I did it! *ducks behind a wall to avoid flying tomatoes* Sorry for the long wait, really. I've been eager to write Doctor Who but want to write something new and can't get it going. This leads to procrastinating on things I should be writing but I finally finished this! I'm hoping to update the next one in less time than it took for this one. I've mostly forgotten the episodes at this point, so it's easier for me to rewatch and write up chapters.
And I hope you all enjoy this newer Alex! I'm having fun with her new quirk and hope you all like it too :) And there's a poll on my other account (Anubis Enfield)for what you want me updating next. I'm trying to stick by it this time, I swear.
So let me know what you think! The next chapter will be "The Witchfinders" one and I'll finally have Alex bouncing around again to keep me from stalling on chapters
I woke up with a headache, lying in a familiar bed with orange covers and rolling over with a groan. What hit me? I carefully sat up and cringed as my head throbbed at the Tardis' worried hum and I hastily shushed her.
"Sh, sh, sh. You're too loud."
The ship grew quiet and my eyes suddenly widened as I felt her shift to the back of my mind. I can feel her…
"I can feel you!" I blurted out, jumping to my feet and feeling a hint of amusement from the ship before tumbling over my own legs.
I laid on the floor for a minute, giddy at the feeling and trying to expand out, sense the Doctor, but the action made my headache worse and I groaned, pressing my palms to my eyes in a vain attempt to quell the pain.
"My head. What happened?" I groaned. "I was… I was with the group… squad? Fam?" I scowled, not liking any of the words used to describe our ever-growing Tardis team, but I couldn't hold the scowl long before I began to smile a little once more. "But I can feel."
I got the feeling that if the Tardis could roll her eyes, she would before I let out a grunt as something landed on my gut. I opened my eyes only to immediately feel fear roll in my gut at the feathered friend she'd just plopped on top of me.
It clucked once before the chicken went for my face, making me yelp and hightail it out of the Doctor's bedroom, slamming the door closed and leaning against it to ensure the fiend didn't follow.
"Why always the chickens!" I complained, scowling at the ceiling with a wince as the Tardis chuckled.
I huffed, blowing at my hair, but soon turning away and wandering down the hall. Let's see. I was with the others. We'd just dealt with the giant spiders, and I'd woken up and changed in the Tardis. I glanced down at my clothes, nodding at finding them still the same. Then, the Doctor pulled the lever to go and… I frowned, tipping my head.
"Did I jump? I don't remember. Why don't I remember?"
The Tardis allowed a flash of gold to pass through my mind, reminding me of my regeneration and making me falter in the hallway, head aching terribly at the image. I grit my teeth, hand pressed against the wall with the other against my head—the Tardis giving off a soft apology and trying to soothe the ache.
"Stop, stop," I muttered, waving the ship off and gently working my mind into pushing her presence back to the back of my head. "God, my head."
It took a moment before I felt confident that I could walk without leaning on the wall for support, and I gave the Tardis a pat.
"All right, Sexy. You know where I want to go. Lead the way," I hummed, the hallway brightening at one end and leading me on.
I made it to the console room, taking a moment to stand in the entryway as my head throbbed. A cacophony of emotions were flowing through my mind—worry, confusion, frustration, fear—and it took a second before I could bring myself back into focus. Wow. Brings a whole new meaning to mind blown. I winced and pinched the bridge of my nose, remembering how I used to separate my thoughts from others back when the Doctor was working me through being new to the whole telepathy thing. Thankfully, it still worked, and I relaxed a bit though my mind was still tender. But I can feel, and that's all that matters to me right now.
I looked down at the Doctor, who's brow was furrowed in deep thought as she pressed buttons on the console, searching for something. I tipped my head to the side, glancing over at Yaz, Ryan, and Graham as they muttered to themselves, undoubtedly about her. It meant I had no way of sneaking up on the Doctor like I wanted. So, I planned on doing the next best thing. Plan B. I couldn't contain my joy as I ran down the steps, drawing their attention to me and making the Doctor turn in surprise.
Her call was cut off as I ran into her, grabbing her head in my hands and smothering her in a kiss as I threw my mind forward to meet hers in absolute bliss. It hurt and I winced but refused to pull back as I felt her mind touch mine for the first time in far too long. She was surprised and rightly so, as I began to lose myself in her mind, tears running down my face in relief at finally being able to feel her. She was the one who pulled away, myself following her for only a moment with a small whine as her presence slipped back and the pain of my head made me lean against her weakly.
"What's going on, Alex?" She said breathlessly, practically holding me up as I sagged against her from the agony tearing through my head.
"I-I… I can feel you," I smiled, arms wrapping around her tightly and tucking my nose into her shoulder. "I can finally feel you."
"What? But you—Oh… Oh. You're from… Oh, Alexander."
Her arms wrapped around my back, patting me lightly as the others cleared their throats.
"What's, uh… What's up with her then?" Ryan questioned. "Why's she actin' like that?"
"She's from when she just regenerated. She jumps around, remember?" The Doctor explained, confirming my initial thoughts. "Although, as much as I don't mind holding you, you are a bit heavy, Alex."
"Head hurts," I grumbled into her neck, not moving.
"Let me see. You might have hurt yourself."
I shook my head, tightening my grip on her childishly. "No. It's just not used to feeling… well, anything."
"You overworked your mind?" She asked, reaching for my temples only for me to pull away with a cringe.
"I haven't been able to use it until now," I tried to explain, and she hummed, lowering her hands.
"Makes sense. Exercising your mind after it hasn't been able to would cause pain. It's not too bad though?"
I smiled, brushing a hand over her cheek and leaning in again. "I can handle it. For you."
"Yeah, as cute as this is," Yaz cut in, making me pout at the interruption. "What were you looking for, Doc?"
I gasped, a playful twinkle in my eye. "You let people call you Doc, now?"
She rolled her eyes playfully, though there was a hint of something else hidden there. "Don't you start. How long have you three been there?"
"Twenty minutes?" Yaz guessed; brow raised as the Doctor slipped from my hold.
"What are you looking for?" Ryan added, a hint of curiosity making me remember how focused the Doctor had been a second ago.
It was something rare for this Doctor. I knew that much from previous adventures. Despite what my personality had been like, she was bouncier and more excited. This was odd for her. I expected this from Twelve, not her. Something serious must've happened. Something I missed out on… How far forward did I jump?
"I'm not looking for anything," the Doctor said, though a trill in my mind said it was a lie.
Ooh, joy. I'm a walking lie-detector now. The frown on my face grew as the Doctor kept her back turned to me, continuing what she was doing before I walked in. But why is she lying?
"Don't lie to us," Yaz called her out, making me raised a brow at the Doctor in a sort of, "What are you going to do now?" look.
She caught sight of me and sighed. "Alex, cover your ears."
"Huh?" I questioned, confused by the turn of conversation.
"It's spoilers," she muttered, and I slowly did as she asked, turning away even to prevent myself from reading her lips.
I skipped around the console room, ducking behind pillars with a twirl and humming to myself before I eventually ran right into the amused Doctor's arms.
"Oh, hello," I hummed with a big grin that she readily returned. "How was your talk? Middling?"
She grabbed the end of my nose. "As cheeky as always."
"But you love it, right?" I replied, wrinkling my nose as she let it go. "Or, well, I'm assuming so. Haven't really gotten your reaction to the new me, but if you liked the last me, I figure—"
"Alex," she chided me softly, smiling and pressing her hands against my face. "You're always the most beautiful, most amazing person to me, no matter what regeneration."
My heart swelled as her emotions lightly brushed against my mind, wanting to smother me much like I had earlier, but holding back to keep me from feeling any pain because of it. Ryan ruined the moment this time, coughing dramatically into his arm.
"Later then?" The Doctor mentally questioned, only causing a minor ache as I nodded eagerly.
Oh, yes. Absolutely, yes. She smiled and wrapped her arm around my lower back, looking to the others. I could still feel tension though, silently wondering what they had just been talking about and why the Doctor's grip on my waist was so tense. I could sense it too; the uncertainty, the worry from the others, and her frustration and fear. That's what bothered me the most. Her fear.
"So! Where to ne—"
An alarm cut her off and a familiar voice came over the intercom.
"Kro Kro Tro Kro So Fro So So To. Kro Kro Tro Kro."
"What is that?" Ryan questioned, as I eyed the ceiling in surprise.
"Judoon? How?" I asked the Doctor, who went to the console and brought up the transmission feed.
"It's a warning transmission. The cheek!" She complained.
"Judoon?" Yaz questioned.
"Are you two just saying that to shut us up?" Graham complained as I shook my head with a beaming smile.
"Nope! They're like police for hire. Big rhino aliens!"
The trio eyed me like I was mad, but I hardly cared. It felt good to finally feel like I was enjoying myself again.
"What are they up to this time?" I asked the Doctor, who was eyeing the transmission with a small frown.
"Notice of a zonal enforcement field on Earth. No one can get in or out."
I was right behind her, eyes pressed against the outside camera that was shaped like a microscope. "Uh, Doc? You might wanna see this."
I stepped aside for her to look.
"What? They're preparing to beam down there. A platoon of Judoon, near the moon."
I let out a loud, short cackle of laughter, cutting myself off immediately at the looks I got. "S-Sorry. Inside joke. Judoon platoon upon the moon." I snorted. "Classic."
The Doctor cracked a smile at the memory but continued quickly. "They can't do that. They've got no jurisdiction there. Right in the center of Gloucester. We are not having that."
"Plan?" I hummed in question and she grinned.
"If I can match the Tardis's rotation to the frequency of the enforcement field's refresh rate, I might, just might be able to slip us in before anyone gets killed."
"I thought you said they were the police?" Graham breathed.
"Trigger happy police," the Doctor corrected.
"Then, let's get on it!" I chirped.
"Oh, look at you, Miss Confident!"
"New me," I replied, starting up the process with a grin.
"Through here!" The Doctor called, leading the way through the back of a shop and towards the door.
"What are you doing in my kitchen!" The owner shouted, drawing the Doctor, Yaz, and Alex to a halt.
"Stay inside and keep the door closed. Do not let anyone in, especially alien police in helmets and black leather."
"Ooh, a café!" Alex grinned, eyeing the food on the counter. "Are those cupcakes?"
"The city's under siege. We're going to sort it," Ryan added to the Doctor's warning before one of the men bolted out the door and the owner huffed.
"Oh, Yeah. Go on. Get out, coward."
"What's up with him?" Yaz questioned, earning a look from the owner.
"How long you got?"
"No time at all," the Doctor cut in. "Stay inside. Lock the door. Come on, gang. Alex, there's no time for snacking!"
The Doctor grabbed her hand and pulled her away as she continued to complain.
"I've only just regenerated, you know. Takes a lot of energy out of you. I could do with a kip and a bag of crisps at the very least." She paused then with a frowned. "Am I whining?"
"A bit, yeah," Ryan said as they spotted the Judoon setting up some.
"Is that the kind of person I am now? Oh, that's terrible!"
The Doctor rolled her eyes. "Not so much a whiner as someone who enjoys comfort. Now, shush, dear. Judoon?"
"Right! Are you dealing with them, or am I?"
The Doctor grinned, raising a brow. "Both?"
Alex nodded eagerly. "Oh, yes. Both is good."
"Fugitive house unit located. Prepare isolator," the lead Judoon grunted, aiming the gun-like weapon they'd set up only for the Doctor and others to move in the way.
"I hope you've got a permit for that," the Doctor said, holding up the psychic paper and making the Judoon stiffen.
"You're an Imperial Regulator?"
"Yes. And there's plenty here to regulate. For starters, you don't have jurisdiction here, so why you're using a Class Seven Enforcement Field around this city bothers me a lot," the Doctor informed him as Alex came up beside her.
"She's right." She also showed him the psychic paper. "Imperial Regulator II, here. Didn't you know this temporal isolator is outlawed? Or were you just planning on ignoring that without the proper paperwork?"
"Radiation leakage and civilian casualties." She looked to Ryan and Yaz behind her. "Designed to freeze time but causes horrific collateral damage to anything and anyone that gets in its path. Horrible thing," the Doctor added, the Judoon's head bouncing back and forth between them almost comically.
Ryan came up too, hoping to join in. "Hey, you're not using that thing here, pal, so consider your rhino backside imperially regulated."
The Judoon grunted, taking a threatening step forward as Ryan winced.
"Sounded tougher in me head…"
"Fugitive is highly dangerous. Precautions must be taken," the Judoon argued.
"Not that weapon, not here. Humans will die, and you, Captain, will have racked up enough violations to ensure that your troop never get hired again. Look at you and your platoon of Judoon near the…" She trailed off, eyeing the water nearby.
"Lagoon?" I offered as Yaz made a face.
"More of a canal."
"Yeah," Ryan agreed.
"No pride at all," I huffed, watching the rhino bristle. "What happened to the Judoon's respect for the rules?"
"Honestly," the Doctor said sharply. "We're very disappointed in you. So, we will take over from here."
"Negative!" He countered; a bit riled up. "Mission must be fulfilled by the contracted troop. Judoon Engagement Article 163B."
"That article is overridden by local Earth law…" Again, the Doctor paused, and Alex jumped in.
"Twelve, which clearly states that any arrestee if entitled to arbitration with a third party. Isn't that correct, Liaison Officer Khan?"
Yaz, a bit surprised at being called on, nodded at seeing the lies tricking the Judoon. "Absolutely correct. 100 percent. Rule 12? Massive."
"Imperial regulation. So, you will give us the time to go in there and arbitrate. That weapon will not need to be used. Clear? Come on. We can sort this, woman to woman."
Alex leaned over. "Is it a woman? Do Judoon have genders?"
The Doctor shushed her, eyes on the Judoon. "Give us ten Earth minutes and we can have this resolved for you."
"Five minutes," it bartered.
"Seven?" I offered, the rhino's ears flicking back, and I sighed. "Fine, we'll take five. I hate bartering."
"I hate when they do that," the Doctor complained, leading the way. "We best take the lift. Hold on. Where's Graham?"
Ryan shrugged. "I dunno."
"Have you lost him!"
"He's not my responsibility. He's always a few steps behind. I've stopped checking."
The Judoon leader called to our backs. "Four minutes thirty."
"We haven't started yet!" The Doctor and Alex both shouted, miffed.
"Did you notice anything funny there, Alex?"
"What's that?" I asked, curious as we bounded to the lift to determine what was going on.
"Right! You're new." The Doctor smacked her forehead. "Haven't figured out all the quirks yet. You sense lies. Did the Judoon say anything off?"
I wrinkled my nose. "I hope I do more than that, but no. Honest enough, really. Please tell me I'm capable of something cooler than just lie-detecting."
"Later," she chirped, tapping my nose and earning a grin before knocking on the flat we needed. "Pay attention, cos every word I'm about to say is true," she told the woman who answered. "There's a nasty bunch of alien police outside. They're pointing a highly dangerous cannon at this flat, and they'll fire it in about, uh, four minutes. I might be able to stop them, but I need to understand exactly why they're here, so you need to let us in, quick."
Why is it that I expect her to just slam the door in our faces? Surprisingly enough though, she moved aside, and we hurried in. When I passed her though, I paused. It was a weird feeling. As though something was very much wrong with the woman, but I brushed it off for now and hurried after the others. The Doctor had already confronted the man in there, demanding to know everything.
"They've got it wrong," he denied, and I tipped my head.
"Oh, that's curious."
The Doctor turned to me, surprised. "What's curious?"
"It's a half-truth," I declared. "Sounds like a lie but tastes like the truth." I frowned, wrinkling my nose and sticking out my tongue. "Is that really how this ability works? I'm not a fan of tasting anything other than food."
"He works at Bathrooms4U, for God's sake," the woman of the house informed us, and the Doctor narrowed her eyes. "I'm not harboring anyone!"
"If you're both so innocent, why are both your bags packed?" Yaz asked, bringing up a valid point.
"Yeah, like you're about to go on the run."
"Khan and Sinclair with the key questions. Not that you'll get very far, given the enforcement perimeter they've just knocked up. Come on, quick with the truth. We've got about three minutes, probably less. What are you hiding?" She turned to us. "Check the flat, see what's here. If it isn't these two, it could be something inside here."
"You're not going through my flat," the woman argued.
"Yes, they are."
Ryan pointed at the window. "Have you seen those things outside?"
"Yeah, and I've seen what they do, and that's why we're running."
The Doctor though, pulled out her sonic, making the man hesitate.
"What are you doing? What is that?"
"A device that tells me…" She frowned, confused. "You're both completely human. Please, I'm trying to save a lot of lives here, including yours. If you have any idea why the Judoon are pursuing you, you have to tell me right now."
The duo still refused, so the Doctor groaned, turning back to where Ryan and Yaz had been searching the house, dragging me along with her.
"A few cash-flow problems, a collection of old phones and keys."
"Alex? What're you sensing?"
"I'm still a bit new to this, mind," I grumbled, but the Doctor grabbed my arms, eyes blazing, and confidence being pushed lightly in my direction.
"I know, and I'm sorry I can't explain more, but I need anything. What were you saying about half-truths?"
"What that man, Lee, said. That the Judoon have it wrong. He was telling the truth, but also not? Again, I'm not sure how this ability works."
"So, perhaps it's not him they're after, technically speaking. Or maybe it's him they're after, but they're after him for the wrong reason," she offered. "More to go on than before, but still not enough."
Yaz hurried in then, holding an ornate metal box. "I found this in the bedroom. Hollow compartment at the back of the wardrobe."
The Doctor sonicked it and smiled. "And that is not from Earth."
"So, where's it from?" Ryan asked, just as glass shattered and we hurried in to find a small spiked orb on the table—a message from the Judoon.
"Isolation of fugitive housing unit in 108 seconds."
"Doesn't time fly when you don't have all the answers?" The Doctor complained, before revealing the box. "So, anyone know what this is?"
"No, I've never seen it before," Ruth said as the man denied it as well.
"Alex?" the Doctor asked, hoping for a tell-tale lie, but again, I was confused.
"Half-truth and a lie. How could her response be a half-truth?"
"We found it hidden in your bedroom," Yaz countered as the Judoon spoke up again.
"Give me the box," Lee finally gave in.
"Lee, what is that?" Ruth asked, concerned.
"No, it clearly is something, cos suddenly you're all bothered about it, and I've never seen it before in my life," she argued, confusing me more.
I'm really not used to this lie-detection thing. Everything she says is like a half-truth, but how? How could she have seen it but not have seen it? How could she know what it is and not? Lee ignored her though, looking to the Doctor and I.
"You're in charge, right?"
"It's a very flat team structure," the Doctor hummed.
"You two are the smartest. I can see it in your eyes. Use the fire exit out the back. Take Ruth. Get her out and make sure she's okay. I can take care of this."
"What? No, you can't," Ruth argued.
Ah, the first truth I've heard out of her yet. "What's the box?" I asked him. "Who are you two?"
"It's none of your business."
The Doctor bristled. "You've got half of Gloucester under Judoon lockdown. I'm making it my business."
"I can deal with this. Just take Ruth."
"You're lying," I muttered, earning a look from him.
Lee turned to Ruth. "Look, I've... I've made a mistake. You're the most important thing in my life. I can't let others lose their lives. I need to make sure you're safe."
"What do you mean, a mistake?" She asked—No, begged.
"I just need to talk to them, okay?"
"But they're space rhinos, Lee. What are you going to chat to them about?"
"They'll see us getting out of the fire escape," the Doctor added. "Unless…"
"Diversion," we all said simultaneously.
"Look, you take Ruth. We'll go out the front and distract the space feds," Ryan offered.
"You think that will work?" Lee questioned as Ruth argued.
"No, cos I'm not going anywhere without Lee."
She went ignored as Yaz backed us up.
"I'm a police officer. I speak their language. A bit of stalling, buy time to get them away. Then we can come inside with them and be by your side."
"I don't need you to be here," Lee said sharply.
"You obviously do, because there's a cannon about to fire at your flat."
"Time limit exceeded. Initiating temporal isolation."
"We're out of time. It's the best plan we've got for keeping this block safe. Right, be careful. The Judoon might look dumb, but they're deadly," the Doctor warned Ryan and Yaz.
I nodded. "And whatever you do, don't physically touch them. They will literally vaporize you for assault."
"Good to know."
I grinned. "Just being helpful."
Ruth was finally nudged our way and the Doctor and I took her out the back. I gave the Doctor a look though. Something's wrong with her.
"How do you mean?"
I don't know. I'm still new to this body. She's off somehow though. Everything she's denied is a half-truth. Like… Like she believes it, but it's a lie. Is that possible?
"Maybe with a memory wipe? I'm not sure. Good point though."
That's the other thing… he just sacrificed himself for her. I don't think they're after him. He lied about handling it. He stayed back to be killed in order to get her out.
"You think it's her then?"
It's the only thing that makes sense, but she's been cataloged. You can see the stamp on her hand.
I don't know.
We slipped into the cathedral, carefully entering the building and the Doctor gave out the all-clear.
"Now, you need to tell us everything you know about Lee. How long you've been together, and what was that metallic box?" The Doctor asked before Ruth's phone went off. "Is that from Lee?"
"No. It's nothing."
I felt a chill go through me as Ruth stepped away, earning a raised brow from the Doctor. That was the closet thing to a lie she's said so far. We need to check the phone.
"This cathedral is under Judoon control," the Judoon announced, making us realize that we were surrounded as they stepped out of the shadows. "All occupants must surrender immediately. There will be no escape this time. We have you surrounded."
"Oh, that is very not good," I murmured, the three of us having our backs up against one another.
The Doctor stepped forward as I tucked Ruth between her and me, eyeing the Judoon cautiously. "How can I help?"
"You interfered, Regulator," the Judoon accused.
"You know what they say, one person's arbitration is another person's interference. Very blurry line. This is a place of worship. Show some respect, or I'll overload those guns and make it a bad day for everyone. Now, let us go, and nobody needs to get hurt," she threatened, screwdriver out.
"Mm, I love it when you threaten people," I grumbled, unable to resist.
The Doctor rolled her eyes. "Later, Alex."
"Sorry," I smiled sheepishly as Ruth turned to face the Judoon.
"What have you done with Lee?"
"Information request granted." The Judoon pulled up a projection of Lee getting killed. "Sentence, execution."
The Doctor gaped. "You murdered him. That is a violation of your contract."
"Incorrect. Contract stated retrieval of fugitive."
"What law did he violate then!" I countered, a bit surprised.
The Judoon here were skipping rules all over the place. Someone else has to be in control.
"Harboring fugitive. Fugitive identified." The Judoon pointed to Ruth.
"Looks like you were right about that," the Doctor chimed in my head.
"But she's already been scanned," I pointed out, hoping for more answers.
"Biological shielding decrypted. Fugitive, positive."
Then, something very surprising happened. When the Judoon approached her, she somehow managed to deflect all the approaching Judoon.
"Holy shit," I breathed as the leader was held up by his own weapon and Ruth threatened the others.
"That's it. Back up or Daddy Rhinoform gets it."
"Ruth, what are you doing?" The Doctor asked, looking rather concerned at the sudden change from the woman.
"It feels like… instinct against the bullies. Cos you know the thing about bullies? There's always a weak spot."
I didn't think my mouth could drop any further, but it somehow managed to when she ripped off the Judoon leader's horn, slapping his communicator.
"Bo ko of jo to!"
The rhino glared before they were beamed away, and the Doctor and I looked to her in shock.
"Do you know what you've just done?"
"Better yet, who the hell are you?"
Ruth looked pale and was quick to drop both the horn and the gun, sinking to the floor near the altar as the Doctor scanned out a window.
"Total Judoon evacuation. They've even removed the enforcement perimeter."
"That's got to be good?" Ruth offered, but even I was frowning.
"No, the opposite of good. They're switching strategies because things have changed. I've read up on them before, and removing their horn is the worst possible insult." I looked at her. "You've dishonored a Judoon captain. Not only that, but you've just turned yourself into an even bigger threat. They're not backing down. They're gearing up for war."
The Doctor approached her. "I think you know far more than you're telling me about Lee and about why the Judoon are here. It's time to share."
"I don't know anything. I don't even know how I did what I just did to them."
"Half-truth," I repeated, frustrated. "Honestly, how?"
"Must be the bio-shield," the Doctor said, scanning her. "I don't have the decryption. You and Lee must have both had them. Very sophisticated, like biological cloaking."
"Look at me. I know my own life. I'm Ruth Clayton. I am 44. I'm married. I'm a tour guide. And I am scared. Back then... that was not me. My hands, they just moved. They..."
"Well, if it wasn't you, who was it?"
"I don't know. I don't understand any of this. None of this is me. It can't be. Help me."
I held out my hand. "Phone. See, you got a text before you suddenly blanked out and jumped them. Whatever Lee sent you, it was a trigger. You seem like you've been sort of mind-wiped, given an alternative life as a backstory and…" I paused, looking to the Doctor. "Could she have used a Chameleon Circuit?"
"Possible," the Doctor agreed. "But the trigger is something I'm not sure about. Maybe something similar? But what for? Just to hide from the Judoon? And if so, it obviously didn't work."
"It's weird though," I commented, head tipped and a hand on my chin in thought as I looked at Ruth. "It's like… like she's familiar somehow, but also way, way off. Have we met?"
Ruth shook her head. "No. Not before today."
"Yet again," I chimed. "Half-truth. How's that possible, Doc? I certainly don't remember meeting her."
"You bounce around," the Doctor shrugged. "Could be a future you. What's the text say?"
I took the offered phone from Ruth. "'Follow the light. Break the glass.' Has to be a trigger."
The Doctor nodded. "Activation message. Words to trigger the real you, the instincts that enabled you to attack the Judoon."
"No. I'm not that person. I don't want to be that person."
"I'm afraid you don't have a choice. Do you have any idea what this means? The light. The glass."
Ruth stepped away, almost like she was in a trance. "Yeah, I do. I just saw it. But it's just a memory."
"A memory of what?" I prodded lightly.
"The lighthouse where I grew up, my family home. Why am I seeing that now? I haven't thought about that for years."
"It's something to do with this message," the Doctor explained. "He had to send it to you before the Judoon got to him. What did he know? Are you sure it's your home?"
"Of course, I'm sure. I know where I was brought up. My parents are buried there, on the land outside. I haven't thought about them for years, either."
"Do you know how to get there?"
"Course I do."
"Then we're going, us and you, now."
"And the others?" I questioned. "Thought they'd have caught up by now."
"Yeah, bit weird. Same with Graham vanishing."
"We can't wait for them."
I cracked a small smile. "Shame. They'll miss out on all the fun."
I took her hand, making her smile as well, bringing it up and kissing my knuckles before we hurried out and got into Ruth's car for a drive out to a lighthouse.
"Tell me about your parents," the Doctor asked Ruth, hoping that they could get a better understanding of just what sort of mind abnormalities they were dealing with here.
"I wish I could tell you I adored them. But they chose to live in a disused lighthouse. That tells you how good they were with people."
Minimal information. General, nothing specific.
"Reminds me of John Smith," Alex mentally chime in, lying sprawled across the back seat of the VW Bug with a Cat's Cradle across her fingers that she was shaping into a teacup with a grin of success.
"Not like you, in the heart of the city, talking to people all day long," the Doctor added.
"I guess we all rebel against our parents. It's part of growing up, innit?"
The Doctor wrinkled her nose, remembering her past life as well. "Never been a fan of growing up."
"They loved it out here. Suited them."
"Loved it so much they wanted to be buried here?" The Doctor tested.
"You'd moved away by then."
"But you still own the lighthouse?"
"Yeah, they left it to me. I never wanted to come back here to live, though."
The Doctor eyed her, something about this potentially made-up story ringing bells in her mind.
As Alex said, it was as if the woman driving was familiar in some way.
"When did you move to Gloucester?"
"Ooh, 1999. Mid-December. Are you testing me?"
"Yes," her and Alex chimed in, the latter having a grin on her face as she held up an Eifel Tower made of string.
"I don't know why I'm even trusting you two," Ruth huffed.
"I've got one of those faces and Alex is always friendly."
"Mostly, anyway. I promise you, I'm your best hope of finding out who you are and staying alive."
Ruth shivered then, blinking away something and the Doctor eyed her.
"Ruth? What are you seeing or hearing?"
"Nothing. We're nearly there."
"You do know I can tell when you're lying, right?" Alex chimed in, sitting up and leaning between he seats curiously. "That right there was a lie."
Ruth shot her a look. "Do people find you troublesome?"
Alex just grinned. "Oh, all the time. I'm thinking of making it my middle name."
They ended up parking just outside and stepped into the lighthouse, making Ruth pause as we searched.
"That smell. Home. Forgotten what it feels like to come back here. Like nothing can touch me," she murmured.
"Mind if we take a look around?" The Doctor asked, looking to Alex, who had her brows furrowed. She's still figuring something out about her.
"Sure. I'll get a fire going."
"She's off," Alex hummed as the Doctor moved up the stairs and Alex nodded. "I'll check outside."
The Doctor nodded back to her, watching her once she'd reached the top of the lighthouse. Alex wandered towards a lone gravestone by the road, turning towards the Doctor and waving her down. The Doctor did a quick scan before bounding out after her.
"What is it?"
"Something's under here. Not human," Alex responded, hand on the ground and her eyes closed. "Gravestone's blank, too close to the road and no sane human would bury someone this close to cliffs bordering the sea. That's not even mentioning the sheer size of this thing. It's more of a landmark than a gravestone."
The Doctor scanned it again, looking at the readings. "It's not a grave."
Alex hummed and the Doctor rushed off to get a shovel. "Yet, it's alive. And very familiar."
The Doctor returned and the two were quick to get to work, paling when they uncovered the top of a blue police box. A very familiar blue police box.
"You're probably a bit confused right now," Ruth said, making them whip around to see her dressed very differently, standing confidently, and wielding a gun. "I broke the glass. It's all come back to me."
"Uh, Doc?" Alex breathed, a shiver rolling down her spine. "I'm starting to think we've got a rather big problem."
The Doctor gestured to the buried Tardis. "This. What is this?"
"That's my ship."
"Let me take it from the top. Hello, I'm the Doctor," Ruth—No, the Doctor (God, this is going to get confusing. Let's stick with Ruth.)—said. "I'm a traveler in Space and Time, and that thing buried down there is called a Tardis. Time and Relative Dimension In Space. You're going to love this." She took the Doctor's hand and she, in turn, took Alex's and they vanished.
We reappeared in the Tardis, myself leaning back against the wall as the ship hummed a greeting around me.
"Oh, you cheeky thing you," I murmured under my breath, feeling her hint of amusement at mine and Thirteen's shock.
"Come on, old girl," Ruth encouraged, attempting to get the ship working. "Too sleepy. Power up. Need you right now."
"Hi. Struggling with this. Can you just...?" The Doctor tried, but Ruth cut her off.
"No, I can't. Not right now. No time. Just stand there and don't ask questions. Sorry, you got caught up in all this, but if Gat is half the operative she used to be, she's already figured out where we are. And we need to be ready, and we're not."
"Stop. Who's Gat? And who are you, really? Truly," The Doctor pressed.
"I told you, love. I'm the Doctor."
"You can't be."
"Yeah? And why's that?"
"Because I'm the Doctor."
Ruth frowned. "You have got to be kidding me. Really?"
My head bobbed between the two as I moved to the console, leaning back against it with my arms folded over my chest. The Tardis seemed even more amused, and I had to admit, a bit of this was hilarious to me too. Thing is, I can see why the Doctor is confused. This is a new face. One I don't know, and I know everyone from this face back. Future face then? But how would she not recognize the Doctor? Theirs is definitely something weird going on. I frowned slightly. Is there something more to the Doctor that I don't know about…? That… That she doesn't know about?
"And how did I end up like... that? All rainbows and trousers that don't reach?" Ruth asked.
"What? No. How did I end up like you?" Thirteen pressed.
"You don't. You're in my future, not the other way round."
"I've never been anything like you. Trust me, I'd remember. Especially that shirt."
"So would I, if I'd ever been you, which I haven't."
"That's not possible. Unless it is. But what would that mean? Doesn't make sense. Stop doing that! Oh. Same brain," they said at the same time.
"No, this doesn't make any sense. Either I should know you or you should know me."
"So why don't we?"
"I don't know. Why don't you try asking that cute little gizmo of yours?"
Thirteen took out her sonic. Aw, she called it cute.
"Yeah, that's the one."
"I did. I used it on you, but it couldn't decrypt the bio-shield. If you've been restored..." She scanned Ruth, then herself. "Same person."
I blinked in surprise at finally being noticed, pointing at my chest. "Who me?"
"Yes, you. Did you know about this?"
Ruth frowned. "How would she know about this?"
"You don't know Alex? Alexander Holmes? Seriously?" The Doctor looked to me, but I held up my hands in a shrug.
"I don't know her either. I know your faces up until now, just like you. I stopped knowing who you'd change into after your goofy giraffe phase."
"Goofy giraffe?" The Doctor gaped, sounding offended and I cocked my head with a grin.
"Eleven was absolutely a goofy giraffe and nothing you say will convince me otherwise."
"But you have to have at least some idea of who she is!"
"She's you," I hummed, folding my arms again.
"But she can't be!"
"She feels the same, even if she won't let me in her head."
"That's you?" Ruth frowned, making me wave.
"Sorry. I would have asked first but wanted to double-check that you were actually still the Doctor." I tapped the console then. "Tell you what though, the Tardis is loving this."
"But who is she!" They both said, the Doctor pointing at Ruth and Ruth pointing back.
"And who are you?" Ruth asked me, making me smile.
"I'd say your constant companion but seeing as I've never bounced to you; I'm your mostly constant companion."
"What do you mean, bounce?"
The Doctor waved her hand vaguely at me. "She bounces across my—our—timeline. She's got knowledge of our past, though at the time she also had knowledge of our future, so I thought. We're married."
"Married?" Ruth questioned, looking between us before scoffing and turning to me. "Well, at least you have a head on your shoulders… and a decent fashion sense."
"Thanks! Still getting used to this body, but always nice to be appreciated," I chirped.
"But you don't recognize a sonic screwdriver," the Doctor pressed.
"Smart enough not to need one."
"Oh yeah, nothing screams smart like a laser rifle."
I sighed, looking towards the Tardis ceiling. Oh, here she goes. She never gets along with her other selves, does she? The Tardis hummed again in agreement.
"I stored that before hiding, cos I knew Gat would come one day, and now she has."
"Who is Gat?" I jumped in, waving a hand.
"I worked for her once."
"You've got a job?" The Doctor questioned with a wrinkle of her nose.
"Right, like you didn't work for UNIT," I snorted, earning a lightly scolding look.
"Oh, sort of. Not one you apply for, and not one you can ever leave. Believe me, I tried."
"You've been hiding on Earth." The Doctor realized, connecting the dots. "You used the Chameleon Arch to hide your identity, to hide your mind, even from yourself. That's why the sonic didn't pick it up!"
"Called it," I hummed with a smile, knowing I recognized the split personality from when Ten decided to be John Smith.
"And Lee was your protector."
"Well done," Ruth clapped. "You're only five minutes behind someone who just had their memory fully restored. Five points."
"Don't do points. I do points. Points are my thing."
"Oh, you never get along with yourself, do you?" I sighed, making the two women pout before the Tardis jolted.
"We've been picked up," I supplied as Ruth pointed at me.
"Like she said. Gat's here. The Judoon have got us in a tractor beam, dragging us onboard their ship. Now listen to me, Doctor. Let me do the talking. Do not get involved. Because, if you really are me, and Gat figures that, she'll kill us both."
"Sounds exciting," I commented, earning the smallest of smirks from Ruth even as she grabbed her laser blaster, mind racing as to all the ways this could go totally wrong with two Doctors.
We stepped out cautiously and Gat finally made her appearance.
"Here we are then, end of the road."
"She's a bit… pretty," I commented, earning an elbow to my side courtesy of the Doctor and a hush from Ruth.
"I thought I'd be angry when I saw you. Turns out I'm just sorry," Gat continued, pretending I hadn't spoken.
"Not as sorry as I'm about to be," Ruth smirked, lifting her gun a little higher.
"Ruth, put it down," the Doctor warned, making Gat smirk.
"Yes, Ruth. Do as your little friend says. You are surrounded, after all."
Ruth handed the weapon over begrudgingly and Gat turned it on her. "Don't point that thing at me, Gat."
"This was mine, you stole it."
"Mm, confiscated it."
I resisted a snort. Oh, she is so the Doctor.
"No, really, don't point it at me," Ruth pressed.
"Perfect for your execution."
"I really wouldn't do that, Gat."
And she's got a plan. This Gat woman has no idea, does she? "I would listen, to be honest," I hummed, making Gat's eyes flicker to me as I stepped up beside Ruth. "Bit unpredictable, this one."
Gat scoffed. "Enough now. Let's get off this rust bucket and finish this on my ship."
"When you say, finish this—" The Doctor tried, but Ruth was quick to scowl.
Funny she didn't tell me to shut it. Does she like me already? I wondered, curious and amused.
"Take her advice, little woman," Gat huffed, making the Doctor gape.
"Ah!" The Doctor said sharply, pointing a finger at me. "Don't you start."
I cracked a cheeky grin, slipping back and kissing her temple even as she frowned at me in annoyance. "But you're so cute when you're angry."
The Judoon interrupted. "Contract states Judoon must deliver fugitive to contractee at Division."
Gat rolled her eyes, obviously annoyed with the Judoon. "I'm here on behalf of the contractee."
"Hang on. I thought you'd hired the Judoon," the Doctor questioned, finally making Gat frown at us.
"Who are you and your friend?"
I was quick to step on her foot, reminding her with a raised brow that was wasn't supposed to say she's the Doctor just as the Judoon spoke up to explain.
"Sort of. Bit of a fib. Sorry. Actually, I'm—"
"She's nobody," Ruth pressed as I stomped her foot again, earning a frown.
Don't blow this, Doc. I'd rather you and your past self in one piece, thanks.
"I wasn't going to do anything," she mentally complained, huffing. "Fine. I'm nobody. Absolutely nobody. See, I know why you want her. You've got a contract, fair enough," she said to the Judoon but looked to Gat then. "But you? You want her dead because she left her job?"
"Shut up," Ruth hissed, Gat looking between the two of us.
"Is that what she told you? This goes way higher than me."
"So, who would that be? Who are you all ultimately working for? I'd really like to know. Really."
The Judoon leader grumbled. "Information confidential."
"I told you to keep quiet," Ruth snapped, making me sigh.
"You should know better then. Haven't met any one of you who knows the meaning of that phrase."
"Yeah, could you shut up now?" Ruth snapped under her breath, making me smile sickly sweet.
"Would've said that in your head, but someone's keeping me out."
Ruth groaned in annoyance. "Do you have a better idea?"
"I do, actually," the Doctor chimed in. "My favorite. The curveball and the Judoon."
"Oh, please no," I grumbled as she smiled at Gat and the Judoon.
"You wanted to find the Doctor?"
"Don't you dare," Ruth growled.
"Well, here I am."
I sighed heavily. "Here we go."
"Will you be quiet?" Ruth snapped at her as the Doctor held out her arms.
"Go on. Scan me."
A Judoon stepped forward. "Fugitive match positive." Then scanned Ruth. "Fugitive match positive."
Ruth groaned. "Is there even a word for how dumb you are?"
"Yeah, 'Doctor.'" I snorted, eyeing Gat's surprised face. "Ah, I probably should mention though, Doc…"
Gat's a Time Lord.
"Subsection 951 triggered. Two fugitives, two payments," the Judoon leader announced as the Doctor whirled to me and I held my hands up.
Couldn't find a good time to point it out. I was trying to be stealthy with the whole mind touch thing. Didn't want her to notice.
"She's from Gallifrey?" The Doctor half-screamed in my head as Gat scowled about the Judoon's proposal.
"There won't be two payments, because two of the same Time Lord can't occupy the same space at the same time. It's an abomination. It'll destroy the time streams before you get anywhere near Gallifrey."
"You really are from Gallifrey?"
"I serve for the glory of Gallifrey."
The Doctor looked pale now, and I frowned, sensing a hint of her fear and unease. "Then both of you can only be my past. But that's impossible because I know my own past. I lived through it. All of it."
"You're wrong," Ruth argued, making her whirl around.
"I'm not wrong. I've seen Gallifrey destroyed." She seemed to bite back saying something more, shooting me a look that said it was spoilers. "In my time, Gallifrey doesn't exist. It's gone. Forever. And if you don't know that, you're in my past. So, you are only serving at the glory of ash and bone."
Gat now, was pale. "This is a trick."
"Check my mind, one Time Lord to another. See what I saw."
"Doc," I warned, worried about her having the mental contact with another Time Lord. Especially since she is the last of them. I'll never quite be the same, I know that. I've accepted that. The Master was the closest, but his mind is twisted and wrong. I'm worried that once she has a taste… it'll leave her like someone lost in the desert. Someone who's had the smallest taste of water and is left searching desperately for more only for there to be none.
"I have to do this, Alexander."
I bit my lip, reaching out and taking her hand, squeezing it in reassurance and she reached out for Gat.
It was only for a second, but the fear and shock on Gat's face and what I could feel leaking through her mental barriers was evidence enough.
"What did you see?" Ruth asked, hesitant. "What did she show you?"
Gat lifted her weapon. "I don't know what trickery this is."
"Put the gun down, Gat."
"But it ends here."
"Don't do this."
"Wait!" I called out, making Gat swing the weapon around to me and the Doctor to tighten her hold on my hand as I smiled calmly. "Just… Just wait. No point in wasting a life just yet. Gallifrey stands for you, right? It's still there, with its red grass and silver trees. There's time for you. Time is always shifting, always changing. Nothing is set in stone."
"Alex, this is."
But we don't need them losing all their hope now. We don't need someone dying right now because they're scared.
"Please," I murmured, reaching out and lightly touching her hand on the weapon to lightly nudge some calm towards her.
It was a mistake.
The feeling of another mind brushing hers snapped her into fight or flight mode, and she fired the weapon. I cringed, expecting to feel pain, but instead felt the life drain from the woman through her hand as she turned to dust. I blanked out for a moment, blinking at the fallen gun on the floor as the Doctor snapped at Ruth about sabotaging the gun.
"Crime has been witnessed!" The Judoon leader announced, finally drawing me out of my daze as Ruth picked up the weapon and the Doctor tucked me behind her.
"No crime," Ruth argued. "An accident. And, besides, a Judoonese Talwak Freighter like this, moving at 80 million clicks an hour, entered interstellar space 12 seconds ago. No one has jurisdiction in interstellar space. So, no laws, and no crime. Isn't that right, Doctor?"
"Yes," the Doctor said bitterly.
"Recalibrated. Who wants some?" Ruth threatened as I finally spoke up.
"The Doctor never uses weapons."
"I know." Ruth glanced at me with what I thought was a hint of apology brushing against my mind. "We're leaving now," she announced. "If you know what's good for you, do not come for me again. Ever. Consider your contract canceled."
"Judoon contracts will always be fulfilled!" The rhino argued; though he didn't rush after us or even try to stop us as we returned to the Tardis.
"Hm?" I hummed, blinking up from where I'd been staring at the Tardis console to a worried Doctor—worried pair of Doctors.
"You all right?"
I opened my mouth to say I was. I mean, I wasn't crying or feeling terribly upset. Gat had technically died because she didn't listen to our warnings. Yet, there was a sort of emptiness in my chest. I frowned, tipping my head and reaching a hand up to clasp at my shirt over my chest.
"It's all right, you know," Ruth said, watching me and my reaction. "I did warn her. You did too."
"Mm," I agreed, though it still didn't feel quite right.
"It's this regeneration," the Doctor explained, brushing a strand of hair from my face and kissing my temple. "It struggles to deal with sadness, guilt, and remorse."
I snorted, cracking a small bitter smile. "How silly. Couldn't read anyone's emotions in the last body, and now I can't deal with my own."
"You're a Time Lord as well?" Ruth questioned, curious and I nodded, leaning into the Doctor a bit.
"Sort of became one. Bit complicated and I assume you won't exactly have the time to sit down and chat about it."
Ruth cracked a smile. "Yeah, well… I'm homing in near your Tardis signal. Can't get too close. Imagine the temporal feedback loop. I'll drop you at the docks near my flat. How's that?"
The Doctor though, was still hesitant about the woman. "You can't be me. I know what I've done, I know my own life."
"One of us has to be wrong."
"Or you're both right," I chirped, earning matching raised brows from them both as I tapped my head. "I'm a lie detector, remember? And right now, neither of you are lying."
Ruth snorted, shaking her head. "Get off my ship."
The Doctor huffed, heading for the door and I waved back at Ruth.
"Hope to see you again, Doc!"
And for a brief moment, the warm presence of her mind brushed against mine in farewell.
The Doctor was in a daze once we were dropped off, though I understood why and simply walked alongside her with my hands in my pockets, letting her mentally work through things. They were saying half-truths. Not lying, as I said, but not quite the truth the Doctor wants. There were calls for us both then, drawing my gaze to a bit further down the canal as Yaz and Ryan rushed up.
"Hey, what happened? Where you been? What happened to Ruth? The Judoon things are gone," Ryan said quickly, giving me a look as I smiled.
"Been a bit busy. And you? The lot of you just vanished on us."
"You're never going to guess what happened to us," Yaz replied.
"Captain Jack Harness said hello," Ryan said then, drawing the Doctor from her daze as my lips stretched into a grin.
"Come on. We'll explain back at the Tardis," Yaz said, waving us along. "Graham was there before we got picked up. Said he was trying to get you two."
"Oh, but I missed out on Jack!" I whined, realizing now that the man hadn't still been around.
We stepped into the Tardis and Graham was quick to relay the message Jack had for us.
"Beware the lone Cyberman. Do not let it have what it wants, at all costs."
The Doctor and I both frowned. "That's all he said?"
"Yeah, he got interrupted," Ryan replied.
"Who is he, anyway?" Yaz asked, making me smile.
"Old friend of ours."
"I liked him. Kind of cheesy," Ryan smiled.
"But the good cheesy," Yaz added, making me nod.
"We had an old companion to said that. Called him Captain Cheesecake."
"That's Jack," the Doctor smiled briefly. "He didn't say any more about the Cybermen?"
"Uh, he said that they were a fallen empire and they should stay that way," Graham offered, not entirely certain.
"Well, they've been basically that every time we've met them. We're usually just dealing with stragglers," I mused, rubbing the back of my neck.
"What are they, these Cybermen?" Yaz asked.
"They're one of the most dangerous species we've ever encountered, up there with the Daleks," the Doctor warned; Ryan getting sarcastic.
"Oh, can't wait to meet them then."
"Cheeky," I lightly scolded, earning a cocky grin in return.
"And they're in our future?" Graham asked.
"They're always somewhere, waiting."
"You haven't told us about Lee and Ruth and the Judoon," Yaz reminded us. "Who was the fugitive?"
The Doctor grew solemn. "It was Ruth, but Ruth was me."
"What are you talking about?"
"Ah, well, you remember me bursting into gold and changing faces?" I asked, earning nods as I tipped my head to the Doctor. "She does the same. That was just an old face of hers."
"But I know my past, and she's never been me," the Doctor argued as I sighed softly.
Graham was apparently thinking along the same lines as I was. "I'm sure there's a simple explanation."
"Time is swirling around me. The Master, Captain Jack Harkness, Ruth. Something's coming for me. I can feel it."
I reached over and placed a hand on the Doctor's shoulder, sitting beside her and letting her rest her head on me as I gave her shoulders a squeeze of reassurance. Though, I thought Missy was… I mean, the Master always seems to find a way out of deadly situations, so I'm not too surprised, but… Why hasn't she mentioned him until now? Spoilers?
"Let it come," Ryan said then, confident as ever. "You've got us."
"Ryan, I've lived for thousands of years. So long I've lost count. I've had so many faces. How long have you been here? You don't know me. Not even a little bit," the Doctor said bitterly and before I could say anything, Yaz snapped at her.
"Don't talk to him like that."
"Yeah, I'm not having that. We do know who you are. You're the woman that brought us together, the woman that saved us and loads of other people," Ryan pressed as Graham and Yaz nodded. "You're the Doctor. Whoever you were in the past or are in the future, we know who you are right now. Right?"
"Right," Yaz agreed.
"The best person we know." Graham smiled.
"And whatever is coming for you, we'll be here, cos we're your mates."
"Well, not just mates. Family."
"Yeah." Yaz and Ryan beamed.
"So, whether you want to go looking for whatever trouble's coming, or whether you want to wait here and let it come to you, we'll be right here by your side, like it or not, Doctor."
We've certainly picked some companions, eh?
"Yes, we have."
I smiled as well, nudging the Doctor playfully. "And you're not about to get rid of me anytime soon."
The Doctor rolled her eyes, nudging me in return. "Even if I wanted to, you wouldn't let me."
The Tardis blared an alarm then, the room drifting into blue as the lights changed.
"Something fun!" I chirped, bouncing up to the console as the Doctor eyed the ceiling with a wrinkle of her nose.
"I know what you're doing. Siding with them, distracting me. You're doing this deliberately."
"You were being a grump," I pointed out.
"Ooh, you're asking for it with your cheek."
"Promise?" I smirked, earning a groan from Yaz before the Doctor gaped at what came up on the monitor.
"Whoa! Multiple alerts across three continents here on Earth. Can't be connected. Unless they are. Quick look?"
The trio smiled.
"Quick look," Yaz grinned, before looking to me. "Hold on. Are you leaving already?"
"Hm?" I looked down and blinked at my glowing hands. "Oh! Appears so." I pouted, lips pushed out in annoyance. "Boo. Right when something fun was about to happen."
The Doctor smiled. "I'm sure you'll pop up. Always do."
I smirked, slipping up beside her and wrapping an arm around her waist. "And maybe we'll be able to have some downtime when I land. You owe me more than just a meal."
"I almost want her to go now," Ryan muttered to Yaz, making me frown at them.
But right as I went to scold them, I vanished and felt myself falling through the sky only for branches to stop me. I swung down, dangling by one of my ankles and stared in surprise at the woman I'd caused to scream dressed in rather old, ratty clothes.
"Hello, 17th-century woman. Could you tell me where I am?"