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Quantum Entanglement

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The Doctor was really just a bundle of barely-contained energy. Her limbs seemed ever longer for their constant movement, she ate literal dirt, she spun and weaved around the TARDIS, she scrunched her face up in perpetual, profound consternation, and she sought her pockets. Constantly.

Honestly, it was just as exhausting as it was charming.

But after a few months of adventure and more than a few close scrapes, Yaz was starting to learn the patterns. She was starting to see the anxiety under the distraction of constant motion. She was starting to see the places where the Doctor's cultivated enthusiasm for literally everything had started to fray.

She was starting to see the Doctor as a person, not a frenetic human-ish superhero.

(Annoyingly, this discovery did little to ease the crush she'd nursed since that night on a broken down train in Sheffield.)

For her part, the Doctor was starting to learn her companions' quirks and moods as well.

Ryan's needs were fairly obvious, really. Proper adventure, followed promptly by food. Graham likewise had little filter about his thoughts or feelings. The boys' motivations were easy to discern, as they mourned Grace and discovered how to be family, while the TARDIS served as a convenient catalyst for their relationship.

Yaz, on the other hand, was one of those confounding humans who didn't broadcast her every thought. The Doctor found herself clinging to everything Yaz chose to reveal, and she kept private score for every time she made the woman smile.

So one morning when Yaz looked sad, for no discernible reason at all, the Doctor started to... flutter. More of a flap, really.

Yaz had woken up a bit blue. It was nothing concrete she could verbalize, but nothing she could shake, either. Yaz wandered about the TARDIS, which obliged her mood with new, winding hallways that always seemed to loop her back toward the control room, where the Doctor was most certainly not fretting away her morning twirling about and partaking in liberal use of the biscuit pedal.

With a sigh, Yaz finally took the TARDIS' hint. She entered the control room and watched the Doctor's constant, elaborate motion slow, until she was barely moving at all.

"Good morning," the Doctor said, quiet and cautious.

Yaz couldn't even muster a facsimile of her usual cheer. "Good morning."

"You seem a little out of sorts today," the Doctor observed.

"I suppose I am," Yaz murmured. She bumped a hip against the TARDIS' main console, eyes cast downward. "I don't know why."

With herculean will, the Doctor refrained from pushing, and instead hovered, twiddled a knob here and there, and waited.

"Are you actually doing anything right now, with all that fuss?" Yaz asked, accusingly. "Or are you just trying to look busy?"

The Doctor chuckled. "This," she declared, pointing at a knob, "is the artron energy flow regulator." She turned it minutely, then frowned and turned it back. "Temperamental thing. Keeps us from disintegrating in the time vortex. Want a go?"

Yaz eyed it, then cast her eyes around the glowing columns of pulsing alien tech around them. "I think I'll pass."

"Suit yourself," the Doctor said easily. She dispensed a custard cream, then offered it to Yaz, who declined. She munched it happily instead. "Anything in particular on your mind?"

With a grimace, Yaz gave in, and tried to find words to pin on the gnawing discomfort brewing in her head. "I'm not sure. I just feel like we've been running around an awful lot, and I haven't had a moment to take in the scenery, you know?"

The Doctor absorbed that, and spent a brief moment castigating herself. She'd been the one insisting on constant space/time tourism, desperate to keep her fam (or at least Yaz) entertained, engaged and with her. "Well," she said, quietly. "That's unacceptable. We can't have a sad Yaz, can we?"

Yaz peered up at the Doctor through her lashes, and rewarded her with a smile.

Ten points!

"Hang on," the Doctor concluded. She held up a finger, bidding Yaz to stay put. "I have just the thing." She set a gauge on the TARDIS console to twirling, then bolted to the galley, fetched two mugs of tea, and skidded back in time to stop the gauge. Only since her hands were full, she leaned down and caught the gauge with her nose.

"Ouch," she said, with a scrunchy face as she handed Yaz a mug. "C'mon then, important scenery to take in." She spun away, cracked open the door of the TARDIS, surveyed the new view, and sighed in pure satisfaction.

Yaz followed to look as well. She waited, blew steam away from the brim of her mug, then waited some more. "What is it?"

"Absolutely nothing," the Doctor declared, shaking her head in wonder. "Well, not literally. We're drifting in comet dust at the edge of your solar system. So there are some bits and bobs out there, but they're not busy right at the moment." She plopped down, and let her legs dangle out into the void. After a moment she cast an expectant look back at Yaz, who perched carefully next to her.

For a few minutes, they sat together, sipping tea and enjoying the rare quiet.

At one point Graham wandered by and stood behind them, peering uncertainly into... not much at all. When neither woman said anything for a solid ninety seconds, he rocked on his heels and announced that he was off to make a sandwich.

The Doctor turned an ear to his departure, and shrugged. "Doing absolutely nothing with Yaz," she murmured, tilting her mug to clink against Yaz's.

"Brilliant," Yaz replied, with a grin.

Ten more points!

The Doctor barely restrained herself from wriggling with glee.

"It seems so lonely out here," Yaz said, pitching her voice low for fear of disturbing anything.

"Oh, it's not, though. Four light years that way is a Hilaxian survey pod that's about to catalog your solar system for the first time, then promptly write it off as not at all worth noticing." She leaned over, bumping her shoulder against Yaz as she lowered her voice to a conspiratorial murmur. "Don't take that bit personally, by the way. The Hilaxians are notoriously judgmental." When she got the expected chuckle back, she leaned away again to make room for an expansive gesture with her mug. "And in this very spot, in eighty seven years, the first human extra-solar transport ship will..." She paused, then thought better of that particular anecdote. "Well. They'll all be brilliant, even when it goes horribly wrong. In the meantime, we're here to keep the comets company."

She leaned back into Yaz's space, and ducked her head. "I'm sorry we didn't take a minute sooner," she said. "There's just so much, in the universe. So much to do, so many wrongs to right, so many people to help. I feel like I'm pulled in a hundred directions at once, like my skin can barely hang onto all of me."

Yaz exhaled a tiny laugh. "So I've noticed."

"Yes, well. Imagine living two thousand years and realizing you've wasted so much time..." She shook her head.

"So why here, now?" Yaz asked, desperate to chase away the sudden sadness on the Doctor's face.

"Oh, it's selfish, really. I mean, I've always been fairly selfish, just sort of startlingly aware of it in this body? Something about emotional labor? Anyway. Right here, right now, there's literally nothing of consequence transpiring in the entire universe. My people called it 'The Penultimate Point of Stillness.' I've always wanted to see it, and here it is!" She slurped the last of her tea and set the mug aside before leaning backwards, propping her hands on the TARDIS floor. "It's... excruciating." She nodded, no less enthusiastic despite the sheer lack of inspiring subject matter.

Yaz hummed, then tilted her head in curiosity. "Is there another Point of Stillness? An 'ultimate' one?"

The Doctor's face darkened, a subtle frown bending her brow. "There is." She sighed and fiddled with her coat. "We'll try to avoid that one. But this? This event is remarkably unremarkable, and only lasts for a few minutes in the history of everything. And here we are. Travelers on an impossibly ancient, endless sea, watching absolutely nothing happen." Her face softened, just for a moment, as she gazed at Yaz, then she seemed to shake herself and turned her eyes forward again. "I've always wondered why it was here."

"'Why?'"

"Sure, the universe is absolutely full of 'why.' Causality and whatnot. But there's no reason for this moment, dropped in between so many more interesting things."

Yaz considered that. "Maybe it's for you, so you have a reason to rest. Maybe it's for us, so we can watch comet dust." She shrugged, and canted her head, enjoying that notion.

The moment dragged on while the Doctor peered at her sideways.

Yaz swallowed, and tried not to wilt from sudden, painful self-consciousness. "What?" she asked finally, in a tiny voice.

"Maybe it's for you," the Doctor murmured. "The universe arranged itself so that Yasmin Khan could be right here, right now."

That made her feel positively ridiculous and insignificant, but the Doctor's earnest regard somehow gave the statement a weight she didn't anticipate. "With you," Yaz concluded, completing the sum of what made a bunch of nothing into something... momentous.

She could feel the heat of their legs pressed together. She could hear the Doctor's gentle breath over her own thundering heartbeat. Even as she studiously tried to ignore the Doctor's persistent attention, she could feel the scrutiny along her profile. "What?" she asked again, mildly.

"Just thinking," the Doctor said. "And definitely calculating what else it would take to arrange the universe so you could be right here, right now. With me." She turned her gaze back to the emptiness, and kicked her legs a bit. "You know how all matter vibrates on particular frequencies?"

"Not really," Yaz admitted.

"I think our frequencies match up," the Doctor concluded, without further explanation. "They harmonize. My matter quite likes your matter. You make it so much easier to stand still."

A tiny ball of something went spinning in her belly at that, and Yaz swallowed. "My matter likes your matter, too," she replied, shy but clear.

The Doctor's answering smile was gentle radiance, gravity, chemistry, all the primal forces of the universe at once, tugging at Yaz's entire being.

Then she jolted. "Oh! The asteroid on Flaquity Six!"

"The what, where?"

"When!" The Doctor insisted. "Three thousand and six years ago! If the asteroid doesn't crash into the moon of Flaquity Six, then this," she exclaimed, gesturing to the stars, "is just filler, waiting for something else to happen, instead of an event all unto itself. That's... paradoxical. And bad. Can't have a universe with no Penultimate Point of Stillness!"

"Obviously," Yaz said with a shrug. "And I suppose that's something we can attend to?"

"Of course!" The Doctor leaned in and kissed Yaz on the cheek, all flailing impulse once again as she clambered to her feet and flung herself at the TARDIS' controls.

Yaz's cheek burned under the ghost of that kiss, and she smiled to herself as the Doctor hurried off to forge the perfect moment that had already happened.

Brilliant.