A/N Hey look, another chapter! Now, I don't know if any of you were around for the multi-chap HP fic I wrote many years ago, but the girl from this story is the main charrie from that. I took it down because someone made it their mission to leave a pretty nasty review on all 16 chapters, so you won't find it on my profile. Hope this chapter isn't too bad! I understand that she's a bit of a Mary Sue, but this fic is my little break from freedom from my extensive work load. I'll actually work on the sequel to make it good.
(I'll shush now.)
Sweet Merlin my head hurts.
The girl lying on the TARDIS console room floor slowly regained consciousness. Her mind was a jumbled mess. She let out a quiet moan as she forced her eyes open.
That woke her up. A man, apparently who had just left his teens, was smiling nervously down at her from his crouched position over her. She scrambled back as far as she could into a corner and watched him roll back and stand up, breathing fast and shallow.
The man tried again: "Hi, I'm the Doctor."
She still didn't reply. Slowly her recollection of what had happened came back to her, and her eyes flicked to her wrist. The skin was slightly pinker than its usual pale cream colour. Looking back at the "Doctor", his face had changed so there was a look of guilt on it.
"I'm so sorry about that. I just panicked, because I made a mistake and you saw her and—"
He broke off as she began patting her pockets agitatedly. "Are you alright?"
And the first words that the Doctor heard leave her mouth since she woke were a very shrill "where have you fucking put it!?"
He looked perplexed. "Put what?"
This earned him an angry glare. Had it not been for the girl's attention being diverted by the colossal centre console, the Doctor was sure she would've continued angrily quizzing him. Her mouth formed a perfect circle as she stared around her.
"Where am I?!"
He beamed. This one he knew the answer to! "You're on my ship! It's called the TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, and—"
The girl cut him off with a shrill, hysterical laugh. "Space? You're telling me this is a spaceship?"
He looked pleased that she'd apparently understood. "Yes! And a time machine!"
She snorted incredulously and started ranting loudly, as though expecting someone to walk out from behind the console. "You expect me to believe that?! Come on, Cerin, pick a better story that that! A spaceship – Really? You're running out of lies, cousin!"
The Doctor stared with a look of perplexion across his face.
A very good actor this time, then.
"What are you on about?!"
He stood up, making her flinch. Much as she thought the whole situation was positively hilarious, she really didn't want this man near her. She looked round for the door, and upon spotting it, got ready to make a run for it.
"I'm not Cerin." The Doctor said, putting his hands up in a calming gesture. "There's no one else here. Just me and-"
She seized her chance. Now that her path was clear, she sprang up and darted for the door. The Doctor put out a hand to block her way, but she wildly lashed out and her hand sharply collided with his cheek. He protested indignantly, cradling it, but she was already across the room and smashing into the door hard enough to make her wrist crack indignantly. At her touch, the wood parted to allow her exit. Ten steps later and blinded by the sunlight, she was far enough away from the crazy room to breathe properly.
Then her eyes adjusted to the light, and she wished she'd stayed inside.
"Hey, stop! Please! Don't run any further!" The Doctor shouted, sounding panicky. He'd followed her out of the door with one cheek much redder than usual.
He needn't have worried. She was frozen to the spot.
"This. This is..."
"The Grand Canyon. Um. Yeah. I felt it would help if I got you away from that alley."
She sighed and turned. "You can cut it out now. Stop pretending to be on my side. Just ask Cerin for the bloody order, and throw me off this cliff. Go on, I'm sick of this game of cat and mouse."
Exasperated, the Doctor held his hands out in a what do you want from me? gesture. "I don't know how to convince you that I don't want to murder you."
During the declaration, the Doctor had taken a step towards her without realising. While he was oblivious, the girl did notice. Her feet mimicked the movement and she grew even closer to the end of the cliff. He apologetically stepped back, putting a decent twenty feet between them, but she didn't follow. He resigned himself to the fact he didn't have another chance and might have to run to the TARDIS if she moved again and fell.
"You can ask me to prove it in any way you want." He said carefully.
She considered him for a moment, eyes flicking over him. She seemed to be scrutinising every inch of his attire and trying to make a decision. The Doctor waited patiently. There was nothing to be gained from rushing her, and he didn't particularly want another death on his hands if he spooked her and she tripped over the edge of the canyon and hit the stone before he could catch her.
An idea seemed to suddenly hit her, and she stuffed her hand down her top enthusiastically. Slightly stunned at the movement, the Doctor turned his head away. A few metres away, the girl continued avidly searching down her chest.
"Um, are you alright?" he asked, unsure of when to look up.
An answer came in the form of something small and hard smacking him in the chest and falling to the ground at his feet. He bent to scoop it up, confused.
The item turned out to be a tiny bottle with a cork stopper in it. Habit told him to open it and inspect the contents, but he restrained himself and looked back up at the girl. It didn't take a genius to guess that the bottle was the thing she'd been searching for.
"I suppose I'm to drink this?"
"Right in one, Bowtie Guy."
She looked impressed when, without complaint or argument, he pulled the cork out, tossed it aside, and swallowed the liquid in one.
"Well, you earn points for blind trust." She said, finally moving back towards him and away from the towering canyon edge.
The effect was instantaneous. As the liquid rushed down into his body, the Doctor suddenly felt like he didn't have a care in the world. All thoughts of anxiety or stress fled his mind and left him happy as a child with a bowl of sweeties all to themselves. Needless to say, a huge grin suddenly appeared on his face. Anyone watching the scene would've thought she'd just given him twelve kilos of caffeine all in one go.
"How do you feel?" The girl asked. The Doctor's eyes flicked back up to meet hers, the enthusiastic grin still huge.
"Fantastic! Great! I feel like I could go and start a revolution, or wrestle a bear!"
She smiled for the first time.
"Neither will be necessary. That's a truth potion, though, so I don't doubt that you would."
He straightened his bowtie happily and wiggled his fingers in a child-like fashion. The girl let him amuse himself for a few more moments, then started asking him questions.
"Okay, we'll start with easy ones. Are you with Cerin?"
"Never heard of him before I ran into you."
She looked a little shocked, but continued.
"Where do you come from?"
"Sounds Irish." The girl mused, then paused. "Next, I... You know what? I want you to tell me about you. Tell me about yourself, about all your adventures… How you managed to come across that alley at the same moment I did. And most importantly… Just who exactly are you?"
The Doctor smiled, and opened his mouth. They were going to be there for while..
Half an hour later, the Doctor was beginning to feel the side effects of the truth serum wearing off. The Sun had risen to directly above them and the infrared waves emitting from it were becoming distinctly painful. Considering it was only Spring there, the Doctor thought that it was getting a bit ridiculous for that time of year. Maybe he shouldn't have skipped forwards the month and a half..
The girl, who had introduced herself as Cassie, wasn't faring much heat was taking its toll on her too; her eyes were visibly drooping and wincing. As well as the searing heat, the sunlight was painfully bright on their eyes. The Doctor quickly finished up his recount of his latest Sontaran meeting and quickly planned his next words out in his head before speaking once again.
"...And now I have a proposition for you."
Cassie tilted her head, inviting him to continue.
"You're on the run." The Doctor started, and watched her carefully. Her hands clenched, but apart from that, she remained still. "And I understand that. I have a predicament of sorts, and you could be the answer to it."
"The young girl you saw yesterday was Amelia Pond. She's only seven, and I've already proved myself absolutely incapable at caring for her in a suitable fashion. My proposition is that I employ you, in a way, to deal with more than just the basic necessities and adventures. Basically, I need a babysitter. You seem like the careful type, so it would be a perfect match. How does that sound?"
Cassie raised an eyebrow then fixed a blank look on her face. "You said you picked her up by accident and caused a fixed point in time with your time and space machine, right?"
"To put it simply, yes."
The pause that followed was at least a full minute; enough to give Cassie time to think. The offer was fair enough, the Doctor thought, but he also knew he couldn't forget how unwilling she was to trust him. Hopefully the truth potion and Amelia would work in his favour. Cassie would be an excellent travelling companion if she accepted.
He loved his human companions, especially if they were a challenge in some way. Rose had been a romantic and loyal companion struggling with her future, and Donna had been there to keep him in line in the only way the ginger woman knew how: sarcasm and sharp wit. Both had problems, and both grown women had blossomed into some of the most important people in the Earth's history.
But, while he couldn't continue without them, the grown companions lacked the sense of childish freedom that only kids have. The point was, he had not had a companion like Susan or Ace in many hundreds of years. While it hurt him to lose companions so young, because these two would leave just like all the others, this generation felt like one that needed some younger companions that he could be both a friend and father figure to. Combined with Cassie's obviously dire situation, he knew she was the best he was going to find.
He turned his attention back to the girl in question, still patiently waiting for an answer. To his relief, he didn't have to wait much longer.
"I have nothing to lose, Doctor, so I agree to your terms," she said.
The Doctor beamed. "Great! I'll just-"
"...but I have a few rules of my own."
She finished and crossed her arms. His face sincere, the Doctor agreed to hear them.
"Firstly, you do not ask me about my family. If I wish to tell you, I will. But not until I'm ready. Also, please don't bring up how you found me. I'd rather forget that."
"And finally..." she walked towards and past him, coming to a halt just outside the doors of the TARDIS. "I'd like to visit someone."
Letting out a sigh, the Doctor rubbed his hands on his forehead. The request was not a new one.
"The laws of time may not-"
"I don't expect you to help me prevent their death!" she snapped, eyes flaring. "But I would like to speak to them to let them know it wasn't in vain."
"It still might change events that have already happened, and therefore create a paradox."
Eyes were rolled in his direction. "I'll do it subtly. Maybe wipe their memories of it. Set a memory timer of sorts, so they only remember a few minutes before it happens." She shrugged. "That sort of thing."
The Doctor, after a brief consultation with the TARDIS via telepathy link, finally nodded. If his ship agreed that it wouldn't rip another hole in the universe, he couldn't see the harm in the trip.
"Now?" he asked.
She clearly hadn't been expecting to win the argument so easily, let alone be given the choice to go immediately. Now, even though she had her wish, Cassie paused and bit her lip nervously.
"...No. Not yet. I'm not ready. Imagine you're going to have to talk to someone knowing that they're going to die, and that this is the very last time you'll ever speak to them, but not being able to tell them that or say a proper goodbye. I can't just barrel into that."
The Doctor didn't need to imagine it. His vision filled with pictures of magnificent blonde curls and coy smiles, and a familiar sense of unbearable longing swept through him. He could feel the TARDIS trying to comfort him, but he silently assured her it was okay and she faded back to her usual quiet presence in the back of his mind.
Cassie was too caught up in her own thoughts to register him, and a part of him thanked her for it. His grief over River's inevitable death was private.
"Do you want to head inside?" The Doctor asked, pointing up at the Sun above their heads. "It would somewhat put a spanner in the works if we both got sunstroke from this heat."
A nod of consent was given. He pushed the TARDIS door open for her and held it there as she passed. Upon entering, Cassie's eyes widened. In the chaos of her attempted escape, she'd forgotten how huge the ship was. Her complete awe at the interior of the ship hadn't faded, and the Doctor stood back to let her explore on her own for a few seconds. He was perfectly content, now that he'd escaped the Sun's merciless rays, to simply watch her roam.
Cassie ran her hands over the console gently. The buttons seemed to respond to her gentle touch, and beeped contentedly. She smiled it, realising there might be something more to the ship than just wires and cogs.
"She likes you."
She turned. She'd almost forgotten that the Doctor was there with her. He smiled gently at her, and she gave him a questioning look.
"The TARDIS has a mind of her own - literally. She's a sentient being, and my oldest friend."
If someone had said that the machine had a brain of its own a few days earlier, Cassie would've considered putting them in a crazyhouse somewhere. However, the day's events had been strange to say the least, and Cassie was surprised to find that she'd just accepted the statement as truth without really questioning it.
She patted the platform's rail gently.
"Hello." she said quietly, trying not to feel silly.
Part of her hadn't expected a response, but Cassie was still disappointed when quiet fell. Only the constant hum of the console broke the silence, and Cassie pulled her hand back and pushed them back into her hoodie pockets. The Doctor seemed to notice the gesture, and moved to change the subject.
"I assume you're pretty tired." he observed, taking note of the bags under her eyes and the way she held herself. Like a wild animal, she still had an uneasy and fragile posture. That, added with the shock of thinking she'd been kidnapped, had left her exhausted.
Her lips broke into a satirical smile. "You could say that."
"Do you want to rest?"
Cassie looked around. "If you didn't mind. I have a blanket-"
"No, no, no." The Doctor interrupted. "We have everything you could need. That's the great thing about the TARDIS. Ask nicely, and she can come up with almost anything."
He beamed proudly. Cassie gratefully thanked him, and after a few more seconds of him ensuring her it was no big deal, allowed him to direct her towards a corridor that he claimed would "surely have a bedroom if you look hard enough".
She was about to leave when she remembered something, and turned back towards the centre of the room. The Doctor, who had taken her place on the raised platform, had started to busy himself flicking dials and tweaking levers.
"Doctor," Cassie said after another short silence. He turned and looked at her curiously.
"I'm sorry I slapped you."
She knew she was going red, embarrassed. The Doctor grinned and laughed.
"Don't worry about it. I suppose it wasn't entirely undeserved, what with the accidental rugby tackling."
"Call that a rugby tackle? More like a lucky flail."
"Oh!" The Doctor gasped, feigning being shot. "You've mortally wounded me with your harsh words!"
"Please, I'm sure my words have done little to dent such an ego."
The Doctor smirked. "You're quick, I see."
"When the occasion arises." Cassie replied, smiling genuinely.
"Good. Can't have someone like that around here constantly. It would be like having two mes."
Cassie snorted at that and, after saying farewell for the second time, she disappeared through one of the many doors leading away from the room. The Doctor remained where he was, leaning against the centre console.
"Play nicely, old girl." he said softly, patting his TARDIS. "Give her an easy route."
The only response was an increased humming but, for the centuries-old alien, it was enough.
Please let me know what you think! :)