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Those By Her Side

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“I can’t believe,” shouted the Doctor dramatically, “that Yasmin Khan is choosing to walk the streets of Sheffield on Earth instead of coming on an adventure with us.”

Ryan rolled his eyes, “She has a job, Doctor, stop acting like she’s run away from home. Besides, am I not good enough company?”

“Oi, I’m here too,” added Graham from where he stood on the other side of the console room.

“You guys are brilliant, obviously, but we’re a fam! It’s not the same without Yaz,” argued the Doctor.

“She’s got us there, Ryan. It isn’t the same when one of us isn’t here,” agreed Graham.

The Doctor threw up her hands in exasperation, pacing around the TARDIS console. She liked how the worked together, as a team, and things weren’t right without one of them. That, or maybe she just missed Yasmin’s company.

“Okay, fam. I’m going to take you to New York, the Roaring 20s! Beautiful time, lots and lots of partying! You two up for it?” asked the Doctor, clapping her hands together.

“Now you’re talking!” said Ryan with an excited gleam in his eyes.

“First though,” said the Doctor sheepishly, “I’m going to call Yaz and see if she can take the day off. You know, just in case she’s always wanted to visit 1920s New York. I wouldn’t know, of course.”

“Oh, for God’s sake Doc. You’re like the drunk at the party who can’t stop calling their ex,” sighed Graham.

The Doctor pointed to him distractedly, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Doesn’t matter though, I’m calling Yaz.”

The Doctor picked up the phone that was attached to the TARDIS console and dialled Yasmin’s number. She knew all of theirs by heart, of course. She tapped her foot as she waited for Yasmin to pick up, ignoring the roll of Ryan’s eyes.

“Hello?” came Yasmin’s confused voice.

Her voice echoed through the console room as if it was the Doctor’s version of the speaker phone.

“Yaz? It’s me. And Graham, and Ryan, say hi guys!” said the Doctor.

“Hi Yaz,” they both mumbled, embarrassed by the Doctor’s desperation, which they were sure even Yasmin could see.

“Doctor, did you hack me or something? How are you talking to me right now?” asked Yasmin, the hint of irritation evident to everyone but the Doctor.

“What do you mean? I’m calling you on the phone, lots of people do it,” said the Doctor, growing more confused.

“Doctor,” said Yasmin, “you’re talking to me on my police radio. Only my co-workers should be able to contact me on this. In fact, you shouldn’t be able to even reach my mobile right now, let alone my radio.”

“Oh…that’s not supposed to happen. While you’re here though, do you fancy taking the day off and coming with us to New York. 1920’s, but that’s not important.”

“Doctor, I’d love to, I can’t wait to come see you, but I’m busy today,” said Yasmin with a sigh.

“Yaz, why are you bein’ quiet?” asked Graham.

“Guys, I can’t really talk right now,” said Yasmin, her voice resembling a plea.

“Where are ya? Doesn’t sound like you’re sitting in your police car waiting for speeders. What are you up to?” asked Ryan.

“You are at work, aren’t you Yaz?” asked the Doctor.

Yasmin didn’t intend to tell any of them the truth, but the hurt in the Doctor’s voice changed her mind. She was silent for a moment and her three friends leaned in closer to the phone, waiting for her reply.

“Fine. I am at work, but I’m not dealing with tickets today. Someone…called in a bomb threat to our precinct so I’m down the bank, where the call was traced to. The whole team is down here, there’s no chance I’d be able to leave,” explained Yasmin.

The Doctor’s eyes widened, and she looked in disbelief from Graham to Ryan. Panic was just as clear on their faces as it was on hers.

“Yaz, what the hell do you mean you’re in a building with a bomb right now?” said Graham, his voice rising in pitch.

“It’s just a bomb threat. It’s probably just a prank call, or a joke. Nine times out of ten nothing comes from calls like these, trust me,” reassured Yasmin.

“What if this is that one time it isn’t! They can’t send a nineteen year old to a bomb, that’s crazy!” said Ryan.

“Guys, calm down. I’m not even in the active part of the building, I’m just going around asking people questions. Sort of what we do isn’t it?” argued Yasmin.

“But Yaz-” begun the Doctor.

“Bye, all of ya. I’ll talk to you later, have fun in New York,” said Yasmin as she hung up.

They all stared at each other blankly as they heard the beeps of the phone, signalling that Yasmin had ended their conversation. A frown developed on the Doctor’s face and her eyebrows knitted together.

“So, no chance of us going to New York today then, huh Doc?” asked Graham.

“Oh, definitely not Graham. How about instead, though, we take a trip down to the Hallamshire Bank and take a good look round?” said the Doctor hopefully.

“Yeah, that sure beats Great Gatsby and shots,” said Ryan, sarcastically.

 

**

 

Yasmin held down the button on her radio, praying that the Doctor wouldn’t figure out how to call her again. She was grateful that they cared; but it was the first time she had been allowed to contribute to something other than petty crime. Sure, all of her colleagues were helping too, but it was a start.

She had separated from the others after being given the task of talking to witnesses. Yasmin was taken behind the counters and queues once the bank had been shut and walked around with a clipboard in her hands. She found herself brought through a ‘Staff Only’ door and down corridors of desks and offices.

She reached an office with a closed door and knocked as confidently as she could on the door. The voice on the other side called her in after a brief pause.

“Hi, Sir, can I have a word with you please?” she asked to the two people sat inside, chattering nervously.

“Of course, Officer, come in,” greeted the man who had been sat behind the desk.

“Thanks,” she said, noting that he was the Financial Manager, as according to the sign on the desk.

“What can we help you with?” asked the second man, who appeared to be the assistant.

“I was wonderin’ if you’d seen anything suspicious. Anything that could help us; people loitering in the bank, other prank calls, any arguments with customers?” asked Yasmin, clicking the pen in her hand.

“There was nothing unusual before today. I did see something strange earlier today though. A man and a woman came through the doors, talking on their phones. They walked around for a while, but they didn’t withdraw any money, or even talk to our staff. The woman left alone, and no one saw the man leave,” said the Financial Manager.

Yasmin raised her eyebrow, “No one at all?”

The Financial Manager shook his head. Yasmin paled slightly at the thought and excused herself from them. Once out in the corridor, away from their hearing, she radioed for her superior officer.

“Sergeant?” she asked through her radio.

“Yes, Officer Khan? Everything alright?” asked Ramesh.

“I just spoke with the manager…he seemed to think there’s still a man somewhere in the bank from earlier today. He was apparently talking to someone on the phone, sounds like maybe he was planning something?” said Yasmin.

Ramesh sighed, “Thank you Yaz, that’s unfortunately all the evidence we need to put the bank on lockdown. Most of the civilians are out now, just need you to send the staff our way. Radio back when everyone’s out.”

Yasmin put the radio back in her belt and turned around to the office she had just left to tell them they needed to leave. She noticed the door was ajar, despite her closing it behind her. She peered through the door and saw that the two men were no longer inside the room.

She walked up and down the corridors, making sure the other rooms were all empty. She was relieved to find that they were.

She radioed back Ramesh, “Hey Sergeant, can you check two men left the building? Uh, the manager’s called Dennis Tall, and he should have his assistant with him, a James Tyler? They disappeared on me.”

“I’ll check with whoever’s doing the registers and get back to you. Yaz, we need you back here in ten minutes, that’s when the lock down is scheduled. If you see anything suspicious, or you get worried, come straight back to the front door. You know the drill,” said Ramesh.

“Of course, Sir. I’ll stay here in case I see them, until you get back to me at least.”

In the new-found quiet, and being left alone, Yasmin felt uncomfortable. She knew there was now a potential, significant threat, and if someone was truly walking around with a bomb, she wouldn’t have much change of escaping safely. At least, with aliens you could run from them. You can’t hide from something you don’t even know is real yet. She listened out for the two men she had lost, wondering if they had gone looking for their staff. Yasmin circled the offices which she knew were empty, looking for signs of life as she walked.

She tip-toed, almost comically, back to the office of the manager she had spoken to, in hopes of him returning. She became distracted by the radio in her hand, however, when the beep and static made it clear that someone was trying to talk to her.

“Ramesh?” asked Yasmin once his distant voice came through her radio.

“Yaz, listen carefully. Do not panic, but you need to come out of the bank immediately. Those two men you met, they don’t work in the bank. James isn’t at work this week and Dennis has been missing all day. I don’t know who they are, but they could be a threat. Come calmly to the front door,” said Ramesh, his voice blending with the static of the radio.

“Is it dangerous?” asked Yasmin, her voice panicked and scared.

“I…don’t know. Just don’t run or panic, make your way towards us. I’ll be waiting for you. If you have any problems, just radio in and we’ll help,” reassured Ramesh.

Yasmin exhaled shakily when Ramesh ended their conversation. For the first time since arriving at the bank, she noticed the maze of corridors in front of her, and the thick shadows that surrounded her. She gulped, checking behind her, before walking slowly back the way she came. All she had to do was walk from the back of the building to the front, and even a training police officer could handle that.

All of the offices she passed were still empty, which calmed her slightly, but she paused when she reached the Staff Room she had passed on the way. Yasmin’s breath hitched when she thought she heard a shuffle from the other side of the door. She leaned against the wall and tried to listen for signs of movement.

She thought she heard a voice and she squeezed her eyes closed, terrified that she would never make it back to her precinct. Or her home. Or the TARDIS.

Once it sounded as though no one was inside, or that whoever it was had gone, she threw open the door, taser in her trembling hands. The quaint Staff Room was empty, and she laughed nervously.

“Yaz, you can do this. Down the hall, through the doors, and you’ll be safe. No reason to panic, you’ve been in worse situations. At least here you can’t be pulled into another dimension with killer moths,” Yasmin said to herself, under her breath.

She jumped, nearly letting a sob escape, when the sound of the static made her think someone was behind her. She spun around, taser in her hand, when she heard a voice coming through her radio. Yasmin cursed under her breath, reaching for the radio.

“Ramesh, I think I can hear something. Is it safe to come out?” asked Yasmin, keeping her voice as low as she could manage.

Yasmin cringed at the answer, “Yaz! This isn’t Ramesh. What is going on? We tried to get through but they wouldn’t let us. They said you were the only person still inside, and that they think someone’s in there with you!”

“Oh my God Ryan, don’t scare her,” came Graham’s reply.

“Are you okay Yaz?” came the Doctor’s voice, steadier than the rest.

“Yeah, I’m okay. I just need to get through the building, then I’ll be fine. I told you, don’t worry, I’ve been trained for this, and they still think it’s just a threat anyway,” said Yasmin quietly.

“I don’t believe you. You’re scared. I can come and get you, if you’d like, no one needs to know,” offered the Doctor.

“Doctor, this is my job. If I need to be rescued, they’re never going to take me seriously. I’m just a little nervous, but I’ll be fine. Now, get off the line so Ramesh can call me back, or else I will be in trouble,” said Yasmin.

She said goodbye, and prepared to walk through the door opposite her, which was standing in the way of the corridors down to where the other officers were waiting anxiously for her. She breathed heavily, opening the door, and noticed that she could still hear people talking in her ear.

“Doctor,” said Yasmin through gritted teeth, “what did I say about getting off the line?”

“Ah Yaz,” said the Doctor nervously, “I thought about it, but I figured I’d be of more use if you actually did run into trouble or needed help. I mean, would you rather have a Time Lady watching over ya, or a policeman? No offense to you, or your boss if he can hear us.”

“Doctor, how many more times…” Yasmin cut herself off when she saw something in the corner of her eye.

“What was that, Yaz?” asked the Doctor.

On the other end of the line, Graham, Ryan and the Doctor scrambled over each other for a chance to speak to Yasmin on the phone. They all froze as they waited for Yasmin to answer them. Her heavy breathing scared them all, but they all resisted asking questions until they heard from her.

Yasmin, at first, resisted the urge to look over her shoulder. She felt a heavy shadow behind her, but her whole body was rooted to one spot. She couldn’t even turn her head to reassure herself that she was alone. She realised soon after, however, that she wasn’t alone.

Before she had a chance to turn around, or a chance to run, she felt something cold pressed into the back of her head. The barrel of a gun dug into her head and she blurted out a beg for her life. She was interrupted by the figure who raised the gun above Yasmin’s head, only to bring it back down again, slamming into her head on the way. The metal struck her head as hard as seemed possible, and instead of feeling the burst of pain, Yasmin dropped to the floor, having already lost consciousness on the way, letting the radio hit the ground she was now lying on.

**

Yasmin came to when she heard her heeled boots dragging across the wooden floor, and she felt the tug of her arms as they were held above her head. Her head, in fact, felt like it was on fire. She tried to remember what happened, before it call came back in a terrifying rush. She opened her eyes with a frown as the strain on her limbs proved too uncomfortable and she whimpered.

She realised, through blurry vision, that she was being dragged by the arms, her body being pulled through the dirt of the ground like she was already dead. Yasmin, in a panic, threw her head up to see who was holding her. At first, she thought it may have been Ramesh, or maybe one of the TARDIS crew, but the grip on her was too violent and careless.

“Can you pass out again? You’re easier to carry,” came a gruff voice from above her.

“Mr Tall? What are you doing?” asked Yasmin groggily when she noticed who was dragging her.

The man scoffed, “I’m not Dennis Tall. Mr Tall is lying in a storage cupboard down the corridor…with a bullet in his head.”

Yasmin gulped, “So who are you, then?”

“You don’t need to know. I’m going to take you to your Mr Tall, you’re going to join him, and I’ll be out of here before they even hear the gunshot. So, all I need you to do is shut up and close your eyes.”

“Why are you doing this?” asked Yasmin.

The man practically growled, “What did I just say?”

The corridor seemed much shorter than the others. Typical, she thought, that she could only find her way when she was being dragged by a psychopath to her death.

He paused when they reached a wooden door, one that had a lock broken from it. Yasmin’s breath hitched when she saw what looked like blood at the base of the door, seeping through the gap at the bottom. She twisted her head so that she didn’t have to see it anymore.

“Please, don’t,” breathed Yasmin, the panic growing as her limp feet dragged through the blood that was now pooling out the other side of the door.

The man rolled his eyes and spat, “Kids shouldn’t intervene, it’s not my fault you had to ask the wrong questions. Do the pigs send children in first, or the sniffer dogs? It would be so much easier to kill a hound, honestly.”

Once again, Yasmin felt the cold of a gun pressed against her skin as the man held it against the back of her shoulder. The man dropped Yasmin onto the ground so that he could secure both hands on his gun; finger ready on the trigger. Yasmin fell onto the ground with a grunt, not realising that almost her entire body had been supported by him. The tap of his finger against the trigger made Yasmin flinch.

He moved the gun slowly from her shoulder to her head, as if he were savouring the moment. She could feel the gun in her dark hair, and then against her scalp as he pressed the barrel down.

“It is such a shame though, you’re quite pretty. You know that? Definitely wouldn’t picture a beautiful young thing like yourself alone here. Still, lucky for you, I’ve got other things on my mind than…that,” said the man.

Her eyebrows knitted together in what she assumed would be her last moment left alive to think. She decided to spend it attempting to come up with an escape plan. She had tried kicking, but that had failed. She’d tried begging, but it just brought forward her death sentence.

“You know,” she said, her voice on the verge of crumbling, “I have a friend who would stop at nothing to destroy you if you killed me. In fact, I have three. If-if you do kill me, you’ll soon find out I’m much better use alive. What’s the point killing me if it means you won’t be able to enjoy all of the money you’ve snatched?”

“If your police can’t help you, why would your friends be able to?” argued the man.

Yasmin let her head fall forward. She hadn’t noticed the extent of the wound on her head from the gun until she felt the trickle of warm blood. It trickled down her eyebrow and bounced from her cheekbone like it was a tear. She assumed that, mixed with fear, was why she felt so sick.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She felt the gun in the back of her head like it was already shooting a bullet through it. Yasmin imagined the corpse of the man lying just next to her, on the other side of the door. Maybe her friends would find her, and maybe they wouldn’t be able to tell which body was whose.

“3…” began the man, to taunt her.

“…2…” he whispered in her ear.

“….1…” he breathed, leaning his face into her own.

For a second, she thought he was about to kiss her. She scowled and hoped at the least he would remember the repulsion on her face. But when she saw his expression, she realised something else. His expression mirrored her own; the fear in her eyes and the tremble of her lip.

Yasmin looked up to see whatever had caused him that much fear and found that he had seen the Doctor storming through the corridor doors, Graham and Ryan at a length behind her on each side. Yasmin had never seen the Doctor look so angry. Her coat floated behind her like a cape, her waved hair blown behind her shoulders from the force of her walk.

“The only reason I’m calm right now because I know if I’m not, either Graham or Ryan would kill you. In fact, I can’t guarantee they won’t, but if they get to kill you and I don’t, I will be even angrier,” said the Doctor as she skidded to a halt in front of the man and Yasmin.

“These must be your friends then,” said the man, bemused.

“You,” spat Graham, “shut up.”

“You came,” whispered Yasmin, almost forgetting the gun to her head.

“Yaz Khan, I will always come for you. Even when you insist that you can handle yourself against guns, idiots and bombs. Speaking of which, we’ve found two of three, where’s the bomb?” said the Doctor.

“You’re just as stupid as she is, there isn’t a bomb. The plan’s pretty simple, in and out with the money, evacuate the building with a bomb threat. It isn’t my fault the police sent in your friend like a canary down the mines,” shrugged the man.

“No, it’s not, but it will be your fault if she gets hurt. Let her come over to us now, and you and me can talk this through. Without any collateral,” said the Doctor, holding up her hands in defence.

His eyes wandered down to the gun he had held to Yasmin and it made the Doctor nervous.

“I will kill her first, then the men, and then you. You’re only delaying the inevitable,” said the man.

He once again fixed his finger on the trigger, which made the Doctor lunge forward. Graham grabbed her arm to hold her back and she struggled against him. The Doctor knew Yasmin was running out of time, and that she could only stall the man for so long.

“I have an idea, keep ‘em distracted,” Graham whispered to Ryan, running off in the direction they’d come.

Wide eyed Yasmin didn’t even notice that he’d gone, she just fixed her gaze on the Doctor for reassurance.

“What has Yaz done to you? She’s the last person anyone should be threatening,” said Ryan, arms folded across his chest.

“Wrong time, wrong place. Same as you all,” answered the man gruffly.

“Not really a good reason to kill anyone though, is it? It seems a bit extreme, but I guess that’s just my opinion,” added Ryan.

The man tilted his head, “Would you rather go first?”

For just a moment, Yazmin saw how genuine Ryan’s eyes had become as he answered, “Honestly? If it would spare her, yeah.”

“Let them go. They haven’t even caused you any trouble, I’m the one who was snooping, not this lot,” said Yasmin.

“I told you to shut up,” seethed the man.

He moved the barrel of the gun ever so slightly so that it was pressed into the edge of her head would. She cried out, muffling the sound by clamping her mouth closed. It brought new pain, though this time the dull ache was sharp and unbearable.

“Yaz!” shouted the Doctor and Ryan in unison.

None of them had seen Graham approach, his arms flailing in panic once he had heard Yasmin’s scream. He had a rectangular device tucked in his pocket; a yellow flashing light shining through the material. He stumbled beside Ryan, digging in his pocket before he’d even stopped.

“Yaz, catch!” shouted Graham.

The man was distracted enough for Yasmin to reach out for whatever Graham had thrown to her. Her shaky hands missed at first, but she scrambled for it. Before the man had a chance to pull the trigger, Yasmin pointed the device at the man and dug it into his leg.

“Alien taser, baby!” whooped Ryan as the man shook violently and fell onto his back.

“At least you didn’t find the gun,” sighed the Doctor.

“Oi, thought you said no guns. I’d have been much happier shooting him,” complained Graham.

“Just because I don’t agree with guns doesn’t mean the TARDIS agrees. Besides, we didn’t have to use it, which really should make you agree with me, not argue with me,” the Doctor whined back.

While they argued, Ryan swept up Yasmin and half-carried her over to the others. He could feel her shake as he held her, and he stood in the way of her and the man who had held her hostage so she wouldn’t have to see him. At least he was unconscious, Ryan thought.

“Oh Yaz, Yaz, Yaz,” fussed the Doctor, taking her from Ryan.

“Don’t worry, I’m alright,” said Yasmin, though she still sounded incredibly frightened.

“Where are you hurt? Is it just your head? There-there’s a lot of blood but I don’t think all of it’s yours. Your head is bleeding quite a lot though, can you see fine? How’s your reflexes?” asked the Doctor.

Yasmin rolled her eyes, but she did wince at the reminder of her head pain, “Seriously Doctor, stop worrying.”

“Did he… do anything Yaz? He’s a maniac, I hate to think you were alone with him here,” asked Graham in concern.

“N-no, just knocked me out, dragged me around a bit,” said Yasmin quietly.

Yasmin noticed the Doctor grimace, and she turned to her, “Doctor, I’m really sorry I didn’t listen to you. I…I just wanted to be able to do something. You know, show you that I can stop bad guys on my own sometimes.”

“Yaz, there’s no one more capable than you. But sometimes the bad guys use weapons, or pain, and we can’t beat them alone. Happens to the best of us, doesn’t make you any less Sheffield’s finest policewoman.”

Yasmin blushed and looked away from the Doctor. Suddenly, she bit her lip and reached out to hold the wall, worried that if she kept swaying on her feet than she’d fall. Or, more embarrassingly, throw up on her rescuers. She closed her eyes and reached up to massage her temples.

“Are you alright?” asked the Doctor, leaning over so she was nose to nose with Yasmin.

“I feel really sick,” said Yasmin.

“I’m sure that nasty head wound doesn’t help. I can treat it easy enough back in the TARDIS though, no need to worry,” reassured the Doctor.

‘Yeah, later Doctor. I have to go see the precinct outside first. Ramesh will be worried sick, I’d be surprised if he hasn’t called my mum yet. Bet the whole family’s going spare,” said Yasmin.

“You need to get checked out first Yaz. We live in a time machine, we can get you back to the precinct before they’re even worried,” said the Doctor.

“I’d feel better if I go and see them now,” said Yasmin.

She backed up, ready to leave them behind so she could go and tell everyone that she was fine, but her head erupted into a stabbing pain. The pain from the back of her head seemed to come forward as it spread and another fresh trail of blood fell from the top of her head to her cheek.

“Oh no you don’t,” said the Doctor, engulfing Yasmin into a hug.

“Doctor, what are you doing?” asked Yasmin, her voice muffled by the alien’s coat.

“Sorry Yaz,” said the Doctor sheepishly.

She cupped Yasmin’s face and then put her finger against Yasmin’s forehead. Yasmin furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, wondering what her alien friend was doing. Ryan looked at Graham, confused, but Graham just shrugged. The Doctor pushed down and Yasmin gasped. For a moment, she gaped at the Doctor dreamily, her eyes fluttering. Her eyes rolled back almost immediately and she crumbled into the Doctor’s arms.

The Doctor picked up Yasmin, scooping her up with a grunt, “Which one of you lads is the strongest?”

When Ryan smugly answered, the Doctor gently passed Yasmin over to him, not before she stroked her hair soothingly.

“What did you knock her out for?” asked Graham in disbelief.

The Doctor shrugged, “I’m worried about her head. Also, I really don’t want her to be with me when I hand this guy over to the police. She’s seen enough as it is. It’ll only add to the trauma if she sees him again. Just take her back to the TARDIS and I’ll meet you in the Med-Bay.”

“Doc, she is going to absolutely destroy you when she wakes up,” said Graham.

“Graham’s right, she’ll murder you mate,” added Ryan.

“Yes, well, that’s why I have the taser. Keep her safe until I come back,” said the Doctor, kissing Yasmin on the forehead.

“She never kisses us on the forehead,” grumbled Ryan as the Doctor scrambled over towards the man’s unconscious form.

“She also never knocks us out with a finger, so I guess we’re lucky,” shrugged Graham, watching Yasmin sleep soundly in his arms.

Yasmin twisted in his arms, though the Doctor seemed to have helped her sleep without any nightmares. She smiled slightly, nestling into Graham. He didn’t even mind the excessive blood she was leaving on his jumper, dotting the cream with crimson. He hugged her close to try and get her shaking under control, smiling to himself as he imagined the world of trouble the Doctor would be in when she woke up.