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Glorious II

Chapter Text

'Any ideas?’ Graham whispered to his two co-conspirators, keeping their eyes fixed on their alien friend as she frowned at her console.

‘Vigorous exercise? This place has to have a treadmill in it somewhere.’ Ryan suggested.

‘That might make it worse,’ Yaz said. ‘She’s always slightly more pumped after a good run.’

'Ooh, wait a sec,’ Graham said as the Doctor yawned, covering her mouth with her hand. She shook her head, as though that would dispel the tiredness, then got back to work.

'She looks like she's about to collapse,’ Ryan muttered.

'What are you three whispering about over there?’ the Doctor said, her glare full of suspicion.

‘Just debating what to do this evening,’ Yaz said, brightly. 'Feel like we need to wind down, you want to join us?’

'I better stay here, need to fix the temporal regulator,’ the Doctor said apologetically. 'Next time, though.’

'Right, get your pyjamas on and meet me in the living room,’ Graham said to the other two. 'We'll go through a plan of attack.’


Hot milk got crossed off the list fairly quickly, as did boring movies, Mozart's music, head and back rubs and soft toys.

'She obviously knows she needs a nap,’ Ryan said. ‘So maybe we should focus on how we get her to realise it.’

'From experience, telling her she looks exhausted doesn't work,’ Graham admitted. 'She just gets annoyed.’

'How would you convince a baby to take a nap?’ Yaz pondered. 'Obviously she isn't a baby, but we may be able to apply the same principles.’

'Babies like being swaddled, don't they?’ Graham guessed. 'And you walk around with them and pat them on the back and bounce them up and down.’

'Dibs on not bouncing her,’ Ryan said quickly.

'Okay, no bouncing, but what about pressure?’ Yaz guessed. 'Cause that's what it is with babies, right? Holding them, swaddling them, it's a pressure thing.’

‘Okay, so how do we apply enough pressure to the Doctor for her to start getting sleepy without her getting suspicious?’ Ryan asked.

'Easy,’ Yaz said with a grin. 'I've got an idea. I'll go grab the Doctor, you guys grab the blankets. I think we might be able to use some of the things on this list after all.’


The Doctor knew she was tired, she knew she should really be in bed right now, but there was so much stuff she wanted to get done first and she was worried about the nightmares that would be waiting for her when she did put her head down. A couple of millenia exploring the universe and you saw some things that didn't always make you sleep easy at night.

She rubbed her eyes sleepily and ran a hand through her messy hair, trying to stifle another yawn as she tried to concentrate on the equipment in front of her, the pieces not quite fitting together in her mind. The TARDIS chirped at her, she always hated it when her thief tried to make repairs in her current exhausted condition. Last time they’d ended up with a pinball machine in place of the navigational controls, that had taken ages to repair.

'I know,’ the Doctor grumbled at her ship. 'And I will, just let me finish this first.’

'Hey,’ came a soft voice from behind her, and the Doctor turned around to see a pyjama-clad Yaz yawning into her hand, barefoot as she shuffled into the console room.

'You okay?’ the Doctor asked. Busy as she was, she would always find time for Yaz.

'Yeah, just had a bad dream,’ Yaz said, hands fidgeting with the hem of her top. ‘The others couldn't sleep either, we're all in the living room, though you might want to join us?’

Oh she wanted to, but the temporal regulator wouldn't fix itself.

'I can't, Yaz,’ the Doctor said. 'Need to get this fixed.’

The TARDIS chirped again and Yaz looked up at the ceiling. While pretty much all of the spaceship's noises were a mystery to her, she knew an objection when she heard it, and from the cross look the Doctor gave the ceiling she'd heard it too.

‘That’s fine,’ Yaz said, looking sadly down at the floor and trying to make her face as downtrodden as possible. 'I know you're busy.’

'Hey,’ the Doctor said, bouncing over to her and taking the younger woman's hands. 'We'll do something fun tomorrow evening, right? Movie night? Ooh I could get us some of those milkshakes you loved from Grenilly.’

'That sounds great,’ Yaz said, smiling sadly, part of her feeling guilty for trying to emotionally manipulate her friend like this. But needs must when your friend was an exhausted alien from another planet who hated taking naps.

‘Why do you look so sad?’ the Doctor said, and Yaz could hear the worry in her voice. 'Was it a really bad dream?’

'It wasn't great,’ Yaz said, suddenly realising she had to make up a story behind this so called bad dream she'd had. 'The usual, you know, in India with my Nani and Prem.’ That wasn’t a complete lie, she did still have nightmares about that moment, the gunshot that had rung out across the calm, quiet fields, the hunch of the Doctor’s shoulders as she’d been forced to walk away, to do nothing that might alter the course of history and erase Yaz from existence.

‘Oh, Yaz,’ the Doctor said, pulling her friend in for a hug. 'I'm sorry you had to see that.’

Go time.

Yaz started off as subtlety as she could with her arms gently squeezing around the Doctor's waist, nothing to get her suspicions up, but enough to allow her to press their bodies together.

The Doctor's arms were loose around Yaz's back and Yaz shuffled her body a little so she could pull back and wrap her arms around the Doctor's neck instead, applying small pressure to her shoulder blades.

The Doctor had her head resting on Yaz's shoulder and Yaz heard her sigh softly, so quietly she may not have noticed it normally. She pressed her head into the side of Yaz’s neck and her breathing started to slow slightly, her body relaxing under Yaz’s hands.

Yaz had always been good at reading people, the Doctor was no exception.

She oh so carefully moved her hand up to the Doctor's head to carefully tangle her fingers in the soft blonde locks. While this certainly wasn't one of the normal hugs that they shared, Yaz was sure she could be forgiven for seeking out a bit more comfort after such a terrifying fake nightmare.

It was when the Doctor stumbled against her and her arms dropped to her sides that Yaz knew she'd won.

'You okay?’ Yaz asked, pulling back in concern but keeping her hands on the Doctor's shoulders, applying a gentle squeeze and looking at her friend with confusion, as though the alien hadn't just nodded off against her.

'Uh, yeah,’ the Doctor said, face scronched in confusion. She sighed and her face relaxed as she rubbed at it tiredly. 'Maybe I will have a quick rest with you lot.’

'It'll do you the world of good,’ Yaz agreed, trying to hide her smug grin.


Graham and Ryan weren't surprised to see Yaz and the Doctor coming into the room a short time later. Yaz was persistent, especially when it came to her friends and their well-being.

Ryan had put Casablanca on and it was playing quietly in the background. Graham pressed a mug of hot chocolate into the Doctor's hands as she sat down between Ryan and Yaz on the sofa, Yaz already getting them all settled under blankets.

'What are you lot up to?’ she asked in confusion, bringing the drink up to her nose to give it a quizzical sniff.

'Nothing, just relaxing, Doc,’ Graham said innocently.

'Huh,’ she said, taking a sip of her drink but watching him suspiciously over the rim of the mug.

Graham had objected to Ryan and Yaz referring to Casablanca as ‘boring,’ but from the way the Doctor's eyelids were beginning to droop he knew they'd made the right film choice.

'I'm in the next bit,’ the Doctor mumbled sleepily, her mug now empty and on the coffee table in front of them. She'd settled in between the two younger humans and her head was resting gently against Yaz's, her fingers playing with the frill of the blanket they had over their knees.

'Really?’ Graham asked, surprised.

‘Yeah, I asked Curtiz for a speaking role but apparently I didn't have the right voice for such a serious movie. S'just mean.’

'Where are you?’ Ryan said, sitting forward to watch the screen closely.

'I'm the dork in the bow tie with the floppy hair. I think I actually wave at the camera. Course I was actually waving at Any and Rory.’

She was slurring her words at this point, eyes closed with her body pressed fully against Yaz's. Yaz tentatively raised an arm to tuck across her shoulders, the Doctor burrowing herself in further and sighing contentedly. Yaz dropped her hand into her friend's hair and gently stroked her head soothingly, a smug grin on her face.

'No way!’ Ryan examined when the younger Doctor appeared on the screen, waving cheekily at the camera. 'Man, I thought your fashion sense now was a bit weird. I can see you've got a thing for suspenders though.’

'Loving the floppy hair, Doc,’ Graham said. 'Who did you say you were waving at again? Doc?’

But she was asleep, curled around Yaz's side and breathing softly into the human's neck.

'Thank god for that,’ Ryan said, breathing a sigh of relief.

‘Someone add cuddling to our list,’ Yaz said, stretching her legs out and pulling the Doctor closer. 'Although we may have to change it up a bit next time or she’ll cotton on.’





Chapter Text

‘Doctor, please sit down.’

‘Will in a sec, Ryan. Give me a mo I’ve almost got this…’

She pressed a piece of wire hard into the lock on the door, tongue sticking out in concentration, only to yelp and scuttle backwards as the lock sparked and remained stubbornly closed, the wire glowing red hot for a few seconds before falling to the floor with a fizz.

She sighed and her shoulders slumped as she stared dejectedly down at the floor.

‘Sorry, Ryan. Really thought that would work.’

‘It’s fine,’ Ryan said from where he was sat on the floor, back against the stone wall and legs stretched out in front of him. ‘I’m sure Yaz and Graham are looking for us. Plus, Yaz has the sonic so it’ll make quick work of that door.’

‘Still cross though,’ the Doctor muttered, kicking the door with the tip of her boot as though that would make a difference.

‘Don’t beat yourself up over it, and I mean that literally,’ Ryan responded with a pointed look at her foot. ‘Now sit down, you’re hurt.’

‘S’nothing.’

‘You’re literally bleeding over the floor.’

The Doctor looked down at her leg in surprise, as though bleeding following an injury was the last thing she expected to happen.

‘Huh. Should have healed over by now.’

‘Don’t make me stand up and get you,’ Ryan warned her, although there was a twinkle in his eye.

‘Urgh, fine,’ the Doctor mumbled, sliding down the wall next to Ryan and sticking her legs out in front of her, copying his stance. ‘Happy?’

‘Yeah, all things considered,’ Ryan said, sitting up to inspect the laser burn on the Doctor’s leg, the result of a passing shot that had been meant for him, except she’d shoved him out of the way and taken the shot herself. He was just grateful the guard had terrible aim and hadn’t hit anything more important.

‘Why isn’t it healing?’ he asked her with a frown. The Doctor’s nature, and the fact that she was a law unto herself, often resulted in injury but it didn’t normally take this long to scab over and fade away.

‘Dunno, loads of reasons probably,’ she replied, rubbing her eyes tiredly and unwittingly giving him the answer.

‘When’s the last time you slept?’

She scoffed. ‘What is it with you lot and your obsession with sleep? You’ll waste your life away sleeping, and you don’t live for that long anyway.’

‘You told me once that sleeping improves the body’s ability to heal,’ Ryan told her, and she scowled at him.

‘I hate being quoted back to.’

‘Tough, cause I’m using your logic against you on this occasion. Have a nap, it’s not like we can go anywhere for the time being.’

The Doctor glared at him, but it wasn’t very convincing. She was pale and had large dark shadows under her normally bright eyes, her face more gaunt than he was used to. He hoped she’d be easy to convince. Whilst she may not have minded Yaz squeezing her to sleep he doubted she’d let him do it.

‘I don’t need as much sleep as you lot do, I’m fine.’

‘So by your own admission in that statement you do occasionally need sleep.’

The Doctor looked shocked and slightly offended. ‘Ryan!’

‘Look, you’re the one giving me all these comebacks. Now have a nap and hopefully when you wake up your leg will have healed and Yaz and Graham will have found us.’

She didn’t look sure, but he could tell that her body must have been on his side by the way she was slumped, exhausted against the wall.

‘What if you need me? Or if there’s an emergency?’

‘Then I’ll wake you up, pinky promise.’

He entwined his little finger with hers and she gave him a cautious look.

‘You promise?’

‘I pinky promise, you don’t break those,’ Ryan replied, serious despite the slightly bizarre conversation.

‘Fine,’ she mumbled, defeated. ‘Quick five minutes. But wake me up if you need me or you get bored. Or if you want to switch and have a snooze instead.’

‘I, unlike you, always make sure I get at least 7 hours a night,’ Ryan responded, and she stuck her tongue out at him before curling into a ball and falling asleep almost immediately.

She started to twitch about ten minutes later and Ryan gave her a cautious look. Her eyes were still shut but her brow was furrowed and her mouth was a thin line. Her leg jerked and she muttered something incomprehensible and he realised she must be having a nightmare, her fingers clenching and unclenching into tight fists.

‘Where’s Yaz when you need her,’ Ryan mumbled. This wasn’t the first time she’d had a nightmare in front of them, although usually Yaz had been there to ease her gently out of it. She swore they weren’t seeing each other, despite Graham and Ryan’s observations to the contrary, but they seemed to have a link that was stronger than they had with the two men.

‘Hey, you’re alright,’ Ryan said quietly, just in case she could hear him. He cautiously put a hand on her head and started to gently stroke the soft blonde hair. He’d seen Yaz do that plenty of times and it did seem to have an effect as she slowly started to relax.

‘I wish I knew what went on in there sometimes,’ Ryan said, watching her face as it slowly went slack. ‘I wish you’d talk to us about this stuff.’

When he was sure she was back in a deep sleep, he carefully lifted her head to rest it on his leg, worried about the tiny rocks that were littering the floor of the cell getting into her eyes or ears or cutting her face.

‘Hey, look at that,’ he said, feeling smug. ‘Your leg has stopped bleeding.'


 

Yaz and Graham found them about a couple of hours later, the Doctor snoozing with her head against Ryan’s leg and Ryan playing with a Rubik’s cube he’d found in her coat pocket.

‘Do we need to leave right now?’ he asked, motioning to the alien who hadn’t woken up when the door opened. ‘It took me ages to get her to sleep.’

Yaz snapped a photo on her phone and Graham’s smile was wide.





Chapter Text

The shift was its predictable brand of eventful, but nothing Yaz hadn’t dealt with before. It was still relatively early, but the pubs of Sheffield were already getting filled with the usual bunch of drunken underage teenagers vomiting in the streets, football fans clashing over the final score, young women on hen dos and young men on stags. Yaz was grateful for a change from parking disputes, but this still wasn’t quite her style.

‘Break it up, please,’ she said, standing in-between two young men about to get into a fist fight over a woman, who was stood by the side dithering and flapping her hands in the air anxiously. ‘Both of you go home and sleep it off, this doesn’t need to turn tasty.’

Fortunately, the two men agreed with her and backed away from each other, stalking off down the road in opposite directions, leaving the women to be fawned over and placated by her friends.

A drunken middle-aged man leaning against the door of the pub with a cigarette hanging out his mouth gave her a quick up-and-down, a smirk on his face. Yaz stared him down and he turned away, ashamed.

‘Got a drunk and disorderly down the road,’ Yaz’s partner said, leaning out the car with the radio in his hand. ‘Next pub along, last one then it should be home time. That’s enough for me.’

‘Same,’ Yaz said, climbing into the patrol car. ‘If anyone else blows fag smoke into my face I’m going to get really cross.’

The next pub was only a few minutes down the road and there was already two police cars outside it when they arrived, a small crowd having gathered around two men that were going for each other with broken bottles, insults and foul language spilling from their lips.

‘Khan, Rolland,’ one of the officers said, jogging over when he spotted them, shouting to make himself heard over the noise of the two men swearing at each other and the roar of the crowd. ‘You two stay back, we’re going in to separate them, be careful.’

Yaz stepped back into the street, her partner a few feet away from her, ready to grab or trip one of the men if they tried to run past her. The stench of alcohol was strong and it filled Yaz’s nostrils, curling her stomach as the other officers moved in to make a grab for the two men.

They apprehended them quickly, tackling them down to the ground and cuffing them, the broken bottles kicked far out of their reach. The crowd started to quickly disperse; more than likely not wanting to have to hang around and give statements. Not that the two men would likely remember who had said what or, indeed, who had thrown the first punch by the morning, judging from the state of them.

‘Glad they handled that one,’ Rolland said, letting out a sigh of relief when the two men were escorted into the back of two seperate police cars. ‘That could have turned nasty.’

Yaz nodded her assent and started to head back towards their car, a hot soak in the bath and her bed calling her.

‘Officer! Stop him! He’s got my bag!’ came a voice from behind them and Yaz spun round, only to be knocked aside as a burly man sprinted past her, crashing into her shoulder hard and knocking her to the ground.

Yaz heard shouts as someone managed to apprehend him and an angry roar as he was tackled to the floor by Rolland and one of the other officers, that familiar clink of handcuffs clicking into place around his wrists assuring Yaz that he’d been stopped.

‘Oh. Oh dear. Are you alright?’

A woman hovered anxiously above Yaz, who suddenly started to realise that she was in quite a lot of pain.

‘Hang on, Yaz!’ Rolland yelled from a few feet away, dragging the man up by his arms and stuffing him into the back of the patrol car. ‘Won’t be a sec, don’t try and move!’

Her shoulder throbbed something awful, and there was a pain blossoming on the back of Yaz’s skull that warned her she’d hit the ground hard.

‘Don’t worry, chick,’ a young woman said, crouching down beside Yaz and gently patting her leg. ‘We’ll get you up in a sec.’

Rolland sprinted back to her side and gently patted her cheek. ‘You in there, Yaz?’

‘Yeah,’ Yaz mumbled, embarrassed to find tears leaking out the corner of her eyes. Her vision was blurry and it looked like there were two Rolland’s leaning over her, something he obviously picked up on when he yelled for one of the other officers to come over.

‘Right, come on then, PC Khan,’ Perkins said, a big burly officer with the nickname ‘Sergeant Teddy Bear.’ At well over 6 foot tall and built like a rugby player, he was possibly the last person you wanted to meet down a dark alley. Of course, everyone at the station knew he had drawings from his children framed on his desk and a collection of small bears bearing the names of different countries around his computer.

‘Can you stand?’ Perkins asked, peering down at Yaz in concern.

‘Yes,’ Yaz stuttered, not bothering to pause and think for a second whether it was actually true or not.

‘Right then, I’ll stay on this side, you get on the other side, Rolland,’ Perkins said. ‘And let’s get Yaz back on her feet.’

They gently lifted her into a sitting position and Yaz immediately sagged back into their arms as her head spun and her vision greyed out for a second. Her arm burned and she heard a scream, realising a few seconds later it was her own.

Perkins sat behind her, propping her up against his big burly chest, his voice blurred and distorted as Yaz clung to the last shreds of her consciousness, barking orders to the other officers, telling the drunken patrons of the pubs of Sheffield to stay back, demanding a blanket from a flustered landlord and gently prodding through Yaz’s hair to find the bump on her head.

‘... dislocated shoulder I think, needs a doctor, better call an ambulance…’

‘Doctor,’ Yaz mumbled, smiling before the blackness took her.


‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come up with you?’ Rolland said anxiously, wringing his hands on the steering wheel.

‘I’m sure,’ Yaz told him, sternly. ‘They’ll all be asleep anyway.’

‘Someone will be with you thought, right?’ her partner protested. ‘The doctor didn't want you to be on your own.’

‘I’ve got that covered,’ Yaz said, waving her phone at him. ‘My friend is coming over, don’t even worry about it.’

The frown on Rolland’s face said that he most certainly was worrying about it, but Yaz was firm and he clambered out of the car to help her out before she could say no.

Pumped full of painkillers her newly relocated arm didn't hurt as much, and her head was now swimming in a different way, making her stumble as Yaz awkwardly clambered out of the car, her bad arm in a sling and the other hanging onto her partner.

‘Right. I’ll see you when I see you,’ Rolland said, trying to hide his worry. ‘Don’t come back until you’re ready, yeah?’

Yaz gave him a mock salute and he laughed at her, hugging her awkwardly before stepping back into the car and driving away.

Yaz looked up at her flat, and then at the familiar blue box parked in its usual space on the corner of the estate. She’d only half-lied about the friend that was coming over to keep her awake, and she couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her face as she stumbled towards the TARDIS and the familiar blue light shining on the top, the door clicking open for her before she’d even raised her hand to knock. Their last trip had almost turned disastrous when the TARDIS had flung herself out of the time vortex with a scream of her engines and a flurry of sparks, the Doctor quickly piloting them to Sheffield so she could power down her ship and begin repairs to find the problem.

The console room was dark but the ship raised the lights for her, obviously feeling better, enough to see as Yaz closed the door gently behind her, boots clacking against the metal grating on the floor. Yaz kicked her shoes off and awkwardly removed her socks, wiggling her toes, the floor warm against her feet.

There were wires and thick cables hanging spider-like around the room, the console humming and flashing, the lights dim compared to what they usually were. The Doctor was nowhere in sight, but her coat was laying over the controls and Yaz picked it up and draped it around her shoulders, cuddling into it and smelling her friend on the material. It was awkward with one arm in a sling but Yaz pulled it across her body as she headed down the corridors in search of her friend, the TARDIS helpfully lighting the panels beneath her feet to guide her on her way.

The Doctor was sprawled across a sofa in the library, head buried in a book, one leg draped over the back of the sofa in a truly bizarre position. She didn't spot Yaz and the younger woman could spy on her, unobserved from the doorway. Her blonde hair was sprawled out across a cushion and she, like Yaz, was also choosing to go barefoot this evening, the pink nail polish that Yaz had painted for her a few weeks prior starting to chip away. She was also wearing the unicorn vest top/shorts pyjama set that Yaz had bought her for Christmas (‘because of the rainbows, obviously’), and she looked on the verge of falling asleep, the book slowly dropping closer and closer to her face.

Yaz giggled and the Doctor sleepily raised her head, immediately springing to her feet when she saw the state Yaz was in, the book dropping forgotten onto the floor.

‘Yaz!’

‘I’m fine,’ Yaz mumbled, trying to bat the Doctor’s hands away when she reached for her.

‘You look like you lost a fight with a Judoon,’ the Doctor said, raising her hands to cup Yaz’s face, frowning at her.

Yaz giggled again and pressed her cheek into the warmth of the Doctor’s palm. ‘That’s a funny word,’ she mumbled, feeling pleasantly buzzed from the after-effects of the pain medication.

‘What happened?’ the blonde asked softly and Yaz realised, judging from the dark circles under her eyes and the slight blurriness of her gaze, that she was probably long overdue a good night’s sleep and was doing her usual trick of waiting until she passed out from sheer exhaustion. The first time she’d done that Graham had walked in on her slumped over the console and had let out a very high-pitched scream that they still weren’t letting him live down.

‘I was on shift, drunks in the pub,’ she said, attempting a one-armed shrug. ‘Got knocked down, s’all good though.’

‘Are you in pain?’ the Doctor asked, and Yaz shook her head.

‘Are you tired?’ Yaz asked. ‘You look tired. You should go to bed, I’ll be okay.’

‘Hmm,’ the Doctor mumbled, lifting Yaz’s hand to inspect the bruises and scrapes across her skin.

‘I’m fine,’ Yaz said, seeing the concerned look on her friend’s face.

The Doctor raised Yaz’s hand to her lips and kissed it softly.

Yaz’s heart did several backflips.

‘You sleeping here?’ the Doctor asked.

‘Yeah, if that’s okay. Everyone’s asleep in the flat, don’t want to risk waking them up and getting grief.’

The Doctor frowned. ‘Of course it’s okay, why wouldn’t it be okay? This is your home too.’

Yaz felt a warm feeling spread through her chest and she stepped forward and hugged the Doctor with her good arm, resting her chin on the other woman’s shoulder and trying not to make it obvious that she was inhaling the smell of her hair.

‘Aw, this is nice,’ the Doctor responded, wrapping her arms around Yaz’s waist. ‘What have I done to deserve this?’

‘Just for being you,’ Yaz mumbled into her neck, burying the impulse to kiss the soft skin that she’d never been this close to before.

The Doctor hmmed happily and held her tightly until she realised Yaz was actively dropping off on her shoulder, the arm that was tucked across the Doctor’s back falling to her side, her knees sagging.

‘Come on, bed time,’ the Doctor said softly. ‘You need a hand getting changed?’

‘Hmm,’ Yaz mumbled.

‘You happy if I stay with you tonight? To keep an eye on you like the doctor said?’

‘Definitely,’ Yaz said, realising a second too late that she’d said it way too quickly and with too much enthusiasm, but the Doctor only laughed.

‘Come on,’ the Doctor said, taking Yaz’s hand and leading her down the corridor towards the bedrooms. ‘Your clothes are covered in blood.’

‘You need to get out of those clothes,’ Yaz said, laughing at the memory. Ryan had ribbed her afterwards and her ‘poor choice of words.’

I mean, you could have bought her a drink first, he’d said.

In Yaz’s bedroom, the Doctor sat her down on the bed and started rooting through her drawers to find her some spare clothes, flinging items she deemed ‘not comfy enough’ to the floor and eventually emerging triumphant with a pair of Yaz’s favourite flannel PJs.

‘Right, come on then. Is that my coat?’

‘It smells like you,’ Yaz said, smiling happily, and the Doctor chuckled.

When she made no effort to get changed, the Doctor tentatively stood Yaz up so she could carefully unbutton her trousers and slide them down her legs. Yaz hadn’t wanted to go back to the station to get changed after visiting the hospital, and she still had her work trousers and shirt on, her police vest somewhere in the back of Rolland’s car.

The Doctor knelt on the floor with the PJ bottoms so Yaz could step into them and she shimmied them up Yaz’s legs, Yaz holding onto the Doctor’s shoulder for balance. When the Doctor stood up they realised how close they were stood to each other, and Yaz tried desperately hard not to stare at her friend’s mouth, her lips so soft and inviting.

‘Keep your arm still, okay?’ the Doctor said, softly. ‘I’m just going to unfasten the sling.’

Once the sling was removed, the Doctor very carefully unbuttoned Yaz’s blood-stained shirt and slipped it off her, one arm at a time, leaving Yaz stood in her bra trying to stop herself from looking down the Doctor’s vest top.

‘Bra on or off?’ the Doctor asked, and Yaz almost died on the spot.

‘Off,’ she whispered, voice dry. She couldn’t wear her bra to bed, that would be daft, not to mention uncomfortable.

If the Doctor was nervous she didn't show it and she deliberately kept her gaze aimed somewhere over Yaz’s shoulder while she unclipped the bra and slid it down Yaz’s arms, letting it drop to the floor.

Just as the Doctor was about to lift Yaz’s arm to ease her fingers into the sleeve of her pyjama top, Yaz closed the distance between them and rested her head on the Doctor’s shoulder, sighing into her neck, her good arm lightly holding the Doctor’s waist as she closed her eyes and breathed in the soft smell of the Doctor’s skin.

‘Um, Yaz?’ the Doctor whispered quietly, very much aware that her friend was pressing her naked torso against her.

‘Top later, hug first,’ Yaz mumbled, and the Doctor carefully put her hands on Yaz’s waist, being mindful of where she was putting her hands.

Yaz could hear the beating of the Doctor’s hearts speed up and she couldn’t help herself from tapping out the rhythm on her friend’s back. Now matter how many times she heard that familiar 1,2,3,4 rhythm it just sounded so alien to her. Aside from her love of custard creams, and other bizarre dietary habits, the Doctor could easily pass herself off as a human and it surprised Yaz sometimes just how different they really were.

The Doctor had tensed in her arms and Yaz pulled back to look at her in confusion.

‘Why were you doing that?’ the Doctor asked, and Yaz made a huh? sound in response. ‘That rhythm,’ the Doctor explained urgently, seeming almost frightened.

‘Your heartbeats,’ Yaz said with a smile, tapping those same four beats on the tip of the Doctor’s nose with her finger. ‘Makes me happy.’

‘Oh good,’ the Doctor said with a relieved smile. ‘I was worried for a sec. There was an incident a few years ago, everyone got subconsciously hypnotised to vote for Harold Saxon using that rhythm. It was a right mess.’

‘I think my parents voted for him,’ Yaz said with a frown, promptly followed by a large yawn that she didn't have time to cover with her hand.

‘Right. Come on,’ the Doctor said, holding out the pyjama top and pointedly not looking at Yaz’s chest. ‘Get a shift on.’

The Doctor seemed happy to settle in the chair by Yaz’s bed with a blanket over her knees but Yaz had other plans and make an unhappy sound when the Doctor made a protest, successfully persuading her into getting under the covers, good shoulder pressed against the Doctor’s side with her head on her chest, bad arm carefully tucked across her friend’s waist.

‘You comfy?’ the Doctor whispered in the dark, once she’d turned off the lights with a gentle snap of her fingers.

‘Yes,’ Yaz whispered back, fingers lacing with the Doctor’s as her friend sighed happily, turning her head to press a gentle kiss to the top of Yaz’s head.

‘I’m glad you came to find me,’ she whispered. ‘I’d have been worried if you’d turned up tomorrow with your arm in a slung and no prior warning.’

‘Can’t give myself cuddles, can I?’ Yaz mumbled sleepily, that one 1,2,3,4 beat echoing in her ear as she maneuvered her head over the Doctor’s chest to hear it better. ‘I’m glad you like the pyjamas.’

‘I love the pajamas,’ the Doctor smiled, closing her eyes and breathing out gently as she felt that unfamiliar but welcome allure of sleep start to pull her under.

‘Doctor?’ Yaz said softly, so quietly that it was almost imperceptible. Her head was still swimming with the pain medication and she felt brave suddenly. As a Muslim alcohol was considered haram, but medication was okay if it was required, and Yaz was wondering if this is how it felt to be drunk. She could feel her inhibitions gently floating away and while she knew she should really keep her mouth shut, she just couldn’t ignore the little voice inside telling her to speak her mind now before it was too late.

‘Yes, Yaz?’ came the equally quiet response from the Doctor.

‘I love you.’

There was a pause, and Yaz suddenly felt panicked tears prickling at the corners of her eyes, but the Doctor only rolled onto her side to face Yaz, pulling her in to hold her against her chest, planting another of those soft kisses to her forehead.

‘I love you too.’






Chapter Text

‘A date?’

The Doctor popped her head up from behind the console, grinning excitedly at Ryan. She had her heavy leather apron on and her welding mask perched atop her head, blonde hair sticking out at all angles.

‘Yeah, I met her ages ago but we’ve landed on the day we were supposed to go out,’ Ryan said, shuffling his feet. He hadn’t wanted to say anything about this mystery woman but Yaz had forced his hand when she’d suggested a bowling alley trip that evening, since the TARDIS would be shut down while the Doctor upgraded the systems and they’d be in Sheffield overnight.

‘What’s her name? I love names,’ the Doctor asked, grin still on her face.

Graham thought this was ironic, considering she didn't really have one.

‘Alice,’ Ryan replied. ‘That’s alright, isn’t it? We’re not going anywhere this evening, right?’

‘TARDIS will be shut down till the morning. Bring her bowling with us! I love bowling. I used to be really good at it. Course I had super long legs then so I might misjudge the distance now and throw too early. It’s all about maths with bowling.’

Graham didn’t mention he’d been on the bowling team in his thirties. He’d seen the Doctor throw stuff and she always hit her mark; which was confusing considering she was always tripping and flying all over the place. If he mentioned he used to bowl she’d take it as a challenge and things would get competitive, and possibly violent, very quickly.

‘I think we were going to go out for a drink or something,’ Ryan said. ‘But I’ll see you lot in the morning, yeah? Don’t you dare leave without me.’

‘Wouldn’t dream of it,’ the Doctor said, earning herself an annoyed look from Graham who she had, of course, left behind in order to chase a Dalek around. ‘What? I came back for you didn’t I?’

‘Try not to miss me too much,’ Ryan said with a wave as he headed out the door. The TARDIS was back in Graham’s front room but she’d managed to miss landing on his new chair on this occasion.

‘Just us three then, is it, Doc? Yaz?’ Graham said, looking at the two women.

‘Power of three, Graham,’ the Doctor said with a wink, and he felt as though he wasn’t privy to some inside joke that Yaz clearly didn’t recognise either. It was like that sometimes with the Doc, as though she forgot that her new friends hadn’t experienced all the things that she had and her references sometimes threw them a curveball.

‘What’s the plan?’ Yaz asked, watching the Doctor as she flipped a few switches and frowned at the console when the ship made a groaning sound, as though she was complaining with the Doctor’s constant fiddling around.

‘I’m going to be buried in here for the next few hours, possibly actually buried if I hit the wrong thing and she throws a tantrum, so don’t worry about hanging around and watching me. Go for tea at Yaz’s! You can’t beat tea at Yaz’s.’

‘I’ll put the quizzes on then,’ Graham said. ‘You want me to leave the doors open for you, Doc? Considering we are in my front room and you can probably see the TV from that angle.’

‘Ooh yes, put on that show with the guy that looks like you.’


Yaz came to collect them both later that evening after having successfully evaded all questions from her family regarding where, exactly, she’d been these past days. Of course for her it was more like months at this point, but the Doctor was getting better at landing the TARDIS closer to the day she’d left and the gaps in-between were narrowing each time. She’d also managed to sneakily wash her clothes (the washing machine in the TARDIS was too complex to even consider using, it either washed your clothes or, as had happened to Ryan, set fire to them) and had packed a bag with clean ones, sneaking it out of the flat by dropping it out of the window and retrieving it once she was outside.

Graham was back in the TARDIS doing the crossword with the Doctor who only had her feet visible, her boots sticking out of the hole in the floor that she’d managed to both create and then crawl into, wires and tools scattered around her.

‘Right - next one. 10 down: successor to Cleopatra. 9 letters ending in “n”.’

‘Caesarion!’ the Doctor’s muffled voice called up to him. ‘Her eldest son. Lovely singing voice, really bad breath.’

‘Wasn’t there some dispute that he was even Caesar’s biological son?’ Yaz asked, peering down into the hole to try and spot her friend.

‘Yaz is back! Yes, excellent point. Loads of people, including Caesar, he was a suspicious bloke, thought that Caesarion wasn’t his son but Caesar did let him use his name so the jury is still out on that one as far as history is concerned.’

‘Obviously you know the answer though, right Doc?’ Graham asked.

She scoffed. ‘They were definitely father and son. Had exactly the same nose.’

There was a pause and the Doctor’s legs flailed as she unsuccessfully tried to manoeuvre herself out of the hole in the TARDIS’s floor.

‘Um…’

‘I got it,’ Yaz said with a grin, grabbing the Doctor’s legs and pulling until her friend popped out from the floor, oil all over her face. She stood up and brushed herself down, flicking a few switches on the console experimentally, the ship purring under her touch. The lights dimmed and a light on the console started to flash, a countdown appearing on the screen.

‘Right, she’ll be seaworthy by tomorrow morning,’ the Doctor said with a grin. ‘Shall we go?’

Yaz gave her a quick once over. Aside from the oil, which Yaz was now realising wasn’t just localised to her face and pretty much covered the rest of her, she was also filthy from crawling around in the depths of her ship and her usually bright blonde hair was streaked with black. She looked like she’d been cleaning a chimney.

‘Maybe a shower first would be a good idea…’ Yaz suggested.

The Doctor frowned. ‘You don’t need a shower, Yaz, you look great!’


Bowling was as predictably competitive as Graham had anticipated, but they’d still managed to have a good time and were cheerfully walking down the high street back to the house, the Doctor rubbing her elbow. She’d learnt the hard way to make sure your fingers fit the holes properly when she’d flung the ball (and co-incidentally, herself) down the lane, landing painfully on her side to the drunken roars of the group next to her.

She’d handled it pretty well, in fairness.

‘Ere! That’s Ryan and Alice!’ Graham said as they spotted the two young people leaving the pub, heading down the road towards the bus stop.

‘Aw she looks nice,’ Yaz said approvingly. ‘It looks like they’ve had a nice evening.’

‘We’ll have to go bowling again and invite her next time, right Doc? Doc?’

She was looking after them walking down the street with a strange expression on her face, her nose turned upwards, almost as though she was sniffing the air.

‘Everything alright?’ Yaz asked, shooting Graham a puzzled glance.

‘Not sure…’ the Doctor responded slowly. ‘She smells… off.’

‘Off? You mean she’s past her sell-by date?’ Graham asked.

‘Not sure,’ the Doctor said again, already walking off towards the two of them with her nose in the air, giving Yaz the impression of a dog who’d picked up a scent. If she suddenly dropped to the ground and started sniffing the floor Yaz wouldn’t be surprised.

‘Hold on! We can’t follow my grandson on the first date he’s had in months!’ Graham protested.

‘Course we can!’ the Doctor replied. ‘Just don’t make it obvious.’

‘Doc!’

The sonic came out a few steps down the road and the Doctor frowned at the readings, quickly pulling her two friends behind a parked car, ducking down when Alice turned around, as though sensing someone was following them.

‘What are we doing?’ Yaz hissed at her. ‘We can’t follow them around!’

‘She’s not human, Yaz,’ the Doctor insisted. ‘Look at the sonic!’

The sonic displayed a bunch of squiggly lines and wasn’t much help to Yaz.

‘Wait, are you saying my grandson has gone on a date with an alien?’ Graham protested, face contorted in disgust.

‘Oi!’ the Doctor said, cross. ‘Nothing wrong with that! Although there might be something wrong in this instance. I think she might be one of the Volath. Nasty bunch. Big on brains. And I don’t mean that they like clever people, I mean they like brains. Eating them, specifically.’

‘Wait, they’re zombies?’ Yaz said.

‘Sort of, yeah. Except they’re not as messy as zombies. They prefer to stick a straw in your ear and drain your brain out that way.’

‘That is disgusting,’ Graham said, pulling a face.

‘And she’s with Ryan!’ Yaz said.

‘I know, he doesn’t half know how to pick ‘em.’

The Doctor followed the two of them down the road, Graham and Yaz behind her. They were practically crawling on their hands and knees behind rows of parked cars and Graham grumbled about his sore knees and bad back, the Doctor shushing him.

Alice and Ryan stopped at the bus stop and Alice tucked her hair behind her ear, gazing adoringly up at Ryan. The three watchers had run out of cars to hide behind so the Doctor dove into a bush instead, pulling the other two in after her.

‘Urgh I’ve got mud on my new jeans,’ Yaz complained.

‘... really nice evening, I’d love to do it again,’ Alice was saying, her voice light and soft.

‘Yeah, me too,’ Ryan replied. ‘It was nice to finally get to hang out with you.’

‘Finally?’ Alice said with a breezy laugh. ‘Someone’s keen! We only arranged this date a couple of days ago.’

‘Oh, yeah,’ Ryan said, quickly backtracking. ‘Felt like longer.’

‘That’s so sweet,’ Alice said with a soft smile.

‘Like you,’ Ryan replied.

Yaz cringed and Graham put his head in his hands, unable to watch.

‘So, what shall we do next time?’ Ryan asked. ‘We could go see a movie?’

‘Hmm, I’d rather not do a movie date. I’d be too distracted,’ Alice said with a smirk and Yaz buried her face in the Doctor's shoulder cause she knew where this was going.

‘Distracted by what?’ Ryan asked, like the oblivious idiot he was.

‘You alright, Yaz?’ the Doctor whispered.

‘No,’ she replied. ‘Tell me when it’s all over.’

‘Well movie dates are only for one thing,’ Alice said, stepping closer.

‘Oh yeah?’ Ryan asked. ‘What’s that?’

‘Lemme show you.’

And then they were kissing and the Doctor, Yaz and Graham all wore matching looks of disgust.

‘If you hadn’t told us she wanted to eat his brain, I might have thought that was sweet,’ Graham complained.

‘I can’t look,’ Yaz said, face still pressed into the Doctor’s coat. ‘Is it over yet?’

‘Nope,’ the Doctor said, winching. ‘They’re still going.’

‘You know, we don’t have to end it now,’ Alice purred. ‘If you wanted, we could go back to my place, or yours.’

‘I can’t unsee this, Doc,’ Graham said, looking panicked.

‘None of us can, Graham,’ Yaz said. She’d taken her head off the Doctor’s shoulder and was instead watching through her fingers.

‘I’d love that,’ Ryan said. ‘Would yours be alright? My house is pretty full at the moment.’

‘“Pretty full”’? Alice said with a laugh. ‘Poor choice of words, cause that’s what I would love to feel -’

‘NOPE!’ the Doctor yelled, jumping up from behind the bush, Alice and Ryan jumping back in surprise. ‘I’m sorry, I can’t. I tried, but I can’t.’

‘Doctor?’ Ryan cried in surprise, then his eyes widened when he saw Yaz and Graham guiltily stand up as well. ‘Where you lot spying…?’

‘Wait, did you say her name was “Doctor”?’ Alice asked, suddenly looking worried.

‘Yep, the one and only. Now stay there and oh come on don’t start running off I’ve had like five portions of chips and four slush puppies.’

The Doctor started sprinting off after the fast-disappearing Alice and Graham and Yaz stood there awkwardly, looking sheepishly at Ryan.

‘So,’ Yaz said, attempting a guilty smile. ‘How did it go?’

‘Did you lot follow me?’ Ryan asked, furious.

‘No we didn't!’ Graham protested immediately. ‘The Doc did, she said Alice smelt funny and she went all bloodhound on us.’

‘She wanted to eat your brain,’ Yaz explained, like that would smooth things over.

‘I can’t have one bloody normal date with you lot around,’ Ryan complained, flinging his arms up in the air. ‘No wonder I’ve not had a girlfriend for months.’

‘Well with lines like that it’s hardly surprising! I mean you really need to get better material, son,’ Graham protested, and Ryan glared at him.

The Doctor came back then, out of breath, leaning forwards with her hands on her knees.

‘She can really move!’ she panted.

‘Everything alright, Doctor?’ Yaz prompted her when no further information was forthcoming.

‘What? Oh, yeah. I caught up with her, gave her the whole “Earth is protected” spiel and she teleported off the planet. Not bad for an evening’s work. Good job, fam. Hey, Ryan! Sorry about your date. She would totally have killed you though.’

‘Can we just go back to the TARDIS and forget any of this ever happened, please,’ Ryan asked, head in his hands.

‘Honestly, that whole scene is seared into my brain, and I’m not enjoying it anymore than you are,’ Graham said with a shake of his head.

‘Look on the bright side,’ the Doctor said cheerily, tucking her arm across Ryan’s shoulder. ‘You managed to bag a Volath! That’s impressive. They’re very picky eaters. Ooh, speaking of which, did I ever tell you about the time I met a Plasmavore on the moon? She had a straw too…’







Chapter Text

Yaz woke up in the night with a headache, her throat dry and sore.

She coughed experimentally, wincing when it hurt, and sat up in her bed, yawning. It felt late, or early, and she reached out for the glass on her nightstand, groaning when she realised it was empty. Her head was still sore from their encounter with the hostile planet and she breathed slowly as she swung her legs over the side of the bed, glass in hand. The Doctor had offered to take them all home for a few days but had been met with a resounding ‘no’ from the three humans. Home wasn’t where they wanted to be right now. Around each other wasn’t necessarily where they wanted to be either, but in the general vicinity of the Doctor definitely was. She’d become their safe place, their anchor, their new best friend. No problem was too difficult to solve, no question too hard to answer (unless it was a question about her personal life) and she listened to them with her ears wide open, always ready to offer advice.

Yaz crossed the floor of her room and opened the door, blinking sleepily in the low lights of the corridor. She tugged her t-shirt down over her underwear, not that anyone would catch her wandering around half-dressed at this time of night, even the Doctor had mentioned she was exhausted and Yaz had heard her pottering about in the room next to hers earlier in the evening.

The bathroom was at the end of the corridor and Yaz pushed the door open, yawning, her glass clutched tightly in her hand as she felt around for the taps.

‘Why are the lights off?’ she muttered. Usually the TARDIS raised the lights when they walked into a dark room but today they remained stubbornly off. Yaz felt along the wall for the switch and flicked it on, instantly blinded as the harsh light assaulted her retinas.

‘AH!’

Yaz shrieked and spun around, backing herself up against the sink, glass braced in her hand ready to defend herself from…

… the Doctor in the bath, apparently.

The Doctor blinked sleepily at her. ‘Oh, only you. Hey, Yaz.’

‘Um -’

Yaz wasn’t really sure what to say. The Doctor was leaning over the side of the bath, mercifully covered in bubbles, the water splashing gently around her as she moved.

‘Why are you having a bath in the dark?’

‘It’s relaxing,’ she replied.

‘And in the dark…?’

‘Headache.’

‘Oh.’

There was a silence, in which Yaz realised she was still only in her t-shirt and underwear and probably looked a right state with her bed hair, makeup smudged across her face from her half-assed attempt at removing it while bone tired.

‘How’s your head?’ the Doctor asked casually, as though one of them wasn’t completely naked and in the bath and the other wasn’t half-naked and currently having a gay panic.

‘Um, not great,’ Yaz replied.

‘Wanna join me? I put some Lurien bubble bath in here, great for headaches,’ the Doctor said, poking her foot out of the water.

Yaz was pretty sure she actually felt her heart stop.

‘You want me to join you?’

‘Yeah, if you want.’

‘In the bath.’

‘Where else?’

‘Naked.’

The Doctor frowned. ‘Well I am. Humans don’t take baths with clothes on do they? And if so - why?’

‘Um, no, we don’t.’ Yaz shuffled her feet uncertainly.

‘Hey, just a suggestion,’ the Doctor said, leaning back into the water and closing her eyes again.

Yaz filled her glass up and downed the fresh water, hoping it would lessen the pain in her head. The Doctor had warned her earlier in the evening that even though their exposure to the planet had been brief, headaches were more than likely and Yaz should definitely let the Doctor know if she suddenly got the urge to murder someone.

Yaz pressed her fingers to her temples and massaged the skin gently, trying to press away the headache building there. She felt exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go back to bed, but she wasn’t sure she’d be able to fall asleep easily with her head pounding. And the Doctor looked so cosy in the bathtub. She side-eyed the Doctor, only to receive a side-eye in response that made the Doctor chuckle quietly.

‘Urgh, fine,’ Yaz said. ‘Close your eyes.’

‘You lot are so prim and proper.’

‘Eyes, Doctor.’

‘Fine, fine. I won’t look.’

Yaz stripped her t-shirt off and over her head and pulled her underwear down, stepping out of them and kicking them somewhere under the sink. She twisted her hair up into a bun and crossed the room quickly, climbing into the bath. Although ‘bath’ was the wrong word, it was the size of a hot tub.

The TARDIS turned the lights off and Yaz sighed as she sank down into the warm water. It was the perfect temperature and the bubble bath smelt amazing, like a cross between lavender and vanilla.

‘Can I open them again now?’ the Doctor asked.

‘Go for it.’

They were silent for a long while and Yaz wondered if the Doctor had fallen asleep again. In the dark, Yaz realised the bubbles had blue swirls of light floating in them and she could already feel the pain in her head starting to ease away, the water soothing her sore muscles and calming her racing mind.

‘Better?’ came a soft voice in the dim light, and Yaz hummed happily in response.

‘You can put some music on if you want.’

‘Nah, this is great.’

There was a soft splash as the Doctor lifted her feet out of the water to inspect her toes, wriggling them as if she was checking they were still attached to the rest of her foot before tucking them back under the water again and sinking down, closing her eyes.

Even in the dim light of the bathroom, Yaz could see that the Doctor looked tired, her body sagging into the tub. She’d lost some of her energy, her internal spark dimming slightly as though she needed to recharge, and Yaz felt a sudden urge to hug her. It was rare to see her so vulnerable, so still and quiet. Yaz felt as though she was intruding on a peaceful moment, yet felt grateful that she’d been allowed the opportunity to see this softer side of the Doctor that she usually kept hidden.

‘I can hear you thinking over here,’ the Doctor mumbled, and Yaz smiled.

‘I’m thinking about you.’

She opened an eye to smile expectantly at Yaz. ‘Good things?’

‘Always.’

‘Hmm.’

She closed the eye again and sighed, fingers playing with the water, the ends of her hair floating around her face as she tilted her head back.

Yaz moved over to her, pressing herself against her side and dropping her head onto the Doctor’s shoulder, hand finding hers and squeezing gently.

‘Oh hey,’ the Doctor mumbled, half asleep, leaning her head against Yaz’s. ‘Feeling bolder are we?’

‘Couldn’t help myself,’ Yaz replied, closing her eyes. ‘Thought you deserved a hug, after today.’

‘I think we all do,’ she replied, tucking her arm around Yaz’s shoulder. It felt intimate, although not in the way Yaz would have expected it to, considering they were both naked, and the sound of the Doctor’s peaceful breaths as she fell asleep again, the smell of the bubble bath and the warmth of her arm around Yaz’s shoulder were enough to send her to sleep as well, the TARDIS lightly humming around them. Just before she drifted off she realised that she hadn’t even noticed her headache disappearing, suddenly becoming aware it had gone completely.


She was woken a short time later by a light shake on her arm and blinked awake to see the Doctor kneeling in front of her, out of the tub now, dressing in a short robe and holding a towel. It was still dark in the room and Yaz found it difficult to bring herself out of sleep, the Doctor’s eyes soft and warm in front of her.

‘Come on, Yaz, out you get before you prune,’ she said softly, and Yaz stood up, any previous qualms about nudity forgotten as she gratefully took the proffered towel and stepped out of the bath, the Doctor’s hand on her back steadying her as they left the room and made their way down the corridor, Yaz leaning heavily against her friend out of tiredness more than anything else.

The Doctor paused outside Yaz’s bedroom door and Yaz tugged her in behind her, closing the door and stepping out of the towel, pulling a clean t-shirt over her head as she pulled the Doctor towards her bed.

‘S’alright,’ she said quietly, clambering under the sheets. ‘I don’t bite.’

The Doctor looked unsure but didn't protest as she climbed in too, laying on her back with her hands folded neatly on her stomach.

‘We can cuddle, if you want,’ Yaz mumbled, already feeling herself begin to drift off again. ‘S’meant to help with headaches and stuff cause of the endorphins. Kissing too. And, you know, the other thing.’

‘The other thing?’

The Doctor sounded confused and Yaz smiled and curled under her blanket, the room dark and the Doctor’s body warm next to her. It was peaceful in the room and quiet, and Yaz felt as though she was back with her friends having sleepovers and whispering secrets to each other in the dark.

‘Yeah, you know.’

‘I don’t think I do, Yaz. We can kiss if you want though, I’ve not done that in this body yet, dunno if I even still enjoy it. Always used to.’

‘You’ve never been kissed?’ Yaz said, rolling onto her side to face her, the Doctor doing the same.

‘I have! Loads of times! Just not in this body. I’m still reasonably new you know.’

‘Do you want me to kiss you?’

A pause while the Doctor considered this, Yaz hardly daring to breathe as the silence between them stretched on.

‘Yeah, I’d like that,’ the Doctor whispered quietly, wriggling imperceptibly closer to her friend as Yaz leaned forwards without hesitation, fingers already reaching for her.

The Doctor’s lips were soft under hers, warm, gentle and soothing. Yaz curled into her, an arm around her waist, a hand in her hair. It was everything a first kiss was supposed to be. Soft and caring and passionate and her body felt as though it were all lit up, despite the lateness of the hour and the tired fog in her mind.

It was when the Doctor went slack under her and her breathing slowed that Yaz realised she was asleep, and she pressed one last kiss to her cheek before bringing the duvet up over them, the Doctor subconsciously pulling her closer as she succumbed to her own tiredness.

‘Goodnight, Doctor,’ she whispered, her friend mumbling something incomprehensible in response and sighing in her sleep.

There you go, Yaz thought to herself as her eyes slid shut. Today wasn’t all bad.  

 

 

Chapter Text

‘Don’t you want to see your friends?’ Trine asked.

‘Our friends?’ the Doctor looked confused, looking uncertainly towards Graham and Yaz.

‘They got here when you did.’

The breeze even feels real, the Doctor mused as they stepped outside, following Trine to the end of the garden where sheets were billowing in the wind. She could hear two voices talking softly to each other and she felt her hearts speed up in her chest. She knew that voice, both of those voices, and judging from the look on Graham’s face he recognised one of them too.

Wordlessly, the Doctor lifted her arm to move aside the sheet.

‘Hello, sweetie,’ her wife said, eyes shining.

‘I don’t understand, Doc?’ Graham whispered from beside her when Grace smiled at him.

‘Um, Doctor?’ Yaz said from behind her. ‘Who is that?’

‘You look incredible,’ River said, eyes following each curve of the Doctor’s new body. ‘I thoroughly approve. You’re absolutely beautiful.’

‘Doc? Is this real?’ Graham said, Grace holding his hands tightly in her own.

‘I’m not sure,’ the Doctor said quietly. ‘But I don’t think that’s really Grace, and this isn’t really River.’

‘Who’s River?’ Yaz asked.

‘You’ve not told them about me?’ River said. ‘It must be after then, after Darillium, after the library. Gosh how many faces have you had since Eyebrows? I could have sworn thirteen was the limit.’

‘How are you here?’ the Doctor whispered. ‘How is this possible? You died in the library.’

‘I know,’ River said. ‘I remember. I also remember Trenzalore. I said goodbye to you, and then I woke up here.’

‘But that’s not possible.’

‘I don’t make up the rules of time, my love,’ River said with a gentle smile. ‘That’s your area.’

‘Doc?’

The look on Graham’s face almost broke her heart. He wanted this to be real, wanted so much for this to be real. But he was sensible, he knew better, she could see it in his face. The tentative hope that was being squashed down by so much doubt.

‘Is everything alright?’ Yaz asked, stepping closer towards the Doctor, tentatively reaching for her hand.

‘Even as a woman, you still attract the pretty girls,’ River said with a soft smile. ‘What happened to Clara? I liked her.’

The Doctor’s face hardened and she turned and walked away without another word, leaving Yaz and Graham stood there, unsure if they should go after her or not.

‘Give her a second,’ River told them gently. ‘She’s always found showing her emotions a little difficult.’

‘Who are you?’ Yaz asked. ‘I think I saw a picture of you on her desk once, but she didn't say who you were.’

‘I’m her wife,’ River said with a smile. ‘Professor River Song.’


‘I need to get this open so I can get us out of here but urgh it’s not working!’ the Doctor said, smacking the sonic against the palm of her hand and trying again as the room vibrated beneath their feet.

‘What is she on about?’ Trine said, squeezing Eric’s hand.

‘Graham, love. Come on, you know it’s me.’

‘No it’s not!’ the Doctor said, spinning around. ‘You’re not Grace, and you’re not Trine, and you’re not River. You’re all fakes, all of you. You’re the Solitract’s attempt at keeping us here but it won’t work, we’re incompatible with your universe.’

‘She’s completely mad,’ Trine said.

‘Graham, come on, you know it’s me,’ Grace said gently. ‘Don’t leave me.’

‘Graham please, listen to me, that’s not Grace. The Solitract wants you to stay here so she’s taken a form you won’t reject but you have to! Just as I have to. Please, Graham. You know that’s not really your wife.’

‘Doc, please -’

‘It’s not her, Graham. I’m sorry. And that’s not River. They’re fakes, preying on our emotions, on our love for them so we’d want to stay but we can’t. We’re not safe here.’

‘That’s no way to speak to your wife,’ River said playfully, and the Doctor spun round, fury in her eyes.

‘My wife is dead,’ she spat at her. ‘She died a long time ago saving millions of people. It was beautiful, and heartbreaking, but she’s gone now. How dare you disrespect her memory and her sacrifice by pretending to be her?’

‘Sweetie…’ the woman reached out a hand to touch her face but the Doctor slapped it away.

‘You have no right,’ she said. ‘None at all.’

‘I didn't know you were married, Doc,’ Graham said quietly.

‘I was, a long time ago,’ she replied, kneeling in front of him and taking his hands. ‘But she’s gone. That woman isn’t my River, just like that woman isn’t your Grace. They’re just copies, designed to keep us here, to prevent us from wanting to leave. They’re not real, they’re furniture with a pulse!’

‘Not real?’ River said. ‘I could tell you your name if you want, if that would convince you.’

‘Doctor?’ Yaz said, uncertainly.

River stepped closer towards them. ‘You told me your name, do you remember when? It wasn’t at our wedding. It was on Darillium. On the last day, when you knew I had to go to the library you whispered your name in my ear. You said I would need to know it for the future and I cried because it was so beautiful, the most beautiful gift you could possibly have given me.’

She bent down and whispered something in the Doctor’s ear, and the blonde’s face went white as a sheet, but she still didn't look at River, didn't acknowledge her.

‘Doc,’ Graham said, squeezing her hands. The Doctor hadn’t taken her eyes off Graham’s face, but he could see how much ignoring River was hurting her.

‘You told me you loved me,’ River continued. ‘That was the first time you actually said it, then you told me your name and you kissed me and it was a perfect moment. We could have more of those, if you wanted.’

‘We don’t want to hurt you, love,’ Grace said, a hand on Graham’s shoulder. ‘Don’t you see? We just want to be with the people we love again, River and I.’

‘Doctor,’ Yaz said, kneeling down and taking the Doctor’s hand. ‘Look at me.’

Her eyes were wide and shining and Yaz could see she was holding back the tears but she looked at Yaz, mouth trembling slightly, saying nothing. Yaz moved forward so she could whisper into her ear, squeezing her hand.

‘Is this real? Tell me now, if you think there might even be a tiny chance that this is real. Because if that really is Grace, and that really is your wife, then we should help them, shouldn’t we?’

A tear slid down the Doctor’s cheek and she shook her head. ‘They’re not real, Yaz,’ she said. ‘They can’t be. I would see it. Them being here, even in a parallel universe, would create ripples across time and I’d be able to see it but there’s nothing. Not even an echo. It isn’t them.’

‘I trust you,’ Yaz said softly. ‘Always.’

‘Maybe one day I’ll do something to earn that trust,’ the Doctor replied quietly, and Yaz wiped away the tear with her thumb.

‘You do it every day,’ she said gently.

Yaz stood up and looked at Grace and River, both still stood there waiting for a response, waiting for their partners to admit they were wrong, that they were real, that they wanted to stay.

‘I don’t know who either of you are,’ Yaz said firmly. ‘But what you’re doing is cruel and unkind and disrespectful to the memories of the women you’re impersonating.’

‘Yaz, love -’

‘No, you’re not Grace. Grace was a brilliant shining superstar. And I don’t know who you are, River, but the Doctor can see straight through you and I trust her explicitly so how dare you manipulate her emotions like that? When all she has to offer is love?’

River and Grace raised their hands and Yaz was flung backwards, through the portal, landing on the hard ground with a yelp, just catching the Doctor’s voice yelling ‘Yaz!’ in the distance.

The room shuddered again, the Doctor falling to one side, barely keeping herself upright.

‘Please, love,’ Grace said to Graham. ‘Please, stay with me, we could be so happy here.’

‘Ryan’s in danger, love. I gotta go look for him.’

‘He’s a smart lad he’ll be fine.’

Graham looked down at the Doctor, still kneeling in front of him and she looked up at him, tear stains on her face. He put a hand on her shoulder and nodded at her, standing and helping her to her feet.

‘You were so close, Grace,’ he said to her. ‘So close. But my wife loves Ryan and she wouldn’t let me leave him in danger. The Doc’s right, you’re not really her.’

So Grace flung him through the portal, leaving the Doctor, River, Eric and Trine.

‘I can’t leave her,’ Eric said, voice breaking. ‘Even if she isn’t real, if she isn’t my wife. She’s real enough to me.’

‘I know,’ the Doctor said quietly. She looked at River and Trine, shoulders down, defeated. ‘Fine, congratulations. Eric wants you. Just one thing, this world is falling apart. I reckon you can only keep one of us, you sure he’s your best option? Cause the Solitract doesn’t want a husband. You want a whole universe. Someone who has seen it all and that’s me. I’ve lived longer, seen more, loved more and lost more. I can share it all with you, anything you want to know about what you never had. Cause he’s an idiot with a daughter who needs him, so let him go and I will give you everything.’

And Trine raised her hand, and pushed Eric through the portal, leaving the Doctor alone with the two women, the room shaking violently around them.

‘Come on then,’ the Doctor said quietly. ‘You’ve got me now. You can stop being Trine and River. Let me see who you really look like.’


The TARDIS was silent that evening, all four occupants wordlessly deciding they wanted to be alone, with the exception of Yaz who found herself in the library in the middle of the night, rummaging through the Doctor’s liquor cabinet to find something suitable to drink. She pulled out a bottle with a green liquid inside it, the label old and falling to pieces. She knew one of these didn't contain alcohol and she was almost certain it was this one. Only one way to find out. She grabbed two shot glasses and headed towards the Doctor’s room, the lights in the corridor dim as she stopped outside the old blue door.

‘Doctor? Can I come in?’

There was a muffled noise from inside and Yaz pushed the door open with her shoulder, holding the bottle and the two glasses in her hand as she carefully closed it behind her.

There were lights around the frame of the Doctor’s bed and they were lit up, the only light illuminating the dark room. Yaz couldn’t see the Doctor but there was a shape in the bed wrapped up with the duvet covering it and Yaz carefully climbed in next to her, sitting herself up against the headboard as the Doctor untangled herself from her sheets and propped herself up next to Yaz. She raised an eyebrow when she saw the bottle in Yaz’s hand but said nothing. Her hair was curly and she was wearing a giant baggy t-shirt, face adorably sleep-ruffled.

‘I didn't wake you up, did I?’ Yaz asked softly, pouring them both a shot.

‘No. I was awake already.’

‘I thought you might be. This isn’t alcohol is it?’

‘Not in the Islamic sense, no,’ the Doctor said, taking the offered shot glass from her. ‘It’ll get you drunk though. Well, sort of. Again, not in the Islamic sense. Or even in the human sense. This stuff is a bit weird.’

They clinked their little glasses together and drank it down, Yaz pouring them another once their glasses were empty.

‘Do you want to talk about what happened today?’ Yaz asked, and the Doctor shrugged.

‘Not sure what I’d say, to be honest,’ she said, drinking her second shot.

‘You could tell me about River, if you wanted?’ Yaz said softly. ‘You obviously loved her very much.’

‘I did,’ the Doctor said quietly. ‘Maybe not in the way you’re supposed to love someone you’re married to, not at the beginning anyway, but in the end I certainly did.’

‘I can’t picture you being married,’ Yaz said, not unkindly.

‘I don’t think I was very good at it,’ the Doctor admitted, looking into her empty shot glass, Yaz filling it up again. ‘But she was extraordinary. The daughter of my two friends, Amy and Rory. And the TARDIS too, a little bit.’

‘She’s the TARDIS’ child?’ Yaz asked, confused.

‘Sort of, it’s super confusing, but basically, a little bit, yes.’

The Doctor was silent again, drinking her third shot slower, and she gently took the bottle out of Yaz’s hands when she went to pour her another.

‘I think three is probably enough for you,’ she said. ‘You’ll probably wake up with a bit of a hangover as it is. Never tested the effect of this stuff on humans, probably best not to overdo it.’

‘I won’t mind as long as I can wake up with you,’ Yaz said, then she paused, realising what she’d said. ‘Uh...’

‘It’s alright,’ the Doctor laughed. ‘Like I said, you’re drunk but not in the human sense.’

‘Are you drunk?’ Yaz asked, nestling close to the Doctor and resting her head on the other woman’s shoulder.

‘Yup, my people are lightweights,’ the Doctor replied, wriggling back down into the sheets and pulling Yaz carefully down with her. ‘I hope the boys don’t mind a chill day tomorrow cause I don’t think I’ll be able to fly.’

‘After three shots?’

‘Literally all it takes. One would probably be enough, to be honest.’

They were silent for a moment, curled up together, and then there was a knock on the door and they heard a voice call into the room.

‘Doc?’

The Doctor lifted her head and saw Graham stood in the doorway, looking anxiously in on them. He panicked when he saw Yaz and quickly went to close the door with a muffled apology but the Doctor called out to him before he did.

‘S’alright, you can come in. Ryan too if he’s there.’

‘Cuddles for everyone!’ Yaz yelled happily, and her face froze again. ‘What even is this stuff?’

The Doctor giggled. An honest to god giggle.

‘You two on the sauce?’ Graham asked, coming gingerly into the room and perching on the edge of the bed, Ryan following close behind him. The Doctor and Yaz budged up so the two men could sit on the bed properly and get themselves comfortable, Ryan tucking his legs under the duvet and Graham stealing a pillow.

‘Funny, I thought your room would be a mess,’ Ryan said thoughtfully, noting the Doctor’s coat hung up neatly on the back of the door and her trousers carefully folded and hanging over a chair.

‘You thought wrong,’ she replied drunkenly, handing the bottle and shot glasses to Ryan and Graham. ‘3 shots each, maximum. It should probably be less than that, to be honest, but me and Yaz have had three and I’d feel bad if you didn't get that too.’

‘Is this the stuff that gets you drunk but not in the way you’d expect?’ Ryan said, contemplating the label on the bottle.

‘I love you guys,’ Yaz said, sighing happily in the Doctor’s hair. ‘Oooh you’ve been pinching my shampoo.’

‘That’s the stuff,’ the Doctor said with a loopy grin. ‘And yes I have.’

‘No wonder it’s running out.’

‘It smells nicer than mine.’

‘That’s cause yours is for men. You’re definitely a lady now. You’ve got boobs and everything.’

‘Should we leave you to it?’ Ryan said with a  grin as Yaz turned a bright red colour, realising what she’d said, the Doctor practically falling out of bed she was laughing so hard.

‘Please someone duct tape my mouth shut,’ Yaz said, diving under the sheets to hide her face.

‘It tastes like bourbon?’ Graham said, smacking his lips together.

‘Psychic alcohol, tastes like whatever your favourite drink is,’ the Doctor replied, patting a still mortified Yaz on the head.

‘Hmm proper beer,’ Ryan said, already on his second. ‘S’weird drinking beer out a shot glass. You sure I can’t get a pint of it, Doctor?’

‘Not if you want to live,’ she responded.

Once the two men had finished their three shots and Ryan had, reluctantly, surrendered the bottle back to the Doctor, they clambered under the sheets with the two women and lay there in the dark, only the sound of their soft breathing and the occasional rustle creating any noise.

‘Hey, Doc?’ Graham whispered.

‘Yeah?’ she mumbled sleepily.

‘What happened to your wife?’

There was a pause, and the Doctor shifted onto her side to face them, maneuvering a sleeping Yaz so she was pressed carefully against her front.

‘She died, sacrificed herself to save millions of people. I was going to do it, I’d have rather done it, but she knocked me out and handcuffed me to a pipe when she realised what I was planning.’

‘She must have loved you very much,’ Ryan said quietly.

‘She did,’ the Doctor said sadly. ‘And at the time I had no idea who she was. We always met in the wrong order. The first time I met her was the day she died, and I had no idea who she was. But she knew everything about me. She whispered my name in my ear. It must have broken her heart for me to not recognise her.’

‘Why do you keep your name a secret?’ Ryan asked. ‘It can’t be as bad as “Ryan”.’

‘It’s complicated,’ the Doctor replied. ‘Gallifreyan names aren’t like human names. When you become a Time Lord and you choose a name, your old name must be kept secret, you can’t tell anyone. If I told you right now you wouldn’t even be able to hear it, it wouldn’t translate into any language you’d be able to understand.’

‘Can anyone hear it?’ Yaz whispered, obviously not as asleep as they’d first thought.

‘Children can,’ the Doctor replied softly. ‘If their hearts are in the right place, and the stars are too.’

‘That’s really beautiful,’ Graham said thoughtfully.

There was a peaceful, contemplative silence, and then Ryan ruined it when he started snoring.

‘Do you want us to clear out, Doc?’ Graham asked. ‘Let you and Yaz get some sleep?’

‘I love how you just assume she isn’t going to kick me out too,’ Yaz mumbled into the Doctor’s neck.

‘I’m not going to kick any of you out,’ the Doctor replied, fingers absentmindedly playing with Yaz’s hair. ‘You’re always welcome.’

‘Thanks, Doc,’ Graham whispered a few minutes later, unsure if she was even still awake. Ryan was still snoring and he could hear Yaz’s quiet breathing as she curled against the Doctor but the woman herself was silent.

‘For what?’ she whispered back, her voice gentle in the dim light of the room, not wanting to wake Yaz up.

‘For showing me the truth.’

‘I wish I hadn’t had to.’

‘I’m glad you did though. I knew it wasn’t Grace, part of me did at any rate, I just wanted so badly for it to be her.’

‘Same,’ she said sadly. ‘And River does that too. She pops up when you least expect her. I was even starting to doubt myself for a moment.’

‘What changed your mind?’

The Doctor chuckled. ‘Yaz. Believe it or not. Cause if that really was River she’d have been making all sorts of inappropriate comments.’

‘About what?’

‘We had a very open marriage, Graham,’ the Doctor said with a smile. ‘I’ll leave it to your imagination.’

‘Bloody hell,’ he muttered.




Chapter Text

The market place was packed, aliens of all different species milling about the stalls, arguing with vendors over prices, eating food from rickety wagons and dripping sauce and bits of their lunch over the floor. It was a warm day, and the sun was high in the sky. A gentle breeze cut through the stalls, bringing the smell of food cooking and various other aromas, not all of them pleasant. There was a lot of people packed into the crowded space.

The Doctor was in her element, jumping from stall to stall, excitedly pointing out different items to the three humans. She’d already acquired even junk to fill both her pockets and was sonicing an odd bit of machinery with a thoughtful expression as they made their way through the market, Ryan sniffing the air to try and work out what that amazing smell was that was drifting past his nostrils.

‘And they do this every day?’ Yaz asked, face filled with excitement as a green blobby alien with tentacles walked past them, smacking its equally green blobby tentactly child up the head for making an inappropriate comment about something.

‘Yep!’ the Doctor said cheerily. ‘This whole planet is divided into districts, bit like the Hunger Games only without the ritual murder, and each district sells different things. This is the engineering and mechanical district, but we can access the others by teleports.’

She gestured at a large circular pad ahead of them, a tall thin alien stepping onto it and vanishing immediately.

‘Isn’t walking an option, Doc?’ Graham asked, eyeing the pad nervously while the Doctor found something else that diverted her attention.

‘It’ll take three days to walk to the next district!’ she said, handing over what looked like a satsuma in exchange for a small circular device that she added to her already bulging pockets. ‘Much quicker to teleport. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. They haven’t had a splicing incident in years.’

‘A what incident?’

‘Oooh is that a helmic regulator?’

And she was off again, leaving Graham looking worried, Yaz looking bemused and Ryan looking hungry.

‘We are gonna stop for lunch right, Doctor?’ Ryan asked, still sniffing the air to try and work out what that amazing smell was. It was like freshly baked bread and was making his mouth water.

The Doctor laughed when she saw his face and dug around in her pockets, emerging with two small silver coins.

‘Over there,’ she said pointing to a food stand a few feet behind them. ‘It’s broz you can smell. Basically bread, get a handful.’

Their snack finished, and Graham reluctantly persuaded to use the teleport, the Doctor and Yaz were inspecting the map of the districts when an alien, built like a gorilla and just as tall, marched past them and spat at Yaz, muttering something under his breath. The three humans didn't understand what he’d said, although they could tell it was nasty, but the Doctor definitely had and she was furious.

‘OI!’ she yelled after him, spinning on her feet, coat tails whirling around her.

The alien ignored her and she yelled something else at him, some language the TARDIS wouldn’t translate.

‘Doctor, leave it,’ Yaz said softly, but their friend was already pushing through the crowds to confront him, the untranslatable language falling from her lips as she stood in front of the alien so he had to listen to her. It was almost a comical site, the small angry blonde yelling up at someone at least three times her size, but her eyes raged with fury and her hands were in fists at her sides.

Ryan started towards her and Graham and Yaz grabbed his arm.

‘That bloke could knock you flat so leave it,’ Graham said. ‘Let the Doc do her thing.’

The alien stepped menacingly forward, and for an awful moment the three humans though he was going to hit her, but then a crowd formed behind the Doctor of other species obviously taking her side and the alien waved off her protestations and made a hasty exit through the rapidly expanding angry mob around him.

The Doctor made her way back to her friends, quietly seething, and refused to tell them what he’d said that was so awful, although she did cheer up a little and take their hands when she saw their downtrodden faces, swinging her arms by her sides as she debated which district to visit next.


Later that evening, the four of them found themselves in a bar tucked away in the textiles district, Graham now sporting a new wooly jumper and Yaz the proud owner of a new blanket. The Doctor’s frosty mood from earlier had virtually melted away and she was a lot happier, the sounds of the bar warm and familiar around them. If he shut his eyes and tuned out the weird chirps and whistles of various alien dialects, Ryan could almost picture himself with his mates down his local watching the football.

Yaz barely had time to yell out a warning before the Brokonian from earlier, perhaps seeking retribution for the dressing-down he’d received in the busy market square, marched up behind the Doctor and smacked her over the back of the head so hard she was knocked out of her seat, falling to the floor unconscious.

Yaz let out a yelp and dove after her and Ryan, filled with rage, grabbed the nearest thing he could find and hit the Brokonian in the face with it.

The nearest thing being his beer mug, which then shattered glass over the alien’s ugly face.

‘Ryan!’ Graham yelled, helping Yaz to drag the Doctor out of harm’s way as the alien pulled out a knife and stepped towards him, green blood and shards of broken glass dripping down his face with a grin that told Ryan that he was just waiting for someone to start a fight.

Fortunately, it was at that moment that the out of duty police sat at the bar, or whatever passed for police in this part of the galaxy, stepped in and dragged the Brokonian away before he had a chance to use the business end of his knife, cuffing him and shoving him kicking and swearing out of the door.

Then they did the same to Ryan, for assault, and the last thing he saw as he was dragged away was Graham and Yaz staring wide eyed and yelling after him, the Doctor limp on the floor.


The cell was as dark and grim as any he’d been in and he kicked the wall with his foot crossly. 19 years on Earth and he’d never once gotten into trouble with the police, but since travelling with the Doctor they’d been imprisoned an impressive number of times and this time the Doctor wasn’t there to come up with an inventive way of getting him out of it. It smelt like damp and there were no windows, the door heavy and metal and impossible to break open. Ryan slumped against the wall and slid down to the ground, resigned to waiting for someone to rescue him and hoping against hope that his friends wouldn’t leave him here. He knew they wouldn’t, but all sorts of voices whispered when you were locked in the dark on your own.

He needn’t have worried though, as he was only in the cell for an hour tops before the Doctor bailed him out, and she was stood by the desk waiting for him when the guards escorted him out of the cell. Graham and Yaz had told her what had happened as soon as she’d come to and she still had dried blood in her blonde hair, clothes dishevelled, spilt beer staining her coat.

She was silent, and she didn't say a word to him even after he tried to apologise, but she took his hand and led him out of the station, towards the hills rather than the TARDIS where he assumed Yaz and Graham were. She sat down on the soft grass and patted the ground next to her, lying back with her arms under her head, the stars brilliant overhead.

‘Doctor, I’m really sor-’

‘I don’t want to hear it, Ryan. I know you’re sorry.’

She turned to him, eyes hard, and Ryan braced himself for the telling off he was about to receive.

‘Pleasedontthrowmeoutthetardis,’ he blurted out, and the Doctor frowned at him. ‘I know I screwed up, I know I shouldn’t have hit him but please, please, don’t throw me out I swear I won’t do it again.’

‘Ryan,’ she said, eyes softening, voice gentle. ‘No-one is throwing anyone out of the TARDIS, do you understand?’

She squeezed his hand and sighed when he looked up at her, eyes wide.

‘I started it,’ she told him and Ryan immediately started to protest.

‘No, Ryan. I started it,’ she insisted. ‘When he called Yaz that word, I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did but I riled him up and he’d come to find me this evening with the intention of starting a fight. And yeah, you really shouldn’t have - what was it Yaz said? - walloped him in the face with a mug but I can’t blame you for reacting that way, though I wish you hadn’t.’

‘What did he call Yaz?’ Ryan asked, but the Doctor only shook her head.

‘It won’t translate. It’s a word. Not a nice word. Really not a nice word. Far worse than anything you have on Earth, although his reasons behind it were the same.’

‘The colour of her skin,’ Ryan realised, and the Doctor sighed, looking down at the grass beneath them.

‘It was only directed at her, not you. There’s levels, where he comes from. Of the colour of your skin, I mean. You would be at the top, Yaz at the bottom.’

‘But he was white.’

‘Yeah, he’d be just below you. Stupid antiquated system that makes no fucking sense.’

He’d never heard her swear before, and he realised that she was barely controlling her anger, her knuckles white against the grass.

She looked at him and, without meaning to sound too poetic, he could have sworn he saw the universe in her eyes.

‘I need you to be better than me, Ryan,’ she told him gently. ‘Don’t go starting fights, don’t let people rub you up the wrong way. Just ignore them. Don’t give them the time of day, don’t give them a stage or a platform or your attention just let their words fade away until eventually they do too. Don’t draw him in, don’t react. Take your anger, and channel it into something else, something positive.’

‘I used to garden, when I was younger,’ he told her, knowing she wouldn’t judge him for it. ‘I had a lot of anger issues growing up, especially after my mum died and I got into a lot of fights and stuff, always coming home with black eyes and bruises and things. Nan said she wouldn’t have it, not under her roof, and she used to bung me out in the garden with Grah- with grandad. And we’d do gardening together when I was mad or angry at something.’

She smiled at him, big and bright and wonderful.

‘Ryan Sinclair,’ she said softly, and he knew he was forgiven. ‘Taking anger and using it to look after another living thing. I’m proper impressed.’

She stood up and they walked back to the TARDIS together, the blue box shining brightly and almost humming at their arrival.

Yaz and Graham were both waiting for them in the console room and Yaz immediately gave Ryan a big hug, Graham patting him on the shoulder affectionately as the familiar sounds of the TARDIS dematerialising slowly began to fill the room, the ship lurching violently under them and almost sending them flying to the floor.

‘Sorry!’ the Doctor called from the controls. ‘Almost hit an asteroid, that came out of nowhere.’

‘Are you going to let me look at your head now?’ Yaz asked her, already standing behind her and pushing the blonde hair out of the way. ‘It looks ever so sore.’

‘There’s sort of a dull ache inside my brain,’ the Doctor admitted. ‘Not as bad as the hangover I got from Henry VIII’s stag party though. Or one of them anyway, I forget which.’

‘Go wash your hair,’ Yaz said, batting her fondly on the arm. ‘Then I’ll have a look at it.’

‘Yes mum,’ the Doctor mumbled snarkily, but headed off towards the showers anyway, the ship now  flying smoothly and humming quietly to herself.

Yaz and Graham were immediately crowding around Ryan looking eager.

‘So? Did she tell you off?’

‘Did you get a slap on the wrist?’

‘You two are like nosey old grandmas,’ Ryan said with a roll of his eyes.

‘She looked proper mad though,’ Graham told him. ‘When she woke up and we told her what had happened.’

‘We thought she was going to karate chop a table in half at one point,’ Yaz admitted with a raised eyebrow.

‘Well, she didn't tell me off,’ Ryan told them. ‘Not really. She was mad at herself for having a go at him in the first place and getting him riled up, she just told me to be better than her. I’m surprised you’re not having a go at me too, grandad.’

‘Far be it from me to deliver parental justice on an alien planet,’ Graham said. ‘Plus we honestly thought the Doc was going to do enough for the two of us.’

‘Nah, I’m her favourite,’ Ryan said looking smug.

‘I don’t have favourites,’ the Doctor said, leaning against the doorway with an intrigued expression, blatantly eavesdropping on their conversation. ‘But if I did, in all honesty, it would probably be Yaz.’

‘Is it because of the breakfast waffles?’ Yaz asked with a grin and the Doctor nodded enthusiastically.

‘It is definitely because of the breakfast waffles.’

‘Grace always said the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach,’ Graham said thoughtfully.

‘Interesting,’ the Doctor said. ‘That’s exactly what Henry 8 used to say.’



Chapter Text

Graham woke up with a groan as his joints creaked.

He sat up and stretched, raising his arms high above his head and feeling that soothing burn down his muscles. He wasn’t one for hanging around in the mornings, unlike his grandson, preferring instead to get up and go. Cup of tea and some toast, followed by a brisk walk around the hills. Perfect set-up for the morning. He could hear Ryan still snoring in his room down the hall and he tucked his dressing gown around himself, stuffing his feet into his slippers, ready to face the day.

What he wasn’t expecting when he opened his bedroom door, however, was the vague smell of burning that seemed to be coming from somewhere in the house, and his eyes opened wide in alarm. It wasn’t uncommon on the TARDIS, certainly. The Doc was always fiddling with something and there was a reason there seemed to be a fire extinguisher around every corner. He remembered one fateful morning when something deep in the ship had exploded and set the sprinklers off, the three humans getting a cold shower as a wake up call. The Doctor blamed the TARDIS for that one, insisting she hadn’t been anywhere near the engine room.

‘Ryan!’ he yelled, knocking on his grandson’s door. ‘Rise and shine, something’s on fire!’

There was a thump as Ryan threw himself out of bed and opened his door, hastily rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He wrinkled his nose as the smell hit and frowned in confusion.

‘I swear I didn't put anything on when I got home last night,’ he insisted, following Graham across the landing, yawning loudly

‘Bloody hell!’ Graham yelled suddenly, darting into the spare room. ‘Found the source of the burning!’

Ryan followed him in, confused, only to find the Doctor sprawled fast asleep across the bed, still fully dressed, covered in ash and absolutely filthy, her coat tails smoldering slightly.  Where she’d come from he had no idea. She wasn’t due to pick them up until the next day, and he hadn’t heard the TARDIS in the night or even the sound of her breaking in through a door or a window.

‘Doc, wake up,’ Graham said urgently, shaking her shoulder as Ryan filled a glass of water from the bathroom and extinguished the small fire that was threatening to break out on her favourite coat.

Well, he assumed it was her favourite. She certainly didn't seem to have any others.

‘What?’ she opened an eye sleepily, searching until she found Graham and Ryan’s worried faces leaning over her. ‘Oh, hey boys.’

‘Where did you come from?’ Ryan asked, bemused by the whole situation. There were a lot of things that he’d come to expect from the Doctor, and suddenly appearing slightly singed and almost on fire when he least expected it was apparently one of them. Or maybe he just couldn’t be surprised by anything any more. Who knew.

‘Space, probably,’ the Doctor said with a yawn, sitting up and stretching, unknowingly mimicking Graham only a few minutes before. She frowned and shook her leg, puzzled by the droplets of water running down it. ‘Why am I all wet?’

‘You were on fire, Doc,’ Graham said, matter of factly. ‘Rough night, was it?’

‘Might of been.’

She raised a hand to her head and winced.

‘Honestly, don’t really remember. Think I’m a bit hungover.’

‘Nope, not hungover,’ Ryan said, peering at the back of her head. ‘You’ve got blood in your hair, I think someone might have hit you.’

‘How rude,’ the Doctor muttered, already lying back down on the bed and curling into a ball. ‘Still sleepy, think I might cosy back up for another few hours. You don’t mind, right?’

‘Bit late for that, Doc,’ Graham said with a fond chuckle. ‘How did you even get in?’

But she was asleep almost immediately and the two men looked at each other and shrugged. Graham pottered down the stairs to put the kettle on and Ryan grabbed the blanket from his room, tucking their surprise guest in; the Doctor practically burrowing underneath it like some kind of scruffy hamster as soon as he’d raised the material to her shoulders.

‘Oh come on,’ Ryan heard Graham exclaim from downstairs, and he wandered down to see what the problem was, unable to stop the laugh from escaping him when he saw the TARDIS in the back garden, upside down and in Graham’s flower beds. The box was covered in something grey, maybe soot or ash, and there was steam or smoke coming off of it, rising up into the early morning air.

The sonic screwdriver was on the kitchen worktop and Ryan tried the back door and found it open, answering the question of how she’d gotten in in the first place.

‘Don’t know how we’re going to get that out,’ Graham mused with a sigh. ‘At least she didn't hit my apple tree.’

There was a tentative knock on the front door and Ryan found Yaz standing on the doorstep in full police regalia, yawning into her hand, her squad car parked just outside their house and drawing some curious looks from early-morning dog walkers.

‘Morning,’ she said. ‘Your neighbour just phoned something through. Apparently there was a loud bang in the night and there’s now a smoking blue box parked in your back garden?’

‘Woke me up!’ their neighbour exclaimed crossly, an elderly lady named Doris stood behind Yaz waving her stick at Ryan. ‘It’s not polite, making noises like that in the night. I could have had a heart attack!’

‘Please, wait in your house,’ Yaz said, as politely as she could manage. ‘I’ll come and see you once I’ve spoken to Ry- Mr Sinclair and Mr O’Brian.’

Doris muttered something crossly but made her way back into her house, hobbling along on her stick, giving Ryan one last glare as she closed her front door a little harder than necessary.

Yaz yawned again.

‘Sorry, almost finished my last night shift. Can I come in?’

‘Always,’ Ryan said, holding the door open for her. ‘Grandad’s put the kettle on. I’ll give you three guesses as to what the smoking blue box is.’

Yaz stood out in the garden with the two men, hot cup of tea in her hands, and surveyed what used to be Graham’s flower beds.

‘Huh,’ was all she seemed to manage. ‘I’m assuming you’ve checked for the usual occupant?’

‘She’s upstairs,’ Ryan said, gesturing towards the upstairs window. ‘Found her about ten minutes ago having a snooze in the spare room. She doesn’t seem to remember anything.’

‘Still asleep?’

‘Yeah.’

Yaz sighed and finished her tea.

‘I’m not going to even bother doing paperwork for this, more hassle than it’s worth. Plus, what would I even put? “Old style police box apparently dropped out of the sky and ruined man’s flowerbeds”.’

‘Sounds like a headline for the Sun,’ Graham agreed.

‘Just apologise to Doris for the loud noise and the smoking blue box,’ Yaz said, already waving off their protestations. ‘And yes I know you’re not responsible but it would save me so much hassle and I really need my bed right now.’ She gestured towards the upstairs window. ‘Send the Doctor round to do it when she wakes up, she’ll charm her in seconds. I’m just gonna go pop up and see what state she’s in.’

Yaz walked back into the house and Ryan and Graham gave the TARDIS an exasperated look.

‘Is it possible for spaceships to have too much to drink?’ Graham pondered, and the ship pinged at him in annoyance, obviously fed up with being upside down.

The Doctor woke up briefly when Yaz sat down on the bed next to her and started pushing strands of blonde out of the way to inspect where the blood was coming from, but if there ever had been a wound it had healed quickly.

‘You come to arrest me, officer?’ the alien mumbled into her pillow.

‘If Doris had her way I certainly would,’ Yaz replied, yawning again. ‘You alright?’

‘Yeah, fine. Is the TARDIS okay?’

‘She’s upside down and you’ve ruined Graham’s flowers.’

The Doctor groaned and tried to sit up before giving up and closing her eyes again.

‘She hates being upside down. I’m gonna get cold showers for a week.’

‘Do you remember what happened?’

The Doctor’s face scronched. ‘I think I was at a party? Or maybe a festival? Something happened, like a stampede or something, can’t remember what.’

She sighed and snuggled further under her blanket.

‘There might have been drink driving involved.’

‘You’re lucky a police box doesn’t constitute a “vehicle”,’ Yaz said with a roll of her eyes, standing up and pulling her radio out of her pocket when an urgent sounding voice started to come through, crackling with static. ‘You’d probably have lost your license for that one.’

‘Bold of you to assume I ever had a license in the first place,’ the Doctor mumbled, half asleep.

‘Yeah it’s nothing,’ Yaz said into her radio. ‘Garden shed fell over, nothing criminal. I’m coming back now.’

She clipped her radio onto her belt and knelt down in the front of the Doctor, tucking a runaway strand of hair behind her friend’s ear.

‘You going to be okay if I leave you with Graham and Ryan?’

‘Always,’ the Doctor said, cracking open an eye and giving her a sleepy smile. ‘You coming back this evening? I might need a hand moving my “shed”.’

‘I’ll bring chips,’ Yaz said, stroking her head fondly. ‘Behave yourself.’

‘Never.’


When Yaz came back that evening she found Graham and Ryan out in the garden with the Doctor, the TARDIS now upright and the doors flung wide open. She could hear Ryan and the Doctor’s voices coming from inside but couldn’t see them. Graham was kneeling in his flowerbeds, trying to save his precious plants and Yaz gave him a sympathetic smile as she put her parcel of fish and chips down on their garden table, heading towards the soft light of the TARDIS. It was early evening, and the ship was glowing softly in the middle of Graham’s lawn, casting soft shadows across the grass. There was a crack in one of the windows and Yaz patted the old wooden doors gently as she stepped inside.

‘Yaz!’ the Doctor called cheerfully from the console. She’d washed and dressed in clean clothes and grinned happily at her friend, her hands pulling out meters upon meters of wire which were coiling on the floor. ‘Good nap?’

‘Yeah, it was alright,’ Yaz said, looking around at the chaos that seemed to be the inside of the console room. ‘Got woken up by Sonya singing Britney Spears, couldn’t get back to sleep. Brain isn’t really working right now, to be honest.’

‘You remembered to bring chips though, right?’ Ryan said, looking worried, and he grinned when Yaz nodded.

‘Hey,’ Yaz said, softly nudging the Doctor with her elbow as Ryan dashed back inside the house to grab plates.

The Doctor was concentrating so hard on the console, brow furrowed and tongue sticking out the corner of her mouth, that she didn't hear Yaz and it wasn’t until her friend nudged her again that she looked up and beamed happily at her.

‘You alright?’ she said, yelping as a stray spark from the console burnt her finger. She shoved the injured finger in her mouth and glared up at the Time Rotor as the ship made a peculiar pinging sound that Yaz could have sworn sounded like laughing.

‘I’m fine,’ Yaz told her, the Doctor withdrawing her injured finger to examine it, before continuing with her repairs. ‘Are you alright? You looked a bit… burnt, this morning.’

‘I’m fine,’ the Doctor said. ‘Always fine, me. Still can’t remember what happened. Pretty sure I was at a festival though. Must have been a bit drunk and crash landed. I did go and see Doris! She gave me cake.’

‘Of course she did,’ Yaz said with a laugh. ‘That’s your superpower, Doctor. The ability to charm the pants off of anyone.’

‘Charm the pants off?’ the Doctor said with a confused scronch.

‘Never mind,’ Yaz replied. ‘You coming out for chips?’

‘Yes!’ the Doctor grinned happily and flicked a few switches on the console, the lights dimming and the ship starting to hum steadily as various parts of the console began to pulse red.

The Doctor tucked her arm through Yaz’s and the two of them walked back out into the garden, Ryan setting the table as Graham opened the patio doors and turned the light on so they wouldn’t be sat in darkness. It was a warm evening, and Yaz felt content as she sat beside the Doctor, the TARDIS doors closing on their own behind them.

‘She needs to reboot,’ the Doctor explained. ‘She’ll be ready to go by morning.’

‘Can’t wait,’ Ryan said with a grin, tucking into the chips.

‘I was thinking I could take you to Perinesse?’ the Doctor said, looking sheepishly at Graham. ‘It’s a massive gardening planet. Shrubs and plant life from all across the galaxy.’

‘Wait, hold on, Doc,’ Graham said, pointing his fork at her. ‘Are you telling me that I could grow plants from alien planets in my back garden.’

‘Consider it an apology,’ the Doctor said. ‘Just don’t show them off to anyone.’

Graham looked chuffed with that deal, and he sat back in his chair happily, munching on some fish.

‘Does the TARDIS have a garden?’ Yaz asked suddenly. ‘I mean, you said she has an infinite amount of rooms and surely a ship with an aquarium in it would have a garden as well?’

‘She probably does,’ the Doctor agreed with a nod. ‘Or, if not, she can make one for you. Just ask, she’s very accomodating.’

The ship bonged from behind them and the Doctor winced.

‘What did she say?’ Graham asked.

‘Too rude, can’t repeat. Wasn’t directed at any of you lot though.’

‘Not forgiven yet?’ Ryan asked with a grin.

‘Apparently not. Mind if I crash here again tonight? I’ll try not to set anything on fire this time. Or almost set anything on fire.’

‘If I catch you rewiring the toaster…’ Graham said, pointing his fork at her again.

‘I won’t! I promise. I’ll keep my hands to myself,’ the Doctor said, tucking her hands into her coat pockets, before realising that this made it difficult to eat her chips, unsuccessfully trying to grab one with her teeth. Ryan let out a snort and almost sprayed them in pepsi.

‘This is really nice,’ the Doctor said a few moments later, looking up at the sky and the stars that were slowly starting to appear through the clouds. ‘We should definitely get a garden for the TARDIS, with a patio heater, and an umbrella! Ooh and a paddling pool!’

The TARDIS bonged again and the Doctor pulled a face at her.

‘I bet you wouldn’t say that to Yaz,’ she muttered crossly, and Yaz laughed.

 

 

Chapter Text

They hadn’t ended up on the soft golden beaches of California in the 1980’s, and the wrecked and creaking spaceship the TARDIS had taken them to instead didn't really compare to a day of relaxation. Although, as Graham had remarked, at least when they did end up on the beach they’ll have felt as though they really deserved it.

The spaceship was swarming with repair crews and officials, so the presence of the Doctor and her three friends wasn’t a massive surprise and they were able to blend in pretty easily, immediately being put to work by the operations manager who was assigning tasks. He’d tried to put the Doctor to work in the medical bay as an interim nurse, but after she’d repaired their shields in under five minutes and stabilized the life support system she’d been assigned to the engine room instead, dragging Yaz with her and insisting she needed an assistant when the manager had tried to put her in charge of cleaning the bathrooms.

‘You’re better than that, Yaz,’ the Doctor said, tucking her arm through her friend’s as she tugged her urgently along the corridors towards the stairs that led to the engines. ‘Plus, I probably will need another pair of hands.’

Ryan and Graham had already been assigned their tasks clearing the debris from the flight deck, and Yaz waved cheerfully at them as the Doctor dragged her off.

The ship had been ambushed, almost destroyed, and left floating in the depths of space with a crew of five desperately trying to repair essential systems such as life support and prevent further attacks while they waited for assistance. It had taken a while for the Doctor to get the full story, but it sounded as though there were on a passenger vessel (or ‘a space ferry’ as Ryan had dubbed it) that had been sabotaged from the inside by disgruntled former employees of the company the ship operated under, blowing up most of the essential systems and then escaping via the escape pods.

They’d done a good job, she’d remarked, taking out most of the weapons, communications and vital systems in the process. The engines were in a right state, and the Doctor had simply walked around the engine room staring at them in annoyance before taking her coat off, rolling up her sleeves, and getting stuck in.


‘Done,’ the Doctor said wearily a few hours later, shutting the panel she’d been fiddling around with and wiping a hand across her forehead, leaving a steak of oil there in the process. It didn't immediately stand out, the rest of her was covered in a mixture of oil and dust from where she’d been crawling around inside the belly of the engines, sonicing here and there. Something Yaz was quickly learning about the Doctor was she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and she picked up and (sometimes) licked all manner of things that Yaz wouldn’t want to get anywhere near. Eating soil in Norway hadn’t been anywhere near the most disgusting thing Yaz had seen her do.

‘Engines back up?’ Yaz asked, joining her at the little workstation and stretching her aching limbs. She’d been set to work fixing some wiring with a battered soldering iron and, despite having never done it before, had found the work engaging and fulfilling. Especially when the Doctor flicked a switch and her little area had lit up like a christmas tree as the newly repaired wires started to function again.

‘Almost,’ the Doctor said with a frown, the keyboard clacking under her fingers. ‘Looks like most of the coolant was destroyed in the blast too. I’ll have to start them up slowly, might take a few minutes. I don’t want them burning too quickly and igniting.’

She set the ignition sequence and gave Yaz a quick hug.

‘You okay?’

‘Yeah, looking forward to that beach even more now.’

The Doctor gave her an apologetic face scrunch.

‘Sorry, Yaz. We’ll get there. As soon as the engines boot back up again they’ll be able to take the ship to space dock and then we should…’

She paused, suddenly completely still, eyes fixed on something over Yaz’s shoulder, pupils wide.

‘Doctor…?’ Yaz asked uncertainly. ‘Everything alright?’

‘Don’t move, Yaz,’ the Doctor said, starting to edge forwards slightly, taking tiny steps. ‘Stay completely still.’

Yaz turned her head over her shoulder, freezing when she saw the small explosive device hidden behind the computer screens, the timer on it slowly ticking down.

‘How did we miss that?’ Yaz whispered. ‘We’ve been down here for hours.’

‘It’s not in a direct line of sight,’ the Doctor replied, still walking slowly towards it. ‘It looks damaged. It must have been hit by one of the earlier blasts, delaying the countdown.’

‘You can defuse it, right?’ Yaz asked.

‘Yeah, probably.’

‘Doctor…’

‘It’s alright Yaz,’ she said quietly, taking slow measured steps towards the bomb, the countdown slowly making its way down to zero. ‘Just stay absolutely still, don’t move a muscle.’

‘You’ve got time to defuse it, yeah?’ she asked, unsure why she was whispering suddenly. Perhaps if she was extra quiet the bomb wouldn’t hear her and wouldn’t go off. Yeah, right.

‘Probably,’ the Doctor said again, her hand reaching out for the bomb.

Her fingers hadn’t even touched it when the ship vibrated as the engines powered back up again and the bomb shuddered with the sudden movement and began to fall to the floor, as though in slow motion.

Yaz didn't see this happen, she only saw a yellow and blue blur heading towards her and suddenly the Doctor was crushing Yaz with her body as she pressed her firmly against the wall and then there was a bright flash and nothing else.


‘... she’s waking up. You alright, Yaz?’

Yaz forced her eyes open, the lights above her blurred and too bright. She blinked away the confusion, focusing straight ahead as the blurred shapes of Ryan and Graham’s worried faces came into focus, leaning over her.

‘Take it easy, love,’ Graham said, gently. ‘You’re safe.’

‘Where’s the Doctor?’ Yaz mumbled, trying to sit up, the two men immediately pressing their hands to her shoulders and easing her back down again.

‘She’s…’ Graham faltered and looked at Ryan, silently asking for help.

‘She’s doing that thing she does,’ Ryan said. ‘You know, when she has those epically long naps and she looks a bit dead.’

‘But she’s not dead, right?’ Yaz checked.

The two men exchanged uneasy glances and peered over their shoulders, Yaz sitting herself upright while they were distracted to take in her surroundings.

She recognised the cold, white light of the medical bay. It was quiet, aside from the hum of the ship, and there was only one other occupant in the room, tucked into the bed opposite her. There was a medic leaning over them, checking their vitals, shining a light into the person’s eyes, and they turned back to the three humans and shrugged, uncertain.

‘I think she’s still alive,’ the medic said. ‘She’s still got a pulse, anyway. Although it’s slow, very slow.’

‘S’fine,’ Ryan said quickly. ‘As long as she has one.’

‘What species did you say she was?’ the medic asked, curious.

Graham shook his head. ‘It doesn't matter,’ he said. ‘As long as she has a pulse, she’ll be fine. You’ve just gotta leave her be for a few hours with a couple of blankets, she gets a bit cold sometimes.’

‘I’ll take your word for it,’ the medic said, gravely. ‘Because if it was my call I’d be calling her next of kin right now. I don’t suppose you’d know who they are?’

‘I think that’s us?’ Ryan said, looking at Graham and then Yaz, who was still desperately trying to see the Doctor.

‘Hey, she’s alright,’ Graham said, carefully propping a pillow behind Yaz’s back so she wasn’t leaning forwards quite so much. ‘The rescue teams found you both on the bottom decks after the bomb had gone off. It was an old one, practically out of juice so the explosion wasn’t as bad as it could have been, barely damaged the walls. She’d taken the full impact of the blast so her back is a bit burnt and chewed up but she’s okay otherwise. Just needs one of her healing naps and she’ll be back on her feet in no time.’

‘I can’t see her face,’ Yaz whispered, still desperately straining her neck to see her.

‘Her face is the least of her problems,’ Ryan said, firmly pushing Yaz back onto the bed. ‘She’ll be okay, and so will you. You both just need to rest, okay?’

Just before the darkness took her again, Yaz saw Ryan cross the room to tuck a blanket higher up around the Doctor’s shoulders.


She awoke in the night to the sounds of whimpering, like a distressed animal in pain. There was something ringing in the room, a noise in the background that wouldn’t go away. It took Yaz a few moments to realise that the ringing was coming from inside her head as her hearing healed.

The lights were down low, only strips of orange glowing fainting in the ceiling and Yaz could already feel the warm lull of sleep trying to pull her back down again, but there was movement in the bed opposite hers, a woman’s voice crying out for help.

Yaz sat bolt upright, recognising that voice.

The Doctor was obviously still asleep, eyes screwed up, fingers gripping her sheets, legs moving under them and gasping as she writhed in the bed, calling out in the darkness.

‘Doctor! Hang on, I’m coming.’

Yaz gingerly swung her legs over the side of the bed, swaying a little from the sudden head rush when her legs hit the floor. She paused for a moment, eyes squeezed tightly shut, until the headrush had passed and she was able to hobble over towards the Doctor. Her limbs felt heavy and stiff from bruises and lack of use, and her legs felt as though she’d pulled the muscles doing heavy exercise, but thankfully they still worked and in no time at all she was at the Doctor’s side, hand on her head stroking her sweaty hair away from her face while her friend moaned, breaths coming out in short bursts as she bunched her fists and pushed her forehead into the pillow.

This wasn’t the first time the Doctor had had a nightmare in front of Yaz. The incidences were few and far between but they did occasionally happen. The first time the four of them had been relaxing in the library, the Doctor snoozing on the sofa when suddenly she’d started to shake and call out and twist her limbs as she fought against her invisible assailant.

Ryan had learnt the hard way that you do not shake the Doctor awake when she was having a nightmare. She’d punched him so hard he’d had a black eye for days. Who knew someone so small packed such a massive punch?

The second occasion they’d been locked in a cell and sheer exhaustion had sent them all to sleep, too tired to stay awake and think of an escape plan after hours of running from attackers that had captured them anyway. She hadn’t made any noises that time, but she had stopped breathing; her face slowly beginning to turn blue as she burned through her oxygen reserves. They’d only been alerted to her plight when she’d kicked out her limbs, leg hitting Graham in the ribs and waking him up with a cross ‘ouch!’

‘What do we do?’ Ryan had asked, panicked, remembering what had happened last time.

‘Let me try something,’ Yaz had said quickly, scooping the Doctor up into her arms and firmly rubbing her knuckles against her sternum until she’d gasped herself awake, coughing and spluttering on the hard stone floor, taking in massive lungfuls of air.

‘Jesus, Doc!’ Graham had said, distressed. ‘How are we meant to ever leave you alone again if you do things like that?!’

‘I would have woken myself up eventually,’ she’d choked, sitting up with Yaz’s gentle hand rubbing her back.

The third occasion she’d been in Yaz’s bed, the two women sleeping quietly, both still fully dressed and on top of the covers.

The Doctor had come to find Yaz after the events of Kerblam, and the tearful farewell they’d given Dan’s daughter. She’d been upset about it but it wasn’t until the Doctor was at her side and the two of them were alone that she allowed her tears to fall freely, knowing the Doctor would never judge her for them.

She’d been woken by muffled whimpering and, still half asleep herself, she’d dropped her hand into the Doctor’s hair and began gently stroking her head until the other woman settled and her body went slack again, curling into Yaz with a contented sigh.

Now, alone in the dark with her unhappy friend, Yaz pulled her aching limbs onto the Doctor’s bed and laid down beside her, a hand in her hair gently stroking her scalp, whispering softly to her until the blonde slowly began to relax and her eyes began to crack open.

‘Hello, you,’ Yaz said quietly, her smile wide.

‘Yaz?’

She looked confused, eyes blinking as her face scronched while she tried to work out where she was. She sat bolt upright suddenly, face wide, hand gripping Yaz’s tightly but before she had a chance to speak she doubled over with a cry of pain.

‘It’s okay,’ Yaz said quickly. ‘Come on, lay back down with me, you’re alright.’

‘Are you okay?’ the Doctor whispered as Yaz pulled the blankets over the two of them, tucking an arm around her waist and pulling her friend against her. She could feel the thick bandages under her hand and the Doctor closed her eyes as a wave of pain overtook her, breathing through it.

‘Do you need me to get the medic?’ Yaz asked, although part of her already knew the answer.

The Doctor shook her head. ‘No, it’s fine, I just need - more sleep.’

‘You want me to stay?’ Yaz asked softly, her hand still gently stroking through the Doctor’s hair.

‘If you want to,’ the Doctor whispered, and Yaz scooted down the bed a little till their foreheads were pressed together, closing her eyes.

‘Always,’ she whispered, and the Doctor hummed happily, fingers seeking out the hem of Yaz’s shirt and gripping it tightly.

‘What were you dreaming about?’ Yaz asked her, the darkness soothing around them.

‘Don’t remember,’ the other woman replied, an obvious lie.

‘Are you in pain?’

‘No.’ Another obvious lie.

‘One day you’ll let me help you,’ Yaz whispered softly, dropping a soft kiss into the Doctor’s hairline.

‘You do help me, Yaz,’ the blonde replied sleepily. ‘Every day. You all do.’

She was silent for a moment, and Yaz thought she’d fallen asleep, but then her eyes shot open again and she struggled to sit up, Yaz firmly keeping her still to prevent her injuring herself further.

‘What about the other passengers? Ryan? Graham?’

Yaz put a finger on her friend’s lips to cut off the worried rambles and gestured towards a corner of the room, where Ryan and Graham had each claimed a bed and were happily snoring away.

‘I couldn’t hear them,’ the Doctor said, looking worried, and Yaz tapped the side of her friend’s head.

‘I think our hearing has gone a bit whackadoodle,’ she said softly. ‘I’ve got this buzzing like there’s bees in my brain. Now come on, how am I meant you cuddle you when you’re in that position?’

The Doctor relaxed, curling herself into Yaz’s arms so Yaz ended up being big spoon. She could feel the thick bandages through the hospital gown the Doctor was in and she found her friend’s hand and squeezed it gently. She still didn't remember the explosion, only the feel of the Doctor’s body pressed against hers, squashing her against the wall so firmly that Yaz could barely breathe.

The Doctor was asleep quickly, and Yaz kept herself pressed tightly against her, letting her exhaustion take her too. Her friend was soft and warm in her arms and Yaz nuzzled the back of her neck, the Doctor making a soft moan of approval at the gesture.

She was vaguely aware of a presence, someone stood over her, and a few moments later a blanket was being tucked further up over the two of them and she heard Graham’s soft voice as he stepped away.

‘I think Yaz must have taken care of it, they’re both fine.’

‘Night, Graham,’ Yaz mumbled sleepily, and she heard him chuckle.

‘Night, love.’





Chapter Text

Rexicon 5 was a dump. Literally, it was a junk planet.

Truth be told, Jack would have much happier hiding out on one of those magnificent pleasure planets like Corfax or Epsilon Major, except he was well known in those circles and it would certainly be one of the first places the Galactic Armada would think to look for him. He acknowledged it was his own fault. Stealing one of their flagships, taking it for a joyride while wasted, and then crashing it into a cliff probably hadn’t been one of his best ideas.

Jack sat up in bed, stretched, and stood up. It was dark outside, but it was always dark no matter what time of day it was. He went to the window and looked out at his hideaway, lips curled in disgust. The sooner he was out of this dump the better.

Patchwork high-rise buildings made up of various pieces of scrap metal stretched up high, almost brushing the roof of the city. He could see the occupants moving about in their rooms - the buildings were shoved so closely together that privacy was a thing of the past - aliens of all species waking up and starting their day. Or night. Who knew for sure? Jack went to bed when he was tired and woke up when he was awake, am and pm didn't exist on this planet anymore. The city on Rexicon 5 had been encased in a massive dome when the atmosphere outside had reached levels too toxic to breathe safely in. There were no windows in the dome and, as such, it was impossible to tell what the planet outside looked like or even what time of day it was. Some of the citizens remembered though, most of them had helped build the damn thing, and they said the sun had turned black and all the trees and grass had shrivelled up and died.

The streets below his apartment were already busy, vendors selling their wares on the street, people going to work in rusty old transport vehicles that squeaked and belched out black smoke from their exhausts. It wouldn’t be long before the atmosphere inside the dome would be too toxic to live in as well.

Dumbasses, Jack thought moodily to himself. Couldn’t spot history repeating itself if it climbed down their throats and polluted their lungs.

He dressed slowly, tugging up his trousers and buttoning his shirt stood in front of the window in full view of the apartment block opposite him. A woman in the window of one of the opposite rooms caught his eye and winked and he made a show of doing up his shirt as saucily as he could, making a mental note to himself to go visit her once her husband had left for the day. There was nothing else to do around here.

A furious banging on his door caught his attention, but Jack barely had time to time around before someone was crashing through it, landing with a thud and a pained cry on the floor.

His gun was in his hand in seconds, but a quick once-over of his intruder immediately informed him that he wasn’t in any danger, his visitor certainly wasn’t from the Galactic Armada.

She was a woman, dressed in a long grey coat, blue trousers and boots. It was impossible to tell what colour her hair was, covered as she was in blood and dirt with deep gouges torn out of her clothes, as though she’d been attacked by some kind of vicious animal. She was gasping like a fish out of water and Jack saw a small neat hole in her chest, a bullet wound perhaps, the injury leaking blood onto the floor and adding yet more stains to his crappy living room rug.

‘Woah there!’ Jack said, grabbing his t-shirt and pressing it against the bullet wound. ‘Where did you come from?’

She grabbed hold of his suspenders (Jack saw she had her own pair in mustard yellow) and pulled him close to her. She was surprisingly strong for someone so obviously injured, and she was trying to speak; raspy, pained words ripping themselves from her throat.

‘It’s alright,’ Jack said soothingly, easing an arm around her waist and helping her to sit against the wall. ‘Take your time.’

She looked at him, green eyes with tears streaming down her face meeting his own. She was obviously in pain, every breath seemed to be hurting her, but she reached for him again in desperation and Jack knelt down in front of her, ear against her mouth to hear her words.

‘Yaz, Ryan, Graham.’

‘Who are they?’ Jack asked with a frown, pulling away to look at her in confusion.

Her eyes were growing dim now, face slack as she fought against the pull of unconsciousness, but she still managed to reach into her pocket and pull out a dusty black wallet, pressing it into his hands and closing his fingers around it.

‘Please, Jack,’ she pleaded, her voice almost a whisper, but Jack didn't even have the chance to ask how she could possibly know his name before she was collapsing against him, her body limp in his arms.

Jack pressed his fingers against her neck and a ragged pulse thumped against his fingertips. There was something strange about her pulse, something abnormal, and Jack carefully lifted her from the ground and carried her to his bed, laying her down onto the soft mattress and leaving her there while he quickly closed the door and pulled down the blinds, blocking out any nosey neighbours from looking in at them. It wasn’t clear who she was hiding from, but she was obviously running from someone and Jack didn't want either them or the Galactic Armada knocking on his door anytime soon.

‘So who are you then?’ Jack asked her, although he wasn’t expecting a response. She was dead to the world, though thankfully not actually dead. He could still feel that strange pulse under his fingers and her chest was rising and falling almost imperceptibly, face slack and eyes closed.

Jack opened his fist, looking down at the black wallet in his hand. It stirred a memory in him, and the pieces came flooding back once he’d flicked it open and words starting appearing on the paper contained inside. There was only one person he knew with psychic paper.

He put a hand on her chest, carefully feeling for her heartbeat, then swapped to the other side to feel for the second, confirming his suspicions. The wound in her chest had stopped bleeding, and he gently pulled the ripped piece of her t-shirt aside to inspect it, satisfied that it was already starting to heal over.

‘Should have known you’d come running back to me eventually, Doctor,’ he said to the sleeping woman with a soft smile, tenderly stroking her hair away from her scratched up face. He eased a pillow under her head and covered her in a blanket, drawing it up to her chin and tucking her in as best he could. She looked calm now and pain free, and Jack was satisfied that she’d be okay on her own for a while while he searched for, what he assumed were, her friends.

He shrugged his trench coat on, secured his gun to his belt, flipped open the cover on his vortex manipulator and inspected the psychic paper again. There was a date on it and an address, scrawled in messy handwriting that didn't really change no matter how many times his friend regenerated.

‘Don’t go anywhere,’ he told the unconscious woman. ‘We’ve got a lot to catch up on.’

Then he activated the manipulator and disappeared.


It was raining when he rematerialised and Jack turned up his collar against the onslaught, gritting his teeth against the pain that always shot through him after travelling without a capsule. The TARDIS was a rickety old box sure, but at least she didn't make you feel like your organs had reassembled themselves whenever you landed somewhere new.

Once the dizziness had faded, Jack realised the Doctor had brought him to an estate and for one split second he wondered if he was back at the Powell Estate and Rose was somewhere around the corner. But he knew that wasn’t possible, and he double checked the psychic paper again to make sure he was in the right place.

‘Sheffield?’

He looked around, squinting through the rain, and decided to head towards the block of flats in front of him, keeping one hand on his gun just in case. He didn't know why the Doctor had been so determined to send him here, but he assumed it was because her friends were in need of rescue and trouble was just around the corner. It would have helped if she’d been able to provide him with some sort of description of what her friends looked like, however, before she’d collapsed in his arms. Yaz may not be that common a name but he was sure that there would be hundreds of Ryan’s and Graham’s living in the city.

A car pulled up in front of him and a young woman got out. She looked exhausted and she practically fell out of the car, yawning loudly into her hand and tugging her bag out of the passenger seat. She looked up at Jack and her eyes narrowed for a moment, before she closed the car door with a bang and headed off towards the flats, walking quickly to get out of the rain.

Jack supposed he must have been a funny sight; a tall man in a WWII pilot’s coat always seemed to draw a lot of attention.

‘Yaz!’

Jack’s head snapped up at the sound of her name, and he saw the same exhausted woman looking up at the flats where another woman, presumably her mother, was yelling over the railings.

‘Could you grab us some tea bags from the shop before you come upstairs? Sorry, love. We’re completely out and I’m desperate.’

‘Sure,’ Yaz called back up, although Jack could tell that she clearly wanted nothing more than to go bed.

He followed her as she made her way towards the main road, keeping a respectable distance between the two of them. If this was the Yaz that the future Doctor was referring to then he really didn't want to spook her and scare her off, especially if she was in trouble and didn't realise it. He’d only have one chance to gain her trust and she was so small and slender that he doubted she’d be able to defend herself from an alien attacker.

He was proved hilariously wrong when he rounded the corner she’d just gone round and ended up flat on his back with a foot against his throat and a can of pepper spray pointed at his face, Yaz’s eyes blazing fury at him.

‘Why are you following me?’ she asked, and he had to admire her resolve. Her tone was short and sharp and she was glaring at him with a look that would have sent the Daleks running away. He could immediately see why the Doctor liked her.

Speaking of.

‘That was Venusian Aikido,’ he pointed out, and Yaz frowned at him. ‘Did the Doctor teach you that? He tried to teach me but apparently I was too heavy-handed. Go figure.’

‘You know the Doctor?’

Her foot was still pressed against his throat but he felt her ease off a little, although the can of pepper spray pointed in his face didn't move an inch.

‘She sent me here to find you,’ Jack said. He gestured towards his pocket. ‘Psychic paper in my pocket, may I…?’

Yaz bent down and in one swift movement had removed both his gun and psychic paper from his belt, flipping the wallet open to inspect the hastily scrawled address inside.

‘That looks like her handwriting,’ she admitted, tucking it into her own pocket. ‘Why did she send you?’

‘She’s hurt,’ Jack said, and that got Yaz’s attention immediately, her eyes going wide with worry. ‘No idea how she found me. She just stumbled in, handed me the paper and told me to find you three. Where are Ryan and Graham, by the way?’

‘Is she alright?’ Yaz asked, obviously still suspicious and deliberately avoiding the last part of his question.

‘She’s fine,’ Jack said. ‘Currently having a nap back in my apartment. I can take you to her, if you like. I think that was her intention anyway, although she wasn’t feeling particularly chatty.’

Yaz regarded him for a few long seconds and then withdrew the can of pepper spray from his face and shoved it back into her bag.

She hung onto his gun though, Jack noticed.

He picked himself up off the ground and dusted off his coat, now wet and covered in dirt and bits of gravel. He held out his hand for her to shake with a wink and a grin.

‘Captain Jack Harkness, pleasure to meet you.’

Yaz shook it uncertainly but Jack dropped her hand almost immediately, hand going for his gun before realising it was still in Yaz’s possession. He’d noticed something sinister in the air, a breeze that seemed too cold to be related to the Sheffield weather and a sound that seemed to be carried on the wind, something growling quietly nearby.

Yaz seemed to notice it too, as she suddenly became more aware of her surroundings and started to look around with a frightened expression.

‘Did the Doctor say what hurt her?’ Yaz asked, and Jack shook her head.

‘No. Where are Ryan and Graham?’

‘They live up here,’ Yaz said, already half running up the hill with Jack close on her heels.

Ryan thankfully opened the door pretty quickly and frowned in confusion at Yaz on the doorstep.

‘Alright, Yaz?’ he asked. ‘I thought you were working last night?’

‘I was, it’s a long story. Is Graham in? Can we come in?’

Ryan stood aside with a confused look at Yaz’s new friend and Jack followed the pair of them into the living room where he could smell bacon coming from the small kitchen round the corner. It was making his mouth water but he quickly remembered his mission and an older man who must be the aforementioned Graham stuck his head round the corner, giving Jack a quick up and down.

‘You look a bit lost, mate,’ he said. ‘The war was over ages ago.’

‘He says the Doctor sent him,’ Yaz said, and Ryan and Graham practically jumped to attention, something Jack never tired of seeing. It didn't matter the demographic of the Doctor’s friends or what walks of life they were from, they would immediately do anything for her without question. Their reactions reminded Jack a little of meerkats, and he had to fight the urge to laugh.

‘She alright?’ Graham asked. ‘She’s not meant to be picking us up till tomorrow morning.’

‘She’s got herself into a bit of trouble, asked me to come get you,’ Jack said, already programing the coordinates on his manipulator ready to go back to his home sweet home on Rexicon 5. He really hope this new female Doctor would still be alive when they got there, it would be a bit awkward if she wasn’t or, heaven forbid, if she’d ended up regenerating in his absence.

The hairs on the back of Jack’s neck stood on end and he could tell the other three had noticed it too as they started looking around the small living room uncertainly, as though they were expecting something to jump out at them from behind the sofa.

‘What is that?’ Yaz asked him warily.

‘Not sure, probably best we don’t stick around and find out though,’ Jack said, but his manipulator was playing around again and he hit it a couple of times with the ball of his hand, the screen flashing indignantly at the treatment it was receiving. Maybe the Doctor would repair it for him, if she wasn’t dead.

‘Something watching us?’ Graham asked, looking out into his little garden, half-expecting his Garden Gnome to come to life and start attacking him. He was starting to feel bad for all the times he’d called it ugly in the past and made a mental note to give it a good scrub and get all the moss and dirt off of it.

Jack’s manipulator was having difficulties locating the proper coordinates but it did start beeping anxiously at him, symbols and numbers appearing on the small display as it detected an unknown entity prowling around outside.

‘I’m gonna need my gun back, Yaz,’ he said, turning to face the window as the manipulator lit up like a christmas tree and starting to buzz urgently against his wrist. There was nothing there that he could see and yet - wait, was that a shimmer? The manipulator was unable to identify their invisible foe but Jack was starting to suspect what it could be. There weren’t many invisible monsters that could take a Time Lord down. That and the small circular hole in her chest he’d initially thought was a bullet wound...

‘How the hell did she get away?’ he muttered to himself as he tapped the manipulator again urgently.

In the hallway, the front door creaked open.

‘Um, what was that?’ Ryan asked, as the four of them backed away from the door.

‘Come on, come on.’ Jack gave the manipulator one last whack and it finally connected, ready to transport them.

The shimmer was in the living room now, and Jack could tell the three humans could see it by the looks on their faces. He pushed them behind him in a very Doctor-esque fashion as the shimmer stalked slowly towards them. He could hear it breathing, raspy and unsettling and a drop of blood suddenly appeared on the carpet that he realised was probably the Doctor's.

‘Hold onto my arm,’ Jack yelled, and he hit the button on his vortex manipulator just as the shimmer lept towards them with a guttural screech, the world fading out to white around them.


‘Doctor!’

Yaz was at her side in an instant, hands clutching at her shoulders as she called her name softly, pleading with her to wake up.

‘She’s fine,’ Jack said, helping a confused Ryan to get back to his feet. ‘I think, difficult to tell really. She’s not regenerating so I’ll expect she’ll pull through.’

‘I have so many questions,’ Graham said, looking down at their sleeping friend in confusion, noting the blood coating her small frame and sticking her clothes to her skin. ‘What…?’

‘You’re in danger,’ Jack said, peering out of the blinds to check the street below. It was still busy and loud but nothing immediate jumped out at him. Except a familiar blue box parked on the corner of the street, illuminating a dark doorway with soft lighting.  Jack closed them again and knelt beside the Doctor to press his fingers against her pulse. Her heartbeats were stronger now and Jack nodded, satisfied, standing up and taking off his coat to lay over her as well.

‘So you two know each other?’ Ryan asked, noticing the tender gesture.

‘Oh yeah, we go way back,’ Jack said with a wink, unable to resist the opportunity to mess with the Doctor’s new friends for a bit. Let them think what they wanted, he certainly wouldn’t correct them.

‘I see,’ Graham said, although he sounded as though he really didn't.

‘What happened to her?’ Yaz asked. She was stroking the hair away from the Doctor’s face and looking at her with an expression that Jack recognised only too well. It was impossible not to fall in love with the Doctor, she shone like the brightest star in the sky.

‘She was attacked by the same creature that was coming after you,’ Jack said. ‘She managed to limp here to ask me to rescue you. You’re welcome, by the way.’

‘What was that creature?’ Ryan asked, ignoring the jab. ‘I couldn’t see it.’

‘Prerigoth,’ Jack said darkly, fiddling with the settings on his vortex manipulator. ‘Nasty thing. Lives in the Time Vortex but they’re very rare, don’t usually attack as far as I’m aware. Unless they’re provoked of course.’

‘That sounds like the Doc,’ Graham admitted.

‘So why did it come after us?’ Yaz asked.

‘They’re attracted to artron energy, they can smell it on you like a Shark can smell blood. Although Sharks are puppies compared to these things. It probably got one good whiff of the Doctor and realised there were three others that smelt just like her. It would have hunted you down and killed you like it nearly did to her.’

‘Are we safe here?’ Ryan asked, looking anxiously around as though a Prerigoth was lurked in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to attack.

The manipulator beeped and Jack nodded, satisfied with the readings. ‘The pollution in this place is too thick,’ he said. ‘A Prerigoth wouldn’t be able to pick up traces of artron energy through the dome. I think it takes a couple of hours for it to lose the scent, you’ll be safe here.’

He noticed Yaz had eased the Doctor's shirt away from her skin and was frowning at the puncture wound in her chest, already healing over.

‘Is that…?’ she asked quietly.

‘I thought it was a bullet,’ Jack admitted, eyeing the wound with distaste. ‘I think I was probably wrong.’

‘What is it then?’ Graham asked, and Jack gnashed his teeth together in response.

‘It didn't hurt that much,’ the Doctor said sleepily from under her covers. She opened her eyes and blinked blearily up at them, Ryan and Graham immediately sitting down on the bed next to her.

‘You alright there, love?’ Graham said gently, and Jack was struck by how much love the three of them were looking at her with. He’d always viewed the Doctor’s relationships with her friends as being more like one-nights stands, they burned brightly but dimmed fast and never usually ended very well. These three on the other hand, the way Yaz had her hand in the Doctor’s hair, the slender pale fingers that Ryan was clasping in his own. They were more like a family.

Jack felt both a pang of jealousy and happiness in his heart simultaneously. He’d had that once for a blissful moment that felt as though it had passed by like the life cycle of a mayfly. He remembered a day spent in Cardiff with Rose, Mickey, and his Doctor. Big ears, leather jacket, cheeky smile. Even when the Slitheen had showed up that sense of family had still given him hope for the future, and it made him think that maybe his own miserable life might be worth something after all.

Then he’d been left, alone and unsure, on a satellite station while Rose and the Doctor had gone off together and he’d suddenly realised exactly where he’d stood. He wasn’t a part of their family, he was just an add-on that was only included when it was useful.

He turned and headed towards the door, not wanting to stay when those painful memories were burning him up on the inside, but a gentle voice calling his name stopped him and he turned to see the Doctor smiling weakly at him.

His heart flipped in his chest and he sighed. Even all these years and incarnations later, she could still cool his anger with a gentle smile and a soft word.

He joined the four of them on his cramped bed and took the hand she was holding out to him, making a mental note to buy a bigger bed. Or to just get as far away from this dump as he could, surely the Galactic Armada would have stopped searching for him by now.

The Doctor was brushing her thumb soothingly over the back of his hand and he looked at her, squeezing her hand tightly. She was barely awake, still injured, still healing, but she was looking at him in the same way her three friends were looking at her, and Jack knew she loved him still.

‘Thank you,’ she said softly. ‘I was in a real pickle for a second there.’

‘Any time,’ Jack replied, because he knew he honestly meant it. ‘How did you even manage to piss off a Prerigoth anyway? Did you poke it with a stick?’  

‘Basically.’ She sighed. ‘I was changing the bulb on the TARDIS roof and dropped it. Didn't realise the Prerigoth was under me until it grabbed my leg. I think I might have dropped the bulb right on its head.’

‘I can see why it was so cross,’ Jack said with a smile, and for a moment he could believe it was just him and the Doctor looking at each other, lost in their own little world.

‘So you’re telling me that when we’re flying around in the TARDIS, vicious monsters are just outside ready to attack us?’ Graham said, with the affronted tone of one who was just now realising that there were a lot of things the Doctor kept secret from him.

‘They don’t attack normally,’ the Doctor said indignantly. ‘I had a friend who kept one as a pet in her TARDIS.’

Jack had to laugh. Trust the Doctor to immediately leap to the defence of a vicious, sharp-toothed murderous creature and make it sound like a pet dog you could domesticate and feed scraps to under the table.

She was falling asleep again, probably a combination of her body reminding her that she wasn’t fully healed yet and the repetitive motion from the hand on her head as Yaz ran the soft strands of hair through her fingers. Jack could see now that the Doctor’s new hair colour was blonde, and he immediately thought of Rose.

‘Go back to sleep,’ he told her, placing her hand on her stomach and giving it one final squeeze. ‘I’ll rustle up some dinner.’

‘Or I could take you out,’ the Doctor yawned, wriggling down under her covers. ‘Can’t say I enjoyed the menu last time I was here.’

‘It’s a date,’ Jack smirked at her, and she winked at him before drifting off to sleep again with three thoroughly confused humans looking at each other.

Jack felt a soft warmth in his chest. Maybe there was room for him in the Doctor’s new family after all.

 

Chapter Text

Yaz woke up with a strangled scream, heart pounding in her chest as she gasped for air, hands searching desperately for something to grasp onto. It was dark and for a horrible second she didn't remember where she was, only choking blackness surrounding her, but the lights lifted almost immediately and Yaz realised she’d fallen asleep in the TARDIS library, a book balanced on her chest.

‘Yaz!’

The Doctor practically fell into the room in her haste and she was at Yaz’s side in an instant, eyes wide in worry.

‘I heard you scream? What happened?’

‘I, um…’

Yaz sat up, rubbing her head. The Doctor knelt in front of her and put a hand on her knee, and when Yaz looked down at her through a curtain of hair she found her concerned face looking up at her, an oil smudge on her nose that Yaz was just dying to wipe away.

‘Bad dream?’ the Doctor asked, tilting her head at her, and Yaz nodded uncertainly.

‘I think so. I don’t remember it though.’

That was a complete lie. Yaz did remember her dream, it was difficult to forget. She’d been walking along a clifftop with the Doctor, fresh sea air blowing their hair around their faces. A glorious blue sky hung above and below them the ocean sparkled, reflecting the sun above. It was a perfect dream, a perfect landscape, until suddenly it wasn’t and the cliff had crumbled below the Doctor’s feet and she was falling down, down, down…

‘Hey.’

A squeeze on her knee grounded Yaz and she saw the Doctor narrowing her eyes, regarding her curiously. It was obvious she didn't believe her white lie about not remembering her dream, but she didn't push and when she offered her hands to Yaz the younger woman took them gratefully.

‘Come on, you,’ the Doctor said softly. ‘You can’t sleep on the sofa. Well you can, but it’s not amazingly comfortable. Actually it is, I nap on it all the time. Maybe I should get another one. Ooh I could get a purple one! That would be cool right? Still though, you’d be comfier in your own bed, yeah?’

The Doctor pulled Yaz up from the sofa and kept close to her side as she walked her back to Yaz’s room. The lights in the corridor were dim, as they usually were when the humans were sleeping, and Yaz wondered how often the Doctor slept, or if she even did sleep. She always seemed to stay up late and was always up before any of them in the morning. Even Graham, who always woke up at 6am sharp after years of driving buses, would find her bright eyed and bushy tailed when he shuffled into the kitchen for a cuppa.

‘Well, I hope the rest of your dreams are better,’ the Doctor said once they were outside Yaz’s room, hands shoved in pockets. She was still looking cautiously at Yaz, as though she wasn’t sure what to make of the whole thing, and Yaz smiled at her and opened her bedroom door.

‘Goodnight, Doctor.’

‘Night, Yaz.’

Closing the door behind her, Yaz crawled into her bed and pulled the duvet up over her head. She tried to sleep again but the dream was still fresh in her mind and instead she pulled out a book and read until she heard Ryan get up a few hours later.


‘In my defence,’ the Doctor protested, towelling her hair dry. ‘That meteor came out of nowhere.’

‘I’m just saying, if you think I need to take a shower I’d rather you just told me outright rather than crash the TARDIS into a lake and hope I take the hint,’ Graham told her, and she chuckled.

The four of them were in an inn somewhere in the south of France in the 17th century, having been unceremoniously flung there when a meteor knocked them off balance and sent them spiraling through time and space. It was dark outside but the room was warm, a fire blazing in the grate.

‘There’s no bed bugs are there?’ Ryan asked, peering under the sheets of the bed. ‘Cause honestly that’s the last thing I want.’

‘Shouldn’t be,’ the Doctor replied, happily clambering into the bed she was going to share with Yaz. ‘I’ve got stuff on the TARDIS that will fix you up if you get bitten though.’

‘The same TARDIS that’s currently repairing itself and won’t let us in?’

‘Herself, Graham. Honestly this is why she keeps moving the corridors around.’

Yaz gingerly climbed in as well, eyes squinting as she searched for bugs. The possibility of tiny brown insects climbing all over her hadn’t even occurred to her until Ryan had pointed it out, and the Doctor laughed at the look on her face.

‘Honestly, you lot. Live a little!’

‘That freefall from space into the lake was enough living for me for today thankyouverymuch,’ Graham said. He was top-and-tailing with Ryan on the other bed and Ryan grumbled about not having enough space, pulling the sheet tight against his chest just in case Graham was planning on hogging it.

Yaz didn't feel self-conscious being in the bed with the Doctor. When asleep the woman was an incessant cuddler and was always nodding off against one of them in the cinema or library. She seemed to prefer the shoulders of her friends to actual pillows. Yaz was sure there was some kind of psychological reason for that but she’d never tried to get into it. The Doctor tended to shut down whenever you asked her anything personal about her private life and Yaz enjoyed the snuggles too much to risk losing them by upsetting her.

What she was worried about, was the possibility of a nightmare coming after her.

They’d worsened after that first night on the TARDIS library, and now Yaz could barely get through a night without being plagued by one. Trying to get back to sleep again only made it worse and she’d started running on only a couple of hours sleep a night, catching quick catnaps when she could and trying to hide the bags under her eyes with heavy makeup. If any of her friends had noticed they hadn’t said anything, but Yaz didn't miss the sideways glances the Doctor kept shooting at her when she thought she wasn’t looking.

She curled up under the blanket, facing away from the Doctor who didn't appear to be planning on sleeping anytime soon. The blonde had her arms tucked under her head and was looking out the window up at the night sky through a crack in the curtains, seemingly content to lose herself in the stars twinkling brightly above them. The impact of light pollution on the Sheffield night sky was something Yaz was starting to resent more and more after seeing constellations like the ones the Doctor was currently gazing at in the past.

‘Night, fam,’ the Doctor called softly into the dark room, and received quiet mutters and murmurs from her friends of a similar sentiment.

Yaz closed her eyes, unable to resist against the pull of sleep any longer, and prayed she’d be able to get through the night.

 

She was back on the banks of the muddy river at Bilehurst Crag, Becca Savage and King James stood regal in front of her, smirks on their faces. There was a crowd behind her, the villagers she’d met, but they were all laughing and pointing at something in front of them. Graham, Ryan, and the Doctor weren’t there and Yaz was on her own, the only one not laughing or sneering or making rude remarks and comments about how ‘she deserved it’ and ‘that’s what you get for being a witch.’

There were two men at the river’s edge, dragging something from the water through the thick slurping mud towards her. Crows cawed above her head, circling, and Yaz felt a sensation of dread climbing up her chest and burrowing itself in her heart and lungs, making it difficult for her to breathe.

‘We’ll let you dispose of the body,’ Becca Savage said, turning to Yaz with the face of the Queen of the Morax. ‘She was your friend, after all.’

The two men had reached Yaz now and they turned the lifeless body onto its back, the Doctor’s cold dead eyes gazing emptily up at the sky, water leaking from the corners of her mouth.

Yaz screamed.

 

‘It’s alright, you’re okay. Yaz. Yaz! Come on, wake up.’

Yaz startled awake to the Doctor holding her tightly, pressing Yaz against her chest and stroking her back soothingly. Her chest felt tight and she realised she was holding her breath, letting it out and gulping air greedily as she tried to breathe.

‘You’re safe,’ the Doctor murmured to her, pressing her chin against the top of Yaz’s head and keeping her close as Yaz shakily managed to get her breathing under control, her heartbeat thumping strongly in her ears. Luckily any sounds she might have made while asleep had been drowned out over the sound of Ryan and Graham’s synchronized snoring, and it was just her and the Doctor awake.

‘How long have you been having nightmares?’ the Doctor asked softly, and Yaz swallowed hard.

‘I - I don’t know what you mean,’ she stammered.

‘Yasmin.’

The Doctor's voice was gentle and when Yaz looked up at her she saw concern in those soft green eyes. Of course she’d noticed. She noticed everything.

Well, almost everything.

‘You look exhausted all the time,’ the Doctor said carefully, not accusingly. ‘And sometimes I swear I can hear you crying out in the night, but when I go to check on you you’re quiet again.’

The knowledge that the Doctor heard Yaz’s distress in the night, and the realisation that she actually went to check on her, made Yaz feel something warm in her chest, and she couldn’t put a name on the feeling, although maybe it wasn’t a feeling at all? Maybe it was more a sensation; of being protected, of being cared about, of being loved.

‘I guess it’s been… a couple of weeks?’ Yaz said quietly, her words almost mumbled into the fabric of the Doctor’s t-shirt.

‘Weeks?’ The Doctor squeezed her a little tighter. ‘Oh, Yaz. Why didn't you tell me?’

‘I was worried,’ Yaz said, keeping her face pressed against her friend’s shoulder.

‘About…?’

‘How you’d react.’

The Doctor pulled away and tilted Yaz’s head up so she’d have to look her in the face. ‘How I’d react? What do you mean?’

‘I thought…’ Yaz’s gaze dropped down to her hands, picking at the material of the blanket in her lap. ‘I guess I thought that… you wouldn’t want me to travel with you anymore.’

‘Yaz…’

Yaz closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable.

It’s for the best. Maybe you just can’t take it? It’s okay to admit it’s not for you. Have some days at home, think about what you really want.

The Doctor tugged her back into her arms and planted a kiss on the top of her head.

‘Yasmin Khan,’ she said quietly. ‘Don’t be so daft. If I threw every single person who got nightmares off the TARDIS I’d have to start with myself. You’re not going anywhere, not if you don’t want to.’

Yaz was so relieved she could cry, but she clung to the Doctor’s t-shirt instead and pressed her ear against her chest, the sound of her hearts beating almost taking her by surprise.

‘Everything alright?’ Graham said, lifting his head up. ‘Midnight cuddles?’

The Doctor held her arm out. ‘Wanna join in?’

Graham chuckled. ‘Nah, you’re alright, ta.’


Thankfully the TARDIS had repaired her self (Graham noted) the next morning and they were soon off again, spinning through the vortex back on their merry way. The Doctor managed to convince Graham and Ryan that they should take it easy for a few days, just in case the TARDIS was still repairing some of the more intricate parts of her machinery, (although Yaz knew that was for her benefit) and she landed them on a paradise planet for some much needed R&R.

The nightmares didn't go away though, despite their tranquil location. In fact they got worse, and it wasn’t until Yaz realised the Doctor was asleep as well one evening that she snuck out of the little treehouse they were all sharing and escaped down to the beach to sit on the sand, looking up at the four moons in the starry night above her. Her body ached with exhaustion and her mind was a fuzzy blur in her skull but she just couldn’t sleep, constantly jarring herself out of it with repetitive nightmares.

At the breakfast table the next morning, while slurping down a smoothie made from an alien berry that Graham had become infatuated with, the older man fixed Yaz with a look.

‘You sleep alright last night?’ he asked, as nonchalantly as he could.

The Doctor’s head shot up immediately, putting Yaz rather in mind of a meerkat, and she looked at Yaz through concerned eyes.

‘I’m fine,’ Yaz replied, taking a bite out of her pancake. ‘It was hot last night.’

‘I slept like a baby,’ Ryan said proudly. ‘I wish beaches were more like this in the UK.’

‘I just could have sworn I heard you leave in the night,’ Graham continued, and Yaz suddenly felt herself feeling hot. She knew he wasn’t doing it to put her on the spot, she knew he was just interested in what she’d got up to, and maybe a little bit worried, but she really didn't need this right now.

‘I said I’m fine,’ she told him, voice stern. ‘I just wanted to look at the stars.’

Graham, if a little taken aback by her tone, seemed happy with her answer but Ryan chortled and said:

‘Jeez, Yaz. No need to bite his head off.’

Yaz stood up, suddenly filled with anger. She was tired, she was sleep deprived, she was stressed, and she couldn’t stand the way the Doctor was looking at her, as though she was about to break apart. She wanted Yaz to snap? Fine!

‘Just LEAVE ME ALONE,’ Yaz yelled, and flipped the table over, sending plates, glasses, cutlery, food and liquids flying everywhere, smashing and splattering on the ground.

There were exclamations and yelps and a fair bit of swearing but Yaz ignored them all, turning and running as fast as she could, ignoring the frantic calls of the Doctor yelling her name.


Yaz ran until her legs tired and then she ran some more, stumbling and tripping over her aching feet, tears streaming down her face.

She’d yelled at Graham, she’d yelled at her friends. How would she ever face them again? How could she? The Doctor would throw her off the TARDIS for sure and she’d only see that beautiful blue box from a distance when that mad, wonderful woman dropped off Graham and Ryan every now and then.

She’d just ruined her life, and instead of staying and apologising and explaining she’d ran like a coward.

Yaz tripped over her tired feet and fell onto the grass, curling into a ball and sobbing. She’d ran so far she was miles from the beach now and the sea was only a blue splodge in the distance. Grey storm clouds were gathering ahead and Yaz knew she should head back to their little holiday home, the Doctor had warned them that the storms on this planet were both beautiful and destructive, but her head throbbed, her limbs ached, her eyes burned and she had no strength left in her. She closed her eyes, and let the nightmares in.


Yaz!

YAZ!

Where is she? The weather’s getting worse!

Yaz we’re not mad at you, I swear!

There were voices floating through her subconscious, carried on a tidal wave through her dreams, each more awful than the last, but Yaz was too exhausted to open her eyes, gripped by her nightmares and unable to move. She felt cold and wet and alone, so alone.

YAZ!!!

Doc, I see her! She’s over there!

Is she dead?

Ryan!

Something landed beside her, something heavy and warm and soft and then cool hands were on her face, brushing away strands of wet hair and she was being lifted up into someone’s arms and there were voices and soft words and gentle murmurs and the bad dreams were starting to recede a little, fading away into the background.

It’s alright, Yaz. I’ve got you.

The Doctor's voice was soft and warm and Yaz could hear her strange heartbeat again, thumping against her ear.

Is she alright, Doc?

Graham, sounded worried, as though she hadn’t yelled at him barely hours (days? Weeks? months?) before.

She looks so pale.

Ryan. There was a hand in hers, squeezing tightly, and Yaz could feel herself starting to slip away into a deep, black chasm.

There was no nightmares in it though, not this time.


When she woke up again, Yaz felt amazing. Her head was clear, her eyes were bright, and she felt more focused and alert than she had in weeks. She could hear birds chirping and there was a blanket over her, soft and warm and comforting.

‘Ooh, I think she’s awake!’

Yaz opened her eyes and saw Ryan standing over her, grinning. There was a jar in his hand and instantly the Doctor snatched it away.

‘What did I say? Don’t shove it in front of her face!’

‘But it’s really cool!’

‘She probably doesn’t want to see it right now!’

‘What’s going on?’ Yaz asked, interrupting their playful bickering. ‘Where am I?’

‘You’re in the treehouse, Yaz,’ Graham said, sitting on the end of her bed. ‘The Doc knocked you out.’

‘Graham,’ the Doctor said, sounding annoyed. ‘Don’t say it like that!’

‘Like what?’

‘Like I hit her over the head or something!’

‘You… knocked me out?’ Yaz asked, confused. Recent memories were still sorting themselves in her mind, pictures and voices slotting into place. She’d been running, hiding, desperate to get away. Then there had been rain and cold and wet and…

She must have made a face, or an expression that the three instantly picked up on because she immediately had her friends all talking at once.

‘It’s totally fine, Yaz.’

‘I’m not mad at all.’

‘A Cortex bug will do that to anyone!’

Yaz sat up and buried her head into her knees, waves of humiliation crashing over her. She’d yelled at Graham. She’d flipped a table over and then run away. How could they bear to be around her? How could they still be treating her like their friend?

‘Yaz, hey.’

Ryan’s hand was on her back and she felt the bed dip slightly, a slim hand that had to belong to the Doctor squeezing her own gently.

‘It’s not your fault,’ the Doctor said softly, a hand on Yaz’s head playing with the soft strands of her hair.

‘I yelled at you,’ Yaz mumbled into her knees, and Graham chortled.

‘Gave me a right shock too! Remind me to never get on your bad side, Yaz.’

The Doctor and Ryan must have shot him a look, because then he was quiet again.

‘Can I show her the thing now, Doctor?’ Ryan asked, and Yaz looked up, wiping away the tears that were streaking down her face.

‘What thing?’ The Doctor’s earlier words came back to her and she frowned, feeling apprehension building up inside her. ‘What’s a Cortex bug?’

‘This!’

And then Ryan’s jar was shoved in her face and Yaz could see a small, purple bug running around frantically, desperate to get out. The colours of its skin were rich and deep and when the light caught it Yaz swore it shone. It was definitely the prettiest bug she’d ever seen, and that was really saying something.

‘This was in your head,’ the Doctor said, matter of factly, and Yaz took back every nice thought she’d ever had about the tiny insect.

‘It was what?!’

‘I thought we were going to break it to her gently, Doc?’ Graham said, face in his hands.

‘Was that not gentle?’ The Doctor looked confused.

‘What is that thing?’ Yaz asked, leaning away from the jar.

‘It’s a Cortex bug,’ the Doctor explained. ‘Enters through your ear, burrows into your brain, then plays around a little bit. It’s a parasite, essentially. You probably picked it up when we went to the Crystalline Rainforests a couple of weeks ago. It feeds off negative emotions, memories…’ - she looked at Yaz cautiously - ‘... dreams.’

‘You mean, that thing was responsible for my nightmares?’ Yaz asked, the realisation hitting her hard. ‘It wasn’t because I’m not strong enough to stay on the TARDIS?’

‘You’re not what?’ Ryan blurted out. ‘You’re the strongest one out of all of us! Even the Doctor! You’re the one that got the wasp out of the control room that one time while the rest of us ran and hid.’

‘I hate wasps,’ the Doctor muttered darkly, and Yaz remembered the story she’d told them about Agatha Christie when they’d been hiding in the alcove at Kerblam.

‘Yaz, love,’ Graham said. ‘Don’t ever think you’re not strong enough. That’s just ridiculous.’

‘So it changes my emotions too then, right?’ Yaz asked. ‘That’s the reason I flipped the table?’

The Doctor and Graham exchanged an uncomfortable look.

‘Um, no. Yaz,’ the Doctor said. ‘That was a symptom of good old fashioned sleep deprivation.’

‘So that was all me, not the bug,’ Yaz realised, face dropping.

‘The point is, Yaz,’ Graham said, sitting next to her and tucking an arm around her. ‘We’re not mad at you, and we don’t blame you, and we’re not angry. Alright? We’re just so, so glad you’re alright.’

‘And watching you flip a table single handedly was the most badass thing I’ve ever seen you do,’ Ryan said. ‘That table was super heavy! It took two of us to lift it back up again.’

‘You should be able to sleep now, Yaz,’ the Doctor said softly, but she looked sad. ‘I’m so sorry I didn't pick it up earlier, I should have realised.’

‘Oh for goodness sake we can’t have both of you feeling guilty,’ Graham said in exasperation. ‘Right, final time I’m going to say this. Make sure you’re both paying attention. Yaz, it’s not your fault you flipped a table. You’ve seen how grumpy I get from not getting enough sleep and that’s one night not two weeks. And Doc, it’s not your fault that you didn't notice there was a bug in Yaz’s brain. I’m assuming you don’t have x-ray vision like Superman, right? The fact that you realised what it was at all is impressive in itself, as is the fact you managed to get it out of Yaz’s brain. Right. Grandad speech over, both of you knock it off.’

The Doctor chuckled quietly and Yaz found a smile creeping onto her face. When Graham decided you needed cheering up, it was impossible to continue feeling down in the dumps. There was a reason he’d been designated ‘Team Grandpa’, although the Doctor had mumbled that she was old enough to be his grandpa hundreds of times over.

‘The Doctor says you need to sleep for a bit longer, Yaz,’ Ryan said. ‘Then she’s going to treat us all to that insane ice cream we saw the first night we were here.’

‘The one we decided it was impossible for all of us to get through?’ Yaz asked.

The Doctor blew a raspberry. ‘I point and laugh at impossibility. And also archeologists, but that’s a whole other story.’

‘Get some sleep, yeah?’ Ryan said, and Yaz nodded at him and laid back down on the bed.

The Doctor stood up also but Yaz gripped her hand tightly, and she turned to look down at her.

‘Can I talk to you?’ Yaz whispered, anxiety gripping her tightly, but the Doctor smiled softly and shuffled onto the bed, pinching some of the blanket to put over her knees and tucking an arm around Yaz so she could press herself against the other woman’s side.

‘We’re really not mad at you, you know,’ the Doctor said gently. ‘You should see the stuff I get up to when I’m sleep deprived.’

Yaz remembered the confetti cannon that had been installed onto the TARDIS console, and she smiled.

‘I don’t want you to think that I can’t handle myself, or that I have any regrets coming with you, because I don’t,’ Yaz said. ‘I’ve seen all sorts of stuff working for the police and yeah, you could argue that the stuff we see is more intense and occasionally more life-threatening, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have no regrets coming with you and I love exploring the universe with you.’

The Doctor smiled and tucked her other arm across Yaz’s waist so she was holding her close.

‘I only take the best, Yaz,’ she said. ‘And honestly, usually it’s me doing the asking but this time it was you three. That tells me more about your personalities than you could ever know. So don’t worry, I know how strong you are. Now go to sleep, and when you wake up we’ll make ourselves ill eating ridiculous quantities of ice cream.’

She gave Yaz a final squeeze and stood up, tucking the blanket up over Yaz’s shoulders. Yaz smiled as she walked away, wriggling down under her covers and watching her friends.

Graham was sat in an armchair, reading a newspaper on the balcony, and Ryan was stood at the little kitchen counter, trying and failing to take the cap off a bottle of orange juice.

‘Need a hand?’ the Doctor asked, hoisting herself up onto the unit and taking a bite out of an apple.

‘Nope,’ Ryan insisted. ‘I’m going to get this damn thing open.’

‘Are you sure?’ the Doctor teased. ‘Cause I’m not sure you are.’

The bottle slipped out of Ryan’s hands and he kicked it angrily.

‘Uh-oh, this one’s getting grumpy, Doc,’ Graham said, looking up from his newspaper.

‘That’s a symptom of sleep deprivation, Graham,’ the Doctor agreed.

‘That’s a symptom of life,’ an annoyed Ryan said.

‘I mean, you might have a bug in your brain too,’ the Doctor said, but her eyes were shining. She advanced on Ryan and the other man backed away with his hands in the air.  ‘Wouldn’t hurt to check.’

‘Oh hell no! You are not shoving tweezers in my ears thank you very much!’

Yaz, wide awake now, shot up in bed.

‘You put what in my ear??’









Chapter Text

To say that the Doctor crash landed the TARDIS would be an understatement.

She’d explained to them once that piloting the TARDIS was a dialogue between her and her ship, and that sometimes where she wanted to go wasn’t necessarily where the TARDIS wanted to go. But still, approximately 60% of the time they ended up in the right place and the right time with only a couple of muffled swear words and the occasional violent lurch to one side as the timeship spun widely through the vortex.

On this occasion, however, the last thing Graham and Ryan expected was for the TARDIS to materialise twenty feet above their back garden and then drop out of the sky, landing with a THUMP that shook the earth around them and had several neighbours running outdoors with cries of ‘earthquake!’

‘Bloody hell!’ Graham yelled, his coffee mug smashed to pieces on the floor in his shock.

Ryan was already at the doors and they opened quickly, as though the TARDIS was urging him inside to save her from the Doctor's terrible piloting.

‘HIYA!’ the Doctor yelled from the console, eyes bright and wild, hair messed around her face. ‘Did I frighten you? Sorry. Bit of a bumpy landing. Don’t really remember piloting to be honest.’

‘Doctor…’

Ryan took a step towards her but froze, unsure how to proceed.

She was a mess. Dirt and blood streaked into her hair, face and clothes, long grey coat ripped and almost torn to shreds. She was staggering around the controls, a bottle in her hand, and it took a few seconds for Ryan to realise that she was blind drunk.

‘You alright, Ryan?’ she asked, taking a swig from a green bottle. ‘You look a bit shocked.’

‘My god…’ Graham said softly, coming in behind them and standing behind his grandson.

‘Graham!’ she called cheerfully. ‘Sorry, I was aiming for Talax. Not sure how I managed to end up here. How long has it been? I was going to come pick you up on Saturday wasn’t I? Or a Saturday anyway, can never remember which one. Time in a linear order is so confusing.’

She scronched her face at the console and took another swig from her bottle, frowning at it when she realised it was empty.

‘You got any booze?’ she asked, already pushing past the two of them to get into the house. She stank of alcohol and smoke and Graham wordlessly whispered to Ryan get Yaz here now once she’d left her ship and he could hear the clatter of cupboard doors opening and closing.

‘You’ve only been gone a day, not even that really,’ Graham said, hurrying into the kitchen where the Doctor was already inspecting his cupboards, looking for something else to drink. ‘Have a sit down, Doc. I’ll make you a sandwich. Tuna mayo sound okay? And a glass of water?’

‘Nah, this’ll do me,’ the Doctor replied, tugging a bottle of whiskey out of the cupboard. She had the top off and was guzzling it down before Graham had a chance to tell her that he’d been saving it for a special occasion, and she flopped into a kitchen chair with a massive sigh, rubbing her eyes sleepily and spreading more dirt across her face.

‘Actually, you know what,’ she said quietly. ‘A tuna mayo sandwich sounds amazing.’

‘I’ll get right on it,’ Graham said, grateful for something to do that might help his friend. ‘You go slow on that bottle, yeah? Strong stuff that whiskey.’

She nodded at him, but whether she’d actually heard what he’d said was another matter, and when he put the sandwich down in front of her she only picked at it, swaying a little in her chair.

Ryan came back into the house then, tucking his phone into his pocket, and poured her a glass of water from the sink, depositing the cup in front of her.

‘Yaz is coming round,’ he said, as casually as he could manage, and the Doctor chuckled.

‘You calling the police on me?’ she asked, finishing the last of the whiskey and almost tilting out of the chair. ‘I freely admit that drunk driving is never a good idea, the TARDIS hates it. Probably why I ended up here and not Talax. Told you she’s got a mind of her own, always keeping an eye on me.’

The two men were astonished to realise she was crying, tears dripping down her face and landing on the smooth surface of the kitchen table, but she rubbed her eyes quickly, took one big sniff, and was immediately back to raiding the cupboards for something else.

‘Doctor,’ Graham said gently. ‘I think you’d had enough.’

‘Nah, never,’ she replied, finding Ryan’s beer in the fridge. ‘I’ll replace it, I swear. I metabolise alcohol quickly, gotta keep drinking to stay drunk.’

‘And why are you trying to stay drunk, love?’ Graham asked, steering her back into the chair when she almost tripped over her feet.

‘Life,’ she exclaimed dramatically, popping the tab in her beer can. ‘S’hard. S’ really hard. And not fair. Have I told you how unfair the universe is? I told them that. Bill and Clara and Amy and all the other amazing people I’ve lost. My fault, entirely my fault.’ She looked up at them, eyes wide and shining with unshed tears. ‘I swear I won’t let that happen to you though,’ she said thickly. ‘I swear. You’re my fam.’

The doorbell rang and Ryan hurried to answer it while Graham tentatively sat next to the Doctor and carefully tucked an arm across her shoulder, giving her space to move away if she wanted to, but to his surprise she pressed into him and took another drink of her beer silently.

Yaz sat on her other side, taking her hand and squeezing it gently.

‘Hey, you,’ she said quietly, and the Doctor smiled at her.

‘Wotcha, Yaz.’ She pulled a face, sniffing loudly. ‘That’s what Rose used to say.’

‘Who’s Rose?’ Ryan asked, but she didn't respond.

‘Why don’t you tell us what happened?’ Yaz said gently, not pushing, and Ryan was glad they had someone like her to stay level headed and calm in situations like this.

‘S’a long story,’ she said, sipping her beer silently. ‘Or short, or long, not sure. Always get those two mixed up. Like I said, linear time, so confusing.’

‘You look like you got in a fight,’ Yaz said calmly, rubbing a spot between the Doctor’s shoulderblades with the palm of her hand. ‘You could do with a shower, if I’m being honest.’

‘Cheeky,’ the Doctor smiled, but her eyes were dull.

‘Here, love,’ Graham said, putting a packet of custard creams in front of her. ‘I’ve been stocking up. Like “The Tiger That Came To Tea”! Did you ever read that story, Ryan? About the tiger that comes round and eats everything?’

‘Yeah, I remember,’ Ryan said. ‘We read that at school, didn't we Yaz?’

‘Yeah! At the end of the story the dad buys a big tin of tiger food, doesn’t he?’

‘Am I the tiger in this scenario?’ the Doctor asked, waving her packet of custard creams around, and Graham looked guilty.

‘Yeah, I guess you are a bit,’ he admitted.

They were silent for a moment while the Doctor alternated between picking at the remains of her sandwich, drinking her beer, and begrudgingly taking sips of water at Yaz’s insistence.

‘So this was this kid,’ she said eventually, words slurred and voice thick. ‘Not a baby goat, a child.’ She sniffed again, took a big gulp of her beer, and began her tale in fits and starts with encouragements from her friends and more custard creams.

Eventually, throughout her drunken sniffs, occasional tears and drowsy lurches to the side, the three humans understood what had happened to her.

A party had turned deadly when a bomb was set off. The Doctor had been hiding under the table with a young girl, promising to keep her safe. She’d been making a break for the door when an opportunity presented itself, the child clutched tightly in her arms, when the ceiling had collapsed and buried them both.

By the time the Doctor had managed to dig herself out, the child was dead.

‘That’s not your fault, Doctor,’ Yaz said gently. ‘You know that, don’t you?’

‘I had a duty of care,’ the Doctor said, tears dripping freely down her face now and making no effort to wipe them away. ‘She was all alone, I couldn’t find her parents to tell them afterwards. I think they must have…’ she trailed off and looked down at the floor, silent once more.

‘You didn't cause the ceiling to collapse though, did you, Doctor?’ Ryan said, pressing another beer can into her hands and opening one for himself. ‘You didn't cause the bomb to go off either.’

‘You need to stop blaming yourself for things that are out of your control,’ Graham said softly. ‘You tried to save that little girl, you were her best chance, and it wasn’t your fault.’

‘But I was her best chance and I let her down,’ the Doctor said miserably, wiping the tears from her face. ‘I had a duty of care.’

‘You keep saying that,’ Yaz said carefully. ‘And I understand what you mean, but sometimes things are out of your control.’

‘Like Clara,’ the Doctor said, openly sobbing now and pressing her face into her hands, shoulders shaking. ‘Why did she get the chronolock transferred onto her why did she do that? She didn't have to die, and even when I saved her I didn't do it properly. Gave her no other option but to go back to Gallifrey and let them finish the job.’

‘Clara?’ Graham asked hesitantly.

‘And Bill!’ the Doctor howled, words thick and punctuated by drunken hiccups. ‘I promised her, I promised her I could save her and she died too.’ She pressed her head against the table and cried loudly. ‘And she was all alone when she did. There were no stars for her either.’

‘Not everything is your fault,’ Yaz pleaded with her. ‘You do your best, I know you do, we all do, we’ve seen you do it, but sometimes…’

She looked at Ryan and Graham and the pair of them took the Doctor’s hands in theirs, squeezing gently.

‘Sometimes the universe has other ideas,’ Yaz finished, tucking the Doctor’s hair behind her ear and stroking her filthy cheek gently. ‘And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things don’t go the way you want them too. But that’s okay, because that’s how we learn, and that’s how things move forwards, and more importantly - none of it, not a single day of it, is your fault.’

‘I could have saved her,’ the Doctor mumbled.

‘The little girl?’ Graham asked quietly, but the Doctor didn't seem to have heard him.

‘I could have saved all of them,’ she whispered, and her eyes closed and she tilted violently towards the floor. She would have collided with it, but Ryan caught her shoulders and carefully stood her up, the Doctor leaning heavily against him as he guided her to the sofa.

‘You get some sleep,’ he told her. ‘Things will be better in the morning.’

‘My granny used to say that,’ the Doctor said, eyes still closed as she fell heavily onto it, curling into a ball and hugging her knees against her chest.

‘Which granny was that?’ Yaz asked, taking the blanket Graham was handing her and tucking it around her friend’s shoulders tightly, easing a cushion under her head.

‘Granny 6 I think,’ the Doctor slurred, already half asleep. ‘Or maybe it was granny 1? They all have sayings like that don’t they, grannies?’

‘I can attest to that,’ Ryan chuckled. ‘Now come on, go to sleep, before I start reading you a bedtime story.’

That wasn’t needed in the end though, as a few moments later she was fast asleep and the three humans were stood looking down at their unconscious friend as she drooled onto Graham’s cushions, snoring softly.

‘Bloody hell,’ Graham said quietly, summing up what the other two were thinking. He turned to Yaz and put an appreciative hand on her shoulder.

‘Thanks for coming round,’ he told her. ‘You handle this stuff better than us.’

‘I thought you were doing a sterling job,’ Yaz said with a quiet smile. ‘I’ll stay down here with her, do you mind digging the airbed out?’

‘I’m on it,’ Ryan said, rummaging through the cupboards, and Graham ran upstairs to find some bedding.

‘Yaz?’ the Doctor mumbled from the sofa, and Yaz looked down at her to find her eye half open, looking sleepily up at her.

‘I’m here,’ Yaz said softly, kneeling down and holding her hand tightly.

‘I’m sorry I’m a mess,’ the Doctor slurred, and Yaz smiled and stroked her hair back from her face.

‘You’re wonderful,’ Yaz replied. ‘Get some rest, I’ll take you out for a fried egg sandwich in the morning.’

‘Why are you so good to me?’ the Doctor whispered, closing her eyes again. ‘I don’t deserve it.’

‘Because while you’re busy trying to look after everyone else, no-one’s looking after you,’ Yaz said gently, bending down to kiss her forehead lightly.

‘And you’ve got a duty of care to me, right, Yaz?’ the Doctor asked, opening an eye again but not really focusing on her face.

‘Always,’ Yaz replied. ‘Now go to sleep. I’ll still be here in the morning.’

‘Love you, Yaz,’ the Doctor mumbled into her pillow, and Yaz tucked the blanket up a little more over her shoulders.

‘I love you too, always.’  

 

Chapter Text

Yaz accepted a flute of champagne - or whatever passed for champagne in this part of the galaxy - from the waiter’s proffered tray and took a small sip, looking around the party as she moved delicately through the crowded room, trying to scope out her friends.

Ryan was sat at the bar, looking smarter than she’d ever seen him in his tux, talking to one of the staff serving drinks. She was tall and slender with long, deep blue hair that cascaded down her back. Two small horns jutted out of her forehead and her forked tongue flicked out the corner of her mouth as she laughed at something Ryan had said.

Or pretended to laugh, most likely. Ryan didn't have great game.

‘Stop flirting,’ Yaz whispered, a small smile on her face. ‘We have a job to do.’

‘I wouldn’t bother, Yaz,’ Graham’s voice sounded in her ear. ‘Trying to get Ryan to stop flirting is like trying to get him to clean his room. Practically impossible.’

At the bar, when the alien girl had turned to take another person’s drink order, Ryan spotted Yaz and stuck his tongue out at her.

‘Who’s flirting?’ the Doctor asked excitedly. She was stood in a corner of the room with a group of well dressed men, most likely the wealthy philanthropists who had put this party together, and she’d turned her head a little so they couldn’t see her apparently talking to herself.

‘You, by the looks of it,’ Yaz said, raising an eyebrow. The group of men her friend was talking to were hanging on her every word, and it was clear to see they were enraptured by her.

Yaz wasn’t surprised. The Doctor was wearing a floor length silver dress that clung tightly to her slender frame and left very little to the imagination. Her hair was curled and styled softly, courtesy of Yaz, and she had a small clutch purse tucked under her arm; most likely containing the sonic and the psychic paper that had got them all into the party in the first place.

Yaz had managed to persuade her from wearing the bum bag, making the case that - among other things - it looked ridiculous.

‘I am not!’

Yaz smiled and shook the tentacle of a jellyfish-like alien with a bow tie pinned to his… whatever that frilly thing was around his neck. Her own dress shone when it caught the light from the chandelier high above their heads and she smiled as regally as she could manage at the other guests that nodded their heads politely at her. The Doctor had been dismayed when she’d learnt about the dress code, preferring to wear a suit or anything that didn't involve a skirt, but after encouragement from the boys and a quick makeover from Yaz she’d cheered up a little bit, and Yaz had made sure she was wearing flat shoes rather than heels. Just in case.

‘Well you might not be flirting with them, Doc’ - Graham said from the table he was seated at in the centre of the room, straightening his bowtie - ‘but they’re certainly flirting with you.’

‘Ew,’ the Doctor mumbled, and Yaz saw her extracting herself from her little fanclub as politely as possible, heading towards the bar where Ryan was still seated.

A commotion from up ahead caught Yaz’s attention and she quickly excused herself from the Reconomax trying to speak to her, making her way through the crowd to find out the cause of the issue.

‘I know I was wearing it!’ a lady was saying, dabbing smudged eye makeup from her face as she was consoled by her little group.

‘Are you sure? It’s probably still on your dressing room table at home,’ her friend soothed reassuringly.

‘It’s a Perinium Cluster!’ the woman said, scandalised. ‘Of course I wore it out! I remember shaking the hand of Mr Corfax when we arrived and noting how pretty it looked on my wrist.’

‘Is everything okay?’ Yaz asked softly, nudging her way into the small circle. ‘Have you lost something?’

‘My diamond bracelet,’ the lady cried. ‘It must have fallen off my wrist!’

She dissolved into noisy sobs and Yaz quickly withdrew from the group, speaking urgently to her friends.

‘I think we’re on. A diamond bracelet has gone missing, does that sound about right?’

‘Yes!’ the Doctor exclaimed enthusiastically. ‘Come on gang, keep em peeled.’

Yaz moved quickly through the crowd, looking down at the ground for the mischievous imp the Doctor believed was targeting the rich guests of this evening’s gala.

The maître d' (the man who’d hired Team TARDIS in the first place, anticipating that this evening’s party would be the next place the creature would strike) was stood dithering by the door and he watched anxiously as Yaz hurried past him, eyes fixed firmly on the ground and almost crashing into other guests.

‘Remind me what we’re looking for again, Doc?’ Graham’s voice sounded in her ear, and Yaz heard the Doctor reply from a few feet away where she was inspecting behind the large, deep red curtains hanging from the ceiling.

‘Think a cross between a Pting, and the Niffler from Fantastic Beasts,’ she replied. ‘I’ve never actually seen one up close! This is exciting.’

‘And they’re not vicious, right?’ Yaz checked, and the Doctor appeared at her side, tucking her arm through Yaz’s as they made a circle around the edge of the room.

‘Nah, I don’t think so. Maybe. Who knows? Good opportunity for us to educate ourselves.’

‘Someone’s lost a gold necklace over here, Doc,’ Graham called from the other end of the room and the Doctor steered herself and Yaz towards him, eyes searching all the time for their mysterious thief.

Around them, the ballroom was descending into chaos as more and more guests realised their jewelry had vanished. A thin wail started up and soon the noise of people yelling and crying was all Yaz could hear. It was getting harder and harder for them to search the room as people began to drop to the ground to search for the missing valuables, and the Doctor and Yaz soon found themselves having to step over a variety of aliens just to reach the two men.

‘I see something!’ Ryan yelled when they were in earshot. ‘Over there!’

Yaz, Graham and the Doctor looked to where he was pointing, and saw a small, furry creature leap out from under a table and head towards the staircase, scampering up the marble steps to the floor above.

‘Good spot, Ryan!’ the Doctor yelled. ‘Come on you lot, remember the plan.’

‘I hope it’s easier to herd than a Pting,’ Yaz said, kicking off her heels and lifting up her skirt to follow her friends.

The Doctor, frustrated by the limiting movement of her outfit, had stopped to bend over and rip the skirt of her dress all the way up to her thigh, allowing her more room to run, and she raced up the stairs ahead of the three humans, digging in her clutch purse and pulling out a ring that sparkled and glittered in the light.

‘Right, ready you lot?’ she asked once they were all at the top of the stairs, and her friends nodded and spread out, hiding themselves behind cabinets and statues while the Doctor put the ring carefully down on the ground in front of a large window, quickly sneaking behind a door and crouching down low, silent and completely still.

Yaz, hidden behind a golden display case full of bizarre alien pottery, was just starting to wonder if she could risk having a quick stretch when suddenly there came the sound of scuffling and a dark shape darted out, pausing in the middle of the landing to look around, tiny black nose sniffing the air curiously.

Yaz stared at it, mouth open and eyes wide.

It was small, perhaps the size of a domestic cat, but she could suddenly understand why the Doctor had compared it to both a Pting and a Niffler.

It stood on its hind legs, pointed snout in the air, eyes darting from side to side as it chirped and clicked to itself. It was like no animal that Yaz had ever seen before, though its closest Earth relative would probably be a cross between a Racoon and a Badger.

It dropped down onto all fours and began to pad towards the ring the Doctor had left, nose to the ground as it sniffed and snuffled. Its hips moved in a swaying fashion and it almost sashayed itself along the carpet as though it was on a catwalk.

Yaz caught the Doctor’s face and stifled a laugh. The Doctor was staring at this creature as though it was the most amazing thing she’d ever seen, her excited smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s.

As soon as the creature’s nose touched the polished surface of the ring, a shimmering shield appearing around it, trapping the creature inside and making bzt noises as the animal tried to escape, unable to breach the energy field around it.

‘Got ya!’ the Doctor called triumphant, jumping up and immediately throwing herself onto the ground in front of the creature to examine it, head tilted to one side.

‘That’s the thief?’ Graham asked, astonished. ‘But it’s so -’

‘Cute!’ Yaz said. ‘What is that? A racoon?’

‘Not quite, but close!’ the Doctor said. ‘It’s called a Racline. Cheeky little critter that’s attracted to anything shiny. Almost impossible to catch so well done fam!’

‘What do we do with it?’ Ryan asked as the Doctor held her hand over the energy field. A control panel appeared on it and the Doctor entered a sequence that caused the ring to move and grow as it transformed itself into a Racline-sized container with a neat little handle on the top.

‘They have colonies on Diamondis Nine,’ the Doctor said, bending down to pick up the carrier. ‘We’ll take it back there. Shining seas, cliff faces made of diamonds, trees made of gold.’

‘Sounds like paradise,’ Graham said.

It was at this point that the maître d' made his appearance, moving quickly towards them with a team of security behind him all, Yaz noted with a growing feeling of apprehension, carrying guns.

‘Is that it?’ he asked. ‘Did you catch it?’

‘Yup,’ the Doctor said proudly. ‘And you can put those weapons away thankyouverymuch. We’ll be taking it back home now.’

‘I’m afraid it’s the law,’ the maître d' said, but not apologetically enough for Yaz to feel that he really meant it. ‘Breaching the security of this great institution is a crime punishable by death. Now please, hand it over. I promise we’ll be humane in its termination.’

‘Not a chance,’ the Doctor said, shaking her head. ‘The Racline is a protected species in the Bendaro Sector under article 939 of the ISPCAA federation. That’s Intergalactic Society for the Prevention against Cruelty to Alien Animals’ she whispered in an aside to her friends. ‘As a representative of the ISPCAA, I will be releasing this creature back onto one of its colony planets. Any attempt to stop me from carrying out this task...’ she paused and smiled in a rather sinister fashion. ‘Well. I’m sure you know how strict the ISPCAA can be.’

The maître d' had gone a peculiar shade of grey, but he stood aside and allowed the Doctor and her friends to make their way back down the winding staircase, the Racline grumbling crossly in its carrier.

‘Is that a real thing?’ Graham asked. ‘Or did you just make it up?’

‘It’s very real!’ the Doctor replied. ‘Remind me to take you there. Have you seen a Glanot before? No? Amazing animals. Horses the size of Giraffes with massive wings. They’re practically extinct so the ISPCAA has a breeding colony. If you promise a monthly donation they’ll let you ride one.’

The TARDIS made a cross sound, as though annoyed that the Doctor was bringing yet another stray creature on board, but the Doctor patted the console reassuringly.

‘Don’t worry! We’re taking this one home.’

She began the sequence to set the ship into the vortex and Ryan, Yaz and Graham knelt down in front of the carrier to look at the Racline through a narrow slit around the top. It didn't look particularly frightened, if anything it just looked mildly annoyed that it had been caught at all and was grumbling crossly to itself, glaring at its captors.

The ship thumped as it landed and the Doctor stuck her head out the doors, checking they were on the right planet and turning back to her friends with a grin.

‘Diamondis Nine!’ she said cheerily. ‘Come on you lot, bring the angry racoon.’

The planet shone brightly under a beaming sun. The grass was the richest green Yaz had ever seen and the leaves of the golden trees were blinding to look at.

‘This is amazing,’ Ryan said, gazing around with his mouth open.

‘And hot,’ Graham complained, shrugging off his bow tie and jacket and rolling his sleeves up.

‘They like a hot climate,’ the Doctor explained, taking the carrier from Yaz and facing it away from the TARDIS, placing it on the ground and waving her hand to make the control panel appear again. The sunlight was shining on her silver dress and gave her the impression of shimmering.

Yaz could see more Racline appearing from behind trees and bushes, watching the proceedings curiously, and their captive was off like a shot once the Doctor had deactivated the carrier, running towards its friends and making a curious barking sound. Yaz wondered what it was saying, but the Doctor rolled her eyes.

‘Bit rude. We did just rescue it from certain death. Right you lot, fancy a trip to the ISPCAA?’

As they turned to walk back into the TARDIS, Graham made an annoyed sound and started patting down his pockets, searching for something that had apparently gone missing.

‘That little sod stole my watch!’







Chapter Text

‘Five minutes,’ Graham said, exasperated. ‘Five bloody minutes is all it took for us to be captured and locked up. That’s gotta be a record.’

‘Pretty sure my record is three seconds,’ the Doctor replied, fingers combing through Yaz’s hair; searching for the hair clip Yaz was sure was in there somewhere.

‘Three seconds?’ Ryan said incredulously, stretching out his legs on the floor of the barn and kicking away a chicken that pecked too close to his feet. ‘How’d that work?’

‘Landed TARDIS. Opened doors. Was immediately arrested,’ the Doctor replied, tongue sticking out the corner of her mouth in concentration. ‘Are you sure there’s a clip in here, Yaz?’

‘Yes! Somewhere near the top.’

‘Left or right of the space bun?’

Yaz rolled her eyes. ‘Left. Remind me again why we’re calling it that?’

‘Cause it makes me laugh. Ah! Got it.’

The Doctor withdrew the hair clip triumphantly, the tiny piece of black metal glinting in her fingers as she awkwardly maneuvered her hands inside their shackles, trying to insert the clip into the lock.

‘Out of curiosity and concern for my mortal wellbeing,’ Graham said, shaking his own shackles crossly. ‘If we don’t get out of these, what are those angry villagers going to do to us?’

‘Probably cut a hand off,’ the Doctor mumbled, concentrating on her fiddly task. ‘You land a TARDIS inside a barn and get caught in it, they’re gonna think you’re stealing their crops or livestock and have you tried for theft.’

‘So who gets the pleasure of having their hand cut off?’ Ryan asked, grinning cheekily. ‘Bagsy not me. Can’t play video games with one hand.’

The Doctor tilted her head at him apologetically and he sighed, kicking his feet in the dusty, hay covered floor and sending a couple of chickens squawking away with a flap of their winds.

‘We’d all lose a hand,’ he said dejectedly, and the Doctor made her polite cat face in affirmation.

Ryan tugged at the chain securing him to the wall of the barn, not that he expected it to break, but at least he felt like he was doing something while the Doctor fiddled with her hairclip and the shackles she’d managed to stick it into.

A chicken waddled over to them, clucking anxiously as though it knew the importance of the Doctor’s task and wanted to help in some way.

‘We don’t have any seeds on us, Babs,’ Ryan told it, tugging on his chains again, and Yaz raised an eyebrow.

‘“Babs”?’

‘Yeah, you know. From Chicken Run.’

‘That film should not be aimed at children,’ the Doctor said darkly. ‘Made me cry for weeks.’

The chicken waddled a little closer and Yaz noticed that it was peering up at the TARDIS, head cocked to one side as though it knew what magical wonders it contained. The chicken began to circle the blue box, round and round and round until it stopped in front of the doors and squawked up at it, tilting its tiny chicken head.

The TARDIS bonged quietly in response and the Doctor’s head shot up, face scronched in confusion as she stared at the chicken.

The hair clip she was jamming into the lock pinged out of her hands and landed in a haystack, out of their reach.

‘Uh-oh,’ Graham said, when he heard voices far away from outside the barn, coming closer and closer.

The chicken turned to the Doctor, jumped up onto her legs, and squawked at her.

‘Please don’t tell me you can talk to chickens,’ Yaz said, when she realised the Doctor appeared to be listening intently to what the feathered creature was saying to her.

‘Okay,’ the Doctor replied, and Graham frowned.

‘Wait, so you can’t talk to chickens?’

‘What? Oh. No I can, but Yaz said not to tell her.’

Ryan pulled at his chains again and awkwardly managed to get to his feet, peering out through a crack in the wood of the barn to see a dozen or so people marching towards their prison.

One of them was holding an axe in his hands and the blade glinted in the sunlight.

‘So what’s this chicken telling you?’ Graham asked, but the Doctor ignored him and, unbelievably, started to make chicken noises back at her new friend. She was gesturing with her head towards the haystack the hair clip had fallen into and Graham could’ve guessed she was asking the chicken to retrieve it even before it jumped off her legs and did just that.

‘Did it say anything helpful?’ Ryan asked, looking worriedly at his three friends. ‘Only I think we’re all about to lose our hands.’

The chicken waddled back over to them with the hair clip in its beak, and the Doctor took it and resumed her attempts to get the shackles off, letting out a cheer when the lock pinged open a few moments later and the chains fell to the ground.

Hands now free, the Doctor was able to reach into her coat pocket to retrieve the sonic and quickly released her friends from their restraints, running into the TARDIS and activating the dematerialisation circuit just as the doors to the barn banged open and the angry villagers stormed inside.

It wasn’t until they were safe in the time vortex that Graham realised the chicken had followed them in, and was clucking at them as it followed the Doctor around the console.

‘Major or minor? I always get those two mixed up,’ the Doctor said to it, and her three human friends exchanged a confused look.

‘Um,’ Ryan said, pointing at the chicken, and the Doctor grinned.

‘Isn’t he great? His name’s Barnabus.’

‘Barnabus,’ Yaz repeated, eyebrows disappearing into her hairline.

‘Yes! Or no. His actual name doesn’t translate into anything you lot would recognise, but isn’t Barnabus an amazing name for a chicken?’

‘Are you adopting a chicken, Doc?’ Graham asked thoughtfully. ‘Cause I for one wouldn’t mind fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning.’

Barnabus let out a shrill trill and the Doctor put her hands over the chicken’s tiny ears.

‘Don’t say that, Graham!’ she said, shocked. ‘And no I’m not adopting him, just giving him a lift home. Although…’

‘Woah woah woah,’ Ryan said, annoyed. ‘I couldn’t adopt one of those rainbow otters but you’re happy to let a chicken run around the place?’

The ground underneath his feet settled before the Doctor had a chance to answer and he realised they’d landed somewhere, the chicken already clucking at the doors excitedly.

‘Right, here we are then!’ the Doctor said, striding to the doors and flinging them open.

They’d landed in a field on top of a luscious green hill. The sky was a clear blue and the sun shone brightly above them, illuminating the valley in soft, dazzling sunlight.

‘Woah!’ Yaz said, stepping outside with a smile. ‘Look at this place!’

‘Oh my days,’ Graham said, staring around him. ‘Look at all those chickens!’

They were everywhere, dotted all around the field, some with small chicks chirping at their sides, but as soon as Barnabus waddled out they all ran towards him clucking excitedly and making a right racket.

‘You’re welcome!’ the Doctor beamed. ‘Gimme a squawk if you need me again!’

She hopped happily back into the TARDIS and Yaz, Graham and Ryan all followed, confused.

‘So…’ Graham said. ‘What?’

‘We’re on Gallus Gallus Major,’ the Doctor said cheerfully, flipping a few controls until the juddering sensation under their feet indicated the TARDIS was once more in flight. ‘Barnabus got picked up by intergalactic chicken poachers, just returned him home.’

‘Aw,’ Yaz said happily, and she shrugged when the two men looked at her. ‘What? It’s cute!’

‘Just setting up a beacon warning people off this planet,’ the Doctor said, fiddling with her controls. ‘A nice threat of a nuclear winter ought to scare people off, don’t you think?’

‘Planet of the chickens,’ Graham said, waving his arms around exasperated. ‘I’ve seen it all now.’

 

Chapter Text

The idea of an arranged marriage was never something Yaz thought she’d be confronted with. Her parents were very open minded regarding relationships and Yaz had always felt that she’d be able to choose her own partner without there being a problem. She’d never had a serious boyfriend, although there had been a couple of brief teenage flings, but considering she was still young she also hadn’t thought that there was any hurry or any particular urgency; especially with a career ladder she was keen to start climbing and adventures in time and space to be had.  

Her father’s strict old-fashioned mother, on the other hand, clearly thought otherwise.

‘I’d just rather focus on my career at the moment,’ Yaz said, as politely as possible while her grandmother glared at her from across the table.

‘Career? Women don’t need a career. Women need a husband and children. You young people nowadays, you’ve lost all sense of home and family.’

‘Yaz is still a bit young, Abiha,’ Najia said, coming to her daughter’s rescue. ‘She has plenty of time for all that later.’

‘Pah,’ Abiha said, waving a hand in her daughter-in-law’s direction. ‘Better she find someone now to settle down with. I have plenty of young men at my mosque who are looking for brides.’

Yaz looked at her father pleadingly, and he patted her shoulder reassuringly.

‘Yaz will find someone when the time is right,’ he said to his mother. ‘Best not to rush into these things, I’d hate for her to settle down with someone who doesn’t make her happy because she feels she has to.’

‘What’s happiness got to do with it?’ Abiha asked, confused. ‘You will learn to love your husband.’

While her parents and grandmother argued, Yaz caught Sonya looking at her and rolled her eyes at her. The one thing the two sisters did manage to agree on was that arranged marriages wasn’t for them.

A noise came from outside, drifting through the open living room window, an ancient creaking grinding noise and Yaz checked the clock on the mantelpiece, her heart already pounding excitedly in her chest. The Doctor was a day early, but the timing was pretty much spot on. She tried to think of a suitable excuse to sneak away from the table and go to join her, but her grandmother was still arguing and Sonya looked as though she was trying to slide to the floor and escape the room.

‘And I haven’t forgotten you either, Sonya,’ their grandmother said, and her sister looked annoyed.

‘Don’t give me that look!’ Abiha said. ‘It’s important to me that the two of you find suitable young men to settle down and have beautiful children with.’

‘What if he’s ugly?’ Sonya asked, and Najia looked exasperated. ‘I can’t have beautiful children with an ugly husband. I’m very picky.’

‘All children are beautiful!’ Abiha said angrily. ‘I won’t stand for your insolent tone.’

‘I’m too young to get married,’ Sonya said, sitting back in her chair and folding her arms. ‘I want to do other stuff first, like literally anything else.’

‘I thought you would have raised your children to respect their elders, Hakim,’ Abiha glared at her son.

‘They know their own minds,’ Hakim told her firmly. ‘And I would never want to force them into a marriage against their will.’

Yaz felt her heart swell with pride at her father’s defiance. He was so calm and gentle usually that seeing him riled up was a rare experience, and Yaz was grateful that he was so quick to come to her defence.

‘They are too willful,’ Abiha insisted. ‘A good marriage and children will ground them to what’s important in life. They need to get their heads out of the clouds and back on land.’

Yaz had to suppress the smile that was threatening to creep onto her face at her grandmother’s choice of words.

If only she knew.

Speaking of… if the Doctor hadn’t realised that she’d landed a day earlier by mistake she’d probably be wondering where they all were. Ryan was at the pub watching the footie with his mates that evening and Graham had gone out with his bus driver colleagues and could be anywhere in the city.

‘Can I be excused?’ Yaz asked politely.

‘Why? Going out with your girlfriend?’ Sonya asked.

She didn't mean anything  by it, Yaz knew that. She was just joking around with her big sister, having a laugh like usual. If Sonya did suspect that they were dating she hadn’t come straight out and asked, and Yaz knew her well enough to know that she’d respect Yaz’s choice in partner even if she did tease her the rest of the time.

Her grandmother, on the other hand, didn't realise that Sonya was joking and absolutely blew her top, proceeding to scream at Yaz at the top of her voice with a ferocity that made Yaz wish she was facing the Morax or the Dalek or Ribbons. Hell, she’d even take the giant spiders over Abiha’s fury.

Her parents were valiantly trying to calm her grandmother down, her father repeating ‘your blood pressure, think of your blood pressure,’ over and over again but it wasn’t working and the torrent of harsh and cruel words burrowed into Yaz’s skull, impossible to ignore.

Homosexuality is a sin against Allah. No granddaughter of mine… Your parents should disown you. You bring shame upon your family.

‘Why?’ Yaz found herself arguing suddenly. If her grandmother wanted a debate on it then fine, she’d give her one.

‘Why?!’

‘Even if I was dating a woman, what would be wrong with that? Would it really matter so much as long as I was happy?’

‘Yaz…’ her father warned.

‘No! I’m fed up with this!’ Yaz said, all the pent up anger she’d managed to suppress over the past few years suddenly bursting out from inside her. ‘What would be so wrong with me being with a woman? Why would it be so bad? Why are you so against me being happy? I’m not going to marry someone I don’t love, man or woman. I’m not going to raise children in an environment without love. I’m not going to give up my career or what makes me happy so I can be a baby-making factory.’

‘Yasmin!’ her mother snapped. ‘That’s enough.’

‘No it’s not!’ Yaz was shouting now, unable to stop. She caught her sister’s eye and Sonya nodded at her, softly so her parents and grandmother wouldn’t notice it. Her sister supported her and Yaz loved her more in that moment than she ever had in her life.

‘I won’t stop being myself,’ Yaz told her family. ‘I won’t stop doing things that makes me happy. And if, at any point in my life, being with a woman will make me happy then that’s what I’m going to do and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Because I know me and I’ll damn well create my own happiness and if you want to disown me then that’s just fine.’

And with that, Yaz grabbed her jacket and stormed out the door, leaving her family sat in stunned silence behind her.


The TARDIS hummed gently when Yaz burst in through the doors, tears streaming down her cheeks. The ship seemed to sense her distress and it made distressed sounds of its own. Yaz could feel it inside her head and it was a peculiar, but not necessarily unpleasant, sensation. It almost felt as though the TARDIS was trying to give her a hug. She wondered if this is what the Doctor felt all the time.

Speaking of, the blonde’s head popped up from behind the console when Yaz banged the doors open, her cheerful smile sliding off her face as Yaz sprinted past her without a word, heading into the depths of the ship, not wanting the Doctor to see her like this even after she heard the other woman yell her name down the corridor after her.

Yaz found herself in one of the astronomy labs and sat down in the corner, knees drawn up to her chest. Her phone was vibrating like mad in her pocket and she pulled it out and tossed it to the ground in front of her, not wanting to speak to anyone right now.

The TARDIS pinged gently and the great glass dome of the lab shifted, folding in on itself until a bright, brilliant nebula was swirling in front of her, the colours filling the room and reflecting off the mirrored walls.

‘It’s beautiful,’ Yaz said to the TARDIS, wiping her eyes with the backs of her hands. ‘What is it?’

Text appeared hovering over the nebula. It was in Gallifreyan but it quickly translated into English and Yaz read Sumican Nebula, the text disappearing as fast as it had appeared, leaving Yaz in the dark with only the nebula shining brilliantly around her. She felt as though she was floating in space and it calmed her, somewhat, which was most likely the ship’s intention.

Her phoned pinged and Yaz looked down at it. It was a message from Sonya. No text, only a string of red heart emojis.

There was a quiet knock at the door and Yaz looked up to see the Doctor hovering in the doorway looking worried.

‘Can I come in?’ she asked softly.

‘It’s your ship,’ Yaz replied, wiping her eyes quickly.

‘And your home,’ the Doctor said gently, sitting down beside her and watching the bright lights of the nebula swirl around them.

Yaz’s phone started vibrating again and the Doctor looked down at it with a frown.

‘You’ve got a lot of missed calls,’ she said, that adorable frown line between her eyebrows that Yaz loved appearing on her forehead.

‘Yeah,’ Yaz said, miserable.

The Doctor didn't say anything, but she lifted up her arm invitingly for Yaz to sit against her side and the two of them sat there for a moment, the TARDIS changing the view on the dome’s screen so they were looking at solar winds blowing red across the sky.

It was peaceful, sat on the floor with the Doctor, and Yaz was grateful that her friend wasn’t pestering her for answers; although she could practically feel the curiosity radiating off her in waves. The Doctor seemed perfectly happy to sit with one arm around Yaz’s shoulder, but Yaz knew that running into a spaceship and then hiding in the astronomy room wasn’t normal behaviour, and she’d have to explain sooner rather than later.

‘So I think I just came out to my family,’ Yaz said a short while later, fingers clenched in the fabric of her jeans. ‘And they didn't exactly take it very well.’

The Doctor frowned. ‘Came out?’

‘Yeah, you know,’ Yaz said, but the expression on her friend’s face made it very clear that no, she didn't know.

Yaz fiddled with her laces and the Doctor caught her hand and entwined their fingers together, squeezing it softly.

‘You don’t have to tell me, you know,’ she said. ‘You’re allowed to have your secrets. I’ve certainly got enough of them.’

‘It’s important to me,’ Yaz said quietly. ‘And it isn’t something that I should be ashamed of. I just find it difficult to say out loud.’

‘It’s just me, Yaz,’ the Doctor said, nudging her shoulder playfully. ‘You can tell me anything. I’m really difficult to shock. Unless you tell me you’re really a Slitheen in which case I might be a bit surprised but we can still be friends.’

‘I’m gay, Doctor,’ Yaz said, looking firmly at her shoes. ‘I mean I’m bi, really. I like both men and women. Romantically, I mean.’

‘Okay.’

Yaz looked up at her and saw the Doctor had a small smile on her face, her head tilted inquisitively at Yaz.

‘You don’t sound surprised,’ Yaz said, confused.

‘That kind of stuff doesn’t phase me,’ the Doctor admitted. ‘And it makes no difference either way. You’re still caring and wonderful and you being bisexual doesn’t mean I like you any more or any less. You’re still my best friend.’

Yaz started crying and the Doctor pulled her in for a tighter hug.

‘I’m proud of you, Yaz,’ she whispered into her friend’s hair. ‘I’m so proud. I know that you humans make this kind of thing out to be a big deal but honestly being true to yourself and not being afraid to hide who you really are is the most important thing in the universe.’

She poked Yaz’s head and drew a line across her forehead, like she was looking for something.

‘Unless you really are a Slitheen, in which case we need to have words.’

Yaz hiccup-laughed. ‘What’s a Slitheen?’

‘Big, green, farts a lot. Comes from a planet with a difficult to pronounce name.’

‘I don’t think I’m one of those,’ Yaz said with a smile. ‘You might want to ask Ryan though.’

The Doctor grinned, but then grew serious.

‘So,’ she said carefully. ‘What are we going to do about your family?’


Her grandmother had left when Yaz walked back into her flat, heart thumping hard in her chest. Her parents were sat on the sofa talking urgently to each other but they both stood up when Yaz walked in and she reached behind her for the Doctor’s hand, the other woman squeezing it tightly as she closed the flat door.

‘Yaz, sweetheart.’

Her mother hugged her tightly, and Sonya came out from her room, perhaps sensing drama, and nodded politely at the Doctor.

‘I’m sorry, mum,’ Yaz said quietly into her mother’s shoulder, but Najia shook her head at her.

‘You have nothing to be sorry for,’ she told her. ‘Your grandmother was out of line.’

‘I shouldn’t have shouted though,’ Yaz admitted, but her father shrugged at her.

‘We raised you to be a strong woman,’ he said. ‘We can’t and we won’t blame you for calling out injustice when you see it.’

He looked up at the Doctor and smiled warmly at her, perhaps recognising that she was there for moral support.

‘Evening, Doctor. You hungry? We’ve got some leftovers.’

The Doctor glanced at Yaz but she only smiled at her and the Doctor happily followed Hakim into the kitchen while Najia sat Yaz down on the sofa.

‘So, you and the Doctor…?’

‘No,’ Yaz laughed. ‘I’m not sure it would work between the two of us.’

‘You sure?’ Sonya asked, sitting on Yaz’s other side. ‘Cause I’ve seen the way she looks at you.’

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ Yaz said, feeling the blush creeping up her cheeks.

‘I think you do,’ Sonya said, poking her sister’s reddening cheeks. ‘You should go for it. She’s cute.’

‘Anything you want to tell us, while we’re on the subject?’ Najia asked, eyebrow raised, but Sonya shook her head and grinned.

‘Hey, I’m not gay but I’m not blind either.’

‘We can hear everything!’ Hakim called from the kitchen counter, and the three women turned their heads to see the Doctor blushing into her leftover curry, expression mirroring Yaz’s.

‘I’d be fine with it,’ Najia said with a shrug. ‘She did save us from gigantic spiders after all.’

‘Mum. Please,’ Yaz said, begging for the TARDIS to materialise around her and save her from this line of questioning before her face caught aflame.

‘I’m just saying. If you’re gonna date a lady, she’s the one I’d pick.’

‘MUM.’




Chapter Text

Yaz woke up in the dark and for a moment didn't remember where she was. 

She certainly wasn’t in her bed at home, the mattress was nowhere near comfortable enough and the ceiling had the wrong pattern spread across it. There was also a strange smell in the room that didn't smell like home. It was a sort of cleaning-product stale-cigarettes kind of smell, and Yaz felt her heart thump hard when the sounds of snoring reached her ears. Her sister snored, but she rarely heard her in her room down the hall and it did sound an awful lot like the snorers were in the room with her. 

Then she saw Ryan and Graham and remembered the peculiar, and rather extraordinary, events that had led to them all being here, in Alabama, in 1955. 

It was dark in the room still, and Yaz was just about to roll onto her side and go back to sleep when a peculiar light shone against the wall and she sat up quickly to work out where it was coming from, worried the cop from earlier hadn’t bought the Doctor and Graham’s obviously fabricated story and wanted to search the place again, catching them all by surprise in the process. 

But the source of the light wasn’t the policeman at all. It was something even more extraordinary than a man long dead in Yaz’s time.

The Doctor was slumped over the desk at an angle that was destined to give her a sore back come the morning, but that isn’t what immediately captured Yaz’s attention.

She was glowing.

It was a subtle glow, not as pronounced as before but still enough to cast a peculiar golden light on the wall. Yaz had caught the tail end of it when she’d come back from the police station following the start of their long night chasing Tim Shaw around Sheffield. That glow had been harsh and more urgent, but this was softer and warm. It was beautiful, and the Doctor was shining in the darkness, but Yaz remembered her saying it’s only something her people do when they’re injured or dying, and worry for her friend’s welfare forced her out of bed, wincing a little as her bare feet hit the disgusting gritty fabric of the carpet. 

‘Doctor,’ she whispered urgently, approaching her friend. The Doctor mumbled and shifted a little, but didn't wake. She was frowning in her sleep, Yaz noticed, as though she was cross with somebody. The golden glow was centered around her neck and Yaz saw with confusion that there were bruises on the pale skin, as though someone had held their hands to her and tightened their grip. 

She’d been quiet after coming back from confronting Krasko, but she’d seemed more to be teeming with anger than to be upset about something, and Yaz had allowed the Doctor to brush off their concerns about her as easily as biscuit crumbs from the shoulder of her coat. Yaz made a mental note not to let her do it to her in the future. The Doctor was allowed to have her secrets, but Krasko had obviously hurt her if the bruises were anything to go by.

‘Doctor, wake up,’ Yaz whispered, a little louder this time, and the Doctor’s eyes shot open as she bolted upright and looked around quickly in confusion.

‘What is it?’ she asked as her eyes tore across the room in a panic. ‘You okay? Did Krasko or the police turn up?’

‘I’m fine,’ Yaz replied, then she gestured at the soothing light around the Doctor’s neck as the golden tendrils escaped from the corners of her lips and drifted slowly upwards. ‘Are you hurt?’

The Doctor peered at her hands, then did a quick all-body pat down to see if everything was attached and working as it should be.

‘Yeah, fine,’ she said a few moments later, and then the glow disappeared entirely, leaving them both in the darkness of the motel room. 

‘Do you have an inbuilt night-light setting or something?’ Yaz teased. ‘Or do you glow in the dark?’

She’d only mean these statements to be a light hearted joke, but actually, the Doctor was an alien from another planet…

‘No,’ the Doctor said with a quiet chuckle. ‘Just tired I guess. I haven’t really had a chance to recover properly after regenerating. It’s been a bit all go, as per usual.’

She looked exhausted in the low light of the room, and Yaz felt guilty for not insisting she go to bed with the rest of them. Ryan and Graham were still snoring away, top and tailing on the other bed, and there was more than enough room for the Doctor and Yaz on the other single. 

The Doctor had waived off their concerns about that, also, and they’d decided it would be easier to leave her to ponder over the bus route maps and fiddle with the settings on her sonic than to fight with her about the importance of sleep. She was a grown woman, Graham had remarked, let her make her own terrible decisions.

‘What happened to your neck?’ Yaz asked, fingers pressing against the soft skin and finding a bizarre pulse thrumming against her fingertips. The bruises had disappeared completely, but the Doctor seemed to know what she meant - or perhaps she couldn’t be bothered to make up an excuse when she was still half asleep.

‘Krasko,’ she explained wearily. ‘But don’t worry!’ - she added quickly when Yaz’s eyes shot open in shock - ‘he’s got an inbuilt thing, sensor sort of gizmo. Means he can’t hurt anyone. It’s called a - why can’t I remember? It’s on the tip of my -’

She paused and frowned, and Yaz smiled softly. 

‘Tongue,’ Yaz reminded her. ‘I think you’re tired.’

‘Pft. Tired? Me? Never. I laugh in the face of sleep. And death too, quite a bit actually. Also flat Earthers but do not get me started on those guys.’

‘Stop trying to change the subject and come in with me,’ Yaz said, taking her hand. She felt cold and Yaz held it between her palms and slowly rubbed some life back into them. The gesture seemed to be soothing to the Doctor, and Yaz saw her eyes slowly sinking closed before suddenly shooting open again with surprise, as though sleep was something the Doctor tended not to bother with and seemed surprised by. 

‘I need to finish working,’ the Doctor said, though she sounded unsure, and Yaz saw that the sonic screwdriver was in pieces on the table in front of her and a tiny screwdriver was tucked behind the Doctor’s ear, like the cheap kind you find in Christmas crackers. 

Yaz removed it and placed it down on the table, noting peculiar notes that the Doctor had made on the back of the route maps which were half English, half circular shapes like the ones that were illuminated on the TARDIS’ console. 

‘It’s too dark in here to work on that, you’ll strain your eyesight,’ Yaz protested, hating how like her Nani she sounded who had used that same reasoning to get Yaz to put away her books when she was reading late into the night.

The Doctor, like a younger Yaz who just wanted to get to the end of her chapter, opened her mouth as if to argue, and Yaz quickly shut her down with a soft hand on her arm and a gentle smile.

 ‘We’re worried about you,’ she said soothingly, watching the Doctor’s eyes flit across the room to see Ryan and Graham in the darkness. ‘Come in with me. Some sleep will do you good.’

The Doctor looked up at Yaz, and Yaz saw she’d won her battle. The Doctor looked too exhausted to even try and argue with her, and she let Yaz stand her up and lead her over to the bed; shrugging off her coat, braces, shoes and socks when she was prompted and settling under the covers. 

Yaz was already drifting off a little when the Doctor kicked beside her and burrowed down further under the covers, nudging Yaz’s leg in the process. 

‘Oi,’ Yaz mumbled, half asleep. ‘Keep still.’

‘Sorry,’ the Doctor whispered back. ‘I’m a bit of a wriggler.’

She stopped moving and Yaz had just drifted off when a sudden kick of her friend’s leg woke her up, sending her lurching out of the start of rem sleep with a pained groan.

‘Sorry,’ the Doctor said again, and Yaz rolled onto her side and swung her leg over the Doctor’s hips in an attempt to keep her still, too tired to realise that the gesture could be misconstrued as an affectionate one and instead simply wanting her friend to keep still so she could go back to sleep.

The Doctor froze underneath her, but then relaxed and let out a contented sigh; as though she were happy with being slightly squished. 

‘Sorry,’ the Doctor said again. ‘This is nice though. I love a good hug. Or whatever this is. Feels like a hug if you used your legs to hug people. There’s a planet where they have arms for legs and legs for arms! Remind me to take you there.’ Then, quieter: ‘I mean, if you want to. Obviously I need to get you all home. That’s the most important thing. Sorry, I’m talking again. I do that a lot, you might have noticed. I’ll shut up now.’

It occurred to Yaz then that, for someone who had obviously gone through a great trauma and then had the weight of the universe resting on their shoulders from that moment onward, no-one had given her a well deserved hug or a pat on the back. In fact the closest she’d come to someone holding her was when she’d lurched unconscious into Ryan’s surprised arms, and he’d nearly dropped her on the way back into the house.

Or so Grace had said anyway.

Yaz’s heart lurched to think of Grace and she hugged the Doctor properly, pulling her body against her own and tucking her arms around the Doctor’s waist. 

The Doctor didn't seem sure of what to do, though she didn't try and pull away, and after a moment Yaz felt the pressure of a head against her shoulder as the Doctor curled into her, and then a happy sigh as her body relaxed and she found Yaz’s hand and squeezed it gently. 

‘This is nice,’ she mumbled sleepily into Yaz’s shoulder. ‘Can’t believe I never used to like cuddles. Or rather I did, then I still did, then I definitely did, then I hated them for a bit before starting to sort of tolerate them, and now apparently I love them again.’

She yawned loudly and pressed her face against Yaz’s neck.

‘I’m still not sure who I am,’ the Doctor mumbled, half asleep. ‘I’ll figure it out eventually though. I usually do.’ 

Yaz, who was desperately hoping the Doctor couldn’t hear her heart beat increase at the sensation of warm breath against her neck and a soft body pressed against hers, could only think to respond with: ‘Go to sleep,’ as she closed her eyes and felt that peculiar pulse against her fingertips as the Doctor twisted their arms together. 

She’d started glowing again, so softly Yaz almost missed it, and Yaz watched as a golden tendril looped around the Doctor’s wrist and climbed slowly up her arm, hovering for a second at the now healed bruises on the Doctor’s neck before escaping in an exhale from the woman’s mouth and drifting slowly up towards the ceiling, fizzing out once it hit the plaster. 

‘For what it’s worth,’ Yaz said quietly. ‘I think, even if you don’t know it yourself yet, that you’re incredible.’

But the Doctor was asleep, and Yaz smiled and rested the side of her cheek against the messy mop of blonde hair beside her, and slowly drifted off herself.

Chapter Text

The TARDIS had screwed up again. Or rather she hadn’t, but she also had. 

In the TARDIS’ defence, preventing a cosmic cube containing a tiny, compressed black hole from exploding, taking half the galaxy with it in the process, was certainly a priority - but it would have been nice if she’d warned them about the indigenous race on the planet who had no prior contact with anyone other than their own species, and who viewed the Doctor and her friends as maleficent beings intent on destroying them all. 

In reality it was only the cube the Doctor intended on destroying but that was for a good reason. How it had gotten onto their planet in the first place she could only guess at, though her working theory that an asteroid had hit the planet millions of years ago and the cube had only recently been dug up seemed plausible enough. It didn't matter though, as the tribal race spoke a language not even the TARDIS translation circuits wanted to have a go at and no amount of explanation or gesturing or pictionary had gotten them anywhere.

Which is how Ryan, Yaz, Graham and the Doctor found themselves sprinting across the plains of the dusty wasteland the indigenous race called their home, while the planet’s occupants ran after them holding spears and screaming at the top of the lungs. Whilst Ryan didn't understand their language, he wouldn’t have been surprised to find they were hurling profanities at him. 

‘They’ve cut off our route back to the TARDIS,’ the Doctor yelled. ‘We’re gonna have to go round and find somewhere to hide!’

‘We’re in a desert, Doc!’ Graham yelled back.

‘There’s some rock formations up ahead!’ Yaz’s voice came from the left. ‘Maybe we’ll find a hiding place there!’

‘Ten points to Yaz!’

‘Now isn’t the time to be awarding bleedin’ points, Doc!’

Their feet kicked up clouds of dust as they ran and it made Ryan cough, his eyes streaming as the tiny particles of sand irritated his skin. The Doctor was far ahead, as per usual, but he saw her stop and hurriedly point towards a crack in the rocks.

‘In here quick! Before they see us!’ she said, practically shoving the three of them into the crack in her hurry to get them to safety. 

It was dark inside the rock, but the narrow chamber emerged into a large room with high walls and a large hole in the ceiling that looked up into the empty sky. Ryan figured that the walls of the rock were too high to scale up and they were unlikely to come across an assault from above, but he decided to keep an eye on it just in case. Graham was inspecting the cavern, but there was nothing in it worth inspecting other than rock and small pebbles and dirt. The room was empty and cold, but they didn't seem to be being pursued and Ryan let out a sigh of relief and sat back against the wall to get his breath back. 

A pained grunt caught his attention and Ryan turned just in time to see the Doctor burst though the crack and collapse to her knees, a hand clutching her side and her breath coming out in short, sharp bursts of air as she screwed up her eyes in pain. 

Yaz was at her side in an instant, calling her name and carefully helping her to the ground. Ryan saw to his horror that the side of her coat was drenched in blood, and her skin was grey and sweaty. 

‘She’s been hit,’ Yaz said quietly, and as Ryan leant over to take a look he had to resist the urge to throw up.

A thin, metal spear was sticking out of the Doctor’s side. It was perhaps 3 feet long and the arrowhead was burrowed deep inside her abdomen, blood leaking through the edges of the wound.

‘Just caught me,’ she panted. ‘They didn't see me though, lucky throw.’

‘Lucky?’ Graham’s face was pale but he knelt down beside her and put his hand on her arm, as reassuring as he could be under the circumstances. ‘Doesn’t look very lucky to me, Doc. Looks more like they stabbed you with a spear.’ 

‘It’s fine,’ she groaned. ‘Just need to -’ 

She shuffled, then paused and pulled a face. 

‘Oh,’ she said after a moment’s contemplation. ‘Actually, maybe it isn’t fine. It’s screwing up my binary vascular system, pressing against one of my arteries and stopping blood getting back to my hearts, I can feel it.’

‘That sounds bad,’ Ryan said, looking at Yaz. ‘That’s bad, right?’

‘You’ve got two hearts though, right, Doc?’ Graham pointed out and, despite the pain and discomfort she was in, the Doctor managed an impressive eye roll in response. 

‘The other one isn’t a spare, Graham. I do actually use it.’ 

‘What do you need us to do?’ Yaz asked, feeling suddenly calm. If the Doctor could survive her internal organs moving around after being hit full in the face by a sonic mine - Yaz had googled and she still had no idea what an ectospleen was - then surely a spear to the side would be a piece of cake. Right? 

Voices and footsteps from outside suddenly caught their attention and the four of them froze, listening so intently that Yaz could almost hear the quiet rustle of the wind through the crack in the rock. The thin shaft of light coming from outside was so small that all they could see were shadows, but they still all stayed completely still until the voices had moved away and silence had fallen outside. 

‘Need to get a fire going, we’ll freeze here come nightfall and you’re probably in shock,’ Graham pointed out, nodding at the Doctor. ‘Do you think it’s safe to go outside? I’ve got a lighter on me, hopefully I can find some sticks.’

‘I’ll come with you,’ Ryan said, looking down at the Doctor who had her eyes closed and was leaning heavily against Yaz. ‘You stay alive for a bit, yeah? Let us get you warm at least.’ 

The Doctor nodded weakly and the two men left their shelter. Yaz listened for as long as she could but soon their footsteps were too far away for her to hear. 

‘You probably shouldn’t sleep,’ Yaz pointed out, watching the Doctor go slack in her arms. 

‘Im’no’sleepin,’ came the slurred response. ‘S’not bad’tho.’

‘What, sleeping or being hit with a spear?’ Yaz teased, but the Doctor didn't respond and she had to contend with pressing her fingers against the Doctor’s wrist until the boys got back with firewood later on that evening. 


Whether or not lighting a fire was a good idea then proved to be a heated topic of debate, with Graham pointing out that they’d die of hypothermia in the desert if they tried to go back to the TARDIS at this time of night and Yaz pointing out that the column of smoke could be visible from the settlements and may alert their pursuers to their location.

‘Death by cold or death by spear?’ Ryan pondered.

‘I vote neither,’ the Doctor complained grumpily. She’d woken up a little but was still clearly in pain and it was so dark outside now that Yaz could hardly see her or the other two in the gloom, even with the stars shining above them. 

Making a small fire and hoping for the best was the agreed upon consensus and Graham dug some emergency sandwiches out of his pocket as they sat around it and tried to warm their hands. 

The Doctor, Ryan realised, was digging around in her pockets. She was in rather an awkward position, slumped against the wall with one hand against her ribs and the other thrust deep into the pocket of her coat, a look of concentration on her face. 

Eventually she withdrew a spoon and placed it carefully on the fire, the metal already beginning to glow red as it started to heat up.

‘Um, don’t mean to state the obvious, Doc,’ Graham said, ‘but what’s that for?’

‘Can’t leave this in here much longer,’ the Doctor grunted, gesturing at the spear still sticking out of her abdomen. ‘I need to get it out. That’s to cauterise it.’

Silence fell over the cave as the three humans eyed each other warily. 

‘But isn’t it going to hurt?’ Yaz asked.

‘I expect so,’ the Doctor said, as casually as if they were discussing the weather. ‘There’s a massive metal rod in my chest, it’ll probably hurt quite a lot.’

‘Doc, I’m sorry but I can’t hurt you,’ Graham said, hands up and protesting profusely. ‘I’ve watched shows about this stuff, if we do it to you while you’re awake you’ll move about and it’ll cause more damage.’

‘I guess you could knock me out,’ the Doctor pondered. ‘Not really sure how though. A good whack across the head should do it. I’ll probably pass out from the pain though so I doubt I’ll be moving around for very long.’

‘Oh god,’ Ryan said, burying his face in his hands.

‘Doctor,’ Yaz said gently, kneeling down in front of her. ‘Are you absolutely sure this can’t wait until we’re back in the TARDIS?’

‘I’m sorry, Yaz,’ the Doctor said, face contorted in an apologetic scronch. ‘I really wish it could. My body can heal once it’s out but at this rate I’ll be dead by morning, won’t be able to regenerate either. Sorry.’

Yaz squeezed her hand and looked up at the two men. 

‘Right then, how’re we going to do this?’

‘It’ll have to be you, Ryan,’ Graham said, squeezing his grandson’s arm. ‘You’re probably the only one strong enough to pull it out. I’ll cauterise it, then Yaz can keep her still - yeah? Pull, pressure, cauterise.’

The three of them looked down at the Doctor, as if silently asking for her permission, but she only shrugged. 

‘Doesn’t matter to me,’ she said gently. ‘Would be nice to have a hand to hold though, I’ll try not to break it.’

‘Right,’ Yaz said, sitting on the floor beside the Doctor and bringing her carefully down onto her side, the Doctor’s blonde head resting on her lap as she took her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. ‘I reckon that spoon is hot enough, so when you’re ready.’

‘I’m so sorry, Doctor,’ Ryan said, easing her shirts up to get at the spear, wincing as he saw the end of it jutting out of her pale skin.

‘S’alright, Ryan,’ the Doctor said quietly, closing her eyes. ‘Gotta be done.’

Ryan tugged off his shirt, leaving him in his t-shirt, and placed it on the Doctor’s torso, ready to press against the wound once the spear was removed.

‘Ready?’ he asked, looking at Yaz and Graham who both nodded in quiet resolve. He looked down at their friend, quiet and pale in the light of the cave, the flickering fire casting shadows across her face. 

‘Go for it,’ she whispered, eyes still closed, burying her head further into Yaz’s lap who soothingly stroked her hair away from her face.

Ryan met his friends’ eyes again, then pulled. Hard.

The Doctor’s body jerked as the spear was pulled out but she didn't move, although Ryan saw the hand clutching Yaz’s squeeze as Yaz carefully lowered her head to whisper soothingly into the Doctor’s ear.

He’d pressed the shirt against the open wound as soon as the spear was out but blood was already seeping through and he looked up at Graham who had his scarf wrapped around his hand with the spoon glowing white poking out of it. Ryan nodded at him, and he saw his grandad hold his breath before bending down, Ryan whipping the shirt out of the way as Graham pressed the hot surface of the spoon against the Doctor’s torso.

She screamed then, body jerking as Yaz and Ryan cried desperately hard to keep her still. Graham was crying silently but he held his nerve, moving the spoon over the wound to cauterise it, the smell of burning filling the air and making Ryan feel sick, the Doctor’s pained screams ringing in his ears. 

The Doctor went limp in Yaz’s arms and she immediately pressed her fingers to the woman’s neck, eyes closed in relief when she found a pulse.

‘She’s unconscious,’ she said to the two men, and Graham wiped his eyes with the back of his free hand.

‘Thank god for that,’ he said, carefully removing the spoon to inspect her wound.

It was red, swollen and angry but was no longer bleeding and Ryan wasted no time in pouring some of their water over it, the Doctor’s skin practically hissing when the liquid hit it. 

Yaz ripped some of her t-shirt off and used it to press over the Doctor’s side, Ryan pouring more water onto it and pressing it against the burn mark, hoping it would relieve some of the pain. 

‘Is she alright?’ Graham asked, kneeling in front of their unconscious friend and pressing the back of his hand to her forehead. ‘She feels ever so hot, and clammy, like she’s got a fever.’

‘I hope so,’ Yaz whispered in response, stroking the Doctor’s head. ‘At least she’s asleep now.’

‘Shall we take it in turns keeping an eye on her?’ Ryan asked. ‘You know, just in case.’

He didn't need to clarify what he meant by just in case. They all understood his meaning.


Fortunately though, the Doctor seemed slightly more chipper come the morning, though she was still hobbling around with a hand pressed against her side, and a decision was made to make a break for the TARDIS. 

‘It feels early,’ Graham said, rubbing the back of his neck. Sleeping on the cold, hard ground of the cave hadn’t been kind to them and he longed for his bed on the TARDIS. Or the sofa. Or anything soft really, he wasn’t fussy. 

‘It’s 5am,’ the Doctor said decisively. ‘Or what passes for 5am on this planet anyway.’

‘Do you reckon they’ll all be outside waiting to ambush us?’ Ryan asked, and the Doctor nodded.

‘I doubt they’ll all be outside, but waiting to ambush us? Definitely.’

‘Do you think they’ve found the TARDIS, Doc?’ Graham asked, and she pulled a face. 

‘Not sure. I doubt it, she was pretty well hidden. Plus remember how far we had to walk? They probably haven’t gone that far.’

‘Speaking of, you sure you can make it, Doctor?’ Ryan asked, looking worried. ‘Cause I’m not sure I can carry you all that way.’ 

She looked scandalised at the thought and Yaz found herself chuckling at the expression on her face. 

‘You are not carrying me. I’ll be fine.’ 

‘Famous last words,’ Graham mumbled and she glared at him and hobbled her way to the crack in the rock of their little hideaway, sticking her head outside then gesturing for her friends to follow. 

The desert was cold and it was still dark, though the sun was slowly beginning to shine its first early morning rays across the expanse of dust and sand. The stars above shone down so beautifully and Ryan, not for the first time in his travels, wondered if that’s how the sky above Earth would look without all the light pollution. 

‘You alright there, Doc?’ Graham said, unsure, and she waved off his concerns with her hand. 

‘Yeah, fine. Just stinging a little.’

She was limping, bent over slightly at the waist, but her movements seemed determined, if a little wobbly, and Ryan carefully moved to walk beside her, just in case. 

It was long progress across the desert, the four of them aching and cold and tired from their lack of sleep. They tried to keep behind as many rock formations as they could to avoid being seen, but there was no sign of the people that had chased them the day before and soon there was nowhere to hide at all and they were completely visible with nowhere to run. 

They were just approaching the edge of the town where the indiginous people lived when the Doctor fell, landed heavily on her knees, and made no attempt at getting back up again.

‘I think Ryan’s offer of giving you a lift is probably still on the cards, Doc,’ Graham said gently, kneeling next to her. 

‘You’re bleeding,’ Yaz realised, carefully lifting the fabric of the Doctor's t-shirt away to inspect the wound. It was red and swollen and blood was leaking through the crust, staining her clothes an ugly red colour and dripping onto the sand of the ground beneath them. 

‘That looks infected, and you look ill,’ Graham said, taking in the Doctor's pale face and the sweat rolling down her face. Her eyes were glassy and her hands were in fists at her sides, expression exhausted and miserable. 

‘I’ll be fine,’ she wheezed. ‘I can heal it when we’re back in the TARDIS.’

‘The TARDIS is still a while away,’ Ryan said softly. ‘And you obviously can’t walk. Lemme help you.’

Wordlessly she nodded, accepting defeat, and Ryan lifted her carefully into his arms, Graham and Yaz helping her get settled against his chest as they continued walking.

The sun had risen, though it wasn’t yet high in the sky, and it was starting to get hot as the four of them skirted around the edge of the town, trying to keep among shadows and behind buildings as much as they could. Occasionally they saw people or guards walking through the streets, sharp weapons at their sides and eyes flickering from side to side. Yaz caught sight of the same spear that had injured the Doctor tucked into the belt of one of them and felt goosebumps rise on her skin, inwardly cursing their friend’s cavalier attitude to injuries. That would have hurt. 

The TARDIS was tucked away and getting slowly nearer, out of sight of the villagers on the far side of the settlements, but Ryan was getting tired holding the Doctor and they had to keep stopping to let him rest. She was barely conscious, head lolling against his shoulder and her pulses felt sluggish against Yaz’s fingertips, but Yaz was still able to convince her to have sips of water and soon they were only a few feet away from her ship. 

That was when one of the indiginous species stepped out in front of them.

She was a girl, young, perhaps early teens, and she was dressed as the rest of them in a tunic made of animal fur and leather. Her hair was long and braided down her back and her four eyes blinked in surprise at them, lips curling against her teeth to reveal two sharp canines, not unlike a fox’s. She probably intended it to look fierce but her eyes were full of fright and Yaz knew she was just trying to make herself look big, like a cornered animal.

‘We don’t mean you any harm,’ Graham said, hands in the air as soothingly as possible though he knew she couldn’t understand him.  

‘We need to get our friend in there,’ Yaz said gesturing, and the girl did turn to look in confusion at the blue box behind her. Yaz wondered if she’d told anyone she’d found it or - as most children do - she’d decided to keep it to herself. She hoped it was the latter.

The girl took a step closer, peering at the Doctor in confusion. The Doctor was unconscious and was heavy in Ryan’s arms. He took the opportunity to place her carefully on the ground and gestured at the blood still slowly seeping through her t-shirt, trying to help the child understand their situation. 

‘Geringa,’ the girl said, eyes wide, and the three humans looked at each other warily. 

‘We need to get her into our ship. We have medicines in there,’ Graham explained, but the girl was already stepping towards the Doctor and kneeling beside her, lifting up her t-shirt and pulling a face at the wound.

‘Purca,’ she said sadly, then started looking around her, as though searching for something. 

‘What does that mean?’ Yaz asked helplessly, though she knew trying to communicate was pointless.

‘Minowal,’ the girl said urgently, but the humans could only gesture in confusion and she pulled a face in irritation.

‘Murag.’

She pulled a small stick out of her pocket and pointed to the tip, pulling a face at it. 

‘Murag,’ she said again and Yaz frowned, kneeling in front of her to try and see what she was pointing at.

‘It was a spear,’ Yaz said. ‘She was hit by a spear.’

‘Murag.’

The girl was pointing urgently at the tip of her stick but it was clear from the look on Yaz’s face that she didn't understand her and she scooped up some dirt from the ground, applied it to the tip of the stick, pretended to stab herself in the side with it then pulled a face and pretended to die very dramatically.

‘Poison?’ Graham realised. ‘“Murag”, does that mean poison? They poison the tips of the spears?’

‘No wonder they weren’t looking for us,’ Ryan realised, feeling sick. 

‘Murag,’ the girl agreed, and she stood and looked around her, heading towards a patch of wild flowers growing beside the side of a house and rummaging amongst them until she found a small flower with purple leaves. She plucked it, went over to the Doctor and held it against the would, miming a grinding motion with her hands. 

‘That’s the antidote?’ Ryan said. ‘That flower?’

‘Murag morandia,’ the girl nodded, pressing the flower into his hand. ‘Geringa.’

Voices sounded from behind them, footsteps heavy and crunching in the dust and the girl’s eyes widened and she stood up, pointing at the TARDIS in agitation.

‘Heranla, requaia.’

‘Come on, let’s get out of here,’ Graham agreed, and Ryan lifted up the Doctor again while Yaz took the flower from him and ran to the box.

The doors opened before she had to put her key in and soon the four of them were safe inside. Banging on the doors and angry voices sounded from outside almost immediately but the Doctor was always bragging that nothing could get through the TARDIS doors and they decided now was the best time to take her word for it. 

‘Let’s get her to the med room,’ Graham said quickly. ‘I was in there last week looking for a plaster and I’m sure I saw a pestle and mortar in the cupboard.’ 

The flower produced a blue coloured liquid when it was ground and Ryan cleaned the burn whilst Yaz prepared it. The Doctor was breathing shallowly, but there was no sign of that golden light under her skin she’d referred to as regeneration energy so he guessed they weren’t too late. 

Yaz applied the poultice to her skin as carefully as she could, and barely seconds later the Doctor's eyes were flickering and she was groaning in pain. 

‘Urgh. Did we go out drinking last night? I feel rough.’

Graham looked ready to cry in relief and Ryan grinned and squeezed her hand. 

‘Hey you. Welcome back.’

‘Back?’

The Doctor blinked confused eyes at her three friends who all looked exhausted and on the brink of tears, faces smudged with dust from the desert and filthy from their sleepover in the cave.

‘Where did I go?’


It was later that night that Yaz snuck quietly into the Doctor’s bed, being as careful as she could to not wake her up. Fortunately convincing the Doctor she needed to sleep hadn’t been a problem for once and after she’d sent the TARDIS flying into the vortex the four of them had all gone to bed, exhausted from their recent adventure. Yaz hadn’t been able to sleep though, the image of the Doctor's pale and ill face floating behind her eyelids every time she was about to drift off and she’d had to get up, had to check the Doctor was okay. 

‘You alright?’ the Doctor mumbled into her pillow, obviously not as asleep as Yaz had first thought. 

‘Yeah, wanted to check on you,’ Yaz replied quietly, ‘is that okay?’

‘Course it is,’ the Doctor yawned, curling her limbs under the duvet and letting out a happy sigh as Yaz pressed her body up beside her. 

‘Is it alright if I look?’ Yaz whispered, hands waiting above the fabric of the Doctor’s baggy pyjama top, and the Doctor let out a quiet hmm in response. 

They’d dressed the wound with a clean bandage after the Doctor had woken up and Yaz carefully peeled it back to check how it looked. The redness and swelling had gone down and it was beginning to heal at the edges, no longer looking infected or feeling hot to the touch. Yaz replaced the dressing, marvelling at the Doctor's ability to heal, and was about to climb out of bed and go back to her room when a hand gripped hold of hers and she saw the Doctor’s eyes glinting in the darkness of the room.

‘You can stay, if you like,’ the Doctor said quietly. ‘I mean, I’d like it - if you could stay.’ 

Yaz slipped under the duvet and found the Doctor already reaching for her, wriggling forwards to press her body against Yaz’s and pushing her face against her neck with a contented sigh. She was warm and heavy in Yaz’s arms and Yaz smiled as she closed her eyes and leant her cheek against the top of the Doctor’s head, breathing in the scent of her own shampoo which she just knew the Doctor had been pinching. 

‘Needed a hug?’ Yaz whispered in the dark, and the Doctor nodded her head in response. 

‘Apparently I like cuddles this time around,’ she said sleepily, but she was asleep before Yaz had the chance to question what that was supposed to mean, and she closed her eyes and contented herself with the feel of the Doctor’s warm breath against her neck and fingers loosely gripping the back of her pyjama top as she clung to her and slept on, safe with her friend. 




Chapter Text

Graham had never thought of the Doctor as the type of person who’d be up for pulling off a heist - or indeed breaking the law in any way, though he’d seen plenty of evidence to the contrary - but apparently that assumption was wrong and she likely fancied herself as some kind of superspy. Graham thought she was slightly too clumsy and awkward to fit into that description but he didn't want to curb her enthusiasm. 

They hadn’t arrived at the gala planning on pulling off a heist, or whatever it was they were doing up there, in fact they’d arrived fully intending on having a fun evening for once with a bit of dancing and music to keep themselves entertained, but trouble seemed to hang around the Doctor like a bad smell and it wasn’t long before she picked up on something that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Or smelt it, or something, Graham still wasn’t sure. Either way, he was now on lookout in the ballroom with Ryan while Yaz and the Doctor snuck upstairs to rescue… whatever it was they were up there to rescue. He thought it was some kind of animal, but the alcohol apparently had a slightly stronger effect on humans than it did on the other guests and if you’d told him she’d gone up there with Yaz for a quickie he wouldn’t have been surprised. Slightly taken aback, but not necessarily surprised. 

The Doctor and Yaz were, in fact, at that moment pressed against each other and hiding in a cupboard while they waited for the footsteps to subside from the corridor outside. It was dark and cramped in the cupboard, and Yaz could feel the Doctor’s hearts pounding, pressed up against her as she was. She wondered how high your blood pressure would be if you had two hearts. Hella high more than likely.

‘They’ve gone!’ the Doctor whispered, and the two of them tumbled out of the cupboard and into the hallway, legs and elbows landing in an awkward tangle of limbs on the soft carpets. 

The hallways were lined with paintings and cabinets containing expensive glass and statues, and Yaz tried as hard as she could to avoid crashing into them as she and the Doctor - who were both bordering on rather drunk - stumbled towards the sound of quiet mewing coming from behind a door at the end of the corridor. 

‘Is it a cat?’ Yaz hissed. 

‘Sort of,’ the Doctor hissed back. ‘Except this particular cat is endangered and they really shouldn’t have it here.’

‘What if they’d adopted it?’ Yaz complained. ‘I don’t want to take away someone’s pet just cause you think they shouldn’t have it.’

‘The guy downstairs, with the massive beard, did you see him?’ the Doctor asked, and Yaz nodded in response. 

‘Yeah, with the dodgy fashion sense.’

‘Yeah, him. I recognised him. He’s got a rep. I don’t think this party is a party after all, Yaz. I think it’s a front.’

‘A front?’ Yaz frowned. ‘A front for what?’

But then they heard voices from the end of the corridor and froze, totally out in the open with nowhere to hide. 

‘What do we do?’ Yaz asked, watching the Doctor turn around from side to side, trying to find a hiding place. 

‘Uuuuh.’

Footsteps sounded from around the corner, heels on carpet and smart shoes heading towards them, and suddenly the Doctor was shoving her against the wall and her lips were on Yaz’s and all coherent thought went flying out of her brain. 

Dimly, through the overwhelming sensations of the Doctor pressed against her and the soft hands on her waist, Yaz could hear awkward coughs and mutters as the footsteps passed them by, hurrying along quickly to get back downstairs to the party. 

Even though they’d gone, which the Doctor must have noticed too, Yaz found that her grip wasn’t loosening, in fact she was pulling her closer, kissing her softer and more gently, and Yaz felt her toes curl in her shoes at the sensation of a warm mouth against hers and a wet tongue slipping through her lips to brush against her own, realising that actually - she didn't want the Doctor to pull away, she wanted her to stay perfectly still. She wasn’t sure why she’d assumed the Doctor wouldn’t know how to kiss, or wouldn’t be interested in kissing, but she was definitely wrong. Her body was lighting up in a way it hadn’t for years and Yaz could feel an ache settling in the pit of her stomach, pulsing between her legs as she tried to move closer. 

But, just as Yaz’s hands were coming up to pull her closer and tug lightly on her hair, the Doctor pulled away, eyes hooded and lips swollen, and cleared her throat awkwardly. 

‘Uh, I think the coast is clear.’

She let go of Yaz and stepped away from her, shoving her hands into her pockets and shuffling her feet on the floor as she tried very hard to not look Yaz in the eye, occasionally peering up at her through the blonde fringe of her hair.

Yaz coughed, cleared her throat, and straightened her clothes.

‘Did we have to be kissing for that to work?’

‘Probably not. C’mon.’ 

The Doctor’s hand slipped into her own and she tugged her away from the wall, Yaz’s head spinning in a way that wasn’t purely from the alcohol as she was tugged along.

That wasn’t a platonic distraction kiss. That meant something.

She looked at the Doctor, whose expression was determined as she pulled her along.

Meant something to me, at least. 

The Doctor pressed her ear against the door, listening carefully for noise from within. All Yaz could hear was the quiet mew of whatever kind of cat was in there, but there were no voices or footsteps and the Doctor carefully pulled out her sonic and ran it along the keyhole, the door opening with a gentle click.

She then tripped over her feet and fell flat on her face, and Yaz wondered if perhaps getting wasted and then trying to be covert was really the best idea. 

The room was large, a four-poster bed taking up most of the space, but there was also a massive silver cat with long ears and sharp teeth sitting in a cage, watching them with narrowed eyes.

‘I knew it!’ the Doctor said. ‘It is a front!’

‘A front for what?’ Yaz asked, watching as the cat padded up to the front of its cage and started meowing at them.

‘That bloke downstairs, the beardy one. I knew I recognised him. He’s a fur trader, Yaz! The more exotic, by which I mean “close to extinction” the animal, the better. This beautiful boy is a Lynxaft. Very rare, and probably very keen to go home!’

The cat meowed in agreement. 

‘So what do we do?’ Yaz asked. ‘How are we supposed to sneak it into the TARDIS?’

‘Oi!’ 

A shout sounded from behind them and Yaz and the Doctor spun around - dizzyingly and drunkenly - to find the bearded man himself stood in the doorway, mouth already open to call for security.

‘Easily!’ - the Doctor said, pulling out her sonic and pointing it at the cage door - ‘Like this!’

The door sprang open, and the Lynxaft leapt out.


Later, much later, after the chaos that had descended on the gala at the sight of an almost extinct animal racing through the ballroom and the four travelers trying desperately hard to herd it into the TARDIS so they could give it a lift home was long past, Yaz padded across the metal floor of the TARDIS corridors and headed into the kitchen to find the Doctor.

Her head was still buzzing a little with the effects of the alcohol, but the Doctor had assured them all that - as well as being Muslin friendly - there wouldn’t be any hangovers to worry about. Not for the humans anyway, she wasn’t sure about herself. 

The Doctor was downing coffee in the TARDIS kitchen like it was going out of fashion and she pulled a face as Yaz walked in.

‘Heya. Sorry. Need to repair a button on the navigation console. The TARDIS won’t let me do it under the influence.’ Here she glared at the ceiling and the TARDIS made a sound that sounded not unlike a laugh. ‘You okay?’ 

‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ Yaz said, pulling herself into one of the bar stools along the kitchen island and watching the Doctor cautiously. She was still making her way through her cups of coffee, but there was a rising blush spreading across her cheeks and Yaz could see her foot tapping against the floor. She was jittery, and Yaz wasn’t sure it was just from the coffee.

‘So I was hoping we could talk about earlier,’ Yaz said, just as the Doctor said:

‘That thing that happened -’

They both stopped talking and the Doctor gestured at Yaz to continue, sipping her cup as her hair fell into her eyes. 

‘Well, it’s just…’ Yaz looked down at her hands, then at the kitchen tabletop, then back at the Doctor. ‘You kissed me.’

‘Yeah, sorry about that,’ the Doctor said quickly. ‘Needed a distraction, that was the first one I could think of.’

‘I thought that,’ Yaz agreed. ‘And I know we were a bit - well, tipsy, but for a second it kind of felt like… I dunno. Like it wasn’t just a distraction, you know? Almost like you…’

She stopped talking, afraid of speaking the words, and the Doctor put her mug down and sat in the chair next to her. 

‘Like I what, Yaz?’

‘It’s stupid,’ Yaz mumbled. ‘I’m looking too much into it. I was drunk, you were drunk, it was supposed to be a distraction but it felt good so we just… I dunno. Doesn’t matter. I better go to bed, busy day tomorrow, yeah? I’ll see you in the morning.’

She stood up to go but the Doctor took hold of her hand, tilting her head at her in the same way she had when Yaz had requested they deliver Dan’s necklace to his daughter after the whole Kerblam fiasco. 

‘Yaz…’ her eyes were soft and Yaz sat down again, almost afraid to hear what she had to say. 

‘It felt good because it was good, Yaz,’ the Doctor said gently. ‘Wasn’t it? I mean kissing the wrong person feels awful, but kissing the right person feels like -’

‘Fireworks,’ Yaz whispered, and the Doctor smiled at her. 

‘Exactly. I’m new to this whole woman thing and to be honest I don’t really kiss people all that much, but kissing you felt like fireworks.’

‘So you do have feelings for me?’ Yaz said quietly, and the Doctor nodded. 

‘Course I do, Yaz. I think you’re amazing. I think you’re all amazing. I just didn't realise that… well, I didn't realise that maybe my feelings for you aren’t quite as platonic as I initially thought. And it’s totally fine if you don’t feel the same way. It doesn’t change anything and I’ll try and think of a better distraction next time, but it does feel good to tell you.’

The Doctor looked at her, face soft, and Yaz felt her heart pounding in her chest. 

‘But I do feel the same way,’ Yaz said. ‘I mean I thought I did, before I mean, but now…’

‘So, you enjoyed it too?’ the Doctor asked hopefully, and Yaz leaned forward slightly; watching the Doctor’s eyes go black and her lip drop open slightly. 

‘I think I need another go,’ Yaz replied, throat dry. ‘You know, just to make sure.’

The Doctor practically fell out of her seat.

‘You mean…’

Yaz tugged the Doctor forward by her braces, one hand finally resting in her hair. 

‘Yes.’

Then she leaned forward, kissed her, and it was fireworks all over again.