“Right, here we are then. January 5th. Pretty sure anyway. TARDIS did say she was going to behave this time.”
The Doctor flung open the doors of the TARDIS and looked out outside, before nodding her head. Graham, Ryan and Yaz soon followed behind. Everything looked the same, which was a bonus really.
“Parked her…outside this time. Because, y’know, sorry Graham. I really didn’t mean to cause such a fuss last time, honest.”
Ryan tucked his hands into his coat pocket as he stepped outside, looking around a bit before his eyes settled on his granddad’s house. True to her word, the Doctor had placed the spaceship on the grass verge opposite, still looking very sheepishly at the ground. Graham soon followed, not quite prepared for the brisk chill in the air. For once, he was actually glad to be going home. He turned towards the Doctor, a kind smile on his face. He wasn’t too bothered about what happened last time, well, sort of. Just another thing to get used to.
“It’s alright Doc. Thanks though. See you tonight I hope?”
Everyone had been allowed to go home for some down time, to try and get over what had happened recently. Emotions were running high, and the Doctor really was trying to make sure her fam were alright. Especially Ryan and Graham, they’d had the tougher side of things recently. Yaz propped herself against the faded blue door frame, waving the two boys off with a sigh. She didn’t really want to go home. Not that she didn’t miss her family, she just really didn’t want another game of twenty questions with her mom about where she had spent New Year’s.
“Yeah. Of course. Promise I won’t run off without you again. I’ll drop Yaz off and be back before you know it!”
As Ryan and Graham made their way inside the house, the Doctor ushered Yaz back inside and let the doors close behind them. She fiddled with the controls at the console and smiled as the TARDIS whirred off to her next destination. Not that far away at least, but still. It made her feel sad. Sure it was only a day, but she felt lost without her fam by her side. As the TARDIS came to a stop, she felt herself pausing. Hands lingered on the console, staring into the central column. After a second, the Time Lord spun on her heels and skipped back over to the doors.
“Right then, here we are. Back at the flats. I’ll swing by later and come pick you up first. I’m sure the boys won’t mind. Probably won’t even notice. Don’t forget you can just call the TARDIS if you wanna come back sooner. I’ll always answer my Yaz.”
For some reason though, Yaz wasn’t moving. She was still leaning against the other side of the console, looking out into the world. Which wasn’t the normal thing she would do, and that made the Doctor worried.
“Yaz? You alright?”
She walked back over towards her companion, hands in pockets, with a sympathetic smile. Yaz looked up and smiled back, shaking her head. Why wasn’t she going home?
“I really appreciate you giving us all some time and all. But I was just wondering if…”
The Doctor tilted her head to one side, eyes scanning over the younger woman. She was fighting back a request. Or, something at the very least. Was she going to not come back? Did she not want to be around the fam anymore? Did she not want to be around her? Yaz could see the Doctor’s face scrunching up as she thought a million questions and placed her hand gently on the side of her arm.
“Before you even say it; no, I’m not leaving. I don’t know why you’d think that. Not going to give all this up any time soon.”
‘Especially not you…’
“I’d just, rather stay here. I won’t get in your way though, if you want to do your insane tinkering with the TARDIS or whatever. Pretty sure my family won’t miss me for another day.”
It took a few seconds for the words to sink in, but eventually the Doctor smiled wide and jumped on the spot. Time with Yaz was the best. Honestly she couldn’t think of anything better herself.
“Oh, brilliant! I could use your help with something actually. Stay right here. I’ll be back in a tick. Really.”
Before Yaz could even contemplate a response, the Time Lord had bounded off into the corridor of the TARDIS, coat flapping behind her. Rolling her eyes, the young woman walked over to the doors, taking a final look outside. One more day really wouldn’t hurt. As she closed them, she heard slow footsteps and the sound of something being dragged across the metal floor. As she made her way back to the console, the Doctor poked her head out from behind the wall, hair tussled and smiling wearily.
“I wanted to get Graham something to say sorry for what I did to his chair. I honestly didn’t mean to squash it. TARDIS never normally does that, don’t know why she decided to this time. Think it was because we were in a hurry. Anyway, I tried to get him a new one, but I got sent this instead and I have no idea what to do with it.”
Rambling on, the Time Lord huffed as she dragged a flat box into the centre of the room. She dropped it with a loud thud, wiping her forehead on the sleeve of her coat. Yaz was amused at how quickly the Doctor had become dishevelled, but was also deeply curious about what she had dragged in. The box itself was rather plain, save for strange symbols marked on the front. Apparently it was also rather weighty.
“Uh, Doctor, what have you dragged in?”
Eyes followed the Doctor around the room as she haphazardly hung her coat up on a nearby coatrack. Hands on her hips she gestured towards the box.
“It’s a chair. Or, it’s supposed to be. I think it broke in transport or something because this really doesn’t look like the picture. Even the box is flat. No idea what happened there. I was wondering if maybe you could figure it out. You’re a clever girl. I’m too old for this.”
Yaz crouched down onto the floor, looking over the box carefully. It didn’t take long for her to work out what had happened, and she couldn’t stop herself from laughing. It was just too funny and sweet. All the knowledge in the universe and the Doctor had been stumped by a box. The Time Lord made her way over, crouching down very close besides her companion. Her brow furrowed as she looked between the box and Yaz.
“What? What have I done this time? I feel like I’m missing some vital information here.”
Wiping a tear away from her eye, Yaz stood up and helped the Doctor onto her feet, chest still juddering from silent laughter.
“Doctor. You really have no idea what this is?”
The Time Lord shook her head, still looking very confused.
“It’s a flat pack. You know. You build it yourself? It comes with all the pieces and you just…put them together. More to the point, where did you even get this? Or when?”
She shrugged her shoulders and looked towards the console.
“When Kerblam came back, I got a message saying I could get whatever I wanted. As a one off. To say thanks for not blowing them up, maybe. Dunno. Anyway, I really wanted to get a sofa, stick it in one of the rec rooms. But then I just forgot about it. But then when I kinda sorta broke Graham’s room, I thought I’d get a chair for him instead. And when I got this box I was really really confused so I put it away until maybe I could ask if anyone else knew what it was meant to be. Still get confused by new things sometimes.”
As the Doctor turned her head back, she caught sight of Yaz placing her leather jacket across part of the console and rolling up her sleeves. For a moment, her mind wandered away before snapping back to reality.
“I’ll help you put it up, but on one condition.”
Rolling up her own sleeves, in an effort to match, the Time Lord smiled.
“And what’s that?”
Yaz watched as the Time Lord threw her arms in the air and gave the most childish pout she had ever seen. Exasperated nonsense came out of her mouth as she folded her arms over her chest.
“What? I love me sonic! Aww Yaz, why not? That’s not fair.”
The young woman walked over to the unusually agitated Doctor and tried her best to offer a comforting smile. Part of her really wanted to pull her into a hug, but decided against it. Probably not the best time.
“I know you do, but for all we know you’re sonic will set it on fire or something. These things aren’t technology. Just wood and screws. Besides, it’s more fun doing things by hand. Trust me.”
It took a while, a little more pestering, and for Yaz to start opening the box before the Doctor came around. She took the sonic screwdriver from her trouser pocket, gazed at it, before placing it down to the side. Realistically, she’d built it from scratch. Using whatever she could find. And she could mess with the TARDIS by herself. How difficult could a simple chair be?
“Fine. I’ll go get the toolbox. Any idea what you think we’ll need? Pretty sure I’ve got every tool in the galaxy.”
“Can’t be anything worse than a non-sonic screwdriver and maybe a hammer. Should be good to go.”
While Yaz picked away at the tape holding the box together, the Doctor wandered back to the console. She circled around, head looking under and around the panels before spotting the box. It had been left there from her last lot of repairs, since the whole vacuum in space incident, and was surprised the TARDIS hadn’t just poofed it away somewhere else. Triumphantly, she skipped back to Yaz and dropped it besides her with a clatter. The Doctor lowered herself onto the floor, crossing her legs and waited expectantly.
Tearing away the last bit of tape from the side, Yaz sighed as she pushed stray strands of hair from her eyes. Her ponytail was already coming undone slightly, barely keeping her hair together. Grabbing hold of the side, she flipped half of the cardboard over to reveal several bags of pieces and parts. Leaving the Time Lord to mess around with the bags, she picked up the instruction guide, flicking through the pages briefly. It all looked very complicated. A chair couldn’t be that difficult to make. At least it had pictures.
“Okay, let’s just make sure we have everything we need. Not sure how alien flat packs works, but half the time there’s always something missing back home. Dad likes to keep a note of all missing things so he can go on about it later. Drives mom mad.”
Taking her eyes away from the booklet, Yaz was surprised to see that all the pieces of the chair had been laid out. Each piece was regimentally organised, and she watched as the Doctor fumbled around with a tiny bag of screws as she tried to open the bag. Evidently the Time Lord was a quick worker. And much more organised that the young woman had expected her to be. With her scatterbrain and all.
With a triumphant ‘yes’, the Doctor took her eyes away from the bag to look at Yaz. Who, had somehow stopped talking since the last time she had tuned in. She could feel heat rising in her cheeks, praying that she hadn’t zoned out for too long.
“Sorry Yaz. I was listening, I swear. It’s just that I saw all these things and I had a really bad urge to open the bags and to look at things and I’m really sorry if I should have left it alone. Couldn’t help myself.”
Yaz let out another laugh, and it was like music to the Doctor’s ears. It was surprisingly infectious and she couldn’t help but chuckle herself. Although, she had no idea why they were laughing, but it felt right. Not like she had messed up, or done something socially unacceptable like usual. Once the laughter died down, she emptied the screws onto one of the thrown away bags, muttering away as she counted them all. They were tiny little things, didn’t look anywhere near strong enough to hold up a chair.
“Thirteen…fourteen…fifteen. Fifteen screws. And some washers, I think. That enough?”
Sure enough the box had come with all the necessary parts. One hurdle done, Yaz flipped open the instruction book to the first page and pointed at the diagram. The large picture was showing how to attach the inner rods for the back rest into the supports. No screws required, they were crossed out, just a smaller picture of a hammer. Pretty simple. Yaz picked up the bottom half of the support, watching the Doctor brandish one of the rods before noticing a potential problem. Did she trust the Time Lord with a hammer?
“Hold this a sec, please?”
The Doctor took the piece of wood, adding it to her collection. Yaz fumbled around in the toolbox before eventually picking out the hammer. She was amazed at just how many tools were crammed in the small box, before guessing that it was probably some kind of space magic like the TARDIS or the pockets of the grey coat. Briefly placing it on the floor, the young woman took the rod in one hand before picking the hammer back up and shuffling closer.
“So. Just hold that in place, and I’ll hammer this in.”
As the Doctor held both sides of the base and held it out slightly, Yaz noticed her eyes dropping and a small frown appearing. Thinking nothing of it she placed one end of the rod into the first circular hole. Steadying it with one hand, she raised the hammer up and took a more forceful swing than anticipated, jolting the Doctor and feeling her hand slide down the bear wood.
Dropping the hammer, Yaz pulled her hand away and looked down at her fingertips. The wood really wasn’t as smooth as it appeared, and she could see a thin sliver of a pale splinter sticking out of her palm. It stung. Before she could lift her free hand to try and take it out, she saw the Doctor drop the chair back an cup her hands underneath her own.
“Careful Yaz, you might push it in deeper. Don’t want that, then you’ll be stuck with it. I mean it would come out in warm water but that really isn’t fun. Hold on.”
The Doctor took one hand away and fished inside one of her trouser pockets, pulling out a tiny pair of silver tweezers.
“Always prepared, me. Now, hold still.”
Yaz felt calloused fingers lifting her palm closer to the Doctor’s eyes, eyes widening as she watched. With the most concentrated precision, evidenced by the tip of a tongue peeking out from pale lips, the splinter was out and gone. The tweezers were then casually flung over the Time Lord’s shoulder and both hands clasped tightly around dark skin. Compared to the peril-initiated hand-holding, or the rare surprise hug, this was easily the most intimate moment Yaz had experienced with the Doctor. And it made her heart soar.
“There. All gone. Can’t have a hurt Yaz now, can we? Although I think you might wanna leave the hammer to me. Pretty sure I got this one covered. You’re much better at keeping things still anyway, can’t keep still for a minute at the best of times you know. Any better?”
With the final question, Yaz felt the grip on her hand loosen and she reluctantly pulled away. She traced a finger over the small dot of a hole in her palm and smiled. The Doctor really was kind and sometimes a bit of an actual doctor. It had been the best decision to not go home for the day. Taking her eyes away and lowering her hand, Yaz felt herself gaze at the Time Lord before nodding her head with a wider smile. Was she blushing, or just a bit too warm?
“Yeah, thank you. Still stings a bit but I’m fine, I’ve felt worse on duty. Pass me the chair, I’ll do you a trade for the hammer. Just don’t go knocking me away or anything.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
During the swapping of parts, their fingers and hands brushed past each other. Both faltered for a brief moment. Yaz placed the support in her lap, keeping a tight grip on the sides. The Doctor picked up the other rods, sliding them into the holes before readying the hammer. She leant forward, blonde hairs almost tickling the tip of Yaz’s nose as she gently tapped away at each rod in turn. Again, tongue poked out between the Time Lord’s lips and the young woman found herself continuing to smile.
‘Building with the Doctor…very entertaining.’
After a few hours, and some really intense laughter, the Doctor jumped up on her feet. Nearly catching her chin with the back of a screwdriver. After accidentally screwing the back support to the leg holes, and almost breaking a chair leg, their joint crafting venture was complete. Yaz pushed herself up off the floor, heaving a sigh of relief. Her chest hurt from laughing and her hands ached, but it was worth it. Just to see the Time Lord skip around before skidding to a halt at the side of the chair. It was like she was vibrating with excitement. Crossing her arms over the top of the chair, Yaz nudged her head forward. She knew what was going to come next before it happened.
“Go on then. I can see it in your face that you want to.”
With no other encouragement needed, the Doctor was swiftly seated on the chair. She reclined into the back, arms falling limp at her sides as she relaxed. The curve of her shoulders caught under Yaz’s chin, and the Time Lord felt her companion relax into the contact. It had been much too long since she had worked with something that wasn’t all technological and advanced. Just a simple chair. Made with care and attention. Hopefully Graham would appreciate the gesture. She had tried to find a chair as close to the original as possible, although this one would probably need a coat of varnish or paint to liven it up.
“Oh Yaz, this is brilliant. Fantastic even. Probably the best chair ever. Could use a cushion or something though, bit too hard underneath, but still good. Thanks for your help, don’t think I could have done this by myself. Which is weird if you think about it, seeing as I’m good at so many things, but having you around made it go by so much better. Sorry. Rambling again. But really, thank you.
Yaz closed her eyes and hummed a response. She noticed that the Doctor was smelling more like coconut today, and she felt her head dropping against soft hair. Despite her heart leaping into her chest, she couldn’t bring herself to move. The Doctor lifted a hand and tentatively placed it around the side of Yaz’s face, stroking a stray piece of hair against her skin. It wouldn’t be too long before they had to go pick up the boys, but until then, the Time Lord was more than content to just sit still and feel at peace.