting the air for the time. It was a nifty trick.

“Reinette? Just checking you’re okay.” The Doctor called out.

“She’s probably outside.” I mused, walking over to the harp.

The Doctor walked over to the harp. “You know what, you’re being very negative today.”

“I’m negative all the time.” I saw Reinette walk in over his shoulder. “Constantly.”

“No, you’re not that bad. You’ve said-” He drew a blank. “There was that one time- No. No. You’ve always been negative.”

Reinette cleared her throat.

“Oh. Hello.” The Doctor jumped back. “Er, I was just looking for Reinette. This is still her room, isn’t it? I’ve been away, not sure how long.”

“Reinette! We’re ready to go.” Her mother called out from the hall.

“Go to the carriage, Mother. I will join you there.” The shock was great, I could almost hear his jaw hit the floor. “It is customary, I think, to have imaginary friends only during one’s childhood. You are to be congratulated on your persistence.”

“Wouldn’t be very good fireplace people if we stayed in your childhood, huh?” I joked.

“Reinette! Well. Goodness, how you’ve grown.” The Doctor praised, late to the party.

“And neither of you appear to have aged a single day. Yourself, Madame, are younger than I recall.” She walked closer to us. “That is tremendously impolite of you.” Reinette scolded, smiling fondly all the same.

“He’s the one that’s rude and not ginger.” I teased, elbowing his arm.

“Stop it.” The Doctor elbowed me back. “Right, yes, sorry. Listen, lovely to catch up, but better be off, eh?” The Doctor suggested, seeming to realize how close Reinette had gotten while he elbowed me. “Don’t want your mother finding you up here with a strange man and woman, do we?”

“Strange? How could you be strangers to me?” Reinette asked. I took a step to the side. “I’ve known you since I was seven years old.”

“Yeah, I suppose you have. We came the quick route.” The Doctor joked.

Reinette reached her hands up. One hand took the Doctor’s cheek, the other mine. Her hand was so soft.

“You both seem to be flesh and blood, at any rate, but this is absurd.” Reinette mused. She lowered her hand from the Doctor’s cheek. The hand on mine turned, brushing her knuckles against my cheek. My hearts beat rapidly. “Reason tells me neither of you should be real.”

“Oh, you never want to listen to reason-” The Doctor teased.

“There’s a reason we ignore it.” I added, voice shaking just a bit.

Reinette smiled at the Doctor, then myself. My stomach did this weird flip.

The servant’s voice shouted from the hallway. It ruined the moment...or whatever was happening now. My brain had gone blue-screen of death. “Mademoiselle! Your mother grows impatient.”

“A moment!” Reinette called back. She focused back on us, letting out a small huff. “So many questions. So little time.”

Then she kissed the Doctor.

Myself, who’s brain had gone silent for some reason, knew it had to clear away from their space. All I could do was stare at the two of them while my brain kicked back up.

“Mademoiselle Poisson!” The servant demanded in a more forceful voice.

Reinette pulled away from the kiss. She grabbed...something from her...mirror thing and ran off.

The Doctor and I were frozen, shocked.

The servant walked in, confused.

“Poisson? Reinette Poisson? No! No, no, no, no, no way.” The Doctor spoke rapidly. My jaw had dropped when they started making out, actually. So I...was stuck. The Doctor turned to me. “Reinette Poisson?” He asked, as if testing me for my knowledge. “Later Madame Etoiles? Later still mistress of Louis the Fifteenth, uncrowned Queen of France ? Actress, artist, musician, dancer, courtesan, fantastic gardener!”

“Who the hell are you?!” The servant asked, focussed more on the Doctor than me.

The Doctor grabbed my arm, pulling me towards the fireplace.

“I’m the Doctor, this Terra Johnson, and I just snogged Madame de Pompadour. Ha, ha!”

 

==TTI==

 

I stared forward, brain still not working.

“Rose! Mickey!” The Doctor cheered, moving away from the fireplace.  “Every time.”

My hands gripped the mantle harder. My cheek was still warm from where Reinette had touched it.

“Every time, it’s rule one-” The Doctor turned to me. He paused. “Terra are you alright?”

I couldn’t answer.

“Terra?” The Doctor walked closer to me. “What’s wrong?”

“She touched my cheek...” I whispered, in so low a breath I barely heard it.

“What?” The Doctor asked.

Then it all came crashing back. Coupled with the smell of cooking flesh. My cheeks warmed, and not from Reinette’s hand. I made an aborted squeak in my throat.

“Don’t wander off!” I shouted, running away from the fireplace. My voice was saying words but my brain wasn’t paying attention to them. “You told them not to wander off and then did. Rule one okay yeah let’s not run-”

“Terra!” The Doctor called, chasing after me. “Stay close! There could be anything on this ship.”

We turned a corner to find Arthur.

 

==TTI==

 

I walked alongside Brie of Dale. My arm was stretched out around his neck in a hug, my head resting there too. Brie was happy with it. I think I could feel some of his thoughts from the touch.

After my calling him Arthur, he replied that his name was actually Brie of Dale. Brie for short.

The Doctor walked ahead of us. He had his hands in his pockets. “Rose?” He called out. Brie huffed, sending vibrations up his neck. I giggled at the feeling against my arms.

“Will you stop following us? She’s not your mother.” The Doctor scolded.

“Don’t be mean to him. He’s just lost!” My hand brushed along Brie’s neck.

He neighed.

The Doctor scoffed at us both. He walked forward.

My hand brushed on Brie’s neck again. “Don’t mind him. He’s being extra British today.”

Brie huffed.

I snorted.

The Doctor threw open a pair of wooden doors. Odd in a spaceship and therefore our exit.

“So this is where you came from, eh, horsey?”

“His name is Brie!” I corrected, brushing his white coat. Brie liked it.

“You named him?” The Doctor asked. “Terra don’t get attached-”

“But Doctor-

“This is the same thing that happened with the pig-”

“That was justified! Poor Penelope had major surgery done without permission!”

“-and the girl from the Game Station-”

“Dakota needed a new family!”

“-and the werewolf-”

“It was a man trapped in the body of a wolf!”

“-and that dog on Tropecarp-”

“Mr Four/Sevenths was a good boy!”

“-you’re not keeping the horse!”

“I let the TARDIS keep you!” I argued, before I realized it.

The Doctor dropped his jaw.

He would’ve said more, except Reinette’s voice floated across the garden.

“Oh, Catherine, you are too wicked.”

My body locked up. My cheeks warmed preemptively. The Doctor and I hid behind a stone urn.

On the breeze, I could hear the conversation.

“Oh, speaking of wicked, I hear Madame de Chateauroux is ill and close to death.”

“Yes. I am devastated.”

“Oh, indeed. I myself am frequently inconsolable. The King will therefore be requiring a new mistress. You love the King, of course?”

“He is the King, and I love him with all my heart. And I look forward to meeting him.”

A peacock called out. The Doctor ducked. He pulled me down when he realized I didn’t follow him down. Reinette nearly saw me.

“Is something wrong, my dear?”

“Not wrong, no.”

“Every woman in Paris knows your ambitions.”

“Every woman in Paris shares them.”

I blushed then.

“You know of course that the King is to attend the Yew Tree ball?”

“As am I.”

The Doctor glanced at me, seeing the blush on my cheeks, then looked over at Reinette. His expression lit up in understanding.

My eyes were still on Reinette.

 

==TTI==

 

“Terra-”

“Keeping the horse.”

“Terra I think we need to talk-”

“Brie is too precious to leave behind.” I held him closer. Brie neighed in agreement. He bobbed his head, bopping my forehead with his snout. “See? Brie loves me.”

The two of us were walking along the hallways again. The Doctor was trying to convince me of something. I don’t know what, but it probably had something to do with Brie. Hence the argument.

“That’s not what I wanted to-”

“-looking through a mirror.” Rose’s voice came up from the corridor.

I turned to him, proud.

The Doctor was staring ahead. “That’s Rose.” He spoke in relief.

“Blimey, look at this guy.”

“And there’s Mister Mickey.” He added in less relief. I snorted as the Doctor walked around the corner, Brie and I trailing behind.

“Who does he think he is?”

“The King of France.” The Doctor answered.

“Oh, here’s trouble. What you and Terra been up to?” Rose asked.

“Where is the terror, by the way?” Mickey asked.

“Planning your murder, Smith.” I replied from around the corner.

Mickey yelped. The sound of metal echoing in the hall told me he jumped back.

I walked around the corner, leaning against the side. Mickey was hiding behind a giggling Rose.

“As for what we’ve been doing, well a bit of this and that. Became the imaginary friends of a future French aristocrat, Terra picked a fight with a clockwork man.” The Doctor listed.

Brie came up from behind, neighing so loud it blew back my hair into my face.

“Oh, and we met a horse.” The Doctor added.

“He is precious and he is mine now .

“What’s a horse doing on a spaceship?” Mickey asked me.

“Mickey, what’s pre-Revolutionary France doing on a spaceship? Get a little perspective.” The Doctor scolded. Rose and I snorted. “See these?” He pointed to the glass. “They’re all over the place. On every deck. Gateways to history. But not just any old history.”

Reinette walked into the room.

Luckily, the dark light of the room and redness covered my flustered expression.

“It’s her’s.” I answered.

“Time windows deliberately arranged along the life of one particular woman. A spaceship from the fifty first century stalking a woman from the eighteenth. Why?” The Doctor asked, more to himself than to us.

“Who is she?” Rose asked.

“Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, known to her friends as Reinette.” The Doctor answered. “One of the most accomplished women who ever lived.”

“So has she got plans of being the Queen, then?” Rose asked.

“No, he’s already got a Queen. She’s got plans of being his mistress.” The Doctor answered.

“Oh, I get it. Camilla.”

“What do I have to do with it?” I asked.

The three Brits turned to me in confusion.

“What do you mean?” Mickey asked.

“Back in the Victorian Era, I was known as Camilla. So what do I have to do with being somebody’s mistress?” I glared over Mickey at Rose. It had annoyed me since this episode came out. “Seriously. What?”

Rose blinked. “No- I just meant- You don’t know about-”

I scoffed loudly. “You know what? Whatever.” I turned to the glass. My anger faded to...something. My tone changed to a more thoughtful one as I stared out the window. “This must be the night they met. The last few Gateways were chronological, and the last one Reinette talked about becoming the Mistress.”

“The night of the Yew Tree ball.” The Doctor supplied, filling up the quiet space that had followed my statement. “In no time at flat, she’ll get herself established as his official mistress, with her own rooms at the palace. Even her own title. Madame de Pompadour.

“Lucky.” I breathed under my breath.

When the servants and King left, Reinette smiled to herself. She turned to the mirror wall to check her dress.

My brain blue screened again.

“The Queen must have loved her.” Rose snorted, sarcastic.

“Oh, she did.” The Doctor answered, not hearing the sarcasm. Or hearing it and wanting to correct it. “They get on very well.”

“The King’s wife and the King’s girlfriend?” Mickey asked, not believing it.

“France. It’s a different planet.” The Doctor explained.

“Doc Brown, the clock.” I pointed out.

The Doctor glanced to the clock in the room, seeing it smashed.

Reinette noticed as well. “How long have you been standing there? Show yourself!” She demanded of the droid in the shadows.

My foot pushed the door open. I made sure to grab the extinguisher from Mickey before riding out.

‘I’m such a bloody Gryffindor.’

I ran inside. Reinette turned, hearing the doors open.

The Doctor came behind me. The Doctor “Hello, Reinette. Hasn’t time flown”

“Fireplace girl!” She gasped. “Fireplace man!”

I blasted the droid with the extinguisher. Once it was frozen I tossed it back behind me.

“What’s it doing?” Mickey asked.

“Switching back on. Melting the ice.” The Doctor answered.

“And then what?” Mickey asked.

“Then it kills us.” ‘Like it did the crew .’

The droid lashed its arm out to me.

I ducked back to avoid it.

“Nothing like murder to keep me on my toes.” I glanced over my shoulder to a surprised Reinette. “Order it to answer us.”

“Why should it listen to me?” Reinette asked.

“Clever girl.” The Doctor praised me. “It listened when you were a child, and ignored Terra and I. Let’s see if you’ve still got it.” He

Reinette braced herself. She focused on the droid. “Answer their question. Answer any and all questions put to you.” She commanded.

“Who are you?” The Doctor asked it.

“I am repair droid seven.” The droid reported.

“What happened to the ship, then? There was a lot of damage.” The Doctor asked.

“Ion storm. Eighty two percent systems failure.” The droid reported.

“That ship hasn’t moved in over a year.” The Doctor pointed out. “What’s taken you so long?”

“We did not have the parts.” The droid reported.

I gagged.

Reinette noticed. “Fireplace girl?” She asked, reaching up to put a hand on my shoulder.

It wasn’t until her hand was already resting there that I noticed it.

“Always comes down to that, doesn’t it? The parts.”

“What’s happened to the crew? Where are they?”

“We did not have the parts.” It repeated.

My face scrunched up in disgust while I made a loud gagging noise. “Oh, that is sick!”

“What?”

“It needed the parts.” My face scrunched up in disgust. “Ugh.”

“Fireplace girl, are you well?” Reinette asked. Her hand moving from my shoulder to my back.

“No.” I replied. “Knew I recognized it.”

The Doctor stared at me in confusion and concern. Rose held the extinguisher higher. “There should have been over fifty people on your ship. Where did they go?”

“We did not have the parts.”

“Doc Brown.” I spoke up. My voice was still barely loud enough for him to hear.

The Doctor turned to me.

I sucked my lips in, keeping my breathing steady. “We’re not gonna find a crew.”

“What do you mean?” The Doctor asked.

“Barbecue.” Just saying it made what I had for breakfast want to crawl up my throat.

“Oh.” The Doctor realized. He went back to the droid. “You didn’t have the parts, so you used the crew.”

I let out a shaking breath. Reinette took hold of my hand.

“The crew?” Mickey asked.

“We found a camera with an eye in it, and there was a heart wired in to machinery.” Rose explained. Her words shaking as she realized the weight of what she’d seen.

“It was just doing what it was programmed to. Repairing the ship any way it can, with whatever it could find. No one told it the crew weren’t on the menu.” The Doctor explained. He was looking at me, no doubt seeing my paling cheeks and how I was using Reinette for emotional support. “What did you say the flight deck smelt of?”

“Someone cooking.” Rose replied.

“The smell of human flesh.” I grimaced. “It’s something that sticks with you.”

“Flesh plus heat.” The Doctor explained. He turned to me. “Barbeque.”

I looked away from him. Reinette squeezed my hand, her own breathing coming out shakily.

“But what are you doing here?” The Doctor snapped at the droid. “You’ve opened up time windows. That takes colossal energy. Why come here? You could have gone to your repair yard. Instead you come to eighteenth century France ? Why?”

“One more part is required.” The droid answered. It moved its head to look at Reinette.

My grip tightened.

“Then why haven’t you taken it?” The Doctor demanded.

“She is incomplete.” The droid answered.

“What, so, that’s the plan, then. Just keep opening up more and more time windows, scanning her brain, checking to see if she’s done yet.” The Doctor argued.

“Why her?”

Everyone looked to Rose.

She swallowed. “You’ve got all of history to choose from. Why specifically her?”

“We are the same.” The droid answered.

Reinette stepped forward, my hand still clenched right in her’s. “We are not the same. We are in no sense the same.”

“We are the same.” The droid repeated.

“Get out of here. Get out of here this instant!” Reinette ordered.

“Hold on-”

“Reinette, no.”

The droid beamed away.

“It’s back on the ship.” The Doctor turned to the humans. “Rose, take Mickey and Brie of Dale. Get after it. Follow it. Don’t approach it, just watch what it does.”

“Brie of Dale?” Rose asked.

“Good name for a horse.” The Doctor replied.

Rose sighed, long suffering. “No, you’re not keeping the horse.” She gave me a pointed look. “Either of you.”

“We let you keep Mickey.” The Doctor argued. “Now go! Go! Go!”

Rose and Mickey ran back to the ship.

Reinette refused to let go of my hand through all of this.

The Doctor closed the mirror door, coming back to Reinette and I.

“Reinette, you’re going to have to trust me. I need to find out what they’re looking for.” He walked up to Reinette. “There’s only one way I can do that. It won’t hurt a bit. You’ll need to let go of her hand.”

Reinette glanced at me. Biting my lip, I nodded. She slowly let go of my hand.

The Doctor lifted his hands to Reinette’s face. He put his fingers against her face. I raised my hand to my lips, worrying the cloth sleeve against my lips.

Reinette’s eyes slid shut. “Fireplace man, you are inside my mind.”

“Oh dear, Reinette. You’ve had some cowboys in here.” The Doctor remarked.

As he explored her mind, I began to nervously pace.  

“You are in my memories. You walk among them.” Reinette remarked some moments later.

The Doctor “If there’s anything you don’t want me to see, just imagine a door and close it. I won’t look. Oh, actually there’s a door just there. You might want to cl- Oh, actually, several.”

“To walk among the memories of another living soul. Do you ever get used to this?” Reinette asked.

“I don’t make a habit of it.” The Doctor replied.

“How can you resist?” Reinette asked.

“He walks in my mind sometimes. Not so bad.” I assured.

Reinette smiled. “Does he now?”

“Our kind can do that kinda thing.”

“What age are you?” The Doctor replied instead, sounding like he had an idea.

“So impertinent a question so early in the conversation. How promising.” Reinette teased.

“No, not my question, theirs. You’re twenty three and for some reason, that means you’re not old enough.” The Doctor explained. Reinette gasped. “Sorry, you might find old memories reawakening. Side effect.”

“Oh, such a lonely childhood.” Reinette whispered.

“It’ll pass. Stay with me.” The Doctor assured.

“Oh, Doctor. So lonely. So very, very alone.”

“What do you mean, alone? You’ve never been alone in your life.” The Doctor’s eyes shot open. “When did you start calling me Doctor?”

“Such a lonely little boy.” Reinette breathed out. “Lonely then and lonelier now. How can you bear it?”

The Doctor backed away from Reinette. “How did you do that?”

I walked over to the broken clock, pointedly looking away from them.

“A door, once opened, can be stepped through in either direction. Has Terra not just stated your kind speaks in such a way?” Reinette countered.

The Doctor had no answer. He was still so surprised.

“Oh, Doctor. My lonely Doctor. Dance with me.” Reinette offered.

“I can’t.” The Doctor stressed.

“Dance with me.” Reinette repeated.

“This is the night you dance with the King.” The Doctor explained.

“Then first, I shall make him jealous.” Reinette countered without missing a beat.

“I can’t.” The Doctor repeated.

“Doctor. Doctor who?” Reinette asked. The Doctor tensed. My handful for the clock, tracing the designs of the wood. My fingertip brushed by a carving in the wood. “It’s more than just a secret, isn’t it?”

“What did you see?” He asked, voice soft.

“That there comes a time, Time Lord, when every lonely little boy must learn how to dance.” Reinette answered.

She took his hand, making for the door.

“Terra you must come with us.”

“Alright. But only because I know there’ll be drinks, and the Doctor’s humiliation.” I teased, more for the pleading look on the Doctor’s face.

I didn’t mention that on the clock I found had a carving of my sister’s name.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor and Reinette had been dancing for some time now.

I was ignoring them, instead searching the party for my sister. AKA, the Queen of Dumbasses.

While I searched, I was also having some wine. It was going to keep me from completely decapitating my sister once she was found.

I’d had four already.

Not even buzzed.

Such a disappointment.

“Last time I got stupid drunk...or the kind of drunk needed to handle Darce...well...there was a pineapple.” I scratched my head. “And a...and Blueberry.” My eyes scanned the crowd nervously, catching sight of one particular French noblewoman.

She was a beauty, with her black hair done up with a garnet clasp. Her dress was large, and blood red. It cling to her body, in all the ways that would get men to stare. Even her chest was exposed in a way to attract attention. Her face had been painted, dark red on her lips and light pink on her fair cheeks. Her purple eyes were decorated with kohl. You would be so focused on that you wouldn’t really notice the long scar on her forehead.

My eyes shrunk angrily at seeing her, one of my hands curling into a fist.

“Terra?” The Doctor called out.

‘Must have finished dancing with Reinette.’

“They haven’t seen bananas here. Can you believe that?” The Doctor asked. “Came as a surprise when I showed them a banana daiquiri.”

I didn’t look at him, only letting a dangerous smile bloom on my face. “I will be right back. Have fun on the next dance.”

Before he could talk back, I made my way across the dance floor to the socialite.

“The two were practically having their way with each other in the courtroom.” Darcy finished in a delighted smile. “That was when Lord Stardust decided to cut his wife out of the festivities before...well...the other lords got involved.”

The nobles around her laughed at her story. I made my presence known. Cutting in between two of them.

Darcy smiled at me, innocently. “Oh! Damn Terra!...wait I meant Dame.”

“Side bar.” I ordered, walking up to her. I hooked my arm in her’s, dragging her away from the dance floor.

“Well then. Farewell Monsieurs!” Darcy waved goodbye, stumbling a bit at my fast pace. “Ouch! Watch it. These are fancy shoes .”

I glared at her. Darcy snapped her lips shut.

Going back to the room with the mirror door to the ship, I pushed Darcy inside.

“How’d you know I was here?” Darcy complained. “I hid so well this time.”

I pointed to the clock.

Darcy followed. “Broken clock, so?”

With an irritated huff, I picked it up from the mantle. I showed her the carving of her name on the side.

Darcy stared at it for a long minute. Her expression shifted from confusion to understanding. “Wow. Must be drunk, forgot about that .”

“Darcy, what the hell are you doing in 18th century France?!” I growled quietly, so no one would catch us.

Darcy rolled her purple eyes, giving me an almost condescending smile. “Aw. Two was so adorable when she was in angry.”

My eyes turned fiery. “I’m a Time Lady, you know what that means?”

She snorted, drunk already it seemed. “That when you bore yourself to death you come back?” She joked.

“No. It means that I can literally slap you into next week.” I warned. Darcy’s happy expression dropped, replaced by a concerned frown. She was a bit gullible when drunk. “Why are you here ?”

“I’m.” Darcy flung her hair back, putting her hands on her hips. She gazed off in the distance, lips puckered and eyes half lidded in an attempt to look sultry. I rolled my eyes at the act. “French.”

“You are not .”

“Emily was of French descent.” Darcy went on, not turning her head. “We checked. It’s confirmed! You confirmed it! In... ze Future!

I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose.

She lifted up her skirt, twirling. “Wanna get drunk?”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor found the woman twenty minutes later.

The blonde painted woman was in a chaise lounge in the mirror-room. She was sipping out of a martini glass. There was a blanket draped beside her, covering the space beside the lounge.

“Hello there.” The Doctor grinned awkwardly.

The woman looked up. Her eyes widened.

“Did you happen to see my friend in here?” The Doctor asked. “She’s...this tall, brown hair, looks like a

The painted lady continued to stare at him, stunned. “Oh my Author. It’s my go.”

The Doctor looked at her oddly. “What?”

She bit her lip in a smirk. “I have a surprise, Monsieur Doctor.” She spoke in a heavy French accent.

She waved her hand towards the blanket over the side of the lounge. The painted lady grabbed ahold of the blanket. “Here lies your precious princess !”

The blanket revealed Terra, and she was lightly snoozing against the lounge.

“Terra!” The Doctor gasped, running to her side.

He cupped her head in his hand. He tried to reach into her mind, feeling nothing but fuzzy static.

“No use, mon ami . She is...how you say? D-O-A.” The woman taunted. She giggled.

The Doctor glared dangerously at the painted lady.

She didn’t even blink at it. She was twirling her hair between her fingers. “Drunk. Off. Ass.” The woman translated.

“Drunk. Off. Her. Ass.” Terra corrected. Though it was slurred.

The Doctor let out a sigh of relief. Terra’s eyes were blinking open. The fuzzy static of her mind was because she was drunk, not because she’d been taken by the droids.

The painted lady snorted, sipping at her martini glass. “Drunk, and she’s still correcting my grammar.” The girl spoke in that obviously fake accent. “I ‘m almost proud of her. She zis wasted right now.”

Terra grimaced. “Stupid voice.”

“I ‘ave taken zis from Fleur Delacour! How dare you call it fake, Madame!”

“...liar...” Terra mumbled.

“Okay. It’s totally fake.” The woman dropped the accent. Her real voice came up, an American accent that the Doctor thought he recognized as from Chicago. “How’d it go, Yellow?”

Terra hummed. “...liked the drink...more please?”

“Sure!” The woman handed Terra the martini glass.

The Doctor took it from them. Terra whined. The woman clicked her tongue.

“Who are you? What’s in this?” The Doctor demanded.

“Doctor. I’m hurt. You don’t remember me?” She waved her fingers, blinking her eyes rapidly to show off her eyelashes. “Carl.” She pulled a bottle of vodka from...actually the Doctor didn’t know where. She twisted off the cap before giving it to Terra. “Here ya go, sunshine.”

“Pretty...” Terra cooed sleepily. She nuzzled the bottle with her cheek.

“What is that?” The Doctor pointed at the bottle. “What’s in it?”

“We call it the Liquor Store.” Carl explained. She took it back from the Doctor, sipping at it. “Keeps her drunk.”

“What’s in it?!” The Doctor stressed.

“Dude. I told you.” Carl giggled. “We knew this guy, who couldn’t get drunk. Turns out he could if he just drank a liquor store.” She motioned to Terra, who was drinking from the bottle. “With my experience, I made my own bottle. Tested it out. It works on Terra too. She needed it.”

“You got her drunk.” The Doctor stated.

“Oh I blame you for it.” Carl accused, glaring angrily at the Doctor.

“What do you mean?”

Carl huffed. “Terra.” The Time Lady hummed. Carl pulled a set of wires and a purple iPod out from wherever she’d pulled the vodka bottle. She tossed them to Terra. “Headphones. Use ‘em.”

Terra hummed, nodding. She pushed them in, pulling up music on the playlist.

She grimaced. “Ugh. You’ve got shouty music.”

“It’s AJR not-” Carl cut herself off. Terra blinked slowly. Carl waved her hand. “Never mind. Play Lonely Island, it’s there somewhere.”

Terra hummed, having more of the vodka Carl gave her before changing the music.

“You ruined everything!” Carl snarled at the Doctor. “Everything! I had plans, BIG plans. Then you went and ruined them!”

“I didn’t do anything. I’m trying to fix someone else’s mistake!” The Doctor felt he didn’t need to mention that it was Carl’s mistake.

“Not the drinking .” Carl motioned to the room. “I meant her.” Carl waved her arm towards Terra. “It was perfect. I had a blonde with dark eyes and a sassy attitude, and a brunet with smarts and sarcasm. You were British too! There are like, five guys she’ll have sex with and four of them are British!” Carl whacked the Doctor’s arm. The Time Lord made a noise at the pain. “And you ruined it.”

“You know, usually I don’t follow along with your nonsense. I’m more annoyed today. What exactly did I ruin?” The Doctor asked.

“Her first kiss with a girl!” Carl revealed. In the tone of ‘as if you didn’t already know’ . The Doctor was hopelessly confused. “On paper it’s perfect. Her and Reinette. Do you know how badly Terra needs to admit that she likes girls too? Badly! But no. You just had to be so Storyline damn perfect that Reinette kissed you instead of her! Bastard.” Carl spit on his shoes.

“Oi!”

“At least you gave her Reinette in the first place, you bastard.” Carl shrugged. She plopped down on the lounge. Terra had crawled up on it at some point. “Cause the Terra I know loves Reinette...I can’t really blame you for that.”

Carl began petting Terra’s hair. The Time Lady had her headphones in, so she wasn’t listening.

“I am so humble.” Terra mumbled. “Andy gets me...blonde person.”

Carl pat her head. “Yeah he does, Yellow, yeah he does.”

“Just... what do you mean?”

“Terra likes girls.” Carl explained. Terra hummed.

“How can you know that?” The Doctor asked.

Carl elbowed Terra.

Finest girl I ever met in my whole life. ” Terra sang, slurring the words. “Wanna take her home, make her my wife... mmm...a wife sounds nice. I’d like a wife.”

He glanced at Terra, not in disbelief but in almost hurt. Why hadn’t Terra shared it with him? He would understand. The Doctor briefly wondered if she’d told Jack.

Carl sighed. “You didn’t know. No one does. Terra barely knows.”

“Purple person can I have a wife? I want a wife.” Terra asked. Carl put a finger against her lips, winking at Terra. Terra frowned. “I don’t like you anymore. I want Reinette. She was nice.”

Carl laughed under her breath.

“Terra barely knows? How can that be right?”

“Because I’m from her future, where Terra’s come to terms with her sexuality.” Carl brushed her hand down Terra’s hair again. “Reinette was one of the first women Terra admitted to liking, albeit she took a decade or two to get it.” Carl glanced at Terra. “I hoped when I came that I could get her to say it. Because I need her to say it now so that-”

“So that what?” The Doctor asked. Carl stayed quiet. “This is why I don’t like you. You never answer questions.”

Carl’s purple eyes focused on the Doctor.

“You know what? Forget it.” Carl pulled out Terra’s headphones.

“No!” Terra whined. “Me likey dat.”

Carl grinned sadistically. “It’s time for you to sober up. We did it, you got numb,  but it’s time to feel something again.” She sang it to a time to a song the Doctor didn’t know.

‘Whore.’ Terra’s face read.

“Yo, Tenny, can you make her sober?” Carl insisted, feigning disinterest.

The Doctor almost shouted at Carl to start making sense. Except he was getting nervous about Rose and Terra...oh and Mickey.

“You know, I think he likes seeing me in these situations just because we can have a biology lesson.” Terra stage whispered to the fake French woman.

Carl chuckled. “Girl, your life, it sucks.” She spoke in her fake French accent.

Terra groaned, head reaching up to hold her forehead. “ I know . I don’t wanna go back.”

“Mon cherie, you must.” Carl insisted.

“But it smells .” Terra whimpered. She pushed her head against Carl’s head.

Her friend made a quick grunt of annoyance. “That’s just because of the-”

“She never liked her meat cooked.” Terra interrupted suddenly, voice sleepy. Carl tensed. “Too much work.”

Carl didn’t move.

“Carl? What’s she saying?” The Doctor asked. He had noticed the two had gone quiet.

“Don’t take her back.” Carl ordered after a pause. Her voice was shaking as she said this.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t take her back there.” Carl insisted. “Ever. She can’t go back. She’ll stay with me and we’ll talk about her sexuality until you’re done.”

The Doctor opened his mouth to argue, thinking it a threat by Carl. He stopped when he thought about how her voice was shaking, how her grip had tightened around Terra. Not to mention the Time Lady herself was pale.

“I can do it.” Terra insisted. She sniffled, wiping at her eyes.

“Not happening, Yellow.” Carl snapped. “You said it yourself. I don’t want you having flashes -”

“I’m drunk. I don’t care about it right now.”

“You’re insane-”

“Rose is still there.”

“Author dammit .” Carl growled. “First it’s Reinette, now it’s Rose. Pick a blonde!”

Terra glared beneath her bangs. Her eyes went out of focus before coming back sharp. “I’m not doing it because I wanna...wanna do that ...she’s...Rose is Rose.”

“And violence is violence, but because you hate yourself I’m not letting you try it!” Carl rhymed.

If Terra were more sober, she’d applaud her sister’s poetry.

“Doctor. Make her sober.” Carl demanded. “I hate being the logical one! Unfuck my mess!”

The Doctor looked down at Terra. At the same time she pushed herself to her feet, reaching for his tie.

“I has a plan.” Terra assured him. “Let’s do...my plans ‘re good.”

“Let’s...go with my plan. It’s better.”

Lies .”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was guiding Terra along the corridors. He’d wrapped his tie around his head, and put on some shades. For Terra, he convinced Carl to help wrap the hoodie around her shoulders as a cape.

They were coming close to the main control room. The Doctor could hear the grinding gears of the droids, along with Rose Tyler’s panicked speech.

He began to sing. “I could’ve danced all night, I could’ve danced all night.”

“I could- dance- the dancing dance.” She shouted. The Doctor didn’t even think she knew they were singing.

“They called them the-” Rose stuttered.

The Doctor waltzed Terra towards the control room. She allowed it. The Doctor could tell that he was leading a horse to water, and it could bite his hand off any second.

“They called them the, the-”

He made a grand entrance, singing the song louder and more incorrect. Terra joined in.

“And still have begged for more.”

“More! More! More of...the thingy thingy!”

“I could’ve spread my wings and done a thou.” The Doctor twirled, narrowly avoiding spilling the multigrain oil on two droids. Terra (maybe) feigned tripping on loose wires.

“Have you met the French? My god, they know how to party.”

“Carl is French! She’s...a Frenchy Frenchener...her.” Terra explained to a droid, using it for a stand.

Rose rolled her eyes. “Oh, look at what the cat dragged in. The Oncoming Storm and the Fallen Star.”

“Oh, you sound just like your mother.” The Doctor complained.

“You were nicer when I was sober.” Terra complained.

Rose glared at the Doctor. The droid’s blade keeping her from seeing where Terra was. “What’ve you lot been doing? Where’ve you been?”

“Well, among other things, I think just invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early.” The Doctor lied...ish. “Do you know, they’ve never even seen a banana before. Always take a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good.”

“Nine said that!” Terra cheered suddenly, loudly. She stretched her out wide as she did that. They smacked the droid she was near. “Dude, I know you. I’m stupid drunk right now but not that stupid. I punched you. A lot.”

Rose groaned. “You let her get drunk again.”

“Oh. She’s her own person. I couldn’t stop her.” The Doctor excused, before giggling. He saw which droid Terra was still talking. It was the droid from Reinette’s childhood bedroom.

“Oh ho, ho, ho, ho, brilliant. It’s you. You’re my favourite, you are.” The Doctor praised. He walked up to it, guiding Terra away. She stumbled towards the TARDIS. “You are the best! Do you know why? Because you’re so thick. You’re Mister Thick Thick Thickity Thick Face from Thicktown, Thickania. And so’s your dad.”

Terra giggled as she stumbled around the main space. “...he said...yeah...what he...”

“Do you know what they were scanning Reinette’s brain for?” The Doctor asked Rose and a Mickey, still beaming like he was sloshed. “Her milometer. They want to know how old she is. Know why? Because this ship is thirty seven years old, and they think that when Reinette is thirty seven, when she’s complete, then her brain will be compatible.”

“Mickey!” Terra cheered, rushing up to the man. Mickey jumped in his bindings. “Don’t tell the others. You’re my secret fav. Big fan. Respect a fellow hacker.”

“So, that’s what you’re missing, isn’t it, hmm?” The Doctor carried on with the droid. “Command circuit. Your computer. Your ship needs a brain. And for some reason, God knows what, only the brain of Madame de Pompadour will do.”

“The brain is compatible.” The droid replied.

“Compatible? If you believe that, you probably believe this is a glass of wine.” The Doctor argued.

He ripped off the mask, pouring in the oil.

The droid tensed.

“Multigrain anti-oil. If it moves, it doesn’t.” The Doctor spoke in a voice most sober.

The other droids moved to attack. Terra tripped one with her...self.

The Doctor rushed to the lever that would turn them off. Once they were deactivated, Terra continued to laugh.

“Terra, you can stop faking.” Rose complained. “I know it’s fake.”

Terra laughed.

“She’s not. She’s actually drunk.” The Doctor explained. He moved to their bonds to let Rose and Mickey go.

“How? Doesn’t it take a lot of alcohol to get you two drunk?” Rose asked.

The Doctor was hesitant to bring up Carl right now. “Terra’s always been determined. Right, you two, that’s enough lying about.” He deactivated their bondings. The two humans slide off the traps. Terra shot up to her feet, stumbling towards them. “Time we got the rest of the ship turned off.”

“Are those things safe?” Mickey asked, eyeing them warily. He went up to Terra, wrapping her arm over his shoulder.

“Good! More legs. Mine are being funny.” Terra told Mickey.

“Yeah. Safe. Safe and thick, way I like them.” The Doctor replied to Mickey. He fixed is tie and the sunglasses. “Okay. All the time windows are controlled from here. I need to close them all down. Zeus plugs. Where are my Zeus plugs? I had them a minute ago. I was using them as castanets.”

Terra giggled. She leaned in to Mickey.

“Why didn’t they just open a time window to when she was thirty seven?” Rose asked.

“With the amount of damage to these circuits, they did well to hit the right century. Trial and error after that.” The Doctor explained, pulling on various switches and levers. “The windows aren’t closing. Why won’t they close?”

A ding went off in the ship.

Terra cheered. “Starship to Enterprise, one to beam up!” She announced.

“What’s that?” Rose asked, ignoring Terra’s ramblings.

“I don’t know. Incoming message?” The Doctor glanced at Terra.

“From who?” Mickey asked, struggling to keep Terra upright.

She pulled herself away. “Doctor Mc...Brown...one to beam up.”

The Doctor understood. “Report from the field. One of them must still be out there with Reinette. That’s why I can’t close the windows. There’s an override.”

Terra nodded. She shook her head, a hand reaching up to her face. “Ugh. Think I’m going sober again.”

At that moment, the first droid raised it’s arm. The multigrain oil spilled out from it’s outstretched hand.

Terra blinked. “Yep. Sober now.”

“Well, that was a bit clever.” The Doctor complimented.

The droid had no eyes, but was somehow still glaring at the Doctor.

The switch that deactivated the other droids moved on it’s own, bringing them back to life.

“Right. Many things about this are not good.” The Doctor commented. He turned to the droid. “Message from one of your little friends? Anything interesting?”

“She is complete. It begins.” The droid reported before it, and all it’s friends, beamed away.

“What’s happening?” Rose

“They went to the droid that found Reinette at the proper age.” Terra explained, groaning. “Ugh. What did she give me? I’m having a huge hangover.”

“That’ll teach you to accept drinks from her again.” The Doctor scolded. He went back to a confused Rose. “They found the right time window. That signal was a call to arms. And this time they’re bringing back her head.”

While the Doctor worked to fix that, Terra wandered away. She knew Rose was following behind her, extinguisher at the ready.

 

==TTI==

 

I snuck in behind the rug carpet.

Walking in, I didn’t bother to check for droids. They’d all gone to another door. I was safe (relatively).

When I walked in the room, Reinette was staring at a clock.

“Reinette.” I spoke. Reinette jumped back. “Don’t scream. I’ve got a huge headache that screaming will do nothing for.

Reinette let out a shaky breath. “Terra. It’s been so long.”

“Yeah, yeah. I figured. Anyway I came because-” I saw the girl hiding in the shadows. She thought she was so smug. “Seriously? I can see you. You’ve got on purple glow in the dark nail polish.”

Darcy laughed. Reinette jumped again. “Hey Madame. It’s only me.” She came out from the shadows. She wasn’t wearing a dress this time, just jeans and a purple shirt about the family business.

“Lady Gamora?” Reinette asked. “You know Terra?”

“I’ve known her since we met in the womb.” Darcy replied.

“The womb ?” Reinette asked. She looked between myself and Darcy. “Then you are...sisters?”

“Yeah. Twinsies.” I glared at Darcy. She rolled her eyes. “Relax. Rose can’t hear, she’s too far away. I’m safe .”

I huffed. “I’m hungover. Guess who I blame?”

“Here.” Darcy tossed me a vial. “Hangover cure.”

I tilted my head at her.

“It’s safe too.” Darcy assured with a fond roll of her eyes. “Made it myself.”

“Doesn’t give me confidence. You also made soup that gave me food poisoning.”

“No one told me I had to cook it!” Darcy argued. I winced at her raised voice. It didn’t agree with the hangover. “If you don’t want it-”

I swallowed the bottle, tossing it back empty to Darcy.

“Reinette. There’s not a lot of time left.” I began. “They’re coming back in five years.”

“Five years?” Reinette asked.

“Some time after your thirty seventh birthday. This system isn’t giving me an exact date-”

“Terra!” Rose called out as she ran up. “What are you doin’?”

“Joining a sewing circle, what does it look like?!” I snapped at her,

Darcy snorted. She leaned towards Reinette. “She’s always fussy when people interrupt.”

“Don’t start, Purple!” I warned her.

“Who’s she?” Rose asked, pointing at Darcy.

“It’s Carl.” I sighed, annoyed.

“She’s blonde ?” Rose asked.

“Oh shut your mouth, you were blonde first -”

“We don’t have time for this!” Reinette proclaimed. The three of us stopped our bickering. “Terra, explain. Be exact, and I will be attentive.”

“There isn’t time.” Rose reminded me.

“There are five years.” Reinette argued with her.

“For you. We haven’t got five minutes.” Rose countered.

“Then Terra shall also be concise.” Reinette countered with finality.

Darcy whistled behind Reinette. “I see why you like her now, T.”

I glared at her, feeling my cheeks go red. “The time where we are from has this ship. On the ship, there are multiple gateways which lead to random times on your life.”

“There is a vessel in your world where the days of my life are pressed together like the chapters of a book, so that you and the Doctor may step from one to the other without increase of age while I, weary traveller, must always take the slower path.” Reinette reasoned.

“They were right about you.” Rose praised.

Reinette smiled at me. I avoided meeting her gaze, instead meeting Darcy’s. She was grinning like an idiot. “So, in five years these creatures will return. What can be done?” Reinette asked me.

“Keep them talking. The droids are programmed to answer to your voice. They’ll do anything except leave. Just keep them...just keep them talking until we get there.”

“He’s coming as well, then?” Reinette asked, eyes lighting up in hope.

“We both will. I promise.”

Reinette smiled. It made my stomach do flips. “And you always keep your promises, don’t you?”

“Every time.” I swore. “He will be there, and so will I, exactly when we are needed. Unfortunately not a minute sooner.”

“It’s the way it’s always been.” Reinette reasoned. “The monsters, and you with the Doctor. It seems you cannot have one without the other.”

“Tell me about it.” Rose laughed. “The thing is, you weren’t supposed to have either. Those creatures are messing with history. None of this was ever supposed to happen to you.”

“‘ Supposed to happen’ ? What does that mean?”

“Dear Author..”

“Oh she’s that kind of stupid.” Darcy chuckled. “Man do I feel better about myself.”

“It happened, child, and I would not have it any other way. One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of angels.”

That made Darcy laugh really loud. I turned to her, confused and quite frankly embarrassed that she laughed so loud. She waved away my glare.

“Angels, man.” Darcy snorted. “ Angels.

“Rose? Rose!” Mickey’s voice shouted from down the hallway. “Have you seen Terra? Rose!”

The four of us walked over to it.

“There you are Terra! The time window where she’s thirty seven. We found it. Right under our noses.” Mickey explained.

“If it’s in that room, I will smack him into it.” I warned.

“She’ll do it. I’ve seen her do it.” Darcy added, throwing an arm over my shoulders.

Reinette walked on my other side. She was staring at the hole where Mickey was, where the sounds of the future were echoing back to us. She walked inside the Madame de Pompadour .

“No, you can’t go in there, the Doctor will go mad-” Rose began.

“Rose let her be.” I insisted.

Darcy and I walked together after Reinette.

Darcy grimaced. “Ugh. It does smell like barbeque.” She complained.

“Purple.” I warned.

She was looking at all the wires, watching smoke poor out of a vent, viewing this new world that she assumed to be our’s.

“So, this is your world.” Reinette remarked.

“Yes.” I answered.

A woman screamed.

“Wasn’t me!” Darcy called out, reaching a hand to her nose.

Reinette glanced at my sister, confused. She turned back to me. “What was that?”

“The time window. The Doctor fixed an audio link.” Mickey answered.

“Those screams. Is that my future?” Reinette asked.

“Yes.” I answered.

Reinette braved herself. “Then I must take the slower path.”

Her own voice echoed down the hall. “Are you there? Can you hear me? I need you now. You promised. The clock on the mantle is broken. It is time.”

“That’s my voice.” Reinette gasped.

“Yeah...that’s a thing.”

“Terra, Rose, come on. We’ve got to go. There’s, there’s a problem.” Mickey reminded us.

“Give me a moment.” Rose told Mickey.

I opened my mouth to say something, but Darcy was already dragging me away.

“Purp-”

“Trust me, Yellow.” Darcy spoke in a voice so unlike her it made me tense. She sounded... responsible . “You don’t wanna hear what she says.”

“I already-”

“Will you just listen to me? I know you future. You don’t want to hear that.” Darcy snapped.

She’d already dragged me away by then.

 

==TTI==

 

The two of us walked to the screaming portrait.

The Doctor stopped his racing about when he saw Darcy. “You again.”

Darcy grinned smugly. “Me.”

I braced myself. This put me just ahead of Darcy, blocking her from the Doctor’s path. “So this is it?”

The Doctor ran up to the screaming portrait. “It is. Only-”

“You found it, then?” Rose asked, coming up.

“They knew I was coming. They blocked it off.” The Doctor finished, annoyed at being interrupted.

“I don’t get it. How come they got in there?” Rose asked, gesturing to the portrait.

“Rose we all saw it. They teleported.” I reminded her, annoyed. Darcy snorted.

“As long as the ship and the ballroom are linked, their short range teleports will do the trick.” The Doctor added in a rush.

“Well, we’ll go in the TARDIS!” Rose tried.

The Doctor “We can’t use the TARDIS. We’re part of events now.” The Doctor explained, searching on the computer for a solution.

Darcy looked to me. I was worrying my lip between my teeth. “You get the horse?” She whispered.

I nodded. “Brie of Dale.” I whispered back. She gave me a grin. “He named himself.”

Sure he did.” Darcy teased. She pulled away. “I’ll go find him.”

“Thank ya kindly.” I whispered.

She winked at me once before slipping away.

“Well, can’t we just smash through?”

“Hyperplex this side, plate glass the other. We need a truck.”

“We don’t have a truck.”

“I know we don’t have a truck!” The Doctor snapped.

“Well, we’ve got to try something.” Rose sighed.

“No. Smash the glass, smash the time window. There’d be no way back.” The Doctor stated, with an air of finality. He and Rose exchanged.

Could everyone just calm down? Please. Such a commotion. Such distressing noise. Kindly remember that this is Versailles.”

“This is the Royal Court, and we are French. I have made a decision. And my decision is no, I shall not be going with you today. I have seen your world, and I have no desire to set foot there again.”

“We do not require your feet.”

“Always decapitating the French royals.” I grumbled. “What’s with that? I’m so annoyed.”

“Found him!” Darcy cheered. She rode back in on Brie of Dale.

“Get off Brie!” I ordered.

Darcy was already sliding off him. She handed me the reigns for him.

“Terra, what are you doing?” The Doctor asked.

“You think I fear you, but I do not fear you even now. You are merely the nightmare of my childhood.”

“Going after her.” I stated. “We don’t have a truck. Brie of Dale will do just fine.”

“Terra I can’t find a way back-”

“Then we won’t!” I argued. The room was thick with tension after I said that.

“The monster from under my bed.”

“I promised, Doctor. I promised.

“And if my nightmare can return to plague me, then rest assured, so will yours.”

The Doctor made his decision. he climbed on Brie’s back with me.

“Brie, run!”

 

==TTI==

 

Never let it be said I don’t like a dramatic entrance.

Once Brie touched down in France, I slowed him down. The Doctor and I winked at Reinette as we rode past her. The French Court screamed in fear at the flying glass.

Brie came to a halt. The Doctor hopped down. I slid off, handing off Brie’s reigns to the nearest Lord.

“Watch the horse, he gets antsy.” I advised. The man was stunned quiet. “Good.”

“Madame de Pompadour. You look younger every day.” The Doctor complimented.

I walked up beside him. Reinette smiled at me again. I had to take a breath, because my brain forgot how to do that for a second. “You...wow...good...sorry out of breath...I think...rode a horse.” I lied.

“What the hell is going on?” King Louis asked.

Reinette seemed to realize she was being rude. “Oh. This is my lover, the King of France.” Reinette introduced us.

“Yeah?” The Doctor sized him up. “Well, we’re the Lord and Lady of Time, and me?” He walked up to the droid. “I’m just here to fix the clock.” He ripped off the mask. The people gasped at seeing the clockwork.

The droid moved it’s blade.

“It’s pointless.” I informed it. The droid turned it’s head to me. “Take a look.”

It looked to the mirror.

“Forget it. It’s over. For you and for us.” The Doctor looked up at the mirror. I kept my eyes on the droid. “Talk about seven years bad luck. Try three thousand.”

The droid wilted enough to move it’s sword away the Doctor’s throat.

 

==TTI==

 

“What happened?” “Mickey asked.

Darcy was walking around the Madame de Pompadour . She was ignoring the humans, filled with their emotions . She knew her sister was fine, that everything was okay. Her only worry was if she was going to get pizza after this, or burritos.

“Where did the time window go? How’re they going to get back?” Mickey gabbed on.

“They don’t.” Darcy supplied.

Rose hadn’t moved from the window.

 

==TTI==

 

“You are stranded .” I continued on from the long speech I’d been making to the droid. It had been pressing the beam button on it’s wrist for a couple minutes now. “No going back for you. You don’t have the parts.”

That seemed to get through it’s glass skull.

“How many ticks left in that clockwork heart, huh?” The Doctor asked. “A day? An hour? It’s over. Accept that. I’m not winding you up.”

“Neither will I. Neither will anyone.”

The droid stopped. The others quickly followed.

The Doctor knelt down to Reinette. He held out his hand. “You all right?”

Reinette nodded. With the Doctor’s help, she was on her feet away from the powered down droids.

She looked at me. I gave her a shaky smile of confidence because my brain kept telling me she’s looking at you she’s looking at you she’slookingat you-

“What’s happened to them?” She asked me.

“They gave up.” I answered. “Cut off their own power by the look of it. They couldn’t have you, what was their purpose anymore?”

 

==TTI==

 

“We can’t fly the TARDIS without him.” Mickey spoke up, as if the two blonde women needed reminding. “How’s he going to get back?”

“Dude, we don’t.” Darcy snarked. She snorted.

Rose snapped in her direction. “He just left us, and you’re laughing?! Like this is all some kind of joke?!”

Darcy shook her head. “Calm down, Baby Spice. If I’ve learned anything about the Doctor, it’s that he always comes back, it may just take a while.” Darcy walked over to a chair, plopping down. “I’d relax, if I were you. Timing’s always a bit off with him. One time it took twelve years.” She snorted. “Good times. He’s always faster with Terra, though. We’ll be good.”

 

==TTI==

 

Sometime later, everyone had calmed down. Reinette was bringing me a glass of wine.

“No thank you.” I told her. “I’ve had enough to drink today.”

Reinette smiled. “Yes...I suppose you have.” She looked off to the room where the Doctor was waiting. “Do you worry for your sister?”

I shook my head. “No. She’s a big girl, she can handle herself.”

“And your friends?”

His friends more than mine.” I corrected. “Not worried about them either.”

“Then are you worried about the Doctor? I know it’s not the horse, I promised to care for him well.” Reinette remarked.

I smiled at that. “You better. Brie’s a proper heroic stallion.” My hand tapped on my thigh, for nothing more than nerves. “Doc Brown is fine too.”

“Then why have you secluded yourself?” Reinette asked.

That made me pause. “I don’t know...” ‘I don’t know why it’s different...with you...why my hearts keep racing...why my brain stops working or goes crazy...why I was more gung-ho than usual to get here...but I know it has something to do with you. I know I blush around you, have been all day, and I know Darcy had to get me drunk to get the truth out of me.’

Of course I said none of this.

Reinette put her hand over my nervously tapping one. My body locked up and relaxed at the same time. How does that even happen ?

“Come with me.” Reinette took hold of my hand. I trailed behind like a lost puppy. We found the Doctor looking up at the stars. “You know all their names, don’t you? I saw that in your mind. The name of every star.”

“What’s in a name? Names are just titles.” The Doctor countered. “Titles don’t tell you anything.”

“Like the Doctor.” Reinette remarked. “Or Terra.”

“Like Madame de Pompadour.”

Reinette giggled at the banter. My hand loosened it’s hold on her’s. She gripped it back tighter. “I have often wished to see those stars a little closer. Just as the two of you have, I think.”

“From time to time.” The Doctor mused.

“In saving me, you trapped yourselves. Did you know that would happen?” Reinette inquired.

“Mmm. Pretty much.” The Doctor shrugged.

“Yet, still you came.” Reinette remarked.

“It was worth it.” I assured her. “Got to save Reinette Poisson from clockwork droids.”

“There were many doors between my world and yours.” Reinette added. “Can you not use one of the others?”

“When the mirror broke, the shock would have severed all the links with the ship. There’ll be a few more broken mirrors and torn tapestries around here, I’m afraid, wherever there was a time window.” The Doctor explained. He winced. “I’ll, I’ll pay for any damage.” Reinette and I laughed. “Er, that’s a thought, I’m going to need money. I was always a bit vague about money. Where do you get money?”

“Banks, my experience.” I supplied. “Saves, treasures chests, people wallets. Money’s everywhere.”

Terra.” The Doctor warmed. However a grin was on his face.

“So, here you are, my lonely angels, stuck on the slow path with me.” Reinette mused.

“Yep, the slow path.” The Doctor held up his glass “Here’s to the slow path.”

They toasted their drinks.

I snorted. “Reinette, will you tell us your plan please? The Doctor will last one hour - maybe two on the slow path.”

“Oi. I can do the slow path.” The Doctor defended. “Hold on. She’s got a plan?”

“Of course she does. Reinette?”

“It’s a pity. I think I would’ve enjoyed the slow path.” She remarked, smiling still.

“Well, we’re not going anywhere...are we?”

Reinette beamed. “Come with me.” She held my hand again, leading me along with the Doctor following behind.

 

==TTI==

 

She brought us to her bedroom. Now I know she didn’t mean it this way, but I saw that bed covered in flower petals and blushed.

“It’s not a copy, it’s the original. I had it moved here and was exact in every detail.” Reinette explained.

“The fireplace. The fireplace from your bedroom.” The Doctor realized. “When did you do this?”

“Many years ago, in the hope that a door once opened, may someday open again. One never quite knows when one needs one’s Doctor.” Reinette explained. “It appears undamaged. Do you think it will still work?”

“You broke the bond with the ship when you moved it, which means it was offline when the mirror broke. That’s what saved it. But the link is basically physical, and it’s still physically here. Which might just mean, if I’m lucky. If I’m very, very, very, very, very, very lucky.” He tapped along the fireplace. “Ah ha!”

“What?” Reinette’s hand grabbed mine. I squeezed it back.

“Loose connection.” The Doctor ran the sonic over the fireplace. “Need to get a man in.”

I thumped it. There was a clunk.

“Or Terra can hit it. That works too.” He hopped aboard.

I glanced to Reinette, giving her a bittersweet smile.

“Wish us luck!” The Doctor requested as I grabbed the mantle.

“No.”

The Doctor’s face fell as we turned. Once we did I knelt into the fire.

“Reinette!” I called out.

She ran up.

“Wanna see the stars?” I asked.

Reinette beamed. Or maybe it was just the firelight making her skin glow. “More than anything.”

“Pack a bag, then, Madame.”

“Am I going somewhere?” Reinette asked.

“I promise you, Reinette Poisson, that if you pick a star in your sky I will take you to it.” I swore. Now I didn’t know how, or even when, but I knew I would be there to take her to that star.

Reinette ran off.

Turning around, I noticed Darcy standing behind me. “Uhh.”

“Doc went to greet the flower child.” Darcy explained, pointing with her thumb towards the Doctor. “You’re writing checks my ass has to cash.”

“You’ve always been good at that?” I offered as an excuse.

“Do you know how many calls I’m gonna have to make for you to take Reinette to a star?” Darcy asked.

If this is how I sounded to her when she wanted to go partying, I nearly felt bad. “Three?”

“...one.”

“Oh. Sounds easy enough. Tell Future Me to treat her right.”

Darcy grunted in annoyance. She pulled a phone out of her pocket. “I hate your smug face.”

“It’s your face.” I reminded her.

“We don’t look alike right now. I hate your smug face.” She repeated. She put the phone back in her pocket. “You couldn’t answer, said you’ll text me later.”

At that moment, the Doctor ran past us to the fireplace. “Reinette!”

I rolled away from the fireplace as it turned back to France. Darcy looked down to me.

“Dude. Do you alway avoid your problems via barrel roll?” Darcy joked.

“...can I start?”

    

==TTI==

 

The Doctor came back to the TARDIS without Reinette some twenty minutes later.

It was clear from his expression what had happened.

I was back in my sitting spot, ignoring the humans. Darcy had opted to stay onboard the Madame de Pompadour.

“Why her?” Rose asked him. Why did they think they could repair the ship with the head of Madame de Pompadour? Terra said she didn’t know.”

“We’ll probably never know.” The Doctor admitted. “There was massive damage in the computer memory banks. It probably got confused. The TARDIS can close down the time windows now the droids are gone. Should stop it causing any more trouble.”

“Are you alright?” Rose asked.

“I’m always alright.” The Doctor replied.

“Terra said that too.” Rose informed.

The Doctor looked up at me. I looked away.

“Carl was outside.”

“Said she was gonna stay.” Rose answered. “She said she was going to be picked up later.”

The Doctor had probably wanted me to answer. Whatever.

Mickey got a clue. “Come on, Rose. It’s time you showed me around the rest of this place.” He and Rose walked down the back.

I ignored them.

“Terra.”

I turned.

The Doctor was holding up a letter to me.

I refused to reach out.

“She wrote this for you.” The Doctor requested.

So for Reinette, I took the letter from his hand. I hopped down from my spot, rushing off to my room.

It wasn’t until my door was locked tight and I was curled up in bed that I read her letter.

Dear Terra, my lonely angel.

Oh how I’ve missed you. There is so much I wish to say that I know written word can’t commute to you.

Reason has told me I have seen you for the last time, as reason told me of the Doctor so long ago. I have seen you many times since that night. It was you who told me when you would receive this later, on the day we first met. How poetic that the day we met was also the day we parted.

Tell him about her. He won’t hate her as you think. If what I have seen of your much beloved family, they will be welcomed.

As for

I looked away from it. Too many emotions, too fast.

After bracing myself I continued to read.

As for your promise...you need not fret, my angel. You have shown me many stars. You should know my younger self looks ever so forward to hearing about your stories.

With all my love,

Reinette Poisson

The girl in the fireplace

 

==TTI==

 

“You carved my name on a clock?” Darcy groaned into the phone.

The person on the other end snorted.

“Seriously. I get you a lead for Logan, and a pig, and you rat me out to Star Lady?”

More laughter. “Well yeah. You were messing with the timeline.”

Darcy groaned. She ran her hand over her face. “I was trying to stop-”

“I know. ” The other replied, more sullen. “But we can’t stop it.”

“We can try!”

“It’s not your job to keep Terra safe.”

“It should be!” Darcy argued. "The last time someone she loved admitting liking someone else she-"

“It’s not just your job, it’s all of our job to keep her safe! ” The man snapped. Darcy paused. “We’re coming in twenty for evac. Star Lady still wanna show Reinette the stars?”

“You and I both know she never breaks a promise.” Darcy spoke, more subdued. “Even if it takes her two hundred freakin’ years."

 

Chapter Text

Gamora fixed her belt.

Correction.

Gamora threw her belt.

At the wall.

Beside Drax’s head.

Drax blinked at it, nonchalant. “You’re not happy.”

“No shit dumbass!” Gamora snapped. She stomped her foot for good measure. “Nothing got done! Nothing!

“You heard from Terra that she would be attack by Logan, and then look what happened.” Drax pointed out. “So we got his trail there.”

“And then lost it, because Logan only lets us think we’re close.” Gamora argued, fiercely. “We end up in a dump like this -” Gamora kicked a nearby wall.

It’s true, they’d ended up at a dump. Logan’s trace had brought them to nothing better than a dead end. He’d beamed away from Earth to a location that Gamora and Drax thought they could track. They tracked in to a galaxy five billion light years away. They even dressed up in their most badass all black outfits (the only colors being their purple and blue Guardian belts)

There was an outhouse on a lone, deserted planet. Well not a proper outhouse, this building was the size of a gas station. This was just a stupid building on a planet that was barely bigger than Earth’s moon. Gamora and Drax could fit inside with plenty of space to spare.

Which is how they saw the note left behind. The only possible culprit? Garfield Logan.

‘Beep beep’

He was mocking them.

That was when Gamora had thrown the belt.

“It was a good lead-” Drax reminded her.

“That was pointless like Star Lady’s nails!” Gamora interrupted. She kicked at the stones on the ground. “Fuck! I hate him! I hate him so goddamn much!”

“We all do, Mora.” Drax sighed. His fist clenched at his side. His blue eyes glared at the ‘beep beep’ sign. “We should get back to base-”

“We could’ve saved her. Really saved her!” Gamora raged. “When it happens, it’s not gonna be pretty!”

Drax turned to her, confused. “When what happens?” A lot of stuff ‘happens’ , she needed to narrow herself down.

“When the person she likes, likes someone else! And tells her about it!” Gamora argued.

Drax was still confused. “She’s seen it before and she’s fine.” He shrugged.

“You never watched her.” Gamora snarled. She pointed a finger in his face. Drax was suddenly reminded Gamora had really sharp nails. “Fine but not okay. Never okay.”

“Wow yep that’s on me haha.” Drax warily stared at Gamora’s nail at his face. “Move the murder finger, please?”

Gamora presses it closer to his face. She was snarling in her usual pure sadistic gleeful way.

“Besides, Logan’s not the problem with that.” Drax pointed out, hoping to save himself.

“THEN WHAT IS!” Gamora shouted. “NONE OF YOU WILL EVER FUCKING TELL ME! HOW CAN I SAVE HER IF NONE OF YOU TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED?!”

“BECAUSE WE WANT TO STOP IT TOO!” Drax shouted.

Gamora tensed.

Drax was suddenly enraged. He slapped Gamora’s hand out of his face, waving his own finger at her. “You think that just because you’re her sister that you’re the only person that cares about her? That you’re the only one who could keep her safe? That we don’t care because she’s not family ?” Drax spat.

Gamora was more surprised she’d gotten Drax angry. The man had always been able to stay calm, no matter what Gamora was shouting at him.

“I want Garfield Logan dead . Don’t mistake me!” Drax raged. “After all he’s done to Terra, and all the things we don’t even know about?! I want him gone from her world. This world- where she can be happy and have fun. He fucking taints it with the air he breaths like those ogres from that videogame you like!”

Gamora nodded, jaw now dropped.

“But no matter how we fight him.” Drax’s rant was settling now. He was taking deeper breaths between sentences. Gamora saw his fists unclench, come to rest at his sides. “How hard we hit, or keep him from her. He always finds some way back.”

“...so what do we do now?” Gamora asked in the silence that followed.

Drax took another breath.

He smirked. He pointed at the roadrunner sign. “We take that back to base, and come up with a way to throw it back in his face the next time we kick his butt.”

Gamora grinned. Already her mind was coming up with one-liners.

 

==TTI==

 

Back at their base, Gamora waited in Drax’s room. She was throwing knives at a poster he hung up.

Drax walked in to see one blade hit the face.

“Not my Zefron!” Drax gasped. He ran to the poster, pulling out the knives. He was being careful not to hurt the poster.

Gamora snorted, twirling a knife between her fingers. “Still can’t believe you like Zefron.”

“He’s Zefron .” Drax replied in a ‘duh’ tone. “Anyway. Gave the sign to-”

Someone pounded on his door. Drax made a humming noise.

Gamora raised her hands up. “I remember this. Gotta hide.”

Drax turned to her, aiming the butt of a knife. “If this is broken, you owe me a new one!”

Halfway through his sentence, Gamora had hidden in the closet. Darcy Anderson opened his door.

She blinked. “You like Zefron?”

Drax groaned. He rolled his eyes so hard they nearly stuck that way. “He’s Zefron!” He repeated.

Darcy huffed. She walked up to the same spot her future self had just been standing. She moved her hands to her hips. “Why do I need to fix your fucking fanboy poster?”

This Darcy was younger than the one that just hid in his closet. Drax could tell that this Darcy had the maturity of a fourteen year old girl. She looked fifteen which didn’t help matters. Gamora at least looked twenty, with a maturity to (almost) match.

Darcy was wearing a low cut blue top, with boyfriend jeans and sneakers. She was wearing a belt like they all did. Just like Gamora’s, except Drax could smell how new it was.

Drax took a deep breath. “Not important. What are you doing in my room?”

“I wanna know where the fuck I’m supposed to put Dakota.” The younger Darcy deadpanned.

Drax tilted his head. “...which one was that again?”

“The Controller from the Game Station. Pale as a fucking sheet?” She pointed with her thumb to the door. “She’s outside, and I’ve got nowhere to fucking put her.”

Drax tilted his head the other direction.

“Not in my fucking room.” Darcy argued. “I already have the fucking pig.”

Drax blinked.

“Penelope!” Darcy reminded him.

In the closet, Gamora was hiding her snickers.

Drax’s expression lit up. “Oh! I thought you meant your sister.”

Darcy hummed. “Fair guess.” She shrugged. “But seriously, where’s the girl staying?”

“Mantis is staying with-”

“I’m not asking about Mantis. I’m asking about Dakota. ” Darcy corrected.

“No. We’re going by the codenames.”

“Hold up. That name you assholes gave me on the Valiant ? I’m supposed to answer to that? Fucking why ?!”

In the closet, Gamora bit her fist to keep from laughing.

“For safety...stuff!” Drax defended.

She bit harder onto her fist.

Darcy was giving Drax a confused, annoyed glare.

Drax sat up in his seat. “We can’t use our real names here. Not only are they spoilers for Star Lady, but for everyone around her. Why do you think she calls you Carl?”

“Because she loves those llamas more than her parents ever loved her?” Darcy replied, completely serious.

Drax wasn’t gonna touch that one. “Because she doesn’t want any of his companions knowing who you are . You’re Gamora or Carl, I’m Drax, Terra is Star Lady, Dakota is Mantis.

“Why those names?!” Darcy asked.

Drax mumbled.

“The fuck dude. I don’t have Time Lord hearing.” Darcy snarked at him.

“...she wouldn’t let me use the Avenger names.” Drax admitted, shyly.

Darcy gawked.

Gamora had to bite her other fist.

“I should’ve known it was a nerd thing.” Darcy deadpanned. “Stupid me, for not getting that.”

“There’s a ton of Warhammer 40k in your room to distract you from the pig.” Drax cheered.

“Dude really?!” Darcy cheered. She dropped the cheer as fast as she got it. “This is a bribe to keep me shut me up in here, isn’t it?”

Drax didn’t tell her she was wrong.

She clicked her tongue. “It’s a good bribe, my sister is smart.” She walked to the door. “Ugh- nearly missed- what about ‘ Mantis ’?”

Drax shrugged. “Nah don’t worry. I already told Groot to show her around.” Darcy tilted her head. Drax could see the question on her mind. “Yeah, we got others. I’d be stupid if all of this was just on me . I can’t be trusted to watch the class hamster. If we had a hamster. Or a class.”

Darcy shrugged. She didn’t know who ‘Groot’ was. She was just happy she wasn’t listening to Dakota go on and on about how she hated modern day. Like, Darcy hated it too but she stopped complaining about it years ago.

“Later. I’m gonna go kill people.” She waved her hand, walking out the door. She slammed the door shut.

“Please tell me you meant in Warhammer.” Drax asked Gamora.

Gamora waited for the door to slam shut before coming out of her hiding space.

“I was young and stupid, and didn’t know the consequences of what you just said. We left Groot in charge another human life?!”

“Technically-” ‘Groot’s not human’. Drax paused. He remembered they had left Groot in charge of a human recruit. To say it hadn’t gone well would be an understatement. “-Groot’s not human.”

Gamora’s look of surprise grew. Then it changed to mad laughter. “Holy shit . That’s awesome. I gotta go see her now .”

She ran out, slamming the door behind her.

“Right. Neither of you are fixing Zefron?!” Drax remarked. “It’s limited edition! I stole this from Starkid!”

Chapter Text

Two weeks of traveling in space time with Mickey. The guy wasn’t that bad. He had some funny stories if you let him finish it.

Sometimes though, Mickey would start a story before being overshadowed by the Doctor and Rose. Their stories were...bigger than his.

I was in my usual spot, watching it all unfold.

“And that weird munchkin lady with the big eyes? Do you remember?” The Doctor laughed. Rose laughed too. “The way she looked at you! And then she opens her mouth and fire comes out!”

“I thought I was going to get frazzled!” Rose cackled.

“Yeah. One minute she’s standing there, and the next minute roar!” The Doctor recalled.

“Yeah. where was that, then?” Mickey asked, in delight. The Doctor and Rose’s laughter faded off. “What happened?”

“There was a asteroid about three thousand years in the future.” I explained to him from my spot. Mickey looked up at me. “Whole society up there. The woman in charge- turns out she hates it when people walk in her path. She was the munchkin lady.”

Mickey snorted. “And what, none of you know?”

“She was dressed in rags! Which to their culture are apparently riches.” I explained, grinning myself.

“Then you must’ve been a god to them.” Mickey teased.

I gawked at him. “You... twerp !”

“Er, what’re you doing that for?” The Doctor asked. He was pointing towards Mickey, and the button he was pushing.

“Because you told me to.” Mickey answered, confused.

The Doctor winced. “When was that?”

Mickey shrugged. “About half an hour ago.”

“Er, you can let go now.” The Doctor stated. Rose was doing a bad job of hiding her snickers. I bit my lip, looking down in shame.

“Well, how long’s it been since I could’ve stopped?” He asked.

“Ten minutes? Twenty?” The Doctor scratched the back of his head. “Twenty nine?”

“You just forgot me!” Mickey shouted, offended.

“No, no, no. I was just, I was, I was calibrating.” I held to the coral I was leaning against. “I was just. No, I know exactly what I’m doing.”

The console lit up in sparks.

The TARDIS tilted.

I held tighter to the coral. Everyone floor level was screaming as the toppled around.

“What’s happened?” Rose shouted over the roar of the sparks.

“The time vortex is gone. That’s impossible. It’s just gone.” The Doctor reported. “Brace yourself! We’re going to crash!”

One more time, I held the coral. My legs bent to hold the metal flooring beneath me. In my mind I heard the whirring noise of the TARDIS loudly. If you didn’t know better, you’d wonder if she was screaming. I knew better. I knew that she actually was .

Instead of the violent crash they were expecting, the TARDIS just came to a hard stop.

Gas masks fell from the ceiling, in precarious places where we’d been standing. One almost hit my head.

“Everyone all right? Rose? Mickey?” The Doctor looked up at me. “Terra? You’re still up-”

“No more words for you!” I shouted at him. “Words are banned for you forever!” Moving one arm, I moved it angrily in his direction. “When you speak things like this happen!”

There was silence in reply.

“I’m fine. I’m okay.” Mickey assured as he got up to his feet. “Sorry. Yeah.”

I hopped down from my ledge.

“She’s-”

“I said no words!” I shouted at him. “Nothing! Zip it!”

The Doctor- looking at me in surprise- did so.

Taking a deep breath, I reminded myself to calm down.

“Why’s the TARDIS so dark?” Mickey asked.

“Oh she’s dead.” I replied, blandly. “Mostly dead! Mostly . Geez, y’all are weak.”

“You can fix it?” Rose asked the Doctor.

He glanced to me.

“We’ll do our best.” I stated for him.

“Terra, there’s nothing to fix.” The Doctor pointed out.

“Shut up. She’s not dead. She’s not.”

“She’s gone, Terra. Perished. The last TARDIS in the universe. Extinct.” The Doctor stated, not happy about what he was saying.

I shook my head- willfully ignoring him. She was alive deep inside. She was gonna be annoyed when she came back to life- I just knew it.

“We can get help, yeah?” Rose asked, voice soft.

“Where from?” The Doctor countered.

“Well, we’ve landed. We’ve got to be somewhere.” Rose assured him.

Mickey looked to the door. I followed him.

“We fell out of the vortex, through the void, into nothingness. We’re in some sort of no place. The silent realm. The lost dimension.”

Mickey flung the door open. I stepped outside once he did.

“Otherwise known as London.” Mickey remarked.

The Doctor and Rose- confused- walked to the door.

“Like I said, no more words!” I smacked the Doctor upside his head.

“Ow!” The Doctor rubbed the back of his head. “Was that another Slap?”

“That doesn’t count- it was a Gibbs. Gibbs’ don’t count.”

“That- that doesn’t make sense!” The Doctor whined.

“Neither does any of this!” I reasoned. “So shut up!”

“London, England, Earth. Hold on.” Mickey walked over the a trash can. He pulled a newspaper out from it. Rose hopped down to his side. “First of February this year not exactly far flung, is it?”

“Not flung into the future, no.” I remarked, looking up. The Doctor followed my line of sight.

“So this is London.” The Doctor added, more to Mickey.

“Yep.” Mickey cheered.

“Your city.” The Doctor continued.

“On your planet.”

Mickey puffed his chest in pride. “That’s the one.”

“Just as we left it.”

“Bang on.”

“And that includes the Zeppelins?”

Mickey did a double take up in the sky. “What the hell?”

Sure enough, the London sky of Pete’s World was covered in Zeppelins. Some had the Cyber C on them, so dark a grey they almost blended in with the zeppelins they were on.

“That’s beautiful.” Rose praised.

I shrugged. “Sure, if you like that kinda thing.”

“Okay, so it’s London with a big international Zeppelin festival.” Mickey tried to reason.

“This is not your world.” The Doctor told him.

“But if the date’s the same.” Mickey thought about it. “It’s parallel, right?” He realized. “Am I right? Like a parallel Earth where they’ve got Zeppelins. Am I right? I’m right, aren’t I?”

“For once, yes.” I patted him on the back. “Gettin’ smarter, Mickey the Idiot.”

Mickey shrugged off my hand, grinning at me. “Well someone’s gotta be around here.”

Rose took a step forward. We followed. Her focus was on the announcements straight ahead of us. “So, a parallel world where-”

“Oh, come on. You’ve seen it on films. Like an alternative to our world where everything’s the same but a little bit different, like, I don’t know, traffic lights are blue, Tony Blair never got elected.” Mickey cheered.

Rose pointed up. “And he’s still alive.”

The boys followed her gaze, seeing a sign with Peter Tyler’s face on it.

“A parallel world and my dad’s still alive.” Rose breathed out. She walked towards it.

“Don’t look at it, Rose. Don’t even think about it. This is not your world.” The Doctor told her sternly.

“You can’t get attached.” I told Rose. “At all. He looks and talks like him, but he’s not your dad.”

“But he’s my dad and-” She reaches her hand out to it. Her touch activated the advertisement.

Trust me on this.” Pete grinned from the screen.

“Well, that’s weird.” Rose admitted before grinning her trademark grin. “But he’s real.”

Trust me on this.”

“He’s a success.” Rose cheered with pride. “He was always planning these daft little schemes. Health food, drinks and stuff. Everyone said they were useless. But he did it.”

The Doctor turned Rose away from the ad. “Rose, if you’ve ever trusted me, then listen to me now. Stop looking at it. Your father’s dead. He died when you were six months old.”

I glanced at Mickey. He was looking down at his shoes, a far off look in his eyes. I knew that look. Hell I’d lived that look. You just hoped that your family existed in the new world- maybe you could see them again, pick up where you left off. Only it never worked. They were never your family.

“That is not your Pete. That is a Pete. For all we know, he’s got his own Jackie, his own Rose. His own daughter who is someone else, but not you. You can’t see him. Not ever.”

“It’s not worth it.” I added for the Doctor’s sake. ‘You only get your heart broken.’

Trust me on this. Trust me on this. Trust me on this. Trust me on this.”

 

==TTI==

 

Awhile later, I walked inside the TARDIS.

“I told you to keep an eye on her.” The Doctor remarked.

“Even the Universe’s Greatest Babysitter needs a day-off.” I replied. “I let Mickey do it.”

“She goes wandering off. Parallel world, it’s like a gingerbread house.” The Doctor scolded me. “All those temptations calling out.”

“Just Rose? I left Mickey out there too. He’ll get tempted by something too.” I scolded back. The Doctor made a noise of disagreement. “And what about me? What makes you think I won’t be tempted, huh?”

“There’s nothing here to tempt you.” The Doctor brushed off. “Your human family isn’t your human family, Jack doesn’t exist for another three thousand years, though I’m not sure about Carl-”

“You think those are the things that would tempt me? Stuff I can already see back in their world?” I countered.

The Doctor paused. “Why? Terra if you’re thinking about something-”

“Doctor. Just stop.” I asked, holding up my hand. “You don’t have to worry about everything. That’s my thing.”

The Doctor huffed. “I know. I don’t know.” He walked to the console. “If I could just get this thing to-” He gave the console a hefty kick.

I failed to hide a snort. “Did that help?” I teased.

The Doctor “Yes.” He replied, walking to the pilot seat.

“Did that hurt though?” I continued to tease.

“Yes. Ow.” He held his foot up, massaing the toe of his shoe. I laughed. “Laugh it up. One day, you’re going to hurt your foot, and I’ll laugh.”

“Yeah I’ll-haha- hurt my foot-haha- you know how I won’t hurt it? Kicking the console unit!” I laughed.

The Doctor scoffed.

After a few minutes of him holding his foot and I stopped laughing, we were serious again.

“We’re not meant to be here.” The Doctor remarked. “The TARDIS draws it’s power from the universe, but it’s the wrong universe. It’s like diesel in a petrol engine.”

Leaning against the console, I looked up at the central piece. The piece that would always move and was what held the TARDIS inside.

“Was it common for Time Lords?” I asked him. “For us to go to parallel realities?”

The Doctor shook his head, blowing air out of his mouth. “Not like in the comics. How much easier it would be if it were. When the Time Lords kept their eye on everything, you could hop between realities, home in time for tea. Then they died, and took it all with them. The walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed. Everything became that bit less kind.”

“Then how did we get here?” I asked him.

“I don’t know. Accident?” He ran a hand over his face. “Should’ve been impossible. Now we’re trapped. ”

I hummed, stopping myself from saying anything.

“Why, you’ve got an idea?” The Doctor asked.

Shrugging, I slipped my hands in my pockets. “Just...maybe we were supposed to land here. Like...like a fixed point that we couldn’t ignore. That she couldn’t ignore.”

“Nah. It wouldn’t be a fixed point. Those are-” The Doctor paused. “Complicated. Really complicated.”

“So is going back twice on the same day to see Rose’s father die.” I pointed out. “But we had to, had to cause that paradox so that Rose could meet her dad, because when she knew him she convinced Jackie about time travel and how Pete would’ve wanted to save you- back when you were Nine. It got Jackie to help open the TARDIS so Rose could-unfortunately- turn into the Bad Wolf and stop the Daleks- saving you as a side point. If we hadn’t made a paradox, the Daleks could still be doing their thing and you would be dead. Or...sorry...I’m just being stupid-”

“It’s a decent theory.” The Doctor remarked, assuring me that it hadn’t been completely stupid. “But it doesn’t explain why we’re here . Why would the TARDIS bring us somewhere she couldn’t recharge?”

“Well...if you follow my theory...we’re gonna need something in this universe someday.”

The Doctor absorbed this theory. “You think so?”

“It’s the only explanation I can think of as to why she’d do this herself.” I admitted. “Because she had no other way to get us here.” My eyes caught sight of the green glowing part. “Doc Brown. What’s that?”

He followed my line of sight.

“That, there. Is that a reflection?” The Doctor looked up. I walked towards it, moving the metal flooring so I could reach it. “It’s a light! Is it? Is that a light? I think that’s a light.” The Doctor helped me move the flooring. “That’s all we need. We’ve got power! Terra, we’ve got power! Ha!”

He jumped down into the wires. He reached for the part, tossing out the things in his way. I had to move quick to dodge most of them.

“It’s alive!” The Doctor cheered loudly.

“Yeah I got that!” I snarked. “But how much of it?”

“It’s nothing. It’s tiny.” He handed me another part. Moving it to the side, I watched his untangle wires around himself. “One of those insignificant little power cells that no one ever bothers about, and it’s clinging onto life, with one little ounce of reality tucked away inside.”

“Enough to get us home?” I asked, knowing the answer already. He pulled it up to me.

“Not yet. I need to charge it up.” The Doctor replied, staring at the green glowing blip.

“Why do I get the feeling that we’re the battery?” I asked myself.

The Doctor grinned. He blew air onto the blip. It glowed brighter and brighter, until it’s light could shine over the Doctor’s face.

“I just gave away ten years of my life. Worth every second.” The Doctor beamed.

The light faded out, before coming back.

“It’s on a recharging cycle.” The Doctor explained, without me having asked. “It’ll loop round, power back up and be ready to take us home in, oo, twenty four hours?”

“Twenty four hours on a parallel world?”

“Shore leave. As long as we keep our heads down. Easy. No problem.” The Doctor assured me. Which didn’t work. At all. I gave him a look to show how much I agreed with his assessment. “Let’s go and tell the humans.”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor cheerfully walked by me. “There you are. You all right? No applause. I fixed it. Twenty four hours, then we’re flying back to reality.”

“I told her it was a bad idea!”

“Great way to start a conversation, Mick.” I remarked as we came up to the bench. ‘If I had a nickel every time I said that growing up with Darcy...I’d have more money than Peter Tyler.’ “Why don’t you tell us how ‘nobody died’ and ‘it most definitely wasn’t your fault’.

“It’s not!” Mickey defended.

I gave him a deadpan stare.

“What is it?” The Doctor asked Rose, cheer dropping.

“My phone connected.” Rose admitted. “There’s this Cybus Network. It finds your phone. It gave me Internet access.”

“Rose, whatever it says, this is the wrong world.” The Doctor reminded her.

“I don’t exist.” Rose revealed.

“What do you mean?”

“There’s no Rose Tyler. I was never born. There’s Pete, my dad, and Jackie.” Rose explained. “He still married mum but they never had kids.”

“Give me that phone.” The Doctor tried to yank it from her hands.

Rose jerked it out of his reach. “They’re rich. They’ve got a house and cars, and everything they want.” She stood up off the bench. She stared the Doctor down, daring him to tell her no. “But they haven’t got me. I’ve got to see him.”

“You can’t.” The Doctor reminded her.

“I just want to see him.”

I looked to Mickey, feeling like a fourth wheel. Mickey was much the same, looking anywhere else but the couple.

“I can’t let you.”

“You just said twenty four hours!”

“You can’t become their daughter, that’s not the way it works. Terra, Mickey, tell her.” The Doctor instructed.

“Twenty four hours, yeah?” Mickey mused.

“Where’re you going?” The Doctor asked, incredulous. I sat on the bench, letting my head rest on the back of it.

“Well, I can do what I want.” Mickey shrugged, walking the opposite direction as Rose.

“I’ve got the address and everything.” Rose held up her phone, still starting to walk away.

“Stay where you are, both of you. Rose, come back here! Mickey, come back here right now!” The Doctor looked to me. “A little help would be appreciated!”

I sighed, hopping up off my seat. “Mickey! Where we off to?” Mickey grinned.

“Not the help I had in mind!” The Doctor shouted.

“I just want to see him.” Rose pleaded.

“Yeah, I’ve got things to see and all.” Mickey threw his arm over my shoulder. I shook it off, sliding my hands in my hoodie pockets.

“Like what? ” The Doctor snapped.

“Well, you don’t know anything about me, do you? It’s always about Rose.” Mickey pointed out. “I’m just a spare part.”

“Dude, let’s just go. Field trip time!” I grabbed Mickey’s arm, walking us away from the couple.

“I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.”

The Doctor looked between Rose, and Mickey and me. He was obviously going to run after Rose.

“Doctor just go.” I told him. ‘I don’t want to go.’ “We’ll be fine.”

“There’s no choice, is there? You can only chase after one of us.” Mickey added. “It’s never going to be me, is it?”

The Doctor started running after Rose. “Back here, twenty four hours!” He called back to us.

“Yeah. If I haven’t found something better.” Mickey stated. He had a hard look in his eye, that whatever he found would be better than this.

“Mickey.” I began.

“What?” He asked, voice cracking down like a lightning blast. “I’m right. All the time, he and her just prattle on, ignoring me. Ignoring you half the time!”

“Because they’re idiots in love, and we’re the wheels in the back who keep bumping into them.” I pointed out. “Now. Where are you going?”

Mickey braced himself. He stuffed his own hands in his jacket pockets. “This way. Come on.”

So I followed Mickey Smith, fully aware I was missing a chance to see Rose-the-Dog by doing this.

 

==TTI==

 

Mickey explained the story of his gran to me. He got emotional to the end, covering it up to be tough. Didn’t wanna see his grandma with tears in his voice, I understood that.

We were walking up to the roadblock. A car pulled up as we got close.

“Are we all right to get past?” Mickey asked the soldier.

The soldier gave a both a once over. His colleague was still talking to car-guy.

“Yeah. No bother. Curfew doesn’t start till ten.” He replied.

“There’s a curfew?”

Now, I would’ve said something, except I was nervous. Both about how Americans might be treated on this side of the dimensional pond, and from the voice I could hear from the car.

Because I knew him.

“Course there is. Where you been living, mate? Up there with the toffs?” The soldier pointed up to the zeppelins.

The car at the stop pulled away. I watched it, rapt.

“We wish. See you.” Mickey grinned good naturedly at the soldiers.

So we walked by the roadblock, alongside the car.

Once we were out of hearing range from the soldiers I turned to Mickey.

“Mickey. As much as I want to go see your gran with you- and believe me I do .” My eyes snt back to where the car was driving away. “I just...have to see.”

“See what?” Mickey called out.

“See if it was really him !”

 

==TTI==

 

Chasing a car was not one of the things Time Lords could do. So I just cheated- made my own way to where I suspected he was headed. There was a shortcut on a nearby street- I recall.

This how I got to his flat before he did.

Which, once inside, I knew everything I needed to know.

He opened the front door- not noticing I was there at first. He walked inside. I heard the jingling of keys in a key bowl. He was such a neat freak. The only people I know that put their keys in the bowl are Sheldon Cooper, and anyone unfortunate to live with Sheldon Cooper.

He stopped where he was. He heard my hearts beating.

“I thought you’d be in the tops.” I commented. “You liked being high off the ground.”

The man walked forward. I turned on the lamp nearby, bringing him into the light.

He was an older guy- guess that would never change. What a comfort. If I were to pick a famous person to describe him, I’d say it was a cross between Russell Crowe and Jeff Bridges. He was wearing an outfit that didn’t expose his skin to light, a hat to cover his face.

Afterall, even a well-fed vampire has to avoid the sunlight.

“At first I didn’t believe it, that you existed here they way you do.” I remarked. The man walked closer to me, gawking at me sitting in his leather chair. I made no move to stop him. “Except there you are. Dressed like an emo that forgot to make the clothes black.”

“Who are you? How do you know me?” He demanded.

“You don’t know me. My hope is you never do, in this world.” I went on.

The man- Lawrence Latshaw- held up a gun at me.

Y’all don’t know him. Lawrence was a big name in the vamp underground, back when I was...you know. Everyone who knew him, loved him. He helped vampires. He gave them new identities when they needed them, food, shelter from the vampire hunters. If you were in a bind, Latshaw was where you went.

As for why he was in England, it was because it was English. He flew around a lot. Guess this Latshaw had his wings clipped. Fuck the Cybermen.

Everyone loved him, and my vampire self hated him, and I loved everything she hated. Latshaw- for all his help- also knew which vampires he could help. He helped Tony get away from my vampire self- something I’ve always thanked Lawrence for since it happened and my vampire self planned out his murder.

Yeah he was a vampire- but one who killed other vampires who caused extreme harm to humans. He was my hero.

“Mostly because I was never born.” I ignored the weapon. “So I guess you’re safe on that.” He cocked it. “Don’t try. You’ll only end up disappointed, and I can’t promise the next girl is gonna be nice.”

“What are you doing here?” Lawrence demanded.

“I need to ask you a question.” I admitted after a pause.

“How did you get inside?”

“Door was easy to hack.” I excused. “It’s exactly like I remember. Well not exact- security is lax this year- gets more hi-tech in a decade. That’s when they make that blood scanning one. I was half expecting it but no, just fancy locks on the doors and windows. Your alarm code hasn’t changed either. Dude, you don’t change it-”

Lawrence leapt at me.

I dived out of the chair. Lawrence scratched the leather in his chair. When he turned his head to me, his fangs were out and his eyes were all black.

Ignoring the fear running in my veins, I let him jump at me. Once he did I wrapped him in a headlock- being careful not to have any part of me close to his mouth. My legs locked around his arms to keep him from lashing out.

“You’ve fought my kind before.” Lawrence remarked. He dug his claws into my leg.

“It was the only way I could sleep.” I explained. Tightening my hold on his arm, I decided to just subdue him.

‘Choking out your hero isn’t nearly as fun as smut fics made it sound.’

Lawrence pulled me over his shoulder, down on the ground.

“You must not have slept well.” He taunted.

“Not an author-damned night .” I performed a kip-up. One leg swung out to kick Lawrence in the stomach. He stumbled back. In that confusion I kicked him repeatedly in the face.

After the tenth kick he caught my leg. I grunted as his claws dug into the thigh.

“What are you?” He spat in a language I could never forget.

“Your biggest fan.” I replied. His eyes widened at the vampiric language falling off my lips.

Taking advantage of his surprise, I flung him off my body. He stumbled back. I leapt on him. He fell to the floor. I twisted him into his back, pulling his arm back while my butt pressed down on his lower back.

“You’re Lawrence Latshaw. You stopped the Vampire Attack of ‘24, where thirty vampires had planned an attack on an embassy and you stopped it. You helped keep the newbies alive when their sires abandoned them. You are awesome !”

“I...was talking about the hearts.” Lawrence grunted.

I pushed down on his arm to keep him in place. “Yeah- yeah I’ve it two. Recent upgrade haven’t decided if a like it.” ‘Did I just bring up upgrades in a universe with Cybermen? Oh fuck me-’

“How- ugh- did you speak it?” Lawrence grunted again.

I leaned back, letting his arm go. “I was it. For fifty years.” I revealed. “You asked your questions. I get to ask mine now.”

Lawrence growled.

“How the hell do vampires exist in this world?!” I snapped. “You shouldn’t even exist here! Lawrence explain!”

‘Vine reference for the win!’

Lawrence twisted his head to glare at me. He snarled at me.

With no better option to shut him up, I pressed my forehead against his.

 

==TTI==

 

She was going to kill him.

She’d found Lawrence Latshaw- and she was going to kill him.

She’d flown to England. She hunted him down like she was on a hunt. She broke into his flat- it took awhile, he had high class shit. She prepared to attack- lying in the shadows of his apartment.

Once the rising sun appeared in the sky, we knew it wouldn’t be long. He always does a check in the city he’s in for straggling vampires.

When we came an hour later, she was feeling hungry .

She jumped out on his back. Lawrence hissed at us. She clawed at his face, biting at his neck. He threw her over his shoulder.

We hit the floor with a loud thud. I think the floor cracked under us.

Lawrence gawked at us- once we hit the floor.

“You are young .”

“Oh Latshaw. I’m older than your dick .” She snarled. She lashed out at him.

Except he’s over three hundred...and I’m not...so…

‘Shut the fuck up you cunt!’

Lawrence fought back. The fight was more intense- they both had claws. She scratched every bit of skin she could find, and tore through his clothes when she ran out of those. Lawrence was...very obviously holding back.

At one point in the fight, Lawrence had us in a headlock. “How did one so young become...like this?”

“Too many rounds with a Catholic priest. What can I say? He was delicious.” She hissed, biting at the arm that was too close to our mouth.

Lawrence growled.

“You took my pet , Latshaw.” She snarled at him. “Tony was my plaything -MINE! All you’ve left me with was a fucking brat that cries in my fucking head all day!”

Because you deserve it you cunt.

“Shut up!” She snarled at herself. “Fuck she’s so annoying!”

My body was forced down on the ground. His hand was on my neck, then other on my arm. He was straddling my waist to keep me down.

She snarled at him.

Lawrence expression softened.

“You’re not a vampire- not really. You’re a demon. Your wear the face of my kind for your own perversions!”

She hissed at him. “Whatever helps you sleep at day, Latshaw. Then again you won’t be sleeping when I’m done with you.”

“I can save you.” He told me. And it had to be me he was talking to, the vampire inside me couldn’t be saved. “It’s going to hurt, so I’m sorry.”

“You can’t save me-”

He lifted me up, before slamming my head against his floor.

When I came too I was tied down in a tub. There was a pulley system attached to the iron chains on my wrists.

My head turned to where I smelled death. Lawrence stood beside a lever. His face was grimset.

“I’m sorry, child. You’ll be free soon.” He told me before pushing down the lever.

I fell in the water. My body screamed in rage.

As we were in the water, it became warmer and warmer. Like the sun was shining down on it. My small space in this mind felt compressed. I could hear Lawrence speaking above the water- apologies or something else I have no idea.

Just that the water was burning us now.

She was screaming in agony.

I was crying.

The sun became brighter. It took minutes, it took hours, it took days. I don’t know. All I know was that it hurt.

Until it didn’t.

Until she was screaming more than I was.

 

==TTI==

 

Lawrence’s eyes came back to focus when I pulled away.

“I...would’ve done more...” I huffed. “But...those claws marks...are starting to sting.”

Suddenly I found myself slipping to the side. I braced my hands on the floor. Because I wasn’t holding him down, Lawrence wrapped an arm around me to keep me from slamming onto the floor.

“Thanks man...” I sighed. “Knew you were awesome.”

Lawrence was opened mouth staring at me. “You...”

“-are about to fall...I’ll be fine...ish...eventually...maybe.” I blacked out after that.

 

==TTI==

 

Not too long after, I woke up in the backseat of Lawrence Latshaw’s car. He’d wrapped me up in one of his high coats. Checking my wounds, I saw them bandaged.

“Where’s my hoodie?” I slurred. “And the Bag?”

Lawrence didn’t flinch. He continued to drive. “Check the seat beside you.”

I did. My hoodie was folded up on the seat beside me, the Bag on top of it.

“Thank ya kindly.” I mused, holding the coat tighter to me. Because holy shit - this was Lawrence Latshaw’s coat and I was wearing it because Lawrence Latshaw wrapped me up in it. “Where are we going?”

“A safe place. Tell me more about yourself. The...whatever you did didn’t say much.”

So we spent the rest of the drive with me explaining our problem. The TARDIS flying into this world, being trapped for 24 hours, and their reality not having the problems of this world.

Lawrence asked me to talk about myself after that-my two hearts, history as a vampire, and the whole time travel part of it all. I explained as best I could without admitting I traveled to another reality.

“And I still don’t get why you’re a vampire here.” I remarked, adjusting in my seat for the tenth time in five minutes. “Why vampires exist in this reality at all.”

“I don’t know what to tell you.” Lawrence explained. He was driving up to a familiar house- because of course he was. “Vampires have existed here for a long time.”

“But that doesn’t make sense!” I complained.

Vampires only existed in ‘ 30 Days of Night’ because it was a vampire movie, in a vampire world, with vampires. You can’t just throw vampires around to other worlds because you feel like it!

“The only vampires I know of that are here aren’t even vampires. They were fish aliens pretending to be vampires.” I explained. Lawrence looked at me in confusion. “Don’t ask- too long to explain. Oh my author are vampires just aliens?!”

“Pretty sure I’m human, Miss Johnson.”

“But the vampire thing in you isn’t. It’s like- that werewolf that wasn’t a werewolf! He was an alien using humans as hosts, from generation to generation.”

“There are a lot of vampires here, or there used to be before Cybus showed up.” Lawrence revealed. “My people are dropping like flies.”

“At least it’s not a Torchwood thing.” I mused to myself, keeping my voice low.

“Torchwood?” Fuck vampire hearing. “I know them.” ‘Of course you do.’ “They’re hunters- they were hunting us before Cybus popped up.”

‘Fuck. My. Life.’

“Someone shoot me now.” I prayed to any god listening.

“You’re gonna have to wait on that.” Lawrence stated. He parked the car. “We’re here.”

The two of us walked inside. I had my Bag flung over my shoulder and I stuffed Lawrence’s coat inside. I tied the hoodie around my waist.

The inside of the building was as off-the grid as one would expect of Ricky Smith. It reminded me of some of the places Darcy and I crashed at when we were kids. Except I always grabbed a pink fuzzy blanket- Darcy was annoyed at the Pink, I liked annoying Darcy. She always got blood on it so revenge completed.

Ricky was working over a pot when we came in. He hadn’t noticed us yet. Just looking at him, the way he stood, the tension in his shoulders, it was a different man that went to see his grandma.

“Smith.” Lawrence stated.

Ricky jumped.

I snorted, because that was a Mickey Smith jump of fear.

“Latshaw I told you to stop doing that.” Ricky demanded. He saw me, trying to shake off the tension. “Who’s she?”

“You’ll be interested in this one, Smith.” Lawrence remarked. He pushed me forward. I held my hands up.

Ricky gave me a once over. “Not so special.”

“She broke into my house.” Lawrence revealed. Ricky started at his friend, surprised and impressed. “Tell him the other thing.” He prompted me.

“I’m from another reality.” I admitted. “Where Cybus doesn’t exist.”

Ricky stood up straighter.

“I wanted you to admit to being a vampire before- this works too.” Lawrence commented.

“You broke into Latshaw’s flat?” Ricky repeated.

“Said it was boring .” Lawrence added, like a salesman.

“Holy- you guys want me to break into Cybus?” I asked.

“She’s smart too.” Ricky commented. “You sure know how to pick them, Latshaw.”

“Alright.” I stated. Ricky looked at me in surprise. “What do you need?”

Ricky glared at Lawrence over my shoulder. “If I believe what you say, that you’re from another world, then why would you help us?” Rickey asked.

“Because I have a soft spot for twins.” I admitted.

“I don’t get it.” The two men stated.

“It takes most people a few minutes.” I nodded my head, my lips in a thin line as I paused. “Oh I should mention. We were followed.”

“That’s not possible. I watched my every step.” Lawrence told Ricky.

“They weren’t following you, they follow him.” I pointed at Ricky.

He walked closer to us. “Me? I haven’t left base all day.”

Lawrence tensed. “I can hear three heartbeats outside this room.”

“They’re your friends. Of course they follow you.”

“My what?” Ricky asked.

That was when Jake, Mrs Moore, and Mickey burst in behind us. The Preachers had their guns raised.

I turned around, seeing Mickey’s shock at the sight before him.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ricky asked them.

Jake and Mrs Moore stared open mouthed. “What’re you doing there?”

“What am I doing here?” He pointed at Mickey. “What am I doing there ?”

They pointed their guns at Mickey.

“Hey Mickey.” I greeted him.

“Terra?” Mickey was looking between the Preachers and myself. “What’re you doing here?”

“Starting a bake sale- what does it look like?!”

 

==TTI==

 

A few minutes later, they tied Mickey to a chair.

Why? I couldn’t exactly say. Just that they couldn’t take my word for anything.

Which is why I was tied up beside him, also stripped down to my underwear. My scars and slowly bleeding bandages were on unfortunate display for them all. They took my Bag too. The bastards.

Jake was scanning us and our clothes for bugs. Lawrence was at the door, watching us in case we tried to make a break for it.

“They’re clean. No bugs.”

“Can I have my clothes back now?” I insisted.

Ricky walked up to us. I glared at him, annoyed. “This is off the scale. He’s flesh and blood.” He looked at me.

“How did that happen?” Jake asked. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, it could be that Cybus Industries have perfected the science of human cloning.” Mrs Moore suggested. “Or your father had a bike.”

“I like you.” I praised her. She reached for my Bag. “I wouldn’t search that.”

Mrs Moore raised an eyebrow. Reaching inside, she pulled out the forest thing she touched. Lawrence’s coat.

“I’m gonna keep that.” I told her. “Put it back.” She pulled out more things- a spare shirt, a hamster ball, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix .

“Oh! I was looking for that!” I cheered. “Can I have my clothes back now? I don’t like how Mickey’s staring.”

“I’m not staring!”

“You’re right. You’re gawking at me- I’d like it if you stopped before I punched you in the face.” I advised him.

Mickey glanced one more time at the X shaped scar on my stomach before looking back at Ricky.

“So you are from an alternate world.” Ricky reasoned. “Like she said.”

“So, who are you lot? And who’s he?” Mickey was talking about Lawrence.

“We? We are the Preachers. As in Gospel Truth.” Ricky explained. He motioned to his ears. “You see? No ear plugs. While the rest of the world downloads from Cybus Industries, we, we have got freedom. You’re talking to London’s Most Wanted, but target Number One is Lumic, and we are going to bring him down.”

“From your kitchen?” Mickey asked.

“Have you got a problem with that?” Ricky challenged.

“No, it’s a good kitchen.” Mickey defended.

I groaned, letting my head fall back.

“How do you know each other?” Jake asked.

“His girlfriend is dating my friend.” I answered.

“Terra!”

“Right sorry. His ex is dating my friend.” I corrected.

Mickey groaned this time.

“I’m Lawrence Latshaw.” Lawrence answered. He moved to uncut the ropes tying me. I handed him the rope. He paused.

“Got bored listening to the Icky Twins talk.”

Lawrence shrugged in admittance. He handed me my tank top and pants.

“Please don’t start calling us that.” Mickey requested. I was putting my clothes back on.

“You know that name has stuck, Smith.” I told him.

“Do I get my clothes back?” Mickey asked Jake.

“No.” Jake stated, angrily. “Whoever She is- she came with Latshaw. She’s his problem- you’re ours.”

“Are you not a Preacher- like them?” Mickey asked Lawrence.

Lawrence hummed. “No. We’re two forces working towards the same goal. ‘Enemy of my enemy’ and all that.”

“He’s a bloodsucker.” Jake revealed. “A vampire - like in the Stories.”

Mickey paled.

Lawrence shrugged, in a ‘what can you do’ kinda way.

There was a beeping noise.

“It’s an upload from Gemini.” Mrs Moore announces.

“Who’s Gemini?” Mickey asked the Preachers. He turned to me. “Who’s Gemini?”

“How the hell would I know, Mickey?” I asked him.

“The vans are back. They’re moving out of Battersea.” Mrs Moore reported. “Looks like Gemini was right. Lumic’s finally making a move.”

Ricky nodded. He stood up straighter. “And we are right behind him. Pack up, we’re leaving.”

While the three Preachers got setup to leave, and Lawrence with them, I laughed. I moved to untie Mickey from his chair.

“What? What’s funny?”

“You’re so much more badass in a world without Rose.” I commented, still laughing.

Mickey looked up to the ceiling, staring at the angels on the painting.

 

==TTI==

 

We piled into the back of the van.

“Go ahead- ask.” I told Mickey while we were driving up to the Tyler Mansion.

Mickey tried to deny his curiosity. “Ask what?”

I waved a hand over my arm. “The injuries, Lawrence, go for it.”

Mickey worries his lip between his teeth. He glanced to Lawrence before going back to me. “You has a lot of scars.”

“I’m old, and I throw myself into danger. You get scars doing that.” I reasoned.

“Those bandages...did he give you those?” Mickey asked. I worried the strap of my Bag. “They were still bleeding.”

Lawrence looked at us from the corner of his eyes.

“I gave them to myself.” I lied in his defense. “Breaking into his house.” Mickey eyes widened. “Why do you think they like me more? They think I can break into Cybus.”

“Breaking into houses? Thought you were Creepy before.”

“Whatever, Icky.”

“Shut up.”

“Both of you shut up!” Ricky snapped over his shoulder. “We’re close.”

Mrs Moore drove up the rest of the way. She parked the car. Ricky, Jane, and Lawrence walked out.

A few minutes later their voices came in over the walkie-talkies.

I don’t know what they’re doing, but this seems to be the target.” Ricky explained. “ Big house, fair bit of money. Now we have got to find a way to get in.”

“I’ve identified the address. It belongs to Peter Tyler, the Vitex millionaire.” Mrs Moore reported.

“Pete Tyler?” Mickey asked. He turned to me, eyes wide. I kept a cool expression.

“He’s listed as one of Lumic’s henchmen. A traitor to the state.” Mrs Moore scoffed at him, shaking her head at Pete Tyler.

“But we’ve got to get in there.” Mickey told them.

“Now, shut it, Icky. That’s what I just said.” Ricky snapped.

“Mickey I’m sorry but I love Ricky more than I love you.” I informed Mickey.

“Good. I hate you.” Mickey replied.

“Sorry you don’t get a twin to like more than me.” I teased, before remembering I did have a twin he could love. ‘Dear Author. Never let him meet Darcy. Please, if you’ve ever loved me, keep them apart.’

“What are they doing?” Ricky asked. I could hear the marching of the Cybermen over the walkie-talkie. I tensed up.

“What the hell are they?” Ricky gawked.

“Whatever they are- I don’t hear heartbeats.” Lawrence reported.

Mickey turned to me. “Terra. Rose and the Doctor, they’ve gotta be in there.”

“I know.”

“What do we do?!” Mickey asked, becoming concerned.

“We have to wait.” I told him.

“Wait?! We can’t wait! Whatever that was, it means they’re in trouble!”

“Mickey, we run in there right now then Lumic could send those things after them. We wait .” I stressed to him.

 

==TTI==

 

“Bastard now I’m paranoid!” I snapped at Mickey.

Before Mickey or Mrs Moore could ask, I ran to the back of the truck. I threw the doors open, hopped out, and slammed the door shut behind me. Mickey was yelling inside. My legs were already racing me towards the back of the house.

While running I was preparing my Bag for use. None of my weapons would be effective- at least not yet. Maybe one or two could be used but there wasn’t time to fashion them into something strong enough to kill one Cyberman let alone a dozen.

As I ran up to Ricky and Jake, Lawrence caught me.

“When the hell did you get here?!” Lawrence asked.

“Around the time you needed someone to save your asses!” I shouted over my shoulder.

As the four of us got closer to the house, I could see the Doctor and Rose running with Pete. Over a dozen Cybermen marched behind them.

“Get behind me!” Ricky ordered over them.

The three retreated behind Ricky and Jake’s back. Lawrence and I stood with them.

“Terra?” The Doctor remarked over the gunfire. “What are you doing here?”

“Do you know everyone ?” Lawrence complained. “It’s getting annoying.”

“Then be annoyed! I knew you too, you idiot!” I snapped at him. To Ricky and Jake, I said “Bullets don’t work! Stop wasting them.”

They stopped, rising to their feet.

“Oh my God, look at you.” Rose cheered before hugging Ricky. I laughed at his expression. “I thought I’d never see you again!”

Ricky huffed when Rose let him go. Ricky turned to me. “This is the ex, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” I laughed.

Mickey ran up too. “Rose! That’s not me. That’s like the other one.”

“Oh, as if things weren’t bad enough, there’s two Mickey’s.” The Doctor complained.

“It’s Ricky.” He corrected.

“I call them the Icky Twins!” I informed the Doctor to his delight.

“But there’s more of them.” Mickey said loudly, so Time Lords couldn’t laugh at him anymore.

The Cybermen walked up to us, having us in a circle.

“We’re surrounded.” Rose pointed out.

Ricky raised his weapon. Jake raised his.

“You fire those, I’ll make Latshaw stop you!” I warned them.

Beside me, Lawrence leaned closer to me. “Your friend- he also has two hearts.”

“He’s an alien like me.” I answered.

“We surrender! Hands up.” The Doctor told us, “There’s no need to damage us. We’re good stock. We volunteer for the upgrade program. Take us to be processed.”

“I don’t like him.” Lawrence whispered.

“No one does.” I whispered back.

The Cybermen marched up. One came up to the Doctor’s face.

“You are rogue elements.”

And suddenly the Battle from Canary Wharf played in my head. I fought to hide my smile. Smiling right now would be a bad idea.

“But we surrender.” The Doctor repeated.

“You are incompatible.” The Cyberman stated.

“But this is a surrender.” The Doctor argued.

“You will be deleted.” The Cyberman stated.

“But we’re surrendering! Listen to me, we surrender!” The Doctor arged.

“You are inferior.” The Cyberman stated. “Man will be reborn as Cyberman, but you will perish under maximum deletion.”

He raised his arm.

His fellow soldiers followed.

“Delete. Delete. Delete!” They chanted.

Chapter Text

The Doctor leapt forward. He aimed the charging crystal at the Cyberman, blasting it head on. It connected with the others around it. The beam spread from Cyber to Cyber to Cyber. They dissolved to dust before our eyes.

“What the hell was that?” Ricky gawked.

Unfortunately, more Cybermen were coming from the direction of the lights.

“We’ll have that instead. Run!” The Doctor shouted.

While everyone ran away, I ran to the van.

“Where are you going?!” Lawrence shouted. I ignored him. Mrs Moore pulled up. “I get it now!” Lawrence shouted in apology.

Mrs Moore honked. “Everybody, in!” She called out the window.

I threw the door to the van open, making sure the natives on this world got inside. Looking over I saw the Doctor trying to include the Tyler’s. They were being stubborn assholes.

“Get over here, Carolina, or you get left behind!” I shouted at them.

The Doctor was telling Rose to get a move on. When she didn’t start running, he grabbed her arm. The two ran to the van. I hopped inside to make room for them.

“Finished chatting?” Mrs Moore snarked as the Doctor slide the door shut. “Never seen a slower getaway in my life!”

 

==TTI==

 

We’d been driving for a few minutes, long enough to slow our heartbeats to somewhat normal. Lawrence-across from me- stopped wincing. Hearing heartbeats may sound cool until you’re hearing a dozen at once, double-hearts included. He was on the Tyler side of the van, close to the front seats.

“I mean, just a few hours.” I remarked. “Just a few.”

“Yes Terra.” The Doctor replied dryly.

“And you were following her, keeping her out of trouble you said.”

“Yes I did Terra. Thanks for the analysis.”

“So I’ve only got one question.”

“You’ll ask with or without permission.”

What were you thinking?!” I Slapped him on the cheek. He groaned out in pain. “There’s only so much stupidity I can take before it gets to be too much! That’s four, by the way.”

Rose and Mickey were reasonably shaken by the events of the night. Still, they tried to hide their giddy smiles at me slapping the Doctor.

“It’s not my fault!” The Doctor reminded me.

“Never is!” I pointed out. “I just like slapping you in the face.”

Mickey chuckled openly at that one. Rose was still hiding behind her hand.

“What was that thing?” Ricky pointed to what the Doctor held in his hands.

“Little bit of technology from my home.” The Doctor answered, hoping to get over the slapping scene.

“It’s stopped glowing. Has it run out?” Mickey asked us.

“It’s on a revitalizing loop. It’ll charge back up in about four hours.” The Doctor explained.

I leaned back against my seat. Lawrence was watching everything with a keen eye.

“Right. So, we don’t have a weapon anymore.” Ricky scoffed.

“Yeah, we’ve got weapons.” Jake reminded, meaning the gun. “Might not be one of those metal things, but they’re good enough for men like him.” He looked at Pete Tyler.

“Leave him alone. What’s he done wrong?” Rose defended her father.

“Oh, you know, just laid a trap that’s wiped out the Government and left Lumic in charge.” Jake snarked.

“If I was part of all that, do you think I’d leave my wife inside?” Pete countered.

“Maybe your plan went wrong. Still gives us the right to execute you, though.” Ricky commented.

“Talk about executions, you’ll make me your enemy.” The Doctor warned. “And take some really good advice. You don’t want to do that.”

Ricky-no matter his badassery-was still another reality’s Mickey Smith. He listened to threats like that. “All the same, we have evidence that says Pete Tyler’s been working for Lumic since twenty point five.”

“Is that true?” Rose asked Pete.

“Tell them, Mrs M.” Ricky ordered.

“We’ve got a government mole who feeds us information. Lumic’s private files, his South American operations, the lot. Secret broadcasts twice a week.” Mrs Moore reported.

“Broadcast from Gemini?” Pete asked in an ‘oh no’ voice.

“And how do you know that?” Ricky countered.

“I’m Gemini. That’s me.”

Lawrence and I snorted.

“Yeah, well you would say that.”

“Encrypted wavelength six five seven using binary nine.” Pete recounted. Ricky and Jane exchanged a look. “That’s the only reason I was working for Lumic. To get information. I thought I was broadcasting to the Security Services. What do I get? Scooby Doo and his gang. They’ve even got the van.”

The Doctor and I had a matching face. ‘It’s a nice van.’

“No, no, no. But the Preachers know what they’re doing.” Mickey excused “Ricky said he’s London’s Most Wanted.”

Lawrence laughed out loud. “You did tell him that. He just happened to leave out what he was at number one for. ” He grinned toothily at a glaring Ricky. “Why are you Most Wanted, Smith?”

Ricky continued to glare. “I’m London’s Most Wanted for parking tickets.”

Lawrence laughed again. I did too.

“Great.” Pete replied, sarcastically.

“Yeah, they were deliberate. You know that Latshaw!” Ricky went on. It was making Lawrence laugh harder. “I was fighting the system. Park anywhere, that’s me.”

“Good policy. I do much the same.” The Doctor praised.

“Park anywhere, that’s you. Only problem is driving there first.” I snarked.

“That’s enough out of you.” The Doctor replied to me. “I’m the Doctor, by the way, if anyone’s interested.”

“And I’m Rose. Hello.” Rose introduced herself.

“Even better. That’s the name of my dog.” Pete scoffed. “Still, at least I’ve got the catering staff on my side.”

“The name of your what?” I snorted.

Rose groaned. “Terra no .”

“Did you say your dog’s name-”

“Terra stop it.

“-was Rose?”

The Doctor giggled.

“Doctor!” Rose complained.

“Sorry.” The Doctor lied, still giggling.

“Doc Brown, I’m sorry I slapped you. You met Rose the dog, it was worth it.” I laughed. Mickey was laughing too now.

Rose sighed at the three of us. She turned to her dad. “I knew you weren’t a traitor.”

“Why is that, then?” Pete asked, eyeing Rose.

“I just did.” Rose lied weakly.

Lawrence laughed.

“And who are you?” The Doctor asked him.

“Not with him .” Lawrence nodded his head to Ricky. Ricky shuddered. “Or his Preachers. My name’s Lawrence.”

“Don’t trust him.” Ricky warned.

“So they can trust you? Mister Parking Ticket?” Lawrence mocked.

“Least I’m not a bloody vampire!” Ricky snapped.

“Was that a pun?” Lawrence asked, offended. Honestly I was offended on behalf of puns. Insult vampires all you like.

The Doctor tensed at my side. The Tyler’s leaned away from him.

Lawrence huffed. “What? I’m not going to eat any of you. Things get wonky in the blood when you lot get scared of me. Gives me indigestion.” He rested back in his chair, rolling his eyes at them. “Your friends, Miss Johnson, are a rude bunch.”

“Yeah. Can’t take them anywhere.” I excused.

“A vampire ?” Rose repeated to the Doctor.

He was staring cautiously at Lawrence. “Terra, seems like you had a fun night.”

“Guess you could say-”

“Yeah she did! She left me to chase after him!” Mickey pointed to Lawrence.

“Mickey!” I hissed.

The Doctor looked at me. “You went chasing after a vampire ?”

“Doctor why are vampires even here ?” Rose asked.

“They shouldn’t be.” Pete Tyler spoke up. He looked over Rose’s head to glare at Lawrence, who stared back flatly. “I saw the reports. Your kind should’ve been wiped out three years ago.”

Lawrence grinned. The humans flinched. “That’s the thing humans forget. My kind are like cockroaches.”

“Fitting, you are a bunch of co-”

“Terra!” The Doctor cut me off. Before I could argue with him, he glared at me. “We’re talking about this later .”

We sat in silence for a moment.

“They took my wife.” Pete spoke up, in a slowly becoming upset voice.

“She might still be alive.” Rose assured.

“That’s even worse. Because that’s what Lumic does. He takes the living and he turns them into those machines.” Pete argued.

“Cybermen.” The Doctor corrected, voice low and sullen. “They’re called Cybermen. And I’d take those earpods off, if I were you.” Pete immediately did so, handing them to the Doctor. The Doctor waved thd sonic over them. “You never know. Lumic could be listening.”

The sparked as they short out. The Doctor put them in his pockets.

“But he’s overreached himself. He’s still just a businessman. He’s assassinated the President.” The Doctor reminded the humans. He looked at the Preachers. “All we need to do is get to the city and inform the authorities. Because I promise you, this ends tonight .”

 

==TTI==

 

Once we made it to the city, it became clear that the Doctor’s plan had fallen apart. The people were walking in the street, mindlessly walking to Lumic’s factory. (More)

We all hopped out of the van. The humans were gawking at the crowd, Lawrence winced at them, and the Doctor was frowning.

“What the hell?” Jake remarked.

“What’s going on?” Rose asked.

“It’s the earpods. Lumic’s taken control.” The Doctor realized.

“Can’t we just, I don’t know, take them off?” Rose walked up to a person, reaching for their earpods, The Doctor pulled her hands away.

“Don’t! Cause a brainstorm. Human race. For such an intelligent lot, you aren’t half susceptible. Give anyone a chance to take control and you submit.” The Doctor commented. I rolled my eyes. “Sometimes I think you like it. Easy life.”

“Doctor.” I scolded. “Timing.”

Lawrence huffed. “It’s wrong.” He watched a line of people walk by. “Lumic is controlling everything they do. All of them have the same heartbeat right now.”

I grimaced. Despite not hearing them anymore, if I thought about it I could imagine what he was talking about. Hearing one heartbeat is fine, nothing out of the norm. Vampires could-if they really wanted- focus on one heartbeat to follow when all the others around it were racing. Every heartbeat for a hundred miles beating the same time? It must be like have someone play the drums next to your head.

“Hey.” Jake called over from where he and Ricky were hiding. “Come and see.”

The rest of the group walked over. I lagged behind with Lawrence, until the Doctor grabbed my arm to drag me forward.

Nearly made me want to hit him again.

On the next street, Jake was showing us a line of Cybermen escorting people away from their homes.

“They’re taking them. Where?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Lumic must have a base of operations.” The Doctor replied.

“Battersea. That’s where he was building his prototypes.” Pete answered.

“Why’s he doing it?” Rose asked, never able to understand why humans would hurt each other like this.

“He’s dying.” Pete revealed. “This all started out as a way of prolonging life, of keeping the brain alive at any cost.”

“The thing is, Terra and I’ve seen Cybermen before, haven’t we?” Rose realized. She turned to the Doctor. “The head. Those handle shapes in Van Statten’s museum.”

“Ah, there are Cybermen in our universe. They started on an ordinary world just like this, then swarmed across the galaxy.” The Doctor explained. “This lot are a parallel version, and they’re starting from scratch right here on Earth.”

A pause. “What the hell are you two on about?” Pete asked.

“Never mind that.” Ricky argued. “Come on, we need to get out of the city. Okay, split up. Mrs Moore, you look after that bloke. Jake, distract them. Go right, I’ll go left. We’ll meet back at Bridge Street. Move.”

“I’m going with him.” Mickey told the Doctor and Rose.

“I’m off with the Icky Twins.” I joined Mickey. “Lawrence, watch the lovebirds will you?”

He scoffed at me. “I don’t have to listen to you.”

“Hey either you watch them, or they watch you. What’ll help you sleep in the morning?” I ran after the Icky Twins.

 

==TTI==

 

We ran for a hundred or so yards. Somehow we made it to an alleyway.

“Which way? I don’t know where we are.” Mickey exhaled, hands on his knees.

Ricky, who stopped beside him, was upright. “Did they see us?”

Me, who stopped behind the two of them, just watched the exchange. Was this how the twin thing looked on the outside? It was beautiful.

“Do they know where we are?”

“I think they saw us. I bet they can see in the dark.”

“I bet they’ve got satellites.”

“I bet they saw us in the dark.”.

“They know where we are.”

“I don’t get it. What is it with you? You are exactly like me.” Ricky asked Mickey.

“I don’t know, I reckon you’re braver.” Mickey stated.

“Oh yeah, ten times.”

‘Oh Author. This is how Darcy and I look on the outside.’

I laughed. “Hey Ickies.” They looked at me. “This is great and everything, really. Loving the twin thing. Could we keep moving?”

Ricky nodded his head at me. “She’s right. You know, your friends aren’t bad. I’ll give you that.”

Mickey shrugged it off. “Oh, that’s the Doctor and Rose. We just tag along behind.”

“Well, then, she’s not that bad.” Ricky teased. At Mickey’s expression he added. “Nah Mate. You’re good.”

The two grinned. I rolled my eyes, looking around for Cybers.

“Do you think?”

“Yeah, I suppose.”

“Boys our six!” I called, whacking both their arms.

“Cybermen.” Mickey gasped.

“Split up!” They shouted.

Mickey ran one way.

Ricky and I ran the other.

As we ran, I was mentalling sorting through my Bag. There was something in there I knew would help. If I could grab it in time...

There was a point where we were running that Ricky noticed me.

“We said split up!” He shouted.

“There were only three directors to go!” I reminded him. “Cybers we’re blocking the third one!”

He gave me that.

We continued running from them. One time I turned too sharply, falling to the ground. I used the time to pull what I need from the Bag.

Soon enough I could see the chain link fence. I ran ahead of Ricky, seeing Mickey panic on the other side.

“Come on! Come on! Come on!” Mickey encouraged.

I raised what I had- heavy wire cutters- to the chain around the door. Once they were cut I opened the gate for Ricky to run through.

“Good thinking, now they’ll get through!” Ricky snapped.

“Don’t count on it.” I pulled out the box I used to control the nanobots in my hoodie. I pried it open, quickly moving around a few wires around so it could complete its new purpose.

I stuck it inside one of the links, before starting to run. “Let’s go, Ickies!”

“But what about-”

The Cybermen walked into the fence. The box acted as a high powered taser, shocking all of them. It affected the nanobots on my hoodie too. I tore it off, stuffing it inside the Bag. It was too good a hoodie to let go to waste.

“Terra?!” Mickey called out. He and Ricky were running up to me. “What was that?!”

“My hoodie has nanobots- I used the controller as a taser-long story! Keep running!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Smiths were running ahead of me. I stopped, noticing that my injuries from my fight with Latshaw were exposed.

Ricky must have noticed me not with them. He came running to my side. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

I was in the middle of changing my shirt. The purple hoodie would be a no-go until I could get a new nanobot remote. My plain purple shirt would have to be enough.

“Oi, you with me?” Ricky clicked his fingers in my face. I swatted the hand away.

“He can’t see them.” I stated, pulling the purple shirt out of my Bag.

Ricky squinted up his face in confusion. “Who?”

“The Doctor. He can’t see my arms.” I clarified. “He’ll know it was from Lawrence. I won’t- he can’t know.”

Ricky seemed to understand. Or at least understood that I wanted them covered. Once I got the shirt on he pulled me to my feet.

We ran the rest of the way down the road.

Jake was already yelling at Mickey. “Are you Ricky? Are you Ricky?!”

“Mickey, that’s you, isn’t it?” Rose asked.

“Yeah.” Mickey started to look back our direction. “I don’t get it. They were just-”

“Found him!” I shouted to them. Dragging Ricky behind me, I put on an innocent look. “Sorry. Had to...a thing. Found Ricky!”

Mickey let out a relieved breath, before shouting “What the hell, Terra?! I thought you both died!”

“We can argue when London is safe.” The Doctor scolded us. “But now, we move on.”

 

==TTI==

 

Out group climbed over a hill. On the other side of the hill was the Cybus Factory.

“The whole of London’s been sealed off, and the entire population’s been taken inside that place.” The Doctor explained. “To be converted.”

“We’ve got to get in there and shut it down.” Rose stated.

“How do we do that?” Mickey asked.

“Wait for it.” I chimed.

“Oh, I’ll think of something.”

“There it is.”

“You’re just making this up as you go along.” Mickey complained.

“Yep.” The Doctor admittedly without shame. “But I do it brilliantly.”

 

==TTI==

 

Setting up shop at the top of the hill, Mrs Moore was working on her laptop.

The Doctor pulled me aside while she worked. “Terra. Why do I have the feeling you know Latshaw?”

I shuffled my feet, sliding my hands to my hips. Thinking about the wording here was careful, especially because I knew Latshaw was listening in. “There was another him, before I met you. He saved my life. I owe him...”

Everything

“...I owe him.”

“Was he a vampire?”

Him being one is part of the reason why I owe him

“Yes.”

The Doctor exhaled through his nose. “Terra. He’s dangerous.”

“Do I look stupid?” I scoffed at him. “He’s a vampire. I know better than to think we’re gonna be besties!”

“What were you even doing near a vampire?” The Doctor asked, incredulous. “How did he save your life?”

I clammed up, feeling anxiety rise up in my chest. The kind that kept you from talking because you knew if you opened your mouth you would just start sobbing.

Mrs Moore suddenly called us over. I turned away from the Doctor, instead walking over to Lawrence.

The vampire didn’t question my presence. The only thing he really did to acknowledge it was to step just that little bit closer to me. The Preachers and Team TARDIS gathered around the park bench. Mrs Moore had the plans up on her laptop.

“That’s a schematic of the old factory.” She pointed at the screen where new tunnels were revealed. “Look. Cooling tunnels underneath the plant. Big enough to walk through-”

“We go under there and up into the control centre?” The Doctor asked. Mrs Moore nodded.

“There’s another way in. Through the front door.” Pete reminded them. “If they’ve taken Jackie for upgrading, that’s how she’ll get in.”

“No way. That’s a death sentence.” Ricky argued.

“We can’t just go strolling up.” Jake added.

“Or we could, with these.” She pulled out the pairs of earpods from her backpack. “Fake earpods. Dead. No signal. But put them on, the Cybermen would mistake you for one of the crowd.”

“Then that’s my job.” Pete decided.

“You’d have to show no emotion.” The Doctor instructed. “None at all. Any sign of emotion would give you away.”

“No crying, or discomfort. You cannot show grief or joy

“How many of those you got?” Rose asked.

“Just two sets.” Mrs Moore answered.

“Okay. If that’s the best way of finding Jackie, then I’m coming with you.” Rose took the other set of earpods.

“Why does she matter to you?” Pete asked.

“We haven’t got time.” Rose told him. She turned to the Doctor. “Doctor, I’m going with him, and that’s that. Terra make sure he gets it.”

“Do I have permission to kick him?”

“Yes.” Rose stated.

“Understood, Carolina Rose.”

“No stopping you, is there?” The Doctor asked. I moved to kick him. “No! No, don’t need to kick me! I understand that she’s going!”

“No.”

“Good idea.” I grinned at her, then turned to others with a flat expression. “Pete, you keep my Carolina Rose alive or there will be hell to pay.” I went on. “Mickey, I got a brilliant idea. A way to get them all out of that sheep herd thing they’ve got going on with their earpods. I’ll be needing you to cut off the signal Lumic is transmitting from.” I ran up the hill, pointed at the blimp floating overhead. Lawrence, the Doctor, the Icky Twins, and Jake followed. “That.”

“You sure that’s where?” The Doctor asked, pulling out his sonic. “I could check.”

“Lumic likes showing off. He’s paranoid, and has a god complex. He’s keeping it in his Zeppelin.” I reasoned. “There’s a transmitter- the huge one.”

Lawrence hummed. “It’s a sound plan.”

“Thank ya kindly.”

“If only it wasn’t so stupid.” Lawrence deadpanned.

“Thanking ya less kindly.”

Lawrence hummed. “He’ll get himself killed before he reaches the building.”

“Good thing I’m giving him sidekicks.” I turned to Ricky and Jake.

“You’re just gonna let Mickey go up there and do that?” Jake asked in a snippy voice.

I gave him a flat look. “Not let , I’m ordering him to.”

“You can’t, he’s an idiot.” Ricky argued.

I glared at him. Ricky shut his lips together. “What was that?”

“I’m not an idiot! You got that? I’m going to help.” Mickey snapped at them.

Jake scoffed. “Whatever. Consider it done.”

Ricky huffed. I glared at him. “Alright. We’ll do it with Icky 2.”

I grinned at him, not expecting the nickname. Mickey groaned.

“Mr Latshaw, Mrs Moore, would you care to accompany the Doctor and I into the cooling tunnels?” I offered.

“How could I refuse an offer of cooling tunnels?” Mrs Moore accepted.

“Thatta girl.” I turned to Lawrence.

He shrugged his shoulders. “Well I have nothing better to do with my evening.”

“Hold on- why is the vampire coming with us?” The Doctor asked.

“He’s not coming with us!” Ricky argued. “Better you getting eaten than us.”

Lawrence sneered at him. “How great to see you think of my with such esteem.”

“Oh cork it!” Ricky snapped.

“Oi! Boys! Shut it!” They clapped their lips shut. “We attack on three sides.” I stated, to get everyone back on track. “Above, between, below. We get to the control centre, we stop the conversion machines.”

“You’re just the boss, aren’t you?” Mickey stated.

“Mickey Smith, that’s the smartest thing I have ever heard you say.” I praised him.

“Mickey. Good luck.” The Doctor encouraged.

“Yeah, you too.” Mickey turned to Rose. “Rose, I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah, you’d better.” Rose warned, trying to not show emotion.

“You live, you come back to the Box, got it?”

“Got it, boss.” Mickey saluted me.

I whistled. ‘Boy, all this power is going to go straight to my head.’

The Doctor hugged Rose. I began walking off with Lawrence and Mrs Moore. The Doctor would catch up on his own time.

 

==TTI==

 

Lawrence opened the gate to the cooling tunnels. The sonic was ‘taking too long’ in his opinion.

Mrs Moore climbed down first. I followed.

“It’s freezing.” She shivered.

Jumping from the halfway point of the ladder, I basked in the cold. “Oh this is better than anything any day.” I hummed in delight. This was the kind of cold that was good.

The Doctor came down next, with Lawrence at the end. He closed the entrance behind him.

“Any sign of a light switch?” The Doctor asked.

“No sign.” I commented.

“I’ve got these.” She reached into her backpack, pulling out a headband with a flashlight “A device for every occasion.”

“Ooo!” The Doctor cheered.

“Put it on.” She handed the Doctor the headband. I pulled one out of the Bag. “You’ve got one?” Mrs Moore asked.

“Yeah.” I adjusted the straps to be tighter. “Friend liked exploring dark caves. Myself, not into it. I stole this from her so she couldn’t go back.”

“And if this is the friend I’m thinking of, what if she goes back without the light?” The Doctor asked.

“...holy crap she wasn’t going to a sleepover.” I realized. ‘Dammit Darcy I’m beating you with a stick! Stop hoping ‘ The Descent ’ will happen to you! It won’t!’

Mrs Moore was giving the third headband to Lawrence. He shook his head. “Got night vision.” He smiled to show off the fangs. Mrs Moore grimaced.

“Haven’t got a hotdog in there, have you? I’m starving.” The Doctor asked.

Mrs Moore laughed. “Of all the things to wish for. That’s mechanically recovered meat.” She pointed out.

“I know. It’s the Cyberman of food, but it’s tasty.” The Doctor joked.

Lawrence and I laughed.

Instead of hotdogs, Mrs Moore pulled out the other flashlight. “A proper torch as well.”

“Let’s see where we are.” The Doctor flicked the switch.

It revealed the Cybermen on the walls. Mrs Moore flinched. The Doctor stayed still.

“Already converted, just put on ice.” The Doctor assured her.

Lawrence huffed.

“You knew they were there, I’m guessing?” I prompted.

He nodded. “They smell like death, only frozen.”

“Makes sense.” I marched to the head of the pack.

“Come on.” The Doctor prompted us once I was by his side.

“Let’s go slowly.” The Doctor advised. “Keep an eye out for trip systems.”

 

==TTI==

 

After a short distance walking, I looked up at the Doctor.

“Why does he make you so nervous?” I asked him.

The Doctor hummed. “What was that?”

“Lawrence. Why does he make you so nervous?” I repeated.

The Doctor kept his focus ahead of us, being mindful of any of the traps. Or that’s what he would probably say if I asked him. “No I’m not.”

“Yeah you are. Don’t play stupid with me.” I reminded him.

“He’s a vampire. That’s a good enough reason to be nervous.” The Doctor turned to me.

“He’s not like the others.” I argued, keeping my voice low so Mrs Moore wouldn’t hear.

“Whatever that other Lawrence did, it doesn’t mean this Lawrence would do the same.” The Doctor pointed out. That time I scoffed. “Terra I’m serious. Vampires are dangerous.

“Why do you keep saying that?” I pointed out. “It’s like it’s the only defense you can use without giving away some secret you’re ashamed of.” The Doctor didn’t answer that. “Doctor. Do vampires exist in- back in our world?”

He looked down at me, the answer written all over his guilty expression. “Yes.”

My hearts dropped in my chest as I attempted to process that statement. They existed. Vampires existed . Not just as those fish, they honestly existed? I thought this world was the outlier but it turns out they’re just normal?

“Terra?”

“How?” I asked him. “How is that making you guilty?” I needed all the answers could get, before I began to panic about the awareness that once we went back to Rose’s World I’d be in a world where vampires could live.

“This isn’t the time.” The Doctor argued.

“Fine. Either you tell me, or I could find out for myself in the TARDIS library. How do you want me to find out?” I warned him.

The Doctor sighed. He glanced back to Mrs Moore, who was looking at the Cybermen with caution. Lawrence was looking anywhere but the Doctor and I. The Doctor noticed that so he walked me further ahead of them, further out of Mrs Moore’s earshot and maybe on the edge of Lawrence’s.

“Back in the old days of the Time Lords.” The Doctor began. I inhaled sharply. It wasn’t hard to guess Time Lords were involved, it just hadn’t been ideal. “There was a man named Rassilon.”

I kept my surprise at hearing his name down. That guy was involved, seriously? First the End of Time thing, now this? What a dick.

“He...was the Lord President of the Time Lords. Many Time Lords revered him, right up until...” He dragged the sentence off. “He wasn’t a good man, Terra. He did some awful things, even before the War. One of those things was the creation of the Great Vampires.”

“...the huh ?”

“Yeah, bit pompous name.” The Doctor took a quick breath. “They were a peaceful race at first. It wasn’t until Rassilon declared war against them that they became...well...like that.” He motioned with his head towards Lawrence.

I let out a heavy sigh. “So...this Rassilon Time Lord President, he fought the Great Vampires...and they became monsters?”

“Yes.” The Doctor glanced back to Lawrence. “The fight ended when the Great Vampires were all dead. Or so Rassilon thought. Turns out they scattered across the universes to escape.”

“So they aren’t it our world anymore?” I asked with hope that Rose’s world was safe.

“Some stayed.” The Doctor admitted. ‘Whoop, guess I’ll die.’ “I didn’t want to say anything. Whoever that man was- the Lawrence Latshaw that saved your life- he didn’t do it for the right reasons.”

“You said they were peaceful- at the beginning.” I spoke up after a long silence. “So I have to think, even if you won’t, that a part of them stayed good. Or that they can be good again.”

The Doctor looked ahead of us, checking for any traps or movement. “You said you weren’t an optimist. Sounded really optimistic to me.”

“He saved my life, Doc Brown. It doesn’t matter to me if this one wouldn’t. It matters that the first one did.” I told him plainly. “He would want me to treat this Lawrence with respect and some shred of decency, despite what he was. It was his life’s mission to do that. I owe him-even his memory- that much.”

“Terra I am just trying to help.” The Doctor assured.

“You don’t get to talk about him like that.” I argued, my voice low. “Don’t.”

The Doctor sighed. He held the light up higher.

He looked behind us, to Mrs Moore and Lawrence.

“How did you get into this, then, Mrs Moore, rattling along with the Preachers?” The Doctor asked.

“Oh, I used to be ordinary. Worked at Cybus Industries, nine to five, till one day, I find something I’m not supposed to. A file on the mainframe. All I did was read it.” Mrs Moore explained. “Then suddenly I’ve got men with guns knocking in the middle of the night. Life on the run. Then I found the Preachers. They needed a techie, so I, I just sat down and taught myself everything.”

“What about Mr Moore?” The Doctor asked.

“Well, he’s not called Moore. I got that from a book, Mrs Moore .” Mrs Moore admitted. “It’s safer not to use real names. But he thinks I’m dead. It was the only way to keep him safe. Him and the kids. What about the two of  you? Got any family, or?”

I chose not to say anything.

“Oh, who needs family? I’ve got the whole world on my shoulders.” The Doctor excused. “Go on, then. What’s your real name?”

“Angela Price.” She revealed. “Don’t tell a soul.” She warned us.

“Not a word.” The Doctor zipped his lips.

“Cross my hearts. What about you, Lawrence?” I asked. “What brought you to them?”

The vampire shrugged in his jacket. “Nothing much to tell. After Torchwood took out most of my kind, and Cybus made it impossible to travel without their earpods or a zeppelin, there wasn’t much left. It’s hard to get an earpod when you don’t have a heartbeat. All I had in my life was helping my kind, keeping them alive and safe in the daylight. Smuggling them to other countries where their families were, or where their sire wasn’t.” Lawrence paused. The story made me want to express emotion. The Lawrence Latshaw I knew would hate not being able to help. It was wonderful to see that overlap here. “One night I was aiding another fresh vampire- hile I was helping one of the few vampires left. He was taken by Cybus. They killed him with UV lights. The Preachers got me out alive.” He scoffed. “Funny that. Smith hates me so much, but he still saved my life. It doesn’t make sense, does it?”

“No. It doesn’t.” I slowed down so I was walking beside him. “In my experience, the things that don’t make sense end up being the most important things.”

Lawrence hummed. He glanced at me, like you do when you’re finally figuring out that someone is truly special.

I didn’t see the Doctor look over his shoulder at me. The way you look at someone, when you realize you were too late to tell them they were special.

 

==TTI==

 

“Doctor, did that one just move?” Mrs Moore asked, aiming her flashlight at a Cyberman.

“It’s just the torchlight. Keep going, come on.” The Doctor assured.

“The lights are red.” I reported.

The group paused.

“What lights?” The Doctor asked just before the Cybermen on our side moved. “Ah. Those lights. They’re waking up. Run!”

The four of us ran away from the upcoming Cybermen army.

As we ran, I grabbed the sonic from the Doctor’s hand. I ran ahead to the ladder to sonic it open.

They caught up with me, just as I swung the latch open. I hopped up to make space for them.

“Get up! Quick! They’re coming!” Mrs Moore snapped at the men. “Get up! Quick! Quick!”

The Doctor hopped up beside me. Mrs Moore was climbing up next, with Lawrence behind her.

“Come on! Come on!” The Doctor encouraged.

“Faster! Go faster!” I snapped,

Mrs Moore made it up. Lawrence jumped up the last few pegs, shooting up out of the hole. I threw the latch over it, tossing the sonic back to the Doctor. He sonicked the lock shut again.

“Oh, good team, you three.” The Doctor praised.

I grinned, giving myself a moment to relax. There was a real fight coming up.

 

==TTI==

 

After five- maybe two- minutes of walking, the Cyberman that had Sally showed up.

By showed up, of course I mean tried to perform a mother-fucking jump scare on us.

“You are not upgraded.” Sally Phelan remarked. And I was going to use her full name because she deserved that honor.

“Yeah? Well, upgrade this.” Mrs Moore snapped.

She pulled out the rod with copper wire, throwing it at Sally Phelan. It stuck on like a magnet. Sparks flew out from the Cyberman’s joints. I ran to her as she fell to the ground.

“What the hell was that thing?” The Doctor asked Mrs Moore.

“Electromagnetic bomb.” Mrs Moore answered. “Takes out computers, I figured it might stop the cyber-suit.”

“You’re bloody brilliant.” Lawrence praised. And dammit, I wasn’t going to be jealous. I wasn’t!

“He branded them.” I spoke up.

“He what?” Mrs Moore asked.

I pointed to the Cybus logo. “Lumic branded them. He took their humanity from them, everything that made them unique. To add insult to injury he’s branded them with his own image.”

Reaching my hand back I held open my palm.

The Doctor clicked his tongue. He knelt beside me, sonicking the logo.

“You could’ve just handed it to me.” I mused.

“Yeah, but it’s my sonic.”

“You didn’t mind before.”

“Our lives were in danger before.” The Doctor pulled the sonic away.

“Is that flesh?” Mrs Moore grimaced.

“No. Flesh has a different smell.” Lawrence argued. He picked up some of the material.

“And, what? Cybermen have a smell?”

“They smell like barbecue that’s surrounded by metal.” Lawrence supplied. My stomach did a flip at that- remembering Madame de Pompadour . Which made me think about the vampire years. Which made me realize I was spiralling. Which made me think of Reinette. Which made me think of feelings around Reinette. This hadn’t been a good idea.

“Hmmm. Central nervous system. Artificially grown then threaded throughout the suit so it responds like a living thing. Well, it is a living thing.” The Doctor pointed the inhibitor. “Oh, but look. Emotional inhibitor. Stops them feeling anything.”

“But why?” Mrs Moore asked.

“It’s still got a human brain.” The Doctor explained. “Imagine its reaction if it could see itself, realize itself inside this thing. They’d go insane.”

“So they cut out the one thing that makes them human.” Mrs Moore shook her head in disgust.

“Because they have to.” The Doctor stated.

“Why am I cold?” Sally Phelan asked.

“Oh, my God. It’s alive. It can feel.” Mrs Moore realized.

“That’s not a good thing.” I reminded Mrs Moore.

“We broke the inhibitor. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The Doctor apologized.

“Why so cold?” Sally Phelan asked again.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Sally. Sally Phelan.” Sally Phelan answered.

Mrs Moore blinked. “You’re a woman.”

“Where’s Gareth?” Sally Phelan

“Who’s that?” Lawrence asked.

“He can’t see me. It’s unlucky the night before.” Sally Phelan answered.

“You’re getting married.” Mrs Moore realized, voice full of pity.

“I’m cold. I’m so cold.” Sally Phelan begged.

The Doctor pulled out the sonic. “It’s all right. You sleep now, Sally.” He sonicked the area beneath the membrane. I held on to Lawrence’s cold hand. “Just go to sleep.”

The lights in her chest turned off. I squeezed Lawrence’s hand. He squeezed back.

“Sally Phelan didn’t die for nothing, because that’s the key.” The Doctor explained, getting that maniac look in his eyes. “The emotional inhibitor. If we could find the code behind it, the cancellation code, then feed it throughout the system into every Cyberman’s head, they’d realize what they are.”

“And then what?” I asked.

“I think it would kill them.” The Doctor looked at me. “Could we do that?”

“Doc Brown. I think this is one of those times we don’t have a choice.” I told him. The Doctor looked down at Sally Phelan, a lost look on his face. “Mrs Moore, stay down!”

Mrs Moore had been in the process of getting to her feet. Unfortunately the Cyberman was waiting for that. It moved lower to grab Mrs Moore’s shoulder.

“No!” The Doctor ranted. “No you didn’t have to kill her!”

Lawrence shot up to his feet. He leapt over to my side before the Cyberman could even try. Then again, he had no heartbeat. Would the Cybermen even notice him?

“Sensors detect binary vascular systems and one non-responsive system.” Guess that answers that. “You are unknown upgrades. You will be taken for analysis.”

The Doctor looked down at Mrs Moore. I looked down at Sally Phelan. Still, the three of us walked behind the Cybermen.

 

==TTI==

 

“I know we’ve been captured, Terra, but don’t worry.” The Doctor remarked, as we walked into Lumic’s office. “Rose and Pete are still out there. They can rescue us. Oh well, never mind. You okay?” He asked.

Lawrence and I walked up to the control panel. The Doctor walked straight to Rose.

“Yeah.” Rose had a half-smile that fell. “But they got Jackie.”

“We were too late. Lumic killed her.” Pete spoke up from his chair. Oh he got a chair, that was nice.

“Then where is he, the famous Mister Lumic? Don’t we get the chance to meet our Lord and Master?”

“He has been upgraded.” A Cyberman reported.

“So he’s just like you?” The Doctor deadpanned.

“He is superior.” The Cyberman reported. “The Lumic Unit has been designated Cyber Controller.”

A door to the side opened wide. I rolled my eyes in irritation. Supervillains got all the cool entrances.

Lumic rolled up in his Cyber-chair.

“This is The Age of Steel and I am its Creator.”

See?! SEE?!

 

==TTI==

 

We just kinda...stood there...awkwardly.

Lumic may have made it seem like he was planning something for us, but anyone with a brain could tell he was just sitting on his ass twiddling his Cyber-thumbs.

There was screaming in the distance. The Doctor and I laughed.

“That’s my friends at work. Good boys!” The Doctor beamed to Lumic. “Mister Lumic, I think that’s a vote for free will.” He clicked his tongue, winking.

“I have factories waiting on seven continents. If the ear pods have failed, then the Cybermen will take humanity by force. London has fallen. So shall the world.” Lumic ranted. “I will bring peace to the world. Everlasting peace and unity and uniformity.”

“And imagination? What about that?” The Doctor argued, loudly. “The one thing that lead you here, imagination, you’re killing it dead!”

“What is your name?” Lumic demanded.

“I’m the Doctor.”

“A redundant title.” Lumic staed. “Doctors need not exist. Cybermen never sicken.”

“Yeah, but that’s it. That’s exactly the point! Oh, Lumic, you’re a clever man. I’d call you a genius, except I’m in the room.” The Doctor remarked. “But everything you’ve invented, you did to fight your sickness. And that’s brilliant. That is so human. But once you get rid of sickness and mortality, then what’s there to strive for, eh? The Cybermen won’t advance. You’ll just stop. You’ll stay like this forever. A metal Earth with metal men and metal thoughts, lacking the one thing that makes this planet so alive. People. Ordinary, stupid , brilliant people.”

“You are proud of your emotions.” Lumic commented.

“Oh, yes.” The Doctor agreed.

“Then tell me, Doctor. Have you known grief, and rage, and pain?” Lumic asked.

“Yes. Yes I have.” The Doctor answered.

“And they hurt?” Lumic asked.

“Oh, yes.” He stated proudly. Well as proudly as one could, when arguing emotions with a Cyberman.

“I could set you free. Would you not want that? A life without pain?” Lumic offered.

“You might as well kill me.” The Doctor warned.

“Then I take that option.” Lumic snarled.

“It’s not yours to take. You’re a Cyber Controller. You don’t control me or anything with blood in its heart .” The Doctor raged.

Lawrence leaned to me. “Does your friend just do this...all the time?”

“Mostly.” I shrugged. “It really pays off though.” I glanced back to the camera behind us.

“You have no means of stopping me. I have an army. A species of my own.” Lumic argued.

The Doctor ran a hand over his face. “You just don’t get it, do you? An army’s nothing. Because those ordinary people, they’re the key. The most ordinary person could change the world.” The Doctor turned to the camera, for just a second, just long enough to get through Mickey’s skull. “Some ordinary man or woman, some idiot . All it takes is for him to find, say, the right numbers. Say the right codes. Say, for example, the code behind the emotional inhibitor. The code right in front of him. Because even an idiot knows how to use computers these days. Knows how to get past firewalls and passwords. Knows how to find something encrypted in the Lumic Family Database, under er.” The Doctor looked at Pete. What was it, Pete? Binary what?”

“Binary nine.” Pete answered, flatly,

“An idiot could find that code. Cancellation code. And he’d keep on typing. Keep on fighting. Anything to save his friends.” The Doctor babbled.

“Especially his boss.” I glanced to the camera, glaring. “Because if his boss dies- ohoo- she’s gonna be pissed. Even after she got him that lovely phone . With all it’s connections.”

“Your words are irrelevant.” Lumic remarked.

“Yeah, talk too much, that’s my problem.” The Doctor laughed. “Lucky I got you that cheap tariff, Rose, for all our long chats. On your phone.”

“You will be deleted.” Lumic growled.

“Yes. Delete, control, hash. All those lovely buttons.” The Doctor ranted. “Then, of course, my particular favorite, send . And let’s not forget how you seduced all those ordinary people in the first place.”

My phone beeped. I pulled it out, seeing the code on the screen.

“By making every bit of technology compatible with everything else.” The Doctor bragged. I tossed him the phone. “Like this.” He plugged the phone in.

That’s when the screaming started.

I looked down at my shirt, trying my hardest not to let the screaming affect me.

“I’m sorry.” The Doctor told to them.

“What have you done?” Lumic raged.

“I gave them back their souls. They can see what you’ve done, Lumic, and it’s killing them!” The Doctor answered.

The five of us ran out of the room. It was beginning to go up in flames.

“Delete! Delete! Delete!” Lumic screamed behind us.

The Doctor handed me my phone as the explosions started.

“Hold onto it, might steal it in a minute!”

“Oh don’t you start that!”

As we ran towards the emergency exit, I was also looking for access to the roof. The Doctor swung open the exit door, only to find it blocked by convulsing Cybermen.

“There’s no way out!” The Doctor told us.

“To the roof then!” I shouted.

“What?!” The Doctor asked.

“That’s insane!” Rose added.

“Which is exactly why Mickey’s doing it!” I held up my phone, showing them that Mickey was calling. And thank the Author he was doing right then.

So I lead the group towards the roof.

 

==TTI==

 

I hopped onto the roof, seeing Mickey fly the zeppelin to the landing patch.

“Mickey-my boy. Happy to see you can teach an old tin dog new tricks.” I teased. “Where’d you learn this?”

Mickey laughed. “Playstation. Just hold on, boss. I’m coming to get you lot.”

I ran towards the zeppelin, mindful of the flames.

Once I was certain I stood under the emergency exit I stopped.

The ladder dropped just as I did.

“All-aboard!” I shouted to them, over another explosion.

“You’ve got to be kidding.” Pete ranted.

“Rose, get up.” The Doctor instructed. “Terra you too!”

“Nope!” I turned to Pete. “Tyler, you second! Lawrence you third. Doc Brown and I go last!”

“You’re so demanding!” The Doctor snapped.

“What’d you expect?!” I asked as Pete climbed on the ladder. “I’m an American- this is as nice as we get in these things!”

The Doctor growled in annoyance.

“Hold on tight-” Mickey’s voice came over the phone. “We’re going up!”

“Mickey says climb faster!” I shouted to them, just as Lawrence started on the ladder.

“Welcome to Mickey Smith's Airline. Please enjoy your flight. Woo!”

The Doctor climbed on. I grabbed the last of the rungs as they began flying up above the building. The Doctor climbed up faster, to reach Rose.

“We did it! We did it!” Rose cheered.

Also I saw Lumic coming. I made sure to be higher than he could grab. Lumic grabbed the end of the rope.

He climbed up the ladder as we did.

“Doc Brown!” I shouted up.

“Pete! Take this! Give it to Terra!” The Doctor instructed.

Pete took the sonic from the Doctor. He passed it down to Lawrence. Lawrence slapped it into my hand.

I turned to Lumic.

“Hey!”

Lumic looked up at me.

“Angela Pierce, Sally Phelan, Jackie Tyler!” I snapped at him. I pressed the sonic against the rope, activating it. “They say- burn in hell!”

The rope snapped.

Lumic fell towards his lab.

The factory lit up in flames once he got close.

I laughed in relief.

Lawrence did as well.

“Woohoo!” I cheered over the phone. “Mickey Smith, take us home!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor walked inside the TARDIS. I bumped Lawrence’s shoulder, motioning with my head to it.

“Wanna see the inside?” I offered.

Lawrence looked towards the TARDIS. Her magnificent blue wood acting like a hypnotic oasis to a starving man.

“Yeah.” Lawrence stated.

I let him walk inside. The lights came on once I took my first step behind him.

Lawrence gawked at it. I grinned in delight.

The Doctor was beaming like an idiot. I laughed at his face. Lawrence’s too.

“It’s...bigger.” Lawrence remarked.

That made me laugh so hard I doubled over. The Doctor slapped me on the back in joy as he walked to the door. I knew it was to get Rose.

I went over to the pilot seat, lounging on it.

Lawrence was still gawking.

“Yeah. She’s great.” I agreed with him. “One of a kind.”

“Like you?” Lawrence remarked. He looked down from the console unit to me. I gave him a half smile. “What exactly are you? You walk through realities so easy, I know you do. Yet here you friends were, trapped, and they never asked you once to help with the way out.”

My smile was tight now.

“And him-” Lawrence pointed in the direction the Doctor had left. “He thinks you’re his kind. I can hear your heartbeats so it’s not a complete lie. What are you?”

“I don’t even know.” I admitted. “Maybe I’m one of a kind? Maybe there are others like me. People who, when they change worlds like this, change their physical form.”

“Then why hide? I think your friends can help you find others.” Lawrence walked up towards me, leaning against the rail.

I shook my head. “No. This may sound stupid, but I have the one I need.” I reached up to Lawrence’s skull. He let me show him the memories again- this time ones about Darcy. First meeting, her first kill, me helping her become the woman I knew her as today. Lawrence started to grin when I showed him the many pranks and jokes. “She’s family, Lawrence. I don’t want to find others of my kind. I just need her to be safe.”

“How long?” Lawrence asked. “How long until she’s not enough?”

I couldn’t help it. I just laughed. “If I ever treat her like she’s not enough, it’ll only be because someone else important came up. I like to think she’d be by my side- for 100% of that.”

Lawrence looked at me- his expression bouncing between proud and disbelieving. “You really are an optimist.”

“Isn’t everyone, about the one good thing they have?” I asked.

“TERRA!” Rose called from the door. “Did you hear about this?!”

“Oh for Author’s sake!” I growled, hopping up from the pilot seat. I stormed off to the door. Mickey was standing there, Ricky behind him. They both had set faces of determination.

“This one- he’s trying to leave!” Rose pointed a finger at Mickey.

“Think he’s trying to stay, actually.” I argued. “Let him. Ricky Smith, I officially give you temporary leave of command. Mickey Smith, you’re in charge of the Preachers, by order of me.”

“Hold on, that’s not what-” Ricky began.

“Nah mate. She’s alright.” Mickey waved his hand.

“Mickey, don’t be an idiot. People are gonna think I’m a bad boss if you’re an idiot.” I informed him. I glanced at the Doctor. “Oh there’s your suit.”

The Doctor grinned. “Yeah. Mickey got it for me. Good old Mickey.”

“I’ll miss ya, ya stupid tin dog.” I waved, going into the TARDIS.

“You’re just letting him go?!” Rose yelled.

“It’s his choice. Who am I to tell him not to follow his heart? Or whatever the hell you emotional people call it.” I shrugged. I walked into the TARDIS, not eager to listen to their heartfelt goodbyes. “Lawrence Latshaw, I’m recruiting you for the Preachers.”

“No you’re not.” Lawrence scoffed.

I glared down my nose at him. A power move, as he was taller than me. Lawrence grimaced in surprise.

“Jesus Christ- you’re scary.” Lawrence shuffled in his jacket. He walked out of the TARDIS. “Oi Smiths. Looks like I’m a Preacher now.”

“Like hell you are!” Ricky argued.

“Boss’ orders! Didn’t get a say.” Lawrence replied. “Doctor, I’d watch out for that one. She’s let power go to her head.”

“WHAT WAS THAT?” I ran to the door, glaring at the Preachers.

“Nothing!” The Smiths and Lawrence all held up their arms in surrender.

“That’s what I thought .” I turned to Mickey.

He stretched out his hand. “Terra the Creepy.”

I grabbed his hand. “Mickey the Idiot.”

“Take Rose’s phone. It’s got the code.  Terra made sure to text it to her.” The Doctor instructed them. “Get it out there. Stop those factories. And good luck, Mickey the idiot.”

Mickey pointed a warning finger at him. “Watch it.”

I laughed at the two of them. The Doctor and I walked into the TARDIS, letting the two childhood friend say goodbye.

“Latshaw, keep them alive.” I ordered as I walked inside.

“Power mad!” Lawrence called back.

I laughed, going to the console.

The Doctor walked up to my side. He began flipping switches. I stepped back as he moved towards the computer.

“So. Am I ever going to hear the story of how Mr Latshaw saved your life?” The Doctor asked.

“Maybe. Someday. When I stop reliving it every night.” I clapped my hands together. The Doctor turned his head to me. He wasn’t asking, vocally. He had that look Ten always had when he knew you would tell him if he just stared long enough. “Well that’s my time. I broke my hoodie saving a life tonight. I need my cold hoodie back.”

The Doctor laughed. “You do love your cold.”

“Ya darn right!” I called back, walking into the back of the TARDIS.

 

==TTI==

 

By the time I had the hoodie fixed, Rose had changed out of her maid uniform and the TARDIS was landing.

Once we landed Rose ran out first. She saw her mother. She gave Jackie a big hug.

“You’re alive. Oh Mum, you’re alive.” Rose exhaled in a relieved breath.

“Well, I was the last time I looked.” Jackie hugged her daughter back. “What is it? What’s happened, sweetheart? What’s wrong? Where did you go?” She asked the Doctor.

“Far away. That was far away.” The Doctor answered.

“Where’s Mickey?” Jackie asked.

“Home.” I answered.

Rose sobbed on her mother’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

So I was swimming in the pool when it happened.

I was doing laps, something to calm me down. I’d had a nightmare the night before about my dark years, including the aftermath of it. The weeks of recovery at Latshaw’s flat that turned into some kind of 12-step program. It was like detoxing from Dilaudid all over again except a thousand times worse because the addiction had lasted fifty years. It didn’t just go away because I’d been cured.

Nightmares about being constantly starving, and wanting to feed weren’t abnormal.

Swimming had always helped calm me down.

The TARDIS was controlling my music player. I’d asked her to play music that would help. She’d picked Elvis music.

Which is fucked up.

Because it was making me laugh too.

It’s hard to finish your laps when you’re laughing.

So I cut myself off near the end. I decide I’d just run some laps later. We were bound to land soon anyway.

The TARDIS played the music louder as I walked up to a towel. I got the impression she wanted me to sing along.

Raising my eyebrow at the ceiling, I decided to play along with her little game.

“A little less conversation, a little more action, please.” I sang. As the music got further into the beat, I couldn’t stop from dancing along to it. “All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me. A little more bite and a little less bark, a little less fight and a little more spark. Close your mouth and open up your heart and, baby, satisfy me! Satisfy me, baby.”

I dried off my feet, dancing along while swinging around the towel.

Once enough of me was dry I danced more actively. It had a good beat, okay? Lilo Pelekai had a good point.

“Oh! Is that Elvis?”

The sound I made should not be recognized as human. I threw the closest object in arm’s reach-the towel- in the direction of the sound.

Turns out it was the Doctor.

Also throwing a towel was shit when the towel was wet.

“What are you doing?! Sneaking up on people like that!” I tore off my goggles, throwing them at him too.

The Doctor dodged them- barely. “Nice throw. I’m shaking in my boots.”

I glared at him, looking for something else that hadn’t been soaked in water.

“You like Elvis?” The Doctor asked, pointing to the ceiling.

“No. I listen to it when I’m upset. ” I argued.

“Why?”

“It makes me more upset.”

“Listening to Elvis makes you sad? Makes me want to dance.” The Doctor clicked his fingers to the beat that was still playing. He was mindful of the water on the floor though.

Yet as I saw him dance, I suddenly saw Lilo. She was swaying with the tune like it was the most perfect hula. Her thick black hair dancing with her. As she danced, she motioned with her hands for me to join her.

And I couldn’t.

And I never would again.

I shook the illusion from my eyes. The Doctor was still dancing, practically blind to the the emotional conflict I had just had.

Rather than give him the chance to see it, I gathered my stuff and stormed past him.

“Where are you going? I thought we-”

“I’m going to bed.” I called back over my shoulder.

 

==TTI==

 

That was a week ago.

Which is why I wasn’t surprised to find a 1950 era dress waiting in my closet.

Reluctantly I threw it on. It was dark purple polka dot taffeta, the sleeves were full blown, and there was a black bowtie around the neck. Lucky for me the TARDIS threw in a black leather jacket and some leggings to wear on my legs. After a quick check it had my nanobots installed. It was just slipping it into the skirt pocket that was easy. The shoes were black loafers with a brass buckle.

Overall I liked the look.

After putting my hair in a pinup, I walked out in the console room. The Doctor was already there with his updo.

There were also two scooters. One, the classic blue I remembered from the episode. The other, a dark red with a white line going through it. I gawked at it, and it’s matching helmet.

The Doctor applauded my entrance.

I raised my eyebrow at him. “You’re up to something.”

The Doctor scoffed. “Who? Me? Wouldn’t dream of it.” His smug grin dropped, as he looked behind me to better hide the smug grin.

Knowing it was Rose, I went over to what I assumed was my new bike. I didn’t want to get in the middle of their avoidance.

“Doctor. What’s this about?” Rose asked.

“Hmm?” The Doctor asked, clearly not able to reboot his brain.

“The dress?” Rose prompted. “Are we going somewhere?”

“Elvis!” The Doctor answered. “Yes! That’s where we’re going. We’re going to see Elvis- live. In the 1950’s. Thought it’d be...”

“Doctor?” Rose asked.

I nearly smacked my head on the sides of the bike.

“Doctor does this thing come with anti-grav?” I asked him.

That seemed to break him out- just a bit. “What?” He shook his head, turning to me. “Anti-grav? Why would it need that?”

“Bikes are worthless without anti-grav.” I replied.

“Useless?!” The Doctor ranted. He turned to Rose. “I get her a motorbike and you know what she does? Complain!”

Rose laughed. “Americans.”

I groaned in annoyance. Anti-grav was the best part! People underappreciated flying motorbikes.

“Where’s my bike? I only see two.” Rose remarked.

“Hmm?” The Doctor glanced at the bikes before looking back at Rose. “Well...I was thinking we’d- being you and me- would ride together.” Rose was giving him a tongue-on-tooth smile. “Cause...cause...” I snorted from where I was. The Doctor waved a hand in my direction to shut me up. “You know, if you don’t want to I can find a-”

“It’s great.” Rose interrupted. “Brilliant.”

Rolling my eyes again, I clipped on my helmet. “Well what are we waiting for?” I swung my leg over the bike. “Let’s move!”

The Doctor and Rose laughed.

“Impatient American.”

“Nah, think it’s just her.”

“Really?”

“Mh-hmm.”

“You know, now that you mention it-”

“I’m literally sitting on something that can run you both over.” I pointed out to them. “And I’ll do it. Don’t think I won’t because of stupid ‘ mercy’ .”

The Doctor and Rose laughed.

I rolled my eyes at them, revving the engine.

It prompted the human to move at least.

“By the way, what year are we in?” I asked. “This dress isn’t modern.”

“We’re going to 1953!” The Doctor cheered.

She stepped out of the TARDIS, adjusting the last few bits of her outfit. “I thought we’d be going for the Vegas era.” She remarked, pointing around the street. “You know the white flares and the, grr, chest hair.”

The Doctor popped his head out of the TARDIS. “You are kidding, aren’t you? You want to see Elvis, you go for the late fifties. The time before burgers. When they called him the Pelvis and he still had a waist. What’s more, you see him in style.”

I revved my engine. The Doctor had enough time to open the doors before I rushed out.

When I made it outside I stopped the car with a spin. Rose was grinning at me, laughing.

“I’m a speed demon on wheels.” I explained to them, revving again. “Fear me.”

Rose laughed, up until the Doctor rode out on his own scooter.

“You going my way, doll?”

“Is there any other way to go, daddy-o?” She slid her shoulder glasses on. “Straight from the fridge, man.”

The Doctor laughed, proud. “I’ve never been more ashamed to know you in my life.” I remarked.

“Hey, you speak the lingo.” He beamed as Rose climbed up on the scooter behind him.

Rose clipped on her helmet. “Oh well, me, mum, Cliff Richard movies every Bank Holiday Monday.”

“Ah, Cliff. I knew your mother’d be a Cliff fan.”

I revved again, speeding past him. “Later slow pokes!”

“Oi!”

The Doctor buzzed after me. I just enjoyed me time on the bike, exaggerating turns and just barely stopping at red lights. The Doctor would pull up beside me, with Rose laughing against his shoulder and me laughing at his misfortune.

“Where we off to?” Rose asked, as the light turned green.

“Ed Sullivan TV Studios. Elvis did Hound Dog on one of the shows. There were loads of complaints.” The Doctor answered. “Bit of luck, we’ll just catch it.”

“The New York studio?” I asked him, driving circles around him.

“That’s the one.”

“The studio that’s in New York?”

“Yes, in New York.”

“A New York studio in New York-”

“Yes- will you stop?” He asked, meaning my driving in circles.

I stopped in front of him, leaning towards him and Rose with a smug look on my face.

“Somebody should tell the marketing guys. Cause this looks like London to me.” I remarked.

As if to agree with me, a double decker bus drove a block ahead of us.

“Ha!” Rose laughed. “Digging that New York vibe.”

“Well, this could still be New York. I mean, this looks very New York to me. Sort of Londony New York, mind.” The Doctor pointed out for a weak defense.

“What are all the flags for?” Rose asked the Doctor.

“How should I know? It’s your country.” With that, I drove off up the road.

 

==TTI==

 

Soon I  found the street with Magpie on it. The man was helping a group of other Londoners get their TVs.

When I pulled over, the Doctor came up beside me. After parking the scooter I walked to the van.

“There you go, sir, all wired up for the great occasion.” Magpie assured the men, as they carried the TV box away. Unclipping the helmet, I held it at my side. It’d have to wait before I could fix my hair- despite that I knew I had helmet hair. Actually I missed having helmet hair, is that weird to say?

“The great occasion? What do you mean?” The Doctor asked.

“Where’ve you been living, out in the Colonies?” My fists clenched at my side. Fully ready to punch this guy in the face. He was saying what about the Colonies? I forgot he’d said this. He was dead . The Doctor must’ve seen my expression because he put a hand on my shoulder. I bumped him off. “Coronation, of course.”

“What Coronations that then?” The Doctor inquired.

“What do you mean? The Coronation.” Magpie repeated.

“Gonna have to repeat tha-”

“Oh so you are from the Colonies!” Magpie cheered. I narrowed my eyes.

Rose put her hand on my shoulder. Brushing her off, I dusted out the creases in my dress.

“It’s the Queen’s. Queen Elizabeth.” Rose supplied, for the Doctor and I.

“Oh! Is this 1953?” The Doctor asked, cheery.

“Last time I looked.” The Doctor gave me a smug grin. I rolled my eyes. Just because he got the year right doesn’t mean it voids he got the location wrong. “Time for a lovely bit of pomp and circumstance, what we do best.” Magpie grinned at me with a snobbish face. “Show the Colonies how it’s done.”

I scoffed.

“Look at all the TV aerials. Looks like everyone’s got one.” Rose remarked, tilting me so I was looking away from Magpie. “That’s weird. My nan said tellies were so rare they all had to pile into one house.”

“Not around here, love. Magpie’s Marvellous Tellies , only five quid a pop.” He advertised.

“Oh, but this is a brilliant year. Classic! Technicolor, Everest climbed, everything off the ration.” The Doctor reminisced, beaming. I followed behind him, one hand holding my Bag strap and the other on my hip. “The nation throwing off the shadows of war and looking forward to a happier, brighter future.”

“Someone help me, please! Ted!”

The Doctor received a smack on the back of his head. Lucky for me he’d taken the helmet off earlier.

He winced. “I asked for that.”

“Yeah ya did.”

Then we shot up the street like bullets.

Up the street, Mrs Gallagher was screaming as two men in blacks took away her husband.

“Leave him alone! He’s my husband! Please.” She begged the men, the people on the street, anyone.

“What’s going on?” The Doctor demanded of the officers.

They ignored him.

Tommy ran out of his house, joining the three of us. “Oi, what are you doing?” He asked them.

“Police business. Now, get out of the way, sir.” Inspector Bishop answered. They pushed Mr Gallagher into the car, without a protest from the man himself.

“Who did they take? Do you know him?” Rose asked Tommy.

“Must be Mister Gallagher.” Tommy guessed. The police car drove off up the street. Tommy turned to me. “It’s happening all over the place. They’re turning into monsters.”

“Tommy! Not one word! Get inside now!” His father ordered from the stoop.

Tommy sighed. “Sorry. I’d better do as he says.” He apologized, before running back to his home.

As soon as he was inside, I ran to my moped. The Doctor was behind me.

The car turned a corner. I made sure I was behind it.

There was a high speed chase. Well highspeed by my standards. The Doctor and Rose were lagging. The wall was closing and the cart was just being moved into place

The Doctor pulled up beside me after the gate closed. “Lost them. How’d they get away from us?”

“Think it was a magic door.” I answered to the Doctor.

“Ha, ha.” He replied dryly. “It’s not a magic door.”

A snort died in my throat. I turned to where I remembered the camera to be, like in the Office .

“Surprised they didn’t turn back and arrest you two for reckless driving.” Rose shivered. “Have you actually passed your tests?”

“Told you, easier with anti-grav.” That wasn’t a no.

“Men in black? Vanishing police cars? This is Churchill’s England, not Stalin’s Russia.” The Doctor mused to ignore Rose’s question.

“Monsters, that boy said.” Rise realized. “Maybe we should go and ask the neighbors.”

The Doctor beamed at her. “That’s what I like about you. The domestic approach.”

“Thank you.”

I kicked the scooter back in gear.

“Hold on, was that an insult? Whoa!”

 

==TTI==

 

Rose buzzed the doorbell.

When there was no answer, I buzzed the button repeatedly.

“Terra.” He chided.

“They’ll open the door now.” I supplied, still buzzing the doorbell.

“How can you know that?”

I shrugged. This always worked when Darcy was in the Girl Scouts. (Was in it a for a week before finding out she couldn’t eat the cookies for free). “Just a good idea.”

“Yeah well what about when-”

Eddie opened the door wide.

“Hi!” We all cheered, smiling wide.

“Who are you, then?” Eddie demanded.

“Let’s see, then. Judging by the look of you, family man, nice house, decent wage, fought in the war, therefore-” The Doctor pulled out the psychic paper. “I represent Queen and country.” I smiled politely, not a spot of sarcasm to be found despite me really wanting their to be. “Just doing a little check of Her forthcoming Majesty’s subjects before the great day. Don’t mind if I come in? Nah, I didn’t think you did. Thank you.”

We pushed in past Eddie. Me myself ‘accidentally’ stepping on his toes.

The Doctor walked into the living room. I gave Tommy a polite wave before following behind them.

“Not bad. Very nice. Very well kept.” The Doctor turned to Rita. “I’d like to congratulate you, Mrs?”

“Connolly.” She supplied, shyly glancing away as Eddie walked in.

“Now then, Rita. I can handle this. This gentleman’s a proper representative. Don’t mind the wife, she rattles on a bit.” Before the Doctor could argue, Eddie pointed at me. “Now what about her? She looks far too young to be involved in the Queen’s business.”

“I’m doing my duty for Queen and Country, sir.” I answered, using my best posh British accent. Rose and I moved to sit in one of the chairs. “Start them young, start them right, isn’t that the way to do it?”

Eddie laughed, not convinced but unwilling to argue about duty. Especially with what he saw as a weak female teenager. “Too right! Only wish my boy could be as proud to the Crown as you.”

Beside us, Tommy winced. He stayed hidden though. Now I wanted to punch out Eddie on the principle of being a decent human being. Humiliating him would have to be enough for now.

“You know, Mr Connolly, I’m not convinced you’re doing your patriotic duty. Nice flags. Why are they not flying?” The Doctor asked

Eddie blanched. “There we are Rita, I told you. Get them up. Queen and country.”

“I’m sorry.” Rita apologized to us.

“Get it done. Do it now.” Eddie ordered.

I leaned back to Rose. She leaned closer. “I’m about to beat him with a stick.”

“Do I need to hold you back?” She asked.

“Not if you wanna get beat with a stick too.” Was my warning to her.

“Hold on a minute.” The Doctor walked away from Rita.

“Like the gentleman says.” Eddie continued to instruct the embarrassed Rita.

“Hold on a minute. You’ve got hands, Mister Connolly.” The Doctor pointed out. “Two big hands. So why is that your wife’s job?”

“Well, it’s housework, innit?” Eddie countered.

Rose put her her hand on my shoulder.

“And that’s a woman’s job?”

“Of course it is.”

She gripped tight to my shoulder.

The Doctor glanced at me. He gave an appreciative head bob to Rose. “Mister Connolly, what gender is the Queen?” The Doctor asked.

“She’s a female.” Eddie answered.

“And are you suggesting the Queen does the housework?” The Doctor asked.

Eddie was floored at this idea. His family looked like they had hope for the first time in their lives. “No. Not at all.”

The Doctor held out the flags to him. “Then get busy.”

Eddie bobbed his head. “Right. Yes, sir.” He moved to the wall, figuring out how to hang the flags. “You’ll be proud of us, sir. We’ll have Union Jacks left, right and centre.”

“Excuse me, Mister Connolly. Hang on a minute. Union Jacks ?” Rose asked.

“Yes, that’s right, isn’t it?” Was stupid Eddie’s stupid answer.

“That’s the Union Flag. It’s the Union Jack only when it’s flown at sea.” Rose corrected.

“Oh. Oh, I’m sorry, I do apologize.” Eddie apologizes, becoming flustered at the blunder.

“Well, don’t get it wrong again, there’s a good man.” Rose complimented. “Now get to it!”

“Right then! Nice and comfy, at Her Majesty’s leisure.” I moved to the couch, flopping down beside him. “Union Flag?”

“Mum went out with a sailor.” Rose excused.

“Oh ho ho ho. I bet she did.” He laughed which made Rose laugh which made me disgusted with how in love they both were with each other. “Anyway, I’m the Doctor and this is Rose and Terra, and you are?”

“Tommy.”

“Good on ya, Tommy.” I cheered in the acceng, pushing the Doctor off the couch. To Rose’s amusement. I moved to sit in the middle, putting any distance between Eddie and the family that I could. “Sit yourself down.”

Tommy sat down at my side, leaning closer towards his mother. Rita appreciates the gesture, smiling at all of us while glancing at Eddie to be sure he wasn’t looking.

The Doctor laughed, that promised he get me back for pushing him off. He knelt down beside the couch. “Have a look at this. I love telly, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I think it’s brilliant.” Tommy replied. He turned to me. “Wha-wha about you?”

“Oh it’s my whole life.” Came my answer, with a sly grin.

“Good man!” The Doctor cheered. He leaned back towards Eddie. “Keep working, Mister C!” He leaned forward towards Rita, lowering his voice. “Now, why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?”

“Did you say you were a doctor?” Rita asked, worried.

“Yes, I am.”

“Can you help her? Oh please, can you help her, Doctor?” Rita pleaded.

“Now then, Rita. I don’t think the gentleman needs to know-” Eddie interjected.

“No, the gentleman does.”

“Tell us what’s wrong, and we can help.” Rose asked, which made Rita burst out in tears at the act of kindness. Flinching away from the emotions, I let Rose handle it. “I’m sorry. It’s all right. Come here. It’s okay.”

“Hold on a minute. Queen and country’s one thing, but this is my house! What the?” He threw down the flags. He stormed up to the Doctor and I. We had the same expression of ‘here we go again’.

He was focused on the Doctor, so I pulled Tommy aside. The boy allowed it.

“Show me.” I instructed. The boy looked to his still ranting father, before nodding. He took my hand, bringing me to the stairs. “So, while the grownups are talking all boring like, talk to me Tommy. What’s going on?”

“We started hearing stories, all round the place.” Tommy explained. He walked me towards his grandmother’s room. “People who’ve changed. Families keeping it secret because they were scared. Then the police started finding out. We don’t know how, no one does. They just turn up, come to the door and take them, any time of the day or night.”

He eased the door open.

“Gran? It’s Tommy. It’s alright, Gran. I’ve brought help.” Tommy spoke. He turned on the light to her room.

Gran stood there, blank faced.

Which has never been more applicable than before this moment.

“Well...that’s a face.” I mused. “Or a lack of one.”

The grandmother continued to stand there, not a whip of expression.

I walked up to the poor woman, footsteps were heard coming up the way.

“Welcome to the party, Doctor.” I remarked dryly, my accent dropping. “Feel like explaining this to me?”

Taking a step to the side, I showed off Gran’s missing face.

The Doctor and Rose gawked.

“Her face is completely gone.” He stated.

“Noticed that, have ya?”

He ran the sonic over her face. “Scarcely an electrical impulse left. Almost complete neural shutdown. She’s ticking over.” Outside, I heard a car stop and men walk out. I tensed. “It’s like her brain has been wiped clean.”

“What’re we going to do, Doctor?” Tommy asked. “We can’t even feed her.”

The door downstairs crashed open.

“We’ve got company-”

“It’s them. They’ve come for her!” Rita realized with horror.

“Quickly. What was she doing before this happened?” The Doctor asked Rita. “Where was she?” The footsteps got louder. “Tell me. Quickly, think!”

“I can’t think!” Rita cried out, running her hands over her face.

“She doesn’t leave the house!” Tommy added to help. “She was just-”

The policemen came in. The Doctor stood in their path to granny.

“Hold on a minute. There are three important, brilliant, and complicated reasons why you should listen to me. One-”

Crabtree punched him.

“Doctor!” Rose gasped.

“Oi! Only I can hit him!” I pulled my fit back, punching one of them on the back. He made a loud groan while Crabtree threw the tarp over gran. “I’d let her go- my fists are considered lethal weapons!”

Except they didn’t. They walked away, guiding Gran with them.

“Leave her alone! No!”

“Now I’m just insulted! Come on, Doc Brown, let’s go-” But he was still unconscious. “Big fat help.” So I stormed off after them alone.

“Don’t hurt her!” Rita begged.

They made it to the door. I tried to push past the family but they were stubborn humans.

“Get back inside!” Eddie ordered as the police pushed gran into the car.

I pushed Tommy aside, trying to push past Eddie. He forced me back with a strong grip on my shoulder.

“But Dad, they took her!” Tommy argued.

“Don’t fight it, son. Don’t fight it.” Eddie scolded him. When I tried to push past Eddie glared. “You too, lass.”

I grabbed his hand, wrenching it off of me. He yelped in pain.

“Touch me again, you lose that hand.” I warned, running off to my bike.

The Doctor ran out behind me. I was strapping on my helmet. “Rose, we’re going to lose them again!” He shouted over his shoulder.

Except she didn’t come out, so we went without her.

I owed them a punch in the face.

 

==TTI==

 

They beat us to that wall again.

“Oh, very good. Very good.” The Doctor praised.

Getting off the bike, I attached my helmet to the bars. “Nope. Not being beat by the magic door again.” Clapping my hands on the Doctor’s arm, I dragged him to the side wall. “You are gonna sonic us inside-”

“Wait you weren’t joking about the magic door?”

“It was more like a secret wall, and I couldn’t help myself with the joke. Open an entrance!”

The Doctor laughed, but he did what I said.

He snuck in the tiny door that opened. I followed behind him into the dark warehouse. The men had just closed a link gate, so of course that’s where went next.

The Doctor sonicked the door open. He opened the next one too, where even in the low light of the warehouse you could tell they were all faceless people.

He walked inside. I stayed by the door. Sorry but I was more in line for vengeance than the growing swarm of faceless people around the Doctor.

They nearly had hid pinned when large lights went on across the warehouse.

“Stay where you are.” Bishop instructed.

I walked over to them, punching Crabtree.

As he put cuffs on my wrists, I smirked.

“Worth it.”

 

==TTI==

 

They brought us to Bishop’s office. My arms were handcuffed behind the chair. Crabtree was now sporting a black eye. Or it would go black in an hour or so. For now it was just red.

“Start from the beginning. Tell me everything you know.” Bishop ordered.

“Well, for starters, I know you can’t wrap your hand around your elbow and make your fingers meet.”

“Don’t get clever with me.” He warned. The Doctor snorted. Because he was thinking telling me not to clever was like asking to be mocked.

“I know how to make two plus two equal fish.” Was my addition.

“Quiet you!” Bishop ordered. I smirked at him instead. “You were there- the both of ya- today at Florizel Street, and now breaking into this establishment. Now you’re connected with this. Make no mistake.”

“Well, the thing is, Detective Inspector Bishop-”

He narrowed his eyes. “How do you know my name?” Bishop asked.

“It’s written inside your collar. Bless your mum.” The Doctor admitted. Bishop fixed his tie. “But I can’t help thinking, Detective Inspector, you’re not exactly doing much detective inspecting, are you?”

“I’m doing everything in my power.” Bishop argued.

“Well that’s a lie.” I scoffed. “All I saw in there was a bunch of faceless people in a cage. How is that doing anything to solve the problem?”

“Don’t tell me orders from above, hmm?” The Doctor reasoned, much to the officers’ shame. “Coronation Day. The eyes of the world are on London Town so any sort of problem just gets swept out of sight.”

“The nation has an imagine to maintain.” Bishop explained us.

“But doesn’t it drive you mad, doing nothing? Don’t you want to get out there and investigate?” The Doctor tempted.

“Or even just seeing the problem up close, on the streets? Getting your nails dirty?”

“Of course I do. But, with all the crowds expected, we haven’t got the manpower.” Bishop sighed. “Even if we did, this is beyond anything we’ve ever seen. I just don’t know anymore. Twenty years on the force, I don’t even know where to start. We haven’t the faintest clue what’s going on.”

“Well, that could change.” The Doctor countered, as Bishop sat down in the chair at his desk.

“How?”

“Start from the beginning.” The Doctor asked.

“Tell us everything you know.” I stood beside him. “He’s the Doctor, and I’m Terra Johnson. We’re only here to help.”

Crabtree huffed.

“You punched him. I had to defend his honor.”

Bishop conceded.

 

==TTI==

 

Downstairs, I heard car doors closing.

It was closer to morning now, so not much had gotten done.

Nothing...except what happened to Rose.

Bishop got up to his feet as I remembered her terrible fate. “We started finding them about a month ago. Persons left sans visage. Heads just blank.”

“Is there any sort of pattern?” The Doctor asked, now wearing his ‘ I’m smart and Rose thinks I look sexy in these’ glasses.

“Yes, spreading out from North London.” He showed us the map behind him. “All over the city. Men, women, kids, grannies. The only real lead is there’s been quite a large number in-”

“Florizel Street.” The Doctor finished, looking over the case files.

“You found another one.” I stated, just as the door opened. The Doctor glanced at me from the folders. “Heard the car...oh no.”

“Found another one, sir.” Crabtree reported, while I gawked at the skirt.

“Oh, er, good man, Crabtree. Here we are, Doctor, Terra. Take a good look. See what you can deduce.”

“Rose.” The Doctor exhaled as Crabtree threw off the blanket.

“You know her?” Bishop asked.

“Know her? She...” The Doctor walked up so close, that if Rose had a face they had to have kissed just to break the tension.

“Where was she?” I asked, fighting to keep my voice from growling.

Crabtree shrugged. “They found her in the street, apparently, over by Damascus Road, abandoned.”

“That’s unusual. That’s the first one out in the open.” Bishop sighed. My fists clenched at my side.

I’m gonna smash her screens in.

“Heaven help us if something happens in public tomorrow for the big day.”

Living in a TV is my thing.

“We’ll have Torchwood on our backs then, make no mistake.”

This mistake of electricity dies tonight.

“They did what?” The Doctor spoke up.

“I’m sorry?”

“They left her where?” He repeated, his rage coming through.

“Just in the street.” Bishop shrugged.

I made a squeaking noise of withholding my angry roars. And swears, holding back swears. “The street...left in the- mmph- street.”

“In the street. They left her in the street. They took her face and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things simple. Very, very simple. Do you know why?” The Doctor asked.

“No.” Bishop answered in a small voice.

The Doctor whipped off the glasses. “Because now, Detective Inspector Bishop, there is no power on this Earth that can stop me. Come on!” He ordered.

I marched to the door.

“Oh they are dead when I find them.” I growled.

 

==TTI==

 

I buzzed on the door repeatedly. The Doctor didn’t question it this time.

Tommy answered.

“Tommy, talk to me.” The Doctor demanded. “I need to know exactly what happened inside your house.”

Tommy opened his mouth to speak, only for Eddie to step in.

“What the blazes do you think you’re doing?” Eddie demanded of his son.

“I want to help, dad.”

“Mister Connolly-”

“Shut your face, you, whoever you are. We can handle this ourselves.” Eddie interrupted. “Listen, you little twerp -”

Alright that’s it.

I grabbed Eddie by the shoulder. Pushing him against his own brick wall, I grabbed his shoulders tight enough that if I was in a darker mood I could’ve snapped his head clear off his body.

“Now you listen here you little rat .” I hissed. Eddie was staring down at me in fear. “You have gotten in the way too many times to be liked. I didn’t get it before, why you did it, but I do now. At first I thought it was just that you hated your mother-in-law but now I see you. See the disgusting thing you are. I know why you did it.”

“What do you mean? Did what?” Eddie asked, flustered.

“You ratted her out to the police.” I answered, giggling low like a madwoman. “You ratted out everyone on this street.”

“How dare you!” Eddie raged at me. “Do you think I fought a war just so a mouthy little doll like you could call me a rat?”

I put pressure under my fingers.

He grunted in pain.

The Doctor didn’t move behind me.

That was as close to permission as I would get.

“I hope you’re proud of yourself, you hypocritical monster.” I hissed in his face. “You’ve become everything you despised. Everything you fought and stood for, they’re crushed under your boot. You belittle your wife and son because it makes you feel like a man, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter what your wife thinks, she’s just a wife so she doesn’t get any say. Your son is just a mama’s boy who should have it beat out of him, yeah? Who gives a crap about family, when it’s more important this big man is most important man on his street?”

At that point, Rita walked out of the house. “Eddie is that true?”

Eddie struggled to turn his head to see his wife. I pushed down on him again. He winced in pain. “I did it for us, Rita! She was filthy. A filthy, disgusting thing!”

“She’s my mother.” Rita argued. “All the others you informed on, all the people in our street, our friends.”

“I had to. I, I did the right thing.” Eddie argued, like that made it any better.

“The right thing for us or for you, Eddie?” Rita asked.

I dropped Eddie to the ground. He didn’t stand up. From shock, not from being dead. Although it was a close call.

“You go, Tommy. Go with the Doctor and Terra and do some good. Get away from this house, it’s poison.” Rita instructed. She glared sadly down at her husband. “We had a ruddy monster under this roof, all right, but it weren’t my mother!” She slammed the door.

“Rita!”

“She deserves better than you.” I spat at him.

“Terra.” The Doctor spoke up.

So I stood down, walked back to his side. Bishop looked a lot paler, his eyes focused on me like a deer staring at headlights. I shook off his fear.

“Tommy?” The Doctor offered.

Eddie tried to rise to his feet.

“Come after us, and I do to you what I did to the cop.” I warned him in a low voice.

Eddie backed into the door.

As we walked up the street, Tommy leaned towards me. “What did you do to the police?”

“Nothing.” I admitted. “But your dad didn’t need to know that, did he?” Tommy glanced over his shoulder to his dad. “Why, you wanna correct me to him?”

Tommy made a thin lipped face. He turned away from his father. “No.”

“Tommy, tell me about that night. The night she changed.” The Doctor instructed.

“She was just watching the telly.” Tommy answered.

“Rose said it. She guessed it straight away. Of course she did. All these aerials in one little street.” The Doctor looked up at all the roofs, seeing all the aerials. “How come?”

“Bloke up the road, Mister Magpie-” He had barely finished before we started running. “-he’s selling them cheap.”

“Is he, now?”

“Come on!” The Doctor yelled.

 

==TTI==

 

Once we were close, I lifted the Bag off my shoulder.

Throwing it through the front window was easy.

“Here, you can’t do that-” Bishop shouted at me.

“Oh dear. My friends’ left her bag inside. Must get it.” The Doctor reached his hand inside the window, opening the door. He stormed in once it was open. He rang the bell on the counter. “Shop! If you’re here, come out and talk to me! Magpie!”

“Maybe he’s out.” Tommy suggested.

I made a noise of disgust.

“Looks like it.” The Doctor went to the drawers, searching them. He pulled out the portable TV. “Oh, hello. This isn’t right. This is very much not right. Tastes like iron. Bakelite. Put together with human hands, yes, but the design itself.” He ran the sonic over it. I pondered if I could break a TV, making the Wire coming out. I glared at the screens, one at a time or until she would show up. “Oh, beautiful work. That is so simple.”

“That’s incredible. It’s like a television, but portable. A portable television.” Bishop exhaled in shock.

The Doctor lifted his sonic, as I knelt beside Rose’s TV. “It’s not the only power source in this room.”

Her face appeared on the screen. A sharp breath forced it’s way out of my mouth.

The Doctor came up beside me. Scooting over, I let him see Rose’s message.

He knelt down. “I’m on my way.” He promised.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Magpie asked, incredulous.

The Doctor shot to his feet, storming up to Magpie’s face. I walked to stand between the humans and the TVs. “I want my friend restored, and I think that’s beyond a little backstreet electrician, so tell me, who’s really in charge here?”

Magpie looked like he was about to pee his pants.

Good.

“Yoo hoo! I think that must be me.” The Wire spoke from the TV to my right. I turned sharply, glaring at it while thinking of all the ways I could kill an electric current. “Ooh, these ones are smart as paint.”

“Is she talking to us?” Bishop asked Magpie.

“I’m sorry, gentlemen, you too miss, I’m afraid you’ve brought this on yourselves. May I introduce you to my new...friend.”

“Jolly nice to meet you.” It praised.

“Oh my God, it’s her, that woman off the telly.” Bishop gasped.

“Author save me from the stupid 1950’s people.” I sighed into my hand.

“No, it’s just using her image.” The Doctor grimaced in disgust.

“What? What are you?” Tommy asked.

“I’m the Wire, and I will gobble you up, pretty boy. Every last morsel.” It changed to a color screen. “And when I have feasted, I shall regain the corporeal body, which my fellow kind denied me.”

“Good Lord. color television!”

“Will you shut up?” I snapped at him. “We’re busy!”

“So your own people tried to stop you?” The Doctor reasoned.

“They executed me. But I escaped in this form and fled across the stars.” It revealed with a wide stolen smile.

“And now you’re trapped in the television.” The Doctor mocked.

The color on the screen faded back into black and white. “Not for much longer.” It sneered.

“Doctor, is this what got my Gran?” Tommy asked.

“Yes, Tommy. It feeds off the electrical activity of the brain, but it gorges itself like a great overfed pig , taking people’s faces, their essences. It stuffs itself.” He spat.

“And you let her do it, Magpie.” Bishop accused.

“I had to. She allowed me my face. She’s promised to release me at the time of manifestation.”

Oh I couldn’t help it. I laughed loudly. “The fact you think it’s gonna do that is the funniest thing about all of this.” Laughing still, I turned to the Wire. “Manifestation, is that what you’re working towards?”

The Wire smiled. “The appointed time. My crowning glory.”

“You sick son of a-”

“Doctor, the coronation!” Bishop realized.

“For the first time in history, millions gathered around a television set. But you’re not strong enough yet, are you? You can’t do it all from here. That’s why you need this.” He held up the portable TV. “You need something more powerful! This will turn a big transmitter into a big receiver.”

“What a clever thing you are!” It sneered. “But why fret about it? Why not just relax? Kick off your shoes and enjoy the Coronation.” The Wire grinned, shark-like. “Believe me, you’ll be glued to the screen.”

I stepped in front of the TV, just as the energy lashed out.

Screaming as it touched my face, I felt a conflict of nature inside.

Like I was being Pulled, like my Jumping only this hurt.

This hurt like the first time (probably, can’t remember if it hurt) .

“Ah, this one is tasty!” The Wire’s cheer rang in my ears.

I screamed again.

Because I wasn’t being Pulled.

It felt like my body was holding me down, anchoring me.

While the lashing was pulling me in.

It pulled me in.

It Pulled me back.

Pulled.

pulled.

“Oh, I’ll have lashings of her! Delicious!”

-being Pulled-

-pulling back-

-back and for-

-th and back and for-

“Ah! Armed. He’s armed and clever. Withdraw! Withdraw!” The Wire shouted.

When the power vanished, I let myself collapse.

 

==TTI==

 

When I came to the Doctor was shouting my name.

“Terra! Terra, wake up!”

“Quit shoutin’! I’m up!” I complained. Sitting up made my head hush, so I laid back down. “Oh my everything hurts.”

“Tommy, wake up. Tommy, come on!”

“What happened?” Tommy asked, rising up.

“Good question!” I added, getting up to my elbows. “What happened!”

“Where’s Magpie?” The Doctor growled. He shot to his feet, dashing away. Tommy followed, sparing me a glance.

Huffing in annoyance I pushed myself to my feet. It made my head spin but I pushed forward. I started putting together to device needed to shut off the Wire.

As I grabbed the parts I wondered just what had happened.

‘Maybe...maybe being able to Jump between worlds made it harder for the Wire to trap me. My powers kept me here while the Wire dragged me closer.’

I huffed. The Doctor shouted loudly about the town as put some parts together.

‘Whatever it was, it’s never getting the chance to do that to me again.’

The Doctor stormed in. “What are you doing?”

“Painting my nails, what does it look like?!”

 

==TTI==

 

Once we built the thing and stopped at the TARDIS for more parts, the three of us ran after Magpie.

Tommy pointed up at the radio tower. “There!”

Magpie was climbing to the top.

“Come on!” The Doctor shouted, running down an alleyway.

A guard tried to stop us. We ran past him. “Wait, wait, wait! Where do you think-” The Doctor flashed him the psychic paper. “Oh! I’m very sorry, sir. Shouldn’t you both be at the Coronation?”

“They’re saving us a seat.” The Doctor called back.

I hefted another part into the VCR, trying not to jostle it out of Tommy’s arms.  It was hard to run and construct a complex piece of equipment.

“Who did he think you were?” Tommy asked.

“King and Duchess of Belgium, apparently.” He answered.

“We’ll apologize later, keep moving!”

Once we made it to the control room, the Doctor took the VCR from Tommy. He plopped it down on the control panel. He flipped switches, connecting a wire from other his shoulders to our device.

“Terra, keep this switched on.” He ordered me. “Don’t let anyone stop you. Everything depends on it. You understand?”

“Got it. Now go save Rose!” I ordered him back.

He ran off.

When he ran out, I grabbed another valve.

“Miss, why do you-” Tommy asked.

“For when it breaks!” I answered. “Now keep an eye on it!”

Nothing happened for two minutes. Well there was a lot of sparks flying and red lights but I ignored that. Magpie screamed and I ignored that too.

When the light burst I quickly swapped it out for the proper one. Then I plugged every back in, waiting for the fireworks.

The VCR lit up in red light.

Tommy and I beamed at it.

The VCR lit up brightly in red, focused to one spot. Soon the lits stopped all together and I knew we’d won.

“Terra, what happened?” Tommy asked.

“It was an electric creature, running off TV tech. All we did was turn the receiver back into a transmitter, and we trapped the Wire in here.” I tapped the VCR box. “Invented this thing called home video thirty years early. Betamax.” I popped the box out.

“What have I missed?” The Doctor asked, walking in.

“Tech exposition.”

“Oh!” He pouted. “I liked doing that. That’s- that’s my whole thing.”

“I know.” I smirked. “Now. Let’s go get our troublesome blonde.”

The Doctor beamed. “Hey! Look there!” He walked towards us. I tossed the videotape in his hands. “God save the Queen, eh?”

 

==TTI==

 

We made it to the warehouse. Tommy had run to his gran.

When the Doctor saw Rose, I let the two love birds hug.

 

==TTI==

 

Back on Florizel Street, there was a party going. People chatting and laughing, children playing.

The Doctor and Rose walked together, myself behind them.

“We could go down the Mall, join in with the crowds.” Rose suggested.

“Nah, that’s just pomp and circumstance. This is history right here.” The Doctor countered.

“The domestic approach.” Rose teased.

“Exactly.” The Doctor took the teasing in stride.

“Will it, that thing, is it trapped for good on video?” Rose asked.

“Hope so. Just to be on the safe side though, I’ll use my unrivalled knowledge of transtemporal extirpation methods to neutralize the residual electronic pattern.”

“You what?”

“He’s going to tape over it.” I translated.

Rose laughed. “Just leave it to me. I’m always doing that.”

I reached for a cupcake, enjoying the taste.

The lovebirds leaned over to Tommy, who was happily having his own share of the party.

“Tell you what, Tommy, you can have the scooter. Little present. Best, er, keep it in the garage for a few years though, eh?” The Doctor offered.

“And not the purple one, it’s mine .” I reminded.

“I can get you another one.” The Doctor pointed out. “With anti grav.

“Yeah but I like this one.” The Doctor grinned. “Don’t get cheery. I’m putting anti-grav on it myself when we get back. Want something done right, all that.”

“Oi.”

Rose laughed again.

Tommy nodded his head across the street. Following his line of sight I saw Eddie walking out of his house. “Good riddance.”

“Is that it, then, Tommy?” The Doctor looked at him. “New monarch, new age, new world. No room for a man like Eddie Connelly.”

“That’s right. He deserves it.” Tommy stated, trying to keep a calm face.

“That he does.”

“Tommy, go after him.” Rose suggested.

Tommy and I made matching faces of confusion. “What for?”

“He’s your dad.” Rose stated.

“He’s an idiot.” Tommy countered.

“Of course he is. Like I said, he’s your dad.” Rose agreed. “But you’re clever. Clever enough to save the world, so don’t stop there. Go on.”

Tommy took her suggestion. He walked off after his father.

I huffed, grabbing another cupcake. “Whatever. Eddie was a bastard that got what he deserved.”

“What, being beaten up against a wall by a girl?” The Doctor asked. At my look he added. “I was standing right there. If there hadn’t been people watching I don’t think Eddie Connolly would be here.”

Shrugging I replied “People wouldn’t have mattered.” Finishing the cupcake, I pushed the wrapper into a trash can. “Anyway. Let’s get back, I have anti-grav to install.”

“Actually, we have something else to do.” The Doctor stood up to his feet.

“What’s that?” Rose asked.

“Yeah. Pretty sure we wrapped up everything in a pretty little videotaped bow.” I taped the tape as prove.

The Doctor shook his head. “I promised you Elvis. You’ll get Elvis.”

“You don’t need to go. I’m alright with what we did today.” I told him. “Saving the world with videotape. It’s enough for me.”

“No, nope I won’t accept it.” He threw an arm over my shoulder, walking me away from the street. “Come on Rose, to Ed Sullivan studios!”

“Don’t forget my scooter!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor did as promised, driving us half way across the globe to Ed Sullivan studios. He brought me practically right up to Elvis Presley’s face.

“I can’t believe you.”

The Doctor grinned. “Go! Go on.”

Sighing in annoyance, I walked off.

There was really only thing I wanted out of Elvis Presley anyway.

He was walking out of the building when I came up to him.

He smiled kindly at me. “Hey there.”

“Hey.” I held up the photo to him. “Can...can you sign this for Lilo Pelekai?”

“Sure thing!” Elvis cheered. I gave him the pen, before he could ask. He signed the photo, like I knew he would, before handing it back. “Enjoy it, Lilo.”

“No, Lilo’s not me.” I added. “I’m...I’m Mah- I’m Terra. Lilo is a...a cousin. She’s a really big fan of your’s.” I told him. “Your music, it’s her whole life.”

“Happy to hear it.” Elvis smiled again, before walking away. “Nice to meet you, Terra! Tell your cousin I said hi!”

“Will do.” I replied, softly.

Except I couldn’t tell her that.

Or anything.

Ever again.

The Doctor and Rose came up to me, beaming.

“You met Elvis Presley! What was it like?” Rose asked. “Was he like it says on the telly?”

“I...don’t know...how to describe it.” I answered, feeling their loss again. Hiding the picture in my Bag, I tried to push past them to the TARDIS. “C-come on, we need to-”

“Terra, what’s wrong?” Rose asked, concerned. “You’re...crying?”

“I-”

Too prideful to cry in the street, I dodged around the Doctor to run in the TARDIS.

I collapsed on the pilot seat, crying.

It’s how they found me.

“Terra, what is it?” The Doctor asked, coming to my knee. “Tell me. Please.”

“...I got her that autograph. I told him who it was for, and he said to give it to her.” I answered, sobbing now. “Except I can’t ever give it to her because she’s dead. She’s been dead a hundred years. Elvis was her hero and I listen to his music to feel sad. We’d had this big argument about his music, once. I liked Queen better- or at least that summer, think it was Daughtry in the Fall. Anyway I hated it and I told her that and she exploded. Wouldn’t let it go. I had to admit Elvis was best.”

I sniffled, wiping my face with my hand.

“She caved one day. I told her I hated it because there was this one song- one damn song- that I watched, that reminded me of genocide. That it was nothing against Elvis, I just wouldn’t like his music because of one awful thing that happened. Nothing she did would change that, and she’d have to get it through her stupid thirteen year old skull.”

Sobbing again, I let myself fall onto the grates.

The Doctor pulled me into his arms. Rose came on my other side, hugging me too.

“Why does it hurt so much? After so long?” I sobbed into his pinstripe.

He brushed his hand down my hair. “Because each time feels like the first.”

And so we sat there, for a long time, crying because I missed my Ohana.

Chapter Text

Not long after, the Doctor landed us in a familiar supply closet.

“Oh joy.” I deadpanned with an eye roll, as I stepped out. “A closet. Where to next, esteemed Lord of Time? Are you gonna show us a freshly painted wall? Do we get a snail race if we’re good?”

Rose snorted behind the Doctor.

He walked out, looking around the closet. “I don’t know what’s wrong though. She’s sort of queasy. Indigestion, like she didn’t want to land.”

I wouldn’t want to land if it was a supply closet.” I snarked.

Rose walked out. “Oh, if you think there’s going to be trouble, we could always get back inside and go somewhere else.”

All three of us laughed.

“I think Terra’s right, we’ve landed inside a cupboard.” The Doctor walked towards the door. “Here we go.”

The door opened. “Open door 15.” Came the computer voice overhead.

“Some sort of base.” The Doctor remarked, as Rose and I followed after him. “Moon base, sea base, space base. They build these things out of kits.” He mused.

Rose closed the door, with the accompanying computer response. “Glad we’re indoors. Sounds like a storm out there.” Rose commented.

“Is it warm in here?” I asked, throwing on my hoodie. Though I had built a new remote, the nanobots had refused to cooperate with it. So I had to take all the bots out, replacing them with new ones.

So we continued walking along. The Doctor pushed the door open. “Open door 16.”

“Human design. You’ve got a thing about kits. This place was put together like a flat pack wardrobe, only bigger.” The Doctor walked through. “And easier.”

I snorted. “Hey as long as it keeps that storm out, I’m good.”

“Close door 16.” The computer spoke as Rose shut the door. The Doctor opened the next one. “Open door 17.”

It was the room with the writing. I saw the warning, grinning at it.

“Oh, it’s a sanctuary base.” The Doctor realized. The computer informed us the door shut behind us. I walked into the middle, looking at the books on a shelf nearby. “Deep Space exploration. We’ve gone way out.” He leaned towards Rose. “And listen to that, underneath. Someone’s drilling.”

“Welcome to Hell.” Rose read off.

“I know. It’s awesome.” I chuckled.

The Doctor shook his head. “Oh, it’s not that bad.”

“No, over there.” Rose nodded her head to the wall.

“Hold on, what does that say? That’s weird, it won’t translate.” The Doctor asked.

“But I thought the TARDIS translated everything, writing as well. We should see English.” Rose stated.

“Terra come look at this!” The Doctor insisted.

Groaning I walked up to the words, kneeling down in a mixture of shock and dread. The writing was the language of Pops’ planet. That was why it didn’t translate, it didn’t exist in this universe. Petrol in a diesel engine .

The words were all jumbled up, barely literate. There were words like ‘blood’ and ‘shoe’ and I think that one was ‘nuts’ . Also ‘cock’ , ‘bowling ball’ and three ‘and’s’ in a row.  Toby really did just write them all willy-nilly on here. Some words were in a language that I didn’t know, which matched with the show.

Except for one line was coherent.

<‘The Mistress will rise from the Pit. And she will devour that Toy which was lost.’>

“Exactly!” He told me. “If that’s not working, then it means this writing is old. Very old. Impossibly old.”

“It looks like that writing- from that box of yours.” Rose realized. She turned to me. “Is it?”

“Y-yeah.”

The Doctor looked down at me. “She’s right. This writing matches. I couldn’t read that writing either.”

“So, what’s it say Terra?” Rose asked.

Images flashed in my mind. of screaming humans, of children weeping at my feet, of woman holding their dying lovers. The hate filled words of the one who I hurt most, and the actions of a man that hated me with his entire soul. I remembered the pain of a bullet hitting me right in my heart, killing me slowly. Setting me free, but at the same time damning me to Hell.

I flinched, crossing my arms over my chest and rubbing them to get get the chills out. Then there was the sound of her own laughter, and joyous cries of existing.

“T-TARDIS.” I was able to say with a shaky breath.

“It says ‘TARDIS’ ?” Rose asked, grinning like it was a joke.

The Doctor did too, until he saw the look on my face. I was still staring at the letters, unable to cope with the idea.

“Terra what’s wrong?” He inquired.

“TARDIS. Now. Run.” I ran back over to the door we came from. “We have to go back!”

“Open door 17.”

Behind it, were the Ood.

“Oh! Right.” The Doctor came up behind me. “Hello. Sorry. I was just saying, er, nice base.”

“We must feed-”

I flinched at it.

“You’ve got to what?”

“We must feed-”

Rose grabbed our shoulders. I nearly screamed. “Yeah. I think they mean us.”

The Ood walked toward us.

We are dead

We are dead

She will know I am here and then we are dead .

“We must feed-”

If it had been the Beast I could’ve handled it

He could talk about her and I’d be fine

“We must feed-”

But now it’s her

“We must feed-”

And we’re all going to die

“We must feed-”

The other doors opened for the Ood.

The Doctor and Rose pulled me to the middle. Rose picked up a chair. The Doctor aimed to sonic. My legs were shaking so hard I was a breath away from falling to me knees.

“We must feed-” The Ood approached.

With my anxiety rising, I slapped the globe.

There was a small electrical noise as it went back to work.

“-you, if you are hungry.” The Ood finished.

She’s always hungry

“Sorry?” The Doctor asked.

“We apologize. Electromagnetics have interfered with speech systems.” The Ood stated. “Would you like some refreshment?”

“Er.”

“We need to-”

The door opened. I hugged, long and panicked. “ Open door 18.”

Jefferson walked in, two guards with him. Jefferson gawked at us. “What the hell? How did?” Jefferson gawked.

I pushed my way through the Doctor and Rose. “What’s the fastest way off the base?” I asked Jefferson in a no nonsense tone. He was still confused over how we were here. “What’s the way out?!”

“Terra, what’s wrong?” Rose asked.

“What did you translate?” The Doctor asked.

I turned to the Doctor. ‘We’re all gonna die. She’ll kill us. She won’t even stop at just us. Three alone won’t sate her empty stomach. She’s always hungry-’

“Terra. Terra!” The Doctor called out, putting his hands on my shoulders.

My panic only grew. My thoughts stayed in my head. It was too risky to open my mind. ‘She’ll know I’m here. She’ll come after me, after you and Rose. She’s gonna kill us. Me last so I can see how badly I screwed up. She’s-’

“Captain, you’re not going to believe this. We’ve got people. Out of nowhere.” Jefferson reported as I melted down. “I mean, real people. I mean three living people, just standing here right in front of me.”

“Don’t be stupid, that’s impossible.”

“I suggest telling them that.” Jefferson countered.

“But you’re a sort of space base. You must have visitors now and then. It can’t be that impossible.” Rose remarked.

Jefferson blinked at her. “You’re telling me you don’t know where you are?”

“No idea.” The Doctor cheered. “More fun that way.”

“It doesn’t matter. We need to leave- now.” I stressed to them.

Before Jefferson could answer, Scooti’s voice came overhead. “Stand by, everyone. Buckle down. We have incoming. And it’s a big one. Quake point five on its way.”

Jefferson immediately ran to the door. He pushed it open wider. His guards walked through first. “Through here, now.” I ran up to him. The Doctor and Rose followed me. “Quickly, come on! Move!”

We ran through the corridors of this place. As we ran, it began to shake. Pipes burst around us, shouting hot air in our faces.

 

==TTI==

 

Jefferson showed us to the control room. Once we made it through, everyone stopped to stare at us.

You all survived a planet with her for this long

Only to die once she finds out I’m here

“Oh, my God. You meant it.” Zach gaped.

We need to leave

“People!” Scooti cheered. “Look at that, real people!”

She’s going to kill you

“That’s us. Hooray!” The Doctor cheered.

All of you

“Yeah, definitely real. My name’s Rose. Rose Tyler. That’s Terra Johnson. And, and this is the Doctor.” Rose introduced.

“Come on the oxygen must be offline. We’re hallucinating. They can’t be.” Danny walked up to me. “No, they’re real.”

“Come on, we’re in the middle of an alert!” Zach reminded them. The people got back into gear. “Danny, strap up. The quake’s coming in! Impact in thirty seconds! Sorry you three, whoever you are. Just hold on, tight.”

“Hold on to what?” Rose asked.

“Anything. I don’t care. Just hold on.” Zach instructed. I knelt down, grabbing onto a railing.  “Ood, are we fixed?”

“Your kindness in this emergency is much appreciated.” An Ood reported.

The Doctor and Rose were following my lead, of holding onto something. “What’s this planet called, anyway?”

“Now, don’t be stupid. It hasn’t got a name. How could it have a name?” Ida scoffed. “You really don’t know, do you?”

“And impact!” Zach shouted.

It was too late to leave anyway

She must’ve known we were here

Because it was a coincidence, that the block with the TARDIS was the one to fall

Now it’s her saying hello

“Oh, well, that wasn’t so bad-”

“Stop talk-”

The world shook again.

There was a screech in my head. The voice of it made it clear to me that it was the TARDIS.

She was falling.

‘Stay strong, Idris.’ I assured her, despite my own shaking psyche. ‘I’m sorry it’s going to end like this.’

Once it settled I slapped the Doctor.

“What did I say about the talking?!” I snapped at the Doctor. “Because that always happens when you start talking!”

The Doctor rubbed his cheek.

“Okay, that’s it. Everyone all right?” Zach asked. There was no answer as everyone stabilized themselves. I looked up, listening to the roar of the black hole. “Speak to me, Ida.”

“Yeah, yeah!”

“Danny?”

“Fine.”

“Toby?”

“Yeah, fine.”

“Scooti?”

“No damage.”

“Jefferson?”

“Check!”

“We’re fine, thanks, fine. Yeah, don’t worry about us.” The Doctor snarked.

“Terra, you alright?” Rose asked.

I shook my head. “Not-not yet.”

“The surface caved in.” Zach reported. “I deflected it onto storage five through eight. We’ve lost them completely. Toby, go and check the rocket link.”

“That’s not my department.” Toby complained.

“Just do as I say, yeah?” Zach asked tiredly.

Toby left in a huff.

She’s going to kill you

I’m so sorry

This shouldn’t be happening

“Oxygen holding. Internal gravity fifty six point six. We should be okay.” Ida reported.

The black hole roared overhead. I winced, curling down in a ball.

“Never mind the earthquake, that’s, that’s one hell of a storm.” Rose pointed out. “What is that, a hurricane?”

“You’d need an atmosphere for a hurricane. There’s no air out there. It’s a complete vacuum.” Scooti pointed out.

“Then what’s shaking the roof?” Rose inquired.

“You’re not joking. You really don’t know.” Ida realized. She stood up, clapping her ups. “Well introductions. FYI, as they said in the olden days. I’m Ida Scott, science officer. Zachary Cross Flane, acting Captain, sir. You’ve met Mister Jefferson, he’s Head of Security. Danny Bartock, Ethics committee.”

“Not as boring as it sounds.” Danny assured.

“And that man who just left, that was Toby Zed, Archaeology-” Should I ask the Doctor to point and laugh? Might as well have fun before she kills us. “-and this is Scooti Manista, Trainee maintenance. And this?” Ida walked over to a lever. “This is home.” She flipped it.

“Brace yourselves. The sight of it sends some people mad.” Zach cautioned.

The shutters overhead opened, exposing the black hole to everyone.

The Doctor and Rose gawked.

I stared, for a single second having hope that this could kill her.

“That’s a black hole.” Rose murmured.

“But that’s impossible.” The Doctor murmured.

“I did warn you.” Zach pointed out.

“It’s perfect.” I stated under my breath.

“We’re standing under a black hole.” The Doctor stated in confusion.

“In orbit.” Ida added.

“But we can’t be-”

“You can see for yourself. We’re in orbit.”

“But we can’t be.”

“This lump of rock is suspended in perpetual geostationary orbit around that black hole without falling in.” Ida explained. “Discuss.”

“And that’s bad, yeah?” Rose asked the Doctor. She turned to me. “Terra?”

“It’s perfect, Rose, utterly perfect.” I admitted to her. She looked at me oddly.

“Bad doesn’t cover it. A black hole’s a dead star.” The Doctor ‘science explanation’ voice kicked in. “It collapses in on itself, in and in and in until the matter’s so dense and tight it starts to pull everything else in too. Nothing in the universe can escape it. Light, gravity, time. Everything just gets pulled inside and crushed.”

“So, they can’t be in orbit. We should be pulled right in.” Rose reasoned.

“We should be dead.” The Doctor agreed.

We are.

“And yet here we are, beyond the laws of physics.” Ida smiles. “Welcome on board.”

“But if there’s no atmosphere out there, what’s that?” Rose pointed at the clouds.

“Stars breaking up. Gas clouds. We have whole solar systems being ripped apart above our heads, before falling into that thing.” Ida answered.

“So, a bit worse than a storm, then.”

“Just a bit.”

“Just a bit, yeah.”

The Doctor turned to me. I had a hand over my mouth, hiding my mad smile. Because of course she was here. Of course she was trapped under a black hole. Of course we came here.

“It’s maddening.” The Doctor told me. He ran a hand through his hair, looking up at the sky.

“It’s perfect.” I repeated. He looked at me in confusion. Some understanding lit in his eyes.

“Terra. What did that writing say?”

I laughed under my hand, turning away. “It said-”

I stopped cold.

There was...a hum in the air.

Like when you realize a shark has smelled blood. Which isn’t a terrible analogy right now.

She was here.

She was close .

She could smell me nearby

She’s coming

Closer

Closer

Closer

The door opened.

“The rocket link’s fine.” Toby reporter. He walked between the Doctor and I, breaking off the downward spiral.

I walked away from the Doctor. There was an empty harness that I sat in. My eyes followed Toby, wondering exactly how much of him was him and how much was her.

Zach was pulling up a picture of the black hole. Everyone gathered around. The only empty space to stand was next to Toby. I had wanted to stay as far away from his as I could but the Doctor and Rose were giving me nervous looks.

As I stood beside Toby, I tried to ignore the sight of him. He was still looking st me, probably sensing in me the same thing I sensed in him.

She doesn’t want us to suffer alone

It’s more fun to make two people suffer at once.

“That’s the black hole, officially designated K three seven Gen five.” Zach stated.

“In the scriptures of the Falltino, this planet is called Krop Tor, the Bitter Pill.” Ida explained. “And the black hole is supposed to be a mighty demon. It was tricked into devouring the planet, only to spit it out, because it was poison.”

“The Bitter Pill. I like that.” Rose grinned.

The Doctor was staring at the picture. “We are so far out. Lost in the drifts of the universe. How did you even get here?!” He asked the humans.

“We flew in.” Zach shrugged. He pulled up the second picture. “You see, this planet’s generating a gravity field. We don’t know how. We’ve no idea. But it’s kept in constant balance against the black hole. And the field extends out there as a funnel. A distinct gravity funnel, reaching out into clear space. That was our way in.”

“You flew down that thing?” She asked before beaming. “Like a rollercoaster.”

“By rights, the ship should have been torn apart. We lost the Captain, which is what put me in charge.” Zach admitted.

“You’re doing a good job.” Ida assured.

Zach shrugged it off. “Yeah, well, needs must.”

“But if that gravity funnel closes, there’s no way out.” Danny pointed out.

“We had fun speculating about that.” Scooti admitted.

“Oh, yeah. That’s the word.” Danny hit Scooti with some rolled up plans. “Fun.”

“But that field would take phenomenal amounts of power. I mean not just big, but off the scale!” The Doctor reached for the calculator. “Can I?”

“Sure. Help yourself.” Ida handed it to him.

Everyone dispersed as the nerds began doing their math. Toby turned to me. “Sorry. You look really familiar. Have we met or-”

“I’m going to sit down.” I interrupted, walking back to the harness from earlier.

Toby looked like he wanted to continue, but got that I’d rather not speak.

An Ood walked up to Rose, another to me. “Your refreshment.” They reported.

I shook my head, not wanting anything to drink for fear of throwing it up.

The Ood nodded, taking the drink away.

“Oh, yeah. Thanks. Thank you.” Rose siped at the drink. “I’m sorry, what was your name?”

“We have no titles. We are as one.” The Ood stated. It made me winced in sympathy.

“Er, what are they called?” Rose asked Danny.

Danny laughed. “Oh, come on. Where have you been living? Everyone’s got one.”

“Well, not me, so, what are they?” Rose presses.

“They’re the Ood.”

“The Ood?”

“The Ood.”

“Well that’s ood .”

“Very ood , but handy.” Danny explained. “They work the mine shafts. All the drilling and stuff. Supervision and maintenance. They’re born for it. Basic slave race.”

Rose blinked in realization. “You’ve got slaves?”

My eyes went to the translation orbs. I could imagine the pain of having a part of yourself cut away, you yourself being forced as a slave to the whims of your masters.

“Don’t start. She’s like one of that lot. Friends of the Ood .” Scooti mocked.

“Yeah. I am.” I admitted from the harness. The three loooked over to me, Scooti and Danny rolling their eyes. I glared at them. “The Ood shouldn’t have to work for you.”

“But the Ood offer themselves.” Danny pointed out.

“Do they? Do they really?” I countered. It was all that corporation that did this. The Ood offered, yes, but not as slaves. As Friends.

“If you don’t give them orders, they just pine away and die.” Danny argued with me. I scoffed at him.

“Seriously, you like being ordered about?” Rose asked one of the Ood.

“It is all we crave.” The Ood answered.

“Why’s that, then?”

“We have nothing else in life.” The Ood admitted, much to my disgust.

They had everything taken from them. Everything. Their hearts, their second brain. Oh how I wanted to sing an Ood song to cheer them up, but I didn’t know how.

“Yeah, well, I used to think like that, a long time ago.” Rose turned to me. “Terra you know the Ood?”

“I know a lot of things I shouldn’t.” Was my answer. My hand reached for the Ood. “I’m sorry. Really I am.”

The Ood tilted his head. “Your apology is not necessary but many thanks.”

She’s going to kill you all too

Without guilt

She’ll control you just like they do

Just like she controlled me

It’s inhumane

It’s a mockery of your sacrifice

It’s an insult to everything I stand for

Danny scoffed. “No use arguing with the Friends of the Ood. They all think Ood should be free.”

“They should.” I snapped at him. “And don’t you dare say anything different again.”

Danny shrugged to Rose, as if to say ‘see?’

“There we go. Do you see?” The Doctor walked back to the main console. “To generate that gravity field, and the funnel, you’d need a power source with an inverted self extrapolating reflex of six to the power of six every six seconds.”

Rose blinked. “That’s a lot of sixes.”

‘She has a sense of humor.’

“And it’s impossible.” The Doctor added.

Zach was in shook. “It took us two years to work that out-”

“I’m very good.” The Doctor admitted.

“But that’s why we’re here.” Ida pulled up the image on another hologram. “This power source is ten miles below through solid rock. Point Zero. We’re drilling down to try and find it.”

“It’s giving off readings of over ninety stats on the Blazon scale.” Zach added.

“It could revolutionize modern science.” Ida pointed out.

“We could use it to fuel the Empire.” Jefferson threw in there.

“Or start a war.” The Doctor argued. He and Jefferson exchanged a look.

“It’s buried beneath us, in the darkness, waiting.” Toby stated, making me shiver in fear.

“What’s your job, chief dramatist?” Rose snarked.

“Archeologist. Same thing.” I joked in a low voice.

The Doctor grinned at us both.

“Well, whatever it is down there is not a natural phenomena. And this, er, planet once supported life eons ago, before the human race had even learned to walk.” Toby reported.

The Doctor stared at Toby with intrigue. “I saw that lettering written on the wall. Did you do that?”

Toby nodded. “I copied it from fragments we found unearthed by the drilling, but I can’t translate it.”

“No, neither can I. And that’s saying something.” He glanced at me. “My friend, though, she did.”

Toby turned to me, and I had also caught the attention of the other members. The archaeologist was happy I could translate.

He would be dead in less than an hour .

“Terra. You’ve never been so quiet.” The Doctor realized. “Everything alright?”

“Was it the black hole?” Ida asked.

“You can translate?” Toby asked. I only nodded faintly. “That’s perfect! What did it say?”

‘That you’re all going to die and it’s my fault.’ Rubbing my wrist, I looked down at my shoes. “Gibberish. Like someone who couldn’t translate it just threw random words on a wall. It was like reading alphabet soup.”

“Ah...really?”

“Yes. You got lucky. Be careful. You never know the power of words.” I warned, determined to keep her from taking someone else.

“But you understood it.” Rose pointed out. “You were saying we needed to leave.”

I bit my lip. “We should have. We should have turned around and not come back.”

“Why do you say that?” The Doctor asked.

“It’s too late now.” I stated. “Even if we could leave, it wouldn’t let us.”

“There was some form of civilization.” Toby revealed. “What were they?”

“I have no idea.”

“But you know the language.”

‘Because I had nothing better to do on a Saturday’

‘Because Pops and I loved speaking it in front of Nani so she wouldn’t hear our plans’

‘Because in this reality I might as well have made it up. Because only two people know it. Myself and Darcy. And Darcy would never be so stupid.’

“They buried something.” Toby carried on. “Now it’s reaching out, calling us in.”

And you answered?!

You answered her screaming?

She doesn’t deserve this

She should rot in this hell where she belongs

“And you came.” The Doctor remarked to the humans.

You shouldn’t have

You really, really shouldn’t have

Ida shrugged. “Well, how could we not?”

The Doctor beamed. “So, when it comes right down to it, why did you come here? Why did you do that? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because it was there. Brilliant.” He turned to Zach. “Excuse me, er, Zach, wasn’t it?”

“That’s me.”

“Just stand there, because I’m going to hug you.” The Doctor cautioned. “Is that alright?”

“I suppose so.” Zach saw nothing wrong with it.

“Here we go. Come on, then.” The Doctor hugged a confused but grinning Zach. “Oh, human beings. You are amazing! Ha! Thank you.” He praised as the hug ended.

“Not at all.”

“But apart from that, you’re completely mad.” The Doctor informed. “You should pack your bags, get back in that ship and fly for your lives.”

“Yes!” I shouted, startling the people nearby. “That’s what I’ve been saying! Run. Run away in whatever rocket you used to get here and don’t look back. Not even once.”

“You can talk. And how the hell did you get here?” Ida countered.

The Doctor flustered, like every time someone asked about the TARDIS. My hearts lurched, dropping to my stomach. “Oh, I’ve got this er, this ship. It’s hard to explain. It just sort of appears.”

“We can show you, we parked down the corridor from er.” Rose turned to me. “Oh, what’s it called? Habitation area-”

“Habitation area 3. Storage Six.” I reported.

“Three.” Rose nodded. The Doctor too.

“Storage six?” Zach asked, while the rest of the crew shuffled nervously.

“It was a bit of a cupboard, yeah. Storage six.” Realization kicked in. “But you said. You said. You said storage five to eight.”

He ran away like a bullet. Rose followed after him.

I stayed in my seat, waiting for them to come running back.

Toby walked up again. I had to fight the urge to flinch, instead grimacing. “But you never said. Who were they?”

I looked away. “Not everything that reaches out is good.” Was my answer. “You should’ve left it alone to die.”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor came back, looking like he phad a heart ripped out.

He moved toward me, grief all over his face. “Terra-”

“She screamed. In my head. Screamed the whole way down.” I admitted, not meeting the Doctor’s eyes. “And you were just blathering on I wondered how you couldn’t have heard her.”

He made a face of pain. He reached out to hold my shoulder, squeezing it on comfort.

He was grieving a lost piece of Gallifrey. I was-for now- all he truly had left.

And she was going to kill me

The Doctor marched over to Zach. “The ground gave way. My TARDIS must’ve fallen down right into the heart of the planet. But you’ve got robot drills heading the same way.”

“We can’t divert the drilling.” Zach declined.

“But I need my ship. It’s all we’ve got.” The Doctor argued, waving an arm towards me. “ Literally the only thing.”

“Doctor, we’ve only got the resources to drill one central shaft down to the power source, and that’s it. No diversions, no distractions, no exceptions. Your machine is lost.” Zach informed. The Doctor’s face fell. “All I can do is offer you a lift if we ever get to leave this place, and that is the end of it.”

Zach walked away. He gave me a condolence smile. I gave him one back.

“I’ll er, put you on the duty roster. We need someone in the laundry.” Ida informed the Doctor. She walked past me, giving me the same look Zach had.

Rose walked up to the Doctor.

The Ood walked by me.

“I’ve trapped you both here.” The Doctor bemoaned.

‘I’m going to get us all killed.’

“No, don’t worry about me.” Rose assured just as the ground began to shake. The Doctor and I gave her a flat look. “Okay, we’re on a planet that shouldn’t exist, under a black hole and no way out. Yeah, I’ve changed my mind. Start worrying about me.”

The two hugged. I couldn’t take the overwhelming urge of guilt and self loathing. So I left, without a word.

‘She’s going to kill us all.’

‘And there’s nothing I can do about it.’

 

==TTI==

 

Toby was sitting in his room, observing the tablet. He wished that Terra girl had told him what it said. Or at least where it had come from. Then he could’ve had some sort of idea what was down there.

“Toby...” A female voice purred.

He jumped back. It was that voice again! Toby had heard it before in the corridor.

“Toby...”

“Scooti, is that you?” He snapped. “Did Danny put you up to this?”

No response.

Toby thought that would be the end of it.

The voice chuckled. “Oh Toby...”

He jumped up. He stormed out of his room to the corridor. “Scooti! Danny! This isn’t funny!”

Again no answer.

But as he walked back into his room, the voice spoke

“She’s going to hate this.”

 

==TTI==

 

So I was pacing in the Habitation 3, trying to ignore any desire for food. Not that I had any regardless. The idea of her was keeping me nauseous.

The Doctor and Rose came in. The Doctor got his own food, so he sat at a table. Rose went to get her own food. I walked behind her.

“Danny, check the temperature in Ood Habitation. It seems to be rising.” Zach’s voice came overhead.

I tried to keep from freaking out, while Danny left. The Ood would be infected soon.

She’d kill them.

She’d make them suffer first.

“Help yourself.” Scooti told us. “Just don’t have the green. Or the blue.”

Rose smiled, grateful.

I looked away.

She was going to kill you too, Scooti, and I’m sorry

I’m too scared to try

It’s useless to try

Useless to fight her

Useless

“Er, bit of that, thanks.” Rose requested from the Ood.

He gave her the blue. “Would you like sauce with that?” The Ood asked.

“I’ll have a go, yeah.” The Ood poured sauce on her tray. “I did that job once. I was a, a dinner lady. Not that I’m calling you a lady. Although, I don’t know, you might be. Do you actually get paid, though? Do they give you money?”

“The Mistress shall rise from the Pit to make war against the Toy.” The Ood reported.

I tensed.

“I’m sorry?” Rose gawked.

“Apologies. I said, I hope you enjoy your meal. ” The Ood corrected.

“Yeah...” Rose walked away.

Once she was gone, I took her place. I leaned forward. “The green please.” The Ood began preparing my plate. “The Circle Shall Be Broken.” I whispered.

The Ood paused in serving me. “Sorry?”

“On the eve of the Red Eye, the Circle will be broken by the Ood-Friends.” I explained. It was useless to tell him this. All Ood here would be dead by nightfall, but I couldn’t let them die without some kind of hope. Couldn’t let her be the last thing they all felt. “I swear on my Storyline. The Circle shall be broken.”

Though I knew they couldn’t, I swore the Ood was smiling at me.

 

==TTI==

 

Zach turned away from the hologram. It changed from the planet to an image of a girl with long black hair and glowing orange eyes.

The image disappeared when Zach turned back.

 

==TTI==

 

“Close door 3.”

Danny snorted. “Close door 3.” He mocked.

“She is Awake and ready to play.”

“...what did you say?”

“Close door 3.”

 

==TTI==

 

Toby looked away from the writings.

“Toby.”

He knew it wasn’t a trick this time. He heard Zach order Danny to Ood Habitation, and Scooti always want to mess when she finished working outside.

“Don’t turn around.” The voice ordered.

“Scooti...that’s not Scooti.” Toby moved to turn.

“What did I just say?” It snarled.

“W-Who are you?” Toby pleaded.

“Oh there are many titles. I used to not gave a name, you see, so they had to call me something else.”

Toby shifted in his seat.

“Move again, and I will kill you.”

“But who are you?”

“I’m behind you, Toby.” It giggled, like a schoolgirl. “I’m right behind you.” It taunted. “Don’t look, Toby. Remember I’ll kill you if you look.”

Toby was breathing rapidly, afraid.

“I’m reaching out, Toby. I’m so close . I can smell her- oh that precious little thing still smells so sweet- don’t turn around.”

Toby swallowed. “W-Who?”

“I bet you can make her cry. She’ll cry so loud when she sees me.” The voice said instead. “Hey Toby?”

“What?!

“Boo.”

Toby jumped. He jerked around but there was nothing there. Just echoes of laughter.

He let out a breath of relief.

He went back to his work, noticing there wasn’t any writing left on the tablets. Toby was confused further when his hands started to ache.

He pulled away his gloves to reveal the lettering had moved to his hands, searing in his skin.

The laughter grew louder.

Toby felt the awful burning...spread all around...it burned his legs his chest his throat his face.

He grabbed a mirror.

His reflection had the words all over. His eyes were a startling orange.

He fell to his knees.

The laughter boomed.

 

==TTI==

 

At the same time all of that was happening, Rose asked the Doctor a simple little question.

“Why is she sitting alone?” Rose asked.

The Doctor looked over, seeing Terra sitting alone in a corner by a door. “I don’t know. She’s closed off her head from me.”

“She did?” Rose asked. “Hadn’t it just gotten better?”

“It had, yeah.” Terra had gone through a lot of psychic trauma the past few months. It was a stroke of luck that her mind was healed enough for communication- still with the help of the TARDIS. But their people were touch telepaths, so the Doctor could still get a reading on her if she kept her mind open. “I’ll go see.”

“Yeah.” Rose glanced back at her friend, who had never looked more pale and miserable.

The Doctor walked across Habitation 3 to Terra.  “Terra?”

She didn’t look up at the Doctor.

He slid down to sit at her side. She kept her eyes down on her plate, picking at the greens.

“Terra, I’m getting worried. You closed off your mind.” The Doctor admitted. “You know what those words said. It wasn’t just random words, was it?”

“Welcome to Hell.” Terra answered in a hopeless tone. “That’s what the wall said. Welcome to Hell. That’s where we are. Hell.”

“Those aren’t the words I was asking about.” The Doctor pointed out.

“Too bad for you.” She mumbled.

“What planet are they from?” The Doctor tried.

“The planet doesn’t exist.” Terra admitted. The Doctor was confused. “It never existed. Those words shouldn’t exist here but they do.”

“How do you know them then?”

Terra worried her lip. She had kept her gaze on her plate. “I can’t say.”

“Yes you can. Just do it.”

“I can’t. Because if I say it- you’ll tell me it doesn’t make sense or that it’s not possible or it couldn’t have been real but it was and the proof of it’s below my feet-” Terra cut herself off, sounding nears tears. “And I can’t deal with that right now. Not on top of-”

“On top of what?” The Doctor asked. Terra turned her head away. “Terra. I’m trying to help.”

Terra refused to speak.

“Come sit with Rose and me.” The Doctor offered. “It’s not bad over there, honest.”

Terra made no effort to move.

She shuddered suddenly, nearly dropping her plate. “Oh author.” She gasped.

“What’s wrong?”

The lights all flickered at that exact moment.

The Doctor looked up at the lights, then down to Terra. She had become more pale. Her eyes had shut, and she looked sick.

“Come on.” He threw an arm around her shoulder, helping support her as he brought her to her feet.

“Zack? We got a problem?” Ida spoke into her comm unit.

The Doctor sat Terra down at their table, by his side. Rose immediately started worrying.

“No more than usual.” Zack answered. “ Got the Scarlet System burning up. Might be worth a look.”

“Terra? Are you alright?” Rose asked.

Terra didn’t answer. She stared down at the table, expression broken.

Ida walked over to them. “You might want to see this. Moment in history.” She ran back to the lever for the shutters. “There. On the edge. That red cloud. That used to be the Scarlet System.”

Terra looked up at the ceiling.

“Home to the Peluchi, a mighty civilization spanning a billion years, disappearing forever. Their planets and suns consumed.” Ida reported, with wonder. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have witnessed its passing.” She moves to close the shutters.

“Er, no, could you leave it open? Just for a bit.” The Doctor requested. “I won’t go mad, I promise.”

Ida gave him a strange look. “How would you know?” The Doctor grinned before looking to Terra. She was blankly looking at the table again. “Scooti, check the lockdown. Jefferson, sign off the airlock seals for me.”

The two other workers nodded. They walked away from the Habitation 3. Ida left as well.

“I’ve seen films and things, yeah.” Rose began. “They say black holes are like gateways to another universe.”

The Doctor shook his head. “Not that one. It just eats.”

Terra grimaced.

“Long way from home.” Rose blew out a sigh.

The Doctor sat up, pointing up at the sky. “Go that way, turn right, keep going for er, about, er, five hundred years, and you’ll reach the Earth.”

Rose pulled out her phone. “No signal. That’s the first time we’ve gone out of range. Mind you, even if I could. What would I tell her?” Rose asked. “Can you build another TARDIS?”

The Doctor shook his head. “They were grown, not built. And with my own planet gone, we’re kind of stuck.”

“Well, it could be worse.” Rose admitted. Terra snorted in disbelief. “This lot said they’d give us a lift.”

“And then what?” The Doctor inquired.

“I don’t know.” Rose shrugged. “Find a planet, get a job, live a life, same as the rest of the universe.”

The Doctor sighed. He leaned back in his chair. “I’d have to settle down. Get a house or something.” Rose started laughing. Terra was shaking her head, hiding a smile. “A proper house with, with doors and things. Carpets. Me, living in a house. Now that, that is terrifying.”

“You’d have to get a mortgage.” Rose teased.

“No.”

“Oh, yes.”

“I’m dying. That’s it. I’m dying. It is all over.”

“Maybe a 9 to 5 job.” Terra remarked.

Just hearing her talk made Rose laugh harder. “What about me? I’d have to get one, too. I don’t know, could be the same one. We could both, I don’t know, share. Or not, you know. Whatever. I don’t know. We’ll sort something out.”

Terra rolled her eyes. Honestly, those two were such a mess.

The Doctor cleared his throat. “Anyway.”

“We’ll see.” Rose was still smiling. “Mind you, Terra’s got to get a job as well.”

The Doctor laughed. “Oh that I’d pay to see.” He looked to Terra.

She was laughing. “Its hilarious.” She laughed. “You- you think I’m getting out alive.”

The Doctor and Rose blanched.

“Sorry. Sorry.” Terra laughed. “It’s just funny.” She sighed, still laughing. “Yeah I’m just gonna find a Time Agent, teleport back to modern day. Have fun with your mortgages.”

The Doctor looked Rose in the eye. “I promised Jackie I’d always take you back home.”

Rose met his gaze. “Everyone leaves home in the end.”

The Doctor shook his head. “Not to end up stuck here.”

“Yeah, but stuck with you, that’s not so bad.” She replied.

“Yeah?” He asked.

“Yes.” Rose confirmed, grinning wide. The Doctor grinned back.

Her phone rang.

Terra’s too.

Terra tensed.

Hesitantly, she pulled her phone out.

Rose answered her’s.

She is awake.”

Rose threw the phone.

Terra only saw the caller ID.

‘And you will be her prey.’

Terra jumped off the chair, yelling in terror. She threw the phone across the room, pressing her back against the wall.

 

==TTI==

 

Across the station, the thing that used to be Toby stood up.

‘She’s here.’ Morgana cheered to herself. ‘And she knows.’ She grinned, exposing wildly sharply teeth. ‘How heavenly.’

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor brought the girls to Ood Habitation. Rose has explained what the Ood had told her, how it was similar to what the phone had said.

Terra had been catatonic. She wouldn’t say anything. The Doctor has picked up her phone, trying to see what had happened.

Even now, Terra clung to the Doctor’s arm. She refused to look at that phone, let alone touch it.

The Doctor brought Terra down the stairs.  “Evening.” He greeted Danny.

Danny looked up.

“Only us.” Rose informed.

Terra waved, letting go of the Doctor’s arm.

“The mysterious trio.” Danny greeted. “How are you, then? Settling in?”

“Yeah. Sorry, straight to business, the Ood how do they communicate?” The Doctor walked around Danny, standing closer to the Ood. Terra let him go to face them. “I mean, with each other.”

“Oh, just empaths.” Danny answered. “There’s a low level telepathic field connecting them. Not that that does them much good. They’re basically a herd race. Like cattle.”

Terra glared at him. “They are not cattle.”

Danny rolled his eyes. “ Fine . Alright.”

“This telepathic field. Can it pick up messages?” The Doctor asked. While he liked Terra was getting back her usual fighting spirit, they had bigger issues than what the Ood were being called.

“Because I was having dinner, and one of the Ood said something, well, odd.” Rose admitted to Danny.

Danny grinned. “Hmm. An odd Ood.”

“And then Terra and I got something else on our er, communicator things.” Rose went on.

The Doctor glanced to Terra. She was still looking out at the Ood. Her eyes were watering. He wanted to help her, really he did. She had said with such certainty that she was going to die.

“Oh, be fair. We’ve got whole star systems burning up around us. There’s all sorts of stray transmissions. Probably nothing.” Danny reasoned. “Look, if there was something wrong, it would show. We monitor the telepathic field.” Danny explained. “It’s the only way to look after them. They’re so stupid, they don’t even tell us when they’re ill.”

Terra glared at him.

“Monitor the field. That’s this thing?” The Doctor walked over to the monitor station.

Danny walked over to stand beside Terra. “Yeah. But like I said, it’s low level telepathy. They only register basic five.”

Terra shuddered suddenly. She took a shaking breath.

The Basic Level rose to ten.

“Well, that’s not basic five. Ten, twenty. They’ve gone up to basic thirty.” The Doctor informed Danny.

Terra stepped away, as the Ood lifted their heads.

“But they can’t.”

“Doctor, the Ood.” Rose pointed out to them what Terra had already seen. “What does basic thirty mean?”

“Well, it means that they’re shouting, screaming inside their heads.” Danny answered. He was checking the systems.

The Doctor stood at the railing to join Rose. “Or something’s shouting at them.”

Terra winced. Her hands went to her head, as frustrated tears came out of her eyes.

“But where is it coming from?” Danny questioned. He went to Rose. “What is it saying? What did it say to you?”

“Something about the Mistress in the pit.” Rose answered.

“What about your communicator? What did that say? To you and your friend?” Danny pressed.

“She is awake.” Rose answered.

“And you will be her prey.” The Ood reported.

Terra’s arms moved to her chest, squeezing tight. She took a harsh breath through clenched teeth.

“What the hell?”

The Doctor stood protectively in front of them, stretching his arms out over the rails to defend he humans. “She is awake.” The Doctor repeated.

“And you will be her prey.” The Ood repeated back.

“Prey to who?” The Doctor demanded. “Who’s talking to you? Who is it?”

The Ood all turned to look at Terra, who hid behind the Doctor and Rose. “She is coming for you . She is coming for you .”

 

==TTI==

 

“Toby?” Scooti walked into the archeologist’s room. “I got your expenditure.” She dropped the folder on his desk.

“Open door 41.” The computer reported. Scooti stood up, confused. “Close door 41.”

“41?” Scooti repeated. Then she realized the gravity of what she had said, running to the door.

“Open door 40.”

Scooti went to the access panel. “Computer, did you open and close door 41?”

Confirmed .”

“But that’s the airlock. Why would you open the airlock?” Scooti asked. “It’s the night shift. We’re not allowed outside. Has someone gone out?”

“Confirmed.”

“But who was it?”

“Cannot confirm.”

“Alright I got it. Tell me who’s spacesuit has been logged out.”

“No spacesuit has been logged out.”

“But...you’re not making any sense. You can’t go outside without-” Scooti roller her eyes. “Zach, I think we’ve got a breakdown on door 41. It’s saying somebody’s gone outside onto the planet’s surface.” She reported.

Static greeted her.

“Zach?” Scooti tried again. “Zach?!”

Nothing.

Only static.

“Computer, trace fault.” Scooti demanded.

“There is no fault.”

“Tell me who went through that door?” Scooti demanded.

“She is Awake.”

“...what?”

“She is Awake.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Scooti asked.

“She bathes in the black sun.” The computer answered.

Scooti backed away. She walked over to the shutters. Because the computer had to be wrong, there was no way someone was ‘ bathing in the black sun’.

The shutters slid open.

In the middle of the barren field, stood a man with black lettering over his skin, glowing orange eyes, and a smile that was too sharp.

“Toby...” Scooti realized. “There’s no air...there’s no...”

Toby stretched out his hand. He smiled wider at Scooti.

She held her hand out to him.

He curled his finger, inviting her forward.

Scooti moves half a step forward, before realizing what she was doing. “No! Stop it! You can’t be!”

Toby snarled her direction.

The shutters slammed shut.

Scooti jumped back.

“Open door 41.” The computer reported.

Scooti ran to door 40, as 41 opened to reveal Toby.

“Open door 40!” Scooti ordered.

“I am so hungry.” Toby stated, in voice that was octaves higher than normal. “They have starved me in that Pit.

“Open door 40!” Scooti yelled. “ Open door 4-”

 

==TTI==

 

The entire station shook.

Terra stood above the Ood chamber. She was holding tight to the railings as everything shook around her.

“Emergency hull breach.” The computer reported. “Emergency hull breach.”

Terra looked to the others, seeing them all having matching looks of horror.

“What station?!” Danny asked into his comm unit.

Terra didn’t stay to listen. She just started running.

Running away as fast as her legs could take her.

She knew exactly where to go. Where to run, where there would be oxygen.

She met up with the other humans. She made sure to keep pace, ignoring the faint echoes of laughter in her psyche. She had been relapsing into panic attacks- never a good sign.

“Come on!” Jefferson was shouting. “Keep moving!”

Terra followed him- and most of the others- into a corridor. The Doctor, Rose, and Danny came in behind her. She let out a quick reliever breath.

The door was nearly about to close.

“And you too, Toby!” Jefferson pulled Toby inside, just as the door shut. Rose went to his side, making sure he was alright.

Terra tensed, glaring down at him. He seemed dazed and confused. Terra didn’t trust that. She didn’t trust anything right now.

“Breach sealed. Breach sealed.”

“Everyone all right?!” The Doctor shouted. He was giving varying shouts of confirmation. “What happened? What was it?”

Jefferson was panting as he answered. “Hull breach. We were open to the elements. Another couple of minutes and we’d have been inspecting that black hole at close quarters.”

“That wasn’t a quake. What caused it?” The Doctor asked.

We’ve lost sections eleven to thirteen. Everyone all right?” Zach inquired.

“We’ve got everyone here except Scooti.” Terra looked away, doing her best not to make a sound. She wondered how Scooti had suffered, how She had made Scooti suffer. “Scooti, report. Scooti Manista? That’s an order. Report.”

Not a sound came.

Terra was the only one not to expect it.

“She’s all right. I’ve picked up her biochip. She’s in Habitation 3 .” Zach informed them. “Better go and check if she’s not responding. She might be unconscious. How about that, eh? We survived.”

Toby was checking his hands. Terra wanted to smash them under her feet. Or crush them against the door. Because not for one second did she think She really left him. She never left a Toy behind. Not without breaking it.

“Habitation 3. Come on.” Jefferson patted Danny on the shoulder. “I don’t often say this, but I think we could all do with a drink.” The others of the station followed him. “Come on.”

The Doctor went to Terra. “Are you alright?”

She was still glaring at Toby. She shook herself out of it, looking up at the Doctor. “Huh?”

“Are you alright?”

Terra blinked, before looking over at Toby.

The Doctor knelt at Tony’s side. “What happened?”

Toby was still panting. Rose rubbed soothing circles on his back. “I don’t. I don’t know. I was working and then I-” He  paused, scrunching up his face in discomfort. “I can’t remember. All that noise. The room was falling apart. There was no air-”

“Come on.” Rose tucked her arms around his. “Up you get. Come and have some protein one.” She walked him towards Habitation 3.

“Oh, you’ve gone native.” The Doctor teased, following her.

“Oi, don’t knock it. It’s nice.” Rose teased right back. “Protein one with just a dash of three.”

Terra followed behind them. She spat on the ground where Toby had knelt.

He didn’t deserve the air he was getting.

 

==TTI==

 

Why didn’t I save her?

I knew what was going to happen.

I knew where it was going to happen.

Except I was being silly over a stupid phonecall.

How pathetic.

When we walked into Habitation 3, the shutters were still open. I could see Scooti floating.

She was pale. The palest pale that I haven’t seen in a long time. But I could see the blood pouring out of the gaping hole in the side of her neck. Not a drop left behind to float.

He ate her

I glared over at Toby.

She was brave and you ate her

She was his friend and you made him eat her

You monster

I hope you die screaming

“I’ve checked Habitation four. Can you hear me?” Ida reported.

Jefferson hit a button on his comm. “There’s no sign of her. The biochip says she’s in the area. Have any of you seen Scooti?”

“No, no, no, I don’t think so.” Toby shook his head, but I knew it was a lie.

The Doctor looked over at me, following my line of sight. He and I exchanged a forlorn look. I swallowed, looking down.

“Scooti, please respond. If you can hear this, please respond. Habitation six.” Ida spoke.

“Nowhere here.” Jefferson pressed the button again. “Zach? We’ve got a problem. Scooti’s still missing.”

“It says Habitation 3.” Zach defended.

“Yeah, well, that’s where I am, and I’m telling you she’s not here.” Jefferson argued.

“We’ve found her.” The Doctor answered.

They all looked at the Doctor, seeing that he was staring up.

Rose covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh, my God.”

My hands gripped the handrails.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

You’re not the one who needs to apologize.

Looking up, I let out a broken sigh.

“Captain. Report Officer Scootori Manista PKD, deceased. Forty three K two point one.” Jefferson reported in a

Ida gawked. “She was twenty. Twenty years old.” She walked up to my side, closing the shutters.

In time, as Scooti floated closer to the black hole.

“For how should man die better than facing fearful odds? For the ashes of his father and the temples of his Gods.” Jefferson recited.

I sat up, leaning on the rails. “Scootori Manista...I mourn for you.”

The rumbling below our feet stopped.

“It’s stopped.” Ida commented, though we all knew it.

“What was that? What was it?” Rise asked, running to the Doctor’s side.

“The drill.” The Doctor answered.

“We’ve stopped drilling. We’ve made it.” Ida reported. “Point Zero.”

 

==TTI==

 

In no time at all, all the humans and the Doctor were preparing to go down the hole.

Into the Pit.

With Her .

Or at least her body.

The rest of us had the ‘ privilege’ of being around her mind.

Because fuck my life

And everyone in it

“Capsule established. All systems functioning. The mineshaft is go.” Ida was shouting over the loud mechanical noise. “Bring systems online now.”

The Doctor walked up to Zach, all decked out in the orange spacesuit. “Reporting as a volunteer for the expeditionary force.”

“Doctor, this is breaking every single protocol. We don’t even know who you are.” Zach argued.

“Yeah, but you trust me, don’t you? And you can’t let Ida go down there on her own. Go on. Look me in the eye.” The Doctor assured. “Yes you do, I can see it. Trust.”

Zach looked away. “I should be going down.”

“The Captain doesn’t lead the mission. He stays here, in charge.” The Doctor reminded him.

“Not much good at it, am I?” The Doctor just grinned at him. Zach walked away. “Positions! We’re going down in two. Everyone, positions! Mister Jefferson! I want maximum system enhancement.”

Rose and I walked up to the Doctor.

“Oxygen, nitro balance, gravity. It’s ages since I wore one of these.” The Doctor cheered to us.

Rose poked his chest. “I want that spacesuit back in one piece, you got that?”

“Yes, sir.” The Doctor put on his helmet. “Terra? Any words of sarcasm?”

“...just got that, you get nothing.” I snarked.

“Ah there she is.” The Doctor grinned. He poked my shoulder. I bumped his arm. “Really. Anything you want to admit?”

Bracing myself, I shook my head.

“You want to stop me.” The Doctor pointed out. “You know what’s down there and you’re trying to stop me.”

“You’ll still go.” I countered. “Because that’s just what you’re like. I tell you, and you’ll run down there.”

“You can’t be sure of-” I gave him a flat look. “-yeah you’re right. I would.” He gave me a fond smile. “But you’re still going to give me a hint.”

I sighed. “Dammit yeah I am...Doctor, Rose?”

“Yes Terra?”

“What is it?” Rose asked, putting a hand on my shoulder.

I pulled away from it, looking down at my shoes. “Whatever happens...however this all goes down...” I looked over at an Ood, wondering if they were still screaming from Her . “Don’t let your opinion of me change. Remember me as I was now . Please.”

The Doctor reached up to my shoulder. He squeezed reassuringly, looking into my eyes. “I promise.”

I nodded. He probably would change his opinion of me, but at least he would try.

“So do I.” Rose swore. “It’s funny, because people back home think that space travel’s going to be all whizzing about and teleports and anti gravity, but it’s not, is it?” Rose mused. “It’s tough.”

“I’ll see you later.” He promised.

“Not if I see you first.” Rose kissed the front of his helmet.

I whacked his arm. “Don’t die. And try to find my box while your down there.”

The Doctor was still grinning from that kiss. “Got it.” He walked away.

I held up my fist to Rose. “I got him to admit the TARDIS was my ship.”

Rose laughed. She bumped my fist. “He’s gonna be so mad when he realizes.”

“Nah.” I shrugged, leaning against some metal workings. “He’ll gladly give her up. That way he and his concubine can keep a mortgage.”

Rose blushed. “Stop it.”

“Not a chance.”

Because I need you both to remember me like this

And not like one of Her Toys.

I don’t want to be a Toy again.

I would rather die.

 

==TTI==

 

My body was, at all times, between Rose and Toby.

“Capsule active.” Zach announced. “ Counting down in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

Rose and the Doctor waved at each other. I kept myself inbetween her and Toby.

Release.”

The capsule began to descend.

Rose grabbed the nearby microphone, staring rapt at the progress screen.

I stood near her, keeping a watch on the progress then Toby then back again.

After a few minutes, Zach chimed in.

You’ve gone beyond the oxygen field. You’re on your own.” Zach reported.

“Don’t forget to breath. Breathing’s good.” Rose advised.

Rose, stay off the comm.” Zach instructed

Rose scoffed. “No chance.”

“Hold on. Terra did you say the TARDIS was your box!?”

“Sorry gotta stay off the comms!” I replied, while Rose laughed. “That took five minutes, by the way.”

Rose smiled, going back to stare at the progress.

The entire base shook, once the capsule stopped moving. I grabbed onto a railing to brace myself. Danger alarms went off with it.

My mind rang- as I felt her control coming. It was like a wave both physical and audial. I winced, my hand tightening on the rail as I breathed through the pain.

Rose had held the comm in a death grip. “Doctor?! Doctor, are you alright?”

“Ida, report to me. Doctor?” Zach commanded.

It’s all right. We’ve made it. Getting out of the capsule now.” The Doctor reported.

“What’s it like down there?” Rose asked.

“It’s hard to tell. Some sort of cave. Cavern. It’s massive.” The Doctor poorly explained.

“Wow. I’m in awe at it.” I commented dryly. Rose rolled her eyes.

“Well, this should help. Gravity globe.” Ida added. There was a pause, as she activated the globe. “That’s, that’s. My God, that’s beautiful.”

“Rose, you can tell Toby we’ve found his civilization.”

“Oi, Toby. Sounds like you’ve got plenty of work.” Rose cheered.

Toby was wringing his hands. “Good, good. Good.”

“Concentrate now, people. Keep on the mission. Ida, what about the power source?” Zach inquired.

We’re close. Energy signature indicates north north west. Are you getting pictures up there?” Ida asked.

“There’s too much interference. We’re in your hands.” Zach answered.

“Well, we’ve come this far. There’s no turning back.”

I groaned. “She did not just say that.”

“Oh, did you have to? No turning back? That’s almost as bad as ‘nothing can possibly go wrong’, or ‘this is going to be the best Christmas Walford’s ever had’.”

“Are you finished?”

“...yeah. Finished.”

Danny’s voice came over the comm. “ Captain, sir. There’s something happening with the Ood.”

What are they doing?”

“They’re staring at me. I’ve told them to stop, but they won’t.”

“Danny, you’re a big boy. I think you can take being stared at.”

“But the telepathic field, sir. It’s at basic one hundred. I’ve checked. there isn’t any fault. It’s definitely one hundred.”

“But that’s impossible.”

Rose turned to me. “What’s basic one hundred mean?”

“Brain dead.” I answered for her.

“They should be dead.”

“But they’re safe. They’re not actually moving?” Zach asked.

“No, sir.” Danny reported, though the not moving didn’t sound any better.

“Keep watching them. And you, Jefferson? Keep a guard on the Ood.” Zach instructed.

Jefferson turned over his shoulder. “Officer at arms!”

One of his guards came forward. “Yes, sir.” They aimed a rifle at the nearby Ood.

“You can’t fire a gun in here.” Rose complained. “What if you hit a wall?”

“I’m firing stock fifteen. It only impacts upon organics.” Jefferson assured. I put a hand on Rose’s shoulder to reassure her, ignoring the pain. “Keep watch. Guard them.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Is everything all right up there?” The Doctor asked.

“Yeah, yeah.” “It’s fine.” “Great.” They all lied.

“We’ve found something. It looks like metal. Like some sort of seal. I’ve got a nasty feeling the word might be trapdoor.” The Doctor explained. “ Not a good word, trapdoor. Never met a trap door I liked.”

“I’ve met plenty.” I mused.

The edge is covered with those symbols.” Ida added.

“Do you think it opens?” Zach asked.

“That’s what trapdoors tend to do.” The Doctor snarked.

“Trapdoor doesn’t do it justice. It’s massive, Zach.” Ida explained. “ About thirty feet in diameter.”

Any way of opening it?” Zach asked.

I glanced at Toby. He was curling up in a ball where he sat. My hand held the strap of my Bag, ready to hit Her with it as a moment’s notice.

“I don’t know. I can’t see any sort of mechanism.” Ida answered.

“I suppose that’s the writing. It’ll tell us what to do. The letters that defy translation.” The Doctor stared.

“Toby, did you get anywhere with decoding it?” Zach asked. “Did Terra start talking?”

“Terra, Toby, they need to know that lettering. Does it make any sort of sense?” Rose asked.

The hair on my neck stood up.

“I know what it says.” Toby answered, his voice higher pitch.

I glared, body tensing in fight-or-flight.

“Then tell them.” Rose replied.

“Stay back.” I stood in front of Her.

“Terra what’re you doing?”

“When did you work that out?” Jefferson asked Toby.

“It doesn’t matter. Terra what are you doing?

The body of Toby stood up, exposing her skin to be covered in the words. Her eyes closed that same orange that has haunted my nightmares for three decades.

“These are the words of the Mistress.” She spoke through Toby. She narrowed her eyes at me. Despite my best intentions, I was shaking. Not just from fear but from pain. “And She has woken. She is the heart that beats in the darkness. She is the bloodlust that will never be sated. And now She will rise.”

“Officer, stand down. Stand down.” Jefferson ordered.

“What is it? What’s he done? What’s happening? Rose, Terra, what’s going on?” The Doctor asked.

Jefferson came up by my side. He pushed me back, so I stood in front of Rose. “Officer, as Commander of Security, I order you to stand down and be confined. Immediately!”

She laughed in his direction.

“He’s come out in those symbols all over his face. They’re all over him.” Rose was trying to tell the Doctor.

“Mister Jefferson. Tell me, sir. Did your wife ever forgive you?” She taunted.

‘Leave them alone.’ I begged helplessly in my mind.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Jefferson answered, face tight.

“Let me tell you a secret. She never did.” She cackled madly. “And you.” She sneered at me, orange eyes shining with bloodlust. “Has the screaming stopped yet?” It spoke. “Bet it hasn’t.”

“Officer, you stand down and be confined.” Jefferson ordered.

She chuckled darkly. “Or what?” She taunted. His mouth was curved up into a smirk. He didn’t care that a gun was aimed at his head. “What can you do, little snack?”

“Or under the strictures of Condition Red, I am authorized to shoot you.” Jefferson aimed his rifle in Toby’s face.

“Just do it!” I told him. “Kill it!”

She laughed. “Shoot me you kill the man inside, dearie. He’s such a sweet pitiful thing.” She tilted her head. “ Or...maybe you’d rather have targets.”

The letters dissolved into a black smoke. The smoke moved toward the Ood.

‘Stop it. STOP IT NOW!’

The smoke infected the Ood. Their eyes changed to red. The comms kicked back in.

“Rose? Terra? What is it, Rose, Terra? I’m going back up.”

“Report! Jefferson, report. Someone, report!”

“It’s the Ood.” Rose reported.

“Sir, we have contamination in the livestock.”

Livestock? Seriously? You call them that?” She scoffed. The voice of the Ood made high pitched and definitely from a girl. “And you wonder why I took them.”

“Doctor, I don’t know what it is. It’s like they’re possessed.” Rose reported.

“Oh the blonde one’s got brains. What a commodity.” The Ood taunted.

“They won’t listen to us.” Jefferson added.

“So kill them.” It hurt to say it, but they were Her Toys now. Death was the only mercy we could grant. I grabbed the comm from Rose’s hand. “kill them now! If you have eyes on an Ood, kill them now!”

“Imagine every nightmare that has ever woken you. ” The Ood spoke. “Imagine every dark thought you’ve ever had. Imagine all the things you have seen in the shadows. Now imagine those things could breathe. That’s who I am. I’m Abaddon. I am Kroptor. I am Satan, or Lucifer. That’s a personal favorite.”

“Captain, it’s the Ood. They’re out of control!”

“Or the Bringer of Despair, the Deathless Princess, the Queen of Night.” The Ood began a slow walk towards us. “These are the words that shall set me free.”

“Back up to the door!” Jefferson ordered us. We all started backing up to the door.

“Why aren’t you shouting them?!”

“Can’t waste the bullets!” Jefferson answered. “I need a proper shot!”

“Are you joking?!”

“Et manifestum erit.” ‘I shall become manifest.’

“Move quickly!” Jefferson said instead of answering.

I yelled in annoyance.

“Ego ambulo ad arma tamen.” ‘I shall walk in might.’

“To the door! Get it open!” Jefferson ordered.

Citra sanguinem ebulliet saecula.” ‘My blood shall swarm across the worlds.’

The world began to shake once they finished.

“We’re too late!” I shouted. “She’ll get out! Author dammit she’ll get out!”

The Ood continued to walk toward us, as everything shook.

“Ego sum, et peccatum tentationis, et desiderio. Ego sum, et dolor damnum ac the-” ‘I am the sin and the temptation and the desire. I am the pain and the loss and the-’

“Get that door open!” Jefferson snapped.

Rose tried opening the door. It was sealed.

“It’s not going to work!”

“Ego eram concludens in carcerem qui erat in aeternum. Sed non magis.” ‘I have been imprisoned for eternity. But no more.’

“Door sealed. ” The computer informed us.

“Come on!” Rose grumbled.

“Door sealed.”

“The Pit is open.” A demonic voice shouted. “And I am free . BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

 

Chapter Text

Morgana had been trapped beneath the world for too long.

Too long to taste sweet fresh flesh.

Too long to know the passage of time.

Too long to hear the screams of her victims

But not too long to remember her foes.

Her enemies.

Her Toy.

Then came the Frabjous Day.

She heard the four heartbeats of Time Lord, and she sang .

 

==TTI==

 

BAM

BAM-BAM

BAM

BAM-BAM

BAM

BAM-BAM

The three Ood fell. Dead.

A gun was in my hand, still smoking.

As soon the Ood hit the ground, I ran to them.

One in the head

One to the heart

One to the second brain.

Not a perfect double tap, but one must compensate for alien biology.

Jefferson and his fellow guard were gawking at me as I tucked the glock away in my hoodie pocket. They had taken too long to fire- in my opinion at least.

“Since when did you have that?” Jefferson asked, meaning the gun.

“Alouette, gentille alouette. Alouette, je te plumerai.” I sang instead of answering. ‘May this song sing you to sleep, Faithful Ood.’ I continued to sing until the Ood’s eyes all slid shut.

We’re stabilizing. We’ve got orbit.” Zach cheered in relief.

Rose ran past us, going to the comm unit. “Doctor? Doctor, can you hear me? Doctor, Ida, are you there?”

As I stood up, I took a stance behind the fallen Ood. My hand went to rest on my gun.

Open door 25.”

Jefferson and the guard turned to the door. I was finishing the prayer.

“It’s me!” Danny shouted as he came running in. “But they’re coming.” He warned while closing the door behind him. “It’s the Ood. They’ve gone mad.”

“How many of them?” Jefferson asked.

“All of them! All fifty!” Danny answered.

“Danny, out of the way. Out of the way!” Jefferson pulled Danny aside.

“But they’re armed! It’s the interface device.” I locked the gun, preparing to aim it at the first Ood that walked up. “I don’t know how, but they’re using it as a weapon.”

“Open door 25.”

Jefferson opened the door. The first Ood reached out for his guard.

BAM

BAM-BAM

The Ood fell back into a comrade. It pushed him aside, marching forward. I fired again, which gave Jefferson to start firing as well.

The Ood all fell.

“Seal door 24. Seal door 23.” Jefferson ordered to the computer.

I walked up to the Ood, giving the song in quick prayer. The guard gave me a confused stare.

“You saved my life from that- and now you’re song at it?”

“She’s an Ood Friend.” Danny excused. “Still. Didn’t think she’d shoot them.”

“They weren’t Ood anymore.” I answered coldly, rising to my feet. “They were her .” My eyes went to glare at Toby.

“Jefferson, what’s happening there?” Zach asked.

“I’ve got very little ammunition, sir. How about you?” Jefferson answered instead.

All I’ve got is a bolt gun. With er, all of one bolt. I could take out a grand total of one Ood. Fat lot of good that is.”

Jefferson nodded to me. “And you, what about you?”

“Two standard issue glocks, ten-well nine now- magazines, a plasma blaster, bo staff with retractable whip, arrow and bow, smoke bombs, the means to make nine really small bombs or one big one, tasers, throwing knives, and a really big sword.” I reported. As his look, I scoffed. “The Bag is bigger on the inside.”

He nodded like that made sense. Or it made sense not to anger the crazy girl with an armory in her bag. “Given the emergency, I recommend strategy nine.”

“Strategy Nine. Agreed. Right, we need to get everyone together.” Zach agreed. “ Rose? What about Ida and the Doctor? Any word?”

“I can’t get a reply.” Rose admitted, sounding more shaken with each word. “Just nothing. I keep trying, but it’s-”

“No, sorry, I’m fine. Still here.” The Doctor’s voice came over the line.

My trigger finger was starting to twitch. It was lying in wait to shoot Toby at the first sign of trouble. The guard followed my lead.

“You could’ve said, you stupid-”

There was feedback. “ Whoa. Careful! Anyway, it’s both of us. Me and Ida. Hello. But the seal opened up. It’s gone. All we’ve got left is this chasm.” The Doctor explained.

“How deep is it?” Zach asked.

“Can’t tell. It looks like it goes down forever.” He answered.

“The pit is open. That’s what the voice said.” Rose recalled.

But there’s nothing. I mean-there’s nothing coming out?” Zach asked.

“No, no. No sign of ‘ the Mistress’ .” The Doctor answered, sounding skeptical.

Toby and I winced faintly at her name.

“It said Satan.” Rose reminded us.

Come on, Rose. Keep it together.” The Doctor assured. Because to him the idea was insane.

Rose “Is there no such thing? Doctor. Doctor, tell me there’s no such thing.” She looked to me. “Terra tell me there’s no such thing.”

I couldn’t, because that’s what she is.

“Ida? I recommend that you withdraw. Immediately.” Zach ordered.

But, we’ve come all this way.”

“Okay. That was an order. Withdraw. ” Zach ordered more sternly. “ When that thing opened, the whole planet’s shifted. One more inch and we fall into the black hole. So this thing stops right now.”

“But it’s not much better up there with the Ood.” Ida argued.

“I’m initiating strategy nine, so I need the two of you back up top immediately, no ar-Ida. Ida!” Zach shouted, because the comm had cut off.

“Why are you aiming it at him?” The guard asked.

“What’s your name?” I asked her.

“Uhh. Corinne Daresan.” She answered.

“Well Corinne. If she left Toby to go to them, where’d she go now?” I pointed out. Understanding lit up her eyes, so she kept the firearm at her side. That’s fair. She didn’t know what She was like.

Jefferson heard though. He came up behind me, raising his rifle. I readied my own.

“Rose, Terra, we’re coming back.” The Doctor stated after a long pause.

“Best news I’ve heard all day.” Rose cheered in relief. She turned to us, eyes going wide in shock. “What’re you doing?”

Jefferson locked the rifle. Toby-coming out of a depressive funk that was fake as a cloud-jolted. “He’s infected. He brought that thing on board. You saw it.”

“Terra?” Rose questioned.

“I’m not doing anything, Carolina. But I think it’s best you and Danny go for a quick walk.” I advised, keeping my voice cool and calm.

Toby’s eyes widened in shock, seeing two- no wait Corinne joined- three guns aimed at his face.

“Are you going to start shooting people now?” Rose asked, voice dry. “Is that what you’re going to do? Is it?”

“If necessary.” Jefferson answered.

“It’s the only way she leaves your head.”

“Well then, you’ll have to shoot me if necessary, so what’s it going to be?” I continued to glare at Toby, my hand not even shaking. Though I kept track of where was Rose as she knelt by his side, staring at the perfect places to shoot Toby. “Look at his face. Whatever it was, is gone. It passed into the Ood. You saw it happen. He’s clean.”

“Then we shot the Ood.” I countered. “It’s got nowhere to go but him.”

“Yeah, and Danny said there were fifty of them. There’s a lot more Ood out there.” Rose argued back.

“It can be in 38 Ood, but it can’t also be in a human?” I stated. Rose sighed, shaking her head in- disappointment?! “Rose we’ve gotta kill him.”

“It’s left him! Can’t you see it? See he’s face?”

“No she didn’t. She knows how to hide.” I tried not to snarl. “She’s smart. She just spread her influence that moved to the Ood. She’s still inside of him, Rose. She never lets you go until you die. Even then, she’ll follow you like a ghost until you wish you’d died with her.”

Her expression looked more afraid now- more concerned. “You can’t know that.” Rose argued weakly.

I didn’t answer. Just kept my gun aimed at him.

She moved herself to stand in his way.

You...mother fucking dumbass.

Jefferson-however-fell for it. “Any sign of trouble, I’ll shoot him.” He walked away, Corinne trailing behind.

Rose continued to sit in front of my gun. “Terra.”

“I should shoot him now. The fact that he’s still standing is trouble enough.” I argued, knowing I was going to give up and that She was going to love it so much.

“But you won’t.”

‘Killing me kill the thing inside.’ She had said. ‘He’s such a pretty little thing.’

“Damn.” So I clicked the safety on. Rose smiles, thankful. I glared a warning at Toby. “I’m sorry, Toby, but you were dead the moment you heard her voice.”

He swallowed. I walked away, close enough to hear but not close enough for Rose to get all uppity again.

“Are you alright?” Rose asked.

“Yeah. I don’t know.”

“Can you remember anything?”

“Just, it was so angry. It was fury and rage and death. It was her. It was the Devil.”

I rolled my eyes. That was a favorite, wasn’t it?

“Come on.” Rose helped Toby to his feet.

Okay, we’re in. Bring us up.” Ida reported.

Jefferson, Danny, Corinne, and myself gathered at the control panel. “Ascension in three, two, one.” He flipped the switch.

All at once, all over, the power went out.

“GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!”

The screen changed to an image of the Ood. I flinched away from the screen, moving a step closer towards Toby.

“Today’s specials are humans with a side of Ood. Their meat is a little stringy when scared but I’ve learned to love it.”

“That’s not the Ood. Something’s talking through them.” Zach realized.

“Well of course I am. Cellphones are so hard to come by in this Pit.” She answered.

“This is Captain Zachary Cross Flane of Sanctuary Base Six, representing the Torchwood archive. You will identify yourself.” Zach ordered.

“Will I? Some have heard my name and gone insane. Some call me ‘The Beast’ . Some call me Mistress , or Abomination. The Ood turned to look in my direction. Like the worst fourth wall break of all time. “A personal favorite. Which name would you like?”

“What do you want?” Zach demanded.

Her old roommate.

“Nah. Let’s have fun first.” She cheered. “I always like to play with my food before agreeing to bargains. You will die here. Each and every one of you. Well except one, the one I’ll let live. This planet is your prison, sweetface.”

“It’s her. It’s her. It’s her.” Toby panicked.

My thumb itched to move the safety off.

“Ah Toby. Right. Knew I had a new pet...couldn’t remember which. All you morsels look so alike.”

“If you are the devil, then answer me this. Which one, hmm?” The Doctor asked. She didn’t answer. “ Cos the universe has been busy since you’ve been gone. There’s more religions than there are planets in the sky. The Archiphets, Orkology, Christianity, Pash Pash, New Judaism, San Klah, Church of the Tin Vagabond. Which devil are you?”

“Yes.” She answered, sounding sarcastic. “I am All of Them. So wise that all fear the thing of which they could not see...those that didn’t never lasted long.”

“What, then you’re the truth behind the myth?” The Doctor asked, once again the skeptic.

You stupid, stupid man.

“Of course. But I’m nothing without followers .” She cheered. My hearts aches in my chest, and just remembering the awful things she’d done made my stomach flip. “Those who destroy in my name, or what they think is a higher power. Tell me, how did you do it? Destroy an entire planet? I had fifty years, but those cockroaches multiplied. But you killed them all in a single night ! You’re like the Krampus I always wanted.”

‘You bitch. How dare you bring that up to him?’ I glared at Toby. ‘When I get the chance, I’ll gut you like a fish.’

“How did you end up on this rock?” The Doctor asked, sounded furious now. Which he had good right to be.

“I will not speak to you anymore.” She spoke, bored. “I want to play with my Toy.”

The blood drained from my face, while my stomach looped and jumped again.

“Well? Where are you, my Toy?” The Ood called out. I curled back against the metal post. “ I have missed your pretty little face. Shame you changed it. You were always such fun to play with. I know you can hear me. I’ve always been able to find you.

‘Don’t give her the power. Don’t give her the power.’ I thought, ignoring her.

“I have missed bouncing around inside of your mind.”

I shook my head, hoping beyond hoping to get her voice out of my head.

But it wasn’t in my head. It was out in the world. Hunting and hurting people I cared about.

“Of all the screams I have heard in my long existence, your screams were always the prettiest. They were always so loud, so full of strife and pain and endless agony.” She recounted. With each word, memories came back in startling clarity. All that death...all that sorrow...all that pain. “Could you scream again for me? Just a little taste of what I’ll get when I have you back. I bet you’d make the prettiest noises now. You have a new face, must have a new voice to go with it.”

‘Don’t give her the power. Don’t give her the power.’ I thought, ignoring her.

“Did you like my gift? Scooti was a delicious loss. Did you scream? I bet you did. Because I knew what made you scream loudest.” She taunted. “You, the lonely little freak. The freak of a girl who always ate lunch alone, who hid in the bathroom alone so no one would hear her crying, who was scared to cross a church line because she knew she was a monster . That knew deep down you were always me. You were always so vocal . So noisy .”

At my side, Rose eyed me cautiously. “Terra?”

The others turned to me. I’m sure I looked like a mess, with a pale face and white fists holding to the wall and my eyes darting from the floor to the exit. The exit blocked by piles of dead Ood. Killed because they’d been infected with her .

Don’t give her the power. Don’t give her the power.” I spat, deciding to stare down at my shoes. “Alouette, gentille alouette. Alouette, je te plumerai.”

The Ood only laughed, with her voice as I repeated the rhyme. It made me want to vomit, an action I barely put down.

“Oh I missed your backbone, Toy, not that you had much back then.” They laughed. “Such a whiny rat. ‘Don’t hurt them. You’re hurting me. Oh someone kill me please’. I’m going to ruin you, all over again. I bet it’ll be better than the last time. Will it hurt more when there are two hearts to crush? Will it hurt when I kill everyone here, make you kill them, like I did with Tony?”

There was a heavy lump in my throat. Rose took a step towards me. It made me feel like a cornered beast, ready to snarl at the closest threat.

So I leapt towards the screen, smashing my fists against the metal panel beside it. “YOU DON’T GET TO SAY HIS NAME!” I shouted at my darker half instead. “EVER! DON’T YOU EVER SAY IT!”

She laughed.

I smacked the screen. “You died! I saw it! I felt it! After all the pain it took for Lawrence to get rid of you, all that I lost with you - what could’ve brought you back, you- you meega nala kweesta! ” I snapped.

The Ood chuckled collectively.

“The same thing that birthed me, way back when for us on that dark hill of snow and blood.” The Ood answered. A sickening idea bloomed like a weed in my mind . “After all, true villainy is born through pain and loss. The All-Mother herself. In the deepest darkest pit of her hearts. They broke. I rose from her ashes. Then those Guardians of the Galaxy came up against me and chained me in the Pit for all eternity. ” She explained in disgust.

“When was this?”

“I will not speak to you. Only her .”

“Well she’s not speaking to you again. Not if I have a say. So answer me.”

“The magic conch says no .”

“How long have you been in the Pit?”

“I’m ignoring you now.”

“Just answer his stupid questions!” I snapped at her. “Your answers are gonna hurt me either way!”

She chuckled victoriously. Yeah I hate this bitch. “Before time.”

“What does that mean?” The Doctor questioned.

“It means before time , simpleton . She scoffed. “Toy, your slaves are bothersome.”

I never have slaves

That was you.

“What does before time mean?”

UGGGHHH! Before light and time and space and soul and reality and power and mind . Before the Big Bang. Before this universe was created. Those morsels locked me away in here, trying to spare that Toy from me.” She laughed darkly. “What fools they were.”

“That’s impossible. No life could have existed back then.” The Doctor spoke.

She hummed in interest. “Is that your religion?”

“It’s a belief.”

“I love crushing belief. Just look at Toy. So far from belief she made up her own. None of the others would take her.” She laughed, as if that was the funniest joke. My hands tightened so much that if I had fingernails they’d be cutting into my skin. “You’re all so stupid. Scrambling for things you can never earn, a redemption arc that no one is bothering to write. All of you, so small. Zachary Cross Flane, a captain scared of command. John Jefferson, haunted by the eyes of his wife. Ida, a scientist scared of Daddy . The little Danny-boy who lied. Corinne, a girl so unimportant most of the people in this room didn’t know her name even as I said it. The virgin- can I just say, it’s ever so fun to be inside a virgin. They so much more fragile in the mind . And the lost girl, so far away from home. Sweet little Blondie... the valiant child who will die in battle so very soon.”

“Doctor, what does that mean?” Rose asked, the only one brave enough to speak. She looked to me. “Terra what-”

I flinched away from her. My hands ran in my hair, tugging on the strands. The pain reminded me that I was here. That I was Terra Johnson, not her Toy. That I was me. That she wasn’t.

Rose don’t listen.” The Doctor advised.

“What does it mean?”

“And my absolute favorite...my prize...my Toy.” She said. I shifted in my shoes. “The villain playing hero, the Fallen Star, the Freak amongst the Freaks.” She laughed victoriously. “Broken. Abomination! Mistake!”

My back hit the railing behind us. My hands clenched my arms tight, trying to use pain to block out the voice.

“I made a vow, Toy. Did you know?” My darker half, my worse self, explained. I crumbled to the floor, not exactly a ball but not on my knees either. Just...on the floor. “That I would escape this room to kill your weak pathetic excuse of an Ohana. I’d kill them every way I know you fear, that they fear. Then, I’d let you see what your hands did. Once you screamed for me I would go back to doing what I did best.” She promised. “You will die and the corpses of your friends will be devoured. Neither can live while the other survives, wasn’t that the old saying?”

There was static for a long moment.

I could hear a girl roaring.

In a quick flash of movement I slammed the hilt of the sword into the video screen.

The video of a girl with long black hair and sharp shark teeth cut off.

The human panicking began.

“What the hell was that?”

“I had that thing inside my head.”

“Doctor, what did it mean?”

“What do we do? Jefferson?”

“Captain? What’s the situation on strategy nine?”

“Zach, what do we do?”

“The planet, the orbit, the black hole. Everything’s true.”

“Captain, report.”

“We’ve lost pictures, Mister Jefferson.”

“Doctor, how did it know all of-”

“Did anyone get an anal-”

“Jefferson.”

“Stop.”

“What did it mean?”

“Everyone just stop.”

“What do we do?!”

“Report.”

The Doctor sent feedback through the comm. The humans shut up. I pulled the sword out of the screen, tucking it away in my Bag.

“...Terra didn’t you say the sword was broken?” Rose spoke up.

“It’s supposed to be on fire.” I replied. As is what happens when it’s a magic sword from a planet of fire fairies.

“You want voices in the dark, then listen to mine. ” The Doctor spoke clearly, in that way he always did to prove he was the voice of reason. “That thing is playing on very basic fears. Darkness, childhood nightmares, all that stuff.”

“But that’s how the devil works.” Danny pointed out, which didn’t make him wrong.

“Or a good psychologist.”

“Yeah, but how did it know about my father?”

“...okay, but what makes his version of the truth any better than mine, hmm?”

“She heard you.” I interjected, voice broken.

Everyone quieted, as if my voice had boomed across the room. Maybe it did. Everything was rushing around me and I couldn’t focus. Or maybe they were all waiting to hear me speak anyway.

Or maybe she was making them listen to me.

“What do you mean, heard us?” Danny asked.

“Stuck on this rock, some of you must have talked about your pasts. With each other. Or to Toby.” I explained, chest empty. “She heard it. Even if it was just the smallest word, she heard and thought of ways to use it against you. She likes to play with her food before she eats it.”

“How do you know that?” Jefferson questioned, fingering twitching on his trigger.

“Because she was me, a long time ago.” I admitted. They all looked at me in alarm. “You heard her. She kept calling me her- kept calling me that. She wasn’t lying, about being in my head. I was her Toy first.”

Jefferson aimed his gun at me. I didn’t flinch away. I stood still, welcoming it. Corinne did the same.

“Jefferson, put that down!” Rose shouted. She tried to move his arm back.

“I knew you were no good.” Jefferson snapped.

“She is!” Rose argued.

“It said it knew you. You said you knew her.” Jefferson continued.

“Lots of people know me. Even more are scared of me. She was the only one I ever feared back.” I began. “She was... is the worst thing that could have ever happened to the universe.”

“But what is she?” Jefferson demanded.

“Was she the Devil?” Danny asked.

“Close. She was Me.” I answered, wanting nothing more right now than to jump down that tunnel to ride down all ten miles. “And all my worse awful thoughts. She’s what I am without shame or guilt or or empathy or pain. Just...bitter teenage angst and a drive to kill everything with a pulse.”

“If she’s you, then why is she down there and you’re up here?” Jefferson countered.

“I don’t know.” He clicked the rifle. “I said I don’t know! Everything she said to you is everything I know!”

“Terra it doesn’t make sense. How can she be you?” Rose asked with heartbreak in her voice.

I let out a huff. “She was pulled out of my head- exorcised-”

“Like a demon!?”

“I’d correct you, but I’m not un convinced that’s what she was.”

“Terra you’re just talking nonsense.” The Doctor spoke up. I grimaced, my hand grabbing at my hair again. I knew he’d do that. I knew he’d say that. “Whatever she was, or this thing is, it’s not a demon.”

“You don’t know what my world looked like.” I argued. “Everyday of it was hell. Toby had her in her head all day, and he’s still curled in a ball muttering about her being in his head. I had fifty years .” There was quiet on the floor. “Fifty years of that whispering in my head, telling me how useless I was without her and how much a monster I was for not being able to stop her killing people. If it wasn’t for Lawrence pulling her out, I’d probably still be her. There’s no hope.”

“Don’t say that, Terra. That’s exactly what that thing wants.” The Doctor argued . “There is hope- you wanna know where? I’m gonna tell ya!”

“If you start singing, I swear to the Author-

“Cos I’ll tell you what I can see. Humans. Brilliant humans. Humans who travel all the way across space, flying in a tiny little rocket right into the orbit of a black hole, just for the sake of discovery. That’s amazing! Do you hear me? Amazing, all of you. The Captain, his Officer, his elders, his juniors, his friends. ” The Doctor explained. The humans looked more hopeful with each word. I nervously glanced to the door, then the cable. She won’t like this. She never liked the taste of hope. “ All with one advantage. The Mistress is alone. We are not. If we can use that to fight against her-”

The cable snapped behind us. I winced, walking up to the destroyed video screen.

The cable’s snapped!”

“Get out!”

The cable fell down the tunnel. Faster than it should take to fall down ten miles. It crashed in a small plume of smoke.

Rose took the comm. “Doctor, we lost the cable! Doctor, are you alright? Doctor!”

“Comms are down.” Zach reported, not happy about that news.

“Doctor? Doctor, can you hear me?” Rose pleaded.

“I’ve still got life signs, but we’ve lost the capsule.”

“Say something. Are you there?” Rose begged.

There’s no way out. They’re stuck down there.” Zach admitted.

“But we’ve got to bring them back.” Rose insisted.

“They’re ten miles down. We haven’t got another ten miles of cable.” Jefferson told her. Rose looked to me, but I shook my head. I didn’t know how to help. I never do.

The Ood started trying to bust down the door. Sparks were flying from the hinges.

“Captain? Situation report.” Jefferson requested.

“It’s the Ood. They’re cutting through the door bolts. They’re breaking in.” Zach explained.

“Yeah, it’s the same on door 25.” Jefferson huffed.

“How long will that take?” Rose asked.

“Well, it’s only a basic frame, it should take ten minutes.” Jefferson answered. He winced when another bolt was cut. “Eight.”

“I always feel good after we’ve spoken.” I snarked.

Jefferson glared at me. He was right too. This was my mess- and I’m not unsure that Darcy wasn’t part of the Guardians of the Galaxy that She mentioned. Because those are all things that are different. I don’t see why She would lie about Darcy’s involvement, especially if it made me petrified in fear of my sister being close to that monster.

“I’ve got a security frame. It might last a bit longer, but that doesn’t help you.” Zach informed.

“Right. So we need to stop them, get out, or both.” Rose remarked.

“So we need to stop them, and get out.”

“I’ll take both, yeah, but how?” Danny questioned. He had been running his hands in his hair, making it look manic than before.

“I could loan these-” I reached into my bag for my guns.

Jefferson held up a hand. “Sorry, but I don’t think it’s smart to leave you with an arsenal.” I paused. “You told us that she never gets out of your head until your dead. I think it’s a good idea for you to give us that bag.”

No.

No.

NO.

You can take everything from me- the Doctor and Rose’s trust, my precious sister, my Ohana, even my sanity, but you won’t take this Bag from me.

It’s all I have.

Literally the only thing.

I’ve had it longer than I’ve known Darcy.

I had it before Her.

It’s...everything.

“Please no.” I begged, holding the Bag tight against my chest. “No please. I can’t- I can’t let it go. It’s all I’ve got.”

“Look, I don’t want you turning into her and-”

“I don’t want to turn into her either! I’d die first!” I promised them. “Please just don’t take the Bag.”

“Stop it.” Rose stepped in between Jefferson and me. “Don’t you get it? This is what she wanted. Us to fight each other. You heard the Doctor. Why do you think that thing cut him off? Cos he was making sense. He was telling you to think your way out of this, and to stick together. All of us against one of her, I’d be scared too.” Rose pointed out. The humans looked amongst themselves, unsure. “Come on! For starters, we need some lights. There's got to be some sort of power somewhere.

“There’s nothing I can do. Some Captain, stuck in here, pressing buttons.” Zach admitted.

“That’s what the Doctor meant. Press the right buttons.” Rose encouraged.

“They’ve gutted the generators.” Zach reminded. “But the rocket’s got an independent supply. If I could reroute that...Mister Jefferson? Open the bypass conduits. Override the safety.”

Jefferson moved to them. He glanced at Corinne. “Keep an eye on those two.” She nodded, walking to stand in front of me and Toby. Between us at the humans. “Opening bypass conduits, sir.”

“Channelling rocket feed in three, two, one. Power on.” Zach

The lights went up. I’ll admit, I breathed a little easier in the light.

“There we go.” Rose clapped.

“Let there be light!” Danny cheered.

“What about that strategy nine thing?” Rose asked them.

“Not enough power. It needs a hundred percent.” Jefferson answered.

“We still need a way out. Zach, Jefferson, you start working on that.” Rose walked over to us, standing beside Corinne. “Toby, Corinne, what about you ?”

“I’m not a soldier. I can’t do anything.” Toby answered.

“I could stand guard by the door.” Corinne suggested. She lowered her rifle, clearly not comfortable aiming this at her college and a civilian. “When the Ood come in, I could be the first line of defense.”

“Good. Hop on it.” Rose instructed. Corinne did so. She turned to Toby. “You’re not a soldier, Toby, you’re the archeologist. You’d know the most about the pit. It’s why she took you over. What do you know?”

“Well, nothing. We can’t even translate the language.” Toby remarked.

“Terra does.” Rose reminded. She turned to me. “Bet you’re eager to get rid of her now.”

“I don’t know how.” I admitted. “Literally. I’ve got no idea. Lawrence performed an exorcism on me, and I don’t know how it went.”

“You didn’t ask?” Rose asked, because she’s right that didn’t sound like me not to ask.

“Because I didn’t like remembering it.” I replied. She moved to walk away. “Wait.” Rose stopped.

If those Guardians had something to do with Darcy...if that writing wasn’t Her but was Darcy...she would’ve left something. Some kind of clue. Some way to stop Her that I would see and know. A failsafe. Because I’ve taught her better than to assume everything works out fine just because you wish for it.

“Toby do your remember any of the words?” I asked him. “Anything you can write down?

Toby spluttered a moment. “Hold on. I...I think...”

“What is it?” Rose asked.

“Since that thing was inside my head, it’s like the letters made more sense.” Toby admitted. He looked at me nervously.

“Side effect I’m sure.” I half assured, knowing that it was actually because she was still in his head. I pulled a notebook out of the Bag. “Let’s write down all the ones you remember. There’s gotta be something there.”

Toby nodded. I pulled out sharpies, handing him one.

“Get to work. Anything you can translate, just anything.” Rose instructed. I nodded. Toby and I walked off to the side. He started to draw symbols on the paper. I pulled out a pencil, watching him construct some kind of sentence. “As for you, Danny boy. You’re in charge of the Ood. Any way of stopping them?”

“Well, I don’t know.” Danny answered.

“Then find out. The sooner we get control of the Base, the sooner we can get the Doctor out. Shift.” Rose commanded.

 

==TTI==

 

So far, all we’d translated was some gibberish. Most of it She had said in her rant. I remembered some of the phrases on the wall- which I could guess the full sentence if Darcy was the one writing it.

‘If you open up this thing, it’ll all fall apart like a man when he gets hit in his nuts.’

Just the thought of her writing that, and having Toby write it on the wall thinking it was some ancient lost proverb made me grin.

Toby wrote down another line of words.

I stopped him from writing another line. “Okay- okay see this bit?” I pointed at one symbol. In pencil, I wrote the translation below. “If we add it with the bit above, that’s all saying that if you open up the Pit then you’re dumber than playing a game of bowling without the shoes.”

“Yeah?” Toby asked, looking down at the sentence.

“Well either ‘bowling without the shoe’ or dropping a bowling ball on your shoe ’.” I remarked, tapping my cheek with the pencil. “Honestly it could be either.”

Toby hummed. He glanced over at the others, before leaning down towards the notebook. “Where did this language come from? You still haven’t said.”

“A planet that doesn’t exist.” I answered, writing down the translated sentence. “Anymore.”

“But...how do you know it?” Toby asked.

“Because I knew someone from that planet. It was the happiest I’ve ever been.” I explained, pausing in my writing to think about Kaua’i again. “He was good people. The best. In learned the language as a gift to him- and so I could finally figure out the surprise parties he was planning.” I revealed, feeling a fond smile appear on my face. The smile turned sad. “I’m the only one who knows it now. The whole planet’s gone now. Universes away...”

“So how could the language be there, if you’re the only one who speaks it?”

“Because...it’s in my mind, so it’s in her’s.” I explained. Toby paled. “I meant what I said earlier. If you do anything suspicious, I won’t hesitate to shoot you in the face.” He gulped.

“A-and if she’s in-in your head?” Toby countered, stuttering still.

“I’ll shoot myself in the face, without hesitation.” I replied easily. His face went pale, but he nodded in understanding. “Remember anything else?”

 

==TTI==

 

“Open junctions five, six, seven.” Jefferson reported. “Reroute filters sixteen to twenty four. Go.”

Corinne kept a firm guard in front of the door.

Toby was writing a word down. I wrote down the translations as he did so. He had a lot of the words on his memory. Either all of this time gave him a lot of time to memorize, or She had him by the throat.

Rose came up to us. “Anything?”

“A lot of warnings not to open the Pit.” I reported, deadpan. “Very bleak. Colorful metaphors though.”

Rose huffed. “Nothing about stopping her?”

“If there is, Toby can’t remember it. It wasn’t on the wall in Habitation Three. I’d remember that.” I answered.

She blew out a breath. “Yeah, makes sense.” She bobbed her head. “Come on then, let’s see what they got.”

“Sh-” I swallowed, my hand tightening on the Bag strap. “Shouldn’t I stay away?”

“Nah. Come on.” Rose held her hand down to me. I flinched away from it. Not out of fear of Rose, fear for Rose. “I could use the help.”

I can’t turn away.

Not when she asks all direct like that.

Because all this fighting is the biggest FU to Her that I’ve ever seen.

So I stood on my feet. I looked down at Toby. “Write what you can, if there’s anything left. I’ll check on it in a bit.” Toby nodded. Rose walked me over to Danny.

Danny huffed, typing away at the computer. “There’s all sorts of viruses that could stop the Ood. Trouble is, we haven’t got them on board.”

“Well, that’s handy, listing all the things we haven’t got.” Rose remarked dryly. “We haven’t got a swimming pool either. Or a Tesco’s.”

The computer beeped with confirmation. “Oh, my God. It says yes. I can do it.”Danny cheered. “Hypothetically, if you flip the monitor, broadcast a flare, it can disrupt the telepathy. Brainstorm!”

“What happens to the Ood?” I asked, leaning forward.

“It’ll tank them spark out.” Danny answered.

“There we are, then. Do it!” Rose approved.

Danny sighed in disappointed realization. “No, but I’d have to transmit from the central monitor. We need to go to Ood Habitation.”

“That’s what we’ll do, then.” Rose nodded. She moved onto Jefferson. “Mister Jefferson, sir. Any way out?”

“Just about. There’s a network of maintenance tunnels running underneath the base. We should be able to gain access from here.”

“Ventilation shafts.” Rose realized.

“Ventilation shafts.” I confirmed.

“Yeah, I appreciate the reference, but there’s no ventilation.” Jefferson remarked. “No air, in fact, at all. They were designed for machines, not life forms.”

But I can manipulate the oxygen field from here. Create discrete pockets of atmosphere. If I control it manually, I can follow you through the network.”

“Right, so we go down, and you make the air follow us by hand.” Rose translated.

“Exactly like that, Carolina Rose.”

“You wanted me pressing buttons.”

“Yeah, I asked for it.” Rose sighed. “Okay, we need to get to Ood Habitation. Work out a route.”

“Better do it fast.” Corinne spoke up from her self appointed guard post. There was a loud bang from the door. “We’ve got two minutes.”

 

==TTI==

 

The route was all mapped out. Zach had the air moved into that vent. All we had to go was get Danny away from the computer with the virus. Jefferson was lifting the metal grating over the vent. Corinne was standing by his side, rifle aimed at the door. She refused to move while someone was still over there.

“Danny!” Rose prompted

“Hold on! Just conforming.” Danny excused.

“Dan, we got to go now!” Jefferson ordered. “Come on!”

“Yeah!” He pulled out the orange chip, rushing towards us. “Put that in the monitor and it’s a bad time to be an Ood.”

Rose grabbed my shoulder, looking down into the vent. “We’re coming back. Have you got that? We’re coming back to this room and we’re getting the Doctor out.”

“Never said we weren’t.” I told her, because he was fine. He’d find the TARDIS before long.

“Okay. Danny, you go first.” Danny hopped down. “-then you, Miss Tyler, then Miss Johnson, then Toby. I’ll-”

“Go next, with me standing defense.” Corinne instructed.

Jefferson turned to her. “Corinne, no-”

“Mister Jefferson, this isn’t a debate.” Corinne snapped. “There isn’t time. Now come on, quick as you can!”

Rose hopped down. I joined her.

“God, it stinks. You alright?” Rose asked Danny.

“Yeah, I’m laughing .” He snarked, while Toby hopped down beside me. “Which way do we go?”

“Just go straight ahead. Keep going till I say so.” Zach instructed.

Jefferson hopped down. The metal grate closed.

“Where’s Corinne?” I prompted. Jefferson gave me a sad look as the sounds of bullets firing came down. “No...no tell me she didn’t stay.”

Then she screamed. The bullets stopped.

I made a soft noise of pain, looking away.

I hadn’t saved her.

She got-what-twenty extra minutes of life?

Useless.

Pitiful.

 

==TTI==

 

“Not your best angle, Danny.” Rose snarked, after a few quiet moments of crawling.

Danny “Oi, stop it.”

“I don’t know, it could be worse.” Toby remarked from behind me.

“Oi! She’s sixteen!” Rose argued.

“There are two legs in your face and I will use them.” I warned him.

“You said you were older than fifty!”

“But the body is sixteen- I age slowly! Quit looking!”

Straight on until you find junction seven point one. Keep breathing. I’m feeding you air. I’ve got you.”

There were a few more minutes of crawling before we got there. “We’re at seven point one, sir.” Danny reported.

“Okay, I’ve got you. I’m just aerating the next section.” Zach assured.

“Getting kind of cramped, sir. Can’t you hurry up?” Danny insisted.

“I’m working on half power, here.” Zach excused.

“Stop complaining.”

“Mister Jefferson says stop complaining.”

“I heard.”

“He heard.”

“But the air’s getting a bit thin.”

“He’s complaining now.”

“I heard.”

“Everyone. Stay calm.” I instructed, in my best level tone of voice. “All of this complaining is just wasting oxygen.”

Rose sniffed. “Danny, is that you?”

“I’m not exactly happy. ” Danny snarked, panicking still. I rolled my eyes, letting my head thunk on the wall.

“I’m just moving the air. I’ve got to oxygenate the next section.” Zach reminded us. “ Now, listen to what Terra said. Keep calm or it’s going to feel worse.”

There was a loud bang- which cut off all hope of the human staying calm.

“What was that?!” Danny panicked.

“Mister Jefferson, what was that?” Rose asked.

“What’s that noise?” Toby yelped.

“Captain, what was that?” Jefferson asked.

“Obviously the Ood, quit being stupid!” I snapped at them.

“The junction in Habitation Five’s been opened.” Zach explained. “ It must be the Ood. They’re in the tunnels!”

“Well, open the gate.” Danny insisted.

“I’ve got to get the air in!” Zach reminded.

“Just open it, sir.”

“Where are they? Are they close?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know. I can’t tell. I can’t see them. The computer doesn’t register Ood as proper life forms.” Zach admitted.

“What kind of dumbass made that setting?”

“Open the gate!” Danny demanded loudly.

The gate opened. Danny crawled through, the rest of us following. I reached in my Bag as we turned, hoping for another one of the glocks.

“Danny, turn left. Immediate left.” Zach instructed. Danny obeyed.

“The Ood, sir. can’t you trap them? Cut off the air?” Jefferson asked, crawling after us while also aiming the gun down the tunnel.

“Not without cutting off yours.” Zach warned. “ Danny, turn right. Go right! Go fast, Dan. They’re going to catch up.”

Jefferson stopped, aiming the rifle. “I’ll maintain defensive position.”

“You can’t stop!” Rose shouted at him.

“Miss Tyler, that’s my job.” Jefferson argued. “You’ve got your task, now see to it.”

“I’ll stay.” I argued. “We all know I’m her real target. They wouldn’t even kill me, they’d just drag me away for her.”

“Miss Johnson, that goes for you too!” Jefferson argued, more stern. “You keep them lot safe, you understand?”

“You heard what he said, now shift.” Toby pushed at my shoulder.

At that moment, I pulled the glock out of my Bag to push it in his face. His eyes widened.

“Even once.” I reminded him before following after Rose. ‘I’m sorry, Jefferson. You were a good guy.’

We crawled the vent down to the next gate. Bullets were flying from down the way. Danny immediately started panicking. “Eight point two. Open eight point two. Zach! Open eight point two!”

“I’ve got to aerate it.” Zach reminded him.

“Open it now!”

“I’m trying.”

Danny started to punch the gate. Rose reached for him, holding his arm. I held up my glock, looking down the way we came. “Danny, stop it. That’s not helping.”

“Zach, get it open!” Toby ordered.

“Jefferson, I’ve got to open eight point two by closing eight point one. ” Zach explained. “ You’ve got to get past the junction. Now move. That’s an order, now move!”

“Don’t waste the time shooting!” I screamed at Jefferson. He actually did as told.

The gate slid open. Danny crawled through before it was even halfway up. “That’s it! Come on.”

“Danny, turn left and head for nine point two. That’s the last one.” Zach instructed. “ Jefferson, you’ve got to move faster. John, move!”

“Mister Jefferson!” Rose called out.

We saw him moving down. Unfortunately the gate was still faster than him.

“Keep going!” Toby encouraged.

I gave Jefferson a comforting nod just as the gate slid shut.

“Regret to inform, sir, I was a bit slow. Not so fast, these days.” Jefferson’s voice came from over the comm.

“I can't open eight point one, John. Not without losing air for the others.” Zach explained, in a sympathetic voice.

And quite right too, sir. I think I bought them a little time.” Jefferson assured.

“There's nothing I can do, John. I'm sorry.”

You've done enough, sir. Made a very good captain under the circumstances. May I ask, if you can't add oxygen to this section, can you speed up the process of its removal?”

“I don't understand. What do you mean?”

“Well, if I might chose the manner of my departure, sir, lack of air seems more natural than, well, let's say death by Ood. I'd appreciate it, sir!”

“Godspeed, Mister Jefferson.”

“Thank you, sir.”

I could hear the sounds of the Ood crawling up the way. The sounds of them stopping were just as louds. “ Report Officer John Maynard Jefferson PKD deceased with honors. 43 K two point one.”

“Zach, we're at the final junction, nine point two.” Danny reported after a small pause. “And er, if my respects could be on record. He saved our lives.”

“Noted.” Zach replied in a flat voice. “Opening nine point two.”

“Cover your ears.” I instructed.

“What?”

“Ears!” I warned, before firing at the Ood.

They all screamed at the sight.

“Lower nine point two! Hurry, Zach!” Rose shouted.

“Back! Back! Back!” Danny shouted too.

I shot another two Ood that were behind them.

“We can’t go back! The gang point’s sealed off.” Toby argued. “We’re stuck.”

The three of them crawled towards the floor grating. I continued shooting.

“Come on! Up!” Rose told them, opening the grate above their heads. She climbed up first, Danny behind her.

I started to crawl up, before I felt a very human hand grab my ankle. I pulled me down, pushing me towards another two Ood.

“Come on! Toby, come on!” Rose yelled. “Toby, get out of there!”

The Ood grabbed me by the arms. The grip was too strong for me to move my gun in his face. Instead it moved it’s tentacles towards the shoulder where the Bag rested. I tried to look back at Toby- spit in his face before shooting it- but the Ood bit down.

I screamed.

“Terra!” Rose yelled.

“Help us! Oh, my God. Help us!” They pulled Toby up.

The Ood bit down harder on my shoulder.

“Son of a bitch!” I growled, before kicking the Ood in the stomach. It let go of me, yelling in pain. I shot in in the skull before crawling off to the gate.

Just in time too, as the Ood opened the door as I made it to the walkway. I shot the three Ood before Rose grabbed me to pull me up.

“Oh my god, you’re bleeding!”

“Did you know Ood had teeth? Cause I didn’t.” I remarked. “This is nothing. We need to start moving.”

“It’s this way.” Danny told Rose.

The other two humans started running. Then I moved the gun to ‘Toby’’s face.

‘Toby’ grabbed my arm, dragging me after them. She snatched the gun out of my hands. “Careful, Toy, wouldn’t want your pretty little friend to turn on you now, would we?” She took the Bag off me. “And this thing- it’ll make your injury worse. Wouldn’t want to...hmm... waste all that... perfectly delicious blood would we?”

“You killed him ages ago, didn’t you?” I snarled.

She grinned. She threw my Bag over Her head onto Her shoulders. “You were right. It’s so much more fun playing with the food before I eat it.” She looked at my bleeding shoulder, licking Her lips hungrily.

“I’d die first.” I reminded Her.

She only chuckled. “You will.”

Hurry it up!” Zach yelled from overhead.

Danny opened the door to Ood Habitation. He ran towards the computer like a bullet.

‘Toby’ tightened Her grip on my arm. She leaned close as we walked behind them. “Tell me, how long would it take for me to break the blonde? I mean I dropped her boyfriend down a mineshaft, and she’s barely phased.” I glared at Her, because the Doctor was still alive and nothing She said would change my mind. He was stronger than Her. “Oh no sad face. I was thinking of letting you keep her for a pet. You always love your pets, don’t you?”

“Get it in!”

“Danny, get it done.” ‘Toby’ instructed. She walked me over to the Ood pit. She made me look down as all the Ood looked up. She winked at them, eyes glowing orange. The Ood all turned to stare at me. She leaned in close to my ear. “I know how much you pity the Ood. Wouldn’t it be fun if I made them all snap their own necks?” She whispered. Her grip on my arms tightened. “Wouldn’t it be a mercy to kill them before this thing does?”

“Transmit!” Rose yelled.

“I’m trying, I’m trying! I’m getting at it.” Danny searched his pockets for the chip.

“Danny, get that thing transmitting!” Rose yelled again.

The Ood started marching up towards us.

“I’ll let you decide.” She purred. “Belated birthday presents.”

They continued walking up.

I heard Danny slide the chip in.

“Ne-necks.” I whimpered, closing my eyes and looking away.

She giggled in my ear. All at once, the Ood stopped moving. She tightened her grip again, shaking my arm.

“Open your eyes, or the gift is useless and I’ll make you pick a human to kill.” She whispered harshly. I opened my eyes, forcing myself to watch as the first Ood snapped it’s neck right in front of me.

The echo of necks snapping followed it. They all fell to the ground in dead lumps.

“Danny, what-”

“I don’t know!” Danny admitted. “I didn’t tell them to do that!”

“You did.” She purred in my ear.

As if that wasn’t enough, some Ood started writhing on the floor in pain. Because you see, sometimes people stay alive for a few seconds after snapping their necks. I gasped in horror and disgust, feeling my stomach swoop in my stomach as they silently screamed in pain as they died.

Like all this death hadn’t mattered, Rose and Danny started cheering. ‘Toby’ let me go in order to hug the others.

“You did it! We did it!”

“Yes!”

“Zach, we did it. The Ood are down.” Rose reported with glee. She turned to me, beaming. “Now we’ve got to get the Doctor.”

I’m on my way.” Zach cheered.

“Terra?” Rose asked. She came to my side, beaming. ‘Toby’ was smiling over her shoulder form Her hug with Danny. “Isn’t it good? We stopped the Ood!”

“They’re all dead, Rose. All of them.”

I killed them.

Me.

Not the black hole.

Not Her.

Me.

I made them kill themselves.

“We had to do it.” Rose reminded me, trying to be a comfort but actually making me feel worse. I was an Ood Friend and I’d ordered them all to kill themselves. How could that be a good thing? “They were after us.”

“Because She told them to chase us.” I glared at ‘Toby’, before turning back to Rose. “It’s all Her, Rose, it’s not him anymore it’s Her and She took my-”

“You’re still bleeding.” Rose remarked. She put her arm around my back. “Come on, let’s get you some help.”

“Rose-”

“Come on. We’re going.” Rose instructed. She walked me out the door. I didn’t need to look at Her to know she was smiling with victory.

 

==TTI==

 

Once we made it to the comm center, Rose’s first action was to pass me along to Danny. She ran to the comm unit. Danny walked over to a place to sit down.

“Doctor, are you there? Doctor, Ida, can you hear me?” Rose asked.

Zach walked in. He handed ‘Toby’ a first aid kit. ‘Toby’ knelt at my side. “I’ve got this.” She told Danny. The man nodded, walking over towards Rose and Zach. She grinned at me, pulling the shirt away from my shoulder to expose the wound to air.

“The comms. are still down.” Zach told Rose. “I can patch them through the central desk and boost the signal. Just give me a minute.” He reached up above the comm unit, flipping switches and wires.

‘Toby’ was still smiling at me. “Was it a good present?”

I glared at Her.

She pulled the gauze out. She dapped it on my shoulder. I winced in pain, not doing anything more to react. She pinched the skin beneath the gauze. That made me grunt in pain. That made her giggle quietly in glee.

“Come on, Toy, you know I owed you thirty deaths.” She replied. She continued to treat my wound, applying the gauze as necessary and taping it down. “It has been thirty years, yes?”

“...yes.” I replied, robotically.

She smiled to show teeth. They were perfectly normal human teeth, not a fang to be seen. That didn’t make her any less terrifying. Human teeth can tear apart skin on their own, have you seen a zombie movie? “Ohh I’m gonna love playing with you.” She patted my cheek. “Unfortunately, there weren’t enough Ood to count as thirty. Let’s make a deal. I’ll round the rest up if you choose Rose or the Doctor.”

I gawked at her.

“Or, maybe, that couple and those other humans?” She ‘offered’. “You’ll still pick the ones who die. Make it a good enough choice and I’ll let you keep one as a pet.”

“No.” I replied, my voice low.

She pouted. “Now, Toy, don’t reject my gifts. You surely remember what happens when you ignore my kindness.”

“The only kindness with you is death.” I went for the gun She’d been keeping on Toby’s belt. She pulled the hip out of the way, grabbing my wrist.

She squeezed tight enough that my bones creaked beneath her.

“Not yet. ” She growled. Her eyes glowed orange again. Her free hand tucked away the gun into my Bag. “You don’t get to decide when you die, you mistake , that’s up to me .”

“Doctor, are you there?” Rose pleaded as ‘Toby’ let my wrist go. I bit my lip to keep me from crying. “Doctor, Ida, can you hear me? Are you there, Doctor?”

“He’s gone.” Ida answered the plea.

“What do you mean, he’s gone?” Rose asked.

“He fell into the pit. And I don’t know how deep it is. Miles and miles and miles.” Ida explained.

“But what do you mean, he fell?”

“I couldn’t stop him. He said your name’s. He said to tell Terra she was good family.”

I sucked a breath through my nose.

She pouted. She put a hand on my shoulder- the wounded one- to assure me. “Don’t worry.” She leaned in. “You still have Darcy.”

My body tensed, with a newfound fear.

I started to hyperventilate.

The humans were giving us space, probably thinking my oncoming tears were out of grief for him.

No, they were out of despair for my sister.

“Don’t hurt her.” I begged, in the language only She and I would understand. “Please...please I’ll do whatever you want. Just please...don’t take her too.”

‘Toby’ only pulled me in for a hug. She let me cry on Her shoulder in a mock of true comfort. She cupped my neck as I cried silently.

“I’m sorry. Ida?” Zach took the comm from the stunned Rose. “There’s no way of reaching you. No cable, no back up. You’re ten miles down. We can’t get there.”

“You should see this place, Zach. It’s beautiful.” Ida replied, her voice watering. “Well, I wanted to discover things, and here I am.”

“We’ve got to abandon the base. I’m declaring this mission unsafe.” Zach explained further. “All we can do is make sure no one ever comes here again.”

“But we’ll never find out what it was.” Ida pointed out, near sobbing.

“Well, maybe that’s best.”

“Yeah.”

“Officer Scott-” Zach began,

“It’s all right.” Ida interrupted. “ Just go. Good luck.”

“And you. Danny, Toby, close down the feed links.” ‘Toby’ pulled away from me, walking over to the humans. All I could do was sit and weep. “Get the retrotropes online, then get to the rocket and strap yourselves in. We’re leaving.”

“I’m not going.” Rose answered.

“Rose, there’s space for you and your friend.” Zach assured.

“No, I’m going to wait for the Doctor. Just like he waited for me.” She stated firmly. “Right Ter-” She turned to me, only to see me hiding in a ball where I’d been left. “Terra?”

I shook my head, pulling away from her.

“I’m sorry, but he’s dead.” Zach reminded her.

I wanted to stand, to speak, but it was like She had taken them from me. Like I couldn’t breath. Like I had the weight of a thousand Krop Tor’s on my shoulders.

“You don’t know him. ‘Cause he’s not... I’m telling you, he’s not...” Rose shook her head at Zach. “And even if he was, how could I leave him all on his own, all the way down there? No, I’m going to stay.”

“Then I apologize for this.” Zach sighed. “Danny, Toby? Make her secure.”

‘Toby’ came at her first. She held Rose’s arms, like She’d been holding mine.

My legs pushed me up before I’d even realized it. I took a step forward, only for ‘Toby’ to turn back to glare at me. I froze where I stood.

“No, no. No! No! No! Let me go! Get off me! I’m not leaving!” Zach injected something in Rose’s arm. The girl went lax in ‘Toby’s’ grip. “No.”

“I have lost too many people. I am not leaving you behind.” Zach threw Rose over his shoulder. “Let’s get her on board.” He ordered.

‘Toby’ came back for me. She threw an arm over my shoulder, gripping tight to the injury to guide me along. “Don’t worry, Toy, I know it hurts. I know, I know. I’ll take you back soon. Then all those pathetic little emotions will fade away.”

We walked out the doors, past all the corpses of the Ood.

She smiled at my pained expression. I sagged against Her, feeling defeated and useless.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor landed on the bottom.

Which, honestly, shouldn’t be as surprising at it was. Of course he lived. It would’ve been too easy if he’d just died jumping down a dark hole into hell.

He woke up from his fall, sitting up.

“I’m breathing. Air cushion to support the fall.” The Doctor realized. His helmet had shattered, the glass scattered on the dirt around him. He pushed himself to his feet. “You can breath down here, Ida. Can you hear me, Ida?”

There was nothing but quiet.

The Doctor had to hope that she was alright up there. Or that she would be, at least until the end.

He walked on.

 

==TTI==

 

‘Toby’ made sure I got the last spare seat. My last time watching the stars, She said.

“Dislocating B clamp. C Clamp.” Zach reported. “Raising blu-nitro to maximum. Toby, how’s the Negapact feed line?”

“Clear. Ready to go, sir.” ‘Toby’ answered. “For God’s sakes, get us out of here!”

“Captain, I think we’re going to have a problem passenger.” Danny tattled.

I sighed, letting my head fall down. “Keep an eye on her.” Zach ordered to me.

“Wait. We’re not-” Rose cried out.

“Rose, stop.” I stated. “Just stop, okay?”

“I’m not going anywhere!” Rose yelled up at me. “Get me out of this thing! Get me out!”

“Rose stop it-”

“We’re not leaving him!” She raged. “We’re not!”

“And lift off! Whoo!” Zach cheered as the rocket blasted off.

 

==TTI==

 

Rocket engines were echoing in the hole. The Doctor looked up. “A rocket.” Right...the humans never said their rocket had been beyond repair. And chances were it would have it’s own power supply for if the generators kicked out.

Brilliant humans.

Brilliant as always.

Rose...Terra...I really hope you’re on that ship.

 

==TTI==

 

Rose grabbed the bolt gun. I sighed. Could I not have my last few moments in silence? She aimed it at Zach. “Take me back to the planet. Take me back!”

“Or what?” Zach countered.

“Or I’ll shoot.” Rose threatened.

I turned around, showing Rose the tears on my cheeks and hearing my broken words that were more like croaks. “It’s not worth it. Even if it was, he’d be disappointed in you for acting like this.”

Rose looked at my cheeks. She seemed to be fighting between the two choices in her eyes, even though she knew that I knew her better than that. She slumped down.

My hand grabbed the bolt gun before she could slump to far.

I held it against my chest like a security blanket.

Because finally - there was hope.

“Sorry, but it’s too late anyway. Take a look outside.” Zach added to Rose. “We can’t turn back. This is what the Doctor would have wanted. Isn’t that right?”

I held tighter to the bolt gun.

This was safe.

There was a chance.

Just one small chance.

Neither can live while the other survives.

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor pulled out the torch from his suit. He shined the light on the wall. It showed intricate pictures that must be millenia old but still stayed young.

It showed a figure cloaked in darkness, fighting against four wildly colored people. They were pushing the figure into a golden circle. Once inside, the figure emerged from the darkness. The figure was shown in a last picture, hugging the four people. The darkness was left alone, given it’s own form.

“The history of some big battle.” He remarked, not noticing he was talking to himself because the comms were down. “Man against Beast. Looks like the Beast started out as a thing- like a person. I don’t know if you’re getting this, Ida. Hope so. Anyway, they defeated the Mistress and imprisoned her. The thing she was possessing was free.”

The Doctor turned. Up the way, there were two bronze urns on pedestals.

He looked. Sure enough, they were painted on the wall.

“Or maybe that’s the key.” The Doctor pondered. He touched an urn. They lit up in golden hues of light. “Or the gate, or the bars.”

But the light showed off the Mistress, the creature that according to the pictures had been trapped here since before time.

It was just a little girl, no older than twelve. She was sitting on her knees, black hair falling over her face akin to the girl from The Ring . She was wearing a black robe with gold lettering embroidered along the sides. Some of the words he recognized from upstairs.

There were thick metal chains around her neck and arms. They bore more gold lettering, odd symbols that only Terra understood.

Her head snapped up. She roared to revealing jagged canines.

 

==TTI==

 

‘Toby’ was laughing.

I shivered in my seat, holding tighter to the bolt gun.

“What’s the joke?” Danny asked.

“Just, we made it.” ‘Toby’ kept on laughing. “We escaped. We actually did it.”

“Not all of us.” Rose remarked, sadly.

“We’re not out of it yet. We’re still the first people in history to fly away from a black hole.” Zach noted, dryly. “Toby, read me the stats.”

“Gravity funnel holding, sir.” She laughed. The ancient creature inside grinned darkly. “Oh it’s holding.”

Just one shot.

I have one shot.

Just one to save my sister from Her.

 

==TTI==

 

The vampire was still roaring, eyes blazing dark orange. Her teeth were jagged and sharp, like a shark’s. The black robe flapped about as her long black nails scratched at an invisible barrier. Her tan skin was covered in black lettering that glowed the harder she fought against the barrier.

The Doctor had seen orange eyed aliens before. Never had he seen them so full of hunger and rage . This was no child, not with all she had done today.

It was that darkness- the one that had been given form.

The Doctor could understand why Terra had been so afraid. If that thing had been inside his head for half a decade, he’d be scared of it too.

“I accept that you exist. I don’t have to accept what you are.” ‘Because there is no chance Terra Johnson could have ever been you.’ The thing stopped scratching the floor, instead staring blankly at the Doctor. Almost like it heard Terra’s name in his mind. “But you’re physical existence, I’ll give you that.”

The girl suddenly hissed at him. Her mouth pulled back enough to show off the fangs. She growled hungrily.

“I don’t understand. I was expected down here.” The Doctor  pondered. “I was given a safe landing and air. You need me for something. What for?” The girl didn’t answer. “Have I got to, I don’t know, beg an audience? Or is there a ritual? Some sort of incantation or summons or spell? All these things I don’t believe in, are they real?” The girl blinked, expression blank. “Speak to me! Tell me!”

It roared at him, running to the end of the barrier only to be repelled back in a flash of gold. It roared again in pain. Red marks appeared on it’s arms, almost looking like burns.

“You won’t talk.” The Doctor realized. “Or you can’t talk. Oh, hold on, wait a minute, just let me.” He thought about what’d he’d seen today, all of the facts that came clicking together in his head. “Oh! No. Yes! No. Think it through. You spoke before. I heard your voice. An intelligent voice. No, more than that. Brilliant. But, looking at you now, all I can see is beast. The animal. Just the body.” The Doctor had more connections coming together in his mind, faster than most could handle. “You’re just the body, the physical form. What’s happened to your mind, hmm? Where’s it gone? Where’s that intelligence?”

‘You will die and I will live. Neither can live while the other survives, wasn’t that the old saying?’

The Doctor’s hearts immediately fell.

“Oh, no.”

And at last, the creature showed an emotion other than rage.

She laughed victoriously.

 

==TTI==

 

Oh, she could be singing !

Morgana was free. She could claim a new body. The blonde girl looked pleasing, certainly better (and older) than the twelve year old she used to be. Wouldn’t it be wondrous to be a woman instead of a weak girl ? She would have to abandon this male body, it had almost outlived usefulness. Though having that male part would make for some interesting feedings...how many people would beg at being taken instead of taken?

“Stats at fifty three.” She was smiling wide. An absent minded thought reminding her at her lack of fangs. ‘Oh well. Can’t have everything, I suppose.’ “Funnel stable at sixty six point five. Hull pressure constant. Smooth as we can, sir, all the way back home. Coordinates set for planet Earth.”

The blonde would be the perfect Pet. Her Toy would cry so loud when she knew Morgana had claimed the sweet Rose, which would make her death much more delectable.

But she’d have to keep the Toy alive.

She had made a vow, after all.

 

==TTI==

 

The girl was still laughing.

“You’re imprisoned, long time ago. Before the universe, after, sideways, in between, doesn’t matter.” The Doctor ranted. Because now people were in danger. “The prison is perfect. It’s absolute, it’s eternal. Oh, yes! Open the prison, the gravity field collapses. This planet falls into the black hole! You escape, you die. Brilliant! But that’s just the body. The body is trapped, that’s all. The devil is an idea. In all those civilizations, just an idea. But an idea is hard to kill. An idea could escape. The mind. The mind of the great Mistress. The mind can escape!” The Doctor realized something else. “Oh, but that’s it! You didn’t give me air, your jailers did. They set this up all those years ago! They need me alive, because if you’re escaping, then I’ve got to stop you. If I destroy your prison, your body is destroyed. Your mind with it.”

He picked up a rock. He went to an urn, prepared to smash it to get rid of this beast and her mind.

He stopped.

“But then you’re clever enough to use this whole system against me.” The Doctor explained. “If I destroy this planet, I destroy the gravity field.” It came together in horror, the trick that this Mistress had pulled on him and the jailers. “The rocket. The rocket loses protection and falls into the black hole. I have to sacrifice Rose and...and Terra.”

The body laughed, dark in it’s cruelty.

He had to kill the Time Lords again.

 

==TTI==

 

“It doesn’t make sense.” Rose mused behind me. “Terra it doesn’t make any sense. We escaped, but there’s a thousand ways it could’ve killed us. You’ve known it for ages, you said. Does this seem like something it’d do? It could’ve ripped out the air. Or, I don’t know, burnt us, or anything. But it let us go. Why?”

“Why would you?” The Toy offered, her voice still weak from all that pathetic crying.

“Unless it wanted us to escape?”

Rose was smart, too smart. Perfect for a new pet, as soon as they escaped the black hole’s pull. But for now just a nuisance.

“Hey, Rose, do us a favor. Shut up.” Morgana snapped. “And you, To-Terra, not a word.” Morgana looked up at the stats. “Almost there. We’ll be beyond the reach of the black hole in forty, thirty nine-”

Morgana didn’t see Terra’s finger twitching over the trigger for the bolt gun.

Or Rose’s curious stare.

 

==TTI==

 

“So, that’s the trap.” The Doctor stated. “Or the test, or the final judgment, I don’t know. But if I kill you, I kill them.”

It laughed again, in a deep hiss.

He narrowed his eyes at it. There may not be a mind there, but he was willing to bet it still understood things. “Except that implies in this big grand scheme of Gods and Devils that they’re just victims.”

It continued to laugh, though his words made it less proud.

“But I’ve seen a lot of this universe.” The Doctor ranted. “I’ve seen fake gods and bad gods and demigods and would-be gods, and out of all that, out of that whole pantheon, if I believe in one thing, just one thing, I believe in them !”

The Mistress roared in fury.

He smashed the urn with a rock.

 

==TTI==

 

“Here’s my question.” The Toy remarked. “See, I’ve got a theory. This thing- the Mistress as she’s calling herself-”

“Hey, not a word.” Morgana reminded.

“-she should remember everything that I do.”

“Shut it!”

“So the only reason she wouldn’t remember this-”

“Enough!”

“Is if the people that put her here made her forget.” The Toy stated. She looked over her shoulder to Morgana. “Because they knew, that I knew what he’d pick.”

The rocket shook before Morgana could say anything to that.

“What happened? What was that?” Danny panicked again- such a pain.”

“What’s he doing?” Morgana ranted. She glared at the Toy. “What is he doing?!”

Terra shifted nervously in her seat.

“We’ve lost the funnel.” Zach reported. “Gravity collapse!”

“What does that mean?” Rose asked, clutching the seat.

“We can’t escape. We’re headed straight for the black hole!” Zach yelled.

 

==TTI==

 

He smashed the other urn, while the planet rocked around him.

“This is your freedom. Free to die.” The Doctor yelled over the quakes. “You’re going into that black hole and I’m riding with you!”

‘For Terra Johnson, and for Rose Tyler.’

 

==TTI==

 

The rocket flipped so it was racing nose first to the black hole.

“It’s the planet.” Rose realized. “The planet’s moving. It’s falling.”

Morgana called forth her skin- the one marked in black letters- and her true eyes. “Oh now I’m mad!

“It’s Toby!” Rose yelled. “Zach, do something.”

The two humans were cowering away from Morgana.

“You’re all dead! You hear me?! Dead!” Morgana raged.

“Just do something!” Rose yelled.

She glared at the smiling Terra. “You’ll get to watch, T oy! This’ll be the worst punishment you’ve ever had! You’ll wish I peeled your skin off and ate your hearts when I’m free!”

“It’s her! It’s her! It’s her!” Danny yelled.

“Shut UP!” Morgana yelled back..

“Stay where you are. The ship’s not stable!” Zach cautioned the humans.

Morgana opened her mouth, at least feeling her fangs there.

“What is he? What the hell is he?”

“This isn’t my end, Toy!” Morgana promised to Terra, screaming in rage. The Time Lady had been ever so quiet since her little speech. “It’s never the end! We’re bound together for all eternity! I am your darkness, your hate and lust! You created me once, you will do it again! When everyone you stood for dies at your word, you’ll come back to me!”

“Rose grab my Bag!” Terra yelled. The human grabbed it, mindful not to actually touch Morgana.

“Nothing shall ever destroy me. Nothing!” Morgana yelled. She hissed at Rose, showing off her fangs. The child screamed.

“Hey. Abomination .”

Morgana hissed. “ I will kill them with your own hands! You will kill that damn Ohana you have created!”

Terra stared at Morgana with protective ferocity. “Bite me.”

She cocked the bolt gun, firing it at the front screen.

Rose unbuckled the seat belt. The Bag fell of Morgana’s shoulders.

She flew into the black hole.

 

==TTI==



I told her to bite me.

“Emergency shield!” Zach yelled to the computer. It covered the broken windshield.

I told Her to bite me.

A vampire.

I told a vampire to bite me.

“We’ve still lost the gravity funnel. We can’t escape the black hole.”

“But we stopped her. Something I should’ve finished ages ago!” I laughed. “Did you hear me tell her to bite me? That was great.”

“It’s what the Doctor would’ve done.” Rose agreed.

“Some victory. We’re going in.” Zach snapped back.

“The planet’s lost orbit.” Danny added. “It’s falling!”

 

==TTI==

 

The Doctor was running away from the vessel. It had burst into blue fire.

As he ran, a conveniently placed air tunnel blasted him back.

Right into a conveniently placed Police Box.

 

==TTI==

 

“The planet’s gone. I’m sorry.” Danny told us.

“Why?” I laughed.

“Accelerate.” Zach told the computer. He looked over at Rose. “I did my best. But hey! The first human beings to fall inside a black hole. How about that? History.” He looked at me, who was stifling giggles. “Why’re you laughing now?”

“Cause I’m gonna hit him. Hit him hard.” I answered, giggling. “Another slap in the face for him.”

“Who?” Zach asked.

“Correct!”

As I laughed at my own joke, all the shaking stopped. It only made me laugh harder.

“What happened?” Rose asked.

“She found him!” I answered, chuckling now. “Rude bastard.”

“We’re turning.” Zach realized. “We’re turning around. We’re turning away!”

The Doctor took the phone. “Sorry about the hijack, Captain. This is the good ship TARDIS.” Rose, who finally got the joke, was laughing too. “ Now, first thing’s first. Have you got a Rose Tyler and a Terra Johnson on board?”

“We’re here! It’s us! Oh, my God.” Rose laughed in relief.

“I’m smack you in the face- first thing when I see you!” I warned.

“You’re alive! I thought you were dead!” Rose admitted. “Where are you?”

I’m just towing you home. Gravity schmavity. My people practically invented black holes.” The Doctor answered. “ Well, in fact, they did, make note of that, Terra. There might be a quiz.”

“Quiz or not, you’re getting Slapped.” I pointed out. “And I’ll thank ya kindly if you do it fast.”

“Americans, always so impatient. In a couple of minutes, we’ll be nice and safe.” The Doctor assured. “ Oh, and Captain? Can we do a swap? Say, if you give me my companions, I’ll give you Ida Scott? How about that?”

“She’s alive!” Zach replied, relieved that another member of his crew lived on.

“Yes. Thank God.” Danny cheered.

“Yeah! Bit of oxygen starvation, but she should be all right.” The Doctor answered. “ I couldn’t save the Ood. I only had time for one trip. They went down with the planet.”

That brought my mood right back down. “They were already dead.”

“No- it was just the telepathic field-” Danny tried to say.

“She snapped all of the their necks.” I corrected in a monotone voice. Before he could say anything else, I added “She said it was my birthday present.”

That shut everybody up well and good.

“Ah! Entering clear space. End of the line. Mission closed.”

 

==TTI==

 

The TARDIS was so welcoming, when I came back onboard.

She was a soft presence in my mind. She assured me, like an aunt’s welcome hug after a long year away. I took the hug in with a deep breath.

Rose ran onboard, towards the Doctor’s outstretched arms.

I stayed there, leaning against a rail, just taking in the sweet copper air of the console room.

“Terra!” The Doctor cheered. I let him have a side hug. “Ah! Come on. You know you love me.”

That didn’t stop me from slapping his face.

“That’s seven. Thought you were dead for bit there.” I pointed out. He rubbed his cheek. “Because I know-for a fact- that you had something to do with the planet falling. My guess is, it involved yelling at that image of that girl. The proper thing. What she was living in before Toby. You confronted her with nothing and nearly got us all thrown in a black hole for it.”

“So...I shouldn’t complain about the Slap then.”

“Not unless you also want a kick.” I advised.

The Doctor nodded in understanding. Rose laughed behind us. The Doctor’s eyes went down to the injured shoulder he’d been hugging. “What happened here?”

“Did you know Ood have teeth?” I countered. His eyes widened. “She treated it...poorly I’ll add. Didn’t even disinfect it. Didn’t think a vampire would waste blood like that.” I winced as he peeled off the gauze. He walked me over to the pilot’s chair, making sure I sat down. “Doc Brown, I’m fine-”

“You’re not fine.” The Doctor argued. He pulled out disinfectant from his coat pocket- why am I even surprised he has that?- before dabbing it on the wound. I hissed at the touch. “Hold still. It only hurts a second.”

“You know she was in him, the whole time.” Rose remarked, realizing it. I looked over at her, avoiding the sight of him treating my wound. “You told us it was in him. We didn’t listen.”

“I was waving a gun at his face, telling you all to kill him. It made sense why nobody listened to me.” I assured, even though I was actually super angry they didn’t let me kill Toby’s body sooner. “Didn’t wanna believe it myself, not until she made that Ood bite me. She dragged me back down into the tunnel, and threw me at the Ood.” Rose gasped in horror. “Stop. Just stop. You see him treating that wound now. I’m fine .”

“Barely.” The Doctor pressed some fresh gauze on my shoulder. “I’m taking you to the medbay.”

“I told you-I’m fine.” I promised.

I was fine now.

She was dead.

Everything was fine now.

“We gotta talk to the people.” I reminded them. “You know- the people that just escaped a black hole?”

“You thought you were going to die. ” The Doctor reminded. “Right up until I went down that tunnel- you thought you were going to die.”

“Because I knew it was her.” I replied. “And I killed her. With a black hole.”

The Doctor shook his head. “We’re not done talking about this.” He told me. He walked over to the console.

I reached inside my Bag- first off taking comfort that the Bag was there, that I still had this piece of myself-for the hoodie. The shirt was less useful right now, so I tossed it inside. The hoodie was thrown on. I hummed in delight as cold air filled the hoodie and covered my body.

“Zach? We’ll be off, now. Have a good trip home. And the next time you get curious about something-” He stopped himself. “Oh, what’s the point. You’ll just go blundering in. The human race.”

But Doctor, what did you find down there? That creature, what was it?” Ida asked.

“I don’t know. Never did decipher that writing.” The Doctor admitted. Rose looked over at me. I averted my eyes to my shoes. “But that’s good, Day I know everything? Might as well stop.”

“What do you think it was, really?” Rose asked. She gave me a meaningful look.

“I think we beat it. That’s good enough for me.” The Doctor answered.

“It said I was going to die in battle.” Rose reminded us.

“When everyone you stood for dies at your word, you’ll come back to me!”

‘Two...two of them actually made it with me out, but I stupidly sent them back when I asked about the third. I knew she was already dead but I made them go back. I sent them back to die. They all died because of me.’

Horror.

Just...creeping horror that came on all at once.

Because it made awful, awful sense. It fit into my luck.

Because if it were to ever happen- I would want to Darcy to trap me here. A perfect prison, to punish me for what I’d done.

“Then it lied.” The Doctor argued to Rose. “Right, onwards, upwards. Ida? See you again, maybe.”

“I hope so.”

“And thanks, boys!” Rose cheered. “Terra says thanks too!”

“No I don’t!” I corrected. “Quit telling people I’m thankful!”

“Hang on though, Doctor. You never really said. You three, who are you?”

“Oh, the stuff of legend.” He replied cryptically, pulling down the lever. He turned to me once the noise was up and kicking. The way it should be. “You said vampire.”

“I did.” No hiding behind it now.

“You said you were her for fifty years.”

“You were asking how Lawrence saved my life.” I admitted. The Doctor leaned against the console, looking down at me. “When I was her- I learned there were two ways to get her out. Dying, and an exorcism. Lawrence went with exorcism- he was gonna shoot us until...I think she mentioned me, like a voice in her head that was the original host. He knew I was still there so he exorcised her out.”

The Doctor kept his expression neutral as I explained.

“I don’t like talking about this.” I added. My arms crossed over my front, anxiously toying with the cuffs of my sleeves. “It’s...there’s better things to talk about besides her.”

“Talk anyway.”

“I was a vampire, okay? I already admitted it. Do we have to talk about it anymore?”

“Yes.”

“What’s more to be said? I told her to bite me . I mean, of all the dumb stupid things I could’ve said...In the moment it was bite me. Do you have any idea how broken I was, when she came back? She told me she’d kill both of you- but I had to pick which one would live as her pet. Do you know what she did to the last pet? She made him kill his own fiancee. She said she’d kill Carl.

Then I started crying, remembering what she said about Darcy.

That she knew Darcy.

“She was going to kill her...and use me to do it.” I whimpered, wiping at my suddenly wet cheek. Had I been crying for a while? “She killed all those Ood for a birthday present to me. She drained Scooti because she knew I’d see her and know how useless it was to fight. She wins . She lost but she’s winning. How does that make sense?! I killed her. She’s dead this time. Why am I crying now?!”

“Terra-”

“No! You know what? No! I’m done.” I stood up from the pilot seat, pushing past the Doctor and Rose.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know!” I snapped back. “Or care. I just...do you know I’ve long I’ve wanted to do that to her? To tell her to bite me and send her into a black hole? Not long I’ll admit. Just really happened today. But I wanted to kill her with my own hands. I’m gonna go to the library and read books! Or watch a horror film and laugh at the twenty somethings for not living! Or I don’t know but I’m gonna enjoy it for once! Because she’s dead and gone and nothing can stop me!”

So I stormed away, ignoring them calling out for me.

I was fine.

It was fine.

I’m fine, I just watched my future self die, but I’m fine.

Chapter Text

“Let her go!” Tony begged. “Please! Don’t kill her!”

The creature turned to him, clawed hand still holding the crying Kelsea’s neck. It smiled, revealing the jagged and sharp teeth like a shark. A pair of unnatural orange eyes bore into his dark green.

It was the overall shape of a twelve year old girl. It had skin pale as moonlight, lips forever stained with it’s favorite meal. The long strands of black hair hung from two ponytails on the sides of it’s head, tied with red ribbons. It wore a schoolgirl dress, torn and ripped and bloodied like the world they lived in.

The eyes shifted to a more human way. “Why should I?” It asked, sounding like the twelve year old girl it was possessing. The one screaming and crying in her mind. “I’m hungry.”

Tony locked eyes with Kelsea. She was scared, as one would be on these circumstances. She could see the idea forming in his mind, it shining clear on his face. She shook her head, as much as she could with the claw on her throat.

“No.” Kelsea whimpered. “No!”

“Kill me instead, please!” Tony begged.

The vampire stopped.

Kelsea whimpered.

It pulled away from Kelsea, claws still gripping the woman’s throat in it’s clawed hand.

“A lot of others have offered.” It hissed. “Why should I take from you?” Kelsea whimpered in it’s grip. “It’s making her heart race. There blood goes so much faster when they’re afraid.”

Tony tightened his jaw. He hated that monster for what it was doing to his fiancee. “I’d give you a fight.”

It hummed, almost disappointed. “An ant cannot crush a boot.”

“But the person in the boot can still feel it’s bite.” Tony snapped.

Now it seemed interested.

“Oh you’re a clever little ant, aren’t you?” It cooed. It’s mouth stretched out into a face splitting grin. Tony was horrified to it’s pointed teeth again.

Kelsea whimpered again. “Please...please no...”

It glanced down at Kelsea. It clenched it’s hand, digging it’s claws into Kelsea’s neck. Not enough to maim, just enough for blood to make a trail down her neck.

Tony growled. He leapt at it.

It tossed Kelsea to the ground, not caring if it scratched Kelsea’s throat worse. Tony tackled it to the ground.

Kelsea screamed.

So did Tony.

It had grabbed Tony’s shoulders. It rolled the two of them around, so Tony was on his back. It lowered it’s mouth to Tony’s neck.

Tony screamed.

Kelsea hadn’t stopped.

Soon, only Kelsea was screaming.

Soon, Tony stopped struggling.

The moment he did was when it pulled away from him.

“The night I turned, I save a man’s life.” The creature purred over the couple. “I know, impossible right?”

Kelsea held on to Tony’s bleeding body, the two crying as they prepared for death. She buried her face into the untouched side of his neck. Tony choked on his own blood.

“I was a different person back then.” It glanced at their mirror, as if seeing a different person in the reflection. “After I turned, the man I saved became my first feast .”

At the word feast, Kelsea screamed in pain.

“Can’t you imagine it?” The creature asked, walking to the mirror. The sounds of carnage behind her fading away into the background. “He thought he was safe, I was a child. It was a complete surprise when I ripped the throat out .”

Kelsea screamed in agony. There was the sound of meat tearing off a bone, and unmistakable sound of someone chewing on it.

The creature laughed, staring into it’s own reflection. It could see the girl inside, slapping her hands against the mirror. Tears on her cheeks, an unspoken plea dead in her throat, and amber eyes full of shame.

As it had been for the past three decades, it was music to the creature’s ears. The girl in the reflection looked to the couple, seeing a scene cut straight from a Shakespeare play.

The man that had been Tony was still ripping and chewing on the woman that had been Kelsea. He had Turned, just as the creature intended.

It followed the girl’s sight, unable to stop from laughing. It always wanted a pet...

 

==TTI==

 

Waking up was always the worst part. I could still hear Kelsea screaming, hear Tony’s cries when he realized what he had done, my dark self’s laughter.

That was one of the worst nights of my life. I hated every part of it. She always looked back on it with joy.

My sheets were soaked in my sweat. I took a quick whiff, pulling away when I smelled them.

‘Idris. Anything to do?’ I thought to her.

The TARDIS hummed in reply.

I brushed my hair back under the headband, deciding to go for a late night walk. ‘Mind...cleaning this? Or at least telling me where the laundry room is, so I can? I’d...I’d prefer doing something with my hands that didn’t involve killing...yeah.’

The TARDIS was quiet.

The door to my room unlocked. I jumped back, before realizing it had been the TARDIS. I peered outside, seeing a light on the walls lit up. The one beside it turned on, then the next. She was leading me down the hall.

“Thank ya.” I hummed.

The TARDIS hummed back.

 

==TTI==

 

After stripping my bed sheets and changing my pajamas, I followed the wall lights to the laundry room. It wasn’t too far a walk. The washing machine was a bit of a learning curve but I got it in the end.

There were a lot of thing I could be doing right now...the idea of calling Darcy crossed my mind. I threw that idea out right away. Despite being completely emotionless assholes, Darcy would get all emotional about it.

The walk back to my room had a detour. It brought me past a room with the door wide open. I peered inside, seeing a small desk lamp lit.

While I couldn’t see the rest of the room I could see who was inside. The Doctor was sitting at a desk. It was covered with maps and charts. He was leaning over the desk, pencil in his hand. He wasn’t using it, just leaving it to hover over a map.

It took me a second to notice he was crying.

“Doc Brown?” I called out to him.

The Doctor brushed away the tears, standing up on his feet. “Y-Yes. Hehe. Sorry. Thought you went to bed.”

“Nightmare.” I answered curtly, glancing at the papers on his desk. Must still be tired, if I was admitting that to him.

The Doctor stood in front of them, blocking my view. Pointless, as I couldn’t read Gallifreyan anyway. “Ah. Did you want to talk about it?”

I gave him a Look. “It was Her. Who else would it be about?”

The Doctor’s hands tensed awkwardly. My eyes darted to them, thinking I would see claws instead of nails. I mentally scolded myself for being such a jumpy freak. The Doctor’s expression had softened when I opened my eyes.

Biting my lip, I leaned against the doorframe. A huge part of me felt bad for making him feel bad. Another part of me was shaking at the memory of Tony dying forever.

“Re-” I swallowed a lump in my throat. “Remember- or- did you ever hear Her say... pet ?”

The Doctor didn’t answer.

But I knew if I didn’t say it now, I’d never say it again.

Which usually was my plan, my everything.

It’s just...he looked so sad...

“She gave me one before.” I admitted, fidgeting with my hands. “He- His name was Tony. She...she made him...made him like her. And- and did that by...she made him kill the woman he loved. He...he was a nice guy. He didn’t- he didn’t deserve it. Never.”

I took a shaky breath. Feeling anxiety start to overcome me, I sat in a nearby chair.

“You asked me what Lawrence did- that made me trust him so much.” I took another breath, ignoring the look the Doctor must be giving me right now. “He saved vampires from abusive sires. He saved Tony from- from us. That’s how I know him. She hunted Lawrence down for doing that. He killed her first. He got her out of my head- and I’ll always praise him for that. Because Tony- he didn’t deserve to be the same thing as me.”

The Doctor leaned forward. I dared to glance at his face- instead of the disgust and fury I half-expected, there was only grief.

“Did you ever see him again?” The Doctor asked, in a voice full of patience and understanding. “After you were cured?”

I shook my head. “It- I had her face. He shouldn’t see me ever again. He deserved to be free.” My lower lip was worried beneath my teeth. “Time reset- not long after I was cured. Whole thing was a paradox, I guess. Alternate dimension cause of how much I screwed up. Woke up back to the day I was turned. So instead of...doing anything I just...left. It’s sick because that is what she always wanted me to do. To walk away.”

The Doctor offered his hand to me. In that moment I grabbed it, squeezing it for all it was worth.

“Saw others, though. Others that I killed. I’ll see them in the streets, and I’ll just shut down. Because I know them now. I know what they begged for as they died, or what they offered in exchange for themselves. I know if they died alone or made to watch. I...I’ve seen relatives of theirs too and it’s worse to see them. Because I can see them in their eyes or chin or walk. It just never stops, ya know?”

He squeezed the hand in his hold. I let out a shaking breath, realizing I had been crying for awhile now.

“I counted how many children were on Gallifrey.” He revealed.

I snapped my head up to gawk at him.

“It...It made me think.” The Doctor turned away, in a way I recognized as shame. “I had always wondered, since it happened.”

“No. You’re not supposed to listen to her. That’s my thing!” I argued. “I listen to her, then be depressed for a month! Nobody else does that. Carl gives me so much flak for it, don’t tell me it’s spreading.”

“I’m haunted by things too, Terra.” The Doctor admitted. He took hold of my hand again, squeezing it. “It’s awful. This is awful.”

“You don’t have to tell me-”

“2.47 billion .” The Doctor spat out. “And I killed all of them. In a single second.”

“She made me count.” I revealed under my breath. “All I killed, even before she came in. I know the exact number of people that died because of me, and even though she’s gone I still count. Habit now, I guess. Same as the...the weird graves...it took me fifty years to get that high.”

The Doctor looked up at me. The lamplight making the tear tracks reflect. “What?”

“2.47...well million, actually. By my hand. The population of Earth was 5 billion by 2057.  A lot were just...consequences. We didn’t cut the human population in half, not personally, she had a lot of help.” I admitted. “We killed the vampire hunters that kept popping up. They grew like weeds.”

Memories came to me then. Ones about seeing the world through her eyes. She would see news reports, about the next billionth child born on Earth. The joy I would feel, that she hadn’t broken down the humans. That humans pushed forward, despite her constant attacks. Then I’d feel her rage , her disgust . Humans had the nerve to spread hope ? To flaunt their joys before her?

I remembered seeing people prosper on the edge of our awareness. Stores open beyond sundown, with proper protections against vampires. The odd new tech advancement, choices made that helped the world recover, even hearing about weddings . Everything made me feel less...hopeless.

When vampire hunters came about, I was constantly praying. Just endless streams begging the Author to not target them, to let them live. Unfortunately she liked hurting people as much as I liked saving them. Worse of all she would get vampires to turn the hunters, and keep them as pets to keep them from killing themselves. Just thinking about those days made me want to curl up in a ball and sob.

“She’s just...everything I hated about myself.” I admitted, staring at the circular symbols of Gallifreyan. Not going to lie, my eyes had started to water at the memories. Any remembrance of her was painful. “Every day she drew breath was a day she made my life miserable.”

“Until Latshaw.” The Doctor realized, keeping his tone understanding.

I nodded, not caring that it was making me cry now. “Until Latshaw.”

“It’s impossible to cure vampires.” The Doctor explained. He leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest. “How did he do it?”

“I never thought to ask.” I answered. Which sounded stupid, so unlike me to not want to know how to not be her ever again. But in the days after, it never occurred to me to ask. I was too...relieved? Overjoyed? In shock? “Wish I had, though. Would’ve been nice.”

Oh, what a relief it’d have been. If I remembered it, I could’ve taught it to Darcy. All the times I had been afraid of turning into her again, Darcy would just have to repeat the process and I’d be fine. Given of course that the process wasn’t too intricate, like the kind of specifics you go a quest to complete or that cliche shit.

Earth would be safer.

I would be safer.

My sister would be safer.

Cause right now, our only system for this was to shoot me in the face if She ever came back.

I sucked in a breath, shaky letting it out. My eyes darted to glance at the Doctor. He was staring at me with a deep empathy in his eyes. A part of me wondered, how did he cope with it, inside? Cope with all that he did in the War?

“I was in the front lines...Someday I’ll come to terms with that.”

His eyes were haunted too. He was remembering his own actions. I couldn’t begin to understand the choices he had to make in that time. I hoped I would never have to, that it would never happen to me. Except right now it was happening to him.

My hand reached for his. He let me hold it. I squeezed his hand tight.

‘I’m strong like the Earth.’ I thought to myself, holding his hand tight enough that my fingers ached. ‘We burn like fire. We are fire and ice and rage and burn at the centre of the universe. These feelings will not break us. I won’t let them. I’m strong like the Earth. I’ll give you what I can, Doc Brown.’

He squeezed my hand, letting out his own shaking breath. The two of us sat there for ages, just squeezing the other’s hand in assurance.

We held on.

We held on to the last shred of hope we had left.

 

==TTI==

 

The creature had brought him to it’s lair.

And it was definitely a lair. It was some warehouse, windows boarded over with steel and any exit sealed shut except for the one on the ceiling. The creature used it as a front door. It pushed Tony into it, letting him think he’d been welcomed by death only to find himself a soft landing.

It landed beside him, the way superheroes used to do in the movies. Back when they made superhero movies anyway. It was laughing- the laughter soft and squeaky like a preteen girl’s, echoing in the warehouse.

It clicked it’s fingers. The warehouse lit up in low red lights. Tony could see a setup much like in the classic horror franchise ‘ Saw’ .

“Welcome to your new home, Tony.” It cheered. It skipped over to a nearby couch. It jumped up, so it landed in a lounge on the couch. “I hope you like it. I’m sticking around for another two weeks. It’s a long drive from your old state too, so everybody’s gonna know you skipped town after killing your lady person.”

Tony snarled. A glare from the monster shut him up. It must be one of the powerful ones- have to be to give an order without saying a word. Tony knew some rumors about vampires being controlled the sires, he didn’t put much stock in them before. At least...not before this. He hated that he would have to listen more now.

It climbed off the couch, appearing at his side with a whoosh. It grabbed him by the neck. Tony fell to his knees- snarling. His new fangs grew out, so he sounded like he was choking on metal.

It tightened it’s grip on his neck. Tony shut up, a low pitiful growl came from his throat.

“Good boy, Tony.” The creature purred in his ear. “You’ll make a good pet. Won’t you?”

The newly born vampire snarled at his Maker.

“Oh hush. Would you rather I had made you eat a poor terrified child for a first feast? Your fiancée was easy pickings.” It snarked.

It jumped back onto a couch, bouncing on the cushions.

“I’ll show you you’re new bed later!” It announced. “You’re gonna have to stay in a cage for now! After all, I wasn’t expecting a pet just yet!”

Tony didn’t care.

He found himself not caring about anything anymore.

He looked down at his hands. Instead of his usually trim nails, they looked more like extended claws.

He wondered if maybe...if he was fast enough...he’d killed Kelsea so fast with them...it would hurt but he deserved it. For Kelsea...

The creature yelled in annoyance.

“Don’t even try.” It snapped. “You can’t die, Pet. It’s not allowed. In fact, if you die here I swear I will go find your family, every last person in your family. Aunt and uncles, grandparents, cousins, second-cousins, everyone in your family will be next. Then when they’re gone, I’ll kill everyone in her family. She had a big one, didn’t she? And I won’t stop, until I find the youngest, smallest person in your families and make them both my Pets. You don’t want that. You pathetic meatsacks treasure your young.”

Tony snarled- more pitiful than before.

It laughed at him. The way mean girls would laugh at you in middle school. It sucked.

“Oh that’s great. He’s crying! Fuck I love the crying ones.” It cheered, skipping over to a wall panel. “Don’t you love the screaming ones?” It asked it’s own reflection, in a tall elegantly framed mirror.

It showed her reflection, something Tony would dimly realize later. He would question it- because weren’t vampires supposed to be invisible in mirrors?

“Oh this?” It tapped on the mirror. “This puppy was a gift. Someone cursed it- yeah? Charmed it so you could see what kind of person you were inside. Kinda like that Harry Potter one, except less magical.”

It scratched a long finger along the service. It grin exactly the same way a cat did when it caught a fish.

“Happy birthday, Toy.” It whispered to the mirror. “We always wanted a pet.”

 

Chapter Text

Late night, she on fire

Calling me from numbers I don’t recognize

Wonderin’ if there’s somebody else in the room

She say that I’m crazy, nah baby it’s you

Shows up, to fill ‘er cup

I know all she wants is just to get my love

I wish we could be just like Johnny and June

She cut out my heart and left me in the room.

The girl was fifteen, with tanning skin bare of freckles. She had long blonde hair falling in waves to her shoulders. She wore a purple sparkly tube top, black skinny leather jeans, and biker boots. Darkened sunglasses covered her eyes.

She walked into a lone shop on the street. Maybe it was the time of day that nobody was visiting, or maybe all the more popular shops surrounding it. Or maybe some latent human instinct to avoid predators had kicked in.

As she walked into the empty shop, a sales clerk walked up to her.

“Hello! Welcome to Angry Mouse Movie Rentals.” The salesclerk greeted. He was a lanky boy- not doubt just over 18, those his squeaky voice implied he’d only just started puberty.

Still the girl smiled softly. “Wow.” She glanced at his name tag. She giggled under her voice- the kind you do for an inside joke. “Rob...assistant manager?”

Now the clerk’s smile was honest.

“You must be good at your job.” The girl soothed, smiling at the salesclerk.

The boy bashfully looked down, smiling at the praise from a hot girl. He hesitantly raised his gaze back to her. “Yeah, I guess.”

The girl’s smile shifted. So subtle, the boy blinked and missed it. It was more smug now. She pulled a switchblade out of her pocket.

“Put all the money from the register in the purse. And the safe in the back while were at it.” She ordered, smiling sweetly.

The clerk blinked in shock.

“Oh and don’t call for help.” The girl scoffed in a tone so annoyed she had to be rolling her eyes. She flipped open the switchblade, pointing it towards the boy. “I’d hate to have to cut this short .”

The salesclerk nodded. He ran off to the register.

The girl trailed after him, glancing around the aisles of movie rentals. She observed his reflection in the plastic casing of a DVD.

“Calling for help includes the police.” She pointed out to him. She raised her knife, tubing it along the metal rack for the DVD’s. “It’s be really annoying if I had to cut you off.”

The boy choked on a sob. He put the phone back on the receiver. He wasn’t willing to die.

He opened the register.

And I know I, I should quit her

And I'd do it if I could

She a hot mess, but I confess

Damn, she got me good!

 

==TTI==

 

'Cause I love them bad girls doing bad things

Lookin' hot with an attitude

Love them bad girls like a bad dream

Shouldn't want them, but I do

The blonde tightened her hold on the woman’s arm. “Keep walking. I’m taking your purse.”

The woman turned to glare. “Now see here-”

That’s when she felt the small knife poking at her side. Not even to pierce, but close enough that she felt it.

“Let me repeat, keep walking. I’m taking your purse.” The blonde pulled out the phone from the purse, stuffing it the other woman’s hand. “I’ll be nice-you keep the phone.”

She pulled the purse off the woman’s arm, ducking into an alleyway.

When the woman tried to give chase-that purse was expensive , okay? And it went perfect with these shoes!- only to find the alleyway empty.

Yeah, all the bad girls singing

And I can't help it, no

Damn, it feels good when you're messin' with a bad girl

 

==TTI==

 

She got a body like a fast car, movie star

I'd do anything to be her bodyguard

She like getting naked and swimmin' in pools

She make it look sexy to break all the rules

She walked up to a man on a motorcycle. She held out her hand. “Keys.”

The man glared at her. He growled as he got up to his feet. He didn’t usually hit girls, but he’d had a bad day. This chick would just be the poor sap who got the worst of it.

The girl leapt at him, a knife suddenly in her hand. She slit his throat, making him drop to the ground. So his bad day did get worse.

She knelt down, unlatching the helmet from his chin.

She grimaced in disgust, while his blood poured out onto the sidewalk. “Damn. The knife cut the safety strip. Why’d you have to move, stupid ? Ugh.” She complained. She sighed. “Whatever. I’ll live.”

She tossed the helmet away. She took the keys from his pockets-and the wallet, just for shots and giggles. She hopped on the motorbike.

Fallin' too fast and I might crash

But once you goin' body, you know you can't go back

I just wanna watch every way that she moves

‘Cause she out on the edge like there's nothing to lose

As she drove away, the blonde wig fell away. It showed off her straight inky black hair. She had cut away the bangs, showing off a wide scar on the hairline above her left eye.

 

==TTI==

 

I love them bad girls doing bad things

Lookin' hot with an attitude

Love them bad girls like a bad dream

Shouldn't want them, but I do

She pulled the motorbike up to the side of the road. A... portly man walked along it.

Out of nowhere the girl pulled a gun. It was futuristic looking, in that it was glowing bright green from various ports.

*BANG*

She fired the gun at the portly man. It forced away his disguise, to reveal an Abzorbaloff from the planet Clom. He already had some half absorbed faces stuck to it. He hissed at her.

“Hey. Was your name really Victor?” The girl asked, thumb flicking a switch on the gun. All the green glowing bits changed to purple.

The alien hissed. “Who dares to know? You will be absorbed!”

“Nice to meet you, Victor from Clom.” She grinned.

Yeah, all the bad girls singing

And I can't help it, no

Damn, it feels good when you're messin' with a bad girl

She lifted her sunglasses with a free hand, revealing eyes of dark purple. “My name is Darcy.”

*BANG*

She drive away, leaving a dissolving pile of ashes. The members of LINDA running out, having heard the gunshots.

 

==TTI==

 

The camera turned on, revealing the girl in a dimly lit bedroom.

“Hey.” She greeted in a less than excited way. “So, they told me I had to do this stupid video diary shit, so here we go.” She huffed, brushing some of her hair behind her ear. “I’m Darcy Anderson, but the Guardians of the Galaxy call me Gamora. They said it’s some inside joke, but I don’t get it. Probably a geek thing.”

She leaned back in her chair, bringing her legs up onto the chair. She rested her head on her raised knee, letting some of her inky black hair hang over the side. “My parents are dead, older sister’s all I got. I’m 33, which is always fun telling people. Cause I have the best excuse besides baby face.”

A pig squealed from behind her.

“My roommate is a pig.” Darby deadpanned, giving the camera a flat look. She moved just enough to reveal the bedroom had two cot sized beds. Though one bed was actual a crib. “Really. A pig. Her name’s Penelope. My sister’s stupid sense of humor.” She turned to the camera. “Yeah I got a sister. She’s...not like me. Better I guess, for some. Good. She’s good.”

Darcy thumbed the desk. The pig behind her snorted, chewing on the food in a food bowl. Darcy looked back at the pig, wondering.

“These past couple of months I’ve been working with the Guardians of the Galaxy. They said they’re these super weird bodyguards for my sister, but we’ve been doing a lot of other stuff that makes me wonder if we’re really protecting her, or just being shitheads to time.” Darcy admitted. She turned back to the camera. “My sister and me, we’re weird. Like, really honestly weird. I don’t even know what category of weird to make us, cause she has no idea what species we are.”

She let out a long sigh. She leaned on the desk, glaring into the camera.

“Really hope all this is good for something, assholes.” She warned. “I hate wasting my time on bullshit.”

No reply came. Not even a single squeal from the pig.

“Well, maybe it’s best if I start when I met Yellow.” Darcy wondered, thoughtfully.

 

==TTI==

Decades ago...in another reality...

 

It was a cold day in Chicago. Everyone going outside had to wear at least two coats, or suffer a harsh case of the flu. Natives to the city, or even people who lived here for more than one winter, knew that.

The Andersons were a lovely little family of four. George, Emily, and the twins; Morgan and Darcy. Darcy was the baby. She was okay with that- she was still young enough not to care about being called a baby.

She climbed out of bed. She shared a room with her sisters-as young twins are often to do.

Her sister’s bed was empty. That confused Darcy. Morgan usually woke up the same time as Darcy.

“My sister was weird from the start...whatever reality she takes herself to, there’s a history and life waiting for. Only...I guess if there’s a life there, someone had to live it for her. It turns out that life was lived by my twin sister. When I met my sister-like really met her- I didn’t notice the difference for...ever.

Darcy walked out of the bedroom to the bathroom. Sure enough, her sister was there. Morgan was running a hand along her hair, holding the ends down to see how long it was. Darcy did that sometimes. Her mom said she’d get really long hair someday.

“Morgan!” Darcy cheered. She ran to her sister, hugging her side.

The other child jumped back. Darcy ended the high, unfazed by the scared yelp her sister made. Morgan focused her eyes on Darcy. After a moment she blinked, staring now as if seeing Darcy for the first time.

Darcy didn’t notice micro expressions like that. She was six. She smiled brighter at her sister being awake. “Wanna get Mom for breakfast?” She asked, in a peppy voice no one should have that early in the morning.

“She was so surprised to see me. Guess you could say I was the surprise twin. There’s always one. That makes her the accident, by the way.”

Morgan blinked again, and the expression faded off her face. Instead it was a face of cool annoyance. “Get out of my way.”

She walked past her sister, bumping into Darcy’s arm. The younger twin rubbed at the sore spot, blue eyes full of pain and confusion.

She shrugged it off. She was hungry now.

“Yeah, Morgue was a tough nut back then. I like to think I bulldozed her walls down. Though...the ending of that story is why I’m here right now.”

...George crying out for his wife...a pool of red on the white couch...the largest knife in the kitchen glinting in the light...

 

==TTI==

Gamora’s room

 

“We’re not talking about that now.” Darcy immediately shifted the conversation. “We’re talking about now, current age.”

She breathed out a small sigh, moving her chair in slow half circles.

“She hasn’t called me in a couple of weeks.” Darcy admitted, looking off screen to an assumed phone. “That normally wouldn’t worry me, if I didn’t know what she did last. The Satan Pit. ” Darcy worried her lip between her teeth. “My sister is tough, always has been. Not much can get to her...but I know this guy would’ve found the one thing. His power is my sister’s Kryptonite: remembering her ghosts.”

The pig squealed.

“Yeah I compared her to Superman. It totally fits, shut up you pig.”

The pig squealed again.

Darcy rolled her eyes skyward, as if cursing the deity watching over her.

 

==TTI==

Child’s Play-verse

 

“My sister’s my favorite superhero, always has been. I’d never say it to her face. Too much sentiment in that.”

Morgan talked more excitedly, words almost blurring together. “When his back was turned, I swung down off a rope and kicked Captain Hook right in the tailbone! He never saw me coming. He was on the floor, sword tossed aside in his fall. I thought it was hilarious, so did the other boys.”

“She promised she’d show me other worlds. Promised I’d fight those pirates, or those monsters under kids beds.”

Darcy was looking at her sister in wide eyed delight. This was better than any story Emily ever told. “And did you kill him?”

Morgan grimaced. Small, just one corner of her lip. “No.” At Darcy’s pout she added “He was already in hell. Stuck forever as a pirate, with other dumb pirates as company, a a bunch of children as enemy. Killing him would’ve been a mercy to him, probably.”

Darcy blinked. All she got from that was the pirate was alive but unhappy. Good enough for her.

Morgan went on to another sword fight (this one with a kraken!).

“Sometimes, I liked to pretend I was her favorite hero.”

 

==TTI==

 

Her expression in the camera was an odd one. You’d never properly see it on Darcy Anderson’s face: vu