Hi there, I'm back. Sorry for the delay and thank you for keep reading this crazy story :)

I still don't have a beta reader so please, forgive the possible grammatical errors. English is not my first language.


"Sleeping pills. The lack of sleep weakens your body. It's a patch until we figure out something better." She was about to protest, but he kept talking "Don't worry, you won't dream anything. It will only leave you knocked out for a few hours, so you can recover a little. Agree?"

She looked at the hand with the pills. "Please, I don't want to be alone when I wake up." She almost begged.

"You won't. I promise."

It was enough for her; she seemed too tired to keep arguing. John saw how the pills took effect and covered her with the sheets. "Poor girl." He thought as he left the room heading to the kitchen.

The Doctor had asked him to take care of her, but it wasn't being easy. He sensed it would be a long night, so he picked up a cup and made himself a tea. "What the hell are you doing, Doctor?" He told to himself.


CHAPTER 36: THE BRIGADIER

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Something was touching his chest. He felt it was something sharp, a kind of stick? A gun perhaps? Confused and scared, his eyes opened wide and jumped with a start, his gaze trying to focus on the figure in front of him. Its size surprised him; it wasn't Clara.

"Seriously, humans have to lose that ugly habit of sleeping. It's a big waste of time." Said a voice with a Scottish accent.

"What?" John babbled still disoriented. The panic was gone. "Doctor?" He said watching the alien, who was holding the sonic screwdriver; that must have been the stick.

"I fall asleep."

"I hadn't noticed it." The Time Lord said sarcastically while he kept pacing around the room. "Clara is also asleep, what is it? A contagious disease?"

How could he stand there as if nothing had happened? And… scolding him! Could it be more surreal? Surely yes. John scratched his chin, still astonished to see him.

The Doctor sighed thinking he had to explain it. "I programmed The Tardis not to land when people sleep. It's boring. But obviously, she's still mad at me."

John crossed his arms. "Sorry, but I'm not used to being waked up with a stick like when a child finds a dead bird."

"Children find dead birds?" Suddenly the Doctor stopped walking. "Does it have something to do with the disappearance of bees? And what have birds done to you?"

The human looked at him surprised. He didn't know if that was a dream or the Doctor was real, in any case, it was a nightmare.

"Well, the last four weeks have been tough, perhaps, I have the right to take a nap." The young man glared at him. "Where the hell did you go?"

The older man scratched his head. "Four weeks? The Tardis is angrier than I thought. Maybe I have to make her a gift. Do you think that cleaning the rotor of time will work?" The Doctor raised his index asking for silence. "But before that, we need to talk. You and me."

John grimaced "When someone says 'We have to talk', it's never a good thing. In your case, I don't know what to expect" The human got up from the sofa, he needed to clear up and the Doctor was only giving him a headache. "I'll go to make coffee. Eight sugar cube for you, right?"

The alien smiled and sat down at the dining table. He looked back to the Tardis, parked in a corner of the room. "What's going to be harder? Making peace with the Tardis, or the cupcake brain accepting my purpose." He murmured to himself.

John soon returned with two steaming cups. "Are you going to tell me where did you go?" He asked him with a sneer as he plopped down on the chair in front of the Doctor, he was exhausted. It was then he realized that on the table there was a file with the UNIT badge on it. It surprised him but he tried to hide it. "Ok. Should I remind you I don't work there anymore?"

The Doctor gave him an enigmatic look "Well…" He stuck his elbows on the table. "That can change."

The man couldn't resist, it was too tempting, so under the scrutinizing gaze of the Time Lord, he opened the folder. Inside there was an employment contract.

"What? Did they re-hire me?" His irony was obvious. "I never believed my mother gave in in this matter."

"It's not a readmission agreement but to fill a vacancy, and no, your mother knows nothing. I guess it's a benefit of being the president of the Earth." The Doctor answered with a tone of self-sufficiency.

John smirked but his smile soon faded. "What the hell is this? Are you insane?" His face was shaken and twisted in frustration by the job he read.

"The position is vacant. And who better than you?"

"No. Never!" John threw the contract on the table as if it had burned his fingers. "The post of the brigadier? Are you crazy?"

"Look…" The Doctor exhaled sullenly, he knew that reaction was going to happen but in his head, he imagined something less irritating. "The previous brigadier died in the alien ship so there is a vacancy. Someone will end up covering it. I'd like you to do it before they give it to another knucklehead."

"What? That is ridiculous! I never wanted to be a soldier and I never will be!" There was a point of resentment in his words, it was not addressed to the doctor, but it seemed as if a closed wound had opened wide. "Do you know what I had to give up to become what I am now?"

The doctor leaned back in the chair. "And what exactly are you now?"

"I…" Words didn't come easy. John licked his lips, he had told no one the reason for his decision. He didn't understand why, but the doctor gave him confidence. "I'm not a hero, I'm not so special, just an ordinary person who tries to help." His hand rubbed his forehead. "I am one of those who thinks that in a zombie apocalypse, I would not be in the tank shooting, but among the zombies." He shrugged laughing nervously.

The Doctor raised an eyebrow without understanding the example and took a sip of his coffee cup. It was still bitter for his taste.

John hated him for staying silent, making him feel stupid. Maybe that's what he wanted. "This position is not for me. I'm sorry."

"Why not?" The Doctor asked while he added three more sugar cubes to his cup.

"Didn't you hear me?"

"Sorry, I only listen to what I find interesting, I erase the rest from my brain, it's too special to fill it with junk."

John rolled his eyes. "As I said… I'm not prepared. I can't accept it. I… "His voice faltered. "I don't want to be the man who decides."

The doctor nodded, he knew very well what John was referring to. "You have to look at things with perspective. If you don't make the decisions, a square head will decide for you. Maybe wrongly ... it's more, surely very wrong. Do you think that's better?"

John looked away, he had lost that argument and hated himself for it. "Are you trying to manipulate me?"

The Doctor scratched his chin. "Yes," He admitted.

"You will need something more than that to convince me."

"I know. That's why I brought you this, " The Doctor said, taking an envelope out of his jacket and offering it to the human.

"What is it?"

"A letter. Aren't your eyes working well?"

"From who?"

"From the only person capable of convincing both you and me."

John opened the envelope and his expression changed from anger to disbelief to bewilderment. "It's not possible." His voice faltered. "You can't do this," he retorted to the Doctor. "You ... he ... damn it, it's my grandfather's handwriting."

The Doctor nodded with a lost look. "Yes, it is. If I don't convince you, at least let him try."

"Why are you doing this? You cannot play like this with me. It's not fair. I know you never went to see him. What is it, a cheap trick?"

The Doctor's eyes blinked as if waking up from a long lethargy and he mercilessly nailed them to the human's to the point that it was a bit scary. "Do you believe me capable of falsifying that?"

"Did you?"

The older man rubbed his forehead. "Your grandfather is… was my friend. This was a pending debt. I didn't want to face it, you know? But then, you told me one day he changed his mind about you, about your future, about letting you to not be a soldier." The Doctor narrowed his owlish eyes and gave him an intense look. "He would never do that. He was as stubborn as a mule. So I visited him, with the condition he never told you or your mother about that meeting because otherwise a paradox would have been created."

"Are you telling me you are the reason I became a Doctor?"

"No. But I… eased it."

John crossed his arms again. "This is insane. Why?"

"Because a stupid soldier would not have saved either Clara or me."

There was a very awkward silence between the two men. Anger was clearly visible on the face of the human. "Why to take so much trouble for that… and now you ask me to be one."

The Doctor pointed a finger to the other man. "You are a Cupcake brain. I'm not asking you for that. Can't you see it? UNIT doesn't need more soldiers. What they need is a Doctor!"

John narrowed his eyes. "But they already have one."

"I'm asking you to be ... the substitute doctor. I can't always be here when it's necessary."

John froze, surprised at the intensity of those words. "Don't you care if I make the wrong decision? How will I know what to do?" He shook his head "Doctor why do you insist on me? I'm nothing special, I'm just a boring scientist."

"You're smart, you don't follow orders, and you do what you think is right. John, you're a good man but not stupid. You will know what to do, and yes, maybe you're boring, but I won't keep it in mind."

The human crossed his arms. "You are very sure that I will accept."

"Of course. I have gone to the future to check it."

"You're lying."

"Who knows…"

"You're insufferable,"

"For God's sake, you look like your grandfather. It is irritating."

They both looked at each other defiantly but finally, John smirked. "Do you mind if I read this in private?"


The Doctor sat down on the bed. He could see that she was still asleep. Her lips were parted, and she was breathing, not softly as usual with her, but in long, heavy gasps, as though striving to get her lungs full at every breath. He felt bad. John had told him how desperate she had been in the last month. How could she have thought that he had abandoned her? It would have never crossed his mind to commit such outrage. Not to his Clara, his impossible girl.

He feared to wake her all at once, so, very carefully, his fingers dug into her silky hair and stroked it gently. "My Clara…" He whispered. "You were right about me. I don't like farewells. I knew that saying goodbye to a friend was going to destroy me from inside. It had to happen, and it's ok. The universe is more important than my feelings. The Tardis doesn't agree with that, but you know how overprotective she is." He smiled sadly."This silly old man needs you more than ever. I…" His eyes were full of regret."My heart is broken, and you're the only one who can pick up the pieces."

TO BE CONTINUED.

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